Last November, He Jiankui, a Chinese biology professor at Southern University of Science and Technology (SUST) in Shenzhen (Guangdong Province) announced that he and his team had created the World’s first “genetically edited babies”: twin babies Lula and Nana.

Dr. He Jiankui, used the CRISPR technology “to alter the embryos of seven couples [allegedly] to make them resistant to HIV”.  He Jiankui made his announcement at the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing held at the University of Hong Kong.  

Dr. He claims to have used CRISP “to tweak the DNA of human embryos during in vitro fertilization”. 

The broad implications of this experiment are far-reaching. The genetic editing of human life forms including embryos has a bearing on the future of humanity.

It opens up the pandora’s box of genetic engineering applied to human beings.

It undermines the “reproduction of real life”. Potentially, it destroys humanity.

Screenshot Source Nature News Carl Zimmer, Click image to enlarge

The experiment raises important scientific and ethical issues. Human embryos are not commodities.

The Chinese government immediately opened an investigation, Dr He Jiankui was fired by his University in January 2019.

Corporate Interests: Genetic Editing is “Big Business”

Despite government regulations and ethical issues, there are powerful corporate interests involved in the development and patenting of genetic editing of life forms including Dr. He’s findings on “genetically modified babies”.

While Dr. He’s University based lab biology project at SUST has been closed down, he nonetheless remains Chairman and  major stakeholder of the Shenzhen based Direct Genomics Biotechnology, “a genome sequencing” firm, with extensive financial resources.  Direct Genomics received at least US$43 million in funding from both Chinese and international investors:

“… The funding was led by Shenzhen Cosun Venture Capital Investment Management, a venture capital firm owned by Shenzhen-listed Coship Electronics and Chen Libei, an executive of state-backed Fortune Capital. … 

Other investors include Beijing Xiyi Asset Management, which has only one venture capital deal – Direct Genomics – since its inception in 2016 on public record. …

In November 2016, Direct Genomics received an undisclosed amount of funding from three investors – Beijing Tengye Venture Capital, Amer International Group, and Sinotech Genomics, according to tianyancha.com, a Chinese corporate information data provider. (SCMP, November 29, 2018)

We’re talking about “Big Business” involving the potential marketing and sale of genetically modified human and animal life forms. Imagine the potential strategic and military applications, not to mention the emergence of a corporate health service economy for the super-rich, where “perfect babies” can be purchased for a million dollars.

Following the Chinese government investigation, there is no concrete evidence that this corporate genetic editing project has been discontinued. Quite the opposite.

It is worth noting that the intellectual property rights pertaining to the CRISPR -Cas9 gene editing technology used by Dr. He’s team (i.e. editing the DNA of  human and animal life) are not registered in China. The patent belongs to a US based entity:  the Broad Institute, located in Cambridge, Mass. with links to Harvard and MIT.

The Broad Institute is firmly committed to the pursuit of genetic editing of human living cells:

The ability to precisely edit the genome of a living cell holds enormous potential to accelerate life science research, improve biotechnology, and even treat human disease.

While the Broad Institute owns the intellectual technology, CRISPR-Cas9 was invented by a Chinese American scientist Dr. Feng Zhang based at the Broad Institute and MIT.

MIT Prof. Feng Zhang responding to Dr He’s controversial announcement calls for “a moratorium on implantation of edited [human] embryos …until we have come up with a thoughtful set of safety requirements first.”

This statement represents the interests of the Broad Institute. According to Feng Zhang’s colleague Professor David Liu (also on behalf of the Broad Institute):

“[Dr He’s] reported use of CRISPR nuclease to edit CCR5 in human embryos, resulting in live births, … [constitutes] a serious breach of ethics … Foremost, that edited human babies were generated without the full engagement of independent scientific and ethics experts, relevant regulatory institutions, and governing bodies is appalling.” (emphasis added)

These statements are tantamount to “crocodile tears”. Failing effective government regulation (e.g. by the Trump administration), the ethical considerations will eventually be scrapped or bypassed.

“Moratorium” rather than “Abolition” of a potentially dangerous technology is the talking point: “We have a legal moratorium on that here,” said U.S. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb… The potential applications are also relatively dangerous if they get into the hands of people who don’t have good judgment or have ill intent.” (Bloomberg SFGate,  November 27, 2018)

A moratorium on behalf of those who own the CRISPR patent does not foreclose the development and marketing for profit of genetic editing of human embryos. Money is the driving force. The Moratorium will eventually be lifted. Potentially, what is at stake is a multi-billion dollar undertaking.

In all likelihood, there will be a battle for the intellectual property rights pertaining to CRISPR-Cas9 technology, involving both US and Chinese corporate interests.

 While the Broad Institute was granted ownership of the CRISPR-Cas9 patent by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, less than 3 months prior to Dr. He’s announcement in Hong Kong, the ownership of CRISP is actively contested. The University of California at Berkeley is also involved in the fight for patent ownership against the Cambridge based Broad Institute. (Wired, September 11, 2018).

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Canada and the Propaganda War on Venezuela

April 27th, 2019 by Michael Welch

“I have ground zero information on everything that happens there. And trust me, what the Canadian public, and the American public and the international community are watching is a huge Hollywood show.”

– Venezuelan in Canada, from an interview with Eva Bartlett

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Click to download the audio (MP3 format) 

The US and Canada have long sought regime change in Venezuela.

In order to enable this agenda, the political leadership of the two countries have been drowning their populations with propaganda. According to the standard account, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has undemocratically ceased power, and is oppressing his own people. President Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez are singularly to blame for a devastating economic situation forcing millions to flee the once prosperous South American nation. [1]

Mainstream media, pundits, and popular television comedy show hosts like John Oliver are only too happy to uncritically echo these interpretations of the plight of the Venezuelan people. More to the point, they appear to be presenting as fact an embellishment of the difficulties facing ordinary and poor Venezuelans.

Among standard talking points: people across the nation are taking to the streets to oppose Maduro’s rule, leading to violent reprisals by the government and crackdowns on dissident media. Maduro’s mismanagement of the economy has led to empty grocery store shelves. President Maduro, back in February, authorized the destruction of aid entering the country from neighbouring Columbia. Maduro’s presidency is illegitimate and the opposition National Assembly’s recognition of Juan Guaidó as interim President is constitutionally valid.

Audiences in the U.S. and Canada are led to believe the people of Venezuela overwhelmingly oppose Maduro’s ‘grip’ on power, but are helpless to challenge his ‘authoritarian’ rule.

As with ‘humanitarian wars’ Western nations have sanctioned over the last two decades, even liberal critics of their nations’ interventionist policies feel the need to express their position with a disclaimer of sorts along the lines of ‘He may be a bad guy, but…’

Aggressive foreign policy toward Venezuela or any other country requires at least tacit support from domestic populations in nominally democratic countries like Canada, hence the need by Western leaders to control the foreign policy narrative. This is why it is necessary for the broader public to ascertain the actual facts on the ground, and confront the assertions providing a pretext for foreign interference, particularly military intervention, in another country’s internal affairs.

This week, the Global Research News Hour takes on conventional messaging on the Venezuela situation with three provocative interview guests.

In the first half hour, frequent guest Yves Engler joins us to share some insights into Canada’s actual interests in Venezuela as well as provide background on a specific Canadian think tank, known as the Canadian International Council, which is acting to shape Canadian policy in an imperialistic direction. Excerpts of a recent talk by former Canadian Ambassador to Venezuela, Ben Rowswell are incorporated into this discussion.

In the second half hour, two Canadian journalists, Eva Bartlett and Dimitri Lascaris, talk about what they saw and experienced in Venezuela during their recent visits to the country. They also help us make sense of social and mainstream media distortion of the realities on the ground.

Yves Engler is one of Canada’s foremost Canadian foreign policy critics and dissidents. He is the author of nine books on Canadian foreign policy including The Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy (2009), and his most recent, Left, Right: Marching to the Beat of Imperial Canada. His articles have appeared at rabble.ca, canadiandimension.com, and on his own site yvesengler.com.

Dimitri Lascaris is a lawyer, activist, and journalist. A former partner with Siskinds LLP, Lascaris was once named one of Canada’s most influential lawyers by Canadian Lawyer Magazine. He is currently a correspondent and Board member of The Real News Network and the Chair of the Board of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East.

Eva Bartlett is a Canadian independent journalist and activist. She has spent years on the ground covering conflict zones in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Palestine. She is a recipient of the International Journalism Award for International Reporting. Eva recently returned from a visit to Venezuela. She will be speaking in Hamilton on Monday April 29th.

(Global Research News Hour Episode 257)

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. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-363198772.html

The following research article is an attempt to analyze the reasons behind the increasing drift of right-wing politics in Israeli parliamentary elections in the last two decades. It also evaluates the impact of national insecurity and scaremongering on the political behavior of Israeli Jewish voters. Finally, the article explores the possibility of the demise of rightwing predominance in Israeli parliamentary elections.

New Parties, Splits, and Mergers

It has been observed by political analysts that prior to Israel’s parliamentary elections, a number of election developments erupt, such as the formation of new and small parties, including parties formed by ex-military generals, and splits in some of the large parties. This process will be followed by the merger of small parties in order to produce larger election lists and blocs.

The helpful factor that makes these developments possible is the existence of a number of common denominators among Israeli political parties. With the exception of the Israeli Communist Party and the Arab political parties in Israel, Israeli ‘Jewish’ parties share a number of  common denominators such as the Zionist ideology, the drift for right wing politics, the rejection of the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state, the denial of Arab issues in their political agendas, the support for the establishment of colonial settlements on Palestinian indigenous lands, and objection to vacate existing colonial settlements. All these denominators create loose boundaries among Zionist parties and allow Israeli politicians to cross them.

No Palestinian Partner

It was the Zionist Left[1] that espoused, in 1996, the political solution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Prime Minister Yitshaq Rabin proposed the “Oslo Agreement” as a negotiated solution with the PLO that was led by Yasser Arataf’s and dominated by Fateh right-wing faction.

Palestinian-Israeli negotiations did not go well due to Israel’s insistence to expand colonial settlements inside the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. After the failure of the Camp David negotiations between Ehud Bark and Yasser Arafat in 2000, Barak who desired to offer an imposed and therefore, unacceptable conditions on Arafat, concluded that there is “no Palestinian partner” to negotiate with.

Soon after, the situation deteriorated and the Palestinians responded with violent operations that targeted Israeli civilians. The Israeli right, led by the Likud, blamed the Zionist Left for the deteriorating situation and manipulated the insecurity of the Israeli electorate who in turn chose in 2001 the hawkish right-wing general Eric Sharon as their “protector”. This right-wing campaign was certainly assisted by the “no Palestinian partner” slogan that was propagated by the Zionist Left.

Threats and National Insecurity

To begin with, the impact of psychological perceptions in societies creates dynamic political pressures of their own that are bound to affect the political behavior of electorates. This development became clear within the Israeli Jewish society during the period that extended from the First Intifada in the 1987 to the last Israeli parliamentary election in 2019.

Any threat, real or imaginary, posed by the ongoing resistance of the indigenous Palestinian population, is bound to be perceived by the Israeli settlers, as harmful and causing panic and insecurity to their national well-being. Therefore, such a threat must be neutralized by the use of military force. The frightened Israeli public is inclined to seek help for this task from Israeli hawkish leaders who claim to have a suitable solution.

Consequently, these hawkish leaders, who usually are right-wing Zionist ultra nationalists, do sense the fears and the insecurity of the public. They capitalize on them in their political narratives and successfully manipulate them in their election propaganda, so as to increase their supporters and voters.

Ultimately, the insecurity of the settlers will be articulated politically by a movement to more right-wing positions. The hardening of settler’s nationalist positions will drive them to support right-wing politicians, who are recently more hawkish and racist. The more the Israeli Jewish public feels insecure, the more they express right-wing positions.

Scaremongering in political speeches

The election propaganda of the present Israeli parties was based on the employment of security fears by the majority of Israeli parties.[2] For example, Likud leader Benyamin Netanyahu, who is  entangled in three corruption scandals that could lead to his indictment, concentrated his election propaganda campaign on a number of basic factors such as fear of Israeli citizens from the: “Irani danger”, Hizballah rockets, and the rockets of Palestinian resistance. During the last few years, Netanyahu repeated in his speeches and interviews “information” about the horror that could emanate from Iran claiming that “Iran is attempting to secure a nuclear bomb and intends to use it to annihilate the Jewish people of Israel.”[3]

Moreover, Netanyahu concentrated in his election propaganda on his right-wing political and ideological positions, using his charisma as a media tool. His Likud party decided that during the previous and recent election campaigns, it did not need to publish a political, social and economic agenda. His “I believe” was a sufficient agenda for the electorate.

The rest of the right-wing politicians and ideologues use the socio-psychological impact of this panic to back up their political positions and to increase their supporters during election campaigns. They succeeded in employing the “… scaremongering security agendas to curry favor with the Israeli public…”[4]

An attempted explanation for expansion of right-wing electorate

In her analysis of the right-wing drift upward of Israeli electorate, Dahlia Scheindlin wrote that:

“… Seismic shifts during the Second Intifada led to a migration of left-wingers to the self-defined political center. They added to that camp but also replaced some centrists who migrated right, causing the percentage of Jewish right-wingers to drift upward over the decade…”[5]

She added that as a result:

 “… the portion of all Israelis who call themselves right wing stands at around 46 percent — among the Jewish population,” while the “… number of self-defined centrists is roughly one-quarter, and the portion of left-wingers is stable at about one-fifth.”[6]

Moreover, when it comes to Israeli youth, the percentage of those identifying themselves as right wing, is much higher. In their analysis of why the Israeli electorate is right wing, both Laura Adkins and Ben Sales wrote that:

“According to the 2018 Israeli Democracy Index (an annual study by the Israeli Democracy Institute, a nonpartisan Israeli think tank), approximately 64 percent of Israeli Jews aged 18-34 identify as right wing, compared to 47 percent of those 35 and older…”[7]

These potential young Israeli voters create a suitable hotbed for Israeli right-wing parties. With the help of an acquiescent Israeli media, they get constantly bombarded by right wing Israeli politicians who openly voice out racist, segregationist, anti-democratic, and pro-ethnic cleansing declarations.

Deterioration of Political Speech

In addition to the panic speech, the Israeli right wing parties employed racist positions in their propaganda. They used outright racist incitement against Arab Palestinian citizens, the indigenous Palestinians of the colonized territories and against foreign workers and African asylum seekers.

In their “Israeli Election Guide 2019”, the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) published a collection of these declarations. The following are few examples of declarations by high-ranking government officials of the Likud-led coalition government.[8]

  • Miri Regev, Minister of Culture and Sports, is known for fueling racism and violence against Palestinians and other non-Jews. In 2012, she helped incite a wave of anti-African violence, including assaults and arson attacks, targeting people from countries like Sudan and Eritrea, telling an angry mob that asylum seekers “are a cancer in our body.” The same year, she told an interviewer, “I’m happy to be a fascist”;
  • Ayelet Shaked, a New Right co-leader and outgoing Minister of Justice produced an ad showing her spraying on perfume called “fascism”;
  • Oren Hazan, former Likud Knesset member, released an ad depicting himself shooting and killing a leader of a political party that represents Palestinian citizens of Israel;
  • Eli Ben-Dahan, Deputy Minister of Defense. In 2013, then-Deputy Minister for Religious Affairs Ben-Dahan declared, “[Palestinians] are beasts, they are not human”;
  • Bezalel Smotrich, a notorious racist and extremist, Jewish Home member. Smotrich lives in an illegal settlement on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank. He supports a shoot to kill policy for Palestinians, including children, who throw stones at their Israeli occupiers. In 2015, he claimed that the arson attack by Jewish extremists that killed three members of the Dawabsha family, including an 18-month-old baby, was not an act of terrorism;
  • Avigdor Lieberman: Former Minister of Defence is an immigrant and former nightclub bouncer from Moldova in the former Soviet Union.  Currently, he lives in one of the colonial settlements in the West Bank. In 1999, Lieberman founded his party Yisrael Beiteinu which is a secular, ultranationalist right-wing party. It espouses hardline, racist policies towards Palestinian citizens of Israel. In March 2015, Lieberman called for Palestinian citizens of Israel who do not support the Jewish character of the state and its policies to be beheaded, declaring: “Those who are with us deserve everything, but those who are against us deserve to have their heads chopped off with an axe”.

General Benny Gantz, used three videos for his election campaign. His first video shows the General “…bragging about how much killing and destruction he committed in Gaza…” The video displays on screen that during his military service General Benny Gantz destroyed “6,231 targets” and killed “1,364 terrorists”. The video’s title included the words “Parts of Gaza were returned to the stone ages.” While the second video “… displays a kill-counter on screen racking up bodies until the number 1,364 is reached. In the background Palestinians are seen conducting funerals”.[9]

Israeli activist and author Miko Peled, who is living in Britain, commented on Gantz’s new ads by saying that it would be “hard to imagine a more violent neo-fascist campaign than this one, by the new kid in Israel’s elections, war criminal general Benny Gantz.”[10]

In her analysis of the degree of racist hatred by Israeli political candidates, Elizabeth Tsurkov wrote in Forward, a progressive Jewish magazine, that “a disturbing new trend has emerged in the political ads of the Israeli elections. Campaign ads seem to be competing over which candidate has killed the most Palestinians.”[11]

When a number of Israeli right wing politicians adopt in their election advertisement: incitement for racism and violence, dehumanization of Palestinians and Africans, glorification for murder of Palestinians, segregationist positions, and fascistic tendencies, they are bound to provide a certain legitimacy for this inevitable hawkish world view. At the same time their speech of hatred will actually convert brutality into an accepted and legitimate ideology.

Ultimately, the impact of this rotten political speech will be detrimental for Israeli youth because it will create for them a right-wing frame of mind and will encourage the development of a right wing culture based on intolerance for others and the glorification of killing and destruction. This in turn will help in bringing more voters for the right-wing parties.

Conducive Political Environment

After years of incitement by Israeli right wing politicians, Israeli society became a conducive political environment provided by the dominant ideology of settler colonialism which is known as Political Zionism. This right-wing ideology becomes more extreme whence fear dominates the consciousness of the average Israeli Jewish citizen who feels the weakness of the Zionist state as a result of defeat in two consecutive wars in Lebanon (the 2000 and 2006 wars) and due to challenges that could come from Syria, Lebanon and Iran and as a result of the present internal challenges that could come from Palestinian resistance. The panic stricken Jewish voters will finally seek tough rightwing protectors as a solution for their psychological dire need.

The Employment of Racism in Election Campaign

The coalition right wing parties succeeded in legislating numerous racist laws in the Israeli parliament. According to the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU), an Israeli think tank,

There are more than 50 laws that discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel. directly or indirectly, based solely on their ethnicity, rendering them second or third class citizens in their own homeland.”[12] Moreover, “In recent years, the right has made it all too easy to brand its entire camp as racist, nationalist, populist and fascist…”[13]

Therefore, it could be ascertained that the present Israeli coalition government is the most extreme right-wing government in Israel’s history.

As a result, the measure of Israeli patriotism became a combination of three factors: the level of racist hatred towards the indigenous Palestinian population, the level of brutality of the Zionist leaders and the total destruction caused to Palestinian property and cities.

The state of racist hatred, scaremongering campaign and level of brutal violence are all reflective symptoms of the settler colonial nature of the Israeli Zionist state.

The Replacement of Vital Issues

It is noticeable that most election agendas of Israeli political parties dealt with political and security-related issues, but ignored to tackle the vital issues of Israeli society such as: health, education, housing, economy, standard of living, and unemployment. The political narrative, especially the election propaganda, focused on scaremongering, racist hatred, security-related issues, and colonial violence. These issues usually create psychological pressures on the collective consciousness of the Israeli citizen. It pushes the citizens to solidify and get along with these issues. Zionist leaders have succeeded in making them appear as components of the Israeli national consensus.

According to a survey conducted by Israeli Television Chanel 13, it appeared that the election propaganda of most Israeli parties concentrated on the following issues: 28 percent on personal issues of the contenders, 16 percent on security issues and 10 percent on issues smearing the other contender. The survey added that 50 percent of election propaganda dealt with non-sense. While the issue of health, education, economy, and housing did not take any attention.[14]

These pressuring psychological impact aim at driving the consciousness of the Israeli citizen away from the real, vital and burning issues that affect their way of living. Currently, the Israeli citizen suffers from: deteriorating health services, especially at government hospitals, costly education and housing services, financial and institutional corruption, and an increasing level of social violence.

Those Israelis who have adopted the rightwing frame of mind are in solidarity with their parties. They are ready to identify with the ideology of their leaders to the point where they are willing to ignore their financial corruption, provided that they feel protected and secure. For example, Netanyahu has been accused by the Attorney General on three cases of corruption, but went on in his election campaign. He has not been charged yet but will be put to trial after he manages to establish a new coalition government. Apparently, the accusation of corruption did not harm his image nor reputation as a tough and hawkish right-wing leader.

External Support and Rising Criticism

In addition to local internal support by a significant portion of Israeli pro-rightwing voters, Israeli rightwing governments have enjoyed the support of most of the European governments, the American administration, especially that of the rightwing Donald Trump, and the support of a number of reactionary Arab regimes such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman.

Israeli rightwing governments have received huge military and economic assistance from Western countries, especially the various American administrations. Outright political support was provided to Israeli rightwing governments, especially at the United Nations. This questionable assistance was given even when Israeli rightwing governments blatantly violated both international law and human rights. Israeli violations were, mostly, not condemned but encouraged. War crimes were and still being committed by the Israeli army and by Zionist settlers against the indigenous Palestinian civilians, yet, no Israeli war criminal was brought to justice at the International Court of Justice.

Moreover, Israeli rightwing governments have been supported for years by the dominant Western media, capitalist think tanks, a significant part of Western academics and intellectuals, and a great portion of world public opinion. In turn, Israeli policies towards the indigenous Palestinian people have been defended as necessary acts of “defense” in face of Arab “terrorism”.

The totality of this varied support for the policies of Israeli rightwing governments provided Israel with a protective shield and sanctioned its internal and external policies that violate international law and contravene human rights. It also prevented the United Nations and the International Court of Justice from making Israel become accountable for its war crimes.

However, Israel is a settler colonialist entity that was created both by British imperialism and Political Zionism inside Palestine, which was populated by the indigenous Palestinian Arabs. In his evaluation of the impact of the colonization process on Israeli society Bashir Abu-Manneh, wrote that:

Israeli society is not merely a society of immigrants; it is one of settlers. This society, including its working class, was shaped through a process of colonization…. The permanent conflict between settlers’ society and the indigenous, displaced Palestinian Arabs has never stopped and it has shaped the very structure of Israeli sociology, politics, and economics.[15]

Justification of Zionist crimes and harsh policies towards the indigenous Palestinians needed a reasoning, an ideological tool, an enemy and scaremongering. The creation of an enemy for Zionist Israel has been a strategic asset of both rightwing and leftwing Zionism. This asset has been elaborated by both Bill and Kathleen Christison, who wrote a research article, in which they put the following reasoning for both the creation and employment of the ‘enemy’ in Zionist political speech.

Indeed, the most pernicious aspect of a political philosophy like Zionism that masquerades as democratic is that it requires an enemy in order to survive and, where an enemy does not already exist, it requires that one be created. In order to justify racist repression and dispossession, particularly in a system purporting to be democratic, those being repressed and displaced must be portrayed as murderous and predatory. And in order to keep its own population in line, to prevent a humane people from objecting to their own government’s repressive policies, it requires that fear be instilled in the population: fear of “the other,” fear of the terrorist, fear of the Jew-hater. The Jews of Israel must always be made to believe that they are the preyed-upon. This justifies having forced these enemies to leave, it justifies discriminating against those who remained, it justifies denying democratic rights to those who later came under Israel’s control in the occupied territories.[16]

Due to the fact that Israel is a product of ongoing settler colonialism, a process of rightwing political socialization is still thriving and crystallizing among the Jewish settler society. This process was affected by US-Israeli relationship, which in turn was  consolidated since 1967. Bashir Abu-Manneh reflected on that relationship by writing the following description.

… The United States has been determining major economic and political outcomes in the Middle East since at least 1967, with Israel continuing to play a crucial role in their realization. In Israel-Palestine, this has meant that force and colonial peace have alternated as main instruments of policy, with the main objective being a constant: Jewish supremacy in Palestine—as much land as possible, as few Palestinians as possible. The United States has exploited this Zionist imperative for its own interests in the region, and has fostered a militarized and fundamentalist Israel in the process. This reality can be gauged in Israel’s most recent parliamentary elections…[17]

James Petras described Jewish solidarity with Israel, among the educated strata, as in fact, being a choice to “…embrace an ‘ethno-religious’ Supremacist dogma, which binds them to an apartheid, militarist state and ideology ready to drag the world into a global war.”[18]

However, a new phenomenon is on the rise among Diaspora Jewry. Young Jews are increasingly becoming critical of and disenchanted with Israeli policies. The increasing weight of this phenomenon and the accumulated world public pressure, are bound to affect Israeli policies towards the indigenous Palestinians. According to the evaluation of James Petras,

Jews, especially young Jews, are increasingly repelled by Israel’s crimes against humanity. The next step for them (and for us) is to criticize, demystify and stand up to the toxic supremacist ideology linking the powerful domestic Zionist power configuration and its political clones with Israel.[19]

All settler colonial societies exhibit rightwing tendencies because of espousing ultra nationalist ideologies. During the conflict with the indigenous population, colonial settlers develop a racist frame of mind and a narrow minded world view. The more inhuman crimes the settlers perpetuate, the more extreme rightwing positions they adopt.

In conclusion, the Zionist political rightwing is on the rise among Israeli Jewish electorate. It has created an apartheid state that is heading towards a stage of becoming a rogue state. It will soon become a pariah state living on the sword and committing detestable crimes and policies. So far such objectionable status is tolerated by a portion of world public opinion. However, sooner or later, it will become harder for Israeli supporters and allies to continue to support a state that is increasingly sinking in racism, ultra-nationalism, colonial violence, expansion of colonial settlement, colonial segregation, intolerance, inhuman policies and rightwing narrow mindedness.

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Dr. Zuhair Sabbagh  teaches sociology at Birzeit University in the colonized West Bank. He is a resident of Nazareth, Israel. He holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Manchester and is author of a number of books and research articles.

Notes

[1] The Israeli Labor Party, along with the Meretz Party (ZS)

[2] I have attentively watched all the party propaganda advertisements that were televised by Israeli Chanel 13, two weeks prior to the Israeli election that took place on April 9th, 2019 (ZS).

[3] This theme has been repeated a number of times prior and during election propaganda. It could be ascertained from news bulletins and other electronically documented information (ZS).

[4] Trew , Bel  , “Racism against Arab Israelis will reach unprecedented levels by Israel’s April elections – and the world won’t care”, https://www.independent.co.uk, 3 February 2019.

[5] Scheindlin, Dahlia, “The right keeps winning in Israel because Israelis are right wing”, https://972mag.com, November 19, 2018.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Adkins, Laura and Sales, Ben, “The kids are all right-wing: Why Israel’s younger voters are more conservative”, https://www.timesofisrael.com, 11 April 2019.

[8] IMEU, “Discrimination Against Palestinian Citizens of Israel”, https://imeu.org, September 28, 2011.

[9] Abunimah, Ali,  “Israeli election ad boasts Gaza bombed back to “stone ages”, https://electronicintifada.net, 21 January 2019

[10] Ibid.

[11] Tsurkov,  Elizabeth, “How Did Israeli Elections Get So Racist?”, https://forward.com, January 30, 2019

[12] IMEU, “Discrimination Against Palestinian Citizens of Israel”, https://imeu.org, September 28, 2011.

[13] Scheindlin, Dahlia, “What will it take for Israel’s right-wing voters to say enough?”, https://972mag.com, March 1, 2019.

[14] Survey conducted by Israeli television, Chanel 13. It was broadcasted in the news bulletin, on April 5, 2019

[15] Abu-Manneh, Bashir, “Israel in the U.S. Empire”, https://monthlyreview.org, Mar 01, 2007

[16] Christison, Bill and Kathleen, “Zionism as Racist Ideology”, https://www.counterpunch.org, November 5, 2003.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Petras, James, “The Doctrine of ‘Superior People’: The Bond between Israel and World Zionism”, https://www.globalresearch.ca, September 05, 2015

[19] Ibid.

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The Trump administration announced today that it will waive dozens of environmental laws to speed construction of 18- to 30-foot-tall border walls across 80 miles of borderlands in Arizona and New Mexico. The bollard-style barriers will block the natural migrations of wildlife, damage ecosystems and harm border communities.

The three waivers sweep aside dozens of laws that protect clean air, clean water, public lands and endangered wildlife. They cover plans to build 46 miles of new wall in New Mexico, 6.5 miles of new wall along the Colorado River south of Yuma, and 27.5 miles of replacement wall southeast of Yuma. These are the first wall-construction projects using military funds authorized by Trump’s emergency declaration.

“It’s bad enough that Trump’s bulldozing the borderlands for a senseless wall, but now he’s stealing money from the military to do it,” said Laiken Jordahl, borderlands campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The only thing permanent about Trump’s wall will be its destruction of wildlife and wild places. It will do nothing to stop asylum seekers or drug smugglers. Waiving these laws is an affront to borderland communities, and we’ll continue to challenge it in court.”

The waivers, which will take effect Wednesday, bring the number of waivers issued by the Trump administration under the REAL ID Act to nine.

The New Mexico wall will cut through the remote Chihuahuan Desert and sever a known migratory corridor for Mexican gray wolves, among the rarest mammals on the continent. The New Mexico area is also home to the endangered Aplomado falcon, as well as kit foxes, bighorn sheep and ringtails.

The Yuma wall will block people and wildlife from accessing the Lower Colorado River. It will also harm habitat for endangered birds including yellow-billed cuckoos, southwestern willow flycatchers and Yuma clapper rails.

Border wall waivers

Map of border wall waivers by Kara Clauser, Center for Biological Diversity.

The waivers are being issued during open comment periods where the public is invited to weigh in with concerns. Comments remain open until May 8. Construction contracts already have been issued for these projects.

The Center and allies have sued to challenge Trump’s emergency declaration to fund border walls. The Center also has sued the administration to challenge border-wall construction in the Rio Grande Valley and near the Santa Teresa Port of Entry in New Mexico. The Center’s first border-related lawsuit ― filed in 2017 in U.S. District Court in Tucson with U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva ― seeks to require the Trump administration to do a detailed analysis of the environmental impacts of its border-enforcement program. All of these suits are pending.

A 2017 study by the Center identified more than 90 endangered or threatened species that would be threatened by wall construction along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border.

Beyond jeopardizing wildlife, endangered species and public lands, the U.S.-Mexico border wall is part of a larger strategy of ongoing border militarization that damages human rights, civil liberties, native lands, local businesses and international relations. The border wall impedes the natural migrations of people and wildlife that are essential to healthy diversity.

The waivers cast aside these laws:

  1. The National Environmental Policy Act
  2. The Endangered Species Act
  3. The Federal Water Pollution Control Act
  4. The National Historic Preservation Act
  5. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act
  6. The Migratory Bird Conservation Act
  7. The Clean Air Act
  8. The Archeological Resources Protection Act
  9. The Paleontological Resources Preservation Act
  10. The Federal Cave Resources Protection Act of 1988
  11. The National Trails System Act
  12. The Safe Drinking Water Act
  13. The Noise Control Act
  14. The Solid Waste Disposal Act
  15. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
  16. The Archaeological and Historic Preservation Act
  17. The Antiquities Act
  18. The Historic Sites, Buildings, and Antiquities Act
  19. The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act
  20. The Farmland Protection Policy Act
  21. The Federal Land Policy and Management Act
  22. The National Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956
  23. The Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act
  24. The Wild Horse and Burro Act
  25. The Administrative Procedure Act
  26. The Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899
  27. The Eagle Protection Act
  28. The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act
  29. The American Indian Religious Freedom Act
  30. The Military Lands Withdrawal Act of 1999
  31. The Sikes Act
  32. The Reclamation Project Act of 1939

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I think that I have something of a head-start over others, including many Americans, so far as the Democratic presidential aspirant Pete Buttigieg is concerned. As one who takes note of a wide range of figures on what is termed the ‘alternative media’, I am quite familiar with the philosophy and the views of E. Michael Jones, a Catholic conservative, who is a long-term resident of South Bend Indiana, which is Buttigeig’s hometown.

Jones has been absolutely scathing about Buttigieg’s persona, as well as his record as mayor. And even if one removes the fact that Buttigieg’s homosexuality is a central reason for Jones’ hostility, there is a coalescence of analysis between the right-wing Jones and the left-wing humourist Jimmy Dore, who is an astute commentator on America’s domestic politics as well as on geopolitical issues.

To Dore, Buttigieg’s image of a down-to-earth, sleeves-rolled-up operator is one sign of a guy who is “trying too hard”. In fact, noted Dore in a recent episode of his youtube show, “he’s trying too hard to make it look like he’s not trying.” But while Dore’s analysis is based on what he can garner from Buttigieg’s performance in the media now that he is in the national spotlight, Jones has over the last few years incessantly spoken in detail about Buttegieg’s record as mayor, during which time he has succeeded in alienating large sections of the population of South Bend.

Buttigieg’s formula of “practical leadership guided by progressive values” has been subjected to devastating criticism by those familiar with his 9-year mayoral record in South Bend.

One example relates to Buttigieg’s decision to phase out the city’s trash collecting regime for cost-cutting purposes. Previously, a two-man team would drive down residential alleys to retrieve refuse bins, but the new design trucks cannot fit through most alleys which means that residents have to put out their garbage in the front of their homes, a situation which has led to bouts of odour infestation and a ‘rough’ looking appearance on collection days. Buttigieg’s decision was not a practical one, given the lack of diligence in researching the replacement trucks. And although more modern in appearance and facility, the laying off of many refuse collectors -many of whom were from minority backgrounds- added to the city’s unemployment figures.

Buttigieg’s decision to sack South Bend’s popular black police chief Darryl Boykins, is also viewed as a disastrous move. It was a move which he has admitted was his “first serious mistake as mayor”. His claims to have been “troubled” by Barack Obama’s clemency for Chelsea (nee Bradley) Manning, who exposed US war crimes, as well as his praise of Israeli security measures as being “moving” and “clear-eyed”, despite the fact that he was on a visit to the country last May when Israeli Defence Force snipers were shooting unarmed Palestinian protesters, do little to convince observers that he can genuinely be called a progressive. Indeed, there is little of the vocabulary or deeds associated with progressive politics in Buttigieg such as relates to social justice and employee rights.

Buttigeig has also been called out for his tendency to narcissism. A measure of his self-obsessed persona can be garnered from the fact that his book Shortest Way Home devoted more words to his recollection of his playing piano on “Rhapsody in Blue” with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra than on the issue of social poverty.

The marketing of American political aspirants has become more sophisticated from the time when strategizing his son John’s campaign for the White House, Joe Kennedy Snr. said “we’re going to sell Jack like soap flakes”. Becoming president not only involves utilising the modern innovations of Madison Avenue, it also entails brokering deals with the establishment who have ensured that whoever is elected as the latest saviour of the nation is nonetheless a captive of their overarching policies. No objective observer, for instance, can fail to note the fundamental continuum by Donald Trump of a foreign policy followed by Barack Obama who carried on from where George W. Bush left off.

To get straight to the point: ‘Mayor Pete’ is a creature of the oligarchs; a so-called ‘progressive’ who is really a hardline conservative on many issues. A man who is being moulded and sold to America by a number of the people who were behind the meteoric rise of a certain senator named Barack Obama.

It will be useful to bear this in mind were Pete Buttigieg to defy the odds by becoming president of the United States.

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Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

President Putin left nothing to doubt when he proudly proclaimed that Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union regional integration organization that it leads are strategically merging with China and its Belt & Road Initiative, with this process having unprecedentedly far-reaching strategic consequences for the supercontinent and 21st-century geopolitics as a whole.

This year’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) Forum is a monumental event bringing together several dozen heads of state and providing a platform for the international community to better understand this world-changing vision. President Putin gave an important speech during this event that can be summarized as his proud proclamation that Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAU) regional integration organization that it leads are strategically merging with China and its BRI. There’s no doubt that this process will have unprecedentedly far-reaching strategic consequences for the supercontinent and 21st-century geopolitics as a whole, which is why his entire address deserves to be analyzed in full. What therefore follows is the transcript of his speech interspersed with brief interpretations of the text in order to help the reader appreciate just how significant of an event this was and what his words might mean for the future of Russian grand strategy:

Passage:

“President Xi Jinping, Ladies and gentlemen,

First of all, I would like to thank my good friend President of China Xi Jinping for inviting me to attend the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. I would like to express my appreciation for the opportunity to be here in such a large representative group and to meet with each other, to discuss current issues of global development and principles of cooperation.

I have listened with great interest – as I am sure many other people in this hall have – about the principles and goals of China’s development, that is, how the People’s Republic of China, the world’s largest economy today in terms of purchasing power parity, is planning to develop and build relationships with its partners. This is of fundamental importance both for Russia and, I am sure, for many of our colleagues who have gathered here in Beijing today.”

Interpretation:

When China talks, the world listens.

Passage:

“It is obvious that the implementation of this ambitious project, Belt and Road, promoted by our Chinese colleagues, is aimed at strengthening the constructive cooperation of the Eurasian states. Its truly unifying goal is to ensure harmonious and sustainable economic development and economic growth throughout the Eurasian space.

Russia has emphasised on numerous occasions that PRC President’s Belt and Road initiative rimes with Russia’s idea to establish a Greater Eurasian Partnership, a project designed to ‘integrate integration frameworks’, and therefore to promote a closer alignment of various bilateral and multilateral integration processes that are currently underway in Eurasia.”

Interpretation:

China’s Silk Road vision of Eurasian integration is complementary to Russia’s Greater Eurasian Partnership, with the key concept being that both Great Powers are now ready to “integrate (their) integration frameworks”, which confirms what the Russian Ambassador to China said earlier this month and strongly implies Moscow’s unstated but de-facto participation in BRI’s flagship project of CPEC, too.

Passage:

“Russia is ready to undertake efforts for creating a transparent and enabling environment in order to promote cooperation across Eurasia.

It is important that we come up with effective ways of responding to the risks of a fragmented global political, economic and technological landscape and growing protectionism, with illegitimate unilateral restrictions imposed bypassing the UN Security Council or, even worse, trade wars as its most dangerous expressions.

2019 BRI Forum

It is our firm belief that only by working together can we counter urgent challenges such as decelerating economic growth, the deepening prosperity gap among nations as well as technological backwardness.”

Interpretation:

Only multilateral economic cooperation such as the sort proposed by China’s BRI and Russia’s EAU (to say nothing of these integration projects’ impending merger) can counteract the systemically destabilizing consequences of the US’ “trade war” and the “Trumpist” worldview that inspired it.

Passage:

“Let me repeat what I have said on numerous occasions: these negative trends feed terrorism, extremism and illegal migration flows, causing old regional conflicts to resurface and new ones to emerge.”

Interpretation:

Russian President Putin, Chinese President Xi, and Prime Minister Khan of the global pivot state of Pakistan are all on the same page regarding the fact that the source of many security threats can be traced back to economic problems, hence the interest that the new Multipolar Trilateral has in pursuing the integration of the EAU, BRI, and CPEC.

Passage:

“I strongly believe that Eurasia can become a role model in devising a meaningful and positive agenda for overcoming these and other urgent international problems. Peoples of various cultures, religions and traditions have inhabited the vast Eurasian space for millennia.

Of course, there were wars and conflicts throughout the continent’s history, but sooner or later they subsided, while common sense and the natural aspiration of the people to peace and communication always triumphed at the end of the day.”

Interpretation:

Despite its diversity, Eurasia won’t be the scene of a destabilizing so-called “Clash of Civilizations” that shadowy forces are actively trying to spark, but rather the platform for a Convergence of Civilizations that will stabilize the supercontinent following the integration of the aforementioned integration frameworks (EAU, BRI, CPEC).

Passage:

“Russia is interested in the closest cooperation with all Eurasian partners on the basis of unshakable principles of respect for the sovereignty, rights and legitimate interests of each state. It is on these principles that we are building the Eurasian Economic Union, with our partners – Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Soon, on May 29, the EAEU will have been in existence for five years. Over this period, a common market has been created, and conditions are being created to ensure the free movement of goods, services, capital and labour.

Common markets have been formed, as well as a common digital space.

In his remarks just now, President Xi Jinping spoke about linking his initiatives with similar ones and with other associations that are forming in our vast space. This absolutely fits into our plans. The EAEU states are actively working to strengthen industrial and technological cooperation, to build efficient transport and logistics chains. And we, too, together with our Chinese friends, with all our partners, will talk more during our meetings today and tomorrow, we will continue coordinating this work, work of a global nature.”

Interpretation:

The Russian-led EAU is the core of Moscow’s supercontinental integration strategy, and it perfectly dovetails with China’s BRI.

Passage:

“We also continue pursuing the policy of harmonising our monetary and fiscal policies. At the same time, the Eurasian Economic Union strives for the widest possible cooperation with all interested countries and associations. I am primarily referring to the People’s Republic of China, the country we consider to be our key supporter, our natural partner in the integrated development of the continent.

The five EAEU member states have unanimously supported the idea of pairing the EAEU development and the Chinese Silk Road Economic Belt project. The agreements reached in this regard are being successfully implemented. In the coming months, the Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation between the EAEU and China will enter into force.”

Interpretation:

The EAU will continue harmonizing its economic strategy with China, Russia’s key supporter and natural partner in jointly integrating Eurasia, with more cooperation agreements to be forthcoming.

Passage:

“The Eurasian Union is committed to liberalising economic ties with its other partners as well, and has already signed a free trade agreement with Vietnam and a provisional agreement with Iran paving the way to the creation of a free trade area. The preparation of similar instruments with Singapore and Serbia is nearing completion, and talks are underway with Israel, Egypt and India.

We cooperate actively with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

BRI

We undoubtedly stand for expanding business ties with the European Union, our long-standing and traditional partner, in a constructive and equitable manner. Even if there are currently some differences between us, they cannot and should not cast a shadow on our shared responsibility for the future of Europe and all of Eurasia.”

Interpretation:

Russia’s Greater Eurasian Partnership vision is truly all-encompassing and seeks to spread multipolarity into every corner of the supercontinent, even doing what most observers had hitherto thought to be politically impossible by connecting Iran and its hated “Israeli” foe together through the same multilateral trade framework of the EAU.

Passage:

“Let me emphasise that the Great Eurasian Partnership and Belt and Road concepts are both rooted in the principles and values that everyone understands: the natural aspiration of nations to live in peace and harmony, benefit from free access to the latest scientific achievements and innovative development, while preserving their culture and unique spiritual identity. In other words, we are united by our strategic, long-term interests.

I strongly believe that the comprehensive approach that underpins both concepts will help us further enhance economic cooperation within the continent, develop shared transport and energy infrastructure and promote digital technology. This way, integration will serve the interests of our peoples and all Eurasian nations to the fullest extent.”

Interpretation:

“Win-win” isn’t high-sounding rhetoric exclusive to the Chinese, but is a credible Eurasian-wide vision that can ultimately improve the living standards of the supercontinent’s many people if it’s successfully pursued by all nations in full coordination with one another.

Passage:

“Once again, I would like to thank our partners, our Chinese friends for this initiative. Thank you for your attention.”

Interpretation:

No one should ever forget that while the vision of “win-win” is completely inclusive, it wouldn’t be possible to seriously implement in practice had it not been for China’s BRI, therefore making the People’s Republic the core of this paradigm-changing 21st-century process that’s poised to irreversibly revolutionize global geopolitics.

Read the full speech of President Putin here.

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This article was originally published on Oriental Review.

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.

All images in this article are from Oriental Review

Corporate Joe: Biden Enters the Presidential Race

April 27th, 2019 by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

Values, values and more values.  Another dreary dish added to the smorgasbord of Democratic hopefuls for the White House.  This one is a bit cured and worn, smoked by history.  Biden, having performed the role of Vice President for Barack Obama and senator for Delaware, is making his third attempt to not so much gallop as crawl into the US executive.

That said, there was initial promise, a teaser sent out to media outlets that the venue of his launch on Wednesday would be Charlottesville, Virginia.  Memories of August 2017, with the death of protestor Heather Heyer at the white-supremacist riot, hung heavy. “That’s daring,” thought Joan Walsh at first blush, writing in The Nation.  “Maybe he’s going to run a campaign that’s in step with the new, multiracial, progressive Democratic Party.”  Not so, as Walsh and the rest of the campaign watchers found out.  First came the video launch on Thursday.  Then it was Pittsburgh. Unions; blue-collar focused.

His video was far from impressive.   For one, it did the inexplicable by actually giving a platform for the very individuals he wished to condemn: far right, torch-bearing yahoos which he associated with the vile history of 1930s Europe.  Then he did what many a US politician has done: thrown in good lashings of Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence.  Taking such a moral high ground suggests that he has little intention of winning Trump supporters so much as seducing them; they remain, in Democratic-speak, that thatched “basket of deplorables”. (Biden’s own words referred to President Donald Trump’s “very fine people”.)

Another term of Trump, he warns, “will forever and fundamentally alter the character of the nation.”  This is undue flattery, given that the inexorable decline of the US Republic was well and truly fast-tracked by Biden’s own legislative record across a range of social policies, one that left the ground rich for Trump’s debut.

Then comes the more insidious element to the Biden campaign.  To woo the unions, he will have to tantalise and deceive by enlisting the bidding of corporate America.  He will throw in references to the spirit of D-Day and Iwo Jima while embracing, warmly, the robbing titans on Wall Street.  For Biden, USA Inc. is a political home from which he can speak to distant, blue-collar folk who are less people than electoral units.  In his 2008 campaign, he gave a prototypic example, fed by Washington lobbyists and PACs nourished by the likes of T-Mobile, eBay and Bank of America.

His love affair with credit and its agents is known and, if not, should be run on incessant loop through the advertising campaigns of his opponents.   MBNA, a financial services company with Delaware origins, has been particularly keen to oil the wheels of Biden’s efforts. In 2008, the company had already been supplying largesse to the then Senator for two decades.  Mutual back scratching extended to Biden’s son, Hunter, gaining a position at MBNA and becoming a lobbyist for the company.  But that was not all.

As is a matter of legislative record, Biden threw in his lot with the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005.  He was one of the first Democrats to the plate in supporting it, and added his vote four times through the course of its final passage in March 2005.  The bill made it harder for consumers to file for bankruptcy protection, a measure cheered on by those in the financial services industry concerned that profits were being eaten into.

David Wade, a spokesman for then Senator Barack Obama suggested that the level of enthusiasm shown by the Delaware senator for the bill was constructive, designed to blunt its sharper edges in the name of accommodation.  (Obama, for his part, did oppose the legislative measure.)

“Senator Biden took on entrenched interests and succeeded in improving the bill for low-income workers, women and children.”

But Wade did not stop there, adding a few more fictional baubles to his sale:

“Senator Biden has a 35-year record fighting for people against powerful interests, whether it’s drug companies, oil companies or insurance companies.”

Such obfuscation did not trick The New York Times.  His voting record was more than amenable to those “entrenched” interests he had supposedly battled with avid courage; Biden “joined Republicans to defeat attempts by his Democratic colleagues, including Mr Obama, to soften the bill’s impact on those same constituencies.”  In one instance, Biden, along with five other Democrats, voted against a proposal mandating credit companies to more effectively warn consumers about paying only the minimum due each month.  Protections for those forced into bankruptcy by being deep in medical debt, and even those in the military, were also deemed unnecessary.

The tradition is set to continue.  On Thursday, Biden kept company at a fundraiser in with Comcast Senior Executive Vice President David Cohen and health insurance executive Daniel Hilferty.  Within twenty-four hours, he had netted $6.3 million in contributions, $700,000 of which came from the Philadelphia fundraiser.

His appearance as a contender for the Democratic nomination stirred rival Senator Elizabeth Warren to tell those attending an event in Iowa that, “Joe Biden was on the side of the credit card companies.”  Her 2014 autobiography broadened that claim.  Split in the Senate, “Democratic powerhouse Joe Biden” and a few other Democrats were keen to back the bill.  “Never mind that the country was sunk in an ugly recession and millions of families were struggling – the banking industry pressed forward and Congress obliged.”

Biden’s entry into a race that now chokes with some 20 Democratic contenders is unlikely to put President Trump off his stroke.  It is another sign that the Democrats will, when the time comes, consume themselves in acts of self-mutilation and saturnalia, something they have become rather adept at doing.  With Biden weakening the progressive line, the likes of Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders have herculean feats to perform.

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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]

Soon after deep insider and favored water carrier for the financial elite, Joe Biden, announced his candidacy the corporate propaganda media ramped up its support and floated a meme that Trump is petrified of a Biden challenge next year. 

“Former Vice President Joe Biden leads President Trump by 8 percentage points in a hypothetical 2020 general election matchup, according to a new Morning Consult/Politico poll,” The Hill Reported in the days prior to Biden’s announcement. 

The state and its propaganda media love corporate news polls and they hope this one will convince Americans to vote establishment once again.

Biden likes to portray himself as an Average Joe—remember “Lunch Bucket Joe”?—a commoner sharing the trials and tribulations of the masses, never mind his vote to make it more difficult for average Americans, victims of a predatory elite, to file bankruptcy. His presidential campaign team is rife with corporate lobbyists. Joe is a favorite of credit card and insurance companies. 

Back in the day, Biden admitted he is a whore for corporate interests. 

