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For Truly Better Relations with Cuba, Open the Door and Get Out of the Way!
President Obama today took a bold and surprising step toward ending the futile 50 year US embargo of Cuba. The president announced he would begin normalizing relations, including upgrading the diplomatic mission in Havana to embassy status. The president also said he was taking steps to increase travel, commerce, and the flow of information between the US and Cuba.

17 December 2014read on...

The Cold War Has Never Ended for the CIA
In the midst of the CIA’s torture scandal, USAID continues its obsessive Cold War activity against Cuba, in a desperate attempt to finally, once and for all, oust the Castro regime from power and install another pro-U.S. dictatorship.

17 December 2014read on...

Three Members of Congress Just Reignited the Cold War While No One Was Looking
Late Thursday night, the House of Representatives unanimously passed a far-reaching Russia sanctions bill, a hydra-headed incubator of poisonous conflict. The second provocative anti-Russian legislation in a week, it further polarizes our relations with Russia, helping to cement a Russia-China alliance against Western hegemony, and undermines long-term America’s financial and physical security by handing the national treasury over to war profiteers.

16 December 2014read on...

BBC US Editor Parrots CIA, Republican Talking Points on Senate Torture Report
The BBC is supposed to be an "impartial", "honest" and "independent" news outlet, but today its US Editor, Jon Sopel, showed very clearly whose side he is on. In a short post, "A whiff of hypocrisy about CIA report?", he regurgitates some staple Republican talking-points and makes arguments eerily similar to those presented by former CIA and Bush officials in their various self-exculpatory media appearances this past week.

16 December 2014read on...

After Ukraine: Are the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary Veering Off The NATO/EU Reservation?
Despite the firmness shown by the EU’sbiggest players when it comes to sanctioning Putin’s Russia, lower down the pecking order some member states are not happy. Unlike the most craven and obedient puppets — the Baltic States and Poland — it took some arm twisting to get the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary to agree to punish Moscow for annexing Crimea. Each country is dependent for much of its energy on Russia with which there are also valued economic ties. Why rock the boat? Despite hyperbole claiming that Vladimir Putin was intent on taking them over and rebuilding the iron curtain, in reality, Russia has been an unproblematic neighbour for a quarter of a century.

15 December 2014read on...

All I Want for Christmas is a (Real) Government Shutdown
The political class breathed a sigh of relief Saturday when the US Senate averted a government shutdown by passing the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill. This year’s omnibus resembles omnibuses of Christmas past in that it was drafted in secret, was full of special interest deals and disguised spending increases, and was voted on before most members could read it.

14 December 2014read on...

Eric Garner, the Torture Report, and Authoritarian Psychology
What do the NYPD arresting officers of Eric Garner, the CIA officials responsible for the crimes detailed in the Torture Report and U.S. foreign policy officials all have in common? They are all agents of  institutions that have adopted an “authoritarian psychology.” So what does authoritarian psychology mean?

12 December 2014read on...

Torture and the Myth of Never Again: The Persecution of John Kiriakou
The United States sanctioned acts of torture by the Central Intelligence Agency and others. The acts took place in secret prisons (“black sites”) against persons detained indefinitely without trial. They were described in detail and explicitly authorized in a series of secret torture memos drafted by John Yoo, Jay Bybee, and Steven Bradbury, senior lawyers in the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel. (Office of Legal Counsel attorneys technically answer directly to the DOJ, which is supposed to be independent from the White House, but obviously was not in this case.) Not one of those men, or their Justice Department bosses, has been held accountable for their actions.

11 December 2014read on...

Do They Really Oppose Torture?
The Senate Intelligence Committee released its long-awaited report on CIA torture of detainees and the reaction has been strong. While some still maintain that torture is justified, the emerging details of the program have left most of the country disgusted and ashamed.

11 December 2014read on...

US Foreign Policy: Into the Heart of Darkness
The United States is careening toward an unnecessary new cold war with Russia.  Cold War II may be even more dangerous than the first Cold War, because the constitutional checks and balances and the attention span of the people regulating the US government’s behavior have broken down. While Ukraine is now at the center of this madness, the neocon-driven march to folly has roots reaching well beyond the Ukraine.

10 December 2014read on...

Featured Articles

Victoria Nuland's 'Ukraine-gate' Deceptions


Nulandukraine

"That's some pretty impressive tradecraft," said Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland of the interception and leak of her now-infamous call to US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoff Pyatt. The call consisted of the two plotting to install a US puppet government in Ukraine after overthrowing the current, democratically elected government.

Tradecraft means "spycraft." In other words, Nuland was crediting a foreign intelligence service with impressive use of technology to be able to hack into her call to the ambassador. Everyone knew she was talking about Russia, partly because the Administration had been blaming Russia from the moment the recording was made public.

However, Nuland knew all along that this was not the case, and she did nothing while the Administration continued to escalate the accusations against Russia.

Jay Carney, White House Spokesman, "It says something about Russia," that they would tap the telephone call. State Department Spokeswoman Jan Psaki was even harsher, calling it "a new low in Russian tradecraft."

But the telephone call between the two, we learned yesterday, was not conducted on a secure, encrypted telephone line that the State Department requires for such sensitive conversations and communication. Rather, the call was made over unsecured cell phones and thus easily intercepted with basic equipment that is widely available to anyone. Therefore it was not "impressive tradecraft" at all that led to the capture and release of the conversation.

