Where Did Obama Really Go to School?

And what is really happening in Syria?

Seventy years after the UN Charter was supposed to prohibit wars of aggression, we can see that the only countries that have complied with the spirit of the charter have been the so-called communist block, now non-communist Russia and nominally communist China.

Unlike the Soviet government on 7 July 1950, inexplicably absent from the Security Council and hence unable to veto Resolution 84, used by the US as its pretext to invade Korea, the Russian President Vladimir Putin and his government have rejected any Security Council resolution rubber-stamping of the US war in Syria. That is probably the most remarkable historical aspect of this year’s 70th UN anniversary. An all-out propaganda campaign has been unleashed to classify Russia as an aggressor while it merely exercises the same right to collective self-defence invoked by the US to privilege seventy years of wars and mercenary actions, overthrow of governments and wrecking of the political-economic systems of the rest of the world’s population.

Now the US regime is “worried” about escalation.

With good reason one ought to say. After twenty years of covert and economic warfare against post-Soviet Russia and despite every attempt by the government in Moscow to reach an amicable arrangement with the US and its vassals, Russia has drawn a line. Will the US cross it? Will Russia hold it?

US President Obama has suggested that Russia will get “bogged down” in Syria. What is he (or better said the powers behind the US government) really saying? Translated into historical context this means the US is contemplating ways to apply Brzezinski’s strategy– after the fact. Putin has admitted Russia’s error of intervening in Afghanistan to defend the secular government under attack by a US-sponsored mercenary army combining Afghan latifundists and opium producers armed to the teeth. In the 1980s Russia was unable to withstand the US-funded onslaught. The USSR withdrew after ten years. Western pundits like to compare the war to the US war against Vietnam. Since the US regime needed thirty years to admit defeat, one can say the Russians are faster learners. Even today the war in Afghanistan continues—though without admitting its purpose, it is impossible to identify its lessons.

In the 1830s, Britain dominated India through the chartered East India Company, the forerunner of the modern multinational corporation, complete with control over taxation, land, its own army and the opium trade. Between 1839 and 1842 the British, in fact, the East India Company with a combined force of British and Indian soldiers, waged a war to control this mountainous territory between the Russian Empire and British India. At enormous cost military victory was attained but Britain did not succeed in establishing control over Afghanistan.

In 1878, the British again tried to subdue Afghanistan and integrate it into its Empire in India. Again Britain had to concede internal government to Afghan rulers and was only able to impose suzerainty– in the form of British control of Afghanistan’s foreign relations. Britain was again defeated in Afghanistan in a brief war in 1919. The only accomplishment was to fix the boundaries between Afghanistan and British India. The so-called Durand Line became the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Muslim state that emerged from Britain’s duplicitous efforts to prevent independence of a united secular India. Today the East India Company’s successors (inter alia the “Company” in Langley) and current managers of the massive opium monopoly are still at work pacifying Afghanistan and fighting for control of the country, having turned Helmand province, for example, into one of the world’s largest opium producing regions.

In the 19th century Britain considered Russia its number one threat to India—a threat to the massive bureaucratic plunder of a country with a population of over 200 million by some 200,000 from a European island with about 20 million inhabitants. (This was a scale arguably comparable to that of Leopold II’s proprietary relationship to the Congo– both economically as well as demographically.) Ostensibly for this purpose Britain invaded Afghanistan three times. As the British should know military victories in Afghanistan were never cheap and territorial control was never assured.

However, despite this alleged threat, it was only in 1979 that the Soviet Union intervened in Afghanistan, invited by the secular Afghan government the US regime was doing its best to overthrow. Its withdrawal in 1989 has to be seen in the context of the vicious war of attrition the US was waging and the overall economic crisis that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the COMECON/Warsaw Pact. However, profitability of the global opium/heroin trade has always been guaranteed by deployment of regular and corporate armies. That is probably far more important than the notorious Great Game — a diplomatic charade perpetrated to sustain parliamentary support for wars of private enrichment, sentimentally admired by all anti-Russian ideologues since 1918. Geopolitics is presented as a natural science to justify any kind of aggression against Russia. However, the true basis of this antagonism can be found in the Fourth Crusade (1202-04) and the continuous battles of Roman Catholicism with the East—where the difference between beheading an Orthodox Christian or a Muslim in battle was not worth mentioning.