Democrats suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome will vote for anybody the DNC throws out into the rigged political arena, even an admitted ring kisser like Joe who is now crawling to corporations and big donors to finance his campaign. 

Due to DNC shenanigans—similar to those used against Bernie Sanders—insider Joe masquerading as Mr. Normal may end up being the Democrat nominee. First, however, competition in a crowded field needs to be swept clean. Bernie, Elizabeth, Kamala, Beto, and Mayor Pete, to name a few, need to be marginalized. 

It’s not likely, however, that any of these people will make it to the White House in 2020. 

Trump will be re-elected, not because he promised anything he is able to actually deliver, but as a protest vote against the establishment, never mind Trump is following through on the neoliberal agenda, in particular in regard to forever war. He has put his own personal spin on the imperial presidency. 

It doesn’t matter who wins in November, 2020. The “swamp” will once again be triumphant, the financial class will continue its rape and pillage of the economy, and the wars will go on indefinitely, or at least until the economic house of cards collapses and the state shows its real face. 

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This article was originally published on the author’s blog site: Another Day in the Empire.

Kurt Nimmo is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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The Chinese government has invited its Syrian counterpart to the global summit for the Chinese flagship Belt and Road initiative taking place in Beijing April 25 through April 27 among 120 countries.

Syria’s invitation, attendance, and contribution in the mega development being an essential part in West Asia is a clear indication that the Chinese government does not weigh the unilateral sanctions and blockade the regimes of Donald Trump and his EU lackeys and Gulfies satellite fiefdoms impose on the Arab Republic.

Belt and Road is China’s strategic 3 decades infrastructure investment project with countries along the ancient Chinese Silk Road, and beyond, engaging all the countries in its route economically away from political pressures and dominance and to the best of the nations involved, and the rest of the world.

The junta leading the USA have done their best to complete what their predecessor regime of Barack Obama started in destroying and dividing Syria including the direct bombing of Syrian strategic military assets multiple times unashamedly aiding ISIS and other terrorists against the Syrian state, and when their attempts to control Syria were defeated they resorted to the collective punishment of the Syrian people, a crime against humanity.

“The Chinese invitation to Syria to attend the Belt and Road Summit is a significant challenge to the sanctions imposed by the United States of America against Syria,” political and media advisor to the Syrian presidency Bouthaina Shaaban stated.

Mrs. Shaaban added:

“The Silk Road will not be a Silk Road if it doesn’t go through Syria, Iraq, and Iran, where Syria has a special place in this summit is an essential part of the historic Silk Road, and because of its sacrifices in combating terrorism is being appreciated by the people of China and all the people in the world that believe in peace, love, and humanity.”

Mrs. Shaaban speaking to Lebanese news channel al-Mayadeen clarified that what the United States of America is doing will have dangerous repercussions on the USA where it detains women and children in the Rukban Concentration Camp, and protects terrorists in the al-Tanf area, occupying Syrian territories.

“The Turks must leave the Syrian territories, and we will not give up any inch of the Syrian land”, Mrs. Shaaban told al-Mayadeen, adding: “The regime of Erdogan (in Turkey) has not abided by the agreement with regards to Idlib” which was agreed upon in the Astana talks.”

The Syrian presidency advisor reminded that ‘Erdogan regime is responsible for smuggling all the terrorists who came into Syria.’

Syrian Presidency Advisor Bouthaina Shaaban meeting China Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Chen Xiaodong

Mrs. Shaaban meets Mr. Xiaodong in Beijing (Source: Syria News)

“China will not change its policies towards Syria, it didn’t and will never change” China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodong reiterated to Mrs. Shaaban during a meeting on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Summit in Beijing – as quoted by SANA.

Mr. Xiaodong noted China’s desire and seriousness in contributing in the rebuilding process in Syria and confirmed the Chinese government always encourages Chinese corporations to invest in Syria.

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Tackling the ‘Impossible’: Ending Violence

April 27th, 2019 by Robert J. Burrowes

Whenever, in ordinary circumstances, the subject of violence comes up, most people throw up their hands in horror and comment along the lines that it is ‘in our genes’, ‘nothing can be done about it’ or other words that reflect the powerlessness that most people feel around violence.

It is true that violence is virtually ubiquitous, has a near-infinite variety of manifestations and, at its most grotesque (as nuclear war or run-away climate catastrophe), even threatens human extinction in the near-term.

Nevertheless, anyone who pays attention to the subject of violence in any detail soon discovers that plenty of people are interested in tackling this problem, even if it is ‘impossible’. Moreover, of course, at least some people recognize that while we must tackle each manifestation of violence, understanding the cause of violence is imperative if we are to successfully tackle its many manifestations at their source. To do all of this effectively, however, is a team effort. And hopefully, one day, this team will include all of us.

In the meantime, let me start by telling you a little about some of the people who are already working to end violence by tackling one or more of its many manifestations. These individuals are part of a worldwide network set up to focus on ending violence – ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World’ – and they have signed a pledge to do so.

Concerned about US government threats to Iran and Venezuela, several Charter signatories were part of one or both recent peace delegations to Iran and Venezuela respectively. These delegations were designed to open more lines of communication and to demonstrate solidarity with those who do not submit to US hegemony.

The 28-member US peace delegation to Iran from 25 February to 6 March 2019 included long-term nonviolent activists Margaret Flowers, Kevin Zeese and David Hartsough. Unfortunately for David, author of Waging Peace: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Activist and director of Peaceworkers, his trip didn’t go as planned. If you would like to read a compelling account of his time in Iran with some wonderful Iranians, while learning something about what it means to be on the wrong end of US sanctions, you will find it here: ‘An American Casualty of U.S. Economic Sanctions on Iran’. Glad you got the lifesaving medical treatment from our Iranian friends that you needed David, despite the sanctions! And it is a tragedy that Iran has recently suffered even more, as a result of the devastating floods that have hit the country, with the sanctions cruelly denying them vital emergency assistance. See ‘Stop the ongoing U.S. economic terrorism against Iran and help its people!’

People gather at the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, DC to prevent takeover by the opposition. (Source: Popular Resistance)

In relation to Venezuela, a 13-member peace and solidarity delegation from North America landed in Caracas, Venezuela on the weekend of 9-10 March 2019. The delegation included leaders of antiwar groups from the US and Canada and, once again, Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers of ‘Popular Resistance’ and ‘Clearing the Fog’ podcasts. You can read an account of this delegation’s findings in Kevin and Margaret’s highly informative report ‘Venezuela: US Imperialism Is Based On Lies And Threats’.

Another initiative to support Venezuelans was outlined in the article A Nonviolent Strategy to Defeat a US Military Invasion of Venezuela.

Traveling widely to witness and demonstrate solidarity with those on the receiving end of US military violence, another long-term nonviolent activist, Kathy Kelly, recently wrote an article pointing out that ‘Every War Is a War against Children’ in which she evocatively documented examples of what this means for those children living in the war zones we call Yemen and Afghanistan. In an earlier article, Kathy questioned the morality of those corporations – such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics and Raytheon – that profit from the killing their weapons inflict. See ‘Can We Divest from Weapons Dealers?’

Environmental journalist Robert Hunziker continues to fearlessly research and truthfully document the ongoing assaults that humans are inflicting on Earth’s biosphere. In his most recent article ‘The Blue Ocean Event and Collapsing Ecosystems’, Robert straightforwardly explains the content of a recent interview of Dr. Peter Wadhams, the world’s leading Arctic scientist. Robert notes that

‘Currently, the Arctic is heating up about 4 times faster than the rest of the planet… the temp difference between the Arctic and the tropics is dropping precipitously… thus, driving the jet streams less… creating meandering jet streams… in turn, producing extreme weather events throughout the Northern Hemisphere, especially in mid-latitudes where most of the world’s food is grown.’

Robert also notes that the study of ancient ice cores by a team from the British Antarctic Survey, University of Cambridge and University of Birmingham found ‘major reductions in sea ice in the Arctic’ which will crank up (via temperature amplification as a result of no Arctic sea ice) Greenland regional temperatures ‘by 16°C in less than a decade’ with horrific implications for life on Earth. Thank you, Robert, for reporting what the corporate media won’t touch and even many activists find too terrifying to seriously contemplate.

In Chile, Pía Figueroa continues her heavy involvement in efforts to network those committed to peace and nonviolence and to develop media channels that report the truth. Pía reports that

‘Pressenza International Press Agency’, which celebrated its tenth anniversary last November ‘in more than 40 places of the world’, continues to advance its contribution ‘with a journalism focused on peace and nonviolence, to a world in which all human beings have a place and their rights are fully respected, in a framework of disarmed and demilitarized societies, capable of re-establishing the ecological balance through governments of real and participatory democracy.’

Since attending the Media Forum organized in the city of Chongqing, China, by CCTV+ and CGTN, in October last year, Pía has been busy organizing the upcoming Latin-American Humanist Forum in Santiago with the objective of ‘Building Convergences’, as its slogan points out. It will be held on 10-12 May with the participation of many grassroots and social organizations involved in more than twenty networks of nonviolent action and inspired by the European Humanist Forum that took place in Madrid, Spain, in May 2018.

Anwar A. Khan was born into ‘a liberal Muslim family in Bangladesh’. As a 16-year-old college student, he participated in the ‘Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971, which resulted in horrendous loss of life, genocide against Bangladesh’s intelligentsia and systematic rapes.’ This experience taught him the nature of the US establishment as he was ‘on the battle field along with so many friends of mine and Indian soldiers to fight back the obnoxious nexus of the Pakistani military regime and the Whitehouse establishment’ to create Bangladesh. Khan Bhai went on to complete a post-graduate education, before embarking on a 43-year (so far) business career, involving many different levels of corporate engagement and which took him to many countries of the world, including Venezuela in 2010 where he met both Hugo Chavez and Nicolás Maduro.

He also writes regularly in his spare time and recently wrote an article highlighting the adverse impact of the lack of infrastructure under which many impoverished countries suffer, given the way in which the global economy functions to exploit them. In the article, he describes an inferno that started on the night of 20 February 2019 in a building at Chawkbazar, a 300-year-old Dhaka neighbourhood, ‘where chemicals for making deodorants and other household uses were illegally stored’. The fire ‘quickly spread to four nearby buildings where many people were trapped. Hundreds of firefighters rushed to the scene but traffic jams in the narrow streets held them up. It took almost 12 hours to bring the fire under control….’ The horrific inferno claimed about 100 lives and more were injured. For the full account, see ‘After Nimtali, now Chawkbazar inferno hell, a crisis of humanity’.

Commenting on the current project that she is organizing with friends, Lori Lightning outlines the rationale behind ‘Bear Bones Parenting’:

‘There’s no course or exam to pass to become a parent, and most try to figure this out once a parent, and usually in an exhausted overwhelmed state. Bedtimes, meals, chores, and healthy open communication all become a task without a trusted framework in place.

‘Based on 51 years of combined wisdom as educators, counselors, health practitioners, moms, step moms and foster moms, Bear Bones Parenting offers an intuitive formula to demystify the basics of parenting and a workbook with tools for reflection and wellness practices to take you actively through day to day living no matter where you are at in your life. You dedicate 15 minutes a day and in trade stop being overwhelmed. A “do it yourself” workbook filled with tools to turn life into what you envision for yourself and your family.

‘Our cast of puppets help to inspire playful reflection on our children’s temperaments and our own. Eventual creation of short videos will be easily accessible for busy parents and provide some examples of how things typically play out with temperaments and inspiration of the Bear way, which is curious, intuitive, firm and loving.

‘We hope that BBP can help reduce parental stress and frustration so there is time to connect in joy and curiosity with our children and foster their independence.’

For more information, you can contact Lori at this email address: <[email protected]>

Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh is volunteer Director of The Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability (PIBS) and the Palestine Museum of Natural History (PMNH) but he is also actively engaged in the Palestinian struggle for liberation from Israeli occupation. As he evocatively noted in a recent Easter reflection:

‘This is the tenth Easter I celebrate after returning to Palestine in 2008. When we native Christian Palestinians have a few moments to meditate and reflect in this season, we reflect that some 2.5 billion human beings believe in a message that originated with a Palestinian baby born in a manger here and was crucified for being the first revolutionary Palestinian to push for caring for the sick and the poor.

‘We reflect on the real message of Jesus, a message of love and coexistence. The harsh reality on the ground reminds us of our responsibility to shape a better future.

‘We are hopeful because we take a long view of history. Some 150,000 years ago, humans migrated from Africa using Palestine as the passage way to Western Asia and then the rest of the world. 12,000 years ago, this area became the center of development for agriculture (the Fertile Crescent). This was where we humans first domesticated animals like goats and donkeys and plants like wheat, barley, chickpeas, and lentils. This transformation allowed our ancestors time to evolve what we now call “civilization”. Hence, the first writings, the first music, and art, and the first thoughts of deities. From our Aramaic alphabet came the Latin, Arabic, Syriac, and Hebrew alphabets. Aramaic was the language of Jesus and much of our current Palestinian Arabic is still Aramaic words.’

Mazin continues to travel regularly, lecturing about initiatives of the museum but also about the political reality in Palestine. If you would like to volunteer to assist the museum’s projects, or to donate money, books, natural history items or anything else that would be useful, you are welcome to contact Mazin and his colleagues at [email protected].

Finally, we are deeply saddened to report the passing of Tom Shea, a long-time stalwart in the struggle for a better world and one of the original team of individuals who launched ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World’ on 11 November 2011. We include below the testament of his great friend and fellow nonviolent activist, Leonard Eiger:

‘For Tom Shea, Peace WAS the Way

‘My dear friend and fellow Ground Zero member Tom Shea passed away peacefully in the early morning hours of April 3rd surrounded by his family.

‘Earlier in his life Tom had been a Jesuit, a high school teacher, and had started an alternative high school and Jesuit Volunteer Corp: Midwest. He had also been involved in social justice issues on the national level with the Jesuits. Ground Zero member Bernie Meyer remembers Tom with great fondness, from being a student at St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland where Tom was teaching, to resisting together at Ground Zero many years later.

‘Tom was 47 when he left Cleveland for Traverse City, Michigan in 1977. There he met his partner Darylene, and they were inseparable from then on. Together, they participated in the Nuclear Freeze movement, and were part of the Michigan Peace Team. They traveled to New York for the second Conference on Disarmament in 1982. They protested both the first Gulf War and the war in Iraq. They also engaged in war tax resistance.

‘At Darylene’s suggestion, they attended a course in conflict mediation in the early ‘80s at a time when there was little written on the subject. That experience led them to a course taught by Quakers at Swarthmore College in 1986. In 1990 Tom and Darylene founded the five-county Conflict Resolution Service in Northern Michigan and trained the first group of volunteer mediators. Their mission was to promote peace and civility in the community through the use of mediator guided dialogue. In the early days of the program, volunteers met in church basements and around kitchen tables to train, role play and share experiences. They would travel to the homes of people needing mediation, focusing on resolving family and neighborhood conflicts.

‘Tom and Darylene moved to Snoqualmie, Washington in 2007 to spend more time with Darylene’s children. Tom got involved in community issues and continued his war tax resistance work. You could find him every April 15th, in front of the local post office, offering tax resistance information.

‘I was still leading a social justice ministry at the Snoqualmie United Methodist Church when one day Tom called the church office and asked who was doing social justice work in the area. We connected immediately due to common work and friends. Soon, Tom and I were making the pilgrimage together across the water to Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, and the rest (as they say) is history.

‘I have spent countless hours with Tom and Darylene, discussing world affairs and working together on strategies and tactics for our work with Ground Zero. Tom and Darylene have been inseparable as both life partners and co-conspirators for peace. Tom once said that Darylene is like a Jesuit herself: “Jesuits are taken as very scholarly people and she’s very scholarly.”

‘In addition to working on media and communications for Ground Zero, and planning vigils and nonviolent direct actions at the Bangor Trident nuclear submarine base, Tom put himself on the line many times, often entering the roadway blocking traffic, both on the County and Federal sides, symbolically closing the base and risking arrest. Tom also created street theatre scripts that have been used during vigils at the submarine base to entertain and educate people.

‘Robert Burrowes, who cofounded ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World’, said that“Tom was one of the true legends in my life. A long-standing symbol of, and nonviolent fighter for, everything that could be in our world.” When all is said and done, Tom’s life can be summed up by A.J Muste: “There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.”

‘We will be scattering some of Tom’s ashes (per his wishes) at Ground Zero Center during our August Hiroshima-Nagasaki weekend of remembrance and action.

‘I invite you to honor Tom’s memory by supporting the work of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee. There are many ways we can engage in war tax resistance in the context of a broad range of nonviolent strategies for social change.’

While diminished by the passing of Tom, the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action continues ‘to explore the meaning and practice of nonviolence from a perspective of deep spiritual reflection, providing a means for witnessing to and resisting all nuclear weapons, especially Trident. We seek to go to the root of violence and injustice in our world and experience the transforming power of love through nonviolent direct action.’ You can read about their ongoing efforts on their website, Ground Zero, which also features a ‘Current Action Alert: Stop the “Low-Yield” Trident Warhead!’

Each of the individuals mentioned above is part of the ongoing and steadily expanding effort to end the violence in our world. They refuse to accept that violence cannot be ended, and each has chosen to focus on working to end one or more manifestations of violence, according to their particular interests. If you would like to join these people, you are welcome to sign the online pledge of ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World’.

If your own interest is campaigning on a peace, climate, environment or social justice issue, consider doing it strategically. See Nonviolent Campaign Strategy.

If your focus is a defense or liberation struggle being undertaken by a national group, consider enhancing its strategic impact. See Nonviolent Defense/Liberation Strategy.

If your preference is addressing the climate and environmental catastrophes systematically, consider participating in ‘The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth’.

If you would like to tackle violence at its source, consider revising your parenting in accordance with ‘My Promise to Children’. If you want the evidence to understand why this is so crucial, see ‘Why Violence?’ and ‘Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice’.

If you are aware enough to know that you are not dealing effectively with our deepening crisis, consider doing the personal healing necessary to do so. See ‘Putting Feelings First’.

It may be that ending human violence is impossible, as many believe. But there are a great number of people around the world who do not accept this and who are struggling, relentlessly, to end violence before it ends us. What about you?

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Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of ‘Why Violence?’ His email address is [email protected] and his website is here.

Featured image: Activists gather in front of the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, DC in March, 2019.

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The first eight months of WWII with no fighting – was called The Phoney War. Using millimetre waves as a fifth-generation or 5G wireless communications technology is a phoney war of another kind.

***

This phoney war is also silent, but this time shots are being fired – in the form of laser-like beams of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) from banks of thousands of tiny antennas[1] – and almost no one in the firing line knows that they are being silently, seriously and irreparably injured.

In the first instance, 5G is likely to make people electro-hypersensitive (EHS).[2] Perhaps it was sitting in front of two big computer screens for many of the 18 years I worked at the UN that made me EHS. When the UN Office at Vienna installed powerful WiFi and cellphone access points – designed to serve large, public areas – in narrow, metal-walled corridors throughout the Vienna International Centre in December 2015, I was ill continuously for seven months.

I did my best for two and a half years to alert the UN staff union, administration and medical service to the danger to the health of UN staff of EMR from these access points, but was ignored. That’s why, in May 2018, I took the issue to the UN Secretary-GeneralAntónio Guterres [transcript]. He is a physicist and electrical engineer and lectured on telecommunications signals early in his career, yet asserted that he knew nothing about this. He undertook to ask the World Health Organization to look into it, but seven months later those public access points remain in place. I received no replies to my many follow-up emails.

As a result, I welcomed the opportunity to join the effort to publish an International Appeal to Stop 5G on Earth and in Space because it was clear to me that, despite there having been 43 earlier scientific appeals, very few people understood the dangers of EMR. My experience as an editor could help ensure that a new 5G appeal, including the issue of beaming 5G from space, was clear, comprehensive, explanatory, and accessible to the non-scientist. The International Appeal to Stop 5G on Earth and in Space is fully referenced, citing over a hundred scientific papers among the tens of thousands on the biological effects of EMR published over the last 80 years.[3]

Having spent years editing UN documents dealing with space, I know that outer space is hotly contested geopolitically and any untoward event involving a military satellite risks triggering a catastrophic response.[4] Space law is so inadequate – just one example is the complexity of space liability law [5],[6] – that we could really call the Earth orbits a new Wild West. China caused international consternation in 2007 when it demonstrated an anti-satellite weapon by destroying its own satellite. Space debris is the main concern among space-faring nations, with a so-called Kessler syndrome positing a cascade of space debris that could make the Earth orbits unusable for a thousand years.[7] Does launching 20,000+ commercial 5G satellites in such circumstances sound rational to you?

I live in Vienna, Austria, where the 5G rollout is suddenly upon us. Within the last five weeks, pre-5G has been officially announced at Vienna airport and 5G at the Rathausplatz, the main square in Vienna, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors to its Christmas market each December and skating rink each January, which are special treats for children. Along with birds and insects, children are the most vulnerable to 5G depredation because of their little bodies.[8]

Friends and acquaintances and their children in Vienna are already reporting the classic symptoms of EMR poisoning:[9] nosebleeds, headaches, eye pains, chest pains, nausea, fatigue, vomiting, tinnitus, dizziness, flu-like symptoms, and cardiac pain. They also report a tight band around the head; pressure on the top of the head; short, stabbing pains around the body; and buzzing internal organs. Other biological effects such as tumours and dementia usually take longer to manifest, but in the case of 5G, which has never been tested for health or safety, who knows?[10]

Seemingly overnight a forest of 5G infrastructure has sprouted in Austria. In the space of three weeks one friend has gone from robust health to fleeing this country, where she has lived for 30 years. Each person experiences EMR differently. For her, it was extreme torture so she and I spent her last two nights in Austria sleeping in the woods. Interestingly, as she drove across southern Germany, she suffered torture even worse than in Austria, while in northern Germany she had no symptoms at all and felt completely normal, which suggests that there has been as yet no 5G rollout there.

There are no legal limits on exposure to EMR. Conveniently for the telecommunications industry, there are only non-legally enforceable guidelines such as those produced by the grandly named International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection, which turns out to be like the Wizard of Oz, just a tiny little NGO in Germany that appoints its own members, none of whom is a medical doctor or environmental expert.[11]

Like the Wizard of Oz, ICNIRP seems to have magical powers. Its prestidigitation makes non-thermal (non-heating) effects of EMR exposure disappear into thin air, for taking into account the tens of thousands of research studies demonstrating the biological effects of EMR would invalidate its so-called safety guidelines.[12]It has bewitched the International Telecommunication Union, part of the UN family, into recognising these guidelines.[13] And one little email sent to ICNIRP in October 2018 to submit Professor Martin Pall’s comments on ICNIRP’s new draft guidelines conjured up an immediate explosion of interest in the sender’s online presence – which had hitherto attracted none – from companies and individuals worldwide, one country’s immigration authorities, the office of the Austrian Chancellor (head of government), a firm of lawyers in Vienna and even Interpol![14],[15]

I hope that people read and share our Stop 5G Space Appeal to wake up themselves and others quickly and use it to take action themselves to stop 5G. Even eight short months of this 5G Phoney War could spell catastrophe for all life on Earth. Elon Musk is set to launch the first 4,425 5G satellites in June 2019 and “blanket” the Earth with 5G, in breach of countless international treaties. This could initiate the last great extinction, courtesy of the multi-trillion-US-dollar 5G, the biggest biological experiment and most heinous manifestation of hubris and greed in human history.[10]

People’s first reaction to the idea that 5G may be an existential threat to all life on Earth is usually disbelief and/or cognitive dissonance. Once they examine the facts, however, their second reaction is often terror.

We need to transcend this in order to see 5G as an opportunity to empower ourselves, take responsibility and take action. We may have already lost 80 per cent of our insects to EMR in the last 20 years.[16] Our trees risk being cut down by the millions in order to ensure continuous 5G signalling for self-driving cars, buses and trains.[17] Are we going to stand by and see ourselves and our children irradiated, our food systems decimated, our natural surroundings destroyed?

Our newspapers are now casually popularising the meme that human extinction would be a good thing,[18],[19] but when the question becomes not rhetorical but real, when it’s your life, your child, your community, your environment that is under immediate threat, can you really subscribe to such a suggestion? If you don’t, please sign the Stop 5G Appeal and get active in contacting everyone you can think of who has the power to stop 5G, especially Elon Musk[20] and the CEOs of all the other companies planning to launch 5G satellites, starting in just 20 weeks from now. Life on Earth needs your help now.

The transcript of my exchange with the UN Secretary-General of 14 May 2018 follows:

Staff member: Mr. Secretary-General

UN staff have repeatedly been told that they are the most important resource of this Organization.

Since December 2015, the staff here at the Vienna International Centre have been exposed to off-the-scale electromagnetic radiation from WiFi and mobile phone boosters installed on very low ceilings throughout the buildings. Current public exposure levels are at least one quintillion times (that’s 18 zeros) above natural background radiation according to Professor Olle Johansson of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.

The highly dangerous biological effects of EMFs have been documented by thousands of studies since 1932 indicating that we may be facing a global health catastrophe orders of magnitude worse than those caused by tobacco and asbestos.

Mr. Secretary-General, on the basis of the Precautionary Principle, I urge you to have these EMF-emitting devices removed immediately and to call a halt to any rollout of 5G at UN duty stations, because it is designed to deliver concentrated and focused electromagnetic radiation in excess of 100 times current levels in the same way as do directed energy weapons.

In line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, to “Protect, Respect and Remedy”, 5G technologies MUST be subjected to an independent health and safety assessment before they are launched anywhere in the world.

There is currently an international appeal (https://www.emfscientist.org/index. php/emf-scientist-appeal) signed by 237 EMF scientists from 41 nations urging the UN and particularly the WHO to exert strong leadership in fostering the development of more protective EMF guidelines, encouraging precautionary measures, and educating the public about health risks, particularly risk to children and fetal development.

Mr. Secretary-General, we have a unique opportunity here at the UN Office at Vienna. Since our medical records are digitised, you have the possibility of releasing data on a closed population exposed to off-the-scale levels of electromagnetic radiation to establish if there have already been abnormal health consequences for the UN staff here in the last 28 months.

I urge you to do so and stop any 5G rollout in these buildings immediately.

Thank you.

UN Secretary-General: Sorry, because you are talking to someone who is a little bit ignorant on these things. You’re talking about the WiFi systems?

Staff member: On the ceilings of these buildings, WiFi boosters and cell phone boosters were installed without consultation, without information to staff in December 2015. Now, if you understand electromagnetic radiation, the signal is – if you cannot get a signal from your mobile phone, the signal goes to maximum strength and that then bounces off metal walls affecting the body multiple times at maximum exposure levels. So the situation here is extremely dangerous. I have heard anecdotally of many people who have had health problems. I don’t know if they are related but the Precautionary Principle would dictate that we use our medical records to look into this and that we remove these dangerous devices immediately. Thank you.

UN Secretary-General: Well, I’m worried because I put those devices in my house.[Laughter & applause]

Staff member: Not a good idea!

UN Secretary-General: This I will have to – I confess my ignorance on this but I’m going to raise this with WHO [World Health Organization] – which I think is the organisation that might be able to deal with it properly for them to put someone – their staff or organisations to work on that because I must confess I was not aware of that danger – [humorously] to the extent that I put those things in the rooms of my house – in the ceiling.

Staff member: I would suggest that everybody start looking into this issue and particularly into 5G, which 237 scientists from 41 countries consider a threat that is far worse than the tobacco and asbestos threats of the past.

UN Secretary-General: Well, maybe I have learned something completely new. I hope it will be very useful to me but I confess it is the first time I hear about it.

*

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Claire Edwards, BA Hons, MA, worked for the United Nations as Editor and Trainer in Intercultural Writing from 1999 to 2017. Claire warned the Secretary-General about the dangers of 5G during a meeting with UN staff in May 2018, calling for a halt to its rollout at UN duty stations.  She part-authored, designed, administered the 30 language versions, and edited the entirety of the International Appeal to Stop 5G on Earth and in Space (www.5gspaceappeal.org) and vigorously campaigned to promote it throughout 2019. In January 2020, she severed connection with the Appeal when its administrator, Arthur Firstenberg, joined forces with a third-party group, stop5ginternational, which brought itself into disrepute at its foundation by associating with the Club of Rome/Club of Budapest eugenicist movement. She is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Notes

[1] Delos, Peter. “The Way to a New Phased Array Radar Architecture.” TechTime: Electronics & Technology News. January 15, 2018. Accessed January 1, 2019. https://techtime.news/2018/01/ 15/analog-devices-phased-array-radar/. “Although there is a lot of discussion of massive MIMO and automotive radar, it should not be forgotten that most of the recent radar development and beamforming R&D has been in the defense industry, and it is now being adapted for commercial applications. While phased array and beamforming moved from R&D efforts to reality in the 2000s, a new wave of defense focused arrays are now expected, enabled by industrial technology offering solutions that were previously cost prohibitive.”

[2] “Electrosensitive Testimonials.” We Are The Evidence. 2018. Accessed January 1, 2019.http://wearetheevidence.org/adults-who-developed-electro-sensitivity/. “WATE intends to expose the suppressed epidemic of sickness, suffering and human rights crisis created by wireless technology radiation; elevate the voice of those injured; defend and secure their rights and compel society and governments to take corrective actions and inform the public of the harm.”

[3] Glaser, Lt. Z. “Cumulated Index to the Bibliography of Reported Biological Phenomena (‘effects’) and Clinical Manifestations Attributed to Microwave and Radio-frequency Radiation: Report, Supplements (no. 1-9).” BEMS Newsletter B-1 through B-464 (1984). Accessed January 1, 2019. http://www.cellphonetaskforce.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Zory-Glasers-index.pdf. Lt. Zorach Glaser, PhD, catalogued 5,083 studies, books and conference reports for the US Navy through 1981.

[4] “Space Sustainability: A Practical Guide.” Secure World Foundation, 2014, 21. Accessed January 1, 2019.https://swfound.org/media/206289/swf_space_sustainability-a_practical_guide_2018__1.pdf.

“However, as more countries integrate space into their national military capabilities and rely on space-based information for national security, there is an increased chance that any interference (either actual or perceived) with satellites could spark or escalate tensions and conflict in space or on Earth. This is made all the more difficult by the challenge of determining the exact cause of a satellite malfunction: whether it was due to a space weather event, impact by space debris, unintentional interference, or deliberate act of aggression.”

[5] “Space Law: Liability for Space Debris.” Panish, Shea & Boyle LLP. 2018. Accessed January 1, 2019.https://www.aviationdisasterlaw.com/liability-for-space-debris/. “Filing a lawsuit against SpaceX for space debris is a little different than one against the commercial industry or state-sponsored launch. Since SpaceX is a private company, injured parties can file claims directly against the establishment in accord with the state’s personal injury laws. For the claim to be successful, the plaintiff will have to prove that SpaceX was negligent in some way that caused the space debris collision. Space law is notoriously complex, making it very difficult for injured parties to recover for [sic] their damages in California.”

[6]Von Der Dunk, Frans G. “Liability versus Responsibility in Space Law: Misconception or Misconstruction?” University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Law: Space, Cyber, and Telecommunications Law Program Faculty Publications 21 (1992). Accessed January 1, 2019. http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/spacelaw/21/?utm_source=digitalcommons.unl.edu/spacelaw/

[7]Kessler, D. J., P. M. Landry, B. G. Cour-Palais, and R. E. Taylor. “Aerospace: Collision Avoidance in Space: Proliferating Payloads and Space Debris Prompt Action to Prevent Accidents.” IEEE Spectrum 17, no. 6 (1980): 37-41.

[8] Morgan, L. Lloyd, Santosh Kesari, and Devra Lee Davis. “Why Children Absorb More Microwave Radiation than Adults: The Consequences.” Journal of Microscopy and Ultrastructure 2, no. 4 (December 2014): 197-204. Accessed January 1, 2019. https://www.sciencedirect.com/ science/article/pii/S2213879X14000583. Highlights: (1) Children absorb more microwave radiation (MWR) than adults. (2) MWR is a Class 2B (possible) carcinogen. (3) The fetus is in greater danger than children from exposure to MWR. (4) The legal exposure limits have remained unchanged for decades. (5) Cellphone manuals warnings and the 20 cm rule for tablets/laptops violate the “normal operating position” regulation.

[9]Electro Hypersensitivity: Talking to Your Doctor. PDF. Canadian Initiative to Stop Wireless, Electric, and Electromagnetic Pollution. http://weepinitiative.org/talkingtoyourdoctor.pdf.

[10]FCC Chairman on 5G: “We won’t study it, regulate it, have standards for it.” Youtube. June 20, 2016. Accessed January 1, 2019. www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bwgwe01SIMc. Notes in video: Ultra-high frequency radiation (24 to 100 GHz or more); aimed and amplified signals; massive deployment of towers; worth billions; no standards, no testing; sharing with satellite and military operations; all areas (including rural areas) to be saturated with radiation; all local deployments to be fast-tracked; everything to be microchipped.

[11] Dariusz Leszczynski, PhD. “Is ICNIRP Reliable Enough to Dictate Meaning of Science to the Governmental Risk Regulators?” Between a Rock and a Hard Place(blog), April 8, 2018. Accessed January 2, 2019.https://betweenrockandhardplace.wordpress.com/type/gallery/. “The major problems of ICNIRP are: (1) it is a “private club” where members elect new members without need to justify selection; (2) lack of accountability before anyone; (3) lack of transparency of their activities; (4) complete lack of supervision of its activities; (5) skewed science evaluation because of the close similarity of the opinions of all members of the Main Commission and all of the other scientists selected as advisors to the Main Commission.”

[12] Matthes, Rüdiger. “EMF Safety Guidelines: The ICNIRP View.” International Telecommunications Union Workshop on Human Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields, May 9, 2013. Accessed January 1, 2019.https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/climatechange/emf-1305/Documents/Presentations/s2part1p1-Rued igerMatthes.pdf.

[13] ITU Telecommunication Development Sector Study Group 2: Session on Modern Policies, Guidelines, Regulations and Assessments of Human Exposure to RF-EMF. Session 1: Recent Activities on Human Exposure to RF-EMF in ITU and ICNIRP, Geneva, Switzerland. October 10, 2018. Accessed January 2, 2019.www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Study-Groups/2018-2021/Pages/ meetings/session-Q7-2-oct18.aspx. “Session 1 will discuss some of the recent activities held in ITU and describe the latest updates to the ICNIRP (International Commission on Non‐Ionizing Radiation Protection) guidelines.”

[14] Martin L. Pall, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences, Washington State University. Response to 2018 ICNIRP Draft Guidelines and Appendices on Limiting Exposure to Time-Varying Electric, Magnetic and Electromagnetic Fields (100 KHz to 300 GHz). October 8, 2018. Accessed January 2, 2019.www.5gexposed.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/FINAL-Martin-L-Pall-Response-to-2018-Draft-Guidelines-8.10.18.pdf.

[15] Cooperation Agreement Between The International Criminal Police Organization Interpol and The International Telecommunication Union. Plenipotentiary Conference (PP-18) Dubai 29 October–16 November 2018. Accessed January 2, 2019. https://www.itu.int/dms_pub/itu-s/md/18/pp/c/S18-PP-C-0047!!MSW-E.docx. “2. In implementing the Agreement, each Party shall act within their respective areas of competence. More specifically, the implementation of the Agreement by ITU shall not exceed beyond its mandate pertaining to building confidence and security in the use of ICTs, in accordance to Plenipotentiary Conference Resolution 130 (Rev. Busan, 2014) and to its role on child online protection in accordance to Plenipotentiary Conference Resolution 179 (Rev. Busan, 2014), whereas the implementation of the Agreement by INTERPOL shall not exceed its mandate as defined by article 2 of its Constitution which include activities pertaining to cybercrime and online child exploitation”. (emphasis added)

[16] Hallmann C.A., M. Sorg and E. Jongejans. “More than 75 per cent decline over 27 years in total flying insect biomass in protected areas.” PLOS One 12, no. 10 (2017): e0185809.http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0185809&type=printable. Accessed January 1, 2019.

[17] Laville, Sandra. “Millions of Trees at Risk in Secretive Network Rail Felling Programme.” The Guardian, April 29, 2018. Accessed January 1, 2019. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/ apr/29/millions-of-trees-at-risk-in-secretive-network-rail-felling-programme.

[18] May, Todd. “Would Human Extinction Be a Tragedy?” The New York Times, December 17, 2018. Accessed January 1, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/17/opinion/human-extinction-climate-change.html.

[19] Davis, Nicola. “Falling total fertility rate should be welcomed, population expert says: figures showing declining birth rates are ‘cause for celebration’, not alarm.” The Guardian, December 26, 2018. Accessed January 3, 2019. www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/26/falling-total-fertility-rate-should-be-welcomed-population-expert-says.

[20] “Planet Earth: Worldwide 5G Radiation from Orbit?” Letter from Claus Scheingraber, Roland Wolff and others to Elon Musk. June 18, 2018. Brunnthal, Germany. “… We are sure that your satellite project is already at an advanced stage. But even if much money has been invested, one should consider that it is only a matter of time until the fact of damaging health potential of mobile communications – and especially of 5G-mobile communication – can no longer we overlooked. Therefore we emphatically recommend not to implement the satellite project.” (Letter in German) (Letter in English)

Featured image is from TruePublica

 

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The Dangers of 5G to Children’s Health

April 27th, 2019 by Children’s Health Defense

First posted on Global Research on February 14, 2019

Mobile and wireless technologies are a ubiquitous feature of modern life. Most U.S. adults own smartphones, a growing proportion are “smartphone-only” Internet users and over a fourth report being online “almost constantly.” As for children, a 2014 survey of high-income nations reported that almost seven in ten children used a mobile phone, and two-thirds of those had a smartphone, usually by age 10. As described by Nielsen, it is now as common to see “a kid with a smartphone in their hand” as it was to see “a kid playing with a yo-yo in the years before the digital age.”

The enthusiasm with which the public has embraced each new mobile and wireless technology—most of which have never undergone any appropriate safety testing or standards development—suggests that consumers rarely stop to consider the health implications of the infrastructure shoring up their ability to browse, stream and download anytime and “on the go.” Consumers are not entirely to blame for their lack of awareness—it is not easy to disentangle the technologies’ health risks in the face of the telecommunications industry’s steady and calculated disinformation efforts and a captured Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that “follows the script of fabulously wealthy, bullying, billion-dollar beneficiaries of wireless.”

… powerful 5G (fifth-generation) networks and technology are about to subject everyone, on a continuous basis, to unprecedented forms and amounts of mandatory irradiation—without prior study of the potential health impact or any assurance of safety.

Now, however, a global 5G “frenzy” is upon us and is coming into full force. The rollout of “blazing fast” 5G technology will “dramatically increase the number of transmitters sending signals to cellphones and a host of new Internet-enabled devices.” The time is ripe for greater grassroots awareness of the undisclosed tradeoffs between convenience and 5G’s potentially catastrophic health effects. Far from a simple “next-gen” upgrade, powerful 5G (fifth-generation) networks and technology are about to subject everyone, on a continuous basis, to unprecedented forms and amounts of what retired U.S. government physicist Dr. Ronald Powell calls “mandatory irradiation”—without “prior study of the potential health impact” or any assurance of safety. Considering that young people (with their smaller body mass and developing brains) are particularly vulnerable to radiation, the Environmental Health Trust has termed 5G “the next great unknown experiment on our children”—and the entire human population.

Early warnings

In fact, the “giant uncontrolled experiment” on children and adults has already begun, despite an urgent international appeal by tens of thousands of scientists, doctors, environmental organizations and citizens calling for a halt to 5G deployment. In 2018, telecom carriers in the U.S. and Europe began rolling out 5G technology in dozens of cities. Focusing (for now) on “dense urban and high-traffic areas” in the U.S., AT&T began positioning its 5G infrastructure in major cities in eight states, and Verizon started offering 5G home broadband service in “select neighborhoods” in a handful of cities.

… health problems such as insomnia, miscarriage, memory problems and other neurological issues, and there are widespread reports of annihilation of insect and bird populations.

For the most part, health concerns have ranked as a tiny footnote in the midst of the massive hoopla about 5G’s speed and capacity, although trade magazines admit that there may be “some objections” to 5G due to “concerns over potential health risks.” In both Europe and the U.S., however, individuals living and working in proximity to newly installed 5G towers and antennas are telling a different story. Many have immediately started experiencing health problems such as insomnia, miscarriage, memory problems and other neurological issues, and there are widespread reports of annihilation of insect and bird populations.

In response to complaints from fire fighters subjected to 5G antennas, the International Association of Fire Fighters has gone on record as opposing “the use of fire stations as base stations for towers and/or antennas for the conduction of cell phone transmissions until a study with the highest scientific merit and integrity…is conducted and it is proven that such sitings are not hazardous to the health of our members.”

A United Nations whistleblower recently drew attention to 5G’s dramatic impact on health in a widely circulated series of comments about 5G’s “seemingly overnight” rollout in Vienna, Austria. Describing 5G as a “silent war,” she commented:

“…Children are the most vulnerable to 5G depredation because of their little bodies. Friends and acquaintances and their children in Vienna are already reporting the classic symptoms of EMR [electromagnetic radiation] poisoning: nosebleeds, headaches, eye pains, chest pains, nausea, fatigue, vomiting, tinnitus, dizziness, flu-like symptoms, and cardiac pain. They also report a tight band around the head; pressure on the top of the head; short, stabbing pains around the body; and buzzing internal organs.”

Above and below

One of the novel dangers introduced by 5G technology is its reliance on high-frequency millimeter waves (MMWs), a bountiful and not previously commercialized portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. While 5G’s enthusiasts are quick to promise support for literally billions of devices, there is one catch—the shorter millimeter wavelengths cannot travel as far as the lower frequencies used for earlier generations of mobile technology. Thus, while there were about 300,000 wireless antennas on U.S. cell towers and buildings as of 2016 (a doubling since 2002), 5G will require “exponentially more”—millions of small cell towers every 500 feet “on every street corner.”

… even in the home environment, 5G technology [will] blast through walls and cribs, making a mockery of the notion that ‘your home is your castle’ in which you are supposed to be safe.

Organizations concerned about the health hazards of wireless radiation note that “Right now, you don’t have to live next to a cell tower….but once they have these [5G] cell antennas everywhere, you won’t be able to [move away].” Unfortunately, the “nowhere to hide” aspects of 5G are even more serious, because ground-based 5G systems will be supplemented by satellite-based systems. In March, 2018, the FCC approved the initial launch of over 4,400 low-Earth-orbit 5G communication satellites, to be followed by thousands more over the next two years—with the eventual result being 11 times more satellites orbiting the Earth than currently. The satellites will send “tightly focused beams of intense microwave radiation at each specific 5G device that is on the Earth,” while each device then sends “a beam of radiation back to the satellite.”

In practical terms, this means that in crowded locations such as airports, individuals’ bodies “will be penetrated by numerous beams of radiation as they walk or as other people walk around them with their 5G smartphones.” But even in the home environment, “5G technology [will] blast through walls and cribs,” making a mockery of “the notion that ‘your home is your castle’ in which you are supposed to be safe.”

More than skin-deep

Scientists, doctors and experts from around the world have issued repeated warnings about 5G’s risks, drawing on published research on MMWs as well as thousands of studies showing the harms caused by other mobile and wireless technologies.

In this context, industry and government claims that 5G technology is safe are completely disingenuous. In fact, the health effects of MMWs are already quite familiar to the U.S. military and defense agencies around the world. The U.S. has at its disposal non-lethal crowd control weapon systems (euphemistically named Active Denial Systems) that use millimeter waves to penetrate the skin of targeted individuals, “instantly producing an intolerable heating sensation that causes them to flee.” In research commissioned by the U.S. Army “to find out why people ran away when the beam touched them,” they discovered that targets “feel like [their] body is on fire.” Researchers also have warned that “the same parts of the human skin that allow us to sweat also respond to 5G radiation much like an antenna that can receive signals.”

Moratorium urgently needed

When the FCC endorsed the transition to 5G in 2016, then-Chairman Tom Wheeler (a former telecom industry lobbyist) vowed “to allow new [5G] technologies and innovations to evolve and flourish without needlessly prescriptive regulations.” Thus, even though 5G represented a radical shift in technology, the FCC proposed no further safety studies, instead continuing to rely on its “outdated, excessively permissive, and thus widely criticized, radiation-exposure guidelines that…are based primarily on a 30-year-old analysis…many years before the emergence of most of the digital wireless technology in use today.” A recent government study by the National Toxicology Program—which determined that cell phone radiation causes cancer—deemed the three-decade-old guidelines “unprotective.”

… children who began using either cordless or mobile phones regularly before age 20 had more than a fourfold increased brain tumor risk. 
.
5G poses risks to all life on the planet—people, animals, insects and plants. However, it is clear that fetuses and children are among the most vulnerable members of the human population. Even prior to 5G, Swedish researchers concluded that “children are indeed more susceptible to the effects of EMF exposure at microwave frequencies” and reported that children who began using “either cordless or mobile phones regularly before age 20” had more than a fourfold increased brain tumor risk. Describing brain cancer as “the proverbial ‘tip of the iceberg,’” the researchers also observed that “no other environmental carcinogen has produced evidence of an increased risk in just one decade.”

The UN whistleblower states,

“People’s first reaction to the idea that 5G may be an existential threat to all life on Earth is usually disbelief and/or cognitive dissonance. Once they examine the facts, however, their second reaction is often terror. We need to transcend this in order to see 5G as an opportunity to empower ourselves, take responsibility and take action.”

Some of the actions that people have taken include signing the International Appeal;

-learning about the multiple reasons to be concerned about 5G radiation and telling others;

-talking to legislators about why rushing legislation that streamlines the deployment of 5G small cells is a bad idea (and also raising the awareness of legislators and state utility commissions about the risks of smart meters); and changing their relationship to their devices, including using wired rather than wireless Internet connections (or turning off WiFi routers at night) and adopting other simple steps.

5G promises to create an even “denser soup of electrosmog,” with incalculable health effects. In fact, any sane person who examines the evidence must concur with the authors and over 40,000 signatories of the International Appeal to Stop 5G on Earth and in Space, who agree that the rush to blanket the planet with 5G “constitutes an experiment on humanity and the environment that is defined as a crime under international law.”

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The recent, tragic Easter attack in the South Asian state of Sri Lanka – killing and injuring hundreds – follows a now unfortunately all too familiar formula.

The New York Times has reported in its article, “What We Know and Don’t Know About the Sri Lanka Attacks,” that:

The authorities in Sri Lanka said a little-known radical Islamist group, the National Thowheeth Jama’ath, [believed to have ties to the Islamic State] carried out the attacks, with help from international militants.

It is also reported that these extremists received assistance for the large-scale attack from foreign sponsors. The attack has put Sri Lanka on the map for many in the general public for the first time – but for all the wrong reasons.

Countering OBOR: Divide and Destroy 

Sri Lanka has recently and decisively pivoted toward Beijing as a major partner of the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. This is despite Washington’s best efforts to prevent it from doing so.

Consequently, extremists fuelled by Washington’s “clash of civilizations” have helped set the stage for growing violence between Sir Lanka’s majority Buddhists and its minority Muslim communities. The resulting violence serves as a medium for US coercion, destabilization, and intervention aimed at undermining Sri Lanka’s unity as a nation, and thus its viability as a partner for China.

A nearly identical ploy has been used in nearby Myanmar where US-backed Buddhist extremists battle against US-Saudi-Qatari backed extremism rising from the ranks of the nation’s Muslim Rohingya minority.

The resulting violence and growing humanitarian crisis – without coincidence – is unfolding in Myanmar’s Rakhine state – precisely where China is attempting to build another leg of its region-spanning OBOR initiative.

Sri Lanka has signed on to OBOR in a big way, with major railport, airport, and highway projects all moving forward with Beijing’s support. Sri Lanka is also considered by Western policymakers as one of several among China’s strategic “String of Pearls,” strong points where China can secure maritime routes through waters traditionally dominated by the United States.

These projects are derided across the Western media with headlines like the New York Times’ article, “How China Got Sri Lanka to Cough Up a Port” and France24’s article, “In Sri Lanka, the new Chinese Silk Road is a disappointment” – characterizing Washington’s growing opposition to China’s expanding influence across Asia – a region Washington has long presumed primacy over.

Washington’s ability to compete with China regarding regional development is nonexistent. Instead, the US has tried to tempt nations like Sri Lanka with military aid.

AFP in an article titled, “US gives Sri Lankan military US$39 million, countering China’s investments in strategic island,” would claim:

The US funding for Sri Lanka is part of a US$300 million package Washington is setting aside for South and Southeast Asia to ensure a “free, open, and rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region”.

This “free, open, and rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region,” is how the US regularly refers to US primacy in Asia throughout policy papersdiplomatic statements, and even political speeches.

It is obvious that “military aid” can in no way compete with massive investments by China aimed at spurring national development through tangible infrastructure projects.

America’s inability to compete openly and on equal economic footing has given way to political interference and even the use of violence.

Sri Lanka’s Crisis Linked to US-Driven Crisis in Myanmar 

In Myanmar, the US is documented to have supported ethnic violence for years. The US all but installed current “State Counsellor” Aung San Suu Kyi into power along with her political party – the National League for Democracy (NLD) lined top to bottom with US State Department-funded “activists.

Despite the liberal facade constructed by the Western media around Suu Kyi, her political party, and factions supporting both – rampant bigotry and racism pervades all three.

