cold war

Estonian Herman Simm Unmasked As Spy?

Posted on

A legitimate spy story or propaganda for the new cold war or both? A while back, Christopher Bollyn had an article Herman Simm and the Estonia Catastrophe that gives another take on Simm.
As always, with an eye towards considering all of the sources; reader beware. Herman Simm

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

‘Catastrophic’ situation after Estonian unmasked as spy


ECHOES OF the Cold War have returned to Nato headquarters in Brussels after an Estonian general was unmasked as a “sleeper” spy who passed top secret alliance information to Moscow.

Herman Simm (61), a retired official in Estonia’s defence ministry, has been arrested along with his wife on suspicion that they were recruited by KGB officers before the collapse of the Soviet Union.

After Estonia’s independence in 1991, state prosecutors believe Mr Simm made contact with the KGB’s successor foreign intelligence agency, the SVR.

The former police chief was the perfectly placed mole: between 1995 and 2006 he helped set up the high-security system for handling all sensitive Nato documents ahead of Estonia’s accession to the alliance in 2004.

That has alarmed Estonia’s Nato allies, who are talking about the greatest intelligence breach since the CIA counter-intelligence chief Aldrich Ames was exposed as a Soviet mole in 1994.

Mr Jaanus Rahumägi, chairman of the Estonian parliament’s security watchdog, admits that the spy has caused “historic damage” to the alliance.

“We are analysing several aspects of Herman Simm’s activities, the current security screening system and how better to protect state secrets,” he said.

He has already received teams of investigators from Nato headquarters.

After inspecting the breach, one German official described the situation as “catastrophic”.

Estonian officials are tight-lipped about what information was leaked, but Estonian media have speculated that details of the proposed US missile defence shield could now be in Russian hands.

Mr Simm’s contact is believed to be an FSB agent with a fake Spanish identity.

When this agent tried to recruit someone in another Nato country, the approach was reported to the alliance, leading counter-intelligence officers to Mr Simm.

He will go on trial in the spring and could face up to 15 years for treason.

Investigators searching for a motive have discovered that Mr Simm, now retired, owned half a dozen properties in Tallinn as well as a villa and a farm near the capital.

In his home, investigators found an old radio which they suspect he used to set up meetings with his Russian contact.

It was a nostalgic touch in the wired Estonian republic, described by Nato secretary general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer as the alliance’s “most IT-savvy nation”.

But the security breach is likely to have put an end to Estonia’s hope to host Nato’s new cyber-defence centre.

© 2008 The Irish Times


Bailing Out Georgia

Posted on

No, not our Georgia – the other one!

Oct. 24, 2008
by Justin Raimondo

The US government is sending $1 billion to “rebuild” Georgia – no, not the Georgia located in the southern United States, where home foreclosure rates are double the national average, but the one located in the Caucasus, along Russia’s southern frontier, where the President of the country launched a reckless invasion of a rebellious province, murdered thousands, and got his ass kicked by the rebels and their Russian protectors. Now we’re sending him a billion dollars – by way of a reward.

Meeting in Brussels, Western donors pledged “more than $1 billion more than the World Bank’s target.” The announcement, as reported by the New York Times, “came as a financial crisis rattled the economies of donor nations. The United States pledged the largest amount, $1 billion over three years. An additional $642.8 million will be allocated by the European Commission over the next two years. Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, said the pledge should send ‘a strong signal to the world’ that its members stand with Georgia. ‘The international community believes in and upholds certain values and norms of conduct, and those include the peaceful resolution of disputes,’ Mr. Barroso said.”

Who is sending a signal to whom – and for what purpose?

On the surface, none of this makes any sense. To begin with, all the damage to civilians and infrastructure was done by the Georgians. They bombed the city of Tskhinvali, capital of the rebel province of South Ossetia, destroying the city center, killing thousands, and rendering many thousands more homeless. Rebuild Georgia? It’s the Ossetians who need the rebuilding – not that anything or anyone on this earth can rebuild their broken lives.

This is one humanitarian catastrophe that has gone completely unacknowledged in the West: indeed, justice is not only denied, but inverted: the Georgians, the villains in this instance, are being sent the aid. Sounds like an incentive to commit yet more aggression – not that Saakashvili needs any encouragement.

