Jun 072013
 

 
Internet Users Targeted In Massive NSA Spy Program

According to a report released by The Washington Post, the National Security Agency and the FBI have been partnering up to take user data from nine major Internet companies. Meghan Lopez explains the PRISM program.

 

POLICE STATE: Obama Administration Caught Spying on your emails, phones calls, bank records & Internet usage.

 

In what could be one of the largest scandals, and breach of public trust to come out of the white house, information is coming today suggesting that our government is involved in one of the largest collections of private American public data in the history of our country.

 

They’re Specifically Targeting Americans

 

The National Security Agency has long argued that their power allows them to spy on those outside the United States, while always maintaining that private American Communications were off limits. But it looks like the latest Obama Administration scandal has The FBI, on the NSA’s behalf, forcing Verizon Communications to turn over data on millions of U.S. customers.

 

The order specifically targeted American Citizens, and explicitly excluded those outside of America.

 

The Obama administration, who had to respond to yet another scandal this morning, tried to defend the actions by claiming that the massive amount of telephone records were part of U.S. counterterrorism efforts that were critical to protecting Americans from attacks.

 

Do they really expect us to believe that millions of Americans are terrorists?

 

So based on the Obama administration’s admission, one would have to believe that millions of Americans are now in some way taking part in terrorist activity or plotting to attack America. Do they really think that people are going to buy this crap.

http://offgridsurvival.com/obamaadministration-caughtspying/

Phone Sex, Banks & Google for Emails: The NSA Spying Is Bigger Than Verizon

“And the NSA isn’t just collecting the things we say. It’s also tracking what we buy and where we go”

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2013/06/nsa-spying-verizon-analysis/65963/

CIA Chief: We’ll Spy on You Through Your Dishwasher…

CIA Director David Petraeus cannot wait to spy on you through Smart Products.

Earlier this month, Petraeus mused about the emergence of an “Internet of Things” — that is, wired devices — at a summit for In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital firm.

All those new online devices are a treasure trove of data if you’re a “person of interest” to the spy community. Once upon a time, spies had to place a bug in your chandelier to hear your conversation. With the rise of the “smart home,” you’d be sending tagged, geolocated data that a spy agency can intercept in real time when you use the lighting app on your phone to adjust your living room’s ambiance.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/03/petraeus-tv-remote/

Whistleblowers: NOT JUST VERIZION.. NSA DEMANDED records from Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile

http://www.kval.com/news/national/Whistleblowers-NSA-wanted-phone-records-from-Verizon-ATT-T-Mobile-210458811.html

Continue reading »

Mar 052013
 

 

Published on Mar 4, 2013

Internment camps for political dissidents in the U.S. aren’t a conspiracy theory. The Department of Defense document entitled “INTERNMENT AND RESETTLEMENT OPERATIONS” or FM 3-39.40 proves this beyond a shadow of a doubt.

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Army hiring for these internment camps:
http://www.goarmy.com/careers-and-job… Continue reading »

Feb 202013
 

Green Left
Duncan Roden

February 23 marks the 1000th day in which alleged WikiLeaks whistleblower, 24-year-old US Army intelligence officer Bradley Manning, has been jailed by US authorities without trial.

A pre-trial hearing in January in the case of Manning, concluded that his defence would be restricted to arguing motive during his trial, scheduled for June 3.

Manning has been accused of leaking thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, which revealed a wide range of US war crimes, as well as evidence of corruption and lying by a range of governments.

BradleyManning.org said Manning is “accused of releasing the Collateral Murder video, that shows the killing of unarmed civilians and two Reuters journalists, by a US Apache helicopter crew in Iraq. He is also accused of sharing the Afghan War Diary, the Iraq War Logs, and a series of embarrassing US diplomatic cables.

“These documents … illuminated such issues as the true number and cause of civilian casualties in Iraq, along with a number of human rights abuses by U.S.-funded contractors and foreign militaries, and the role that spying and bribes play in international diplomacy.

“Given the war crimes exposed, if PFC Bradley Manning was the source for these documents, he should be given a medal of honor.”

The US government, however, responded to the leaked evidence of serious US crimes by charging Manning with several offences, alleging that he “aided the enemy”. Judge Army Colonel Denise Lind’s January 17 ruling, like previous rulings in Manning’s case, remains unavailable to the public. Information can only be gleaned from reporters who were present at the hearings.