Today Mr Obama alludes again to Brzezinski’s fanatical strategy. It is a strategy for taxing the ordinary populations of the world in money and lives to maintain the same model of “free enterprise” inherited from Britain. It is a scarcely veiled threat to use whatever means are necessary to make Russia’s defence of Syrian sovereignty as impossible as its defence of the sovereignty of Afghanistan. Telling Russia they could get “bogged down” in Syria means nothing else but that plans are being made to intensify the terrorist war in Syria and anywhere else the US has assets that could drain Russia.

When the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov announced that the US refused to identify any contacts that could be made with a so-called “moderate” opposition—the Free Syrian Army, it became clear that the US cannot name them because they do not exist– any more than they did in Iraq or Libya. Even the term “moderate opposition” is meaningless, as Vice President Joe Biden had said:

The vice president said at the Harvard Kennedy School, ‘The answer is no for two reasons. One, the idea of identifying a moderate middle has been a chase America has been engaged in for a long time. We Americans think in every country in transition there is a Thomas Jefferson hiding beside some rock or a James Madison beyond one sand dune. The fact of the matter is the ability to identify a moderate middle in Syria — there was no moderate middle, because the moderate middle are made up of shopkeepers, not soldiers. They are made up of people who, in fact, have ordinary elements of the middle class in that country. And what happened was and history will record this…

The myth of the “middle” and the “moderate” is a legacy of a century of class warfare, of telling miners and sharecroppers they are “middle class” because they can buy a car or house on credit from the company store and if they are good and save, maybe even send a child to college with more debt but wearing an academic degree from an insignificant and underfunded community college. The “middle” and the “moderate” constitute a peculiarly Western (especially US-type) of extremism. On the one hand it is infinitely expanding as brainwashed workers insist they too are middle class. On the other it is an endangered species to be protected from extinction anytime there is a demand for real (as opposed to cosmetic) change in the living conditions of the population.

Distracting the public with talks about the “endangered middle”, the need for cooperation and adamant declarations that Putin must abandon Assad before the US Empire can approve Russian participation, is clearly a tactic for buying time until a Plan B or C can be implemented.

Russian air strikes will kill civilians. All air strikes do. It is mendacious– not merely hypocritical– for a regime whose troops have wantonly starved, massacred and irradiated Iraqis for over 15 years to pretend that civilian lives are at issue. President Obama, like his predecessors, know that there is virtually no difference between a smart 500 lb. bomb and a dumb one– except if one actually has a military target. Historically the US has never refrained from bombing indiscriminately. Ask any Korean north of the 38th parallel or any Vietnamese born before 1975. Iraqis all know that US “smart munitions” wiped out more civilians than soldiers, and still do.

We will only know if Russia’s campaign against US-sponsored terrorism in Syria saves civilian lives when, and if, the smoke is cleared and the Damascus government is allowed to function for its citizens as it had before the US and Israel began waging war against it. Until that time, it is ludicrous to debate how many people may die in Russian airstrikes—especially since there is no willingness to stop Saudi airstrikes in Yemen or Israeli airstrikes wherever they feel like it. Moreover the Russian government is stating the obvious—which US vassals in Europe refuse to discuss—when they insist that Syrians have a right to safe and secure homes in Syria. Until the US and its lackeys stop destroying them there will be no end to refugees. However, the political functionaries in Berlin, Paris and London hope to capitalise on the refugee crisis for domestic political aims. Media management is aimed at keeping the refugee problem a populist racist issue since Germany, France and Britain have no intention of withdrawing from the endless US wars.

What do all these public statements mean? If at least thinking folks know these are lies, why does the regime keep repeating them? The US propaganda campaign is not just a government operation echoed in the mass media. Rather the policies and the propaganda originate in the corporations that control the mass media and the regime’s instruments of statecraft.