Nuland and Pyatt obviously knew that at the time, being the two parties to the call. They then either sat by and allowed US government official one after the other accuse Russia of going to great lengths to hack the call without admitting this fact, or they did inform their superiors but Administration officials decided to ignore this critical fact and push accusations against Russia anyway. You never want a serious crisis to go to waste, as it is said.

RPI contacted a former State Department official to clarify security procedures for such a telephone conversation between high-level personnel. The official was clear:
I know well the seriousness of using an open line (aside from anodyne conversation) for high-level classified information that would clearly be embarrassing, if not damaging, not only for the US but also the EU. For using an open line for discussing highly sensitive national security matters, both [Nuland and Pyatt] should be reprimanded, at the very least.
So this was a serious security violation.

The former official continued:
Assuming the telecon was made on insecure line, I find it curious, if not thought provoking, that Nuland’s profanity has managed to overshadow both the apparent security violation as well as the potential damage to national security of the substance of the conversation itself.
Indeed, the fallout from "Ukraine-gate" is astounding but sadly not surprising. The mainstream media in the US has focused solely on the Russian angle (now discredited) and on the salty language and particularly the false supposition that Nuland was using sailor's language to indicate a serious rift with the EU on Ukraine policy. In fact, US and EU policy toward Ukraine is identical: regime change. The dispute is merely over velocity and is therefore cosmetic rather than substantive: should we travel 100 miles per hour or only 75 miles per hour toward regime change?

As far as we have seen, there has been virtually no discussion of the substance of the telephone conversation in the US media. But the conversation was a confirmation of all theretofore denied accusations of US involvement in the current unrest in Ukraine. It was not simply US well-wishing toward the opposition parties. It was not simply a bit of advice and a wink toward the opposition. It was wholesale planning and brokering a post-regime change governing coalition in Ukraine, with the UN being ordered to come in and "glue" the deal.

More precisely, as the Oriental Journal points out:
They agreed to nominate Bat’kyvshchina Party leader Arseniy Yatseniuk as Deputy Prime Minister, to bench Udar Party leader Vitaly Klitschko from the game for a while and to discredit neo-Nazi Svoboda party chief Oleh Tiahnybok as “Yanukovych’s project”
Shortly after "Ukraine-gate" broke, Sergei Glazyev, advisor to Russian president Putin claimed that the US was spending $20 million per week on the Ukrainian opposition, including supplying opposition with training and weapons.

Nuland replied that such claims are "pure fantasy."

Perhaps, but that is just what Nuland had said previously about claims that the US was meddling in the internal affairs of Ukraine. And then the tape came out. That was just what she said about Russia's "impressive tradecraft" in intercepting the telephone call. Then we discover that she was discussing highly sensitive issues over completely unsecured telephones.

Is the US training and funding the Ukraine opposition? Nuland herself claimed in December that the US had spent $5 billion since the 1990s on "democratization" programs in Ukraine. On what would she like us to believe the money had been spent?

We know that the US State Department invests heavily -- more than $100 million from 2008-2012 alone -- on international "Internet freedom" activities. This includes heavy State Department funding, for example, to the New Americas Foundation's...
...Commotion Project (sometimes referred to as the “Internet in a Suitcase”). This is an initiative from the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative to build a mobile mesh network that can literally be carried around in a suitcase, to allow activists to continue to communicate even when a government tries to shut down the Internet, as happened in several Arab Spring countries during the recent uprisings.
"Commotion Project." What an appropriate name for what is happening in Ukraine.

It is not a far leap from the known billions spent on "democratization" in Ukraine, to the hundreds of millions spent on developing new tools for regime-changers on the ground to use against authorities in their home countries, to the State Department from the US embassy in Kiev providing training and equipment to those seeking the overthrow of the Ukrainian government.

The apparent goal of US policy in Ukraine is to re-ignite a Cold War, installing a US-created government in Kiev which signs the EU association agreement including its NATO cooperation language to effectively push the Berlin Wall all the way to the gates of Moscow and St. Petersburg.

NATO has expanded to central Europe, despite US assurances in the 1980s that it would not do so. The US rolled over Russia in its deceptive manipulation of a UN Security Council resolution on Libya to initiate an invasion. The US continues to arm jihadists seeking to overthrow the secular Assad government in Russia-allied Syria. The US and EU have absorbed the Baltics, leaving their large ethnic Russian populations to dangle in non-person limbo. The US and EU had all but absorbed Georgia. Now the US is clearly in the process of absorbing Ukraine, with its strategic importance to Russia, its proximity, and its nearly 10 million ethnic Russian minority.

Surely there is a point to where Russia will take steps to concretely limit its losses. In December Russian president Vladimir Putin said in a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovich that Russia and Ukraine should resume comprehensive military cooperation. Other bilateral defense agreements are already in place.

What would have to happen to trigger a Ukrainian request to its close neighbor for assistance putting down a bloody and illegal coup d'etat instigated by foreign governments? Will US serious miscalculation of Russian resolve over Ukraine lead to a tragedy of almost inconceivable proportions? What if this time Russia does not blink?


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