He refuses to include the Ossetians or the rebel Abkkazians in any negotiations, and his government has broken off meetings with the Russians over the terms of a peace accord. Faced with protests over his increasingly authoritarian rule, as well as a backlash against his hot-headed recklessness in starting the war to begin with, the region’s star “democrat” and staunch US ally is even now maneuvering to launch yet another provocation against Moscow. It would be a welcome diversion from his growing internal problem.

With the West and much of the world undergoing a financial paroxysm of unprecedented proportions, what in the name of all that’s holy are we doing sending a billion bucks to some godforsaken ex-Soviet republic on the edge of nowhere? The Europeans are sinking, too, and yet they’re chipping in. What’s the story?

The signal that is being sent here, both by the US and Europe, is that we will fight, if necessary, to extend Western influence into the Caucasus. The gauntlet is thrown – and Putin is sure to pick it up.

Some of the Europeans may be a little skeptical of admitting Georgia (and Ukraine) into NATO, but the US government and its European allies are giving the Georgian government unconditional support in its ongoing efforts to confront the Russians in their own “near abroad.” The Russians, for their part, are acting much as we did when the French – still suffering from the aftereffects of the French Revolution in its Napoleonic phase– set up Maximilian I as “Emperor” of Mexico and threatened to extend their sphere of influence north of the Rio Grande.

This signal of support for Tbilisi is for the benefit not only of the Russians, and the Georgian government, but is also meant to reassure big Western investors who have already poured billions into the lucrative Ceyhan-Tbilisi-Baku oil pipeline, which is competing with the Russians in transporting oil from the central Asian ‘stans to the European market. The Western oil giants, locked out of the Russian market by Putin, are desperate to outflank the Russkies and bypass Middle Eastern suppliers. Billions in profits hang in the balance.

The CTB pipeline is yet another investment that is threatening to go south, bigtime, as regional tensions threaten to disrupt the free flow of oil over the troubled lands it snakes through. Like AIG, Bear-Stearns, and the rest of the lords of Wall Street, this concern is “too big to fail,” and you can bet that the US government will take every possible action – including military action – to protect the banks who are underwriting the project.

As the response of Western governments to the financial meltdown makes all too clear, here in the West we have socialism for investment bankers and their partners-in-crime, and “free enterprise” for the rest of us, who work hard, pay taxes, and live by the rules.

Oh, but not to worry: they’re rebuilding Georgia – with your tax dollars.

The costs are socialized, and the profits are privatized – that’s what they call “democratic capitalism,” or, in Europe, “social democracy.” In both cases, foreign policy is merely an overseas projection of domestic political arrangements.

In detailing how the aid money is going to be spent, the Times‘ reporting on the donors’ powwow implicitly rationalizes the expenditure:

“After hostilities broke out on Aug. 7, transportation routes from Georgia’s main Black Sea port were cut off, and dozens of importers defaulted on contracts. The stock market plummeted, and Georgians made a run on banks, wiping out $165 million in deposits at the Bank of Georgia. The country’s scenic Black Sea resorts, once popular with Russians, sit largely empty.”

Hefty costs, but who ought to pay? Why, the perpetrator of the violence, namely Mikhel Saakashvili. Instead, he’s being sent a big fat check. Welcome to the Bizarro World of American foreign policy.

As Mark Ames points out in The Nation, the evil-authoritarian-Russia-attacked-poor-little-democratic-Georgia narrative has been completely debunked – check out Der Spiegel‘s “Did Saakashvili Lie?” (short answer: yes). As reported as the crisis broke out, and subsequent reports confirm, the evidence is indisputable that the Georgians attacked the Russians first, killing over a dozen Russian peacekeepers legally stationed in South Ossetia in the course of a massive and deadly assault on the Ossetian capital. Not that the Western media, so easily manipulated by Georgia’s amen corner, is acknowledging their initial “error,” as Ames notes.

