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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

OMNI RUSSIA NEWSLETTER #7


OMNI
RUSSIA NEWSLETTER #7,  October 3, 2017
Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace, Justice, and Ecology.
 (#1 March 21, 2014; #2 April 10, 2014; #3 May 16, 2014; #4 July 22, 2014; #5 March 10, 2015; #6 Sept. 1, 2016)




CONTENTS: RUSSIA NEWSLETTER #7, October 3, 2017
Graphic:  Russia Wants War?
Dick, Who’s the Aggressor?
Noam Chomsky, US/NATO Provocations
Kathy Kelly, NATO, Crimea
Protesting NATO in Lapland
New Book by Dan Kovalik, The Plot to Scapegoat Russia
   Publisher’s Description
   Dick, Page 29 of The Plot on USSR
   Cindy Sheehan’s Interview of Kovalik
Other Comment on Russophobia
   Kuzmarov and Marciano, The Russians Are Coming, Again
   Cindy, Anthony Freda,  Morgan Freeman
   Bruce Shapiro, Investigate Russian Hacking Without Cold War Hysteria
Russia, Afghanistan, and Diplomacy



 The following map also opens #6, but it’s so keen I venture to repeat it.  With this caution: it surely under-states the number of bases, since the US has about 800 foreign bases!


RUSSIA AND THE USA: WHO’S THE AGGRESSOR?
 After stumbling around too long, I finally discovered how each of us could answer the question. Simple grassroots scholarship dispels elite and (conditioned) popular fog.   I simply googled each country bordering Russia or close:  NATO and Finland, NATO and Belarus, and so on.  Takes about one hour.  You will see how the evidence unfolds of the aggressive US/NATO campaign to sign up all of Russia’s neighbors from Finland to Kazakhstan.  Do it yourself just for the experience, and knowledge you CAN cope with state propaganda.  You’ll be astonished.   Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Kyrgistan, Tajikistan.  Imagine Russia trying to form military alliances with Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Guatemala, and Belize, and negotiating with all the other Caribbean and Central American countries.  Dick, 3-26-17

NOAM CHOMSKY ON US/NATO PROVOCATIONS
“One of Bill Clinton’s major crimes, in my opinion—and there were many—was to expand NATO to the east, in violation of a firm pledge to Gorbachev by his predecessors after Gorbachev made the astonishing concession to allow a united Germany to join a hostile military alliance.  These very serious provocations were carried forward by Bush, along with a posture of aggressive militarism which, as predicted, elicited strong reactions from Russia.  But American redlines are already placed on Russia’s borders.”  Noam Chomsky, Optimism Over Despair  (15).  (And in numerous ways President Obama increased the threats.  –Dick)

KATHY KELLY, “NATO: What’s at Stake.”  The Catholic Worker (Aug.-Sept. 2016).  In regard to Russia’s annexation of the Crimea, while many in US see it as Russian aggression, in Russia many see it as a “response to antidemocratic NATO interference along the Russian border.”   NATO military assertiveness “undermines and conflicts with” international cooperation.  (I cannot find the TCW version I read.  It appeared earlier in The Huffington Post, June 23, 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathy-kelly/whats-at-stake_b_10642568.html ).
VCNV – VCNV.ORG  vcnv.org/  This timely anthology edited by T.J. Coles includes articles by Voices for Creative Nonviolence co-coordinators Kathy Kelly and Brian Terrell
https://www.commondreams.org/author/kathy-kelly
Kathy Kelly articles and opinion pieces published by Common Dreams, a non-profit independent media outlet publishing since 1997 in Portland, Maine.
https://www.facebook.com/Kathy-Kelly-Peace-Activist-189069044486246/
Kathy Kelly, Peace Activist. 829 likes. This page will promote nonviolence and help ask how we can learn to live together without killing one another.


