The U.S. Is Destroying Europe

 

europe-usa-eu-flags-400x199In Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and other countries at the periphery or edges of Europe, U.S. President Barack Obama has been pursuing a policy of destabilization, and even of bombings and other military assistance, that drives millions of refugees out of those peripheral areas and into Europe, thereby adding fuel to the far-rightwing fires of anti-immigrant rejectionism, and of resultant political destabilization, throughout Europe, not only on its peripheries, but even as far away as in northern Europe.

Shamus Cooke at Off-Guardian headlines on 3 August 2015, “Obama’s ‘Safe Zone’ in Syria Intended to Turn It into New Libya,” and he reports that Obama has approved U.S. air support for Turkey’s previously unenfoceable no-fly zone over Syria. The U.S. will now shoot down all of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s planes that are targeting the extremist-Muslim groups, including ISIS, that have taken over huge swaths of Syrian territory.

Cooke reports:

Turkey has been demanding this no-fly zone from Obama since the Syrian war started. It’s been discussed throughout the conflict and even in recent months, though the intended goal was always the Syrian government. And suddenly the no-fly zone is happening — right where Turkey always wanted it — but it’s being labeled an ‘anti-ISIS’ safe zone, instead of its proper name: ‘Anti Kurdish and anti-Syrian government’ safe zone.

The New York Times reported on July 27th, that,

“the plan calls for relatively moderate Syrian insurgents to take the territory, with the help of American and possibly Turkish air support.”

However, the Times, stenographically reporting (as usual) from and for their U.S. Government sources (and so propagandizing for the U.S. Government), fails to define “relatively moderate,” but all of the “relatively moderate insurgent” groups in Syria cooperate with ISIS and help them to find and decapitate, or sometimes hold for ransoms, any non-Muslims there. Under Assad, Syria has been a non-clerical state, and has enjoyed freedom of religion, but all of the Syrian opposition to Assad’s rule is alien to that. The U.S. is now, even more clearly than before, anti-Assad, pro-Islamist.

Seymour Hersh reported in the London Review of Books on 17 April 2014, that the Obama Administration’s Libyan bombing campaign in 2011 was part of a broader program to bring sarin gas from Libya to the al-Nusra Front in Syria, in order to help produce a gas-attack upon civilians, which the U.S. Administration could then blame upon Assad, as being an excuse to bomb there just as Obama had already so successfully done in Libya. Both dictators, Gaddafi and Assad, were allied with Russia, and Assad especially has been important to Russia, as a transit-route for Russia’s gas supplies, and not for Qatar’s gas supplies — Qatar being the major potential threat to Russia’s status as the top supplier of gas into Europe.

Obama’s top goal in international relations, and throughout his military policies, has been to defeat Russia, to force a regime-change there that will make Russia part of the American empire, no longer the major nation that resists control from Washington.

Prior to the U.S. bombings of Libya in 2011, Libya was at peace and thriving. Per-capita GDP (income) in 2010 according to the IMF was $12,357.80, but it plunged to only $5,839.70 in 2011 — the year we bombed and destroyed the country. (Hillary Clinton famously bragged, “We came, we saw, he [Gaddafi] died!”) (And, unlike in U.S. ally Saudi Arabia, that per-capita GDP was remarkably evenly distributed, and both education and health care were socialized and available to everyone, even to the poor.)

More recently, on 15 February 2015, reporter Leila Fadel of NPR bannered “With Oil Fields Under Attack, Libya’s Economic Future Looks Bleak.” She announced: “The man in charge looks at production and knows the future is bleak. ‘We cannot produce. We are losing 80 percent of our production,’ says Mustapha Sanallah, the chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corporation.”

Under instructions from Washington, the IMF hasn’t been reliably reporting Libya’s GDP figures after 2011, but instead shows that things there were immediately restored to normal (even to better than normal: $13,580.55 per-capita GDP) in 2012, but everybody knows that it’s false; even NPR is, in effect, reporting that it’s not true. The CIA estimates that Libya’s per-capita GDP was a ridiculous $23,900 in 2012 (they give no figures for the years before that), and says Libya’s per-capita GDP has declined only slightly thereafter. None of the official estimates are at all trustworthy, though the Atlantic Council at least made an effort to explain things honestly, headlining in their latest systematic report about Libya’s economy, on 23 January 2014, “Libya: Facing Economic Collapse in 2014.”

