You live in the burbs, or what they call so many small cities nowadays. Strip malls, shopping centers and it seems a Wal-Mart is everywhere. We don’t live on streets, we live in subdivisions now. You want a bottle of pop… oh sorry, now they’re in cans or those plastic environmental killers. Or if you want a loaf of bread or quart of milk or whatever, you get in your car and you drive to the supermarket or convenience store.. usually where you pump your gas. There are no such things as avenues with lines of retail shops.

In ’69 in my Brooklyn neighborhood you walked up to Avenue U and sat at the luncheonette and had your soda… a real fountain one if you desired. You walked along to the bread store and got your loaf or fish as the shoppers in the Italian bakery called it. The corner grocery store had the milk you needed. The butcher shop is where you bought your meat. The produce store your veggies. The fruit store, all the bananas you needed or fresh in season peaches, apricots or watermelon if it happened to be June or July. That was then and this sadly is NOW.

On any evening from early Spring right up until late Autumn the stoops and front yards were filled with your neighbors… some you liked and some you didn’t. But, they were out there each and every non rainy evening after dinnertime. Some folks had their beach chairs (as we called them) set up with cigarettes (and some cigars) dangling from their lips, or perhaps a beer was chugged as the sun slowly exited the day. The boys were in the street playing ball as the young girls played jump rope or other games that young girls played.

People would walk up and down the street and mingle with neighbors, or maybe argue with them, especially on the subject of Vietnam, but there was this energy and vitality of the neighborhood. Then, when it got dark only the teenagers would be out there, with transistor radios humming rock and roll and guys coming on to the girls with lots of BS being slung back and forth. Around the corner at the nearest luncheonette or ‘Candy Store’ as many were still called, the adult men would hang out, comparing notes on the local sports teams interspersed with more debate on Vietnam. Plenty of Egg Creams and Lime Ricky sodas were being consumed, along with the usual cups of coffee or maybe a malted milk or two. When it got real late and the morning editions of tomorrow’s daily papers were delivered, most of the gambling types would wait to see what the daily number was. In those days it was obtained by the last three digits of the racetrack’s pari-mutuel handle.

In the spring of ’69, with Nixon being elected and an anti war movement taking hold, the neighborhoods really became as polarized as the nation. The draft was in full swing and more and more college students became radicalized. Some of the guys serving in the military from our neighborhood starting coming home, either on leave, or in pine boxes. Vietnam was each evening’s number one news story, and we all could watch the war right on the six and eleven o’clock news. ‘Kill counts’ became the new numbers game being played. Vietnam may have been thousands of miles away, but to many of us it was right next door… literally! If one of our neighbors got drafted, he sure as hell would wind up there real quick.

By the summer of ’69, despite the Apollo moon landing, the friction of this war was becoming really flammable. One neighbor, a student at NYU Dental School, came home one evening and joined us on our regular street corner. Amongst we college students was another neighbor, Don, a 32 year old Fire Marshall. Don bragged about how he had ‘served’ in the late 50s in the Army. His claim to fame was being so close, in his words, to being sent to the Middle East for some conflict that Uncle Sam initiated. “We were marching through the sands of the local New Jersey beach to get practiced at desert warfare. We were THAT close to being shipped over.” Don began parroting his love for both Nixon and country (in that order) and how those ‘beatniks’ were undermining our democracy. Gus, the dental student, jumped all over him. “I was at the dental clinic today, and you probably heard about the construction workers who broke up an anti war march and beat the shit out of the protestors. A whole bunch of us ran down to give medical aid to the victims… blood was all over the streets!” Don called Gus a Commie lover and the rest of us had to separate them before we had more blood on our street. From that day on I avoided Don as much as I could… Another chicken hawk! Marching on the sands of a New Jersey beach… give me a **** break!

In August of ’69 the horrific Sharon Tate and friends murder story made national headlines when the ‘Helter Skelter’ Charles Manson case replaced the Vietnam War as item number one. Those of us who understood how bad vibes can spread knew that things like this were part of the whole evil empire. Like attracts like and wanton killings come in streaks. Yet, the neighborhood kept chugging along. People got up each morning that summer and went to work. In the evenings they still sat outside and hung out with each other. The beaches were still filled with bathers and sun worshippers each weekend.  The movies were packed on Friday and Saturday nights, as were all the bars and discos. Life went on, for better or for worse. Maybe it was the whole Woodstock concert event later that month which really offered a ray of hope. Hundreds of thousands of young people, from literally all over the country, came together without violence, and just enjoyed each other and the music…and of course a few drugs of choice. Mellow was the color of the day, and yes, it did open up many eyes. Not enough to end the madness of the Nam, but perhaps ….

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

Something extraordinary began with a short walk in St. Petersburg last Friday.

After a stroll, they took a boat on the Neva River, visited the legendary Aurora cruiser, and dropped in to examine the Renaissance masterpieces at the Hermitage. Cool, calm, collected, all the while it felt like they were mapping the ins and outs of a new, emerging, multipolar world.

Chinese President Xi Jinping was the guest of honor of Russian President Vladimir Putin. It was Xi’s eighth trip to Russia since 2013, when he announced the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

First they met in Moscow, signing multiple deals. The most important is a bombshell: a commitment to develop bilateral trade and cross-border payments using the ruble and the yuan, bypassing the U.S. dollar.

Then Xi visited the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russia’s premier business gathering, absolutely essential for anyone to understand the hyper-complex mechanisms inherent in the construction of Eurasian integration. I addressed some of SPIEF’s foremost discussions and round tables here.

In Moscow, Putin and Xi signed two joint statements – whose key concepts, crucially, are “comprehensive partnership”, “strategic interaction” and “global strategic stability.”

Xi and Putin cruising into a multipolar world: Aurora Cruiser Museum (Wikipedia)

In his St. Petersburg speech, Xi outlined the “comprehensive strategic partnership”. He stressed that China and Russia were both committed to green, low carbon sustainable development. He linked the expansion of BRI as “consistent with the UN agenda of sustainable development” and praised the interconnection of BRI projects with the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU). He emphasized how all that was consistent with Putin’s idea of a Great Eurasian Partnership. He praised the “synergetic effect” of BRI linked to South-South cooperation.

And crucially, Xi stressed that China “won’t seek development to the expense of environment”; China “will implement the Paris climate agreement”; and China is “ready to share 5G technology with all partners” on the way towards a pivotal change in the model of economic growth.

So what about Cold War 2.0?

It was obvious this was slowly brewing for the past five to six years. Now the deal is in the open. The Russia-China comprehensive strategic partnership is thriving; not as an allied treaty, but as a consistent road map towards Eurasia integration and the consolidation of the multipolar world.

Unipolarism – via its demonization matrix – had first accelerated Russia’s pivot to Asia. Now, the U.S.-driven trade war has facilitated the consolidation of Russia as China’s top strategic partner.

Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs better get ready to dismiss virtually everyday statements coming, for instance, from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, when he alleges that Moscow aims to use non-strategic nuclear weapons in the European theater. It’s part of a non-stop process – now in high gear – of manufacturing hysteria by frightening NATO allies with the Russian “threat.”

Moscow better get ready to dodge and counteract reams of reports such as the latest from the RAND corporation, which outlines – what else? – Cold War 2.0 against Russia.

In 2014, Russia did not react to sanctions imposed by Washington. Then, it would have sufficed to merely brandish the threat of default on $700 billion in external debt. That would have killed the sanctions.

Now, there’s ample debate inside Russian intelligence circles on what to do in case Moscow faces the prospect of being cut off the CHIPS-SWIFT financial clearing system.

With few illusions about what may pass at the G20 in Osaka later this month, in terms of a breakthrough in U.S.-Russia relations, intel sources told me Rosneft’s CEO Igor Sechin is prepared to send a more “realistic” message— if push eventually comes to shove.

A 1936 map of Eurasia. (Flickr)

His message to the EU, in this case, would be to cut them off, and link with China for good. That way, Russian oil would be completely redirected from the EU to China, making the EU completely dependent on the Strait of Hormuz.

Beijing for its part seems to have finally absorbed that the current Trump administration offensive is not a mere trade war, but a full fledged attack on its economic miracle, including a concerted drive to cut China off from large swathes of the world economy.

The war on Huawei – the Rosebud of China’s 5G supremacy – has been identified as an attack on the dragon’s head. The attack on Huawei means an attack not only on tech, mega-hub Shenzhen, but the whole Pearl River Delta: a $3 trillion yuan ecosystem, which supplies the nuts and bolts of the Chinese supply chain for high-tech manufacturers.

Enter the Golden Ring

Neither China’s technological rise, nor Russia’s unmatched hypersonic know-how have caused America’s structural malaise. If there are answers they should come from the Exceptionalist elites.

The problem for the U.S. is the emergence of a formidable peer competitor in Eurasia – and worse still, a strategic partnership. It has thrown these elites into Supreme Paranoia mode, which is holding the whole world hostage.

By contrast, the concept of the Golden Ring of Multipolar Great Powers has been floated, by which Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Russia and China might provide a “stability belt” along the South Asia Rimland.

I have discussed variations of this idea with Russian, Iranian, Pakistani and Turkish analysts – but it sounds like wishful thinking. Admittedly all these nations would welcome establishing the Golden Ring; but no one knows which way Modi’s India would lean – intoxicated as it is with dreams of Big Power status as the crux of America’s “Indo-Pacific” concoction.

It might be more realistic to assume that if Washington does not go to war with Iran – because Pentagon gaming has established this would be a nightmare – all options are on the table ranging from the South China Sea to the larger Indo-Pacific.

The Deep State will not flinch to unleash concentric havoc on the periphery of both Russia and China and then try to advance to destabilize the heartland from the inside. The Russia-China strategic partnership has generated a sore wound: it hurts – so bad – to be a Eurasia outsider.

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

Featured image: Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands during their meeting at the Grand Kremlin Palace on Wednesday in Moscow. (Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)

On June 12, the Ansar Allah movement (also known as the Houthis) launched a cruise missile at Abha International Airport in southern Saudi Arabia. The movement said that the missile had successfully hit the airport, which has a large military part to it.

Brig. Gen. Yahya Sari, a spokesman for the pro-Ansar Allah part of the Yemeni Armed Forces, said that “advanced U.S. air-defense systems” deployed inside the airport were not able to intercept the missile.

In their turn, the Saudi side said that the missile had hit the arrival hall in the airport injuring 26 civilians, including three women and two children. Most of the injured civilians were treated on the spot. Eight were transported to nearby hospitals.

A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, Col. Turki al-Malki, called the Yemeni movement a terrorist group and described the attack as a war crime.

Later, Ansar Allah’s TV channel AlMasirah released an infographic claiming that the launched missile has a maximum range of 2,500 km. the warhead a weight of 450kg and uses GPS guidance.

According to experts, the used missile may have in fact been an Iranian Soumar cruise missile assembled from parts in Yemen. The Soumar is a developed on the basis of the Soviet-designed Kh-55 subsonic air-launched cruise missile. Iran obtained the Kh-55 from Ukraine in the 2000s.

Ansar Allah has a track record of using precision-guided weapons. In 2017, they launched what is suspected to be an Iranian Soumar cruise missile at the Barakah nuclear power plant in the UAE.

The June 12 strike is not unexpected. Yemeni forces resisting the Saudi-led invasion have repeatedly warned Saudi Arabia and the UAE they are ready to retaliate by targeting vital infrastructure of these two countries.

On March 16, Brig. Gen. Yahya Sari said that “legitimate targets” for missile and drone strikes extend to Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. On May 14, a drone strike by Ansar Allah forced Saudi Arabia to halt temporarily the pumping on its 1,200km-long East-West pipeline.

Nonetheless, Saudi Arabia and its allies seem to be unwilling to halt their military invasion in Yemen, launched in 2015, and move towards a political solution with Ansar Allah, which controls key parts of the country, including the capital of Sanaa and the port of al-Hudaydah. The main reason being that any kind of such solution is seen by the Saudi leadership as an acceptance of the failure of its costly foreign policy in the region.

At the same time, Saudi Arabia and the US position the developing conflict in Yemen as a part of their campaign against Iran describing Ansar Allah is as an Iranian proxy. So, June 12-like developments may well lead to further attempts by the US and its allies to increase pressure on Iran.

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In December 2011, William Krehm, Anne Emmett, and COMER (The Committee for Monetary and Economic Reform filed a lawsuit in Federal Court with a view forcing a restoration of the Bank of Canada to its mandated purposes. “In essence, they want the Bank of Canada to provide interest-free loans to the federal, provincial, and municipal governments, as provided for in the Bank of Canada Act.”

Has William Krehm’s lifelong project of democratizing the Bank of Canada born fruit?

In late May, Senator Diane Bellmare in consultation with a group of 61 progressive economists introduced a debate in Canada’s Senate to reform the Bank of Canada, and restore its historical mandate as envisaged by William Krehm.

 

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This past April 11th William Krehm died peacefully. He was in his 106th year.

I had met him about a decade ago when I started attending meetings of the lobby group COMER. He founded it, the Committee on Monetary and Economic Reform to force the Bank of Canada to go back to doing what it once did, finance government projects.

How Bill Krehm got involved in such a project is the story of his life. He was born over a century ago in 1913 in Toronto. He was a promising violinist and sent to Chicago to study. From there he went to New York until the depression hit and he returned to Toronto studied math and physics at the University of Toronto till the money ran out.

He was truly a Renaissance man. He became fluent in nine languages, studied music, mathematics and Marxism, went to Spain in 1936 to assist as a translator and journalist in the fight to defeat the fascists. There he met the man we know as George Orwell (author of 1984) who was among the many dedicated recruits who joined the cause like Ernest Hemmingway, Pablo Picasso, Norman Bethune and W. H. Auden. For his efforts Krehm spent the summer of 1937 in a Spanish jail.

During the second world war he lived in Mexico and South America earning his living as a freelance journalist until 1943 when Time Magazine hired him as their Latin American correspondent. They fired him in 1947 after he wrote a book critical of American foreign policies.

He then returned to Canada, worked as a journalist for awhile but with his Trotskyite past had trouble earning enough income. He had married and now had a growing family so he took on a new career in the real estate business. He founded a company that today owns 2400 rental units that his sons now manage.

He retired from business in the 1980’s and wrote about economics in several books the last of which was A Power Unto Itself; The Bank of Canada; the threat to our nation’s economy published in 1993. The book explained something few Canadians knew, that the Bank of Canada in the mid seventies gave up its role financing government projects, the role it was created for. The result was ever increasing debt and that unnecessary condition continues today.

I didn’t fully understand and appreciate Bill’s extensive background at the several COMER meetings I attended… he was then in his late nineties and was still alert and showing up to fight the fight for financial justice.

For further details on the lawsuit and the substance of COMER’s initiative led by William Krehm, see

Monetary Policy, Money Supply and The Bank of Canada

By Professor John Ryan, March 29, 2018

 

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on A Life Well-lived: Reforming the Bank of Canada. William Krehm Passes Away at 106

On Wednesday June 12th, 2019, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) spoke about his views on democratic socialism and why it would be good for the USA in a speech at George Washington University in Washington, DC.

Bernie Sanders represents a powerful voice in US politics. The publication of this text and video does not signify an endorsement of Bernie Sanders by Global Research. It’s purpose is to inform our readers.

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Transcript is as follows.

My friends, we are in the midst of a defining and pivotal moment for our country and our planet. And, with so many crises converging upon us simultaneously, it is easy for us to become overwhelmed or depressed – or to even throw up our hands in resignation. But my message to you today is that if there was ever a moment in the history of our country where despair was not an option, this is that time.

If there was ever a moment where we had to effectively analyze the competing political and social forces which define this historical period, this is that time.

If there was ever a moment when we needed to stand up and fight against the forces of oligarchy and authoritarianism, this is that time.

And, if there was ever a moment when we needed a new vision to bring our people together in the fight for justice, decency and human dignity, this is that time.

In the year 2019, the United States and the rest of the world face two very different political paths. On one hand, there is a growing movement toward oligarchy and authoritarianism in which a small number of incredibly wealthy and powerful billionaires own and control a significant part of the economy and exert enormous influence over the political life of our country.

On the other hand, in opposition to oligarchy, there is a movement of working people and young people who, in ever increasing numbers, are fighting for justice.

They are the teachers taking to the streets to make certain that schools are adequately funded and that their students get a quality education.

They are workers at Disney, Amazon, Walmart and the fast food industry standing up and fighting for a living wage of at least $15 an hour and the right to have a union.

They are young people taking on the fossil fuel industry and demanding policies that transform our energy system and protect our planet from the ravages of climate change.

They are women who refuse to give control of their bodies to local, state and federal politicians.

They are people of color and their allies demanding an end to systemic racism and massive racial inequities that exist throughout our society.

They are immigrants and their allies fighting to end the demonization of undocumented people and for comprehensive immigration reform.

When we talk about oligarchy, let us be clear about what we mean. Right now, in the United States of America, three families control more wealth than the bottom half of our country, some 160 million Americans. The top 1% own more wealth than the bottom 92% and 49% of all new income generated today goes to the top 1%. In fact, income and wealth inequality today in the United States is greater than at any time since the 1920s.

And when we talk about oligarchy, it is not just that the very rich are getting much richer. It is that tens of millions of working-class people, in the wealthiest country on earth, are suffering under incredible economic hardship, desperately trying to survive.

Today, nearly 40 million Americans live in poverty and tonight, 500,000 people will be sleeping out on the streets. About half of the country lives paycheck to paycheck as tens of millions of our people are an accident, a divorce, a sickness or a layoff away from economic devastation.

While many public schools throughout the country lack the resources to adequately educate our young people, we are the most heavily incarcerated nation on earth.

After decades of policies that have encouraged and subsidized unbridled corporate greed, we now have an economy that is fundamentally broken and grotesquely unfair.

Even while macroeconomic numbers like GDP, the stock market and the unemployment rate are strong, millions of middle class and working people struggle to keep their heads above water, while the billionaire class consumes the lion’s share of the wealth that we are collectively creating as a nation.

In the midst of a so-called booming economy real wages for the average worker have barely risen at all. And despite an explosion in technology and worker productivity, the average wage of the American worker in real dollars is no higher than it was 46 years ago and millions of people are forced to work two or three jobs just to survive.

And here is something quite incredible that tells you all you need to know about the results of unfettered capitalism. All of us want to live long, happy, and productive lives but. in America today the very rich live on average 15 years longer than the poorest Americans.

In 2014, in McDowell County, West Virginia, one of the poorest counties in the nation, life expectancy for men was 64 years. In Fairfax County, Virginia, a wealthy county, just 350 miles away, life expectancy for men was nearly 82 years, an 18-year differential. The life expectancy gap for women in the two counties was 12 years.

In other words, the issue of unfettered capitalism is not just an academic debate, poverty, economic distress and despair are life-threatening issues for millions of working people in the country.

While the rich get richer they live longer lives. While poor and working families struggle economically and often lack adequate healthcare, their life expectancy is declining for the first time in modern American history.

Taken together, the American Dream of upward mobility is in peril. In fact, if we don’t turn things around, our younger generation will, for the first time in living memory, have a lower standard of living than their parents. This is not acceptable.

Globally, the situation is even more shocking with most of the world’s wealth concentrated among a very few, while billions of people have almost nothing. Today, the world’s richest 26 billionaires now own as much wealth as the poorest 3.8 billion people on the planet – half of the world’s population.

But the struggle we are facing today is not just economic.

Across the globe, the movement toward oligarchy runs parallel to the growth of authoritarian regimes – like Putin in Russia, Xi in China, Mohamed Bin Salman in Saudi Arabia, Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, and Viktor Orbán in Hungary among others.

These leaders meld corporatist economics with xenophobia and authoritarianism. They redirect popular anger about inequality and declining economic conditions into violent rage against minorities – whether they are immigrants, racial minorities, religious minorities or the LGBT community. And to suppress dissent, they are cracking down on democracy and human rights.

In the United States, of course, we have our own version of this movement – which is being led by President Trump and many of his Republican allies who are attempting to divide our country up and attack these same communities. How sad it is that President Trump sees these authoritarian leaders as friends and allies.

This authoritarian playbook is not new. The challenge we confront today as a nation, and as a world, is in many ways not different from the one we faced a little less than a century ago, during and after the Great Depression in the 1930s. Then, as now, deeply-rooted and seemingly intractable economic and social disparities led to the rise of right-wing nationalist forces all over the world.

In Europe, the anger and despair was ultimately harnessed by authoritarian demagogues who fused corporatism, nationalism, racism and xenophobia into a political movement that amassed totalitarian power, destroyed democracy, and ultimately murdering millions of people – including members of my own family.

But we must remember that those were not the only places where dark forces tried to rise up.

Today, we are all rightly repulsed by the sight of neo-Nazis and Klansmen openly marching in Charlottesville, VA, and we are horrified by houses of worship being shot up by right-wing terrorists. But on February 20, 1939, over 20,000 Nazis held a mass rally – not in Berlin, not in Rome, but in Madison Square Garden, in front of a 30-foot-tall banner of George Washington – bordered with swastikas – in New York City.

But back then, those American extremists could not replicate the success of their authoritarian brethren across the ocean because we in the United States, thankfully, made a different choice than Europe did in responding to the era’s social and economic crises.

We rejected the ideology of Mussolini and Hitler – we instead embraced the bold and visionary leadership of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, then the leader of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.

Together with organized labor, leaders in the African American community and progressives inside and outside the Party, Roosevelt led a transformation of the American government and the American economy.

Like today, the quest for transformative change was opposed by big business, Wall Street, the political establishment, by the Republican Party and by the conservative wing of FDR’s own Democratic Party. And he faced the same scare tactics then that we experience today – red baiting, xenophobia, racism and anti-Semitism.

In a famous 1936 campaign speech Roosevelt stated,

“We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace – business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.
“They had begun to consider the government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob.
“Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me – and I welcome their hatred.”

Despite that opposition, by rallying the American people, FDR and his progressive coalition created the New Deal, won four terms, and created an economy that worked for all and not just the few.

Today, New Deal initiatives like Social Security, unemployment compensation, the right to form a union, the minimum wage, protection for farmers, regulation of Wall Street and massive infrastructure improvements are considered pillars of American society.

But, while he stood up for the working families of our country, we can never forget that President Roosevelt was reviled by the oligarchs of his time, who berated these extremely popular programs as “socialism.”

Similarly, in the 1960s, when Lyndon Johnson brought about Medicare, Medicaid and other extremely popular programs, he was also viciously attacked by the ruling class of this country.

And here is the point. It is no exaggeration to state, that not only did FDR’s agenda improve the lives of millions of Americans, but the New Deal was enormously popular politically and helped defeat far-right extremism.

For a time.

Today, America and the world are once again moving toward authoritarianism – and the same right-wing forces of oligarchy, corporatism, nationalism, racism and xenophobia are on the march, pushing us to make the apocalyptically wrong choice that Europe made in the last century.

Today, we now see a handful of billionaires with unprecedented wealth and power.

We see huge private monopolies – operating outside of any real democratic oversight and often subsidized by taxpayers – with the power to control almost every aspect of our lives.

They are the profit-taking gatekeepers of our healthcare, our technology, our finance system, our food supply and almost all of the other basic necessities of life. They are Wall Street, the insurance companies, the drug companies, the fossil fuel industry, the military industrial complex, the prison industrial complex and giant agri-businesses.

They are the entities with unlimited wealth who surround our nation’s capitol with thousands of well-paid lobbyists, who to a significant degree write the laws that we live under.

Today, we have a demagogue in the White House who, for cheap political gain, is attempting to deflect the attention of the American people away from the real crises that we face and, instead, is doing what demagogues always do – and that is divide people up and legislate hatred. This is a president who supports brutal family separations, border walls, Muslim bans, anti-LGBT policies, deportations and voter suppression.

It is my very strong belief that the United States must reject that path of hatred and divisiveness – and instead find the moral conviction to choose a different path, a higher path, a path of compassion, justice and love.

It is the path that I call democratic socialism.

Over eighty years ago Franklin Delano Roosevelt helped create a government that made transformative progress in protecting the needs of working families. Today, in the second decade of the 21st century, we must take up the unfinished business of the New Deal and carry it to completion.

This is the unfinished business of the Democratic Party and the vision we must accomplish.

In order to accomplish that goal, it means committing ourselves to protecting political rights, to protecting civil rights – and to protect economic rights of all people in this country.

As FDR stated in his 1944 State of the Union address: “We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence.”

Today, our Bill of Rights guarantees the American people a number of important constitutionally protected political rights. And while we understand that these rights have not always been respected and we have so much more work to do, we are proud that our constitution guarantees freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, a free press and other rights because we understand that we can never have true American freedom unless we are free from authoritarian tyranny.

Now, we must take the next step forward and guarantee every man, woman and child in our country basic economic rights – the right to quality healthcare, the right to as much education as one needs to succeed in our society, the right to a good job that pays a living wage, the right to affordable housing, the right to a secure retirement, and the right to live in a clean environment.

We must recognize that in the 21st century, in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, economic rights are human rights.

That is what I mean by democratic socialism.

As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all of God’s children.”

To realize this vision, we must not view America only as a population of disconnected individuals, we must also view ourselves as part of “an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny,” as Dr. King put it. In other words, we are in this together.

We must see ourselves as part of one nation, one community and one society – regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or country of origin.

This quintessentially American idea is literally emblazoned on our coins: E Pluribus Unum. From the many, one.

And, I should tell you, it is enshrined in the motto of our campaign for the presidency – Not me, Us.

Let me be clear. I do understand that I and other progressives will face massive attacks from those who attempt to use the word “socialism” as a slur. But I should also tell you that I have faced and overcome these attacks for decades – and I am not the only one.

Let us remember that in 1932, Republican President Herbert Hoover claimed that Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal was, “a disguise for the totalitarian state.”

In 1936 former Democratic New York Governor and presidential candidate Al Smith said in a speech about FDR’s New Deal policies, “Just get the platform of the Democratic Party and get the platform of the Socialist Party and lay them down on your dining-room table, side by side.”

When President Harry Truman proposed a national healthcare program, the American Medical Association hired Ronald Reagan as their pitchman.

The AMA called the legislation that stemmed from his proposal “socialized medicine” claiming that White House staff were, “followers of the Moscow party line.”

In 1960, Ronald Reagan in a letter to Richard Nixon wrote the following about John F. Kennedy: “Under the tousled boyish haircut is still old Karl Marx.”

In the 1990s, then Congressman Newt Gingrich claimed President Bill Clinton’s healthcare plan was “centralized bureaucratic socialism.”

The conservative Heritage Foundation has claimed that the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was “a step toward socialism.”

Former Speaker of the House John Boehner claimed the stimulus package, the omnibus spending bill and the budget proposed by President Barack Obama were “all one big down payment on a new American socialist experiment.”

In this regard, President Harry Truman was right when he said that: “Socialism is the epithet they have hurled at every advance the people have made in the last 20 years…Socialism is what they called Social Security. Socialism is what they called farm price supports. Socialism is what they called bank deposit insurance. Socialism is what they called the growth of free and independent labor organizations. Socialism is their name for almost anything that helps all the people.”

Now let’s be clear: while President Trump and his fellow oligarchs attack us for our support of democratic socialism, they don’t really oppose all forms of socialism.

They may hate democratic socialism because it benefits working people, but they absolutely love corporate socialism that enriches Trump and other billionaires.

Let us never forget the unbelievable hypocrisy of Wall Street, the high priests of unfettered capitalism.

In 2008, after their greed, recklessness and illegal behavior created the worst financial disaster since the Great Depression – with millions of Americans losing their jobs, their homes and their life savings – Wall Street’s religious adherence to unfettered capitalism suddenly came to an end.

Overnight, Wall Street became big government socialists and begged for the largest federal bailout in American history – some $700-billion from the Treasury and trillions in support from the Federal Reserve.

But it’s not just Wall Street that loves socialism – when it works for them. It is the norm across the entire corporate world. The truth is corporate America receives hundreds of billions of dollars in federal support every single year, while these same people are trying to cut programs that benefit ordinary Americans.

If you are a fossil fuel company, whose carbon emissions are destroying the planet, you get billions in government subsidies including special tax breaks, royalty relief, funding for research and development and numerous tax loopholes.

If you are a pharmaceutical company, you make huge profits on patent rights for medicines that were developed with taxpayer funded research.

If you are a monopoly like Amazon, owned by the wealthiest person in America, you get hundreds of millions of dollars in economic incentives from taxpayers to build warehouses and you end up paying not one penny in federal income taxes.

If you are the Walton family, the wealthiest family in America, you get massive government subsidies because your low wage workers are forced to rely on food stamps, Medicaid and public housing in order to survive – all paid for by taxpayers.

If you are the Trump family, you got $885-million worth of tax breaks and subsidies for your family’s housing empire that is built on racial discrimination.

When Trump screams socialism, all of his hypocrisy will not be lost on the American people. Americans will know that he is attacking all that we take for granted: from Social Security to Medicare to veterans healthcare to roads and bridges to public schools to national parks to clean water and clean air.

When Trump attacks socialism, I am reminded of what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “This country has socialism for the rich, rugged individualism for the poor.”

And that is the difference between Donald Trump and me. He believes in corporate socialism for the rich and powerful.

I believe in a democratic socialism that works for the working families of this country.

What I believe is that the American people deserve freedom – true freedom. Freedom is an often used word but it’s time we took a hard look at what that word actually means. Ask yourself: what does it actually mean to be free?

Are you truly free if you are unable to go to a doctor when you are sick, or face financial bankruptcy when you leave the hospital?

Are you truly free if you cannot afford the prescription drug you need to stay alive?

Are you truly free when you spend half of your limited income on housing, and are forced to borrow money from a payday lender at 200% interest rates.

Are you truly free if you are 70 years old and forced to work because you lack a pension or enough money to retire?

Are you truly free if you are unable to go to attend college or a trade school because your family lacks the income?

Are you truly free if you are forced to work 60 or 80 hours a week because you can’t find a job that pays a living wage?

Are you truly free if you are a mother or father with a new born baby but you are forced to go back to work immediately after the birth because you lack paid family leave?

Are you truly free if you are a small business owner or family farmer who is driven out by the monopolistic practices of big business?

Are you truly free if you are a veteran, who put your life on the line to defend this country, and now sleep out on the streets?

To me, the answer to those questions, in the wealthiest nation on earth, is no, you are not free.

While the Bill of Rights protects us from the tyranny of an oppressive government, many in the establishment would like the American people to submit to the tyranny of oligarchs, multinational corporations, Wall Street banks, and billionaires.

It is time for the American people to stand up and fight for their right to freedom, human dignity and security.

This is the core of what my politics is all about.

In 1944, FDR proposed an economic bill of rights but died a year later and was never able to fulfil that vision. Our job, 75 years later, is to complete what Roosevelt started.

That is why today, I am proposing a 21st Century Economic Bill of Rights.

A Bill of Rights that establishes once and for all that every American, regardless of his or her income in entitled to:

  • The right to a decent job that pays a living wage
  • The right to quality healthcare
  • The right to a complete education
  • The right to affordable housing
  • The right to a clean environment
  • The right to a secure retirement

Over the course of this election my campaign has been releasing – and will continue to release – detailed proposals addressing each of these yet to be realized economic rights.

We will also address the attacks that are being launched each day against the civil rights and civil liberties of our people.

And let me be absolutely clear: democratic socialism to me requires achieving political and economic freedom in every community.

And let me also be clear, the only way we achieve these goals is through a political revolution – where millions of people get involved in the political process and reclaim our democracy by having the courage to take on the powerful corporate interests whose greed is destroying the social and economic fabric of our country.

At the end of the day, the one percent may have enormous wealth and power, but they are just the one percent. When the 99 percent stand together, we can transform society.

These are my values, and that is why I call myself a democratic socialist. At its core, it is a deep and abiding faith in the American people to peacefully and democratically enact the transformative change that will create shared prosperity, social equality and true freedom for all.

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The Home Secretary of the United Kingdom did his thing, which was little in the way of disagreement.  The superpower has issued a request; the retainer would comply.  This week, the US Department Justice Department formally sought the extradition of Julian Assange.  The process was certified by Sajid Javid, a man rather distracted of late.  He is, after all, seeking to win the hearts of the Conservatives and replace Theresa May as Prime Minster.  Boris Johnson, not Wikileaks and press freedom, is on his mind.   

The WikiLeaks front man had failed to satisfy Javid that there were exceptions warranting the refusal to sign off on the request.  A spokesman explained the matter in dull terms.  “The Home Secretary must certify a valid request for extradition… unless certain narrow exceptions to section 70 of the Extradition Act 2003 apply.”  Robotic compliance was almost expected.

The exceptions outlined in the section note that the Secretary may refuse to issue a certificate in circumstances where it may be deferred; where the person being extradited is recorded as a refugee within the meaning of the Refugee Convention; or where, having been granted leave to enter or remain in the UK, Articles 2 or 3 of the Human Rights Convention would be breached if removal of the person to the extraditing territory would take place.

The European Convention on Human Rights expressly prohibits torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, with Article 3 also prohibiting the extradition of a person to a foreign state if they are likely to be subjected to torture. 

Massimo Moratti, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe, is certain that the Wikileaks publisher will suffer grave mistreatment if extradited to the United States. 

“The British government must not accede to the US extradition request for Julian Assange as he faces a real risk of serious human right violations if sent there.” 

This will further add substance to the potential breach of Article 3 of the Human Rights Convention, a point reiterated by Agnes Callamard, Special rapporteur on extra-judicial executions.  Ecuador, she argues, permitted Assange to be expelled and arrested by the UK, taking him a step closer to extradition to the US which would expose him to “serious human rights violations.”  The UK had “arbitrary [sic] detained Mr Assange possibly endangering his life for the last 7 years.”

On May 31, Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on torture, concluded after visiting Assange in detention that the publisher’s isolation and repeated belittling constituted “progressively severe forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the cumulative effects of which can only be described as psychological torture.”  

The issue of Assange’s failing health is critical.  An important feature of his legal team’s argument is the role played by the UK authorities in ensuring his decline in physical and mental terms.  The argument in rebuttal, disingenuous as it was, never deviated: you will get treatment as long as you step out of the Ecuadorean embassy. 

There is also another dimension which the distracted Javid failed to articulate: the sheer political character of the offences Assange is being accused of.  Espionage is a political offence par excellence, and the UK-US extradition treaty, for all its faults, retains under Article 4 the prohibition against extraditing someone accused of political offences, including espionage, sedition, and treason.  As John T. Nelson notes in Just Security, “Each of Assange’s possible defences are strengthened by the 17 counts of espionage”.

The prosecutors heading the effort against Assange were not content with keeping matters confined to the single count of conspiracy to violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.  Had they done so, the narrow scope would have made the challenge from Assange’s legal team more difficult.  Hacking is an artificial fault line in the world of publishing and revealing classified material; such individuals have been quarantined and treated as standard middle-of-the-road vigilantes who fiddle computer systems. 

Assange, as he has done so often, blurred the lines: the youthful hacker as political activist; the more mature warrior of information transparency.  The Justice Department’s efforts, at least initially, involved divorcing Assange the publisher from Assange the hacker.  According to Steve Vladeck, a legal boffin versed in national security law, “the more the US is able to sell the British government, sell British courts the idea that [the CFAA charge] is the heart of the matter, I think the more of a slam dunk it will be for extradition.”

Assange’s legal team were ready for the Home Secretary’s decision, but their case has been hampered.  Supporters such as the Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei have been perturbed by the way Assange has been hamstrung in case preparations.  “The big problem there is that Julian has no access to the means to prepare his case.  And his case, I think, has another two months before its full hearing.  He needs more access to the means to prepare his defence against this terrible extradition order.”

The enormity of the case against the Assange team, prosecuted by an assemblage of security machinery wonks and a sociopathic establishment, has presented WikiLeaks with its greatest challenge.  In the information war environment, it has thrived; in the legal warfare environment, the circumstances are upended. But the legal grounds are there to defeat the case; the question, more to the point, is where Britain’s scales of justice, rather unbalanced on the issue of dealing with classified information, will be tipped.

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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]

Featured image is from Silent Crow News

“…it would be far more preferable if the United States could cite an Iranian provocation as justification for the airstrikes before launching them. Clearly, the more outrageous, the more deadly, and the more unprovoked the Iranian action, the better off the United States would be. Of course, it would be very difficult for the United States to goad Iran into such a provocation without the rest of the world recognizing this game, which would then undermine it.”  (emphasis added)

– Brookings Institution, “Which Path to Persia?” 2009 

For the second time since the United States unilaterally withdrew from the so-called Iran Nuclear Deal, Western reports of “suspected attacks” on oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz have attempted to implicate Iran.

The London Guardian in an article titled, “Two oil tankers struck in suspected attacks in Gulf of Oman,” would claim:

Two oil tankers have been hit in suspected attacks in the Gulf of Oman and the crews evacuated, a month after a similar incident in which four tankers in the region were struck.

The article also claimed:

Gulf tensions have been close to boiling point for weeks as the US puts “maximum economic pressure” on Tehran in an attempt to force it to reopen talks about the 2015 nuclear deal, which the US pulled out of last year. 

Iran has repeatedly said it has no knowledge of the incidents and did not instruct any surrogate forces to attack Gulf shipping, or Saudi oil installations.

The Guardian would admit that “investigations” into the previous alleged attacks in May carried out by the UAE found “sophisticated mines” were used, but fell short of implicating Iran as a culprit.

The article would note US National Security Advisor John Bolton would – without evidence – claim that Iran “was almost certainly involved.”

