According to the prevailing wisdom in the West, the Ukraine crisis can be blamed almost entirely on Russian aggression. Russian President Vladimir Putin, the argument goes, annexed Crimea out of a long-standing desire to resuscitate the Soviet empire, and he may eventually go after the rest of Ukraine, as well as other countries in eastern Europe. In this view, the ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 merely provided a pretext for Putin’s decision to order Russian forces to seize part of Ukraine.
But this account is wrong: the United States and its European allies share most of the responsibility for the crisis. The taproot of the trouble is NATO enlargement, the central element of a larger strategy to move Ukraine out of Russia’s orbit and integrate it into the West. At the same time, the EU’s expansion eastward and the West’s backing of the pro-democracy movement in Ukraine — beginning with the Orange Revolution in 2004 — were critical elements, too. Since the mid-1990s, Russian leaders have adamantly opposed NATO enlargement, and in recent years, they have made it clear that they would not stand by while their strategically important neighbor turned into a Western bastion. For Putin, the illegal overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected and pro-Russian president — which he rightly labeled a “coup” — was the final straw. He responded by taking Crimea, a peninsula he feared would host a NATO naval base, and working to destabilize Ukraine until it abandoned its efforts to join the West.
Putin’s pushback should have come as no surprise. After all, the West had been moving into Russia’s backyard and threatening its core strategic interests, a point Putin made emphatically and repeatedly. Elites in the United States and Europe have been blindsided by events only because they subscribe to a flawed view of international politics. They tend to believe that the logic of realism holds little relevance in the twenty-first century and that Europe can be kept whole and free on the basis of such liberal principles as the rule of law, economic interdependence, and democracy.
But this grand scheme went awry in Ukraine. The crisis there shows that realpolitik remains relevant — and states that ignore it do so at their own peril. U.S. and European leaders blundered in attempting to turn Ukraine into a Western stronghold on Russia’s border. Now that the consequences have been laid bare, it would be an even greater mistake to continue this misbegotten policy. …
U.S. and European leaders blundered in attempting to turn Ukraine into a Western stronghold on Russia’s border.
THE WESTERN AFFRONT
As the Cold War came to a close, Soviet leaders preferred that U.S. forces remain in Europe and NATO stay intact, an arrangement they thought would keep a reunified Germany pacified. But they and their Russian successors did not want NATO to grow any larger and assumed that Western diplomats understood their concerns. The Clinton administration evidently thought otherwise, and in the mid-1990s, it began pushing for NATO to expand.
The first round of enlargement took place in 1999 and brought in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland. The second occurred in 2004; it included Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Moscow complained bitterly from the start. During NATO’s 1995 bombing campaign against the Bosnian Serbs, for example, Russian President Boris Yeltsin said, “This is the first sign of what could happen when NATO comes right up to the Russian Federation’s borders. … The flame of war could burst out across the whole of Europe.” But the Russians were too weak at the time to derail NATO’s eastward movement — which, at any rate, did not look so threatening, since none of the new members shared a border with Russia, save for the tiny Baltic countries.
Then NATO began looking further east. At its April 2008 summit in Bucharest, the alliance considered admitting Georgia and Ukraine. The George W. Bush administration supported doing so, but France and Germany opposed the move for fear that it would unduly antagonize Russia. In the end, NATO’s members reached a compromise: the alliance did not begin the formal process leading to membership, but it issued a statement endorsing the aspirations of Georgia and Ukraine and boldly declaring, “These countries will become members of NATO.”
Moscow, however, did not see the outcome as much of a compromise. Alexander Grushko, then Russia’s deputy foreign minister, said, “Georgia’s and Ukraine’s membership in the alliance is a huge strategic mistake which would have most serious consequences for pan-European security.” Putin maintained that admitting those two countries to NATO would represent a “direct threat” to Russia. One Russian newspaper reported that Putin, while speaking with Bush, “very transparently hinted that if Ukraine was accepted into NATO, it would cease to exist.”
Russia’s invasion of Georgia in August 2008 should have dispelled any remaining doubts about Putin’s determination to prevent Georgia and Ukraine from joining NATO. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who was deeply committed to bringing his country into NATO, had decided in the summer of 2008 to reincorporate two separatist regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. But Putin sought to keep Georgia weak and divided — and out of NATO. After fighting broke out between the Georgian government and South Ossetian separatists, Russian forces took control of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Moscow had made its point. Yet despite this clear warning, NATO never publicly abandoned its goal of bringing Georgia and Ukraine into the alliance. And NATO expansion continued marching forward, with Albania and Croatia becoming members in 2009.
