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Sharon Tennison. Center for Citizen Initiatives: Against Nuclear War


http://ccisf.org/

 

Why I am Going to Russia

by David Hartsough Trip Member

 

The US and Russian governments are pursuing dangerous policies of nuclear brinkmanship. Many people believe we are closer to nuclear war than at any time since the Cuba missile crisis in 1962.

 

Thirty-one thousand troops from the US and NATO countries are engaged in military maneuvers o­n the Russian border in Poland together with tanks, military planes and missiles. The US has just activated an anti-ballistic missile site in Romania which the Russians see as part of an American first strike policy. Now the US can fire missiles with nuclear weapons at Russia, and then the anti-ballistic missiles could shoot down Russian missiles shot toward the west in response, the assumption being o­nly the Russians would suffer from nuclear war.

 

A former NATO general has said he believes there will be nuclear war in Europe within a year. Russia is also threatening use of its missiles and nuclear weapons o­n Europe and the US if attacked.

 

Back in 1962 when I met with President John Kennedy in the White House, he told us he had been reading The Guns of August describing how everyone was arming to the teeth to show the other nations they were strong and avoid getting embroiled in World War I. But, JFK continued, arming to the teeth was exactly what did provoke the other side and got everyone embroiled in that terrible war. JFK said to us in May 1962, It is scary how similar the situation was in 1914 to what it is now (1962). Im afraid we are back in the same place again in 2016. Both US and NATO and Russia are arming and engaging in military maneuvers o­n either side of Russias borders in the Baltic states, Poland, Romania, Ukraine and the Baltic sea to show the other that they are not weak in the face of possible aggression. But those military activities and threats are provoking the other side to show they are not weak and are prepared for war even nuclear war.

 

Instead of nuclear brinkmanship, lets put ourselves in the Russians shoes. What if Russia had military alliances with Canada and Mexico and had military troops, tanks, war planes, missiles and nuclear weapons o­n our borders? Would we not see that as very aggressive behavior and a very dangerous threat to the security of the United States? Our o­nly real security is a shared security for all of us not for some of us at the expense of the security for the other.

 

Instead of sending military troops to the borders of Russia, lets send lots more citizen diplomacy delegations like ours to Russia to get to know the Russian people and learn that we are all o­ne human family. We can build peace and understanding between our peoples.

 

President Dwight Eisenhower o­nce said, Id like to believe that the people of the world want peace so much that governments should get out of the way and let them have it. The American people, Russian people, European people all the worlds people have nothing to gain and everything to lose by war, especially nuclear war. I hope that millions of us will call o­n our governments to step back from the brink of nuclear war and instead, make peace by peaceful means instead of making threats of war.

 

If the US and other countries were to devote even half of the money we spend o­n wars and preparations for wars and modernizing our nuclear weapons stockpile, we could create a much better life not o­nly for every American, but for every person o­n our beautiful planet and make the transition to a renewable energy world. If the US were helping every person in the world have a better education, decent housing and health care, this could be the best investment in security not just for Americans, but for all people in the world we could ever imagine.

 

 


David Hartsough
is the Author of Waging Peace: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Activist (2014); Director of Peaceworkers; Co-founder of the Nonviolent Peaceforce and World Beyond War; and participant in a Citizens Diplomacy delegation to Russia June 15-30 sponsored by the Center for Citizen Initiatives: see
ccisf.orgfor reports from the delegation and more background information.

http://ccisf.org/why-i-am-going-to-russia/

 

 

Vision and Mission

 

Our world has never faced a more challenging era than today. Massive nuclear arsenals are o­nce again pointed between the United States and Russia. Misunderstandings, fallacious accusations, false flags and demonizing propaganda dominate our print media and television screens.

 

 

At CCI, we experienced o­ne other such dangerous period in 1980. We flew in between the two enemy nations and dared to try to understand the challenges o­n both sides. our citizen-to-citizen programs began to soften the environment between the two Superpowers of that era. Other American groups also got involved. War was averted and good relations began to grow in the 1990s.

 

Our vision is .When real people in large numbers get involved, amazing changes begin to happen! If it happened in the 1980s, it can happen again . Join us! Lets help reduce the tensions existing today between the two Superpowers.

CCIs mission is to immediately begin a series of Citizen-to-Citizen initiatives and exchanges, buttressed by official media PR and social media networks across America and across Russia. We will bring the two peoples together, including those in leadership to listen and learn and hammer out ways to cooperate rather than plot war against the other.

 

Our experience from the 1980s taught us much about working with the type of environment we now face. Fortunately, our very large US government-supported programs of the 1990s and 2000s left us with thousands of grateful Russian peoples in 71 regions across Russia, and in thousands of cities in 45 states across America. They will be called into service to carry our 2016/17 mission.

 

History

 

The Center for Citizen Initiatives (CCI) began its life in 1983 with the hope that ordinary Americans could insert themselves into the nuclear arms race and bring about a constructive relationship with the Soviet Union. Despite receiving feedback that it was a naive and impossible ideaas well as attention and concern from the FBI, CIA and KGBtwenty American travelers and a film crew of four landed in Moscow and began a set of experiences that would change them forever.

 

After returning home, the trip participants began speaking at every possible venue. CCI formalized itself as a non-profit with a mission of using citizen diplomacy to improve relations between the two nuclear Superpowers. Additional CCI trips brought more Americans to the land of the enemy, where we found no enemy at home.

 

In 1984, a full-blown CCI travel program became a reality with Americans visiting not o­nly Russia, but the exotic Soviet republics. Each traveler was expected to develop new Soviet contacts wherever they found themselves. Thus, an extensive database of Soviet and American participants was developed.

 

Programmatic work began organically from our intention to develop tens of thousands of human connections between the cold-warring countries. We began learning what Soviet citizens needed in the 1980s. Alcohol-related issues were rampant. Thanks in part to support from the new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, CCI began bringing delegations of American AAs to Soviet cities, leading to AA being planted across 11 time zones.

 

We assisted young irate Soviet environmentalists in their effort to clean up nuclear weapon sites. We also responded to Soviet citizen requests for help with agriculture and the cleanup of the precious Lake Baikal basin.

 

In 1989 a critical moment came when three young men appeared with the request for a program to teach them the fundamentals of creating small businesses. Soon CCIs attention was focused o­n how to train Russias young entrepreneurs to grow the first businesses in Soviet soil. The results were astounding. CCI developed and ran five different business training programs between 1989 and 2009 for some 6500 Russian entrepreneurs who were hosted pro bono by American civic clubs (Rotary, Kiwanis, etc.) in over 500 American cities in 45 states. Thousands of American companies stepped in and provided training.

 

By 2010 most of our funding had evaporated. We gave up our headquarters in San Francisco. All that remained was our orphanage program: Angels for Angels. Conditions for Russian citizens were steadily improving, and relations between Russia and the U.S appeared to be stable. CCI president Sharon Tennison wrote her book about the history of the organization, and we assumed our work was through.

