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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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.”

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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.”

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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.

Featured image is from France 24

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

IMPORTANTE!: Il materiale presente in questo sito (ove non ci siano avvisi particolari) può essere copiato e redistribuito, purché venga citata la fonte. NoGeoingegneria non si assume alcuna responsabilità per gli articoli e il materiale ripubblicato.Questo blog non rappresenta una testata giornalistica in quanto viene aggiornato senza alcuna periodicità. Non può pertanto considerarsi un prodotto editoriale ai sensi della legge n. 62 del 7.03.2001.

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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.

Israel-Palestine: The End of the Two-State Solution Dream

April 24th, 2019 by Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi

Katja Hermann, director of the West Asia Unit at the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung in Berlin, in conversation with Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, general secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative (Mubadara), about the impact of the Israeli elections on the lives of everyday Palestinians.

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Katja Hermann (KH): The preliminary results of the Israeli election show a likely victory for Benjamin Netanyahu from Likud and the right-wing coalition. What would that mean for the developments in the occupied Palestinian territories? [interview shortly prior to elections]

Mustafa Barghouti (MB): It is a very dangerous development. It means that the Israeli public has opted for extreme right wing parties that adopted a system of racism and national discrimination, the same parties that passed the Jewish Nationality Law, meaning systematic discrimination against Palestinians, whether citizens of Israel or of the Occupied Territories. Unfortunately, I would say that this is a vote for a system of apartheid. Taking into consideration that Netanyahu was elected three days after he declared his plan to annex the settlements, which means practically annexing the West Bank, this was a vote to end the dream of the two-state solution.

KH: If the two-state solution is no longer feasible, what kind of alternative scenarios do you envision?

MB: There are only two alternatives: one is what the Israeli government wants, which is apartheid, a system of racial discrimination keeping Palestinians in ghettos and Bantustans hoping they will eventually leave the country. Our alternative is the following: if they killed the two-state solution intentionally, we have nothing left to fight for but a one-state solution with full democratic rights, and unify all Palestinians in a struggle to end apartheid and racial discrimination and try to win people from Israel who believe in justice over to our camp against the system of apartheid.

KH: Do you believe that both societies, Palestinian and Israeli, are ready for a one-state solution?

MB: At the moment, of course, Palestinian society is much more ready, while Israeli society does not seem to be ready for any solution. In my opinion, to use a phrase that my friend Daniel Barenboim keeps using, “sometimes the impossible is easier than the difficult.” What we face here is a clear choice. It is not about us wanting to depart from the two-state solution and adopt a one-state solution, it is about the fact that Israel just killed the two-state solution. You cannot opt to dream about a dead option, you have to find an alternative option – out of necessity, out of objective reality.

KH: People here are talking about a new era, that a new chapter will be opened. How would you comment on that?

MB: I would say it is the end of the Oslo era, which means we have to go back to an era before Oslo, a time when the non-violent Palestinian resistance adopted three principles that I always believed in and practiced: self-organization, self-reliance, and defying injustice – whether of occupation or apartheid. To keep waiting for others to help us is not feasible. We have to rely on ourselves, we have to rebuild our structures, we have to self-organize, and we have to build a national unified front. That should be a democratic national front, because one major problem in Palestine now is the absence of democracy and the disappearance of democratic structures that we have built over the years, and the shrinking spaces of civil society.

That’s why I think that it’s time for us to think about democratic participation as well as building a unified national front. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) should be that structure if it opts to separate itself from the Palestinian Authority (PA) and return to its role as a leader of the Palestinian national movement.

KH: Where would you situate the Gaza Strip in these scenarios?

MB: Gaza is part of Palestine. Israel is trying to separate Gaza from Palestine because this is part of the so-called “Deal of the Century.” You separate Gaza but keep it under siege, that is the Israeli plan. The situation is one of an open prison – not even open, only an open sky, everything else is closed. We cannot have a Palestinian state without Gaza and we cannot have a state only in Gaza – that is nonsense. Gaza is a very small territory; it’s less than 1.5 per cent of Palestine and has two million people living there, the most densely populated area in the world. Gaza and the West Bank should be one unit.

KH: Alongside a new government in Israel we are also expecting a new government in Palestine to be announced in the coming days. What would the main challenges for the new Palestinian government be?

MB: There are many challenges, but the first challenge is how to bring back unity to the Palestinians. The Palestinian National Initiative (Mubadara) decided not to join this government, although we were offered to, mainly because we were afraid that forming this government would even deepen internal division and transform it into complete separation. Additionally, we don’t want to take a position in any government without being elected by the people, especially after dissolving the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). The last elections happened in 2006 and we should have new elections soon, very soon. That’s why we’ve proposed not to form this government but to have a transitional national unity government for six months, prepare the ground for elections, hold elections, and then form the government.

I think the problem of internal division is a big one, but now this Israeli government and how it is cutting off our tax revenues and imposing its own legislation and arrangements on the PA is the biggest problem. The whole PA now faces a major challenge to either be completely obedient and submit to Israeli pressure or revolt against it. I think they should revolt.

KH: In light of these challenging developments, do you see another popular uprising on the horizon?

MB: Yes, I do, and I want it to be non-violent. I work for it to be non-violent. We spent the last 15 years not only demonstrating models of successful non-violent resistance but also convincing other parties including Hamas of the effectiveness of a non-violent approach.

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Dr. Mustafa Barghouti is general secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative (Mubadara), a physician, and an activist. Follow his tweets at @mustafabarghoti.

In the past month, official resolutions against 5G have been adopted by the cantons of Geneva, Vaud, Jura and Neuchâtel in Switzerland. These are the first four Swiss regions to pass ordinances against 5G installation (see chart below), comprising 1.5 million people (18.1% of national population).

Despite that, the majority state-owned Swisscom defied these laws on April 17, when they activated 5G stations in 102 locations in Switzerland, including Basel, Bern, Chur, Davos, Geneva, Lausanne (Vaud) and Zurich. They did so by upgrading existing antennas installed for previous generations of wireless technology.

As reported by TheLocal.ch:

“Under Swisscom’s plans, more than 90 percent of the population will be covered by the end of 2019,” said the company in its statement. …

One of the core concerns is the number of extra antennas that will needed – 5G can only transmit short distances – one reportedly every 10 to 12 metres. …

Experts are urging the EU to follow Resolution 1815 of the Council of Europe, asking for an independent task force to reassess the health effects of 5G.

Swisscom meanwhile is urging Switzerland to relax environmental laws which it claims are an impediment to rolling out 5G.

5G: A Technological Dictatorship?

It is important to comprehend the gravity of the situation.

If a law prevents a company from deploying their agenda because of harm to others, but the company does it anyway — and somehow the company and its executives escape immediate judicial or police action — then the Rule of Law is no longer in effect.

“Installation of the 5G in Geneva, despite in particular a moratorium voted by the great council and the opposition of civil society… ‘for what is technology, the dictatorship is obviously already in place’ (Eric Budry)” see full size post

The body of independent science, on 5G’s millimeter-wave and microwave radiation, is conclusive: these frequencies harm humans and all life. [see additional links to the science at bottom]

And the wireless industry does not have one single study indicating that 5G is safe.

It is deeply ironic that within a nation historically recognized for its higher-minded values to not engage in war, wireless companies have now effectively declared war on all people living in this nation, by deploying 5G against consent and directly in violation of both official moratoria and independent science.

Because there are no studies indicating safety, these acts of 5G deployment against consent — in Switzerland and everywhere 5G is being deployed — also directly violate the Nuremberg Code, which states that one’s informed consent is absolutely necessary prior to any human experimentation.

Though, one truly begins to wonder if indeed this is experimentation, as such. One could make a very strong case that those behind 5G know exactly what they are doing to human biological health, since there were already 2300 studies on wireless compiled by military researchers in the 1970s.

So, in the guise of profit, progress and competition, a weapon is being deployed against all of us — whether it’s intended as such, or not. The science on this is clear.

What’s more: 5G is even intended to operate with beam-forming applications on the same frequency ranges used by military crowd-control weaponry.

And these studies identified many of the “mystery” symptoms of the chronic, germless epidemics and neurological conditions which see exponentially increasing today.

The inescapable truth is that the deployment of the innocently-named “5G” is a silent declaration of a quiet war against humanity.

As such, we must continue to increase our resolve and numbers, as we responsibly come together and address the root of the problem.

Henry Dunant, the Swiss humanitarian and Red Cross founder, whose memoir of the battle of Solferinoeventually led to the drafting of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and protocols, would be turning in his grave. For at least 5 percent of the world population has already been wounded and sickened by previous generations of wireless technology unleashed upon the world without safety testing.

And those 5% are just those who have come to realizethat their symptoms are related to wireless radiation exposure.

In light of everything you just read, would it not be appropriate to consider deployments of 5G as criminal acts of war upon humanity?

And would it not be just to address the corporate perpetrators, who are shattering these most basic codes of ethics, as criminals who must be held to account?

And would it not be wise to call all legislators into solidarity and accountability — in this, most human of causes — to protect the people, or else become liable themselves for criminal negligence?

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Josh del Sol Beaulieu is the creator of Take Back Your Power, a documentary about ‘smart’ meters which won the AwareGuide Transformational Film of the Year, the Indie Fest Annual Humanitarian Award, and a Leo Award for Best Feature Length Documentary. Josh is passionate about safe technology, human rights, consciousness, decentralized energy, and being a dad.

Israel Plans to Launch a Surprise War against Lebanon

April 24th, 2019 by 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. Sayyed Nasrallah has asked his men to share the reality of the situation and the possibility of war when briefing their men, families and people in the villages and cities in which Hezbollah operates.

He also prepared them for the likelihood of his assassination and the killing of Hezbollah’s first line of command in the event of such a war and that they will have to run the war on their own, as they were trained for.

“I may not remain among you for very long; it is possible that the entire first level of leadership could be killed, including myself. Israel may succeed in assassinating many leaders and commanders. The death of some key personalities will not be the end of Hezbollah, because the party doesn’t rely merely on individuals but rather on the entire society that is an essential part of its existence”, said Sayyed Nasrallah to the gathering.

He added that

“measures and procedures have already been taken to be ready even if this extreme case (the killing of top leaders including Sayyed Nasrallah himself) happens.”

The team protecting the leader of Hezbollah imposes tight security procedures on any visitor, regardless of rank or function. No mobile phones or personal rings or belongings are allowed; they must be removed before reaching the meeting place. Commanders gather in different locations and are transported in black curtained buses, in small number, for security reasons. At the end of the meeting, his personal security team leaves the place with Sayyed Nasrallah first and the gathering leaves afterwards, driven back to their desired destination.

“There are strong indications that this war will take everybody by surprise, like the 2006 war. Nevertheless, (the Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin) Netanyahu is preparing himself, unlike (the former PM Ehud) Olmert who was hesitant, when the unprepared Israeli political decision was caught out in July (2006). Israel can surprise us all like it did in Gaza in 2008 with the objective of removing the threat on its borders once and for all. This is what our people (Hezbollah’s allies) should know, and they should from now on be prepared for the worse-case scenario”, Sayyed Nasrallah said.

Hezbollah believes Netanyahu has a unique opportunity to attack Hezbollah after forming his government, because Israel may not again enjoy a president in Washington like Trump who offers him (Netanyahu) unlimited support.

Hezbollah estimates that, in case of war, Israel will dislodge and relocate all Israeli settlements and villages bordering Lebanon from Naqoura to the Shebaa Farms. Israel would do this to prevent Hezbollah from crossing the borders and taking Israeli hostages. In this case, Hezbollah believes Israel would allow the militants to move in and encircle them from behind. This is called a mobile defensive strategy, with the aim of destroying the attacking forces.

“This is the first time Sayyed Nasrallah has offered such a bleak perspective, raising the chances of war with Israel from 50/50 to 70/30”, said a knowledgeable source.

No one within the Hezbollah leadership knows exactly when and how hard the next war with Israel will be. The first expectation is simple: Israel is expected to destroy between 1000 and 2000 objectives in the first days of the war.The Israeli military command believes it is possible to eliminate the threat from Hezbollah, Sayyed Nasrallah believes.

There is no doubt that Israel will start a war immediately if Sayyed Nasrallah is located. Domestic opinion in Israel would likely be able to digest a war for this price regardless of Hezbollah’s deadly retaliation.

Sayyed Nasrallah’s pessimistic expectation comes as a warning for his commanders to take all precautions and stay on alert for a sudden war, and to inform the people they are living with. He believes the Israelis, the USA, the British and many Arab states could all participate in the forthcoming war, which gives an indication of how destructive the next round is expected to be.

Moreover, Lebanon is going through a grave economic crisis in which the population can hardly afford a devastating war. The Middle East is entering a new configuration, with Israel expanding its relationship with Arab countries and certain to benefit from their financial and intelligence support in the case of war against Iran’s partners in Lebanon.

As far as Hezbollah is concerned, its arsenal seems sufficient. Its precious missiles are enough to sustain a long war against Israel with hundreds of rockets and missiles launched daily. Hezbollah has made sure no missiles are located next to civilian facilities to avoid casualties and financial losses. Sources believe the underground work in the south of Lebanon has become like the tunnels under Paris, similar to Gruyere cheese. Financially, Hezbollah is no longer in need of a high budget since its presence on the front line in Syria is significantly reduced.

For these reasons, would Israel tolerate the presence of a highly trained, organised and irregular army on its borders when the Prime Minister Netanyahu has changed his military strategy?

Sayyed Nasrallah believes Netanyahu is no longer following David Ben Gurion’s policy of being content to move the battle into the enemy’s territory. He is taking the initiative to eliminate threats anywhere in the region. Under Netanyahu, the Israeli Air Force bombed Iraq (Hashd al-Shaabi Iraqi security forces) on the borders with Syria. Every time he perceived the presence of a sophisticated arms shipment he bombs it immediately regardless of the consequences. He has destroyed warehouses and arms manufacturers in Syria to cripple the Syrian army. Not only that, Netanyahu is now living in a world where the Arab armies are absent or destroyed: they represent no danger to the existence of Israel. For Israel, the only remaining threat is Hezbollah. Why would Netanyahu put up with such a menace on his borders?

Russia, a superpower present in Syria and looking to gain a foothold in Lebanon, is not expected to react against Israel on the ground. Maybe at the UN, yes. But it is to the advantage of Russia to see Syria weaker and not dependant on a strong ally like Hezbollah. Russia can make a deal with the US over Syria – once Hezbollah is eliminated or weakened enough – to remove President Assad from power in exchange for regaining control of Idlib and re-taking the North-East currently under US occupation. Washington would be thrilled with such an option and Trump would be happy with a similar outcome ending the presence of his forces in Syria.

But why this sudden pessimism and increase likelihood of war in Lebanon?

Hezbollah is watching the movements of the US Air Force and Navy in the region, the behaviour of Netanyahu with Gaza (giving the Palestinians what they want to keep them – with Egypt as a guarantor – quiet in case of war against Hezbollah), the US’s unlimited support presenting a unique opportunity for Israel to take what it wants, Arab support for Netanyahu, the classification of Hezbollah as a terrorist country by more countries, the repeated warnings of the US establishment to Lebanon against embracing Hezbollah, the enmity against Iran by the Arab states and the tightening of sanctions on the Levants, the “Deal of the Century” scheduled for this summer and the extreme right-wing victory in Israel.

But how will Hezbollah and Iran react? Both are on the defensive and are not expected to take the initiative and attack first. Iran may develop its nuclear capability and surprise the world with an ultimate step to turn the tables and stop the war.But Hezbollah is not going to sit and watch. Measures are being taken to counter Israel’s bank of objectives. Hundreds of locations have been emptied and abandoned around the country. Its military leadership has been distributed and delegated and reserves have been prepared for the worse-case scenario.

Lebanon may not be far at all from paying the price. In 2008, Hezbollah occupied the capital Beirut when the government wanted to disrupt its communication system. It can do much more if there is a danger to its entire existence.

This is the pessimistic view that Hezbollah’s commanders are preparing for: they are preparing for the worst. It could well be that Israel is not preparing a military war and is happy to see the US working on its behalf– through economic sanctions on Lebanon, Syria and Iran. But the summer is not far away, a perfect time for Israel to start a war while the sky is clear. Will the Lebanese be able to enjoy a peaceful summer this year or should they instead be preparing to become refugees?

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In what critics denounced as the Trump administration’s latest attack on women’s rights across the globe, U.S. officials are reportedly threatening to veto a United Nations Security Council resolution seeking to end the use of rape as a weapon of war over its language on reproductive health.

According to the Guardian—which first reported on U.S. opposition to the measure late Monday—Trump officials are objecting to the resolution’s “language on victims’ support from family planning clinics.”

“In recent months, the Trump administration has taken a hard line, refusing to agree to any U.N. documents that refer to sexual or reproductive health, on grounds that such language implies support for abortions,” the Guardian reported. “It has also opposed the use of the word ‘gender,’ seeing it as a cover for liberal promotion of transgender rights.”

The Trump administration’s opposition to the measure, proposed by Germany, quickly sparked international outrage.

“If we let the Americans do this and take out this language, it will be watered down for a long time,” an anonymous European diplomat told the Guardian. “It is, at its heart, an attack on the progressive normative framework established over the past 25 years.”

Heather Barr, acting co-director of the women’s rights division at Human Rights Watch, tweeted:

“In the latest step in Trump’s war on women, U.S. opposes healthcare for survivors of rape during war. Yes, you read that right.”

Others also took to Twitter to condemn the Trump administration’s efforts:

Pramila Patten, U.N. special representative on sexual violence in conflict, told the Guardian that the resolution’s passage is now in serious doubt due to U.S. opposition.

“We are not even sure whether we are having the resolution [Tuesday], because of the threats of a veto from the U.S.,” Patten said.

The resolution seeks to improve monitoring of sexual violence in conflict, punish perpetrators, and increase support for victims.

Patten said the language on reproductive health “is being maintained for the time being and we’ll see over the next 24 hours how the situation evolves.”

“It will be a huge contradiction that you are talking about a survivor-centered approach and you do not have language on sexual and reproductive healthcare services, which is for me the most critical,” said Patten.

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The Buried Maidan Massacre and Its Misrepresentation by the West

April 24th, 2019 by Prof Ivan Katchanovski

The new Ukrainian government is faced with reopening an inquiry into evidence of an organized mass killing in Kiev that Poroshenko stonewalled. Ivan Katchanovski investigates.

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Five years ago, the Maidan massacre in Kiev, Ukraine, of Feb. 18-20, 2014, was a watershed event, not only for the politics and history of Ukraine but also for world politics generally. This mass killing in downtown Kyiv set the stage for the violent overthrow of the pro-Russian government in Ukraine and a new Cold War between Washington and Moscow.

Therefore, it is remarkable that five years after this massacre shook the world, no one has been sentenced for any of the Maidan killings. This was the best documented case of mass killing in history, broadcast live on TV and the internet, in presence of thousands of eyewitnesses. It was filmed by hundreds of journalists from major media in the West, Ukraine, Russia, and many other countries as well as by numerous social media users.  Yet, to this day, no one has been brought to justice for this major and consequential crime.