PROTESTING NATO
Protesting Against NATO in Lapland
by Kerstin Tuomala .  Space Alert! March 2017
http://www.space4peace.org/newsletter/Space%20Alert%2035.pdf
About 30 persons showed up at the demonstration on May 22 at the airport in Tovaniemi, Finland on the first day of the ACE 2017 U.S.-NATO war game. The main bases for the military exercises were Rovaniemi, Finland, Luleå, Sweden and Bodö, Norway. They are NATO exercises, our countries are only hosts, which in reality means servants. Because the time they fly is in the spring when the reindeers calve, it is extremely bad since the herd can get panic from the noise and many calves are at risk for this reason. The peace group from Joensuu came by bus and they had with them 16 persons with good spirit and slogans, a good microphone, and impressive banners and we from the north had banners too. The person from most far away, besides Dave Webb (Global Network board chair) from England and Agneta Norberg (GN board member) and My Leffler from Sweden, came from Helsinki and the most northern about 170 kms from Rovaniemi a place by the northwestern border, named Kolari, over which the ACE was flying. People talked against our governments spending money on military instead of welfare and security in everyday life, and we sang peace songs and some danced accompanied/disturbed by the noise of the lifting fighter planes. I was interviewed for the Swedish radio and was so distracted by the noise that I said what I thought (instead of thinking what I said.) The weather was windy and cold and we moved to the city center of Rovaniemi to get some coffee and tea and to have another planned demonstration there. More local people showed up and they talked very well about the same concerns of how our welfare is cut down in favor of militarism. They also thanked us for arranging this opportunity to demonstrate. In fact we had planned to be there only for half an hour, but we were longer so that everyone who wanted could speak. We demonstrated on a square where people pass on their ways, we got good publicity, the banners were impressive…
https://sputniknews.com/military/201705151053620166-finland-pacifists-protests/
May 15, 2017 - To protest the exercise, the Rauhanpuolustajat intend to rally on the day of the ... at the University of Lapland, the Finnish daily Hufvudstadsbladet reported. ... According to the latest poll, 51 percent of Finns were against NATO ...
space4peace.blogspot.com/2017/03/message-from-finland-no-to-nato.html
Mar 14, 2017 - The US-NATO are trying to get their military boot into Finland which borders Russia. ... We had the annual meeting for the peace committee in Lapland (the meeting to ... Finland is the host for the Arctic Challenge Exercise this year and we will protest against it in the whole country in May. ... Kerstin Tuomala.
www.space4peace.org/reports/finland_17.htm
From: Dave Webb and Kerstin Tuomala ... Kerstin Tuomoal and My Leffler escorted Dave to the hotel and the next ... Dave spoke of our solidarity with the protest and warned of Finland's increasing involvement with NATO. ... The following day when we stopped at a services on our journey north to Kerstin's cabin in Lapland, ...


After I began compiling Newsletter #7, a book appeared on the subject!
http://skyhorsepublishing.com/book-images/9781510730328-frontcover.jpg?H300B 
The Plot to Scapegoat Russia How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Vilify Putin by Dan Kovalik, Introduction by David Talbot.  Skyhorse, 2017.
Publishers Description:   An in-depth look at the decades-long effort to escalate hostilities with Russia and what it portends for the future.

Since 1945, the US has justified numerous wars, interventions, and military build-ups based on the pretext of the Russian Red Menace, even after the Soviet Union collapsed at the end of 1991 and Russia stopped being Red. In fact, the two biggest post-war American conflicts, the Korean and Vietnam wars, were not, as has been frequently claimed, about stopping Soviet aggression or even influence, but about maintaining old colonial relationships. Similarly, many lesser interventions and conflicts, such as those in Latin America, were also based upon an alleged Soviet threat, which was greatly overblown or nonexistent. And now the specter of a Russian Menace has been raised again in the wake of Donald Trump’s election.

