"Bombers in the channel and warships off Britain’s coast… If you believe the British media and some government ministers, it’s only a matter of time before the Red Army complete with snow on their boots turns up on a high street near you. How hot is the new Cold War going to get? Helping us to answer the question is the Guardian's associate editor Seumas Milne." - George Galloway, British MP interviews Seumas Milne.
Seumus Milne: I think in last few weeks and months it has reached fever pitch. You've got the level of media coverage of this crisis in Ukraine now 'Russia's role' in it and Russia's role in Europe and Putin in particular has become hysterical and completely unrelated to reality. And I think it is quite dangerous. I think they're whipping up a kind of war-fever and preparing people for a level of intervention that, you know, British people, people in this part of the world in Western Europe are actually not committed to at all. Nor in the United States. They're trying to lay the ground for a level of action in relation to Russia and the Ukraine that I think is (a) unjustified, and (b) not at all supported by public opinion. But these things have a momentum of their own. And you know, in the last few weeks, we've seen decisions to send American and British troops - in relatively small numbers - we're talking hundreds - but still troops - to Ukraine, which is not a member of NATO, to a zone where there is conflict, in which there's a civil war going on, which Russia is supporting one side in that war and the United States, Britain, France and the other NATO powers are supporting the other side. A government that came to power in an illegal overthrow of an elected government.
And this is a dangerous situation which can spin out of control. So I think it's necessary for us in this part of the world to be actually much tougher with our own governments and our own military and our own media about the stories they're telling about the situation because it's something that can lead to disaster.
I don't think it's the intention of either Russia or the Western powers for this to [turn into a hot war] I don't think the West intends to fight in Ukraine, although it's clearly drawn the line in the NATO states that it's set up in the former Soviet Union - particularly the Baltic States. But, as we're talking about, these things have their own logic and they can lead to their own forms of escalation.
If for example, as there is incredibly strong pressure in the US from both main parties - Republicans and Democrats - to arm the Ukrainian government, which has been resisted up to this point, by France and Germany in particular. If that takes place and they send heavy weapons to Ukrainian forces - by the way, which include fascist militias fighting on the front line in Eastern Ukraine, with names like the Azov Battalion, where they have swastika-like symbols on their arms and belief in racial superiority and white supremacy. These are some of the forces that we're talking about arming and supporting, that the West is supporting at the moment. If that happens and the Russians then increase the level of supplies with heavy weapons to the rebel camp in Eastern Ukraine - You know, the potential for that conflict spinning out of control is very serious!
And, in fact, we've had British generals, you know, like the former British representative at NATO who has been speaking out last week, saying just this: that the potential for what he called total war is there and his argument is, you know, that the British Government and NATO must take this seriously, that military spending must be increased. And a lot of people are using this conflict as a way to try and protect the army and the armed forces from cuts and to, you know, spend more on weapons.
But if people like that themselves are saying it, I think we should take it seriously and wind down the conflict. And raise the pressure, in this country and other parts of the world to wind down this conflict, to de-escalate the conflict. We've got to - At the moment there's a cease-fire in Eastern Ukraine which is more or less holding and some of the heavy weapons have been pulled back from the front line as a result of this so-called Minsk Agreement that was signed last month. But the sending of troops by Britain and America to Ukraine to Kiev actually explicitly breaks that agreement that was signed - the ceasefire agreement. Article 10 in that ceasefire agreement - the Minsk Agreement - stipulates withdrawal of all foreign forces from Ukraine and that has been breached by our own government, by the United States government, directly. But, you know, that agreement is likely to break down again because it doesn't deal with the underlying causes and we're likely to see a new escalation in the months to come.
So we need to be promoting - I think quite seriously - and pressing for an alternative - and an end to this ludicrous anti-Russian propaganda, which is blinding people to the reality of what's going on and making a genuine debate and dialogue about what's taking place impossible because anything that contradicts the NATO line, the western line, which overwhelmingly dominates the western media, is immediately dismissed as Kremlin propaganda. Whatever the truth of it.
"Today, the world's greatest single campaign of terror entails the execution of entire families, guests at weddings, mourners at funerals. These are Obama's victims. According to the New York Times, Obama makes his selection from a CIA "kill list" presented to him every Tuesday in the White House Situation Room. He then decides, without a shred of legal justification, who will live and who will die. His execution weapon is the Hellfire missile carried by a pilotless aircraft known as a drone; these roast their victims and festoon the area with their remains. Each "hit" is registered on a faraway console screen as a "bugsplat"." (John Pilger). Article republished with permission from author. First published 26 February 2015 at http://johnpilger.com/articles/why-the-rise-of-fascism-is-again-the-issue
The recent 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was a reminder of the great crime of fascism, whose Nazi iconography is embedded in our consciousness. Fascism is preserved as history, as flickering footage of goose-stepping blackshirts, their criminality terrible and clear. Yet in the same liberal societies, whose war-making elites urge us never to forget, the accelerating danger of a modern kind of fascism is suppressed; for it is their fascism.
"To initiate a war of aggression...," said the Nuremberg Tribunal judges in 1946, "is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."
Had the Nazis not invaded Europe, Auschwitz and the Holocaust would not have happened. Had the United States and its satellites not initiated their war of aggression in Iraq in 2003, almost a million people would be alive today; and Islamic State, or ISIS, would not have us in thrall to its savagery. They are the progeny of modern fascism, weaned by the bombs, bloodbaths and lies that are the surreal theatre known as news.
Like the fascism of the 1930s and 1940s, big lies are delivered with the precision of a metronome: thanks to an omnipresent, repetitive media and its virulent censorship by omission. Take the catastrophe in Libya.
In 2011, Nato launched 9,700 "strike sorties" against Libya, of which more than a third were aimed at civilian targets. Uranium warheads were used; the cities of Misurata and Sirte were carpet-bombed. The Red Cross identified mass graves, and Unicef reported that "most [of the children killed] were under the age of ten".
The public sodomising of the Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi with a "rebel" bayonet was greeted by the then US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, with the words: "We came, we saw, he died." His murder, like the destruction of his country, was justified with a familiar big lie; he was planning "genocide" against his own people. "We knew... that if we waited one more day," said President Obama, "Benghazi, a city the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world."
This was the fabrication of Islamist militias facing defeat by Libyan government forces. They told Reuters there would be "a real bloodbath, a massacre like we saw in Rwanda". Reported on March 14, 2011, the lie provided the first spark for Nato's inferno, described by David Cameron as a "humanitarian intervention".
Secretly supplied and trained by Britain's SAS, many of the "rebels" would become ISIS, whose latest video offering shows the beheading of 21 Coptic Christian workers seized in Sirte, the city destroyed on their behalf by Nato bombers.
For Obama, David Cameron and then French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Gaddafi's true crime was Libya's economic independence and his declared intention to stop selling Africa's greatest oil reserves in US dollars. The petrodollar is a pillar of American imperial power. Gaddafi audaciously planned to underwrite a common African currency backed by gold, establish an all-Africa bank and promote economic union among poor countries with prized resources. Whether or not this would happen, the very notion was intolerable to the US as it prepared to "enter" Africa and bribe African governments with military "partnerships".
