The Other Conspirator
The Secret Origins of the CIA’s Torture Program and the Forgotten Man Who Tried to Expose It
By Barbara Myers
The witness reported men being hung by the feet or the thumbs, waterboarded, given electric shocks to the genitals, and suffering from extended solitary confinement in what he said were indescribably inhumane conditions. It’s the sort of description that might have come right out of the executive summary of the Senate torture report released last December. In this case, however, the testimony was not about a “black site” somewhere in the Greater Middle East, nor was it a description from Abu Ghraib, nor in fact from this century at all.
The testimony came from Vietnam; the year was 1968; the witness was Anthony J. Russo, one of the first Americans to report on the systematic torture of enemy combatants by CIA operatives and other U.S. agents in that long-gone war. The acts Russo described became commonplace in the news post-9/11 and he would prove to be an early example of what also became commonplace in our century: a whistleblower who found himself on the wrong side of the law and so was prosecuted for releasing the secret truth about the acts of our government.
Determined to shine a light on what he called “the truth held prisoner,” Russo blew the whistle on American torture policy in Vietnam and on an intelligence debacle at the center of Vietnam decision-making that helped turn that war into the nightmare it was. Neither of his revelations saw the light of day in his own time or ours and while Daniel Ellsberg, his compatriot and companion in revelation, remains a major figure for his role in releasing the Pentagon Papers, Russo is a forgotten man.
That’s too bad. He shouldn’t be forgotten. His is, unfortunately, a story of our times as well as his.
Click here to read more of this dispatch.http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176004/tomgram%3A_barbara_myers%2C_the_unknown_whistleblower/#more
Sunday, May 31, 2015
The Other Conspirator The Secret Origins of the CIA’s Torture Program and the Forgotten Man Who Tried to Expose It
Posted by Michele Kearney at 6:01 PM
Pope is not an Antichrist nor a False Prophet or the Beast of the Revelation.
Posted by Michele Kearney at 3:40 PM
Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak explains the biggest difference between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates
Posted by Michele Kearney at 1:38 PM
How Joe Biden Grieved -- And Survived -- His Family's Darkest Moment
Posted by Michele Kearney at 1:37 PM
The fall of Ramadi and Palmyra to the Islamic State (ISIL) has rekindled the debate in Washington over the viability of the Obama Administration's strategy for defeating ISIL. What was already a behind-closed-doors criticism has mushroomed into a very public ...View full schedule.http://mebriefing.com/?p=1723&utm_source=MEB+VOL+-+II_+Issue+79+Subscribers+Campaign+of+May+31+2015&utm_campaign=VOL+II+-+Issue+79&utm_medium=email
Posted by Michele Kearney at 1:15 PM
Turkey and Iran Conflicting Agendas in Iraq: Who Will Get What
Both Iran and Turkey are racing to increase their gains in Iraq while the Arab Sunni states are trying to strengthen their ties to Iraqi Sunni tribes. In the case of Tehran, it is busy now trying to establish a ..View full schedule.http://mebriefing.com/?p=1722&utm_source=MEB+VOL+-+II_+Issue+79+Subscribers+Campaign+of+May+31+2015&utm_campaign=VOL+II+-+Issue+79&utm_medium=email
The features of ISIL Islamic State are rapidly being engraved on the rocks and sands of Iraq and Syria while the whole world is watching almost helplessly. After consolidating its recent territorial gains, ISIL's menu consists now of the battle...View full schedule.http://mebriefing.com/?p=1720&utm_source=MEB+VOL+-+II_+Issue+79+Subscribers+Campaign+of+May+31+2015&utm_campaign=VOL+II+-+Issue+79&utm_medium=email
Judith Miller's Comeback
The disgraced reporter's memoir: 400 pages of dogs eating 400 pages of homework
Posted by Michele Kearney at 9:52 AM
The 20 jobs that robots are most likely to take over
Posted by Michele Kearney at 9:43 AM
The 2015 Chinese Defense White Paper on Strategy in Perspective: Maritime Missions Require a Change in the PLA Mindset
Posted by Michele Kearney at 9:35 AM
Saturday, May 30, 2015
Five Chicago Suburbs Headed for Bankruptcy (More Illinois Cities Will Follow)
Read more at http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2015/05/five-chicago-suburbs-headed-for.html#8TQUUvyRIJwAm2pU.99
Read more at http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2015/05/five-chicago-suburbs-headed-for.html#8TQUUvyRIJwAm2pU.99
Posted by Michele Kearney at 12:54 PM
Baltimore, Wilmington, Philly, and Newark — Inside the Forgotten Corridor
Posted by Michele Kearney at 12:52 PM
Could Hillary Clinton Be the Champion Campaign-Finance Reform Needs?The former secretary of state is an unlikely reformer—which is precisely why she might be a particularly effective one
Posted by Michele Kearney at 12:43 PM
Current NSA Officials Admit Agency Is Drowning In TOO MUCH Info
The Problem Isn’t Too Little Spying … It’s Too Much
Posted by Michele Kearney at 12:36 PM
Richard Burr Wants to Label People Who Make Threats and Carry Guns “Terrorists”
Posted by Michele Kearney at 12:34 PM
Why is Obama Goading China?
