Friday, April 15, 2016

Honouring John Ellis

Honouring John Ellis

By Peter Love

On Sunday 3 April the Campaign for International Co-operation and Disarmament (CICD) arranged a special occasion where it paid tribute to the work of John Ellis as campaign activist and photographer in the cause of peace. CICD expressed that special regard by conferring Life Membership on him.

When guests entered the Unitarian Peace Memorial Church in Grey Street, East Melbourne they noted that three walls were covered with photographs that John had taken since the early 1970s. Many were of prominent or simple rank-and-file activists in numerous progressive causes over the years. One of the most remarkable things about the faces of those who are still alive was how young they looked when John captured them! The themes that link them are for us and future generations to contemplate.
John Speight, Executive Chair of CICD welcomed guests and introduced the speakers, beginning with Romina Beitseen, Secretary of CICD, who thanked John for his stalwart work for peace since the 1970s. She had both enjoyed working with him and been very impressed with his capacity to be effectively active in the cause. Peter Love reminded people that John’s photography was not only a window onto the past but one that served the same fundamental purpose as more famous photographers such as those in the Magnum agency. He has provided links of visual continuity that invite us to contemplate enduring questions about peace and justice.
The Victorian Trade Union Choir, of which John was a long-term member, sang two brackets of three songs; Banks of Marble, Bring Out the Banners, I Have a Million Nightingales, Power in a Union, Solidarity Forever, and, as everybody stood up in the customary manner, the Internationale.
Sarah Brown, librarian, fellow activist and long-term friend of John spoke very fondly of his qualities as a campaigner, organiser, photographer and utterly engaging comrade. Sue Fairbanks, Deputy Archivist at the University of Melbourne Archives, spoke about the huge collection of John’s photographs located in the Archives. She acknowledged his prodigious labours in cataloguing them all and the constructively congenial spirit he brought to the daunting task. Sue had arranged the impressive display of photos that lined three sides of the Church hall.
To honour John’s work Lila Heimann, a member of the Melbourne Ukulele Kollective and longstanding friend, sang a song for John that she had composed about refugees. Shane Houstein, John’s stepson, launched the website that displays several of John’s photography and links visitors to the University of Melbourne Archives page where so many of his photos are accessible. It is at:
Unlike some honoured guests, John did not speak at length when he was given the ‘right of reply’ to the tributes. He skipped lightly over many of the significant times in his long life a deeply engaged activism and paid generous tribute to those who were his comrades and especially to Dianne. His partner.
The event ended with the Choir singing the second bracket of songs, concluding with the Internationale. In the usual way, comrades and friends then set about the drinks and snacks in the side room to round off a thoroughly satisfactory day with congenial chatting and friendly catching-up.
See more photos, and read more at: 
[Photos by Peter Love]

A message from Barbara Dane:

“There is no way to build a sustaining and successful road to the future without the paving stones of the past….” 

This message from Barbara Dane, an American folk, blues, and jazz singer, was read out at the John Ellis Tribute.

“For John Ellis on the occasion of the celebration of his life at the Unitarian Peace Memorial Church in Melbourne, April 3, 2016.

I live in Oakland, California and have reached the age where travel is very restricted (88 years old). If not for that, I would find a way to be with you to honor John Ellis. The best I can do now is send my greetings. Thank you very much for organizing this event for a very special person. Please accept my regrets.

There is no way to build a sustaining and successful road to the future without the paving stones of the past. Those who document our valiant history of resistance to war, who by their words and pictures remind us of our concern for the pain and joy of others and inspire us to dream a better world, occupy a special place in our lives.

This is why you have gathered in Melbourne to honour and celebrate John Brant Ellis today, and why we can hear a ripple of applause circling the globe, lifted by many who are celebrating with you from afar. Hats off and a sweeping bow to this man who can best be described in these words of Bertolt Brecht:

"There are those who fight one day and are good.There are others who fight one year and are better.There are some who fight many years and they are better still.But there are some who fight their whole lives. These are the ones who are indispensable."

With warmest regards,
Barbara Dane 
(88 year old singer and long-time activist for peace and justice)”.


Unitarian Peace Memorial Church 
3 April 2016.   By John Ellis

          Frankly, I think we have heard enough about Ellis, so this will be short...

        Despite what some people might think, moving to Pt. Lonsdale was a blessing in more ways than one. I started life by living by the sea in Port Melbourne, and with a bit of luck I will end up with the sound of the waves in my ears from across the sand dunes.