It remains central to US global strategy (and that of the Global Economic Forum, one might add) that the white population in the US and Europe stay on its side at all costs. Bluntly, the Empire needs control over the brains of whites in order to keep control of the bodies of the non-white population and everything they are unlucky enough to live on or near (e.g. “strategic resources”—i.e. in Korea it was rice for Japan and tungsten for the steel industry.) Non-whites have known — no later than when Patrice Lumumba was murdered in 1960– that their lives do not matter, that the UN has never protected them.1 Were ordinary “whites”, meaning those who just by chance were born in Europe or North America, were to recognize that these wars of enrichment, “regime change”, and humanitarian intervention are part of the process of impoverishing them– albeit at a slower rate– since 1971, they just might — and that is an enormous “if” — stop worrying about refugees or so-called Christian civilisation and ask why they allow a psychopathic 1% of the population to plunder the world — at their expense too. They might see that every bomb or automatic rifle built in the US, Germany, France, or Britain is a job lost, a teacher or doctor too few, or food and rent too high—or a pension unpaid. But that is a big “if” for those eyes fixed to smart phones and talk shows.

Vladimir Putin told the 70th General Assembly of the United Nations something the world has, in fact, forgotten. No better said, he called attention to the great lie of 1945. The United Nations was not founded in San Francisco in June 1945. It was actually founded in Yalta in February 1945. Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin agreed the framework by which the peace would be organized. One of the features of the Yalta consensus stipulated Russia’s reparation claims for the war the West had waged against the Soviet Union.

No doubt for the sake of diplomacy and considering—although admitting no complicity—the destruction of virtually all of European Russia at the hands of Nazi Germany before the US and Britain even contemplated the “second front” in 1944, the parties agreed to let Germany and its helpers in the East bear this cost. It had been agreed that Russia would draw these reparations from an extensive security zone between Germany and the Soviet border. This was not– as is frequently misrepresented– to expand the Soviet Union. It was an admission by the West that substantial troops and materiel raised by the Nazi regime, in fact, came willingly from fascist elements throughout Eastern Europe—with active corporate and tacit state support in the West. Moreover it was a bone thrown to an exhausted Soviet Union to keep it from making demands on the wealthy part of Europe scarcely damaged by the war (in comparison). It was also a reluctant recognition that Hitler’s armies were (unfortunately from the West’s viewpoint) almost entirely destroyed by the Red Army– without significant help from Britain or the US. (No more than 10% of the entire Soviet war effort was supported by Western aid.)

When the San Francisco conference was convened, the US version of the “new world order” was already drawn. The atomic bombs dropped in Japan in August of 1945 had been sent as a message to the Soviet Union that what Hitler could not do with ground forces, the US would do with air forces. Later Churchill publicly lied about the Yalta agreement when he told haberdasher Truman’s constituents in Fulton, Missouri that territory and resources he had also conceded to Soviet control had been seized and held by an “Iron Curtain”. The lies did not stop there.

By 1947, the US had already made its secret rearmament plans to bully and bankrupt Soviet reconstruction efforts.2 NATO was organised (1949) before the US re-invaded Korea (1951) as a “defence” against the Soviet Union– while the CIA was organising terror cells throughout Europe as so-called “stay behinds” and buying or manipulating elections together with Italian and French organised crime syndicates to assure pro-US governments.3 The US response to Stalin’s proposed demilitarisation of Germany was to create the Federal Republic (May 1949), forcing the Soviet Union to organise the Democratic Republic several months later (October 1949).

Despite all attempts to provoke the Soviet Union, the Warsaw Pact was not established (1955) until after US air attacks on Soviet territory during the US invasion of Korea. It is worth noting that after Japan’s surrender, the Soviet Union withdrew all its armed forces from Korea unlike the US whose military occupied the South, deposed the Korean People’s Committees and reinstalled the Japanese colonial gendarmerie. Then the US military, together with right-wing death squads, began a vicious campaign against peasants and Korean nationalists opposed to US occupation and its continued expropriation of Korean rice to feed Japan.

In short, from the very beginning of the post-war era, the US regime has depicted its actions as “defensive” when they were virtually without exception taken before the actions of the Soviet Union against which they were ostensibly directed. The ability to reverse cause and effect in popular consciousness is probably the most powerful tool in the US propaganda arsenal.