The EU, too, has been marching eastward. In May 2008, it unveiled its Eastern Partnership initiative, a program to foster prosperity in such countries as Ukraine and integrate them into the EU economy. Not surprisingly, Russian leaders view the plan as hostile to their country’s interests. This past February, before Yanukovych was forced from office, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused the EU of trying to create a “sphere of influence” in eastern Europe. In the eyes of Russian leaders, EU expansion is a stalking horse for NATO expansion.
The West’s final tool for peeling Kiev away from Moscow has been its efforts to spread Western values and promote democracy in Ukraine and other post-Soviet states, a plan that often entails funding pro-Western individuals and organizations. Victoria Nuland, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, estimated in December 2013 that the United States had invested more than $5 billion since 1991 to help Ukraine achieve “the future it deserves.” As part of that effort, the U.S. government has bankrolled the National Endowment for Democracy. The nonprofit foundation has funded more than 60 projects aimed at promoting civil society in Ukraine, and the NED’s president, Carl Gershman, has called that country “the biggest prize.” After Yanukovych won Ukraine’s presidential election in February 2010, the NED decided he was undermining its goals, and so it stepped up its efforts to support the opposition and strengthen the country’s democratic institutions.
When Russian leaders look at Western social engineering in Ukraine, they worry that their country might be next. And such fears are hardly groundless. In September 2013, Gershman wrote in The Washington Post, “Ukraine’s choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents.” He added: “Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.” …
Not sure how he defines “democracy” but in any case it’s interesting that this understanding of world events is held in common between the “conspiracy theorists” and the CFR. But the sheep will probably stay focused on MSNBC’s narrative, because they’re LAZY and laziness leads to ignorance and stupidity, which is what makes them sheep.
We don’t have to go abroad to look for the real terrorists, they’re right here in the “homeland”, pretending to protect us. But it’s actually just a protection racket. Control freaks make a tool of everyone for their own glorification. Another version of munchausen by proxy, the psychological analog of false flag terrorism.
Like many other news websites, Common Dreams has been plagued by inflammatory anti-Semitic comments following its stories. But on Common Dreams these posts have been so frequent and intense they have driven away donors from a nonprofit dependent on reader generosity.
A Common Dreams investigation has discovered that more than a thousand of these damaging comments over the past two years were written with a deceptive purpose by a Jewish Harvard graduate in his thirties who was irritated by the website’s discussion of issues involving Israel.
His intricate campaign, which he has admitted to Common Dreams, included posting comments by a screen name, “JewishProgressive,” whose purpose was to draw attention to and denounce the anti-Semitic comments that he had written under many other screen names.
The deception was many-layered. At one point he had one of his characters charge that the anti-Semitic comments and the criticism of the anti-Semitic comments must be written by “internet trolls who have been known to impersonate anti-Semites in order to then double-back and accuse others of supporting anti-Semitism”–exactly what he was doing. (Trolls are posters who foment discord.)
The impersonation, this character wrote, must be part of an “elaborate Hasbara setup,” referring to an Israeli international public-relations campaign. When Common Dreams finally confronted the man behind the deceptive posting, he denied that he himself was involved with Hasbara.
His posting on Common Dreams illustrates the susceptibility of website comment threads to massive manipulation. As another illustration, he even audaciously tricked the white-supremacist Vanguard News Network, posing as “DeShawn S. Williams,” a “Pro-White/Black, anti-jew.”
encouraged the malevolence of Frazier Glenn Miller, the neo-Nazi accused of killing three people whom he believed were Jews outside a Jewish community center and retirement home in Kansas in April. The character Williams was engaged in a comment thread more than 200 times with Miller, whose screen name was Rounder.On Vanguard, where this African-American persona posted more than 1,400 times, he
In a Vanguard post under the Williams screen name the commenter asked rhetorically, “Are left wing folks finally waking up to the jew?” He then referred the Vanguard online community to a thread of anti-Semitic comments on Common Dreams–most of which he had written himself under several screen names.
A typical DeShawn Williams comment might include: “Israel is a stain on the world that needs to be expunged once and for all.” Or: “The jews are the most racist people on earth. Just look at their Talmud. They consider the ‘goyim’ (non-jews) to be cattle whose only purpose on earth is to serve them.”
But on Common Dreams, DeShawn S. Williams was only one among dozens of screen-name characters this poster created. They seemed to be in competition to revile Jews. Here’s how “HamBaconEggs,” the site’s most prolific anti-Semitic persona, began a conversation last October:
A few posts later the HamBaconEggs character was taken to task for his hatred of Jews by the JewishProgressive character, who responded to another (sincere) poster who had pointed out the anti-Semitism :
JewishProgressive frequently followed HamBaconEggs with an expression of disgust. Here’s an exchange begun at 11:57 a.m. on January 14:
HamBaconEggs: “. . . There are reasons beyond mere ‘anti-Semitism’ why these people were kicked out of 109 countries. You don’t elicit that degree of anger and hostility from host populations without significantly contributing to the problem through your antisocial, predatory behavior.”