Kevin Gosztola, a journalist who has been diligently covering Manning’s case, was present at the hearings. He said the ruling means the defence cannot discuss whether Manning had “good faith” when arguing against charges that he “wrongfully and wantonly cause[d] to be published on the internet intelligence belonging to the United States government”.

Nor can the defence use the argument in relation to charges where the government has to prove he had “reason to believe such information could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation”.

However, the defence can discuss motive when addressing charges that Manning aided the enemy, to put the case that he did not know passing information to WikiLeaks would constitute “dealing with the enemy”.

It will also be allowed for sentencing, in which case he will have already been found guilty of very serious crimes that carry the potential for life imprisonment, or even potentially the death penalty. The question of motives could, at best, be used only to appeal for leniency in sentencing.

Manning’s defence team hoped to argue that he had the motive to “select information he believed could not be used by the enemy to harm the US”. However, the judge ruled that Manning’s subjective conclusions were “immaterial”.

This means that what Manning believed when carrying out the alleged offences will not be considered, only what is “objective”. As Gosztola points out: “What would an objective person know about classified information that would be kept secret for twenty-five years?”

The ruling also closed off the defence’s attempt at having damage assessment reports allowed in the trial. These are reports conducted by US security agencies that investigated damage caused by the leaked documents.

The reports concluded that there was no or very little harm caused, so the government prosecutors are eager to keep the reports out of the trial. Lind determined that Manning could not have known what measures agencies of government would have taken to mitigate damage so such evidence was not relevant.

These rulings greatly limit the defence’s line of argument. Gosztola described the primary line of defence for Manning as “odd”. Defence will argue that the military let Manning down by not practising good information security and also pointing to Manning’s mental health issues and claiming that the military was derelict in providing care.

This is a “litigious” defence, he says, which isn’t actually aimed at saying Manning is not guilty, but rather trying to get the charges thrown out.

The hearing has also renewed interest in how the final judgement will impact the mainstream press’ publication of the leaks.

Scott Shane in the New York Times quoted an exchange where “Colonel Lind, the judge, asked a prosecutor a hypothetical question: If Private Manning had given the documents to The New York Times rather than to WikiLeaks, would he face the same charges?” The prosecutor answered yes.

The NYT, along with many other mainstream publications, published hundreds of the documents that Manning allegedly leaked to WikiLeaks. The Justice Department continues its investigation into whether WikiLeaks head Julian Assange and his associates can be charged over publishing secret US cables.

Hearings also considered the defence’s charge that Manning’s rights had been violated due to unjustified delay of the trial. If the judge rules in the defence’s favour, there is the potential for the charges to be dropped.

Manning was first jailed on May 27, 2010. The defence put forward examples of when they believed the government had failed to act or acted improperly.

Defence and the judge seemed to agree that there was no case in military justice history that took so long to go to trial. If the defence succeeds in pushing this argument, all the charges against Manning could be dismissed due to the speedy trial violations. Lind is due to make her ruling before the next hearing begins on February 26.

Meanwhile, Manning languishes in solitary confinement in Fort Levenworth, Kansas. The Bradley Manning Support Network reports events are being planned around the world, including the US, Germany, Canada, Britain and Italy on February 23, to mark Manning’s 1000th day of jail.

[For more information, visit www.bradleymanning.org.] Continue reading »

Feb 082013
 

Wired
Spencer Ackerman

Here are indications of the lingering costs of 11 years of warfare. Nearly 130,000 U.S. troops have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and vastly more have experienced brain injuries. Over 1,700 have undergone life-changing limb amputations. Over 50,000 have been wounded in action. As of Wednesday, 6,656 U.S. troops and Defense Department civilians have died.

That updated data (.pdf) comes from a new Congressional Research Service report into military casualty statistics that can sometimes be difficult to find — and even more difficult for American society to fully appreciate. It almost certainly understates the extent of the costs of war.

Start with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Counting since 2001 across the U.S. military services, 129,731 U.S. troops have been diagnosed with the disorder since 2001. The vast majority of those, nearly 104,000, have come from deployed personnel.