Libya has become Europe’s big problem. Millions of Libyans are fleeing the chaos there. Some of them are fleeing across the Mediterranean and ending up in refugee camps in southern Italy; and some are escaping to elsewhere in Europe.

And Syria is now yet another nation that’s being destroyed in order to conquer Russia. Even the reliably propagandistic New York Times is acknowledging, in its ‘news’ reporting, that, “both the Turks and the Syrian insurgents see defeating President Bashar al-Assad of Syria as their first priority.” So: U.S. bombers will be enforcing a no-fly-zone over parts of Syria in order to bring down Russia’s ally Bashar al-Assad and replace his secular government by an Islamic government — and the ‘anti-ISIS’ thing is just for show; it’s PR, propaganda. The public cares far more about defeating ISIS than about defeating Russia; but that’s not the way America’s aristocracy views things. Their objective is extending America’s empire — extending their own empire.

Similarly, Obama overthrew the neutralist government of Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine in February 2014, but that was under the fake cover of ‘democracy’ demonstrations, instead of under the fake cover of ‘opposing Islamic terrorism’ or whatever other phrases that the U.S. Government uses to fool suckers about America’s installation of, and support to, a rabidly anti-Russia, racist-fascist, or nazi, government next door to Russia, in Ukraine. Just as Libya had been at peace before the U.S. invaded and destroyed it, and just as Syria had been at peace before the U.S and Turkey invaded and destroyed it, Ukraine too was at peace before the U.S. perpetrated its coup there and installed nazis and an ethnic cleansing campaign there, and destroyed Ukraine too.

Like with Libya before the overthrow of Gaddafi there, or Syria before the current effort to overthrow Assad there, or the more recent successful overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych, it’s all aimed to defeat Russia.

The fact that all of Europe is sharing in the devastation that Obama and other American conservatives — imperialists, even — impose, is of little if any concern to the powers-that-be in Washington DC, but, if it matters at all to them, then perhaps it’s another appealing aspect of this broader operation: By weakening European nations, and not only nations in the Middle East, Obama’s war against Russia is yet further establishing America to be “the last man standing,” at the end of the chaos and destruction that America causes.

Consequently, for example, in terms of U.S. international strategy, the fact that the economic sanctions against Russia are enormously harming the economies of European nations is good, not bad.

There are two ways to win, at any game: One is by improving one’s own performance. The other is by weakening the performances by all of one’s competitors. The United States is now relying almost entirely upon the latter type of strategy.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Obama Sidelines Kerry on Ukraine Policy

 

Eric Zuesse

On May 21st, I headlined “Secretary of State John Kerry v. His Subordinate Victoria Nuland, Regarding Ukraine,” and quoted John Kerry’s May 12th warning to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to cease his repeated threats to invade Crimea and re-invade Donbass, two former regions of Ukraine, which had refused to accept the legitimacy of the new regime that was imposed on Ukraine in violent clashes during February 2014. (These were regions that had voted overwhelmingly for the Ukrainian President who had just been overthrown. They didn’t like him being violently tossed out and replaced by his enemies.) Kerry said then that, regarding Poroshenko, “we would strongly urge him to think twice not to engage in that kind of activity, that that would put Minsk in serious jeopardy. And we would be very, very concerned about what the consequences of that kind of action at this time may be.” Also quoted there was Kerry’s subordinate, Victoria Nuland, three days later, saying the exact opposite, that we “reiterate our deep commitment to a single Ukrainian nation, including Crimea, and all the other regions of Ukraine.” I noted, then that, “The only person with the power to fire Nuland is actually U.S. President Barack Obama.” However, Obama instead has sided with Nuland on this.

Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, bannered, on June 5th, “Poroshenko: Ukraine Will ‘Do Everything’ To Retake Crimea’,” and reported that, “President Petro Poroshenko has vowed to seek Crimea’s return to Ukrainian rule. … Speaking at a news conference on June 5, … Poroshenko said that ‘every day and every moment, we will do everything to return Crimea to Ukraine.’” Poroshenko was also quoted there as saying, “It is important not to give Russia a chance to break the world’s pro-Ukrainian coalition,” which indirectly insulted Kerry for his having criticized Poroshenko’s warnings that he intended to invade Crimea and Donbass.

