THE ROVING EYE Washington plays Russian roulette By Pepe Escobar
These are bleak times. I've been in serious conversation with some deep sources and interlocutors - those who know but don't need to show off, privileging discretion. They are all deeply worried. This is what one of them, a New York strategic planner, sent me:
The propaganda attack against Putin equating him with Hitler is so extreme that you have to think that the Russians cannot believe their ears and cannot trust the United States anymore under any circumstances.
I cannot believe how we could have gotten ourselves into this situation to protect the looters in the Ukraine that Putin would have rid the Ukraine of, and even had the gall to place in a leadership role one of the worst of the thieves. But that is history. What is certain is that MAD [mutually assured destruction] is not a deterrent today when both sides believe the other will use nuclear weapons once they have the advantage and that the side that gains a decisive advantage will use them. MAD is now over.
That may sound somewhat extreme - but it's a perfectly logical extension, further on down the road, of what the Russian president intimated in his already legendary interview with Germany's ARD in Vladivostok last week: the West is provoking Russia into a new Cold War. 
Mikhail Gorbachev just stressed a few days ago the new Cold War is already on. Princeton's Stephen Cohen says the Cold War in fact never left. The Roving Eye reported about Cold War 2.0 months ago. Brits - still stranded in the 19th century new Great Game - prefer to spin the "strident toxic personality" of "diminutive Putin";  he is the "ruthless, charming and ultimately reckless" man who "put the cold war back in vogue". The Council on Foreign Relations, predictably, mourns the end of the post-Cold War world, blasts the current "disorder", and dreams of the good ol' unchallenged exceptionalist days. 
For arguably the best detailed background on how we came to this perilous state of affairs, it's hard to beat Vladimir Kozin of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies.  Read him carefully. And yes, it's Cold War 2.0, the double trouble remix; between the US and Russia, and between NATO and Russia.
Seeing red In his ARD interview, Putin stuck to actual facts on the ground: "NATO and the United States have military bases scattered all over the globe, including in areas close to our borders, and their number is growing ? Moreover, just recently it was decided to deploy special operations forces, again in close proximity to our borders. You have mentioned various [Russian] exercises, flights, ship movements and so on. Is all of this going on? Yes, it is indeed."
For the Russia-demonizing hordes, it's always convenient to forget that NATO expansion to Georgia and Ukraine was clinched at a NATO meeting in Bucharest in April 2008. The Georgia op spectacularly failed in the summer of 2008. Ukraine is a work in progress.
Crucially, in the ARD interview, Putin also told the EU coalition of the clueless/vassals/puppets/ that Russia can bring down the Ukraine House of Cards in a flash; Moscow just needs to emphasize it's time to collect the humongous amounts of cash it is legally owed.
Putin also made it very clear Moscow won't allow - and that was categorical: won't allow - Donbass to be overrun/smashed/ethnic-cleansed by Kiev: "Today there is fighting in eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian central authorities have sent the armed forces there and they even use ballistic missiles. Does anybody speak about it? Not a single word. And what does it mean? What does it tell us? This points to the fact, that you want the Ukrainian central authorities to annihilate everyone there, all of their political foes and opponents. You want that? We certainly don't. And we won't let it happen." 
According to Kiev's own figures, no less than 65% of residential buildings and 10% of schools and kindergartens in Donbass have been destroyed. Over 40,000 medium-sized companies are paralyzed. Unemployment - Ukraine-wide, is over 40%. External debt may reach US$80 billion - and don't expect the International Monetary Fund, which now owns Ukraine, to go philanthropic. Most of all, Kiev can't pay its billionaire gas bills to Gazprom because it spends a fortune terrorizing eastern Ukraine citizens. This Poroshenko rant sums it all up - with the US and EU fully complicit.
So NATO has been warned about Russia's real red lines. Still, substantial sectors of the Washington/Wall Street elites can't get enough of war. And they like it hot.  No one should ever underestimate the unlimited stupidity of the Return of the Living Neo-con Dead using their favorite pulpit, the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal.
The "logic" behind Cold War 2.0 - now in full swing - couldn't give a damn about European stability. The Obama administration launched it - with NATO as the spearhead - to in fact prevent Eurasian integration, building a New Berlin Wall in Kiev. The immediate target is to undermine Russia's economy; in the long run, regime change would be the ultimate bonus.