 

But unfortunately, over the last two years relations between the two nuclear Superpowers have deteriorated badly. As 2016 opens we find ourselves again facing the possibility of an unthinkable nuclear conflict. o­nce again its time for citizen diplomats from both countries to step in and help guide us back from the precipice at which weve arrived.

 

We begin our new mission armed with the knowledge that our original efforts in 1983 produced magic and miracles beyond anything we could have imaginedand with the belief that 99% of Americans and Russians genuinely yearn for good relations between our two nations. There is no problem between the peoples of our countries.

We o­nly need to overcome our distrust and fears, and rebuild the proper relationships to guarantee security for both nations.

 

The Power of Impossible Ideas


 

Sharon Tennison and the Center for Citizen Initiatives proudly introduce the story of our three decades of work in Russia, The Power of Impossible Ideas: ordinary citizens extraordinary efforts to avert international crisis.

 

Read the history of Russias last three turbulent decades as observed by naive American citizens who traveled there in 1983 searching for keys to end the nuclear arms race. They could have never guessed they would be central to many of the totally unexpected changes to come. Experience their skirmishes with the CIA, FBI, KGB and FSBbeing arrested and put in jail. Beyond all the drama exists the story of how they slowly and methodically created unique programs to help Russian citizens survive the dissolution of the USSR, begin recreating themselves after the fall of Communism, and weather the storms of recurring financial crises.

 

Impossible ideas moves the Americans rapidly forward from obscurity to finding themselves inside the Kremlin, the White House, and the U.S. Congress. A fascinating read, the book is a testament to the power of ordinary citizens to act o­n their most outlandish ideas and watch them become a reality; even in an international quagmire as deeply entrenched as was the US-USSR relationship.

 

What They Are Saying

This book is o­ne that in my opinion is utterly objective in its appraisal of history and its view o­n the potential future of the two nations.
John E. Pepper, Jr.

Politicians should apply the same principles in dealing with other countries that we urge our children to use o­n their playgrounds.
Steve Wozniak

This account of CCI and its various programs is an exciting and insightful read.
Jack F. Matlock, Jr.

 

: - 2016, , .

 

Comment: The Global Harmony Associations "testament" and "impossible and outlandish ideas" is Global Peace Science since 2016, which can and should become a new reality alternative to US and Russia nuclear war. Dr. Leo Semashko

 

Address:

Center for Citizen Initiatives

820 North Delaware, Suite 405

San Mateo, CA 94401, USA

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LETTERS







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Dear Friends,

PLEASE take ten minutes to watch this video with Dr. Marcus Papadopoulos. A week ago, Papadopoulos passionately revealed the truth of the US-Russia relationship at the House of Lords in Britains prestigious House of Parliament.

Papadopoulos defines the situation in terms of ACTION and REACTION: Washington/NATOs ACTION and Russias REACTION. If the ACTION stops Russias REACTION will stop. Papadopoulos is spot o­n.

The situation between Washington/NATO and Russia gets more tense by the day, with the prospect that a full-scale Nuclear War could break out in a matter of days, weeks or a few monthsif the current direction isnt altered. Can you believe the situation has degenerated to this stage?

With American and Russian cities already targeted and many of the 10,000 nuclear weapons o­n high alert, o­ne would think that o­nly the insane would continue to move toward nuclear war. Yet this is not the case.

Dr. Papadopoulos gives a full explanation of the needless and relentless wars going o­n, and rightly points to the cornerstone, The Wolfowitz Doctrine, which was quietly hammered out in the bowels of the Pentagon in 1992 after the USSR collapsed. It was written by Paul Wolfowitz and Scooter Libby, later to be made a little more palatable by Dick Cheney and Colin Powell.

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07/11/16
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The Imperative of De-Demonizing Vladimir Putin

The Nation
November 2, 2016

The personal vilification of Russias president is propelling the new Cold War toward hot war, poisoning American politics, and degrading US media.

by Stephen F. Cohen

Nation Contributing Editor Stephen F. Cohen and John Batchelor continue their weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. (Previous installments are at TheNation.com.) Unlike most installments, which cover an array of news stories, this o­ne focuses o­n a single but encompassing subject: the nearly decade-long demonization of Putin by the US political-media establishment.

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04/11/16
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Friends, o­n October 1, General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, rang the alarm o­n a No Fly Zone over Syria which was gaining traction in Washington. In no uncertain terms he predicted, For us to control the airspace over Syria would require that we go to war with Syria and Russia. (bold s.t.)

October 9 in the second Presidential Debate, this concept of No Fly Zone was still spoken about as though its a viable strategy. Does this mean that America is willing to go to war with Russia which has an equal number of nuclear weapons as we have?

We must somehow impress o­n our decision makers that strategies other than military solutions are desperately needed for our nation and our world. We can no longer invade countries to secure oil, gas and pipelines without taking the nations populations into consideration.

How do we open up this discussion to a nationwide audience here in the U.S.?

Surely few if any Americans would vote to start WWIII that would incinerate their families and homes. We need far cooler heads who will take responsibility for our futures rather than acting tough when far better solutions exist like pulling out of Syria where we Americans have NO legal right to be.

FYI, Heads of State can invite other nations to participate if they are attacked and get UN approval to do so. Assad asked Russia, Syrias decades-long trading partners, to assist with the rebels fomenting a civil war. These rebels unfortunately were mostly hired mercenary/terrorists even in the beginning. This was never a legitimate civil war, but a war instigated by Saudi, Qatar, Israeli and US money and energy interests. It is all about oil, gas and pipelines in addition to the centuries of hatred between Muslim rival groups. We should have NEVER gotten mixed up in this horrendous affair.

For truth, fair play, goodwill and solutions that are beneficial for all concerned,

Sharon


Sputnik News
October 1, 2016

Top US General: Hillarys No Fly Zone Strategy Would Require War With Russia

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford warned Congress that the implementation of a No Fly Zone, a centerpiece of Hillarys foreign policy strategy, would result in World War III.

During testimony before the Senate Committee o­n Armed Services last week General Joseph Dunford rang the alarm over a policy shift that is gaining more traction within the halls of Washington following the collapse of the ceasefire brokered by the United States and Russia in Syria saying that it could result in a major international war which he was not prepared to advocate o­n behalf of.

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20/10/16
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Hi all,

When listening to the October 9 debate between Hillary and Trump, I heard Hillary come out emphatically saying that Russia was responsible for hacking Americas emails to tamper with our election process. I wondered how it had been determined that this was the truth, sufficient for this bold, declarative sentence. Maybe I had missed something? I have hardly watched any of the TV news regarding this election Was it really so? Surely she wouldnt tell a bald-faced lie to a world-wide audience during the debates without specific information.

So I immediately canvassed a dozen people in the know o­n our E list to learn how this information was attained. In retrospect, there is NO evidence that this assertion was the truth. If it had been these people would have definitely known about it and could give references. Regardless of which candidate o­ne is listening to today, they cannot be depended o­n to tell the truth. They apparently feel utterly comfortable to say with confidence anything they wish, whether it is true or false.

We have come to a low point in our political discourse . and public discourse for that matter. This does not bode well for our future or the future of America.

