William Blum: Anti-Imperial Advocate

December 12th, 2018 by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

In the incessant self-praise of the US imperial project, kept safe in a state of permanently enforced amnesia, occasional writings prod and puncture.  Mark Twain expressed an ashamed horror at the treatment of the Philippines; Ulysses Grant, despite being a victorious general of the Union forces in the Civil War and US president, could reflect that his country might, someday, face its comeuppance from those whose lands had been pinched. 

In the garrison state that emerged during the Cold War, the New Left provided antidotes of varying strength to the illusion of a good, faultless America, even if much of this was confined to university campuses.  Mainstream newspaper channels remained sovereign and aloof from such debates, even if the Vietnam War did, eventually, bite. 

The late William Blum, former computer programmer in the US State Department and initial enthusiast for US moral crusades, gave us various exemplars of this counter-insurgent scholarship.  His compilation of foreign policy ills in Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, was written with the US as sole surveyor of the land, all powerful and dangerously uncontained.  To reach that point, it mobilised such familiar instruments of influence as the National Endowment for Democracy and the School of the Americas, a learning ground for the torturers and assassins who would ply their despoiling trade in Latin America.  The imperium developed an unrivalled military, infatuated with armaments, to deal with its enemies.  Forget the canard, insists Blum, of humanitarian intervention, as it was espoused to justify NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999. 

His Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions since World War II, remains his best and potently dispiriting affair, one in which Washington and its Christian warriors sought to battle the “International Communist Conspiracy” with fanatical, God-fearing enthusiasm.  In this quest, foreign and mostly democratically elected governments were given the heave-ho with the blessings of US intervention. Food supplies were poisoned; leaders were subjected to successful and failed assassinations (not so many were as lucky as Cuba’s Fidel Castro); the peasantry of countries sprayed with napalm and insecticide; fascist forces and those of reaction pressed into the service of Freedom’s Land.

The squirreling academic, ever mindful of nuts, has been less willing to embrace Blum. This has, to some extent, been aided by such curious instances as the mention, by one Osama bin Laden, of Rogue State in a recording that emerged in 2006. 

“If I were president I could stop terrorist attacks against the United States in a few days. Permanently.” 

Sales surged at this endorsement from the dark inspiration behind September 11, 2001.

“This is almost,” observed Blum wryly, “as good as being an Oprah book.”

Killing Hope, praised by various high priests in academe on its initial release in 1986, morphed.  Various extensions and additions were not approved.  Blum, considering the US in its vicious full bloom of the post-Cold War, saw the wickedness of the market in Eastern European countries, the hand of US power in sabotaging negotiations between the Muslims, Croats and Serbs in Bosnia that led to an ongoing murderous conflict, and ongoing mischief in the Middle East (the Syrian Civil War, sponsored jihadists).

Much of this, admittedly, finds an audience, if only for the fact that it excuses, to some extent, local factors and failings.  Students of imperial history tend to forget the manipulations of local elites keen to ingratiate themselves and sort out problems with the aid of a foreign brute.  It is worth pointing out that, in the vastness of US power, a certain incompetence in exercising it has also prevailed. 

But the groves of the academy have tended to sway away from Blum for many of the usual reasons: tenure, security and treading carefully before the imperium’s minders. 

“It merits mention,” poses Julia Muravska, very keen to mind her P’s and Q’s before the academic establishment as a doctoral candidate, “that after the release of the last majorly revised edition in 1995, successive versions of Killing Hope have largely passed under the radar of mainstream punditry and academia, but remained stalwartly cherished not only in left-leaning circles, but also amongst conspiracy theorists and fringe commentators.” 

Such is the damning strategy here: to be credible, you must wallow in mainstream acceptance and gain acknowledgment from the approving centre; to be at the fringe is to not merely to be unaccepted but unacceptable.  Amnesia is a funny old thing.  While Blum’s scholarship at points had the failings of overstretch, a counteracting zeal, his overall polemics, and advocacy, were part of a tradition that continues to beat in an assortment of publications that challenge the central premises of US power.   

Much of Blum’s takes remain dangerously pertinent.  “Fake news” has assumed a born-again relevance, when it should simply be termed measured disinformation, one that the CIA and its associates engaged in, and still do, with varying degrees of success.  The Russians hardly deserve their supposed monopoly on the subject, though they are handy scapegoats. 

Blum did well to note an absolute pearler by way of example: the efforts of the CIA’s Office of Policy Coordination and the US Post Office to solicit a letter writing campaign in 1948 to influence the course of Italy’s 1948 elections.  American Italians, or so it was thought, were mobilised to swamp the mother country with warnings of atheistic communism and the threat it posed to Catholic authority.  Should Italy turn red, US largesse and aid would stop flowing to a country still suffering from the ills of war.  Italians known to have voted communist would not be permitted to enter the US.

Some individuals, guided by samples run in newspapers, offered specimens, but it soon became a campaign featuring “mass-produced, pre-written, postage paid form letters, cablegrams, ‘educational circulars’ and posters, needing only an address and signature.”  Italian political parties, generally those of centre, could count on the CIA for a helpful contribution. 

Empire remains a terrible encumbrance, draining and ruining both the paternal centre and its patronised subjects. It is a salient reminder as to why Montesquieu insisted on the durability of small republics, warning against aggrandizement.  Doing so produces the inevitable, vengeful reaction.  As Blum surmised,

“The thesis in my books and my writing is that anti-American terrorism arises from the behaviour of US foreign policy.  It is what the US government does which angers people all over the world.” 

To that end, his mission, as described to the Washington Post in an interview in 2006, has been one of, if not ending the American empire, then “at least slowing down” or “injuring the beast.”

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Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.  He is a frequent contributor to Global Research and Asia-Pacific Research. Email: [email protected]

Gilets Jaunes: A Glimmer of Hope and Sanity

December 12th, 2018 by Mark Taliano

Governments in North America are largely totalitarian already. It’s a covert form of totalitarianism best described as “inverted totalitarianism[1]”.  One result is that people in North America for the most part have no appreciation of substantive geopolitical issues.  

Consequently, we are being robbed blind, and our diseconomies are being further destroyed, for the benefit of Al Qaeda, and transnational oligarch classes. Truth is stranger than fiction.

The only glimmer of hope at the moment are the Gilets Jaunes[2] protests in France. Macron’s tax grab is all about serving imperial agendas at the expense not only of target countries, but also at the expense of a habitable planet, and a sustainable French economy as well.

Canadians spent over $32 billion[3] in 2017-2018 alone for a military that supports NATO’s globalizing, entirely toxic and supremely criminal agenda. Al Qaeda and like-minded terrorists in Syria have benefited for years thanks to our largesse.

Washington, Canada’s apparent role-model, spends about $1,000 billion per year[4]supporting a megalomaniacal project of World Conquest beneath a fake “War on Terror” mandate, spawn of a very transparent false flag neo-con coup on September 11, 2001. Again, terrorist proxies are benefiting thanks to U.S taxpayer largesse.

Taxpayer-funded agencies such as the UK-based Joint Threat Intelligence Group (JTIG)[5] are only too happy to comply with governing demands. Their mandate is to deny, disrupt, degrade, and deceive populations.

The endgame of these operations is to ensure population compliance with toxic agendas.

Consider briefly how populations have been deceived about the war on Syria.

Imperialists sold the lie that there were “moderate” terrorists in Syria. Intelligence agencies use these designated terrorists to transfer weapons and materiel from one group to another, for command and control purposes, and to create perceptions of legitimacy for terrorist-support and supreme international war crimes. People still believe the “moderate terrorist” lie.

Similar to the “moderate terrorist” lie is the “rebel” lie. The term “rebel” connotes “rebellion” or “revolution”, and has some positive connotations.  But the “revolution” in Syria was an imperial project since well before Day One.  Regime Change wars are not revolutions nor are they rebellions.

The term “Civil War” also serves to deceive. Regime change wars and their myriad strategies, including economic warfare, the infusion mercenary terrorists from over 100 countries — including special forces from imperialist countries — and criminal bombing of infrastructure, are not “civil” in any sense of the word.  But the deceptive nomenclature is effective all the same.

False flag operations are also part of JTRIG tactics.  They occur on social media when operatives falsely attribute crimes or discreditable information to innocent people, but they also occur with regularity on the ground as well when operatives falsely accuse the democratically-elected, widely esteemed “brutal dictator” of committing massacres or gas attacks.

Presumably, well-informed populations would not support al Qaeda and like-minded terrorists in the first place, but they would certainly not support them if they realized that public monies would be better spent on productive, sustainable economies rather than on perennially bailed-out “neoliberal” diseconomies embraced by global “elites”.

The Gilets Jaunes represent a glimmer of hope and sanity in an otherwise insane world.

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Mark Taliano is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) and the author of Voices from Syria, Global Research Publishers, 2017.

Notes

[1] Chris Hedges, “Sheldon Wolin and Inverted Totalitarianism.” Truthdig, 2 November, 2015. (https://www.truthdig.com/articles/sheldon-wolin-and-inverted-totalitarianism/) Accessed 11 December, 2018.

[2] Prof. Michel Chossudovsky,“France’s Yellow Vests: Fuel Tax Hike Triggers Poverty, Finances War and Repayment of the Public Debt.”  Global Research. 10 December, 2018. (https://www.globalresearch.ca/frances-yellow-vests-fuel-tax-hike-triggers-poverty-finances-war-and-the-public-debt/5662327) Accessed 11 December, 2018.

[3] Mark Taliano, “NATO Economic Straightjackets: Military Spending Drains Public Coffers, Triggers Collapse of Social Programs.” Global Research. 26 November, 2018.( https://www.globalresearch.ca/nato-economic-straightjackets-military-spending-drains-public-coffers-triggers-collapse-of-social-programs/5660995) Accessed 11 December, 2018.

[4] Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, “Trump Has Been Broken by the Military -Security Complex. The Risk of Nuclear War.” Global Research. 10 December, 2018. (https://www.globalresearch.ca/trump-has-been-broken-by-the-militarysecurity-complex-the-risk-of-nuclear-war/5662369) Accessed 11 December, 2018.

[5] Glenn Greenwald, “HOW COVERT AGENTS INFILTRATE THE INTERNET TO MANIPULATE, DECEIVE, AND DESTROY REPUTATIONS.” The Intercept. 24 February, 2014. (https://theintercept.com/2014/02/24/jtrig-manipulation/). Accessed 11 December, 2018.

Featured image is from Massoud Nayeri


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Trump and China: Towards a Cold or Hot War?

December 12th, 2018 by Marc Vandepitte

At first glance, the dispute between the US and China revolves around unfair competition and theft of intellectual property. On closer inspection it is about something much more fundamental, namely frantic attempts by Washington to preserve its hegemony over this planet. Are we heading for a clash between the two titans?  

Absolute and enduring power

The US leaves the Second World War as a major winner. All old and emerging superpowers are completely exhausted. In Washington they dream of a new world order in which only they are in charge. Unfortunately, the rapid reconstruction of the Soviet Union and the breakthrough of the nuclear monopoly thwart these plans.

Half a century later, the dream comes true with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the implosion of the Soviet Union. From now on, there are no more obstacles to autocratic rule. At last the US is the undisputed leader of world politics. It wants to keep it that way. The Pentagon in 1992:

“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival. We must maintain the mechanism for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.” (our italics)

At that moment, China is not (yet) a threat. The economy is underdeveloped, GDP is only one third of US GDP. Also on the military level the country is insignificant. At that time China is seen primarily as an interesting haven for profits: it has a huge contingent of cheap, disciplined labour and in the long run, with one fifth of the world’s population, it will become an attractive market outlet for Western products. Conversely, China is aiming for foreign investment and the global market in order to develop rapidly.

In the capitalist headquarters the illusion is cherished that with the economic opening in China capitalism will irreversibly seep in and eventually take over from the ‘communist regime’. Two birds killed with one stone: favourable prospects for the multinationals on one hand and the elimination of an ideological rival on the other. That’s why China is admitted to the World Trade Organisation in 2001.

In any case, joining the WTO is a real boost for the Chinese economy. In 1995 the country ranked eleventh on on the list of exporters of goods. Twenty years later, it is leading the list. Since joining the WTO, the economy has grown fourfold. This is also a win-win relationship for the US. American multinationals are doing excellent business in China. Last year their sales amounted to almost $ 500 billion, which is 100 billion more than the trade deficit between the US and China. The purchasing power of the population in the US is increasing due to the import of cheap Chinese goods. There are also important monetary benefits. In order to keep the yuan linkedto the dollar, China buys a huge amount of dollars, which means that the U.S. obtain very cheap credits and therefore can keep the interest rates low.

Beyond the illusion

But, and it is a big ‘but’, regarding an internal capitalist takeover or weakening of the communist party, almost nothing is going as planned.

“China’s Communist Party hasn’t been tamed by commerce. The Party-State still has firm control over the commanding heights of China’s economy, both directly, and indirectly, through its influence on large ‘private’ companies, who can only remain both successful and private with the support of the Party” , in the words of economist Brad W. Setser.

This dawns on the leading circles in the US as well. In a notorious speech, Vice President Pence bluntly says:

“After the fall of the Soviet Union, we assumed that a free China was inevitable. Heady with optimism at the turn of the 21st Century, America agreed to give Beijing open access to our economy, and we brought China into the World Trade Organization. … But that hope has gone unfulfilled.”

Capitalist giants, be they financial, industrial or digital companies like Google, Amazon or Facebook, do as they please everywhere. Not in China. It is one of the few places in the world where these giants have little or no control. Furthermore, the Middle Kingdom is no longer a transit country where goods are assembled, thus providing services for which the country itself does not earn much.

Source: author

That China is no longer the playground of large multinationals is bad as it is. But much worse is the fact that the economic position of the US has weakened, while China’s has been enhanced significantly. In 1980, the US GDP was one third of the world GDP, while China’s GDP was a little more than one twentieth. Today they both account for a quarter.

And, it is not just a quantitative evolution. The Chinese economy made also a qualitative leap forward. A lot of progress has been made in the technological field. Until recently, the country was seen as an imitator of technology, today it is an innovator. Currently 40 percent of all patents worldwide are Chinese, which is more than the following three countries combined: the US, Japan and South Korea. In 2015, the ‘Made in China 2025‘ plan was launched to further innovate the industry and gain more autonomy in ten key sectors.

Following this path, Chinese products and services become more and more competitive. In the long run they will threaten the supremacy of Western multinationals. That, of course is an undesirable and intolerable outcome. Peter Navarro, top economic advisor of Trump:

“In its Made in China 2025 policy manifesto, the Chinese government has explicitly targeted industries ranging from artificial intelligence, robotics and quantum computing to self-driving vehicles, … If China captures these industries, the US simply will not have an economic future.”

It’s the military, stupid!

But according to Navarro, it is not just about the economy, prosperity or profits.

“It is not just American prosperity at risk. … The IP China is trying to take is the very heart of this concept and a key to continued US military dominance.”

Navarro’s statements are very revealing. Today the Trump government is making a lot of noise about the trade deficit, but that is not the real concern. What matters is maintaining dominance in three areas: technology, the industries of the future and armaments. This dominance is threatened first and foremost by China.

Source: OECD

Navarro does not speak in his own name, but expresses government policy. This policy was extensively explained in a revealing report by the Pentagon of September 2018. According to this report, the three areas – technology, economy and armaments- are closely interwoven. Technological lead is necessary to both win economic competition and maintain military superiority. The report warns:

“Chinese R&D spending is rapidly converging to that of the U.S. and will likely achieve parity sometime in the near future”.

It explicitly refers to Made in China 2025.

“One of the Chinese Communist Party’s primary industrial initiatives, Made in China 2025, targets artificial intelligence, quantum computing, robotics, autonomous and new energy vehicles, high performance medical devices, high-tech ship components, and other emerging industries critical to national defense.”

The Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) is also shown in a bad light. BRI is a Chinese network of sea and land routes spread across 64 countries, with investments, loans, trade agreements and dozens of Special Economic Zones, worth 900 billion dollars. “As part of China’s One Belt, One Road doctrine to project Chinese soft and hard power, China has sought the acquisition of critical U.S. infrastructure, including railroads, ports and telecommunications. China’s economic strategies, combined with the adverse impacts of other nations’ industrial policies, pose significant threats to the U.S. industrial base and thereby pose a growing risk to U.S. national security.”

But the link between technology, economy and armaments goes even further than that. In order to maintain military dominance, the US needs a solid industrial base of its own. From the perspective of national security, globalisation has gone too far. Delocalisation of parts of the US economy has eroded the basis of the war industry and thereby undermined national security.

“The loss of more than 60,000 American factories, key companies, and almost 5 million manufacturing jobs since 2000 threatens to undermine the capacity and capabilities of United States manufacturers to meet national defense requirements and raises concerns about the health of the manufacturing and defense industrial base. … Today, we rely on single domestic sources for some products and foreign supply chains for others, and we face the possibility of not being able to produce specialized components for the military at home.”

The protectionist policy of the Trump government is not primarily motivated by trade deficit. The report only mentions this in passing. The trade deficit is a side effect of a deeper problem. What matters is to ensure a “vibrant defense industrial base”, based on a “vibrant domestic manufacturing sector” and “resilient supply chains”. That is “a national priority”.

“Defence capabilities”, or in other words, war preparation, that’s what it’s all about. What the Pentagon has in mind are not small-scale and isolated conflicts, it is primarily a massive, long-lasting war effort against “revisionist powers”, or more precisely China and Russia. The report recommends to thoroughly “retool” the US economy and to prepare for a “great power conflict scenario”. In the words of a high national security official:

“We’ve been occupied by fighting low-tech conflict against people who lob rockets out the back of trucks, and all along China has got savvy and crept up on us. That’s now our focus.”

In the twentieth century the main efforts of the US were directed against the Soviet Union, those of the twenty-first century are now focused on the ‘Chinese danger’. In the context of the 2019 budget discussions, Congress stated that “long-term strategic competition with China is a principal priority for the United States”. It is not only about economic aspects, but about an overall strategy that mustbe conducted on several fronts. The approach requires “the integration of multiple elements of national power, including diplomatic, economic, intelligence, law enforcement, and military elements, to protect and strengthen national security”.

We restrict ourselves to the economic and military aspects.

An economic iron curtain

Trump is aiming for a full reset of the economic relations between the US and China. In his well-known style:

“When I came we were heading in a certain direction that was going to allow China to be bigger than us in a very short period of time. That’s not going to happen anymore.”

In order to prevent China’s rise, it is therefore necessary to decouple the US economically from China as much as necessary. Both Chinese investments in the US and US investments in China must be limited and barred. In the first place, strategic sectors are targeted.

Mutual trade must be restricted too. The US already imposes tariffs on about half of China’s imports. Trump has threatened to subject all imports to tariffs if necessary. Also the export to China is a target. For its economy China depends heavily on strategic components such as chips. In May 2018, the export of chips to ZTE, a large Chinese telecom group that employs 75,000 people, was temporarily halted, threatening the company to go bankrupt. Top manager Kathleen Gaffney predicts this is only the beginning:

“We are the leaders in technology and innovation in the chip industries. China in the long term wants to be a leader as well. It’s gonna be Made in China by 2025. So it’s really important that we make that difficult for them to do: export controls. That is a real signal that will damage China but not hurt the overall economy. These are the kind of actions that we are going to see.”

Most serious observers are convinced that the trade tariffs imposed will have an adverse effect on the US economy and will resolve the trade deficit with China. But that’s not the real concern of Trump and his clique. Their focus “is on trying to disrupt China’s technological rise rather than on doing a deal that’s best for the US economy”, in the words of an investor.

The Trump government is also trying to extend its trade war with China to other countries. In the recent negotiations with Canada and Mexico on a new free trade agreement, Trump has included a clause stating that these two countries may not conclude a trade agreement with a “non-market economy”, in other words with China. The intention is to sign such an agreement in the future with countries such as Japan, the European Union and Great Britain. If the US succeeds, it will be a hard blow to China and the start of a kind of “economic iron curtain” around the country.

The anti-China attitude is not limited to Trump and a few hawks in his government. Large parts of the establishment believe that the US and China are engaged in a long-term strategic rivalry and that the rise of the Asian giant poses a threat to the US position. There is a growing consensus that trade and national security policies should no longer be separated and that the White House should provide a strong response to its strategic rival. The hunger for confrontationis growing.

The anti-Chinese mood can be found among Republicans, free market ideologists, national security hawks and people of the Pentagon. But also among Democrats and part of the unions and the left. This means that the hostility towards China will probably be long-lasting and in any case will not disappear with the departure of the current president.

Shoot first

The military superiority of the US is overwhelming. It has 800 military bases spread over 70 countries and more than 150,000 troops in 177 countries. Military spending annually exceeds $600 billion, that is more than a third of the world total. It is three times as much as China and per inhabitant it’s even 12 times as much.

For 70 years, the US Army has dominated the seas and airspaceof almost the whole planet, including East Asia. It had almost complete freedom of movement and the ability to deny enemies this freedom. Trump wants to keep it that way:

“America will never accept to be the number two. I will make our armed forces so strong that we will never or never have to fear another power.”

According to the National Security Strategy of 2017, China is building “the most capable and well-funded military in the world, after our own”. (o. c.) The “other power” Trump is talking about is China. According to the Pentagon, everything must be done to preserve the supremacy in East Asia. That means curbing China.

“As China continues its economic and military ascendance, asserting power through an all-of-nation long-term strategy, it will continue to pursue a military modernization program that seeks Indo-Pacific regional hegemony in the near-term and displacement of the United States to achieve global preeminence in the future.”

In his Cold War Speech last October, Vice-President Pence leaves no room for doubt:

“Our message to China’s rulers is this: This President will not back down. As we rebuild our military, we will continue to assert American interests across the Indo-Pacific.”

The military strategy towards China has two tracks: an arms race and an encirclement on the country.

The arms race is in full swing. The US spends 150 billion dollars a year on military research, that’s five times as much as China. They are feverishly working on a new generation of highly sophisticated weapons, drones and all kinds of robots, which a future enemy will not be able to cope with. The F-35 contains the top technology of the moment and has a lead of about 15 to 20 years over the Chinese jet fighters. In the development of these high-tech weapons, artificial intelligence, quantum mechanics, laser technology, supersonic speeds, nuclear ignitions and electronic warfare play an increasing role. They are the war sciences of the future.

To keep the lead in that arms race, the Chinese must be kept at a distance. According to the National Security Strategy of December 2017,

“Part of China’s military modernization and economic expansion is due to its access to the U.S. innovation economy, including America’s world-class universities.”

The White House’s increasing protectionism is not only about trade, investment or technology, but increasingly also about knowledge.

Special attention is paid to space weapons.

“If deterrence fails I am convinced … if we are up against a peer or near-peer we are going to have to fight for space superiority,” says General John Raymond, Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force Space Command.

Last year Trump decided to establish a new full-fledged department within the army: the US Space Force.

A preventive war is not excluded. Bob Work, former Deputy Minister of Defence, notes that China is developing missiles that come close to theirs.

“The US has never had to fight against an adversary that has been able to throw as deep as and as dense as the US. The use of guided munitions in any future war will be so widespread and profound” that it will make “a lot of sense to be the one to shoot first”.

Source: author

The second track is military encirclement. For its foreign trade, China depends for 90 percent on maritime transport. More than 80 percent of the oil supply has to pass through the Strait of Malacca (near Singapore), where the US has a military base. Kissinger once said: “control oil and you control nations”. In any case, Washington can easily cut off oil flows to China. Currently the country has no defence against it. Around China the US has more than thirty military bases, facilities or training centres (dots on the map). By 2020, 60% of the total US fleet will be stationed in the region. It is no exaggeration to say that China is encircled and squeezed. Imagine what would happen if China were to install even one military facility, let alone a base near the US.

In this context the development of small islands in the South China Sea should be seen as well as the claims of a large part of this area. Controlling the shipping routes along which its energy and industrial goods are transported is of vitalimportance to Beijing.

The Thucydides Trap

China is a threat to US supremacy. Will this inevitably lead to a deadly pitfall, first described by Thucydides? This ancient Greek historian explains how the rise of Athens created fear in Sparta and made it go to war to prevent that rise. Historian Graham Allison outlines how in the past 500 years there have been 16 periods in which an emerging power threatened to supplant a ruling power. Twelve times this ended in war.

Though history is not a fatality, it is an important indicator indeed. In any case, the lasting military superiority of the US is the guarantee for the preservation of its economic supremacy. When we mention economic supremacy we are talking about a business of thousands of billions of dollars, an extremely powerful business that has a very great hold on the policy of the White House, regardless of the incumbent president. The many billions of profits will not be handed over without fierce struggle. As Marx said 160 years ago:

“Capital eschews no profit, or very small profit.” If the profit is large, “capital will produce positive audacity” and if the profit is very large, “there is not a crime at which it will scruple, nor a risk it will not run”.

Some will argue that the extermination power of current weapons has become too big to risk a large-scale conflict. But that thought error was already made a hundred years ago according to Katrina Mason.

“A little over 100 years ago, commentators predicted that weapons of war had become so technologically advanced, and so lethal, that no one would ever resort to using them. Many couched the relentless arms race as part of an economic effort to stimulate the domestic industrial base, and discounted that such jostling would ever lead to conflict. The first world war proved them wrong on both counts.”

How can the gigantic economic interests be brought under democratic control, so that not profit but common sense will prevail? That is the key question for the future.

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Marc Vandepitte is a Belgian philosopher and economist, author of numerous books on North-South relations, Latin America, Cuba and China.

Donald Trump was right when he said that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been a disaster for the United States and promised to renegotiate it when he became president. However, the renegotiated NAFTA-2 is worse than the original NAFTA and should be rejected.

On December 1, NAFTA-2 was signed by President Trump, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nietos. This started the process of approval by the legislatures of each country.

Our movement for trade that puts people and planet first now has two synergistic opportunities: We can stop NAFTA II and replace corporate trade with a new model that raises working conditions and protects the environment.

Stopping NAFTA-2

When NAFTA became law on January 1, 1994, it began a new era of trade – written by and for transnational corporations at the expense of people and planet. President George H.W. Bush failed twice to pass NAFTA. During Bush’s re-election campaign, independent Ross Perot described NAFTA as the “giant sucking sound” that would undermine the US economy.

President Clinton was able to get it through Congress. The Los Angeles Times described that vote as “a painfully divided House of Representatives” voting a 234-200 for NAFTA. A majority of Democrats 156-102 opposed NAFTA. During the debate, protesters were ejected when they showered fake $50 bills that said “trading pork for poison” from the visitors gallery.

In the 2016 election, President Trump showed he understood what the United States experienced — NAFTA was bad for the people undermining manufacturing and agriculture. People want it repealed. Unlike Hillary Clinton, Trump had his finger on the pulse of the population.

NAFTA-2 is another trade agreement designed for corporate profit. Trump trade fails to provide enforceable protections for workers or the environment. In this time of climate crisis, it does not mention climate change. It fails to protect the food supply and will result in increased cost of medicines.

Citizen’s Trade Campaign writes, there are positive labor standards “but only if currently absent enforcement mechanisms are added.” As the Labor Advisory Committee states, “Unenforced rules are not worth the paper they are written on.”

The Sierra Club reports NAFTA-2 takes a significant step backward from environmental protections included in the last four trade deals by failing to reinforce a standard set of seven Multilateral Environmental Agreements that protect everything from wetlands to sea turtles.

NAFTA-2 allows intensely-polluting oil and gas corporations involved in offshore drilling, fracking, oil and gas pipelines, refineries, or other polluting activities to challenge environmental protections in rigged corporate trade tribunals. Trump Trade preserves a NAFTA rule that prevents the US government from determining whether gas exports to Mexico are in the public interest. This creates an automatic gas export guarantee, which will increase fracking, expand cross-border gas pipelines, and increase dependency on Mexican climate-polluting gas.

Food and Water Watch summarizes:

“The energy provisions will encourage more pipelines and exports of natural gas and oil that would further expand fracking in the United States and Mexico. The text also provides new avenues for polluters to challenge and try and roll back proposed environmental safeguards, cementing Trump’s pro-polluter agenda in the trade deal.”

NAFTA-2 undermines food safety and health by making it more difficult to regulate and inspect foods. It limits inspections and allows food that fails to meet US safety standards to be imported. NAFTA-2 serves Monsanto and other giant agro-chemical corporations by allowing unregulated GMOs, rolling back Mexico’s regulation of GMOs, and letting chemical giants like Monsanto and Dow keep data on the risks of their pesticides secret for 10 years. NAFTA-2 is designed for agribusiness, not family farmers and consumers.

NAFTA-2 increases the cost of pharmaceutical drugs through intellectual property protections that go “significantly beyond” NAFTA. Trump’s NAFTA-2 gives pharmaceutical companies a minimum 10 years of market exclusivity for biologic drugs and protects US-based drug companies from generic competition, driving up the price of medicine at home and abroad.

All the ingredients that led to a mass movement of movements that stopped the Trans-Pacific Partnership  exist to stop NAFTA-2. Citizens Trade Campaign sent a letter signed by 1,043 organizations to Congress outlining civil society’s shared criteria for a NAFTA replacement. The requirements outlined in this letter have not been met.

Just as it became impossible across the political spectrum to support the TPP, we can make it impossible to support NAFTA-2. Democrats are signaling NAFTA-2 is not going to pass in its present form. After Robert Lighthizer met with Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi last week, she described NAFTA-2 as “just a list without real enforcement of the labor and environmental protections,” that would be unlikely to pass in its present form. We can stop NAFTA-2.

No Ne NAFTA protest, Fair Deal or No Deal from Green Watch

Defeat of NAFTA-2 Creates the Opportunity to Transform Trade

The defeat of NAFTA-2 will show that corporate trade will no longer be approved by Congress.  Trade must be transformed to uplift workers, reduce inequality, confront climate change and improve the quality of our food and healthcare. The defeat NAFTA-2 opens the space to make transforming trade a major issue in the 2020 presidential campaigns.

President Trump has signaled that he will withdraw from NAFTA to pressure Congress to ratify NAFTA-2. Trump’s threat to withdraw from NAFTA should not be feared but embraced. It will create an opportunity for trade transformation.

A smart presidential campaign will use the defeat of NAFTA-2 as an opportunity to begin a new era of trade transformed for the public good, serving the many, not the few. Politicians running for president in 2020 can put forward a vision of trade that the people will support.

Already, Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA) has taken initial steps in this direction. In a speech to American University, Warren said she opposed Trump’s NAFTA-2 agreement, challenged the bipartisan embrace of “free” trade, and called for starting “our defense of democracy by fixing” corporate trade. In discussing trade she said, “Wow. Did Washington get that one wrong.”  She described trade as delivering “one punch in the gut after another to workers…” She urged, “We need a new approach to trade, and it should begin with a simple principle: our policies should not prioritize corporate profits over American paychecks.” This is a start, if she adds the environment, climate change, healthcare, food safety, sovereignty and Internet freedom, she will put forward a vision of smart trade that will bring millions to support her.

Warren is not alone, Senator Sherrod Brown (OH), who easily won re-election in Ohio and is considering a presidential run, has been a longtime advocate for trade that lifts up workers and challenged agreements that failed to do so. Brown sent a letter to the president eight days after the 2016 election urging Trump to keep his trade promises. Brown voted against NAFTA in one of his first acts as a member of Congress in 1993 and wrote a book entitled “Myths of Free Trade: Why American Trade Policy Has Failed.”

Transforming trade, by rejecting corporate trade, creates an opportunity for candidates to turn a negative issue into a positive one. The movement needs to demand candidates put forward a new vision for 21st century trade.

Source Bilaterals.org

A Vision for Trade for People and Planet

We must put forward the vision for trade we want to see as part of the campaign to stop NAFTA-2. Trade in the 21st century needs to confront multiple crisis issues made worse by trade designed for corporate wealth. Transformed trade needs to focus on the public interest.

Pubic interest includes shrinking inequality within the United States and between nations. It means workers having a livable wage, encouraging worker-ownership of businesses so they grow their wealth not just their incomes. Trade should strengthen the rights of workers to organize, create unions and adhere to International Labor Organization standards.

Trade should aid in preventing transnational corporations and wealthy individuals from avoiding taxes. Trade should end tax havens and require transparency, end banking abroad or locating corporate charters offshore to ensure wealthy individuals and corporations pay their taxes. Countries can negotiate a global tax collected to solve global problems like poverty, homelessness, lack of healthcare and environmental degradation.

There are numerous environmental crises that trade needs to address. Three reports, the dire October 2018 IPCC report, warning we have 12 years to transform the energy economy to prevent climate catastrophe, the November 23, 2018 4th National Climate Assessment, which warned of the serious impacts of the climate crisis and the Global Carbon Project which reported carbon emissions are at record highs, show climate change must be central to trade policies.

International trade needs to be re-formulated to protect the labor, human rights, economy, environment and domestic industry of partner and recipient nations so local industry and agriculture has the advantage over foreign corporate domination. Trade needs to guarantee people their right to public ownership and control of their own resources. Trade agreements must protect the rights of nations to establish stricter standards for health, safety, human rights and environmental protections.

Join our No More Rigged Corporate Trade campaign and take action now.

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Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers co-direct Popular Resistance where this article was originally published.

Featured image is from PR

This article was first published by GR in December 2011

Seventy-seven years ago in December 1941. The Red Army’s Counteroffensive.

Historian Dr. Jacques Pauwels analyses the evolution of World War II,  focusing on the “Battle of Moscow” in December 1941 which preceded the defeat of German troops in Stalingrad in February 1943. According to Dr. Pauwels, the turning point was not Stalingrad but “the Battle of Moscow” and the Soviet counter-offensive launched in December 1941:

When the Red Army launched its devastating counteroffensive on December 5, Hitler himself realized that he would lose the war. But of course he was not prepared to let the German public know that. The nasty tidings from the front near Moscow were presented to the public as a temporary setback, blamed on the supposedly unexpectedly early arrival of winter and/or on the incompetence or cowardice of certain commanders.

It was only a good year later, after the catastrophic defeat in the Battle of Stalingrad during the winter of 1942-1943, that the German public, and the entire world, would realize that Germany was doomed; this is why even today many historians believe that the tide turned in Stalingrad .

Even so, it proved impossible to keep the catastrophic implications of the debacle in front of Moscow a total secret. For example, on December 19, 1941, the German Consul in Basel reported to his superiors in Berlin that the (openly pro-Nazi) head of a mission of the Swiss Red Cross, sent to the front in the Soviet Union to assist only the wounded on the German side, which of course contravened Red Cross rules, had returned to Switzerland with the news, most surprising to the Consul, that “he no longer believed that Germany could win the war.”[30]

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, December 12, 2018

The defeat of German troops at Stalingrad was on February 4, 1943 

 

***

The Battle of Moscow, December 1941: Turning Point of World War II

The Victory of the Red Army in front of Moscow was a Major Break…

by Jacques Pauwels

Global Research

6 December 2011

World War II started, at least as far as the “European Theatre” was concerned, with the German army steamrolling over Poland in September, 1939. About six months later, even more spectacular victories followed, this time over the Benelux Countries and France. By the summer of 1940, Germany looked invincible and predestined to rule the European continent indefinitely. (Great Britain admittedly refused to throw in the towel, but could not hope to win the war on its own, and had to fear that Hitler would soon turn his attention to Gibraltar, Egypt, and/or other jewels in the crown of the British Empire.) Five years later, Germany experienced the pain and humiliation of total defeat. On April 20, 1945, Hitler committed suicide in Berlin as the Red Army bulldozed its way into the city, reduced to a heap of smoking ruins, and on May 8/9 German surrendered unconditionally.

Clearly, then, sometime between late 1940 and 1944 the tide had turned rather dramatically. But when, and where? In Normandy in 1944, according to some; at Stalingrad, during the winter of 1942-43, according to others. In reality, the tide turned in December 1941 in the Soviet Union, more specifically, in the barren plain just west of Moscow. As a German historian, an expert on the war against the Soviet Union, has put it: “That victory of the Red Army [in front of Moscow] was unquestionably the major break [Zäsur] of the entire world war.”[1]

That the Soviet Union was the scene of the battle that changed the course of World War II, should come as no surprise. War against the Soviet Union was the war Hitler had wanted from the beginning, as he had made very clear on the pages of Mein Kampf, written in the mid-1920s. (But an Ostkrieg, a war in the east, i.e. against the Soviets, was also the object of desire of the German generals, of Germany’s leading industrialists, and of other “pillars” of Germany’s establishment.) In fact, as a German historian has just recently demonstrated,[2] it was a war against the Soviet Union, and not against Poland, France, or Britain, that Hitler had wanted to unleash in 1939. On August 11 of that year, Hitler explained to Carl J. Burckhardt, an official of the League of Nations, that “everything he undertook was directed against Russia,” and that “if the West [i.e. the French and the British] is too stupid and too blind to comprehend this, he would be forced to reach an understanding with the Russians, turn and defeat the West, and then turn back with all his strength to strike a blow against the Soviet Union.”[3] This is in fact what happened. The West did turn out to be “too stupid and blind”, as Hitler saw it, to give him “a free hand” in the east, so he did make a deal with Moscow – the infamous “Hitler-Stalin Pact” – and then unleashed war against Poland, France and Britain. But his objective remained the same: to attack and destroy the Soviet Union as soon as possible.

Hitler and the German generals were convinced they had learned an important lesson from World War I. Devoid of the raw materials needed to win a modern war, such as oil and rubber, Germany could not win a long, drawn-out war. In order to win the next war, Germany would have to win it fast, very fast. This is how the Blitzkrieg-concept was born, that is, the idea of warfare (Krieg) fast as “lightning” (Blitz). Blitzkrieg meant motorized war, so in preparation for such a war Germany during the thirties cranked out massive numbers of tanks and planes as well as trucks to transport troops. In addition, gargantuan amounts of oil and rubber were imported and stockpiled. Much of this oil was purchased from US corporations, some of which also kindly made available the “recipe” for producing synthetic fuel from coal.[4] In 1939 and 1940, this equipment permitted the German Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe to overwhelm the Polish, Dutch, Belgian, and French defenses with thousands of planes and tanks in a matter of weeks; Blitzkriege, “lightning-fast wars,” were invariably followed by Blitzsiege, “lightning-fast victories.”

German soldiers tend to a wounded comrade near Moscow, November–December 1941 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

These victories were spectacular enough, but they did not provide Germany with much loot in the form of vitally important oil and rubber. Instead, “lightning warfare” actually depleted the stockpiles built up before the war. Fortunately for Hitler, in 1940 and 1941 Germany was able to continue importing oil from the still neutral United States – not directly, but via other neutral (and friendly) countries such as Franco’s Spain. Moreover, under the terms of the Hitler-Stalin Pact the Soviet Union herself also supplied Germany rather generously with oil! However, it was most troubling for Hitler that, in return, Germany had to supply the Soviet Union with high-quality industrial products and state-of-the-art military technology, which was used by the Soviets to modernize their army and improve their weaponry.[5]

It is understandable that Hitler already resurrected his earlier plan for war against the Soviet Union soon after the defeat of France, namely, in the summer of 1940. A formal order to prepare plans for such an attack, to be code-named Operation Barbarossa (Unternehmen Barbarossa) was given a few months later, on December 18, 1940.[6] Already in 1939 Hitler had been most eager to attack the Soviet Union, and he had turned against the West only, as a German historian has put it, “in order to enjoy security in the rear (Rückenfreiheit) when he would finally be ready to settle accounts with the Soviet Union.” The same historian concludes that by 1940 nothing had changed as far as Hitler was concerned: “The true enemy was the one in the east.”[7] Hitler simply did not want to wait much longer before realizing the great ambition of his life, that is, before destroying the country he had defined as his archenemy in Mein Kampf. Moreover, he knew that the Soviets were frantically preparing their defenses for a German attack which, as they knew only too well, would come sooner or later. Since the Soviet Union was getting stronger by the day, time was obviously not on Hitler’s side. How much longer could he wait before the “window of opportunity” would close?

Furthermore, waging a Blitzkrieg against the Soviet Union promised to provide Germany with the virtually limitless resources of that huge country, including Ukrainian wheat to provide Germany’s population with plenty of food, also at wartime; minerals such as coal, from which synthetic rubber and oil could be produced; and – last but certainly not least! – the rich oil fields of Baku and Grozny, where the gas-guzzling Panzers and Stukas would be able to fill their tanks to the brim at any time. Steeled with these assets, it would then be a simple matter for Hitler to settle accounts with Britain, starting, for example, with the capture of Gibraltar. Germany would finally be a genuine world power, invulnerable within a European “fortress” stretching from the Atlantic to the Urals, possessed of limitless resources, and therefore capable to win even long, drawn-out wars against any antagonist – including the US! – in one of the future “wars of the continents” conjured up in Hitler’s feverish imagination.

Red Army ski troops in Moscow. Still from documentary Moscow Strikes Back, 1942 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Hitler and his generals were confident that the Blitzkrieg they prepared to unleash against the Soviet Union would be as successful as their earlier “lightning wars” against Poland and France had been. They considered the Soviet Union as a “giant with feet of clay”, whose army, presumably decapitated by Stalin’s purges of the late 1930s, was “not more than a joke,” as Hitler himself put it on one occasion.[8] In order to fight, and of course win, the decisive battles, they allowed for a campaign of four to six weeks, possibly to be followed by some mopping-up operations, during which the remnants of the Soviet host would “be chased across the country like a bunch of beaten Cossacks.”[9] In any event, Hitler felt supremely confident, and on the eve of the attack, he “fancied himself to be on the verge of the greatest triumph of his life.”[10]

(In Washington and London, the military experts likewise believed that the Soviet Union would not be able to put up significant resistance to the Nazi juggernaut, whose military exploits of 1939-40 had earned it a reputation of invincibility. The British secret services were convinced that the Soviet Union would be “liquidated within eight to ten weeks,” and Field Marshal Sir John Dill, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, averred that the Wehrmacht would slice through the Red Army “like a warm knife through butter,” that the Red Army would be rounded up “like cattle.” According to expert opinion in Washington, Hitler would “crush Russia [sic] like an egg.”)[11]

The German attack started on June 22, 1941, in the early hours of the morning. Three million German soldiers and almost 700,000 allies of Nazi Germany crossed the border, and their equipment consisted of 600,000 motor vehicles, 3,648 tanks, more than 2.700 planes, and just over 7,000 pieces of artillery.[12] At first, everything went according to the plan. Huge holes were punched in the Soviet defences, impressive territorial gains were made rapidly, and hundreds of thousands of Red Army soldiers were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner in a number of spectacular “encirclement battles” (Kesselschlachten). After one such battle, fought in the vicinity of Smolensk towards the end of July, the road to Moscow seemed to lay open.

Armed with heavy shovels, a hastily assembled work force of Moscow women and elderly men gouge a huge tank trap out of the earth to halt German Panzers advancing on the Russian capital. In the feverish effort to save the city, more than 100,000 citizens labored from mid-October until late November digging ditches and building other obstructions. When completed, the ditches extended more than 100 miles. Source: Scanned from “Russia Besieged” (ISBN 705405273), page 165 Image originally from the United States Information Agency

However, all too soon it became evident that the Blitzkrieg in the east would not be the cakewalk that had been expected. Facing the most powerful military machine on earth, the Red Army predictably took a major beating but, as Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels confided to his diary as early as July 2, also put up a tough resistance and hit back pretty hard on more than one occasion. General Franz Halder, in many ways the “godfather” of Operation Barbarossa’s plan of attack, acknowledged that Soviet resistance was much tougher than anything the Germans had faced in Western Europe. Wehrmacht reports cited “hard,” “tough,” even “wild” resistance, causing heavy losses in men and equipment on the German side.[13] More often than expected, Soviet forces managed to launch counter-attacks that slowed down the German advance. Some Soviet units went into hiding in the vast Pripet Marshes and elsewhere, organized deadly partisan warfare, and threatened the long and vulnerable German lines of communication.[14] It also turned out that the Red Army was much better equipped than expected. German generals were “amazed,” writes a German historian, by the quality of Soviet weapons such as the Katyusha rocket launcher (a.k.a. “Stalin Organ”) and the T-34 tank. Hitler was furious that his secret services had not been aware of the existence of some of this weaponry.[15]

The greatest cause of concern, as far as the Germans were concerned, was the fact that the bulk of the Red Army managed to withdraw in relatively good order and eluded destruction in a major Kesselschlacht, the kind of repeat of Cannae or Sedan that Hitler and his generals had dreamed of. The Soviets appeared to have carefully observed and analyzed the German Blitzkrieg successes of 1939 and 1940 and to have learned useful lessons. They must have noticed that in May 1940 the French had massed their forces right at the border as well as in Belgium, thus making it possible for the German war machine to encircle them in a major Kesselschlacht. (British troops were also caught in this encirclement, but managed to escape via Dunkirk.) The Soviets did leave some troops at the border, of course, and these troops predictably suffered the Soviet Union’s major losses during the opening stages of Barbarossa. But – contrary to what is claimed by historians such as Richard Overy[16] – the bulk of the Red Army was held back in the rear, avoiding entrapment. It was this “defence in depth” that frustrated the German ambition to destroy the Red Army in its entirety. As Marshal Zhukov was to write in his memoirs, “the Soviet Union would have been smashed if we had organized all our forces at the border.”[17]

By the middle of July, as Hitler’s war in the east started to lose its Blitz-qualities, some German leaders started to voice great concern. Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of the Wehrmacht’s secret service, the Abwehr, for example, confided on July 17 to a colleague on the front, General von Bock, that he saw “nothing but black.” On the home front, many German civilians also started to feel that the war in the east was not going well. In Dresden, Victor Klemperer wrote in his diary on July 13: “We suffer immense losses, we have underestimated the Russians…”[18] Around the same time Hitler himself abandoned his belief in a quick and easy victory and scaled down his expectations; he now expressed the hope that his troops might reach the Volga by October and capture the oil fields of the Caucasus a month or so later.[19] By the end of August, at a time when Barbarossa should have been winding down, a memorandum of the Wehrmacht’s High Command (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, OKW) acknowledged that it might no longer be possible to win the war in 1941.[20]

A 7 November 1941 parade by Soviet troops on Red Square depicted in this 1949 painting by Konstantin Yuon vividly demonstrates the symbolic significance of the event (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

A major problem was the fact that, when Barbarossa started on June 22, the available supplies of fuel, tires, spare parts etc., were only good enough for about two months. This had been deemed sufficient, because it was expected that within two months the Soviet Union would be on its knees and its unlimited resources – industrial products as well as raw materials – would therefore be available to the Germans.[21] However, by late August the German spearheads were nowhere near those distant regions of the Soviet Union where oil, that most precious of all martial commodities, was to be had. If the tanks managed to keep on rolling, though increasingly slowly, into the seemingly endless Russian and Ukrainian expanses, it was to a large extent by means of fuel and rubber imported, via Spain and occupied France, from the US. The American share of Germany’s imports of vitally important oil for engine lubrication (Motorenöl), for example, increased rapidly during the summer of 1941, namely, from 44 per cent in July to no less than 94 per cent in September.[22]

The flames of optimism flared up again in September, when German troops captured Kiev, bagging 650,000 prisoners, and, further north, made progress in the direction of Moscow. Hitler believed, or at least pretended to believe, that the end was now near for the Soviets. In a public speech in the Berlin Sportpalast on October 3, he declared that the eastern war was virtually over. And the Wehrmacht was ordered to deliver the coup de grace by launching Operation Typhoon (Unternehmen Taifun), an offensive aimed at taking Moscow. However, the odds for success looked increasingly slim, as the Soviets were busily bringing in reserve units from the Far East. (They had been informed by their master spy in Tokyo, Richard Sorge, that the Japanese, whose army was stationed in northern China, were no longer considering to attack the Soviets’ vulnerable borders in the Vladivostok area.) To make things worse, the Germans no longer enjoyed superiority in the air, particularly over Moscow. Also, insufficient supplies of ammunition and food could be brought up from the rear to the front, since the long supply lines were severely hampered by partisan activity.[23] Finally, it was getting chilly in the Soviet Union, though no colder than usual at that time of the year. But the German high command, confident that their eastern Blitzkrieg would be over by the end of the summer, had failed to supply the troops with the equipment necessary to fight in the rain, mud, snow, and freezing temperatures of a Russian fall and winter.

