*edit, September 18, 2017 – I stand by almost all that I said, below. But I must walk back one thing I asserted. There is no big, ‘visible’, specifically anti-Communist movement happening in the US mainly targetting Russia. I literally imagined it. I didn’t invent it. I’m not a liar. I just had the idea, built on and made it a central part of this post without realizing that the idea doesn’t exactly conform to reality. Apologies. Don’t let it stop you from reading the post though. There’s lots there, I believe, for people to agree with. In a sense, the anti-communist movement is alive and well. The US, as I explain, simply doesn’t permit the world’s peoples to go their own way, to exit the US-created and -dominated global capitalist system. Communism, in fact (as opposed to what some of its cynical former political champions thought about it and did in its name), simply means a system that is not dog eat dog, but one in which people look after each other. If Donald Trump et al don’t specifically target Communism in their official statements about Russia, you can rest assured that what he and his associates in fact target is that humane aspect of Communism which the American capitalist system completely snuffs out.
*edit, August 26, 2017 – I quote Medea Benjamin below and make the point, at the same time, that I do not like her funders. I thought I had better double check that. I was sure that Discover The Networks (useful but rightwing and rather unhinged) had said that George Soros was a funder. Now it seems to say nothing about who funds Code Pink. Another org, NGO Monitor, states that CP doesn’t disclose its funders. That’s disturbing. In Code Pink’s defence, the things that rightwingers like DTN suggest make Code Pink evil are things that impress me about Code Pink. I emailed them to ask about their funders. I received an email informing me that they received my query. Let’s see. I also added a few more words about Alfred McCoy’s too easy adoption of Cold War warriors’ rhetoric.
The Status Quo Or The Wild Beast Of Corporatocracy?
In my previous post, I quote Matt Agorist, who, after examining some of the targets of anti-privacy, anti-free speech, tax-evading Google, concluded that “this new censorship appears to go after anyone who challenges the establishment.” There’s a heading in his article titled “Disagreeing With The Status Quo Is The New Hate Speech.” It’s an interesting thought. The status quo is imposed, of course, by uncle Sam who rules and ruins the world. What is that status quo? Mainly you have to examine US foreign policy and its main guidance papers, historical and current, comparing those with the situation at present, noting the great success the US has had in pursuing its goals (ruination that it calls ‘leadership’). The preeminent historical policy guidance document would be, in my view, NSC-68. It targets Communism. (The specific targetting of Communism took a back seat to other enemies for a while, but, with US supported regime change in Ukraine, Russia-gate and Syria, that has come to the fore again. Roger Annis has put together a website that looks closely at the new Cold War that revived old Cold War rhetoric about “commies”.) Noam Chomsky notes that the term ‘communism’, as used in political discourse (for propaganda purposes), is ‘technical’ and it means, basically, ‘anyone who disagrees with what the masters of mankind say and do’. You don’t have to actually be a Communist, or even know what a Communist is, in order to end up being labelled by the ‘Benefactors’ in power as a ‘Communist’. NSC 68 and geopolitical ideas of people like Harold Mackinder (a founder of geopolitics”) represent the organized rapine and chaos that the marauders will carry out with or without a grand, wise-sounding master plan.
NSC 68 and future guidance documents demonstrate the form and tone that the United States’s ongoing capitalist expansion and imperial aggression will take in discourse, among themselves (with awareness by imperialists of the code in the language of that document) and in public. (Noam Chomsky alludes to a complementary document to the NSC 68 that abandons the code and expresses the elites’ objectives in plain English, and is not for public consumption. I know no more about it than that. On the other hand, for the serious researcher or non specialist simply interested and willing to read, there’s enough plain English by establishment figures dealing with the 1%’s goals scattered throughout articles, books and documents to easily indict the monsters.) The US is a lawless, violent superpower, but in its struggle with the light (basic goodness that all people know and understand and which anyone is free to reject), US establishment figures would need to be able to operate and present themselves and their activities in such a way as to keep them in the game, and on top of it, rather than bring on revolution – in the homes of sane loved ones and in the wider society – that could spell the end for their lavish lifestyles, great freedom and positions of authority. Barack Obama will not tell his daughters, and the general public, that he’s a fascist protecting human rights violators and exploiters and oppressors. He will tell his daughters that he and his colleagues are fighting fascism and defending human rights etc.. If Barack Obama ever discussed Ukraine with his daughters, you can be sure that he made every effort to not tell them the truth about that.
“Three Years Ago: The U.S. has Installed a Neo-Nazi Government in Ukraine” by Michel Chossudovsky
Other historical documents include the Monroe Doctrine (in which the US laid out its fancy arguments for telling the world that it owned all of North and South America and would use force against those who thought otherwise) and The Crisis Of Democracy, from the elite liberal group of business people known as The Trilateral Commission. The authors of The Crisis Of Democracy (Michael, J. Crozier, Joji Watanuki and Samuel P. Hungtington), the primary one being Samuel Huntington, argued that American citizens, by feeling free enough to dare to offer opinions and criticisms of what corporations and various levels of government were doing, were creating problems for capitalists and their political partners and needed to be put in their place. Of course, the language used in the paper is not that direct. There’s also the Powell Memorandum, which was a “Crisis Of Democracy” type memo from the Conservative branch of the establishment political spectrum.
