Author Archive

The NSA, Glenn Greenwald, and Angela Merkel

by Cliff Kincaid on Monday, April 21st, 2014

This is article 1172 of 1172 in the topic International

Having apparently been assured by the Eric Holder Justice Department that he won’t face espionage charges, unlike his source Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald has returned to the U.S. and is cashing in on his notoriety. His book, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, will be released soon, and he will be appearing on May 15 with one of his heroes, Noam Chomsky, a leading member of the Communist Party spin-off, the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism.

However, there is a 10-year statute of limitations, meaning that the administration that follows Obama’s could charge Snowden’s media accomplices with violating the Espionage Act (Section 798).

Greenwald’s friend and mentor, Noam Chomsky, is a major supporter of the Hezbollah terrorist group, and opposed the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Greenwald and Chomsky will be appearing at an event sponsored by Harvard Book Store, which will be held in a Unitarian church in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Greenwald’s publisher, Metropolitan Books, a division of Macmillan, has produced such titles as Kill Anything That Moves, a “startling history of the American war on Vietnamese civilians,” and socialist Senator Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) A Fighting Chance.

The publisher runs a blog for one of its authors called “The American Empire Project,” designed to expose the “imperial ambitions” of U.S. leaders.

Greenwald, of course, has spoken publicly in favor of “weakening” America, saying that al-Qaeda’s 9/11 terrorist attacks on America were “very minimal in scope compared to the level of deaths that the United States has been bringing to the world for decades—from Vietnam to illegal wars in Central America…”

He described Anwar al-Awlaki, the American al-Qaeda leader killed in a drone strike, merely as “someone who the U.S. government hates because he speaks effectively to the Muslim world about the violence that the United States commits regionally, and the responsibility of Muslims to stand up to that violence.” Al-Awlaki inspired the Fort Hood massacre, in which 13 were killed.

Greenwald’s record also includes collaborating with Leninist groups such as the International Socialist Organization, and Islamist organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim Brotherhood front.

Meanwhile, Greenwald’s new venture, The Intercept, financed by billionaire Iranian-American Pierre Omidyar, is out with another report, once again alleging that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been unfairly targeted by the NSA. What is left unsaid in the piece is why Merkel is an obvious target.

Analyst J.R. Nyquist says Merkel was known to be suspiciously pro-Russian when she ran for high office in Germany but that her political party, the Christian Democrats, nominated her anyway, “and now Germany is more dependent on Russian natural gas than ever before.” Germany’s so-called “unique relationship with Russia” means that the country gets 36 percent of its natural gas imports and 39 percent of its oil imports from Russia.

The increasing dependence on Russia is related to Merkel’s decision, after the accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, to phase out Germany’s nuclear energy program. Pressure to cancel Germany’s nuclear program had come from the German Green Party.

A prominent member of the German Green Party, Hans-Christian Ströebele, met with Edward Snowden in Moscow and gave him a “whistleblower” award.

Click to continue reading “The NSA, Glenn Greenwald, and Angela Merkel”
Go straight to Post

The Putrid Pulitzers that Please Putin

by Cliff Kincaid on Friday, April 18th, 2014

This is article 540 of 540 in the topic Media

If anything proved beyond doubt that the Pulitzer Prizes are a self-congratulatory display whereby the media pat each other on the back and share in the congratulations, it was the coverage of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize announcements. There was nothing from inside the Columbia University journalism building where Pulitzer Prize administrator Sig Gissler tried to justify the honors, known as Gold Medals, for the anti-NSA stories based on the espionage activities of Edward Snowden. My give-and-take with Gissler is the main topic of this column. I saw this process from the inside and am reporting on it here, for the first time. It was a sad and disgraceful day for the journalism profession.

These prizes are usually called “prestigious,” but few people know that they involve a process whereby some people in the media nominate other media for awards, to be decided upon by still other media. It’s a racket.

Ironically, the awards for stories about secret government programs were decided by juries which conducted their discussions in secret. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan, a four-time Pulitzer juror and a former member of the Pulitzer board, notes that “…jurors and board members pretty much have to swear an oath, signed in the printer’s ink that still flows through the veins of some, to live in a cone of silence about how business gets done.”

You might conclude that the Pulitzer selection process is more secretive than the NSA programs designed to monitor anti-American terrorism and espionage.

