Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Brunswick, ME, United States

The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure. We must all do more to help stop this western corporate arrogance that puts the future generations lives in despair. @BruceKGagnon

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Future Generations are in Our Hands

Lynda Willams (on left) and Lindis Percy held an 'updated' American flag during Global Network conference and protest in Yorkshire, England in 2001

Our long time goal at the Global Network has been to expand the international consciousness about the pure insanity of moving the already evil Earth-bound war machine into the heavens.  We have tried to educate the public and link activists from around the globe who are working to oppose some local manifestation of the US initiated 'Master of Space' program.

Often local communities have a production site for the war machine as we do here in Bath, Maine or they suffer from the hard boot print of a US military controlled 'installation' in their neighborhood.  We've seen the harsh effects on the lives of people in Afghanistan, Iraq, South Korea, Okinawa, Ukraine, Sicily, and many other places where the environment and culture of the people are threatened.

Space technology links the world on behalf of the corporate mega-machine that is rolling over our brothers and sisters around the globe.  Each new space warfare program, surveillance system and downlink station (usually plopped down in some remote location) expands the 'global watch' capability and gives the Pentagon an over-bloated sense of confidence to threaten war.

The cost to these programs are beyond imagination. The aerospace industry has long claimed that Star Wars will be the largest industrial project in the Earth history.  Where will those funds come from?

Many enemies are needed to sell this super-sized space directed war machine to the public.  In the end though what keeps this ball rolling is the influence peddling going on inside of Washington with the military industrial complex handing out hot cash faster than pig can squeal in mud.

This latest request by Trump for another $54 billion for the Pentagon is all about high-tech warfare.

The military is reducing troop levels, cutting benefits for current service members, and even cutting back on the handing out of war fighting equipment to existing troops.  One friend who had a son recently stationed in Afghanistan had to package up and mail body armor to him.  The troops are being squeezed to shovel more $$$$ into the greedy mouths of the weapons and intelligence corporations.  That is where the profit is to be made - space tech is big bucks.

So even with all that US military money in hand (more than the next dozen nations combined) these international war making 'industries' want even more.  It's obvious their plaintive calls have successfully reached the waiting ears of  Donald Trump.

Mary Beth raged last night after hearing Trump say that austerity cuts will have to come from environmental and social sector funding but these agencies "will do more with less".  She works on the front lines with the homeless in Maine and daily sees more need and less support.  It's similar to some burger joint where one worker is expected to do the work that three people used to do.  No wonder people hate their jobs and the quality of the work coming from the corporate dominated service sector generally sucks.

We have many huge issues in our world today but this overriding reality of material greed being promoted non-stop on corporate TV is our greatest sin.  It keeps us disconnected from each other and from our Mother Earth.  We've lost these spiritual links and once that mooring is gone we drift wherever the crowd surge leads us.  We lose our native ability to think and to feel - human solidarity suffers as our soul gets overridden by the techno machine consciousness.  We lose our humanity.  $$$$ becomes god.

Lately we've been lucky to see how the Native Americans at Standing Rock have taught us all to resist while in prayer in order that we might repair our broken spiritual link with all that is sacred.

Our friends in the Global Network are taking all of these issues on as they organize to stand against this endless war machine that is raping the planet.  All of us who are in this fight are linked by one important reality - the future generations are in our hands.


Trump's New War Budget....

Lawrence Wilkerson is a retired United States Army soldier and former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell. Wilkerson is an adjunct professor at the College of William & Mary where he teaches courses on US national security. He also instructs a senior seminar in the Honors Department at the George Washington University entitled "National Security Decision Making."

I disagree with Wilkerson's excitement for new technology war fighting systems that will be robotic and unmanned.  He uses these 'cheaper and smaller' programs to make his case cut Pentagon cuts.  I guess he wants to remain 'relevant' in the DC policital swirl where you have to make concessions to the corporate war machine.

In the end though I always learn something from Wilkerson and I do respect that he is one of the few that were once on the inside of the Washington political world willing to speak out about anything. 


A Sense of Wonder

Monday, February 27, 2017

Banana Republics

U.S. Expands Cyber Warfare Capabilities

The US-NATO attack on Yugoslavia in 1999 was one of the first Pentagon 'field tests' of cyber warfare technology.  I recall at the time reading in aerospace industry publications that the US used computer hacking technology to shut down the air defense systems in Yugoslavia prior to the US-NATO air attacks.  As a result not one war plane from the 'western alliance' was lost during those bombing raids.

The Pentagon basically used cyber technology for the first time to crawl inside of Yugoslavian air defense systems and turned them off.   You might recall that during the bombing of Belgrade US-NATO war planes hit the Chinese embassy killing three reporters.  The US said, "Oh sorry, we used the wrong maps."  Yeah, sure......

Following that one-sided war the Pentagon went on steroids creating the offensive cyber warfare program.  By the year 2015, annual federal government spending on cyber security reached well over $13 billion, a compound increase of nine percent per year.  The cyber security industry has flourished with new companies and their facilities expanding throughout the greater Washington-Virginia area like a metastasizing cancer.

The US is undoubtedly the world leader in cyber warfare technology but Russia, China and other nations have joined this new arms race.  We frequently hear of claims about one nation hacking the other but confirming these charges is virtually impossible for the public or for the media - assuming the media was actually interested in learning the truth.  When it comes to stories about cyber hacking most mainstream media are left to reading the news releases sent out by the US Cyber Command.

Lately we've been hearing that the US intends to create arrangements with NATO that if any one member of the corporate military alliance is 'cyber attacked' that this would be viewed as an attack on all of NATO and would trigger war.  Proving that an alleged attack on one NATO member was actually real in the first place would be virtually impossible.

The cyber warfare program took off so big in large part because of the concerns of growing space debris orbiting the Earth at 15,000 mph.  The old plan was just to blow up other nations satellites in order to ensure US 'control and domination' of space.  But once the Space Command realized the full extent of the space junk problem they concluded that adding more debris would be quite problematic.  Thus finding another way to 'disable' another nation's satellites during times of hostility became a priority.

Cyber Command was created in 2009 at the National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland. It uses NSA networks and has been headed by the Director of the National Security Agency since its inception.

The Strategic Command (STRATCOM), headquartered at Offutt AFB in Nebraska, oversees the Cyber Command as well as Global Strike; Space Command; Integrated Missile Defense; Strategic Nuclear Missiles & Bombers; and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance.


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Latest Show

My latest guest Rosalie Tyler Paul from nearby Brunswick, Maine and one of the leaders of our local peace group called PeaceWorks.