Simultaneously, US-funded fronts posing as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have worked to co-opt and wield Rohingya communities as an equal but opposing political weapon while US-allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar have begun radicalizing and arming factions within Rohingya communities to carry out armed violence across Rakhine state.

The resulting conflagration affords the US and its partners a pretext to intervene on an ever expanding scale – giving Washington access to and leverage over Myanmar to counter Beijing’s growing influence.

And in precisely the same way the US has inserted itself into the heart of Myanmar’s political affairs – it is attempting to do so again in other Asian nations – including now Sri Lanka.

Articles from across the Western media including the UK Independent’s 2018 article titled, “Violent Buddhist extremists are targeting Muslims in Sri Lanka,” even establish direct links between Myanmar’s and Sri Lanka’s growing conflicts.
The article would admit (emphasis added):

Currently, Sri Lanka’s most active Buddhist extremist group is Bodu Bala Sena (Buddhist power force, or BBS). BBS entered politics in 2012 with a Buddhist-nationalist ideology and agenda, its leaders claiming that Sri Lankans had become immoral and turned away from Buddhism. And whom does it blame? Sri Lankan Muslims.

BBS’s rhetoric takes its cue from other populist anti-Muslim movements around the globe, claiming that Muslims are “taking over” the country thanks to a high birth rate. It also accuses Muslim organisations of funding international terrorism with money from Halal-certified food industries. These aren’t just empty words; in 2014, one of their anti-Muslim protest rallies in the southern town of Aluthgama ended with the death of four Muslims.

BBS also has links to Myanmar’s extremist 969 movement. Led by nationalist monk Ashin Wirathu, who calls himself the “Burmese Bin Laden”, it is notorious for its hardline rhetoric against the Rohingya Muslim community.

The West’s use of “Islamophobia” to sell its serial wars of aggression and to divide nations around the globe is a classic example of “divide and conquer.

While the West no longer possesses any real means to “conquer” the nations it is now targeting – it does possess the capacity to use resulting divisions to destroy them. If the US cannot hold primacy over Asia – no one will. It is a “War on Peace” waged under the guise of a “War on Terrorism.”

Sri Lanka appears to be but the latest victim of Washington’s now trademark “slash and burn” foreign policy – where it is fueling conflict to consume political orders that oppose its interests, and building upon the ashes ones that do serve them instead.

In the coming days, weeks, and months – not only will more information emerge linking the recent attacks in Sri Lanka to Washington, Riyadh, and Doha’s global network of terrorism – but additional pressure will also be mounted upon Sri Lanka to divest from Beijing and pivot back toward the West.

In reality – Sri Lanka’s violence is an artificial construct carried out by a tiny minority of extremists on either side of an equally artificial ethnoreligious divide. The nation and the region must unite in purpose – as peace and stability benefit them all – while chaos benefits only a handful of waning interests from afar.

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Tony Cartalucci is Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially 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

 Last night (April 25th) I gave a talk on some of what I had seen in Venezuela, March-April, sharing photos and clips–with an emphasis of allowing people to hear voices our media generally silences or pretends don’t exist.

In Q & A, the issue of discrimination and racism in Venezuela was raised. This eloquent Venezuelan musician replied to the question so articulately, and disturbingly, that I asked him to re-address it on camera after the event.

Do listen to his words not only on the racism that still exists (not only in Venezuela but in media portrayal of Venezuelans), that in the 80s there actually was a crisis, unlike today, and that the people won’t let their revolution end.

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Excerpts:

“In 1999, for the 1st time every in any country in South America, a law was passed to not discriminate against people of colour. People that never had a voice now have one and will never give it up again. You can go to the remotest area in my country and everybody can read. Everybody knows their rights and knows that their voice counts.”

“In Venezuela, its a racism that’s very alive, but hidden under class status. When you come to Canada, you just don’t see Venezuelans that look like me, at all. Or even if you go to the States, anywhere you go, you’re not gonna see Venezuelans that look like me.”

“What the Canadian public, the American public and the international community are watching is a huge Hollywood show.”

“I have a challenge for anyone in the opposition to simply answer one question: What would they do different? What is their plan? If they’re planning to go back to those great old days (sarcasm), the people are not having it. Two million militias, old people, young people, everybody knows what the United States is doing. My mother is 70, she’s about to join the militia!”

Eva Bartlett is a Canadian independent journalist and activist. She has spent years on the ground covering conflict zones in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Palestine. She is a recipient of the International Journalism Award for International Reporting. Eva recently returned from a visit to Venezuela. She will be speaking in Hamilton on Monday April 29th.

Visit her personal blog, In Gaza, and support her work on Patreon.

Read Eva Bartlett’s Articles on Global Research

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Author’s Note and Update

The following article first published in February 2007 focusses on the history of war planning: The “War on Iran” has been on the drawing board of the Pentagon since the mid-1990s under US Central Command’s (USCENTCOM) “Strategy of Dual Containment’  directed against “the Rogue States of Iraq and Iran” formulated during the Clinton administration. 

“First Iraq, then Iran”: The stockpiling and deployment of advanced weapons systems directed against Iran started in the immediate wake of the 2003 bombing and invasion of Iraq. From the outset, these war plans were led by the US, in liaison with NATO and Israel.

Following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration identified Iran and Syria as the next stage of “the road map to war”.  

Under the Trump administration, a US Attack on Iran is currently contemplated with the support of Israel and Saudi Arabia. The US design is to incite its Middle East allies “to threaten Iran on behalf of Washington”.

The article reviews the details of a leaked secret 2003 plan and scenario of a war on Iran entitled “Theater Iran Near Term” (TIRANNT). 

This Pentagon blueprint had identified several thousand targets inside Iran as part of a “Shock and Awe” Blitzkrieg. In all likelihood, these targets are still on the drawing board of the Pentagon.  

Economic Warfare vs. The Military Option

In recent developments, US sanctions against Iran have gone into high gear. Washington’s strategy is to “Force Iranian Oil Exports to Zero” with a view destabilizing Iran’s national economy. Formulated by Mike Pompeo:

“The goal of the policy is to drive up the costs of Iran’s malign behavior and more strongly address the broad range of threats to peace and security their regime presents,” according to State Department official. (quoted by WaPo). 

While the “military option” against Iran is “temporarily” on hold, a  “surprise war” on Lebanon is contemplated by Israel with the support of the US as part Washington’s broader Middle East military agenda. 

According to Elijah J. Magnier, “Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah held a private meeting this week with his top military commanders in which he warned them to prepare for a hot Summer because Israel plans to launch a surprise war against Lebanon.

How this planned “surprise war” against Lebanon will evolve is uncertain. The structure of geopolitical alliances is crucial: Turkey’s rapprochement with Iran has created an unspoken crisis within NATO which for the moment tends to undermine America’s military option against Iran. Moreover, Putin’s personal relationship with Netanyahu is also of significance. 

For US military planners, the “surprise war” on Lebanon is part of a military time-line. It constitutes a strategic stepping stone for war on Iran. 

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, April 27, 2019

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Code named by US military planners as TIRANNT,  “Theater Iran Near Term” has identified several thousand targets inside Iran as part of a “Shock and Awe” Blitzkrieg, which is now in its final planning stages.

According to the Kuwait-based Arab Times, an attack on Iran under TIRANNT could occur any time between late February and the end of April. This assessment, however, does not take into account the disarray of US ground forces in Iraq as well as the untimely withdrawal of several thousand British troops from the Iraq war theater, many of whom were stationed in Southern Iraq on the immediate border with Iran.

Revealed last April by William Arkin, a former US intelligence analyst, writing in the Washington Post, TIRANNT was first established in May 2003, following the invasion of Iraq.

“In early 2003, even as U.S. forces were on the brink of war with Iraq, the Army had already begun conducting an analysis for a full-scale war with Iran. The analysis, called TIRANNT, for “theater Iran near term,” was coupled with a mock scenario for a Marine Corps invasion and a simulation of the Iranian missile force. U.S. and British planners conducted a Caspian Sea war game around the same time. And Bush directed the U.S. Strategic Command to draw up a global strike war plan for an attack against Iranian weapons of mass destruction. All of this will ultimately feed into a new war plan for “major combat operations” against Iran that military sources confirm now exists in draft form. [This contingency plan entitled CONPLAN 8022 would be activated in the eventuality of a Second 9/11, on the presumption that Iran would be behind it]

… Under TIRANNT, Army and U.S. Central Command planners have been examining both near-term and out-year scenarios for war with Iran, including all aspects of a major combat operation, from mobilization and deployment of forces through postwar stability operations after regime change.” (William Arkin, Washington Post, 16 April 2006)

First Iraq, then Iran

The 2003 decision to target Iran under TIRANNT should come as no surprise. It is part of the broader military roadmap. Already during the Clinton administration, US Central Command (USCENTCOM) had formulated in 1995  “in war theater plans” to invade first Iraq and then Iran.

“The broad national security interests and objectives expressed in the President’s National Security Strategy (NSS) and the Chairman’s National Military Strategy (NMS) form the foundation of the United States Central Command’s theater strategy. The NSS directs implementation of a strategy of dual containment of the rogue states of Iraq and Iran as long as those states pose a threat to U.S. interests, to other states in the region, and to their own citizens. Dual containment is designed to maintain the balance of power in the region without depending on either Iraq or Iran. USCENTCOM’s theater strategy is interest-based and threat-focused. The purpose of U.S. engagement, as espoused in the NSS, is to protect the United States’ vital interest in the region – uninterrupted, secure U.S./Allied access to Gulf oil.”

(USCENTCOM, http://www.milnet.com/milnet/pentagon/centcom/chap1/stratgic.htm#USPolicy , emphasis  added)

Consistent with CENTCOM’s 1995 “sequencing” of theater operations, the plans to target Iran were activated under TIRANNT in the immediate wake of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Confirmed by Arkin, the active component of the Iran military agenda was launched in May 2003 “when modelers and intelligence specialists pulled together the data needed for theater-level (meaning large-scale) scenario analysis for Iran.” (Arkin, op cit). In October 2003, different theater scenarios for an Iran war were contemplated:

“The US army, navy, air force and marines have all prepared battle plans and spent four years building bases and training for “Operation Iranian Freedom”. Admiral Fallon, the new head of US Central Command, has inherited computerized plans under the name TIRANNT (Theatre Iran Near Term).” (New Statesman, 19 Feb 2007)


[Former] CENTCOM Commander Admiral Fallon

Concurrently, the various parallel components of TIRANNT were put in place including the Marines “Concept of Operations”:

“The Marines, meanwhile, have not only been involved in CENTCOM’s war planning, but have been focused on their own specialty, “forcible entry.” In April 2003, the Corps published its “Concept of Operations” for a maneuver against a mock country that explores the possibility of moving forces from ship to shore against a determined enemy without establishing a beachhead first. Though the Marine Corps enemy is described only as a deeply religious revolutionary country named Karona, it is — with its Revolutionary Guards, WMD and oil wealth — unmistakably meant to be Iran.

Various scenarios involving Iran’s missile force have also been examined in another study, initiated in 2004 and known as BMD-I (ballistic missile defense — Iran). In this study, the Center for Army Analysis modeled the performance of U.S. and Iranian weapons systems to determine the number of Iranian missiles expected to leak through a coalition defense.

The day-to-day planning for dealing with Iran’s missile force falls to the U.S. Strategic Command in Omaha. In June 2004, Rumsfeld alerted the command to be prepared to implement CONPLAN 8022, a global strike plan that includes Iran. CONPLAN 8022 calls for bombers and missiles to be able to act within 12 hours of a presidential order. The new task force, sources have told me, mostly worries that if it were called upon to deliver “prompt” global strikes against certain targets in Iran under some emergency circumstances, the president might have to be told that the only option is a nuclear one. (William Arkin, Washington Post, 16 April 2006)

“Shock and Awe”

US military planning  includes specific roles to be performed by NATO and Israel in the event of an attack on Iran. The German navy is deployed formally under a UN mandate in the Eastern Mediterranean. NATO bases in Europe would also be involved.

Documented by Global Research, extensive war games were conducted since last Summer by Iran and its allies of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization,  including Russia and China. In turn, the US has conducted war games off the Iranian coastline.

The Pentagon’s Second 9/11

What is now being contemplated by Washington is an overwhelming use of military force in retaliation to Iran’s alleged non-compliance. This of course is the pretext, the justification for waging war. The Pentagon has also contemplated retaliating against Iran in the case of a second 9/11 attack:

“A third plan sets out how the military can both disrupt and respond to another major terrorist strike on the United States. It includes lengthy annexes that offer a menu of options for the military to retaliate quickly against specific terrorist groups, individuals or state sponsors depending on who is believed to be behind an attack. Another attack could create both a justification and an opportunity that is lacking today to retaliate against some known targets, according to current and former defense officials familiar with the plan.

This plan details “what terrorists or bad guys we would hit if the gloves came off. The gloves are not off,” said one official, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the subject. (emphasis added, WP 23 April 2006)

The presumption of this military document, is that a Second 911 attack “which is lacking today” would usefully create both a “justification and an opportunity” to wage war on “some known targets [Iran and Syria]”.

Civilian Targets

Press reports in the Middle East confirm that the planned air strikes are by no means limited to Iran’s nuclear facilities. Central Command Headquarters in Florida (CENTCOM) has already selected a comprehensive list of  military and civilian targets. Industrial sites, civilian infrastructure including roads, water systems, bridges,  electric power plants telecommunications towers, government buildings are part of the assumptions underlying the Blitzkrieg.  “A single raid could result in 10,000 targets being hit with warplanes flying from the US and Diego Garcia” (Gulf News, 21 Feb 2007, emphasis added)

Meanwhile, the US has been mustering support for its agenda following the holding of a regional Security Conference in the UAE.

Nuclear War

Military planners are said to favor the use of conventional weapons. The use of tactical nuclear weapons, which are now part of the Middle East war theater arsenal, are not explicitly contemplated, at least in the first round of the US sponsored Blitzkrieg. However, the fact that nuclear weapons are acknowledged as a possible choice in the conventional war theater is indicative that their use is an integral part of military planning.

In November 2004, US Strategic Command conducted a major exercise of a “global strike plan” entitled “Global Lightening”. The latter involved a simulated attack using both conventional and nuclear weapons against a “fictitious enemy” [Iran]. Following the “Global Lightening” exercise, US Strategic Command declared an advanced state of readiness.

In this context, CONPLAN is the operational plan pursuant to the Global Strike Plan. It is described as “an actual plan that the Navy and the Air Force translate into strike package for their submarines and bombers,’

CONPLAN 8022 is ‘the overall umbrella plan for sort of the pre-planned strategic scenarios involving nuclear weapons.’

‘It’s specifically focused on these new types of threats — Iran, North Korea — proliferators and potentially terrorists too,’ he said. ‘There’s nothing that says that they can’t use CONPLAN 8022 in limited scenarios against Russian and Chinese targets.’ (According to Hans Kristensen, of the Nuclear Information Project, quoted in Japanese economic News Wire, op cit)

The use of tactical nuclear weapons is contemplated under CONPLAN 8022 alongside conventional  weapons, as part of the Bush administration’s preemptive war doctrine. In May 2004, National Security Presidential Directive NSPD 35 entitled Nuclear Weapons Deployment Authorization was issued. While its contents remains classified, the presumption is that NSPD 35 pertains to the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in the Middle East war theater in compliance with CONPLAN 8022.

(For further details on the US nuclear option, see Michel Chossudovsky, Nuclear War against Iran, January 2006, The Dangers of a Middle East Nuclear War, February 2006, Is the Bush Administration Planning a Nuclear Holocaust , February 2006)

Israel in a State of Readiness

War preparations in Israel have been ongoing since late 2004. The Israeli Air Force would attack Iran’s nuclear facility at Bushehr using US as well Israeli produced bunker buster bombs. The attacks are slated to be carried out in three separate waves “with the radar and communications jamming protection being provided by U.S. Air Force AWACS and other U.S. aircraft in the area”. (See W Madsen, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/MAD410A.html

The bunker buster bombs can also be used to deliver tactical nuclear bombs. The B61-11 is the “nuclear version” of the “conventional” BLU 113. It can be delivered in much same way as the conventional bunker buster bomb.

(See Michel Chossudovsky, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO112C.html , see also http://www.thebulletin.org/article_nn.php?art_ofn=jf03norris ) .


Left: B61-11 at the Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri

According to a recent report in the London’s Sunday Times (7 January 2007): “Two Israeli air force squadrons are training to blow up an Iranian facility using low-yield nuclear “bunker-busters”, according to several Israeli military sources.”

If Iran were to respond to US-Israeli attacks in the form of targeted strikes on US military facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Gulf States, the war would escalate to the entire region. In this case, the US could retaliate in the form of “pre-emptive” nuclear attacks on Iran using bunker buster tactical nuclear war heads.

The most likely scenario is that Iran, in the logic of its own military planning, would indeed respond to the US sponsored attacks as well as deploy ground forces inside occupied Iraq.

Naval Deployment

Three strike groups including the Stennis, the Eisenhower and the Nimitz are being deployed in the Persian Gulf. According to Gulf News, “The Stennis strike group…  is now strengthening a high level of US Navy presence in the Gulf. The Stennis and the carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower, already in the region, will soon be joined by the carrier Nimitz. (Gulf News,  21 Feb 2007). According to British military sources, the US navy can put six carriers into battle at a month’s notice.


USS Nimitz and USS Dwight Eisenhower

Redeployment of US Troops 

Confirmed by military sources, some 8500 of US troops are being redeployed from US military facilities in Germany and Italy to Afghanistan and Iraq, both of which border on Iran. One assumes that they are being dispatched to the Middle East war theater in the eventuality that the air strikes will lead into a ground war with Iran.

The Pentagon, contradicting its own statements, has dismissed as “ludicrous” the press reports that the US is planning an all out attack on Iran in the “near term”.

Meanwhile, Iran has launched a three days war games entitled Eghtedar or Grandeur. These exercises which involve naval, air and ground forces are larger than those conducted last Summer. They are slated to take place in 16 out of Iran’s 30 provinces. The stated objective is to establish a state of readiness to defend Iran in the eventuality of a US attack.

Vigilant Shield 07 War Games

From September through December 2006, the US conducted a New Cold War scenario of all out war directed against Iran and its Cold war era enemies: Entitled Vigilant Shield 07, the war games are not limited to a single Middle East war theater (e.g. Iran), they also include Russia, China and North Korea.

The details of the Vigilant Shield 07 exercise scenario, is contained in a U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) briefing dated August 2006 (revealed by William Arkin in a WP article) .

The enemies are Irmingham [Iran], Nemazee [North Korea], Ruebek [Russia], Churya [China]

Details and Sequencing:

“• Road to Conflict (RTC): 11 Sep – 15 Oct 06

 – Initial Irmingham Enrichment I&W [indications and warning]
– Initial Ruebeki & Irmingham Involvement
– Ruebek I&W, PACFLT [U.S. Pacific Fleet] Sub Deployments
– Initial Nemazee ICBM [intercontinental ballistic missile] I&W
– Initial MHLD [homeland defense?] I&W
– Strategic IO [information operations (cyber warfare)] operations (Ruebek & Churya)
– Ruebek & Irmingham Conduct Joint AD [air defense] Exercise

• Phase 1 / Deployment: 4 – 8 Dec 06

 – Rogue LRA [Russian long-range aviation] w/CALCM [conventional air launched cruise missile] Launch
– Continue Monitoring Strategic Situation
– Continue Monitoring Nemazee Situation

  • Possible Nuclear Testing
• Probable ICBM Preparation

– Continue Monitoring MHLD Situation

• Five VOIs [vessels of interest]
• Churya Flagged VOI into Dutch Harbor Supports BMDS [ballistic missile defense system] Threat to Ft Greely

 – Continue Monitoring IO Activities
– Nemazee Conducts SLV [space launch vehicle] Launch – 8 Dec 06

• Phase 2 Minus 42 Days:

 • Additional Nemazee ICBM Shipments to Launch Facilities
• RMOB [Russian main operating bases] Acft Conduct LR Navigation Flights
• AS-15 [nuclear armed cruise missile] Handling at RMOBs

 – Minus 41 Days:
• Additional Nemazee ICBM Preps at Launch Pad # 2
– Minus 40 Days:
• Activity at Nemazee Nuclear Test Facilities
– Minus 35 Days:
• DOS [Department of State] Travel Warning
– Minus 30 Days:
• Ruebek LRA Deploys Acft to Anadyr & Vorkuta

• Phase 2 Minus 30 Days:

 • Growing International Condemnation of Ruebek
• Ruebek Deploys Submarines

 – Minus 20 Days:
• Nemazee Recalls Reservists
– Minus 14 Days:
• DOS Draw-down Sequencing
– Minus 13 Days:
• Ruebek Closes US Embassy in Washington DC
– Minus 11 Days:
• Nemazee Conducts Fueling of Additional ICBMs
• Ruebeki Presidential Statement on Possible US Attack

• Phase 2 Minus 10 Days:

 • POTUS Addresses Congress on War Powers Act

– Minus 6 Days:
• Ruebek President Calls “Situation Grave”
– Minus 5 Days:
• CALCM Activity at Anadyr, Vorkuta, and Tiksi
• Ruebeki SS-25 [nuclear armed mobile ICBMs] Conduct out of Garrison Deployments
• Nemazee Assembling ICBM for Probable Launch
– Minus 4 Days:
• Ruebek Closes US Embassy in Washington DC
• Ruebek Acft Conduct Outer ADIZ [air defense identification zone] Pentrations
• Mid-Air Collison w/NORAD Acft During ADIZ Penetration

• Phase 2 Minus 4 Days:

 • Nemazee ICBM Launch Azimuth Threatens US

 – Minus 3 Days:
• NATO Diplomatic Efforts Fail to Diffuse Crisis
• USAMB to Ruebek Recalled for Consultation
• POTUS Addresses Nation
– Minus 2 Days:
• Nemazee Leadership Movement
– Minus 1 Day:
• Ruebek Expels US Mission

• Phase 2 / Execution: 10 – 14 Dec 06

 – Pre-Attack I & W
– Imminent Terrorist Attack on Pentagon Suggests Pentagon COOP [continuity of operations plan]
– Nemazee Conducts 2 x ICBM Combat Launches Against United States
– Ruebek Conducts Limited Strategic Attack on United States
• Wave 1 – 8 x Bear H Defense Suppression w/CALCM
• Wave 2 – Limited ICBM & SLBM Attack
– 2 x ICBM Launched (1 impacts CMOC [Cheyenne Mountain], 1 malfunctions)
– 2 x SLBM Launched Pierside (1 impacts SITE-R [“Raven Rock” bunker on the Maryland-Pennsylvania border], 1 malfunctions)
– 3 x Bear H from Dispersal Bases w/ALCM (Eielson AFB, CANR, Cold Lake)
– US Conducts Limited Retaliatory Attack on Ruebek
• 1 x ICBM C2 Facility
• 1 x ICBM Against ICBM Launch Location
• Phase 2 / Execution:
– Ruebek Prepares Additional Attack on United States
• Wave 3 – Prepares for Additional Strategic Attacks
– 1 x ICBM Movement, NO Launch
– 3 x SLBM PACFLT Pierside Missile Handling Activity (NO Launch)
– 6 x BEAR H (launch & RTB [return to base]) w/6 x ALCM (NO launch)”  [source Northern Command and William Arkin]

Complacency of Western Public Opinion

The complacency of Western public opinion (including the US anti-war movement) is disturbing. No concern has been expressed at the political level as to the likely consequences of  these attacks, which could evolve towards a World War III scenario, with Russia and China siding with Iran.

With the exception of the Middle East, the war on Iran and the dangers of escalation are not considered “front page news.”  All of which contributes to the real possibility that the war could be carried out, leading to the unthinkable: a nuclear holocaust over a large part of the Middle East. It should be noted that a nuclear nighmare would occur even if nuclear weapons are not used. The bombing of Iran’s nuclear facitlities using conventional weapons would contribute to unleashing a Chernobyl type disaster with extensive radioactive fallout.


Michel Chossudovsky
is the author of the international best America’s “War on Terrorism”  Second Edition, Global Research, 2005. He is Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Center for Research on Globalization. 

To order Chossudovsky’s book  America’s “War on Terrorism”, click here

Note: Readers are welcome to cross-post this article with a view to spreading the word and warning people of the dangers of a broader Middle East war. Please indicate the source and copyright note.

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Turkey’s planned purchase of Russia’s S-400s has created a serious crisis within NATO and might lead to the Mideast country’s de-facto departure from the bloc

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Turkish-American ties have been seriously strained over the past few years since the US started arming Syrian-based Kurdish fighters that Ankara considers to be terrorists and the Mideast country’s officials strongly implied that Washington had a hand in the failed summer 2016 coup attempt against President Erdogan.

It’s little wonder then that Turkey began to reorient itself eastward towards Russia and plans to purchase the S-400s, seeing as how this air defense system could neutralize any prospective threat emanating either from the American Air Force or possibly even an American-backed Kurdish one that might one day take shape in northeastern Syria.

Russia’s “military diplomacy” seeks to maintain the balance of power everywhere in the world in order to facilitate diplomatic solutions to seemingly intractable conflicts, which in this context could see Turkey improving its defenses to the point of strengthening its negotiating hand with the US over the coup and Kurdish issues that lay at the heart of their “security dilemma”. Moscow also knows that the sale of high-level equipment such as the S-400s precedes the establishment of long-term military-to-military partnerships that could facilitate the recipient’s embrace of multipolarity as it seeks to step away from the US’ unipolar-controlled sphere of influence.

Such transitions take time for logistical and other reasons, but the process might accelerate in the Turkish case after the US threatened to exclude its nominal NATO partner from the F-35 program, which in turn prompted unnamed Turkish defense officials to reportedly claim that their country can just turn to Russia for replacements instead. In the event that Turkey’s purchase of the S-400s leads to the US carrying through on its F-35 threats and Ankara reactively reaches out to Russia for Sukhois or other warplanes, then the intra-NATO crisis would enter a qualitatively new and much more intense phase.

It’s not to suggest that Russia’s “military diplomacy” was aimed at deviously advancing this “master plan” all along, but just to point out the role that Moscow played in this chain of events that developed outside of its control. Had it not been for the US’ support of Syrian-based Kurdish militants and the shadowy role that it probably played in the failed 2016 coup attempt, then Turkey’s trust in its decades-long partner wouldn’t have deteriorated to the point where Ankara felt compelled to reach out to Washington’s rivals in Moscow in order to ensure its national security needs, something that Russia was eager to assist it with.

Turkey is rapidly developing its mutually beneficial strategic partnership with Russia, which serves the grand strategic interests of both multipolar Great Powers. This new Russian-Turkish relationship has greatly stabilized the military situation in Syria and holds the promise of improving the prospects of a political solution to the long-running conflict there, even if it’s still somewhat imperfect and some kinks remain to be worked out. Nevertheless, Russia obtains a reliable partner with enormous commercial market potential while Turkey receives reliable energy supplies from a country with impressive military-technology capabilities that it’s more than willing to export.

As for the US, it doubly loses because one of its main geostrategic rivals has successfully “poached” one of Washington’s top Mideast allies as a result of America’s reckless regional policies that got it into this mess in the first place. The US and Turkey will still try to retain some degree of pragmatic relations on issues of shared interest, but the partnership will never be the same again unless President Erdogan and the ruling AKP are deposed of and a vehemently pro-American replacement rises to power, which appears unlikely for the time being but nevertheless can’t be ruled out.

Going forward, the odds are that Turkey won’t be formally removed from NATO because no such mechanism exists but will instead probably be de-facto isolated from most of the bloc’s working activities, especially those related to intelligence sharing and joint military exercises. The US can’t take the risk of unraveling the military alliance on which so much of its European influence depends, no matter how divided and ineffective it is in practice, so indefinitely putting Turkey in “time-out” is the most realistic option available to it for mitigating the strategic fallout of Ankara switching sides as a result of Moscow’s “military diplomacy”.

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This article was originally published on InfoRos.

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.

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The Karma of Empire

April 26th, 2019 by Philip A Farruggio

As one flows into the ‘senior years’ questions never really asked become prevalent. Why are we here, or what does this so called ‘life’ mean?

Setting aside those who feel that the earth and this 3rd dimensional life was created strictly by random, this writer still holds dear to an afterlife. If then in fact there is another dimension beyond this ‘veil of dreams’, as the eastern philosophies teach, then there must be some sort of order to all of this.

If there is an order, then, to quote from the New Testament “What we sow so shall we reap.” When the Judeo- Christian religions preach “The Lord said vengeance is mine” to this writer that may translate into Karma. Webster’s dictionary defines Karma as ‘The force created by a person’s actions that some people believe causes good or bad things to happen to that person.’

Look for a moment at the Karma our own nation has experienced. When we were first a nation look how we exterminated many of the Native American population, taking their lands as we destroyed them.

Now, generations later, as many of them still reside on reservations, Karma gave them the ownership of gambling casinos nationwide. Not a great trade off, but a move in the right direction metaphysically. Look at how our young nation ramrodded, via the bullsh**t of Manifest Destiny, our way to take the territories of Mexico: Texas, California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. The Karmic consequences of this are evident, as we continue to have the undocumented living and working in those states and many others. The whole ‘border wall’ is a testament to the heights of hypocrisy: Keeping the descendents of the very people we stole from OUT of what was rightfully theirs! How about the whole racial divide issue that has polarized our nation since its inception? This was fermented by the institution of slavery. Let’s be truthful here. Many white Americans, especially those of the far right way of thinking, hate having Afro-Americans live nearby, when it was the elders of white America that wanted them here in the first place: to slave for them!

Karma can be an international thing folks. Look at the terrible problem of refugees coming into Europe and parts of the Middle East. Well, a grade school kid should be able to comprehend the fact of why there are millions of Iraqis, Afghans, Libyans and Syrians coming into the NATO countries for safe haven.

Duh, if Bush Jr., Obama and now Trump did not make pre-emptive war upon those nations, with help of course from our ‘Coalition’ allies in Europe, there would be NO refugee crisis to such a great extent. You bomb the hell out of a weaker nation, destroy its infrastructure and culture, and then occupy it (or attempt to) and you have chaos! Between the aforementioned refugee crisis and our upcoming financial crisis here (right around the corner, sadly) the cost of phony wars will bankrupt us! How few of my fellow citizens even focus on all this. That is the real Karma.

You know, people in my Italian American neighborhood of Brooklyn always had the saying, when someone got screwed around: “What goes around comes around.” Well, I pray that my fellow Americans finally see the light and stop this madness of empire.

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Philip A Farruggio is the contributing editor for The Greanville Post. He is also frequently posted on Global Research, Nation of Change, World News Trust and Off Guardian sites. He is the son and grandson of Brooklyn NYC longshoremen and a graduate of Brooklyn College, class of 1974. Since the 2000 election debacle Philip has written over 300 columns on the Military Industrial Empire and other facets of life in an upside down America. He is also host of the ‘It’s the Empire… Stupid’ radio show, co produced by Chuck Gregory. Philip can be reached at [email protected].

Reuters quoted “deep state” sources as reporting that the US will accelerate its diplomatic drawdown in Afghanistan, with this breaking news coming on the same day as its representatives met with their Russian and Chinese counterparts in Moscow to discuss the future of the Taliban peace talks, making it very unlikely that the timing of this possible downscaling is coincidental and adding credence to the theory that it might instead be the result of a backroom deal clinched during Thursday’s summit.

A Quid-Pro-Quo?

Reuters just released an exclusive article quoting “deep state” sources who report that the US Secretary of State will accelerate his country’s diplomatic drawdown in Afghanistan by dramatically moving up the timeline for halving its number of diplomats in the war-torn country. The outlet’s insiders say that the process will start at the end of next month instead of sometime next year like was originally planned, with this news breaking on the same day as the US, Russia, and China met in Moscow to discuss the future of the Taliban peace talks. The author’s piece earlier this week about this event predicted that some backroom deals will be clinched during this event, and while it can only be speculated what this reported move might have been made in exchange for, it nevertheless appears to be the first possible outcome of that summit.

Sour Grapes

Trump’s “deep state” opponents are already taking to the media to portray this decision as an extremely short-sighted one made by an impulsive president who’s internationally inept, a weaponized narrative that also satisfies the strategic soft power objectives of India, which has sour grapes over the US’ Taliban peace talks. Being self-excluded from this process as a result of its refusal to endorse other countries’ pragmatic peacemaking outreaches to the most powerful armed force in Afghanistan, India instead endeavors to either sabotage their plans or at the very least apply some of its “Bollywood magic” to craft the perception that the talks are a failure and disastrous for the interests of all those involved, except of course for its Pakistani rival that it wants the world to believe is manipulating the international community into doing its bidding.

India’s Interests

In actuality, however, it’s India that’s the real manipulator because its RAW intelligence agency is doing all that it can to keep the US in Afghanistan, including through its efforts to provoke a domestic public outcry against Trump’s policies as a means of pressuring him “from below” ahead of the 2020 elections. Peace in Afghanistan doesn’t suit Indian interests because the South Asian state regards the landlocked country as providing it with “strategic depth” vis-a-vis Pakistan and functioning as a sanctuary for RAW-backed Baloch and TTP terrorists to receive training prior to the attacks that they’re ordered by their overseers to carry out as part of the Hybrid War on CPEC. An American withdrawal, or even a large-scale military-diplomatic drawdown, would greatly hinder India’s ability to wage its proxy war against Pakistan.

Simultaneous Signals

That’s exactly what seems to be in the works, however, since this report would represent a huge policy shift in American strategic planning if it’s true, one that might presumably be due to some kind of backroom deal being reached during the latest round of the Moscow peace talks seeing as how the news broke on the exact same day. Provided that there’s some truth to it, then the US would be sending simultaneous signals to the Taliban and Kabul; the armed group should see that Washington is negotiating in good faith and therefore reconsider its reluctance to talk with Kabul, while the “government” should understand that its days are numbered and that it’s better for them to begin immediately making political concessions to the Taliban before it’s too late. Both of these messages, it should be said, would be extremely disturbing for Indian strategists.

“Keep America Great”!

From the looks of it, the US might indeed be planning to “cut and run” from Afghanistan by sometime next year so that Trump can use the withdrawal (whether it be a full one by that time or just a drastic drawdown) as proof that he’s fulfilling his campaign pledge to “Make America Great Again” by saving it billions of dollars every year on its most costly war ever so that voters re-elect him to “Keep America Great”. The US President keenly understands that his Afghan policy might be the key to winning the heated 2020 elections, which might be why he’s clinching whatever pragmatic deals he needs to with all relevant stakeholders in order to obtain the optics of a major foreign policy victory that might guarantee him a victory at next year’s polls.

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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.

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“The question is not are we going to fail.  The question is how?”  Stephen Jenkinson, author and storyteller.

Water, glaciers, oceans, food, forests and fires – all of these things are part of global warming under the magnifying glass of Dahr Jamail in his book The End of Ice.

Jamail is a first class hunter-gatherer of information.  It is not just finding and reading scientific papers.  It is climbing the mountains; it is meeting with and listening to the indigenous people living on the edge of disaster; it is walking in the forests, swimming in the coral reefs, and doing this in the company of those experts and scientists who have watched, recorded and wept over the changes for many years, choosing their place and staying there, knowing it will all be destroyed.

Each place he visited, each conversation he had with the experts on that place produced startling facts that should be, but aren’t, trumpeted by the media, taught in schools, thrust down the throats of the climate change sceptics.  And here is the message that the many scientists he spoke to stress: everything is happening much faster than predicted, and certainly much, much faster than you would know if you depend on your television, daily paper or politicians for information.

The book explores some of the hits the earth is already suffering through climate disruption and what that is leading to.  And it is not just a few changes here and there.

It starts in the Alaskan mountains but then, for Jamail, it will always start, and end there.  From an early age he has been mesmerised by mountains.  Whether climbing them or just sitting and watching them, mountains have been central to his life.  It goes without saying that glaciers are a part of that love.

And the glaciers are melting.  No news there.  What must be faced is how rapidly they are disappearing, all over the world.  As glaciers die, so do the forests lower down the mountains.  Without glaciers the mountain slopes dry out.  With a warming climate and dry forests, massive wildfires are set to increase.

It is expected that in just a few decades the United States will have no glaciers left; Alaska is suffering more than most, only much of that is unseen, out in the wilderness.  But what is happening there is happening globally.

Startling fact 1: globally glaciers hold 69 percent of all the freshwater on the planet.  Many major rivers are fed by glaciers.  Millions of people depend on them.  What, one wonders, will happen when the Ganges runs dry?

While the brutal seal hunt on Canada’s east coast carries on, on the western side of the continent small communities struggle to find seals at all.  They have moved further north in search of cooler waters.  There have been massive die-offs of sea birds as the warming sea has killed their food.  Small coastal and island communities with subsistence cultures are breaking up.

Startling fact 2: in the summer of 2016 the water in the Gulf of Alaska “was 15ºC warmer than normal in some areas.  And it is now, over all, 5ºC above normal in both the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea, and has been all winter long.”  So said scientist Bruce Wright.

Coral reefs are extraordinarily beautiful, but they are not just there for divers and their cameras.  Just as coastal communities in the north are seeing their food supply dwindle, so island communities that depend on the fish living among the coral reefs for their food are watching the corals die and the fish disappear.

It is common knowledge that warming seas are bleaching the coral reefs.  What is not appreciated is that though corals can recover from a warming event, those events are now happening too often, too quickly for any recovery.  A marine scientist, Dr Dean Miller, considering the prediction that coral reefs will disappear by 2050, told Jamail,

I think it’s too conservative, I really do… what we are seeing now is death.

Seas are not just getting warmer, there is acidification.  This is threatening plankton, the base of the sea’s food chain.  Some plankton species are dying out while others flourish, leading to imbalance and ‘a big problem’.

Startling Fact 3: phytoplankton photosynthesis produces half, yes half, the total oxygen supply for the planet.

Jamail went to the Everglades, a unique site of global importance and not without problems.  Through human activity it has been robbed of its water and suffers from invasive species, but the real threat to come is rising sea levels.  The rest of Florida may not be far behind.  There is not a lot of high ground and most of the coast is vulnerable to ever-fiercer hurricanes and storm surges.  With a projected 6 feet of sea level rise by the end of the century, much of Florida would be under water and its fresh water aquifer would be contaminated.

But Florida is also an example of why the world is not preparing for such climate disruption.  Rick Scott, Florida’s governor until 2019, is a climate disruption denier.  He prohibited any state employee from even using the words ‘climate change’.

Jamail went to the University of Miami to meet Dr Harold Wanless who was more than blunt:

“We’ve screwed ourselves.  We have kicked the bucket.  We have gone off the cliff.”

As Wanless outlined the certain threats we are facing, Jamail wrote,

“Hearing the truth in a society steeped in various degrees of denial, I greet the bad news with relief.”

Wanless talks about the amount of heat human activity has put into the oceans, something we can’t undo.  He gives Jamail one last piece of data: in the past, atmospheric COvaried from roughly 180 to 280 parts per million (ppm).  This 100 ppm fluctuation was linked with about a 100-foot change in the sea level.

Startling Fact 4: Reacting to this information, Jamail recalled that since the Industrial Revolution, atmospheric CO2 has increased by 130 ppm.

“That is 130 feet of sea level rise that is already baked into Earth’s climate system!” he exclaimed.  Wanless nodded grimly.

And it is grim.  How do we prepare for seas taking over so much land?  How do we face it?  Can we even imagine what that will mean?

In 2015 Jamail experienced a seriously emotional and personal event (you’ll have to read the book to find out what that was), and it was this event that helped him make sense of all that he was learning and how to use that knowledge.  It is, after all, difficult to accept that all you know and love is due for demolition.

And this is his conclusion:

“I find my deepest conviction and connection to the Earth by communing with the mountains. I moved to Colorado and lived among them when I was in my early 20s, and it was there I began to deepen my relationship with them, and to really listen to them. I would hike out and just sit among the peaks, watching them for hours, and write about them in my journal. Today I know in my bones that my job is to learn to listen to them ever more deeply, and to share what they are telling us with those who are also listening.

“While western colonialist culture believes in “rights”, many indigenous cultures teach of “obligations” that we are born into: obligations to those who came before, to those who will come after, and to the Earth itself. When I orient myself around the question of what my obligations are, a deeper question immediately arises: from this moment on, knowing what is happening to the planet, to what do I devote my life?”

So he ends where he began – among the mountains.

It could be a seriously depressing read, if it wasn’t for Jamail’s determination to understand and share with us what the earth is undergoing, and his loving commitment to be with it every step of the way.  His skill in writing keeps you focused on what he has to say, and his ability to override the dire news he is recording with a compassion that sees beauty among the ruins is somehow both comforting and inspiring.  Instead of despair it gives each one of us, as individuals, direction.

We might delay disastrous climate change by ending all carbon emissions but we cannot stop it, and it will be upon us much sooner than we like to think.  But we can each choose our place on the earth, sit with it, listen to what it is trying to teach us and share the knowledge we gain.  We can support it, love it and be with it for as long as we live.  The earth needs all the devotion we can give it.

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The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption by [Jamail, Dahr]

Title: The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption

Author: Dahr Jamail

Publisher: The New Press (January 15, 2019)

Publication Date: January 22, 2019

ASIN: B079G4NJVD

Click here to order.

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War on Iran and Calling America’s Bluff

April 26th, 2019 by Pepe Escobar

The Trump administration once again has graphically demonstrated that in the young, turbulent 21st century, “international law” and “national sovereignty” already belong to the Realm of the Walking Dead.

As if a deluge of sanctions against a great deal of the planet was not enough, the latest “offer you can’t refuse” conveyed by a gangster posing as diplomat, Consul Minimus Mike Pompeo, now essentially orders the whole planet to submit to the one and only arbiter of world trade: Washington.

First the Trump administration unilaterally smashed a multinational, UN-endorsed agreement, the JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal. Now the waivers that magnanimously allowed eight nations to import oil from Iran without incurring imperial wrath in the form of sanctions will expire on May 2 and won’t be renewed.

The eight nations are a mix of Eurasian powers: China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy and Greece.

Apart from the trademark toxic cocktail of hubris, illegality, arrogance/ignorance and geopolitical/geoeconomic infantilism inbuilt in this foreign policy decision, the notion that Washington can decide who’s allowed to be an energy provider to emerging superpower China does not even qualify as laughable. Much more alarming is the fact that imposing a total embargo of Iranian oil exports is no less than an act of war.

Ultimate Neocon Wet Dream 

Those subscribing to the ultimate U.S, neocon and Zionist wet dream – regime change in Iran – may rejoice at this declaration of war. But as Professor Mohammad Marandi of the University of Tehran has elegantly argued,

 “If the Trump regime miscalculates, the house can easily come crashing down on its head.”

Reflecting the fact Tehran seems to have no illusions regarding the utter folly ahead, the Iranian leadership if provoked to a point of no return, Marandi additionally told me can get as far as “destroying everything on the other side of the Persian Gulf and chasing the U.S. out of Iraq and Afghanistan. When the U.S. escalates, Iran escalates. Now it depends on the U.S. how far things go.”

This red alert from a sensible academic perfectly dovetails with what’s happening with the structure of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) — recently branded a “terrorist organization” by the United States. In perfect symmetry, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council also branded the U.S. Central Command CENTCOM and “all the forces connected to it” as a terrorist group.

The new IRGC commander-in-chief is Brigadier General Hossein Salami, 58. Since 2009 he was the deputy of previous commander Mohamamd al-Jafari, a soft spoken but tough as nails gentleman I met in Tehran two years ago. Salami, as well as Jafari, is a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war; that is, he has actual combat experience. And Tehran sources assure me that he can be even tougher than Jafari.

Source: Consortiumnews

In tandem, IRGC Navy Commander Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri has evoked the unthinkable in terms of what might develop out of the U.S. total embargo on Iran oil exports; Tehran could block the Strait of Hormuz.

Western Oblivion 

Vast swathes of the ruling classes across the West seem to be oblivious to the reality that if Hormuz is shut down, the result will be an absolutely cataclysmic global economic depression.

Warren Buffett, among other investors, has routinely qualified the 2.5 quadrillion derivatives market as a weapon of financial mass destruction. As it stands, these derivatives are used — illegally — to drain no less than a trillion U.S. dollars a year out of the market in manipulated profits.

Considering historical precedents, Washington may eventually be able to set up a Persian Gulf of Tonkin false flag. But what next?

If Tehran were totally cornered by Washington, with no way out, the de facto nuclear option of shutting down the Strait of Hormuz would instantly cut off 25 percent of the global oil supply. Oil prices could rise to over $500 a barrel, to even $1000 a barrel. The 2.5 quadrillion of derivatives would start a chain reaction of destruction.

Unlike the shortage of credit during the 2008 financial crisis, the shortage of oil could not be made up by fiat instruments. Simply because the oil is not there. Not even Russia would be able to re-stabilize the market.

It’s an open secret in private conversations at the Harvard Club – or at Pentagon war-games for that matter – that in case of a war on Iran, the U.S. Navy would not be able to keep the Strait of Hormuz open. 

Russian SS-NX-26 Yakhont missiles — with a top speed of Mach 2.9  are lining up the Iranian northern shore of the Strait of Hormuz. There’s no way U.Saircraft carriers can defend a  barrage of Yakhont missiles.

Then there are the SS-N-22 Sunburn supersonic anti-ship missiles — already exported to China and India — flying ultra-low at 1,500 miles an hour with dodging capacity, and extremely mobile; they can be fired from a flatbed truck, and were designed to defeat the U.SAegis radar defense system.

What Will China Do?

The fullfrontal attack on Iran reveals how the Trump administration bets on breaking Eurasia integration via what would be its weakeast node; the three key nodes are China, Russia and Iran. These three actors interconnect the whole spectrum; Belt and Road Initiative; the Eurasia Economic Union; the Shanghai Cooperation Organization; the International North-South Transportation Corridor; the expansion of BRICS Plus.

So there’s no question the Russia-China strategic partnership will be watching Iran’s back. It’s no accident that the trio is among the top existential “threats” to the U.S., according to the Pentagon. Beijing knows how the U.SNavy is able to cut it off from its energy sources. And that’s why Beijing is strategically increasing imports of oil and natural gas from Russia; engineering the “escape from Malacca” also must take into account a hypothetical U.Stakeover of the Strait of Hormuz.

Coast of Oman, including Strait of Hormuz. (International Space Station photo from 2016 via Wikimedia)

Night view of coast of Oman, including Strait of Hormuz. (Intl Space Station photo via Wikimedia)

A plausible scenario involves Moscow acting to defuse the extremely volatile U.S.-Iran confrontation, with the Kremlin and the Ministry of Defense trying to persuade President Donald Trump and the Pentagon from any direct attack against the IRGC. The inevitable counterpart is the rise of covert ops, the possible staging of false flags and all manner of shady Hybrid War techniques deployed not only against the IRGC, directly and indirectly, but against Iranian interests everywhere. For all practical purposes, the U.Sand Iran are at war.

Within the framework of the larger Eurasia break-up scenario, the Trump administration does profit from Wahhabi and Zionist psychopathic hatred of Shi’ites. The “maximum pressure” on Iran counts on Jared of Arabia Kushner’s close WhatsApp pal Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) in Riyadh and MbS’s mentor in Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed, to replace the shortfall of Iranian oil in the market. Bu that’s nonsense — as quite a few wily Persian Gulf traders are adamant Riyadh won’t “absorb Iran’s market share” because the extra oil is not there.

Much of what lies ahead in the oil embargo saga depends on the reaction of assorted vassals and semi-vassals. Japan won’t have the guts to go against Washington. Turkey will put up a fight. Italy, via Salvini, will lobby for a waiver. India is very complicated; New Delhi is investing in Iran’s Chabahar port as the key hub of its own Silk Road, and closely cooperates with Tehran within the INSTC framework. Would a shameful betrayal be in the cards?

China, it goes without saying, will simply ignore Washington.

Iran will find ways to get the oil flowing because the demand won’t simply vanish with a magic wave of an American hand. It’s time for creative solutions. Why not, for instance, refuel ships in international waters, accepting gold, all sorts of cash, debit cards, bank transfers in rubles, yuan, rupees and rials — and everything bookable on a website?

Now that’s a way Iran can use its tanker fleet to make a killing. Some of the tankers could be parked in — you got it — the Strait of Hormuz, with an eye on the price at Jebel Ali in the UAE to make sure this is the real deal. Add to it a duty free for the ships crews. What’s not to like? Ship owners will save fortunes on fuel bills, and crews will get all sorts of stuff at 90 percent discount in the duty free.

And let’s see whether the EU has grown a spine  and really turbo-charge their Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) alternative payment network conceived after the Trump administration ditched the JCPOA. Because more than breaking up Eurasia integration and implementing neocon regime change, this is about the ultimate anathema; Iran is being mercilessly punished because it has bypassed the U.S. dollar on energy trade.

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Pepe Escobar, a veteran Brazilian journalist, is the correspondent-at-large for Hong Kong-based Asia Times. His latest book is “2030.” Follow him on Facebook.


150115 Long War Cover hi-res finalv2 copy3.jpg

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.

Clouds Gather Above the Middle East: War or No War?

April 26th, 2019 by Elijah J. Magnier

In recent years, Israel has proved capable of reading between the lines to assess accurately the politico-military situation in the Middle East, exploiting timely opportunities to hit targets of its enemies in Syria and Iraq. Domestic, regional and unlimited US support for far-right Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu permitted his military machine to close in on his nearby opponents in the region, i.e. Syria, Iraq, Hezbollah, and Iranian targets in Syria, at moments of weakness without triggering much of a response from their side.

