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Friday, 12 September 2014

Lebanon envoy withdraws in protest at Israel remarks


Daily Star (Lebanon) - Thursday 11th September 2014

BEIRUT: U.S. Senator Ted Cruz was booed offstage during a dinner for the Middle East's Christian conference in Washington D.C., with his pro-Zionists comments causing many Lebanese figures to withdraw in anger, including the Lebanese ambassador to the U.S.


“Christians have no greater ally than Israel,” Sen. Ted Cruz said, addressing a crowd of Arab Christian figures at a fundraising dinner for the non-profit organization ‘In Defense of Christians’ in Washington D.C.

Billed as a keynote speaker at the event, Cruz switched the topic from defending Christians in the Middle East against terrorism, to the need to form an alliance between Christians and Jews, which he identified as “people of good faith”.

“Tonight, we are all united in defense of Christians. Tonight, we are all united in defense of Jews,” he said. “Together, against those who would persecute and murder those who dare disagree with their religious teachings.”

As part of the controversial speech that led to the withdrawal of Ambassador Antoine Chedid, Cruz evoked the old argument that whoever disliked the state of Israel was anti-Semitic and did not follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.

“Those who hate Israel hate America,” he said, while crowd began to turn against him. “Those who hate Jews hate Christians. If those in this room will not recognize that, then my heart weeps.

“If you hate the Jewish people you are not reflecting the teachings of Christ,” he added, addressing an audience representing the Christian churches of the Middle East, including Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai.

The republican senator from Texas, who was a member of George W. Bush’s electoral campaign in 1999, also used the podium to equate fundamentalist groups massacring Christians in Iraq and Syria, to Palestinian and Lebanese groups fighting Israel.

“Religious bigotry is a cancer with many manifestations,” he said. “ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, state sponsors like Syria and Iran, are all engaged in a vicious genocidal campaign to destroy religious minorities in the Middle East.”

Criticizing those who he said “try to parse different manifestations of [one] evil,” Cruz argued about the similarities of the mentioned groups, seemingly ignoring the varied battlefields, history, context and at times aggressive enmity between many of them.

“Sometimes we are told not to loop these groups together,” he added, “...that we have to understand their so called nuances and differences.”

“But hate is hate, and murder is murder,” he said. “Our purpose here tonight is to highlight a terrible injustice, a humanitarian crisis.”

Cruz’s comments on the region were too extreme for the audience, and provoked a round of cries that firmly asked him to leave.

“Stop it, stop it, enough,” and “Out, out, leave the stage!” were some of the shouts aimed at the senator, which prompted IDC’s president, Toufic Baaklini, to join Cruz on stage and ask the crowd to listen.

After failing in attempts to be heard, the senator announced “if you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, then I will not stand with you. Good night and God bless,” before walking off the stage, with some carrying on the shouts and others applauding his departure.

In addition to Chedid’s protest, media reports said that Future Movement MPs Jean Ogassapian, Atef Majdalani and former MP Ghattas Khoury all withdrew from the conference.

The reports said that while Patriarch Gregory III Laham had also intended to withdraw, Patriarch Rai called on the participants to avoid the tension and prioritize the conference’s success over some individual statements.

Source Daily Star:

 http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2014/Sep-11/270331-us-senator-booed-offstage-at-the-me-christian-conference.ashx#axzz3D5pnPc9z

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Wiping Out the Christians of Syria and Iraq to Remap the Middle East: Prerequisite to a Clash of Civilizations?



By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
PART I

Historically, the Levant is the birthplace of Christianity and the oldest Christian communities have lived in it and the entire Fertile Crescent since the start of Christian history. Early Christians called themselves followers or people of «the Way» before they adopted the term Christian; in Arabic their antiquated name would be «Ahl Al-Deen». [1] Traces of this original name are also available in the New Testament of the Bible and can be read in John 14:5-7, Acts 9:1-2, Acts 24:4 and 14. From the Fertile Crescent these Christian communities spread across Africa, Asia, and Europe. Since that time the ancient communities of Christians, many of which still use the Syriac dialects of Aramaic in their churches, have been an integral and important part of the social fabrics of the pluralistic societies of Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Turkey, and Iran. Nevertheless, the Christians of the Levant and Iraq are now in the cross-hairs.

Deceit and mischief has been at play. It is no coincidence that Egyptian Christians were attacked at the same time as the South Sudan Referendum, which was supposed to signal a split between the Muslims in Khartoum and the Christians and animists in Juba. Nor is it an accident that Iraq’s Christians, one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, began to face a modern exodus, leaving their homes and ancestral homeland in Iraq in 2003. Mysterious groups targeted both them and Palestinian refugees…

Coinciding with the exodus of Iraqi Christians, which occurred under the watchful eyes of US and British military forces, the neighborhoods in Baghdad became sectarian as Shiite Muslims and Sunni Muslims were forced by violence and death squads to form sectarian enclaves. This is all tied to a US and Israeli project of redrawing the map.

The Christian communities of the Levant and Iraq have long distrusted the US government for its support of Israel, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and fanatical militants with anti-Christian leanings. Lebanon’s Christians have also been weary of US support for Israeli expansion and ideas about resettling Palestinians into Lebanon. There is also a widely held belief that the US and Israel have been involved in a policy to remove or «purge» the Christians from Iraq and the Levant in some type of Zionist-linked resettlement plan. Since the US-supported anti-government fighters started targeting Christian Syrians, there has been renewed talk about a Christian exodus in the Middle East centering on Washington’s war on Syria.

Silencing the Ancient Church Bells of Sham and Shinar

Christian Arabs and both the Assyrian and Armenian ethnic communities, which are overwhelming composed of Christians, inside Lebanon and Syria have been in the crosshairs. From Homs and Maaloula to Kessab, Syria’s Christians have been under siege. Various ecclesiastic councils or synods have expressed concerns as have Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I, the Vatican or Holy See, Russian Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow Cyril (Kirill) I, Armenian Apostolic Catholicos Aram I, the Maronite Greek Catholic Patriarchate in Lebanon, Jerusalemite Greek Orthodox Archbishop Theodosios (Attallah) Hanna of Sebastia, the Anglican See of Canterbury, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, Lebanese President Michel Suleiman, the Free Patriotic Movement of Lebanon’s Michel Aoun, the World Council of Churches, and various interfaith bodies. Even US celebrities Cherilyn Sarkisian (Cher) and Kimberly Kardashian joined the chorus and voiced their concerns about Syria’s Christians after the Turkish government perfidiously helped Al-Nusra overrun the predominately Armenian town of Kessab in Lattakia Governate on March 24, 2014. [2]