“Ever since I went down to South Ossetia to see the war for myself, I’d developed a kind of sick curiosity to see just how the Times and all the others were going to extricate themselves from the credibility-hole they’d dug. I had a feeling it was going to come, because Saakashvili was not only a blatant liar but an incredibly bad liar. I was in South Ossetia at the close of the war – I saw the destruction that the ‘freedom-loving’ Georgians wreaked, and the bloated, rotting corpses on the streets of the province’s capital city, Tskhinvali – so I was particularly interested in how long the sleazy tale of good vs. evil would last, and how the major media would squirm their way out of their biggest journalistic fiasco since the Iraqi-WMD blooper. Would the Times let their ombudsman out of the cage for another fake apology? ‘Oops! Who’da thunk our esteemed newspaper coulda screwed up this big twice in a row, dragging America into yet another war all on account of our inability to do our job as journalists?! Look, we just want to say we’re sorry and move on, m’kay? So, have you moved on yet? Because we have’.”

The lies spread by the mainstream media in the service of the War Party are bought and paid for by the corporate sponsors of the Russia encirclement project that has been the linchpin of our adversarial stance toward Moscow since Yeltsin’s demise and Putin’s rise. Having failed to pulverize the shattered Soviet colossus into the smallest possible splinters, the Western powers are now confronted with what they regard as a “resurgent” and inevitably revanchist Russia – which means that the Russians are no longer dirt poor and ruled by gangsters with American bank accounts. It also means they aren’t going to be pushed around in their own back yard – at least not without putting up a heckuva fight.

Whether South Ossetia is Georgian, Russian, or none of the above – why is this any of our business? Who among us is qualified to untangle the interwoven threads of claims and counter-claims, extending back over hundreds of years, and come up with a just solution to the question of what constitutes Georgian “sovereignty”? Certainly no one who works for the US government.

Before one penny of “aid” is sent to Georgia, we should be asking: who will get this money? The Times gives us a breakdown:

“The World Bank had estimated that Georgia would need $3.25 billion “to cover budget support, social sector support and infrastructure development.” Most of the aid, roughly $3.7 billion, will go to social and construction programs. An additional $850 million will be invested in the private sector, where donors hope it will offset the sharp drop in foreign direct investment.”

None of this money is going to South Ossetia: it is all being funneled through Saakashvili and his cronies, who would rather leave the shattered infrastructure of bombed-out Tskhinvali as it is today, a stark reminder of what may very well reoccur should the Ossetians persist in going their own way. If anyone rebuilds, it will have to be the Russians. The private sector aid will be used to buy up Georgian assets on behalf of Western corporate interests. The difference between the World Bank figure and the number announced in Brussels – nearly half a billion – will cover bribes, covert action operations carried out by Western intelligence agencies, and other incidentals.

When challenged, proponents of foreign aid programs invariably reply: yes, but look at the minuscule numbers! Why, foreign aid is less than one percent of the total overseas budget, including, one supposes, military expenditures – but so what? The point is that these programs do real harm, in most cases achieving the exact opposite of their intended purpose. And in this particular case, the entire package is premised on a lie, and a freshly debunked one at that. What’s really going on here is that the West is rewarding Saakashvili for his recklessness, and inciting him to commit fresh assaults. This course guarantees war.

~ Justin Raimondo

A Formula For Endless War

Posted on Updated on

The Wounded Shark, The Quest For Victory, And The Illusion Of Success

Winter Patriot

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Yesterday, Chris Floyd posted one of his best pieces ever. It’s called “The Wounded Shark: ‘Good War’ Lost, But the Imperial Project Goes On” and you must read the entire piece, if you haven’t already done so. I can wait.

I respect and admire Chris Floyd’s analysis — especially in this case — but I’ve also been having some mildly interesting thoughts of my own, about a few of the issues he touched on, and therefore I offer the following excerpts from his post, with extended comments.

I don’t think I’m saying anything Chris hasn’t already figured out. I think I’m saying things that he couldn’t fit into his piece, which was already huge — and brilliant! And therefore this commentary is not meant as a critique but rather as a companion piece to “The Wounded Shark”, which starts this way:

Don’t tell Obama and McCain, but the war they are both counting on to make their bones as commander-in-chief — the “good war” in Afghanistan, which both men have pledged to expand — is already lost.

This war was always lost; it was never even intended to be “won”, in my opinion.

Their joint strategy of pouring more troops, tanks, missiles and planes into the roaring fire — not to mention their intention to spread the war into Pakistan — will only lead to disaster.

