Another Defeat for Imperialist Feminism in Nicaragua

January 22nd, 2019 by Nora McCurdy

Thanks to Sandinista government policies of the last eleven years, Nicaragua is on track to become the first country in the world to achieve gender equality, according to the World Economic Forum. But the unrelenting counterfactual attacks on Nicaragua’s government by Western imperialist feminists and their feminist class allies inside Nicaragua systematically omit that reality.

Most women in Nicaragua reject a Western feminist inspired political agenda. Western feminists and their local allies repress or manipulate the needs and aspirations of impoverished women with contrary political and religious beliefs and different class experiences. Their support for the failed attempted coup of 2018 reflects their inability to build a Western style women’s movement in Nicaragua.

The full neocolonial arrogance of Western feminists towards people in Nicaragua was expressed perfectly by Sweden’s then ambassador to Nicaragua, Eva Zetterberg, in a 2006 interview in which she remarked that Western “intervention in Nicaragua was necessary and important because Nicaraguans have been unable to manage their affairs successfully on their own”. That deeply offensive neo-colonial false belief continues to underpin Western feminist interventions in and about Nicaragua. In fact, Western neocolonial feminists have worked for decades with local allies in Nicaragua who have been collaborating with the US government since at least 2006.

US embassy cables prove Nicaragua’s women’s movement leaders have consistently lobbied over many years for US funding and political assistance, cynically downplaying or omitting their own support for abortion so as not to prejudice their chances of US government funding. Similarly, leading feminists in Nicaragua shamelessly allied during the failed 2018 coup attempt with the most reactionary anti-abortion Catholic Church bishops. They did so because they recognized that only the Catholic Church could fool enough people into participating in marches so as to give the false impression of a popular uprising against Nicaragua’s elected government.

Like their political allies in the center-right social democrat Sandinista Renewal Movement (MRS), the Autonomous Women’s Movement (MAM) and feminist non-profits, for example the recently suppressed Center for Information and Advice in Health Services (CISAS), misled foreign supporters by feinting left but going right. Their rhetoric appears to be progressive, but their practice is profoundly anti-democratic. Not only have they cut deals in secret with imperialist flunkies like US ambassadors Paul Trivelli, Robert Callahan and Laura Dogu. They also ally themselves with extreme right wing Nicaraguan politicians, as they did in 2008 with Eduardo Monteleagre, while colluding with Nicaragua’s anti-labor business leaders and ruthless oligarch families like the Chamorros.

In March 2016, then US Ambassador Laura Dogu hosted Sofia Montenegro, Vilma Nuñez, Ana Quiroz, Suyen Barahona and other women opposition leaders

US Embassy cables published by Wikileaks document that US embassy officials hosted meetings with MRS leaders like Monica Baltodano, an MRS deputy in Nicaragua’s legislature, in which they discussed MRS political strategy. In April 2007, US embassy officials met with perennial MAM leaders Sofia Montenegro, Azahalea Solis, Jamileth Mejia, Patricia Orozco as well as Zoilamerica Narvaez, well known for her 1998 accusations against President Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo. Following the meeting, US ambassador Paul Trivelli noted that his embassy’s “longstanding support for Zoilamerica …offers the potential to help forge alliances with female civil society actors, the media, private sector, and NGOs.”

The relationship of Narvaez with the US authorities dates back to well before 2007. After a March 2006 meeting with Narvaez, US embassy officials noted she “wants to ensure that the USG will continue to support her even after the November elections, whatever their outcome. She feels that in the past, the USG has only actively promoted her case in the run up to national elections and has lost interest thereafter.”At that same meeting Narvaez detailed other US funded non profits supporting her and an itinerary to visit the US, for which she requested US government help.

In May 2006, ambassador Trivelli confirmed that the embassy had funded Narvaez’s request, reporting,

“Embassy is drawing on its democracy funds to CPDH to assist Narvaez in advancing her own case as well as strengthening her Foundation Sobrevivientes”.

Later in 2006, ambassador Trivelli confirmed the US government had indeed organized visits by Narvaez to Washington and Miami in June and October of that election year, including to the IACHR and for a television interview with Univision. They hoped to influence Nicaraguan voters’ opinions against Daniel Ortega.

But that attempted manipulation came barely two years after Narvaez famously reconciled with her mother Rosario Murillo in 2004. In November 2006, Trivelli noted that, following Daniel Ortega’s election win that month, Zoilamerica Narvaez called a US embassy political officer to say “she is more determined than ever to continue her case before the Inter-American Human Rights Commission”. However, in 2008, Narvaez wrote formally to the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights asking them to drop the case following another reconciliation with her family. At 8 minutes 53 seconds of a 2006 interview, then President Enrique Bolaños stated his view that Zoilamerica was seeking money.

Honduras and Iraq death squad veteran Robert Callahan took over from Paul Trivelli in 2008 and continued consolidating the collaboration of feminist MRS leaders like Monica Baltodano, Sofia Montenegro and others with the US embassy. In February 2010 he recommended approving US$100,000 of US government to fund MAM’s political work in which “MAM would be supported by the Center for Information and Advice in Health Services (Centro de Informacion y Asesoria en Servicios de Salud, CISAS)”. So even back in 2010 CISAS was violating its non-profit status by working directly with the MAM political organization, part of the MRS and of Nicaragua’s opposition alliance including Nicaragua’s extreme right wing.

Throughout this period, CISAS and US payrolled non-profits like Carlos Fernando Chamorro’s CINCO, Felix Maradiaga’s IEEPP, Hagamos Democracia and various other Nicaraguan non profits routinely violated their non-profit status engaging directly in sectarian party political activities of one kind or another. In 2008, President Ortega’s government held a review of the country’s non profit sector, tightening up reporting requirements and trying to ensure compliance with the non profit organizations’ legal requirements. In the course of that review, the Nicaraguan authorities found CINCO had been passing money under the table from European development agencies like OXFAM to the political organization MAM.

Even so, after investigation, the controversy subsided and US funded non profits returned to their routine, outspoken, self-contradictory accusations of dictatorship against President Ortega. The US media and authorities would crucify women’s activists or non profits in the US found to have conspired with Russian or Chinese embassy officials to influence domestic politics in the United States. But they apply a double standard when the US illegally interferes in the internal politics of target countries like Cuba, Nicaragua or Venezuela. This history of Nicaragua’s feminists and their allies is essential to understand why Nicaragua’s opposition coup attempt failed in 2018. The US embassy cables reveal them all to be unprincipled, mercenary opportunists.

Dora Maria Tellez, Monica Baltodano, the MRS feminist leaders of MAM and of the anti-government, feminist-oriented non profit sector have all been US government collaborators one way or another. They all worked together with other US allies in Nicaragua, including the private business sector, unrepresentative student activists from mainly private universities, oligarchs like the Chamorro family, the reactionary Catholic Church hierarchy, murderous rural caudillos like Medardo Mairena and even organized crime. The resulting violent, inchoate alliance offensive in 2018 was categorically defeated by the Nicaraguan people and their government. But US and European progressives continue supporting neocolonial intervention in Nicaragua, embodying the same faithless logic as their local proteges: feint left, go right.

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This article was originally published on Tortilla con Sal.

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Pretty soon, the Ecumenical Patriarchate is set to begin an information campaign of why its actions in Ukraine were justified, and how “bad information” in social networks is misportraying this master plan of creating unity and “peace and love in Christ”. It is likely what I have to say here will be received by some as “Russian disinformation”, but I will dare to make my opinion known to my fellow Orthodox Greeks and others, in hope it will at least make them think more deeply about the potential consequences of what just happened this January in the Phanar.

1. The Ecumenical Patriarchate stepped into a civil conflict at the invitation of just one of the conflicting parties. This is not a mediation, it is an act of taking sides. Therefore, the Ecumenical Patriarchate cannot call itself a mediator in a conflict, it is a co-belligerent. History has shown that foreign parties that become involved in a civil conflict will not be looked upon favorably by either side if the conflict ever resolves.

2. The level of the Moscow Synod’s involvement with the affairs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate does not affect either the day to day operations of the church, nor its strategic orientation. During the civil war in Ukraine, Metropolitan Onuphry called upon both sides to cease violence, whereas the schismatic jurisdictions that form the backbone of the new Ukrainian jurisdiction took a clear stance in the conflict and backed the new Ukrainian government’s assault on its own civilians in Donbass, with the false Patriarch Philaret (now carrying the honorary ‘patriarch’ title in the new church structure) calling for blood vengeance against the anti-government faction. This shows, clearly, that one side is more politicized than the other. There was no pressing need for the faithful of Ukraine to have a different church, the only reason for the existence of the schismatic jurisdictions was and remains political. There is no ‘loyalty to Russia’ required of the canonical Ukrainian church’s clergy or flock.

3. The Tomos of Autocephaly granted by the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate makes the new Ukrainian church highly dependent on the Ecumenical Patriarchate, arguably more so than the canonical Ukrainian Church of the Moscow Patriarchate is dependent on the Moscow Patriarchate. Thus many Ukrainians, even those who favor an independent Ukrainian church, find this to be no more than a power grab by another autocephalous church that has previously competed with Moscow for influence in world Orthodoxy. At this point in time, a number of these people may view the Ecumenical Patriarchate as a ‘lesser evil’ than the Moscow Patriarchate, just as they view the European Union in relation to Moscow’s Eurasian Union, but this is not what they ultimately are hoping for. The Ecumenical Patriarchate appears to suggest that as time progresses, it may offer “more autocephaly” (e.g. agree to the progression of a Kiev Patriarchate) to this new structure, but it is very clear that this is subject to the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s sole discretion.

4. The granting of this “tomos of autocephaly” sets a dangerous precedent – it may encourage other Orthodox churches to do the same for political reasons if they so wish. The Ecumenical Patriarchate was very upset at the decision of the Moscow Patriarchate – at that time under the heavy influence of the Soviet government – to grant autocephaly to a structure calling itself the “Orthodox Church of America”, which to this day it refuses to recognize as an autocephalous church, considering it a part of the Moscow Patriarchate. Granting this tomos to the Ukrainian schismatics, it opens the door for voices within other Orthodox churches to act independently, e.g. granting a tomos to a Greek old calendar jurisdiction, or to a Montenegrin or Macedonian jurisdiction. The Ecumenical Patriarchate is latching onto what it believes is its exclusive right to resolve issues of Orthodox jurisdictions, but there are those who present serious arguments to the contrary. What is to stop a future Russian patriarch of using the argument of ‘size’ in order to wield influence in world Orthodoxy, citing that size is a key indicator of the Holy Spirit’s “presence”, for example?

5. The issuance of this tomos has forced division in the Orthodox world. Prior to the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s actions, the schism in Ukraine was on a local level only. Now, it has extended its boundaries to other autocephalous Orthodox churches who are put in the difficult position of having to recognize, or not, the actions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The position of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is clear: pressure all autocephalous churches to accept this act, alienating the Russian church. There is a flat out refusal to summon a pan-Orthodox council to discuss this subject (something other Orthodox patriarchs and metropolitans have advocated in advance of this tomos), there is merely an expectation of a rubber stamp approval. This political act has also made many Ukrainians, Russians, and others consider the Ecumenical Patriarchate their personal enemy for having interfered in a civil conflict.

6. The Ecumenical Patriarchate has entered into a relationship with clerics who have a pattern of divisive behavior. This, in turn, practically guarantees that a power struggle will become manifest at some point, as the various actors in the new structure vie for power and influence, including overriding the provisions of the tomos granted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in order to meet the broader political goal of ‘complete independence’. Already we see that Philaret has refused to surrender his title of ‘patriarch of Kiev and Ukraine’, he continues to wear his patriarchal garb which the new metropolitan Epiphany, his mentee, fully accepts as normal. In his interview with the BBC, Archbishop Daniel of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, a former Uniate from western Ukraine who was one of the engineers of the Ukrainian church project, defended this situation from the standpoint of oekonomia. However, it betrays the true nature of the people who are not willing to show humility and obedience to what they claim is a ‘greater good’.

7. The worst and most terrifying result of the tomos is the green light it has given for the Ukrainian government, in concert with armed Ukrainian chauvinist gangs, to begin intimidating believers who have refused to join the new church structure. There have already been numerous documented reports of physical violence and intimidation against clerics of the canonical Ukrainian church, both on an official government level and through various gang activity (such as the neo-Nazi C-14). In his BBC interview, Archbishop Daniel has attempted to position himself against this inconvenient information by claiming that there “may be provocations by the Russian church”. The facts speak otherwise. Excluding the Donbass region, all of Ukraine is thoroughly controlled by the Ukrainian government which has an extensive police network that is constantly monitoring the population for any “pro-Russian” sympathy. Clerics have regularly been called in for questioning. Meanwhile, gangs that have perpetuated violence against any suspected “pro-Russian” elements go unpunished. Complaints to human rights organizations, including international ones, have been shown to be ineffective. International media has largely been disinterested in these matters, for political reasons.

8. The Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate has virtually zero influence on the actors perpetuating violence or threatening to. The system of equal protection under the law is heavily flawed in Ukraine under the current government, something even its western backers admit. The Ecumenical Patriarchate Synodal statement made in October merely “appeal(s) to all sides involved to avoid appropriation of Churches, Monasteries and other properties, as well as every other act of violence and retaliation” – but this constitutes nothing other than ‘good wishes’ and an ill-fated attempt at moral suasion. Fully knowing that violence and retaliation is a practical certainty in response to this tomos, and without any appropriate lever of influence in the situation, the Ecumenical Patriarchate is accepting moral responsibility for this violence in the face of history and before God.

9. This tomos has clearly been used as a political instrument by Ukraine’s president, who is desperately trying to rally anti-Russian forces in Ukraine to push him over his opponents in the upcoming election (his ratings show he is very likely to suffer defeat at the hands of his key opponent, Ms. Timoshenko). Metropolitan Epiphany, the leader of the new Ukrainian structure, has been parroting Poroshenko’s rhetoric and has de-facto become a part of his re-election campaign. It is likewise of note that we see other foreign actors, namely the US State Department, taking an active role in supporting the creation of this church, including making official statements to that end. This is all the more amusing in the face of the criticism frequently leveled at Patriarch Kirill for having a ‘too close relationship’ with Russian president Putin. Once again, we see a double standard at work.

10. The Ukrainian church project was built under the assumption that there would be a mass defection to join the new structure from the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church. But the results show that only two metropolitans have so far defected. Archbishop Daniel in his BBC interview has implied that there are “many more” who are willing to join but are still keeping on the ‘down low’, waiting for a mass exodus to begin, ludicrously implying that Ukraine is still under heavy de-facto control of pro-Russian actors who have the ability to punish and persecute anyone daring to dissent. The fact is that anything built on treason will beget more treason. Encouraging bishops and clergy to join another church without canonical release is to foment schism, and as history has repeatedly shown, schism begets more schism, like bacteria multiplying. In an effort to ‘foster unity’, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has in fact encouraged division and violence.

In conclusion, this event is a tragedy for all of world Orthodoxy, as it has created more problems than existed before, and worst of all, it has placed the lives of many Orthodox faithful in Ukraine in danger. In a time of mass secularization, where society is moving away from God on many levels, a worse temptation could not have been imagined. We need to pray that the consequences of this extremely misguided action will be reversed as soon as possible for the benefit of all of Christendom.

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Featured image is from Pravmir.com

The highly influential and well-connected Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) is proposing that Moscow organize a multilateral conference to re-divide the Balkans along ethnic lines, which would advance the controversial proposal made by former British diplomat Timothy Less in late 2016 but might also inadvertently open up Pandora’s Box, though it could very well be that Russia thinks that this process is “irreversible” and that it should therefore seek to “responsibly guide” events just like it’s attempting to do when it comes to Syria’s “decentralization”.

Background Reading

President Putin’s visit to Serbia last week served as the occasion for the highly influential and well-connected Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) to publish three very important pieces about the Balkans, which are listed below:

Each of these pieces seamlessly flows into the next, with the first one being a briefing on what’s happening in the Balkans, the second explaining the importance of Russia’s role in settling the ‘Kosovo Question’,  while the last one brings it all together to propose a “package solution” for the region.

Key Excerpts

It’s the third of these analytical works – the proposal for a “package solution” – that forms the core of this article, as it could represent Russia’s return to the Balkans in a big way even though it also brings with it an enormous risk of blowback if it inadvertently opens up “Pandora’s Box”. It’s recommended that the reader reviews the aforementioned piece in full, but for those that don’t have the time to do so, what follows are some of its key excerpts explaining the gist of what it’s about:

“External players pursue first and foremost their own interests in the Balkans. As a rule, they only slightly match with the real needs of the region and its population…It seems, there is no indication that external actors will refuse to act unilaterally, and intra-regional political forces will suddenly become negotiable. However, it is also impossible to leave the situation on its own as well as to give a “carte blanche” to those who prefer destructive policies thus harming the Balkans and its peoples and the prospects for a comprehensive, sustainable, fair and comprehensive settlement. Under these circumstances, it would be extremely advantageous and timely for Russia to offer a multilateral format of a “general Balkan settlement,” which would be undoubtedly beneficial to all intra-Balkan political actors and extra-regional powers as well…Even if such a proposal is met with hostility, it should be put forward.

 
Regardless of the resolution of the post-Yugoslav heritage problems, formation of a permanent “Balkan Council” is a top priority. It would include representatives of Russia, the US, Great Britain, Turkey, France, Italy, Slovenia and Germany as international observers, with mediation on the part of the EU and the UN, and also envoys of all the Western Balkan countries…Another scenario is the “Permanent Balkan Conference” led by the EU and mediated by high representatives from the U.S. and Russia. Such a decision could be enforced by changing the format of the Brussels talks, and with the consent of the Albanian and Serbian parties. The third scenario is the “Permanent Balkan Conference — broad version” under the leadership of the UN Security Council. It would imply an increase in the number of Balkan negotiators and would entail a number of various territorial exchanges, based not so much on ethnicity, but on the geopolitical interests of each of the Balkan countries as well as on the guaranteed viability of such exchanges…The fourth scenario is the creation of the “Balkan Union” modeled on the EU. Turkey, as an “eternal” candidate for the EU, might join such a “Union.”

 The “spontaneous” territorial organization designed for the Balkan peoples did not bode well with them. Some representatives of the local establishment and the expert community pass the verdict that it ”failed miserably.” Ethnic groups are divided between different political entities. And they do not always feel comfortable there. Their vital interests are threatened, and it is possible to keep them from possible collisions and redistributions only due to some external factors. Many countries and regional entities alone are simply not viable. Their successful future can be associated exclusively with integration, association, alliances, searching for some other forms and components of statehood. They are able to exist normally only under external control or as a part of some other entity.

 

 Maintaining the artificial existence of ethno-national and territorial delimitation is leading nowhere. It will generate tensions, fuel various extreme nationalists and populists, accumulate crisis potential, which is already big enough. Therefore, within the region, as well as among the international expert communities, various actors and their configurations are holding a nonstop informal discussion in order to outline possible scenarios of the Balkans settlement in a long run.

Among the external actors, the UK is the one to be the most active supporter of the creation of “ethnocentric states”, namely, “great” Albania, “great” Serbia, and “great” Croatia. This scenario would mean the following territorial exchange:

 — “Great” Albania: the Republic of Albania, most of Kosovo, part of Macedonia, part of Serbia (Bujanovac and Presevo), Ulcinj part of Montenegro;

 — “Great” Serbia: the Republic of Serbia, the Republika Srpska with access to the sea in the Herceg Novi region (Montenegro) and the Serbian communities in the north of Kosovo, including North Mitrovica;

 — “Great” Croatia: Republic of Croatia, the third “entitet” in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Herceg Bosna (Herzeg-Bosnia));

 — Montenegro would receive a part of the Serbian Sandzak;

 — Bosnia and Herzegovina within the borders of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina with the possible option of creating a confederation with Croatia / Serbia / Montenegro;

 — Macedonia would be in a worse position, left without most of its own territory. Moreover, a tendency to tear the remains among Bulgaria, Greece, Albania and Serbia is notable here. One of possible scenarios for Macedonia in this case is to form a confederation with Bulgaria or Serbia.

 Indeed, the “Pandora’s Box” should never be opened. The point here is that such an effect could be entailed by any bilateral private agreement on exchanges and revisions getting beyond multilateral inclusive format and “package solution,” especially under pressure from Washington, following nothing but its own geopolitical ambitions. It will be extremely difficult to control further destructive processes awakened by this approach in the future. At least, if it’s even possible.

 However, including them in any of the above-mentioned multilateral formats changes the picture considerably.  Firstly, it allows you to supply any action with organized and controlled character. Secondly, it provides an opportunity to combine all political decisions, which are separately unacceptable, belonging to different periods, into a single “package,” coordinated and approved by all.  Thirdly, it opens the prospects of providing solid international guarantees for the “package settlement” on the spot.  Fourthly, it establishes the rules of the game clear and acceptable to all players.”

From The “Yinon Plan” To Timothy Less’ Proposal

Judging from the text, the authors are keenly aware of the risks involved with their proposal but seem to believe that Russia should try to ‘responsibly guide’ what it might regard by this point as being an ‘irreversible process’ similar in sense to what it’s doing when it comes to Syria’s ‘decentralization’. In the Mideast context, “Israel’s” “Yinon Plan” for dividing and ruling the region seems to have partially succeeded in Syria after the establishment of an American “sphere of influence” within the Kurdish-controlled areas east of the Euphrates and a Turkish one in parts of the Northwest. Accordingly, since Russia lacks the political will, motivation, and mandate to reverse these processes, it’s taken to “passively facilitating” them as part of its larger 21st-century ambition to become the supreme “balancing” force in Afro-Eurasia.

Similarly, Russia appears ready to apply the experiences that it learned in the Mideast to the Balkans, except this time “responsibly guiding” former UK diplomat Timothy Less’ explosive late-2016 proposal to re-divide the Balkans along ethnic lines, which is basically a regional variation of the “Yinon Plan”. The common strategic denominator between both Eurasian Rimland theaters is that Russia seems to conceptualize itself as operating within what the author previously described as the “19th-Century Great Power Chessboard” paradigm of prioritizing its relations with similarly sized Great Powers via inter-elite diplomacy at the perceived (key word) expense of its smaller- and medium-sized partners, all of which is occurring in advance of what Moscow believes to be the most pragmatic way to “balance” regional affairs and accelerate the emerging Multipolar World Order.

This shouldn’t be surprising for any objective observers either since Russia – like any country – will always seek to promote its own interests first and foremost, which it has a track record of doing especially when it comes to Balkan affairs. For example, the 1878 Treaty of San Stefano sought to promote Russia’s interests through the creation of a so-called “Greater Bulgaria” before its Great Power peers diplomatically intervened to scuttle it, so something similar of the sort could occur in the near future if Moscow thinks that the Russian-facilitated implementation of Timothy Less’ proposal would strengthen its influence in the region through inter-elite diplomacy and other methods. Importantly, Russia’s new regional partner Croatia would only expand under RIAC’s proposal just like Bulgaria was poised to do under San Stefano while Serbia would have to “trade” some of its land with others.

The Kosovo Connection

Ultimately, this entire regional fragmentation process began with Kosovo, which opened up Pandora’s Box by violating the unspoken principle that internal administrative borders are supposed to remain sacrosanct following the independence of their constituent entities. Although related, Bosnia’s independence from Yugoslavia was different from Kosovo’s separatist campaign against Serbia because the former used to be an internal unit on par with its other now-independent counterparts such as Serbia while Kosovo was an autonomous province under Belgrade’s jurisdiction. The externally backed efforts to redraw the Balkan map catalyzed ethno-centric centrifugal forces (first and foremost among them the fascist-supported World War II project of a so-called “Greater Albania”) that Timothy Less’ proposal is attempting to exploit and which are receiving a massive boost by Macedonia’s progressive dismantlement as a state following its recent name change and Albanian language law.

Serbian President Vucic is suspected of controversially conspiring to change his country’s constitution in order to remove the passage stipulating that Kosovo is an integral part of its territory prior to clinching a deal to sell out the cradle of his civilization for expedited entry into the EU, though he can’t do this without committing political suicide unless it’s executed under the right “cover’. Therein lays the domestic soft power relevance of RIAC’s proposal to “responsibly guide” what Moscow might believe by this point in time to be the “irreversible process” of Serbia’s recognition of Kosovo’s “independence” because it could be relied upon to “soften the blow” of what Vucic is about to do. Russophilia is alive and well in Serbia, so people might react differently to this happening if it has Russia’s approval.

That’s not just wild speculation either because Vucic visited Moscow last October, during which time the prominent Russian media outlet Kommersant reported that the Serbian leader asked his Russian counterpart to support his plan for Kosovo. Vucic curiously said right afterwards that “we got everything that we looked for. We agreed on everything”, though he “could not reveal the details.” In any case, it was interesting that Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov declared a month later that “If Belgrade considers any settlement option acceptable to Serbia, we will be ready to consider it in a constructive manner”, signaling that Russia won’t be “more Serbian than the Serbs” in “challenging” the will of Serbia’s internationally recognized government if it cuts a deal on Kosovo. If successful, then Vucic’s “Kosovo Compromise” would be the geopolitical culmination of the 2000 “Bulldozer Revolution”.

Concluding Thoughts

For as controversial as the thought of a Russian-organized multilateral conference on ethnically re-dividing the Balkans may be, Russian think tank experts can’t be faulted for wanting to advance their country’s national interests in a “creative” way, even if this amounts to replicating the strategic fundamentals of the Syrian situation in Serbia. Instead of the “Yinon Plan” for the Mideast, Timothy Less’ explosive late-2016 proposal for the Balkans is being used as the blueprint, though in both cases it seems as though Russia is resigning itself to the “inevitability” of both plans and therefore believes that it’s best to try to “responsibly guide” these processes in the direction of Moscow’s interests as much as realistically possible. While it remains to be seen whether the Kremlin is receptive to RIAC’s recommendation, the very fact that it’s being put forth at this time is significant in and of itself.

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This article was originally published on Eurasia Future.

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

On January 19, the so-called Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (DFNS), an entity established by US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in attempt to legalize their control over a part of Syria, released a 10-points long list of demands to the Damascus government.

Besides formal claims about the need to keep the unity of Syrian land and grant some rights to the minorities, the list includes the demand to accept the DFNS’ Autonomous Administration as a legal part of the Syrian political system, to guarantee the representation of the DFNS in the Syrian Parliament, to use the Syrian Flag alongside with the flag of the DFNS, to allow the DFNS to employ own independent foreign policy, to allow the Kurdish-dominated SDF to keep control of the Syrian border, to allow the DFNS’ security force Asayish to remain the main security force within the SDF-held area and to distribute “the Syrian wealth to the Syrian regions in a fair manner.”

Summing up the claims, the DFNS in fact demanded the Damascus government to legally recognize and a semi-independent Kurdish state and its military force within Syria and to fund this state from the central budget.

If these demands were the official stance of the Kurdish leadership during the recent round of talks with Damascus over the situation in northern Syria, it becomes apparent why no notable progress has been achieved so far.

In the case of Afrin, such stance undermined all efforts of Damascus to find a political solution with Kurdish armed groups and allowed Turkey to kick off a military operation capturing the entire area from Kurdish forces. This scenario could be repeated once again in Manbij.

On January 18, the Afrin Liberation Forces (ALF) released a statement claiming that they had carried out a fresh attack on Turkey-led forces. According to the AFL statement, ALF fighters attacked a “base” near the village of Jinderes on January 17 injuring 5 Ahrar al-Sham members and 2 Turkish service members.

The AFL is a brand created by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) to hide their involvement in attacks on Turkish-backed militant groups and the Turkish military in the region. Previous attacks took place on January 16 and 15 resulting in the deaths of 2 Turkish-backed militants and injures of 6 others.

On January 19, the US-led coalition stressed that its warplanes had eliminated 200 ISIS fighters and commanders in the period from January 7 to January 13. The coalition also confirmed that the SDF had captured al-Kashmah, Sirat Masoud, and al-Shafah from ISIS.

On January 18th and 19th, two bomb blasts targeted the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham-controlled city of Idlib. The first explosion was a booby-trapped car killing 15 civilians and militants and injuring nine others. The second explosion injured eight people, including four women and children.

On January 19th, the Nedaa Syria news outlet reported that the Turkish-backed Ahrar al-Sham Movement will redeploy hundreds of its fighters in the opposition-held part of the northwestern Hama countryside under a new agreement with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Previously, Turkish-backed militants were defeated and forced to flee the area. It’s possible that a new agreement with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is that success in the implementation of the de-escalation agreement, which was recently claimed by the Turkish Defense Minister.

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MLK Jr and “Ghetto America”

January 22nd, 2019 by Philip A Farruggio

Today is the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr‘s birthday. How appropriate to write about one of the most important issues he spoke and marched about: Ghettoes. The 1970s rock group War had a hit song in their ‘The World is a Ghetto’ (1972). So apropos now in our ‘Year of the empire 2019’:

Walkin’ down the street, smoggy-eyed
Looking at the sky, starry-eyed
Searchin’ for the place, weary-eyed
Crying in the night, teary-eyed

Don’t you know that it’s true
That for me and for you
The world is a ghetto

The term Ghetto comes from the Jewish area of Venice in 1516. It’s dictionary definition is ‘A part of a city, especially a slum area, occupied by a minority group or groups’. Students of the Jewish Holocaust will recall the ghettoes created in Poland for the Jews. Steven Spielberg’s great masterpiece film Schindler’s List (1993) captured the horror and deprivation of the Cracow Ghetto. Obviously, that type of ghetto will always be placed on the top of the list along with today’s Gaza Strip, guarded so efficiently and free of humanitarian aid by the Israelis. Is there some sort of terrible comparison here, whereupon the relatives of many who were destroyed by the Nazis are now responsible for ditto to the Palestinians? Food for another column, yes?

Our nation, one of the most prosperous in the world, can it still have ghettoes? Well, going by the dictionary definition of course Amerika has always created ghettoes. Maybe not as brutal as the two aforementioned ones, but still harsh as can be. When well less than one percent of our populace earns mega millions each year, there is only so much left to share among we the 99+ %. If you use a high school economics class’s lesson plan, and say that there are 10 people in a group, with $100  to go around, and one in the group has $70,then the other nine have to share the remaining $30. If shared equally that comes out to $3.00 each. This is in reality what is going on not only in Amerika, but throughout the industrial world.

What our Amerikan ghetto system does is not so much to keep we working stiffs in, but to keep truth, justice and economic fairness OUT! For decades what is labeled the ‘mainstream media’ does the bidding of the fraction of that 1% who rule us. Yes, rule. We are repeatedly given propaganda through this media telling us that we are a democracy and a free enterprise system. Yet, anyone with a junior high school education must realize that the majority of our (so called) elected officials are within or bordering on that less than 1%- meaning they have lost any semblance of knowing the travails of working stiffs. The (so called) free enterprise system is in reality a corporate behemoth that keeps us all in this ghetto of lower pay, dead end jobs, inferior health coverage with a ‘cut or drug’ medical system, no real safety net and diminishing government services.

Yes, there are levels of ghettoization, each one surpassing the other in just how low people can sink. Sadly, for people of color, the ghetto has existed for them far longer than for we with white skin. Yet, the Fat Cats who run this empire have gone on overdrive to screw all of us, regardless of how we look or sound. To stand behind the banner of either half of the One Party/Two Party system does nothing to alleviate working stiff pain. Period! As exemplified by MLK Jr. only mass protest and mass realization of who the real ‘criminal class’ is can offer a road for change. King did not just ‘talk the talk’, but ‘walked the walk’. Isn’t it time for we from Ghetto Amerika to do the same?

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

Brexit: UK Caught Between the Past and the Future

January 22nd, 2019 by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

The United Kingdom stands fatally divided between nations, regions, generations, on the edge of a critical fault line which threatens the future of the Union.

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Picture a hen-house with three hundred and fifty hens inside, and one rooster. The door opens, and three foxes slink inside licking their lips. Now picture the utter bedlam which ensues. Welcome to the United Kingdom, two and a half years after a politician promised a referendum on a matter of national importance just because he wanted an absolute majority in a domestic election. Welcome to the ridiculous portmanteau, Brexit.

Those of us who know the United Kingdom have been trying, since June 2016, to understand the psyche of the British people and this week, the penny finally dropped. What appeared to be nonsensical finally makes (non)sense.

Trying to understand the British Parliament

A Portuguese friend told me this weekend that he thought the Portuguese Parliament was hilarious until he saw the British counterpart.

How could half the population old enough to vote, plus a few, be fooled so easily by a campaign of lies (350 million pounds a week for the NHS, taking back control), how could the political class as a whole not inform people of the terrible consequences of Brexit? How could politicians back a Brexit deal, or even worse, a no-deal Brexit, when they are privy to the horrific information which is now available of the dire consequences of leaving the club? How could anyone in the UK consider operating under WTO rules when these would imply higher tariffs than the ones currently in operation? How could anyone consider going it alone in a world in which all other countries are pulling together into large trading blocks?

The answer is that for these people, Britain still does not have an identity. These people are caught in the Quixotesque dream in cloud cuckoo land that Britannia rules the waves, the British Banger is the best sausage on the planet, Britain gave the world football, Britain is at the center of the Universe and if it pulls out of the EU, everyone will be lining up to do business. The figure Britain today cuts on the world stage is that of an out-dated, ridiculous, arrogant, holier-than-thou partner looking down on the rest of the world which it still considers as its oyster. Being “different” is what turns these people on, instead of joining the club and mucking in like the rest of us.

