Saturday, March 10, 2018

Ten Thousand Voices Against Kinder Morgan in Burnaby

Indigenous Leaders Erect Traditional 'Watch House' Near Kinder Morgan Pipeline Route: Trudeau's Pipeline Approval a Major Threat to Reconciliation

by Protect The

March 10, 2018


Coast Salish Territory/Burnaby, BC - Local Indigenous people today erected a traditional Coast Salish Watch House near Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline route. Watch Houses have been used since time immemorial to guard territory from danger.

This was followed by a 10,000 strong march of supporters to the site, with Indigenous leaders calling Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s approval of the pipeline “a major step backwards” in their relations and for the climate.

“My ancestors built Kwekwecnewtxw — ‘a place to watch from’ — when danger threatened our people. Danger threatens our people now, as Kinder Morgan tries to send hazardous diluted bitumen through our territory. Today we build our own watchhouse to protect the Salish Sea and the people who depend on it,” said Will George, a Tsleil-Waututh member.

Kwekwecnewtxw - Protect the Inlet, was the largest-ever show of opposition to Kinder Morgan’s planned expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker project. Led by Indigenous peoples from across Canada and the United States — including the Mohawk Council of Kanesatake, Athabaska Chipewyan Nation, and Ihanktonwan Dakota and Chickasaw Nations — the march wound its way from Lake City Way Skytrain Station, finishing at a rally at the Watch House site where Grand Chief Stewart Phillip called on the crowd to join him in escalating action to stop Kinder Morgan in the coming days.

“We are gathering today to send a clear message to Kinder Morgan and Justin Trudeau that indigenous peoples across North America and British Columbians will never let this pipeline be built,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip. 
 “I call on everyone in the crowd today and watching from home to join us in escalating action to stop Kinder Morgan in the coming days. Rachel Notley, we are not in the least bit intimidated by your desperate threats and we will not stop!"

Construction of the Watch house will continue through the day and into the night, with organizers expecting to be finished by Monday. Once completed, the Watch House will be a base for ongoing opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said we can protect the water, the coasts, and the climate while still building new tar sands pipelines like Kinder Morgan. But I came here to join with other water protectors to say that he’s wrong,” said Autumn Peltier, a 13-year old internationally recognized water ambassador from Wikwemikong First Nation in northern Ontario. 

She spoke on behalf of the 150 First Nations and US Tribes that have signed the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion in opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline, as well as Keystone XL and Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline.

The Kinder Morgan pipeline project would bring 400 Aframax tankers to the BC coast annually. A tanker spill would devastate British Columbia’s coastal waters, including the 76 endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales who call it home. A new heavy oil pipeline would drive emissions higher while Canada is already failing its climate commitments.


For Immediate Release

Photos and more information available at, or please contact:

Protect the Inlet Media Liaison
Tegan Hansen


Canada: A Curious History of Fascist Sympathists

Why Canada Defends Ukrainian Fascism 

by Professor Michael Jabara Carley - Strategic Culture Foundation

March 9, 2018

Canada has a reputation for being a relatively progressive state with universal, single-payer health care, various other social benefits, and strict gun laws, similar to many European countries but quite unlike the United States.

It has managed to stay out of some American wars, for example, Vietnam and Iraq, portrayed itself as a neutral “peace keeper”, pursuing a so-called policy of “multilateralism” and attempting from time to time to keep a little independent distance from the United States.

Behind this veneer of respectability lies a not so attractive reality of elite inattention to the defence of Canadian independence from the United States and intolerance toward the political and syndicalist left.

Canada's Liberal PM, William Lyon Mackenzie King,
Hitler fan boy and noted Nazi hobnobber

Police repression against communist and left-wing unionists and other dissidents after World War I was widespread. Strong support for appeasement of Nazi Germany, overt or covert sympathy for fascism, especially in Québec, and hatred of the Soviet Union were widespread in Canada during the 1930s.

The Liberal prime minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King, hobnobbed with Nazi notables including Adolf Hitler, and thought that his British counterpart Neville Chamberlain had not gone far enough in appeasing Hitlerite Germany. Mackenzie King and many others of the Canadian elite saw communism as a greater threat to Canada than fascism. As in Europe, the Canadian elite—Liberal or Conservative did not matter—was worried by the Spanish civil war (1936-1939). In Québec French public opinion under the influence of the Catholic Church hoped for fascist victory and the eradication of communism.

In 1937 a Papal encyclical whipped up the Red Scare amongst French Canadian Catholics. Rejection of Soviet offers of collective security against Hitler was the obverse side of appeasement. The fear of victory over Nazi Germany in alliance with the USSR was greater than the fear of defeat against fascism. Such thoughts were either openly expressed over dinner at the local gentleman’s club or kept more discrete by people who did not want to reveal the extent of their sympathy for fascism.

Even after the Nazi invasion of the USSR in June 1941, and the formation of the Grand Alliance against the Axis, there was strong reticence amongst the governing elite in Canada toward the Soviet Union. It was a shotgun marriage, a momentary arrangement with an undesirable partner, necessitated by the over-riding threat of the Nazi Wehrmacht. “If Hitler invaded Hell,” Winston Churchill famously remarked, “I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.”

Once Hitler was beaten, however, it would be back to business as usual. The Grand Alliance was a “truce”, as some of my students have proposed to me, in a longer cold war between the west and the USSR. This struggle began in November 1917 when the Bolsheviks seized power in Petrograd; it resumed after 1945 when the “truce”, or if you like, the Grand Alliance, came to a sudden end.

This was no more evident than in Canada where elite hatred of communism was a homegrown commodity and not simply an American imitation. So it should hardly be a surprise that after 1945 the Canadian government—Mackenzie King was still prime minister—should open its doors to the immigration of approximately 34,000 “displaced persons”, including thousands of Ukrainian fascists and Nazi collaborators, responsible for heinous war crimes in the Ukraine and Poland. These were veterans of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), the Waffen SS Galicia and the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), all collaborators of Nazi Germany during World War II.

Chrystia Freeland, the current Canadian minister for external affairs

The most notorious of the Nazi collaborators who immigrated to Canada was Mykhailo Chomiak, a mid-level Nazi operative in Poland, who came under US protection at the end of the war and eventually made his way to Canada where he settled in Alberta. Had he been captured by the Red Army, he would quite likely have been hanged for collaboration with the enemy. In Canada however he prospered as a farmer. His grand-daughter is the “Ukrainian-Canadian” Chrystia Freeland, the present minister for external affairs.

She is a well-known Russophobe, persona non grata in the Russian Federation, who long claimed her grandfather was a “victim” of World War II. Her claims to this effect have been demonstrated to be untrue by the Australian born journalist John Helmer, amongst many others.

In 1940 the Liberal government facilitated the creation of the Canadian Ukrainian Congress (UCC), one of many organisations used to fight or marginalise the left in Canada, in this case amongst Canadian Ukrainians. The UCC is still around and appears to dominate the Ukrainian-Canadian community. Approximately 1.4 million people living in Canada claim full or partial Ukrainian descent though generally the latter. Most “Ukrainian-Canadians” were born in Canada; well more than half live in the western provinces. The vast majority has certainly never set foot in the Ukraine. It is this constituency on which the UCC depends to pursue its political agenda in Ottawa.

The Canadian Ukrainian Congress (UCC) president Paul Grod

After the coup d’état in Kiev in February 2014 the UCC lobbied the then Conservative government under Stephen Harper to support the Ukrainian “regime change” operation which had been conducted by the United States and European Union. The UCC president, Paul Grod, took the lead in obtaining various advantages from the Harper government, including arms for the putschist regime in Kiev. It survives only through massive EU and US direct or indirect financial/political support and through armed backing from fascist militias who repress dissent by force and intimidation. Mr. Grod claims that Russia is pursuing a policy of “aggression” against the Ukraine.

If that were true, the putschists in Kiev would have long ago disappeared. The Harper government allowed fund raising for Pravyi Sektor, a Ukrainian fascist paramilitary group, through two organisations in Canada including the UCC, and even accorded “charitable status” to one of them to facilitate their fund raising and arms buying. Harper also sent military “advisors” to train Ukrainian forces, the backbone of which are fascist militias. The Trudeau government has continued that policy. “Canada should prepare for Russian attempts to destabilize its democracy,” according to Minister Freeland:

“Ukraine is a very important partner to Canada and we will continue to support its efforts for democracy and economic growth.” 

For a regime that celebrates violence and anti-Russian racism, represses political opposition, burns books, and outlaws the Russian language, “democracy” is an Orwellian portrayal of actual realities in the Ukraine. Nevertheless, late last year the Canadian government approved the sale of arms to Kiev and a so-called Magnitsky law imposing sanctions on Russian nationals.

The Harper government allowed fund raising for Pravyi Sektor, a 
Ukrainian fascist paramilitary group

There is no political opposition in the House of Commons to these policies. Even the New Democratic Party (NDP), that burnt out shell of Canadian social democracy, supported the Harper government, at the behest of Mr. Grod, a Ukrainian lobbyist who knows his way around Ottawa. In 2015 the UCC put a list of questions to party leaders, one of which was the following: “Does your party support listing the Luhansk People's Republic and the Donetsk People's Republic as terrorist organizations?”