The Plot to Scapegoat Russia examines the recent proliferation of stories, usually sourced from American state actors, blaming and manipulating the threat of Russia, and the long history of which this episode is but the latest chapter. It will show readers two key things: (1) the ways in which the United States has needlessly provoked Russia, especially after the collapse of the USSR, thereby squandering hopes for peace and cooperation; and (2) how Americans have lost out from this missed opportunity, and from decades of conflicts based upon false premises. These revelations, amongst other, make The Plot to Scapegoat Russia one of the timeliest reads of 2017.
David Talbot provides the Foreword to the book.  He writes: “This massive anti-Russian propaganda campaign is one of the biggest fake news operations in U.S. history.”  Talbot  founded Salon and wrote the NYT best seller, The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government.
Dick:  Here’s a glimpse of one page from chap. 3 you likely haven’t seen in mainstream news because it so counters the propaganda:  P. 29: A majority of Russians regretted the fall of the Soviet Union (SU) and dream of its restoration.  Preceding the collapse of the USSR a larger majority wanted a referendum for its preservation, and even larger majorities agreed in Ukraine, Belarus, Azerbaijan, the Central Asian Republics.  Why?  Citing Reuters: under undirected capitalism fear of collapse of living standards, corruption and nepotism, unemployment, expensive food, social dislocation and violence.  All happened. 
This week on The Soapbox, Cindy chats with author, activist and attorney for the United Steelworkers Dan Kovalik about his new book: The Plot to Scapegoat Russia: How the CIA and Deep State Have Conspired to Vilify Putin by Dan Kovalik.
Cindy Sheehans Soapbox NEWSLETTER 
SEPTEMBER 4, 2017. 


OTHER CHRONICLERS OF THE NEW RUSSOPHOBIC HYSTERIA
Dear Reader, we make this and other articles available for free online to serve those unable to afford or access the print edition of Monthly Review. If you read the magazine online and can afford a print subscription, we hope you will consider purchasing one. Please visit the MR store for subscription options. Thank you very much. —Eds.
The Russians Are Coming, Again by Jeremy Kuzmarov and John MarcianoMonthly Review, Volume 69, Issue 04 (September 2017) 
Jeremy Kuzmarov is an assistant professor of history at the University of Tulsa and the author, most recently, of Modernizing Repression (University of Massachusetts, 2012).  ( Kuxmarov spoke at an OMNI protest at the Federal Building several years ago.  –D)
John Marciano is professor emeritus of education at the State University of New York, Cortland, and the author of The American War in Vietnam (Monthly Review Press, 2016).
The 1966 Academy Award-winning film The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming, directed by Norman Jewison, parodies the Cold War paranoia then pervading the United States, depicting the chaos that seizes a small coastal New England town after a Soviet submarine runs aground. Half a century later, Americans are again being warned daily of the Russian menace, with persistent accusations of Russian aggression, lies, violations of international law, and cyberattacks on U.S. elections, as reported in leading liberal outlets like the New York Times and the Washington Post.
The charges are many and relentless: the Russians invaded Georgia; the Russians tried to subvert and overthrow the Ukrainian government; the Russians shot down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in July 2014 over eastern Ukraine, or supported rebels that did so; the Russians annexed Crimea in 2014 in an aggressive move reminiscent of the Soviet Union’s postwar actions in Eastern Europe; the Russians have threatened smaller NATO nations in the region; and most recently, the Russians engaged in cyberwarfare by blatantly interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and then tried to manipulate the president through connections to key figures in his inner circle.
A prime example of the new Russia hysteria comes from a 2016 report in the New York Times by national security correspondents David Sanger, Eric Schmitt, and Michael R. Gordon:
For his part, Mr. Putin is counting the days until Mr. Trump is in the Oval Office. Despite a failing economy, the Russian president has been pursuing for the past four years what most Western analysts see as a plan to reassert Russian power throughout the region. First came the annexation of Crimea and the shadow war in eastern Ukraine. Then came the deployment of nuclear-capable forces to the border of NATO countries, as Moscow, working to fracture the power structures in Germany and France and promote right-wing parties, sent a reinvigorated military force on patrol off the coasts of the Baltics and Western European nations.1
Based on unproven assertions masquerading as fact (such as that Putin was working to fracture power structures and promote right-wing parties in France and Germany), the article fails to acknowledge that a verbal agreement was made in late 1990 between Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. Secretary of State James Baker. According to the Russians—whose version is corroborated by hundreds of memos and transcripts at the George H. W. Bush presidential library—Baker pledged to Gorbachev that NATO would not expand east toward their border, in return for Russian support for German reunification.2 Since then, of course, the United States has armed and funded NATO’s eastward advance to include states that share borders with Russia. The United States also provocatively increased its naval presence in the Black Sea, and in 2014, the State Department fanned protests that led to the violent overthrow of Ukraine’s autocratic but elected pro-Russian government, prompting the Russian annexation of Crimea, and then supplied more than a billion dollars in security assistance to a new, Western-friendly right-wing regime.3
In summer 2016, the Obama administration announced the construction of a future U.S. missile defense site in Poland and the activation of a missile defense system in Romania.4 This came on top of a previously announced trillion-dollar nuclear modernization program, prompted in part by the lobbying efforts of the defense contractor Bechtel, that includes the development of new nuclear-tipped weapons, whose size and “smart” technology, according to a leading general, ensure that the use of nuclear arms is “no longer unthinkable.”5
Russia, not surprisingly, has watched these policies with alarm, itself putting five new strategic nuclear missile regiments into service in 2016, and backing the Assad government in the Syrian civil war. Former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry is among those who believe that the danger of nuclear catastrophe arising from the renewed arms race is “greater today than during the Cold War.”6
As in the original Cold War, U.S. arms manufacturers have fueled the escalation by lobbying Washington and NATO to maintain high levels of military spending, aided by hired-gun think tanks and professional “experts.” As retired Army General Richard Cody, a vice president at L-3 Communications, the seventh-largest U.S. defense contractor, explained to shareholders in December 2015, the industry faces a historic opportunity: following the end of the Cold War, peace had “pretty much broken out all over the world,” with Russia in decline and NATO nations celebrating. “The Wall came down,” he said, and “all defense budgets went south.”7Reversing this slide toward peace required the creation of new foreign enemies, including the perception of a revived Russian imperialism—even though the U.S. military budget, totaling $609 billion in 2016, dwarfs that of Russia, which spent $65 billion.
To understand the New Cold War emerging today, it is necessary to reexamine the original conflict between the United States and the USSR. The present Russia panic follows an entire century of fearmongering and “threat inflation,” dating to the Russian Revolution, that has long served the interests of the U.S. military-industrial complex and security state. It has had little to do with either Russian or American realities, which have been consistently distorted.  MORE