Right now, the Minsk II ceasefire has broken down and there are accusations on both sides that the other is to blame. What cannot be denied is that at least three times, on April 30th, then on May 11th, and then on June 5th, Poroshenko has repeatedly promised to invade Crimea, which wasn’t even mentioned in the Minsk II agreement; and that he was also promising to re-invade Donbass, something that is explicitly prohibited in this agreement. Furthermore, America’s President, Barack Obama, did not fire Kerry’s subordinate, Nuland, for her contradicting her boss on this important matter.

How will that be taken in European capitals? Kerry was reaffirming the position of Merkel and Hollande, the key shapers of the Minsk II agreement; and Nuland was nullifying them. Obama now has sided with Nuland on this; it’s a slap in the face to the EU: Poroshenko can continue ignoring Kerry and can blatantly ignore the Minsk II agreement; and Obama tacitly sides with Poroshenko and Nuland, against Kerry. 

The personalities here are important: On 4 February 2014, in the very same phone-conversation with Geoffrey Pyatt, America’s Ambassador in Ukraine, in which Nuland had instructed Pyatt to get “Yats” Yatsenyuk appointed to lead Ukraine after the coup (which then occured 18 days later), she also famously said “F—k  the EU!” Obama is now seconding that statement of hers.

In effect, Obama is telling the EU that they can get anything they want signed, but that he would still move forward with his own policy, regardless of whether or not they like it.

Kerry, for his part, now faces the decision as to whether to quit — which would force the EU’s hand regarding whether to continue with U.S. policy there — or else for Kerry to stay in office and be disrespected in all capitals for his staying on after having been so blatantly contradicted by his subordinate on a key issue of U.S. foreign policy. If he stays on while Nuland also does, then, in effect, Kerry is being cut out of policymaking on Europe and Asia (Nuland’s territory), altogether, and the EU needs to communicate directly with Obama on everything, or else to communicate with Nuland as if she and not Kerry were the actual U.S. Secretary of State. But if Kerry instead quits, then the pressure would be placed on EU officials: whether to continue with the U.S., or to reject U.S. anti-Russia policy, and to move forward by leaving NATO, and all that that entails?

If they then decide to stay with the U.S., after that “F—k the EU!” and then this; then, the European countries are clearly just U.S. colonies. This would be far more embarrassing to those leaders than John Kerry would be embarrassed by his simply resigning from the U.S. State Department. It might even turn the tide and force the Ukrainian Government to follow through with all of its commitments under the Minsk II accords.

It would be the most effective thing for Kerry to do at this stage. But, it would lose him his position as a (now merely nominal) member of Obama’s Cabinet.

The way this turns out will show a lot, about John Kerry. The nations of Europe already know everything they need to know about Barack Obama. If Kerry quits, he’ll have respect around the world. If he stays, he’ll be just another Colin Powell.

The ball is in Kerry’s court, and everyone will see how he plays it — and what type of man he is (and isn’t).

———-

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity, and of  Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.

Clinton Foundation: ‘We made mistakes’

 

150220_POL_Hillary.jpg.CROP.promovar-mediumlarge

Hillary Clinton running for president

 

 

There was Clinton (notably more at ease than during her first swing through Iowa a week earlier) in friendly New Hampshire last Monday and Tuesday, taking diligent caseworker notes as “everyday Americans” shared stories of economic anxiety. This is the empathetic, humble Hillary of the 2000 listening tour she took around New York state and her later, better primaries in 2008. (It’s not a subtle message: Every scheduling advisory issued by her fledgling 2016 campaign now ends with some version of this line, emailed to reporters this weekend in advance of Clinton’s next field trip: “The trip is the latest evidence that Hillary Clinton will work to earn every vote, run hard in the 2016 Nevada Caucus, and take nothing for granted.”)

But that effort is being undermined by a parallel storyline, and the well-executed New Hampshire trip was blown off basic cable by a barrage of stories Thursday documenting questionable practices by the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation — and illuminating once again what appeared to be the same old indifference to boundaries between charity, politics and wealth.

In the long term, the greatest beneficiary of Clinton’s struggles might be Marco Rubio, two decades her junior and hauling a much lighter baggage train than Clinton or Republican rival Jeb Bush. The 43-year-old first-term Florida senator surged (perhaps momentarily) to the head of the GOP pack a week after his entrance into the campaign, boosted by his capacity to run hard to the right without employing the polarizing hard-right language that scares off swing voters and big, mainstream donors. He’s new and knows how to play it up: The key line in his stump speech, borrowed from Obama ’08, is: “Yesterday is over, and we are never going back.”