The only thing which is slightly more encouraging, is that today, such people are in a minority because today, most people old enough to vote understand that Brexit is not the answer, most people old enough to vote, today in 2019, do not want Brexit and as more and more young people come of voting age, the percentage will grow higher. Today opinion polls indicate that the REMAIN vote would today be 60% in England and Wales, higher in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Second Referendum would reflect where the population stands today

Therefore the argument that a second referendum would be undemocratic is nonsense, given that a second referendum would allow the majority of people unhappy with Brexit  to have their feelings expressed and the young people to have a say in their future, otherwise they are saddled with a badly thought out decision; unless of course a major party makes a return to Europe the mainstay of their manifesto in 2022.

Putting Party First

What we see in Parliament today is not concern for the country but rather, political posturing, putting Party first. Both the main political parties – Labour and Tory – are terrified that backing a second referendum (synonymous with canceling Brexit) might entail losing a substantial part of their voters who voted Leave, and who might refuse ever to vote for that Party again. Therefore they say that a second referendum would not be democratic (how representing the will of the people is not democratic defies logic) and they claim (wrongly) that most people want them “to get on with Brexit”. Most people do not want Brexit at all, and they are right.

The point is that the Brexit vote came amid extremely bad planning, a total and unforgivable absence of information and guidance, on the crest of the wave of the Refugee Crisis as one million Syrians and so on poured into Europe (2015), a campaign of fabrications and barefaced lies, false promises about the NHS and hundreds of millions of pounds, and very little about the negative consequences of leaving the block with which the UK does half its business and risking everything on a casino gamble of winner takes all, including the car, the dog and the wife.

The truth about the challenges

It is inconceivable, for instance, that the UK’s cash-strapped Universities are going to allow the 78,500 EU students currently studying there to enjoy the same conditions that they have now, so it is more likely that fewer students will enrol in British Universities than the contrary. It is also likely that British students will see fees increased to make up the balance.

It is inconceivable, for instance, that British people and companies  will not be affected by any form of Brexit, since the UK will either have to pay tariffs on imports and exports, or else have to pay for access, so that means higher taxes, or higher prices, or both. The 40 billion pound Brexit divorce bill will be picked up by whom? The Members of Parliament? Or the working population?

It is inconceivable, for instance, that other countries will fall at Britain’s feet begging to strike unique trade deals when the consequences of doing so would alter their relationship with the EU. Who is going to turn their back on a block with 450 million people to do trade with a country of 66 million?

It is inconceivable, for instance, that Britain’s schools and Universities will produce the material the country needs to fill the job market when today so many doctors and nurses, IT specialists and so on come from the EU, as pointed out by the excellent article written by Diana Omladič (link below).

In some cases, the UK does not have the courses that students can enjoy in Portugal, for instance, where the quality of University teaching is very high.

The effect of this will mean more under-qualification, a deterioration of services, more expensive goods, fewer exports and the result of that will be endemic unemployment statistics of some 15 to 20 per cent of the working population, and rising by the year.

What has been missed by the Brexiteers and the disgusting self-seeking and lying politicians who have led and misled them (and there is a conspiracy theory that the Brexit vote was “cooked” by the system) is the fact that when you are part of a large trading block, you lose a degree of autonomy but you benefit from being part of the block, as the UK will find out the hard way if it leaves.

What has been missed by the Brexiteers and their puppet masters is the fact that most MPs voted to remain (a House majority of 310) because they know better than the public what the issues are. They know that World Trade Organization rules would mean higher tariffs than remaining in the EU, for example.

In any other country, such a ludicrous Referendum which anyway never had any legally binding tail attached to it (it was merely a consultation), which did not command a two-thirds majority either way, would never force a move to one side or the other over such a divisive and serious issue.

Britain is not placed at the center of the Universe and the Sun does not shine out of its backside. Britain’s place is not with the Empire, it has gone. It went sixty years ago. The Commonwealth countries have formed their own trading blocks. It is time the British people woke up, manned up and recreated themselves inside the geographical region in which their islands are situated – Europe – instead of constantly creating problems, wanting everything all ways for themselves and to Hell with the rest. The Commonwealth is a common cultural reference, it cannot be a trading block because of the distances involved. Distance is cost, cost is money, cost is translated into higher prices and fewer exports, which in turn means job losses, a shrinking economy and fewer resources for public services.

Going it alone goes against every fibre of logic. Since the time of The Venerable Bede, the British have needed the help of Europe (the Romans at the time, who sent one single legion numerous times to help the British fight the invaders from outside the Roman Empire).

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Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey works in the area of teaching, consultancy, coaching, translation, revision of texts, copy-writing and journalism. Director and Chief Editor of the Portuguese version of Pravda.Ru since 2002, and now Co-Editor of the English version, he contributes regularly to several other publications in Portuguese and English.

Featured image is from Kenneth Allen, CC BY-SA 2.0

After releasing a damning draft memo that showed the Trump administration planned to “traumatize” migrant children with family separations and expedite deportation by denying asylum hearings, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) on Friday called for an FBI investigation into whether Homeland Security Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen lied when she testified before Congress about the policy.

In a letter sent to FBI Director Christopher Wray, the senator noted that

“compelling new evidence has emerged revealing that high-level Department of Homeland Security officials were secretly and actively developing a new policy and legal framework for separating families as far back as December 2017.”

“Despite this fact,” Merkley continued, “while testifying under oath before the House Committee on the Judiciary, Secretary Nielsen stated unequivocally ‘I’m not a liar, we’ve never had a policy for family separation.'” Given the “conflicting facts,” Merkley formally demanded an immediate investigation.

In addition to her comments before the House committee, Nielsen made similar proclamations to the public, such as when she tweeted last summer:

“We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period.”

Her statement was quickly denounced by critics as a “heinous lie.”

Merkley, meanwhile, has been praised for his consistent condemnation of the Trump administration’s so-called “zero tolerance” policy, under which federal officials forcibly separated thousands of migrant children from their parents. The senator was lauded Friday for both releasing the 2017 memo and urging Wray to open a probe into Nielsen.

“Merkley deserves a ton of credit for his leadership here,” concluded Indivisible co-founder Ezra Levin. “This is good, honest, careful work in response to cynicism, cruelty, and lies.”

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The past few weeks have seen Samos island drenched by days of winter rain storms. Most of the farmers are happy. Winter soaking keeps Samos a green island and is essential if the fruits, vegetables, olives and vines are going to flourish in the hot summers. But for thousands of refugees both in the camp and in their tents and shacks in the olive groves around the camp, it is nightmare time.

I am consumed with frustration and anger. For the past 5 or 6 winters the refugees on Samos have faced catastrophe. Every winter there are no preparations. Every winter! I am reminded of a conversation with Medicin Sans Frontiere when they first came to Samos. The project leader thought Samos was one of the worst places he had been to, because unlike many of the other places he had worked in which had nothing due to war or natural disasters, Samos did have existing resources and facilities that were desperately needed by the refugees but were not made available. This conversation took place over four years ago and NOTHING has changed. This month thousands of human beings have been freezing and soaking in tents and shelters, living in a swamp when there are schools, halls, hotels, army bases …… standing empty. 3 weeks ago the central government asked the local authority to release some of its vacant buildings to provide emergency accommodation during the bad weather. Such are the strained relations between the central government and the frontier islands that it came as no surprise when they refused this request.

I for one don’t know how some of these people who control these resources can sleep at night.

We have just been through 36 hours of continuous thunderstorms. Non stop lightning and thunder with incessant rain and hail storms that left a covering of ice 5cm thick within minutes. Not the best conditions for sleeping but near impossible when you think of the people in the camp. So many questions which often boil down to what the hell has happened that allows for such unnecessary cruelties to take place in our midst.

In the midst of all this I see Oxfam’s latest report on Moria Camp on Lesvos getting coverage. I wonder how much that cost them to tell us the bleeding obvious? Why do they persist with these reports when they must know they have no impact?

On January 17th the British newspaper, The Independent, revealed some of the interim findings of the independent commission looking into Oxfam’s appalling record on sexual misconduct. It included the following statement; “The Commission has heard multiple staff raise concerns of elitism… racism and colonial behaviour… sexism, rigid hierarchies and patriarchy that affect relationships among Oxfam staff and between Oxfam staff and its partners and program participants.” From our experience on Samos it is clear that such characteristics are not restricted to Oxfam.

Yesterday afternoon the rain stopped. People flooded out of the camp. Driving back to the village that evening I saw that the children’s play area on the Samos town sea front was bursting with young children and their families, playing, relaxing and talking.

It was wonderful to see especially after days of misery and was a great illustration of the resilience of the refugees and the importance of friendship and kinship in surviving their confinement on Samos. I was reminded of the words on a card I had just bought; “Between me and insanity are my friends”.

The main form of communication between the Camp authorities and the refugees is through a public address system. It is through announcements over the tannoys scattered through the camp that people learn of their appointments as well as general camp issues. Those camped out in the woods can’t hear, neither can those who are out of the camp. Many announcements get missed unless you have a friend who can message you when they hear your name called out. If the call involves an interview appointment and you miss the meeting because you never heard it then you go to he backof the queue.

One can’t help but think that many would not have heard the announcement on Friday 11 th Jan 2019 which said that the water in the taps was not safe to drink and that they should now get their drinking water from a tank close to the fence. This is camp life on Samos.

Yesterday, gave a lift to a young guy. Turned out he was a refugee from Morocco and he was 10 km into his 40 km walk back to the camp in Samos town. He was coming from Karlovassi where he had hoped to get on to the ferry and escape from Samos. His Syrian friend managed to get on under a lorry but in the end he didn’t try. He said that the problem in Karlovassi port was the presence of Albanian smugglers who were telling the port police who was trying to escape. He said that the smugglers wanted all the refugees to use (pay) them to get out. This is the first time I heard this and I wonder at its truth. But what can’t be denied is that refugees are constantly at risk of exploitation and especially when it comes to arranging escapes from Samos. There is a significant business in supplying false travel documents and arranging transport.

Shelters of all shapes and forms now come right down to the road leading to the top gate into the camp. It is an extraordinary sight. A complete jumble of almost interconnecting structures with layers of blankets and plastic and nylon covering to keep out the rain and cold. Anything that can add to their ‘comfort’ is used. You would be lucky today to find an empty wooden pallet in Samos town as they are much prized as flooring as is cardboard. It is impossible not to marvel at the ingenuity amongst this chaos. As in all recent previous winters on Samos so many of the refugees will get through because of their own efforts.

Image on the right: Refugee children playing in Samos Town

Hamid and I counted over 120 cars parked along the road into the camp at 9.30 am on Wednesday. Both of us asked the same question. What are all these people doing in the camp?

12 minors arrived on Monday. All came from Egypt. There were no injuries despite the weather and all the minors were accommodated in a minors’ shelter. Recent weeks have seen a surge in arrivals from Egypt. This week UN officials have been meeting with the Egyptian government to see how they can moderate/stop the flow of refugees into Europe and out of Egypt. But experience of refugee flows on to Samos would suggest that there must be specific factors which explain the recent influxes of both Gazians and Egyptians.

Thursday January 17th was beautiful. Full sun all day and calm seas. It has not been like this for weeks it seems. Not surprisingly it saw 3 boats arrive with over 110 refugees. Even in good weather crossing over from Turkey in January is very cold.

Open Doors, the grocery store has now been open for 2 months. It has been one of the very few positive developments for refugees on Samos for some time. The shop is always busy. Supplies are coming through from Athens on a regular basis as the ferries and winter weather allow. The store room which was initially thought to be adequate is not sufficient so on almost every ferry from Pireaus there is a least one pallet for the shop, often more. No sooner restocked then depleted. And when winter storms halt the ferries there are shortages until service resumes. The low prices and the range and relevance of the food stuffs has made life a little better for many. But it has fast become more than a shop. From the moment of its opening the shop has embraced its users especially in asking what people want to find in the shop and then going out to find the stuff. This alone changes the relationship between the customer and the shop. There is a tangible sense that the shop is with them and claimed by them. It is a place that sells things that they have chosen and want. It is cheap. It is a place to go and be welcomed, a place to look for help, a place to laugh, a place where children can be indulged (the sweets are very cheap). And of course it rarely closes during the day.

For some months the mayors of the frontier islands have been campaigning that the lower VAT rate which is applied to these islands be allowed to continue into 2019. On the last day of December, central government agreed to the extension, to be reviewed every 6 months. But to the fury of the mayors, central government has now formally linked refugee numbers in the island hotspots to the VAT rebate. Quite simply, if the hotspots continue to be overcrowded the VAT relief remains. If not it will be removed.

In the middle of December, the minister for migration promised to remove 2000 refugees from Samos by December 20th. Nothing happened. At the same time, the minister promised that by February 2019 the camp would be moved away from Samos town. Of course nothing is happening.

In Samos town there are 2 Western Union and 2 MoneyGram offices where refugees can both receive and send money. One of the regular, daily sights in Samos town now are the queues of up to 50 people at each of these offices. They wait for hours to be seen to. There are so many dimensions to the refugee business and money sending is just one other. According to Bloomberg Businessweek “ immigrants, and refugees—the uprooted—are Western Union’s people, and right now we’re living in Western Union’s world. The UN counts 244 million people as international migrants, up 40 percent since the turn of the century, and 65 million people as forcibly displaced, the largest number since World War II. The World Bank estimates that $575 billion was sent in remittances last year, the majority from wealthier to poorer countries. That figure dwarfs the sums sent globally as foreign aid, and Western Union is the biggest player in the market, with a 13 percent share. It operates in more than 200 countries and territories, transacts in 130 currencies, and champions the idea that the free flow of money and people across borders ultimately benefits everyone. (June 16 2017)

Hamid a close friend from Aleppo has returned to Samos for 2 weeks to see his partner. A year ago he was fighting for his life in the mountains of Croatia and Bosnia as he made his way, on foot, from Athens to the Netherlands. On two occasions when he was caught by Croatian border guards he was dumped in remote forest areas in the snow covered mountains. On the last occasion he and his traveling companion went five days without food and shelter. They survived in part by burning their clothes. One year on, Hamid now has asylum in Holland. He has a passport. He is now free to travel without fear. Why was he and thousands upon thousands like him forced to suffer?

So on into 2019 which for so many will be another crappy year.

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The Socialization of Society

January 22nd, 2019 by Rosa Luxemburg

One hundred years ago this month, on January 15, 1919, the great revolutionary thinker and anti-war activist, Rosa Luxemburg, was murdered in Berlin by the Freikorps paramilitary group, with her body dumped into the Landwehr Canal.

Her comrade in opposition to the Social Democratic Party of Germany support for German involvement in World War 1, and in splitting from the SPD to eventually form the Communist Party of Germany, Karl Liebknecht, was also murdered in the course of the same events.

Luxemburg occupies a special place in the traditions of the global left for her powerful political interventions and ceaseless invocation of revolution to break the hammerlock of capitalism on democracy and development, and for her major economic text, The Accumulation of Capital (1913), linking capitalist development to dispossessions, imperialism and militarism. Her searing critique of capitalist democracy was central to a political strategy that combined an insistence on the capacity for revolt and self-organization of the masses with recognition of the role of the socialist party in education, agitation, and parliamentary representation and struggle in the interests of the working classes. One hundred years on, Luxemburg remains a source of political inspiration and integrity for socialists around the world.

We reprint here her call (published in December 1918) for political control of the state and socialization of the economic system in the midst of the German revolts of 1918-1919. “While we are enlisting fighters for the revolution, we are creating Socialist workers for the future, workers who can become the basis of a new social state…. There is still an old world to be overthrown. A new world must be built!”

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The revolution that has just begun can have but one outcome: realization of Socialism! The working class, in order to accomplish its purpose, must, first of all, secure entire political control of the state. But to the Socialist political power is only a means to an end. It is the instrument with which labour will achieve the complete, fundamental reconstruction of our entire industrial system.

Today all wealth, the largest and most fruitful tracts of land, the mines, the mills and the factories belong to a small group of Junkers and private capitalists. From them the great masses of the labouring class receive a scanty wage in return for long hours of arduous toil, hardly enough for a decent livelihood. The enrichment of a small class of idlers is the purpose and end of present-day society. To give to modern society and to modern production a new impulse and a new purpose – that is the foremost duty of the revolutionary working class.

To this end, all social wealth, the land and all that it produces, the factories and the mills must be taken from their exploiting owners to become the common property of the entire people. It thus becomes the foremost duty of a revolutionary government of the working class to issue a series of decrees making all important instruments of production national property and placing them under social control.

But this is only the first step. The most difficult task, the creation of an industrial state upon an entirely new foundation, has only just begun.

Today, production in every manufacturing unit is conducted by the individual capitalist independently of all others. What and where commodities are to be produced, where, when and how the finished product is to be sold, is decided by the individual capitalist owner. Nowhere does labour have the slightest influence upon these questions. It is simply the living machine that has its work to do.

In a Socialist state of society all this will be changed. Private ownership of the means of production and subsistence must disappear. Production will be carried on not for the enrichment of the individual but solely for the creation of a supply of commodities sufficient to supply the wants and needs of the working class. Accordingly factories, mills and farms must be operated upon an entirely new basis, from a wholly different point of view.

In the first place, now that production is to be carried on for the sole purpose of securing to all a more humane existence, of providing for all plentiful food, clothing and other cultural means of subsistence, the productivity of labour must be materially increased. Farms must be made to yield richer crops, the most advanced technical processes must be introduced into the factories, of the mines only the most productive, for the present must be intensively exploited. It follows, therefore, that the process of socialization will begin with the most highly developed industries and farm lands. We need not, and will not deprive the small farmer or artisan of the bit of land or the little workshop from which he ekes out a meager existence by the work of his own hands. As time goes by he will realize the superiority of socialized production over private ownership and will come to us of his own accord.

In order that all members of society may enjoy prosperity, all must work. Only he who performs useful service to society, manual or mental, will be entitled to a share of products for the satisfaction of his needs and desires. Idleness must cease and in its stead will come universal compulsory labour for all who are physically capable. Obviously those who are unable to work, children, invalids and the aged, must be supported by society. But not as it is done today, by paltry alms. Bountiful sustenance, socialized education for the children, comfortable care for the aged, public health service for the sick – these must form all important part of our social structure.

For the same reason, i.e., in the interest of general welfare, society will be more economical, more rational in the utilization of its commodities, its means of production and its labour power. Waste such as we find today on every hand, must cease. The production of munitions and other implements of warfare must pass out of existence, for a Socialist state of society needs no tools of murder. Instead the precious materials and the enormous labour power that were devoted to this purpose will be used for useful production. The manufacture of useless and costly foolishness for the edification of wealthy idlers will stop. Personal service will be prohibited, and the labour power thus released will find more useful and more worthy employment.

While we are thus creating a nation of workers where all must be productively employed for the general welfare, labour itself must be completely revolutionized. Today labour in industry, on the farm and in the office is usually a torture and a burden to the proletariat. men and women work because they must in order to obtain the necessities of life. In a Socialist state of society, where all work together for their own well-being, the health of the individual worker, and his joy in his work must be conscientiously fostered and sustained. Short hours of labour not in excess of the normal human capacity must he established: recreation and rest periods must be introduced into the workday, so all may do their share, willingly and joyously.

Proclamation of the Bremen revolutionary republic, outside the town hall, on 15 November 1918.

 

But the success of such reforms depend upon the human beings who will carry them out. Today the capitalist with his whip stands behind the workingman, in person or in the form of a manager or overseer. Hunger drives the worker to the factory, to the Junker or the farm-owner, into the business office. Everywhere the employer sees to it that no time is wasted, no material squandered, that good, efficient work is done.

In a Socialist state of society the capitalist with his whip disappears. Here all workingmen are free and on an equal footing, working for benefit and enjoyment, tolerating no waste of social wealth, rendering honest and punctual service. To be sure, every Socialist plant needs its technical superintendents who understand its workings, who are able to supervise production so that everything runs smoothly, to assure an output commensurate with the labour power expended by organizing the process of manufacture according to most efficient methods. To insure successful production the individual workingman must follow his instructions entirely and willingly, must maintain discipline and order, cause no friction or confusion.

In a word: the workingman in a Socialist industrial state must show that he can work decently and diligently, without capitalists and slavedrivers behind his back: that of his own volition he can maintain discipline and do his best. This demands mental discipline, moral stamina, it demands a feeling of self-respect and responsibility, a spiritual rebirth of the workingman.

Socialism cannot be realized with lazy, careless, egotistic, thoughtless and shiftless men and women. A Socialist state of society needs people everyone of whom is full of enthusiasm and fervor for the general welfare, full of a spirit of self-sacrifice and sympathy for his fellow men, full of courage and tenacity and the willingness to dare even against the greatest odds.

But we need not wait centuries or decades until such a race of human beings shall grow up. The struggle, the Revolution will teach the proletarian masses idealism, has given them mental ripeness, courage and perseverance, clearness of purpose and a self-sacrificing spirit, if it is to lead to victory. While we are enlisting fighters for the revolution, we are creating Socialist workers for the future, workers who can become the basis of a new social state.

The young people of the proletariat are obtained to carry out this great work as the true foundation of the Socialist state. They must show, even now, that they are equal to the great task of bearing the future of the human race upon their shoulders. There is still an old world to be overthrown. A new world must be built!

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Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919) was a Polish Marxist theorist, philosopher, economist, anti-war activist, and revolutionary socialist. She was a long-standing member of the German SPD and also a founding member of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD). Her writings are archived at marxists.org/archive/luxemburg.

All images in this article are from The Bullet

Trump’s Midterm Electoral Defeat and Syria Withdrawal

January 22nd, 2019 by Nauman Sadiq

Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to withdraw American troops from Syria was reportedly made during a telephonic conversation with Turkish President Erdogan on December 14, before President Trump made the momentous announcement in a Tweet on December 19. The decision was so sudden that even Turkish president was caught off guard, according to a December 22 Associated Press report [1] by Matthew Lee and Susannah George.

Clearly, an understanding has been reached between Washington and Ankara. According to the terms of the agreement, the Erdogan administration released the US pastor Andrew Brunson on October 12, which had been a longstanding demand of the Trump administration, and has also decided not to make public the audio recordings of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, which could have implicated another American-ally the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in the assassination.

In return, the Trump administration has complied with Erdogan’s longstanding demand to evacuate American forces from the Kurdish-held areas in northern Syria. Another demand Erdogan must have made to Washington is to pressure Saudi Arabia to lift the Saudi-UAE blockade imposed in June 2017 against Qatar, which is ideologically aligned to Erdogan’s AKP party since both follow the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, in return for not making public the audio recordings of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

It bears mentioning that after the Khashoggi assassination and the international outrage it generated against the Saudi royal family, Saudi Arabia is already trying to assuage Qatar as it invited Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to attend the Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Riyadh on December 10, though Doha snubbed the goodwill gesture by sending a low-ranking official to the meeting.

Notwithstanding, the reason why the Trump administration is bending over backwards to appease Ankara is that President Erdogan has been drifting away from Washington’s orbit into the Kremlin’s sphere of influence. Turkey, which has the second largest army in NATO, has been cooperating with Moscow in Syria against Washington’s interests for the last couple of years and has also placed an order for the Russian-made S-400 missile system, though that deal, too, has been thrown into jeopardy after Washington’s recent announcement of selling $3.5 billion worth of Patriot missile systems to Ankara.

In order to understand the significance of relationship between Washington and Ankara, it’s worth noting that the United States has been conducting airstrikes against targets in Syria from the Incirlik airbase and around fifty American B-61 hydrogen bombs have also been deployed there, whose safety became a matter of real concern during the foiled July 2016 coup plot against the Erdogan administration; when the commander of the Incirlik airbase, General Bekir Ercan Van, along with nine other officers were arrested for supporting the coup; movement in and out of the base was denied, power supply was cut off and the security threat level was raised to the highest state of alert, according to a report [2] by Eric Schlosser for the New Yorker.

Regarding the murder of the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, a question would naturally arise in the minds of astute readers of alternative media that why did the mainstream media, Washington Post and New York Times in particular, take the lead in publicizing the assassination?

One apparent reason could be that Khashoggi was an opinion columnist for The Washington Post, which is owned by Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon. The Washington Post has a history of working in close collaboration with the CIA as Bezos won a $600 million contract [3] in 2013 to host the CIA’s database on the Amazon’s web-hosting service.

It bears mentioning that despite the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman being primarily responsible for the war in Yemen that has claimed tens of thousands of lives and created a famine in Yemen, the mainstream media hailed him as a “moderate reformer” who brought radical reforms in the conservative Saudi society by permitting women to drive and by allowing cinemas to screen Hollywood movies.

So what prompted the sudden change of heart in the mainstream media that the purported “moderate reformer” was all of a sudden reviled as a brutal murderer? More than anything, it was the timing of the assassination and the political mileage that could be obtained from Khashoggi’s murder in the domestic politics of the United States that prompted the mainstream media to take advantage of the opportunity and mount a smear campaign against the Trump administration by publicizing the assassination.

Jamal Khashoggi was murdered on October 2, when the US midterm elections were only a few weeks away. Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner in particular have known to have forged close business relations with the Saudi royal family. It doesn’t come as a surprise that Donald Trump chose Saudi Arabia and Israel for his maiden overseas visit in May 2017.

Thus, the corporate media’s campaign to seek justice for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was actually a smear campaign against Donald Trump and his conservative political base, which is now obvious after the US midterm election results have been tallied. Even though the Republicans have retained their 51-seat majority in the Senate, the Democrats now control the House of Representatives by gaining 39 additional seats.

Clearly, two factors were responsible for the surprising defeat of the Republicans in the US midterm elections. Firstly, the Khashoggi murder and the smear campaign unleashed against the Trump administration by the neoliberal media, which Donald Trump often pejoratively mentions as “Fake News” on Twitter.

Secondly, and more importantly, the parcel bombs sent to the residences of George Soros, a dozen other Democratic Congressmen and The New York Times New York office by Cesar Sayoc on the eve of the elections. Although the suspect turned out to be a Trump supporter, he was likely instigated by shady hands in the US deep state, which is wary of the anti-establishment rhetoric and pro-Russia tendencies of the so-called “alt-right” administration.

Notwithstanding, it would be pertinent to note here that regarding the Syria policy, there is a schism between the White House and the American deep state led by the Pentagon. After Donald Trump’s inauguration as the US president in January 2017, he has delegated operational-level decisions in conflict zones such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria to the Pentagon.

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis and previous National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster represented the institutional logic of the deep state in the Trump administration and were instrumental in advising Donald Trump to escalate the conflicts in Afghanistan and Syria.

They advised President Trump to increase the number of American troops in Afghanistan from 8,400 to 14,000. And in Syria, they were in favor of the Pentagon’s policy of training and arming 30,000 Kurdish border guards to patrol Syria’s northern border with Turkey.

Both the decisions have spectacularly backfired on the Trump administration. The decision to train and arm 30,000 Kurdish border guards infuriated the Erdogan administration to the extent that Turkey mounted Operation Olive Branch in the Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin in northwestern Syria from January to March 2018.

Remember that it was the second military operation conducted by the Turkish armed forces and their Syrian militant proxies against the Kurdish-held areas in northern Syria. The first Operation Euphrates Shield in Jarabulus and Azaz lasted from August 2016 to March 2017, immediately after the foiled coup plot against the Erdogan administration in July 2016.

Nevertheless, after capturing Afrin on March 18, the Turkish armed forces and their Syrian jihadist proxies have now set their sights further east on Manbij, where the US Special Forces are closely cooperating with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.

The regions currently being administered by the Kurds in Syria include the Kurdish-majority Qamishli and al-Hasakah in northeastern Syria along the border with Iraq, and the Arab-majority towns of Manbij to the west of the Euphrates River in northern Syria and Kobani to the east of the Euphrates River along the Turkish border.

The oil- and natural gas-rich Deir al-Zor governorate in eastern Syria has been contested between the Syrian government and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, and it also contains a few pockets of the remnants of the Islamic State militants alongside both eastern and western banks of the Euphrates River.

The Turkish “east of Euphrates” military doctrine basically means that the Turkish armed forces would not tolerate the presence of the Syrian PYD/YPG Kurds – which the Turks regard as “terrorists” allied to the PKK Kurdish separatist group in Turkey – in Manbij and Kobani, in line with the longstanding Turkish policy of denying the Kurds any territory in the traditionally Arab-majority areas of northern Syria along Turkey’s southern border.

Thus, it doesn’t come as a surprise that President Trump replaced H.R. McMaster with John Bolton in April last year; and in a predictable development on December 20, James Mattis offered his resignation over President Trump’s announcement of withdrawal of American troops from Syria.

It bears mentioning that unlike dyed-in-the-wool globalists and “liberal interventionist” hawks, like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, who cannot look past beyond the tunnel vision of political establishments, it appears that the pacifist isolationist Donald Trump not only follows news from conservative mainstream outlets, like the Fox News, but he has also been familiar with alternative news perspectives, such as Breitbart’s, no matter how racist and xenophobic.

Thus, Donald Trump is fully aware that the conflict in Syria is a proxy war initiated by the Western political establishments and their regional Middle Eastern allies against the Syrian government. He is also mindful of the fact that militants were funded, trained and armed in the training camps located in Turkey’s border regions to the north of Syria and in Jordan’s border regions to the south of Syria.

Quoting the retired US Brigadier General Anthony Tata on December 21, Donald Trump tweeted: “General Anthony Tata, author, ‘Dark Winter.’ ‘I think the President is making the exact right move in Syria. All the geniuses who are protesting the withdrawal of troops from Syria are the same geniuses who cooked the books on ISIS intelligence and gave rise to ISIS.’”

Under the previous Obama administration, the evident policy in Syria was “regime change.” The Trump administration, however, looks at the crisis in Syria from an entirely different perspective because Donald Trump regards Islamic jihadists as a much graver threat to the security of the United States than Barack Obama.

In order to allay the concerns of Washington’s traditional allies in the Middle East, Israel in particular, the Trump administration conducted a few cruise missile strikes in Syria, but those isolated strikes were nothing more than a show of force to bring home the point that the newly elected President Donald Trump is an assertive and powerful president, but behind the scenes, President Trump has been willing to cooperate with Russia to some extent, in order to defeat the Islamic jihadists in Syria who were portrayed as “moderate rebels” by the mainstream media.

Finally, up until now, Donald Trump was trying to appease the State and Defense department bureaucracies, but after the humiliating defeat in the US midterm elections and the clear hand of the American deep state and corporate media in it, Trump has apparently decided to play hardball. This is the reason why he has announced the withdrawal of 2,000 American troops from Syria, and the decision to substantially scale back the number of US troops in Afghanistan is reportedly also in the offing.

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Nauman Sadiq is an Islamabad-based attorney, columnist and geopolitical analyst focused on the politics of Af-Pak and Middle East regions, neocolonialism and petro-imperialism.

Notes

[1] Trump call with Turkish leader led to US pullout from Syria

[2] The H Bombs in Turkey by Eric Schlosser

[3] Jeff Bezos Is Doing Huge Business with the CIA, While Keeping His Washington Post Readers in the Dark

Media Falsehoods about Syria

January 22nd, 2019 by Rick Sterling

Introduction 

In April 2014 I was part of an international delegation which visited Syria for five days. The delegates came from many different countries. Among the notables were the Irish Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire, a Syrian-British heart surgeon and Julian Assange’s father. We spent time in Damascus, then traveled by bus to Latakia and then Homs. In each city we had meetings with political, religious and social leaders but also had time to wander about and talk with people on the streets.

In Latakia, I met Lilly Martin, an American woman who married a Syrian and has lived there, raising a family for the past twenty-five years. She told me how wrong the western media coverage was. Contrary to media claims, she said protests in Latakia were violent from the start. After the first outbreak of violence, Syrian police and military were ordered to not carry weapons. Protesters continued to burn and destroy government offices with incidents of knifing and shooting unarmed police.

When we visited Homs I was struck by how normal it looked. The streets were full of people and the city looked fine. It was dramatically different than the images portrayed in western media. It was only when we were driving out of Homs that we passed an area where there was widespread destruction and battle damage. There was a sharp contrast between most of the city and the few neighborhoods where battle had raged.

The American journalist Marie Colvin died in February 2012 in one of those neighborhoods. It was called Baba Amr. Ten days after her death, the militants and remaining civilians had all departed Baba Amr. It’s unfortunate that Marie Colvin did not talk with Lilly Martin or visit the majority of Homs where the war was not raging. It could have provided much needed balance to her perspective.

Marie Colvin and Homs

According to many of her colleagues, Marie Colvin was charming and courageous, ambitious and fun to be with. She had a knack for including personal details, descriptions and emotions that engaged the reader. Unfortunately, Colvin’s reports and interviews from Syria were inaccurate and a huge distortion of the situation.

Syrian journalists killed

It is useful to examine Colvin’s reporting now, seven years later, because there is a wave of new articles, books and movies about her and how she died in Syria.

Colvin and photographer Paul Conroy were smuggled into Syria from Lebanon in February 2012. They spent some days in the town of Al Buwaydah and then were taken into the city of Homs using a drainage culvert to avoid Syrian Army checkpoints. Their guides and minders for the trip were from the Farouq Battalion associated with the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

Beginning in the Fall 2011, militants from the Farouq Battalion set up checkpoints, killed security and soldiers and gradually took control of the Homs neighborhood called Baba Amr. They called it a “liberated zone”. By the time Marie Colvin and other journalists arrived, most of the civilians had fled the fighting to stay with friends and family in other parts of the city.

