McCain! War criminals are not welcome in Canada!
The chain of command: American general inspects his troops in the battlefield, from Libya to Halifax
By TONY SEED
One of the notorious war criminals attending the sixth annual Halifax International Security Forum (HISF) is U.S. Senator John McCain (R). McCain has a long-standing involvement with all manner of U.S. covert operations, dirty wars, aggression and war.
McCain is a former presidential candidate in 2008, the top Republican on the powerful U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, chairman of the board of the International Republican Institute (IRI, an arm of the National Endowment for Democracy of the U.S. government) since 1993, and the leading American champion of aggression, intervention and war throughout the world. Wherever this warmonger goes, violence, anarchy and chaos follow in his wake to the detriment of the people and the cause of peace.
Posted below are some of McCain’s recent misdeeds, to give an indication of the calibre of depravity of some of those attending this year’s HISF.
Crimes in Libya
McCain visited Libya in April 2011, during NATO’s bombing campaign against that country, saying he had the backing of the White House. He challenged critics of NATO’s intervention to tour Benghazi and see a “powerful and hopeful example of what a free Libya can be.” McCain praised the mercenaries — presented as so-called rebels – as his “heroes.” He met with Libyan terrorist military leader Abdel-Fattah Younis of the Transitional National Council (TNC) – at the time the first public “face” of the TNC — touring its headquarters in the city of Benghazi on April 22, 2011.
He called for “greater American involvement”, one day after the United States started flying armed Predator drones to bolster NATO firepower and try to break a battlefield stalemate with Libyan forces. By July, McCain’s “hero”, Younis, and two of his colonels had been assassinated, reportedly by other members of the TNC. By the end of 2011, Libya had become a principal conduit for sending arms and recruits through Turkey to Syria to carry out US regime change in that country. The overthrow of Libya’s government by NATO and Gulf Arab powers, at the cost of over 30,000 deaths, has led to a complete collapse in human rights and social conditions. Benghazi is now the centre of a bloody tribal-based revolt against the NATO government.
Crimes in Syria
Since 2011, John McCain – who was the Godfather of the Ahmad Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress – has served as the Godfather of the “moderate” terrorists fighting to destroy Syria. At the 2011 Halifax International Security Forum, McCain was the first U.S. official to issue a public call (on Nov. 19) for formal recognition of the Syrian National Council and its proxy army of mercenaries and jihadists, the “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) as the official U.S.-NATO instrument for destabilizing Syria and regime change.
On May 26, 2013 McCain made an illegal trip inside Syria from Turkey to meet with then commander of the FSA, Gen. Salim Idriss and others. It came precisely when the Syrian Arab Army was making steady advances against the terrorists. The trip was made with the assistance of the U.S. State Department and designed to boost the sagging morale of the foreign-organized and funded terrorist forces. He also met with insurgents in Turkey.
Along with giving the lie to the profound falsehood that the conflict in Syria is a “civil war” the photographs euphorically released b McCain’s office backfired. The worldwide publication caused a furore; reports suggested that the very “rebels” depicted in the photos were, in fact, the same gangsters responsible for the recent kidnapping of 11 Lebanese pilgrims inside Syria. Lebanon’s Daily Star reported on the “crossing of paths” between McCain, Mohammad Nour and Ammar Al-Dadikhi (a.k.a. Abu Ibrahim), who were members of “rebel” group the Northern Storm, alleged to be holding the pilgrims.
The so-called FSA has decomposed: many units of the FSA grew beards and joined with or directly fight alongside Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State (ISIS), a fact acknowledged by US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who admitted that “weapons given to Syrian rebels had fallen into the hands of the bad guys.” And McCain’s latest mercenary “hero”, Gen. Salim Idriss? He was sacked in February 2014 for being “too moderate” and for the “ineffectiveness of the command in the past few months.”
After a recent trip to the front lines in Syria, Robert Fisk of The Independent said, “The Free Syrian Army I think drinks a lot of coffee in Istanbul … I think that the Free Syrian Army is a complete myth and I don’t believe it really exists and nor do the Syrians, because they see, ‘If we do come across them, we don’t mind ’cause they always run away. It’s the ISIS people who don’t. They fight to the death.’”
