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

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 16 januari 2016

Paul Craig Roberts 154

The FBI’s Two-Pronged Investigation of Hillary Clinton — Paul Craig Roberts

The FBI’s Two-Pronged Investigation of Hillary Clinton
Paul Craig Roberts
Judge Napolitano in the article below explains the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton. There are two aspects of the investigation. The original source of her trouble is the charge that she failed to safeguard national security secrets.
As Judge Napolitano explains, this crime does not require intent and can result from negligence or simply from a lack of awareness that a secret is being revealed, as in the case that Judge Napolitano provides of the US Navy sailor who was prosecuted for espionage because a “selfie” he sent to his girlfriend revealed a sonar screen in the background. An even more egregious case is that of the US Marine who was prosecuted for using email to alert superiors to the presence of an al-Quada operative inside a US military compound. The email is considered unsecure and thus the Marine was prosecuted for revealing a secret known only to himself.
In view of these unjustified prosecutions of US military personnel, the FBI has no alternative to recommending that Hillary be indicted. 
Whether Hillary will be indicted ostensibly depends on the Justice (sic) Department and the White House. In fact, it is unlikely that either Wall Street or the military/security complex wants Hillary indicted as both have invested too many millions of dollars in her presidential candidacy, and both interest groups are more powerful than the Justice (sic) Department and the White House.
I do not think that Hillary was a good US senator and Secretary of State, and I do not think she
is qualified to be President of the US. Nevertheless, I do wonder how important are the secrets about which she is accused of negligance. Even the one possibly serious disclosure that Judge Napolitano provides of Hillary forwarding a photo from a satellite of a North Korean nuclear facility doesn’t strike me as important. The North Koreans, along with the entirety of the world, know that the US has satellites and communication intercepts operating against them 24/7.
Many things with secret classifications are not secrets. In my career I had many security clearances. As staff associate, Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, House Committee on Appropriations, I had top secret clearances because secret weapon systems were at stake. It was a joke among the staff that many of the “secrets” were available in the public defense literature.
As Assistant Secretary of the Treasury I received the CIA’s daily briefing of the President. It was boring reading. I came to the conclusion that the CIA was not going to report anything of consequence that possibly could turn out to be wrong. 
Later, as a member of a secret Presidential committee to investigate the CIA’s view of the Soviet Union’s ability to withstand an arms race, I had very high clearances as the committee had subpoena power over the CIA. If the Kremlin had had access to the top secret documents, all the Kremlin would have learned is that the CIA had a much higher opinion of the capability of the Soviet economy than did the Kremlin.
Distinguished law professors have concluded that the US government classifies documents primarily in order to hide its own mistakes and crimes. We see this over and over. The US government can escape accountability for the most incredible mistakes and the worse crimes against the US Constitution and humanity simply by saying “national security.”
In my opinion, it is the second FBI investigation of Hillary that should be pursued. This is a much more serious possible offense. There is suspicion that Bill and Hillary privatized their public offices and turned them into a money faucet for themselves.
This is a serious problem everywhere in the West. A few years out of office and Bill and Hillary can drop $3 million on their daughter’s wedding. A year or so out of office and Tony Blair was worth $50 million. As an Assistant Secretary of Defense once told me, “European governments report to us. We pay them, and we own them.”
In Anglo-American legal history, one foundation of liberty is the requirement that crime requires intent. I do not believe that Hillary intentionally revealed secrets. If she was negligent, that should be made public and should be sufficient to disqualify her from occupying the White House. What is clear to me is that the legal principle that crime requires intent is far more important than “getting Hillary.” This foundational principle of liberty should be protected even if it means letting Hillary go.
And certainly Obama should pardon the sailor and marine.
Two Smoking Guns: FBI on Hillary’s Case by Andrew P. Napolitano


Vluchtelingenstroom 56


Wat is er toch mis met de elite? Geert Mak pleit in deze uitgebreide versie van zijn dankwoord bij de uitreiking van de Gouden Ganzenveer voor een herbezinning, ook binnen de elite zelf. 

Een goede elite kenmerkt zich door kwaliteit, zeker, maar ook door empathie en courage. Een goede elite erkent dat ze een elite is, en dat ‘noblesse oblige,’ in de breedste zin van het woord. Een goede elite luistert en kijkt met duizend ogen en oren. Een goede elite ligt dwars. Een goede elite durft het idee los te laten dat politiek alleen maar een vorm is van publiek management, durft luidop te dromen, durft ook onaangename waarheden onder ogen te zien en uit te spreken. Een goede elite durft te verliezen en klappen te krijgen. Een goede elite vecht voor het ambt, als trotse dienaren van de publieke zaak. Een goede elite gedraagt zich niet als burgers, maar als citoyens, elke dag.

Kwaliteit, empathie en courage, ja, dat hebben wij, als elite, in deze tijd nodig. Maar de grootste van deze drie is courage.

Amsterdam, 16 april 2015

Hoe gestoord is een tijd, waarin een journalist en bestseller-auteur, de 'chroniqueur van Europa,' deze woorden kan uitspreken, zonder dat de spreker aan zijn eigen geloofwaardigheid begint te twijfelen? 