Stephen Gowans, on page 107 of “Washington’s Long War On Syria,” zeroes in on the meaning, in plain English, of one of the US’s current policy guidance documents, namely the Nation Security Strategy Act of 2015:
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“…why wouldn’t the goal of bringing about a change in Syria’s economic policies appear to be wholly justified to U.S. [Congress’s] researchers? After all, the United States had been clear in its official policy documents, including its 2015 National Security Strategy, that sustaining U.S. leadership meant “shaping an emerging global economic order” that reflected U.S. interests and values” and that these interests and values were at odds with “alternative, less open-models,” such as the “Soviet models” on which the Syrian economy was based. Indeed, it would be naive to believe that the U.S. government was prepared to allow foreign governments to exercise sovereignty in setting their own directions economically if they could be made to do otherwise. Washington was implacably opposed to foreign states implementing economic policies which failed to mesh with Washington’s preferred free enterprise plus open markets paradigm. That this was the case was evidenced by the existence of a raft of U.S. sanctions legislation against “non-market states.”
= === === ===
Consider the recent Charlottesville atrocity. Nothing shows how useless major, corporate owned media is (from normal people’s standpoint) as clearly as its coverage of the Charlottesville tragedy of August 16, 2017. Corporate-owned media constitutes a multi channel state propaganda network and its offerings are aligned entirely with US foreign policy goals. There’s no independence. And it is used to destroy media that is independent and which it calls fake. Why? Because the US government and wider establishment is criminal and violent and views exposure by independent media as the first step in revolution. It fears (how genuinely I don’t know) that when enough people know enough about its criminal, violent and destructive behavior, then they will begin to agitate for a different system. (However, Once almost the entire population has endured years of propaganda, via major media and captured institutions, including, crucially, the education system, How likely is that they will rebel against the gangster Corporatocracy? Look at Nazi Israel. Look at the American public’s attitude toward torture post 9/11.)
It’s striking the way that establishment spokespersons said all the right things about Charlottesville, where counter-protesters were attacked by white supremacists leaving one protester, Heather Heyer, dead, while they are okay with the very same kind of people running amok and killing in Ukraine. (I have to do some research here in order to give specific examples. Assertions don’t cut it. For now, I’m taking others’ word for the idea. As well, the idea perfectly tracks.) It’s safe for them to stand with the people in Charlottesville and unwise for them not to. The genuineness of their hand-wringing over Heather Heyer’s death is belied by their acceptance of the rampaging white supremacists in Ukraine. In the one instance, speaking out against the white supremacists doesn’t involve selling (or, which sometimes happens, criticizing) US foreign policy. But when it comes to reportage on Ukraine (or Russia or Crimea or Syria or Libya or China or North Korea), corporate-owned media (tv, online, print and radio) is entirely aligned with US foreign policy and deep state objectives. That’s why you hear all the nonsense talk about evil Putin and evil commies. Major media spokespersons who speak of Russian invaders of Crimea and Ukraine who are being resisted by valiant freedom fighters and defenders of human rights, not because it’s true but because that kind of reportage supports US foreign policy, are no more decent than the fascist US government from which racist, imperialist foreign policy goals issue.
Notes Robert Parry in his article titled “A Ukraine Link To North Korea’s Missiles?”:
Ironically, the same Western media which heartily has condemned neo-Nazi and white-nationalist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, adopted a much more tolerant attitude toward Ukraine’s neo-Nazism even as those militants murdered scores of ethnic Russians in Odessa in May 2014 and attacked ethnic Russian communities in the east where thousands more died.
When it came to Ukraine, The New York Times and other mainstream outlets were so dedicated to their anti-Russian propaganda that they veered between minimizing the significance of the neo-Nazi militias and treating them as bulwarks of Western civilization.
For instance, on Feb. 11, 2015, the Times published a long article by Rick Lyman that presented the situation in the port city of Mariupol as if the advance by ethnic Russian rebels amounted to the arrival of barbarians at the gate while the inhabitants were being bravely defended by the forces of civilization. But then the article cited the key role in that defense played by the Azov battalion.
Though the article provided much color and detail and quoted an Azov leader prominently, it left out the fact that the Azov battalion was composed of neo-Nazis.
There’s a point that I, as a Christian (not of Christendom) would like to make about the status quo, in which US foreign policy goals are achieved and are in the process of being achieved. In willingly and knowingly going along with this gangster Corporatocracy and the mafia capitalism that it embraces, individuals sell their souls. Weak human beings who have already gone down that dark path will always enjoy the company they gain from others who follow them. They will always appreciate the moral support of others who spiritually fail. And, as self-modified people who no longer have light in them and who can’t take it in, they will possess twisted wants and needs. Their standards will be, accordingly, low and not those of normal people who have not followed them down that rules-free, wide and spacious road to destruction of which Jesus Christ spoke. What they value – riches and glory and the suffering of others who they rob – will not be what normal people would value. Truth, loyalty, compassion and a love of justice are replaced by their opposites in those self-modified worshippers of the wild beast of Corporatocracy, who, in worshipping the wild beast thereby worship its invisible ruler.
Eric Lichtblau wrote a book titled “The Nazis Next Door – How America Became A Safe Haven For Hitler’s Men.” I find that the book reads like a novel. It’s compelling and a great story. And, because it’s factual – to my knowledge – it’s jarring, for the things Eric reports would make any normal person gasp. But, as a former New York Times reporter, I wonder whether Eric is selling us something here that we, who are paying attention, might not want? I don’t know what that would be offhand. And I would add that his work with James Risen gives me confidence. James Risen has principles. The only general observation I might make about Eric’s revelations is that if he wishes for us to see America as being, despite glitches – such as when the CIA and the government allowed Nazis into the country because they were anti-communist and possessed, in some cases, knowledge, scientific and intelligence, that could help the US further its foreign policy goals – the exceptional and indispensable nation that its worshippers say it is, then I can’t follow him in that direction. The facts, his and others’, don’t warrant it.