Crimes in Ukraine
The International Republican Institute (IRI) spent millions funding the Orange Revolution 1.0 in Ukraine in 2004. McCain (and his IRI) are back for 2.0.
In early November, the IRI and its companion National Democratic Institute (NDI) hosted a visit by Semyon Semyonchenko, commander of the neo-Nazi “Donbass Battalion” in eastern Ukraine, who visited Washington from November 11-14. The private battalion was established in May by the “Right Sector” to spearhead military “anti-terrorist” action against the Donetsk Republic, which considered the Kiev government illegitimate and had declared sovereignty on April 7, ratified in a referendum. The Amnesty International report entitled “Ukraine: abuses and war crimes by the Aidar volunteer battalion in the north Lugansk region” confirmed that war crimes – including abductions, executions and extortion – were committed by another Ukrainian punitive regiment, the Aidar battalion. Much of the funding for these battalions comes from Ihor Kolomoisky, the governor of Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk province, head of Privatbank, and citizen of Ukraine, Israel, and Cyprus: he is reportedly spending tens of millions of dollars, including $5 million on the Donbss Battalion, on the recruitment of right-wing Ukrainian chauvinists and neo-Nazis from other parts of Europe to fight against the Russian-speaking majority in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine.
One of the main goals of Semyonchenko’s trip was to get training and much more from the US military. Judging by his Facebook post, it seems he has accomplished this. In Washington, Semyonchenko wrote that “Yesterday I signed a contract to organize training courses for the fighters and officers of the battalion Donbass by mobile groups of instructors from the United States, held by military that are not currently in service.” In a FB post on November 11, Semyonchenko had written, “Three People’s Deputy of the day flew to Washington to meet with Senator John McCain.” After his meeting with IRI and NDI he also added:
They were very useful talks. We explained to them the situation in Ukraine as objectively as possible. We are confident that everything will go according to plan as we hoped.
Semyonchenko, an undistinguished film-maker experienced in the arts of illusion, was in Washington previously on September 16, arriving just ahead of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. He was greeted warmly by Voice of America as “one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dire situation for Ukraine’s military effort” and commander of “one of the country’s most effective military units.”
A video documentary by a Kiev-based journalist tells a different story – that of a criminal gang: car-jacking, rapes and murders of innocent youth. A Georgian mercenary openly mocked Semyonchenko as a coward, explaining that his fabled combat wound was in fact buckshot in his ass as he deserted his entrapped unit and fled. The paramilitary commander was also spotted among the leaders of the protests in downtown Kiev in late August, when a group of fascists tried to seize the Defence Ministry headquarters.
McCain dined with Ukraine’s coup organizers in Kiev on December 15, 2013, sharing a table and later a stage at the Maidan Square with the leader of the neo-Nazi Svoboda party Oleh Tyahnybok. The anti-semitic Tiahnybok once made headlines when he announced that Ukraine must be “liberated” from a “Jewish mafia from Moscow,” and defends the deeds of the head of a World War II Ukrainian Waffen SS-Galicia Division. The party was registered in 1995, initially calling itself the “Social National Party of Ukraine” and using a swastika style logo. Svoboda is the electoral front for neo-nazi organizations such as UNA-UNSO.
Later that day, McCain attended a mass rally at Maidan Square to incite those who had occupied and trashed government buildings in attempt to overthrow the elected Ukrainian government. “I am proud of what the people of Ukraine are doing,” he declared, as he tried to rouse the crowd with cries of “democracy” and promises of “freedom and independence” – U.S. style. In 2007, when peaceful American antiwar protesters showed up at McCain’s own Senate office, he promptly had them arrested.
Following the coup d’état on February 22, the Svoboda was represented in the Ukrainian government: Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Sych was a member. Other Svoboda leaders in the top echelons of the government included Ecology Minister Andriy Mokhnyk, Agriculture Minister Ihor Shvaika, acting Prosecutor General Oleh Makhnitsky and the secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council, Andriy Parubiy, who oversees national security for the nation. Parubiy previously served as security commandant during the anti-government protests in Kiev and was a founder of Svoboda”s pro-Nazi predecessor, the Social National Party. Overseeing the armed forces alongside Parubiy as the Deputy Secretary of National Security was Dmytro Yarosh, the leader of the Right Sector. (Svoboda has had a recruiting and fund-raising office in Canada [in Mississauga, Ontario] since 2010.)