Met betrekking tot dit verschijnsel schreef de Britse auteur John Berger in zijn in 1992 verschenen essaybundel Stemverheffing:

De veronderstellingen waarvan het mediabedrijf uitgaat namens het publiek zijn behalve blind ook verblindend… Misschien is het precies op dit punt dat onze vorm van democratie een langzame dood sterft. Als dat zo is, dan als gevolg van een weigering. De weigering van het mediabedrijf om het feit te erkennen en te laten doorwerken dat het publiek in zijn hart weet hoe de wereld in elkaar zit… De reden van deze weigering die een bedreiging is voor onze vorm van democratie, de reden waarom het mediabedrijf stelselmatig onderschat wat we gemeen hebben, die reden is steeds dezelfde: de normloze drang tot verkopen… Wat ik wil is dat mensen zich ervan bewust worden hoe smoezelig het mediabedrijf ze bedient als publiek. Smoezelig, omdat met de waardigheid van kijker en bekekene de vloer wordt aangeveegd. Herstel iets van die waardigheid — gun mensen de tijd, verschuif het gebruikelijke zwaartepunt — en slecht nieuws wordt van een onderbreking de waarheid. Er zijn tal van waarheden waarvoor geen directe oplossing bestaat. Het woord ‘oplossing’ raakt niet aan het tragische. Wíj moeten in aanraking komen met het tragische en ons erdoor laten raken. We zouden er misschien door veranderen als we het benoemden. Ook benoemd blijft het tragische tragisch, maar slecht nieuws zou het niet worden. Alleen van daaruit is een realistische politiek mogelijk. 

Daarentegen wil Geert Mak zijn publiek 'hoop' bieden, of juister gesteld, vertroosting. Maar troost is de handel van een dominee en zeker niet die van een journalist. Een vrije pers dient de werkelijkheid te beschrijven. Op 27 juni 2014 schreef daarover de Amerikaanse journalist en voormalig perswoordvoerder voor president Lyndon Johnson, Bill Moyers onder de kop 'The Lies We Believed (And Still Believe) About Iraq' dat  

At the end of 2004, a series of public opinion polls offered disturbing news. More than half of all Americans, we learned, believed that there had been weapons of mass destruction in Iraq — the principal raison d'être for George W. Bush's war of choice there — despite the fact that numerous widely publicized bipartisan and international reports had definitively shown that no such weapons existed. This stubborn refusal to face the facts about Iraq continues today for millions of Americans.

Facts are and must be the coin of the realm in a democracy, for government 'of the people, by the people, and for the people,' in Abraham Lincoln's words, requires an informed citizenry. But in regard to the Iraq War, it seems, facts are now irrelevant or at least debatable, a mere matter of opinion, for a majority of Americans. And if facts no longer matter to millions of our fellow citizens, then what becomes of the traditional role of the journalist as the independent watchdog digging through obfuscation, secrecy, and deception by the powerful in search of what Carl Bernstein once called 'the best obtainable version of the truth'? 

This is a question that touches me personally — not just as a concerned citizen, but as someone who has dedicated his life and work to the pursuit of truth. In more than three decades as an investigative reporter in Washington, DC, my approach toward those in power, regardless of party or ideology, has followed the principle 'Watch what they do, not what they say.' Politicians, captains of industry, and their zealous aides too often resemble circus barkers, shilling (op een bedrieglijke manier. svh) for attention and advantage, with little regard for accuracy or veracity (waarheidsgetrouwheid. svh), using the press and the news media not to enlighten but to bamboozle (bedriegen. svh) the public in pursuit of votes, profits, and power. When necessary, they even employ the wiles (listen. svh) of deception to conceal, disguise, or justify unseemly and sometimes outright criminal behavior. As George Orwell wrote, in words that still ring true more than half a century after they were written, 'Political speech and writing are largely the defense [sic] of the indefensible... Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.' 


Toen in 2012 Geert Mak verkondigde dat 'het beter voor Nederland en de internationale gemeenschap [is] dat Obama de verkiezingen wint,' liet hij datgene buiten beschouwing wat de New York Times onderzoeksjournalist James Risen in 2015 opmerkte, namelijk dat de 'Obama administration is greatest enemy of press freedom.' Over Obama's minister van Justitie Eric Holden zei hij: 'Eric Holder has done the bidding of the intelligence community and the White House to damage press freedom in the United States.' 

En aangezien een vrije pers een onmisbaar element is voor een ware democratie, betekent dit dat ook president Obama de Amerikaanse democratie nog verder heeft uitgehold. Kortom, Mak gaf 'an appearance of solidity to pure wind.' Nogmaals, de domineeszoon is niet op zoek naar de werkelijkheid, maar naar vertroosting, hetgeen zijn populariteit verklaart onder de mainstream. Onmiddellijk na de publicatie van zijn boek Reizen zonder John. Op zoek naar Amerika (2012) werd hij tot 'het puikje van de Nederlandse Amerika-watchers' gerekend, wat meer onthult over de kwaliteit van de Nederlandse mainstream-pers dan over Geert Mak. De in Nederland gevierde bestseller-auteur merkte voorts op dat de visie van Leon de Winter over de VS 'heel interessant' was, omdat hij 'conservatief Amerika' had onderzocht. 'Hij heeft volstrekt gelijk als hij zegt dat die kant in de Europese verslaggeving verwaarloosd wordt,' aldus Mak die zelf verzuimde het werk van de overgrote meerderheid van gezaghebbende Amerikaanse historici te lezen en tevens nagenoeg niets weet over de soms reactionaire ideologische achtergronden van de Founding Fathers, en ook niet het werk van talloze grote Amerikaanse literatoren heeft bestudeerd. Zelfs Steinbeck's literatuur komt er bij Mak bekaaid af. En toch wordt zijn Reizen zonder John door Vrij Nederlandaangekondigd als 'een reis door de literatuur en de geschiedenis.' Ook hier is weer sprake van de nieuwe kleren van de keizer. Behalve van de Amerika-expert Frans Verhagen, heb ik geen serieuze inhoudelijke en gedocumenteerde kritiek op Mak's boek gelezen. Verhagen merkt terecht op dat

