Leaked DNC Emails Confirm Anti-Sanders Conspiracy

July 29, 2016 at 8:38 PM

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The release by Wikileaks of a trove of emails from high-ranking Democratic Party officials has confirmed what many Americans – both progressive and conservative – have suspected throughout this election cycle: that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) actively conspired against Bernie Sanders in an attempt to ensure the nomination for Hillary Clinton.

But it wasn’t simply party apparatchiks like the disgraced Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the recently resigned Chair of the DNC and close ally of Clinton, but also their trusted cronies in the corporate media who actively collaborated with DNC officials to ensure that nothing too critical of Hillary would make it into the Mighty Wurlitzer of contemptibly ‘respectable’ journalism.  Indeed, what the Wikileaks revelations expose to the world is the fact that there’s nothing democratic about the Democratic Party, or America’s alleged democracy in general.

More specifically however, the question that really must be asked is: why Hillary Clinton?  What is it about this woman that unites nearly the entirety of the political, financial, socio-cultural, and military establishment?  Is it really just hatred of Donald Trump?  Or is there something more insidious, something that makes Hillary the irresistible flame of belligerence and exceptionalism to which the corporate-imperialist moths are slavishly attracted?

From Conspiracy Theory to Conspiracy Fact

For months the sentinels of the liberal media fortress derided all allegations of a DNC conspiracy against Bernie Sanders and the millions of Americans who #FeelTheBern, caricaturing these accusations as no different from the Illuminati-Freemason-Rothschild-Lizard People.  Articles like Bernie Sanders Fans’ DNC ‘Collusion’ Conspiracy Theory is Embarrassing Garbage and Can we please stop with the Bernie Sanders conspiracy theories? were staples of the campaign once it became clear that the Berners were a real political force, and that the Sanders campaign could actually pose a threat to the establishment’s preferred proxy, Hillary Clinton.

And with each new article the level of condescension and derision seemed to increase to the point where Sanders’ supporters had been transformed into the embarrassingly clichéd tinfoil-hat wearers of Alex Jones land.  But here we are, just a few months later, and Hillary Clinton has knelt for her coronation as Queen of the imperial castle.  And in the midst of the insufferable Hollywood endorsements, the amnesiac revisionism, and the identitarian phantasmagoria, something amazing happened on the internet: the conspiracy theories were proven true.

Indeed, the Wikileaks emails show direct interventions against Bernie by the DNC.  For instance, in late May, just three weeks before the all-important California primary, a DNC staffer emailed DNC Communications Director, Luis Miranda, pitching him a story about Bernie’s campaign being “a mess.”  Specifically, the staffer wrote, “Wondering if there’s a good Bernie narrative for a story, which is that Bernie never ever had his act together, that his campaign was a mess…It’s not a DNC conspiracy, it’s because they never had their act together.”

What is particularly damning about the email is not that Bernie’s campaign was disorganized (entirely plausible), but rather that DNC staffers and communications director were attempting to manufacture and propagate news stories with that narrative, rather than acting as the impartial party functionaries that they shrilly proclaim themselves to be.  In fact, corporate media outlets did indeed pick up parts of that narrative in the days and weeks leading up to the California primary, specifically the fact that Bernie’s campaign was poorly organized in terms of delegate education and other issues.

Even more egregious is the email from Communications Director Luis Miranda to a number of high-ranking DNC officials, including Wasserman-Schultz, in which he notes that the DNC was able to suppress key information from this New York Times article.  Miranda was pleased that he was “able to keep him from including more on the JVF [Joint Victory Fund], it has a mention in there, but between us and a conversation he had with Marc Elias he finally backed off from focusing too much on that.”

This information is quite damning as it’s clear that Miranda, the spokesman for the DNC, deliberately attempted to shield Clinton from media criticism over the highly dubious “joint fundraising venture” the Joint Victory Fund, which is essentially a Hillary-DNC fundraising machine.  While the JVF gets a passing mention in the article, there is no substantive examination of it, nor is there any context or comparison to the Bernie Sanders campaign whose fundraising was almost entirely based on small, individual contributions.  In contrast, JVF included on its list of donors the Pritzker Group, Saban Capital Group, and other major players in finance capital and industry.  Perhaps this information might have been valuable to the American public trying to decide whether to support Bernie or Hillary.

Or how about the Politico reporter who agreed to allow the DNC to review his article about Clinton’s fundraising before it was published?  Does this strike you as real journalism?  In an April 30, 2016 email, National Press Secretary and Deputy Communications Director Mark Paustenbach wrote to his boss Luis Miranda noting that Politico reporter Kenneth Vogel “gave me his story ahead of time/before it goes to his editors…Let me know if you see anything that’s missing and I’ll push back.”

