US Ramps Up Global War Agenda

by Finian Cunningham
GlobalResearch
November 21, 2011

Like a schoolyard bully, President Barack Obama is flexing American military muscle as he currently sweeps through the Asia-Pacific region. The nominal impetus for the tour was the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit held in Hawaii last week. But rather than discussing “economics” (the E in APEC), the salient focus for Obama and his entourage appears to be “war” – and in particular laying down battle lines to China.

Testy relations with China is nothing new for Washington given recent months of US haranguing over trade and finance, but what Obama’s bombast signals is a sinister ramping up of the militarist agenda towards Beijing.

As if bouncing underlings and lackeys into his gang, the American president has moved on from Honolulu with stopovers in Australia, Indonesia and elsewhere. Given the primary economic power of China in the hemisphere, it might be thought appropriate for Obama to make a cordial visit to Beijing to discuss partnerships and policies to revive the global economy. But no. The omission of China on this major US tour seems to be a deliberate snub to Beijing and a message to the region: that China is to be isolated and ringfenced. This is the stuff of warmongering writ large.

The blatant aggression is naturally smoothed over and made palatable by the Western mainstream media. Reporting on Obama’s unilateral belligerence at the APEC, the Washington Post bemoans: “Try as he might to focus Asian and Pacific leaders on forging new economic partnerships during a regional summit here, President Obama has spent much of his time in private meetings with his counterparts discussing another pressing concern: national security [that is, US military power].”

The Financial Times reports breathlessly: “Barack Obama will not set foot in China during his swing through the Asia-Pacific region… yet the country’s rapid economic ascent and military advances will provide the backdrop for almost everything he does on the trip.”

Note the assertion that it is China’s “military advances” that are prompting US concerns, not the more reasonable and realistic observation that Washington is the one beating the war drums.

The FT goes on to say: “The Pentagon is quietly working on a new strategy dubbed the AirSea Battle concept, which is designed to find ways to counter Chinese military plans to deny access to US forces in the seas surrounding China.”

In “seas surrounding China” it may be thought by some as entirely acceptable for Beijing to “deny access to US forces”. But not, it seems, for the scribes at the FT and other Western mainstream media, who transform US offence/Chinese defence into Chinese offence/US defence. One can only imagine how that same media would report it if China announced that it was intending to patrol nuclear warships off California.

As previously noted by Michel Chossudovsky at Global Research, the South China Sea’s untapped reserves of oil and other minerals are a major driver in US maneouvring. China stands to have natural territorial rights to these deposits and has much more valid claim to the wealth than the US, whose counter-claims on the matter seem at best arrogant and at worst provocative. Again, one can imagine the US and mainstream media reaction if China was eyeing oil and gas fields off Alaska.

But there is a bigger geopolitical agenda here, as Global Research has consistently analysed. The increasing US militarism in Asia-Pacific is apiece with the globalization of war by the US/NATO and its allies. The shift in policy is, as the Washington Post lamely tells us, “the US reasserting itself as a leader in the Asia-Pacific after years of focusing on [illegal] wars in the Middle East.”

However, this is not a dynamic that should be viewed as somehow normal and acceptable. This is, as we have stated, an escalation of global aggression by powers that are “addicted to war” as a matter of policy.

Top of the US hit list is China. Washington’s criminal wars in Iraq and Libya have in particular been aimed at cutting China out of legitimate energy investments in the Middle and East and North Africa (and Africa generally). That in itself must be seen by Beijing as a flagrant assault on its overseas’ assets. Not content, it seems, with achieving that dispossession of vital Chinese energy interests, Washington is now pushing its insatiable appetite all the way into China’s domain. But such unprecedented aggression is made to appear by the US government and the dutiful mainstream media as a natural entitlement where refusal by the other party is perversely presented as “military plans to deny access”.

Obama’s visit to Australia this week is undoubtedly aimed at further twisting the threat to China. In Darwin, the US president is overseeing the opening of a base that will see for the first time US Marines being able to conduct war games on Australian soil. Thousands of kilometers from China, this development may at first seem inconsequential. But then we are told that the move is designed to station US military “out of the reach of Chinese ballistic missiles”. The insinuation is unmistakable and menacing: China is an imminent threat. Somehow, without issuing any such aggressive moves, Beijing is suddenly made to look as if it is prepared to launch ballistic missiles at US installations.