Taking Moscow loomed as an extremely important objective in the minds of Hitler and his generals. It was believed, though wrongly, that the fall of Moscow would “decapitate” the Soviet Union and thus bring about its collapse. It also seemed important to avoid a repeat of the scenario of the summer of 1914, when the seemingly unstoppable German advance had been halted in extremis on the eastern outskirts of Paris, during the Battle of the Marne. This disaster -from the German perspective – had robbed Germany of nearly certain victory in the opening stages of the “Great War” and had forced it into a long, drawn-out struggle that, lacking sufficient resources and blockaded by the British Navy, it was doomed to lose. This time, in a new Great War, fought against a new archenemy, the Soviet Union, there was to be no “Miracle of the Marne,” that is, no defeat just outside the capital, and Germany would therefore not again have to fight, resourceless and blockaded, a long, drawn out conflict it would be doomed to lose. Unlike Paris, Moscow would fall, history would not repeat itself, and Germany would end up being victorious.[24] Or so they hoped in Hitler’s headquarters.

The Wehrmacht continued to advance, albeit very slowly, and by mid-November some units found themselves at only 30 kilometers from the capital. But the troops were now totally exhausted, and running out of supplies. Their commanders knew that it was simply impossible to take Moscow, tantalizingly close as the city may have been, and that even doing so would not bring them victory. On December 3, a number of units abandoned the offensive on their own initiative. Within days, however, the entire German army in front of Moscow was simply forced on the defensive. Indeed, on December 5, at 3 in the morning, in cold and snowy conditions, the Red Army suddenly launched a major, well-prepared counter-attack. The Wehrmacht’s lines were pierced in many places, and the Germans were thrown back between 100 and 280 km with heavy losses of men and equipment. It was only with great difficulty that a catastrophic encirclement (Einkesselung) could be avoided. On December 8, Hitler ordered his army to abandon the offensive and to move into defensive positions. He blamed this setback on the supposedly unexpectedly early arrival of winter, refused to pull back further to the rear, as some of his generals suggested, and proposed to attack again in the spring.[25]

Thus ended Hitler’s Blitzkrieg against the Soviet Union, the war that, had it been victorious, would have realized the great ambition of his life, the destruction of the Soviet Union. More importantly, at least from our present perspective, such a victory would also have provided Nazi Germany with sufficient oil and other resources to make it a virtually invulnerable world power. As such, Nazi Germany would very likely have been capable of finishing off stubborn Great Britain, even if the US would have rushed to help its Anglo-Saxon cousin, which, incidentally, was not yet in the cards in early December of 1941. A Blitzsieg, that is, a rapid victory against the Soviet Union, then, was supposed to have made a German defeat impossible, and would in all likelihood have done so. (It is probably fair to say that if Nazi Germany would have defeated the Soviet Union in 1941, Germany would today still be the hegemon of Europe, and possibly of the Middle East and North Africa as well.) However, defeat in the Battle of Moscow in December 1941 meant that Hitler’s Blitzkrieg did not produce the hoped-for Blitzsieg. In the new “Battle of the Marne” just to the west of Moscow, Nazi Germany suffered the defeat that made victory impossible, not only victory against the Soviet Union itself, but also victory against Great Britain, victory in the war in general.

Bearing in mind the lessons of World War I, Hitler and his generals had known from the start that, in order to win the new “Great War” they had unleashed, Germany had to win fast, lightning-fast. But on December 5, 1941, it became evident to everyone present in Hitler’s headquarters that a Blitzsieg against the Soviet Union would not be forthcoming, so that Germany was doomed to lose the war, if not sooner, then later. According to General Alfred Jodl, Chief of the Operations Staff of the OKW, Hitler then realized that he could no longer win the war.[26] And so it can be argued that the tide of World War II turned on December 5, 1941. However, as real tides do not turn suddenly, but gradually and imperceptibly, the tide of the war also turned not on one single day, but over a period of days, weeks, even months, namely in the period of approximately three months that elapsed between the late summer of 1941 and early December of that same year.

The tide of the war in the east turned gradually, but it did not do so imperceptibly. Already in August 1941, as the German successes failed to bring about a Soviet capitulation and the Wehrmacht’s advance slowed down considerably, astute observers started to doubt that a German victory, not only in the Soviet Union but in the war in general, still belonged to the realm of possibilities. The well-informed Vatican, for example, initially very enthusiastic about Hitler’s “crusade” against the Soviet homeland of “godless” Bolshevism and confident that the Soviets would collapse immediately, started to express grave concerns about the situation in the east in late summer 1941; by mid-October, it was to come to the conclusion that Germany would lose the war.[27] Likewise in mid-October, the Swiss secret services reported that “the Germans can no longer win the war”; that conclusion was based on information gathered in Sweden from statements by visiting German officers.[28] By late November, a defeatism of sorts had started to infect the higher ranks of the Wehrmacht and of the Nazi Party. Even as they were urging their troops forward towards Moscow, some generals opined that it would be preferable to make peace overtures and wind down the war without achieving the great victory that had seemed so certain at the start of Operation Barbarossa. And shortly before the end of November, Armament Minister Fritz Todt asked Hitler to find a diplomatic way out of the war, since purely militarily as well as industrially it was as good as lost.[29]

When the Red Army launched its devastating counteroffensive on December 5, Hitler himself realized that he would lose the war. But of course he was not prepared to let the German public know that. The nasty tidings from the front near Moscow were presented to the public as a temporary setback, blamed on the supposedly unexpectedly early arrival of winter and/or on the incompetence or cowardice of certain commanders. (It was only a good year later, after the catastrophic defeat in the Battle of Stalingrad during the winter of 1942-1943, that the German public, and the entire world, would realize that Germany was doomed; this is why even today many historians believe that the tide turned in Stalingrad .) Even so, it proved impossible to keep the catastrophic implications of the debacle in front of Moscow a total secret. For example, on December 19, 1941, the German Consul in Basel reported to his superiors in Berlin that the (openly pro-Nazi) head of a mission of the Swiss Red Cross, sent to the front in the Soviet Union to assist only the wounded on the German side, which of course contravened Red Cross rules, had returned to Switzerland with the news, most surprising to the Consul, that “he no longer believed that Germany could win the war.”[30]

December 7. 1941. In his headquarters deep in the forests of East Prussia, Hitler had not yet fully digested the ominous news of the Soviet counter-offensive in front of Moscow, when he learned that, on the other side of the world, the Japanese had attacked the Americans at Pearl Harbour. This caused the US to declare war on Japan, but not on Germany, which had nothing to do with the attack and had not even been aware of the Japanese plans. Hitler had no obligation whatsoever to rush to the aid of his Japanese friends, as is claimed by many American historians, but on December 11, 1941 – four days after Pearl Harbor – he declared war on the US. This seemingly irrational decision must be understood in light of the German predicament in the Soviet Union. Hitler almost certainly speculated that this entirely gratuitous gesture of solidarity would induce his Eastern ally to reciprocate with a declaration of war on the enemy of Germany, the Soviet Union, and this would have forced the Soviets into the extremely perilous predicament of a two-front war. Hitler appears to have believed that he could exorcize the spectre of defeat in the Soviet Union, and in the war in general, by summoning a sort of Japanese deus ex machina to the Soviet Union’s vulnerable Siberian frontier. According to the German historian Hans W. Gatzke, the Führer was convinced that “if Germany failed to join Japan [in the war against the United States], it would…end all hope for Japanese help against the Soviet Union.” But Japan did not take Hitler’s bait. Tokyo, too, despised the Soviet state, but the land of the rising sun, now at war against the US, could afford the luxury of a two-front war as little as the Soviets, and preferred to put all of its money on a “southern” strategy, hoping to win the big prize of Southeast Asia – including oil-rich Indonesia! -, rather than embark on a venture in the inhospitable reaches of Siberia. Only at the very end of the war, after the surrender of Nazi Germany, would it come to hostilities between the Soviet Union and Japan. [31]

And so, because of Hitler’s own fault, the camp of Germany’s enemies now included not only Great Britain and the Soviet Union, but also the mighty USA, whose troops could be expected to appear on Germany’s shores, or at least on the shores of German-occupied Europe, in the foreseeable future. The Americans would indeed land troops in France, but only in 1944, and this unquestionably important event is still often presented as the turning point of World War II. However, one should ask if the Americans would ever have landed in Normandy or, for that matter, ever have declared war on Nazi Germany, if Hitler had not declared war on them on December 11, 1941; and one should ask if Hitler would ever have made the desperate, even suicidal, decision to declare war on the US if he had not found himself in a hopeless situation in the Soviet Union. The involvement of the US in the war against Germany, then, which for many reasons was not “in the cards” before December 1941, was also a consequence of the German setback in front of Moscow. Obviously, this constitutes yet another fact that may be cited in support of the claim that “the tide turned” in the Soviet Union in the fall and early winter of 1941.

Nazi Germany was doomed, but the war was still to be long one. Hitler ignored the advice of his generals, who strongly recommend trying to find a diplomatic way out of the war, and decided to battle on in the slim hope of somehow pulling victory out of a hat. The Russian counter-offensive would run out of steam, the Wehrmacht would survive the winter of 1941-1942, and in the spring of 1942 Hitler would scrape together all available forces for an offensive – code-named “Operation Blue” (Unternehmen Blau) – in the direction of the oil fields of the Caucasus – via Stalingrad. Hitler himself acknowledged that, “if he did not get the oil of Maikop and Grozny, then he would have to end this war.”[32] However, the element of surprise had been lost, and the Soviets proved to dispose of huge masses of men, oil, and other resources, as well as excellent equipment, much of it produced in factories that had been established behind the Urals between 1939 and 1941. The Wehrmacht, on the other hand, could not compensate for the huge losses it had suffered in 1941. Between June 22, 1941, and January 31, 1942, the Germans had lost 6,000 airplanes and more than 3,200 tanks and similar vehicles; and no less than 918,000 men had been killed, wounded, or gone missing in action, amounting to 28,7 percent of the average strength of the army, namely, 3,2 million men.[33] (In the Soviet Union, Germany would lose no less than 10 million of its total 13.5 million men killed, wounded, or taken prisoner during the entire war; and the Red Army would end up claiming credit for 90 per cent of all Germans killed in the Second World War.)[34] The forces available for a push towards the oil fields of the Caucasus were therefore extremely limited. Under those circumstances, it is quite remarkable that in 1942 the Germans managed to make it as far as they did. But when their offensive inevitably petered out, namely in September of that year, their weakly held lines were stretched along many hundreds of kilometers, presenting a perfect target for a Soviet attack. When that attack came, it caused an entire German army to be bottled up, and ultimately to be destroyed, in Stalingrad. It was after this great victory of the Red Army that the ineluctability of German defeat in World War II would be obvious for all to see. However, the seemingly minor and relatively unheralded German defeat in front of Moscow in late 1941 had been the precondition for the admittedly more spectacular and more “visible” German defeat at Stalingrad.

Medal “For the Defence of Moscow”: 1,028,600 were awarded from 1 May 1944.

There are even more reasons to proclaim December 1941 as the turning point of the war. The Soviet counter-offensive destroyed the reputation of invincibility in which the Wehrmacht had basked ever since its success against Poland in 1939, thus boosting the morale of Germany’s enemies everywhere. The Battle of Moscow also ensured that the bulk of Germany’s armed forces would be tied to an eastern front of approximately 4,000 km for an indefinite period of time, which all but eliminated the possibility of German operations against Gibraltar, for example, and thus provided tremendous relief to the British. Conversely, the failure of the Blitzkrieg demoralized the Fins and other German allies. And so forth…

It was in front of Moscow, in December 1941, that the tide turned, because it was there that the Blitzkrieg failed and that Nazi Germany was consequently forced to fight, without sufficient resources, the kind of long, drawn-out war that Hitler and his generals knew they could not possibly win.

Jacques R. Pauwels, author of The Myth of the Good War: America in the Second World War, James Lorimer, Toronto, 2002.

Notes

[1] Gerd R. Ueberschär, „Das Scheitern des ‚Unternehmens Barbarossa‘“, in Gerd R. Ueberschär and Wolfram Wette (eds.), Der deutsche Überfall auf die Sowjetunion: “Unternehmen Barbarossa” 1941, Frankfurt am Main, 2011, p. 120.

[2] Rolf-Dieter Müller, Der Feind steht im Osten: Hitlers geheime Pläne für einen Krieg gegen die Sowjetunion im Jahr 1939, Berlin, 2011.

[3] Cited in Müller, op. cit., p. 152.

[4] Jacques R. Pauwels, The Myth of the Good War: America in the Second World War, James Lorimer, Toronto, 2002, pp. 33, 37.

[5] Lieven Soete, Het Sovjet-Duitse niet-aanvalspact van 23 augustus 1939: Politieke Zeden in het Interbellum, Berchem [Antwerp], Belgium, 1989, pp. 289-290, including footnote 1 on p. 289.

[6] See e.g. Gerd R. Ueberschär, “Hitlers Entschluß zum ‘Lebensraum’-Krieg im Osten: Programmatisches Ziel oder militärstrategisches Kalkül?,” in Gerd R. Ueberschär and Wolfram Wette (eds.), Der deutsche Überfall auf die Sowjetunion: “Unternehmen Barbarossa” 1941, Frankfurt am Main, 2011, p. 39.

[7] Müller, op. cit., p. 169.

[8] Ueberschär, “Das Scheitern…,” p. 95.

[9] Müller, op. cit., pp. 209, 225.

[10] Ueberschär, “Hitlers Entschluß…”, p. 15.

[11] Pauwels, op. cit., p. 62; Ueberschär, „Das Scheitern…,“ pp. 95-96; Domenico Losurdo, Stalin: Storia e critica di una leggenda nera, Rome, 2008, p. 29.

[12] Müller, op. cit., p. 243.

[13] Richard Overy, Russia’s War, London, 1997, p. 87.

[14] Ueberschär, “Das Scheitern…“, pp. 97-98.

[15] Ueberschär, “Das Scheitern…“, p. 97; Losurdo, op. cit., p. 31.

[16] Overy, op. cit., pp. 64-65.

[17] Grover Furr, Khrushchev Lied : The Evidence That Every ‘Revelation’ of Stalin’s (and Beria’s) ‘Crimes’ in Nikita Khrushchev’s Infamous ‘Secret Speech’ to the 20th Party Congress of the Communist Party of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union on February 25, 1956, is Provably False, Kettering/Ohio, 2010, p. 343: Losurdo, op. cit., p. 31; Soete, op. cit., p. 297.

[18] Losurdo, op. cit., pp. 31-32.

[19] Bernd Wegner, “Hitlers zweiter Feldzug gegen die Sowjetunion: Strategische Grundlagen und historische Bedeutung“, in Wolfgang Michalka (ed.), Der Zweite Weltkrieg: Analysen – Grundzüge – Forschungsbilanz, München and Zurich, 1989, p. 653.

[20] Ueberschär, “Das Scheitern…“, p. 100.

[21] Müller, op. cit., p. 233.

[22] Tobias Jersak, “Öl für den Führer,“ Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, February 11, 1999. Jersak used a “top secret” document produced by the Wehrmacht Reichsstelle für Mineralöl, now in the military section of the Bundesarchiv (Federal Archives), file RW 19/2694.

[23] Ueberschär, “Das Scheitern…“, pp. 99-102, 106-107.

[24] Ueberschär, “Das Scheitern…“, p. 106.

[25] Ueberschär, “Das Scheitern…,” pp. 107-111; Geoffrey Roberts, Stalin`s Wars from World War to Cold War, 1939-1953, New Haven/CT and London, 2006, p. 111.

[26] Andreas Hillgruber (ed.), Der Zweite Weltkrieg 1939–1945: Kriegsziele und Strategie der Grossen Mächte, fifth edition, Stuttgart, 1989, p. 81.

[27] Annie Lacroix-Riz, Le Vatican, l’Europe et le Reich de la Première Guerre mondiale à la guerre froide, Paris, 1996, p. 417.

[28] Daniel Bourgeois, Business helvétique et troisième Reich : Milieux d’affaires, politique étrangère, antisémitisme, Lausanne, 1998, pp. 123, 127.

[29] Ueberschär, “Das Scheitern…“, pp. 107-108.

[30] Bourgeois, op. cit., pp. 123, 127.

[31] Pauwels, op. cit., pp. 68-69; quotation from Hans W. Gatzke, Germany and the United States: A “Special Relationship?,” Cambridge/MA, and London, 1980, p. 137.

[32] Wegner, op. cit., pp. 654-656.

[33] Ueberschär, “Das Scheitern…,” p. 116.

[34] Clive Ponting, Armageddon: The Second World War, London, 1995, p. 130; Stephen E. Ambrose Americans at War, New York, 1998, p. 72.

Video: Behind the US Attack on Chinese Smartphones

December 12th, 2018 by Manlio Dinucci

After having imposed heavy taxes on Chinese merchandise – 250 billion dollars – President Trump, at the G-20, accepted a “truce” by postponing further measures, mainly because the US economy has been struck by Chinese retaliation.

But apart from these commercial considerations, there are also some strategic reasons. Under pressure from the Pentagon and the Intelligence agencies, the USA took the decision to forbid the use of Smartphones and telecommunications infrastructures from the Chinese company Huawei, warning that they may potentially be used for espionage, and pressured their allies to do the same.

The warning concerning the danger of Chinese espionage, especially addressed to Italy, Germany and Japan, countries which house the most important US military bases, came from the same US Intelligence agencies which have been spying on the telephone communications of their allies for years, in particular in Germany and Japan. The US company Apple, at one time the undisputed leader in the sector, saw its sales doubled by Huawei (a company owned by its workers as share-holders), which moved up to the world second place behind the South Korean company Samsung. This is emblematic of a general tendency.

The United States – whose economic supremacy is based artificially on the dollar, until now the main currency for monetary reserves and world commerce – has increasingly been overtaken by China, both in capacity and production quality. The New York Times wrote that

“The West was certain that the Chinese approach was not going to work. All it had to do was wait. It’s still waiting. China is planning a vast global network of commerce, investments and infrastructures, which will remodel financial and geopolitical relations”.

This came about above all, though not entirely, along the New Silk Road that China is currently building across 70 Asian, European and African nations.

The New York Times examined 600 projects which have been implemented by China in 112 countries, including 41 oil and gas pipelines, 199 energy centrals, most of them hydro-electric, (including seven dams in Cambodia which supply half of the country’s needs in electricity), 203 bridges, roads and railways, plus several major ports in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and other countries.

All of this is regarded by Washington as “an aggression against our vital interests”, as declared by the Pentagon in the National Defense Strategy for the United States of America 2018. The Pentagon defines China as a “strategic competitor which uses a predatory economy to intimidate its neighbours”, willfuly overlooking the series of wars waged until 1949 by the United States, including against China, to strip these countries of their resources.

While China is building dams, railways and bridges, useful not only for its commercial network, but also for the development of the countries concerned, in the US wars, dams, railways and bridges are the first targets to be destroyed. China is accused by the Pentagon of “intending to impose, in the short term, its hegemony in the Indo-Pacific region, and catch the United States off-guard in order to achieve future global pre-eminence”, together with Russia, accused of wanting to “crush NATO” and “sabotage the democratic process in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine”.

This is the source of the “incident” in the Kerch Strait, provoked by Kiev under the command of the Pentagon, intended to sabotage the meeting between Presidents Trump and Putin at the G-20 (which is what happened) and force Ukraine into NATO, of which it is already a de facto member.

“Long-term strategic competition with China and Russia” is considered by the Pentagon to be a “main priority”. For this purpose, “we shall modernise our nuclear forces and reinforce the trans-Atlantic Alliance of NATO”.

Behind the commercial war lurks nuclear war.

Source: PandoraTV

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This article was originally published in Italian on Il Manifesto.

Translated by Pete Kimberley

Manlio Dinucci is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

All politicians lie, cheat and deceive in deference to special interests they serve. Ignore what politicians say. Follow only what they do. Their policies speak for themselves. Macron is a former Rothschild banker/economy minister beholden to monied interests. His Monday address left his anti-populist agenda unchanged.

He’s well aware of Mayer Amschel Rothschild once explaining that nations are dominated by controlling their money, the key tool in benefitting privileged interests at the expense of ordinary people.

It’s the supreme power above all others. The Fed, Bank of England, Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank, and central bank to member central banks Bank of International Settlements (BIS) have enormous powers far greater than most people imagine.

They operate like the shadowy world of Mafia dons, ruling the world by controlling money, Macron and other world leaders like him beholden to what benefits monied interests at the expense of the general welfare.

That’s what weeks of Yellow Vest rage in France is all about. State-sponsored neoliberal harshness-enforced social injustice is the root cause of what’s going on.

Unacceptably high fuel taxes are symbolic of the overriding issue. French activists want Liberté, Égalité, and Fraternité for real, not woefully inadequate gestures, what Macron presented in his Monday nationwide address.

National Rally party leader Marine Le Pen called his Monday address little more than a “strategic retreat”, adding:

He “refuses to admit that his (neoliberal) management model is being challenged. This model represents excessive globalization, unfair competition, (and unfair) free trade” – failing to address the root cause of protests.

He likely failed to assuage widespread public anger and opposition to exploitive rule. Declaring a “social and economic state of emergency” was followed by woefully inadequate promises, unacceptable crumbs.

Opposition politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon called for “Act 5 of the citizen revolution in our country,” urging “great mobilization” for social justice Macron’s regime rejects.

His too little too late announced minimum wage increase, along with tax cuts for pensioners and overtime workers, won’t likely quell public anger.

Since taking office in May 2017, he waged war on labor. His popularity plunged from a 62% high to 23% over hugely unpopular social spending cuts, along with empowering business to negotiate hours, pay and benefits, slash the number of worker committees, and limit penalties for wrongful dismissals – without union involvement.

Melenchon earlier called his so-called labor reform a “social welfare coup d’etat.” Business leaders love it, wanting the ability to exploit workers freely.

Macron partly circumvented parliament through executive order policymaking. In America, Britain, France, and other Western countries, ordinary people are exploited so privileged ones can benefit.

Hubris, arrogance, and dismissiveness toward ordinary French people define Macron’s agenda, partnering with Washington’s imperial agenda, waging economic, financial, propaganda, and hot war on humanity.

Last May, he ordered tens of thousands of civil service worker cuts, benefits for French railway workers slashed, university admissions policies restructured, mass teacher layoffs, and tax cuts for business – similar to the wealth transference scheme in America and elsewhere in the West.

Offering “immediate and concrete measures…to the economic and social urgency…by cutting taxes more rapidly, by keeping our spending under control, but not with U-turns” was too little, too late, and unacceptable.

He declined to reinstitute the solidarity tax on wealth he ended so high net-worth households don’t pay their fair share.

Promising to address tax evasion, saying “France needs to make sure that the rich and the big corporations pay the taxes they owe” was an empty gesture. Clever corporate accountants and tax lawyers have lots of ways to minimize taxes for their clients.

Macron ignored what protesters want most – revolutionary change, social justice over neoliberal harshness, a radical reversal of governance serving privileged interests exclusively, the way it is in France, throughout the West, and most elsewhere.

Former presidential candidate/Mouvement Generation founder Benoit Hamon likely spoke for millions of ordinary French people, saying “(w)e expect a real redistribution of wealth” – accusing Macron of exclusively serving the rich.

His Monday address was little more than old wine in new bottles with inadequate window dressing, his unacceptable agenda unchanged.

Revolutionary change is what Yellow Vest protests are all about – Macron’s neoliberal policies why they were launched in the first place.

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

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“Fake News” Is Fake News, according to William Blum

December 11th, 2018 by William Blum

Our thoughts are with William Blum who passed away on December 9, 2018 at age 85. 

William was at the forefront of critical debate and analysis of US foreign policy. He combined Honesty and Truth with carefully documented analysis. His important legacy will live.

Below is one of his recent articles on “fake news”

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The people who created Facebook and Google must be smart. They’re billionaires, their companies are worth multi-multi billions, their programs are used by billions around the world.

But all these smart people, because of Congressional pressure, have swallowed the stories about “fake news”. Facebook hired a very large staff of people to read everything posted by users to weed out the fake stuff. That didn’t last too long at all before the company announced that it wasn’t “comfortable” deciding which news sources are the most trustworthy in a “world with so much division”. We all could have told them that, couldn’t we?

Facebook’s previous efforts to ask its users to determine the accuracy of news did not turn out any better. Last year, the company launched a feature that allowed users to flag news stories they felt were inaccurate. The experiment was shuttered after nine months.

Author William Blum (right)

“Fake news”, however, is not the problem. News found in the mainstream media is rarely fake; i.e., actual lies made from whole cloth, totally manufactured. This was, however, a common practice of the CIA during the first Cold War. The Agency wrote editorials and phoney news stories to be knowingly published by Latin American media with no indication of CIA authorship or CIA payment to the particular media. The propaganda value of such a “news” items might be multiplied by being picked up by other CIA stations in Latin America who would disseminate it through a CIA-owned news agency or a CIA-owned radio station. Some of these stories made their way back to the United States to be read or heard by unknowing North Americans.

Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction” in 2003 is another valid example of “fake news”, but like the CIA material this was more a government invention than a media creation.

The main problem with the media today, as earlier, is what is left out of articles dealing with controversial issues. For example, the very common practice during the first Cold War of condemning the Soviet Union for taking over much of Eastern Europe after the Second World War. This takeover is certainly based on fact. But the condemnation is very much misapplied if no mention is made of the fact that Eastern Europe became communist because Hitler, with the approval of the West, used it as a highway to reach the Soviet Union to wipe out Bolshevism once and for all; the Russians in World Wars I and II lost about 40 million people because the West had twice used this highway to invade Russia. It should not be surprising that after World War II the Soviets were determined to close down the highway. It was not simply “communist expansion”.

Or the case of Moammar Gaddafi. In the Western media he is invariably referred to as “the Libyan dictator”. Period. And he certainly was a dictator. But he also did many marvelous things for the people of Libya (like the highest standard of living in Africa) and for the continent of Africa (like creating the African Union).

Or the case of Vladimir Putin. The Western media never tires of reminding its audience that Putin was once a KGB lieutenant colonel – wink, wink, we all know what that means, chuckle, chuckle. But do they ever remind us with a wink or chuckle that US President George H.W. Bush was once – not merely a CIA officer, but the fucking Director of the CIA!

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg now says:

“We decided that having the community determine which sources are broadly trusted would be most objective”; “broadly trusted” sources being those that are “affirmed by a significant cross-section of users”.

Right, a significant cross-section of users – Will that include me? Highly unlikely. Broadly trusted sources – Will that include media like my Anti-Empire Report? Just as unlikely. Anything close? Maybe a single token leftist website amongst a large list, I’d guess. And a single token rightist website. Zuckerberg and his ilk probably think that the likes of NBC, NPR and CNN are very objective and are to be trusted when it comes to US foreign-policy issues or capitalism-vs-socialism issues.

On January 19 Google announced that it would cancel a two-month old experiment, called Knowledge Panel, that informed its users that a news article had been disputed by “independent fact-checking organizations”. Conservatives had complained that the feature unfairly targeted a right-leaning outlet.

Imagine that. It’s almost like people have political biases. Both Facebook and Google are still experimenting, trying to find a solution that I do not think exists. My solution is to leave it as it is. There’s no automated way to remove bias or slant or judgment from writing or from those persons assigned to evaluate such.

Fake news by omission – the Haiti example

“I’m happy to have a president that will bluntly speak the truth in negotiations,” Eric Prince commented on Breitbart News. “If the president says some places are shitholes, he’s accurate.”

Thus did Mr. Eric Prince pay homage to Mr. Donald Trump. Prince of course being the renowned founder of Blackwater, the private army which in September 2007 opened fire in a crowded square in Baghdad, killing 17 Iraqi civilians and seriously wounding 20 more.

Speaking of Haiti and other “shitholes”, Prince declared:

“It’s a sad characterization of many of these places. It’s not based on race. It has nothing to do with race. It has to do with corrupt incompetent governments that abuse their citizens, and that results in completely absent infrastructure to include open sewers, and unclean water, and crime. It’s everything we don’t want in America.”

Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide

Like the US media, Prince failed to point out that on two occasions in the recent past when Haiti had a decent government, led by Jean-Bertrand Aristide, which was motivated to improve conditions, the United States was instrumental in nullifying its effect. This was in addition to fully supporting the Duvalier dictatorship for nearly 30 years prior to Aristide.

Aristide, a reformist priest, was elected to the presidency in 1991 but was ousted eight months later in a military coup. The 1993 Clinton White House thus found itself in the awkward position of having to pretend – because of all their rhetoric about “democracy” – that they supported the democratically-elected Aristide’s return to power from his exile in he US. After delaying his return for more than two years, Washington finally had its military restore Aristide to office, but only after obliging the priest to guarantee that he would not help the poor at the expense of the rich – literally! – and that he would stick closely to free-market economics. This meant that Haiti would continue to be the assembly plant of the Western Hemisphere, with its workers receiving starvation wages, literally! If Aristide had thoughts about breaking the agreement forced upon him, he had only to look out his window – US troops were stationed in Haiti for the remainder of his term.

In 2004, with Aristide once again the elected president, the United States staged one of its most blatant coups ever. On February 28, 2004, American military and diplomatic personnel arrived at Aristide’s home to inform him that his private American security agents must either leave immediately to return to the US or fight and die; that the remaining 25 of the American security agents hired by the Haitian government, who were to arrive the next day, had been blocked by the United States from coming; that foreign and Haitian rebels were nearby, heavily armed, determined and ready to kill thousands of people in a bloodbath. Aristide was pressured to sign a “letter of resignation” before he was flown into exile by the United States.

And then US Secretary of State Colin Powell, in the sincerest voice he could muster, told the world that Aristide “was not kidnaped. We did not force him onto the airplane. He went onto the airplane willingly. And that’s the truth.” Powell sounded as sincere as he had sounded a year earlier when he gave the UN a detailed (albeit imaginary) inventory of the chemical, biological and nuclear weapons in Iraq, shortly before the US invasion.

Jean-Bertrand Aristide was on record, by word and deed, as not being a great lover of globalization or capitalism. This was not the kind of man the imperial mafia wanted in charge of the Western Hemisphere’s assembly plant. It was only a matter of time before they took action.

It should be noted that the United States also kept progressives out of power in El Salvador, another of Trump’s “shithole” countries.

Liberals today

On January 24 I went to the Washington, DC bookstore Politics & Prose to hear David Cay Johnston, author of “It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America”. To my surprise he repeatedly said negative things about Russia, and in the Q&A session I politely asked him about this. He did not take kindly to that and after a very brief exchange cut me off by asking for the next person in line to ask a question.

That was the end of our exchange. No one in the large audience came to my defense or followed up with a question in the same vein; i.e., the author as cold warrior. The only person who spoke to me afterwards had only this to say as he passed me by: “Putin kills people”. Putin had not been mentioned. I should have asked him: “Which government never kills anyone?”

Politics & Prose is a very liberal bookstore. (Amongst many authors of the left, I’ve spoken there twice.) Its patrons are largely liberal. But liberals these days are largely cold warriors it appears. Even though the great majority of them can’t stand Trump they have swallowed the anti-Russia line of his administration and the media, perhaps because of the belief that “Russian meddling” in the election led to dear Hillary’s defeat, the proof of which sees more non-existent with each passing day.

Sam Smith (who puts out the Progressive Review in Maine) has written about Hillary’s husband:

“A major decline of progressive America occurred during the Clinton years as many liberals and their organizations accepted the presence of a Democratic president as an adequate substitute for the things liberals once believed in. Liberalism and a social democratic spirit painfully grown over the previous 60 years withered during the Clinton administration.”

And shortly afterward came Barack Obama, not only a Democrat but an African-American, the perfect setup for a lot more withering, health care being a good example. The single-payer movement was regularly gaining momentum when Obama took office; it seemed like America was finally going to join the modern advanced world. But Mr. O put a definitive end to that. Profit – even of the type Mr. Trump idealizes – would still determine who is to live and who is to die, just like Jews intone during Rosh Hashanah.

Poor America. It can travel to other planets, create a military force powerful enough to conquer the world ten times over, invent the Internet and a thousand other things … but it can’t provide medical care for all its people.

Now, three of the richest men in the world, the heads of Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JP Morgan Chase, which collectively employ more than a million people, have announced they are partnering to create an independent company aimed at reining in ever-increasing health-care costs for companies and employees alike. The three men will pursue this objective through a company whose initial focus will be on technology solutions that will provide US employees and their families with simplified, high-quality and transparent healthcare at a reasonable cost. Almost no details were made available on how they plan to do this, but I predict that whatever they do will fail. They have lots of models to emulate – in Canada, Europe, Cuba and elsewhere – but to an American nostril these examples all suffer from the same unpleasant odor, the smell of socialism.

I say this even though their announcement states that the new company will be “free from profit-making incentives and constraints”.  And Warren Buffet, head of Berkshire Hathaway, is cited on CNN as follows:

“Warren Buffett says America is ready for single-payer health care. The billionaire investor tells PBS NewsHour that government-run health insurance ‘probably is the best system’ because it would control escalating costs. ‘We are such a rich country. In a sense, we can afford to do it.’”

Of course the US could have afforded to do it 50 years ago. I really hope that my cynicism is misplaced.

The Trump Bubble. (Written before the market crashed)

Repeatedly, President Trump and his supporters have bragged about the “booming” stock market, attributing it to the administration’s marvelous economic policies and the great public confidence in those policies. Like much of what comes out of the Donald’s mouth … this is simply nonsense.

The stock market is, and always has been, just a gambling casino, a glorified Las Vegas. Every day a bunch of people, (gamblers) buy and/or sell one stock or another; sometimes they sell the same stock they bought the day before; or the hour before; or the minute before; the next day they may well do the exact reverse. All depending on the latest news headline, or what a corporation has done to elicit attention, or what a friend just told them, or a fortune teller, or that day’s horoscope, or just a good ol’ hunch. Or they make up a reason; anything to avoid thinking that they’re just pulling the lever of a slot machine.

And many people buy certain stocks because other people are buying it. This is what stock market analysts call a speculative bubble. Prick the confidence and the bubble bursts.

“The stock market,” Naomi Klein has observed, “has the temperament of an overindulged 2-year-old, who can throw one of its world-shaking tantrums.”

Walter Winchell, the 1960-70s powerful and widely-syndicated gossip columnist of the New York Daily News, famously wrote that he lost his faith in the stock market when he saw that a stock could jump sharply in price simply because he happened to mention something related to the company in his column.

And all this occurs even when the stock market is operating in the supposedly honest way it was designed to operate. What are we to make of it when sophisticated investors devise a computer scam for instantaneous buying and selling, as has happened several times in recent years?

Yet President Trump and his fans would have us believe that the big jump in stock prices of the past year is testimony to his sterling leadership and oh-so-wise policies. What will they say when the market crashes? As Trump himself will crash.

Driverless police cars

Yes, that’s what they’re thinking of next. Among other things these cars will be able to catch speeders and issue tickets. But here’s the real test of the system’s Artificial Intelligence – Can the police car be taught how to recognize a young black man, drive to within a few feet of him, and fire a gun at his head?

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This article was originally published by The Anti-Empire Report.

Notes

1. Philip Agee, Inside the Company: CIA Diary, published in 1974

2. Washington Post, January 19, 20, 23, 25, 2018

3. Breitbart News radio program, January 12, 2018

4. Wikipedia entry for Eric Prince

5. William Blum, Killing Hope, chapters 22 and 55; Rogue State, pp. 202-3, 219-20

6. Killing Hope, chapter 54

7. Business Wire, January 30, 2018

8. CNNMoney, June 28, 2017


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Author, historian, former State Department official-turned sharp critic of Washington’s destructive imperial agenda William Blum passed away on December 9 at age 85.

In failing health for some time, his condition deteriorated markedly after a serious fall at home, passing away two months later.

I’m personally indebted to Blum. His books and other writings inspired my own, notably his book titled “Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower.”

It documented Washington’s imperial agenda from 1945 – 2005, explaining how the US  tried or succeeded in toppling over 40 governments worldwide.

It crushed dozens of popular movements, slaughtering millions of people post-9/11 alone, along with pouring countless trillions down a black hole of waste, fraud and abuse at the expense of vital homeland needs gone begging, eroding social justice, targeted for elimination altogether.

The US interferes in the internal affairs of virtually all other countries, including their elections, wanting their ruling authorities bowing to its will, independent ones targeted for regime change by color revolutions, old-fashioned coups, or imperial wars.

Blum’s documentation showed US policies are “worse than you imagine,” stressing:

“If you flip over the rock of American foreign policy (throughout) the past century, this is what crawls out: invasions, bombings, (subversion), overthrowing governments, suppressing (popular) movements for social change, assassinating political leaders, perverting elections, manipulating labor unions, manufacturing ‘news,’ death squads, torture, (chemical), biological (and nuclear) warfare, (radiological contamination), drug trafficking, mercenaries,” police state repression, and endless wars on humanity.

That’s what imperialism is all about. Blum stressed it’s not a pretty picture – “enough to give imperialism a bad name.”

Millions of corpses attest to America’s barbarity, a rogue state like no others in world history, operating globally, willing to risk destroying planet earth to own it, the human cost of its wars and other harshness of no consequence.

Blum called democracy “America’s deadliest export,” the way it should be abhorrent in the US and other Western countries.

Post-WW II, Washington’s monstrous “war machine has been on auto pilot,” Blum explained, documenting disturbing truths about the US in his books, Anti-Empire Report, and other writings.

US regimes targeted, and continue targeting, populist or nationalist movements in numerous countries worldwide for elimination, wanting pro-Western puppet regimes replacing them.

Washington tried influencing presidential elections scores of times post-WW II – post-9/11 in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia, Honduras, Paraguay, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Russia, and elsewhere.

The above interventionism excludes military coups and other regime change efforts in Iran, Guatemala, Chile, Honduras, Nicaragua, and numerous other countries. Blum documented disturbing truths about America’s post-WW II history.

In 1967, he left the State Department over US aggression in Southeast Asia, massacring millions to advance its imperium – an agenda begun in the mid-19th century, accelerated post-WW II, endless wars waged from then to now against nations threatening no one, countless millions slaughtered, the human toll of no consequence.

Blum co-founded and edited the Washington Free Press, the first alternative newspaper in the nation’s capital, he explained.

His journalism was the way it’s supposed to be, truth-telling on major domestic and geopolitical issues prioritized – polar opposite how major Western and most other world media operate.

In the mid-1970s, he worked with former CIA official Philip Agree and his associates, exposing CIA high crimes since its 1947 founding.

His books, translated into over 15 languages, include America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy – The Truth About US Foreign Policy and Everything Else (2013), Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower (updated edition 2005), West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir (2002), and Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire (2004).

They explain the dark side of US history not taught in US or other Western institutions of higher learning except by professors like James Petras, John McMurtry, Francis Boyle, Michel Chossudovsky, Edward Said, Edward Herman, Howard Zinn, Michael Parenti, John Kozy, Michael Mandel, and other distinguished academics like them.

Like Blum, they inspired my writing and activism, my passion for truth-telling, my opposition to Washington’s imperial agenda and neoliberal harshness, my aspiration for a world safe and fit to live in.

Blum will be sorely missed. He and other distinguished figures I cherish as colleagues and valued friends inspired me and countless others to work for the kind of world we envision – moral, righteous, free, just, and egalitarian at peace.

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com

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When George H.W. Bush died on November 30th, America’s two self-proclaimed newspapers of record The Washington Post and The New York Times were both quick off the mark in publishing what appeared to be definitive obituaries of the former president and statesman that had clearly been prepared in advance. The obit by The Times and that by The Post differed little in substance but they had one curious omission, i.e. President G.H.W. Bush’s eighteen month confrontation with Israel and its powerful domestic lobby.

In 1991-1992 President Bush engaged in a series of sharp exchanges with Israel and its American lobby over the issue of $10 billion in loan guarantees to the Jewish state to pay for the resettlement of Russian Jews, who were beginning to arrive in both Israel and the West in large numbers. Bush correctly assumed that the loans would in fact also subsidize the expansions of illegal settlements on the West Bank and in Gaza, which the U.S. government opposed, so he said “no” to the loans. After a series of increasingly acrimonious exchanges back and forth, Bush, facing election, withdrew his objections and the loans were approved, but he was the only U.S. president since John F. Kennedy to confront the Israel Lobby in any serious way. Kennedy was, of course, assassinated and Bush was defeated for reelection.

Both G.H.W. Bush and many other observers of the campaign and election believed the loss to Bill Clinton in 1992 was at least in part attributable to the actions of Israel and its friends. The conflict between Bush and the Israeli government backed up by the Israel Lobby and a number of congressmen and media outlets began in the spring of 1991. By September, President Bush refused to approve the loan guarantees as he believed that withholding approval of the money would give the U.S. leverage in peace negotiations with the Arabs that were planned for the end of the year in Madrid. Bush felt that Israeli Prime Minister was not taking the U.S. seriously because he believed that he would get what was wanted from Congress in any event without stopping settlement construction or having to concede anything to the Palestinians. There was also a distinct possibility that the Israelis would not bother to participate in Madrid without some kind of possible financial inducement.

Bush fought hard against the Israeli government and the thousands of American Jews plus their organizations that mobilized against him. Thomas Dine, Executive Director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) declared that the day when Bush rejected the loan guarantees would prove to be “a day that lives in infamy for the American pro-Israeli community.”Sentiment against the president in the Jewish community was so intense that many prominent American Jews to this day consider any nostalgia towards the man or his presidency to be an expression of anti-Semitism.

Bush did not roll over. He famously called a press conference in which he said:

“We’re up against very strong and effective, sometimes, groups that go up to the Hill. I heard today there were something like a thousand lobbyists on the Hill working the other side of the question. We’ve got one little guy down here doing it…The Constitution charges the president with the conduct of the nation’s foreign policy… There is an attempt by some in Congress to prevent the president from taking steps central to the nation’s security. But too much is at stake for domestic politics to take precedence over peace.”

In October Bush obtained a four-month delay in the loans, a defeat for the Israel Lobby, but the process dragged on into the following summer. On August 12, 1992, Bush, in trouble with his presidential campaign, finally approved the guarantees, which would enable the Israelis to borrow money at a low interest rate. Ironically, by June 1993, none of the borrowed money had been used and Israeli sources admitted that they have never needed the loans. The entire affair was actually a test of strength against the U.S. government, a competition that the Israelis and their friends had persevered in and won.

None of the tale of the Israeli loans appeared in either obituary. Nor was there any hint that Bush might have lost the election in part because pro-Israel forces worked actively against him. Voting tallies reveal a sharp shift in Jewish votes in swing districts to favor Clinton but the impact of Jewish money into the campaign as well as the anti-Bush media onslaught are inevitably more difficult to assess. The Times of Israel observed that “He made clear the cost of an American president waging a political fight against the vast coalition of pro-Israel lobbying groups. In doing so, he exposed the limits of what the world’s most powerful man can do…” George Herbert Walker Bush certainly believed that he was defeated by the Israeli government and its lobby, and he passed that judgment on to his son George W. who was careful not to anger the Israeli/Jewish constituency.

G.H.W. Bush was not the first American statesman to be on the receiving end of a bowdlerized obituary over the subject of Israel. In February 1995, former Senator William Fulbright was remembered by The Times without any reference to his views on the Middle East that had led to his failure to be reelected. As head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Fulbright’s was a powerful voice that could not be ignored. He wrote: “So completely have many of our principal officeholders fallen under Israeli influence that they not only deny today the legitimacy of Palestinian national aspirations, but debate who more passionately opposes a Palestinian state. The lobby can just about tell the president what to do when it comes to Israel.”

In Fulbright’s case, the Lobby launched a media and personal vilification campaign against him when he came up for reelection in 1974. Late in the campaign, they came up with an opposition candidate Dale Bumpers whom they generously funded and Fulbright was defeated. His obituaries in the mainstream media would have the reader believe that none of that had actually happened.

Fulbright was followed a decade later by Senator Charles Percy of Illinois who was targeted by the Israeli Lobby because he had voted to approve the sale of AWACS planes to Saudi Arabia. His defeat was choreographed by the Israel Lobby and wealthy Jews and was henceforth called the “Percy Factor,” a warning to even the most established politicians never to trifle with Jewish power. Percy died in 2011 and he too received an obituary from The New York Times that ignored his involvement with the Middle East and the Israel Lobby.

The self-censorship by the media when the topic is Israel is remarkable, nowhere more evident than in the obituaries of leading politicians who had anything at all to do with the Middle East. George H.W. Bush, William Fulbright and Charles Percy all confronted the Israel Lobby because they were patriots aware of the terrible damage it was doing to the actual interests of the United States. In a sense, all three of them enjoyed some success but were eventually defeated by Israel and its friends within the American oligarchy. No other foreign policy lobby, indeed, no other lobby of any sort, has that kind of power in the United States. The obituary of G.H.W. Bush should serve as a warning, recalling a comment sometimes attributed to Voltaire: “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”

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This article was originally published on The Unz Review.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is www.councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is [email protected].

Featured image is from The Unz Review

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Participatory Development: A Humanitarian Alternative to Migration

December 11th, 2018 by Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir

December 2018 is gearing up to be a pivotal month for migration on the world stage, and the epicentre is here, in Marrakech, Morocco, with two high-level fora taking place concerning development and migration. However, in order for the discussions that take place at these conferences to be impactful on the lives of ordinary people, the outcomes and agreements signed must be used as a catalyst for governments and concerned organisations to address the drivers intrinsic to migration, including rural poverty, lack of economic opportunity and climate change. To put this into practice, we offer our experiences of a grassroots, participatory development method as a humanitarian alternative to migration.

Firstly, the Global Forum for Migration and Development (GFMD) took place on 5th-7th December, based upon the theme of “Honouring International Commitments to Unlock Potential of All Migrants for Development”. The 11th summit of the Forum is the largest multi-stakeholder dialogue platform concerning migration and development, representing government policymakers, GFMD observers, members of civil society and the private sector. Although the proceedings of the GFMD are non-binding and voluntary, it is hoped that this conference will lay down foundations for the first Global Compact for Migration (for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration), to be held on 10th-11th December, also in Marrakech.

This UN-led High-Level Political Forum will be the first international compact of its kind to address migration, designed to improve the management and co-operation of countries concerning the movement of peoples across borders. This agreement will also address the overarching causes of migration, such as poor access to sustainable livelihoods, the socio-economic and environmental implications of migration upon both origin and host countries, as well as working to enhance the value and impact of migrants for sustainable development.

Nevertheless, this cannot be achieved without acknowledging the growing storm confronting mankind: climate change.

Climate change, development and migration are part of an inextricably linked nexus. The Environmental Justice Foundation predicts that up to 10% of the world’s population could be at risk of forced displacement due to climatic hazards by 2050. At the GFMD conference, the EuroMedA Foundation, who hosted a side event entitled “ A Euro-African Approach to Migration” highlighted that key issues set to face Africa will be desertification, drought and food insecurity, risks that are only going to worsen. Climate change can also compound existing, or create new political and economic issues in at-risk countries and further drive migratory patterns, with the distinct possibility of turning plans for “Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration” on its head.