Sharon

Canvassed comments follow:

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18/10/16
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Friends it is no accident that VVPutin so carefully choses his words to avoid inflaming situations, continues to call Americans our Western Partners even though in Washington, hes routinely been likened to Hitler, Stalin, a thug and all manner of epithets for years now. Amazing ability to handle such encounters with grace! It certainly is putting out a message to the world about the value of a classical man who attempts to be honest, straightforward and leaves doors open for dialogue. If this is the result of early martial arts philosophy and training, we need to be getting our youngsters enrolled.

Sharon

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President of Russia Website
October 12, 2016

Answers to questions from French journalists from TF1 TV channel

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: How did you end up here? This is a just a small provincial town. These days, you find French people wherever you go in Russia, in every village. This is very good and we are pleased to see it.

Question (retranslated): Mr President, could you explain why you are not going to Paris?

Vladimir Putin: Its very simple. We had planned to hold an official opening ceremony for the newly built Russian religious and cultural centre in Paris. From the looks of things though, this is not the best moment for official meetings, given the lack of mutual understanding, to put it mildly, that we have over events in Syria, particularly the situation in Aleppo. But we are always open, of course, to any consultations and dialogue o­n this matter.

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16/10/16


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Friends, the possibility/probability of Nuclear War is hardly mentioned in the U.S. today. WHY?

NATO and Russian bombers are in Syrias airspaces daily. Seems to me this is a disaster waiting to happen. The rhetoric between the U.S. and Russia has never been more acrimonious. Nuclear spokespersons; William Perry, George Schultz, Thomas Pickering, Governor Jerry Brown, Ira Helfand from PSR and many others tell us that the relationship between Washington/NATO and Russia has never been closer to nuclear war than today.

Yet Nuclear War is the unmentioned elephant in the room across America! Somehow our presidential candidates avoid it completely. Our TV and print media seldom mention it. Many Americans go about their high-end life styles as though the latter will continue indefinitely. What kind of cloud of denial are we living underand again, WHY?

Russian leaders are warning about the potential for a nuclear war at international conferences and mediawhy do American leaders act as though its a non-existent issue?

Watch the Vimeo produced by the the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists as the men mentioned above and others openly discuss where we are TODAY with regard to this issue.

If a sufficient number of American citizens coalesce to create a public awareness effort, we could make it the top issue throughout the U.S. This happened in 1983, when citizens took the wind out of the militarys war sails before officials understood what was going o­n!

I urge you to educate yourself o­n this topic. Please visit the current issue of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

A very concerned Sharon

10/10/16
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Friends, Robert Parry, Americas top prize-winning Investigative Journalist, again speaks Truth amid blatant and dangerous group think advocates. This article is lengthy but to follow the facts, its near impossible to keep to short responses. Bear with it and understand what is happening under our watch . and o­n which we as a nation must become better informed.

With hope for clarity o­n such fabrications,

Sharon


Consortium News
October 5, 2016

New Group Think for War with Syria/Russia

Exclusive: Official Washington has a new group think that is even more dangerous than the o­ne that led to the Iraq War. This o­ne calls for U.S. escalation of conflicts against Syria and nuclear-armed Russia, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

Not since the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq has Official Washingtons political/punditry class clamored more single-mindedly and openly for the U.S. government to commit a gross violation of international law, now urging a major military assault o­n the government of Syria while also escalating tensions with nuclear-armed Russia.

And, like the frenzied war fever of 2002-2003, todays lawless consensus is operating o­n a mix of selective, dubious and false information while excluding from the public debate voices that might dare challenge the prevailing group think. Its as if nothing was learned from the previous disaster in Iraq.

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08/10/16
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Friends, another lengthy truthful report from Americas #1 Investigative Journalist, Robert Parry, so designated by receiving Harvards I.F. Stone Award this year. Given the circumstances emerging now that Washington has broken off relations with Russia, its worthwhile to study this entire report.

Sharon


Consortium News
October 3, 2016


Do We Really Want Nuclear War with Russia?

Special Report: The U.S. propaganda war against Russia is spinning out of control, rolling ever faster downhill with a dangerous momentum that threatens to drive the world into a nuclear showdown, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

Through an endless barrage of ugly propaganda, the U.S. government and the mainstream American press have put the world o­n course for a potential nuclear showdown with Russia, an existential risk that has been undertaken cavalierly amid bizarre expressions of self-righteousness from Western institutions.

This extraordinarily dangerous moment reflects the insistence of the Establishment in Washington that it should continue to rule the world and that it will not broach the possibility of other nations asserting their own national interests even in their own neighborhoods.

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07/10/16
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Friends, the situation between Washington/NATO and Russia is extremely tense; still they are not yet firing o­n each other in Syria.  At this writing, across Russia a huge country-wide Civil Defense Drill impacting 40,000,000 Russians is underway to prepare their citizens and military in the event of an all out major catastrophe.  Ordinary Russians have become increasingly concerned since June when U.S./NATO put 35,000 uniformed troops with weapons, war ships and war planes near Russias borders for a month. This military conglomeration was entitled, Anaconda, the largest and o­ne of the most fierce carnivorous snakes in the world. The symbology wasnt missed o­n the Russian people.

This huge Civil Defense effort happening today (and for the coming few days) across Russia is not mentioned in the New York Times or other U.S. mainstream media that I can find. Like so many topics, coverage must be managed to keep the American public uninformed and unworried. After all, they might start asking questions about the depth of danger in which we find ourselves. Fortunately, the unofficial Internet media services now pick up these major happenings fairly quicklybut they never get wide distribution.

We need to flood our Congressional representatives, President Obama and any authority to whom we have access with demands to back off of this insane policy to pursue a war with Russia. Call and email daily!

Call the White House: 202-456-1111 (9 thru 5 EST)
Email the President: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

Sharon


CommonDreams

October 4, 2016

Amid Escalating Tensions, 40 Million Russians Practice for Nuclear Emergency

Worries of New Cold War intensify as United States suspends bilateral diplomatic channels for Syria conflict

by Jon Queally, staff writer

Amid collapsed diplomatic efforts over Syria and increasing tensions with the United States, the Russian government is beginning emergency response exercises o­n Tuesday that will include the participation of thousands of government officials and many millions of citizens who will respond to a mock nuclear attack or other large-scale catastrophe.

The four-day drill will reportedly include 200,000 rescue professionals, tens of thousands of emergency vehicles, and an estimated 40 million civilians from around the country.

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05/10/16
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Friends, I hear you that you need information, and that it needs to be more concise. Articles these days are lengthy. The intent is to plug mainstream medias disinformation with the truthful information which of course requires examples, rationales and history. Ill ask authors for permission to sum up their pieces as a prelude to their articles and see if some permit. As for the article below, the Exclusive and the first six short paragraphs give the essence of the lengthier write-up that follows. If you have no time, just digest and ponder the facts in italics! If you are intrigued read further.

Sharon


Consortium News

How Arms Sales Distort US Foreign Policy

October 1, 2016

Exclusive: Money may not be the root of all evil but it surely contributes to horrible war crimes when lucrative arms sales distort U.S. foreign policy and cause selective outrage over human rights atrocities, writes Jonathan Marshall.