It is tempting to call this US-led dynamic of global war “dysfunctional”. But, disturbingly, it is not merely dysfunctional. The global war dynamic is a function of the collapse of capitalism and democracy in the US and Europe (the brutal police crackdown on Occupy protesters across the US is evidence of the latter). War on the world is the logical outcome of this failed system, as history has already shown us with the horrors of World War One and Two.

Karl Marx once noted: “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce”. To avert another “farce” in which the horrors of history are repeated, we need to once and for all challenge the root cause: capitalism.

$30 billion of U.S. War Money Given to Crooks and Wasters

RT
August 31, 2011

The US wasted at least one dollar out of six on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which amounts to about US $30 billion, a bipartisan commission found. The sum may double in future, as foreign governments abandon unsustainable projects funded by the US.

The Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan is to report its sobering findings on Wednesday, but co-chairs Christopher Shays and Michael Thibault made parts of it public on Monday in an op-ed article in the Washington Post.

“Tens of billions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted through poor planning, vague and shifting requirements, inadequate competition, substandard contract management and oversight, lax accountability, weak inter-agency co-ordination, and sub-par performance or outright misconduct by some contractors and federal employees. Both government and contractors need to do better,” they say.

The Pentagon has been increasingly reliant on contractors to wage war over the decades. In Afghanistan and Iraq, on average, there was one private contractor for each troop serving, with the total number of contractors at times exceeding 260,000. Now America “cannot conduct large or prolonged military operations without contractor support.”

The sheer scale of private firms’ operation aggravated by lack of accountability caused a fresh set of problems and has harmed US interests in a number of ways, the authors say.

“Our final report shows that the costs of contracting waste and fraud extend beyond the disservice to taxpayers. The costs include diminishing US military, diplomatic and development efforts; fostering corruption in host countries; and undermining US standing and influence overseas,” they say.

“Poor planning, federal understaffing and over-reliance led to billions of dollars of contracts awarded without effective competition, legions of foreign subcontractors not subject to US laws, private security guards performing tasks that can easily escalate into combat, unprosecuted instances of apparent fraud, and projects that are unlikely to be sustained by the governments of Iraq and Afghanistan,” the authors add.

The potential waste from unfinished or unsustainable projects is a problem, which may equal in scale that of actual waste from poor handling of direct expenditures. Some of the examples of this are $40 million invested in a prison in Iraq which Baghdad did not want and that was never finished, and $300 million poured into a Kabul power plant which the Afghan government has neither the money nor the technical skills to use. The money came from US taxpayers and is likely to simply vanish down the drain.

The commission has prepared a set of recommendations for Congress and the US administration to approve, which they hope will improve the situation.

The Pentagon say they are aware of the problem, but refused to comment on the commission’s findings until the report is published.

“We are well aware of some of the deficiencies over the years in how we have worked contracts,” said Marine Corps Colonel David Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman. “We have worked hard over those years to try to correct those deficiencies when we come across them.”

“There have been many instances because of wartime needs where a long lengthy competitive bid contract process does not serve the needs of the war-fighters,”
he said. “In many instances it’s a matter of saving lives, doing things more quickly because of the nature of conflict.”

The Department of Defense has been under increasing scrutiny recently, as the US government seeks ways to reduce the budget deficit. Lately, the Pentagon was targeted for overspending on risky weapon R&D projects, buying aircraft spare parts at inflated prices and paying money to shady Afghan transport companies possibly linked to the Taliban, among other things. The sums allegedly mishandled in all such cases range from tens of millions to billions of dollars.

According to John Glaser, an assistant editor at Antiwar.com, the latest report by the bipartisan commission is just the tip of the iceberg.

“This is just one report in a field of many describing such profligate waste in the American empire,” he said. “There have been previous reports about US aid going directly to fund the insurgency – that is, the Taliban. There is a report out done by the Center for Public Integrity that investigates the Pentagon’s practice of no-bid contracts for defense industry corporations, which has ballooned to a $140 billion problem in 2011. So this kind of waste is just widespread throughout the wars.”