Sunday Song

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Field Testing U.S. High-Tech Weapons in Israel

The U.S. and Israel have teamed up to create a series of 'missile defense' (MD) systems for the Israeli military. The U.S. has supported the development of these systems by donating hundreds of millions of dollars to the Israeli projects. Iron Dome is part of a future multi-tiered missile defense system that Israel is developing, which will also include Arrow 2, Arrow 3, Iron Beam and David's Sling as early as 2018.

This MD program allows Israel to indiscriminately attack the Palestinian people and protect themselves from the feeble attempts to retaliate.

The U.S. uses Israel to field test many high-tech weapons systems like drones and so-called 'missile defense' on the essentially defenseless Palestinian people.  This kind of military colonization of Palestine is illegal under international law but Washington and Tel Aviv don't care about the rule of law anymore.

The Benefits to NATO Membership?

VFP Delegation in Hebron

Veterans For Peace member Will Clark (who I have traveled with to South Korea, Okinawa and India) reports from Hebron as they were tear gassed by the Israeli occupation forces.

Veterans For Peace joined the popular resistance in Palestine against the Occupation on the 23rd anniversary of the Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre, or sometimes called the Cave of Patriarchs Massacre. 23 years ago Baruch Goldstein, an American-Jewish Settler in Israel, opened fire on a large number of Palestinians, leaving 29 dead, several as young as 12, and 125 wounded. Many Israeli settlers still to this day continue to laud him as a hero. 

The state of Israel has been illegally occupying Palestine for over seven decades, committing human rights violations and war crimes. Despite Palestinians having a majority population and living in the area for thousands of years, the Israeli military continues to oppress the people as well as Israeli settlers spreading their territories over what's left of Palestinian land. The U.S. has supported this oppression by selling military equipment to Israel as well as giving financial aid, now $3.8 billion every year.

Veterans For Peace opposes war in all of its manifestations, including this atrocious occupation against the Palestinians.

Shaking off Oppression

In spite of anti-free-speech efforts to get her controversial lecture in Berkeley canceled, on February 16, 2017, author and former journalist Alison Weir, courageously gave a presentation titled 100 Years of Pro-Israel Activism: How a Special Interest Lobby Enabled the Colonization of Palestine. She was warmly received by a well informed Berkeley audience and received a standing ovation at the end.

Alison covered in depth the creation of Israel in 1948 as a result of a worldwide movement called “political Zionism,”which was active in the United States since the late 1800s. After Israel was created, this movement – now known as the “Israel lobby” – continued to work on behalf of Israel. Today it is one of most powerful and pervasive special interests in the United States. Among its many achievements has been to re-define the term “Anti-Semitism” to increasingly make it mean criticism of Israel and or support for Palestinian human rights. Another accomplishment has been to procure massive US aid to Israel: on average, 7,000 times more than to others around the world. She also covered the unbalanced media coverage of Israel-Palestine, the role of Israel partisans in promoting the US War on Iraq, and the ongoing demonization of Iran.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Pentagon 'Missile Defense' Radar in Northern Norway


If you look closely at the map - up in the top right hand corner on the Barents Sea - is the village of Vardo.  In Vardo is the world's most advanced radar, Globus II.  It turns out Globus II is a name the Norwegian military intelligence service has given to this American radar.  The US military named it Have Stare.

According to Norwegian journalist Bard Wormdal (author of The Satellite War), "This is a 'missile defense' (MD) radar that provides the Pentagon with the capability to initiate a nuclear first strike with less risk of suffering a counterattack. This gives the US military superiority in relation to other nuclear powers, which in turn will try to catch up or surpass the US - and a new arms race is a reality."

Wormdal reports that once the white covering blew off the Have Stare radar and a British reporter noticed that the radar was pointed directly at Russia. No surprise there considering the location of Vardo.

Wormdal reports:  "In 2007 the US Embassy in Oslo applies heavy pressure on leading governmental and parliamentary politicians, research environments and journalists to prevent dissension in NATO on the plans for a European missile shield."

Wormdal interviewed MIT Professor Ted Postol who is an expert on US MD.  Postal maintains that Vardo is essential for the US 'missile defense' system to function in Europe:  "It's very difficult to understand why the Vardo radar would not be employed as part of the American missile defense system.  [The US maintains it is used for tracking space debris in orbit.] The reason being that it is the only radar that has any possibility whatsoever of identifying a warhead from a decoy.  It is the only radar with a resolution and range that can provide information on what is a warhead and what is a decoy weapon in an attempt to track an ICBM..."

It is obvious to anyone that is paying attention that the US has created a string of MD radars and interceptors (on land and on Navy Aegis warships) that encircle Russia and China.  Since the role of MD is to serve as the shield, to pick off retaliatory strikes after the US military has launched a first-strike attack, it becomes possible to figure out the US strategy.

The classic war story has been updated to meet the technological age.  The sword strikes first and then the shield is used to defend the counter thrust from the target.  Only today the cost of the sword and the shield are so vast that the US must get their NATO allies and partners to help pay for what the Pentagon calls 'the most expensive project in human history'.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Knocking Down the Indians

U.S. Military Eyes & Ears in the Arctic

US-NATO are intercepting Russian and global communications and militarizing the island of Svalbard in violation of Norway-Russia treaty that outlaws military use of the island.

In his landmark book entitled 'The Satellite War' Norwegian journalist Bard Wormdal reports the following about Svalbard:

  • Svalbard is the best location for a ground station serving Polar-orbiting satellites....Only Svalbard is situated close enough to the North Pole to enable a ground station to download data from all [satellite] flights overhead....The satellites can be controlled and data downloaded during the 15 minutes they are visible from Svalbard before they pass the North Pole and are visible to a station in Alaska for another 15 minutes....By setting a satellite on a fixed course around the North and South Poles it is then possible to gain images of all sections of the planet in the space of a full day.  That is why most earth observation satellites travel in a Polar orbit.  

  • The Svalbard Treaty of 1920 established full Norwegian sovereignty over the archipelago....The preamble to the treaty stipulates that the Islands must only be used for peaceful purposes, and Article 9 states that Svalbard "may never be used for warlike purposes."

  • In the year 2000 Norway and the US entered into a mutual formal agreement to develop space co-operation [at Svalbard]....Norway wants the US to pay for a fiber cable....The US Armed Forces inject $25 million, or one-third of the total cost.  It goes without saying the Pentagon wants something in return.

  • The US currently has at least 104 military satellites....With the new generation of weather and environmental satellites the focus is changing from "dealing with the weather" to utilizing data on the atmosphere and conditions in outer space directly in warfare.

  • Svalbard is the best location for a ground station serving Polar-orbiting satellites. Only Svalbard is situated close enough to the North Pol to enable a ground station to download data from all satellite flights overhead. Svalbard can communicate with satellites in all the 14 orbits a satellite completes around the Earth in the space of 24 hours.