So the logic of escalation is on. The economically devastated EU is a joke; the only thing that counts for the US is NATO - and the overwhelming majority of its members are in the bag, sharing the prevailing mood in Washington of treating Putin as if he were Milosevic, Saddam Hussein or Gaddafi. There are no signs whatsoever Team Obama is willing to de-escalate. And when the Hillarator President-in-Waiting ascends to the throne, all bets are off.
Hollywood, FL -- Thirteen years later, focal point of 9/11 investigation is no more
After the 9/11 attack, FBI agents showed up at Shuckum's Oyster Bar located off the main downtown circle in Hollywood, Florida. The agents passed around photographs of two of the men who had been identified as among the reported hijackers of passenger planes on September 11, 2001. Night manager Tony Amos and waitress Patricia Idrissi stated that Mohammed Atta and two other men had come into the bar on the evening of September 7. The other two men were later identified by the FBI as alleged hijackers Marwan al-Shehhi and Abdulaziz al Omari. Al Shehhi drank rum and cokes and Atta pounded back five Stolichnayas and orange juice. After given their tab of $48, Atta began arguing over the bill. Amos asked him if he was able to pay and Atta, pulling from his pocket a roll of cash, said that he was an "American Airlines pilot" and was certainly able to pay. The three patrons then left with Atta leaving a $3 tip. Idriss also recounted that Atta had been playing the video arcade games of Trivial Pursuit and blackjack.
Today, many residents of Hollywood are not aware that their town was a major focal point of the 9/11 investigation.
Today, Shuckum's is closed. Moreover, employees of nearby establishments told WMR that the restaurant changed its names and staff some "10 times" over the past several years.
The last reported name of Shuckums was Harpoon Harry's. The windows and front door are blacked out with a notice on the door warning of hazardous materials contained in leased equipment inside the establishment belonging to Multi-Flow Industries of Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania. The firm provides soda and other fountain canisters for restaurants.
There is sitll a heavy Israeli presence in Hollywood as this repair shop for Mercedes and BMWs attests.
There was another less-reported factor in the story of the alleged hijackers' stay in Hollywood. In the months preceding 9/11, the Drug Enforcement Administration began compiling a dossier on the activities of at least 120 Israeli "art students" who had attempted to gain access to various federal buildings and the homes of federal employees and officials around the country. The art students claimed to be selling Israeli art to finance their educations in Israel. However, one of the art colleges some of the Israelis said they attended did not exist and the other had no record of their enrollment. WMR covered this story extensively in a 2005 special report.
Shuckums [left], a hangout for three of the alleged hijackers, including "lead hijacker" Mohammed Atta, is now closed after changing names several times since 9/11. An ominous warning sign cautions that there are hazardous materials in leased equipment inside the closed restaurant. [right]
One of the Israelis, Hanan Serfaty, lived at 701 S. 21st St. in Hollywood, around the corner from Shuckums. He also lived at the Emerald Greens Apartments at 4220 Sheridan Street, Apartment 303, practically across the street from Mailbox Rentals, where Omari and Al Shehhi, as well as two other hijackers, Khalid al Midhar and Walid al Shehri, maintained a mail drop. Serfaty's residences were close to where Atta and Al Shehhi lived on Jackson Street. Atta and Al Shehhi also lived a few blocks from the downtown area at Apartment 8, Bimini Motel, on North Ocean Drive along Hollywood beach.
Apartment where Israeli suspect Serfaty lived close to mail drop rented by Atta and his team.
Israeli policy is longstanding. Reflecting anti-Palestinian state terror. Institutionalized racism writ large. Vicious repression.
Brutalizing Muslims for not being Jews. Enforcing militarized occupation harshness. Denying Palestinians rights everyone deserves.
According to Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) director Jeff Halper:
"…(T)he 'Zionist answer' to the downward cycle of senseless violence in which Jerusalem finds itself" includes:
"house demolitions, mass arrests, revoking the 'residency' of native-born Jerusalemites, closing Palestinian neighborhoods with concrete blocks, arming Israeli Jewish vigilantes and cheap shots at the last person who believes in a two-state solution, Abu Mazen (Abbas)."
"Everything, that is, except an end to occupation and a just political solution."
"This is what happens when a powerful country forgoes any effort to address the grievances of a people under its control and descends into raw oppression."
Netanyahu lied. He's a serial liar. Everything he says lacks credibility. Big Lies substitute. Claiming Israel locked in "the grip of a terrorist onslaught."
