Listen to “Liberty Street”, unreleased Bob Dylan song performed by Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith

Pictured: Elvis Costello, Jim James,T Bone Burnett, Jay Bellerose, Rhiannon Giddens, Marcus Mumford, Taylor Goldsmith. Photo Credit: Sam Jones/Showtime © 2014 Showtime Networks Inc

Pictured: Elvis Costello, Jim James,T Bone Burnett, Jay Bellerose, Rhiannon Giddens, Marcus Mumford, Taylor Goldsmith.
Photo Credit: Sam Jones/Showtime
© 2014 Showtime Networks Inc

 

As previously reported, an all-star contingency of folk rockers recently convened to create music for two dozen newly discovered lyrics written by Bob Dylan. Entitled Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes, the 15-track collection is the culmination of two-plus weeks of studio time by My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, Mumford and Sons’ Marcus Mumford, Elvis Costello, Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith, Carolina Chocolate Drops’ Rhiannon Giddens, and super producer T-Bone Burnett. The lyrics in question date back to 1967, taken from the same period that spurred the recording of Dylan’s iconic Basement Tapes.

In anticipation of the album’s release, the collective has already shared several album tracks: the Jim James-fronted “Nothing To It”, the Elvis Costello-led “Married To My Hack”, the Marcus Mumford-helmed “When I get My Hands On You”, and “Spanish Mary”. Today, Goldsmiths takes over as frontman on “Liberty Street”.

Despite the sheer star power of the project, this song is perhaps the most quaint and minimalist of the entire project, with Goldsmith crooning over some gentle piano and the faint whispers of a back-up chorus. Still, that light touch perfectly fits the song’s overall scope, with undertones of religious exploration and a message of personal growth/freedom. Watch its accompanying lyric video below, a slightly abstract animated piece.

 

The New Basement Tapes – Liberty Street (Lyric Video

 

 

Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes will arrive November 11th via Electromagnetic Recordings / Harvest Records. The album is being accompanied by a Showtime documentary set to debut on November 21st.  According to a press release, director Sam Jones’ Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued presents an “exclusive and intimate look at the making of Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes set against the important and historical cultural backdrop of Bob Dylan’s original Basement Tapes.”

Meanwhile, Dylan himself will release the entire collection of The Basement Tapes on November 4th. The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 spans a whopping 138 songs, including 30 never known to have existed. Stream it in full here.

Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes Tracklist:
01. Down On The Bottom
02. Married To My Hack
03. Kansas City
04. Spanish Mary
05. Liberty Street
06. Nothing To It
07. Golden Tom – Silver Judas *
08. When I Get My Hands On You
09. Duncan and Jimmy
10. Florida Key
11. Hidee Hidee Ho #11
12. Lost On The River #12
13. Stranger
14. Card Shark
15. Quick Like A Flash *
16. Hidee Hidee Ho #16 *
17. Diamond Ring *
18. The Whistle Is Blowing *
19. Six Months In Kansas City (Liberty Street)
20. Lost On The River #20

* = Deluxe edition only

The Emperor Signals Putin Not to Move Against New NATO Members

 

ussian President Vladimir Putin (R) and his American opposite number Barack Obama

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and his American opposite number Barack Obama

Monday Oct 27, 2014

Russia’s moves in Ukraine defensive, not offensive

Current US and NATO propaganda is based on the idea that Russia under President V. V. Putin has been waging an aggressive campaign against Ukraine, but the reality is that Russia’s actions have largely been of a strategically defensive character, although also containing some aggressive tactics.

The main cause of the current conflict is the insistence by Washington and London on organizing a coup d’état in Russia’s largest and most strategically sensitive area.

Putin’s actions have been mainly focused on preventing the rise of a hostile fascist state allied to NATO on his own borders. Russia is merely trying to secure for itself an environment of reasonably benign neighbors, a program not unlike the traditional US Monroe Doctrine.

Unsure of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intentions, the Emperor’s administration is attempting to warn the Kremlin not to test the U.S. commitment to defend its allies in eastern and central Europe.

Following the Emperor’s orders, jet fighters from the U.K., Denmark, France and Poland began flying air patrols over the Baltic states in April “as part of collective defense measures,” NATO reported. Canadian jets are deploying to Romania “as part of NATO efforts to reassure allies” in Central and Eastern Europe, the alliance said…

These games and others, including deployments of U.S. troops for military exercises, try to discourage any thoughts Putin may have about extending Russia’s reach beyond Ukraine.

There are reasons why Putin may doubt the Emperor’s resolve. The Emperor backed away from a red line when he threatened military action if Syria used chemical weapons, then didn’t follow through. Diplomats say that’s hurt U.S. credibility internationally. Further, the crisis in Europe comes as polls show Americans want the U.S to play a reduced role overseas.

Historically, Americans have supported the defense commitment to NATO, the key alliance assembled after World War II to establish the U.S.’s hegemony in Western Europe, mainly, as well as in Eastern Europe.  Under Article 5 of the 1949 North Atlantic Treaty, the U.S. and all other members would consider an armed attack on any one of them an attack on all.  But the U.S. doesn’t respect treaties — they go for what they want and that’s it.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, NATO has extended its membership to nations once dominated by the Soviet Union, including the Baltic states, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania and Slovenia. Georgia, a former Soviet republic that fought a five-day war with Russia in 2008 over breakaway regions, is seeking fast-track NATO membership as a result of the Ukraine crisis. Bon voyage!