Inside Syria, Maronite Greek Catholic Archbishop of Damascus Samir Nassar, Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregory III Laham, Antiochian Greek Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius IV, and Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I Iwas have all condemned the violence. The leaders of Syria’s other faiths, Druze Sheikh Al-Aql Hamoud Hennawi, Sunni Grand Mufti Ahmed Badreddin, and Ashari Imam Mohammed Said Ramadan, have joined the Christian leaders in their calls for peace and condemnations of Washington’s war on Syria. These leaders have risked their lives and the lives of their loved ones by taking these positions. Sheikh Ramadan, who was also an ethnic Kurd, was murdered while he was teaching in a mosque for his backing of the Syrian government on March 21, 2013. Patriarch Ignatius IV had his brother kidnapped in Aleppo whereas Grand Mufti Hassoun had his twenty-two year-old son murdered on his way to university in Idlib. Despite the threats, all these figures have spoken against the insurgency as a cancerous threat to coexistence in Syrian society and the broader region. Melkite Patriarch Gregory III Laham has very vocally said that his country is being attacked by bandits and terrorists under the fiction of a revolution that seek to destroy the Christians and all Syria. [3]

The Christian communities of Syria, which constitute at least 10% of the Syrian population, have been systematically targeted; their churches have been attached and desecrated; their priests, monks, and nuns murdered; and generally discriminated against by the anti-government forces that the US, UK, France, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and their allies support. The objectives of establishing this exodus are reflected by the anti-government chants: «Alawites to the ground and Christians to Lebanon!» What this chant means is that Syria is no longer a place where either Alawis or Christians can live.

America’s Foot Soldiers and the Rape of Christians in Syria and Iraq

Fides News Agency, the official news agency of the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church, has reported that the so-called religious leaders of the anti-government fighters declared it lawful for the anti-government fighters to rape «any non-Sunni Syrian woman» that they desired; the declarations of these corrupt pastors have been used to justify the rape, humiliation, torture, and murder of women and girls in towns and territory captured by groups like the so-called Free Syrian Army, Jabhat Al-Nusra, and the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant/Al-Dawlah Al-Islamiyah fi Al-Iraq wa Al-Sham (ISIL/DAISH). [4]

Here is the account given to the Fides News Agency by two priests about what was done to one fifteen year-old Syrian Christian girl in Homs Governate after the anti-government fighters took control of it:

The commander of the battalion «Jabhat al-Nusra» in Qusair took Mariam, married and raped her. Then he repudiated her. The next day the young woman was forced to marry another Islamic militant. He also raped her and then repudiated her. The same trend was repeated for 15 days, and Mariam was raped by 15 different men. This psychologically destabilized her and made her insane. Mariam, became mentally unstable and was eventually killed. These atrocities are not told by any «International Commission» say to Fides two Greek-Catholic priests, Fr. Issam and Fr. Elias who have just returned to town. [5]

These same US-supported multinational insurgent groups have begun to do this to Iraqi Christians too. «On June 12, [2014,] only two day after capturing Mosul and other territories in Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria issued a decree ordering the people to send their unmarried women to ‘jihad by sex’» and made a decree ordering that unmarried women sexually be offered to their fighters for fornication. [6] The following account, which was confirmed by the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights and reported by the Assyrian International News Agency, deals with Mosul after its takeover by the insurrectionary forces entering Iraq from Syria on June 25, 2014:

A Christian father who watched his wife and daughter get brutally raped by members of the militant group, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) because he couldn’t pay them a poll tax in Mosul, Iraq, killed himself under the weight of the trauma this past weekend. [7]

The molestation and rape of Christian women and girls as sex objects has not been limited to Christians alone. Syrian women and girls, regardless of their faiths, that have been captured by the anti-government forces are being raped and molested. Muslims, Christians, and Druze are all equally at risk. These perverted acts are being encouraged by corrupt clerics issuing legal opinions and decrees (fatwas) that support rape and womanizing.

These twisted legal opinions and decrees being issued include calls for foreign women to become concubines to the anti-government fighters in Syria in what is disgracefully called a «sexual holy struggle» (jihad al-nikah). The Tunisian government was even prompted to react in mid-2013 to these calls for sexual offering, because they were exploiting young Tunisian girls. [8] Tunisian Minister of Religious Affairs Noureddine Al-Khadimi condemned the corrupt and ignorant clerics and individuals behind the calls, insisting that they had nothing to do with Muslim teachings:

The minister’s statements came after the spread of an anonymous «sexual jihad» fatwa on the Internet calling on young women to support opposition fighters in Syria by providing sexual services. According to media reports and mujahideen who returned to Tunisia after participating in jihad in Syria, 13 Tunisian girls headed to the battlefield in response to the «sexual jihad» fatwa. [9]
«After the sexual liaisons they have [in Syria] in the name of ‘jihad al-nikah’ — (sexual holy war, in Arabic) — [these girls] come home pregnant», Tunisian Interior Minister Lotfi bin Jeddou testified to Tunisian legislators months after Al-Khadimi’s condemnations, explaining that the misguided girls could have over a hundred partners. [10]

Targeting Bishops, Priests, Monks, and Nuns: Besieging the People of «The Way»

Since the start of the fighting, Christian spiritual figures have been targeted in one way or another. There are the cases of Greek Orthodox Archbishop Sayedna Paul (Boulos) Yazigi and Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan Mar Gregorios John Abraham (Yohanna Ibrahim), which were kidnapped near the Turkish border, on April 22, 2013. Their driver, a Christian priest himself, was killed instantly for protecting the two Christian metropolitans by refusing to let them leave their car. A fourth person in the car, Fouad Eliya, managed to remain free (and explain what happened). [11]
The Turkish government is directly involved in the kidnapping of the two Orthodox Christian bishops. The Turkish newswire Dogan News Agency (Dogan Haber Ajansı) reported on July 23, 2013 that the murders or, using the report’s words, «assassins» of the two Syrian bishops were arrested in Konya. [12] The arrest happened to be of anti-Russian fighters from the North Caucasus, which corresponded to Foud Eliya’s account that Boulos Yazigi and Yohanna Ibrahim were taken by North Caucasian militants dressed like Taliban fighters from Afghanistan. [13]

Grand Mufti Hassoun revealed that Turkish-trained Chechen fighters were dispatched by Ankara to kidnap Sayedna Boulos Yazigi and Mar Gregorios, because of two important reasons. According to Sheikh Hassoun, the first reason is that Metropolitan Gregorios was asked by Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I Iwas to head a church committee to begin the process of reclaiming the vast holdings of the Syriac Orthodox Church that the Turkish government had confiscated during its persecution of Syriac Orthodox Christians. [14]