In acknowledgement of this looming problem, the following describes a strategy of participatory development, which addresses economic security and climate resilience for those most vulnerable, and hence reducing the likelihood of necessary migration in future. Morocco has the distinction of simultaneously being a last-stop transit country for migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, as well as being a nation of emigrants to Europe, North America and the Middle East. Under current projections, the country is set to be on the frontline of climate change, riddled by food insecurity, droughts, desertification, catastrophic flash-floods in erosion prone mountainous areas, all of which will only be exacerbated by the continuing trends of warming temperatures.

It is overwhelmingly the case that in Morocco as elsewhere, during community-based discussions regarding socio-economic development projects located in regions with high levels of emigration, that local participants would strongly prefer to stay in their home communities, if only there were basic opportunities there. Indeed, many migrants prefer not to be migrants, but instead seek the sustainable development of their origin communities. Involving local community members in the decision-making processes reveals key contextual insights into the priority initiatives that will enhance the wellbeing of their communities: these are highly viable and implementable because the projects respond to their self-defined needs, and are therefore most likely to be sustainable.

For example, in order to create opportunities and economic activity in marginalised rural communities experiencing notable emigration, a $100,000 investment can establish a women’s cooperative of approximately 50 members, for agriculture, food-processing or the production of artisanal crafts. This can generate an average of a 50% increase to household incomes, which in turn benefits a further 300-350 people, through better access to schooling, healthcare and sanitation infrastructure. Clean drinking water systems to serve one municipality costs in the region of $350,000 and dramatically improves not only resilience to droughts and girls’ participation in education, but also decreases incidences of water-borne diseases and infant mortality.

Furthermore, in Morocco, like so much of Africa, almost all the endemic species of fruit and nut trees can grow organically, if only investments in certifications, nurseries and co-operative building were available. These tree plantations can be used for multiple purposes, including seeding riverbanks to fight erosion, improving local biodiversity, to diversify traditional income sources and for carbon sequestration initiatives that can be vital for long-term sustainability. In this sense, human development and economic projects and investments at the grassroots level can be leveraged to form commitments from the community to implement other initiatives that are beneficial for both protecting their local environments but also for global climate mitigation.

In order for potential migrants to be able remain in their communities, the agricultural value chain from nursery to market and the supporting infrastructure need to be put in place. The root of rural poverty, which ultimately propels migration, is in the insufferable bottlenecks at each step of the value-chain, slow-moving decision-making and ultimately a warming climate. Considering however the enormous opportunities that are discussed at global conferences, if applied at a community-scale, especially for example, with regards to added value from organic certification and carbon credit offsets, the ongoing impoverishment in rural places need not continue. So long as it does however, and if building climate resilience and adaptation is not incorporated with the migration-development paradigm, then the “ordered, safe and regular migration” hailed by the Global Forum and the UN’s HLPF will never be realised.

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This article was originally published on High Atlas Foundation.

Yossef Ben-Meir, Ph.D. is a sociologist and is also President of the High Atlas Foundation, based in Marrakech.

Manon Burbidge is a post-graduate studying Human Ecology at Lund University, Sweden and currently interning at the High Atlas Foundation.

Featured image: Yossef Ben-Meir addresses the side-event “ A Euro-African Approach to Migration”, hosted by EuroMedA at the Global Forum for Migration and Development (Source: authors)

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The Homelessness Crisis Deepens Across North America

December 11th, 2018 by John Clarke

As an organizer with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) in Toronto, I am only too aware of how much worse the homeless crisis has become in this city over the last three years. As a result of community pressure, City Hall issues a daily shelter census. In a whole series of ways, the official process understates the problem but the picture that emerges is, nonetheless, quite dreadful. In the largest and wealthiest city in Canada, the homeless shelters are bursting at the seams.

For years, the official city policy has called for a maximum occupancy level of 90% to be maintained but the figures that are released make a mockery of this. In fact, homeless people, advocates and service providers know very well that obtaining a bed for the night is massively time consuming and uncertain. One local solicitor even told me that she has clients in one of the Ontario jails who can’t be released because their bail conditions demand they have somewhere to stay and she can’t find available shelter beds for them.

The ‘Monthly Shelter Occupancy’ section of the daily census shows how the crisis has spun out of control since 2016. However, it is necessary to also consider the ‘overnight services’ that are in operation. These were established as ‘winter respite’ facilities but many of them are now being kept open all year round. They are, essentially, a sub-standard back up network that those unable to access the official shelters are forced to turn to. In these places, people often sleep on mats, on the bare floor or even sitting up in chairs. Showers and adequate toilet facilities are often lacking.

OCAP and others have exerted ongoing major pressure to address this crisis. We have protested, occupied city offices, brought mass delegations to shut down meetings of the City Council and forced them to open more space. However, it is clear that our work is taking place in the context of a worsening epidemic of homelessness, in the U.S. and Canada, and that the gains we have made have been insufficient to keep up with the growing problem.

Across the USA and Canada

The U.S. states and Canadian provinces, along with the municipal governments within them, have operated for years under a prevailing climate of austerity. However, the process has been extremely uneven and so it is not possible to link the growth of homelessness here to a uniform and clear-cut intensification of an austerity agenda as in the UK.

What seems to have occurred over the last few years, however, is that the accumulating impact of social cutbacks, coupled with upscale urban redevelopment and soaring rental costs, have reached a tipping point that has sent the homeless situation spinning out of control in both the U.S. and Canada.

A look at the major urban centres provides a startling picture of rampant destitution. The number of people forced to turn to the homeless shelters in New York City exceeds 60,000. On the U.S. west coast, the situation is dire. Los Angeles lays claim to ‘the sorriest urban scene anywhere in America’ while San Francisco has produced a homeless crisis that has prompted comparisons to the conditions prevailing in some of the poorest cities on earth. In Vancouver, with a rampant housing crisis but a climate the is exceptionally mild by Canadian standards, the number of homeless people in the city is said to be increasing by 26% every year.

While a liberal discourse on the quest for ‘solutions’ to the homeless crisis is given considerable play, in reality the response of those in power, whether they are overtly reactionary or cultivate progressive pretensions, is focused on criminalizing the homeless and driving them from view as much as possible.

Over a hundred U.S. cities have enacted laws that target the activities homeless people must engage in from sleeping outside to brushing their teeth in public. Those running Toronto City Hall would not want to boast of their social cleansing activities yet, in 2016, the city carried out 160 clearances of homeless encampments even as it failed to provide an adequate shelter space that people could access. As the lack of housing options and the austerity attack worsen, with impending economic downturn threatening to compound the problem, it is only to be supposed that, far from improving, the homeless crisis and brutal measures to push the homeless from view will only get worse.

Challenging the Homelessness Crisis

Writing for Counterfire last year, Kevin Ovenden pointed to Rosa Luxemburg’s powerful response to the tragic death of scores of homeless people in Berlin in 1912. In exposing and challenging this appalling loss of life, Luxemburg insisted that the plight of the homeless must be viewed as an issue of pressing concern to the entire working class movement and not as some apolitical ‘social affairs’ issue. ‘Down with the obscene social system that creates such horror!’ was her message. Unions, social movements and political parties based on the working class need to take this to heart in the context of the North American homeless crisis of today.

The neoliberal era has created ever greater levels of poverty and growing homelessness is the sharpest expression of this. To allow such conditions to spread and consolidate themselves is to tolerate conditions of despair for a major portion of the working-class population. Defensive struggles that seek to compel city governments to provide basic shelter are vital and necessary but we must go well beyond this.

No serious challenge to the neoliberal order can fail to demand housing for all as a matter of right. The entire movement must vigorously press for the expansion of social housing and challenge profit driven urban redevelopment. The struggle for decent wages and workers’ rights must grow so as to ensure that low waged workers are constantly threatened with the loss of their housing. Social benefits must be raised substantially so that people living on them don’t have to sacrifice an adequate diet in order to pay their rent. The struggle for the right to housing for all has to be a key part of a rejuvenated working-class movement that defends its gains but leaves no one behind.

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John Clarke is a writer and leading organizer for the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP). Frequent contributor to Global Research. 

Featured image: Homeless camp in East Vancouver, September 2017. Photo: Kenny McDonald via Flickr

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A leading financial risk database that is already facing multiple lawsuits from Muslim organisations which it suggested had links to terrorism is still using as sources websites accused of promoting far-right and Islamophobic agendas, Middle East Eye can reveal.

An MEE investigation has found several entries for prominent Muslim individuals and organisations in the World-Check risk intelligence database that include links to material posted on notorious websites such as Jihad Watch and Frontpage Magazine.

Image result for Tommy Robinson

Some of the sources, including controversial US-based think tanks such as the Gatestone Institute and the David Horowitz Freedom Center, were also reported by the Guardian newspaper last week to be part of a “hidden global network” supporting Tommy Robinson, a far-right anti-Muslim activist in the UK.

Several are also cited in the militant far-right manifesto of Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in a mass shooting at a youth camp and a car bombing in Norway in July 2011.

MEE also discovered that several reputable organisations, including the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the most prominent Muslim rights group in the US, and Muslim Aid, a large British charity, continue to be categorised under “terrorism” on World-Check.

World-Check was created in London in 2000 in response to legislation designed to reduce financial crime in the UK and elsewhere. It says its customers include 49 of the world’s 50 largest banks, and more than 300 government and intelligence agencies.

It was sold to media giant Thomson Reuters in 2011. In October, 55 per cent of Thomson Reuters’ risk arm, made up of World-Check and a handful of other services, was sold to the investment giant Blackstone and rebranded Refinitiv.

World-Check has been under scrutiny since 2014 when several Muslim organisations and individuals in the UK said that their bank accounts had been closed at short notice.

Subsequent investigations revealed that some of them had been wrongly listed on the database under the category “terrorism”.

Landmark libel case

Last February, the Finsbury Park Mosque in north London, one of the institutions affected by the bank account closures, won a landmark libel case against Thomson Reuters.

World-Check’s entry on Finsbury Park Mosque was based on its former association with Abu Hamza al-Masri, the Egyptian cleric and former militant who was jailed for life in 2016 in the US on terrorism charges.

It failed to properly acknowledge that the mosque had been taken over by new management more than a decade ago and since recognised for its community outreach work.

But Mohammed Kozbar, general secretary of Finsbury Park Mosque, said it was still encountering problems because of its World-Check listing and had been refused requests to open bank accounts even since the libel ruling.

Kozbar told MEE that losing your bank account is “like having your water cut off”.

World-Check did not remove Finsbury Park Mosque from the database altogether, instead listing it as an “organisation” of heightened risk.

When MEE examined the mosque’s current profile on World-Check, it found a link to the website of the Gatestone Institute, a US think tank which has been accused of publishing false and misleading stories about Muslims.

In regular articles it describes what it calls the “Islamization” of the West. Gatestone was one of the sources of the myth, for example, that there are Muslim “no-go zones” in Birmingham and other European cities.

The Gatestone Institute denies being anti-Muslim and says that it is “pro-Muslim”. It says that many of its contributors are Muslim and describes itself as an important platform for “Muslim reformers”.

The Gatestone article listed on Finsbury Park Mosque’s World-Check profile is by Samuel Westrop, the founder of a self-proclaimed counter-extremism website, Stand for Peace.

[Editor’s note: The Gatestone article also mentioned one of the co-authors of this article, Peter Oborne, whom it described as a “supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood”. Peter Oborne denies this allegation.]

Stand for Peace closed in June 2017 after it was ordered to pay £140,000 ($178,500) in damages to the founder of the Islam Channel for falsely calling him a “convicted terrorist”.

The Finsbury Park Mosque profile also cites media sources such as the BBC and the New York Times. It contains a description of the mosque’s takeover and the fact that it has repeatedly condemned terror attacks.

Addressing the libel defeat, the profile says:

“We regret if any subscribers understood the terrorism categorisation as an accusation of present-day or suspected connections to terrorism. This was not our intention, and any such suggestion has been withdrawn.”

Kozbar, of the Finsbury Park Mosque, said:

“World-Check are taking their information from very cheap websites and sources which have no credibility whatsoever.

“And this is why nobody should believe the material and the content they have.”

Since the Finsbury Park Mosque case, Thomson Reuters and now Refinitiv have faced a wave of libel cases from Muslim organisations and individuals.

MEE can reveal that Farooq Bajwa & Co, the London law firm that represented Finsbury Park Mosque, has already completed eight cases and is working on a further 27.

Thomson Reuters was last year forced to apologise and pay damages to Maajid Nawaz, the founder of Quilliam, a counter-extremism think tank, whose World-Check profile cited sources referencing his past membership of Islamist organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir.

World-Check also removed the prominent British activist group the Palestine Solidarity Campaign from the database after it took legal action.

In March this year, the Palestinian Return Centre, another high-profile British charity, filed a claim against Thomson Reuters.

‘Credible and reputable information’

The database cites thousands of sources, including UK and US government declarations and authoritative media agencies such as the BBC and CNN.

The Refinitiv website says:

“We maintain a responsible, proportionate ethical approach – only using credible and reputable open source information.”

It adds:

“We follow the most stringent guidelines for research methodology and inclusion criteria – applying rigorous quality control.”

But it also cites less credible sources: MEE has found 23 such examples, of which 12, which are all included in profiles of Muslim organisations and individuals, have been accused of Islamophobia.

Four – the David Horowitz Freedom Center, Jihad Watch, the Middle East Forum and Militant Islam Monitor – are listed in a 2016 report by the University of California, Berkeley, as among the “inner core” of the so-called “Islamophobia network”.

The report says the primary purpose of these groups is to “promote prejudice against or hatred of Islam and Muslims” and says between 2008 and 2013 they had access to almost $206 million in funding.

One of those cited several times on World-Check is Daniel Pipes, the controversial US historian of the Middle East and founder of the Middle East Forum think tank. Pipes, like the Gatestone Institute, for whom he occasionally writes, argues that Muslims are destroying Western civilisation.

He denies being anti-Muslim, saying:

“Radical Islam is the problem and moderate Islam is the solution.”

World-Check also cites the various projects of another notorious US think tank, the California-based David Horowitz Freedom Center.

The David Horowitz Freedom Center describes itself as a “school of political warfare” and refers to Islam and leftism being bound in an “unholy alliance against Israel, America, and the West”.

Horowitz, its founder, is described as “the godfather of the modern anti-Muslim movement” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an American civil rights group that works with the FBI to fight hate crime.

He also runs FrontPage Magazine, which the centre-left Center for American Progress has named as a key actor in fomenting anti-Muslim sentiment in the US.

FrontPage publishes work by Pipes, Horowitz himself, alleged conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney, and Robert Spencer, who in 2013 was banned – alongside his co-blogger Pamela Geller – from entering the UK to speak at a far-right English Defence League rally.

CAIR and Muslim Aid listed under ‘terrorism’ 

MEE’s investigation discovered that World-Check included material from FrontPage in its profiles of both CAIR and Muslim Aid.

Image result for Council of American-Islamic Relations

Source: Orange County Register

World-Check’s profile of CAIR listed a 2004 article for FrontPage by David Frum, a former speechwriter to President George W Bush, alleging links between CAIR and Hamas.

Since MEE flagged the source with World-Check in July, it has been removed from the profile, along with all the other media sources previously cited, such as Fox News and the conservative Washington Times.

A spokesperson for World-Check said it had not made any changes to its reports since MEE flagged the sources.

World-Check’s CAIR profile notes that it is listed as a terrorist organisation by the United Arab Emirates. The UAE has been accused by Amnesty International of using anti-terrorism laws to “arbitrarily restrict freedoms of expression and association”.

In 2007, CAIR was listed along with more than 300 other Muslim organisations as an unindicted co-conspirator in the US trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), which was found guilty of funnelling money to Hamas.

But in 2010 a US appeal court ruled that the listing had violated the Fifth Amendment, which prevents citizens being compelled to be witnesses against themselves. It found the government had only listed CAIR and the other organisations as a tactical manoeuvre in order to gather contextual evidence against the HLF.

The US State Department subsequently confirmed it did not consider CAIR to be a terrorist organisation.

Reference to the HLF trial has also been removed since MEE raised the profile with World-Check.

Added to the profile is a “Terrorism Category Notice” that explains: “Inclusion in the category does not mean that an individual or entity is a terrorist or terrorist organisation or that they have any involvement in or connection to terrorism… you should review the content carefully”.

Ibrahim Hooper, communications director of CAIR, said: “These sources read like a who’s who of the Islamophobia industry in America, promoting on a daily basis anti-Muslim bigotry.

“And if these are the sources, World-Check would inevitably be skewed.”

World-Check also lists Muslim Aid under “terrorism”, noting that it is designated as a terrorist organisation by the Israeli defence ministry.

Israel accuses the charity of funding groups linked to Hamas. But Muslim Aid denies these allegations. In 2010 the Charity Commission, which regulates charities in the UK, said there was no evidence it was involved in the funding of terrorism.

World-Check cited a FrontPage Magazine article, the link to which has broken since MEE saw it, accusing Muslim Aid of funnelling money to terror organisations in Bangladesh.

It also cited a 2004 article on a website called Militant Islam Monitor which alleged that the “Muslim Aid ‘charity’ funds al-Qaeda”.

MEE was unable to trace who runs Militant Islam Monitor but the website frequently cites Israeli sources and has recently published articles such as “How Muslims Think – Repaying Kindness With Killing” and “Cruelty Is Simply A Part Of Islam, Says Expert”.

Since MEE flagged the profile with World-Check, it, like the profile of CAIR, has been amended.

The homepage of the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s website (Screengrab)

Reference to al-Qaeda, which was previously listed as a “Linked company”, has been removed. The Militant Islam Monitor article, along with all other media articles, has been removed. An allegation it aided militants in Syria has been removed. And an identical “Terrorism Category Notice” has been added.

Muslim Aid told MEE that World-Check should use only the Charity Commission, the official regulator of all UK-based charities, as a source.

Links to relevant Charity Commission web pages were included on Muslim Aid’s profile. Since MEE first looked at the page, details of a further Charity Commission investigation into the charity’s financial and management practices, which led to the appointment of a new board of trustees, have been added.

A spokesperson for Muslim Aid said: “Muslim Aid has never had any links to terrorist groups. Muslim Aid works via trusted partner organisations, which are carefully screened and do not appear on international lists of proscribed organisations.”

Two other prominent sources cited by World-Check are Horowitz’s Discover the Networks, a database of leftist and allegedly Islamist groups and individuals, which also publishes work by Gaffney, Spencer and Pipes; and Jihad Watch, which is run by Spencer and linked to Horowitz. In his manifesto, Anders Breivik cited Jihad Watch 129 times.

‘Objective and neutral’

MEE gave World-Check the list of non-credible sources. We asked several detailed questions about their research practices and whether they had changed since VICE News revealed four of these sources in 2016.

A World-Check spokesperson told MEE that individuals and organisations were only listed on the basis of “government designations and authoritative sources”, while other sources were used to provide “supplementary information”.

“We have investigated the list of media sources you have provided. None of the sources are used as a basis for inclusion of any individual or entity in the World-Check database,” the spokesperson said.

“As such, they are not relied on by World-Check as primary sources and it would be incorrect to suggest that they are representative of the information used within the database.

“The information in World-Check is provided in an objective and neutral manner. It does not provide an opinion on any individual or entity named in a World-Check report.”

But Ben Hayes, an independent consultant specialising in financial surveillance and counter-terrorism, told MEE that the inclusion of secondary source material would also likely influence a World-Check user’s decision when deciding whether or not to accept somebody as a business customer.

“As soon as you see something like that the onus is on you,” he said.

“On what planet are you going to bend over backwards and give someone like that a bank account when you’re presented with evidence that suggests you shouldn’t? It’s insane.”

On each World-Check profile, sources are listed together. Users are just as likely to come across non-credible sources as they are authoritative media sources and government documents. Non-credible sources often provide contextual detail about individuals and groups that others do not.

Hayes said that while World-Check is oblique about its research practices, he suspects their rudimentary nature might explain how it ends up using sources promoting Islamophobic views.

“They have a team of 200 to 300 people who basically seem to be trawling the internet for anything about people who are supposed to be a financial crime risk and fit into one of those 20 categories,” he said.

“This stuff is there all the time targeting and plundering Muslims. Perhaps when you search for these people, these are the kinds of things that come up.”

Hindu and Jewish militants

There is one other curious feature of World-Check: the profiles of several non-Muslims who might be expected to be listed on its database but who are absent.

In a widely reported case in India, Naveen Kumar, the founder of the far-right Hindu Yuva Sena group, recently confessed to involvement in the murder of an anti-government journalist, Gauri Lankesh, last year.

Kumar admitted he gave bullets to a Hindu nationalist who said he would use them to kill Lankesh. Despite this, World-Check does not maintain a profile on Kumar.

The so-called “hilltop youth” are a radical Jewish movement accused by the Israeli government of carrying out attacks on Palestinians and the Israeli military.

The Israeli government has banned many from the West Bank and stripped them of certain rights. An article in Tablet, a Jewish online magazine, compared them to the Islamic State group, calling them the “Jewish ISIS”.

Yet none of the individuals who last year identified themselves in a YouTube video as members of the movement are on World-Check.

Shelley Rubin is the apparent head of the US-founded Jewish Defence League, considered a terrorist organisation by the FBI. Yet she appears on World-Check not under “terrorism” but as an “individual” of heightened risk.

Refinitiv, which now owns World-Check, did not answer our question about why none of these people are listed as connected to terrorism.

MEE also asked Refinitiv whether it treated Muslims and non-Muslims in the same way when considering whether they should be included on World-Check.

It asked Refinitiv whether World-Check was more “likely to list a Muslim on its database than a non-Muslim with a similar proximity to terrorism, extremism or political violence”.

A Refinitiv spokesperson said: “World-Check does not differentiate between entities and individuals based on political or religious associations.”

‘Faintly shocking’

Hayes said: “I probably wouldn’t go as far as to say they’re aiding these Islamophobe groups.

“But anyone who takes half a look at some of these sources can see how un-credible they are. And see the kind of agendas they have. It’s faintly shocking that these are being used at all as a credible indication of anything.”

Hayes said regulators must clean up risk-profiling companies like World-Check. “They have managed to convince everybody that they’re performing some sort of quasi-law enforcement,” he said.

“They have to be regulated like the credit rating agencies. The Information Commissioner’s Office absolutely has to step in. It’s the only show in town for bringing these kinds of companies to heel.”

The Information Commissioner’s Office is the UK’s independent regulator of data protection and information law. It regulates credit reference agencies to ensure their data about individuals is not incorrect or out of date.

Mohammed Kozbar of Finsbury Park mosque is in little doubt about World-Check’s attitude to Muslims.

“It’s not a pleasant attitude; it’s not a positive one,” he said. “It’s a very negative one.

“For such a big international company, to use such cheap things and to charge companies and banks huge amounts of money for this information, which is misleading the public and misleading these organisations, is unbelievable.

“Somebody should challenge that really. They should be challenged to stop doing that.”

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France is investigating Russia over the yellow vest riots. Sorry, Macron, please look in the mirror.

Please consider France to Probe Possible Russian Influence on Yellow Vest Riots. (Bloomberg)

France opened a probe into possible Russian interference behind the country’s Yellow Vest protests, after reports that social-media accounts linked to Moscow have increasingly targeted the movement.

According to the Alliance for Securing Democracy, about 600 Twitter accounts known to promote Kremlin views have begun focusing on France, boosting their use of the hashtag giletsjaunes, the French name for the Yellow Vest movement. French security services are looking at the situation, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Sunday in a radio interview with RTL.

“An investigation is now underway,” Le Drian said. “I will not make comments before the investigation has brought conclusions.”

The Twitter accounts monitored by the alliance usually feature U.S. or British news. But the French protests “have been at or near the top” of their activity for at least a week, according to Bret Schafer, the alliance’s Washington-based social media analyst. “That’s a pretty strong indication that there is interest in amplifying the conflict” for audiences outside France.

 

Bloomberg, December 7, 2018

 

Damn. Maybe it’s me. Or ZeroHedge. Or the Washington Post. Or anyone else writing about events in France. Even Trump!

As noted yesterday, 4th Weekend of French Riots, Trump Blames Climate Change, Others Blame Facebook.

Then again, perhaps media interest is up due to four weeks of rioting in Paris. Could that possibly be it?

Nah.

It’s Russia. Let’s start the investigation there. If that fails, try Facebook.

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Chair of the Defence Committee at the Israeli Parliament Avi Dichter has called for killing all the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

As he was commenting on the peaceful protests of the Great March of Return taking place along the eastern fence of the Gaza Strip, he said:

“The Israeli army has enough bullets for every Palestinian.”

Dichter is a senior member of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud Party, which is a right wing one.

Former director of Shin Bet internal security service and Minister of Internal Security Dichter said that the Israeli army is prepared to use all means, including lethal force to deter the Palestinians protesters.

Since March 31, thousands of peaceful Palestinian protesters have been staging protests along the eastern fence of the Gaza Strip, calling for lifting the 12-year-old Israeli siege and reinforcing the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.

Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan repeatedly referred to the protesters killed in Gaza as “Nazis,” saying that there were no demonstrations, just “Nazi anger.”

He later added:

“The number [of peaceful Palestinian protesters] killed does not mean anything because they are just Nazis anyhow.”

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Featured image is from DOP

The Human Rights Award of the French Republic is now being presented at the Ministry of Justice in Paris to this year’s laureates. At the ceremony, B’Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad thanked the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights (CNCDH) for the award, saying

“The occupation, in and of itself, is organized, prolonged, state violence, which brings about dispossession, killings, and oppression. All branches of the state are part of it: ministers and judges, officers and planners, parliamentarians and bureaucrats. Those who lead the opposition to this unjust reality are human rights organizations – precisely because we categorically reject violence and harm to civilians.”

El-Ad also addressed the pressure that Israeli government officials tried to exert on decision-makers in France:

“The hysterical response by Israeli government officials, attempting to prevent this prize from being awarded, illustrates the reality within which we work: propaganda, lies, and threats by a government which believes that silencing and coverup will enable further human rights violations. In the face of this moral bankruptcy, we are here not only to further expose the truth – but also to bring an end to the injustice.”

B’Tselem Executive Director, Hagai El-Ad, at the award ceremony today

This year, which marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the prize was awarded to organizations being harassed or pressured for defending and promoting human rights. Joint-recipients, Israeli NGO B’Tselem and Palestinian NGO Al-Haq – both human rights organizations working to end the Israeli occupation – were among this year’s five laureates. The others are human rights defenders from China, Colombia, Niger and Belarus.

The Human Rights Award, entitled “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” is endowed by the French government. It has been awarded annually since 1988 by the CNCDH. Past laureates include human rights defenders from various countries, including Nicaragua, Côte d’Ivoire, Haiti, Cambodia, Colombia, Rwanda and France.

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Late on December 10, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) captured a hospital building in the ISIS-held town of Hajin in the Euphrates Valley. The hospital had been among key ISIS defense points in this area.

While the situation in the town itself remains unclear and various contradictory reports appear about the situation, it appears that this time the US-led coalition and its proxies are really serious in their attempt to capture the town from the terrorists.

According to reports coming from pro-SDF sources, over 400 ISIS militants were eliminated in the area over the past two weeks.

In northern Hama, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) repelled another militant attack on its positions near Mhardeh. At least one vehicle and several militants were reportedly eliminated. While there are no large-scale clashes in the area, the ceasefire in northern Hama in fact does not exist, mostly because multiple units linked to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) and its allies are deployed there.

Fadi Gabriel, a prominent commander of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), defected from the Turkish-occupied area of Afrin and joined the reconciliation process with the Syrian government, Syrian opposition sources revealed on December 9.

Gabriel was one of the top security commanders of the Turkish-backed Sultan Suleiman Shah Brigade, which participated in the attack against Kurdish forces in Afrin earlier in 2018. The group is led by an infamous Turkish-backed “freedom fighter”, Abu Amshah.

In the recent years, dozens of Turkish-backed fighters and commanders defected and joined Damascus government forces. Opposition activists speculate that most of these defectors are agents of the Syrian intelligence.

Late on December 8, there were reports that the Syrian Air Defense Forces (SADF) opened fire at several unidentified flying objects over the Damascus International Airport. According to several pro-government sources, it appeared that some of the SyAADF’s older systems around the Damascus International Airport were triggered by “stand-off jamming” from Israel.

Prior to the mysterious incident, a Syrian and an Iranian cargo planes landed in the Damascus International Airport. Some observers claimed that the two planes were carrying an arms shipment for Lebanese Hezbollah.

On November 29, the Syrian military claimed that the SADF had repelled an Israeli attack on its positions south of Damacsus. These developments are sign of the growing military and intelligence activity of Israel in Syria, which had been reduced for some time after the delivery of the S-300 system to the country.

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VIDEO : Gli Usa si preparano allo scontro con Russia e Cina

December 11th, 2018 by Manlio Dinucci

Dal rapporto ufficiale 2018 dalla Commissione incaricata dal Congresso degli Stati uniti di vagliare la strategia di difesa nazionale, emerge come Washington sia disposta a tutto pur di conservare la «ineguagliata potenza militare» su cui gli Usa basano il loro impero, che si sta sgretolando con l’emergere di un mondo multipolare.

A prima vista sembra la sceneggiatura di un film catastrofico di Hollywood. È invece uno degli scenari prospettati nel rapporto ufficiale 2018 dalla Commissione incaricata dal Congresso degli Stati uniti di vagliare la strategia di difesa nazionale:

«Nel 2019, in base a false notizie su atrocità contro le popolazioni russe in Lettonia, Lituania ed Estonia, la Russia invade questi paesi. Mentre le forze Usa e Nato si preparano a rispondere, la Russia dichiara che un attacco alle sue forze in questi paesi sarà considerato un attacco alla Russia stessa, prospettando una risposta nucleare. Sottomarini russi attaccano i cavi transatlantici in fibra ottica e hackers russi interrompono le reti elettriche negli Usa, mentre le forze militari russe distruggono i satelliti militari e commerciali Usa. Le maggiori città statunitensi vengono paralizzate, mettendo fuori uso Internet e cellulari».

La Commissione bipartisan, composta da sei repubblicani e sei democratici, prospetta uno scenario analogo in Asia: nel 2024 la Cina effettua un attacco di sorpresa contro Taiwan, occupandola, e gli Stati uniti non sono in grado di intervenire a un costo accettabile perché le capacità militari cinesi hanno continuato a crescere, mentre quelle statunitensi sono stagnanti a causa della insufficiente spesa miitare. Tali scenari – chiarisce la Commissione – esemplificano il fatto che «la sicurezza e il benessere degli Stati uniti sono a rischio più di quanto lo siano stati negli scorsi decenni».

Dalla Seconda guerra mondiale gli «Stati uniti hanno guidato la costruzione di un mondo di inusuale prosperità, libertà e sicurezza. Tale realizzazione, di cui essi hanno enormemente beneficiato, è stata resa possibile dalla ineguagliata potenza militare Usa». Ora però la loro potenza militare – «spina dorsale della influenza globale e sicurezza nazionale Usa» – si è erosa a un livello pericoloso. Ciò è dovuto al fatto che «competitori autoritari – specialmente Cina e Russia – stanno cercando l’egemonia regionale e i mezzi per proiettare potenza su scala globale».

Sarà una tragedia di imprevedibile ma forse tremenda dimensione – avverte la Commissione – se gli Stati permettono che i propri interessi nazionali siano compromessi per mancanza di volontà di fare «scelte dure e necessari investimenti». Propone quindi un ulteriore aumento della spesa militare statunitense (già oggi equivalente a un quarto del bilancio federale) nella misura netta del 3/5 per cento annuo, soprattutto per accrescere il dispiegamento di forze statunitensi (sottomarini, bombardieri strategici, missili a lungo raggio) nella Regione Indo-Pacifica dove «sono attivi quattro dei nostri cinque avversari (il quinto è l’Iran): Cina, Nord Corea, Russia e gruppi terroristi».

La visione strategica che emerge dal rapporto congressuale – ancora più preoccupante se si pensa che la Commissione è formata pariteticamente da repubblicani e democratici – non lascia dubbi. Gli Stati uniti – che dal 1945 hanno provocato con le loro guerre 20/30 milioni di morti (più centinaia di milioni causati dagli effetti indiretti delle guerre) per «costruire un mondo di inusuale prosperità, libertà e sicurezza, di cui essi hanno enormemente beneficiato» – sono disposti a tutto pur di conservare la «ineguagliata potenza militare» su cui basano il loro impero, che si sta sgretolando con l’emergere di un mondo multipolare.

La Commissione congressuale prospetta a tal fine scenari di aggressione agli Stati uniti, i quali altro non sono che l’immagine speculare della strategia aggressiva, quella degli Usa, che rischia di portare il mondo alla catastrofe.

Manlio Dinucci

VIDEO (PandoraTV) :

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The Yellow Vest Movement – weekend 8 and 9 December – Round 4. Some say, they are the worst riots in France since the student-driven mini-Revolution of May 1968. Over the four weekends, hundreds of thousands were in the streets, middle class people, from students to workers to outright employees and housewives. The police force increases by every new Round – and so do the demonstrators. Today – more than 8,000 police, a considerable increase from last weekend’s 5,000-plus. Tens of thousands Yellow Vests demonstrated; police reported more than 1,600 arrests.

There are tanks in the streets – not seen for at least ten years – burning cars and shop fronts, vandalized buildings. The police are fighting them with teargas, water cannons and rubber bullets. Police brutality seems to be unavoidable, However, apparently more moderate than on other occasions. Nevertheless, a youtube is circulating, where a group of riot gear protected police beat up a helpless Yellow Vest, already on the ground and defenseless. These are the pictures you see on TV.

And the globalized ‘everybodies’ throughout Europe and the (western) world sit comfortably in their fauteuils, shaking their heads – “the French again; they are never content, always want more” – having apparently no idea that what they, the French workers, had rightfully accumulated in terms of social funds and public infrastructure – hospitals, schools – since WWII (instead of paying for a heavy army) is being ‘legally’ stolen by a small elite who put a Rothschild banker – Macron – in power to pass the necessary legislation to make the fraud legal.

Voilà. So simple. Most of the fauteuil warriors have no idea that the hangmen are stealthily coming to them too. By the time they wake up and see the light irradiated by the French Yellow Vests – it might be too late. It’s not for nothing, that Europe, under the command of the unelected European Commission (EC), has become increasingly militarized and a conglomerate police state, to be ready when general discontent spreads and political and social upheavals start. We may be at that point.

For now, the Hot Spot is Paris, in particular the lush Champs Élysées, symbol for the rich and powerful, the French elite. But the movement is spreading rapidly to other cities in France – and would you believe, to other EU countries, like Belgium and the Netherlands. They have seen the yellow light and realized that what the French claim back has been stolen from them too.

The malaise is not just French, Belgian, Dutch or German, but of course, also persists in Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece, the latter countries and people about whom you hardly hear and read anymore, they are done with. The banking cartel has them under control. No public attention needs to focus on their plight anymore. Except for Italy, their brazen resistance to Brussels, is still a problem for the kings of finance. – Chapeau Italy!

The discontent is everywhere; the result of a shameless neoliberal assault not only on people’s democratic and constitutional rights, it also prompts an increasing awakening to a reality of economic and financial fraud committed in front of your eyes by the globalized financial mafia – banks, insurance companies, investment corporations of all hues – milking workers’ rightfully accumulated social capital, like pension funds, unemployment benefits, free education, national health care, public hospitals, access to subsidized essential drugs – and so on. All that is being shredded by the financial fraudsters. But you need political leaders to facilitate the process. Macron is the perfect choice to do so – and he has done so royally, starting with the highly unpopular and contested labor reform.

So, clearly, the Yellow Vest movement has little or nothing to do with the Macron introduced new French fuel tax. The tax was a mere pretext. The so-called eco-tax was a political-propaganda tool, a brazen lie. The tax would not have served any environmental initiative in France, but simply been a forced people’s ‘contribution’ to the budget, ever more depleted by Macron’s austerity programs. He wants to impress his ‘employers’ – austerity is the name of the neoliberal game. Besides, under people’s pressure, Macron has finally withdrawn the tax, a concession made to ease the street demos. But it didn’t work. Because it’s simply not enough. The discontent reaches way beyond a fuel tax. It has to do with the overall decreasing standard of living, coupled with declining wages, a new Macron-imposed usurping labor law, and social benefits in France – and actually way beyond the frontiers of France.

In fact, French Police support the Yellow Vests they have to fight.They have recognized that they Are part of the people who demonstrate; they have the same concerns. Interestingly, RT reports that the police are exercising a certain restraint with the use of teargas, water cannons and other acts of aggression you normally observe in cases of relentless protests, like the ones currently ravaging France.

While the restraint may not necessarily be visible from the images, TV and otherwise, circulating in the media, in an interview with RT, Alexandre Langlois, secretary general of the VIGI Police Union, said,

“Most of us back the Gilets Jaunes [Yellow Vests], because we will be directly affected by any rise in fuel prices.” He added, “[we]can’t live where we work, because it is either too expensive, or we would be arresting our next-door neighbors, so we drive significant distances.”

For sure, there seems to prevail great sympathy for the protesters among the police, but staged provocations by the government could bring about more unrest, where the police would have no choice other than to intervene with force – or else, under a State of Emergency which Macron’s Interior Minister, Christophe Castaner, was compelled to declare, the army could be called to intervene. And in this case the French Government would not be far off in calling NATO for help – of course, in the “Interest of the larger good for Europe”.

Come to think of it – NATO. Wasn’t it Emmanuel Macron, who called a few weeks ago for an independent European army? That would make NATO obsolete – well, or would it? If taken by the letter, NATO has been obsolete for the last almost 30 years, but of course, nobody takes NATO by the letter. NATO is a killing force for the empire, and a huge trillion-dollar profit-making proposition for the US military industrial complex.

So, when Macron called for a European army, he may have upset some very violent interest groups, those who literally make a killing from killing. He may have gone a step too far in his imaginary role as King Macron. There are bigger kings than he is. A European army would most likely be armed by European weapon manufacturers, mostly from France and Germany – and – god forbid – perhaps even Russia? – This would be logical, since Russia is really no enemy of Europe, as every politician in Europe knows, even if they don’t dare to admit it. Also, Russia’s arms, especially long-range ballistic systems and Russia’s S-400 Air Defense System, are far superior to the US variety. Hence, partnering with Russia would not be rocket science, though certainly less than appreciated by Washington.

Could it be that the divided ‘deep state’ is at odds over Macron? The financial oligarchs put him in power to milk the French social system to the bones, then impressing other European nations with Frances over-board austerity programs to do likewise. If successful, Macron would indeed become the financial mafia clans new King of Europe.

On the other hand, the self-centered youngster Macron, may have taken his role to heights not foreseen – suggesting an independent European army, something no European leader dared even to whisper, since General de Gaulle proposed exactly that, in the 1960s – it didn’t happen – but he then exited NATO anyway.

Could it be that military industrial oligarchs want Macron gone? – Could it be that the Yellow Vests protests, though starting on genuine premises of ‘enough is enough’, were gradually converted in an orchestrated effort to push public hatred for Macron to a point where he is no long a tenable leader even for the French Parliament in which his party, or rather his movement, “En March”, has the absolute majority?

This remains to be seen. It would not be the first time that demonstrators are paid to demonstrate – and especially if it’s for a noble cause to get rid of an uncomfortable politician. In the end, it’s all for the good of the people, right? Isn’t that democracy in its fullest, being played out in the streets of France – and soon to come, hopefully in the streets of Amsterdam, Brussels, Berlin, Rome – maybe even inspiring the so far rather timidly quiet Spaniards, Portuguese and Greek? – Could that perhaps be a movement that goes way beyond what the ‘instant-profit’ thinkers – the NATO sponsors, the producer of US killing machines – have thought of and wished for, namely the breaking up of the already defunct European (non-) Union with her unsustainable common currency, the Euro?

This of course, is all hypothetical, but not impossible. Dynamics play odd games. Just think of France becoming the front-runner again for a Revolution – 230 years after the Storming of the Bastille – bringing a new order into nation states, away from globalization – and maybe back to sovereign governments, building up new trading relations and partner alliances on a basis of equality, rather than imposed by a one-polar world order.

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This article was originally published on New Eastern Outlook.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research; ICH; RT; Sputnik; PressTV; The 21stCentury; TeleSUR; The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, the New Eastern Outlook (NEO); and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

RussiaGate, the Mueller Investigation and the Clinton Foundation

December 11th, 2018 by F. William Engdahl

On December 7 after weeks of legal resistance, former FBI Director James Comey was forced to appear at a closed-door hearing convened by Republicans in the House of Representatives. The hearing was called to investigate political bias by Comey and other officials against then-candidate Donald Trump. In the last days the focus has begun to shift to the surprise of many to the Democratic Party DNC, to Hillary Clinton and James Comey.

For almost two years the world has been inundated with select leaks and claims of Russian bias on behalf of Trump’s candidacy. We saw naming of a Justice Department Special Council to investigate and presentation of a dossier to the Democratic National Committee in 2015 from ex-British MI6 agent Christopher Steele of dubious quality. Now, in the wake of the November US mid-term elections where Republicans actually increased their Senate majority to 53-47, the focus is turning to Hillary Clinton, James Comey and to the controversial and highly-interesting Clinton Foundation.

Without repeating the details here, the basic facts revolve around major mainstream media accusations of Trump obstruction of justice and wrongful dismissal of Comey in addition to Trump’s alleged Russian crimes that Special Counsel, ex-FBI head Robert Mueller, is supposedly investigating. For two years the public has been inundated with salacious details and leaks around those investigations against Trump and associates. Now, to the surprise of some, the spotlight seems to shift to misdeeds not of Trump but of Hillary Clinton, Comey and of the increasingly controversial Clinton Foundation.

Reopening email investigation

Recall that during the contentious 2016 US Presidential campaign pitting Clinton against Trump, it became known that as Secretary of State under Obama, Clinton had used a private e-mail server for her work as Secretary of State, violation of security laws and, according to a clear whitewash investigation by then FBI chief James Comey where, in July 2016, Comey declared that,

“Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, my judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”

The final Comey declaration also chose to ignore critical issues as to how many contained secret or top secret classification. It later emerged that Comey had drafted his statement of Clinton’s exoneration almost two months before the investigation by the FBI ended. Keep in mind those emails also link to activities at the time of the Clinton Foundation run by husband Bill.

Now US Federal District Judge Royce Lamberth has ordered the Hillary Clinton email case reopened.

“At worst, career employees in the State and Justice departments colluded to scuttle public scrutiny of Clinton, skirt FOIA, and hoodwink this court,” Lamberth wrote.

Clinton Foundation

Now US Republican Congressman Mark Meadows has told press that the evidence against the Clinton Foundation is mounting. Meadows currently sits as chairman of the House Oversight Committee on Government Operations and was involved in the December 7 Comey questioning. Meadows declared that preliminary examination of testimony from numerous witnesses “raises grave concerns their operations were not above-board…

Republican Rep. Mark Meadows says the evidence against the Clinton Foundation is mounting. The North Carolina congressman is the chairman of the House Oversight Committee on Government Operations and is poised to examine the organization next week in hearings.

Meadows told Fox News Thursday that hundreds of pages of evidence from witnesses have to be assessed, but that a cursory examination “raises grave concerns their operations were not above-board as the American people have been led to believe.” Meadows heads a special subcommittee that is to hear testimony on December 13 from John Huber, a special US Attorney named a year ago to investigate possible illegal activities around the Clinton Foundation when Hillary was Secretary of State.

Clinton Whistleblower

On December 7 The Hill online site reported that 6,000 pages of evidence that was attached to a whistleblower submission was filed secretly more than a year ago with the IRS and FBI by someone with inside knowledge of the Clinton Foundation. The documents reportedly reveal that the Clinton Foundation engaged in illegal activities and may be liable for millions of dollars in delinquent taxes and penalties. Huber is to testify on this and other findings his staff of some 470 attorneys have been accumulating since 2017.

In this light, a news item from December 4, 2018 suggests that things could get very explosive around Clinton Foundation revelations. On that day US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman, released a sealed indictment against a Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca, on charges including “Conspiracy to Defraud the United States, Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, Conspiracy to Commit Tax Evasion, Wire Fraud, and Money Laundering Conspiracy.” Mossack Fonseca attorney Ramses Owens, a 50-year-old from Panama, remains at large.

Mossack Fonseca, was at the heart of the 2015 Wikileaks revelations of the so-called Panama Papers. It has several ties to the Clinton Foundation. They include Gabrielle Fialkoff, finance director for Hillary Clinton’s first US Senate campaign and today “senior adviser” to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. Fialkoff has donated to the Clinton Foundation and to Hillary’s presidential campaign. It includes shady Canadian mining billionaire Frank Giustra, a business partner with Bill Clinton and board member of Clinton Foundation who is in the center of the soon-to-be infamous Uranium One affair. Guistra’s offshore company UrAsia Energy Ltd was in the Mossack Fonseca Panama Papers leak.

Indications and investigations including court-ordered disclosues have shown evidence suggesting that while Hillary Clinton was Obama Secretary of State, she and husband Bill used the Clinton Foundation to solicit hundreds of millions of dollars in “charitable” donations from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Bahrain to the foundation in return for direct access to Secretary of State Clinton. At the time, Hillary Clinton’s State Department Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills also served on the board of the Clinton Foundation. Mills today is also listed on the foundation board.

James Comey’s Brother

Now it so happens that James Comey has a brother, Peter Comey, who had an executive position with the Washington law firm that did the audit of the Clinton foundation in 2015. Peter Comey was officially DLA Piper “Senior Director of Real Estate Operations for the Americas,” in 2015 when the Clinton Foundation scandals first broke and Hillary was preparing her Presidential campaign. Not only was DLA Piper, the firm where Comey’s brother worked, involved in the audit of the Clinton Foundation. According to the foundation’s donor records, DLA Piper has donated to he foundation.

There are other “coincidences” such as James Comey’s role before becoming FBI head as Vice President for top defense contractor Lockheed Martin, which became a corporate donor to the Clinton Foundation.

Peter Comey, working for the law firm that did the audit of the Clinton Foundation, at the time his brother headed the FBI and led the whitewash of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton matters a heck of a lot. Even the mere hint of such conflict of interest ought to have led to FBI director Comey recusing himself from any contact with the 2016 Clinton email server investigation.

Now the emergence of a Clinton Foundation insider whistleblower working with the US Justice Department and the Huber investigation threatens to blow the lid off what increasingly looks like one of the most egregious centers of political corruption in Washington. It begins to become more clear why Hillary and friends used all influence in government and mainstream media to discredit the President and try to close all investigations that could put them in the docket. Now it gets interesting, as the signs are the Justice Department Clinton investigation is ready to be presented.

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F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook” where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from NEO


seeds_2.jpg

Seeds of Destruction: Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation

Author Name: F. William Engdahl
ISBN Number: 978-0-937147-2-2
Year: 2007
Pages: 341 pages with complete index

List Price: $25.95

Special Price: $18.00

 

This skilfully researched book focuses on how a small socio-political American elite seeks to establish control over the very basis of human survival: the provision of our daily bread. “Control the food and you control the people.”

This is no ordinary book about the perils of GMO. Engdahl takes the reader inside the corridors of power, into the backrooms of the science labs, behind closed doors in the corporate boardrooms.

The author cogently reveals a diabolical world of profit-driven political intrigue, government corruption and coercion, where genetic manipulation and the patenting of life forms are used to gain worldwide control over food production. If the book often reads as a crime story, that should come as no surprise. For that is what it is.

The protests in France, symbolized by yellow vests, cover an increasingly large part of society. Political experts have already called this movement a “new revolution”. The scale of the “yellow vest” movement is already so serious that it is absolutely necessary to analyze this phenomenon in a detailed way.

We are dealing with a vivid manifestation of modern European populism. The meaning of populism as a phenomenon rising from the political structure in the societies formed in the wake of the Great French Revolution, and based on the confrontation between right and left, are changing radically.