The United Nations framework was created in Yalta in February 1945 and was gerrymandered by the US regime by June of the same year. From that time onward the US regime has manipulated the organisation as a fig leaf for its “open door” empire, filling it with the best diplomats and international bureaucrats money could buy. Giving the Rockefeller family an enormous tax break, the UN headquarters was located in New York City where it could be kept under the watchful eye of Wall Street and Washington.

Thirty years ago I was accredited to the UN headquarters as a freelance journalist. There was still a Soviet Union, a GDR, Yugoslavia, and Libya. Four countries vilified by the West until they were dismantled, dismembered or destroyed. Four states that in the entire history of the UN never waged an aggressive war on foreign soil, four states that with all the weaknesses that states throughout history have had managed to secure modest but comprehensively sound quality of life for their citizens in the sense of those conventions utterly ignored in the West; e.g., the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966).

I heard Ronald Reagan blaspheme in the plenary of the General Assembly, attacking poor countries struggling to fulfil that covenant like Nicaragua and Cuba. I also heard New Zealand Prime Minister David Lange tell the General Assembly that France’s bombing of Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior in Auckland harbour that year– for interfering in France’s atomic testing—was state terrorism. France got the EU to boycott New Zealand for that bit of honesty—until the “Kiwis” released the DGSE agents into French custody.4

Ronald Reagan tried, like his fan Barack Obama, to accuse the Soviet Union/Russia of global interventions.5 What he failed to say, as Obama also omitted6, was that all the places that Soviet/Russian troops had been sent were countries where the US regime was waging covert — usually mercenary wars — against an established government. The hundreds of US military bases throughout the world are also ignored.

When Obama said: “The danger for the world is not an America that is too eager to immerse itself in the affairs of other countries, or to take on every problem in the region as its own. The danger is, that the United States after a decade of war, rightly concerned about issues aback home, aware of the hostility that our engagement in the region has engendered throughout the Muslim world, may disengage, creating a vacuum of leadership that no other nation is ready to fill,” he meant that the purpose of the United States in waging a decade of war (a gross understatement) has been to feed the greed of its ruling class by distracting from issues “aback home”, while promoting distrust and hostility throughout the Muslim world so that a “vacuum of leadership” is maintained that no other empire can dare to fill. This vacuum is supposed to be maintained by the house of Saud and the settler-colonial regime in Palestine.

Of course, if one examines the map of former Yugoslavia and Syria today, another image comes to mind. Clearly ISIL follows the template of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), the CIA-sponsored bandits who manage the Balkan contraband offshore called Republic of Kosovo. The recently disclosed DIA memorandum discussing the establishment of a “Salifist” state in northern Syria does not sound so original or surprising. Compare it with the strategy that led to the destruction of Yugoslavia, murder of Milosevic and erection of Camp Bondsteel right where any trans-Balkan pipeline or narcotics caravan has to pass.

The only way to read all US official statements is to look behind the accusations: the accusation is an admission of its own actions. In the course of its war against Korea, the US told its citizens that the great “yellow threat” was “brainwashing” by the enemy. Embarrassed by public admissions of its air force pilots in Korean captivity that the US had been violating international law, it rushed to condemn PDR Korea for using mysterious psychological techniques against POWs. The official story is that only tortured or psychologically disturbed soldiers would admit that the US military was testing germ warfare in Korea. In fact, CIA “mind control” programmes—commonly known now under the term MK Ultra—were well underway long before the US attacked Korea. However, the US regime truly defines anything less than absolute fealty to the Empire as a psychological disorder. (It was not only in the Soviet Union that dissidents have been confined to psychiatric wards.) Perhaps that is also why an estimated 80% of the US population is taking some kind of psycho-pharmaceutical medication (e.g. Prozac)

However, as with all psychopaths it is probably safe to say that the US regime will never accuse another country of doing something it has not already been doing itself.7

If we were paying attention, we all know this from school: that a pupil caught cheating or assaulting another pupil yells loud—“look who’s cheating” or “look who’s fighting” and points his finger at the person he has just hit or from whom he has copied the work. Everyone in class looks at the victim and joins in calling her or him the aggressor. Often the teacher helps in this deceit. As a quasi-prison warden, the teacher needs a “trusty” prisoner to help keep the class in line and punish child dissidents. It is that simple. There is no secret agenda; no mysterious meeting whose minutes must be leaked before we know the truth. We all went to school or grew up with those kinds of children and saw them protected by teachers and their parents.