The Lugansk and Donetsk republics are of course anti-fascist resistance movements that emerged in reaction to the violent coup d’état in Kiev. They are most certainly not “terrorist” organisations, although they are subjected to daily bombardments against civilian areas by Kiev putschist forces. Nevertheless, the then NDP leader, Thomas Mulcair, who would have agreed to almost anything to win power, answered in the affirmative. This must have been a moment of dismay for Canadians who still harboured illusions about the NDP as a progressive alternative to the Liberal and Conservative parties. How could it support a US/EU installed putschist regime which governs by intimidation and violence?

In fact, it was a Conservative electoral strategy to obtain the votes of people of Ukrainian and East European descent by backing putschist Kiev and denouncing Russia. Mulcair was trying to outflank Harper on his right, but that did not work for he himself was outflanked on his left.

Some Canadians harboured illusions about the NDP as a 
progressive alternative to the Liberal and Conservative parties

In the 2015 federal elections the Liberals under Justin Trudeau, outwitted poor Mr. Mulcair and won the elections. The NDP suffered heavy electoral losses. Mulcair looked like someone who had made a Faustian bargain for nothing in return, and he lost a bid to remain as party leader. The Liberals campaigned on re-establishing better relations with the Russian Federation, but that promise did not hold up.

The minister for external affairs, Stéphane Dion, tried to move forward on that line, but appears to have been stabbed in the back by Mr. Trudeau, with Ms. Freeland guiding his hand in the fatal blow. In early 2017 Dion was sacked and Freeland replaced him. That was the end of the Liberal promise to improve relations with the Russian government. Since then, under Freeland, Russian-Canadian relations have worsened.

The influential Mr. Grod appears to keep the Canadian government in his hip pocket. There are photographs of him side by side with Mr. Harper and then with Mr. Trudeau, with Ms. Freeland on his left. Mr. Grod has been a great success in backing putschist Kiev. Last summer Mr. Trudeau even issued a traditional Ukrainian fascist salute, “SlavaUkraini!”, to celebrate the anniversary of Ukrainian independence. The prime minister is a great believer in identity politics.

The influential Mr. Grod appears to keep the Canadian government in his hip pocket

The latest gesture of the Canadian government is to approve $1.4 million as a three year grant to promote a “Holodomor National Awareness Tour”. Ukrainian “nationalists” summon up the memory of the “Holodomor”, a famine in the Ukraine in 1932-1933, deliberately launched by Stalin, they say, in order to emphasise their victimisation by Russia. According to the latest Stalin biographer, Steven Kotkin, there was indeed a famine in the USSR that affected various parts of the country, the Ukraine amongst other regions.

Kazakhstan, not the Ukraine suffered most. Between five and seven million people died. Ten millions starved. “Nonetheless, the famine was not intentional. It resulted from Stalin’s policies of forced collectivization…,” Kotkin writes, himself no advocate of the Soviet Union. Compulsion, peasant rebellion, bungling, mismanagement, drought, locust infestations, not targeting ethnicities, led to the catastrophe. “Similarly, there was no ‘Ukrainian’ famine,” according to Kotkin, “the famine was [a] Soviet[-wide disaster]” (Stalin, 2017, vol. 2, pp. 127-29).

So the Liberal government is spending public funds to perpetuate a politically motivated myth to drum up hatred of Russia and to support putschist Kiev.

Identity politics and Canadian multiculturalism are now invoked to 
defend Ukrainian fascism celebrated in the streets of Kiev with 
torchlight parades and fascist symbols, remembering and celebrating 
Nazi collaborators and collaboration during World War II

The Canadian government also recently renewed funding for a detachment of 200 “advisors” to train Ukrainian militias, along with twenty-three million dollars—it is true a pittance by American standards—for “non-lethal” military aid, justified by Ms. Freeland to defend Ukrainian “democracy”. Truly, we live in a dystopian world where reality is turned on its head. Fascism is democracy; resistance to fascism is terrorism. Identity politics and Canadian multiculturalism are now invoked to defend Ukrainian fascism celebrated in the streets of Kiev with torchlight parades and fascist symbols, remembering and celebrating Nazi collaborators and collaboration during World War II. “Any country sending representatives to Russia’s celebration of the 70th anniversary of their victory against Adolf Hitler,” warned putschist Kiev in April 2015, “will be blacklisted by Ukraine.”

“The further a society drifts from the truth,” George Orwell once said, “the more it will hate those that speak it.” Well, here is one truth that Mr. Trudeau and Ms. Freeland will not want to hear, hate it or not: 42,000 Canadian soldiers, not to mention 27 million Soviet citizens, died during the war against the Axis. Memories must be fading, for now we have come to this pass, where our government is supporting a violent, racist regime in Kiev directly descended from that very enemy against which Canada and its allies fought during World War II.

Michael Jabara Carley, Professor of history at the Université de Montréal has published widely on Soviet relations with the West

Britain Aiding and Abetting Saudi's Ongoing Atrocity in Yemen

Saudi Prince Visits UK as Britain Boosts Murderous Arms Sales 


March 9, 2018

The UK gave a royal welcome to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as Saudi Arabia wages a bloody war in Yemen. Analyst Ali al-Ahmed says the British government is making the humanitarian catastrophe even worse.

Ali Al-Ahmed is a Saudi scholar and expert on Saudi political affairs including: terrorism, Islamic movements, Wahhabi Islam, Saudi political history, Saudi-American relations, and the al-Saud family history. He is a writer, and public speaker on Saudi political issues.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Sins of the City, Sins of the Sheik

Mohammed Bin Salman: The Truth Behind The Reformist Facade

by Craig Murray

March 8, 2018

There was a revealing coincidence of timing yesterday. Philip Hammond made a speech in which he pleaded with the EU to allow the UK continued free access to their financial services markets, on the basis of mutually recognised standards.

At the same time, Theresa May met the Saudi Crown Prince in Downing Street and discussed specific legal reductions of those standards in the City of London, to allow for the stock exchange flotation of part of Saudi state oil giant Aramco.

It is symbolic because the toxic addiction of the ruling classes to Saudi cash has been lowering British standards of basic decency for generations.

The most blatant example was when Tony Blair as Prime Minister intervened directly in the justice system to prevent the pursuit of corruption charges against the stench-ridden arms dealers of BAE, on grounds of “national security”.

The myths about the impartiality of British justice have seldom been so comprehensively exposed. Where there is really dirty money, Blair is seldom far away.

The use of British supplied weapons by the Saudis to maim and kill children in Yemen on an industrial scale has penetrated public consciousness despite the best efforts of mainstream media to sideline it, and Jeremy Corbyn was absolutely right to highlight the involvement not just of arms manufacturers but of the British military. The government and royal fawning has been accompanied by an extraordinary deluge of pro-Saudi propaganda from the mainstream media this last two days for Saudi Arabia and its “reforming” Crown Prince.

There is no doubt that Mohammed Bin Salman has shown a ruthless genius in internal power consolidation in Saudi Arabia, with rivals arrested, shaken down or dying by accident. That he is seeking to end corruption appears less probable than that he is seeking to monopolise its proceeds and thus concentrate power, but time will give a clearer picture. There is no evidence whatsoever that Saudi Arabia is stopping its funding of Wahabbist jihadism across the Middle East and South Asia; indeed it has been stepped up by him, as has the bombing of Yemen.

Bin Salman may have a slightly different take on religion to those previously controlling Saudi Arabia, but in fact he is a much more dangerous fanatic. He is an extreme Sunni sectarian, driven by a visceral hatred of Shia Muslims. This is expressed in an aggressive foreign policy, causing a further destabilisation of the Middle East which threatens to tip over into catastrophe, as Bin Salman seeks to turn up the heat against Iran in proxy conflict in Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere. That he is doing so in active and functional alliance with Israel is the world’s worst kept diplomatic secret. Saudi/Israeli cooperation in Lebanon and Syria is to my mind the most dangerous global flashpoint at present.

But despite his fawning reception in London, Bin Salman is not having it all his own way. I returned from Doha two weeks ago and in Qatar, Bin Salman has seriously overreached. Angry at Doha’s lack of hostility to Iran, including revenue sharing agreement on cross-border fields, Saudi Arabia has blockaded the small Emirate of Qatar for six months now. The excuse given to the West – that Qatar funds jihadist terrorism – is perhaps the worst example of the pot calling the kettle black in History. But the Saudi demands, including the permanent closure of Al Jazeera, expulsion of Arab dissidents and removal of a Turkish military base, reveal an altogether different agenda.

Qatar has proved much more resilient than anybody expected. The blockade has caused some economic damage but it has been survivable, and the effect has been entirely counter-productive for Bin Salman. Qatar has become closer economically to Iran and has developed new port facilities which reduce import reliance on Saudi Arabia and its satraps. The Saudis had massed troops on the border and threatened invasion, but the Qataris vowed to fight.

Then something remarkable happened which the world mainstream media has almost entirely ignored. Despite Saudi sponsored adverts all over US media portraying named senior Qataris as terrorist sponsors, and despite strong Israeli pro-Saudi lobbying, Donald Trump suddenly called Bin Salman to heel. With Saudi troops massed on the Qatari border, on 30 January the United States signed an agreement with Qatar “to deter and confront any threat to Qatar’s territorial integrity”. This was a massive slap in the face to Bin Salman from Donald Trump, and a result of Tillerson recognising the real threat to the world from Bin Salman’s extreme ambition.

