Obama, NATO, Chicago, Fascism & Genocide
The 25th summit of NATO was held in Chicago.
What did it mean? I mean REALLY mean for us bottom and captive 99 percenters in the U.S. and in the world at large?
The propaganda paint job of the Obama regime is that NATO countries are doing mutual strategizing particularly to bring an end to the war in Afghanistan.
The craven corporate media stenographers and, in my humble opinion, even more craven team Democrat faux-progressives, with their wing of the corporate media machine who will do anything to keep Obama in the seat of power in 2012, are spinning, spinning, spinning reality to keep the citizenry passive and denying. To minimize the fascism escalating in this country and the genocide perpetrated by the bullying and/or bullied members of NATO and especially the US spreading into more and more countries.
According to Pepe Escobar the Secret Service “locked down” the city of Chicago. Iraq-style concrete barriers, battalions of police in riot gear, “extraction teams” to “snatch and grab pinpointed protesters” and what Escobar calls an “Orwellian guest star” the “LRAD” (long-range acoustic device -- a sound CANNON).
This is how Glen Ford wrapped up the police state fascism that unfolded so disturbingly under our very noses in Chicago arranged by our give-me-a-break NOT lesser of two evils Democratic (capital NEVER small d) President Obama:
If anyone has doubts about what it means here at home when the U.S. seeks to militarily dominate the world, take a trip to Chicago, this week. There, you’ll see the Chicago police, the second largest force in the country, reinforced by cops from Philadelphia, Milwaukee, and Charlotte, North Carolina, and backed up by two high decibel noise machines that were first used against American civilians in Pittsburgh to blow out the eardrums of protesters, back in 2009. Overall security for the NATO summit meeting is overseen by the FBI and the Secret Service, who in recent months have been given unprecedented police state powers, thanks to President Obama and a bipartisan Congress.
With dignitaries on hand from the more than 50 countries that have done Washington’s bidding in Afghanistan, there will be lots of opportunities for the feds to invoke their new powers to put demonstrators in prison for up to ten years if they set foot on property containing any person under the protection of the Secret Service. That could include huge chunks of the city. And, of course, who knows what kinds of plots the FBI is conjuring up through its squads of agent provocateurs embedded in the ranks of demonstrators. Thanks to the preventive detention without trial legislation signed into law by President Obama this past New Year’s Eve, every American has lost her Constitutional right to due process of law. Which means that a reconfigured and far more principled U.S. anti-war movement now confronts a growing fascist infrastructure here at home, as it opposes imperial crimes, abroad.
Patrick Martin of wsws gives the specifics of the Chicago crackdown on Americans of conscience trying to exercise their rights of free speech and assembly:
Chicago was effectively shut down for four days, Friday through Monday, not by the protesters, never more than 5,000 people, but by a huge mobilization of police and paramilitary forces who frequently outnumbered the demonstrators. The entire area around McCormick Place, site of the summit, was under lockdown.
• Police arrested well over 100 demonstrators in the course of the week, including more than 60 Sunday, a day of tense confrontations in which police continually vented their hostility towards the demonstrators, who were opposing the US-NATO war in Afghanistan and other imperialist military interventions.
• The violent dispersal of the protesters late Sunday afternoon was entirely one-sided, as described by the Chicago Sun-Times—a staunchly pro-police tabloid—which headlined its account, “Riot Gear Cops Rain Down Blows on Protesters.” The beatings were so widespread and indiscriminate that one of the newspaper’s own reporters was among those bloodied. At least 25 demonstrators were injured, with a dozen requiring hospital treatment.
• Most ominously, five protesters were arrested in police raids targeting individuals supposedly preparing “terrorist” attacks on the NATO summit. The same two informants fingered all five men, after the undercover cops had circulated widely among the protesters looking for anyone they could instigate or entrap.
The charges of “conspiring to commit domestic terrorism during the NATO summit,” brought before the Cook County Circuit Court, are a deliberate attempt to intimidate opponents of the US-NATO war in Afghanistan and other imperialist military interventions either under way or being planned by the Obama administration.
Patrick Martin goes on to put the Chicago crackdown into perspective as the escalation of fascism by our corporate-driven governmental leadership:
The Chicago frame-ups of antiwar protesters follow in the footsteps of previous provocations: last month’s arrest of five Cleveland-area Occupy protesters on similarly trumped-up charges; the systematic police violence against Occupy encampments last fall and winter; the FBI raids on the homes of antiwar activists in Minneapolis and Chicago in the fall of 2010.
They are part of a broader assault on democratic rights being carried out by the Obama administration, which has gone even further than the Bush White House in erecting the scaffolding of a police state. Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act, which gives the president the right to order the military detention, without trial, of anyone he designates as a terrorist threat, including US citizens. Obama has sharply increased targeted assassinations of alleged terrorists, including the murder of US citizens, and openly defended the president’s supposed unilateral “right” to do so.