Following Nato's attack under cover of a Security Council resolution, Obama, wrote Garikai Chengu, "confiscated $30 billion from Libya's Central Bank, which Gaddafi had earmarked for the establishment of an African Central Bank and the African gold backed dinar currency".
The "humanitarian war" against Libya drew on a model close to western liberal hearts, especially in the media. In 1999, Bill Clinton and Tony Blair sent Nato to bomb Serbia, because, they lied, the Serbs were committing "genocide" against ethnic Albanians in the secessionist province of Kosovo. David Scheffer, US ambassador-at-large for war crimes [sic], claimed that as many as "225,000 ethnic Albanian men aged between 14 and 59" might have been murdered. Both Clinton and Blair evoked the Holocaust and "the spirit of the Second World War". The West's heroic allies were the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), whose criminal record was set aside. The British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, told them to call him any time on his mobile phone.
With the Nato bombing over, and much of Serbia's infrastructure in ruins, along with schools, hospitals, monasteries and the national TV station, international forensic teams descended upon Kosovo to exhume evidence of the "holocaust". The FBI failed to find a single mass grave and went home. The Spanish forensic team did the same, its leader angrily denouncing "a semantic pirouette by the war propaganda machines". A year later, a United Nations tribunal on Yugoslavia announced the final count of the dead in Kosovo: 2,788. This included combatants on both sides and Serbs and Roma murdered by the KLA. There was no genocide. The "holocaust" was a lie. The Nato attack had been fraudulent.
Behind the lie, there was serious purpose. Yugoslavia was a uniquely independent, multi-ethnic federation that had stood as a political and economic bridge in the Cold War. Most of its utilities and major manufacturing was publicly owned. This was not acceptable to the expanding European Community, especially newly united Germany, which had begun a drive east to capture its "natural market" in the Yugoslav provinces of Croatia and Slovenia. By the time the Europeans met at Maastricht in 1991 to lay their plans for the disastrous eurozone, a secret deal had been struck; Germany would recognise Croatia. Yugoslavia was doomed.
In Washington, the US saw that the struggling Yugoslav economy was denied World Bank loans. Nato, then an almost defunct Cold War relic, was reinvented as imperial enforcer. At a 1999 Kosovo "peace" conference in Rambouillet, in France, the Serbs were subjected to the enforcer's duplicitous tactics. The Rambouillet accord included a secret Annex B, which the US delegation inserted on the last day. This demanded the military occupation of the whole of Yugoslavia - a country with bitter memories of the Nazi occupation - and the implementation of a "free-market economy" and the privatisation of all government assets. No sovereign state could sign this. Punishment followed swiftly; Nato bombs fell on a defenceless country. It was the precursor to the catastrophes in Afghanistan and Iraq, Syria and Libya, and Ukraine.
Since 1945, more than a third of the membership of the United Nations - 69 countries - have suffered some or all of the following at the hands of America's modern fascism. They have been invaded, their governments overthrown, their popular movements suppressed, their elections subverted, their people bombed and their economies stripped of all protection, their societies subjected to a crippling siege known as "sanctions". The British historian Mark Curtis estimates the death toll in the millions. In every case, a big lie was deployed.
"Tonight, for the first time since 9/11, our combat mission in Afghanistan is over." These were opening words of Obama's 2015 State of the Union address. In fact, some 10,000 troops and 20,000 military contractors (mercenaries) remain in Afghanistan on indefinite assignment. "The longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion," said Obama. In fact, more civilians were killed in Afghanistan in 2014 than in any year since the UN took records. The majority have been killed - civilians and soldiers - during Obama's time as president.
The tragedy of Afghanistan rivals the epic crime in Indochina. In his lauded and much quoted book 'The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives', Zbigniew Brzezinski, the godfather of US policies from Afghanistan to the present day, writes that if America is to control Eurasia and dominate the world, it cannot sustain a popular democracy, because "the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion... Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilisation." He is right. As WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden have revealed, a surveillance and police state is usurping democracy. In 1976, Brzezinski, then President Carter's National Security Advisor, demonstrated his point by dealing a death blow to Afghanistan's first and only democracy. Who knows this vital history?
In the 1960s, a popular revolution swept Afghanistan, the poorest country on earth, eventually overthrowing the vestiges of the aristocratic regime in 1978. The People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) formed a government and declared a reform programme that included the abolition of feudalism, freedom for all religions, equal rights for women and social justice for the ethnic minorities. More than 13,000 political prisoners were freed and police files publicly burned.
The new government introduced free medical care for the poorest; peonage was abolished, a mass literacy programme was launched. For women, the gains were unheard of. By the late 1980s, half the university students were women, and women made up almost half of Afghanistan's doctors, a third of civil servants and the majority of teachers. "Every girl," recalled Saira Noorani, a female surgeon, "could go to high school and university. We could go where we wanted and wear what we liked. We used to go to cafes and the cinema to see the latest Indian film on a Friday and listen to the latest music. It all started to go wrong when the mujaheddin started winning. They used to kill teachers and burn schools. We were terrified. It was funny and sad to think these were the people the West supported."
The PDPA government was backed by the Soviet Union, even though, as former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance later admitted, "there was no evidence of any Soviet complicity [in the revolution]". Alarmed by the growing confidence of liberation movements throughout the world, Brzezinski decided that if Afghanistan was to succeed under the PDPA, its independence and progress would offer the "threat of a promising example".
On July 3, 1979, the White House secretly authorised support for tribal "fundamentalist" groups known as the mujaheddin, a program that grew to over $500 million a year in U.S. arms and other assistance. The aim was the overthrow of Afghanistan's first secular, reformist government. In August 1979, the US embassy in Kabul reported that "the United States' larger interests... would be served by the demise of [the PDPA government], despite whatever setbacks this might mean for future social and economic reforms in Afghanistan." The italics are mine.
The mujaheddin were the forebears of al-Qaeda and Islamic State. They included Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who received tens of millions of dollars in cash from the CIA. Hekmatyar's specialty was trafficking in opium and throwing acid in the faces of women who refused to wear the veil. Invited to London, he was lauded by Prime Minister Thatcher as a "freedom fighter".
Such fanatics might have remained in their tribal world had Brzezinski not launched an international movement to promote Islamic fundamentalism in Central Asia and so undermine secular political liberation and "destabilise" the Soviet Union, creating, as he wrote in his autobiography, "a few stirred up Muslims". His grand plan coincided with the ambitions of the Pakistani dictator, General Zia ul-Haq, to dominate the region. In 1986, the CIA and Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI, began to recruit people from around the world to join the Afghan jihad. The Saudi multi-millionaire Osama bin Laden was one of them. Operatives who would eventually join the Taliban and al-Qaeda, were recruited at an Islamic college in Brooklyn, New York, and given paramilitary training at a CIA camp in Virginia. This was called "Operation Cyclone". Its success was celebrated in 1996 when the last PDPA president of Afghanistan, Mohammed Najibullah - who had gone before the UN General Assembly to plead for help - was hanged from a streetlight by the Taliban.
