Archive for the George W. Bush Category

“Military to Military – Seymour M. Hersh on US intelligence sharing in the Syrian war” [London Review of Books]

Posted in CIA, Egypt, George W. Bush, Germany, Israel, Libya, Obama, Pentagon, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, U.K., US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA on February 10, 2016 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Vol. 38 No. 1 · 7 January 2016
pages 11-14 |

Barack Obama’s repeated insistence that Bashar al-Assad must leave office – and that there are ‘moderate’ rebel groups in Syria capable of defeating him – has in recent years provoked quiet dissent, and even overt opposition, among some of the most senior officers on the Pentagon’s Joint Staff. Their criticism has…

Article excerpted; full article here

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Jeb Bush V. Hillary Clinton: The Perfectly Illustrative Election [The Intercept]

Posted in Bill Clinton, Bourgeois parliamentary democracy, George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, USA on January 1, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

12/17/2014

by Glenn Greenwald

Jeb Bush yesterday strongly suggested he was running for President in 2016…

Excerpted; full article link: https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/12/17/jeb-bush-v-hillary-clinton-perfectly-illustrative-election/

“An Antidote to Disinformation about North Korea” – Book Review; ‘North Korea: Another Country’, By Bruce Cumings, The New Press, 2004 [Globalresearch.ca]

Posted in Anti-communism, Bill Clinton, CIA, Corporate Media Critique, DPR Korea, George W. Bush, India, INS, Japan, Kim Jong Il, Korean War, Nukes, Saudi Arabia, south Korea, US foreign occupation, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, USSR, World War II on January 1, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Al Olsen

28 December 2005

This Review was published nine years ago on GR.

Bruce Cumings, a history professor at the University of Chicago and a former Peace Corps volunteer in South Korea, has given us a badly needed antidote to the lies and disinformation about the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (North Korea) being spread by the media and the Bush administration. The author has observed “the deafening absence of any contrary argument” and cuts through this smokescreen of ignorance in his well-researched historical study of North Korea.

Cumings directs his book to “the reader who wishes to learn about our eternal Korean enemy.” He believes that North Korea is a nation that cannot be understood apart from its historical past, including the “terrible fratricidal war (Korean War) that has never ended”; the 1930s guerrilla struggle against the Japanese and North [sic] Korea’s eventual emergence as a state in 1945; its relations with the South; its reaction to the end of the Cold War and collapse of the Soviet Union; and “its interminable daily struggle” with the United States.

The author…admits to empathy for the underdog, “which is something I can’t help.” Cumings charges the U.S. with a significant responsibility “for the garrison [sic] state that emerged on the ashes of our truly terrible destruction of the North a half a century ago.”

Yes, the “history” spoon fed to Americans completely omits the holocaust from the air carried out by U.S. bombers and fighter planes against North Korean cities during the Korean War.

American planes dropped tens of thousands of bombs and many hundreds of tons of napalm on cities in North Korea. Even Winston Churchill criticized the savagery of the American attack when he commented, “When napalm was invented in the latter stages of World War II, no one contemplated that it would be ‘splashed’ over a civilian population.” Three million North Koreans died during this conflict, and 18 out of its 22 largest cities were 50 percent to 100 percent obliterated.

Cumings notes that by 1952, most of the survivors living in central and North Korea lived in caves. North Korea continued to burrow underground, and today it has over 15,000 underground facilities, many made of hardened concrete to survive nuclear attacks and American bombs. These include factories, plane hangars, and many other kinds of installations. The author again emphasizes that North Korea is a garrison state “because of the holocaust the North experienced during the Korean War.”

The 50th anniversary of the armistice ending the Korean War came and went on July 27, 2003, and 40,000 American troops remain in South Korea, where they have been since occupying the country in September 1945.

Cumings bitterly criticizes U.S. policy towards North Korea. On human rights issues, he points out how the U.S. has been fast to criticize the Communists “while ignoring the reprehensible behavior of our allies, that is, U. S. support for dictators who make Kim Jung Il look enlightened (the Saudis, for example).”