In a meeting between Prime Minister Erdogan and Mar Gregorios, the Turkish government asked that the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch establish a eparchy (an ecclesiastical province or administrative division of the church with a metropolitan) in Turkey and to even relocate its patriarchate from Damascus to Hatay (Antioch), but Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim refused and said that the patriarchate of the Syriac Orthodox Church will never change locations, that Syriac Orthodox Christians recognized the Levant as one unified land, and that a bishop would be assigned to Turkey when the Syriac Orthodox Church’s properties were returned by the Turkish government, which angered Turkish officials. [15] The other reason that the Orthodox Christian cleric was targeted was that he was reconciling anti-government fighters peacefully with the Syrian government in Aleppo Governate, which upset Turkey and its allies. [16]

Other cases include those of: Father (Abouna) Fadi Jamal Haddad, a Antiochian Greek Orthodox priest acting as a mediator in Qatana during the fighting, who was tortured and shot in the head after he tried to mediate the release of a doctor that was being ransomed for money; Father (Abouna) Francois Al-Mourad, a Catholic priest of the Franciscan Order, who was shot for preventing fellow Christians and Syrians from being hurt by the anti-government fighters; and Father Frans van der Lugt, a Dutch priest of the Jesuit Order working in Homs. When Abouna Fadi went to pay the insurgents for the doctor they had abducted, they kidnapped him too; they would later kill the Christian priests and leave him on the side of the highway, «horribly tortured and [with] his eyes gouged out», where his body would be found on September 25, 2012. [17]

According to the Franciscan Order’s representatives in Syria, the insurgents «broke into the convent, looted it and destroyed everything. When Fr. Franҫois tried to defend the nuns and other people, the gunmen shot him dead» on June 23, 2013. [18]

The insurgents murdered Father Frans van der Lugt on April 7, 2014.This an account of the circumstances behind his murder:

Wael Salibi, 26, recalled how when the Christian area in Homs was taken over by rebels, 66,000 of the faithful «left their home, and just few of them stayed there. He was the only priest, he stayed in his church.»

«Just months before he died, he said ‘I can’t leave my people, I can’t leave my church, I am director of this church, how can I leave them?’» Salibi told CNA on April 11.

Salibi, who hails from the now-ravished city of Homs, grew up as a close friend and pupil of Fr. Frans, who was brutally killed on April 7. Days before his 76th birthday, an unknown gunman entered his church, beat him and shot him in the head. [19]

In Hasakah (Hasce) many of the Christian Syrians fled, but almost 30,000 stayed as internal refugees. The Syrian Christians who belonged to the Chaldean Catholic Church, Syriac Orthodox Church, Syriac Catholic Church, Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church, and the Armenian Catholic Church collectively asked the world for help and to put an end to the fighting, in an appeal that went unheard, in late-2012; they have suffered from persecution, lawlessness, kidnappings, ransoms, and murder. One Christian from the area told Fides News Agency that Al-Nusra was targeting «all young people who were born between 1990 and 1992. They look for them, accuse them of being soldiers for the national service and kill them cold-bloodedly. They want to terrorize young people to prevent them from enlisting.» [20]

Another example of the assault on the Christian community is Al-Nusra’s assault on the town of Maaloula. Maaloula is one of a few villages maintaining an old dialect of Aramaic, known as the language of Jesus of Nazareth. Many Christian structures and historic sites fill the Syrian town, but the Melkite Greek Catholic Saint Sergius (Mar Sarkis) Monastery and Antiochian Greek Orthodox Saint Thecla (Mar Taqla) Monastery standout. The town became the scene of fighting between Al-Nusra and the Syrian Arab Army and switched hands between the insurgents and Syrian government four times between late-2013 and mid-2014.

Many of Maaloula’s residents, both Christian and Muslim alike, became trapped in their homes and local buildings, including forty Greek Orthodox Christian nuns and the orphans they were looking after, which sparked panic in the Christian populations of Syria and Lebanon. Hence the strong backing of Bashar Al-Assad’s government by all of Syria’s minorities and the expression of these type of sentiments were nearly universal among Christian Syrians: «‘They’re coming after us,’ [said] Odette Abu Zakham, a 65-year-old woman in the congregation who lives in the nearby historic Christian district of Bab Touma. ‘All they do is massacre people, all they know is killing.’» [21] Not only were the nuns held hostage by Al-Nusra, but the anti-government fighters desecrated absolutely all of Maaloula’s shrines and Christian buildings, stole its historic artifacts to sell in the black market, and scattered the partially Aramaic-speaking population of the town. Eyewitnesses who escaped Maaloula give this account below:

[The insurgents] tried to change the religious and architectural-historical look of the ancient Christian town entirely: completely destroying some churches, the militants brought down all bells from other ones. The fate of two other world-famous monuments of Ma’loula was no less tragic: extremists blew up the statue of Christ the Savior, which had stood at the entrance of St. Thecla Convent, as well as the statue of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, which had stood close to the Safir hotel, the latter of which served as the main shelter for Takfirists for many months. [22]

Easter, in 2014 was a special time for Maaloula. Around Easter, the Syrian government regained the town. Maaloula was finally secured and residents were returning. «The display of hatred was clear — the houses are totally destroyed, the whole village was destroyed. I can’t describe the amount of damage to the village», a returning resident by the name of Lorain told the press about what the insurgents did. [23] President Al-Assad visited too. Al-Assad himself came to visit it as a sign of the Syrian government’s commitment to its entire population regardless of their faith or ethnicity. Both the Western rite and Eastern rite Christian celebrations of Easter, respectively using the Gregorian and Julian calendars, fell on the same date too: April 20, 2014.