So when we ask what is really happening? Or what does the US regime really want? We just have to recall the behaviour of those cheats, liars and bullies we knew in our school days. They grew up and became CEOs, police chiefs, directors of central intelligence, generals and presidents, and journalists. Perhaps a more serious and difficult question is “when we grew up, what did we become?”

  1. Patrice Lumumba called on the UN to replace paratroopers Belgium had sent unilaterally into the newly independent Congo. United Nations troops appeared but were not authorised to take any action in support of the Lumumba government. In fact, with the exception of the helpless Ghana contingent, they kept Lumumba from exercising his lawful authority and contributed actively to his kidnapping and murder. Today the UN “Blue Helmets” are performing similar acts of infamy in Haiti, suppressing the followers of President Aristide—who had been deposed by the US—and protecting the ancien regime primarily for the benefit of US, Canadian and French corporations. []
  2. Embodied inter alia in NSC 68. []
  3. Meanwhile both the CIA/Gehlen Organisation: “Gladio” network has since been exposed even in mainstream media. See BBC production, Operation Gladio. There has also been extensive work on the CIA’s use of the organised crime under Luciano to terrorise communists and trade unions in Italy while guaranteeing elections for the PDC, the Christian Democratic Party. French organised crime assets were also mobilised by the CIA e.g. to break strikes by communists who refused to unload US “aid” in French ports. []
  4. DGSE, Diréction genérale de la Securité extérieure, the French foreign covert political warfare organisation. (The Foreign Legion performs overt political operations where military assets are needed.) The French name for the attack on the Greenpeace ship was operation satanique. It is perhaps worth noting that the DGSE is located in the same Paris district as the offices of Charlie Hebdo. One can only guess who actually pays the neighbour’s rent. []
  5. Ronald Reagan, Address to the 40th General Assembly of the United Nations, 24 October 1985. “In Afghanistan, there are 118,000 Soviet troops prosecuting war against the Afghan people. In Cambodia, 140,000 Soviet-backed Vietnamese soldiers wage a war of occupation. In Ethiopia, 1,700 Soviet advisers are involved in military planning and support operations along with 2,500 Cuban combat troops. In Angola, 1,200 Soviet military advisers involved in planning and supervising combat operations along with 35,000 Cuban troops. In Nicaragua, some 8,000 Soviet-bloc and Cuban personnel, including about 3,500 military and secret police personnel.”  Reagan did not disclose that the US had started the war in Afghanistan under Carter. Nor did he mention the covert support the US was giving to Pol Pot in order to perpetuate its war against Vietnam after 1975, even using the UN for this purpose, as John Pilger documented in two films (Year Zero: The Silent Death of Cambodia, 1979 and Return to Year Zero, 1993) about Cambodia. In 1984, John Stockwell (In Search of Enemies) had exposed in great detail the US covert war against the MPLA in Angola. Reagan also omitted the gross US violations of international law against Nicaragua—even condemned by the usually pliant World Court. []
  6. Barack Obama, Address to the 70th General Assembly of the United Nations, 24 September 2015. He also failed to mention Saudi Arabia whose Wahibbist ruling family is the conduit for US weapons and funds throughout the region, now waging war ostensibly on its own behalf in Yemen. From the beginning of its reign in a small enclave of the Arabian Peninsula in the 1930s, the house of Saud has probably been the single most violent opponent of peace in the region besides Israel []
  7. For an interesting attempt to apply psychiatry to corporate entities, see The Corporation (2003). []
Dr T.P. Wilkinson writes, teaches History and English, directs theatre and coaches cricket between the cradles of Heine and Saramago. He is also the author of Church Clothes, Land, Mission and the End of Apartheid in South Africa. Read other articles by T.P..