Police in Hrushevsky Street, Kiev, Feb. 12, 2014. (??????? ?????? via Wikimedia)

Police in Hrushevsky Street, Kiev, Feb. 12, 2014. (Wikimedia)

From the start, the dominant narrative promoted by the Ukrainian and Western governments and mainstream media has placed the blame for this tragedy firmly on the Yanukovych government. It contends that forces loyal to former President Victor Yanukovych — either snipers and/or the Berkut, a special anti-riot police— massacred peaceful Maidan protesters on the direct orders of Yanukovych himself. Such charges against Yanukovych, his ministers and commanders and a special Berkut unit—whose five ex-members were tried for the murder of 48 Maidan protesters on Feb. 20, 2014 — are generally taken at face value. With some limited exceptions, challenges to this narrative are treated dismissively.

For the most part, mainstream news media in the U.S. and other Western countries ignored trial evidence, public statements by officials and politicians and scholarly studies that put the standard narrative under question. This includes non-reporting about my own academic studies of the Maidan massacre.

Killing Protesters and Police

My work found that this was an organized mass killing of both protesters and the police, with the goal of delegitimizing the Yanukovych government and its forces and seizing power in Ukraine. Oligarchic and far right elements of the Maidan movement were involved in this massacre. For this reason, the official investigation was fabricated and stonewalled. I presented studies to support this as well as several online video appendixes with various evidence at the annual meetings of the American Political Science Association in San Francisco in 2015 and Boston in 2018, the 2017 World Convention of the Association for the Study of Nationalities in New York in 2017, and a joint conference by the Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Uppsala University and the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies in 2018, and published their summary in an academic press volume.

The prosecutor general of Ukraine recently announced that the investigation of the Maidan massacre is complete. He cited reconstructions of the Maidan massacre by a New York architecture company, working with a team of Ukrainian “volunteers” to provide a 3D model, as definite evidence that the Maidan protesters were massacred by the Berkut police and that snipers did not massacre the protesters.

This model was featured by The New York Times, in its May 30, 2018,  report “Who Killed the Kiev Protesters?” as a proof that the Berkut police massacred Maidan protesters.

However, no expert knowledge or familiarity with the Maidan massacre or Ukraine is needed to see blatant misrepresentation of elementary data in that 3D model.

The wound locations of the killed Maidan protesters in the 3D model do not match the wound locations in the forensic medical examinations of the bodies. The reports of those examinations were used in this simulation to determine the locations of the shooters. They are published in Ukrainian and English on the linked website. According to one such report, Ihor Dmytriv was shot in the “right side surface” and the “left side surface” of the torso “from the right to the left, from the top to the bottom, and a little from the front to the back” with the entry wound 20.5cm (8 inches) higher than the exit wound. However, in the simulation, his wounds have been moved to the front and the back and made nearly horizontal.

Actual wound locations of Dmytriv and their misrepresentation.

Actual wound locations of Dmytriv and their misrepresentation.

A Maidan lawyer visually confirmed at the Maidan massacre trial that these wounds locations of were in the right and left sides. In the video of their examination of Dmytriv right after his shooting, Maidan medics also indicate such locations of his wounds with no wounds visible in the front area, contrary to the 3D model. The forensic medical reports also state that Dmytriv was wounded in his right shoulder from bottom to top direction, with this entry wound 5 cm lower, but the 3D animation also misrepresents this direction.

The wound locations of the other two victims have been similarly altered. The 3D model moved the exit wound location from around the middle line of the back of Andriy Dyhdalovych’s body in forensic medical and clothing examinations significantly to the right. It also changed a similar large vertical angle from a top and bottom direction and 17 cm difference in height of entry and exit wounds to nearly horizontal level.

Actual wound locations of Dyhdalovych and their misrepresentation.

Actual wound locations of Dyhdalovych and their misrepresentation.

In the case of Yuriy Parashchuk, forensic medical examinations found that his entry and exit wounds were in the back of his head on the left side. But the 3D analysis moved the entry wound location to the front area and changed its somewhat top-to-bottom direction to nearly horizontal. Frames from a video by a French photographer shows a large bullet hole in the back of Parashchuk’s red helmet. How can he be shot in the back of his head by the Berkut police on a nearly similar horizontal level?

Changing the wound locations invalidates the entire reconstruction and, therefore, the conclusions of the SITU analysis and The New York Times article, that these and other Maidan protesters were shot from the Berkut positions.

One does not need to be a ballistic expert to see that locations of wounds in the back and on the sides and top-to-bottom directions of wounds specified in forensic medical reports and positions of these three killed protesters facing the Berkut in the videos cannot physically match with Berkut police positions located on a similar horizontal level on the ground in front of them. The forensic medical examinations conducted for the government investigation and made public at the Maidan massacre trial revealed that the absolute majority of the protesters were shot not in front and not from horizontal or near horizontal directions that are consistent with police positions. Rather, they were shot from a top-to-bottom direction and in sides or the back that are consistent with shooting from the Maidan-controlled buildings.

Government Investigation

The government investigation, conducted after the Maidan government came to power after this massacre, and which charged the Berkut police behind the barricades with killing these three protesters, raises the same concerns.

The complex medical examinations, which were published on the SITU website and which are presented by the government investigation in Ukraine as a key evidence that the Berkut police massacred the protesters, showed the same bullet trajectories as the 3D model. The text of these examinations, which are available in Ukrainian and in English translations, shows that these bullet trajectories were determined not by ballistic experts butby medical experts without any calculations or explanations.

Synchronized videos, which were used by the SITU to determine that the Berkut police behind a truck barricade killed Parashchuk, actually show that he and other protesters were in a blind spot below the line of police fire from behind a truck. It was physically impossible for the police behind the wide and tall truck to shoot at him below over the top of this truck. Dozens of other Maidan protesters who were killed and wounded around the same spot were in the same situation.

Parashchuk in the blind spot below the line of fire from the police behind the truck

Parashchuk in the blind spot below the line of fire from the police behind the truck.

The locations of the forces of the Yanukovych government during the massacre are well known, and they are identified in my studies, the government investigation charges, numerous videos, and in the SITU 3D model.

At the time of the killings of these three protesters, Berkut policemen were behind the barricades on Instytutska Street on the government side, while the protesters who were killed were in between Berkut and the Hotel Ukraina.

Forensic examinations of bullet holes by government experts described numerous bullet holes on the second, third, and higher floors and the roof of the Hotel Ukraina on the side that faced the government forces. But they did not identify a single bullet hole on the first floor on the Berkut facing side of the hotel behind these protesters. Simple positioning of the bullet hole locations described in these forensic reports clearly shows that almost all bullets from the Berkut and other positions flew above the heads of the protesters there or targeted poles, trees, and a flower box. This is also shown in vide and photos — including some I took there after the massacre — and in videos and reports of shooting at journalists in the hotel with a Google Street View image from the first Berkut barricade.

This confirms my study findings that the special Berkut police unit and the Omega unit of snipers of Internal Troops were shooting at snipers in the Hotel Ukraina.

After five long years, the failure by the Poroshenko government’s investigation to determine bullet trajectories by ballistic experts or conduct on-site investigative experiments for the same purpose — even after the Maidan massacre trial judges ordered them two years ago to do so — is therefore hardly surprising. It is impossible to bend physical reality. In a literal cover-up, large fences were recently erected on the crime scene for the construction of the Maidan massacre memorial, which would completely alter the landscape. The fences and the memorial would make it impossible to determine bullet trajectories on-site, which still has not been done by the investigation for five years after this mass killing.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, with Poroshenko, outside Presidential Palace in Kiev, Feb. 5, 2015, during Kerry’s first round of meetings with Poroshenko and members of the new government. (State Department via Flickr)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry with Poroshenko, outside Presidential Palace in Kiev, Feb. 5, 2015, during Kerry’s first round of meetings with the new government. (State Department via Flickr)

The SITU reconstruction also missed bullet holes that appeared in Dmytriv’s shield and in a shield of another protester in front of Dyhdalovych in videos of their shooting that were used in the reconstruction. The locations of these bullet holes are inconsistent with shooting from the Berkut barricades.

But these shields with clear locations of the bullet holes, like the helmet of Parashchuk and almost all the shields and helmets of protesters who were killed or wounded, mysteriously disappeared after the massacre, along with a lot of other crucial evidence, such as bullets and security-camera footage.

Similarly, crucial testimonies of Maidan protesters, who witnessed the killings of Dyhdalovych and Dmytriv, are ignored by the Times’ report, SITU and the official Ukrainian investigation. Dyhdalovych’s wife stated in her Ukrainian media interview that another protester told her that he saw that Dyhdalovych was killed by a sniper on the roof of the Bank Arkada. This protester was filmed following Dyhdalovych when they both went to evacuate Dmytriv after he was shot. The Bank Arkada is a tall green building in the front and to the right of both Dyhdalovych and Dmytriv, and it appears to match the apparent directions of their wounds. My Maidan massacre studies video appendices showed that it was in the Maidan-controlled area and that snipers on its roof during the massacre were reported by both numerous Maidan protesters, including many wounded who spoke at the Maidan massacre trial and investigation, and by Security Service of Ukraine commanders and snipers.

SITU diagram of victims' locations and names.

SITU diagram of victims’ locations and names.

A female Maidan medic during the massacre was pointing to the top of this green building and shouting about snipers. But her words were translated in a BBC report as referring to six protesters killed by the snipers in that area. A Maidan protester and another Maidan medic, who were wounded near the same spot where these two protesters were killed, both testified at the Maidan massacre trial that they were shot from this building. Government ballistic experts confirmed this during on-site investigative experiments.

Western Press Silence

These revelations were not reported by any Western media. This includes The New York Times, which on April 5, 2014, profiled this wounded protester against the backdrop of an unquestioned report by the acting government in Kiev that blaming “former President Viktor F. Yanukovych, his riot police and their suspected Russian assistants for the violence that killed more than 100 people in Kiev in February.”

It also includes CNN, which filmed the shooting of this medic and attributed it to the government forces.

The government investigation simply denies that there were any snipers there and in other Maidan-controlled buildings, and refuses to investigate them. This is done despite videos of such snipers and testimonies of the absolute majority of wounded protesters at the trial and investigation and more than 150 other witnesses about snipers in these locations.

The assumption in the 3D model that Dmytriv was shot by the single bullet is also contradicted by testimony of another protester who saw that Dmytriv was shot by “a sniper” from the Hotel Ukraina. My Maidan massacre studies and their video appendices showed that this hotel was then controlled by the Maidan forces.

The New York Times article described collaboration of the New York architecture firm with a Ukrainian “volunteer” in creating the 3D model. It did not report 2017 admissions by the prosecutor general of Ukraine on Facebook that his government agency funded the work of  a group of anonymous “volunteers,” including this Ukrainian graduate student, in compiling and synchronizing various videos of the Maidan massacre in collaboration with a People’s Front party outlet.

Some of the People’s Front party leaders were accused by various Ukrainian politicians and Maidan activists, such as Nadia Savchenko, and by five ex-Georgian ex-military members in Italian and Israeli TV documentaries, of direct involvement in this massacre. Meanwhile, the Times lauds the Ukrainian government’s investigation and Maidan lawyers for drawing on such analyses by these “citizen investigators” and treats a New York architect firm as providing key evidence in the Maidan massacre trial.

Brad Samuels is a founding partner of Situ Research, the New York architecture company that produced the 3D model of the killing of three protesters, which was presented by the Times as  proof that such snipers did not exist and that 49 protesters were massacred by the Berkut police.

Samuels said in a video [start at 55:16] that “…eventually, there is a consensus that there was a third party acting. It is clear from forensic evidence that people were shot in the back. Somebody was shooting from rooftops.” His striking observation was not included anywhere in the SITU 3D model report that he produced. Nor was it reported by the Times.

Cases of protesters, who were shot in the back, were omitted from the SITU model. But even in the deliberately selected cases of the three protesters, who were presented by this simulation as shot in front, their actual wound locations suggest that they were also shot from a Maidan-controlled building, which was located in front and to the right of them.

There was not a single report in English-language media concerning testimonies at the Maidan massacre trial where 25 wounded Maidan protesters, with whose shootings Berkut policemen are charged, who stated that they were shot from Maidan-controlled buildings or areas.

Video still from 2016 trial.

Video still from trial.

Major outlets likewise neglected to cover the testimonies by 30 wounded protesters who said they witnessed snipers in those locations or were told about them by other protesters. This is stunning since these testimonies are publicly available in live online recordings of the Maidan massacre trial and they are complied with English-language subtitles into an online video appendix to my study. These testimonies represent the majority of wounded protesters with whose shooting Berkut was charged. They are consistent with video testimonies by about 100 witnesses in the media and social media and at the trial and the investigation. But the official investigation in Ukraine simply denies that there were any such snipers in Maidan-controlled buildings, even though the Prosecutor General Office of Ukraine previously stated that snipers massacred many protesters from the Hotel Ukraina and other buildings.

Similarly, not a single media outlet reported segments of the Belgian VRT News video that showed Maidan protesters shouting during the massacre that they saw snipers in the Maidan-controlled Hotel Ukraina shooting Maidan protesters, pointing towards them, and asking them not to shoot. These segments were only shown to a small number of people at the Maidan massacre trial and are included in my online video appendix on YouTube. Other segments from this same video, however,were broadcast to some several hundred million viewers by major television networks in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany, France, Poland, Italy, and Ukraine, and many other countries as evidence that the government forces massacred the Maidan protesters.

With the notable exception of an Associated Press story quoting the charismatic politician Nadia Savchenko, news agencies have ignored the public remarks of several Maidan politicians and activists who said that they witnessed the involvement of specific top Maidan leaders in the massacre.

Testimonies by five Georgian ex-military members in Italian, Israeli, Macedonian and Russian media and their published depositions to Berkut lawyers for the Maidan massacre trial have also been ignored. They stated that their groups received weapons, payments, and orders to massacre both police and protesters from specific Maidan and Georgian politicians.

They also said that they received instructions from a far-right linked ex-U.S. Army sniper and then saw Georgian, Baltic States, and Right Sector-linked snipers shooting from specific Maidan-controlled buildings.

Western media silence also greeted a recent statement by Anatolii Hrytsenko, one of the top Ukrainian presidential candidates, who was also a Maidan politician and minister of defense, that the investigation of the massacre has been stonewalled because of the involvement of someone from the current leadership of Ukraine in this mass killing.

In contrast, there were no such testimonies admitting involvement in the massacre or knowledge of such involvement by the Berkut policemen, ex-police and security services commanders; nor by ex-Yanukovych government officials. No specific evidence of orders by then-president Yanukovych or his ministers and commanders to massacre unarmed protesters has been revealed by the trials, investigations or news reporting. Nonetheless, the Western mainstream media report existence of such orders as a matter of a fact.

Image on the right: Yanukovych with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (President of Russia)

Yanukovych with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (President of Russia)

Not a single major Western media reported that a forensic ballistic examination, conducted by government institute experts on the prosecution request with use of an automatic computer-based IBIS-TAIS system, determined that bullets extracted from killed protesters did not match a police database of bullet samples from Kalashnikov assault rifles of members of the entire Kyiv Berkut regiment. The latter included the special Berkut company charged with the massacre of the protesters. The same concerns the forensic examination findings that many protesters were killed with hunting bullets and pellets.

There are no Western media reports, at least in English, concerning the investigation by the Prosecutor General Office of Ukraine. This investigation determined, based on protester’s  testimonies and investigative experiments, that almost half of the protesters (77 out of 157) were wounded on Feb. 20 from other sectors than the Berkut police and that no one was charged with their shooting.

A female Maidan medic, whose wounding on the Maidan was highly publicized by Western and Ukrainian media and politicians and attributed to government snipers, is one of them. Since the official investigation determined that government snipers did not massacre the Maidan protesters, with a single implausible exception announced recently, this implies that these protesters were wounded from the Maidan-controlled buildings and areas.

Medic sniper vicim. (Youtube)

Medic sniper vicim. (Youtube)

There was Western media silence, including from the BBC, about revelations by the Prosecutor General Office that one of the leaders of far right party Svoboda, who was also a member of the Ukrainian parliament at the time of the massacre, occupied a Hotel Ukraina room from which a sniper in Maidan-style green helmet was filmed by the BBC shooting in the direction of the Maidan protesters and the BBC’s own journalists.

Similarly, there are no mainstream media reports of the visual examinations of bullet holes and their impact points by the government investigators that determined that one German ARD television room at the Hotel Ukraina was shot  from the direction of the Main Post Office, which was at the time the headquarters of the Right Sector.  The latter far-right group included radical nationalist and neo-Nazi organizations and football ultras. This bullet just narrowly missed a German ARD TV female producer. The government investigators also determined that another ARD room in the same hotel was shot at from the Music Conservatory building, which was then the headquarters of the Right-Sector-linked special armed Maidan Self-Defense company.

Likewise, nothing was reported about a forensic ballistic examination made public at the trial that revealed that an ABC News producer was shot in his Hotel Ukraina room by a Winchester caliber hunting soft-point bullet that did not match a caliber of Berkut Kalashnikovs.

Misrepresentation of the Maidan massacre and its investigation by Western media and governments is puzzling.

American independence leader John Adams once defended the British soldiers charged with the Boston massacre in 1770. He regarded this defense as important for the rule of law to prevail over politics. He famously stated at the Boston massacre trial that “facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” He not only won this politically charged case of a crucial massacre in U.S. politics and history but became U.S. president afterwards. The question is why this dictum is not heeded almost 250 years later in the case of the Maidan massacre in Ukraine.

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Ivan Katchanovski teaches at the School of Political Studies and the Department of Communication at the University of Ottawa. He held research and teaching positions at Harvard University, the State University of New York at Potsdam, the University of Toronto, and the Kluge Center at the Library of Congress. He received Ph.D. from the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. He is the author of “Cleft Countries: Regional Political Divisions and Cultures in Post-Soviet Ukraine and Moldova.”

Governing Ukraine Is No Laughing Matter

April 24th, 2019 by M. K. Bhadrakumar

Comedy, it is often said, is unusual people in real situations and farce is real people in unusual situations. No doubt, it can be said that by electing comedian Vladimir Zelensky as their new president in a landslide victory in Sunday’s runoff, the people of Ukraine find themselves in a farcical situation. To be sure, the country’s embrace of an inexperienced showman represented a verdict on three decades of political failure.

Ukraine’s first president in the ‘post-Soviet’ era Leonid Kuchma told the Russian paper Komsomolskaya Pravda,

“Ukraine is tired of its politicians, who for 28 years have been unable to organise life, deliver democracy, well-being or peace. The people are tired, and believe it’s time to turn over a new page.”

The Ukrainian voters perceived Zelensky as an upright candidate, a straightlaced and open person without a corruption-related past, who personified hope. He was quite tight-lipped about his policies or even about the team he’s picked to govern Ukraine. In fact, it’s a bit too early to form a full opinion about this political rookie. 

Zelensky has offered most things to everyone: from fighting corruption to rising wages and ending the war in the east. But there has been little detail. His slogan was “No promises. No apologies”. It worked.

Then, there is the ‘known unknown’ — his exact relationship with one of the most obnoxious Ukrainian oligarchs, Ihor Kolomoisky, who lives in self-exile in Israel but has extensive business interests in Ukraine and has been linked to organised crime. Putin once openly called the billionaire a ‘crook’. A Reuters report warns that Zelensky’s relationship with Kolomoiskiy could prove an Achilles’ heel. Indeed, it will be a major test of Zelensky’s strength of character whether he will be able to stand his ground. The jury is out. 

