• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 14 maart 2015

Zionist Fascism 324


Israelis torturing non-Jewish children. 2014 Australian documentary film. Viewer discretion.   





Saudi Terrorism 6



The Secret Saudi Ties to Terrorism


Exclusive: Saudi Arabia, working mostly through Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu, is trying to enlist the U.S. on the Sunni side of a regional war against Iran and the Shiites. But that alliance is complicated by Saudi princes who support al-Qaeda and other Sunni terrorists, as Daniel Lazare explains.


The U.S.-Saudi alliance is coming under unprecedented strain. Everything seems to be going wrong. Up in arms over growing Shi‘ite resistance in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Yemen, the ultra-Sunnis in Riyadh are alarmed that Obama continues to press ahead with arms negotiations in Teheran, from its viewpoint the center of the Shi‘ite conspiracy.
Saudis want the U.S. to overthrow Syria’s Assad in return for its cooperation in the fight against ISIS, yet Washington is signaling that it wouldn’t mind if the Baathists remain in power in Damascus a while longer. Similarities between Saudi methods and those of the Islamic State – both have a peculiar fondness for beheadings – are harder and harder to ignore.  But with Saudi executions now running at triple the 2014 rate according to Amnesty International, the Saudis are pressing on regardless.
Zacarias Moussaoui
Zacarias Moussaoui
Even the kingdom’s decision to award a $200,000 prize to an Indian tele-preacher named Zakir Naik for “services to Islam” seems like a deliberate thumb in the eye of the United States. Naik, who has been banned from entering Canada or the U.K., is a Salafist nightmare who attacks evolution, defends al-Qaeda, and claims that George W. Bush was secretly responsible for 9/11. What is Riyadh’s point other than to flip Washington the bird?
But the ultimate body blow may prove to be Zacarias Moussaoui’s sensational testimony in an anti-Saudi lawsuit filed by 9/11 survivors. Now serving a life sentence in a federal supermax prison in Florence, Colorado, Moussaoui, the so-called “twentieth hijacker,” told lawyers about top-level Saudi support for Osama bin Laden right up to the eve of 9/11 and even a plot by a Saudi embassy employee to sneak a Stinger missile into the U.S. under diplomatic cover and use it to bring down Air Force One.
Moussaoui’s list of ultra-rich al-Qaeda contributors couldn’t be more stunning. It includes the late King Abdulllah and his hard-line successor, Salman bin Abdulaziz; Turki Al Faisal, the former head of Saudi intelligence and subsequently ambassador to the U.S. and U.K.; Bandar bin Sultan, a longtime presence in Washington who was so close to the Bushes that Dubya nicknamed him Bandar Bush; and Al-Waleed bin Talal, a mega-investor in Citigroup, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, the Hotel George V in Paris, and the Plaza in New York.
These are people whom a series of U.S. presidents have fussed and fawned over – not just Bushes I and II, but Obama, who bowed deeply at the waist upon meeting Abdullah in April 2009. Yet according to Moussaoui, the princes provided bin Laden with millions of dollars needed to engineer the deaths of nearly 3,000 people in Lower Manhattan.
Considering how 9/11 has driven U.S. foreign policy, then the consequences are staggering. Teapot Dome? Watergate? If Moussaoui’s story turns out to be true, then the latter will really seem like the “third-rate burglary” that Nixon always made it out to be.
An Inside View
So the first question to ask concerns Moussaoui credibility. Should we believe the guy? How credible is he? The short answer is: very.
Admittedly, Moussaoui is a nut job whose behavior during his trial in U.S. federal court was often bizarre. He refused to enter a plea, tried to fire his court-appointed attorneys, filed a motion describing the presiding judge as a “pathological killer … with ego-boasting dementia,” and described the U.S. as “United Sodom of America.”
But as the New York Times points out, Judge Leonie M. Brinkema said she was “fully satisfied that Mr. Moussaoui is completely competent,” adding that he is “an extremely intelligent man” with “a better understanding of the legal system than some lawyers I’ve seen in court.”
In his testimony last October – the transcripts of which became public early last month – he comes across as calm and lucid, a man eager to tell what he knows about bin Laden’s terror operation and its connections with the uppermost rungs of Saudi society.
What’s more, what he has to say is highly plausible. His account not only accords with what we know about Saudi Arabia’s otherwise opaque power structure, but seems to shed light on a few things we don’t.
The most obvious concerns Saudi Arabia’s 7,000 or so princes and their riotous lifestyle. The kingdom is famous for banning alcohol, virtually all types of public entertainment, and the slightest sexual displays. Yet its over-paid, under-worked royals are no less notorious for stampeding to the airport cocktail lounge as soon as they touch down in Cairo or Dubai and then jetting off to the plushest casinos and brothels that Europe has to offer.
So if mullahs can’t tolerate the sight of a woman’s bare arm, then why do they put up with such licentiousness? The answer, according to Moussaoui, is that the ulema, as the mullahs are collectively known, does so because of the leverage it gains.
“Ulema, essentially they are the king maker,” he testified. “If the ulema say that you should not take power, you are not going to take power.”
Since the mullahs have the power to label as an apostate anybody who drinks, fornicates (i.e. engages in illicit sex), or practices homosexuality – collective behavior which apparently covers virtually the entire royal family – then the effect is to give the ulema a veto over who is eligible for the throne and who is not. The more the princes misbehave, the more control the ulema acquires over Saudi politics as a whole.
Another puzzle concerns why the Saudi establishment would continue channeling funds to bin Laden even after a war of words had broken out over the stationing of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia during the 1990-91 Gulf War. Former CIA counter-intelligence chief Robert Grenier has seized on the issue to discredit Moussaoui’s testimony out of hand.
“The reason Osama bin Laden went to Sudan in the 1990s in the first place was because he was under pressure from the Saudi government,” Grenier told the Guardian. “The idea they’d be supporting him under any circumstances, and in particular in an attack on the U.S., is inconceivable.
But Moussaoui’s version is more nuanced than Grenier’s rather self-serving description of the Saudis as reliable partners would suggest. When asked why Saudi princes would contribute to someone who had turned against them, Moussaoui replied that bin Laden had not turned against all of the princes, merely some of them:
“He went against Fahd, but he didn’t want to go against … Abdullah Saud and Turki and the people who have been classified by … the ulema as … criminal, but not apostate.”
The mullahs, no less xenophobic than bin Laden, despised then-King Fahd because he had OK’d the stationing of U.S. troops in “the land of the two holy mosques.” But while Abdullah was also guilty of certain offenses according to the ulema – hence Moussaoui’s description of him as a “criminal” – they did not add up to apostasy, or abandonment of Islam, a far more serious offense.
The mullahs were therefore willing to cut him some slack, according to Moussaoui, in the hope that he would steer the kingdom back in a more authentically Muslim direction. “[T]he ulema told him [bin Laden] not to wage war against Al Saud,” Moussaoui said, “because Fahd was going to die and therefore that Abdullah Al Saud will take power and he will reestablish a true power.”
If we accept Moussaoui’s description of the mullahs as kingmakers, then this makes sense. As to why the princes would funnel aid to bin Laden as opposed to some other would-be terrorist mastermind, Moussaoui is helpful as well. Post-9/11, Bandar bin Sultan dismissed bin Laden as a flaky no-account who “couldn’t lead eight ducks across the street.”
But in his testimony, Moussaoui describes bin Laden as a capable organizer who built a complicated jihadi movement from the ground up. Since holy war is expensive, he was dependent on large-scale infusions of cash and equipment. As Moussaoui put it in his less-than-perfect English:
“[A]ll this money were there … especially to set up the camp, because nothing was there, it was the desert, so we have to pay Afghan to dig a well, you have to dig to build the base for tent and camp and medical, everything was created from scratch, it was very expensive, OK? … I mean, hundred of thousand of dollar on a weekly basis, you know? You have a lot of car, you have to pay for the maintenance of the tank and dozer, OK, and all of the spare part. …  And everybody would get expense … every child have X amount of money, every woman have X amount of money, every person have X amount of money … a quite substantial [amount] of money.”
Since 9/11 was nothing if not smoothly organized, Moussaoui’s description of bin Laden as a skilled operator makes sense as well. Moussaoui notes that bin Laden stood high in the religious establishment’s esteem, much higher, in fact, than the princes.
Bin Laden’s father, the Yemeni-born construction magnate Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden, had been best friends with Saudi Arabia’s founding king, Ibn Saud, and had been entrusted with rebuilding or restoring Islam’s three holiest sites – the Grand Mosque in Mecca, the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, and the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