But that’s the tip of the PTSD iceberg, since not all — and perhaps not even most — PTSD cases are diagnosed. The former vice chief of staff of the Army, retired Gen. Peter Chiarelli, has proposed dropping the “D” from PTSD so as not to stigmatize those who suffer from it — and, perhaps, encourage more veterans to seek diagnosis and treatment for it. (Not all veterans advocates agree with Chiarelli.)

The congressional study also brings to light the extent of one of the signature injuries of the post-9/11 wars, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), often suffered by survivors of explosions from homemade insurgent bombs. From 2000 (a pre-9/11 year probably chosen for inclusion for control purposes) to the end of 2012, some 253,330 troops have experienced TBI in some form. About 77 percent of those cases are classified by the Defense Department as “mild,” meaning a “confused or disoriented state lasting less than 24 hours; loss of consciousness for up to thirty minutes; memory loss lasting less than 24 hours; and structural brain imaging that yields normal results.”

More-severe TBI is measured along those metrics, lasting longer than a day. Nearly 6,500 of of those cases are “severe or penetrating TBI,” which include the effects of open head injuries, skull fractures, or projectiles lodged in the brain.

Like with PTSD, the TBI diagnoses scratch the surface. The military’s screening for TBI is notoriously bad: One former Army chief of staff described it as “basically a coin flip.” Worse, poor military medical technology, particularly in bandwidth-deprived areas like Iraq and Afghanistan, have made it uncertain that battlefield diagnoses of TBI actually transmit back to troops’ permanent medical files.

Amputations are a feature of any prolonged war. Almost 800 Iraq veterans have undergone “major limb” amputations, such as a leg, and another 194 have experienced partial foot, finger or other so-called “minor limb” losses. For Afghanistan veterans, those numbers are 696 and 28, respectively.

The Iraq war is over for all but a handful of U.S. troops and thousands of contractors. The Afghanistan war is in the process of a troop drawdown through 2014 of unknown speed and will feature a residual troop presence of unknown size. Even if the U.S. deaths and injuries in those wars may almost be over, the aftereffects of the wars on a huge number of veterans will not end. Continue reading »

Feb 012013
 

Wired
Spencer Ackerman

Ben Emmerson wants to be clear: He’s not out to ban flying killer robots used by the CIA or the U.S. military. But the 49-year-old British lawyer is about to become the bane of the drones’ existence, thanks to the United Nations inquiry he launched last week into their deadly operations.

Emmerson, the United Nations’ special rapporteur for human rights and counterterrorism, will spend the next five months doing something the Obama administration has thoroughly resisted: unearthing the dirty secrets of a global counterterrorism campaign that largely relies on rapidly proliferating drone technology. Announced on Thursday in London, it’s the first international inquiry into the drone program, and one that carries the imprimatur of the world body. By the next session of the United Nations in the fall, Emmerson hopes to provide the General Assembly with an report on 25 drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Palestine where civilian deaths are credibly alleged.

That carries the possibility of a reckoning with the human damage left by drones, the first such witnessing by the international community. Accountability, Emmerson tells Danger Room in a Monday phone interview, “is the central purpose of the report.” He’s not shying away from the possibility of digging up evidence of “war crimes,” should the facts point in that direction. But despite the Obama administration’s secrecy about the drone strikes to date, he’s optimistic that the world’s foremost users of lethal drone tech will cooperate with him.

In conversation, Emmerson, who’s served as special rapporteur since 2011, doesn’t sound like a drone opponent or a drone skeptic. He sounds more like a drone realist. “Let’s face it, they’re here to stay,” he says, shortly after pausing to charge his cellphone during a trip to New York to prep for his inquiry. “This technology, as I say, is a reality. It is cheap, both in economic terms and in the risk to the lives of the service personnel who are from the sending state.

“And for that reason there are real concerns that because it is so cheap, it can be used with a degree of frequency that other, more risk-based forms of engagement like fixed-wing manned aircraft or helicopters are not,” Emmerson says. “And the result is there’s a perception of the frequency and intensity with which this technology is used is exponentially different, and as a result, there is necessarily a correspondingly greater risk of civilian casualties.”

Emmerson has zeroed in on the most heated debate about the drones, a subject around which there is little consensus and fewer facts, thanks to government secrecy. Do the drones kill fewer people than other methods of warfare? Or does their seeming ease of use make warfare easier to proliferate, and therefore kill more people — terrorist and innocent — than they otherwise would? There are several independent studies, mostly relying on uncertain local media reports from the dangerous places the drones overfly, and no agreement.