Palestinians face brutalizing Israeli state terror. Police state barbarism writ large. Provoking justifiable Palestinian anger.
Inciting violence. Able to boil over uncontrollably any time. Perhaps into a third intifada. Or pretext for Israeli all-out war on millions of Palestinians.
Risking carnage and displacement matching Israel's so-called War of Independence. Western leaders able to intervene responsibly turn a blind eye. Ignore Israel's worst crimes.
Palestinians isolated on their own. Defenseless against Israel's onslaught. Its killing machine.
Palestinian human rights group Al Haq reported PA forces abusing civilians. Instead of defending them against Israeli state terror.
Targeting peaceful protestors. Demonstrating against IDF and police brutality.
Longtime Israeli collaborator Mahmoud Abbas unleashing PA forces against his own people. Imad Addin Jamal Amro one of many victims.
After Friday, November 7 prayers. Accosting him. Beating him viciously. Until no longer able to stand. Preventing bystanders from helping him.
Arresting him. Beating him severely at Preventive Security headquarters. An officer shouting "die, die." Accusing him of offenses he didn't commit.
Al Haq expressing outrage. Citing the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
Articles 7, 9 and 14 prohibiting arbitrary arrests and mistreatment.
Article 19 affirming freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Without interference. Prohibiting coercing practices denying them.
Regardless of views. Respecting those of others. In writing, print or orally.
Article 20 prohibiting incitement, discrimination, hostility, violence, and state-sponsored propaganda for war.
Article 21 affirming the right of peaceful assembly. Prohibiting any restrictions.
Article 19 of Palestinian Basic Law affirming free expression rights. Mandating criminal punishment for violators.
Article 11 affirming personal freedom as a natural right. Article 13 stating "no person shall be subject to any duress or torture, and that detainees should receive proper treatment."
Israel violates ICCPR and other human rights laws unaccountably. So do PA forces against their own people.
It bears repeating. Abbas is a longtime Israeli collaborator. Abusing his own people for special benefits he derives.
According to an unnamed PA source, he ordered no public discussions of Tuesday's synagogue attack.
Canceling media appearances. Issuing a statement following John Kerry saying:
"The Palestinian leadership must condemn this and they must begin to take serious steps to restrain any kind of incitement."
Abbas then "condemn(ing) the killings of worshipers at the synagogue in Jerusalem and condemn(ing) acts of violence no matter their source."
Equating Tuesday's incident with terrorism. Ignoring Kerry saying:
"To have this kind of act, which is a pure result of incitement, of calls for 'days of rage,' of just irresponsibility, is unacceptable."
Kerry turning a blind eye to daily Israeli state terror. Brutalizing millions of Palestinians.
Murdering them. Torturing them. Including young children.
Incarcerating thousands in gulag prison hell. Unaccountably. For demanding fundamental democratic freedoms.
Dominating Palestinians through repressive control. Kafkaesque and then some.
Physical control through land theft. Home demolitions. Settlements. Checkpoints. Ghettoization. Agricultural restrictions.
Permit permission for virtually everything. Military zones. Jews only development. Resource theft.
Borders, air space and offshore waters control. Jews only public spaces. Separation Wall repression. Harassment and intimidation.
Diaspora Palestinians prevented from returning. Claiming Jerusalem as Israel's exclusive capital.
Gazans locked in the world's largest open-air prison. Bureaucratic/legal/militarized control. Including hundreds of restrictive policies.
Covering virtual all aspects of Palestinian life. Imposing politically motivated conditions virtually impossible to live with. Including:
allowable home and village construction;
building permit restrictions;
home demolitions for any reason or none at all;
land expropriation designated for Israeli "public purposes;"
crop destruction for violations;
licensing and inspection of Palestinian businesses;
closures anywhere, any time, for any reason; and
movement and travel restrictions within and outside Israel and Occupied Territories.
Denying fundamental international law guaranteeing human and civil rights. Brazenly ignoring dozens of UN resolutions. Going back decades.
Condemning or censuring Israeli lawlessness. Deploring its actions. Demanding state-sponsored repression end.
Israel flaunts rule of law principles with impunity. Arrogating to itself the right to do what it damn pleases.
Law or no law. Because Western leaders able to change things do nothing. Turning a blind eye to Israel's worst crimes.
Washington partnering through military aid. Political support. Mindless of fundamental Palestinian rights. Horrific Israeli mistreatment.