by MIKE WHITNEY
Posted by Michele Kearney at 12:32 PM
Sudden onset of ice loss in Antarctica so large it affects Earth's gravity field
Posted by Michele Kearney at 12:19 PM
Perry Mehrling: Volcker Alliance Describes How Regulatory Silos, and Also Intellectual Silos, Hold Back Financial Reform
Perry Mehrling: Volcker Alliance Describes How Regulatory Silos, and Also Intellectual Silos, Hold Back Financial Reform
Posted by Michele Kearney at 12:11 PM
Former Fed Chair Proposes Broad Changes to U.S. Financial Regulatory System
Posted by Michele Kearney at 12:06 PM
Reshaping the Financial Regulatory System
Long Awaited, Now Crucial
Posted by Michele Kearney at 12:02 PM
New West Bank settlement casts light on clandestine role of international support for settlers - See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/05/settlement-clandestine-international?utm_source=Mondoweiss+List&utm_campaign=e70b7dccf7-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b86bace129-e70b7dccf7-398529985#sthash.Okgf0LPF.dpuf
Posted by Michele Kearney at 11:52 AM
In Their Own Words: Israeli Officials On A Palestinian State
Posted by Michele Kearney at 11:38 AM
By Chas W. Freeman
No country in Asia wants to choose between political allegiance to the United States and economic alignment with China. Nor can any country in the region be forced into such a choice. Efforts by Washington to do so create a zero-sum game with zero appeal.The debacle that followed recent US efforts to oppose the Chinese-sponsored Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, or AIIB, is a case in point. The more Washington sought to prevent other nations from joining the AIIB, the more they questioned US leadership. In the end, they effectively repudiated it. There is an important lesson in that.
Apparently unperturbed, the president and his top officials are now going for a repeat performance. They are promoting the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, trade agreement as a bulwark against rising Chinese influence in the Asia-Pacific region. In his 2015 State of the Union address, and again in a recent interview, President Obama declaimed: “If we don’t write the rules, China will write the rules out in that region.”
Not to be outdone by his boss in the effort to fend off a defeat for the treaty in Congress, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter recently warned that “We already see countries in the region trying to carve up these markets.”
So TPP is about geopolitical influence, not about economics — even butchered economics. (Far from being carved up, Asian-Pacific markets are coalescing, and US firms have been and remain among the drivers of this process of integration.) Somehow — it’s not explained how — persuading Asians to adopt the intellectual property practices favored by Hollywood, BigPharma, and patent-trolling American lawyers will keep China at bay. Really?
In the end, trade agreements need to be justified in terms of their economic impact much more than by the putative political leverage they may provide. The two operative questions are: Will the TPP improve American competitiveness and/or create jobs in the United States? What US economic problems does it fix?
When the US Department of Agriculture modeled a version of the TPP that eliminated all tariffs (an unlikely outcome), it found that the pact would produce zero growth gains for the US economy. Other modeling has suggested that the partnership might boost growth by something less than 0.2 percent. A key reason for this is that the United States already has free trade agreements that eliminate tariffs in six of the 11 TPP negotiating countries. (The major exception is Japan.)
What would the TPP do for US competitiveness and growth and how would it effect American workers and consumers?
