Friday, November 21, 2008

Obama Team

Paul Joseph Watson
Thursday, November 20, 2008

While naive, giddy and myopic establishment leftists have been celebrating the great “change” heralded by the election of Barack Obama, the President elect has been busy appointing people to key positions who advocate the same Neo-Con imperialist foreign policy crafted during eight years of the Bush administration.

The New York Times, widely recognized as the voice of the establishment Democratic left, set the tone of what we can expect from an Obama foreign policy in a lead editorial last Sunday entitled, A military for a dangerous world, editorial calls for U.S. military imperialism not to be scaled back under Obama, but to be vastly expanded both in terms of budget and scope.

Iran, China, Somalia, Russia and Pakistan are all listed as potential targets of U.S. military aggression and the paper echoes what Obama himself has said he will implement - an addition of nearly 100,000 more soldiers and marines to American ground forces, bringing the total to 759,000 active duty forces, at a cost of $100 billion dollars over the next six years.

Does this sound like a “change” from the Project for a New American century framework of endless “multi-theatre warfare,” the inspiration for eight years of Bush administration militarism, or an expansion of that very doctrine?

Obama’s announced appointees and those that are expected to follow differ only from their Bush administration contemporaries in proficiency and competence, their zeal for military adventurism is coequal, while others that shaped eight awful years of spying, torture, evisceration on freedom and unprovoked military attacks on sovereign nations will merely stay on in their roles.

Welcome to the “change that you can believe in”.

Obama's likely selection of Hillary Clinton for the position of Secretary of State highlights the brazen hypocrisy with which the “change” agenda has begun to be implemented since Obama won the election two and a half weeks ago.

Hillary Clinton

Clinton voted for the invasion of Iraq, a point on which she was attacked by Obama during the phony Punch and Judy show of the debates. Obama also denounced Clinton for voting in favor of a Senate resolution branding the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. Clinton promised to “obliterate” Iran if it attacked Israel, a mantra echoed by Obama when he assured AIPAC, the notorious Israeli lobby that military strikes against Iran were very much on the table.

Does this sound like the language of diplomacy or a change from eight years of the Bush doctrine?

Likewise, one of the favorites to become Obama's Defense Secretary is Michele A. Flournoy, deputy assistant secretary of defense in the Clinton administration and president of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) think tank.

Alex Lantier writes; “Members of CNAS, a rather small Washington think tank with a staff of 30 employees founded in 2003 by (John) Podesta and Flournoy, play an outsized role in the Obama transition team.”

“So many CNAS members are likely to join the Obama administration that CNAS officials told the (Wall Street) Journal they were concerned the think tank might fold after Obama's inauguration.”

CNAS has opposed a set timeline for withdrawal from Iraq, has advocated the deployment of more troops in Afghanistan and has called for U.S. troops to be stationed in Pakistan. CNAS has also urged military spending to be beefed up in order to compete with China’s growing Navy.

“CNAS publications, many of which are publicly available on its web site, make it clear that the Obama administration’s foreign policy will have a thoroughly imperialist character,” notes Lantier.

How does this represent a “change” from eight years of Bush administration foreign policy? How does this represent a shift from a strategy of diplomacy based on intimidation, invasion and occupation?

Robert Gates

Obama’s advisers have also been floating the likelihood of Robert Gates remaining as Obama's Secretary of Defense, so it looks like we’re either going to have a warmonger or a warmonger in the position - what a choice!

The Financial Times; “President-Elect Barack Obama and Robert Gates are negotiating terms under which the defense secretary would remain as Pentagon chief in the new administration.”

Gates of course has a history of entanglement with the military-industrial complex having pushed for the U.S. bombing of Nicaragua when he was deputy director of the CIA and later being indicted for his involvement in covering up the Iran Contra scandal.

Gates was the primary advocate for the Iraq “surge” which increased the U.S. military presence in the country.

Obama’s decision to appoint Eric Holder as Attorney General caused a flutter of controversy considering Holder’s involvement in ensuring billionaire fugitive investor Marc Rich received a presidential pardon at the end of Bill Clinton’s term, but the real dirt on Holder is far more shocking.

