Crimes Against Humanity
By Stephen Lendman
Last Sunday and Monday, Volgograd, Russia was struck twice on successive days. Suicide bombings targeted its main train station and a crowded trolly bus during morning rush hour. At least 34 died. Dozens more were injured.
Vladimir Putin broke with tradition. He delivered two New Year's eve speeches. One was in Kamchatka, Chukotka and Magadan region.
Khabarovsk was next. He addressed victims of Far East flooding. Around 40,000 people were affected. Many lost everything.
He directed Russia's National Anti-Terrorism Committee to increase security nationwide. He stressed doing it in Volgograd and surrounding areas.
He vowed to battle terrorists. To their "total annihilation," he said. "In the past year, we have faced problems and serious challenges, including the inhuman terror attacks in Volgograd and unprecedented disasters in the Far East."
"Dear friends, we bow our heads in memory of the victims of these terrible attacks." He got security tightened across Russia.
He met with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. They discussed "all questions connected with providing medical help, financial assistance, and other forms of support for the injured and families of those killed in the" Volgograd terror attacks.
He got other Russian ministries involved. They include its Federal Security Service. It's responsible for internal and border security, as well as counterintelligence, counterterrorism, and surveillance.
He's getting regular reports on what's being done. Russia's Foreign Ministry called Volgograd attacks "cynically planned" pre-New Year's strikes.
They're "terrorist" attempts "to open an internal 'front,' to cause panic and chaos, and to trigger inter-confessional strife and conflicts in the Russian society," it said.
"We'll continue our struggle with the shrewd enemy who knows no borders and can be stopped only by common efforts."
No group declared responsibility. The train station bomber declared allegiance to the Al Qaeda affiliated Caucasus Emirate.
It claimed responsibility for previous attacks. They targeted Moscow's metro and international airport.
Volgograd was struck last October. A Dagastan suicide bomber blew herself up. Seven people died.
Volgograd was formerly called Stalingrad. It witnessed one of WW II's most epic battles. It had perhaps the highest casualty count of any single battle in history.
Death estimates ranged from about 1.250 million to nearly 1.8 million. US combat deaths throughout WW II numbered less than 300,000.17in
In 1961, Nikita Khruschev changed Stalingrad's name to Volgograd. He did it to de-Stalinize the city around eight years after his death.
Doing so was controversial. Stalingrad symbolizes heroic Nazi resistance. Defeating its Wehmarcht debunked its invincibility.
Terrorists operate differently. It's hard stopping determined zealots. Those planning attacks find ways initiate them. They pale compared to state actors.
State terrorism is by far worst of all. It claims many millions of lives. It does so with weapons of mass destruction. It does it no-holds-barred.
One nation after another is ravaged. Mass slaughter and destruction follow. Viable states become charnel house disasters.
Cauldrons of violence persist without end. Humanity's survival is threatened. America's terror wars harm countless millions. They're supreme crimes against peace.
Howard Zinn asked:
"How can you make war on terrorism if war is terrorism?" How can you "respond to terrorism with" far greater acts of the same kind?
"Governments (doing so) are terrorists on an enormously large scale." Individual terrorist acts pale by comparison. They're way short of all-out war.
Merriam-Webster calls terrorism "the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal."
US Code defines "international terrorism." It includes activities involving:
(A) "violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State;"
(B) are intended to:
(i) "intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(iii) affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
(C) occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States..."
The US Army Operational Concept for Terrorism (TRADOC Pamphlet No. 525-37, 1984) shortens the above definition.
It calls it "the calculated use of violence or threat of violence to attain goals that are political, religious, or ideological in nature." It's done "through intimidation, coercion, or instilling fear."
The USA Patriot Act created the crime of domestic terrorism. Section 802 calls it an act "dangerous to human life."
It does so if intended to:
"(i) intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(iii) affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping."
Patriot Act provisions cover terrorism primarily within America's territorial jurisdiction. Otherwise it's international terrorism. State terrorism is ignored altogether.
Longstanding US policy reflects the worst kind. It's waged globally. Likeminded regimes are supported. Despots are coveted as allies.
Individual terrorist acts pale by comparison to nation state ones. Rogue states wage them against other countries, groups or individuals.
America is by far worst of all. It's waged terror wars from inception. The best way to stop them is by prioritizing peace over conflicts.
It's no longer being judge, jury and executioner. It's no longer calling state terror self-defense.
It's no longer being what Martin Luther King called "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today."
It's no longer calling state terrorism humanitarian intervention. It's no longer describing responsibility to protect the same way.
It's no longer America's divine right to mass murder, ravage, plunder, exploit and dominate other nations. It's no longer permissible for wealth, profit, privilege or other reasons.
It's no longer sending in marines to do it. It's no longer waging air, land and sea warfare. It's no longer reigning death by drones. It's no longer pledging peace while waging war.
It's no longer substituting illusions for reality. It's no longer replacing independent governments with vassal ones. It's no longer manufacturing consent. It's no longer doing it to keep ordinary people in line.
It's no longer saying we're boss, and what we say goes. It's no longer barrel of a gun rule. It's no longer intimidating people to obey.
It's no longer forcing them to live our way. It's no longer waging war against outliers. It's no longer blaming victims for US crimes.
It's no longer perpetuating violence. It's no longer waging permanent war in the name of peace. It's no longer doing so on false pretenses.
It's obeying rule of law principles. It's promoting democratic values. It's instituting government of, by and for everyone.
It's supporting peace, equity and justice. It's substituting truth for state-sponsored propaganda.
It's calling crimes against peace humanity's greatest threat. It's describing state terrorism the same way. It's prioritizing right over wrong. It's doing it because it matters.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
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