And this depends on what you mean by “disaster”. We must always remember that the interests of the people running the war are not the same as, and in many ways are diametrically opposed to, the interests of the people who are being asked (or forced) to fight it.

In this case, the prognosis of “disaster” comes from

America’s biggest ally in the Afghan adventure: Great Britain. This week, two top figures in the British effort in Afghanistan — Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, UK ambassador to Kabul, and Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith, the senior British military commander in Afghanistan — both said that the war was “unwinnable,” and that continuing the current level of military operations there, much less expanding it, was a strategy “doomed to fail.”

The British seem shocked to discover all this, but it seems to me that the British were never meant to understand the point of this war, nor the reasons for it, nor the conditions under which it might be said to have been “won”. And neither were were any of our other “allies”, and neither — clearly — were the American public.

As Reuters reports, the comments from the top figures in the British effort have already been derided as “defeatist” by Pentagon big dog Robert Gates, even though they were

echoed by the top United Nations official in Kabul, who said success was only possible through dialogue and other political efforts.

The basic disconnect here — as elsewhere — seems to be that nobody, from the top United Nations official in Kabul on down, has any idea what our Secretary of Defense means when he says:

“While we face significant challenges in Afghanistan, there certainly is no reason to be defeatist or to underestimate the opportunities to be successful in the long run.”

Personally, I would want to know: How “long” is “the long run”? And just what do we mean by “successful”?

But simply posing such questions is akin to treason, apparently, because we never see them asked in the major media. So let’s skip the questions and go straight to the undeniable facts of the matter.

Casting the outcome of this “mission” in terms of winning and losing, or success and failure, is a sham. It is every bit as false as casting any of our current wars — or the entire GWOT — in terms of “good” Christians against “evil” Muslims. And it is done for the same reason — to obliterate the truth of the matter.

Chris Floyd rightly points out that the reasons given for the invasion of Afghanistan would make no sense, even if the official story of 9/11 were true, which it clearly isn’t. But the falsity of the official 9/11 story is beside my point — or beside this point: Afghanistan was bombed and invaded and remains occupied based on a tangled web of deliberate lies.

These lies obscure not only the causes of the war but also the intentions of the people running it.

Thus our British “allies” think the “mission” is doomed to fail because they’re under the impression that the object of the exercise is to bring peace and democracy and progress to Afghanistan, by rooting out the terrorists of global reach who threaten the entire civilized world.

But that’s not even close to the truth. We can see this in many different ways: sufficient for the purposes of this analysis is the fact that our tactics have no relation to our declared goals.

The reason for all this deception is simple: if the real aims, goals, and reasons for this war were laid bare, the United States would have no allies at all.

So instead, there’s a veneer of lies over everything, including the “agreements” obtained under extreme duress from our so-called “allies”. And this is why Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, UK ambassador to Kabul, wrote

“we must tell [the Americans] that we want to be part of a winning strategy, not a losing one.” The American strategy, he is quoted as saying, “is destined to fail.”

Destined to fail? Of course it is! It’s designed to fail! Otherwise, the tactics — and the result — would have been quite different.

When President Kennedy took office in January of 1961, one of the first things he signed was the foreword for a new book, which had been commissioned under the Eisenhower administration, and was just about to be published. It was a study of counter-insurgency strategy, short enough and interesting enough that I wound up reading it several times in a row, nearly two decades ago.

(That book was part of the military history library of a software development firm for which I used to work; the firm no longer exists and I haven’t been able to find the book anywhere else. But I spent quite a few lunch hours reading it and I still remember quite a bit of what I read.)

There were about a dozen chapters, each a case study illustrating a very successful (or very unsuccessful) counter-insurgency strategy as it had been played out in the decade and a half since the end of World War II.

It was good information — solid lessons about what to do, and what not to do. Kennedy greeted it heartily and predicted that it would be extremely valuable in the guerrilla war which was then threatening to develop in Southeast Asia. But as things turned out, it wasn’t.

I would never claim that JFK was assassinated because he said that book was the key to winning in Vietnam. But the facts remain that he was assassinated, and that the war was waged in utter disregard of every single hard-learned lesson embodied in that book.