In a sadly predictable, and grossly unethical, move, the DNC seems to have worked out deals with major media outlets that allowed them to censor corporate media stories about the Clinton campaign, or at the very least to slant them so as to make Clinton look like something less than the Voldemort of Wall Street and capital.

But it goes much further, and indeed gets even more unethical, than just collusion between corporate media and the DNC.  The emails also reveal attempts to smear Sanders with quite literally any information that might damage him in key primary states.  For instance, this email exchange between top DNC officials shows that they intended to “get someone to ask his belief. Does he believe in a God. [sic] He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.”  Clearly, in Kentucky and West Virginia, the DNC wanted to use Sanders’s religious beliefs, or lack thereof, against him.  Such tactics are, to put it bluntly, reprehensible.

And of course we could go on and on with dozens of other emails demonstrating the level of collusion within the DNC, and with its media partners, to effectively undermine the Sanders campaign while propping up Clinton.  I guess those arrogant pundits who derisively referred to the “embarrassing conspiracy theories” have some ‘splaining to do.

Why, Exactly, Is Everyone #WithHer?

For veterans of US politics, it should be relatively obvious why Hillary Clinton has been the clear darling of the establishment from the beginning of the race.  And, considering the Democratic Party is a wholly owned subsidiary of Wall Street and the financial elites in the US, it almost goes without saying why the DNC would carry water for the Clinton campaign.  Her record really speaks for itself.

Hillary Clinton is an unabashed warmonger, a woman who has demonstrated time and again her willingness to bomb, invade, and destroy nations all over the globe.  From championing her husband’s criminal bombing of Serbia, to supporting George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, to being the principal cheerleader for bombing and destroying Libya and Syria, Hillary’s devotion to the military-industrial complex and the mentality of the Cold War is beyond dispute.

While running for Senate in 2000, Clinton explicated her foreign policy outlook when, according the New York Times, “She cited American involvement in Bosnia and Kosovo as examples of foreign engagements she favored on moral and strategic grounds.” And, according to Hillary biographer Gail Sheehy, Clinton proudly proclaimed “I urged [Bill Clinton] to bomb [Serbia].”  One could be forgiven for thinking these are the smug, egomaniacal claims of a sociopath; they are, but they’re also the words of America’s likely next president.

But aside from simply delighting in the death and destruction she can rain down upon weaker nations, Hillary is also the standard-bearer for finance capital and Wall Street.  Her connections to Goldman Sachs and nearly every major bank make her statements about reining in Wall Street both laughable and deeply infuriating; there’s only so much cynicism a country can take.  So, wealthy benefactors like George Soros, the Pritzker family, Haim Saban, and many others fall over themselves to line up behind the First Woman PresidentTM just as they did behind The First Black PresidentTM.

And this point must not be understated.  Identity politics is one of the principal levers by which the Democratic Party keeps liberal America in line.  Never mind that The First Black PresidentTM expanded AFRICOM, killed the single most important African leader, continued the oppression and exploitation of millions of Africans all over the continent, presided over the rapid expansion of drone assassinations, and so much worse; forget all that, I mean, he’s black.  Similarly, Hillary is able to translate her gender into political currency, one that allows the Democratic Party to continue the charade that it is a party for everyone.

And of course, who could forget economic policy?  Clinton represents the best of what Wall Street has to offer.  She is a devout neoliberal, the high priestess of the Church of Free Trade.  She and her husband presided over the passage of NAFTA which has devastated millions of Mexican families while gutting the American industrial base, all the while making superprofits for Big Agribusiness, Big Retail, and big banks.

In effect, Clinton is quite similar to Obama in that both have an insatiable appetite for war and the economic orthodoxy of neoliberalism.  As such, both are the quintessential Democrats: political snake-charmers whose smiles and warm embraces hide the coldness of their hearts, whose devotion to the multicultural rainbow belies their deep hatred of the working class and poor.

And of course, it is imperialism abroad and neoliberalism at home that makes an establishment leader.  It is a reckless disregard for the rights of ordinary Americans, as well as those around the world, that makes one “Presidential.”  It is a deep sociopathy that truly demonstrates that a politician is ready for the office.  So, given that, it would seem that America is indeed #ReadyForHillary.

Anthony Monteiro on CounterPunch Radio!