On the other hand, five years into the so-called ‘Euromaidan revolution’, a veritable coup that was funded and orchestrated by the West in 2014 to overthrow the elected ‘pro-Russian’ president Viktor Yanukovich, Ukraine remains one of the poorest countries in Europe. There’s hardly any foreign investment taking place, judiciary stands utterly corrupted along with the political class, and cronyism, nepotism and venality is rampant. 

All that the West achieved in these past 5 years has been to turn Ukraine against Russia but then, the Ukrainian economy was inextricably linked to the Russian production chain and even as President Petro Poroshenko morphed into a hard-liner and a rabid nationalist with links to neo-Nazi groups, Moscow’s attitude also hardened. 

Living standards are sliding. And then there’s the conflict with Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine — the ‘Donbass question’ — and Russia’s annexation of Crimea. There aren’t any immediate prospects for a political solution in sight — not even for progress on the humanitarian front, for people on the front lines or for political prisoners.

Zelensky, like Poroshenko, favours Ukraine’s accession to the European Union and membership of the NATO and has promised to hold referendums to ascertain popular will. Russia will most certainly oppose the move. Arguably, everything concerning Zelensky’s presidency will largely depend on his equations with Moscow. Here, the signs are somewhat ambivalent. Some top Russian officials have voiced cautious optimism. 

The Russian Prime Minister Dmirty Medvedev wrote on Facebook,

“The result showed an explicit request for new approaches in solving the problems of Ukraine.”

He added that there are opportunities for improving Russia-Ukraine relations.

“We need a pragmatic and responsible approach, which takes into account all the political realities in Ukraine, including primarily the situation in the east of the country,” Medvedev wrote.

Medvedev urged “sanity” and an understanding of the deep value of relations between the two peoples.

On the other hand, the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday that it is premature to talk about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s congratulations to Zelensky or their cooperation until Zelensky takes concrete steps.

“It will only be possible to judge [Zelensky] by his actions.”

At the same time, back channels must be working and Moscow can be trusted to probe whether a new beginning is possible under Zelensky.

The defining fact in all this is that Ukraine straddles one of the world’s great fault lines. Zelensky’s best option might be to transform his country from being a battleground between east and west into a strictly neutral buffer state, a little like Finland used to be. But that is easier said than done. For that to happen, the regional balance of power ought to be symmetrical, which is, unfortunately, not the case. 

Russia regards Ukraine as part of its sphere of influence, and has profound cultural links with it at the people-to-people, which is almost mystical. The EU, on the contrary, is loathe to concede Russia’s legitimate interests but is also not willing or committed to absorbing Ukraine (with its low standard of living, controlled markets and corruption) fully into its economic and financial structures.

Faced with these geopolitical realities, Zelensky’s best choice could be a neutral future for his country. The present situation is inherently unstable, for, unsurprisingly, Russia will fight for its interests in Ukraine. It is even possible that Moscow may test Zelensky’s resolve at some point, sooner rather than later. But the logjam cannot be broken easily, either. Plainly put, it will be impossible for any Ukrainian leader to seek partnership with Russia in a foreseeable future so long as Crimea and the Donbass question remain unresolved. 

Having said that, everything really depends on the state of play in US-Russia relations. Arguably, it is not even so terribly important who is in power in Kiev. Through the past 5-year period, the US has programmed Ukraine into an ‘anti-Russian’ mode. And Washington holds the ‘software’. The bottom line is that the American calculus is also geared to ensuring the US’ trans-Atlantic leadership for which the sanctions against Russia provide a vital underpinning. 

This is where the contradiction lies: the “enemy” image of Russia as ‘aggressor country’, which is the leitmotif of NATO’s force projection in Central Europe and the Black Sea, cannot be sustained if the Ukraine crisis gets resolved. Simply put, Zelensky needs to be ‘pro-Ukraine’ than ‘pro-West’ — that is to say, he should realise that if Ukraine has any chance of prospering, it must somehow normalise relations with Moscow, which remains its largest trading partner. 

But will he be allowed by the West to open a dialogue with Moscow?  Therefore, the big question is how long will the momentum out of the wave of optimism that led to Zelensky’s election last before it begins to dissipate? The promised fresh start is difficult and comes with the high risk of failure. To be sure, Zelensky cannot solve the daunting problems with the comedian’s wit, charm or funny YouTube videos. 

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Featured image: Comedian Vladimir Zelensky sweeps to victory as Ukraine’s next president, Kiev, April 21, 2019 (Source: Indian Punchline)

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today he plans to name a settlement in the Golan Heights after President Donald Trump, one month after Trump recognized the Syrian territory captured during the June 1967 war as part of Israel.

Netanyahu was visiting the Golan with family this afternoon, touring the Saar stream, Mt. Hermon, Nimrod’s Fortress and he rode ATVs at Merom Golan.

In a video message Netanyahu said,

“I’m here on the beautiful Golan Heights. All Israelis were deeply moved when President Trump made his historic decision to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Therefore, after the Passover holiday, I intend to bring to the government a resolution calling for a new community on the Golan Heights named after President Donald J. Trump.”

In similar fashion, in December 2017 Israel’s transportation minister announced a station under construction in Jerusalem’s Old City will be named after Trump, following the president’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli territory. Both the station and the settlement are located in occupied territory.

The JTA reported less than 50,000 people live in the sparsely populated and mountainous Golan Heights, of whom half are Israeli-Jews and half are Druze. Most of the Druze are Syrian citizens as Israel offered citizenship decades ago but many rejected it. Syria’s mission to the UN said before the 1967 war 140,000 Syrians lived in the Golan. To date, Israel has constructed more than Israeli 40 towns in the region.

Syria estimates there are around 500,000 refugees and their heirs who were not allowed to return to their towns in the Golan after the 1967 war.

President Trump recognized the Golan Heights as Israeli territory on in late March in a White House speech alongside Netanyahu who was visiting the U.S. just two weeks before Israeli elections that took place earlier this month. 

“Today aggressive action by Iran and terrorist groups in southern Syria, including Hizbollah continue to make the Golan Heights a potential launching ground for attacks against Israel,” Trump said.

Netanyahu said Israel had “liberated the Golan” from Syria during wars, in 1967 and in 1973. Lands acquired during hostilities are prohibited by international law. In 1967 shortly after Israeli forces first took over the Golan, the UN Security Council passed a resolution calling on Israel to return the territory to Syria.

Israel’s Parliament voted to annex the Golan Heights in 1981. At the time no country recognized the move. 

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Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Mondoweiss.net. Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

Featured image is from Mondoweiss

While the European media is generally known to be mostly objective in its reporting, the highly partisan nature of British coverage into the events that shape our world view is, without any doubt deepening the political and social divide.

Broadsheets and broadcasters are typically consumed by the middle to upper class, whereas the tabloids are generally aimed at the working class. And as 60 per cent of Britons identifies themselves as working class, it is hardly any surprise that the tabloids are popular.

It is also known that a right-wing ideology and bias dominates British news. This was confirmed by a YouGov survey, that to be fair, only stated the obvious – The Mail, Express, Sun, Telegraph and Times were all identified as right-wing, but that is also outnumbered the leftist thinking of the Daily Mirror and The Guardian. The Independent was seen as slightly left of centre.

It is true to say then that the sensationalist ‘tabloids’ hold considerable political clout and sway over public opinion.

In the most recent example of analysis of this right-wing bias dominating our world view, one only has to look at a Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism analysis, which found that in the run-up to the Brexit vote, 41 per cent of articles about the Referendum was pro-Brexit, while only 27 per cent advocated remaining in the EU.

As expected, the UK’s leading newspapers – The Sun, the Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Express – published a steady stream of anti-EU reporting – also known as to most of us as propaganda or fake news.

This distortion of the national narrative ought to be taken very seriously as we form our own opinions around what we see, read and experience and the mainstream media are very much a part of that.

One way of looking at this distortion is to analyse the number of complaints received by The Independent Press Standards Organisation or IPSO. It was established in September 2014 following the windup of the very public failure of the Press Complaints Commission, which had been the main industry regulator of the press in the United Kingdom since 1990.

IPSO exists (so they say), to “promote and uphold the highest professional standards of journalism in the UK” which given the record and type of complaints, is very hard to believe. It also states it is there to support members of the public in seeking redress where they believe that the Editors’ Code of Practice has been breached.

IPSO is a self-regulator paid for by its member publishers, therefore, it is hard not to see where a conflict of interests can arise.

The “Hacked Off” campaign that emerged as a result of the phone-hacking revelations and the Levison report, which campaigns for a free and accountable press for the public has described IPSO as a “sham” and “the illusion of reform.”

We analysed the last 800 complaints made by all manner of people. From distressed families suffering from the intrusion of the press to complaints of blatant lies, harassment, reporting inaccuracies and the like.

Each complaint is categorised by IPSO as either a ‘Breach, No Breach or Resolved – IPSO Mediation

In the period analysed we looked at the last 800 complaints listed:

  • 95 were ruled as breaches of the code of conduct (12 per cent)
  • 272 were ‘resolved’ through IPSP mediation (34 per cent)
  • 433 complaints were dismissed after investigation (54 per cent)

For the analysis of breaches, we have grouped those outlets that are of the same entity such as The Times and Sunday Times, and only national newspapers – and excluded the likes of regional or local papers.  Of those complaints that were upheld as ‘breaches’:

  • Daily Mail/Mail online/Mail on Sunday – 27
  • Express/Sunday Express – 18
  • The Sun – 18
  • The Times/Sunday Times  16
  • Daily Telegraph – 7
  • The Mirror – 7
  • Daily Star – 2

It should be noted that the Financial TimesThe Independent and The Guardian newspapers do not subscribe to IPSO.

By no means do the numbers above give an indication of the total number of complaints received by IPSO.

For instance, in 2017 a large number of ‘multiple’ complaints, where more than one similar complaint was made about the same article, contributed to a high number of complaints received. The Sun topped the list with 4,847 complaints, followed by the Daily Mail at 4,176, Mail Online at 3,536, the Metro at 1,500 and The Mail on Sunday at 1,452. Here the Daily Mail, Mail Online and Mail on Sunday racked up well over 9,000 complaints between them.

In 2018, the Daily Mail was identified as by far the biggest offender of the year out of the publications monitored by IPSO. The Express, Sun, Telegraph and Times respectively limped on behind. In this year, the Daily Mail was found after a full investigation to have breached the code of practice on no less than 37 occasions – just for accuracy alone.

The Daily Mail is one of the most popular daily papers in the UK, with a just as successful online presence, but its awful record of breaching basic guidelines that it subscribes to is the reason why Wikipedia made the decision to classify it as an unreliable reference source in 2017.

In terms of circulation, the national papers continue to see a year-on-year sliding of performance. The 2019 Press Gazette reports (Feb 2019) those numbers as follows:

The domination by the Mail Online is clear to see.

In 2014, The Daily Mail was officially the UK’s most complained about newspaper, according to an analysis put out by the Press Complaints Commission. In 2019 under the guidance of a different regulator, nothing has changed. At the time, Hacked Off describes the PCC’s failure to publish a full list of complaints as a ‘cover-up’. Its biggest financial supporters were the Daily Mail group, Telegraph Media Group and News UK – did not come well out of the analysis.

In 2013, the Daily Mail managed to clock up 1,214 complaints alone, followed by The Sun with 638, Daily Telegraph with 300, Daily Mirror on 242, Mail on Sunday with 168 and so on. In total, nearly 3,000 complaints were received in just that one year. And that year was after, not before the Levison report and the very public scandals of press intrusion and tactics.

The Daily Mail also seems to garner the most amount of criticism racked up by ‘click-baiting’ consumers over health claims. The NHS publishes guidance on what consumers should know as facts through science, not the sensationalised claims made by the newspapers. The Daily Mail features prominently when it comes to correcting their headlines and claims.

Just four months ago The Guardian was found to be the most trusted newspaper in Britain as well as being the most read quality news outlet, according to industry figures produced by the Publishers Audience Measurement Company.

In the end, we would recommend that you read news through a mix of sources to get a balanced view and to steer clear from the click-baiters and propagators of fake news and propaganda like the Daily Mail, Express and Sun.

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Glyphosate Risks ‘Last for Generations’

April 24th, 2019 by Arthur Wyns

Increased prostate, kidney and ovarian diseases, as well as heightened obesity and birth abnormalities were found in the offspring of lab rats exposed to glyphosate, a scientific study has found.

The new research is the first of its kind to look at the transgenerational effects of the world’s most commonly used herbicide, first sold as Roundup, showing its carcinogenic properties are passed down at least three generations.

“This study provides alarming new evidence supporting our public health call to take glyphosate off the European market,” said Génon Jensen from the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL).

Banned

“If a pesticide is showing harm which only occurs generations down the line, surely this is an opportunity for the European Commission to take more precautionary measures to protect our health.”

Despite the fact the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared glyphosate to be a ‘probable human carcinogen’ in 2015, the herbicide was reauthorized on the European market for a period of five years in 2017.

A European Citizens’ Initiative petitioning to ban glyphosate has already been signed by 1.3 million people, and the European Commission recently appointed France, Hungary, the Netherlands and Sweden to assess whether or not the pesticide should be banned after its current licence expires in 2022.

Toxicology

In theory it would be possible for the EU to take glyphosate of the market before 2022.

“As an emergency measure, both the EU and individual member states have the power to end the current glyphosate approval before the five year periods,” explains Yannick Vicaire from HEAL.

The organization Pesticide Action Network recently released a report listing a wide range of more environmentally friendly alternatives to glyphosate, showing a ban of the herbicide would also be technically feasible.

“The ability of glyphosate and other environmental toxicants to impact our future generations needs to be considered, and is potentially as important as the direct exposure toxicology done today for risk assessment,” the authors of the study stated.

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Arthur Wyns is a biologist and science journalist who writes about climate change, environment, health and migration. He tweets from @ArthurWyns

Featured image is from The Ecologist

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). 

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Those able to “disrupt” Hezbollah finances may receive $10 million “reward,” courtesy of the American taxpayer.

Hezbollah “is treated in an overly simplistic way by US officials, meaning the State Department sees no problem asking questions about donors and ties. It would be unthinkable, however, for them to make similar inquiries, offering large cash awards, for any other country’s major political parties’ donors,” writes Jason Ditz. 

Now that Iran has designated the US military as a terrorist organization in response to the US declaring Iran’s Revolutionary Guards a terrorist group, it would be only fitting for the mullahs to offer a bounty for info on donors to the war party political class in the United States, in particular those calling for attacking Iran. 

The Iranians might want to start with casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. In addition to donating millions to politicos who have sworn loyalty to Israel, Adelson famously called for nuking Iran. 

Imagine the response if Hassan Rouhani called for nuking the US (an impossibility, of course, as Iran does not have nukes, unlike the US and Israel). 

Considering the history of Israel and its use of political assassination, it is more than likely the outing of Hezbollah donors will result in murder. Normally, any such assassination would be considered terrorism, but the propaganda media in the US doesn’t report it that way. 

Hezbollah’s track record on terror is largely speculative. There is no evidence the group kidnapped the president of the American University in Beirut, Davis S. Dodge, or is there conclusive evidence it attacked the US embassy in Beirut or truck bombed a US military barracks in Lebanon. A number of other murders, bombings, and airplane hijackings have been attributed to Hezbollah, again with scant evidence. However, for the neocons, evidence is not required. Big Lies suffice. 

History is, of course, left out of the equation. Hezbollah was formed after Israel invaded Lebanon (to steal its water) and began imprisoning and torturing Shi’a Muslims, most notoriously at the Khiam detention center (see this Amnesty International report on the torture and ill-treatment of detainees at the Khiam facility). 

Hezbollah is now an integral component of the Lebanese government and removing it wholesale from politics will prove to be impossible short of killing just about every Shi’a in Lebanon. 

I believe this is what Israeli Major General Amir Eshel was talking about when he said the innocent will pay for Hezbollah resistance to Israeli plans in Lebanon. 

The Israelis seem to believe killing thousands of civilians will turn the population against Hezbollah. Instead, it will strengthen the resolve of the Lebanese people to resist Israeli invasion and occupation. 

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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.

Spanish Politics Is US Geopolitics

April 24th, 2019 by Aidan O’Brien

The sun is hot in Spain this time of year. The Catholics too. Semana Santa (Holy Week) reminded us that Spain was once the world’s preeminent source of religious fundamentalism. Today, in contrast, it simply copies the nihilistic fundamentalism which flows out of Wall Street. It now is the source of nothing and believes in nothing. For better or worse, Spain has been emasculated, neutralized and mediocritized. The proof are its politicians. And for the powers that be, that’s just fine.

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. All of which turned into political crap, in 2012, when Spain had to submit to the same “economic medicine”which was crushing Greece at that precise moment – the Troika (the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund).

Ever since 2012 Spain has been drifting nowhere. The reason being that post-Franco democracy is moribund. Or maybe it was never alive to begin with.

Franco (right) had ruthlessly wiped out Spain’s democrats a long time before his death in 1975. And after destroying them, he had imposed an unwanted king, and an unwanted alliance with the US military, upon the backs of the Spanish. And that was that.

Ever since the first post-Franco election, in 1977, these legacies of Spanish fascism have been hiding behind manufactured political parties: first the Union of the Democratic Centre (UCD) and then the Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) and the Popular Party (PP).

This political cage, however, has been battered and discredited by the economic crisis that engulfed Spain after 2008. The solution to the financial crash, for the post-Franco establishment, has been obedience to the financial markets – the Troika. And disobedience to the people of Spain. The word – austerity – sums up this treasonous solution.

In response, the Spanish people came out onto the streets. In 2011 the 15-M (May 15) Movement mobilized millions of ordinary Spaniards. Indignant about the naked appearance of financial fascism, the voiceless people took over the plazas of Spain. It was a ‘Spanish Spring’. The streets of Madrid had picked up the vibe of the Mediterranean, that then was emanating from Tunis and Cairo. However, the Spanish government were picking up the vibe of the CIA. And sent the cops into the plazas – to crack heads. The powers that be didn’t want freedom in the Mediterranean. Least of all in Spain.

And this geopolitical context is the key to understanding contemporary Spanish politics. Spain is a strategic gateway to many worlds: the Mediterranean, the European, the African and the Latin American. Because of its geographic location and history, Spain is a bridge. On the grand chessboard, Spain is more valuable than a pawn. And for this reason, Spain’s fate is not in Spain’s hands.

Franco knew this. During the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) he placed his fate not in the hands of the Spanish nation, but in the hands of Italian fascists, German Nazis and Moroccan mercenaries. And after World War Two, he instinctively turned to US imperialism. The once “great” Spain  became a US colony.

“In 1953 Franco signed the Pact of Madrid…. The pact consisted of three separate, but interdependent, agreements between Spain and the United States. It provided for mutual defense, for military aid to Spain, and for the construction of bases there.” (El País)

This innocuous looking agreement is the deep foundation of today’s Spanish politics. Next to it, everything else is superficial – even the king and the banks and Catalonia. Franco’s gift to Spain was nothing less than a pact with the devil. It was an agreement with permanent war. It was a fascist pact.

The pact manifested itself immediately. In the mid 1950s, the US built its own ‘rock of Gibraltar’ near the city of Cádiz: the naval port of Rota. And it moved into the airbase of Morón – near the city of Seville. From these extremely strategic positions the US could access Africa and the Mediterranean Sea within minutes. And it could reach the Middle East within a few hours.

Meanwhile, the secretive CIA teamed up with Franco’s secretive state. So much so, that the great CIA whistleblower, Philip Agee, wrote in his account of 1970s Europe – ‘On The Run’: “The more they tried to get me to Spain, the more suspicious I was. I knew the Agency and the Franco services were as thick as thieves.”