I can only conjecture this received none of the publicity it deserved from the corporate media because it went against the prevailing narrative that Trump can never, in any circumstance, do anything strikingly good, and because it was a blow to Israel. The uber-hawk Clinton would certainly not have crossed Saudi Arabia and Israel in this way. It is an important sign that there is more to Tillerson’s Middle Eastern diplomacy than the stupid decision, motivated by US domestic politics, to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The elite loves Saudi money all around the world. But the UK is unique in allowing that to blind them absolutely to human rights abuses, the appalling bombing of Yemen, and the extreme dangers posed by Bin Salman’s hyperactive regional aggression towards Shia Muslims. We should be used to seeing Tories kowtowing to money by now. But this week makes me still more sick than usual.

China and America Vie for Africa

China Rising: Top General Issues Urgent Warning Over US, China Collision Course in Africa 

by James Holbrooks - MintPress News

March 9, 2018

The global hegemony of the United States is being challenged, and the contest is perfectly encapsulated in what’s happening now in the small African nation of Djibouti.

China is the rising world power. This much is clear, but nowhere is that reality felt more than behind closed doors in Washington. The global hegemony of America is being challenged, and the contest is perfectly encapsulated in what’s happening now in the small African nation of Djibouti.

Strategically located at the southern entrance to the Red Sea en route to Suez, Djibouti is home to both U.S. and Chinese military bases, and the two are only miles apart.

The U.S. base houses around 4,000 military personnel and is used as a launching pad for operations in Yemen and Somalia.

Its new outpost in Djibouti will be largely to support
Chinese forces on missions such as anti-piracy patrols
off Somalia. (Photo: Chinese Navy)

China’s navy conducted its first joint maritime exercises with Djibouti in 2015. On Tuesday, Reuters highlighted how the situation at a key port in Djibouti has U.S. officials worrying over China’s growing reach:

Last month, Djibouti ended its contract with Dubai’s DP World, one of the world’s biggest port operators, to run the Doraleh Container Terminal, citing failure to resolve a dispute that began in 2012.

DP World called the move an illegal seizure of the terminal and said it had begun new arbitration proceedings before the London Court of International Arbitration.”

It also described the reaction in Washington at a session of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee

During a U.S. congressional hearing on Tuesday, which was dominated by concerns about China’s role in Africa, lawmakers said they had seen reports that Djibouti seized control of the port to give it to China as a gift.”

Speaking before lawmakers, Marine General Thomas Waldhauser, the top U.S. commander in Africa, warned that the military’s ability to resupply and refuel ships would be greatly affected if China restricted access to the port:

If the Chinese took over that port, then the consequences could be significant.”

He also suggested there would be “more” such power projections from China in the coming days:

There are some indications of (China) looking for additional facilities, specifically on the eastern coast…So Djibouti happens to be the first — there will be more.”

For China’s part, the country’s Foreign Ministry has rejected the notion that China would exclude a third party from having access to the port and asked the U.S. to keep an open mind.

We hope that the U.S. side can objectively and fairly view China’s development and China-Africa cooperation,” ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a press briefing.”

At the congressional hearing on Tuesday, General Waldhauser pointed out that the U.S. was entering new territory in terms of physically competing with China over resources on the ground:

China has been on the African continent for quite some time, but we as a combatant command have not dealt with it in terms of a strategic interest.”

And it’s territory the military is entering slowly. “We are taking baby steps in that regard,” Waldhauser said.

All this cautiousness speaks directly to what’s happening here. One power, the United States, is sensing a legitimate threat from another, China. And in the case of Djibouti, the proximity is forcing tensions out into the open.

While giving a talk on U.S.-Africa relations at George Mason University on Tuesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Djibouti “a very critical trading route for the world’s economy and a critical partner in securing that trading route.”

He also compared the United States’ and China’s approaches toward African nations:

The United States pursues, develops sustainable growth that bolsters institutions, strengthens rule of law, and builds the capacity of African countries to stand on their own two feet. We partner with African countries by incentivizing good governance to meet long term security and development goals.”

Tillerson said this model “stands in stark contrast to China’s approach, which encourages dependency using opaque contracts, predatory loan practices, and corrupt deals that mire nations in debt and undercut their sovereignty, denying them their long-term, self-sustaining growth.”

This depiction settles nicely into the grander narrative of China as one of the world’s “revisionist powers” that “seek to create a world consistent with their authoritarian models.” That’s the picture painted by Secretary of Defense James Mattis back in January.

He was unveiling a broad new strategy at the Defense Department, one that shifted focus away from terrorism.

“We will continue to prosecute the campaign against terrorists that we are engaged in today,” Mattis said,
“but great power competition — not terrorism — is now the primary focus of US national security.” 

The defense secretary’s comments echo those of President Donald Trump in a speech on national security in December.

In that speech, Trump noted that “whether we like it or not, we are engaged in a new era of competition.” Indeed, and the fact of it is very much on display at the south end of the Red Sea.

James Holbrooks covers geopolitics with a particular emphasis on Asia. Domestically, he writes about the state of the criminal justice system and issues of censorship. James’ analyses have been published at, and he regularly contributes to Scott Horton’s project, the Libertarian Institute.

The Anti-Media is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

God and the Modern Forever Crusaders

God Wills It! The War on Terror as the Launching of an American Crusade

by James Carroll - TomDispatch

March 8, 2018   

America may be sinking ever deeper into the moral morass of the Trump era, but if you think the malevolence of this period began with him, think again.

The moment I still dwell on, the moment I believe ignited the vast public disorder that is now our all-American world, has been almost completely forgotten here. And little wonder. It was no more than a casually tossed-off cliché, a passing historical reference whose implications and consequences meant nothing to the speaker. “This crusade,” said President George W. Bush just days after the 9/11attacks, “this war on terrorism…”

That, however, proved to be an invocation from hell, one that set the stage for so much of the horror to follow.

The Crusades were, of course, a centuries-long medieval catastrophe. Bush’s Global War on Terror, in contrast, has already wreaked comparable havoc in a paltry 17 years, leading to almost unimaginable mayhem abroad and a moral collapse at home personified by President Donald J. Trump.

Despite the threads of causality woven together as if on some malignant loom that brought about his election -- the cult of reality-show celebrity, the FBI director's last-minute campaign intervention, Russian mischief, Hillary Clinton’s vulnerability to self-defeat and misogyny, electoral college anomalies, Republican party nihilism, and a wickedly disenchanted public -- the ease with which such a figure took control of the levers of power in this country should still stun us. Some deep sickness of the soul had already played havoc with our democracy’s immune system or he wouldn’t have been imaginable. Think of him as a symptom, not the disease. After Trump finally leaves the Oval Office, we’ll still be a stricken people and the world will still be groaning under the weight of the wreckage this country has brought about. How, then, did we actually get here? It might be worth a momentary glance back.

Tomgram: James Carroll, An American Reckoning

[Note for TomDispatch Readers: When my kids were little and had trepidations about doing something I knew they would end up liking, I would offer them what I called “the Engelhardt Guarantee.” It always worked. Now, let me offer that same guarantee on a book that had me raptly reading beginning to end: James Carroll’s new novel, The Cloister. It’s the story of a priest and a Jewish Holocaust survivor in modern New York City, woven together gracefully with a vivid retelling of the medieval love story of Abelard and Héloïse, itself set against the grim backdrop of the Crusades. (Read Carroll’s post below on that subject!) Novelist Maxine Hong Kingston called his novel “an enlightening, vitally important book, a necessity for our time” and Publisher’s Weekly, “a sweeping, heartbreaking blend of history and fiction... a very magnetic, satisfying novel.” Consider it a tale of paths not taken into the modern world. Carroll has agreed to send personalized, signed copies of The Cloister to any TomDispatch reader who donates $100 ($125 if you live outside the U.S.) to this website. In this case, your generosity, which makes all the difference to us, comes with the Engelhardt Guarantee. Check out our donation page for the details. Tom]

Here’s a thoroughly humdrum figure from the post-9/11 world: this February an estimated 1,294 people were killed in Iraq and another 266 wounded, including ISIS militants, numerous civilians, Iraqi security forces, Kurds, and Turks. Few of them died in major combat, just low-level incidents, suicide bombings, and bodies found in mass graves. And keep in mind that that’s what passes for a peaceful month in the country George W. Bush invaded and occupied in March 2003. Since then, the violence there has never ceased, amid insurgencies, religious strife, the rise and fall (and rise) of terror groups, acts of ethnic cleansing, and other horrors without end. A number of Iraq’s major cities, including Fallujah, Ramadi, and its second largest urban area, Mosul, are little more than rubble today. Hundreds of thousands of its people, many of them civilians, have been killed and more wounded. In the last few years, an estimated 1.3 million Iraqi children have been displaced in the war against ISIS, even as the country remains deeply riven and without access to the funds necessary to truly rebuild.