Today more than ever, the possibilities of war are increasing, a war that may be triggered by Israel and the US due to the consequences of the harsh sanctions on Iran and its partner the Lebanese Hezbollah that will be certainly end up weakening the local Lebanese and Iranian economies. Moreover, and most importantly, any sign of weakness on the part of Israel’s opponents, if analysed inadequately, could push Israel to provoke Hezbollah in Lebanon and its allies to a war.

The history of Israeli aggression towards Lebanon is long. Lebanese domestic reaction to the report of last week’s meeting of the Hezbollah leadership and the analysis of the situation may yet again give wrong signals to Israel, signalling that it can attack neighbouring countries in what it perceives as a moment of weakness. However, if these signs and signals do indeed lead to war, that will certainly be devastating to Lebanon, more than the 2006 war, and most likely also destructive to Israel at a level it has not experienced since 1973.

Lebanese reaction to the prospect of a war this summer – despite the personal evaluation of Hezbollah leader who said otherwise, opposing his military commander’s assessments according to what he said during his speech – could be significant. The Lebanese people are no longer ready to pay the price of another war (after the 2006 war and the eight-years of war attempting to impose regime change on Syria).

Indeed, the popular reaction revealed many other crucial, underlying issues: the number of casualties Hezbollah has suffered and is not enthusiastic to go through the same losses; the current poor relationship between Hezbollah and the oil-rich countries which will reduce tourism and prevent any investment in reconstructing the country if it is devastated by a war initiated by Israel (as in 2006); the harsh sanctions on Iran imposing a tight budget now mostly allocated domestically, thereby limiting support to its partners overseas to cover the costs of Israeli-caused damage in case of war; the impossibility of resupplying Hezbollah with weapons at the same speed Iran was capable of between 2006 and 2018; the superiority of the Israeli war machine in inflicting  great damage on Lebanon, considered by the US and Israel as responsible as a whole for embracing Hezbollah; and the ability of Israel’s friends and allies to resupply Tel Aviv with weapons and financial support to reconstruct any heavy damage Hezbollah could inflict in the “unlikely” event of a future war. All these factors do not decrease the likelihood of a future war in the Middle East; they are portents of danger and potential escalation.

The Hezbollah leadership’s personal assessment of the “unlikelihood” of a war this summer may be correct regarding the timing because the initiative has always been in the hands of Israel. Nevertheless, every military and political leader takes into consideration the worst-case scenario. Saying otherwise or spreading optimism may serve to promote an inaccurate feeling of well-being. On the other hand, it might indeed help avoiding domestic bickering, but would also represent an evasion of tangible concerns and the prospect of an even bleaker reality. Part of Lebanese are already labouring under heavy sanctions and the US is taking every possible opportunity to increase these sanctions on Hezbollah and on its rich and generous donors and businessmen.

The report of the outline of Hezbollah’s commanders gathering with their chief was not well-received by local society. This reaction illustrates how sharply the country is divided between supporters and opponents of Hezbollah. It also indicates how powerful is the effect of local and regional media on decision makers when they attack Hezbollah and its view of current politico-military affairs- and how fragile is the alignment behind Hezbollah’s readiness to respond to any future war. And lastly, it gives a clear warning that Hezbollah supporters are not ready to accept the loss of their leader in case of war, a destiny no-on have a say in it.

These messages are read by friends of Hezbollah, its members and commanders, but also by the enemies of Hezbollah. Israel – the country responsible for initiating every single war inflicted on Lebanon – is also reading the flow of information provided unwittingly by the reaction of the population and that of Hezbollah leadership. Nevertheless, the Israeli leadership needs to consider that, if cornered, Hezbollah can empty every silo and rain down on Israel and every single missile and rocket in its possession- abandoning the “Rules of Engagement” tacitly agreed between the two parties in case of war.

Because Hezbollah will have nothing to lose in case of war, it can empty its arsenal against Israel and play its cards right to the end. The question is: even if Israel enjoys the support of the world media, financial and many militarily powerful friends, is it ready to go through a long and horrific war just to empty Hezbollah’s missiles and rocket stock? If that is the Israeli objective, its chances of success are slim. Hezbollah is part of the society and cannot be removed unless several hundred thousand people are eliminated from Lebanon, the number that represents the society protecting and part of Hezbollah. Why would the US and or Israel declare a general war when financial sanctions are much more effective at little or no cost?

Iran, Hezbollah’s main partner and ally, is headed towards the unknown. The US has announced its intention to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero, ending Iran oil waivers to US partners. Although it is virtually impossible to reach this desired and strict level of sanctions because many countries – mainly China, Iraq and Turkey – will not abide by the US’s will at this first stage, it is certain that Iran will not be capable of exporting all of its two million barrels of oil daily (Iran produces 3.45 million b/d). The US is not imposing an explicit embargo on Iran, otherwise, it would be considered an act of war and would spark an immediate warlike retaliation by Iran and its allies. The US is seeking to impose economic sanctions on the countries who buy Iranian oil, thus cornering Hezbollah’s main financier.

It is a war of strangulation that in the short and medium term is showing itself effective. Although this kind of efficient war was run in Syria on a micro level, will it work on a wider level- and what will be the reaction of Iran and its allies if cornered? A difficult question to answer today as the clouds gather above the Middle East.

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Ontario Day of Action Against Healthcare Cuts and Privatization

April 26th, 2019 by Ontario Health Coalition

Across Ontario, in more than one hundred hospitals and healthcare facilities, staff and patient advocates staged an “Health Action Day” on Tuesday April 23rd. In an unprecedented show of unity, more than 150,000 health professionals and workers and tens of thousands of patient advocates wore a sticker that said “Stop Health Privatization” and distributed leaflets warning about the Ford government’s radical healthcare restructuring plans. The Ford government has given itself unprecedented powers to order the privatization of virtually all healthcare services and leaked documents that show plans are underway to begin privatization of a range of healthcare services. The Coalition has vowed to fight to protect local healthcare services from cuts, privatization, and mergers.

The Ford government has rammed a radical health restructuring law through the Legislature in an unprecedented undemocratic process, refusing to hear from thousands who applied for hearings and sent in submissions. All amendments prohibiting privatization were voted down by the Conservatives. The new law gives the Minister of Health and the government’s appointees in the new “Super Agency” the ability to force privatization of services as well as to merge, transfer services from town to town and from provider to provider, and close down services including public hospitals, long-term care, home care, community care, mental health, primary care, palliative care, cancer care, eHealth, air ambulance, laboratories and others.

In addition, the list of healthcare cuts under the Ford government is mounting:

  • Cut OHIP+ forcing families with sick children to pay deductibles and co-payments. (June 2018)
  • Cut planned mental health funding by more than $330-million. (July 2018)
  • Cancelled all new planned overdose prevention sites. (Autumn 2018)
  • Let surge funding run out. Surge beds are now closed without replacement, despite overcrowding crisis.
  • Cut and restructured autism funding. (Winter 2018/19)
  • Set healthcare funding at less than the rate of inflation and population growth, let alone aging. This means service levels cannot keep up with population need and will force cuts/privatization. (2019 Budget)
  • Set public hospital funding at less than the rate of inflation alone. This means real dollar (inflation adjusted dollar) funding cuts and serious service cuts/privatization. (2019 Budget)
  • Cut provincial public health funding by 27% and cut public health units from 35 to 10. (2019 Budget)
  • Introduced Bill 74 which gives sweeping new powers to the Minister and Super Agency to force privatization and restructuring of the entire health system. (February/March 2019)
  • Plan to cut and restructure ambulance services, down from 59 to 10. (April 2019)
  • Plan to cut half a billion dollars in OHIP services. (April 2019)

The Health Coalition is mobilizing for a massive Healthcare rally outside the Ontario Legislature next week on Tuesday April 30 at noon. The rally is expected to draw thousands concerned about OHIP cuts, hospital cuts, privatization, mergers and centralization of healthcare services.

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Ford’s Ambulance and Public Health Cuts Come with High Costs, Reduced Services

It has been done before and it resulted in enormous costs, not savings, and it compromised services. This was the message of the Ontario Health Coalition in reaction to the growing array of healthcare services that the Doug Ford government plans to restructure and cut. The coalition released their tally of Doug Ford’s healthcare cuts to date:

  • Cut OHIP+ so families with sick children will have to seek private coverage first and pay deductibles and co-payments.
  • Cut planned mental health funding by more than $330-million.
  • Cancelled all new planned overdose prevention sites.
  • Cut funding for the dementia strategy.
  • Let surge funding run out for hospital overcrowding. Surge beds are now closed without replacement, despite overcrowding crisis.
  • Cut and restructured autism funding.
  • 2019 Budget set overall health funding at less than the rate of inflation and population growth, let alone aging. This means service levels cannot keep up with population need.
  • 2019 Budget set public hospital funding at less than the rate of inflation. This means real dollar (inflation adjusted dollar) cuts and serious service cuts.
  • 2019 Budget – cut provincial funding for public health by almost 1/3 (27%) and cut public health units from 35 to 10.
  • Introduced Bill 74 which gives sweeping new powers to the minster and Super Agency to force restructuring of the entire health system.
  • Municipalities revealed Ford government plan to cut and restructure ambulance services, down from 59 to 10.

Ambulance Cuts/Restructuring

“The current EMS system in Ontario was created by Mike Harris’ restructuring,” noted Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition. “The evidence from that round of restructuring is that costs grew dramatically post-restructuring.”

The coalition is concerned that already there are problems of slower response times in rural areas due to long travel distances, and inadequate numbers of ambulances available in urban centres due to crisis-level hospital overcrowding and paramedic costs in long offload delays. The restructuring plan does not address any of the causes of too long EMS response time, it does not ameliorate services even where there is evidence of significant need.

“Cutting and centralizing the ambulance services down to ten giant regions means that smaller rural and northern communities will be lesser priorities and risk their service levels,” she warned.

Public Health Cuts/Restructuring

“Severe cuts amounting to almost one-third of provincial funding for public health threatens vital local services including food and water safety, infectious disease tracking and prevention, immunizations, prenatal training and safety, overdose prevention, safe needle and biohazard programs and many others. The Ford government has not explained how these services are supposed to be provided for at one-third of the cost,” said Ms. Mehra.

Overall Restructuring/Cuts

The Ford government is now clearly embarking on the most aggressive and radical healthcare restructuring that Ontario has ever seen, warns the Ontario Health Coalition. The Mike Harris government hospital restructuring cost $3.9-billion, according to the Provincial Auditor General, to cut $800-million from public hospitals. It led to for-profit privatization and new user fees for an array of services. The costs were never recovered and many of the current problems that we face in healthcare can be traced back to the last two rounds of restructuring.

“Again, restructuring itself has proven to be enormously costly, taking billions of public dollars away from services to lay off healthcare staff, move buildings, rename services, create new boards, renovate buildings and so on,” concluded Ms. Mehra. “Mr. Ford has taken what Mike Harris did and is now doing it again on a more radical, more massive scale. But the public is livid about the consequences of the last two rounds of restructuring. Ford seems to be oblivious to the fact that the last restructuring siphoned billions of dollars away from patient care and led to a gutting of services particularly in medium and smaller communities across Ontario but also impacting cities negatively.”

“Mr. Ford has no mandate for any of this. Not one of the cuts and none of the plans for massive restructuring, mega-mergers and service closures and transfers was ever mentioned in the election. The public has never been consulted,” said Ms. Mehra. “Instead the government is now covering by holding invitation-only ‘engagement’ sessions with government-funded managers who cannot speak freely, and in any case are not real consultations by any normal criteria.”

The truth is that the plan to cut, restructure and privatize healthcare has been hatched in secret with a set of advisors and insiders, a number of whom have private interests and many of whom have been wrong before and bear significant responsibility for many of the problems we now face. We are planning mass protests and escalating actions in response and we demand that Mr. Ford stop his high handed undemocratic destruction of services and removal of local control over healthcare services that our communities have spent more than 100 years building.

The coalition has called for a mass rally at Queen’s Park, outside the Main Legislative Building on Tuesday, April 30 at noon.

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Are you ready to cough up $220,000 to pay your share?  One of the reasons why a day of reckoning for the U.S. economy is inevitable is because we are in way too much debt.  The 22 trillion dollar debt that the federal government has accumulated gets most of the attention, but the truth is that we would still be 50 trillion dollars in debt even if the national debt was eliminated somehow.  Today, debt levels are exploding on every level of society.  Corporate debt has more than doubled since the last financial crisis, U.S. consumers are more than 13 trillion dollars in debt, and state and local governments are piling up debt as if tomorrow will never come.  According to a Federal Reserve chart that you can find right here, the total amount of debt in the U.S. financial system has now reached an astounding 72 trillion dollars.

My father was a math teacher for many years, and so I like numbers.

I divided $72,000,000,000,000 by the current population of the United States (Google says it is 327.2 million), and I discovered that it breaks down to more than $220,000 for every man, woman and child in the entire country.

So if you have a family of four, your share of all this debt is $880,000.

This debt bubble has been growing much, much faster than the overall economy for a very long time.  When Ronald Reagan took office the total amount of debt in our system was less than 5 trillion dollars, and when George W. Bush took office the total amount of debt in our system was just over 29 trillion dollars.

Just prior to the last financial crisis we surpassed the 54 trillion dollar mark, and so since that time we have added nearly 18 trillion dollars to our total.

Of course all of this debt will never actually be paid off.  The only thing left to do is to keep this debt bubble going for as long as possible, and the only way to do that is to keep it growing at a faster pace than the overall economy is growing.

And our financial engineers have definitely been successful in extending this Ponzi scheme for a lot longer than many of us had anticipated, but they can’t keep doing this indefinitely.

Every financial bubble in history has eventually ended, and this one will too.  I really like what Charles Hugh Smith had to say to Greg Hunter just the other day

Journalist and book author Charles Hugh Smith says the next market crash and recession will unfold like the bursting of the 2000 Dotcom bubble. Smith explains, “The bubble popped or deflated not for any crisis, but simply because there was too much debt, too much leverage, too much euphoria and unrealistic valuations. I think we are seeing that now in stocks, housing and a lot of other assets around the world. The valuations just exceed what makes financial sense. . . . And remember, we are at the longest expansion in history. It’s over 10 years, and the average expansion lasts 5, 6 or 7 years. So, this expansion is pretty long in tooth. . . . You will get a slowdown, and that is a self-reinforcing feedback loop. Once people stop buying houses and once people stop buying cars . . . then you are going to get people being laid off, less people being able to afford to eat out, and then you get a self-reinforcing recession. It’s not a crisis, but like an erosion because everybody is kind of tapped out.”

In the end, nobody can “fix” our system, because our debt-based financial system was fundamentally flawed when it was designed.  This is something that I have repeatedly pointed out, but unfortunately most Americans still don’t seem to understand this very basic concept.

If you have a financial system that is literally designed to endlessly create more debt, more money and more inflation, then you are living in a “bubble economy”.

And a “bubble economy” can seem fine as long as the bubble is inflating and economic activity seems to be humming along, but when things start to go bad they can go really, really bad very rapidly.

Individually, there is very little that we can do about our national debt, state and local government debt or corporate debt.  We can try to vote people into office that want to do the right thing, but unfortunately fiscal responsibility and financial reform are not hot button political issues right now.

But what we can do is get our own financial houses in order.  Now is not the time to take on more debt, and paying off any debt that you have already accumulated would be a very good thing.  This is something that Mac Slavo commented on in one of his recent articles

The real truth that no one seems to want to hear, is that those who took out these loans signed on the line and voluntarily entered into a contract.  If they didn’t understand the contract, it’s their responsibility (a big scary word) to ask or seek clarity before the agreement is made and signed. That’s called personal responsibility for your actions.  However, it’s lacking all over the globe, but particularly in the United States where people are always looking to blame others for their poor decisions that they themselves have made. “Blame the rich for my decision to go into debt and agree to bad terms!”

The debt crisis the U.S. has found itself in could very well cause another recession such as the one that started in 2008. This is exactly why personal wealth gurus such as Dave Ramsey andFuture Money Trends‘ James Davis tell people to avoid debt if at all possible. Doing so will protect you when others start to default on their loans.  You can’t default if you haven’t borrowed money. It also won’t matter what type of predatory loans exist if people aren’t borrowing that money. Personal responsibility could help lead to more freedom. If people are not free to make bad decisions as well as good decisions, people are not free.

As for the nation as a whole, we can only hope that there is as much time as possible before the inevitable implosion comes.

For decades we have been making exceedingly foolish decisions, and the consequences of those decisions are going to be exceedingly painful indeed.

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US-backed Saudi Regime Beheads 37 Political Prisoners

April 26th, 2019 by Bill Van Auken

The monarchical dictatorship of Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday that it had carried out another killing spree, publicly executing 37 people in the cities of Riyadh, Medina and Mecca, as well as in central Qassim Province and in the kingdom’s Eastern Province.

One of the headless corpses was then crucified and left hanging in public as a hideous warning to anyone who would even contemplate opposing the absolute power of the ruling royal family.

The regime announced that those who were brought into public squares to be decapitated with swords had been punished “for adopting terrorist and extremist thinking and for forming terrorist cells to corrupt and destabilize security.”

In Saudi Arabia, an antiterrorism law adopted in 2017 defines as a “terrorist” anyone “disturbing public order,” “shaking the security of the community and the stability of the State” or “exposing its national unity to danger.” The law essentially provides the death penalty for anyone daring to criticize the Saudi monarchy or its de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Under bin Salman, the Trump administration’s closest ally in the Arab world, the number of executions has doubled. While last year, the regime beheaded 149 people, it has already chopped off the heads of 105 people in 2019.

It is known that at least 33 of the 37 put to death this week were Saudi Shias. In the case of 14 of them, their alleged “crimes” stemmed from the mass protests that swept Saudi Arabia’s predominantly Shiite Eastern Province in 2011, expressing popular demands for democratic reforms and an end to the discrimination and oppression of the Shiite population at the hands of a Sunni monarchy, whose rule is bound up with the official, state-sponsored religious doctrine of Wahhabism, an ultraconservative Sunni sect.

Another 11 were accused of spying for Iran.

None of these individuals were allowed to speak to lawyers during investigations that were carried out by means of torture. They were denied visits from their families and kept in solitary confinement during these ordeals, and were sentenced to death in sham mass trials that lacked even a modicum of due process.

The barbaric mass state murders carried out by the regime in Riyadh constituted a calculated political act driven by both domestic and international objectives. Its immediate aim is to intimidate the Shia minority, which constitutes approximately 15 percent of the population and is concentrated in the Eastern Province, a key oil-producing region.

At least three of those put to death were minors at the time of their alleged offenses, making their executions a flagrant violation of international law barring the death penalty for children.

Abdulkarim al-Hawaj, was 16 when he was arrested and charged with participating in demonstrations and using social media to incite opposition to the monarchy. He also was alleged to have helped make banners with slogans denouncing the regime. He was convicted based on a confession extracted through torture, including electric shocks and being held with his hands chained above his head.

Salman Qureish was arrested just after his 18th birthday for alleged crimes that took place when he was a juvenile. Denied his basic legal rights, he was sentenced to death in a mass trial.

Mujtaba al-Sweikat (image on the right) was 17 when he was arrested at King Fahd International Airport, grabbed as he prepared to board a plane to the United States to begin life as a student at Western Michigan University. He was severely tortured and beaten, including on the soles of his feet, until he provided his torturers with a confession.

The faculty at Western Michigan University issued a statement in 2017 in response to the news of al-Sweikat’s imprisonment:

“As academics and teachers, we take pride in defending the rights of all people, wherever they may be in the world, to speak freely and debate openly without hindrance or fear. We publicly declare our support for Mujtaba’a and the 13 others facing imminent execution. No one should face beheading for expressing beliefs in public protests.

“Mujtaba’a showed great promise as an applicant for English language and pre-finance studies. He was arrested at the airport gates as he readied to board a plane to visit our campus. We were unaware that at the moment we were ready to welcome him, he was locked away, beaten and tortured and made to ‘confess’ to acts for which he was condemned to death.”

The Saudi regime, headed by its de facto ruler Prince Mohammed bin Salman, ignored this protest along with others from United Nations and human rights organizations, convinced that it enjoys absolute impunity based upon the support it enjoys from Washington.

The bloodbath organized by the Saudi regime on Tuesday was the largest since 2016, when it beheaded 47 men in a single day, including the prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqral-Nimr, a leading spokesman for Saudi Arabia’s oppressed Shiite minority. The state killings touched off angry protests in the region, including in Tehran, where crowds stormed the Saudi embassy. The furor was seized upon by Riyadh as the pretext for breaking diplomatic relations with Tehran and escalating its anti-Iranian campaign throughout the Middle East.

Since then, relentless repression in the Eastern Province has been joined with the near-genocidal war that is being waged by Saudi-led forces against Yemen, claiming the lives of at least 80,000 Yemenis and leaving more than 24 million people—80 per cent of the population—in need of humanitarian assistance, many of them on the brink of starvation.

The Sunni monarchy views the rise of the Houthi rebels in Yemen as a potential threat to its own internal situation, fearing that it could inspire the oppressed Shia population to revolt.

The main responsibility for the crimes of the Saudi regime rests with its principal patron, US imperialism. The savage monarchy in Saudi Arabia, with its public beheadings, is not merely some remnant of feudal backwardness. It is rather the direct product of US imperialist intervention in the Middle East, from the concessions secured by Texaco and Standard Oil in the 1930s and 1940s to the current massive arms sales that make the Saudi monarchy today’s number one customer of the US military-industrial complex.

Washington has responded to the mass beheadings in Saudi Arabia with a deafening silence. While the day before the beheadings were announced, the State Department issued a statement in connection with its severe tightening of punishing sanctions against Iran, demanding that it “respect the rights of its people,” there was no such appeal to Riyadh, much less any condemnation of minors having their heads chopped off in public squares.

The Pentagon and the CIA are full partners in the Saudi monarchy’s repression at home, just as the US has provided the bombs and targeting information, along with the midair refueling of Saudi bombers, that have made possible the criminal war against Yemen.

While the savage state murder and dismemberment of the dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the monarchy’s consulate in Istanbul last October touched off a brief flurry of recriminations against Saudi Arabia, this heinous crime has largely been forgotten.

While Riyadh is going through the motions of a trial of 15 state officials charged with carrying out the gruesome killing, no action is being taken against Crown Prince bin Salman, who ordered the killing, or his senior adviser, Saud al-Qahtani, who reportedly supervised the torture, murder and dismemberment of Khashoggi via a Skype connection from Riyadh.

Barely a year ago, Crown Prince bin Salman was feted as a “reformer” by the US government, Harvard and MIT, as well as a host of US billionaires, from Bill Gates to Jeff Bezos and Oprah Winfrey.

With the media’s attention to the Khashoggi murder grown cold, this myth is once again being revived, even in the face of the mass beheadings. The day after the executions, top Wall Street financiers took the stage with regime representatives at a financial conference sponsored by the monarchy in Riyadh.

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, HSBC CEO John Flint and JPMorgan’s Chief Operating Officer Daniel Pinto were all present, along with Morgan Stanley’s Asia managing director, Chin Chou, all of them anxious to cash in on a proposed initial public offering (IPO) by its national oil giant Aramco, were in attendance.

BlackRock’s Fink brushed off a question about the mass executions, stating,

“The fact that there are issues in the press does not tell me I must run away from a place. In many cases it tells me I should run to and invest because what we are most frightened of are things that we don’t talk about.”

The executions in Saudi Arabia provide an appropriate prism for viewing the entire US policy in the Middle East. The bloodbath is a manifestation of the predatory aims pursued by US imperialism in the region. Washington’s defense of and reliance upon this ultrareactionary regime expose all of the pretexts given for successive US military interventions, from the so-called “war on terrorism” to the supposed promotion of “democracy” and “human rights.”

In the end, a US foreign policy that is founded upon a strategic alliance with the House of Saud will inevitably prove to be a house of cards that will come crashing down with the revival of the class struggle in the Middle East, the United States and internationally.

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Featured image is from Deccan Chronicle

Video: “Managing Russia’s Dissolution”

April 26th, 2019 by South Front

At the start of the year, on January 9, The Hill, a leading US political newspaper, as if setting the year’s agenda put out an article entitled “Managing Russia’s dissolution”. The article reviews the measures needed to dismantle Russia and instigate civil conflicts on the territory of Eurasia. The author, Bugajski, describes Russia as “a declining state that disguises its internal infirmities with external offensives”. He further claims that “Russia is heading toward fragmentation” under “rising social, ethnic and regional pressures” and simultaneously blamed the federal government both for failing “to develop into a nation state with a strong ethnic or civic identity” and for working to centralize control over the regions.

The article continues with speculations that “regions such as Sakha and Magadan in the far east, with their substantial mineral wealth, could be successful states without Moscow’s exploitation” and that “emerging states will benefit from forging closer economic and political contacts with neighboring countries rather than depending on Moscow”. Siberia and Russia’s far east are also named among the regions that “will become” separated from the center “thus encouraging demands for secession and sovereignty”.

“Washington needs to return to the core principles that accompanied the collapse of the Soviet Union by supporting democratization, pluralism, minority rights, genuine federalism, decentralization and regional self-determination among Russia’s disparate regions and ethnic groups.”

“Washington should promote regional and ethnic self-determination inside the Russian Federation.”

“To manage the process of dissolution and lessen the likelihood of conflict that spills over state borders, the West needs to establish links with Russia’s diverse regions and promote their peaceful transition toward statehood.”

The article openly calls on NATO and Washington to start preparations “for engaging with emerging post-Russia entities”.

“Some regions could join countries such as Finland, Ukraine, China and Japan, from whom Moscow has forcefully appropriated territories in the past. Other republics in the North Caucasus, Middle Volga, Siberia and the far east could become fully independent states and forge relations with China, Japan, the U.S. and Europe.”

Bugajski’s ideas are not new at all. Globalist think tanks have been advancing the same for decades.

Mud-slinging in order to undermine Russian statehood aims at fueling radicalism, nationalism and regionalism. It has wave-like behavior. The previous wave targeted pretty much the same regions: the North Caucasus, Middle Volga, Siberia and the Far East. The tricks and methods employed don’t change. The only difference between them is geographical location and the names of the ethnic groups to be influenced.

These approaches could be provisionally labelled the “Polish style”. This term has no links to modern Poland. We employ it only because the approaches are quite similar to the ones that were first used to fuel Polish nationalism in the 19th and 20th centuries and the same geopolitical area is affected.

The main elements of this model are:

  • Creation of a pseudo-history of a nation or ethnic group. Usually this pseudo-history is dated back to the ancient world and legendary times. This “history” is based on pseudo-historical works and research papers composed by authors unknown to the global academic community.
  • Promotion of ideas of exceptionalism among members of the nation or ethnic group. These ideas argue that the nation or ethnic group is superior to its neighbors and instigate a grotesque sense of national identity (exceptionalism based on ethnicity).
  • Creation of the myth of a historical archenemy, who has been oppressing the nation or ethnic group, often attempting to eliminate its “exceptional” culture. This historical archenemy is described as the reason for the group’s undoing and thus its poor state in the modern world. The historical archenemy can be constructed from various states existing in different periods of history but, through which a historical succession or links can be traced. For example, the Golden Horde, the  Moscow state, the Russian Empire, the USSR and the Russian Federation. The myth is actively fueled by speculation regarding historical events, which can neither be confirmed nor denied using factual data.
  • Creation and promotion of the idea of the nation as once great but now defective, where this position of greatness has been stolen from it.
  • Instigation of religious or intra-religious tensions, if the nation or ethnic group has a similar religion to that of its neighbors. The main approaches employed are:
    • Promotion and creation of religious cults, including heathen customs, which are allegedly linked to the “ancient history” of the nation or ethnic group;
    • Promotion of discords or sectarianism within the main religion of the nation. For example, for Orthodox Christianity: the Old Believers or Schismatic cults; for Islam: Sunni sects or Shia branches;
    • Instigation of religious tensions between the religion of the ethnic group and other religions of the state. For example: Islam/Christianity or Orthodox Christianity/Catholicism.
  • Promotion of myths about rich natural resources in the territory, where the ethnic group lives. Thus, if this ethnic group were to rule this area “independently”, its wealth would grow and grow. A part of this effort is propaganda against government actions concerning the use of natural resources from the territory, where this ethnic group lives. The negative impact on the ecological situation grows to nightmare proportions by the dissemination of myths about the barbaric exploitation of nature. A vivid example is the information disseminated about the alleged irreparable damage to Lake Baikal that was harmed by a plant producing bottled mineral water.
  • Instigation of territorial and intraregional economic disputes between neighboring nations or ethnic groups.
  • Discredit of everything linked with the dominating state culture, language and history. For example, bashing everything “Russian”, the creation and promotion of offensive language and terms (Russian – Vatnik), a wide spread of derogatory language and the mutilation of words, terms and names.

The previous wave of information onslaught on nations and ethnic groups of Russia was aimed at the following targets:

The Northern Caucasus. The influence was mostly aimed at the Kabardians living in the Kabardino-Balkar Republic, the Karachay-Cherkess Republic, Stavropol Krai and the Republic of Adygea. The Ossetians in the Republic of North Ossetia – Alania were also targeted. Recently the Ingushs living in the Republic of Ingushetia, Moscow and St. Petersburg were again considered as a priority goal in “the Northern Caucasus target list”.

The Southern Federal District. The main effort was to instigate nationalism, regionalism and separatism among the Cossacks, mostly in Rostov Oblast. The Cossacks are not an ethnic group. However, they are a large social group, which makes them a likely target.

The Northwestern Federal District. The goal was to instigate regional nationalism among Finno-Ugric ethnic groups. Another point of pressure was to create nationalist tendencies among the ethnic Russian population in the Republic of Karelia and Arkhangelsk Oblast in order to form a new large ethnosocial group. For example, in April, the city of Arkhangelsk experienced a series of rallies held in breach of law. This situation happened under the passive eye of regional authorities. Furthermore, the initial reaction and attitude of the regional authorities played a notable role in fueling the mood of protest. These protests, caused by a landfill site project in the nearby area, is being actively exploited by the so-called non-system opposition and “liberal media” to fuel tensions between various groups in the local population as well as the regional government.

Separate efforts were made to influence the population of Saint Petersburg, which in terms of culture is one of the most westernized cities of Russia along with Kaliningrad. There was also an attempt to instigate local separatism using the concept of Ingermanland.

The Volga region. Ethnic nationalism and religious radicalism were stirred up among the Kalmyks, Bashkirs and Tatars. Small ethnic groups and nations, often described as Russians: the Mokshas and Erzyas also became the target of foreign influence. Among small ethnic groups and nations, local nationalism can take ugly forms.

Western Siberia. The goal was to create a separate ethnic-social group describing itself as the citizens of Siberia and separating itself from the rest of Russian citizens. The main targets were the Altai Republic, Novosibirsk Oblast and the city of Novosibirsk (the capital of the Siberian Federal District). Foreign influence achieved notable successes in these areas.

Eastern Siberia. The campaign in this region was aimed mostly at Buryats and Tuvans. Yakuts were also a target.

The Far East. Local regionalism and separatism were actively fueled in Khabarovsk Krai and Primorsky Krai, especially in the cities of Khabarovsk and Vladivostok. Besides this, foreign influence is actively exploiting simultaneously both pro-Chinese intentions and the myth of the Chinese threat.

It should be noted that the article “Managing Russia’s dissolution” published by The Hill points to these same regions for further operations designed to dismantle Russia. These operations will be more dangerous than the previous ones because they will exploit the successes already achieved in some fields. For example:

  • The nationalism and religion issues in the North Caucasus;
  • the nationalism of ethnic groups in the Volga region – Bashkirs, Tatars, Erzyas, Moshkas;
  • the nationalism and regionalism of Buryats in eastern Siberia.
  • the creation of a new separate pro-western identity by a good part of the people living in the cities of Saint Petersburg and Kaliningrad, which distances them from the rest of Russia;
  • the creation of a separate ethnic-social identity in Western Siberia:

The regions have been targeted by multiple campaigns undermining and discrediting nationwide traditions and behaviors, such as  the traditional family holidays at the New Year, social events of Soviet or Old Russian origin as well as the common history of Russia.  Individualism, neoliberal attitudes and values are successfully promoted in Saint Petersburg, Kaliningrad and Western Siberia. Education is simplified and westernized. Meanwhile stakeholders describe these same tendencies to the residents of the North Caucasus, southern Russian and other regions as ugly and hostile examples of ultra-hardline or far right ideology. Local regionalism and ideological tensions are being successfully fueled.

In large, this situation has become possible due to the de-facto inaction of or even unofficial ideological protection from the authorities. If one takes a detailed look at the Russian elite, one will find that a significant part of it consists of westernized adherents of the “liberal democratic order” while another part consists of representatives of national family clans. Many of these individuals do not associate themselves with the common population and consider the territory of Russia only as a source which can increase their personal wealth. The term “new aristocracy”, which has recently  spread in Russian media, initially appeared as a proud self-designation among Russian elite families emphasizing the exceptionality of their members.

Nonetheless, supporters of Bugajski’s ideas do not consider the aforementioned tendencies alone as sufficient to dismantle Russian statehood. While on the regional level they have achieved some results, the identified nationwide goals have not been accomplished. The system of Russia has not yet come close to an imbalance, that is, to the condition where destructive trends are already beginning to grow on their own, without additional artificial influence. The negative tendencies so far set in motion could still be stopped and reversed. In this situation, we can expect a new wave of the information onslaught against Russia, traditionally backed by Western funds.

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The Veto tracks the evolution of the propaganda campaign waged by Western media against Syria. From Baba Amr in Homs 2011/2012 until the modern day “propaganda construct” – the NATO-member-state funded White Helmets.

It honours Russia and China’s vetoes that have consistently defended Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the UN.

George Orwell said ““The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”

Western media has been tasked with writing the history of the Syrian conflict to serve the aggressors in the US Coalition of terrorism.

As Dr Shaaban also told me:

“The US alliance and its media are focusing on our history, material history, cultural history, identity, our army. Any power that keeps you as an entire state, or any statesman that represents strength or unity will be demonized and destroyed.”

The Veto exposes the criminal intentions of Western media and it archives the progression of the propaganda war waged by the West against Syria. Syrians are writing the history of the Syrian conflict because Syria and her allies have courageously resisted the Imperialist machine.

As Rafiq has said so eloquently “ we are the Veto” and we must use it against the Industrial Media Complex in the West. Syria’s history belongs to the Syrians and Syria’s final victory must ensure that Western media is never again given the power to destroy a nation, divide its people and promote international terrorism both military and economic.

The Veto

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It seems totally implausible that the 2020 Presidential race has already reached a near fever pitch as the previously obscure Mayor of South Bend, Indiana Pete Buttigieg has taken third place in the latest polls leaving at least five US Senators in the dust – just as he delivered a well-aimed arrow with doubts that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders can beat President Trump in a general election citing that “people were refreshed by the novelty of that boldness” in 2016 but those ideas ‘are now less exciting.’

From the get-go, Mayor Pete’s candidacy appeared to fit neatly into a manufactured identity with the creation as a ‘perfect’ candidate label as if he was deliberately groomed to be totally inoffensive and politically correct; even tempered with no edge. The latest bright, shiny penny to gain prominence, Buttigieg experienced a meteoric rise in the polls raising $7 million and qualified for the June debate before he formally announced he was IN. His unparalleled success as a virtual unknown in a matter of weeks may be credited to some very effective behind-the-scenes movers n shakers willing to fund and provide the necessary organizational support to increase his credibility.

His ‘perfect’ status as a candidate has been noted with attributes carefully shaped to satisfy a wide cross-section of American voters:  he is gay, 37 years old, compares himself to JFK, is an elected municipal official, a ‘devout’ Christian and an Afghanistan war veteran with ‘executive government experience.”

Clearly, millennial Mayor Pete has had friends in high places for some time. The first news article suggesting Buttigieg as a Presidential candidate was a June, 2016 NYT article  “The First Gay President?” That article appeared two weeks after President Obama happened to swing through South Bend and before Mayor Pete ran for DNC Chair in 2017.

All of these interviews and articles occurred in 2019, many of them before he formally announced his candidacy with multiple appearances on The View, Morning Joe, CNN, MSNBC, CBS and other outlets:  Morning Joe, The View, Bill Maher, ABC with George Stephanopoulos, Fox News with Chris Wallace, Rachel Maddow, Tonight Show with Jimmie Fallon, CBS Sunday MorningMTP Daily on MSNBC, The Ellen Show, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,  The Van Jones ShowBuzzfeedNPRVice News, TMZ Live, The Breakfast Club, Vox News with Ezra Klein,  CNN Town Hall,  Late Night with Seth Meyers as well as assorted print media articles including but not limited to three New Yorker features,  multiple Washington Post and NY Times articles, a New York magazine article, NBC NewsThe Hill, USA Today, The Economist, The Daily Beast, Business Insider, NewsweekThe Financial Times, PeopleRolling StoneEsquireSlate and Vogue magazines.

In addition, Buttigieg participated in the American Jewish Committee tour of Israel in 2018; prior to publicly announcing his presidential aspirations, and then received an endorsement from the former AIPAC President Steve Grossman. Mayor Pete has since repudiated Rep. Omar’s comments regarding Israel.

So how exactly does a previously unknown mayor from Indiana, who has not yet announced his candidacy or staffed up for a national campaign, warrant that kind of first rate attention from prominent media outlets and why would they be willing to provide that level of air time worth millions and millions of advertising dollars?  Clearly, this intensity of media exposure, within weeks of each other, does not occur overnight or spontaneously or coincidentally without some high level sophisticated orchestration; high powered people with connections.

As the benefits of a well coordinated media campaign dramatically increased the Mayor’s identity and political viability, it especially encouraged two dozen of the big Democratic money elite to link up with the Mayor to schedule a series of fund raising events.  These are many of the same funders who were reliable HRC and Obama financial backers.  You might say the wheels are greased.

It is easily apparent from the roster of interviews that Mayor Pete prefers to steer clear of specific policy pronouncements and focus instead on appealing personality traits.  He is a verbally facile, a political centrist with a glib smoothness and enough smarts to dodge any off-script policy discussion that might end up in the weeds.  It is fair to say that he appears clueless with a 1950’s understanding that the Empire is failing as he exhibits a confident persona trained to smile on cue; all of which makes me wonder when we will see our first AI candidate and how will we recognize that machine when it appears?

While Buttigieg has touted his military background as an Afghanistan ‘war veteran’ including the claim that he has “more military experience than I think anybody to  go into that office since GHW Bush,” he is vague about the details which he says remains classified.

Here’s the background:  He enlisted as a Navy Reservist in 2009 and served until 2017 as a Navy Intelligence officer earning the rank of Lieutenant.  In 2014, Buttigieg was deployed to Afghanistan for six months as part of the Operation Enduring Freedom shutdown in December, 2014.  He was assigned as an ‘individual augmentee” in what appears to have been a desk job in Kabul with a “counterterrorism organization called the Afghan Threat Finance Cell” whose “mission is to protect the homeland and target the most dangerous drug trafficking organizations in Afghanistan.

Given his short time in Afghanistan, Buttigieg’s experience may not measure up to what the public thinks of when they hear someone self-described as an Afghan “war veteran.”  In addition, someone might let the Mayor know that JFK was a bona fide ‘war hero’ which I know to be true because my mother’s cousin served on PT109.

The Mayor may be surprised to discover that Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has been a Major in the Army Reserve  for fifteen years, served two tours in Iraq with a medical unit and not only has a higher rank but also served more time out of country.

Buttigieg made a ‘coming out’ statement as a homosexual in 2015 at the age of 33 soon after his return from Afghanistan. In a recent Slate article, he was referred to as a ‘finely tuned gaydar” with limited identification as a gay man and not particularly integrated into the gay community.  While his status is mentioned in almost all interviews, he does not wrap himself in gayness as a seminal issue but rather as a matter-of-fact life experience more akin to an upper class, establishment ethic.  His recent comment that “people like me get strung up in Iran” establishes the underlying message justifying gay support for a war against Iran.

It is audacious of Buttigieg to not wait four years on his way to the top until you cogitate on one possible scenario and this scenario may apply not just to Buttigieg:  it is reasonable to expect that most of the twenty or so other candidates would be more than content to take the second spot as the Democratic Vice Presidential candidate – and it is speculated that either Biden or Bernie will be at the top of the ticket as the Democratic candidate for President,   The reality is that both are well into their 70’s which may or may not be a factor regarding their longevity in the Oval Office – which makes the Vice Presidential selection of more critical importance than ever.

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Renee Parsons has been a member of the ACLU’s Florida State Board of Directors and president of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, an environmental lobbyist for Friends of the Earth and staff member of the US House of Representatives in Washington DC. She can be found on Twitter @reneedove31

Less than two years ago, the Ukraine’s parliament (Verkhovna Rada) voted to outlaw the St George’s Ribbon, an emblem often worn to commemorate those who liberated the Soviet Union from Hitler’s rule. Up to seven million Ukrainian infantrymen comprised part of the Red Army during their struggle against Nazi Germany, as Hitler was finally broken in the east.

By winter 1943, the once apparently indestructible Wehrmacht was spinning on its tail, their officers with their heads turning about westward, as they gradually retreated towards the German frontiers. Come the spring of 1945, about 2.5 million dead Ukrainian soldiers lay strewn across central and eastern Europe, many of their bodies never to be recovered.

The decision by an increasingly far-right Ukrainian parliament to ban remembrance symbols which commemorate those who fought against the Third Reich is, therefore, a desecration of their memory. It is an attempt to wash over that awful suffering the Ukrainian state endured during the Nazi occupation, with Hitler outlining plans to turn the country into a servile colony of Germanic dominion.

Over elapsing time from the February 2014 US-instituted “pro-democracy revolution”, an ever expanding group of neo-Nazis has been elected to office. Notable amid these menacing figures is the far-right military commander Yuriy Bereza (image on the right), an MP since November 2014 who was elected under the title “People’s Deputy of Ukraine”.

Bereza is a member of fascist-infiltrated party, People’s Front, which counts among its prominent MPs the neo-Nazi Andriy Parubiy, Chairman of the Ukrainian parliament since April 2016. In the early 1990s, Parubiy co-founded the far-right Social-National Party of Ukraine with fellow extremist Oleh Tyahnybok, that later became known as the Svoboda (Freedom) party.

When, in May 2017, a few of the Ukraine’s conscientious MPs objected to moves in banning the St George’s Ribbon, Bereza roared down from his parliamentary seat that he would like to “grab a machine gun and shoot those bast*rds”. Bereza cuts an intimidating figure. He is a tall man routinely clad in full army fatigues, with tightly-cropped hair, broad shoulders and stern expression.

Image result for Viktor Medvedchuk

In December 2018, Bereza punched in the face Nestor Shufrych, an MP with the centre-left party For Life, after the latter removed a poster from the parliamentary podium which accused wealthy Ukrainian politician, Viktor Medvedchuk (image on the left), of being a Kremlin “agent”. Medvedchuk is said to be an associate of Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Bereza is familiar with the use of arms. Since April 2014, he has held the position of Dnipro Battalion leader: A fascist-linked unit which has fought Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukrainian regions such as the Donetsk Oblast, an area which rests directly upon Russia’s south-western border, and is a mere 400 miles from Volgograd (Stalingrad). The Dnipro Battalion is subordinated to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, which among other things implements state policy.

Bereza and his regiment were involved in fighting during the autumn 2014 Battle of Ilovaisk, ending in decisive victory for the Moscow-supported Donetsk People’s Republic.

Bereza’s cause has drawn sympathy and backing from commercial media outlets like the Los Angeles Times, which wrote how his unit “survived on grass and rainwater as they braved five days of incessant sniper fire”. The LA Times also quotes Bereza and, despite a heightened risk of nuclear war, the newspaper calls for increased funding to be granted to the far-right battalions.

Over Christmas 2014, Bereza’s regiment was accused of war crimes by human rights groups, such as the deliberate starvation of Ukrainian civilians. His battalion has received more than $10 million of financial support from billionaire businessman Ihor Kolomoyskyi. There are photographs of the oligarch shaking hands amiably with Bereza in spring 2014.

Kolomoyskyi has provided critical support too for Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukraine’s president-elect, by guaranteeing him widespread exposure on television networks that the tycoon owns. Kolomoyskyi is one of the most powerful and affluent Ukrainians in the world. His corporate influence extends from the Caucasus of Eurasia to the Appalachian mountains of North America.

In a plot befitting a Hollywood film noir, Kolomoyskyi is presently under investigation by the FBI regarding claims of “ordering contract killings” and “financial crimes”, including money laundering and embezzlement. In 2016, Kolomoyskyi was accused of defrauding the Ukraine’s largest bank (PrivatBank) of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Also that year a criminal case was opened in Russia against Kolomoyskyi, purporting that he had organized the killings of civilians. He has been compelled to deny other allegations in the past relating to bribery and abduction.

Kolomoyskyi, who lived in the US for a period and retains vast business interests in states like Ohio and West Virginia, moved to Israel last September – which may well complicate a potential extradition to America, as he also possesses part Israeli citizenship.

Kolomoyskyi has bankrolled other far-right regiments fighting in eastern Ukraine, such as the Azov, Aidar and Donbas battalions. These armed groups have been cited by human rights activists for committing an array of offences, including war crimes – which have gone unpunished – like torture, abductions, possible executions, unlawful detention, sexual assault, etc.

An alarming number of neo-Nazis have indeed been elected to office in the Ukrainian parliament. Over the past five years of what the Washington Post calls “fledgling democracy”, the following fascist figures have all enjoyed work as Ukrainian MPs, and they each comprise past and current members of the neo-Nazi Svoboda party: Oleh Tyahnybok, Ihor Mosiychuk, Oleh Osukhovskyi, Yuriy Bublyk, Oleksandr Marchenko, Oleh Makhnitskyi, Andriy Ilyenko, Ruslan Koshulynskyi, Mykhailo Holovko, Yuriy Levchenko, Igor Miroshnychenko, Pavlo Kyrylenko and Eduard Leonov.

The above’s presence in the corridors of power has been almost undocumented in mass media reporting. There are other fascists receiving continued employment in the Ukrainian parliament – like Andriy Biletsky, co-founder of the now defunct white supremacist Social-National Assembly. Since late 2016, MP Biletsky has held the leadership of National Corps, a far-right party. This organization is reported to be expanding steadily with Biletsky saying last month that,

“we see how successful our movement is… Ukraine is tired of the chaos, it needs new people who will protect the country”.

Source: Euronews

For over two years from May 2014 Biletsky commanded the Azov Battalion, which enjoyed tacit Western support whilst fighting Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. Azov Battalion soldiers can be seen in photographs giving Nazi salutes, while flanked with swastikas and other symbols based on SS insignia.

More far-right individuals are holding seats like Andrey Artemenko, a Canadian citizen and MP since November 2014, who claims to be a “neo-conservative” and has membership of the fascist-led Radical Party. The Radical Party leader and MP is far-right extremist Oleh Lyashko, whose militant activities in the east of Ukraine were condemned by human rights organizations, in which he was described as “one particularly errant MP”. Lyashko has been accused in preceding months of corruption relating to “illicit enrichment”, which he denies.

Among the Radical Party MPs is the briefly above-mentioned Ihor Mosiychuk, a neo-Nazi who is a past member of both the Svoboda party and Social-National Assembly. Mosiychuk, sworn to office in November 2014, is also a journalist and editor-in-chief of the hardline newspaper Vechirnaya Vasilkov.

Serhiy Melnychuk, former leader of the Aidar Battalion, is likewise a Radical Party MP, as he has been since November 2014. Melnychuk is currently under investigation over allegations regarding a false assets declaration, while he has previously been the subject of multiple legal cases and accused of abduction. Melnychuk was stripped of his parliamentary immunity in June 2015.

There are further far-right Ukrainian MPs embedded in seemingly respectable parties like the People’s Front. Among them is Ihor Lapin, a multi-decorated militant commander who comprised part of the Aidar Battalion, which draped Nazi-style insignia over its armoured vehicles.

Holding membership of the People’s Front too is the aforementioned Parubiy, who has enjoyed trips to America and Canada, and is acquainted with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. The far-right military figure, Mykhailo Havryliuk, is himself a People’s Front member and MP, with Yuriy Bereza as stated also claiming a position in that party.

There are in addition fascists posing as “independents” in parliament such as Volodymyr Parasyuk, a former soldier in the Dnipro Battalion, commanded by Bereza. Parasyuk is a past member of the neo-Nazi party, Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists. He was elected in November 2014, and still enjoys a place as MP more than four years on. Parasyuk has a reputation for physically assaulting people he does not like, including cowardly attacks on statesman Oleksandr Vilkul and security chief Vasyl Hrytsak, kicking the latter in the head while he was seated.

Boryslav Bereza is a separate extreme right-wing independent MP, and was elected in November 2014; he is a former spokesperson for Right Sector, a fascist party, and despite his surname he is no relation to Yuriy Bereza.

Boryslav Bereza is an open admirer of the Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera, speaking warmly of his “three classic principles” in interviews. Moreover, in December 2014 Boryslav Bereza acknowledged that during the fighting in eastern Ukraine, Right Sector provided important assistance for Biletsky’s notorious Azov Battalion.

MP Dmytro Yarosh, the one-time head of Right Sector, is yet another neo-Nazi who in the past was placed on Interpol’s international wanted list, acceding to the Kremlin’s request. Since late 2014, Yarosh constitutes a Ukrainian MP, and for many years he has been leader of the Tryzub (Trident) paramilitary group, whose full title is the Stepan Bandera All-Ukrainian Organization.

