Archive for July, 2016

Hillary Clinton and Her Hawks

By Gareth Porter

Focusing on domestic issues, Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech sidestepped the deep concerns anti-war Democrats have about her hawkish foreign policy, which is already taking shape in the shadows, reports Gareth Porter.

As Hillary Clinton begins her final charge for the White House, her advisers are already recommending air strikes and other new military measures against the Assad regime in Syria.

The clear signals of Clinton’s readiness to go to war appears to be aimed at influencing the course of the war in Syria as well as U.S. policy over the remaining six months of the Obama administration. (She also may be hoping to corral the votes of Republican neoconservatives concerned about Donald Trump’s “America First” foreign policy.)

Last month, the think tank run by Michele Flournoy, the former Defense Department official considered to be most likely to be Clinton’s choice to be Secretary of Defense, explicitly called for “limited military strikes” against the Assad regime.

And earlier this month Leon Panetta, former Defense Secretary and CIA Director, who has been advising candidate Clinton, declared in an interview that the next president would have to increase the number of Special Forces and carry out air strikes to help “moderate” groups against President Bashal al-Assad. (When Panetta gave a belligerent speech at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night, he was interrupted by chants from the delegates on the floor of “no more war!”

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at NATO conference in Munich, Germany, Feb. 4 (Official Defense Department photo)

Flournoy co-founded the Center for New American Security (CNAS) in 2007 to promote support for U.S. war policies in Iraq and Afghanistan, and then became Under Secretary of Defense for Policy in the Obama administration in 2009.

Flournoy left her Pentagon position in 2012 and returned to CNAS as Chief Executive Officer. She has been described by ultimate insider journalist David Ignatius of the Washington Post, as being on a “short, short list” for the job Secretary of Defense in a Clinton administration.

Continue reading here…

The – sad – US nominations

By Johan Galtung

The US mountain, so rich in human talent, labored and produced the two dwarfs for the huge job. A radical Republican strongman[i] and a conventional Democrat, disliked by 62% and 67%–bad for electing the president of a country that still puts some stamp on the world.

Trump challenged, successfully, the Republican machine. The Democratic machine got a Hillary who challenged absolutely nothing. In both parties, in the name of unity, a veil was drawn over these basic US conflicts today, not between the parties, but within. Cruz did not give in, Sanders did–maybe bribed by some verbal rephrasing.

Take the issue-complex “foreign policy-war”.

An isolationist Trump could save American lives” (and many more non-American lives). But doing so to save money is not good enough; take the issues head on. “Clinton and Trump jostle for a position over North Korea” is more to the point: Trump is open to negotiate directly with Kim Jung-un, Hillary sticks to conventional isolation-sanctions-multilateralism. Trump might become the first US president to take North Korea on the word: “peace treaty-normalization-a nuclear-free Korean peninsula”. Hillary’s line leads nowhere.

What is missing is an open debate on the two untouchables: US foreign policy and the US right and duty to war.

So there they are… Continue reading here.

Comment from Birgitta Hambraeus:

”To the point as usual, Johan! I appreciate your analysis!
What do you think will happen to Nato if Trump is elected president?”
Varma hälsningar!

TFF PressInfo # 384: The Clintons celebrated – but likely disastrous for the world

By Jan Oberg

Hillary Rodham Clinton was nominated last night by the Democratic Party as its candidate for the U.S. Presidency. She may well win on November 8.

What a tragedy for Western democracy that the leader of what is still called the free, democratic world cannot produce better candidates than Trump and Clinton through a disgustingly commercialized and corrupt political process where candidates like Jill Stein – did you ever hear of that candidate? – doesn’t have a chance because she cannot mobilize the funds.

As a European intellectual with a life-long commitment to peace and democracy, I find little reason to celebrate.

And why the total focus on a few individuals at the top but not the structures that will run them both, such as the Military-Industrial-Media-Academic Complex (MIMAC); the cancer in many societies, including Russia, that President Eisenhower warned the world about in his farewell speech already in 1961?

How short the media memory! Hillary Clinton’s nomination celebrated all over the mainstream press as a victory for the party – preventing it from splitting – and for all women.

But how can people – women in particular – really believe in such genderism: that she will be a better president for the US and the world because she’s a woman? Hasn’t the world learnt anything from the inverse racism:that Obama would be a great president because he is black?

How blind the media to militarism, war and other violence: Not one media focuses on the Clinton’s well-documented fascination with violence and war.

It’s time to refresh the memory of the Clintons:

Bill Clinton’s record

From 1994 BC broke all promises made by his predecessors and other Western politician to Gorbachev about “not expanding NATO an inch”. He started out in Tblisi, Georgia. I happened to be there, spoke with the U.S. representative to the country and got a sense what was coming. Later too in Yugoslavia.