Geert Mak, die van dat mislukte Steinbeck boek, mag nu als getuige deskundige optreden. Of onze islamofoob Leon de Winter, rijke Los Angelo, die weet natuurlijk ook precies hoe Amerika in elkaar zit. Nou ja, het vult de week.      

De leden van de Nederlandse 'intelligentsia' helpen elkaar de brug over. Vrij Nederland looft Mak en Mak looft op zijn beurt weer De Winter, die bekend staat als een zionist met extremistische opvattingen, zoals opnieuw bleek toen hij in het openbaar zich liet ontvallen: 'misschien moet in het geheim een anticonceptie middel aan het drinkwater in Gaza worden toegevoegd.' 

Maar bij deze absurditeiten stopt de intellectuele corruptie in Nederland niet. Geert Mak's 'directeur-uitgever' is Mizzi van der Pluym die geheel in het moderne reclamejargon het volgende liet weten: 'Ik vind het boeiend om mee te mogen helpen het literaire boek een veilige landing te geven in het digitale tijdperk.’ Om het product zo commercieel mogelijk in de markt te zetten, organiseerde Van der Pluym bijeenkomsten voor de auteurs van uitgeverij Atlas Contact. Daar vertellen 'managers van Apple' of 'Bol.com... op dit moment onze grootste klant' hoe auteurs hun handel het best kunnen verkopen. Ik weet dit omdat ook ik als auteur deze uitnodigingen enige tijd ontving, tot ik haar en haar partner Chris Kijne begon te bekritiseren. Haar best-seller auteur Geert Mak begon zijn producten in reclameblokken op Radio 4 aan te prijzen, en op Discovery Channel kon men hem voorbij zien flitsen een smartphone aanprijzend. Ondertussen krijgen boekhandelaren speciale voordeeltjes als ze Mak's product 'display' geven. Een succesvol schrijver wordt men vandaag de dag vooral door marketing, branding en packaging. Vandaar dat de eerste 100.000 exemplaren van Reizen zonder John al snel verkocht waren. Mizzi van der Pluym's partner is VPRO-televisiejournalist Chris Kijne, die naar aanleiding van Mak's boek de regie en presentatie deed van het Tegenlicht programma van 5 november 2012 over de VS dat door Mak vol werd gebabbeld. Eén van de zes reacties op de website van het VPRO-programma was in dit verband veelzeggend:

Interessante aflevering, maar in aan- of afkondiging kom ik niet de naam van de gesprekspartner van Geert Mak tegen terwijl Geert Mak tijdens de uitzending nogmaals met een ondertiteling bekend wordt gemaakt.  

Ook dit typeert de intellectuele corruptie in de polder. Ons kent ons, zoals betrokkenen sans gêne laten weten:

Wie is Chris Kijne... Overigens geeft Rushdie -ingegeven door het leven onder een Fatwa- per land slechts één interview aan één journalist. Komt daar bij dat Mizzi van der Pluijm, de uitgever van Contact, die het boek in ons land op de markt brengt, haar leven met ene Chris Kijne deelt. Het mag dan ook geen wonder heten dat Salman Rushdie voor Het Interview bij De Presentatie van Zijn Nieuwe Boek: 'Shalimar de clown' de eer aan de heer Kijne gunde.

De intellectuele corruptie in Nederland wordt schaamteloos geëtaleerd, soms tongue-in-cheek, maar vaak ook zonder dat de betrokkenen er zich bewust van zijn. In het geval Mak is het ironische dat juist John Steinbeck erop wees:

Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts... perhaps the fear of a loss of power.

Het is de vrees van mainstream-opiniemakers om niet meer mee te tellen, om geen onderdeel meer te zijn van wat Hofland de'politiek-literaire elite' in de polder betitelde. Zij zullen alles doen om hun handel te verkopen, tot aan het bedriegen van de lezers die slechts een middel voor hen zijn om in de schijnwerpers te blijven staan. Daarom wederom de Angelsaksische intelligentsia. De Amerikaanse onderzoeksjournalist en hoogleraar journalistiek Charles Lewis waarschuwde in zijn meest recente boek 935 Lies. The Future of Truth and the Decline of America's Moral Integrity (2014):

The late James Martin had the sort of credentials that gave him license to authoritatively speculate about the future we face. One of the world's leading authorities on computing and related technology, he had honorary doctorate degrees from all six inhabited continents. The revenue from his one-hundred-plus textbooks — a total unmatched by anyone now living — funded the creation of the Twenty-first Century School (now Oxford Martin School), at Oxford University, which boasts more than thirty institutes and projects concerned with everything from nanotechnology and geo-engineering to stem cell science, cyber security, and a diverse array of other disciplines destined to dramatically shape our future.