Continue reading »

Dec 132012
 

PRWEb
Mari Bottari

Kathleen T. McFarlandKathleen T. McFarlandThe Washington Post‘s Bob Woodward obtained an audio recording of a conversation between David Petraeus, the general turned CIA Director who recently resigned in the midst of a sex scandal, and Fox News contributor Kathleen T. McFarland. The conversation took place in spring 2011 in Kabul, during the time that Petraeus was the commander of U.S. and coalition forces there. McFarland is a national security analyst for Fox News and has a long resume working for GOP administrations going back to Reagan.

McFarland stresses that she had spoken “directly” to the Fox News chairman. “First of all, is there anything Fox is doing right or wrong that you want to tell us to do differently?” she asks, a remarkable request from a reporter to a sitting general in command of U.S. troops. When the general says Fox can be against Obama, but should not be against “Obama’s war,” McFarland says “the headlines are easy to fix. The lady who does that sits next to me.” Generals editing headlines about the war they are running, what could go wrong?

Secondly, McFarland states that the “advice to you from Roger Ailes is. … He says that if you’re offered [JCS] chairman, take it. If you’re offered anything else, don’t take it; resign in six months and run for president.”

Petraeus makes it clear that he is not interested in running for president, but he is apparently impressed both with Ailes who he describes as “brilliant” and with his offer to “quit his job” and “bankroll the campaign.”

McFarland: … is that next time you go to New York you’re going to stop by and see him?

Petraeus: I’d be happy. I would love to see him. I haven’t seen him in a while, so …

McFarland: I think he would very much appreciate the conversation.

Petraeus: I would love to see. … Yeah. He’s a brilliant guy.

McFarland: He is simply brilliant. I don’t know if you’ve ever …

Petraeus: He is. Tell him if I ever ran [laughs] but I won’t …

McFarland: Okay, I know. I know.

Petraeus: But if I ever ran, I’d take him up on his offer.

McFarland: Okay. All right.

Petraeus: He said he would quit Fox.

McFarland: I know. Look, he’s not the only one.

Petraeus: And bankroll it.

McFarland: Bankroll it? [Laughs]

Petraeus: Or maybe I’m confusing that with Rupert. No. [Laughter]

McFarland: I know Roger, he’s done okay, but … no, I think the one who’s bankrolling it is the big boss.

Petraeus: That might be it.

McFarland: Okay. The big boss is bankrolling it. Roger’s going to run it. And the rest of us are going to be your in-house.

Roger AilesRoger AilesPetraeus: Yeah, right. Okay.

McFarland: We’re all set. …

As for the Fox News chairman, Ailes says McFarland is a contributor, not staff, and that the whole thing was a joke.
Why are we not laughing?

The audio of this remarkable interview is here and the transcript is here.

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Dec 132012
 

Global Research
Julie Levésque

Israel's Mossad Teams up with Terror Group to Kill Iran's Nuclear ScientistsIsrael is conducting a covert cross-border operation directed against Syria in liaison with NATO and the Pentagon.

After looking for a “smoking gun” in Iran earlier this year, Israeli special forces are now “tracking” Syria’s “stocks of chemical and biological weapons”, according to The Sunday Times.

“The cross-border operation is part of a secret war to trail Syria’s non-conventional armaments and sabotage their development. ‘For years we’ve known the exact location of Syria’s chemical and biological munitions,’ an Israeli source said, referring to the country’s spy satellites and drones. ‘But in the past week we’ve got signs that munitions have been moved to new locations.’” (Uzi Mahnaimi and Lucy Fisher Israel tracks Syria’s chemical arsenal, The Sunday Times 9 December 2012.)

Everyone recalls the WMD hype prior to launching the war on Iraq. It turned out that the Iraqi WMD threat was an outright fabrication.