The death of Franco changed nothing. Spain’s transition to ‘democracy’ was managed carefully – so as not to disturb US imperialism. In an important 1976 article, La CIA, Aqui, Ahora (in a Spanish magazine called Cambio 16), Spain’s place in the Empire is brilliantly described:

“….neutralism in Spanish foreign policy… is the real danger for the USA…Washington’s new strategic planning passes right through Spain, since the Iberian Peninsula is an extension of the African-Atlantic shelf. The Sahara, Angola, the independence movements in the Azores and Canaries, the Paris-Madrid-Rabat axis all form part of the same story….And it is no longer a matter of facing up to the Soviets, but [of blocking] the process of normalization in international relations…

…With the handover of [Western Sahara] to Morocco, the [CIA] gained the isolation of Algeria, the division of the Third World, and the security of the monitoring units on Ceuta and Melilla and the base on Tenerife….

Already the Americans have secured the oil route that passes through Las Palmas and along the coast of Angola and the monitoring of the Soviet Mediterranean fleet from the south, thus reinforcing NATO’s most vulnerable zone. And all of this would be put at risk if Spain were to become truly neutral.

…the United States would not be prepared to tolerate a Mediterranean Switzerland.”

And is the 2019 relationship between Spain and the USA any different? No. Indeed recent events suggest it has become much darker.

A 2015 El País headline stated: “Spain to negotiate turning Morón into US base for anti-jihadist operations“. While another El País headline that same year read: “US and Spain to sign deal making Morón main base for Africa operations”.

And in April 2017 US navy ships – based in Rota, Spain – attacked Syria without informing the Spanish government beforehand. In fact, Spain’s second class status, even within Spain, was underlined in February this year (2019) when the CIA brazenly broke into the Madrid embassy of North Korea and terrorized its occupants.

Will the Spanish government pushback? No. It continues to play the role the US has assigned for it. For example, when the US openly pressed for regime change in Venezuela last January, Spain’s socialist Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, immediately supported the Americans. This being significant because Spain automatically leads official European opinion when it comes to Latin America.

So what’s the point of the April 28 Spanish general election? Its ideological. Its a lie or a joke the Spanish state tells itself so as to cover up its own impotence. The Spanish people, however, are beginning to feel it.

The new left leaning political party, Podemos (We Can), emerged out of the 2011 ‘Spanish Spring’ and has upset the established order. But it is fighting a rigged voting system that favors the conservative countryside – at the expense of the more critical ‘Podemos cities’. And it is being shadowed now by two new ‘made to measure’ (CIA?) right wing parties: Ciudadanos (Citizens) and Vox (Voice).

As the US gears up today for a few more wars (Iran and Venezuela) there seems to be no escape, for Spain, from its deep colonial status. Even Podemos don’t seem to be aware of the depth of the problem. The Spanish Spring complained about the EU straitjacket (austerity) but failed to see the US straitjacket (imperialism).

The Americans, therefore, seem to have Spanish sovereignty truly trapped. The basic fact is that Spain joined the USA (1953) before it joined the EU (1986). So for Spain to be free, it is necessary to go back to the source of the slavery: the 1953 Pact of Madrid. If Spain destroys this then the liberation will follow: the liberation from the US, the EU and the King. The Republic of Spain would be reborn. But is any Spanish politician offering this truly post-Franco vision?

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Aidan O’Brien is a hospital worker in Dublin, Ireland.

Notre Dame – Glory or Shame?

April 24th, 2019 by Peter Koenig

The heart of France is on fire. An inferno rocked France. Notre Dame, cultural icon of France and UNESCO declared World Heritage, was burning. The flames devastated the wooden roof and the spire. They caused, at first sight, only light damage on the 12th century cathedral’s structure and historic treasures, as most of the latter were either removed for the ongoing renovation, or were removed just in time by firefighters. Some damage to religious artifacts may have been caused by the enormous amounts of water used by the 500 firemen who dozed the blaze which took about 12 to extinguish. Given the circumstances – a bone-dry wooden roof and spire, largely unprotected from fire hazards – the 850-year-old gothic master piece was lucky for having been saved at all.

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. Second, according to Benjamin Mouton, the architect who oversaw the fire protections, and as reported by the NYT,

“The system was based on the assumption that if the cathedral ever caught fire, the ancient oak timbers in the attic would burn slowly, leaving ample time to fight the flames.” He added, “The fire alarms in Notre-Dame did not notify fire dispatchers right away. Instead, a guard at the cathedral first had to climb a steep set of stairs to the attic — a trip that would take a “fit” person six minutes.”

Therefore, there was already a built-in delay of about 20 minutes for the firemen starting to fight the flames, an important time span at the beginning of a fire.

This is an significant detail, considering the speed with which the flames spread through the wooden roof and the spire. Some islamophobes already point their fingers to a terror attack, especially on a Christian house of worship in the week before Easter, resurrection of Christ, the Christians holiest celebration.

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The socially most disturbing factor is the speed with which the French billionaires – later they were joined by international oligarchs – pledged their (tax-deductible) donation to fix the cathedral. Within just a couple of days, more than a billion euros in donation were pledged by the richest of the rich French billionaires.

First estimates of damage came in as between € 500 and € 700 million. Once the pledges were in, nobody talked about cost estimates anymore. It will be interesting to see, who gets the excess money. – Maybe the poor Frenchmen, who have to survive on €500 a month, live in the street, or in tent cities on the periphery of Paris, and whose children go hungry to bed – if they have a bed – every night. Though, I don’t think it was the intention of the billionaires that ‘left-overs’ should go to the poor.

Macron, with gleaming eyes went on TV – his moment to detract from his fierce opponents, the Yellow Vests – promising that “we will rebuild this monument even more beautiful than it was before”. He called for an international bidding process to assure that the best architects will work on the reconstruction of this world renown icon.

Macron even postponed ‘indefinitely’ talking about the reform measures he was planning after the three months of ‘debate’ intended to end the weekly Yellow Vest protests. But he didn’t. And even if he would have made loads of concessions, the protests would not go away, short of Macron resining. That’s the level of trust he has left. Protests are fiercer than ever, because people are to see that the rich have no problem donating hundreds of millions, in sort of a contest of one-upmanship – ‘I’ll outdo you’type of corporate propaganda, while paying no or very little taxes.

If they were to pay their due in taxes, the Yellow Vests rightly argue, there would be no need for donations. The cultural restauration and rehabilitation fund would have plenty of money, and, in addition, there would be no justification for increasing taxes for the lower-earning echelons of society – exactly what Macron was doing and continues doing, taxing the poor into the ground. On Saturday 20 April, the day before Easter, 28,000 Yellow Vests rallied in Paris against the oligarchs spending generously and egocentrically for showmanship, but resist paying their taxes so that all of Frenchmen and Frenchwomen could live a decent life.

The Yellow Vest protesters passed by the blackened ruins of Notre Dame to pay their homage to the monument – showing that their demonstrations had nothing to do with rebuilding the church, but had much to do with how the impunity of shuffling money – and ever more money – from the lower strata of society to the billionaires, has reached a point of no-more-tolerance. It’s a catastrophe, and the Yellow Vests will not end their outcry for justice, unless Macron resigns and a direct democracy is installed. That’s what they are fighting for – and have been fighting precisely six months already. They are poised not to give up, no matter how Notre Dame is going to be rebuilt.

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There is an even more nefarious angle to this – and other monuments. Hundreds of years of French exploitation of her colonies in Africa, of enslaving, raping, ravaging, killing and plundering Africa’s resources, has allowed France and many other European nations to amass insane amounts of stolen assets – with which they built and now boast about their monuments, castles, churches, with which they maintained their empires and today maintain their kingdoms. Theft and plunder are the basis for the rich culture and famous shrines the brave and wise Europeans conceived and built.

Notre Dame – a house of Christ – is one of those monuments that would possibly not exist, if France would not have had the illegally begotten resources from wars and pillaging the African Continent – something which France’s neocolonialism continues doing today, through the Banque de France’s controlled “former” West and Central African French colonies. Another shameful and ongoing occurrence, nobody dares talk about it – which allows France to rob untold billions from poor African countries – making sure that their development is stunted. It works, as long as they keep puppet dictators in power.

Today its NATO – with its swift wars and killing sprees that keeps colonialism alive, keeps the resources flowing from south to north, impoverishing the south, dividing the south by creating chaos for better control – and especially for guaranteeing the continuation of elite-enriching theft. – May Notre Dame – the House of God – her reconstruction, remind us that France’s oligarchs still benefit from the atrocious and illegal economic resources drain from Africa and the Middle East; that such injustice must to stop.

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This article was originally published on New Eastern Outlook.

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

Featured image is from NEO

The Path to War with Iran Is Paved with Sanctions

April 24th, 2019 by Joe Cirincione

The Trump administration is laying siege to Iran. Taking pages from the Iraq War playbook, senior officials paint a picture of a rogue, outlaw, terrorist regime bent on acquiring nuclear weapons and whose “malign activities” are the cause of all the chaos in the Middle East. They know what they are doing. They have done it before. They are building a case for war.

The “maximum pressure” campaign by the White House, Treasury Department, and State Department accelerated this week with the announcement that the United States would force China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Turkey to cease all imports of Iranian oil or face severe U.S. sanctions. The goal is to cut to zero all of Iran’s oil exports, which account for some 40 percent of its national income. This strategy is unlikely to force the capitulation or collapse of the regime, but it very likely could lead to war.

The United States has already reimposed all the nuclear-related sanctions lifted by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that successfully rolled back and effectively froze Iran’s nuclear program and put it under the most stringent inspections ever negotiated. The goals of the sanctions announced April 22, however, go way beyond nuclear issues.

“We have made our demands very clear to the ayatollah and his cronies,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in remarks to the press Monday morning. “End your pursuit of nuclear weapons. Stop testing and proliferating ballistic missiles. Stop sponsoring and committing terrorism. Halt the arbitrary detention of U.S. citizens.”

All are worthy policy goals. The first, of course, has been met. The National Intelligence Estimate on Iran concluded that Iran ended its nuclear weapons program in 2003. There is no evidence that the program has restarted. Instead, in true Trumpian fashion, the administration simply asserts the counterfactual. It claims that the program has restarted, with slippery phrases about seeking weapons or  references to long-ended activities. The media, overloaded with the Mueller report and a daily cascade of lies, does not challenge these claims.

The Role of Bolton

It is no accident that National Security Advisor John Bolton, the man who declared unequivocally in November 2002, “We are confident that Saddam Hussein has hidden weapons of mass destruction and production facilities in Iraq,” is now the chief strategist behind the drive towards war—with Mike Pompeo happily riding shotgun.

Both are manipulating a distracted and largely uninformed president into a confrontation he may not actually want. Although Trump came into office promising to cancel the JCPOA painstakingly negotiated by the Obama administration and our allies, he was initially held in check by the united front of his military, intelligence, and diplomatic advisors.

Then, Trump ousted Rex Tillerson and replaced him with Mike Pompeo. He fired H.R. McMaster and appointed John Bolton. He accepted the resignation of Jim Mattis as secretary of defense and replaced him with a former Boeing executive more interested in contracts than policy. Bolton has had a clear field ever since. With minimal or no inter-agency discussion, Bolton quickly dispensed with the Iran accord, but he did not stop there.

By Christmas 2018, Bolton had dismantled what remained of U.S.-Iran relations. The United States reinstated all sanctions on Iran that were previously lifted by the Iran accord, and the State Department pulled out of the 1955 Treaty of Amity between the United States and Iran, which provided a “legal framework for bilateral relations.” As a result, Iran’s currency hit a historic low and the country witnessed waves of economic protests. Bolton used his national platform to publicly send bellicose warnings to the regime with statements like, “If you cross us, our allies, or our partners…there will indeed be hell to pay.”

The Terrorism “Connection”

The “maximum pressure” campaign escalated in 2019. When terrorists attacked the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)—an official branch of Iran’s military—killing 27 and wounding 13, the State Department offered no condolences. When widespread flooding devastated Iranian cities and infrastructure, claiming 60 lives in one week, the United States faulted the regime for the “mismanagement that has led to this disaster.”

The campaign hit a crescendo on April 8, 2019—exactly one year to the day after Bolton’s appointment—with the unprecedented move of designating the IRGC a “Foreign Terrorist Organization.” It now appears alongside the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and Boko Haram on this list. That day Pompeo delivered a statement to the press and public in which the words “terror,” “terrorism,” and “terrorist” appeared 21 times.

This designation brings at least the IRGC and perhaps the entire nation within arm’s reach of the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, legislation originally written to provide a legal basis for the invasion of Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11. The 2001 AUMF gives the president wide scope for the unilateral use of force against any parties or individuals associated with the 9/11 attacks, a point not lost on Pompeo.

For over a year, the Trump administration, and Pompeo in particular, has been exaggerating the connection between Iran and al-Qaeda to claim legal justification for military action against Iran under the 2001 AUMF. In 2017, the CIA released additional records from the bin Laden files, ostensibly “to enhance public understanding of al-Qaeda.” Wrote former CIA analyst Ned Price:

But this release by Pompeo wasn’t about transparency. Pompeo is playing politics with intelligence, using these files in a ploy to bolster the case against Iran by reinvigorating the debate on its terrorist ties. While the politicization of intelligence is more than sufficient cause for concern, the fact that he appears to be returning to the Bush administration’s pre-Iraq war playbook underscores the danger. This effort reeks of former vice president Dick Cheney’s consistent false allegations of links between Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and the 9/11 attacks, a nexus the Bush administration debunked only after we had lost too much in blood and treasure.

Bolton, Pompeo, and their allies in and out of government continued to hype the Iran-al-Qaeda link. In May 2018, announcing the U.S. abrogation of the nuclear agreement, Trump made a point of saying that “Iran supports terrorist proxies and militias such as…al-Qaeda.” In a speech at the Heritage Foundation later that month, Pompeo said:

“Today we ask the Iranian people: Is this what you want your country to be known for, for being a co-conspirator with Hezbollah, Hamas, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda?”

Experts have disparaged the administration’s claims, noting the longstanding hostility between Iran, a Shia-majority nation, and the radical Sunni group. A definitive New America study published in late 2018 found no evidence that Iran and al-Qaeda collaborated in carrying out terrorist attacks. That hasn’t stopped the administration from continuing the insinuations.

In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Pompeo went out of his way to construct explicit connections between al-Qaeda and the IRGC with multiple statements like:

“there is no doubt there is a connection between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Al-Qaeda. Period, full stop.”

Invoking the AUMF

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) zeroed in to the subtext of Pompeo’s repetitive al-Qaeda-Iran connections. If the administration determines a valid link between al-Qaeda and the Iranian government, it may be able to declare war on Iran by using the 2001 AUMF, bypassing Congress entirely. So, Senator Paul pressed Pompeo on that point, asking him if he believes that the 2001 AUMF applies to Iran or Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Pompeo dodged the question: “I would prefer to leave that to the lawyers, Senator.” Neither Bolton nor Pompeo has yet provided a clear answer.

The administration’s plan is clear: keep beating the twin drums of terrorism and nuclear threat. Bolton and Pompeo will use both to justify more sanctions and more provocations. They have a highly disciplined, coordinated messaging strategy. They establish the following false claim, as Bolton did this January in a conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel: “Despite getting out of the Iran nuclear deal, despite the sanctions, we have little doubt that Iran’s leadership is still strategically committed to achieving deliverable nuclear weapons.” The claims are then echoed, as this one was in a Twitter video a few weeks later. And again by U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook, in a New York Times op-ed, demanding that Iran “behave like a normal, peaceful nation: end the pursuit of nuclear weapons, stop testing ballistic missiles, stop sponsoring terrorist proxies.” And again this week by Pompeo, in announcing the oil sanctions, when he demanded that Iran “end [its] pursuit of nuclear weapons.”

It does not matter that U.S. intelligence assessments—as well as Israeli intelligence and the International Atomic Energy Agency—confirm that Iran is complying with the JCPOA. Or that Saudi Arabia has likely funded al-Qaeda and other Sunni terrorist groups. Or that the US invasion of Iraq is the principle cause of Middle East chaos today. Trump officials will cherry-pick information, package it, and amplify it across a willing echo chamber—exactly as the Bush administration did in the lead up to the Iraq war.

The real question is whether America will fall for it again.

*

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Joseph Cirincione is the president and Mary Kaszynski is the deputy policy director of the Ploughshares Fund, which provides financial support to LobeLog.

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

Michel Chossudovsky

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

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

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The land of the rising sun prepares for a new dawn. An emperor’s departure and another’s ascension. Emperor Akihito will abdicate on April 30, and May Day in Japan will see his eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito, become the 126th occupant of the Chrysanthemum Throne.

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. The reign of wartime emperor Hirohito is described as showa (enlightened harmony). A democracy where the Liberal Democratic Party (not liberal but deeply conservative) has been in power for all but of a handful of years since 1955. Japan’s pacifist constitution is viewed as an obstruction by the right to re-armament and may soon be, as the government puts it, reinterpreted again before being changed for the first time. A land where tradition is honored has undergone profound upheavals under each modern-era emperor.

Akihito was the fifth emperor since the Meiji Restoration of 1868, when the shogunate, a system of feudal military rulers, collapsed and the emperor was plucked from relative political obscurity in Kyoto to reside in Tokyo. He was meant to symbolize stability and a link to the past. It is this harking back to other eras that has bedeviled a country noted for its Blade Runner cityscapes.

In Japanese folklore the first emperor was Jimmu (about 650 BC), making it, according to legend, the world’s oldest hereditary monarchy. Concubinage was only abolished in 1926, the year Akihito’s father, Hirohito, became emperor.  The Americans, the occupying power after WWII, realized that this system had produced a number of possible competing claimants to the throne. This fear resulted in the Imperial Household Law, introduced in 1948, which limited the succession to male descendants of the emperor, Hirohito.

The only succession most Japanese recall was Akihito’s in 1989 when the past was another country.  But so was the future. Back then the mood was of unbridled optimism. The country was an economic superpower. From the debris of war, it had rebuilt itself, and was challenging the United States for pre-eminence.

Today, Japan is frustrated at its lost economic opportunities since the economic bubble burst in the early 1990s. In December 1989 the Tokyo stock exchange closed at 38,916. Today its closing price is about 22,500. A remedy has remained elusive to its leaders. And the rise of China has led to a sense of vulnerability that was missing in 1989. The imperial family, the only institution in Japan not beset by scandals, have been portrayed as the last bastion of ‘good, traditional values’’.

In any country with a monarchy, succession is a time for rejoicing. It helps reaffirm the country’s values and gives people a sense of identity and hope for the future. But there is a dark side to Japan’s succession.

Rightists groups will portray the Shinto rituals, especially the rite of enthronement where the new emperor is in “symbolic communication with deities”, as evidence of the “real Japan’’.

The restoration, or Meiji (enlightened rule) from 1868 to 1912, saw a drive to modernization, catching up with the West, with a focus on Britain (children going to school in sailor uniforms is one of the consequences) and Germany (more accurately, Prussia, with the onus put on military prowess).  From 1912 to 1926 saw the Taisho (great righteousness) era, when Yoshihito became emperor. He did not enjoy good health but during his reign democracy was established and Japan gained territory in China after WWI. The Showa era (enlightened harmony), which began in 1926, witnessed Japan’s rapid economic development, but it also encompassed the rise of militarism and WWII.