July 28, 2016 at 11:21 AM

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Listen to CounterPunch Radio (Episode 50) with Dr. Anthony Monteiro

This week Eric welcomes to the show activist and scholar Dr. Anthony Monteiro to discuss his recent trip to Cleveland for the Republican National Convention, and what he learned about the Trump movement. The conversation touches on the class character of the Trumpen Proletariat, and whether or not this represents a transformation of the Republican Party, and potentially US politics as a whole. Eric and Tony examine the nature of fascism, how it has manifested in the US today, and what the future may hold. They go into everything from the ascendance of the far right in Europe, to the potential for substantive solutions and movement-building here in the US. All this and so so much more in this lively chat between two friends on the radical left.

Turkey’s Failed Coup: The Players, the History, and the Geopolitical Chessboard

July 28, 2016 at 11:16 AM

Eric Draitser of http://StopImperialism.org provides his analysis (July 24, 2016) of the failed coup in Turkey, and the implications both for Turkish society and on the international scene. Draitser explains the relaitonship between the CIA and Turkish military coups in the past, the connections between US-NATO intelligence and the Gulenist network, and the broader strategy for the region. He also places the latest developments in the context of a shifting political landscape where Turkey’s loyalties to the West and NATO are increasingly in question. All this and more in this in depth conversation.

Erdogan’s Checkmate: CIA-Backed Coup in Turkey Fails, Upsets Global Chessboard

July 22, 2016 at 9:41 PM


The failed coup in Turkey last week was a political and geopolitical earthquake as it has the potential to fundamentally alter the Middle East, NATO, and potentially the balance of power globally.  But while the implications of the recent developments are clear, what actually took place on the night/morning of July 15 – July 16 is still somewhat shrouded in mystery.  But why is that? Why are the connections for the most part not being made by Western pundits and journalists alike?

Here again we run into the controlled corporate media apparatus, one which is dominated by the very same interests that dominate the governments of the US and EU, and its incredible power to misinform.  As the great Michael Parenti famously wrote, “[The media’s] job is not to inform but disinform, not to advance democratic discourse but to dilute and mute it. Their task is to give every appearance of being conscientiously concerned about events of the day, saying so much while meaning so little, offering so many calories with so few nutrients.”

Nowhere is Parenti’s contention more true than with the coup in Turkey. For while the media has certainly reported the allegations from President Erdogan and his government of the hidden hand of US-based billionaire Fetullah Gulen, almost none of the major media outlets have done the necessary investigation to uncover the real significance of Gulen and his movement.  Specifically, and almost as if by magic, there is virtually no mention of Gulen’s longstanding ties to the CIA, his penetration of the various institutions of the Turkish state, nor is there any serious investigation into the financial networks and connections leading from Gulen to nearly every corner of the Islamic (and non-Islamic) world.

And while Gulen, along with many neocons in the US, have been propagating the narrative that President Erdogan and his forces themselves staged the coup in order to justify the ongoing crackdown on political rivals, secularists, and other anti-Erdogan forces, the media by and large has not connected the events in Turkey to their larger geopolitical significance, one which should shed some light on what may have happened. And, in a further dereliction of duty, the media has also mostly ignored the absolutely critical likelihood of the involvement of US-NATO intelligence.

History as a Guide

From Iran in 1953 to Chile in 1973 and countless other countries, the CIA and its intelligence agency cousins in NATO have been involved in myriad coups similar to the one that took place in Turkey last week.  However, one would be remiss in not noting the striking similarities between the 2016 coup in Turkey and the one that took place on September 12, 1980.

Throughout the mid to late 1970s Turkey saw a major upsurge of terrorism and violence, much of which was attributed to fascist formations such as the Grey Wolves, along with other groups.  However, what is now known is that much of the violence took the form of provocations which many experts allege were orchestrated by CIA-affiliated individuals and networks.

Perhaps the most significant of these was Paul Henze, a man who spent decades as an intelligence coordinator in Ethiopia, Turkey, and elsewhere throughout the Cold War.  As Daniele Ganser noted in his book NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Terrorism in Western Europe, “A right wing extremist on trial later plausibly argued that the massacres and terrors of the 1970s had been a strategy to bring [coup leader General] Evren and the military right to power: ‘The massacres were a provocation by the [Turkish intelligence agency] MIT.  With the provocations by the MIT and the CIA the ground was prepared for the September 12 coup.’” (p. 239)

But of course, these actions did not take place in a vacuum; there were intelligence operators in place who facilitated the events that took place.  As renowned author and media critic Edward Herman and co-author Frank Brodhead wrote in their 1986 book The Rise and Fall of the Bulgarian Connection:

“Paul Henze began his long CIA career under Defense Department cover as a “foreign affairs adviser” in 1950. Two years later, he began a six-year hitch as a policy adviser to Radio Free Europe (RFE) in Munich, West Germany. By 1969, Henze was CIA chief of station in Ethiopia, and he served as station chief in Turkey from 1974 through 1977. When Zbigniew Brzezinski assembled his National Security Council team for President Jimmy Carter, Henze was hired as the CIA’s representative to the NSC office in the White House.”