Those involved in the Iraq WMD propaganda ploy are now applying their skills with a view to fabricating a WMD pretext to intervene in Syria. According to a report from the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, “Israelis ‘misread’ the Iraqi threat”. In 2003, the BBC wrote on the report’s findings:

Israeli intelligence miscalculated the threat posed by Saddam Hussein […] This contributed to the “false” picture painted by US and British services […]
“Israeli intelligence was a full partner with the US and Britain in developing a false picture of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction capability,” said the author of the report, retired Brigadier General Shlomo Brom.
“It badly overestimated the Iraqi threat to Israel and reinforced the American and British belief that the weapons existed.”
“From now on, when we present serious data on other countries, like Iran for example, who will treat us seriously?” Israel Radio quoted Israeli left-wing parliamentarian Yossi Sarid as saying. (Israelis ‘misread’ Iraqi threat, BBC,December 5, 2003)

In late March 2012 The Sunday Times reported that “Israel is using a permanent base in Iraqi Kurdistan to launch cross-border intelligence missions in an attempt to find ‘smoking gun’ evidence that Iran is building a nuclear warhead.” (Israeli spies scour Iran in nuclear hunt, The Sunday Times,March 25, 2012)

There is no evidence that Iran has nuclear weapons, even US intelligence agencies agree on that. Global Research ran a story on the Israeli covert op, potentially fabricating WMD evidence in relation to Iran. What is now unfolding in relation to Syria’s  alleged WMD is a rerun of previous attempts to funnel fabricated evidence into the news chain:

Western sources told the Times Israel was monitoring “radioactivity and magnitude of explosives tests” and that “special forces used Black Hawk helicopters to carry commandos disguised as members of the Iranian military and using Iranian military vehicles”. The sources believe “Iranians are trying to hide evidence of warhead tests in preparation for a possible IAEA visit”. (Cited in Report: Israeli soldiers scour Iran for nukes, Ynet, March 25, 2012)
The number of Israeli intelligence missions focussing on the Parchin military base in Iran has increased in the past few months, according to the article. During that period, Tehran has been negotiating with the IAEA which had requested to visit Parchin. According to Iran’s permanent representative to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, both parties had agreed in early February that the visit would take place in March. (Gareth Porter, Details of Talks with IAEA Belie Charge Iran Refused Cooperation, IPS,March 21, 2012)
The IAEA requested to visit Parchin in late January and late February, after having agreed to a visit in March. The IAEA thus requested to visit the military complex exactly at the same time Israel was intensifying its secret operations to allegedly search for a “smoking gun”. (Julie Lévesque, Fabricating a “Smoking Gun” to Attack Iran? Israeli Spies Disguised as Iranian Soldiers on Mission Inside Iran Global Research,March 27, 2012)

Israel’s covert operation in Syria is part of a longstanding intelligence agenda directed against the Damascus government.  According to intelNews:

[…]Israel’s covert activities against the Syrian government’s chemical and biological arsenal go back almost 30 years. Reputedly, some of the more recent such activities may have involved the targeting of Russian scientists.
Although Russia routinely denies it, it is believed that Syria’s non-conventional arsenal was significantly augmented in the late 1980s and early 1990s with the help of Russian retired general Anatoliy Kuntsevich […]
Interestingly, Kuntsevich died suddenly in 2003 onboard a flight from the Syrian capital to Moscow. It was widely speculated at the time that the Mossad, Israel’s covert-action agency, may have played a role in the Russian general’s sudden death. In 2010, another retired Russian general, Yuri Ivanov, who had served as Deputy Director of the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency, died in unclear circumstances […]
According to reports in the Israeli press, the former GRU official was on his way to a meeting with Syrian intelligence officers when he went missing. Israel has never acknowledged having played a part in Ivanon’s death, but many suspect that Tel Aviv had been targeting the two Russians for quite some time. (Joseph Fitsanakis Israel special forces conducting cross-border operations in Syria, intelNews.org, December 10, 2012.)
 

This interpretation of events is plausible since targeted assassinations of foreign scientists by Israeli secret services have been acknowledged in the past:

The reduction [of Israel’s covert operations in Iran] runs across a wide spectrum of operations, cutting back not only alleged high-profile missions such as assassinations and detonations at Iranian missile bases, but also efforts to gather firsthand on-the-ground intelligence and recruit spies inside the Iranian program, according to the officials. (Karl Vick, Mossad Cutting Back on Covert Operations Inside Iran, Officials Say, TIME, March 30, 2012, quoted in Julie Lévesque, “Running Short of New Targets: Israel’s Secret Service is “Cutting Back on Assassinations” in Iran, Global Research, April 17, 2012.)