Typically, the entries are accompanied by praise, with no hint that they may have been tainted by questions about their legitimacy.

Even worse, 82 years after the fact, the Pulitzer board has still not revoked the award given to Walter Duranty of The New York Times for covering up Stalin’s mass murder of seven to 10 million Ukrainians during the period of 1932 to 1933.

Meanwhile, thanks to Snowden and his Russian patrons, the Ukrainians are once again suffering.

When awards are given for “journalism” that damages U.S. national security and facilitates foreign aggression, as the Snowden disclosures have done in the case of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we are looking at something unprecedented in history for American journalism.

The Guardian US and The Washington Post got awards for the Edward Snowden stories, hyped in advance by outlets such as POLITICO, whose executive editor Richard Berke was a member of the “jury,” in the field of “public service” journalism, that made the nominations.

You can search in vain in POLITICO’s stories for any mention that its own executive editor was a member of the jury making the nominations. The publication had a conflict of interest in covering the awards and never disclosed this conflict to its readers.

Sig Gissler is to be congratulated for taking questions. But all of the critical questions came from me. I counted at least 10 camera crews at the event, one of them from Fox News, and not one other reporter even attempted to ask for the justification of the first-ever Pulitzer Prizes for espionage.

At the end of our final exchange, Gissler looked at the people in the room, wondering if members of the press had been able to ask all of their questions and were happy with the answers. “You don’t look happy,” he said, as he stared at me.

1 2 3
Go straight to Post

How Putin Uses KGB-style “Active Measures”

by Cliff Kincaid on Thursday, April 10th, 2014

This is article 1169 of 1172 in the topic International

The global crisis over Ukraine is bringing much-needed attention to what North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen calls “Russian propaganda and disinformation,” a campaign of deliberate lies and distortions emanating from Moscow which attempts to control the narrative over what is happening on the ground.

At the same time, the lack of an effective U.S. response has reminded experts in the field of “information warfare” that U.S. government efforts to counter “active measures” were mostly dismantled at the end of the Cold War.

Thomas Boghardt, historian at the International Spy Museum, notes that Soviet “active measures” aimed to discredit the United States and “conquer world public opinion.” He quotes retired KGB Major General Oleg Kalugin as saying, “It’s a tradition, it’s not something new. That’s important to see the past projected onto the present—and the future.”

During the 1980s, under President Reagan, there was a federal “Active Measures Working Group” to counter Soviet propaganda. This group of officials from various federal agencies was run out of the U.S. Information Agency, later folded into the State Department.

A 1984 video on “Soviet Active Measures” was produced by the U.S. Information Agency and is now available on YouTube. It features a Soviet KGB defector, Stanislav Levchenko. With Herbert Romerstein, a member of the Active Measures Working Group, Levchenko wrote The KGB Against the “Main Enemy”: How the Soviet Intelligence Service Operates Against the United States.

Russian President Vladimir Putin would have been deeply involved in these activities. During the late 1980s he was a KGB colonel and spy in East Germany. Later, he became head of the FSB, the KGB’s main successor.

In what AIM called “one of the most notorious examples of Communist disinformation appearing in the U.S. media,” Dan Rather aired the Soviet claim that the AIDS virus was manufactured in a Pentagon laboratory, without offering any rebuttal.

Today, the Russian government is so brazen that it pumps propaganda directly into American living rooms through Russia Today (RT), the Moscow-funded English-language channel carried by Comcast and other cable systems.

On April 8, for example, RT host Thom Hartmann gave airtime to Putin apologist Stephen Cohen, identified as one of several commentators “whose observations are often egregiously at odds with verifiable facts” in “A User’s Guide to Russian Propaganda,” compiled by several pro-Ukrainian activists.

Hartmann was once hailed by the publication POLITICO as a progressive hero, in a story ignoring his service to Moscow as a paid Russian agent.

However, some conservatives are also following the Kremlin line, including radio talk-show host Michael Savage and Patrick J. Buchanan.

In a column entitled “When Conservatives Go Wrong,” analyst J.R. Nyquist says about Buchanan, who insists that Putin is a committed Christian, “Like many famous names from earlier decades, Buchanan has become a fellow traveler and a ‘useful idiot.’”