Meanwhile, America’s largest and fastest growing market in the Asia-Pacific region is China, which TPP studiously ignores.The White House’s efforts to portray the treaty as critical to national security simply underscores its inability to make a case for the agreement on the basis of economic benefits. The best that can be said for the trade agreement is that it could reduce nontariff barriers in Japan, opening opportunities to reduce the chronic US trade deficit with that country. It would also make it easier for US companies to outsource production to Vietnam and Malaysia. But it would do nothing to address the huge US trade deficit with China.
Quite aside from this, the administration’s geopolitical case for TPP is fanciful. In the real world, there is no way that new rules for trans-Pacific trade, written without regard to China and without Chinese participation, will somehow pivot the United States into a lasting position of supremacy in China’s backyard.
Four basic facts explain why that is so: First, China is now everybody’s biggest trading partner, including America’s prospective partners in TPP. Second, the Chinese market represents the major growth opportunity for all these nations.
Third, whatever their concerns about China’s increasing military power, Asian leaders have no interest in distancing themselves economically from China — or from the supply chains that converge there. Fourth, most economists expect China’s economic growth will continue to be much faster than that of the United States.
Casting the partnership as a way to cut China out of the rule-making process for trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region may appeal to American Sinophobes and protectionists. But it ignores commercial realities on the ground in Asia. They, not the internal dynamics of US politics, will always guide Asian nations’ diplomacy.
Even the Obama administration seems to recognize this. After initial silence on the subject, administration officials have begun to say that China will be free to join TPP once negotiations have concluded, provided that China undertakes further, unspecified legal and economic reforms.
All this makes it almost surreal that the administration has staked the future of US relations with Asia on TPP as a counter to Chinese influence in the region. The likelihood that this will succeed is poor to nonexistent, and there is no fallback proposal should the effort fail.
In the end, the administration’s current arguments for trade treaty boil down to this: We have made the conclusion of this deal a test of our credibility as a Pacific power. If it fails, our credibility will suffer along with our geopolitical influence. So TPP must go forward.
But that’s both a circular argument and a bad bet.
More importantly, it’s irrelevant to what ought to be the main issue: What would the TPP do for US competitiveness and growth and how would it effect American workers and consumers?It is absurd to imagine that TPP could wrest China — soon to be the world’s largest economy — from a preeminent role in Asia. The United States is far more likely to buttress its influence in Asia by leveraging rising Chinese prosperity and working with China than by ignoring it or attempting to bypass it.
Perhaps the Obama administration understands this. Even as it tries to sell the TPP as a means of containing China, it is well along in negotiating a bilateral investment treaty with Beijing. That makes sense. But it would be nice to hear a serious economic case for the TPP rather than a largely frivolous geopolitical one.
Chas W. Freeman was President Nixon’s main interpreter on his historic trip to China in 1972. He is a retired career diplomat who also served as assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs from 1993-94.
Posted by Michele Kearney at 11:32 AM
Can We Continue the Iran Interim Agreement IndefinitelyMay 29th, 2015 | http://www.lobelog.com/can-we-
Earlier this week, Yishai Schwartz, an associate editor at the legal blog Lawfare, put up a thoughtful post on the Iran nuclear negotiations proposing an alternative to making a nuclear deal with Iran. His proposal? Briefly stated, it is to more or less permanently extend the interim deal struck in November 2013, known as the Joint Plan of Action, or JPOA.
The notion holds a certain appeal that other alternatives lack, mostly for the reason Schwartz states: basically, there are no other alternatives on the table. Many proponents of the negotiations rightly fear that in the absence of a deal, Iran would have a free hand to expand its nuclear program, resulting in some sort of confrontation down the line. Schwartz’s proposal has the benefit of offering something else: continuing the restrictions on Iran’s program imposed by the JPOA and only conceding the limited sanctions relief it offers.