  • Twenty years ago the Pentagon almost always only used their own satellites for communication.  Private corporations now supply 80-90% of all [military] satellite communication. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Oliver Stone: "You Don't Have to Fit In"

Oliver Stone at the Writers Guild Awards 

“You don’t have to fit in. It’s fashionable now to take shots at Republicans and Trump and avoid the Obamas and Clintons. But remember this: In the 13 wars we’ve started over the last 30 years and the $14 trillion we’ve spent, and the hundreds of thousands of lives that have perished from this earth, remember that it wasn’t one leader, but a system, both Republican and Democrat.

Call it what you will: the military industrial money media security complex. It’s a system that has been perpetuated under the guise that these are just wars justifiable in the name of our flag that flies so proudly.”

"Our country has become more prosperous for many but in the name of that wealth we cannot justify our system as a center for the world’s values. But we continue to create such chaos and wars. No need to go through the victims, but we know we’ve intervened in more than 100 countries with invasion, regime change, economic chaos. Or hired war. It’s war of some kind. In the end, it’s become a system leading to the death of this planet and the extinction of us all.”

“I’ve fought these people who practice war for most of my life. It’s a tiring game. And mostly you’ll get your a– kicked. With all the criticism and insults you’ll receive, and the flattery too, it’s important to remember, if you believe in what you’re saying and you can stay the course, you can make a difference.”

“I urge you to find a way to remain alone with yourself, listen to your silences, not always in a writer’s room. Try to find not what the crowd wants so you can be successful, but try instead to find the true inner meaning of your life here on earth, and never give up on your heart in your struggle for peace, decency, and telling the truth.”

~ Oliver Stone

The Numbers Don't Lie

Research done by SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) for global total of military spending in 2015.

US leads the pack spending 36% of the world share.  Add NATO members/partners to the US numbers and you get well over 50%.

Russia comes in at 4% and last year (2016) they actually cut their military budget due to economic sanctions and drop in oil revenues.

So is Russia really able to 'recreate the Soviet Empire' and attack Europe as the western media and Washington-London-Brussels-Berlin-Paris claim?  Total nonsense.

The numbers speak for themselves.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

U.S. Prepares for War with Russia

US Army Soldiers assigned to 3rd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division participate in a multinational combined arms breach of obstacles training exercise Feb. 15, at the Gora Hetmanska Range in Drawsko Pomorskie.

The exercise was conducted alongside Polish, German and Dutch Soldiers highlighting NATO interoperability. 

In particular listen to the interview that begins at 3:50 into the video.

Group Think Leads to Disaster

A couple of days ago I was outside doing some snow shoveling.  One of my neighbors came over to talk and he told me he was very confused.  "I grew up after WW II and used to believe that our country was the good guy," he told me.  "Now I don't know who to believe anymore."

He went on to say that when Obama was first elected that the new president and Hillary Clinton (as Secretary of State) talked about how they were going to 'reset' relations with Russia.  "When Trump tries to do the same thing he is trashed," the neighbor exclaimed.

This was a very moving and revealing conversation.  I told the neighbor that he was a wise man to be in such a quandary - I said we've all got to develop independent thinking skills these days.  This party loyalty stuff leads to a suspension of independent thinking and requires people to follow the leaders like lemmings over the cliff.  Group think leads to disaster.

It is quite evident to me that the Republicans and Democrats are playing 'good cop - bad cop' as they have recently switched roles once Trump moved into the White House.  Now the Democrats have become the major league war hawks calling for increased military pressure on Russia and Iran.  The similarities between professional wrestling on TV and the US Congress are striking.

I read a great article this morning by CJ Hopkins (award-winning American playwright and satirist based in Berlin) entitled Goose-stepping Our Way Toward Pink Revolution. He writes:

I’m going to repeat and italicize that to hopefully avoid any misunderstanding. The system the deep state primarily serves is not the United States of America, i.e., the country most Americans believe they live in; the system it serves is globalized Capitalism. The United States, the nation state itself, while obviously a crucial element of the system, is not the deep state’s primary concern. If it were, Americans would all have healthcare, affordable education, and a right to basic housing, like more or less every other developed nation.

My heart is breaking as I watch mindless liberals on Fazebook throwing their support behind the likes of Sen. John McCain for 'standing up against Trump'.  Many people are plum lazy and don't much bother to find out for themselves what is really going on.  Instead they turn on the boob tube, listen to a Rachel Maddow rant on MSNBC about Putin, and figure they know the score.  They don't!

Many of these same people were lulled to sleep during the 2003 manipulations that led to 'shock and awe' in Iraq - or they fell for the 2011 lies to cover up the US-NATO take down of Libya that created a refugee mess - or they were under the Obama spell in recent years as the US-NATO created the mess in Syria (where the Pentagon used depleted uranium ammunition) that also resulted in a massive refugee crisis.

Many of those same well meaning people recently ran to their nearest airport to hold signs opposing Trump's immigration ban but it never seemed to dawn on them that their beloved Obama's bombing of these very same countries during the past eight years had much to do with these poor refugees wanting to come to the US!  Might they ever have considered going out to the streets with a sign saying to Obama - STOP THE DRONE STRIKES - STOP KILLING INNOCENT PEOPLE!

No, they didn't bother.  Instead the Washington Post reported during the height of the Obama reign that 70% of self-identified liberals supported his drone bombing campaign in the Middle East and Central Asia.  Why did they support him?  Because he was a Democrat - their president - and he was a nice family man - and was articulate and not stupid like Trump!

How much can my heart take of this mindlessness?

Why do people persist in buying the fake goods from the traveling snake oil salesmen?


Monday, February 20, 2017

The Did-You-Talk-to-Russians Witch Hunt

By Robert Parry

In the anti-Russian frenzy sweeping American politics and media, Democrats, liberals and mainstream pundits are calling for an investigative body that could become a new kind of House Un-American Activities Committee to hunt down Americans who have communicated with Russians.

The proposed commission would have broad subpoena powers to investigate alleged connections between Trump’s supporters and the Russian government with the apparent goal of asking if they now have or have ever talked to a Russian who might have some tie to the Kremlin or its intelligence agencies.

Such an admission apparently would be prima facie evidence of disloyalty, a guilt-by-association “crime” on par with Sen. Joe McCarthy’s Cold War pursuit of “communists” who supposedly had infiltrated the U.S. government, the film industry and other American institutions.

Operating parallel to McCarthy’s Red Scare hearings was the House Un-American Activities Committee (or HUAC), a standing congressional panel from 1945-1975 when it was best known for investigating alleged communist subversion and propaganda. One of its top achievements was the blacklisting of the “Hollywood Ten” whose careers in the movie industry were damaged or destroyed.