In his 2007 book 'The Meaning of the Twenty-first Century,' Martin wrote about the most serious social, economic, environmental, and political challenges facing our world. He concluded: 

Today there are major roadblocks preventing the actions that are needed. There are huge vested interests with massive financial reasons for not changing course… There is widespread ignorance… For the powerful people who control events, the desire for short-term benefits overwhelms the desire to solve long-term problems. If these roadblocks are not removed, we will steadily head down paths that lead to catastrophe: famines, violence, wars over water, pollution, global pandemics, runaway climate change, terrorism with new types of mass-destruction weapons.

It would be hard for anyone to claim that the problems we face have become any more tractable in the years since Martin wrote those words — or that the 'huge vested interests' he described have become less shortsighted and irresponsible. But who, exactly, is going to hold the powers that be accountable? Who is going to shine the light on the acts of corruption, abuse, despoliation, greed, and oppression that continue to darken our world? 

The future of truth and accountability can be great if  'we, the people' choose to demand it. 

In de uitzending van Democracy Now! van 25 september 2013 zette de Amerikaanse onderzoeksjournalist Jeremy Scahill van The Nation Institute uiteen dat

In an address to the United Nations General Assembly, President Obama openly embraced an aggressive military doctrine backed by previous administrations on using armed force beyond the international norm of self-defense. Obama told the world that the United States is prepared to use its military to defend what he called 'our core interests' in the Middle East: U.S. access to oil. '[Obama] basically came out and said the U.S. is an imperialist nation and we’re going to do whatever we need to do to conquer areas [and] take resources from people around the world,' says independent journalist Jeremy Scahill. 'It’s a really naked declaration of imperialism... When we look back at Obama’s legacy, this is going to have been a very significant period in U.S. history where the ideals of very radical right-wing forces were solidified. President Obama has been a forceful, fierce defender of empire.'

Later in het programma zei Scahill over president Obama's dreigementen tijdens de Algemene Vergadering van de Verenigde Naties dat 'The United States of America is prepared to use all elements of our power, including military force, to secure our core interests in the region.' te weten: de 'flow of energy,' kortom olie en gas: 

During this section of the speech my jaw sort of hit the floor. He basically came out and said the United States is an imperialist nation and we are going to do whatever we need to conquer areas to take resources from around the world. I mean, it was a really naked sort of declaration of imperialism, and I don’t use that word lightly, but it really is. I mean, he pushed back against the Russians when he came out and said I believe America is an exceptional nation. He then defended the Gulf War and basically said that the motivation behind it was about oil and said we are going to continue to take such actions in pursuit of securing natural resources for ourselves and our allies. I mean, this was a pretty incredible and bold declaration he was making, especially given the way that he has tried to portray himself around the world. On the other hand, you know, remember what happened right before Obama took the stage is that the president of Brazil got up, and she herself is a former political prisoner who was abused and targeted in a different lifetime, and she gets up and just blasts the United States over the NSA spy program around the world.

Wat, in de ogen van Jeremy Scahill, niets anders is dan een 'imperialist nation' die doet 'whatever we need to conquer areas to take resources from around the world,' wordt in de Volkskrant door Ruud van Dijk, gepresenteerd als 'de onmisbare ordeningsmogendheid in het internationale systeem.' Daarom kan, volgens hem,   niet getolereerd worden dat 'staten, groepen, individuen' de 

toekomst strikt op eigen voorwaarden vorm willen geven. Het verschil met de eerdere periode is dat we nu wel de instellingen hebben waarmee orde kan worden nagestreefd (VN, IMF, G-20, IAEA), en ook hebben we in de VS een mogendheid met de ambitie en het eigenbelang om het internationale systeem bijeen te houden.

Hoewel de politieke soevereiniteit van staten internationaal rechterlijk geregeld zijn, en er zelfs zoiets bestaat als economische zelfbeschikking, moet, naar het oordeel van Van Dijk, dit recht worden geschonden zodra 'staten' hun samenleving 'op eigen voorwaarden vorm willen geven,' en dienen we te beseffen dat 'de VS nog steeds de onmisbare natie' blijft, aangezien het 'een mogendheid [is] met de ambitie en het eigenbelang om het internationale systeem bijeen te houden.'Kortom, hier roept een docent van de UVA publiekelijk op om met geweld het recht te schenden, en niemand van de wetenschappelijke staf, ook niet van de rechtenfaculteit, die Ruud van Dijk publiekelijk met feiten tot de orde roept. De Universiteit van Amsterdam bewijst andermaal hoe gelijk Lenin had toen hij anno 1919 in The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination (1919) vaststelde dat:

[F]inance capital, in its striving towards expansion, will 'freely' buy and bribe the freest, most democratic and republican government and the elected officials of any country, however 'independent' it may be. The domination of finance capital, as of capital in general, cannot be abolished by any kind of reforms in the realm of political democracy, and self-determination belongs wholly and exclusively to this realm.