(To be continued)

NOTES

[1] The term Christian is akin to the term Mohammedian, which was once used to describe Muslims. It was a name originally used as a derogatory term by non-Christians to identify the followers of Jesus of Nazareth and «the Way» by them, but would eventually be accepted and adopted by many of the Christians; the Arabic word «deen» means «way» and not religion as it is commonly substituted for.
[2] Pinar Tremblay, «Armenian-Americans blame Turkey for Kassab invasion, Al-Monitor, April 3, 2014.
[3] «Syria has been reduced to banditry and anarchy, says Gregory III Laham», Vatican Insider, May 4, 2012.
[4] «13 Syrian Christian Women Raped and Killed by Islamists» Pravoslavie, April 5, 2013; «Rape and atrocities on a young Christian in Qusair», Fides News Agency, July 2, 2013; Stoyan Zaimov, «Syrian Christian Mother Reveals Stories of Rape, Church Attacks in Streets of Damascus», Christian Post, October 17, 2013; Jamie Dettmer, «Syria’s Christians Flee Kidnappings, Rape, Executions», Daily Beast, November 19, 2013.
[5] «Rape and atrocities», Fides, op. cit.
[6] «ISIS in Mosul Orders Unmarried Women to ‘Jihad By Sex,’» Assyrian International News Agency, June 21, 2014.
[7] Leonardo Blair, «Christian Father Commits Suicide After ISIS Members Rape Wife and Daughter in Front of Him Because He Couldn’t Pay Poll Tax», Christian Post, June 25, 2014.
[8] Mohammed Yassin Al-Jalassi, «Tunisians Raise Alarm on Fatwa Encouraging ‘Sexual Jihad,’» Al-Monitor, March 27, 2013.
[9] Ibid.
[10] «Sex Jihad raging in Syria, claims minister», Agence France-Presse, September 20, 2013.
[11] Dikran Ego, «Turkey’s Role in the Kidnapping of the Syrian Bishops», Assyrian International News Agency, February 1, 2012.
[12] Ismail Akkaya, «Suriyeli metropolitlerin katil zanlıları Konya’da yakalandı» [«Syrian metropolitan’s alleged assassins were caught in Konya»], Dogan Haber Ajansı, July 23, 2013.
[13] Dikran Ego, «Turkey’s Role in Kidnapping», AINA, op. cit.
[14] Grand Mufti Hassoun explains this in a video released by the Stockholm-based Syriac Foundation on May 4, 2014.
[15] Ibid.
[16] Ibid.
[17] «Fr. Fadi Jamil Haddad: Priest, Trusted By All, Martyred in Syria», Pravmir.com, October 28, 2012: .
[18] «Custos of the Holy Land: Fr Franҫois Mourad killed by Islamist insurgents in al-Ghassaniyah», AsiaNews.it, June 25, 2013: .
[19] Elise Harris, «‘I can’t leave my people’: Priest killed in Syria hailed as martyr», Catholic News Agency, April 15, 2014.
[20] «Appeal from the people of Mesopotamia, left to themselves», Fides News Agency, January 17, 2013.
[21] Lee Keath, «Seizure of nuns stokes Syrian Christian fears», Associated Press, December 8, 2013.
[22] «All Shrines of Ma’loula Either Destroyed or Desecrated», Pravoslavie, January 13, 2014.
[23] Firas Makdesi, «Syria’s Assad pays Easter visit to recaptured Christian town», Reuters, April 20, 2014.

Source:- Global Research, July 30, 2014
http://www.globalresearch.ca/wiping-out-the-christians-of-syria-and-iraq-to-remap-the-mid-east-prerequisite-to-a-clash-of-civilizations/5394075

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Axel Kicillof Is Argentina's Secret Weapon Against Default

By Leah McGrath Goodman - 7/30/14 

As Latin America’s third-largest economy teeters on the brink of default Wednesday evening, it is pinning its hopes on the star power and persuasive skills of its young economy minister, Axel Kicillof, to broker an 11th-hour deal.


If the South American nation doesn’t succeed in reaching a settlement with its creditors by midnight Eastern Time on Wednesday, it will default for the first time in more than a decade, battering the country’s already acutely fragile economy.

Until just hours ago, Kicillof refused to meet face to face with a group of creditors – which include New York-based multibillion-dollar hedge funds Elliott Management Corp. and Aurelius Capital Management LP – demanding that Argentina make them whole on bonds that have gone unpaid since 2001.

In fact, even after a U.S. judge appointed Special Master Daniel Pollack to assist Argentina in forging a long-awaited settlement with its unpaid creditors, Kicillof traveled to New York in late June – but only to give an explosive speech at the U.N. lambasting the U.S. courts for driving Argentina’s economy to the brink.

He then promptly caught a jet back to Argentina. Throughout his short trip, Kiciloff never made clear whether he would meet with Argentina’s New York-based creditors, who are owed an estimated $1.5 billion – and left them dangling.

Even if it was not a deliberate move to tweak Argentina’s inflamed creditors, it worked: for the past 30 days, hedge funds such as Elliott have stepped up the urgency of their rhetoric, exhorting Argentina in editorials and emails to the press to come to the negotiating table. “With July 30th only 11 days away, the Argentine government appears determined to default,” Elliott wrote in a recent missive to the financial press. “We hope it chooses to avoid this dead-end path.”

Arriving suddenly on Tuesday, Kicillof swept into the New York offices of Special Master Pollack, where creditor talks were under way.

And, just like that, he reignited negotiations.

As one Argentine trader, who also traveled to New York this week, remarked following the appearance of Kicillof, “Looks like default will be avoided.”

Known for his anti-establishment sideburns, Marxist leanings and aversion to ties and business suits, Kicillof is likely to find he clashes over a good deal more than just financial terms at the negotiating table with his hedge fund opponents.

Even so, it is unlikely Kicillof, who has the full backing of Argentina’s President Cristina Kirchner, would stake so much political capital on a last-ditch effort if he was not confident of cementing a deal.

If he does, it will be not a moment too soon. Late Wednesday, the ratings agency Standard & Poor’s slashed Argentina’s foreign-currency credit rating to “selective default” from a triple-C-minus long-term rating. (A selective default means the country is meeting some, but not all, debt-payment commitments.)

“If and when Argentina cures the payment default on the discount bonds, we could revise our ratings on Argentina depending on our assessment at that time of Argentina's residual litigation risk, its access to international debt markets, and its overall credit profile,” S&P wrote in a note.

As for the financial press, unaccustomed to dashing economy ministers who trail paparazzi and appear shirtless on the Internet, the challenge is a different kind entirely.

Of Kicillof, one Reuters journalist quipped on Twitter Wednesday: “I am trying so hard not to make a million jokes about how hot he is so as to appear like a Serious Journalist.”

http://www.newsweek.com/axel-kicillof-argentinas-secret-weapon-against-default-262236

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Welcome to Berlin's House of One – a church, synagogue and mosque


Sunday 08 June 2014 

It has been dubbed the "Wonder of Berlin". And if a Protestant pastor, a rabbi and an imam can realise their shared dream, the world's first house of prayer for three religions will open its doors in the German capital in four years' time, with the building costs being paid for by donations.


The unique project is called the "House of One", and its aim is to provide a place of worship and contemplation for adherents of the world's three main monotheistic faiths, although the building will also be open to all. It will house a church, a synagogue and a mosque under one roof.