Street of Homs

Colvin and Conroy spent a few days in Baba Amr but then left through the tunnel when it was rumored that Syrian forces were going to attack. After learning that the attack did not take place, the journalists made the difficult journey back into Baba Amr. The second morning after returning, Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Olchik died as the Syrian forces launched mortar and missile attacks.

Biased and Inaccurate Reporting from Syria

Marie Colvin’s reports and interviews from Syria were broadcast widely in the UK and USA. She wrote an article titled “A vet is only hope for Syrian wounded”. The article begins

“Wounded civilians arriving at a makeshift clinic in the Syrian city of Homs are relying on a vet to save their lives because there is no doctor to treat them.”

As documented in Conroy’s book, they were not in Homs; they were in the town Buwaydah when they observed a vet working as a medic. Actually, there were hundreds of doctors performing medical duties and treating civilians and soldiers injured in the conflict in Homs.

Colvin’s major story for the Sunday Times was titled “Final dispatch from Homs, the battered city”. It begins  by describing a “widows basement” with 300 “frightened women and children trapped in the horror of Homs”.  The report of 300 women and children is an exaggeration. Another journalist estimated half that number which is likely an exaggeration itself, since the photos and video show fewer than 50 women and children.

Colvin continued her report saying,

“The widows’ basement reflects the ordeal of 28,000 men, women and children clinging to existence in Baba Amr.” 

This is a huge falsehood; there was a tiny fraction of that number of civilians remaining in the neighborhood. Paul Conroy wrote as follows:

“It became increasingly unbelievable that there were an estimated 28,000 people still living in Baba Amr. I hadn’t seen a single one.” (page 188, “Under the Wire”)

The night before her death, Marie Colvin did live interviews on BBC, Channel 4 and CNN. The CNN interview began by showing video of a baby dying from a shrapnel wound. CNN believed Marie Colvin was an eye-witness to the baby’s death. Anderson Cooper asked Colvin what it was like to be in the room. Marie Colvin replied that the room was chaotic and the baby’s death heartbreaking. She dramatized the situation by speaking about the baby’s grandmother being a volunteer in the room when the baby arrived. However, Colvin was not in the room at all. Marie Colvin and the media activists were shown the video on a laptop computer by their FSA guide. (page 155, “Under the Wire”).

FSA Commander

In her CNN interview Colvin described Baba Amr as “28,000 civilians, men, women and children, hiding, being shelled, defenseless…. There are no military targets here…. So it’s a complete and utter lie that they (Syrian military) are only going after terrorists…. The Syrian Army is simply shelling a city of cold, starving civilians.”In reality, Baba Amr was the primary base for militants of the Farouq Battalion. If there was an “utter lie”, it was pretending that this was primarily a civilian neighborhood.

The Syrian Reality Which Colvin Did Not Report

Like most western coverage of Syria, Colvin’s reporting did not provide important context such as the following:

  • How the conflict began in Homs. An eyewitness reported “From the start, the protest movements were not purely peaceful. From the start I saw armed demonstrators marching along in the protests, who began to shoot at the police first. Very often the violence of the security forces has been a reaction to the brutal violence of the armed rebels.”
  • How Baba Amr was taken over. In October 2011 militants from the Farouq Battalion set up checkpoints within Baba Amr, attacked and killed Syrian Army soldiers and other security forces, and killed or expelled government supporters. The process was similar to what was documented by a civilian in Aleppo: “Nine days from my window in Aleppo”.
  • Attacks on infrastructure. In December 2011, militants blew up the pipeline to Homs’ oil refinery, a major source of oil for the country.

In mid January, an Arab League report documented the results of their investigation. They said,

“The Observer Mission witnessed acts of violence being committed against Government forces and civilians that resulted in several deaths and injuries. Examples of these acts include the bombing of a civilian bus, killing eight persons and injuring others, including women and children, and the bombing of a train carrying diesel oil. In another incident in Homs, a police bus was blown up, killing two police officers. A fuel pipeline and some small bridges were also bombed.”

Militants in Baba Amr destroyed government tanks and used their own tank to attack government forces.

On 2 February 2012, FSA militants attacked a government checkpoint, killing ten soldiers and taking another 19 as prisoners. That was evidently the last straw for the government. The next day, February 3, the intense bombardment of Baba Amr began.

Promoting External Intervention

Marie Colvin’s reports from Baba Amr had a political goal of spurring Western intervention. This is made clear in emails to her Sunday Times editor. “It is sickening that the Syrian regime is allowed to keep doing this …. I think again to focus on Baba Amr, 28,000 defenceless under shelling….” (pp 196-197, “Under the Wire”).

Her reports were missing crucial facts, sensationalized the suffering on one side, ignored the suffering on the other side and demonized the government which was the target for overthrow.

In her interview with CNN, Colvin used the video of the dying little baby to urge western intervention. “That baby probably will move more people to think, ‘What is going on, and why is no one stopping this murder in Homs that is happening every day?”

In her final article for the Sunday Times Colvin says, “In Baba Amr, the Free Syrian Army (FSA)…. have virtually unanimous support from civilians who see them as their defenders.” This claims is highly dubious. The vast majority of civilians had left Baba Amr. All that were left were family members of FSA militants and others who had nowhere to go.

The bias in Marie Colvin’s reports and interviews was not unique. On the contrary, nearly all NATO and Gulf state reporting on Syria has been biased. Stephen Kinzer would later write “The media are misleading the public on Syria.” Patrick Cockburn would later write that “Nearly everything you have read about Syria and Iraq could be wrong”.

How Marie Colvin Died

It is claimed that Marie Colvin was intentionally targeted by the Syrian government. This is unlikely. Her death brought opprobrium on Damascus and helped the militant opposition. A few months after Marie Colvin’s death, a prominent British journalist reported that the same Syrian rebels tried to get him and his team killed. “I’m quite clear the rebels deliberately set us up to be shot by the Syrian Army. Dead journos are bad for Damascus.”

It is also claimed that Syrian intelligence determined the location of Marie Colvin by identifying a satellite phone signal used in her interviews. This is false. Colvin told to her editor at the Sunday Times that the Thuraya satellite phones did not work. For her skype interviews she used the same antenna uplink used night and day by media activists in Baba Amr.

Marie and Remi were working in a battle zone, guided and effectively embedded with armed insurgents. Their deaths were another tragic consequence of the war.

Ten days after Colvin’s death, the militants and remaining civilians withdrew from Baba Amr. There was no massacre, just a street parade and celebration in other parts of Homs.

The deaths of Marie Colvin and Remi Olchik sparkedmany tributes and widespread publicity. Largely unknown in the West, hundreds of Syrian journalists have also died in the conflict. In a sense, they are all victims of the proxy war on Syria. In another sense, the equivalence is not fair. The war has been encouraged by some and imposed on others.

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Rick Sterling is an investigative journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He can be contacted at [email protected]. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

All images in this article are from the author

The New York Times has just come out with an editorial that favors the elimination of vaccine exemptions.

I would like to remind list members that vaccines are the only category of products in the United States for which manufacturers are faced with absolutely no liability when they cause injuries, cause deaths, or fail to generate immune responses.

While the New York Times has correctly gone after the Sackler family, who own Purdue Pharma, a small, privately held pharmaceutical company, for misleadingly marketing narcotics and initiating the opioid epidemic, the Times has shut its eyes to the epidemic of chronic neurological illnesses in children and adolescent caused by vaccines that are produced by some of the most profitable corporations on earth.

After a child or its sibling has a vaccine injury, parents subsequently often choose to reduce vaccinations. By changing the law to force children from families in which there is a pre-existing vaccine injury to be vaccinated or forgo an education, we can expect a higher rate of vaccine injuries to occur in the children from these families who are forced to comply.

Are we truly placed at risk by unvaccinated children? Despite all the hoopla over measles, for example, there have been less than a handful of measles deaths in the US — in total — over the past 15 years.

There is no reliable evidence that unvaccinated children pose a serious threat to anyone; the claim that they do is an urban legend promulgated by Big Pharma and its solely owned subsidiary, CDC.

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Conservation groups today called on the Trump administration to halt oil and gas drilling permits and cancel lease sales being developed during the government shutdown, saying they violate federal law. Auctions scheduled in February and March span six states and 2.3 million acres of public lands ― the largest quarterly lease sales in at least a decade.

“It’s absolutely outrageous, not to mention illegal, that Trump is rolling out the red carpet for the oil and gas industry while the American people can’t even reach an agency staffer by phone,” said Rebecca Fischer, climate and energy program attorney with WildEarth Guardians. “We’ve been completely shut out of decisions affecting our public lands, and we won’t stand for it.”

Issuing drilling permits during the shutdown violates the National Environmental Policy Act and Federal Land Policy and Management Act, the groups said in a letter to acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. The public can’t view or provide feedback on new permits or environmental reviews since the Bureau of Land Management’s offices are closed and agency scientists furloughed.

The furloughs have also halted any work on whether environmental analysis should be required before issuing drilling permits or leasing public land for fracking. The BLM has posted public notice of at least 127 new drilling-permit applications in several states during the shutdown.

“The Trump administration is trying to use the government shutdown to do an end run around the laws that protect our air, water, and wildlife,” said Kelly Fuller, energy and mining campaign director at Western Watersheds Project. “But the Department of the Interior can’t hide forever. Sooner or later they are going to have to start talking to the public, and the longer they wait to do it, the more lawbreaking they’ll have to explain.”

Issuing drilling permits during the shutdown also violates the Antideficiency Act, which prohibits work without pay in the absence of congressional appropriations except to protect life or property. The BLM cannot require its employees to work without pay to approve drilling permits for the oil and gas industry, the groups said.

“The only thing trashier than our national parks during this shutdown has been the Trump administration’s coddling of the oil industry,” said Taylor McKinnon of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Furloughed federal workers can’t pay their mortgages, but Trump is hellbent on ensuring profits for fossil-fuel corporations. Not one new lease or drilling permit should be allowed under these conditions.”

The groups are calling on the BLM to halt February and March oil and gas lease sales in Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and Montana. Furloughed biological- and cultural-resource specialists cannot evaluate public comments on those sales, conduct environmental reviews or consult with tribes as required by law.

Citing similar reasons, a second coalition of conservation groups today also called on Bernhardt to cancel those sales.

According to an analysis by the Center for Biological Diversity, if all the parcels offered in the February and March sales were developed, it would create up to 407 million tons of greenhouse gas pollution. That’s the equivalent of the annual climate pollution from 104 coal-fired power plants.

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Two first-term congresswomen’s support for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) is shaking up the House. Yesterday, Republicans issued statements condemning Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar for their endorsement of the non-violent campaign for human rights in Palestine. Their statements sound a lot like the hysteria about BDS from Israel’s leadership.

First, Rep. Brian Babin of Texas wrote to committee chairs yesterday urging them not to fund a congressional delegation to Palestine led by Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Detroit because her support for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions is “inconsistent with our national values” and the trip would undermine the special relationship between Israel and the U.S. Babin:

I am writing to express my extreme concern that a newly elected Member of Congress, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, has plans to lead a taxpayer-funded Congressional delegation (CODEL) to Palestine. This action, from an outspoken supporter of the “BDS” Israeli boycott movement and whose personal vitriol led her to publicly brag about calling our President a “mother****er” to her young son, is both ill-conceived and inconsistent with our national values.

The “mere prospect of a CODEL like this threatens” the special relationship between Israel and the U.S., Babin, a 70-year-old dentist whose district includes Houston’s eastern suburbs, said in a statement. 

To signal to our most threatened ally in the region that the United States Congress sanctions an official trip to visit Israel’s nemesis would be an exceedingly dangerous path forward.

Notwithstanding the potential damage to the U.S.-Israel relationship, it seems to be a gross misappropriation of taxpayer dollars to contribute to, however indirectly, a belligerent group and its affiliates that directly oppose the interests of the United States.

Tlaib, a newly-elected Palestinian-American congresswoman from Detroit, told Alex Kane and Lee Fang in December that she will lead a delegation to Palestine at the same time as the AIPAC-sponsored trip to Israel that drags hundreds of congresspeople to one side of the conflict. Those trips typically take place in the summer and are led by the American Israel Education Foundation, an AIPAC spinoff. Tlaib said:

“I want us to see that segregation and how that has really harmed us being able to achieve real peace in that region,” Tlaib told The Intercept. “I don’t think AIPAC provides a real, fair lens into this issue. It’s one-sided. … [They] have these lavish trips to Israel, but they don’t show the side that I know is real, which is what’s happening to my grandmother and what’s happening to my family there.”

In a related move, Republicans are criticizing the Democratic leadership of the Congress for giving Ilhan Omar of Minneapolis a seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, because she is also a supporter of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS. Rep. Lee Zeldin:

Instead of the Dems supporting Israel & combatting BDS & anti-Semitism on college campuses & elsewhere, they’re now empowering it.

Ted Deutch, a Florida Democratic congressman, stood up for Omar’s presence on the Foreign Affairs committee. While IfNotNow, the young leftwing Jewish group, hailed the appointment as a sign of things to come.

This is huge news. Having an anti-Occupation voice like ‘s on the House Foreign Affairs Committee will be a welcome change. And it’s further proof that the days of the Democrats’ support-Israel-at-all-costs stance are numbered.

(Though IfNotNow does not have a position on BDS, Omar and Tlaib’s leadership will surely put pressure on the group to support BDS.)

Omar describes her appointment as anti-war nod, and referenced her Somali background.

As someone who has seen firsthand the havoc wreaked by war, I am proud to serve on the committee that is responsible for overseeing our country’s—and this President’s—actions abroad.

This couldn’t come at a more critical time. We need to use the committee’s human rights jurisdiction to hold the President accountable for deaths in detention centers on his watch.

We need to investigate how foreign governments and their lobbyists have violated our laws. And we need to rein in arms sales to human rights abusers like Saudi Arabia. We have our work cutout for us

Dave Weigel avers that Omar’s support for BDS makes the appointment “a big deal that will draw plenty of negative attention.” The Jewish press is characterizing Omar as anti-Israel; and the Republican Jewish Coalition is making hay off the appointment.

“This really cuts against Democrats claiming that she and [Michigan Rep. Rashida] Tlaib are just freshmen, and don’t have any real power in the party. Democratic leadership just chose to put an anti-Semite on the all-important committee rather than take a stand against her abhorrent views,” RJC spokesperson Neil Strauss told JNS. “It is despicable that Democrats are so afraid to upset their far-left base that they no longer are willing to oppose anti-Semitism.”

By the way, Rep. Babin’s statement cited the impact of Tlaib’s trip on Jewish Americans!

Please consider the damage that a yet unexperienced and overly caustic Member of Congress may cause to Israeli relations, or the perceptions of our own Jewish-American citizens.

Republicans must feel that Jewish voters/donors will be in play in the next election cycle.

And Birthright now has company in the Republican Congress. Birthright is the free propaganda trip offered to young American Jews and sponsored by leading American Jewish organizations. It excludes Palestinian voices, and Palestinian destinations outside occupied east Jerusalem. It is funded by among others Haim Saban, a megadonor of the Democratic Party, and Sheldon Adelson, megadonor of the Republicans.

Jeremy Ben-Ami of the liberal Zionist group J Street issued a strong statement in the Forward yesterday (and in email today) decrying the negative obsession with BDS. J Street of course opposes BDS (and doesn’t like anti-BDS legislation because it also target limited boycotts of the settlements, which J Street does not oppose), but he sees the political damage of the focus on BDS by Jewish groups:

[W]e also believe that the exaggerated, overwrought response to BDS from Jewish communal leaders and elected officials is doing far more damage to American Jews and to Israel’s reputation than BDS itself could ever hope to do.

This obsession is harming Jewish institutions and eroding important relationships with other communities, particularly communities of color. It is undermining our core values and distracting from far more important challenges — both in Israel and at home. It is creating an atmosphere of paranoia and censorship.

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Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

Featured image: Photo from November 2018 of then congresswomen-elect Rashida Tlaib (left) of Michigan, and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. (Photo: Twitter/Rashida Tlaib)

Trump’s trade strategy in relation to China has always been to pressure China on technology transfer and slow its nextgen technology development. Reducing the US-China trade deficit and getting China to open its markets to US financial interests have been objectives as well, but of secondary importance.

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Early in 2018 China signaled publicly it would buy $100 billion a year more US products and open its markets to US corporate majority 51% or more ownership. It even granted 51% ownership to select global companies while negotiations with the US were underway. But it refused to make concessions on the technology issue. US defense companies, the Pentagon, the US military-industrial complex interests on the one hand, and US banks on the other, are the major players in determining US trade policy.

Throughout 2018 US trade policy is best described as schizophrenic. Was it Trump driving policy? His anti-China neocons and hawk advisors–Lighthizer, Navarro, and later John Bolton, appointed to the post of National Security Advisor to Trump in 2018, who later joined the administration? Was it Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, who represents US banking and multinational corporate interests on the US trade team? Larry Kudlow, Trump’s interface to his domestic base? And what about Jared Kushner, son-in-law of Trump who has Trump’s closest ear, who has been serving as Trump’s interface to the three major factions on the US trade team? Throughout 2018, the factions contended for Trump’s support, with influence shifting and fluid among the various factions.

Pre-negotiations with China started in early March with Trump’s announcement of the steel-aluminum tariffs. After the tariff announcement, Trump began tweeting the idea that China should reduce its imports to the US by $100 billion. A day after the Office of US Trade Representative (OUST report) was issued by chief Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, Trump announced tariffs of $50 billion on China imports recommended by Lighthizer. However, a window of at least 60 days was required before any definition of the $50 billion or actual implementation by the US might occur, giving ample time for unofficial negotiations to occur between the countries’ trade missions. (Technically, the US could even wait for another six months before actually implementing any tariffs). Announcing intent to a dollar amount of tariffs is one thing; providing a list and definition of what goods would be tariffed is another; and setting a date they would take effect is still another.

China immediately sent its main trade negotiator, Liu He, to Washington and assumed a cautious, almost conciliatory approach at first. China responded initially in March with a modest $3 billion in tariffs on US exports. It also made it clear the $3 billion was in response to US steel and aluminum tariffs previously announced by Trump, and not Trump’s $50 billion tariff threat specifically targeting China. But China noted more action could follow, as it forewarned it was considering additional tariffs of 15% to 25% on US products, especially agricultural, in response to Trump’s $50 billion announcement.

China was waiting to see the US details. At the same time in April it signaled it was willing to open China brokerages and insurance companies to US 51% ownership (and possibly even 100% within three years). It also announced it would buy more semiconductor chips from the US instead of Korea or Taiwan. It was all a carefully crafted public response, designed not to escalate trade negotiations with the Trump administration prematurely. A series of token concessions and minimal tariff responses.

Behind the scenes China and US trade representatives continued to negotiate. By the end of March, all that had actually had occurred was Trump’s announcement of $50 billion in tariffs on China imports, but without details, plus China’s $3 billion token response to prior US steel-aluminum tariffs. From there, however, events began to deteriorate.

On April 3, 2018 Trump defined his threat of $50 billion of tariffs—25% on a wide range of 1300 of China’s consumer and industrial imports to the US. It was Lighthizer’s OUST Report’s recommended March list that launched Trump’s trade offensive with China. Influential business groups in the US, like the Business Roundtable, US Chamber of Commerce, and National Association of Manufacturers immediately criticized the move, calling for the US instead to work with its allies to pressure China to reform—not to use tariffs as the trade reform weapon. The anti-China hardline US factor brushed aside the criticism.

China now responded more firmly, promising an equal tariff response, declaring it was not afraid of a trade war with the US. That was an invitation for a Trump tweet and declaration he believed the US would not “lose a trade war” with China and maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing to have one. He suggested that another $100 billion in US tariffs might get China’s attention.

China’s initial $3 billion tariffs, and China’s suggestion of more billions of 15%-25% tariffs, targeted US companies and agricultural production in Trump’s Midwest political base. This may have especially aggravated Trump, disrupting his plans to mobilize that base for domestic political purposes before the November 2018 elections. Trump’s typical approach to negotiating—employed repeatedly during his private business dealings before being elected—is to never let his adversary ‘one up’ him, as they say. He always keeps raising the stakes until the other side stops matching his demands. Then he negotiates back to original positions, controlling the negotiating agenda and maintaining the upper hand in the process.

China initially fell into Trump’s trap, responding to Trump’s $50 billion of tariffs announcement with its own $50 billion tariffs on 128 US imports to China. This time targeting US agricultural products and especially US soybeans, but also cars, oil and chemicals, aircraft and industrial productions—the production of which is also heavily concentrated in the Midwest US. China noted further it was prepared to announce another $100 billion in tariffs as well if Trump followed through with his threat of imposing $100 billion more tariffs. In less than a month, the character of negotiations had shifted.

In response to the ‘tit for tat’ tariff threats, the US stock markets plummeted during the first week of April. Trump advisors, Larry Kudlow and Steve Mnuchin, intervened publicly to dampen the effect of Trump’s remarks on the markets. Kudlow tried to assure investors, “These are just first proposals…I doubt that there will be any concrete actions for several months”. Kudlow said negotiations were continuing. The stock markets recovered again.

But who were investors supposed to believe—Trump or his advisors? They seemed to be talking in different directions. And how long would investors continue to believe the Kudlows and others that matters (and Trump) were under control, and there would be no trade war? China representatives noted that, contrary to Kudlow’s assurances to US markets and investors, there were no ongoing discussions between the two countries.

By the end of the first week of April, US trade objectives and strategy was becoming increasingly murky: US multinational businesses restated what they wanted was more access to China markets. US defense establishment, NSA and the Pentagon, and the Trump administration ‘hawks’—Lighthizer, John Bolton and Peter Navarro—retorted they wanted an end to strategic technology transfer to China—both from US companies doing business in China and from China companies purchasing or partnering with American companies in the US.

It appeared what Trump himself wanted anything was something to exaggerate and brag about to his domestic political base emphasizing nationalist themes—to keep his popular ratings growing, to ensure Republican retention of seats in Congress in the November elections, and to whip up his base.

So what was the real US priority? Whose trade war was it? The neocons and China hawks aligned with the US military-industrial complex? Midwest agribusiness and manufacturing interests? Or US finance capital wanting to escalate its penetration of China markets?

However, by mid-April it was all still talk, with tariffs actions on paper, and not yet implemented. The next step would be defining the announced tariffs in detail. Announcing tariffs was only like waving a gun, to use a metaphor. Defining the tariffs was like loading a gun, putting the ‘safety’ lock on, but not yet pulling the trigger. Tariff implementation dates were when the shoot-out would really begin.

As of mid-April the negotiations by trade representatives continued in the background, while US capitalists in the Business Roundtable and other prime corporate organizations added their input to the public commentary process that was scheduled to continue in the US until May 22.

US Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, went to Beijing in the weeks prior to May 22. He returned declaring there was an agreement. Mnuchin kicked Peter Navarro, one of the hawks, from the US trade team. The China hawks and military industrial complex immediately responded, with help of their friends in Congress. They went after China’s ZTE corporation doing business in the US, charging it with technology espionage and transfer. The tech faction on the US trade team took over from Mnuchin. Navarro was put back. Any tentative deal was scuttled.

What happened in the subsequent six months from June to November 2018 was a steady escalation of threats, and subsequent actions, by Trump to raise tariffs, while he simultaneously kept saying his relationship with China president Xi was great and he expected a trade deal at some point: His response to China’s $50 billion tariff announcement—the counter to Trump’s $100 billion more tariffs—was to publicly declare the US should consider an additional $100 billion in tariffs. The additional $100 billion were implemented thereafter.

China again responded tit-for-tat, as its Commerce Ministry spokesman, Gao Feng, declared it would not hesitate to put in place ‘detailed countermeasures’ that didn’t ‘exclude any options’. And, in the most ominous comment to date, it was made clear that should Trump impose the additional $100 billion, ‘China would not negotiate’! And as China Foreign Ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, following up Gao Feng, indicated in an official news briefing, “The United States with one hand wields the threat of sanctions, and at the same time says they are willing to talk. I’m not sure who the United States is putting on this act for”…Under the current circumstances, both sides even more cannot have talks on these issues”.

Trump’s $150 billion in tariffs on China was played to his domestic political base, in the weeks prior to the November midterm US elections, as evidence of his tough policy of US economic nationalism. Trump further announced reaching an agreement with Mexico and Canada replacing the NAFTA free trade deal—exaggerating and spinning the new terms and conditions as major improvements while, in fact, the details were token much like the prior changes to the US-South Korean free trade agreement. No new tariffs were implemented on Mexican goods imports to the US.

Trump tried desperately to get the Chinese to return to the negotiating table during the months immediately preceding the US elections. However, China refused to be ‘played’ like Mexico and Canada for Trump’s election objectives and refused to return.

Trump threatened to raise tariffs on the second $100 billion implemented, from 10% to 25% and threatened another 25% on an additional $200 billion in China imports. Still no China agreement to negotiate.

By the early fall 2018 it was clear that the China hawks—Lighthizer, the military-industrial complex-the Pentagon & Co.—were in control of Trump trade policy. Regardless of China concessions on reducing the trade deficit or granting 51% access to its markets, their primary demand was slowing (or ideally subverting) China technology develop—stopping tech transfer in China and elsewhere in the US, as well as among US allies. The side-lining of Mnuchin over the summer, the restoration of Navarro to the trade team, and the adding of notorious anti-China hawk, John Bolton, all strengthened the tech development faction, led by Lighthizer, on the US trade team. They were in effect in control as the US midterm elections approached.

In the run-up to the US elections it was also clear Trump was focused on his domestic political base, repeatedly tweeting his ultra- economic nationalist rhetoric. Trump’s nationalist rhetoric also contributed to preventing the relaunch of trade negotiations with China. Part of this threatening rhetoric included Trump public statements that he would implement a third round of $200 billion more 25% tariffs by January 1, 2019 on China. In that environment of escalating threats, anti-China hardliners clearly in control of US policy, and pending US elections, it was virtually impossible China would agree to negotiate.

Following the November US elections, a meeting was now possible. The G20 nations gathering in Buenos Aires scheduled for late November presented the opportunity. Intense maneuvering occurred between the anti-China technology hawks and the Mnuchin bankers-multinational corporations factions. Lighthizer released a new report criticizing China tech policy and appeared to have the upper hand and opposed a meeting between Trump and China president, Xi, at a side venue dinner in Buenos Aires. That reflected a new effort and breakthrough by the Mnuchin faction of big US banks, tech, and aerospace corporations. From mid-October through November the US stock markets began a precipitous fall, which would continue through December, and amount to the worst stock correction since 2008 and even 1931. That financial and the real slowing of the US housing, construction, and auto industries likely shifted Trump administration strategy. The momentum of negotiations strategy began to shift from the Ligthizer faction.

Elements of Trump Trade Strategy

Apart from the three main objectives of Trump China trade policy noted—i.e. China purchases of more US goods, opening markets to 51% ownership for banks and other US corporations, and the nextgen tech development issue—there are various additional objectives behind the strategy.

First, the steel-aluminum tariffs that launched the Trump trade offensive in March 2018 were a signal to US competitors that they should prepare to ‘come to the table’ and renegotiate current trade arrangements, since the US now plans to change the rules of the game again—just as Reagan and Nixon did before in the 1970s and 1980s. But once they ‘came to the table’, the changes in rules of the game with regard to trade relations with US allies did not result in a fundamental restructuring of the US-allies trade relations. The South Korean deal (see Part 1 of this article), the following revised NAFTA treaty, the suspension of negotiations on auto and other tariffs with Europe and Japan, plus the thousands of exemptions to steel and other tariffs allowed by the Trump administration to date all reveal that trade renegotiation with US allies is mostly for show. However, the effort throughout 2018 all made for good campaign speech ‘economic nationalist’ hyperbole in an election year.

Trump has been pursuing a ‘dual track’ trade offensive: a ‘softball’ approach to US allies and an increasingly hard line with China. However, by January 2019 it appears the China hardline track may also fall well short of the threats and hyperbole to date. Trump simply does not have the kind of leverage over China negotiations in 2018-19 that Reagan had over Japan in the 1980s and even Nixon had in the early 1970s with Europe.

A second development impacting Trump trade strategy has to do with the inevitable slowing of the US real economy in 2019-20. The floodgates of fiscal policy have been reopened in 2018 with Trump’s $4.5 trillion corporate and investor tax cuts, plus hundreds of billions $ more in defense and war spending hikes. Annual deficits of more than $1 trillion a year for another decade are now baked into the US budget. The deficits in turn have required the Federal Reserve US central bank to raise interest rates to fund those annual trillion dollar and more deficits and debt. It is becoming increasingly clear that the Trump tax cuts have not stimulated real US economic growth very much. Most of the $4.5 trillion business-investor tax cuts are going toward buying back corporate stock ($590 billion forecast 2018 by Goldman Sachs), paying out more dividends ($400 billion plus forecast), and financing record levels of merger & acquisition deals ($1.2 trillion in 2018)..

In short, rising interest rates, ineffective tax cuts not producing projected real investment and growth, and escalating annual deficits and debt will need a major expansion of US trade exports to offset the rate hikes, deficits, and inevitable slowing US economy by late 2019. Trump needs desperately to get an agreement with China, to avert a trade war, and boost trade as the US economy slows.

Third, Trump trade policy comes as global trade has been slowing. Global commodity prices are in retreat once again. 2017’s much hyped ‘synchronized’ global recovery is falling apart—in Europe, Japan and key emerging market economies as well. Another recession is coming, possibly as early as late 2019 and certainly no later than 2020. So US trade policy is shifting, attempting to ensure that US business interests retain their share of what will likely be a slower growing (or even declining) world trade pie. Trump and US business are repositioning before the global cycle next turns down.

US domestic and global economic objectives are not the only forces influencing Trump’s trade policy. There are just as important US political objectives behind it as well.

The 2018 tariff announcements represent Trump’s leap into his 2020 re-election campaign, a return to intense nationalist themes, and a move to mobilize his domestic political base once again around nationalist appeals. Electoral politics are also in play here, in other words. The steel and aluminum tariffs were announced within 48 hours of Trump’s speaking to the ‘America First’ coalition of ultra-conservative and aggressive capitalist interest groups that were meeting in Washington the same week of the steel-aluminum tariff announcements. The ‘American Firsters’ promised to raise $100 million for his re-election campaign; Trump rewarded them within hours of their meeting and financial commitment to his campaign with his latest bombast on trade. Escalating threats and implementing tariffs on China in 2018 also cannot be separated from Trump efforts to influence the outcomes of the 2018 November midterm elections. Trade policy is about Trump re-election strategy as much as anything else—including trade deficits, market access, and tech transfer.

Less obvious perhaps is Trump’s leveraging of trade policy and nationalist themes as a way to agitate and mobilize his base, in preparation to counter the Mueller investigation once it’s concluded. As a possible Mueller indictment of Trump approaches, Trump has been clearly preparing his base. He is also cleaning house within his administration, surrounding himself with like-minded aggressive conservatives, former Neocons, and various sycophants—in anticipation of the ‘street fight’ he’s preparing for with the traditional liberal elite in the US once he (or his Justice Dept. Secretary) creates a political firestorm by firing Mueller.

What’s Next for US-China Trade?

What Trump is doing is what US capitalists periodically have done throughout the post-1945 period: i.e. change rules of the game in order to ensure US corporate interests are once again firmly in the drivers’ seat of the global economy for at least another decade and dto ensure US global political hegemony remains unchallenged. Nixon did it in 1971-73 targeting European challengers. Reagan did it in 1985 targeting Japan. Now Trump is replaying a similar scenario, targeting China. But China may prove a more difficult adversary for the US in trade negotiations. The US is relatively weaker today than it was in 1971 and 1985; moreover, China is in a far stronger position today relative to the US than were Europe and Japan earlier.

China is not as economically or politically dependent on the US in 2018 as was Japan in 1985. Nor as fragmented and decentralized as was Europe in 1971. Both Japan and Europe were also politically dependent on the US for their military defense at the time. China today is none of the above. Thus the US lacks important levers in negotiations with China it formerly had with Europe and Japan. Not only is China not economically or politically as dependent, but Trump’s initial $150 billion of US tariffs levied on China represents only 2.4% of all China trade with the world. It will therefore take more than US tariffs, even the $400+ billion of Trump’s total threatened tariffs on China, to get China to capitulate on trade as Japan did in 1985—a capitulation that eventually wrecked Japan’s economy and led in part to Japan’s 1991 financial implosion as a consequence.

And there’s the matter of North Korea. If the US expects China’s ‘help’ in getting North Korea to the negotiating table and de-nuclearizing the regime, it certainly won’t get it by provoking a trade war with China.

China has notable cards to play in its economic deck. For one thing, it could significantly slow its purchases of US Treasury bonds. That would require the US central bank to raise rates even further to entice other sources to buy the bonds China would have. That will pressure US interest rates to rise even further, and slow the US economy even more so than otherwise. China could also reverse its policy of keeping the value of its currency, the Yuan, high. A downward drift of the Yuan would raise the value of the dollar and thus make US exports less competitive. It could impose more rules on US corporations in China, give import licenses to European or other competitors, hold up mergers and acquisitions worldwide involving US corporations.