Putin may have his eye on testing the U.S. and the major European powers, if he decides to help the pro-independence fighters to stop the fascist Kiev regime’s forces from occupying Novorossiya, a  confederation of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, claiming the territory of the respective Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine.

“I think this is also about shattering NATO and potentially shattering the EU, because if he were to do something in the Baltics and we did not respond, that’s the end of Article 5, that’s the end of NATO,”  said Stephen Hadley, who was national security adviser to President George W. Bush,. addressing the Atlantic Council, a Washington based group that promotes trans-Atlantic relations, shortly before Biden spoke.

“In response to Russian aggression, America is taking steps to make clear that our allies will honor the solemn commitments under Article 5 of the NATO treaty,” Biden said. “That is an absolute, ironclad guarantee.”

What makes the Emperor think that Russia is interested in attacking any new NATO member? Sounds like the Emperor’s administration are growing mentally imbalance properly because of their many failed diplomatic efforts lately. Being self-declared champions of democracy, americans are growing increasingly undemocratic, fond of rumor mongering and fact twisting…

‘‘We in Europe are very much in agreement that a military resolution of the problems cannot happen,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said. “It’s not on the agenda. War is no solution, and so we have to find other ways.”

How do you propose to intimidate the bear when he knows you’re a rabbit? When you play the brinksmanship game you blink you lose.

The Emperor not only blinks but he hides his head in the sand. Once a dog has tucked his tail between his legs no other dog will respect him until he fights a fight to the death. It’s the “you will kill me but I will kill you too” that keeps the dogs at bay.

Do you really think the Emperor will start a nuclear war over the Baltic states? Do you think Putin thinks so?

TWILIGHT OF THE COLOR REVOLUTIONS
The initiative in starting the current crisis did not come from Putin, but rather from a complex of US and NATO institutions dedicated to meddling in the internal affairs of other countries, and to destabilizing other states in ways that the bungling Utopians of the State Department imagine will be helpful to them.

The forces behind the mob-rule destabilization of Ukraine in the fall of 2013 and the Kiev putsch of February 22, 2014 are centered in the National Endowment for Democracy, and in the politicized subdivisions of the US Agency for International Development, not to mention such private sector conduits as Freedom House, the Albert Einstein Foundation, and many more.

These are the agencies which, according to US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland (the wife of neocon warmonger and top Romney advisor Robert Kagan), have invested some $5 billion in building up an anti-Russian opposition in Ukraine – an opposition in which neofascist and neo-Nazi political forces are heavily represented.

After appearing in orange, purple, and other hues, the attack on the modern national state known as the color revolution has now in Kiev stripped-down to its definitive paint job of brown — the color of Hitler’s storm troopers.

As Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov recently commented, “The United States and the European Union, let’s call things as they are, attempted to create yet another ‘color revolution’ in Ukraine by holding an operation on an unconstitutional regime change.” (RIA Novosti, April 24, 2014)

This US-NATO color revolution apparatus took the initiative in overthrowing Yanukovich, detonating a civil war in Ukraine. These facts mean that the United States and NATO must be seen as the aggressors in the current situation, and must bear historical responsibility for whatever tragic consequences may derive in the future.

FEBRUARY’S KIEV COUP NEEDLESSLY DEFIED THREE VITAL RUSSIAN INTERESTS
Western elites are now whining about the countermeasures taken by Putin to guide the inevitable partition, including the avoidance of protracted civil war.

Even a quick overview of Russian history should have warned the self-obsessed masters of human destiny in Foggy Bottom and the Foreign Office that the Russian riposte would be quick and energetic. We are talking here about the kinds of fundamental principles that used to be contained even in decent high school textbooks.

Since the time of Peter the Great, Russia has been interested in acquiring ice free, warm water ports, so as to procure unimpeded access to the world ocean. The naval base at Sevastopol and the commercial port of Odessa represent just such warm water ports, and made Russia a naval power in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.

A second recurring Russian concern has been to prevent a land invasion from central Europe of the type undertaken by Poland during the Time of Troubles in the early 1600s, by Charles XII of Sweden in the early 1700s, by Napoleon of France in 1812, and by Hitler in 1941.

This issue reinforces the desire for non-hostile neighbors already mentioned. A third consideration is that the post-1945 ideology of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and to some extent of the later Russian Federation has been based on the heroism and sacrifices of the Great Patriotic War against Nazism.

Of the objective validity of this Russian pride there can be no doubt: during World War II, the United States government saluted the defense of the Soviet Union against Hitler as the greatest military achievement in human history, as seen in Frank Capra’s Why We Fight films. The amalgam of Russian patriotism with anti-fascism has in fact has provided much of the energy of the Russian response against the Kiev coup, in which neofascists and neo-Nazis of groups like Svoboda, the Right Sector, and others have been prominent.