Populist movements reject this classical political left/right scheme and do not follow any strict ideological attitudes, either right or left. This is the strength and success of populism: it does not play by the preset rules. Nevertheless, populism has its own logic: for all its spontaneity, it is quite possible to trace some logic and even the beginnings of a populist ideology taking shape before our eyes.

First of all, the fact that populist movements are directed against the political elite as a whole, without making a distinction, whether it is right or left-wing, is striking. This is the ‘uprising of the periphery of society against its center’. In his famous work, the American sociologist Christopher Lasch (1932–1994) designated the form of government that prevails in modern Western society as the “elite revolution”.

At the beginning of the 20th century, it was customary to follow José Ortega y Gasset’s discourse about the “revolt of the masses”, whose increasing influence on politics threatened, it seemed, to destroy Western culture – the European Logos.

But Christopher Lasch noted a new political trend: it is the elites that are destroying culture and European Logos today. These new western elites, who have reached the pinnacle of power only by their resourcefulness and immense will to power, are much worse and more destructive than the masses.

An ordinary person still maintains some cultural traditions; it is almost impossible to find a “pure proletarian”. But the modern capitalist elites, who have no aristocratism in their senses, are greedy for power, position and comfort. At the same time, more and more marginal types began to penetrate into the “new elite”, people not from peripheral groups, but from minority groups — ethnic, cultural, religious (often sectarians) and sexual — became dominant among them. It is this perverted rabble, according to Christopher Lasch, that forms the basis of the modern globalist elite, which destroys the foundations of civilization.

Accordingly, populism – including the populism of the “yellow vests” – can be viewed as a retaliatory uprising of the people against the elites, who have completely lost their connection with society. The elites have built their own world in which double standards, norms of political correctness, liberal demagogy reign.

According to these “new elites”, the people and society, in their current state, have no place in this world. Therefore, the typical representative of the “new elite”, Hillary Clinton, upset by the success of the right-wing populist Trump, openly insulted ordinary Americans – as deplorables, which in meaning means “shameful.” “Deplorables” have chosen Trump – not because they loved him, but to respond to the “globalist witch” Clinton.

Macron is a representative of the same type of “new elite”. It is curious that on the eve of the elections the French newspaper  ‘Libération’ published the headline ‘Faites ce que vous voulez, mais votez Macron ‘ (“Do what you want, but vote for Macron”). This is an obvious paraphrase of Aleister Crowley, who proclaimed himself in the 20th century as the Antichrist and the Beast 666: “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law”. In other words, obedient crowds should vote for Macron not for some rational reasons, not because of his ideas and virtues, but simply because this is the imperative law of the ruling elite. And the disregard of the elites towards the obedient, slain masses is so open that they do not even bother to seduce them with impracticable promises: “Vote for Macron, because this is an order and this is not discussed.” Vote and then you are free. Otherwise you are deplorables. And that’s all.

In Italy, where half of the population voted for right-wing populists of ‘Lega’, and the second half – for left-wing populists from the ‘Cinque stelli’ (5 Star Movement – ed., Flores), and together these parties managed to create the first populist government in European history. 

And now in France. And although in France there is practically no political contact between the right-wing populism of the National Front and the left-wing populism of Mélenchon, today it is united in the heroic revolt of the “yellow vests”. “Yellow vests” are deplorables, both right and left (but not liberal left, nor liberal right). The right-wing populists are terrified by the insane new elite policies regarding immigration and the destruction of the remnants of French identity. Left-wing populists are outraged by the disastrous economic policies of the liberals, who defend only the interest of big business: Macron is a protégé of the Rothschilds and that shows on which side he is…

The “yellow vests” rebelled against Macron as against the ruling liberal elite. But today, it is already no longer a movement of the classical right or left. Macron is left in support of migration, protection of minorities, the legalization of degeneracy and so-called “cultural Marxism,” but right (liberal right) in terms of the economy, firmly defending the interests of big business and European bureaucracy. He is a pure globalist, not disdaining a direct declaration of his belonging to Freemasonry (his famous hand-sign, representing a triangle), even with direct satanic slogans: “Do what you want, vote for Macron.” The revolt of ‘yellow vests’ is precisely against this combination of liberal right and liberal left.

If Mélenchon and Marine Le Pen cannot be united politically, being one – too left and the other  – too right, then the ‘yellow vests’ will do it instead of the political leaders seeking to lead a populist movement. The “yellow vests” are not just against economic policy or immigration — they are against Macron as a symbol of the whole system, against globalism, against liberal totalitarianism, against the “existing state of affairs”. The “yellow vest” movement is a populist and popular revolution. And the word “people” (populus, ‘le peuple’) in the concept of “populism” must be understood literally.

These are not abstract masses or an impersonal proletariatthey are the last living people who have risen up against the world power of globalist progeny,the rebels (as Lasch believes) of culture and civilization, as well as on man as such, on people, on God. Today there is no more right and left: only the people are against the elite. The “yellow vests” are creating a new political history, a new ideology. Macron is not a personal name, it is a label of the Matrix. To achieve freedom, he needs to be annihilated. Thus sprach the “yellow vests”, and they speak the truth… 

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Translated from Russian  by Geopolitika minor edits by J. Flores for FRN.

Aleksandr Gelyevich Dugin is a Russian philosopher, political analyst, and geostrategist, and author – best known internationally for his book ‘The Fourth Political Theory’.  

All images in this article are from Fort Russ

She Works Hard for the Money

December 11th, 2018 by Philip A Farruggio

She works hard for the money
So hard for it, honey
She works hard for the money
So you better treat her right

 — Donna Summer

She just turned 30, has three children, receives no welfare (except SSI for her Down’s Syndrome daughter), no food stamps anymore (she earns too much at $ 24k a year to get much), has no health coverage for herself (the kids are on Medicaid), and like the Donna Summer’s song “Works hard for the money! Vanessa M., born and raised by two military parents, went to college, made some ‘foolish decisions’ by her own account of falling in two love/hate relationships. The only upside was bearing three wonderful children. She is a single Mom and survives by having to work THREE PART TIME JOBS: a server in a coffee shop, a housekeeper in a major golf club ($ 10 an hour) and her best future prospect as an Occupational Therapist Assistant ($30 per visit, but as an independent contractor with no steady hours). All told, Vanessa M. works, on a good week when she is needed, 50 hours in total.

“When I was not working and going to school for the occupational therapists assistant course, I was able to get over $ 700 a month in food stamps for the four of us. As I got more work, it dwindled down to what I could get now, which is $ 150 or so a month. Problem is, they want you to ‘jump through hoops’ with forms and they want to have your email address, phone records and records of ALL my spending. To hell with it!”

Vanessa M. was recently lucky to have found a better source of housing for the four of them. “I met a nice lady who just purchased a home in a decent part of this area. She was having trouble paying her mortgage, so she offered me the opportunity to share her large home.” We have two bedrooms, a kitchen, living room and bathroom for ourselves, and I pay her $ 1000 a month, which includes ALL extra charges, like water, electricity and cable. I have to pay for my own cell phone and what goes with it, which costs me over $150 a month. Then I have my car insurance and of course gasoline costs, which for me is quite a lot, as I am always driving to all my jobs. If I am able to scrimp a bit, shopping stores like Wal-Mart for groceries, that costs me $ 130 a week or so. As far as clothing for myself and the kids, I am forced to shop in thrift stores and thankfully receive lots of ‘hand me downs’ from various people, for my kids.” If they get sick, well luckily I can take them to whatever urgent care accepts Medicaid. If I get sick…..”

Vanessa M. told me of her recent experience living elsewhere. “I was able to get a rather large apartment in a pretty downtrodden extremely low income area of Daytona Beach. I paid $ 1050 a month and it had plenty of room for us. Most of the street was absentee landlord rentals using management companies. Soon after we moved in I could notice that the house had terrible termite problems with lots of damage to the wood structure. All the management company did was just to ‘paint over’ the damage. That was bad enough, but when, one night while laying in bed, I heard weird noses from inside the walls. Then I could hear like a stampede running around. When in the morning I pushed back the dresser, I could see rat shit droppings inside of the drawers and along the wall. I immediately called the management company and they said they would send out a pest company. Well, what they did was send out a slew of pest companies to inspect the place… just to give quotes. By the third one coming out, and having ALL the guys telling me ‘Lady you got giant rat infestation’, and still no one coming to deal with the problem… I ran the hell out of there with my kids! After I was out of there, the management company wanted me to pay $ 800 for breaking my lease. I told them they already had my security deposit and one month rent in reserve, so I told them ‘Sue me!’ They never did.”

It is quite hard to fathom how a person, especially a woman in today’s still man dominated society, is able to support three children, work long hours, and keep ‘above water’. Vanessa M. has some ideas as to make this ‘life journey’ a bit more tolerable for she and literally millions of single Moms. “Well, if we had a reasonable minimum wage, let’s say $ 15 an hour, that would help. If we all had the same health care that the Canadians and English have, with little or no charges, that would be unreal! I just wish that there were no absentee landlords and rental apartments etc were owned and operated by the local towns, maybe rents would be much more easier for people like myself”

As my dear old (89) union and peace activist pal Walt DeYoung always puts it: “NUFF SAID!”

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Philip A Farruggio is a son and grandson of Brooklyn, NYC longshoremen. He has been a free lance columnist since 2001, with over 400 of his work posted on sites like Global Research, Greanville Post, Off Guardian, Consortium News, Information Clearing House, Nation of Change, World News Trust, Op Ed News, Dissident Voice, Activist Post, Sleuth Journal, Truthout and many others. His blog can be read in full on World News Trust, whereupon he writes a great deal on the need to cut military spending drastically and send the savings back to save our cities. Philip has a internet interview show, ‘It’s the Empire… Stupid’ with producer Chuck Gregory, and can be reached at [email protected].

The “Yellow Vests” Are Not “Russian Agents”

December 11th, 2018 by Andrew Korybko

The “Yellow Vests” have spontaneously employed the social media networking tactics most commonly associated with Hybrid Warfare, which is direct proof that this cutting-edge regime change technology has finally blown back and is beginning to undermine political stability in Western states.

When Jokes Come To Life

It’s been a running joke in the Alt-Media Community for the past few weeks that the French Establishment will eventually blame Russia for the “Yellow Vest” protests, and lo and behold that’s exactly what the Foreign Minister implied on Sunday when he said that the Secretariat-General for National Defence and Security (SGDSN) was investigating earlier reports spread by British media alleging that Russia is playing a shadowy role in influencing events. Moscow vehemently denied the accusations, which were based on nothing more than the observation that some supposedly Russian-friendly social media accounts were actively following the latest developments in Paris, calling the claims “nothing but slander” and reiterating that Russia doesn’t interfere in the internal affairs of any country. Still, the very fact that the French Establishment crossed the Rubicon into ridiculousness says a lot about how desperate they are to frame the “Yellow Vests” as a foreign-influenced destabilization operation instead of accepting their genuine grassroots origins.

Highlighting The Hybrid War

The French Establishment might still be in a state of disbelief and strategic paralysis after confronting what could objectively be described as Hybrid War threats in the capital’s streets, which isn’t rendering a value judgement or any other sort of implied political commentary about the “Yellow Vests” but simply drawing attention to the tactics that they’ve employed. To explain, the author’s theory of Hybrid Warfare posits that social media networking plays a disproportionately influential role in organizing massive demonstrations such as the ones that the “Yellow Vests” are now known for in Paris, with the deliberately decentralized nature of the socio-political movement making it extremely difficult for the authorities to counteract because there aren’t any official leaders for them to detain in trying to preemptively stop it. Instead, the state is immediately thrown on the defensive by the very nature of the rebellious threat that it’s facing, which usually makes it unable to respond in any effective way and encourages it to fall into the strategic trap of overreacting.

Falling Into The Trap

That’s precisely what happened in France, as the state has resorted to using excessive force in the hope that it can “set an example” and intimidate the populace, hence the deployment of an astounding 89,000 cops throughout the country as a “preventive measure” last weekend and some of the forceful measures that were used in response to the rioters. Western Mainstream Media outlets would have described such a move as “bordering on the brink of civil war” if any Chinese-friendly government in the “Global South” were to have done this, but largely eschewed any hint of this narrative when talking about France because of the fear that they have that similar methods could be unleashed against them by their own people one day too. Truth be told, just like in other Hybrid War battlefields, some of the footage being shown by on-the-ground activists might have been decontextualized, misportrayed, and over-amplified to push an agenda, but therein lays further proof that Hybrid Warfare is being applied.

A Taste Of Their Own Medicine

It might sound strange to think of Westerners waging Hybrid Warfare against their own government when this term is usually associated with people in the “Global South” doing this against their own authorities, but the author predicted in an April 2016 article about how “Color Revolution Technology Isn’t Just Black And White” that this cutting-edge regime change technology might one day blow back against the West. After all, there’s a plethora of freely accessible material on the internet about organizing Color Revolutions and other domestic destabilization campaigns, especially the works of Gene Sharp that have been translated into dozens of languages, so it’s not surprising that Western activists would eventually apply them against their own governments instead of going abroad to ‘proselytize’ these techniques in the “Global South”. Although some Color Revolution technologies can be used to strengthen governments that are being victimized by Hybrid War, the most commonly employed variant is used to weaken them.

Hybrid War Comes Home

The scale and scope of the “Yellow Vest” protests took the French Establishment completely off guard since the state had evidently overestimated the effectiveness of its indoctrination operations that the people were previously exposed to. It appears as if the government felt that its perception management techniques had successfully convinced the population to accept declining living standards and other aspects of the unsavory fate that the elite has in store for them, which is why they were so taken aback by the massive protests that have rocked the nation over the past month. The only “politically correct” explanation that they could think of is that “Russian propaganda” counteracted the effect of their operations and that the nationwide revolt is somehow being orchestrated from Moscow, refusing to countenance that their own failings are entirely to blame for what’s happening. It’s much easier to allege an international Hybrid War conspiracy than to accept that the West’s many international Hybrid Wars have finally come home to roost.

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This article was originally published on Eurasia Future.

Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

On December 7, the US State Department finally released an official statement on the November 24 chemical attack, which hit the government-controlled city of Aleppo injuring over 100 people. However, instead of condemning terrorist groups, which used chemical weapons, the State Department accused the Assad government and the Russians of gassing Aleppo residents to undermine the ceasefire in the Idlib de-escalation zone.

The statement is another example of doublethink widely employed by the US-led bloc in its diplomatic and media efforts in the conflict. When alleged chemical attacks take place in the militant-held areas, the US blames Assad. When alleged chemical attacks take place in the government-held areas, the US also blames Assad.

The Russian Defense Ministry reacted to accusations by saying that the supply schedule of chemical weapons by the Western special services to the terrorists in Syria is synchronized with State Department’s statements. The defense ministry added that it has undeniable evidence that the chemical weapons attack was carried out by militants.

According to the Russian side, the US may have been using chemical weapons accusations against Russia and Syria to draw attention from its own war crimes in the area of Hajin in the Euphrates Valley.

On December 7, two Turkish military convoys entered Idlib through the Kafr Lusen border crossing. The convoys, which included several battle tanks, moved to Turkish observation posts in Murak and Shir Mughar in northern Hama.

These two of 12 Turkish observation posts established in the framework of the Idlib de-escalation agreement have a special importance because they are located in the area where a Syrian Arab Army (SAA) military action is expected in case of a further escalation in the region.

Sporadic clashes between the SAA and militants erupt in northern Hama on a constant basis. Over the past few days, the SAA has repelled several militant attacks. On December 8, the Syrian military even employed an armed UAV to target positions of the National Front for Liberation (NFL) in the town of al-Hakurah.

On December 8, Mustafa Bakkor, a spokesman for Jaysh al-Izza, claimed that Iranian forces in northern Hama are raising Russian flags over their positions to “protect themselves from Israeli bombardment.” Earlier in 2018, the Free Syrian Army in southern Syrian made similar accusations claiming that Iranian forces were wearing SAA uniforms to avoid being detected by the Israeli military and intelligence.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that government forces had arrested 12 suspects during a recent operation against ISIS cells in western Daraa. Some of the suspects are reportedly related to Abu Ali Al-Baridi, a former leader of the Khalid ibn Al-Walid Army. The ISIS-linked terrorist group was eliminated in July as a result of the joint operation by the SAA and former members of the Free Syrian Army.

In Deir Ezzor province, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continue their efforts against ISIS. Last weekend, SDF units backed up by US and French Special Operations Forces entered the town of Hajin and captured over a half of it. The advance was supported by more than 100 airstrikes of the coalition.

The ISIS-linked news agency Amaq claims that ISIS members killed over 20 SDF members and destroyed at least 2 vehicles in the clashes. However, it appears that if the US-led forces really seek to capture Hajin, they will do this soon.

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The Globalization of War: America’s “Long War” against Humanity

Michel Chossudovsky

The “globalization of war” is a hegemonic project. Major military and covert intelligence operations are being undertaken simultaneously in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia and the Far East. The U.S. military agenda combines both major theater operations as well as covert actions geared towards destabilizing sovereign states.

ISBN Number: 978-0-9737147-6-0
Year: 2015
Pages: 240 Pages

List Price: $22.95

Special Price: $15.00

Click here to order.

Today, the world heard the very moving award speeches of Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad, who shared the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize. The two condemned sexual violence as a weapon in war, but also spoke forcefully against injustice, corruption, and arms as roots of war. Not only condemning crimes and atrocities, and certain weapons in wars, but appealing for disarmament and end to war itself they really did honour to the actual purpose of Nobel when he established his prize for “the champions of peace”, says Tomas Magnusson a leader of the Swedish and international peace work.

In an article in the main newspaper of Sweden, Dagens Nyheter, Magnusson appealed for respect for the original intention of Alfred Nobel. Nobel, a demilitarization of international relations. – “Lay down your arms” – would have enormous potential to improve the lot of women, respect for law and human rights, improve health, save precious resources, limit polluting emissions etc.

However, in a recent debate in the Parliament of Norway 167 delegates voted no to considering the intention of Nobel a necessary qualification for being eligible to the Norwegian Nobel Committee that awards the annual peace prize.

Only two parliamentarians favored the proposed qualification for being eligible to the five-member committee. The Nobel Foundation that has the overall responsibility for the implementation of Nobel´s will cannot be assisted by bodies that are unwilling to respect the will of Nobel, said Tomas Magnusson, a leader in Swedish and international peace work, who wrote the dn.se article as spokesperson for Nobel Peace Prize Watch (nobelwill.org).

Click here to read the full article in Swedish.

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Fredrik S. Heffermehl is a famous Norwegian jurist, writer and peace activist.

Resistance against Neoliberalism Is Not Terrorism

December 11th, 2018 by Nino Pagliccia

Resistance is not terrorism. And yet we do have resistance against oppressing rightwing neoliberal policies, and we do have spreading terrorism; but those words should never be associated in a causal relationship. If anything resistance is self-defense against warfare and terrorism!

Let me explain.

Why do we have resistance?

Today we live in a continuous state of warfare at different levels of intensity. The bully U.S. Empire keeps busy maintaining that level of aggression by using huge amounts of resources taken away from uninformed USAmericans and others.

We have quite a wide range of “conflictive relationships” masterminded by the U.S. government.

It’s interesting to see the corresponding proliferation of terminology associated with different types of warfare that we have come to use in describing those conflicts.

These are the tools of warfare we hear about today. We have:

  • Undeclared wars. And here we have to be careful how we use the term “war”. There is no war in There is a war onSyria. Semantic is important here.
  • New Cold War. I don’t know what’s new about it. It’s still the same permanent threat of war that the “Old” Cold War was.
  • Infowar. The production of false news with media participation in order to undermine the legitimacy and credibility of a government by demonizing it.
  • Economic war. This is the one that is caused through sanctions and blockades.
  • Incitation to commit political crimes. For example, the life attempt against Maduro and other high-ranking officials last August 4 in Venezuela.
  • Incitation to mutiny. Repeated calls to the military to overthrow a government.
  • Hybrid war or color revolutions. How colorful we have become!
  • Coups d’état. We still have those…with a soft touch now.
  • Now we also have Soft Coups. These are the ones that have been at play in Latin America in the last few years. They oppress and kill people all the same.
  • We even misuse the law to make war. It’s called Lawfare.

This is quite a repertoire of acts of war that can be used in any combination or mix!

All of these actions are a form of warfare, and all have embedded an element of illegality. They are not used as legitimate self-defense. They are used to subvert democracy.

They extend the notion of weapons to situations where everything can be weaponized with total disregard to legality, morality, humanity and ethical considerations.

Take for instance the term “humanitarian crisis” whose real meaning has been devalued to be used as infowar to justify a military intervention. This is currently the weapon of choice against Venezuela.

The U.S. has used all of these actions for regime change at one time or another, in some place or another; namely in Latin America and more intensely today in Venezuela, knowing very well that any of those tools of war constitute acts of terrorism.

Paradoxically, earlier this month, we have learned that the Trump administration is considering adding Venezuela to the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The idea that Venezuela is a state that sponsors terrorism is bizarre. Even a U.S. official admitted that it would be very difficult to provide any proof that Venezuela sponsors terrorism. That’s because it doesn’t! [1]

But the U.S. uses the arrogance of its so-called doctrine of exceptionalism to make such claims.

Notice the outrageous irony.

  • The U.S. government actually creates international terrorism. There is ample evidence of that, especially in the Middle East. [2]
  • But the U.S. accuses Venezuela of being a State that sponsors terrorism.
  • There is not a shred of evidence that Venezuela supports terrorism.
  • There is only a small proportion of the rightwing Venezuelan opposition terrorists that support U.S. terrorism even on their own country; and that collective self-destructive behaviour is a typical trademark of terrorism.

On the contrary, the Maduro government has made public calls for peace and dialogue even while the guarimbas were carried out by the rightwing terrorists in Venezuela in 2014 and 2017 when they literally terrorized the population.

Venezuela has been the victim of terrorism and is resisting in order to defend its sovereignty and self-determination.

We claim that we have a right to resist against unlawful attacks, but why do we say that resistance is not terrorism. For that we need to understand what terrorism is.

Terrorism.

Terrorism is the ultimate destructive tool to be used against another nation or people. The U.S. is using it widely, not only in the Middle East but also in Latin America and other regions. The goal is always the same: illegal intervention for regime change. Just recently, during a meeting with visiting Nicolas Maduro in Moscow, Vladimir Putin stated,

“Of course, we condemn any action that is clearly of a terrorist nature, any attempt to change the situation with the help of force.” [3]

We usually think of terrorism as indiscriminate bombing of public places by suicidal extremists. That’s the image we are given by the mainstream media; so when people hear that “Venezuela supports terrorism” they are immediately led to make the association that Venezuela supports those violent actions. The truth is that Venezuela does not engage in any kind of terrorism.

That image, however, is only true with the proviso that often the U.S. is fully responsible of facilitating or condoning those terrorist actions, and even guilty of indiscriminate bombings from the safety of fast planes or drones, which can also constitutes war crimes. Venezuela condemns those actions.

But what is terrorism really?

Title 18 of the United States Code regarding criminal acts and criminal proceduredefines international terrorism against U.S. nationals. [4] It says in part:

The term ‘international terrorism’ means activities that:

(A) Involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State…

(B) Appear to be 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.

Is the definition different if it’s not against “U.S. nationals”? Only through the lens of exceptionalism can the U.S. acknowledge terrorism when it is inflicted on U.S. nationals but not on other citizens.

The U.S. government has rejected many other definitions of terrorism because they all seem to suggest that it is involved in those actions.

Venezuela is very clear about what constitutes unlawful “violent acts dangerous to human life”, “coercion”, and “affect the conduct of a government”. This is a paragraph from a Venezuela Report of last July:

The policy of imposing unilateral coercive measures, known as “sanctions” … violates the Charter of the United Nations, and conceals an aggressive model of intervention…  Beyond the rhetoric that justifies it in the name of “democracy”, sanctions are an instrument of war, designed to make people suffer in order to bend sovereign States.” [5] Compare to the U.S. definition of terrorism in Title 18.

Of course it is not only about sanctions or blockades. The life attempt against Maduro and other high-ranking officials is also a gross act of terrorism.

Yes. Even by its own definition some reported actions by the U.S. government could be construed as international terrorism practiced on other nations and nationals.

When we speak of the U.S. government we do not exclude other governments in the use and support of terrorism. [6] Many countries have some kind of definition of terrorism. They all coincide on the use of “coercion for political purpose”. [7]

Finally, let’s consider the definition given by NATO, and we all know which governments those are.

For NATO terrorism is “The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence against individuals or property in an attempt to coerce or intimidate governments or societies to achieve political, religious or ideological objectives“. [7]

When Trump threatens Venezuela with a military invasion, what part of the definition of terrorism does he not understand?

Conclusion

To conclude I want to emphasize that there is nothing in the presence of currently increasing warfare, and the general notion of terrorism to which I have referred that says that resistance is terrorism.

I repeat. Resistance is not terrorism. If anything resistance is self-defense against warfare and terrorism!

A final point I want to emphasize is the need to have a strong, united and informed voice to denounce all actions of warfare and terrorism as the only effective way to stop them. We need to be prepared to counter misinformation and disinformation with sound arguments and analysis.

We have to counter rhetoric with information, facts and, yes, resistance.

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Nino Pagliccia is an activist and writer based in Vancouver, Canada. He is a Venezuelan-Canadian who writes about international relations with a focus on the Americas. He is editor of the book “Cuba Solidarity in Canada – Five Decades of People-to-People Foreign Relations” http://www.cubasolidarityincanada.ca. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Notes

[1] https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/11/23/business-as-usual-washingtons-regime-change-strategy-in-venezuela/

[2] https://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/19/how-the-us-helped-create-al-qaeda-and-isis/

[3] https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Putin-Maduro-Meet-Russia-Denounces-Intervention-in-Venezuela-20181205-0013.html

[4] http://cdn.loc.gov/service/ll/uscode/uscode1988-03201/uscode1988-032018113a/uscode1988-032018113a.pdf

[5] http://mppre.gob.ve/en/2018/07/10/to-whom-and-why-does-the-united-states-impose-sanctions/

[6] https://www.counterpunch.org/2016/01/22/how-the-west-creates-terrorism/

[7] Many definitions can be found here: https://www.secbrief.org/2014/04/definition-of-terrorism/

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Today our thoughts are with William Blum who passed away on December 9, 2018 at age 85.

William was at the forefront of critical debate and analysis of US foreign policy.

William combined honesty and Truth with carefully documented analysis. His important legacy will live.

Michel Chossudovsky, December 10, 2018

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He has contributed to Global Research since the very outset in 2001.

To consult William Blum’s archive of Global Research articles (2005-2018) click here

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William Blum died in Virginia early this morning on December 9, 2018. He was surrounded by friends and family after falling in his Washtington D.C. apartment and sustaining serious wounds 65 days ago. He was 85 years old.

Bill was born March 6, 1933 at Beth Moses Hospital in Brooklyn, N.Y. and became an American author, historian, and critic of United States foreign policy. He worked in a computer-related position at the United States Department of State in the mid-1960s. Initially an anti-communist with dreams of becoming a foreign service officer, he became disillusioned by the Vietnam War.

Blum left the State Department in 1967 and became a founder and editor of the Washington Free Press, the first “alternative” newspaper in the capital. In 1969, he wrote and published an exposé of the CIA in which were revealed the names and addresses of more than 200 CIA employees. He worked as freelance journalist in the United States, Europe and South America. In 1972–1973 Blum worked as a journalist in Chile where he reported on the Allende government’s “socialist experiment.” Its overthrow in a CIA designed coup instilled in him a personal involvement and an even more heightened interest in what his government was doing in various corners of the world.

In London in the mid-1970s, Blum collaborated with ex-CIA officer Philip Agee and his associates “on their project of exposing CIA personnel and their misdeeds.” The late 1980s found Mr. Blum living in Los Angeles pursuing a career as a screenwriter. Unfortunately, his screenplays all had two (if not three) strikes against them because they dealt with those things which makes grown men run away screaming in Hollywood: ideas and issues.

For the rest of his long life, Bill lived in Washington, D.C. ineligible to renew his lapsed security clearance because of his political views. Instead, he accepted many speaking engagements on college campuses around the world. Bill was a distinguished member of CovertAction Magazine and the Advisory Board, and worked on staff for many years with CovertAction Quarterly and CovertAction Information Bulletin. His articles can be found in our archives; See issues numbers 33, 46, 47, 51, 53, 66, and 77. Blum went on to write numerous books on U.S. foreign policy and became the go-to source on U.S. intervention.

His book Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II–first published in 1995 and updated in 2004–has received international acclaim.  Noam Chomsky called it “far and away the best book on the topic.”

In 1999, he was a recipient of Project Censored’s awards for “exemplary journalism” for writing one of the top ten censored stories of 1998–an article on how, in the 1980s, the United States gave Iraq the material to develop a chemical and biological warfare capability.

Blum is also the author of America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy – The Truth About U.S. Foreign Policy and Everything Else (2013), Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower (updated edition 2005), West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir (2002), and Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire (2004).  His books have been translated into more than 15 languages.

During 2002-2003, Blum was a regular columnist for the magazine The Ecologist, which is published in London and distributed globally. In January 2006, a tape from Osama bin Laden stated that “it would be useful” for Americans to read Rogue State, apparently to gain a better understanding of the enemy. Blum found his public speaking engagements abruptly ending.

Bill is also well-known for his highly popular and well-researched blog called “The Anti-Empire Report” published from April 1 2003 to September 20, 2018.

Following his 65-day fight to live after his devastating fall in his apartment on October 4th, Bill died this morning at 2:20 a.m. When his condition worsened several days ago, he was transferred from the Virginia Hospital Center to the Caring Care Hospice about one mile from the hospital. His son, Alexander S. Blum, flew in from Germany to be alongside friends and family. His immediate cause of death was kidney failure—combined with the various wounds on his body.

His last speaking engagement was this past summer as the keynote speaker at the Left Forum panel entitled “CovertAction: Persistent U.S. Attacks Against ‘Democracy and Freedom,’ Past and Present.” Hosted by CovertAction Magazine, Bill–speaking with Louis Wolf and others–entitled his presentation “American Exceptionalism: The Naked Truth.” He started his talk by acknowledging that…

“We can all agree I think that US foreign policy must be changed and that to achieve that the mind – not to mention the heart and soul – of the American public must be changed.”

And in his iconic, wry humor—coupled with chuckles in the audience—Bill stated:

“Consciously or unconsciously, [the American people] have certain basic beliefs about the United States and its foreign policy…The most basic of these basic beliefs, I think, is a deeply-held conviction that no matter what the US does abroad, no matter how bad it may look, no matter what horror may result, the government of the United States means well.”

See the full video of the panel here. His talk starts at 44 min and 48 seconds into the video.

Bill spent his life documenting the atrocities of the U.S. government and his contributions are deeply enlightening; without a doubt Bill has offered us ever lasting resources that will continue to inform generations to come.

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In order to protect himself from the military/security complex, President Trump has abandoned his earlier intention of normalizing relations with Russia.  Just as the neoconservative ideology needs US hegemony, the military/security complex needs an enemy to justify the $1,000 billion annual budget. 

The Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama regimes have crafted Russia into that enemy.  Trump intended to change that, but he has been prevented.  

Russiagate is the orchestration used to force President Trump into submission.  

As Stephen Cohen, a few others and I have emphasized, the risk of nuclear war from the orchestrated confrontation with Russia is the highest ever with the situation today being more dangerous than during the Cold War.  During the Cold War, both Washington and Moscow worked to reduce tensions and to build trust, but in the 21st century Washington has destroyed trust.  

The Russians have been very patient and have avoided belligerence in response to Washington’s insults and provocations, but now they announce “Russian patience is at an end” (see this)

Andrey Kortunov blames Trump, but the problem is the neoconservatives, the military/security complex, and presstitute media, a combination that has proved itself to be too powerful of a combination for a mere president. The Democratic Party and the liberal/progressive/left are complicit in the tragedy.  They have permitted their hate to subvert judgment with the consequence that nuclear war again threatens life on earth.  

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This article was originally published on the author’s blog site: Paul Craig Roberts Institute for Political Economy.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from Salon.com

Here is Karen Kwiatowski’s acceptance speech for the 2018 Sam Adams Award at a ceremony in Washington on Saturday night, preceded by the citation, that was read by former CIA analyst Ray McGovern.   

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Citation

Karen Kwiatkowski

Know all ye by these presents that Karen Kwiatkowski is hereby honored with the traditional Sam Adams Corner-Brightener Candlestick Holder, in symbolic recognition of her courage in shining light into dark places.

“If you see something, say something,” we so often hear. Karen Kwiatkowski took that saying to heart.

She saw her Pentagon superiors acting as eager accomplices to the Cheney/Bush administration’s deceit in launching a war of aggression on Iraq. And she said something — and helped Knight Ridder reporters Warren Strobel and Jonathan Landay see beneath the official lies and get the sordid story right before the war.

Karen’s courage brings to mind the clarion call of Rabbi Abraham Heschel against the perpetrators of an earlier war — Vietnam. “Few are guilty,” he said, “but all are responsible. Indifference to evil is more insidious than evil itself.” Karen would not be indifferent to evil.

Ed Snowden, Sam Adams awardee in 2013, noted that we tend to ignore some degree of evil in our daily life, but, as Ed put it, “We also have a breaking point and when people find that, they act.” As did Karen. As did 16 of Karen’s predecessors honored with this award.

With all the gloom and doom enveloping us, we tend to wonder whether people with the conscience and courage of Ed or Karen still exist in and outside our national security establishment. Our country is in dire need of new patriots of this kind.

Meanwhile, we call to mind the courageous example not only of Karen and Ed, but also of Coleen Rowley and Elizabeth Gun, our first two awardees, who took great risks in trying to head off the attack on Iraq. And we again honor Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange who is now isolated in what the UN has called “arbitrary detention,” for exposing the war crimes resulting from that war.

Karen Kwiatkowski has made her own unique contribution to this company of conscience and courage, and Sam Adams Associates are pleased to honor her.

Presented this 8th day of December 2018 in Washington by admirers of the example set by the late CIA analyst, Sam Adams. Know all ye by these presents that Karen Kwiatkowski is hereby honored with the traditional Sam Adams Corner-Brightener Candlestick Holder, in symbolic recognition of her courage in shining light into dark places.

Presented this 8th day of December 2018 in Washington by admirers of the example set by the late CIA analyst, Sam Adams.

Ray McGovern

Karen Kwiatowski and Ray McGovern at Sam Adams awards ceremony. (Photo:  Joe Lauria)

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‘Thoughts on the Sam Adams Award’: Remarks by Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatowski

I am honored beyond belief to be the 2018 recipient of the Sam Adams Award, and I thank Ray McGovern and the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, Warren Strobel and Jonathan Landay of Knight Ridder during the run up to the second invasion of Iraq, and Rob Reiner for putting together a great movie that was so consistently truthful, that for me, it looked almost like a documentary. I want to also thank the late David Hackworth, a man I never met who published my first anonymous essays from the Pentagon, and of course, Lew Rockwell, who has published so many of my essays examining and trying to understand our government and our offensive policies over the past 15 years.

There have been many American patriots and truth tellers who have received the honor you have given me tonight – and I am going to name them here because I stand in awe of all of them:

Coleen Rowley of the FBI; Katharine Gun of British Intelligence; Sibel Edmonds of the FBI; Craig Murray, former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan; Sam Provance, former US Army Sgt; Maj. Frank Grevil of Danish Army Intelligence; Larry Wilkerson, Col., US Army (ret.), former chief of staff to Colin Powell at State; Julian Assange, of WikiLeaks: Thomas Drake, of NSA; Jesselyn Radack, formerly of Dept. of Justice and now National Security Director of Government Accountability Project; Thomas Fingar, former Deputy Director of National Intelligence and Director, National Intelligence Council, and Edward Snowden, former contractor for the National Security Agency; Chelsea Manning, US Army Private who exposed (via WikiLeaks) key information on Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as State Department activities; and to retired National Security Agency official William Binney, who challenged decisions to ignore the Fourth Amendment in the government’s massive — and wasteful — collection of electronic data.

Again, I am very humbled and almost speechless tonight.  But not entirely speechless.

My backstory is pretty well-known to most people here, and to anyone who was interested in understanding US war policy in the early 2000s. I had a small role to play, in concert with a number of other truth tellers in media and in the national security bureaucracy. For every one of us, there were probably 20 to 50 people working beside us and around us, who understood a lot about what was happening, and who probably got a funny feeling about being in an organization where we all swore to uphold the Constitution, but in fact were engaged in promulgating lies of both omission and commission, mistruths and misdirection, aimed not at our enemies abroad but against the American people.

We were lying, with the help of a compliant and war-supportive media, to patriots young and old. Millions of Americans were eager to enlist, to fight, to sacrifice their life and health – for a made-up government fairy tale.

A sense of unease, I believe, was shared by many, many people who never blew a whistle, and never said a word. To their credit, some of these people passively resisted within their organizations, and tried to set things straight where they could. Some of these people simply called their assignments guy and got orders out of the Pentagon, others were removed if they resisted too much. There is always a cost when you seriously question the directions or actions of the bureaucracy that employs you.

It is in our country’s interest — as security professionals, as intelligence professionals, as soldiers and citizens, as writers and newsmakers – to be sensitive to the lawlessness, the immorality, and the wrongdoing of the bureaucracies and the leaders of the organizations we are a part of. That is the first thing we must cultivate and encourage – a sensitivity to and an awareness of something as simple as right and wrong. This is fundamental. From knowing right and wrong, we move to the factor that motivates so many whistleblowers, something that we all share as human beings, and that is an idea of justice.

The truth tellers who have been honored with Sam Adams Award, and thousands of others we may not be aware of around the world, share a concept of justice. For those who try to correct our U.S. government, particularly in its initiation and exercise of war, state-sanctioned murder and physical devastation of whole societies, we as American have tools that many others around the world don’t have. We have a Constitution that many of us swore to uphold. Americans tend to have a good grounding in the fundamentals of right and wrong, derived from religion or tradition, or both. We live in something that calls itself a Republic, and it is a fine form of government, with a solid set of rules.

But how do we get from a certain moral discomfort, from seeing something going on around us that is wrong, to trying to do something about it? How do we decide if we want to leave the room, turn our backs, put our head down, or instead take some sort of action that will put us on a collision course with very powerful people? What if we, as truth tellers, are like blind men describing an elephant – we see only one part of a larger story? How do we decide that our faith in our leadership is misplaced, and that more is at stake then just our jobs?

When you look at the experiences of people who made the dangerous and difficult decision to act, like Daniel Ellsberg, and Sam Adams, and Sibel Edwards, Jesselyn Raddick, Colleen Rowley, Thomas Drake, Ed Snowden, Julian Assange, and many others, you realize that speaking up and doing the right thing had a primary impact. That impact wasn’t improved transparency, a more informed democracy, a more aware and alert citizenry and better government decisions by our elected leaders.

Those were all secondary impacts, and in many cases tenuous, as the improved level of national understanding seems to last for less than a single generation. No, the primary impact was the unimaginable wrath of the state aimed at the life, livelihood, reputation, family, character and credibility of the truthteller. In several cases, this included physical and psychological abuse, prison time, gag orders, and even more devious programs. The rage of the state against these truth tellers is not impulsive and short-lived – it is a forever project funded by tax dollars, and fueled by very profitable agendas.

Knowing all of this, can we really expect to see a healthy and growing flow of truth tellers, whistleblowers, and simply bold honest people speaking out about government lies?

I think we can, and I am optimistic about the possibilities of better government through honest, bold, and forthright people working in and around this government.

To start with, as I mentioned, we as government employees and uniformed service-members need to have a solid sense of right and wrong. We need to cultivate a sense of justice. In a wonderful way, our younger generations are well prepared for this, at least in terms of cultivating a sense of justice. The young people we see portrayed, often disparagingly, as young socialists may not completely understand the nature of government or the state, but they do cherish ideas of justice.

Image on the right: The conquering of Iraq on a bed of lies. (U.S. Marines)

We also need people in government service who are sensitive to what is going on in their organizations, and how people are feeling and behaving around them. It is not coincidence that many of the people who have been honored by this award are women, who may be paying closer attention to the mood and morality of their organizations. There’s a country song that has a line in it about “Old men talking about the weather, and old women talking about old men.” We need both in our organizations, to be in tune with what is happening, and who is leading us.

We need people in government service who are willing to walk away from a job, and to say or even broadcast why they are leaving, without worrying about the next job, without worrying about being blacklisted, without worrying that they can’t make their next house payment or college tuition payment, or the alimony or child support payment. We need people in government who travel light, so to speak, and do their job because they love what they are doing and what it stands for.

This grounding and lack of rigid self-identification with their employing bureaucracy is extremely important. Thanks to technology and societal evolution, the younger generations of Americans are very likely to walk away from a job that they believe to be immoral, to act to correct what they see as wrong or unjust, and incidentally, are less likely to own a home, and more likely to define themselves by what they believe and stand for, not where they work, and how many promotions they had planned for themselves in that organization.

But even with our younger generations coming into government service – with a good sense of justice, a strong sense of self, and a willingness to speak openly about what they believe and know – there is risk when someone questions the collective government story.

There is risk in the act of challenging authority and one’s peer group, risk of being wrong and suffering loss of credibility. There is the rational and real risk of incurring the rage of the state, and being jailed, harmed, ruined and even killed on the whispers of an incensed or threatened agency.

There is another risk that we really don’t talk about much. I think most concerning for many people is the risk that you are actually right, that you have discovered something damning and dark in your country, in your government, in your organization. Once this happens, if it happens, your life is irreversibly changed, and nothing is ever going to be the same. Understanding how your government actually works, in particular how it works to create and provoke war and murder, how it works to extract the wealth of the nation and use this blessing to commit Constitutional crimes and untold evil, in your name – for many this understanding is not a gift, but a curse. I estimate at least 10% of our country, 20 – 30 million Americans, many of them veterans the U.S. Empire’s global adventures in the past 50 years, feel this curse, and many of them deal with it by turning away from the dark side of Washington D.C., and not talking, writing, or speaking about what they know.

If anyone has followed the case of former Marine Sergeant Brandon Raub a few years ago, you realize that the government keeps a close and paranoid eye on what veterans are doing and saying. Given how things work today, they may be wise to turn away silently from the truth they know.

I think this is why it is often hard for us to demand more truth-tellers come forward, especially in the defense and security and intelligence arena, when we should be shouting it from the rooftops.

Some years ago, I did an online radio program where I would interview interesting people, like Ray McGovern and Sam Provance and Sibel Edmonds , among many others. One person, in our conversation, expressed surprise that I was a short (formerly) brown haired woman, when he thought I would be a tall blonde. I was reminded of this when watching Shock and Awe, because Rob Reiner and the writers did not know who I was, and they portrayed me as a tall light-haired woman, a modern day Viking of sorts. Notwithstanding that this is a popular and attractive stereotype, I think there is something to be learned here. We want to believe that anyone who stands up to authority, who knows his or her own mind, who is willing to enter into a battle of wills with the state, and to take a risk is somehow taller, stronger, bolder and braver than the rest of us.

But it isn’t true. There is something remarkably childlike and simple in being honest, in observing without fear what is happening around you, and reporting this to the person who pays the bills. In the case of the national security arena, the bill payer is the American people.

Where Karen worked when she told Knight-Ridder that the intel on Iraq WMD was false. (Defense Department)

To tell the truth is simple, honorable, and good for the health of the Republic. The fact that it drives the security apparatus and the government crazy is just icing on the cake. Granted, we all need jobs, and our mental health, and we don’t want to be imprisoned, tortured or killed. But the more of us – specifically those working with and inside the US government today – who tell the truth, the less likely that government embarrassment will result in harm to a whistleblower, and the less likely in the long run that we will see whistleblowers as we tend to see them today.

In a world of that values honesty, they would be receiving the public commendation of a proud Congress, a grateful media and President, and a contented population.

I’m not a Pollyanna, and I’m worried about the role the US government is playing at home and abroad. The kind of devastation that the US tolerates, supports and initiates around the world – Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, of course Yemen comes to mind, the horrendous situation that Julian Assange is still facing as we speak – is not limited to “overseas.”

The industrial warfare state is as dangerous to Americans as it is to Iraqis, Syrians, and Yemenis. The arts of the warfare state are already being practiced here, against Americans. We – average Americans – are increasingly controlled, spied on, monitored, tracked, threatened, boxed in, and shut down by tools that were first used and tested on some contrived wartime enemy.

You don’t need me to tell you this, it’s in every newspaper every day, on every page. It is our modern reality. Truth and transparency are its only antidote, and truth and transparency needs all of us. To live in a society, to be a citizen, to love your country — you cannot sleepwalk through it.

People who value wisdom, people who value common sense, people who value justice and people who believe that being woke is a good thing – congratulations! You are the majority! You are alive, you are in charge of this country, and you can choose. America is worth preserving, healing, and saving – and if she is to be saved we will do it by first learning the difference between the truth and a lie, and then speaking the truth loudly, boldly, to anyone who will listen, over and over and over again.

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This morning CNN executives woke up to an ad chastising the network in the popular Sunday edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which reaches over 900,000 people.

In the paper of record, in CNN’s hometown, activists sent a powerful message in support of Professor Hill and in protest of his firing.

Marc Lamont Hill was fired by CNN after he spoke at the United Nations in defense of Palestinian rights as part of the UN-organized International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

The Jewish Voice for Peace advertisement is part of a larger support campaign for Marc Lamont Hill, and was paid for by over 1,000 individual donations, with an average gift of $28.

“We ran an ad because we felt strongly that CNN is ignoring a huge group of people. Who gets to talk about Israel/Palestine? Apparently Rick Santorum? A man who egregiously claimed that there are ‘no Palestinians in the West Bank.’ That’s ludicrous. By firing Dr. Hill, we believe CNN is discriminating against a commentator who spoke up for Palestinian rights. They should make it right and reinstate him.” – Granate Kim, JVP Communications Director

Dr. Hill is accused of antisemitism by over-zealous organizations who falsely conflate visible support for equal rights and justice for Palestinians with antisemitism. A growing trend of Jewish progressives are calling for greater debate around Israel. By firing Dr. Hill, CNN is promoting a cynical and dishonest use of the term “anti-Semite.”

Rabbis who are graduates of Temple University issued a letter last week stating:

“[W]e are dismayed by the claim that Professor Hill’s speech at the U.N. should be punished in any way. The accusations that his talk was ‘anti-Semitic’ was both unfair and ignorant. Criticism of the State of Israel, however strongly stated, including advocacy for a one-state solution for the region, does not in and of itself constitute anti-Jewish speech.”

People familiar with professor Marc Lamont Hill’s work and activism have pointed out that he is a tireless advocate for all who face discrimination and oppression, and claim that it is a tragedy his character is being maligned like this.

Along with the Rabbis in Philadelphia, Dr. Hill’s supporters include professors from Temple University; award-winning author and journalist Naomi Klein; activist and scholar Dr. Angela Davis; actor Mark Ruffalo; Representative-elect Rashida Tlaib; and many, many thousands who’ve signed grassroots petitions by a variety of activist groups.

Jewish Voice for Peace is a membership-driven organization with over 70 chapters, including an Atlanta chapter, and fifteen thousand members. It is considered one of the fastest-growing Jewish organizations in the country and reflects a growing shift of Jewish activism, which includes sharp critique of Israel.

“It is appropriate that this ad appears in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Atlanta should know that CNN has lost its credibility for impartial reporting of the facts around Israel and Palestine.” – Rozina Gilani, JVP-Atlanta

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What the administration needed was a moral voice, someone who would push back against the conspiracy theories that guide so much of Trump’s policy. Kelly was not that man

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Trump announced Saturday that his chief of staff, John Kelly, will leave at the end of the month. It has been reported that the two men are not speaking. Kelly was often seen as a force for stability in the Trump administration, but as I warned when he first came in, he shared many of Trump’s crackpot far rightwing ideas and therefore was not in fact a source of stability for the country.