In addition, Cumings blames American confusion on an “irresponsible media” which lacks good investigative reporters, and is often “egged on by government officials.” He also blames South Korean security forces who “have succeeded for decades in getting Americans to stare blankly at one side of the Korean civil conflict, like a pigeon with nystagmus such that its head turns only to the left.”

The author stridently criticizes and blames the Bush administration for the ongoing crisis with North Korea. He accuses Bush of walking away from groundwork laid by Clinton [sic] for the resolution of the crisis. Cumings compares the foreign policy of the Bush administration to “amateur night at a halfway house,” and fears a real danger from “a mix of situations in which Bush’s preemptive strike doctrine could trigger war.”

He also castigates the radical right for their predictions of North Korea’s imminent collapse; they are “wrong-wrong-wrong,” he says, and cites a 1999 speech by CNN International President Joe Eason, a frequent visitor to the North, who stated “these guys (North Koreans) will tough it out for centuries, just the way they are.”

Part of the book is devoted to North Korean society and its development under socialism. Modern Korea had emerged from a class-divided, highly stratified society in which a long-standing system of chattel slavery had only been abolished in 1894.

North Korea experienced what Cumings terms a “smooth” transition to socialism following World War II. He partially attributes the transitional change to a long-time Korean tradition of “sharing and mutual aid of all kinds.”

Agricultural land was collectivized while farmers were able to keep their own homes and small garden plots. He credits the gardens as greatly helping farmers during the famine of the 1990s. North Korean farmland was worked communally, and farmers received a share of the harvest based on the number of hours of work they had done.

Formally low- and middle-class families now occupied favored social positions, and formally wealthy families who remained in the North could work and earn their way back up the social ladder. Only the very bottom rung was permanently reserved for Japanese collaborators.

Cumings pays careful attention to the weather and crop disasters of the 1990s. North Korea experienced record-breaking floods (1995 and 1996) followed by an equally severe drought and famine (1997). The author believes that the food shortage problem “has provided little evidence of a collapse of state power, except for breakdowns at the local level.” And Cumings adds, even at its worst, “the famine only began to approach India’s year-in, year-out toll (in proportionate terms) of infant mortality and deaths from malnutrition or starvation which I only mention because the media’s recent habit of depicting Kim Jung Il’s frolicking among a heap of starved cadavers.”

Finally, Cumings describes a declassified CIA report on North Korea, and a part of that report which describes the achievements of that society. The report says “North Korea provides compassionate care for war orphans in particular and children in general; ‘radical change’ in the position of women (there are more college-educated women than college-educated men); genuinely free-housing; preventive medicine on a national scale accomplished to a comparatively high standard; infant mortality and life expectancy rates comparable to the most advanced countries until the recent famine; ‘no organized prostitution’ and ‘the police are difficult if not impossible to bribe.’”

Cumings book provides a valuable service with its informative and truthful portrayal of North Korea. This book is valuable for combating the inevitable lies of the Bush administration in its imperial quest for global domination. North Korea faces the very real danger of war and more suffering at the hands of a bellicose Bush administration — a very good reason for this work to be widely read and passed on to other interested persons.

Edited by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://www.globalresearch.ca/an-antidote-to-disinformation-about-north-korea/1663

“Bush-ism” the real Target of the CIA Torture Report (People’s Daily)

Posted in CIA, George W. Bush, Guantanamo Bay concentration camp, State Department, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA on December 26, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

December 16, 2014

Though it seems like the US Torture Report is aimed at the CIA, its real targets are Bushism and Bush’s War on Terror – and its publication reveals divisions among the US political parties.

Early in 2008, Barack Obama, then a senator, denounced the CIA for setting up secret prisons around the world, and committed to shutting down the notorious Guantanamo Bay detention camp as soon as he was elected. However, now we are in the middle of Obama’s second term, Guantanamo Bay detention camp is still running, and the investigation into accusations of CIA torture has been dragging on for 5 years.