Another response by China might be to raise the requirements of technology transfer for US corporations located in China. There’s a long term strategic race between China and the US over who’ll come to dominate the new technologies—especially Artificial Intelligence, 5G wireless, and cyber security tech. China files about the same number of patents as the US every year, with Germany third and the rest of the world well behind. Who files the most AI, 5G and other patents may prove the winner in future global economic power. AI, 5G, cyber security are the technology that will ensure military dominance for years to come. The US sees China as its biggest threat in this sphere. The US wants to prevent China from capturing these critically strategic technologies. Trump China trade policy is thus inseparable from a US policy of launching a new military Cold War with China.

The outcome of the Trump-Xi Buenos Aires meeting in late November 2018 was an agreement by Trump to suspend raising tariffs on the second $100 billion, from current 10% to 25%, and in addition to impose an additional 25% on the remaining $267 billion of China goods—all by January 1, 2019. Instead it was agreed to continue negotiating again for another 90 days, until March 2. In return, China agreed in Buenos Aires to what it had already ‘put on the table’ during 2018: to open its markets to 51% foreign ownership and buy more US farm products.

Mid-level US-China trade delegations met in Beijing and began negotiations once again. By mid-January China clarified and added further concessions: It publicly declared it would purchase a $1 trillion more in US products over the course of the next six years. That’s apparently in addition to the already several hundred billions of dollars annually it purchases in US goods and services. It began buying US soybeans again, conceded to buy for the first time US GMO farm products, and to increase its purchase of US energy. It announced lower tariffs on US car imports, began awarding companies 51% ownership officially and scheduled to pass a new foreign investment law by January 29. It also has reportedly amended its laws to ban enforced tech transfer in China.

Despite China’s major concessions to date, the Lighthizer-Hawks-Military Industrial Complex faction has continued to push its hard line. With friends in Congress, the US has attacked the China corporation, Huawei, in an escalation greater than the prior attack on China’s ZTE corporation. It has even gotten US allies in Europe and Canada to initiate bans on Huawei as well. The US ally, Canada, arrested Huawei’s co-chairperson, while in Canada and is holding her as a common criminal. This has provoked counter-arrests of Canadians in China in return. The Huawei events likely represent attempts by US trade hardliners to scuttle again any potential agreement between the US and China by March 2. The fighting within the US trade factions also continues. US Treasury Secretary, Mnuchin, on January 17, 2019 publicly floated the proposal to lift all US tariffs on China as a concession in the negotiations. This has enraged the Lighthizer-Military faction in the US. The outcome is still uncertain. Lighthizer-Navarro still technically lead the US negotiations and will be the lead negotiators with China’s Vice-Premier for trade, Liu He, who is scheduled to come to Washington on January 30 to begin high level discussions. Whether Mnuchin and US big corporations and bankers can prevail with Trump and get a deal, or whether the Lighthizer faction can convince Trump the tech issue concessions by China are not sufficient for a deal, remains to be determined.

Which faction succeeds influencing Trump will determine the outcome. Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and interface between the two factions, may play a decisive role as well. It is highly unlikely a deal will be struck January 30 or soon after. The key will be how far China is willing to go with tech concessions. And whether the wording will satisfy the Lighthizer anti-China hawks who want a Cold War with China. Thus US military policy may be the deciding factor in any US-China trade deal. Negotiations will almost certainly continue up to the March 2, 2019 deadline. They may even be extended. Much will depend on the condition of the US and China economies in the coming months (and the US stock markets which Trump absurdly sees as the key indicator of US economic health).

This writer has predicted, and continues to predict, that a trade deal will be reached between the two, given that the US (and China) and global economies will continue over the long run to slow, and a global recession is on the horizon by 2020 and perhaps earlier by late 2019. The anti-China factor, Lighthizer &Co., do not want a trade deal. They want trade as an issue that pushes US and China toward a new Cold War. Whether US bankers and big business can demand the US and Trump accept China’s significant economic concessions will determine the outcome as well. A final deal is in no way assured, however, given Trump’s instability and the fact he has surrounded himself with neocon advisors and sycophant, lightweight cabinet replacements. In the end they may prevail and get their China-US Cold War.

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This article was originally published on the author’s blog site: Jack Rasmus.

Dr. Rasmus is author of the book, ‘Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression, Clarity Press, August 2017, and the forthcoming ‘The Scourge of Neoliberalism: US Policy from Reagan to Trump’, also by Clarity Press, 2019. He blogs at jackrasmus.com and hosts the weekly radio show, Alternative Visions, on the Progressive Radio Network. His twitter handle is @drjackrasmus. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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The Quest for Peace and Justice. MLK’s Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech

By Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., January 21, 2019

There is a sort of poverty of the spirit which stands in glaring contrast to our scientific and technological abundance. The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers.

Martin Luther King: The U.S. is “The Greatest Purveyor of Violence in the World Today”

By John Marciano, January 21, 2019

King denounced the U.S. as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today,” and saw the war was “a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit.” Later that spring, he asserted that “the evils of racism, economic exploitation and militarism are all tied together“: we could not “get rid of o­ne without getting rid of the others [and] the whole structure of American life must be changed.”

Would Martin Luther King Oppose NATO?

By Black Alliance for Peace, January 21, 2019

The United States attempted to co-opt the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by recognizing his birthday. The ruling elites tried to strip King of his militancy and suspend him above the mass movement that produced him. The state certainly had no intention to remain the focus of King’s opposition to the Vietnam War or even more threatening, his opposition to militarism in general and U.S. military imperialism in particular.

Martin Luther King was Killed 50 Years Ago, April 4, 1968, Memphis, Tenn. Court Decision, U.S. “Government Agencies” Found Guilty in Martin Luther King’s Assassination

By Carl Herman, January 19, 2019

After four weeks of testimony and over 70 witnesses in a civil trial in Memphis, Tennessee, twelve jurors reached a unanimous verdict on December 8, 1999 after about an hour of deliberations that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated as a result of a conspiracy.

We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth

By Edward Curtin, January 19, 2019

For the government that honors Dr. King with a national holiday killed him. This is the suppressed truth behind the highly promoted day of service. It is what you are not supposed to know.

Martin Luther King Commemorations Take Place Amid Government Shutdown and Worsening Capitalist Crisis

By Abayomi Azikiwe, January 17, 2019

As Dr. King realized after 1966, there is no fundamental political differences between the Democratic and Republican parties. Both entities represent the capitalist class which perpetuates national oppression, class divisions and imperialism around the world.

Video: Truth At Last: The Assassination of Martin Luther King

By James Corbett, April 05, 2018

Martin Luther King was assassinated on April 4th, 1968. The official story finds a lone gunman, James Earl Ray, bears the entire responsibility for the death. However, a 1999 civil court ruling found that the death resulted from a conspiracy involving elements of the Memphis Police Department, the FBI, and the Mafia.

“Beyond Vietnam”, Silence is Betrayal: Martin Luther King’s Historic 1967 Speech

By Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., April 04, 2018

MLK understood the relationship between America’s war agenda and social justice and civil rights in America. “No one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war.[Vietnam]”.

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This weekend Americans were outraged over an incident in which a mob of white kids from Kentucky taunted a Native American elder in Washington, DC. The incident was reminiscent of the 1960s harassment of black protestors in Alabama. No doubt that a racist mindset played a role in the actions of the kids as they reportedly chanted, “Build that wall! Build that wall!,” apparently ignorant of the fact that Native Americans are not the target of Trump’s wall.

Racist ignorance is not limited to kids from Kentucky, however, as it is the signature of the nearly 18-year long War on Terror that a majority of Americans support.

According to a national poll taken in September last year, 56% of Americans believe that the U.S. is “winning The War on Terror.” That dubious war began as a response to the crimes of September 11, 2001 and has been used as the driving force to kill half a million people and destroy the lives of many more. The terrorism that this war allegedly confronts conveniently originates in geographical areas that are most important for the production and transport of strategic natural resources. It also reflects a “grand strategy” that was defined two years before 9/11 by people who are suspected of actually committing the crimes.

The pervasive anti-Muslim racism that has evolved from the 9/11 Wars is a form of cultural racism that requires the victims to have little more than brown skin. The public has become easily manipulated by fear and their most banal, racist tendencies into accepting horrific crimes committed in their names including mass murder, torture, and indefinite incarceration. The victims don’t need to have any solid evidence against them and they only need to look like “the enemy,” much as the kids from Kentucky perceived the Native Americans they taunted.

An example was recently revealed when a judge stated that the conviction of the first alleged Muslim terrorist after 9/11, Hamid Hayat, should be vacated. Hayat did not commit a crime but was accused of having trained in an al Qaeda camp in Pakistan and of returning as part of a sleeper cell. The evidence presented was allegedly gained from interrogation of Hayat and his father, in which they both accepted what FBI interrogators suggested after long hours of abuse. The father’s “confession” was obviously absurd in that he “described visiting his son’s camp and finding 1,000 men wearing black Ninja Turtle masks and performing “pole vaulting” exercises in huge basement rooms.” Further evidence against Hayat came from the testimony of a well-paid FBI informant, whose own mother said he was “a bagful of lies.”

Nonetheless, in the post-9/11 hysteria fueled by racism, America bought the story of Hayat being a terrorist. This was despite the affidavits of 18 family and community members who swore that Hayat could not have attended an al Qaeda training camp because they saw him every day during the period in question.

Another example of the racism and ignorance that has fueled American perceptions since 9/11 was seen with the San Bernardino shooting in 2015. This was a sensationalized mass murder in which most of the evidence was ignored in favor of an official account that accused a brown-skinned, Muslim husband and wife. Contrary to the unchallenged accusation, the evidence suggests that the attackers were three white men who appeared to be special operations soldiers.

The most important example of how racism and ignorance define public opinion about terrorism involves the first alleged al Qaeda leader captured after 9/11, Abu Zubaydah. One of the forty men still imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, Zubaydah was tortured extensively based on numerous claims from top U.S. leaders that he was a leading al Qaeda operative. Those claims have since been revealed to be completely false. Today, everyone agrees that Zubaydah was never associated with al Qaeda in any way.

The problem that both Zubaydah and the U.S. government have is that the official account of 9/11 was based on information allegedly gained from his torture. We know that Zubaydah could not have known any of that information and that is very problematic for the entire War on Terror. In other words, if not for the alleged torture testimony of Zubaydah and the people he reportedly identified, KSM and Ramsi bin Alshibh in particular, the 9/11 Commission Report would have little evidentiary basis. If Zubaydah was to be released or exonerated, it could bring the whole house of cards down, revealing 9/11 to be a lie. That’s undoubtedly why Zubaydah has now been classified as a “forever prisoner.”

Americans did not question the obvious falsehoods behind the conviction of Hamid Hayat.

They have not questioned the obvious falsehoods behind the official account for the San Bernardino shooting.

They have not questioned the many other instances in which U.S. authorities blatantly manufactured stories of Muslim terrorism.

And they have not called for the release of Abu Zubaydah or the reconciliation of the official account of 9/11 with his false torture testimony.

How can Americans continue to buy into all the obvious falsehoods that have led to the torture, imprisonment, and murder of countless people who just happen to have brown skin?

Only willful ignorance and racism can explain why the public accepts and supports these weak excuses for the War on Terror. The outrage at kids taunting a Native American is therefore hypocritical for many Americans. On this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, if we really despise racism we should all speak out against the “starless midnight of racism and war” that began with 9/11.

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This article was originally published on the author’s blog site: Dig Within.

Kevin Ryan is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Israel Says It Struck Iranian Military Targets in Syria

January 21st, 2019 by Middle East Eye

Israeli jets carried out raids on Iranian and Syrian military targets in Syria in the early hours of Monday, its military acknowledged, in a second successive day of attacks.

Israel rarely comments on its operations in Syria, but in a break from the norm it said in a statement that it was “currently striking” the Iranian Quds Force in Syria and warned Syria’s military against “attempting to harm Israeli territory or forces”.

The military framed the raids as a response to a rocket that Israel’s air defence system intercepted over the occupied Golan Heights on Sunday. Shortly before the Golan rocket incident was announced on Sunday, Syrian state media accused Israel of conducting air strikes in the country.

On Twitter, the Israeli army said it had struck targets belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Corps Quds Force, Tehran’s elite units tasked with operations abroad.

It also said that Syrian air defence systems targeted Israeli jets, and were hit in response.

“During our strike, dozens of Syrian surface-to-air missiles were launched, despite clear warnings to avoid such fire. In response, we also targeted several of the Syrian Armed Forces’ aerial defense batteries,” the Israeli military said.

Russia, one of the Syrian government’s key allies, said that the attacks on Syria’s air defence batteries killed four soldiers and wounded six more.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based activist group monitoring the war, 11 people were killed in the strikes.

The Russian defence ministry said Syrian air defence systems had intercepted and destroyed 30 cruise missiles and guided bombs, the RIA news agency reported.

Syrian state media cited a Syrian military source as saying Israel launched an “intense attack through consecutive waves of guided missiles”, but that Syrian air defences destroyed most of the “hostile targets”.

Witnesses in Damascus said loud explosions rang out in the night sky for nearly an hour.

War of words

On Monday morning, Iranian airforce chief Brigadier General Aziz Nasirzadeh talked up the desire of the military to confront Israel.

“The young people in the air force are fully ready and impatient to confront the Zionist regime and eliminate it from the Earth,” he was quoted as saying by the Young Journalist Club, a website supervised by state television.

The previous day, following the release of dramatic footage of Israel’s air defences intercepting a rocket over a ski resort in the Golan Heights, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country would continue to strike Iranian targets in neighbouring Syria.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in 1967 and later said it had annexed the territory in a move never recognised by the international community. It has settled Israelis there in contravention with international law.

“We have a permanent policy, to strike at the Iranian entrenchment in Syria and hurt whoever tries to hurt us,” Netanyahu said.

Israel has pledged to stop its main enemy Iran from entrenching itself militarily in neighbouring Syria.

It has carried out hundreds of air strikes there against what it says are Iranian military targets and advanced arms deliveries to Tehran-backed Hezbollah, the Lebanese group.

Usually silent about its attacks on Iranian targets near its frontier, Israel has lifted the veil this month, a sign of confidence in a campaign waged amid occasional tensions with Syria’s big-power backer Russia.

Netanyahu and other Israeli officials have been speaking more openly about the Syria strikes in recent days, with some analysts saying the premier seems to want to further burnish his security credentials ahead of 9 April elections.

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The U.S. State Department allegedly sent a cable to the Lebanese Embassy in Washington that warned them against inviting Syria to the Arab Economic Summit in Beirut that is scheduled to take place this week, Al-Akhbar reported on Wednesday.

According to Al-Akhbar, Lebanon was not only warned against inviting Syria to the Arab Economic Summit, but Washington also threatened sanctions against Lebanon if they participate in any reconstruction efforts.

The latter (U.S.) threatened Lebanon with sanctions if it participated in the reconstruction of Al-Sham (a reference to Damascus),” Al-Akhbar claimed.

“The U.S. position was relayed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants, in more than one way,” they continued.

The alleged confidential cable allegedly read:

“We urge Lebanon and all Arab League member states to refrain from sending an invitation to Syria. We also urge Lebanon not to take any steps that contribute to securing the financial interests of the Syrian regime. For instance, making investments or sending funds for reconstruction. Any financial or material support for the Assad regime or its supporters may be subject to American sanctions.”

The U.S. State Department has not issued a comment regarding these allegations; however, Washington has warned several nations in the past about participating in the reconstruction of Syria.

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Mark Crispin Miller writes: I’m proud to be among the signatories calling for a new investigation—a real investigation—of the four assassinations that created the America we’re living in today: a rogue state hooked on war, its people either crushed by poverty or struggling to get by, ripped off and poisoned by the same cartels,  yet bitterly divided. 

We’re on the brink today because we’ve all been living this Big Lie for over half a century: that the United States is a democratic republic, where government is chosen by the people in their own best interests, guided by great movements of dissent, and always well-informed by a free press.

This lie was traumatically exploded by those four assassinations, which made all too clear that  the United States was to be governed not by We the People, through their duly educated votes, but by hidden interests using violence to wipe out any candidate or activist who might dare thwart their plans.

Although it’s long been crystal-clear to everyone who’s bothered to look into it, and even clear  enough to most Americans, this fact has been perversely obfuscated both by “our free press”  and in the nation’s schools at every level, through endless iteration of the state’s “lone gunman”  narrative, with all contrary evidence ignored and/or derided as “conspiracy theory.”

Enough is enough. Please join us in demanding that this lethal cover-up now cease—because the truth will set us free, but only if we face it at long last.

Call for a real investigation:

On the occasion of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a group of over 60 prominent American citizens is calling upon Congress to reopen the investigations into the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Senator Robert F. Kennedy. Signers of the joint statement include Isaac Newton Farris Jr., nephew of Reverend King and past president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; Reverend James M. Lawson Jr., a close collaborator of Reverend King; and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, children of the late senator.

Other signatories include G. Robert Blakey, the chief counsel of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, which determined in 1979 that President Kennedy was the victim of a probable conspiracy; Dr. Robert McClelland, one of the surgeons at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas who tried to save President Kennedy’s life and saw clear evidence he had been struck by bullets from the front and the rear; Daniel Ellsberg, the Pentagon Papers whistleblower who served as a national security advisor to the Kennedy White House; Richard Falk, professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University and a leading global authority on human rights; Hollywood artists Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, Rob Reiner and Oliver Stone; political satirist Mort Sahl; and musician David Crosby.

The declaration is also signed by numerous historians, journalists, lawyers and other experts on the four major assassinations.

The joint statement calls for Congress to establish firm oversight on the release of all government documents related to the Kennedy presidency and assassination, as mandated by the JFK Records Collection Act of 1992. This public transparency law has been routinely defied by the CIA and other federal agencies. The Trump White House has allowed the CIA to continue its defiance of the law, even though the JFK Records Act called for the full release of relevant documents in 2017.

The group statement also calls for a public inquest into “the four major  assassinations of the 1960s that together had a disastrous impact on the course of American history.” This tribunal — which would hear testimony from living witnesses, legal experts, investigative journalists, historians and family members of the victims — would be modeled on the Truth and Reconciliation hearings held in South Africa after the fall of apartheid. This American Truth and Reconciliation process is intended to encourage Congress or the Justice Department to reopen investigations into all four organized acts of political violence.

Signers of the joint statement, who call themselves the Truth and Reconciliation Committee, are also seeking to reopen the Robert F. Kennedy assassination case, stating that Sirhan Sirhan’s conviction was based on “a mockery of a trial.” The forensic evidence alone, observes the statement, demonstrates that Sirhan did not fire the fatal shot that killed Senator Kennedy — a conclusion reached by, among others, Dr. Thomas Noguchi, the Los Angeles County Coroner who performed the official autopsy on RFK.

The joint statement — which was co-written by Adam Walinsky, a speechwriter and top aide of Senator Kennedy — declares that these “four major political murders traumatized American life in the 1960s and cast a shadow over the country for decades thereafter. John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were each in his own unique way attempting to turn the United States away from war toward disarmament and peace, away from domestic violence and division toward civil amity and justice. Their killings were together a savage, concerted assault on American democracy and the tragic consequences of these assassinations still haunt our nation.”

The Truth and Reconciliation Committee views its joint statement as the opening of a long campaign aimed at shining a light on dark national secrets. As the public transparency campaign proceeds, citizens across the country will be encouraged to add their names to the petition. The national effort seeks to confront the forces behind America’s democratic decline, a reign of secretive power that long precedes the recent rise of authoritarianism. “The organized killing of JFK, Malcolm, Martin, and RFK was a mortal attack on our democracy,” said historian James Douglass, author of JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters. “We’ve been walking in the valley of the dead ever since. Our campaign is all about recovering the truth embodied in the movement they led. Yes, the transforming, reconciling power of truth will indeed set us free.”

The Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s Calls for Action:

1. We call upon Congress to establish continuing oversight on the release of government documents related to the presidency and assassination of President John F. Kennedy, to ensure public transparency as mandated by the JFK Records Collection Act of 1992. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform should hold hearings on the Trump administration’s failure to enforce the JFK Records Act.

2. We call for a major public inquest on the four major assassinations of the 1960s that together had a disastrous impact on the course of American history: the murders of John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. This public tribunal, shining a light on this dark chapter of our history, will be modeled on the Truth and Reconciliation process in post-apartheid South Africa. The inquest — which will hear testimony from living witnesses, legal experts, investigative journalists, historians and family members of the victims — is intended to show the need for Congress or the Justice Department to reopen investigations into all four assassinations.

3. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we call for a full investigation of Reverend King’s assassination. The conviction of James Earl Ray for the crime has steadily lost credibility over the years, with a 1999 civil trial brought by Reverend King’s family placing blame on government agencies and organized crime elements. Following the verdict, Coretta Scott King, the slain leader’s widow, stated: “There is abundant evidence of a major, high-level conspiracy in the assassination of my husband.” The jury in the Memphis trial determined that various federal, state and local agencies “were deeply involved in the assassination … Mr. Ray was set up to take the blame.” Reverend King’s assassination was the culmination of years of mounting surveillance and harassment directed at the human rights leader by J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI and other agencies.

4. We call for a full investigation of the Robert F. Kennedy assassination case, the prosecution of which was a mockery of a trial that has been demolished by numerous eyewitnesses, investigators and experts — including former Los Angeles County Coroner Dr. Thomas Noguchi, who performed the official autopsy on Senator Kennedy. The forensic evidence alone establishes that the shots fired by Sirhan Sirhan from in front of Senator Kennedy did not kill him; the fatal shot that struck RFK in the head was fired at point–blank range from the rear. Consequently, the case should be reopened for a new comprehensive investigation while there are still living witnesses — as there are in all four assassination cases.

Note the long list of distinguished Americans that the idiot American media calls “conspiracy theorists”, see this.

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

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

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Kennedy, King Families to Congress: Reopen Probes

January 21st, 2019 by WhoWhatWhy

After five decades, the mysteries behind the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X may finally get the scrutiny they deserve.

A group consisting of relatives of the Kennedy and King families, as well as their confidantes and other prominent voices, is calling for a Truth and Reconciliation Committee to get to the bottom of these tragic murders.

Over the decades, those in power, whether in government, media, or academia, have contended that all of these murders were simply the result of lone-wolf actors: There was “no collusion,” and please don’t mention that other “C” word — conspiracy.

But parallel to these affirmations, an ever-growing group of dissenters has pointed out the inconsistencies in the official narratives. They have demonstrated that those events could not have unfolded the way we’ve been taught on TV and in standard textbooks. Indeed, the evidence of a deeper and darker story is so compelling that one must begin to ask why those in power are not investigating further?

Fortunately, the advent of the internet has made possible new methods of collaboration between journalists, academics and citizen-researchers that have opened up new paths for investigation.

At WhoWhatWhy, we’ve continually challenged the narratives of some of the most consequential events of 20th-century US history: events that forever altered the direction of the country — and not for the better.

We are excited to share with you the announcement from this special group. It is composed of three parts: an initial news release, a call to action, and a joint statement. We hope you read it and share it widely.

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Kennedy and King Family Members and Advisors Call for Congress to Reopen Assassination Probes

On the occasion of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a group of over 60 prominent American citizens is calling upon Congress to reopen the investigations into the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Senator Robert F. Kennedy. Signers of the joint statement include Isaac Newton Farris Jr., nephew of Reverend King and past president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; Reverend James M. Lawson Jr., a close collaborator of Reverend King; and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, children of the late senator.

Other signatories include G. Robert Blakey, the chief counsel of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, which determined in 1979 that President Kennedy was the victim of a probable conspiracy; Dr. Robert McClelland, one of the surgeons at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas who tried to save President Kennedy’s life and saw clear evidence he had been struck by bullets from the front and the rear; Daniel Ellsberg, the Pentagon Papers whistleblower who served as a national security advisor to the Kennedy White House; Richard Falk, professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University and a leading global authority on human rights; Hollywood artists Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, Rob Reiner and Oliver Stone; political satirist Mort Sahl; and musician David Crosby.

The declaration is also signed by numerous historians, journalists, lawyers and other experts on the four major assassinations.

The joint statement calls for Congress to establish firm oversight on the release of all government documents related to the Kennedy presidency and assassination, as mandated by the JFK Records Collection Act of 1992. This public transparency law has been routinely defied by the CIA and other federal agencies. The Trump White House has allowed the CIA to continue its defiance of the law, even though the JFK Records Act called for the full release of relevant documents in 2017.

The group statement also calls for a public inquest into “the four major assassinations of the 1960s that together had a disastrous impact on the course of American history.” This tribunal — which would hear testimony from living witnesses, legal experts, investigative journalists, historians and family members of the victims — would be modeled on the Truth and Reconciliation hearings held in South Africa after the fall of apartheid. This American Truth and Reconciliation process is intended to encourage Congress or the Justice Department to reopen investigations into all four organized acts of political violence.

Signers of the joint statement, who call themselves the Truth and Reconciliation Committee, are also seeking to reopen the Robert F. Kennedy assassination case, stating that Sirhan Sirhan’s conviction was based on “a mockery of a trial.” The forensic evidence alone, observes the statement, demonstrates that Sirhan did not fire the fatal shot that killed Senator Kennedy — a conclusion reached by, among others, Dr. Thomas Noguchi, the Los Angeles County Coroner who performed the official autopsy on RFK.

The joint statement — which was co-written by Adam Walinsky, a speechwriter and top aide of Senator Kennedy — declares that these “four major political murders traumatized American life in the 1960s and cast a shadow over the country for decades thereafter. John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were each in his own unique way attempting to turn the United States away from war toward disarmament and peace, away from domestic violence and division toward civil amity and justice. Their killings were together a savage, concerted assault on American democracy and the tragic consequences of these assassinations still haunt our nation.”

The Truth and Reconciliation Committee views its joint statement as the opening of a long campaign aimed at shining a light on dark national secrets. As the public transparency campaign proceeds, citizens across the country will be encouraged to add their names to the petition. The national effort seeks to confront the forces behind America’s democratic decline, a reign of secretive power that long precedes the recent rise of authoritarianism. “The organized killing of JFK, Malcolm, Martin, and RFK was a mortal attack on our democracy,” said historian James Douglass, author of JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters. “We’ve been walking in the valley of the dead ever since. Our campaign is all about recovering the truth embodied in the movement they led. Yes, the transforming, reconciling power of truth will indeed set us free.”

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The Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s Calls for Action:

1. We call upon Congress to establish continuing oversight on the release of government documents related to the presidency and assassination of President John F. Kennedy, to ensure public transparency as mandated by the JFK Records Collection Act of 1992. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform should hold hearings on the Trump administration’s failure to enforce the JFK Records Act.

2. We call for a major public inquest on the four major assassinations of the 1960s that together had a disastrous impact on the course of American history: the murders of John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. This public tribunal, shining a light on this dark chapter of our history, will be modeled on the Truth and Reconciliation process in post-apartheid South Africa. The inquest — which will hear testimony from living witnesses, legal experts, investigative journalists, historians and family members of the victims — is intended to show the need for Congress or the Justice Department to reopen investigations into all four assassinations.

3. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we call for a full investigation of Reverend King’s assassination. The conviction of James Earl Ray for the crime has steadily lost credibility over the years, with a 1999 civil trial brought by Reverend King’s family placing blame on government agencies and organized crime elements. Following the verdict, Coretta Scott King, the slain leader’s widow, stated: “There is abundant evidence of a major, high-level conspiracy in the assassination of my husband.” The jury in the Memphis trial determined that various federal, state and local agencies “were deeply involved in the assassination … Mr. Ray was set up to take the blame.” Reverend King’s assassination was the culmination of years of mounting surveillance and harassment directed at the human rights leader by J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI and other agencies.

4. We call for a full investigation of the Robert F. Kennedy assassination case, the prosecution of which was a mockery of a trial that has been demolished by numerous eyewitnesses, investigators and experts — including former Los Angeles County Coroner Dr. Thomas Noguchi, who performed the official autopsy on Senator Kennedy. The forensic evidence alone establishes that the shots fired by Sirhan Sirhan from in front of Senator Kennedy did not kill him; the fatal shot that struck RFK in the head was fired at point–blank range from the rear. Consequently, the case should be reopened for a new comprehensive investigation while there are still living witnesses — as there are in all four assassination cases.

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A Joint Statement on the Kennedy, King and Malcolm X Assassinations and Ongoing Cover-ups:

1. As the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded in 1979, President John F. Kennedy was probably killed as the result of a conspiracy.

2. In the four decades since this Congressional finding, a massive amount of evidence compiled by journalists, historians and independent researchers confirms this conclusion. This growing body of evidence strongly indicates that the conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy was organized at high levels of the U.S. power structure, and was implemented by top elements of the U.S. national security apparatus using, among others, figures in the criminal underworld to help carry out the crime and cover-up.

3. This stunning conclusion was also reached by the president’s own brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who himself was assassinated in 1968 while running for president — after telling close aides that he intended to reopen the investigation into his brother’s murder if he won the election.

4. President Kennedy’s administration was badly fractured over his efforts to end the Cold War, including his back-channel peace feelers to the Soviet Union and Cuba and his plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Vietnam after the 1964 presidential election.

5. President Kennedy has long been portrayed as a Cold War hawk, but this grossly inaccurate view has been strongly challenged over the years by revisionist historians and researchers, who have demonstrated that Kennedy was frequently at odds with his own generals and espionage officials. This revisionist interpretation of the Kennedy presidency is now widely embraced, even by mainstream Kennedy biographers.

6. The official investigation into the JFK assassination immediately fell under the control of U.S. security agencies, ensuring a cover-up. The Warren Commission was dominated by former CIA director Allen Dulles and other officials with strong ties to the CIA and FBI.

7. The corporate media, with its own myriad connections to the national security establishment, aided the cover-up with its rush to embrace the Warren Report and to scorn any journalists or researchers who raised questions about the official story.

8. Despite the massive cover-up of the JFK assassination, polls have consistently shown that a majority of the American people believes Kennedy was the victim of a conspiracy —leading to the deep erosion of confidence in the U.S. government and media.

9. The CIA continues to obstruct evidence about the JFK assassination, routinely blocking legitimate Freedom of Information requests and defying the JFK Records Collection Act of 1992, preventing the release of thousands of government documents as required by the law.

10. The JFK assassination was just one of four major political murders that traumatized American life in the 1960s and have cast a shadow over the country for decades thereafter. John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were each in his own unique way attempting to turn the United States away from war toward disarmament and peace, away from domestic violence and division toward civil amity and justice. Their killings were together a savage, concerted assault on American democracy and the tragic consequences of these assassinations still haunt our nation.

Dr. Gary Aguilar
Daniel Alcorn
Russ Baker
Alec Baldwin
G. Robert Blakey
Denise Faura Bohdan
Abraham Bolden
Rex Bradford
Douglas Caddy
Rodnell Collins
Debra Conway
David Crosby
Edward Curtin
Dr. Donald T. Curtis
Alan Dale
James DiEugenio
James Douglass
Laurie Dusek
Daniel Ellsberg
Karl Evanzz
Richard Falk
Isaac Newton Farris Jr.
Marie Fonzi
Libby Handros
Dan Hardway
Jacob Hornberger
Douglas Horne
Gayle Nix Jackson
Stephen Jaffe
James Jenkins
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Bill Kelly
Andrew Kreig
John Kirby
Rev. James M. Lawson Jr.
Jim Lesar
Edwin Lopez
David Mantik
Dr. Robert N. McClelland
Mark Crispin Miller
Jefferson Morley
John Newman
Len Osanic
Lisa Pease
William F. Pepper
Jerry Policoff
Rob Reiner
Abby Rockefeller
Dick Russell
Mort Sahl
Vincent Salandria
Martin Sheen
Lawrence P. Schnapf
E. Martin Schotz
Paul Schrade
Peter Dale Scott
John Simkin
Bill Simpich
Oliver Stone
Dan Storper
David Talbot
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend
Adam Walinsky
Benjamin Wecht
Dr. Cyril H. Wecht
Betty Windsor

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Biographies:

Gary L. Aguilar, MD, is a private practicing ophthalmologist in San Francisco, a clinical professor of ophthalmology at the University of California-San Francisco, and the vice chief of staff at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital. One of the few physicians outside the federal government who has ever been allowed to review President Kennedy’s still-restricted autopsy photographs and X-rays, Aguilar has delivered lectures on JFK’s autopsy evidence before numerous medical and legal conferences. With coauthor Cyril Wecht, MD, JD, Aguilar has published articles on the Kennedy case in journals such as The American Scholar and the Journal of the American Medical Association, and has contributed chapters to several anthologies exploring the JFK assassination. Dr. Aguilar’s writings on various aspects of the Kennedy case are available online, most notably a multipart essay that examines the five investigations of Kennedy’s medical and autopsy evidence that have been conducted by the U.S. government. 

Daniel Alcorn was a law partner of the late Bud Fensterwald, co-founder of the Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC). He has served on the AARC board since 1992, and was a founding director of the Coalition on Political Assassinations (COPA) on behalf of AARC, and served on COPA’s board until the end of the Assassination Records Review Board process in 1998. Alcorn has represented requesters in precedent-setting Freedom of Information Act cases in the trial and appellate courts in Washington, D.C., including cases related to the JFK assassination, the Martin Luther King Jr. assassination, allegations of misconduct in the FBI crime laboratory, death squad activity in Central America, intelligence abuses, and PTSD, among other issues.