While Israel’s secret operation in Syria could conceivably also target Russian scientists, it should be understood that its ultimate objective is to reinforce the intense propaganda campaign pertaining to Syria’s chemical arsenal. This leak in The Sunday Times could be part of the ongoing psychological operation against Syria, with a view to building a pretext for waging a preemptive war on Syria.

Since the beginning of the armed insurrection in March 2011, the US  and its allies alongside the Western mainstream media have been blaming the Syrian government for committing atrocities directed against civilians, including the Houla massacre. According to independent media reports as well as the testimony of witnesses on the ground, these atrocities were committed  by the  US-NATO sponsored opposition forces.

The Syrian government has been demonized to such an extent by the mainstream media that if an attack were to occur, public opinion could easily be led to believe, without evidence, that the Syrian government is responsible for crimes against its own people.
This is a perfect context for a false flag operation or intensive propaganda involving chemical weapons. These allegations based on fake WMD evidence directed against the Syrian government could be used once again to pressure the UN Security Council to give NATO a “legal mandate” to intervene in Syria under the “responsibility to protect” doctrine.

CNN recently reported that the US and “some European allies are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria.” The Syrian government expressed its concerns in a letter to the UN:

What raises concerns about this news circulated by the media is our serious fear that some of the countries backing terrorism and terrorists might provide the armed terrorist groups with chemical weapons and claim that it was the Syrian government that used the weapons […] (Quoted in John Glaser, US Defense Contractors Training Syrian Rebels to Handle Chemical Weapons, Antiwar.com, December 10, 2012.)

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Nov 122012
 

Reuters
Deborah Zabarenko

U.S. General David Petraeus gestures during the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on his nomination to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency on Capitol Hill in Washington in this June 23, 2011, file photo. REUTERS-Yuri Gripas-Files

(Reuters) – Despite an adultery scandal that ended David Petraeus’ tenure as CIA chief, the general may be called to testify in a Senate inquiry into the killing of four Americans at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, Senator Dianne Feinstein said Sunday.

Feinstein, the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on the “Fox News Sunday” program that Petraeus’ resignation on Friday “was like a lightning bolt.”

She said there will be an investigation into why the FBI failed to inform her and others on the intelligence committee before Friday about the extramarital affair between Petraeus and his biographer, Paula Broadwell, when the FBI probe had been proceeding for weeks.

The California Democrat said there was no connection between Petraeus’ resignation and the September 11, 2012, killings in Benghazi. Petraeus had been scheduled to testify about the Benghazi case on Thursday in a closed session of the committee; Mike Morrell, the acting CIA director, is now expected to do so.

She said the committee may decide to call Petraeus in a future meeting of the intelligence panel on the Benghazi killings. Four U.S. citizens were killed, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

“My biggest concern is, there are literally hundreds of threat warnings in the material that has been accumulated,” Feinstein said. “There were five attacks during the year, one prior attack on the consulate itself. The question I have is … why wasn’t something done about it?”

U.S. Representative Peter King, the Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, raised questions about why it took FBI investigators so long to inform President Barack Obama and others in his administration that Petraeus was involved.

FBI TIMELINE QUESTIONED

“The timeline has to be looked at and analyzed,” the New York congressman said on CNN’s “State of the Union. “Because obviously this was a matter involving a potential compromise of security and the president should have been told about it at the earliest stage.”

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said he was ready to turn the page on the scandal that prompted Petraeus to resign, but said the former general must testify before Congress about what he called a “national security failure” at Benghazi.

Graham, of South Carolina, called for a Watergate-style joint select committee of members of the House and Senate to investigate the matter.

Speaking on “Face the Nation” on CBS, Graham said the Pentagon and the U.S. intelligence community have much to explain in this case, but singled out Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, for her role.

“I don’t, quite frankly, trust her rendition of Benghazi,” Graham said. Rice initially described the attack as a spontaneous outburst rather than a planned attack. Her handling of the matter provided fodder to Republican opponents in the final months of Obama’s re-election campaign.

Rice has been mentioned as a possible choice by Obama to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but Graham said Rice’s nomination to this post “would have incredibly difficult time getting through the Senate.”

“I would not vote for her unless there’s a tremendous opening up of information explaining herself in a way she has not yet done,” Graham said of Rice.