Although the Cold War has long been over – and Russia has often cooperated with the U.S. government, especially on national security issues such as supplying U.S. troops in Afghanistan – Democrats and liberals seem ready to force Americans to again prove their loyalty if they engaged in conversations with Russians.

Or perhaps these “witnesses” can be entrapped into perjury charges if their recollections of conversations with Russians don’t match up with transcripts of their intercepted communications, a tactic similar to ones used by Sen. McCarthy and HUAC to trip up and imprison targets over such secondary charges.

Ousted National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has already encountered such a predicament because he couldn’t recall all the details of a phone conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on Dec. 29, 2016, after Flynn took the call while vacationing in the Dominican Republic.

When Obama administration holdovers at the Justice Department decided to gin up a legal premise to go after Flynn, they cited the Logan Act, a law enacted in 1799 to prohibit private citizens from negotiating with foreign adversaries but never used to convict anyone. The law also is of dubious constitutionality and was surely never intended to apply to a president-elect’s advisers.

However, based on that flimsy pretext, FBI agents – with a transcript of the electronic intercept of the Kislyak-Flynn phone call in hand – tested Flynn’s memory of the conversation and found his recollections incomplete. Gotcha – lying to the FBI!

Under mounting media and political pressure, President Trump fired Flynn, apparently hoping that tossing Flynn overboard to the circling sharks would somehow calm the sharks down. Instead, blood in the water added to the frenzy.

Iran-Contra Comparison

Some prominent Democrats and liberals have compared Trump-connected contacts with Russians to President Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal or President Reagan’s Iran-Contra Affair, an issue that I know a great deal about having helped expose it as a reporter for The Associated Press in the 1980s.

The key difference is that Iran-Contra was an unconstitutional effort by the Reagan administration to finance an illegal war against Nicaragua’s Sandinista government in defiance of a congressional ban.

The Trump-connected communications with Russians – to the degree they have occurred – appear to have been aimed at preventing a new and dangerous Cold War that could lead to a nuclear holocaust.

In other words, Iran-Contra was about enabling a paramilitary force to continue its brutal marauding inside a country that was no threat to the United States while the current “scandal” is about people trying to avoid hostilities between two nuclear superpowers, an existential threat that many mainstream and liberal pundits don’t want to recognize.

Indeed, there is a troubling denial-ism about the risks of an accidental or intentional war with Russia as the U.S. media and much of Official Washington’s establishment have lots of fun demonizing Russian President Vladimir Putin and jabbing the Russians by shoving NATO troops up to their borders and deploying anti-ballistic missiles in Eastern Europe. For some crazy reason, the Russians feel threatened.

False Narratives

This Russia-bashing and Russia-baiting have been accompanied by false narratives presented in the major U.S. newspapers, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, to justify increased tensions.

For instance, the Post’s senior foreign affairs writer Karen DeYoung on Friday described the civil war in Ukraine this way: “That conflict began when Russia invaded and annexed Crimea in 2014, then backed separatists in eastern Ukraine in what has become a grinding war, despite a deal to end it, called the Minsk agreement, negotiated with Putin by the leaders of France and Germany.”

But DeYoung’s synopsis is simply not true. The crisis began in the fall of 2013 when Ukraine’s elected President Viktor Yanukovych backed out of what he regarded as a costly and unacceptable association agreement with the European Union, a move which prompted protests by Ukrainians in Kiev’s Maidan square.

The Obama administration’s State Department, U.S. neocon politicians such as Sen. John McCain, and various U.S.-backed “non-governmental organizations” then stoked those protests against Yanukovych, which grew violent as trained ultra-nationalist and neo-Nazi street fighters poured in from western Ukraine.

In early 2014, a coup to overthrow the democratically elected Yanukovych took shape under the guidance of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt who were caught in a phone call in late January or early February 2014 conspiring to impose new leadership inside Ukraine.

Nuland disparaged a less extreme strategy favored by European diplomats with the pithy remark: “Fuck the E.U.” and went on to declare “Yats is the guy,” favoring Arseniy Yatsenyuk as the new leader. Nuland then pondered how to “glue this thing” while Pyatt ruminated about how to “midwife this thing.”

On Feb. 20, 2014, a mysterious sniper apparently firing from a building controlled by the ultranationalist Right Sektor killed both police and protesters, setting off a day of violence that left about 70 people dead including more than a dozen police.

The next day, three European governments struck a deal with Yanukovych in which he agreed to early elections and accepted reduced powers. But that political settlement wasn’t enough for the U.S.-backed militants who stormed government buildings on Feb. 22, forcing Yanukovych and his officials to flee for their lives.

Instead of standing by the Feb. 21 agreement, which the European nations had “guaranteed,” Nuland pushed for and got U.S. allies to accept the new post-coup regime as “legitimate,” with Yatsenyuk becoming prime minister and several top government posts given to the ultranationalists and neo-Nazis.

Spreading Violence 

In the ensuing days, the right-wing violence spread beyond Kiev, prompting Crimea’s legislature to propose secession from Ukraine and readmission to Russia, whose relationship to the peninsula dated back to Catherine the Great.

Nazi symbols on helmets worn by members of Ukraine’s Azov battalion. (As filmed by a Norwegian film crew and shown on German TV)

Crimea scheduled a referendum that was opposed by the new regime in Kiev. Russian troops did not “invade” Crimea because some 20,000 were already stationed there as part of a basing agreement at the Black Sea port of Sevastopol. The Russians did provide security for the referendum but there was no evidence of intimidation as the citizens of Crimea voted by 96 percent to leave Ukraine and rejoin Russia, a move that Putin and the Russian duma accepted.

Eastern Ukrainians tried to follow Crimea’s lead with their own referendum, but Putin and Russia rejected their appeals to secede. However, when the Kiev regime launched an “Anti-Terrorism Operation” against the so-called Donbass region – spearheaded by ultra-nationalist and neo-Nazi militias – Russia provided military assistance so these ethnic Russians would not be annihilated.

Karen DeYoung also framed the Minsk agreement as if it were imposed on Putin when he was one of its principal proponents and architects, winning its approval in early 2015 at a time when the Ukrainian military was facing battlefield reversals.

But Assistant Secretary Nuland, working with Prime Minister Yatsenyuk and the Ukrainian parliament, sabotaged the agreement by requiring the Donbass rebels to first surrender which they were unwilling to do, having no faith in the sincerity of the Kiev regime to live up to its commitment to grant limited autonomy to the Donbass.

In other words, Kiev inserted a poison pill to prevent a peaceful resolution, but the Western media and governments always blame the Minsk failure on Putin.