1. Kelly thought that we are under siege:

“We are under attack from failed states, cyber-terrorists, vicious smugglers, and sadistic radicals. And we are under attack every single day. The threats are relentless.”

As journalist Michael Cohen wrote in response at the Boston Globe,

“Cyber-terrorists have never killed an American citizen, no failed state threatens America and more Americans are killed by lightning strikes than sadistic radicals.”

2. Kelly believed that construction on Trump’s border wall would begin by summer of 2017, and seemed to think that if it had, it would have been a good thing.

3. Nor is the wall needed or wanted by a majority of Americans. Kelly was almost delusional about U.S. immigration enforcement: “Nothing’s been done in the past eight years to to enforce the border rules and regulations, not to mention many of the immigration laws inside of the United States.”

Fact: The Obama administration deported at least as many people as the Bush administration had, if you use the same definition for deportations in both administrations. By sheer reported numbers, Obama deported some 2.5 million people during his eight years while Bush deported 2 million. They probably actually deported about the same number. Kelly’s bizarre notion that the laws were not implemented since 2009 is flat wrong.

4. Kelly full-throatedly supported the Nazi family border separation policy of the Trump administration. On undocumented immigration, Kelly gave NPR an interview went like this:

Kelly: “But a big name of the game is deterrence.”

NPR: “Family separation stands as a pretty tough deterrent.”

Kelly: “It could be a tough deterrent—would be a tough deterrent. A much faster turnaround on asylum seekers.”

NPR: “Even though people say that’s cruel and heartless to take a mother away from her children?”

Kelly: “I wouldn’t put it quite that way. The children will be taken care of—put into foster care or whatever. But the big point is they elected to come illegally into the United States and this is a technique that no one hopes will be used extensively or for very long.”

Kelly’s doctrine of “deterrence” of undocumented immigration into the U.S. through family separation was undergirded by a special kind of sadism and ignorance combined. First of all, villagers in Honduras were not going to know about Kelly’s policy. Second, they are so desperate that many will take the risk anyway. Third, it is wrong to pounce and take U.S. citizen children away from their mothers and fathers all of a sudden, giving them no time to make alternate arrangements. As for foster homes, with all due respect to the dedicated people who often run them, social science has proven that they are the biggest producer of a criminal class in the U.S. Children growing up without strong parental role models have a much greater chance of ending up in prison. Yes, that’s right. Social science says that if you want a safe society, don’t deport the parents of U.S. citizen children.

5. Kelly wanted to prioritize deportation of undocumented people who use marijuana on the circa 1910 grounds that it is a “gateway drug.” It is not, or Colorado would be nothing but heroin addicts. Legalization of marijuana tracks with lower crime rates.

6. Kelly said of reports that Jared Kushner had met with the Russians during the campaign, before these reports were confirmed, that “any channel of communication” with Russia “is a good thing.” Given Mueller’s revelations this week, that particular assertion hasn’t aged well for the general.

7. Then we should remember Kelly’s bizarre performance during Trump’s first attempt at a Muslim ban, when he gladly acted without any regard to the U.S. Constitution and claimed to have authored the policy (the Mussolini-loving Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller sprang it on him).

8. Kelly bizarrely defended Confederate slave drivers of the 1860s as having lived at a time before the evils of slavery were apparent to moral people. Haiti abolished slavery in 1804, Mexico in 1824, and Muslim Tunisia (!) in 1846. In fact, Tunisia tried to convince the antebellum U.S. to give up the foul practice, after its elite engaged in a modernist debate that instanced the Qur’an’s singling out of manumission as a good deed. That’s right folks, not only were Muslims in Tunis way ahead of Americans in the Deep South in the 1840s, but they were way ahead of John Kerry in 2018.

Oh, Kelly may have cut down a little bit on Trump’s circus of chaos in the West Wing. But what the administration needed was a moral voice, someone who would push back against the conspiracy theories that guide so much of Trump’s policy. Kelly was not that man. People praise him for his military service, but I think his positions, laid out above, profoundly contradict that ethos of the US military, and that he brought shame to the uniform he thankfully no longer wears.

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Juan Cole teaches Middle Eastern and South Asian history at the University of Michigan. His new book, The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation Is Changing the Middle East (Simon and Schuster), will officially be published July 1st. He is also the author of Engaging the Muslim World and Napoleon’s Egypt: Invading the Middle East(both Palgrave Macmillan). He has appeared widely on television, radio and on op-ed pages as a commentator on Middle East affairs, and has a regular column at Salon.com. He has written, edited, or translated 14 books and has authored 60 journal articles. His weblog on the contemporary Middle East is Informed Comment.

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On page X of the document, it says: “NATO definition of PSYOPS. Allied Administrative Publication (AAP)-06 defines psychological operations as: planned activities using methods of communication and other means directed at approved audiences in order to influence perceptions, attitudes and behaviour, affecting the achievement of political and military objectives.”

On page IX, this footnote – The term information strategy (its concept and definition) is not yet endorsed through official NATO policy. Its use here [in the UK], however, reflects current thinking on this subject and is coherent with current policy and doctrine initiatives in areas such as the effects-based approach, strategic communications and information operations.”

Nudging democracy

Psychological operations (PSYOP) are operations to convey selected information and indicators to audiences to manage perceptions, to influence their emotions, motives, and objective reasoning, and ultimately the behaviours of organizations, groups, and individuals.

Government plans to monitor and influence internet communications, and covertly infiltrate online communities in order to sow dissension and disseminate false information, have long been the source of speculation.

In June 2015, NSA files published by Glenn Greenwald revealed details of the JTRIG group at British intelligence agency GCHQ covertly manipulating online communities. This is in line with JTRIG’s goal: to “destroy, deny, degrade [and] disrupt” enemies by “discrediting” them, planting misinformation and shutting down their communications.

Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein, [co-author of “Nudge”], a close political adviser and the White House’s former head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, wrote a highly controversial paper in 2008 proposing that the US government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-independent advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” online groups and websites, as well as other activist groups.

Sunstein also proposed sending covert agents into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups” which spread what he views as false and damaging “conspiracy theories” about the government. Ironically, the very same Sunstein was recently named by Obama to serve as a member of the NSA review panel created by the White House, one that – while disputing key NSA claims – proceeded to propose many cosmetic reforms to the agency’s powers (most of which were ignored by the President who appointed them).

But the GCHQ documents are the first to prove that a major western government is using some of the most controversial techniques to disseminate deception online and harm the reputations of targets. Under the tactics they use, the state is deliberately spreading lies on the internet about whichever individuals it targets, including the use of what GCHQ itself calls “false flag operations” and emails to people’s families and friends.

Who would possibly trust a government to exercise these powers at all, let alone do so in secret, with virtually no oversight, and outside of any cognizable legal framework?

Now, inevitably, politicians and academics have reacted with fury to news that a covert Government-funded unit has been systematically and strategically attacking the official opposition in Parliament, undermining democracy in the UK.

Last month, Anonymous Europe obtained a large number of documents relating to the activities of the ‘Integrity Initiative’ project, which was launched back in autumn, 2015. The project is funded by the British government and is believed to have been established by the Institute for Statecraft.

The Institute for Statecraft is affiliated with the NATO HQ Public Diplomacy Division and the Home Office-funded ‘Prevent’ programme, among other things. Statecraft’s Security Economics director, Dr Shima D Keene, collaborated with John A. S. Ardis on a paper about information warfare. Anonymous published the documents, which have unearthed the massive UK-led psyop to create a ‘large-scale information secret service’ in Europe, the US and Canada.

The declared goal of the project is to “counteract Russian propaganda” and Moscow’s hybrid warfare (a military strategy that employs political warfare and blends conventional warfare, irregular warfare and cyberwarfare with other influencing methods, such as fake news, diplomacy, lawfare and foreign electoral intervention).

The Integrity Initiative consists of representatives of political, military, academic and journalistic communities with the think tank in London at the head of it. The Institute for Statecraft was set up, and is currently led by Chris Donnelly  (who, prior to his joining NATO in 1989, was for 20 years at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst) and Daniel Lafayeedney (whose military service, legal background and career as an entrepreneur have led him to an “understanding of the importance of the link between business and national security.”) They are supported by a Board of Trustees, Board of Advisers, an Operations Staff, a Strategic Development Team and an extensive network of like minded Fellows, associates and researchers.

Defending disinformation against democracy

The UK defines strategic communication (StratCom) as: “

advancing national interests by using all Defence means of communication to influence the attitudes and behaviours of people. It is an MOD-level function that seeks to align words, images and actions by taking direction and guidance from the National Security Council and developing a Strategic Communication Actions and Effects Framework to guide targeting and planning activities.”

“Info Ops is a staff function that analyzes, plans, assesses and integrates information activities to create desired effects on the will, understanding and capability of adversaries, potential adversaries and North Atlantic Council (NAC) approved audiences in support of Alliance mission objectives. PSYOPS, along with other capabilities,
will be coordinated through Info Ops processes guided by the information strategy and within NATO’s StratCom approach.”

The UK defines target audience analysis (TAA) as:

“the systematic study of people to enhance understanding and identify accessibility, vulnerability, and susceptibility to behavioural and attitudinal influence.”

In a document dump on November 5, the group exposed the UK-based ‘Integrity Initiative’.  The main stated objective is counter-terrorism, and “to provide a coordinated Western response to Russian disinformation and other elements of hybrid warfare.” The Institute for Statecraft is affiliated with the NATO HQ Public Diplomacy Division and the Home Office-funded ‘Prevent’ programme, so objectivity is, of course, at the forefront of their work…

psyops

From the government’s ALLIED JOINT DOCTRINE FOR PSYCHOLOGICAL OPERATIONS WITH UK NATIONAL ELEMENTS, SEPTEMBER 2014 .

However, the secret UK Government-funded propaganda unit based in Scotland has also been running a campaign on social media, using posts attacking Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party.

The Institute for Statecraft appears to be a small charity operating from an old Victorian mill in Fife. But the explosive leaked documents, which have been passed to the Sunday Mail, reveal the organisation’s Integrity Initiative is funded with £2million of Foreign Office cash and run by military intelligence specialists.

The Conservative group is supposed to counter Russian online propaganda by forming “clusters” of friendly journalists and “key influencers” throughout Europe who use social media to hit back against disinformation.

On the site, Dr Shima D Keene writes:

“The new security environment is increasingly spawning a variety of asymmetric threats which require immediate attention. Many of these threats are driven by the desire for economic gain, either as an end in itself, or to assist in achieving an ultimate end. Efforts to tackle the economic aspects of these threats have frequently been neglected or, at best, fragmented. This is particularly the case in the international sphere, allowing our adversary to operate in a benign environment.

“Security Economics is the analysis of the economic aspects of human-induced insecurity, such as terrorism and organised crime.

“The Institute’s Security Economics Programme serves to unite existing knowledge whilst bringing new knowledge to the subject. The multi-disciplinary approach aims to provide new thinking and direction, both strategically and tactically, in order that effective financial warfare strategies can be devised and implemented to tackle the evolving threat environment. Network analysis plays a key part. Activities of the Programme include operational research, policy development, counselling and mentoring in the following subject areas:

  • Threat Finance (Terrorism, Narcotics, Human Trafficking, Proliferation/Weapons of Mass Destruction and Organised Crime)
  • Psychological  Operations/Info Ops/ Influence
  • Financial Counter Insurgency
  • Economic Crime (to include Fraud and Money Laundering)
  • Maritime Piracy (Kidnap and Ransom)
  • Cyber crime and associated Technology
  • Forensic Finance/Financial Intelligence
  • Economic Warfare/ Asymmetric Financial Warfare
  • Counter Terrorist Finance/Anti Money laundering (Legislation/Regulation).

A message from the UK Government-funded organisation promotes an article that states:

“Unlike Galloway (former MP George Galloway) Corbyn does not scream conspiracy, he implies it,” while another added: “It’s time for the Corbyn left to confront its Putin problem.”

A further message refers to an “alleged British Corbyn supporter” who “wants to vote for Putin”.

It is not just the Labour leader who has been on the receiving end of online attacks. The party’s strategy and communications director, Seumas Milne, was also targeted.

The Integrity Initiative, whose base at Gateside Mill is near Auchtermuchty, retweeted a newspaper report that said:

“Milne is not a spy – that would be beneath him.

“But what he has done, wittingly or unwittingly, is work with the Kremlin agenda.”

Another retweet promoted a journalist who said:

“Just as he supports the Russian bombardment of Syria, Seumas Milne supported the Russian slaughter of Afghanistan, which resulted in more than a million deaths.”

The Integrity Initiative has been accused of supporting Ukrainian politicians who oppose Putin – even when they also have suspected far-right links.

Further leaked documents appear to show a Twitter campaign that resulted in a Spanish politician believed to be friendly to the Kremlin being denied a job.

The organisation’s “Spanish cluster” swung into action on hearing that Pedro Banos was to be appointed director of the national security department.

The papers detail how the Integrity Initiative alerted “key influencers” around Europe who launched an online campaign against the politician.

In the wake of the leaks, which also detail Government grant applications, the Foreign Office have been forced to confirm they provided massive funding to the Integrity Initiative.

In response to a parliamentary question by Chris Williamson, Europe Minister Alan Duncan said:

“In financial year 2017-18, the FCO funded the Institute for Statecraft’s Integrity Initiative £296,500.

“This financial year, the FCO are funding a further £1,961,000. Both have been funded through grant agreements.”

Apparently, the Institute launched the Integrity Initiative in 2015 to “defend democracy against disinformation.” However, the evidence uncovered strongly suggests that it’s rather more of an attempt to defend disinformation against democracy.

Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry expressed the party’s justifiable outrage:

“It is one of the cardinal rules of British public life that official resources should not be used for party political purposes. So, it is simply outrageous that the clearly mis-named ‘Integrity Initiative’ – funded by the Foreign Office to the tune of £2.25 million over the past two years – has routinely been using its Twitter feed to disseminate personal attacks and smears against the Leader of the Opposition, the Labour Party and Labour officials.

“And this cannot be dismissed as something outside the Government’s control, given the application for funding agreed by the Foreign Office last year stated explicitly that it would be used in part to expand “the impact of the Integrity Initiative website…and Twitter/social media accounts.

“So the Government must now answer the following questions: why did the Foreign Office allow public money to be spent on attempting to discredit Her Majesty’s Opposition? Did they know this was happening? If not, why not? And if they did, how on earth can they justify it?”

Labour MSP Neil Findlay said:

“It would appear that we have a charity registered in Scotland and overseen by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator that is funded by the UK Government and is spewing out political attacks on UK politicians, the Labour Party and the Labour movement.

“Such clear political attacks and propaganda shouldn’t be coming from any charity. We need to know why the Foreign Office have been funding it.”

The UK’s links with NATO  psyops are well-established – see Countering propaganda: NATO spearheads use of behavioural change sciencefor example. From the article:

“Target Audience Analysis, a scientific application developed by the UK based Behavioural Dynamics Institute, that involves a comprehensive study of audience groups and forms the basis for interventions aimed at reinforcing or changing attitudes and behaviour.”

The UK government openly discusses its policy intents regarding ‘behavioural change’, and instituted the Nudge Unit in 2010 to contribute to their behaviourist policy agenda. The behavioural economists from the Unit have contributed significantly to punitive welfare policy, for example.

The programme entailing the use of behavioural change science for NATO was delivered by the UK-based Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL Defence), which has worked for the UK Ministry of Defence and the United States’ Department of Defense for a number of years and is the world’s only company licensed to deliver the Behavioural Dynamics process, and a team of Information Warfare experts drawn from seven nations, called IOTA-Global.

David Miller, a professor of political sociology in the School for Policy Studies at the University of Bristol, added:

“It’s extraordinary that the Foreign Office would be funding a Scottish charity to counter Russian propaganda which ends up attacking Her Majesty’s opposition and soft-pedalling far-right politicians in the Ukraine.

“People have a right to know how the Government are spending their money, and the views being promoted in their name.”

Tamsin Shaw, an associate professor of philosophy at New York University, has researched the US military’s funding and use of psychological research for use in torture. She says:

 “The capacity for this science to be used to manipulate emotions is very well established. This is military-funded technology that has been harnessed by a global plutocracy and is being used to sway elections in ways that people can’t even see, don’t even realise is happening to them.”

“It’s about exploiting existing phenomenon like nationalism and then using it to manipulate people at the margins. To have so much data in the hands of a bunch of international plutocrats to do with it what they will is absolutely chilling.

We are in an information war and billionaires are buying up these companies, which are then employed to go to work in the heart of government. That’s a very worrying situation.”

Mass surveillance, data profiling, psychographic profiling and behavioural modification strategies are embedded in the corporate sector and are now very clearly being used in a way that challenges the political canon of liberal democratic societies, where citizens are traditionally defined by principles of self-determination. I’ve spent the past few years writing critically about the neuroliberal turn.

The leaked documents show a funding application to the Foreign Office that details the unit’s work.

Further papers reveal a unit in Lithuania which received overseas funding to “support a new hub/cluster creation and to educate cluster leaders and key people in Vilnius in infowar techniques”.

It’s only over recent years that we are getting a glimpse of new behavioural economics discipline evolving into forms of social control that make the frightful 20th-century totalitarianism regimes seem like a primitive and crude method of governance by comparison. This all-pervasive control is elegant and hidden in plain view. It’s a subtle and stealthy form of totalitarianism. Behavioural science and its various applications as a new “cognitive-military complex” – it originated within intelligence and state security agencies.

BeWorks is one example of a company adopting the nudge approach to strategic communications and marketing, they describe themselves as “The first management consulting firm dedicated to the practice of applying behavioral science to strategy, marketing, operations, and policy challenges”, also “harness the powerful insights of behavioral economics to solve your toughest challenges.”

They work for the government, the energy industry, financial service sector, insurance industry and retail sectors, “helping organisations to embed behavioural economics into their culture”.

The company says:

“The team combines leading academics from the fields of cognitive and social psychology, neuroscience, and marketing with management consulting experts. Our multi-disciplinary expertise allows us to arm our clients with the latest in scientific insights coupled with a strategic business lens”.

They also wrote this article among others: How Science Can Help Get Out the VoteThey claim: “Our team of scientists and business experts offers a powerful methodology that analyzes and measurably influences the decisions consumers make”.

They go on to say

“Neuromarketing studies, which measure brain activity and other biological indicators, are another way to gauge true emotional reactions instead of relying on how people say they feel. EEG caps and biometric belts are the most common tools used, though other techniques, ranging from reading facial expressions to measuring tiny differences in reaction time, are also used.”

The consequences of governments acting upon citizens to meet political aims, and to align behaviours with a totalising neoliberal ideology, turns democracy completely on its head. We are left with a form of inverted totalitarianism, or facade democracy, where direct methods of oppression are not required, as citizens are far easier to control and better ‘nudged’ when they continue to believe themselves free and autonomous.

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All images in this article are from the author unless otherwise stated.

Well before David Cameron announced the EU referendum, powerful, often shadowy foreign actors had been lobbying for years to install those who shared their vision of Britain’s future into critical positions of influence. Right-wing free-market fundamentalists agitating for Brexit secured positions in high office and the very corridors of power. Collectively, they established and built authoritative organisations to ensure that Brexit was not a wasted opportunity to push forward the next stage of the global reign of free markets.

Thomas Piketty’s seminal book ‘Capital in the 21st Century’ stated that “no government programme could be sustained without an apparatus of justification.” This architecture, as Picketty asserts, is that without the think tanks, corporate lobbyists, disinformation and propaganda, false expert reports and spin doctors – change programmes such as Brexit would be politically unattainable.

This book explains how, after connecting the dots, democracy came second in an EU referendum where subversive corporate forces facilitated by failed political protections overpowered Britain’s electoral system and overwhelmed it’s governing commission.

This book names the bad actors in the ‘Brexit Syndicate,’ the transatlantic lobbying firms, think tanks and what turned out to be front charities. It brings to light ‘dark money’ and prises open some of their shameful, immoral and often illegal campaigns.

Exposed in this book is a scandalous plan, long in the making to dismantle the welfare state and privatise the NHS with American corporations already secretly installed and writing public health policies in Britain.

Uncovered is the story of how American corporations and lobbyists have unprecedented access to British parliamentarians looking to influence the outcome of Brexit in their favour.

Also uncovered is another scandal, brushed under the carpet, about what the British pollsters knew and what they did with that information, and how some of Britain’s top business bosses have been gagged and openly threatened by government officials with job and business losses for speaking out against leaving the European Union.

Brexit has always been sold to the public as freedom from the red tape of a failing EU bureaucracy and their meddling in sensitive areas of sovereignty such as immigration and judicial decisions that Britain escaped, not the destruction of public protections put in place to ensure civil society thrives. This book examines the language of Brexit, the illegal strategies, the scale and use of military perfected social engineering systems and the extent of international money pushed at ensuring Britain’s exit from the EU.

There is a politically explosive question that has not been asked by the print or broadcast media; was Brexit both predetermined and then engineered as an outcome – this book answers that question.

Brexit – A corporate coup d’etat is about what galvanised those in the know, the real motivations behind Brexit, how they did it and what we can expect in a future that was the result of the biggest corporate coup d’etat in history.

***

Available Now On:

Amazon Kindle: HERE

iTunes: HERE

Smashwords: HERE

Kobo: HERE

Barnes & Noble: HERE

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The Ukraine Freedom Support Act (UFSA) of 2014 authorized US lethal and non-lethal aid to Kiev. 

The US and other NATO countries supply its forces with heavy and other weapons, along with training to use them. The only external threats its regime faces are invented one. No real ones exist.

A state of war initiated by Ukraine exists between the US-installed puppet regime and Donbass freedom fighters – breaking away from Kiev over wanting democratic governance, rejecting illegitimate fascist rule.

In April 2014, less than two months after the Obama regime’s coup, replacing democratic governance with Nazi-infested putschists, Ukrainian forces attacked the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk (DPR and LPR) in Donbass.

US orchestrated war continues intermittently. Washington and Kiev willfully undermined Minsk I and II conflict resolution agreements, wanting war, not peace, near Russia’s border.

Full scale war could resume any time. Last week, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the Ukrainian Poroshenko regime is “ready to do anything, even unleash a new blitzkrieg in southeastern Ukraine” (the Donbass region), adding:

“(W)e have been hearing about ongoing preparations for possible military actions by the Ukrainian armed forces in Donbass.”

“(T)he Kiev regime is trying to use the cover of information noise to direct the international community’s attention to its own provocation in the Kerch Strait which it tries to pass off as aggressive actions taken by Russia.”

“Substantial offensive forces are being redeployed in that region and dispersed along the contact line. (P)hotos of tank units redeployed to Mariupol were posted on social media.”

“(A)irborne assault and mechanized brigades of the Ukrainian armed forces are being redeployed in the conflict zone. In November, the personnel of these brigades underwent training at the training ranges in the Zhytomyr and Lvov regions overseen by the US, Canadian and British instructors.”

“(M)artial law is (a pretext), conceal(ing) plans to stage another provocation in Donbass,” portrayed as “Russian aggression.”

The Trump and Theresa May regimes appear to be planning more aggression in Donbass by Ukrainian forces – to be launched whenever the US and Britain order their Kiev proxies to attack.

Resumption of full-scale war could come any time, the November 25 Kerch Strait incident perhaps prelude for what’s planned.

On Saturday, People’s Republic of Lugansk (RPL) spokesman Andrei Marochko said Ukrainian forces are conducting live fire drills, using Strela-10 surface-to-air missile systems near the contact line with Donbass.

Minsk II requires both sides to withdraw heavy weapons from an agreed on security zone – 50 km from it for artillery of 100mm calibre or more, 70 km for multiple rocket launchers, and 140 km for Tornado-S, Uragan, Smerch, and Tochka U tactical missile systems.

Kiev breached Minsk I and II agreements straightaway. Shelling by its forces on Donbass goes on intermittently, more heavily in recent days.

Marochko accused Kiev of “(v)iolating the heavy weapons withdrawal line,” its actions “contribut(ing) to the worsening situation in this region” – OSCE monitors failing to report flagrant Poroshenko regime Minsk breaches.

“The enemy continues to strengthen the grouping of forces in the area of the Operation of the United Forces of Ukraine,” Marochko stressed.

Unidentified soldiers in NATO uniforms were spotted in areas controlled by Kiev close to Donbass, LPR press representative Yakov Osadchy explained.

According to the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) deputy chief of staff Eduard Basurin, Kiev forces are planning an attack with banned toxic weapons in Gorlovka, an area they control.

DPR intelligence reported that UK military forces arrived in Kiev-controlled Artyemovsk to prepare a CW attack on the DPR, along with sabotaging its Stirol plant, a diversionary tactic to draw its defense forces away from an area so Kiev troops can penetrate it – followed by land and sea attacks on civilians to cause mass casualties to be blamed on Donbass freedom fighters, Basurin said, adding:

The above actions are intended as “pretext(s) for a massive missile airstrike on critical infrastructure and areas.”

“In particular, aircrafts shall target military equipment storage sites, established in accordance with the Minsk Agreements, arms and fuel depots, civilian infrastructure.”

Resumption of full-scale war could follow. Is this what the Trump and Theresa May regimes have in mind?

In May 2014, Donetsk and Lugansk residents voted overwhelmingly by referendum for independence from fascist rule by Kiev they reject.

Their leadership sought to join Russia. Donbass and the Russian Federation share a common border.

If the Kremlin had been willing to let Donetsk and Lugansk join the Russian Federation the way it accommodated Crimeans,  correcting a historic mistake, years of war by Kiev on Donbass might have been avoided.

It’s not too late to let Donbass join  Russia, affording its people the same rights and safety as all other Russian citizens.

Is it a way to lessen the chance of Kiev forces attacking Russian territory? Their actions depend on what Washington has in mind.

The risk of East/West confrontation remains a threat Russia has to prepare for given US hostility toward the country and its aims for global dominance – whether Donbass is independent or part of the Russian Federation.

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Featured image is from Stars and Stripes

Believe it or not, but decades ago, Indonesia was a socialist country, the cradle of the ‘Non-Aligned Movement’, with the progressive and fiery President Soekarno leading the nation. The Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) was then the third largest Communist Party in the world, after those of China and the Soviet Union, and was it not for the US-orchestrated coup of 1965; it would easily have won elections in 1966, democratically and comfortably.

All the key natural resources of Indonesia were in the hands of its people and the government; firmly and uncompromisingly. Indonesia was becoming one of the world leaders: still a poor country, but optimistic, determined and full of hope.

Soekarno was a dreamer, and so were his Communist comrades.

But besides being a ‘political poet’, Soekarno was also a pragmatic civil engineer, who knew a thing or two about both architecture and city planning.

One of his great visions born at the end of the 1950’s was to build a brand-new capital for his enormous country of thousands of islands. It is believed that one day he calculated the precise location of the ‘geographical center’ of Indonesia, inserted a pin there, and declared that this is where the new ibu kota (capital or ‘mother’ city) would be constructed.

President Soekarno inaugurating future capital city

The proverbial pin had marked the area which, in reality, was in the middle of the impenetrable jungle of Kalimantan (Indonesian part of Borneo), some 200 kilometers from the nearest city of some size – Banjarmasin.

Before construction began in 1957, there was only a village – Pahandut – soon to became the capital of the new Autonomous Region of Central Kalimantan, with Soekarno’s comrade, Tjilik Riwut accepting the role of the first governor. One year later, however, the future city was renamed, becoming Palangkaraya.

The task of designing the urban area came from Comrade Semaun, who was one of the founders and the first chairman of the PKI. He graduated from the ‘Communist University of the Toilers of the East’ in the Soviet Union. He often performed tasks of a city planner and, together with Soekarno, he was determined to erect the ‘second Moscow’ in the middle of Kalimantan/Borneo, with magnificent research centers, theatres, concert halls, libraries, museums and public transportation, as well as fountains, wide avenues, squares, parks and promenades.

Soviet architects, engineers and workers, (but also teachers) were invited to help with this mammoth task.

In the middle of the wilderness, between two tropical rivers, Kahayan and Sabangau, one of the greatest Asian projects of all times was slowly beginning to take shape.

It was launched by President Soekarno himself, who on 17 July 1957 marked the inauguration of the monument in the middle of a new roundabout, which was expected to become the very center of the new city, of the new province, and eventually of the entire Republic of Indonesia (RI).

President Soekarno landed

The project started to move forward, feverishly, and enthusiastically. Soviets, side-by-side with their Indonesian comrades, were building roads and erecting structures.

There were even plans to construct tunnels, practically bomb shelters, against potential attacks by the Malaysian and British forces; tunnels which could, at some point, be further deepened, widened and serve as the basic infrastructure for the underground public transportation of the city (metro).

The revolutionary zeal of Soekarno’s idealism was igniting both local and foreign (Soviet) builders. It was that chaotic but marvelous ‘nation and character-building’ period often described by the greatest Indonesian novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer – without any doubt the greatest era of the otherwise gloomy history of the archipelago.

*

Then, suddenly, full stop!

On September 30/ October 1, 1965, the West, together with treasonous Indonesian military cadres led by General Suharto and by the religious cadres, overthrew the young socialist democracy, and installed one of the most brutal fascist dictatorships of the 20th century.

What followed was genocide. The country lost between 1-3 million intellectuals, Communists, atheists, artists and teachers. Rivers were clogged with corpses, women and children gang-raped, almost all progressive culture banned, together with the Chinese and Russian languages.

Communism and atheism were banned, too. Even words like ‘class’ were forbidden, together with the Chinese dragons, cakes and red lamps.

The Palangkaraya ‘project’ came to an abrupt halt. Soekarno was put under house arrest in Bogor palace, where he later died.

Soviet engineers and workers were flown to Jakarta and unceremoniously deported. All Indonesians who came in touch with them, without exception, were either killed, or ‘at least’ detained for a minimum of one year; interrogated in detention, tortured and in the case of women, raped.

The ‘Killing fields’ were not only in Java, but also both north and west of the city of Palangkaraya.

The master plan, drawings, in fact almost all information related to the ‘second Moscow’ in the middle of Borneo, suddenly ‘disappeared’.

Palangkaraya is now geographically the largest city in Indonesia, but it counts on only about 250,000 inhabitants.

Like all other cities of the archipelago, it has inadequate infrastructure, notorious absence of cultural life, and it is dotted with miserable slums. It has absolutely no public transportation.

Big dreams fully collapsed. But not only that: now, almost no one in the city or anywhere in the country, is even aware of those grandiose plans of the past, of that enormous project to build a ‘different Indonesia’. A truly independent, anti-imperialist country led by President Soekarno and the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI), has died; was smashed to pieces. The stepping down of General Suharto changed nothing. No renaissance of socialism ever arrived. The Communist Party and thoughts are still banned.

*

While working on a documentary film about the natural devastation and collapse of the third largest island on earth – Borneo – we came to Palangkaraya, the first time, in October 2018.

What impressed us the most was how thoroughly the regime has wiped out everything related to the city’s past.

People were scared to talk, or they simply ‘did not know’. As I recorded on film, children knew absolutely nothing about the past, except those few deceptive and primitive barks that were forcibly injected into their brains.

We searched, but could not find any detailed references or drawings – here, or even in Jakarta, Bandung and abroad. All gone!

Obviously, the great past of Indonesia remains classified, as ‘top secret’. It is because the contrast between the revolutionary dreams and monstrous present-day reality, is too great and potentially, ‘too explosive’.

*

Pararapak Village, South Barito District, Central Kalimantan Province.

Mr. Lanenson (image on the right), a 78 years old Dayak man appears to be the only person who can still ‘remember’, and is willing to talk openly about the Soviet people and their involvement in this country.

Mr. Lanenson is a strong, determined man; he is proud. His face is animated, and he speaks loudly, passionately, as almost all progressive men of his generation (be it the greatest Indonesian writer Pramoedya Ananta Toer who has already passed away, or the extremely talented Javanese painter Djokopekik who is still active and full of spite towards the present regime), are capable of speaking.

He worked with the Soviets, closely, side-by-side, like a comrade. Before 1965, he was employed by the Kalimantan road project agency (PROJAKAL), in the human resource division.

And he was one of those who were later arrested, jailed and brutally interrogated, simply because he interacted with the Soviet citizens, and because he was trying to build, together with his foreign friends, a much better Indonesia. He spent an entire year in Suharto’s prisons, without one single charge being officially brought against him.

“After the coup of 1965 which took place in Jakarta, there were arrests and massacres of people who were suspected of being related to the PKI, or for being ‘Soekarnoists’. Everyone related to Russia had been taken away. I was held in a detention camp in Palangkaraya.”

“Army treated prisoners inhumanely. Every morning we woke up and were beaten and shouted at. Guards were brutalizing us.”

Mr. Lenenson’s eyes were shining with excitement when his mind began wandering to the bygone days before 1965:

“Russians, they are very hard-working and good people; they were never confrontational towards the local people. I even remember all little details about spending time with the Russian people. In the afternoon after we finished working, we played badminton and sometimes football, together. At times, Russian friends would ask me to catch a wild pig, a boar, so we could roast and eat it together. I still remember the name of a Russian teacher -Ms. Valentina. But Muslims were very confrontational even then; some were ‘anti-Soviet’, only because most of the Soviet people were not religious.”

Does he still remember the enthusiasm of Soekarno era; the ‘different Indonesia’ of dreams, hard work, and of ‘nation and character building’?

“The optimism and enthusiasm were there; I felt it when working together with the Soviet people, building the city of Palangkaraya.”

Soviets building new capital in the middle of jungle

He also strongly believes that if the coup of 1965 had not happened, Palangkaraya would be an absolutely different place.

He spoke a few words in Russian to me – simple and disconnected words, but surprisingly, with perfect pronunciation. Rabota– work. Zdrastvuite– good day…

At one point, it began to rain. A heavy, tropical downpour. I could not record well, but he was unwilling to stop.

“You can stay overnight,” he suggested.

‘Like in Afghanistan’, I thought, ‘whenever I work there and begin to speak Russian’, people want to host me, feed me. They want to speak and remember. Because the dreams of the past is all they have left now.

*

Back in Palangkaraya, Ms. Ida, Tjilik Riwut’s daughter, sits in café that she owns, surrounded by black and white photos of her father, the former governor of the province, who is in them working, speaking and travelling together with President Soekarno and various other top officials, as well as with many common local people.

She and her daughter Putri, do not know much about the 1965 massacres. Or they say they don’t know. Many topics, including this one, are fully taboo, until now. Or especially now, that the island of Borneo is thoroughly ruined, mined out, deforested and poisoned by foreign corporations and local thugs described as ‘businessmen’; those who got into the driving seat after the 1965 genocide. Perhaps, they simply do not want to address the topic. I will never find out. Whatever it really is, ‘they don’t know’.

But Ms. Ida speaks, openly, about the days when the city was born:

“I still remember when the Russian engineers were building the infrastructure here. Palangkaraya was built from zero. Russians, together with the local Dayak people, were cutting through the forest, putting tremendous effort converting wilderness into the city.”

Behind her back is an old photo of her father, with his famous quote engraved on top of it:

“It is my obligation, to fight for this region, and it is also my obligation to listen to the voices of the people. It is because we are servants of the people and our nation.”

We hear basically the same things from a famous local journalist, Mr. T. T. Suan. Unfortunately, we find him bed-ridden, in grave medical condition. We do not want to disturb him, but his family insisted that we come in and sit at the edge of his bed. During the exchange, his daughter held his hand and shouted into his one good ear (he is deaf in the other ear, after being beaten, brutally, after the 1965 coup, as he was accused of ‘collaborating with Tjilik Riwut’).

With weak but determined voice, he explained:

“I still remember that era, when we, together with the Soviets, were building progressive Palangkaraya City. This was era full of enthusiasm and discipline. Yes, Russians really taught us about discipline: when we came to the office in the morning, and planned our activities, you could bet that by night, everything would be implemented.”

We asked him about the disappeared master plan of the city.

Lost in dreams, he began recalling details that he still remembered by heart:

“The main roundabout – that is where the huge lake was supposed to be. That would be the center of the city, where all protocol roads would be growing from. Around there, the most important and impressive buildings would be located: government offices, National Hospital, library, university, museums, theatres as well as National Radio of Indonesia.”

Indonesian people and the world are not supposed to know all this. But it has to be known, documented, and explained. Before it is too late, before everything disappears, before people who can still remember will pass away.

We are frantically calling and contacting the TjilikRiwut family, which is now spread all over Indonesia. We are told that some members of this family may be in possession of the master plan of the city. But we receive no reply. The master plan was either destroyed, or it was converted into a ‘top secret’ document, and is rotting somewhere in a metal safe box. The optimism of the socialist era is banned; strongly discouraged, almost never discussed. Grand public projects have been stopped, after the 1965 extreme capitalist and pro-Western regime had been injected from abroad, paralyzing the nation.

As elsewhere in Indonesia, fabrications and censorship of facts is total. Both the press and academia are complicit.

An architect and professor of the University of Palangkaraya, Wijanarka – author of a book about Soekarno’s design of Palangkaraya City (“Sukarno dan Desain RencanaI bukota RI di Palangkaraya”), avoided meeting us, refusing to comment on the political context of the story:

“Just read my book. This book is about the search of architectural form of the city. But if you ask me anything related to the Soviet Union, I will tell you that I don’t know, because I only care about the architectural aspect of this, not about politics.”

Obviously, a socialist, Soviet-style master plan of the city is part of the ‘politics’, as he had shown no interest in it.

*

On our second visit to the city, an electric tower collapsed, after a storm. The entire city was covered in darkness, without electricity. It was desperately dark at night, except for ridiculously brightly-lit cigarette advertisements, banks, and a few hotels that were using their own private generators.

When we reached the village of Kelampangan where the wreck of the high-voltage tower lay on the ground, we saw dozens of workers smoking, laughing, and doing nothing.

Collapsed high voltage tower near Palangkaraya

As a matter-of-fact, a few of them called me ‘bule’, a violently racist but very common Indonesian insult which means ‘albino’.

“We are waiting for cranes,” one of them said, after I asked why everyone was chatting, smoking and doing nothing.

Someone was flying a drone above the accident site. Police officers were laughing. The city suffered, for several days, before ‘the crane arrived’ and the line was fixed. Nobody complained. People are used to the total collapse of their island and the country. Nothing is expected, nothing is demanded from the system; in Palangkaraya, or elsewhere in Indonesia.

*

At the library of Central Kalimantan, an employee began to speak, enthusiastically into my camera and into recorder:

“At that time, after 1965, most of the educated people of the city were either killed or arrested, without any clear charges… sometimes everything was blurry: we never knew precisely what was happening in Jakarta, everything was just a rumor… There is not one single book or reference about the km 27, where the mass killings took place, or about the killings in Pararapak village… Also, in the libraries, we never saw anything resembling the master plan of the city…”

Once she found out what the purpose of our visit was, and once she saw my name card, she backpedaled:

“Do not use my name, you hear me? If you do, I will sue you!”

*

The village next to the Km 27 (from Palangkaraya) is called Marang. I film illegal gold mining boats or platforms, floating on the river. There is no cover, no fear of getting caught while ruining the environment, illegally.

Misery is everywhere.

Again, nobody knows anything. People are openly laughing in our faces, when we ask about the mass killings and the mass graves.

Finally, an old lady, Ms. Aminah opens the door of her wooden house and speaks about those terrible events of the 1965 coup. It is as if she was waiting for us. She came to the door, listened to our introduction and question, and began speaking:

“During those times I was still a teenager. I only heard old people telling stories through the wordof mouth. We, Marang villagers, did not know what really happened in Palangkaraya, or in Jakarta. We only knew, that people who were registered as the PKI were arrested and killed. I remember at that time our village was fullof fear and obscurity. But here, fortunately, no one was arrested because we had no official members of the PKI.”

“In the building called Ureh (Gedung Ureh, in Palangkaraya City) everyone who was suspected of supporting PKI or somehow related to it, was detained. Yes, hundreds of people were detained there, with no adequate facilities. Men and women were forced to be mixed together. Some women were raped, got pregnant. Torture was common. From there, people were brought here, to KM 27, and killed”.

How many? “Many, many…” She does not know, precisely. She was too young; she was too scared.

We drive to Km 27. There is a river, a ‘secondary forest’. Silence. Nobody knows. Nobody knows anything here, or in the Pararapak Village. At both places, there is dead silence, periodically interrupted by the badly tuned engines of scooters belonging to the villagers.

We found a creek where thousands of bodies were dumped. Everyone whom we approach is laughing. It is bit like in Oppenheimer’s film “Act of Killing”.

These used to be Indonesian concentration camps, of which the largest one was located on the Buru Island, where almost all the intellectuals who were not murdered, were detained after the so-called‘1965 Events’. Here, outside Palangkaraya, those who are not afraid to speak, call these smaller camps and killing fields “Buru in the rice fields”.

The West, which takes full advantage of the mass plunder of Borneo and entire Indonesia, calls this country ‘normal’, ‘democratic’ and ‘tolerant’.

*

Balanga Museum, Palangkaraya. This was supposed to be a tremendous National Museum, if the plans of Soekarno had been implemented.

Now it is just a complex of beat-up, one storey barracks, badly kept, underfunded and understaffed.

We visited a building dedicated to the collection of photos and artifacts from the Tjilik Riwut era.

Two museum curators, or call them attendants, had absolutely no idea about how Palangkaraya was exactly built. Nothing about its master plan, not even precisely what the ‘master plan’ consists of.

“Socialist past of Indonesia?” wondered one of them, after I asked. “Actually, honestly, we do socialize here, even now.”

The senior attendant knew nothing about the mass killings in the region. When we insisted, she began looking at us with fear. She wanted us gone, far away, but was too polite to insist that we leave the premises.

The other woman began explaining about the genocide:

“Everybody knows about it, but all evidence was destroyed. Stories flow from grandparents to parents, to us, children. But only stories; nothing concrete.”

Pupils – girls from a local junior high, some of them 12, others 13 years old first giggled, then blushed when asked about the city and its history. They knew absolutely nothing about the past of Paklangkaraya. Asked about conditions in the city, they answered, in unison:

“The city is cool!”

What about the future of the city? We got pre-fabricated, ‘pop’ answers:

“We hope for the future of the city full of cars, schools…”

* 

The Indonesian writer J.J. Kusni, who was born in Central Kalimantan, but spent many years in France, is now back. With his wife, he lives in Palangkaraya.

So far it is not clear whether he was exiled in France, or whether he went to study in Europe and stayed there for decades. What is known is that during Orde Baru (Suharto’s fascist “New Order”) he was banned from entering Indonesia.

We met him, and he explained that now he would oppose moving the capital of Indonesia from Jakarta to Palangkaraya, because the conditions had changed, after several decades:

“I believe that now Palangkaraya and Central Kalimantan have the characteristics of semi-colonies. In Seokarno times it was very different, it all made sense: if you’d move the capital to Palangkaraya, militarily, we’d have space to maneuver. And the others – Malaysia and the British – would not be able to attack us easily. Central Kalimantan is in the middle of the country.”

J.J. Kusni tells us about the concentration camps, and the killing fields. He also paints a bleak picture of despair, when speaking about the present state of the city and the province.

*

Could Palangkaraya be described as a total failure, a cemetery of dreams?

Most definitely!

An enormous territory of the city is covered, like in the rest of the cities of Indonesia, by badly planned neighborhoods. There are slums on the banks of the rivers; brutal shanty towns, some on stilts, with no basic sanitation and the extremely sparse supply of water and electricity.

Huge mosques are being constructed everywhere.

There is no culture here, and very few public spaces.

Just a regular Indonesian city, where the “state is unable to provide basic services for its citizens” (the definition of a failed state, in theory).

Kiwok D. Rampai, a 74 years old senior archeologist, known for his many studies about the history of Central Kalimantan, especially the culture of the Dayak people, likes to speak

about the optimism brought by Soekarno to Palangkaraya:

“I remember Soekarno’s era as a period of high optimism and enthusiasm. Palangkaraya was built by Soekarno, together with Dayak people of Central Kalimantan, and the foreign workers, especially those from the Soviet Unions. Everything was done with great dedication…”

Unfortunately, the historical studies conducted by Mr. Kiwok for decades, have not been well promoted. Allegedly there was even an attempt to eliminate the documents,most likely for political reasons.

*

In the library, we asked whether there are many Indonesian and foreign investigators and researchers interested in the history of the city.

“No one ever comes to ask questions similar to those you asked,” is the answer.

The Soviets are gone from Palangkaraya. Their legacy had been wiped out by the loud shouts of hatred, by blood spilling, implanted ignorance and by determined propaganda and intimidation campaigns.

Nowadays the Soviet Union is no more, too, although the strong anti-imperialist Russia, in many ways, has replaced it on the global stage.

Everyone remembers the “Russian Road”, the one that leaves the circle and moves westward.

It is allowed to mention, even to glorify this well-built artery. But only if it is done ‘out of context’. “Russians built the road; good road, perhaps the best road ever built in Indonesia.” Full stop. Nothing about socialism, Communism, the Soviet Union. Nothing about Soekarno the PKI, and nothing about the anti-imperialist mood of the young, independent – yes truly independent – country.

In reality, Russians (not really ‘Russians’, but people from all parts of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics), came to Kalimantan in order to support the newly independent, socialist Republic of Indonesia. They came to offer internationalist help and solidarity, to build the capital city, and eventually the industry, infrastructure, hospitals and schools. That’s what the Soviets regularly did: in Africa, Vietnam, and Afghanistan or in the Middle East.

After the 1965 US-backed coup, a new sort of people came, mainly from the West, but many from Java, even from Kalimantan itself. They helped to cut down the beautiful and pristine tropical forest, flatten the mountains, poison the rivers and exterminate countless endemic local species. They planted malignant palm oil plantations. They robbed people of their land and in fact of everything, and they advised the Indonesian regime how to conduct ‘transmigrasi’ – the program designed to turn the native population into a minority in its own land, so they could never aim at independence. They also educated, or call it‘re-educated’ the entire nation, including the Central Province of Kalimantan: ‘They forced the masses to love their tormentors. They turned them into obedient beings. They destroyed their ability to dream, to fly, to struggle for a better future.’

The Palangkaraya of Soekarno has collapsed. It is no more.

We tried to find a quiet place to discuss the city with the granddaughter of Tjilik Riwut, who recently returned from Jakarta.

There were two places she could think of. One was a bar filled with smoke and loud shouts, as well as monstrous rock and pop fusion ‘music’. But it was impossible to talk there, due to the decibels.

The second was in one of two semi-decent hotels. But it turned out to be a whorehouse disguised as a karaoke bar.

We ended up in the garden of our hotel.

“What do people do in this city of a quarter of million?” We wondered.

There was not much she could think about. There was not much we could think about either.

We mentioned the metro, National Theatre, huge beautiful museums, galleries, concert halls, the circus, research institutes, parks with fountains, public hospitals, and universities with well-stocked libraries: all public, all for the public. We tried to engage her in a conversation about Soekarno’s and her grandfather’s dreams.

She changed the subject.

We didn’t.

And the result is this essay, and soon a book about the great socialist dream that never came through. A dream that was silenced, smashed and smeared by nihilism, servility and selfishness. But perhaps, only for the time being.

The dream was called Palangkaraya. And it was made of tremendous stuff: of zeal, of men and women, side-by-side, altruistically, building a new capital city of their new, beloved Indonesia, in the middle of nowhere, for the people – always for the people!

This dream is too beautiful. It can never be betrayed. It should never be forgotten. And therefore, we will not allow it to be forgotten.

*

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This article was originally published on New Eastern Outlook.