          What I do know is that I wouldn't have reached my present age if I had kept up the pace I was going at in Melbourne. On further reflection, I have to admit that I do miss certain things, like being with this magnificent choir. For me there was nothing quite like singing at the top of my voice about issues I feel strongly about, and surrounded by like-minded people. That feeling takes some beating. Although playing classical guitar and recorders came close.   But wait . . . How could I forget the years spent at Camp Eureka, at Yarra Junction – where it whispers thanks to you people from the ravages of over-development as you stroll through its many paths.

          However, there was one event when I thought my resignation from the choir might be expected, for my unusual behaviour at a concert in Trades Hall. We were singing 'We Shall Overcome' when John was so overcome that he fainted, falling through the ranks of the women in front of me. Needless to say our performance was cut short.

          Another wonderful pastime for me was, as you have heard, was archiving the history of left-wing movements at the University of Melbourne Archives.

          This was followed by another pleasantry in archiving CICD's collections. To speak of CICD can't be done without mentioning Pauline Mitchell. Apart from being a stalwart of CICD she was secretary of Moorabbin Peace Action in the early 70s.  As was Les Dalton who is here today.

          This is not to say that some of these issues haven't been raised in Queenscliff and Geelong. The issues of refugees, the environment, industrial relations and consumerism are rarely off the local activists' agenda. The Melbourne group, Peace Convergence, has recently carried on the spirit of anti-war direct action. They have dared to block the entrance to Swan Island in Queenscliff. For your information Swan Island houses the SAS, a division of Australia's secret services. In doing this they have on one occasion been brutally handled.

          Of course many thanks go to Romina and Andrew and the CICD committee for this very pleasant event. To think that this organisation still keeps abreast of the issues of peace and anti-war, does say a lot.

          I know that I wouldn't have kept up the pace to this old age without the loving care of Dianne, also known as my PA.                                                                                                                             

          Oh yes, one item I'd like to correct concerns the mistake about me being the oldest living member in CICD. Apparently that's not correct and I would like any one here today who was at that momentous meeting in 1959 to stand up and take a bow.

          One thing I am sorry about is that I should have made a concerted effort to produce a pictorial book outlining our struggles for a peaceful world.

          My thanks go to our speakers which certainly includes Dianne's son Shane Houstein for preparing the website –  and to all of you for your friendship and attendance here today.

        I would like to conclude with a piece from Fred Hollows:

I am a humanist. I don't believe in any higher power than the best expressions of the human spirit, and those are to be found in personal and social relationships.

Evaluating my life in those terms, I've had some mixed results. I've hurt some people and disappointed others, but I hope that on balance, I've given more than I've taken.

Check out John's website that displays some of his story and photography and links to the University of Melbourne Archives page where so many of his photos are accessible: 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Some of my thoughts on the ABC news story below…

1/ The yellow and red flag these people are displaying is the flag of the former government of the ‘Republic of Viet Nam’ (commonly referred to as ‘South Vietnam’ during the wartime). It is very instructive to look at some of its history.

This flag was adopted in 1948 as the flag of the ‘State of Vietnam’, the puppet government established by the French colonialists to compete with the much more popular government of the ‘Democratic Republic of Viet Nam’ headed by President Ho Chi Minh, who had declared independence in 1945. The French puppet ‘State of Vietnam’ was headed by the former Vietnamese puppet king, Bao Dai, who had formerly served the French colonialists, and even served the Japanese fascists during their World War Two occupation of Viet Nam in which millions of Vietnamese starved to death due to the policies of the French and Japanese governments.

The puppet ‘State of Vietnam’ was renamed the ‘Republic of Vietnam’ in 1955, and continued to use the same flag in the South. This government of the ‘Republic of Vietnam’ (or ‘South Vietnam’) was headed by the notorious, nepotistic dictator Ngo Dinh Diem, and then a succession of military dictators who never had mass public support, but were supported financially and militarily by the government of the USA and its allies who fought in the ‘Vietnam War’.

This yellow flag with three red stripes ceased to exist in Viet Nam when the war finally ended in 1975 and the country was reunified. This flag may still be flown by overseas supporters of the former defeated government of the ‘Republic of Vietnam’, but it has no legitimacy for most Vietnamese.

2/ The young Australian holding the banner, “Ho Chi Minh: dictator and tyrant”, is a victim of false propaganda, who should do some research on the real history of Viet Nam. 