All Too Convenient 

This news of “attacked” oil tankers near the Stait of Hormuz blamed by the US on Iran – comes all too conveniently on the heels of additional steps taken by Washington to pressure Iran’s economy and further undermine the Iranian government.

The US just recently ended waivers for nations buying Iranian oil. Nations including Japan, South Korea, Turkey, China, and India will now face US sanctions if they continue importing Iranian oil.

Coincidentally, one of ships “attacked” this week was carrying “Japan-related cargo,” the Guardian would report.

Also convenient was the US’ recent designation of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) just ahead of this series of provocations attributed to Iran.

AP in a May 2019 article titled, “President Trump Warns Iran Over ‘Sabotaged’ Oil Tankers in Gulf,” would claim:

Four oil tankers anchored in the Mideast were damaged by what Gulf officials described as sabotage, though satellite images obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday showed no major visible damage to the vessels.

Two ships allegedly were Saudi, one Emirati, and one Norwegian. The article also claimed:

A U.S. official in Washington, without offering any evidence, told the AP that an American military team’s initial assessment indicated Iran or Iranian allies used explosives to blow holes in the ships.

And that:

The U.S. already had warned ships that “Iran or its proxies” could be targeting maritime traffic in the region. America is deploying an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf to counter alleged, still-unspecified threats from Tehran. 

This more recent incident will likely be further exploited by the US to continue building up its military forces in the region, applying pressure on Iran, and moving the entire globe closer toward war with Iran.

The US has already arrayed its forces across the Middle East to aid in ongoing proxy wars against Iran and its allies as well as prepare for conventional war with Tehran itself.

All of this amounts to a renewed push toward a more direct conflict between the United States and Iran after years of proxy war in Syria Washington-backed forces have decisively lost.

It is also a continuation of long-standing US foreign policy regarding Iran put into motion over a decade ago and carried out by each respective presidency since.

Washington’s Long-Standing Plans 

Continued sanctions and the elimination of waivers are part of Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or the “Iran Nuclear Deal.” The deal was signed in 2015 with the US withdrawing in 2018.

While the decision is portrayed as political differences between former US President Barack Obama and current US President Donald Trump – in reality – the plan’s proposal, signing, and then withdrawal from by the US was planned in detail as early as 2009 as a means of justifying long sought-after war with Iran.

In their 2009 paper, “Which Path to Persia?: Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran” (PDF), the corporate-financier funded Brookings Institution would first admit the complications of US-led military aggression against Iran (emphasis added):

…any military operation against Iran will likely be very unpopular around the world and require the proper international context—both to ensure the logistical support the operation would require and to minimize the blowback from it.

The paper then lays out how the US could appear to the world as a peacemaker and depict Iran’s betrayal of a “very good deal” as the pretext for an otherwise reluctant US military response (emphasis added):

The best way to minimize international opprobrium and maximize support (however, grudging or covert) is to strike only when there is a widespread conviction that the Iranians were given but then rejected a superb offerone so good that only a regime determined to acquire nuclear weapons and acquire them for the wrong reasons would turn it down. Under those circumstances, the United States (or Israel) could portray its operations as taken in sorrow, not anger, and at least some in the international community would conclude that the Iranians “brought it on themselves” by refusing a very good deal.

And from 2009 onward, this is precisely what the United States set out to achieve.

First with President Obama’s signing of the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal, up to and including President Trump’s attempts to backtrack from it based on fabricated claims Iran failed to honor the agreement.

The 2009 policy paper also discussed “goading” Iran into war, claiming (emphasis added):

With provocation, the international diplomatic and domestic political requirements of an invasion [of Iran] would be mitigated, and the more outrageous the Iranian provocation (and the less that the United States is seen to be goading Iran), the more these challenges would be diminished. In the absence of a sufficiently horrific provocation, meeting these requirements would be daunting.

Unmentioned directly, but also an obvious method for achieving Washington’s goal of provoking war with Iran would be the US simply staging an “Iranian provocation” itself.

As the US had done in Vietnam following the Gulf of Tonkin incident, or US fabrications regardings “weapons of mass destruction” Washington claimed Iraq held in its possession, the US has a clear track record of not just simply provoking provocations, but staging them itself.
The Brookings paper even admits to the unlikelihood of Iran falling into Washington’s trap, lamenting (emphasis added):

…it is certainly the case that if Washington sought such a provocation, it could take actions that might make it more likely that Tehran would do so (although being too obvious about this could nullify the provocation). However, since it would be up to Iran to make the provocative move, which Iran has been wary of doing most times in the past, the United States would never know for sure when it would get the requisite Iranian provocation. In fact, it might never come at all.

The alleged sabotaging of oil tankers off the shore of the UAE in May and now additional “attacks” this month could be the beginning of a series of staged provocations aimed at leveraging the recent listing of the IRGC as a “terrorist organization” coupled with increased economic pressure as a result of US sanctions re-initiated after the US’ own withdrawal from the Iran Deal.

Synergies Toward War 

The US has already attempted to leverage allegations in May of “Iranian sabotage” to further build its case against Iran. Washington hopes that either war – or at least the impending threat of war – coupled with crippling economic sanctions, and continued support of political and armed sedition within Iran itself will create the synergies required for dividing and destroying Iran’s political order.

In a wider regional context, the US has seen political losses particularly in Iraq where Iranian influence has been on the rise. Militarily, US-backed proxy forces have been defeated in Syria with Iran and Russia both establishing permanent and significant footholds there.

Despite the setbacks, the success of Washington’s designs against Tehran still depends mainly on America’s ability to offer political and economic incentives coupled with equally effective threats to friend and foe alike – in order to isolate Iran.

How likely this is to succeed remains questionable – decades of US sanctions, covert and overt aggression, as well as proxy wars have left Iran resilient and with more influence across the region now than ever. Still, Washington’s capacity for sowing regional destruction or dividing and destroying Iran should not be underestimated.

The intentional creation of – then withdrawal from the Iran Deal, the US’ persistent military presence in the Middle East, and sanctions aimed at Iran all indicate that US policymakers remain dedicated isolating and undermining Iran. It will continue to do so until its geopolitical goals are met, or until a new international order creates conditions in the Middle East and throughout the global economy making US regime change against Iran impossible.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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Please let NATO disappear, is the wish of neurosurgeon and chairman of the Serbian Cancer Society  Dr. Danica Grujicic

What have they done to my country?

Who has to decide that I may have to die?

The war itself is a crime, but far beyond that, the soil, people and nature are damaged for billions of years by the use of depleted uranium (DU ammunition with depleted uranium).

This affects not only the Serbian population, i.e. the citizens of Serbia, but also neighbouring countries such as Bulgaria, Greece and Romania, which are NATO members.

In addition, there is the bombardment of chemical industries regardless of a map of places of danger whose release of toxins damages the environment for generations.

We are talking here – as the Senegalese UN rapporteur Bakari Kante did in 1999 – about an ecocide. After 20 years, the time is ripe for a scientific investigation of the damage caused, which has nothing or nothing to do with a “humanitarian operation”.

 

 

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The quiet success of Russia’s “Pivot to Africa” over the past few years has seen Moscow begin to encroach on France’s traditional “sphere of influence” in the continent, which in turn piqued Paris’ interest in negotiating a “New Detente” with its Great Power counterpart in order to rebalance relations between them in the New Cold War.

French President Macron surprised the world earlier this week when he unexpectedly told the Swiss television channel RTS that he wants to restore relations with Russia. RT quoted him as saying such bold statements as

“Europe… must build new rules of trust and security with Russia, and should not only agree with NATO”

and that

“We need to have a strategic debate, so this week I will have another, long and intense conversation with Vladimir Putin, as the president of France and the G7.”

Other highlights of his interview included his warning that “It would not be good to leave Russia to China” as well as a pleasant recognition of the Soviet Union’s sacrifices in World War II after the UK’s recent D-Day commemorative event completely airbrushed its notional ally’s enormous contribution to the defeat of fascism out of history.

Macron is clearly trying to get on President Putin’s good side, and with good reason too, because the Russian leader has presided over his country’s quietly successful “Pivot to Africa” over the past few years that’s seen Moscow begin to encroach on France’s traditional “sphere of influence” in the continent. The author elaborated on this more in depth in his recent piece about how “Russia’s Military Deal With The Congo Completes Its African Transversal“, which asserts that Moscow’s deft application of “military diplomacy” has seen it establish a bi-coastal belt of influence from the Atlantic to the Red Sea via the Congo Republic, the Central African Republic, and Sudan, which therefore places it in a prime position to “balance” continental affairs and provide countries there with a “third choice” between the West (US/France) and China.

France feels threatened by this development because it naturally reduces its influence in this part of the world that it had hitherto taken for granted through its extremely profitable post-colonial policy of “Françafrique”, which in turn has piqued Paris’ interest in negotiating a “New Detente” with Moscow in parallel with the larger one that might achieve some degree of progress during this month’s Jerusalem Summit between the Russian, Israeli, and American National Security Advisors. With the US signaling serious interest about restoring relations with Russia, it only makes sense that the EU begins probing the opportunities to do so too, and France believes that it should take the lead in this respect due to the political uncertainty in the continent’s traditional German and British leaders due to the Greens’ unexpected European Parliamentary success and Brexit, respectively.

By comparison, and recognizing that the ongoing Yellow Vest protests haven’t had much of a tangible effect on French domestic and especially foreign policy like the aforementioned developments have for Germany and the UK, France is actually the most politically stable Western European Great Power. This makes it extremely attractive from a Russian perspective too because of the certainty with which Moscow expects Macron to remain President Putin’s main negotiating partner for the next couple of years unlike the unpredictable situation with his German and British counterparts. Despite the speculative behind-the-scenes progress on a clinching a “New Detente” between the US and Russia, Europe (taken as a collective whole) probably wouldn’t have gotten on board with this initiative in as independent of a way as it’s presently trying had it not been for the African impetus that forced France to act.

Bereft of a confident leader after the Greens’ impressive European Parliamentary showing and the seemingly never-ending chaos of Brexit destabilized the continent’s traditional Great Power leaders, France saw the once-in-a-century opportunity to fill this void and finally have the chance to once again position itself as the most important European country, with its significance rising by the day as the odds of the US and Russia eventually reaching a “New Detente” increase as well. Russia’s been looking for a stable partner to deal with in negotiating the European dimension of this possible geopolitical thaw in the New Cold War, and its “Pivot to Africa” greatly assisted it in piquing France’s attention and helping Paris play this long-sought-after role, with it being possible to more accurately assess the prospects for success after the upcoming but yet unscheduled meeting between Macron and President Putin.

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

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Pence Goes to War: America Will be Fighting Forever

By Philip Giraldi, June 13, 2019

Pence may or may not have known that military academy graduates have only a five-year active duty commitment after graduation. Many do not stay in the service after that point, instead using their security clearances and resumes to obtain well paying positions with defense and national security contractors.

US to Jail 1,400 Immigrant Children at WWII Japanese Internment Site

By Eric London, June 13, 2019

The decision to re-open the internment camp at Fort Sill is a further milestone in the breakdown of democratic forms of rule and a sign that the government is reviving the worst crimes in American history as official state policy. It is a signal to Trump’s extreme right-wing supporters that the government is prepared to enact more openly dictatorial forms of rule.

Insidious Discrimination Against the Roma Is Europe’s Shame

By Prof. Alon Ben-Meir and Arbana Xharra, June 13, 2019

Two weeks ago, a 29-year-old Roma woman was physically attacked in the middle of the day in Kosovo, after a false accusation spread that the victim had been kidnaping children. Social media provided a platform for hate speeches and misleading information, which often precipitates violence against innocent Roma people.

US Senators Meet with Jewish Leaders in Semi-secret Annual Event

By Alison Weir, June 12, 2019

Several of the organizations participating are focused on preventing the erosion of support for Israel among Democratic voters. Recent polls show that the large majority of progressive Americans now support Palestinian human rights.

Towards “NATO-Exit”? Shift in the Structure of Military Coalitions. Turkey’s Alliance with Russia, China and Iran?   

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, June 12, 2019 

Contemporary developments point to a historical shift in the structure of military alliances which could contribute to weakening US hegemony in the Middle East as well as creating conditions which could lead to a breakup of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Japan’s Prime Minister Abe Is Trump’s Informal Ambassador to Iran, but He Wants More Than to Mediate

By Andrew Korybko, June 12, 2019

Japanese Prime Minister Abe is functioning as Trump’s informal ambassador to Iran during his two day trip to the Islamic Republic, though he has much greater strategic interests in mind than just being the US President’s proxy such as expanding his island nation’s footprint in the Mideast as part of its attempt to “contain” China.

The Last Bastion of Al Qaeda in Syria: US Propaganda Blitz Ahead of Idlib’s Liberation

By Tony Cartalucci, June 12, 2019

A concerted effort is being made to once again flood Western headlines with now familiar and long-since discredited war propaganda as Syrian forces and their Russian and Iranian allies move in on Idlib in northern Syria to liberate it from US-backed terrorists.

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The Polish Ministry of Digitalisation has denied (June 11) that Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki signed the Global Appeal to Stop 5G on Earth and in Space.* 

The refutation was put out by the Ministry of Digitalization, the government department that deals with telecommunications. The same department put out a related statement

“The opponents of 5G are heating-up the mood, serving customers fake news – we want to give Poles a reliable source of information about 5G so that no one misleads them.”

Hopes raised that Prime Minister Morawiecki might have some genuine humanitarian concerns for his people appear to have been proved unduly optimistic. 

This week, according to the present parliamentary schedule, Mateusz Morawiecki will lead his government into presenting a new Act that will annul the existing law on ‘acceptable levels’ of Electro Magnetic Frequencies (EMF) in order to introduce microwave frequency transmission levels 10 to 100 times more intense than current levels. This is being done to satisfy the telecommunications industry’s ambition to install  thousands of 5G transmitters across the length and breadth of the Country. 

If this Act is passed, the Prime Minister and government parliamentarians will be complicit in introducing a completely untested technology which over 2,000 scientists and 1,400 medical doctors from all over the World have described as presenting a direct threat to the health of humans, animals, insect and plant life.

The government of Poland appears determined to ignore such medical and scientific warnings. Also to ignore the safety-net known as ‘the precautionary principle’ in which anything judged as causing potential harm cannot be put in the public domain without first undergoing independent assessment for its safety. 

This refusal to follow responsible principles demonstrates that the Prime Minister is ready to sell the freedom of Poland, the health of the  electorate and the welfare of future generations, to corporate interests. The fact is that all decisions on 5G are made without any public consultation or any opportunity to object. 

Awareness of the threat that 5G poses is rapidly growing.

Protests in different parts of Poland are demonstrating the anger people feel at being forced to accept this highly controversial technology.

Some protesters held-off for a while in the hope that Prime Minister Morawiecki had shown a human face. But since it is now officially denied that he supports stopping 5G, resistance will undoubtedly grow, with the effect that in the Autumn election the Polish government (Pis) is likely to be shown a red card for its refusal to listen to the people.

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Julian Rose is an international activist, writer, organic farming pioneer and actor.  In 1987 and 1998, he led a campaign that saved unpasteurised milk from being banned in the UK; and, with Jadwiga Lopata, a ‘Say No to GMO’ campaign in Poland which led to a national ban of GM seeds and plants in that country in 2006. Julian is currently campaigning to ‘Stop 5G’ WiFi. He is the author of two acclaimed titles: Changing Course for Life and In Defence of Life. His latest book ‘Overcoming the Robotic Mind’ will be available from this July. Julian is a long time exponent of yoga/meditation. See his web site for more information and to purchase his books www.julianrose.info

Note

*https://www.5gspaceappeal.org/

Featured image is from Waking Times

Pence Goes to War: America Will be Fighting Forever

June 13th, 2019 by Philip Giraldi

On May 25th Vice President Mike Pence was the featured speaker at the United States Military Academy commencement. His speech was predictably an encomium celebrating both the diversity and the success of the newly commissioned officers as well as of the system at West Point that had produced them, but it also included interesting insights into how he and the other non-veterans who dominate the policy making in the White House see the military.

Most media commentary on the speech was either shocked or pleasantly surprised by Pence’s prediction that the graduating officers would soon be at war. He said

“It is a virtual certainty that you will fight on a battlefield for America at some point in your life. You will lead soldiers in combat. It will happen. Some of you will join the fight against radical Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some of you will join the fight on the Korean Peninsula and in the Indo-Pacific, where North Korea continues to threaten the peace, and an increasingly militarized China challenges our presence in the region. Some of you will join the fight in Europe, where an aggressive Russia seeks to redraw international boundaries by force. And some of you may even be called upon to serve in this hemisphere. And when that day comes, I know you will move to the sound of the guns and do your duty, and you will fight, and you will win. The American people expect nothing less. So, wherever you’re called, I urge you to take what you learned here and put it into practice. Put your armor on, so that when — not if — that day comes, you’ll be able to stand your ground.”

Pence may or may not have known that military academy graduates have only a five-year active duty commitment after graduation. Many do not stay in the service after that point, instead using their security clearances and resumes to obtain well paying positions with defense and national security contractors. If Pence was aware of that five-year window, he was implying that he expects multiple wars will involve the United States during his own remaining time in office, assuming that he and President Donald Trump are reelected in 2020. He might even be assuming that war is inevitable no matter who is in the driver’s seat in the White House because America’s numerous enemies, which he identified, cannot otherwise be dissuaded from their “nefarious behavior.”

Pence’s choice of words is revealing. There is a “virtual certainty” of “fight[ing] on a battlefield for America” and that battlefield is global, including both transnational Islamic terrorism and the western hemisphere. The language implies that American security requires “full spectrum dominance” everywhere. It encompasses traditional national enemies, with a Pyongyang that “threatens peace,” a China that is “militarized,” and a Russia that is both “aggressive” and expansionistic. The soldiers must be prepared to fight “when – not if – that day comes.”

First of all, it is discouraging to note that Pence believes that a war or wars must take place, and further, one must have to wonder exactly what scenarios are envisioned by Pence, and also presumably by his boss and colleagues, regarding precisely how war against other nuclear powers will play out. Nor does he entertain what would happen when the rest of the world begins to perceive the United States at its enemy due to its willingness to interfere in everyone’s politics. And the American soldiers would die not knowing what they were fighting for, since they would understand from the onset that it had nothing to do with the defense of the United States.

The speech is, in short, a recognition that the Trump Administration sees perpetual war on the horizon, a viewpoint that is particularly alarming as one can quite easily make the case that the United States is not seriously threatened at all by anyone on Pence’s enemies list and is therefore the aggressor. China is a regional power, Russia does not have the resources or will to reestablish the Soviet Union, and North Korea has only limited capability to attack anyone, even if it should choose to do so. Islamic terrorism is largely a creation of the United States in the first place and maintains its potency by the adverse impact of the continued US presence in Muslim lands. And the suggestion that Venezuela and/or Cuba might be a threat to America is, quite frankly, laughable.

If Mike Pence is seriously interested in looking around to see who has been most interested in starting new wars, he should look to gentlemen named Bush and Obama, not to mention his own colleagues John Bolton and Mike Pompeo. And then there are Washington’s feckless allies Israel and Saudi Arabia, who are keen to advance their own interests by means of piles of dead American soldiers.

Is there no one around to question why exactly American soldiers are sent to die in so many places that can hardly be found on a map? Or to ask what the compelling national interests might be to require sending soldiers to such God-forsaken death pits? One can be sure that the newly minted Army officers that Pence addressed have no desire to be killed in Mali, but it would take a brave young man or woman to speak the truth if asked by a senior officer.

And Pence unfortunately has many friends who believe in force majeure as he does on Capitol Hill. Senator Lindsey Graham appeared on Fox News Sunday the day after the Vice President spoke and said “I would give Cuba an ultimatum to get out of Venezuela. If they don’t, I would let the Venezuelan military know, you got to choose between democracy and Maduro, and if you choose Maduro and Cuba, we are coming after you. This is in our backyard.”

It should be clearly understood Pence, Graham and Pompeo are all calling for wars of choice, where the military is being used as an option rather than diplomacy in a situation where there is no imminent threat. Iraq, Syria and Libya are examples of such wars and all three have turned out very badly. And then there is the moral dimension. By the standard set by the Nuremberg Trials after World War 2, initiating an armed conflict in that fashion is a war crime. Indeed, it is the ultimate war crime as it brings so many evils with it. Mike Pence’s vision of America the perpetual war criminal is not something to be proud of.

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Philip Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and a columnist and television commentator. He is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest. Other articles by Giraldi can be found on the website of the Unz Review. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from SCF

On 7 December, 2016, nearly six months after the referendum, Prime Minister Theresa May gave a speech to the Gulf Cooperation Council in Bahrain. She said:

“As Britain leaves the European Union so we intend to take a leap forward, to look outwards and seek to become the most committed and most passionate advocate of free trade in the world.”

May also cited the East India Company and while it may seem a peculiar and tone deaf reference – historian William Dalrymple describes ‘The Company’ as, “the supreme act of corporate violence in world history” – she was joining the dots between post-Brexit Britain, free trade and empire.

Why? Because May understood that the glories of Britain past – empire and free trade – underpin the fantasies of many Brexiteers. We’ve seen plans to build trade with Commonwealth African countries called ‘Empire 2.0’ and ministers including Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove and Liam Fox champion a new Royal Yacht Britannia (at a cost of £120 million) to rule the waves as Britain strikes trade deal after trade deal.

Where do we begin – or end – with explaining why evoking empire as the inspirational vision for Brexit Britain is grotesque? We could start with how Britain’s imperialism was founded on racist ideologies, white supremacy and brutal violence that racked up a black and brown bodycount in the tens of millions in a ruthless quest for power and capital.

We could explain that our empire’s vision of free trade was built on protectionism, with tariffs and duties imposed according to British interests and enforced by military might and naval supremacy. Looting – a Hindi word for ransacking – raw materials, labour and food, better describes the extractive and exploitative character of Britain’s empire.

Britain’s history of ‘free’ trade is a fantasy. The reality is a long, dark history of putting profit before people. It’s something which continues today, with the UK supplying billions of pounds of arms to Saudi Arabia that have been used to bomb civilians in Yemen and have contributed to a humanitarian crisis where an estimated 85,000 children have died from starvation.

Spiridione Roma’s The East Offering Her Riches to Britannia, 1778, commissioned by the East India Company for the ceiling of East India House in London, a panegyric to British colonial domination | Credit: British Library

Weavers to beggars

In a 2015 address to the Oxford Union, Indian MP and historian, Shashi Tharoor outlined how India’s world renowned textiles industry was dismantled by Britain. “Britain’s industrial revolution was premised on the deindustrialisation of India. For example, the handloom weavers, whose products were  exported around the world.

The British came in, smashed their thumbs and broke their looms, imposed tariffs and duties on their cloth and began flooding the world with manufactured cloth, the products of the dark and satanic mills of Victorian England,” said Tharoor. “That meant the weavers became beggars and India went from being a world famous exporter of finished cloth to an importer. India’s share of the world economy when the British arrived on its shores [1600] was 23%, by the time it left [1947] it was down to less than 4%. Why? Because India was governed for the benefit of Britain,” explained the author of Inglorious Empire, a sobering account of the British Empire in India.

Trading in humans

However, it’s the transatlantic slave trade that is the most shocking example of the British Empire’s sacrificing of black lives at the altar of profit. Between 15 million and 20 million Africans were shackled and forcibly transported from West Africa to the Caribbean, central America and South America. When Britain abolished its trade in human beings in 1833, 245 years after it began, the government compensated British slave owners £20 million (£17 billion in today’s money), for ‘loss of property’.

Slavery devastated the continent, causing depopulation and wars and instability, while the loss of tens of millions of men stunted agricultural production, leading to underdevelopment. Just 20 years after America abolished slavery in 1865, the ‘scramble for Africa’ began and by the early 20th century the vast majority of the entire continent was colonised – and looted – by European powers.

Trade and war

The mid-19th century Opium Wars capture how Britain’s ‘free trade’ crusade overwhelmingly served Britain’s interest. Britain declared war on China to protect the eyewatering revenues of its merchants who monopolised the lucrative opium trade. The East India Company forced desperate farmers in India to grow poppies (when they could be growing food to sell and eat), ran vast opium processing factories and the trade with China, where millions were ravaged by opium addiction. When Britain’s warships defeated China in 1842, China was forced to accept free trade, including the damaging, morally bankrupt trade in opium. This is a glimpse of what British ‘free trade’ looked like and why it’s deeply troubling to see it and empire being lauded by politicians.

Colonialism and its free trade zealotry established the framework of globalised neoliberalism today, with inequality and pillaging of the global south its defining traits.

Empire state of mind

Since the sun set on empire, Britain has failed to have a meaningful and open discussion about it and how it’s shaped the world today, whether migration in Britain, the slave trade, free trade, its marauding nature, the Opium Wars, concentration camps in South Africa, the Partitions of Ireland, Palestine and India, or why regions of West Africa were known as the gold coast, ivory coast, grain coast and slave coast (as 20-year-old rapper, Dave, notes in his track ‘Black’).

Instead our institutions display an empire state of mind – it’s evident in the treatment of Windrush citizens, British citizens illegally turfed out because of their skin colour, the Foreign Office’s recent recruitment drive with adverts asking, “Fancy an African adventure?”, and a racist criminal justice system.

This mindset is damaging trade talks: today Indian companies own Jaguar, Land Rover and Tetley, and thousands of steel workers’ jobs in Port Talbot are in the hands of Indian multinational giant Tata. And yet sources close to trade talks between India and the UK describe Britain’s stance as “we want your business, we don’t want your people”.

Cape Coast Castle, one of about forty ‘slave castles’ built on the ‘Gold Coast‘ of West Africa (now Ghana). Its large underground dungeon held up to 1,000 slaves | Credit: Julius Cruickshank/Wikimedia

Education, education, education

Education would help to redress the impact of the colonial propaganda project, Operation Legacy, which systematically destroyed millions of empire documents, and is surely a contributing factor in a near majority of Britons saying empire was a good thing in public polling today.

Teaching empire in schools and universities from myriad perspectives is not only a necessity to unpick the empire fantasies inherent in Britain’s national character, but because nearly one in ten people in Britain has heritage in places Britain plundered; it isour collective history.

There are grassroots initiatives doing this work and stimulating much needed discussion and analysis of empire, such as the decolonising movement in universities, Colonial Countryside and Our Migration Story. In time we might see the end of empire nostalgia being used to sell us stuff, such as Marks & Spencer ‘Empire Pie’ and Gourmet Burger Kitchen ‘Old Colonial Burger’, and slave auction worksheets being used in a secondary school. Brexit may have bored us to tears, but it’s revealed 21st century Britain is haunted by the ghosts of empire and rather than being used to Make Britain Great Again, surely they need to be laid to rest.

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Featured image: Edward Duncan’s painting of the East India Company iron steam ship Nemesis destroying Chinese war junks in Anson’s Bay, 1843 | Credit: National Maritime Museum, London

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The Pentagon announced yesterday that the Trump administration will detain 1,400 immigrant children at the site of a World War II-era Japanese internment camp, Fort Sill Army Base in Lawton, Oklahoma.

The decision, announced Tuesday as Trump denounced immigrants and socialism at a rally in Iowa, is a calculated political maneuver.

“Immigration really is the defining issue of 2020,” Trump said in Des Moines shortly after the Pentagon announcement. “When it comes to immigration, Democrats no longer represent American citizens. … The Democratic Party is really now the socialist party.”

The decision to re-open the internment camp at Fort Sill is a further milestone in the breakdown of democratic forms of rule and a sign that the government is reviving the worst crimes in American history as official state policy. It is a signal to Trump’s extreme right-wing supporters that the government is prepared to enact more openly dictatorial forms of rule.

“It’s a gut punch to us to repeat history like this,” David Inoue, executive director of the Japanese American Citizens League, told the World Socialist Web Site.

“Those who were incarcerated under Japanese internment often return to the camps on pilgrimages to demand that such places be recognized for the egregious wrongs that took place there. Now, further injustices will be happening at these same locations. The trauma inflicted on these immigrant children will last for generations.”

Fort Sill housed some 700 Japanese-Americans, including US citizens and first-generation immigrants, known as issei, during World War II. During Japanese internment, Fort Sill was known for its fierce windstorms and its unbearably hot temperatures. Average highs in July are 97 degrees Fahrenheit.

Between 1942 and 1946, the US government jailed 120,000 people at internment camps across the country without trial. Internment was initiated via Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 on February 12, 1942.

Interned children, 1943

Mass internment had been statutorily “legalized” by the Alien Registration Act of 1940—also known as the Smith Act. Months before the mass internment of Japanese-Americans began, the act was first used to prosecute 29 members of the Socialist Workers Party during the Minneapolis Sedition Trial of 1941. The trial ended less than eight weeks before Executive Order 9066 when 18 Trotskyists were sentenced to federal prison for opposing US intervention in World War II.

Fort Sill was the site of one of the many murders conducted by US Army prison guards during internment. The Encyclopedia of Japanese American Internment explains:

“On May 12, 1942, Kanesaburo Oshima, a barber from the island of Hawaii, climbed the outer barbed-wire fence in broad daylight reportedly shouting, ‘I want to go home!’ A guard barked out a warning, while another shot Oshima dead in front of his friends who had urged they be allowed to help him get down from the fence and return to the camp. Oshima was depressed, his friends revealed. He had been forced to leave his wife and 12 children who had little means of support.”

Oshima’s funeral “was attended by all of Fort Sill’s Japanese Americans. Also present were Army guards with machine guns pointed at the mourners because they feared an uprising.”

In Life Behind Barbed Wire, an internee recalled,

“that night a mentally disturbed internee from the Mainland died from shock as a result of Mr. Oshima’s death. The camp grew even more melancholy.”

Manzanar Internment Camp, California

The military calls the new internment camp a “temporary emergency influx shelter,” a dystopian echo of the US Army War Relocation Authority’s decision to label Japanese internment camps “relocation centers.”

Unlike the internees during the Second World War, the new internees will be isolated from their parents and denied basic visitation rights. They will also not be provided with education or recreation during their detention. While Japanese internees famously organized their own baseball leagues to lessen the isolation and boredom of their illegal detention, the Trump administration has refused to allow immigrant children outdoors to play soccer at today’s internment camps.

The decision underscores that no democratic rights, no matter how basic, can be defended by the Democratic Party. In 1993, then-President Bill Clinton issued a statement offering “a sincere apology to you for the actions that unfairly denied Japanese Americans and their families fundamental liberties during World War II. … In retrospect, we understand that the nation’s actions were rooted deeply in racial prejudice, wartime hysteria, and a lack of political leadership.”

Twenty-five years later, these statements have been exposed as meaningless. The Democratic Party has responded to the Pentagon announcement with silence. The Democrats are driven by their own pro-war hysteria, directed chiefly at Russia. The locking-up of immigrant children under a presidential declaration of “national emergency” by Trump is the logical product of permanent national security state established in the bipartisan “war on terror.”

It was Democratic President Barack Obama who temporarily detained immigrant children at Fort Sill in 2014 and who deported more immigrants than all previous presidents combined. At press time, Democratic “socialists” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders had not spoken or tweeted about the internment of immigrant children at Fort Sill.

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Fort Sill Internment Camp

To the faces of my children sleeping, I will not say goodbye nor will I forget… Taken prisoner by the dark and furious. On this night of endless rain. -Muin Ozaki, Fort Sill internee

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Hours before President Trump took office, the Obama administration scrambled to purge 12 years worth of transcripts spanning hundreds of speeches from the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) website, according to the Daily Caller‘s Jason Hopkins. 

An Internet Archive Wayback Machine capture of the “Speeches and Testimonies” page from late in the evening of January 19, 2017. (via the Sunlight Foundation)

A collection of 190 transcripts of speeches on ICE’s website was deleted on Jan. 18 and late in the evening on Jan. 19, 2017, according to research conducted by the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan organization that advocates for government transparency. Statements made by high-ranking ICE officials regarding controversial immigration topics such as sanctuary cities, E-Verify, treatment of detainees, and other issues were included in the reported deletions. –Daily Caller

With a couple of clicks of a mouse, access to a federal government web resource containing 12 years of primary source materials on ICE’s history was lost,” wrote the Sunlight Foundation, adding that speeches dating back to 2004 were included in the purge.

The Caller notes that speeches from former acting ICE Director Thomas Homan were “prominently included in the deletion list,” including a February 2016 speech in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee in which Homan discussed that “Unaccompanied Minor Crisis,” which the Obama administration was grappling to manage at the southern border.

Another example cited by the Caller was a transcript from May 2016 in which Homan explained why sanctuary cities (and counties, and states) put “the public at risk,” according to the report.

The Sunlight Foundation offered the following commentary to explain the purge: “It is not inconceivable that an outgoing Democratic administration might want to avoid preserving these public stances for future scrutiny,” adding “The removal of the ICE speeches collection represents the loss of a primary source history of the early days of ICE, dating back to its creation during the George W. Bush administration in 2003.”

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Survivors and families of the Grenfell Tower disaster in London, in 2017, in which 72 people were either burned to death or poisoned by lethally toxic fumes of hydrogen cyanide gas, are this week reported to have instructed lawyers to file one of the largest class actions for product liability in US history, against the manufacturers and suppliers of allegedly fire-accelerant cladding and insulation materials.

How is it then conceivable that the police and/ or Crown Prosecution Service, in Britain, have indicated that it is most unlikely that the current investigation will result in any prosecutions for either corporate manslaughter or gross criminal negligence against any architect, surveyor, building inspector, local authority, manufacturer or supplier who were involved in the external cladding contract for Grenfell Tower?

This would appear to be a scandal of very serious consequences and a gross failure not only of the criminal justice system but for this government and its fire/ building regulations and also for the local authority building inspectorate.

There would appear to a be strong case for a judicial review of any failure by the CPS to prosecute those alleged responsible for the worst civilian loss of life in a residential building fire since World War 2.

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Hans Stehling (pen name) is an analyst based in the UK. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from TruePublica

The scenario of a hard Brexit would “increase the likelihood of Scotland becoming independent,” Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has told EURACTIV in an exclusive interview. Her comments come as hard and soft Brexit Conservatives start jockeying for the vacant UK prime minister role.

Touching down in Brussels on Tuesday (11 June) for bilateral meetings with EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, a spirited Sturgeon said that the possibility of a hard Brexit would make the option of Scottish independence more feasible for voters in the country.

A hard Brexit, Sturgeon said, “will lead many people in Scotland to consider that independence is not just desirable, but that it has become more urgent to protect ourselves from the damage that a no-deal Brexit would do.”

EURACTIV pressed Sturgeon on whether she thought the key to Scottish independence could, in fact, be hardline Brexiteer Boris Johnson as the next UK prime minister.

Johnson has said he will refuse to hand over the £39bn EU withdrawal payment until the bloc offers the UK a better deal, and has committed in no uncertain terms to withdrawing from the EU by the deadline of 31 October 2019.

“The key to Scottish independence is a majority of people in Scotland confidently deciding that we should be an independent country,” Sturgeon said.

“Brexit, or the prospect of Boris Johnson or any of these hardline Brexiteers being prime minister, will undoubtedly further illustrate the divergent paths politically that Scotland and the rest of the UK are on,” she added.

With the race for the next UK Prime Minister firmly underway, other Conservative candidates for the job have been running their campaigns the UK’s future relationship with the EU. There are currently 10 candidates in the running for the position.

Alongside Johnson, one of the other favourites to obtain the job, Environment Secretary Michael Gove, has said he would consider a further delay to the Brexit deadline and would attempt to negotiate changes to the ‘backstop’ – an insurance policy agreed between the EU and the UK to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Matt Hancock, the current health secretary, is considered one of the more  ‘softer’ Brexit candidates. For him, the choice is between leaving the UK with a deal or not leaving at all. Hancock would seek a free-trade agreement signed off by the EU and the UK, as well as the rights of EU citizens enshrined in law.

On the harder side of the Brexit debate, the former leader of the House of Commons, Andrea Leadsom, has said leaving the EU by 31 October is  her “hard red line”, and in order to achieve this, Leadsom would lead a delegation of government ministers to Brussels in September to ensure that everything is in place for the UK’s exit by the end of October.

Meanwhile, many on the ‘Remain’ side of the Brexit debate are continuing to show frustration with the Labour leadership for its lack of a coherent position on the issue of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

Reports surfaced on Monday (10 June) of a ‘heated’ meeting between Jeremy Corbyn and fellow Labour Party MPs, with pro-EU MP Peter Kyle reportedly holding Corbyn to account over his failure to back a second referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU.

For her part, Sturgeon was unambiguous in saying that should the UK leave the EU on 31 October without a deal, the Labour party must be held responsible for its inability to support the notion of a second referendum and form a Remain-coalition in the House of Commons.

“Jeremy Corbyn is the roadblock barrier to building a coalition behind a second referendum,” Sturgeon said. “If the UK crashes out of the EU with no deal at the end of October, the primary responsibility lies with the Conservatives and those that advocated Brexit, but not far behind there will be Jeremy Corbyn, whose prevarication will have made it harder to avoid that outcome.”

“I hope that we see Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party finally come off the fence and get behind a second referendum. I think history will judge them very harshly if they don’t.”

More broadly, Sturgeon also reassured Scottish citizens living in the EU that SNP politicians would seek to protect their rights as the 31 October deadline approaches.

“To Scots living across Europe, we want to protect your ability to live and work and study freely across Europe, just as we want to protect those from other European countries who live in Scotland,” Sturgeon told EURACTIV.

She added that when and if the UK withdraws from the European Union, she would expect Scotland’s path back into the bloc to be straightforward.

“I think it is inconceivable that the path [of Brexit] doesn’t end with Scotland being warmly welcomed as an independent member of the European Union,” she said.