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. Three of his latest books are Revolutionary Optimism, Western Nihilism, a revolutionary novel “Aurora” and a bestselling work of political non-fiction: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire”.View his other books here. Watch Rwanda Gambit,his groundbreaking documentary about Rwanda and DRCongo and his film/dialogue with Noam Chomsky “On Western Terrorism”. Vltchek presently resides in East Asia and the Middle East, and continues to work around the world. He can be reached through his website and his Twitter.

All images in this article are from the author

 

Emily Thornberry has responded to revelations today that around £2 million public money was funnelled to a charity in Scotland which posted disparaging stories against Jeremy Corbyn and other Labour figures.

“It is one of the cardinal rules of British public life that official resources should not be used for party political purposes,” insisted the Shadow Foreign Secretary.

The Sunday Mail in Scotland uncovered the story when it was leaked documents showing a secretive infowars unit, funded with public money, engaging in social media campaigns, including social media attacks on Her Majesty’s opposition party.

The Institute for Statecraft is ostensibly a small charity based in a run-down Victorian mill in Fife.

But today’s revelations show that it ran a secretive programme called with absolutely no irony, the ‘Integrity Initiative’ – funded with £2m taxpayers’ money.

The programme with funds channelled through the Foreign Office was used to attack figures around the world associated with Russia. It was run by ex-military intelligence operatives.

Leaked documents passed to the Sunday Mail reveal the organisation’s Integrity Initiative is funded with £2million of Foreign Office cash and run by former military intelligence specialists to galvanise social media influencers against disinformation campaigns.

But the Sunday Mail found social media posts from the initiative’s social media account attacking Jeremy Corbyn, Seumas Milne and other Labour figures with smears.

“It is one of the cardinal rules of British public life that official resources should not be used for party political purposes. So, it is simply outrageous that the clearly mis-named ‘Integrity Initiative’ – funded by the Foreign Office to the tune of £2.25 million over the past two years – has routinely been using its Twitter feed to disseminate personal attacks and smears against the Leader of the Opposition, the Labour Party and Labour officials,” responded Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary.

“And this cannot be dismissed as something outside the Government’s control, given the application for funding agreed by the Foreign Office last year stated explicitly that it would be used in part to expand “the impact of the Integrity Initiative website…and Twitter/social media accounts”.

“So the Government must now answer the following questions: why did the Foreign Office allow public money to be spent on attempting to discredit Her Majesty’s Opposition? Did they know this was happening? If not, why not? And if they did, how on earth can they justify it?”

The secretive programme tweeted from its official account newspaper reports that implied the approval of Jeremy Corbyn and Labour figures of Russian leader Vladimir Putin and his actions.

One tweet refered to an “alleged British Corbyn supporter” who “wants to vote for Putin”. Another, for instance, retweeted a newspaper story that said: “Milne is not a spy – that would be beneath him.

“But what he has done, wittingly or unwittingly, is work with the Kremlin agenda.”

Others have been quick to point out today that the Integrity Initiative had in the past tweeted about Conservatives’ questionable connections to Russian money.

The Integrity Initiative has also been attacked for backing Ukrainian politicians with worrying far right links and The Sunday Mail found evidence of it orchestrating a Twitter campaign against a Spanish politician believed to be friendly to Russia that resulted in him not being given a government post.

When Labour MP Chris Williamson asked Minister of State Alan Duncan about Foreign Office funding for the initiative in a parliamentary question, the Tory minister responded:

“The Institute for Statecraft is an independent, Scottish, charitable body whose work seeks to improve governance and enhance national security. They launched the Integrity Initiative in 2015 to defend democracy against disinformation.

“In financial year 2017/18, the FCO funded the Institute for Statecraft’s Integrity Initiative £296,500. This financial year, the FCO is funding a further £1,961,000. Both have been funded through grant agreements.”

Today the Labour MP for Derby North reacted:

“What the hell is going on?

“I tabled a parliamentary question recently and discovered the Foreign Office has given £2m of public money to a shady organisation that’s indulging in black propaganda against Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party.”

Chris Williamson MP added:

“These Tories are using public money to subvert democracy.

“The irony of the govt’s response to my question about them funding this shady organisation is that they claim it’s ‘…to defend democracy against disinformation.’”

The Integrity Initiative responded:

“The Institute for Statecraft is a charity – see its other projects here. The IfS started the Integrity Initiative to highlight disinformation and malign influence across Europe. We are non-partisan and highlight relevant stories whoever they feature.”

Screengrab from The Institute for Statecraft

Last month the organisation said it was hacked and documents posted online on Russian media.

A statement on its website said:

“The Integrity Initiative is a non-partisan programme of The Institute for Statecraft, a non-partisan charity which promotes good governance. The Integrity Initiative looks specifically at the use of disinformation and malign influence to undermine the values of democratic societies.

“Since the programme was set up in 2015, the UK and the democratic world in general have continued to be targeted by disinformation activity, including in particular from Russia. For example, Russia put out various false stories about the shooting down of the Malaysian airliner MH17 over Ukraine in July 2014, even after the official enquiry reported that Russia was responsible. And despite the UK government pointing the finger of blame at Moscow for the attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in March 2018, supported by many countries and which led to a mass expulsion of Russian diplomats, the Russian authorities issued at least 47 different versions as to what had happened.

“In sharing information about such malign activities, the Integrity Initiative uses Twitter as a key method of sharing knowledge. This includes the usual Twitter practice of re-tweeting and liking tweets. However, at no time has the Integrity Initiative engaged in party political activity and would never take up a party-political stance. Disinformation and malign influence from rogue states and certain non-state actors are a threat to democratic values and transcend any party political cause.”

*

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Ben Gelblum is Contributing & Investigations Editor & Director of Growth wears glasses and curly hair cool ideas to: ben.gelblum (at) thelondoneconomic.com @BenGelblum.

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Truth and Free Speech Are Being Taken Away from Us

December 10th, 2018 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Free speech and the ability to speak truth are being shut down. It is happening with the complicity of the print and TV media, the liberal/progressive/left, the US Department of Justice (sic), the law schools and bar associations, Congress, and the federal judiciary.

The attack on Julian Assange is the arrow aimed at the heart of the ability to publish the truth. If a journalist can be indicted for espionage for publishing leaked documents that a corrupt government has classified in order to conceal its crimes, the First Amendment is dead.

Moreover, as the claim is that government was harmed by Wikileaks publishing the truth, Assange’s secret indictment sets the precedent that truth is harmful to government. This precedent will be extended to include the publication of any information or opinion, classified or not, that the government regards as harmful. The media then officially becomes what it mainly already is in effect—a Ministry of Propaganda for the government and those who control it.

As a person who has held high security clearances, I can say with confidence that no more than one percent of classified information falls in the realm of national security. Most classification is simply to prevent the people and Congress from knowing what is going on. Classification allows the various components of government to put the spin where they want it. “National security” has always been an excuse accepted by patriots for the government to conceal its wrong doings and hidden agendas.

Give thought to the alleged harm done by Wikileaks publishing the information leaked by Bradley Manning and the Clinton emails that were downloaded onto a thumb drive and not hacked as security experts have proved. Give thought to the documents proving the warrantless and thereby illegal spying by the NSA that Edward Snowden revealed. How was government hurt by the information? Government should have been hurt, but it was not. The presstitutes did not take up the issue. No one in government was punished for the war crimes, lies, and illegal and unconstitutional acts that the publication of the leaked documents revealed. None of Washington’s vassal governments renounced its vassalage on the basis of the information that revealed they were spied on and deceived. Washington’s vassal governments already knew that Washington lies and deceives them. The Chancellor of Germany simply accepted that Washington listens to her private telephone calls. Vassals simply accept indignities as a consequence of their vassalage. The only people punished were those who revealed the truth—Maning, Snowden, and Assange.

Washington imprisoned Manning and seeks to imprison Assange for damage that Washington did not suffer.

As a country loses its liberty, legal scholars who formerly would have protected liberty turn against it in order to curry favor with power. Recently, I read a specious legal argument that the First Amendment did not really protect Ellsberg and the New York Times when the Pentagon Papers were published, but that no president wanted to be the first one to break the tradition of extending such protection. The author claims that Assange is not protected by the First Amendment even though he is a journalist. The author of the article did not realize that his argument means that journalists have squatters’ rights in First Amendment protection. For the Justice Department to bring a case against Assange means overturning a right that is ensconced in common law as well as in the Constitution.

Washington has shown that it is not interested in any rights but its own to do what it wants. The George W. Bush regime overturned the Constitutional protection of habeas corpus when the regime declared that it could detain citizens indefinitely in prison without presentation of evidence to a court. The Obama regime destroyed due process and the Constitutional right to life when the regime declared that it could assassinate citizens on suspision alone. Both regimes ignored statutory and Constitutional prohibitions on torture and only punished those who revealed the torture. If Bush and Obama had the right to torture, what was the point of prosecuting those who revealed that torture happened?

As the truth revealed by Wikileaks has had no adverse consequence for Washington, what is the point of Washington’s assault on Assange? In part it is revenge on an individual brazen enough to stand up to Washington, and in part it is to criminalize the telling of truth that is critical of the government.

Once there was a time when the media would have been up in arms in defense of Assange and press freedom. That was before the media was illegally concentrated in a few hands by the Clinton regime and before the media became concentrated ideologically. The media hates Donald Trump and thereby hates Assange for publishing the Hillary emails that the media believes cost Hillary the election. The media is much more intent on helping the Deep State deep-six Assange than the media is in defending its First Amendment protections.

The liberal/progressive/left sees it the same way. The politics of the liberal/progressive/left is Identity Politics, and Identity Politics hates white fly-over America that elected Trump. This is why the media and the liberal/progressive/left are helping the military/security complex tie Assange to Trump, Putin, and “Russiagate.” The Guardian newspaper has destroyed what little credibility it still had by publishing obviously false information concocted to connect Assange to “Russiagate.” See this and this.

The military/security complex planted on its media assets the fiction that Assange fled to the Ecuadorian Embassy to escape prosecution for rape.The presstitutes consistently repeat the lie, as Harriet Alexander in the UK Telegraph does, that “Mr Assange fled to the embassy to avoid charges of rape, sexual molestation and coercion. All charges were dropped by May 2017” (See this).

There were never any such charges filed against Assange. Assange took asylum in the embassy, because it was clear that he was going to be extradicted to Washington where he would get a show trial as a spy. It is not possible that Harriet Alexander and the editors at the Telegraph do not know this. Nevertheless, they repeat the lie, the purpose of which is to put Assange in a bad light that will aid his conviction on false charges.

Washington knew that it could tell this lie about Assange raping women because Washington knew that #MeToo and other radical feminists believe that that is what men do, and that #MeToo would be delighted to have yet another celebrity provided for their denunciation.

Washington also knew that its media whores hated Assange for having the integrity and courage that they do not have and that they would willingly stomp him to death with their hobnailed boots.

The US Justice (sic) Department knows it has concocted a false case and intentionally kept it secret, but has no worry because insouciant Americans will believe its indictment regardless.

The judiciary will permit the false case to be tried in a federal court because every judge wants to be elevated rather than criticized and even framed, and the jury will be too afraid to go against Assange’s public conviction in the media to find him innocent.

The jury’s guilty verdict will murder the First Amendment, but the jury will be able to go home to their neighborhoods without being ostracized.

It is not only the government that is attacking free speech. Free speech is under full scale attack by everyone who claims to be “offended,” by the invention of “hate speech” to control what can be said about “victim groups,” by the Israel Lobby that is having laws passed that prohibit the boycotting of Israel for its mistreatment of Palestinians and by equating criticism of the Israeli government with anti-semitism. ( See, for example, this). Twitter, Facebook, and Google are all active in deciding what can and cannot be said. (See, for example, this). Public forums are denied to people who are disapproved of by other people.

A population that does not respect and defend free speech, debate, and truth will not long have the liberty that results from free speech, debate, and truth. My website respects truth, and it requires your support.

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This article was originally published on the author’s blog site: Paul Craig Roberts Institute for Political Economy.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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Alberta was forced to announce oil production cuts this week in order to both liquidate existing backlogged oil and in the hopes of fetching higher prices.

This was welcome news for all those fighting to prevent the worst, most catastrophic impacts of our rapidly changing climate.

An alliance of Indigenous Nations from across Canada and the U.S., now numbering 150 Nations, warned back in 2016 when the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion was first launched, that all attempts to further increase production of the tarsands, whether by pipeline, rail or marine tankers, would be blocked.

An entire Indigenous-led movement of people of all ages and backgrounds has been standing up to these tarsands pipelines and enforcing the ban, including by starving the tarsands of its financial backers, sometimes by even going to jail and putting their bodies on the line. Heroes, all of them.

Industry chose to ignore these warnings and continued to increase production, with plans for much more. They are now butting up against current pipeline capacity, adding to the already existing price differential that heavy tarsands oil always suffers from as a result of increased refinement costs and its distance from refineries.

These production cuts are exactly what are needed and what this movement has been fighting for — to limit expansion of the Alberta tarsands.

And for those saying this will be a temporary problem that will soon be solved when Enbridge’s Line 3 comes on line next year, don’t count on it — the resistance to that tarsands pipeline is massive and growing. Enbridge is truly in for a repeat of its Northern Gateway experience.

As for the Trans Mountain expansion tanker and pipeline project, one way or another, it will be stopped. And as for Energy East, TransCanada already closed the door on that one after they saw the resistance they faced. TransCanada knows it will not even be able to get Keystone XL built.

When will government and industry learn that you need the consent of the Indigenous peoples whose lands and waters these projects cross and they don’t have it? Canada ignored First Nations the first go around in the Trans Mountain expansion review and is doing so again at its peril in this new, desperately slapped together process.

Just as we saw at Standing Rock, this pipeline resistance is a demonstration of the Indigenous resurgence taking place on Turtle Island (North America) and all over the world. And it could not have happened at a more important time because Indigenous peoples are ready to make the hard, life-preserving decisions that we need to make to fight climate change.

Various government leaders have said they understand the climate emergency we are living in but have done little about it, saying the transition will take time. Meanwhile, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions keep going up and scientists tell us we have run out of time for modest measures.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants to build pipelines that will allow GHG emissions from the tarsands to continue to rise and yet Canada is not even on pace to meet its weak Harper-era emission reduction targets. One of the biggest reasons Canada has not been able to reduce emissions is that tarsands production has kept going up.

Now let us be clear. Our target is not Alberta, communities or workers. We have said since the beginning that we need a rapid but just transition away from the tarsands that supports workers, communities and First Nations. We need government to invest in renewable energy and a decarbonized economy that leaves no one behind.

A true friend of Alberta would not help it take yet another step into the tarsands abyss and allow industry to leave behind an even bigger toxic disaster. So many also seem to forget that Albertans will be a huge victim of climate change, with more events in store like the devastating wildfires and floods they have experienced.

That’s why we absolutely must and will do anything we can to address the climate crisis that our planet is facing.

And that’s why this movement will continue to win, for everyone’s benefit.

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Grand Chief Stewart Phillip is president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs and Grand Chief Serge ‘Otsi’ Simon is a member of the Mohawk Council of Kanesatake.

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Trump and his neo-cons have withdrawn from so many international organizations and agreements that his foreign policy has earned a shameful nickname: “the Withdrawal Doctrine.”

Donald Trump, currently under the strong influence of arch neo-conservative John Bolton, his national security adviser, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a neo-con in “libertarian clothing,” has embarked on a policy to not only distance the United States from international organizations, but to withdrawal from them altogether. The only international organization Trump currently supports is NATO and that is only because Bolton, Pompeo, and other neo-cons advising Trump are proponents of unilateral warfare by the United States, with NATO forces as cannon fodder, wherever neo-con doctrine determines America’s interests are threatened.

Trump’s recent announcement that he is nominating Heather Nauert, a former Fox News “talking head”-turned-State Department spokesperson for Pompeo, as the next US ambassador to the United Nations is another indication that Trump would, if possible, withdraw the US from the international organization.

Trump’s naming of Nauert, a person who once inanely opined that the Allied D-Day landings in France represented a high-point in US-German relations, followed on the heels of Pompeo questioning the need for the UN and other international organizations. Speaking at a Brussels event sponsored by the German Marshall Fund, Pompeo lashed out at the UN, European Union, Organization of American States, African Union, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and World Trade Organization, while referring to the Brussels-based NATO as an “indispensable institution.” Pompeo made no mention of Trump’s recurring criticisms of NATO.

Trump’s disdain for the UN is palpable. His selection of Bolton, the only US ambassador to the UN never to be confirmed by the Senate, as national security adviser sent a stark message to the UN. Trump, like many other far-right conspiracists, including members of the John Birch Society and white supremacist groups, have long advocated for American withdrawal and the expulsion of UN headquarters from New York. Their rallying cry – “America out of the UN and the UN out of America” – feeds right into the neo-con game plan for diminution of UN power.

The neo-cons, who only exist as a sustained force to ensure that Washington kowtows to Israeli interests, have long despised the UN for its resolutions condemning Israeli policies in the Middle East. In 1994, Bolton said,

“The (UN) Secretariat building in New York has 38 stories. If it lost 10 stories, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.”

It was that 1994 statement – suggesting that the UN building’s upper floors be destroyed and recalled so soon after the destruction of the World Trade Center – that partially resulted in the US Senate rejecting Bolton as ambassador to the UN. It was only by giving Bolton a recess appointment that George W. Bush was able to place him in the US delegation’s seat.

In Brussels, Pompeo, referring to the UN, asked, “Does it continue to serve its mission faithfully?” Echoing Bolton’s 1994 comment about the UN, Pompeo answered his own rhetorical question in stating,

“International bodies must help facilitate cooperation that bolsters the security and values of the free world, or they must be reformed or eliminated.”

Bolton and Pompeo represent a virtual “dastardly duo” in shredding treaty after treaty into “neo-confetti.”

Trump’s trashing of treaties and agreements has fit into a doctrinaire neo-con playbook. Since becoming president, Trump has pulled the United States out of the Paris climate-change agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Trump’s replacement for NAFTA – the US-Mexico-Canada agreement (USMCA) – was only marginally different from its predecessor. Trump also withdrew the United States from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) because of what he cited as the organization’s “anti-Israel bias.” The UNESCO withdrawal was a classic neo-con move because it, once again, showed the world that America’s actions were dictated by Israeli-controlled neo-cons like then-US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley.

Trump earned the world’s opprobrium when he scrapped America’s signature on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between the European Union, Russia, China, and Iran on Iran’s nuclear program. Not only did Trump threaten increased sanctions on Iran, in violation of the JCPOA, but also threatened to impose them on the remaining signatories if they did not participate in the neo-cons’ tightening of the screws on Iran. Trump also trashed several agreements with Cuba signed after the restoration of US-Cuban diplomatic relations during the Barack Obama administration. The Trump administration ordered closed the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) office in Washington, DC, which had maintained a diplomatic presence in Washington since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993.

In December 2017, the US announced its withdrawal from the Global Compact on Migration, which was adopted in 2016 by all 193-member states of the UN. The Trump administration also withdrew the US from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Again, showing that she was merely a puppet controlled by the Israelis, Haley gave as the reason for America’s withdrawal from the UNHRC, the organization’s “anti-Israel bias.” IN another decision inspired by Trump’s Israeli masters, Haley announced the slashing of US funding for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), the primary UN aid agency for Palestinian refugees, before committing to withdrawal from the agency entirely.

Trump has slashed US funding for the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) (with vaccines for children being adversely impacted), UN Environment Program, UN Women and the UN Development Program, the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (over maritime and fisheries disputes with Canada), and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The Trump administration opposes the WMO’s dire warnings, all fact-based and peer-reviewed, about the effects of global climate change.

Bolton announced that the US would issue travel bans on judges of what he called the “illegitimate” International Criminal Court (ICC), based in The Hague, and freeze the court’s funds in the US financial system. Bolton also vowed that the US would never join the court.

Trump began veering into more dangerous territory when, in October 2018, he announced that the US would withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia. There were also indications that Trump would also abrogate the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). Bolton, backed by Pompeo, are known to be critics of the two arms control treaties. Nothing would make Bolton and Pompeo, modern-day “Dr. Strangeloves,” happier than a major nuclear arms race.

In April 2018, the Trump administration withdrew the US from the London-based International Coffee Organization, an international organization of coffee exporting and importing nations the John F. Kennedy administration helped create in 1962. It was Trump’s first action after he fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Speaking recently at a public event in Houston, Tillerson revealed that Trump often wanted him to violate treaties in what would have constituted breaches of the law.

Charging that the Rome-based Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), a UN specialized agency, is involved in “mission creep” into global climate change policy, some Trump officials have threatened a US withdrawal from the agency. The US is already in arrears in dues to FAO. FAO established a Climate Change department in 2017. The Trump administration has also expressed opposition to the Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which is based in Montreal.

The Trump administration’s opposition to environmental protection has also affected the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The US wants a go-slow approach on IMO rules that specify that ships must, in 2020, use fuels with 0.5 percent of sulfur or less.

Over a beef with China about parcel post rates, the Trump administration announced it was withdrawing from the Universal Postal Union (UPU), one of the world’s oldest international organizations and one that predates the League of Nations. Today, the UPU is a UN specialized agency.

Other longstanding organizations under threat from Trump include the Antarctic treaty System (ATS); the International Hydrographic Organization, based in Monaco; and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), based in Abu Dhabi. The Trump administration, which is attempting to abrogate treaties with indigenous nations in North America and the Pacific, wants to limit, if not exclude entirely, indigenous Permanent Participants (PPs) in such organizations as the Arctic Council and Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP).

Trump has threatened to withdrawal from the World Trade Organization if it does not “shape up.” Trump administration officials have also threatened US withdrawal from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) unless it abandons its support for “net neutrality” – universal access rights to the Internet – something Trump adamantly opposes and has scrapped in the United States.

The right-wing Heritage Foundation, which is primarily funded by corporate polluters, urged the Trump administration not to ratify the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Considering that most of the Heritage Foundation’s proposal have quickly become Trump administration policies, it appears that UNCLOS will be joining JCPOA, UNESCO, TPP, and others in Trump’s rubbish bin.

Trump has shown his disdain for cooperating with other world leaders by pointedly refusing to sign concluding communiques issued at the end of recent G7 and G20 summits.

Pro-Trump Republicans in the US House of Representatives introduced a bill titled the “American Sovereignty Restoration Act.” The bill called on the United States to “terminate” its membership in the UN.

Trump and his neo-cons have withdrawn from so many international organizations and agreements that his foreign policy has earned a shameful nickname: “the Withdrawal Doctrine.”

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Wayne Madsen is an investigative journalist, author and syndicated columnist. A member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the National Press Club.

After summoning the Canadian Ambassador in Beijing, China has now summoned the American Ambassador to discuss the status of Meng Wanzhou – the Chinese political prisoner who remains behind bars in Canada in spite of having committed no wrongdoing. While China has warned Canada of “grave consequences” if Meng is not immediately released, Beijing has told the US to “immediately correct its wrong actions”, as Meng is being unlawfully detained due to American attempts to prosecute her on politicised charges. On the 10th of December – the day that is World Human Rights Day, it is becoming all the more clear just how heinous the US-Canadian plot against Meng has become.

Meng was apprehended by Canadian authorities on the 1st of December in a kidnapping style provocation that US National Security Adviser John Bolton later said he was fully aware of as it was happening. This is significant because at the moment that Meng was kidnapped, Bolton was sitting at a table across from the Chinese President and his delegation at the G20 conference in Argentina where both sides were attempting to reach a consensus on a new trade deal.

But just as the current US President insulted President Xi Jinping during his first visit to the United States under the Trump Presidency in 2017 by launching a reckless attack on Syria in the middle of dinner, now the United States has supremely insulted the dignity of the Chinese people by orchestrating the lawless political imprisonment of Meng Wanzhou on the territory of a self-evidently submissive ally.

Yet although it is clear that Meng’s treatment is the result of an out of control trade war that has now claimed its first human casualty, beyond the vast geopolitical implications of such a trade war remains the fact that an innocent human being is having her human rights violated in the most inhumane way that one could imagine a mother, a daughter and a successful individual could have them violated.

A recent report in China’s Global Times newspaper details the inhumane treatment of Meng Wanzhou in the following way:

“A source familiar with the case told Global Times that since Meng was detained by Canadian police on December 1, she has been subjected to rude and degrading treatment. She was immediately handcuffed at the airport and taken to a detention facility. She was also cuffed on her way to and from hospital from the facility. It is worth noting that Meng was wearing ankle braces when she was taken to the correction center after her first bail hearing.

In the absence of a conviction by trial, Meng was put into restraining devices used on felons. Treating her as a prisoner is not only degrading, but is also a violation of her basic human rights.

Global Times has learnt that Meng had surgery in May to remove her thyroid gland. She also has high blood pressure which requires daily medication. It seems that the Canadian detention facility is not offering her the necessary health care.

Canadian police have treated Meng in such an inhumane way by putting her in handcuffs and ankle braces without conviction. The Chinese public, who are very concerned about this matter, find it hard to believe that Meng was treated in such way, especially in Canada. Canada is a country well-known for emphasizing human rights and the rule of law. How can they do such things that are only done in an uncivilized and barbaric country?

There is no doubt that Canada is on the wrong side in this case. To describe with an old Chinese saying, such behaviors are like holding a candle for the devil. Meng did not violate any Canadian law. US authorities are accusing her of violating US domestic laws, but it is still unknown if the US side can provide sufficient evidence to prove their accusations are valid”.

The way that Meng has been treated over and above the fact that her freedom was taken by a US government hellbent on literally breaking the corporate competition by any means available, is truly appalling at a human level. The behaviour of both the US and Canada is now that of a low-level dictatorship rather than that of major G7 nations who ought to uphold rather than violate the highest standards of international law.

Since her arrest, the Russian government has shown solidarity with Meng and with its Chinese partner. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov described America’s behaviour in the matter in the following way:

“It’s an arrogant, jingoist policy no one accepts. It already sparks rejection even amongst the US’ closest allies. It has to end”.

This itself echoes a statement by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang, who stated:

“We believe this is inhumane and violates her human rights”.

Just as the world expressed a collective outpouring of grief and anger at the horrific murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, so should the world condemn the inhuman and appalling horrific treatment of the innocent woman that is Meng Wanzhou. On World Human Rights Day – this becomes all the more important. One must not lose sight of the very human tragedy to have befallen Meng due to her suffering at the hands of the forces of avarice, inhumanity and wickedness.

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Adam Garrie is Director at Eurasia future and co-host of The History Boys with George Galloway.

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Exhuming Franco: Spain’s Immemorial Divisions

December 10th, 2018 by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

“Of course there’s one Spain.  If there was another, we’d all be in that one.” — Joke on Franco’s Spain, in London Review of Books, 37, July, 2015

Beware the corpse that never truly expires.  General Francisco Franco might well be entombed in the Valley of the Fallen (Valle de los Caídos) – at least for the moment – but his remains are set for exhumation, to be disturbed on the wishes of Spain’s socialist government led by Pedro Sánchez.  Fernando Martínez of the Justice Ministry, entrusted with handling matters on the delicate subject of historical memory, explains the rationale.

“In a democratic society, there cannot be a dictator who is the subject of homages, or whose tomb is a site of fascist pilgrimage, or who has a monument in his honour.”

This might be all well and good, though it tends to jar with the delicate transition process Spain endured in the 1970s.  It also sits uncomfortably with voters, whether as a priority or as a necessity.  Sigma Dos, in a July poll for the daily El Mundo, found a mere 41 percent of Spaniards in agreement with moving the remains, while 54 percent also felt that the issue was not of importance at this time.

Franco is entombed in the monument of Santa Cruz del Valle de los Caídos (Source: CC BY-SA 4.0)

What came after the general’s death was a matter of political juggling, as much a case of rehearsed, and encouraged amnesia, as it did archiving matters of the mind.  This form of forgetting had much practice, perfected by Franco himself before his death through what was termed “recuperation”.  Reconciliation was off the books, though Franco, in his last message, sought “pardon of all my enemies, as I pardon with all my heart all those who declared themselves my enemy, although I did not consider them to be so.”

To attain the goal of democracy came with its own distasteful compromises, not least of all an acceptance that Francoist officials would be left untouched by any prosecuting process.  Victims of Franco’s Spain duly felt confined to the status of víctimas de segunda – “second class citizens”, contributing to the new, and reformed country, in painful silence.

There have been attempts to edge towards confronting the bloody past of the Civil War and Franco’s legacy.   In 2000, unmarked graves of the Civil War began being opened at the behest of such organisations as the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory.  Eight years later, Judge Baltasar Garzón embarked on his own mission to investigate Franco’s blood-soaked handiwork, deemed by him crimes against humanity.

Garzón subsequently found himself in hot water, accused of knowingly exceeding his powers in ignoring the Amnesty law of 1977 injuncting any effort to initiate prosecutions against Francoists.  In February 2012, the Supreme Court of Spain affirmed the law had a barring effect on the investigating efforts, though the enthusiastic examining magistrate was cleared at trial in a case brought by three right-wing organisations, including Franco’s own party, Falange España.  It is a testament to the stubbornly vibrant legacy of Franco’s memory that Garzón could mount prosecutions against terrorists and authoritarian figures such as Chile’s Augusto Pinochet, but fall foul of the dead generalissimo.

From the Valley of the Fallen, where he resides in sombre reminder about wars and divisions, where then?  Franco’s seven grandchildren, preferring the status quo, filed a petition with the Ombudsman’s Office in October to stop the move.

Failing that, the grandchildren insisted that a 2010 decree entitles Franco to be buried with full military honours with the whole complement of “national anthem, volley shots and a canon gun salute”.  This might be, pardon the pun, ceremonial overkill, given that Franco already received one after he died in November 1975, an occasion marked by his coffin’s journey from the Victory Arch in La Moncloa in Madrid to the Valley of the Fallen monument.

The monument itself attests to the slaughter between 1936 and 1939, Europe’s own variant of Syria’s current civil war where a state withers before ravishment and military molestation.  It saw the collapse of the Republican government at the hands of Franco’s Falangists and paramilitaries bent on a Christian reclamation, and the death of hundreds of thousands, 33,000 of whom are buried on the site.  Powers such as the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany could test their arms against army personnel and civilians; hypocrisy and cant ruled in the corridors of state across Europe. While Franco himself remained unmistakably adorned with his marker at the monument, his identity as victor known to all, most remain unmarked.  To name would be to give suffering an identity, and render loss intimate.

The family’s plea now is to have the remains interred in the La Almudena cathedral, the very notion of which is unnerving to those of Spain’s political divide who fear a pro-Franco resurgence.  To do so would also go against the object of this entire, potentially risky exercise, which is to de-sacralise and demystify the Franco cult.  Franco, at least symbolically placed outside the perimeter of the capital, would find himself buried at its heart.

This newly invigorated drive has received some added momentum with the rise of a new political right in Spain.  Since Franco’s death, Spain has kept host, in some minor form, to right-wing pretenders calling for the return of a strongman undaunted by the effete effects of democracy.  Fuerza Nueva, España 2000 and Democracía Nacional can count themselves amongst them.  Previously, goes one line of reasoning on this, there was no need for a larger neo-fascist following, if only because, in Dan Hancox’s words, “the political, bureaucratic and ideological legacy of Francoism lives on in the mainstream of Spanish power.”

Now, the Vox party has shown its credentials at the ballot box, despite being considered previously to be a dramatic, clownish outfit led by Santiago Abascal intent on initiating his own version of the “reconquest”. They have done well in regional elections, picking up 12 seats in Andalucía’s 109-seat parliament, thereby giving the socialist PSOE party a considering bruising.  Vox’s Andalucían leader, Francisco Serrano, has given some flavouring of what the movement stands for: a revived, virile misogyny in the face of “psychopathic feminazis” and a reassertion of European values.

Franco’s remains might as well be Spain’s kryptonite, a sort of character flaw that, if disturbed, will merely serve to show a country permanently riven.  Íñigo Errejón of Podemos prefers to read the lay of the land differently.  To move Franco, he suggested in June, “would not open any wounds.  On the contrary, it would reconcile Spanish democracy with democrats.”  But Paloma Aguilar’s Memory and Amnesia (2002) reminds us how “the memory of historical misfortune and the fear of the dangers of radicalization contributed most to moderating the demands of all the important political and social groups of the time.”

Ironically enough, for officials charged with the management of memory, disturbing such matters as managed memory may well serve to enliven, rather than bury, the very subject of the exercise.  Franco remains, in a very troubling way to Spanish history, a reminder and an influence.

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Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.  He is a frequent contributor to Global Research and Asia-Pacific Research. Email: [email protected]

The Yellow Vests (Gilets Jaunes) movement which originated online during late May 2018 in France, has now spread to other European regions, and even as far as the beleaguered Middle East nation of Iraq. The campaign, uniquely spurred by social media techniques and comprising hundreds of thousands, represents another symptom of the increasing persecution and isolation of mass populations.

The arrival of organizations, like those donning the Yellow Vests, is primarily due to neoliberal assaults imposed by governments on ordinary citizens, who as the years advance are left feeling irrelevant and despondent. At the same time, a tiny percentage – the top bracket in society – have become wealthier and more powerful than they ever imagined possible.

American institutions founded at the end of World War II, like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, have led the way in imposing destructive policies resulting in widespread plutocracies, along with rising global financial instability.

General populations are reduced to mere observers, only called upon to vote on election days and rescue those responsible when banking systems inevitably collapse.

It is sometimes forgotten, however, that the public possesses a great deal of power, with each nation’s citizens having a breaking point, before they organize and take to the streets. France with its long history of civil strife contains particularly strong wide-scale activism, which for decades has put the fear of God into their country’s leaders. One can be sure that president Emmanuel Macron, in charge since May 2017, has been experiencing restless nights of late.

In his short time at the helm, Macron has so far proven himself unsuited to such a challenging role, borne out by his record low approval ratings of under 30%. Countless leaders through the decades have sought office from an insatiable desire to simply attain power – for reasons of opportunism, personal gain, glorifying one’s image, and so on. Such characters as these are often afflicted too with short-termism and myopia.

A leader who assumes control of state as an exercise in self-promotion and vanity, is almost certain to be cast on the scrapheap of history. Macron may well be another. His scarcity of experience allied to the blunders repeatedly committed now leave him in a vulnerable position, especially so in a powerful and demanding nation like France.

Macron’s reputation as a “president for the rich” is not without foundation. He is himself a multi-millionaire with an extensive background in elite investment banking and financial departments. Macron has pursued numerous “reforms” – that is, policies favouring the wealthy classes – which are further harming the general population and working masses of France. Therein lies the rise of groups like the Yellow Vests movement.

Some of those protesting have also been victims (and descendants of victims) relating to murderous imperial policies and planning. Between 1954 and 1962, France and her mercenary forces killed at least a million Algerian citizens, during a seldom spoken of colonial war in north Africa.

To escape the atrocities, hundreds of thousands of Algerians also fled the country, a proportion of whom made their way to French soil. There, many were treated as virtual second class citizens, a reality which largely continues to the present day.

Though the Yellow Vests movement itself has no distinct leader, a prominent figure is Thierry Paul Valette, a writer, artist and activist. Valette is thought to be sympathetic to France Unbowed (La France Insoumise), a far left party founded by the experienced socialist politician, Jean-Luc Melenchon.

Image result for Jacline Mouraud

Jacline Mouraud, a 51-year-old musician and hypnotherapist, is credited with founding the Yellow Vests; she is now distancing herself from them, revealing its interchangeable nature. Mouraud also claims to have received death threats, after insisting the movement should seek dialogue with the French government.

A notable Yellow Vests figure is Eric Drouet, a 33-year-old truck driver and activist who expresses an ambition to one day assume control of France. Drouet also outlined a need to “move on the direction” of the French presidential palace, Macron’s official residence. Priscillia Ludosky is another leading member of the movement, aged 33 too, a self-employed woman and noted spokesperson for the group.

As can be expected relating to any movement resembling a threat to institutions of power, the Yellow Vests are being widely suppressed and intimidated. Drouet is himself currently under investigation for instigating “unlawful protests”. The Yellow Vests’ foremost personalities have expressed their disregard for neoliberal, elitist policies which have exploited the vulnerable societies in France.

Other centres of authority, such as the mainstream press, have denigrated the Yellow Vests for having been hijacked by “radical” elements, “rabble-rousers” and “extremists”. The movement in reality comprises people from a variety of backgrounds and age groups, with little sign of outright links to any party, organization or trade union.

After all, France is a diverse nation comprising various ethnic groups and cultures. As often with great gatherings of protesters, there will be small numbers engaging in acts of vandalism and looting. Also common is a strong police presence – protectors of the state – who have come down heavily on the Yellow Vests, arresting many hundreds while sometimes using strong-armed methods, including tear gas and water cannon.

A driving force behind the protests has been Macron’s steep increasing of fuel costs, in a proposed attempt to tackle carbon emissions. In doing so, millions of French motorists have been forced into paying excessive prices. Such policies as this constitute another error of misjudgment on Macron’s part, penalizing the broader public rather than targeting specific areas. Macron has since been compelled to retreat on his strategies, an indication of the pressure he is under and influence of broad activism.

The French leader may instead have been wiser to implement programs so as to encourage electric car usage throughout the country. Out of 32 million automobiles registered in France, less than 100,000 are of the electric type.

Moreover, Macron has pursued crippling austerity measures, especially dangerous policies leading elsewhere to a rise in far-right groups across Europe, South America, etc., as the Left flounders. Macron has further sought tax cuts favouring the rich in a country having a high cost of living, low minimum wage, with almost 20% of its youth unemployed. Indeed, there are about two million without work in France.

Meanwhile, US president Donald Trump has capitalized on the Yellow Vest protests for his own political means, by laying blame for their rise on the 2015 Paris climate agreement, and also cynically praising the marchers. Trump has himself engineered especially harmful environmental policies, dating to almost the first day he entered office nearly two years ago. The American leader is surely gleeful at his French counterpart’s struggles, whom he does not hold in the highest of esteem.

While Trump gloats, one can be sure European Union bosses are looking on with disapproving eyes. The EU, headquartered in the Belgian capital Brussels, has witnessed Yellow Vest remonstrations reaching that nation too. European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, was last week expected to address the French National Assembly; yet his visit to Paris was cancelled due to marches, as was a separate meeting with Macron.

According to recent polls, over 70% of France’s populace are supportive of the Yellow Vest campaigners. This backing will only prove significant if the movement is sustained, leading to a further rise in numbers and momentum. The true challenge for protest organizations is to continue their activities long into the future, thereby achieving further goals and concessions.

This requires efforts of great dedication and struggle seldom witnessed, akin to scaling a tall mountain step-by-step. It is of little use to march for a period of weeks or months, later becoming discontented or bored, and laying down arms. Organized movements have previously suffered from disillusion and fallen by the wayside, when faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

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Shane Quinn obtained an honors journalism degree. He is interested in writing primarily on foreign affairs, having been inspired by authors like Noam Chomsky. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Enquanto se acredita que o Equador extradite Assange aos EUA, John Kiriakou, “denunciante relutante” considerado o primeiro oficial de inteligência dos EUA a revelar informações sobre o uso de técnicas de tortura pela comunidade de inteligência norte-americana, comenta o caso envolvendo o fundador de WikiLeaks na seguinte conversa com o renomado jornalista Edu Montesanti.

“A única coisa que pode salvar Julian Assange é a anulação do júri”, diz o denunciante (whistleblower) John Kiriakou, ex-oficial de contraterrorismo da CIA e ex-investigador chefe do Comitê de Relações Exteriores do Senado norte-americano residente no estado da Virgínia, em entrevista exclusiva a este repórter.

O Departamento de Justiça dos EUA está agindo nos bastidores para que Assange seja extraditado da Embaixada do Equador em Londres, e processado em solo estadunidense. As acusações criminais contra o fundador de WikiLeaks foram acidentalmente reveladas no início de novembro, quando o nome de Assange foi encontrado no processo judicial de um caso não relacionado ao seu, sugerindo que os promotores haviam copiado um texto clichê e se esqueceram de mudar o nome do réu.

O procurador-assistente Kellen S. Dwyer, instando um juiz a manter a questão lacrada, escreveu que “devido à sofisticação do réu e à publicidade em torno do caso, nenhum outro procedimento é susceptível a não ser manter confidencial por qual fato Assange foi acusado. Mais tarde, Dwyer escreveu que as acusações “precisariam permanecer seladas até que Assange fosse preso”.

É muito provável que o jornalista australiano, que em março de 2017 divulgou um arquivo de documentos detalhando as operações de hacking da C.I.A. conhecidas como Vazamento Vault 7, esteja sendo acusado pelos promotores norte-americanos de violar a Lei de Espionagem de 1917.

O engenheiro Joshua A. Schulte, 29, de Nova Iorque, é o principal suspeito de fornecer ao WikiLeaks os documentos que revelam as sensíveis ferramentas de espionagem eletrônica massiva da CIA em todo o mundo, é acusado pelos promotores de violar repetidas vezes a Lei de Espionagem.

“Tecnicamente, a anulação do júri é ilegal. Dá-se quando um júri absolve não porque o réu é inocente, mas porque a lei está errada. A Lei de Espionagem está errada. Julian Assange é jornalista. Ele nunca deveria ter sido acusado de nenhum crime, em primeiro lugar”, diz Kiriakou, a primeira autoridade dos EUA que discursou, em dezembro de 2007, contra o programa de tortura de George Bush e permaneceu 30 meses de prisão por causa disso, de 2013 a 2015.

A União Americana pelas Liberdades Civis (ACLU, na sigla em inglês) também qualifica a Lei de Espionagem de “uma lei fundamentalmente injusta e inconstitucional”. Kiriakou lembra que tem argumentado, ao longo dos anos, que “a Lei de Espionagem é tão ampla a ponto de ser inconstitucional, embora não tenha sido contestada pelo Supremo Tribunal”.

‘Investigando a MIM!?’

“Um oficial graduado da C.I.A. no Centro de Contraterrorismo me perguntou se eu queria ser ‘treinado para o uso de técnicas avançadas de interrogatório’, Eu neguei. Disse que tinha um problema moral e ético com tortura e que, apesar do julgamento do Departamento de Justiça, considerava-o ilegal”, relatou Kiriakou em março passado ao jornal The Washington Post.

Autor de três livros, Kiriakou foi um dos protagonistas do documentário de James Spione, intitulado Silenced, no qual o ex-agente da C.I.A. informou-se ao lembrar que depois de suas denúncias, “percebi que eles estão investigando a MIM!?”. O caso de John e de Assange possuem semelhanças não apenas por causar reação a favor de ambos por parte de pessoas que representam uma reserva moral em todo o mundo.

A “democracia profundamente fracassada dos EUA”, segundo palavras de Kiriakou a este repórter em outubo de 2016, está mais uma vez agindo contra a liberdade de expressão e a justiça, pilares de uma verdadeira democracia. Na mais absoluta contraposição aos crimes estatais que ambos revelam, duramente condenados pelo mesmo Estado usurpador do poder.

Enquanto as revelações de Kiriakou – não ecoadas suficientemente pela grande mídia – não mudaram nada na “política” dos EUA, dentro e fora do país enquanto o regime de Washington continua cometendo hediondos crimes de guerra, contra a humanidade e contra a própria Constituição dos EUA – sob silêncio midiático enurdecedor – os criminosos denunciados por Assange pretendem processá-lo: em nome da democracia e da justiça.

Em seu primeiro discurso público como diretor da CIA no início do ano passado, Mike Pompeo criticou WikiLeaks, qualificando-o de “um serviço de inteligência não estatal hostil”, acrescentando que “não podemos mais permitir que Assange e seus colegas utilizem os valores da liberdade de expressão contra nós. Usar valores de liberdade de expressão contra nós”?

Portanto, mais uma vez está claro que, aos donos do poder estadunidense, há um limite para a uitilização da Primeira Emenda da Constituição local que garante liberdade de expressão, e para a democracia como um todo; o dispositivo constitucional, que faz os “falcões” baterem no peito e se vangloriar de possuírem a democracia mais avançada do planeta, é válido apenas enquanto não contrariar os interesses do establishment local.

Nenhum ato de espionagem

Kiriakou prevê que o governo dos EUA argumentará que Assange fez exatamente o que a Lei de Espionagem de 1917 descreve como espionagem, isto é, “fornecer informações de defesa nacional a qualquer pessoa que não tenha o direito de recebê-la”.

O denunciante norte-americano observa que “a questão aqui, altamente incomum, sem precedentes mesmo para um cidadão estrangeiro, e Assange é australiano, é ser acusado de espionagem tendo em vista que ele não roubou informação. Assange simplesmente recebeu informação, a qual ele posteriormente, tornou pública”. Kiriakou aponta que Assange alega que se trata apenas de um jornalista fazendo seu trabalho: “Nenhum governo jamais acusou um jornalista de espionagem por fazer seu trabalho”.

Jesselyn Radack, diretora do Programa de Proteção ao Informante e à Fonte e uma das advogadas de Kiriakou, escreveu em um editorial de 2014 intitulado : “Os argumentos da Primeira Emenda fracassaram, em grande parte porque criminalizariam o jornalismo feito possível pelos vazamentos. O motivo e a intenção do denunciante são irrelevantes. E não há defesa do denunciante, o que significa que o valor público do material divulgado não importa, absolutamente”.

Despotismo no Judiciário dos EUA

Outro sério obstáculo que Assange enfrentaria é a juíza Leonie Brinkema, de acordo com o ex-agente da C.I.A. Brinkema lidou com seu caso, assim como o da outra ex-agente da C.I.A. e denunciante, Jeffrey Sterling, além de também reservar o caso de Edward Snowden para si. “Brinkema é uma juíza de enforcamento”, lamenta Kiriakou.

“Brinkema não me deu, literalmente, nenhuma chance de defesa. Em determinado momento, enquanto se aproximava o julgamento, meus advogados fizeram 70 moções pedindo que 70 documentos classificados fossem desclassificados, para que eu pudesse usá-los para me defender. Eu não tinha defesa sem eles. Ficamos três dias parados para as audiências. Quando chegamos ao tribunal, Brinkema disse: “Deixem-me economizar bastante o tempo de todo mundo: nego todas estas 70 moções. Você não precisa que nenhuma dessas informações seja desclassificada”. Todo o processo levou um minuto. Ao sair do tribunal, perguntei ao meu advogado-chefe o que acabara de acontecer. “Acabamos de perder o caso. Foi o que aconteceu”.

Ele lembra o triste final daquele julgamento quando, em 2013, Brinkema disse-lhe, com o dedo em riste, que se levantasse, e disse: “Senhor Kiriakou, odeio esse apelo. Se pudesse, o condenaria por dez anos”. John Kiriakou classifica seus comentários como“ inapropriados, mas essa é Brinkema”.

Guerra Declarada dos EUA contra a Humanidade

Barry J. Pollack, um dos advogados de Assange, disse assim que o nome do fundador de WikiLeaks foi encontrado no processo judicial de um caso não relacionado, mencionado mais acima:

“O governo que impõe uma acusação criminal a alguém por publicar informações verídicas, trilha um caminho perigoso para uma democracia. A única coisa mais irresponsável que acusar uma pessoa de publicar informações verdadeiras, seria colocar uma informação pública que claramente não se destinava ao público e sem qualquer aviso ao senhor Assange. Obviamente, não tenho idéia se ele foi realmente acusado nem pelo quê, mas a noção de que as acusações criminais federais podem ser impostas com base na publicação de informações verdadeiras, é um precedente incrivelmente perigoso”.