Ambivalence shrouds the three decades of Akihito’s rule, the Heisei era, (achieving peace). The period saw the end of the bubble economy and deteriorating relations with China. Many will forever associate it with the 1995 terrorist attack on the Tokyo subway, the Kobe earthquake, and the triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami and consequent nuclear power station meltdown in Fukushima in March 2011.

Japan has not been involved in a conflict since 1945, but the pacifist constitution is under siege.  The official English translation of article 9, which renounces war, is refreshingly clear.

“Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. (2) To accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.’’

In direct contravention of this article, Japan has the world’s fourth-most powerful military and the eighth-largest military budget. With 240,000 personnel, its annual defense budget is nearly $50 billion.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (with Trump in 2017) has vowed to push for a wholesale revision of the Japanese constitution, to further boost its military and allow it to play a greater role in global affairs, to be enacted before the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics.

“By 2020, I think Japan will have completely restored its status and been making great contributions to peace and stability in the region and the world,” he said.

This commitment may not be totally unrelated to the timing of the emperor’s abdication. Even before he ascends the throne, confusion surrounds the word chosen to define the new imperial era. Japan’s Foreign Ministry says that Reiwa  means “beautiful harmony’ and not the more assertive and militaristic “command” or “order” as has been suggested. That such ambiguity exists may not be an accident.

*

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Tom Clifford is an Irish journalist based in China.

Bringing Julian Assange Home

April 24th, 2019 by John Pilger

This relevant article was first published on GR in June 2018.

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.

They can remain silent, for which history will be unforgiving. Or they can act in the interests of justice and humanity and bring this remarkable Australian citizen home.

Assange does not ask for special treatment. The government has clear diplomatic and moral obligations to protect Australian citizens abroad from gross injustice: in JulianE’s case, from a gross miscarriage of justice and the extreme danger that await him should he walk out of the Ecuadorean embassy in London unprotected.

We know from the Chelsea Manning case what he can expect if a US extradition warrant is successful — a United Nations Special Rapporteur called it torture.

I know Julian Assange well; I regard him as a close friend, a person of extraordinary resilience and courage. I have watched a tsunami of lies and smear engulf him, endlessly, vindictively, perfidiously; and I know why they smear him.

In 2008, a plan to destroy both WikiLeaks and Assange was laid out in a top secret document dated 8 March, 2008. The authors were the Cyber Counter-intelligence Assessments Branch of the US Defence Department. They described in detail how important it was to destroy the “feeling of trust” that is WikiLeaks’ “centre of gravity”.

This would be achieved, they wrote, with threats of “exposure [and] criminal prosecution” and a unrelenting assault on reputation. The aim was to silence and criminalise WikiLeaks and its editor and publisher. It was as if they planned a war on a single human being and on the very principle of freedom of speech.

Their main weapon would be personal smear. Their shock troops would be enlisted in the media — those who are meant to keep the record straight and tell us the truth.

The irony is that no one told these journalists what to do. I call them Vichy journalists — after the Vichy government that served and enabled the German occupation of wartime France.

Last October, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation journalist Sarah Ferguson interviewed Hillary Clinton, over whom she fawned as “the icon for your generation”.

This was the same Clinton who threatened to “obliterate totally” Iran and, who, as US secretary of State in 2011, was one of the instigators of the invasion and destruction of Libya as a modern state, with the loss of 40,000 lives. Like the invasion of Iraq, it was based on lies.

When the Libyan President was murdered publicly and gruesomely with a knife, Clinton was filmed whooping and cheering. Thanks largely to her, Libya became a breeding ground for ISIS and other jihadists.  Thanks largely to her, tens of thousands of refugees fled in peril across the Mediterranean, and many drowned.

Leaked emails published by WikiLeaks revealed that Hillary Clinton’s foundation – which she shares with her husband – received millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the main backers of ISIS and terrorism across the Middle East.

As Secretary of State, Clinton approved the biggest arms sale ever — worth $80 billion — to Saudi Arabia, one of her foundation’s principal benefactors. Today, Saudi Arabia is using these weapons to crush starving and stricken people in a genocidal assault on  Yemen.

Sarah Ferguson, a highly paid reporter, raised not a word of this with Hillary Clinton sitting in front of her.

Instead, she invited Clinton to describe the “damage” Julian Assange did “personally to you”. In response, Clinton defamed Assange, an Australian citizen, as “very clearly a tool of Russian intelligence” and “a nihilistic opportunist who does the bidding of a dictator”.

She offered no evidence — nor was asked for any — to back her grave allegations.

At no time was Assange offered the right of reply to this shocking interview, which Australia’s publicly-funded state broadcaster had a duty to give him.

 As if that wasn’t enough, Ferguson’s executive producer, Sally Neighour, followed the interview with a vicious re-tweet: “Assange is Putin’s bitch. We all know it!”

There are many other examples of Vichy journalism. The Guardian, reputedly once a great liberal newspaper, conducted a vendetta against Julian Assange. Like a spurned lover, the Guardian aimed its personal, petty, inhuman and craven attacks at a man whose work it once published and profited from.  

The former editor of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, called the WikiLeaks disclosures, which his newspaper published in 2010, “one of the greatest journalistic scoops of the last 30 years”. Awards were lavished and celebrated as if Julian Assange did not exist.

WikiLeaks’ revelations became part of the Guardian’s marketing plan to raise the paper’s cover price. They made money, often big money, while WikiLeaks and Assange struggled to survive.

With not a penny going to WikiLeaks, a hyped Guardian book led to a lucrative Hollywood movie deal. The book’s authors, Luke Harding and David Leigh, gratuitously abused Assange as a “damaged personality” and “callous”.

They also revealed the secret password Julian had given the Guardian in confidence and which was designed to protect a digital file containing the US embassy cables.

With Assange now trapped in the Ecuadorean embassy, Harding, who had enriched himself on the backs of both Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, stood among the police outside the embassy and gloated on his blog that “Scotland Yard may get the last laugh”.

The question is why.

Julian Assange has committed no crime. He has never been charged with a crime. The Swedish episode was bogus and farcical and he has been vindicated.

Katrin Axelsson and Lisa Longstaff of Women Against Rape summed it up when they wrote,

“The allegations against [Assange] are a smokescreen behind which a number of governments are trying to clamp down on WikiLeaks for having audaciously revealed to the public their secret planning of wars and occupations with their attendant rape, murder and destruction… The authorities care so little about violence against women that they manipulate rape allegations at will.”

This truth was lost or buried in a media witch-hunt that disgracefully associated Assange with rape and misogyny. The witch-hunt included voices who described themselves as on the left and as feminist. They willfully ignored the evidence of extreme danger should Assange be extradited to the United States.

According to a document released by Edward Snowden, Assange is on a “Manhunt target list”. One leaked official memo says:

“Assange is going to make a nice bride in prison. Screw the terrorist. He’ll be eating cat food forever.”

 In Alexandra, Virginia – the suburban home of America’s war-making elite — a secret grand jury, a throwback to the middle ages — has spent seven years trying to concoct a crime for which Assange can be prosecuted.

This is not easy; the US Constitution protects publishers, journalists and whistleblowers. Assange’s crime is to have broken a silence.

No investigative journalism in my lifetime can equal the importance of what WikiLeaks has done in calling rapacious power to account. It is as if a one-way moral screen has been pushed back to expose the imperialism of liberal democracies: the commitment to endless warfare and the division and degradation of “unworthy” lives: from Grenfell Tower to Gaza.

When Harold Pinter accepted the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005, he referred to “a vast tapestry of lies up on which we feed”. He asked why “the systematic brutality, the widespread atrocities, the ruthless suppression of independent thought” of the Soviet Union were well known in the West while America’s imperial crimes “never happened … even while [they] were happening, they never happened.”.

In its revelations of fraudulent wars (Afghanistan, Iraq) and the bald-faced lies of governments (the Chagos Islands), WikiLeaks has allowed us to glimpse how the imperial game is played in the 21st century. That is why Assange is in mortal danger.

Seven years ago, in Sydney, I arranged to meet a prominent Liberal Member of the Federal Parliament, Malcolm Turnbull.   

I wanted to ask him to deliver a letter from Gareth Peirce, Assange’s lawyer, to the government. We talked about his famous victory — in the 1980s when, as a young barrister, he had fought the British Government’s attempts to suppress free speech and prevent the publication of the book Spycatcher — in its way, a WikiLeaks of the time, for it revealed the crimes of state power.

The prime minister of Australia was then Julia Gillard, a Labor Party politician who had declared WikiLeaks “illegal” and wanted to cancel Assange’s passport — until she was told she could not do this: that Assange had committed no crime: that WikiLeaks was a publisher, whose work was protected under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which Australia was one of the original signatories.

In abandoning Assange, an Australian citizen, and colluding in his persecution, Prime Minister Gillard’s outrageous behaviour forced the issue of his recognition, under international law, as a political refugee whose life was at risk. Ecuador invoked the 1951 Convention and granted Assange refuge in its embassy in London.

Gillard has recently been appearing in a gig with Hillary Clinton; they are billed as pioneering feminists.

If there is anything to remember Gillard by, it a warmongering, sycophantic, embarrassing speech she made to the US Congress soon after she demanded the illegal cancellation of Julian’s passport.

Malcolm Turnbull is now the Prime Minister of Australia. Julian Assange’s father has written to Turnbull. It is a moving letter, in which he has appealed to the prime minister to bring his son home. He refers to the real possibility of a tragedy.

I have watched Assange’s health deteriorate in his years of confinement without sunlight. He has had a relentless cough, but is not even allowed safe passage to and from a hospital for an X-ray .

Malcolm Turnbull can remain silent. Or he can seize this opportunity and use his government’s diplomatic influence to defend the life of an Australian citizen, whose courageous public service is recognised by countless people across the world. He can bring Julian Assange home.  

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This is an abridged version of an address by John Pilger to a rally in Sydney, Australia, to mark Julian Assange’s six years’ confinement in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. www.johnpilger.com


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The very corporations that are responsible for the problem are denying global warming, with immediate consequences for the whole world.

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.

Is that problem reversible?

The United States and China are the largest consumers of coal and oil. The choices made by the leaders of the two largest industrialized economies are having an impact on climate and on air quality for everyone.

But the decisions being made in these two countries are going in totally different directions. Their choices reveal a lot about the different social and political bases of each country.

In China, dramatic changes in major population centers show that it is possible, if decisive actions are taken, to restore the environment and dramatically improve the quality of life.

The Trump administration, on the other hand, is not only ignoring the consequences of global warming, but actively and aggressively denying it.  Meanwhile, he’s pushing forward with coal mining, fracking and other methods of oil extraction, doing away with Environmental Protection Act clean air regulations and opening up drilling in pristine areas of Alaska’s Arctic preserves.

While this is immediately profitable for a few, it has dangerous consequences for the planet and all life forms.  Regardless of who is president, U.S. policy is set by the needs of the largest oil, gas and industrial corporations to maximize profit. U.S. policies are set by the relentless drive for wars to defend their empire. The Pentagon is the world’s biggest polluter, the largest user of oil and many more dangerous chemicals. Their wars have created the worst environmental devastation and humanitarian disasters.

Trump’s actions embolden other arrogant climate deniers. The extreme right-wing president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, has decided to more forward with massive clear-cutting of trees in the Amazon region, the world’s largest tropical rainforest.

Capitalist media on China’s choices

It is especially noteworthy that major capitalist business publications are concerned with the implications of China’s drive for sustainable energy.

Their worry is not about the survival of the planet. It is whether China will get an economic advantage over Wall Street.

As a Jan. 11 headline in Forbes business magazine put it, “China is set to become the world’s renewable energy superpower.” Journalist Dominic Dudley cited a report issued that day by the Global Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation, which laid out the geopolitical implications of the changing energy landscape.

The commission’s report, said Dudley, showed that China had become “the world’s largest producer, exporter and installer of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries and electric vehicles.”

“The report argues that the geopolitical and economic consequences of the rapid growth of renewable energy could be as profound as those that accompanied the shift from biomass to fossil fuels two centuries ago,” wrote Dudley. It will “change patterns of trade and the development of new alliances. It could also spark instability in some countries that have grown dependent on oil and gas revenue.”

However, Olaf Grimsson, chair of the commission that wrote the report, added that this shift is also bringing “energy independence to countries around the world.”

An article in the Economist magazine of March 15, 2018, had already reported that China,

“[T]hrough a combination of subsidies, policy targets and manufacturing incentives” had “spent more on cleaning up its energy system than America and the EU combined.”

Back on Jan. 5, 2017, an article in the London-based Financial Times titled “Wave of spending tightens China’s grip on renewable energy” quoted Tim Buckley, director of the U.S.-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, who cautioned Wall Street: “As the U.S. owned the advent of the oil age, so China is shaping up to be unrivalled in clean power leadership today.”

A report from the same institute released a year later confirmed yet again that China continues to lead the world in clean energy investment.

China’s socialist revolution made the difference

Learning more about what China is doing to clean the environment and understanding why it is structurally and politically able to do so should open the eyes of environmental activists about what is possible.

To evaluate the historic significance of these gains, it is first important to understand that China is coming from a position of great poverty and semicolonial underdevelopment.

The revolution in China, led by Mao Zedong and the Communist Party, triumphed in 1949 after a generation of armed struggle. It ended 150 years of foreign occupation and civil war, which had produced uncontrollable droughts and famines.

U.S. corporate power had sided with the corrupt landlord and military grouping around Gen. Chiang Kai-shek as their best option for continued Western domination of China. After its defeat on the mainland, this grouping, with U.S. assistance, militarily occupied the island of Taiwan.

After 1949 the U.S., in an effort to economically strangle the revolutionary determination of the People’s Republic of China, imposed a total embargo on all trade and investment. This blockade lasted until the 1972 visit of President Richard Nixon to China, which normalized political relations — but China was still cut off from world trade and economic development.

Special economic zones: a compromise

In 1979, in an effort to gain access to modern technology and world markets, the Chinese government, then led by Deng Xiaoping, created four Special Economic Zones to attract Western corporations dominating the world economy to invest in China.

Western corporations surged into these zones. Their goal was to set up assembly factories and maximize profits through cheap labor costs by employing what had been a largely peasant population in zones with few regulatory restrictions. They also dreamed of overturning the Chinese government.

These corporations gave little thought or planning to their impact on the environment.

The British-controlled colony of Hong Kong sits at the tip of the Pearl River Delta just south of China. Especially attractive to foreign investors was a Special Economic Zone established in a rural area of China north of Hong Kong, where land was easily available and close to a world-class seaport.

These investors used the same tactics in China that had been used a century or two earlier when building thousands of capitalist factories created the crowded, polluted, industrial cities of London, Manchester, Chicago and Buffalo.

After opening up to foreign investment in the 1980s, China surged through 35 years of uneven rapid industrialization. Tens of millions of Chinese peasants, a floating migrant population, flooded into the newly created economic zones. They worked incredibly long hours for six months to two years and were then sent home when orders declined.

Even as capitalist private enterprises flourished in socialist China, state-owned industries in essential economic areas also gained strength through joint ventures and government investments. The contradictions and dangers were enormous.

This compromise policy of opening up to foreign capital, allowing the growth of Chinese capitalists and modernizing state-owned industries, is called “building socialism with Chinese characteristics.”

North of Hong Kong, the primarily agricultural area of the Pearl River Delta and Guangdong Province careened through an unprecedented growth spurt. In 30 years, it became the largest contiguous urban region in the world, according to the World Bank.

Its population in the 2015 census was 108 million. The zone had a staggering growth rate of 40 percent a year from 1981 to 1993. The Pearl River Delta is now the biggest economic hub in the country.

The city of Shenzhen in the Delta grew from a population of 30,000 in 1979 to a megacity today of 20 million, with the largest migrant population in China. It became a polluted factory town of sweatshops spewing out clouds of dark toxic smoke.

Shenzhen’s economic output ranks third, after Beijing and Shanghai, among 659 Chinese cities. It has the second-busiest container terminal in mainland China and the third busiest in the world.

Just north of Shenzhen, the city of Guangzhou, formerly known by its European name of Canton, became China’s most polluted city.

Over the years, factory production in the megacities of the Pearl River Delta went from predominantly labor-intensive consumer goods like toys and clothing to light industry, then heavy industry like machinery, chemical products and autos. Now it is focused on producing high-tech electronic equipment.

While the hundreds of factories and power plants drove economic growth forward, they also polluted the air, water and soil to the tipping point.

Turning point

Five years ago, on March 4, 2014, China made a serious national decision. The 3,000 delegates to the National People’s Congress voted to reassert greater national control over development through conscious plans to reduce poverty, increase social programs and benefits, combat extreme pollution and build a sustainable environment.

This was a break from China’s 35-year policy of stressing economic growth ahead of the environment and of health and social benefits for the working class.

An article titled “Four years after declaring war on pollution, China is winning” ran in the March 12, 2018, New York Times: “To reach these targets, China prohibited new coal-fired power plants in the country’s most polluted regions, including the Beijing area. Existing plants were told to reduce their emissions. If they didn’t, coal was replaced with natural gas. Large cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, restricted the number of cars on the road. The country also reduced its iron- and steel-making capacity and shut down coal mines.”

Shenzhen and Guangzhou: cities reimagined

Today, some of the most interesting and radical changes undertaken through environmental experiments are in the Pearl River Delta, which has become a new model of urbanization due to extensive state planning and spending.

“Science is so important,” says Tonny Xie of the Clean Air Alliance of China. “If you have better planning, you will have better air.” (BBC World News, March 7, 2017)

Shenzhen in five years’ time has become one of the most livable cities in China, with extensive parks, tree-lined streets and the largest fleet of electric buses in the world (16,000), along with all-electric cabs. The city aims to have 80 percent of its new buildings green certified by 2020. It is now full of apartment blocks, office towers and modern factories with advanced equipment manufacturing, robotics, automation and giant tech startups.

Once-smoggy Guangzhou, after extensive clean up and rebuilding, is now considered China’s most livable city. The Guangzhou-Shenzhen Science and Technology Innovation Corridor is a creative plan for future development.

All the cities of the Pearl River Delta are well connected by high-speed trains and modern highways. The world’s longest bridge-tunnel sea crossing connects Shenzhen, Macau and Hong Kong.

Even the World Economic Forum says the world can learn from China’s example. Some 90 percent of the world’s estimated 385,000 electric buses are in China today. Only 1.6 percent of the world’s electric city buses are in Europe, and less than 1 percent are in the U.S.

In just four years since the launch of its war on pollution, Chinese cities by 2018 had already cut concentrations of fine particulates in the air on average by 32 percent.

150 coal plants eliminated

Other decisions in the war on pollution included the dramatic decision to stop or delay work on over 150 planned or under-construction coal plants.

A newly formed Ministry for Ecology and Environment has broad powers and responsibilities to oversee all water-related policies, from ocean water to groundwater. It oversees policies on climate change that were once scattered among different departments.

It is important in a crisis to understand the problem and evaluate the direction in which developments are going. The changes happening in major population centers of China show that it is possible, if decisive actions are taken, to restore the environment.

The problem in the U.S. that holds back and even reverses programs to mitigate pollution and climate change is that this highly developed country is dominated by a decaying capitalist system and ruling class desperate to maximize its quarterly profits at the expense of any long-term planning.

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This article was originally published on Workers World.