But there is hope, some of it due to the heavy-handed nature of Russian propaganda over Ukraine and the willingness of people with access to the facts to dispute it.

For example, The New York Times has effectively debunked Russian propaganda claims about neo-Nazis running rampant in Ukraine and influencing the new government. “Among Ukraine’s Jews, the Bigger Worry Is Putin, Not Pogroms,” was the headline over the Times article. Pogrom is a Russian word designating an organized attack on Jews.

Click to continue reading “How Putin Uses KGB-style “Active Measures””
Go straight to Post

Pulitzer Prizes for Espionage?

by Cliff Kincaid on Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

This is article 31 of 31 in the topic Espionage

As the Pulitzer Prize board meets this week to consider its 2014 winners, many eyes are on the journalists who conspired with former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, and the secret documents he stole and then disclosed to them.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Thomas Ricks was initially sympathetic to Snowden. But he has grown suspicious of Snowden’s Russian connection and debt to the Vladimir Putin regime. Ricks asked whether Snowden and Glenn Greenwald, his main collaborator, would denounce recent crackdowns on press freedom in Russia. Ricks said, “If they [are] acting on moral beliefs, now would be the time for both of them to speak out against Putin. It could have a great impact, I think.”

Later, he expanded his concern, saying that the longer Greenwald and Snowden “remain silent on events in Ukraine, the more I suspect their previous motives.”

The Moscow connection for Snowden stands out like a sore thumb.

Almost a year ago I wrote, “…the Snowden case looks increasingly like the NSA equivalent of Philip Agee, who defected from the CIA and became a Soviet and Cuban agent. Agee died in Havana after writing several books with the help of Cuban intelligence.”

Another comparison is provided by Logan Beirne, an Olin Scholar at Yale Law School who wrote that Edward Snowden is a modern day Benedict Arnold, the notorious traitor to the American Revolution.

He writes, “Born and raised in America, both men held positions meant to bolster U.S. national security. However, disillusioned with the political system, they came to see America’s adversaries as their salvation. Seeking out positions of trust, they collected sensitive intelligence, which they then divulged. Both fled to hostile nations as the U.S. government hunted them. Whatever justifications we concoct to explain their actions, Snowden and Arnold betrayed their country.”

Beirne’s book is Blood of Tyrants: George Washington & the Forging of the Presidency.

His column, published last year, goes on to say, “Just as Snowden sought out a position with inside access to the National Security Agency, Arnold lobbied for command of West Point. Knowing the installation was crucial to the American cause, he collected intelligence on its fortifications as well as on Continental Army movements. He delivered this information to a British agent, but American forces intercepted it just in time to prevent the British takeover. Rather than stay to defend his actions, Arnold fled to British-controlled territory, providing our foes with more secrets.”

He adds, “Our founding fathers faced men like Edward Snowden. They sentenced them to death.”

Before the Snowden scandal developed, the NSA had published its own informative guide to espionage in the American Revolution entitled Revolutionary SecretsIt states, “Communication plays an important role in both a country’s diplomacy and its wars. Keeping those communications secret and understanding the adversary’s communications can make the crucial difference in a leader’s actions and abilities.” For instance, General George Washington received intelligence, gained partially through the decryption of captured British messages, that gave him the assurance he needed to complete his move on Yorktown, Virginia, the booklet says.

Washington discovered Benedict Arnold was a spy, but Arnold was by then on the run, mounting up and riding away to the nearest British outpost. He eventually arrived safely behind British lines aboard the HMS Vulture on the Hudson River.

In Snowden’s case, of course, he went to Russia.

Click to continue reading “Pulitzer Prizes for Espionage?”
Go straight to Post

Obama Downplays Russian Threat

by Cliff Kincaid on Friday, March 28th, 2014

This is article 1156 of 1172 in the topic International

President Obama recognized the reality of Russian propaganda and disinformation, telling an audience in Belgium that “It is absurd to suggest—as a steady drumbeat of Russian voices do—that America is somehow conspiring with fascists inside of Ukraine or failing to respect the Russian people.” But he went on to spew his own propaganda, saying that “…unlike the Soviet Union, Russia leads no bloc of nations, no global ideology.” These assertions are demonstrably false and go far beyond the usual “gaffes” attributed by the media to (mostly Republican) political figures.