The "blowback" of Operation Cyclone and its "few stirred up Muslims" was September 11, 2001. Operation Cyclone became the "war on terror", in which countless men, women and children would lose their lives across the Muslim world, from Afghanistan to Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Syria. The enforcer's message was and remains: "You are with us or against us."
The common thread in fascism, past and present, is mass murder. The American invasion of Vietnam had its "free fire zones", "body counts" and "collateral damage". In the province of Quang Ngai, where I reported from, many thousands of civilians ("gooks") were murdered by the US; yet only one massacre, at My Lai, is remembered. In Laos and Cambodia, the greatest aerial bombardment in history produced an epoch of terror marked today by the spectacle of joined-up bomb craters which, from the air, resemble monstrous necklaces. The bombing gave Cambodia its own ISIS, led by Pol Pot.
Today, the world's greatest single campaign of terror entails the execution of entire families, guests at weddings, mourners at funerals. These are Obama's victims. According to the New York Times, Obama makes his selection from a CIA "kill list" presented to him every Tuesday in the White House Situation Room. He then decides, without a shred of legal justification, who will live and who will die. His execution weapon is the Hellfire missile carried by a pilotless aircraft known as a drone; these roast their victims and festoon the area with their remains. Each "hit" is registered on a faraway console screen as a "bugsplat".
"For goose-steppers," wrote the historian Norman Pollack, "substitute the seemingly more innocuous militarisation of the total culture. And for the bombastic leader, we have the reformer manque, blithely at work, planning and executing assassination, smiling all the while."
Uniting fascism old and new is the cult of superiority. "I believe in American exceptionalism with every fibre of my being," said Obama, evoking declarations of national fetishism from the 1930s. As the historian Alfred W. McCoy has pointed out, it was the Hitler devotee, Carl Schmitt, who said, "The sovereign is he who decides the exception." This sums up Americanism, the world's dominant ideology. That it remains unrecognised as a predatory ideology is the achievement of an equally unrecognised brainwashing. Insidious, undeclared, presented wittily as enlightenment on the march, its conceit insinuates western culture. I grew up on a cinematic diet of American glory, almost all of it a distortion. I had no idea that it was the Red Army that had destroyed most of the Nazi war machine, at a cost of as many as 13 million soldiers. By contrast, US losses, including in the Pacific, were 400,000. Hollywood reversed this.
The difference now is that cinema audiences are invited to wring their hands at the "tragedy" of American psychopaths having to kill people in distant places - just as the President himself kills them. The embodiment of Hollywood's violence, the actor and director Clint Eastwood, was nominated for an Oscar this year for his movie, 'American Sniper', which is about a licensed murderer and nutcase. The New York Times described it as a "patriotic, pro-family picture which broke all attendance records in its opening days".
There are no heroic movies about America's embrace of fascism. During the Second World War, America (and Britain) went to war against Greeks who had fought heroically against Nazism and were resisting the rise of Greek fascism. In 1967, the CIA helped bring to power a fascist military junta in Athens - as it did in Brazil and most of Latin America. Germans and east Europeans who had colluded with Nazi aggression and crimes against humanity were given safe haven in the US; many were pampered and their talents rewarded. Wernher von Braun was the "father" of both the Nazi V-2 terror bomb and the US space programme.
In the 1990s, as former Soviet republics, eastern Europe and the Balkans became military outposts of Nato, the heirs to a Nazi movement in Ukraine were given their opportunity. Responsible for the deaths of thousands of Jews, Poles and Russians during the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, Ukrainian fascism was rehabilitated and its "new wave" hailed by the enforcer as "nationalists".
This reached its apogee in 2014 when the Obama administration splashed out $5 billion on a coup against the elected government. The shock troops were neo-Nazis known as the Right Sector and Svoboda. Their leaders include Oleh Tyahnybok, who has called for a purge of the "Moscow-Jewish mafia" and "other scum", including gays, feminists and those on the political left.
These fascists are now integrated into the Kiev coup government. The first deputy speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, Andriy Parubiy, a leader of the governing party, is co-founder of Svoboda. On February 14, Parubiy announced he was flying to Washington get "the USA to give us highly precise modern weaponry". If he succeeds, it will be seen as an act of war by Russia.
No western leader has spoken up about the revival of fascism in the heart of Europe - with the exception of Vladimir Putin, whose people lost 22 million to a Nazi invasion that came through the borderland of Ukraine. At the recent Munich Security Conference, Obama's Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland, ranted abuse about European leaders for opposing the US arming of the Kiev regime. She referred to the German Defence Minister as "the minister for defeatism". It was Nuland who masterminded the coup in Kiev. The wife of Robert D. Kagan, a leading "neo-con" luminary and co-founder of the extreme right wing Project for a New American Century, she was foreign policy advisor to Dick Cheney.
Nuland's coup did not go to plan. Nato was prevented from seizing Russia's historic, legitimate, warm-water naval base in Crimea. The mostly Russian population of Crimea - illegally annexed to Ukraine by Nikita Krushchev in 1954 - voted overwhelmingly to return to Russia, as they had done in the 1990s. The referendum was voluntary, popular and internationally observed. There was no invasion.
At the same time, the Kiev regime turned on the ethnic Russian population in the east with the ferocity of ethnic cleansing. Deploying neo-Nazi militias in the manner of the Waffen-SS, they bombed and laid to siege cities and towns. They used mass starvation as a weapon, cutting off electricity, freezing bank accounts, stopping social security and pensions. More than a million refugees fled across the border into Russia. In the western media, they became unpeople escaping "the violence" caused by the "Russian invasion". The Nato commander, General Breedlove - whose name and actions might have been inspired by Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove - announced that 40,000 Russian troops were "massing". In the age of forensic satellite evidence, he offered none.
These Russian-speaking and bilingual people of Ukraine - a third of the population - have long sought a federation that reflects the country's ethnic diversity and is both autonomous and independent of Moscow. Most are not "separatists" but citizens who want to live securely in their homeland and oppose the power grab in Kiev. Their revolt and establishment of autonomous "states" are a reaction to Kiev's attacks on them. Little of this has been explained to western audiences.
On May 2, 2014, in Odessa, 41 ethnic Russians were burned alive in the trade union headquarters with police standing by. The Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh hailed the massacre as "another bright day in our national history". In the American and British media, this was reported as a "murky tragedy" resulting from "clashes" between "nationalists" (neo-Nazis) and "separatists" (people collecting signatures for a referendum on a federal Ukraine).
The New York Times buried the story, having dismissed as Russian propaganda warnings about the fascist and anti-Semitic policies of Washington's new clients. The Wall Street Journal damned the victims - "Deadly Ukraine Fire Likely Sparked by Rebels, Government Says". Obama congratulated the junta for its "restraint".