Sara Flounders has traveled twice to Syria in solidarity delegations during the U.S. war against that country. She is co-director of the International Action Center and helps coordinate the United National Antiwar Coalition, the Hands Off Syria Campaign, and the Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases. Sara Flounders is a frequent contributor to Global Research

On Monday, the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals three-judge panel rubber-stamped Manning’s unlawful imprisonment.

It her cruel solitary confinement punishment to continue, a flagrant 8th Amendment breach. More on this below.

Manning is one of America’s best, a genuine heroic figure. Maliciously oppressed for doing the right, she acted above and beyond the call of duty despite great personal risks to her safety and welfare.

Wrongfully imprisoned for exposing US high crimes of war and against humanity, the Trump regime imprisoned her again for invoking her First, Fourth and Sixth Amendment rights, along with the constitutional right to remain silent, refusing to answer questions from law enforcement or court officials, an internationally recognized right.

Her fundamental rights aren’t good enough in police state America, the rule of law long ago abandoned, anything goes replacing it.

A post-9/11 window of hysteria made anything goes possible, including elimination of fundamental constitutional rights at the whim of ruling authorities – rubber-stamped by Congress and the courts, especially the highest one stacked with majority right-wing extremists, discarding the rule of law, opposing what just societies cherish.

Trump is a front man for Wall Street, America’s military, industrial, security complex, corporate empowerment, and the imperial state – co-opted straightaway in office to serve their interests, his own at the same time.

Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning are martyred behind bars for the “crime” of truth-telling.

When governments fail their people, the way things are today in the West and elsewhere globally, they forfeit their right to rule.

Civil disobedience becomes an essential tool for change, popular revolution the only solution. Nothing else can work. Freedom loving people have a choice – resist or lose everything. There’s no in between.

In early April, Manning’s legal team filed a motion with the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, seeking her immediate release on bail while her unlawful arrest order is appealed.

Under US law, she’s entitled to bail while appealing charges against her. She poses no flight risk, nor a danger to anyone. According to her legal team, denying her bail violated appellate rules, requiring the court to explain in writing why bail was refused.

District Court Judge Claude Hilton failed to follow proper procedure. He ordered Manning remanded into federal custody with no further explanation – no written denial or justification.

Manning and her legal team responded to Monday’s judicial ruling, saying the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals three-judge panel affirmed the lower court’s wrongful contempt charge, denying her motion for release on bail – without citing a legal reason or other explanation for its ruling.

Her legal team may appeal to the Fourth Circuit’s en banc panel – all its judges or to the Supreme Court, despite long odds against hardline judges ruling in her favor, Manning saying:

“While disappointing, we can still raise issues as the government continues to abuse the grand jury process. I don’t have anything to contribute to this, or any other grand jury,” adding:

“While I miss home, they can continue to hold me in jail, with all the harmful consequences that brings. I will not give up. Thank you all so very much for your love and solidarity through letters and contributions.”

Member of her legal team attorney Moira Meltzer-Cohen called her subpoena to give grand jury testimony and imprisonment for invoking her constitutional right an abuse of power, saying:

“We are of course disappointed that the Circuit declined to follow clearly established law, or consider the ample evidence of grand jury abuse.”

“It is improper for a prosecutor to use the grand jury to prepare for trial. As pointed out in Ms. Manning’s motions and appeals, since her testimony is not necessary to the grand jury’s investigation, the likely purpose for her subpoena is to help the prosecutor preview and undermine her potential testimony as a defense witness for a pending trial.”

“We believed that the Appeals court would consider this, as it is strong evidence of an abuse of grand jury power that should excuse her testimony.”

Since March 8, Manning has been held in punishing solitary confinement, a form of torture when prolonged this long.

The Trump regime’s aim is three-fold – punishing her again for revealing US high crimes of war, why she was unlawfully imprisoned for seven years until Obama commuted her unjust sentence, along with forcing her to unwittingly self-incriminate herself and provide testimony to be used against Julian Assange.

Manning is redoubtable. Ahead of her re-incarceration on March 8, she said the following:

“Yesterday, I appeared before a secret grand jury after being given immunity for my testimony. All of the substantive questions pertained to my disclosures of information to the public in 2010—answers I provided in extensive testimony, during my court-martial in 2013.”

“I responded to each question with the following statement: ‘I object to the question and refuse to answer on the grounds that the question is in violation of my First, Fourth, and Sixth Amendment, and other statutory rights.’ ”

“In solidarity with many activists facing the odds, I will stand by my principles. I will exhaust every legal remedy available.”

“My legal team continues to challenge the secrecy of these proceedings, and I am prepared to face the consequences of my refusal.”

Today in America, the fundamental rights, safety, and welfare of everyone are greatly endangered – what persecuting truth-tellers for peace, equity and justice is all about.

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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.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy as Ukraine’s “Actor President”

April 24th, 2019 by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

The world is not so much a stage as a simulacrum for those who think it so. And if the stage goes bad, it is fitting that those who get thrown onto it change it in the most daring and provocative way.  Politics is now as much a director’s production as it is an estranging show for the participating voter.  The shock to such formulae is when a political aspirant decides to either reject the director’s cut entirely or, as in the case of Ukraine, embrace it as a mocking demonstration of bankruptcy.  We know it is a joke: vote for me as a true expression of the authentic.

The sheer scale of repudiation by the voters on Sunday is striking, saying as much about the victor as the defeated.  Comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s triumph in an election without precedent (almost 40 presidential candidates, and victory for a Jewish one) was crushing, coming in at 73% over incumbent Petro Poroshenko.  Holographic presence on screen – a comedian playing a character in a series who becomes president after a video rant on corruption goes viral – turned reality.  “Could I ever imagine that I, a simple guy from Kryvyi Rih, would be fighting for the presidency against a person who we confidently and definitively elected President of the Ukraine in 2014?”

Hope is often a devalued currency, but its vigorous circulation can be gathered in the measurements of public opinion by the Kyiv-based International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) conducted this month.  Deputy Chief Anton Hrushetskiy reported findings of 2004 respondents to the question “Which of the following should the president do in the first 100 days?”

The list is meaningfully desperate and vengeful against state officials: a touch under 40% wish a slash in utility rates; 35.5% demand a removal of immunity for lawmakers, judges and the president; 32.4% wish for an opening of investigations and a speeding up of current ones into corruption-related crimes and abuses; 23.3% hope for commencing talks with Russia; 18.4% demand a reduction of wages of top officials.  All this stands to reason: Zelenskiy offers something others have not: a tabula rasa upon which voters can impose their vision.  In contrast, Poroshenko, candy billionaire with an acid aftertaste, offered the usual cluttering: Army, language, faith.

The broom for cleaning is being readied.  Remarks had been made, some floated from the quarters of Poroshenko, that the new administration would include elements of the old regime.  Former Finance Minister and advisor to Zelenskiy, Oleksandr Danyliuk, was adamant on Ukraine’s ICTV this would not be the case:

“Regarding the comment that Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s new team will include old staff of the Presidential Administration, the Cabinet of Ministers… I’d like to say this is absolutely not true, this is one of the fake news and bogeyman stories that your [Petro Poroshenko’s] headquarters is spreading.”

Political regulars and strategists have brought out their calculators and have been left wanting.  Moscow, along with other readers of political entrails, did not see this victory in the offing.  Poroshenko offered an ideal target: divisive, army hugging entho-nationalist, with an anti-Russian fixation.  He could therefore be, over time, worn down, his country packaged as resoundingly anti-Semitic, fascist and hateful of the Soviet Union’s exploits against Nazi Germany.  Preference would have been for Yuriy Boyko, backed by the pro-Russian Viktor Medvedchuk.  The results did give their party 16% of the vote, making them second behind Zelenskiy’s Servant of the People, which received 26%.  Not quite happy days, but perhaps less anxious ones.

From what can be gathered from the new president, some measure of rapprochement towards their fraternal, giant neighbour might be in the offing, even if accompanied by what he terms “a very powerful information war” to end the eastern conflict.  Baby steps include lifting restrictions on the use of Russian in the country, which would also entail an end to blocking cultural exchanges and restrictions on accessing Russian social media networks. But to perceive a total change on that front would be to wonder in the realms of fantasy. In the words of head spokesperson at Zelinskiy’s election headquarters, Dmitry Razumkov, “The return of the occupied territories of the Donbass and Crimea must proceed exclusively on Ukraine’s terms.  Russia, as always, is trying to turn everything on its head and do everything backwards – by holding elections first.”

The stage in Ukraine has been going to seed for some years, manuring away in decay and poverty, bleeding in the Donbass region and plundered by self-enriching elites.  It took Zelenskiy to come to the fore by stepping off the screen and, quite literally, onto a live stage.  Whether he is capable of directing his own show, mastering his own brief, as it were, will be a wonder.  For one, parliamentary elections are due in October, leaving the virgin premier with six months of potential obstruction.  Poroshenko, for his part, promises to be a vulture in the galley, awaiting any slipups: “I am leaving office, but I want to firmly underline that I am not leaving politics.”

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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]

Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange is incarcerated in a UK prison that has been called “Britain’s Guantanamo.” His crime was exposing actions the US government, the media, the Democratic–Clinton machine, Israel, and others wanted kept hidden, including war crimes and torture.

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Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange has finally been imprisoned, an objective long sought by powerful parties he helped to expose over the past dozen years.

Assange’s “crime” was revealing deep, embarrassing, sometimes deadly, malfeasance by numerous actors, including the U.S. government, the media, the Democratic Party-Clinton machine, and Israel.

Wikileaks revealed the U.S. government’s cover up of torture, cruelty, the killing of civilians, spying on its own citizens and others. It exposed Democratic Party cheating and manipulation, the fraudulence of “Russiagate.” It unmasked Israeli plans to keep Gaza on the brink of collapse, to use violence against Palestinian nonviolence, to make war upon civilians. All of this will be detailed below.

Without Wikileaks’ exposés, many of these actions would quite likely have remained hidden from the general public, as the perpetrators hoped.

The actual charge against Assange is allegedly conspiring with Chelsea Manning “to commit computer intrusion,” violating a somewhat problematic law with what one expert terms “overly expansive wording.”

The government seems to have resorted to this charge after the Justice Department had concluded in 2013 that it could not charge Assange for publishing the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs (which revealed various U.S war crimes detailed below), because government lawyers said this would also require charging various U.S. news organizations and journalists.

The Washington Post reported that Justice officials “realized that they have what they described as a ‘New York Times problem.’ If the Justice Department indicted Assange, it would also have to prosecute the New York Times and other news organizations and writers who published classified material, including The Washington Post and Britain’s Guardian newspaper.”

Even the current charge, when examined closely, turns out to be problematic on free press grounds. As Glenn Greenwald notes:

“Assange is charged with helping a source preserve anonymity, a common practice by investigative reporters.”

Assange is being held in a maximum-security prison in London that has been called the UK’s Guantanamo. It has been used to detain alleged terrorists, sometimes indefinitely.

Assange’s recent dramatic arrest in Britain has elicited excellent articles by a number of writers – including Chris Hedges, Jonathan Turley, Pepe Escobar, Ray McGovern (also here), John Pilger, Jonathan Cook, David Swanson, and Paul Craig Roberts. Many of these were published by Consortium News, which, unlike mainstream media and journalism organizations, has been regularly covering the escalating persecution of Assange for his Wikileaks revelations.

This article will quote from these valuable articles and others, and will also present additional information about Wikileaks’ exposés on Israel, which have largely gone unmentioned.

The arrest  

Journalist Pepe Escobar writes that April 11th, the date of Assange’s arrest, “will live in infamy in the annals of Western ‘values’ and ‘freedom of expression.’ The image is stark. A handcuffed journalist and publisher dragged out by force from the inside of an embassy…”

“The U.S. magically erases Ecuador’s financial troubles, ordering the IMF to release a providential $4.2-billion loan. Immediately after, Ecuadorian diplomats ‘invite’ the London Metropolitan Police to come inside their embassy to arrest their long-term guest.

“Let’s cut to the chase. Julian Assange is not a U.S. citizen, he’s an Australian. WikiLeaks is not a U.S.-based media organization. If the US government gets Assange extradited, prosecuted and incarcerated, it will legitimize its right to go after anyone, anyhow, anywhere, anytime.

“Call it The Killing of Journalism.”

Media attacks and government black propaganda campaign against Wikileaks

Many others in addition to Escobar have noted that the persecution of Assange threatens all journalists. Yet, the media have a history of largely opposing or ignoring Assange.

Chris Hedges reports:

“Once the documents and videos provided by Manning to Assange and WikiLeaks were published and disseminated by news organizations such as The New York Times and The Guardian, the press callously, and foolishly, turned on Assange. News organizations that had run WikiLeaks material over several days soon served as conduits in a black propaganda campaign to discredit Assange and WikiLeaks.”

John Pilger describes this campaign:

“In 2008, a plan to destroy both WikiLeaks and Assange was laid out in a top secret document dated 8 March, 2008. The authors were the Cyber Counter-intelligence Assessments Branch of the US Defence Department. They described in detail how important it was to destroy the “feeling of trust” that is WikiLeaks’ “centre of gravity”.

“This would be achieved, they wrote, with threats of ‘exposure [and] criminal prosecution’ and a unrelenting assault on reputation. The aim was to silence and criminalise WikiLeaks and its editor and publisher. It was as if they planned a war on a single human being and on the very principle of freedom of speech.

“Their main weapon would be personal smear. Their shock troops would be enlisted in the media — those who are meant to keep the record straight and tell us the truth.”

Pilger writes in a more recent article:

“Assange’s principal media tormentor, The Guardian, a collaborator with the secret state, displayed its nervousness this week with an editorial that scaled new weasel heights. The Guardian has exploited the work of Assange and WikiLeaks in what its previous editor called ‘the greatest scoop of the last 30 years.’ The paper creamed off WikiLeaks’ revelations and claimed the accolades and riches that came with them.

“With not a penny going to Julian Assange or to WikiLeaks, a hyped Guardian book led to a lucrative Hollywood movie. The book’s authors, Luke Harding and David Leigh, turned on their source, abused him and disclosed the secret password Assange had given the paper in confidence, which was designed to protect a digital file containing leaked US embassy cables.

“When Assange was still trapped in the Ecuadorian embassy, Harding joined police outside and gloated on his blog that “Scotland Yard may get the last laugh.”

Media watchdog FAIR reports that virtually all the mainstream media, from left to right, have cheered Assange’s recent incarceration, concluding:

“It seems clear he shares virtually nothing in common with those in positions of influence in big media outlets, who have been only too happy to watch his demise.”

The Onion, which satirizes the tone and format of typical news outlets, summarizes Assange’s real “crime” in an article entitled Media Condemns Julian Assange For Reckless Exposure Of How They Could Be Spending Their Time. The piece includes an imaginary quote from Fred Hiatt, Washington Post editorial page editor:

“It’s abundantly clear that Mr. Assange was focused on exposing documented evidence of U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan without so much as a thought for the journalists who faithfully parroted the U.S. military’s talking points when we could have been investigating information that ran contrary to that narrative—does he realize how that makes us look?”

Media half-truths

British journalist Jonathan Cook lays out the media’s sins of omission and commission.

“For seven years, we have had to listen to a chorus of journalists, politicians and ‘experts’ telling us that Assange was nothing more than a fugitive from justice, and that the British and Swedish legal systems could be relied on to handle his case in full accordance with the law. Barely a ‘mainstream’ voice was raised in his defense in all that time.

“From the moment he sought asylum, Assange was cast as an outlaw. His work as the founder of Wikileaks – a digital platform that for the first time in history gave ordinary people a glimpse into the darkest recesses of the most secure vaults in the deepest of Deep States – was erased from the record.

“Assange was reduced from one of the few towering figures of our time – a man who will have a central place in history books, if we as a species live long enough to write those books – to nothing more than a sex pest, and a scruffy bail-skipper.

“The political and media class crafted a narrative of half-truths about the sex charges Assange was under investigation for in Sweden. They overlooked the fact that Assange had been allowed to leave Sweden by the original investigator, who dropped the charges, only for them to be revived by another investigator with a well-documented political agenda.

“They failed to mention that Assange was always willing to be questioned by Swedish prosecutors in London, as had occurred in dozens of other cases involving extradition proceedings to Sweden….”

Cook concludes:

“This was never about Sweden or bail violations, or even about the discredited Russia-gate narrative, as anyone who was paying the vaguest attention should have been able to work out. It was about the U.S. Deep State doing everything in its power to crush WikiLeaks and make an example of its founder.”

What caused the US government and others to desire Assange and Wikileaks’ destruction? Let’s look at what they revealed.

Some of the topics Assange’s Wikileaks exposed:

Wikileaks published a number of diplomatic cables and emails that exposed Israeli plans and actions, and U.S. collusion, that Israel and its partisans wished to keep hidden. Below are some of them.

A family sits in the ruins of their home, 2009

A Palestinian family sits in the ruins of their home in Gaza, 2009 (Marc Garlasco/Human Rights Watch) Wikileaks documents revealed that US Ambassador Susan Rice tried to prevent an investigation of the Israeli invasion, in which Israeli forces killed 1,400 Palestinians, including more than 900 civilians, many of them children. Another Wikileaks document disclosed that Israel was preparing for an even more violent war against Gaza in the future.

Israel planned to keep Gaza on “brink of collapse”

In 2008 Wikileaks published a cable from the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv to Washington, that Israel had designated Gaza as a “hostile entity.”

The cable said:

“As part of their overall embargo plan against Gaza, Israeli officials have confirmed [to U.S. officials] on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge.”

The U.S. cable, classified “secret,” recommended that the U.S. try to persuade Israel to abandon this policy.The cable said that the U.S. should encourage Israel to “review its present policies (as  requested by the Office of the Quartet Representative and the PA) while pressing the Israelis to approve as much funding each month as possible under security constraints…”

Israel used control over Palestinian money to control Gaza

The leaked cable also described how Israel used its control over Palestinian currency to control Gaza. The cable said Israel’s “monetary policy towards Gaza is consistent with its declaration that Gaza is a ‘hostile entity.’

The cable reported that Israel “believes that maintaining the shekel as the currency of the Palestinian Territories is in Israel’s interests.”It reported that Israel “treats decisions regarding the amount of shekels in circulation in Gaza as a security matter.” Requests by Palestinian banks to transfer shekels into Gaza are approved or denied by the National Security Council (NSC), an organ of the Israeli security establishment, not by the Bank of Israel.

The cable reported that Israel’s NSC “has the final say in permitting new liquidity into Gaza” and used this power to suppress Gaza’s economy.The cable reported that Israel had decided “that Gaza should receive just enough money for the basic needs of the population but it is not interested in returning the Gazan economy to a state of normal commerce and business.”

Israel colluded with PA and Fatah

A 2007 U.S. diplomatic cable, also marked secret, revealed the way in which Israel was using the Palestinian Authority and Fatah, the party of President Mahmoud Abbas.

The cable, from the U.S. embassy, reported information given the by Israeli Security Agency (ISA) Head Yuval Diskin to U.S. officials.

Diskin was concerned that Fatah’s weakness compared to Hamas “bodes ill for Israel,” especially since Israel had “established a very good working relationship” with the Palestinian Authority. He said that PA security agencies were sharing almost all the intelligence they collected with Israel. Diskin said: “They understand that Israel’s security is central to their survival in the struggle with Hamas in the West Bank.”

Israel planned violence against Palestinian nonviolence

A 2010 U.S. cable published by Wikileaks was entitled: “IDF PLANS HARSHER METHODS WITH WEST BANK DEMONSTRATIONS.”