Juridische, morele en wetenschappelijke normen moeten wijken zodra de elite in Washington en op Wall Street ongestoord hun belangen verder willen globaliseren. De beschaving is voor Van Dijk een te verwaarlozen detail wanneer het westerse neoliberale systeem in het gedrang komt. Een goed ingevoerde werknemer van de UVA vertelde mij op de vraag waarom Van Dijk is aangenomen, dat deze docent weliswaar geen zwaargewicht is, maar dat 'hij wel goed zal liggen bij de studenten. En hij doet ook nog aan wielrennen zag ik op zijn website. Maar inderdaad, de Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen is een rechtse club.' Een kennis van mij, emeritus hoogleraar van de UVA, merkte desgevraagd op dat het aanname-beleid van deze universiteit een aanfluiting is. De mentaliteit van de huidige generatie wetenschappelijk personeel in Nederland is wonderlijk genoeg een reactie op de vernieuwingsdrang van eind jaren zestig, begin jaren zeventig. In grote cultuurlanden is deze reactie lang niet zo manifest geweest als hier. Daar is wel sprake van een intellectuele continuïteitNog geen twee weken nadat van Dijk op 19 december 2015 in de Volkskrant zijn zienswijze had gedemonstreerd, op 30 december 2015, betoogde de Amerikaanse auteur John Wight op de website CounterPunch:

George Lucas, the creator of a Star Wars franchise which, including this latest installment, has churned out seven movies since the original appeared in 1977, is along with Steven Spielberg a child of the reaction to the American counter-culture of the sixties and early seventies.

Though both products of the sixties – a decade in which culture and the arts, particularly cinema, was at the forefront of resistance to the US military industrial complex — Lucas and Spielberg came to prominence in the mid 1970s with movies which rather than attack or question the establishment, instead embraced its role as both protector and arbiter of the nation’s morals. The curtain began to come down (eindigde. svh) on the most culturally vital and exciting and cerebral period of American cinema — responsible for producing such classics as ‘Bonnie and Clyde,’ ‘MASH,’ ‘The Last Detail,’ ‘The French Connection,’ ‘The Wild Bunch,’ ‘Taxi Driver,’ ‘Apocalypse Now’ — with Spielberg’s ‘Jaws’ in 1975, followed in 1977 by Lucas’s ‘Star Wars.’ The former frightened America, while the latter made it feel good about itself again.

Both movies together spawned the high concept blockbuster (kassucces. sv), wherein audiences were invited to feel rather than to think, allowing them to suspend disbelief and escape reality instead of sharing the experience of confronting it via stories in which alienated characters expressed the angst, frustration, anger, and disaffection which they themselves were experiencing in their own lives, thus inducing a sense of solidarity.


De verrechtsing in alle maatschappelijke geledingen, van de commerciële media tot de politiek en academia, manifesteert zich op een historisch belangrijk moment, nu ook Nederland geconfronteerd wordt door wereldwijde bedreigingen, zoals de uitputting van grondstoffen, de toenemende concurrentie op wereldmarkten met de daaraan onlosmakelijk verbonden zijnde oorlogen, en tenslotte, de ingrijpende gevolgen van de klimaatverandering. In het voorwoord van de Duitse uitgave van Paul Craig Roberts' essaybundel The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism (2013) wordt voor het volgende gewaarschuwd:

Americans are not only losing their economy. They are losing their liberty. As far as domestic policy is concerned the face of the United States has undergone basic changes. Against the background of the war against the alleged terror threat important civil rights granted by the Constitution were abolished systematically within a few years. In his book Paul Craig Roberts shows the degeneration of the U.S. into a warmongering police state. 

To put it briefly, the America that Europeans knew during the second half of the 20th century does not exist any more. This is the most important epochal change to which we are contemporary witnesses. The European belief is that the Americans have always got back on their feet and will do so again, but this time might be different. The executive branch has freed itself of accountability to U.S. laws and to international law. 

Dit laatste suggereerde, absurd genoeg, ook Ruud van Dijk, toen hij in 2011 op zijn weblog schreef dat

I have commentary on President Obama as 'imperial president' in the Nederlands Dagblad… It had been a while since I had done that. The article is a commentary on the way the president took the country into the Lybian (Libyan. svh) intervention, and how members of Congres have criticized it. The argument is that Obama is much like his predecessors in the office, including George W. Bush: he's an imperial president at the head of a powerful national security state. I don't dig too deeply into the reasons why there seems to be such a big difference between Obama the candidate and Obama the president on this, but the suggestion is that the structure, the machine, the complex that is the national security/surveillance state has a way of severely limiting the room for maneuver individual politicians may seek for themselves.

De uitvoerende macht in de VS is allereerst 'verantwoording' schuldig aan de grote concerns die het financieel mogelijk hebben gemaakt dat een kandidaat tot president wordt gekozen. Vooral de machtige oorlogsindustrie ziet erop toe dat 'the room for maneuver individual politicians' en de president 'may seek for themselves' buitengewoon 'beperkt' blijft.

In the end, the Obama administration's defense of its expanding global wars boiled down to the assertion that it was, in fact at war; that the authorities granted by the US Congress to the Bush administration after 9/11 to pursue those responsible for the attacks justified the Obama administration's ongoing strikes against 'suspected militants' across the globe — some of whom were toddlers when the Twin Towers crumbled to the ground — more than a decade later. The end result of the policies initiated under President Bush and continued and expanded under his Democratic successor was to bring the world to the dawn of a new age, the era of the Dirty War on Terror. As Boyle, the former Obama campaign counterterrorism adviser, asserted in early 2013, the US drone program was 'encouraging a new arms race for drones that will empower current and future rivals and lay the foundations for an international system that is increasingly violent.'