Russ Baker is the founder, editor-in-chief and CEO of WhoWhatWhy, a nonprofit news organization devoted to covering stories and angles ignored by the media. WhoWhatWhy has a special team poring over thousands of declassified JFK records. Baker is the author of Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years.

Alec Baldwin has appeared in numerous productions onstage, in films and on television. He has received a Tony nomination (A Streetcar Named Desire, 1992), an Oscar nomination (The Cooler, 2004) and has won three Emmy awards, three Golden Globes and seven consecutive Screen Actors Guild Awards as Best Actor in a Comedy Series for his role on NBC-TV’s 30 Rock. His films include The Hunt for Red October, Glengarry Glen Ross, Malice, Blue Jasmine, and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. He has authored three books: A Promise to Ourselves; his memoir, Nevertheless; and You Can’t Spell America Without Me, with Kurt Andersen. He serves on numerous boards related to the arts, the environment and progressive politics.

G. Robert Blakey is retired as the William J. & Dorothy K. O’Neill Professor of Law (now emeritus) at the Notre Dame Law School, where he taught criminal law, the law of terrorism, and jurisprudence. He also was a professor of law and the director of the Cornell Institute on Organized Crime, where he taught criminal law in the law school. Blakey also served as a special attorney in the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section of the United States Department of Justice. From 1977 to 1979, he was the chief counsel and staff director, United States House Select Committee on Assassinations.

Denise Faura Bohdan is a lawyer, film producer and the daughter of Fernando Faura, author of The Polka Dot File on the Robert F. Kennedy Killing: The Paris Peace Talks Connection, chronicling the search for an alleged conspirator in the assassination of RFK. Faura’s investigation in 1968 is regarded by most researchers as one of the most important, linking Sirhan Sirhan to co-conspirators. Ms. Bohdan is producing a film on his investigation to shine more light on the assassination and conspiracy. Her previous film work focuses on human rights abuses, freedom of speech and pursuit of justice.

Abraham Bolden was the first African-American assigned to the White House Secret Service Detail, at President Kennedy’s personal request. When he later tried to testify to the Warren Commission about rampant misconduct in the Secret Service, he was punished for his courage by a trumped-up bribery charge that resulted in his imprisonment for over three years. He is the author of a 2008 memoir, The Echo From Dealey Plaza.

Rex Bradford pioneered the digital dissemination of declassified JFK assassination documents, over 1.5 million pages of which are available at www.maryferrell.org. He is president of the Mary Ferrell Foundation.

Douglas Caddy is a Houston-based attorney and the author of six books, most recently his memoir Being There: Eyewitness To History. In 1959, he published an article in the National Review that began a long friendship with founding publisher William F. Buckley as they worked together to help found what’s now known as the modern conservative movement. In 1960, Caddy was elected as the founding national director of Young Americans For Freedom. His conservative activism made him an early campaigner for 1964 Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater. Caddy then worked in Washington, DC, as an attorney involved in many high-profile cases. In one, he became the original defense attorney for the Watergate burglars. His legal work has included cutting-edge research and whistle-blowing on the JFK assassination, Koreagate, CIA influences and other justice-related issues.

Rodnell Collins, Malcolm X’s first cousin, is the founder of the Malcolm X, Ella L. Little Collins Family Foundation and curator of the childhood home that he and Malcolm shared in Duxbury, Massachusetts. Now a national historic landmark, Collins is working on turning it into a museum. Collins’s memoir, Seventh Child, tells Malcolm’s story from a family member’s point of view. Most recently Collins participated in the 50th anniversary commemoration of the famous Oxford Union debate, “The Night Malcolm Spoke Out.”

Debra Conway is the president of JFK Lancer Productions and Publications, a historical research company specializing in the administration and assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  

David Crosby is a musician and songwriter. He has been speaking out about the JFK assassination since the 1960s, including onstage with the Byrds at the legendary Monterey Pop Festival in 1967.

Edward Curtin is a sociologist who teaches at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. He is a widely published essayist who has written extensively about the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Donald T. Curtis is a retired oral and maxillofacial surgeon who participated in the resuscitation attempt of President Kennedy at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas.

Alan Dale is executive director of the Assassination Archives and Research Center. He is the host of JFKConversations.com.

James DiEugenio is the author of The JFK Assassination: The Evidence Today, and editor ofKennedysandking.com.

James Douglass is the author of JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters.

Laurie Dusek has served as legal counsel to Sirhan Sirhan in a pro bono capacity for the last 11 years.

Daniel Ellsberg was a national security consultant to the Kennedy White House. Later he leaked the Pentagon Papers. A senior fellow of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, he is the author of The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner and a memoir, Secrets, which became the subject of the Oscar-nominated documentary The Most Dangerous Man in America. He is also a key figure in Steven Spielberg’s film about the Pentagon Papers, The Post.

Karl Evanzz is the author of six books, including two highly acclaimed studies of the Nation of Islam: The Judas Factor: The Plot to Kill Malcolm X (1992) and The Messenger: The Rise and Fall of Elijah Muhammad (1999). A literary and film consultant, Evanzz worked on Malcolm X: Make It Plain (Blackside Productions, 1994) and Ali (2001), starring Will Smith. Evanzz worked at the Washington Post for 32 years in its news department before retiring in 2008.

Richard Falk is professor of international law, emeritus, at Princeton University and author of Power Shift: On the New Global Order (2016).

Isaac Newton Farris Jr. is the nephew of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He has served as the president and CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center and in 2011 was elected president and CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the organization founded by Dr. King. Farris currently serves as senior fellow of the King Center where he not only continues to write, research and lecture on the life, philosophy, and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., but also on how Kingian nonviolence should guide American society as we confront the social, religious, economic and war issues of America and of the world today.

Marie Fonzi is the widow of Gaeton Fonzi, a top investigator on both the Senate and House Committees that probed the death of President Kennedy in the 1970s. Marie wrote the preface and afterword of the 2016 paperback edition of The Last Investigation, Fonzi’s inside story of this fateful Congressional drama.

Libby Handros is an award-winning TV producer and documentary filmmaker. Since beginning her career on the PBS team that produced Inside Story, the first regularly scheduled examination of the American press ever to appear on television, she has gone on to develop and produce over one hundred hours of prime-time programming on a wide array of subjects. Along with director John Kirby, Handros produced the critically acclaimed documentary feature The American Ruling Class and Cape Spin: An American Power Struggle,among other films. Currently she is Kirby’s producing partner on Four Died Trying, a multi-part series on the political murders of John Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, which changed the course of history.

Dan Hardway, a graduate of Cornell Law School, has practiced law for the past 37 years. His firm, based in Cowen, West Virginia, focuses on representing nonprofit organizations, especially Christian churches and ministries, and Freedom of Information Act litigants. From 1977 to 1978, Hardway worked as a researcher for the House Select Committee on Assassinations, and assisted Ed Lopez in writing the section of the committee report titled, “Oswald, the CIA, and Mexico City.”

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation, a libertarian nonprofit educational foundation, and the author of The Kennedy Autopsy.

Douglas Horne served for three years on the staff of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), from 1995-1998. He was hired by the ARRB as a senior analyst on the Military Records Team, and was later promoted to the position of chief analyst for Military Records; while on the ARRB staff, Mr. Horne ensured the release of historical records on Cuba and Vietnam policy; played a key role in the sworn depositions of ten JFK autopsy witnesses; and became the primary ARRB point-of-contact for all matters related to the Zapruder film. He is the author of the five-volume work Inside the Assassination Records Review Board (2009), and the e-book JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated (2014).

Gayle Nix Jackson is the granddaughter of Orville Nix, the man who took the film of the JFK assassination opposite from Abraham Zapruder. Following three decades of research on the background of the government’s loss of this film, she has written two books, Orville Nix: The Missing JFK Assassination Film and Pieces of the Puzzle: An Anthology.  

Stephen Jaffe was an investigator and photo-analyst for New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison 1967-68, testified before the Rockefeller Commission, was an associate producer/technical advisor for the film Executive Action, associate producer/technical adviser for documentaries The Garrison Tapes and the sequel by filmmaker John Barbour, and is the producer of the new documentary, A Rush to Judgment: Conspiracy in America, with Mark Lane. Jaffe was an investigator for the Lane Law Firm for the past 50 years and has written numerous articles on the assassination of President Kennedy.

James Jenkins was a medical corpsman assigned to work with pathologists on the autopsy of President Kennedy at the Bethesda Naval Hospital. He reports his eyewitness account in his book At the Cold Shoulder of History, co-written with William Matson Law.

William Klaber was the producer of The RFK Tapes, a 1993 public radio documentary on the murder of Senator Robert Kennedy. In 1997 he co-authored, with Philip Melanson, the book Shadow Play, which examined the evidence of police misconduct in the RFK murder investigation, evidence found in the LAPD’s own files that was finally made public in 1988.

Bill Kelly is a co-founder of the Committee for an Open Archives and the Coalition on Political Assassinations. He was the recipient of the 2013 Mary Ferrell Award for his work on the Air Force One radio transmission tapes. He is currently the coordinator of the research committee for Citizens Against Political Assassinations. His blog is http://JFKCountercoup.blogspot.com

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is the author of American Values: Lessons I Learned From My Family.

John Kirby made his directorial debut with the Tribeca Festival-award-winning film The American Ruling Class, made for the BBC and the Sundance Channel. He is currently directing and editing Four Died Trying, a multi-part documentary series on the extraordinary lives and calamitous deaths of John Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy.  

Andrew Kreig is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit executive, attorney, author and commentator who edits the non-partisan Justice Integrity Project, which examines the performance of legal institutions. Its work includes publication of a multi-part “Readers Guide to the JFK Assassination” that highlights the topic’s leading books, films, archives, events and news developments.

The Reverend James M. Lawson Jr. was a long-time collaborator with Martin Luther King Jr. and, after the Reverend King, the major teacher in the non-violent struggles for desegregation and justice. Rep. John Lewis called him “the architect of the non-violent movement.”

Jim Lesar is president of the Assassination Archives and Research Center, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to disclose information on political assassinations to the public. During the past 49 years Lesar has litigated more than 200 Freedom of Information Act cases, resulting in the release of several hundred thousand pages of documents prior to the enactment of the JFK Records Act. He then testified before several House and Senate committees in favor of greatly expanded release of withheld government records pertaining to the assassination of President Kennedy. After the passage of the JFK Act, Lesar testified several times before the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) regarding the definition and scope of the term “JFK-assassinated-related” records. In 2006, in a suit in which he represented journalist and author Jefferson Morley, he won a significant precedent that subjected the CIA’s ultra-secret operational files to judicial review. This ultimately resulted in the disclosure of significant operational records, and in the process the CIA admitted under oath that it had hired a case officer linked to Lee Harvey Oswald’s pre-assassination activities to undermine the investigation of the House Select Committee on Assassinations.

Edwin Lopez is an attorney practicing in New York. He has served as the general counsel at the Rochester City School District and is currently on the faculty of the Yang Tan Employment and Disability Institute at the Industrial Labor Relations School at Cornell University. In 1977 and 1978 he was a researcher for the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), where he was involved, among other areas, in the research and investigation of anti-Castro Cuban groups, their possible involvement in the assassination of President Kennedy, possible Cuban government complicity in the assassination of President Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald’s activities in Mexico City and the performance of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in monitoring and reporting those activities. With the assistance of other staff members, he wrote the HSCA’s “Lopez Report.”

David Mantik holds an MD from the University of Michigan and a PhD in physics from the University of Wisconsin. He is former faculty member in the physics department at the University of Michigan and in the radiation oncology department at Loma Linda University. He is the author of JFK’s Head Wounds (an e-book).

Dr. Robert N. McClelland is professor emeritus in the Department of Surgery at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, an adjunct professor of law at Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University, and a member of the attending staff at Zale Lipshy University Hospital. Previously, he served for 30 years as the UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Alvin W. Baldwin Chair in Surgery, where he had first come to work as an instructor in surgery in 1962. Two years prior to that, Dr. McClelland had begun his career on the senior attending staff at Parkland Memorial Hospital, where his duties would include the attempt to save the life of President Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963. While working on the mortally wounded JFK, Dr. McClelland saw clear evidence that the president had been struck by bullets from the front and rear, indicating more than one shooter was involved. The gruesome injury to the back of JFK’s head was caused by a bullet exiting the skull rather than entering it, McClelland determined, suggesting it was fired from the front of the presidential limousine, instead of from the rear, where Lee Harvey Oswald was allegedly shooting from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository building.

Mark Crispin Miller is a professor of media, culture and communication at New York University, and author of several books, including Fooled Again: The Real Case for Electoral Reform. As editor of Discovering America, a book series published by the University of Texas Press, he commissioned Lance DeHaven-Smith to write Conspiracy Theory in America, and his Forbidden Bookshelf series, published by Open Road Media, has revived dozens of essential books long out of print, and many of them killed at birth, including works by I.F. Stone, Peter Dale Scott, Christopher Simpson, Ralph McGehee and Gerald Colby.

Jefferson Morley is the founder of The Deep State, a news blog that illuminates the influence of secret intelligence agencies. He worked for 15 years as an editor and reporter at the Washington Post. He is the author of Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angletonand of Our Man in Mexico, a biography of the CIA’s Mexico City station chief Winston Scott.

Major John M. Newman, U.S. Army (retired), is adjunct professor of political science at James Madison University. He is the author of JFK and Vietnam, Oswald and the CIA and the multi-part series The Assassination of President Kennedy: Volume I, Where Angels Tread Lightly; Volume II, Countdown to Darkness, and Volume III, Into the Storm.

Len Osanic is host of Black Op Radio and producer of The Collected Works of Col. L. Fletcher Prouty.

Lisa Pease is the author of A Lie Too Big to Fail: The Real History of the Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. Based on more than two decades of investigative research, Pease’s recently published book has already been hailed as “the magnum opus of RFK assassination research” by acclaimed Kennedy biographer James Douglass.

Dr. William F. Pepper is an American lawyer, English barrister and best-selling author. His legal career has included representation of governments and heads of state, and teaching human rights law at Oxford University. A political activist, Pepper was a 1960s friend and supporter of Robert F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The King family asked his help to address their doubts about the guilt of accused assassin James Earl Ray. Pepper’s investigation concluded that Ray was a patsy. Representing both the imprisoned Ray before his 1998 death and the King family pro bono, Pepper then won a Memphis civil jury verdict in 1999 for the family concluding the murder was a conspiracy. Pepper authored three books on the evidence, most recently The Plot to Kill King (2016). In 2007, Pepper began representing pro bono Robert F. Kennedy’s accused assassin Sirhan Sirhan based on similar evidence that Sirhan did not fire any of the shots that struck RFK. Along with other RFK friends, Pepper has advocated for Sirhan to be released on parole and/or granted a first-ever hearing to examine the relevant scientific evidence.

Jerry Policoff has been a JFK assassination researcher since 1966, specializing in the role of the media. Widely published in magazines and book anthologies, Policoff covered the House Select Committee on Assassinations for New Times magazine, breaking many exclusives. He is the former executive director of the Assassination Archives and Research Center.

Rob Reiner is an actor and director best known for his role in the iconic TV show All in the Family and for his films A Few Good Men, When Harry Met Sally, and This Is Spinal Tap. His 2017 political thriller Shock and Awe was the first Hollywood movie to examine the tragic run-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Reiner is now developing a docudrama TV series on the Kennedy assassinations.

Abby Rockefeller has participated in the sponsoring and organizing of several conferences concerning the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Dick Russell is the author of three books on the assassination of President Kennedy: The Man Who Knew Too Much; On the Trail of the JFK Assassins; and They Killed Our President!, with Jesse Ventura.

Mort Sahl is an entertainer and political satirist. He helped write speeches for John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign, and later worked closely with New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison to solve the Kennedy assassination, even though doing so severely damaged his career.

Vincent J. Salandria is a Philadelphia attorney who began studying the Kennedy assassination on November 23, 1963. One of the original critics of the lone assassin concept, he is the author of False Mystery, an anthology of his essays incriminating the national security state for the murder of JFK.

Martin Sheen is an actor and activist.

Lawrence P. Schnapf is the principal attorney of Schnapf LLC and an adjunct professor at the New York Law School. He serves on the board of Citizens Against Political Assassinations.

E. Martin Schotz is the author of History Will Not Absolve Us: Orwellian Control, Public Denial and the Murder of President Kennedy.  

Paul Schrade is a former United Auto Workers official who knew both of the Kennedy brothers and worked in their campaigns. He was wounded in the hail of gunfire that mortally wounded Senator Robert F. Kennedy. Schrade, who has spent decades researching the RFK assassination, believes that Sirhan Sirhan did not fire the shots that struck Kennedy and is working for his release from prison.

Peter Dale Scott is a professor emeritus of English at the University of California, Berkeley. His books include Deep Politics and the Death of JFK; Oswald, Mexico, and Deep Politics; The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11, and the Deep Politics of War; The American Deep State; and Poetry and Terror.

John Simkin established the Spartacus Educational website in 1999, an important section of which was devoted to the Kennedy assassination. He is the author of the e-book Assassination of John F. Kennedy Encyclopedia.

Bill Simpich, a civil rights attorney, is on the board of the Mary Ferrell Foundation. He is the author of the e-book State Secret.

Oliver Stone is an Academy Award–winning director and screenwriter best known for his movies Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, Wall Street and JFK. His 1991 feature JFK provoked a nationwide uproar about the Kennedy assassination that led to Congressional passage of the 1992 JFK Records Collection Act and the release of thousands of important previously withheld government documents.

Dan Storper is the founder and CEO of the world music company Putumayo. He is writing a book about the political struggles of the 1960s.

David Talbot is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years and The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA and the Rise of America’s Secret Government. He is the founder and original editor-in-chief of Salon and a former senior editor of Mother Jones magazine.

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is the eldest of Robert F. and Ethel Kennedy’s children. She is the former lieutenant governor of Maryland. She has taught foreign policy at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Maryland and is currently a research professor at Georgetown University, where she founded the Center for Retirement Initiatives.

Adam Walinsky served in the United States Department of Justice in 1963-64. He joined Robert Kennedy’s campaign for U.S. Senate in 1964, and then served as counsel and speechwriter for the senator through the presidential campaign of 1968. He was one of the coordinators of the Vietnam Moratorium of 1969-70, and was the Democratic nominee for Attorney General of New York in 1970. He practiced law in New York City until 1994, serving as chairman of the New York State Investigations Commission in 1979-81. Walinsky created and led the Police Corps, a federal program that offered scholarships to college students who agreed in return to train intensively for six months, and then serve four years in a state or local police force. Police Corps programs were created in 30 states, and although funding ended in 2004, many of its graduates are still serving in law enforcement and other civic endeavors across the country. From 2008 to 2012, he led a complete retraining of the Police Department in Baltimore, Maryland. He served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve.

Benjamin Wecht is the administrator of Duquesne University’s Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law, managing an internationally acclaimed center for professional and general education that presents public seminars on the assassination of President Kennedy and other urgent topics. He also serves as managing member of the Forensic Sciences and Law Education Group, a business dedicated to disseminating educational video products and online resources relating to topics at the interface of forensic investigation and historical inquiry.

Dr. Cyril H. Wecht is past president of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the American College of Legal Medicine. He is a clinical professor of pathology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and adjunct professor of law at Duquesne University. Dr. Wecht served as a consultant or expert witness on several major JFK inquests, including New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison’s prosecution of Clay Shaw, the Rockefeller Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations.

Betty Windsor was a close friend of Dallas Times-Herald journalist Jim Koethe, who was murdered in his home in 1964 while working to solve the JFK case. Since the reporter’s murder, she has worked to solve both the Koethe case and the JFK case. Many researchers consider her the most important source on the events in Dallas during that era.

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The RAF is facing a barrage of criticism after it invited Israel to send its war planes to take part in a training exercise in Britain.

Last night the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) slammed the offer as “shameful” and “deeply inappropriate.”

The air force invite marks a major escalation in British-Israeli military co-operation, despite mounting evidence of war crimes committed against Palestinians.

The joint exercise, named Cobra Warrior, will see Israeli F-15 fighter jets screech over the skies of Lincolnshire in September this year.

It will be run out of RAF Waddington, although the Israeli aircrew and jets could be based at another location in England.

Cobra Warrior is the final stage of the RAF’s weapons instructor qualification, where budding top guns war game with allied air forces to hone their bombing skills.

The Israeli air force is planning to bring an unknown number of its notorious F-15 fighter jets and personnel to Britain for the exercise. The Israeli Air Force routinely pummels Palestinians living in Gaza.

A Palestine Solidarity Campaign spokesperson said:

“As Israel continues to flout international law and violate the human rights of Palestinians, there is a responsibility for governments across the world to hold Israel to account for its crimes.

“It is therefore deeply inappropriate for the RAF to host a delegation from the Israeli Air Force for a joint training exercise in Britain.”

They added:

“In 2011 Palestinian civil society called for an international military embargo of Israel until it adheres to international law, and this call has received growing support from campaigners, academics and politicians across Britain.

“The actions by the British government to strengthen military ties with Israel directly contravenes this call and amounts to nothing more than complicity in the ongoing violent repression of the Palestinian people within a system of apartheid. It is shameful.”

The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) also condemned the training plan. Its spokesperson Andrew Smith said:

“The Israeli military has an appalling human rights record and has committed terrible atrocities against Palestinian people. The repression has only increased with the recent murders on the border.

“If Downing Street wants to see change then it must use its influence to push for an end to the occupation of Gaza and a peaceful solution to the conflict. It should not continue to build ever closer political and military links with the Israeli government.”

The Israeli Defence Force told the Morning Star that it could not comment until after Cobra Warrior had finished.

The training will fuel concerns about foreign pilots training at RAF bases in Britain. There was outrage last year when it emerged that military pilots from Saudi Arabia were learning to fly at RAF Valley in Wales.

Britain’s training of Saudi war pilots has continued throughout the bombardment of Yemen, which has devastated food supplies and caused one of the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophes.

The Ministry of Defence told the Star it could not comment on foreign policy issues, and the Foreign Office was not available to comment at the time of going to print.

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On day 30 and counting, it’s the longest partial government shutdown in US history, surpassing the previous record 21-day shutdown in 1995-96.

It began over Republicans’ pledge to balance the budget, part of the so-called Newt Gingrich/Dick Armey “Contract with America.” It ended when polls showed public opinion turned against the GOP, blaming Republicans more than Dems.

Things are similar today, polls showing the same thing – over half of Americans blaming Republicans and Trump for the shutdown, less than a third blaming Dems, around 13% blaming both parties.

What’s going on is a political standoff unrelated to national security. No border crisis exist. Nothing ever justifies shutting down government in whole or in part.

It’s left hundreds of thousands of civil servants and other government workers unemployed or forced to work without pay while shutdown continues – backpay to come when things end.

Both sides of the aisle and Trump share blame for what’s going on – no quick resolution coming without compromise, the way most disputes end.

Shutdown harms millions of ordinary Americans. Over 40 million food stamp recipients may stop receiving benefits without resolution. Women, Infants, and Children benefits expire next month in most states.

Other vital services are jeopardized. Unpaid workers face a greater struggle to get by, many living from paycheck to paycheck. The longer shutdown continues, the worse things get for millions of Americans with no dog in this fight.

On Saturday, Trump partially blinked, proposing an end to shutdown. In exchange for what’s explained, he offered three-year protection for aliens given Temporary Protected Status, as well as hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants entering America as minors, so-called “Dreamers” – a version of so-called Bridge Act legislation, introduced in the 115th Congress but not enacted.

Around 800,000 are enrolled in the program created by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) legislation. Trump’s proposal includes the following:

  • $5.7 billion for 230 miles border wall construction 230 in high-priority areas;
  • $800 million in urgent humanitarian aid;
  • $805 million for drug detection technology along the southern border with Mexico;
  • 2,750 more border agents and law enforcement professionals;
  • 75 new immigration judge teams;
  • DACA and TPS extensions explained above; and
  • family reunification for unaccompanied alien minors.

Ahead of his Saturday address, House Speaker Pelosi rejected his proposal, a statement, saying in part:

“Democrats were hopeful that the President was finally willing to re-open government and proceed with a much-needed discussion to protect the border.”

“Unfortunately, initial reports make clear that his proposal is a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives, each of which is unacceptable and in total, do not represent a good faith effort to restore certainty to people’s lives.”

“It is unlikely that any one of these provisions alone would pass the House, and taken together, they are a non-starter.  For one thing, this proposal does not include the permanent solution for the Dreamers and TPS recipients that our country needs and supports.”

Stalemate continues, both sides seeking political advantage at the expense of ordinary Americans and the economy if things drag on too long.

Dems complained they weren’t consulted about Trump’s proposal, reportedly something he, Pence, son-in-law Kushner, and congressional leaders cooked up.

With polls favoring where Dems stand on the shutdown, they’re benefitting at the expense of Trump and Republicans, why they’re unwilling to compromise.

They’re doing whatever it takes to undermine him, aiming to defeat his 2020 reelection bid or remove him earlier by impeachment – requiring proof of “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

No US president was ever removed from office this way. John Adams once said taking this step would cause a national convulsion.

Efforts to remove a sitting president are politically motivated, unrelated to the rule of law. The Dem controlled House may or may not impeach Trump. The GOP Senate won’t likely oust him.

Actions by members of both parties aim for an advantage in 2020. Of immediate concern is ending partial government shutdown.

Dems aren’t willing to compromise as long as polls favor them in this fight over Trump and Republicans. Shutdown may drag on much longer.

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

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

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The Quest for Peace and Justice. MLK’s Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech

January 21st, 2019 by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

It is impossible to begin this lecture without again expressing my deep appreciation to the Nobel Committee of the Norwegian Parliament for bestowing upon me and the civil rights movement in the United States such a great honor. Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meaning can o­nly be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart. Such is the moment I am presently experiencing. I experience this high and joyous moment not for myself alone but for those devotees of nonviolence who have moved so courageously against the ramparts of racial injustice and who in the process have acquired a new estimate of their own human worth.

Many of them are young and cultured. Others are middle aged and middle class. The majority are poor and untutored. But they are all united in the quiet conviction that it is better to suffer in dignity than to accept segregation in humiliation. These are the real heroes of the freedom struggle: they are the noble people for whom I accept the Nobel Peace Prize.

This evening I would like to use this lofty and historic platform to discuss what appears to me to be the most pressing problem confronting mankind today. Modern man has brought this whole world to an awe-inspiring threshold of the future. He has reached new and astonishing peaks of scientific success. He has produced machines that think and instruments that peer into the unfathomable ranges of interstellar space. He has built gigantic bridges to span the seas and gargantuan buildings to kiss the skies. His airplanes and spaceships have dwarfed distance, placed time in chains, and carved highways through the stratosphere. This is a dazzling picture of modern man’s scientific and technological progress.

Yet, in spite of these spectacular strides in science and technology, and still unlimited o­nes to come, something basic is missing. There is a sort of poverty of the spirit which stands in glaring contrast to our scientific and technological abundance. The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers.

Every man lives in two realms, the internal and the external. The internal is that realm of spiritual ends expressed in art, literature, morals, and religion. The external is that complex of devices, techniques, mechanisms, and instrumentalities by means of which we live. Our problem today is that we have allowed the internal to become lost in the external. We have allowed the means by which we live to outdistance the ends for which we live. So much of modern life can be summarized in that arresting dictum of the poet Thoreau1: “Improved means to an unimproved end”. This is the serious predicament, the deep and haunting problem confronting modern man. If we are to survive today, our moral and spiritual “lag” must be eliminated. Enlarged material powers spell enlarged peril if there is not proportionate growth of the soul. When the “without” of man’s nature subjugates the “within”, dark storm clouds begin to form in the world.

This problem of spiritual and moral lag, which constitutes modern man’s chief dilemma, expresses itself in three larger problems which grow out of man’s ethical infantilism. Each of these problems, while appearing to be separate and isolated, is inextricably bound to the other. I refer to racial injustice, poverty, and war.

The first problem that I would like to mention is racial injustice. The struggle to eliminate the evil of racial injustice constitutes o­ne of the major struggles of our time. The present upsurge of the Negro people of the United Statesgrows out of a deep and passionate determination to make freedom and equality a reality “here” and “now”. In o­ne sense the civil rights movement in the United States is a special American phenomenon which must be understood in the light of American history and dealt with in terms of the American situation. But o­n another and more important level, what is happening in the United States today is a relatively small part of a world development.

We live in a day, says the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead2,”when civilization is shifting its basic outlook: a major turning point in history where the presuppositions o­n which society is structured are being analyzed, sharply challenged, and profoundly changed.” What we are seeing now is a freedom explosion, the realization of “an idea whose time has come”, to use Victor Hugo’s phrase3. The deep rumbling of discontent that we hear today is the thunder of disinherited masses, rising from dungeons of oppression to the bright hills of freedom, in o­ne majestic chorus the rising masses singing, in the words of our freedom song, “Ain’t gonna let nobody turn us around.”4 All over the world, like a fever, the freedom movement is spreading in the widest liberation in history. The great masses of people are determined to end the exploitation of their races and land. They are awake and moving toward their goal like a tidal wave. You can hear them rumbling in every village street, o­n the docks, in the houses, among the students, in the churches, and at political meetings. Historic movement was for several centuries that of the nations and societies of Western Europe out into the rest of the world in “conquest” of various sorts. That period, the era of colonialism, is at an end. East is meeting West. The earth is being redistributed. Yes, we are “shifting our basic outlooks”.

These developments should not surprise any student of history. Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself. The Bible tells the thrilling story of how Moses stood in Pharaoh’s court centuries ago and cried, “Let my people go.”5 This is a kind of opening chapter in a continuing story. The present struggle in the United States is a later chapter in the same unfolding story. Something within has reminded the Negro of his birthright of freedom, and something without has reminded him that it can be gained. Consciously or unconsciously, he has been caught up by the Zeitgeist, and with his black brothers of Africa and his brown and yellow brothers in Asia, South America, and the Caribbean, the United States Negro is moving with a sense of great urgency toward the promised land of racial justice.

Fortunately, some significant strides have been made in the struggle to end the long night of racial injustice. We have seen the magnificent drama of independence unfold in Asia and Africa. Just thirty years ago there were o­nly three independent nations in the whole of Africa. But today thirty-five African nations have risen from colonial bondage. In the United States we have witnessed the gradual demise of the system of racial segregation. The Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools gave a legal and constitutional deathblow to the whole doctrine of separate but equal6. The Court decreed that separate facilities are inherently unequal and that to segregate a child o­n the basis of race is to deny that child equal protection of the law. This decision came as a beacon light of hope to millions of disinherited people. Then came that glowing day a few months ago when a strong Civil Rights Bill became the law of our land7. This bill, which was first recommended and promoted by President Kennedy, was passed because of the overwhelming support and perseverance of millions of Americans, Negro and white. It came as a bright interlude in the long and sometimes turbulent struggle for civil rights: the beginning of a second emancipation proclamation providing a comprehensive legal basis for equality of opportunity. Since the passage of this bill we have seen some encouraging and surprising signs of compliance. I am happy to report that, by and large, communities all over the southern part of the United States are obeying the Civil Rights Law and showing remarkable good sense in the process.

Another indication that progress is being made was found in the recent presidential election in the United States. The American people revealed great maturity by overwhelmingly rejecting a presidential candidate who had become identified with extremism, racism, and retrogression8. The voters of our nation rendered a telling blow to the radical right9. They defeated those elements in our society which seek to pit white against Negro and lead the nation down a dangerous Fascist path.

Let me not leave you with a false impression. The problem is far from solved. We still have a long, long way to go before the dream of freedom is a reality for the Negro in the United States. To put it figuratively in biblical language, we have left the dusty soils of Egypt and crossed a Red Sea whose waters had for years been hardened by a long and piercing winter of massive resistance. But before we reach the majestic shores of the Promised Land, there is a frustrating and bewildering wilderness ahead. We must still face prodigious hilltops of opposition and gigantic mountains of resistance. But with patient and firm determination we will press o­n until every valley of despair is exalted to new peaks of hope, until every mountain of pride and irrationality is made low by the leveling process of humility and compassion; until the rough places of injustice are transformed into a smooth plane of equality of opportunity; and until the crooked places of prejudice are transformed by the straightening process of bright-eyed wisdom.

What the main sections of the civil rights movement in the United States are saying is that the demand for dignity, equality, jobs, and citizenship will not be abandoned or diluted or postponed. If that means resistance and conflict we shall not flinch. We shall not be cowed. We are no longer afraid.

The word that symbolizes the spirit and the outward form of our encounter is nonviolence, and it is doubtless that factor which made it seem appropriate to award a peace prize to o­ne identified with struggle. Broadly speaking, nonviolence in the civil rights struggle has meant not relying o­n arms and weapons of struggle. It has meant noncooperation with customs and laws which are institutional aspects of a regime of discrimination and enslavement. It has meant direct participation of masses in protest, rather than reliance o­n indirect methods which frequently do not involve masses in action at all.

Nonviolence has also meant that my people in the agonizing struggles of recent years have taken suffering upon themselves instead of inflicting it o­n others. It has meant, as I said, that we are no longer afraid and cowed. But in some substantial degree it has meant that we do not want to instill fear in others or into the society of which we are a part. The movement does not seek to liberate Negroes at the expense of the humiliation and enslavement of whites. It seeks no victory over anyone. It seeks to liberate American society and to share in the self-liberation of all the people.

Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. I am not unmindful of the fact that violence often brings about momentary results. Nations have frequently won their independence in battle. But in spite of temporary victories, violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated o­nes. Violence is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding: it seeks to annihilate rather than convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives o­n hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends up defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.

In a real sense nonviolence seeks to redeem the spiritual and moral lag that I spoke of earlier as the chief dilemma of modern man. It seeks to secure moral ends through moral means. Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. Indeed, it is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it.

I believe in this method because I think it is the o­nly way to reestablish a broken community. It is the method which seeks to implement the just law by appealing to the conscience of the great decent majority who through blindness, fear, pride, and irrationality have allowed their consciences to sleep.

The nonviolent resisters can summarize their message in the following simple terms: we will take direct action against injustice despite the failure of governmental and other official agencies to act first. We will not obey unjust laws or submit to unjust practices. We will do this peacefully, openly, cheerfully because our aim is to persuade. We adopt the means of nonviolence because our end is a community at peace with itself. We will try to persuade with our words, but if our words fail, we will try to persuade with our acts. We will always be willing to talk and seek fair compromise, but we are ready to suffer when necessary and even risk our lives to become witnesses to truth as we see it.

This approach to the problem of racial injustice is not at all without successful precedent. It was used in a magnificent way by Mohandas K. Gandhi to challenge the might of the British Empire and free his people from the political domination and economic exploitation inflicted upon them for centuries. He struggled o­nly with the weapons of truth, soul force, non-injury, and courage10.

In the past ten years unarmed gallant men and women of the United States have given living testimony to the moral power and efficacy of nonviolence. By the thousands, faceless, anonymous, relentless young people, black and white, have temporarily left the ivory towers of learning for the barricades of bias. Their courageous and disciplined activities have come as a refreshing oasis in a desert sweltering with the heat of injustice. They have taken our whole nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in the formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. o­ne day all of America will be proud of their achievements11.

I am o­nly too well aware of the human weaknesses and failures which exist, the doubts about the efficacy of nonviolence, and the open advocacy of violence by some. But I am still convinced that nonviolence is both the most practically sound and morally excellent way to grapple with the age-old problem of racial injustice.

A second evil which plagues the modern world is that of poverty. Like a monstrous octopus, it projects its nagging, prehensile tentacles in lands and villages all over the world. Almost two-thirds of the peoples of the world go to bed hungry at night. They are undernourished, ill-housed, and shabbily clad. Many of them have no houses or beds to sleep in. Their o­nly beds are the sidewalks of the cities and the dusty roads of the villages. Most of these poverty-stricken children of God have never seen a physician or a dentist. This problem of poverty is not o­nly seen in the class division between the highly developed industrial nations and the so-called underdeveloped nations; it is seen in the great economic gaps within the rich nations themselves.

Take my own country for example. We have developed the greatest system of production that history has ever known. We have become the richest nation in the world. Our national gross product this year will reach the astounding figure of almost 650 billion dollars. Yet, at least o­ne-fifth of our fellow citizens – some ten million families, comprising about forty million individuals – are bound to a miserable culture of poverty. In a sense the poverty of the poor in America is more frustrating than the poverty of Africa and Asia. The misery of the poor in Africa and Asia is shared misery, a fact of life for the vast majority; they are all poor together as a result of years of exploitation and underdevelopment. In sad contrast, the poor in America know that they live in the richest nation in the world, and that even though they are perishing o­n a lonely island of poverty they are surrounded by a vast ocean of material prosperity. Glistening towers of glass and steel easily seen from their slum dwellings spring up almost overnight. Jet liners speed over their ghettoes at 600 miles an hour; satellites streak through outer space and reveal details of the moon. President Johnson, in his State of the Union Message12, emphasized this contradiction when he heralded the United States’ “highest standard of living in the world”, and deplored that it was accompanied by “dislocation; loss of jobs, and the specter of poverty in the midst of plenty”.

So it is obvious that if man is to redeem his spiritual and moral “lag”, he must go all out to bridge the social and economic gulf between the “haves” and the “have nots” of the world. Poverty is o­ne of the most urgent items o­n the agenda of modern life.

There is nothing new about poverty. What is new, however, is that we have the resources to get rid of it. More than a century and a half ago people began to be disturbed about the twin problems of population and production. A thoughtful Englishman named Malthus wrote a book13 that set forth some rather frightening conclusions. He predicted that the human family was gradually moving toward global starvation because the world was producing people faster than it was producing food and material to support them. Later scientists, however, disproved the conclusion of Malthus, and revealed that he had vastly underestimated the resources of the world and the resourcefulness of man.

Not too many years ago, Dr. Kirtley Mather, a Harvard geologist, wrote a book entitled Enough and to Spare14. He set forth the basic theme that famine is wholly unnecessary in the modern world. Today, therefore, the question o­n the agenda must read: Why should there be hunger and privation in any land, in any city, at any table when man has the resources and the scientific know-how to provide all mankind with the basic necessities of life? Even deserts can be irrigated and top soil can be replaced. We cannot complain of a lack of land, for there are twenty-five million square miles of tillable land, of which we are using less than seven million. We have amazing knowledge of vitamins, nutrition, the chemistry of food, and the versatility of atoms. There is no deficit in human resources; the deficit is in human will. The well-off and the secure have too often become indifferent and oblivious to the poverty and deprivation in their midst. The poor in our countries have been shut out of our minds, and driven from the mainstream of our societies, because we have allowed them to become invisible. Just as nonviolence exposed the ugliness of racial injustice, so must the infection and sickness of poverty be exposed and healed – not o­nly its symptoms but its basic causes. This, too, will be a fierce struggle, but we must not be afraid to pursue the remedy no matter how formidable the task.

The time has come for an all-out world war against poverty. The rich nations must use their vast resources of wealth to develop the underdeveloped, school the unschooled, and feed the unfed. Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation. No individual or nation can be great if it does not have a concern for “the least of these”. Deeply etched in the fiber of our religious tradition is the conviction that men are made in the image of God and that they are souls of infinite metaphysical value, the heirs of a legacy of dignity and worth. If we feel this as a profound moral fact, we cannot be content to see men hungry, to see men victimized with starvation and ill health when we have the means to help them. The wealthy nations must go all out to bridge the gulf between the rich minority and the poor majority.

In the final analysis, the rich must not ignore the poor because both rich and poor are tied in a single garment of destiny. All life is interrelated, and all men are interdependent. The agony of the poor diminishes the rich, and the salvation of the poor enlarges the rich. We are inevitably our brothers’ keeper because of the interrelated structure of reality. John Donne interpreted this truth in graphic terms when he affirmed15:

No man is an Iland, intire of its selfe: every
man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the
maine: if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea,
Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie
were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends
or of thine owne were: any mans death
diminishes me, because I am involved in
Mankinde: and therefore never send to know
for whom the bell tolls: it tolls for thee.

A third great evil confronting our world is that of war. Recent events have vividly reminded us that nations are not reducing but rather increasing their arsenals of weapons of mass destruction. The best brains in the highly developed nations of the world are devoted to military technology. The proliferation of nuclear weapons has not been halted, in spite of the Limited Test Ban Treaty16. o­n the contrary, the detonation of an atomic device by the first nonwhite, non- Western, and so-called underdeveloped power, namely the Chinese People’s Republic17, opens new vistas of exposure of vast multitudes, the whole of humanity, to insidious terrorization by the ever-present threat of annihilation. The fact that most of the time human beings put the truth about the nature and risks of the nuclear war out of their minds because it is too painful and therefore not “acceptable”, does not alter the nature and risks of such war. The device of “rejection” may temporarily cover up anxiety, but it does not bestow peace of mind and emotional security.

So man’s proneness to engage in war is still a fact. But wisdom born of experience should tell us that war is obsolete. There may have been a time when war served as a negative good by preventing the spread and growth of an evil force, but the destructive power of modern weapons eliminated even the possibility that war may serve as a negative good. If we assume that life is worth living and that man has a right to survive, then we must find an alternative to war. In a day when vehicles hurtle through outer space and guided ballistic missiles carve highways of death through the stratosphere, no nation can claim victory in war. A so-called limited war will leave little more than a calamitous legacy of human suffering, political turmoil, and spiritual disillusionment. A world war – God forbid! – will leave o­nly smoldering ashes as a mute testimony of a human race whose folly led inexorably to ultimate death. So if modern man continues to flirt unhesitatingly with war, he will transform his earthly habitat into an inferno such as even the mind of Dante could not imagine.

Therefore, I venture to suggest to all of you and all who hear and may eventually read these words, that the philosophy and strategy of nonviolence become immediately a subject for study and for serious experimentation in every field of human conflict, by no means excluding the relations between nations. It is, after all, nation-states which make war, which have produced the weapons which threaten the survival of mankind, and which are both genocidal and suicidal in character.

Here also we have ancient habits to deal with, vast structures of power, indescribably complicated problems to solve. But unless we abdicate our humanity altogether and succumb to fear and impotence in the presence of the weapons we have ourselves created, it is as imperative and urgent to put an end to war and violence between nations as it is to put an end to racial injustice. Equality with whites will hardly solve the problems of either whites or Negroes if it means equality in a society under the spell of terror and a world doomed to extinction.

I do not wish to minimize the complexity of the problems that need to be faced in achieving disarmament and peace. But I think it is a fact that we shall not have the will, the courage, and the insight to deal with such matters unless in this field we are prepared to undergo a mental and spiritual reevaluation – a change of focus which will enable us to see that the things which seem most real and powerful are indeed now unreal and have come under the sentence of death. We need to make a supreme effort to generate the readiness, indeed the eagerness, to enter into the new world which is now possible, “the city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God”18.

We will not build a peaceful world by following a negative path. It is not enough to say “We must not wage war.” It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it. We must concentrate not merely o­n the negative expulsion of war, but o­n the positive affirmation of peace. There is a fascinating little story that is preserved for us in Greek literature about Ulysses and the Sirens. The Sirens had the ability to sing so sweetly that sailors could not resist steering toward their island. Many ships were lured upon the rocks, and men forgot home, duty, and honor as they flung themselves into the sea to be embraced by arms that drew them down to death. Ulysses, determined not to be lured by the Sirens, first decided to tie himself tightly to the mast of his boat, and his crew stuffed their ears with wax. But finally he and his crew learned a better way to save themselves: they took o­n board the beautiful singer Orpheus whose melodies were sweeter than the music of the Sirens. When Orpheus sang, who bothered to listen to the Sirens?

So we must fix our vision not merely o­n the negative expulsion of war, but upon the positive affirmation of peace. We must see that peace represents a sweeter music, a cosmic melody that is far superior to the discords of war. Somehow we must transform the dynamics of the world power struggle from the negative nuclear arms race which no o­ne can win to a positive contest to harness man’s creative genius for the purpose of making peace and prosperity a reality for all of the nations of the world. In short, we must shift the arms race into a “peace race”. If we have the will and determination to mount such a peace offensive, we will unlock hitherto tightly sealed doors of hope and transform our imminent cosmic elegy into a psalm of creative fulfillment.

All that I have said boils down to the point of affirming that mankind’s survival is dependent upon man’s ability to solve the problems of racial injustice, poverty, and war; the solution of these problems is in turn dependent upon man squaring his moral progress with his scientific progress, and learning the practical art of living in harmony. Some years ago a famous novelist died. Among his papers was found a list of suggested story plots for future stories, the most prominently underscored being this o­ne: “A widely separated family inherits a house in which they have to live together.” This is the great new problem of mankind. We have inherited a big house, a great “world house” in which we have to live together – black and white, Easterners and Westerners, Gentiles and Jews, Catholics and Protestants, Moslem and Hindu, a family unduly separated in ideas, culture, and interests who, because we can never again live without each other, must learn, somehow, in this o­ne big world, to live with each other.

This means that more and more our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. We must now give an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in our individual societies.

This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond o­ne’s tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all men. This oft misunderstood and misinterpreted concept so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force, has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response which is little more than emotional bosh. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the First Epistle of Saint John19:

Let us love o­ne another: for love is of God; and everyone
that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
If we love o­ne another, God dwelleth in us, and His
love is perfected in us.

Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day. As Arnold Toynbee20 says: “Love is the ultimate force that makes for the saving choice of life and good against the damning choice of death and evil. Therefore the first hope in our inventory must be the hope that love is going to have the last word.” We can no longer afford to worship the God of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate. Love is the key to the solution of the problems of the world.

Let me close by saying that I have the personal faith that mankind will somehow rise up to the occasion and give new directions to an age drifting rapidly to its doom. In spite of the tensions and uncertainties of this period something profoundly meaningful is taking place. Old systems of exploitation and oppression are passing away, and out of the womb of a frail world new systems of justice and equality are being born. Doors of opportunity are gradually being opened to those at the bottom of society. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are developing a new sense of “some-bodiness” and carving a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of despair. “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light.”21

Here and there an individual or group dares to love, and rises to the majestic heights of moral maturity. So in a real sense this is a great time to be alive. Therefore, I am not yet discouraged about the future. Granted that the easygoing optimism of yesterday is impossible. Granted that those who pioneer in the struggle for peace and freedom will still face uncomfortable jail terms, painful threats of death; they will still be battered by the storms of persecution, leading them to the nagging feeling that they can no longer bear such a heavy burden, and the temptation of wanting to retreat to a more quiet and serene life. Granted that we face a world crisis which leaves us standing so often amid the surging murmur of life’s restless sea. But every crisis has both its dangers and its opportunities. It can spell either salvation or doom. In a dark confused world the kingdom of God may yet reign in the hearts of men.

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Dr. King delivered this lecture in the Auditorium of the University of Oslo. This text is taken from Les Prix Nobel en 1964. The text in the New York Times is excerpted. His speech of acceptance delivered the day before in the same place is reported fully both in Les Prix Nobel en 1964 and the New York Times.

Notes

  1. Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), American poet and essayist.
  2. Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947). British philosopher and mathematician, professor at the University of London and Harvard University.
  3. “There is o­ne thing stronger than all the armies in the world and that is an idea whose time has come.” Translations differ; probable origin is Victor Hugo, Histoire d’un crime, “Conclusion-La Chute”, chap. 10.
  4. “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around” is the title of an old Baptist spiritual.
  5. Exodus 5:1; 8:1; 9:1; 10:3.
  6. “Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka”, 347 U.S. 483, contains the decision of May 17, 1954, requiring desegregation of the public schools by the states. “Bolling vs. Sharpe”, 347 U.S. 497, contains the decision of same date requiring desegregation of public schools by the federal government; i.e. in Washington, D.C. “Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka”, Nos. 1-5. 349 U.S. 249, contains the opinion of May 31, 1955, o­n appeals from the decisions in the two cases cited above, ordering admission to “public schools o­n a racially nondiscriminatory basis with all deliberate speed”.
  7. Public Law 88-352, signed by President Johnson o­n July 2, 1964.
  8. Both Les Prix Nobel and the New York Times read “retrogress”.
  9. Lyndon B. Johnson defeated Barry Goldwater by a popular vote of 43, 128, 956 to 27,177,873.
  10. For a note o­n Gandhi, seep. 329, fn. 1.
  11. For accounts of the civil rights activities by both whites and blacks in the decade from 1954 to 1964, see Alan F. Westin, Freedom Now: The Civil Rights Struggle in America (New York: Basic Books, 1964), especially Part IV, “The Techniques of the Civil Rights Struggle”; Howard Zinn, SNCC: The New Abolitionists (Boston: Beacon Press, 1964); Eugene V. Rostow, “The Freedom Riders and the Future”, The Reporter (June 22, 1961); James Peck, Cracking the Color Line: Nonviolent Direct Action Methods of Eliminating Racial Discrimination (New York: CORE, 1960).
  12. January 8, 1964.
  13. Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1834), An Essay o­n the Principle of Population (1798).
  14. Kirtley F. Mather, Enough and to Spare: Mother Earth Can Nourish Every Man in Freedom (New York: Harper, 1944).
  15. John Donne (1572?-1631), English poet, in the final lines of “Devotions” (1624).
  16. Officially called “Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Tests in Atmosphere, in Outer Space, and Underwater”, and signed by Russia, England, and United States o­n July 25, 1963.
  17. o­n October 16, 1964.
  18. Hebrews II: 10.
  19. I John 4:7-8, 12.
  20. Arnold Joseph Toynbee (1889- ), British historian whose monumental work is the 10-volume A Study of Story (1934-1954).
  21. This quotation may be based o­n a phrase from Luke 1:79, “To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death”; or o­ne from Psalms 107:10, “Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death”; or o­ne from Mark Twain’s To the Person Sitting in Darkness (1901), “The people who sit in darkness have noticed it…”.

From Nobel Lectures, Peace 1951-1970, Editor Frederick W. Haberman, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1972

Featured image is from ABC7 Chicago

The U.S. is “The Greatest Purveyor of Violence in the World Today”.  That statement by MLK more than ever prevails today. 

On November 9th, 1967, Dr. King gave the Annual Convocation address of the Graduate Student Association (GSA) at SUNY Buffalo. o­n behalf of the GSA, I was co-organizer of the event and his driver that evening. This speech was seven months after his historic “Beyond Vietnam” oration at New York’s Riverside Church in which he condemned that war. That evening, we discussed the harsh attacks he received for his opposition. King calmly and patiently explained that he opposed the Vietnam conflict because conscience demanded it; he resolutely stayed the course until his assassination five months later.

“BEYOND VIETNAM” is perhaps his greatest speech, although unknown to most Americans compared with his “I Have a Dream” oration at the August 1963 March for Freedom and Jobs in Washington. Those who have heard or watched King’s magnificent oration that day are deeply moved, but to this day little is known about the pre-march “apprehension [and] dread” of the corporate media and political establishment. President Kennedy ordered 4,000 troops to be “assembled in the suburbs, backed by 15,000 paratroopers” of the 82nd Airborne Division in North Carolina; his aide was ready “to cut the power to the public-address system if rally speeches proved incendiary”; Washington banned all alcohol sales for the first time since Prohibition; and hospitals prepared “for riot casualties.”

The event was a huge success: it drew a record crowd of some 250,000 people in a marvelous and peaceful show of support for justice (Taylor Branch, “Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years 1954-63”). Four years later, King articulated powerful truths about the War in Vietnam and this nation. He laid his firm opposition to the war squarely o­n the shoulders of the U.S. government – that had denied the Vietnamese their right to independence, aided brutal French colonialism there, created and supported Diem’s dictatorship in South Vietnam, and violated the 1954 Geneva Agreement.

King denounced the U.S. as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today,” and saw the war was “a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit.” Later that spring, he asserted that “the evils of racism, economic exploitation and militarism are all tied together“: we could not “get rid of o­ne without getting rid of the others [and] the whole structure of American life must be changed.” He stated that the injustice of the conflict was inextricably linked to the African American struggle for civil rights. The war was an enemy of poor people because it diverted money that could be used to mitigate the effects of poverty. And the poor, especially the African American poor, were being killed or maimed in higher proportions than their representation in the U.S. population (Southern Christian Leadership Conference Report, 1967). King’s speech elicited vicious attacks by the political and corporate media establishment, and civil rights leaders. Life Magazine stated, “Much of his speech was a demagogic slander that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi.”

The New York Times called his effort to link civil rights and opposition to the war a “disservice to both. The moral issues in Vietnam are less clear-cut than he suggests.” It concluded that there were “no simple or easy answers to the war in Vietnam or to racial injustice in this country.” The Washington Post claimed that some of his assertions were “sheer inventions of unsupported fantasy”; that King had “diminished his usefulness to his cause, to his country and to his people.” The corporate media and political condemnation of King accurately reflected public sentiment; a Harris poll taken in May 1967 revealed that 73 percent of Americans opposed his antiwar position, including 50 percent of African Americans.

If we wish to pay tribute to Dr. King, we should read (or reread) his “Beyond Vietnam” speech, and abandon the myths about him and the movement for justice and peace to which he dedicated his life. We do a grave injustice to his legacy and that struggle by revising the actual history of the era, and by failing to fully understand and confront the economic exploitation, militarism, and racism that he condemned – which continue to poison this nation.

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John Marciano lives in Talent, Oregon.

Featured image is from BelovedSyria

While no one, including me, doubts that the intensity of corporate espionage that goes on in the tech industry the latest news in the Trump Administration’s assault on Chinese telecom giant Huawai should dispel any doubts as to what the real issue is.

The Trump administration is preparing an executive order that could significantly restrict Chinese state-owned telecom companies from operating in the U.S. over national security concerns, according to people familiar with the matter.

Reached by Bloomberg, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council wouldn’t confirm whether an order is in the works, but did state that “the United States is working across government and with our allies and like-minded partners to mitigate risk in the deployment of 5G and other communications infrastructure.” In the statement, spokesman Garrett Marquis also said that “communications networks form the backbone of our society and underpin every aspect of modern life. The United States will ensure that our networks are secure and reliable.”

As always with statements in stories planted in major U.S. media houses like these what isn’t said is more important than what is said.

There are two major bones of contention with Huawei from the U.S. government’s perspective. First is that Huawei is way ahead of everyone else in 5G technology.

They have the only end-to-end technology stack in the industry. Turnkey 5G networks from antennas and chips to the power stations needed to operate them. Simply peruse their website to see what I’m talking about.

All across the “Five Eyes” countries we have seen announcement after announcement of their banning Huawei 5G equipment from their networks. This is as much economic protectionism as it is about ‘national security.’

But, the real issue here is that, in very short order, Huawei has become a global leader in 5G infrastructure technology which the U.S. is falling behind on.  And now with this arrest [Huawei CFO Weng Wanzhou] Trump is betting that he can scare everyone else into not buying their superior products through the ruinous application of sanctions policies.

The West has been systematically cutting Huawei out of the global 5G rollout because of ‘security’ concerns. More like profit concerns.  It is, simply, typical protectionism by Mr. Tariff himself.

And he’s made no bones about any of this.  Trump has stated quite emphatically that all a policy has to do is pass his ‘America First’ sniff test and it’ll get implemented.

And since he’s not a deep thinker, all he cares about are first-order effects and how he can sell it on his Twitter feed to his now brain-dead base who believes all of this ‘China hacked muh everything’ narrative we’re being inundated with all of a sudden.

So that’s the first angle on this. But, the real issue isn’t just Huawei’s technological advantage which will put it in the driver’s seat to connect most of the unconnected world.

The real issue is that nothing has changed since a 2014 report from The Register that Huawei categorically refuses to install NSA backdoors into their hardware to allow unfettered intelligence access to the data that crosses their networks.

However, documents disclosed by Edward Snowden this year suggest Huawei may be more sinned against than sinner. The US National Security Agency’s ‘Tailored Access Operations’ unit broke into Huawei’s corporate servers, and by 2010 was reading corporate email and examining the source code used in Huawei’s products.
“We currently have good access and so much data that we don’t know what to do with it,” boasted one NSA briefing. The slides also disclose the NSA intended to plant its own backdoors in Huawei firmware.

So, make no mistake, the China hawks in the Trump administration are willing to derail a much-needed technology rollout in order to maintain complete control over data flow which four years ago was beyond their ability to process.

John Bolton is willing to start WWIII over a couple of pipe bombs thrown at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, for pity’s sake. Is is so far-fetched to believe he doesn’t want us to have 5G data access without the security blanket of spying on anyone he wants at any time?

Never forget that when they are presenting you with one bogeyman it is to distract you from the real one — them. We know from the myriad of leaks and data breaches that all of our data winds up in the hands people we didn’t give consent to.

We know that the NSA has access to any information it wants, obtained via the fiction of ‘legal channels.’ So why should we go through the fiction of pretending like Huawei is the real threat?

They may very well be, but it hasn’t been proven and it would be bad business for them to actually do so.

The national security angle is simply about Huawei refusing the U.S. repeatedly on granting backdoor access to our information.

It reveals both an insecurity and an insanity that grips every society in the late stages of Imperialism. As the competitive edge is lost the threat of competition fuels paranoia and the need to control everything.

But it is this need for control and the diverting of an ever-increasing proportion of the country’s resources to it that drives further loss of competitive edge.

Simply put capital isn’t going into innovation, it’s going into defending your moats, as Warren Buffet would put it. Moats around your business aren’t permanent. They require maintenance and innovation to remain strong.

Banning Huawei’s 5G network technology will ensure the communications gap between the U.S. and the rest of the world remains since the best products will not be on the market to spur competition, drive prices and costs down which fuel the next round of innovation.

Even as patriots worried about China’s most nefarious schemes we should not be applauding this. Because 5G itself is technology so far in advance of where we are now it means a completely different Internet architecture.

We’re staring at one capable of resisting the ham-fisted control techniques currently in place to keep us bottled up behind pay-walls, app-stores and, most importantly, hub and server connectivity.

Bandwidth so wide it means peer-to-peer networks so fast we won’t need sites like YouTube or Periscope to do citizen journalism. Deplatforming will become harder and harder. Decentralized data storage on blockchains which they can’t hack, etc.

And that’s what truly scares these people. What happens when the net itself becomes so decentralized they won’t be able to pick up a phone and take you offline?

As always, regulators and generals like John Bolton are fighting the last war. And if history tells us anything those people always lose.

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Fifty-two years ago on April 4, 1967, at Riverside Church, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.,  gave his most important speech ever, “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence.” King’s conscience drove him to take the unpopular position of publicly criticizing the Vietnam War and putting it in the context of the “giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism.” The message of that speech remains relevant today because its wisdom has not been heeded.

We put this in the context of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) because this year on April 4, the anniversary of that speech and the anniversary of the murder of King by the government, NATO will be holding its 70th anniversary meeting in Washington, DC. Protests and other activities are being planned.

NATO is a front for Western military aggression, which has resulted in destruction around the world, mass deaths and mass migration as people are forced from their NATO-destroyed communities. It’s time to end it.

No to NATO! : Newport, August 30, 2014. From Rtuc’s Blog.

Would Dr. King oppose NATO?

That is the question asked by the Black Alliance for Peace on this birthday weekend of Martin Luther King, Jr. The Alliance explains why Dr. King would speak out against NATO if he were alive today:

Dr. King would be opposed to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) because it is an instrument of US and European militarism. He would not be confused—and neither are we—about why the liberal establishment, neocons, military-industrial complex, corporations and the corporate media are opposed to ending an anachronistic structure. NATO’s only reason for being today is to serve as the military wing of the dying U.S.-European colonial project.

Black Alliance for Peace is not alone in seeing the reality of NATO as an aggressive arm of the US military. In the Chicago Tribune, Victor Davis Hanson writes, “In an era when the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact are now ancient history, everyone praises NATO as ‘indispensable’ and ‘essential’ to Western solidarity and European security. But few feel any need to explain how and why that could still be so.”

The truth is NATO is not only not indispensable or essential — it is counterproductive. It creates conflicts and is being used as an aggressive military tool. Among the wars of NATO are Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Somalia, and Yemen as well as Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo and Yugoslavia

In NATO is a Danger, Not a Guarantor of Peace, the American Conservative describes how NATO was appropriate when it was created to deter Russian aggression, but that was only necessary prior to the dissolution of the soviet union. It writes that NATO “has maintained a destabilizing posture toward Russia ever since” and urges Trump to return to his campaign view that NATO is obsolete, a position he has backtracked from saying he just didn’t know much about it.

David Swanson of World Beyond War describes how NATO works against the rule of law writing, “NATO is used within the US and by other NATO members as cover to wage wars under the pretense that they are somehow more legal or acceptable.”

When the Soviet Union dissolved, the excuse for NATO ended. Indeed, it is well known that Gorbachev and other Soviet leaders received assurances that NATO would not expand. These assurances came not only from President George H.W. Bush but also from West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher; West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl; former CIA Director Robert Gates; French leader Francois Mitterrand; Margaret Thatcher; British Foreign Minister Douglas Hurd; and Manfred Woerner, the NATO secretary-general.

Instead of ending NATO after it no longer served any defensive military purpose, NATO expanded to 29 nations, 13 since the end of the Soviet Union, including countries on the border of Russia. One of the reasons for the US coup in Ukraine was to antagonize Russia and prevent access to its naval fleet through Crimea. Ukraine is now partnering with NATO.

The current US national military strategy calls for conflict with Russia and China. NATO continuously expanding, conducting military exercises and putting bases, missiles and other military equipment on the Russian border are part of that strategy. NATO has even expanded to Colombia, which borders Venezuela, another nation the US has threatened with war while conducting an economic war and regime change operations there.

A coalition of more than 100 organizations that are calling for an end to NATO describes its devastating impact:

“NATO has been the world’s deadliest military alliance, causing untold suffering and devastation throughout Northern Africa, the Middle East and beyond. Hundreds of thousands have died in U.S./NATO wars in Iraq, Libya, Somalia and Yugoslavia. Millions of refugees are now risking their lives trying to escape the carnage that these wars have brought to their homelands, while workers in the 29 NATO member-countries are told they must abandon hard-won social programs in order to meet U.S. demands for even more military spending.”

King delivering his speech “Beyond Vietnam” at New York City’s Riverside Church in 1967. By John C. Goodwin, TIME Magazine.

Dr. King’s Clarion Call Needs to be Acted On

In 1967, Martin Luther King, Jr., warned, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” He described how militarism was destroying the soul of the United States and called for an end to the Vietnam war. He described in excruciating detail the US destruction of Vietnam, mass bombings, napalm, poisoning of their water and land and the killing of more than a million Vietnamese. He said a foreign policy based on violence and domination abroad, leads to violence and domination at home, and he urged “we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values.”

Time has shown the truth of his message as militarized police terrorize poor communities and are used to silence dissent, creating a war at home. Other aspects of the war at home are the injustice system, mass incarceration, the lack of social supports and the exploitation of workers and the environment.

King described how war degrades US soldiers who realize “we are on the side of the wealthy, and the secure, while we create a hell for the poor.” King said he could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor “as poor blacks and whites” from the United States were “burning the huts of a poor village” 8,000 miles away. The dehumanization and contempt of “other” people, he noted, leads to the persecution and death of black people in the United States.

King saw war as “a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit.” King accurately predicted that if we did not face this reality, US militarism would spread throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Today the US has 883 foreign military bases with troops deployed in 149 countries and sells or gives weapons to 98 countries. He described how the US keeps troops in foreign lands to “maintain social stability for our investments accounts.” He described US imperialism as based on “refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investment. “

King connected the extreme materialism of capitalism to militarization and racism, describing a “thing-oriented” society rather than a “person-oriented” society and how “profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people.” King described the new hopes in the nation as the government confronted poverty with new programs to uplift the poor, but how he “watched this program broken and eviscerated” as war funding stole from funding the necessities of the people.

Today, US military spending of more than a trillion dollars – the Pentagon alone is $717 billion – accounts for more than 65% of discretionary spending while poverty and homelessness rise. King called for a transformational change as an “edifice which produces beggars needs re-structuring” and urged us to “look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth.” The wealth divide today has worsened with three people having wealth equal to half the population. King criticized “capitalists” who sought to take the wealth of nations across the globe.

Members of various groups planning to protest the NATO summit including Jesse McAdoo, from the People’s Summit, Aaron Hughes from Iraq Veterans Against the War and Andy Thayer, protest organizer talk to the media Thursday, May 10, 2012, in Chicago. By Nancy Stone for the Chicago Tribune.

The Insult of NATO Celebrating War-Making In Washington, DC on April 4

On April 4, NATO will be holding meetings in Washington, DC. This is an insult to the memory of Dr. King and what he stood for. The Peace Congress, which was held in place of Trump’s cancelled military parade, called for people to unify around protests against NATO during their meetings.

The No2NATO2019 coalition, which is organizing protests against NATO, writes:

“…in a grotesque desecration of Rev. King’s lifelong dedication to peace, this is the date that the military leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have chosen to celebrate NATO’s 70th anniversary by holding its annual summit meeting in Washington, D.C. This is a deliberate insult to Rev. King and a clear message that Black lives and the lives of non-European humanity, and indeed the lives of the vast majority, really do not matter.”

World Beyond War is organizing No to NATO — Yes to Peace Festival, which will include an art build, food, music and teach-ins on April 3 and a march from the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial on April 4.

People are planning to organize strategic, nonviolent protests against NATO’s meetings and organizing non-violent direct action training to prepare for them. Learn more about all of the events and how you can participate.

On this holiday weekend, we reflect on the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. who urged us to “re-dedicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world.” Protest to end NATO will be a step toward ending what King called “the deadly western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long.” It is time for peace to “take precedence over the pursuit of war.”

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

Featured image is from No2NATO2019.org

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US Training Saudi and UAE Pilots for Combat in Yemen

January 21st, 2019 by Stephen Lendman

Yemen is one of many US forever wars – key NATO countries, Israel, Jordan, the Saudis and UAE partnering in them.

US special forces operate in Yemen. A Pentagon drone war has been ongoing in the country without letup since launched by Bush/Cheney in October 2001, weeks after 9/11.

A no-ceasefire/ceasefire reflects conditions on the ground. War rages with no prospect for resolution because bipartisan US hardliners reject ending it. Claiming otherwise is political pretense.

Daily reports show endless conflict continues. US-backed Saudi/UAE forces keep battling Houthi fighters, including in areas around the strategic port city of Hodeidah, ceasefire agreed on more illusion than reality.