If Putin can be provoked into coming to their aid, his pre-ordained "pariah" role in the West will justify the lie that Russia is invading Ukraine. On January 29, Ukraine's top military commander, General Viktor Muzhemko, almost inadvertently dismissed the very basis for US and EU sanctions on Russia when he told a news conference emphatically: "The Ukrainian army is not fighting with the regular units of the Russian Army". There were "individual citizens" who were members of "illegal armed groups", but there was no Russian invasion. This was not news. Vadym Prystaiko, Kiev's Deputy Foreign Minister, has called for "full scale war" with nuclear-armed Russia.
On February 21, US Senator James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, introduced a bill that would authorise American arms for the Kiev regime. In his Senate presentation, Inhofe used photographs he claimed were of Russian troops crossing into Ukraine, which have long been exposed as fakes. It was reminiscent of Ronald Reagan's fake pictures of a Soviet installation in Nicaragua, and Colin Powell's fake evidence to the UN of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
The intensity of the smear campaign against Russia and the portrayal of its president as a pantomime villain is unlike anything I have known as a reporter. Robert Parry, one of America's most distinguished investigative journalists, who revealed the Iran-Contra scandal, wrote recently, "No European government, since Adolf Hitler's Germany, has seen fit to dispatch Nazi storm troopers to wage war on a domestic population, but the Kiev regime has and has done so knowingly. Yet across the West's media/political spectrum, there has been a studious effort to cover up this reality even to the point of ignoring facts that have been well established... If you wonder how the world could stumble into world war three - much as it did into world war one a century ago - all you need to do is look at the madness over Ukraine that has proved impervious to facts or reason."
In 1946, the Nuremberg Tribunal prosecutor said of the German media: "The use made by Nazi conspirators of psychological warfare is well known. Before each major aggression, with some few exceptions based on expediency, they initiated a press campaign calculated to weaken their victims and to prepare the German people psychologically for the attack... In the propaganda system of the Hitler State it was the daily press and the radio that were the most important weapons." In the Guardian on February 2, Timothy Garton-Ash called, in effect, for a world war. "Putin must be stopped," said the headline. "And sometimes only guns can stop guns." He conceded that the threat of war might "nourish a Russian paranoia of encirclement"; but that was fine. He name-checked the military equipment needed for the job and advised his readers that "America has the best kit".
In 2003, Garton-Ash, an Oxford professor, repeated the propaganda that led to the slaughter in Iraq. Saddam Hussein, he wrote, "has, as [Colin] Powell documented, stockpiled large quantities of horrifying chemical and biological weapons, and is hiding what remains of them. He is still trying to get nuclear ones." He lauded Blair as a "Gladstonian, Christian liberal interventionist". In 2006, he wrote, "Now we face the next big test of the West after Iraq: Iran."
The outbursts - or as Garton-Ash prefers, his "tortured liberal ambivalence" - are not untypical of those in the transatlantic liberal elite who have struck a Faustian deal. The war criminal Blair is their lost leader. The Guardian, in which Garton-Ash's piece appeared, published a full-page advertisement for an American Stealth bomber. On a menacing image of the Lockheed Martin monster were the words: "The F-35. GREAT For Britain". This American "kit" will cost British taxpayers £1.3 billion, its F-model predecessors having slaughtered across the world. In tune with its advertiser, a Guardian editorial has demanded an increase in military spending.
Once again, there is serious purpose. The rulers of the world want Ukraine not only as a missile base; they want its economy. Kiev's new Finance Minister, Nataliwe Jaresko, is a former senior US State Department official in charge of US overseas "investment". She was hurriedly given Ukrainian citizenship. They want Ukraine for its abundant gas; Vice President Joe Biden's son is on the board of Ukraine's biggest oil, gas and fracking company. The manufacturers of GM seeds, companies such as the infamous Monsanto, want Ukraine's rich farming soil.
Above all, they want Ukraine's mighty neighbour, Russia. They want to Balkanise or dismember Russia and exploit the greatest source of natural gas on earth. As the Arctic ice melts, they want control of the Arctic Ocean and its energy riches, and Russia's long Arctic land border. Their man in Moscow used to be Boris Yeltsin, a drunk, who handed his country's economy to the West. His successor, Putin, has re-established Russia as a sovereign nation; that is his crime.
The responsibility of the rest of us is clear. It is to identify and expose the reckless lies of warmongers and never to collude with them. It is to re-awaken the great popular movements that brought a fragile civilisation to modern imperial states. Most important, it is to prevent the conquest of ourselves: our minds, our humanity, our self respect. If we remain silent, victory over us is assured, and a holocaust beckons.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad: "I hope the first thing, which is very simple, just for the officials to tell their people the truth, the unbiased truth, without any preconceptions. Just tell your people the truth, and they’ll be able to analyze it." President Bashar al-Assad gave an interview to Portuguese State Television, RTP, which displayed a good range of bias in its questions. The full text of the interview forms the article inside.Article first published on Global Research, March 06, 2015. Portuguese State Television, RTP and SANA Region: Middle East & North Africa Theme: US NATO War Agenda In-depth Report: Syria: NATO's next war? See http://www.globalresearch.ca/syrias-president-bashar-al-assad-the-west-has-no-desire-to-combat-terrorism-west-channels-money-and-armaments-to-isis/5434929
Question 1: In a few days, it will be 4 years since the protests began in Syria against the government of Bashar al-Assad. From then on it has been a massacre. More than 220 thousand people have died, and there are 4 million displaced people. The arrival of Daesh (Islamic State) has made the situation more grim. For this reasons, it’s important to speak to a key figure in all this process. Today, he gives his first interview ever to a Portuguese media outlet. The Syrian President, Bashar Al Assad. How do you describe your country today, Mr. President?
President Assad: Let me start by commenting on the number that you mentioned in your introduction, about the number of victims in Syria, which is 200,000, that’s been mentioned in the Western media recently, 220,000. That number is exaggerated. Always the West has exaggerated the numbers in Syria. Actually, it is not about whether they are hundreds of thousands or tens of thousands. Victims are victims, killing is killing, and terrorism is terrorism. Actually, it’s not about being a mere number represented on a graph, on a chart, like a spreadsheet. It’s about families that lost members, lost dear ones, lost relatives. It’s a human disaster we have in Syria.
This crisis has affected every part of Syria, every Syrian citizen regardless of his affiliation or allegiance. It affected his livelihood, food, medicaments, medical care, basic requirements like education. Hundreds of hospitals were destroyed, thousands of schools were destroyed, tens of thousands or maybe hundreds of thousands of students don’t go to school. All that will create the fertile habitat and good incubator for terrorism and extremism to grow. But despite all this hardship, the Syrians are determined to continue fighting terrorism, defending their country, and defying hegemony.
Question 2: Syria is not much of a country nowadays. The Syrian Army does not control all the borders, you have international coalition flying in your skies. On the grounds there are different entities. Is Syria as we have known it lost or finished?