Today, decisions on who should live or die in the name of protecting America's national security are made in secret, laws are interpreted by the president and his advisers behind closed doors and no target is off-limits, including U.S. citizens. But the decisions made in Washington have implications far beyond their impact on the democratic system of checks and balances in the United States. In January 2013, Ben Emmerson, the UN special rapporteur on counterterrorism and human rights, announced his investigation into drone strikes and targeted killing by the United States. In a statement launching the probe, Emmerson characterized the US defense of its use of drones and targeted killings in other countries as 'Western democracies… engaged in a global [war] against a stateless enemy, without geographical boundaries to the theatre of conflict, and without limit of time.' This position, he concluded, 'is heavily disputed by most States, and by the majority of international lawyers outside the United States of America.' 

At his inauguration in January 2013, Obama employed the rhetoric of internationalism. 'We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law. We will show the courage to try and solve our differences with other nations peacefully — not because we are naive about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear,' the president declared. America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe, and will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation.' Yet, as Obama embarked on his second term in office, the United States was once again at odds with the rest of the world on one of the central components of its foreign policy. The drone strike in Yemen the day Obama was sworn in served as a potent symbol of a reality that had been clearly established during his first four years in office: US unilateralism and exceptionalism were not only bipartisan principles in Washington, but a permanent American institution. As large-scale military deployments wound down, the United States had simultaneously escalated its use of drone, cruise missiles and Special Ops raids in an unprecedented number of countries. The war on terror had become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The question all Americans must ask themselves lingers painfully: How does a war like this ever end? 

Maar juist deze vraag tracht docent geschiedenis van de UVA, Ruud van Dijk, te omzeilen door met stelligheid tegenover zijn studenten en in het openbaar vol te houden dat 'de Verenigde Staten de onmisbare ordeningsmogendheid in het internationale systeem [blijven].' Deze voorstelling van zaken zal in Nederland net zo lang doorgaan tot een nieuwe wereldoorlog hieraan een definitief einde maakt. Volgende keer meer. In de tussentijd zal het publiek nog vele malen van Van Dijk, Geert Mak, Henk Hofland, en de rest van de mainstream-opiniemakers in de polder vernemen dat de VS 'decennialang als ordewaker en politieagent' heeft opgetreden, dankzij allereerst de 'Amerikaanse soft power,' waarmee zij bedoelen dat '[soft] power, in de kern, de overtuigingskracht [is] van een staat, de kracht om het debat naar zich toe te trekken, om de agenda van de wereldpolitiek te bepalen,' waardoor, het land nog steeds 'het anker [is]' van 'het hele Atlantische deel van de wereld in de ruimste zin van het woord,' en daarmee de 'standaardmacht,' blijft op aarde, 'een rol die Rusland, Europa en ook China niet snel zullen overnemen,' aldus de propaganda in Reizen zonder John. Meer over deze pathologie de volgende keer.


Het is absoluut waar: 'Een goede elite vecht voor het ambt, als trotse dienaren van de publieke zaak. Een goede elite gedraagt zich niet als burgers, maar als citoyens, elke dag.

Kwaliteit, empathie en courage, ja, dat hebben wij, als elite, in deze tijd nodig. Maar de grootste van deze drie is courage.'

COURAGE. MES AMIS!