Considering the intimate connection between Henze and Brzezinski, it is not hard to see that Henze was essentially involved in the same global operation as Brzezinski, namely the weaponization of terrorism for strategic gain against the Soviet Union.  And while Brzezinski famously masterminded the creation of the mujahideen in Afghanistan, Henze already had achieved similar results in Turkey, organizing right wing forces for the purposes of destabilization. In his book, Gansler cites counter-terrorism scholar and expert on GLADIO operations Selhattin Celik, who wrote in 1999 that:

“[When US President Jimmy Carter] heard about [the 1980 coup in Turkey] he called Paul Henze, former Chief of the CIA station in Turkey who had left Ankara shortly before the coup to become a security adviser to President Carter in Washington on the Turkey desk of the CIA…Carter told Henze what the latter already knew: ‘Your people have just made a coup!’  The President was right.  Paul Henze, the day after the coup, had triumphantly declared to his CIA colleagues in Washington: ‘Our boys have done it!”

Celik bluntly referred to Henze as “the chief architect of the September 12, 1980 coup.”  It’s not hard to see why.  From having been on the ground in the early to mid-1970s, to then becoming a coordinator in Washington while being the point person on Turkey for the National Security Council under Brzezinski, Henze was clearly instrumental.  As Gansler notes, according to Celik, “Brzezinski supported the position of Henze.  During a discussion in the National Security Council of the situation in Iran where in 1979 Khomeiny [sic] had seized power Brzezinski expressed his view that ‘for Turkey as for Brazil a military government would be the best solution.’”

While none of this should come as a surprise to anyone remotely familiar with how US intelligence operated in the Cold War, perhaps the depth of the connections between US intelligence, its NATO cousins, and the Turkish military and deep state represent something of an epiphany.  As Turkish politician and social activist Ertugrul Kurkcu wrote in Covert Action Quarterly in 1997:

The close ties between the Turkish, US military, and intelligence circles, along with US concerns over Turkey’s military cooperation, have been major obstacles in Turkey’s path to broader democracy. [Turkish politician and journalist Fikri] Saglar charges that US interest in Turkish affairs is not confined to official NATO relations and trade ties. He points to the notorious message by the CIA’s then-Turkey Station Chief Paul Henze in Ankara to his colleagues in Washington the day after the 1980 coup “Our boys have done it!” Henze crowed. Saglar concludes that foreign intelligence organizations including the CIA, have coopted collaborators from among the extreme-right and exploited them for their particular interests.

In effect, what the 1980 coup demonstrates more than anything is that the Turkish military, as well as the far right fascist terror gangs such as the Grey Wolves, are in various ways assets of the US, and under the thumb of US intelligence.  To be sure, one could quibble about the degree to which they are entirely assets, proxies, or simply longtime collaborators, but this distinction is of minor importance.  What matters is that the historical record clearly indicates collusion between the Turkish military and deep state and the CIA.

But this is all ancient history, right? Surely these networks and connections have eroded over time, and what happened in 1980 is of only secondary significance to the internal politics of Turkey and the ongoing struggles for power.  Well, yes…but on second thought, maybe not.

Who’s Who on the Turkish Chessboard?

In trying to provide analysis of what just took place in Turkey, one must have some understanding of the political factions vying for power in Turkey.  They can roughly be broken down into three camps, though there is often overlap between the groups.

The first faction is that of President Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP).  Erdogan and the AKP come from the “moderate Islamist” milieu of the Muslim Brotherhood, having spent years fighting against the militantly secular Turkish military and state order.  As Dr. Essam al-Erian, a Muslim Brotherhood leader, explained in 2007, “the Muslim Brotherhood is an Islamic group that has a close relationship with all moderate Islamists, the most prominent of which is the Justice and Development Party.”