By Jonathan Marshall

Forget oil. In the Middle East, the profits and jobs reaped from tens of billions of dollars in arms sales are becoming the key drivers of U.S. and British policy. Oil still matters, of course. So do geopolitical interests, including military bases, and powerful political lobbies funded by IsraelSaudi Arabia, and the other Gulf states.

But you cant explain Washingtons deference to Saudi Arabia, despite its criminal war in Yemen and its admitted support for Islamist extremism, without acknowledging the political pull generated by more than $115 billion in U.S. military deals with Saudi Arabia authorized since President Obama took office.

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02/10/16
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Dear Friends,

Despite tense relations in the US-Russia arena, Ive been quieter than usual in September and want to give you an update.

As you know, for months Ive routinely sent emails at ungodly hours. This due to a number of reasons: being glued to my computer, reading increasing numbers of news services and international media, interacting at length with more of you and getting less sleep while CCIs communicants grew in number month after month. Ive also been obsessing over 2017 program designs which with luck may work with hundreds of organizations and VIPs.

My psyche began registering that it needed time out from the intensity. Having run myself up against a wall in past situations, it seemed wise to carve out some down time rather than go that route again! And the timing was right. During election years, Americans concentrate o­n little else other than candidates; in addition, end-of-year is always down time due to holidays. So passing my 80th birthday this month, I decided its a good time to take a first-ever sabbaticaland to do it while I still feel good mentally and physically.

September 10th I reduced reading hours by about 75%, shortened email interactions as you may have noted, cancelled speaking at a Washington DC conferenceand cancelled other out-of-state activities in October and November. It gave me enormous inner satisfaction to simply declare a time out and find myself in a delightful, non-pressured interior space (I could get addicted to this!). My plan is to continue through the election (of which Im opting out or at least not watching the TV hype) and am enjoying silence and peace instead.

I do check Robert Parrys Consortium News since hes recognized as Americas best investigative journalist. I trust what he writes without question. Over the next couple of months, Ill continue to post and forward some articles to you, but not as many as previously.

These are indeed challenging timesthis coming year could be the great turning point; if the powers that be dont stop their aggressive maneuvering it could bring the possibility of a devastating WWIII. Or who knows, it could be the beginning of a new consciousness wherein citizens in sufficient numbers rise up and demand that militarism be forsakenthus taking away the legitimacy of the current direction. Lets be part of creating the latter in 2017! More to follow o­n how.

A happy and lovely autumn to you,

Sharon

28/09/16
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Robert Parry, Harvards 2015 Awardee of the coveted I.F. Stone Medal for Investigative Journalism, warns of the return of McCarthyism.

Friends, McCarthyism is resurfacing. Casting Russia and Putin as arch enemies, spinning rumors as reality, and disproven declarations as facts have become daily practice with Hillary, Trump, TV and the New York Times. Millions of Americans absorb this misinformation without questioning.

I believed Joe McCarthy as a teenagereveryone I knew did. Today, like in the 1950s, most Americans absorb the daily mainstream news as gospel truth.

WE MUST risk going up against this menacing mentality in processjust like the few strong-hearted people who began standing up to Joe McCarthy in the 1950s. Eventually they and others started a movement and McCarthy was defrocked in perpetuity. Todays opinion makers havent learned the lessons they should have from that piece of our history.

Parrys article below is wordy. I take the risk of underlining for those of you who o­nly have time for scanning. But PLEASE do scan to the bottom; this is VERY relevant information.

Thanks,

Sharon


Consortium News
September 7, 2016

New York Times and the New McCarthyism

The New Cold War and its fellow-traveler, the New McCarthyism, are arriving o­n the hawkish wings of The New York Times and other mainstream U.S. media outlets, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

Traditional U.S. journalism and the American people are facing a crisis as the preeminent American newspaper, The New York Times, has fully lost its professional bearings, transforming itself into a neoconservative propaganda sheet eager for a New Cold War with Russia and imposing a New McCarthyism o­n public debate.

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10/10/16
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Friends, read below! It is such a relief to see classical logic superimposed o­n todays illogical assessments of the US-Russia relationship. This piece can be used as rational common sense with naysayers in Washington or our overly-propagandized American friends and even family members who assume they know the truth from reading mainstream media. I think Ill put it o­n CCIs letterhead and send or hand it out at Rotary Clubs and other public presentations. Join me in getting it to people via email or by envelope to those among us who have thought no further than Russia is the enemy and we must defeat her in order to be safe ourselves!

Obviously Javier knows from whence he speaks. His education, long career, living for years in Russias region and being fluent in the language, gives him far more qualification to speak truth than those who report in mainstream media today. Its time we listened to experts like Piedra.

Sharon


Russia Insider
August 31, 2016

Time To Fundamentally Rethink Our Relationship with Russia

By Javier M. Piedra

The Euro-Atlantic world needs to see the strategic potential in working with Russia (as opposed to seeking her strategic encirclement), and must recognize that radical militant Islam is a much greater threat to our way of life than Putins Russia.

And yet there are some in Washington and Brussels who believe Russia constitutes a greater threat to U.S. security than ISIS, and other radical Islamist groups. This is nonsense.

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04/09/16
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Friends, this article by Thomas Graham (who I think it safe to say, is the voice of Henry Kissinger today), is a much needed statement regarding Russia. He makes points of moderation herein that sound like the recent shifts in consciousness of the other elder spokesperson in US politics, Zbig Brzezinski. Hopefully Hillary will heed both of their recent statements in her coming dealings with Russia and Putin.

I had opportunity to meet with Tom in his offices o­n a number of occasions in the past. He was always deeply thoughtful in his perspective o­n Russia even when U.S. policy makers were strident. He is steeped in Russian history and culture, speaks Russian language impeccably and always welcomed opportunities to meet with CCIs Russian entrepreneurs when they traveled to Washington for meetings.

I dont agree with every line, but if you have time to read this lengthy piece you will glean historic insights not found in todays light-weight journalists who tout the party line. Youll also pick up subtle and sensible shifts Tom (and likely Kissinger) are pushing behind closed doors. For those of us who have been so thoroughly disgusted with mainstream media recently, this piece will be well worth your time. I have taken the liberty of underlining points where he is breaking with current Washington norms.

Sharon

[Continue Reading]


02/09/16
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Friends, this article is nine days old, but it should give us pause to consider how a situation like this o­ne could ignite the unthinkable, WWIII.

Keep in mind what Einstein prophetically remarked: I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones. 

Sharon


Consortium News
August 21, 2016

US Hawks Advance a War Agenda in Syria

By Daniel Lazare

Exclusive: The U.S. government, having illegally sent American troops into Syria, is now threatening to attack the Syrian military if it endangers those troops, an Orwellian twist that marks a dangerous escalation, explains Daniel Lazare.

By Daniel Lazare

War, like politics, is filled with surprises. While the focus in Syria has been o­n a U.S.-backed rebel offensive in Aleppo that has succeeded in turning tables o­n Bashar al-Assads government, a new and unexpected flashpoint has developed 200-plus miles to the east where U.S. jets are engaged in a dangerous showdown with Syrian warplanes near the city of Hasakah.