Eric Holder

After leaving the Clinton administration, Holder, who played a key role in the 2005 re-authorization of the Patriot Act, which Obama voted for, set up the legal and lobbying firm of Covington & Burling. The firm’s most high-profile case was its defense of Chiquita Brands International, Inc, whose executives were facing charges of aiding terrorists for bankrolling and arming right-wing death squads in Colombia.

As Bill Van Auken writes, “Using his longstanding ties at the Justice Department, Holder managed to get Chiquita off the hook with a fine that amounted to 0.55 percent of its annual revenue. This was despite the overwhelming evidence—and the company’s own admission—that it had paid out millions of dollars to the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (known by its Spanish acronym AUC), as its gunmen carried out the massacre, assassination, kidnapping and torture of tens of thousands of Colombian workers, peasants, trade union officials and left-wing political activists.”

“Holder’s record is not that of a champion of civil and democratic rights or a defender of the oppressed, but rather a legal servant of the corporations and the state, complicit in their criminality and repression.”

Holder’s law enforcement deputy in the Obama administration is likely to be Robert Mueller, who will remain as FBI Director despite his involvement in the use of National Security Letters to illegally spy on American citizens via the collection of email, telecommunications and financial records.

Robert Mueller

Obama's head of the CIA transition team is none other than John Brennan, an aide to former CIA director George Tenet and a key participant in the formulation of policies that led to the torture scandal, extraordinary renditions and secret prisons.

Van Auken notes, “Brennan, like Tenet, deserves to confront a war crimes tribunal, yet he is shaping intelligence policy for Obama.”

“Given these appointments, a report published Monday by the Associated Press that the incoming Obama administration “is unlikely to bring criminal charges against government officials who authorized or engaged in” torture hardly comes as a surprise.”

Then we have Rahm Emanuel, “the enforcer”, and Obama's new chief of staff.

Emanuel is the son of a member of the terrorist group; which was responsible for bombing hotels, marketplaces as well as the infamous Deir Yassin massacre, in which hundreds of Palestinian villagers were slaughtered.

Upon news of his appointment, Emanuel’s father, Dr. Benjamin Emanuel, told the Jerusalem Post, “Obviously he will influence the president to be pro-Israel. Why wouldn’t he be? What is he, an Arab? He’s not going to clean the floors of the White House.”

But forget sins of the father, Rahm Emanuel himself is a former Israeli IDF soldier who has a penchant for making death threats against his political enemies while crazily slamming a knife into a dinner table. Sounds like a diplomatic kind of guy.

Rahm Emanuel

When Emanuel’s appointment was confirmed, top Israeli newspaper, the Maariv Daily; the headline, “Our man in the White House.”

Another Israeli news outlet, Y Net reported, “Emanuel is pro-Israeli, and would not be willing to consider accepting the job unless he was convinced that President-elect Obama is pro-Israel.”

Recall that President elect Barack Obama's first act of “change” upon winning the Democratic presidential nomination back in June was to don a joint US-Israeli label pin, head on over to AIPAC and prostrate himself in front of the Israeli lobby, vowing to keep military action in mind for Iran and promising to hand over another $30 billion of American taxpayers’ money in military assistance to the Zionist state.

It seems that Obama has already answered the question of whether he can be a more hardcore Israel hard-liner than George W. Bush - ‘yes he can’!

When are left-wing establishment liberals going to overcome their inane idolatry for Obama and realize that the people he is putting into positions of power are the same and in some cases worse than the Neo-Cons who ran eight years of Bush foreign policy?

When are leftists going to get over their petty power trips and understand that the mantra of “change” is a mere illusion to provide left cover for a massive expansion in U.S. imperialism the likes of which the Bush administration could never have accomplished?

When are liberals going to stop behaving like gloating children and understand that Obama's exalted messiah status and political capital, allied with his publicly stated agenda and the nature and track record of those he has appointed to key positions, is a recipe for a new wave of militarism and an expansion of the pre-emptive Bush foreign policy doctrine that Obama himself campaigned against with his rhetorical and empty promises of “change”?

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