Even former US President Eisenhower wrote in his memoirs that if the democratic election under international supervision had been held in 1956, “possibly 80%” of the national Vietnamese population would have voted for Ho Chi Minh. This is why the US and ‘Republic of Vietnam’ governments refused to allow that election. Denied their victory at the ballot box, Vietnam had to win its independence on the bloody battlefield instead.

This young Australian, and others, will no doubt be surprised to learn that Ho Chi Minh (the alleged “dictator and tyrant”) actually has the great honour of being awarded posthumously with two titles by UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization): a National Liberation Hero and an Outstanding Man of World Culture. In Viet Nam, Ho Chi Minh is mostly respected as “the father of the nation”, the first President of an independent Viet Nam.

3/ From the ABC news story: “Millions fled Vietnam as a result of Ho Chi Minh's communist regime.” The actual number is hard to verify, but “millions” might be an exaggeration. 

Anyway, regardless of how many fled the country, at various times and for various reasons, it is beyond dispute that far more millions died and suffered as a direct and indirect result of the war forced on Viet Nam by foreign governments. Also, many more millions of Vietnamese, north and south, did not flee their country, as they had supported the Ho Chi Minh cause and stayed to rebuild their devastated country after the war. Naturally, in the West we hear little or nothing about these Vietnamese, the vast majority, while the vocal minority of Vietnamese who supported the losing side gets all the media attention.

4/ LEST WE FORGET. . . The Australians and New Zealanders (and others) who died in the ‘Vietnam War’, or the ‘American War’ as it is more accurately named here, did so based on deliberate lies from their governments, often reported uncritically by the mainstream ‘news’ media. These lies were exposed by the leaking of the famous official US government documents known as The Pentagon Papers in 1971, and other historical records.

5/ For anyone who wants to understand what the ‘Vietnam War’ was really all about, there is a wealth of material available. 

Here is one excellent place to start, 
'Remember Vietnam':

Another  interesting read. . .

(On the Vietnamese Traditional Endeavor for Peace)

By Mr Duong Trung Quoc, Secretary General,
Viet Nam Association of History Research

Owners of the Uncle Ho Vietnamese restaurant in the inner Brisbane suburb of Fortitude Valley say they will change the name after a protest and death threats.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

How the Allied multinationals supplied Nazi Germany throughout World War II




The following excerpts thoroughly document how capitalists really acted during the Second World War. Behind the patriotic propaganda that encouraged the working class to slaughter each other in the interests of competing national interests, international capital quietly kept the commodity circuits flowing and profits growing across all borders.

Trading with the Enemy - war means
 business as usual for international capital.

We begin with some excerpts from "Trading With the Enemy: An Exposé of The Nazi-American Money-Plot 1933-1949" by Charles Higham; Hale, London, 1983.

From the "Trading With the Enemy" cover blurb:

"Here is the extraordinary true story of the American businessmen and government officials who dealt with the Nazis for profit or through conviction throughout the Second World War: Ford. Standard Oil, Chase Bank and members of the State Department were among those who shared in the spoils. Meticulously documented and dispassionately told, this is an alarming story. At its centre is 'The Fraternity', an influential international group associated with the Rockefeller or Morgan banks and linked by the ideology of Business as Usual.

Higham starts with an account of the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland - a Nazi-controlled bank presided over by an American, Thomas H. McKittrick, even in 1944. While Americans were dying in the war, McKittrick sat down with his German, Japanese, Italian, British and American executive staff to discuss the gold bars that had been sent to the Bank earlier that year by the Nazi government for use by its leaders after the war. This was gold that had been looted from the banks of Austria, Belgium, and Czechoslovakia or melted down from teeth fillings, eyeglass frames, and wedding rings of millions of murdered Jews.

But that is only one of the cases detailed in this book. We have Standard Oil shipping enemy fuel through Switzerland for the Nazi occupation forces in France; Ford trucks transporting German troops; I.T.T. helping supply the rocket bombs that marauded much of London ; and I.T.T. building the Focke-Wulfs that dropped those bombs. Long and shocking is the list of diplomats and businessmen alike who had their own ways of profiting from the war."

Preface to the book TRADING WITH THE ENEMY: An Exposé of The Nazi-American Money-Plot 1933-1949 by Charles Higham; Hale, London, 1983.