There is a straight line from that fatal arrogance to today’s Second Cold War in Europe, Ukraine having – predictably – to be the this-far-and-no-longer country of that mindless and reckless expansion that should never have happened.

BC’s interventionist record is also forgotten: He bombed in Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo and Serbia – the latter much much worse from any point of view than the Russian annexation of Crimea. It was based on the fake Rambouillet “talks” between Serbs and Kosovo-Albanians, his public lies about there being an ethnic cleansing of all Albanians in Kosovo coming from Slobodan Milosevic whom he called a new Hitler.

No such plan was ever found – and I know a bit about it because I was a goodwill adviser both to three governments in Belgrade and to the non-violent Kosovo-Albanian leadership under Ibrahim Rugova.

It was Clinton’s Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, who masterminded much of it and is on record for saying that it was politically justifiable that the sanctions on Iraq had killed 500.000 innocent people. And they continued.

And she, having survived as a refugee child in Belgrade, Serbia, with her Czechoslovakian family during the Second World War and spoke Serbian is on record for hatred of the Serb people.

Conveniently, the West has forgotten it all. BC is such a charming man (who just told us at the reality show-like democratic convention how much he loves his wife).

His administration was one of the most militarist.

Hillary Clinton’s record

There is no excuse for having forgotten her record. GFrom 2009 to 2013, she served as Secretary of State under Obama, the US president who has been engaged in warfare during more days than any other US President according to the New York Times.

HC has supported all the wars she could and she was a mastermind of the war in Libya. One remembers the film clip showing her happiness at Khadafi’s death.

She is a Cold Warrior, anti-Russia, anti-Putin Russians will be great for fighting Putin.

Her war-promoting record is as long as it is well-documented.

The most solid documentation is that of professor Stephen Zunes. Read the rest of this entry »

Hillary The Hawk

By Stephen Zunes

The most comprehensive documentation of Hillary Clinton’s systematic support for military action and of her deceptive talk, if not lies.

From The Cairo Review of Global Affairs

TFF PressInfo # 385: Turkey’s coup – another example of the West’s disintegration

By Jan Oberg

Was it just a group of amateurish military people who believed that they knew how to make a coup? Was the brain behind it a 75 year old Islamic leader or ’guru’ Fatullah Gülen sitting in Pennsylvania and remote controlling the whole affair through his followers in Turkey? Was it perhaps the U.S.? State Department and CIA – who were tired of President Erdogan’s unpredictability and policies vis-a-vis Russia and ISIS?

Many more or less realistic and conspiracy-like theories have emerged since it happened about a week ago. I have no particular expertise on Turkey and no access to intelligence data but I guess it is reasonable to think of this coup having been master-minded by Erdogan and the people around him and/or that he had early warnings about it but let it happen – which fits with his words that it was a gift from God.

It’s the least unlikely hypothesis. Why?

1. In a half-hour long interview, Erdogan tells Aljazeera how it all happened that night. It is a remarkably distancing, blurred recollection without cohesion and with little credibility coming from a man who was the centre or it all and allegedly the object not only of a coup d’etat but an attempt too on his life. (See it at (). It is as if he was really not present, shocked or surprised.

2. The attempted coup seems too amateurish to have been a US/ CIA thing.

3. It is rather unlikely, given the security apparatus and Erdogan’s top control, that this coup had not been on the radar at an earlier stage.

4. Even if the dialogue-oriented, moderate Fatullah Gülen should be a wolf in sheep’s clothing, I don’t find it particularly credible that he should exercise such power and mastermind the whole thing from that far away. It requires extremely detailed knowledge of an insider kind to make a successful coup.

5. Very strangely, those who took over power for a few hours never appear on the radio stations and TV screens they controlled. We didn’t see a coup leader at all. To speak to the people is what any coup-maker does first.
 Read the rest of this entry »

Too many American nuclear bombs – also in Turkey

By Jonathan Power

July 26th 2016

The Incirlik air base in southeast Turkey- from which U.S. pilots launch bombing raids on ISIS forces in Syria – is home to about 50 B-61 hydrogen bombs. That makes it NATO’s largest nuclear storage facility.

Each bomb has a yield of up to 170 kilotons, nearly a dozen times more powerful than the weapon that destroyed Hiroshima. The bombs are stored in underground vaults within aircraft shelters that in turn are protected by a security perimeter.

Last week Incirlik was in the headlines because it appears it was one of the command centres of the attempted coup, meant to topple President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
After the coup had been put down the commander of Incirlik was arrested and charged with complicity in the overthrow attempt.

Jonathan Marshall in Consortium News, who has been researching this year the inner workings of the base, reports, “The security of the bombs is premised on them being defended by loyal NATO forces. In the case of Incirlik that loyalty proved uncertain at best. Power to the base was cut after mutinous troops used a tanker plane from the base to refuel F-16s that menaced Ankara and Istanbul”.