Analyst Toby Westerman has put together a list of examples of how international communist ideology still guides the conduct of Russian President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB officer and one-time head of its successor agency, the FSB. “I don’t see why it is so difficult to see the ideology behind Putin,” Westerman says, noting that Putin has declared, “There is no such thing as a former Chekist.” The Cheka was the forerunner to the KGB and stood for the All-Russian Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution and Sabotage.

“The mission of the Cheka was to defend the Communist Revolution and to destroy its enemies,” notes Westerman. “[Cheka head] Felix Dzerzhinsky carried out his task with stunning brutality and efficiency. The Cheka developed what became a legendary reputation for kidnapping, torture, and murder. In its first years of operation, Cheka victims numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Although officially dissolved in 1922, the Cheka’s methods and mission continue to the present. All current and “retired” Russian intelligence officers consider themselves as Chekists. Today, Russia is controlled by the Chekist Putin, and his spy associates. Russia is, in reality, a ‘spyocracy.’”

Other examples of the Soviet KGB’s living legacy include:

  • Putin sang the KGB unofficial anthem with the Russian spies who were deported from the U.S. in 2010 shortly after their arrival in Russia
  • Putin has praised the work of Soviet spies (such as Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who stole U.S. atom bomb secrets for the Russians)
  • A plaque dedicated to Kim Philby, a Russian double agent, was placed on the wall outside Russia’s foreign intelligence service headquarters
  • Soviet Red Star markings have returned to Russian military aircraft
  • The cruiser Aurora, which played an important role in the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, was made into a museum

“Their minds are in 1917,” Westerman says of Putin and his former KGB associates.

Westerman points out that, in terms of leading a bloc of nations, which Obama denies, Russia has basically united with pro-Stalinist Belarus, while it aids North Korea, arms neo-Communist Venezuela, is closely allied with Communist China, shares intelligence with Cuba, and sponsors the Iranian regime’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Belarus is a member of Putin’s proposed Eurasian Economic Union, an association of post-Soviet states.

In addition, as we have reported, Putin adviser Aleksandr Dugin is the leader of the “International Eurasia Movement,” which includes a “strategic alliance” between Iran and Russia.

On top of this, there is the group known as BRICS, referring to Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

We found very few references in the press to how BRICS had rejected sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. One source was the Iranian Press TV, which highlighted how the foreign ministers of the BRICS countries had issued a statement defending Russia.

Click to continue reading “Obama Downplays Russian Threat”
Go straight to Post

Putin Now Threatens Nuclear Attack

by Cliff Kincaid on Friday, March 21st, 2014

This is article 1148 of 1172 in the topic International

Don Feder’s timing on his column, “Putin Doesn’t Threaten Our National Security, Obama Does,” was a little off. Less than two weeks later, Russian television anchor and Putin mouthpiece Dmitry Kiselyov said in a commentary that Russia is “the only country in the world capable of turning the USA into radioactive dust.” He delivered these comments with a picture of a mushroom cloud behind him.

“Putin is a power player who cares more about Russia’s national interests, and Russian minorities in his near abroad, than in that mythical force known as world opinion,” Feder had written. “Would that America had a president who cared more about our interests than in promoting globalism and the left’s social agenda.”

But conservatives opposed to Obama’s agenda do not have to ignore, excuse, or rationalize Russian aggression in Ukraine. (Feder represents the World Congress of Families, a group that has scheduled a conference in Moscow in September, in order to honor the Russian regime’s supposed commitment to family values.)

“It takes a truly fevered imagination to see Russian forces in the Crimea as a prelude to Russian tanks rolling across Europe toward Berlin and Paris,” Feder wrote, trying to play down the Russian military invasion of Ukraine. However, the Russian threat not only to Ukraine but the world has just been dramatized by the Russian TV personality labeled as “The Kremlin’s New Chief Propagandist” by Moscow News. Kiselyov is considered a “militant anti-Westerner” and is the head of Rossia Segodnya, or Russia Today. He was put in his job by Vladimir Putin. (Note: this Russia Today is a different entity than the one broadcasting into the U.S. in English, although they are both funded by Moscow.)

An AFP story said, “Kiselyov also made great play of Russia’s so-called ‘dead hand’ capability to fire nuclear-capable intercontinental missiles automatically in the case of attack. The system, also known as Perimeter, was in use during the Cold War, but its use in post-Soviet Russia is not officially confirmed.