This point is of critical importance because it connects Erdogan and his political machine to a much broader international network active throughout the Middle East and North Africa.  It further provides an explanation as to Erdogan’s seeming fanaticism over the war in Syria and the removal of President Bashar al-Assad whose father crushed the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood in 1982, as well as his unwavering support for former Egyptian President Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood leader deposed by current President Sisi.

The second faction is that of the Kemalists, with its power generally residing in the military and elements of the deep state.  They see themselves as the custodians of the legacy of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey.  The Kemalists are deeply connected to major capitalist interests in the country, and have a long history of collaboration with the US and NATO.  As noted above, the Turkish military has long-standing ties to the CIA and NATO intelligence, and has long been understood as one of the most reliable US-NATO partners.

The third political faction of note is that of Turkish billionaire Fetullah Gulen whose global network of schools has made him into one of the single most powerful individuals in the region, though he runs his network from the comfort of his Pennsylvania estate.  Not only has the Gulen network made significant inroads penetrating nearly every state institution in Turkey, it is also hugely influential in the US, both in terms of long-standing ties to US intelligence, and perhaps equally important, its massive lobbying and influence-peddling apparatus.  Indeed, in 2010 six major Turkish-American federations with ties to the Gulen movement joined together to create the Assembly of Turkic American Federations (ATAF), a non-profit organization that has become one of the more prominent lobbying groups in Washington dealing with Turkish and Turkic peoples issues.

It is essential to remember that although it is known that last week’s coup was carried out by elements of the military, it is unclear exactly which faction they were representing, or if it was a combination of two.  But here it is useful to examine the recent history of the Gulen network (known as Hizmet) and its penetration of state institutions in order to assess what potential role it may have played in the coup.

Connecting the Dots: Fetullah Gulen and CIA Fingerprints on Turkey Coup?

While it is easy to point the finger at the CIA and US-NATO intelligence for anything that happens anywhere in the world – the Empire’s reach is truly global – one must be cautious not to simply assert US culpability without properly drawing out the tangible connections. And in this case, that is doubly true.  However, it is here that Gulen’s significance really comes into play, for it is his far-reaching network of contacts, surrogates, and proxies that have penetrated nearly every significant state institution.

Long before last week’s failed coup, analysts had been making the connection between Gulen, infiltration of the Turkish state, and the CIA.  As political analyst Osman Softic wrote in 2014:

“Given that the Hizmet sympathizers skilfully [sic] infiltrated some of the most sensitive structures of the state such as the police, intelligence, judiciary and public prosecution, it is quite plausible that this movement may have served as a convenient mechanism for destabilization and even overthrow of the Erdoğan government, by much more powerful and sinister international actors… Gülen himself may have become a convenient pawn in their attempt to destabilize Turkey.”

The allegation that Gulen agents have penetrated all throughout the Turkish state is nothing new.  In fact, such assertions have dogged Gulen and the Hizmet movement for at least the last two decades.  But it is the connection to US intelligence and the elite circles of US foreign policy that truly completes the picture.

Enter Graham Fuller, former Vice Chairman of the CIA’s National Intelligence Council, whose links to Gulen’s movement run deep.  Fuller has gone so far as to defend Gulen on Huffington Post in recent days in an article entitled The Gulen Movement Is Not a Cult — It’s One of the Most Encouraging Faces of Islam Today in which he admits – he had no choice as it is well documented – that he wrote a letter in support of Gulen’s green card application to the US in 2006.  Although his rhetoric attempts to distort the nature of, and reason behind, his support for Gulen, Fuller does imply that Hizmet represents a social movement aligned with, and amenable to, US interests, one which could be used as a potent weapon in a critical NATO ally.

Fuller fails to note that he doesn’t simply have a passing connection with the Gulen movement, but that he has attended numerous Gulenist functions including large events, such as those organized by the Turquoise Council for Americans and Eurasians, a reputed Gulenist umbrella organization run by Kemal Oksuz (a.k.a. Kevin Oksuz), a prominent member of the Gulen network.

In addition to Fuller, infamous former CIA operative and US Ambassador to Turkey, Morton Abramowitz, also wrote a letter backing Gulen as he sought sanctuary in the US.  Interestingly, Abramowitz was also the co-author, along with fellow neocons Eric Edelman and Blaise Misztal, of a fiery January 2014 op-ed in the Washington Post that all but demanded that the US topple Erdogan’s government. Yes, chin-scratchingly interesting.