And that, of course, is just one ruined land in the Greater Middle East, a region from Afghanistan to Libya increasingly filled with failed states, terror groups, and ruins as, almost 17 years after the attacks of 9/11, the Trump administration once again ramps up the war on terror (which should long ago have been renamed the war for terror). Today, TomDispatch regular James Carroll, a former columnist for the Boston Globe, leaves Donald J. Trump in the dust and returns to the fateful moments when all of this first began, when President George W. Bush launched what would be, to choose a word that has long been on Carroll’s mind, a “crusade” not just against terrorism but, as it turned out, against much of the Islamic world. Carroll, whose new novel The Cloister, is set against the age of the original crusades, takes in its enormity so many years later. Tom

God Wills It! 

The War on Terror as the Launching of an American Crusade

by James Carroll

A Fever Dream of a War

“This is a new kind of evil.” So said the president that September 16th, standing on the South Lawn of the White House. 
“And the American people are beginning to understand. This crusade, this war on terrorism, is going to take a while.” 
In that way, only five days after the 9/11 attacks, George W. Bush elevated a band of petty nihilists to the status of world-historic warriors. “And the American people must be patient,” he continued. “I’m going to be patient.”

He, of course, is long gone, but what he initiated that day is still unspooling. It could have been so different. September 11th was a tragic moment, but the initial reactions of most Americans to those collapsed towers and a damaged Pentagon were ones of empathy and patriotism. The selflessness of first responders that day had its echo in a broad and surprising manifestation of national altruism. The usual left-right divides of politics disappeared and the flag, for once, became a true symbol of national unity. The global reaction was similar. From across the world, including from erstwhile adversaries like Russia and China, came authentic expressions of support and sympathy, of grief-struck affection.

But in every phrase the president would speak in those weeks -- “this is war… with us or against usdead or alive” -- he chose to take this country on quite a different path into the future.

Two days before invoking the Crusades, for instance, he presided over a religious service, which, though officially defined as “ecumenical,” took place in the neo-Gothic National Cathedral. “Just three days removed from these events,” he said from that church’s pulpit, 
“Americans do not yet have the distance of history. But our responsibility to history is already clear: to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil… This conflict was begun on the timing and terms of others. It will end in a way and at an hour of our choosing.”

In a specifically Christian setting, that is, George W. Bush answered the criminal attacks of 9/11 not by calling on international law enforcement to bring the perpetrators to justice, but by a declaration of cosmic war aimed at nothing less than the elimination of Islamist evil. Labeling it a “crusade” only underscored the subliminal but potent message conveyed by television cameras that lingered on the cathedral’s multiple crucifixes and the bloodied figure of Jesus Christ. Held up for all to see, that sacred icon sent a signal that could not be missed. A self-avowed secular nation was now to be a crusader, ready to display the profoundly Christian character of a culture erected on triumphalist pieties from its Pilgrim roots to the nuclear apocalypticism of the Cold War.

Bush’s message was received in the Arab world just as you might expect. There, his reference to “this crusade” was rendered as “this War of the Cross.” Even then, many Muslims knew better than to regard the president’s characterization of the conflict to come as purely accidental and of no import, just as they would later disregard the insistence of America’s leaders that their country’s violent intrusions across the Greater Middle East and parts of Africa were not “religiously” inspired in any way. Today, of course, Donald Trump’s brazen denigrations of Muslims have made clear just how on target observers in the Islamic world were about what lay behind Washington’s new “global war.”

At the time of Bush’s cavalier use of crusade, I was one of the few here to take offense and say so. I feared even then that stumbling into sectarian strife, into -- in the argot of the day -- a “clash of civilizations,” could set in motion, as the original Crusades had, a dynamic that would far outrun anyone’s intentions, loosing forces that could destroy the very principles in whose name that “war of choice” was declared. Little did I know how far short of an accurate damage assessment my thoughts would fall.

In fact, Bush’s use of that term wasn’t a stumble, however inadvertent, but a crystal-clear declaration of purpose that would soon be aided and abetted by a fervent evangelical cohort within the U.S. military, already primed for holy war. With what Bush himself called “the distance of history,” it’s now possible to see the havoc his “crusade” is still wreaking across much of the globe: Iraq and Afghanistan are in ruins; Syria destroyed (with Russian, American, Israeli, Turkish, and Iranian warplanes testing one another in its airspace); Yemen gripped by a war-induced famine; the Turks at the throat of the Kurds; the Israeli-Palestinian peace process dead; Libya a failed state; U.S. Special Ops garrisons in Somalia, Niger, and across Africa; and Europe increasingly politically destabilized by refugee flows from these conflicts. Meanwhile, Bush’s crusade became the American disease now peaking in the fever dream of President Donald Trump.

Exercises in Apocalyptic Millennialism, Then and Now

The actual Crusades were a multi-phased series of wars waged in the name of God. They began in 1096 and continued intermittently for almost two centuries until 1291. By the time the Crusading era drew to a close, moral values had been trashed; a nascent structure of capitalism had infused the new economy of Europe with greed; a dark inclination toward mass violence was seething in European consciousness; and the militarization of religion was taken for granted. The mayhem of modernity followed.

To believe that killing could be holy, Christians first had to accept that God willed such violence. So they constructed a theology in which He would ordain the bloody death not just of evil-doers (a favorite word of George W. Bush), but of His only begotten Son, whose suffering alone could “atone” for human sin. The instrument of Christ’s saving death, the cross, soon became sacred and an emblem of war against Muslims. The Crusaders would wear it proudly on their tunics and shields. This violent theology of “atonement” would sear the religious imagination of Christians forever after, making them all too ready to kill in the name of God. Long before the war on terror, whether explicitly or implicitly, such a theology had come to justify and often motivate similar American campaigns of killing, starting with King Phillip’s War, launched by Puritan colonists against the native peoples who had welcomed them to Plymouth. (God wills it!)

The Crusades themselves began with an urge to take back the holy city of Jerusalem from the Saracen infidel. As Western civilization jelled in the crusading centuries, Europe became fixed on Islam as its existential negative-other. This fixation -- what scholar Edward Said called “Orientalism” -- still undergirds the identity of the West, which is why an anti-Muslim war, fueled by anti-Muslim prejudice, turns out to fit the American Century like a mailed fist in a velvet glove.

As Said suggested, European Christian contempt for the “Orientals” of the Levant soon leached into other God-sanctioned projects, especially once the age of the Crusades had given way to the age of exploration. Recall Christopher Columbus’s three crossed-marked caravels, the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa María, as they set out from Spain for the New World, soon enough to be followed by the wooden vessels of other European powers. It didn’t take long before native peoples globally began to fall victim, often genocidally so, to gun-toting European adventurers and slave traders who had learned to think of themselves as “white.” Though Donald Trump has no more idea of such roots of contempt for the Muslim world than George Bush did, he has successfully lifted the relit torch of race hatred yet higher.

The Crusades were an exercise in apocalyptic millennialism, a hot current that also runs just below the surface of twenty-first-century American martial ardor. Is it only an accident that the first Crusade and Bush’s were both keyed to the turning of a millennium? After the year 1000, a Biblical mythology attached to Jerusalem fueled frenzied End Time expectations that culminated in the never-ending war for that city and a European obsession with it ever since. The first purpose of the primordial Holy War of that era was Jerusalem’s rescue from the Muslim infidel; no one should be surprised that, 11 centuries later, the establishment of an American embassy there remains a flashpoint for the anti-Muslim crusade of the present moment.

More generally, the excesses of the American reaction to 9/11 had an edge of millennial dread from the beginning. The endlessly replayed footage of the collapsing World Trade Center towers had the look and feel of an atomic attack on America (hence the almost instant labeling of the site as “Ground Zero,” a term previously reserved for nuclear explosions). Those scenes plucked unconscious chords strung deep in the American psyche, ones the president promptly played on. A few days after 9/11, he went before Congress to declare that “God is not neutral” and so claimed for his administration the mantle of being God’s purifying agent.

Almost a year later, before a throng of West Point cadets, he was still at it, insisting that “we are in a conflict between good and evil and America will call evil by its name.” In such a conflict, of course, outcomes are no longer to be measured by real consequences in the lives of actual human beings, but by the transcendent will of God (or, in his stead, the “sole superpower” of planet Earth) to whom actual human beings can naturally be sacrificed.

“For much of the last century,” Bush declared in his Crusader-style West Point address, “America’s defense relied on Cold War doctrines of deterrence and containment… But new threats also require new thinking.” A hard-won twentieth-century assumption that Washington must, in the end, take the path of the lesser evil had, by then, already been summarily replaced by a determination to simply obliterate evil altogether. Deterrence and containment had saved the human species from nuclear apocalypse, but for the country’s new apocalyptic encounter with “terrorism” such modes were obviously insufficiently absolute.

And when a nation’s purpose becomes the cosmic destruction of evil, anything goes -- as it has in the American Crusade. Hence the jettisoning of the Geneva Accords, the embrace of torture, the obliteration of prisoners' rights, the abuses that live on in the unchecked intrusions of government surveillance, or in what Americans are too polite to call the concentration camp at Guantánamo that Donald Trump so devoutly desires to keep open and running.

The Crusading appetite for enemies is insatiable, which is why, in the Middle Ages, the war against Islam morphed so seamlessly into wars against, first, the Rhineland Jews in Europe’s early pogroms; then, Eastern Orthodox believers whose cities, including Constantinople, were besieged and sacked; and finally, Catholic dissenters (think “heretics”) like the Albigensians and Cathars who were brutally eliminated.