CINDY SHEEHAN’S SOAPBOX
Morgan Freeman appears in a PSA video that hysterically and without a shred of actual evidence, claims we are "at war with Russia" due to allegations of meddling in U.S. presidential election.
This conspiracy theory has been widely discredited, but facts have no hope of tempering the Russophobic blood lust of the Neo-McCarthyities.

The Kremlin reacted to the video by asserting that the actor Morgan Freeman is suffering from “stress”.
The two minute clip features Freeman announcing that Russia attacked the United States by interfering in the presidential election. Apparently, this imaginary attack is their moral pretext to start World War 3.
The group behind the video, the Committee to Investigate Russia, claims to be “non-partisan” yet is made up of Never Trump neo-cons like Max Boot and David Frum in an unholy alliance with Hillary Clinton lapdogs like Rob "Meathead" Reiner.
Is CIR really a CIA front group?
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Freeman’s words were “purely emotional” during a press conference earlier today and that the video couldn’t be taken seriously because it was “not based on real information”.
“Many creative people fall prey to emotional stress without real information about the real state of things,” he was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.
Peskov added that the campaign was ” a continuation of a form of McCarthyism,” and that “with time this will pass.”
We clearly are not actually at war with Russia in the real world, but is this the sick fantasy these lunatics want to make a self-fulfilling prophecy?
Do they actually prefer thermonuclear war to detente?
Anthony Freda


Russian Sway affected vote, senators told

(ADG 3-31-17)

https://www.pressreader.com/usa/northwest-arkansas-democrat-gazette/20170331/281513635994251

 We Must Investigate the Russia Hacking Charges—Without Cold-War Hysteria.  By Bruce ShapiroMARCH 23, 2017

Exaggerated fear of foreign subversion can be more damaging to our democracy than external enemies.