So, let’s see if we got it all down.  Gulen leads a multi-billion dollar business empire and charter/private school network with global reach.  He is directly connected to two of the most notorious CIA operatives in the recent history of US-Turkish relations.  He has a political lobbying network whose tentacles stretch from Washington to Central Asia.  Oh, and by the way, according to former Turkish intelligence chief Osman Nuri Gundes, Gulen’s network of schools in the Central Asian nations of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan provided the cover for at least 130 CIA agents in the mid to late 90s.

Now let’s add to that equation the fact that the RAND corporation, one of the most influential think tanks within US policy circles, suggested in a detailed 2004 report entitled Civil Democratic Islam: Partners, Resources, and Strategies that US policy should:

“Support the modernists first, enhancing their vision of Islam over that of the traditionalists by providing them with a broad platform to articulate and disseminate their views. They, not the traditionalists, should be cultivated and publicly presented as the face of contemporary Islam…Support the secularists on a case-by-case basis.”

It would seem that, more than a decade ago, and at a time when Gulen and Erdogan were still friendly, their organizations still allied, that US policy was to push Gulen and the moderate Islamist elements that he and Erdogan represented.  It seems quite likely that the falling out between Erdogan and Gulen had less to do with personal issues and egos (though that undoubtedly played a part) than it did with policy and loyalty.

The Geopolitics and Strategy of the Failed Coup

Despite his commendable service to US imperialism in Syria, including hosting both terrorist and Syrian expatriate proxies of the US, Erdogan has clearly upset the apple cart with Washington.  Perhaps his most egregious crime came just recently when he issued an apology for the November 2015 downing of a Russian jet.  But, of course, it wasn’t the apology itself that set off official Washington, it was the reorientation of Turkish foreign policy away from the US, NATO, and Europe, and towards Russia, China, and the emerging non-western power bloc. This was his grave sin. And it wasn’t the first time, though undoubtedly Washington wanted to make sure it would be his last.

One must recall that Erdogan has a nasty habit of making deals with US adversaries, including the signing of the massive Turk Stream pipeline deal, the decision to purchase missile systems from China (which Erdogan later reneged on), the signing of a lucrative nuclear energy deal with Russia, and many others.  In short, for Washington, Erdogan proved to be an unreliable ally at best, and a dangerous political manipulator at worst.  So, as with so many leaders who came to be seen that way by the US political elites, he had to go.  And Gulen’s network would come in handy.

Perhaps one of the most striking aspects of the events of the failed coup was the use of the NATO base at Incirlik.  As the Los Angeles Times noted:

“Turkish officials said the organizers of the uprising were given crucial aid from officers at Incirlik Air Base, a facility that hosts most of the 2,500 U.S. military personnel stationed in Turkey and is a key base for the U.S.-led coalition’s ongoing air campaign to defeat the Islamic State militant group in neighboring Iraq and Syria… official media reported the arrest of the top Turkish military official at Incirlik, Gen. Bekir Ercan Van. Van was among 10 soldiers arrested at the base, part of an operation Turkish officials say provided air-to-air refueling for F-16 fighter jets…[which] were a crucial part of the coup attempt, used to intimidate government supporters in the streets.”

The implications of this information should not be understated.  While it is entirely possible that the story was concocted by Erdogan’s people in order to carry out a purge of top military officials perhaps seen as disloyal to Erdogan or much too loyal to secular Kemalists, it is also plausible that the Turkish government’s narrative is correct.

Were that to be the case, then the obvious implication would be that Incirlik was a base of operations for the coup, the locus of Turkish military power behind the coup, and US intelligence and military behind them.  Considering the centrality of Incirlik to NATO operations in the Middle East, it is not unreasonable to assume that aside from just military personnel, Incirlik is a node in the global CIA network.  In fact, considering that the base is home to both US drones conducting operations in the Syria-Iraq theater, as well as a hub of the US “extraordinary rendition” program, it almost goes without saying that Incirlik houses significant CIA assets.

Seen from this perspective then, Incirlik was obviously pivotal to the failed coup plot, and has since become essential to Erdogan’s purging of his rivals from the ranks of the military.  Moreover, it was long a bone of contention between Ankara and Washington, with Erdogan’s government wanting to assert more control over the base than Washington was prepared to allow.  In many ways, Incirlik became the nexus of a tectonic shift in Turkish politics, and in the geopolitics of the region.

Ultimately, the failed 2016 coup in Turkey will have lasting ramifications that will impact the years and decades ahead.  With Turkey now clearly breaking with the US-NATO-EU axis, it is rather predictable that it will seek to not only mend fences with both Russia and China, but to place itself into the non-western camp typified by BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, China’s One Belt One Road strategy, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, etc.