If Karen DeYoung wanted to boil all this history down to one paragraph, it might go: “The Ukraine conflict began when U.S. officials supported the violent overthrow of elected President Viktor Yanukovych, prompting Crimea to rejoin Russia and causing ethnic Russians in the east to rise up against the U.S.-backed coup regime in Kiev, which then sought to crush the rebellion. The Kiev regime later torpedoed a peace deal that had been hammered out by Russian, Ukrainian and European negotiators in Minsk.”

But such a summary would not have the desired propaganda effect on the American people. It would not present the U.S.-backed side as the “white hats” and the pro-Russia side as the “black hats.”

The simple truth is that the story of Ukraine is far more complex and multi-sided than The Washington Post, The New York Times and most mainstream U.S. news outlets want to admit. They simply start the clock at the point of Crimea’s rejection of the post-coup regime and distort those facts to present the situation simply as a “Russian invasion.”

A Whipped-Up Hysteria

The major media’s distortion is so egregious that you could call it a lie, but it is a lie that has proved very useful in whipping up the current anti-Russian hysteria that is sweeping Official Washington and that has given birth to a New Cold War, now accompanied by a New McCarthyism that deems anyone who doesn’t accept the “groupthink” a “Russian apologist” or a “Moscow stooge.”

Since last November’s election, this New McCarthyism has merged with hatred toward Donald Trump, especially after the outgoing Obama administration lodged unproven accusations that Russia undercut Hillary Clinton’s campaign by hacking into the emails of the Democratic National Committee and those of her campaign chairman John Podesta – and slipped that information to WikiLeaks.

Those emails showed how the DNC undercut the rival campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders and revealed the contents of Clinton’s speeches to Wall Street banks as well as pay-to-play aspects of the Clinton Foundation, information that Clinton wanted to keep from the voters.

But no one thought the emails were a major factor in the Clinton-Trump race; indeed, Clinton blamed her stunning defeat on FBI Director James Comey’s last-minute decision to reopen and then re-close his investigation into security concerns about her use of a private email server as Secretary of State.

But the script on how Clinton lost was flipped during the Trump transition as President Obama’s intelligence agencies floated the Russia-hacked-the-election scenario although presenting no public evidence to support the claims. WikiLeaks representatives also denied getting the material from Russia, suggesting instead that it was leaked by two different American insiders.

A Ministry of Truth

Still, during the post-election period, the anti-Russian hysteria continued to build. In November, The Washington Post highlighted claims by an anonymous group called PropOrNot accusing some 200 Web sites, including and other major independent media outlets, of disseminating Russian “propaganda.”

The New York Times joined in the frenzy by calling for leading technology companies to marginalize Web sites that are deemed to be publishing “fake news,” a vague term that was applied not just to intentionally false stories but to information that questioned official narratives, no matter how dubious those narratives were. The New McCarthyism was morphing into a New Orwellianism.

The movement toward a Ministry of Truth gained further momentum in December when Congress passed and President Obama signed a military authorization bill that included a new $160 million bureaucracy to identify and counter alleged “Russian propaganda.”

The anger of Democrats and liberals toward President Trump in his first month has added more fuel to the Russia-bashing with some Democrats and liberals seeing it as a possible route toward neutralizing or impeaching Trump. Thus, the calls for a full-scale investigation with subpoena power to demand documents and compel testimony.

While the idea of getting to the full truth has a superficial appeal, it also carries dangers of launching a witch hunt that would drag American citizens before inquisitors asking about any contacts – no matter how innocuous – with Russians.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, HUAC also claimed that all it wanted was the truth about whether some Americans were allied with or sympathetic to Moscow. Sen. Joe McCarthy offered a similar rationale when he was trying to root out “disloyal” Americans with the question, “are you now or have you ever been a communist?”

That Democrats and liberals who hold the McCarthy era in understandable disdain would now seek to rekindle something similar reeks of rank opportunism and gross hypocrisy – doing whatever it takes to “get Trump” and build an activist movement that can revive the Democratic Party’s flagging political hopes.

But this particular opportunism and hypocrisy also carries with it the prospect of blindly ramping up tensions with Russia, diverting more taxpayer money into the Military-Industrial Complex and conceivably sparking – whether planned or unplanned – a nuclear Armageddon that could eliminate life on the planet. Perhaps this anti-Trump strategy should be rethought.

~ Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s.

Making $$$ from Space Arms Race

This 1997 planning document from the US Space Command called Vision for 2020 has many chilling words inside.

Under a section entitled 'Control of Space' the document states:

Control of Space is the ability to assure access to space, freedom of operations within the space medium, and an ability to deny others the use of space, if required.

The Pentagon has long bragged that the space control and domination program, often called 'Star Wars', will be the most expensive project in human history.  I like to call it Pyramids to the Heavens and some years ago I asked Florida artist Will Park to make an illustration of that concept.  Here is what he produced.

So how will the US ever be able to pay for the largest industrial project in human history?  In the Vision for 2020 they address that question in a section called 'Global Partnerships':

Global Partnerships augments military space capabilities through leveraging of civil, commercial, and international space systems.  The growth of non-US military space systems provides the opportunity for the US to gain increased battlespace awareness and information connectivity in a cost-effective manner.  These partnerships provide shared costs, shared risks, and increased opportunities.
Let's translate this a bit.  Star Wars will cost too much even for the US - especially as our own economy is collapsing.  So the Pentagon must round up the posse to get them to help pay for it - but the Space Command will remain in control of the 'tip of the spear'.

Thus we have seen in recent days the new US Vice-President Pence over in Europe at a NATO meeting demanding that they pay a greater share of the growing war budget as the steroidal alliance expands up to the Russian borders.

The last two words in the 'Global Partnership' paragraph are 'increased opportunities'. Of course this refers to the aerospace corporations that are raking in big $$$$$ as they collect the 'contributions' from NATO members and partners around the world  - NATO has gone global.

It's quite a remarkable 'business plan'.

The way to beat them is to starve the beast - fight like hell to hang on to social progress everywhere.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Pivot Toward War: U.S. Missile Defense & the Weaponization of Space

25th Annual Space Organizing Conference & Protest
April 7-9, 2017
Huntsville, Alabama

Join us for the Global Network’s 25th anniversary Space Organizing Conference and Protest at the home of Redstone Arsenal and the Space & Missile Defense Command, also known as the ‘Pentagon of the South’.

The effort by the Pentagon to develop and deploy the next generation of Star Wars weapons will increase global instability and cost hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars.  The US Space Command has long maintained its mission is to create the technologies to ‘control and dominate’ space and the Earth below – ultimately on behalf of corporate interests.