And look who is coming to the Halifax International Security Forum aka Halifax War Conference – the co-leader of the U.S. congressional delegation and inaugural speaker, for the 6th straight year:
The HISF has emerged as one of the conduits or parallel mechanisms through which U.S. imperialist agencies are determining the Canadian foreign and military agenda, at an out-of-the-way meeting ground in Halifax for the U.S. and its NATO bloc. McCain calls it “One of the most important gatherings that is convened around the world.” Each November for the past five years McCain has used Canadian territory to call for an invasion against Iran and Libya and military aggression against Syria and Iran, Venezuela and Bolivia, etc.
Organizationally, the HISF is closely linked with the McCain political faction of the U.S. ruling class. David J. Kramer, secretary of the HISF board, will assume the role of senior director for Human Rights and Freedom at the McCain Institute for International Leadership located in Washington, D.C., and Arizona on November 17. For the past four years Kramer, a high-ranking official in Bush’s State Department, was president of Freedom House, funded 66 per cent by the U.S. State Dept. It is staffed by neoconservatives, connected to the CIA, dedicated to “containing communism,” and best known for its clandestine support to subvert countries like Cuba, Iran, Egypt, Haiti and Venezuela.
Randall Scheunemann, President, Orion Strategies, a member of the HISF “Agenda Working Group” and a regular at the HISF since 2009, has long been closely associated with Senator McCain, having worked on his various failed presidential bids, including in 2000 and 2008, when he was defence and foreign policy coordinator for the McCain 2008 presidential campaign and controversially, at the same time, a paid lobbyist for the government of Georgia.
McCain, Kramer and Scheunemann were all involved in the now-defunct Project for the New American Century, a letterhead group that played an important role in building support for the Iraq War and an expansive “war on terror,” and the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, a post-9/11 advocacy outfit that pushed for war in Iraq.
Showing the importance of this conference to the warmongers in elaborating the global strategy of the U.S. empire, McCain will be accompanied by Christian Brose, his National Security Advisor; Elizabeth O’Bagy, his Foreign Policy Advisor; and Kurt Volker, Executive Director, McCain Institute for International Leadership.
Other top U.S. military commanders and state officials in attendance include:
- John Kelly, Commander, United States Southern Command and Representative; Commandant of the United States Marines;
- James Wellons, Executive Officer to the Commander, United States Southern Command
- Charles Jacoby, Commander, United States Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command;
- Cecil Haney, Commander, United States Strategic Command;
- Christine Wormuth, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, United States Department of Defense;
- James Baker, Principal Deputy Director, Joint Staff Strategic Plans and Policy and Strategist to the Chairman, United States Department of Defense;
- Rebecca Chavez, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs, United States Department of Defense;
- Admiral Michelle Howard, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, United States Department of Defense;
- Michael Rogers, Commander, United States Cyber Command; Director, National Security Agency/Chief, Central Security Service
- James Mingo, Chief of Commander’s Planning Group, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command;
- David Perkins, Commanding General, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command;
- John Allen, Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition Against ISIL, United States Department of State;
- Tom Perriello, Special Representative for the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, United States Department of State;
- Alexis Wichowski, Director of Media Analysis & Strategy, United States Mission to the United Nations, United States Department of State;
- Bruce Heyman, United States Ambassador to Canada, United States Department of State;
- Dov Zakheim, Senior Fellow, Center for Naval Analyses (funded by U.S. government)
- General, Frank Grass, Chief National Guard Bureau
War criminals are not welcome in Canada!
Saturday, November 22, 2014, 1 pm
Halifax Peace & Freedom Park (formerly Cornwallis Park), Hollis & South Sts.
For information: Facebook or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Related Reading on this website:
“MacKay grovelling before the warmonger, who will be given pride of place at the Halifax International Security Forum,” Tony Seed, November 21, 2013
“2012 Halifax NATO War Conference: Analysis of the agenda, emphasis, tactics and composition of the Halifax International Security Forum,” Tony Seed, November 16, 2012