Even without the benefit of the documentary, and other, material that Eric unearthed, Howard Zinn, in reviewing the history of his country, the United States, from 1941 when it entered WWII until the war’s conclusion, concludes that it really wasn’t fighting a people’s war against darkness, including the darkness of anti-Semitism. No doubt, many of those soldiers who in fact were sent to fight and die in order to save an exploitative and lawless capitalist system were convinced that that was what it is was all about. But…
What is a Nazi?
“Once more let me remind you what fascism is. It need not wear a brown shirt or a green shirt – it may even wear a dress shirt. Fascism begins the moment a ruling class, fearing the people may use their political democracy to gain economic democracy, begins to destroy political democracy in order to retain its power and special privilege.” – Tommy Douglas (Tommy Douglas was the former leader of Canada’s now defunct Cooperative Commonwealth Federation and, from 1944-1961, the premier of Saskatchewan. You won’t find his quote on fascism on Wikipedia, which the Canadian government is notorious for doing “ninja edits” of. Maybe the absence of such a noteworthy oversight is just an oversight, but I doubt it.)
While Nazis from Hitler’s fascist Germany fled, with American government assistance (even before the war was officially over), to the US, and others escaped to America easily on their own, a generation ago, so that not many are left, In fact the far right has been with us always and not just in Nazi Germany. And in recent years, its numbers have increased and its political influence has increased – throughout the world. “Our Fight Against Fascism,” by Mateo Pimentel lays out the facts which have been slow to bubble up to the wider public’s attention.
When editor-in-chief of the Atlantic Jeffrey Goldberg asserts that “the struggle in Charlottesville is a struggle within our own civilization, within Trump’s own civilization,” and that in the wake of such events “an American president should speak up directly on behalf of the American creed, on behalf of Americans who reject tribalism and seek pluralism, on behalf of the idea that blood-and-soil nationalism is antithetical to the American idea itself,” who, exactly, can place his logic?
It reads nicely, and it seems a conscionable thought to have after a woman dies fighting Nazis on American soil. But, really, what history books has Mr. Goldberg been reading?
“Our civilization’s” ongoing genocide against indigenous groups and the violently enforced systematic oppression of Black Americans notwithstanding, the US government – of which Trump is now Commander-in-Chief – has a storied and bloody history of assassinating foreign heads of state precisely because, democratically, a body of citizens or voters “seeking pluralism” elsewhere in the world had commenced down an antifascist political path that did not suit Washington’s interests.
I’m not sure of what Pimentel means when he asks “who, exactly, can place his logic?,” but all else that he says here rings true for me. And I wonder whether Eric Lichtblau’s desire is for us to view the above sort of “struggle,” limited and insufficient, as being the end of the story. After all, The daily Eric worked for and which I suspect he is loyal to, is responsible not just for aiding abetting past acts of imperial aggression but is busy offering the same service today. Eric is silent about the anti-communist New York Times’s involvement in keeping quiet about – aiding and abetting – the anti-communist American government’s acceptance of Hitler’s killers.
“Despite the Third Reich’s defeat in 1945, its legacy persisted in the former occupied territories, particularly among French officers in colonial Algeria. As partisans who fought the German occupation during World War II, some of these officers had suffered Nazi torture and now, ironically, used the experience to inflict this cruelty on others.” – page 18 of “A Question Of Torture – CIA Interrogation, From The Cold War To The War On Terror.”
“It should come as no surprise to anyone that Donald Trump is pro-torture. He said on the campaign trail he’d approve waterboarding “in a heartbeat,” plus “a hell of a lot worse.”” – Medea Benjamin, from her article titled “Torture-Friendly Trump” (I’m distrustful of Benjamin due to funding for her org Code Pink and I’m not really interested in the sketchy Hill which she quotes.)
Here’s what Eric Lichtblau has to say on page 222 of “The Nazis Next Door” about one American Nazi-hunter named Eli Rosenbaum and his effort to nail long-time Massachusetts resident, Aleksandras Lileikas, who taunted the Justice Department’s Nazi hunters, challenging them to find something with his handwriting on it to prove he was an important officer of the murderous Lithuanian, Gestapo-directed, secret police in Nazi occupied Lithuania:
Just one thing bothered him as he prepared to request approval from the higher-ups at the Justice Department: Lileikas was now eight-seven years old. The Nazi team has never prosecuted anyone that old before. Even with accused Nazis in their sixties or seventies, critics inevitably howled over the defendant’s age: Why, they asked was the Justice Department hounding old men who belonged in a nursing home, not a coutroom? They should be left alone. Even some Holocaust survivors in America thought the time for punishment had passed. “These criminals must now be in their eighties and on their way out,” one Auschwitz survivor wrote to the Justice Department when he was asked to testify in a case. “let God deal with them, if he hasn’t already.”
Rosenbaum disagreed. The refrain that these men were too old to be persecuted was heard so often that he had a stock response he delivered to anyone who raised it: There was no statute of limitations for the monstrous crimes that had made these men unworthy to call themselves Americans. Holocaust survivors shouldn’t have to live alongside men who took part in genocide. And the United States needed to send a message, he said, to anyone else who might be looking for a safe haven to escape their past crimes: They were not welcome here, no matter how old they were. So long as these men were fit to stand trial, Rosenbaum wanted to go after them. He just prayed that they stayed alive long enough to be sent away in disgrace.
Here’s what the late Howard Zinn wrote in his hugely popular and important book “A People’s History Of The United States, 1492-2001”:
But what about fascism – as idea as reality? Were its essential elements – militarism, racism, imperialism – now gone? Or were they absorbed into the already poisoned bones of the victors? A.J. Muste, the revolutionary pacifist, had predicted in 1941: “The problem after a war is with the victor. He thinks that he has just proved that war and violence pay. Who will now teach him a lesson?”