In America’s version of such enemy-creep, the war against the al-Qaeda network quickly morphed into a “war” against terror groups in more than 60 nations, starting with Afghanistan and the Taliban, and within a year and a half Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, a country and regime utterly unrelated to al-Qaeda. From there, it was on to Pakistan, Somalia, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Niger, the Philippines, and parts as yet unknown.

When George W. Bush delivered his State of the Union address four months after 9/11, he redefined America’s main enemies as -- again that word -- an “axis of evil,” consisting of Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. By then, it already mattered not at all that Shiite Iran had nothing to do with the Sunni sect led by Osama bin Laden; that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11; and that North Korea had not the remotest connection to the September crisis that so traumatized the United States. Once named in this way, the leaders of Iran and North Korea, now knowing that, in American eyes, they were the fonts of (almost) all evil, could, of course, be expected to take immediate measures to brace themselves against future American aggression -- and so they did with nuclear programs that still are at the heart of the aggressively militarized policies being pushed by Donald Trump and his generals today (and with a future war in either of those countries a distinct possibility).

However, the most salient echo of the medieval Crusades in contemporary U.S. military campaigns comes under the heading of failure. For all the romance associated with the knights-in-shining-armor of that era, their God-willed liberation of the Holy City in 1099 did not survive the Muslim reconquest of 1187, a Christian defeat that would make the English king, Richard the Lionheart, a mythic figure, and guarantee Jerusalem’s place in the lost-cause fantasies of Europe forever after. (It was a defeat that would not be avenged until 1917, when Field Marshal Edmund Allenby finally reclaimed Jerusalem for Christians, with catastrophic consequences for Jews and Muslims alike.) America’s failures in the Middle East, despite Pentagon rhetoric about the U.S. military’s “full spectrum dominance,” have been no less obvious and no less total on a planet that can no longer tolerate decades, no less centuries, of war.

Licensing a War Against Evil

George W. Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq remains a marker of virtue (and vice) in contemporary American politics. Those few legislators who were against the invasion still wear their votes of opposition as badges of honor, while those in favor were permanently shamed. (And think of how that played out in the 2016 presidential campaign.) But that’s far too convenient a way to replay our recent history. In fact, the die had already been cast long before that vote, which meant that the invasion of Iraq followed the invasion of Afghanistan as inevitably as wakes follow warships. After all, Operation Enduring Freedom, supposedly meant to target Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network of a few hundred fighters, began with a massive bombing campaign across large parts of Afghanistan. The blind faith of the U.S. Air Force in the long-discredited tactic of “strategic” bombing would be touching if it didn’t involve such a blindness to its effects on human bodies -- and almost 17 years later, American bombers, including the latest drones and Vietnam-era B-52s, are still dropping fire on Afghani flesh as that war goes from bad to worse.

The Afghan campaign, which quite literally ignited the war on terror, was officially launched on October 7, 2001. But who remembers that everything to come -- from that Afghan invasion to the deaths late last year of four U.S. Green Berets in Niger -- had already been enthusiastically licensed three weeks earlier when George W. Bush stepped to that cross-shadowed pulpit of the National Cathedral to berate evil. Only hours before, the Joint Congressional Resolution on the Use of Force (“The President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons...”) passed the Senate 98 to 0 and the House of Representatives 420 to 1. Those are the numbers that should live on in history, if not infamy.

The lone dissenter that day was Representative Barbara Lee, a California Democrat. In warning against the coming American crusade, she denounced the Joint Congressional Resolution as “a blank check to the president to attack anyone involved in the Sept. 11 events -- anywhere, in any country, without regard to our nation’s long-term foreign policy, economic and national security interests, and without time limit.” She added all too prophetically, “A rush to launch precipitous military counterattacks runs too great a risk that more innocent men, women, children will be killed.”

As they were, as they still are. Lest one assume that responsibility for the catastrophe that followed rests solely upon Bush and his hawkish circle, remember that the administration’s responses were approved by 90% of the American public, the highest presidential approval rating ever achieved, while a full 80% of them expressly favored Bush’s open-ended war against Afghanistan. That war would eventually let loose mayhem across a dozen other nations (and it’s still spreading), leaving millions of dead, disfigured, displaced human beings in its wake. Most Americans and nearly all of their congressional representatives were complicit in what remains an unfinished global moral, economic, and political calamity that far exceeds anything the grotesque Donald Trump has so far brought about. He may yet start a nuclear war and has already undoubtedly sparked what could become a cascade of nuclear proliferation, yet for now the malign legacy of the 43rd President -- that American crusade -- exceeds anything the 45th one has yet imagined. And no, God does not will it.

James Carroll, TomDispatch regular and former Boston Globe columnist, is the author of 20 books, including the new novel The Cloister (Doubleday). His history of the Pentagon, House of War, won the PEN-Galbraith Award. His memoir, An American Requiem, won the National Book Award. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He lives in Boston with his wife, the writer Alexandra Marshall.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Alfred McCoy's In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power, as well as John Dower's The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II, John Feffer's dystopian novel Splinterlands, Nick Turse's Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt's Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

Copyright 2018 James Carroll

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Honduras: Arrest in Berta Caceres Murder Made

Honduran Exec Who Threatened Berta Caceres Arrested for Her Murder


March 7, 2018

Just before her assassination, environmental activist Berta Caceres told a filmmaker that she was being threatened by Roberto David Castillo, a Honduran hydroelectric company executive. He has now been arrested for conspiring in her murder. We speak to documentary filmmaker Jesse Freeston.

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Natalie Boll, Roger Annis, Christina Nikolic March 8th, 2018

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook -

March 8, 2018

Charting the life path of Beau Dick, the great Kwakwaka’wakw artist, is no mean navigational feat. The master carver, best known internationally for his traditional and fantastical masks is the subject of the documentary, 'Maker of Monsters: The Extraordinary Life of Beau Dick'. The film reveals the artist as teacher, mentor, community leader, political activist, and above all spiritual warrior living within and between multitudinous worlds.

Natalie Boll is an award-winning filmmaker whose work has garnered accolades in this country and abroad. She and collaborator, LaTiesha Fazakas wrote, produced, directed, and are now distributing the film that most recently featured at both the Victoria International and Salt Spring Island Film Festivals.
Listen. Hear.

Natalie Boll in the first half.

And; teevee news viewers can be forgiven their collective mal de mer; tossed as they are from issue to issue with hardly a contextual handrail to hold on to. It's little wonder then retching seems the only sensible reaction. But is there more behind the sick-making spectacle? Could it all be designed to keep the head spinning, and belly threatening imminent eruption?

Consider Russia coverage: Badgered by a year of conspiracy theories about elections meddling and other unsubstantiated rumours, viewers may feel disoriented when Vladimir Putin's declaration of a new atomic and next-gen tech. weaponry era, (and entirely unveiled promises to use those weapons should NATO continue its undeclared war against his country) rates a media yawn.

Roger Annis is a longtime socialist and trade union activist whose social justice and peace articles appear at his website, A Socialist in Canada. The site is a daily notifier on World News, and features both Canadian and Ecology news rolls.

Roger Annis and a barely noticed New Cold War escalation in the second half.

And; Victoria-based greentrepreneur and horticulturalist extraordinaire, Christina Nikolic will be here at the bottom of the hour with the Left Coast Events Bulletin, bringing us up to speed with some of the good things going on in and around our town in the coming week. But first, Natalie Boll and the extraordinary life of Beau Dick, Maker of Monsters.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday between 11-Noon Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at:  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, Check out the GR blog at:

Putin's State of the Nation and Implications of a Rejoined Next-Gen Arms Race

The Implications of Russia's New Weapons Systems 

by Andrei Martyanov - UNZ Report

March 5, 2018

During the August 2008 Russo-Georgian War, the operations of Russia’s 58th Army were termed as “coercion into peace”. It is an appropriate term once one recalls what truly was at stake then.

Russians did win that war and, indeed, coerced Georgia into a much more peaceful mood. In Clausewitzian terms the Russians achieved the main object of the war by compelling the enemy to do Russia’s will.

Russians, as the events of the last 19 years showed, have no illusions anymore about the possibility of any kind of reasonable civilized conduct from the combined West, least of all from the United States which still continues to reside in her bubble which insulates her from any outside voices of reason and peace.

The American global track record of the last few decades does not require any special elaborations—it is a record of military and humanitarian disasters.

Vladimir Putin’s March 1st, 2018 address to Russia’s Federal Assembly was not about Russia’s upcoming presidential elections, as many in the election-obsessed West suggest. Putin’s speech was about coercing America’s elites into, if not peace, at least into some form of sanity, given that they are currently completely detached from the geopolitical, military and economic realities of a newly emerging world. As it was the case with Georgia in 2008, the coercion was based on military power.

The Pre-Shoigu Russian Army, for all its real and perceived shortcomings, disposed of the US-trained and partially equipped Georgian force in a matter of five days—the Russian Army’s technology, personnel and operational art was simply better. Obviously such a scenario is not possible between Russia and the United States; that is unless the American myth of technological superiority is blown out of the water.