It would be comforting to believe that the financial Establishment of the United States and the leaders of American industry were united in a common purpose following the Day of Infamy, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Certainly, the American public was assured that Big Business along with all of the officials of government ceased from the moment the war began to have any dealings whatsoever with the enemy. That assurance sustained the morale of millions of Americans who bore arms in World War II and their kinfolk who stayed at home and suffered the anguish of separation.

But the heartbreaking truth is that a number of financial and industrial figures of World War II and several members of the government served the cause of money before the cause of patriotism. While aiding the United States' war effort, they also aided Nazi Germany's…



JFK to 911: Everything Is A Rich Man's Trick
VIDEO (3:27:55)  Published on Nov 19, 2014

The who, how and why of the JFK assassination. Taken from an historical perspective starting around world war 1 leading to present day. We hope after watching this video you will know more about what happened in the past and how the world is run today.

Watch a short clip (9:04) from the movie.
It will make you think very differently about World War 2:

Monday, March 07, 2016

The Caesar Photo Fraud that Undermined Syrian Negotiations
by Rick Sterling / March 3rd, 2016

There is a pattern of sensational but untrue reports that lead to public acceptance of US and Western military intervention in countries around the world. All these reports were later confirmed to be fabrications and lies:

* In Gulf War 1, there were reports of Iraqi troops stealing incubators from Kuwait, leaving babies to die on the cold floor. Relying on the testimony of a Red Crescent doctor, Amnesty International ‘verified’ the false claims.

* Ten years later, there were reports of yellow cake uranium going to Iraq for development of weapons of mass destruction.

* One decade later, there were reports of Libyan soldiers drugged on viagra and raping women as they advanced.

* In 2012, NBC broadcaster Richard Engel was supposedly kidnapped by pro-Assad Syrian militia but luckily freed by Syrian opposition fighters, the “Free Syrian Army”.

This report is a critical review of the “Caesar Torture Photos” story, documenting the alleged torture and killing of 11,000 detainees by the Syrian security establishment.

On 20 January 2014, two days before negotiations about the Syrian conflict were scheduled to begin in Switzerland, a sensational report burst onto television and front pages around the world. 

The story was that a former Syrian army photographer had 55,000 photographs documenting the torture and killing of 11,000 detainees by the Syrian security establishment. The Syrian photographer was given the code-name ‘Caesar’. The story became known as the “Caesar Torture Photos”. 

There is strong evidence the accusations are entirely or substantially false. With few exceptions, Western media uncritically accepted and promoted the story.

Why does it matter if the CIA is connected to the ‘Caesar’ story? Because the CIA has a long history of disinformation campaigns. In 2011, false reports of viagra fueled rape by Libyan soldiers were widely broadcast in western media as the U.S. pushed for a military mandate. 

Decades earlier, the world was shocked to hear about Cuban troops fighting in Angola raping Angolan women. The CIA chief of station for Angola, John Stockwell, later described how they invented the false report and spread it round the world.  The CIA was very proud of that disinformation achievement. Stockwell’s book, “In Search of Enemies” is still relevant.

In contrast, there is clear and solid evidence that a “Crime against Peace” is being committed against Syria. It is public knowledge that the “armed opposition” in Syria has been funded, supplied and supported in myriad ways by various outside governments. 

Most of the fighters, both Syrian and foreign, receive salaries from one or another outside power. Their supplies, weapons and necessary equipment are all supplied to them. Like the “Contras” in Nicaragua in the 1980s, the use of such proxy armies is a violation of customary international law.

It is also a violation of the UN Charter which says:

All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other matter inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

The government of Qatar has been a major supporter of the mercenaries and fanatics attacking the sovereign state of Syria. Given that fact, isn’t it hugely ironic to hear the legal contractors for Qatar accusing the Syrian government of “crimes against humanity”?

Isn’t it time for the United Nations to make reforms so that it can start living up to its purposes?  That will require demanding and enforcing compliance with the UN Charter and International  Law.

Rick Sterling is a retired engineer and co-founder of Syria Solidarity Movement.

A 30 page investigative report on the “Caesar Torture Photos” has been released and is available online here. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Why is most western media reporting of Syria and other important issues “woefully misleading” and “convoluted nonsense”? Ed Herman and Noam Chomsky pointed out long ago in their book Manufacturing Consent that the corporate media is designed to reflect the interests of power – and the corporations that control our media are power.

They select journalists through a long filtering process (school, university, journalism training, apprenticeships) precisely designed to weed out dissidents and those who think too critically. Only journalists whose worldview aligns closely with those in power reach the top.