The victors were the Soviet Union and the United States (also England, France and Nationalist China, but they were weak.) Both these countries now went to work – without swastikas, goose-stepping, or officially declared racism, but under the cover of “socialism” on one side, and “democracy” on the other, to carve out their own empires of influence. They proceeded to share and contest with one another the domination of the world, to build military machines far greater than the Fascist countries had built, to control the destinies of more countries than Hitler, Mussolini, and Japan had been able to do do. They also acted to control their own populations, each country with its own techniques – crude in the Soviet Union, sophisticated in the United States – to make their rule secure…
The war had brought higher prices for farmers, higher wages, enough prosperity for enough of the population to assume against the rebellions that so threatened the thirties…
It was an odd lesson learned by governments: that war solves problems of control.
Zinn goes on from there to outline the terrible interventions that the US then went on to perform, in Greece (putting down democracy and protecting fascists), in China (opposing the people’s revolution and supporting fascist Chiang Kai-shek), in Korea (which Zinn seemed to lack full kowledge of) and on and on until today. Mateo Pimentel, above, after noting that “As we are thoroughly living under oligarchy, we should turn to [Gilles] Deleuze to elucidate a root cause of the Oval Office’s reigning fascist bent,” then does so:
“The administrations in charge never cease announcing supposedly necessary reforms: to reform schools, to reform industries, hospitals, the armed forces, prisons. But everyone knows that these institutions are finished, whatever the length of their expiration periods. It’s only a matter of administering their last rites and of keeping people employed until the installation of the new forces knocking at the door. These are the societies of control…”
The most astonishing thing in Eric Lichtblau’s book, above, is his description of how the concentration camps were NOT emptied of their victims at the conclusion of the war. From page 3:
One by one the Allied forces discovered scenes of horror and madness in concentration camps abandoned by the retreating Nazis. Inside the camps remained tens of thousands of survivors amid heaps of unburied corpses. Generations later, the mind’s eye imagines the world embracing the survivors: the iron gates to the camps must have swung open at the arrival of the Allied forces, with a mass of bone-thin victims pouring into the awaiting arms of a world filled at once with shock, guilt, and joy over their rescue…
The reality was much darker.
Many thousands of the survivors did not leave the Allied camps; some not for months, some not for years, some not at all… With the survivors surrounded by the stench of death and squalor, the liberating Allied forces, led by General Dwight D. Eisehower, would not allow them to leave. The world didn’t know what to do with them.”
Or to put it another way, the godless world knew exactly what to do with the victims of newly ‘liberated’ Germany. Most of the victims could stay were they were found.
Lichtblau sheds light on a big part of the reason why victims in the Nazis’ concentration camps were kept there. From pages 22, 29 & 30, the following:
General Patton, Old Blood and Guts, was among the scientists’ biggest admirers. As commander of the American-run zone in Bavaria in the immediate aftermath of the Allied victory, Patton showed an odd, almost perverse fondness for the German POWs in US custody. Even as he was castigating the Jewish survivors as subhuman “locusts,” Patton was hiring Nazis as camp administrators and allowing them to keep their posts in the civilian government. His actions ran afoul of General Eisnhower’s orders calling for the “denazification” of Germany, but Patton didn’t seem to care. He admired the Nazis technical competence, military rules be damned, and he wanted them kept in positions of authority in the camps. “Listen,” Patton told one of his officers, “if you need these men, keep them and don’t worry about anything else.”
Project Paperclip, as big as it was, was still just one pathway in America’s Nazi rat line. Working side by side with the scientists were hundreds of Nazi operatives used as spies in Europe and America by the CIA and other US intelligence agencies. There was no secret order, no formal presidential directive authorizing America’s intelligence agencies to put these Nazis to work, at least not in the way that Truman and Eisenhower had done with the scientists. Opaque as always, America’s spy agencies never mimeographed application forms or established guidelines to supposedly ban ardent Nazis, the way the War Department had with Hitler’s engineers and doctors. But by the early 1950’s, Allen Dulles at the CIA, J.Edgar Hoover at the FBI, and a handful of other senior American intelligence officials had in place around the globe a formidable network of their own loosely linked and far-flung ex-SS men and Nazi operatives. They were the spy agencies’ foot soldiers in the Cold War…
That they had once worked for Hitler’s Third Reich was of little concern.
The horror, the evil and the perversity, I think, comes through more fully when we stop to think what Communism actually meant to Americans and others willing to allow the most barbaric, sadistic killers to work for them. Communism was nothing but the excuse (as it still is) for capitalist classes to exploit and oppress their own people and to enable weapons makers to enrich themselves. Noam Chomsky makes it clear (below). In other words, American Benefactors had to employ Hitler’s killers and torturers to deal with a greater threat, namely unicorns! As you know, unicorns don’t exist. Neither does the evil, all-devouring system called Communism, especially today. When it was at its strongest, Communism wasn’t a threat to the lawless, vicious, powerful United States, even if wasn’t entirely benign and even if, left to its own devices – allowed, in a spirit of democracy, to coexist with capitalism – it had become more imperialist, more brutal and all-devouring. The “monolithic and ruthless” bogeyman of which rabid Cold War warriors like JFK spoke was just that, a bogeyman.