Since Mohammed bin Laden was pure gold in the eyes of the ulema as a consequence, Osama was 24-karat as well. “So bin Laden was pure,” Moussaoui said, “a pure Wahhabi [who] will obey the Wahhabi scholar to the letter” – loyalty that the mullahs fully repaid.
When asked what Abdullah, Turki and other top-rank royals hoped to get in exchange for contributing to bin Laden’s organization, Moussaoui replied that “it was a – a matter of survival for them, OK, because all of the mujahideen … the hard core believe that … Al Fahd was an apostate, so they would have wanted jihad against Saudi Arabia.”
If Wahhabi hardliners believed that Fahd was a renegade, then they might say the same of other high-living royals, in which case the princes would have to run for their lives. Funding bin Laden was a cheap way to remain in the mullahs’ good graces and continue raking in profits.
Real Power behind the Throne
Bin Laden was thus the ulema’s fair-haired boy, and since the princes were already skating on thin ice, they had to be nice to him so that the mullahs would be nice to them in return. Referring to top Wahhabi theologians Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz and Muhammad ibn al Uthaymeen, Moussaoui said:
“He [bin Laden] was doing it [waging jihad] with the express advice and consent and directive of the ulema. He will not have a single persons coming from Saudi Arabia if the ulema and Baz or Uthaymeen state this man is wrong. … Not to say he’s an apostate … just he’s wrong … everybody will have left, except the North African maybe.”
One word from the mullahs and bin Laden would have found himself cut off – or so Moussaoui maintains.  If talk of an all-powerful ulema seems a mite over the top, other experts agree that their clout is difficult to exaggerate.
Mai Yamani, an independent scholar who is the daughter of the famous Saudi oil minister Ahmed Zaki Yamani, describes the Wahhabis, for instance, as “the kingdom’s de facto rulers,” noting that that they control not only the mosques and religious police, but all 700 judgeships, religious education in general (which comprises half the school curriculum), and other ministries as well.
While the House of Saud has proved adept at co-opting the mullahs and keeping in their place, decades of oil money have resulted in a hypertrophied religious sector to which attention must be paid. [See Thomas Hegghammer, Jihad in Saudi Arabia: Violence and Pan-Islamism since 1979 (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2010), pp. 232-33]
So princes tread lightly in the ulema’s presence. This seems to have been especially the case during the delicate post-1995 period when Fahd continued to cling to the throne even though crippled by stroke and Abdullah ruled in all but name. One king was out, but the other was not yet in, which is why the religious establishment’s approval was more critical than ever.
Thus, the princes eagerly did the ulema’s bidding, funding bin Laden’s activities abroad and only putting their foot down, according to Moussaoui, when it came to jihad at home. While Osama was free to do what he liked in Afghanistan and elsewhere, the princes drew the line at “do[ing] stuff in your … backyard.”
Moussaoui, who says he was put to work compiling a financial database upon joining al Qaeda in late 1998, describes flying by private plane to Riyadh as a special courier.
“We went in … to a private airport,” he recalled.  “[T]here was a car, we get into a car, a limousine, and I was taken to a place, it was like a Hilton Hotel, OK, and the next morning … Turki came and we went … to a big room, and there was Abdullah and there was Sultan, Bandar, and there was Waleed bin Talal and Salman” – i.e., the Saudi crème de la crème. When asked if the princes knew why he was there, he said yes: “I was introduced as the messenger for Sheik Osama bin Laden.”
Moussaoui says that prominent Saudis visited bin Laden’s camp in Afghanistan in return: “There was a lot of bragging about I been to Sheik Osama bin Laden, I been to Afghanistan, I’m the real deal, I’m a real mujahid, I’m a real fighter for Allah.”
He says that bin Laden’s mother visited too, testimony that has also led to attacks on his credibility since he says that Hamid Gul, chief of Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence, helped arrange it even though Gul by that time had been out of office for a decade. But Gul is a powerful player in Pakistan’s murky politics to this day, so the notion that he would help organize a visit by bin Laden’s mother even though no longer head of the ISI is hardly farfetched.
The Guardian has also labeled as “improbable” Moussaoui’s tale of smuggling a Stinger missile into the U.S. under diplomatic immunity in order to shoot down Air Force One. But Moussaoui was careful to note that it was not a prince who suggested such an operation, but a comparatively lowly member of the Saudi Embassy’s Islamic Department in Washington.
Moreover, the proposal “was not to launch the attack, it was only to see [to] the feasibility of the attack.” If, as he says, the Wahhabi cleric Muhammad ibn al Uthaymeen did indeed issue a fatwa declaring that embassy personnel “had a personal obligation to help the jihad if they can, even if they were not order[ed] by … the Saudi government,” then it is hardly inconceivable that an individual Wahhabi militant might have decided to take matters into his own hands.
The Cover-Up
None of this means that Moussaoui’s charges are true, merely that they’re plausible and therefore merit further investigation. But what makes them even more persuasive is the behavior of those in a position to know, not only the Saudis but the Americans as well.
Since virtually the moment the Twin Towers fell, top officials have behaved in a way that would tax the imagination of even the most fevered conspiratorialist. Two days after 9/11, Bin Sultan, the Saudi ambassador at the time, met with Bush, Dick Cheney, and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, after which 144 Saudi nationals, including two dozen members of the Bin Laden family, were allowed to fly out of the country with at most cursory questioning by the FBI.
The Bush administration dragged its feet in the face of two official investigations, a joint congressional inquiry that began in February 2002 and an independent commission under Thomas Kean and Lee H. Hamilton the following November. When Abdullah visited Bush at his Texas ranch in April 2002, the question of 9/11 hardly came up.
When a reporter pointed out that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis, Bush cut him short, saying, “Yes, I – the crown prince has been very strong in condemning those who committed the murder of U.S. citizens.  We’re constantly working with him and his government on intelligence sharing and cutting off money … the government has been acting, and I appreciate that very much.”
Yet just a month earlier, former FBI assistant director Robert Kallstrom had said of the Saudis, “It doesn’t look like they’re doing much, and frankly it’s nothing new.” In April 2003, Philip Zelikow, the independent commission’s neocon executive director, fired an investigator, Dana Leseman, when she proved too vigorous in probing the Saudi connection. [See Philip Shenon, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation (New York: Twelve, 2008), pp. 110-13]
Strangest of all is the famous 28-page chapter from the 2002 joint congressional report dealing with the question of Saudi complicity. While the congressional report was heavily redacted, the chapter itself was suppressed in its entirety. Obama promised 9/11 widow Kristen Breitweiser shortly after taking office that he would see to it that the section was de-classified, yet nothing has been done.
Why did Obama go back on his word? Is it the text itself that’s so explosive? Or do the Saudis have something on the U.S., something very damaging, that they are threatening to release if it tries to blame them for 9/11? All we can do is speculate.
The Great Unraveling
The U.S. and Saudi Arabia are a pair of odd fellows if ever there was one. One is a liberal republic in the classic Nineteenth Century definition of the term while the other is perhaps the most illiberal society on the face of the earth. One is officially secular while the other is an absolute theocracy.
One professes to believe in diversity while the other imposes a suffocating uniformity, banning all religions other than Wahhabist Islam, forbidding “atheist thought in any form,” and prohibiting participation in any conference, seminar, or other gathering, at home or abroad, that might have the effect of “sowing discord.” One claims to oppose terrorism while the other “constitute[s] the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide,” according to no less an authority than Hillary Clinton.
The alliance has served the imperial agenda but at appalling cost. This includes not only 9/11 and ISIS, which Joe Biden said the Saudis and others Arab gulf states funded to the tune of “hundreds of millions of dollars,” but the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris as well, which was financed by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a group that, according to former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco Marc Ginsberg, has also benefited from Saudi Arabia and other Arab gulf largesse.
This is the dark side of the alliance that Washington has struggled to keep under wraps. But Moussaoui’s testimony is an indication that it may not be able to do so for much longer.