American power elites, the majority of whom have never served a day in uniform nor ever attended serious military academic institutions and whose expertise on serious military-technological and geopolitical issues is limited to couple of seminars on nuclear weapons and, in the best case scenario, the efforts of the Congressional Research Service are simply not qualified to grasp the complexity, the nature and application of military force. They simply have no reference points. Yet, being a product of the American pop-military culture, also known as military porn and propaganda, these people—this collection of lawyers, political “scientists”, sociologists and journalists who dominate the American strategic kitchen which cooks non-stop delusional geopolitical and military doctrines, can understand one thing for sure—when their poor dears get a bulls-eye on their backs, or foreheads.

Putin’s message to the United States was extremely simple: he reminded the US about its condescending refusal to even consider Russia’s position on the ABM Treaty. As Jeffrey Lewis, in a surprising moment of sobriety for Foreign Policy magazine put it:

The real genesis of Russia’s new generation of bizarre nuclear weapons lies not in the most recent Nuclear Posture Review, but in the George W. Bush administration’s decision in 2001 to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and the bipartisan failure by both the Bush and Obama administrations to engage meaningfully with the Russians over their concerns about American missile defenses. Putin said as much in his remarks. “During all these years since the unilateral U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty,” Putin explained, “we have been working intensively on advanced equipment and arms, which allowed us to make a breakthrough in developing new models of strategic weapons.” Those technological breakthroughs are now here. Sadly, we’re never got the diplomatic ones we needed.

Putin’s message was clear: “You didn’t listen to us then, you will listen to us now”. After that he proceeded with what can only be described as a military-technological Pearl-Harbor meets Stalingrad. The strategic ramifications of the latest weapon systems Putin presented are immense. In fact, they are historic in nature. Of course, many American pundits, expectedly, dismissed that as bluster—it is expected from the US military “expert” community. Others were not as dismissive and some were, indeed, deeply shocked. The overall impression today, a day after Putin’s presentation, can be described in simple terms as such: the missile gap is real and, in fact, it is not a gap but a technological abyss. Paradoxically, this abyss is not where many do admit it—such as the RS-28 Sarmat ballistic missile, whose existence and approximate characteristics were more or less known for years. It is, undeniably, an impressive technological achievement of having a ballistic missile with not only practically unlimited range but also capable of trajectories which render any kind of Anti-Ballistic Defense useless. In the end, to be attacked from the South Pole, through South America, is not a contingency the US military is capable of facing. Probably not for very many years.

Nor is the Russian M=20+ hypersonic glider weapon system called Avangard, which is already in series production, an unexpected development—the United States has its own, albeit not successful yet, program for such types of weapons and those ideas were being floated in the US since the mid-2000s under the tutelage of the PGS (Prompt Global Strike). Yes, these are stunning technological achievements by Russia with Jeffrey Lewis’ term “bizarre” being a euphemism for “we don’t have anything comparable”, but it wasn’t even here where the real shock should be. Several of my articles on this resource have been focused precisely in the area where the United States was more than lagging—cruise missiles, all kinds of them. I predicted the American real military decline coming namely by this path many years ago, today it is patently clear that Russia holds an overwhelming military-technological advantage in cruise and aero-ballistic missiles and leads the US by decades in this crucial field.

While Western punditry was discussing all those exotic and, no doubt, stunning weapon systems designed for the delivery of nuclear weapons to any point on the globe with very high precision, many true professionals were gasping for the air when the Dagger (Kinzhal) was unveiled. This is a complete game changer geopolitically, strategically, operationally, tactically and psychologically. It was known for some time now that Russian Navy was already deploying a revolutionary M=8 capable 3M22 Zircon anti-shipping missile. As impressive and virtually uninterceptable by any air defenses the Zircon is, the Kinzhal is simply shocking in its capabilities. This, most likely based on the famed Iskander airframe, M=10+ capable, highly maneuverable, aero-ballistic missile with a range of 2000 kilometers, carried by MiG-31BMs, just rewrote the book on naval warfare. It made large surface fleets and combatants obsolete. No, you are not misreading it. No air-defense or anti-missile system in the world today (maybe with the exception of the upcoming S-500 specifically designed for the interception of hyper-sonic targets) is capable of doing anything about it, and, most likely, it will take decades to find the antidote. More specifically, no modern or perspective air-defense system deployed today by any NATO fleet can intercept even a single missile with such characteristics. A salvo of 5-6 such missiles guarantees the destruction of any Carrier Battle Group or any other surface group, for that matter–all this without use of nuclear munitions.

The usage of such a weapon, especially since we know now that it is deployed already in Russia’s Southern Military District is very simple–the most likely missile drop spot by MiG-31s will be in the international waters of the Black Sea, thus closing off the whole Eastern Mediterranean to any surface ship or group of ships. Russia can also close off the Persian Gulf completely. It also creates a massive no-go zone in the Pacific, where MiG-31BMs from Yelizovo in Kamchatka or Centralnaya Uglovaya Air Base in Primosrky Krai will be able to patrol vast distances over the ocean. It is, though, remarkable that the current platform for the Kinzhal is the MiG-31–arguably the best interceptor in history. Obviously, the MiG-31′s ability to reach very high supersonic speeds (well in excess of M=2) is a key factor in the launch. But no matter what the procedures for the launch of this terrifying weapon are, the immediate strategic consequences of Kinzhal’s operational deployment are as follows:

  1. It finally moves aircraft carriers into the niche of pure power projection against weak and defenseless adversaries, and away from the remote sea zone of Russia, be it the Mediterranean, Pacific or North Atlantic. This also means a complete no-go zone for any of the 33 Aegis-equipped US Navy destroyers and cruisers which are crucial for American Ballistic Missile Defense;
  2. It makes classic CBGs as a main strike force against a peer or near-peer completely obsolete and useless, it also makes any surface combat ship defenseless regardless of its air-defense or anti-missile capabilities. It completely annuls hundreds of billions of dollars investment into those platforms and weapons, which suddenly become nothing more than fat defenseless targets. The whole concept of Air-Sea Battle, aka Joint Concept for Access and Maneuver in the Global Commons (JAM-GC), which is a cornerstone of American global dominance becomes simply useless—this is a doctrinal and fiscal catastrophe.
  3. Sea Control and Sea Denial change their nature and merge. Those who have such weapons, simply own vast spaces of the sea limited by the ranges of the Kinzhal and its carriers. It also removes completely any crucial surface support for submarines in the area, thus exposing them for Patrol/ASW aviation and surface ships. The effect is multiplicative and it is profound.

Russia has many of those carriers—the program of modernization of MiG-31s to BM was in full steam for some years now, with front line Air Force units seeing a considerable inflow of these aircraft. It is clear now why such modernization was undertaken–it made MiG-31BMs into launch platforms for the Kinzhal. As Marine Major General James L. Jones went on record in 1991, after the First Gulf War, “All it takes to panic a battlegroup is seeing somebody dropping a couple of 50-gallon drums into the water.” The Kinzhal effectively removes any non-suicidal surface force thousands of miles away from Russia’s shores and renders its capabilities irrelevant. In layman’s lingo that means only one thing—the US Navy’s whole surface component becomes a complete hollow force good only for parades and flag demonstration near and in the littorals of weak and underdeveloped nations. This can be done for a tiny fraction of the astronomical costs of US platforms and weapons.

It is very difficult at this stage to fully predict the political fallout of Putin’s speech in the US. What is easy to predict, however, is the use of the beaten to death cliché of asymmetry. The use of this cliché is wrong. What happened on March 1st this year with the announcement and demonstration of new Russian weapons is not asymmetry, it was an acknowledgement of the final arrival of a completely new paradigm in warfare, military technology and, as a consequence in strategy and operational art. Old rules and wisdom have ceased to apply. The United Sates was not and is not prepared for this, despite many real professionals, including in the US itself, warning about the new unfolding military-technological paradigm and a complete American myopia and hubris in anything military related. As Colonel Daniel Davies was forced to admit:

However justified that pride might have been at the time, it quickly mutated into distasteful arrogance. Now, it is an outright danger to the nation. Perhaps nothing exemplifies this threat better than the Pentagon’s dysfunctional acquisition system.

It is prudent to predict today, against the background of an American approach to war that there will be no sensible technological American response to Russia in the foreseeable future. The United States simply has no resources, other than turning on the printing presses and completely bankrupting itself in the process, to counter. But here is the point, Russians know this and Putin’s speech was not about directly threatening the US which, for all intents and purposes, is simply defenseless against the plethora of Russia’s hyper-sonic weapons. Russia does not pursue the objective of destroying the United States. Russia’s actions are dictated by only one cause–to pull a gun on a drunk, rowdy, knife wielding bully in the bar and get him to pay attention to what others may have to say. In other words, Russia brought the gun to a knife fight and it seems that this is the only way to deal with the United States today.

If warnings and the demonstration of Russian military-technological superiority will have an effect, as was the Russian intent from the beginning, some sensible conversation on the new world order may start between key geopolitical players. The world cannot afford any more a pretentious, self-aggrandizing and hollow bully which knows not what it does and threatens the world’s stability and peace. American self-proclaimed hegemony is over where it really matters for any real and perceived hegemon—the military field. It was over for some time now, it just took Putin’s speech to demonstrate the good old Al Capone truism that one can get much further with a kind word and a gun than with a kind word alone. After all, Russia did try a kind word alone, it didn’t work and the United States has only itself to blame.