It is precisely because most people don’t know enough about the young Florida Republican to ask whether there’s a less attractive Real Marco lurking behind that loquacious facade. That’s likely to change, especially when opponents begin highlighting his contortions on immigration reform, delving into his record as speaker of Florida’s House of Representatives and what the Tampa Bay Times described as a “pattern of blending personal and political spending” over the years in using state of Florida credit cards and political committee cash for travel and other expenses.

But the Clinton stories are a different order of magnitude, with no fewer than three big exposés breaking last Thursday alone: a New York Times investigation into a previously unreported Clinton family foundation donation by a Russian oligarch looking to get federal approval to expand U.S. operations (requiring Clinton State Department approval); a Reuters report that the foundation would have to refile years of tax returns because of errors and omissions; and a Washington Post story revealing that Bill Clinton earned $26 million in speaking fees from donors to the family’s foundation.

Most of the initial reports focused on her husband’s actions, and the Clinton campaign said there isn’t a “shred” of evidence she was involved, but no matter: Republicans sought to draw the clearest line possible to Hillary Clinton, whatever the paucity of public evidence. “There is every appearance that Hillary Clinton was bribed to grease the sale of, what, 20 percent of America’s uranium production to Russia? And then it was covered up by lying about a meeting at her home with the principals, and by erasing emails,” Mitt Romney told radio host Hugh Hewitt on the day the Times story appeared.

The Clinton people pointed out, rightly, that there’s not (yet) any paper trail linking any decision she made at Foggy Bottom to Bill Clinton’s machinations. But Romney wasn’t freelancing; he was capturing the Republican zeitgeist — and amplifying a GOP message (the Clintons are incorrigibly corrupt) — articulated to me by GOP operatives associated with three campaigns I talked with last week.

And several top Democrats told me they were worried, too, about the accumulation of stories — “at some point the weight just pulls everything down,” one told me. Then again, James Carville, who has spent decades fending off the kind of Clinton stories that popped up last week, thinks the recent stories fit into an old pattern of shoot-and-miss. “All of this is spaghetti journalism; throw some spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks,” he insists. “It’s always something that ends up with nothing.”

• • •

Hillary Clinton’s enemies, and more than a few of her friends, believe the story will resonate — if only because she has always been at the center of most of the family’s major financial decisions.

But that effort is being undermined by a parallel storyline, and the well-executed New Hampshire trip was blown off basic cable by a barrage of stories Thursday documenting questionable practices by the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation — and illuminating once again what appeared to be the same old indifference to boundaries between charity, politics and wealth.In the long term, the greatest beneficiary of Clinton’s struggles might be Marco Rubio, two decades her junior and hauling a much lighter baggage train than Clinton or Republican rival Jeb Bush. The 43-year-old first-term Florida senator surged (perhaps momentarily) to the head of the GOP pack a week after his entrance into the campaign, boosted by his capacity to run hard to the right without employing the polarizing hard-right language that scares off swing voters and big, mainstream donors. He’s new and knows how to play it up: The key line in his stump speech, borrowed from Obama ’08, is: “Yesterday is over, and we are never going back.”It is precisely because most people don’t know enough about the young Florida Republican to ask whether there’s a less attractive Real Marco lurking behind that loquacious facade. That’s likely to change, especially when opponents begin highlighting his contortions on immigration reform, delving into his record as speaker of Florida’s House of Representatives and what the Tampa Bay Times described as a “pattern of blending personal and political spending” over the years in using state of Florida credit cards and political committee cash for travel and other expenses.But the Clinton stories are a different order of magnitude, with no fewer than three big exposés breaking last Thursday alone: a New York Times investigation into a previously unreported Clinton family foundation donation by a Russian oligarch looking to get federal approval to expand U.S. operations (requiring Clinton State Department approval); a Reuters report that the foundation would have to refile years of tax returns because of errors and omissions; and a Washington Post story revealing that Bill Clinton earned $26 million in speaking fees from donors to the family’s foundation.Most of the initial reports focused on her husband’s actions, and the Clinton campaign said there isn’t a “shred” of evidence she was involved, but no matter: Republicans sought to draw the clearest line possible to Hillary Clinton, whatever the paucity of public evidence. “There is every appearance that Hillary Clinton was bribed to grease the sale of, what, 20 percent of America’s uranium production to Russia? And then it was covered up by lying about a meeting at her home with the principals, and by erasing emails,” Mitt Romney told radio host Hugh Hewitt on the day the Times story appeared.