MANY FAULT LINES OF THE ARTIFICIAL UKRAINIAN STATE UNDER IMF RULE
Given these well-known Russian concerns, it is likely that Moscow’s desired outcome for the current commotion will be the entry into the Russian sphere, not just of the Crimea, but of the area referred to by Putin as Novorossiya, including the provinces of Kharkov, Lugansk, Donetsk, Dniperpetrovsk, Zaporizhiya, Kherson, Mikolaiv, Odessa, and quite possibly Chernihiv, Sumy, Poltava, Kirovograd, plus the City of Kiev with its hinterland.

According to Agence France Presse, the provinces listed have a Russian-speaking majority, and many of them voted for Yanukovich in 2010. In some others, the estrangement from the Kiev fascist regime will come in the months ahead as a backlash against the genocidal austerity imposed by the International Monetary Fund, and enforced by Turchinov, Yatsenyuk and company.

Also, if Russia controls the Black Sea ports and the lower Dnieper River, the basic logistics of commodity flows and exports will tend to make the upper Dnieper provinces gravitate towards Moscow. This motion in the direction of Moscow may come through direct annexation, repatriation or in-gathering, quite possibly over a period of years. It may take the form of a separate buffer state functioning as a Russian protectorate.

According to one analysis, “the government in Kiev is managing to alienate citizens here … with a little help from the West. at a most dangerous and delicate time, just as it battles Moscow for hearts and minds across the east, the pro-Western government is set to initiate a shock therapy of economic measures to meet the demands of an emergency bailout from the International Monetary Fund.” (Washington Post, April 16, 2014)

This will include doubling the price of natural gas by removing government price subsidies, increasing regressive taxation, shredding the social safety net for the sick, the old, the very young, expectant mothers, and others, the looting of the black earth farm belt by foreign speculators, and the wholesale transfer of coal and steel manufacturing to foreign control.

The resulting landlocked revanchist rump Ukraine with its natural ideological capital in Lvov (Lviv, Lemberg, Leopoli) will have so many irredentist border disputes that no European government could be prevailed on to allow it to join NATO or the European Union, since this would probably represent a one-way ticket to war with Russia or some other country.

This revanchist rump Ukraine would inevitably become the object of Polish designs, and might soon be further partitioned by its western neighbors– perhaps ending the experiment in artificial modern Ukrainian statehood inaugurated in early 1918 by Field Marshal von Hindenburg and General Ludendorff of the German general staff.

We should remember that most of today’s western Ukraine, including Lvov and Tarnopol, spent the time between 1920 and 1941 as provinces of Poland, after more than a century of Austrian and Hungarian rule. There is also the province of Trans-Carpathian Ukraine (also known as Carpathian Ruthenia), which might be of interest to Hungary, Slovakia, or Romania because of historical claims or ethnic representation.

Here a separatist movement is already present: on October 25, 2008, during the Georgia crisis, 100 delegates attending the Congress of Carpathian Ruthenians declared the formation of the Republic of Carpathian Ruthenia, eliciting a hostile outburst from the fascist Svoboda Party in Kiev. Whatever happens in regard to such places, it is safe to say that no Americans in their right mind will want to interfere.

Ukraine could have survived on two conditions: that the country had been permanently neutralized, and that it had been constituted as a confederation.

In the decades just after World War II, Finland – which had been an active ally of Nazi Germany against the USSR – fared reasonably well as a neutral or “Finlandized” nation, pledged not to join NATO or the European Economic Community and not to tolerate anti-Soviet agitation.

As for the idea of confederation, the obvious example of a multi-ethnic, multilingual country that has prospered under a very limited central government with broad local autonomy is of course the country officially named Confœderatio Helvetica, otherwise known as Switzerland.

Ukraine could have done exceedingly well under this combination, but the inept nomenklatura oligarchy running the country since the days of Kravchuk and Kuchma have possessed pitifully limited experience of government, and have gained none of the wisdom and statesmanship that might have allowed a confederal compromise between East and West in the way that Vienna and Budapest were able to form a dualistic state a during the late 19th century.

From the US point of view, what is happening in Ukraine is more or less what occurred in West Virginia during the Civil War after the secession crisis of 1860-1861. The slaveholders of tidewater Virginia left the Union in the spring of 1861, but the mountain counties of the state decided to assert their allegiance to the government in Washington, seceding in their turn from Virginia and forming a new state, which was duly admitted to the Union in 1863.

Unfortunately, the radically anti-historical ruling elite of the United States is today manifesting many symptoms of collective psychosis, in the form of delusions of grandeur, schizophrenia, and Russophobia. Neocons are apoplectic because the resurgence of Russia threatens their future hopes of naked or thinly veiled military aggression on the Iraq model. Liberals are hysterical because Putin threatens to deprive them of their two favorite methods of reordering world affairs, the color revolution and humanitarian bombing conducted under the “responsibility to protect” perversion of international law.

JESSICA MATHEWS OF CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT AND HARVARD WANTS US BOOTS ON GROUND
A case in point is the representative establishment figure Jessica Tuchman Mathews of the Morgenthau-Wertheim Our Crowd networks, who is today the president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a member of the Harvard Corporation.

In a May 3, 2014 interview with Charlie Rose on PBS, Mathews stated that President Obama, preferably in late February of this year, should have responded to the announcement of Russian military drills near the Ukrainian border by accepting an invitation from Kiev to conduct “multilateral military exercises” on Ukrainian territory with the US sending one brigade, while urging at least 4 to 5 NATO allies to take part in battalion strength.