We knew dropping napalm on civilians wasn’t the way to win their hearts and minds. We knew kidnapping innocent people and throwing them out of moving helicopters was going to make their friends and families angry. We knew destroying a village in order to save it was not a reasonable or scalable approach. But we — by which I mean the people who were running the war — did all these things anyway, and more, over and over and over again.

In some important and overlooked ways, the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, the GWOT in general, and even the Wall Street “rescue” reflect the same tactics.

First they find an enemy which must be defeated, preferably at any cost. If no such enemy reports for duty, they’ll create one. In some cases, the enemy can be embodied in a supremely evil villain, such as Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden. In other cases, such as the Vietnam War and the Wall Street “rescue”, the “enemy” is merely a potential outcome which must be avoided at any cost, such as a global depression, or all of Southeast Asia becoming communist.

Next they provide an alternative — the only alternative, as it always turns out: and it’s always and obviously much better than the enemy, which must therefore be thoroughly defeated. Whether we’re talking about ensuring economic stability, defeating terrorism, bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East, or saving the world from Communism, the stated goals are always infinitely more desirable than the outcomes that must be avoided, and therefore there can be no argument over the assertion that the ends justify the means.

In other words, we are always being told that what we are trying to do is so righteous — and what we are trying to defeat (or avoid) is so terrible — that all methods are acceptable, and nothing is “off the table”. But then this “nothing-off-the-table” approach allows the use of tactics which preclude the ends we are allegedly trying to accomplish.

So we invade Iraq and continue to occupy it even though all our intelligence professionals tell us American troops in Iraq are contributing to a rise in terrorism.

We bomb civilian villages in Afghanistan even though we know it sets back the diplomatic “effort” at “reconciliation”.

We throw hundreds of billions of dollars at the companies which caused the financial meltdown, while claiming that saving them is essential to preventing the continuation of the meltdown they have caused.

None of it makes any sense except in terms of secret agendas which are completely at odds with the public cover story.

In Iraq, in Afghanistan, in the GWOT in general, our “finest” military minds are not only ignoring all the lessons of 20th century counter-insurgency warfare, but also the most time-honored knowledge about war itself, such as the bit of ancient Chinese wisdom that runs, “Know your enemy”.

The ancients — not just the Chinese but all of them — knew that they could win their wars only by understanding their enemy, by gaining — and using — intimate knowledge of who they were fighting against, and what motivated these people to fight.

These days, we can’t get a straight answer to any of it: You almost never see anyone mention that our enemies are people too. Nobody — at least in the official national discourse — can bear to admit that we’re fighting against the best, the bravest, and the most resourceful citizens of the countries that we have invaded. Nor can anyone admit that they’re fighting against us because we bombed and invaded and destroyed their countries, and stayed — all on false pretenses.

It can be said — and it often is said — that the war is being run “inefficiently”, or that the military has been “blundering”, and so on; but when we systematically ignore some of the most valuable lessons of our history, and some of the oldest human knowledge pertaining to warfare, that’s not a blunder. That’s a telltale sign.

It points to the fact that what we’re really doing — and again by “we”, I mean the people who are running the war — is very different than what we say we’re doing.

We’re trying to conquer foreign countries, not to bring them democracy, but to bring them under our thumb. We want their natural resources. We want their territory — and if we can’t own it outright then we at least want to be able to move men and material freely and securely through it.

As even a brief study of our history will confirm, we do not now give and we never have given a damn about bringing democracy to any foreign country; in fact we have a tradition of overthrowing democratically elected governments if they don’t do what we demand of them. But none of this can possibly be spoken in “polite” society (by which I mean not only television, radio and the mainstream newspapers, but also a disturbingly large number of allegedly dissident websites), where the only permissible talk seems to be about winning and losing.

If the opinion-makers can convince the chumps that the question is one of winning or losing, and that winning is the only acceptable outcome, then the war can go on forever — especially if all methods are acceptable, including those which are actually intended to prolong the war.

Anti-war types who argue about winning and losing are doomed to fail, because they’re playing into the hands of war supporters, who have obvious answers available for either eventuality: if we’re winning, then we must be doing something right, and therefore we should do more of it; if we’re losing, then we must not be trying hard enough, and therefore we should try harder. Either way, if winning the war is the outcome we seek, we must wage more war.