O Procurador Geral dos EUA, Jeff Sessions, disse que processar Assange é “prioridade” para ele. Há alguns no Ocidente plenamente convencidos de que Assange merece ser julgado e posto na cadeia por “ameaçar” a segurança nacional dos EUA, e “minar” seus chamados processos democráticos – o sistema que Assange mesmo, amarga ironia, provou ser uma mentira total. A ex-candidata presidencial americana Hillary Clinton e o ex-vice-presidente Joe Biden o chamaram de “terrorista”, mas a realidade é que o trabalho de Assange, fornecendo informações de alto interesse público, atua como antídoto revolucionário contra notícias falsas e a sombria política global, especialmente a estadunidense que é servida pelo povo, ao invés de servir ao povo.

Tudo isso, enquanto as amargas verdades que Assange traz à luz enviam uma mensagem clara de que a chamada democracia ocidental deve ser submetida a um processo de transparência radical. WikiLeaks não deixa duvidas, Valt 7 como mais recente exemplo, de que os serviços de inteligência em todo o mundo, a começar pela terrorista C.I.A., devem ser brecados – como desejava o presidente John Kennedy – enquanto ferramentas não democráticas destinadas a preservar o poder de uma minoria.

De acordo com o advogado norte-americano e defensor das liberdades civis Ben Wizner da ACLU: “Qualquer processo contra Assange pelas publicações de WikiLeaks não teria precedentes e inconstitucional, e abriria as portas para investigações criminais de outras organizações de notícias”.

grande mídia também deve ser culpada no caso de uma condenação de Julian Assange, e por essa distorção total de cenários já que não só nunca pressionou minimamente esses criminosos do regime de Washington que invadem smartphones, computadores e televisões conectadas à Internet em qualquer lugar do mundo – e ainda fazem parecer que os hacks eram praticados por outro serviço de inteligência.

Quem julga a CIA? Quem protege as pessoas de serem hackeadas? Outra amarga ironia nisso tudo, é que uma provável condenação de Assange porá em perigo os próprios fundamentos da imprensa livre, imprensa especialmente ocidental que afirma ser livre mas que nunca deu a Assange a atenção que seu trabalho merece, longe disso – enquanto a inação da mídia fala por si mesma, o jornalista australiano também tem provado por todos estes anos, que a mídia corporativa não é livre.

A tempo: alguma semelhança, na forma de lidar com as leis e no comportamento arrogante, entre os juízes e promotores de la e um “certo” juiz de terras tupiniquins, que escandaliza o mundo por ferir os princípios legais mais básicos? Pois WikiLeaks tambem já provou, documentalmente como sempre faz, que o juizeco Serginho Moro e toda a patota da cúpula do Poder Judiciário e Ministério Público tupiniquim, fez cursinhos jurídicos secretos nos Estados Unidos – com tudo pago.

Que seríamos de nós, em que mundo viveriamos se não fosse WikiLeaks?

Edu Montesanti

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Stefania Maurizi is an investigative journalist working for the Italian daily La Repubblica. She has worked on all WikiLeaks releases of secret documents and partnered with Glenn Greenwald to reveal the Snowden Files about Italy. She has authored two books—Dossier WikiLeaks: Segreti Italiani and Una Bomba, Dieci Storie. In an exclusive (electronic) interview with renowned journalist Eresh Omar Jamal, Maurizi talks about the continued arbitrary detention of Julian Assange, why powerful governments see WikiLeaks as an existential threat, and the implications for global press freedom if Assange is prosecuted for publishing secret government documents.

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Eresh Omar Jamal: You recently had the chance to visit Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. When was this and can you describe the state he is in?

Stefania Maurizi: I was able to visit him on November 19, after 8 months of failed attempts, because last March the Ecuadorian authorities cut off all his social and professional contacts, with the exception of his lawyers, and in the preceding 8 months, I had asked for permission to visit him nine times without success—the Ecuadorian authorities didn’t reply at all to my requests.

When I was finally granted permission to visit the WikiLeaks founder at the Ecuadorian embassy in London last November, I was literally shocked to see the huge impact his isolation has had on his health. Because I have worked as a media partner with him and his organisation, WikiLeaks, for the last nine years, I have met him many times and can tell when there are any changes in his body and mind. I wondered how his mind could keep working; but after talking to him in the embassy for two hours, I have no doubt that his mind is working fine. I still wonder how that’s possible after six and a half years of detention without even one hour of being outdoors. I would have had a physical and mental breakdown after just 6 months, not after 6 years.

Detention and isolation are killing him slowly, and no one is doing anything to stop it. The media reports, the commentators comment, but at the end of the day, he is still there; having spent the last six and a half years confined to a tiny building with no access to sunlight or to proper medical treatment. And this is happening in London, in the heart of Europe. He is not sitting in an embassy in Pyongyang. It is truly tragic and completely unacceptable. And I’m simply appalled at the way the UK authorities have contributed to his arbitrary detention, and have opposed any solution to this intractable legal and diplomatic quagmire.

EOJ: Having bravely defended Assange for years, the Ecuadorian government in late March cut off almost all his communications with the outside world. What prompted this turnabout and what is its purpose?

SM: Politics has completely changed in Ecuador, and more in general, in Latin America, since 2012, when Ecuador granted Julian Assange asylum. I have never had any interviews with the current Ecuadorian President, Mr Lenin Moreno, but based on his public declarations, it’s rather obvious to me that he does not approve of what Julian Assange and WikiLeaks do.

With all his problems, Rafael Correa (former president of Ecuador) protected Assange from the very beginning, whereas Lenin Moreno considers him a liability. Moreno is under pressure from the right-wing politicians in Ecuador, and also from very powerful governments, like the US and UK governments, who will leave no stones unturned to jail Assange and destroy WikiLeaks. I am not sure how long Lenin Moreno will hold out against this immense pressure, provided that he wants to hold out at all.

EOJ: Assange was vindicated not so long ago as to why he cannot leave the embassy when the US Department of Justice “accidentally” revealed in November that the founder of WikiLeaks had been secretly charged in the US. What do you think those charges are for?

SM: It’s hard to say unless the charges get declassified and I really appreciate how the US organisation, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, is fighting before the court in the Eastern District of Virginia, US, to have the charges declassified.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the US authorities have always wanted to charge him for WikiLeaks’ publications. They have wanted to do so from the very beginning, since 2010, when WikiLeaks released its bombshell publications like the US diplomatic cables.

But the US authorities have been unable to do so due to the fact that WikiLeaks’ publication activities enjoy constitutional protection thanks to the First Amendment. So it will be very interesting to see how they will get around this constitutional protection in order to be able to charge him and other WikiLeaks journalists and put them all in jail.

EOJ: Why have some of the most powerful governments and intelligence agencies invested so much resources to attack Assange and WikiLeaks?

SM: You have to realise what it meant for the US national security complex to witness the publication of 76,000 secret documents about the war in Afghanistan, and then another 390,000 secret reports about the war in Iraq; followed by 251,287 US diplomatic cables and 779 secret files on the Guantanamo detainees; and to watch WikiLeaks save Edward Snowden, while the US was trying everything it could do, to show the world that there is no way of exposing the NSA’s secrets and keep your head attached to your neck having done so.

You have to realise what this means in an environment like that of the US, where even the most brilliant national security reporters didn’t dare to publish the name of the head of the CIA Counterterrorism Center, Michael D’Andrea, even though his name and the abuses committed by his centre were open secrets within their inner circles. Although the New York Times finally did, later on. But this was and still is the reality in the US, and even though it may not be as bad in the UK, it’s still quite bad. Look at what happened with the arrest of Glenn Greenwald’s husband, David Miranda, at the Heathrow Airport during the publication of the Snowden Files. Look at what happened with The Guardian being forced to destroy its hard drives during the publication of those files.

There are different levels of power in our societies and generally in our western democracies, criticism against the low, medium and high levels of power via journalistic activities is tolerated. Journalists may get hit with libel cases, have troubles with their careers; however, exposing those levels is permitted. The problem is when journalists and media organisations touch the highest levels, the levels where states and intelligence agencies operate.

WikiLeaks is a media organisation that has published secret documents about these entities for years, and Julian Assange and his staff have done this consistently, not occasionally like all the other media organisations do. You can imagine the anger these powerful entities have towards WikiLeaks—they perceive WikiLeaks as an existential threat and they want to set an example that says, “Don’t you dare expose our secrets and crimes, because if you do, we will smash you.”

EOJ: If Assange is prosecuted, what impact might it have on other publishers and journalists and on press freedom globally?

SM: It will have a huge impact and that is why organisations like the American Civil Liberties Union are speaking out. Never before in the US has an editor and media organisation ended up in jail for publishing information in the public interest. If Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks’ staff end up in jail, it will be the first time in US history and will set a devastating precedent for attack on press freedom in the US, but actually, not only in the US. Because if a country like the US, in which the activities of the press enjoy constitutional protection, treats journalists this way, you can imagine how other countries where the press doesn’t enjoy such strong protection will react. It will send a clear message to them: “Your hands are free.”

At the end of the day, I think there are two sides to this Assange and WikiLeaks saga: the US-UK national security complex, but more in general, I would say, the people within the national security complex, who want to destroy Julian Assange and WikiLeaks to send a clear message to journalists: “Don’t mess with us if you don’t want your lives to be destroyed.” While on the other side, there are the freedom of the press guys, meaning journalists like me, who want to demonstrate the exact opposite: that we can expose power at the highest levels, we can expose the darkest corners of governments and come out alive and well. And actually, we must do this, because real power is invisible and hides in the darkest corners.

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This article was originally published on The Daily Star.

Eresh Omar Jamal is a journalist for The Daily Star (Bangladesh). You can find him on Twitter: @EreshOmarJamal and Stefania Maurizi: @SMaurizi

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Russia does not need any more problems, a fact of which President Putin is all too well aware.  Therefore, the likelihood is nil to zero of Russia’s having initiated the November 25 incident in the Kerch Strait, which culminated in Russia’s holding three Ukrainian naval  vessels and arresting their crew.

Ethnic Russians in Ukraine have been fighting desperately to distance themselves from the U.S. installed Nazi infested government in Kiev. For almost half a decade, the puppet government in Ukraine has been crushing, by all means, the eastern part of the country, where ethnic Russians predominate.  Every method has been used by  Ukranian authorities following the western engineered destabilization and overthrow of the democratically elected government of President Victor Yanukovich, in attempts to provoke Russia to invade to protect their allies.  These methods have included the horrific death of ethnic Russians in a building in Odessa.

Russian President Putin has, with enormous strength, resisted these multiple provocations to militarily enter this conflict, which can be described as a cauldron of horror.  For a military conflict between Russia and Ukraine would become a world war.

In an effort to prevent the inflammatory situation of November 25, when Ukrainian authorities, in collusion with their western “allies” illegally ordered provocative violations of the arrangement for passage through the Kerch Strait, Russia called a meeting of the UN Security Council, which by a devious sleight of hand was turned against them by Ukraine, with, of course, the connivance of the U.S., immediately convening a second Security Council meeting that same morning, blaming Russia for the very conflict which Russia had originally called the meeting to prevent.

Russian delegate Dmitry A. Polyanskiy stated:

“The only question is why the Ukrainians, who had been familiar with the regime for passage through the Kerch Strait and using it without any problems, suddenly carried out an act of clear provocation and risked the lives of their own sailors.  Nobody has tried to answer that question or even mention it.  It could therefore be perceived as giving Ukraine carte blanche to continue such provocations and foment a situation that could pose a threat to everyone in the region.  And going on what Mr. Yelchenko said, Ukraine got the message…As our colleagues from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have told us, the Ukrainian military has been drawing up Buk S-300 surface-to-air missile systems and Grad and Uragan multiple rocket launchers at the line of contact.  The disengagement of forces in Stanytsia Luhanska is blocked and soldiers have infiltrated disengagement areas in Zolote and Petrovske.  Units of the Ukrainian seventy-second brigade have captured the village of Rozsadky near Svitlodarsk.  Those are real things that testify to the fact that the Minsk agreements are being violated………No one has mentioned the fact that there was another attack on the Russian Embassy in Kyiv while the police did nothing.  A diplomatic car was set on fire last night.  The radicals continue to threaten to storm our diplomatic headquarters.  As I understand it, we should expect no response on this from anyone.  Does anyone think that is normal?”

What is also alarming, and indeed virtually conclusive evidence of the persecution and criminal violation of the human rights of ethnic Russians in Ukraine is the martial law imposed by the Ukrainian president, martial law which is indistinguishable from the worst totalitarian excesses of fascist governments, wherever they have dominated, whether in World War II Europe, or during the military dictatorships in Latin America, during the Pinochet-Geisel-Operation Condor period, to mention a few examples.

According to the NY Times, November 29,

“the martial law was limited to the 10 provinces bordering areas where Russian troops are deployed as well as along the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.”  The “broad outlines included the ability of the military commanding officer in each of the 10 regions to requisition private property and vehicles, to mobilize citizens as soldiers, to evacuate population centers and to impose curfews. …Roman Marshenko, a lawyer in Ukraine stated: ‘They can do whatever they want and they do not need to justify anything about their actions to the public or the courts or anybody.’”

Indeed, this Ukranian martial law imposed on citizens of east Ukraine bears frightening resemblance to the laws empowering the nazi SS to enslave and exterminate victims of their domination in territories they occupied.  What protections exist for citizens of these 10 provinces subjected to Poroshenko’s “martial law”?

The United States has withdrawn from, or violated international agreements, including the JCPOA involving Iran, the Paris Agreement on climate change,  and though both Russia and the US accuse each other of violating the INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force Treaty), the US’ record of reckless abandonment of major international agreements suggests the collapse of the INF treaty may be part of this pattern.

In 1997 Zbigniew Brzezinski’s book “The Grand Chessboard” described his formula for US global hegemony, which, he stated required the total schism between Russia and Ukraine.

His dream has become a dangerous reality.   This is one of the deadliest developments, which, along with the collapse of the INF treaty, paves the way for a nuclear holocaust.  Brzezinski’s nightmare is a strong friendship between Russia and China. This, too, is becoming a reality, and perhaps this  enormously important friendship is the only hope of averting nuclear war.  No sane politician in Washington would provoke war with an allied Russia and China.  This assumes, of course, that sanity has any chance of prevailing.

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Carla Stea is Global Research’s correspondent at the United Nations Headquarters, New York, N.Y.

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Seven Days of Failures for the American Empire

December 9th, 2018 by Federico Pieraccini

On November 25, two artillery boats of the Gyurza-M class, the Berdiansk and Nikopol, one tugboat, the Yany Kapu, as well as 24 crew members of the Ukrainian Navy, including two SBU counterintelligence officers, were detained by Russian border forces. In the incident, the Russian Federation employed Sobol-class patrol boats Izumrud and Don, as  well as two Ka-52, two Su-25 and one Su-30 aircraft.

Ukraine’s provocation follows the advice of several American think-tanks like the Atlantic Council, which have been calling for NATO involvement in the Sea of Azov for months. The area is strategically important for Moscow, which views its southern borders, above all the Sea of Azov, as a potential flash point for conflict due to the Kiev’s NATO-backed provocations.

To deter such adventurism, Moscow has deployed to the Kerch Strait and the surrounding coastal area S-400 batteries, modernized S-300s, anti-ship Bal missile systems, as well as numerous electronic-warfare systems, not to mention the Russian assets and personnel arrayed in the military districts abutting Ukraine. Such provocations, egged on by NATO and American policy makers, are meant to provide a pretext for further sanctions against Moscow and further sabotage Russia’s relations with European countries like Germany, France and Italy, as well as, quite naturally, to frustrate any personal interaction between Trump and Putin.

This last objective seems to have been achieved, with the planned meeting between Trump and Putin at the G20 in Buenos Aires being cancelled. As to the the other objectives, they seem to have failed miserably, with Berlin, Paris and Rome showing no intention of imposing additional sanctions against Russia, recognizing the Ukrainian provocation fow what it is. The intention to further isolate Moscow by the neocons, neoliberals and most of the Anglo-Saxon establishment seems to have failed, demonstrated in Buenos Aires with the meeting between the BRICS countries on the sidelines and the bilateral meetings between Putin and Merkel.

On November 30, following almost two-and-a-half months of silence, the Israeli air force bombed Syria with three waves of cruise missiles. The first and second waves were repulsed over southern Syria, and the third, composed of surface-to-surface missiles, were also downed. At the same time, a loud explosion was heard in al-Kiswah, resulting in the blackout of Israeli positions in the area.

The Israeli attack was fully repulsed, with possibly two IDF drones being downed as well. This effectiveness of Syria’s air defenses corresponds with Russia’s integration of Syria’s air defenses with its own systems, manifestly improving the Syrians’ kill ratios even without employing the new S-300 systems delivered to Damascus, let alone Russia’s own S-400s. The Pantsirs and S-200s are enough for the moment, confirming my hypothesis more than two months ago that the modernized S-300 in the hands of the Syrian army is a potentially lethal weapon even for the F-35, forbidding the Israelis from employing their F-35s.

With the failed Israeli attack testifying to effectiveness of Russian air-defense measures recently deployed to the country, even the United States is finding it difficult to operate in the country. As the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War confirms:

“Russia has finished an advanced anti-access/area denial (A2AD) network in Syria that combines its own air defense and electronic warfare systems with modernized equipment. Russia can use these capabilities to mount the long-term strategic challenge of the US and NATO in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and the Middle East, significantly widen the geographic reach of Russia’s air defense network. Russia stands to gain a long-term strategic advantage over NATO through its new capabilities in Syria. The US and NATO must now account for the risk of a dangerous escalation in the Middle East amidst any confrontation with Russia in Eastern Europe.”

The final blow in a decidedly negative week for Washington’s ambitions came in Buenos Aires during the G20, where Xi Jinping was clearly the most awaited guest, bringing in his wake investments and opportunities for cooperation and mutual benefit, as opposed to Washington’s sanctions and tariffs for its own benefit to the detriment of others. The key event of the summit was the dinner between Xi Jinping and Donald Trump that signalled Washington’s defeat in the trade war with Beijing. Donald Trump fired the first shot of the economic war, only to succumb just 12 months later with GM closing five plants and leaving 14,000 unemployed at home as Trump tweeted about his economic achievements.

Trump was forced to suspend any new tariffs for a period of ninety days, with his Chinese counterpart intent on demonstrating how an economic war between the two greatest commercial powers had always been a pointless propagandistic exercise. Trump’s backtracking highlights Washington’s vulnerability to de-dollarization, the Achilles’ heel of US hegemony.

The American-led world system is experiencing setbacks at every turn. The struggle between the Western elites seems to be reaching a boil, with Frau Merkel ever more isolated and seeing her 14-year political dominance as chancellor petering out. Macron seems to be vying for the honor of being the most unpopular French leader in history, provoking violent protests that have lasted now for weeks, involving every sector of the population. Macron will probably be able to survive this political storm, but his political future looks dire.

The neocons/neoliberals have played one of the last cards available to them using the Ukrainian provocation, with Kiev only useful as the West’s cannon fodder against Russia. In Syria, with the conflict coming to a close and Turkey only able to look on even as it maintains a strong foothold in Idlib, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States are similarly unable to affect the course of the conflict. The latest Israeli aggression proved to be a humiliation for Tel Aviv and may have signalled a clear, possibly definitive warning from Moscow, Tehran and Damascus to all the forces in the region. The message seems to be that there is no longer any possibility of changing the course of the conflict in Syria, and every provocation from here on will be decisively slapped down. Idlib is going to be liberated and America’s illegal presence in the north of Syria will have to be dealt with at the right time.

Ukraine’s provocation has only strengthened Russia’s military footprint in Crimea and reinforced Russia’s sovereign control over the region. Israel’s recent failure in Syria only highlights how the various interventions of the US, the UK, France and Turkey over the years have only obliged the imposition of an almost unparalleled A2AD space that severely limits the range of options available to Damascus’s opponents.

The G20 also served to confirm Washington’s economic diminution commensurate with its military one in the face of an encroaching multipolar environment. The constant attempts to delegitimize the Trump administration by America’s elites, also declared an enemy by the European establishment, creates a picture of confusion in the West that benefits capitals like New Delhi, Moscow, Beijing and Tehran who offer instead stability, cooperation and dialogue.

As stated in previous articles, the confusion reigning amongst the Western elites only accelerates the transition to a multipolar world, progressively eroding the military and economic power of the US.

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Federico Pieraccini is an independent freelance writer specialized in international affairs, conflicts, politics and strategies. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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Are the Gilets Jaunes Today’s Sans-Culottes?

December 9th, 2018 by Gilbert Mercier

“Pour le peuple, il y a toujours la misère!” Anonymous Gilet Jaune

From the Island of La Reunion to the Napoleonic symbol that is the Arc de Triomphe, through big and small towns, as well as the usually bucolic countryside in France, there is something special in the air: the smell of fires on barricades, the smoke of tear gas, the anger built upon decades of inequality, injustice and despair for most. Among the Gilets Jaunes, many understand intuitively that the current democratic process is dead, and therefore the only option is the occupation of streets and roads.

History usually moves at a snail’s pace, but sometimes a series of events abruptly push societies to a breakdown, to the fascinating and somewhat beautiful and chaotic quantum leap that is a revolution. Some cultures have it in their collective DNA to embrace, without fear, the chaotic changes of revolutionary turmoil: France is not only one of them, it was arguably the first one when its sans-culottes citizens cut off the head of their absolute monarch Louis XVI. It was unthinkable then; could it happen again?

From gas-tax protests to “Macron Démission!”

It is still premature to call the Gilets Jaunes movement a revolution, but one can say categorically that this unexpected and spontaneous grassroots movement has put France on track for the preliminary stages of such a dramatic event. While the Gilets Jaunes started as an apolitical protest mainly focused on gas taxes deemed unfair, it has, in a matter of three weeks, morphed into a movement that calls for many structural changes as well as the resignation of France’s President, Emmanuel Macron.

The French government is under attack and says that the Republic is in peril from the chaos of the unreasonable extremists within the Gilets Jaunes. What the yellow vests of the Gilets Jaunes symbolizes is blue-collar workers, struggling retirees and students who revolt against the suits of the political class and CEOs. The Gilets Jaunes feel betrayed by the political class and even the Republic, and they view Macron as the president of the rich, acting often like a king and as if he is whispering about his subjects the “let them eat cake” of Marie-Antoinette. It is an anger over social inequality that fuels the Gilets Jaunes. While the integrity of the European Union should be defended for geopolitical reasons — otherwise European nations will lose their voices on the world stage — if the Gilets Jaunes movement spreads, perhaps the EU can fully become a European Union by and for the people, not the current EU of a rarefied ruling class.

A popular anti-capitalist revolt not a populist neofascist rise

The Gilets Jaunes movement is strictly horizontal, without a hierarchy or recognized leaders. It has, so far, refused to be hijacked by political parties: either the Rassemblement Nationale of Marine Le Pen on the far-Right, or La France Insoumise of Jean-Luc Melenchon on the Left. It has also rejected association with French labor unions. Without spelling it out, the Gilets Jaunes movement is anti-capitalist: a guttural revolt of the have-nots against the elite. It is a popular, not a populist, movement. Europeans and even American populist-nationalists are already distorting the Gilets Jaunes’ significance to serve their political agenda. As opposed to the rise of nationalism-populism elsewhere, such as in Italy, Austria, Hungary, the UK as expressed by BREXIT, the US, and Brazil with the election of Bolsonaro, the Gilets Jaunes do not have an anti-immigration or even an anti-EU agenda that reeks of racism and neofascism.

“Les riches parlent de la fin du monde, on a peur des fins de mois”

The Gilets Jaunes are in revolt against capitalism or neoliberalism, which is a worldwide system of concentration of wealth and power into a few hands. With our pending ecological collapse and vanishing biodiversity, capitalism has failed and is reaching its end game. Unlike the neofascist science deniers, the Gilets Jaunes perceive climate change as a crisis, but they say that it is hard to focus on a global ecological collapse when you live from paycheck to paycheck. They feel that they deal with the anxiety of putting food on the table at the end of the month while the rich talk about the end of the world. Thinking about humanity’s survival is hard to do on an empty stomach.

May 1968 or 1789? 

Some outside observers, as well as a few Gilets Jaunes have made an analogy between this movement and the events of May 1968 in France, from which the main result was the resignation of General Charles de Gaulle. This is questionable. The 1968 movement was, at its origins, a student movement partially inspired by neo-Marxist ideas. In France, and worldwide, especially in the US, there was the somewhat fuzzy hippy peace-and-love cultural trend dancing to the soundtrack of Woodstock. This was more like a mini cultural revolution: a clash of generations, with the youths revolting against the moral rigidity of their parents. As the ultimate father-figure, General de Gaulle was a prime target.

As the baby boomers came of age, the late 1960s everywhere were more about sexual liberation than anything else. In our darker times, when humanity’s extinction has become a legitimate topic of discussion, this hedonist element is entirely gone. The Gilets Jaunes are about bread-and-butter issues, not free love. This is not the Gilets Jaunes reality, as their demographic is, on average, much older. In this regard, the Gilets Jaunes have more in common with the sans-culottes of the 1789 French Revolution than the sons and daughters of the bourgeoisie of 1968. Gilets Jaunes is at its core a blue-collar revolt against unfair taxation and blatant social injustice, a revolt against the dead end that isglobal capitalism.

The “casseurs” are insurgents: repression or compromises?

French mainstream media, which are all on the side of the establishment, have  portrayed some Gilets Jaunes as “casseurs” responsible for what they describe as urban guerrilla warfare. By doing so, they are attempting to gut the protests of their sociological and political content. Casseurs break things and attack riot police for no reason, whereas the insurgent segment of the Gilets Jaunes target symbols of capitalism, such as luxury stores and banks, and retaliate against the blind violence of the state personified by the CRS riot police.

Macron’s compromise to scrap the gas tax hike is viewed as too little too late. Gilets Jaunes demands have grown to include systemic fiscal and social changes, such as: reinstalling the Impot sur la Fortune (ISF) that taxes the rich; and increasing both the minimum wage and minimum retirement income to 1,300 Euros a month. Macron can either compromise on these and other points, get rid of his prime minister, and perhaps dissolve the National Assembly and call for new elections. Or he could harden the police repression by declaring a state of emergency and, even worse, call on the French Army to maintain order as some police officials have suggested, in which case the state of emergency would become a de-facto martial law. Playing hard ball with the Gilets Jaunes could be a fatal mistake for the French government. Back in 1789, King Louis XVI had a chance to abdicate his absolute power and become a constitutional monarch: he refused, and this mistake cost him his head.

Revolutions need revolution

Revolutions never happen in a sociological and historical vacuum. This being said, the spark that can light up the fuse of such an atypical event is usually unexpected. A  population can take only so much inequality, injustice and oppression. Under inhumane and unbearable pressures, societal time bombs do go off. Revolutions, successful or not, express a collective rage against a social order that has failed the vast fraction of a population. It is the fracture when talks and compromise become useless, a break point where violence and destruction appear to be the only options. This critical mass was reached for the brutalized and exploited French sans-culottes in 1789, Haitian slaves in 1791, Russian serfs in 1917, and Chinese workers and farmers in 1949. As an expression of the anger of a population with nothing left to lose, cornered by a delusional ruling class, revolutionary explosions are mighty and often unstoppable. Time will tell if the Gilets Jaunes movement has enough legs and bite to catalyze such an improbable revolutionary event.

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This article was originally published on the author’s blog site: News Junkie Post.

Gilbert Mercier is the author of The Orwellian Empire.

All images in this article are from News Junkie Post.

The Significance of Human Duties and Responsibilities

December 9th, 2018 by Dr. Chandra Muzaffar

As we observe the 70th anniversary of the adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by the UN General Assembly on the 10th of December 1948, it is imperative that we remind ourselves of the vital importance of Human Duties and Responsibilities in the life of a society. In fact there is a profound link between rights, on the one hand, and duties and responsibilities, on the other.  It is a link that is acknowledged in almost every religious philosophy.

This is why in 1947 Mahatma Gandhi when asked to contribute his thoughts to the UDHR that was being drafted at that time wrote in a letter to the Director of UNESCO,

“I learned from my illiterate but wise mother that all rights to be deserved and preserved come from duty well done.”

Similarly, the Confucian scholar, Wu Teh Yao who was involved in the preparatory work that went into the formulation of the UDHR tried to convince his colleagues that it would not be judicious to produce a document that only emphasised rights without giving equal attention to responsibilities. The contemporary Islamic thinker, Seyyed Hossein Nasr has also argued that rights should emanate from responsibilities.

Over the decades there have been attempts to integrate rights with duties and responsibilities. The most notable of these is the Universal Declaration of Human Duties and Responsibilities (UDHDR) proclaimed in Valencia in 1998 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the UDHR. The UDHDR was initiated and developed by former heads of State and heads of Government, Nobel Laureates and experts and contains 12 chapters and 41 articles. It not only emphasises our responsibility to uphold human rights but also elaborates on our responsibility to ensure integrity, a decent standard of living, human security, the right to participate in public affairs and to build an equitable international order. It is a pity that the UDHDR has been given very little attention by the international community.

And yet human duties and responsibilities have become far more crucial today than ever before. A brief look at five spheres of society will convince us of this. If the present generation is confronted by a monumental environmental crisis, underscored by the vagaries of climate change, it is partly because we human beings have not been faithful to our responsibility to protect our planet. Likewise, if corruption and abuse of power among elites is more pervasive now than in the past, it is because some of them lack a sense of responsibility to those they govern manifested through the ease with which they trample upon the ethic of honesty and accountability. It is because we do not feel that we have a duty to look after our fellow human beings that we have allowed an economic and financial system to evolve  that concentrates wealth in the hands of a few to the detriment of the many. Hatred and bigotry that targets the religious or cultural ‘other’ has gained much more currency in recent years for a variety of reasons among them, a dearth of respect for human beings who are not part of one’s own tribe, an inability to understand that in this day and age we have a duty to appreciate, even celebrate, ethnic differences. It may be because many of us have no commitment to responsibility as a value and a principle that we have no qualms about misusing the new modes of communication to spread lies, to peddle half-truths and to distort realities.

Our collective failure to adhere to our responsibilities and to fulfil our duties has imperilled our civilisation. It has brought humankind to the brink of catastrophe. How do we arrest our decline as a species?

To instil a deep sense of responsibility in the human being, one has to begin with the family. It is the most effective institution for inculcating those habits and practices that enhances one’s sense of duty. The entire education process from the kindergarten to the university has also got a critical role to play. Social and cultural activities and the media can make a huge contribution to the challenge of creating an atmosphere that sustains the ethic of responsibility. Political leaders and other elites should also demonstrate through ‘other-serving’ deeds their commitment to duty rather than to their own self-interest. This will have an exemplary impact upon society.

Finally, religion also has the potential to strengthen a sense of responsibility and a commitment to duty in the individual and her community if it moves away from its current obsession with form and identity. If it is perceived and practised as values and principles rooted in an understanding of life and its purpose that goes beyond self in the narrow sense, faith in God can become a powerful conduit for the fulfilment of a profound responsibility that centres on selfless service to humanity.  It is then that life itself becomes a sacred responsibility, a precious gift from God, while the way we live becomes our gift to God.

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Dr Chandra Muzaffar is the President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST), Malaysia. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

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Selected Articles: Assaults on Freedom of Speech

December 9th, 2018 by Global Research News

For seventeen years, Global Research, together with partner independent media organizations, has sought Truth in Media with a view to eventually “disarming” the corporate media’s disinformation crusade.

To reverse the tide, we call upon our readers to participate in an important endeavor.

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Our objective is to recruit one thousand committed “volunteers” among our 50,000 Newsletter subscribers to support the distribution of Global Research articles (email lists, social media, crossposts). 

Do not send us money. Under Plan A, we call upon our readers to donate 5 minutes a day to Global Research.

Global Research Volunteer Members can contact us at [email protected] for consultations and guidelines.

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A People’s History of George H. W. Bush. “Soldier Statesman” or Criminal War Profiteer?

By Michael Welch, Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Stephen Lendman, and John Buchanan, December 09, 2018

Mainstream retrospectives of the man have been flattering and laudatory of his record in power. The major US news outlets generally presented the invasions of Panama and Iraq in a positive light, completely glossing over, if not completely ignoring, the massive civilian casualties and the war crimes perpetrated by U.S. and coalition forces in the process.

Iraqi military equipment is seen left behind [file photo]

“Terrorism Made in America”: US Sponsored ISIS-Daesh “Pockets” Inside Iraq After More than Three Years of Fighting and US Bombings

By Haidar Mansour Hadi Al-Athari and Edu Montesanti, December 08, 2018

After four years of ISIS-Daesh terrorism sponsored by Obama, the ISIS which acted as a proxy terrorist organization on behalf of Washington has finally been defeated.

Canada Arrests Meng Wanzhou, CFO of HuaWei, China’s Global Cell Phone Competitor

By Christopher Black, December 08, 2018

It is clear the US is pushing the battle line to our door … We can completely regard the US arrest of Meng Wanzhou as a declaration of war against China.”

University of Sydney Professor Tim Anderson Suspended for “Criticism of War Propaganda against Syria, Iraq and Palestine”

By Prof. Tim Anderson and Jordan Baker, December 08, 2018

By Friday afternoon 30 academics, including several emeritus professors, had signed the open letter arguing that academic freedom was “meaningless if it is suspended when its exercise is deemed offensive.”

Mainstream Media Assaults on Freedom of Speech. “The Truth” is No Longer “Important”

By Shane Quinn, December 07, 2018

The New York Times unveiled a new slogan early in 2017 titled, “The truth is more important now than ever.” It has acquired a seemingly noble motto but a perhaps contentious one if we examine the Times’ recent history. Two international law specialists, Howard Friel and Richard Falk, published a book after the 2003 Invasion of Iraq called The Record of the Paper, which has scarcely been reviewed.

Gene Editing and “Genetically Modified Humans”: China’s “Golem Babies”. There Is Another Agenda

By F. William Engdahl, December 07, 2018

The shocking news that a team of scientists working in China have managed to gene-edit the DNA of recently-born human twins to allegedly make them genetically immune to a HIV infection is more than bizarre and irresponsible.

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Opponents of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline—from indigenous and environmental groups to local farmers and ranchers—celebrated a win in court after a federal judge ruled on Friday that the fossil fuel giant cannot conduct pre-construction work on the pipeline until the full environmental review ordered last month is complete.’

“Somehow TransCanada still hasn’t gotten the message that Keystone XL is a lost cause,” observed Sierra Club senior attorney Doug Hayes. “We’ve held off construction of this dirty tar sands pipeline for a decade because it would be a bad deal for the American people, and [Friday’s] ruling is yet another reminder that it will never be built.”

The ruling (pdf) from U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris of Great Falls, Montana followed a November decision which found that the Trump administration ignored “prior factual findings related to climate change” and relied on “outdated information” regarding Keystone XL’s threat to endangered species, tribal lands, and regional water resources when issuing a permit for the pipeline.

In a move denounced as “corporate bulling at its worst” by Friends of the Earth legal director Marcie Keever, TransCanada had sought permission to conduct pre-construction work. Morris ruled that Calgary-based company may continue activities such as security efforts and conducting surveys needed to revise the environmental review, but barred all field activities along the proposed route.

“Farmers and ranchers thank the judge for seeing through TransCanada’s transparent power grab,” added Bold Alliance president Jane Kleeb. “We want our property rights and water protected, yet all the Trump administration cares about is aiding a foreign oil corporation.”

Calling the judge’s latest decision “one more victory for the rule of law over this reckless and risky project,” Natural Resource Defense Council senior attorney Jackie Prange said:

“Keystone XL cannot be built unless and until the Trump administration complies with the law. So far, we’ve seen no indication that it plans to do so.”

Jared Margolis, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, agreed—concluding that “if the Trump administration takes an honest look at Keystone XL’s impacts, it won’t be able to justify this horrible climate-killing project.”

Critics of the Keystone XL continue to battle it in court and on the ground by organizing protests, installing solar panels along the proposed path, and returning land to local tribes in hopes of blocking the hotly contested project.

Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org, turned to Twitter after the ruling to thanks those who have continued the fight against the project:

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Featured image: Opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline have succeeded in blocking construction on the tar sands project for the past decade. (Photo: Elvert Barnes/Flickr/cc)

VIDEO: Hinter dem US-Angriff auf chinesische Smartphones

December 9th, 2018 by Manlio Dinucci

Nachdem Präsident Trump auf chinesische Waren hohe Steuern erhoben hatte – 250 Milliarden Dollar -, akzeptierte er beim G-20 einen „Waffenstillstand“, indem er weitere Maßnahmen aufschob, vor allem weil die US-Wirtschaft von den chinesischen Vergeltungsmaßnahmen getroffen wurde.

Aber neben diesen kommerziellen Überlegungen gibt es auch einige strategische Gründe. Unter dem Druck des Pentagons und der Geheimdienste verbieten die USA die Nutzung von Smartphones und Telekommunikationsinfrastrukturen des chinesischen Unternehmens Huawei, warnen vor einer möglichen Nutzung für Spionage und drängen ihre Verbündeten, dies ebenfalls zu tun.

Die Warnung vor der Gefahr der chinesischen Spionage, die sich insbesondere an Italien, Deutschland und Japan richtete, die die wichtigsten US-Militärstützpunkte beherbergen, kam von den gleichen US-Geheimdiensten, die seit Jahren die Telefonkommunikation ihrer Verbündeten ausspionieren, insbesondere in Deutschland und Japan. Das US-Unternehmen Apple, einst unangefochtener Marktführer in der Branche, sah seinen eigenen Umsatz bei Huawei (ein Unternehmen, das sich im Besitz seiner Mitarbeiter als Aktionäre befindet) verdoppelt, das hinter dem südkoreanischen Unternehmen Samsung auf den zweiten Platz vorrückte. Dies ist bezeichnend für eine allgemeine Tendenz.

Die Vereinigten Staaten – deren wirtschaftliche Überlegenheit künstlich auf dem Dollar basiert, der bisher die Hauptwährung für Währungsreserven und Welthandel war – wurden von China zunehmend übernommen, sowohl in Bezug auf die Kapazität als auch auf die Produktionsqualität. Die New York Times schrieb: „Der Westen war sich sicher, dass der chinesische Ansatz nicht funktionieren würde. Alles, was er tun müsse, sei warten. Er wartet immer noch. China plant ein riesiges globales Netzwerk von Handel, Investitionen und Infrastrukturen, das die finanziellen und geopolitischen Beziehungen neu gestalten wird“.

Dies geschah vor allem, wenn auch nicht vollends, entlang der Neuen Seidenstraße, die China derzeit in 70 asiatischen, europäischen und afrikanischen Ländern baut.

Die New York Times untersuchte 600 Projekte, die von China in 112 Ländern durchgeführt wurden, darunter 41 Öl- und Gaspipelines, 199 Energiezentren, die meisten davon Wasserkraftwerke (darunter sieben Dämme in Kambodscha, die die Hälfte des Strombedarfs des Landes decken), 203 Brücken, Straßen und Eisenbahnen sowie mehrere große Häfen in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia und anderen Ländern.

All dies wird von Washington als „eine Aggression gegen unsere grundlegenden Interessen“ angesehen, wie vom Pentagon in der National Defense Strategy for the United States of America 2018 erklärt. Das Pentagon definiert China als einen „strategischen Konkurrenten, der eine raubtierartige Wirtschaft nutzt, um seine Nachbarn einzuschüchtern“, und übersieht absichtlich die Reihe von Kriegen, die von den Vereinigten Staaten bis 1949, auch gegen China, geführt wurden, um diese Länder ihrer Ressourcen zu berauben.

Während China Dämme, Eisenbahnen und Brücken baut, die nicht nur für sein Handelsnetz, sondern auch für die Entwicklung der betroffenen Länder nützlich sind, sind in den USA Kriege, Dämme, Eisenbahnen und Brücken die ersten Ziele, die zerstört werden. China wird vom Pentagon beschuldigt, „kurzfristig seine Hegemonie im Indo-Pazifikraum aufzuzwingen und die Vereinigten Staaten außer Gefecht zu setzen, um eine zukünftige globale Vorherrschaft zu erlangen“, zusammen mit Russland, dem vorgeworfen wird, „die NATO zerstören“ und „den demokratischen Prozess auf der Krim und in der Ostukraine sabotieren“ zu wollen.

Dies ist der Ursprung des „Vorfalls“ in der Straße von Kertsch, der von Kiew unter dem Kommando des Pentagon provoziert wurde und der darauf abzielte, das Treffen zwischen den Präsidenten Trump und Putin beim G-20 zu sabotieren (was geschehen ist) und die Ukraine in die NATO zu zwingen, in der sie bereits de facto Mitglied ist.

„Langfristiger strategischer Wettbewerb mit China und Russland“ wird vom Pentagon als „oberste Priorität“ angesehen. Zu diesem Zweck „werden wir unsere Atomstreitkräfte modernisieren und die transatlantische Allianz der NATO stärken“.

Hinter dem Handelskrieg verbirgt sich ein Atomkrieg.

Manlio Dinucci

il manifesto, 4.December 2018

Übersetzung: K.R.

VIDEO (PandoraTV)

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“The Bush bank helped the Thyssens make the Nazi steel that killed Allied solders. As bad as financing the Nazi war machine may seem, aiding and abetting the Holocaust was worse. Thyssen’s coal mines used Jewish slaves as if they were disposable chemicals. There are six million skeletons in the Thyssen family closet, and a myriad of criminal and historical questions to be answered about the Bush family’s complicity.”

John Loftus,  former prosecutor in the U.S. Justice Department’s Nazi War Crimes Unit [1]

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The 41st president of the United States, George Herbert Walker Bush passed away on Friday November 30th. He was 94.

Mainstream retrospectives of the man have been flattering and laudatory of his record in power. The major US news outlets generally presented the invasions of Panama and Iraq in a positive light, completely glossing over, if not completely ignoring, the massive civilian casualties and the war crimes perpetrated by U.S. and coalition forces in the process. [2]

Media over the past week seemed to give the elder George Bush a pass for his role as U.S. Vice President in the Iran-Contra scandal, which saw arms sold to the Islamic Republic of Iran with the proceeds diverted toward assisting Contra rebels in Nicaragua. He would later pardon several of the operators complicit in that illegal endeavour. [3]

Critiques of the man’s record, if there were any, would centre around his broken presidential campaign promise not to raise taxes. [4]

Audiences looking for more of this kind of remembrance will not get it here.

Instead, the Global Research News Hour radio program is using the occasion of President Bush Sr’s passing to provide a critical, and hopefully more accurate review of the man’s background and time in power. More importantly, George Bush as a case study can point to some of the larger power dynamics which have shaped the events of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

In our first half hour, we will discuss in depth the incredible but true history of the Bush family’s history of financial dealings with the Nazis up to and during the Second World War! Archival research reveals these connections which have so far been suppressed by mainstream media. John Buchanan unearthed critical documents from the U.S. National Archives and the Library of Congress. (see below.) Buchanan explains those connections and the personal price he believes he paid for bringing those records to light.

https://archive.org/details/pdfy-9TeVAfigGG5VS-IW

http://www.nhgazette.com/the-bushnazi-stories/bushnazi-link-confirmed/

http://www.nhgazette.com/the-bushnazi-stories/bushnazi-link-continued/

Professor Michel Chossudovsky recounts little known associations between Bush and the Bin Laden family, right up to the day of the September 11th attacks. Professor Chossudovsky also addresses the working relationship between the Bush family, and the family of then Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, who was known to be affiliated with Mexican narco-trafficking.

Finally, commentator Stephen Lendman shares his thoughts and reflections on the Bush legacy and how it fits into the broader framework of U.S. power.

John Buchanan is a freelance journalist and the investigative reporter who broke the story of Bush-Nazi financial links in the pages of the New Hampshire Gazette in 2003. He also ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination in 2004. He is the author of the 2005 book Fixing America: Breaking the Stranglehold of Corporate Rule, Big Media, and the Religious Right, published by Trine Day.

Professor Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa, and founder and director of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He is Editor of Global Research.

Stephen Lendman is a writer, former broadcaster and frequent commentator on national and world events. He is recipient of a Project Censored Award (2008) and a recipient of a Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award. His articles are published at Global Research. His blog site is stephenlendman.org. He lives in Chicago.

(Global Research News Hour Episode 239)

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at globalresearch.ca . Excerpts of the show have begun airing on Rabble Radio and appear as podcasts at rabble.ca.

The Global Research News Hour now airs Fridays at 6pm PST, 8pm CST and 9pm EST on Alternative Current Radio (alternativecurrentradio.com)

Community Radio Stations carrying the Global Research News Hour:

CHLY 101.7fm in Nanaimo, B.C – Thursdays at 1pm PT

Boston College Radio WZBC 90.3FM NEWTONS  during the Truth and Justice Radio Programming slot -Sundays at 7am ET.

Port Perry Radio in Port Perry, Ontario –1  Thursdays at 1pm ET

Burnaby Radio Station CJSF out of Simon Fraser University. 90.1FM to most of Greater Vancouver, from Langley to Point Grey and from the North Shore to the US Border.

It is also available on 93.9 FM cable in the communities of SFU, Burnaby, New Westminister, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey and Delta, in British Columbia, Canada. – Tune in  at its new time – Wednesdays at 4pm PT.

Radio station CFUV 101.9FM based at the University of Victoria airs the Global Research News Hour every Sunday from 7 to 8am PT.

CORTES COMMUNITY RADIO CKTZ  89.5 out of Manson’s Landing, B.C airs the show Tuesday mornings at 10am Pacific time.

Cowichan Valley Community Radio CICV 98.7 FM serving the Cowichan Lake area of Vancouver Island, BC airs the program Thursdays at 6am pacific time.

Campus and community radio CFMH 107.3fm in  Saint John, N.B. airs the Global Research News Hour Fridays at 10am.

Caper Radio CJBU 107.3FM in Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia airs the Global Research News Hour starting Wednesday Morning from 8:00 to 9:00am. Find more details at www.caperradio.ca

RIOT RADIO, the visual radio station based out of Durham College in Oshawa, Ontario has begun airing the Global Research News Hour on an occasional basis. Tune in at dcstudentsinc.ca/services/riot-radio/

Radio Fanshawe: Fanshawe’s 106.9 The X (CIXX-FM) out of London, Ontario airs the Global Research News Hour Sundays at 6am with an encore at 4pm.

Los Angeles, California based Thepowerofvoices.com airs the Global Research News Hour every Monday from 6-7pm Pacific time.

 

Notes: 

  1. interview with Toby Rogers; https://www.mondialisation.ca/the-bush-familys-links-to-nazi-germany-a-famous-american-family-made-its-fortune-from-the-nazis/5512243
  2. Adam Nagourney (Nov. 30, 2018), ‘George Bush, Who Steered Nation in Tumultuous Times, Is Dead at 94’, New York Times; https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/30/us/politics/george-hw-bush-dies.html
  3. ibid
  4. ibid

 

After four years of ISIS-Daesh terrorism sponsored by Obama, the ISIS which acted as a proxy terrorist organization on behalf of Washington has finally been defeated. 

While a new government recently came to power in Iraq, ISIS nonetheless remains active in small pockets on the country’s border. At the same time, some Western analysts predict a resurgence of ISIS in Iraq, with a view to fomenting religious sectarianism.

In this interview the Iraqi ambassador to Russia, Haidar Mansour Hadi Al-Athari, talks to renowned journalist Edu Montesanti regarding the ongoing threat of these ISIS pockets within his country. 

How are local governments is acting to avoid a return and resurgence of the ISIS-Daesh in a Iraq, a country with a longstanding history of culture religious tolerance and peace among Muslims, Jews and Christians. 

Terrorism is a “Made in America” (“New Fashion) see (videovideo and paper).

“Despite declaring victory over ISIS, however, there are small pockets still acting individually, which shows the defeat of a once strong ISIS to a very weak one,” rejoices Ambassador Haidar Hadi, in counterposition to media propaganda.

In this interview, Saddam Hussein’s regime is also addressed. 