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Featured image: Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon sat down with EURACTIV on Tuesday to discuss future EU-Scotland relations after Brexit.

Insidious Discrimination Against the Roma Is Europe’s Shame

June 13th, 2019 by Prof. Alon Ben-Meir

Two weeks ago, a 29-year-old Roma woman was physically attacked in the middle of the day in Kosovo, after a false accusation spread that the victim had been kidnaping children. Social media provided a platform for hate speeches and misleading information, which often precipitates violence against innocent Roma people. Generally, the hatred and disdain toward Roma by the Balkan and wider European population is sadly embedded in their psyche and cultural orientation. This largely explains why a Roma woman was beaten on a city street while a crowd of young people watched with utter indifference. One wonders why European governments are not taking all the necessary measures to stop this type of appalling behavior, especially in countries that aspire to join the EU.

According to the European Commission, there are 10-12 million Roma living in Europe, out of which one million live in Western Balkan countries. They are the largest ethnic minority in Europe, largely live in poverty, and are victims of prejudice, violence, social exclusion, child abuse, and sexual slavery. It was reported in 2018 that hundreds of Roma children have been trafficked in the Netherlands alone as sex slaves. Even though EU countries have banned discrimination against the Roma community, they still face major obstacles in education, access to healthcare, and certainly job opportunities.

Image result for roma people

Source: Around the O – University of Oregon

In reaction to the attack on the Roma woman, Kosovo’s Ambassador to DC, Vlora Citaku, shared a personal anecdote describing how Kosovo society has discriminated against Roma people for decades. She wrote,

“Nurije and Fitimi were in my class. They always sat in the back of the classroom even though the teacher asked them to sit with us. But we made fun of them, we wouldn’t touch them, play, or talk to them. One day when Nurije fell sick and didn’t come to school for weeks… our teacher tried to make us play together and would punish us if we hurt or made fun of them. They stopped going to school because we became intolerable … and it is all our fault”.

Representatives of the Equal Rights for All Coalition (ERAC) in Kosovo strongly condemned the attack and the misinformation that led to it, and beseeched the community not to encourage acts of violence.

The World Bank report “Breaking the Cycle of Roma Exclusion in the Western Balkans”, published in March 2019, explains how Roma face multiple barriers and constraints that hinder their ability to amass human capital, participate in the labor market on an equal basis, and benefit economically.

“The insufficient stock and accumulation of human, physical, financial, and social capital have hindered the ability of Roma households to generate income over the life cycle”, says the report.

Many Roma live in isolated communities and are often unaware of or unable to access social services and programs available. Illiteracy, lack of access to information, absence of trust in local authorities, and even lack of perceived need (as in the case of childcare) are among the barriers faced by Roma.

Sadly, it is not only in the Balkan countries where Roma communities face discrimination and physical violence. In many EU states, including Hungary, Italy, and the United Kingdom, Roma are confined to segregated areas, denied basic education and job opportunities, and routinely suffer racist assaults in city streets and campsites, often with police complicity.

Attackers have sought out and violently assaulted whole families, burned their homes, and nearly wiped out a whole community in settlements across Europe. Violence against Roma is gravely underreported, and Roma are often viewed as scapegoats for broader societal ills, often characterized as outsiders who are inferior citizens and are unwanted in their respective communities.

The Roma community was persecuted by the Nazi regime, viewed as a threat to the “superior Aryan” race. Himmler declared that the Roma were to be placed on “the same level as Jews and placed in concentration camps.” Seventy-four years after the fall of the Nazis, the situation of Roma in Europe hasn’t improved much. Although Roma are no longer victims of genocide, they still face high levels of discrimination, abuse, and violence.

In Hungary in 2009, a Roma man with his 5-year-old son were shot and killed while fleeing their home, which was set on fire by attackers. In March 2019 in Paris, a series of vigilante attacks were sparked by false reports of attempted kidnappings. A violent attack last summer on a Roma encampment outside of the city of Lviv in Ukraine left one dead and four others injured, including a young boy and a pregnant woman.

The situation is not improving, even though for many years the EU has focused action on preventing Roma discrimination. In 2011, the European Commission produced an EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies, assessing each country’s strategy and integration policy measures. Since 2013, the European Council adopted a recommendation on effective Roma integration measures in the member states—a first ever EU-level legal instrument for Roma inclusion.

Xhemal Ahmeti, a journalist and historian originally from Macedonia, says that according to the latest reports published by human rights organizations, the Roma are most affected in Romania and some Balkan countries such as Serbia and Macedonia.

“They are also used by the politicians, especially during the election campaign. When [politicians] need crowds of people, they instrumentalize the Roma community with little money to get their electoral support”, says Ahmeti.

Given the systematic human rights violations of Roma people, top-ranking EU officials in particular must prioritize addressing the routine ill-treatment of Roma because it is a core violation of basic human rights, which the EU is supposed to espouse. Civil society, the media, and NGOs should be mobilized to campaign against Roma discrimination, raise awareness about the gross discriminatory practices, and the damages it causes to society.

The Roma community issue and their treatment must seriously be addressed by the European Commission, and especially by the prospective Balkan candidate countries who wish to join the EU. The EU must make it clear to these countries that they must take immediate and significant measures to address the discrimination against Roma in all aspects of life, particularly in the fields of education, healthcare, and professional skills. Otherwise, they would risk the continuing accession process, if not the prospect of joining the EU altogether.

According to the World Bank’s latest report in March 2019,

“Roma inclusion is not only a moral imperative… This is particularly important in aging societies because absorbing Roma entrants into the labor force can help counteract shrinking working-age populations. Roma are a young population, and this youth bulge can be turned into a demographic dividend through proper investment in education and basic services.”

Discrimination based on race, sect, religious belief, or gender is sadly ingrained in our system as human beings. Distinguishing ourselves from the “other” largely because of our belief in our superiority or exclusivity gives us a sense of false empowerment that we enjoy exercising, even, if not especially, by inflicting unbearable pain and suffering onto the other.

Whereas we cannot change human nature, we can change our behavior and become more tolerant and facilitate Roma integration in all walks of life. We should do so not only for the sake of social harmony and peace, but for the overall productivity and progress that can be made when equality and justice prevail.

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Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is a professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU. He teaches courses on international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies. [email protected] Web: www.alonben-meir.com

Arbana Xharra authored a series of investigative reports on religious extremists and Turkey’s Islamic agenda operating in the Balkans. She has won numerous awards for her reporting, and was a 2015 recipient of the International Women of Courage Award from the US State Department.

Featured image is from KALLXO.com

During the night of June 12, warplanes of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) launched a barrage of missiles at targets near Tell al-Hara in southern Syria. According to the Syrian state media, the IDF employed electronic warfare measures to suppress Syrian air defense systems. Despite this, at least some of the missiles were intercepted and the strike caused material damage only.

Tell al-Hara is known for being one of the positions of the Syrian Air Defense Forces in the area. Pro-Israeli sources as always speculate that the target of the attack were some ‘Iranian targets’.

The June 12 attack was the third Israeli strike on Syria in June. The previous strikes targeted the T4 airport on June 3 and Syrian Army positions east of the Golan Heights on June 2.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Houras al-Din and their allies once again repelled an attack by the Syrian Army on their positions near Kbani in northern Lattakia. On June 11, pro-government troops, backed up by battle tanks, seized several points near the town and were about to enter it. However, by June 12, they had been forced to retreat suffering some casualties. According to pro-militant sources, at least 4 soldiers were killed.

Clashes also continued near Jubain and Tal Malah in northern Hama. Pro-government sources claim that the army had recently destroyed a vehicle and a battle tank belonging to militants in this area. Multiple foreign militants are now involved in the standoff against the Syrian Army there. For example, the Uzbek group Katibat al Tawhid wal Jihad linked with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham released a photo report with its members on the frontline.

Units of the Syrian Army repelled an attack by ISIS cells in the area east of Palmyra in the province of Homs. According to pro-government sources, the army eliminated at least 3 militants. Casualties among pro-government forces were also reported.

The desert area in the provinces of Homs and Deir Ezzor is flooded with ISIS cells. However, the complicated situation in northwestern Syria and the continuing security operations in southern Syria do not allow Damascus to allocate the necessary forces to deal with this threat right now.

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Read part I from the link below.

On Global Capitalist Crises: Systemic Changes and Challenges

By Dr. Jack Rasmus and Mohsen Abdelmoumen, June 09, 2019

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Mohsen Abdelmoumen: In your very interesting book, Epic Recession: Prelude to Global Depression, you make a wise review and provide solutions. Why is the crisis inevitable?

Dr. Jack Rasmus: Because the solutions applied to the last crisis will inevitably lead to a more generalized, and potentially deeper and more serious crisis next time. Here’s how: the excess liquidity injected by the central banks to stabilize the financial markets after 2008-09 has been generating even more debt and debt leveraged investment. That has created financial asset bubbles today in global stocks, junk bonds, leveraged loans, triple BBB (junk) rated investment grade bonds, bubbles in derivatives and other asset markets, commercial real estate, etc. The debt levels have reached a magnitude such that once asset market prices begin to unwind and contract (some of which are now occurring), servicing of the excess debt will fail.

That unwinding will contract asset prices further, causes defaults and bankruptcies, and generates a credit crash. The contagion then spills over to the real economy. Non-financial sectors of the economy then begin to contract in turn, as credit availability disappears. Production cutbacks, cost cutting, and layoffs follow. Households, already carrying severe debt loads ($13.5 trillion in US alone) default on their loans. Banks with existing severe non-performing loans (more than $10 trillion globally, centered in Europe, Japan, and India will have to write them off en masse. Business and household defaults result in the collapse of bank lending.

Business confidence plummets, real investment dries up further, and prices for assets, goods, and inputs deflate, causing a still further deterioration. In other words, the excess liquidity injected into the global economy by central banks after 2008 (more than $25 trillion) temporarily stabilized the financial system. But in doing so it generated more even cheaper credit and debt that flowed into highly leveraged investment in both financial assets and real assets. The solution—i.e. excess liquidity and more debt and leveraging—thus becomes the basis for renewed bubbles and financial crisis. The now even greater debt and leveraging intensifies contagion effects, amplifies the scope and magnitude of the next crisis, and accelerates the propagation across markets and economies.

The solution to the last crisis becomes the fundamental cause of the next. That’s why it’s inevitable. Again, watch the most fragile financial markets associated with junk bonds, leveraged loans, BBB corporate bonds, stock markets, already non-performing loans in Europe and Asia, and government bonds of economies like Argentina, Turkey, and others. I’d throw in exchange traded funds, a form of derivatives, probably as well once stock markets correct more than 20% next time. Another problem is that central banks in Europe and Japan already have negative interest rates. Once the next crisis appears they will be limited as to what they can do. They’ll likely double down on even more QE (note: Quantitative Easing), interest free loans to businesses and other banks, and even more draconian measures like bail-ins of depositors money where depositors are forced to convert their cash to near worthless bank stock.

Mohsen Abdelmoumen: In your book Systemic Fragility in the Global Economy, you explain that traditional economic policies have failed and that the next crisis may be worse than 2008-09. Is not the capitalist system out of breath and unable to regenerate itself?

Jack Rasmus: Thus far, it has been able to regenerate—but only temporarily. As the economy is restructured following a major crisis—as it was in 1909-14, 1944-53, and again 1979-88—the restructuring regenerates the leading capitalist economy (e.g. the US) but at the expense of working classes and some capitalist competitors. The recovery thereafter dissipates and the crisis then reappears in more severe form. This has been the case since the early 1970s in particular. Reagan’s restructuring succeeded in generating a recovery—at the expense of Europe, Japan, and American working class—but the same restructuring led to financial instability and crises in all three sectors of global capital and culminated in the crash of 2008-09. The US recovery thereafter was rapid for capital incomes, but slow and tepid for wage incomes. And the recovery never really took hold in the weak links of Europe and Japan where subsequent recessions occurred after 2008-09, in a kind of ‘stop-go’ slow and shallow recovery punctuated by recessions—i.e. what I’ve called a classic ‘epic recession’.

Mohsen Abdelmoumen: You also wrote Central Bankers at the End of Their Rope?: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression. Your analyzes and your work constantly warn about a major economic crisis to come. Why, in your opinion, can’t the capitalist system learn the lessons of previous crises?

Jack Rasmus: After a crisis capitalists do find a way to restore profitability and expand capital. However, the restoration is only temporary, as I’ve said. But that’s acceptable for them. They’ll take a temporary recovery for all so long as it’s a significant temporary recovery for capital incomes. An alternative, longer term solution to the crisis would not as quickly restore profitability and growth, so they do not undertake it. A broader based, longer term restoration also risks strengthening opposition (to capitalism) forces and they don’t want to ‘go there’, as they say. For example, the US policy makers after 2008-09 embarked on a massive central bank money injection to bail out the banks and large corporations to the tune of more than $10 trillion, half of which was QE direct subsidy by the Fed buying bad securities. Tens of trillions in tax cuts for corporations and investors followed as well. Profits and capital incomes accelerated, as the bailout by the Fed (monetary) and Congress (fiscal tax cuts) was redistributed by corporations to shareholders.

More than $1 trillion a year was thus redistributed in the form of stock buybacks and dividend payouts just from the Fortune 500 alone. In 2018 it was $1.4 trillion. In 2019 it’s running at more than $1.5 trillion. Meanwhile, wage incomes are stagnating for the bottom 90% of the 162 million labor force in the US due to the restructuring of labor markets to the disadvantage of working class folks. So the ‘lesson’ capitalists have learned is how to quickly ensure they recover from a crisis by using monetary and fiscal policies to directly subsidize their incomes. Such policies in the 21st century are more about the State subsidizing capital incomes than they are about stabilizing the unstable, crisis prone economy.

Mohsen Abdelmoumen: You wrote The Scourge of Neoliberalism: US Economic Policy from Reagan to Trump, to appear this September 2019. Why in your opinion can the capitalist system only generate crises?

Jack Rasmus: Crisis generation is embedded in the very ‘economic DNA’ of 21st century capitalism. It constantly over-expands (externally & geographically and internally & technologically). The over-expansion gets away with itself and results in severe global imbalances of various kinds: financial investment over real investment; money capital outflow excesses from the advanced capitalist core economies (US, Europe, Japan) to the emerging market economies; labor inflows from the periphery economies to the advanced core; trade imbalances or goods flow imbalances; technological change imbalances within the advanced economies; imbalances in the price systems as asset bubbles expand faster than goods or factor input prices; employment imbalances as need for skilled labor goes unfulfilled as unskilled labor accumulates on the sidelines as unemployed, underemployed, and contingent-gig service workers. All these, related imbalances generate the crises.

But capitalism feeds off the crises it creates. It feeds off its ‘dead and rotten’ destruction it creates during the. It creates a kind of ‘carrion capital’ during the crisis which it then devours in order to jump start a re-expansion process once again. Capital is by nature cannibalistic. It needs periodic destruction in order to resuscitate itself. The problem is the destruction is growing in magnitude and severity and causing increasingly severe consequences for the working classes, while leading to more intense competition among capitalists sectors globally as well. To use a metaphor, Capitalism is like sharks. It is reborn after a crisis like fetal sharks in the belly of the mama shark. The larger devour their smaller brethren while still in the womb. The few then emerge and reborn even stronger, larger, and more voracious than before.

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Dozens of Syrian families have been released from the US-controlled Rukban Concentration Camp in Al-Tanf, southeast of Syria.

The released families arrived at the Jaligam crossing in Homs eastern countryside after spending years in forced displacement and detention by the US forces illegally in that remote desert area and their terrorist groups of ISIS and its Maghaweer Thawra affiliates.

US forces and their alternative armies of terrorists hold thousands of Syrian civilians in the Rukban Concentration Camp in the worst humanitarian conditions who fled ISIS invasion to their villages to be directed by the US-sponsored FSA terrorists to a makeshift disgrace of humanity concentration camp at the furthest corner of Syria where they have been held for years now.

Syrian news agency SANA interviewed a number of the released residents who have expressed their extreme joy and happiness for their ‘freedom after years of humiliation, poverty, diseases, coldness, and unjust treatment by the terrorist groups operating the Concentration Camp under the US protection.

Many families have been released, especially in the past couple of months, those were able to pay the high bounty for Donald Trump non-uniformed Al-Qaeda troops, some pay up to $1500 per person to be allowed to exit the concentration camp into the open desert. Luckily for those, the Syrian government and the Russian Reconciliation Center have already provided buses to pick them up from the roads into safety.

The freed families are being hosted in a temporary center where they will be receiving medical care, proper human-safe food, and clean drinking water, they’ll also receive humane treatment by the Syrian authorities in the camp, the Syrian Red Crescent, with the help of the Russian Reconciliation Center. Later on, the families will be taken back to their homes in the villages and towns the Syrian Arab Army has cleaned from the terrorist groups and secured from landmines and IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) the terrorists usually plant behind them in the areas they infest.

Syria and Russia have repeatedly called on the USA to end the suffering of thousands of Syrian families held against their will in disastrous conditions in the concentration camps of Rukban in the southeast of Syria and Al-Hol in the northeast which in turn is controlled by the US-sponsored SDF Kurdish separatist militias.

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Featured image is from Syria News

An article in the Times of Israel reports that “Jewish leaders are meeting with Senate Democrats today.” According to the report, this is an annual event. A quarter of the Senate was in attendance (see list below).

All except one of the organizations represented by the Jewish leaders at the meeting advocate for Israel.

Several of the organizations participating are focused on preventing the erosion of support for Israel among Democratic voters. Recent polls show that the large majority of progressive Americans now support Palestinian human rights.

Many of the meeting participants, both Senators and Jewish leaders, are particularly known for their pro-Israel work. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer calls himself a “guardian of Israel.”

Time, location, & agenda hidden from US voters

The meeting does not seem to have been announced publicly ahead of time, and staffers at Senate offices contacted for this article were not aware of it.

The chair for the meeting is Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, a 2020 presidential candidate.

Klobuchar is a strong Israel supporter and announces on her website that she supported the $38 billion package to Israel. (This amounts to about $7,000 to Israel per minute; approximately $20,000 per Israeli family of four.)

Klobuchar’s office would not reveal the location or time of the meeting. It also would not provide the agenda.

The offices of other Senators reportedly participating in the meeting that were contacted for this article – Tim Kaine, Patty Murray, and Chris Koons – also refused to provide this information to the American public.

Jewish Insider terms the event “Meeting of Machers” (wheeler dealers).

Nathan Diament, Executive Director for Public Policy for the Jewish Orthodox Union, posted a photo about the meeting on his Twitter account (see above), but didn’t clarify when the photo was taken.

Following are the meeting’s participants, according to Jewish Insider:

Senators:

Amy Kloburchar (D-MN)

Chuck Schumer (D-NY),

Ben Cardin (D-MD),

Tim Kaine (D-VA),

Chris Coons (D-DE),

Bob Menendez (D-NJ),

Patty Murray (D-WA),

Jacky Rosen (D-NV),

Ed Markey (D-MA),

Michael Bennet (D-CO),

Richard Blumenthal (D-CT),

Maria Cantwell (D-WA),

Tom Carper (D-DE),

Bob Casey (PA),

Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV),

Dick Durbin (D-IL),

Maggie Hassan (D-NH),

Mazie Hirono (D-HI),

Chris Murphy (D-CT),

Patty Murray (D-CT),

Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH),

Debbie Stabenow (D-MI),

Tom Udall (D-NM),

Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)

Ron Wyden (D-OR).

The Jewish leaders

AIPAC’s Howard Kohr

J Street’s Jeremy Ben Ami

ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt,

JNFA’s Mark Wilf

Conference of President’s Arthur Stark

Democratic Majority for Israel’s Mark Mellman

Jewish Democratic Council of America’s Ron Klein

Israel Policy Forum’s Susie Gelman

The Rabbinical Assembly’s Rabbi Julie Schonfeld

Union for Reform Judaism’s Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Orthodox Union’s Avi Katz

Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society’s Mark Hetfield

National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry’s Mark B. Levin

Jewish Women International’s Loribeth Weinstein

Jewish Council for Public Affairs’ David Bernstein

Bend the Arc’s Stosh Cotler  (Unlike the other organizations represented at the meeting, Bend the Arc has not taken a public stand on Israel-Palestine. A member of Bend the Arc’s executive board, Howard Welinsky, is active in AIPAC and chairs Democrats for Israel, Los Angeles. Stosh Cotler, on the other hand, once demonstrated against Israeli policies.)

Millions more dollars to “nonprofits”

JTA Washington DC bureau chief Ron Kampeas reports in his email news letter that in addition to discussing Israel and antisemitism, “The Orthodox Union and the Jewish Federations of North America talked up legislation that would increase funding for security grants to nonprofits. A bill under consideration in the Senate ups the current $50 million to $70 million, and one in the House brings it to $90 million.”

A 2014 article in the Jewish Forward reported that Jewish institutions got 94 percent of such grants.

 

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This article has been updated based on the Jewish Insider article’s update after the meeting, which listed more Senators than originally listed. It has also been updated with information from JTA’s The Tell email report, by Ron Kampeas. Although the meeting is now being called “off the record,” it appears that Jewish Insider had access to it and has provided some details here.

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.

All images in this article are from If Americans Knew

A total of 18 charges against Assange, with reportedly more to come, are all about wanting truth-telling journalism the way it should be on vital domestic and geopolitical issues silenced.

Trump regime hardliners want information about US wrongdoing suppressed. They want the official narrative alone to be reported.

Establishment media are complicit by sticking to it, operating as press agents for wealth, power and privilege — especially when the US goes to war, plans one, or wages it by other means against nations on its target list for regime change like Iran and Venezuela.

Speech, media, and academic freedoms in the US and West are threatened by Trump regime actions against Assange, what totalitarian rule is all about.

Reportedly last Thursday, the Trump regime’s Justice Department formally requested Assange’s extradition from the UK to the US.

On June 14, his first extradition hearing will be held in a London court, a likely protracted battle against it to follow.

His lawyers vowed to contest handing him over to US authorities on trumped up charges and virtual certainty of being judged guilty by accusation in rubber-stamp judicial proceedings.

What’s at stake goes way beyond his fate. It’s whether truth-telling journalism can be criminalized in the US and West.

It’s whether fundamental US constitutional rights are enforced or rendered null and void, especially First Amendment ones,  all others threatened if lost.

Assange attorney Jen Robinson said his legal team will be “contesting and fighting” extradition to the US. If unsuccessful in UK courts, his case will likely be appealed to the European Court of Human Rights and/or European Court of Justice, the highest EU court.

If extradited to the US, he’s doomed. He’ll likely face torture and abuse, mistreatment similar to what Chelsea Manning endured for nearly seven years, more of the same ongoing for invoking her constitutional rights to stay silent.

According to WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson, Trump’s Justice Department will present its so-called evidence against Assange during his extradition hearing in London, the first of more sessions to come for weeks or months.

Hrafnsson called his case a “watershed moment…in the attack on journalism.” Charges against Assange are politically motivated.

The US/UK extradition treaty prohibits handing over individuals in Britain to Washington for political offenses.

It states that

“(a)n offense shall be an extraditable offense if the conduct on which the offense is based is punishable under the laws in both States…”

“Extradition shall not be granted if the offense for which extradition is requested is a political offense.”

Extraditable nonpolitical offenses in the treaty include the following:

“(a) an offense for which both Parties have the obligation pursuant to a multilateral international agreement to extradite the person sought or to submit the case to their competent authorities for decision as to prosecution;

(b) a murder or other violent crime against the person of a Head of State of one of the Parties, or of a member of the Head of State’s family;

(c) murder, manslaughter, malicious wounding, or inflicting grievous bodily harm;

(d) an offense involving kidnaping, abduction, or any form of unlawful detention, including the taking of a hostage;

(e) placing or using, or threatening the placement or use of, an explosive, incendiary, or destructive device or firearm capable of endangering life, of causing grievous bodily harm, or of causing substantial property damage;

(f) possession of an explosive, incendiary, or destructive device capable of endangering life, of causing grievous bodily harm, or of causing substantial property damage;

(g) an attempt or a conspiracy to commit, participation in the commission of, aiding or abetting, counseling or procuring the commission of, or being an accessory before or after the fact to any of the foregoing offenses.”

“(E)xtradition shall not be granted (for) politically motivated reasons (or) for offenses under military law that are not offenses under ordinary criminal law.”

None of the above offenses apply to Assange. In UK extradition cases, “the Requesting State (must provide) assurance that the death penalty will not be imposed or, if imposed, will not be carried out.”

Until US Justice Department officials present their charges against Assange during his extradition hearing, it remains unclear if they’ll exclude politically motivated ones prohibited by the US/UK extradition treaty.

Clearly the case against him is entirely politically charged. No evidence suggests “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion,” espionage, 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.

Assange is a prisoner of conscience. UK authorities arrested and detained him solely for extradition to the US. DOJ spokeswoman Nicole Oxman acknowledged it, sayin

“I can confirm that Julian Assange was arrested in relation to a provisional extradition request from the United States of America.”

His persecution has a long way to go. If UK courts grant the extradition request and his case goes to the European Court of Human Rights and/or European Court of Justice, will either or both judicial bodies overrule it on grounds of charges prohibited by the US/UK extradition treaty?

If not, he’ll likely be imprisoned in the US until he perishes behind bars — for truth-telling journalism about US high crimes of war, against humanity, and other wrongdoing.

Given his greatly deteriorated physical and emotional health, is Britain slowly killing him in confinement at London’s high-security Belmarsh prison?

According to a prison source, he lost “dangerous amounts of weight. (He’s) unwell generally but has recently been struggling to eat which has made it worse. He looked near to collapse, gaunt and frail so they have got him in (the prison’s medical ward) as a precaution.”

“And his state of mind is not great, either.” He’s too frail to give testimony by video link from Belmarsh.

If mistreatment behind bars continues in Britain or if extradited to the US, he may perish in confinement — for the “crime” of truth-telling journalism the way it’s supposed to be.

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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.

The world’s seed-bearing plants have been disappearing at a rate of nearly 3 species a year since 1900 ― which is up to 500 times higher than would be expected as a result of natural forces alone, according to the largest survey yet of plant extinctions.

The project looked at more than 330,000 species and found that plants on islands and in the tropics were the most likely to be declared extinct. Trees, shrubs and other woody perennials had the highest probability of disappearing regardless of where they were located. The results were published on 10 June in Nature Ecology & Evolution1.

The study provides valuable hard evidence that will help with conservation efforts, says Stuart Pimm, a conservation scientist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. The survey included more plant species by an order of magnitude than any other study, he says. “Its results are enormously significant.”

A careful compilation

The work stems from a database compiled by botanist Rafaël Govaerts at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in London. Govaerts started the database in 1988 to track the status of every known plant species. As part of that project, he mined the scientific literature and created a list of seed-bearing plant species that were ruled extinct, and noted which species scientists had deemed to be extinct but were later rediscovered.

In 2015, Govaerts teamed up with plant evolutionary biologist Aelys Humphreys at Stockholm University in Sweden and others to analyse the data. They compared extinction rates across different regions and characteristics such as whether the plants were annuals that regrow from seed each year or perennials that endure year after year.

The researchers found that about 1,234 species had been reported extinct since the publication of Carl Linnaeus’s compendium of plant species, Species Plantarum, in 1753. But more than half of those species were either rediscovered or reclassified as another living species, meaning 571 are still presumed extinct.

Source: Humphreys et al.

A map of plant extinctions produced by the team shows that flora in areas of high biodiversity and burgeoning human populations, such as Madagascar, the Brazilian rainforests, India and South Africa, are most at risk (see ‘Extinction pattern’). Humphreys says that the rates of extinction in the tropics is beyond what researchers expect, even when they account for the increased diversity of species in those habitats. And islands are particularly sensitive because they are likely to contain species found nowhere else in the world and are especially susceptible to environmental changes, says Humphreys.

‘Massive scale of destruction’

Even though the researchers carefully curated the plant extinction database, the study’s numbers are almost certainly an underestimate of the problem, says Jurriaan de Vos, a phylogeneticist at the University of Basel in Switzerland. Some plant species are “functionally extinct”, he notes, and are present only in botanical gardens or in such small numbers in the wild that researchers don’t expect the population to survive.

“You can decimate a population or reduce a population of a thousand down to one and the thing is still not extinct,” says de Vos. “But it doesn’t mean that it’s all ok.”

And few researchers have the money or time to launch a comprehensive effort to find a plant species that they think might have gone extinct. Landscapes can change a lot in a relatively short amount of time, so it’s difficult to know whether a species has truly disappeared without an extensive follow-up, de Vos says.

He recalls his own hunt through Cameroon to gather species of yellow-flowering begonias for DNA sequencing. De Vos visited several sites where records indicated that other researchers had collected the plants in decades past. But sometimes he would arrive at a site only to find a radically changed landscape.

“You know that it’s a rainforest species, but you’re standing in a city,” de Vos says. “Then you realize just how massive the scale of destruction or land-use change has been over the past 50 or 80 or 100 years.”

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1. Humphreys, A. M. et al. Nature Ecol. Evol. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-019-0906-2 (2019).

Featured image: Hawaii (pictured) has the highest recorded loss of seed-bearing plant species of anywhere in the world since 1900.Credit: Design Pics/Shutterstock

There is today a major health crisis due to toxic air pollution exposure in every city in Europe, America, China and around the world.

Whilst there is now some regulation that has recently been introduced to control toxic exhaust emissions there is no regulation whatsoever regarding the public’s exposure to polluting, non-exhaust, microscopic particulate matter from millions of metallised-rubber tyres and brake pads.

This particulate matter causes heart and lung disease particularly in children, also cancer and premature death. It not only damages lung growth and brain development but affects every stage of our lives.  It can cause asthma and death in susceptible children and those who are elderly.

The scale of the problem of toxic pollution exposure in every major city around the world is unknown and unappreciated. It is, without doubt, the single most important challenge to health worldwide, today. Despite this, there is no regulation either by governments or by motor manufacturers.  The urgency of the matter and the scale of the problem requires urgent action on both an international level and on a national level, globally.  This is a major, modern health crisis that is damaging all of our children who live in urban conurbations anywhere on the globe.

An estimated 1.1m tonnes of toxic tyre waste including highly dangerous, polluting particulates are discharged into the environment/atmosphere each year from a combined total of about 590 million cars currently in the United States and Europe, alone.*

Currently, the toxicity of the air that we and our children breathe, increases every day from both the nitrogen oxide (NO2) in exhaust emissions and from the highly toxic, non-exhaust particulate matter that we breathe.

It is an international scandal in which currently no government accepts a duty of care to ensure its citizens are not irreparably damaged by polluted air. We are all entitled to clean air and clean water. That is our right!

Otherwise, we ourselves, our children and our society will become more sick with every passing year.

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Hans Stehling (pen name) is an analyst based in the UK. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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*Where Is the One Million Tonnes of Toxic Tyre Dust and Particulates Discharged into the Environment Each Year in the US and Europe?

Featured image is from Greenpeace

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Japanese Prime Minister Abe is functioning as Trump’s informal ambassador to Iran during his two day trip to the Islamic Republic, though he has much greater strategic interests in mind than just being the US President’s proxy such as expanding his island nation’s footprint in the Mideast as part of its attempt to “contain” China.

Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s trip to Iran is the first time that one of his nation’s leaders visited the Islamic Republic since its 1979 Revolution, and it carries extra significance because of how he was recently tasked by Trump to be his informal ambassador to the country. This is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the agreement that they made during their last meeting to have Abe try to encourage the Iranian leadership to re-enter into dialogue with the US, something that they vehemently refused to do after being so brazenly disrespected by the American President since the beginning of his tenure. It’s curious that the two allied leaders publicly spoke about Abe’s ambition to play this peacemaking role since other indirect channels of communication already exist between the US and Iran, so involving Japan in this process is seemingly redundant.

If one steps back and appreciates the bigger strategic picture, however, then it makes more sense why this is happening. The US and Japan are on the same page when it comes to “containing” China, with the Pentagon praising it as the “cornerstone of peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific” in its recently published “Indo-Pacific Strategy Report”. Japan has had a quiet strategic presence in the greater region ever since it opened its first-ever overseas military base in Djibouti in 2011, but it aims to do much more with American assistance. Seeing as how Iran is poised to become a joint Russian-Chinese economic condominium as the most realistic form of sanctions relief in the coming future, there’s a certain logic to Trump encouraging Japan to give the country a third choice that would indirectly tie the Islamic Republic to the Western-led unipolar system.

It might sound a bit convoluted at first listen but the fact of the matter is that Trump’s weaponization of sanctions as America’s reinvigorated form of economic warfare is highly selective and based on double standards, so it’s very possible that while his administration might sanction Russian and Chinese firms operating in Iran, they’ll probably turn a blind eye to Japanese ones doing the same. This would give Japanese companies a competitive advantage over Russia and China’s because they wouldn’t have to fear the potential isolation that would accompany primary and secondary sanctions. As such, Japan could help expand the incipient influence of the “Asia-Africa Growth Corridor” (AAGC) transregional initiative in Iran that it’s jointly constructing with India all throughout the “Indo-Pacific”, thereby laying the basis for countering China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI).

This “competitive connectivity” is at the core of the New Cold War, but it’s still a far way’s off from posing a tangible threat to China’s interests. Nevertheless, the ground is already being built for this to become a long-term challenge to China if one considers the selective application of the US’ sanctions regime (both primary and secondary) and the geostrategic importance of the Greater “Indian Ocean” Region in which this competition is poised to play out. Abe’s role as Trump’s informal Ambassador to Iran is being heavily promoted in order to justify the US turning a blind eye to the forthcoming Japanese investments in the Islamic Republic that its leader hopes to clinch during his visit. In addition, positioning Japan as the US’ preferred “mediator” with Iran is also a rebuff to the earlier offer made by China’s close partner Pakistan to fulfill this role instead.

That observation reinforces the notion that this is all about directly and indirectly “containing” China on the diplomatic, infrastructural, and overall influence fronts. Japan is China’s historic rival so supporting its presence in Iran is deliberately designed to inflame the competition between these two Asian Great Powers, with Tokyo having an edge over Beijing in the sense that its companies could possibly be exempt from American sanctions on a case-by-case basis in order to give them a competitive advantage. That said, while these are the strategic opportunities that most realistically present themselves, Trump will likely demand that Abe enter into more concessions on trade in order to be given these other economic benefits in exchange as a part of a quid-pro-quo that keeps the US calling the shots in this unipolar game.

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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.

This month of June, the National Security Advisors of Russia, the US, and Israel, Nikolay Patrushev, John Bolton and Meir Ben-Shabbat, respectively, are expected to meet in Jerusalem to talk about Iran and Syria and what Israel considers the “threat to its security” in the Levant.

Well-informed sources believe the meeting will bring nothing new, mainly due to continued Israeli violations of Syrian sovereignty and its bombing of Iranian targets far from the borders. Israel cannot expect any support from Russia in this regard, and this is why. The Kremlin’s hands are tied, and it is unwilling to take a stand against the wishes of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his allies.

However, this meeting is significant only because it has no precedent and is a concession to a request by Netanyahu to President Vladimir Putin last February during the Israeli Prime Minister’s visit to the Kremlin. Also, it shows US compliance with Netanyahu’s request to President Donald Trump during the visit to the White House last March.

High-ranking sources among decision-makers say this:

“Netanyahu runs to his allies to cry on their shoulders when he is the aggressor, as in every single problem in the Levant, particularly when the Israeli military exceeds the limits and crosses red lines. Last year, Russia agreed with Iran to create a kind of safety perimeter for the Russian military to take control along the Quneitra-Golan Heights front. That would have made it possible to ease the situation on the borders and allow President Assad and his allies to concentrate on other fronts. Iran responded positively to the Russian request, following the approval of President Assad”.

“It is important to point out that Russia is not part of and doesn’t adopt the objectives of the “Axis of the Resistance”. It has excellent relations with Israel, Iran and Hezbollah, and considers Syria a strategic ally. Moscow tries to keep a balance in its relations with the countries of the Middle East. Nevertheless, Russia has rushed to support the integrity of Syria, its government and army. It has acted as a second Syrian Air Force, bombing all Syria’s enemies and helping the Syrian government recover the control of its territory. Of course, the situation in the north-east under US occupation and the north-west under al-Qaeda-like groups and pro-Turkish militants is more complicated and confusing. The destiny of these two areas is connected and mature political and diplomatic efforts at coordination will be necessary before moving towards a military option to liberate the north”, said the decision-maker.

Concernant the Iranian deployment in Syria, the source said:

“Israel took advantage of Russian efforts and bombed Iranian positions in the heart of Syria and on the coast. These positions are valuable and linked to the organisation of the Syrian army’s strategic armaments (missile production industrial objectives and strategic military warehouses). Thus, it was Israel’s choice to change the Rule of Engagement (ROE), triggering the return of Syrian allies, i.e. Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), to the borders with the occupied Golan Heights annexed by Israel. Russia found itself in no position to intervene and prevent their return because it was Israel which dismantled what Russia had tried to achieve on these borders”.

As to why Syria and its allies did not respond to Israel’s aggressive violations of Syrian sovereignty and its bombing of hundreds of objectives in Syria, the source answered:

“Iran’s National Security responsible Admiral Ali Shamkhani has said his country and President Assad will respond by bombing objectives (in Israel) if the Israeli Air Force bombs Syria. Nothing has happened, true. The late Secretary General of Hezbollah Sayyed Abbas al-Moussawi (assassinated by Israel in 1992) used to say that it is important to concentrate on the main objectives and avoid wasting time and energy, regardless of what Israel might do. Israel’s objective is to divert attention from Syria’s main strategic goals. Today Hezbollah and the IRGC have returned to the borders and Russia is no longer in a position to ask for another withdrawal. The destiny and the front of the Shebaa Farms (a Lebanese area occupied by Israel) and the Golan Heights are intertwined, and Syria and its allies are actively working on these objectives”.