Anybody Home, America? Putin's Real News Bulletin for a Pugnacious Empire

Are You Listening, America?

by Scott Ritter - Truthdig

March 2, 2018

From 2002 until 2011, Paul Marcarelli, perhaps better known to American audiences as Verizon’s ‘test guy’, made a career starring in television commercials, wandering the width and breadth of the United States, holding a phone to his ear and asking the simple question, “Can you hear me now?”

Verizon was, and is, in the communications business in which the ability to send a message is only as good as the corresponding ability to receive it.

On Thursday [March 1], Vladimir Putin, Russia’s much-maligned president, delivered his state of the nation address to the Russian Federal Assembly (the Russian national Legislature, consisting of the State Duma, or lower house, and the Russian Council, or upper house).

Vladimir Putin delivers his address to the
Russian Federal Assembly on March 1, 2018
(photo: website of the President of Russia)

While the first half of his speech dealt with Russian domestic issues—and any American who has bought into Western media perceptions that Russia is a collapsing state, possessing a failed economy, would do well to read this portion of the speech—it was the second half of the presentation that caused the world to sit up and listen.

In this portion of the speech, Putin outlined developments in Russian strategic military capability. The developments collectively signal the obsolescence of America’s strategic nuclear deterrence, both in terms of its present capabilities and—taking into account the $1.2 trillion nuclear weapons modernization program President Trump unveiled earlier this year—anything America might pursue in the decades to come.

Some Western observers have derided Putin’s speech as simple posturing, a manic effort to project Russian power, and with it global credibility, where none exists. Such an interpretation would be incorrect. There should be no doubt among American politicians, military leaders and citizens alike. “Every word has a meaning,” Putin told his audience. The weapons he referred to are real, and Putin meant every word he said.

“Back in 2000,” he said, “the U.S. announced its withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Russia was categorically against this. We saw the Soviet-U.S. ABM Treaty signed in 1972 as the cornerstone of the international security system. … Together with the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty [START], the ABM Treaty not only created an atmosphere of trust but also prevented either party from recklessly using nuclear weapons, which would have endangered humankind. … We did our best to dissuade the Americans from withdrawing from the treaty. All in vain.”

“The U.S. pulled out of the treaty in 2002,” Putin observed.

“Even after that, we tried to develop constructive dialogue with the Americans. We proposed working together in this area to ease concerns and maintain the atmosphere of trust. At one point, I thought that a compromise was possible, but this was not to be. All our proposals, absolutely all of them, were rejected. And then we said that we would have to improve our modern strike systems to protect our security. In reply, the U.S. said that it is not creating a global BMD [Ballistic Missile Defense] system against Russia, which is free to do as it pleases, and that the U.S. will presume that our actions are not spearheaded against the U.S.”

Building on his well-known position, delivered in his 2005 state of the nation address, that “the collapse of the Soviet Union was a major geopolitical disaster of the century” that created “genuine drama” in which “the epidemic of disintegration infected Russia itself,” Putin said in his 2018 state of the nation address that,

“apparently, our partners got the impression that it was impossible in the foreseeable historical perspective for our country to revive its economy, industry, defense industry and armed forces to levels supporting the necessary strategic potential. And if that is the case, there is no point in reckoning with Russia’s opinion, it is necessary to further pursue ultimate unilateral military advantage in order to dictate the terms in every sphere in the future. …”

“We ourselves are to blame,” Putin said.

“All these years, the entire 15 years since the withdrawal of the United States from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, we have consistently tried to reengage the American side in serious discussions, in reaching agreements in the sphere of strategic stability.” 

However, Putin observed, the United States “is permitting constant, uncontrolled growth of the number of anti-ballistic missiles, improving their quality, and creating new missile launching areas. If we do not do something, eventually this will result in the complete devaluation of Russia’s nuclear potential. Meaning that all of our missiles could simply be intercepted.”

Putin pointed out that in 2004, he put the world on notice about Russia’s intent to defend itself, telling the press: “As other countries increase the number and quality of their arms and military potential, Russia will also need to ensure it has new generation weapons and technology. … [T]his is a very significant statement because no country in the world as of now has such arms in their military arsenal.”

“Why did we do all this?” Putin asked his audience, referring to his 2004 comments.

“Why did we talk about it? As you can see, we made no secret of our plans and spoke openly about them, primarily to encourage our partners to hold talks. No, nobody really wanted to talk to us about the core of the problem, and nobody wanted to listen to us. So listen now. …”
“To those who in the past 15 years have tried to accelerate an arms race and seek unilateral advantage against Russia, have introduced restrictions and sanctions that are illegal from the standpoint of international law aiming to restrain our nation’s development, including in the military area, I will say this: Everything you have tried to prevent through such a policy has already happened. No one has managed to restrain Russia.”

This was a message delivered not just to the Russian Federal Assembly, but to the White House and its temperamental occupant, President Donald Trump, to the halls of Congress, where Russia-baiting has become a full-time occupation, and to the American people, who have been caught up in a wave of anti-Russia hysteria fueled by fantastical claims of a Russian “attack” on American democracy which, when balanced against the potential of thermonuclear annihilation, pales into insignificance.

Putin spoke, and one would hope that throughout America the modern-day incarnations of Verizon’s Paul Marcarelli are making their way into the homes of every American citizen and the halls of power where those the American people elect to represent them reside, and calling out, “Can you hear me now?”

Based upon the reaction to Putin’s speech so far, the answer appears to be “no.” This refusal to accept the fact that there exists today a new reality carries with it the potential for catastrophic miscalculation. In Pat Frank’s 1959 novel, Alas, Babylon, an American Navy fighter aircraft flying over the Mediterranean Sea fires a missile that veers off target, striking an ammunition depot near the Syrian city of Latakia, setting off a massive explosion that the Soviet Union uses as an excuse to initiate a retaliatory nuclear strike against the United States.

It doesn’t take a stretch of imagination today to paint a scenario in which American and Russian forces clash over Syria. Indeed, a recent incident—in which Syrian militia forces, supported by Russian private military contractors, advanced toward Syrian oil and gas fields occupied by U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters, only to be attacked by American fighter bombers, resulting in hundreds of casualties, including scores of Russian dead—underscores the fact that such clashes are no longer theoretical.

Russian and American aircraft patrol the same airspace. American and Russian troops face off on the ground below. American forces are charged with implementing a policy that is diametrically opposed to the one being pursued by their Russian counterparts. So far, clashes have been limited to proxies, but it is only a question of when, not if, American and Russian forces engage in force-on-force combat.

Syria is not the only geographical point of friction between the United States and Russia. Both the Baltic States and Ukraine find American and Russian forces facing off against one another. American ships and reconnaissance aircraft probing the waters and airspace off the Baltic coast and in the Black Sea have been aggressively challenged by Russian aircraft, oftentimes flying dangerously close to their American counterparts, prompting then-Secretary of State John Kerry to declare that the U.S. Navy would be justified in shooting down the Russians in “self-defense.”

The almost cavalier ease with which the idea of Russian-American combat is floated as a possibility by American decision-makers is born out of a misplaced notion of American military superiority which, while reflecting an accurate estimate of the situation ten years ago, is no longer the case today. After Russia emerged victorious in its short war with the republic of Georgia in 2008, many shortfalls in communications, organization and training were revealed that underscored the second-class nature of the Russian military when compared with the United States and NATO. Russia undertook a crash program, restructuring its military units, professionalizing its ranks, and investing in top-of-the line equipment, including modern communications. The Russian military that occupied [sic] the Crimea in 2014 was orders of magnitude better than the one that fought Georgia six years prior. The Russian military fighting in Syria today (and facing off against the Americans in the Baltics and Ukraine) is even better.

The United States, in recent years, has transitioned away from almost exclusively training for low-intensity conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, and is once again preparing to fight large-scale combined arms engagements against “near-peer” forces whose training and/or equipment is inferior to the American military. Comments made by U.S. military officers who have recently deployed to the Baltics make it clear that they believe the superiority of American arms serves as a deterrence to Russian regional ambitions. The reality is, even if Russia were to pursue ill-intent against its eastern European neighbors that manifested in military aggression (and there is no indication that this is the case), the notion of American and NATO ground forces serving as a force in deterrence is not sustainable. In fact, in many categories, such as tactical communications, artillery support and armor employment, the Russians outclass their American counterparts. Recent war games show that Russia would defeat NATO in any conflict in the Baltics.

But the quality of the Russian military is not the point. What is important, at least in the context of a broader discussion on comparative nuclear posture, is that 20 years ago, when Russia was militarily inferior to the United States, the Russian leadership embraced a policy of nuclear “de-escalation,” which envisioned the early use of tactical nuclear weapons by Russia to offset the conventional military advantages enjoyed by the United States and NATO. Through this policy, Russia sought to leverage its strong capabilities in tactical nuclear weapons by making the cost of regional engagement too high for any potential opponent. The policy of nuclear de-escalation was born during the time of the Chechen crisis, in the late 1990s, when Russia feared the possibility of Western intervention in that conflict. It served as the backbone of Russia’s nuclear posture in both 2008 and 2014, when Russia intervened in Georgia and Ukraine [sic], respectively. And it backed up Russia’s decision to intervene in Syria in 2015.