The cable, again from the U.S. embassy, reported that Israel was greatly concerned by Palestinian nonviolence.

A diplomat wrote: “Less violent [Palestinian] demonstrations [were] likely to stymie the IDF.  As MOD Pol-Mil chief Amos Gilad told USG interlocutors recently, “we don’t do Gandhi very well.”

The cable reported that an official “expressed frustration with ongoing demonstrations in the West Bank.” He said that the IDF would start to be “more assertive in how it deals with these demonstrations, even demonstrations that appear peaceful.”

The cable reported that the official said Israel would “start sending trucks with ‘dirty water’ to break up these protests, even if they are not violent… (NOTE: dirty water is a reference to the IDF’s chemically treated water that duplicates the effects of skunk spray.  End note.)”

The cable reported that Israeli officials had ordered the Palestinian security force commanders “that they must stop these demonstrations or the IDF will.”

Israel’s nuclear monopoly, helping Israel by opposing Assad

Wikileaks posted an email memo to Hillary Clinton saying:  “What Israeli military leaders really worry about — but cannot not talk about — is losing their nuclear monopoly.

”The memo recommended: “The best way to help Israel deal with Iran’s growing nuclear capability [sic] is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad.” It reported: “Israel’s leadership understands well why defeating Assad is now in its interests.”

The 2012 memo was apparently by James P. Rubin, assistant secretary of state during the Bill Clinton administration (and husband of CNN’s Christiane Amanpour). Rubin emailed it to Hillary Clinton, who then forwarded it to her aide to print out for her.

Susan Rice worked to protect Israel at the UN

Foreign Policy’s Colum Lynch reported on diplomatic cables published by Wikileaks from U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice. They showed Rice working to stymie a UN investigation into Israel’s 2008-2009 invasion of Gaza, an investigation that led to the Goldstone report.

“In one pointed cable,” Lynch wrote, “Rice repeatedly prodded U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to block a recommendation of the board of inquiry to carry out a sweeping inquiry into alleged war crimes by Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants.

“In another cable, Rice issued a veiled warning to the president of the International Criminal Court, Sang-Hyun Song, that an investigation into alleged Israeli crimes could damage its standing with the United States at a time when the new administration was moving closer to the tribunal. ‘How the ICC handles issues concerning the Goldstone Report will be perceived by many in the US as a test for the ICC, as this is a very sensitive matter,’ she told him, according to a Nov. 3, 2009, cable from the U.S. mission to the United Nations.”

Another cable reveals that “Rice assured Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman during an Oct. 21, 2009, meeting in Tel Aviv that the United States had done its utmost to ‘blunt the effects of the Goldstone Report’ and that she was confident she could ‘build a blocking coalition’ to prevent any push for a probe by the Security Council, according to an Oct. 27, 2009 cable.”

Lynch wrote that the diplomatic cables published by Wikileaks “provide a rare glimpse behind the scenes at the U.N. as American diplomats sought to shield Israel’s military from outside scrutiny of its conduct during Operation Cast Lead.”

They “also demonstrate how the United States and Israel were granted privileged access to highly sensitive internal U.N. deliberations on an ‘independent’ U.N. board of inquiry into the Gaza war, raising questions about the independence of the process.”

Eizenstat worked to influence Hillary on Israel

A 2015 Wikileak consisted of an email from former U.S. Ambassador to the EU Stuart Eizenstat to top Clinton foreign policy advisor Jake Sullivan that was also sent to Hillary Clinton. The email revealed Eizenstat’s close ties to Israel and is another example of how advisors like Eizenstat and Rubin work to influence Clinton’s positions.

Eizenstat had held numerous influential positions in both Israel and the U.S., including Chief Domestic Policy Adviser under President Jimmy Carter and Executive Director of the White House Domestic Policy Staff and Deputy Secretary of the Treasury under Bill Clinton.

His bio states that Eizenstat “served as the presidents’ special representative on Holocaust-related issues and negotiated major Holocaust restitution agreements with a number of European countries, and at the time of his ambassadorial nomination, he sat on the following boards: the Weizmann Institute of Science, The Jerusalem Foundation, Brandeis University, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Council for Excellence in Government Center for National Policy, the Overseas Development Council, the International Management and Development Institute, the American Jewish Committee and the UJA Federation of Greater Washington. He was chairman of the Feinberg Graduate School of the Weizmann Institute and served on the board of directors of Hercules Incorporated; PSI Energy, Inc.; and the Israel Discount Bank of New York.”

For his work, the Government of Israel presented Eizenstat with the Courage and Conscience Award.

Eizenstat noted in his email that the widely known Obama-Netanyahu animosity placed “Hillary in an extremely difficult position, caught between the President she served and the organized parts of the Jewish community.” He advised her on how to maneuver this.

Eizenstat wrote: “Permit me to suggest some points she might make. By way of background, I have very deep connections to the State of Israel and to its elected officials and leading academics. I go to Israel two to three times a year, perhaps 50 times since my first visit in 1965. My grandfather and great-grandfather are buried in Israel, and I have scores of relatives and friends there.”

Eizenstat explained his central role in US. Israel policies:

“During the Clinton Administration, I was responsible for the economic dimension of the peace process, working with Yasir Arafat, the Jordanians and the Israeli government…” He said that he co-chaired with Dennis Ross the Jewish People’s Policy Institute of Jerusalem (JPPI), a think tank funded by the Jewish Agency and major American Jewish federations and foundations, “focusing on strategic challenges facing Israel and the Diaspora around the world.”

Eizenstat recommended that Hillary “should stress the enduring commitment of the United States to Israel’s security interests, not only direct military threats, but attacks against Israel in the form of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign, on campuses in the U.S. and Europe. She should express grave concern for the increase in anti-Semitism in Europe and violent attacks by radical Islamic terrorists (Obama refuses to use this term; she will need to decide what language to use and then stick with it)…

“Third, and critically, she should express a strong feeling that Israel MUST remain a bipartisan issue, as it has been since its formation. She should sharply criticize those in the U.S. and in Israel who are injecting Israel into a partisan context…”

Hillary’s campaign team advised that she only talk about Israel at private fundraisers

Wikileaks published emails showing that in 2015 Hillary Clinton’s campaign team was concerned that mentioning Israel during election speeches would alienate Democratic party activists.

Campaign manager Robby Mook emailed that they “shouldn’t have Israel at public events.” He was especially concerned about  “activists.”

After some debate about strategy, speechwriter Dan Schwerin suggested a basic text for her to use that omitted Israel. He said, “Then she can drop in Israel when she’s with donors.”

Israeli general admits that US and Israeli security interests “often clash”

A 2009 diplomatic cable describing a meeting Assistant Secretary of Defense  Ambassador Alexander Vershbow with senior Israeli defense officials in Israel reported that an Israeli general “acknowledged the sometimes difficult position the U.S. finds itself in given its global interests, and conceded that Israel’s security focus is so narrow that its QME concerns often clash with broader American security interests in the region.”

The cable also showed Israeli officials promoting the belief that Iran was about to acquire nuclear weapons. The cable shows that US diplomats were skeptical, the report including the parenthetical comment: “It is unclear if the Israelis firmly believe this or are using worst-case estimates to raise greater urgency from the United States.”)

Israeli Chief of Staff reveals Israel is preparing for a war against civilians

Wikileaks posted a Dec. 23, 2009 secret diplomatic cable from the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv that described a briefing by IDF Chief of General Staff Lt General Gabi Ashkenazi of a U.S. Congressional delegation consisting of House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D, MO), Representative Steve Israel (D-NY), and Representative Tim Murphy (R, PA).

The cable reported: “Ashkenazi began the meeting by expressing his appreciation for the Committee’s support for Israel over the years.”

Ashkenazi “said he is preparing the IDF for a big war” and said that the next battle would be conducted in Gaza and southern Lebanon.

The cable also quoted Ashkenazi as telling the US representatives “the IDF cannot allow a situation in which it is restricted from operating in urban areas,” suggesting that the Israeli military would be even more violent than its invasion of Gaza a year before, in which Israeli forces killed about 1,400 Palestinians, including more than 900 civilians, many of them children. Middle East expert Juan Cole writes: “Planning to bomb civilian areas with foreknowledge that you will thereby kill large numbers of civilians is a war crime.

Ashkenazi admitted that “there were mistakes made.” The report said: “He noted that Israeli soldiers were also hit by mistake.  The same tank battalion that hit the house of Dr. Abul Eish and killed his two daughters also hit an IDF infantry unit.”

Cole reports that Ashkenazi had told a delegation “that Israeli unmanned drones had had great success in identifying rocket emplacements in southern Lebanon, and that it had been aided in this endeavor by the US National Security Agency, which spies on communications.”

According to Cole, “Israel could have a peace treaty with Syria and Lebanon tomorrow by giving back the Golan Heights and the Shebaa Farms, and by accepting a two-state solution. Instead, its Dr. Strangeloves are planning out massive bombings of areas thick with innocent civilians and willing to subject Tel Aviv to two months worth of rocket fire.”

The impact of Israel’s actions on the U.S.

Cole discussed what this could mean for the United States:

“Nor will the United States be held harmless from the blowback in the region caused by another Israeli war of aggression. Before September 11, Israel hawks used to make fun of Americans who warned that eventually there would be hell to pay for the Israeli strangulation of the Palestinians (for the argument, see this posting). And, imagine what a war would do to gasoline prices and to the world economy.”

Cole concluded: “My deepest fear is that US support for Israeli militarism, and the terrorism that support inevitably engenders, will be what finally finishes off the civil liberties enshrined in the American Constitution.”

Former US Treasury Undersecretary and journalist Paul Craig Roberts worries that this is already in process: “As the grand jury [for Assange] was secret because of ‘national security,’ will the trial also be secret and the evidence secret? Is what we have here a Star Chamber proceeding in which a person is indicted in secret and convicted in secret on secret evidence? This is the procedure used by tyrannical governments who have no case against the person they intend to destroy.”

Israel misled public about Hamas; Israel opposes a lasting ceasefire

Another secret US diplomatic cable published by Wikileaks reported on a trip to Israel by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (R-NY). Gillibrand’s group was briefed on “the Gaza security situation” by the IDF Southern Command and the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) on September 2nd and 3rd, 2009.

(At the time, Gillibrand was facing an upcoming fight to retain her position in the Senate in what was expected to be a close election in 2010 – she had been appointed by the governor to the seat after Hillary became Secretary of State).

The cable reported: “Israel Major General Yoav Gallant told the CODEL [Congressional Delegation] that the Southern Command’s role is to manage the threat from Gaza.”

While Israel publicly portrays Gaza as filled with extremists who hate Israel because of Islamic extremism, the Wikileaks disclosure shows that privately its officials tell a different story.

Gallant was quoted as telling Gillibrand: “Sixty percent of Gaza’s population is under the age of twenty and the average income is one-twenty-fifth of the average income of Israelis in Sderot (a relatively poor Israeli town).  Gaza has no natural resources except for fishing.  Those factors would be reason enough for Gazans to fight, even without religious extremism.”

Gallant admitted that Israel opposed a lasting ceasefire with Hamas, since “a lasting ceasefire is likely to lead to a stronger Hamas.”

An Israeli official said that one of the reasons that Fatah couldn’t make concessions to reconcile with Hamas was “because of the U.S. position,” suggesting that the US has played a role in the continuing division between Hamas and Fatah.

The briefing disclosed that Israeli officials were displeased that Egypt didn’t always do what Israel government told it to do. An Israeli official complained “that Shin Bet and the Mossad gave Egyptian intelligence the names of the top 300 smugglers in the Sinai, but Egypt did not act against any of them.”

While Israel always blames Hamas for any and all violence against Israel, the cable revealed that privately Israeli officials are aware that other, newer groups are often responsible.

Israeli Officials said that these groups “oppose the rule of Hamas,” which has tried to suppress them.

Israel & US decide to hide delivery of US bunker busting bombs to Israel (for targeting Iran)

A secret 2009 diplomatic cable reported on the “Executive Session of the 40th Joint Political Military Group (JPMG)”. The US group was led by Andrew Shapiro, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. They met with top Israeli officials.

The cable reported that the combined group decided that the upcoming delivery of GBU-28 bunker busting bombs to Israel “should be handled quietly to avoid any allegations that the USG [United States Government] is helping Israel prepare for a strike against Iran.”

The cable also reported: “The GOI [Government of Israel] made the case for “crippling sanctions” against Iran.

Israeli was concerned about Russia & Turkey

The same 2009 secret cable reported that Israel was extremely concerned about Russia, reporting:

“The GOI [Government of Israel] was not confident that Moscow will be helpful in any Iranian sanctions effort — GOI participants opined that Russia is considered a ‘mystery’ with respect to their views on Iran.  The GOI raised the Russian S-300 sale to Iran, noting that the transfer is still pending.  GOI participants argued that Moscow seeks a return to superpower status.” (This suggests that Israel’s continual concern about Russia could be a factor in the promotion of the widespread – and dangerous – anti-Russia discourse in the US.)

Israel was also worried that Turkey wasn’t toeing the Israeli line:

“The GOI raised the current direction the Government of Turkey has taken toward Syria and Iran — and away from Israel.  Israeli participants argued that Turkey has been supportive of Hamas in Gaza while pursuing a more ‘Islamic’ direction with the goal of becoming a regional superpower. The GOI argued that the Turkish military is losing its ability to influence government decisions and strategic direction.  After this past year, GOI participants said they have a ‘bad feeling’ about Turkey.”

Efforts “at the highest levels” of the US government to remove restrictions for Israelis concerning dual citizenship  

The same 2009 secret cable discussed above also revealed that there were efforts at the top levels of the US government to allow dual Israel citizens in the US to have access to sensitive technology:

“The GOI raised the issue of dual citizenship within the context of access to sensitive technology.  U.S. participants acknowledged Israeli concerns, noting that the issue is being worked at the highest levels of the USG to reach consensus on how to proceed.”

(Dual citizenship used to be prohibited in the United States, until this was overturned in 1967 on behalf of Israel; Abe Fortas was the swing vote.)

Wikileaks revelations about the U.S.

Since 2006 Wikileaks has exposed a multitude of misdeeds of governments throughout the world (e.g. exposing corruption in Kenya.) Below are some of the exposés about the U.S.

U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan

Chris Hedges reports: “The half a million internal documents leaked by Manning from the Pentagon and the State Department, along with the 2007 video of U.S. helicopter pilots nonchalantly gunning down Iraqi civilians, including children, and two Reuters journalists, provided copious evidence of the hypocrisy, indiscriminate violence, and routine use of torture, lies, bribery and crude tactics of intimidation by the U.S. government in its foreign relations and wars in the Middle East. Assange and WikiLeaks allowed us to see the inner workings of empire—the most important role of a press—and for this they became empire’s prey.”

Jonathan Turley writes: “The key to prosecuting Assange has always been to punish him without again embarrassing the powerful figures made mockeries by his disclosures. That means to keep him from discussing how the U.S. government concealed attacks and huge civilian losses, the type of disclosures that were made in the famous Pentagon Papers case. He cannot discuss how Democratic and Republican members either were complicit or incompetent in their oversight. He cannot discuss how the public was lied to about the program.

Below are some of the Wikileaks revelations about U.S. war crimes, as reported by BBC:

One of the Wikileaks documents shows the US military was given a video apparently showing Iraqi Army (IA) officers executing a prisoner in the northern town of Talafar.

“The footage shows the IA soldiers moving the detainee into the street, pushing him to the ground, punching him and shooting him,” states the log, which also names at least one of the perpetrators.

“In another case, US soldiers suspected army officers of cutting off a detainee’s fingers and burning him with acid…..

“In one incident in July 2007, as many as 26 Iraqis were killed by a helicopter, about half of them civilians, according to the log.

Another record shows an Apache helicopter gunship fired on two men believed to have fired mortars at a military base in Baghdad in February 2007, even though they were attempting to surrender. The crew asked a lawyer whether they could accept the surrender, but were told they could not, “and are still valid targets”. So they shot them.”

The Guardian also summarized some of the Wikileaks’ revelations:

  • US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished.
  • A US helicopter gunship involved in a notorious Baghdad incident had previously killed Iraqi insurgents after they tried to surrender.
  • US and UK officials insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities.

“The numerous reports of detainee abuse, often supported by medical evidence, describe prisoners shackled, blindfolded and hung by wrists or ankles, and subjected to whipping, punching, kicking or electric shocks. Six reports end with a detainee’s apparent death.

“As recently as December the Americans were passed a video apparently showing Iraqi army officers executing a prisoner in Tal Afar, northern Iraq. The log states: “The footage shows approximately 12 Iraqi army soldiers. Ten IA soldiers were talking to one another while two soldiers held the detainee. The detainee had his hands bound … The footage shows the IA soldiers moving the detainee into the street, pushing him to the ground, punching him and shooting him.”

“The report named at least one perpetrator and was passed to coalition forces. But the logs reveal that the coalition has a formal policy of ignoring such allegations. They record “no investigation is necessary” and simply pass reports to the same Iraqi units implicated in the violence. By contrast all allegations involving coalition forces are subject to formal inquiries. Some cases of alleged abuse by UK and US troops are also detailed in the logs.

“In two Iraqi cases postmortems revealed evidence of death by torture. On 27 August 2009 a US medical officer found “bruises and burns as well as visible injuries to the head, arm, torso, legs and neck” on the body of one man claimed by police to have killed himself. On 3 December 2008 another detainee, said by police to have died of “bad kidneys”, was found to have ‘evidence of some type of unknown surgical procedure on [his] abdomen’.

“A Pentagon spokesman told the New York Times this week that under its procedure, when reports of Iraqi abuse were received the US military ‘notifies the responsible government of Iraq agency or ministry for investigation and follow-up’.

“The logs also illustrate the readiness of US forces to unleash lethal force. In one chilling incident they detail how an Apache helicopter gunship gunned down two men in February 2007.

“The suspected insurgents had been trying to surrender but a lawyer back at base told the pilots: ‘You cannot surrender to an aircraft.’ The Apache, callsign Crazyhorse 18, was the same unit and helicopter based at Camp Taji outside Baghdad that later that year, in July, mistakenly killed two Reuters employees and wounded two children in the streets of Baghdad.”

(In reading about the actions in Iraq, it’s important to recall that pro-Israel neocons were a major factor in the US invasion.)

The Democratic Party/Clinton machine rigged the Democratic primaries to prevent the nomination of Bernie Sanders.

Wikileaks stated that it had “exposed how those at the top of the US Democratic Party had worked tirelessly to tilt the scales in favour of Hillary Clinton as she faced off against Bernie Sanders in the race to be the Democrat presidential candidate.

”These revelations eventually prompted the resignation of five of the most senior members of the Democratic Party in the aftermath of the Democratic Convention, including DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Hedges reports: “Assange, who with the Manning leaks had exposed the war crimes, lies and criminal manipulations of the George W. Bush administration, soon earned the ire of the Democratic Party establishment by publishing 70,000 hacked emails belonging to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and senior Democratic officials. The emails were copied from the accounts of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman.

“The Podesta emails exposed the donation of millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, two of the major funders of Islamic State, to the Clinton Foundation.

“It exposed the $657,000 that Goldman Sachs paid to Hillary Clinton to give talks, a sum so large it can only be considered a bribe. It exposed Clinton’s repeated mendacity. She was caught in the emails, for example, telling the financial elites that she wanted “open trade and open borders” and believed Wall Street executives were best positioned to manage the economy, a statement that contradicted her campaign statements.