Today in Syria there are priorities which take precedence over a battle with Israel. Fighting Israel is not an option for the Syrian President even if several high-value targets have been destroyed. Israel is conscious of the situation and feels disoriented and angry even though it is aware that Syria and its allies are not willing to open a wide military front during this critical period in the Middle East. What is also highly probable is that Israel cannot expect Hezbollah and Iran to remain silent for very long.

To any ordinary observer, it looks like Israel is mocking the Syrian leadership and its allies, enjoying an unstoppable free ride in Syria with no accountability for its actions. Nevertheless, it is President Assad who believes there is no compelling reason for Syria and its allies to bomb Israel. Idlib has priority, as does the reconstruction of Syria and the delivery of fundamental necessities to its inhabitants (energy, schooling, rebuilding societies and cities). The war with Israel can wait and is going nowhere, President Assad believes.

Russia is not in a position to offer Israel what it needs, simply because Netanyahu is unreliable. Netanyahu had his opportunity and has decided to throw it out of the window, prioritising the bombing of Iranian objectives in the country. This may well reduce the Russian-American-Israeli meeting to a picture-taking opportunity. The Israeli Prime Minister will have the opportunity to take credit for staging an unprecedented meeting and will temporarily benefit from this propaganda. However, he will definitely come away empty handed.

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India broke with decades of its post-independence political traditions by unprecedentedly supporting “Israel” at the UN and voting against granting consultative status to a Palestinian NGO that allegedly has ties with Hamas, therefore formally allying with the self-professed “Jewish State” at the this global body and confirming that Modi’s second term in office will see his country more determinedly siding with the fading Unipolar World Order at the multipolar one’s expense.

India just made history at the UN earlier this week, but in what’s sure to be interpreted as an ignoble way by the supporters of the emerging Multipolar World Order. Encouraged by the massive mandate that he received after his resounding re-election last month, Modi gave the go-ahead for his government to break with decades of its post-independence political traditions by unprecedentedly supporting “Israel” at the global body and voting against granting consultative status to a Palestinian NGO that allegedly has ties with Hamas. The self-professed “Jewish State’s” deputy chief of mission in India praised this diplomatic pivot by tweeting “Thank you #India for standing with @IsraelinUN and rejecting the request of terrorist organization “Shahed” to obtain the status of an observer in #UN. Together we will continue to act against terrorist organizations that intend to harm”, in what certainly signifies that Modi’s second term in office will see his country more determinedly siding with the fading Unipolar World Order at the multipolar one’s expense.

India had hitherto been trying to make inroads with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), but its hopes for future progress on this front have likely been dashed by the self-inflicted soft power damage that it just did by diplomatically allying with “Israel” at the UN. Although Resistance leader Iran continues to beg India to reconsider its decision to abide by the US’ unilateral sanctions regime against it, it’ll now be doing so with the full knowledge that the South Asian state is officially one of its hated “Israeli” foes’ key allies in thwarting the attempts of the Palestinians to have a greater global voice in publicizing their plight. This would make the Islamic Republic’s further outreaches to India even more humiliating than before, possibly raising the chance that it might finally give up in order to save “face” and protect its hard-earned and very proud reputation as the world’s leading anti-Zionist state.

In parallel with this, the global pivot state of Pakistan is now by default the most prominent pro-Palestinian voice in South Asia, especially after Minister for Human Rights Dr. Shireen Mazari recently promised that her country will continue supporting the Palestinians and urged all her Muslim counterparts to do so as well. The fact of the matter is that the Palestinian and Kashmiri causes are inseparable because they’re essentially one and the same — the indigenous Muslim majority of each region have been oppressed by foreign occupiers for decades and have yet to be granted the right to democratically decide their own political futures. Actually, it’s precisely because of these interlinked conflicts that India and “Israel” initially began to ally with one another because they play the same roles in each of them. Accordingly, they’ve increased military cooperation to such a point that “Israel” is now India’s second-largest military supplier and India is “Israel’s” top arms destination.

It therefore shouldn’t be any surprise that India decided to add an official diplomatic dimension to its already-existing military-strategic alliance with “Israel” by supporting it at the UN against the Palestinians. Seeing as how the Indian side hasn’t protested the “Israeli” deputy chief of mission’s tweet thanking it for “rejecting the request of terrorist organization ‘Shahed’” and vowing that “together we will continue to act against terrorist organizations that intend to harm”, it can be logically assumed that New Delhi informally regards Hamas and all those allegedly affiliated with it as “terrorists”, which is only natural considering how fast its alliances with the US and “Israel” are progressing. As such, whether it concerns Russia, China, Iran, or even the Palestinian cause nowadays, India is no longer practicing its over-hyped policy of “multi-alignment” but is instead decisively pivoting against each of the aforesaid multipolar forces despite still clinging to this slogan in an unconvincing attempt to cover its tracks.

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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 India TV

Video: The Seven Biggest Failures of Trumponomics

June 12th, 2019 by Robert Reich

Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress keep crowing about the economy, when in reality Trumponomics has been a disaster. Here are its 7 biggest failures:

1. Trump promised to bring down America’s trade deficit “as fast as possible.” Instead, the trade deficit has hit an all-time high. The United States is now purchasing more goods and services from the rest of the world than we sell abroad than at any time in history.

2. As a presidential candidate in 2016, he said he could completely eliminate the federal debt in 8 years. Instead, the federal debt has exploded thanksto Trump and the GOP’s $1.9 trillion tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. They’re already using the growing debt to threaten cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

3. He promised to boost the wages of American workers, including a $4,000 pay raise for the average American family. Instead, wages for most Americans have been flat, adjusted for inflation. Meanwhile, over the same period, corporate profits have soared and the rich have become far richer, but the gains haven’t trickled down.

4. His administration said that corporations would invest their savings from tax cuts. Instead, corporations spent more money buying back shares of their own stock in 2018 than they invested in new equipment or facilities. These stock buybacks provide no real benefit for the economy, but boost executive bonuses and payouts for wealthy investors.

5. He promised a tax cut for middle-class families. Instead most Americans will end up paying more by 2027.

6. He promised to keep jobs in America and crack down on companies that ship jobs overseas. Instead, his tax law has created financial incentives for corporations to expand their operations abroad. Trump’s trade wars have also encouraged companies like Harley Davidson to move production overseas.

7. He promised to “drain the swamp” of Washington lobbyists. Instead, he’s put them in charge of health, safety, and environmental protections–which has endangered most Americans while increasing corporate profits even further.

The real recipe for economic growth is to invest in Americans–in their health, education, job training, and infrastructure.

But Trumponomics has exploded the deficit, hurt ordinary Americans, and lined the pockets of the wealthy and corporations.

Don’t let Trump and Republicans claim otherwise.

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Robert B. Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century.

Featured image is from SCF

US rulers promised that technology would bring the return of the millions of jobs that were outsourced to low-wage countries, but America has lost the hi-tech race and excels only in weapons of war.

The early U.S. global hi-tech lead was squandered in the chaotic and criminally wasteful corporate capitalist game of all-or-nothing.”

If you can’t pronounce Huawei (Wah-Way), then you won’t be able to explain to your grandchildren how the United States definitively lost the race for planetary technological supremacy, the last non-military contest with China that American capitalism had any chance of winning. The inherent inferiority of the chaotic U.S.-led system is now manifest – even to the thick-skulled Donald Trump, who only three months ago held off on banning U.S. companies from doing business with Huawei, the China-based world leader in 5G technology.

Back in February Trump tweeted that he wanted American companies to win the ultra-high speed mobile telecommunications race by competition and “not by blocking out currently more advanced technologies,” meaning Huawei. “American companies must step up their efforts, or get left behind. There is no reason that we should be lagging behind.” But Trump is expected to sign the Huawei banning order this week , having finally despaired of making U.S. hi-tech “great again” by peaceful means. The only card the U.S has left to play, is war.

The inherent inferiority of the chaotic U.S.-led system is now manifest.”

The U.S. 5G eclipse by China is permanent, rooted in the systemic mayhem of the imperial economic (dis)order. Although the U.S. virtually invented the Internet as a byproduct of military technology, the early U.S. global hi-tech lead was squandered in the chaotic and criminally wasteful corporate capitalist game of all-or-nothing. As recounted by the South China Morning Post (“How US went from telecoms leader to 5G also-ran without challenger to China’s Huawei”) the U.S. refused to set national standards for mobile carriers, allowing tech companies to choose between wireless networks like TDMA, CDMA and GSM. Since 1987 — the year Huawei was founded — Europe has mandated that all its wireless systems use the GSM standard. But the Americans allowed U.S. corporations to wager billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of competing jobs on rival mobile systems. The deregulation of U.S. telecommunications in 1996 further fueled the high-tech capitalist pandemonium. “The US was like the Wild West,” said Thomas J. Lauria, a former AT&T employee, telecoms analyst and author of the book The Fall of Telecom. “Europe managed itself more contiguously than the US, they did not have a lot of disparate networks and picked the [GSM] standard that everyone had to agree to.”

“The deregulation of U.S. telecommunications in 1996 further fueled the high-tech capitalist pandemonium.”

U.S. high-tech firms fought it out among themselves tooth and nail, ignoring the GSM standard and betting that, once one of them won dominant market share and bankrupted or absorbed the others, their corporation would be king of the monopoly capitalist hill, and that U.S. global clout would then propel them to the top of the world. “In many aspects, the era from the early 1990s to mid 2000s was lost time for the US mobile industry,” said Bengt Nordstrom, chief executive of Northstream, a Stockholm-based consultancy. But in the hi-tech arena, a decade is a lifetime. The rise of China would not allow the U.S. the privilege of imperial technological resurrection.

There’s more to this story, but let’s stop right here before some of our readers start mourning the loss of jobs and capital that will result from America’s fall from preeminence in technology — the competitive edge that was supposed to compensate for the systemic outsourcing of the nation’s manufacturing jobs to the low wage South and East of the planet, including China. Throughout the nineties, Americans were told not to worry, because those gritty industrial jobs would be replaced by clean, well-paid hi-tech employment for everyone willing to learn new skills like computer programming and code-writing. But we soon discovered that most of those jobs would be outsourced, too, or performed by low-paid, hi-tech imported workers from the global South and East. Technology is not the cure for U.S. capitalism’s ills. To paraphrase a clichéd term, “It’s the system, stupid.”

“The era from the early 1990s to mid 2000s was lost time for the US mobile industry.”

Under late stage capitalism, high technology is a tool of accelerated economic consolidation — monopolization — and marginalization of workers. Armed with hi-tech tools, Jeff Bezos now wages a war of annihilation against retail commerce, one of the last remaining mass employment sectors in the U.S., while other digital oligarchs publicly proclaim their intention to deploy “the internet of things” – based on 5G technology — to wipe out much of the rest of existing employment. Silicon Valley plutocrats scheme to create a world with few workers, where trillionaire owners of technology rule. A subsistence wage would be doled out to the masses, so they can pay for hi-tech connectivity to the networks that surveil and disinform them. And that’s the least dystopian of our prospects under late stage capitalism. In a racist United States, the worst scenario is always the most likely for the descendants of Africa.

As chief executive of the U.S. capitalist (dis)order, Donald Trump will try to “make America great again” by playing the only cards remaining in the imperial deck: military coercion and the weaponized dollar. The corporate Democrats that hope to succeed Trump will rattle the same missiles and sanctions, blaming China’s command economy for the contradictions of U.S. capitalism in decline. Both corporate parties are singing the same death dirge for the nation and the world. There is only one escape: overthrow the rule of the rich. Under their reign, the U.S. is no longer the “greatest” at anything but mass incarceration, the amassing of weapons of destruction, and the maintenance of a worldwide system of surveillance that hears and watches everyone with a telephone or computer.

A Russian news analyst had an interesting take on America’s eclipse in the race for 5G: “US universal surveillance of everyone outside of America is in serious trouble.”

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BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].

Featured image is from CGTN

Russia-China: The Summit Which the Media Ignored

June 12th, 2019 by Manlio Dinucci

On 5 June, the media projectors zeroed in on President Trump and the European leaders of NATO, who, for the anniversary of D-Day, auto-celebrated in Portsmouth “peace, freedom and democracy in Europe,” vowing to “defend them at any time, wherever they may be threatened”. The reference to Russia is clear.

The major medias have either ignored, or somewhat sarcastically relegated to the second zone, the meeting that took place on the same day in Moscow between the Presidents of Russia and China. Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, for their thirtieth meeting in six years, refrained from presenting rhetorical concepts, but noted a series of facts.

The exchanges between the two countries, which last year exceeded 100 billion dollars, are now extended by approximately 30 new Chinese projects for investment in Russia, particularly in the energy sector, for a total of 22 billion dollars.

Russia has become the largest oil exporter to China, and is preparing to do the same for natural gas: the largest Eastern gas pipeline will open in December, followed by another from Siberia, plus two huge sites for the export of liquefied natural gas.

The US plan to isolate Russia by means of sanctions, also applied by the EU, combined with the cessation of Russian energy exports to Europe, will therefore be rendered useless.

Russo-Chinese collaboration will not be limited to the energy sector. Joint projects have been launched in the aero-space and other high technology sectors. The communication routes between the two countries (railway, road, river and maritime) are being heavily developed. Cultural exchanges and tourist flows are also expanding rapidly.

This is wide-scale cooperation, whose strategic vision is indicated by two decisions announced at the end of the meeting:

  • the signature of an intergovernmental agreement to extend the use of national currencies, (the rouble and the yan), to commercial exchanges and financial transactions, as an alternative to the still-dominant dollar ;
  • the intensification of efforts to integrate the New Silk Road, promoted by China, and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), promoted by Russia, with the “aim of creating a greater Eurasian partnership in the future.”

The fact that this aim is not simply economic is confirmed by the “Joint Declaration on the reinforcing of strategic world stability” signed at the end of the meeting. Russia and China share “identical or very similar positions”, which are de facto contrary to those of USA/NATO, concerning Syria, Iran, Venezuela and North Korea.

They are issuing a warning: the withdrawal by the USA from the INF Treaty (with the goal of deploying intermediate-range nuclear missiles around Russia and China) may accelerate the arms race and increase the possibility of nuclear conflict. They denounce the US refusal to endorse the total ban on nuclear testing.

They also deem “irresponsible” the fact that certain States, although they are signatories of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, practice “joint nuclear missions,” and request the “return to their national territories of all nuclear weapons deployed outside of their frontiers”.

This request directly concerns Italy and other European countries where, in violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the United States have based nuclear weapons which may be used by the host countries under US command : B-61 nuclear bombs which will be replaced from 2020 by the even more dangerous B61-12’s.

The major medias have said nothing about this, but were busy on 5 June describing the splendid costumes worn by First Lady Melania Trump for the D-Day ceremonies.

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This article was originally published on Il Manifesto. Translated from Italian by Pete Kimberley.

Award winning author Manlio Dinucci is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

Featured image: Pool, Reuters | Chinese leader Xi Jinping was in Russia from June 5 to 7.

A concerted effort is being made to once again flood Western headlines with now familiar and long-since discredited war propaganda as Syrian forces and their Russian and Iranian allies move in on Idlib in northern Syria to liberate it from US-backed terrorists.

A recent New York Times article titled, “Inside Syria’s Secret Torture Prisons: How Bashar al-Assad Crushed Dissent,” dusts off, combines, and repackages now nearly 8 years of Western war propaganda aimed at demonizing the Syrian government and paving way for regime change.

While the article claims it now has “memos sent to Syria’s head of military intelligence” to back up previous claims, it admits “some information was blacked out to protect the integrity of evidence for possible prosecutions.”

Yet in order to accuse a government publicly of maintaining “secret torture prisons,” evidence must be provided. Instead, the NYT presented recycled accounts from “activists” and opposition figures as well as Western-funded fronts including the “Syrian Network for Human Rights” and the  “Commission for International Justice and Accountability” (CIJA).

The CIJA in particular is claimed by NYT to have collected the alleged memos. Nothing about the CIJA’s background is provided by the NYT, nor can any website with background information be found.

However, the US government’s Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) interviewed CIJA director of investigations and operations, Chris Engels in 2018. In the interview, CIJA’s funding was discussed:

[CSCE:] Who funds CIJA? 

[Chris Engels:] We have had a number of donors over the years. Our current donors include the United Kingdom, Canada, the European Union, Germany, Demark, the Netherlands, and Norway.

Engels also openly admits that the CIJA works directly with the US government. In the interview he admits:

By design, CIJA has a strong relationship with U.S. law enforcement.

When asked if members of the US Congress have supported the work of CIJA, Engels would enthusiastically confirm so – citing proposed laws pertaining specifically to Syria.

In other words – nations committed to the overthrow of the Syrian government fund and support the CIJA’s work in Syria – casting doubt on both their integrity and their motivations. Just as the NYT would be remiss to write an entire article based on claims made by the Syrian government itself – it is remiss in uncritically reporting the claims made by its opponents.

The fact that the CIJA’s “evidence” is so heavily redacted that the NYT merely mentions it before building the rest of its article around older hearsay-accounts from its regular circle of “activists” and opposition figures, including the now notoriously discredited informant – “Caesar” – casts even further doubt.

The NYT appears to instead be contributing merely to the latest chapter of US-driven war propaganda aimed at undermining the Syrian government, protracting the Syrian conflict, and further dividing and destroying the nation.

Idlib is Al Qaeda Central  

A renewed barrage of war propaganda has been launched by the West in tandem with Syrian government efforts to move in on Idlib – the last bastion of Al Qaeda and affiliated terrorist organizations west of the Euphrates River.

But it was the Western media – not the Syrian government or its Russian and Iranian allies – who have definitively exposed the overwhelming presence of terrorists in Idlib.

In 2015, it was the Wall Street Journal that reported in its article, “Assad Loses Final Idlib Stronghold to Al Qaeda-led Insurgents,” that:

After a two-year siege, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria and other insurgents on Wednesday captured the one remaining Syrian army air base in Idlib, a development that activists said effectively expelled the last of President Bashar al-Assad’s military from the northwestern province.

Since 2015, Al Qaeda and its various affiliates have expanded and consolidated their control in the region. A more recent article published earlier this year by the BBC titled, “Syria war: Jihadist takeover in rebel-held Idlib sparks alarm,” would explain (emphasis added):

The Islamic State group may have lost all its territory in Syria but a rival jihadist group has been making gains in the last remaining opposition stronghold in the north of the country – and it has got residents nervous. 

In a dramatic takeover last month, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) swept through towns and villages in Idlib province, as well as adjoining parts of Aleppo and Hama. 

The group – which was known as al-Nusra Front before it broke off formal ties with al-Qaeda three years ago – expelled some rebel factions and forced others to surrender and recognise a “civil administration” it backs.

In reality – US State Department-designated foreign terrorist organizations like al-Nusra – have dominated fighting against the Syrian government since the conflict began in 2011 with the notion of “moderate rebels” a propaganda ploy to obfuscate the true nature of US-backed militants.

And while the BBC attempts to disassociate al-Nusra from Al Qaeda in its article by claiming it “broke off formal ties” three years ago – the US State Department itself in a 2018 amendment to its terrorist designation of al-Nusra would explicitly state (emphasis added):

In January 2017, al-Nusrah Front launched the creation of HTS as a vehicle to advance its position in the Syrian uprising and to further its own goals as an al-Qa’ida affiliate. Since January 2017, the group has continued to operate through HTS in pursuit of these objectives. 

The Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Ambassador Nathan A. Sales, noted that “today’s designation serves notice that the United States is not fooled by this al-Qa’ida affiliate’s attempt to rebrand itself. Whatever name Nusrah chooses, we will continue to deny it the resources it seeks to further its violent cause.”

The candor of the US State Department’s amendment – however – is demonstratively contradicted by current, ongoing US support for the terrorists themselves as well as the current Western propaganda campaign aimed at protecting Al Qaeda under its various aliases from efforts by the Syrian government to remove them from Idlib and restore order there.

Idlib Propaganda Blitz: Barrel Bombs, Secret Torture Prisons, and Chemical Weapons 

If Idlib is admittedly overrun by terrorists – according to the West itself – then Syrian government efforts to remove them is justified.

Yet familiar themes from similar efforts aimed at preventing Syrian forces from liberating other cities and regions from terrorists are being dusted off and reused. This includes the rehabilitation of the so-called “White Helmets,” a war propaganda troupe working side-by-side Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations – often aiding and abetting war crimes including summary executions.

The “White Helmets” are also key in promoting claims of “chemical weapon attacks.” The “White Helmets” played a key role in staging the chemical weapons attack on Douma, Syria in 2018 which served as a pretext to a US-led military strike on Syrian forces.

There is also the constant din of Western propagandists citing “barrel bombs,” a term invented to describe unguided munitions – unguided munitions being neither against international conventions nor considered controversial by any standing military force, East or West – now or at any other time in the history of warfare. They are simply ordinary bombs given an ominous title in the service of otherwise dishonest Western-driven war propaganda.

The NYT’s recent article recycling stories of “secret torture prisons” seeks to lump itself in with this propaganda blitz and more should be expected to follow.

Among the propaganda there is nothing new – no new information, no new accusations, no new or inventive ways to repackage or resell it. Redacted pages of what is supposed to be “evidence” of the Syrian government’s crimes looks instead like the NYT and its Western-government funded source – the CIJA – have something to hide – not something to expose.

However – war propaganda alone cannot win a war. It can only enhance the strengths of a government or coalition who must already possess the means of winning any given war. The United States and its collaborators in its proxy war on Syria have already long-since lost. Ongoing propaganda campaigns only further undermine Washington’s credibility and the credibility of media organizations serving its agenda.

The NYT posting pictures of illegible, nearly fully redacted pages and claiming it is “evidence” comes across as self-inflicted satire.

US government and corporate foundation-funded fronts like “Human Rights Watch” repeating these dubious accusations and outright lies also indefinitely cripple their own credibility.

However dubious – ongoing propaganda still seeks to at the very least hamper and slow down Syrian security operations. The retaking of Idlib and the destruction of Al Qaeda’s last significant base of operations in the country is key to stabilizing the region.

As the US continues positioning itself for war with nearby Iran – a festering terrorist foothold like Idlib would serve as a serious liability for Iranian efforts to defend itself at home while dealing with a serious, sudden offensive launched out of Idlib against its Syrian allies.

Thus it is key to expose and confront Western war propaganda at every juncture – no matter how ineffective it appears – to minimize its impact in this war – and every other Western war of aggression to come.

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Tony Cartalucci is Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook” where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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“Despite widespread denial, the evidence that radio frequency (RF) radiation is harmful to life is already overwhelming.” 

But in a recent BBC article, they basically did just that: completely ignored the ridiculously large volume of evidence, which any ‘respectable’ news outlet should know exists and which if reviewed, reveals the major cause of the rapid decline of biodiversity, and the potential soon-to-come total destruction of all life on Earth:

“The accumulated clinical evidence of sick and injured human beings, experimental evidence of damage to DNA, cells and organ systems in a wide variety of plants and animals, and epidemiological evidence that the major diseases of modern civilization—cancer, heart disease and diabetes—are in large part caused by electromagnetic pollution, forms a literature base of well over 10,000 peer-reviewed studies.

“If the telecommunications industry’s plans for 5G come to fruition, no person, no animal, no bird, no insect and no plant on Earth will be able to avoid exposure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to levels of RF radiation that are tens to hundreds of times greater than what exists today, without any possibility of escape anywhere on the planet. These 5G plans threaten to provoke serious, irreversible effects on humans and permanent damage to all of the Earth’s ecosystems.”

“Damage goes well beyond the human race, as there is abundant evidence of harm to diverse plant- and wildlife and laboratory animals, including: Ants, Birds, ForestsFrogsFruit fliesHoney beesInsects, Mammals, MicePlantsRatsTrees.

“Negative microbiological effects have also been recorded… Effects in children include autism,  attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and asthma.“. – The International Appeal ‘Stop 5G on Earth and in Space’

“Microwave weapons expert, Barrie Trower, warns that within 3 generations only 1 in 8 children will be born healthy; and within 5 generations animals and insects will be wiped out.” – Julian Rose, “Synthetic Electric Shock”

Former UN staff editor, and co-author of The International Appeal ‘Stop 5G on Earth and in Space’, Claire Edwards, writes:

Along with birds and insects, children are the most vulnerable to 5G depredation because of their little bodies.”

And in a recent Anti-5G rally speech in Stockholm, Edwards stated:

“It’s interesting to note that in the last 20 years we have lost 80% of our insects. And if we get 5G, we’re going to lose 100% of our insects.  When the insects go, we go too.”

Our beloved house pets have also been forced to absorb our electro pollutions. B.N. Frank, writes how “… exposure can cause various health problems in animals – including cancer.  If your pets become sick, many vets will not take exposure to any of these sources into consideration when diagnosing and treating them.  Even if you address your concerns about exposure, they may still discount research that has already proven harm.”

Hope S. Good details 22 common illnesses from which electro-smog and RF are harming our fur-babies.

The known effects continue to be evidenced, as seen in field tests this past year in The Netherlands, where dairy farmers in Stitswerd-Groningen witnessed the extreme effects 5G is creating in livestock:

“… Several hundreds of cows from the 5 dairy farmers simultaneously started running riot without a clear cause… their behavior really looked like agony, so it was not just a moment of frustration for the cows, it was really a life or death situation… the most logical conclusion is that the panic attacks are caused by the recent testing of 5G Wi-Fi in the North of Groningen, exactly where Stitswerd is located!”

“The phenomenon has occurred since last fall. “Suddenly you see that they jump and start running at the same time,” says dairy farmer Jan Oudman. “As they do, the walls of the stable are almost out. They sweat from the unrest. It’s really anxiety.”  – RTVNoord, “Wat mankeert de koeien?”

“… at The Hague, many birds died spontaneously, falling dead in a park. You likely haven’t heard a lot about this because it is being kept quiet. However, when about 150 more suddenly died – bringing the death toll to 297 – people started to notice.

“And if you are looking around that park you see what stands on the corner of the roof across the street from where they died: a new 5G mast, where they had done a test, in connection with the Dutch railway station, to see how large the range was and what environmental impact would occur on and around the station.

“If they all got heart-failure despite having healthy bodies, no signs of any virus, no bacterial infection, healthy blood, no poisons found etc. etc, then the only reasonable explanation is that it is from the new 5G Microwaves interfering with all the birds hearts! … The 5G mast heavily resonates with certain ERRATIC PULSED Microwaves (millions per second!) which can be proven to have biological effects on organs!” –Erin Elizabeth, “Unexplained Mass Bird Deaths During Dutch 5G Experiment”

Scientific Reports

“Published peer reviewed science already indicates that the current wireless technologies of 2G, 3G and 4G – in use today with our cell phones, computers and wearable tech – creates (create) radiofrequency exposures which poses (pose) a serious health risk to humans, animals and the environment. – Scientific Research on 5G, 4G Small Cells, Wireless Radiation and Health

“Future wavelengths of the electromagnetic fields used for the wireless telecommunication systems will decrease and become comparable to the body size of insects and therefore, the absorption of RF-EMFs in insects is expected to increase.”Exposure of Insects to Radio-Frequency Electromagnetic Fields from 2 to 120 GHz

“The authors of the EKLIPSE review conclude that there is “an urgent need to strengthen the scientific basis of the knowledge on EMR and their potential impacts on wildlife. In particular, there is a need to base future research on sound, high-quality, replicable experiments so that credible, transparent and easily accessible evidence can inform society and policy-makers to make decisions and frame their policies.”

The increase of electromagnetic radiation and its potential effects on wildlife has recently been identified by an international expert group led by Professor Bill Sutherland of Cambridge University as one of the fifteen emerging issues that could affect global biodiversity, but that are not yet well recognised by the scientific community. – (Sutherland, 2018).

“‘We apply limits to all types of pollution to protect the habitability of our environment, but as yet, even in Europe, the safe limits of electromagnetic radiation have not been determined, let alone applied.  This is a classic case of out of sight out of mind, just because humans cannot see electromagnetic radiation this does not mean that animals cannot ‘see’ the pollution or be significantly impacted at a neural or cellular level.  A proper research programme and clear policy measures are long overdue”. Said Buglife CEO Matt Shardlow.” –Buglife

Alsfonso Balmori asserts,

“Studies have shown effects in both animals and plants. Two thirds of the studies reported ecological effects. There is little research in this area and further research is needed. The technology must be safe. Controls should be introduced to mitigate the possible effects… Despite the widespread use of wireless telephone networksaround the world, authorities and researchers have paid little attention to the potential harmful effects of mobile phone radiation on wildlife. This paper briefly reviews the available scientific information on this topic and recommends further studies and specific lines of research to confirm or refute the experimental results to date. Controls must be introduced and technology rendered safe for the environment, particularly, threatened species.”  –Electrosmog and species conservation

“…Ferdinand Ruzicka, scientist and beekeeper himself, reports: “I observed a pronounced restlessness in my bee colonies (initially about 40) and a greatly increased urge to swarm. As a frame-hive beekeeper, I use a so-called high floor, the bees did not build their combs in this space in the manner prescribed by the frames, but in random fashion. In the summer, bee colonies collapsed without obvious cause. In the winter, I observed that the bees went foraging despite snow and temperatures below zero and died of cold next to the hive. Colonies that exhibited this behaviour collapsed, even though they were strong, healthy colonies with active queens before winter. They were provided with adequate additional food and the available pollen was more than adequate in autumn. The problems only materialised from the time that several transmitters were erected in the immediate vicinity of my beehives” (RUZICKA, 2003).”  –“BEES, BIRDS AND MANKIND”, Ulrich Dr. Warnke

[further published (peer-reviewed) studies on Bee Colony Collapse (BCC)]:

Margaritis LH, Manta AK, Kokkaliaris KD, et al. Drosophila oogenesis as a bio-marker responding to EMF sources. Electromagn Biol Med. 2014;33(3):165-189. doi: 10.3109/15368378.2013.800102. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23915130

Kumar NR, Sangwan S, Badotra P. Exposure to cell phone radiations produces biochemical changes in worker honey bees. Toxicol Int. 2011;18(1): 70-72.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3052591/.

“Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’: Insects could vanish within a century at current rate of decline, says global review.”

“Warning of ”ecological Armageddon” after dramatic plunge in insect numbers: Three-quarters of flying insects in nature reserves across Germany have vanished in 25 years, with serious implications for all life on Earth, scientists say.” –Damian Carrington

Conclusion

Ignoring electromagnetic radiation pollution allows corporate agendas to manifest through NGO’s “suggestions” toward global policy makers. C02 produced “climate change”, originally heralded as “global warming”, is provably caused by intentional climate manipulation.

 “All available evidence (including 750 page senate documentspresidential reports, and climate engineering patents) indicate global geoengineering/solar radiation management programs were first deployed at a significant scale in the mid 1940‘s.” –Dane Wigington

There are scores of independent scientists who have put their names and careers on the line in appeal petitions, countering the ‘science’ of the IPCC climate model used by the UN and proliferated throughout environmental groups, educational institutions, national governments and NGO agendas.

Dr. Tim Ball displays the contrived sleight of hand which created the C02 premise, and points squarely at the UN’s IPCC as the culprit.   He does it so convincingly that he was sued by three interested parties, and eventually won the 6 year-long defamation lawsuit in just a three week trial.

One final and unprovable personal observation I’d like to note: approximately 5 months ago, there suddenly appeared a new thick, solid-metal cell tower not 100 yards from my home, in a wooded suburb of the provincial capital city.  This new monstrosity is itself not 100 yards from an already long-existing taller and more traditionally seen cell tower.  Shortly after noticing the new tower, perhaps another month later, there appeared a new third tower, opposite the taller original, again not 100 yards from it.

So, these three now stand in a row, exceptionally close to residences, schools, sports fields, and a small tree-laden nature area, complete with its own tiny deer herd, jack rabbits, field rabbits, owls, hawks, musk rats, and assorted water fowl.   Except the water fowl are mysteriously missing.  We have ponds and canal banks all through the area, which in prior years were chock-full of ducks and geese and swans.  But they’re not to be found since last summer sometime.  I’ve lived here for 15 years, and am an avid lover of nature and critters, so I search as I walk.  But they’re simply not in any of their normal places.  I’ve seen a few here and there, but there are dozens suddenly missing.

The seriousness of these issues are becoming unavoidably visible and real.  We’re all busy with our lives, but it behoves us to look around and take note, and then act.  Do a bit of outside the box research; talk to neighbours and city council member; write emails to commissioners and mayors, asking uncomfortably assertive questions, because if we do nothing, EVERYTHING will change.

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Russia-Cina: il vertice che non fa notizia

June 11th, 2019 by Manlio Dinucci

I riflettori mediatici si sono focalizzati il 5 giugno sul presidente Trump e i leader europei della Nato che, nell’anniversario del D-Day, autocelebravano a Portsmouth «la pace, libertà e democrazia assicurate in Europa» impegnandosi a «difenderle in qualsiasi momento siano minacciate». Chiaro il riferimento alla Russia.

I grandi media hanno invece ignorato o relegato in secondo piano, a volte con toni sarcastici, l’incontro svoltosi lo stesso giorno a Mosca tra i presidenti di Russia e Cina. Vladimir Putin e Xi Jinping, quasi al trentesimo incontro in sei anni, hanno presentato non concetti retorici ma una serie di fatti.

L’interscambio tra i due paesi, che ha superato l’anno scorso i 100 miliardi di dollari, viene accresciuto da circa 30 nuovi progetti cinesi di investimento in Russia, in particolare nel settore energetico, per un totale di 22 miliardi.

La Russia è divenuta il maggiore esportatore di petrolio in Cina e si prepara a divenirlo anche per il gas naturale: a dicembre entrerà in funzione il grande gasdotto orientale, cui se ne aggiungerà un altro dalla Siberia, più due grossi impianti per l’esportazione di gas naturale liquefatto.

Il piano Usa di isolare la Russia con le sanzioni, attuate anche dalla Ue, e con il taglio delle esportazioni energetiche russe in Europa, viene in tal modo vanificato.

La cooperazione russo-cinese non si limita al settore energetico. Sono stati varati progetti congiunti in campo aerospaziale e altri settori ad alta tecnologia. Si stanno potenziando le vie di comunicazione ferroviarie, stradali, fluviali e marittime tra i due paesi. In forte aumento anche gli scambi culturali e i flussi turistici.

Una cooperazione a tutto campo, la cui visione strategica emerge da due decisioni annunciate al termine dell’incontro: la firma di un accordo intergovernativo per espandere l’uso delle monete nazionali, il rublo e losyuan, negli scambi commerciali e nelle transazioni finanziarie, in alternativa al dollaro ancora dominante; l’intensificazione degli sforzi per integrare la Nuova Via della Seta, promossa dalla Cina, e l’Unione economica eurasiatica, promossa dalla Russia, con «la visione di formare in futuro una più grande partnership eurasiatica».

Che tale visione non sia semplicemente economica lo conferma la «Dichiarazione congiunta sul rafforzamento della stabilità strategica globale» firmata al termine dell’incontro. Russia e Cina hanno «posizioni identiche o molto vicine», di fatto contrarie a quelle Usa/Nato, riguardo a Siria, Iran, Venezuela e Corea del Nord.

Avvertono che il ritiro degli Usa dal Trattato Inf (allo scopo di schierare missili nucleari a raggio intermedio a ridosso sia della Russia che della Cina) può accelerare la corsa agli armamenti e accrescere la possibilità di un conflitto nucleare. Denunciano la decisione Usa di non ratificare il Trattato sulla messa al bando totale degli esperimenti nucleari e di preparare il sito per possibili test nucleari.

Dichiarano «irresponsabile» il fatto che alcuni Stati, pur aderendo al Trattato di non-proliferazione, attuino «missioni nucleari congiunte» e richiedono loro «il rientro nei territori nazionali di tutte le armi nucleari schierate fuori dai confini».

Una richiesta che riguarda direttamente l’Italia e gli altri paesi europei dove, violando il Trattato di non-proliferazione, gli Stati uniti hanno schierato armi nucleari utilizzabili anche dai paesi ospiti sotto comando Usa: le bombe nucleari B-61 che saranno sostituite dal 2020 dalle ancora più pericolose B61-12.

Di tutto questo non hanno parlato i grandi media, che il 5 giugno erano impegnati a descrivere le splendide toilettes della First Lady Melania Trump alle cerimonie del D-Day.

Manlio Dinucci

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Canada’s embassy in Venezuela will—at the end of this month—close. The spur for this closure is an open attempt by Canada’s Justin Trudeau to overthrow Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro. Canada is one of the leaders of the Lima Group, a network of countries that came together in 2017 with the express purpose of regime change in Venezuela. Canada’s diplomatic corps has played the role of facilitator for the Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó. Trudeau and Guaidó speak regularly. Their plot against Venezuela thickens.

The Canadian government held the meeting of the Lima Group this year. It helped organize the speaking tours of Venezuelan opposition figures. But, most controversially, Canada’s ambassador to Venezuela—Ben Rowswell—held an annual dinner and delivered a human rights award to people who amplified the voices of those opposed to the Bolivarian Revolution.

“The tradition here,” Rowswell said sanctimoniously, “is that Canada believes in the principles of human rights and democracy and takes pragmatic measures on the ground to unblock political situations.”

Unblock political situations is a uniquely Canadian way of saying promoting regime change.