Both big business parties are systematically shredding the Bill of Rights and stripping the American people of their constitutionally guaranteed rights.
These heavy-handed measures expose the fraudulent character of the claims by Democratic and Republican politicians that American imperialism is on the side of “democracy” and “freedom” when it wages wars against countries that possess vast reserves of oil and natural gas, or occupy strategic locations adjacent to such resources.
America is the most heavily policed of the industrialized countries. The combined forces of repression—local and state police, the military, the FBI, the CIA and other intelligence agencies, the vast apparatus of the Department of Homeland Security, the endless armies of private security personnel—number in the many millions.
Glen Ford passionately and concisely reviews the situation for all of us managing to exit the fog of Obama and media spun mendacity, not just minimization:
Since the emergence of the Occupy movement, last October, millions of Americans have come to understand what Latin American peasants have always known: that the nexus of war in the world is Wall Street, and the Pentagon is its servant – as is the White House and most of the Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court. War is waged for the purpose of global economic subjugation and, therefore, peace can only be won by dethroning the financial bad guys: the Lords of Capital. So, much of the peace movement now sees itself as an expression of the 99 Percent, against the warlike and greedy 1 Percent.
Once that lesson is learned, it cannot be shouted out by police sound-blasters.
President Obama has made skillful use of NATO, to make it appear that he is not a go-it-alone cowboy, like George Bush. Obama has drawn closely to his side the old imperialists of Europe, who looted and pillaged the earth for five hundred years, establishing the planetary racial hierarchy that has only recently begun to crumble. The Black man in the White House is seen, ironically, as the last best hope of the old colonial racial order and the rule of capital. The Global One Percent can only be maintained in power by the U.S. war machine. Ultimately, the world needs only one thing from the American people: that they dismantle the machine.
Bill Van Auken of wsws calls out the obscene propaganda coming from Obama and his merry cartel of international gangsters especially considering the kind of tragic shape Afghanistan is ACTUALLY in thanks to American and NATO corporate-driven imperialism:
The official declaration on Afghanistan issued from the NATO summit in Chicago on Monday speaks of a country “on its path toward self-reliance in security, improved governance, and economic and social development,” where “the lives of Afghan men, women and children have improved significantly” over the past decade of US-NATO occupation.
It promises an “irreversible transition” from the US-led war to a situation in which “Afghan forces will be in the lead for security nation-wide” by the middle of next year. And it envisions the emergence of a “peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan” that will “contribute to economic and social development in the wider region.”
Readers unfamiliar with the tone and rhetoric of such NATO documents can be excused for rubbing their eyes in disbelief. What country are they talking about?
The claims about Afghanistan emerging as a “prosperous” and “stable” nation are as preposterous as the pretense that the Afghan government is providing improved security, governance and development.
This is a country where over half the population lives below the official poverty line, and 30,000 children die every year from the ravages of malnutrition. Surveys continue to rank Afghanistan as one of the world’s ten poorest countries and the worst country on the planet to be a mother, given the astronomical rates of maternal and infant deaths. The unemployment rate has remained at roughly 40 percent since the US invasion of October 2001. A meteoric rise in emigration is a sure measure of deteriorating social conditions, with three times the number of Afghans fleeing their country in 2011 compared to four years earlier.
As for attributing “improved governance’ to the US-backed puppet Hamid Karzai, his government is universally recognized as one of the most corrupt on the planet, with a thin layer of warlords, crooks and crony capitalists pocketing billions of dollars in aid money. This wholesale and shameless graft has earned Krazai’s regime the hatred of the Afghan people while generating popular support for resistance to the foreign occupation that keeps him in office.
A recent series of high-profile attacks in the center of the capital have called into question even the old characterizations of Karzai as the “mayor of Kabul.” The tripling of the number of US troops deployed in Afghanistan under Obama has succeeded only in spreading what the Pentagon describes as a “robust” insurgency throughout the country.
As for the Afghan puppet security forces taking the “lead” in June of 2013, as recently as February the deputy commander of US forces in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, admitted that only one percent of Afghan army and police units are capable of operating independently. And even this tiny handful of units depends on US forces for intelligence and logistics as well as fire support. The Afghan military possesses neither an air force nor artillery.
The rosy declaration issued in Chicago makes no mention of the steady rise in so-called “green on blue” killings, the shooting of US and other NATO troops by their supposed Afghan allies, which has devastated morale among the occupation troops. Nor, for that matter, does it even hint at the occupation’s endless series of atrocities, from a US soldier massacring 17 civilians, to American troops urinating upon and desecrating corpses of slain Afghans, to aerial bombardments and special operations “night raids” claiming the lives of entire families.