Schwartz claims that few critics of a deal articulate any alternative, let alone propose something like his plan. But that’s not quite right. In April, just after the announcement of a framework for a final comprehensive deal, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), one of the most rapacious Iran hawks in Congress, told CBS News he wanted to do just that. “Here is what I think we should do: continue the sanctions under the interim agreement,” he said. “That’s worked pretty well for the world. It has controlled Iran’s nuclear ambitions.”http://www.lobelog.com/can-we-continue-the-iran-interim-agreement-indefinitely/#more-29436
Posted by Michele Kearney at 11:29 AM
The Roots of Christian Zionism: How Scofield Sowed Seeds of Apostasy
Posted by Michele Kearney at 11:07 AM
Smiles and Waves: What Xi Jinping Took Away From Moscow
Posted by: Alexander Gabuev | Carnegie Moscow
Posted by: Alexander Gabuev | Carnegie Moscow
The photographs of Putin and Comrade Xi sitting together at the Victory Day parade on May 9, as well as photos of Chinese soldier marching through Red Square, are the main symbolic takeaways of the Chinese leader’s visit to Moscow. These are winning images for both leaders, especially for Vladimir Putin. The presence of a true world leader at a parade that was boycotted by the U.S. and its allies is an important demonstration of the fact that Russia is not internationally isolated (with all due respect to other guests, they don’t quite rise to the level of world leaders). That’s why Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan were assigned best seats at the event. That’s why during his speech, Putin mentioned China’s important role in the war as well as plans for a reciprocal visit to a parade in Beijing.http://carnegie.ru/eurasiaoutlook/?fa=60248&mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRonva3NZKXonjHpfsX57uQsW6Sg38431UFwdcjKPmjr1YIERMV0aPyQAgobGp5I5FEIQ7XYTLB2t60MWA%3D%3D
Posted by Michele Kearney at 11:06 AM
Friday, May 29, 2015
How Much Does ISIS Really Threaten America?
Posted by Michele Kearney at 6:31 PM
Pope’s concern for environment, the poor has Protestants paying attentionhttp://ncronline.org/blogs/eco-catholic/pope-s-concern-environment-poor-has-protestants-paying-attention
Posted by Michele Kearney at 6:25 PM
Pope Francis' Prayer Intentions for June
Remembering Refugees, Vocations to Priesthood and Consecrated Life
Posted by Michele Kearney at 6:23 PM
Pakistan: Church's Mission Continues Despite Terrorism
Pontifical Mission Societies Director Says Nation's Christians Continue Proclaiming God's Word, Giving Witness
Posted by Michele Kearney at 6:22 PM
Fr. Barron's Top 10 Resources on the Trinity
This Sunday we'll celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. To help you prepare we've gathered the top ten resources from Fr. Robert Barron and Word on Fire on the Trinity. Enjoy!http://www.wordonfire.org/resources/blog/fr-barrons-top-10-resources-on-the-trinity/4770/
Posted by Michele Kearney at 6:20 PM
Singapore Warns of Islamic State Base in Southeast Asia
Posted by Michele Kearney at 6:16 PM
Judicial Watch has blown open the Benghazi scandal yet again. We forced the release of new smoking-gun documents that show that the Obama administration knew almost from the outset that the attack on the U.S. Special Mission Compound in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, was coordinated and pre-planned. The news about these documents was broken by Catherine Herridge of Fox News.
Your JW obtained more than 100 pages of previously classified "Secret" documents from the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of State revealing that DOD almost immediately reported that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was committed by the al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood-linked "Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman" (BCOAR), and had been planned at least 10 days in advance. Rahman is known as the Blind Sheikh, and is serving life in prison for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and other terrorist acts.
These just-released documents were not given voluntarily, but forced out of the secretive Obama administration thanks to a court order that followed a May 15, 2014, Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed against both DOD and State asking for communications between the two agencies and congressional leaders "on matters related to the activities of any agency or department of the U.S. government at the Special Mission Compound and/or classified annex in Benghazi." The documents provide us with the first official confirmation that the U.S. government was aware of arms shipments from Benghazi to Syria. The documents also include an August 2012 analysis warning of the rise of ISIS and the predicted failure of the Obama policy of regime change in Syria. (Interestingly, it is not clear if the information was ever shared with Congress, even though the documents were responsive to a request about communications with Congress.)
U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith were both killed in the Benghazi terrorist attack on September 11, 2012. Several hours after the initial assault, a second terrorist attack took place targeting a different compound located just one mile away. Two CIA contractors, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, were killed in this second attack and 10 others were injured.