“By 1962, based on a series of invented scares about Soviet military build-ups, a false “bomber gap” and a false “missile gap,” the United States had overwhelming nuclear superiority. It had the equivalent, in nuclear weapons, of 1,500 Hiroshima-size atomic bombs, far more than enough to destroy every major city in the world – the equivalent, in fact, of 10 tons of TNT for every man, woman, and child on earth. To deliver these bombs, the United States had more than 50 intercontinental ballistic missiles, 80 missiles on nuclear submarines, 90 missiles on stations overseas, 1,700 bombers capable of reaching the Soviet Union, 300 fighter-bombers on aircraft carriers, able to carry atomic weapons, and 1,000 land-based supersonic fighters able to carry atomic bombs.
“The Soviet Union was obviously behind – it had between fifty and a hundred intercontinental ballistic missiles and fewer than two hundred long-range bombers. The the U.S. budget kept mounting, the hysteria kept growing, the profits of corporations getting defense contracts multiplied, and employment and wages moved ahead just enough to keep a substantial number of Americans dependent on war industries for their living.” – page 437 of “A People’s History Of The United States, 1492-2001” by Howard Zinn
From pages 20-23 of Noam Chomsky’s “Deterring Democracy,” we get the following:
The Cold War as Historical Process
…to understand the Cold War era we should look at the events that constitute it…
An understanding of the Cold War era requires an account not only of the actual events but, also of the factors that lie behind them. The documentary record of planning becomes relevent here. We will want to know how far policy was determined by specific features of the Cold War era, and how far it merely adapted persistent institutional demands to new conditions…
…we find that the superpower conflict of the conventional portrayal has been real enough, but is only a fraction of the truth…
On Moscow’s side, the Cold War is illustrated by tanks in East Berlin, Budapest and Prague, and other coercive measures in the regions liberated by the Red Army from the Nazis, then held in thrall to the Kremlin; and the invasion of Afghanistan, the one case of Soviet military intervention well outside the historic invasion route from the West. Domestically, the Cold War served to entrench the power of the military-bureaucratic elite whose rule derives from the Bolshevik coup of October 1917.
For the United States, the Cold War has been a history of worldwide subversion, aggression and state terrorism, with examples too numerous to mention. The domestic counterpart has been the entrenchment of Eisenhower’s “military-industrial complex” – in essence a welfare state for the rich with a national security ideology for population control (to borrow some counterinsurgency jargon), following the prescriptions of NSC 68. The major institutional mechanism is a system of state-corporate industrial management to sustain high-technology industry, relying on the taxpayer to fund research and development and provide a guaranteed market for waste production, with the private sector taking over when there are profits to be made. This crucial gift to the corporate manager has been the domestic function of the Pentagon system (including NASA and the Department of Energy, which controls nuclear weapons production); benefits extend to the computer industry, electronics generally, and other sectors of the advanced industrial economy. In such ways, the Cold War has provided a large part of the underpinnings for the system of public subsidy, private profit, that is proudly called Free Enterprise.
The call for vigorous action in NSC 68 resounded again as the Kennedy and Reagan administrations came into office, with the same dual thrust: militancy abroad to assert US power, and military spending to revive a flagging economy at home. The rhetoric was also duly revived: “the monolithic and ruthless conspiracy” on the march to destroy us (Kennedy); the “Evil Empire” that “is the focus of evil in our time,” seeking to rule the world (Reagan)…
Attention to the historical record reveals the realistic core enshrouded in the outlandish rhetoric of NSC 68. The Great Depression had put an end to any lingering beliefs that capitalism was a viable system. It was generally taken for granted that state intervention was necessary in order to maintain private power… It was also understood that New Deal measures had failed, and the Depression was overcome only by the far more massive state intervention during the war…
…The need for “just suppression” and controls over unions, churches, schools, and other potential sources of dissidence also fell into a broader pattern. From the late 1930s, business had been deeply perturbed by the increasing politicization and organization of the general public – what was later called a “crisis of democracy” under partially similar conditions of the post-Vietnam period. The same had been true immediately after World War I. In each case, the response was the same: Wilson’s Red Scare, the post-World War II repression misleadingly labeled “McCarthyism” (actually, a campaign to undermine unions, working-class culture, and independent thought launched by business and liberal Democrats well before McCarthy appeared on the scene and made the mistake, which finally destroyed him, of attacking people with power); the programs of the national political police inaugurated by the Kennedy Administration and expanded by their successors to undermine independent political parties and popular movements by subversion and violence. Wars and other crises have a way of making people think and even organize, and private power regularly calls upon the state to contain such threats to its monopoly of the political arena and cultural hegemony. The deeply anti-democratic thrust of NSC 68 reflects far more general committments.
NSC is also realistic, and conventional, in invoking the US “responsibility of world leadership” and the corresponding need to dominate every corner of the world, however remote, to exorcize the curse of neutralism. In these respects, it reiterates earlier planning decisions that reflect the recognition that the US had achieved a position of military and economic power with no historical parallel, and could use it to advantage.
Sophisticated sectors of the business community have been aware of the domestic factors that have driven the Cold War system, and the same is true of the better scholarship in the mainstream. In his standard work on containment [primarily of the Soviet Union], John Lewis Gaddis observes:
To a remarkable degree, containment has been the product, not so much of what the Russians have done, or of what has happened in the world, but of internal forces operating within the United States. …What is surprising is the primacy that has been accorded economic considerations [namely, state economic management] in shaping strategies of containment, to the exclusion of other considerations [original emphasis].”
He also agrees with George Kennan’s consistent view – standard among rational policymakers and analysts – that “it is not Russian military power which is threatening us, it is Russian political power” (October 1947)…”
In other words, If you offer the people a clear choice between a system that is nothing more than the biggest, most vicious dog wins, on the one hand, and a system in which people look after each other so that no one can fail, on the other hand, then people will rationally choose the second type of system. (That was what US leaders feared about the Soviet Union. It feared its political power.) That second type of system is better represented in Communism than the mafia capitalism that terrorists like JFK, Reagan, et al are shoving down the world’s throat.