Venezuela has been—as the most recent dossier from Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research argues—the target of a hybrid war. Canada has not been a bystander in this hybrid war, but it has functioned to give the entire maneuver the sheen of Canadian liberalism.

Canadian Weapons

Countries work hard to protect and promote their self-image. No state likes to be associated—for instance—with arms sales. Sweden, which gives out the Nobel Peace Prize, and Switzerland, which promotes itself as a neutral country, are leading sellers of arms—both in the top twenty list. Canada sells fewer arms than Switzerland and Sweden, but the places that it sells arms to should raise eyebrows.

For all the talk of “human rights” and for all the hoopla about the human rights award from the Canadian embassy in Caracas, it is Canada’s Justin Trudeau who championed a $15 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia despite the many criticisms of the Saudi war on Yemen. It is one thing to talk about human rights. It is another to live by that credo. Canada does not.

The Canada-Saudi arms deal did not take place in another century. It was signed in 2014 and executed this year by the liberal government of Trudeau. The list of arms sold to Saudi Arabia by Canada’s General Dynamics Land Systems includes the kind of Canadian-made weapons that Saudi Arabia is already using against the people of Yemen. It is quite one thing for a pompous Canadian Parliament to sanction people associated with the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi (as they did in November last year) and another to sell arms to a regime that has killed thousands of civilians in a brutal and unending war.

Evidence of the brutality of the Saudi war does not necessarily need to be assembled for the Canadian foreign ministry. In July 2017, Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said that she was “deeply concerned” by the videos of Canadian weaponry used against the Yemeni people.

“If it is found that Canadian exports have been used to commit serious violations of human rights,” said the Canadian foreign ministry, then Canada “will take action.”

This is a curious standard. Only if Canadian weaponry is used to commit violations is this a concern. It is acceptable to sell weaponry to a country that is in the midst of prosecuting an inhumane war.

In June 2018, the Canadian Parliament’s Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights produced a key report. Three Canadian senators—a liberal, a conservative and an independent—found that “even though the Government of Canada advocates for the protection of human security abroad, it too often appears willing to compromise its values in order to advance economic and other foreign policy interests.” In this report, the senators note that it is more than likely that Canadian weaponry was used by Saudi Arabia against the Bahraini population in 2011 and against the Saudi public. This—the standard developed by Freeland and underscored by the Canadian Senate—did not bother Freeland’s department when it eventually provided export licenses.

No need to unblock the political situation in Saudi Arabia. No talk of “principles of human rights and democracy” when “Made in Canada” becomes the last phrase seen by a Yemeni child before the lights go out.

Canadian Mining

If you think about Canada, you don’t always think about mining companies and their human rights violations.

But these mining companies play a fundamental role in driving much of Canadian foreign policy, notably when it comes to South America, Africa and Southern Asia. Some of the world’s largest mining firms—as is noted in this briefing from Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research—are Canadian. Many of them operate in South America.

From one end of Latin America to another, Canadian mining companies have been involved in scandals upon scandals. The Working Group on Mining and Human Rights in Latin America filed a report with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that is damning. “The Impact of Canadian Mining in Latin America and Canada’s Responsibility” (2014) should have shaped the way the world sees Canada. But it has had almost no impact.

The report notes that “the mining sector plays a fundamental role in the Canadian government’s efforts” in Latin America, to the extent of interference in the domestic affairs of a number of countries. In Colombia, Honduras and Peru, the Canadian government drove the drafting of the mining policies.

Anger at Venezuela has got to be understood in terms of Canada’s mining interests. In 2007, Barrick Gold’s Peter Munk wrote a letter to the Financial Times that summarized the view of the entire Canadian mining sector toward Venezuela. The letter called Hugo Chávez a “dangerous dictator” and called for intervention—“let us not give President Chávez a chance to do the same step-by-step transformation of Venezuela.” What bothered Munk and his class of mining executives was Venezuela’s push against foreign firms that sought to drain the wealth from countries like Venezuela.

Why was Munk so annoyed? Chávez’s government had just pushed for foreign companies to surrender their majority control over Venezuela’s oil reserves. This bothered Munk, but he was not alone. Canadian embassy officials in Venezuela told James Rochlin, a professor of the University of British Columbia, that they felt “burned” by Chávez. The Canadian government began to get cozy with Colombia against Venezuela. The roots of the Lima Group go back to the anger of the mining firms with Chávez’s desire to use Venezuela’s resources for the Venezuelan people. The Canadian mining bosses and the Canadian government wanted the Bolivarian Revolution overthrown so that they could take advantage of Venezuela’s resources.

So much for high-minded principles. For those who want to understand Canada’s foreign policy, don’t spend years studying its human rights statements. Put your hand into the dirt, touch the ore under the soil—that’s where Canadian foreign policy is rooted.

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This article was produced by Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

Vijay Prashad is the George and Martha Kellner Chair of South Asian History and Director of International Studies at Trinity College, Hartford, CT. His most recent book, The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World, won the Muzaffar Ahmad Book Prize for 2009; Red Star Over the Third World (LeftWord, 2017) and The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution (University of California Press, 2016); and the Chief Editor of LeftWord Books.

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If you’ve read the headlines about the death of “Syrian activist” Abdel Basset al-Sarout, you probably think he was a pretty cool guy. Headlines referring to him as a “Syrian footballer, singer and rebel” make him seem like he could have been the love child of Pelé and Freddie Mercury with the politics of Che Guevara.

Sarout may have sang, played soccer, and rebelled, but he was certainly no peace-loving hippie. A more accurate version for the descriptor would read “Syrian footballer, singer [of al-Qaeda’s hymns] and [CIA-backed jihadist] rebel [commander].”

Sing it with me: “The World Trade Center is a pile of rubble.”

It is true that Sarout, as the media suggests, became the face of the revolution. So, fittingly, Sarout sang songs glorifying al-Qaeda’s destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City, a terrorist attack that left 3,000 innocent civilians dead.

In one video, Sarout led a group of America’s beloved “moderate rebels” in singing al-Qaeda’s most famous song:

We destroyed America with a civilian airliner. The World Trade Center is a pile of rubble. The World Trade Center is a pile of rubble.”

Osama Bin Laden — the one who terrorizes America. With the strength of our faith and our weapon is the PIKA [PK machine gun]. With the strength of our faith and our weapon is the PIKA.”

In another video, Sarout is among a group singing about how they intend to kill Alawites, a religious minority to which President Bashar al-Assad belongs:

If they say terrorist, it is an honor to me. Our terrorism is a blessing and a divine call. Alawite police, be patient, oh Alawites. We are coming to slaughter you without an agreement.”

In other videos, Sarout calls not just for genocide against the Syrian Alawite minority but also for the expulsion of Shias:

We are all jihadists! Homs has taken the decision. We want to exterminate the Alawites. Shias must leave!”

That was from a rally in Homs, Syria, where Sarout made a name for himself as a supposed “rebel icon.” Shortly before he left the city before it was liberated by the government, Sarout recorded a video of his analysis of where the opposition to Assad should go next. In it, he calls for an alliance between the rebel groups of Homs and Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s Syria affiliate, and Daesh.

We know that these two groups are not politicized and have the same goals as us and are working for God and that they care about Islam and Muslims. Unfortunately some among them consider us apostates and drug addicts, but God willing we will work shoulder to shoulder with them when we leave [Homs].

We are not Christians or Shia, afraid of suicide belts and car bombs. We consider those to be strengths of ours. God willing they will be just that. This message is to the Islamic State and our brothers in Jabhat al-Nusra: that when we come out [of Homs] we will all be as one, hand fighting Christians and not fighting internally.”

After leaving Homs, Sarout went even further than before, personally pledging allegiance to ISIS, according to an Al-Jazeera Arabic report. Photos even show him holding their infamous flag.

Sarout would go on to become a commander in the Jaysh al-Izza (Army of Glory) group. Once a branch of the nebulous Free Syrian Army, Jaysh al-Izza was reportedly supported by the Central Intelligence Agency with training and equipment under its program. Weapons supplied to the group reportedly include anti-tank missiles. Underscoring Jaysh al-Izza’s close relationship with Jabhat al-Nusra, which later rebranded as Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), HTS has reportedly used the CIA-supplied weapons in its fighting with the Syrian government and bombings against civilians.

From pledging allegiance to ISIS to “rebel icon”: anatomy of the media’s whitewashing

Despite his terrorist affiliations, the mainstream media has rewritten Sarout’s legacy to their liking. Even al-Jazeera, which reported Sarout’s pledge to ISIS, called him a “rebel icon” in its English-language video report on his death. That video made no mention of any of Sarout’s terrorist ties.

Other news outlets from gulf petro-monarchies funding the proxy war on Syria even call Sarout a “martyr.” Meanwhile, an analysis from Israel’s Haaretz newspaper worried over the fate of other “fighting poets.” While the BBC’s headline played it straight, opting to just provide his name and that he died, the British public broadcaster called him “a symbol of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad” and quoted another commander in Jaish al-Izza calling him a “martyr” in the article’s body.

Did media fact-checkers all take the day off?

Below are a sample of headlines whitewashing Sarout’s jihadist “activism:”

American publications:

New York Times — Syrian Soccer Star, Symbol of Revolt, Dies After Battle

The Daily Beast — Syrian Soccer Goalie and Rebel Icon Killed in Northwestern Syria

NBC News — ‘Guardian of freedom’: Syrian soccer goalie who became rebel icon dies in battle

SFGate — Soccer goalie who joined Syrian rebel fighters dies in battle

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette — World briefs: Syrian soccer goalie who became rebel icon dies in battle

Israeli publications:

Haaretz — The Syrian Nightingale Is Dead, and Soon Other Fighting Poets May Be Silenced

Haaretz — Syrian Soccer Player and Icon of anti-Assad Movement Dies From Battle Wound

Jerusalem Post — Star Footballer Turned Rebel Icon Dies in Syria Fighting

Times of Israel — Hundreds attend funeral of Syrian soccer goalkeeper who became rebel icon

British publications:

Daily Mail — Hundreds of mourners attend funeral of Syrian goalkeeper who became figurehead of the opposition before being killed by Bashar al-Assad’s forces

The Guardian — Syrian footballer and ‘singer of revolution’ killed in conflict

Middle East Eye — Syrian footballer, singer and rebel Abd al-Basset al-Sarout killed in northern Syria

United Arab Emirates publications:

The National — Abdelbaset Sarout: Syria’s ‘singer of the revolution’ dies defending Idlib

The National– Abdelbaset Sarout: showman Syrian rebel who declined adulation

Wire services (publications that provide other outlets with syndicated services, allowing them reprint their articles):

Reuters — Syrian rebel town buries goalie who became ‘singer of the revolution’

Associated Press — Syrian soccer goalie who became rebel icon dies in battle

Rudaw (Kurdish publication) via Agency France Presse — Syrian soccer goalkeeper killed in Idlib clashes — Rudaw

Turkish publications:

Anadolu Agency — Syrian revolution hero martyred after Hama clashes

Daily Sabah — Hero of Syrian revolution killed after Hama clashes

Hong Kong:

South China Morning Post — Abdelbasset Sarout, star soccer player turned rebel icon, dies in Syria fighting

Qatar:

Al Jazeera — Syrian goalkeeper who became rebel icon dies in Hama battle

While Sarout’s open calls for genocide and sectarianism were totally whitewashed by the press, his case takes its place in a long tradition of deception regarding the proxy war. In perhaps the most sophisticated propaganda campaign in the history of modern warfare, Syria’s White Helmets have worked hand-in-glove with jihadists while on the payroll of Western governments, while Western journalists have upheld ISIS recruiters as “experts” on the war. Sarout’s death is a sober reminder that citizens must fact check the media, since they refuse to do it themselves.

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Alexander Rubinstein is a staff writer for MintPress News based in Washington, DC. He reports on police, prisons and protests in the United States and the United States’ policing of the world. He previously reported for RT and Sputnik News.

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Since 2014, the number of children arriving at the U.S. border has risen dramatically, as unaccompanied children, adolescents, and young families have fled gang and other forms of violence in the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. In a new report, “There Is No One Here to Protect You: Trauma Among Children Fleeing Violence in Central America,” Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) presents the first case series of child and adolescent asylum seekers arriving in the United States, detailing their trauma experiences and resulting negative health outcomes. The report demonstrates the acute physical and psychological impact of domestic, gang, and gender-based violence on these children, as well as the failure of authorities in their home countries to provide effective protection or to prosecute abusers. The findings in this report and the relevant legal standards demand an effective and humane policy response both in countries of origin, to prevent the violation of child rights, and in the United States, to fairly recognize claims of persecution and end practices that expose these young migrants to further trauma.

The report is based on forensic evaluations of 183 individuals age 18 or under conducted by PHR’s Asylum Network, a national network of expert volunteer clinicians who evaluate individual cases of physical and psychological trauma from torture or persecution experienced by asylum seekers involved in U.S. immigration proceedings. The report’s findings identify the features of an escalating child rights crisis, from persecution in countries of origin to compounding trauma experienced by the children while in transit and at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Children are being met at the U.S. border with harsh, punitive policies that both violate their rights and severely affect their wellbeing,” said Kathryn Hampton, PHR’s network program officer, who coordinates the Asylum Network. “U.S. immigration officials have justified such policies in the name of deterrence. However, if violence is a major factor driving children to seek refuge in the United States – as demonstrated by the people PHR’s clinicians evaluated, and whose cases were utilized for this study – harsh border enforcement will not serve as an effective deterrent and will only cause more harm to an already traumatized population.”

The report analyzes data from child and adolescent asylum seekers who recount experiences of extreme violence and sexual abuse at the hands of gangs, family members, and even law enforcement in their home countries. Children reported being forced to join gangs or be murdered, told to kill their families if they did not want to be killed by gang members, or forced to endure sexual assault at the hands of gang members or their own family members. With states’ consistent failure to protect children, investigate crimes, or prosecute or punish perpetrators, and the existence of both gang intimidation of police as well as gang infiltration into the police, the children expressed fear and lack of trust in local authorities.

One young woman “reports having been beaten all over her body including her head, being dragged through the woods, being tied to her friends, blindfolded and raped by multiple people.”

Among the children evaluated, the vast majority were from the Northern Triangle countries (89 percent). 78 percent of the children evaluated reported that they survived direct physical violence. Eighteen percent reported surviving sexual violence, 71 percent experienced threats of violence or death, and 59 percent witnessed acts of violence. This violence was most often gang-related (60 percent), but a significant portion of children (47 percent) faced violence perpetrated by family members. PHR’s clinicians documented negative physical aftereffects of this abuse, including severe head injuries and musculoskeletal, pelvic, and dermatologic trauma. More than three quarters (76 percent) of children were suspected to have or were diagnosed with at least one major mental health issue, including post-traumatic stress disorder (64 percent), major depressive disorder (40 percent), and anxiety disorder (19 percent). These statistics show that these children experience not only experience high rates of trauma, but often are subjected to multiple forms of trauma by multiple perpetrators. These results add additional context for the extraordinary suffering and abuse described in our qualitative findings.

PHR’s research shows that children arriving in the United States are fleeing severe forms of harm which may amount to persecution if their home government is unable or unwilling to control the perpetrators, and if their persecution is based on their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. In accordance with international and U.S. law, people with a credible fear of persecution arriving at the U.S. border have the legal right to apply for asylum. Child asylum seekers are entitled to additional protections, including accommodations in the asylum process which consider their level of development and maturity and their specific health and mental health needs.

Dr. Joseph Shin, co-medical director of the Weill Cornell Center for Human Rights, said that obtaining asylum in the United States offered significant relief for children.

“Despite the extreme trauma these children have experienced, and the resulting developmental, psychological, and physical harm, many demonstrated remarkable resilience and significant physical and psychological improvement once they were safe from physical harm and had the opportunity to begin rebuilding their lives in the United States.”

The report includes comprehensive recommendations to U.S. government agencies, Congress, the governments of Northern Triangle countries, international refugee and migration bodies, and international bodies mandated to protect children’s rights.

PHR advises the U.S. administration to safeguard access to asylum in order to meet immediate protection needs of asylum seekers, as well as maintain aid to Northern Triangle countries to address gang-related violence, corruption, and impunity. PHR calls on the administration to ensure that all children receive pediatric medical screening on arrival and uphold child protection standards in custody, prioritizing least restrictive settings and increasing use of alternatives to detention. It is not safe for any child to be detained for longer than 24 hours in Customs and Border Protection holding cells. Children should be transferred to enhanced reception centers with access to appropriate medical care and other essential services, from which they should be released within 20 days as per the Flores settlement agreement.

PHR calls on the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico to ensure resources for violence prevention measures as well as resources to investigate, prosecute, and punish violent acts committed by state and non-state actors, while ensuring due process protections for the accused, and establishing or maintaining independent investigatory bodies to address corruption and impunity.

The remainder of the recommendations can be found in the report.

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Rare earths are essential to the production of high-tech and other products. China is the world’s leading producer by far. See below.

According to the US Geological Survey (USGS),

“(r)are-earth elements (REE) are necessary components of more than 200 products across a wide range of applications, especially high-tech consumer products, such as cellular telephones, computer hard drives, electric and hybrid vehicles, and flat-screen monitors and televisions,” adding:

“Significant defense applications include electronic displays, guidance systems, lasers, and radar and sonar systems.”

REEs are essential for the above products, devices, and systems to work. In the early 1990s, China accounted for 38% of world production, the US 33%, Australia 12%, India, Malaysia, and several other countries the remainder.

According to the USGS,

“in 2008, China accounted for more than 90 percent of world production of REEs, and by 2011, China accounted for 97 percent of world production.”

While these figures may be overstated, it’s clear that users of REEs are heavily dependent on China as a supplier, by far the world’s largest producer, refiner, and exporter.

According to China’s General Administration of Customs data, REE exports from January through May were 7.2% less than the comparable 2018 period.

In May, they were down 16% from the year ago period, the decline likely related to the Trump regime’s trade war with China, the US by far the world’s leading importer of these elements.

It produces around 20% of its REE needs, making it heavily dependent on imports gotten mainly from China.

According to US International Trade Commission figures, China supplied 59% of REE imports to American users in 2018. The USGS said China accounts for around 80% of US imports of rare earths.

Last week, a US Commerce Department report discussed measures Washington is taking to reduce its “strategic vulnerabilities” caused by dependence on imports of rare earths and other essential materials.

Secretary Wilbur Ross said the Trump regime “will take unprecedented action to ensure that the United States will not be cut off from these vital materials.”

Rare earths are abundant but hard to mine because they’re available as compounds and oxides, the process expensive and environmentally harmful.

According to the Pentagon’s Defense Logistics Agency’s Jason Nie, a material engineer, talks are being held with REE miners in Malawi and Burundi, an effort to reduce the dependence on China as a key supplier. Yet these countries can only supply a small portion of US needs.

Cutting off supplies to the US by China would be what analysts call Beijing’s “nuclear option.” It wants normal relations with the US and other nations — short of sacrificing its sovereign rights to achieve them.

It’s prepared to respond as it considers necessary to unacceptable Trump regime actions. Imposing 25% or higher duties on all Chinese exports to the US would be his nuclear option, what he threatened if Beijing doesn’t yield to his demands.

In late May, a Chinese economic planning agency official warned that

“if anyone were to use products that are made with the rare earths that we export to curb the development of China, then the people of (south Jiangxi province where rare earths are mined), as well as all the rest of the Chinese people, would be unhappy.”

Editor-in-chief of China’s Global Times Hu Xijin tweeted:

“Based on what I know, China is seriously considering restricting rare earth exports to the US. China may also take other countermeasures in the future” to retaliate if the Trump regime goes too far.

China considers REEs a strategic resource, most world users heavily dependent on the country as a supplier.

US policy toward China is all about containing the country economically, financially, technologically, and militarily, what Trump’s trade war aims to achieve, seeking US hegemonic control over its part of the world and everywhere else.

Wanting China’s sovereign rights subordinated to US interests is an objective doomed to fail. It risks confrontation if things are pushed too far.

The same goes for Russia and Iran. Washington’s aim for dominance over other nations, their resources and populations risks possible global war.

Major media ignore the greatest threat of our time, what could happen by accident or design.

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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 NEO

The Supreme Federal Court (STF) judge, Gilmar Mendes, cleared for trial on Monday the request for freedom of former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, according to Brazilian media. 

The habeas corpus (HC) was presented by Lula’s defense last year when then-judge Sergio Moro accepted Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s appointment to lead the Justice Ministry. This time around it is expected that the request will be analyzed on Tuesday or June 25, by a Second Panel of the STF.

The procedure had already entered the agenda of the Supreme Court on December 2018, yet the trial was suspended on December 4 after Mendes requested a hearing. At the time of the halt, the score was two votes against Lula’s HC by rapporteur Edson Fachin and judge Carmen Lucia.

With the partial vote, and as the trial has been cleared, judges Mendes, Celso de Mello, and Ricardo Lewandowski still have to vote.

According to Brazilian journalist and analyst, Breno Altman, the result of the vote presented by Lula’s lawyers will be 2-2 tomorrow, with the decision falling on the hands of justice de Mello.

Another request for Lula’s release, which questions the performance of Lava Jato’s judge at the STJ, Felix Fischer, also entered the Supreme Court’s agenda on Tuesday.  Mendes asked for a judgment in the plenary session.

The recent update on Lula’s case comes a day later The Intercept Brazil published an extensive and hard-hitting expose on the alleged political motivations behind Operation Car Wash (Lava Jato) task force against the former president and the Worker’s Party (PT), as well as the unethical involvement of current Minister of Justice, Moro.

The documents were released in a three-part series where according to The Intercept, it is proven, based on leaked documents and Telegram messages between prosecutors and Moro that the “apolitical” and “unbiased” team spent hours internally plotting how to prevent the return to power by Lula and his party. As well as the lack of hard and documented evidence to establish a case against the former head of state. ​​

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The Gun Violence Archive is an online archive of gun violence incidents collected from over 2,500  law enforcement, media, government and commercial sources daily in an effort to provide near-real time data about the results of gun violence.

GVA is an independent data collection and research group with no affiliation with any advocacy organization.

Below are selected charts from the Archive.

For more information, access the complete archive.

Geographic Distribution

Incidents in 2019

Incidents in 2019

Number of Deaths in 2019

Number of Deaths in 2019

Read more on gun violence, access the complete archive.

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It’s been almost 200 years since the US declared that it would allow no more European colonies in the western hemisphere. A 100 years later this was twisted into a declaration that Latin America is exclusively the US’s sphere of influence, giving it a self-proclaimed right to interfere in other countries’ affairs.

The ‘Monroe Doctrine’, as it was known, deservedly fell into disrepute. But under President Trump it’s been revived. John Bolton, his national security adviser, announced in April that ‘the Monroe Doctrine is alive and well’. In May, he went even further: ‘This is our hemisphere!’ he told reporters after the failed coup in Venezuela.

‘Troika of tyranny’

The new version of the doctrine gives it a further twist. Bolton now claims to stand in defence of ‘democracy, sovereignty, security, and the rule of law’, aiming to make the Americas ‘free’ from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. Of course, he’s the one who decides what ‘free’ means.

It won’t, for example, mean withdrawing support from a Honduran president who won a fraudulent election a year ago and runs one of the most repressive regimes in Latin America. Why? Because he is a Trump ally. No, Bolton intends to focus on what he calls the ‘troika of tyranny’: Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, all the subject of sanctions because their heads of state are ‘the three stooges of socialism’ who look to Russia and China for support rather than the US.

So Trump has reversed most of the reforms initiated by Obama in US-Cuba relations, recognised an unelected head of state in Venezuela and blocked loans from international agencies for poverty-reducing projects in Nicaragua.

Of the three countries in Bolton’s ‘troika’ the oddest is Nicaragua. It has a president, Daniel Ortega, who won an election in 2016 recognised as fair by the Organization of American States; unlike its northern neighbours it barely contributes to the ‘migrant caravans’ that so annoy Trump and it effectively inhibits drug smuggling. Until a year ago it was also the safest country in the region.

Return of the Reaganites

What angers Bolton (and his special envoy Elliott Abrams) is Ortega himself. Bolton was part of the Reagan administration and helped to find ways to hide the funding of the ‘Contras’ that were attacking Nicaragua’s Sandinista government in the 1980s; Abrams was indicted for his role in covering up that scandal but was later pardoned by Reagan’s successor, President Bush. For both of them, a resuscitated Monroe Doctrine is not about freedom, it’s about getting rid of leftist governments.

Because this is what is at stake in Nicaragua. Ortega may have stretched the country’s constitution by standing for a third successive term of office, and he endorsed the ban on abortion, but even his enemies can’t deny that he’s systematically reduced poverty, has achieved the lowest inequality levels in Central America and fifth-highest ranking for the gender gap in the world according to the World Economic Forum, reduced illiteracy and increased life expectancy.

He ended the daily power cuts that occurred under his predecessor while doubling the proportion of homes that have electricity. Nicaragua is now one of eleven countries said to be leading the charge on renewable energy, aiming for its electricity supply to be 90 per cent renewable within the next year.

Settling old scores

Rather than pursuing freedom, it’s pretty obvious that Bolton and Abrams are settling historic scores. Ortega bounced back from electoral defeat in 1990, so now he’s denounced as a brutal dictator. Yet the US administration is targeting sanctions not just at Ortega himself but at the programmes funded by the World Bank and other agencies that have been part of his drive to end extreme poverty.

Far stranger than the Trump administration’s policies, though, is that they are encouraged by progressive media, international NGOs and a good proportion of leftist opinion in both the US and Europe. How has this come about?

Ortega’s opponents in Nicaragua itself have never mustered much support in elections. So for several years they’ve instead accepted US funding for programmes that ‘promote democracy’ but which instead undermine it. As the website Global Americans put it (it’s funded partly by the Reagan-established National Endowment for Democracy), they were ‘laying the groundwork for insurrection’.

When student protests took place in Nicaragua last April against government social security reforms, US-funded NGOs were ready to manipulate social media to make sure the unrest spread as quickly as possible. Not only did this succeed, but international media bought wholesale the stories of ‘peaceful’ protesters suffering government attacks.

This continued even when the ‘peaceful’ protesters set up roadblocks in major cities and highways and began to kidnap, torture and kill police and government supporters (providing the evidence via their own horrific social media posts). It took until mid-July for the government to regain control. The conflict produced 253 deaths, including 22 police, 31 protesters (half were students), 48 Sandinista supporters and 152 members of the public.

By then, whatever popular support the protesters had gained had been largely lost after people had experienced the violence of the roadblocks. Not only that, but after the leaders of the protest had demanded Ortega’s immediate resignation they travelled to the US where they were welcomed by rightwing Republicans like Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, and, of course, by the Trump administration itself.

Given the history of US intervention in Nicaragua, such tactics were doomed to cost the opposition much of their local support. Since last year, opposition protests have dwindled, the violence has largely ended and Nicaragua has returned to something like normality. Since February, a ‘national dialogue’ has resumed between government and opposition, which is steadily implementing a programme of reforms.

Last leftist standing

This is all well and good, but these developments are largely ignored by the international media and much of the Left. Headlines like The Guardian’s Ortega clings to power still appear even as a respected opinion poll showed he has support from 55 per cent of the population. Amnesty International campaigns for the release of those arrested in the protests while refusing to acknowledge that any were responsible for violence (such as the attack on a police station in Morrito on 12 July, which left five dead and in which nine were kidnapped).

Even New Internationalist, when it says that Nicaragua’s good guys have turned bad, refers to the Sandinistas but not to the opposition thugs who may have tortured them. Supporters of the protests who don’t live in Nicaragua have been blinded into thinking the opposition still has widespread support. It doesn’t. But the message that Ortega is a repressive dictator is music to the ears of Bolton, Abrams and the others who want to extinguish one of the few remaining leftwing governments in Latin America.

Correction: this article originally misstated John Bolton’s moniker for Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela; it is troika of tyranny’, not troika of terror’. 

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Repeal the Espionage Act

June 11th, 2019 by Jacob G. Hornberger

World War I is the gift that just keeps on giving. Although the U.S. government’s intervention into this senseless, immoral, and destructive war occurred 100 years ago, the adverse effects of the war continue to besiege our nation. Among the most notable examples is the Espionage Act, a tyrannical law that was enacted two months after the U.S. entered the war and which, unfortunately, remained on the books after the war came to an end. In fact, it is that World War I relic that U.S. officials are now relying on to secure the criminal indictment of Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks head who released a mountain of evidence disclosing the inner workings and grave wrongdoing on the part of the U.S. national-security establishment, especially with respect to the manner in which it has waged it undeclared forever wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Some news media commentators are finally coming to the realization that if the Espionage Act can be enforced against Assange for what he did, it can be enforced against anyone in the press for revealing damaging inside information about the national-security establishment — i.e., the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA. Therefore, they are calling on the Justice Department to cease and desist from its prosecution of Assange.

Of course, they are right, but the problem is that they don’t go far enough. Their mindsets reflect the customary acceptance of the status quo. The mindset is that we Americans simply have to accept the way things are and plead with the government to go easy on us.

That’s just plain nonsense. It is incumbent on the American people to start thinking at a high level, one that doesn’t just accept the existence of tyrannical laws and instead calls for their repeal. After all, isn’t that what our Declaration of Independence says — that when government becomes destructive of the legitimate ends for which it was formed, it is the right of the people to alter or even abolish it and form new government?

What does that mean with respect to the Espionage Act? It means that the law should simply be repealed and that Americans need to start demanding repeal rather than simply pleading with the Justice Department to enforce it in a more judicious manner.

Let’s keep in mind that the law is the fruit of a rotten foreign intervention. Hardly anyone defends the U.S. intervention into World War I. That war was, quite simply, none of the U.S. government’s business. President Wilson, however, was hell-bent on embroiling the U.S. in the conflict. Wilson believed that if the force of the U.S. government could be used to totally defeat Germany, this would be the war to finally end all wars and to make the world safe for democracy.

Wilson’s mindset, of course, was lunacy. Sure enough, the U.S. intervention resulted in Germany’s total defeat, which was then followed by the vengeful Treaty of Versailles, which Adolf Hitler would use to justify his rise to power. Nazism and World War II soon followed. So much for the war to end all wars and to make the world safe for democracy. Tens of thousands of American men were sacrificed for nothing.

Moreover, Wilson had to force American men to fight in World War I. He conscripted them. Enslaved would be a better word. When a government has to force its citizens to fight a particular war, that’s a good sign that it’s a bad war, one that shouldn’t be waged.

In fact that was one of the reasons for the Espionage Act—not to punish people for spying but rather for criticizing the draft and the war. The law converted anyone who publicly criticized the draft or attempted to persuade American men to resist the draft into felons. And make no mistake about it: U.S. officials went after such people with a vengeance, doing their best to punish Americans for doing nothing more than speaking.

One example was Charles Schenck, who was prosecuted and convicted of violating the law after circulating a flier that opposed the draft. When the case reached the U.S. Supreme Court, the Court upheld the conviction, one of the earliest examples of judicial deferment to the military, a deference that would become virtually complete after the U.S. government was officially converted to a national-security state after World War II.

Another example was Eugen Debs, who got convicted for criticizing the war and for encouraging men to resist the draft. President Wilson called Debs “a traitor to his country.”

How in the world can such prosecutions and convictions possibly be reconciled with the principles of a free society? Freedom necessarily entails the right to criticize government for anything, including its wars, its enslavement of people, its tyranny, and anything else. Perhaps it is worth nothing that both Schenk and Debs were socialists, something that today’s crop of Democrat presidential candidates might want to take note of.

Longtime supporters of FFF know that one of my favorite stories in history is the one about the White Rose, a group of college students in Germany who, in the midst of World War II, began distributing pamphlets calling on Germans to resist their own government and to oppose the troops. (See my essay “The White Rose: A Lesson in Dissent.” Also, see the great movie Sophie Scholl: The Final Days.) When they were caught and brought to trial, the members of the White Rose were berated by the presiding judge, who accused them of being bad German citizens and traitors, just as Wilson, the Justice Department, and the U.S. Supreme Court had said of Americans who were violating the Espionage Act.

Today, any U.S. official would praise the actions of the White Rose, but that’s just because it was foreign citizens opposing an official enemy of the U.S. government. The fact is that if the White Rose members had done the same thing they did in Germany here in the United States, U.S. officials would have gone after them with the same anger and vengeance as German officials did. And they would have used the Espionage Act to do it.

It’s time to acknowledge that the horror of U.S. intervention into World War I and the horrible consequences of that intervention. It’s also time to rid our nation of the horrific relic of that intervention, the Espionage Act. We need to continue  demanding the dismissal of all charges against Assange. But let’s not stop there. Let’s repeal the tyrannical World War I-era Espionage Act under which he is being charged to ensure that this cannot happen to others.

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Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. Send him email.

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In the heart of one of the world’s oldest and richest democracies, the staff keeping government offices functional are forced to turn to food banks because they cannot afford to eat.

Cleaners at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in London are unable to afford the bus to work. One worker was unable to give their wife transport money to take their sick son to the GP, forcing her to walk for ninety minutes; others have faced eviction over late rent.

“How can we live like this?”

“How will I feed my son?” asks one worker. “I have worked here 10 years and it has never been this bad. Some of my colleagues have been paid zero. Some have been paid only 40 hours when they worked 120 hours. One colleague is missing thousands of pounds and can’t travel to work. They promise they will pay and it keeps going and going. How can we live like this?”

This is not the first so-called payroll issue at International Service Systems (ISS), a huge facility service company for numerous multinationals and the government. The Communication Workers Union sounded alarms in February over ISS’ planned move from monthly to fortnightly pay, meaning housekeepers would have to wait a month to receive two weeks’ money, along with a pay review date which could mean no 2019 pay award at all for those transferring into the company. In April, three unions began separate protests as the scale of the problem became clearer; security guards at Barclay and Goldman Sachs and porters and caterers at NHS hospitals faced being left without pay as the system was ‘upgraded’. The problem has now rolled into the heart of government.

The new contracts with ISS state that workers will be paid every fortnight. However, this pay will not be for the fortnight just worked, but for the previous one. In practice, ISS withholds two weeks’ pay from the first month of work – because in this month workers are only paid for two weeks’ work. ISS offered bridging loans, but these are not enough: once they have been paid back (over four pay cycles – eight weeks) the workers are once again left with two weeks’ less pay than they are due. It also means that workers must repay the loan over a short period of time, reducing their take-home pay by up to £250 every fortnight.

“It’s now about moving from charity to solidarity”.

These are workers with little or no disposable income. “They work 60 hour weeks and still barely have anything”, says a union source inside BEIS. This month the cleaners – mostly Latin American and North African migrant workers – have been on strike, most of them, for the first time. They are calling for a living wage. When the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union organised the food banks, BEIS staff were supportive and gave generously, with many joining the union as well – although “no one from senior management donated”, the source says. “It’s now about moving from charity to solidarity, getting people to donate to the strike fund.”

“Media attention and outrage from civil servants in the department helped bring [management] to the table,” the source explains, “They’re holding out on paying a living wage, because as the department that sets the minimum they don’t want to admit that their policy is a failure. They’ve told us as much.”

Organisers’ next steps are to increase pressure on ISS and BEIS, and security staff are being balloted to join the strike. Management have offered an increase below the unions’ terms which they believe shows that opposition “is on purely ideological grounds.” Management have now agreed to meet workers, although the chaos engulfing government with Theresa May’s resignation poses strategic problems for the union.

In the time since outsourcing giant Carillion’s collapse, which cost thousands of jobs, even more outsourcing scandals have hit Whitehall. Cleaners at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) – as well as Kensington & Chelsea Council (RBKC) – picketed in August last year against outsourcing giants Amey and OCS’ refusal to pay them the London living wage. In those cases both the MoJ and RBKC blamed the outsourcers, which is of course technically correct but disguises the structural reason outsourcers are hired; precisely so messy functions like industrial relations and responsibility for decent pay and conditions are farmed out to outsourcers. It is not merely services that are privatised; passing blame from the publicly accountable authority to the unaccountable corporate entity is part of the institutional arrangement. In this case, BEIS did not discuss the issuing of the contract with the PCS staff union, who learned after the contract had been signed that it did not include proper living wage provisions. PCS had a relevant recognition agreement – but ISS unilaterally stopped recognising the union just before problems began in earnest.

“The workers were powerless. Now they’re not.”

Organisations like ISS, which is currently planning to cut its workforce by 100,000, are concerned only with the bottom line. At the state’s end of the equation, the austerity drive to reduce ‘government waste’ and ‘red tape’ causes giants like Carillion to not merely cut corners, but offer costings that are out-rightly misleading and institutionalise an unsustainable business model. It’s not just a matter of an unscrupulous employer causing an incident that happens to, on this occasion, involve the civil service. It’s a consequence of a realignment of the relationship between market and state and the torpedoing of not only public services but public service delivery, in which the austerity regime has been only an instrument in pursuit of a broader plan to remake the economy in the interests of the few.

But on this occasion, the outsourcers may have pushed their workers too far. The ISS payroll dispute has contingently affected hugely disparate sections of organised labour. Large ‘conventional’ unions like Unite and the GMB union, middleweight and more militant unions such as the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union and PCS and small, flexible left unions like Independent Workers of Great Britain and United Voices of the World are all involved. It’s an important opportunity for collaboration between organisers working among marginal contract workers and the traditional heavily-unionised ranks of the public sector. “[The workers] were genuinely powerless and now realise they’re not”, says the BEIS source, who also praised the energy brought to the picket line, with music and attempts at making it a communal experience. He adds that Whatsapp groups have enabled lines of communication between workers that are being moved around rapidly. This includes rebutting disinformation, such as  one incident when a manager claimed that if more than seven workers joined a picket line they would incur legal action.