Furthermore, if we reduce a war of choice to the level of a game, we minimize all the things that matter most about the war: all the suffering we’ve inflicted becomes “collateral damage”, and it doesn’t even show up on the “scoreboard”. Meanwhile, the false reasons that “justified” the war don’t matter anymore, and we’re free to proceed as if we hadn’t done anything wrong, as if we’re only in this “game” because we were “scheduled” to “play” it.

But war is nothing like a game. And the wars we are currently waging — in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and elsewhere in the GWOT — were all “justified” based on transparent lies. Therefore they are also war crimes, and crimes against all of humanity: these are huge, unforgivable crimes, and we are the guilty parties. And here, when I say “we”, I mean not only the people who are running the war, but also the people who are fighting it, and the people who support them — no matter what form that support may take.

If you voted for George Bush, or for a Congressman or Senator who voted to fund this war; if you “support the troops” in any fashion, even by simply saying you do; if you pay taxes to Uncle Sam; if you believe that we should or must win any or all of our wars, in the sense that the administration and its supporters use the term; then you’re part of the problem. And that makes just about all of us. I’m sorry to have to tell you that, but would you rather have me lie to you?

You can get plenty of comforting lies elsewhere — almost anywhere else, sadly. And perhaps the worst lies of all are the ones that say, “We can win!”

The idea that we can “win” is a sham and its job is to cover up an enormous crime. Winning is impossible, not only in Afghanistan but also in Iraq and in the GWOT in general; and in every one of these cases, the impossibility of winning is a deliberate feature of the grand deception.

For example: the US would consider that it had won the war in Iraq, if Iraq somehow became a peaceful, stable nation with a legitimate, democratically elected government, as long as that government was friendly to “US interests”.

But that’s not a possible result. That was never a possible result.

Even before “Shock and Awe”, even before the destruction of the Iraqi infrastructure, even before the “liberation” overstayed its welcome and showed itself to be an occupation, even before the gradual, unsurprising, “revelations” that all of this hostility was based on deliberately crafted lies … even before any of this, no legitimate, democratically elected government in Iraq could possibly have been friendly to “US interests”, especially when the main US interests are (or are seen to be) building American bases on Iraqi soil and regaining American-multinational control of all that Iraqi oil.

In this sense we cannot possibly “win” in Iraq. But we are constantly told that we mustn’t lose. And this means we can never surrender. So therefore the war will go on and on forever — or until we stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution.

The same is true in Afghanistan, at least in general form, although in this case the particulars are different. We cannot win because the war is based on lies; and because the desired outcome is impossible; and because the tactics used to “approach” our goal only serve to move it farther away, thus prolonging the war.

Again the actual goals are hidden, and again they are very different than what we are told: At the heart of the war in Afghanistan lie vast opium fortunes, strategic bases, and the free passage through foreign territory of valuable resources owned by American-multinational corporations, not necessarily in that order.

In addition there’s a common thread running through all our wars: every piece of equipment ruined must be replaced. Every bomb used, every bullet fired, every meal eaten must be supplied by somebody who is making money on the deal.

The longer the war goes on, the better it is for the weapons manufacturers, the defense contractors, and their financiers. These are the people who want the chumps thinking about winning and losing — and now I mean the chumps in the corridors of power as well as the chumps in the streets.

Chris Floyd quotes an excellent piece from Pankaj Mishra which quotes George Bush telling his commanders in Iraq:

Kick ass! … We must be tougher than hell! This Vietnam stuff, this is not even close. It is a mind-set. We can’t send that message. It’s an excuse to prepare us for withdrawal … There is a series of moments and this is one of them. Our will is being tested, but we are resolute. We have a better way. Stay strong! Stay the course! Kill them! Be confident! Prevail! We are going to wipe them out! We are not blinking!

Chris notes:

Anyone who has read Hitler’s “table talk” will feel a shiver of familiarity — and revulsion — when reading Bush’s words.

And I agree completely with that, but not with this:

This is the voice of our mud-brain thrashing its way through broken fragments of higher-order thought. This is the voice of an imperial elite — of our imperial elite.

In my opinion, this is merely the voice of an imperial chump, a “mud-brain”, channeling the nonsense he’s been fed by the “imperial elite”.