The failure of the coup is clearly a failure for the US and its allies who see in Erdogan an adversary, not a partner.  For his part, Erdogan has much criminal behavior to answer for.  From his illegal fomenting of war in Syria, to the purges and arbitrary detentions ongoing in Turkey today, to the attacks on secular institutions and human rights, Erdogan has a rap sheet a mile long.   But of course sharing a bed with criminal regimes has never been a problem for Washington.

No, the problem has been, and will continue to be, that Erdogan doesn’t play by the rules; rules set forth by the US.  And with this US-backed coup, he will only get stronger.  Surely, many sleepless nights lay ahead for the strategic planners in Washington.

Obama Prioritizes War in Europe Over War on People of Color

July 15, 2016 at 1:13 PM


President Obama’s true priorities were on full display this past week as he attended the NATO Summit in Poland’s capital of Warsaw.  For while Obama met with other NATO heads of state to discuss raising troop levels, bringing more military hardware into Eastern Europe and to the doorstep of Russia, and generally heightening tensions with a nuclear power, America found itself in crisis.

After the horrific, criminal murders of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, and the sniper attack in Dallas, racial tensions were running high; millions of black, brown, and white people, mostly young, poured into the streets of cities across the country to express their indignation at the ceaseless murder of innocent citizens at the hands of the police.  And, predictably, the police forcibly suppressed the protests, demonstrating before the world what militarized law enforcement looks like, and what it can do.

So, with state-sanctioned paramilitary storm-troopers roaming the streets and attacking protesters, the First Black PresidentTM couldn’t be bothered to come home and use the power of his position to calm the tensions and speak to issues of mass incarceration and police violence.  No, instead Obama remained in Poland where he did everything in his power to heighten international tensions.  Such is the reality of the Obama presidency: shed crocodile tears for political expediency while pursuing a belligerent foreign policy that has the potential to escalate out of control.

Obama’s Legacy: Setting the Stage for War in Europe?

Shock, horror, revulsion – these are some of the appropriate reactions to seeing the state-sanctioned murders of innocent black and brown people like Castile, Sterling, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, and countless others. But those same reactions are equally appropriate when evaluating the US-NATO policy in Eastern Europe, one which could have far-reaching consequences which for the moment are unimaginable. I mean, war with Russia? Really?

Indeed, the Obama administration has made it a centerpiece of its strategy in Eastern Europe to fully commit to massive militarization rather than negotiation. The NATO Summit in Warsaw saw the signing of a raft of agreements that will undeniably raise the potential for military conflict.  Some highlights of the agreements include:

  • Stationing four battalions in Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on a rotational basis beginning in 2017
  • Development of a tailored forward presence in the south-eastern part of the Alliance
  • Declaring Initial Operational Capability of NATO’s Ballistic Missile Defense
  • Expanding NATO’s mission to cyberspace and cyber defense
  • An agreement to start training and capacity building inside Iraq.
  • An expanded maritime presence in the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Extending NATO mission in Afghanistan until at least 2020
  • A Joint Declaration of new NATO-EU cooperation, including in maritime security and countering hybrid threats


These developments are deeply worrying when you consider that they are, in effect, anti-Russia “defense” measures which will be correctly interpreted by Moscow as a major escalation which will, in turn, necessitate escalation from the Russian side.  There was a time in the not so distant past when disarmament and negotiation was the order of the day when it came to US-Soviet relations. Unfortunately, it seems the cooler heads have all retired or passed away, and today it’s just the hotheads and warmongers making policy.

Despite the danger already evident from the new NATO agreements listed above, one must also recall that the US and its NATO allies have engaged in countless military exercises with nearly every country in Southern and Eastern Europe, with Russia providing the necessary villain.  Here is just a small sampling of the myriad drills and exercises:

