Empty Words, Damning Actions

by William Skink

Today Obama opened his mouth and some words came out. As usual, they were pretty nice sounding words:

Obama called on Americans not to just simply mark this historic day, but to “rededicate ourselves to the freedoms for which they fought.”

“Let’s make sure that we keep striving to fulfill our founding ideals — that we’re a country where no matter who we are or where we’re from or what we look like or who we love, if we work hard and take responsibility, every American will have the opportunity to make of our lives what we will,” Obama said. “Let’s stand united with our allies, in Europe and beyond, on behalf of our common values — freedom, security, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law around the world — and against bigotry and hatred in all their forms so that we give meaning to that pledge: ‘Never forget. Never again.'”

I have never seen a list of “common values” rendered so utterly meaningless by the context and speaker of the words. By standing united with our allies, does that include supporting Saudi Arabia’s use of cluster bombs in Yemen? And Neo-Nazis in Ukraine? And Al Qaeda in Syria? Are these the factions who will respect human rights and the rule of law around the world?

About those human rights, the groups that allegedly watch for human rights violations can’t even manage a good Assad smear in Syria, where a picture tweeted out by HRW’s director, Kenneth Ross, of alleged barrel bombing in Aleppo turned out to be a picture of the carnage in Gaza. Whoops.

One common value many nations seem to share is the desire to provide assistance to their citizens when they are in harms way. Let’s say, for example, you arm an oil-rich monarchy with cluster munitions and they start using them on one of the poorest nations in the Middle East. Let’s say this horrific, totally unnecessary war strands hundreds of your citizens. Would the common value be to say sorry, we told you not to be there?

WARNER: Her family’s journey began in Sanaa, the capital, where they were visiting Rhonia’s Yemeni father. When the rebels started bombing the city in late March, they fled to the village with relatives, but then her mom had to figure out how to get out of the country.

ALJAHMI: We went from villages to villages, from cities to city. And they had no electric, no place to stay.

WARNER: Aljahmi says she tried to get over the land border to Saudi Arabia – cheaper and safer than a sea passage. But they told her that she and her daughters were not allowed without a male escort. Her husband doesn’t have an American passport. He couldn’t go with them.

ALJAHMI: I asked Saudi Arabia. They said without a guy with me, I cannot go through.

WARNER: The Saudis sent her and her daughters back to the war zone. She’s still furious. Aren’t they are allies, she says? And Yemeni-Americans say they feel abandoned by America. While other countries have evacuated their citizens – Russia sent an army plane, India sent a navy vessel – the U.S. has declined to use its military to rescue its citizens. The State Department says it’s been warning Americans for years not to go to Yemen. Rhonia remembers the day that the Russian evacuation plane arrived. It took one of her friends in the Koranic school where she’s studying.

ALADASHI: She’s a Russian and they came for her – airplane. I got so jealous that day.

I added the emphasis because damn, that’s some harsh shit right there.

So, a quick recap: Obama says some meaningless crap, a guy looking for human rights abuses tweets a picture of Gaza and calls it Aleppo, and American citizens trying to escape a hell where American allies are using widely banned weapons look longingly to the Russian citizens who get a plane rescue instead of a callous state department saying we told you not to come, so tough shit.

  1. All of the focus on Obama distracts from real power and its activities. You might as well find out what Tom Brady has to say about the crisis too, while you’re at it.

  2. steve kelly

    This is what 21st-Century war looks like. Information is the weapon of choice.

    “The AngloZionist Empire and Russia are at war.” Via The Saker – http://thesaker.is

  3. Turner

    Your passing remark about neo-Nazis in Ukraine got me looking (superficially via Google) into the recent history there. Apparently there are neo-Nazis among the Svoboda, the party in charge.

    It also appears that Yanukovych was hated for good reasons by a lot of people besides neo-Nazis. The rebellion that drove him back to Russia in 2014 seems to have been broad and multifaceted.

    In Ukraine, it looks like it’s not all that easy to sort out good and bad guys. Ditto for Russia (and the U.S.A.). The ghosts of WW2 still linger.

    • That rebellion was a classic CIA covert op. They poured hundreds of millions into it, and have sleeping units of nazis and fascists on call, and have since the end of World War II. (check out Operation Gladio.)

      There are always reasons to overthrow any government, but color revolutions and Agency for International Development and National Endowment for Democracy are nothing more than CIA fronts used for this purpose, and they were very active in Ukraine.

      A classic CIA tactic is to promote civic unrest, stir up large gatherings, and then use agents provocateur to fire into the crowd, blaming the existing government for the murders. This was done in Venzuela in 2002, and Ukraine last year.