In Western establishment dialogue – pertaining to regimes they support – the terms “neo-Nazi” and “fascist” have been virtually erased from official records and reporting. These unequivocal labels are instead replaced with descriptions like “ultra-conservative”, “nationalist” and “maverick”. The latter ambiguous words blur the lines of neo-Nazism and fascism, sowing seeds of doubt and confusion in the reader’s mind. A fascist now becomes an ultra-conservative or nationalist.

There are other post “revolution” MPs who have been part of fascist regiments, like Nadiya Savchenko, an Iraq War veteran and former instructor in the Aidar Battalion. Savchenko is a far-right extremist, and had been held in a Ukrainian jail for over a year until her unexpected release last week – after being suspected of planning a terrorist attack on the Ukrainian parliament building, and intending to overthrow the government. Savchenko still faces trial regarding these claims, and prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko said her departure from prison suggests that the country’s court apparatus is “gravely ill”.

In June 2014, Savchenko was arrested by Russian authorities, placed on trial, and after long deliberation was charged in March 2016 with complicity in the killing of two state journalists. President Petro Poroshenko championed Savchenko’s cause, describing her as “a symbol of the struggle for Ukraine”; and in March 2015 he awarded her the title “Hero of Ukraine”, the highest honour that can be bestowed upon a Ukrainian citizen.

Semen Semenchenko, the far-right Donbas Battalion commander, was sworn in as a Ukrainian MP in November 2014. Semenchenko’s election to parliament came weeks after his regiment was accused by a UN monitoring mission of executing war crimes on Ukrainian civilians, such as torture, beatings and sexual assault.

In September 2014, Semenchenko had arrived in Washington where he met Congress and Pentagon representatives. That same month he publicly called for US military backing, and enjoyed further visits to America later that year, while he is himself an admirer of Israel. In June 2017, an appeal was expounded against Semenchenko by former Donbas Battalion soldiers, who wanted an investigation conducted after accusing him of criminal acts.

In December 2018, Semenchenko was detained in Tbilisi, Georgia and suspected of “illegal possession and acquisition of arms”. He was not arrested due to having a diplomatic passport, and thereafter travelled by airplane to an unknown destination.

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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.

Featured image is from Crisis Group

NATO Demolishes Yugoslavia

April 26th, 2019 by Comitato No Nato No Guerra

The Following text is Section 3 of

The 70 Years of NATO: From War to War,

by the Italian Committee No War No NATO

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Documentation presented at the International Conference on the 70th Anniversary of NATO, Florence, April 7, 2019

In the course of the next two weeks, Global Research will publish the 16 sections of this important document, which will also be available as an E-book.

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Contents 

1. NATO is born from the Bomb
2. In the post-Cold War, NATO is renewed
3. NATO demolishes the Yugoslav state
4. NATO expands eastward to Russia
5. US and NATO attack Afghanistan and Iraq
6. NATO demolishes the Libyan state
7. The US/NATO war to demolish Syria
8. Israel and the Emirates in NATO
9. The US/NATO orchestration of the coup in Ukraine
10. US/NATO escalation in Europe
11.  Italy, the aircraft carrier on the war front
12. US and NATO reject the UN treaty and deploy new nuclear weapons in Europe
13. US and NATO sink the INF Treaty
14. The Western American Empire plays the war card
15. The US/NATO planetary war system
16. Exiting the war system of NATO

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1. The “new strategic concept” of NATO was put into practice in the Balkans, where the crisis of the Yugoslav Federation, due to the contrasts between the power groups and the centrifugal thrusts of the republics, had reached the breaking point.

2. In November 1990, the Congress of the United States approved the direct funding of all the new “democratic” formations of Yugoslavia, thus encouraging secessionist tendencies. In December, the parliament of the Croatian Republic, controlled by the party of Franjo Tudjman, issued a new constitution according to which Croatia is only “home of the Croats” and is sovereign over its territory. Six months later, in June 1991, in addition to Croatia, Slovenia also proclaimed its independence. Immediately afterwards, clashes between the federal army and the separatists broke out. In October, in Croatia, the Tudjman government expeled over 25,000 Serbs while its militias occupied Vukovar. The federal army responded by taking the city back. The civil war began to spread, but it could still be stopped.

3. The path that was taken was instead diametrically opposite. Germany, committed to extending its economic and political influence in the Balkan region, in December 1991, unilaterally recognized Croatia and Slovenia as independent states. As a consequence, the day after, the Serbs of Croatia proclaimed self-determination, thereby forming the Serbian Republic of Krajna. In January 1992, first the Vatican and then the Europe of the Twelve recognized Slovenia as well as Croatia. At this point, Bosnia and Herzegovina were also set on fire, which, in a small way, represented the entire range of ethnic and religious nodes of the Yugoslavian Federation.

4. The UN blue helmets, sent to Bosnia as a force of interposition between the warring factions, was deliberately deployed in insufficient numbers and without adequate means nor precise directives, ending up becoming hostages in the middle of the fighting. Everything contributed to demonstrating the “failure of the UN” and the need for NATO to take matters into its own hands. In July 1992, NATO launched the first “crisis response” operation and imposed an embargo on Yugoslavia.

5. In February 1994, NATO aircraft shot down a Serbian-Bosnian aircraft flying over Bosnia. It was the first war action since the foundation of the Alliance. With it, NATO violated Article  5 of his own constituent charter, since the war action was not motivated by the attack on an Alliance member and was carried out outside its geographical area.

6. When the fire in Bosnia was extinguished (where the fire remained under the ashes of the division in ethnic states), NATO threw petrol on the Kosovo outbreak, where a claim of independence by the Albanian majority had been underway for years. Through underground channels largely managed by the CIA, a river of arms and funding, between the end of 1998 and the beginning of 1999, went to feed the KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army), an armed wing of the Kosovo separatist movement. Albanian. CIA agents later reported that they entered Kosovo in 1998 and 1999 as OSCE observers in charge of verifying the ceasefire, providing US military training manuals and satellite phones to the UCK so that the commanders of the guerrillas could stay in touch with NATO and Washington. The KLA could thus launch an offensive against Serbian federal troops and civilians, with hundreds of attacks and abductions.

7. While the clashes between the Yugoslav and KLA forces were provoking victims on both sides, a powerful political-media campaign prepared international public opinion for the intervention of NATO, presented as the only way to stop the “ethnic cleansing” of Serbians in Kosovo. A priority target was the president of Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milosevic, accused of “ethnic cleansing”.

8. The war, called “Operation Allied Force”, began March 24, 1999. The role of Italy was decisive. The D’Alema government put the Italian territory, particularly the airports, at the disposal of the United States armed forces and other countries to implement what the prime minister called “the right of humanitarian interference”. For 78 days, taking off mainly from the Italian bases, 1,100 planes made 38,000 sorties, releasing 23,000 bombs and missiles. 75 percent of the aircraft and 90 percent of the bombs and missiles were supplied by the United States. The US was also the communication, command, control and intelligence network through which operations were conducted. “Of the 2,000 targets hit by NATO aircraft in Serbia – later documented by the Pentagon – 1,999 were chosen by US intelligence and only one by Europeans.”

9. Systematically, the bombings dismantled the structures and infrastructure of Serbia, causing victims especially among civilians. The resulting damage to health and the environment was unquantifiable. Thousands of tons of highly toxic chemicals (including dioxins and mercury) came out of the Pancevo refinery alone. Other damage was caused by the massive use of depleted uranium projectiles by NATO in Serbia and Kosovo. These projectiles had already been used in the first Gulf War.

10. 54 Italian aircraft also took part in the bombings, attacking the objectives indicated by the US command. “By number of aircraft, we were second only to the USA. Italy is a great country, and we should not be surprised at the commitment shown in this war,” stated the president of the D’Alema council during a visit on 10 June 1999 at the base of Amendola, stressing that, for the pilots who participated in it, it was “a great human and professional experience”.

11. On June 10, 1999, Yugoslavian troops began to withdraw from Kosovo, and NATO put an end to the bombings. UN Security Council Resolution 1244 provided that the international presence must have “substantial NATO participation”. “Today, NATO faces its new mission: to govern”, commented The Washington Post.

12. After the war, more than 60 FBI agents were sent to Kosovo from the United States, but no traces of such excuses were found to justify the accusation made of the Serbs of “ethnic cleansing”. Slobodan Milosevic, of the former Yugoslavia, was sentenced to 40 years imprisonment by the International Criminal Court in The Hague. He  died after five years in prison. The same court exonerated him in 2016 from the accusation of “ethnic cleansing”.

13. Kosovo, where the US installed a large military base (Camp Bondsteel), became a sort of NATO protectorate. At the same time, under the cover of the “Peace Force”, the former UCK in power terrorized and expelled over 250,000 Serbs, Roma, Jews and Albanians and branded them as collaborators. In 2008, with the self-proclamation of Kosovo as an independent state, the demolition of the Yugoslavian Federation was completed.

14. While the war against Yugoslavia was in progress, the summit that formalized the transformation of NATO was convened in Washington on April 23-25, 1999, by an alliance which, pursuant to Article 5 of the Treaty of 4 April 1949, commited member countries to assist the armed forces of a member country which is attacked in the North-Atlantic area. It was transformed into an alliance which, on the basis of the “new strategic concept” also commited member countries to “conduct crisis response operations not provided for by Article 5 outside the territory of the Alliance”. In other words, NATO was preparing to project its military force beyond its borders not only in Europe but also in other regions of the world.

15. What did not change in the mutation of NATO was the hierarchy within it. The President of the United States has always been able to appoint the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, who is still a US general, while the Allies can merely ratifying the President’s choice. The same is true for the other key commands.

16. The document that commited member countries to operate outside the Alliance, signed by European leaders on April 24, 1999 in Washington, reaffirmed that NATO “fully supports the development of the European defense identity within the Alliance”. The concept is clear: Western Europe can have its own “defense identity”, but it must remain within the Alliance, i.e. under US command.

17. The subordination of the European Union to NATO was thus confirmed and consolidated. Subordination established by the Treaty of Maastricht of 1992, which recognized the right of the EU States to be part of NATO, was defined as the foundation of the defense of the European Union.

18. By participating in the war against Yugoslavia, a country that had not taken any aggressive action against either Italy or against other NATO members, Italy confirmed that it had adopted a new military policy and, at the same time, a new foreign policy. Since this involved using military force as a tool, it violated the constitutional principle, affirmed by Article 11, that “Italy repudiates war as an instrument of offense against the freedom of other peoples and as a means of resolving international disputes”.

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Sections 4-16 of the 70 Years of NATO, From War to War, forthcoming on Global Research

This text was translated from the Italian document which was distributed to participants at the April 7 Conference. It does not include sources and references.

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Last week New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez introduced a Senate Resolution commemorating the 25th anniversary of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. It “calls on the United States and the international community to cooperate in preventing and responding to genocide and crimes against humanity in nations across the globe.”

Like the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act passed in December 2018, the Menendez resolution bolsters the “humanitarian interventionist” argument that U.S. policymakers have deployed to justify bombing, special forces and/or sanctions in Libya, Syria and now Venezuela. It describes the 1994 Rwandan Genocide as the genocide of 800,000 Rwandan Tutsis by Hutu extremists, but Canadian investigative journalist Judi Rever’s “In Praise of Blood: Crimes of the Rwandan Patriotic Front” is just one of the latest books that upends that version of events.

Those previously published books include “Rwanda and the New Scramble for Africa: From Tragedy to Useful Imperial Fiction” by Robin Philpot, “Surviving the Slaughter: The Ordeal of a Rwandan Refugee in Zaire” by Marie Beatrice Umutesi, “Dying to Live: A Rwandan Family’s Five-Year Flight Across the Congo” by Pierre-Claver Ndacyayisenga, “How Paul Kagame Deliberately Sacrificed the Tutsi” by Jean-Marie Ngadimana, “Enduring Lies: Rwanda in the Propaganda System 20 Years On” by Ed Herman and David Peterson, and “The Accidental Genocide,” a compendium of primary-source documents compiled by former ICTR defense attorney Peter Erlinder.

Judi Rever was scheduled to speak about her book at Tarrant County College in Hurst, Texas, on April 1, but some Rwandans in the U.S. protested, calling her a genocide denier. Rwandan war and genocide survivor Claude Gatebuke published a counter-argument headlined “Tarrant Community College: Why Author Judi Rever’s Scheduled Presentation Must Go Ahead” in the Black Star News, and the talk went ahead, despite a few protestors wearing t-shirts accusing her of genocide denial.

Kagame’s Rwanda has a longstanding alliance with Netanyahu’s Israel based on their constant equation of the Nazi Holocaust and the Rwandan Genocide, but these two tragedies were in fact not at all similar. The Jews did not invade Germany or any other European nation. They did not seize territory or wage a four-year war. They did not seize state power at the end of a war. The European Jews who perished in the Holocaust were a minority driven to concentration camps and murdered en masse by xenophobic white Christian supremacists.

The Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) led by Gen. Paul Kagame was in fact a division of the Ugandan Army, and it did invade Rwanda on Oct. 1, 1990. It did wage a four-year war against the Rwandan Army and the civilian population, 85 percent of whom were Hutu. They massacred hundreds of thousands of Rwandan Hutus before seizing power in Kigali on July 4, 1994. So who’s denying genocide?

Hutu and Tutsi genocide

Judi Rever, in “In Praise of Blood: Crimes of the Rwandan Patriotic Front,” did not deny the Tutsi Genocide in which hundreds of thousands of Rwandan Tutsis died between April 6 and July 4, 1994. Nor do any of the other aforementioned authors. They instead add the history and documentation of the Hutu Genocide committed by the Tutsi army before, during and after the Tutsi Genocide in Rwanda.

Rever’s book implicates Gen. Paul Kagame and his Tutsi army in the massacres of both Hutu and Tutsi people.

“Kagame did not stop the genocide,” she told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., “because at the same time that ethnic Tutsis were being killed in Hutu-controlled zones, his Tutsi troops were killing with equal zeal and organization. And in every zone that Kagame’s army entered and controlled, they killed Hutus massively.”

Not only that, Rever writes, Kagame’s army also fueled the genocide against the Tutsi. They infiltrated the Hutu militias very successfully. This is not only well-documented by Rever but is also wholly credible because Hutus and Tutsis are Rwandans who speak the same language, share the same culture, and even marry one another, although the Hutu and Tutsi identity are patrilineal. The sons and daughters of a Tutsi father are Tutsi, the sons and daughters of a Hutu father are Hutu, regardless of their appearance.

According to Rever, the Tutsi infiltrators of Hutu militias baited the violence; they egged it on, and some of their commandos even participated in the slaughter of some Tutsis at roadblocks. Why? Because Kagame and his inner circle knew that the massacre of the Tutsi would later provide an excuse for the dictatorship by the Tutsi minority who would then be able to claim victim status.

That is why the Rwandan government and its supporters encourage the world to believe that the genocide was a Tutsi genocide only and that it occurred in 90 days, between April 6 and July 4, 1994. They would rather no one dwell on the four-year war during which the Tutsi army massacred Hutus, or the ensuing wars in the Democratic Republic of the Congo when Kagame’s army chased and massacred hundreds of thousands of Hutus fleeing across the Congo and caused the death of millions of Congolese as well.

Rever provides documentary evidence from testimony of defectors from Kagame’s Tutsi army, many of whom said that they fueled the genocide against the Tutsis and committed a genocide against the Hutu as well.

In an interview with the CBC, Rever said:

“At least 500,000 Hutus were killed by Kagame’s troops during the genocide and in the months after the genocide. Now, some people have said that figure could be as high as a million.

“The killing in RPF controlled zones was not investigated. And I point out that Human Rights Watch was on the ground after the genocide and didn’t fully investigate the areas that Kagame controlled.

“So, number one, there’s a problem with the human rights organizations that were there.

“Number two, the journalists who were there during the genocide had a very hard time figuring out what was going on at first. And when they did go into RPF zones, they were under RPF escort.

“Number three, we had an incredible campaign of propaganda going on that started with an NGO called African Rights. And they basically primed world opinion and journalistic opinion on what happened during the genocide.

“And this was an organization that, we have learned, was a front organization for the RPF, for Kagame’s political party. This was an organization that received funding from the government, from Kagame’s government, afterwards. And so we’re able to look at how they did research, then how that research from African Rights was absorbed and regurgitated by even Human Rights Watch and by journalists worldwide.”

Western powers, including Canada, the U.K., and the U.S. have sustained that propaganda campaign for 25 years and made it a centerpiece of their “humanitarian” interventionist argument. Now the Senate resolution introduced by New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez continues what Judi Rever calls their “praise of blood.”

Rever writes:

“It seemed that the RPF could now commit crimes out in the open and still receive billions of dollars in aid. And Kagame could continue to receive human rights awards despite these murders, the Spanish indictment and Amnesty’s reports – buoyed by propaganda and protected by powerful friends in the West.

“What were these Western allies supporting? From the point of view of the RPF’s victims, it all seemed to be in praise of blood, an endorsement of mass murder.”

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This article was originally published on San Francisco Bay View.

Ann Garrison is an independent journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2014, she received the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for her reporting on conflict in the African Great Lakes region. She can be reached at [email protected]. She is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

After 19 years since a part of the international community, under the auspices of NATO and the US, took control over the Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija, following two ethnic pogroms of the Serbs and non-Albanians occurred in 1999 and in 2004, which resulted in ethnic cleansing of around 250 000 Serbs and other non Albanians, the rest of Serbian population still survive in ghettos across the territory of self-proclaimed independent Republic of Kosovo.

The Self proclaimed Republic of Kosovo, as a creation of the USA/NATO joint aggression against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999, and as a final stage in the destruction of Yugoslavia by the abovementioned actors, still represents the only place in Europe where particular ethnic minorities survive in real ghettos, often known as enclaves. This “privilege” of living in ghettos is exclusively reserved for the Serbs, Romani people (Gypsies) and for other ethnic/religious minorities of Serbian origin.

People in these enclaves survive without having guaranteed basic human rights such as personal freedom and security. Serbian children must be transported to their schools in a UN armoured vehicles under protection of UN military personnel, without such a protection Serbs would be stoned to death by their Albanian coevals.

Image on the right: Serbian child with Serbian priest greeting journalists behind barbed wire on a property of Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo and Metohija

Serbs and other non-Albanians survive in extreme poverty often without basic living conditions such as electricity, heating, potable water and sanitary water, the only income they have is a 50 euros per month paid to them by the Serbian Government. Some of them still live in half-destroyed/burnt houses without walls, windows and doors. Their farms are confiscated by local Albanians and they cannot cultivate their own fields nor cut the wood for the heating.  Serbian enclaves, churches and monasteries are constantly surrounded by barbed wire, they can leave these ghettos only under UN escort, otherwise they risk to be eliminated by their Albanian neighbours. Those Serbs who live in a cities/towns/villages with Albanian majority, they cannot even leave their households, they can only move within the limits of a Serbian households. Those who must cultivate their farms or graze their cattle outside of their households, they risk of being killed once they leave their safe ghettos. Every day Serbs are beaten, stoned, attacked, sometimes even raped and killed by Albanian neighbours  across Kosovo and Metohija, the local police ignores and hushes up any crime or act of violence committed against Serbs.

The US and the EU strongly support the independence of Republic of Kosovo, in violation of international law, while  forcing Serbia to recognize the de jure independence of Kosovo in return for EU membership.

Following the strategy of systematic discrimination, humiliation and ambiguousness towards Serbs, the US and its Western allies, are regularly complimenting Kosovo’s “respect” for human and minority rights.

All current and past crimes against Serbs are systematically “erased” by Kosovo’s authorities under the patronage of international community.

During 1998 and 1999 the terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) committed thousands of brutal murders of Serbs, Albanians, Gypsies and dozens of foreign citizens. Several thousand Serbian civilians were kidnapped and transferred to secure locations in Kosovo and Metohija and in Albania for blood and organ trafficking.

Yugoslavian authorities have identified dozens of improvised mini-laboratories across Kosovo and Metohija where KLA was collecting the blood from kidnapped Serbs (on average they were taking 2,5 liters of blood from one adult). The main centers for the collection of the organs from kidnapped victims were located in Albania: camps were stationed in Kukes, Elbasan, Fljora, Drac and Tirana.

Authorities of the Republic of Albania were also involved in this disgusting crime, including former Albanian prime ministers Sali Berisha and Fatos Nano, Bernard Kouchner, French Foreign Affairs Minister and former head of UNMIK. Other involved parties included Hashim Thachi (former KLA Commander who became president of Kosvo), Halim Omer Osmani and Ramus Haradinaj.

Additionally, some highly ranking international officials from KFOR and UNMIK were also involved and representatives of some international humanitarian organizations. After the UN Mission in Kosovo collected evidence from the field and sent it to the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, the evidence was intentionally destroyed by the Tribunal in order to hush up the crimes of this joint venture. Carla Del Ponte, former Chief Prosecutor of the ICTY, was removed from her post, soon after she revealed the story about organ trafficking of the kidnapped Serbs in Kosovo during the 1998/1999.

Image below: Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija pilgrimaging at Serbian Orthodox Christian Monastery surrounded by barbed wire

Reports on organized crime in Kosovo made by UN intelligence and other Western intelligence agencies are being also hidden from the public by the governments of the most powerful countries because their governments were also involved in creation of Kosovo’s independence, including the creation, arming and training of the KLA, a terrorist entity. Yugoslav Intelligence agencies discovered that KLA terrorists were trained by NATO personnel in 1996/1997/1998 at different military camps across Europe and the USA (e.g. Atlantic Brigade) in Germany and even in “neutral” Switzerland, then the terrorists were sent directly to Albania to join the existing forces which consisted of NATO trained terrorists (some of them were members of Al-Qaeda), foreign mercenaries and regular Albanian Army of the Republic of Albania.

Image below: Serbs living in extreme poverty in Kosovo and Metohija, a brother with two sisters, living in a family house burnt by Albanians during the ethnic cleansing, the house is without roof, windows, doors, sanitary, toilet… just a bare walls 

Kosovo’s authorities together with its majority Albanian population are intentionally destroying  the evidence of Serbian cultural and historical presence in this holly Serbian land.

Serbian churches (Orthodox Christian) are intentionally turned into public toilets, church properties are being confiscated, Serbian graves are being mined and turned into parking lots.

The majority of the private property in Kosovo is still legally in a possession of  the Serbs, but most of the properties are confiscated by local Albanians and Kosovo’s government. The total number of Serbian returnees in Kosovo is around 1% of the number of those who are expelled during the ethnic cleansing in 1999 and 2004. Renovated houses of Serbian returnees are being constantly destroyed by local Albanians. Kosovo’s government and its Western sponsors are undermining the return of Serbs to their homes, because if the Serbs would return to Kosovo and Metohija, they would strengthen the Serbian population and thus make Serbian sovereignty more powerful, which is contrary to the American, EU and Kosovo’s plans of achieving full de jure independence of this criminal entity.

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All images in this article are from the author; featured image: “Yellow house” near the city of Burelj in the north of Albania, the location where organs from kidnapped Serbs were taken, confirmed by forensic investigation done by UN Mission in Kosovo, the collected evidence was intentionally destroyed later at the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia in The Hague.

Muslim or Christian Religion in the UK?

April 25th, 2019 by Richard Galustian

On the 23rd April, many of us marked Saint George’s Day, an occasion to reflect on our history, it being ‘the feast day of Saint George’ as celebrated by the majority of England’s Christian Churches and by the several nations, kingdoms, countries, and cities of which Saint George is the patron of England including even certain regions of Portugal and Spain.

Saint George’s Day is also known as ‘the Feast of Saint George’.

In a letter published to the Daily Telegraph of London written by a Mark Hudson of Ashford, Kent, he very rightly pointed out that it was understandable that “British architects of secularism”, the most guilty of whom always was and has been Tony Blair, were concerned about the then Prime Minister David Cameron’s claim that Britain is a Christian country and that the reappearance of Christianity in public life would be very inconvenient for them though they admit that Britain is constitutionally Christian.

Mr. Hudson further pointed out that

“The Coronation service and the Coronation oath are shot through with Christian beliefs and values, without which they would make no sense. So is that other great pillar of our liberties: the Magna Carta. Parliament convenes with prayer, and bishops of the Church of England sit in the House of Lords. National and civic occasions are marked by Christian ceremonies, and the calendar remains unabashedly Christian.”

Her Majesty the Queen has in the past explained her role as ‘Defender of the Faith’, and having an established Church in the Church of England, meant that the freedom of everyone to practise their faith as they wished was protected.

However, how corrupted by Arab money, have successive British governments been, both Labour and Conservative?

Particularly money from Islamic extremist and subversive groups such as The Muslim Brotherhood, notably via their main benefactor, the tiny island State of Qatar?

Instead of pontificating at length on all the common sense reasons why what you are reading its fact, its existence, is wrong, all that needs be said is that the vast majority of British people will think this revelation is abhorrent.

But the fact is historic buildings such as Admiralty House and at least four other Whitehall buildings are now operating in accordance with Sharia rules – including a ban on alcohol.

These properties must comply with some aspects of Sharia under the terms of special bonds known as ‘sukuk’, announced by then Chancellor George Osborne, two years ago, with minimal publicity, when the UK became the first Western country to issue them.

What is also not commonly known is more than £200m of Sharia compliant ‘sukuk’ bonds have been sold to Muslim investors in the UK and to major Islamic finance centres in the Middle East and Asia.

Under Sharia law, charging interest, or usury, is forbidden. So to allow Islamic investors to receive rent, the ‘sukuk’ bonds pay them the rental income on certain buildings instead. Semantics about the words ‘financial interest payments’.

One newspaper that did report it, two years ago, the MailOnline stated merely that certain landmark Whitehall buildings were now owned by people bent on enforcing Sharia law in our Country.

Andrew Bridgen, the Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire has been quoted as saying: “I do find it unbelievable government buildings are governed by Sharia law. I don’t see the bars as being an essential part of Parliament but it’s the principle that matters. Most of our constituents will be absolutely amazed that the principle could ever have been authorised.”

A British Muslim Sharia Committee (Source: author)

The Government buildings in question, those known about, are Richmond House, and Wellington House.

“The sukuk is issued under, and governed by, English law which applies at all times.” a spokesman for the UK Treasury commented.

Other than banning alcohol use in such buildings, it is unclear which other aspects of Sharia are being adhered to by the managers of the buildings concerned, but a government source further added it had been agreed that serving pork in Richmond House would not affect the Sharia compliance of the sukuk.

“Alcohol being served hasn’t arisen, as you would expect for a government building,” a spokesperson added.

In January, The Times reported that a plan to relocate MPs to Richmond House to allow refurbishment work at Westminster was meeting resistance because Richmond House was ‘dry’ under the terms of the sukuk agreement.

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Russiagate: Post-mortem

April 25th, 2019 by Andrew Korybko

It’s finally official — Trump and his team didn’t “collude” with Russia like the Democrats and their supporters incessantly claimed for nearly the past three years. Positive coverage of candidate Trump’s promising foreign policy platform by Russian international media and truthful reporting about Clinton’s aggressive one don’t amount to “hacking” an election, nor do some internet researchers from Russia supposedly sharing some political memes on Facebook. It’s now been revealed that Russiagate was one long series of hoaxes designed to discredit Trump and pave the way for his impeachment after it first failed to stop him from winning the presidency. Like the American leader himself has said on several occasions already, Russiagate was an unconstitutional coup attempt against the country’s democratically elected leadership, which deserves to be analyzed more in depth.

Russia, and specifically President Putin, were presented as the ultimate global bogeyman after Crimea’s 2014 reunification and Moscow’s 2015 anti-terrorist military intervention in Syria changed the balance of power around the world and unquestionably ushered in the multipolar era after two and a half decades of American unipolarity. It was therefore thought by the ruling anti-Trump faction of the US’ permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) at the time that they could easily convince the electorate to vote against the seemingly “anti-systemic” political insurgent by implying that he’s a “Russian puppet” and then later, after that didn’t work, manufacturing so-called “evidence” purporting to prove this through unverified fake news claims designed to defame him.

According to the Mueller report and taking its findings at face value, it does indeed appear as though there was some factual basis to several of the claims, but that the events themselves that were manipulatively spun as “collusion” by the “deep state’s” media surrogates were actually nothing of the sort. Take for example the “Track II” diplomatic outreaches that former campaign advisor George Papadopoulos and former National Security Advisor Flynn were allegedly involved in. There’s nothing illegal, or even unethical, about them because that’s just how the world of international diplomacy actually works, yet to the unaware American who had never thought about these things or heard of them before, it might have seemed like something suspicious was really going on behind the scenes.

That wasn’t the case, but the innuendo and optics were enough to frame those events as something conspiratorial and therefore “legally” warrant an investigation, even though the argument can now convincingly be made that George Papadopoulos was set up by Joseph Mifsud (a shadowy academic who’s since disappeared) in order to create the pretext for Obama’s Clinton-allied “deep state” to spy on the Trump campaign. Once the billionaire won, his “deep state” opponents transformed from political operatives to actual coup plotters just as their strategy morphed from “proving” the “collusion” that they knew all along didn’t exist to triggering Trump into committing “obstruction of justice” so that they can dramatically take him down in a Nixonian fashion.

His “deep state” foes hate his nationalist policies that are the polar opposite of their liberal-globalist ones, and they feared his promised rapprochement with Russia would undermine the global system that they’ve been endeavoring to build since the end of the Old Cold War. This explains the obsession that they have with getting rid of him in spite of Trump actually buckling under some of this same “deep state” pressure into “modifying” his foreign policy by taking a tougher stance against Russia. Regardless, he’ll always be “public enemy number one” to them because he beat Hillary and stopped her from ascending to the presidency that she and her “deep state” backers truly believe that she was “entitled” to.

All countries have their own political scandals and this has been a mainstay of the human story since the very first political entities were created and primitive societies were formed, but what makes Russiagate so unprecedented is that it finally dispelled the greatest myth about America by proving to the world that it isn’t a “shining city on a hill” and that it’s much-touted “democratic” system isn’t “exceptional”. “Democratic proselytism”, the public excuse for “justifying” American interventions all across the world, has now been discredited, dealing an enormous self-inflicted wound to the US’ soft power from which its international reputation might never recover.

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This article was originally published on InfoRos.

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.

Labour Protest in Mexico 2019: The SITUAM Strike

April 25th, 2019 by Richard Roman

SITUAM, Sindicato Independiente de Trabajadores de la Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (Independent Union of Workers of the Metropolitan Autonomous University), is an industrially organized university union; that is, it represents scholars as well as both blue-collar and white-collar workers. The Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (UAM) is the third largest federal university1 in Mexico by size and ranks second in research projects, just below UNAM, the Mexico National Autonomous University. It has 60,000 students and 8,000 employees spread over five campuses (Azcapotzalco, Iztapalapa, Xochimilco, Cuajimalpa y Lerma) in the greater Mexico City area. 75% (6000) of its 8,000 workers are members of the union.

The union has a militant tradition, as many of its professors had been politically influenced by their participation in the massive student movement of 19682 and hired by the newly formed UAM in its first six years of existence, 1974-1980. As well, a large portion of the blue-collar workers are internal migrants from Oaxaca, Mexico’s most indigenous state, as well as from other indigenous areas of Mexico. They bring rich cultural traditions to the workplace and the union, which include a strong sense of solidarity and collective struggle.

Campaign Promise Unfulfilled, Collective Contract Violations, and Fallen Wages

The ongoing strike, which started February 1, 2019, is the longest in the history of the university, as well as the largest and most protracted strike in the first period of the government of AMLO (Andrés Manuel López Obrador), which took office on December 1, 2018. The strike of SITUAM has converged with the first major mobilizations of the dissident teachers in this new period. The teachers of Oaxaca, Michoacán, and Chiapas have carried out massive protest marches in Mexico City, as well as surrounding and disrupting the activities of the National Congress on at least four occasions since last November 20.

They are protesting the new government’s failure to fulfill its campaign promise of completely revoking the neoliberal educational reforms enacted between 2013 and 2017. They are demanding the total abrogation of these reforms, reforms aimed at building authoritarian control, typical of private companies, over public schools throughout the country. The inquisitorial evaluations of the teachers during this period led to hundreds of unjustified dismissals in what was known as the cycle of the Neoliberal Educational Reform.

The new government has promised to expand workers’ rights within a strategy of development aimed at attracting foreign investment and avoiding hostility from the U.S. government, and U.S. and Mexican business. The SITUAM strike, as well as the teachers’ mobilizations and the strike wave in the maquilas of Matamoros in the first three months of 2019, follow a long period with very few strikes, a period of pride for the Mexican government in showcasing Mexico as a business-friendly country. There were no strikes of workers under federal jurisdiction3 in the 2016-2018 period.

The union has called for an across-the-board wage increase of 20% and a solution to various violations of the collective contract. Real wages of workers have fallen by 60% since the founding of the UAM in 1974 and, in a deliberate attempt to weaken the union, the University has violated the collective contract, most importantly in the categorizing of many newly-hired workers as empleados de confianza, thus excluding them from union membership and making an end-run around the closed shop section of the collective contract. The ISSSTE (Institutode Seguridad y Servicios Sociales de los Trabajadores del Estado – Institute for Social Security and Services for State Workers) calculates that the UAM has thus hired 1,800 workers outside the Collective Contract. This managerial strategy violates both the Collective Contract and the Federal Labour Law, and the inflated salaries of these 1,800 employees absorbs 31% of the total budget of the University – almost double of that received by the 4,500 blue-collar workers of UAM.

The SITUAM strike is being watched carefully by workers and unions throughout the country as a test case of the capacity and possibilities of union militancy to break the control and wage chains of neoliberal policies. The recent strikes of Los Mineros (the miners’ and steelworkers’ union) as well as those of the maquila workers in Matamoros provide precedents in the private sector, as the workers won settlements above inflation in 2018. However, the strike of SITUAM is especially sensitive because it is the first strike of workers under federal labour jurisdiction defying the AMLO government’s “republican” austerity policy, which has defined a rigid 3.5% salary cap. The SITUAM strike challenges the tacit policy of AMLO for financing his social policy on the backs of public sector workers’ salaries and working conditions rather than increasing taxes on Mexico’s powerful rich whose contribution to the public Treasury is practically nil. Taxing big capital would break with tradition and undermine the strategy of partnership with big business for development.

The Context of the SITUAM Strike

Mexican workers form the nucleus of the largest industrial proletariat in all Latin America. They are even more numerous than the Brazilian industrial work force, a work force diminished by the severe recession of recent years. There were 4.8 million factory workers registered with the IMSS (Instituto Mexicano de Seguro Social – Mexican Social Security Institute) at the end of 2015. The ENOE (Encuesta Nacional de Ocupación y Empleo – National Survey of Occupation and Employment) estimates that if this figure included the underground industrial economy, which operates in small maquilas and home industries but is even more exploited than the formal sector workers registered with IMSS, the number of industrial workers would rise to 8.3 million.

There is also an intense migration process among industrial workers as a consequence of the wage differences between Mexico and the United States. Latina/o workers in the U.S., most of them Mexican born or of Mexican ancestry, make up almost 1 of every 6 industrial workers in the U.S., 2,488,000 of the total industrial workers in the USA. If we add the within-Mexico industrial labour force to the U.S. Latino industrial labour force, we can estimate that the Latin American industrial force in the NAFTA scenario reaches 11 million people, without including the small number of Latino industrial workers in Canada.

Given that the labour law reform of the AMLO government has as its main objective the preservation of labour peace and the containment of union action within the moderate policy of the new government, the SITUAM strike presents an awkward challenge for the AMLO government. The strike goes on as the Senate prepares to discuss the hotly debated and limited federal labour law next week. The MORENA4 majority in the Senate has shown itself to be much more independent than the Morena majority in the Chamber of Deputies, which has already approved the labour law reform.

And as May Day approaches, a day in which AMLO hopes to celebrate the marriage between his class harmony strategy and his populism, the ongoing SITUAM strike threatens to disrupt the marriage and the celebration. It’s crucial for the future of workers in Mexico and North America that Mexico’s labour-reform commitment to the new NAFTA (USMCA) does not lead to a compromise with the past undemocratic practices of Mexico but contains genuine legislative changes that return real bargaining power to workers.

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Richard Roman is the coauthor of Continental Crucible: Big Business, Workers and Unions in the Transformation of North America. He is professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Toronto.

Edur Velasco Arregui is the coauthor of Continental Crucible: Big Business, Workers and Unions in the Transformation of North America. He is the former Secretary-General of SITUAM (Sindicato Independiente de Trabajadores de la Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana), a union activist, and a professor in the Department of Law at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana in Mexico City.

Notes

  1. Federal universities are those that depend on federal funding and accept students from the whole country. State universities are those that depend on state funding.
  2. 1968 was the year of mass student protests that ended with the massacre of hundreds of students and jailing of thousands.
  3. Federal strikes refer to strikes of workers under the jurisdiction of federal labour law and federal bodies of conciliation and arbitration. They include university, oil, and railroad workers among others.
  4. MORENA (Movement for National Renovation) is the political party of AMLO and won a solid majority in both houses of Congress in the 2018 national election.

Featured image is from The Bullet

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The Renewal of NATO in the Post-Cold War Era

April 25th, 2019 by Comitato No Nato No Guerra

The Following text is Section 2  of

The 70 Years of NATO: From War to War,

by the Italian Committee No War No NATO

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Documentation presented at the International Conference on the 70th Anniversary of NATO, Florence, April 7, 2019

In the course of the next two weeks, Global Research will publish the 16 sections of this important document, which will also be available as an E-book.

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Contents 

1. NATO is born from the Bomb
2. In the post-Cold War, NATO is renewed
3. NATO demolishes the Yugoslav state
4. NATO expands eastward to Russia
5. US and NATO attack Afghanistan and Iraq
6. NATO demolishes the Libyan state
7. The US/NATO war to demolish Syria
8. Israel and the Emirates in NATO
9. The US/NATO orchestration of the coup in Ukraine
10. US/NATO escalation in Europe
11.  Italy, the aircraft carrier on the war front
12. US and NATO reject the UN treaty and deploy new nuclear weapons in Europe
13. US and NATO sink the INF Treaty
14. The Western American Empire plays the war card
15. The US/NATO planetary war system
16. Exiting the war system of NATO

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1. In the second half of the 1980s, the climate of the Cold War began to change. The first sign of thawing was the Treaty on Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF), signed in Washington on December 8, 1987, by Presidents Reagan and Gorbachev. According to the INF, the United States and the Soviet Union were to undertake to eliminate all missiles of this category, including the Pershing II and the cruise missiles deployed by the US in European NATO countries and the SS-20 deployed by the USSR in their territory. By May 1991, a total of 2,692 missiles in this category were removed.

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan signed a landmark nuclear arms control treaty in 1987. (Photo: White House Photographic Office/National Archives and Records Administration)

2. This important result was essentially due to the “disarmament offensive” launched by the Soviet Union under Gorbachev. On January 15, 1986, it proposed not only to eliminate Soviet and US intermediate range missiles, but to implement an overall program to eliminate nuclear weapons by 2000. In Washington, they knew that Gorbachev really wanted the complete elimination of these weapons, but they also knew that in the Warsaw Pact and in the Soviet Union itself a process of disintegration was taking place, a process that the United States and their allies favored by all possible means.

3. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, the Warsaw Pact dissolved in July 1991. The six central and eastern European countries that were part of it were no longer allies of the USSR. In December 1991, the Soviet Union itself dissolved. Fifteen states were formed in place of a single state. The disappearance of the USSR and its block of alliances created an entirely new geopolitical situation in the European and Central Asian regions. At the same time, the disintegration of the USSR and the deep political and economic crisis affecting the Russian Federation marked the end of the only superpower able to rival that of the United States.

4. The United States immediately took advantage of the “détente” in Europe to concentrate their forces in the strategic area of ​​the Persian Gulf, where, with a clever maneuver, they prepared the conditions to unleash what the Pentagon called “the first post-Cold War conflict, a determining event in the global leadership of the United States”. On 17 January 1991, the US launched Operation Desert Storm against the Iraqi Army – “the most intense bombing campaign in history”. Over 43 days, the US and its allies (including the Italy) used 2,800 aircraft to drop about 250,000 bombs, including cluster bombs, which issued a total of over 10 million submunitions, while flying gunships, helicopters and tanks shot over a million depleted uranium projectiles. On 23rd February, the coalition troops, comprising over half a million soldiers, launched a ground offensive, which, after a hundred hours of carnage, ended on 28th February with a “temporary ceasefire” proclaimed by President Bush.

5. NATO, while not participating as such in the Gulf War, provided the backing of all its infrastructure to coalition forces. They took part in the bombings, along with the US, British, French, Italian, Greek, Spanish, Portuguese, Belgian, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian and Canadian air forces and naval forces, while British and French forces joined US forces in the land-based offensive.

6. A new strategy, published by the White House in August 1991 called the “National Security Strategy of the United States”, was officially announced six months after the end of the Gulf War. The central concept was that “the United States remains the only state with a force, a scale and influence in every dimension – political, economic and military – truly global: there is no substitute for American leadership. Our responsibility, even in the new era, is of cardinal and inescapable importance.

7. A Pentagon document, drawn up in February 1992, clarified that “our primary objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, which poses a threat in the order of the one previously posed by the Soviet Union. The new strategy requires that we work to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would be sufficient, if tightly controlled, to generate global power. This strategy will be adopted in all ‘critical US security regions, which include Europe, East Asia, the Middle East, South-West Asia and the territory of the former Soviet Union.’ We also have important interests in Latin America, Oceania and Sub-Saharan Africa”.

8. “A key issue – the White House underlines in the National Security Strategy 1991– is how the role of America as the leader of the Alliance, and indeed our own alliances, will be influenced, especially in Europe, by the reduction of the Soviet threat. The differences between the allies will probably become more evident as the traditional security concern that brought them together at the beginning.” In other words, the European allies could make divergent choices from those of the United States, questioning the US leadership or even leaving NATO, now outdated by the new geopolitical situation. It was, therefore, of the utmost urgency for the United States to redefine not only the strategy but the role of NATO itself.

9. On November 7, 1991, the heads of state and governments of the 16 NATO countries, meeting in Rome in the Atlantic Council, launched “The new strategic concept of the Alliance”. Although on the one hand “the monolithic, massive threat that has been the main concern of the Alliance in its first forty years has disappeared,” – the document states – “the risks that remain for the Alliance’s security are multifaceted and multidirectional in nature.  The military dimension of our Alliance therefore remains an essential factor, but the new fact is that it will be more than ever at the service of a broad concept of security “. In this way, the Atlantic Alliance fundamentally redefined its role along the lines drawn up by the USA.

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Sections 3-16 of the 70 Years of NATO, From War to War, forthcoming on Global Research

This text was translated from the Italian document which was distributed to participants at the April 7 Conference. It does not include sources and references.

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The second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation is about to open in Beijing. It will take place from 25 th to 27th April, 2019. The Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to deliver the keynote address.

It is expected to be an event of tremendous proportions and importance: leaders from 37 countries will participate, including Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and President Duterte of the Philippines. Beijing will host 5,000 guests from 150 countries, as well as 90 international organizations.

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has already been reshaping the world, fundamentally. Previously at the mercy of the Western imperialist powers, their armies, propaganda apparatuses and brutal financial institutions; Africa, the Middle East, Central and Southeast Asia have suddenly discovered that they have alternatives and choices. For various parts of the world, decades and centuries of stagnation and humiliation under colonialist and post-colonialist regimes have begun to come to an end. Entire nations have been freeing themselves, realizing their great hidden potential.

All this because of BRI; because of China as well as its close ally, Russia.

Entire huge railroad projects in East Africa as well as in the once devastated Laos (devastated by the insanely brutal Western carpet-bombing campaigns, which are still called a “Secret War”) are now connecting continents. Along the railway lines, schools are growing, and so are medical facilities, community learning centers and cultural institutions.

Africa – BRI. New China-built highway

The BRI is not only about the economy, not only about infrastructure and development, it also about the well-being of the people, about the culture, health and knowledge. It is aiming at connecting people of different races, life philosophies, and beliefs.

And the rulers in the West are horrified. Nothing outrages them more than the prospect of losing absolute control over the world. For them, it is not (and never was) about improving the lives of hundreds of millions of impoverished people. They had centuries of absolute power over the planet, and all they did was to enrich themselves, murdering and robbing in all corners of the globe. For them, it is about ‘winning or losing’, about maintaining its colonies and ‘client’ states; by all means, even by the most brutal ones.

For China, (through BRI), it is all about spreading wealth everywhere. The firm belief in Beijing was and is: If the world is doing well, China will prosper, too.

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And so, in Washington and London, and in so many other centers of Western might, thousands of ‘professionals’ are now employed and busy smearing China and its most ambitious international (and internationalist) projects. Smearing and spreading nihilism is an extremely well-paid job, and for as long as China is rising and the West declining, it appears to be a permanent one. There will be no deficit when it comes to funding all those anti-Chinese ‘academic reports’, fake analyses and articles. The more of them, the better; the more ridiculous they get, the better remunerated they are.

Take this one, for instance: “Grading China’s Belt and Road”.

With all those footnotes and ‘references’, it looks professional and academic. It can impress millions of China-phobes and China-bashers in Europe and North America. Suffering from complexes of superiority and “Yellow-Peril mentality”, they are searching for, and then welcoming all vicious attacks against Beijing and its initiatives.

Look closer, and it is ‘reports’ like this that are clearly nothing more than thinly disguised propaganda work ordered by those who are aiming at discrediting China and its internationalist efforts.

In its Executive Summary, the report states:

“Since its launch in 2013, what China calls “One Belt, One Road” has emerged as the corner- stone of Beijing’s economic statecraft. Under the umbrella of the Belt and Road, Beijing seeks to promote a more connected world brought together by a web of Chinese-funded physical and digital infrastructure. The infrastructure needs in Asia and beyond are significant, but the Belt and Road is more than just an economic initiative; it is a central tool for advancing China’s geo-political ambitions. Through the economic activities bundled under the Belt and Road, Beijing is pursuing a vision of the 21stcentury defined by great power spheres of influence, state-directed economic interactions, and creeping authoritarianism.1

As Beijing prepares to host the second Belt and Road Forum in late April 2019, countries that once welcomed Chinese investment have become increasingly vocal about the downsides. This report is intended to serve as a resource for governments, corporations, journalists, and civil society groups now re-evaluating the costs and benefits of Belt and Road projects…”

In brief, it is propaganda; anti-Chinese propaganda, anti-Communist (or call it ‘anti-central-planning- propaganda).

It is also a tool for all those who are ready to criticize China, defining its marvelous efforts as a ‘debt trap’, among various other derogatory terms.

A leading academic at the University of the Philippines (U.P.), Roland G. Simbulan, agreed to analyze the origin of the CNAS report for this essay:

“The April 2019 Report “Grading China’s Belt and Road” by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) seems to be one of the latest findings and studies of American conservative think tanks which are in fact aimed at discrediting China’s economic thrusts through China-financed infrastructure, land and sea transport, investments, etc. These are China’s answer to the U.S.’ global military build-up and encirclement of its fast rising rival superpower. China is trying to avoid the mistakes of the Western powers including the U.S. and the former USSR by not engaging in a tit for tat arms race. Instead, it is answering back with its Belt Road Initiative as well as other economic and market initiatives aimed at reinforcing China’s strengths while avoiding a direct attack on where the U.S. is strongest and has more advantage: the U.S. global military forces.

It is obvious from the backgrounds of the CNAS fellows who are authors of the report that they are all connected with the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. National Security Council. The American Enterprise Institute is a quasi-U.S. federal government think tank composed of recycled officials of the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Department of State. It is also obvious that they have consolidated the economic and political reports of all the U.S. intelligence community which are coordinated by the U.S. National Security Adviser.”

And obviously, CNAS is not hiding where it stands, ideologically. It quotes such right-wing warriors as the French President, Emmanuel Macron, the International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, the Minister of Energy in the defunct and discredited Ecuadorian government, Carlos Perez, and other unsavory figures.

Roland G. Simbulan continues:

“While the CNAS Report may indeed have identified some of China’s vulnerabilities in the management of its China-funded projects which can easily merit criticism, i.e., sovereignty eroding, non-transparent, unsustainable financial burdens, locally disengaged, geopolitically risky, environmentally unsustainable, and corruption-prone), let us remember that China’s BRI was only launched in 2013. The U.S. and its Western Allies, including the multilateral institutions that they have created to assure U.S. neoliberal control of national economies since 1945 have engaged in practicing these “challenges” and dangers that it accuses China of initiating through BRI projects “for China’s geopolitical ambitions.”

These may be valid as in the case of the 10 case studies identified by the CNAS Report. But it is too soon to make conclusions in such a short time from 2013-2018. For these are also practices that have long been inflicted by the U.S. Empire and its allies since the end of World War 2 to assure economic, political and military hegemony. Unintentionally, the seven (7) challenges or dangers of China’s BRI identified by the CNAS are really challenges that are continually being inflicted by the U.S. Empire and its Western allies on weaker and smaller countries. Precisely, many countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America are turning towards alternative international institutions such as ALBA in Latin America and BRI BECAUSE of the onslaught that they have long experienced with the PAX AMERICANA i.e. the U.S. and its allies.

Can the CNAS show that their sponsors and patrons are doing better, or can do better? The best way for the U.S. to counter the Belt Road Initiative (BRI) is to show AND prove that they can offer a better deal with developing countries in need of assistance for their infrastructure and development projects.”