  • Rapid Trident 2016 (June 27 – July 8) in Yavoriv, Ukraine. According to U.S. Army Europe’s website, “Participating nations’ forces Ukraine, United States, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Georgia, Great Britain, Moldova, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden and Turkey. The Rapid Trident exercise comes at the explicit request of the Ukrainian government and military.”
  • Noble Partner 2016 (May 11 – May 26) in Vaziani, Georgia. The exercise includes US and Georgian military participants and is designed specifically to increase capabilities to confront Russia. As U.S. Army Europe’s website noted, “The exercise focuses on Unified Land Operations…[and] emphasizes USAREUR’s abilities to quickly move soldiers and equipment throughout Europe and operate together within a coalition in any potential future operation.”
  • Trident Joust 2016 (April 12 – April 22) in Poland. Trident Joust is a NATO-sponsored series of exercises that essentially wargames potential Russian invasion.
  • Joint Warrior 16-1 (April 12 – April 24) in the North and Baltic Seas. Joint Warrior is a NATO-sponsored series of naval exercises carried out by Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) which simulates realistic war scenarios in the Baltic Sea (translation: Russian invasion).
  • Anakonda 16 (June 7 – June 17) in Poland. The land, sea, and air exercises involved 31,000 troops from Poland, the US, and 17 other NATO members and five partners.  The largest contingent of troops was from the US.
  • Flaming Sword (May 1 – May 20) in Lithuania and Latvia. This exercise was to evaluate the US special forces ability to interact with their counterparts in Lithuania and Latvia in preparation for a potential attack from Russia.
  • BALTOPS 16 (June 3 – June 26) in the Baltic Sea. This exercise was led by the US and focused on interoperability with partner nations in the maritime, air and land domains. Aside from NATO member participation, BALTOPS 16 also included the partner nations of Finland and Sweden.

It should be noted that these exercises represent only a fraction of the overall military activity US-NATO has been engaged in near Russia’s borders, as these are merely the exercises carried out in the last three months.

Of course, the US military buildup in Eastern Europe has been ongoing for quite a while.  Earlier this year the US announced major increases in forces deployed in Eastern Europe. And, rather predictably, Russia responded weeks later by saying that it too would be increasing its troop deployments to the Western border as a counter-measure against the US-led buildup.  To say this was expected would be an understatement. And considering how much energy and money was invested in exercises and the movement of military hardware into the region just in 2016, one must shudder to think of a further increase in 2017.  One cannot help but fear that this is a prelude to war.

Cui Bono? Who Benefits from Wars at Home and Abroad?

It is not enough to simply point out the vicious brutality meted out by the police on communities of color, or to highlight the warmongering of the political elites around the world.  Rather, one must understand the interconnectedness of these two phenomena, and the fact that the same system promotes and profits from both; in short, it is the military-industrial complex that wins.

With an increase in military hardware and troop deployments in Eastern Europe, companies like Lockheed-Martin, Raytheon, and Boeing stand to gain more lucrative contracts, adding to their bottom lines as the world teeters perilously close to the edge of the abyss.  But it is also all the companies that make body armor, firearms, Humvees, satellite phones and so much more.  It is an industry within an industry. And business is booming.

Why? Because the same companies that profit from outfitting US military and NATO are profiting from doing the same for local police departments.  This militarization of the police is part and parcel of the creation of a full-fledged police state, with a repressive apparatus aimed especially at poor communities of color that rise up in protest against wanton police murders.  And, as with Eastern Europe, President Obama has presided over a massive increase in police militarization.

As the New York Times reported in 2014:

“During the Obama administration, according to Pentagon data, police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft. The equipment has been added to the armories of police departments that already look and act like military units.”

Clearly, Obama’s rhetorical commitment to social justice, like his commitment to peace as exemplified by his Nobel Peace Prize, is the product of cynical manipulation and public relations, not genuine action.  And, in the wake of Ferguson and Baltimore, in 2015 Obama announced that some military-style equipment would no longer be available to police; well, Mr. Hope and Change has already reneged on that in the wake of the Dallas sniper attack.

According to police leaders present at a private meeting with Obama, the President assured them “that his administration would review a prior decision that halted the sale of some surplus military equipment to law enforcement agencies.”  So much for even the smallest concession to the communities impacted the most by police violence.

But the larger point that must be addressed is that the same military-industrial complex is driving both US imperialism and state-sponsored police murders.  While US military trains Poles and Latvians and Lithuanians and Georgians to kill Russians, so too do security firms in Israel and the US train police officers to act as occupiers and kill citizens in America.  In effect, the belligerent foreign policy of Washington has been brought home.  Perhaps it could be more accurately said that war and occupation have always been the status quo in communities of color, that the killings and violence are only being highlighted today because they have been brought to the attention of White America.

The lack of respect for peace and human life is evident both on the streets of Ferguson, Baltimore, and Baton Rouge, just as it is on display with US saber-rattling in Eastern Europe.  It seems the very notions of peace and justice are as alien to the US as a bowl of borscht.

And while a movement to challenge police murders continues to grow in the US, a movement for peace that seeks to avoid World War III seems conspicuously absent.  It seems long past time to mobilize one.  And considering how interconnected the problems are, perhaps the movements that rise to challenge them should be as well.