As I have found out myself, there is nothing media outlets like less than criticising other media publications or the “profession” of journalism. So one has to commend the Boston Globe for publishing this piece by Stephen Kinzer, a former foreign correspondent, warning that the media is not telling us the truth about what is going on in Syria: “…most western reporting of Syria is convoluted nonsense…”

Media coverage of Iraq was just as woefully misleading during the sanctions period in the 1990s, when I worked in the foreign department at the Guardian, and later in the build-up of the US-led attack on Iraq. In those days, when there was no shortage of resources being directed at foreign reporting, the coverage also closely hewed to the official view of the US and UK governments.

The problem is not just that foreign reporting is being stripped of financial resources as the media find it harder to make a profit from their core activities. It is, as Ed Herman and Noam Chomsky pointed out long ago in their book Manufacturing Consent that the corporate media is designed to reflect the interests of power – and the corporations that control our media are power.

They select journalists through a long filtering process (school, university, journalism training, apprenticeships) precisely designed to weed out dissidents and those who think too critically. Only journalists whose worldview aligns closely with those in power reach the top.

As Chomsky once told British journalist Andrew Marr, when Marr reacted with indignation at what he inferred to be an accusation from Chomsky that he was self-censoring:  “I don’t say you’re self-censoring. I’m sure you believe everything you’re saying. But what I’m saying is, if you believed something different you wouldn’t be sitting where you’re sitting.”

Journalists get into positions of influence to the extent that they are unlikely to rock the boat for elite interests. The closer they get to power, the more likely they are to reflect its values. Much like politicians, in fact.

Jonathan Cook is a Nazareth- based journalist and winner of the Martha Gellhorn 
Special Prize for Journalism 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

By Jeffrey Sachs

February 16, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "Huffington Post" -

In the Milwaukee debate, Hillary Clinton took pride in her role in a recent UN Security Council resolution on a Syrian ceasefire:

But I would add this. You know, the Security Council finally got around to adopting a resolution. At the core of that resolution is an agreement I negotiated in June of 2012 in Geneva, which set forth a cease-fire and moving toward a political resolution, trying to bring the parties at stake in Syria together.
This is the kind of compulsive misrepresentation that makes Clinton unfit to be President. Clinton's role in Syria has been to help instigate and prolong the Syrian bloodbath, not to bring it to a close.

In 2012, Clinton was the obstacle, not the solution, to a ceasefire being negotiated by UN Special Envoy Kofi Annan. It was US intransigence - Clinton's intransigence - that led to the failure of Annan's peace efforts in the spring of 2012, a point well known among diplomats. 

Despite Clinton's insinuation in the Milwaukee debate, there was (of course) no 2012 ceasefire, only escalating carnage. Clinton bears heavy responsibility for that carnage, which has by now displaced more than 10 million Syrians and left more than 250,000 dead.

As every knowledgeable observer understands, the Syrian War is not mostly about Bashar al-Assad, or even about Syria itself. It is mostly a proxy war, about Iran. And the bloodbath is doubly tragic and misguided for that reason.

Saudi Arabia and Turkey, the leading Sunni powers in the Middle East, view Iran, the leading Shia power, as a regional rival for power and influence. Right-wing Israelis view Iran as an implacable foe that controls Hezbollah, a Shi'a militant group operating in Lebanon, a border state of Israel. Thus, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Israel have all clamored to remove Iran's influence in Syria.

This idea is incredibly naïve. Iran has been around as a regional power for a long time--in fact, for about 2,700 years. And Shia Islam is not going away. There is no way, and no reason, to "defeat" Iran. 

The regional powers need to forge a geopolitical equilibrium that recognizes the mutual and balancing roles of the Gulf Arabs, Turkey, and Iran. And Israeli right-wingers are naïve, and deeply ignorant of history, to regard Iran as their implacable foe, especially when that mistaken view pushes Israel to side with Sunni jihadists.

Yet Clinton did not pursue that route. Instead she joined Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and right-wing Israelis to try to isolate, even defeat, Iran. 

In 2010, she supported secret negotiations between Israel and Syria to attempt to wrest Syria from Iran's influence. Those talks failed. Then the CIA and Clinton pressed successfully for Plan B: to overthrow Assad.

When the unrest of the Arab Spring broke out in early 2011, the CIA and the anti-Iran front of Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey saw an opportunity to topple Assad quickly and thereby to gain a geopolitical victory. Clinton became the leading proponent of the CIA-led effort at Syrian regime change.