Using violence. Other forms of repression for political, economic and social control.
Flagrantly violating core international humanitarian and human rights laws. Police state harshness writ large.
In November alone, lawlessly arresting nearly 400 Palestinians. Including young children. In largely pre-dawn raids,
In West Bank and East Jerusalem communities. Around two dozen detained on Thursday alone. Collective punishment writ large. Mass arrests and detentions continue.
Following Operation Protective Edge. Premeditated naked aggression. Murdering over 2,200 Palestinians. Injuring about 11,000 more.
Affecting hundreds of young children, women, the elderly and infirm. Unrelated to Hamas rockets. Or Israeli national security.
Launched to prevent Palestinian self-determination. Maintain occupation harshness.
On March 8, 1983, Ronald Reagan coined the term. He did so addressing the National Association of Evangelicals.
He called communism "the focus of evil in the modern world." Don't "ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire…and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil," he said.
Cold War politics returned. More venomously than earlier. Putin is targeted. He's public enemy No. 1.
Doing so turns truth on his head. Paul Craig Roberts justifiably calls him the world's moral leader.
A previous article said he shames his Western counterparts. He makes Obama look buffoon-like.
He does it with straight talk. Telling it like it is. Explaining what people most need to know. Unambiguously. Truthfully.
Polar opposite US politicians. Featuring Big Lies. Scorning vital truths. Supporting wrong over right. Making the world safe for monied interests.
Permanent war is official US policy. So is mass extermination. Begun centuries earlier.
Doing so reduced America's indigenous population to a tiny fraction of its original numbers. Millions were slaughtered in cold blood.
Centuries of slavery were horrific. Black Africans were captured, branded, chained, force-marched, beaten, encaged, and stripped of their humanity.
Around 100 million were sold like cattle. Millions perished during deplorable Middle Passage conditions.
Genocidal US policy continues in new forms. Technological advances facilitate it. America's killing machine knows no limits.
One genocide follows others. Countries are ravaged and destroyed. Tens of millions perished.
Winning hearts and minds don't matter. Stomping on people remains ongoing.
Death squad diplomacy eliminates nonbelievers. Madness defines US policy. Police state harshness criminalizes right over wrong defenders.
Making the world safe for democracy is pure fantasy. America tolerates it nowhere. For sure not domestically.
High crimes are rewarded. Upside down reality endangers everyone. Popular needs go begging.
Conquest, occupation, colonization, and exploitation are prioritized. Ordinary people are on their own sink or swim.
Wars are considered peace. They rage without end. Things go from bad to worse.
Propaganda works as intended. Minds are manipulated to support war. Truth is suppressed. Fear is stoked.
Patriotism, national security, and democratic values are highlighted.
Longstanding US policy prioritizes militarism, wars, homeland security, and related operations.
Doing so has nothing to do with external or internal threats. Nor humanitarian intervention. Nor responsibility to protect.
Nor spreading democratic values. It's about advancing America's imperium.
What Michael Parenti calls "the most powerful force in world history over the last four or five centuries."
"(T)he dominant politico-economic interests of one nation" over others. "(F)or their own enrichment…"
"(S)tealing land, labor, raw materials, and markets of another people." Dominating other economies and political systems.
Accumulating enormous amounts of wealth in the process. Using money to make more of it. Increase power. Gain market control. Exploit resources and labor.
Societies are destroyed and remade. Nations are pillaged for profit. Populations become disenfranchised. Workers become serfs. Local cultures become mass-market consumer ones.
Agribusiness replaces local farming. Competitive industries are eliminated. Foreign investment crowds out local capital.
Dominance legitimizes capital's divine right. Plunder assures obscene profits. Capital accumulation demands more. Profiteering becomes a be-all-and-end-all.
Democracy is pure fantasy. US elections are pre-scripted. Secrecy and back room deals substitute for a free, fair and open process.
Candidates are pre-selected. Big Money owns them. Key outcomes are pre-determined. Voters have no say.
Both major parties share blame. They're two sides of the same coin.
Not a dime's worth of difference on issues mattering most separates them. Americans get the best democracy money can buy.
Independents are shut out. Media scoundrels ignore them. Voter disenfranchisement is rife.
Millions can't vote because of past criminal records. Mostly what civilized societies call misdemeanors. Excluding prison. Assessing small fines or warnings.