Let's see how Obama and Clinton operatives (such as George Stephanopoulos) explain away a Defense Department document from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), dated September 12, 2012, the day after the Benghazi attack, which details that the attack on the compound had been carefully planned by the BOCAR terrorist group "to kill as many Americans as possible." This document was sent to Clinton, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Obama White House National Security Council. The heavily redacted DOD "information report" says that the attack on the Benghazi facility "was planned and executed by The Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman (BCOAR)." The group subscribes to "AQ [al Qaeda] ideologies:"
The attack was planned ten or more days prior on approximately 01 September 2012. The intention was to attack the consulate and to kill as many Americans as possible to seek revenge for U.S. killing of Aboyahiye((ALALIBY)) in Pakistan and in memorial of the 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center buildings.
"A violent radical," the DIA report says, and "the leader of BCOAR is Abdul Baset ((AZUZ)), AZUZ was sent by ((ZAWARI)) to set up Al Qaeda (AQ) bases in Libya." The group's headquarters was set up with the approval of a "member of the Muslim brother hood movement...where they have large caches of weapons. Some of these caches are disguised by feeding troughs for livestock. They have SA-7 and SA-23/4 MANPADS...they train almost every day focusing on religious lessons and scriptures including three lessons a day of jihadist ideology."
The Defense Department reported that the group maintained written documents in "a small rectangular room, approximately 12 meters by 6 meters...that contain information on all of the AQ activity in Libya."
It should be noted that Azuz is again blamed for the Benghazi attack in an October 2012 DIA document.
The DOD documents provide confirmation that the Obama administration knew weapons were being shipped from the Port of Benghazi to rebel troops in Syria. This had been the source of much speculation, as many have asked, including Judicial Watch, just exactly what we were up to in Benghazi that would require a rushed facility that was unsecured (the Benghazi Special Mission Compound). Some darn big clues are in the October 2012 DIA report:
Weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The weapons shipped during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG's, and 125 mm and 155mm howitzers missiles.
During the immediate aftermath of, and following the uncertainty caused by, the downfall of the ((Qaddafi)) regime in October 2011 and up until early September of 2012, weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The Syrian ports were chosen due to the small amount of cargo traffic transiting these two ports. The ships used to transport the weapons were medium-sized and able to hold 10 or less shipping containers of cargo.
The DIA document further details:
The weapons shipped from Syria during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG's and 125mm and 155mm howitzers missiles. The numbers for each weapon were estimated to be: 500 Sniper rifles, 100 RPG launchers with 300 total rounds, and approximately 400 howitzers missiles [200 ea - 125mm and 200ea - 155 mm.]
The heavily redacted document does not disclose who was shipping the weapons. The level of detail presented suggests that the Obama administration, in the least, was in a position to stop any transfers.
Why is the weapons transfer issue important? Because the Libya fiasco was allowing weapons to move into a jihadist madhouse in the Syria-Iraq region.
Another DIA report, written in August 2012 (the same time period the U.S. was monitoring weapons flows from Libya to Syria), said that the opposition in Syria was driven by al Qaeda and other extremist Muslim groups: "the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria." The growing sectarian direction of the war was predicted to have dire consequences for Iraq, which included the "grave danger" of the rise of ISIS:
The deterioration of the situation has dire consequences on the Iraqi situation and are as follows:
This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI [al Qaeda Iraq] to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi, and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters. ISIS could also declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.
Some of the "dire consequences" are blacked-out, but the DIA presciently warned one such consequence would be the "renewing facilitation of terrorist elements from all over the Arab world entering into Iraqi Arena."
It turns out the DIA warnings were right on the nose. In a recent crushing victory, ISIS terrorists took over Ramadi. The Iraqi military cut and ran. And now the murderous Islamic radicals, with volunteers courtesy of Obama's Libya creation, have embarrassed America and taken many American military assets that we gave to the Iraqi military!
From a separate lawsuit, the State Department produced a document created by Hillary Clinton's offices and the Operations Center in the Office of the Executive Secretariat the morning after the Benghazi attack, which was sent widely through the agency, including to Joseph McManus (then-Hillary Clinton's executive assistant). At 6:00 am, a few hours after the attack, the top office of the State Department sent a "spot report" on the "Attack on U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi" that makes no mention of videos or demonstrations:
Four COM personnel were killed and three were wounded in an attack by dozens of fighters on the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi beginning approximately 1550 Eastern Time....
The State Department has yet to turn over any documents to Judicial Watch from the secret email accounts of Hillary Clinton and other top State Department officials. However, the State Department released some of these secret emails recently - again thanks in no small measure to our oversight pressure. For corrupt politicians, the long Memorial Day weekend is the best time to release damaging information in the hopes most miss it during the holiday.