Daniel Lazare is the author of several books including The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy (Harcourt Brace).




U.S. WANTS WAR 6

German, European Govs: America’s “Dangerous Propaganda”, Military Aid Harming Ukraine Peace Process

As noted in today’s special report by Chris Martenson:
Having reached a tenuous peace agreement with Ukraine and Russia (without the US), Germany is realizing and announcing that, indeed, the US does not seem intent on peace.
McClatchy reports that German government officials have “recently referred to U.S. statements of Russian involvement in the Ukraine fighting as ‘dangerous propaganda'”.  In light of US propaganda and military support for Kiev, Germany even asked outright whether “the Americans want to sabotage the European mediation attempts in Ukraine led by Chancellor Merkel?”
While there is agreement in the West that Russia does support the Ukrainian democrats whose elected leader was violently overthrown with US and European support (the US supports numerous groups, including anti-Semitic neo-Nazis and Islamic extremists, around the world, in addition to illegal US invasions), Germany and other European governments say US officials such as US Gen. Breedlove and Obama’s asst. sec. state for Europe, the notorious Victoria Nuland, “have been exaggerating the extent of Russian involvement in the conflict.”
Breedlove, for instance, is issuing untrue statements – lies – for the purpose of “playing to” – propagandizing – “an American audience”, which European officials say “doesn’t advance peace efforts”, another polite way of saying it conspicuously impedes them.
Since being caught red-handed and forced to address the issue of their “exaggerated claims” about Russia’s involvement in doing something the US does continually, a US official responded anonymously and changed the US tune, trying now to shift focus away from the exact numbers, about which the US was previously so adamant.
Ukrainian officials have made similar claims, on scores of occasions announcing an all out Russian military “invasion” of Ukraine.
The exposures by the German government of US [and thereby Kiev’s] lies, notes Antiwar.com’s Jason Ditz, “may finally be the explanation … for how US[/Kiev] claims of huge Russian military presences never come with any pictures…” except ones that have been plastered on the front of the New York Times and then debunked as fraudulent and later retracted, deep inside the paper – see Robert Parry‘s “NYT Retracts Russian Photo Scoop”.
As part of what European officials say is sabotaging the peace process, the US is now providing another $75 million worth of aid to Kiev, including 230 Humvees.  This is in addition to the $120 million already given to Kiev’s forces by the US.
Author and UK-based colleague on Twitter

Henk Hofland en de Massa 22


Twee citaten,  de eerste van een mainstream-journalist, de tweede van een Nobelprijswinnaar Literatuur:

De Volkskrant en NRC Handelsblad zijn elitaire kranten. Dat is geen nadeel. Een natie kan niet zonder een politiek-literaire elite
Henk Hofland. De toekomst van bedrukt papier. 20 maart 2009

