Barack Obama, the Great Deceiver

Yves Smith

Barack Obama swept into office on a tide of giddy enthusiasm. His “Hope and Change” was a pledge to reverse Bush era policies, including socialism for the rich, adventurism in the Middle East, and attacks on civil liberties. He announced his intention to serve as a transformational leader, invoking Abraham Lincoln, FDR and Ronald Reagan as role models. Despite the frigid temperatures, people poured into Washington, DC to hear his inauguration speech, wanting to be part of a remarkable passage.

It wasn’t simply that Obama was the first black president, but also that the economic devastation of the financial crisis opened up a historic opportunity to remake the social contract, to punish the reckless and greedy, no matter how lofty, and to build new foundations and safeguards for ordinary citizens. Obama, with his youthful vigor, his technocratic command of policy details, his “no drama” steadiness, his mastery of oratory, seemed uniquely suited to this time of need. His personal history of repeatedly breaking new ground fed optimism that he could do so for the nation as a whole.

Those times of heady promise are now a cruel memory. Again and again, Obama has shown his true colors. It isn’t simply that Obama lied. Politicians lie. But there are norms for political lying. The depth and dependability of Obama’s misrepresentations constitute a difference in kind.

Ziyad Yaghi: Guilty of Being Muslim in America

Stephen Lendman

A trip to the Middle East made by Ziyad Yaghi (left) and
Omar Aly Hassan was the focus of terrorism-related char-
ges against the two North Carolina men.

Post-9/11, America declared war on Islam. Wars rage abroad. At home, innocent victims are wrongfully charged, prosecuted, convicted by intimidated and pressured juries, and imprisoned.

Ziyad's one of many hundreds serving long prison terms in America's gulag. His crime is being Muslim in America at the wrong time.

On July 27, 2009, dozens of heavily armed Swat and hostage rescue team members arrested seven North Carolina men on terrorist-related charges.

A same day Justice Department press release cited Daniel Patrick Boyd, his two sons, Zakariya and Dylan, Hysen Sherifi, Anes Subasic, Mohammad Omar Aly Hassan, and Ziyad Yaghi.

Charges claimed "conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and conspiring to murder, kidnap, main and injure persons abroad," despite no plot, no crime, or intention to commit one.

Allegations only were provided. Precise details were omitted. Spurious accusations also suggested wanting to attack US Marines at Quantico, VA.

Washington’s lethal intervention in Syria

Bill Van Auken

While publicly insisting that it is only providing “non-lethal” aid to elements seeking the overthrow of the Assad regime in Syria, Washington is coordinating the shipment of arms into the country and working to expand the deadly conflict.

This was the thrust of a lead article in the Washington Post Tuesday. The Syrian “rebels,” the Post reported, “have begun receiving significantly more and better weapons in recent weeks, an effort paid for by Persian Gulf nations and coordinated in part by the United States according to opposition activists and US and foreign officials.”

The growing role played by Washington in organizing the arming of elements attacking Syrian government forces is linked to a perspective that “an expanding military confrontation is inevitable,” according to the newspaper. While formally supporting the cease-fire and political transition plan brokered by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the administration is stoking a violent confrontation with the obvious aim of scuttling this plan and opening the way to more direct military intervention.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar, both among Washington’s closest allies in the region, openly called for arming the anti-Assad forces and have poured millions of dollars into this effort. The Post article indicates that the decisions as to who receives these weapons are being made in Washington, which “has expanded contacts with opposition forces to provide the gulf nations with assessments of rebel credibility and command-and-control infrastructure.”

The Post also revealed that Obama administration officials hosted talks this week with representatives of the Kurdish opposition centered in eastern Syria, who have so far refrained from joining the armed revolt against Assad. This is in large part due to their distrust of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Sunni sectarian elements which dominate the leadership of the opposition, and who are hostile to Kurdish demands.

Pentagon's Subversive Geostrategic Activity in Latin America

Nil Nikandrov

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta listens at left as Joint Chiefs
Chairman Gen. Martin E. Dempsey speaks during a briefing
at the Pentagon, Thursday, May 10, 2012.
(Susan Walsh/AP)

While UNASUR is gradually moving towards the creation of an autonomous regional security system, Washington's perspective on integration initiatives of such scale is well-known: the U.S. typically frowns on the projects unless it gets the controlling stake. It might seem surprising in the light of the above that the recent UNASUR moves in the security sphere received no hammering from Washington. Since one can hardly expect the Pentagon with its perpetual open and clandestine wars in Asia and Africa to lose interest in its own "backyard", there must be a profound explanation behind the unusual tolerance of the Empire which, in the majority of cases, is quick to punish defiance.

Apart from the routine anti-Iranian rhetoric, the Pentagon's chief Leon Panetta generously dispensed expressions of friendship and peace-loving during his recent Latin America tour, in which he visited Colombia, Brazil, and Chile. Predictably, Panetta talked about fighting against drug cartels and slammed Venezuela at media briefings, citing, in particular, the U.S. concerns over its rearmament assisted by Russia and China. Panetta's point - a fairly ridiculous one - was that the policy looked suspicious when pursued by a country facing no external threat. It is completely natural, though, that the U.S. wars for oil prompt the military buildup in Venezuela where the administration realizes that sooner or later the U.S. attack will follow.

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