Saudi/UAE terror-bombing goes on daily – overnight against Sanaa, the Houthi-controlled Yemeni capital. A Houthi statement said “(t)his escalation comes under the direction and supervision of the U.S… This escalation will be met with an escalation.”

Earlier calls by US officials for peaceful conflict resolution in Yemen were pure deception. Republicans and undemocratic Dems reject restoring peace and stability to war-ravaged countries.

According to Military Times last November, the Pentagon’s so-called Operation Yukon Journey involves US military operations in Africa and the Middle East – on the phony pretext of defeating ISIS and al-Qaeda Washington created and supports.

The Middle East operation is designated “Support to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Partner Nations in Yemen.” Along with providing weapons, munitions, intelligence, and logistics support, the Pentagon has been training Saudi and UAE pilots for combat in Yemen.

Federal procurement documents show the US air force has been using a private contractor to train Saudi pilots at its US facility.

A previous article discussed US and UK involvement in supplying the Saudis with billions of dollars worth of weapons and munitions annually, Pentagon contractors involved in training its military personnel in their use.

Under the so-called United States Military Training Mission to Saudi Arabia, USMTM trains, advises and assists the kingdom’s armed forces, including through military exercises and related activities.

USMTM is a joint US army, navy, air force and marine corps joint command, an extensive arrangement with the kingdom since the 1950s – under the 1951 Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement and later USMTM agreement.

An earlier London Daily Mail report said Britain is secretly training Saudi’s military, aiding its genocidal war in Yemen.

Documents obtained through an FOIA request show Pentagon personnel have been and likely still are actively involved in training UAE pilots for combat operations in Yemen.

According to an air force memo dated December 18, 2017, its personnel “assisted (the training of) 150 (UAE) airmen in challenging (exercises) to prepare (them) for combat ops in Yemen.”

Further training was provided UAE pilots at the country’s Pentagon operated Al Dhafra airbase, the memo saying:

“Unit fighter personnel advanced the UAE’s F-16 fighter pilot training program; 3 pilots flew 243 instructor sorties/323 hrs that created 4 new instructors & 29 combat wingmen who immediately deployed for combat operations in Yemen.”

CENTCOM spokesman Lt. Col. Josh Jacques lied, saying

“(w)e do not conduct exercises with (Saudi and UAE airmen) to prepare for combat operations in Yemen.”

Joint Chiefs chairman General Joseph Dunford turned truth on its head, claiming the US is “not a participant in the civil war (sic) in Yemen, nor are we supporting one side or another.”

Hard evidence refutes both of the above statements. Conflicts in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Central Asia and North Africa are US launched and waged, nothing civil about any of them. Nor are they involved in combating the scourge of terrorism the US supports, using jihadists as proxy troops.

None of the above information should surprise. The Pentagon and private military contractors it enlists are actively involved in training and otherwise working directly with the armed forces of numerous countries worldwide.

What’s going on is all about advancing America’s imperium, largely by waging endless wars and related military activities.

Trump is like his predecessors, co-opted to go along with a dirty system, raging since Harry Truman’s war on North Korea in the early 1950s.

Endless US wars of aggression rage with no prospect for resolution, others drafted to be launched if and when ordered – every sovereign independent country potentially targeted, including Russia, China and Iran.

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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.

January 19, 2019, marks the two-year anniversary of the demolition of Iran’s 15-story Plasco Building and the murder of 16 firefighters and six civilians who were inside the building at the time of its destruction.

As with the Twin Towers and World Trade Center Building 7, a false narrative of the building suddenly collapsing due to fire was successfully promulgated immediately after the incident and was subsequently reinforced by a fraudulent government report.

In remembrance of the 22 innocent victims and in solidarity with the people of Iran, please share our 90-second video today by forwarding this email or by sharing the video on Facebook.

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Would Martin Luther King Oppose NATO?

January 21st, 2019 by Black Alliance for Peace

The United States attempted to co-opt the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by recognizing his birthday. The ruling elites tried to strip King of his militancy and suspend him above the mass movement that produced him. The state certainly had no intention to remain the focus of King’s opposition to the Vietnam War or even more threatening, his opposition to militarism in general and U.S. military imperialism in particular.

But we are actively liberating the meaning of Dr. King’s life and re-inserting it into the history of Black resistance. We argue with some confidence that Dr. King would be opposed to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) because it is an instrument of U.S. and European militarism. He would not be confused—and neither are we—about why the liberal establishment, neocons, military-industrial complex, corporations and the corporate media are opposed to ending an anachronistic structure. NATO’s only reason for being today is to serve as the military wing of the dying U.S.-European colonial project.

BAP will use Dr. King’s birthday on January 15 and his assassination on April 4 as bookends during 2019 to intensify our efforts to engage the public in a conversation about the bipartisan commitment to war and violence. We will raise the visibility of our campaign to shut down AFRICOM as we prepare to launch a second campaign on April 4 that will focus on ending the state violence being waged against Black, Brown and poor people across the United States.

We remind our readers and supporters of a very important development, the creation of an international campaign to oppose NATO that BAP played a key role in helping organize in 2018. The saying goes, “Follow the money.” Here you can see why NATO and keeping the U.S. public on a war-footing is so incredibly profitable for the merchants of death. The U.S. dependency on force and militarism is also becoming a major threat.

BAP member Karanja Keita Carroll, Ph.D., an organizer and African-centered academic, presented a lecture at George Jackson University this past week. He begins speaking at 20 minutes into this recording.

We are alarmed at the FBI’s arrest and detention of U.S.-born African sister Marzieh Hashemi, who anchors Iran’s PressTV. Her hijab was forcibly removed and she has only been served pork in prison while she is being detained as a “material witness.” A campaign to #FreeMarziehHashemi has kicked off on Twitter.

The Network in Defense of Humanity published a statement calling for respect for the people of Venezuela as they struggle for self-determination through the socialist government of Nicolas Maduro. His administration has recently been under attack, with various U.S. politicians claiming the right-wing president of Venezuela’s National Assembly is the real leader of the country. All this while the United States mulls another round of sanctions and a military coup in the Bolivarian republic.

And finally, please help us get to 3,000 signatures on the petition to shut down AFRICOM that we will present to the Congressional Black Caucus. Please share the petition if you’ve already signed.

No compromise.

No retreat.

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Video: Les Gilets Jaunes

January 21st, 2019 by Le Média Pour Tous – Officiel

The #GiletsJaunes are always determined, contrary to what the multiple television shows that are devoted to them suggest.

Several thousand demonstrators paraded quietly in Paris on Saturday, January 12 for Acte IX determination! until their encirclement by the police at Place de l’Etoile.

#VincentLapierre and his team of Media for All was on hand to report the facts as they occurred.

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Distinguished Press TV journalist/anchor’s unlawful arrest, detention and mistreatment by the FBI, on the pretext of being a material witness regarding a case her family knows nothing about, gave the US another international black eye.

What happened captured world headlines, hopefully enough to help hasten Marzieh’s release. Press TV, the Tehran Times, and other Iranian media continue giving the case extensive coverage.

International print and electronic media have had feature stories on what happened – including RT, Sputnik News, the NYT, Washington Post, AP News, Reuters, CBS, NBC, and ABC News, CNN, Fox News, Al Jazeera, the BBC, London Guardian, Haaretz, and numerous other outlets.

They’ve elevated Marzieh’s status as a distinguished international journalist to an even higher level than before what happened – by highlighting her unacceptable arrest, detention, and mistreatment uncharged.

They explained what the NYT wrote as follows, saying “no reason (was) given for her arrest…(H)er Islamic head scarf (was) forcibly removed…(S)he was chained hand and foot, and…denied access to halal food and had eaten only crackers.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif denounced what happened, saying

“(t)he custody of Iran’s reporter in the US is highly political, and she should be released immediately.”

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said the following:

“The imprisonment of a reporter who is nonwhite and enters the US demonstrates how the approach of Mr. Trump’s government is based on racist and discriminatory policies within an apartheid regime. We hope that this innocent person is unconditionally released soon.”

Tehran Times editor Muhammad Qaderi said her mistreatment shows the real face of the US to the world community.

The Iranian High Council for Human Rights called “her violent and humiliating treatment” a brazen example of arbitrary arrest and detention, accusing the US of “illegal, unjustifiable and anti-human rights measures” – a flagrant violation of her fundamental rights, how Washington operates domestically and abroad.

Program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Alexandra Ellerbeck expressed concern about Marzieh’s arrest and detention. She “call(ed) on the US Department of Justice to immediately disclose the basis for her detention…”

Her colleague and friend Nader Talevzadeh called her arrest a “concocted (US) plan,” part of its hostility toward the Islamic Republic. “This is intimidation and a provocation against Iran,” he stressed.

Marzieh is unlawfully held by the FBI at an undisclosed Washington location with minimal family contact and no legal representation for days.

Reportedly a lawyer has now been appointed on her behalf. Most so-called public defenders woefully ill-serve clients with little time available to present a proper defense everyone deserves in judicial proceedings.

According to federal authorities, Marzieh appeared twice before a US district judge on Friday, an appointed lawyer representing her.

A partially unsealed order for her arrest and detention provided no information about what happened and why, other than she’s held as a material witness to an unspecified criminal case her family knows nothing about.

She’s detained to give grand jury testimony. Witnesses before these proceedings are only present during their testimony to a prosecutor and grand jurors, no judge or legal representation present.

Conducted to determine if a crime was committed, proceedings are secret, a majority of jurors required for an indictment to be issued.

Witnesses are required to answer questions by a prosecutor and jurors, criminal suspect(s) usually not present during proceedings.

Prosecutors try to establish probable cause to indict. They manipulate grand juries, gaming the system to get judgments they seek, justice denied time and again. Proceedings often amount to a sword for injustice, not a shield against it.

Witnesses accused of nothing can be indicted if prosecutors claim they gave false or misleading testimonies. They’re not told of the risk, making them vulnerable if this was the prosecutorial intent for demanding their testimony.

Clever ones can manipulate witnesses to unwittingly mislead. Anything said under oath or otherwise can be used against them. Given extreme US hostility toward Iran, Marzieh is vulnerable to a gross miscarriage of justice – besides what she’s endured so far.

A US citizen working in Iran for the past decade, dividing her time between both countries, she explained her conversion to Islam as follows, saying she “was born in a religious Christian family, and since 26 or 27 years ago I have become Muslim,” adding:

“For me, embracing Islam is directly in relation to Islamic revolution of Iran and the characteristic of Imam Khomeini.”

“When I was a student in America, I witnessed that the Iranian students are so active and I was so interested in political activities then, I used to ask them about their activities and purposes, why you protest?”

“And they used to talk about the cruelty of the overset king and Imam Khomeini to me, and this was the first step for me becoming Muslim.”

“I was looking for the truth and I wasn’t satisfied with my own religion, and I had no solution for the problem that the God has three parts of the Father, and the Son, and the holy Sprit, But still where one?”

“I wasn’t convinced with answers when I asked from different people, when this issue happened to be in university, I started to study not only about Islam but about different religions, and simultaneously comparing them in theory and ideology, from Max Weber up to now, and thank God after I became Muslim.”

Explaining her career in journalism, she said

“I am a Press TV correspondent and the editor in chief of Mahjubah magazine in America. I am a presenter and political analyst.”

“Press TV is the first 24-hour English Channel in Iran. From the beginning of the Attack of America against Iraq, the people are watching it to know about the stand point of Iran and what Iran says, because the other channels weren’t covering the war, and it played a considerable role in Israel’s (undeclared war on) Gaza, so people are watching it to find out the truth and reality.”

Marzieh’s son Hossein fears she’ll be detained for an indefinite period, hopeful things will turn out otherwise, saying “(i)t doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. (W)e’re waiting to hear more.”

In March 2011, Obama’s Executive Order 13567 authorized indefinite detentions and military commission trials – violating America’s Fifth Amendment, stating:

“No person…shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” – constitutional law the US consistently breaches.

In December 2011, America’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) legitimized unconstitutional and international law prohibited indefinite detentions – everyone potentially vulnerable, including US citizens without just cause.

No proof is needed, no habeas, due process or equal protection afforded anyone targeted. The 1215 Magna Carta states the following:

“No free man (woman or child) shall be seized, or imprisoned, or stripped of his (or her) rights or possessions, or outlawed, or exiled, or deprived of his (or her) standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him (or her), or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his (or her) equals, or by the law of the land.”

“Due process of law” later substituted for “the law of the land.” It’s inviolable, breaching it flagrantly unconstitutional. The Fifth Amendment’s due process guarantee applies to US federal, state and local governance, no exceptions permitted.

Yet targeted individuals are extrajudicially arrested and detained at home and abroad, held indefinitely uncharged and untried, based on suspicions, hearsay, secret evidence, or any other pretext.

Constitutional law and Supreme Court rulings, affirming the inviolability of due process and equal protection rights, are breached by the US time and again.

Friday district court proceedings provided no information about Marziah’s detention, other than explaining she’s not accused of a crime – not so far.

What the Trump regime has in mind is unknown until things unfold ahead. Marziah is being used, a victim of US contempt for the fundamental rights of everyone, doing whatever it pleases unaccountably.

Reuters cited an unnamed US federal source, saying Press TV is being investigated as an Iranian “propaganda outlet.”

It’s a preeminent truth-telling news service, featuring distinguished guests, providing in-depth information on major world issues, explaining what everyone needs to know.

It’s polar opposite managed news misinformation and disinformation featured by US and other Western media, suppressing what should be featured.

It’s unclear what’s ahead for Marzieh. It’s very clear that her arrest, detention and mistreatment constitute flagrant constitutional and international law violations.

What happened to her and countless others in America can happen to anyone. Their struggle for justice is ours!

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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.

Twenty-Eight Years of Continuous Aggression Against Iraq

January 21st, 2019 by Prof Souad N. Al-Azzawi

Jan 17th marks the 28th anniversary of the brutal and destructive war the United States’ administration and allies waged on Iraq in 1991. A war that was waged with the pretext of getting the Iraqi Army out of Kuwait, while almost two decades later clearly shows the United States of America, NATO, and most of the allied armies in that gruesome war have continued a 17 year campaign of destruction in the Middle East with bases and troops on the ground, destroying, participating directly in regional destabilization through regime changes, mass killing and the displacement directly and indirectly of millions of the region’s citizens, to simply advance it’s declared and undeclared interests as a political colonial super power, with impunity to commit crimes globally without any accountability from the international community.

Looking back to what is known as Gulf War II in 1991, it is very clear today that it marks the first failed attempt of the United States administration to occupy Iraq, and then other oil rich countries in the Middle East region. After inflicting a cataclysmic proportion of destruction and death, the United States administration imposed harsh comprehensive economic sanctions on the Iraqi population for more than 13 years. Resulting in more than 1.5 million civilians dead, most of which being children, women, and sick people [1 ]. The criminal sanctions then ended with the illegal invasion of Iraq, another brutal military operation in 2003 that has only produced waves of increasing US aggression against the Iraqi population that has not stopped to date.

Destruction of Iraq’s population infrastructure by American Coalition in Gulf war II, 1991 [3]

During the 1991 war, excessive military power and a number of prohibited weapons were used to destroy civilian life sustaining servicesthat was in no way related tothe Iraqi troops withdrawing from Kuwait.  The following data provides a comprehensive view of the destructive military power deployed by the American forces and that of its coalition during the bombing campaign of Iraqi cities within the first few days of Gulf war II[2 ].

  • Number of American coalition troops: 670,000 mostly Americans
  • Number of combat aircrafts: 2,250 mostly Americans (1800)
  • Total sorties flown from Jan. 17- Feb. 28: 65,000 days and night
  • Bombs dropped on Iraqi cities and withdrawing army: 88,500 Tons
  • in addition to 297 Tomahawk missiles and 35 CALCMS.
  • Number of Depleted Uranium projectiles fired: 940,000 plus 14,000 by British troops
  • Number of bombs dropped on cities: 210,004
  • Number of Cluster bombs dropped: 39,336
  • Number of Smart bombs dropped: 9,342
  • Air to ground missiles fired: 5,930

Destruction of Iraq’s population infrastructure by American Coalition in Gulf war II, 1991 [3]

As a result of this intentional campaign of destruction, the following Iraqi critical services and infrastructure were destroyed [3]:

Destruction of Iraq’s population infrastructure by American Coalition in Gulf war II, 1991 [3]

One statement proves that all this destruction was planned to end life of millions of Iraqi civilians is what was written by Barton Gellman wrote in Washington Post, Jan 23, 1991;

[In 1991 war, 700 targets were identified and bombed, 28 were “key nodes” of electrical power generation. The allies flew 215 sorties against the electrical plants, using unguided bombs, TC, and laser guided GBU-110 bombs. Between the sixth and seventh days of the air war, the Iraqis shut down what remained electrical grid “not an electron was flowing” said one target planner] [4].

Gellman also wrote that

 “we have to emphasize here that the periling planning for the bombing campaign began before Iraq even invaded Kuwait last Aug.”] [4].

Destruction of Iraq’s population infrastructure by American Coalition in Gulf war II, 1991 [3]

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Notes

[1] Tyler Rogoway, 2016. Operation Desert Storm By The Numbers On Its 25th Anniversary. https://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/operation-desert-storm-by-the-numbers-on-its-25th-anniv-1753347671.

[2] Nicolas Davis.How Many Millions of People Have Been Killed in America’s Post-9/11 Wars? – Part One: Iraq. Consortium News March 22, 2018.

 https://consortiumnews.com/2018/03/22/how-many-millions-of-people-have-been-killed-in-americas-post-9-11-wars-part-one-iraq/.

 [3] Reconstruction Magazine, “Reconstruction Campaign, Statistics and Data”. Reconstruction Research Centre, College of Engineering, University of Baghdad, Volume No. 2, 1998. Baghdad, Iraq

[4] Barton Gelman. Washington Post, jan23, 1991.” Allied Air War Struck Broadly in Iraq”.

All images in this article are from the author

US Withdrawal from NATO Would Benefit Americans Most of All

January 21st, 2019 by Tony Cartalucci

Alleged discussions between US President Donald Trump and his aides about a US withdrawal from NATO have been making headlines recently.

The New York Times in an article titled, “Trump Discussed Pulling U.S. From NATO, Aides Say Amid New Concerns Over Russia,” would claim:

There are few things that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia desires more than the weakening of NATO, the military alliance among the United States, Europe and Canada that has deterred Soviet and Russian aggression for 70 years. 

Last year, President Trump suggested a move tantamount to destroying NATO: the withdrawal of the United States.

And while the division or dissolving of NATO most certainly would benefit Russia – removing a malignant and aggressive rogue institution from its borders and the toxic atmosphere of perpetual confrontation it creates – it would also most certainly benefit each and every NATO member many times more.

Despite the many myths surrounding NATO’s role in “protecting” its individual members, nothing has undermined the security of NATO member states more than NATO itself.

The Myth of NATO’s Purpose 

The reality-show that is American politics has increasingly depended on institutionalized reverse psychology – where a notion that fundamentally appeals to Americans of all political persuasions is passed through “Trump” to create automatic and irrational aversion in at least some segments of the public.

A US withdrawal from an expensive, antiquated, and repeatedly abused military alliance allegedly created to keep in check a Soviet Union that no longer exists is one such universal notion. To polarize debate around the otherwise clear-cut benefits of reducing or dissolving America’s role in NATO, “Trump’s” alleged desire to withdraw from the alliance has been emphasized, and specifically within the context of “Trump” being an alleged agent of “Russian” influence.

But the truth of NATO’s actual purpose and the very real threats it poses to global peace and stability is independent of one’s like or dislike of US President Donald Trump.

Far from confronting a Soviet – or now “Russian” threat – NATO instead is used to leverage and abuse Europe’s collective political and military power to augment US wars of aggression far beyond the North Atlantic where NATO was supposedly created to protect.

According to NATO’s own website, NATO exists to:

…guarantee the freedom and security of its members through political and military means.

Considering this stated purpose, one must wonder what the now 17 year-long US-led NATO occupation of Afghanistan has to do with the freedom and security of  NATO’s American and European members – who must cross oceans and seas just to reach Afghanistan – a nation that poses no threat to any of NATO’s members nor possesses the means even if it sought to.

The ongoing occupation of Afghanistan has seen the rise of terrorist organizations previously unheard of in Afghanistan, including the emergence of the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS) who use the nation as a springboard to spread across Central Asia. The conflict has bled NATO members of billions in funds and has claimed the lives of NATO member soldiers.

NATO atrocities including the bombing of civilians with manned aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), torture, and other abuses have further tarnished NATO’s reputation as well as consumed the political legitimacy of many individual NATO members involved.

The fact that the numerous goals NATO supposedly seeks to achieve in Afghanistan have gone unmet for now nearly two decades also undermines the legitimacy and credibility of NATO and its member states.

Another recent NATO action was in Libya in 2011. The destruction of Libya triggered a refugee tidal wave that swept Europe, compromising socioeconomic stability and domestic security within the very heart of NATO’s supposed area of responsibility.

Libya itself has been reduced to a failed state where terrorism now runs rampant, threatening security across North Africa and serving as a springboard for militancy and terror both regionally and globally.

Foreign Policy in a 2015 article titled, “The New Pirates of Libya: Why the rise of the radical Islamists in North Africa threatens America directly — and how to stop it,” would admit (emphasis added):

Over the last four years, Libya has become a key node in the expansion of Islamic radicalism across North Africa, West Africa, and the Sahel, and into Europe. Arms and fighters have crossed Libya’s porous borders, feeding radical organizations from al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb to Boko Haram and reinforcing radical trends in the heart of the Middle East. If events in Libya continue on their current path, they will likely haunt the United States and its Western allies for a decade or more. 

The current situation in Libya is the product of a series of significant mistakes, erroneous assumptions, and myths that date back to NATO intervention in 2011.  

NATO is revealed as a geopolitical wrecking ball – knocking down – not upholding regional or global security. The resulting chaos is then used as a pretext to further expand its mandate. Its actions have repeatedly compromised its many member states in ways even the most tenacious outside threat could not.

The beneficiaries of NATO’s actions are few. Taxpayers across NATO member states have contributed trillions of dollars to the Afghan occupation alone – $5.9 trillion according to a Brown University study. This money has not simply disappeared into a fiscal blackhole. It ended up in the hands of arms manufacturers and military contractors. This is money that regardless of political persuasions – the public of NATO member states would likely want either spent elsewhere – especially domestic social programs, or not drawn from the public through taxes in the first place.

The handful of corporate-financier interests benefiting from NATO’s continued existence have leveraged the massive gains they’ve received from the many unending wars and security threats the alliance has created around the globe to manipulate public perception – just as it’s doing now in regards to the “Trump-NATO withdrawal” narrative through compromised newspapers like the New York Times.

Ironically, those along the left-hand side of America’s political spectrum – generally inclined to seek public funds shifted from foreign wars toward domestic social programs, have been recruited in this latest and crude propaganda ploy to actually defend NATO and the immense waste and abuse it represents.

NATO Seeks to Destroy Russia – Not Defend Against it 

The basic premise behind NATO is sound – a collective military alliance that creates a credible deterrence against foreign aggression. Were NATO to actually put this premise into action – it would create a balance of power within which better ties could be cultivated with nations like Russia.

The notion that Russia is a looming threat seeking to swallow up Europe is at face value an absurdity. Russia heavily depends on trade with Europe – according to the European Commission itself. Moscow has eagerly sought to improve ties with European nations collectively and individually to further expand its own economic prospects.

A credible military deterrence coupled with attempts to cultivate economic cooperation rather than military confrontation would benefit the economies of both Russia and the European Union – but not American corporate-financier interests – including big-oil struggling to compete with Russian gas exports to Western Europe – and especially not America’s massive military industrial complex. Such Russo-European cooperation would also obstruct the hegemonic designs of US policymakers who have for decades sought to carve up and conquer Russia militarily and economically.

It is an irony among ironies that while NATO rhetoric points at Russia as a foreign aggressor seeking Europe’s conquest – it is American forces finding themselves on the soil of a growing list of European nations – up to Russia’s borders – in order to “protect” NATO’s interests – interests increasingly revealed to be Wall Street and Washington’s rather than Europe’s.

The New York Times links “Trump’s” alleged desire to withdraw from NATO to allegations that US President Donald Trump is somehow an agent of Russian influence. The article repeatedly iterated that a US withdrawal from the alliance would be a “gift for Putin.” 

Despite such rhetoric – the end of NATO’s many wars of aggression, ending its role in destabilizing nations and demonstrably compromising global peace and stability as well as undermining European security itself, and ending its pilfering of trillions in public funds from individual member states falls well within the best interests of Americans and Europeans – left and right of the political spectrum.

Only trough crude propaganda ploys citing “Trump” and “Russian meddling” could people be convinced otherwise.

NATO seeks to aggressively encircle, contain, and eventually overthrow the political order in Moscow – not because Moscow poses a threat to the security of NATO or any of its individual member states – but because it constitutes competition for the actual corporate-financier interests driving NATO’s agenda. Far from speculation – this is precisely what the US and UK attempted to do in the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse – a process of pilfering and commandeering Russia’s sovereign institutions only brought to an end by the rise of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

If NATO’s division or dissolution benefits Russia – it also benefits the nations Russia will be able to deepen constructive and sustainable diplomatic and economic ties with outside the atmosphere of confrontation NATO seeks to perpetuate.

It is a win-win for all – all save for corporate-financier interests attempting to not only assert themselves over Russian economic competition – but also over European economic competition.

The New York Times – a tool of American corporate-financier interests and central to selling the American public the many fruitless – and criminal wars – fought under the auspices of NATO – could not be expected to approach NATO’s proposed division or dissolution with anything other than hysteria. For the New York Times and the interests its represents – it truly is a matter of self-preservation. But for vast majority of people and businesses in NATO member states – a serious reevaluation of NATO’s necessity and the need to eliminate this antiquated alliance is also a matter of self-preservation.

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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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As risky of a gambit as it is and contrary to conventional thinking on this topic, Trump’s arms race aims to weaken the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership by putting President Putin in the position where he has to choose between competing with the American military together with China at the expense of his domestic economic plans or cutting a pragmatic deal with the US at China’s perceived “zero-sum” expense in order to fulfill his campaign promise to revitalize the Russian economy.

Trump’s unveiling of the US’ new “Missile Defense Review” (MDR) amounted to the practical declaration of a New Arms Race to accompany the ongoing New Cold War after he declared the militarization of space as a “new war-fighting domain” and pledged to expand America’s “missile defense” infrastructure all across the world. This development poses a latent existential threat to both Russia and China because of the US’ obvious intent to preemptively neutralize their nuclear second-strike deterrents and indefinitely coerce them into strategic concessions through nuclear blackmail afterwards. Understandably, both Great Powers are now compelled to counter this development, and while they might be able to do so creatively and on the cheap to a certain extent (especially if they combine their efforts), it’s nevertheless unavoidable that they’ll have to pour enormous financial resources into most of their responses.

Russia is comparatively less capable of committing huge sums of money to this over the long term than China is, and therein lays the structural vulnerability that the US will seek to exploit in its risky gambit. President Putin promised in his reelection campaign nearly a year ago that the focus of his fourth and final term in office would be on revitalizing the Russian economy, having assured his compatriots that their nation’s defense is now secured after revealing their country’s hypersonic missile advancements at the end of a keynote speech. It was strongly implied that some of the billions of dollars that have been invested in the military over the past few years would be rerouted into public works projects and other socio-economic endeavors to retain Russia’s competitiveness in the emerging Multipolar World Order, but now Trump is threatening those plans by forcing Moscow to participate in the New Arms Race.

The US’ ultimate strategic gambit can therefore go one of two ways – in the “worst-case” scenario for America, Russia doubles down on its military-industrial commitments and the strategic partnership with China even if it can’t afford the costs and ultimately ends up as a “junior partner” to the People’s Republic by the time everything is over, while the “best-case” scenario sees Moscow “compromising” with Washington in some respect or another in order to relieve the US’ military pressure on Russia and allow the country to refocus on revitalizing its domestic economy in exchange for decelerating the pace of its strategic convergence with China. The latter scenario is actually “What The US Really Wants From Russia”, as the author wrote last spring, and it’s now clear that the New Arms Race is a risky means to that possible end.

The decision was evidently made a year or two ago to go forward with this plan, and everything that the US has done since then has been an attempt to “reverse-engineer” the strategic situation in this direction. Trump’s much-touted initiative to create a so-called “Space Force” – which is the driving institutional force behind the New Arms Race – is being “justified” by pulling out of the INF Treaty on the false pretext that Russia isn’t respecting it, which enables the US to have a “publicly plausible” excuse for pressuring its allies across the world into accepting its “missile defense” infrastructure on their soils and seas despite the strategic risks that this entails to their security vis-à-vis Russia and China. It can’t be overemphasized just how much of a threat this poses to both Eurasian Great Powers, but while reason suggests that they’d join forces to counter it, that eventuality can’t be guaranteed.

Like it was explained, President Putin’s lasting legacy in the eyes of his people will be judged more by what he does inside of Russia than abroad, even though the country’s international “balancing” act ensures the conditions by which domestic development is sustainable. The average person, like in any country, doesn’t always understand that and is more influenced by visible accomplishments such as modernizing local infrastructure than intangible ones like conducting pragmatic diplomacy with former rivals. Bearing this important factor in mind as well as the vastly different scales of their economies, Russia is comparatively more likely to cut a deal with the US than China is throughout the course of the New Arms Race, though it could just as easily refuse to do so for whatever reason and therefore turn Trump’s “master plan” into one of history’s worst examples of blowback.

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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.

Back in May 2017, I predicted that the police would be doing just that – predicting. I warned that Britain already has a reputation for deploying the most intrusive surveillance systems against its own people in the Western world. I warned that our civil liberties are being systematically dismantled, driven through the false narrative of security.

  • UK police are investing millions in a new predictive pre-crime system, the National Data Analytics System
  • The system will access police databases, social services, and even the NHS and schools
  • Every citizen would risk being monitored, judged and having our lives intruded upon by the Police
  • Largest British law enforcement system threatens civil liberties handing massive power to the state

I also warned that police departments around the world are partnering with private companies to use public data, personal information and algorithms to predict where illegal actions are most likely to occur and, crucially, who is most likely to commit them.

In an article I wrote warning of all these coming intrusions, there was also a review of a documentary film that focused on pre-crime technology.

“There are predictive police programs in Fresno, Philadelphia, Chicago, and in Kent and London featured in the film. Are these all pilot programs? And the chilling answer from the director of the documentary “Not any longer. Kent’s program is 4 years old.”

From Big Brother Watch comes the official news that UK police are now investing heavily in pre-crime and predictive systems.

UK police are investing millions in a new predictive system, the National Data Analytics System (NDAS), which will analyse vast quantities of data from  police databases, social services, and even the NHS and schools in order to predict who is likely to commit crimes, despite serious concerns over profiling, ‘the potential reversal of the presumption of innocence’, and the impact of ‘inaccurate prediction’.

Our Director, Silkie Carlo, said:

This would be a remarkable change in policing. Every one of us would risk being monitored, judged and having our lives intruded upon.

“Predictive policing conflicts with the presumption of innocence that our justice system is built on and invites authorities to keep tabs on innocent citizens. It’s extraordinary that police have spent millions on a Minority Report-style scheme.

The Mail on Sunday has covered the story by saying that – “The £48 million National Analytics Solution analyses vast quantities of data from force databases, social services, the NHS and schools to calculate where officers can be most effectively deployed.

But it admits to ‘ethical challenges’ about storing and sharing huge amounts of data on individuals and warns of ‘damaging consequences’ if those risks are not tackled.

The article goes on to say that – “In an effort to address privacy concerns, those behind the trial say it will ‘not create a centralised law enforcement database’ that would allow any officer to search for information on individuals.

The problem is that the government have already announced a new centralised biometric database and a centralised NHS database alongside other local government and government agency databases.

It was only last October that a new super-database being built for the police represented a “grave” risk to privacy, a leading human rights group said. It is called the law enforcement data service (LEDS).

Liberty claims the government is glossing over concerns that the database, the largest built for British law enforcement, threatens civil liberties. The group fears it gives massive power to the state at the expense of millions of Britons.

The Guardian reported their concerns as well.

The Home Office has had consultation meetings with groups and experts concerned about privacy ahead of the super-database becoming operational later this year. Liberty said it has quit them in protest, damaging government hopes of neutralising civil liberties concerns.”

Liberty said in one meeting it was told the new database would include information the government and the police have no legal basis to hold but will do so anyway. The government have actually admitted it is breaking the law.

Home office documents have confirmed that the government accepts that large amounts of the data will have nothing to do with crime that will be used on the database and also confirms that other government agencies like tax inspectors, border control and even credit reference agencies will have access.

Liberty boycotted the Home Office’s meetings because it feared they were a sham and that its continued participation would allow the government to claim it is taking civil liberty concerns into account when the opposite was true.

The Guardian also quoted Hannah Couchman, of Liberty, who said:

Having enormous amounts of our personal information held on this super-database represents a grave threat to our privacy. While the collection of a few pieces of personal data can seem innocuous, combining it with other information can create an intrusive personal profile.

“In the UK, we have a long-held principle of policing by consent. We must be able to trust the police to protect our privacy and our fundamental rights and the Home Office must take seriously the threats this super-database raises.”

A government document said:

The volume of records involved is substantial; there are around 55.4 million driver records and 54.8 million vehicle records whilst there are approximately 10.7 million criminal records, thus non-criminal records form a substantial part of the PNC [police national computer].

