Eastern Europe: From Soviet satellites to American?
It should have come as no surprise at all the recent disclosure that the Bush administration has spent more than $65 million in the past two years to aid political organizations in Ukraine, to train groups and individuals opposed to the Russian-backed government candidate, to bring opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko to meet US leaders, and to help to generate an exit poll indicating that he won the November 21 disputed election (thus seizing the initiative in the propaganda battle with the regime). 
All the usual suspects were involved: the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the Agency for International Development (AID), George Soros, Freedom House, et al.
Since the demise of the Soviet Union, the United States has undertaken a relentless campaign to bring Moscow's former republics and satellites into the fold of globalization and American military outposts, and in some cases to be part of highly-prized oil pipelines. In the early 1990s, the governments of Bulgaria and Albania were overthrown for not appearing to be suitable enough candidates for such honors.  In 1999, Yugoslavia was bombed for much the same reasons. Elsewhere in Eastern Europe, Washington has used the weapons of political and economic subversion.
The standard operating procedure in a particular country has been to send in teams of specialists from US government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), American labor unions, or private organizations funded by American corporations and foundations; NED, AID, and the Open Society organizations of George Soros, American citizen and billionaire, are the leading examples. These teams go in with as much financial resources as needed and numerous carrots and sticks to wield; they hold conferences and seminars, hand out tons of material, and fund new NGOs, newspapers and other media, all to educate government employees and other selected portions of the population on the advantages and joys of privatizing and deregulating the economy, teaching them how to run a capitalist society, how to remake the country so that it's appealing to foreign investors, how to fall happily into the embrace of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
The American teams have been creating a new class of managers to manage a new market economy, as well as providing the capital and good ol' American know-how for winning elections against the non-believers. They undertake to unite the opposition behind a single candidate to optimize the chance of unseating the government; they pass information and experience from one country to another; thus the Soros organization -- which has offices throughout the former Soviet domain -- had people from Serbia, who had been involved in the successful campaign to oust Slobodan Milosevic in 2000, share their experiences with people in Georgia who were seeking to oust Eduard Shevardnadze in 2003, and were likewise successful. This transfer of techniques, including an acclaimed video shown on Georgian independent television, was cited by participants in Georgia as playing a vital role in their toppling of Shevardnadze.  The demonstrations in Ukraine in protest of the flawed election and in favor of Yushchenko have laser lights, plasma screens, sophisticated sound systems, rock concerts, tents to camp in, and huge quantities of the orange clothing which has come to symbolize their protest movement; yet we are told that it's all spontaneous by the Western media, which give the events extensive serious coverage.  Compare this to the coverage and treatment in the United States of those questioning the American election of last month.
Yushchenko's ties to the United States are close to home. His wife,
Ekaterina (Katherine) Chumchenko, is an American, a long-time committed
conservative activist, who was employed at the Reagan State Department and
the Bush, Sr. White House. In 1991, she created the U.S.-Ukraine
Foundation, whose announced mission includes encouraging free market
reform. Most of the foundation's American funding has come from NED and
It can't be repeated or emphasized enough. The biggest lie of the “war on terrorism”, although weakening, is that the targets of America's attacks have an irrational hatred of the United States and its way of life, based on religious and cultural misunderstandings and envy. To add to the already large body of evidence to the contrary, we now have a report from the Defense Science Board, “a Federal advisory committee established to provide independent advice to the Secretary of Defense.” The report states:
“Muslims do not hate our freedom, but rather they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the long-standing, even increasing, support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan and the Gulf states. Thus, when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy.” “No public relations campaign can save America from flawed policies,” the report concludes. 
The Pentagon released the study after The New York Times ran a story about it on November 24. The Times reported that although the board's report does not constitute official government policy, it captures “the essential themes of a debate that is now roiling not just the Defense Department but the entire United States government.”
discussion of this issue see my essay, “Myth
and Denial in the War Against Terrorism: Just why do terrorists terrorize?”
Here we have Michael Gerson, a man who has the dubious honor of having crafted almost all of President Bush's major speeches since 2000, speaking about criticisms of the many references to God in those talks: “Scrubbing public discourse of religious ideas would remove one of the main sources of social justice in our history. Without an appeal to justice rooted in faith, there would be no abolition movement or civil rights movement or pro-life movement.” 
highly debatable, not to mention highly ignorant. There can be no question
that numerous non-believers were activists and leaders in the abolition and
civil rights movements, myself being one example of the latter. There are
also undoubtedly many atheists who are pro-life, as well as many believers
who are pro-choice. But what is more disturbing about Gerson's remark is
the intimation that atheist folk can not live lives as morally imbued as
religious folk can. I would ask: Who is the more virtuous -- the person who
lives righteously because he is afraid of God's wrath or hopes for God's
rewards, or the individual who lives thusly because it disturbs him to act
cruelly and it is in keeping with the kind of world he wants to help create
and live in? The God-awful (no pun intended) war in Iraq is the current
case in point: Who takes a moral stand against the horror? Who supports it?