***

Edu Montesanti: Some say that the declaration of victory against ISIS late last year was premature. Arguing that the terrorist group remains a deep threat not only because of its own acumen as an insurgent movement, there are analysts stating that Iraq has failed to face the basic needs of the population, to remedy political and social divisions, and to forge a common national framework that unifies the country which soon paves the way for yet another devastating civil war as rival groups compete for control of the Iraqi state.

What are your thoughts on these described scenario, and to what extent has ISIS been defeated,

Ambassador Haidar Hadi: The declaration of victory in December 2017 came after more than three years of fighting the international terrorist organization.

This victory came as a result of joint efforts between the Iraqi Security forces, Counter-Terrorism Units, Kurdish Peshmerga, Popular Mobilisation Units, as well as the support of the coalition forces and Russia.

It was a well-deserved victory, not a premature one as some might describe it. We gave lives of innocent Iraqis and the destruction of our infrastructure, so the price of this victory has been heavy.

The Iraqi Government at the time of the fighting against ISIS had important tasks, achieved hand in hand with each other. One task was military, which was to fight the international terrorist organization and its affiliates, and the other task was to provide a safe haven for a large number of displaced Iraqis, forced to leave their homes by providing them basic needs or food, water, medical services and most importantly, a place to stay.

The Government also helped a large number of Iraqis to return to their homes after being liberated, and it was successful with the help of UNAMI [United Nations Iraq].

Fighting ISIS has brought Iraqis together, and made them closer than ever before due to the threat was against Iraq as a whole.

Declaring victory over ISIS proved that civil war was never a threīat in Iraq and will never be, due to the integration of the Iraqi society as Arabs, Kurds, Muslims, Christians, and other minorities live together for hundreds of years.

Edu Montesanti: It has also been said that Iraq’s next war will likely be a civil civil war, one between Shiite Islamist rivals. How do you see that?

Ambassador Haidar Hadi: ‫The last successful parliamentary election, which took place on the 12th May 2018, and the formation the new Government in Baghdad were a clear and strong message that all political parties, including the Shite Islamist parties, worked together to make sure the born of the new government, which we witnessed early in October when most Members of Parliament gave their trust to the new Prime Minister, Mr. Adil Abdulmahdi, and his cabinet.‬.

Edu Montesanti: ISIS filled a political and ideological void, when it rose in Iraq, in 2014. Does any void still exist today?

Ambassador Haidar Hadi: ‫Iraqis practiced their democratic rights in the last parliamentary elections, which proved that Iraq has come out of the ISIS experience as a stronger nation.

Iraqis managed to defeat ISIS not only militarily, but also ideologically.

Edu Montesanti: The UN envoy to Iraq, Mr. Jan Kubis, said that the group remains active on the western border with Syria, and in northern Iraq carrying out scattered attacks in Kirkuk, Salah, and Din and Diyala, as Iraq’s new government plans to intensify efforts to uproot cells of the ISIS extremist group and introduce “robust measures” to achieve sustainable security throughout the country.

How will these measures be put into practice?

Ambassador Haidar Hadi: Despite declaring victory over ISIS, however, there are small pockets still acting individually, which shows the defeat of a once strong ISIS to a very weak one.

One of the main targets of the new Iraqi Government is to continue the work of its previous one with the help and support of the coalition partners, as well as Russia, to maintain the sustainable stability resulted from the victory.

Edu Montesanti: The International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq mobilized nearly US$ 30 billion of additional international support for the country. “If we compare what we got today to what we need, it is no secret, it is of course much lower than what Iraq needs,” said Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari.

What are your thoughts about that Conference, and the money mobilized to support Iraq?

Ambassador Haidar Hadi: The conference was a clear message of support to Iraq, despite the disappointing outcome of the conference.

The Russian delegation was led by Deputy Prime Minister with more than 100 businesses, which shows the weight of Russian support.

We are optimistic about the support of our partners to come forward and be part of the reconstruction efforts by the Iraqi Government.

As an Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Iraq to the Russian Federation, I have met a large number of Russian businessmen who showed a great interest in being part of the reconstruction efforts. In the past few days, a delegation of Russian businessmen and investors visited Baghdad to explore business opportunities and meet with their counterparts.

I believe the next few years will show a boost of relations between Iraq and its allies, especially the Russian Federation.‬

Edu Montesanti: Does Iraq really need a foreign cooperation to definitively win terrorism?

Ambassador Haidar Hadi: ISIS is an international terrorist organization, not a local organization, so Iraq needs support and corporation from our regional and international partners.

Edu Montesanti: How should this cooperation be?

Ambassador Haidar Hadi: We have won the war against terrorism militarily, but we will continue to fight the ideological war. The next war is a war of intelligence.

The joint information center based in Baghdad, which have Iraq, Russians, Iranians and Syrian experts which provides important information about terrorist cells, still operates in Iraq in order to our military forces to fight them.

Edu Montesanti: To date, how many children have come back from Iraq to Russia and neighboring countries, due to the “Bringing Them Home” Campaign, and how is the project now? Does it follow the same pattern, or has anything changed as a new government recently came to power in Iraq? 

Ambassador Haidar Hadi: ‬The previous Iraqi Government was very supportive of this sensitive issue, and the facilitated the legal procedure in order to speed up the return of Russian children to their relatives after one of their parents or both killed, fighting alongside the ISIS fighters.

Around 25 children under the age of 10 years old were returned home, and we continue to resolve this issue through the Diplomatic and legal channels.

The children had entered Iraq illegally, so in order to leave the country a fine of 500,000 Iraqi Dinars, around US$420, must be paid to the Iraqi Government.

The new government is committed to continuing to resolve the issue.

Edu Montesanti: Some say that during Saddam Hussein years the country was under control, and the foreign policy acted more independently especially from U.S. imperialism, arguing also that Iraq, in those years, was considered by the U.N. one of the Arab countries which most respected religions.

How do you respond to it, and what has changed in Iraq since Hussein was overthrown?

Ambassador Haidar Hadi: During Saddam Hussein’s regime, Iraqis were living under the fear of prosecution or execution for as simple as telling a joke about Saddam or his regime.

In 1991, I was forced to leave Iraq at the age of 21 because a relative of mine used my own car in Najaf Province, during the 1991 uprising; a few weeks later, I was on Saddam’s Intelligence wanted list because they assumed I was driving the car, and being part of those who wanted to change the regime. My only option was to flee the country because I might not have had the chance to prove it was not me driving the car.

Saddam’s regime caused Iraq three major wars, invaded a neighboring country and faced a 12-year sanction.

This how life was under that brutal regime. Iraq was, still are and will always be one of the Arab countries that most respect religions.

So definitely and despite all the challenges, we see an Iraq now much better than the country was under Saddam Hussein. ‬

*

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On November 24, US-supported terrorists fired Western-supplied shells containing toxic chlorine at al-Khalidyia, al-Neel, and Jamayat al-Zahra Aleppo City neighborhoods.

Unless quickly treated, toxic chlorine inhalation can cause asphyxiation and other severe respiratory problems. According to area hospital sources, 107 civilians were admitted, suffering from what was believed to be chlorine gas inhalation, acute cases treated in intensive care.

The US, UK, France, Israel, the Saudis and Turkey are involved directly or indirectly in delivering sarin, chlorine, and other toxins to jihadists in Syria they support.

Russia’s Defense Ministry has what it called “irrefutable evidence of the use of munitions filled with toxic agents against the civilian population on November 24, 2018 in Aleppo.”

Trump regime imperial partners delivered toxic chemicals to White Helmets jihadists, masquerading as civil defense workers.

“The peaks of these deliveries were synchronized with the bold statements of the US State Department and other US agencies about the readiness to deal a missile strike on Syria in case of the alleged use of chemical weapons by the government,” Russia’s Defense Ministry explained.

In response to the Aleppo City CW attack, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman General Igor Konashenkov said the following:

Russian personnel “from the observation posts of the radiation, chemical and biological protection units with special equipment stationed in Syria arrived to the area of shelling urgently.”

“They work with the injured taken to medical institutions, monitor the situation in the area where the militants used poisonous substances,” adding:

“According to preliminary confirmed data, in particular, by the symptoms of poisoned victims, the shells that were fired at residential areas of Aleppo had been filled with chlorine.”

Al-Qaeda-connected White Helmets were likely involved earlier.

“It is clear that (they) are directly connected with terrorist organizations operating in Syria, and in particular, in the Idlib de-escalation zone.”

Shells with toxins fired on Aleppo City came from Idlib’s demilitarized zone by Turkish-supported terrorists.

The Kremlin pretends Erdogan wants conflict resolution he’s clearly going all-out to continue – wanting Assad ousted, Syria’s sovereignty destroyed, and northern parts of the country annexed for a greater Turkey.

On December 7, State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino turned truth on its head saying:

Assad and Russia “falsely accused the opposition and extremist groups of conducting a chlorine attack in northwestern Aleppo,” adding:

“The United States strongly refutes this narrative and has credible information that pro-regime forces likely used teargas against civilians in Aleppo on November 24.”

Fact: Virtually everything said about Syria, and Russia’s involvement in combating US-supported terrorists, by the Trump and UK regimes, NATO, their imperial partners, and media press agents are bald-faced lies.

Following the November 24 CW incident, Aleppo province governor Hussein Diyab said

“(t)he terrorists’ missiles (fired on Aleppo City neighborhoods) contained poisonous gases, which proves that the terrorists possess chemical weapons.”

In his Friday statement, Palladino falsely accused Syrian forces of “potentially fabricat(ing) samples and contaminat(ing) the site before a proper investigation of it by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons,” adding:

“We caution Russia and the regime against tampering with the suspected attack site and urge them to secure the safety of impartial, independent inspectors so that those responsible can be held accountable.”

Longstanding US, NATO, Israeli policy consistently blames victims for high crimes committed against them.

Not a shred of evidence suggests Syrian and/or allied forces ever used CWs at any times throughout years of war.

Indisputable evidence proved ISIS and other US-supported terrorists used them numerous times – the latest incident on November 24 in Aleppo City, surely not the last one.

Separately on Friday, Russia’s Defense Ministry said it

“interprets the US State Department’s hysterical statement, alleging that the November 24 chemical attack by terrorists in Aleppo was allegedly staged, as an attempt to exert pressure on the OPCW…to hinder an unbiased investigation.”

Every time the ministry reports about CWs delivered to jihadists and allied White Helmets, Washington warns about its “preparedness for a knockdown missile blow on Syria in case of another alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government,” the ministry stressed, adding:

The State Department’s most recent statement (December 7) is all about “vindicating” US-supported jihadists, along with “pseudo-rescuers from the White Helmets” allied with them against sovereign Syria and its people.

The US statement and others like it are also “geared toward diverting attention of the world community from the crimes committed by US (and allied) warplanes,” involved in terror-bombing Syria since summer 2014 – responsible for massacring tens of thousands of civilians and destroying vital infrastructure.

 

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Featured image is from South Front

In what has been described as potentially the biggest story of the year, the Guardian’s Luke Harding (11/27/18) reported last week that Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, held a series of secret talks with WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange. These meetings were said to have occurred inside the Ecuadorian embassy between 2013 and 2016. The report also mentions that unspecified “Russians” were also among Assange’s visitors. The scoop, according to the newspaper, could “shed new light” on the role of WikiLeaks’ release of Democratic Party emails in the 2016 presidential election.

The story was picked up across the US, including by  USA Today(11/27/18), the Washington Post (11/27/18), Bloomberg (11/27/18), Yahoo! News (27/11/18), The Hill (11/27/18) and Rolling Stone (11/27/18). One CNN analyst (11/27/18) analyst excitedly commented that the news was “hugely significant” and “could be one of the two missing links to show real interference and knowledge of Russian involvement” in the election.

However, there were serious problems with the report. Firstly, the entire story was based upon anonymous intelligence sources, sources that could not tell the newspaper exactly when the meetings took place.

Guardian: Manafort held secret talks with Assange in Ecuadorian embassy, sources say

The Guardian (11/27/18) added “sources say” to the headline after publication.

Furthermore, the Ecuadorian embassy is one of the most surveilled buildings in the most surveilled city in the world, and was under 24-hour police guard and monitoring, costing the UK government over £11 million between 2012 and 2015. The embassy also had very tight internal security, with all visitors thoroughly vetted, required to sign in and leave all their electronic devices with security. Is it really possible any figure, let alone Donald Trump’s campaign manager, could walk in for a series of secret meetings without leaving record with Ecuador, or being seen by the media or police?

For their part, both Manafort and WikiLeaks have strenuously denied the accusation, with the latter announcing, “This is going to be one of the most infamous news disasters since Stern published the Hitler Diaries.” It also declared it was planning to sue the Guardian, setting up a Go Fund Me appeal to help with legal costs.

The Guardian immediately started to walk back its claims, editing the article a number of times, changing its headline from “Manafort Held Secret Talks With Assange in Ecuadorian Embassy” to “Manafort Held Secret Talks With Assange in Ecuadorian Embassy, Sources Say.” It inserted qualifiers, denials and words like “hoax” into the text, quietly changing much of the tense of the report to the conditional. Thus, the passage “It is unclear why Manafort wanted to see Assange and what was discussed. But the last meeting is likely to come under scrutiny” was changed to (emphasis added) “It is unclear why Manafort would have wanted to see Assange and what was discussed. But the last apparent meeting is likely to come under scrutiny.” Thus a piece that started as a factual news report was transformed into an allegation—after it went viral and was picked up across international media.

The story that threatened to become the political news event of the winter was quickly dropped by the media, with search interest for terms such as “Manafort” and “Assange” dropping by around 90 percent in one day.

‘The Most Logical Explanation’

As the story crumbled, Politico (11/28/18) put forward a bizarre explanation for the event, written by an anonymous ex-CIA officer, who argued that Russian intelligence had likely planted the story as a means to discredit Harding and the Guardian, noting that, if it is all false, “the most logical explanation is that it is an attempt to make Harding look bad.” Thus, Trump, WikiLeaks and Russia’s vast “disinformation network” would be able to deride the press as purveyors of “fake news.” It appears not to have occurred to the CIA alum that the story could have been planted to discredit WikiLeaks, Russia or Manafort (and by extension, Trump).

Politico: Did Someone Plant a Story Tying Paul Manafort to Julian Assange?

Politico (11/28/18) puts forward a corporate media version of the “false flag” theory.

The anonymous spy ended by stating he “finds it hard to believe Harding would not go to great lengths to confirm his story.” Russia certainly would have an interest in discrediting the Guardian and Harding, who has a long history of criticizing Putinism and was refused re-entry to the country in 2011. But the newspaper appears not to have done even basic diligence over what must have been multiple new, unknown sources by checking with the embassy or with the police, if this was indeed the case. It also ignores that one source appears to have been Ecuadorian intelligence itself, not Russian.

State officials have a long history of using a pliant media to manipulate public discourse around international struggles by introducing false information. A central part of the drive to the invasion of Iraq was the false claim that Saddam Hussein was just 45 minutes from attacking the US and UK with WMDs. Officials urged that we could not wait for the mushroom cloud and had to act now. In 2016 US officials planted a false story in the Washington Post (12/31/16) that Russia had hacked into the US electric grid. That these claims were demonstrably incorrect did not delegitimize or scupper the interests of the state, or dampen the dominant narrative. There is rarely, if ever, any price to pay for official sources lying to journalists. This was why “the most logical explanation” was certainly not that Iraqi or Russian intelligence had fed the media fake information as to discredit Western reporting. The Manafort story went viral, while the retraction of some of its claims received, in comparison, scant attention.

Harding also has an ongoing and bitter feud with Assange. (He wrote a highly critical biography of the WikiLeaks editor that was subsequently turned into the movie, The Fifth Estate, which Assange described as a “massive propaganda attack” on him.)

He also has a history of publishing deeply inflammatory claims without being able to back them up. His book, Collusion, on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election was a New York Times No. 1 bestseller, and yet he could not give any evidence of collusion when asked in a now-infamous interview with Aaron Maté of The Real News, unable to defend even the title of his book, let alone his thesis. After being pressed harder by Maté, he simply disconnected the interview prematurely.

Therefore, Occam’s razor suggests the most logical explanation is likely that the Guardian published anonymous official sources without checking their claims’ validity.

‘Sources Say’

It is standard journalistic practice to name and check sources. Without a name to match to a quote, its credibility (and therefore that of the story) immediately drops, as there are no repercussions for that individual if they are untruthful. Sources (or journalists themselves) could simply make up anything they wanted with no consequences. Therefore, using anonymous sources is strongly discouraged, except in rare circumstances, generally when sources would face retaliation for revealing information of vital public interest. The Society of Professional Journalists’ code of ethics insists journalists “identify sources whenever feasible” and that journalists must “always question sources’ motives before promising anonymity.”

Image on the right: Robert Fisk (cc photo: Mohamed Nanabhay/Wikimedia)

Robert Fisk (cc photo: Mohamed Nanabhay)

Unfortunately, the use of anonymous officials in reporting is increasing, and is a worrying trend in modern journalism, as the veteran reporter Robert Fisk once explained:

I’m just looking at a copy of the Toronto Globe and Mail. It’s a story about Al Qaeda in Algeria. And what is the sourcing? “US intelligence officials said,” “a senior US intelligence official said,” “US officials said,” ‘the intelligence official said,” “Algerian officials say,” “national security sources considered,” “European security sources said”…. We might as well name our newspapers “Officials Say.” This is the cancer at the bottom of modern journalism, that we do not challenge power anymore. Why are Americans tolerating these garbage stories with no real sourcing except for very dodgy characters indeed, who won’t give their names?

In this way, anonymous state officials can influence and drive media narratives without even needed to have their name associated with a claim. However, we appear to be entering a new era where unnamed state officials not only influence, but actually write the news themselves, as demonstrated by the Politico article.

Furthermore, as FAIR (8/22/189/25/18) has already cataloged, media giants such as Facebook are already working with governmental organizations like the Atlantic Council to control what we see online, under the guise of battling Russian-sponsored fake news. The Atlantic Council is a NATO offshoot whose board of directors includes neo-conservative hawks like Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Henry Kissinger and James Baker; CIA directors like Robert Gates, Leon Panetta and Michael Hayden; as well as retired generals like Wesley Clark and David Petraeus.

Leave alone that much of the most sensational reporting and claims about Russian influence comes from the Atlantic Council’s reports in the first place, thus creating a perfect feedback loop justifying more active measures. Therefore, much of the coverage of Russian state propaganda is itself state propaganda!

The Utility of Misreporting

Why was a highly questionable report from a foreign media outlet based upon anonymous sources picked up far and wide, sometimes without even a basic follow-up, such as asking for comment from the Ecuadorian embassy, Assange or Manafort (again, standard journalistic practice)?

As I argued previously (FAIR.org, 7/27/18), there is great utility for the establishment in promoting the idea of foreign interference in American domestic issues. For one, it helps develop a conspiratorial mindset among the public, encouraging them to be less critical of the state when the United States is “under attack.” Liberals’ trust in the FBI has markedly increased since Trump’s election and the focus on Russia.

Kremlin-sponsored “fake news” also serves as a pretext for mainstream media monopolies to re-tighten their grip over the means of communication. Media giants such as Google, Facebook, Bingand YouTube have changed their algorithms, supposedly to fight fake news. However, the consequence has been to strangle alternative media that challenged the mainstream narrative. Since Google changed its algorithm, WikiLeaks’ search traffic dropped 30 per cent, AlterNet by 63 per cent, Democracy Now! 36 per cent and Common Dreams by 37 per cent.

Finally, for the political establishment, the Russian fake news story gives them a convenient excuse as to why Trump was able to win the Republican nomination and defeat Hillary Clinton and to why new movements, from the alt-right to Black Lives Matter and the Bernie Sanders phenomenon on the left, have occurred. They are not responses to the decay of the political and economic system, but examples of foreign interference.

Adam Johnson’s “North Korea Law of Journalism” states that journalistic standards “are inversely proportional to a country’s enemy status,” meaning that the more antagonistic the US is to a country, the more lackadaisical journalists can be with the truth while reporting on said state. FAIR has consistently cataloged misreporting of enemy states, such as Iran (9/9/15; 7/25/17) North Korea (5/9/17; 3/22/17) Venezuela ( 5/16/17; 3/2/07), Cuba or Syria (10/21/15), where their supposed threat to the world or their human rights violations are ramped up, while downplaying crimes of friendly states (2/1/09).

The same can equally be said of enemy political figures like Assange, Sanders or Jill Stein. When it serves a political function, stories about official enemies too good to be true are also too good not to publish.

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Alan MacLeod @AlanRMacLeod is a member of the Glasgow University Media Group. His latest book, Bad News From Venezuela: 20 Years of Fake News and Misreporting, was published by Routledge in April.

Featured image is from FAIR

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Hypocrisy, thy name is: Turns out the racist ghoul who unceasingly reviles, belittles and otherwise trash-talks undocumented immigrants has employed a bunch of ’em at his own tacky clubs – here, here, here – and one, according to the New York Times, has had enough. Victorina Morales is a Guatemalan housekeeper who’s worked at Trump’s glitzy Bedminster golf resort in New Jersey for five years, during which time by all accounts she hasn’t raped or murdered anyone, even though she’s undocumented. She has, however, busted her butt. She’s made Trump’s bed, cleaned his toilet, washed his windows, dusted the golf trophies he reportedly bought, washed and ironed his white boxers, golf shirts, khaki trousers, sheets and towels.

For a while she worked inside his house, cleaning while he watched TV or standing quietly when he brought in potential Cabinet members for interviews: “I never imagined (I) would see such important people close up.” She once saw Trump throw a fit over orange stains on the collar of his white golf shirt, the stubborn remnants of the makeup that gives him his ghostly orange glow. Another time, he ran his teeny finger along surfaces she’d just dusted as she nervously watched; he declared she’d done “a good job” and gave her a tip. What a gold-plated prince:  The club has entrance fees of over $100,000 a year and pays her a whopping 13 bucks an hour. Overall, she did such a good job she got a White House certificate recognizing her service.

Image on the right: Class act: Trump-inscribed M&Ms at Bedminster

bed_mms_christopher_gregory_nyt_merlin_1

Still, when Trump became president, he started getting uglier, as did those around him. Morales, who came here in 1999 with two years of schooling and no English, was hurt to hear Trump equating immigrants like her with criminals; she was also upset by supervisors calling her and the many other immigrant workers “stupid,” “illegal,” with “less intelligence than a dog.” When it became too much, she and Sandra Diaz, a former maid, went to the Times. In a statement, Anibal Romero, an attorney for Morales and Diaz, said that

“while working there and interacting with the President and his immediate family, my clients and others were repeatedly subjected to abuse, called racial epithets and threatened with deportation…This toxic environment was designed to intimidate these women, leaving them fearful for their safety.”

In normal times, the stunning hypocrisy by a guy who threatens those who hire undocumented workers but abuses and profits from the same workers would be enough to sink any politician – and it did spark an editorial, “Focus on MS-13. Leave the Maid Alone.” While the Trump Organization says they know nothing – like Russia! – both women say several supervisors knew their status; when Trump became president and they felt compelled to look legal, one helped them get new, improved fake papers. Now, having spoken up, Morales knows she will likely lose her job, and may be deported. But it was time: “We are tired of the abuse, the insults, the way he talks about us when he knows that we are here helping him make money. We sweat it out to attend to his every need and have to put up with his humiliation.” As to who knew what, she wonders, “Is it possible this señor thinks we have papers? Why wouldn’t he figure it out?” A question for our time.

bedminster_nbc_nj_illegal_workers_181206

Bedminster, in all its tawdry duplicitous glory. NBC photo. Front: Brave soul and Trump housekeeper Victorina Morales. CBS Photo.

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There has always been a tradition of rebellion and revolution in France.

The above headline is the instantly recognised phrase that is the most significant National motto of France.

Not only the obvious famous 18th Century Revolution, but in the Spring of 1958 then President René Coty told his Parliament that France was “on the brink of civil war” related to Algeria, (another story that warrants its own OpEd). The outcome was a national legendary unifying figure was selected by political consensus, General de Gaulle, who was asked to confer with the French leadership to examine what, in the framework of ‘the Republic’s constitution’, would enable the immediate formation of “a government of national safety” and “what can be done, in a fairly short time, for a deep reform of our institutions.”

Then there were the famous riots of 1968 and so on, as there were other crises in France after that year.

Coming to the present day, the heart of the matter is the fact that Macron should never have been elected President because the manner of his winning the Presidency was and is considered by many in France to have been highly dubious and even fraudulent, hence his personal extremely low popularity.

An interesting observation was made by a French Professor, Olivier Cahn, who said “the tradition (of revolt) takes root because protests get results in France.”

These last two weekends we have witnessed the worse riots in France for over a half a century.

A consequence of such events, simply put, is that such massive popular riots can and will turn into revolutions, and possibly in other countries as well, in the 21st Century.

That Paris like events will be repeated throughout European cities, even in the UK; even across the world, in 2019 is now a real possibility.

I feel the people want, demand change, justice, the young in particular. They, people of the world, are uniquely connected, as in no other way in history by instant transmission of events through the internet and social media.

When for example Blair and Sarkozy, to name but two former corrupt leaders, are arrested and in Court, people will see, maybe for the first time in their lifetime, justice truly being served. That such politicians get away with killing millions of people and making millions of dollars to boot abusing their positions as public servants, is totally intolerable and absolutely unacceptable.

Throughout history people revolted due to exploitation, unfair taxes and injustice by their rulers.

Why not revolt against unpopular and unjust governments?

The great philosopher, France’s Jean Paul Sartre  said Che Guevara was “the most complete human being of our age.”

I contend Guevara was never a real communist, but it suited the powers that be then (and himself) to be labeled so. He was I believe simply an anti-imperialist – a Don Quixote figure; an idealist but nevertheless a revolutionary.

We see the revival and development of imperialism in the 21st Century which makes rebellion and taking to the streets the peoples last and only recourse.

There is a very pertinent short speech on the subject by Guevara, from 1965, only some 30 seconds long, where he articulates the perils of imperialism very eloquently. It was published recently by you, Video: Che Guevara Talks About Imperialism (1965).

Regime change and modern Western imperialism, particularly the American variety, is totally unacceptable and intolerable.

Also very relevant to this not only French but global upheaval is Julian Assange who represents to us all what freedom of speech truly is and what the importance of real journalism is to democracy.

The original important role of the Press was to question power and authority to keep in check abuses and lies of corrupt politicians and systems.

Good journalism was and is a necessary and critical balancer to maintain democracy.

‘Mass Media’ owned by a small elite, particularly the visual snap shot sound bite variety, are the most guilty of all – they are traitors to true journalism with very few exceptions.

So to conclude, I am not qualified to give solutions to the plethora of the world and societies problems, but I for one would welcome revolution where necessary, particular in Europe, if only to get rid of one of the most corrupt institutions ever to exist in history, in Brussels.

I believe revolt in the streets of many cities, particularly in the EU, in 2019 is now inevitable.

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Featured image: Fuel tax protestors in France (Source: WSWS)

It is clear the US is pushing the battle line to our door … We can completely regard the US arrest of Meng Wanzhou as a declaration of war against China.”

So read an editorial in the Global Times of China on December 6, the day after Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of the Chinese company Huawei was taken hostage by the Canadian and American governments on December 1. The daughter of the founder of China’s largest telecommunications company was arbitrarily arrested and detained by Canadian police in Vancouver in transit between planes on December 1 on the pretext of a US extradition request.

The arrest has shocked and angered China while in Canada the large Chinese population must wonder how safe they are. The background to the arrest is fairly simple. Huawei has become a global competitor in the global phone market and their 5G phones are cutting edge technology and so not welcomed by competing phone companies in, US, Japan, South Korea, France, and Sweden, who are so afraid of the competition that they and their governments have spread stories that the phones are loaded with spyware and are “a danger to national security.” The company has even been threatened by the US and allied governments with criminal charges in America’s increasingly hostile economic war against China alongside its increasing military pressure, provocations and insults. It’s one way to control the market. But now, acting as a mafia they have kidnapped, detained, and hold hostage a Chinese woman whose simple crime is going to work every day. The lack of outcry from women’s rights groups in the west is not surprisingly, deafening.

The pretext for her arrest is that Huawei has violated US sanctions against Iran. But the “sanctions” imposed on Iran by the US recently are illegal under international law, that is under the UN Charter that stipulates that only the Security Council can impose economic sanctions on a nation. The latest American sanctions are not approved by the Security Council. Sanctions imposed unilaterally by one nation against another are not legal and are violation of international law. There is, therefore, no law that she or Huawei is violating. There is no legal justification for her arrest by the Canadians who detaining her without legal justification.

The Canadian prime minister claims he had no hand in this arrest, yet admits he knew about it days before hand. But he cannot claim that since the police that arrested her and the prosecutors handling the file are federal officials and so he must have been involved. John Bolton in the US also admitted that he knew that this was going to happen several days in advance so there must have been communication between he Canadian authorities and the American authorities at a high level to set this up. In fact to add insult to injury the arrest took place as President Trump was sitting with President Xi who was trying to seek an accommodation with the Americans to ease the economic war being waged against China by the Americans. So as Trump sat with Xi, smiling like a lizard in the sun, he knew that Meng Wanzhou was being arrested, and continued to act like the lizard he is, while Xi acted in good faith unaware of what was happening further north in Canada.

Trudeau’s statement that this arbitrary arrest was not politically motivated and that he was not involved in giving orders for Canadian police to detain her once she landed in Vancouver is preposterous since the Extradition Treaty between Canada and the United States requires that the United States inform the Canadian foreign ministry of its request and send them the documents supporting the request.

Further Article 2 of the Treaty requires that Canada can only act on such a request if, and only if, the offence alleged is also an offence by the laws of both contracting parties. But the unilaterally imposed and illegal sanctions placed against Iran by the USA, are not punishable acts in Canada and even in the USA the “sanctions” are illegal as the are in violation of the UN Charter.

Article 4 (1) of the Treaty states:

Extradition shall not be granted in any of the following circumstances:

(iii) When the offense in respect of which extradition is requested is of a political character, or the person whose extradition is requested proves that the extradition request has been made for the purpose of trying to punish him (or her) for an offense of the above-mentioned character. If any question arises as to whether a case comes within the provisions of this subparagraph, the authorities of the Government on which the requisition is made shall decide.”

So, Prime Minister Trudeau cannot evade responsibility for this hostage taking, this arbitrary arrest and detention since his government had to consider the US request and consider whether it was politically motivated. Therefore the matter had to be considered at the highest level, by him. Since he has clearly ignored all the circumstances including the fact, firstly that the offence alleged is not an offence in Canada, and cannot exist under international law and secondly, that the US request is clearly politically motivated and has the objective of damaging both Iran and China, he made a political decision to order his security forces to arrest and detain her. It was a political arrest. The rule of law in Canada has been suspended, at least in her case, and so can be in any case.

But can we be surprised that the rule of law has ceased to exist in Canada when we remember that in 1999 Canada took part in the aggression against Yugoslavia, when it took part in the aggression against Iraq, when in 2004 its special forces assisted US marines to put a gun to the head of President Aristide of Haiti, kidnap him and exile him to Africa, when it took part in the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, of Libya, of Syria, when this year it took in white helmet elements of the terrorist proxy forces attacking Syria, when it has been involved in plots to overthrow the Venezuelan government, and the Ukrainian government where it supports the fascists who have taken power in Kiev and when it supports the illegal “sanctions” that is, economic warfare against Russia?

Canadians should be angry about their nation being led by people whose loyalty is to Washington instead of the Canadian people, whose interest they could care nothing about. They should be angry about slapping the face of the great Chinese people for whom Dr. Norman Bethune, the great Canadian communist, died helping the Peoples Liberation Army during the Long March and resistance to the Japanese in the 1930’s.

They should be angry about these traitors isolating Canada from China, from Russia, from Iran and their great cultures, and condemning Canada to be nothing more than an outpost of the American empire. For traitors they are as they betray the Canadian people by serving he interests of the Americans and their war machine. Free Meng Wanzhou, for so long as she is held hostage, so are we all.

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Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto. He is known for a number of high-profile war crimes cases and recently published his novel “Beneath the Clouds. He writes essays on international law, politics and world events, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”

Featured image is from NEO

Global Research is in solidarity with Professor Tim Anderson who was suspended from his position as Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney, Australia. 

This decision by the University’s Provost was largely motivated by Professor Anderson’s research and public statements on Syria, Iraq and Palestine including Anderson’s carefully documented book entitled The Dirty War on Syria,  

“Through careful analysis, professor Anderson reveals the “unspoken truth”: the “war on terrorism” is fake, the United States is a “State sponsor of terrorism” involved in a criminal undertaking. 

Scroll down for reviews of Prof. Anderson’s book on Syria (published by Global Research).

(click book cover right to order Tim Anderson’s international bestseller

It should be understood that this is not an isolated event. Academic freedom is threatened. Several prominent academics have been fired or intimidated under different circumstances.

Below is Tim Anderson’s text on his Facebook page  followed by an article published by the Sydney Morning Herald.

Yesterday University of Sydney Provost Stephen Garton suspended me from my position as a senior lecturer and banned me from entering the university. I have worked as an academic at this University for more than 20 years and am appealing the decision to a Review Committee.

This move is the culmination of a series of failed attempts by management to restrict my public comments. I have always rejected such censorship. The latest complaint concerns my advisory analysis of the Israeli attacks on Gaza. Examine the graphic below and decide for yourself whether or how this infographic might be ‘offensive’.

These complaints, over the last 18 months, have been petty and absurd. In my view they represent an unusually aggressive regime of political censorship, in which no decent university should be involved.

Most of the management complaints have to do with my criticisms of war propaganda against Syria, Iraq and Palestine. I don’t accept such censorship.

Stephen Garton has ignored the ‘intellectual freedom’ rule of the university, which states that academic staff are entitled to ‘express unpopular or controversial views, provided that in doing so staff must not engage in harassment, vilification or intimidation’. I will point this out to the Review Committee.

I have told Provost Garton that I don’t abuse or engage in gratuitous criticism, but I do criticise dishonest propaganda harshly, when justified. I have rejected his attempts at political censorship as unprincipled.


Academics fight suspension of lecturer over swastika image

by Jordan Baker, 

Sydney Morning Herald, December 7,  2018

Sydney University academics have criticised the suspension of an academic who showed students material featuring the Nazi swastika imposed over Israel’s flag, saying it was a body blow to academic freedom. (see above image, left hand corner)

By Friday afternoon 30 academics, including several emeritus professors, had signed the open letter arguing that academic freedom was “meaningless if it is suspended when its exercise is deemed offensive.”

The academic at the centre of the controversy, senior lecturer in political economy Tim Anderson, has also been criticised by federal ministers for visiting Syria and North Korea, where he expressed solidarity with their dictatorial regimes.

Earlier this week, Sydney University served Dr Anderson a termination notice, saying the swastika material amounted to serious misconduct that was “disrespectful and offensive, and contrary to the university’s behavioural expectations”.

Dr Anderson was given a week to show why he should not be sacked and has been barred from entering the university in the meantime. He is appealing the decision, describing the complaints as petty and absurd.

The academics, mostly from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, said employment should not be dependent on their work remaining within the bounds of “contested and intrinsically indefinable constraint”.

Some of the signatories of the letter are also vocal opponents of a proposal by the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation to fund a course in western tradition at the university. They argue that the proposal also compromises academic freedom.

“The suspension of Dr Tim Anderson pending the termination of his employment is an unacceptable act of censorship and a body-blow to academic freedom at the University of Sydney,” the academics wrote in the open letter.

“There can be no better-known or more banal occurrence in intellectual history than the suppression of ideas on the grounds of their offensiveness to powerful interests.”

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Featured image: Sydney University lecturer Tim Anderson during a recent trip to North Korea. CREDIT:FACEBOOK

The Dirty War on Syria has relied on a level of mass disinformation not seen in living memory. In seeking ‘regime change’ the big powers sought to hide their hand, using proxy armies of ‘Islamists’, demonising the Syrian Government and constantly accusing it of atrocities. In this way Syrian President Bashar al Assad, a mild-mannered eye doctor, became the new evil in the world.

The popular myths of this dirty war – that it is a ‘civil war’, a ‘popular revolt’ or a sectarian conflict – hide a murderous spree of ‘regime change’ across the region. The attack on Syria was a necessary consequence of Washington’s ambition, stated openly in 2006, to create a ‘New Middle East’. After the destruction of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, Syria was next in line.

The Dirty War on Syria

by Professor Tim Anderson

ISBN Number: 978-0-9737147-8-4

Year: 2016

Pages: 240

Author: Tim Anderson

List Price: $23.95

Special Price: $15.00

click to purchase, directly from Global Research Publishers

[Seven] years into this war the evidence is quite clear and must be set out in detail. The terrible massacres were mostly committed by the western backed jihadists, then blamed on the Syrian Army. The western media and many western NGOs parroted the official line. Their sources were almost invariably those allied to the ‘jihadists’. Contrary to the myth that the big powers now have their own ‘war on terror’, those same powers have backed every single anti-government armed group in Syria, ‘terrorists’ in any other context, adding thousands of ‘jihadis’ from dozens of countries.

Yet in Syria this dirty war has confronted a disciplined national army which did not disintegrate along sectarian lines. Despite terrible destruction and loss of life, Syria has survived, deepening its alliance with Russia, Iran, the Lebanese Resistance, the secular Palestinians and, more recently, with Iraq. The tide has turned against Washington, and that will have implications beyond Syria.

As western peoples we have been particularly deceived by this dirty war, reverting to our worst traditions of intervention, racial prejudice and poor reflection on our own histories. This book tries to tell its story while rescuing some of the better western traditions: the use of reason, ethical principle and the search for independent evidence.

Reviews: 

Tim Anderson  has written the best systematic critique of western fabrications justifying the war against the Assad government. 

No other text brings together all the major accusations and their effective refutation.

This text is essential reading for all peace and justice activists.  -James Petras, Author and Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York, Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Tim Anderson’s important new book, titled “The Dirty War on Syria” discusses US naked aggression – “rely(ing) on a level of mass disinformation not seen in living memory,” he explains.

ISIS is the pretext for endless war without mercy, Assad the target, regime change the objective, wanting pro-Western puppet governance replacing Syrian sovereign independence.

There’s nothing civil about war in Syria, raped by US imperialism, partnered with rogue allies. Anderson’s book is essential reading to understand what’s going on. Stephen Lendman, Distinguished Author and Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Host of the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Professor Anderson demonstrates unequivocally through carefully documented research that America’s “Moderate Opposition” are bona fide Al Qaeda affiliated terrorists created and protected by the US and its allies, recruited  and trained by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, in liaison with Washington and Brussels.

Through careful analysis, professor Anderson reveals the “unspoken truth”: the “war on terrorism” is fake, the United States is a “State sponsor of terrorism” involved in a criminal undertaking. Michel Chossudovsky, Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization, Professor of Economics (Emeritus), University of Ottawa.

Anderson’s excellent book is required reading for those wanting to know the true story of the imperialist proxy war waged on Syria by the U.S. and its Western and Middle Eastern puppet states. This account could also be titled “How to Destroy a Country and Lie About it”. Of course Syria is only one in a long line of countries destroyed by Washington in the Middle East and all over the Global South for more than a century.

Anderson’s analysis is particularly useful for dissecting the propaganda war waged by the U.S. to hide its active support for the vicious Islamic fundamentalists it is using in Syria. In spreading this propaganda the U.S. has been aided not only by the West’s mainstream press but also by its prominent so-called human rights organizations. Asad Ismi, International Affairs Correspondent for The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Monitor.

Originally published by Mongabay.com and Global Research on November 2, 2017

A new study in PLOS ONE reveals a 76 percent reduction in Germany’s flying insect biomass over the past 27 years while another reports the country’s bird abundance has declined 15 percent in just over a decade.

While the causes behind the insect decline haven’t yet been conclusively studied, the PLOS ONE study suggests agricultural intensification like increased pesticide use may be contributing to the decline.

Neonicotinoid pesticides have been blamed for bee declines, and studies also link them to declines in aquatic insect communities. Many flying insects have aquatic life stages.

More research is underway to better understand the causes and ramifications of such a big decline in flying insect biomass.

Germany’s flying insect biomass has dropped 76 percent in the past 27 years, according to a study published last week in PLOS ONE. The findings have stunned biologists around the world and are prompting concern about potentially disastrous ecological consequences as another study finds the country lost 15 percent of its birds in just over a decade.

The study was conducted by researchers at institutions in Germany and the Netherlands. Over the course of nearly 30 years, they collected flying insects within protected areas in lowland western Germany by trapping them with mesh tents that funneled into bottles of alcohol. They then measured the biomass – basically, the combined weight – of the insects to see how it changed from year to year.

In total, the researchers collected 53.54 kilograms of flying insect biomass from 1989 to 2016. This may not sound like much, but the researchers say it represents millions of individual insects.

The results revealed a dramatic decline in flying insects. In total, their biomass dropped 76 percent over the 27-year sampling period; collections from midsummer showed an even bigger reduction –- 82 percent.

Flying insects, like this damselfly, perform many important ecological roles. Photo by Bruce Marlin via Wikimedia Commons (CC 2.5).

While declines in bees and butterflies have been fairly well documented in many regions around the world, this is one of the few studies that have examined biomass trends in flying insects generally. The researchers say their results indicate a more extensive problem than previously thought.

“Our results demonstrate that recently reported declines in several taxa such as butterflies, wild bees and moths, are in parallel with a severe loss of total aerial insect biomass,” the authors write, “suggesting that it is not only the vulnerable species, but the flying insect community as a whole, that has been decimated over the last few decades.”

The study is being lauded by outside researchers. Axel Ssymank is an entomologist and head of the Natura 2000 & Habitats Directive, a program run by the Germany’s Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (which reports to the Ministry of the Environment). He said the study effectively documented and preserved material collected at the sample sites, and that collection methods were fully standardized. As a result, the study showed “no methodological bias at all” and the results “are beyond doubt and very well documented.”

“The study is the most comprehensive and detailed study on loss of insect biomass … at central-European scale, if not beyond,” Ssymank said in an email to Mongabay.

Why such a big decline?

As insect populations drop off around the world, the lingering question remains “why?” Evidence suggests that there may be myriad causes: Pesticides used on crops around the world have been linked to the disappearance of bees; global warming seems to be endangering the UK’s garden tiger moth; destruction of prairies for farmland in the U.S. heartland has catapulted tiny skipper butterflies towards extinction.

The PLOS ONE study looked a couple possible drivers to see how much of an impact they could be having on flying insects in Germany: climate change and habitat change. It found that while these two influences are likely affecting the country’s insects, they probably couldn’t be causing such a big decline all by themselves.

Barn swallows (Hirundo rustica) are listed as Endangered in Nova Scotia. Photo by Andreas Trepte, www.photo-natur.net, via Wikimedia Commons (CC 2.5).

While they didn’t analyze it as part of their study, the researchers speculate that “agricultural intensification,” such as increased fertilizer and pesticide usage, could be contributing to the decline. They explain that despite being officially protected, all the areas where they collected insects were surrounded by cropland. They say these protected areas could be serving as “sinks or even as ecological traps” where agricultural runoff could be pooling and poisoning ecosystems.

Scientists have long linked pesticide use to insect decline – a reasonable assumption since that’s their very purpose. But research indicates that pesticides are killing more than target insects. For instance, a 2008 study in the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology demonstrated low but persistent levels of a common neonicotinoid pesticide in aquatic ecosystems can kill off or reduce the growth of water-dwelling invertebrates. A PLOS ONE study published in 2013 showed the presence of neonicotinoids in Dutch water bodies correlated to big drops in aquatic insect abundance.

Many flying insects have an aquatic phase. Dragonflies, for example, spend most of their lives underwater – as long as six or seven years for some species – before molting into their iconic flying form for just a few weeks to breed. As they spend time underwater, they are exposed to contaminants that may leach from farm fields or other human developments. If contamination is too high, populations may suffer; some species are so sensitive, that scientists use them as “bioindicators” of the health of water bodies. Dragonfly larvae appear to be particularly sensitive to water pollution.

The presence of neonicotinoids in water systems appears to be increasing. Another study in PLOS ONE published in 2014 found neonicotinoid pesticides were widespread in Canada’s prairie pothole wetlands, where neonicotinoid-treated crops are commonly grown. The researchers even found pesticide presence in wetland areas far from crop fields, “suggesting its susceptibility to transport and potential to affect those wetlands that are isolated from agricultural production,” the study reads.

Neonicotinoids are also suspected of killing terrestrial and arboreal insects, and are perhaps most infamously linked to declines in bee populations. They comprise one of the most commonly used pesticide classes in the world, with about 95 percent of U.S. corn and canola crops treated with neonicotinoids in 2009. The European Commission is reportedly considering an all-out ban of neonicotinoid pesticides in all EU member states.

The authors of the German study published last week did not directly survey their study sites for the presence of neonicotinoids or other pesticides, but say it is critical to uncover the causes responsible for the decline.

“Whatever the causal factors responsible for the decline, they have a far more devastating effect on total insect biomass than has been appreciated previously,” the authors write.

Ssymank further underlines that the 76 percent reduction in flying insects pertains to protected areas, and warns that the numbers in Germany’s agricultural areas “may be much worse.”

Not just insects

The drop-off in Germany’s insect abundance isn’t just concerning to entomologists. Flying insects are important for other wildlife and ecological processes: they are a critical food source for many bird species, and countless plants depend on them for pollination. These effects also translate to benefits for humanity, with the total economic value of pollination estimated to be around $177 billion in 2009. As bees decline, farmers report it’s getting harder for them to grow crops that depend on bees for pollination.

Scientists think bird populations may already be declining in response to reductions in insects. A recent study of government data by German environmental organization Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) estimates that more than 25 million birds disappeared from Germany over the past 12 years. That’s about 15 percent of the country’s total bird population.

Drastic bird reduction in bird populations in Germany, 1998 and 2009. Graphic: NABU

Source: Desdemona Despair

The authors of the NABU study say that a direct relationship between Germany’s insect and bird declines is very likely. The study also found the bird drop-off correlated to shifts in agricultural land use from pasture and fallow land to more intensively managed corn and rapeseed crops.

Bird disappearances aren’t limited to Germany. On the other side of the Atlantic in North America, barn swallows have declined around 95 percent in the past 40 years. Other swallow species also seem to be dropping off. Since swallows are heavily dependent on flying insects (they catch their food on the wing), scientists think insect decline may be to blame here, too.

Researchers admit there is a gap when it comes to thorough surveys of insect abundance and trends, and say the most recent German insect study represents one of the first attempts to address this.

“There is a huge paucity of data on historical patterns of insect populations and work on ecological phenomena that depend upon insects has long suffered due to this gap in our knowledge,” Joe Nocera, a population ecologist at the University of New Brunswick in Canada, told The Scientist. “And here, with this paper, is one major first step in correcting this.”

Axel Ssymank said the German government is also funding a research project looking at insect biomass and possible reasons behind its decline. Administered under the EU’s Habitats Directive, the project’s results are expected to be released at the end of next year.

“As habitats covered by EU regulations for nature conservation [also] show this decline, we are concerned a lot about losing quality and characteristic species, as well as consequences and effects on other ecosystem components,” Ssymank told Mongabay.

The researchers behind last week’s PLOS ONE study are also digging deeper into Germany’s insect decline, telling The Scientist they are currently working on an analysis of what consequences a 76 percent decline in Germany’s flying insects may mean for ecosystem functioning and insect-dependent wildlife.

“There is an urgent need to uncover the causes of this decline, its geographical extent, and to understand the ramifications of the decline for ecosystems and ecosystem services,” they write in their study.

Source

Hallmann, C. A., Sorg, M., Jongejans, E., Siepel, H., Hofland, N., Schwan, H., … & Goulson, D. (2017). More than 75 percent decline over 27 years in total flying insect biomass in protected areas. PloS one12(10), e0185809.

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