On Dec. 4, 2014, the US government finally confirmed it would publish the abstracts of this report in a week. However, on Dec. 9, Bloomberg reported that Secretary of State John Kerry called Sen. Dianne Feinstein to discuss the broader implications of the timing of publicly releasing a declassified summary of her committee’s report “because a lot is going on in the world, and he wanted to make sure that foreign policy implications were being appropriately factored into timing…”

Kerry’s move seems quite inconsistent with President Obama. In fact, Bloomberg also released the news that according to White House spokesman Josh Earnest, despite [ultimately wrong] warnings of retaliation abroad against Americans from those opposed to making the report public, the Obama administration supports its release.

From this it can be inferred that the Torture Report is actually targeting Bushism and Bush’s War on Terror rather than the CIA, as might first appear to be the case. That is why the Democrats have such a keen interest in releasing the report, and even question whether the CIA’s cruel torture is against basic American values. The discomforting details in the reports could be used as powerful “weapons” in the Democrats’ fight against the Republicans…

…What is also worthy of mention is that only 480 pages were released to the public while the whole report contains over 6,000 pages. Hence only a “partial truth” was revealed to the public – we can say it was the “truth” that the Democrats wanted the public to know.

This article is edited and translated from 《美国酷刑报告对准的是“布什主义”》 ,Source: Beijing News, author: Chen Zaitian

Edited / excerpted by Zuo Shou

Full article link: en.people.cn/n/2014/1216/c98649-8823189.html

US torture report exposes European powers’ involvement in CIA crimes [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Albania, Austria, Belgium, CIA, Croatia, Czech Republic / Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, George W. Bush, Germany, Greece, Guantanamo Bay concentration camp, Iceland, Italy, Libya, National Security Agency / NSA, NATO, NSA, Poland, Police State, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Syria, Torture, Turkey, U.K., U.K. War Crimes, Ukraine, US "War on Terror", US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA on December 14, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Alex Lantier
12 December 2014

The publication of the US Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture has exposed the European powers’ complicity in ghastly crimes of US intelligence. Even though European states’ complicity in CIA torture and rendition operations has been documented for nearly a decade, no European officials have been held accountable.

In 2005, the Council of Europe tasked former Swiss prosecutor Dick Marty with preparing a report on secret CIA prisons in Europe. He released two reports, in 2006 and 2007, documenting the complicity of dozens of European states in setting up facilities for illegal CIA rendition and torture. The states involved included Britain, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Spain, Portugal, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, Austria, the Czech Republic, Croatia and Albania.

The existence of approximately 1,000 CIA flights and of secret prisons in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in Bucharest (Romania), Antavilas (Lithuania), and Stare Kiejkuty (Poland) has since been confirmed.

Nonetheless, after the US Senate recognized CIA use of the grisliest forms of torture — including murder, sexual assault, sleep deprivation and forcing inmates to stand on broken limbs —officials across Europe reacted by insisting that they should enjoy immunity.

Top officials of the Polish government, which is appealing a July ruling against it over its role in CIA torture by the European Court on Human Rights, denounced the report. “Certain secrets should stay that way,” said Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak.

Polish prosecutors have been investigating the case for six years, including a two-year investigation of former Polish intelligence chief Zbigniew Siemiatkowski, without bringing any charges. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the September 11 attacks, was waterboarded as soon as he arrived at Stare Kiejkuty. One medical officer there noted: “We are basically doing a series of near-drownings.”

Other detainees at Stare Kiejkuty, which housed Saudi, Algerian and Yemeni detainees, were subjected to mock executions with a power drill while standing hooded and naked.
Former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski lamely claimed that CIA officials did not explain how they planned to use their secret prisons in Poland. “It was a question as we saw it only of creating secret sites,” he said, adding that he closed down the facility in 2003 because “the Americans’ secret activities began to worry” Polish authorities.
Lithuanian officials confirmed that the black site named “detention center Violet” by the US Senate report appears to be the Lithuanian detention center near the capital, Vilnius, identified in a 2009-2010 parliamentary investigation. Lawmaker Arvydas Anusauskas told Reuters, “The US Senate report, to me, makes a convincing case that prisoners were indeed held at the Lithuanian site.”