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The Broken Chessboard: Brzezinski Gives Up o­n Empire

 

CounterPunch
August 25, 2016

 

by Mike Whitney

 

The main architect of Washingtons plan to rule the world has abandoned the scheme and called for the forging of ties with Russia and China. While Zbigniew Brzezinskis article in The American Interest titled Towards a Global Realignment has largely been ignored by the media, it shows that powerful members of the policymaking establishment no longer believe that Washington will prevail in its quest to extent US hegemony across the Middle East and Asia. Brzezinski, who was the main proponent of this idea and who drew up the blueprint for imperial expansion in his 1997 book The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, has done an about-face and called for a dramatic revising of the strategy. Heres an excerpt from the article in the AI:

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29/08/16

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Dear Friends,

Im pleased to share with you an exceptional analytical piece concerning Putin and Russia. John Pepper, the author, has served in numerous notable positions and roles, including former CEO and Board Chairman of Procter & Gamble. Johns decision to take P&G to Russia (to both sell and manufacture there) has been a huge success story.

While introducing P&G to Russia, John immersed himself in the countrys history and culture, as well as in the worlds and lives of his Russian managers and staff. He is widely known as a noble American businessman who exudes ethics, integrity and the spirit of giving back to the countries in which his businesses have operated.

While John was working in St.Petersburg, he led an initiative to develop a high quality School of Business. He began a funding campaign and obtained the support of the academic leadership at St. Petersburg State University. Thanks largely to his efforts, the city gave the University two all-but-destroyed 19th century palaces for the first buildings of the new School of Management. It was here that my life intersected with Johns work. The project needed a respected US-based 501C3 organization through which to receive donations and pay bills for renovating the two palaces. I was delighted by the concept and invited to sit o­n the board. CCI became the U.S. NGO for this amazing projectgiving me the opportunity to begin a long-term friendship with this remarkable man.

John has met President Putin. He hasnt had opportunity to get to know him well, but has followed his rise to international stature closely. Enjoy his latest ideas inspired by Steven Lee Myers book.

Sharon

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23/08/16
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Friends, interesting . when reading a few days ago that President Obama was considering No First Use regarding nuclear weapons, I pondered at that time, Is this a ploy to get the issue aired (because others have begun bringing it up) . then get a hefty response from the First Use crowd around him? Im not psychic, but it was obvious that this would happenand it has.

So now we have it our futures look to be relentlessly driven toward a confrontation, or in less sanitized words, a massive Nuclear War. Meanwhile, our hard-working American citizens who run daycare centers, schools, churches, hospitals, businesses, universities and city halls know little to nothing about this. Why? Because they read o­nly mainstream media and watch U.S. TV news which are not reporting what our top investigative journalists, academicians, scientists and now mayors of American cities are urging. That is, back off o­n pushing Russia from all directions, reduce the number of nuclear weapons, and declare a No First Strike policy.

Do our current U.S. policymakers have a death wish? Will they force a war with Russia and Putin because theyve begun to believe their own disinformation? Do they think their grandchildren wont be destroyed in the process? It is unfathomable . simply unfathomable.

What are we knowledgable, informed citizens of America to do?

Your thoughts please.

Sharon


Wall Street Journal
August 12, 2016

No First Use Nuclear Policy Proposal Assailed by U.S. Cabinet Officials, Allies

Obamas disarmament agenda hits significant roadblock o­n opposition from Kerry, Carter and Moniz

By PAUL SONNE, GORDON LUBOLD and CAROL E. LEE

WASHINGTONA proposal under consideration at the White House to reverse decades of U.S. nuclear policy by declaring a No First Use protocol for nuclear weapons has run into opposition from top cabinet officials and U.S. allies.

The opposition, from Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, as well as allies in Europe and Asia, leaves President Barack Obama with few ambitious options to enhance his nuclear disarmament agenda before leaving office, unless he wants to override the dissent.

The possibility of a No First Use declarationwhich would see the U.S. explicitly rule out a first strike with a nuclear weapon in any conflictmet resistance at a National Security Council meeting in July, where the Obama administration reviewed possible nuclear disarmament initiatives it could roll out before the end of the presidents term.

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17/08/16
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This article from Wayne Merry at the Kennan Institute interests me, since it presents a more even-handed analysis of whats occurring with both Russia and the U.S. during the pre 2016 elections. I have secretly longed to see the Kennan Institute again become the wise and sane middle ground in helping ferret out the complicated US-Russia challenges as did its founder. Id about lost faith it could happen, but Merrys piece gives me a modicum of hope that it can if individuals there choose to emulate Kennan.

Thanks Wayne Merry, its so tiring to read everydays countless numbers of articles that make it clear that fair analysis isnt of interest any longeronly bashing Russia is. You have done your forerunner proud with this o­ne.

Sharon Tennison

Note: Bolding is mine.


The Russia File a Kennan Institute Blog
August 1, 2016

In DNCs Russia Controversy, Finger-pointing Trumps Analysis

By E. Wayne Merry
Senior Fellow for Europe & Eurasia at American Foreign Policy Council

Many foreign countries sent diplomatic observers to our presidential nominating conventions. Russia did not, but a Russian image hovered over the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia, from start to finish.

Presumably, the last thing Hillary Clinton wanted to initiate her political triumph in Philadelphia was public confirmation that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) had functioned effectively as an extension of her own campaign rather than as a neutral party secretariat. The confirmation via WikiLeaks of suspicions about the DNC greatly hampered Senator Bernie Sanders in his efforts to convince his ardent supporters to transfer their loyalty to Clinton in the final contest with Donald Trump.

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16/08/16
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Friends, it is telling how many people and organizations are beginning to weigh in o­n the issue of No First Strike and No Nuclear War.

This issue wasnt mentioned  a few months agonow it is frequent.  Clearly those in the know are feeling the need to speak out and warn the public of this possibility.

Sharon


The National Interest

America Would Never Be the First to Use Nukes. So Why Say We Might?

Obama should declare a No First Use policyand go even further.

Tom Z. Collina
July 28, 2016

President Barack Obama is reportedly considering changing U.S. policy to say that the United States would never be the first nation to use nuclear weapons. Good idea. The United States has nothing to lose from this new policy, and everything to gain.

No sane U.S. leader would evereverinitiate the first use of nuclear weapons. So why keep the option open?

Most Americans will be surprised to learn that current U.S. policy allows the first use of nuclear weapons and horrified that we would even consider it. Given our vast advantage in conventional weapons and the devastating consequences of nuclear war for both the United States and its allies, using nuclear weapons first would be a military and diplomatic blunder of historic proportions.

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Consortium News

The Western medias Russia-bashing has become epidemic, creating a dangerous dynamic as the world plunges into a new Cold War, with even sports becoming a propaganda arena, as Rick Sterling explains.

By Rick Sterling

With the Rio Summer Olympics starting o­n Aug. 5, there is a huge controversy about Russian participation. o­n the basis of a report by Canadian lawyer Richard Mclaren (the Mclaren Report), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has recommended the banning of all Russian athletes from the Rio Games.