Chomsky’s explanation makes two points that interest me for purposes of this blog post. One, The US’s (and its allies’) excuse, related to Communism, for extensive lawlessness, terrorism and abuse is no good. The Communist bogeyman is bogus. The Communist threat to freedom, democracy and the rule of law is non-existant, like unicorns, especially today. The anti-Russian rhetoric today stupidly refers to Communism, even though Russia is no longer Communist (although Communism is popular there). The real goal of the United States establishment is two-fold: 1. Maintain the global capitalist system that it designed post World War Two and 2. to dominate that system. It sees Russia and any rising power as a threat, not to the basic socio-economic order that most of the world knows, as though others have serious plans for something qualitatively different, but as potential rivals for rulership of the globe. Two, There was never any parity between the Soviet Union and the United States. At the Soviet Union’s height, in the mid fifties, it was far weaker and much less lethal than the United States. (I quote Alfred McCoy a few times in this post. He refers to the Cold War struggle between the US and the Soviet Union in a not terribly helpful way. He could, like Noam Chomsky and others, qualify his statements [about the US wanting to match Soviet weaponry in the area of torture techniques] so as to make it clear that the United States has never been militarily weaker than the Russians, but he doesn’t bother to. And his easy adoption of the establishment’s own Cold War rhetoric is problematic. Cold War warriors – politicians, military reps, CIA persons, etc – ‘said’ they were worried about Soviet advances in torture techniques. Were they really? What does ‘worry’ mean here. I’m sure that the touted Soviet and N Korean apparent advances in torture techniques would have made a handy excuse for CIA and army people to both continue to research and develop torture techniques and to bring the public onside with this barbarism. They certainly seemed to have accomplished that second goal, as McCoy relates a number of times. Especially post 9/11, Americans seemed perfectly okay with torture.)
And I note that while Russia today is in pretty good shape, due to Vladimir Putin’s leadership, it is still considerable weaker, militarily, than the United States, whose military is bigger than the other (seven or so?) big powers combined. But the Cold War, with its ridiculous ‘evil commie’ rhetoric, is back. The one difference being that, now, the major corporate-owned media, aligned with US foreign policy, is constantly being exposed by alternative media. And, as my last blog post shows, that just can’t stand.
You get an idea how shameless and lame the propaganda is when you stop to consider that today, while Communism exists in small pockets here and there, it ‘hardly’ exists. It’s the political ‘opposition’ in Vladimir Putin’s Russia! China, governed by the Communist Party of China, is entirely capitalist. (Attaching the label of ‘socialist’ or ‘communist’ to your Party or country is a longstanding tradition of autocratic regimes and individuals. Which ones are genuine? Basically, Those who the United States say are monstrous dictatorships are better, or much better, than those which the United States says are democratic.) In its geopolitical game-playing, which the people – everywhere – pay for, sometimes too dearly, the US uses terrorism and terrorists. In Syria, in order to deal with a public that might not be supportive of the US’s support for terrorists, government strategists came up with the ridiculous idea of ‘moderate’ terrorists who they lyingly claim are fighting for democracy against the anti-democratic Bashar al-Assad! But that kind of bullcrapping by imperial powers is not new. When American politicians and generals wanted to hire Nazis, once it was clear that Nazi Germany was going to lose the war, they came up with the idea of ‘ardent’ Nazis, as opposed to less hardcore Nazis. The non-ardent Nazis, this way, were involved in only “minor war crimes”! Stephen Gowans, in his book, “Washington’s Long War On Syria,” emphasizes the remarkable fact that in its targetting for destruction of all the Arab, socialist, nationalist countries, the US is, in fact, targetting countries and governments that have done more to create the kind of societies – namely democratic – that American leaders say they want. The US’s staunch Arab, Islamist allies all repress their democracy elements and persecute all but those who they call true believers and they practice torture and the beheading of those who they brand ‘criminals’.
If Nazis kill Nazis (up to a point), not on principle but solely in self-defence, Is Nazism destroyed? The political entity that was known as the National Socialist German Workers’ Party was destroyed, but all that was was one particular expression of the evil at work here, before, during and after Nazi Germany was smashed.
“The decision on whether to grant leniency to the Nazis fell to John McCloy, a pragmatic Washington lawyer who led the America operations in Germany after the war. McCloy’s seeming indifference to the horrors of the Nazi’s genocide was already on display. As a top official in the Roosevelt adminstration during the war, McCloy in 1944 had rejected repeated pleas from Jewish leaders and from FDR’s own War Refugee Board to bomb the train line from Hungary to Auschwitz, or the concentration camps themselves, in an attempt to disrupt the mass killings… In January 1951 he announced that he was sparing twenty-one Nazi war criminals from execution and slashing the jail terms of dozens more, allowing them to walk out of prison to freedom. Among the beneficiaries were Nazi officers who had taken part in notorious war massacres; scientists involved in the medical experiments at concentration camps; and industrialists who had helped to build and finance Germany’s gas chambers and missiles, profiting handsomely.” – page 31 of “The Nazis Next Door” by Eric Lichtblau
“The plight of the Jews in German-occupied Europe, which many people thought was at the heart of the war against the Axis, was not a chief concern of Roosevelt. Henry Feingold’s research (The Politics of Rescue) shows that, while the Jews were being put in camps and the process of annhilation was beginning that would end in the horrifying extermination of 6 million Jews and millions of non-Jews, Roosevelt failed to take steps that might have saved thousands of lives. He did not see it as a high priority; he left it to the State Department, and in the State Department anti-Semitism and a cold bureaucracy became obstacles to action.