Abu Zubaydah, a Saudi detainee now kept at Guantanamo Bay, has stated that he was kept and tortured at the site. Washington paid the Lithuanian government $1 million to “show appreciation” for operating the prison, according to the US Senate report, though the funds were reportedly paid out through “complex mechanisms.”

Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius has asked Washington to confirm whether or not the CIA tortured prisoners at its secret prisons in Lithuania.

British Prime Minister David Cameron dismissed the issue of torture and Britain’s role in rendition flights to countries including Libya, saying that it had been “dealt with from a British perspective.” He told the public to trust British intelligence to police itself, as official investigations had “produced a series of questions that the intelligence and security community will look at … I’m satisfied that our system is dealing with all of these issues.”

In fact, the CIA torture report has revealed the advanced state of collapse of democratic forms of rule not only in the United States, but also in Europe. What has emerged across Europe since the September 11 attacks is the framework of a police state far more technically powerful than even the most ruthless dictatorships of twentieth-century Europe. The methods deployed as part of the “war on terror” will also be used against opposition in the working class to unpopular policies of austerity and war.

European governments participate in the digital spying on telecommunications and Internet activities of the European population, carried out by the US National Security Agency and its local counterparts, as revealed by Edward Snowden. They also are planning joint repression of social protests, based on talks between German federal police, France’s Gendarmerie, and other security forces with the European Commission.

“During my investigation, people called me a traitor and said I was making things up,” Marty told the Tribune de Genève. “The Europeans disappointed me. Germany, the United Kingdom, and many others blocked the establishment of the truth. In fact, most European countries actively participated in a system that legitimated large-scale state crimes.”

“I think we must recall, and it is very important, that this operation, this anti-terrorist policy, was decided and carried out under the aegis of NATO,” Marty told Swiss television channel RTS.

“The United States invoked Article 5 of the NATO Charter, which says that if one member of the alliance is attacked militarily [e.g., as Washington claimed, on September 11], all NATO members are required to come to its aid,” Marty said. Once this was accepted, he added, “there were a whole series of secret accords between the United States and European powers. And all the European countries pledged to grant total immunity to CIA agents, which is manifestly illegal.”

The European powers’ participation in the CIA torture program underscores the utter hypocrisy of the humanitarian pretensions used to justify operations ranging from NATO wars in Syria and Libya to this February’s NATO-backed, fascist-led putsch in Ukraine.

The ferocious opposition of the European ruling elites to attempts to bring this criminality to light is the clearest indication that the democratic rights of the population cannot be secured by appeals to any section of the state. The defense of the population’s democratic and social rights is a question of the revolutionary mobilization of the working class in an international struggle against European capitalism.

Article link: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/12/12/euto-d12.html

UN officials call for criminal prosecution of US torturers [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Bourgeois parliamentary democracy, CIA, George W. Bush, Obama, Torture, US "War on Terror", US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA on December 12, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Thomas Gaist
11 December 2014
The US is legally obliged to prosecute all high-level government officials involved in organizing the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) torture programs, top UN human rights officials said Wednesday. The torture programs violated international law, UN special rapporteur on counterterrorism and human rights Ben Emmerson said.

Responding to the release of the Senate report on CIA torture, Emmerson said in an official statement Wednesday that the report left no doubt that systematic torture programs set up by the US government led to massive violations of the 1994 UN Convention Against Torture.

Emmerson called on the US Attorney General to “bring criminal charges against those responsible” for torture. There is “no excuse for shielding the perpetrators from justice any longer,” he said.