JewishProgressive replied 12 minutes later: “You are singlehandedly the most vicious Jew-hater I have ever encountered among those professing to be ‘progressives.’ Do you actually post about anything on CD other than ‘the jews,’ or is that your sole agenda? No true progressive could be so unrelentingly malicious against an entire group of people the way you are.”
At 2:49 p.m., HamBaconEggs responded:
“Oy vey! Cry me a river, you Talmudic parasite. Direct your criticism at your sociopathic tribe of money-grubbers, warmongers, and land thieves.”
Here’s one more example of this back-and-forth:
When Common Dreams examined hundreds of posts in this ugly charade, the aim appeared clear-cut: to cast a deep shadow on, and drive support from, one of the largest and oldest progressive-news websites.
The man who was the source of the charade, however, claimed he didn’t want to hurt Common Dreams. ….
The Obama administration is promising to change the way travelers can ask to be removed from its no-fly list of suspected terrorists banned from air travel.
The decision comes after a federal judge’s ruling that there was no meaningful way to challenge the designation, a situation deemed unconstitutional. In response, the Justice Department said the U.S. will change the process during the next six months. As of late last summer, about 48,000 people were on the no-fly list. …
Fraud, myth, lies, charade, pretend, mind control etc. The terrorists are pretending to follow the law while pretending to protect us from the pretend enemies that they financed, trained and deployed in their pretend war that funnels pretend money into their pretend corporate “people” while the real people, the peons, pretend that it’s all about the greater good even though they personally can only pretend to have a decent standard of living by borrowing the same pretend money from other pretend “people” that create it out of thin air. It’s the same mindset required of watching a movie: suspension of disbelief. The red pill is admitting 9/11 was a domestic false flag operation. Until you do, you’re just a tool of terrorists.
With the National Guard now being sent to Ferguson, Missouri as the unrest extends into a second week, questions are being asked as to whether provocateurs are being used by authorities to stage violence in order to justify the militarized police crackdown.
Trouble flared once again last night as demonstrators threw molotov cocktails at police officers while cops deployed tear gas and rubber bullets before the midnight curfew even came into effect. Numerous reporters said they were threatened with violence and arrest by cops if they didn’t leave the area.
Despite the fact that some of the violence and looting is obviously being carried out by criminal opportunists and frustrated locals, many are beginning to question whether agent provocateurs are being used to demonize peaceful protesters and create a justification for heavy-handed police tactics.
Corporal Justin Wheetley of the Missouri State Highway Patrol last night blamed “outsiders” for the mayhem, with KMOV reporting that the trouble was, “stirred up by influences from outside of Ferguson.”
Radio host Dave Hodges also claims to have spoken to a source from within the Department of Homeland Security who told him that violent rioting and looting, “was encouraged and exacerbated by undercover DHS agents posing as members of the Black Panthers.”
“In the past five days I have been contacted, via one of my most trusted sources, a member of DHS, who is opposed to the events and DHS involvement in Ferguson, Missouri. This source stated that DHS is running the Ferguson Police Department and that their actions are designed to antagonize and to provoke the locals to violence. He further stated that he believed that the ultimate goal is to inflame the local citizens to such a point martial law will be declared,” writes Hodges.
Indeed, video footage of a member of the New Black Panthers leading a chant which calls for the death of Darren Wilson, the officer who shot 18-year-old Michael Brown, confirms that individuals from the militant group are intent on radicalizing the demonstrators.
Members of the New Black Panthers have been caught working undercover for the federal government in the past, with the most recent example being Richard Aoki, who was outed as an FBI informant in 2012.
A key question surrounding the police response to the unrest has been why law enforcement officers were ordered to stand down during looting on Friday night. During the first night of looting on Sunday last week, cops were also completely AWOL.
Whereas militarized police have been out in force to intimidate and target peaceful demonstrators and members of the press, they have failed to respond to the very same looting that has been used as a justification for their crackdown.
“Why did the police in Ferguson refuse to do their jobs?” asks Michael Snyder. “Who told them to stand down? Someone in the mainstream media needs to start asking some of these hard questions.” …
The presence of provocateurs during riots and unrest is by no means a new phenomenon.
Following the SPP protests in Canada back in 2007, Quebec provincial authorities were forced to admit that three rock-wielding black mask-wearing “anarchists” were in fact police infiltrators used to gather information on protesters.
During the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh in 2009, police also dressed up as anarchists in an attempt to infiltrate protesters.
Alex Jones’ film Police State 2: The Takeover also exposed how the black bloc anarchists were completely infiltrated and provocateured by the authorities during the violent 1999 WTO protests in Seattle.