This Russian nuclear policy was noted in the 2018 U.S. Nuclear Posture Review, which said that “Russian strategy and doctrine emphasize the potential coercive and military uses of nuclear weapons. It mistakenly assesses that the threat of nuclear escalation or actual first use of nuclear weapons would serve to ‘de-escalate’ a conflict on terms favorable to Russia. These mistaken perceptions increase the prospect for dangerous miscalculation and escalation.”

No truer words could have been written. And yet, the Trump administration seems in no hurry to undertake any actions vis-à-vis Russia that would reduce the possibility of any such miscalculation and escalation. While noting in the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review that “arms control can contribute to U.S., allied, and partner security by helping to manage strategic competition among states,” the Trump administration went on to declare that “progress in arms control is not an end in and of itself, and depends on the security environment and the participation of willing partners.”

It was as if the entire history of U.S.-Russian arms control referred to by Putin in his state of the nation address never happened.

But it is not just history the Trump administration clouds over. The present and future is likewise shrouded in a cloud of wishful thinking that ignores the progress in Russian strategic capabilities promised by Putin in 2004 and delivered upon in 2018. “The United States,” the Nuclear Posture Review states, “remains willing to engage in a prudent arms control agenda. We are prepared to consider arms control opportunities that return parties to predictability and transparency, and remain receptive to future arms control negotiations if conditions permit and the potential outcome improves the security of the United States and its allies and partners.”

Noting that “there is no ‘one size fits all’ for deterrence,” the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review states that “the United States will apply a tailored and flexible approach to effectively deter across a spectrum of adversaries, threats, and contexts” in order to “communicate to different potential adversaries that their aggression would carry unacceptable risks and intolerable costs according to their particular calculations of risk and cost.”

While not specifically naming Russia, the Trump administration put Moscow on notice that it,

“must understand that there are no possible benefits from non-nuclear aggression or limited nuclear escalation. … [P]otential adversaries must recognize that across the emerging range of threats and contexts: 1) the United States is able to identify them and hold them accountable for acts of aggression, including new forms of aggression; 2) we will defeat non-nuclear strategic attacks; and, 3) any nuclear escalation will fail to achieve their objectives, and will instead result in unacceptable consequences for them.”

The Russian president heard the message the United States was communicating.

“We are greatly concerned by certain provisions of the revised nuclear posture review,” Putin said, “which expand the opportunities for reducing and reduce the threshold for the use of nuclear arms. Behind closed doors, one may say anything to calm down anyone, but we read what is written. And what is written is that this strategy can be put into action in response to conventional arms attacks and even to a cyber threat.”

Putin further noted “that our military doctrine says Russia reserves the right to use nuclear weapons solely in response to a nuclear attack, or an attack with other weapons of mass destruction against the country or its allies, or an act of aggression against us with the use of conventional weapons that threaten the very existence of the state. This all is very clear and specific. As such, I see it is my duty to announce the following. Any use of nuclear weapons against Russia or its allies, weapons of short, medium or any range at all, will be considered as a nuclear attack on this country. Retaliation will be immediate, with all the attendant consequences.”

The wide range of strategic nuclear weapons unveiled by Putin in his state of the nation address have stripped bare the pretense of American nuclear deterrence, in which a potential enemy would be intimidated by the promise of assured nuclear destruction from engaging in conduct that threatened American national security interests. Russia, Putin said, is not, and will not, be intimidated by America’s nuclear arsenal. Moreover, Russia, taking a page from former President Ronald Reagan’s animus toward the notion of “mutually assured destruction”, or MAD, does not plan on engaging in a policy of passive deterrence.

Nine years ago, Russian strategic planners factored nuclear weapons into every facet of their military policy, including those involving non-nuclear scenarios.

“We have corrected the conditions for use of nuclear weapons to resist aggression with conventional forces not only in large-scale wars,” Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Russian National Security Council, noted in 2009, “but also in regional or even a local one.” 

Patrushev later added that Russian nuclear doctrine did “not rule out a nuclear strike targeting a potential aggressor, including a preemptive strike, in situations critical to national security.”

There is a real risk that the United States will continue to minimize the true strategic capabilities of Russia, and brush off the words of Putin as mere posturing. The anti-Russian rhetoric of American politicians in Congress, fueled by the near panic generated by the ongoing investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller, only plays into the hands of those who treat the ongoing face-off between the U.S. and Russia as nothing more than a bluff. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“Everything I have said today,” Putin stated in his state of the nation address, “is not a bluff—and it is not a bluff, believe me—and to give it a thought and dismiss those who live in the past and are unable to look into the future, to stop rocking the boat we are all in and which is called the Earth.”

There was a time when the threat of nuclear annihilation was taken seriously by those who held political office and high military position in the United States. America’s first generation of arms control and disarmament specialists were weaned on the premise, and promise, of mutually assured destruction, and all the horrors that entailed. By signing the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in 1987, then-President Reagan and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev initiated a process of nuclear disarmament that, for the first time in the nuclear era, backed those two countries away from the precipice of thermonuclear conflict. It was only a half-joke when one experienced American weapons inspector, asked what he could see when peering inside a Soviet missile launch canister, responded, “C-h-i-c-a-g-o.”

Another inspector, a former analyst who monitored the impact of Russian re-entry vehicles in the Pacific Ocean from aboard a U.S. Navy intelligence gathering ship, noted with pride while monitoring Soviet “launch-to-destruct” operations involving SS-20 missiles, that she was one of the only people who could claim to have seen the Soviet warheads during both launch and impact and lived to tell about it.

Other inspectors, training to perform radiation detection tests at Soviet missile bases containing nine mobile intercontinental missiles aimed at American targets, conducted their preparations with Barry McGuire’s 1965 hit song ‘Eve of Destruction’ playing in the background.

This kind of gallows humor could only be invoked by those who had lived under the direct threat of imminent nuclear death and were prepared to wage war under such conditions. These arms control and disarmament experts are a thing of the past, replaced by bureaucrats and technicians for whom nuclear war is a hypothetical outcome of theoretical strategic game modeling, and not an ever-present reality.

There is a reason the Trump administration—and to be frank, those of Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama before him—have treated nuclear disarmament and arms control so cavalierly. The United States walked away from the ABM Treaty, opening the door for the current crisis in U.S.-Russia relations. The Cold War-era START has expired, and the INF Treaty has been reduced to little more than a politicized foil, in which unsubstantiated claims of Russian noncompliance are bandied about to further demonize Moscow in the eyes of the American public.

The New START, which replaced the original START, is set to expire in 2021, with little or no effort being made to keep it alive or use it as a foundation for new, more meaningful arms control agreements.

The practitioners of what constitutes arms control and disarmament policy in America today, unschooled in the ultimate futility of nuclear conflict, actually believe America can fight, and win, a nuclear war. “If deterrence fails,” the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review notes, “the United States will strive to end any conflict at the lowest level of damage possible and on the best achievable terms for the United States, allies, and partners. U.S. nuclear policy for decades has consistently included this objective of limiting damage if deterrence fails.

In Pat Frank’s book, Alas, Babylon, the United States “wins” its nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union—only to survive as a Third World nation dependent upon Brazil and Argentina for its food supplies. But that book was written in 1959, too long ago to resonate with the policymakers of today.

The same can be said of the 1959 film On the Beach, in which Gregory Peck plays the role of a Navy submarine officer condemned to watch the rest of the world slowly die from radiation sickness following a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Even the 1982 ABC television drama, The Day After, which helped change Reagan’s opinion about nuclear weapons and the Soviet Union, is considered old history and as such irrelevant for today’s post-9/11 strategic theorists.

“There is no need to create more threats to the world,” Putin said, wrapping up his 2018 state of the nation address.

“Instead, let us sit down at the negotiating table and devise together a new and relevant system of international security and sustainable development for human civilization. We have been saying this all along. All these proposals are still valid. Russia is ready for this.”

The question is: Is America ready and/or willing to work with Russia in these highly politicized times?

Putin’s words are hanging there, much like the urgent query of Paul Marcarelli’s Verizon “test guy”, asking anyone who would listen, “Can you hear me now?” Let’s hope someone in a position of responsibility in Washington, D.C., is listening.

Otherwise, new life will be breathed into the old lyrics of Barry McGuire’s song: “If the button is pushed, there’s no running away, there’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave… And you tell me, over and over and over again my friend, ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.”

Scott Ritter spent more than a dozen years in the intelligence field, beginning in 1985 as a ground intelligence officer with the US Marine Corps, where he served with the Marine Corps component of the Rapid Deployment Force at the Brigade and Battalion level. In 1987 Ritter was hand-picked to serve with the On Site Inspection Agency, where he was responsible for carrying out the provisions of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, signed by American President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Chairman Mikhail Gorbachev. Ritter served as a Deputy Site Commander of a specialized inspection team stationed outside a Soviet missile factory. For his work, Ritter received two classified commendations from the CIA. After Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, Ritter was assigned to a special planning cell that reported directly to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, where he helped plan the employment of Marine Corps combat forces in response to Iraq's actions. He was later deployed to Saudi Arabia, where he served on the intelligence staff of General Norman Schwartzkopf.
Also by Scott Ritter: Throwing a curveball at U.S. ‘intelligence community consensus’ on Russiagate, published in The American Conservative, July 12, 2017