This conference will allow citizens to learn more about these important issues and meet leaders from the growing international movements to Keep Space for Peace and Stop NATO expansion.

Registration for the conference will be on a sliding scale between $25-$75 (pay what you can best afford).  Lunch and supper on April 8 are included in your registration fee.  You can register online using the GN’s web site Donate Now button here

See the conference brochure here

We have reserved a block of rooms at the Springhill Suites Hotel (745 Constellation Place Dr) in downtown Huntsville for $99 per night (up to 4 persons per room).  (Contact us for details on reserving hotel rooms.) The hotel has an airport shuttle from the Huntsville airport. The Lowe Mill conference location is five minutes from the hotel. Limited home hospitality will also be available on a first come, first served basis.

Speakers/Music (List in formation)
  • Judy Collins (Vine & Fig Tree, Alabama)
  • Bruce Gagnon (Global Network Coordinator, Maine)
  • Dr. Shreedhar Gautam (President, Global Network Chapter Kathmandu, Nepal)
  • Subrata Ghoshroy (Program in Science, Technology, and Society, MIT)
  • William Griffin (Veterans For Peace, Georgia)
  • Huntsville Feminist Chorus (Alabama)
  • Joy Johnson (Green Party of Madison County, Alabama)
  • Tarak Kauff (Veterans For Peace, New York)
  • Hyun Lee (Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea & Militarism in Asia & the Pacific, New York)
  • Tiara Rose Naputi (Chamorro diaspora from Guam, Assistant Professor, Dept of Communication, University of Colorado)
  • Agneta Norberg (Swedish Peace Council, Stockholm)
  • Yasuo Ogata (Co-chair World Conference against A & H Bombs and former Member of Parliament, Upper House, Japan)
  • Lindis Percy (Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases, England)
  • J. Narayana Rao (Global Network board member, India)
  • Mary Beth Sullivan (PeaceWorks, Maine)
  •  Im Sun-bun (Farmer, Korean Women's Peasants Association, Seongju, South Korea)
  • Regis Tremblay (Filmmaker, Maine)
  • Dave Webb (Global Network Board Convener & Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, UK)
  • Lynda Williams (Physics faculty, Santa Rosa Junior College, California)
  • Loring Wirble (Citizens for Peace in Space, Colorado)
  • Col. Ann Wright (US Army retired, diplomat) * Keynote speaker

Conference Program

 Friday, April 7

  • 2:00 pm News Conference
  • 4:00 – 5:30 Vigil at Redstone Arsenal/Marshall Space Flight Center – Gate 9 (Rideout Road, Exit 14 off Hwy 565)
  • 6:00 Dinner at Las Parrillas Grill Mexican Restaurant (2713 Patton Rd SW, Exit 17 off Hwy 565)
  • 8:00 Cash bar at hotel and film screening: Thirty Seconds to Midnight: The Final Wake-Up Call by Regis Tremblay


Saturday, April 8

  • 8:30 – 9:00 am Registration at Flying Monkey Theatre (Lowe Mill, 2211 Seminole Dr, 2nd floor)
  • 9:00 – 9:30 am Welcome & Purpose of Conference
  • 9:30 – 10:00 Presentation: The US Space Global Warfighting System & Global Network Responses
  • 10:15 – 11:45 Plenary Panel I -  A New Arms Race: Military Satellites, Drones, Prompt Global Strike, Military Space Plane, NSA Surveillance, & Mining the Sky
  • 12:00 – 1:00  Lunch
  • 1:15 – 2:30  Plenary Panel IIAsia-Pacific Pivot: Resistance to Missile Offense Radars & Interceptors
  • 2:45 – 4:00 Plenary Panel III – Global Network Leader Reports from around the World
  • 4:15 – 5:45 Plenary Panel IV – Alternative Vision: Transforming a War Economy to a Peace Economy - Organizing Strategies & Movement Building during the Trump Administration
  • 6:00 – 8:00 Supper Program – Keynote Speaker & Music (Col. Ann Wright & Huntsville Feminist Chorus)

Sunday, April 9

  • 10:00 am – Noon   Visit Space & Rocket Center Museum (Exit 15 off Hwy 565)

Sponsors (List in formation)
  • Gainesville Iguana (Florida)
  • Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
  • Greater Brunswick (Maine) PeaceWorks
  • Green Party of Madison County (Alabama)
  • Maine Natural Guard
  • Nashville (TN) Greenlands
  • North Alabama Peace Network
  • Selma (Alabama) Center for Nonviolence, Truth and Reconciliation
  • Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea & Militarism in Asia & the Pacific
  • United National Antiwar Committee (UNAC)
  • US Peace Council
  • Veterans For Peace Chapter 99, Asheville, NC
  • Veterans For Peace, Savannah (Georgia) Chapter 170
  • Veterans For Peace National

Sunday Song - Bonus Track

Sunday Song

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Oliver Stone Produced Film on Ukraine

This film is very thorough and tells the full story about the US sponsored coup in Ukraine in 2014.

Watching this will give you a much better understanding of the current US bi-partisan demonization of Russia and Putin.

English subtitles are included.

U.S. Going Over the Cliff

Viareggio is a city in northern Tuscany, Italy, on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

You can see what they think of the US today - and they've pretty much got us pegged about right.  The Native American in the cage and the rotating ethnic shooting gallery says it all.

This should be a warning to the world - don't follow the US over the cliff.  Whether Bush, Obama, Clinton or Trump - the world should avoid hanging onto Washington's bloody coattails.

Banga! Banga!

The Snow Culture is Changing

Since returning home from the recent Nordic trip I've been working to get caught up with office details and shoveling snow.

Even before I returned Maine was hit with a massive snow dump - about two feet of snow.  Mary Beth did alot of the cleaning up and we have a big house and driveway that require much care after a big snow.  The buildup on the roof had to wait for me to come home and try to rake some of it off.  It's amazing the weight that snow can put onto a roof.

Instead of going to the local YMCA I get alot of good aerobic exercise shoveling and I love doing it.  Likely all those years of sweating so much in hot, humid Florida left me itching to grab a shovel.  We complain now and then about it but there is nothing more peaceful, and beautiful, than right after a big snowfall.  I love being in it.

While in Gothenburg, Sweden (where we only saw a light dusting of snow) one young man told me he grew up in the winter snow culture.  His younger brother though has not had those experiences due to changes in global weather patterns.  He longs for snow but it has not been coming in recent years.

Our winter began being unusually mild - very little of the traditional hard Maine cold - in fact many of the regions lakes and rivers have not frozen solid.  We had very little snow until this recent big dump.  So the patterns are thrown off and fluctuating wildly.  Our Mother Earth's body is in toxic shock as she tries to shake the fleas (us) off her back.