These documents show that the Benghazi cover-up has been in motion for years and is only unraveling through our independent lawsuits. The Benghazi scandal just got a whole lot worse for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
These documents are jaw-dropping. No wonder we had to file more FOIA lawsuits and wait over two years for them. If the American people had known the truth - that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other top administration officials knew that the Benghazi attack was an al-Qaeda terrorist attack from the get-go - and yet lied and covered this fact up - Mitt Romney might very well be president. And why would the Obama administration continue to support the Muslim Brotherhood even after it knew it was tied to the Benghazi terrorist attack and to al Qaeda? These documents also show connections between the collapse in Libya and the ISIS war - and confirm that the U.S. knew remarkable details about the transfer of arms from Benghazi to Syrian jihadists.
Your JW will keep fighting. Earlier this month, our legal team filed seven new FOIA lawsuits against State to obtain the release of documents about the Clinton email scandal, including the emails of her top aide Huma Abedin, and records about the Benghazi and Clinton Foundation scandals.
We will keep you updated as new information flows in. In the coming weeks and months, you can be sure to expect additional fallout.
Posted by Michele Kearney at 6:07 PM
U.N.: A military defeat of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq could scatter extremists around the globe.
Posted by Michele Kearney at 6:02 PM
Did you know that private contractors in Afghanistan outnumber U.S. troops three to one?
Posted by Michele Kearney at 6:00 PM
TV news, think-tank pundits, and politicians all want you to see threats around every corner. Don't fall for it.By Stephen M. Walt
Posted by Michele Kearney at 5:59 PM
Syria's Al Qaeda chief says no plans to attack the West (+video)
The Syrian known as Abu Muhammed al-Golani, who heads the Nusra Front, said the aim of his group is to bring down President Bashar Assad's government.
Posted by Michele Kearney at 3:18 PM
Even If Patriot Act Expires, Government Will Keep Spying On All Americanshttp://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/05/even-if-patriot-act-expires-government-will-keep-spying-on-all-americans.html
Posted by Michele Kearney at 3:17 PM
NSA’s Mass Surveillance Started By 1999 Or Earlier … But NSA Hid It From Congress
Posted by Michele Kearney at 3:16 PM
U.S. Pressures Nobel Committee to Declare Ukraine’s President a Peace Prize Nomineehttp://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/05/u-s-pressures-nobel-committee-to-declare-ukraines-president-a-peace-prize-nominee.html
Posted by Michele Kearney at 3:15 PM
The Map on the Wall
A FORMER cabinet minister, an intelligent person (nonetheless) asked me the other day: "Let's assume that your plan is realized. A Palestinian state will come into being side by side with Israel. Even some kind of federation. Then, in a few years, a violently anti-Israel party will come to power there and annul all the treaties. What then?"
My simple answer was: "Israel will always be powerful enough to forestall any threat."
That is true, but that is not the real answer. The real answer lies in the lessons of history.
HISTORY SHOWS us that there are (at least) two kinds of peace agreements. One kind, the stupid one, is based on power. The other, the intelligent, is based on common interest.
The most notorious of the first kind is the Treaty of Versailles that followed World War I.
It was signed four years before I was born, but as a child I was an eye-witness to its results.
It was a "dictated" peace. After four years of fighting, with millions of victims, the victors wanted to inflict the maximum of damage on the vanquished.
Large parts of Germany were separated from the Fatherland and turned over to the victors East and West. Huge indemnities were levied on Germany, which was already totally exhausted by the war.
Perhaps worst of all was the "war guilt" clause. The origins of the war were manifold and complicated. A Serbian patriot killed the Austrian heir to the throne. Austria answered with a harsh ultimatum. The Russian Czarist Empire, which saw itself as the protector of all Slavs, declared a general mobilization to frighten the Austrians off. The Russians were allied with the French. To prevent an invasion from both sides, the Germans, who allied to the Austrians, invaded France. The idea was to knock the French out before the cumbersome Russian mobilization was completed. Fearing a German victory, Great Britain rushed to the aid of the French.
Complicated? Indeed. But the victors compelled the Germans to sign a clause that indicted them as solely responsible for the outbreak of the war.