      It is always better for people to learn these things for themselves, as merely to tell you about them when you are not naturally curious does no good. I know this.

      • Turner

        Are you saying that, without the CIA stirring them up, people in Ukraine had no legitimate grievances against Yanukovych?

        • JC

          All peoples have grievances against their leaders. I have a boat-load against Obama. Does that give Canada the right to come in and support me to overthrow him?

          And the people of Ukraine have it far worse under Poroshenko right now than they ever did under Yanukovych. Even the neo nazis want him out. Of course, that’s because once we destabilized Ukraine, it started the momentum to a far right neo nazi take over. It will only get worse as the neo nazis get integrated into the Ukie government. Poroshenko won’t be president much longer, and what comes next will be a military dictatorship run by Pravy Sektor.

          The seeds of WWIII have been cast. The question is, who will water them? America wants it to be the Russians. Russia wants nothing to do with it. And we continue to water them on the sly.

        • Quite the opposite, Turner, I am saying that all over the globe CIA plays jujutso, taking natural divisions and using them to provoke rebellions, but only in places where they want regime change, usually somewhat democratic governments, at least more so than our own.

          I don’t know if you saw it at the time, but in 2009 the Bush regime raised $400 million to interfere with Iran’s elections, using CIA. That was done more or less openly, that is, the funding was somewhat public, and few questioned the right of CIA to interfere in another country’s internal politics.


          It’s only one small step forward to realize that they do it in this country too.

    • JC

      Opposition to Yanukovych may have been broad in and around Kiev, but in the east and south — the areas with enough ethnic Russians voters to elect him — he was not hated. He was delicately trying to walk a fine line between Russia and the United States, and the U.S. State Department pushed it over the edge. Make no mistake, the color revolution in Ukraine was entirely pushed by Washington.

      Actually, it is a lot easier to sort out the good guys from the bad guys in Ukraine once you look at its history, and recent events. The folks in SE Ukraine are defending their homes. Kiev marched on the SE to subjugate it an initiated the civil war.

      If you and several generations of your family had fought against nazis, would you roll over and let the neo nazis rule you and tell you your native language was no longer allowed? Is it so wrong for the Donbass and Crimea to want self determination, and freedom from neo nazism and oppression?

      The killing in Ukraine is strictly the responsibility of the U.S. and the neo nazis and oligarchs running things. They (we) are the bad guys, and the folks in the SE are the victims. Plain and simple.

      Yanukovych was a duly elected president. That he didn’t serve our interests (only), he had to be be run out. That is democracy, American style. It’s our way or the highway.

  4. JC

    Turner (and anybody else who wants to support the Kiev regime), watch this documentary. The people of the Donbass see the current war upon them as nothing more than an extension of WWII nazism. It shows the tragedy…

    And happy fucking mothers’ day to all the mothers whose families aren’t being ravaged by war paid for by the U.S. military government.

  5. Turner

    Did I say I wanted to support the Kiev regime? No. Your approach to almost everything you discuss is to build a straw man and beat on it.

    I’ve never been in Ukraine, but I’ve traveled in Russia and several eastern bloc countries — most recently Latvia and Lithuania — and people I’ve talked to there are virulently anti-Russian. I didn’t get into the countryside, though, where I was told that there was some pro-Nazi sympathy.

    You can be anti-Russian and not be pro-Nazi. It’s not a binary world.

    • JC

      Are you saying you’re anti-russian?

      But you were implying that because the Yanukovych presidency was hated by some, that it seemed you’re ok with the U.S. ousting him, and then supporting the junta’s war on the Donbass.

      If you’re not for Poroshenko’s, the oligarch’s and the U.S./NATO war against the Donbass then just say so. The way you parse your words suggests you approve — that Yanukovych deserved what he got, and the Donbass will pay for not going along with the coup. I’m not making a straw man.

      • Turner

        My being pro- or anti- anything is irrelevant. My experience with the Russian bureaucracy was not a pleasant one. But it was a long time ago (1985). The Russians waylaid my luggage and, after being directed to several offices full of alcoholic petty administrators, I had to pay a substantial bribe to get it back.

        No one in Russia I met in 1985 was willing to say anything that might be construed as political. My translator, an African exchange student, was very friendly but obviously sent to keep an eye on me.

        Today things might be better there, but the recent beatings of gay people by Putin’s goons suggests that they might not be.

        Everyday people I talked to Latvia and Lithuania in 2011 were very pro-west. They weren’t very political, but they liked western, especially American, culture very much. I spoke with waitresses, shop attendants, and other ordinary folks who wanted to come to America but couldn’t because it was too hard to get a visa.

        If they were pro-Russian, it was far from obvious.

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