Het is in ieder geval een twintigste-eeuws verschijnsel dat politiek en cultuur niet alleen elkaars tegenpolen maar ook elkaars vijanden zijn geworden. Dit is geen natuurlijke ontwikkeling, en de politiek die losgekomen is van de cultuur en die door haar macht een onbegrensde en gewetenloze alleenheerschappij verwerft, zorgt voor enorme verwoestingen — zo niet in mensenlevens en materieel goed, dan toch in de psyche van de mensen. Het instrument van de verwoesting heet ideologie. In de twintigste eeuw, dit verschrikkelijke tijdperk van verlies van waarden, werden alle waarden ideologie… Haat en leugen: dit waren waarschijnlijk de twee belangrijkste in de politieke opvoeding die de twintigste-eeuwse mens meekreeg.
Imre Kertész. De verbannen taal. 2004

Zeven decennialang verspreiden van kleinburgerlijke 'haat' en 'leugens' hebben Hofland  een status en inkomen verzekerd. Maar, zoals bekend, is elk imago slechts schijn. Zo bezit het vlaggenschip van de Nederlandse 'politiek-literaire elite' een 'oorlogszuchtige' inborst. Hij bewondert 'vaderlandslievende eerzucht' en 'strijdlust,' de 'aandrift' om bloedbaden te veroorzaken onder de burgerbevolking van landen die weigeren de neoliberale dictaten van Washington en Wall Street klakkeloos op te volgen. Met begrippen als de 'begeerte' naar 'eer' verhult de hoogbejaarde een ernstige psychische stoornis. Gezien de dodelijke consequenties van de hedendaagse 'eerzucht' is het gerechtvaardigd te stellen dat hier sprake is van een levensgevaarlijke pathologie. De joods-Hongaarse Nobelprijswinnaar Kertész, die Auschwitz overleefde, spreekt vanuit ervaring als hij benadrukt dat 'de twintigste-eeuwse mens' is geschoold in 'haat en leugen.' Het resultaat van 'dit verschrikkelijke tijdperk van verlies van waarden,' had tot gevolg dat 'alle waarden ideologie' werden. Bovendien wees Kertész erop dat het 

een twintigste-eeuws verschijnsel [is] dat politiek en cultuur niet alleen elkaars tegenpolen maar ook elkaars vijanden zijn geworden.

Ook die constatering werpt een verhelderend licht op Hoflands bewering dat geen enkele 'natie zonder een politiek-literaire elite [kan].' Allereerst bestaat de door hem verzonnen 'politiek-literaire elite' niet, omdat, zoals eveneens Kertész vaststelde, 'politiek en cultuur niet alleen elkaars tegenpolen maar ook elkaars vijanden zijn geworden.' Alleen een politicus beseft niet dat 'de politiek [is] losgekomen van de cultuur' en dat de politiek 'door haar macht een onbegrensde en gewetenloze alleenheerschappij verwerft,' en op die manier 'zorgt voor enorme verwoestingen — zo niet in mensenlevens en materieel goed, dan toch in de psyche van de mensen.' En 'Het instrument van de verwoesting heet ideologie.' 

De literatuur staat daar haaks op, zij streeft niet naar macht, maar naar begrip, zij is niet uit op het mobiliseren van de massa middels simplistische slogans, maar juist op het tegenoverstelde; zij wil het individu een groter begrip van het complexe bestaan geven. De lezer leert het individu zichzelf kennen, waardoor hij zich bezint voordat hij begint. De literatuur is gelaagd, de politiek ééndimensionaal, vandaar dat dit twee gescheiden werelden zijn. De literator bereidt geen enkele oorlog voor, de politicus en zijn woordvoerder wel. Hoflands 'politiek-literaire elite' bestaat net zo min als 'de democratie' in het neoliberale totalitarisme. 

Hoflands claim is kenmerkend voor zijn snobistische hunkering om niet te worden gezien als een journalist van de mainstream-pers. Want zelfs de grijze eminentie beseft maar al te goed dat hij in werkelijkheid een propagandist van commerciële belangen is, en dat hij daarom gebruik moet maken van politieke aandriften, van cliché's en sentimenten om zijn boodschap in een kleinburgerlijk land zonder een kritische intelligentsia, rond te kunnen bazuinen. Maar ook 'al draagt een aap een gouden ring, het is en blijft een lelijk ding,' en hetzelfde gaat op voor de journalistiek van Hofland en zijn 'elite.' Het is de belangrijkste reden waarom journalisten die door een ideologische bril kijken zich beter willen voordoen dan ze zijn. Een illustrerend voorbeeld in dit verband is de journalist Geert Mak die, in een poging kritiek te omzeilen, verkondigde:

Je hebt de academici en de mooischrijvers. Ik hoor bij de laatste club. Die doen er twee jaar langer over om het mooi op te schrijven.

Dat een belezen cultuurcriticus als wijlen Michaël Zeeman de zelfverheerlijking van Mak absoluut niet deelde, bleek uit het VPRO-boekenprogramma, toen Zeeman de in 2000 tot ‘beste boek’ van het jaar uitgeroepen De eeuw van mijn vader als ‘voer voor debielen’ kwalificeerde, en hij naderhand in een essay sprak van het 'weke sentiment' in Mak's boeken. De zelfbenoemde 'historicus' zat veel dichter bij de waarheid toen hij op vrijdag 2 november 2012 over ondermeer zichzelf verklaarde:

Nemen wij, chroniqueurs van het heden en verleden, onze taak, het ‘uitbannen van onwaarheid,’ serieus genoeg?  Zeker in deze tijd? Ik vraag het me af. Op dit moment vindt op Europees en mondiaal niveau een misvorming van de werkelijkheid plaats die grote consequenties heeft.

Daarmee gaf Mak antwoord op de door hem gestelde vraag: 

Waar blijft, in deze chaos van telkens botsende en elkaar tegensprekende verhalen, de rol van de historicus? 

De gedachte van propagandisten als Mak en Hofland dat zij door middel van hun 'mooischrijverij' dan wel 'sprezzatura' de 'rol van de historicus' vervullen en en daarmee tot de 'politiek-literaire elite' in de polder behoren, is niets anders dan de aloude ijdelheid waarmee de mainstream zichzelf status probeert te verschaffen. Met het oog daarop voelen de zogeheten 'chroniqueurs van het heden en verleden' zich volledig op hun plaats na het 'verschrikkelijke tijdperk van verlies van waarden,' waardoor  'alle waarden ideologie' werden. In die werkelijkheid bepalen zij  voor hun publiek wat de ideologische 'waarden' behoren te zijn. De context waarbinnen zij opereren werd gedocumenteerd beschreven door de Amerikaanse historicus Eric Foner, hoogleraar aan Columbia University in zijn boek The Story of American Freedom (1999). Foner is geen simplistische propagandist als Hofland of Mak:

The professional awards which Foner has received indicate the respect given his work. In addition, journalist Nat Hentoff described his Story of American Freedom 'an indispensable book that should be read in every school in the land.' 'Eric Foner is one of the most prolific, creative, and influential American historians of the past 20 years,' according to the Washington Post. His work is 'brilliant, important' a reviewer wrote in the Los Angeles Times.