WHEN I went to school in Germany, there hung before my eyes a map of Germany. It showed the present borders of the Reich (as it was still called), and around it a prominent red line that showed the prewar borders.
This map hung in every class in every school in Germany. From earliest childhood on, every German boy and girl was daily reminded of the great injustice done to the Fatherland, when large chunks were torn from it.
Worse, every German child was taught that his or her father had fought valiantly for four whole years against a vastly superior enemy and surrendered only from sheer exhaustion. Germany had played only a minor role in the events that led to the war, yet the whole blame for the war was laid on it. So were huge "reparations" that ruined the German economy.
The humiliation of signing such an unjust treaty was a permanent sting, and became the battle-cry of Adolf Hitler's new National-Socialist party. The politicians who had signed the document were assassinated.
History has blamed the leaders of the victorious allies for their stupidity in dictating these terms, especially after the far-sighted American president, Woodrow Wilson, had warned against it.
Probably they had no choice. The terrible war had bred intense hatred, and peoples were thirsting for revenge. They paid for it dearly when Germany, under the leadership of Hitler, started World War II.
THE OPPOSITE example is provided by the Peace of Vienna of 1815, almost a hundred years earlier.
Napoleon's troops had overrun large parts of Europe. Unlike Hitler's Germany, Napoleon's France brought with it a civilizing message, but its troops also committed many atrocities. When France was exhausted and broke down, the victorious allies could easily have imposed on it the same punitive and humiliating terms imposed by their successors a century later. They did not.
Instead of treating France as a vanquished foe, they invited it to the table. Napoleon's ex-foreign minister, Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand, was welcomed as one of the leaders to shape the future of Europe.
The leading spirit of the Congress of Vienna was Klemens von Metternich, ably assisted by the British Lord Castlereagh. France was allowed to recuperate within a short time.
One of the great admirers of Metternich and his colleagues is Henry Kissinger. Unfortunately he did the opposite when he himself became the US Foreign Minister.
The "Concert of Nations" created by the Peace of Vienna established a solid system that kept Europe peaceful for almost a hundred years, with a few exceptions (like the Franco-Prussian war of 1870). The spirit of its founders shines today as an example of wisdom.
WORLD WAR II, the most terrible of all, could have ended with a second Versailles treaty. It did not.
After Germany's Unconditional Surrender, no peace treaty was signed at all. After the awful atrocities of the Nazis, no generous treaty was possible. Germany was divided, but instead of paying huge indemnities, it – incredibly – received huge sums of money from the victors, so it could rebuild itself in record time. It did lose a lot of territory, but a few decades later Germany became the leading power in a united Europe. Any major war in Europe is now unthinkable.
Winston Churchill and his partners had obviously learned the lesson of Versailles. They disproved the popular saying that nobody learns anything from history.
Even the new State of Israel behaved with a lot of wisdom – as far as Germany was concerned. The chimnies of Auschwitz had hardly stopped smoking when Israel, under the leadership of David Ben-Gurion, signed a treaty with Germany. Sadly, Ben-Gurion did not display the same wisdom facing the Arab world.
There was the moment of Oslo, when everything was possible. Martin Buber once told me: "There is a right moment for a historic act. The moment before it is wrong. The moment after it is wrong. But for one moment it is right." Unfortunately, Yitzhak Rabin did not recognize that. I doubt if he knew much about world history.
WHAT IS the lesson? Kissinger put it well in one of his books, before he became a war criminal.
It is this: Peace will hold only if all sides profit from it. Peace will not hold if one major side is left out.
At the moment of victory, the victor believes that his power is eternal. He can impose his terms and humiliate the enemy. But history shows that power changes, the strong of today may be the weak of tomorrow. The weak may become strong and take revenge.
That is the lesson Israel should absorb. Today we are strong, and the Arab world is in shambles. It will not always be so.
A peace treaty with Palestine and the Arab world will hold if it is wise and generous. Wise enough so the Palestinian people, or at least a great majority, will come to the conclusion that it is both worthwhile and honorable to keep it.
It is always good to have a strong army. Just in case. But history shows that it is neither strong armies nor an abundance of weapons that guarantees peace. It is the goodwill of all sides, based on self-interest.
And the wisdom of politicians – a rare ingredient, indeed.