Half of eligible voters opt out because their interests aren't addressed. Losers are declare winners. And not just for president.
Electoral democracy is pure fantasy. America is constitutionally flawed by design.
We the people aren't served. Wealth, power and privilege alone matter. Tom Paine called voting "the primary right by which all other(s) are protected."
America's corrupted process makes it impossible. Democracy is a figure of speech. A four-letter word. A sham no just society would tolerate.
No country in world history did more harm to more people over a longer duration than America. None match its ruthlessness.
Its shameless human and civil rights records. Its pariah state status. Its genocidal high crimes against peace.
Its global gulag. The world's largest by far. Filled with thousands of political prisoners.
Supplemented by global torture prisons. In dozens of countries. Operating out of sight and mind.
Crime bosses make policy. Monied interests control them. New World Order ruthlessness is official policy.
International, constitutional and US statute laws don't matter. Washington rules alone apply.
The Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) is one of nine likeminded UN bodies. Each responsible for overseeing a particular treaty's implementation.
UNHCR documented US human rights abuses. Assessing its noncompliance with International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) provisions.
Fundament human and civil rights. Signatories are required to respect free speech, assembly and religion.
Electoral rights, due process and judicial fairness. Self-determination and other universally accepted rule of law principles.
UNHCR condemned grave US human rights breaches. Citing institutionalized torture, drone killings, and failure to close Guantanamo.
Mandatory immigrant detentions and mass deportations, as well as lawless NSA spying, among other issues.
It criticized Washington's failure to uphold human rights standards worldwide. It cited whitewashed CIA renditions, forced disappearances, torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
Excessive secrecy was raised. Torture victims denied redress. Permitting torture-coerced confessions as evidence. Despite America's Supreme Court banning it.
Enforcing guilt by accusation. Denying habeas rights and judicial fairness. Substituting kangaroo court justice for the real thing.
Police states operate this way. America is by far the worst. At home and abroad.
Disturbing death penalty imposition disparities adversely affect America's most disadvantaged. African-Americans, Latinos and other people of color.
Justice is a four-letter word. Excessive force is used with impunity. Including beatings and gun-related deaths.
Dissent is criminalized. So is homelessness. Juveniles sentenced to life without parole. For homicides based on flimsy evidence or none at all.
Adults can face life imprisonment for alleged "non-homicide related" crimes. Abusive prolonged solitary confinement persists. Doing so constitutes torture.
Mandatory immigration detentions are reprehensible. Mass deportations deeply troubling.
Obama disgracefully expelled more immigrants and others than all his predecessors combined.
Murder, Inc. is official US policy. Death squads operate in 130 or more countries. So do CIA agents licensed to kill.
US citizens may be targeted at home or abroad. No one anywhere is safe. Summary judgment means no arrests. No Miranda rights.
No due process. No trial. Just a bullet, bomb or slit throat. It's official Obama policy. Diktat authority denies justice to anyone ordered killed.
Obama self-appointed himself judge, jury and executioner. He decides who lives or dies. Who's lawlessly indefinitely detained.
Equity and justice don't matter. Fundamental freedoms are disappearing in plain sight. Tyranny replaced them. It's almost full-blown.
Anyone anywhere may be thrown in military dungeons. Indefinitely held without charges or trial. Based solely on suspicions, baseless allegations or none at all.
Due process, civil protections, and judicial fairness are null and void. Presidents may order anyone arrested and imprisoned for life without charge or trial.
Abuse of power replaced rule of law protections. It's happening in real time. Obama abuses diktat power. Unitary executive authority.
The late Chalmers Johnson called it "a ball-faced assertion of presidential supremacy...dressed up in legalistic mumbo jumbo."
Obama exceeds the worst of his predecessors. He usurped the power of life and death. Including against US citizens.
Prioritizing killing drones, death squads, or other means. Eliminating America's enemies alone matters. Real or invented makes no difference.
Waging war on whistleblowers. Nonbelievers. Muslims. Latino immigrants. Environmental and animal rights activists unjustifiably called terrorists.
Anti-war activists. Global justice supporters. People associated with so-called "undesirable groups."
Presidents have public emergency powers. Enabling them to declare martial law. Suspend constitutional protections.
For so-called national security reasons or none at all. Deploying US troops on US streets. Militarizing state and local police forces.
Doing it to suppress whatever is called disorder. Including free expression, the right of assembly. petitioning government for redress of grievances publicly.