Over Walter Lippmann, de bekendste Amerikaanse ideologische journalist van het establishment schreef Foner:  

During the 1920s, Walter Lippmann published two of the most penetrating indictments of democracy ever written, Public Opinion and The Phantom Public, valedictories to Progressive hopes for the application of 'intelligence' to social problems via mass democracy. Instead of acting out of careful consideration of the issues or even individual or collective self-interest, the American voter, Lippmann claimed, was ill-informed, myopic, and prone to fits of enthusiasm.

The government, like advertising copywriters and journalists, had perfected the art of creating and manipulating public opinion—a process Lippmann called the 'manufacture of consent'—while at the same time consumerism was sapping Americans’ concern for public issues. 

Centraal in Lippmann's denken stond de overtuiging dat een echte democratie niet mogelijk was, omdat het volk te stupide en te ongeïnformeerd blijft, met als gevolg dat de democratie in chaos zou eindigen. In zijn tweede boek Drift and Mastery: An Attempt to Diagnose the Current Unrest (1914) stelde Lippmann ondermeer:

  1. There is a consensus that business methods need to change. The leading thought of our world has ceased to regard commercialism either as permanent or desirable, and the only real question among intelligent people is how business methods are to be alerted, not whether they are to be altered.

2.  The chaos of too much freedom and the weaknesses of democracy are our real problem. The battle for us, in short, does not lie against crusted prejudice, but against the chaos of a new freedom. This chaos is our real problem. So if the younger critics are to meet the issues of their generation they must give their attention, not so much to the evils of authority, as to the weaknesses of democracy.

Niet alleen de Amerikaanse opiniemaker Lippmann dacht zo, maar zijn mening was en is nog steeds gangbaar onder de economische en politieke elite in het Westen. En die opvatting bestaat zowel bij zogenaamde 'democraten' als bij overtuigde 'nazi's.' In Mein Kampf (1925/1926) stelde Hitler het zo:

De intelligentie van de massa is beperkt, hun begripsvermogen is zwak.

Er bestaat dus wat betreft de denkbeelden over de moderne massamens geen wezenlijk verschil tussen Hitler enerzijds en anderzijds Walter Lippmann en de westerse ideologen van de gevestigde orde. De elite is vanaf het begin tegen een ware democratie geweest. Het gevolg was dat Lippmann al in 1922 in zijn standaardwerk Public Opinion benadrukte dat

public opinions must be organized for the press if they are to be sound, not by the press... Without some form of censorship, propaganda in the strict sense of the word is impossible. In order to conduct propaganda there must be some barrier between the public and the event. Access to the real environment must be limited, before anyone can create a pseudo-environment that he thinks is wise or desirable... Though it is itself an irrational force the power of public opinion might be placed at the disposal of those who stood for workable law against brute assertion.

De Amerikaanse hoogleraar Stuart Ewen, gespecialiseerd in Media Studies schrijft in zijn boek PR! A Social History of Spin:

Throughout the pages of Public Opinion, Lippmann had asserted that human beings were, for the most part, inherently incapable of responding rationally to their world... For Lippmann, it was not so much people's incapacity to deliberate on issues rationally that was the problem; it was that the time necessary to pursue rational deliberations would only interfere with the smooth exercise of executive power... For Lippmann, the appeal of symbols was that they provided a device for short-circuiting the inconvenience posed by critical reason and public discussion. To Lippmann, symbols were powerful instruments for forging mental agreement among people who -- if engaged in critical dialogue -- would probably disagree. 'When political parties or newspapers declare for Americanism, Progressivism, Law and Order, Justice, Humanity,' he explained, they expect to merge 'conflicting factions which would surely divide if, instead of these symbols, they were invited to discuss a specific program.'

Als adviseur van de Amerikaanse aristocratie werd Lippmann beloond met

a special Pulitzer Prize for journalism in 1958, as nationally syndicated columnist, citing 'the wisdom, perception and high sense of responsibility with which he has commented for many years on national and international affairs.' Four years later he won the annual Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting citing 'his 1961 interview with Soviet Premier Khrushchev, as illustrative of Lippmann's long and distinguished contribution to American journalism.' […] On September 14, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson presented Lippmann with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.


Met andere woorden: de belangrijkste woordvoerder van het westerse kapitalistische establishment in de twintigste eeuw kreeg voor ondermeer zijn opvatting dat 'public opinions must be organized for the press if they are to be sound, not by the press' tot tweemaal toe van diezelfde gevestigde orde de belangrijkste westerse persprijs voor 'the wisdom, perception and high sense of responsibility with which he has commented for many years on national and international affairs,' om tenslotte van de president, die de geschiedenis inging als de autoriteit achter de Amerikaanse oorlogsmisdaden in Vietnam, 'the highest civilian award of the United States' te ontvangen. Dit toont aan hoe doorslaggevend de propagandistische rol van de mainstream-pers is voor het beschermen en uitbreiden van de elite-belangen. Professor Ewen:

Lippmann added that serious public discussion of issues would only yield a 'vague and confusing medley,' a discord that would make executive decision making difficult. 'Action cannot be taken until these opinions have been factored down, canalized, compressed and made uniform.' [...] The symbol, he wrote, 'is like a strategic railroad center where many roads converge regardless of their ultimate origin or their ultimate destination.' Because of this, 'when a coalition around the symbol has been effected, feeling flows toward conformity under the symbol rather than toward critical scrutiny of the measures under consideration.' In its adamant argument that human beings are essentially irrational, social psychology had provided Lippmann -- and many others -- with a handy rationale for a small, intellectual elite to rule over society. Yet a close reading of Lippmann's argument suggests that he was concerned less with the irrational core of human behavior than he was with the problem of making rule by elites, in a democratic age, less difficult. Educated by the lessons of the image culture taking shape around him, Lippmann saw the strategic employment of media images as the secret to modern power; the means by which leaders and special interests might cloak themselves in the 'fiction' that they stand as delegates of the common good…

Raised in a world that looked toward fact-based journalism as the most efficient lubricant of persuasion, Lippmann turned toward Hollywood, America's 'dream factory,' for inspiration. Never before had an American thinker articulated in such detail the ways that images could be used to sway public consciousness. Appeals to reason were not merely being discarded as futile, they were being consciously undermined to serve the interests of power. It is here, at the turning point where Lippmann unqualifiedly abandoned the idea of meaningful public dialogue, that the dark side of his ruminations on the power of the image was most dramatically revealed.