Posted by Michele Kearney at 3:11 PM
Help Wanted: Robot to Fulfill Amazon Orders
Amazon awarded $20,000 to the creators of a robot that can fill orders most like a human, but it’s not going to replace employees yet.
Posted by Michele Kearney at 2:41 PM
The surprise election of Andrzej Duda, a relatively unknown, conservative 43-year-old lawyer, to the Polish presidency has sent shock waves through Europe, Mitchell Orenstein writes this week. Modeling himself on controversial Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Duda “has Europe on edge, given his economic populism, euroskepticism and hawkish foreign policy views on Russia.”
Reviewing the “wildly divergent assessments” of the U.S.-Gulf Cooperation Council summit at Camp David earlier this month, Ellen Laipson looks at “the subtle and often contradictory ways the United States and the GCC find themselves entwined in each other’s national security policies.”
And in our latest feature, Lisa Sachs and Nicolas Maennling explore the commodities cycle, as prices for oil, minerals and other natural resources have plunged in the past year, and how countries can break it.
Coming up on WPR: Michael Koplow on Israel and Turkey’s ties, which are frozen politically but thriving economically, Matthias Matthijs on the United Kingdom’s shrinking global role and Chris Sabatini on domestic spying in South America.
—Frederick Deknatel, Associate Editor
WPR Articles May 26, 2015 - May 29, 2015
Earlier this month, fears of Mozambique sliding back into civil war receded after the leader of the opposition Renamo party toned down his bellicose rhetoric over last year’s contested election. Yet most of the issues that, according to Renamo, prompted its return to violence in 2013 still have not been resolved.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ symbolic victories abroad on statehood recognition appear to be doing little to reverse his growing unpopularity at home. Palestinians are dissatisfied with Abbas’ Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority and the sorry state of politics and democracy he has overseen.
Despite Israel and Syria’s continuing enmity, their border has been calm for decades. In the past few years, however, the region’s strategic landscape has changed drastically, particularly with regard to Syria’s civil war. For Israel, that has introduced an extremely complicated security dilemma.
The Jalisco New Generation Cartel, responsible for a string of deadly attacks, is Mexico’s latest challenge in dealing with drug cartels. The gang has emerged to fill the leadership vacuum created by President Enrique Pena Nieto’s top-down strategy of targeting leaders of criminal organizations.
As Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen continue against Houthi rebels, resistance to the Houthis on the ground has been ineffective, conducted by groups that share few common goals. That has led Riyadh to lean increasingly on Yemen’s Sunni Islamists, who just a year ago it named members of a terrorist organization.
As nuclear negotiations with Iran enter the home stretch, much attention has been focused on the U.S. need to reaffirm its security commitment to Persian Gulf allies. However, the U.S. also needs to manage a nuclear deal’s impact on Iranian influence in Central Asia and the South Caucasus.
Earlier this month, Jamaica announced plans to expand regional trade ties through a framework agreement with Cuba and a deal that supplements the existing free trade agreement with Costa Rica. In an interview, Krista Lucenti, an economist with the Inter-American Development Bank, discussed Jamaica’s trade policy.
The past year has seen dramatic declines in the prices of global commodities. The inevitability of price fluctuations raises the question of what countries dependent on commodity exports can learn from past mistakes, and what measures they can take to build resilience against commodity cycles.
The surprise election of Andrzej Duda, a relatively unknown, conservative 43-year-old lawyer, to the Polish presidency Sunday over the popular incumbent, Bronislaw Komorowski, has put Europe on edge, given Duda’s mix of right-wing populism, euroskepticism and hawkish foreign policy views on Russia.
No field of public policy is more regularly misrepresented by false historical analogies than foreign affairs. The problem exists across the political spectrum—for hawks, who view any willingness to compromise as another Munich; and for doves, who see every military intervention as Iraq War II.
There’s a danger of imbuing too much importance to the U.S.-GCC summit earlier this month, but parsing the event is useful in part because it captures the subtle and often contradictory ways the U.S. and GCC find themselves entwined in each other’s national security policies.
If it manages to survive its fight against the Islamic State intact, Iraq will end up with a titular national government in the capital while regional potentates actually run the place. But Iraq is not the only country headed in this direction. In fact, the world is seeing the re-emergence of feudalism.
Posted by Michele Kearney at 1:42 PM