The BEIS workers understand what is happening in a broad sense.

“If they can do this inside a government department imagine what they can do outside government. I hope the minister can see this and be ashamed at what he is putting [us] through”, says one worker.

They have linked their missing payslips, their low pay and their intimidating management to the broader issue of outsourcing and are calling for BEIS to bring them back in house. If it is significant that this situation is taking place in the heart of our political institutions, it is equally significant that popular resistance is growing there too.

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The progress made on furthering the military dimension of Turkey’s multipolar grand strategy might be irreversible by this point after the US suspended the country from the F-35 training program and increased the odds that it’ll seek replacement warplanes from Moscow instead.

Acting Secretary of Defense Shanahan decided over the weekend to begin the phased suspension of Turkey’s participation in the F-35 training program after sending a letter to his counterpart detailing the steps that will be undertaken to finalize this process by the end of July, but then the US unexpectedly moved the schedule forward and reportedly banned Turkish pilots from flying these planes on Monday. It’s unclear why this abrupt change was made but it might be because the US figured that it’s better to begin removing Turkey from the program as soon as possible after Ankara made it clear that it won’t reconsider its earlier decision to purchase Russia’s S-400 air-defense systems, claiming that American analogues don’t satisfy its needs but that this doesn’t necessarily mean that it intends to worsen ties with the US.

The Pentagon obviously feel very differently about that and regards Turkey’s moves as threatening because it believes that the S-400s could endanger the F-35s that might fly over its notional NATO ally’s airspace. Therein lies the crux of the problem, however, because a serious security dilemma has begun to affect American-Turkish relations after the US started providing military support to Syrian Kurdish groups that Ankara regards as terrorists and then shortly thereafter was accused of being involved in the failed summer 2016 coup attempt against President Erdogan. Turkey can’t trust the US anymore, and purchasing Russia’s S-400s might be seen by it as an “insurance policy” for averting the worst-case scenario of American or allied airstrikes in the event that it goes to war with “fellow” NATO member Greece and/or Cyprus over disputed but reportedly energy-rich maritime territory.

There’s a suspicion that the US might be able to secretly reprogram any air-defense systems that it sells to Turkey to mask Greek, Cypriot, and its own own warplanes in the event of a conflict and therefore make them invisible to the defending forces, while Washington obviously couldn’t do this when it comes to the S-400s, hence why it’s so afraid of Ankara purchasing them. With Turkey on its way out of the F-35 program as punishment for its refusal to reconsider its agreement with Russia, it’s since been reported that it might go a step further in buying Su-57s from it as a replacement, which would make the progress that it’s achieved in the military dimension of its multipolar grand strategy irreversible by more closely tying it together with its northern Great Power neighbor.

The Russian-Turkish Strategic Partnership is therefore strengthening at the expense of the American-Turkish one, which is obvious to all objective observers and was made possible through Moscow’s deft application of “military diplomacy“, or in other words, its ability to peacefully leverage military means to advance diplomatic goals. In this instance, simply agreeing to meet Turkey’s military needs with the S-400s following its fallout with the US was enough to set into motion a larger chain of events that worked out to its grand strategic interests, though it must be remarked that Turkey is merely in the midst of this larger process and has yet to fully succeed with it. As such, the country is extremely vulnerable to externally provoked instability attempts designed to offset its “rebalancing” act, ergo the economic crisis of the past year for example.

Going forward, the military aspect of Turkey’s multipolar grand strategy appears to be a fait accompli, with the S-400 deal likely going down in history as a watershed moment for both Mideast geopolitics (due to the Russian-Turkish Strategic Partnership that it advanced) and NATO (seeing as how the aforementioned came at the expense of the American-Turkish one). It’s still theoretically possible that the US might pull out all the stops and resort to some Hybrid War trickery in a last-ditch attempt to either stop this process before it’s finalized or punish Turkey for its success, but the fact of the matter is that this might inadvertently lead to the further strengthening of the Russian-Turkish Strategic Partnership in response and the acceleration of what might now be Ankara’s irreversible pivot to the East.

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

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Never mind the slow but steady dismantling in the fabled West of the “welfare state”, that temporary horror the elites grudgingly used to tolerate. But that was only as a means of pacifying their subjects and winning over credulous hearts and minds in the competing socialist camp, while it still existed. To be fair, concern for public well-being never was an ideological item in the Western “value” system to begin with. It was dissimulated for a while merely as a tactical measure to confuse the masses. But one assumes that at least the various personal “freedoms” that Western countries used to be famous for indeed were an integral element of their political institutions, values deeply ingrained in their culture.

Canada is the latest champion of Western, trans-Atlantic values that is sending a clear message to the world that such assumptions are poppycock.

Image result for brian masse

A major scrupulously legal assault on freedom of speech and conscience as well as scholarly research (and we are not talking here about the rampaging of informal terror squads such as Antifa) is in the works in Canada. A Srebrenica genocide denial law is coming up soon for parliamentary vote in Ottawa. It is being sponsored by MP Brian Masse ([email protected]) (image on the right). The pending bill is the result of a petition filed by a Bosniak lobby group in Canada, “Institute for genocide research.”

The “institute” is not known to have published a single serious and academically viable book or scholarly paper on any subject whatsoever, including Srebrenica. It is a comically misnamed ethnic pressure group financed, as usual, by mysterious patrons. But given the manufactured climate of opinion, unless this bill is strongly and competently opposed, there is little doubt about the outcome.

Here is some basic information about this parliamentary project, now known as Petition No. 421-03975, presented to the House of Commons on May 29, 2019: click here.

And here are the words of the sponsor, Brian Masse, at Canada’s House of Commons as he put the matter before his colleagues:

“Madam Speaker … the House unanimously declared April as ‘Genocide Remembrance, Condemnation and Awareness Month’ and named genocides, which have been recognized by Canada’s House of Commons, including the Srebrenica genocide.

“It is time for the government to extend resources to commemorate the victims and survivors of genocide, educate the public and to take specific action to counteract genocide denial, a pernicious form of hate which reopens wounds and reinvigorates division. Truth is justice; honesty is the path to reconciliation and peace.”

Just so that no one is taken in by this fine rhetoric, the geopolitical significance of Srebrenica (forget about truth, justice, reconciliation, and peace) should briefly be recalled. The alleged failure in July of 1995 of the  collective West to come to the rescue of 8,000 “men and boys” in Srebrenica was transfigured into the pretext for the “Right to protect” (R2P) doctrine. That fraudulent rationale was used for subsequent “humanitarian interventions” which wrecked and plundered at least half a dozen countries and cost about two million mostly Muslim lives.

But contrary to interventionist propaganda and the simplistic cant of politicians, always campaigning to attract a few more ethnic votes and to impress the political correctness brigade with their loyalty to the right causes, in the real-world there exist complex issues not given to simplistic reductionism. Srebrenica is one of them. (Also herehere, and here.) To paraphrase Polonius, there are indeed “more things in heaven and earth, than are dreamt of by politicians,” eager to please special interests.

One of the major pertinent issues here, of course, is the factual question of what actually happened in Srebrenica. A staggering amount of research has been done on that subject that one supposes busy politicians, long out of school, may be excusably ignorant of. Canadian politicians in particular may be generously excused for not keeping up with  Srebrenica developments because their hands are presumably full sorting out genocides closer to home.

A fundamental issue that comes to mind straightaway, and voters anxious to protect their liberties might want to bring it to the attention of their parliamentary deputies, has to do with freedom of speech and conscience, not whether or not genocide occurred in Srebrenica. Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms rather unambiguously guarantees “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication” as fundamental rights. May the supreme law of the land be taken at face value?

How do MP Masse and colleagues who are contemplating to vote for his “genocide denial” bill propose to reconcile its language with the liberties which are constitutionally guaranteed to all citizens of Canada (and presumably also to foreign nationals on Canadian territory)? Or with the fact that Canada is also party to international agreements which guarantee freedom of conscience and expression, such as the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Articles 18 and 19 of the Declaration, which deal with freedoms of thought, opinion, and expression should in particular be pondered by Canada’s lawmakers.

The ghastly thing about this is that the Srebrenica genocide denial law would not even change anybody’s mind about Srebrenica. But it would suppress (have a “chilling effect,” as they aptly put it in neighboring America) public discourse on the subject and would therefore constitute a serious infringement of Canadian citizens’ human rights. That is the issue of principle. All but zealous Balkan combatants should manage easily to agree on this much, and it ought to be gently stressed to befuddled Canadian legislators. A member of parliament is free to think whatever he or she wants about Srebrenica, with or without adequate information on the subject, including that it was genocide. But for Canadian citizens of all stripes and backgrounds, including those who happen to be legislators, their fellow-citizens’ freedom of expression should take absolute priority over the agenda of a Balkan lobby. A legislator who sincerely thinks that Srebrenica was genocide can and should still vote against Petition no. 421-03975 on freedom of speech and conscience grounds alone. Assuming that  those values matter in countries that boastfully claim to have copyrighted them.

It so happens that the aforementioned bogus “Institute for genocide research” has a record of attempts at free speech suppression, targeting those who think differently about its pet projects. In 2011 the “institute” made an unsuccessful attempt to steer a Srebrenica genocide denial law through the Canadian parliament. “Institute” scholars then took their revenge on American-Serbian professor Dr. Srdja Trifkovic, preventing his entry into Canada to deliver a lecture in Vancouver by falsely alleging to immigration authorities that he was a dangerous hatemonger, or something to that effect. The incident at the time was amply covered by Global Research. Prof. Trifkovic fought the spurious allegation against him energetically in Canadian courts and won. The upshot of it was that Canadian taxpayers lost considerable treasure in a wasteful judicial confrontation instigated by agenda-driven lobbyists.

The proposed law, be it mentioned in passing, is also manifestly discriminatory in relation to the Canadian-Serbian community. Considering the cultural role of spitefulness (inat is the native word) in the region that the lobbyists come from, that may well be its true and ultimate inspiration. Is there a single Canadian Serb who thinks that what occurred in Srebrenica was genocide? The proposed law would nevertheless have a discriminatory effect on the ability of members of the Canadian Serbian community, as such, to enjoy the freedom of expression guaranteed to them and to all Canadians by Canada’s constitution. As Canadian Serbs, they would be obliged to either maintain public silence about an issue they regard as being of vital interest to their nation and community or, were they to speak up in accordance with the dictates of their conscience, to face criminal prosecution. So much for all the “Atlantic Charters” and their associated “freedoms.”

Canadian legislators should ponder the fact that Canada does not have a Holocaust denial law protecting the dignity of six million victims, yet its parliament is contemplating a massive curtailment of its citizens’ civil rights in a matter involving 8,000 unverified deaths. That is a degradation and in-the-face mockery of the pain of the Jewish community. But it gets even worse, or tragicomic if one prefers. In its Tolimir judgment in 2012, the vaunted Hague Tribunal ruled that the killing of three individuals in the nearby enclave of Zepa (which is part of the same conceptual package with Srebrenica) constituted genocide (Trial Judgment, Par. 1147 – 1154). That was allegedly because those individuals were endowed with such extraordinary importance within the community of Zepa that, as a result of their demise, the community was rendered unviable, hence subjected to genocide. The point is that denying this absurd and tortuously reasoned finding of the Hague Tribunal concerning Zepa (a place that assuredly no member of the Canadian parliament had ever even heard of) by operation of the projected genocide denial law would also subject the careless speaker who took his rights seriously to criminal liability. That is the absurd level to which the “genocide denial” rhetoric has degenerated.

As an American citizen, this writer is quite prepared to stand in any public square in Canada and to proclaim that Srebrenica was not genocide. It would in fact be a pleasure to be detained by Her Majesty’s authorities in order to accomplish a lofty civic purpose that should benefit all Canadians. The resulting proceedings would ultimately enhance Canada’s judicial culture by testing the constitutionality of this legal travesty before the Canadian supreme court.

In the immortal words of Diana Johnstone, the “denial” of Srebrenica “genocide” is sufficiently justified by the fact that it is not true. The Srebrenica lobby and its eager acolytes in Canada’s Federal Parliament in Ottawa should grow up and accept that.

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This article was originally published on Srebrenica Project.

Stephen Karganovic is president of “Srebrenica Historical Project,” an NGO registered in the Netherlands to investigate the factual matrix and background of events that took place in Srebrenica in July of 1995.

The Various Shades of Black… and Green

June 11th, 2019 by Philip A Farruggio

The hit film of 2018 was Peter Farrelly’s Green Book. The film takes place in 1962, and was based on a true story about an Italian American bouncer, from the famous Copacabana NYC nightclub, securing a temporary job as the chauffeur/bodyguard for a popular black musician. He is needed because the trio anchored by the star is going on a tour of the Midwest and Deep South.

Despite some overdone stereotypes of NYC Italian American families, the film captures the dark mood of racism in our country, especially in the South. Those not old enough to recall the extent of this racism of that time, the film delivers 100000%! In the beginning of the movie we also see a ‘touch’ of the Anti Semitism of that day (and now too) when an Italian mob boss refers to the owner of the Copa, Jewish American Jules Podell, as a ‘Jew bastard’. Sadly, prejudice did and does flow from one ethnic group towards others. Those who run this empire count on that to keep with their age old plan to ‘Divide and Conquer’ the working stiffs they control. “Keep them hating each other and they’ll forget about hating us so much.”

During their trip down south, the pair gets stopped one night during a heavy rain by two local cops. With guns drawn the older of the two deputies shouts to the driver, Tony Lip, to get out of the car in the pouring rain. He then yells to his partner to get the passenger, the black musician, out also. The young deputy states that there is no need to have the passenger get out, but is shouted down by his partner. As  Doc Shirley, the musician, and Tony Lip are standing in the monsoon, Tony Lip asks the deputy why they were pulled over. He is told, at gunpoint, that there is a ‘Sundown’ rule in that town which forbids ‘Niggras’ from being out past sundown. The deputy questions why Tony Lip is driving a ‘Niggra’ and what they are doing in his town. When the deputy finds out that Tony Lip is Italian he tells Tony that by being  Italian he is ‘Half a Niggra’, whereupon Tony Lip floors him with one punch… and the pair are arrested.

The film captures the extent of Jim Crow segregation at that time. The black star is treated with flattery by the places he is hired to perform in. Yet, he is not allowed to use the bathrooms reserved for whites, or to eat in the regular dining room. His dressing room is really just a closet compared to those he would use up north. Or course, heaven forbid if he were to stay in anything but rundown ‘Colored Only’ hotels. This all is a revelation to someone like Tony Lip, yet he himself begins to realize the ‘subtle segregation’ and obvious racism that had always existed in his own Bronx neighborhood. Both men slowly draw closer to each other through this horrific experience.

There are various levels to this great film. What attracted this writer was the message, as covert as it may have been, that all working stiffs are really just ‘Niggras’ to those who run things. No matter how much prestige or monetary gain one has accumulated, if one is NOT born and bred within the blue blooded club… acceptance is futile. The movers and shakers of empire will co-opt the few who climb that ladder of accomplishment, yet never allow them to eat in their upper class dining room. This Anglophile system has been with us since perhaps our inception as a republic. They allow the other ethnic ‘servants of empire’ to do just that. Behind all the Jews of finance and banking, Dagos, Micks, Krauts, Spics and Niggras in politics, the military, media, sports, hi tech, agriculture and manufacturing are the descendants of royalty who have always run things Amerikan.  They pull the strings of this phony ‘Two Party/One Party’ system, and always have. A scene in Robert De Niro’s film The Good Shepherd echoed this fact. When Matt Damon, as the Blueblood CIA man, pays a visit to the Joe Pesci character, playing a mafia leader, Pesci asks “We Italians we got our families and we got the Church, the Irish got their homeland, the Jews their tradition, even the Niggers they got their music… what do you people have?” Damon answers him “The United States of America and the rest of you are just visitors.”

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

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India capitulated to American pressure and complied with the anti-Iranian sanctions regime, yet Iran keeps begging it to reconsider and continue investing in the Islamic Republic anyhow, with its humiliating behavior revealing just how desperate it is for economic relief during these tough times.

US sanctions got India to ditch Iran as its second-most important energy partner last month and an unnamed official just told one of his country’s leading media outlets that New Delhi’s position isn’t going to change “anytime soon“, yet some Iranian officials have yet to accept this reality and are practically grovelling before Modi to get him to reconsider. This humiliating behavior was on full display over the weekend after Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh’s latest statements on the issue, which practically amount to begging and reveal just how desperate Iran is for economic relief during these tough times. Here’s what he said regarding India’s tacit refusal to develop the Farzad B gas field, as reported by the official SHANA Petro Energy Information Network:

“We gave them great concessions… but it seems that the Indians have not signed any contracts for developing the field because of the sanctions. Iran considers India as a strategic partner and an old and reliable friend, but they did not sign a contract for developing Farzad B gas field for any reason, so if they do not indicate their readiness to develop the field after a certain period of time we will have to prepare the licensing round for having the field developed by an Iranian contractor … and have the project bankrolled by dipping into the National Development Fund of Iran. Iran’s relations with China and India are strategic ones and we can not influence our relations with these countries only because of a project; we must definitely negotiate with the Indians about Farzad B and declare to them that we cannot wait anymore. We do not want to challenge the relations between Iran and these countries, even if the sanctions are lifted, we are ready to sign a deal with Indians for Farzad B development project and continue this plan.”

From the above, it can be seen that Iran still considers India to be a “strategic partner” despite its recent betrayal. The Islamic Republic is also apparently very sensitive about offending the Indians and giving them the face-saving pretext to discontinue further cooperation as a result, which is why Zangeneh is so careful to say that the likely failure of this joint project won’t affect his country’s ties with New Delhi. To add self-inflicted insult to injury, he then reaffirms that Iran is ready to sign a deal with India if the sanctions are lifted, basically accepting that New Delhi will continue complying with Washington’s will and evidently having no problem with that at all. Instead of moving on and finding other partners like any other country would normally do in this case, Iran is obsessed with winning back India, which — to channel the unnamed Indian official quoted earlier — is unlikely to happen “anytime soon”.

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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 standard line is that the dominant powers in the world are democracies governed ‘of the people, by the people, for the people.’ Yet, we see that the important decisions are made by a relative handful of global elites by global elites, for global elites.

Indeed, according to Oxfam International, in January 2017 just 8 men own as much wealth as the bottom half of humanity. More than half of the world’s wealth is controlled by only 1 percent of the population, with the top 30 percent of the world population controlling more than 95 percent of global wealth. Today, there are as few as 17 asset management firms overseeing over $41 trillion in capital investment.

This extreme concentration of economic power is resulting in a crisis of humanity, with consequences on societies and on the natural world. Extreme inequality is leading to the rise of right-wing popular insurgencies and neo-fascist uprisings. Wars, military activity, and mass surveillance is taking hold, all in the name of keeping the world safe for these same capitalist elites to continue their activities. Meanwhile, unchecked climate change, overwhelming resulting from the activities of a small number of corporations, is threatening the survival of the human species.

These observations and others are documented in a new book by Peter Phillips, entitled, Giants: The Global Power Elite. Following years of painstaking research, Professor Phillips names the names of the asset management firms and the personalities on their Boards of Directors that are making the big decisions affecting the billions of planetary inhabitants. In the book’s concluding chapter, the author puts our a call to arms, demanding this powerful minority radically alter the course of their operations before it’s too late.

Professor Peter Phillips is a professor of sociology at Sonoma State University since 1994. He served as Director of Project Censored from 1996 to 2010. The following interview was conducted for the Global Research News Hour radio program with host Michael Welch on June 5, 2019, just days after the conclusion of this year’s Bilderberg Conference in Montreux, Switzerland.

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Global Research: Peter, you served as director of Project Censored for almost 15 years and have continued to be actively involved in media analysis and media literacy. What is the bridge between that work and your current research into the global power elite?

Peter Philips: Well, I’ve always been interested in elites. My political sociology Ph.D. focused on elites in the US, and I did my dissertation on the Bohemian Club. And, following from that was the idea that elites, you know, have an ideological hegemony that the corporate media reflects and continues to propagate worldwide. So Project Censored was a natural fit in terms of covering stories that the corporate media didn’t cover, and then looking at how Chomsky and Herman laid out the propaganda model of corporate media over 20 years ago and really have emphasized that. And so, it was a natural fit, and since not being director I’ve got back directly to more focusing on the elites themselves. How power works in the world.

GR: So, let’s focus on those elites then. Your book, Giants: the Global Power Elite revolves around a construct you refer to as the Transnational Capitalist Class. Could you specify exactly what distinguishes this Transnationalist Capitalist Class from what we traditionally think of as the business class, or the ruling class?

PP: Well, C Wright Mills used the terminology in his book The Power Elite back in the 50s, and he was saying that there were circles of higher powers people interconnected, who knew each other, the elites of government, the elites of business, military. And the 60s brought about a lot of research from sociologists on how the power elite networks worked in the United States. And so, we had a number of works, and I think one of the most prominent was Who Rules America by Bill Domhoff, William Domhoff University of California Santa Cruz.

Following from that there was the crisis, a profit crisis in terms of corporations making money in the 70s. And we saw hyperinflation, we saw the Carter Administration get engaged in trying to offset the high unemployment rates, things like that. There was what’s been called the Great U-turn. And in order to continue high profits, we began to see capital and corporations globalize.

So, corporations were going offshore, they were finding cheaper labor worldwide, still bringing products back to the United States to sell, but they took on a global scope. And with that, you start to see folks in Europe, Japan, and US, Canada, getting to be involved in business on a greater scale and more regularly. So, there’s a concentration of wealth that starts to accumulate. It’s not just the US, it’s global. And people in the top one percent get richer and richer every year, and the remaining people in the world, particularly the bottom eighty percent have seen a decline. So, we’ve got eighty percent of people in the world live on less than 10 dollars a day now, half live on less than 3 dollars a day.

So there’s this crisis of inequality that’s been building since the 70s, continues to be, wealth continues to be concentrated, and our research focused on who’s in charge of all that wealth. We’re talking trillions and trillions of dollars of capital that’s mobile and can be invested anywhere in the world.  So these giant capital investment companies like BlackRock, and Vanguard, and JP Morgan Chase, and Allianz, and UBS, are worldwide and can control mass amounts of money.

We looked in 2017 at the trillion-dollar investment management companies. There were 17 of them then. And they collectively hold 41 trillion dollars worth of wealth that they were managing. So it wasn’t just these individual…. just the company’s wealth, it was the top one percent of the world takes their excess capital and gives it to investment management companies to get returns on.

So, these were billionaires and millionaires, that put their money into these companies, and the 17 companies had 199 directors. so that’s who we researched, who these people were. They, today, control over 50 trillion dollars of wealth in the world and it’s a small number of people. And they have very similar backgrounds. They’re all high public educations, private colleges, and wealthy, but they know each other. So there’s this network of higher circles of people that are now global. And they get together in places like Davos, and the Bohemian Grove, and other places socially, and they interact and they have institutions now that are global, and the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Bank Of International Settlements, I mean there’s a number of institutions that facilitate interaction between the global elite.

GR: These two hundred directors, maybe give us a little bit more about the characteristics they have in common, and some of the… to the detrimental consequences that that skewed perspective may be having.

PP: Well the detrimental consequences are many. And that’s increased wealth by the few, which impacts the rest of the world. Thirty thousand people a day are dying from starvation in the world. That’s UN figures. And there’s more than enough food to feed everybody. Most of it’s thrown away. It’s not profitable to sell. Those are decisions that capital is making, because capital wants a return. Or the people that are holding the capital, they want an annual return, so they’re compelled to invest in a place that will give them a return. They have this 50 trillion dollars now of wealth that’s floating capital, literally, they can put anywhere they want, and the problem is they’ve got more capital than they’ve got places to put it to get an adequate return, in the three to ten percent range.

So, that’s a big problem, and they end up doing speculative investments like the subprime mortgage loans back in 2008, and that collapsed, that almost collapsed the entire world economic system and required trillions of dollars of bailout money from government going to central banks worldwide. The…that is continuing, so… Wealth continues to concentrate, there aren’t adequate places to put it, so the second option for capital is to try to buy up the resources of the world. Water rights, land control, mineral rights, freeway systems, whatever they can that it’ll get a return on. So there’s a privatization process that’s ongoing that impacts all of us.

And the third way massive amounts of wealth are used up and to give a return to this concentrated wealth is war, permanent war in the world today. And the US of course taking the lead in terms of military spending, but, you know, the NATO involvements… It’s a US-NATO empire with 800 to 1000 bases worldwide trying to control and protect global capital. That’s what it’s about.  It’s not about protecting the homeland or protecting US citizens overseas unless there’s a capital threat. So the military empires of the world is the police force for protecting this concentrated 50 trillion dollars worth of capital that’s managed just by these few hundred people.

GR: Of course, you’re referring there to the, what in a chapter you called ‘The Protectors’. Can you talk a little bit more about how those protectors maintain a loyalty to the aims of these global forces elites, as opposed to the governments of nation-states, such as the United States or the United Kingdom?

PP: Well the nation-states, the capitalist nation-states, and that’s Europe, US, Canada, Japan, and other capitalist countries around the world, where the elites are controlling it, the capital elites, are in the service of protecting global capital. That’s what governments do. So, if you look at Trump’s behaviour, or Obama’s behaviour, in terms are protecting global capital, they both did that, they’re both protecting Wall Street. They’re both trying to make sure that the investment cancel worldwide, they’re protected and  there can be returns for the wealthy, including themselves, of course. Obama has millions of dollars invested in investment management companies, and so does Trump. So, you know, that’s part of world agenda of protecting.

So, intelligence agencies, the Pentagon, you know, the CIA of course, … British intelligence, German intelligence, they all know that the agenda for the government is to protect the capital, and protect this concentration of wealth, … make sure that governments in other parts of the world don’t interfere with capital return. So not only they’re debt collectors, but they’re also regime changers so that there’s a government that is not cooperating with this global capitalist investment, such as Gaddafi in Libya was trying to create his own currency based on gold and Africa and the other countries go along with it, that wasn’t going to be tolerated. So they initiated, you know, a regime change there and (inaudible.)

Essentially that happened with Saddam Hussein as well. I mean he started selling his oil in Euros instead of dollars. That did him in.

GR: Of counrse you als-…

PP: So, that’s the focus, is protecting this global capital.

GR: Could you speak a little bit more to that … privatized aspect of the protecting…

PP: Of security? Absolutely! G4S is the second largest private employer in the world behind Walmart. They have 625,000 employees worldwide. And they do everything from guarding banks to running prisons to actual mercenary work in various countries, that, you know, killing people. And intelligence work, private intelligence work. So, the overlap between private intelligence and military that have almost merged together. Major part of the intelligence agencies in the United States are privatized, and are doing private work and the employees are not governmental. So, G4S is just a front runner, so to speak – the largest private military source in the world outside of government, and armies, and that.

So, they’re the ones who had the dogs up there in the Dakotas attacking the pipeline protesters there. They’re involved everywhere in the world, including protecting settlements in Israel. So, it’s a massive company.

Blackwater’s similar, it’s now called ‘Academi’. They run mercenary armies and Erik Prince has been trying to convince Trump that Blackwater should take over managing the resistance forrces in Afghanistan – or the resistance against the resistance forces. So…it’s global. It’s private. It’s deadly. And um, we’re seeing that expand and grow….I mean to use the word fascism is not inappropriate.

GR: These companies, they’re being invested in by these major investment firms, and major corporations. They’re all invested in each other and therefore there are all a lot of mutual interests that are being had as well.

PP: The 50 trillion is just one big cluster of co-investment. Um, the 17 giants have over 400 billion – that’s just the NASDAQ figures – invested in each other. And then all the others what I call mirror giants, and there’s actually three new companies that were over a trillion dollars in the last two years, and then there’s many that are …500 billion or 800 billion, and you start putting all this together, it’s this giant cluster of capital growth and expansion, managed by just these few hundred people, protected by governments worldwide – capitalist governments – and their military and intelligence agencies work on behalf of these elites.

So, that’s the ballga-, I mean, that’s the overall perspective. It’s not good for the world, it’s not good for democracy, and it’s certainly not good for people in countries where they are – have limited resources, are unable to grow or expand. It’s all taken up. It’s all controlled and bought out. So, that’s a catastrophe for the world and of course it’s the main cause of the environmental disasters that are ongoing. It’s also – there’s less than 70 companies in the world that produce four fifths of the global, um, warming gases that – it’s a major concentration of wealth and power. It’s transnational. These people get together and they have planning agencies like the Trilateral Commission and the Council of 30 that are private groups that basically set agendas for governments to implement.

GR: Could I get you to elaborate more on that precise policy-making role that those facilitators are putting together for the global power elite?

PP: Well, the Bilderberg is a group of about a hundred and – a hundred to a hundred and fifty. They had like a hundred and ten people last weekend in Montreux in Switzerland. Eighteen of the people listed in my book attended last weekend. Uh, but they’re not there setting policy. They’re there setting – building consensus and – where they can go back to their institutions that they – and they implement this consensus building.

So the topics covered last weekend were climate, the precariat, China, Russia, concerns there, stability in the market, I mean those are things that these highest level people are having conversations about, and they go back to the various institutions with the agreements and understandings that they’ve reached at these meetings.

The biggest one is the Trilateral Commission, which is over four hundred people from forty nations who meet regionally and internationally, and it’s all private. There’s no government officials involved whatsoever. They put out reports that are seen as guides to the White House, to the Pentagon, to the State Department as to where we need to go and what we need to do. The Trilateral Commission was the outspurt of … you know that Rockefeller put together, and Brzezinsky after they went to Bilderberger in the early 70s. And they said, ‘well this is cool. We need to do this here in the US’ and they started the Trilateral Commission.

The Council of 30 is the top bankers to the world’s social bankers and economists. So there’s actually thirty-two people – thirty-one men, one woman. They added a second woman this past year. And they’re based in Washington D.C.. And we call them the executive committee of global capitalism. They literally are the facilitators. When the Council of 30 puts out a report or a policy recommendation, the head of the World Bank or the IMF sees that as instructions. That’s the direction that we need to go.

So these are very important, privately funded, non-governmental policy groups that elites in the world utilize to set agendas and point their whole machine in the direction they want it to go.

GR: Could you give us, maybe, a real world example of one of these areas where they built a consensus and then you’re seeing it enacted on the world stage?

PP: Well, I think a good current example is united global capitalist countries against Venezuela. Maduro, of course, was elected by the people there. The socialist party has been in power for over twenty years. The government – US is there working very hard to try to have a regime change to undermine that. There’s certainly a consensus that that large pool of private – of oil should be privatized, and the resources in Venezuela invested in, where the return can go to global capital. That’s understood. They have been kind of trying to make that recommendation.

But then, to go and recognize the head of the Assembly as the actual president, was kind of an outstanding move. Certainly violated sovereignty of their country. But then we see who lines up. It’s the US, Canada, Germany, France, Great Britain. The capitalist countries line up in support of that regime change are the key players in controlling this global capital. So it’s an agenda of protecting and expanding opportunities for global capital to grow and expand.

The media, of course, goes right along with that, and uh – you know, the corporate media. The big television stations and the big newspapers are all calling for change there or even making statements about Maduro being a dictator and controlling that, I mean it’s just absolutely not true. And so there’s this agenda there that I thought was very obvious that I wrote about it recently.

The other place is that six years ago – uh five years ago, the Atlantic Council which is another big policy-making group made up of NATO nations, put out a report literally calling for regime change in Russia. Putin is very aware that the West would like to see him removed, and that opening up Russia to greater opportunities for investment and capital growth. I mean, you know global capital is just salivating over the opportunity … oil, gas, gold and minerals that are available in Russia, and they would love to have greater access to those investments.

GR: Now you’re getting to the other instrument that you mention in the book – the ‘Ideologists’ – when you mention the Atlantic Council. Basically they play an indoctrinating role, putting out the narratives that put governments, local media, educational institutions, the general public on the same page. Could you give us …. some examples of the specific companies that we’re talking about, and some of what they’ve been doing?

PP: Well, the top big media companies – MSNBC, and FOX, and CNN, and ABC, and that … they’re part of the global news system. They are invested in by all the major giants in very huge ways. In fact, I was just looking up ABC the other day, because when they were translating my book into spanish … there was a typo in there about who was invested in the various private – privately owned media company. At ABC, we had UBS from Switzerland – one of the giant investment companies in the world – we had them at nine hundred million. But then there was a second listing for UBS at six hundred million so they wrote me, ‘which one is it? Which one is it?’ So, I went back and I looked and, you know … UBS is currently invested in just ABC I think: 1.8 billion. So they doubled what had been nine hundred million just two years ago.

So, these giants – these big investment companies – are heavily invested in global media and all of television, radio, newspapers, you know the biggest information sources for most people in the world – are invested in by the giants and having an ideological agenda of protecting capitalism, and concentrated wealth. I mean that’s a given.

Now their content which is also really important is increasingly made – put together by public relation firms – giant public relation firms: Omnicom, Inter Public Group – and they are in turn producing probably close to eighty percent of all the news content in the world. So, a story about what’s at stake, what’s happening in any country, or what’s happening in the Middle East, is packaged by one of these public relation firms, given to corporate media and literally runs as presented.

So, there’s – all news is managed, and what you get on television news is, you know, local murders, and the freeway accidents, and the weather. Uh, the rest of it is essentially coming from public relation firms that have already packaged the news story to reflect the ideology that global capitalism wants to see.

GR: I notice you seemed to put out an open letter signed by ninety colleagues that’s directed to the elites themselves. Could you argue, you know, that, uh, about that – that approach. I mean, you seem to be wanting to harness a lot of, uh, public mobilizations but at the same time you seem to be willing to engage these global elites on a respectful level. Could I get you to…

PP: Well, I think we have to engage them directly, and that’s part of writing the book is to identify who they are, uh, ‘cause all these people have email addresses, and places of business, and they can be reached. And it can be impactful to them… They have children and grandchildren, and they’d like to see their grandchildren have grandchildren – a continuation of that. And the world environmentally and economically is in danger of collapse…You know there’s a very serious consequences that are going to come down from continued concentration of wealth, including civil unrest, and wars, and violence, and then overt repression by the military empire that could grow into massive civil unrest and disobedience. If it goes in that direction there could be environmental wars and catastrophes for major parts of the people in the world.

We’re in a dangerous situation and continued concentration of wealth and global warming, environmental practices are just … make that worse. And it’s that concentration of the desire of wealth to gain more wealth that is causing this as part of the structure. So we’re telling elites that they’re going to have to share.

GR: Okay.

PP: You know, they believe that by growth, that it’ll trickle down, and the whole world will be saved, and that’s not happening. It’s going actually in the opposite direction in a very big way and very quickly. And, we’re faced with extinction. So, there are movements like the Extinction movement, and Occupy, and a number of Labor movements in China, civilian movements throughout Europe, the Yellow Vest movement in France, that are all challenging, basically global power structures…

So the elites either need to share and change their behaviour in very big ways, in terms of what global capital is doing, or they’re going to be faced with economic and environmental collapse. So, having said that, we’re saying ‘okay, let’s do something about that. Let’s work together.’ And they’re certainly – they know that. I mean, that’s part of what was on the agenda at Davos was last weekend – I mean, last year in January, and then Bilderberger last weekend. You know, ‘what are we going to do about this crisis?’ And so there are certainly some that are aware of the situation and want to make some adjustments.

We have to pressure them. Social movements have to pressure them to act on those beliefs on those understandings in major ways. And that’s how we end up. And we of course, cite the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a value base … for any social movement to assume that we need to have those human rights as the focus of where we are going in the world.

GR: Yes, an essential touchstone. Professor Peter Phillips it’s been delightful to speak with you. Thanks so much for agreeing to appear on our program.

PP: Well, Michael I really appreciated it. Thank you very much!

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Fierce clashes have been ongoing in northern Hama since June 6 when Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Jaysh al-Izza, the Turkish-backed National Front for Liberation (NFL) and their allies launched an advance on Syrian Arab Army (SAA) positions there.

Initially, militants seized several positions, including Jibeen and Tal Meleh, but then the SAA re-grouped and launched a counter-attack stopping the further militant advance. According to pro-government sources, the recently deployed reinforcements from the 5th Assault Corps, the 3rd Armoured Division and 7th Armoured Division as well as support of the Syrian Air Force and the Russian Aerospace Forces played a role in this counter-attack.

The pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said that at least 102 militants and 126 pro-government fighters have been killed in the clashes. Both these numbers seem to be overestimated. Nonetheless, if they are even partially true, these are the most intense clashes in the area over the past few months.

On June 9, units of the NFL and the al-Qaeda-affiliated coalition of militant groups, Wa Harid al-Muminin, attacked SAA positions near Turkish border in northern Lattakia. A source in the SAA told SouthFront that the attack, which began in the early hours of the morning, was launched from Turkish territory. The source said that vehicles armed with heavy machine guns supporting the militants were moving on the border line. A salvo of rockets was also launched from the direction of southern Turkey.

Sources close to the NFL and Wa Hariiid al-Muminin claimed that over 50 troops were killed in the attack. Nonetheless, this number remains unconfirmed by any photo or video evidence.

The NFL was formed last August by several Turkish-backed groups after direct pressure from Ankara. Wa Harid al-Muminin was established around the same time by al-Qaeda-affiliated Jamat Ansar al-Islam, Horas al-Din, Jabhat Ansar al-Islam and Ansar al-Tawhid.

Meanwhile, militants started using man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADs) against aircraft supporting the SAA.

On June 7, a Syrian warplane was hit by a surface-to-air missile over northern Hama. A military source told SouthFront that a Syrian Su-22M4 fighter bomber was hit with a MANPAD, but the damaged jet landed in a unspecified airbase in Homs. The pilot survived.