The rhetoric about an “irreversible transition” followed by a “decade of transformation,” supposedly beginning in 2014, is meant to convince the public in the US—where polls show barely one quarter of the population supporting the war in Afghanistan—and in Europe that, as Obama put it, “the Afghan war as we understand it is over.”
Van Auken asserts that Obama et al. are bare-faced liars about a winding-down transition phase and that a new and even bloodier and more ruthless phase of the War in Afghanistan is beginning. Van Auken predicts that between now and 2014 the combat operations of the US and NATO will be “a near-genocidal campaign to exterminate popular resistance.”
A report issued on the eve of the Chicago summit by the Center for National Policy, formerly chaired by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, suggests what is to follow. It calls for keeping indefinitely in Afghanistan—and certainly for the ten years that are covered by the strategic partnership agreement signed by Obama and Karzai earlier this month—some 30,000 troops, three quarters of them American, under special operations command. They are to be backed by “fire and air support.” Working “in conjunction with the Central Intelligence Agency,” they will continue the “direct action campaign” against insurgents in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
This force is to maintain control of three strategic bases—Kandahar Air Field, Camp Bastion/Leatherneck in Helmand Province and Bagram Air Field
In other words, the “transition” is to more killing on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, more bombings, more night raids and more drone attacks. The aim, in what NATO leaders referred to as “the age of austerity,” is to prosecute the carnage more cheaply, under conditions where the US alone is spending some $10 billion a month on the war.
Obama is pursuing the same strategic goals as his predecessor, George W. Bush. Under the cover of the so-called global war on terrorism, US imperialism is determined to secure permanent bases in a country that borders both China and Iran, as well as the oil-rich region of Central Asia. The country is viewed within US ruling circles as a strategic launching pad for new and bloodier imperialist wars to come.
Since Obama came into office in 2009, thanks in large measure to popular hostility to the war policies of the Bush administration, 1,350 US soldiers and Marines have been killed, along with untold thousands more Afghan and Pakistani civilian men, women and children. Hundreds of billions more dollars have been expended on the nearly eleven-year war.
Finally, this is what Dennis Kucinich had to say in a May 21st statement about NATO and its summit:
“The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is not a benevolent organization. NATO is not about the North Atlantic and it’s not about our collective defense.
“NATO is a cost-sharing organization that finances aggressive military action. By hiding behind the claim that the organization provides for ‘common defense,’ NATO allows us to wage wars of choice under the guise of international peacekeeping. The most recent example was the unconstitutional war in Libya where NATO, operating under a United Nations mandate to protect civilians, instead backed one side in a civil war and pursued a policy of regime change.
“Today, NATO leaders are meeting in Chicago to discuss the future of Afghanistan. The talks are being billed as discussions of plans to end the war. The war in Afghanistan is not ending. These talks are simply about financing the next phase of the war.
“The Strategic Partnership Agreement between the U.S. and Afghanistan commits us to the country for at least another decade, despite public support for the war being at an all time low. The United States will pay for half of the estimated $4.1 billion per year cost of supporting 352,000 Afghan army and police officers. Afghanistan’s contribution will be $500,000. The rest will be financed by our ‘NATO partners.’ It is not surprising that support for the war among NATO members is waning, with France threatening to pull out its troops by the end of this year.
“Our participation in NATO comes at a great financial cost to the U.S. We contribute the majority of funds for NATO’s common budget, including 25% of the military budget. Between fiscal years 2010 and 2012 alone, we contributed more than $1.3 billion to NATO’s military budget. We also incur significant costs through the deployment of our forces in support of NATO missions. According to The Atlantic, the war in Libya cost the United States $1.1 billion.
“NATO was originally founded to provide a strategic counterbalance to the Soviet Union. Its founding purpose no longer exists, but NATO continues to circumvent the authority of the United Nations and to provoke other nations. NATO is an anachronism. Instead of trying to bolster the organization, we should begin serious discussions to dismantle it.”
Obama and the entire Democratic Party as the lesser of two evils? I don’t think so. Obama didn't deserve the Nobel Peace Prize but I admit he deserves something akin to an Academy Award for his profoundly undeserved trust-me persona that has sped us down the slope of fascism even faster than our previous low-life president, GWB, managed to. If more and more Americans don’t wake up and get proactive in taking on what Kevin Zeese calls the F-O-G, “forces of greed”, the momentum of fascism and genocide will continue to escalate. Our "acting" president and the rest of the international cartel of F-O-G are playing serious hardball. Time for us American citizens to listen to our consciences and not the craven and insidious propaganda pouring out of the mouths of our corporate-driven governmental and big media puppets and decide if we want to go down "denying" or rise up "uniting and fighting" to RESTORE democracy to America and save our global family from ongoing devastation. Neither corporate legacy party wants democracy restored to us 99 percenters or peace to our planet. They are lost to the evil capitalist profits-over-people matrix. No argument here such a fight is a profound and challenging one.