“Was the war being fought to establish that Hitler was wrong in his ideas of white Nordic supremacy over “inferior” races? The United States forces were segregated by race…
“In one of its policies, the United States came close to direct duplication of Fascism. This was in its treatment of the Japanese-Americans living on the West Coast…
“Franklin D. Roosevelt… calmly signed Executive Order 9066, in February 1942, giving the army the power, without warrants or indictiments or hearings, to arrest every Japanese-American on the West Coast – 110,000 men, women, and children – to take them from their homes, transport them to camps far into the interior, and keep them there under prison conditions… In 1944, the Supreme Court upheld the forced evacuation on the grounds of military necessity. The Japanese remained in those camps for over three years.” – from pages 415 & 416 of “A People’s History Of The United States, 1492-2001”
“The CIA Didn’t Just Torture, It Experimented on Human Beings” by Lisa Hajjar (The Nation magazine via Axis Of Logic)
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
Human experimentation was a core feature of the CIA’s torture program…
No one has been held accountable for torture, beyond a handful of prosecutions of low-level troops and contractors…
The “war on terror” is not the CIA’s first venture into human experimentation. At the dawn of the Cold War, German scientists and doctors with Nazi records of human experimentation were given new identities and brought to the United States under Operation Paperclip. During the Korean War, alarmed by the shocking rapidity of American POWs’ breakdowns and indoctrination by their communist captors, the CIA began investing in mind-control research. In 1953, the CIA established the MK-ULTRA program, whose earliest phase involved hypnosis, electroshock and hallucinogenic drugs. The program evolved into experiments in psychological torture that adapted elements of Soviet and Chinese models, including longtime standing, protracted isolation, sleep deprivation and humiliation. Those lessons soon became an applied “science” in the Cold War.
During the Vietnam War, the CIA developed the Phoenix program, which combined psychological torture with brutal interrogations, human experimentation and extrajudicial executions.
From (pages 22,23,29,30) of Alfred McCoy’s “A Question Of Torture,” the following:
From its founding in 1947, the CIA was disturbed by the Soviet ability to extract public confessions in ways that hinted at secret mind-control methods. The prominent Yale psychologist Irving L. Janis was one of the first to warn the intelligence community of this war being waged on the frontiers of congnitive science…
Most important, he recommended a program of extreme cognitive experimentation, with drugs and electroshock, that the CIA would follow for the next fifteen years.
The agency’s in-house research seemed to confirm Janis’s concerns about a Soviet mind-control challenge. In 1950, a CIA analysis of Stalin’s 1937 show trials for fellow Communists found that “the style, context and manner of delivery of the ‘confessions’ were such as to be inexplicable unless there had been a reorganization and reorientation of the minds of the confessees.” Such sudden, radical personality change, the analysis concluded, “cannot be brought about by the traditional methods of physical torture,” raising the disturbing possibility that the Soviets had discovered “newer or more subtle techniques,” including psychosurgery, electroshock, and “psychoanalytic methods.” In a 1951 memorandum, “Defense Against Soviet Mental Interrogation and Espionage Techniques,” the CIA justified the use of extreme measures, beyond the law, to counter this Soviet threat: “International treaties… have never controlled the… use of unconventional methods of warfare, such as… fiendish acts of espionage, torture and murder of prisoners of war, and physical duress and other unethical persuasive actions in the interrogation of prisoners.” Within months, a sereies of disturbing pubic confessions by America soldiers captured in Korea seemed to confirm these concerns. “There is ample evidence,” reported the chief of the CIA medical staff in 1952, “that the Communists were utilizing drugs, physical duress, electric shock and possibly hynosis against their enemies. With such evidence, it is difficult not to keep from becoming rabid about our apparent laxity. We are forced by this mounting evidence to assume a more aggressive role in the development of these techniques.” …
In the Cold War’s early dangerous, desperate years, Washington’s national security agencies were determined to match Moscow adversaries weapon for weapon. “It is now clear that we are facing an implacable enemy whose avowed objective is world domination by whatever means,” read the influential report by ex-president Herbert Hoover on government operations in 1954…
From 1953 to 1963, MKUltra and allied projects dispensed $25 million for human experiments, including fourty-four universities and twelve hospitals. At first, Director Dulles complained that “we have no human guinea pigs to try these extraordinary techniques.” To overcome this critical shortage, the agency adopted testing methods marked by cruelty, illegality, and, with surprising frequency, failure. Seeking unwitting subjects, the CIA injected not only North Koreas prisoners, but also spiked drinks at a New York City party house, paid prostitutes to slip LSD to their customers for agency cameras at a San Franciso safe house, pumped hallucinogens into children at summer camp, attempted behavior modification on inmates at California’s Vacaville Prison, and collected powerful toxins from Amazon tribes. For “terminal experiments” – those that were pushed to possibly fatal limits – agents trolled Europe for dubious defectors or double agents deemed “expendable.” …
[Dr Sidney] Gottlieb also devised his own LSD tests on unsuspecting subjects, once spiking the drinks of colleagues during a meeting at a Maryland lodge, in November 1953. One of the other CIA scientists, Dr. Frank R. Olson, suffered an immediate mental breakdown and, several days after taking the drug, jumped or was pushed from the tenth floor of New York’s Statler Hotel, where the agency had confined him for observation – a crime that the CIA covered up for the next twenty years by reporting the death to his family as a suicide.