In early 2011, Turkey and Saudi Arabia leveraged local protests against Assad to try to foment conditions for his ouster. By the spring of 2011, the CIA and the US allies were organizing an armed insurrection against the regime. On August 18, 2011, the US Government made public its position: "Assad must go."

Since then and until the recent fragile UN Security Council accord, the US has refused to agree to any ceasefire unless Assad is first deposed. The US policy--under Clinton and until recently--has been: regime change first, ceasefire after.

After all, it's only Syrians who are dying. Annan's peace efforts were sunk by the United States' unbending insistence that U.S.-led regime change must precede or at least accompany a ceasefire. 

As the Nation editors put it in August 2012:
The US demand that Assad be removed and sanctions be imposed before negotiations could seriously begin, along with the refusal to include Iran in the process, doomed [Annan's] mission.
Clinton has been much more than a bit player in the Syrian crisis. Her diplomat Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Benghazi was killed as he was running a CIA operation to ship Libyan heavy weapons to Syria. 

Clinton herself took the lead role in organizing the so-called "Friends of Syria" to back the CIA-led insurgency.

The U.S. policy was a massive, horrific failure. Assad did not go, and was not defeated. Russia came to his support. Iran came to his support. The mercenaries sent in to overthrow him were themselves radical jihadists with their own agendas.

The chaos opened the way for the Islamic State, building on disaffected Iraqi Army leaders (deposed by the US in 2003), on captured U.S. weaponry, and on the considerable backing by Saudi funds. 

If the truth were fully known, the multiple scandals involved would surely rival Watergate in shaking the foundations of the US establishment.

The hubris of the United States in this approach seems to know no bounds. The tactic of CIA-led regime change is so deeply enmeshed as a "normal" instrument of U.S. foreign policy that it is hardly noticed by the U.S. public or media. 

Overthrowing another government is against the U.N. charter and international law. But what are such niceties among friends?

This instrument of U.S. foreign policy has not only been in stark violation of international law but has also been a massive and repeated failure. 

Rather than a single, quick, and decisive coup d'état resolving a US foreign policy problem, each CIA-led regime change has been, almost inevitably, a prelude to a bloodbath. How could it be otherwise? Other societies don't like their countries to be manipulated by U.S. covert operations.

Removing a leader, even if done "successfully," doesn't solve any underlying geopolitical problems, much less ecological, social, or economic ones.

A coup d'etat invites a civil war, the kind that now wracks Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. It invites a hostile international response, such as Russia's backing of its Syrian ally in the face of the CIA-led operations. 

The record of misery caused by covert CIA operations literally fills volumes at this point. What surprise, then, the Clinton acknowledges Henry Kissinger as a mentor and guide?

And where is the establishment media in this debacle? The New York Times finally covered a bit of this story last month in describing the CIA-Saudi connection, in which Saudi funds are used to pay for CIA operations in order to make an end-run around Congress and the American people. 

The story ran once and was dropped. Yet the Saudi funding of CIA operations is the same basic tactic used by Ronald Reagan and Oliver North in the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s (with Iranian arms sales used to fund CIA-led covert operations in Central America without consent or oversight by the American people).

Clinton herself has never shown the least reservation or scruples in deploying this instrument of U.S. foreign policy. Her record of avid support for US-led regime change includes (but is not limited to) the US bombing of Belgrade in 1999, the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the Iraq War in 2003, the Honduran coup in 2009, the killing of Libya's Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, and the CIA-coordinated insurrection against Assad from 2011 until today.

It takes great presidential leadership to resist CIA misadventures. Presidents get along by going along with arms contractors, generals, and CIA operatives. They thereby also protect themselves from political attack by hardline right-wingers. They succeed by exulting in U.S. military might, not restraining it. 

Many historians believe that JFK was assassinated as a result of his peace overtures to the Soviet Union, overtures he made against the objections of hardline rightwing opposition in the CIA and other parts of the U.S. government.

Hillary Clinton has never shown an iota of bravery, or even of comprehension, in facing down the CIA. She has been the CIA's relentless supporter, and has exulted in showing her toughness by supporting every one of its misguided operations. The failures, of course, are relentlessly hidden from view. 

Clinton is a danger to global peace. She has much to answer for regarding the disaster in Syria.

Jeffrey Sachs 
Director, Earth Institute at Columbia University.