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Oct 182012
 
Global Research
Ben Schreiner

The triumph of imperialism leads to the annihilation of civilization. Rosa Luxemburg, The Junius Pamphlet

With signs of a global economic downturn mounting, US aggression across the Middle East and North Africa ratchets up. And once again, US imperialism stands poised to swing open the gates of Hell.

The choice presently confronting humanity, then, is one between imperialism on the one hand, and the struggle against imperialism on the other. 

Global Capitalism Imperiled

According to the IMF’s World Economic Outlook report released last week, the “risks for a serious global slowdown are alarmingly high.” The report projects the world economy to expand just 3.3 percent this year and 3.6 percent in 2013—both projections down from the IMF’s July forecast. As Joseph Davis, chief economist at the Vanguard Group, cautioned to the Wall Street Journal, “The odds of a global recession are not fully appreciated.”

Indeed, for as the Financial Times reports, the Tracking Indices for the Global Economic Recovery, the Brookings Institution-Financial Times index of the world economy, finds severe problems “in both advanced and emerging markets.”

“The global economic recovery,” Brookings’ senior fellow and index creator Eswar Prasad warned, “is on the ropes.”

And though in its latest report the IMF continued to peddle the harsh elixir of austerity for the depressed economies of the euro zone periphery, the Fund also came to tacitly acknowledge the limits of austerity.

“The IMF now says global efforts to slash deficits and debt may have hurt growth because they occurred too quickly and too widely,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

But with the limits of austerity as a means of resolving the present crisis apparent, the last remaining card for the capitalist elite to play in their attempt to regenerate global capitalism appears to be in unleashing the forces of “creative destruction” wrought by military aggression. As Henryk Grossman warned in his Law of Accumulation, “The destructions and devaluations of war are a means of warding off the immanent collapse [of capitalism], of creating a breathing space for the accumulation of capital.”

It is thus out of the need to renew the impetus for capital accumulation that the iron fist of US imperialism gains free rein once more across the full spectrum of what American neo-conservatives deem the “arc of instability.”

US Imperialism on the March

According to the New York Times, the Pentagon is readying military strikes in Libya in retaliation for the September attack on the US compound in Benghazi. As the paper reports, “The top-secret Joint Special Operations Command is compiling so-called target packages of detailed information about the suspects.”

“Potential military options could include drone strikes, Special Operations raids like the one that killed Osama bin Laden and joint missions with Libyan authorities.”

The Times goes on to report that the Pentagon is also rushing to train and equip a 500 member Libyan commando force to be used to combat “Islamic extremists” within the country.

At the same time, the Pentagon has reportedly dispatched a task force of 150 military “planners” and “specialists” (i.e., special operations troops) to a Jordanian military base along the Jordan-Syria border. Speaking at a NATO conference in Brussels last week, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta claimed that the task force was sent to help Jordan “monitor chemical and biological weapons sites in Syria.”

The specter of chemical weapons has been increasingly used as a pretext by the Atlantic powers to threaten military intervention into Syria. As President Obama declared in August, the use of chemical weapons by Syrian forces would be a “red line,” which would force him to change his “calculus” on intervention.

“Once again, Western powers are digging deep for excuses to intervene militarily in another conflict-torn Middle East country,” an editorial in the state-run Xinhua news agency of China read in response to Obama’s threat.

Sure enough, as the New York Times reported, discussions have already taken place over using the Jordanian-stationed US task force to help establish a buffer zone within Syrian territory.

(In addition to the deployment of troops along the Jordan-Syria border, CIA operatives are presently active along the Syria-Turkey border, facilitating the flow of arms to rebel forces. Meanwhile, a recent report in the Los Angeles Times noted that the US military is currently using aerial surveillance drones to monitor Syrian chemical weapon stockpiles.)

Of course, the stepped up targeting of Syria cannot be decoupled from the joint Israel-US campaign against Iran. After all, as hawks Michael Doran and Max Boot argue in a New York Times op-ed, the first reason American intervention in Syria is now merited is because it “would diminish Iran’s influence in the Arab world.”

The road to Tehran, we see, may very well lead through Damascus; although, the urge to fly non-stop to Tehran may just prove too strong to resist.

Marching Toward Tehran

With Iran clearly in mind, the US and Israel are set to begin a massive three-week joint missile and air defense exercise later this month. The exercise, Business Week reports, will include 3,500 US personnel and 1,000 members of the Israel Defense Forces, making it the largest joint military exercise held between the two nations. The planned war game also occurs amid mounting speculation of a looming strike against Iran.