Alfred McCoy is a well known and well respected researcher whose work all, including Noam Chomsky, have the greatest respect for. He is indeed an expert on torture and a source of good information on the subject. (I bought his book “Torture And Impunity,” for almost nothing at a bookstore that was closing and every page in it was falling out, to the point where I couldn’t finish reading it. A while later, I saw his other book on torture, above, in new condition, in a second hand bookstore and bought it. It’s intact.) McCoy, along with torturers and critics of torturers, calls torture that includes physical coercion “psychological” torture. I do not. Just because the mind is along for the ride, until death, when a torture victim is being tortured, that doesn’t make the torture ‘psychological’, as opposed to ‘physical’. Psychology is involved, but, in my view, it isn’t even involved in any meaningful way.
Actual and fully hands-off persuasion, in my view, involves victims who are not confined, but who are free and even free enough to counter the propaganda they are fed should the individual possess the wherewithal to do so. Social reality (explains Eliot Aronson) obtains when one is immersed within a community that sees reality a certain way that he (or…) does not. When absolutely everyone around you – friends, enemies, strangers, family – says that the sky is plaid, and their statements to that effect NEVER vary, it becomes hard for you to maintain that the sky is not plaid. Eventually, as crazy as the idea is, you may conclude that, indeed, the sky is plaid. But, despite the undeniable pressure, you are free not to and can hold out. That would be an example of hands-off pressure, if not torture. You can’t have, in my view, truly hands-off torture. (For example, When torture victims are told to stand for long, long periods, What happens when they refuse? Alfred McCoy avoids that bit of business. But here and there, in his book, the truth peeks out; The victim is ‘forced’ to stand. In recounting how the British tortured Irish prisoners, McCoy refers to Tim Shallice’s reportage about the use by the British forcing their victims to stand against a wall for a long time and the “crude physical beatings for any who moved from the wall.” Okay, You’re standing ‘on your own’ against a wall for a long time. But when you begin to give out and sit or fall, you are beaten. [Why that wouldn’t result in ‘visible’ bruising, I don’t know.] McCoy doesn’t explain how the CIA accomplishes the same sort of torture. What does a CIA torturer, or one authorized or trained by the CIA, do when the person in their clutches, forced to stand for a long time, gives out or attempts to sit down? Or would that hurt McCoy’s narrative about ‘psychological’, hands-off, as opposed to ‘physical’, hands-on, torture?) Alfred McCoy himself gives example after example of how torture doesn’t work, even if, here and there, the person tortured gives up some information that is somewhat useful. Torture, as far as I can see, breaks bodies and minds. If it produced injury to its victims that they can recover from, that was still physical (along with psychological) coercion.
From a religious – my religion – standpoint, torture (which always uses force and is always physical) can make people do or say things but not things that ‘count’. If I’m tortured into confessing that there is no actual God and that, in fact, humankind is God, then that is not a confession that the God of love would hold against me. And if we are dealing with rational, ethical torturers, they too would consign information gleaned from torture to the trash can. Except that no such torturers exist. Then if there’s an actual Satan, Does he consider torture, as described by people like Alfred McCoy, useful in his war against God? For him, that’s not as useful as true psychological/spiritual warfare, where the victims spiritual failures ‘do’ count, so that lives are actually lost. (No one but God can destroy a human soul. But if you are compelled to reject him – and by compelled, I don’t mean in such a way that your self-modification can’t count – then that leads to a situation where you, in effect, request that God strike you from his book of life.) But the kind of torture that the CIA and other criminals do is not useless, because in Satan’s war against the God of love (who disprespectful persons who choose to reject him refer to as a barbarian), any barbarism that causes innocents to suffer puts pressure on God to change his mind. Were he to do that, the results would be cataclysmic for the universe. But Satan knows he’s going to be destroyed and would very much like to take everyone with him, including God. (See Revelation chapter 12)
What is the nature of the American government’s self-defense during WWII? Protecting their abusive, oppressive capitalist system was the American government’s sole concern in declaring war on Hitler’s Germany. To that end, as Howard Zinn thoroughly explains, in “A People’s History Of The United States,” the government whipped up feelings of nationalism and patriotism so that the people would not notice the abuses of the capitalist class, aided and abetted by government, and instead support the war effort. Beyond that, the people themselves were seen as the enemy in a class war in which abused workers asking for crumbs, or activists asking for human rights, would be regarded by what we today call the 1% as the enemy. Lewis Powell wrote that “No thoughtful person can question that the American economic system is under broad attack.”! Asking for fairness, decency and so forth makes you an enemy! (Which is why my blog is titled “A Yappy Trade Barrier.”).
If it walks and quacks like a duck…
“The CIA And The Media” by Carl Bernstein
“The US Empire, the CIA, and the NGOs” by Ludwig Watzal
“When the CIA infiltrated Hollywood” by Tom Hayden
“Getting Julian Assange: The Untold Story” by John Pilger
“Theresa May is trying to sabotage the Internet as we know it” by Andrew Griffin
“Google, Corporate Press Launch Attack On Alternative Media” by Brandon Turbeville
“Guardian promoting GCHQ demand for more internet censorship” by Claire Bernish
“How the CIA made Google” by Nafeez Ahmed
“Toronto Star Promoting The Extreme Right In Ukraine” by Roger Annis
“Canada’s Liberal Gov’t Joins NATO War Escalation” by Roger Annis
“Israel’s Quiet Reaction to US Neo-Nazis” by Paul R. Pillar
“Photographing a White-Supremacist Attack” by Dennis J. Bernstein
“Ukraine’s Inconvenient Neo-Nazis” by Robert Parry
“Sidestepping Ukraine’s ‘N-Word’ for Nazi” by Robert Parry
“Ukraine Merges Nazis and Islamists” by Robert Parry