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Mr. Sidqy LP Suyitno, an Indonesian high government official and former State Finance and Monetary Analysis Director of the Ministry of National Development Planning, is also puzzled by some of the wording in the report. When asked about the BRI project to build the bullet train from the Indonesian capital Jakarta to its city of Bandung, he contradicted the report:

“Geopolitically Risky? It seems NOT to be. It seems more like making bilateral relations with Japan uncomfortable. The Japanese have been enjoying the benefits when it comes to relations with Indonesia, ever since Suharto’s dictatorship: the automotive industry is more like an oligopoly for Japanese cars in Indonesia. And what do we get back? We still don’t have our own car industry, our national car or our own national motorcycles production. Even though we have a very large “captive market”; in 2018, 1.1 million cars & 6.5 million motorcycles were sold in Indonesia.”

Apparently, what he is referring to, is that while Japanese car industry flooded Indonesia with its cars and badly polluting scooters, there were no benefits to the state or to the people of Indonesia. I can go much further and point out that according to my investigation, Japanese car industry corrupted the government officials in most of the Southeast Asian countries, “convincing them” not to build public transportation, instead choking both cities and the countryside with outdated models of private motor vehicles, consequently bankrupting citizens in the process.

In brief: Japan has managed to ruin Southeast Asian cities, preventing them from developing public transportation. And now should it be trusted in such places like Indonesia to develop a high-speed rail system? Indonesia, Laos and Thailand do not think they should trust Japan too much. They trust China much more. And the same goes for the Philippines. Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, when re-elected last year, stopped several high-profile projects with China, but now, it seems, has been discovering an appetite for cooperation with Beijing.

Laos – BRI project. China building high-speed train

But the report speaks (using unacademic language, suddenly) about how China poached the high speed train project from the Japanese.

Professor Mira Lubis, from Tanjungpura University in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, Indonesia, stated for this essay, her hope that BRI could improve life and environment on her devastated island:

“From what I know about BRI, I believe that its efforts would be mutually beneficial for both Indonesia and PRC. In Southeast Asia, the focus of BRI will be what could be described as the Maritime Silk Road. Indonesia is an archipelago with over 17,000 islands. Since 2014, our government is aiming at transforming Indonesia into what it calls the ‘Global Maritime Axis’. It means, developing ports and shipping lanes among other vital projects. This would be in synergy with BRI; BRI could strengthen Indonesia as a maritime power.  

My island, Borneo, is ecologically damaged. I hope that it could directly benefit from the cooperation with China and its BRI. China is at the forefront of the struggle for ecological civilization, and I believe in its wisdom. I’m optimistic that BRI might help tobring sustainable development to Borneo.”

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The CNAS report is ‘all over the place’, selectively attacking BRI and China for its involvement in Africa, South and Southeast Asia, the Middle East and South Pacific (Oceania).

In his essay “China’s road to a win-win ahead of BRI forum”published by the Asia Times, renowned Brazilian analyst Pepe Escobar wrote:

“Relentless reports that the New Silk Roads, or the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), are a perfidious neo-imperial debt trap set up by Yellow Peril 2.0 are vastly exaggerated. 

Beijing clinched a proverbial showering of BRI deals with 17 Arab nations, including Egypt, Lebanon and Oman. Not by accident, the forum this year was called Build the Belt and Road, Share Development and Prosperity. Up to 2018, 21 Arab nations had signed BRI memoranda of understanding.

These nations are not only BRI partners, but 12 of them also went for strategic partnerships with China…”

Little wonder why!

Say China or BRI in Africa, just pronounce those names, and most of the people will show great enthusiasm. Every, even the Western surveys, clearly indicate that all over the continent, people harbor extremely positive feelings forwards China.

In Kenya (where I used to live), I repeatedly heard those who were working on countless Chinese projects, repeat:

“This is the first time we are treated by the foreigners like human beings.”

Kenya – BRI. New government building in Nairobi

People in Europe and North America love to adopt ‘politically correct speech’, but words somehow do not translate into deeds. Chinese workers may sometimes be rough, but they treat Africans like brothers and sisters. They also try to compensate them as if they would be their own.

But the CNAS report only criticizes China’s involvement in Africa, while African voices are rarely allowed to penetrate the uniform and dogmatic Western mainstream media.

An influential Ugandan analyst and opposition figure, Arthur Tewungwa, wrote for this essay:

“The basic assumption of Africans is that they are stupid and ignorant of history, politics, and the global financial arrangement of the world. The scaremongering of Chinese global domination does not really wash on a continent that is still under a sustained attack from the very forces that led us into slavery, colonialism and its manifestation, neo-colonialism. Using the Ugandan opposition’s criticisms of the government’s (a staunch ally of the US and its regional sheriff) misuse and theft of Chinese aid while ignoring the fact that the same has been going on for the last 30 years with IMF and World Bank funds which the opposition has been criticizing, confirms that assumption.

Ugandans don’t view China as a dangerous hegemon; they are still too busy trying to extract themselves from the current relationship with hegemon that has had its boot on the country’s neck for the last 300 years. The opposition criticism was aimed at the conduct of America’s principal, not the misrepresented intentions of China. The IMF and World Bank have not covered themselves in glory in Africa and ignoring that fact just plays more into China’s hands.” 

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In the South Pacific (Oceania) where I also spent several years of my life (writing a book about the plight of Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia), CNAS dishonestly criticizes the BRI project in Vanuatu.

Let me be brutally frank here: The West has almost ruined the entire Oceania by its unbridled consumption, by neo-colonialist policies; from the Solomon Islands to the Marshall Islands. Global warming has caused the near disappearance of such wonderful countries like Kiribati, Marshall Island and Tuvalu.

What has the West done to save them? Nothing! Just dumping junk food on Samoa and Tonga, on the Federated States of Micronesia, or on the Marshall Islands (RMI).

China has patiently and full-heartedly been trying to help: by planting mangroves, building anti-tsunami walls, elevating government offices, schools and medical posts up on stilts. It has built stadiums in order to improve the health of the desperately obese local population (on some islands, around 90% of the population are suffering from diabetes).

And what has the West done, after observing the great success of China? It went to Taiwan, and as the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the RMI, Tony de Brum explained to me, began ‘encouraging Taipei’ to bribe local governments, so they would recognize Taiwan as an independent country; something that even the West has not done. As a result, predictably, Beijing was forced to break diplomatic relations and to withdrow its help. The result: Taiwan has done nothing for Oceania. Only the ordinary people in South Pacific have become the victims.

Those South Pacific countries that ‘stayed with China’ are doing incomparably better. Why don’t we hear about all this, from the West-sponsored reports? Why do we only read dirt, as well as nihilist speculation? Why not facts? Why not the truth, that it is the West that is destroying the world, and has been for decades and centuries?

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BRI is not perfect, yet, but on the global scale, it is the best that humanity has right now. And it has been improving, month after month.

Ugandans had 300 years of horrors of ‘Western democracy’ and ‘freedom’. Latin Americans have been beaten into submission for over 500 years.

Kenya – BRI. New moder train terminal in Nairobi

In Washington, London and Paris, they love to say: “we are all the same”. Such ‘logic’ washes out their crimes. It means: “everyone is as greedy and brutal as we are”. But no, we are not the same! Cultures are different, on all corners of the globe. Some countries are expansionist, aggressive and obsessed with self-righteousness as well as complexes of superiority. Some are not. China is not. It never was. It never will be. If attacked or antagonized, it defends itself; and if threatened in the future, it will defend itself again. But it does not build its wealth on plunder, and on the corpses of the others, as the West has been doing for long centuries.

BRI is the exact contrast to the Western colonialism and imperialism. I say it not because I am defending some theory on these pages, but because I have seen the Chinese ‘New Silk Road’ in action, in places where I have lived and worked: Asia, the Middle East, Oceania, Latin America and Africa. In places where almost no one dares or cares to go: except for those few tough and ‘insane’ individuals like myself, and for the Chinese internationalists! I know such places intimately. Places where local people are almost never given an opportunity to speak; they never appear on the pages of the Western mass media, or on television screens, or in reports such as the one published by CNAS.

Until recently, their voices and lives mattered nothing. Now they do. They matter a lot.

These people exist; these people are alive; they want to breath, to live and to dream. I swear they do. And for them, especially for them, now exists the BRI!

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Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. Four of his latest books are China and Ecological Civilizationwith John B. Cobb, Jr., 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; featured image: Laos – BRI. Bridge over Mekong River for high-speed train

Will Donbass Unite with Russia?

April 25th, 2019 by Andrew Korybko

President Putin’s decree simplifying the granting of Russian citizenship to the people of Donbass won’t result in the region’s unification with Russia but is one of several tactics designed to put pressure on Ukraine’s new president to peacefully implement the Minsk Accords.

A Proactive Infowar With Substance

The whole world is talking about President Putin’s recent decree simplifying the granting of Russian citizenship to the people of Donbass, which both the Mainstream and Alt-Medias are convinced for different reasons will result in the region’s inevitable unification with Russia. That’s probably not in the cards, though, since it’s more likely that this is but one of several tactics designed to put pressure on Ukraine’s new president to peacefully implement the Minsk Accords, which has always been Moscow’s main goal since their signing. President-elect Zelensky promised to “launch a very powerful information war to end the war in Donbass”, but it looks like President Putin just beat him to it by making a major soft power move that now has the whole world talking, to say nothing of reinforcing Moscow’s years-long victory for the hearts and minds of the region’s people.

Donbass ≠ Abkhazia & South Ossetia

Even so, observers shouldn’t over-exaggerate the impact of this decision despite it admittedly having very similar optics to the inter-war situations in Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia prior to Russia’s recognition of them as independent countries after its 2008 peacemaking operations there. Actually, that’s entirely the whole point — to make the people of Donbass, the Ukrainian government, and the international community expect this eventuality — because Russia can then “surprise” the world by not doing what everyone anticipates it’s about to do (recognize Donbass as an independent country possibly prior to its de-facto integration into Russia along the lines of the South Ossetian model) and then make a big deal out of its “gesture of peace” as a superficial quid-pro-quo “concession” in exchange for post-Poroshenko Ukraine’s peaceful implementation of the Minsk Accords.

Playing “Hard To Get”

This isn’t mere speculation either since Reuters reported last week that one of Russia’s political allies in Ukraine and a close friend of Vladimir Putin’s, Viktor Medvedchuk, was sending strong signals that a possible deal could be in the works whereby Russia would facilitate Donbass’ political reintegration into Ukraine if Kiev enters into talks with Moscow and takes tangible steps to restore their lost strategic partnership. Evidently, Russia wants Ukraine to come to it — or rather, Putin wants Zelensky to come to him — instead of the reverse, which explains why Moscow is playing “hard to get” and putting on a very tough front with moves such as the recent citizenship decree. Other pressure tactics include Prime Minister Medvedev announcing that Russia will ban crude oil, petroleum, and coal exports to Ukraine beginning in June and President Putin refusing to congratulate his Ukraine counterpart on his landslide victory.

An Anti-Fascist Exit Strategy For “Replacement Migration”

It might therefore look like the Kremlin’s patience has all but run out with Kiev and that it’s finally preparing to de-facto integrate Donbass into Russia, but appearances can be very misleading sometimes, especially when it comes to Russia. While it’s true that the citizenship decree could grant Russia the right to conventionally intervene in Ukraine in defense of its nationals, it’s much more likely that this will just result in many of Donbass’ people migrating from their war-torn region to Russia in search of a better life, something that they’d be more inclined to do in the event that Moscow actively facilitates Donbass’ reintegration into Ukraine per a possibly forthcoming deal between Presidents Putin and Zelensky. That would satisfy Russia’s humanitarian interests by giving the locals the chance to flee if they fear an impending fascist takeover while simultaneously functioning as civilizationally similar “replacement migration” for the host state’s dwindling population.

Breadcrumbs And Loafs

Furthermore, the possible Russian-backed reintegration of Donbass into Ukraine could also set the basis for the much-sought-after “New Detente” between Moscow and Washington whereby the East Ukrainian region becomes just one of several pieces on the “19th-Centuy Great Power Chessboard” that could be “traded” as part of a much larger deal between these two Great Powers in the New Cold War. For instance, “Putinyahu’s Rusrael” already created the on-the-ground conditions that made Trump’s recognition of “Israel’s” Golan Heights annexation possible, the same as Moscow’s recognition of “North Macedonia” goes along with the West’s plan for a “New Balkans“. In other words, President Putin is giving the people of Donbass breadcrumbs such as access to measly Russian pensions of approximately $200 a month and the right to vote in elections while simultaneously trading full geopolitical loafs with Trump.

Concluding Thoughts

Nobody should get their hopes up about Donbass uniting with Russia in the territorial sense after President Putin’s simplified citizenship decree because that much-publicized move is more about a tactical retreat than a strategic expansion. Instead of being used to enlarge Russia’s borders like both its supporters and detractors alike are anticipating, it’s actually much more likely to be utilized as an exit strategy for the Donbass people following their region’s Kremlin-facilitated reintegration with Kiev as part of a larger deal between the two fraternal Slavic Orthodox people and as the basis for a much grander “New Detente” between Moscow and Washington. President Putin simply wants his Ukrainian counterpart to come to him first in this “game of chicken” instead of the reverse, so his government is doing all that it came to bring him to the table on their own terms. Had Russia really wanted to integrate Donbass, it would have done so half a decade ago.

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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.

Mumia Abu-Jamal and the Plight of Political Prisoners

April 25th, 2019 by Abayomi Azikiwe

An historic conference entitled “Freedom for the Unjustly Incarcerated” was held on April 20 in the Midtown District of Detroit when MOVE organizer Pam Africa and the Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor spoke extensively on the plight of political prisoners and the criminal industrial complex in the United States.

The event took place at the Cass Commons located in the First Unitarian Universalist Church which serves as a center for popular education and activism in the city.

Pam Africa arrived in Detroit from Philadelphia during the early morning hours of April 19 along with Razakhan Wali of Judicial Research, Inc., an organization which provides assistance to incarcerated people throughout the country. During the course of the day both veteran organizers met with local activists working on issues involving the status of juvenile lifers in Michigan, environmental justice, police brutality, housing foreclosures, gentrification and the overall struggle against institutional racism and economic exploitation.

Image on the right: Kimberly A. Woodson speaking at the Freedom for the Unjustly Incarcerated Conference in Detroit on April 20, 2019 

These activists who met with Africa and Wali included: Jeanetta Lewis of the Detroit People’s Task Force; Darryl Jordan of the Cass Commons; Kimberly A. Woodson of Redeeming Kimberly; Blair Anderson, former Black Panther Party member in Illinois; Derek Grigsby, Mike Shane and Debra Simmons, all of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition, co-sponsors of the events over the weekend.

The visit by the two guests from Philadelphia came on the heels of a major legal decision which has paved the way for an appeal hearing on the initial conviction of former Black Panther Party leader in Philadelphia, Mumia Abu-Jamal. The revolutionary writer and activist has been incarcerated in Pennsylvania since December 1981. Abu-Jamal was wrongfully convicted in the death of a white police officer in Philadelphia and was sentenced to death. He spent over 25 years on death row and was eventually given life without the possibility of parole in the aftermath of a major international campaign in his defense.

Prosecutors in Philadelphia had attempted to block the decision to grant Abu-Jamal an appeal complicating the process which could have resulted in further unnecessary legal wrangling, stalling the potential release of Mumia, an award-winning journalist, radio commentator and supporter of the MOVE organization. Pam Africa has served as a principal organizer in the case since the 1980s, when the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal was formed.

Nonetheless, another global campaign was waged to demand that the prosecutors withdraw their motion to halt the appeal. This occurred the same week in which Africa and Wali arrived in Detroit adding to the momentum in the broader struggle to free Mumia and all political prisoners being held throughout the country.

The U.S. has the highest per capita imprisoned population in the world which is disproportionately African American and Latinx. Almost exclusively composed of the nationally oppressed, working class and the impoverished, the more than two million prison population has become a major source of profit and social containment of the most marginalized sectors of the country.

Conference Demands Freedom for Political Prisoners

Pam Africa began the program on April 20 giving a chronological history of the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal and the movement to save his life. There were two death warrants signed against Abu-Jamal in 1995 and 1999. It would take a militant campaign spanning numerous continents to have the executions stayed by the Philadelphia courts.

As a result of similar pressure and legal actions, Mumia was removed from death row finally in 2011. He was sentenced to life without parole which is unacceptable to his supporters. Abu-Jamal has never admitted guilt in the death of police officer Daniel Faulkner. The Fraternal Order of the Police (FOP) and other law-enforcement groups has sought to have him executed and detained in prison for life.

Africa noted that it was the power of the people which has kept Mumia alive. In recent years Abu-Jamal was diagnosed with Hepatitis C, a liver ailment which could be fatal. A cure for the disease is available with an over 90 percent rate of effectiveness. Prison officials had refused to treat Mumia necessitating his supporters to file legal actions which won him the right to medical care along with many other inmates in the Pennsylvania penal system.

Image below: Rev. Edward Pinkney speaking at the Freedom for the Unjustly Incarcerated Conference in Detroit on April 20, 2019

Other speakers included Rev. Edward Pinkney of Berrien County, located in the southwest region of the state of Michigan. Pinkney, a former political prisoner, was railroaded through the courts after being accused of changing five dates on recall petitions aimed at removing the mayor of Benton Harbor. Hundreds had signed the petitions due to the perception that the then mayor was compliant with the policies of Whirlpool Corporation based in the city.

Pinkney was sentenced to 2.5 to 10 years in the state prison system. After being incarcerated he was subjected to harassment by correction officers and officials. Nationwide support in his defense was able to lift the harassment and win his release after 30 months in detention.

Later on May 1, 2018, the Michigan Supreme Court in a unanimous decision acquitted Pinkney of all charges in the case, saying that there was no law in existence under which he was convicted in late 2014. At present Pinkney is assisting the people of Benton Harbor, an overwhelming African American municipality just emerging from emergency management.

The Need to Free Juvenile Lifers

A second panel during the conference was chaired by Elena Herrada, former member of the Detroit Board of Education and a radio host on 910 am in Detroit. Herrada interviewed Pam Africa just one week prior to her visit to the city.

Herrada has highlighted the injustices imposed upon those convicted of serious crimes in their juvenile years. Her weekly radio program often features prisoners and advocates for the wrongly convicted.

Several recently-released juvenile lifers addressed the conference as well. Kimberly A. Woodson spent 29 years in prison for a crime she did not commit. Since being released in 2017 she has married and given birth to a baby. Woodson is seeking resources to assist returning inmates who have spent many years behind bars.

Efren Paredes, Jr., another juvenile lifer still incarcerated for a conviction issued when he was a teenager, called into the conference from state prison. He is working tirelessly to bring about the enactment of a U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating the resentencing of those convicted of serious crimes as juveniles.

Since the release of Jose Burgos, another former juvenile lifer without parole, he has been recounting the circumstances under which he was imprisoned and spent over two decades in correctional institutions. He spoke to the audience about the years-long process of gaining his freedom just several months ago.

Jeanetta Lewis of the Detroit People’s Task Force (DPTF) read a moving essay about efforts to win the release of her son incarcerated in Michigan. Debra Simmons of Moratorium NOW! Coalition spoke on the problems with the Highland Park Police Department in hiring and promoting officers implicated in illegal and unethical practices.

Image on the right: Siwato-Salema Ra speaks at the Freedom for the Unjustly Incarcerated Conference in Detroit on April 20, 2019

Another former prisoner, who is out of bond pending appeal, Siwato-Salema Ra, convicted in 2017 on a weapons charge even though she held a permit to carry a concealed weapon, thanked members of the audience for the work done to win her release while she awaits another trial.  Siwato gave birth while shackled in a state prison for women. Her case gained widespread support throughout the state.

Hush House Community Museum and Leadership Training Institute owners Charles and Sandra Simmons discussed the situation of their son in the state of California who is serving an extended sentence in prison. The son called into the conference and reported on the conditions prevailing in the correctional facilities in California.

Mandates from the Conference

Participants agreed to work harder for the release of all political prisoners and juvenile lifers. A demonstration outside the Highland Park police headquarters on May 2 was endorsed by the gathering.

Moreover, the general theme was to link the struggle of the people fighting against injustice on the outside with those on the inside. Prisons are merely another form of exploitation and oppression designed to enhance the authority and profit-making capacity of the ruling class and will inevitably have to be abolished in the course of the transformation process in the U.S.

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Abayomi Azikiwe is the editor of Pan-African News Wire. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

All images in this article are from the author; featured image: Pam Africa Speaks in Detroit at the Freedom for the Unjustly Incarcerated Conference, April 20, 2019

We told the State Department that if they enter the Venezuelan Embassy, they are violating international law, and if they arrest members of the Collective for trespass or unlawful entry, these will be unlawful arrests. Members of the Collective are in the embassy with the permission of the elected government of Venezuela.

In two messages to the State Department today, the Collective explained that we are not violating the law and if there are unlawful arrests we will pursue legal action to hold people responsible for ordering arrests or making arrests.

We made this clear in writing to the State Department even before April 24, but we reiterated this today after the Secret Service came to the embassy and photographed the outside building to prepare plans to illegally enter the building and make unlawful arrests.

Tonight, when the Collective held an amazing forum with John Kiriakou, a former CIA official who spoke about an “Insiders View of US Regime Change,” outside there were Secret Service and DC police. This act of intimidation included not only the threat of arrest but also intimidated journalists, some of whom were asked for photo identification and press information.

During this forum, both Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, our lawyer from the Partnership for Civil Justice, and I publicly made the points below so there was a video record of our concerns with the threats from the State Department police and the illegality of any arrests of Collective members.

We were not intimidated because members of the Collective are not breaking ANY laws.

In my second message to the State Department, I wrote in the Subject Line: “Any arrest in the Venezuelan embassy would be unlawful” and wrote:

Members of the Embassy Protection Collective are writing to make it expressly clear and ensure all personnel are put on notice that any arrest of persons inside the embassy would constitute an unlawful arrest. We understand from our communications with your office that you are threatening to arrest persons inside the Venezuelan embassy.

Not only are we here at the invitation of persons lawfully in charge of the premises, but we are also here as people with lawful rights under Washington, DC tenancy law.

It is our intention to hold responsible any person who orders or effectuates any unlawful actions against us.

We have received no eviction notice and due process opportunity to challenge any attempted eviction as is required by law.

An earlier message to the State Department focused on three issues:

(1) The US will be violating international law if they enter the embassy and do not protect it from takeover by the fraudulent puppet government the US is trying to install despite the democratically elected legitimate government of President Maduro.

(2) President Maduro was elected in an election where more than 150 international election observers unanimously agreed that the election was legitimate by international standards.

(3) The US puppet president Juan Guaido’s self-appointment violated the Venezuelan Constitution in multiple ways.

The State Department is on public notice that it will be violating the law if it enters the embassy. Below are messages I sent to the State Department.

I am with the Embassy Protection Collective. We are inside the embassy with the permission of the Venezuela government. We have not entered unlawfully nor are we trespassing.

We saw the Secret Service outside today taking pictures and I spoke with the officers who told us to stay in touch with David Noordeloos who told me to contact you.

I am writing to find out about your plans. I will serve as the police liaison between the Collective and law enforcement if you decide to approach the embassy to remove us.

I shared with Noordeloos the information below that indicates that entering the embassy would be a violation of international law, Juan Guaido is not the interim-president and has violated Venezuela law and has no governmental authority. Further, Nicolas Maduro is the legitimately elected president of Venezuela and is recognized by the United Nations and the vast majority of world governments. I hope the US government will respect international law, Venezuelan law and the sovereignty of Venezuela.

Kevin Zeese

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Please let decision-makers know that there is a legitimate government of Venezuela that has been democratically elected. The Maduro government is recognized by the United Nations. We are in the embassy with the permission of that government. Any trespass by US authorities or the illegal fake government or opposition would violate the law.

The entire world knows that recognizing Juan Guaido is a farce. He does not have the power of the Venezuelan government, cannot issue passports or visas, negotiate any agreements and literally does not function as a government.

The information below clarifies that invading the embassy, the equivalent of invading Venezuelan territory, would be a violation of law.

Kevin Zeese, Esq.

International Law Protects Foreign Embassies Located In The United States

According to Article 22 of the 1961 Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic Relations, foreign embassies should be protected by the United States government and their space should not be violated by the US government. Specifically, international law requires:

  1. The premises of the mission shall be inviolable. The agents of the receiving State may not enter them, except with the consent of the head of the mission.

2. The receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity.

3. The premises of the mission, their furnishings and other property thereon and the means of transport of the mission shall be immune from search, requisition, attachment or execution.

The Trump Administration would be violating the Vienna Convention if it allowed the illegal seizure of the Venezuela embassy. The Election Protection Collective is supporting the people of Venezuela by taking responsibility to ensure that Article 22 of the Vienna Convention is not violated.

The Elected Government of President Maduro Remains In Power

The government of President Nicolás Maduro was re-elected on May 20, 2018 in response to the opposition demanding an early election. The election was held consistent with the Venezuelan Constitution, in consultation with opposition parties and as determined by the National Electoral Council, an independent branch of the Venezuelan government.

Sixteen parties participated in the election with six candidates competing for the presidency. President Maduro won by a wide margin, obtaining 6,248,864 votes, 67.84%; followed by Henri Falcón with 1,927,958, 20.93%; Javier Bertucci with 1,015,895, 10.82%; and Reinaldo Quijada, who obtained 36,246 votes, 0.39% of the total. A total of 9,389,056 people voted, 46% of eligible voters.

The electoral process was observed by more than 150 election observers. This included 14 electoral commissions from eight countries among them the Council of Electoral Experts of Latin America; two technical electoral missions; and 18 journalists from different parts of the world, among others. According to international observers, “the elections were very transparent and complied with international parameters and national legislation.”

In a letter to the European Union correcting some of the false statements made about the election, election observers wrote: “We were unanimous in concluding that the elections were conducted fairly, that the election conditions were not biased, that genuine irregularities were exceptionally few and of a very minor nature.”

Voting machines were audited before and immediately after the election. Venezuela does something no other country in the world does, a public Citizen’s Audit of a random sample of 52 to 54% of voting machines at each precinct. The Citizen’s Audit is observed by the media, the public, and all opposition parties, who sign the audits. The audits showed that the election results accurately reflected the will of the voters.

The Invalid Self-Appointment of Juan Guaidó Violated Venezuelan Law

Juan Guaidó’s self-appointment as interim president violated the Constitution of Venezuela. The language of the Venezuelan Constitution is clear regarding when the president of the National Assembly can become president and none of the conditions in the Constitution have been met.

The opposition relies on Article 233 of the Constitution, which allows the National Assembly president to serve as interim president only if the president-elect has not yet been inaugurated. Guaidó’s self-appointment occurred after President Maduro had been inaugurated.

Article 233 allows the president of the National Assembly to become president only if the president-elect:

“become[s] permanently unavailable to serve by reason of any of the following events: death; resignation; removal from office by decision of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice [equivalent of impeachment]; permanent physical or mental disability certified by a medical board designated by the Supreme Tribunal of Justice with the approval of the National Assembly; abandonment of his position, duly declared by the National Assembly; and recall by popular vote.”

None of these conditions were met.

If Guaidó had met the above conditions, Article 233 allows him to serve for only 30 consecutive days pending election and inauguration of the new President. Guaidó’s self-appointment and fraudulent inauguration occurred more than 30 days ago and no election has been scheduled.

In a press briefing, Elliot Abrams, the US Special Representative for Venezuela, could not explain these violations of law by Guaidó and admitted that Guaidó is not “able to exercise the powers of the office because Maduro still is there.” Even Abrams admits that Guaidó is not the president. Therefore, he has no authority over the Venezuelan embassy.

If the US proceeds to violate the property of the Venezuelan Embassy, it will send a message to all the countries in the world that their embassies are not protected by international law in the United States. The US wants to install a coup puppet government and is willing to violate the law to do so. That is a message the United States should not send to governments around the world.

We are making this correspondence public so that there is an open record that the State Department has been put on notice and that their threats to unlawfully arrest and evict members of the Collective from a building, where we are tenants or guests with the permission of the Venezuelan government, are public. We are prepared for the Secret Service and DC police to come to the embassy tomorrow and are not intimidated by their threats. We know that we are not violating any laws.

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

Featured image is from Popular Resistance

Radioactive fallout from nuclear meltdowns and weapons testing is nestled in glaciers across the world, scientists said Wednesday, warning of a potentially hazardous time bomb as rising temperatures melt the icy residue.

For the first time, an international team of scientists has studied the presence of nuclear fallout in ice surface sediments on glaciers across the Arctic, Iceland the Alps, Caucasus mountains, British Columbia and Antarctica.

It found manmade radioactive material at all 17 survey sites, often at concentrations at least 10 times higher than levels elsewhere.

“They are some of the highest levels you see in the environment outside nuclear exclusion zones,” said Caroline Clason, a lecturer in Physical Geography at the University of Plymouth.

When radioactive material is released into the atmosphere, it falls to earth as , some of which is absorbed by plants and soil.

But when it falls as snow and settles in the ice, it forms heavier sediment which collects in glaciers, concentrating the levels of nuclear residue.

The Chernobyl disaster of 1986—by far the most devastating nuclear accident to date—released vast clouds of radioactive material including Caesium into the atmosphere, causing widespread contamination and acid rain across northern Europe for weeks afterwards.

“Radioactive particles are very light so when they are taken up into the atmosphere they can be transported a very long way,” she told AFP.

“When it falls as rain, like after Chernobyl, it washes away and it’s sort of a one-off event. But as snow, it stays in the ice for decades and as it melts in response to the climate it’s then washed downstream.”

The of this has been shown in recent years, as wild boar meat in Sweden was found to contain more than 10 times the safe levels of Caesium.

The Chernobyl disaster of 1986 caused widespread radioactive contamination and acid rain across northern Europe

The Chernobyl disaster of 1986 caused widespread radioactive contamination and acid rain across northern Europe

‘A mark we’ve left’

Clason said her team had detected some fallout from the Fukushima meltdown in 2011, but stressed that much of the particles from that particular disaster had yet to collect on the ice sediment.

As well as disasters, radioactive material produced from weapons testing was also detected at several research sites.

“We’re talking about weapons testing from the 1950s and 1960s onwards, going right back in the development of the bomb,” she said. “If we take a sediment core you can see a clear spike where Chernobyl was, but you can also see quite a defined spike in around 1963 when there was a period of quite heavy weapons testing.”

One of the most potentially hazardous residues of human nuclear activity is Americium, which is produced when Plutonium decays.

Whereas Plutonium has a half-life of 14 years, Americium lasts 400.

“Americium is more soluble in the environment and it is a stronger alpha (radiation) emitter. Both of those things are bad in terms of uptake into the food chain,” said Clason.

While there is little data available on how these materials can be passed down the —even potentially to humans—Clason said there was no doubt that Americium is “particularly dangerous”.

As geologists look for markers of the epoch when mankind directly impacted the health of the planet—known as the Anthropocene—Clason and her team believe that radioactive particles in ice, soil and sediment could be an important indicator.

“These materials are a product of what we have put into the atmosphere. This is just showing that our nuclear legacy hasn’t disappeared yet, it’s still there,” Clason said.

“And it’s important to study that because ultimately it’s a mark of what we have left in the environment.”

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2018 was a terrible year for commodities, but few sectors fared as badly as lithium.

The crucial battery metal, also known as “White petroleum”, struggled through a 50 percent price correction as supply soared and demand fears spread like wildfire.

But it isn’t time to give up on lithium stocks just yet.

The rising stars of the hard-rock lithium space are transforming the industry with their remarkable ability to extract lithium at a lower cost and faster pace than the lithium majors can from their brine deposits. In short, there’s a new caliber of producer in town and – with lithium demand set to soar once again – their timing could not be better.

The three stand out companies in the hard-rock mining space at the moment are Albemarle (NYSE:ALB), Chinese Tianqi Lithium (SZSE:002466) and Power Metals (TSXV: PWM; OTC:PWRMF). And each of these companies are able to bring lithium to market faster and cleaner than their brine-based competitors.

Before examining the hard rock lithium space though, we need to take a closer look at the market itself. Overall, the supply-demand balance is actually much tighter than prices suggest. After all, the soaring demand from tech and energy sectors that triggered lithium’s meteoric rise in 2018 didn’t vanish overnight.

The lithium boom began in earnest in 2014, with prices rising from less than $6k a ton to more than $16k by 2018. With demand soaring, billions were invested in new mines, with salt brine deposits in Chile and China getting most of the attention.

But after a few banner years, Wall Street started looking at Lithium with more suspicion. In February 2018 Morgan Stanley issued a crushing report: the firm determined that Chilean brine would add 200kt to the market by 2025, effectively doubling supply.

That sent lithium prices plummeting. In China, lithium carbonate prices fell by 50.31%, crushed by reports of the over-supply.

But by year’s end, some of those fears had begun to dissipate. Huge projects that were expected to flood the market began experiencing delays.

You see, salt brine lithium production, which accounts for most of the market, takes a while to get going: salt water is pumped to the surface where it evaporates to form potassium deposits containing lithium.

Take Orocobre in Brisbane, Australia, and its Salar de Olaroz facility in Argentina, which was meant to supply 42.5k tons. Delays, legal troubles and mounting expenses has brought the project basically to a halt.

Mining lithium through salt brine evaporation can generate big earnings, but only for firms with the capital to see them through: for that reason, the lithium sector is dominated by larger companies such as Albemarle (NYSE:ALB), FMC (NYSE:FMC) and SQM (NYSE:SQM)

These major firms saw their prices tank last year, as the lithium bubble burst in the wake of the Morgan Stanley report and fears of future over-supply.

But that doesn’t mean the lithium party is over. In fact, it may have only just started.

Hard-rock lithium miners in hotspots such as Australia, Canada and China are warming up for the next bull run in this crucial commodity.

The legendary Greenbushes mine which is operated by Tianqi (SZSE:002466)  and Albemarle (NYSE:ALB) has been in operation for 30 years, and produces a safe and ‘dry’ source of lithium gained from ‘spodumene’, a mineral that contains high-grade lithium.

On the other site of the planet in North-East Ontario, and not far from Tesla’s battery producing ‘gigafactory’ lies the prolific Case Lake property which is 100% claimed by Power Metals (TSXV: PWM; OTC:PWRMF)

The lithium holding spodumene here is found in pegmatite zones of which the metallurgy is currently being tested by SGS Canada.

Hard rock miners do not only have cleaner production methods, they also have one leg up on the competition as they are likely to bring new supply to the marketplace quicker than their brine-mining peers do.

According to Benchmark Minerals intelligence, there’s a huge discrepancy between lithium prices and the lithium demand side.

In September 2018, analysts at CRU estimated a lithium surplus for the year of only 22k tons, against demand of 277k tons.

Let’s take a look at key demand drivers for lithium.

First, there’s electric vehicles (EV). According to Argus Media, lithium ion batteries in EVs have increased from 10 GWh to 70 GWh in only a decade, with estimates placing the market to reach 223 GWh by 2025, an increase of 300x from current levels.

EVs have been taking off in the United States, with sales increasing by 81% in 2018, though a more modest increase is expected in 2019. EVs take up 2.4% of total vehicles in the United States.

Where demand is really soaring is in China. More than 2 million EVs will be sold this year, up from 1.1 million last year. It’s part of the government’s plan to have 50% market share for EVs by 2025.

Consumers in Europe are also turning towards EVs, which now make up considerable portions of total vehicle fleets in Norway, Holland and France. EV sales jumped 67% in Europe, led by affordable EV models from Renault and Nissan.

Fastmarket predicts EV market penetration of 15% by 2025, up from only 2% currently. But with such ambitious plans in place in China, one of the world’s most important car markets, that figure could be on the conservative side.

According to Simon Moores of Benchmark Minerals, EVs and an increase in battery storage demand “has sparked a wave of lithium ion battery mega factories,” such as Tesla’s famous Gigafactory. Currently, 70 lithium-ion battery “mega” factories are under construction, up from only 17 in October 2017.

Elon Musk wants 20 gigafactories producing lithium batteries for Tesla EVs by the next decade. Benchmark thinks new factories will be using up 534,000 tons in new demand (on top of current demand of 200,000 tons) by 2028.

That’s the other demand side factor: as the energy storage sector grows, demand for lithium-ion batteries will grow by leaps and bounds. By one estimate, the market could reach $92 billion by 2024, with a CAGR of 16%. The market was worth $21.6 billion in 2018.

A slightly more conservative estimate has the market reaching $40 billion by 2025, but that’s still nearly 100% in growth in less than a decade. Another estimate is $60 billion by 2024. Due to declining prices, Bloomberg raised its forecast for lithium ion batteries due to lower than expected prices.

The best estimate is from Global Market Insights, which predicts energy storage and automotive lithium ion battery demand to double by 2024.

The expectation from GMI is that the bulk of new battery production will come from China, where batteries have a large internal market.

So how will this play out in the lithium sector?

One major take-away here is that traditional lithium production—through salt-brine evaporation—may lose market share to newer and more competitive production methods, particularly spodumene or “hard-rock” lithium mining, where the lithium is extracted by drilling directly into rich deposits.

Extracting lithium in this way is cheaper, easier and faster—and it’s starting to attract more attention, with multiple spodumene operations popping up in Australia. Lithium giant Albemarle has gone so far as to halt all expansions of salt brine in South America, the so-called “lithium triangle,” and has instead been pouring resources into the Greenbushes project, where capacity is doubling.

Demand for spodumene is reflecting rising prices, which spiked in 2018 even as lithium prices across the board were slumping.

In 2018 there were four new spodumene operations. But in China, General Lithium Corp. is planning a new mineral ore converter project that will triple production capacity for lithium by the end of 2020.

The plant will take in spodumene and convert it into lithium—60,000 tons per year, according to company estimates. That’s from 135,000 tons of spodumene.

As we mentioned before, Canadian hard-rock miner Power Metals (TSXV: PWM; OTC:PWRMF) has drilled approximately 15,000 meters at its very valuable Case Lake Property in North-East Ontario. In fact, Power Metals drilled more than any other hard rock lithium company in North America last year. The size of its deposits are quite impressive and easy to mine as they are concentrated very close to the surface. The average grade is also world class, and at approximately 1.75% Li20 with intervals as high as 3.5%, it competes directly with projects like Greenbushes in Australia, the world’s largest operating hard-rock lithium mine.

Next to the prolific Case Lake project, Power Metals is also developing the Paterson Lake and Gullwing Tot Lake properties in Ontario, which, according to its VP of exploration Julie Selway, could be the next gamechanging hard-rock lithium plays in Canada.

Power Metals is just one example of this new trend in the lithium space. The entire sector is being transformed from within, and with prices stabilizing there are plenty of opportunities for investors in 2019.

A lithium renaissance is well and truly underway, and it is hard-rock miners who find themselves at the forefront of this movement.

Companies to watch in the lithium space:

FMC Corp. (NYSE:FMC): FMC was founded in 1883, and has been around the block and back. FMC has a long history stretching between many different industries, but within all of them, FMC has remained a leader in innovation.

FMC’s involvement in the lithium industry is particularly notable. The company is one of the top three in lithium and associated technologies. It is one of the largest suppliers into electric vehicle applications using lithium hydroxide.

Anno 2019, this major miner is one of the world’s top producers of lithium. FMC was struck by the negative sentiment in lithium markets back in 2018, but has rallied back to near 5-year highs.

Long-term growth in lithium demand is expected to drive margins for FMC and major expansion, and leading analysts to give it a buy rating.

Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (NYSE:SQM): SQM benefited from skyrocketing lithium prices in 2015-2016. The price per ton shot up from $7,500 to nearly $20,000 on the back of rising demand and short supply. SQM was forced lower in 2018 after While Morgan Stanley predicted that supplies would vastly exceed demand by 2021.

This year, however, could be a turnaround year for this leading Chilean miner as it sees Chinese demand for lithium carbonate pick up once again.

The challenge in 2019 for SQM remains to keep the smart money investing in its stock while it attempts to decrease costs at its key brine operations.

Albemarle (NYSE:ALB): Albemarle is a diversified lithium miner that brings in consistent revenue.

The company was a major earner in 2017, and its stock increased by 130 percent from 2016 to 2018. The company kept on beating analyst forecasts in 2018 despite the lithium price crash, and while analyst predictions remain modest for Q1 2019, the company is set see its profits increase further by the end of the year.

Despite the fall in prices and concern surrounding over-supply, Albemarle is pumping up production for 2019. The company is planning on bringing back lithium production inside the United States: it recently acquired the Kings Mountain lithium mine, which was once in production in the 1990s. Next to that, Albemarle, together with Tianqi Lithium, operates the Greenbushes hard-rock lithium mine in Australia.

Orocobre (TSX:ORL): This company has had some serious problems in the past, and its stock price has fallen significantly from January 2018 highs. The company’s flagship project is the Salar de Olaroz lithium project located in the Jujuy province of northern Argentina.

Despite the fact that EV makers are using some 76% more lithium to produce battery packs this year, Orocobre’s CEO Perez de Solay voiced concern about price volatility and with it the increasing difficulty to find financing for new products.

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In all my recent readings of history and current events, Preventing Palestine stands out as being one of the best written – if not the best – and one of the most essential for understanding the overall historical process of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories of Palestine. 

Given the nature of the book, it also hints at the gradual process through which all of Mandatory Palestine west of the Jordan River gave way to the acceptance of only a partial space – the West Bank and Gaza – within the overall colonial-settler area of Israel, as a region for a Palestinian state.  Its general focus however is the political process beginning with Jimmy Carter to find a solution to the stalemate between the Arab countries and Israel, including a settlement of the Palestinian position, after the Yom Kippur war of 1973.

The result was a highly watered down  document – the Camp David Accords – providing Anwar Sadat of Egypt with his original territory, peace with Israel, and the usual billions of dollars from the U.S.  Palestine and the other Arab states were not included in the deal with Palestine receiving the first in a series of many talking points but no commitments or action towards an actual sovereign entity.

Among the many players, Sadat is criticized for his lack of concern for the Palestinian cause.  Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski appears as making an honest effort to find a regional settlement, partly from concerns of the era about the Soviet Union’s strength in the region.  Arafat obviously plays a significant role, in this era through the expulsion of the PLO from Jordan then Lebanon (with the chapter on Lebanon being one of the clearest presentations of that nasty little war) and the lead up to the Oslo Accords.  The main player is Israel’s Menachem Begin who persevered with the single most important element of the talks – a denial of any sovereign rights to the Palestinians – at most offering them “individual autonomy” with respect to civil law, but no sovereign or state entity was ever proffered.

Political history can be boring, but author Set Anziska has obviously done a tremendous amount of work researching the material and making it come to life.  He achieves this through access to newly released unredacted archival material within Israel, a long list of secondary reading sources, unpublished manuscripts, and many personal interviews.  From this is crafted an interesting and detailed read reflecting much of the personalities of the characters involved and the processes they undertook in an attempt to reach their goals.  The format of Preventing Palestine is one of the finest I can remember for a political history, with strong topical presentations, well presented story lines, and very strong summaries of each chapter leading to the next sections topic.

The strongest idea reiterated over and over – until Begin finally had his way – is that of not giving any land up for a sovereign Palestinian state.  It starts with “100 years ago  Palestine was mostly empty….There was no such thing as an Arab-Palestine that existed for 1300 years before we came.”  It continues on through “We will not negotiate over a Palestinian state,” with Anziska summarizing, “Israeli  leaders were in fact proffering comprehensive negotiations as a means to maintain indefinite political sovereignty over the territories.”  Those ideas continue on throughout the work, with the final clear summary,

“In continuing with the post 1967 “decision not to decide” on the fate of the territories and deferring substantive negotiations over the Palestinian question in an autonomy process explicitly designed to prevent sovereignty, Camp David actually enabled the triumph of an Israeli vision intent on suppressing the demand for self-determination.  This highly consequential strategy was a defining feature of Begin’s statecraft, often lost in the broader picture of the peace treaty with Egypt….autonomy for the local inhabitants of the occupied territories was diluted to a point where it signaled indefinite Israeli control of the territories rather than a means to eventual self government.”

In short, the two state solution has not died, it was stillborn, with the Oslo Accords essentially extending Begin’s denial of sovereignty and statehood into the indefinite future.

Preventing Palestine is an excellent read, and an essential one for a much more clear understanding of the current Palestinian situation.

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As Julian Assange awaits his fate, socked away in maximum security lockdown in Great Britain, his supporters and friends—many of whom believe he is one of the most significant publishers of our time—are vigiling, writing, and speaking out in support of his work and calling for his immediate release.

I spoke to legendary Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg the morning after Assange was dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, with the eyes of the world watching the scene unfold in real time.

Ellsberg says he is both outraged and deeply concerned about the impact this case might have on the free press. “Without whistleblowers,” Ellsberg tells me in the following interview, “we would not have a democracy.”

***

Dennis J. Bernstein: You have been watching what has been going on with Julian Assange for some time. What do you make of what has just happened?

Daniel Ellsberg: It is not a good day for the American press, or for American democracy. Forty-eight years ago, I was the first journalistic source to be indicted. There have been perhaps a dozen since then, nine under President Obama. But Julian Assange is the first journalist to be indicted. If he is extradited to the U.S. and convicted, he will not be the last.

The First Amendment is a pillar of our democracy and this is an assault on it. If freedom of speech is violated to this extent, our republic is in danger. Unauthorized disclosures are the lifeblood of the republic.

DJB: Some people say Assange was just a hacker. Others, including many major news organizations, felt that he was a legitimate source of information. What is the significance of WikiLeaks? Did it change history in a way similar to how the Pentagon Papers changed our knowledge of the Vietnam War?

DE: It would be absurd to say that Julian Assange was just a hacker. As a young man he was a hacker, and his philosophy is sometimes called “hacker philosophy,” referring to radical transparency, which goes beyond what I would agree with in some cases, in terms of not wanting to redact or curate any of the information at all. His theory is to lay it all out for the public and I think that can have some dangers for privacy in some cases. But that is not involved here.

In this case he was doing journalism of a kind which I think other outlets are jealous of and don’t practice as much as they should. This information was actually first offered by Chelsea Manning to The New York Times and The Washington Post, but neither one showed any interest in it. That is how it came to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

The collateral murder video shows up-front murder being done [in an airstrike in Baghdad in July 2007]. You see unarmed people in civilian clothes being gunned down and then as they are crawling away, wounded, being pursued until they are dead. That was murder. Not all killing in war is murder, although a lot of it is in modern war. Other people were watching that video when [Manning] saw it. They were all shocked by it, [but] she was the one who decided that people should be told about this.


That took great moral courage on her part, for which she paid ultimately with seven and a half years in prison, ten and a half months in solitary confinement. She was recently imprisoned again for refusing to cooperate with a grand jury that clearly is pursuing Julian Assange, hoping to get information beyond what she testified to in her hearings and court trials.

She objects to grand juries in general, as unconstitutional and undemocratic in their secret proceedings. That is the same attitude my co-defendant in the Pentagon Papers trial, Anthony Russo, took forty-eight years ago. He refused to testify secretly to a grand jury. In fact, he offered to testify if they would give him a transcript that would show him exactly what he said and hadn’t said. They wouldn’t accept that and he spent over a month in jail before they decided instead to indict him. Chelsea is taking the same position now and showing the kind of moral courage that she has shown all along.

Julian, meanwhile, is being charged with having gone beyond the limits of journalism by helping Manning to conceal her identity with a new username. He is also charged with having encouraged her to give him documents. That is criminalizing journalism. I can’t count the number of times that I have been asked for documents by journalists or for more documents. She had already given hundreds of thousands of files to Assange and he wanted more. This is the practice of journalism.

DJB: There wouldn’t really be much journalism without documents. People used to depend on eyewitness accounts but what beats a document?

DE: I have been asked what I would do today in the digital era. I would still give them to The New York Times in the hopes that they would print the documents at length. Not many papers take the space to do that and that is why I chose The New York Times. But it was four months after I gave them to Neil Sheehan when they actually published them. During that time he didn’t tell me that the Times was working on it. Nowadays I would not wait, I would give it to WikiLeaks or put it on the net myself.

DJB: But Assange was focused on trying to protect his sources. This made it possible for more people to participate and that got on the nerves of the powers that be.

DE: None of his sources except Chelsea have been identified. Actually, Chelsea chose the wrong person to confide in, Adrian Lamo, who immediately informed on her. In terms of getting documents that are crucial, that is done every day. Very often the documents are not printed. The journalist just uses them to make sure that he or she has a valid story. A document is more likely to identify a source, as happened in the case of the Intercept, I am sorry to say.

DJB: Finally, why is it important to protect whistleblowers? This is obviously meant to frighten off anyone with information.

DE: Without whistleblowers, our foreign policy would be almost entirely covert. We don’t have as many whistleblowers as we need to have any kind of public sovereignty. Unfortunately, people are simply not willing to risk their job or their clearance or their freedom.

In the past, before me and before President Obama, there were very few prosecutions. Freedom of the press was always held to preclude holding journalists and editors accountable for informing the public. This could be a major change. With classified information, which is nearly everything in the foreign policy field, the writer cannot predict what will be embarrassing in the future, what will appear criminal, what will be considered poor judgment. So they classify everything and it stays classified.

Only a tiny percentage of classified information deserves any protection from the public. A great deal of it the public needs and deserves to have. Most leaks were actually authorized, even though they were against regulations, because they served the interest of some boss in the system. They are really given for the benefit of the agency’s budget, or whatever. A small percentage are whistleblowing in the sense of revelation of wrongdoing or deception or criminality, information that the public should know, to avoid a war, for instance.

DJB: What other information that the public has the right to see might still be bottled up?