But Kiselyov appeared to claim it remained active, giving Russia the chance to strike back even if its main command positions were taken out in a strike by the West.”

The comments reflect his special access to the Kremlin regime and knowledge of its war plans.

Ignoring the threat posed by the Russian nuclear arsenal, Don Feder’s column ridiculed the idea of “territorial integrity” for Ukraine, even though Russia in 1994 had signed an international document respecting the nation’s territorial integrity. The document, known as the Budapest Memorandum, was made in response to Ukraine giving up its Soviet nuclear weapons and returning them to Moscow. At the time, Newsweek noted, Ukraine had the world’s third-largest nuclear arsenal. “The last SS-24 missiles moved from Ukrainian territory in June 1996, leaving Kiev defenseless against its nuclear-armed neighbor,” the publication reported.

Then-Senators Barack Obama (D-IL) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) had traveled to Russia and Ukraine in 2005, urging Ukraine to destroy its conventional weapons stockpiles as well.

With the abandonment of its nuclear weapons and destruction of many conventional weapons, Ukraine was ripe for the Putin invasion and now stands essentially defenseless.

Click to continue reading “Putin Now Threatens Nuclear Attack”
Go straight to Post

Pulitzer Prizes for Russian Spy Stories?

by Cliff Kincaid on Thursday, March 20th, 2014

This is article 30 of 31 in the topic Espionage

The American media establishment is on the verge of awarding “distinguished” Pulitzer Prizes to National Security Agency (NSA) leaker Edward Snowden’s media mouthpieces, the recipients of his stolen national security documents. Such a move would further confirm the role of the media in helping America’s enemies and adversaries, and undermine whatever credibility the media have left with the American people.

Dylan Byers’ story in POLITICO, “Edward Snowden looms over Pulitzer Prizes,” engages in speculation about which media figures receiving the Snowden documents might get a prize. It also plays down Snowden’s debt to the Russian regime, which gave him asylum. Snowden “is living in Russia,” Byers says, as if the former NSA contract employee has been on a vacation and may soon depart for the Bahamas. Why the reluctance to tell the truth about Snowden’s circumstances? Even Snowden adviser Jesselyn Radack says “it is perfectly appropriate” for the Russian security service, the FSB, to be “guarding” the former NSA contractor. Snowden is Russian President Vladimir Putin’s puppet.

Byers fails to note that a classified report from the Department of Defense (DoD) concludes that  Snowden downloaded approximately 1.7 million intelligence files—described as the single largest theft of secrets in the history of the United States—and that “much of the information stolen by Snowden is related to current U.S. military operations” (emphasis added). That could include the operations of NATO, in response to Russian aggression in such places as Ukraine.

This doesn’t bother Byers, who challenges the Pulitzer Board to honor Snowden’s collaborators, saying, “…to pass on the NSA story would be to risk giving the appearance of timidity, siding with the government over the journalists who are trying to hold it accountable and ignoring the most significant disclosure of state secrets in recent memory.”

Hold the government accountable?

Even those who understand the basic facts of the case, without reference to a classified assessment, understand that Snowden is not a hero or a whistleblower. “I think he broke the law, so I certainly wouldn’t characterize him as a hero,” commented Microsoft founder Bill Gates in a Rolling Stone interview. “If he wanted to raise the issues and stay in the country and engage in civil disobedience or something of that kind, or if he had been careful in terms of what he had released, then it would fit more of the model of ‘OK, I’m really trying to improve things.’ You won’t find much admiration from me.”

Gates understands that Snowden went far beyond revealing details of what Byers misleadingly calls the NSA’s “widespread domestic surveillance program.” In fact, the NSA targets foreigners in order to uncover terror plots and espionage operations, and their American-based operatives. One of the most famous projects in the history of the NSA was Venona, which helped uncover Alger Hiss and other Soviet spies in the U.S. government by analyzing communications from Moscow to the U.S.

Snowden has been labeled a “modern-day Alger Hiss” by former Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), a description that captures the essence of his betrayal and the damage he has done. Hiss went to prison.

Saluting Snowden’s media collaborators would give the Pulitzer another black eye, in the same way that Walter Duranty’s cover-up of Stalin’s murder of millions of people in Ukraine was given a Pulitzer Prize in 1932.