In the same way, Adolph Hitler proved to be just another imperial chump in the end, firing a bullet into his head to avoid being hanged for his crimes … while his financiers skedaddled with the loot, and set up shop … um … elsewhere!


10 Reasons Why We Need a New (Cold?) War

Posted on

Thomas Paine’s Corner


By Gary Corseri


1. Russia is too damned uppity. After Georgian “peace-keepers” turned their guns on genuine Russian peace-keepers in South Ossetia, after Georgia bombed and killed 1500 South Ossetians, Russia had the nerve to counter-attack!

2. Russia is too big for its britches. It still possesses a sizeable chunk of the planet’s real estate—twice as much as the U.S. (not counting our foreign bases and various client states). They’ve less than half as many people as we have (and they’re mostly Slavs, anyway). Obviously, a lot of the land conquered under the Tsars ought to be up for grabs in the New World Order. The West needs those resources. It’s our planet too!

3. Russia doesn’t play fair. When we get our apparatchiks in Poland to install missile interceptors on Polish land—the Russkies balk and claim Poland is now a legit target for Russky missiles. What’s this? Diplomacy through intimidation? Just because we do it, does that mean they should? Monkey see, monkey does? Russkovia is full of monkeys with nuclear warhead missiles!

4. Russmonkeya has been howling ever since we broke the ABM treaties. Don’t they realize we have the “freedom” to break treaties at will? Didn’t they ever hear about our “Indians,” with whom we broke all our treaties?

5. Russia has too many good writers whom they take seriously! Solzhenitsyn, for example. He was critical of the Soviet system, found it “soul-less,” etc. and the Russkies listened intently, put the heat on him, and he up and exiles himself to bucolic Vermont, where, fast as a fast-food, deep-fried chicken burger will bring on heartburn, he gets jaundice-eyed about America—calls us “decadent,” “consumerist,” “materialistic,” “immature” and yada yada yada. We, of course, ignore him—which is death to serious writers. So he up-ends himself again, returns to Russkovia, is critical of Mother Russiasky again and this time the Russkies burnish the samovars and conscientiously reflect on what he’s saying. … Naturally, we continue to ignore him.

6. Haven’t the Putin reforms gone far enough? Wouldn’t we rather have a good-ole-boy vodka-boozer like Yeltsin in place, selling off the state’s resources to well-placed Russkie frat-boy-like oligarchs close to Western frat-boy-like oligarchs? Putin is too popular in Leninslavia! With a New Cold War, he’s bound to rein in the reforms, wrest more power to himself and bring on uprisings against him—uprisings our National Endowment for Democracy can shape and mold. Obviously, we need a guy like Brezhnev in there—a somnambulistic status-quo man who will keep a New Cold War simmering.

7. A New Cold War is good for the dollar. The War on Terrorism is getting a bit frayed. Americans are starting to bawl: What’s in this for me? (Typical!) They’re whining about no health care or homes foreclosed or lousy schools, and the memory of 9/11 is already fading, in spite of our best rhetorical efforts. (Can you believe it? There are 6-year olds who weren’t even alive then?) Also, Americans don’t see progress in our War on Terror. Are we any safer now? they ask. We need to ratchet up the fear with a formidable enemy like Russia-Slavia. We need to put people to work making more bombs, missiles, aircraft carriers, etc.

8. If we don’t have a New Cold War with Russia, we’re going to face other problems from upstart nations like China and Iran. The ‘08 Olympics proved to the world the Chinese are just as good as we at presenting a “really good shew.” Better! (Anyone remember the Atlanta Olympics? It was much smaller; people got killed; there was police repression, and besides all that, it was boring!) The Chinese are feeling their oats now and they’re bound to get more assertive as they seek the same oil we’ve been drilling in the Middle East since John McCain wore knickers. They’ve got all those jobs our corporations outsourced to them and in a couple of decades they’ll have a bigger GNP than us, and in a couple beyond that, a bigger per capita! Weren’t they a nation of “coolies” just 100 years ago, and dyed in their wool Mao-jackets just 30 yrs ago? We’ve got to stand up to Russostan now so China, Inc. doesn’t stand up to us later! We’ve got to show these Socialistas who’s the boss cause force is all people like that can understand! As for Iran—it’s a nation of towel-heads and terrorists who hate us for our freedom! If we don’t have a New Cold War now, those Iranians will go on developing their nukes and they’ll join forces with the Russoviks and the noodle-slurpers and we and Israel can kiss our tuchus dasvidanya!