President Assad: You cannot talk about a finished Syria when the people are unified behind their government and their army and fighting terrorism and still have institutions working. We still have subsidies, we still pay salaries, we pay the salaries even in some areas under the control of the terrorists themselves. We still have the-
Question 3: You send money to…?
President Assad: Exactly, we send salaries. Because they are employees, and have their own salaries. We send vaccines to those areas for the children.
Question 4: So you cooperate with the Islamic State?
President Assad: No, no. We don’t. We send them, and we deal with the civilians who are the mediators with the terrorists, or the militants.
But at the end, all these basic requirements reach those areas. So, we don’t have “Syria is finished” and we don’t have a failed state, actually. But if you want to talk about something different you mentioned in your question, which is the breaching of our airspace illegally by the alliance airplanes and by terrorists supported or working as proxy to regional countries-
Question 5: And borders.
President Assad: This is a failure of the international system, this international system that’s been represented by the United Nations and the Security Council, and that is supposed to solve the problems and protect the sovereignty of different countries and prevent war.
Actually, it has failed in doing so. So, what we have now is a failed United Nations; failed to protect international citizens including in Syria, Libya, Yemen, and in other countries.
Question 6: But you also failed. The Syrian Army also fails, because a lot of Christians have been abducted recently in the north.
The role of the Syrian Army, like any national army, is to protect every single citizen
President Assad: Actually, the role of the Syrian Army, like any national army, is to protect every single citizen, regardless of his affiliation, religion, sect, ethnicities, and so on. If you have mentioned this, I would say yes, we would like to and we wish that the Syrian Army would be able to help every Syrian since the beginning of the crisis. But the main obstacle why the Syrian army couldn’t do so, and as part of this couldn’t help the Christians a few days ago that have been kidnapped by ISIS, is the unlimited support that’s been offered to those terrorists by the Western and regional countries.
Question 7: What we have seen until now is several attempts to have a peace conference that all have failed. What we have until now, it’s talks about talks. What can break this deadlock, Mr. President?
President Assad: Do you mean in Geneva?
Question 8: Geneva 1, Geneva 2, the Russian initiative was a fiasco.
President Assad: The solution is political, but if you want to sit with someone or a party that doesn’t influence the situation on the ground, it’s going to be talk for the sake of talk, that’s correct. We didn’t choose the other party in Geneva. It was chosen by the West, by Turkey, by Saudi Arabia, by Qatar. It wasn’t a Syrian opposition that we made dialogue with. You’re right; if you want to make dialogue, you have to make it with Syrian opposition, Syrian partner, Syrian people who represents Syrians in Syria, not who represent other countries.
So, what happened in Geneva wasn’t the model that we have to follow.
Question 9: But, what you are saying, is that an acceptable opposition for you, or…?
President Assad: Of course, any opposition that works for the Syrian, to defend its country, represents Syrians or part of the Syrian population…
Question 10: Within the framework of the Syrian state?
President Assad: No, no. Any opposition who works for the Syrian people. It’s not related to the state, it’s not related to the government.
Question 11: So, you’re excluding the Syrian National Coalition?
President Assad: I don’t exclude anyone as long as he’s Syrian. I’m talking about criteria. Anyone, or any party, who meet with these criteria, we can consider him as opposition. If the coalition is formed in the West or any other country, it’s not considered Syrian.
It doesn’t represent the Syrian people. The Syrian people won’t accept him.
Question 12: But are you able to discuss with them or not?
President Assad: Actually, what we have followed since the beginning of the crisis, we didn’t leave any stone unturned. We tried every possible solution in order not to allow anyone to say “if they didn’t do this, that would have happened.” So, we discussed even with the coalition, although we know in advance that it doesn’t represent Syrians, it represents the countries that formed it. And second, it doesn’t have any influence on the ground in Syria, even with the militants, even with the terrorists, even with anyone who is involved in the problem within Syria.
Question 13: So you’re saying that the “Free Syrian Army” doesn’t have influence on the ground? That only al-Nusra and Islamic State have influence on the ground?
President Assad: Even Obama said that, he said that the moderate opposition is a fantasy. Most of the world now knows, what they called moderate opposition, they called it “Free Syrian Army,” they have so many other names, all of them are fantasy. Actually, who is controlling the terrorism arena in Syria are either ISIS or al-Nusra, mainly, and some other smaller factions.
Question 14: So, in the end, the solution for Syria is a military solution, and not a negotiated peace?
President Assad: No, actually, what we have been doing recently, as long as we don’t have a party to make negotiations with who can influence the militants on the ground, we went to make reconciliation with the militants in some areas, and that worked, and this is a very realistic political solution. Actually, that is how you exclude the military solution, by discussing with them making a safe area.
Question 15: About the discussions, you have Geneva 1, Geneva 2, the Russian initiative, in all of that there are not, how shall I say, things in common. Is there anything, any issue that you know it is possible, why not start with them? Is there anything in common between you and them?
President Assad: If you want to talk about what happened in Moscow, it’s different from what happened in Geneva, because they invited some of the opposition, because we can’t talk about one opposition; we have many different oppositions. You don’t put them in one basket. You have some of them represent Syrians, some of them they don’t represent anyone, and so on. So, we have common things with some of the opposition that were invited to Moscow, so this is just the beginning of the dialogue. The dialogue may take a long time. But at the end, if you want to not talk about dialogue, talk about the end results on the ground, the question is, who of those parties that we call opposition, who of them represent Syrian people and can influence the militants on the ground in order to save Syrian blood? That is the question. We don’t have an answer yet, because they have to prove, we don’t have to prove. We know we have our army, the army will obey the government, if the government gives an order, it will follow the order. But what about the others? Who is going to control the terrorists? That is the question.
Question 16: You pointed out that some countries, like France, don’t want a peace conference to succeed. Why is that?
President Assad: Actually, you have two points, or two reasons, let’s say. First one is not related only to the French; it’s related to every official who is complicit and involved in the propaganda and the aggression against Syria during the last four years. It’s about the end of this war will unmask those officials in front of their public opinion, in a country where there is public opinion. I don’t mean Saudi Arabia and Qatar, where there is no public opinion anyway. But generally, they will be unmasked about the question “what is the revolution that you mentioned, that you talked about? How could a revolution collapse or fail if you have the support of the West, the support of regional countries, all this money and armaments and so on, and you supposed that he’s a dictator who is killing his good people, so the people are against him, regional countries are against him, and the West is against him, and he succeeded.It’s one of two options you’re either lying to us, or you’re talking about a superman. Because you don’t a superman, he’s a regular president, it means he could withstand for four years only because he has the public support. It doesn’t mean full public support, one hundred percent, or absolute public support, but definitely have support from a part, a large amount of the Syrian people.” So, this is a lie that the public opinion in the West and in other countries will ask the officials about. What about the Arab spring that turned out to be – instead of budding flowers – blood and killing and destruction? Is that the spring that you talked about? This is one reason.