U.S. Admiral Admits Attempt to Assassinate Qaddafi

By Josh Rogin
FP
June 24, 2011

The top U.S. admiral involved in the Libya war admitted to a U.S. congressman that NATO forces are trying to kill Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi. The same admiral also said he anticipated the need for ground troops in Libya after Qaddafi falls, according to the lawmaker.

House Armed Services Committee member Mike Turner (R-OH) told The Cable that U.S. Admiral Samuel Locklear, commander of the NATO Joint Operations Command in Naples, Italy, told him last month that NATO forces are actively targeting and trying to kill Qaddafi, despite the fact that the Obama administration continues to insist that “regime change” is not the goal and is not authorized by the U.N. mandate authorizing the war.

“The U.N. authorization had three components: blockade, no fly zone, and civil protection. And Admiral Locklear explained that the scope of civil protection was being interpreted to permit the removal of the chain of command of Qaddafi’s military, which includes Qaddafi,” Turner said. “He said that currently is the mission as NATO has defined.”

“I believed that we were [targeting Qaddafi] but that confirmed it,” Turner said. “I believe the scope that NATO is pursuing is beyond what is contemplated in civil protection, so they’re exceeding the mission.”

Later in the same briefing, Turner said, Locklear maintained that the NATO mission does not include regime change. “Well, certainly if you remove Qaddafi it will affect regime change,” Turner said that he replied. “[Locklear] did not have an answer to that.”

Locklear also said that, upon Qaddafi’s removal, ground troops would be needed during the immediate period of instability, Turner said. In fact, Locklear said publicly that a “small force” might be necessary following the collapse of the Qaddafi regime in a May 30 conference in Varna, Bulgaria.

Turner joined hundreds of other lawmakers in voting against authorizing the Libya war on Friday morning. The authorization resolution was defeated 123 to 297. A subsequent vote on a bill to defund the Libya mission also failed 180-238 .

Turner has been opposed to the Libya war from the start and even introduced a resolution opposing the effort. For him, Friday’s chaotic Libya debate was a direct result of the administration’s neglect and disrespect of Congress throughout the debate over the mission.

“The president hasn’t come to Congress and said any of this, and yet Admiral Locklear is pursuing the targeting of Qaddafi’s regime, Qaddafi himself, and contemplating ground troops following Qaddafi’s removal,” Turner said. “They’re not being straightforward with Congress… It’s outrageous.”

Ignoring Congress allowed the administration to ignore the large, looming questions about the Libya war that congressmen are asking — especially today, as another vote to defund the mission looms before the House next month, when the defense appropriations bill is set to be debated. But if the House does vote to defund the mission, Turner said, Obama will have nobody to blame but himself.

“I believe that this administration has handled this so badly, that if they had come to Congress, I think they would have done more of their homework. They have not done a full assessment of their mission, its scope, or the consequences if they’re successful. Congress would have required that,” Turner said. “Now it’s a little late.”

U.S. Government: Historically a Pathological Liar

Can you believe anything that comes out of any U.S. government official? Only the gullible public could.

By Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
May 2, 2011

This article would be an op-ed if it wasn’t because there is so much proof that the United States government has lied its way into building the Empire that is now collapsing. I do not need to justify why there are so many people who do not trust anything the government says, because history is the most faithful witness that governments lie when they have to, use fear when their lies don’t work, and murder when fear is no longer effective.

Sunday, president Barack Obama interrupted regular television programming to announce the death of Osama Bin Laden, the ghost that had eluded intelligence and military assets for a decade. Obama didn’t only take credit for Bin Laden’s death, but he also arrogantly spoke as if we had to take his word for it. The announcement came at a suspiciously convenient time, exactly when Obama needed it the most.

So the question is, do we take the announcement at face value? Only the gullible public would and could. Only the minority that still believes government is good, honest and straightforward with the people have the guts to believe any official version of the facts. Only the men and women who are afraid of learning the facts about history and who rely on the main stream corporate media would.

The rest of us know better. The rest of us, the majority, know that when government controls the information that sees the light, there is zero chance to expect the truth. When the government is the judge, jury and executioner, as it happens often, there is no room for trust.

American government lies abound and have stained history for decades. From the Gulf of Tonkin to the Bay of Pigs. From the Weapons of Mass Destruction excuse, to Al-CIA-eda. From Bin Laden to the War on Terror.