On June 8, the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham news network claimed that a L-39 jet of the Syrian Air Force was targeted by a unspecified air-defense weapon while conducting a sortie over Greater Idlib. However, pro-government sources denied these claims.

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Claire Edwards talked about 5G last February in Poland.

Now more than ever, it is necessary to know the advantages and disadvantages of the said technology.

First we are told that 5G in space will help mitigate global warming – climate change. And we are told that it will help with health issues. We’re told that 5G in space will provide services to aircraft, both military and commercial.

But above all, it seems to me, on looking at the documents, that actually this is all about control. It’s about controlling what people do in “smart” cities.

It’s about monitoring and controlling agriculture. It’s about controlling what people do at sea – for example, overfishing.

So it’s a control agenda.

Which companies are the main players in this? Here you have a list of the five main companies.

And the plan is to put over 20,000 satellites in space to beam 5G over the entire planet. The Iridium company – they already have their 66 satellites. They went up last year. But my understanding is that first they need to establish the ground stations so these are not operating yet.

And yesterday you may have heard that the OneWeb company launched six satellites last night [27 February 2019]. And these are only part oftheir proposed constellations so these will also not be operating yet. And I see that – for OneWeb – one rocket will launch 35 satellites at a time.

So I imagine that it will take several months – even 16 months before they have enough satellites for them to start operating with 5G. At least I hope so.

English with consecutive translation into Polish. Scroll down for the full transcript of Claire Edward’s presentation

Full transcript 

[0.12 – 5G in Space: Pros and Cons]

Good morning, everybody. I would like to talk about 5G in space today and I want to address the pros and cons.

[0.30 – 5G space pros]

So first let’s look at the pros – or the supposed advantages of 5G in space.

First we are told that 5G in space will help mitigate global warming – climate change. And we are told that it will help with health issues. We’re told that 5G in space will provide services to aircraft, both military and commercial.

But above all, it seems to me, on looking at the documents, that actually this is all about control.

It’s about controlling what people do in “smart” cities.

It’s about monitoring and controlling agriculture.

It’s about controlling what people do at sea – for example, overfishing.

So it’s a control agenda.

[2.25 – Main players]

Which companies are the main players in this? Here you have a list of the five main companies.

And the plan is to put over 20,000 satellites in space to beam 5G over the entire planet. The Iridium company – they already have their 66 satellites. They went up last year. But my understanding is that first they need to establish the ground stations so these are not operating yet.

And yesterday you may have heard that the OneWeb company launched six satellites last night [27 February 2019]. And these are only part oftheir proposed constellations so these will also not be operating yet. And I see that – for OneWeb – one rocket will launch 35 satellites at a time. So I imagine that it will take several months – even 16 months before they have enough satellites for them to start operating with 5G. At least I hope so.

[4.58 – 5G Space cons]

What are the cons? What are the disadvantages of beaming 5G from space?

The major one is: There has never been any health or safety testing of 5G! The second one is that the word that the proponents use is to “blanket” the Earth. To blanket the Earth means to cover every square centimetre of this planet. There would be no escape – even in the desert, in the rainforest, on the ocean. This has very serious implications for children, who have the smallest bodies and they are the most vulnerable. Also for people who already suffer from microwave sickness. And we calculate there are at least 20 million people worldwide already who suffer from microwave sickness. When 5G starts, there are likely to be many, many more.

Also we know that there are very, very serious implications for nature.

And for insects because insects have the tiniest bodies and they resonate with millimetre waves, which are very short. We’ve already lost 80% of our insects in the last 20 years so with 5G we’re likely to lose 100% of our insects.

[7.50 – Children]

You can see here that, when an adult uses a mobile phone, the penetration of the brain is 25%, but when a five-year-old child uses a mobile phone, the penetration is 75%. And that’s only oneof the implications for children.

[8.55 – 5G space cons]

Here you can see examples of the consequences for trees. These pictures were taken by a scientist in Germany. Here you see an antenna and the side of the tree facing the antenna has died. You can see this for yourself if you see any [apartment] house with Wi-Fi and you look at the tree [immediately] outside the house, you’re likely to see the same phenomenon. And here is traffic radar, which is hidden in a bush and that side of the bush has died.

[10.03 – 5G space cons]

So how do we know what is likely to happen with these 5G satellites? Well, we don’t, but we have some knowledge of what has happened in the past.

Twenty years ago, the company Iridium launched 66 satellites for the first

satellite telephones. And a scientist in the United States called Arthur Firstenberg recorded what happened in the following two weeks. The US national death rate rose 4 to 5%. Thousands of US homing pigeons lost their way and never came back. Electrically sensitive people worldwide reported terrible symptoms.

[11.55 – 5G space cons]

OK, more disadvantages or more cons: effects on global warming. Just one aspect. There will be thousands of rocket launches and these rockets will use kerosene fuel. And when it burns, this kerosene fuel will produce black soot, causing massive pollution worldwide.

And just to give you an idea, currently officially we have 1,700 satellites. So putting up 20,000 satellites multiplies the number by at least 12 times. We simply don’t know the consequences.

I think my colleague earlier talked about power line harmonic radiation. We have electricity power lines right across the world. And these signals go up into the ionosphere and the magnetosphere where they are multiplied hundreds of thousands of times.

I think probably also it was explained about the Schumann resonance. I’m sure everybody is familiar [with that].

The Schumann resonance used to be 7.83 Hertz and our brains operate at 7.83 Hertz so we function in resonance with the Earth. So if we start interfering with the global electric circuit, this has very serious consequences or implications for our brains and the functioning of our entire bodies.

[14.40 – 5G space cons]

So just as our bodies consist of – our bodies operate electrically and we have our own electrical system. So the Earth also has its own electrical system and it’s called the “global electric circuit”.

[15.31 – Global electric circuit]

Here you see an image of the global electric circuit and you can see the ionosphere and the magnetosphere. Now, to understand the global electric circuit, you need scientists in many, many different fields. So right now we do NOT understand the working of the global electric circuit. But nevertheless, we plan to put at least 20,000 5G satellites up there!

[16.25 –5G space cons]

And they will be emitting digitally pulsed millimetre wave radiation of up to 5 million watts into the Earth’s magnetosphere. And satellite signals pulsed at extremely low frequencies and very low frequencies are demodulated (or extracted) by the ionosphere, and – as we saw – amplified hundreds of thousands of times by the magnetosphere.

[17.28 –Global electric circuit – human body]

This is an image of the electrical circuit of the human body.

[17.39 –International Appeal to Stop 5G on Earth and in Space]

I’m here representing the International Appeal to Stop 5G on Earth and in Space because we think this is all extremely dangerous! This is an international Appeal and we have a website with – I’ve lost count of how many languages – I think it’s 23 currently, and that includes Polish. The Appeal explains very clearly this problem.

And so we would ask you to read it, sign it – it’s open for everybody to sign.

We currently have over 50,000 signatures [as at February 2019].

Thousands of doctors and scientists have signed and 750 organizations, all of them from 168 countries. So please read it, understand it and please tell everybody else. We can use this Appeal as an educational tool. You can also use it as a campaigning tool so you can send it to anybody you think who could change this situation – school teachers, head teachers, doctors, politicians …

People say to me, “But what can I do? I’m just one person.”

And somebody said to me a few months ago, “Oh, no. I don’t want to be involved in this.” She said, “It’s a David and Goliath situation.”

I’d just like to remind you who won. It was David!

We are two people: myself and Arthur Firstenberg, who administer this Appeal and we have reached millionsof people.

I believe that everybodycan participate in this and every individual can make a difference. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your skills are. You can contribute.

We are many and they are few! So welcome to the campaign!

22:08 – END

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This presentation was first published on Clarity.

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

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“You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.”—George Orwell, 1984

Tread cautiously: the fiction of George Orwell has become an operation manual for the omnipresent, modern-day surveillance state.

It’s been 70 years since Orwell—dying, beset by fever and bloody coughing fits, and driven to warn against the rise of a society in which rampant abuse of power and mass manipulation are the norm—depicted the ominous rise of ubiquitous technology, fascism and totalitarianism in 1984.

Who could have predicted that 70 years after Orwell typed the final words to his dystopian novel, “He loved Big Brother,” we would fail to heed his warning and come to love Big Brother.

“To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do not live alone— to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone: From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of doublethink — greetings!”—George Orwell

1984 portrays a global society of total control in which people are not allowed to have thoughts that in any way disagree with the corporate state. There is no personal freedom, and advanced technology has become the driving force behind a surveillance-driven society. Snitches and cameras are everywhere. People are subject to the Thought Police, who deal with anyone guilty of thought crimes. The government, or “Party,” is headed by Big Brother who appears on posters everywhere with the words: “Big Brother is watching you.”

We have arrived, way ahead of schedule, into the dystopian future dreamed up by not only Orwell but also such fiction writers as Aldous Huxley, Margaret Atwood and Philip K. Dick.

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”―George Orwell

Much like Orwell’s Big Brother in 1984, the government and its corporate spies now watch our every move. Much like Huxley’s A Brave New World, we are churning out a society of watchers who “have their liberties taken away from them, but … rather enjoy it, because they [are] distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing.” Much like Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, the populace is now taught to “know their place and their duties, to understand that they have no real rights but will be protected up to a point if they conform, and to think so poorly of themselves that they will accept their assigned fate and not rebel or run away.”

Image on the right: Still from Minority Report

Image result for steven spielberg minority report

And in keeping with Philip K. Dick’s darkly prophetic vision of a dystopian police state—which became the basis for Steven Spielberg’s futuristic thriller Minority Report—we are now trapped in a world in which the government is all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful, and if you dare to step out of line, dark-clad police SWAT teams and pre-crime units will crack a few skulls to bring the populace under control.

What once seemed futuristic no longer occupies the realm of science fiction.

Incredibly, as the various nascent technologies employed and shared by the government and corporations alike—facial recognition, iris scanners, massive databases, behavior prediction software, and so on—are incorporated into a complex, interwoven cyber network aimed at tracking our movements, predicting our thoughts and controlling our behavior, the dystopian visions of past writers is fast becoming our reality.

Our world is characterized by widespread surveillance, behavior prediction technologies, data mining, fusion centers, driverless cars, voice-controlled homes, facial recognition systems, cybugs and drones, and predictive policing (pre-crime) aimed at capturing would-be criminals before they can do any damage.

Surveillance cameras are everywhere. Government agents listen in on our telephone calls and read our emails. Political correctness—a philosophy that discourages diversity—has become a guiding principle of modern society.

“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”―George Orwell

The courts have shredded the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. In fact, SWAT teams battering down doors without search warrants and FBI agents acting as a secret police that investigate dissenting citizens are common occurrences in contemporary America. And bodily privacy and integrity have been utterly eviscerated by a prevailing view that Americans have no rights over what happens to their bodies during an encounter with government officials, who are allowed to search, seize, strip, scan, spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation.

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”―George Orwell, Animal Farm

We are increasingly ruled by multi-corporations wedded to the police state.

What many fail to realize is that the government is not operating alone. It cannot. The government requires an accomplice. Thus, the increasingly complex security needs of the massive federal government, especially in the areas of defense, surveillance and data management, have been met within the corporate sector, which has shown itself to be a powerful ally that both depends on and feeds the growth of governmental overreach.

In fact, Big Tech wedded to Big Government has become Big Brother, and we are now ruled by the Corporate Elite whose tentacles have spread worldwide. For example, USA Today reports that five years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the homeland security business was booming to such an extent that it eclipsed mature enterprises like movie-making and the music industry in annual revenue. This security spending to private corporations such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft and others is forecast to exceed $1 trillion in the near future.

The government now has at its disposal technological arsenals so sophisticated and invasive as to render any constitutional protections null and void. Spearheaded by the NSA, which has shown itself to care little to nothing for constitutional limits or privacy, the “security/industrial complex”—a marriage of government, military and corporate interests aimed at keeping Americans under constant surveillance—has come to dominate the government and our lives. At three times the size of the CIA, constituting one third of the intelligence budget and with its own global spy network to boot, the NSA has a long history of spying on Americans, whether or not it has always had the authorization to do so.

Money, power, control. There is no shortage of motives fueling the convergence of mega-corporations and government. But who is paying the price? The American people, of course.

Orwell understood what many Americans, caught up in their partisan flag-waving, are still struggling to come to terms with: that there is no such thing as a government organized for the good of the people. Even the best intentions among those in government inevitably give way to the desire to maintain power and control over the citizenry at all costs. As Orwell explains:

The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know what no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.

“The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it.” ― George Orwell

How do you change the way people think? You start by changing the words they use.

In totalitarian regimes—a.k.a. police states—where conformity and compliance are enforced at the end of a loaded gun, the government dictates what words can and cannot be used. In countries where the police state hides behind a benevolent mask and disguises itself as tolerance, the citizens censor themselves, policing their words and thoughts to conform to the dictates of the mass mind.

Dystopian literature shows what happens when the populace is transformed into mindless automatons. In Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, reading is banned and books are burned in order to suppress dissenting ideas, while televised entertainment is used to anesthetize the populace and render them easily pacified, distracted and controlled.

In Huxley’s Brave New World, serious literature, scientific thinking and experimentation are banned as subversive, while critical thinking is discouraged through the use of conditioning, social taboos and inferior education. Likewise, expressions of individuality, independence and morality are viewed as vulgar and abnormal.

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And in Orwell’s 1984, Big Brother does away with all undesirable and unnecessary words and meanings, even going so far as to routinely rewrite history and punish “thoughtcrimes.” In this dystopian vision of the future, the Thought Police serve as the eyes and ears of Big Brother, while the Ministry of Peace deals with war and defense, the Ministry of Plenty deals with economic affairs (rationing and starvation), the Ministry of Love deals with law and order (torture and brainwashing), and the Ministry of Truth deals with news, entertainment, education and art (propaganda). The mottos of Oceania: WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

All three—Bradbury, Huxley and Orwell—had an uncanny knack for realizing the future, yet it is Orwell who best understood the power of language to manipulate the masses. Orwell’s Big Brother relied on Newspeak to eliminate undesirable words, strip such words as remained of unorthodox meanings and make independent, non-government-approved thought altogether unnecessary. To give a single example, as psychologist Erich Fromm illustrates in his afterword to 1984:

The word free still existed in Newspeak, but it could only be used in such statements as “This dog is free from lice” or “This field is free from weeds.” It could not be used in its old sense of “politically free” or “intellectually free,” since political and intellectual freedom no longer existed as concepts….

Where we stand now is at the juncture of OldSpeak (where words have meanings, and ideas can be dangerous) and Newspeak (where only that which is “safe” and “accepted” by the majority is permitted). The power elite has made their intentions clear: they will pursue and prosecute any and all words, thoughts and expressions that challenge their authority.

This is the final link in the police state chain.

“Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.”—George Orwell

Americans have been conditioned to accept routine incursions on their privacy rights. In fact, the addiction to screen devices—especially cell phones—has created a hive effect where the populace not only watched but is controlled by AI bots. However, at one time, the idea of a total surveillance state tracking one’s every move would have been abhorrent to most Americans. That all changed with the 9/11 attacks. As professor Jeffrey Rosen observes, “Before Sept. 11, the idea that Americans would voluntarily agree to live their lives under the gaze of a network of biometric surveillance cameras, peering at them in government buildings, shopping malls, subways and stadiums, would have seemed unthinkable, a dystopian fantasy of a society that had surrendered privacy and anonymity.”

Having been reduced to a cowering citizenry—mute in the face of elected officials who refuse to represent us, helpless in the face of police brutality, powerless in the face of militarized tactics and technology that treat us like enemy combatants on a battlefield, and naked in the face of government surveillance that sees and hears all—we have nowhere left to go.

We have, so to speak, gone from being a nation where privacy is king to one where nothing is safe from the prying eyes of government. In search of so-called terrorists and extremists hiding amongst us—the proverbial “needle in a haystack,” as one official termed it—the Corporate State has taken to monitoring all aspects of our lives, from cell phone calls and emails to Internet activity and credit card transactions. Much of this data is being fed through fusion centers across the country, which work with the Department of Homeland Security to make threat assessments on every citizen, including school children. These are state and regional intelligence centers that collect data on you.

“Big Brother is Watching You.”―George Orwell

Wherever you go and whatever you do, you are now being watched, especially if you leave behind an electronic footprint. When you use your cell phone, you leave a record of when the call was placed, who you called, how long it lasted and even where you were at the time. When you use your ATM card, you leave a record of where and when you used the card. There is even a video camera at most locations equipped with facial recognition software. When you use a cell phone or drive a car enabled with GPS, you can be tracked by satellite. Such information is shared with government agents, including local police. And all of this once-private information about your consumer habits, your whereabouts and your activities is now being fed to the U.S. government.

The government has nearly inexhaustible resources when it comes to tracking our movements, from electronic wiretapping devices, traffic cameras and biometrics to radio-frequency identification cards, satellites and Internet surveillance.

Speech recognition technology now makes it possible for the government to carry out massive eavesdropping by way of sophisticated computer systems. Phone calls can be monitored, the audio converted to text files and stored in computer databases indefinitely. And if any “threatening” words are detected—no matter how inane or silly—the record can be flagged and assigned to a government agent for further investigation. Federal and state governments, again working with private corporations, monitor your Internet content. Users are profiled and tracked in order to identify, target and even prosecute them.

In such a climate, everyone is a suspect. And you’re guilty until you can prove yourself innocent. To underscore this shift in how the government now views its citizens, the FBI uses its wide-ranging authority to investigate individuals or groups, regardless of whether they are suspected of criminal activity.

“Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull.” ― George Orwell

Here’s what a lot of people fail to understand, however: it’s not just what you say or do that is being monitored, but how you think that is being tracked and targeted. We’ve already seen this play out on the state and federal level with hate crime legislation that cracks down on so-called “hateful” thoughts and expression, encourages self-censoring and reduces free debate on various subject matter.

Say hello to the new Thought Police.

Total Internet surveillance by the Corporate State, as omnipresent as God, is used by the government to predict and, more importantly, control the populace, and it’s not as far-fetched as you might think. For example, the NSA is now designing an artificial intelligence system that is designed to anticipate your every move. In a nutshell, the NSA will feed vast amounts of the information it collects to a computer system known as Aquaint (the acronym stands for Advanced QUestion Answering for INTelligence), which the computer can then use to detect patterns and predict behavior.

No information is sacred or spared.

Everything from cell phone recordings and logs, to emails, to text messages, to personal information posted on social networking sites, to credit card statements, to library circulation records, to credit card histories, etc., is collected by the NSA and shared freely with its agents in crime: the CIA, FBI and DHS. One NSA researcher actually quit the Aquaint program, “citing concerns over the dangers in placing such a powerful weapon in the hands of a top-secret agency with little accountability.”

Thus, what we are witnessing, in the so-called name of security and efficiency, is the creation of a new class system comprised of the watched (average Americans such as you and me) and the watchers (government bureaucrats, technicians and private corporations).

Clearly, the age of privacy in America is at an end.

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.”—Orwell

So where does that leave us?

We now find ourselves in the unenviable position of being monitored, managed and controlled by our technology, which answers not to us but to our government and corporate rulers. This is the fact-is-stranger-than-fiction lesson that is being pounded into us on a daily basis.

It won’t be long before we find ourselves looking back on the past with longing, back to an age where we could speak to whom we wanted, buy what we wanted, think what we wanted without those thoughts, words and activities being tracked, processed and stored by corporate giants such as Google, sold to government agencies such as the NSA and CIA, and used against us by militarized police with their army of futuristic technologies.

To be an individual today, to not conform, to have even a shred of privacy, and to live beyond the reach of the government’s roaming eyes and technological spies, one must not only be a rebel but rebel.

Even when you rebel and take your stand, there is rarely a happy ending awaiting you. You are rendered an outlaw.

So how do you survive in the American surveillance state?

We’re running out of options.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we’ll soon have to choose between self-indulgence (the bread-and-circus distractions offered up by the news media, politicians, sports conglomerates, entertainment industry, etc.) and self-preservation in the form of renewed vigilance about threats to our freedoms and active engagement in self-governance.

Yet as Aldous Huxley acknowledged in Brave New World Revisited: “Only the vigilant can maintain their liberties, and only those who are constantly and intelligently on the spot can hope to govern themselves effectively by democratic procedures. A society, most of whose members spend a great part of their time, not on the spot, not here and now and in their calculable future, but somewhere else, in the irrelevant other worlds of sport and soap opera, of mythology and metaphysical fantasy, will find it hard to resist the encroachments of those would manipulate and control it.”

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This article was originally published on The Rutherford Institute.

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People  is available at www.amazon.com. Whitehead can be contacted at [email protected]. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research. 

Trump just dramatically increased trade tensions between the US and China after publicly demanding that President Xi hold talks with him at the G20 otherwise he’ll immediately impose tariffs on $300 billion worth of imports, which is nothing less than economic blackmail and a serious form of psychological warfare on his counterpart. The concept of “face” is one of the most important characteristics of Chinese culture and under no circumstances should a person ever be seen as “losing” it, though Trump just put Xi in a dilemma whereby he’s bound to “lose face” regardless of whatever he does. It’ll be seen as capitulating to Trump’s blackmail if he holds talks with him at the G20, whereas declining to do so will carry with it an unprecedented economic punishment. Either way, Xi “loses face”, and the lose-lose position that he’s in is bound to exacerbate factional divisions within the Communist Party over the country’s approach to the “trade war“.

On one hand, there are those who think that China should cut a deal with the US before the tariffs become so severe that they trigger a large-scale supply chain rerouting that leads to long-term economic problems, though the paradox is that agreeing to Trump’s “Open Door” policy would shock the country’s economic system either way. On the other hand, some voices think that China should dig in its heels for a prolonged “trade war” and proactively take all necessary measures to soften the blow of the US’ de-facto sanctions and secure the many links of the global supply chain within their country. These so-called “hardliners” (from the American perspective) will probably gain more influence over Xi as a result of Trump’s economic blackmail against him and his impending “loss of face”, though somewhat counterintuitively, that might be exactly what the US hopes will happen if one accepts the theory that Trump never wanted to reach a deal with China to begin with but was instead looking for a pretext to implement his promised policy of “economic nationalism”.

Either way, the Chinese are now on the strategic defensive in more ways than one since Trump’s psychological warfare on Xi is a global humiliation for such a proud Great Power. The American leader was thought to have crossed the Rubicon last month when he insulted the country’s negotiating team by accusing them of double-dealing after they supposedly changed their mind at the very last minute right when they were supposed to have formalized the trade agreement that they were trying to clinch for months already, one which would have probably been lopsided in America’s favor. In hindsight, it might have been a ploy by the Chinese to go along with these talks for so long before suddenly reconsidering their position in a bid to get the US to balance out the terms in its desperation to seal the deal ahead of the 2020 elections, but that would have been a fundamental misreading of Trump’s intent should it have been the case. As it stands, whatever the Chinese do will play into Trump’s hands, unless of course they have a ace up their sleeves that they’ve yet to play.

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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.

Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) 19th summit is scheduled to be held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on 13-14 June 2019. It is a Eurasian political, economic, and security alliance, the creation of which was announced on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai, China by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan; but its Charter, formally establishing the organization, was signed in June 2002 and entered into force on 19 September 2003. The original five nations, with the exclusion of Uzbekistan, were previously members of the Shanghai Five group, founded on 26 April 1996. Since then, the organization has expanded its membership to eight countries when India and Pakistan joined SCO as full members on 9 June 2017 at a summit in Astana, Kazakhstan.  There are 4 observer states Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia. While 6 countries are dialogue partners: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Turkey. It is well understood that the organization may expand in the future extending full membership to other countries too.

The Heads of State Council (HSC) is the supreme decision-making body in the SCO, it meets once a year and adopts decisions and guidelines on all important matters of the organization. This summit will be 19th in its series and will be held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on 13-14 June 2019.

All heads of states (Presidents/ Prime ministers) are expected to attend the subject summit. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will be attending this year’s summit. All preparations are in place for his trip. He is also scheduled to meet President Putin and President Xi on sideline meetings and expected to discuss broad spectrum on all issues by lateral basis especially the dynamic geopolitics of the region and mutual cooperation in all dimensions. He might grab the chance to meet Prime Minister Modi too.

In fact, Pakistan plays a pivotal role in Eurasia and serves as gateway to the Arabian Ocean – Hot Waters. It is an all-weather, shortest, and most economical trade route. It might change the trade pattern for the whole world. Pakistan’s deep-sea Gwadar seaport will be the hub of all future commercial activities.

Pakistan enjoys historical, cultural and religious links with most of the central Asian states. China is time tested reliable friend, Russia is also a country of shared destiny. Russia and Pakistan are suffering western coercion and sanctions.

SCO is a platform to discuss all relevant issues and promote cooperation and harmony. With the emerging geopolitics of the region, SCO compels all of the member states to formulate a joint strategy to counter the growing trend of coercion, threats, use of force and military build-ups. US-Iran Tension, Sino-US tension, Afghan Issues, Indo-Pacific Alliance and anti-BRI sentiments, all will be top of agenda and may be discussed in depth.

While all heads of states meet, it is expected to come up with the solutions to maintain the stability of the region, peace, and development. This region inhabits almost half of the world’s population. Stability of this region means the stability of the whole world.

This region is rich in natural and human resources. There exists a huge potential for this region to overcome poverty and gain prosperity. There is a dire need to promote cooperation, mutual understanding, harmony, and stability.

The expectations are high and it is time to take extraordinary measures to overcome the existential challenges in this region. Trust, “if there is a will, there is a way”.

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Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomate), Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan.

There has been an on-going tectonic shift in the West since the abandonment of the Bretton Woods agreement in 1971. This accelerated when the USSR ended and has resulted in the ‘neoliberal globalization’ we see today. 

At the same time, there has been an unprecedented campaign to re-engineer social consensus in the West. Part of this strategy, involves getting populations in Western countries to fixate on ‘global warming’, ‘gender equity’ and ‘anti-racism’: by focusing on identity politics and climate change, the devastating effects and injustices brought about by globalized capitalism and associated militarism largely remain unchallenged by the masses and stay firmly in the background.

This is the argument presented by Denis Rancourt, researcher at Ontario Civil Liberties Association, in a new report. Rancourt is a former full professor of physics at the University of Ottawa in Canada and author of ‘Geo-economics and geo-politics drive successive eras of predatory globalization and social engineering: Historical emergence of climate change, gender equity, and anti-racism as state doctrines’ (April 2019).

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In the report, Rancourt references Michael Hudson’s 1972 book ‘Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire’ to help explain the key role of maintaining dollar hegemony and the importance of the petrodollar to US global dominance. Aside from the significance of oil, Rancourt argues that the US has an existential interest to ensure that opioid drugs are traded in US dollars, another major global commodity. This explains the US occupation of Afghanistan. He also pinpoints the importance of US agribusiness and the arms industry in helping to secure US geostrategic goals.  

Since the fall of the USSR in 1991, Rancourt says that US war campaigns have, among other things, protected the US dollar from abandonment, destroyed nations seeking sovereignty from US dominance, secured the opium trade, increased control over oil and have frustrated Eurasian integration. In addition, we have seen certain countries face a bombardment of sanctions and hostility in an attempt to destroy energy-producing centres that the US does not control, not least Russia.

He also outlines the impacts within Western countries too, including: the systematic relative loss of middle-class economic status, the rise of urban homelessness, the decimation of the industrial working class, corporate megamergers, rising inequality, the dismantling of welfare, financial speculation, stagnant wages, debt, deregulation and privatisation. In addition, the increased leniency in food and drug regulation has led to the dramatic increase in the use of the herbicide glyphosate, which has been concurrent with upsurges of many diseases and chronic ailments. 

In the face of this devastation, Western nations have had to secure ongoing consent among their own populations. To help explain how this has been achieved, Rancourt focuses on gender equity, anti-racism and global warming as state doctrines that have been used to divert attention from the machinations of US empire (and also to prevent class consciousness taking hold). I recently asked Denis Rancourt about this aspect of his report.   

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Colin Todhunter: Can you say a bit about yourself and how you came to produce this report? What is it meant to achieve? 

Denis Rancourt:  I’m a former physics professor, environmental scientist and a civil rights advocate. I currently work as a researcher for the Ontario Civil Liberties Association (ocla.ca). During a conversation about civil rights issues I had with the executive director of OCLA, we identified several important societal and economic phenomena that seemed to be related to the early 1990s. So, I eventually settled in to do some ‘heavy lifting’, research wise.

While there is no lack of hired intellectuals and experts to wrongly guide our perception, my research demonstrates a link between surges in large-scale suppression and exploitation of national populations with the acceleration of an aggressive, exploitative globalization.

CT: In your report, you’ve described the consequences of the abandonment of Bretton Woods and the dissolution of the USSR in terms of dollar hegemony, US militarism and the devastating impacts of ‘neoliberal globalisation’ both for nation states and for ordinary people.

DR: There is little doubt that Russian and Chinese analysts have a solid understanding of what I have outlined in my report. For instance, foreshadowing Trump’s trade war, the People’s Liberation Army Major-General Qiao Liang’s April 2015 speech to the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee and government office, included the following:

“Since that day [dissolution of Bretton Woods], a true financial empire has emerged, the US dollar’s hegemony has been established, and we have entered a true paper currency era. There is no precious metal behind the US dollar. The government’s credit is the sole support for the US dollar. The US makes a profit from the whole world. This means that the Americans can obtain material wealth from the world by printing a piece of green paper. […] If we [now] acknowledge that there is a US dollar index cycle [punctuated by engineered crises, including war] and the Americans use this cycle to harvest from other countries, then we can conclude that it was time for the Americans to harvest China…” 

CT: You discuss the need for states to ensure consent: the need to pacify, hypnotize and align populations for continued globalization; more precisely, the need to divert attention from the structural violence of economic policies and the actual violence of militarism. Can you say something about how the issue of global warming relates to this?

DR:  Irrespective of whether the so-called ‘climate crisis’ is real, exaggerated or fabricated, it is clear, from the data in my report, that the ethos of global warming was engineered on a global scale and benefits the exploiters of the carbon-economy and, more indirectly, the state.

For example, one of the studies that I review shows that a many-fold increase in mainstream media reporting about global warming suddenly occurred in the mid-2000s, in all the leading news media, at the same time that the financiers and their acolytes such as Al Gore decided to make and manage a global carbon economy. This media campaign has been sustained ever since and the global warming ethos has been institutionalized.

Carbon sequestration schemes have devastated local communities on every occupied continent. If anything, carbon schemes − from wind farms to biofuel harvesting to industrial battery production to solar-cell array installations to mining uranium to mega hydro-dam construction and so on – have accelerated habitat destruction. 

Meanwhile, economic and military warfare rages, glyphosate is dumped into the ecosphere at unprecedented rates (poured on GM herbicide-resistant cash crops), active genocides are in progress (Yemen), the US is unilaterally withdrawing from nuclear treaties and forcing an arms race with next generation death machines and US-held extortionary loans are serviced by land-use transformation on the scale of nations; while our educated children have nervous breakdowns trying to get governments to “act” on “climate”. 

In the early-1990s, a world conference on climate environmentalism was an express response to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. This was part of a global propaganda project intended to mask the new wave of accelerated predatory globalism that was unleashed now that the USSR was definitively out of the way. 

CT: What are your thoughts on Greta Thunberg and the movement surrounding her? 

DR:  It is sad and pathetic. The movement is a testament to the success of the global propaganda project that I describe in my report. The movement is also an indicator of the degree to which totalitarianism has taken hold in Western societies; wherein individuals, associations and institutions lose their ability for independent thought to steer society away from the designs of an occupying elite. Individuals (and their parents) become morality police in the service of this ‘environmentalism’.

CT: You also talk about the emergence of gender-equity (third wave feminism) and anti-racism as state doctrines. Can you say something about this? 

DR: In my report, I use historical institutional records and societal data to demonstrate that a triad of ‘state religions’ was globally engendered and emerged on cue following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. This triad consists of climate alarmism, exaggerated tunnel-vision focus on gender equity and a campaign of anti-racism focussed on engineering thoughts, language and attitudes.

These state ideologies were conceived and propelled by UN efforts and the resulting signed protocols. Western academia enthusiastically took up and institutionalized the program. Mainstream media religiously promoted the newly minted ethos. Political parties largely applied increased quotas of gender and race elected representatives. 

These processes and ideas served to sooth, massage and occupy the Western mind, especially among the upper-middle, professional and managerial classes and the elite classes of economically occupied territories but did nothing to alleviate the most violent and globally widespread forms of actual racism and misogyny as a result of predatory globalization and militarism. 

Ironically, the global attacks on human dignity, human health and the environment were in proportion to the systematic and sometimes shrill calls for gender equity, anti-racism and climate ‘action’. The entire edifice of these ‘state religions’ leaves no room for required conflicts of class and expressly undermines any questioning of the mechanisms and consequences of globalization. 

CT: Can you say something about the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests), Brexit and the Trump electoral phenomenon. 

DR: Combine aggressive globalization, constant financial predation, gutting of the Western working and middle classes and a glib discourse of climate change, anti-racism and gender equity and something has to give. French geographer Christophe Guilluy predicted the reactions in some detail, and it is not difficult to understand. It is no accident that the revolting working- and middle-classes are critical of the narratives of climate crisis, anti-racism and gender equity; and that their voices are cast by the mainstream media as racist, misogynist and ignorant of science.

It seems that any class which opposes its own destruction is accused of being populated by racist and ignorant folks that can’t see that salvation lies in a carbon-managed and globalized world. It becomes imperative, therefore, to shut down all the venues where such an ‘ignorant lot’ could communicate their views, attempt to organize and thereby threaten the prevailing social order. 

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Colin Todhunter is a frequent contributor to Global Research and Asia-Pacific Research.

“Just as surely history is the product of those forces which seek to dominate in the name of glory or profit, equally is history the product of the forces of those who rebel” – Michael Manley, 1978

As a critical social science scholar, I reject the positivist view that reality is objective and in order for knowledge to be considered legitimate, it must be substantiated only through statistical data and citing “authorities”. I acknowledge that I have biases. My ontological and epistemological standpoint is primarily shaped by my personal experiences – whether through interactions with others, observations, listening for diverse views, reading extensively and being in a position of vulnerability.

I grew up in rural Jamaica and was raised by my grandparents. My mother was a college drop out and I have never met my father. In the small community of Barbary Hill, I witnessed and experienced abject poverty, deplorable roads, limited access to water, no scope for stable and quality forms of employment, teenage pregnancy, gang violence and hovering above all of these deficiencies is people’s quest to survive in a socially and economically depressed environment.

Majority of the household heads including mine are women. Their faces are punctuated by severe hardships but they never expressed complaint as they found various means to make a living and to take care of their families. Even when the bodies of the women were tired, they were forced to carry the burden of their cross and the cross of others because this is a “natural” expectation of them. The ability to balance multiple roles up to the point of extreme exhaustion.

As a young woman and a researcher, my life is punctuated by navigating multiple sources of exploitation through resistance in what I call a “Babylon” (capitalist) system. I was told that no one in Jamaica from my community would ever be selected for any grand opportunity because Jamaica is Kingston, the capital. I resisted. I went ahead at the age of ten and I won my first public speaking competition. I remember when a teacher told a group of students in my grade nine class in high school that no matter what authority does, authority will always be right and will never stand punishment. I resisted.

I ran for the Student’s Council and I helped to make students more aware of their rights and I fought to end the grade streaming system. I remember when I had almost quarter million in debts to pay for both tuition and rent in my undergraduate years in Jamaica and I was working in a low paying job. I resisted. I left the job. I was punished by not receiving my outstanding compensation but I left with dignity because I realize the true value of my labour. I will never be compensated by a group of people who are only interested in profit making. Recently, I have decided to re-define feminine beauty on my own terms in which I decided to cut my hair extremely low. My hair sends a political message that I am in the process unlearning to learn another side of a story that I am willing to discover. It also suggests that I am a rebel that is re-born –  radical and strategic in my challenge to the status quo.

Thus, before education can be used as tool for social transformation and before a researcher can create an alternative discourse and representations of people on the margins, the researcher must first establish her personal philosophy. When I say that my personal is always political, I mean that it is a political choice to use my personal experiences as a set of philosophies to guide the way in which I speak, write, engage and my deliberate use of data collection methods that are not imposed from the top-down. When I say that my personal is always political, I mean that I am able to acknowledge situations in which I possess power and privilege but I am also cognizant of the fact that I become one with the subjects (women workers) who I wish to study because of a common nationality, gender, race and social class.

It is no longer ‘I’ but ‘we’. When I say that my personal is always political, I mean that I have become more aware that it is not necessarily my boss that is my enemy but a rather a broader system that thrives on extraction of ideas and labour. When I say that my personal is always political, I mean that I have become more aware that while I am situated in a country that has a long contentious history of violent encounters and subjugation of marginalized peoples, my decision and the decision of women to resist is also a part of that history that is usually omitted. This is because the political agenda is one that is white, hegemonic and patriarchal.

My first experience with workers was when I had worked as a research assistant in Jamaica.  Island wide focus group discussions according to clusters and electronic questionnaires were conducted in order to investigate perceptions and attitudes towards work and management in Jamaica’s public and private sectors. To organize the focus group discussions according to clusters was an extremely challenging task because many names on the list were no longer working in a specific department, they have transferred to another cluster, have retired or have died. When I did daily calls, many workers expressed skepticism in their tone because they thought that if they shared information about their feelings towards management, they would risk losing their jobs. Others were excited to be selected for participation and they are others who flatly rejected the idea even though there is a confidentiality and informed consent paper to be signed prior to the focus group discussion.