Hillary's Smoking Guns


Two Smoking Guns: FBI on Hillary’s Case

By Andrew P. Napolitano

January 15, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - The federal criminal investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s failure to secure state secrets was ratcheted up earlier this week, and at the same time, the existence of a parallel criminal investigation of another aspect of her behavior was made known. This is the second publicly revealed expansion of the FBI’s investigations in two months.
I have argued for two months that Clinton’s legal woes are either grave or worse than grave. That argument has been based on the hard, now public evidence of her failure to safeguard national security secrets and the known manner in which the Department of Justice addresses these failures.
The failure to safeguard state secrets is an area of the law in which the federal government has been aggressive to the point of being merciless. State secrets are the product of members of the intelligence community’s risking their lives to obtain information.
Before she was entrusted with any state secrets – indeed, on her first full day as secretary of state – Clinton received instruction from FBI agents on how to safeguard them; and she signed an oath swearing to comply with the laws commanding the safekeeping of these secrets. She was warned that the failure to safeguard secrets – known as espionage – would most likely result in aggressive prosecution.
In the cases of others, those threats have been carried out. The Obama Department of Justice prosecuted a young sailor for espionage for sending a selfie to his girlfriend, because in the background of the photo was a view of a sonar screen on a submarine. It prosecuted a heroic Marine for espionage for warning his superiors of the presence of an al-Qaida operative in police garb inside an American encampment in Afghanistan, because he used a Gmail account to send the warning.
It also prosecuted Gen. David Petraeus for espionage for keeping secret and top-secret documents in an unlocked drawer in his desk inside his guarded home. It alleged that he shared those secrets with a friend who also had a security clearance, but it dropped those charges.
The obligation of those to whom state secrets have been entrusted to safeguard them is a rare area in which federal criminal prosecutions can be based on the defendant’s negligence. Stated differently, to prosecute Clinton for espionage, the government need not prove that she intended to expose the secrets.
The evidence of Clinton’s negligence is overwhelming. The FBI now has more than 1,300 protected emails that she received on her insecure server and sent to others – some to their insecure servers. These emails contained confidential, secret or top-secret information, the negligent exposure of which is a criminal act.
One of the top-secret emails she received and forwarded contained a photo taken from an American satellite of the North Korean nuclear facility that detonated a device just last week. Because Clinton failed to safeguard that email, she exposed to hackers and thus to the North Koreans the time, place and manner of American surveillance of them. This type of data is in the highest category of protected secrets.
Last weekend, the State Department released two smoking guns – each an email from Clinton to a State Department subordinate. One instructed a subordinate who was having difficulty getting a document to Clinton that she had not seen by using a secure State Department fax machine to use an insecure fax machine. The other instructed another subordinate to remove the "confidential" or "secret" designation from a document Clinton had not seen before sending it to her. These two emails show a pattern of behavior utterly heedless of the profound responsibilities of the secretary of state, repugnant to her sworn agreement to safeguard state secrets, and criminal at their essence.
Also this past weekend, my Fox News colleagues Katherine Herridge and Pamela Browne learned from government sources that the FBI is investigating whether Clinton made any decisions as secretary of state to benefit her family foundation or her husband’s speaking engagements. If so, this would be profound public corruption.
This investigation was probably provoked by several teams of independent researchers – some of whom are financial experts and have published their work – who have been investigating the Clinton Foundation for a few years. They have amassed a treasure-trove of documents demonstrating fraud and irregularities in fundraising and expenditures, and they have shown a pattern of favorable State Department treatment of foreign entities coinciding with donations by those entities to the Clinton Foundation and their engaging former President Bill Clinton to give speeches.
There are now more than 100 FBI agents investigating Hillary Clinton. Her denial that she is at the core of their work is political claptrap with no connection to reality. It is inconceivable that the FBI would send such vast resources in the present dangerous era on a wild-goose chase.
It is the consensus of many of us who monitor government behavior that the FBI will recommend indictment. That recommendation will go to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who, given Clinton’s former status in the government and current status in the Democratic Party, will no doubt consult the White House.
If a federal grand jury were to indict Clinton for espionage or corruption, that would be fatal to her political career.
If the FBI recommends indictment and the attorney general declines to do so, expect Saturday Night Massacre-like leaks of draft indictments, whistleblower revelations and litigation, and FBI resignations, led by the fiercely independent and intellectually honest FBI Director James Comey himself.
That would be fatal to Clinton’s political career, as well.

Andrew Peter Napolitano is a syndicated columnist whose work appears in numerous publications, such as Fox News, The Washington Times, and Reason.
COPYRIGHT 2016 ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO



The War on 0.00003 percent Risk

Here’s the Thing About Terrorism Obama Won’t Tell You

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state-of-the-union-sotu-2016
State of the Union screen grab by Steve Baker / Flickr.
One in 3.5 million: That’s your annual risk of dying from a terrorist attack in the United States, at least according to Cato analyst John Mueller. Rounded generously, that comes out to roughly 3 one-hundred thousandths of a percentage point, or 0.00003 percent.
And this, according to a recent Gallup poll cited by The New York Times, is the percentage of Americans “worried that they or someone in their family would be a victim of terrorism”: 51.
So that’s 51 percent of Americans who think a terrorist attack against themselves is sufficiently likely to warrant their personal concern, versus a 0.00003 percent chance it might actually happen. If you’ll forgive my amateur number crunching, that means Americans are overestimating their personal exposure to terrorism by a factor of approximately 1.7 million.
It’s no wonder people play the lottery.
A public mood that overestimates the risk of terrorism by upwards of 2 million times, you might imagine, is a pretty significant headwind for a presidential administration that — with a few notable exceptions, like the surge in Afghanistan and the free-ranging drone war — has generally sought to wind down the full-blown militarized response its predecessor took to terrorism.
But more militarization, particularly in the Middle East, is exactly what this insanely distorted threat perception would seem to demand. With Americans more fearful of terrorism than at any time since 9/11, it’s no wonder Republican presidential candidates like Ted Cruz can call for bona fide war crimes like “carpet-bombing” Syria — and then revel in applause rather opprobrium.
In a more rational world, it would be easy to explain away the problem by arguing that the risk of terrorism in the U.S. is actually quite small, while the human costs of yet another ill-considered military intervention in the Middle East could be enormous. But the politics of terrorism are anything but. “As a society we’re irrational about it,” said a former administration security official quoted by the Times. “But government has to accept that irrationality rather than fight it.”
Gawker‘s Hamilton Nolan drew a less charitable conclusion from those comments: “The public is too dumb to hear the truth about terrorism.”
Threading the Needle
All this helps explain why Obama said what he did about America’s ongoing ISIS war in his final State of the Union address. “Masses of fighters on the back of pickup trucks and twisted souls plotting in apartments or garages pose an enormous danger to civilians and must be stopped,” he allowed. “But they do not threaten our national existence. That’s the story [the Islamic State] wants to tell; that’s the kind of propaganda they use to recruit.”
In all this, Obama was essentially correct. Yet he tempered this disclaimer with the reassurance that “We spend more on our military than the next eight nations combined” — a fact more commonly cited by critics of America’s post-9/11 militarization than its supporters.
And then came an appeal to the carpet-bombing constituency.
Calling the Islamic State “killers and fanatics who have to be rooted out, hunted down, and destroyed,” Obama boasted: “With nearly 10,000 air strikes, we are taking out their leadership, their oil, their training camps, and their weapons. We are training, arming, and supporting forces who are steadily reclaiming territory in Iraq and Syria.”
Feel better?
Obama wanted to temper the hysteria of those who would look at ISIS and claim, as he put it, “this is World War III.” But given the apparently prevalent view to the contrary, he had to reassure his listeners that we’re still dropping an awful lot of bombs. It’s a college try at breaking the political taboo, identified by the Times, against lecturing people about the real — and low — risk of terrorism.
Unfortunately, that only illustrates a much deeper American taboo about foreign terrorism against the United States: namely, admitting that it’s almost always a response to U.S. foreign policies. 
You know, policies like launching 10,000 air strikes.
Why Us?
Obama said something else that was pretty instructive: “In today’s world, we’re threatened less by evil empires and more by failing states.” That’s true, basically: There’s no conventional power on earth that poses an imminent military threat to the U.S.
But why, then, should “failing states”?
The usual answer is that weak or failing states offer fertile ground for militant groups to organize, train, recruit, and arm themselves. That’s how the Arab-dominated group that became al-Qaeda used Afghanistan in the years between the Soviet invasion and the 9/11 attacks (though they also plotted in decidedly stable environs like Hamburg). And it’s how the Islamic State is using Syria now after bursting out of its origins in Iraq, where it formed the core of a Sunni insurgency against the U.S.-backed Shiite government.
It makes sense that failing states might present opportunities for militant groups. And it’s reasonable to expect that failed states in the Muslim world would appeal to Islamist groups in particular. But all this explains nothing about why their militancy should uniquely threaten the United States. After all, if they’re simply religious zealots, hell-bent on killing or converting the infidels, why shouldn’t these failing states be a concern to non-Muslim powers like Brazil? Or Japan? Or South Africa?
Why aren’t they reduced to bean-counting air strikes on countries halfway around the world?
The simple answer is that no other non-Muslim country on earth has intervened in the region as extensively as the United States has.
Our Demons
Robert Pape — a political scientist who’s studied every suicide attack on record — argues that while religious appeals can help recruit suicide bombers, virtually all suicide terrorism can be reduced to political motives that are essentially secular. “What 95 percent of all suicide attacks have in common, since 1980, is not religion,” he concludes. Instead, they have “a specific strategic motivation to respond to a military intervention, often specifically a military occupation, of territory that the terrorists view as their homeland or prize greatly.”
Let’s look at some of our favorite demons.
In the years before al-Qaeda pulled off the 9/11 attacks (and since, for that matter), the U.S. propped up dictatorships in places like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which ruthlessly repressed Islamist challengers. It armed and protected Israel, even as the country bombed its Muslim (and Christian) neighbors in Palestine and Lebanon, and violated UN resolutions against illegal settlement building in occupied Palestinian lands. And in between its two full-scale invasions of the country, the U.S. imposed a devastating sanctions regime on Iraq, which restricted the flow of food and medicine and is estimated to have caused some half a million Iraqi children to die.
Some Washington policy makers have professed benign motivations for these policies — in making strategic partnerships against terrorists, for example, protecting a besieged ally, or attempting to undermine the Iraqi dictatorship. But one could forgive the victims of those policies for seeing them differently.
In his letter explaining the 9/11 attacks, Osama bin Laden mentioned all of these things and more to argue that U.S. intervention in the Muslim world had to be stopped. Aside from its anti-Semitic ramblings, social conservatism, and appeals to the Quran, in fact, parts of the letter could have been written by any reputable international human rights organization.
Similarly, the Islamic State — an avowedly murderous organization, to be sure — emerged out of a Sunni insurgency against an increasingly sectarian U.S.-backed government in Baghdad after the second Iraq War, expanding into Syria in an audacious bid for strategic depth and territory. To the extent that it’s engaged in international terrorism — against France, Turkey, Lebanon, and Russia, among others — the attacks have been levied principally against foreign powers that have thrown themselves into the Syrian civil war on the side of its enemies.
If ISIS attempts to attack the U.S., it will certainly serve a propaganda purpose like the one Obama described. But it will also serve as a counterattack for those 10,000 air strikes he boasted about.
A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
None of this excuses terrorism by al-Qaeda, ISIS, or anyone else. But if Obama or anyone else wants to take a realistic look at the threat, we can’t just look at the likelihood of it. We have to look at the reasons for it.
All things considered, given the scope of U.S. actions in the Middle East since 9/11 — by my count we’ve toppled three governments, launched a drone war stretching from Somalia to the Philippines, and sent hundreds of thousands of troops to Iraq and Afghanistan — a 0.00003 percent per capita risk of terrorism is quite modest, even if it feels much higher to some critics of the president.
But with Obama responding to those critics by launching “nearly 10,000 air strikes” and “training, arming, and supporting” a hodgepodge of armed forces in the region, there’s a very significant risk that our inflated threat perception will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The fact is, there’s not a bomb on this planet powerful enough to heal the political divisions in Iraq and Syria that have enabled the rise of ISIS. But if Obama legitimizes his hawkish critics by papering over the problem with bombs, he’s only paving the way for the Ted Cruzes and Donald Trumps of the world to argue that if some bombs are good, more bombs are better. And our fear-fueled plunge into intervention will only deepen our exposure to terrorism.
Peter Certo is the editor of Foreign Policy In Focus.