“As a matter of international law, the US is legally obliged to bring those responsible to justice,” said Emmerson. “The UN Convention Against Torture and the UN Convention on Enforced Disappearances require States to prosecute acts of torture and enforced disappearance where there is sufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction. States are not free to maintain or permit impunity for these grave crimes.”

Bush administration policies, “orchestrated at a high level,” led to “systematic crimes and gross violations of international human rights law,” he added.

The involvement of officials at the highest levels only makes criminal prosecutions all the more necessary, the UN official said.

“The fact that the policies revealed in this report were authorized at a high level within the US government provides no excuse whatsoever,” Emmerson said. “Indeed, it reinforces the need for criminal accountability.”

Individuals involved in torture at all levels must be held accountable. “It is no defense for a public official to claim that they were acting on superior orders,” he said.

“However, the heaviest penalties should be reserved for those most seriously implicated in the planning and purported authorization of these crimes, Emmerson said. “Former Bush administration officials who have admitted their involvement in the programme should also face criminal prosecution for their acts.”

In a separate statement, UN high commissioner for human rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein similarly called for US government officials involved in torture to be prosecuted. Top US officials “cannot simply be granted impunity because of political expediency,” al-Hussein said.

“The Convention lets no one off the hook – neither the torturers themselves, nor the policy-makers, nor the public officials who define the policy or give the orders.”

An opinion piece published in the Los Angeles Times Tuesday, “Prosecute the torturers: It’s the Law,” by Erwin Chemerinsky, a law professor and dean at the UC Irvine School of Law, similar argued that the CIA’s torture programs violate US and international law.

“Torture is a federal crime, and those who authorized it and engaged in it must be criminally prosecuted.” Chemerinsky writes, citing the Federal Torture Act (FTA). The Senate report “leaves no doubt” that the torture programs also violate the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Chemerinsky wrote.

The FTA states that even if the acts are committed “outside the United States,” anyone who commits torture should receive a 20-year prison sentence at minimum, and possibly the death penalty, Chemerinsky notes.

In light of the new report, President Obama’s decision not to prosecute officials from the Bush administration is now “clearly unacceptable,” he wrote.

“The debate should not be about whether the torture worked. The federal criminal law and the treaty have no exception for effective torture,” Chemerinsky wrote. “Those responsible should be held accountable, and President Obama should announce that criminal investigations and prosecutions are beginning immediately.”

These reports, coming from pillars of the political and academic establishment, confirm that the entire US ruling elite, including both big business parties and their representatives in Congress, is implicated in historic and unspeakable crimes.

Within the US official political and media circles, such demands for criminal prosecutions against US government torturers are nowhere to be found. Neither Senator Feinstein nor any other member of the Senate Intelligence Committee saw fit to demand criminal prosecutions against officials they know to have organized torture. The 528-page executive summary proposes not a single action or punishment for the crimes it documents exhaustively.

The Obama administration has extended and deepened the open repudiation of international law by the Bush administration. The failure of the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Obama administration to hold accountable torturers who acted on behalf of the US government is itself a violation of international law.

By shielding officials who have admitted to setting up torture programs, including then-President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, and adamantly refusing to carry out any investigations of officials involved in torture, the Obama administration and leading senators now act as direct accomplices of torture.

Article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/12/11/unre-d11.html

‘The United States and torture’ – excerpt from “The Anti-Empire Report #131” [Williamblum.org]

Posted in Assassination, CIA, George W. Bush, Obama, Pentagon, Torture, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA on November 4, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By William Blum – Published August 11th, 2014

= The United States and torture =

Two of the things that governments tend to cover-up or lie about the most are assassinations and torture, both of which are widely looked upon as exceedingly immoral and unlawful, even uncivilized. Since the end of the Second World War the United States has attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders and has led the world in torture; not only the torture performed directly by Americans upon foreigners, but providing torture equipment, torture manuals, lists of people to be tortured, and in-person guidance and encouragement by American instructors, particularly in Latin America…

Excerpted; full article link: http://williamblum.org/aer/read/131