The other reason is more specific towards France. Not limited, but more specific, let’s say. It’s about the financial relation between France and the Gulf states. Maybe because they have financial difficulties, I don’t know why. But this financial relations, and I don’t have any proof whether this is about the vested interest of some officials in France or if it’s about public interest, I don’t have any proof, but at the end, these financial interests push those officials in France to exchange their values of liberty and fraternity and democracy, all the things that they used to preach, the exchange those values for petrodollars. So now those French officials and some others in the West, they don’t practice what they preach anymore.
Question 17: But the tide seems to change a little bit. You had French MPs here. It was an organized visit, or it came as a surprise to you?
President Assad: No, no. It wasn’t a surprise, because it wasn’t the first delegation to come to Syria.
Question 18: French delegation?
President Assad: French and from other countries. Different kinds of delegations, activists, mediators, some officials came to deal with us under the table, not-
Question 19: This was organized with your government and…?
President Assad: Yes, it was officially organized, and they had a schedule when they came. It was weeks before, it wasn’t a surprise.
Question 20: With French diplomats as well or not?
President Assad: We had the impression, and it’s a strong impression, that most of the government, the main officials in the government, they know about it in advance, and they didn’t oppose.
Question 21: So, did they send you any message?
President Assad: No, there wasn’t a message, and they came to see the reality on the ground, and I think that’s the reflection – not just this delegation; the delegations that came to Syria recently from different countries, especially from the West, is a reflection of not believing, not taking in with the narrative, the insidious narrative about Syria in the West by their officials. They want to know the truth, I mean it’s a kind of suspicion about the whole propaganda in the West.
Question 22: So, in a sense, the tide is changing because probably there are some people thinking that even though it’s a bad solution, it’s better to deal with Bashar al-Assad than to deal with the worse solution which is going to be the Islamic State.
President Assad: I don’t think the general public thinks about the second part, it’s about the first part, about what’s happening and how everything we said in Syria at the beginning of the crisis they say later. They said it’s peaceful, we said it’s not peaceful, they’ve killing – these demonstrators, that they called them peaceful demonstrators – have killed policemen. Then it became militants. They said yes, it’s militants. We said it’s militants, it’s terrorism. They said no, it’s not terrorism. Then when they say it’s terrorism, we say it’s Al Qaeda, they say no, it’s not Al Qaeda. So, whatever we said, they say later. That created a lot of suspicion in the West. They want to come to understand this part. Why are you saying whatever Syria was saying in the beginning? Of course, in the West, the propagandists, whether officials or media, the added something only to the real story; that ISIS and al-Nusra was created of Assad, or it’s because of his policy, and so on.
Question 23: But you freed a lot of jihadists from the prisons that went to ISIS, to the Islamic State.
President Assad: No, that’s before the crisis. They were sentenced for a few years, and when the sentence ended, they left prison. We didn’t.
We never did. So no, we have institutions, we have a judicial system in Syria.
Question 24: Anyway, Europe is facing more and more threats of terrorism linked to jihadist movements, some of them with connections here in Syria, I mean Al Qaeda or the Islamic State. And the question here: is Syria able to help the European countries in fighting these threats of terrorism?
President Assad: This is like a building; you cannot build a building without having the foundation, so what is the foundation that you need in this this case? First, you need officials in Europe to have the will to fight terrorism. This is something that we don’t have to this moment. Second thing, to have prudent policies. We cannot have arrogant, stubborn officials that only adopted egotistical policies.
Third, which is very important, fighting terrorism should be a value, should become a value. It cannot be a sort of opportunism, like because now you are suffering in Europe from terrorism, you’re scared, you want to fight terrorism in this region. What about a few years ago? You didn’t suffer.
Question 25: But can you help the…?
President Assad: If they don’t help themselves first, we cannot. If they help themselves, we are ready to help. If you build this foundation, if you have this foundation, you can go to the building.
This is where you can talk about how to integrate the community in your country, how to have exchange of information with intelligence, you have many ways. Of course we can, but you need to have the foundation in order to succeed.
Question 26: Mr. President, let me quote, “the Syrian people aspire more freedom, justice, human rights. They aspire to more plurality and democracy.” Your Foreign Minister said this in the Geneva conference.
However, the state of Syria is perceived differently in the West. Till now, it’s perceived as brutal, ruthless, dictatorial, and it’s not just a question of image, so how is it possible to convince the people that…?
President Assad: This is illogical and unrealistic, because how can somebody who kills his people and oppresses his people be supported by the same people? How? Tell me about this contradiction. Look at it from the outside. Is it palatable, can you understand? It doesn’t.
Question 27: But, Mr. President, the reality is that if you allow me to go backwards, and try to-
President Assad: Before the crisis.
Question 28: Let me just try to… you started four years ago with peaceful demonstrators that were repressed, then you are blamed, your government is blamed, for a lot of allegations of human rights violations in your own ranks, repression. You have the Cesar reported, defected from the army, with photos of massacres, of torture of the opposition. You have allegations that you have used chemical weapons.
You have allegations of using the barrel bombs till now, and so, the human rights reports watcher about Syria, they are not very good for you, your government, and the Syrian Army.
President Assad: You are talking about massive propaganda for four years. We cannot answer every one in one interview, but I will say the demonstrations never were peaceful, because in the first week, we lost many of our policemen. How? How could a peaceful demonstration kill a policeman? It wasn’t peaceful, so, this is the beginning of the lies, it’s the beginning of the propaganda.
Question 29: All lies, all the time? Four years of lies, Mr. President?
President Assad: Exactly, that’s what happened. Because, how do you have ISIS? Suddenly? You don’t have ISIS suddenly, you don’t have armaments suddenly, you don’t have al-Nusra Front suddenly. It’s a long process, you can’t have it just in few weeks. Suddenly, everybody is talking about ISIS. Go back to our statements from the very beginning, and you can see that the evolution of the events was going in that regard from the very beginning, and we said that. They didn’t want to listen; they wanted to listen to their statements.That’s what I say. It’s impossible to only tell lies in the West. How can you tell the truth if you don’t have an embassy in this country? How can you tell the truth if you listen to Qatar and Al-Jazeera that were paying the money to those terrorists?
Question 30: So you blame Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia for being the backbone of the jihadists? You have the proof?
President Assad: Very simple; what is the ideology of ISIS? What is the ideology? It’s the Wahhabi ideology. Do we have it in Syria? Do we have it in Morocco? In the western Arab world? Actually, it existed in Saudi Arabia.
Question 31: It’s the same as in Saudi Arabia.
President Assad: Saudi Arabia and Qatar. This is the Wahhabi ideology.
Second, Erdogan is Muslim Brotherhood. He’s a very staunch advocate of the Muslim Brotherhood ideology which was the first organization in the history of Islam, in the beginning of the last century, who promoted violence in implementing political agenda. So, you have those, and that’s enough. Going back to the Western media, in the Western media, and the American media in particular, they say 80% of the terrorists are coming from Turkey. You have another realistic one, what you called in your media Kobani which is called Ayn al-Arab. It took four months to be liberated, in spite of the attack of the alliance. Why? Actually, a similar city, the same size, and the same terrain, it took the Syrian Army two to three weeks. Why? Because it was supported logistically through Turkey on the border. They send them everything, armaments, all kinds of support. The recent event when Turkey-
Question 32: Did you support the Kurds? Did the Syrian Army support the Kurds?