“It exposed the Clinton campaign’s efforts to influence the Republican primaries to ensure that Trump was the Republican nominee.

“It exposed Clinton’s advance knowledge of questions in a primary debate.

[These were given to Hillary by prominent Democratic activist and former CNN commentator, now Fox News pundit Donna Brazile. The scandal quickly blew over. Salon reported in 2016 that Brazile was “far-from-contrite” and “recycled her discredited claims that the hacked emails that exposed her perfidy against presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders were somehow altered by Russian intelligence agents.” Turley points out that Brazile is “now back on television, but Assange, however, could well do time.”]

“It exposed Clinton as the primary architect of the war in Libya, a war she believed would burnish her credentials as a presidential candidate.”

CIA hacked and spied on American citizens & friendly nations 

Hedges reports:“WikiLeaks has done more to expose the abuses of power and crimes of the American Empire than any other news organization. In addition to the war logs and the Podesta emails, it made public the hacking tools used by the CIA and the National Security Agency and their interference in foreign elections, including in the French elections.”

“[Wikileaks] intervened to save Edward Snowden, who made public the wholesale surveillance of the American public by our intelligence agencies, from extradition to the United States by helping him flee from Hong Kong to Moscow. The Snowden leaks also revealed that Assange was on a U.S. ‘manhunt target list.’”  (More on Snowden here.)

Wikileaks’ publication of Vault 7: CIA Hacking Tools Revealed, “the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency,” revealed that the CIA “had produced more than a thousand hacking systems, trojans, viruses, and other ‘weaponized’ malware.”

The documents revealed that the CIA’s “exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.”

Inaccurate claims about “Russiagate”

Hedges notes: “The Democratic leadership, intent on blaming Russia for its election loss, charges that the Podesta emails were obtained by Russian government hackers, although James Comey, the former FBI director, has conceded that the emails were probably delivered to WikiLeaks by an intermediary. Assange has said the emails were not provided by ‘state actors.’”

Pilger reports: “The Guardian published a series of falsehoods about Assange, not least a discredited claim that a group of Russians and Trump’s man, Paul Manafort, had visited Assange in the embassy. The meetings never happened; it was fake.”

The Vault 7 documents revealed that some of the CIA’s tools enabled it to make hacking, emails, etc. appear to come from a different source, calling into question claims about alleged Russian hacking.

Former top CIA analyst Ray McGovern and former NSA Technical Director William Binney, in a detailed article disputing Russiagate contentions, wrote that Wikileaks’ Vault 7 documents revealed that the CIA had the ability to “break into computers and servers and make it look like others did it by leaving telltale signs (like Cyrillic markings, for example).”

(For more on Russiagate see this, this and this.)

U.S. plans for regime change in Syria and Venezuela

John Pilger writes that Wikileaks documents provided the detailed description of American ambassadors of how the governments in Syria and Venezuela might be overthrown. It is all available on the WikiLeaks site.”

British military’s secret document calling investigative journalists “a major threat”

Pilger reports: “A decade ago, the Ministry of Defense in London produced a secret document which described the ‘principal threats’ to public order as threefold: terrorists, Russian spies and investigative journalists. The latter was designated the major threat.”Assange’s Wikileaks revealed all this to us, and more.

Extradition to the US could place Assange’s life in danger

And now Assange is in “Britain’s Guantanamo,” awaiting possible, perhaps probable, extradition to the U.S. If this happens, his lawyers say, “he may risk torture and his life would be in danger.”

UN Special Rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer has issued a statement warning that extradition “could expose him to a real risk of serious violations of his human rights, including his freedom of expression, his right to a fair trial and the prohibition of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Melzer urged the British Government “to refrain from expelling, returning or extraditing Mr. Assange to the United States or any other jurisdiction, until his right to asylum under refugee law or subsidiary protection under international human rights law has been determined in a transparent and impartial proceeding granting all due process and fair trial guarantees, including the right to appeal.”

Numerous organizations, as reported by journalist Elizabeth Vos, have opposed his prosecution, including the ACLU, The Freedom of the Press Foundation, the Center for Investigative Journalism, Amnesty Ireland, Committee To Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, Human Rights Watch, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Union of Journalists, the The Knight First Amendment Institute and Digital Rights Watch.

A few days ago Assange was honored with the 2019 “Award for Journalists, Whistleblowers & Defenders of the Right to Information,” sponsored by European parliamentarians. Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire, who has nominated him for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, collected the award on his behalf.

Yet, he remains in prison, while the mainstream media and others applaud this.

The bottom line

Consortium News asks: “If Your Country Were Committing War Crimes Would You Want to Know?

One thing is clear. The perpetrators don’t want Americans to know, and are trying to shoot the messenger.

But to prevent countless lives from being destroyed abroad, and eventually, at home, it’s essential that Americans learn the profoundly disturbing actions that Wikileaks revealed.

And then for everyone, across the political spectrum, to demand that these actions stop.

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Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew, president of the Council for the National Interest, and author of Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel. (Some additional articles that came out after this piece was published have been added to the list of related articles below.)

All images in this article are from IAKB unless otherwise stated

Selected Articles: The Conspiracy against Trump

April 24th, 2019 by Global Research News

Online independent analysis of US-led wars, rampant corruption, corporate greed, civil rights and fraudulent monetary transactions is invariably relegated to the bottom rung of search engine results.

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French Ambassador Says Trump “Deal of the Century” Is DOA, Calls Israel ‘Apartheid State’

By Whitney Webb, April 23, 2019

In an interview with the Atlantic last Friday, outgoing French Ambassador to the United States Gerard Araud made headlines after emphatically stating that Israel is already “an apartheid state” and that the Trump administration’s so-called “Deal of the Century” aimed at resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict is “99 percent doomed.”

The Conspiracy against Trump

By Philip Giraldi, April 23, 2019

The real “deplorable” in today’s United States is the continuation of a foreign policy based on endless aggression to maintain Washington’s military dominance in parts of the world where Americans have no conceivable interest. Many voters backed Donald J. Trump because he committed himself to changing all that, but, unfortunately, he has reneged on his promise, instead heightening tension with major powers Russia and China while also threatening Iran and Venezuela on an almost daily basis.

RoundUp Cancer Lawsuits Filed against Monsanto

By Randy L. Gori, April 23, 2019

Despite its widespread use, the popular weedkiller has been called into question as a possible health hazard within the past several years. Thousands of Roundup users have filed lawsuits alleging that they have developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, b-cell lymphoma, leukemia, or other forms of cancer after using the product.

Mueller Documented Probable Cause that Trump Obstructed Justice

By Prof. Marjorie Cohn, April 23, 2019

After a nearly two-year investigation, culminating in a 448-page report, Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded that Russia attempted to influence the 2016 election but found insufficient evidence to prove the Trump campaign conspired with Russia. Mueller did not decide, however, if Trump obstructed justice.

Forgotten War Crimes: NATO’s 1999 Attack on Serbia’s State TV Headquarters “Wiped from the Record”

By Shane Quinn, April 23, 2019

Twenty years ago, on 23 April 1999, a NATO missile attack on Radio Television of Serbia (RTS) headquarters killed 16 employees of the state broadcaster.

As the 2019 Indian General Election Takes Place, Are the Nation’s Farmers Being Dealt a Knock-Out Blow?

By Colin Todhunter, April 22, 2019

There is a plan for the future of India and most of its current farmers don’t have a role in it. Successive administrations have been making farming financially unviable with the aim of moving farmers out of agriculture and into the cities to work in construction, manufacturing or the service sector, despite these sectors not creating anything like the number of jobs required.

Cuba and the Politics of Culture in the U.S.: “The Invisible Hand of the Market”?

By Arnold August, April 22, 2019

Whether in Cuba or the U.S., the fundamentalist opposition takes the moral high road of “freedom of artistic expression” for Cuba. However, they are viewing Cuba with U.S. blinders. They take it as a given that in the U.S., there is freedom of artistic expression (along with other types of expression) in the cultural realm. The logic goes that there are no cultural restrictions in the U.S. like the ones being brought in in Cuba.

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The announcement by India’s Oil Minister that his country will replace US-sanctioned Iranian oil imports with those from “major oil-producing countries” despite the dramatic Bollywood show that New Delhi has made up until this point out of “defying” US sanctions makes one seriously wonder whether India’s preparing to ditch Russia next if the US imposes CAATSA sanctions against it over the S-400s.

Shattering The “Indian Illusion”

The “Indian Illusion” has been shattered after India’s Oil Minister tweeted that his country will replace US-sanctioned Iranian oil imports with those from “major oil-producing countries” such as the Islamic Republic’s hated GCC foes of Saudi Arabia and the UAE that America said will step up their exports in order to stabilize global prices after Washington announced that it won’t renew its anti-Iranian oil sanction waivers. New Delhi made a dramatic Bollywood-like show over the past year out of “defying” US sanctions, with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj announcing last May that India will only obey UNSC sanctions and not those unilaterally imposed by the US in contravention of international law.

The Oil Minister himself said back in October before the waivers were issued that India will continue buying Iranian oil in spite of the US sanctions, later crediting Prime Minister Modi a month later when the US eventually granted it the waiver. Adding “credibility” to the illusion that India’s perception managers were masterfully creating, it was then reported that the country will use rupees instead of dollars when trading with Iran, a bold move that even fooled an RT columnist who headlined his op-ed on this development as a “response to US global bullying“. As is now known, however, appearances can be very misleading, and in actuality the same country that was vowing to “defy” the US actually ended up quietly implementing its new patron’s will.

This proves that senior Indian officials such as the Minister of External Affairs and Oil Minister were lying to the world this entire time, publicly claiming to oppose the US while secretly working in coordination with it behind closed doors to ensure that their country doesn’t suffer from Trump’s sanctions. The over-hyped “oil-for-rupee” payment plan was ultimately nothing more than a temporary workaround that New Delhi evidently didn’t care too much about to continue in truly opposing the US following the expiration of its sanctions waiver early next month. It can therefore be said that India was relying on multipolar/”multi-alignment” rhetoric in order to disguise its secret subservience to the unipolar hegemon.

The Path Towards CAATSA Sanctions

This stunning realization has major implications for Russian-Indian relations because the US is considering sanctioning the South Asian state for its planned purchase of the S-400s, a threat that still hangs over New Delhi’s head like a Damocles’ sword over half a year since the original agreement was signed during President Putin’s visit to the country. Judging from the Iranian precedent, India will probably pull out of the S-400 deal if the US does indeed impose CAATSA sanctions against it over this purchase, which Washington might seriously pursue in order to deal a deathblow to Russian-Indian relations just like it recently did to Iranian-Indian ones through the latest oil sanctions.

The argument against sanctioning India over the S-400s is that it needs these systems in order to “defend” against China and Pakistan, but the latest Indo-Pak dogfight ended in a total humiliation for India and exposed it as an aggressive rogue state instead of the peaceful one dutifully following international law to a tee like it had meticulously misrepresented itself as being up until that point. Recognizing the truth that India won’t fall victim to regional aggression but is actually the state initiating hostilities in the first place, the US might no longer consider the S-400s to be of primary national security concern for the South Asian state enough to warrant a sanctions waiver for them.

Russia’s Pakistani Recourse

In the event that the US sanctions India for this purchase, it would be doing so as part of a power play to “poach” this lucrative arms market from Russia and replace the country’s wares with Western ones from its own military-industrial complex and that of its French and “Israeli” partners’ too. Russia, left flatfooted by this possibly impending betrayal by its “bhai” (from the Soviet-era slogan of “Rusi-Hindi Bhai Bhai”, “Russians and Indians are brothers”), might then seriously consider clinching a deal with Pakistan to sell it the upwards of $9 billion of equipment that the Deputy Director of the influential Moscow-based Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST) think tank estimated is in the cards in his organization’s recently released book “Pakistan: Beyond Stereotypes“.

It should be noted that Russia’s permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) are under the powerful influence of the Indophile lobby, but the increasingly public divisions that have recently emerged between that faction and the “balancing” pragmatics led by Russia’s Special Envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov have only intensified after the latest Indo-Pak dogfight but have seen the unquestionable victory of the latter following Moscow’s offer to mediate between the two Great Powers as part of its grand “Return to South Asia“. In this very sensitive context, any Indian betrayal of Russia in response to the US’ CAATSA sanctions would discredit the Indophiles once and for all and expose them as either unprofessionally naive or worse after they put their careers on the line claiming that this would never happen.

It’s beyond obvious at this point that the S-400s wouldn’t retain the balance of power between India and its potential adversaries but disrupt it after the latest regional events revealed that New Delhi is an aggressive rogue state instead of a peaceful one dutifully abiding by international law, yet Russia won’t voluntarily scupper the deal because it stands to gain a lot of much-needed money from it that takes on a higher significance against the backdrop of the West’s anti-Russian sanctions. Having said that, however, the deal is worth a little more than $5 billion, meaning that Russia could conceivably replace its lost profits if it sells slightly more than half of the military equipment that CAST estimates the global pivot state of Pakistan is looking to purchase.

Concluding Thoughts

India’s betrayal of Iran in response to impending American sanctions and its energy pivot towards the Islamic Republic’s hated GCC foes worringly suggests that it might soon betray Russia in response to the possible imposition of CAATSA sanctions over the S-400s and militarily pivot towards the Eurasian Great Power’s Western competitors instead. The writing was on the wall the entire time in both instances, though the Indophile “deep state” faction in both Iran and Russia misled their leaderships because they were unprofessionally naive and truly believed the assurances made by their Indian counterparts (in the “best-case” scenario), but it’s now becoming obvious that New Delhi was deceiving both of them all along by disguising its clandestine unipolar actions with public multipolar rhetoric.

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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.

The Deep State vs. WikiLeaks

April 24th, 2019 by Pepe Escobar

The Made by FBI indictment of Julian Assange does look like a dead man walking. No evidence. No documents. No surefire testimony. Just a crossfire of conditionals.

But never underestimate the legalese contortionism of US government (USG) functionaries. As much as Assange may not be characterized as a journalist and publisher, the thrust of the affidavit is to accuse him of conspiring to commit espionage.

In fact the charge is not even that Assange hacked a USG computer and obtained classified information; it’s that he may have discussed it with Chelsea Manning and may have had the intention to go for a hack. Orwellian-style thought crime charges don’t get any better than that. Now the only thing missing is an AI software to detect them.

Assange legal adviser Geoffrey Robertson – who also happens to represent another stellar political prisoner, Brazil’s Lula – cut straight to the chase (at 19:22 minutes);

“The justice he is facing is justice, or injustice, in America… I would hope the British judges would have enough belief in freedom of information to throw out the extradition request.”

That’s far from a done deal. Thus the inevitable consequence; Assange’s legal team is getting ready to prove, no holds barred, in a British court, that this USG indictment for conspiracy to commit computer hacking is just an hors d’oeuvre for subsequent espionage charges, in case Assange is extradited to US soil.

All about Vault 7

John Pilger, among few others, has already stressed how a plan to destroy WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was laid out as far back as 2008 – at the tail end of the Cheney regime – concocted by the Pentagon’s shady Cyber Counter-Intelligence Assessments Branch.

It was all about criminalizing WikiLeaks and personally smearing Assange, using “shock troops…enlisted in the media — those who are meant to keep the record straight and tell us the truth.”

This plan remains more than active – considering how Assange’s arrest has been covered by the bulk of US/UK mainstream media.

By 2012, already in the Obama era, WikiLeaks detailed the astonishing “scale of the US Grand Jury Investigation” of itself. The USG always denied such a grand jury existed.

“The US Government has stood up and coordinated a joint interagency criminal investigation of Wikileaks comprised of a partnership between the Department of Defense (DOD) including: CENTCOM; SOUTHCOM; the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA); Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA); Headquarters Department of the Army (HQDA); US Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) for USFI (US Forces Iraq) and 1st Armored Division (AD); US Army Computer Crimes Investigative Unit (CCIU); 2nd Army (US Army Cyber Command); Within that or in addition, three military intelligence investigations were conducted. Department of Justice (DOJ) Grand Jury and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of State (DOS) and Diplomatic Security Service (DSS). In addition, Wikileaks has been investigated by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), Office of the National CounterIntelligence Executive (ONCIX), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); the House Oversight Committee; the National Security Staff Interagency Committee, and the PIAB (President’s Intelligence Advisory Board).”

But it was only in 2017, in the Trump era, that the Deep State went totally ballistic; that’s when WikiLeaks published the Vault 7 files – detailing the CIA’s vast hacking/cyber espionage repertoire.

This was the CIA as a Naked Emperor like never before – including the dodgy overseeing ops of the Center for Cyber Intelligence, an ultra-secret NSA counterpart.

WikiLeaks got Vault 7 in early 2017. At the time WikiLeaks had already published the DNC files – which the unimpeachable Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) systematically proved was a leak, not a hack.

The monolithic narrative by the Deep State faction aligned with the Clinton machine was that “the Russians” hacked the DNC servers. Assange was always adamant; that was not the work of a state actor – and he could prove it technically.

There was some movement towards a deal, brokered by one of Assange’s lawyers; WikiLeaks would not publish the most damning Vault 7 information in exchange for Assange’s safe passage to be interviewed by the US Department of Justice (DoJ).

The DoJ wanted a deal – and they did make an offer to WikiLeaks. But then FBI director James Comey killed it. The question is why.

It’s a leak, not a hack

Some theoretically sound reconstructions of Comey’s move are available. But the key fact is Comey already knew – via his close connections to the top of the DNC – that this was not a hack; it was a leak.

Ambassador Craig Murray has stressed, over and over again (see here) how the DNC/Podesta files published by WikiLeaks came from two different US sources; one from within the DNC and the other from within US intel.

There was nothing for Comey to “investigate”. Or there would have, if Comey had ordered the FBI to examine the DNC servers. So why talk to Julian Assange?

The release by WikiLeaks in April 2017 of the malware mechanisms inbuilt in “Grasshopper” and the “Marble Framework” were indeed a bombshell. This is how the CIA inserts foreign language strings in source code to disguise them as originating from Russia, from Iran, or from China. The inestimable Ray McGovern, a VIPS member, stressed how Marble Framework “destroys this story about Russian hacking.”

No wonder then CIA director Mike Pompeo accused WikiLeaks of being a “non-state hostile intelligence agency”, usually manipulated by Russia.

Joshua Schulte, the alleged leaker of Vault 7, has not faced a US court yet. There’s no question he will be offered a deal by the USG if he aggress to testify against Julian Assange.

It’s a long and winding road, to be traversed in at least two years, if Julian Assange is ever to be extradited to the US. Two things for the moment are already crystal clear. The USG is obsessed to shut down WikiLeaks once and for all. And because of that, Julian Assange will never get a fair trial in the “so-called ‘Espionage Court’” of the Eastern District of Virginia, as detailed by former CIA counterterrorism officer and whistleblower John Kiriakou.

Meanwhile, the non-stop demonization of Julian Assange will proceed unabated, faithful to guidelines established over a decade ago. Assange is even accused of being a US intel op, and WikiLeaks a splinter Deep State deep cover op.

Maybe President Trump will maneuver the hegemonic Deep State into having Assange testify against the corruption of the DNC; or maybe Trump caved in completely to “hostile intelligence agency” Pompeo and his CIA gang baying for blood. It’s all ultra-high-stakes shadow play – and the show has not even begun.

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Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst, writer and journalist. 

Featured image is from SCF