"Berlin is the city of wounds and miracles," said Rabbi Tovia Ben-Chorin, one of the three behind the project. "It is the city in which the extermination of the Jews was planned. Now, the first house in the world for three religions is to be built here," he added.

The fundraising drive was launched this week, with a symbolic handing over of the first brick. The House of One's backers hope to raise the €43.5m (£35m) needed to construct the hexagonal-shaped brick building, on a site next to Berlin's central Museum Island, entirely through sponsorship. Anyone can donate money online. A single brick costs ¤10.

The idea was born in 2009, when archaeologists excavating a section of ground on Museum Island unearthed the remnants of Berlin's earliest church, the Petrikirche, and the city's Latin school, which dates back to 1350.

Architect Wilfried Kuehn with his model Architect Wilfried Kuehn with his model  "We quickly agreed that something visionary and forward looking should be built on what is the founding site of Berlin," said Gregor Hohberg, the Protestant pastor who initiated the project. He was convinced that multicultural, multi-faith Berlin was the right city in which to open a house of worship for three religions.

"Berlin is the city of the peaceful fall of the Berlin Wall and the peaceful coexistence of believers from different faiths – they yearn to understand each other," he said.

Imam Kadir Sanci, the House of One's Muslim leader, said he wanted the project to encourage a conscious dialogue between different faiths and cultures, which would help prejudices against Muslims to evaporate. "We want our children to have a future in which diversity is the norm," he insisted.

Kuehn's model Kuehn's model  The plans for the House of One indicate that while the building will contain a separate synagogue, church and mosque under one roof, there will also be a large central area, in which members of the three faiths and others can meet and contemplate. Last Tuesday, the House of One construction site on Berlin's Gertraudenstrasse was still a vacant building lot, with little more to show than a recently felled plane tree and dirty, grey sand scarred with the tyre tracks of lorries and excavators.

However, the desolate scene did not deter the pastor, the rabbi and the imam from symbolically burying their shoes in the sand at the centre of the site.

"One has to have a great deal of faith in God to imagine that a wonderful building, unique in the world, will stand on this site in just a few years," Mr Hohberg told a congregation from different faiths at a service a little later.

He added that building work could commence in 2016, providing donations to the fund of €10m had been raised by then.

[Ed. - this could be straight out of an 'End Times' film]

Source:-
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/welcome-to-berlins-house-of-one--a-church-synagogue-and-mosque-9507002.html

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Files Uncovered - Nazi Veterans Created Illegal Army


By Klaus Wiegrefe

Newly discovered documents show that in the years after World War II, former members of the Nazi Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS formed a secret army to protect the country from the Soviets. The illegal project could have sparked a major scandal at the time.



For nearly six decades, the 321-page file lay unnoticed in the archives of the BND, Germany's foreign intelligence agency -- but now its contents have revealed a new chapter of German postwar history that is as spectacular as it is mysterious.

The previously secret documents reveal the existence of a coalition of approximately 2,000 former officers -- veterans of the Nazi-era Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS -- who decided to put together an army in postwar Germany in 1949. They made their preparations without a mandate from the German government, without the knowledge of the parliament and, the documents show, by circumventing Allied occupation forces.

The goal of the retired officers: to defend nascent West Germany against Eastern aggression in the early stages of the Cold War and, on the domestic front, deploy against the Communists in the event of a civil war. It collected information about left-wing politicians like Social Democrat (SPD) Fritz Erler, a key player in reforming the party after World War II, and spied on students like Joachim Peckert, who later became a senior official at the West German Embassy in Moscow during the 1970s.

The new discovery was brought about by a coincidence. Historian Agilolf Kesselring found the documents -- which belonged to the Gehlen Organization, the predecessor to the current foreign intelligence agency -- while working for an Independent Historical Commission hired by the BND to investigate its early history. Similar commissions have been hired by a number of German authorities in recent years, including the Finance and Foreign Ministries to create an accurate record of once hushed-up legacies.

Kesselring uncovered the documents, which were given the strange title of "Insurances," while trying to determine the number of workers employed by the BND.

Instead of insurance papers, Kesselring stumbled upon what can now be considered the most significant discovery of the Independent Historical Commission. The study he wrote based on the discovery was released this week.

An Ease in Undermining Democracy 

The file is incomplete and thus needs to be considered with some restraint. Even so, its contents testify to the ease with which democratic and constitutional standards could be undermined in the early years of West Germany's existence.

According to the papers, German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer didn't find out about the existence of the paramilitary group until 1951, at which point he evidently did not decide to break it up.

In the event of a war, the documents claimed, the secret army would include 40,000 fighters. The involvement of leading figures in Germany's future armed forces, the Bundeswehr, are an indication of just how serious the undertaking was likely to have been.

Among its most important actors was Albert Schnez. Schnez was born in 1911 and served as a colonel in World War II before ascending the ranks of the Bundeswehr, which was founded in 1955. By the end of the 1950s he was part of the entourage of then Defense Minister Franz Josef Strauss (CDU) and later served the German army chief under Chancellor Willy Brandt and Defense Minister Helmut Schmidt (both of the SPD).

Statements by Schnez quoted in the documents suggest that the project to build a clandestine army was also supported by Hans Speidel -- who would become the NATO Supreme Commander of the Allied Army in Central Europe in 1957 -- and Adolf Heusinger, the first inspector general of the Bundeswehr.

Kesselring, the historian, has a special connection to military history: His grandfather Albert was a general field marshal and southern supreme commander in the Third Reich, with Schnez as his subordinate "general of transportation" in Italy. Both men tried to prevent Germany's partial surrender in Italy.

In his study, Kesselring lets Schnez off easily: He doesn't mention his ties to the right-wing milieu, and he describes his spying on supposed left-wingers as "security checks." When asked about it, the historian explains that he will deal with these aspects of the file in a comprehensive study in the coming year. But the BND has recently released the "Insurances" files, making it possible to paint an independent picture.

The army project began in the postwar period in Swabia, the region surrounding Stuttgart, where then 40-year-old Schnez traded in wood, textiles and household items and, on the side, organized social evenings for the veterans of the 25th Infantry Division, in which he had served. They helped one another out, supported the widows and orphans of colleagues and spoke about times old and new.

Fears of Attack from the East 

But their debates always returned to the same question: What should be done if the Russians or their Eastern European allies invade? West Germany was still without an army at the time, and the Americans had removed many of their GIs from Europe in 1945.

At first, Schnez' group considered allowing themselves to be defeated and then leading partisan warfare from behind the lines, before relocating somewhere outside of Germany. In the event of a sudden attack from the East, an employee with the Gehlen Organization would later write, Schnez wanted to withdraw his troops and bring them to safety outside of Germany. They would then wage the battle to free Germany from abroad.