A country and a government that allows its president to be murdered (John F. Kennedy) in plain daylight for the sake of empire building does not have credibility.

A government that false-flag attacks its own troops (Gulf de Tonkin) to take the country into war does not have credibility.

A government that creates boogie-men (Bin Laden) to terrorize its own people and the world does not have any credibility.

A government that murders a million people (Iraq 1991 y Iraq 2003) in one single country does not have credibility.

A government that experiments with foreign (Guatemala) and its own people (Tuskegee), does not have credibility.

A government that invades countries for humanitarian reasons while bombing its people with depleted uranium, does not have credibility.

A government that says it killed the supposed head of a terrorist organization that is of its creation while showing no proof of it, does not have credibility.

A government that invites terrorists to dine in the Pentagon while accuses them of being terrorists, does not have credibility.

A government that operates in secrecy while spying on everyone cannot be trusted.

Nothing short of seeing Osama Bin Laden’s body and conducting an independent forensic analysis would probe enough for anyone in their right mind to believe the United States announcement that it captured and killed Bin Laden. Unfortunately, the United States government conveniently disposed of his body so that no one can ever find out if it was him or not  -just as it did with the rubble of the World Trade Center Towers- but has only shown a doctored picture with Photoshop. A government that has lied throughout its whole history wants us to believe what it has to say regarding the capture and murder of the greatest boogie-man of the 21st century? I don’t think so!

“The very word secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control. And no official of my Administration, whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know.”

– John F. Kennedy

U.S. Military Men members of Knights of Malta

By Stephen C. Webster
January 21st, 2011

Seymour Hersh

Veteran investigative reporter Seymour Hersh has broken some massive stories in his day, but uncovering secret societies within the highest echelons of America’s military would probably be the biggest of his career.

Well, get ready for the media storm, because that’s essentially what Hersh told an audience in Doha, Qatar recently, according to a report published earlier this week by Foreign Policy.

Speaking at a campus operated by Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, Hersh said he was working on a new book that details “how eight or nine neoconservative, radicals if you will, overthrew the American government.”

“It’s not only that the neocons took it over but how easily they did it — how Congress disappeared, how the press became part of it, how the public acquiesced,” he continued, according to the published quotes.

Hersh also lamented President Obama’s continuance of the Bush administration’s worst abuses.

“Just when we needed an angry black man, we didn’t get one,” he reportedly said.

The Foreign Policy report added that in 2003, those “in the Cheney shop” were not concerned about the havoc the invasion of Iraq was destined to cause.

“[The] attitude was, ‘What’s this? What are they all worried about, the politicians and the press, they’re all worried about some looting?” Hersh was quoted as saying. “Don’t they get it? We’re gonna change moseques into cathedrals. And when we get all the oil, nobody’s gonna give a damn.’ That’s the attitude. We’re gonna change mosques into cathedrals. That’s an attitude that pervades, I’m here to say, a large percentage of the Joint Special Operations Command [JSOC].”

He further claimed that Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Vice Admiral William McRaven and others in the JSOC were members of the “Knights of Malta” and “Opus Dei,” two little known Catholic orders.

“They do see what they’re doing — and this is not an atypical attitude among some military — it’s a crusade, literally,” Hersh reportedly continued. “They see themselves as the protectors of the Christians. They’re protecting them from the Muslims [as in] the 13th century. And this is their function.”

He added that members of these societies have developed a secret set of insignias that represent “the whole notion that this is a culture war” between religions.

It was President George W. Bush who first invoked images of a holy war in the Middle East, when he suggested soon after Sept. 11, 2001 that the US was on a “crusade” in the region.

The “Knights of Malta” were a Catholic order founded in 1085 as a group of monks who cared for the wounded. It evolved into a military order that safeguarded Christian pilgrims from Muslims during the nine “Crusades,” where Europe’s Christian states laid siege to Muslims for control of Jerusalem.

“Opus Dei,” popularly depicted in the Hollywood film “The DaVinci Code,” was founded in 1928 and officially accepted as part of the Catholic church in 1947. The group’s website claimed their principle calling was to bring about a “Christian renewal” around the world.

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