She also suggested that it would have been wise for the Emperor to call Putin and inform him of these drills, telling the Russian president that the NATO drills would be over as soon as the Russian exercises had been ended. What Matthews was unable to mention was of course any vital US strategic interest in Ukraine that would justify such a reckless action, apart from some vague notion of the rules of the current international system, which the Kiev coup had in any case rendered inoperative.

This is of course a piece of strategic lunacy that would make even the most deranged Dr. Strangelove shudder. It may help us to gauge the degeneracy of the current US ruling elite if we recall that Ms. Mathews’ mother was the late Barbara Tuchman, the author of the 1962 study The Guns of August.

This book, whatever its other limitations, performed a positive historical function because it had been read by President Kennedy shortly before the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962, and provided Kennedy with the concept of war by miscalculation, which he used as the basis for rejecting some of the more irresponsible proposals coming from his advisers during that strategic emergency.

Back when she was working for the New York Council on Foreign Relations, Mathews was the author of a triumphalist manifesto of Empire she called “Power Shift,” which appeared in Foreign Affairs, January-February 1997. This article was later chosen by the CFR as up there with George Kennan’s 1947 “Mr. X” containment screed among the most influential to have appeared during the first 75 years of their publication.

In her piece, Matthews voiced the fashionable misconceptions of an era in which the Fukuyama End of History and the Daniel Bell End of Ideology were all the rage in Georgetown. The unspoken premise was, of course, that an era of permanent and uncontested US world domination had begun.

Matthews argued that the international system of sovereign states which emerged after the peace of Westphalia in 1648 had now evaporated. The nation-state was increasingly impotent and obsolete, power was shifting to supernational organizations and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and the worldwide domination of speculative hot money was at hand. Instead of the modern territorial state, she wanted a return to the jurisdictional confusion of the Middle Ages, another disguise of Empire.

With this article as her most famous contribution to the imperialist policy debate, we can see why Jessica Matthews is so reluctant to face the world in which all of her trendy clichés have been brutally refuted by reality itself. This same mechanism is currently operative in the individual psychology of hundreds of professors, pundits, and bureaucrats who have built their careers on the now-extinct permanent unipolar hypothesis.

The result is the hysteria we hear in every public statement from Kerry, Samantha Power, Nuland, Ambassador Pyatt, and so many others. Anytime we hear these figures attempt to reassure public opinion that “nobody is proposing boots on the ground” or words to that effect, we should recall that this is simply a lie, given the remarks of an authoritative figure like Ms. Mathews , who has not so far been fired from any of her prestigious posts.

BENEFITS OF A RETURN TO A BALANCE OF POWER
The American people turn out to be major beneficiaries of Putin’s reassertion of Russian interests. The post 1991 period of unilateral world domination has brought out the absolute worst in the US ruling class, with endless meddling, threats, saber rattling, and catastrophic armed aggression against many countries around the world.

At the present time, the most efficient means of deterring and containing the impulses of neocon and “humanitarian” warmongers alike is that they be confronted by a powerful counterweight in the form of a resurgent Russia, a country capable of reasserting a reality principle against the lobbies demanding aggression.

This re-establishment of an approximate balance of power in world affairs has great positive potential. Americans should also remember that real wages and working conditions in the US were significantly higher when the Soviet Union was intact, and that the era of unipolar domination has been accompanied by reactionary politics, the decimation of the manufacturing sector, union busting, a declining standard of living, and increasing cultural barbarism.

American voters and political activists could do themselves an immense favor by demanding the immediate dismantling and de-funding of this color revolution apparatus. It was one thing to carry out color revolutions in Serbia and Georgia, and to attempt one in Lebanon, but the low hanging fruit has long since been exhausted.

The defeat of the fake 2005 Cedars Revolution in Lebanon, largely through the organizational resistance of Hezbollah, and especially the failure of the attempted June 2009 color revolution in Iran, both show that this imperialist weapon has reached the point of diminishing returns.

Trying to pull off a repeat performance of the 2004 orange revolution in Kiev at this late date was obviously an amateurish blunder, while recruiting gangs of Ernst Röhm-style fascist thugs like the late Muzichko of Right Sector to play the role of golden youth yearning for Western democracy made things even worse.

Putin evidently regards former Ambassador McFaul’s failed attempts to conjure up a color revolution as an act of war, so it would be wise to cease and desist from attempting this in Moscow.

Accordingly, the National Endowment for Democracy should be broken up and dissolved, and the sectors of USAID supposedly devoted to civil society and democratization should share the same fate. Freedom House and similar private institutions should be deprived of any federal funding.

US WORLD DOMINATION FADING AFTER 23 YEARS, 1991 TO 2014

Putin’s actions remind us that no world domination has ever lasted indefinitely. The problem of a unipolar world is its inherent instability, with the costs of military action generally appearing far smaller to the policy maker than they are in reality. From about 1525 to 1660 or so, Spain dominated Europe and the world, but still faced resistance from Richelieu’s France, from the revolt of the Netherlands, and from England’s destruction of the Spanish Armada.

After 1660, Louis XIV attempted to establish French world domination, but his efforts were defeated by the English-Dutch combination assembled by William of Orange — a defeat which became evident with the Peace of Utrecht in 1713.