1 2 3 4 5 6
Go straight to Post

How to Fight Putin’s Propaganda

by Cliff Kincaid on Thursday, March 20th, 2014

This is article 1149 of 1172 in the topic International

It’s hard to keep up with the Russian propaganda over the Ukraine, but a fascinating article, “Playing by Putin’s tactics,” examines some of it. The column in The Washington Post is by Molly K. McKew and Gregory A. Maniatis, who worked for Georgia’s president, Mikheil Saakashvili and his national security adviser during and after the 2008 war with Russia. However, the article offers no substantive response to what Putin is doing.

In describing how vulnerable Western media are to Putin’s propaganda over Ukraine, they note that “Itar-Tass ran a story last weekend, later picked up by Forbes and others, that 675,000 Ukrainians had recently sought political asylum in Russia.” Such absurd claims are being used by Russia to justify its invasion of Ukraine.

Not surprisingly, this ludicrous story showed up at Russia Today (RT) television under the headline, “675,000 Ukrainians pour into Russia as ‘humanitarian crisis’ looms.” RT is the Moscow-funded channel that gave WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange a TV show.

Rebecca Novick in The Huffington Post dissected the phony refugee story in the context of documenting how Russia was “creating a fake refugee crisis” in the Ukraine to justify its military intervention. She cites a Russian TV channel video showing a picture of many people crossing the border, claiming they are escaping to Russia. In fact, however, it was a picture of people crossing the Ukraine-Poland border.

The refugee crisis story was a lie from start to finish. The Twitchy site documents the number of Russian outlets picking up the story and how the claims were debunked by eyewitnesses.

In an editorial, The Washington Post says that Putin might actually believe his own Ukraine propaganda. It noted that his public comments have “become indistinguishable from the propaganda of his state television network.”

It is far more likely that he knows the stories are false, but promotes them anyway. In the words of Ukrainian activist Ruslana, they are the work of “paid liars.”

McKew and Maniatis write, “Going forward, the terms by which the world is playing are Putin’s—a reality we all must recognize and for which we need an effective response.”

One simple way to respond would be to enforce the law concerning Russian propaganda broadcasts in the U.S., which are reaching tens of millions of American homes. Media carriers for the Moscow-funded channel, which changed its name to RT from Russia Today to mask the foreign connection, include Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Verizon Fios, Cox Cable, RCN Cable, MHz Networks, and Dish Networks.

MHz, which provides RT to dozens of public TV stations, is itself a public television programming service that receives taxpayer money from the federally-funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). In fiscal year 2011, for example, the CPB funneled $27,580,113 into MHz Networks and its affiliates.

As AIM has discussed many times over the last four years, the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) is “a disclosure statute that requires persons acting as agents of foreign principals in a political or quasi-political capacity to make periodic public disclosure of their relationship with the foreign principal, as well as activities, receipts and disbursements in support of those activities.” In addition, broadcaster Jerry Kenney points out that the law mandates that the broadcasts carry a notice that they constitute propaganda on behalf of a foreign government.

But the Obama administration doesn’t enforce the law.

Click to continue reading “How to Fight Putin’s Propaganda”
Go straight to Post

Mother Russia, Alaska, and the Ron Paul Revolution

by Cliff Kincaid on Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

This is article 1140 of 1172 in the topic International

In a Breitbart column insisting that Ronald Reagan was not as assertive as commonly believed on military and foreign policy issues, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) mentions, in passing, “I met Ronald Reagan as a teenager when my father was a Reagan delegate in 1976.”

The column carried the Rand Paul warning to “Stop Warping Reagan’s Foreign Policy,” even while citing the Reagan connection to his own father.

But his father, Ron Paul, is hardly a Reaganite today. Indeed, he is now claiming that Crimea has a right to leave Ukraine and join Russia, and that U.S. sanctions against the Russian regime are “criminal.”

“That’s just people looking to start a war,” Paul said. “This is criminal, it’s stealing and will just aggravate things and escalate things. Sanctions are acts of war…to freeze assets if you’re at war with Hitler and there’s a declared war, that’s a little different, but to do this so easily and casually as we do, that’s just looking for a fight.”