DE: Eighteen years after it began, we still don’t have the Pentagon Papers for Afghanistan. I am certain that they exist, within the CIA and the Pentagon and the White House, stacks of classified estimates that say stalemate is irrevocable in Afghanistan: We can stay there as long as we want but we will never serve American interests any more than now, which is essentially zero, unless it is to free the President of the charge that he has lost a war.

I think these estimates have been there from before the war but we have never seen them. How many people really want to get involved in a war with Russia and Assad in Syria? The estimates would reveal that, and we ought to have those.

A war with North Korea or Iran would be catastrophic and I am sure there are many authoritative statements to that effect. But if John Bolton persuades Trump to get involved in such a war, it will happen. It will probably happen without much disclosure beforehand, but if people did risk their careers and their freedom, as Chelsea Manning and Ed Snowden have done, we would have a much better chance that a democratic public would prevent that war from taking place.

Without whistleblowers we would not have a democracy. And there have to be people to distribute work and publish it. Julian Assange has done that in a way in which other publishers have not been willing to. Journalists should close ranks here against this abuse of the President’s authority, and against Britain and Ecuador for violating the norms of asylum and making practically every person who has achieved political asylum anywhere in the world less secure.

It is now up to us to make sure that the First Amendment is preserved.

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In October 2017, a video calling for an Islamic State jihad in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) appeared online and in a few news reports. It was purportedly made in Beni Territory, within Congo’s North Kivu Province, where a phantom, so-called Islamist militia, the Allied Democratic Forces, has been blamed for massacres of the indigenous population that began in October 2014.

The footage featured a bearded, camo-clad North African or Middle Eastern man draped in ammunition belts and holding a Kalashnikov rifle, while calling on Islamic State jihadists to come to Congo – in Arabic. Black African militiamen stood behind him.

Nearly two and a half years later, on April 4, 2019, the Atlantic Council, a Washington, D.C., think tank committed to U.S. hegemony, reported that Felix Tshisekedi, the new president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, had come to the U.S. and told them he feared ISIS attacks in DRC. He warned, they wrote, that ISIS might try to establish a caliphate there now that they’d been pushed out of their strongholds in Iraq and Syria.

Ten days after that, the New York Times, Washington Post, Bloomberg and other major corporate media outlets began reporting ISIS attacks in DRC. Specifically in North Kivu Province’s Beni Territory, a region with large reserves of rainforest timber, oil, gold, coltan, cassiterite (tin), rare earths, and other strategic and critical minerals essential to both industrial and military industrial manufacture.

Trouble with this ongoing story is that DRC’s population is more than 90 percent Christian and only 2 percent Muslim, and the Roman Catholic Church is its most influential non-governmental institution. Arabic is neither the international language nor any of the national or indigenous languages.

So the idea of ISIS establishing a caliphate might seem comical if the indigenous people of Beni weren’t being massacred by the illegal resource trafficking militias already operating there and the proposed caliphate weren’t a new cover for that.

I asked Boniface Musavuli, author of “Congos Beni Massacres: Fake Islamists, Rwandan Unending Occupation,” whether any of the fundamentals have changed since he published his book in July 2017, and he said no, that there is still no credible documentary evidence of ISIS or other foreign Islamist groups in DRC. “Reports that they are there,” he said,

“curiously reappeared in the last report of the New York University Group of Experts on Congo (GEC) on Beni. However, this report is based on unreliable sources, including Invisible Children , producer of the laughable propaganda video Kony 2012, and untraceable videos that could not have been made by GEC researchers themselves.”

***

Musavuli also said that none of the fundamentals in this October 2017 BAR conversation, “ISIS of Central Africa: A New Cover for Plundering Congo,” have changed:

Ann Garrison: Boniface, what’s your first response to this video? Do you think these ISIS jihadis have any real existence or any real interest in a holy war in your country?

Boniface Musavuli: This video appears mainly as an attempt to manipulate international opinion, to make people believe that eastern Congo is becoming a bastion of international Islamist terrorism. The reality is that only 2 percent of Congo’s population are Muslims, and there is no radical imam to lead a holy war.

Congolese Muslims have never fought against the government or even organized a political demonstration against the authorities. There is therefore no sociological basis for the establishment of a caliphate in Beni. A jihad in the Congo makes no sense whatsoever. Congo has never been claimed as a “land of Islam,” and the Congolese government does not send soldiers to Muslim countries.

AG: The Arab guerrilla fighter – or actor – in the video is not “white” according to the Western construction of that idea, but he is most certainly not a Black African, and the image of him at the head of a band of Black Africans has an unpleasant, racially supremacist implication. What do you think of that?

BM: I think that this image is making believe that the massacres that started in Beni in 2014 were from the very beginning sponsored by evil Arab Islamist organizations, and that the time has finally come for them to appear alongside their Black performers.

ISIS of Central Africa: A New Cover for Plundering Congo

AG: “Islamic State” seems to have become a franchise business like McDonald’s, but it’s not clear that IS headquarters, wherever that may be, has granted a franchise to this highly unlikely “Islamic State of Central Africa.” According to “ISIS calls for jihad in eastern Congo,” someone posted the video to a few “pro-ISIS” websites, but I haven’t been able to find any of them. Have you?

BM: No, but that article with the video that was supposed to be on the “pro-ISIS websites” appeared on the online news outlet “politico.cd.” It did not appear on YouTube as we might have expected, and it did not appear on any other news websites either, so it seemed as if politico.cd was the only one that received it.

AG: Some of the video was included with a version of the politico.cd report in the Daily Mail, a British tabloid that some call “The Daily Bigot.” The only other Western site that seems to have reproduced the story is PJ Media, but last week the New York Times and AP both ran stories about the Ugandan Muslim Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) that this Arabic ISIS militia has allegedly been working with all along – even though the ADF story has been proven fraudulent by U.N. investigators.

And Radio Okapi, a U.N. Peacekeeping Mission outlet, seemed to take it seriously when they interviewed Nicaise Kibel’bel, a Congolese journalist who published a book, “The Advent of Jihad in Eastern Congo, the Islamic Terrorism of the ADF.”

BM: Nicaise Kibel’bel won a CNN African Press Freedom Award in 2009 before starting to write his book on Beni. He published this book in December 2016. He is very close to Gen. Mbangu Mashita, who directs the military operations in Beni, which are, in reality, operations to traffic resources and kill the local people. It is therefore possible that he has an interest in conveying a story that serves as Islamist cover for the crimes of the army and the regime of Kabila.

I don’t believe this ISIS jihadi terror story, but I’m very worried that the gangsters in power may bring real jihadi killers to Beni to terrorize the people more and make the international community believe their cover story.

AG: Do the people of Beni believe that Islamists are killing them?

BM: The people of Beni knew from the beginning that the Congolese soldiers who are part of the resource-trafficking networks are killing them. The people lived for a long time with the ADF Muslims in the forest – almost 20 years – and the ADF trafficked timber but it never massacred them.

The killers are the units commanded by Gen. Mundos, a close friend and collaborator of [then president] Kabila; they have been killing the people since October 2014. This video will not change what they know to be true.

AG: Politico.cd links to its source for the ISIS video, the SITE Intelligence Group, breaking news, articles and analysis on the jihadist threat, which is led by private Israeli intelligence professional Rita Katz in Bethesda, Maryland. SITE Intelligence Group released the video of ISIS beheading American journalist Steven Sotloff before ISIS itself released it in 2014, after which President Obama said the U.S. would “degrade and destroy ISIS,” which the U.S. is still bombing – or funding – in Syria today. Which depends on whom you ask, of course, and there are also people who say the U.S. is doing both.

I can’t imagine President Trump using this “ISIS of Central Africa” as an excuse to drop Cruise missiles on eastern Congo, but this certainly makes it look as though U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies are for some reason investing in the idea that this group exists. ISIS always seems like a serviceable cause for militarization or military intervention of one sort or another.

And regardless of who’s actually producing politico.cd, they obviously favor U.S. policymakers’ viewpoints. On Monday, Oct. 23, one of its three most recent posts was about U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s trip to Congo’s capital Kinshasa to meet with President Kabila. The other two were about New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, whom they identified as a “rising star of the Democratic Party, the first Black senator from New Jersey.”

The Booker reports varied only slightly, and both included a letter that he and six other senators had written to President Trump and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley asking them to compel Kabila to hold an election in 2017 by imposing harsher sanctions and threatening the murky international financial networks that Kabila and his circle use to stash all the wealth they’ve stolen from their own people. I can’t help asking why they’re willing to let the loot sit in its overseas vaults, election or no, instead of returning it to the people, since they claim to know where it is and how to seize it as they did Gaddafi’s.

BM: That wouldn’t be in their interest. They say they’re concerned that we have an election and that we be able to freely express ourselves, but they’ve never said that the Congolese people should benefit from Congo’s resource wealth. Their big mining corporations are here too, most of all in Katanga, where they take as much ore as they can for as little as they can and exploit Congolese labor miserably.

AG: Another piece prominently featured in politico.cd summarizes “A Worsening Crisis in Congo,” an essay by Enough Project founder and executive director John Prendergast and Sasha Lezhnev in Foreign Affairs, the journal of the Council on Foreign Relations. Both are leading ideologues of the humanitarian war crusades led by former U.N. ambassador now Harvard professor Samantha Power, but writing for the CFR audience, they’re frank about how essential Congolese minerals, most of all copper and cobalt, are to U.S. national security.

Both are absolutely key to both weapons and consumer commodity manufacture. Congo contains 60 percent of the world’s known cobalt reserves, and the U.S. has no cobalt ore worth mining. Congo also has the world’s second largest copper reserves.

Prendergast and Lezhnev warn that if instability keeps escalating as Kabila clings to power, it could endanger the security of roads leading out of the Kolwezi and Kasumbalesa copper and cobalt mines. Like Cory Booker, they want Trump to manipulate Kabila and his criminal cronies by threatening their overseas assets if they don’t behave.

But, getting back to ISIS, whatever interest the U.S. may have in promoting the ISIS of Central Africa story, it also benefits Kabila and his circle by enhancing their cover for the army’s crimes in Beni, doesn’t it?

BM: Absolutely. I’m sure he’s hoping this Islamic State video and Nicaise Kibel’bel’s delirious new book about Congo jihad will create an even thicker smokescreen to hide behind.

AG: OK, let’s talk about the indigenous people of Beni, the ones suffering because of all this. If I understand correctly, the majority are indigenous in that their families are rooted there – Beni is their homeland – and they survive by farming and/or artisanal, pre-industrial mining. Is that more or less accurate?

BM: The majority of Beni’s population live by subsistence agriculture. The mining sector remains small and artisanal. Beni is mainly a transit zone for eastern Congo’s minerals and other resources to be exported to the markets of East Africa and Asia.

AG: Not to the West?

BM: Yes, but indirectly. First the minerals go to the East, to China, Malaysia, Korea, Japan, India, but we are in a globalized economy. The factories in these Asian countries, such as China, process Congolese minerals more cheaply than they could be processed in the West, but they operate with capital from Western investors.

AG: And if Beni is a transit zone, where are the minerals and other resources coming from?

BM: Some of course come from Beni, most of all timber, but others come from Ituri District and other territories of eastern Congo. Beni is the border territory where the resources are transported into Uganda.

AG: The Ituri District borders Uganda too, but the smuggling routes have been developed from points in Beni to points in Uganda?

BM: Yes.

AG: And what else can you say about the timber trade? I know that most of Beni is rainforest, the earth’s lungs, and cutting it down is hastening climate catastrophe, but who’s doing it and where do they trade it, to what markets?

BM: Beni’s precious rainforest timber is illegally logged and smuggled out by the Congolese army, then sold on the world timber market, as U.N. reports have shown. It’s first stored in Uganda, then shipped to overseas markets.

Beni’s timber exploitation zones were occupied by the ADF until 2013, but they’ve broken up and dispersed. Since then, the forests have been occupied by traffickers pretending to be ADF, most of all by the Congolese army. U.N. experts revealed that Gen. Mundos, Joseph Kabila’s henchman, was logging Beni’s rainforest timber and exporting it, but we don’t know what part of it is controlled by Mundos and Kabila behind him.

AG: What about the Ugandans and Rwandans that you’ve said are among the aggressors and traffickers?

BM: Regarding the role of Rwanda and Uganda, it should be noted that at the time when the ADF occupied the forest and controlled the timber sector, they were working for the benefit of Uganda, even though, officially, they presented themselves as “Ugandan rebels hostile to the government of Museveni.” That lie masked their mafia trafficking.

When the ADF were driven out of the Beni forest, thousands of Rwandans arrived in areas they’d formerly occupied, where timber is exploited, but the timber still continues to transit through Uganda. The only victims of this illegal economy are, of course, the indigenous people, who are driven off their land and replaced by hordes of Congolese soldiers and Rwandans.

AG: So they kill indigenous people and terrorize them till they flee just to get them out of the way?

BM: Yes.

AG: And what about foreign, industrial mining corporations. Has AngloGold Ashanti set up operations in Beni yet?

BM: There are gold-buying comptoirs – middlemen – in Beni and Butembo who buy from artisanal miners, but there are no big industrial mining companies. The firm AngloGold Ashanti, which merged with Sokimo to form Kibali Gold, has operations more than 300 km from Beni, near Watsa in the province of Haut-Uele.

AG: Is there anything else you’d like to say about this?

BM: Yes. I don’t believe this ISIS jihadi terror story, but I’m very worried that the gangsters in power may bring real jihadi killers to Beni to terrorize the people more and make the international community believe their cover story. I believe they are quite capable of bringing killers from Arab countries to eastern Congo, and this could make things even worse, even though that’s hard to imagine.

Today [Oct. 23, 2017], the United Nations activated its Level 3 humanitarian emergency designation for the entire Democratic Republic of the Congo. That puts it on par with the three other crises currently recognized as L3 emergencies: Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

They said that North Kivu Province, which includes Beni, hosts the largest number of internally displaced people in the country – close to a million. And it’s not even one of the most urgently targeted areas yet, though they say it’s very fragile and its conflicts could suddenly intensify again at any time.

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This article was originally published on San Francisco Bay View.

Ann Garrison is an independent journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2014, she received the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for her reporting on conflict in the African Great Lakes region. She can be reached at [email protected].

Boniface Musavuli is a native of Beni Territory, North Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo, now living in exile in France. He is the author of the book “Congo’s Beni Massacres: Fake Islamists, Rwandan Unending Occupation,” published in July 2017. Ann Garrison is an independent journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2014, she received the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for her reporting on conflict in the African Great Lakes region. She can be reached at [email protected].

Featured image: Young people in the city of Beni protest the massive resource theft from DRC Congo. They know the resources belong to them, who’s stealing them and that their government is complicit. They need allies, but only very rarely does the media tell their story and even more rarely is it told truthfully. (Source: San Francisco Bay View)

The Trump administration earlier this year reportedly considered detaining migrant children at Guantánamo Bay, the 17-year-old U.S. prison in Cuba that human rights advocates have condemned as a horrific stain on American history.

“The idea of incarcerating children at Guantánamo should send chills down the spine of anyone with a conscience,” Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) tweeted Tuesday. “This is what happens when our president is so racist that he sees migrant children as an ‘invasion’ and not vulnerable children to be protected.”

The Trump administration’s proposal was first reported by the New York Times, which explained that Guantánamo “has a dormitory facility that has been used in the past to hold asylum-seekers.”

Officials with the Department of Homeland Security “examined” the plan earlier this year, the Times reported.

According to the Times:

While there were no ‘immediate’ plans to house migrant children at Guantánamo Bay, the Defense Department is attempting to identify military bases that might be used for that purpose, a department spokesman, Tom Crosson, said on Monday…

Meanwhile, authorities are struggling to identify new locations where migrants can be held in detention. The military awarded a $23 million contract in February to build a ‘contingency mass migration complex’ at Guantánamo, a plan that would expand the existing facility to house 13,000 migrants and 5,000 support staff in tents. That project appears intended primarily to accommodate a crush of migrants that might accompany a new crisis in the Caribbean, though it could theoretically be used to house Central Americans.

Physicians for Human Rights, an advocacy group that has long called for the closure of Guantánamo, called the Trump administration’s proposal “beyond appalling.”

The human rights group Amnesty International also denounced the reported plan on Twitter.

“Kids should not be in detention, period. And even considering putting them Guantánamo Bay is inhumane,” the organization said Tuesday. “Detaining asylum-seekers is a choice, and it’s a harmful and irresponsible one. The Trump administration’s mass detentions must come to an end.”

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Detroit has been a center of interest and support of the Cuban Revolution for many decades where the majority African American population has engaged in various projects to enhance interactions between both geo-political regions.

A four-day visit by Gisela Arandia Covarrubias and Tomas Fernandez Robaina represented a continuation of a process of cultural exchange. Both individuals are writers and publishers committed to the exposure of the African historical and contemporary presence in Cuba.

Arandia is a researcher associated with the Cuban Union of Artists and Writers. She has traveled extensively in Africa to participate in conferences in Mali and the Republic of South Africa.

Her work has resulted in an appointment as the leader of the Ejecutivo, ARAC (Articulacion Regional Afrodescendiente de America Latina y el Caribe, Capitulo Cubano), known as a civil rights organization inside the socialist country. She was instrumental in the organizing of the Cuba y los pueblos afrodescendientes en America, a significant conference held in 2011.

Visiting the city as well was Fernandez Robaina, who has worked since the early 1960s at la Biblioteca Nacional (Cuban National Library) in Havana. He also teaches courses at the University of Havana. Fernandez has published widely on issues involving people of African descent since 1968.

In 1994, Fernandez published “The Blacks in Cuba, 1902-1958: Notes on the History of the Struggle against Racial Discrimination.” The author has traveled many times to the United States and Africa gathering information on the similarities between African people in various parts of the globe.

Both Arandia and Fernandez participated in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Legacy Conference held during early April in Chicago. SNCC, a pioneering and vanguard organization in the Civil Rights and Black Power movements of the 1960s, had emphasized the interconnectedness of liberation efforts in the U.S. and Cuba.

During the late 1960s, SNCC leaders such as Stokely Carmichael (later known as Kwame Ture) and Gwen Patton, traveled to Cuba bringing messages of solidarity seeking support for the African American political movement which had become internationalized by 1967. Veteran SNCC organizers have continued this legacy through annual conferences and other work aimed at achieving total freedom.

Highlights of the Detroit Visit

Arriving on April 11, the two guests were met by leaders of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition and the Detroit MLK Committee. Arandia and Fernandez were hosted at the Hush House, a community-based art and cultural museum owned by Charles and Sandra Simmons.

Administrator of Hush House, Dr. Tiffany D. Caesar, was responsible for their lodging and early morning meals. Caesar, a recent graduate of Michigan State University, wrote her dissertation as a comparative analysis of African and African American women activists in Detroit and South Africa.

On April 12, members of Moratorium NOW! Coalition took both guests for a tour of the Dr. Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, for many years the largest of such institutions in the U.S. Since the opening of the Washington, D.C. National African American Museum, this new structure is physically larger. However, as a community-oriented institution the Wright Museum remains unmatched.

A walk through exhibit “And Still We Rise” was viewed by Arandia and Fernandez where the African experience from the continent to the city of Detroit is displayed elaborately. The Cuban researchers were deeply moved by the exhibit particularly the section which replicates the middle passage, the horrendous trip on slave ships from the African coasts to the regions of South America, Central America, the Caribbean and the North America.

According to the exhibit description, published by the Wright Museum:

“This long-term exhibition serves as the central experience of the museum. The 22,000 square-foot exhibition space contains more than 20 galleries that allow patrons to travel over time and across geographic boundaries.  The journey begins in Africa, the cradle of human life.  Guests witness several ancient and early modern civilizations that evolved on the continent.  Cross the Atlantic Ocean, experience the tragedy of the middle passage and encounter those who resisted the horrors of bondage, emancipated themselves and sometimes took flight by way of the Underground Railroad.  Throughout this trip, the efforts of everyday men and women who built families, businesses, educational institutions, spiritual traditions, civic organizations and a legacy of freedom and justice in past and present-day Detroit are hailed.  What an awesome journey!”

Public Forum on African Presence and the Cuban Revolution

Another highlight of the visit by the Cuban writers was a public meeting sponsored by the Moratorium NOW! Coalition, the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice, the Detroit MLK Committee and the Communist Workers League (CWL). The event was held on April 13 and drew a standing-room-only audience at the organizations’ offices located on Second Avenue in the Midtown District.

Opening remarks were made by Dorothy Aldridge, a veteran civil rights activist and former member of SNCC. Aldridge, a lifetime Detroiter, explained the role of SNCC in the 1960s when they encouraged solidarity between African Americans and people of African descent around the world, including the Republic of Cuba.

Abayomi Azikiwe along with Cuban guests and friends during the African Presence and the Cuban Revolution Public Forum, April 13, 2019

The forum was addressed by both Arandia and Fernandez who discussed various aspects of the African experience in Cuba. They noted the centuries-long travails of enslavement and colonization along with the efforts of the Cuban Revolution to eradicate the last vestiges of racism inside the country.

Fernandez noted that any revolution was a process. Cuba had embarked upon a transformative undertaking in 1959 in an attempt to overthrow the institutional racism which was a hallmark of the systems of slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism.

Arandia, whose mother was an English teacher in Cuba and had participated in the rural educational campaign of the early 1960s which eradicated illiteracy in the country in a relatively short period of time, also spoke to the special role of women in the Revolution. She noted that no revolutionary exercise is completed in its early phase and that the liberation of women was an essential achievement in building a genuinely liberated society.

Dr. Caesar said of the meeting and visit, that:

“It was such a pleasure attending the African Presence and the Cuban Revolution event this weekend. I had the honor to spend the whole weekend with Afro Cuban scholars Gisela Arandia Covarrubias and Tomas Fernandez Robaina. It is always great to be among the Detroit community, Hush House Collective, African and African American Studies (AAAS) Family, and Wayne State partners.”

The following day on April 14, both guests attended the 39th Annual Michigan Coalition for Human Rights (MCHR) Annual Dinner held at Marygrove College. Arandia and Fernandez were seated at the table reserved for the Detroit MLK Committee. They were introduced to the crowd of 400 people and received an enthusiastic round of applause.

Cuban writer Gisela Arandia Covarrubias addressing the audience at the African Presence and the Cuban Revolution Forum on April 13, 2019 in Detroit (Photo by Abayomi Azikiwe)

Future Detroit Work on Cuba

When the Cuban writers were being driven to the train station during the morning hours of April 15, Fernandez remarked that his “visit to Detroit made him more determined to work for the realization of the ideals of the Revolution set out by Fidel Castro in 1959.” Both guests continued their national tour where they were scheduled to visit Kalamazoo and Boston among other cities.

The Cuban Caravan designed to oppose the ongoing blockade and express solidarity with the Caribbean nation located just 90 miles off the coast of Florida, will be stopping again in Detroit this coming July. Members of Moratorium NOW! Coalition and CWL are organizing events for the Pastors for Peace and Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO) sponsored activity.

Also local activists have expressed interests in the 50th anniversary Venceremos Brigade. The event has enjoyed the participation of both youth and veteran CWL members over the years.

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Abayomi Azikiwe is the editor of Pan-African News Wire. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

All images in this article are from the author; featured image: Cuban guests in Detroit at the Musuem of African American History, April 12, 2019

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“Give the American a ton of dynamite and a mountain of rock and he is happy” [1].

For many millennia for Humanity, the Earth was almost infinite, and its depths were bottomless. The situation has changed since the mid-20th century, when, due to the processes of globalization of socio-economic life and the scientific and technological revolution, which multiplied many times all the possibilities of mankind, the pressure on the planet increased dramatically.

It became clear to some scientists and politicians that the Earth is a limited object. The work carried out on the order of the Club of Rome in the late 60s of the last century clearly showed “that if growth continued unabated at the present pace, shrinking resources and heavy pollution would lead to an ultimate collapse of world systems” [2]. It is necessary to limit the growth, the rejection of spontaneous self-development. A program of comprehensive measures was developed to strengthen supranational global regulation. However, these works did not receive adequate support and were not implemented. As a result, 50 years later, we see that the calculations were justified, and the world approached a global catastrophe. And it turned out not only in the impoverishment of natural resources and ecology.

The dynamics of changes in the stability of the Earth, of all its geospheres (from the earth’s core to the magnetosphere) definitely shows that in many ways they have reached, and in some have passed, the limit values for normal life support. [3]. Variations of physical fields in them can destroy humanity. The same applies to the resource base of the planet, biodiversity, environmental, economic, social and military-political problems. This is evidenced by an objective analysis of monitoring data and the increasing number, power, economic and human losses from natural-man-made accidents and disasters, including military conflicts. You can directly say that the spaceship “Planet Earth” is suffering an accident!

Then, in the 60s, the term “golden billion” arose, or rather received a new sound, from residents of those countries that will continue to live according to the old paradigm of unlimited consumption and robbery of others. It was assumed that it will include citizens of the United States, Western Europe, and some other countries. The others of the inhabitants of the planet were given quotas for life.

To reduce the negative effects of anthropogenic impact, several concepts of the coexistence of human civilization and Nature, in particular, sustainable development, were proposed. Various UN environmental decisions, the Montreal, Kyoto, Paris Protocols were taken, summits in Rio de Janeiro and Johannesburg and other events were held. However, the problems that were set for them turned out to be unfulfilled, primarily because of the difference in interests of different states and the lack of a real goal – to save the earth for this and future generations. As a result of active inaction, the world came close to a planetary apocalypse.

Awareness of this fact led to a change in US foreign policy. Now we can talk only about the “golden half billion” of the “lucky ones”, about the United States alone. For this, hegemony of only one country becomes necessary.

“After the collapse of the USSR, there was a profound change in the nature of traditional American imperialism, and it chose the path of self-destructive riot, setting as his goal the conquest of world domination and imagining itself a new Roman empire. … The United States is no longer the leader of the free world, but the ruler, “gendarme” of all countries and peoples “[4].

At the same time, wars became necessary tools for America to carry out this program. On the large experience accumulated over decades (from Korea, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Syria, etc. to Ukraine), it is clearly seen where there is war, there is America, where is America, there is war. All the moral and ethical norms have been dropped completely by the US government. Defending the “holy principles of freedom and democracy”, they behave like the crudest barbarians, destroying states with a thousand-year history.

To unleash conflicts, the US Government uses the ancient “divide and conquer” principle used by the Roman Senate; with the help of the established technologies, the organizations of “color revolutions” they divided stable multinational or multi-religious states into components. Then they confront them, using nationalist and criminal organizations as allies and instigators of provocations, financing and directing their activities.

The algorithm of creating such a conflict, we can see very well in Ukraine. At the first stage, there were the sabotage operation “Maidan” (Kiev); change of the legitimate President, the beginning of the division of the country and the war.

The second stage – the operation “Crimea”, as a result of which, having abolished the Russian language as a state language in Ukraine, they created an inter-ethnic confrontation between the Crimea, mainly Russian-speaking and Ukraine.

After the victory of Maidan in Kiev, professional saboteurs who did their job began to move toward the Crimea, war was brewing. The referendum and the entry of the Crimea into Russia, which saved the peninsula from bloodshed, made Russia the world’s No. 1 aggressor.

The third stage – the operation “Novorossiya” (Donetsk and Lugansk regions); the division of Ukraine is finished, the image of Russia as an enemy has been finally established.

The fourth stage – a full-scale war in Ukraine with the transition to the fifth stage – the war on the entire European continent is ahead. And these wars for “maintaining Ukrainian democracy” (Obama) at the fourth stage and “stopping the world aggressor of Russia” at the fifth, as usual will be waged by proxy: “We will fight with Russia until the last Ukrainian” (from the American press).

The fact that America will stop at nothing, and that it is not interested in the fate of their NATO allies, is already understood in the West: “However, unfortunately, the US seems to be going to deal withPutin to the latestEuropean” (Karl Sevelda, Chief Executive Officerof  “Raiffeisenbank International” RBI). Europe is becoming a proving ground for military operations against Russia. Now, according to this scenario, events are unfolding in Venezuela. The plans of America to deploy hostilities in the countries of South America. And already the President of Brazil speaks about the possibility of invasion of Venezuela.

The USA has no friends, only vassals. Those countries that are trying to defend their own interests, become enemies.

“Around the world, we face rogue regimes, terrorist groups, and rivals like China and Russia that challenge our interests, our economy, and our values.”(Trump, speech before the congress “On the situation of the country” [RBC January 31, 18]). If now someone in Europe, Asia or Latin America rely on America, then this is their biggest mistake, for which they will have to pay dearly.

Previously, the country, having declared war, started fighting itself. Now America, having declared war to the whole world itself, does not participate in military operations, sowing death everywhere. This led to the fact that according to international polls, the United States is perceived by the peoples of the whole world as the greatest threat to the world [5].

Obviously, there can be no winners in this war. America cannot defeat the whole world. In the end, this policy is detrimental to the United States itself. But the main thing – probably the most important player is entering the arena of the struggle for existence: Planet Earth. As said the cosmonautics founder K.E. Tsiolkovsky: “Humanity is spoiled by the tranquility of nature.”

In addition, civilization has changed the planet, brought it out of the “normal functioning” mode, activated intra-earth processes, accompanied by sudden movements of vast masses of earth, water, air. These are only the first forerunners of yet invisible future catastrophes, in particular, the inversion of the geomagnetic field, capable of destroying humanity, or in the best case for us to transfer civilization to the agrarian level [6,7].

Prevent, reduce the power of impact and eliminate the consequences of these processes is not within the power of any country in the world. It is obvious that only all states together can resist global catastrophes. Only a common idea that affects the interests of all earthlings can truly unite people. Such an idea could be – the salvation and preservation of the planet Earth from a brewing apocalypse – a global natural and man-made disaster.

As for America, there are two ways of development in front of it: constructive – considering its large economic, scientific and technical potential to rally countries around itself, to deploy planetary work to ensure the security of the Earth and earthlings, and destructive,  to continue the current policy of waging war all over the world, causing death on Earth.

Let me remind you of the ideas of the great American, economist, scientist and practician Harrington Emerson, expressed by him in his work “The twelve principles of efficiency”.  [1] (105 years from the date of publication):

“Since life began on our planet there have always been two types of organization, types that Mr. F. W. Taylor characterizes as functional and as military. The former is an organization to build up, the latter an organization to destroy.  Primitive business was so closely allied to raids, filibustering, buccaneering, slave trading (not to omit our own American Madagascar trade (as now with Russia S.Ts) that it was inevitable that the military type should be extended to business organization the world over a type now known to be utterly unfitted to modern business conceptions and ideals”.

“As was formerly the case in this shop, “the immediate” has been mercilessly held up to every one connected with American work.  …. The immediate obscured the future”. “The American, from presidents of the United States or of great corporations down to cubs in office or shop, in spite of his natural motherwit, finds himself struggling against quicksands of tradition, whirlpools of immediate necessity, fogs of current practice, of near common sense…”

“It is because I have an abiding faith in the destiny both of my country and its inhabitants that I urge the application to its affairs of efficiency principles. That its people have in the past abundantly made use of a high order of near common sense justifies the belief that in the future it will surpass other nations in the use of supernal common sense. Let us therefore grasp the difference between the two, and, having grasped it, let us wake up to some of the obvious present stumbling blocks in our national, corporate and individual paths.”

I would very much like to hope that America in its policy will be based on the common sense of a higher order, but unfortunately, as we see, Trump’s policy is a «lower-order common sense”, leading the world to ruin, in pursuit of “immediate” benefit. To prevent this, it is necessary to create opposition to the destructive US policy. Most of all, America is afraid of the unification of countries, in particular Russia and Belarus, which is increasing resistance to American expansion. But the greatest fear of the United States is the project of unification of Europe and Russia (the formation of Eurosibir, the axis Paris-Berlin-Moscow [4]). In this case, the planet, like a chair, gets a second “leg”, and considering the growing power of China (the third “leg”), the world (“chair”) will become sustainable.

I would like to hope that the leaders of European countries will realize their enormous role in saving the planet, stop being American landsknechts, fighting against themselves, will get rid of the imposed image of Russia as the enemy. Only by uniting with Russia, Europe will regain its former historical, world significance. This is understood by many European businessmen: «Europe from the start I have to go on the way of integration with Russia. Even if this utopia was to sail on the originally chosen path, according to which Russia is part of Europe and may eventually become part of the EU» Carl Sevelda (RBI).

However, all this does not ensure the fulfillment of the main, at this stage, problem of mankind – the preservation and salvation of the Earth. To solve it, the author’s proposed a model or image that is closest to reality – the Earth is a natural man-made spacecraft, the safety of which is obliged to ensure Humanity.

The experience of piloting on the created space ships and stations in the conditions of existence, that are much heavier than on earth shows that this is possible. During this time, many practical (scientific, technical, psychological and other) developments have been created that can be used to provide security on the planet. The economic part of the Project, which at first glance seems costly, can produce enormous profits through the development and introduction of new technologies, the creation of industries from pollutants selected from the atmosphere and hydrosphere based on new chemistry, the use of new sources of electricity, etc.

A huge amount of work on the Project will give tens of millions of jobs. Scientific support of the Security Project, determined by the stability of processes occurring in different geospheres, should be ensured by the development of the Unified Geodynamic Model of the Earth.

On the similarity of the norms and rules of behavior at space stations, it is necessary to offer mankind a “Code of life of our civilization”, where the basic rights and duties of every inhabitant of planet Earth would be clearly defined, where any manifestations of fascism, military extremism would be strictly suppressed, everyone’s right would be guaranteed a person for a happy life, work and creativity, and peoples for self-determination. We must put this problem before the UN. To develop the Security Concept for the Planet Earth spacecraft, to approve it by all states, creating instead of the UN, the Planet Control Center (PCO), headed by the Council of the Elders of the Earth.

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Dr. Sergey Tsygankov, Ph.D is a Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences.

Notes

1. Emerson, Harrington. The twelve principles of efficiency. Engineering Magazine, 1912.

2. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, Anders Wijkman Come On! Capitalism, Short-termism, Population and the Destruction of the Planet A Report to the Club of Rome, prepared for the Club of Rome’s 50th Anniversary in 2018/

3. Planetary boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet 

Will Steffen, Katherine Richardson, Johan Rockström, Sarah E. Cornell, Ingo Fetzer, Elena M. Bennett, Reinette Biggs, Stephen R. Carpenter, Wim de Vries, Cynthia A. de Wit, Carl Folke, Dieter Gerten, Jens Heinke, Georgina M. Mace, Linn M. Persson, Veerabhadran Ramanathan, Belinda Reyers and Sverker Sörlin Science 347 (6223), 1259855 DOI: 10.1126/science.1259855originally published online January 15, 2015

4. G. Faye Le coup dEtat mondial: Essai sur le Nouvel Impérialisme Américain., L’Æncre, 2004. English translation: A Global Coup, Arktos, 2017.

5. Polls: U.S. Is ‘The Greatest Threat to Peace in the World Today’By Eric ZuesseGlobal Research, August 09, 2017

6. Tsygankov S.S., 2006. On the possible mechanism of inversion of the magnetic field, Doklady Physics 51 (7), 393–396

7. Dockrill P. Mysterious Anomaly Under Africa Is Weakening Earth’s Magnetic Field ScienceAlert27 DEC 2018

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There’s plenty about Trump to criticize, indisputable just cause to impeach him – for the right reasons, not the wrong ones, for high crimes of war and against humanity, for numerous other offenses harmful to the general welfare, for what his predecessors and vast majority of past and current congressional members are guilty of, not for anything in the Mueller report.

Anti-Trump “undemocratic” Dems and hostile media never explain that Russiagate was and remains a colossal hoax – cooked up by Obama’s Russophobic CIA director John Brennan, one of the most shameful chapters in US political history.

Mueller never should have been appointed special counsel in the first place. The probe lacked legitimacy — a colossal waste of time and millions of dollars spent proving nothing related to his mandate.

The exercise was a sinister plot to delegitimize Trump for triumphing over media darling Hillary, failing to prove an improper or illegal connection between him and Russia, putting an exclamation point on Russian Federation US election meddling that never happened.

Not a shred of evidence suggests it. In a legitimate court of law, charges are dismissed without proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the gold standard for getting convictions.

No evidence exists about Russian US election meddling nor about illegal or dubious Trump ties to Moscow.

Russiagate is as phony as Watergate. Long knives wielded by dark forces cooked it up to remove Richard Nixon from office on trumped up charges.

It was all about his social, environmental and geopolitical agenda – world’s apart from how Republicans and undemocratic Dems operate today. Nixon threatened entrenched military/industrial/security and other interests, that was why he was marked for removal.

Trump was supposed to lose, not win, why Dems and vast majority of establishment media want him either too weakened to be reelected or impeached and removed from office.

The self-styled newspaper of record NYT called him “demonstrably unfit for office.” The same characterization applies to  “dangerous” Hillary, and the majority of other past and current presidential aspirants, contemptuous of rule of law principles.

Russiagate should have been Hillarygate, a Dem standard bearer by primary election theft and other dirty tricks.

She and the DNC supported former MI6 spy Christopher Steele’s doggy dossier on Trump – filled with unverified accusations and allegations, an effort with no credibility.

Hillary and Mueller (left)

The Clinton crime family pursued and endorsed endless wars of aggression during their time in office, state terror on a global scale. Hillary endorsed first-strike use of nuclear weapons she called peacekeeping deterrents.

She’s pushing for Trump’s impeachment, saying

“I certainly think that the roadmap, as some call it, of the Mueller report raises so many serious questions in part one about what the Russians did (sic), which is beyond debate (sic), and in part two about all of the evidence about obstruction (sic).”

“I think there is enough there (sic) that any other person who had engaged in those acts would certainly have been indicted (sic)” – referring to Trump.

Her anti-Russia/anti-Iran rage could have launched WW III by now or earlier.

Unthinkable nuclear war remains possible, even likely with numerous other bipartisan hardliners infesting Washington. No other nation threatens humanity like the US. It shows in executive, congressional, and judicial actions.

No case that would hold up in a court of law exists for impeaching Trump on obstruction of justice charges related to the Mueller probe.

His report includes 11 instances of possible obstruction of justice by Trump and his campaign staff – short of accusing anyone of this crime because no evidence proves it.

Trump and his staff didn’t obstruct Mueller’s probe. They cooperated with it. DLT waived executive privilege. According to Law Professor Jonathan Turley,

“(h)e took no actual obstructive acts. To charge him would have amounted to a virtual thought crime.”

Dems and supportive media are reinterpreting and using the Mueller report to continue vilifying Trump for the wrong reasons.

Dems are divided, some wanting to go for the jugular by impeaching him in the House they control despite virtually no chance of a GOP-controlled Senate conviction.

Others, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (image right with Trump) and House Majority Leader Hoyer, prefer a weakened Trump, helping the party’s standard bearer defeat him in 2020.

Following release of the Mueller report, the anti-Trump NYT said

“(i)n a functional country, we would be on the road to impeachment.”

A separate times piece posed the question: “Impeach Donald Trump?” Despite no evidence of obstruction of justice, the Times pronounced him guilty, saying he “doesn’t deserve to be president,” calling for his impeachment.

Separately, the Times said

“(t)here’s a bigger prize than impeachment. Keeping Trump in office will destroy the Republican Party.”

The Washington Post went both ways as well, so far more against than for going this far.

No US president was ever removed from office by impeachment. House members impeached Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, both subsequently acquitted by the Senate.

The Constitution’s Article II, Section 4 states:

“The President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

No US president was ever charged with crimes of war or against humanity, none for serving monied interests at the expense of the general welfare, none for breaching the public trust or repeatedly lying.

Andrew Johnson and Clinton were impeached for political reasons. In Johnson’s case, a southerner from Tennessee, it was largely over his loyalty to the union during the civil war.

He was accused of violating the Tenure of Office Act for removing Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. By that standard, most or all of his successors would share guilt.

In Clinton’s case, it was over lying under oath about sex and related charges (Monica Lewinsky), his legitimate impeachable offenses ignored.

How will things turn out for Trump? Impeachment is possible but unlikely. If it occurs, the GOP-controlled Senate most likely would acquit him.

What are his chances for reelection in 2020? It’s way too early to tell, of course. However, the historical record shows sitting presidents have a distinct advantage over challengers.

In US history, only five incumbents failed to get a second term – William Taft, Herbert Hoover during the Great Depression, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and GHW Bush.

Will Trump be No. 6? The fullness of time will tell.

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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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Socialism, Capitalism and Health Care

April 25th, 2019 by Prof. James Petras

First published by Global Research on November 28, 2017

Introduction

The US political and economic elites have always bragged that capitalism is far superior to socialism in terms of providing people’s personal welfare.  They claim that citizens live longer, healthier and happier lives under capitalism.

The debate between the supporters of the US Affordable Care Act or ‘Obamacare’ and its most vehement opponents under President Trump is not part of any larger system debate since both ‘sides’ base their vision and plans for medical care on private, for-profit corporate insurance schemes.  This source of funding would ‘harness market forces’ to deliver quality medical care…in a marketplace of ‘free competition’, in which every American, even the most fragile, cancer-ridden patient, would be an engaged stakeholder, weighing a huge menu of free choices…

The real comparison of how these economic systems provide basic health care should be based on showing which provides the best population outcomes, personal satisfaction and community security across national boundaries.  National health systems top the chaotic private system in these parameters.

On the other hand, the US tops all European countries in terms of the percentage of workers and family members who avoid necessary trips to the doctor because they fear financial ruin from the inflated costs of their private health care. In other words, majorities of people, dependent on private for-profit insurance schemes to provide health care, cannot afford to visit a medical facility, doctor or clinic even to treat a significant illness. The type of economic system funding health services determines the likelihood of a patient actually going to seek and receive important medical care that will preserve life, one’s ability to work and enjoy some level of satisfaction.

This essay will include a brief discussion of the social and political conditions, which gave rise to the socialized, and clearly more effective, health care system.  And we will touch on the consequences the two health systems in terms of people’s life expectancy and quality of life.

Comparing Costs of Medical Visitation by Economic System

The US is the only developed country relying on a private, for-profit insurance system to fund and deliver medical care for its working age population. In contrast, all countries in the European Union have some form of publicly funded and delivered health plans for its workers.

One of the key quality measures of a health care system is a patient’s access to timely competent medical care.

The Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OCECD) recently conducted a systematic comparison of seven countries, with different levels of GDP, and the percentage of people in each country who are able to afford medical consultations for necessary medical care.

The European countries all have established national public health programs with clear goals and measures in terms of outcomes. The US is the only nation to rely on privately administered and funded health care systems for its working age population.

The Results

Over one-fifth (22%) of the US working age population believe they cannot afford to consult a doctor or medical clinic – in the event of an illness or accident. In contrast, less than eight percent of European workers view themselves as unable to afford necessary medical care. For the largest EU nations, less than 5% of the working population avoids care because of a perceived inability to pay for essential services. US workers are five times more likely to voluntarily forego health care, often with disastrous long-term consequences.

If we compare the US with its ‘free market’ private insurance run system with any EU nation, we find consistent results: Access to competent, essential medical services in the US is far worse!

In Germany and France, the EU’s most developed nations, working age citizens and their family members have three to ten times better access to health care than the US. 8% of workers in France and 2% in Germany postpone necessary visits to the doctor because of a perceived inability to pay. Among middle developed EU nations, 4% in the UK and 4.5% in Italy cite financial reasons for skipping essential medical care – compared to 22% of working age Americans.

Even in the least developed EU nations, Spain and Portugal, with the highest unemployment rates and lowest per capita income, workers have greater access to health care. Only 2.5% of workers in Spain and 7.5% in Portugal view costs as a reason to avoid visiting their doctor.

High Tech Billionaires Speak of ‘Values’ while Maximizing Profits

Protecting our community is more important than maximizing our profits’, the multi-billionaire Mark Zuckerberg opined this month, after his company, Facebook posted its first ever $10 billion quarterly earnings result. (FT 11/16/17 P 8)

Zuckerberg and entourage had apparently ventured into Middle America discovering to their shock that American communities were in the midst of a narcotic addiction crisis, which had caused hundreds of thousands of deaths and disrupted the lives of millions of addicts’ family members.  The natives of Middle America were more concerned about access to effective addiction treatment than their access to Facebook! Zuckerberg, with his legions of highly educated foreign workers on the West Coast, conveniently missed the chance to identify the source of the American addiction crisis: The over-prescription of opioid pain medications by tens of thousands of private US medical practitioners, pushed by the giant US pharmaceutical industry in a 2 decades-long medical genocide that the nations of Europe had so ‘miraculously’ avoided because of their centralized, regulated, socialized health systems.

While the US may have the least available and least affordable health care for working people, it can certainly boast about producing the highest number of super-rich in the world. Five of the world’s largest companies are US-owned with a combined market capitalization of $3.3 trillion for the top US tech giants. Europe’s largest tech company, SAP, is sixty notches below.

The US giant mega-billion dollar tech companies and CEO’s are also mega-billion dollar tax-evaders who stash their fortunes overseas and avoid the inconvenience of having to contribute to any national health programs for workers – whether in the US or elsewhere. The monopoly tech corporations’ wealth and power are one important reason why over a fifth of working age Americans cannot afford necessary medical care. As one acute observer noted,

The new high tech elite tend to cloak their self interest by talking about values which has the collateral benefit of avoiding talk about wealth.’(FT 11/17/17 P9)

The scarcity of European multi-billion dollar tech CEOs, like the American Zuckerberg and Gates, is linked to the domestic tax systems that provide public financing and management of effective medical service serving hundreds of millions of European workers.

In other words, the US, with its far more extreme concentration of wealth and social inequality, continues to have the greatest level of health care inequality among industrialized nations.

Europe is not without inequalities, monopolies and underfunded health programs but it delivers far better and more accessible care to its citizens than the private capitalist health system promoted in the US.

Historical Roots of the Superior European Health Care System

The power of monopoly capital is one of the key factors resulting in the deteriorating quality of health care for the US working population. Another factor is the lack of consistent working class struggle in the US compared to Europe. After the Second World War, there were huge waves of working class strikes across France, Italy and the UK.  Various communist parties in continental Europe played a leading role within the trade unions demanding for publicly funded, national health care. In the UK, Socialists and the Labor Governments were pushed by their trade union members to craft a national health system to meet the needs of workers and their families. While Germany had a basic national health system dating from the time of Bismarck in the late 19th century, the socialist economy and public services developing in the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) after the Second World War provided an alternative for West German workers who then successfully pushed for the implementation of an advanced welfare state, including a socialized medical care system, within the thoroughly capitalist German Federation.

In the 1970’s Spain and Portugal shed their fascist past and post-war dictatorships. The militant trade unions and leftist parties ascended to power on promises to implement social-welfare programs, which, even with their economic limitations, included highly effective national health programs. Life expectancies rose dramatically.

The US has neither welfare nor national medical programs for its working population. Despite a brief interlude of American workers’ strikes shortly after WWII, leftist militants, communists and socialists were purged and corrupt business-linked trade union leaders took over. Rather than struggle for an effective national system of publicly funded medical care, the trade unions, linked to the Democratic Party, pushed their membership to struggle for ‘nickel and dime’ wage increases – accepting a system of the most expensive, and unaccountable private health care in the world.

The capitalist US has been the only country to deprive its working age citizens and their family members of an effective national health system. After over 60 years, the results are damning. Providing essential medical care for American workers, through the various forms of private, for-profit insurance schemes, has resulted in an uncontrolled health care cost inflation making manufacturing in the US far more expensive than its European, Japanese or Canadian competitors.

From 2001 up to 2018, under Presidents Bush, Obama and Trump, the US taxpayers have spent $5.6 trillion dollars on privately delivered, for-profit medical care with unimpressive results in terms of population health and life expectancy. On a per-capita basis, this is twice the amount spent on citizens of the EU who have consistently enjoyed rising life expectancy and improving health parameters. Despite this enormous investment of money in a chaotic, ineffective private system, the US Treasury has steadfastly maintained it could not finance a National Health Program for the population.

Present and Future Consequence of a Capitalist ‘Health System’

Today millions of US wage earners can expect to suffer shorter and less healthy lives than their counterparts in other industrialized countries in Europe and Japan. The opioid addiction epidemic among US workers, caused entirely by uncontrolled prescription of highly addictive narcotics by private practitioners and pushed by the profit-hungry US pharmaceutical industry, has led to over 600,000 deaths by overdose and millions of lives shortened by the brutal realities of addiction and degradation. This legally prescribed epidemic is unique to the United States where an estimated 15% of construction workers need treatment for addiction, millions have dropped out of the labor market due to addiction and the medical plans of numerous US building trade unions are facing bankruptcy because of the cost of addition-treatment for its members. The anti-addiction drug, Suboxone, is the most expensive and heavily prescribed medication for some union health plans. The reasons for this atrocity are clear:  Injured American workers were being prescribed long courses of cheap, but highly addictive opioids to address their pain during cursory visits to ‘medical clinics’, rather than providing them with the more expensive but appropriate post-trauma care involving physical therapy and rest. The bosses and supervisors, who just wanted ‘warm bodies’ back on the job, were oblivious to the impending disaster.