England then exercised a growing global hegemony for more than two centuries, despite such defeats as the American Revolution. After Trafalgar and Waterloo, the British used the 1848 revolutions as a kind of European Spring, overthrowing every government on the continent except Russia.

Between 1848 and 1871, the British came very close to uncontested world domination, but were defeated by Tsar Alexander II of Russia, US President Abraham Lincoln, and German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. Even then, the British remained first among equals until about 1940.

That 1848 to 1871 phase still stands as the closest any power has come to unquestioned domination of the world. If that British dominion lasted about 23 years, it is ironic to see that US global hegemony is fading fast in 2014, just 23 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The task of statesmanship is now to manage a return to a more traditional balance of power arrangement, while avoiding tragic military consequences for all concerned.

 

 

 

 

Nobel Peace Prize laureates call on Obama to release CIA torture report

U.S. president Barack Obama

U.S. president Barack Obama – (AFP Photo / Brendan Smialowski)

 

Twelve winners of the Nobel Peace Prize have urged fellow laureate, US President Barack Obama, to release a Senate report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s post-9/11 Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation Program, also known as the torture report.

The laureates revealed late Sunday an open letter that called for “full disclosure to the American people of the extent and use of torture and rendition by American soldiers, operatives, and contractors, as well as the authorization of torture and rendition by American officials.”

The letter, posted on TheCommunity.com, also asked for a concrete plan to close secret international “black site” prisons – used by the US to hide, hold, and interrogate post-9/11 detainees – as well as the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, where many War on Terror captives languish with few or inconsistent legal maneuvers, if any at all, at their disposal.

The letter was signed by past Nobel winners José Ramos-Horta, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, F.W. De Klerk, Leymah Gbowee, Muhammad Yunus, John Hume, Bishop Carlos X. Belo, Betty Williams, Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Jody Williams, Oscar Arias Sanchez, and Mohammad ElBaradei.

“In recent decades, by accepting the flagrant use of torture and other violations of international law in the name of combating terrorism, American leaders have eroded the very freedoms and rights that generations of their young gave their lives to defend,” the laureates wrote.

“They have again set an example that will be followed by others; only now, it is one that will be used to justify the use of torture by regimes around the world, including against American soldiers in foreign lands. In losing their way, they have made us all vulnerable.”

The letter called on Obama, winner of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize after less than a year in the White House, to follow principles of international law outlined in the UN Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Conventions.

The US Senate Intelligence Committee’s $40 million investigation into the CIA’s Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation Program – which was active from September 11, 2001 to 2006 – has found that the spy agency purposely deceived the US Justice Department to attain legal justification for the use of torture techniques, among other findings. The investigation and subsequent crafting of the report ran from March 2009 to December 2012.

Of that 6,000-page investigative report, the public will only see a 500-page, partially-redacted executive summary that is in the process of declassification.

According to sources familiar with the unreleased report, the CIA, and not top officials of the George W. Bush administration, are blamed for interrogation tactics that amount to torture based on international legal standards.

The report outlines 20 main conclusions about the CIA’s post-9/11 torture program which, according to the investigation, intentionally evaded White House, congressional, and intra-agency oversight.

The White House is reportedly wrestling over how to interpret a ban on “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” ahead of a meeting in Geneva next month concerning the United Nations charter on torture.

According to the New York Times, the Obama administration remains divided over what stance a Washington delegation will officially take at the UN-sponsored Committee Against Torture panel early next month in the Swiss city.

Although Barack Obama said before and after being elected to the White House that United States officials should never engage in torturous activity, Times national security journalist Charlie Savage reported on Sunday this week that administration officials might formally adopt another stance — one on par with the policies of Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush — when the panel convenes in a couple of weeks.

The Times reported that the attorneys who answer to the president are conflicted over whether or not the White House should revisit the Bush administration’s interpretation of a UN treaty, the likes of which authorized the use of enhanced interrogation tactics, like waterboarding and sleep deprivation, on individuals detained by military and intelligence agencies in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at facilities such as the Guantanamo Bay detention center and CIA so-called “black sites.”

The upcoming meeting will be the first one of Obama’s presidency, Savage acknowledged, presenting the commander-in-chief with a rare opportunity to speak of the UN Convention Against Torture, a treaty that since the 1980s has aimed to ensure prisoners the world over aren’t subjected to inhumane conditions.

In Sunday’s report, Savage wrote that Obama, then a US senator, spoke out adamantly against Pres. Bush when it was revealed in 2005 that his administration had been interpreting the UN treaty in a manner that they argued made it acceptable for CIA and Pentagon officials to disregard the prohibitions against torture if they weren’t on American soil.

Obama the president later condemned that reasoning with an executive order “ensuring lawful interrogations,” Savage added, although next month’s meeting may change that.

“But the Obama administration has never officially declared its position on the treaty, and now, President Obama’s legal team is debating whether to back away from his earlier view,” Savage wrote. “It is considering reaffirming the Bush administration’s position that the treaty imposes no legal obligation on the United States to bar cruelty outside its borders, according to officials who discussed the deliberations on the condition of anonymity.”