To prepare a response to the potential threat, Schnez, the son of a Swabian government official, sought to found an army. Even though it violated Allied law -- military or "military-like" organizations were banned, and those who contravened the rules risked life in prison -- it quickly became very popular.

The army began to take shape starting at the latest in 1950. Schnez recruited donations from businesspeople and like-minded former officers, contacted veterans groups of other divisions, asked transport companies which vehicles they could provide in the worst-case scenario and worked on an emergency plan.

Anton Grasser, a former infantry general who was then employed by Schnez' company, took care of the weapons. In 1950, he began his career at the Federal Interior Ministry in Bonn, where he became inspector general and oversaw the coordination of German Police Tactical Units in the German states for the event of war. He wanted to use their assets to equip the troop in case of an emergency. There is no sign that then Interior Minister Robert Lehr had been informed of these plans.

Schnez wanted to found an organization of units composed of former officers, ideally entire staffs of elite divisions of the Wehrmacht, which could be rapidly deployed in case of an attack. According to the lists contained in the documents, the men were all employed: They included businesspeople, sales representatives, a coal merchant, a criminal lawyer, an attorney, a technical instructor and even a mayor. Presumably they were all anti-Communists and, in some cases, motivated by a desire for adventure. For example, the documents state that retired Lieutenant General Hermann Hölter "didn't feel happy just working in an office."

Most of the members of the secret reserve lived in southern Germany. An overview in the documents shows that Rudolf von Bünau, a retired infantry general, led a "group staff" out of Stuttgart. There were further sub-units in Ulm (led by retired Lieutenant General Hans Wagner), Heilbronn (retired Lieutenant General Alfred Reinhardt), Karlsruhe (retired Major General Werner Kampfhenkel), Freiburg (retired Major General Wilhelm Nagel) and many other cities as well.

Records Have Disappeared

Schnez's list wasn't passed on, but the documents state he claimed it included 10,000 names, enough to constitute the core staff of three divisions. For reasons of secrecy, he inducted only 2,000 officers. Still, Schnez had no doubts that the rest would join them. There didn't seem to be any dearth of candidates for the units: After all, there was no lack of German men with war experience.

It remained to be determined where they could relocate to in case of emergency. Schnez negotiated with Swiss locations, but their reactions were "very restrained," the documents state he later planned a possible move to Spain to use as a base from which to fight on the side of the Americans.

Contemporaries described Schnez as an energetic organizer, but also self-confident and aloof. He maintained contacts with the League of German Youth and its specialized organization, the Technischer Dienst (Technical Service), which were preparing themselves for a partisan war against the Soviets. The two groups, secretly funded by the United States, included former Nazi officers as members, and were both banned by the West German federal government in 1953 as extreme-right organizations. Schnez, it seems, had no qualms whatsoever associating himself with former Nazis.

Schnez also maintained a self-described intelligence apparatus that evaluated candidates for the "Insurance Company," as he referred to the project, and determined if they had suspicious qualities. A criminal named K. was described as "intelligent, young and half-Jewish."

US documents viewed by SPIEGEL indicate that Schnez negotiated with former SS Obersturmbannführer Otto Skorzeny. The SS officer became a Nazi hero during World War II after he carried out a successful mission to free deposed Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, who had been arrested by the Italian king. The former SS man had pursued plans similar to those of Schnez. In February 1951, the two agreed to "cooperate immediately in the Swabia region." It is still unknown today what precisely became of that deal.

In his search for financing for a full-time operation, Schnez requested help from the West German secret service during the summer of 1951. During a July 24, 1951 meeting, Schnez offered the services of his shadow army to Gehlen, the head of the intelligence service, for "military use" or "simply as a potential force," be it for a German exile government or the Western allies.

A notation in papers from the Gehlen Organization states that there had "long been relations of a friendly nature" between Schnez and Reinhard Gehlen. The documents also indicate that the secret service first became aware of the clandestine force during the spring of 1951. The Gehlen Organization classified Schnez as a "special connection" with the unattractive code name "Schnepfe," German for "snipe".

Did Adenauer Shy Away? 

It's likely that Gehlens' enthusiasm for Schnez's offer would have been greater if had it come one year earlier, when the Korean War was breaking out. At the time, the West German capital city of Bonn and Washington had considered the idea of "gathering members of former German elite divisions in the event of a catastrophe, arming and then assigning them to Allied defense troops."

Within a year, the situation had defused somewhat, and Adenauer had retreated from this idea. Instead, he pushed for West Germany to integrate more deeply with the West and for the establishment of the Bundeswehr. Schnez's illegal group had the potential to threaten that policy -- if its existence had become public knowledge, it could have spiraled into an international scandal.

Still, Adenauer decided not to take action against Schnez's organization -- which raises several questions: Was he shying away from a conflict with veterans of the Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS?

There were misgivings within the Gehlen Organization, particularly surrounding Skorzeny. According to another BND document seen by SPIEGEL, a division head raised the question of whether it was possible for the organization to take an aggressive stance against Skorzeny. The Gehlen Organization man suggested consulting "the SS", adding, the SS "is a factor and we should sound out opinions in detail there before making a decision." Apparently networks of old and former Nazis still exercised considerable influence during the 1950s.

It also became clear in 1951 that years would pass before the Bundeswehr could be established. From Adenauer's perspective, this meant that, for the time being, the loyalty of Schnez and his comrades should be secured for the event of a worst-case scenario. That's probably why Gehlen was assigned by the Chancellery "to look after and to monitor the group."

It appears Konrad Adenauer informed both his American allies as well as the political opposition of the plan at the time. The papers seem to indicate that Carlo Schmid, at the time a member of the SPD's national executive committee, was "in the loop."

Little Known about Disbanding of Army 

From that point on, Gehlen's staff had frequent contact with Shnez. Gehlen and Schnez also reached an agreement to share intelligence derived from spying efforts. Schnez boasted of having a "particularly well-organized" intelligence apparatus.

From that point on, the Gehlen Organization became the recipient of alert lists including the names of former German soldiers who had allegedly behaved in an "undignified" manner as Soviet prisoners of war, the insinuation being that the men had defected to support the Soviet Union. In other instances, they reported "people suspected of being communists in the Stuttgart area."

But Schnez never got showered with the money he had hoped for. Gehlen only allowed him to receive small sums, which dried up during the autumn of 1953. Two years later, the Bundeswehr swore in its first 101 volunteers. With the rearmament of West Germany, Schnez's force became redundant.