Binnen de context van deze beeldcultuur schreef Henk Hofland dat de NAVO-bombardementen op Libië 'redelijk goed [zijn] afgelopen. Libië zien we niet meer op de televisie,' terwijl in werkelijkheid na de gewelddadige 'regime-change' het land onmiddellijk werd verscheurd door een bloedige burgeroorlog. Maar omdat 'public opinions must be organized for the press if they are to be sound, not by the press' volgde Hofland als ingehuurde opiniemaker braaf de officiële versie van de werkelijkheid, en 'zien we,' — let op, opnieuw 'we,' Libië 'niet meer op de televisie,' dat wil zeggen 'niet' op de televisie van de westerse commerciële massamedia, en aangezien die als de enige echte waarheidsbepalers worden gezien, is datgene wat 'we zien' onmiddellijk de waarheid. Derhalve kon Hofland voorjaar 2012 enthousiast melden dat de totalitaire regimes van 'Saoedi-Arabië en Qatar nu tekenen van bereidheid' toonden om de al even fundamentalistische moslim-rebellen in Syrië zwaar te bewapenen, met het oog op de vestiging aldaar van een 'democratie.' Als geen ander in de polder weet de nestor van de mainstreampers hier dat 

serious public discussion of issues would only yield a 'vague and confusing medley,' a discord that would make executive decision making difficult. 'Action cannot be taken until these opinions have been factored down, canalized, compressed and made uniform.'

En dus liegt en bedriegt de 'beste journalist van de twintigste eeuw' onweersproken erop los in één van de weekbladen van de 'politiek-literaire elite' in de polder. Maar in tegenstelling tot de verpolitiekte waterdragers van de macht is een romanschrijver de ware visionair. Het was dan ook D.H. Lawrence, die al in 1923 in zijn essaybundel Studies in Classic American Literature het volgende zag:

When you are actually in America, America hurts, because it has a powerful disintegrative influence upon the white psyche. It is full of grinning, unappeased aboriginal demons, too, ghosts, and it persecutes the white men, like some Eumenides, until the white men give up their absolute whiteness. America is tense with latent violence and resistance. The very common sense of white Americans of white Americans has a tinge of helplessness in it, and deep fear of what might be if they were not common-sensical. Yet one day the demons of America must be placated, the ghosts must be appeased, the Spirit of Place atoned for. Then the true passionate love for American Soil will appear. As yet, there is too much menace in the landscape.

In dezelfde periode dat D.H. Lawrence dit schreef, verklaarde Chief Luther Standing Bear feitelijk hetzelfde met iets andere woorden:

because for the Lakota there was no wilderness, because nature was not dangerous but hospitable, not forbidding but friendly, Lakota philosophy was healthy -- free from fear and dogmatism. And here I find the great distinction between the faith of the Indian and the white man. Indian faith sought the harmony of man with his surroundings; the other sought the dominance of surroundings. In sharing, in loving all and everything, one people naturally found a due portion of the thing they sought, while, in fearing, the other found need of conquest.

De blindheid voor de werkelijkheid weerhoudt de Hoflanden en Makken etcetera er niet van om met een maximale pedanterie van alles en nog wat te beweren. Met afgrijzen ontdekten ze enige jaren geleden dat ze door de opkomst van internet hun monopolie op de berichtgeving hadden verloren, waardoor er sprake was van een drastisch verlies van hun geloofwaardigheid. Zo schreef Hofland met nauwelijks inhouden woede in De Groene Amsterdammer van vrijdag 20 maart 2009 onder de kop 'De Openbare Mening. De toekomst van bedrukt papier'

De ‘nieuwe media’ met de mening van de bloggers zijn voor een groot deel van de publieke opinie toonaangevend geworden. Dit is de gedigitaliseerde stem des volks. Dat was al zo voor de crisis begon. De afgelopen twintig jaar hebben de gedrukte media met redelijk succes de tegenspoed overleefd. Ze zijn economisch wel verzwakt, maar ze hebben zich aangepast zonder hun wezen prijs te geven. Ze zijn onafhankelijk gebleven, hebben hun onderzoek naar verdachte zaken gedaan, hun mening gegeven. Daarmee hebben ze een groot publiek weten vast te houden. Nu komt na alle tegenslag de economische crisis, en onder deze omstandigheden blijkt dat de zwakste media het niet meer kunnen volhouden. Regionale kranten verdwijnen, in Amerika dreigen grote dagbladen met nationale allure ten onder te gaan. Daarmee wordt een fundament van de westerse democratie in zijn voortbestaan bedreigd. Het nieuws, onbevooroordeeld gebracht, toegelicht door deskundigen, behoort tot de publieke voorzieningen. Redacties van de serieuze media zijn instituten waar honderden specialisten werken. Met onverbiddelijke regelmaat leveren ze het product op basis waarvan de burgerij tot een gefundeerd politiek oordeel komt. Het zou logisch zijn om de productie van dit drukwerk ook tot de publieke voorzieningen te rekenen, zoals gas, water en licht.

Zijn haat tegen de democratisering van de berichtgeving en daarmee tegen de feiten en de visie van degenen die niet behoren tot zijn zelfbenoemde ‘politiek-literaire elite,’ is illustrerend voor het feit dat zijn tijd definitief voorbij. Zeker, omdat, zoals hij zelf constateerde:

De ‘nieuwe media’ met de mening van de bloggers voor een groot deel van de publieke opinie toonaangevend [zijn] geworden. Dit is de gedigitaliseerde stem des volks… De afgelopen tien jaar is het politieke landschap ten koste van het oude bestel gefragmentariseerd en tegelijkertijd heeft zich in de journalistiek, ook door de invloed van internet, een culturele polarisatie voltrokken. De ‘nieuwe media’ met de mening van de bloggers zijn voor een groot deel van de publieke opinie toonaangevend geworden. Dit is de gedigitaliseerde stem des volks.