Many letters from Arkies appeared in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, opposed to Trump’s seeming sympathy with Russia.  Sample: “Why Is President Trump Giving Favor to Russia?”  NADG (5-17-17).  “Every red-blooded American will probably be upset by the action of our own president in relation to Russia.”  No explanation, no evidence given, the writer assuming national consensus, which as the result of many decades of anti-Soviet/Russian propaganda may be close to the truth.  --Dick


RUSSIA’S OPPOSITION TO US FOREIGN POLICY: AFGHANISTAN.  But that doesn’t reveal an enemy, but helping us out of that quagmire with diplomacy!

Russia backs calls for U.S., NATO to exit Afghanistan

0

Taliban justified in opposing foreign forces, envoy says

By Henry Meyer Bloomberg News
This article was originally published April 1, 2017 at 3:19 a.m.
Russia said it supports the Taliban's demand for foreign troops to leave Afghanistan, criticizing agreements that allow U.S. and NATO forces to remain for the long term in the war-torn country.

As war in Afghanistan drags on, Russia resurrects interest

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/7ea27486b8934088b8c8b8b752550cbb/amid-us-afghanistan-uncertainty-russia-resurrects-interest
By MATTHEW PENNINGTON Mar. 30, 2017 6:03 PM  (also in ADG 3-31-17)
WASHINGTON (AP) — As America's effort to end 16 years of war in Afghanistan yields little progress, Russia is resurrecting its own interest in the "graveyard of empires." The jockeying includes engaging the Taliban and leading a new diplomatic effort to tackle Afghanistan's future, with or without U.S. support.
Uncertain of Moscow's intentions, the Trump administration will stay away when Russia hosts regional powers China, India, Iran and Pakistan, and several Central Asian countries, for another set of Afghan talks next month. Afghanistan's government is attending, but the U.S. declined an invitation, saying it wasn't consulted ahead of time. No one has invited the Taliban.
For Russia, dogged by memories of the Soviet Union's disastrous 1980s occupation of Afghanistan, it's a surprising turn at the head of the country's proverbial peace table. And it coincides with the Kremlin's campaign to wield greater international authority at the U.S.' expense elsewhere, including intervening in Syria's war and pushing for a settlement on President Bashar Assad's and its own terms. Moscow even has sought to broker new Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, challenging Washington's grip on the Mideast peace process.





As much of the world slides towards violence, wars, class struggle, climate crisis, and religious fundamentalism, the crisis of US ENCIRCLEMENT OF CHINA AND RUSSIA challenges peacemakers to construct a compelling alternative to the New Cold War, See OMNI’s newsletters/blogs on US Imperialism Westward Pacific/E. Asia, on Iran, and related subjects.

Contents: Russia Newsletter #6, September 1, 2016
“Russia Wants War” Graphic
NATO’s Eastward Expansion a Broken Promise (2009)
Democracy Now, Stephen Cohen on the New Cold War (2014)
2016
Russian Vows Response to NATO Buildup  6-30
Putin Warns Finland Not to Join NATO 7-2
Ann Wright, Views of Russian Citizens 7-5
US Mayors Criticize Obama Admin. for Risking War 7-6
Klare, West Preparing for War against Russia 7-7
Russians Have Right to Be Alarmed at US ABM 7-13

I MADE A BIG EFFORT TO DISSEMINATE RUSSIA NEWSLETTER #6, AND RECEIVED NO REPLIES.  Perhaps the Cold War Sovietphobia now Russophobia is more widespread and entrenched still today than I had feared.   The new book by Dan Kovalik, The Plot to Scapegoat Russia, has plenty to say about this.


END RUSSIA NEWSLETTER #7

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