It is currently unknown exactly when the secret army disbanded, as no fuss was made at the time. Schnez died in 2007 without ever stating anything publicly about these events. His records on the "Insurance Company" have disappeared. What is known stems largely from documents relating to the Gehlen Organization that made their way into the classified archive of its successor, the BND.

It appears they were deliberately filed there under the misleading title "insurances" in the hope that no one would ever find any reason to take interest in them.

Source:-
http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/wehrmacht-veterans-created-a-secret-army-in-west-germany-a-969015.html 

Saturday, 19 April 2014

EU elections: Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders 'on track to form far-Right bloc of 38 MEPs'

Europe's far-Right is on the rise and on track to get public funding worth over £2 million a year after May's EU elections

Bruno Waterfield, Brussels 16 Apr 2014

Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders will have enough MEPs to form a publicly funded far-Right political group in the European Parliament following elections next month, according to a voting forecast.



The Pollwatch2014 prediction, based on opinion polls across the European Union, puts the French Front National and Dutch Freedom Party leaders on course to form a far-Right parliamentary bloc of 38 MEPs from at least seven countries.

A bloc of such a size in the EU assembly would be entitled to over £2 million a year in public funding for European political parties and groups, with British taxpayers contributing around £300,000 to subsidise extreme nationalists across Europe.
  
The pair has formed a coalition called the European Freedom Alliance to campaign against the EU in European elections to be held in five weeks and both are leading the opinion polls in their native countries.

"I am convinced we'll have a group," Miss Le Pen said earlier this week
.
The Austrian Freedom Party, Belgian Vlaams Belang, Italian Lega Nord, Slovak National Party and Sweden Democrats have joined up with Miss Le Pen and Mr Wilders with opinion polling in those countries showing growing support amid a popular backlash against the euro.

The new grouping will pose a major political problem for Nigel Farage, the Ukip leader, who has refused an alliance with Miss Le Pen, because it threatens to break up his current Europe of Freedom and Democracy bloc, with the loss of around £1 million a year in funding.

The Front National leader is determined to take the crown as Europe's anti-EU leader from Mr Farage, who she has dismissed as being a political coward after he declined to campaign with her because of her party's past links to neo-Nazis and anti-Semitism.

To woo Mr Wilders, Miss Le Pen has severed all political links to the British National Party, Hungary's Jobbik and the Greek Golden Dawn while pushing her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, who has convictions for Holocaust denial, into the background.

Public funding for European political parties and groups is generous, amounting to £110 million in 2014 and the cash will provide a shot in the arm for the Dutch and French far-Right leaders who are intending to use the European Parliament as a spring board to win political power at home.

"The Front National used to be a party of opposition, it is now a party that is ready to rule," Miss Le Pen said on Monday.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/10770431/EU-elections-Marine-Le-Pen-and-Geert-Wilders-on-track-to-form-far-Right-bloc-of-38-MEPs.html

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Diplomacy is a four letter word


The Neocon Triumphby Philip Giraldi
Why is the United States so reluctant to negotiate with other countries and so prone to leap immediately to the option of using force or chicanery in lieu  of a more deliberative foreign policy? It might partly be because we Americans are not very good at the subtlety and give-and-take that diplomacy requires, but it could also be because our framework for operating, which shapes what  we do and how we do it, is hopelessly skewed. One might even argue that the dominant neoconservative way of thinking has thoroughly infected both parties’ perceptions of how a foreign policy is supposed to work, leading official Washington to see everything in terms of "us and them" while at the same time  exonerating every American misstep by citing the largely bogus national security argument to explain places like Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran.

The vitriol unloaded on Russia since the rise of Vladimir Putin and most recently to ridicule almost every aspect of the Olympic Games is astonishing. By all means criticize Russia for its slide into authoritarianism, but turning it into a target of choice for ignorant media, politicians and White House spokesmen is just downright stupid. Moscow’s cooperation is essential to resolve a number of international crises and the hostility radiating from Washington only makes the world a much more dangerous place for everyone.

The sustained pressure on the Ukraine over the past several months has likewise  been remarkable and, under other circumstances, it would all be difficult to explain but for the fact that it and Russia are essentially two halves of one policy that is being orchestrated by the same group of neoconservatives, some of whom have now, fortuitously enough, attached themselves to the party in power in the White House, which is the Democrats. It was easy enough to do as many neocons are basically liberal Democrats if one excludes their aggressive foreign  policy views.

Remember the pastel revolutions in Eastern Europe that were sponsored by the United States and some western nations but which are now best forgotten? Involvement  of Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) in places like the Ukraine and Moldova sure turned out well, particularly when the biggest baddest NGO of all, the National Endowment for Democracy
<http://www.ned.org/>  (NED) got  involved. When the Russians and others complained about the activities of NGOs interfering in their domestic politics NED was what they were referring to. NED instinctively favored people who called themselves democrats and were able to speak English, polyglot ability somehow demonstrating their political reliability. They turned out to be as corrupt as their predecessors and no less inclined to fool around with the electoral system they inherited. Tinkering in Georgia <http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/08/we_are_not_all_georgians_now.html>  by Washington and its Israeli surrogates almost led to American  involvement in a war with Russia in which Washington had no conceivable interest. Remember John McCain’s "We are all Georgians now?"

Those who are aware of the insidious activities of NED, an ostensibly private  foundation that spreads “democracy” and is largely funded by Congress, know  that it has a Democratic Party half in its National Democratic Institute, and  a Republican Party half in its International Republican Institute. Madeleine Albright is in charge of the NED Dems while John McCain leads the NED GOP. Which is not to say that there is much in the way of adult supervision, probably a good thing as otherwise NED would be even more meddlesome than it already is.

After wrecking Eastern Europe NED has gone on to do yeoman’s work relating  to the Arab Spring,
original.antiwar.com/giraldi/2014/02/17/diplomacy-is-a-four-letter-word/#idc-cover the results of which are clearly visible in Tunisia, Egypt  and Iraq. But now the focus is again on the former Soviet Union with millions of dollars going to opposition parties, this time with the full force of an uncritical mainstream media behind the effort. Easily forgotten are two indisputable  facts relating to Russia and the Ukraine. First, before the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, there was an understanding that the US and Europe would not use  the situation as an excuse to expand their spheres of influence into Eastern Europe. NED and other groups violated that understanding almost immediately and now Croatia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Romania and Poland are in the European Union and also in NATO, an organization that has absolutely no raison d’etre apart from serving as a military alliance against Russia.