“State Department lawyers are said to be pushing to officially abandon the Bush-era interpretation,” Savage added, which would simply continue to let the 2009 Obama-signed executive order stand as Washington’s official word and further ensure that American officials are obligated to adhere to the torture treaty regardless of where in the world they are located.

Other attorneys, he added, have a different idea of what to do at next month’s meeting, however. “But military and intelligence lawyers are said to oppose accepting that the treaty imposes legal obligations on the United States’ actions abroad,” Savage wrote. “They say they need more time to study whether it would have operational impacts. They have also raised concerns that current or future wartime detainees abroad might invoke the treaty to sue American officials with claims of torture, although courts have repeatedly thrown out lawsuits brought by detainees held as terrorism suspects.”

Should those arguing on the latter side provoke, then the current administration could soon find itself agreeing with past policies that continue to be controversial nearly a decade after the Bush White House’s use of torture started to surface.

“Many foreign political leaders and non-governmental organizations have called for members of the Bush administration, including Bush himself, to face prosecution for allowing the abuse of detainees in US custody during the course of the US campaign against Islamic militant groups spurred by the 9/11 attacks,” Mark Hanrahan wrote for the International Business Times on Sunday. “The Bush administration, which launched the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, had to contend with a number of allegations it allowed US officials to use torture against detainees during the course of its campaigns,” including the infamous Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq.

If the Pentagon and CIA attorneys prevail, then Washington could once again interpret the UN treaty in a manner that allows those same torturous practices to be performed on detainees once against, as long as any such instances occur abroad.

Last week, McClatchy news service reported that a classified $40 million probe launched by the Senate to investigate the CIA’s Bush-era detention and interrogation program concludes without holding any administration officials responsible for the scandals at Abu Ghraib and other facilities that to this day remain a major scar on the presidency.

“This report is not about the White House. It’s not about the president. It’s not about criminal liability. It’s about the CIA’s actions or inactions,” a person familiar with the report told McClatchy. “It does not look at the Bush administration’s lawyers to see if they were trying to literally do an end run around justice and the law.”

Who is blocking MH17 probe? Why? by Finian Cunningham

373251_MH17

Published by What’s the ‘real’ truth?

By Finian Cunningham

 Dutch and Australian police teams have this week for the second time had to cancel plans to investigate the crash site of the downed Malaysia airliner in Ukraine because the Western-backed Kiev regime is waging war on the people of that region.

This is despite earlier promises by the Kiev rulers to call a ceasefire in the vicinity.

The conclusion is obvious: the Western puppet regime in Kiev is going all-out to hinder a probe into the possible cause of the crash, which saw all 298 people on board lose their lives.

Yet, that conclusion is not at all obvious to the Western media. Absurdly, they draw the opposite, that the pro-independence militia fighting the Kiev junta are to blame for blocking an investigation. Even more ludicrous is the logic that the Russian government is to blame, and hence more sanctions are to be heaped on Moscow.

Since Malaysia Airlines MH17 went down, the Western coup-installed junta in Ukraine has stepped up its military assault on the eastern regions of Lugansk and Donetsk, where the doomed Boeing 777 jumbo jet came down.

The self-declared government in Kiev – which came to power last February with the help of covert US and European destabilization of the elected authorities – has been waging an “anti-terror” campaign against the ethnic Russian populations of eastern Ukraine. The people of the east refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the Western-backed neo-Nazi regime, which has regularly and openly called for the destruction of Russian “sub-humans”.

Over the past few months, some 1,100 people – mainly civilians – have been killed in the fighting between Kiev’s military forces and the self-defense militia set up to in the eastern regions. Over 200,000 people have been forced to flee their homes and seek refuge across the border in Russia’s Rostov province.

In the two weeks since the MH17 crash, the Kiev regime forces have killed dozens of civilians from bombardment of towns and villages in the vicinity of the crash site. Up to 30 people were reportedly killed in the town of Gorlovka this week. Heavy violence is also taking place in the towns of Shahktarsk and Torez. Whatever happened to Kiev’s declared ceasefire last week to allow a crash probe to proceed?

This is the context in which the Malaysian airliner was brought down. The precise circumstances are not yet known. It could have been hit by an anti-aircraft missile; or blown out of the sky by a bomb planted on board. Some local eyewitnesses have claimed that they saw a fighter jet fire on the passenger plane in mid-air.

Already, most of the bodies of the nearly 300 victims have been recovered and sent back to the Netherlands for examination, as have the flight recorders, which are currently being analyzed by British aviation experts. That salvage effort, so far, was made possible by the pro-independence militia fighting against Kiev regime forces. Dutch and Malaysian investigators publicly thanked the militia for their efforts.

Equally important, perhaps more so, to the overall disaster investigation is the forensic examination of the actual crash site, where the fuselage of the airliner and other fragments remain strewn across fields. Shrapnel traces, rupture profile and scatter pattern of debris would give an assessment of what exactly caused the plane to crash.

Tellingly, before any probe has got under way the US and its European allies have whipped up a media frenzy to finger Russia over the airliner disaster. No evidence has been provided to support these reckless, premature claims. Indeed, some of the so-called US evidence of alleged militia phone intercepts and videos of missile launchers have been shown to be fake.