We broke three plastic snow shovels during this recent dump - so even the shovels had a limit to what they could handle.  Housemate Brown Lethem went to the local hardware store to get a couple new shovels and few were to be found for sale.

Some of my Florida friends keep an eye on my snow escapades so I am sure they will enjoy this latest story.  One of them once said that I'd be back down to the Sunshine State after one year in Maine (and then amended her prediction to two years acknowledging I am very stubborn) but I can report I'm pretty well set here now.

I'll keep shoveling as best I can and hope the American people will rise up and demand we stop building war machines and instead do a quick reversal away from our fossil fuel economy.  We could create more jobs if we went fully to sustainable living.

Sadly most folks are just hustling to make a buck and many have given up paying attention.  Fortunately there are legions around the world still in the fight.

Hoka hey!


Friday, February 17, 2017

Progressive Jews Stand Against Friedman

AlterNet reports:  Protesters repeatedly disrupted the confirmation hearing on Thursday for Trump's pick for U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.

Many of the activists were members of Jewish peace groups. One man even blew a shofar, a traditional Jewish horn, inside the hearing in protest.

The progressive Jewish group IfNotNow organized the action. Three of its members were arrested.

Friedman is notorious for his extreme pro-Israel, anti-Muslim views. He supports Israel's illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, which are built in flagrant contravention of international law. Friedman has demonized liberal Jews, calling them worse than Nazi collaborators, and has spread Islamophobic conspiracies. He has pledged to move the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in violation of international law.

  • These photos below from Ellen Davidson who is now in Palestine with a Veterans For Peace delegation.  They joined today the 12th anniversary of the nonviolent demonstrations against the apartheid wall in Bil'in.


Imagine the jobs created at Bath Iron Works building these for the Gulf of Maine.

Imagine the clean power produced by these wind turbines verses the dirty power from fossil fuel or nuclear plants.

If this can be done in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, England and Scotland why can't it be done here in Maine?

Frederick Douglass famously said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." 

You Are Invited

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Assange Calls Out 'Intel Community'

That comment by Assange says it all - you don't have to be an apologist for Trump to acknowledge what is really going on here.  The deep state lost the election - Hillary was their chosen candidate and now they are working hard to 'Putinize' Trump because he was not eager to push war with Russia.

In a real democracy if you lose you deal with it and rebuild for the next election.  In this case the deep state is working to enact a coup d'état.

The CIA runs this country now - they create the US foreign policy and now they have shown that they intend to run domestic policy as well.  That is a serious problem - no matter who the president is.

In 1968 presidential candidate Richard Nixon told the South Vietnamese to prolong negotiations with North Vietnam. He would get them a better deal when he became president. In  1980 Ronald Reagan told the Iranians to hold the American hostages until he became president, which they did. Neither one was prosecuted. 

Sadly many on the 'left' are eager to see Trump gone no matter how it is done.  They are missing the clear danger of this historic moment.  Far too many people follow blindly what ever the Democrats, and their front groups, tell them to think.....

We need more independent thinkers - badly.


Deep State: Ginning Up a War with Russia

Former FBI agent and whistleblower Coleen Rowley says there’s a difference between leaking and whistleblowing, and it’s likely that former took place in the ongoing power struggle between the deep state and the executive branch of government.

She claims that the deep state is "ginning up a war with Russia".  Washington DC right now is a struggle for power between the deep state and the White House, she says.

Crowley gives an excellent overview for those who are wanting more than the usual anti-Russia propaganda coming from the media and the Democratic Party - which is turning out to be the big-time 'red baiter' of our time.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Deep State: War Within American Ruling Elites

Former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) on Gen. Michael Flynn resigning as President Trump's National Security Advisor and the divide between the intelligence community and Trump.

During an interview on the FOX Business Network, former Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich said the intelligence community was responsible for leaking information that Trump’s national security advisor, Mike Flynn, had secretly discussed sanctions with Russian officials before the inauguration and argued their goal was to spoil the relationship between the U.S. and Russia.

“What’s at the core of this is an effort by some in the intelligence community to upend any positive relationship between the U.S. and Russia,” Kucinich said.

And in his opinion, there is a big money motive behind it.

“And I tell you there's a marching band and Chowder Society out there. There's gold in them there hills,” he said. “There are people trying to separate the U.S. and Russia so that this military industrial intel axis can cash in.”

Kucinich added the intelligence community could start a war to succeed.

“There’s a game going on inside the intelligence community where there are those who want to separate the U.S. from Russia in a way that would reignite the Cold War,” he said. 

If You Really Want to Understand - the Inside Scoop

Trump Caves on Flynn’s Resignation

By Robert Parry

The neocon-dominated U.S. foreign policy establishment won an important victory in forcing the resignation of President Trump’s National Security Advisor Michael Flynn over a flimsy complaint that he had talked to the Russian ambassador during the transition.

The Washington Post, the neoconservatives’ media flagship, led the assault on Flynn, an unorthodox thinker who shared the neocons’ hostility toward Iran but broke with them in seeing no strategic reason to transform Russia into an implacable enemy.

After Flynn’s resignation on Monday evening, the Post gloated over its success in achieving the first major crack in Trump’s resistance to Official Washington’s establishment. The Post cited Flynn’s “potentially illegal contacts” with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, a reference to the Logan Act, a 1799 never-enforced law that forbids private citizens from negotiating with a country in dispute with the U.S. government.

Though no one has ever been prosecuted under the Logan Act, it has been cited in recent decades as an excuse to attack American citizens who disagree with U.S. government policies while traveling abroad and having contacts with foreign leaders.

Often those accusations are aimed at Americans seeking to peacefully resolve disputes when a U.S. president is eager to escalate a conflict, such as President Ronald Reagan’s denunciations of civil rights leader Jesse Jackson for visiting Cuba and House Speaker Jim Wright for exploring ways to end the Contra war in Nicaragua.

In other words, the Logan Act is usually exploited in a McCarthyistic fashion to bait or discredit peace advocates, similarly to how it has now been used to destroy Flynn for daring to look for ways to reduce the dangerous tensions between Washington and Moscow.

But the media-driven attacks on Flynn are particularly curious since he was the National Security Advisor-designate of an incoming administration at the time of the calls and – as such – he would be expected to make contacts with important foreign officials to begin laying the groundwork for relations with the new president.

Whether U.S. sanctions against Russia were mentioned or not, the notion that an elected president or his designees – during a transition – can have no meaningful contact with diplomats whom they may need to deal with in a matter of weeks represents a particularly contentious interpretation of a law that has never been tested in a court of law and may well represent an unconstitutional infringement on free speech and dissent.