Second, today’s Ukraine
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukraine>  was largely shaped by Josef Stalin during Second World War, when parts of Poland  and Romania that had Ukrainian majorities were annexed. The Ukraine is roughly seventy-five per cent Ukrainian ethnically but ten million Ukrainian citizens  are ethnic Russians, more than 17% of the population. Many Ukrainians therefore look to Russia as a natural ally and trading partner while those who once were  part of Poland tend to look westward, but what is indisputable is that the current mildly pro-Moscow Ukrainian government of Viktor Yanukovych came to power after a free election monitored by international observers in 2010. Yanukovych believes in strong ties to Russia but is also friendly to the European Union and the United States. In spite of that studied neutrality Washington and the Europeans are stirring up unrest and trying to coerce the Ukrainian government into entering  into a formal arrangement with the EU that its elected leadership believes to be not in its best interests. Protesters, supported and possibly even trained and equipped <http://www.sott.net/article/273512-US-NGO-uncovered-in-Ukraine-protests>  by Europe and the US, have responded with violence.

 The US State Department’s Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland has been a  leader
<http://www.infowars.com/victoria-nulands-ukraine-gate-deceptions/>  in the drive to punish the Ukraine and force it to become part of the EU. "We stand with the people of Ukraine who see their future in Europe," she said rather undiplomatically in December. But who is Nuland anyway? She  is described  in the media <http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/07/us-usa-diplomacy-nuland-idUSBREA161YH20140207>  as an experienced diplomat, which in a sense she is, but if  that phrase is intended to imply that she is completely a professional it would  be misleading. She is the wife of leading neoconservative Robert Kagan, who is best known for his assertion that Americans "are from Mars and Europeans  are from Venus". Kagan, who is quite portly and has characteristically never served in the US armed forces, presumably is Martian by adoption.

Victoria Nuland’s access to senior levels of government began when served as
<http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/07/us-usa-diplomacy-nuland-idUSBREA161YH20140207>  principal deputy national security adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney,  a position possibly obtained through the good graces of her husband’s neocon  associates, who were in the ascendancy at the Pentagon and White House at that  time. She then moved on to become US Ambassador to NATO under Bush-Cheney before bouncing back to Washington to work as Hillary Clinton’s press secretary. In that capacity she has sometimes been described as comfortable in working with both conservatives and liberals, but that would be misleading as in terms of foreign policy Clinton is no liberal, strongly pro-Israel and aligning largely with the neocon vision of an American that is ready, willing and able to use force and coercion to establish a new world order that is subordinate to US  interests.

 Like her husband, Nuland, backed by the White House and politicians including Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, is consistently  hostile
<http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2014/february/05/victoria-nuland-the-bride-at-every-wedding.aspx>  to Moscow, possibly because the neocon world view favors the predominantly  Jewish oligarchs who looted the Russian economy before being brought to heel by Putin. National Security statists also require a powerful adversary to validate  their assumptions about the need to reorganize and lead the world to deal with  transnational threats. Nuland predictably refused to congratulate Putin on his most recent electoral victory and she has gone to bat for groups like "Pussy Riot" to embarrass the Russian government.

 Nuland was recently intercepted
<http://ericmargolis.com/2014/02/f-europe/>   in a telephone conversation with the US Ambassador to the Ukraine Geoff Pyatt.  She and the ambassador discussed whom they would support in their drive to rearrange  the Ukrainian government, bringing in the UN afterwards to "glue" the deal. Nuland, who has visited the Ukraine several times to speak to the demonstrators and pass out cookies, described the possible European Union (EU) role in such a project disparagingly, using a four letter word which was widely reported in the media. The focus on her language somewhat obscured the far more important content of the call, discussing plans to destabilize the Ukraine while actively working to select one opposition politician as the preferred choice  to bring about change in the government.

 Victoria Nuland’s call over an unencrypted phone line
<http://www.infowars.com/victoria-nulands-ukraine-gate-deceptions/>  to discuss highly sensitive matters was, at a minimum, a security violation. She and the Administration subsequently tried to frame it as a Russian  setup, calling it "impressive tradecraft," which it was not, but there  is no actual evidence that Russia was in any way involved in the intercept,  though it did exploit the damaging material that was handed to it on a platter. And the complaint about spying is itself deliciously ironic coming from a government in Washington that has been tapping nearly everyone’s phones with impunity.

 Ideologues like Victoria Nuland, who might serve as a poster child for what  is wrong with the US government, constitute only one element in the dysfunctional White House view of the world and how to interact with it. Former Senior State Department official James Bruno asks
<http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/02/us-ambassador-picks-103242.html#.UvunxvldV6I>  "Why does America send so many stupid, unqualified hacks overseas?" For the first time since the Second World War more than half of all US Ambassadors  overseas are political appointees rather than career diplomats, yet another instance of President Barack Obama’s saying one thing while running for office  and doing another thing when actually in power. Bruno describes an ambassador  to Sweden lying drunk in the snow, the current hotel chain owner nominee for  Norway who did not know the country was a constitutional monarchy, and a TV soap opera producer pick for Hungary who had no idea what interests the US might  have in the country. One Obama appointee Seattle investor Cynthia Stroum actually was forced to resign after running her embassy in Luxembourg into the ground, verbally abusing her staff and spending embassy funds on personal travel and alcohol.

 All of these splendid examples of American officialdom have one thing in common:  they gave a lot of money to the Obama campaign. Raising $1.79 million is now  the going  price
<http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/02/us-ambassador-picks-103242.html#.UvunxvldV6I>  for an ambassadorship. Good work Mr. Obama. You promised transparency  and have again exceeded all expectations by appointing ambassadors whose lack  of qualifications would embarrass the head of state of a banana republic. With  Victoria Nuland firmly at the helm of our ship of state in Europe and working to overthrow a friendly government while a group of rich but clueless clowns heads our embassies every American will henceforth know that he or she can sleep safe at night.
Read more by Philip Giraldi:
The Art of American Scaremongering  <http://original.antiwar.com/giraldi/2014/02/10/the-art-of-american-scaremongering/>
   – February 10th, 2014

Ordinary Citizens Need Not Apply  <http://original.antiwar.com/giraldi/2014/02/03/ordinary-citizens-need-not-apply/>   – February 3rd, 2014
Putting a Christian Zionist in Charge  <http://original.antiwar.com/giraldi/2014/01/27/putting-a-christian-zionist-in-charge/>
   – January 27th, 2014

Why We Fight  <http://original.antiwar.com/giraldi/2014/01/20/why-we-fight-3/>   – January 20th, 2014
We Told You So  <http://original.antiwar.com/giraldi/2014/01/13/we-told-you-so/>
   – January 13th, 2014