Mega billion dollar private drug companies manufactured and promoted highly addictive prescription narcotics and paid ‘lobbyists’ to persuade US politicians and regulators to ‘look the other way’ as the addiction epidemic unfolded. Corporate hospitals and for-profit physicians, nurses, dentists and others participated in a historic catastrophe of medical irresponsibility that ended up addicting millions of American workers and their family members and killing hundreds of thousands. A huge proportion of prescription narcotic addicts are white workers in poorly protected manual jobs (construction, factories, farms, mines etc.). They lack access to effective, responsible medical care. In new millennium America, their jobs would not provide for ‘time off’ or physical therapy following injury and they unwittingly resorted to the ‘miracle’ of prescription opioids to get back to work. In many cases, their private medical insurance plans blatantly refused to pay for more expensive non-addictive alternatives and would insist the workers receive the cheap opioids instead. The rare worker, who demanded to take time off to seek effective medical and physical therapy for an injury, would be fired. US capitalists could easily ignore the growing shortage of healthy American construction and other workers by importing cheap, skilled labor from abroad and sanctimoniously blame American workers for their disabilities.

Conclusion

Opioid overdoses burden US hospitals (Source: Health Day News)

Workers in even the poorest European Union countries have greater access to better, more effective medical care then their US counterparts. They continue to enjoy rising life expectancies and longer lives without disability. Their injuries are treated appropriately with rest and physical therapy. Injured European or Japanese workers are never prescribed ridiculously long courses of highly addictive narcotics given to Americans. Certainly any increase in overdose deaths from prescribed opioids in the European Union or Japan would have generated rapid public health investigations and corrective action – a marked contrast to the two decades of callous indifference within the US medical community that bordered on Social Darwinism considering the working class identity of most victims. In Europe and Japan, long-term narcotic therapy is reserved for terminal cancer patients suffering from intractable pain. It would never have been offered to rural or working class teenagers for sports injuries – a common practice in the US!

The European public medical care systems are the product of class struggle and socially conscious mass movements and political parties that produced welfare states where improving population health was a central goal of its social compact. In contrast, the private-for-profit health system in the US is the shining example of the triumph of capitalism – the consolidation and further enrichment of capitalist control and the subordination of labor in each of its phase – from low to high tech business. In this ultimate triumph of capitalism, the old class struggle slogans were revised – becoming – Long live the bosses! Early death to the workers!

Private health care and the drive for higher profits provided enormous benefits for the pharmaceutical industry, making billionaires out of the owners and CEOs. This spawned the ‘ultra-philanthropic’ billionaire Sackler family whose Purdue Pharmaceuticals peddled the deadly Oxycontin to tens of millions of Americans. For profit-hospitals, private medical practices and rapacious insurance companies all reaped the bounty of mismanaging a bloated, unaccountable system that has provided the American worker with an early death by overdose or a shortened life of despair and disability.

Private capitalist employers and insurance companies continue to benefit from the epidemic of pre-mature deaths of their former employees: Pension costs and health care liabilities are slashed because of the decreasing life expectancy – Wall Street is jubilant. There will be fewer communities to educate and protect and this will lower taxes. Cheap imported replacement workers (educated or trained on their own societies’ dime) can conveniently be deported or replaced.

It is undeniable: increasing life expectancy and a decent life free of disability has disappeared for the American worker. With poor health and inadequate care, maternal and infant mortality are on the rise especially in rural and de-industrialized areas.

By every health and living standard indicator, the history of successful class struggle led to the implementation of effective national welfare and health programs. Their societies have reaped benefits for their citizens that were clearly superior to corrupt boss-worker class collaboration under private capitalism in the US.

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Continued Detentions: The Intended Role for Chelsea Manning

April 25th, 2019 by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

The noose is tightening around the WikiLeaks world, yet another dedicated attempt to strangle the channels of information that might cast light over the dastardly deeds of state.   Connections are being targeted; associates are being brought in.  Officials of the United States, having found heart in the revocation of Julian Assange’s asylum courtesy of Ecuadorean weak will and an accommodating United Kingdom, still deem it appropriate to keep Chelsea Manning in custody.

The object here, given the indictment against Assange, seems clear: the conspiracy charge is set to expand, not merely including the current allegations against Assange, but roping in Manning to assist in the endeavour.  The project, in other words, will be expanded.  Josh Gerstein, writing for Politico, made the obvious point:

“Prosecutors appear to be pressing for Manning’s testimony in order to bolster their case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.”

Even now, the prosecution persists on an absurd tack; the alleged hacking of a classified government computer system pursuant to conspiracy supposedly did not work, even though Manning did supply WikiLeaks with classified documents from the US government’s Secret Internet Protocol Network (SIRPNet) in 2010.

Such sloppiness has been encouraged, in no small measure, by the US-UK extradition treaty treaty.

The document is an exquisite piece of unequal drafting, making UK prosecutors furnish “such information as would provide a reasonable basis to believe that the person sought committed the offence for which extradition is requested” while making no such demands of US prosecutors.  As former Home Office Minister Baroness Scotland of Asthall QC warned,

“If this order is approved, the United States will no longer be required to supply prima facie evidence to accompany extradition requests that it makes to the United Kingdom.”

What may save Assange is the hope that greed and vanity prevails in the prosecution effort; with more charges, the case starts looking distinctly political in the extradition process.  If so, “political” offenses are excluded from the extradition treaty between the US and the UK under Article 4(1).  Paragraph 3 of the same section further notes that, “extradition shall not be granted if the competent authority of the Requested State determined that the request was politically motivated.”

A good number of US politicians have made it clear that Assange’s role as publisher, or even his disposition as a hacker, is less relevant to their jaundiced worldview than making him account as an annex of Russian meddling in the 2016 elections.  Assange poked the US national security establishment, and must pay.

“So now he’s our property,” rejoiced Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, “and we can get the facts and truth from him.”

That, it would seem, is a purely political affair.  Assange’s lawyers, take note.

Manning, quite rightly, had asserted her rights not to answer another round of vexatious questions from a grand jury upon a subject the US court martial system deemed fit to convict her on.  Having seven years of her sentence, one reduced by President Barack Obama, she is now being kept further as Assange warms the cold environs of Belmarsh prison in the United Kingdom.

Manning, for her part, has been in Alexandria, Virginia jail since March 8.  Since then, her spell has been marked by periods of prolonged solitary confinement.  After 28 days, her period of “administrative segregation” was concluded, and it was reported that she had “finally been moved into general population at Truesdale Detention Center.”

Her legal team have been busy trying to find a means of freeing her since US District Court Judge Claude Hilton found her in contempt for not testifying.  A few voices of support in Congress have also been forthcoming.  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez claimed that the conditions of Manning’s imprisonment amounted to torture.

“Chelsea is being tortured for whistleblowing, she should be released on bail, and we should ban extended solitary [confinement] in the US.”

Manning’s reasons – the stifling secrecy of the grand jury process itself, not to mention the fact that she had already been through the entire affair in 2013 – did not impress the judicial ear.  Prosecutor Tracy McCormick, keener on process than principle, explained that this whole fuss could be dispensed with by simply testifying.  “We hope she changes her mind now.”

On Monday, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals considered, if you can even use that term, arguments from Manning’s counsel that Judge Hilton had “improperly denied her motion concerning electronic surveillance, failed to properly address the issue of grand jury abuse, and improperly sealed the courtroom during substantial portions of the hearing.”

 Her attempt to overturn the contempt order was given short shrift.  The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals did not tax itself too much, giving no reasons for swallowing the conclusions reached in the lower court.  In a two-page ruling, the bench found that Judge Hilton had not erred.  “Upon consideration of the memorandum briefs on appeal and the record of proceedings in the district court, the court finds no error in the district courts rulings and affirms its findings of civil contempt.  The court also denies appellant’s motion for release on bail.”  Not exactly the high water mark of US jurisprudence.

Manning can appeal the ruling in taking her case via the full Fourth Circuit bench, or the Supreme Court itself.  Given the latter’s current conservatism, the chances for release seem slim.  Manning may have to wade it out and hope the prosecutors slip in their efforts to lard their case against Assange.  And that has been known to happen.

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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]

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Indian strategists are watching in horror as Russian, American, and Chinese interests increasingly converge in Afghanistan, with representatives from each of those three aforementioned Great Powers meeting in Moscow on Thursday to discuss the Taliban peace process in a major diplomatic development which proves that New Delhi has become just as irrelevant as the Kabul “government” when it comes to ending the conflict in the war-torn country.

All Roads Lead To Moscow

One of the worst-case scenarios that Indian strategists could have ever imagined is about to take place this Thursday April 25 in Moscow when representatives from Russia, America, and China meet to discuss the Taliban peace process. India has become just as irrelevant as the Kabul “government” when it comes to ending the conflict in the war-torn country due to its stubborn position against talking to the Taliban, a stance that resulted in its regional diplomatic isolation as the interests of the aforementioned three Great Powers increasingly converge. It’s highly significant that this forthcoming meeting is taking place in the Russian capital because it amounts to the US’ tacit recognition that Moscow has become the ultimate “balancing” force in this process after its recent mediation services resulted in the Taliban finally becoming seasoned diplomats. This development greatly assisted the ongoing peace talks and is responsible for the progress that’s been made thus far.

Pakistan Was Proven Right

Russia’s de-facto diplomatic “patronage” of the Taliban is part of its grander “Return to South Asia” that was facilitated to a large part by its game-changing strategic partnership with Pakistan, which only accelerated after India was exposed as the regional rogue state following its humiliation in the aftermath of February’s infamous Indo-Pak dogfight. India, through the prism of its zero-sum thinking, is therefore very nervous that the Russian-American-Chinese strategic convergence on Afghanistan will be detrimental to is own interests while advancing those of its Pakistani rival, which is a fait accompli in the event that these three Great Powers succeed in making additional progress on these talks since history has proven that Islamabad’s nearly two-decade-long consistent position advocating for a political solution to this long-running conflict is the only realistic one and has since been adopted by all the relevant players. Meanwhile, India’s dogmatic stance of a military solution has been discredited.

Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures

In terms of political dynamics, it’s very disconcerting to India that its two American and Russian strategic partners are actively cooperating with one another on an issue where both of these New Cold War competitors are surprisingly in agreement for once in what turns out to be their opposition to New Delhi’s unconstructive stance towards the Afghan peace talks, to say nothing of including India’s Chinese rival into the mix as well while Pakistan’s diplomatic influence hangs heavy over the entire event. Given their predisposition to dramatically overreacting, it can’t be discounted that India won’t activate its levers of “deep state” influence in Russia to try to prevent any progress from being made, or at the very least spoil its optics by having its influential supporters downplay the significance of this event in the country’s domestic and international media. Even so, such desperate efforts are unlikely to result in any positive dividends for India.

Chabahar Corridor Concerns

Another one of India’s main concerns is that the convergence of Russian, American, and Chinese interests in Afghanistan might lead to the US’ two Great Power rivals attempting to strike a deal with Washington over lifting the waiver that was granted to New Delhi last year for the Chabahar Corridor pending any successful progress on their joint efforts regarding the Afghan peace process and specifically in getting the Taliban to reconsider talking with Kabul. The Trump Administration just announced that it won’t renew the oil sanctions waivers when they expire next month, which is expected to deal a heavy blow to Indian-Iranian relations, while the deathblow could easily be made if Washington lifts the Chabahar Corridor waiver in the event that it concludes that this project is insufficient for retaining its influence in Afghanistan by proxy and that it’s better to deal as much strategic damage to Iran as possible instead.

Concluding Thoughts

All told, Thursday’s meeting in Moscow between Russian, American, and Chinese representatives signifies the increasing convergence of these three Great Powers’ interests in Afghanistan at India’s expense given New Delhi’s intransigent attitude towards the Taliban peace talks. It’s extremely unlikely that India will reverse its position on this issue, not least because it can’t afford to be seen as agreeing to Pakistan’s long-standing stance, especially not during the ongoing month-long election process in the country. As such, India stands to strategically lose even more than ever before by isolating itself from this political process, which transforms its role in Afghanistan from that of an independent subject to a dependent object whose interests can be traded between the other Great Powers like what could happen if China convinces the US to lift its waiver on the Chabahar Corridor in exchange for it, Russia, and Pakistan successfully encouraging the Taliban to talk to Kabul.

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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.

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Julian Assange: Prisoner of Conscience

April 25th, 2019 by Stephen Lendman

On April 11, Assange was illegally arrested, forcibly dragged from Ecuador’s London embassy where he was given asylum by former President Rafael Correa in August 2012. 

He’s held under draconian solitary confinement conditions at London’s high-security Belmarsh prison, Britain’s Gitmo – ahead of extraditing him to the US for the “crime” of journalism the way it’s supposed to be.

According to his father John Shipton, Assange was “in crushing isolation for his last 18 months” in the Ecuadorian embassy,” enduring psychological torture.

Ahead of his arrest, he asked Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to bring his son home, arguing it was “time for Australia to step up diplomatic efforts” on his behalf, adding:

“The WikiLeaks library contains three million cables for the United States – an unsurpassed library of what shaped the 21st Century…how the geopolitical world is put together, composed and disposed. That is a considerable achievement.”

Assange’s publication of US wrongdoing got him targeted for arrest, brutalizing mistreatment, prosecution, and likely longterm imprisonment in the US — on multiple charges, not just what’s been revealed. See below.

UK authorities arrested and detained him solely for extradition to the US. DOJ spokeswoman Nicole Oxman acknowledged it, saying

“I can confirm that Julian Assange was arrested in relation to a provisional extradition request from the United States of America.”

The Trump regime wants him harshly mistreated as a lesson to other investigative journalists – not to go where WikiLeaks dares go repeatedly, what journalism the way it’s supposed to be is all about, what establishment media long ago abandoned.

Commenting on Assange’s extradition to the US, his father added “I imagine they will hold Julian incommunicado.”

“They’ll say to the public that Julian said this and that, whatever advances their position politically and legally, and they will do a plea bargain saying you will have 150 years in jail or 40 years if you plead guilty to some crime or another.”

“But (I don’t lose hope) in the slightest. I haven’t had contact with Julian (since his arrest). You can’t ring people in Belmarsh maximum security.”

‘I believe that the last 18 months have been almost crushing, and it’s good to see that ending. A good metaphor would be that if you’re in a shipwreck you crawl up onto the beach and you’re quite relieved to find yourself alive even if you’re not quite sure where you are.”

The metaphor example is half true. Assange clearly knows where he is and what’s coming. From the frying pan to the fire describes his status, the worst yet to come once in US hands.

Accusing him of engaging in a “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion” is utter rubbish. No hacking or other wrongdoing occurred.

WikiLeaks publishes material from reliable sources it believes to be credible, how journalism is supposed to work – a vital public service, not a criminal offense.

During Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno’s tenure since May 2017, a UN human rights panel called Assange’s status “arbitrary detention” — a US/UK/Ecuadorian conspiracy against his fundamental rights.

On April 20, his mother tweeted the following:

“2 weeks since Julians (sic) arrest/detention in Belmarsh prison.

Hes (sic) still not allowed visitors, including his lawyers!

This amounts to MORE solitary confinement & stress!

His examining doctors have already stated he needs immediate hospital treatment!

Fix this @Theresa_May!”

Former Ecuadorian London embassy consul Fidel Narvaez accused Moreno of putting Assange through “hell (by) breaking him down” during his last year in the embassy, adding:

“I was there the first months of the last year and I witnessed” what was going on, imposing punitive restrictions on him.

“The strategy was very clear – break him down. The government didn’t know how to end the asylum and face the catastrophic historical shame for doing that.”

Moreno invented phony reasons, falsely accusing Assange of using the London embassy for “spying,” among other phony pretexts to hand him over to UK authorities after rescinding his Ecuadorian citizenship and asylum.

Narvaez debunked phony claims about Assange being unacceptably messy and disrespectful to embassy staff, adding:

“Julian had a respectful relationship with staff, diplomats, and administrative staff. I don’t recall a single incident when he disrespected someone until I left in July 2018.”

“He was 100% respectful. Clean and tidy? What is clean and tidy? Did he put the dishes in the dishwasher? Probably not at weekends. Is that a crime?”

“I consider him my friend. He’s provided a big service to all of us. I stand by Julian. I believe him.”

On April 11, his 15-minute bench trial was a mockery of justice, hanging judge Michael Snow presiding, Assange automatically declared guilty by accusation.

It was reminiscent of Britain’s infamous centuries earlier Star Chamber, engaged in extrajudicial social and political repression through arbitrary use and abuse of power.

Jailed for journalism is how WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson described Assange’s arrest and virtual entombment in London’s Belmarsh prison, ahead of handing him to US authorities, adding:

What happened to Assange “is a very dark day, and it sets a precedent that is…very dangerous for journalists, editors, publishers all around the world.”

“If you can extradite a journalist to a third country, the United States, for publishing the truth, no journalist can be secure.”

“(W)e have Chelsea Manning in prison. We also have Julian Assange in prison. So it’s coming to a finale in the saga where a journalist, a publisher, and editor is going to face prison time for doing what journalists are supposed to be doing.”

The unsealed charge against Assange “is only the tip of the iceberg. We are absolutely certain that this is only one of the charges that will be brought (against him), and they will be adding on more charges when he arrives” in the US.”

“(I)t’s totally impossible to have a fair trial in the United States. If you consider the harsh words from high officials throughout the years, and now from members of the Trump administration, there’s no chance that he’s going to have a fair trial there.”

Trump regime hardliners declared him guilty by accusation – for the “crime” of truth-telling. So will rubber-stamp judicial proceedings.

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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 Massoud Nayeri

The American aggression against Iran is escalating to a level that threatens world war. On Monday April 22, the USA declared that it has withdrawn “waivers” given to China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy and Greece, under the illegal US economic warfare campaign being conducted against Iran under the name of “sanctions.” The stated objective is to reduce Iranian oil exports to zero, crippling the Iranian economy, damaging the economies of countries that purchase Iranian oil and raising the price of oil for the rest of the world suppliers, including of course the US and Saudis, that have pledged to fill the gap, at a higher price of course.

The American Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo declared, with all the arrogance of Herr Garbage in Chaplin’s film The Great Dictator,

The Trump Administration has taken Iran’s oil exports to historic lows, and we are dramatically accelerating our pressure campaign in a calibrated way that meets our national security objectives while maintaining well supplied global oil markets.”

In other words, “we are going to bring Iran to its knees while we make a pile of dough doing it.”

Iran responded by stating that it will continue to ship oil and both Turkey and China quickly stated that they do not accept the US actions and will continue to buy Iranian oil. Italy and Greece have said nothing, but they kowtowed months ago and have not purchased Iranian oil despite being given the waivers by the US. It has to be assumed that they knew what was coming and so sought oil supplies elsewhere.

The Iranians have threatened to close the Straight of Hormuz if the waivers are suspended and the Americans use force to block Iranian oil shipments which would mean the blocking of oil shipments from the Arabian peninsular, thereby threatening oil supplies to many nations in the world that depend on those supplies, including Europe and North America. An attempt to block the Straight of Hormuz would result in the Americans trying to eliminate the Iranian naval vessels closing the passage, major naval engagements and outright war. It may be that the US is hoping to provoke such a clash to give it the pretext for war against Iran. Everything points to that conclusion.

Armed action to block Iranian exports of oil is the logical step the US will have to take if the illegal “sanctions” are ignored and the US maintains its threat to bring Iranian oil exports to zero. Any such action would not only be aggression against Iran, it would also be an act of aggression against China and the other nations relying on that oil. But armed conflict and the risk of a major war is a risk the US seems willing to take. Whether they are reckless or that is the American objective is difficult to say but if it comes to that it won’t much matter for the consequences will be terrible and world wide. But, looking at US actions, real war, not just economic, appears to be their objective.

The US withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal a few months ago and immediately reimposed its panoply of “sanctions” against Iran affecting Iranian trade, banking, shipping, transportation and communications. It has since declared a formation of the Iranian armed forces, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to be a “terrorist organisation” a bizarre action since the armed forces of any nation cannot be considered “terrorists” in any sense. Iran quickly retaliated by declaring American armed forces as “terrorists,” and so it goes.

On April 3 the Pentagon repeated Wikileaks’ claims from 2010, which were also based on US Army sources, that Iran was responsible for the deaths of American soldiers in Iraq when, in fact, it was the Iraqi Resistance forces, that fought the Americans so valiantly, who inflicted the casualties on the US forces in Iraq.

On October 22, 2010, The Columbia Journalism Review commented on the Wikileaks release of documents and their use in the media on that date regarding Iraq that,

Just as it focused on Pakistan’s involvement in the war in Afghanistan in its reporting on WikiLeaks’s July dump, The New York Times focuses heavily on the involvement of Iran in the Iraq War logs released today.”

And,

The Times’s current online lead WikiLeaks story is “Leaked Reports Detail Iran’s Aid for Iraqi Militias” which details the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ backing of Iraqi militias.

The piece draws on specific incidents from the logs to demonstrate that Iran’s Quds Forces mostly maintained a low-profile, arranging for Hezbollah to train Iraqi militias in Iran, and financing and providing weaponry to insurgents. Other times the Iranian forces sponsored assassinations; at others, they sought to influence politics, and otherwise coordinated attacks on US forces in Iraq.”

All these claims, based on US Army sources, were accepted without question by Wikileaks and the major newspapers that published them such as the New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, Le Monde and are now resurrected by the Pentagon and the media to fan the flames of hostility towards Iran in a more visceral way. Syria stated the claims were suspicious. Russia Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharaova stated that Russia was surprised by the allegations, that Washington had some explaining to do and that the US better not use the claims as a pretext for conflict.

The objective of declaring the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as terrorists and resurrecting the dubious US Army-Wikileaks claims that Iran is responsible for American deaths in Iraq is of course to criminalise the Iranian government in the eyes of the western, particularly American public. Criminalisation of the enemy is always a sign that an attack is coming. They painted Manuel Noriega as a criminal. They did the same with Slobodan Milosevic, with Saddam Hussein, with Muammar Ghaddafi. Negotiations, diplomacy are not possible with “criminals” is the US refrain and their targets end up dead or in an American prison.

The same logic applies to Iran. They are portraying the Iranian government as criminals and no matter how much Iran bends its principles in order to avoid war it will never be enough so long as Iran tries to act as an independent country. The economic warfare will continue for as long as the Americans have the power to wage it.

The excuse will vary with the time and circumstance but the strategy will remain. This is war, illegal and immoral, against an entire people, for the private gains of the elites in the west whose only concern is to make profit at the expense of everyone else.

I have said this before but it needs repeating that I have used the word “sanction” in parentheses because the word, “sanction,” means the provision of rewards for obedience, along with punishment for disobedience, to a law. There are other meanings for the word but they all define the same condition; obedience to a master by his vassal, to a monarch by his subject, to a warden by his prisoner. The condition necessarily implies that the person applying the sanction is legally in a superior position to the person being sanctioned, that he has the right to apply the sanction and that there exists a system of laws in which the use of sanctions is permitted and agreed upon.

This is the definition yet every day we hear of the “sanctions” imposed on Russia, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea for reasons that everyone knows are false, based on authority that does not exist, based on laws that have never been created, and by national governments that have only arrogance to support their grand presumption; that their nations are superior to others, that there is no equality or sovereignty of peoples, that their diktats are orders that must be obeyed by those who inferior to them.

Since the economic restrictions on banking, finance and trade set up against Iran by the United States and its subject states in the NATO alliance do not comply with the definition of sanctions, we have to use the correct term in describing these restrictions. There is only one word, and that word is, war and, since this form of warfare is not permitted by international law as found in the United Nations Charter they are economic war crimes, economic aggression for which a reckoning will one day have to be paid, one way or another.

It is in Chapter VII, Article 41 of the Charter that the power to completely or partially interrupt economic relations exists and only the Security Council can use that power. Nowhere else does this power exist.

Once again the issue comes back to the word war. It is clear that the attempted economic strangulation of Iran is an attempt to “punish” Iran for defending its strategic position, independence and sovereignty. Once a war has started it can only proceed to its logical end. Iran has the legitimate right to defend itself against the economic warfare and threat of war presented by the United States for Iran is no one’s colony, and never will be.

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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

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Fearless independent Canadian journalist, Eva Bartlett, has just returned from a month in the streets and barrios of Caracas, Venezuela, covering pro- and anti-government demonstrations, experiencing electrical blackouts, and talking to ordinary Venezuelans.

“My objective in filming is not to say there is no poverty in Venezuela, nor to imply there is no hunger or shortages anywhere. However, when corporate media is flat out saying shelves are empty all over Caracas and the city is in crisis, well this is false. The scenes I’m seeing are much like I saw in 2010. I know there are differences since then and now, of course, but there isn’t the pandemonium MSM is attempting to claim is happening here. Also, this is not a wealthy area of Caracas, its perhaps lower middle class. I’ll film the wealthy areas where typically opposition live in coming days.”

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Bartlett will be sharing her experiences in a talk sponsored by the Hamilton Coalition To Stop The War in Hamilton, Ontario, on Monday, April 29, 2019, at 7 pm, at New Vision United Church, 24 Main Street West, L8P 1H2, across from Hamilton City Hall. Admission is free and refreshments will be served. All are welcome.

[New Vision United Church, which is wheelchair accessible, is located adjacent to the MacNab Street Transit Terminal. Plenty of paid parking is available across the street behind Hamilton City Hall. A voluntary offering will be taken to cover the costs of the event. For more information from the Coalition’s website: hcsw.ca]

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Read Eva Bartlett’s Articles on Global Research

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Sri Lanka and New Zealand: The Real Link

April 25th, 2019 by Dr. Chandra Muzaffar

The carnage in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday has been condemned by people everywhere. Individuals and groups from different faith traditions have not ceased to emphasise that the mass slaughter of at least 321 persons in churches attending Easter services and in hotels on 21st April is a heinous crime in the eyes of any religion.

It is important to highlight this because there are voices — among them from the Sri Lankan government — that are saying that the carnage in Sri Lanka was revenge by a local extremist Muslim group, the National Thowheeth Jama’ath for the massacre of Muslim worshippers at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand by a White supremacist on the 15th of March 2019.

How can a little known group in Sri Lanka claim to take revenge on behalf of the 51 who perished in Christchurch when some of the closest relatives of those killed in the massacre have asserted in public that they have forgiven the supremacist?

Compassion and empathy for Muslims from New Zealanders a sizeable segment of whom are Christians reciprocated by Muslims in the country and elsewhere with a profound sense of appreciation and respect for the people of New Zealand and especially its Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern set the tone of the post massacre atmosphere. Revenge and hatred were banished to the margins of society. Seen from another angle, an Australian academic has argued that the revenge theory is “nonsense” and has been trotted out to cover up for the inability of a dysfunctional government to manage security.

If one is looking for motives for the Sri Lanka carnage, they may be related to other factors. The positive atmosphere that emerged and evolved from the Christchurch tragedy is anathema for those bigots and fanatics who are hell-bent on fuelling hatred and conflict between communities. Such elements can be found among both Muslims and Christians. Even others, including those who are aggressively atheistic have at different times in history deliberately sought to drive a wedge between the two communities.

I see the Sri Lanka carnage as a well-orchestrated manoeuvre to thwart Christian- Muslim amity which manifests itself in Palestine and is growing in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement directed against Israeli occupation. This then is the real link between New Zealand and Sri Lanka. The carnage in Sri Lanka allegedly perpetrated by a Muslim group has been manipulated to negate and nullify the positive vibes between Muslims and Christians emanating from the aftermath of the New Zealand massacre.

There is perhaps another reason which also explains the Sri Lanka episode. It serves the purpose of perpetuating the image of Islam and Muslims as inclined towards terrorism and violence. This image of the religion and its followers has been assiduously cultivated by religious followed by secular elites in Europe for more than a 1000 years and precedes even the crusades. Perpetuating it has become even more imperative today since non-violent modes of struggle — like the BDS movement —- are becoming more prominent. As they gain traction especially among Europeans, Israel and the United States are becoming increasingly desperate. It is more difficult now to convince even some of their allies that Israel’s existence is threatened by militant, terror oriented Palestinian and other groups. After Christchurch where Muslims were victims of violence, some have taken it upon themselves to remind the world that Muslims are, all said and done, still perpetrators of violence.

Indeed, the Sri Lanka carnage compels us to develop a deeper understanding of terrorism itself. Since ISIS claims to be behind the carnage, one has to ask searching questions about ISIS itself. How did ISIS emerge? Who is helping to sustain ISIS? Who created Daesh ? Or for that matter, who sired Al-Qaeda?  Isn’t it obvious that many of the terror outfits we know today are linked to geopolitics and the pursuit of global dominance and power?

In the face of such cynical manipulation of terrorism by the powerful and their readiness to resort to unfettered violence, it is incumbent upon the adherents of all religions to accord much more emphasis to the values and principles that they share in common.  It helps to repudiate any attempt to play one religious community against another. In the process, it reinforces a moral bond that transcends conventional religious boundaries and enhances our collective consciousness as human beings committed to justice and to a shared human dignity.

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Dr. Chandra Muzaffar is the President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST). He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

After 37 Executions, Canada Must Re-Examine Relations with Saudi Arabia

April 25th, 2019 by Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is deeply appalled by Saudi Arabia’s gruesome execution of 37 Saudi men yesterday – in the largest mass execution since January 2016. In light of these recent executions and Saudi Arabia’s increasing human rights abuses, CJPME calls on the Canadian government to re-examine its relationship with Saudi Arabia.

On Tuesday, April 23rd, the Saudi monarchy announced the execution of 37 Saudi men, 33 of whom are members of the country’s severely oppressed Shia minority. Many of those executed had been convicted on “terrorist” charges, simply for involvement in political protests – some of which took place when the accused were under the age of 18. Amnesty International has dismissed their convictions, accusing Saudi Arabia of engaging in “sham trials that violated international fair trial standards which relied on confessions extracted through torture.” CJPME notes that with these latest executions, Saudi Arabia has already executed 100 people only a few months into 2019. This is a much higher rate than previous years and reflects Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MBS) increasingly ruthless policies against political dissent.

Despite Saudi Arabia’s severe repression of freedom of speech and flagrant human rights abuses, CJPME notes that Canada has chosen to maintain its $15 billion-dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia. CJPME President Thomas Woodley responded to the mass executions,

“Saudi Arabia’s chilling disregard for human rights should be enough reason for Canada to freeze its arms sales to Saudi Arabia. What more justification does the Trudeau government need to cancel arms sales to the Kingdom?”

In the wake of these most recent revelations, the Canadian government should re-examine its relations with Saudi Arabia, leveraging its commercial ties to pressure the Kingdom to respect human rights. Woodley continued,

“Without the threat of repercussions, it is unlikely that Saudi Arabia will change its behavior and consider human rights reforms.”

CJPME points out that these mass executions are part of a series of aggressive actions MBS has taken to consolidate and centralize his authority. Since rising to power in 2017, MBS has waged an inhumane war in Yemen, has launched an economic blockade against Qatar, and has arrested and even killed hundreds of dissenting scholars, ministers, and human rights activists. Many of Canada’s allies have already either suspended or terminated arms transfers to Saudi Arabia, including Denmark, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, Greece and Austria.

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Qual è stato il risultato del Convegno internazionale “I 70 anni della NATO: quale bilancio storico? Uscire dal sistema di guerra, ora”, svoltosi a Firenze il 7 aprile 2019. Manlio Dinucci ne parla con Michel Chossudovsky. Berenice Galli presenta una video-sintesi della giornata.

Nota: nel corso di quest’anno, la NATO effettua 310 esercitazioni militari, quasi tutte contro la Russia.

Con la Nato dal welfare al warfare»

70 anni di Nato. Intervista a Michel Chossudovsky sui 70 anni della Nato: «Non è un’Alleanza, comandano gli Usa, vogliono più spesa militare in tutta Europa, pronti a nuovi conflitti armati, anche nucleari»

Al convegno internazionale «I 70 anni della Nato: quale bilancio storico? Uscire dal sistema di guerra, ora», svoltosi a Firenze la scorsa settimana – più di 600 i partecipanti dall’Italia e dall’Europa -, ha partecipato quale principale relatore Michel Chossudovsky, direttore di Global Research, il centro di ricerca sulla globalizzazione (Canada), copromotore del Convegno insieme al Comitato No Guerra No Nato e ad altre associazioni italiane. A Michel Chossudovsky – uno dei massimi esperti internazionali di economia e geopolitica, collaboratore dell’Enciclopedia Britannica, autore di 11 libri pubblicati in oltre 20 lingue – abbiamo rivolto alcune domande.

Di Manlio Dinucci


Qual è stato il risultato del Convegno di Firenze? 
È stato un evento di massimo successo, con la partecipazione di qualificati relatori provenienti da Stati uniti, Europa e Russia. È stata presentata la storia della Nato. Sono stati identificati e attentamente documentati i crimini contro l’umanità. Al termine del Convegno è stata presentata la «Dichiarazione di Firenze» per uscire dal sistema della guerra.

Nella sua relazione introduttiva lei ha affermato che l’Alleanza atlantica non è un’alleanza… 
Sotto la sembianza di un’alleanza militare multinazionale è invece il Pentagono a dominare il meccanismo decisionale della Nato. Gli Usa controllano le strutture di comando della Nato, che sono incorporate in quelle statunitensi. Il Comandante Supremo Alleato in Europa (Saceur) è sempre un generale statunitense nominato da Washington. Il Segretario generale, attualmente Jens Stoltenberg, è essenzialmente un burocrate addetto a pubbliche relazioni. Non ha alcun ruolo decisionale.

Un altro tema da lei sollevato è quello delle basi militari Usa in Italia e in altri paesi europei, anche a est, nonostante il Patto di Varsavia non esista più dal1991 e nonostante la promessa fatta a Gorbaciov che nessun allargamento a est ci sarebbe stato. A che servono? 
Il tacito obiettivo della Nato – tema rilevante del nostro dibattito a Firenze – è stato quello di attuare, sotto diversa denominazione, «l’occupazione militare» de facto dell’Europa occidentale. Gli Stati uniti non solo continuano a «occupare» gli ex «paesi dell’Asse» della Seconda guerra mondiale (Italia, Germania), ma hanno usato l’emblema della Nato per installare basi militari Usa in tutta l‘Europa occidentale e, successivamente, nell’Europa Orientale sulla scia della guerra fredda e nei Balcani sulla scia della guerra Nato contro la Jugoslavia (Serbia-Montenegro).

Cos’è cambiato riguardo a un possibile uso di armi nucleari?
Subito dopo la guerra fredda è stata formulata una nuova dottrina nucleare, focalizzata sull’uso preventivo di armi nucleari, cioè sul first strike nucleare quale mezzo di autodifesa. Nel quadro degli interventi Usa-Nato, presentati quali azioni per il mantenimento della pace, è stata creata una nuova generazione di armi nucleari di «bassa potenza» e «più utilizzabili», descritte come «innocue per i civili». I responsabili politici statunitensi le considerano «bombe per la pacificazione». Gli accordi della guerra fredda, che stabilivano alcune salvaguardie, sono stati cancellati. Il concetto di «Mutua Distruzione Assicurata», relativo all’uso delle armi nucleari, è stato sostituito dalla dottrina della guerra nucleare preventiva.

La Nato era «obsoleta» nel primo tempo della presidenza Trump ma ora è rilanciata dalla Casa bianca. Che relazione c’è tra corsa agli armamenti e crisi economica? 
Guerra e globalizzazione vanno di pari passo. La militarizzazione sostiene l’imposizione della ristrutturazione macro-economica nei paesi bersaglio. Impone la spesa militare per sostenere l’economia di guerra a detrimento dell’economia civile. Porta alla destabilizzazione economica e alla perdita di potere delle istituzioni nazionali. Un esempio: ultimamente il presidente Trump ha proposto grossi tagli a sanità, istruzione e infrastrutture sociali, mentre richiede un grosso aumento per il budget del Pentagono. All’inizio della sua amministrazione, il presidente Trump ha confermato l’aumento della spesa per il programma nucleare militare, varato da Obama, da 1.000 a 1.200 miliardi di dollari, sostenendo che ciò serve a mantenere il mondo più sicuro. In tutta l’Unione europea l’aumento della spesa militare, abbinato a misure di austerità, sta portando alla fine di quello che veniva definito «welfare state». Ora la Nato è impegnata sotto pressione statunitense ad aumentare la spesa militare e il segretario generale Jens Stoltenberg dichiara che questa è la cosa giusta da fare per «mantenere la sicurezza della nostra popolazione». Gli interventi militari sono abbinati a concomitanti atti di sabotaggio economico e manipolazione finanziaria. Obiettivo finale è la conquista delle risorse sia umane che materiali e delle istituzioni politiche. Gli atti di guerra sostengono un processo di completa conquista economica. Il progetto egemonico degli Stati uniti è di trasformare i paesi e le istituzioni internazionali sovrane in territori aperti alla loro penetrazione. Uno degli strumenti è l’imposizione di pesanti vincoli ai paesi indebitati. Ad impoverire vasti settori della popolazione mondiale concorre l’imposizione di letali riforme macro-economiche.

Qual è e quale dovrebbe essere il ruolo dei media? 
Senza la disinformazione attuata, in genere, da quasi tutti i media, l’agenda militare Usa-Nato crollerebbe come castello di carte. I pericoli incombenti di una nuova guerra con i più moderni armamenti e del pericolo atomico, non sono notizie da prima pagina. La guerra è rappresentata quale azione di pacificazione. I criminali di guerra sono dipinti come pacificatori. La guerra diviene pace. La realtà è capovolta. Quando la menzogna diviene verità, non si può tornare indietro.

FONTE 

VEDI ANCHE

CONTRO-CELEBRAZIONE A FIRENZE DEL 70° DELLA NATO

“NATO-EXIT”


Alcune sequenze del Convegno

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John Bolton Rumored Israeli attack on Lebanon. Going After Hezbollah Donors?

By Kurt Nimmo, April 24, 2019

John Bolton sent out the following tweet yesterday ahead of the rumored Israeli attack on Lebanon this summer that will target civilians (according to Israeli Major General Amir Eshel). 

Spanish Politics Is US Geopolitics

By Aidan O’Brien, April 24, 2019

On April 28 Spain is holding a general election. It will be the fourth since Spain’s version of US capitalism began to implode at the end of 2008. Finance capital, and that hot sun, had created a property bubble the size of California.

Notre Dame – Glory or Shame?

By Peter Koenig, April 24, 2019

While it is not clear yet, at least not publicly, what caused the blaze, fire safety protection measures were insufficient. First, the burnability of hundreds of years old solid oak was underestimated.

Emperor Akhito’s Abdication: A New Era for Japan’s Military?

By Tom Clifford, April 24, 2019

Japan is a land of contradictions. An emperor in a democracy. An economic powerhouse, once considered, and feared to be, on the verge of global dominance, now suffers from a sense of drift and malaise.

Planning Can Save the Planet: China Chooses Renewable Energy

By Sara Flounders, April 24, 2019

Carbon emissions from the burning of oil, gas and methane are heating the planet, creating a crisis of rising sea levels, droughts, extreme weather, poisoned ground water and polluted air that puts all life at risk.

The Essence of Evil: Sex with Children Has Become Big Business in America

By John W. Whitehead, April 24, 2019

Children, young girls—some as young as 9 years old—are being bought and sold for sex in America. The average age for a young woman being sold for sex is now 13 years old.

Bringing Julian Assange Home

By John Pilger, April 24, 2019

The persecution of Julian Assange must end. Or it will end in tragedy.

The Australian government and prime minister Malcolm Turnbull have an historic opportunity to decide which it will be.

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Haiti is back in the news with popular revolts against political corruption. Ordinary Haitians are being frustrated every step of the way as they strive to enjoy a better quality of life as is their right.

The discovery of a huge US$20 billion gold reserve in Haiti is no panacea since gold mining has always been surrounded by intrigue, skullduggery, and, perhaps, international plunder and piracy.

Americans, Canadians, and politically well-connected present and past Haitian political leaders stand to reap vast profits from the apparent plundering of Haitian gold.

Haitian workers, meanwhile, are paid a measly US$6.25 a day for working in the muddy, gold-mining pits.

Political Background

The historical evolution of Haitian society has been one in which the ordinary people have been exploited, brutalised, and oppressed – starting from the turn of the 19th century up until 1990, with Haiti’s very long history of American political and military interventions, dictatorship, militarism, cronyism, and official corruption.

There was a period from 1957 to 1971 when Haiti was ruled by François ‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier. Political opponents were suppressed by the infamous paramilitary group, the Ton-Ton Macoutes.

Following his death in 1971, Jean Claude ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier took power.

The political economic climate of these repressive regimes was aimed at maintaining “business-friendly environment”.

Popular revolt, like we are seeing in Haiti today, led to the collapse of the oppressive Duvalier rule.

Following this, in 1990, a progressive Catholic priest, President Jean Bertrand Aristide, was elected, winning 67 per cent of the popular vote.

President Aristide attempted many populist reforms, then in September 1991, a military coup d’état removed him from office.

He was again re-elected president in 2001. Then in 2004, right-wing paramilitaries, aided and abetted by foreigners, violently removed him from power.

President Aristide was put on a plane and dumped in a remote area of Africa.

The Clinton Connection

Haitians were once again going through the back and forth of corrupt governments under which politicians, the ruling elites, and foreigners got wealth while the ordinary people suffered.

Then came the 2010 earthquake and the entry of the Clinton Foundation, ostensibly to help with reconstruction.

Over 200,000 people were killed and a further 300,000 reportedly injured. Many poor neighbourhoods were devastated.

The Clinton Foundation and the Red Cross raised an estimated US$1 billion, but no one can say what happened to this money.

As to the work of the Clinton Foundation, well, what about it?

Tony Rodham is the brother of Senator Hilary Clinton. It was his company, VCS Mining, that according to the Daily Mail, was given a ‘very lucrative gold-­mining contract’.

VCS Mining will pay one of the lowest royalty rates in the world. The Haitian government charged a rate of 2.5 per cent over a 25-year period, with renewal. In comparison, Peru charges a royalty rate of 12 per cent, while Ecuador charges between five and eight per cent for its royalty rate of gold mining.

Political Cronyism

VCS Mining is a Delaware-­registered company with a “foreign qualification service” designation, allowing it to work overseas. Its board members include former Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive along with former Clinton and Obama administration officials.

Georgianne Nienaber published a detail, well-sourced article, in Opednews, that reviewed leaked internal documents, showing VCS Mining’s connection to ‘cronyism and political corruption”.

“This is a complicated story fraught with intricate detail and begins with the fraudulent installation of a crooked Haitian president, a Korean trade deal, an industrial park facilitated by the Clinton Foundation,” and other unsavory elements, Georgianne Nienaber reports.

Nienaber quoted leaked emails that showed how a USAID-funded power plant, instead of supplying Haitian homes with electric power, was used to supply electric power to VCS Mining operations.

“It would be scandal enough if Tony Rodham and VCS Mining benefited from a gold mine permit in Haiti, but the potential electrical power lines for that gold lead straight to one of the biggest lies to come out of Haitian ‘reconstruction’,” the report stated.

“Meanwhile, there are severe environmental risks associated with gold mining. These risks include the possibility of cyanide spills poisoning the water-supply system.

The Future

Since gold mining will continue in Haiti, what then can be a reasonable expectation for the future?

At present, half of Haiti’s US$1 billion budget comes from foreign aid. Despite this, it is unclear if future gold-mining royalty payments will be placed in a National development fund.

Many nations do this. If this was done, it would certainly help to set aside money to further develop the country and to help the Haitian poor people.

The Haitian government must:

  • Seek better royalty terms for mineral mining;
  • Set up an independent, transparent national development fund to put some returns from gold exploration and mining towards improving the Haitian people’s lives, while;
  • Set up and maintain an effective, disaster-­management agency to help mitigate the possibility of a disaster.

Meanwhile, as Haitian gold continues to enrich a handful of people, the dislocated many, who sought refuge in America, are now being driven away by the Donald Trump administration.

In short, it is fine to say: ‘Haiti, give me your gold but not your weak and weary’.

This is the very, very, very sad, bitta truth!

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Norris McDonald is an economic journalist, social researcher and political analyst. Email feedback to [email protected] and [email protected]

Featured image is from Jamaica Gleaner

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It was bound to happen sooner than later, but Indian media finally decided to play the “Pakistan card” by attempting to connect their neighbor’s ISI intelligence agency to the Sri Lankan terrorist attacks, a desperate narrative move that says a lot more about the Indian incumbent’s political vulnerability during the ongoing month-long electoral process than anything about Pakistan’s purported culpability in this tragedy.

The Cheap Shot That The Whole World Saw Coming

It was only a matter of time before Indian media predictably blamed Pakistan for the Sri Lankan terrorist attacks, which just happened earlier this week in a piece by Vicky Nanjappa for “Oneindia” about “How ISI radicalised Sri Lanka through the Pakistan High Commission“. The writer wasted no time in reminding the reader about a years-long scandal in Sri Lanka initiated by India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) and claiming that a Pakistani diplomat on the island nation was responsible for plotting a Mumbai-style attack in South India, never mind the fact that the incident that this allegedly masterminded one was being based on was actually a false flag. In fact, it can be argued that one of the consequences of the Mumbai attacks is that India capitalized on the manufactured notion that Pakistan’s ISI intelligence agency was behind it in order to portray its rival as a regional bogeyman who all of South Asia had to be suspicious of from then on out, so it’s logical in hindsight why India’s RAW intelligence agency would also cook up a conspiracy about this in Sri Lanka in an attempt to weaken historically strong Pakistani-Sri Lankan relations.

Convoluted And Conspiratorial Claims

The enduring motivation to divide Pakistan from its regional partners and opportunistically misportray it as a “state sponsor of terrorism” is what’s also behind the latest attempt trying to connect it to the Sri Lankan terrorist attacks. Mr. Nanjappa reminds his reader about the fake news claims that the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) Buddhist nationalist organization is supposedly being bankrolled by the ISI, which is more than likely another weaponized narrative that ultimately originated with RAW. According to Mr. Nanjappa’s far-reaching theory, the Pakistani diplomat supposedly responsible for organizing a Mumbai-style attack in South Asia also paid the BBS to incite anti-Muslim violence in order to improve the ISI’s recruitment prospects of local Muslims afterwards, with the clear innuendo being that this somehow makes Islamabad responsible for last weekend’s Easter suicide bombings. This convoluted narrative is understandably confusing for most people to follow, but for as much as it turns off readers from outside the region, it nevertheless is meant to be ultra-intriguing for its intended audience in South Asia, especially the Indian one.

Fearmongering For Votes

It can’t be forgotten that Prime Minister Modi is battling for his political life during his country’s ongoing month-long electoral process and that he’s hoping to win re-election on a platform that heavily emphasizes national security. India was just utterly humiliated, however, following the dogfight that it initiated with Pakistan in late February after the Bollywood-style “surgical strike”, which led to New Delhi’s rival capturing one of the downed pilots prior to releasing him as a gesture of peace and then Modi’s own Defense Minister later publicly contradicting her own government by admitting that not a single person was injured in the Balakot attack. For a political leader who prides himself on his notion of national security, these events were certainly embarrassing and reduced his dwindling credibility among the electorate, hence the need to distract voters with more fearmongering scandals in the meantime so that he can improve his re-election odds. Therein lays the relevance of the ridiculous claims that Pakistan is conspiring with Russia and China to wage Hybrid Wars against the entire world and specifically India, respectively.

The BJP’s Hybrid War On India

In reality, these public accusations by the state and civil society are actually a form of Hybrid War in and of themselves, one that’s being waged not only on the minds of the international audience that India intends to trick into thinking that Pakistan is a “state sponsor of terrorism” and therefore should be subject to unilateral US sanctions and multilateral UN ones, but also against its own citizens who these perception management practitioners want to imbue with a deep sense of fear that they can then exploit to mislead their targets into thinking that India can only be protected by re-electing Modi and continuing his “muscular” foreign policy. I predicted in my piece earlier this week about my “Initial Assessment Of The Terrorist Attacks In Sri Lanka” that “it’ll be tempting for some [international forces] to imply that their rivals’ intelligence agencies might have had a hand in the latest events, or at the very least present themselves as super tough on terrorism for domestic political reasons (e.g. Modi during the elections)” which is exactly what India is now doing.

Political Purposes

India’s “Hindi Heartland/Cow Belt”, the stronghold of the BJP’s support, has yet to go to the polls but is about to real shortly in the election’s upcoming phases, so spinning the narrative that Pakistan might have indirectly had a hand in the Sri Lankan terrorist attacks is meant to ensure that as many of Modi’s supporters come out to vote as possible in order to help him win this neck-and-neck election. As an added benefit, New Delhi would be delighted if Sri Lankan media picked up on Mr. Nanjappa’s piece and provoked one of their pro-Indian politicians to publicly praise it and/or demand an investigation into what India is framing as “Pakistan’s Hybrid War” in the country. Even better, since his article was written in English, international media further abroad might republish it too, especially some of the forces that have an interest in sparking a so-called “Clash of Civilizations”. It would be a dream come true for Modi if these weaponized fake news claims eventually made it to the UN, too.

Concluding Thoughts

It’s unsurprising that an Indian writer decided to opportunistically spin a convoluted and conspiratorial story purporting to link Pakistan’s ISI to the Sri Lankan terrorist attacks since the fake news claims and attendant innuendo being put forth appeal to the preconceived notions of the BJP’s base and will probably succeed in improving voter turnout for this constituency during the next phases of the country’s ongoing month-long electoral process. The introduction of this weaponized narrative into the Internet’s information ecosystem also carries with it the chance that it’ll be picked up by Sri Lankan media and consequently provoke a pro-Indian politician there to publicly praise the piece in order to trigger a crisis in Pakistani-Sri Lankan relations. Moreover, it’s too early to rule out the possibility of other forces republishing it with the intent of intensifying the so-called “Clash of Civilizations”, which might have the horrifying effect of inspiring right-wing “reprisal” attacks against the Western-based Pakistani diaspora in an attempt to trigger more inter-civlizational violence that would superficially advance this false divide-and-rule narrative.

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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.