He goes on in his latest report to observe, “One can easily imagine a clique of Islamist officers in a future coup seizing the nuclear bombs as a bargaining chip with Ankara and Washington or, worse yet, to support radical insurgents in the region.”

Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear proliferation expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, asks, “Does it seem like a good idea to station American nuclear weapons at an air base commanded by someone who may have just helped bomb his own country’s presidential palace?” Read the rest of this entry »

EU’s so-called refugee crisis – and what should and must be done

Commenting on PressTv on July 22, 2016 after yet another tragedy in the Mediterranean.
But how much did the media cover that in comparison with the Nice tragedy – and Hollande’s killing of 120 innocent civilians as revenge for Nice (which at the time was not known to have any connections to ISIS or similar)?

Unity with Europe is the answer to Turkey’s attempted coup

By Jonathan Power

July 20th 2016.

Europe is under attack from both ends. In the west Brexit, the referendum to take Britain out of the European Union (EU). In the east Turkey, which is not formally a member because of the veto made by the conservative last president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy.

Both have led to dreadful consequences. Britain because the EU was made for Britain, although the hard work was done by France and Germany. It is meant to bring together the countries of Europe who were antagonists in two world wars by means of an economic union in order to bind Europe together so its countries would never fight another European war. Britain leaving shatters that profound political pact.

Turkey has both been dealt a mean hand and, under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, shot itself in the foot.

First, because of its economic advance; second, the fact that it is a bridge between Europe and Asia, literally so since a bridge links the two parts of Turkey (the Asia it borders on is Islamic); and, thirdly, because it has long been an important member of NATO, many European countries, not least Britain, have wanted it to be admitted into the Union. (The US too holds a long-time policy that supports entry for Turkey.) Read the rest of this entry »

Narrating Turkey at a time of national crisis

By Richard Falk

A night before the attempted coup of July 15th, in conversation with an elegant secular business leader and permacologist in the seaside town of Yalikavak I was surprised by the intensity of her negativity toward the government, expressed with beguiling charm. She insisted that Turkey had hit rock bottom, that things in the country could not get worse. I felt speechless to respond to such sentiments that struck me as so out of touch with the reality of Turkey.

This woman lives in a beautiful, secluded country house nearby, enjoys an extraordinarily successful career, is associated with a prominent Turkish family, possesses an engaging personality by any measure, and from all appearances lives a harmonious and satisfying modern life of comfort, good works, and human security.

And yet she is totally alienated by the Turkish experience of Erdoğan’s prolonged leadership, which she alternatively describes as ‘autocratic’ and ‘Islamic.’ I mention her as the foregrounding of the typical mindset encountered among Turkish secular elites, displaced from their positions of control that lasted until the Kemalist hegemony began to weaken, and an outlook that confines political discussion to enclaves of out of touch likemindedness.

When I politely demurred during our dinner, suggesting that while there were justifiable criticisms of the AKP patterns of governance and of Erdoğan’s political style, especially since 2011, Turkey when compared with other countries in the region and its own pre-AKP past, and taking some account of a variety of challenges, still offers the region a positive example of what can be achieved by an energetic and ambitious emerging economy under what had been until recently generally stable political conditions.

There are heavy costs of various kinds that should be acknowledged along side this somewhat affirmative picture—human rights have been abridged, journalists and academics suppressed who voice strong public criticisms of Erdoğan, and the Turkish state that he leads.

There have also been a variety of charges of corruption and contrary well grounded charges of a ‘parallel government’ operating under the secretive authority of the Hizmet movement led by ‘the man in Pennsylvania,’ Fetullah Gülen, a mysterious Muslim cleric who preaches a moderate message. He is alleged to be the mastermind of the subversion of the Turkish state, and is accused by Erdoğan as having orchestrated the failed coup, and on this basis, Turkey has formally demanded his extradition to face criminal prosecution.

Arriving in Istanbul in the afternoon of July 15th with the expectation of participating in a conference the next morning held under the auspices of Koç University on the theme “Migration and Securitization of Europe: Views from the Balkan Corridor.” Listed in the program as the keynote speaker I felt quite nervous as to whether my prepared remarks captured the intended spirit of the event, but I will never know as an immediate personal impact of the attempted coup was a phone call to our hotel room at 2:00 AM telling us that ‘unfortunately’ it was necessary to cancel the conference…

Continue reading here

Horror in Nice and elsewhere

Jan Oberg comments on Iranian PressTV (July 19, 2016) some 11 minutes into this program.

“The War On Terror is history’s most stupid and counterproductive. If the terrorism problem has increased about 80 times since 2001 we should be intellectual and decent enough to ask ourselves: What are we doing wrong? Nobody asks this question and it will end us up in hell.”


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