President Bush, meeting in Canada with Prime Minister Paul Martin November 30, told his international critics that the US election was an endorsement of his administration's foreign policy. “We just had a poll in our country where people decided that the foreign policy of the Bush administration ought to stay in place for four more years.”
The fatal flaw of this idea is that inasmuch as his opponent held virtually identical views on foreign policy the American public's vote for Bush cannot be interpreted as any kind of endorsement of such policies.
Moreover, the president's repeated declaration that he now has a “mandate”
is equally meaningless inasmuch as four years ago, when he lost the popular
vote, he didn't declare that he did not have any kind of a mandate, but
proceeded from Day One as if he had one not only from the American people
but from his Lord.
The Pentagon expressed concern on December 13 over a criminal complaint filed in Germany against US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other officials over the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. Declared Lawrence DiRita, the Pentagon's spokesman: “If you get an adventurous prosecutor who might want to seize onto one of these frivolous lawsuits, it could affect the broader relationship. I think that's probably safe to say.”
“I think every government in the world,” DiRita added, “particularly a NATO ally, understands the potential effect on relations with the United States if these kinds of frivolous lawsuits were ever to see the light of day.” 
years now, especially since the founding conference of the International
Criminal Court in 1998, which the United States shuns and lambastes at every
opportunity, “frivolous lawsuits” has been the mantra repeated by Washington
officials to keep the dragon of indictments of Americans at bay. They know
they have no legal or moral argument to use to explain why the United States
and its officials should be exempt from international law and justice, so
they insist that all such indictments are by definition “frivolous” or
“politically motivated”; i.e., without sufficient merit to take seriously
and undertaken purely out of some perverse anti-Americanism. Their real
concern of course is not that charges of war crimes will be made against
American civilian and military officials “frivolously”, but that they will
be made “seriously” and that there are indeed quite a few American officials
who would qualify.
Fred Burks is retiring from government service after 18 years of interpreting for top US officials. He interpreted for Bush at an Oval Office meeting with Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri in 2001, at which, he says, Bush displayed such a detailed grasp of Indonesian issues that Burks came away thinking that the president must have been fed information through a hidden earpiece. White House spokesman Sean McCormack dismissed Burks's allegation with a laugh and a one-word comment: “Nonsense”. 
now of course be added to the similar allegation made about Bush during his
recent election debate with John Kerry. Burks did not speak about any bulge
in the back of Bush's jacket.
In a 1992 tape, made public by NBC in November, Princess Diana spoke about Barry Mannakee, a policeman who was assigned to protect her. Reports that Diana had an affair with Mannakee surfaced in Britain in 1998, a year after she died. “It was all found out and he was chucked out. And then he was killed,” Diana said on the tape. “And I think he was bumped off. But, um, there we are. I don't ... we'll never know. He was greatest fella I've ever had.” 
Mannakee died in a motorcycle accident in 1987, after being transferred from his post as Diana's guard.
Imagine that the same charge was made by anyone other than Diana herself. Can there be any doubt that the American media would either completely ignore the person making the accusation or would mock him as a -- yes -- another “conspiracy theorist”?
died in a Paris car crash in 1997. What will we learn about that someday?
Speculation that that too was not an accident has been put forth, but only
by conspiracy nuts of course.
the current heated discussions concerning possible social security
privatization, which promise to get yet more heated in the near future, I
think it's good to keep the following in mind: When the system was set up in
the 1930s it was called social “security” for good reason. It was not
called social “investment”, or social "”speculation”, or social “gambling”.
It was designed to assure the elderly of America of at least a minimum
amount of financial security in their old age. As such it been the most
successful poverty reduction program the United States has ever had.
The head of the Cleveland Clinic, heart surgeon Toby Cosgrove, has criticized the presence of a McDonald's in the lobby of the hospital renowned for its cardiac care. So he decreed the fast-food joint had to go. McDonald's struck back. They defended their food as healthful and also suggested that Cosgrove is racist for targeting the African-American small businessman who owns the franchise at the clinic, raised the specter of unemployment for its 40 low-wage workers, and that closing down will hurt Ohio beef producers. 
dispute continues will we be hearing from McDonald's that attacking their
menu also leads to gang violence, hunger, and increased global warming?
going to be a fun fun year, 2005. And to better prepare yourself for all
the merrymaking here is a calendar of some of the more delightful things to
look forward to.
William Blum is the author of:
Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2,
Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower,
Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire, and
West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir. Visit his website:
He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Associated Press, December 11, 2004