Opposing imperial lawlessness. America more than ever is unfit to live in. Unsafe by any standard.
Ruthless. Repressive. Cruel. Malicious. Vicious. Violent. Lawless. Criminally culpable of high crimes against peace.
Legal protections don't help. No one is safe anywhere. Advancing America's imperium matters most.
So does serving wealth, power and privilege. America the beautiful benefits them alone. Others take the hindmost.
Humanity is ruthlessly targeted. Battlefields shift from one theater to others. Gangsterism is official US policy. It's the American way.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Bush Redux: As Jeb Bush prepares to run in 2016, remember his brother
As Jeb Bush prepares to run for president in 2016, WMR is posting this article about his brother, Bush 43, as a reminder of nightmares past . . .
Bush and Hitler, the Unappetizing Similarities
by WAYNE MADSEN
Adolf Hitler would be proud that an American President is emulating him in so many ways. Hitler, it will be remembered, routinely ignored his military, other world leaders, and the clergy. Bush seems to think that this policy, which ultimately failed for Hitler, will work for him.
First, we should consider what Christian leaders are saying about Bush.
The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in America, Frank T. Griswold III, says “I’d like to be able to go somewhere in the world and not have to apologize for being from the United States” and blasts George W. Bush for his saber rattling. Apparently, poppy Bush, an Episcopalian, believes that the head of his church is wrong and his wayward son is right.
From the Vatican, Pope John Paul II fires a shot over the bow of the Bush administration by declaring, “war cannot be decided upon, even when it is a matter of ensuring the common good, except as the very last option and in accordance with very strict conditions.”
In a television ad, the chief ecumenical officer of the United Methodist Church, Bishop Melvin Talbert, says that his fellow Methodist’s rush to war “violates God’s law and the teachings of Jesus Christ.”
The Anglican House of Bishops has warned, “without compelling new evidence to confirm that Iraq was stockpiling chemical or biological weapons, war could not be morally justified.”
Bush, who, during one of the presidential debates, said his favorite philosopher was Jesus Christ, has apparently decided to ignore his teachings.
Maybe Bush has decided to turn away from Jesus Christ and instead seek Providence from a tequila bottle, as his State of the Union address with numerous examples of slurred speech would seem to indicate.
Bush, a so-called compassionate conservative and born-again Christian, can only find religious support from the same group of hackneyed pseudo-Christians, hate mongers, and religious cult leaders like Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Franklin Graham, and Sun Myung Moon. Bush opts for this band of zealots and ignores South African Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu who asked, “When does compassion, when does morality, when does caring come in?” His words fall on deaf ears in the Oval Office.
Content with ignoring the church, Bush has also decided to play with dynamite by ignoring some of America’s top military minds.
One of them is retired General Norman Schwarzkopf, the military commander of Desert Storm. He told The Washington Post that he has yet to be fully convinced that war with Iraq is necessary. Schwarzkopf’s comments mirror those of other retired top generals, including Anthony Zinni, Wesley Clark, John Shalikashvili, Brent Scowcroft, Joseph Hoar, and Merrill McPeak. Pentagon sources report that the obviously mentally ill Donald Rumsfeld threatened to fire some members of his Joint Chiefs of Staff for not supporting the war against Iraq. These included former Marine Corps Commandant and now NATO commander General James Jones and Army Chief of Staff General Erik Shinseki. Another recipient of Rumsfeld’s wrath is the commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command General Charles Holland who Rumsfeld accused of having a “case of the slows” in carrying out Bush’s war plans.
Pentagon sources report that morale among senior military commanders is at an all time low. Rumsfeld rubbed salt into open wounds when he ordered his “CINCs” (Commander-in-Chief) to drop that title, declaring that there is only one “commander-in-chief” and that is Bush. Neither did it help when Rumsfeld said military draftees never added any value to the service.
Pentagon sources report that some officers are digging out old message traffic that emanated from the Nixon White House in 1974 during the height of the Watergate crisis. One particular order from then Chief of Staff Al Haig stated that military commanders were to ignore any orders from Nixon unless they were authorized and co-signed by Haig. The fear then was that Nixon might have ordered a military move on the Congress during the impeachment hearings and cite national security as the reason for suspending the congressional proceedings against him.
In the end, however, Nixon understood the gravity of his constitutional responsibilities. He resigned. Bush, on the other hand, has done more to shred the Constitution than any of his predecessors.