The Clinton people pointed out, rightly, that there’s not (yet) any paper trail linking any decision she made at Foggy Bottom to Bill Clinton’s machinations. But Romney wasn’t freelancing; he was capturing the Republican zeitgeist — and amplifying a GOP message (the Clintons are incorrigibly corrupt) — articulated to me by GOP operatives associated with three campaigns I talked with last week.

And several top Democrats told me they were worried, too, about the accumulation of stories — “at some point the weight just pulls everything down,” one told me. Then again, James Carville, who has spent decades fending off the kind of Clinton stories that popped up last week, thinks the recent stories fit into an old pattern of shoot-and-miss. “All of this is spaghetti journalism; throw some spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks,” he insists. “It’s always something that ends up with nothing.”

Hillary Clinton’s enemies, and more than a few of her friends, believe the story will resonate — if only because she has always been at the center of most of the family’s major financial decisions.

 

Betrayal of the Public Trust: The Vince Foster Death Investigation Cover-Up

 

 

 

 

“Bill never gave a damn about money,” says Carl Bernstein, who penned a 2007 Hillary Clinton biography.

“From the start of her marriage … [Hillary] was the one worried about the money — they were not exactly living high on the hog in Arkansas. But there’s an apparent sense of entitlement there, too. They feel they have devoted their lives to public service, and they feel they had a right to [make money]. You saw it in Arkansas, but you also saw it when Chelsea was given $600,000 by NBC to be a reporter when she had absolutely no experience.”

Bernstein says he has never sought to psychoanalyze Clinton, but it’s hard not to read the first few chapters of his book, “A Woman in Charge,” without being struck by the value placed on saving money by her imperious, penny-pinching father, Hugh Rodham, who ran a small business in Chicago. One of the few times Hugh let his wife and daughter go on a shopping spree at a New York department store, he showed up 25 minutes before closing time to limit the damage — so Dorothy and Hillary Rodham took off their shoes to run through the store, collecting items as fast as they could.

During her husband’s years in government service, it was Hillary Clinton who paid most of the bills — initially as a partner in Little Rock’s Rose Law Firm — so many of the least flattering stories about the family’s finances featured her as the central player. Investigation after investigation proved the Clintons did nothing illegal in Whitewater, the complicated and doomed 1980s land deal that caused the first family so many pre-Monica Lewinsky headaches. But it was a sloppy affair, the result of Hillary Rodham’s push to supplement her husband’s meager government salary with a clever investment. The same held true for a questionable (and legal) $1,000 investment in cattle futures that yielded a 100-fold return.

Clinton invited ridicule last year when she said she and her husband were “dead broke” upon leaving the White House despite the fact that she had received an $8 million advance to write her first memoir, “Living History,” a month before her husband’s presidency ended. But that was, perhaps, the “realest Hillary,” expressing her persistent anxieties about money, however misplaced. And in fact, when Bill Clinton left the presidency, in debt to his lawyers after the Lewinsky impeachment and trial and all the sundry other investigations of his White House tenure, the couple found it so hard to get a loan for their new mansion in Chappaqua, New York, they had to prevail on buddy Terry McAuliffe for a bridge loan — prompting another bevy of negative headlines. Then there was the $190,000 in sundry household items the Clintons took from the White House in 2001 — $114,000 of which they later returned or reimbursed the government for.The slow-motion rollout of Peter Schweizer’s upcoming book “Clinton Cash,” from which some of the recent Clinton stories emanated, is excruciating for Clinton’s team, which has girded for its launch since March. It doesn’t prove a direct connection between Bill Clinton’s actions and his wife’s decisions as secretary of state, according to people who have reviewed the book. But it’s like an ever-present heckler — shouting down the campaign’s carefully planned Hillary-cares-about-all-of-us events.One top Clinton fundraiser, echoing sentiments inside the campaign, said he believes the “kill Hillary moment” will pass after Jeb Bush formally announces his candidacy — and the Republican candidates start savaging one another in debates. “We have to grit our teeth and get past this,” he said.