De denigrerend bedoelde ‘gedigitaliseerde stem des volks’ luistert niet meer gehoorzaam naar Hoflands al even ‘gedigitaliseerde stem,’ waardoor zijn rol is uitgespeeld van mainstream-opiniemaker, die namens 'we' spreekt, en bepaalt wat waar en niet waar is, en wat  wel en niet de televisie-werkelijkheid is. Hij is niet meer in staat namens de elite 'de massa's' te mobiliseren tegen bijvoorbeeld 'Poetin,' voor de mainstream-pers en haar elite het symbool van Het Kwaad. Volgens Hofland heet internet er voor gezorgd dat een 'populistisch alarmisme heeft wortel geschoten' onder 'het volk' dat geen 'vaderlandslievende eerzucht en strijdlust' meer kent. De situatie is inderdaad in wezenlijk veranderd sinds de hoogtijdagen van de Koude Oorlog toen de gouden regel nog gold dat 

when a coalition around the symbol has been effected, feeling flows toward conformity under the symbol rather than toward critical scrutiny of the measures under consideration. 

Mede dankzij internet blijken in de neoliberale 'democratie' ineens meerdere stemmen te bestaan, die voorheen als het ware gecensureerd werden of domweg genegeerd door de toen nog niet ‘gedigitaliseerde stem’ van Hoflands ‘elitaire kranten.’ Terecht stelt Hofland impliciet dat de ‘elitaire kranten’ niet de ‘stem des volks’ verwoorden. ‘Het volk,’ omvat iedereen die niet behoort tot de zichzelf bevestigende, zelfbenoemde, discriminerende   en geborneerde stem van de ‘elite,’ de stem die verantwoordelijk is voor -- ik doe een greep -- het failliete neoliberalisme, de klimaatverandering, de toenemende wereldwijde kloof tussen arm en rijk, de Fukushima-ramp en het diepe wantrouwen van ‘het volk’ tegen de volksvertegenwoordigers en hun spreekbuizen bij de ‘elitaire’ commerciële massamedia. 

Hoflands ‘elitaire’ zienswijze demonstreert zijn intense afkeer van de democratie, de heerschappij van het volk. De democratisering via internet vergroot allen 'het machtsgevoel van de ontevredenen,' waardoor de burgers '[n]u de wereld in hun wrok [kunnen] laten delen,' aldus Hofland. Tegenover zijn publiek bij De Groene verklaarde de intellectueel corrupte H.J.A. Hofland op 10 maart 2010  dat 'bloggers de permanent wrokkenden [zijn] in digitale gedaante.' Ook deze kwalificatie bewijst de intense haat van hem en zijn 'politiek-literaire elite' in een kleinburgerlijk land tegen alles en iedereen, die de moed opbrengt de status-quo ter discussie te stellen, en feiten te openbaren die de corrupte 'kwaliteitspers' al vele jaren zo nauwlettend heeft verzwegen. 

De mainstream-journalisten blijken geen betrouwbare bronnen te zijn, maar doodordinaire 'hufters,' om even het Bargoens van Hofland te lenen. Nu hij concurrentie te duchten heeft, is het ondenkbaar dat hij zijn titel als 'beste journalist van de twintigste eeuw' in de 21ste eeuw zou kunnen consolideren. De 'hufters,'  die werden geschoold in het 'verschrikkelijke tijdperk van verlies van waarden,' worden namelijk niet langer 'op hun woord geloofd.' De ouderwetse vriendjespolitiek van ons kent ons in de polder, is voorlopig afgelopen.  


NATO’s Shadow of Nazi Operation Barbarossa



Finian CUNNINGHAM | 13.03.2015 | 00:00


NATO’s Operation Atlantic Resolve paced ahead this week with the latest arrival of more US military forces in the Baltic region. Under the guise of defending eastern Europe from «Russian aggression», more than 100 Abrams tanks and Bradley armoured personnel carriers rolled into Latvia. Last month, a similar motorised display of military support was deployed in Estonia – in the town of Narva – with American flags flown by the US Army’s Second Calvary Regiment just 300 metres from the Russian border.
Narva protrudes sharply eastward – like a metaphorical blade – into Russian territory. It is only some 100 kilometres from St Petersburg – Russia’s second city after Moscow, and with a searing history of military assault by Nazi Germany during 1941-44. The siege of St Petersburg, formerly Leningrad, caused over one million Russians to perish, mainly from hunger, before the German Wehrmacht was eventually pushed back and defeated by the Soviet Red Army. More on that in a moment. 


Back to the present: US General John O’Conner said of the latest deployment in Latvia that American troops would «deter Russian aggression», adding with Orwellian prose: «Freedom must be fought for, freedom must be defended».
The US-led Operation Atlantic Resolve has seen a surge in American military presence in the Baltic countries and other eastern European members of the NATO alliance over the past year. Technically, it is claimed that the US forces are «on tour duty» and therefore not transgressing past agreements with Russia to limit NATO permanent forces on Russia’s borders. But semantics aside, it is hard not to see that Washington has, in effect, significantly stepped up its military footprint in a geo-strategically sensitive region, in brazen contravention of erstwhile commitments made to Moscow. NATO warplane sorties have increased four-fold in the Baltic region over the past year, as have NATO warships in the Black Sea. 
Citing «Russian aggression», Washington and amenable rightwing governments in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, are giving themselves a licence to do what they are forbidden to do under binding accords, such as the NATO-Russia Founding Act signed in the 1990s, – namely, to expand military forces on Russia’s western borders. Operation Atlantic Resolve is predicated on unsubstantiated US-led claims – propaganda – that Russia is the source of aggression, primarily in Ukraine, and to the rest of Europe. Fact: Russia is not in Ukraine or any European country. 
Such blatant inversion of reality is part of the «psyops» in the US-led propaganda offensive. 
US commanded military exercises, including live-fire drills and the installation of Patriot and Cruise missiles, are scheduled to take place over the next months in the Baltic countries, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, as well as Ukraine and Georgia on Russia’s southern flank. The latter two reveal the wider non-NATO dimension of Washington’s geopolitical agenda.
US Colonel Michael Foster said of the forthcoming military exercises across Europe: «So by the end of the summer, you could very well see an operation that stretches from the Baltic all the way down to the Black Sea.»
It is doubtful that this American colonel understands the historical significance of his excited military vista. Part of the problem is that Americans and many other Westerners have such a paucity of historical understanding. They are inebriated with Western Victors’ History, which is bereft of real causes and effects. It is a propagandised version of chronological events, with the causal forces omitted, and which is used to justify the subsequent actions of Western powers. This inebriated understanding of history explains why history seems to so often repeat. Without understanding the real causes of events, how can repetition be averted? And that’s just the way Western corporate rulers like it, with their culpability obscured from public view.