In a story about these extraordinary comments, U.S. News & World Report said that Senator Paul “does not seem to share his father’s position on Crimea.” It noted that, in a February 28 statement, Senator Paul said, “The United States should make it abundantly clear to Russia that we expect them to honor the December 1994 Budapest Memorandum, in which the U.S., Russia, and the United Kingdom reaffirmed their commitment to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine.”

But this wasn’t the senator’s first comment on the crisis in Ukraine.

On February 25, the senator had sounded like his isolationist father, saying to The Washington Post that he “believes the United States should seek ‘respectful’ relations with Russia and avoid antagonizing” Russian President Vladimir Putin. Post reporter Robert Costa quoted Paul as saying, “Some on our side are so stuck in the Cold War era that they want to tweak Russia all the time and I don’t think that is a good idea.”

The phrase “stuck in the Cold War” suggests Russia had changed for the better since the collapse of the Soviet empire. That is clearly not the case. It appears that Rand Paul quickly switched gears once he realized his pro-appeasement position would not go over well with conservatives.

Despite Ron Paul serving as a Reagan delegate, it should be noted that his close friend, Murray N. Rothbard, described as the founder of modern libertarianism, had written a piece entitled, “Ronald Reagan, Warmonger.” The article attacked Reagan for resisting communism in Central America. Rothbard even suggested that Reagan should have been impeached over the issue of seeking the overthrow of the Communist regime in Nicaragua.

In this context, some important analysis of the continuing “Ron Paul Revolution,” featuring a discussion of “Ron, Rand, and the [Ludwig von] Mises Institute,” is coming from an unusual source—the website of the New York Young Republican Club.  “The Mises Institute, like Ron and Rand, has a powerful distaste for all American activity abroad,” one article asserts.

1 2 3
Go straight to Post

Conservatives Must Support Freedom for Ukraine

by Cliff Kincaid on Friday, February 28th, 2014

This is article 1126 of 1172 in the topic International

Moscow is invading Ukraine, a sovereign nation, with troops and helicopters, and the Obama administration is doing nothing except talk. The outcome will send a message to freedom fighters and dissidents in such countries as Venezuela—and even Cuba—that the U.S. will not be with them when they put their lives on the line.

Isn’t it interesting that a Russian warship has just docked in Cuba? Reports suggest this is a show of support for the Castro brothers, and may also be intended as a listening post to conduct surveillance on U.S. communications.

This is another turning point in history, when anti-communist revolutions were gathering momentum and a U.S. administration looked the other way. But could we have expected anything more from a President schooled in foreign policy by Frank Marshall Davis, a member of the pro-Soviet Communist Party?

Fortunately, there are some on Capitol Hill, such as Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R), who are speaking out forcefully in support of Ukraine’s bid for freedom from Russian domination. But Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has actually taken Russia’s side in the conflict, arguing that the U.S. shouldn’t “tweak” Russian President Vladimir Putin by supporting Ukraine.

The tragedy is compounded by the spectacle of “conservatives” in the media, such as radio host Michael Savage, turning their backs on the freedom fighters. Savage defends the “duly elected” pro-Moscow president, overthrown by his people because of his power grabs, corruption, and repression. He then fled to Russia.

Does Savage defend Obama and spare him from criticism on the grounds that he was “duly elected?” In Ukraine, the government opened fire on peaceful protesters. But Savage calls the freedom fighters “thugs.”

Savage used to be solid on national defense issues, but on Thursday he praised the “Prison Planet” website of pro-Russian commentator Alex Jones for offering the best coverage of events in Ukraine. Then, Savage (not his real name) interviewed Paul Craig Roberts, a former Reagan economic official whose column was on the Jones website, and who has decided that Washington is the greatest threat to world peace, and Putin is a statesman.

In fact, some of his recent columns have carried these titles:

  • Amerikan Stasi Police State Staring Us In The Face
  • Global Capitalism Has Written Off The Human Race
  • Russia Under Attack

In the last column, “Russia Under Attack,” Roberts argued that “In a number of my articles I have explained that the Soviet Union served as a constraint on U.S. power. The Soviet collapse unleashed the neoconservative drive for U.S. world hegemony. Russia under Putin, China, and Iran are the only constraints on the neoconservative agenda.”

Needless to say, this is a major break not only with the Reagan Administration, which confronted the Soviet empire, but with common-sense Americans who recognize the threats posed by each of these nations.

1 2 3 4
Go straight to Post