At times, Washington has even contradicted itself, claiming on some occasions that it is confident Russia is linked to the crash, while at other times saying it does not know. This vacuity has not stopped Washington and its European allies piling on accusations against Russia and moving this week to ratchet up economic sanctions on Moscow.

Russia, on the other hand, has provided verifiable satellite, radar and air traffic control data to show that the Western-backed Kiev regime forces may well have shot down MH17.

For his part, Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for the horror of Flight MH17 not to be politicized, and for all parties to allow a free and independent investigation to take place.

It is Putin’s reasonable attitude on the matter that seems to be what is really vexing Washington. The Russian leader is not acceding to Western pressure that is attempting to make him the “bad guy”.

And Putin is right. The terrible loss of human life on the Malaysian airliner would not have happened if it were not for the situation of chaos and violence that the West has unleashed in Ukraine from its illegal regime change and the ongoing military assault on the eastern regions.

It is Putin’s unwillingness to conform to the Western narrative that is agitating Washington in particular.

Tony Blinken, a national security adviser to US President Barack Obama said earlier this week: “Precisely because we haven’t seen a strategic turn from Putin, we believe it’s absolutely essential to take additional measures and that is what the US and European partners intend to do this week.”

By “strategic turn” what Washington means is that Putin is not bowing down to its dictate, not kowtowing to its bullying for hegemony.

The megalomaniacs in US government are pushing Europe and Russia on to a dangerous collision course because Moscow has no inclination to be pushed around, and especially over trumped evidence to implicate it in mass murder.

In all the bluster of Western accusations against Russia, the litmus test of credibility are the following questions: who is blocking the investigation into MH17; why?

 

Pro-ISIS radicals with machetes, knives attack Kurds in Germany (VIDEO)

Still from Ruptly video

Still from Ruptly video

 

RT news

October 8th, 2014

Peaceful protests against IS in Syria and Iraq organized by Kurdish nationals in several German cities ended with serious clashes with pro-jihadist Muslims in Hamburg and Celle. Police had to request reinforcements to restore order.

Police in Hamburg, a port city of 1.8 million people, used water cannons, batons and pepper spray late Tuesday to disperse crowds of warring Kurds and pro-jihadist Muslims, armed with knives and brass-knuckles, following a protest against Islamic State militants who are attacking the Kurdish town of Kobani in Syria near the Turkish border.

Brutal: Pro-ISIS radicals with machetes, knives attack Kurds in Hamburg, Germany

 

 

 

At first, on Tuesday afternoon about 80 Kurdish protesters occupied Hamburg’s central train station for an hour, NDR.de reported. The Kurdish protesters left the railways voluntarily after 6pm, a police spokesman said.

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A bigger group of about 500 Kurdish demonstrators marched through downtown Hamburg. On their way, they damaged several cars and Turkish snack bars, breaking panes of glass and throwing around plastic chairs. Police detained 14 rioters.

Still from RT video

Still from RT video

Later, several hundred Kurdish protesters gathered near the Al Nour Mosque on Steindamm Street near the city’s train station. At about 11:30pm local time (21:30 GMT), the Kurds were attacked by a group of approximately 40 armed supporters of the Islamic State (IS), RT’s Ruptly video news agency reported.

The violent clashes that followed the attack resulted in four people being hospitalized with stab wounds.

Anti-IS demonstrations of Kurds in northern Germany began Monday and were supported by hundreds of protesters in the cities of Bremen, Celle, Göttingen, Hannover, Kiel and Oldenburg.

In most of the cities, protests went off peacefully and were virtually trouble-free, but in Celle police failed to prevent clashes.

The first brawl between about 100 Kurds and Muslims on each side took place Monday, but police in Celle, a town of 71,000, with the help of colleagues from Hannover, Oldenburg and Wolfsburg, prevented serious clashes between the two groups.

On Tuesday, however, the two sides, armed with stones and bottles, attempted to break through police lines to attack each other.

Police in full anti-riot gear used pepper spray and batons to repel the attackers and prevent violence. Though the situation calmed down and no officers were injured, a large police force remains in the city to prevent a possible escalation.

Some of the Muslims taking part in the clashes in Celle were “Chechen nationals” who came there from all over Germany, Cellesche Zeitung reported.

 

A wave of anti-IS protests organized by Kurdish activists has rocked many European capitals, including London, Brussels, The Hague and in Sweden’s Gothenburg.

The Kurdish diaspora in Europe is protesting that the Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria are attacking Kurdish communities with impunity, without meeting any serious opposition on the ground apart from Kurdish peshmerga militias. The assault of jihadists on the Kurdish settlement of Kabani in Syria, near the Turkish border has already claimed over 400 lives, while airstrikes by the US and its allies against IS fighters in Syria are not focused on protecting Kobani.

Kristofer Lundberg, an activist with the Socialist Justice Party in Sweden’s Gothenburg who organized and spoke at a 1,000-strong rally in support of Kurdish people in Kobani on Tuesday, told RT: “We demand that Turkey open its border and let the refugees there flee ISIS terror, and also to let the fighters who are waiting at the border go to Kobani to defend the city. Thousands of Kurds are ready to defend Kobani.”

 

 

Meanwhile, there have also been protests in London against the UK launching airstrikes on the Islamic State’s positions in Iraq.

