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Lawrence Wilkerson

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Empire's Age-Old Aim: Wealth and Power

Cheney

In his very excellent book, King Leopold's Ghost, Adam Hochschild registers a chapter-long lament near the book's end that even though in the preceding pages he has chronicled in an unprecedented manner the crimes against humanity of Leopold's Congo enterprise, so what? Such crimes were almost a concomitant of colonial empire. Britain, France, Germany, the United States -- all the so-called civilized colonial powers -- were guilty of such crimes.

Whether murder and plunder in India, slaughter in Algeria, devastation in Cameroon, or torture and massacre in the Philippines, few western powers can rightfully claim innocence. And, perhaps most worrisome, their national myths mask or even convert most of the crimes, and what the myths don't eliminate or alter poor education and memory lapses do.

Surely, however, at this opening to the 21st Century, we have made some progress. Our constant rhetoric -- particularly from Washington -- asserts that we have. International criminal justice and human rights are pursued with relish, are they not?

Not according to the example of Richard Bruce Cheney. As has been the case since humankind began to organize itself, Dick Cheney believes that wealth and power -- his and his cronies wealth and power foremost -- are still the relevant strategic objectives of empire. King Leopold of Belgium is not dead, simply reincarnated in a more modern form. Torturing people is dependent on a nation's supposed needs, killing people on the expediency of policy, waging war on monetary and commercial gain, and lying to the people is a  highly reputable tactic in pursuit of each. Leopold would love Dick Cheney.
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Lawrence Wilkerson Interview: 'John McCain and Lindsey Graham Need to Shut Their Mouths'

Wilkerson Mic
JESSICA DESVARIEUX, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore. And welcome to this edition of The Wilkerson Report. Now joining us is Larry Wilkerson. He was the former chief of staff to Colin Powell and is an adjunct professor at William & Mary College. Thanks for being with us, Larry.

COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON: Good to be here.

DESVARIEUX: So, Larry, what we'd like to discuss this week is the Iranian government's attempts to thaw relations with the U.S. They've actually sent out Rosh Hashanah greetings to Jews. They've sent worldwide--they've released political prisoners, exchanged letters with President Obama, praised flexibility in negotiations, and transferred responsibility for nuclear negotiations from the conservatives in the military to the Foreign Ministry. So a lot of people are talking that this could be a real change of Iranian attitude. What do you make of this? Does this represent a real opening for a deal?

WILKERSON: I think so. I think putting Salehi into the Atomic Energy Organization and putting Zarif into the Foreign Ministry and giving the Foreign Ministry responsibility for negotiations are major moves and major signs that Iran is ready to seriously negotiate. I think President Obama has done the proper things. I think the exchange of letters probably, if we knew what those letters said, would cement this new opening. And I hope we go positively from here on. I know there are people arrayed across the spectrum in this country--and certainly there are similar people in Iran--who don't want negotiations to succeed, so it'll be a tough route. But I hope it shows some progress, and I hope it ultimately produces a diplomatic solution.
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The Disease is War, Not Snowden

Feeding War
photo: Truthout.org

Why so many whistleblowers? Why the Tom Drakes? Why the Edward Snowdens and others? And why the persecution, unprecedented persecution by the administration?

The answer to those questions is a huge answer. And the answer is the national security state which we've become and the interminable war that we wage as that state.

So Snowden is not the disease. We don't have traitors or whistleblowers blooming all over because they are some sort of malady. The disease is war. We've been at war now and with no end in sight for over a dozen years, the longest in our history.

War breeds tyranny. War breeds people who want to prosecute and persecute those who reveal that tyranny. So what we have is the government becoming more draconian --clearly understandable. It always does in a period of war. And as it becomes more draconian, more and more whistleblowers coming. And we're going to see more. I would predict we're going to see a Snowden every six months. We're going to see whistleblowers every month. And we're going to see the government getting increasingly draconian in going after them.
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Dealing remote-control drone death, the US has lost its moral compass

The armed drone is being heralded as the next generation of American military technology. It can fly overheard with its unblinking eye, almost invisible to its targets below. Without warning, its missiles will strike, bringing certain death and destruction on the ground. All the while, the military pilot, sitting in a cushioned recliner in an air-conditioned room halfway across the world, is immune from the violence wrought from his or her single keystroke.

While the debate about drones in this country swirls around the precision of the weapon, the sometimes faulty intelligence behind its unleashing of a missile, the ability to keep American boots off the ground, or the legality of the strikes, few take into consideration the morality of the weapon and the damaging effects of its use on both the people targeted and the individuals operating it. The ripples of the drone strikes are felt far beyond those killed or wounded in the actual strike.

The drone is destabilizing the small tribal communities of the Pukhtun, Somali, and Yemeni with their ancient codes of honor, making it difficult to implement any long-term peace initiatives in the volatile regions already being pounded by their own militaries. Too many stories have filtered into the media of innocent men, women, and children being killed.


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