According to a report in Foreign Policy by David Rothkopf, the US and Israel are actively planning a joint “surgical strike targeting Iranian enrichment facilities.” Rothkopf, a former Clinton administration official and Editor-at-Large of Foreign Policy, cites his source as stating that “the strike might take only ‘a couple of hours’ in the best case and only would involve a ‘day or two’ overall.”


The strike, Rothkopf quotes an “advocate” of an attack as stating, would have a “transformative outcome: saving Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, reanimating the peace process, securing the Gulf, sending an unequivocal message to Russia and China, and assuring American ascendancy in the region for a decade to come.” This, of course, being the essence of the proverbial neo-con wet dream.

Remarkably, Rothkopf even goes as far as to triumph the idea of a “surgical strike” as a potential October Surprise Obama could use to propel himself back to the White House.

It appears now, however, that Rothkopf’s “report” may have been little more than a plant by the Israeli embassy in Washington. A move, perhaps, intended to further coerce Obama into adopting a more hawkish stance on Iran, while simultaneously serving to downplay the risks of an attack.

Of course, peddling the notion of a so-called “surgical strike” on Iran is nothing particularly new. In March, Jeffrey Goldberg reported for Bloomberg that Israeli talk of striking Iran had assumed a rather optimistic tenor.

“One conclusion key [Israeli] officials have reached,” Goldberg wrote after a trip to Israel, “is that a strike on six or eight Iranian facilities will not lead, as is generally assumed, to all-out war.”

(One cannot help wonder if the Rothkopf and Goldberg share the same source.)

Such assessments, though, are rather dubious, given that they directly contradict numerous assessments determining that any strike against Iran would quickly spiral into a regional conflict. A report earlier this year in the New York Times, for instance, noted a war game simulation run by the Pentagon forecast that an Israeli strike “would lead to a wider regional war, which could draw in the United States and leave hundreds of Americans dead.”

Likewise, a September war game organized by Kenneth Pollack, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy, resulted in a dangerous escalation from both sides. As the Washington Post’s David Ignatius reported, “The game showed how easy it was for each side to misread the other’s signals.”

“Misjudgment was the essence of this game,” Ignatius continued. “Each side thought it was choosing limited options, but their moves were interpreted as crossing red lines. Attacks proved more deadly than expected; signals were not understood; attempts to open channels of communication were ignored; the desire to look tough compelled actions that produced results neither side wanted.”

“War,” as Clausewitz wrote, “is the province of danger.”

Toward Barbarism

US imperial dreams, however, are hardly confined to setting the Middle East ablaze. Imperial ambitions—rooted in the capitalist logic of endless expansion—are inherently limitless. Thus, we see the US today readying to propel the greater Middle East into the abyss, while simultaneously “pivoting” to the Asia-Pacific in order to “contain” a rising China.

US imperialism, however, is destined for defeat (and sooner rather than later). The US, after all, can only use its immense military power to keep potential competitors in check for so long. The universal law of change cannot be held at bay by the barrel of a gun in perpetuity. As Lenin asked and answered in his pamphlet Imperialism: “Is it ‘conceivable’ that in ten or twenty years’ time the relative strength of the imperialist powers will have remained unchanged? Absolutely inconceivable.”

But imperial powers are always dangerously deluded by the strength of their power—impervious to its ultimate limits. As a George W. Bush administration official once remarked to the journalist Ron Suskind: “’We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors… and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

(One would be mistaken to believe that such hubris is not as present in the Obama White House as it was in the Bush administration.)

Such arrogance from the power elite—indicative of imperial rot—is but a byproduct of the imperialist imperative of endless expansion and conquest. And it is this very imperative that today compels US imperialism towards igniting a military conflagration in the Middle East threatening to ensnare the global powers. “A great cemetery,” as Luxemburg warned nearly a century ago, awaits such a triumph of barbarism.

The only means with which to elude such a miserable fate is found in the revolutionary power of working people to resist. As Luxemburg argued, escape from barbarism is only possible once the working class comes to seize “its own destiny and escape the role of the lackey to the ruling classes.”

The only genuine and enduring hope for humanity, then, lies is in the struggle for socialism.

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