 

‘Cologne protests caused by government’s ignorance of migration and Islamism problems’

To contain the situation in the German city of Cologne on October 26, riot police used batons, pepper spray and water cannons against far-right protesters and football fans. (AFP Photo / DPA / Thilo Schmulgen / Germany out)

To contain the situation in the German city of Cologne on October 26, riot police used batons, pepper spray and water cannons against far-right protesters and football fans. (AFP Photo / DPA / Thilo Schmulgen / Germany out)

 

RT news

Journalist Jan Raudszus on Cologne protests: “Those protests started out as hooligans against Salafists but then you hear people shouting “We don’t want any foreigners” and stuff like that, like a very skewed typical normal neo-Nazi behavior that we have seen in the past.”

The Cologne protests indicate a growing number of people are not willing to accept the German policy of supporting violent extremism in Syria, and ignoring the problems of mass migration and Islamism, journalist Manuel Ochenreiter told RT.

RT: Why have these protests been held in Cologne in particular?

Manuel Ochenreiter: It’s an interesting development, we face such protests… For example, we had clashes between Kurds and Islamists in some German cities with a lot of injured people, also injured policemen. The problem of mass migration, the problem of Islamism seems to be ignored by established mainstream politics and more and more people ask questions where the answers don’t seem to come. We face this violence…and I’m worried that we will face such scenes much more in the future as long as there will be no solution to those problems.

RT: Most of the people who marched the streets were far-right activists and self-proclaimed “soccer hooligans.” Does this discontent spread beyond these small groups?

MO: These were not just far-right protests. These were also football hooligans that are hooligans who were not political at all before. It was a mix of people, among them of course far-right protesters. But in the end these were a couple of thousands of people protesting in Cologne in clashes with police, were showing that among those protesters there were also a lot of violent people. Of course we cannot say that they represent the majority of the people. But the problem of Islamism, the problem of violence, also a problem that Germany is a country which supports violent Islamism, for example, in Syria by promoting, funding and supporting the so-called rebel factions which are nothing else [but] violent Islamist extremists, shows that more and more people are not confident with the politics. Normal people are not going on the street and beating the policemen, not protesting. It shows an atmosphere, a sort of sentiment that an increasing number of people are not willing to accept this politics anymore. And politicians are now asked to find a solution, but they seem to have been ignoring all those problems for many years. The ignorance of those problems causes this violence, blood, injured policemen and injured civilians on German streets.

Editor-in-chief of Geheim magazine Michael Opperskalski on Cologne protests: “The internal Intelligence service of Germany is extremely hypocritical, even in their statements, because they created problems in order to develop an uprising against a democratic elected government in Syria of Bashar Assad, and now this problem is coming back to Germany”.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Washington School Shooting Claims Another Victim

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Gia Soriano

October 27, 2014

Second Washington school shooting victim dies

One of the four students seriously wounded in a Washington high school shooting on Friday has died.

A 14-year-old girl who was shot by a high school classmate in an attack in the school’s cafeteria on Friday in this northern suburb of Seattle died late Sunday, hospital officials said.

Gia Soriano was sitting with friends when Jaylen Ray Fryberg, also 14 and a freshman, opened fire with a .40-caliber handgun during a lunch period, witnesses said. In a span of minutes, he killed another female classmate and seriously wounded four others, including Gia, each of them his childhood friends and two of them his relatives, before dying by a bullet from his own gun.

The attack has gripped this community, raising questions about why a popular 14-year-old boy would turn on classmates with lethal malice, as the wounded have fought for their lives in hospitals.

Gia’s family said in a statement posted on the Facebook page of Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett that her organs would be donated to help others. “We are devastated by this senseless tragedy. Gia is our beautiful daughter, and words cannot express how much we will miss her,” the family said.

Gia Soriano, 14, was shot in the head during the morning shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, which is located north of Seattle. She died Sunday night after remaining in critical condition at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett during the weekend.

“We are devastated by this senseless tragedy,” Dr. Joanne Roberts, chief medical officer at Providence Regional, said on behalf of the Soriano family. “Gia is our beautiful daughter and words cannot express how much we will miss her.”

Soriano was the second young woman to succumb to her injuries after Jaylen Fryberg, a 14-year-old freshman, allegedly opened fire Friday morning in the school cafeteria, initially killing fellow schoolmate.

Zoe Galasso and critically wounding four others before turning the gun on himself. Shaylee Chuckulnaskit, 14, and Andrew Fryberg, 15, remained in critical condition more than three days after the incident. Nate Hatch, 14, who was upgraded to satisfactory condition at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center, was awake and breaking on his own by Monday morning, said. Susan Gregg, hospital spokesperson.

Late Saturday, the president of the local teachers’ union released a statement from Ms. Silberberger saying that she has asked for time to heal. Her statement was simple and direct.

“This teacher did everything possible to protect students,” she said.

Jaylen came from a prominent family on the Tulalip Indian Reservation near Marysville, and the tribe’s chairman, Herman Williams Sr., issued a joint statement on Sunday with the city of Marysville, saying the two governments were collaborating fully in the investigation into the shooting, and the larger response in the community.

“The Tulalip Tribes and the city of Marysville stand together,” Mr. Williams said in the statement. “Our priority is now on our children and young people.”