Let’s have a look at US-led Operation Atlantic Resolve in a more realistic, historical perspective. Then we might appreciate that it has the scope and unerring sinister resonance with a previous military development – Operation Barbarossa – the mammoth invasion of Soviet Russia that was launched by Nazi Germany in the summer of 1941. 
Furthermore this is not superficial analogy indulging in sensationalism. If we look into the ideological motive forces there is a consistent continuum.
Nazi Germany’s unprovoked assault on the Soviet Union in June 1941 was the biggest military invasion ever in the history of modern warfare. It led to the death of some 30 million Russians at the hands of the Waffen-SS and Einsatzgruppen extermination squads, along with forced starvation, disease and appalling privations, such as in the cities of St Petersburg and Volgograd (Stalingrad). 
Operation Barbarossa, like Operation Atlantic Resolve, spanned from the Baltic to the Black Sea, with key invasion points through Estonia, Poland and Ukraine. And we wonder why the current Kiev regime’s onslaught on the ethnic Russian people of eastern Ukraine is deemed so provocative to Russia? During Operation Barbarossa, Ukrainian regiments served as auxiliaries to the Waffen-SS in the mass murder of millions of fellow Ukrainians, Russians, Poles, Gypsies, Jews and others. All were seen as «untermenschen» (sub-humans) to be eliminated by the «exceptional» Germanic «Aryan race». 
When Adolf Hitler wrote his infamous manifesto, Mein Kampf, in 1925, he postulated that Germany’s imperial greatness would be realised by crushing Soviet Russia. The necessary «lebensraum» (expansion) would be by conquest of the eastern region, which he disparaged as being populated by «untermenschen slavs ruled by Bolshevik Jews». Hitler’s hatred of Jewry was only matched by his utter detestation of Communist Russia. Both had to be exterminated, in his view.
Western conventional history tends to focus on Hitler’s anti-Semitism and Final Solution as being directed primarily at Jews. The truth is that Hitler and Nazi Germany was equally obsessed with destroying Soviet Russia. This obsession with Soviet Russia was intimately shared within Western ruling circles in the years preluding the Second World War. 
In 1918 at the end of the First World War, and despite all its horrors and 20 million death toll, US Secretary of State Robert Lansing was vexed by quite another matter when he wrote: «Bolshevism is the most hideous and monstrous thing that the human mind has ever conceived… it is worse, far worse, than a Prussianised Germany, and would mean an ever greater menace to human liberty.»
Russia’s October Revolution of 1917 and the threat of communist insurrection worldwide presented Western rulers with a staggering nightmare. This was underlined by the crisis in capitalism at that time and its quagmire of economic recession, social collapse and the looming Great Depression, not unlike today’s crisis.
Fascism in Europe – from Portugal, Spain, Italy to Germany – was courted by Western elites as a bulwark against the spread of socialist movements inspired by Russia’s October Revolution. Hitler’s Germany with its industrial prowess was seen as a particularly favourite strong-arm, anti-Soviet regime, which would crush a growing European labour movement as well as the perceived geopolitical rival of Russia to Western capitalism.
It is a matter of record that US corporations, from Wall Street banks to Ford and General Motors, invested heavily in building up the Nazi war machine during the 1930s. The Fuhrer was also covertly engaged by the British Conservative elite, led by Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and his Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax, whereby he was given a «freehand» to expand eastwards. When Nazi Germany annexed Austria and Czech Sudetenland in 1938, that was just the beginning of the eventual intended assault on the Soviet Union that the Western rulers were quietly rooting for. (See The Chamberlain-Hitler Collusion by Alvin Finkel and Clement Leibovitz.)
When Operation Barbarossa came in the summer of 1941, the largest military invasion in history was thus fulfilling a deeply held strategic agenda to crush Russia as a geopolitical rival, not just to Germany but to the Western powers who had covertly built up the Nazi war machine. 
A quirk in the historical matrix saw the Western governments go to war with Nazi Germany for their own tactical interests. But the telling point is that as soon as the Second World War closed these same Western powers began recruiting Nazi agents, intelligence and assassins to assist in the new Cold War against the Soviet Union. Ukraine and the Baltic countries were again instrumental in the postwar subterfuge against Russia as they had been under the Nazi’s Operation Barbarossa, only this time they were recruited by the CIA, MI6 and US-led NATO, formed in 1949. 
Today, Russia may no longer profess Bolshevism as a state ideology. And we are not predicting here that the current US-led NATO manoeuvres around Russian territory are going to precipitate into an all-out military attack. That is beside the main issue. The point is that Russia still presents a problematic rival to American and Western hegemony. Moscow under Vladimir Putin is seen as an obstacle to US-led capitalist domination of Asia and the rest of the world. Russia’s stolid insistence on abiding by international law is an irksome impediment to Washington’s «exceptional» petulance to use military force whenever and wherever it wants to underpin its putative global hegemony. International popular support for Putin as a respected world statesman, together with widespread disdain for US rulers, is also another source of intense chagrin to Washington. This is the context in which we should assess the US-led hostility toward Russia and the latent war signals that emanate from Operation Atlantic Resolve.
The historical resonances over the past century are the same. Operation Barbarossa and Operation Atlantic Resolve are part of the same continuum of Western aggression towards Russia. Russia is deemed to be a countervailing force to Western hegemony, and therefore must be removed.
For Russia, the menacing military encirclement of Operation Atlantic Resolve has profoundly bad resonance with the past, and for good reasoning. Operation Barbarossa – only 74 years ago – is seared into Russian consciousness through immense human suffering. Russia was then on the brink of extirpation and was only saved by the heroic sacrifice of millions of its people; any nation would never allow such a danger to ever come close again. 
The West has never suffered in history to the depth that the Russian people have; and therefore many in the West, especially the pampered elite rulers, have no idea of how resolute Russians are in defending their homeland. Vladimir Putin’s home city is St Petersburg, the city where one million died from Nazi siege. 
When Western leaders talk breathlessly about «defending freedom» and glibly pillory Russians for being «paranoid» their Godawful inebriated ignorance of history is just cause for even more alarm. 
Russia can perceive, rightly, the continuum of aggression. 
Tags: NATO Germany Russia

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