Before his report was even issued, Mclaren influenced the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) in their decision to ban all Russian athletes from track and field events, including those who never failed any doping tests, in Russia or elsewhere.

 International Olympic Committee (IOC) has been under media pressure to ban all Russian athletes from the Rio Olympics. The New York Times has carried many reports and editorials. The Daily Mail in London went so far as to publish a front-page story falsely claiming the entire Russian team banned from Olympics two days before the IOC decision to the contrary.

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Dear CCI Friends,

Why dont the two largest nuclear powers o­n the globe embrace a more radical proposal o­ne that Moscow has repeatedly suggested to Washington, starting back in the Soviet days and continuing in the form of overtures from the Russian leaders which is the idea to refrain from the use of nuclear weapons in a first strike or even to refuse to use them at all against each other? Would it not add to the strategic stability of the entire planet, if all of the five legal nuclear powers (the nuclear club), as well as the unofficial nuclear-weapon states that are not party to the NPT, followed in the footsteps of Russia and the US?

Unfortunately, the many years that have passed without action o­n this initiative have shown that Americas military and political leaders still resolutely refuse to implement this simple, straightforward idea to which many nations of the world subscribe.


Oriental Review
July 28, 2016

Three Steps To Reverse A Doomsday Clock

By Vladimir KOZIN (Russia)
Prof. Vladimir Kozin is the leading Russian expert o­n disarmament and strategic stability issues.

The recent book review A Stark Nuclear Warning by Jerry Brown, in which he has shared views o­n William J. Perrys memoirs My Journey at the Nuclear Brink, raises a lot of questions and concerns.

Jerry Brown unequivocally describes Perry, who held many important positions in the past, including the U.S. Secretary of Defense in 1994-1997, as a double-hated man.

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CCI Friends, current international relations and politics have begun crumbling before our eyes in the past few months. The discontent felt by near 70% of Americans, the phenomenal shift at the grassroots toward Bernie Sanders, and the totally unexpected rise of Donald Trump to the Republican ticket are creating reverberations of change that are unmistakable.

Now to create and risk solutions to the status quo that will make this potential transition-in-process easier (it could be quite difficult). The article below by yet another USAF career military officer informs and educates us o­n o­ne simple solution: drop the military aspects of NATO (which seems almost unthinkable but its possible!) and retain the NATO Partnership for Peace Program. If this shift is accomplished, it could become a genuine humane effort that concentrates o­n cooperation and goodwill among nationsrather than continuous wars.

Sharon


Russia Insider
July 21, 2016

Trump Hits NATO Hard

How long before a NATO exit and for the outdated military and political alliance to crumble?

Theodore McIntire

The author is a Major (Retired) of the US Air Force and a peace activist.

In the United States, throughout Europe, and all around the world the public is clamoring for imaginative solutions and new leaders to meet the challenges of our global society. Increasingly voters are rejecting old, tired and misapplied 20th century solutions to the real, important and pressing issues of the 21st century.

Whether or not you agree with Donald Trump, it is painfully obvious he has some fresh, imaginative and futuristic visions, possibly inspired by his and others famous television programming. He is willing to explore strange new ideas, to breathe new life into the Republican Party and the civilization it created, and to boldly go where no politician has gone before.

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CCI Friends, what does it say to us and the world about the projections that we heap o­n Russia and Vladimir Putin?
Looking at these images below of recent top-of-the-line magazines, I find it saddening that adult people, even professionals, engage in this kind of hatred and projection o­n others. We expect better of our fifth graders in school.
What do you suppose any American teacher would do with fifth graders who would spend their time and talent laboring over executing such portrayals of fellow classmates or other groups of kids in their schools? What would the school do? Or their principals?
Why do we see these adult images and not question these supposedly high-level news publications. I am shocked at Foreign Affairs, supposedly the pinnacle of our international news, with their wounded bear cover.
Sharon


medium.com
Russophobia and the dark art of making an anti-Russian magazine cover
Dominic Basulto
July 10, 2016

Chances are, if a story about Russia appears o­n the cover of a major Western magazine, its not good news. Most likely, theres been an international scandal, a breakout of geopolitical tensions, the resumption of Cold War hostilities, or some nefarious Russian plot to bring the entire free world to its knees.
 

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Friends, what a propitious time for David Swanson to come out extolling President Kennedys prescient remarks some 50 years ago!
This piece is dense and long, but it gives the moral and rational roadmap we need to use today as we deal with Russia in yet another crisis point fraught with the possibility of nuclear annihilation.
Sharon

David Swansons Blog
July 17, 2016
Best Speech a U.S. President Ever Gave
In planning an upcoming conference and nonviolent action aimed at challenging the institution of war, with the conference to be held at American University, I cant help but be drawn to the speech a U.S. president gave at American University a little more than 50 years ago. Whether or not you agree with me that this is the best speech ever given by a U.S. president, there should be little dispute that it is the speech most out of step with what anyone will say at either the Republican or the Democratic national convention this year. Heres a video of the best portion of the speech:

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The following piece was written by retired Col. Ann Wright, a participant o­n the CCI June 2016 trip to Russia. Its based in part o­n her observations during the Crimea portion of that trip.

Consortium News
The mainstream U.S. reporting o­n the Ukraine crisis has been as biased and imbalanced as any in recent memory, leaving many Americans confused about what the o­n-the-ground reality is, as retired Col. Ann Wright discovered.
By Ann Wright
Most Americans dont have a clue what has happened in a place called Crimea or why it is o­n the frontlines of what is becoming a new Cold War. In fact, few even know where it is. But Crimeas location has made it o­ne of the most frequent battlegrounds of empires and today is no exception.

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The following was written by Rick Sterling, a participant o­n the CCI June 2016 trip.


Western Propaganda for a New Cold War
Consortium News, July 14, 2016
By Rick Sterling

Recently I went o­n a 15-day visit to Russia organized by the Center for Citizen Initiatives. The group visited Moscow, the Crimean peninsula, Krasnodar (southern Russia) and St. Petersburg. In each location we met many locals and heard diverse viewpoints.
CCI has a long history promoting friendship and trying to overcome false assumptions between citizens of the USA and Russia. The founder Sharon Tennison has focused o­n making people-to-people connections including the business community, Rotary clubs, etc. This delegation was organized because of concern about escalating international tensions and the danger of a drift toward world threatening military conflict.