President Assad: Of course.
Question 33: Because they are also fighting the Syrian Army.
President Assad: Before the issue of Kobani. Before that, we did.
Before Kobani, we supported the Kurds, because it didn’t start there.
It started before, and before the alliance started supporting the Kurds, we did. We sent them armaments. Of course, they’re going to say no, because the Americans said “say no, and we will help you.” If they say yes, the Americans will be angry, just to be cautious, to take precautions about any statement they may say now that we didn’t, we have all the documents about the armaments that’s been sent to them, beside the air raids and so on and the bombardments and everything else.
Question 34: New Syrian troops are being trained in the framework of the “Free Syrian Army” supported by the Americans to fight against the Islamic State. Do you think you will have to fight them as well?
President Assad: You know, and I know, and everybody knows that those 5,000 were announced by the Americans, and this this is my proof that the Western officials don’t have the will to fight terrorism. That is the proof. I told you, the base, the foundation, is to have the will.
It means they don’t have the will. If Obama said the moderate opposition is fantasy, so who do you send the money and armaments to?
Reality. You don’t send to the fantasy, you send it to the reality, and the reality are the extremists. And those 5,000 are going to be another support to those terrorists, because the same grassroots of the organization that’s been supported by the West, by money and armaments, they joined ISIS with their armaments and with themselves.
Question 35: Two questions to finish this interview. This is your first interview with a journalist from a Portuguese-speaking country.
Do you expect anything from these countries?
President Assad: I don’t expect; I hope. I hope the first thing, which is very simple, just for the officials to tell their people the truth, the unbiased truth, without any preconceptions. Just tell your people the truth, and they’ll be able to analyze it. Second, we hope from Portugal as part of the EU to look at the Czech Republic. A small country, ten millions, but it was very wise in dealing with the crisis in Syria. They have their embassy, they can tell what’s going on on the ground, because isolationism is not a policy. When you isolate yourself, when you try to isolate a country by removing your ambassadors or closing your embassies, you isolate yourself from the reality. You shouldn’t isolate yourself, as Europe, from reality. We hope can play that role in the EU to shift this trend that started with the American administration of Bush; when they have a problem with somebody or some area, instead of being more involved, they cut their relation with it. This is not policy.
Question 36: Just one last question, Mr. President. You’re a key player for any possible peace deal. Don’t you feel sometimes doubts, anguish, with this tremendous responsibility? Don’t you feel what history might say about you?
President Assad: Of course, this is the most important thing that any politician or leader must think about, and it’s about, first of all, about having good will and good intention to help your country.
Whether you do mistakes or you do right, you do wrong; this is not the issue. People will judge you by your will, by how much you were related to your country, related to your country, how much you are a patriot, not a puppet or a marionette that’s being moved from the outside. This is the most important thing; how much you do, what’s the best you can do to protect your country and protect your people.
Question 37: Thank you, Mr. President, for this interview, and thank you for being with RTP.
The U.S. military is causing devastation to the environment. Joseph Nevins writes in 2010 that "The U.S. military is the world’s single biggest consumer of fossil fuels, and the single entity most responsible for destabilizing the Earth’s climate." The article states ". . . the Pentagon devours about 330,000 barrels of oil per day (a barrel has 42 gallons), more than the vast majority of the world’s countries." The amount of oil used by your military machine is beyond belief, and each military vehicle also releases pollutants through the exhaust. Tanks, trucks, Humvees and other vehicles are not known for their fuel economy. Other fuel guzzlers are submarines, helicopters and fighter jets. Each military flight, whether involved in the transport of soldiers or in a combat mission, contributes more carbon into the atmosphere. Candobetter.net editor: Unfortunately the Australian government supports this US war machine. Earth Day is Wednesday April 22, 2015. These letters will be sent for that occasion but they seek to involve the public earlier in this campaign against war.
We are writing as representatives of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance. We are a group of citizens dedicated to working for an end to the illegal wars and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the illegal bombings in Pakistan, Syria and Yemen. We would appreciate meeting with you or a representative as soon as possible to discuss what we perceive to be ecocide being committed by the Pentagon.
Please see the letter below which we have sent to Ashton Carter about the Pentagon’s scathing abuse of the environment. We are puzzled by the fact that the Environmental Protection Agency is not taking any action against the Pentagon’s willful destruction of Mother Earth. At this meeting we will outline what measures the EPA should take against the Pentagon to slow down Climate Chaos.
We look forward to your response to our request for a meeting, as we believe citizen activists have the right and obligation to be involved in matters of such great importance. Your response will be shared with others concerned with the issues raised above. Thank you for considering our request.
Members of National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance
National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance
#000000">325 East 25th Street , Baltimore , MD 21218
We are writing as representatives of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance. We are a group of citizens dedicated to working for an end to the illegal wars and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the illegal bombing, since July of 2008, of Pakistan, Syria, and Yemen. It is our opinion that the use of drones is a violation of international law.
The use of drones causes incredible human suffering, growing distrust of the United States around the world, and is diverting our resources which could be better used to ease human suffering. We follow the principles of Gandhi, King, Day and others, working nonviolently for a peaceful world.
As people of conscience, we are very concerned about the devastation that the U.S. military is causing to the environment. According to Joseph Nevins, in an article published on June 14, 2010 by CommonDreams.org, Greenwashing the Pentagon, "The U.S. military is the world’s single biggest consumer of fossil fuels, and the single entity most responsible for destabilizing the Earth’s climate." The article states ". . . the Pentagon devours about 330,000 barrels of oil per day (a barrel has 42 gallons), more than the vast majority of the world’s countries." Visit http://www.commondreams.org/views/2010/06/14/greenwashing-pentagon.
The amount of oil used by your military machine is beyond belief, and each military vehicle also releases pollutants through the exhaust. Tanks, trucks, Humvees and other vehicles are not known for their fuel economy. Other fuel guzzlers are submarines, helicopters and fighter jets. Each military flight, whether involved in the transport of soldiers or in a combat mission, contributes more carbon into the atmosphere.
The U.S. military’s environmental record is dismal. Any war can bring about ecocide in the area of fighting. One example was the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The New York Timesreported in September 2014 that the Obama administration plans to spend more than $1 trillion over the next three decades to upgrade the nuclear weapons arsenal. Wasting such an enormous amount of tax dollars on such weapons makes no sense. And the environmental damage caused by the nuclear weapons industrial complex is incalculable.
More recently, Mother Earth is suffering because the Pentagon continues to use depleted uranium ammunition. It seems the Pentagon first used DU weaponry during Persian Gulf War 1 and in other wars, including during the aerial attack of Libya.