Numerous observers of the unfolding situation in Ferguson are also starting to ask hard questions about whether provocateurs are responsible for at least some of the violence. …
Any government capable of inflicting radical muslim fundamentalism on the middle east and staging 9/11 for empire games is capable of using the same tactics for domestic political purposes. But in fact there’s no need to speculate. The history of the FBI’s cointelpro program in the 60′s and 70′s is a matter of public record. Not to mention the fabulously lucrative “drug war” where the feds play on both sides of the fence. And implanting the white house with the first “black” president presents special opportunities for domestic psyops.
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The leadership class in the US is now dominated by a neo-conservative group of people with the shared goal of asserting US military power worldwide. This global dominance group, in cooperation with major military contractors, has become a powerful force in world military unilateralism and US political processes. This research study is an attempt to identify the general parameters of those who are the key actors supporting a global dominance agenda and how collectively this group has benefited from the events of September 11, 2001 and irregularities in the 2004 presidential election. This study examines how interlocking public private partnerships, including the corporate media, public relations firms, military contractors, policy elites, and government officials, jointly support a US military global domination agenda. We ask the traditional sociological questions regarding who wins, who decides, and who facilitates action inside the most powerful military-industrial complex in the world. …
KPFA‘s Guns and Butter – September 6, 2006
“The Global Dominance Group and 9/11:”
Presentation by Director of Project Censored, Dr. Peter Phillips, at the June 4th, 2006 “9/11 Education and Strategy Conference” in Chicago. This talk is based on recent research conducted at Sonoma State University which identified 240 global dominance advocates who have been the primary promoters and beneficiaries of the so-called war on terror before and after 9/11. Dr. Phillips covers the rise of the neocons and their agenda, who benefited from 9/11 and permanent war, the complicity of the corporate media, and the stolen presidential elections. It’s a “who dunnit” analysis and investigation of the greatest crime of the 21st century.
The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist
The Obama administration has quietly approved a substantial expansion of the terrorist watchlist system, authorizing a secret process that requires neither “concrete facts” nor “irrefutable evidence” to designate an American or foreigner as a terrorist, according to a key government document obtained by The Intercept.
The “March 2013 Watchlisting Guidance,” a 166-page document issued last year by the National Counterterrorism Center, spells out the government’s secret rules for putting individuals on its main terrorist database, as well as the no fly list and the selectee list, which triggers enhanced screening at airports and border crossings. The new guidelines allow individuals to be designated as representatives of terror organizations without any evidence they are actually connected to such organizations, and it gives a single White House official the unilateral authority to place entire “categories” of people the government is tracking onto the no fly and selectee lists. It broadens the authority of government officials to “nominate” people to the watchlists based on what is vaguely described as “fragmentary information.” It also allows for dead people to be watchlisted. …
The heart of the document revolves around the rules for placing individuals on a watchlist. “All executive departments and agencies,” the document says, are responsible for collecting and sharing information on terrorist suspects with the National Counterterrorism Center. It sets a low standard—”reasonable suspicion“—for placing names on the watchlists, and offers a multitude of vague, confusing, or contradictory instructions for gauging it. In the chapter on “Minimum Substantive Derogatory Criteria”—even the title is hard to digest—the key sentence on reasonable suspicion offers little clarity:
“To meet the REASONABLE SUSPICION standard, the NOMINATOR, based on the totality of the circumstances, must rely upon articulable intelligence or information which, taken together with rational inferences from those facts, reasonably warrants a determination that an individual is known or suspected to be or has been knowingly engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to TERRORISM and/or TERRORIST ACTIVITIES.”
The rulebook makes no effort to define an essential phrase in the passage—”articulable intelligence or information.” After stressing that hunches are not reasonable suspicion and that “there must be an objective factual basis” for labeling someone a terrorist, it goes on to state that no actual facts are required:
“In determining whether a REASONABLE SUSPICION exists, due weight should be given to the specific reasonable inferences that a NOMINATOR is entitled to draw from the facts in light of his/her experience and not on unfounded suspicions or hunches. Although irrefutable evidence or concrete facts are not necessary, to be reasonable, suspicion should be as clear and as fully developed as circumstances permit.”
While the guidelines nominally prohibit nominations based on unreliable information, they explicitly regard “uncorroborated” Facebook or Twitter posts as sufficient grounds for putting an individual on one of the watchlists. “Single source information,” the guidelines state, “including but not limited to ‘walk-in,’ ‘write-in,’ or postings on social media sites, however, should not automatically be discounted … the NOMINATING AGENCY should evaluate the credibility of the source, as well as the nature and specificity of the information, and nominate even if that source is uncorroborated.” …
The threshold of “reasonable doubt” for innocence is replaced with “reasonable suspicion” for guilt. They really have gone off the deep end.