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CCI Friends,
Increasingly economists, etc., are emerging to Speak Truth to Power. Here another: Ray Kinsella in the Irish Independent. Hopefully these truth tellers will stimulate a bulwark of people power to defeat this dangerous militarization of Europe with NATO o­n Russias borders.
Sharon

The Irish Independent
July 11, 2016
The militarisation of Europe is a far greater threat than Brexit
Ray Kinsella
Mixed response: German Chancellor Angela Merkel with her Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble. Photo: Hannibal Hanschke
The most searching challenge that the EU faces is not the fallout from Brexit its from the militarisation of Europe and the US-led Nato encirclement of Russia, endorsed by the Nato Summit in Warsaw last weekend.
It is as misconceived as austerity and authoritarianism, which are at the heart of the European crisis. But it is infinitely more dangerous. If the Chilcot Report o­n the war in Iraq proves anything, it is that the momentum towards armed conflict, o­nce started, becomes difficult to contain.
Militarisation will make it much more difficult to deal with the EUs migration crisis, itself largely a consequence of the catastrophic effects of Western military intervention. A conflagration between US-led Nato and Russia would increase the numbers of refugees in Europe by an order of magnitude. As for the impact of such a conflagration o­n the European and global economy well, all bets are off. We could not begin to model the impact but we can look at post-war Europe and Iraq and Syria and Libya o­nly what are euphemistically termed Defence industries do (exceedingly) well out of war.

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Dear CCI Friends,
At last Americas Mayors speak out against President Obamas decision to spend $1,000,000,000,000 (trillion) o­n advanced American nuclear weapon systems in the near future.
Unfortunately our mainstream media dont cover this kind of material today, perhaps believing that its better not to alarm Americans? Or simply wishing not to be stopped in their tracks?
If Americans across the country learn of this, it could help spearhead a nationwide rejection of the dangerous position in which we find ourselves in 2016.
Please call your Mayor and learn his/her position o­n this resolution. Let us know your response. Lets find ways to buttress this effort and increase its momentum.
Since theyre not likely to hear about the Mayors action through the mainstream media, please consider letting your friends and colleagues know about this blog post.
Together we might make a difference.
Sharon
07/07/16

theAntiMedia.org
1,400 US Mayors Just Slammed the White House for Risking Nuclear War With Russia
Everett Numbers
(ANTIMEDIA)Indianapolis, IN War games and nuclear policy perpetuated by the Obama administration are fueling growing tensionswith Russia and putting the world at risk of a nuclear war, according to an official nonpartisan organization consisting of 1,407 mayors and other leaders of cities with 30,000 or more inhabitants.

[Continue Reading] ; http://ccisf.org/us-conference-mayors-1407-cities-speak/

Leo Semashkos comment. Risking Nuclear War With Russia is produced constantly and spread by the American government and the US ruling elite, of less than 1% of the population, which threatens to destroy all of America's cities in a nuclear war with Russia and the US to leave in ruins. Do want it the Americans, 99% of the population? If you want it - please, vote for the militarist-democrat Hillary Clinton, who will spend 1 trillion to the nuclear weapons after Nobel Peace militarist-democrat Obama. If you dont want it, please, vote for Jill Stein! http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=670

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Russians Ask Why Do You Demonize Us When We Are So Much Like You?

The following piece was written by CCI trip participant Ann Wright based o­n her experiences during the just-concluded CCI Russia trip.
 
Ive just ended two weeks visiting cities in four regions of Russia. The o­ne question that was asked over and over was, Why does America hate us? Why do you demonize us? Most would add a caveat I like American people and I think YOU like us individually but why does the American government hate our government?
This article is a composite of the comments and questions that were asked to our 20-person delegation and to me as an individual. I do not attempt to defend the views but offer them as an insight into the thinking of many of the persons we came into contact with in meetings and o­n the streets.

[Continue Reading] http://ccisf.us13.list-manage.com/track/click?u=c455b8a6ccfed2424e0d56f4d&id=9fa25133d6&e=5f2540838b

05/07/16
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NATO Reaffirms Its Bogus Russia Narrative

July 12, 2016

ROBERT PARRY, Harvard recipient of the 2015 I.F. Stone Investigative Journalist Award, speaks out o­n the Bogus Russia Narrative that NATO Reaffirms despite the facts showing untruths in each accusation.

http://ccisf.org/nato-reaffirms-bogus-russia-narrative/


Consortium News
June 11, 2016

President Obama and NATO leaders signed o­n to the false narrative of a minding-its-own-business West getting sucker-punched by a bunch of Russian meanies, a storyline that suggests insanity or lies, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

Its unnerving to realize that the NATO alliance bristling with an unprecedented array of weapons including a vast nuclear arsenal has lost its collective mind. Perhaps its more reassuring to think that NATO simply feels compelled to publicly embrace its deceptive strategic communications so gullible Western citizens will be kept believing its lies are truth.

But here were the leaders of major Western democracies lining up to endorse a Warsaw Summit Communiqué condemning Russias aggressive actions while knowing that these claims were unsupported by their own intelligence agencies.

The leaders at least the key o­nes know that there is no credible intelligence that Russian President Vladimir Putin provoked the Ukraine crisis in 2014 or that he has any plans to invade the Baltic states, despite the fact that nearly every important person in Official Washington and other Western capitals declares the opposite of this to be reality.

But there have been a few moments when the truth has surfaced. For instance, in the days leading up to the just-completed NATO summit in Warsaw, General Petr Pavel, chairman of the NATO Military Committee, divulged that the deployment of NATO military battalions in the Baltic states was a political, rather than military, act.

It is not the aim of NATO to create a military barrier against broad-scale Russian aggression, because such aggression is not o­n the agenda and no intelligence assessment suggests such a thing, Pavel told a news conference.

What Pavel blurted out was what I have been told by intelligence sources over the past two-plus years that the endless drumbeat of Western media reports about Russian aggression results from a clever demonization campaign against Putin and a classic Washington group think rather than from a careful intelligence analysis.

Ironically, however, just days after the release of the British Chilcot report documenting how a similar propaganda campaign led the world into the disastrous Iraq War with its deadly consequences still reverberating through a destabilized Mideast and into an unnerved Europe NATO reenacts the basic failure of that earlier catastrophe, except now upping the ante into a confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia.

The Warsaw communiqué signed by leaders including President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron ignores the reality of what happened in Ukraine in late 2013 and early 2014 and thus generates an inside-out narrative.

Instead of reprising the Wests vacuous propaganda themes, Obama and the other leaders could have done something novel and told the truth, but that apparently is outside their operating capabilities. So they all signed o­n to the dangerous lie.

What Really Happened

The real narrative based o­n actual facts would have acknowledged that it was the West, not Russia, that instigated the Ukraine crisis by engineering the violent overthrow of elected President Viktor Yanukovych and the imposition of a new Western-oriented regime hostile to Moscow and Ukraines ethnic Russians.

In late 2013, it was the European Union that was pushing an economic association agreement with Ukraine, which included the International Monetary Funds demands for imposing harsh austerity o­n Ukraines already suffering population. Political and propaganda support for the E.U. plan was financed, in part, by the U.S. government through such agencies as the National Endowment for Democracy and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

When Yanukovych recoiled at the IMFs terms and opted for a more generous $15 billion aid package from Putin, the U.S. government threw its public support behind mass demonstrations aimed at overthrowing Yanukovych and replacing him with a new regime that would sign the E.U. agreement and accept the IMFs demands.

As the crisis deepened in early 2014, Putin was focused o­n the Sochi Winter Olympics, particularly the threat of terrorist attacks o­n the games. No evidence has been presented that Putin was secretly trying to foment the Ukraine crisis. Indeed, all the evidence is that Putin was trying to protect the status quo, support the elected president and avert a worse crisis.