Because the United States has hundreds of military bases here and abroad, the Pentagon is exacerbating a growing environmental crisis on a global scale. For example, the construction of a US Naval base on Jeju Island, South Korea threatens the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. According to an article in The Nation "On the island of Jeju, the consequences of the Pacific Pivot are cataclysmic. The UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, adjacent to the proposed military port, would be traversed by aircraft carriers and contaminated by other military ships. Base activity would wipe out one of the most spectacular remaining soft-coral forests in the world. It would kill Korea’s last pod of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins and contaminate some of the purest, most abundant spring water on the planet. It would also destroy the habitats of thousands of species of plants and animals—many of which, such as the narrow-mouthed frog and the red-footed crab, are gravely endangered already. Indigenous, sustainable livelihoods—including oyster diving and local farming methods that have thrived for thousands of years—would cease to exist, and many fear that traditional village life would be sacrificed to bars, restaurants and brothels for military personnel." http://www.thenation.com/article/171767/front-lines-new-pacific-war
Though these examples provide sufficient evidence to show the ways in which the Department of War is destroying the planet, we have grave concerns about the U.S. military for other reasons as well. The recent revelations of rampant U.S. torture leaves a terrible stain on the U.S. fabric. Continuing the Pentagon’s policy of unlimited warfare is also detrimental to the USA’s world-wide image. A recent leaked CIA report confirmed that killer drone strikes have only been successful in creating more terrorists.
We would like to meet with you or your representative to discuss the Pentagon’s role in the destruction of the environment. We will urge you, as first measures, to bring all troops home from these awful wars and occupations, to end all drone warfare, and to close down the nuclear weapons complex. At this meeting, we would appreciate if you could provide a detailed breakdown of the military’s greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide.
As citizen activists and members of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, we adhere to the Nuremberg protocols. These principles, established during the trials of Nazi war criminals, call on people of conscience to challenge their government when it is engaged in criminal activity. As part of our Nuremberg responsibility, we are reminding you that you swore to uphold the Constitution. In a dialogue, we will present data to demonstrate how the Pentagon abuses the Constitution and the ecosystem.
Please get back to us, so that a meeting can be scheduled as soon as possible. The current situation is urgent. Cities and states are starving, while tax dollars are wasted on wars and occupations. Innocents are dying because of U.S. military policies. And the environmental damage caused by the Pentagon must be halted.
Most observers have noticed that weather patterns are severely changing. In turn the weather has greatly affected the farmers of the world, resulting in food shortages in many countries. Droughts are occurring in Australia, Brazil and California. The Northeast is victimized by major storms as we write. So let us meet and discuss how we can work together in order to save Mother Earth.
We look forward to your response to our request for a meeting, as we believe citizen activists have the right and obligation to be involved in matters of such great importance. Your response will be shared with others concerned with the issues raised above. Thank you for considering our request.
Members of National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance
The interview inside between a BBC journalist, Jeremy Bowen BBC, and President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, is wonderfully calm, logical and informative despite the interviewer's many tendentious questions. Assad's analytical answers invite the viewer and journalist to logically evaluate reports which Australians are used to having presented emotively by anti-Assad forces. Assad's English syntax is sometimes unusual and the journalist at times fails to follow his statements and arguments. For instance, towards the end of the interview, Assad is asked if it is true that his government denied aid convoys access to areas held by the enemy. Assad's answer is that if they could stop aid convoys they would presumably be able to stop arms convoys. Since the areas are being bombed by 'rebels' continually, obviously they are unable to stop those arms. If his government were to stop any convoy, military interests would suggest it would be one bearing arms, not one bearing aid. Conversely, if the enemy fighters are able to import arms, then they should be able to import food. If so-called humanitarian organisations report that food is not arriving, but acknowledge that arms are, then the enemy is responsible for lack of food in a situation of well-armed violence.
Bashar al-Assad's performance seems so superior to that of Australian leaders that I could not help taking the comparison further.
Judging the Syrian leader by Australian leadership standards
During the Syrian conflicts President Bashar al-Assad has made himself available to journalists in a manner far freer than any Australian, US, British, French or German political leader. It is hard to imagine Australia's Prime Minster or its opposition leader being able to survive such a detailed interview about their conduct and policy rationale in Australia, say on democratic and humanitarian grounds. They simply are not morally, intellectually or educationally up to scratch and they expect journalists to stick to a narrow and predictable field.
The reader might exclaim that Australia is not currently in a condition of civil war and question the relevance of such comparisons. On the other hand, we are constantly told by the popular press that we are in danger of terrorist attacks. The much anticipated prospect of such attacks has been used to make fundamental changes to requirements of evidence, proof, right to know of what one is accused - requirements famed as having brought our legal system forward from medieval times. (See, for instance, "Action on inept anti-terror laws must get priority") So, if we are not at war, we are still treated as if we are in some kind of quasi-war state of emergency.
Why Syria is at war with terrorists and Australia only legislates against terrorism
So, what (apart from laws against secondary boycotts) keeps Australians from holding general strikes and standing up to their false leaders? Two things mainly:
1. Political disorganisation following on from social and geographical disorganisation carried out by successive governments and corporations, supported by a mainstream press and state press which have feudal-like tenure 
2. the well-known fact that people can now be arrested and detained without explanation in this country, a situation brought about by skilful use of the threat of terrorism to make us agree to the loss of our basic rights at law.
In Syria, however, terrorism has been turned from isolated threats into brutal armies backed by the US-NATO alliance of which Australia and Saudi Arabia are both sort of client-states, and supported by aligned media propaganda. (See for instance, "Syria whom to support whom to trust?"
Here is a probable reason why Syria is at war on its own territory but Australia is not. Syria has or had until recently, a well-functioning dirigist economy and strong national identification by its people. Syrian law, based on French civil code and some local and sharia law supported this situation. The global financial forces do not like national solidarity. They don't like people's banks, free education and free hospital and medical care. If they cannot corrupt a state (as they appear to have done with Australia) they arm dissonant forces within it and send in mercenaries to back them up.
We have seen this in Libya, Iraq, Bahrain, Ukraine and Syria.
So, why isn't Australia torn by civil war? Because, despite the rising alarm of its people (whose current only option is to try to elect independents), Australia is doing the bidding of globalising finance, supporting illegal wars and turning its own polity into a feudal regime with a commodity economy overseen by foreign oligarchs and monarchs of a distinctly fascist outlook. Even our Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has reinstituted knights and dames and recently even knighted British Prince Phillip in a move which, whilst decoratively redundant, could not go ignored and was probably not meant to.
Remember, Australia has no code of civil rights, subscribes to a bill of very vague 'human' rights, and is sacrificing ordinary people's homes and farms to higher financial turnover uses - freeways for highrise rentals and quick and dirty coal mines and gas fracks. The corporates and dynasties are taking over. Now we have a leader who takes knighthood seriously. The reaction is that he is ridiculous. But the reality is that he has formally, legally resurrected a major feudal institution, to bestow knighthoods on public figureheads of power. How far is Australia from a feudal state? What rights and obligations do knights have to the Australian PM and what obligations, if any, do Australians have towards them?