My most memorable experience was the first focus group discussion among workers in a well renowned public sector company in Jamaica. As the note taker, I observed the way in which the workers had entered the hotel room. The pace of their walk was extremely slow almost as if they were walking on hot bricks. This suggests anxiety and distrust towards the new environment. While they expressed warm greetings, they never displayed sharp eye contact with the facilitator or me in the beginning. I realized that they were taking time to be settled mentally and to decipher who we are and if we could be trusted before they demonstrated a full sense of comfort, support and trust. Within the introductory remarks, the participants were reminded about the confidentiality protocol and that us, as researcher will protect their identity and that this is a safe space for sharing their thoughts and feelings about work and management. The faces of the workers immediately became more radiant with smiles and deep gasps of relief. One lady in particular, began to clap her hand in approval by responding, “Well, I am ready and I can’t wait to share!”. The focus group discussions were guided by a semi-structured interview style of questions.

The first question, in my opinion, was the most potent of all questions. This is not only because it sets the context for the meta-perspective on the attitudes and perceptions of workers towards work and management but because the responses helped me to connect more with the experiences of the worker. Each participant was assigned the name of a fruit for confidentiality purposes and they were asked, “what images come to your mind when you think of your workplace?”

An outspoken participant whose fruit name was Star Apple said:

The image that comes to my mind when I think about my work place is a burial ground because as a young person, you come in with so many high aspirations, bright ideas and good potential but management buries that. Management is concerned about how well you can follow what they want you do and not what you can add”.

Another worker whose fruit name is Pineapple added,

Yes, that is so true. I see the work place as a plantation. You work extremely hard with little or no compensation. You will go above and beyond to do what you need to and management treats you like shit. I remember when we were short of staff one week and we had to adjust by taking on extra duties. I lift heavy weight materials and worked over time. I did not receive additional compensation. One day, it was raining and I called the office for an umbrella and no one answered the phone. No umbrella. No lunch and no extra compensation and when I fell ill, all my supervisor did was shout loudly at me to work harder”.

The first two responses left an indelible mark in my mind and in fact, I was able to connect these practical issues to conceptual issues because at the time, I was doing a free elective course in Management Studies called Organizational Behaviour at the University of the West Indies, Mona. I was introduced to the first and only case study on Jamaican workers’ attitudes of de-motivation in the labour force. It is called ‘Why Workers Wont Work’ by Kenneth Carter. Carter (1997) debated that the Jamaican workplace is similar to the plantation model in which there was a rigid three tiered bureaucratic structure. Workers are de-motivated and dissatisfied because management are like slave drivers.

They always expect more productivity and profit without any serious interest in motivating, coaching and helping to upgrade the skills, talents and knowledge of workers. Workers express their dissatisfaction by regular absenteeism to slow down productivity or they express these feelings in other covert ways.  Hence, it is no surprise that the images that came to the mind of the participants in this research were the “burial ground and the plantation”. This knowledge was not used in the particular research project for the company. However, for current purposes, I have decided to incorporate historical knowledge on workers in order to connect the consistent patterns of the past to issues in contemporary development such as export processing zones in Jamaica. The bodies of women were sites of violence, subjugation, exploitation and colonial oppression and today they are sites of new forms of imperial encounters but also resistance (Belen and Bose, 1990). This is one of the major postulations that will be made in my thesis to argue the ways in which women workers resist exploitation and to delve deeper into the methods and the reasons the methods were chosen. Although they are many scholars who have done academic work the colonial division of labour and its connection to the new international division of labour and global division of labour, I think my work will have a meaningful and novel impact because of how I am able to weave context-specific experiences into the complex, conceptual issues of the main idea.

Earlier this year, I wrote in my thesis proposal that the researcher should develop a close connection with her participants and I was asked to expound. This is exactly what I mean. It means more than internalizing and interpreting what was said, how it was said and who said it. It means that my identity became that of a worker (Hernandez-Kelly, 1983).

 

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Tina Renier is currently pursuing a Masters in International Development at Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Canada. Her area of specialization is labour and development.   

Sources

Belen, E. and Bose, A. (1990).  From Structural Sub-ordination to Empowerment: Women and Development in Third World contexts. Gender and Society, 8 (3). pp. 299-320.

Carter, K. (1997).Why Workers Won’t Work: The Workers in a Developing Economy: Case Study of Jamaica. London and Basingtoke: MacMillan Education Limited.

Hernandez-Kelly, P. (1983). For We are sold, I and My people: Women and Industry in Mexico’s Frontier.Albany, New York: United States of America. Sony Press.

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With the likes of John Bolton and Elliot Abrams directing US foreign policy, the US government has abandoned all pretense of “plausible denial” for its illegal regime-change initiatives. The “humanitarian” bombs may not be falling but, make no mistake, the US is waging a full-bore war against the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela.

Back in 1998, Venezuela had had nearly a half a century of two-party rule. A duopoly, not unlike the Republican and Democratic parties in the US, alternated in power imposing a neoliberal order. Poor and working people experienced deteriorating conditions of austerity regardless of which party was in power.

Then third-party candidate Hugo Chávez was elected president. He initiated what has become known as the Bolivarian Revolution, which has inspired the peoples of the world while engendering the enmity of both the US imperialists and the Venezuelan elites.

This article explores the contributions, shortcomings, and lessons of the Bolivarian Revolution’s two decades, in the context of the US regime-change efforts from its inception to current attempts by the US to install the unelected Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s president.

  1. Forging a new national identity based on a people’s history. History, it is said, is written by the victors. The historical narrative typically reflects the class that enslaved the Africans, dispossessed the Indigenous, and exploited the workers. There are exceptions. In the US, we have the legacy of Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States.

In Venezuela, Chávez revised his country’s history and thereby wrought a sea change of national consciousness. Prior to Chávez, Venezuela was arguably the most pro-US country in South America. Miami was looked to for cultural affirmation; baseball was the national pastime.

Chávez took special inspiration from the leader of the South American struggle against Spanish colonialism and named his project after Simón Bolívar, known as the “Liberator.” Bolívar was not merely a national leader, but a true internationalist. The Bolivarian project is about the integration of nations based on mutual respect and sovereignty. Bolívar presciently declared in 1829: “The United States appears to be destined by Providence to plague Latin America with misery in the name of liberty.”

This new Venezuelan national identity and consciousness, based on their history told from the bottom up, may prove to be the most lasting legacy of the Bolivarian Revolution.

  1. Inclusive society. Fundamental to the Bolivarian project has been the inclusion of the formerly dispossessed: especially women, people of color, and youth.

As professor of Latin American history at NYU Greg Grandin observed, this inclusiveness has awakened “a deep fear of the primal hatred, racism, and fury of the opposition, which for now is directed at the agents of Maduro’s state but really springs from Chávez’s expansion of the public sphere to include Venezuela’s poor.”

For example, when an opposition demonstration came upon an Afro-descendent street peddler, he was presumed to be a chavista because he was dark-skinned and poor. The opposition demonstrators poured gasoline over him and set him on fire. Then the horrific image was posted on social media.

A less gruesome example occurred at the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, DC. North American activists in solidarity with the Bolivarian government protected the embassy in accordance with international law from being usurped by representatives of US-backed Juan Guaidó for 36 days. Before the protectors were evicted by the US Secret Service on May 16, counter-protesting opposition expatriate Venezuelans would wave bananas at African American solidarity activists, chanting “go back to the zoo.” Such is the racist loathing that fuels the Venezuelan opposition.

  1. Special option for poor and working people. Why should a state of all the people have a special option for those who are poor and working? Because these are the people who most need the social welfare services of the state. Billionaires don’t need government schools, hospitals, and housing, but the masses of Venezuelan people do.

The Bolivarian project had halved poverty and cut extreme poverty by two-thirds, while providing free health care and education. On May 27, the United Nations cited Venezuela as one of the top countries for guaranteeing the right to housing, recognizing the over 2.5 million public housing units built.

  1. Democracy promotion. The role of a state aspiring to be socialist is not simply to provide social welfare, but to empower the people.

The Bolivarian project has experimented in what is called “protagonistic democracy”: cooperatives, citizens councils, and communes. Some succeeded; others did not.  One of the first priorities was to eradicate illiteracy. The Bolivarian state has promoted community radio stations, low-cost computers, internet cafés for senior citizens, and other venues for popular expression. Venezuela now has one of the highest rates of higher education attendance in the world. These are not the hallmarks of a dictatorship.

  1. 21st century socialism. More than even Bernie Sanders, the Bolivarian Revolution put socialism on the agenda for the 21st For this we owe the Venezuelans a debt of gratitude, not for providing us with a playbook to be copied, but for demonstrating that the creation of a better world is principally a process.

This was not the primary transgression placing Venezuela in the crosshairs of US imperialism. Promoting socialism may be regarded as blasphemy, but the original sin is the following.

  1. Multi-polar world and regional integration. The greatest challenge to the Empire, to the world’s sole superpower, is a multi-polar world based on regional integration. In 1999, Chávez helped strengthen OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries). In 2004, he helped initiate ALBA (Alliance for Our Peoples of America), followed by PetroCaribe in 2005, UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) in 2008, and CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) in 2011. Venezuela has consistently demonstrated solidarity with the Palestinian struggle and other oppressed peoples.

When the small fish organize, the big fish gets nasty. Above all, this is why the world’s hegemon has targeted Venezuela.

The traumatic transition from Chávez to Maduro

Chávez, suffering from cancer, died on March 5, 2013. The reaction in Venezuela was polarized. The elites danced in the street. The majority, composed mainly of poor and working people, were traumatized.

The bully to the north, smelling blood, saw an opportunity. The US had conspired to overthrow the Bolivarian Revolution from the beginning, backing a short-lived coup in 2002 followed by a boss’s strike. With the passing of Chávez, the imperialist offensive doubled down.

A snap election was called according to the Venezuelan Constitution for April 14 to replace the deceased president. Chávez, anticipating his demise, had designated Nicolás Maduro as his successor. Although polls had shown Maduro with a 10% lead going into the election campaign, he won with a narrow 1.5% margin.

I was in Caracas as an election observer when Maduro won. My observation of the election was like that of former US President Jimmy Carter, who had declared a year before that of the 92 elections the Carter Center had observed, “The election process in Venezuela is the best in the world.”

Within minutes of the announcement of Maduro’s victory, the main opposition candidate, Henrique Capriles, came on TV to denounce the election as fraudulent and call on the people to “show their rage.” Thus began the opposition’s violent offensive, the guarimbas, to achieve by violence what they could not achieve in democratic elections.

The opposition charges of fraud were investigated by Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) and found groundless, based on a 100% audit of the electronic vote backed up with paper receipts. Capriles still maintained the charge of fraud, and the US became the sole nation to refuse to recognize the Maduro presidency. The opposition violence continued, taking over 40 lives.

Upon assuming the presidency, Maduro inherited existing problems of crime, inefficiency, corruption, inflation, and a dysfunctional currency exchange system. These were problems that existed during the Chávez period and even prior to that. These problems persist in varying degrees to the present, despite concerted programs to address them.

President Maduro has had his feet held to the fire by the imperialists from the get-go. Far from having a respite, shortly into his presidency, Venezuela was hit with petroleum prices plummeting from a high of nearly $125/barrel to a low of close to $25/barrel. Despite efforts to diversify the economy, Venezuela remains dependent on oil exports for most of its foreign exchange, which is used to fund the social programs.

US regime-change war intensifies

The US regime-change war continues to intensify with increasingly harsh sanctions. These unilateral measures are illegal under the charters of the United Nations and the Organization of American States, because they constitute collective punishment. Trump’s security advisor, John Bolton, elucidates: “It’s like in Star Wars, when Darth Vader grips someone. That’s what we’re doing economically with the (Venezuelan) regime.”

In 2013, the US waited until after the presidential election in Venezuela to declare it fraudulent. Taking no chances, the US declared the 2018 election fraudulent four months before it was held. Joining Trump in this rush to pre-judgement were eleven Democratic senators including Bernie Sanders.

The charges of fraud were based on three issues: setting the date of the election, disqualifying opposition parties, and barring opposition candidates. Maduro had continually called for dialogue with the opposition to set the election date. But each time a date was mutually agreed upon, the opposition backed out after their US handlers intervened. As for the disqualified parties, they had lost their ballot status because they had boycotted past elections. They then refused to reapply for ballot status, because their intention was not to participate in the electoral process.

Opposition candidates, namely Leopoldo López and Henrique Capriles, were barred from running, because they had committed criminal acts that warranted their exclusion. López clearly incited violence that resulted in deaths and would have received far harsher treatment had he committed such acts in the US. Capriles was convicted of economic fraud, “administrative irregularities,” during his tenure as a state governor. While the courts found Capriles guilty, this action against a political opponent damaged the Maduro government’s international image.

Overall, the charges of fraud by the radical right opposition were mainly pretenses to delegitimize the upcoming election. However, several moderate opposition candidates did run, defying the US demand that the election be boycotted.

Henri Falcón was the leading opposition candidate to run in 2018, championing a neoliberal platform of privatization, austerity for workers, and subservience to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The US, which would ordinarily gleefully embrace such a platform, instead threatened Falcón with sanctions for breaking the election boycott.

The explanation for this seemingly anomalous behavior by the US government is that the stakes in Venezuela are much higher than just the presidency. The regime-change project is to exterminate the Bolivarian Revolution, reverse its social gains, and return Venezuela to a subservient client state where the world’s largest oil reserves would be freely exploited by US corporations.

Orwellian world of US foreign policy

As CEO of the capitalist world order (that is what is meant by exercising “American world leadership”), then US President Obama declared in 2015 that Venezuela constituted an imminent and extraordinary threat to US national security. He didn’t mean a military or even an economic threat. That would have been preposterous. What Obama was implicitly confirming is that Venezuela poses a “threat of a good example.” Venezuela is at the top of US imperialism’s hit list because of the good things, not for its faults.

President Trump has intensified Obama’s regime-change policies aimed at Venezuela. Condemning the Bolivarian Revolution, Trump opined: “Socialism is not about justice, it’s not about equality, it’s not about lifting up the poor.” Might he have been really thinking of capitalism? His national security advisor John Bolton tweeted that removing the democratically elected President Maduro by violent coup and installing the US-anointed and unelected Guaidó is protecting the Venezuelan constitution.

On the other side of the aisle, Senator Sanders accused Chávez of being a “dead communist dictator.” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez described the US regime-change war as a contest of “authoritarian regime versus democracy,” with the questionable presumption that the US is the democracy.

In the Orwellian terminology of US politicians and corporate media, a fraudulent election is one where the people vote their choice. A dictator is the democratically elected choice of the people. And the so-called dictator is an authoritarian if he resists rather than surrenders to the bullying power.

Surrender does not appear to be on the agenda for the Bolivarian Revolution, with US asset Guaidó forced to negotiate in Norway after his failed coup attempts. Despite the suffocating sanctions and threats of military action, the poor and working people in Venezuela who are most adversely affected by the US war against them remain the strongest supporters of their elected government.

Make Orwell fiction again!

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Roger Harris is a member of the TRANSCEND Network and theimmediate past president of the Task Force on the Americas, a 33-year-old human rights organization in solidarity with the social justice movements of Latin America and the Caribbean. He is active with the Campaign to End US-Canadian Sanctions against Venezuela.

All images in this article are from TMS

Global Warming Morphs into the Solar Minimum

June 11th, 2019 by Renee Parsons

Since Climate Change (CC) has been a constant of life on Gaia with the evolution of photosynthesis 3.2 billion years ago and has more complexities than this one essay can address; ergo, this article will explore CO2’s historic contribution to global warming (GW) as well as explore the relationship of Solar Minimum (SM) to Earth’s climate.

Even before the UN-initiated Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) formed in 1988, the common assumption was that carbon dioxide was the key greenhouse gas and that its increases were the driving force solely responsible for rising climate temperatures.  At that time, anthropogenic (human caused) GW was declared to be the existential crisis of our time, that the science was settled and that we, as a civilization, were running out of time.

And yet, in the intervening years, uncertainty remained about GW’s real time impacts which may be rooted in the fact that many of IPCC’s essential climate forecasts of consequence have not materialized as predicted.  Even as the staid Economist magazine recently noted

Over the past fifteen years, air temperatures at the Earth’s surface have been flat while greenhouse gas emissions have continued to soar.”

Before the IPCC formed, NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii registered co2 levels at under 350 ppm (parts per million) with the explicit warning that if co2 exceeded that number, Mother Earth was in Big Trouble – and there would be no turning back for humanity.  Those alarm bells continue today as co2 levels have risen to 414 ppm as temperatures peaked in 1998.

From the outset, the IPCC controlled the debate by limiting its charter  “to understanding the scientificbasis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.”   

In other words, before any of the science had been done, the IPCC’s assumption was that man-made activity was responsible and that Nature was not an active participantin a process within its own sphere of interest.   As an interdisciplinary topic of multiple diversity, the IPCC is not an authority on all the disciplines of science within the CC domain.   

While there is no dispute among scientists that the Sun and its cyclical output is the true external force driving Earth’s energy and climate system as part of a Sun-centered Universe, the IPCC’s exclusion of the Sun from its consideration can only be seen as a deliberate thwarting of a basic fundamental law of  science, a process which assures a free inquiry based on reason and evidence.  It is the Sun which all planets of the solar system orbit around, that has the strongest gravitational pull in the solar system, is the heaviest of all celestial bodies and its sunspots in relation to Earth’s temperatures has been known since Galileo began drawing sunspots in 1613.  Yet the IPCC which touts a ‘scientific view of climate change’ would have us believe the Sun is irrelevant and immaterial to the IPCC’s world view and Earth’s climate; hardly a blip on their radar.

In the GW debate, co2 is dismissed as a colorless, odorless pollutant that gets little credit as a critical component for its contribution to life on the planet as photosynthesis does not happen without co2.  A constant presence in Earth’s atmosphere since the production of oxygen, all living organisms depend on co2 for its existence. As a net contributor to agriculture, plants absorb co2 as they release oxygen into the atmosphere that we two- and four-leggeds depend on for sustenance and oxygen as necessities for survival on Earth.   There are scientists who believe that Earth has been in a co2 ‘famine’ while others applaud Earth’s higher co2 levels in the last three decades as a regreening of the planet.

While “An Inconvenient Truth” (2006) and “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” (2016) stage managed the climate question as a thoroughly politicized ‘settled science’ with former veep Al Gore declaring the drama a ‘moral’ issue, there is no room for any preference that does not depend on a rigorous, skeptical, independent investigation based on evidentiary facts rather than the partisan politics of emotion and subjective opinion.  Given the prevalence of weather in our daily lives, it would seem elementary for engaged citizens and budding paleoclimatologists to understand Earth’s ancient climate history and atmosphere in order to gain an informed perspective on Earth’s current and future climate.

As a complicated non-linear system, climate is a variable composition of rhythmic spontaneity with erratic and even chaotic fluctuations making weather predictions near-impossible.  Climate is an average of weather systems over an established long term period while individual weather events indicative of a short term trend are not accurate forecasts of CC.  While ice core readings provide information, they do not show causation of GW but only measure the ratio between co2 and rising temperatures. It is up to scientists to interpret the results.  And that’s where this narrative takes, like ancient weather and climate patterns, an unpredictable turn.

It might be called an inconvenient truth that ‘skeptic’ scientists have known for the last twenty years that the Vostok ice core samples refute co2’s role as a negative and even question its contribution as the major greenhouse gas.  It is no secret to many climate professionals that 95% of the greenhouse effect is due solely to natural water vapor with co2 at 3.6%.

Located at the center of the Antarctica ice sheet, the Vostok Research Center is a collaborative effort where Russian and French scientists collected undisturbed ice core data in the 1990’s to measure the historic presence of carbon dioxide levels.  The Vostok samples provided the first irrefutable evidence of Earth’s climate history for 420,000 year including the existence of four previous glacial and interglacial periods.  Those samples ultimately challenged the earlier premise of co2’s predominant role and that carbon dioxide was not the climate culprit once thought.  It is fair to add that IPCC related scientists believe Vostok to be ‘outliers’ in the GW debate.

The single most significant revelation of the ice core studies has been that GW could not be solely attributed to co2 since carbon dioxide increases occurred after temperature increases and that an extensive ‘lag’ time exists between the two.  Logic and clear thinking demands that cause (co2) precedes the effect (increased temps) is in direct contradiction to the assertion that carbon dioxide has been responsible for pushing higher global temperatures.  Just as today’s 414 ppm precedes current temps which remain within the range of normal variability.

Numerous peer-reviewed studies confirmed that co2 lags behind temperature increases, originally by as much as 800 years. That figure was later increased to 8,000 years and by 2017 the lag time between co2 and temperature had been identified as 14,000 years.  As if a puzzlement from the Quantum world, it is accepted that CO2and temperatures are correlated as they rise and fall together, yet are separated by a lag time of thousands of year.

What is obscure from public awareness in the GW shuffle is that geologic records have identified CC as a naturally occurring cycle with glacial periods of 100,000 year intervals that are interrupted by brief, warming interglacial periods lasting 15,000-20,000 years. Those interglacial periods act as a temperate respite from what is the world’s natural normal Ice Age environment. Within those glacial and interglacial periods are cyclical subsets of global cooling and warming just as today’s interglacial warm period began at the end of the Pleistocene Ice Age about 12,000 years ago.   Since climate is not a constant, check these recent examples of Earth’s climate subsets:

  • 200 BC – 600 AD – Roman warming cycle
  • 440 – 950                  Dark Ages cool cycle
  • 950 – 1300                Medieval warming cycle
  • 1300 – 1850              Renaissance Little Ice Age
  • 1850 – Present          Modern warming cycle

In addition, climate records have shown that peak co2 temperatures from the past are relative to today’s co2 level without the addition of a fossil fuel contribution.  For instance, just as today’s measurement at 414 ppm contains a ‘base’ co2 level of approximately 300 ppm as recorded in the 19th century, any co2 accumulation over 300 ppm would be considered anthropogenic (man-made) and be portrayed as “historic” or ‘alarmingly high’ and yet remain statistically insignificant compared to historic co2 norms.

During the last 600 million years, only the Carboniferous period and today’s Holocene Epoch  each witnessed co2 levels at less than 400 ppm.  During the Early Carboniferous Period, co2 was at 1500 ppm with average temperatures comparable to 20 C; 68 F before diving to 350 ppm during the Mid Carboniferous period with a reduced temperature of 12 C;54F.   In other words, current man-made contributions to co2 are less than what has been determined to be significant.

Contrary to the IPCC’s stated goal, NASA recognizes that “All weather on Earth, from the surface of the planet into space, begins with the Sun” and that weather experienced on Earth’s surface is “influenced by the small changes the Sun undergoes during its solar cycle.”

A Solar Minimum (SM) is a periodic 11 year solar cycle normally manifesting a weak magnetic field with increased radiation and cosmic rays while exhibiting decreased sunspot activity that, in turn, decreases planetary temperatures.  Today’s solar cycle is referred to as the Grand Minimum which, according to NOAA, predicts reductions from the typical 140 – 220 sunspots per solar cycle to 95 – 130 sunspots.

As the Sun is entering “one of the deepest Solar Minima of the Space Age,” a NASA scientist predicted a SM that could ”set a Space Age record for cold” but has recently clarified his statement as it applies only to the Thermosphere.  In October, 2018, NOAA predicted “Winter Outlook favors Warmer Temperature for much of the US,” as above-normal precipitation and record freezing temperatures were experienced throughout the country.

As of this writing, with the Sun noticeably intense, Earth has experienced 23 consecutive days without sunspots for a 2019 total of 96 spotless days at 60%.  In 2018, 221 days were spotless at 61%.   Spaceweather.com monitors sunspot (in)activity.

With the usual IPCC and Non-IPCC split, the SM is expected to be at its lowest by 2020 with a peak between 2023 and 2026 as it exhibits counterintuitive erratic weather anomalies including cooler temps due to increased cloud cover, higher temps due to solar sunspot-free brilliance, potential electrical events,  heavy rain and flooding and drought, a shorter growing season, impacts on agriculture and food production systems or it may all be a walk in the park with shirt sleeves in January.

While there is clearly an important climate shift occurring even as the role of co2 and human activity as responsible entities remains problematic, the elimination of co2 and its methane sidekick would be exceedingly beneficial for a healthy planet.  It is time to allow scientists to be scientists without political agendas or bureaucratic interference as the Sun and Mother Earth continue in their orbit as they have for eons of millennia.

As Earth’s evolutionary climate cycles observe the Universal law of the natural world, the Zero Point Field, which produces an inexhaustible source of ‘free’ energy that Nikola Tesla spoke of, is the means by which inter stellar vehicles travel through time/space.  The challenge for ingenious, motivated Earthlings is to harness and extract the ZPF proclaiming a new planetary age of technological innovation with no rapacious industry, no pollution, no shortages, no gas guzzlers and no war.

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Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

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.

 

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The Danger of Armed Drones: Targeted Killings

June 10th, 2019 by Drone Wars UK

The use of armed drones is presented as a ‘risk-free’ solution to security problems. Through using remotely-controlled aircraft to take out bad guys far away from our shores, we are told, we are keeping the public as well as our armed forces safe. The reality, however, is that drones are liable to increase insecurity, not reduce it.

Lowering the threshold for the use of force

Politicians know that the public do not like to see young men and women sent overseas to fight in wars which often have remote and unclear aims.  Potential TV footage of grieving families awaiting funeral corteges has been a definite restraint on political leaders weighing up the option of military intervention. Take away that potential political cost, however, by using unmanned systems, and it makes it much easier – perhaps too easy –  for politicians to opt for a quick, short-term ‘fix’ of ‘taking out the bad guys’ rather than engaging in the often difficult and long-term work of solving the root causes of conflicts through diplomatic and political means.

Transferring the risk and cost of war from soldiers to civilians

Keeping ‘our boys’ safe through using remotely-controlled drones to launch air strikes comes at a price. Without ‘boots on the ground’ air strikes are inherently more dangerous for civilians on the ground. Despite claims of the defence industry and advocates of drone warfare, it is simply not possible to know precisely what is happening on the ground from thousands of miles away.  While the UK claims, for example, that only one civilian was killed in the thousands of British air and drone strikes in Iraq and Syria, journalist and casualty recording organisations have reported thousands of deaths in Coalition airstrikes.

It is also hard not to connect the awful terrorist attacks that have taken place here in the UK and in Europe to these military interventions. While the public as well as senior military and security officials understand that there is a clear link between military intervention and terror attacks at home, politicians continue to baulk at the connection. The reality though, as Air Marshall Greg Bagwell argued told us

“When you have an asymmetric advantage, enemies seek to find a way around it, and that is what terrorism is.  There is a danger that you shift the way an enemy target you and looks for vulnerabilities, and that is where we find ourselves.”

Expanding the use of ‘targeted killing’

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of armed drones has been their use by the United States, Israel and the UK for targeted killing.  Legal scholars define targeted killing as the deliberate, premeditated killing of selected individuals by a state who are not in their custody.  Where International Humanitarian Law (the Laws of War) applies, targeted killing of combatants may be legal. Outside of IHL situations, International Human Rights Law applies and lethal force may only be used when absolutely necessary to save human life that is in imminent danger.  This does not appear to be the case for many of the drone targeted killing that have been carried out, for example, by the US in Pakistan and Yemen.

While some argue that it is the policy of targeted killing that is wrong, not the weapon used to carry out it out, it is very difficult to imagine that the wholesale expansion of targeted killing would have occurred without the technology.  In the UK, campaigners have long been calling on the government to set out its policy on the use of armed drones outside a situation of armed conflict, something the government has so far refused to do.

Enabling video-game warfare

Separate, but connected to the idea that drones lower the threshold for using lethal forces is the notion, as Philip Alston the former Special Rapporteur on extra judicial killing, put it of the ‘PlayStation mentality’.  Alston and others suggest that the vast physical distance between those operating armed drones and the target makes that act of killing much easier. The physical distance induces a kind of psychological ‘distancing’.

There are strong objections to this notion, particular by those involved. Drone pilots, it is argued, are highly trained professionals that are able to distinguish between a video games and real life. Furthermore, it is widely reported that some drone pilots are suffering from post-traumatic stress from having to see the results of their strikes, hardly an indication of detachment.  On the other hand, there is some evidence for a ‘PlayStation’ mentality. In 2010 an Afghan convoy of vehicles was hit by an US airstrike involving drones in which 23 civilians were killed. A subsequent USAF investigation found that the Predator crew wanted to attack and “ignored or downplayed” evidence suggesting the convoy was not a hostile target.  Elsewhere, in Dr Peter Lee’s recent book, Reaper Force, containing detailed interviews with British RAF Reaper crews, several talked about missions where they became fixated on a target and were ready to strike despite the presence of civilians. Only direct intervention from others meant the strikes did not take place.

Seducing us with the myth of ‘precision’

Drones permit, we are told, pin-point accurate air strikes that kill the target while leaving the innocent untouched. Drone advocates seduce us with the notion that we can achieve control over the chaos of war through technology.  The reality is that there is no such thing as a guaranteed accurate airstrike  While laser-guided weapons are without doubt much more accurate than they were even 20 or 30 years ago, the myth of guaranteed precision is just that, a myth.  Even under test conditions, only 50% of weapons are expected to hit within their ‘circular error of probability’. Once the blast radius of weapons is taken into account and indeed how such systems can be affected by things such as the weather, it is clear that ‘precision’ cannot by any means be assured.

Politicians and defence officials too have been seduced by the myth of precision war and are opening up areas that would previously been out of bounds – due to the presence of civilians – to air strikes.  Perhaps most telling, internal military data which counters the prevailing narrative that drones are better than traditional piloted aircraft is simply classified.

Ushering in permanent war

Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of the rise of remote, drone warfare is that it is ushering in a state of permanent/forever war.  With no (or very few) troops deployed on the ground and when air strikes can be carried out with impunity by drone operators who then commute home at the end of the day, there is little public or political pressure to bring interventions to an end.

Drones are enabling states to carry out attacks with seemingly little reference to international law norms. US law professor Rosa Brooks argued in a disturbing article in Foreign Policy that ‘there’s no such thing as peacetime’ anymore. “Since 9/11,” she writes “it has become virtually impossible to draw a clear distinction between war and not-war.” Rather than challenging the erosion of the boundaries between crucially distinct legal frameworks, Brooks argues that we must simply accept that “the Forever War is here to stay.” To do otherwise she maintains is “largely a waste of time and energy. “Wartime is the only time we have” she insists.

The slide towards forever war must be rejected and resisted. It is incumbent on us all, citizen, politician, military officer, to work towards global peace and security, not permanent warfare.

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This Outlaw Power: America’s Intent is to Dominate China, Russia and the World

By Christopher Black, June 10, 2019

On May 30th the US Department of Defense released its strategy paper for the Indo-Pacific region in which, after several pages of lies about its role in the world as savior and benefactor, set out America’s intentions to dominate China and Russia. It is another item of evidence that the United States government and its allies are conspiring to commit crimes against peace by planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression against those nations.

Haiti, the Silent Chaos!

By Joël Léon, June 10, 2019

June 9th 2019, more than 1 million people were on the street asking peacefully “Kote Kob Petwokaribe a” (where is the Petrocaribe money). Police forces step in killing 7 people and injuring 147, 70 were arrested. The chaos is continuing!

European Customers Are “Abandoning” UK Firms as Manufacturing Figures Sink

By Jack Peat, June 10, 2019

Signs that European customers are “abandoning” UK firms are starting to show after British manufacturing recorded the steepest downturn in almost three years.

Trump’s Justice Department Preparing “Additional Indictment” Against Assange. Currently Facing 18 Spurious Charges

By Stephen Lendman, June 10, 2019

Arresting and imprisoning him in the UK was all about holding him for extradition to the US — his mistreatment an assault on fundamental speech, media and academic freedoms, Britain and hardliners in Washington want eliminated.

Sudan: Chaos Unleashed. Color Revolution

By Andrew Korybko, June 10, 2019

The ongoing events in Sudan are a perfect example of the uncontrollable chaos that can be unleashed in society following a Color Revolution, with it now becoming almost impossible to predict how the latest crisis will be resolved, if ever.

What “Everyone Knows” About D-Day

By Prof Susan Babbitt, June 10, 2019

Gould knocks out one peg of that ideology: an idea of reason.  Evolution has no final purpose, Gould argued. It aims for no ideal. Yet if you wind back the tape of evolution to any point, the next steps are constrained by myriad causal factors.[ii] Gould used the word “contingency”. It means dependence.

Prime Minister of Poland Signs Global Appeal to Stop 5G Telecommunications Transmission

By Julian Rose, June 10, 2019

In what is surely an unprecedented and  groundbreaking action, the Prime Minister of Poland, Mateusz Morawiecki, has personally backed an International Appeal to stop the controversial roll-out of 5G electro magnetic microwave telecommunication transmissions.

The Downing of Malaysian Airlines MH17: Mahathir Opens a “Ukraine Political Pandora’s Box”

By F. William Engdahl, June 10, 2019

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad sent shock waves in a public speech where he dismissed a Dutch “official” report blaming Russia for the downing of Malaysia Air Flight 17 in July, 2014, weeks after a CIA-led coup toppled the elected President of Ukraine.

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A parable for US times. So busy with bombs, wars, sanctions, walls, that humans are relegated to the 15th century. – Felicity Arbuthnot

Despite hundreds of millions of dollars flowing through Los Angeles to stem the rising tide of homelessness, a resurgence of medieval diseases has the city – and neighboring states – on edge. Typhoid fever and typhus, borne by fleas, body lice, and feces, are turning the once glitzy and glamorous city into a third-world worthy environment. Yes, Typhoid Mary is back, in a sense, living on the streets and wreaking havoc on unsuspecting people in the Golden State.

These diseases, along with an uptick in tuberculosis, hepatitis A, and staph, are easily and rapidly spread and have wide-reaching consequences. They’re highly contagious and can infect anyone through casual contact.

An LAPD officer was recently diagnosed with typhoid, and several other city employees are exhibiting the classic symptoms of high fever, muscle pain, and weakness. Left untreated, the disease can be fatal – and let’s face it: The malady wiped out entire populations during the Dark Ages and took a heavy toll on American Civil War soldiers and early American settlers. Some historians blame the malaise for obliterating the Jamestown settlement.

Where The Heck Did They Come From?

Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority recently released a report showing 59,000 people living on the streets in Los Angeles County – a 12% increase since 2018 – with 36,300 of them within the city limits of Los Angeles. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), reports that “California accounted for 30% of all people experiencing homelessness as individuals” throughout the United States.

The progress of these once eradicated and near eradicated diseases is so alarming that the politicians who once spent copious amounts of time covering up the warts and putrid pustules in their liberally run cities and state are now showing disbelief and disgust. California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) broke his silence during his state of the state speech in February:

“Our homeless crisis is increasingly becoming a public-health crisis. Typhus, a medieval disease. In California. In 2019.”

Los Angeles Mayor Gil Garcetti (D), who many believed would be a 2020 presidential contender, calls the crisis, “the biggest heartbreak for me and my city.” Garcetti campaigned extensively for the initiative known as Proposition HHH, which designated $1.2 billion over the next ten years to build homeless housing. But now residents are howling about the pricey plan’s abject failure. One local L.A. news outlet polled residents and found that “Forty-five percent said it’s failing, with 18 percent saying it’s a complete failure.”

Voters passed Propositions 47 (2014) and 57 (2016), downgrading theft and drug offenses to misdemeanors and redefining many felonies from violent to nonviolent to release a horde of inmates – some addicted to drugs and suffering from now untreated mental illness. And they wonder why there are so many people on the streets living, sleeping, and breathing surrounded by urine-soaked sidewalks and piles of human feces? And, of course, they don’t have to show symptoms to carry and transfer these diseases – simple casual contact from a carrier will do just fine.

Asymptomatic Mary Mallon was presumed to have infected over 50 people between 1907 and 1915, yet never experienced a day of sickness. She died under quarantine – from complications of a stroke, not typhoid. Her body was cremated and her ashes interred, but her legacy as Typhoid Mary lives on.

What’s The Plan?

Garcetti is doubling down on his homeless housing project, but his highest hurdle is his choice for building sites. It seems no Angeleno wants drugs, typhus, and hepatitis bubbling and festering on their own block. A short story made long, aside from Proposition HHH, there is no solid plan to curb the worsening rotting of Los Angeles.

There is a long-held belief that two American presidents succumbed to Typhoid. The ninth Commander in Chief, William Henry Harrison, is remembered to have died of pneumonia after only 31 days in office, but recent studies suggest he likely died from typhoid. Number 12, President Zachary Taylor, was most likely felled from the disease as well – due to the unsanitary conditions in the Swamp in the mid-19th century. Ironically, the only thing that seems to have changed in Washington, D.C. is that the deadly infections are in the heart and soul and not the body of the toadies on the Hill.

Here we are in the throes of the 21st century with running water, inoculations for just about every known malady of the last millennia, and welfare programs to heal the poorest of our citizens. Yet Los Angeles remains a hot, malodorous, infectious mess – and it could be spreading toward a city near you.

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National Columnist at LibertyNation.com. Sarah Cowgill has been a writer in the political and corporate worlds for over 25 years. As a sought-after speech writer, her clients included CEOs, U.S. Senators, Congressmen, Governors, and even a Vice President. She’s worked as Contributing Editor at Scottsdale Life, a news reporter for the Journal and Courier, and guest opinion political writer for numerous publications nationwide. A born storyteller, Sarah has published a full-length book and is currently finishing a quirky, sarcastic, second novel.