An Expanding Hysteria

Indeed, referencing the Logan Act appears to be an excuse to continue – and expand – Official Washington’s hysteria over Russia, which has become the useful villain to blame for every U.S. foreign policy debacle  and even Hillary Clinton’s disastrous presidential run.
Flynn’s more egregious offense in this case may have been to mislead Vice President Mike Pence on exactly what was discussed, but Trump’s White House has not seemed previously overly concerned with the precise accuracy of its statements.

Indeed, Trump and his team have tangled themselves up for weeks by promoting “alternative facts” — that Donald Trump’s inaugural crowd was bigger than Barack Obama’s and that Trump would have won the popular vote if not for three million to five million illegal votes. Though these absurd claims pertain more to Trump’s ego than to anything important, he and his representatives have continued fighting these fights on Twitter and TV appearances and show no signs of stopping.

So, the ouster of Flynn for failing to provide a complete readout on some telephone conversations in December stands out as even more significant in the context of the deluge of falsehoods that have poured forth from Trump’s White House.

Flynn’s real “offense” appears to be that he favors détente with Russia rather than escalation of a new and dangerous Cold War. Trump’s idea of a rapprochement with Moscow – and a search for areas of cooperation and compromise – has been driving Official Washington’s foreign policy establishment crazy for months and the neocons, in particular, have been determined to block it.

Though Flynn has pandered to elements of the neocon movement with his own hysterical denunciations of Iran and Islam in general, he emerged as a key architect for Trump’s plans to seek a constructive relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Meanwhile, the neocons and their liberal-interventionist sidekicks have invested heavily in making Putin the all-purpose bête noire to justify a major investment in new military hardware and in pricy propaganda operations.

The neocons and liberal hawks also hated Flynn because – as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency – he oversaw a prescient 2012 analysis that foresaw that their support for the Syrian insurgency would give rise to “a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria.”

The DIA report, which was partially declassified in a lawsuit over the 2012 killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other U.S. personnel in Benghazi, Libya, embarrassed the advocates for an escalation of the war in Syria and the ouster of secular President Bashar al-Assad.

Flynn even went further in a 2015 interview when he said the intelligence was “very clear” that the Obama administration made a “willful decision” to back these jihadists in league with Middle East allies, a choice that looked particularly stupid when Islamic State militants started beheading American hostages and capturing cities in Iraq.

A Beloved ‘Regime Change’

But “regime change” in Syria was dear to the neocons’ hearts. After all, Israeli leaders had declared Assad’s removal central to smashing the so-called “Shiite crescent” reaching from Tehran through Damascus to Beirut.

The neocons and liberal hawks had come very close to getting the direct U.S. military intervention that they so wanted to destroy Assad’s army after a mysterious sarin gas attack outside Damascus on Aug. 21, 2013. The Obama administration quickly pinned the atrocity on Assad even though a number of U.S. intelligence analysts suspected a “false flag” attack carried out by jihadists.

Still, despite those doubts, it appeared a bombing campaign against Assad was in the offing, except that Obama delayed its implementation and Putin then proposed an alternative in which Assad would surrender all his chemical weapons.

Putin’s interference in the neocon/liberal-hawk war plans made him the new prime target – and Ukraine became ground zero for the effort to explode the cooperative relationship between Obama and Putin.

On Sept. 26, 2013, only weeks after the aborted U.S. bombing campaign against Syria, Carl Gershman, the neocon president of the U.S.-government-funded National Endowment for Democracy, took to the Post’s op-ed page to declare “Ukraine the biggest prize” and suggest that winning it could ultimately lead to toppling Putin inside Russia.

Key U.S. government neocons, such as Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland and Sen. John McCain, then began pushing for the violent right-wing coup that – in February 2014 – ousted Ukraine’s elected President Viktor Yanukovych and touched off the new Cold War with Russia.

Amid these heightened tensions, the mainstream media in the United States and Europe joined in the full-scale Russia/Putin-bashing. All rational perspective on the underlying reality was lost, except for a handful of independent Internet journalists and foreign-policy outsiders who rejected the over-the-top propaganda.

A Few Dissenters Too Many 

But even a few dissenters were a few dissenters too many. So, to enforce the new groupthink – holding Russia at fault for pretty much everything – a new McCarthyism emerged, deeming anyone who dared disagree a “Moscow stooge” or a “Russian propagandist.”

The ugliness penetrated into the U.S. presidential campaign because Democrat Hillary Clinton took a belligerent line toward Russia while Trump broke with the Republican establishment and called for improved ties between Washington and Moscow. Clinton called Trump Putin’s “puppet” and – after Clinton’s stunning loss – the Obama administration floated unproven allegations that Putin had intervened in the election to put Trump in the White House.

This hysteria over Russia gained added strength because Democrats were so angry over Trump’s election that liberal and progressive operatives saw a chance to build a movement and raise lots of money by pushing the Trump-Putin accusations.

This opportunism has turned much of the liberal/progressive community into a pro-New Cold War constituency willing to engage in a new breed of McCarthyism by demanding intensive investigations into alleged connections between Americans and Russians.

From the neocon side, The Washington Post has gone so far as to promote baseless accusations from an anonymous group called PropOrNot that 200 Internet sites, including and other important independent news sources, are guilty of spreading Russian propaganda. Congress approved a new $160 million bureaucracy to combat such “propaganda.”

However, since Trump’s inauguration, the focus has shifted to Flynn, as the personification of the effort to cool off the New Cold War, because he had phone conversations with the Russian ambassador that presumably were intercepted by U.S. intelligence.

Because Flynn supposedly misrepresented some details of the calls to Vice President Mike Pence, senior Justice Department holdovers from the Obama administration concocted an argument that Flynn might be vulnerable to Russian blackmail.

The argument is dubious because the Russians would know that the U.S. government knew exactly what the conversations entailed, so how would the blackmail work? But this “blackmail” argument is another throwback to the earlier McCarthy days when gays were barred from sensitive government jobs because of their alleged susceptibility to blackmail.

But the gambit to get Flynn worked. Amid frenzied coverage on CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times and the rest of the mainstream media, Flynn and the Russia détente that he stood for were not expected to be long for this world of Official Washington.

Flynn’s resignation and its acceptance by Trump also prove that these tactics work and that “tough-guy” Trump is not immune to them. While the President may battle to the end over pointless questions about the size of his inaugural crowd and his belief that he should have won the popular vote, he will cave when the pressure builds on a matter of genuine substance and real importance to the future of the world.

The so-called permanent government of Washington and its complicit mainstream media – what some call the Deep State – have taught Trump a lesson and have learned a lesson, too. They now can be expected to redouble their march toward war and more war, ironically with progressives and leftists in tow.
~ Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s.