9. A New Cold War is good for our politicians and our media. Our politicians are already humming the tunes. Pretty soon they’ll be “dancing with the stars.” They won’t be able to deliver on 10% of what they’re promising because the corporations and the lobbyists and the media ain’t gonna tie the ribbons until they get their greasy palms greased. And the way to over-grease the palms is to enforce “war taxes.” Which means taking middle class taxes and forking them over to industries and institutions that thrive on death and chaos. It means more of the likes of Jack Bauer on TV making the world safe for democracy by torturing Russkies who mean the farm boys in Kansas and the mothers in Alaska bodily harm. (Isn’t it better to torture one Russkie suspect who might have info to save a million American lives? And if we once in a while waterboard the wrong Yuri or Lara—isn’t that better than little Johnny down the street getting anthraxed even though he still can’t read?)

10. Russian novels are too long and depressing; no American bothers to finish them. A New Cold War, on the other hand, will accelerate Armageddon. We already know that ends in the triumph of Good over Evil. So, in the immortal words of G.W.B., “Bring it on!”

(Gary Corseri, a Senior Contributing, & Arts & Culture, Editor at Cyrano’s Journal, has posted/published his work at hundreds of venues, including ThomasPaine’sCorner, The New York Times and Village Voice. He has published novels and collections of poems, taught in universities and prisons, performed at the Carter Presidential Library and Museum; and his dramas have been presented on Atlanta-PBS, etc. He can be contacted at



Posted on

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fred Kagan, the American military strategist, calls for beefed-up Baltic defences against Russia

Military strategist Fred Kagan has the ear of hawks within the US administration Photo: AP

by Damian Lataan

Fred Kagan, a senior neocon who instigated the idea of the ‘surge’ policy in Iraq that some have hailed as a success, is at it again only this time he’s looking to further provoke the Russians by insisting that NATO positively demonstrates it support and presence in the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania lest the Russians feel tempted to reinvade them as Kagan thinks they did in Georgia.

Kagan, a well known neoconservative propagandist, is deliberately attempting to recreate the atmosphere of fear and loathing that dominated during the Cold War years. The Baltic States that consist of three small European nations have historically, especially during the last century, been used as a bit of a political football due to their geographical position relative to Germany and Russia.

In 1939 the Baltic States were ceded to Russia as part Stalin’s deal with Hitler when they carved up Eastern Europe between them at the beginning of the Second World War. However, when Hitler turned on Stalin and attacked Russia, the Baltic States quickly fell to German control. Then, toward the end of the war as Russia advanced westward, the Baltic States reverted back to Soviet Russian control. It wasn’t until 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union that the Baltic States regained their independence. As a result of this predominately Soviet Russian control over the years, the people of the Baltic States had become extremely anti-communist and, far more importantly in the twenty-first century since the demise of communism, anti-Russian, and it is this fact that the likes of Kagan are exploiting for their own ends.

So, what’s behind Kagan’s thinking here? The answer lies in what Kagan has proffered as an explanation for this strategy; he ‘says that the West needed to match words with deeds if it was to stop Russia turning into an “intolerable, aggressive imperialistic” power’. The reality, of course, is that it is not Russia that is becoming an “intolerable, aggressive imperialistic” power, but the US.

The circumstances that led to the crisis in Georgia is totally different from the geo-political situation of the Baltic States relative to Russia, yet Kagan, in his relentless hatred of all things Russian, is quite content to place the Baltic States into the line fire yet again by abusing the Baltic States well-known resentment of the Russians to bolster the neocons anti-Russian rhetoric. Kagan knows that the Baltic States are unlikely to refuse Western help but would be far better off simply proclaiming neutrality or simply be non-aligned like Sweden and Finland.

Kagan’s stirring up of old Baltic-Russian antagonisms is transparent and belies the neocons trues objectives of reviving the old Cold War animosities that were the bread and butter of the US military-industrial complex which in turn ensured US predominance as a so-called superpower.

posted by Damian Lataan