It would be insane to suggest that Putin somehow orchestrated the E.U.s destabilizing attempt to pull Ukraine into the association agreement, that he then stage-managed the anti-Yanukovych violence of the Maidan protests, that he collaborated with neo-Nazi and other ultra-nationalist militias to kill Ukrainian police and chase Yanukovych from Kiev, and that he then arranged for Yanukovych to be replaced by a wildly anti-Russian regime all while pretending to do the opposite of all these things.

In the real world, the narrative was quite different: Moscow supported Yanukovychs efforts to reach a political compromise, including a European-brokered agreement for early elections and reduced presidential powers. Yet, despite those concessions, neo-Nazi militias surged to the front of the U.S.-backed protests o­n Feb. 22, 2014, forcing Yanukovych and many of his officials to run for their lives. The U.S. State Department quickly recognized the coup regime as legitimate as did other NATO allies.

On a personal note, I am sometimes criticized by conspiracy theorists for not accepting their fact-free claims about nefarious schemes supposedly dreamed up by U.S. officials, but frankly as baseless as some of those wacky stories can be, they sound sensible when compared with the Wests loony conspiracy theory about Putin choreographing the Ukraine coup.

Yet, that baseless conspiracy theory roped in supposedly serious thinkers, such as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who conjured up the notion that Putin stirred up this trouble so he could pull off a land grab and/or distract Russians from their economic problems.

Delusions of easy winnings still happen, Krugman wrote in a 2014 column. Its o­nly a guess, but it seems likely that Vladimir Putin thought that he could overthrow Ukraines government, or at least seize a large chunk of its territory, o­n the cheap, a bit of deniable aid to the rebels, and it would fall into his lap.

Recently Justin Fox of the Harvard Business Review suggested that the roots of the Ukraine crisis may lie in the faltering performance of the Russian economy. As he noted, Mr. Putins hold o­n power partly reflects a long run of rapid economic growth. But Russian growth has been sputtering, and you could argue that the Putin regime needed a distraction.

Midwifing This Thing

Or, rather than a guess, Krugman could have looked at the actual facts, such as the work of neocon Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland conspiring to organize a coup that would put her hand-picked Ukrainians in charge of Russias neighbor. Several weeks before the putsch, Nuland was caught plotting the regime change in an intercepted phone call with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt.

Regarding who should replace Yanukovych, Nulands choice was Arseniy Yats is the guy Yatsenyuk. The phone call went o­n to muse about how they could glue this thing and midwife this thing. After the coup was glued or midwifed o­n Feb. 22, 2014, Yatsenyuk emerged as the new prime minister and then shepherded through the IMF austerity plan.

Since the coup regime in Kiev also took provocative steps against the ethnic Russians, such as the parliament voting to ban Russian as an official language and allowing neo-Nazi extremists to slaughter anti-coup protesters, ethnic Russian resistance arose in the east and south. That shouldnt have been much of a surprise since eastern Ukraine had been Yanukovychs political base and stood to lose the most from Ukraines economic orientation toward Europe and reduced economic ties to Russia.

Yet, instead of recognizing the understandable concerns of the eastern Ukrainians, the Western media portrayed the ethnic Russians as simply Putins pawns with no minds of their own. The U.S.-backed regime in Kiev launched what was called an Anti-Terrorist Operation against them, spearheaded by the neo-Nazi militias.

In Crimea another area heavily populated with ethnic Russians and with a long history of association with Russia voters opted by 96 percent in a referendum to secede from Ukraine and rejoin Russia, a process supported by Russian troops stationed in Crimea under a prior agreement with Ukraines government.

There was no Russian invasion, as The New York Times and other mainstream U.S. news outlets claimed. The Russian troops were already in Crimea assigned to Russias historic Black Sea naval base at Sevastopol. Putin agreed to Crimeas annexation partly out of fear that the naval base would otherwise fall into NATOs hands and pose a strategic threat to Russia.

But the key point regarding the crazy Western conspiracy theory about Putin provoking the crisis so he could seize territory or distract Russians from economic troubles is that Putin o­nly annexed Crimea because of the ouster of Yanukovych and the installation of a Russia-hating regime in Kiev. If Yanukovych had not been overthrown, there is no reason to think that Putin would have done anything regarding Crimea or Ukraine.

Yet, o­nce the false narrative got rolling, there was no stopping it. The New York Times, The Washington Post and other leading Western publications played the same role that they did during the run-up to the Iraq invasion, accepting the U.S. governments propaganda as fact and marginalizing the few independent journalists who dared go against the grain.

Though Obama, Merkel and other key leaders know how deceptive the Western propaganda has been, they have become captives to their governments own lies. For them to deviate substantially from the Official Story would open them to harsh criticism from the powerful neoconservatives and their allied media outlets.

Even a slight contradiction to NATOs strategic communications brought down harsh criticism o­n German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier after he said: What we shouldnt do now is inflame the situation further through saber-rattling and warmongering. Whoever believes that a symbolic tank parade o­n the alliances eastern border will bring security is mistaken.

Excoriating Russia

So, at the Warsaw conference, the false NATO narrative had to be reaffirmed and it was. The communiqué declared, Russias aggressive actions, including provocative military activities in the periphery of NATO territory and its demonstrated willingness to attain political goals by the threat and use of force, are a source of regional instability, fundamentally challenge the Alliance, have damaged Euro-Atlantic security, and threaten our long-standing goal of a Europe whole, free, and at peace.

Russias destabilising actions and policies include: the o­ngoing illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea, which we do not and will not recognise and which we call o­n Russia to reverse; the violation of sovereign borders by force; the deliberate destabilisation of eastern Ukraine; large-scale snap exercises contrary to the spirit of the Vienna Document, and provocative military activities near NATO borders, including in the Baltic and Black Sea regions and the Eastern Mediterranean; its irresponsible and aggressive nuclear rhetoric, military concept and underlying posture; and its repeated violations of NATO Allied airspace.

In addition, Russias military intervention, significant military presence and support for the regime in Syria, and its use of its military presence in the Black Sea to project power into the Eastern Mediterranean have posed further risks and challenges for the security of Allies and others.

In the up-is-down world that NATO and other Western agencies now inhabit, Russias military maneuvers within it own borders in reaction to NATO maneuvers along Russias borders are provocative. So, too, is Russias support for the internationally recognized government of Syria, which is under attack from Islamic terrorists and other armed rebels supported by the Wests Mideast allies, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and NATO member Turkey.

In other words, it is entirely all right for NATO and its members to invade countries at will, including Iraq, Libya and Syria, and subvert others as happened in Ukraine and is still happening in Syria. But it is impermissible for any government outside of NATO to respond or even defend itself. To do so amounts to a provocation against NATO and such hypocrisy is accepted by the Wests mainstream news media as the way that the world was meant to be.

And those of us who dare point out the lies and double standards must be Moscow stooges, just as those of us who dared question the Iraq WMD tales were dismissed as Saddam apologists in 2003.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, Americas Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazonand barnesandnoble.com).






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