Of course, there was once another fanatic war-possessed leader who tore up his constitution and routinely berated his generals and ignored their advice. On July 20, 1944, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg strode into a conference room in Hitler’s Wolf’s Lair compound with a briefcase bomb. Although the plot to rid the world of Hitler once and for all failed, it confirmed that a number of Germany’s top generals, including its most famous, Erwin von Rommel, were strongly opposed to Hitler’s fanaticism.
War making and saber rattling is not the only similarity of Bush to Hitler. The German leader, along with Joseph Goebbels, was also a master of propaganda. The Bush administration, obviously putting its propaganda arm, the White house Office of Global Communications, into full gear, convinced nine European leaders to take out an ad, billed as an ‘article,” in several European newspapers supporting the Bush administration. Some of the usual suspects signed on to the article, including Tony Blair, who, in addition to Barney and Spot, is Bush’s favorite lap dog. But it is interesting to point out some of the other leaders who backed Bush. They include the Prime Ministers of Poland and Hungary and President Vaclav Havel of the Czech Republic. These countries, which joined NATO a few years ago with the provision that they buy billions of dollars of American warplanes, tanks, and other hardware, are virtual subsidiaries of America’s military-industrial complex.
Denmark’s Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen is only in power because of the support he receives from a rabidly anti-immigrant party that mirrors John Ashcroft’s brand of conservatism. Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi heads a party that has maintained strong links to Italy’s neo-fascist movement whose founding father was Benito Mussolini. Likewise, the parties of Spain’s Jose Maria Aznar and Portugal’s Jose Barroso have historical links to the fascist movements of Francisco Franco and Antonio Salazar, respectively.
Bush’s borrowing liberally from Hitler’s play book was not lost on Germany’s former Justice Minister Herta Daeubler-Gmelin, who last September said Bush wanted a war with Iraq to divert attention from domestic problems. She added, “That’s a popular method. Even Hitler did that.”
Bush, who is content to win the support of Pentagon stooges in Eastern Europe and neo-fascists elsewhere, has chosen to ignore people like former South African President Nelson Mandela who made no secret of his disgust for Bush when he declared at a women’s forum, “One power with a president who has no foresight — who cannot think properly — is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust.”
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who did more to bring peace to the world in a couple of years than either of the Bush’s have done in two presidential terms, said last year that George W. Bush is a threat to world peace and that his plans to attack Iraq will destroy the international coalition in the war on terrorism. Former President Jimmy Carter and Nobel Peace Prize laureate warned that a pre-emptive US attack on Iraq would have catastrophic consequences.
Bush’s disparaging of the United Nations, world opinion, and international statesmen is reminiscent of an April 28, 1939 speech by Hitler before the Reichstag:
“Members of the German Reichstag: The President of the United States of America has addressed a telegram to me, with the curious contents of which you are already familiar . . . The President of the United States believes that in conference rooms as in courts it is necessary that both sides enter in good faith, assuming that substantial justice will accrue to both. German representatives will never again enter a conference that is for them a tribunal . . . Mr. Roosevelt asks that assurances be given him that the German armed forces will not attack, and above all, not invade, the territory or possessions of the following independent nations. He then names as those to which he refers: Finland, Lithuania, Latvia,’ Estonia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Great Britain , Ireland, France, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Poland, Hungary, Rumania, Yugoslavia, Russia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iraq, the Arabias, Syria, Palestine, Egypt and Iran. I have first taken the trouble to ascertain from the states mentioned, firstly, whether they feel themselves threatened, and, what is most important, secondly, whether this inquiry by the American President was addressed to us at their suggestion or at least with their consent. The reply was in all cases negative, in some instances strongly so . . . I have reunited the territories that have been German throughout a thousand years of history-and, Mr. Roosevelt, I have endeavored to attain all this without bloodshed and without bringing to my people and so to others, the misery of war . . . For my world, Mr. President, is the one to which Providence has assigned me and for which it is my duty to work. Its area is much smaller. It comprises my people alone. But I believe I can thus best serve that which is in the hearts of all of us a justice, well-being, progress and peace for the whole community of mankind.”
As Congress cheerfully applauded Bush’s State of the Union address, the Reichstag gave Hitler a thunderous reception. Although Hitler’s oratory skills were light years beyond Bush’s, the two speeches had something extremely fundamental in common – they were packed with lies.