The police database also holds 12 million images.

Couchman said:

Even more sinister is the creeping reliance on data-driven surveillance and algorithms the police use to make decisions about us – leading to conclusions which may be inaccurate or biased.”

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Units of the Tiger Forces have been deployed on a frontline near the militant-held town of Qalat al-Madiuq in northwestern Hama, several pro-government sources claimed on January 17 speculating that this is a sign of the upcoming offensive in the area.

However, sources in the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) say that the claims of an immediate military operation in response the Idlib de-escalation zone are not accurate. A source in the SAA told SouthFront that many units of the Republican Guard, 1st Division, 3rd Division, 9th Division and the 100th Regiment will also be deployed in northwestern Hama soon.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin are set to meet in Moscow on January 23. They will discuss the situation in Idlib among other issues. Some experts believe that the two leaders will discuss on a new mechanism to reinforce the failed demilitarized zone agreement during the meeting.

This mechanism is needed to prevent a further expansion of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) in this part of the country. The terrorist group is officially excluded from the ceasefire regime, but so far Turkey and its proxies have undertaken no actions to eliminate the terrorists in the area. At the same time, Ankara opposes a SAA military operation in Idlib because this will mean the further success of the Damascus government in restoring control of the country.

Following the ISIS suicide bombing in Manbij, which caused casualties among US personnel, the Manbij Military Council of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) claimed that it had detained a ‘terrorist’ cell linked to Turkish intelligence services and Turkish-backed militant groups operating in northern Syria. According to the statement, the cell was preparing multiple ‘explosions’ and ‘similar terrorist acts’ in the Manbij area. By this statement, the SDF de-facto attempted to blame Turkey for the terrorist attack that had killed US personnel.

Previously, the SDF had repeatedly accused Turkey of supporting ISIS in the framework of its campaign designed in an attempt to undermine the US-Turkish relations and to prevent an agreement between Washington and Aknara over northern Syria.

In the Euphrates Valley, the SDF captured the villages of al-Susah and Bubadran form ISIS. This advance was supported by almost a hundred of US-led coalition airstrikes. The ISIS-held pocket in the Euphrates Valley is about to collapse. However, this does not mean that the terrorist group will be fully eliminated. Multiple ISIS cells still operate across the country.

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Intelligence sources said “Israel wants Syria to return to the era before 2011 when the leaders of the country were less powerful and experienced than they are today after seven years of warfare, the delivery of Russian advanced equipment mostly for air defence, the supply and manufacturer of sophisticated Iranian missiles in Syria and the formative presence of Iranian and Hezbollah advisors”.

The sources reveal that “Israeli officials told their American counterparts that it would be inappropriate to withdraw forces from the northeast of Syria, leaving Iran and its allies behind. The withdrawal – which now seems partial – of US forces should be done, if not before, at least simultaneously with the departure of all foreign forces operating on Syrian soil to create a balance of power on the ground. Also, it is important to stipulate that President Bashar al-Assad must refrain from using his mid-range precision missiles against Israel any time in the future as part of any US withdrawal from Syria deal. Israel argued that the US is delivering the Levant to Russia and the ‘Axis of the Resistance’ without any concessions in return”, according to the source.

The US establishment seems unwilling to cater to Israeli’s exaggerated anxieties. US officials visiting Tel Aviv told local officials that “the Israeli army holds enough military power to defend itself and that since 1974 Israel has no longer been on the defensive in the region. On the contrary, Israel has been on the offensive, taking the initiative to attack targets in Syria during these seven years of war”. According to western officials, the US reminded Israel that thousands of American forces are based in the country, in the Mediterranean and in various military bases the Middle East. These can intervene in favour of Israel in a timely way whenever appropriate. Therefore, Israel should stop screaming for unneeded help, when it is the one inflicting damage on its adversaries”.

Israel has repeatedly bombed targets in Syria belonging to the Syrian army and the “Axis of the Resistance”. It pushed the red lines even further when it bombed Iranian officials at the T4 airbase in 2018, killing several Iranian officers. In 2019, Israel already bombed a warehouse at Damascus airport, hours after the off-loading of Iranian military cargo. Although most of the Israeli missiles were shot down, a few managed to reach their target. Nevertheless, these bombings have little meaning on the strategic level because, although Israel has shown the long reach of its missiles, it has dramatically failed in its goal of crippling the missile capability of Syria and of Hezbollah in the Lebanon and Syria. During his recent visit to Cairo US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Hezbollah today has “over 130,000 missiles”.

If, as Israeli Chief of Staff General Gadi Eisenkot says, Israel “has complete intelligence superiority in the area” of Lebanon and Syria, how can he explain the arrival and deployment of a hundred and thirty thousands missiles – according to Pompeo – in Hezbollah’s hands? Eisenkot misled the Israelis when he said “Hezbollah possesses no accurate missile capabilities, except for small and negligible ones”. Indeed, when the leader of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah, warned Israel that he would “respond against any Israeli attack on Lebanon”, Israel heeded his warning and refrained from attacking any target in Lebanon. Throughout the war in Syria, Israeli jets violated the Lebanese airspace and flew over Lebanon to bomb Syria but didn’t dare to attack any Hezbollah objective in Lebanon, limiting themselves to attacking Hezbollah’s military trucks, Syrian and Iranian objectives in the Levant.

Eisenkot visiting EUCOM commander General Curtis Scaparrotti with a Chocolate cake (US officials favourite sweet) in honour of the visiting officer’s birthday (Photo JP).

 

According to well-connected sources, Israeli jets fired warning missiles in front of targeted trucks – before destroying the target later on – to avoid human casualties for fear of Hezbollah retaliation. If Israeli intelligence about the supposedly limited military power of Hezbollah is accurate, it makes no sense for Eisenkot to boast about his allegedly almighty military power against a “negligible enemy,” as he describes the military capability of the Lebanese “party of God”.

Sources operating in Syria and Lebanon agree with Israeli statements that Israel has bombarded various objectives in Syria with thousands of bombs, as announced by Prime Minister Netanyahu. Nevertheless, they claim that only 5% of the total weapon supply was intercepted and destroyed.

“Israel’s bombing of targets in Syria has been neither strategic nor tactical. They were political attacks aimed at boosting Netanyahu’s image. These strikes did not weaken the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) nor Hezbollah. Israel contradicts itself all the time. For example, the Israelis say: Hezbollah is the fifth most powerful force in the world, but is very weak and has limited power… Hezbollah is digging four tunnels which represent a serious threat to Israel’s national security, etc.”, said the source.

In fact, Israel has not provoked or attacked Hezbollah since the 2006 war. The only serious attack was registered in 2015 by a drone in Quneitra that killed Jihad Mughnnieh and the Iranian General Mohammad Ali AllahDade. The attack was not planned but rather an opportunistic attack on an Iranian-Hezbollah convoy of 3 four-wheel drive vehicles who spent several hours playing in the snow in an area in sight of an Israeli observation point. Israel didn’t know who was the target and certainly was unaware of the presence of the IRGC General. In retaliation, Hezbollah attacked an Israeli patrol in the Shebaa Farms killing several soldiers and an officer. Israel turned a blind eye and the tit-for-tat was closed between the two sides.

President Assad and his allies believe that Israel is trying to provoke Syria to respond to its violations of Syrian sovereignty in order to postpone or avoid a US withdrawal from Syria. For this reason, they prefer to not respond directly to Israeli provocations, in the expectation of a US withdrawal. Nevertheless, President Trump’s recent comments about “a 20 mile buffer zone” on the borders is an indication that he now intends to keep some forces in Syria and carry out only a partial rather than a full withdrawal of US troops.

Syria and its allies will need to reassess their strategy in response to Israeli aggression and US occupying troops when the dust settles in the northeast of Syria. So far, it is impossible to ascertain what Trump will decide in view of his ongoing contradictory statements about the US occupation of Syria.

Notwithstanding Trump’s intentions towards Syria and his fickle withdrawal plans, Israel has failed in all of its objectives in Syria: the Syrian government is still in place, the army has been rebuilt and Hezbollah and Iran have trained local fighters who are determined to stand against Israel in due course. Today, in 2019, Hezbollah has received all the missiles and different weaponry needed – as Pompeo has admitted– and Iran is a source of great concern for Israel and the US, present on its Syria front where before it was present only on the borders with Lebanon. Therefore, Israel, despite its heated media declarations and the thousands of targets it has hit in Syria in recent years, feels much more vulnerable today than it did in 2011.

Also, the Iraqi front cannot be discounted: al-Hashd al-Shaabi, the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Force, was created in 2014 to stand against ISIS. Today it is made up of tens of thousands of men highly trained and equipped with a strong ideology comparable to that of Hezbollah and Iran. Iranian influence has expanded from Lebanon to Syria and Iraq. Israel has grounds for concern.

But that is not all: Iran is present in Yemen where Saudi Arabia’s destructive war against the Houthis has offered Iran a unique opportunity to support the oppressed against the oppressor. Iran has also managed to create a foothold in Afghanistan: the Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour was invited to Tehran along with a high-ranking Taliban delegation. Iran licked its wounds when Taliban killed ten Iranian diplomats in Mazar i-Sharif and eventually managed to overcome its differences with Taliban for the greater cause of standing up to US hegemony in Afghanistan.

Iran and Syria have shown patience in biding their time and building their strength. After its 1979 revolution Iran’s government had little international experience. It began support of Hezbollah in 1982. Thirty-five years later, Hezbollah has become an organised irregular army present on many Middle Eastern fronts. While Israel may enjoy provoking Syria with tactical attacks and thousands of bombardments against various targets, the new strategic reality is inescapable. Both Iran and Syria have survived continuous threats and wars but have managed to pull through stronger. At the same time Israel, a nuclear power with the strongest air force in the Middle East, is to-date refraining from attacking Lebanon, a small country hardly visible on the world map. Israel is deterred by three words from Sayyed Nasrallah to the powerful Tel Aviv leaders who enjoy the unlimited support of a superpower (USA): Don’t try us!

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Selected Articles: Neocon, Neoliberalism, Resistance

January 20th, 2019 by Global Research News

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US Will Retain a Military Base in Syria Despite Withdrawal

By Nauman Sadiq, January 20, 2019

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered contradictory messages in a speech in Cairo on Thursday, January 10. On the one hand, he said Washington will withdraw American troops from Syria in line with Donald Trump’s momentous announcement on December 19, and on the other, he emphasized the US will continue fighting the Islamic State and will also contain the influence of Iran in the Middle East region.

Trump, Announcing New Missile Defense Program, Ramps Up Nuclear Arms Race

By Andre Damon, January 20, 2019

Speaking at the Pentagon Thursday, President Donald Trump announced the largest expansion of US missile defense forces since Ronald Reagan’s failed “Star Wars” program.

How Wall Street Finances the Battle against Neoliberalism?

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, January 20, 2019

A critique of the IMF macro-economic agenda for Latin America is funded by a foundation owned by one of Wall Street’s most prominent financiers.

Vive La Résistance: Brexit, Yellow Vests, and the Fate of the EU

By Michael Welch, Diana Johnstone, and Peter Koenig, January 20, 2019

Under the process currently underway, the UK is set to officially abandon the EU on March 29, 2019. Opposition Members of Parliament have been lobbying for an extension of the deadline, a second referendum on EU membership, and even a new election which would potentially lead to a different Prime Minister taking charge of the Brexit negotiations.

Top 6 Things Wrong with Trump Denying Pelosi Government Transport

By Juan Cole, January 20, 2019

Trump’s petty cancellation of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s trip on military transport to Brussels and Afghanistan was clearly his revenge for her cancellation of his State of the Union message until he ends the shutdown of the government.

We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth

By Edward Curtin, January 19, 2019

Revolutionaries are, of course, anathema to the power elites who, with all their might, resist such rebels’ efforts to transform society. If they can’t buy them off, they knock them off.

Breaking US News and Analysis: William Barr Will be a Loyal Foot Soldier in King Trump’s Army

By Prof. Marjorie Cohn, January 19, 2019

At his attorney general confirmation hearing, William Barr sought to reassure senators on the Judiciary Committee that Robert Mueller’s probe would be allowed to continue, saying, “I believe it is vitally important that the Special Counsel be allowed to complete his investigation.”

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Over 70,000 “maquiladora” workers from 45 factories in the US-Mexico border town of Matamoros, Mexico have entered the sixth day of their courageous struggle as more and more plants are paralyzed throughout the city.

Last night, thousands of workers marched through the city from factory to factory chanting “unity, unity,” “walk out! walk out!,” “the workers united will never be defeated” and “strike!” Workers stopped at each plant and appealed to workers changing shift to join their strike, greeting each new walkout with a loud round of cheers. The crowd grew throughout the night.

There is a sense in the ruling class that the strike may be getting out of control. Amid a complete media blackout, the hated trade unions are doing everything in their power to restrict the movement to “legal” union-led negotiations and to keep stoppages from spreading to more manufacturing complexes across the border area and internationally.

The strike at Matamoros has been completely ignored by the corporate media. There is not a single article about the Matamoros strike in any of the major Mexican or international news outlets. While devoting front-page news to anti-democratic maneuvers by the Democratic Party, the US-based New York Times and Washington Post, and Mexican newspapers such as El Universal and Reforma, have nothing to say about the largest strike on the North American continent in recent years.

Workers confront the union leader outside of the headquarters on Thursday (Credit AquiMatamoros)

The strike could very soon disrupt global supply chains in the United States, Canada and Asia. Industry experts estimate that the strike has already cost the maquiladora industry $20 million, or $23,000 per minute. The strike is affecting major suppliers to the “Big Three” automakers—GM, Ford and Fiat-Chrysler—as well as other manufacturers. Factories that are on strike include Autoliv, Inteva, Starkey, Edemsa, Aipsa, Cepillos, STC, Polytech, Kemet, Tyco, Parker and AFX.

The workers are sharing information through Facebook, with several pages sprouting up for workers to coordinate actions between plants and to defend workers against victimization by the unions and the companies.

There is no innocent explanation for the lack of coverage. The ruling class is terrified that the strikes will extend to other cities and link up the demands of workers everywhere for social equality. An editorial published yesterday by the state capital’s newspaper, El Diario de Ciudad Victoria, warns of similar unrest spreading to the 120 factories in the border town of Reynosa or to Ciudad Victoria, where over 6,000 auto parts workers at Kemet and APTIV are demanding a 30 percent raise in their current contract negotiations.

Image on the right: Workers strike at Decofinmex

The decision to censor stories about Matamoros is aimed at keeping workers in the dark about developments that could be the turning point in the decision by millions of people around the world to take matters into their own hands by organizing actions outside of the trade unions, just as the Matamoros workers have already bravely demonstrated.

Despite the offer of small bonuses to draw them back to their posts, the maquiladora workers have refused to give in and continue to call for a 20 percent wage increase and a 32,000 peso bonus ($1,700), as well as a reduction in their union dues from four percent to one percent and a return to the 40 hour work week. There is a growing call for a 100 percent raise to mirror the raise that other workers across the US-Mexico border received at the beginning of the year.

Companies have thuggishly threatened workers with plant closures if the strike continues. An Autoliv auto parts worker told the WSWS that companies have blocked their payment cards for bonuses and other allowances and have withheld workers’ salaries for the first week of the month, even though workers were not on strike at that time.

Recognizing that workers everywhere face the same conditions and need to link up their struggles, autoworkers in the US and Canada have sent statements of support to the striking Matamoros workers and urged them to continue their strike.

The Matamoros workers have now rebelled against a second union, the Union of Workers in Maquiladora and Assembly plants (SIPTME). Yesterday, hundreds of workers from Tridonex, an auto parts manufacturer, gathered at SIPTME offices to demand that their plants join the workers who are currently on strike. Rather than face their own membership, union bureaucrats closed down their offices ahead of the arrival of the protesters, citing “security concerns.” A mid-level official eventually emerged and summarily rejected any joint action with the workers affiliated with the Union of Laborers and Industrial Workers of the Maquiladora Industry (SJOIIM).

The SJOIIM is widely hated for taking four percent of workers’ salaries every week while acting as nothing more than a cheap labor contractor. It’s leader, Juan Villafuerte Morales, is working day and night to sabotage the strike and bring it back under the suffocating control of the union. “Negotiations between workers and the companies will continue for another 10 days and it would help very much if workers returned to their posts,” said Villafuerte on Thursday.

Other forces are also seeking to limit the workers to negotiations between the companies and the SJOIIM. Labor lawyer Susana Prieto Terrazas traveled from Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua to give legal guidance to the striking workers. She met with Villafuerte yesterday to obtain the collective bargaining agreements from the union office, which have previously not been shared with the membership. At a mass rally yesterday, she told the crowd: “Fellow workers, you have to pressure, for starters your union. You cannot get rid of Villafuerte for now. You have to pressure until they give in, Villafuerte and the companies.”

Union leader Villafuerte receives backing by lawyer Susana Prieto (credit AquiMatamoros)

Despite Prieto’s support for a strike by legal means, workers must be warned: If they allow their struggle to be bought under the influence of the unions and the Movement for National Regeneration (Morena), they will be isolated and defeated. Prieto’s proposal that workers seek to pressure the union will restrict the true source of its power: their independent, unified action outside of and against the union-corporate alliance. Instead of turning to the union, they must turn to their working class brothers and sisters at other plants in other cities and other industries. This is the ticket to victory.

The formation of rank-and-file committees to take the struggle out of the hands of the union is the immediate order of the day. To be able to stand up to the intimidation of the companies, workers need to rely on the strength of the entire working class. They are receiving widespread support from workers in the US and Canada, who are enthusiastically watching their struggle with great interest.

We urge workers who want to link up with their class brothers and sisters across North America to contact us by email at [email protected] or on our Facebook page.

On February 9, at 2 p.m. autoworkers will demonstrate at GM world headquarters in Detroit, Michigan to oppose the job cuts and concessions announced by the auto and parts companies. Workers from across the world can follow and support this demonstration on Facebook here.

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Trump’s petty cancellation of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s trip on military transport to Brussels and Afghanistan was clearly his revenge for her cancellation of his State of the Union message until he ends the shutdown of the government.

Here are the top 5 things wrong with this step:

1. It is invidious and unfair, since First Lady Melania Trump took off for Mar-a-Lago in a government plane soon thereafter. Given that 800,000 government employees are not getting their paychecks, is this the right time for Melania to vacation in Florida?

2. Although Ivanka and Jared Kushner did not fly a government plane down there, they are also vacationing in Mar-a-Lago. They are supposedly high-powered White House employees. Jared is supposed to be bringing peace to the Mideast and Ivanka is supposed to be picking the next World Bank head. Why are they on vacation when so many government employees in the security area, as with TSA agents, and being made to work, and made to work without pay as long as the shutdown lasts? Isn’t Pelosi’s determination to carry out US security consultations in Brussels and Kabul much more admirable than high level essential personnel sipping Mai Tais in a Florida resort? And by the way, a trip to Mar-a-Lago by the Kushners is estimated to cost tax payers tens of thousands of dollars in, ironically, security costs. Are the Secret Service agents being paid, or are they working for the Trumps for free while the latter are exfoliating?

3. Trump’s Cabinet of Grifters has routinely abused the taxpayers by using military transport for purely political campaign events or for what appear to be personal or corruption-related trips. Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency who turned the EPA into the Environmental Destruction Agency, charged taxpayers $163,000 in just his first year, using a combination of first class commercial flights and charters and requisitioning military flights.

CNBC reported that “Pruitt and staffers flew by Air Force jet to Cincinnati from Washington for an event with President Donald Trump. That flight alone cost more than $36,000.” Then there was the $120,000 trip to Italy. Was he visiting sunny Tuscany to admire the coal plants and sniffing in the thick black particles?

Pruitt is under ethics investigations over his travel abuses.

4. Pelosi is number 2 in line to succeed if the president is incapacitated, after the vice president. Trump does seem non compos mentis, and though Pence seems more immobile than incapacitated, given the parlous state of the Republic, it certainly is legitimate for No. 3 to seek to get up to speed on our national security commitments. More especially at a time when Trump is trashing those commitments.

5. Headlines have in the past week carried the news that privately, Trump spoke of withdrawing from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Breaking up NATO has been a prime goal of Russian president Vladimir Putin, who appears to have some powerful hold on Trump. Some lawmakers even want to pass a law preventing him from trying to do that unilaterally. The congressional delegation intended to reassure NATO members of US commitment to the organization.

6. Trump has underlined to Republican lawmakers that he intends to withdraw from Afghanistan. The Speaker of the House who has a powerful majority in that chamber should be consulting with Afghan president Ashraf Ghani (especially since Trump has not bothered to go visit the latter).

I suggest Speaker Pelosi consult with Rep. Rashida Tlaib about how to deal with Trump’s erratic mind games. I believe she has blueprints for something called “Operation Mofo.”

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered contradictory messages in a speech in Cairo on Thursday, January 10. On the one hand, he said Washington will withdraw American troops from Syria in line with Donald Trump’s momentous announcement on December 19, and on the other, he emphasized the US will continue fighting the Islamic State and will also contain the influence of Iran in the Middle East region.

Obviously, both these divergent goals are impossible to achieve, unless Washington is planning to maintain some sort of long-term military presence in Syria. In an exclusive report [1] by the Middle East Eye’s Turkey correspondent, Ragip Soylu, January 10, he mentions that the US delegation presented a five-point document to the Turkish officials during National Security Advisor John Bolton’s recent visit to Turkey.

“Those in attendance with Bolton during the two-hour meeting at the presidential palace in Ankara included General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and James Jeffrey, the US special envoy to the anti-Islamic State coalition,” according to the report.

A senior Trump administration official briefed on objectives outlined at the meeting, speaking to the reporter, said,

“As the president has stated, the US will maintain whatever capability is necessary for operations needed to prevent the Islamic State’s resurgence.”

And then the reporter makes a startling revelation, though hidden deep in the report and mentioned rather cursorily:

“The US is not withdrawing from the base at al-Tanf at this time,” the official said.

The revelation hardly comes as a surprise, though, as John Bolton alluded to maintaining long-term US military presence at the al-Tanf base during his visit to Jerusalem on January 6.

The al-Tanf military base is strategically located in southeastern Syria on the border between Syria, Iraq and Jordan, and it sits on a critically important Damascus-Baghdad highway, which serves as a lifeline for Damascus. Washington has illegally occupied 55-kilometer area around al-Tanf since 2016, and several hundred US Marines have trained Syrian militant groups, including Maghawir al-Thawra, there.

Thus, for all practical purposes, it appears the withdrawal of American troops from Syria will be limited to Manbij and Kobani in northern Syria and Qamishli and al-Hasakah in northeastern Syria in order to address the concerns of Washington’s NATO-ally Turkey pertaining to the Kurdish militias which Ankara regards as “terrorists,” and the fate of US forces operating alongside Kurds in Deir al-Zor in eastern Syria and al-Tanf military base in particular is still in doubt.

The regions currently being administered by the Kurds in Syria include the Kurdish-majority Qamishli and al-Hasakah in northeastern Syria along the border with Iraq, and the Arab-majority towns of Manbij to the west of the Euphrates River in northern Syria and Kobani to the east of the Euphrates River along the Turkish border.

The oil- and natural gas-rich Deir al-Zor governorate in eastern Syria has been contested between the Syrian government and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, and it also contains a few pockets of the remnants of the Islamic State militants alongside both eastern and western banks of the Euphrates River.

The Turkish “east of Euphrates” military doctrine basically means that the Turkish armed forces would not tolerate the presence of the Syrian PYD/YPG Kurds – which the Turks regard as “terrorists” allied to the PKK Kurdish separatist group in Turkey – in Manbij and Kobani, in line with the longstanding Turkish policy of denying the Kurds any territory in the traditionally Arab-majority areas of northern Syria along Turkey’s southern border.

Regarding the evacuation of American troops from the Kurdish-held areas in northern Syria, clearly an understanding has been reached between Washington and Ankara. According to the terms of the agreement, the Erdogan administration released the US pastor Andrew Brunson on October 12, which had been a longstanding demand of the Trump administration, and has also decided not to make public the audio recordings of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, which could have implicated another American-ally the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in the assassination.

In return, the Trump administration has complied with Erdogan’s longstanding demand to evacuate American forces from the Kurdish-held areas in northern Syria. Another demand Erdogan must have made to Washington is to pressure Saudi Arabia to lift the Saudi-UAE blockade against Qatar imposed in June 2017, which is ideologically aligned to Erdogan’s AKP party since both follow the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, in return for not making public the audio recordings of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

It bears mentioning that after the Khashoggi assassination and the international outrage it generated against the Saudi royal family, Saudi Arabia is already trying to assuage Qatar as it invited Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to attend the Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Riyadh on December 10, though Doha snubbed the goodwill gesture by sending a low-ranking official to the meeting.

The reason why the Trump administration is bending over backwards to appease Ankara is that Turkish President Erdogan has been drifting away from Washington’s orbit into the Kremlin’s sphere of influence. Turkey, which has the second largest army in NATO, has been cooperating with Moscow in Syria against Washington’s interests for the last couple of years and has also placed an order for the Russian-made S-400 missile system, though that deal, too, has been thrown into jeopardy after Washington’s recent announcement of selling $3.5 billion worth of Patriot missile systems to Ankara.

In order to understand the significance of relationship between Washington and Ankara, it’s worth noting that the United States has been conducting airstrikes against targets in Syria from the Incirlik airbase and around fifty American B-61 hydrogen bombs have also been deployed there, whose safety became a matter of real concern during the foiled July 2016 coup plot against the Erdogan administration; when the commander of the Incirlik airbase, General Bekir Ercan Van, along with nine other officers were arrested for supporting the coup; movement in and out of the base was denied, power supply was cut off and the security threat level was raised to the highest state of alert, according to a report [2] by Eric Schlosser for the New Yorker.

Perceptive readers who have been keenly watching Erdogan’s behavior since the foiled July 2016 coup plot against the Erdogan administration must have noticed that Erdogan has committed quite a few reckless and impulsive acts during the last few years.

Firstly, the Turkish air force shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 fighter jet on the border between Syria and Turkey on 24 November 2015 that brought the Turkish and Russian armed forces to the brink of a full-scale confrontation in Syria.

Secondly, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, was assassinated at an art exhibition in Ankara on the evening of 19 December 2016 by an off-duty Turkish police officer, Mevlut Mert Altintas, who was suspected of being an Islamic fundamentalist.

Thirdly, the Turkish military mounted the seven-month-long Operation Euphrates Shield in northern Syria immediately after the attempted coup plot from August 2016 to March 2017 that brought the Turkish military and its Syrian militant proxies head-to-head with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces and their US backers.

Fourthly, Ankara invaded Idlib in northwestern Syria in October 2017 on the pretext of enforcing a de-escalation zone between the Syrian militants and the Syrian government, despite official protest from Damascus that the Turkish armed forces were in violation of Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

And lastly, Turkey mounted Operation Olive Branch in the Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin in northwestern Syria from January to March 2018. And after capturing Afrin in March last year, the Turkish armed forces and their Syrian jihadist proxies have now set their sights further east on Manbij and Kobani.

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Nauman Sadiq is an Islamabad-based attorney, columnist and geopolitical analyst focused on the politics of Af-Pak and Middle East regions, neocolonialism and petro-imperialism.

Notes


150115 Long War Cover hi-res finalv2 copy3.jpg

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

Michel Chossudovsky

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

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

List Price: $22.95

Special Price: $15.00

Click here to order.

Speaking at the Pentagon Thursday, President Donald Trump announced the largest expansion of US missile defense forces since Ronald Reagan’s failed “Star Wars” program.

The announcement is the latest move in a global nuclear arms race in which the United States, Russia and China are rapidly expanding their nuclear arsenals, even as the Trump administration moves to tear up all restrictions on the development, deployment and use of nuclear weapons.

Trump has accelerated a $1 trillion nuclear modernization program put in place under Obama, while rushing the development of new US strategic bombers, nuclear submarines and “low-yield” nuclear weapons that are more likely to be used in combat.

At the same time, the White House has announced the United States’ intention to withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty as it prepares to ring Russia and China with short- and medium-range nuclear and conventional missiles.

While US missile defense strategy previously claimed to defend against the actions of smaller states such as North Korea and Iran, this year’s missile defense review more directly targets Russia and China. As the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank wrote,

“For the first time, the document puts Russia and China in the same sentence as missile defenses, making explicit what has hitherto been implicit.”

Speaking at the Pentagon Thursday, Trump declared that “foreign adversaries, competitors and rogue regimes are steadily enhancing their missile arsenals… Their arsenals are getting bigger and stronger.”

Trump’s remarks echoed the themes of the Pentagon report he was presenting.

“Military superiority is not a birthright,” the report states. “The scale and urgency of change required to renew our conventional and missile defense overmatch should not be underestimated.”

The report goes on to threaten:

“To our competitors: We see what you are doing, and we are taking action.”

Congress has approved $10.3 billion for the US missile defense agency this fiscal year, a figure that is poised to skyrocket if Trump’s plans are carried through.

In his Pentagon appearance, Trump did not attempt to hide the fact that he was using the prospect of billions of dollars in additional military funding to solicit political support. Responding to applause as he took the podium, Trump told the military audience,

“You’re only doing that because I gave you the greatest and biggest budget in our history. And I’ve now done it two times. And I hate to tell the rest of the world, but I’m about to do it three times. So that’s the only reason you gave me such a nice welcome.”

Despite the bitter factional warfare in Washington, there is overwhelming bipartisan agreement on the vast and perpetual expansion of the military. Last June, the Senate approved, on an 85-10 vote, an $82 billion increase in the Pentagon budget, bringing annual spending to $716 billion. The colossal levels of military spending are almost never discussed in the media and the money is appropriated without question.

The diversion of funds into military appropriations and the pockets of defense contractors is even more shameless in connection with missile defense than with other types of military spending, because the efficacy of missile defense is, according to experts, largely illusory.

Missile defense is “the longest running scam in the history of the Department of Defense,” wrote Joseph Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, and “the new Missile Defense Review continues that proud tradition.”

Since President Reagan first announced his “Star Wars” initiative, the United States has spent some $300 billion on missile defense systems. Cirincione observed that “a decade after the start of ‘Star Wars,’ having spent tens of billions of dollars on X-ray lasers, directed energy weapons, particle-beam weapons, space-based kinetic interceptors and ‘brilliant pebbles,’ the Pentagon was forced to conclude that none of these fanciful concepts would work. We ended up with a concept of limited, ground-based interceptors that might be able to intercept one or two primitive long-range warheads.”

But the extremely limited effectiveness of the US missile defense systems did not prevent Trump from making sweeping claims about US capabilities.

“Our goal is simple: to ensure that we can detect and destroy any missile launched against the United States anywhere, anytime, anyplace,” he said.

“We will destroy every type of missile attack against any American target, whether before or after launch,” he added.

In reality, current US missile defenses are not capable of reliably destroying modern ICBMs possessed by Russia or China, much less the new generation of hypersonic reentry vehicles that the two countries are deploying.

Trump’s statements reflect the two most essential characteristics of American military policy since the fall of the Soviet Union: boundless, often delusional, hubris and a total lack of restraint. Given the series of blank checks Congress keeps writing, it is likely that Trump’s announcement will be the start of a new “Star Wars” boondoggle—turning over hundreds of billions more dollars for fanciful proposals.

However, the dubious efficacy of these initiatives does not lessen their deadly implications. The entire program is part of accelerating preparations for nuclear war, in which US imperialism is preparing to use offensive nuclear weapons.

For all the money Trump’s new missile defense system will consume, the primary mechanism for ensuring that no missiles reach the United States in the event of war is the threat to destroy the entire landmass of a potential opponent with nuclear weapons.

“The United States will continue to rely upon nuclear deterrence for strategic nuclear attack from major powers,” the CSIS declares.

The central aim of the Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review, released last year, was to de-stigmatize the use of nuclear weapons by expanding the range of possible scenarios in which the president could respond with a nuclear strike.

As numerous studies have made clear, a nuclear exchange between the United States and Russia or between the United States and China, beyond an initial death toll in the hundreds of millions, would result in a climatological phenomenon known as nuclear winter, entailing a long-term drop in global temperatures that would make agriculture impossible and wipe out the entire human race.

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Featured image: Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system Launch, 26 January 2013. Photo: MDA

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French demonstrators scuffled with armed police as they await Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Souillac. The town in southwest France has been locked down in anticipation of the presidential visit.

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Videos circulating on social media shows protesters gathering in front of police who prevent them from passing.

On Boulevard Louis Jean Malvy, demonstrators are seen attempting to shove their way past the line of police, while singing and chanting can be heard as people call for Macron’s resignation.

The city has been closed off in a bid to prevent Yellow Vest protests dominating the president’s visit to meet officials. A decree has banned “any demonstration, especially in the context of the movement called yellow vests” for the day, and the town’s weekly market has been closed.

Souillac residents can only enter the area if they have a special pass and proof of residence.

Police vehicles approached the protesters to get them to retreat, and the majority are now behind a barricade.

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How Wall Street Finances the Battle against Neoliberalism?

January 20th, 2019 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Today I read an interesting article referring to Mexico on how neoliberal economists through the application of “strong IMF economic medicine” contributed to “wreaking  havoc” on the global poor while “protecting the financial elites”.

And then I arrived at the foot of the article published by Alternet:

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

The Independent Media Institute, a tax exempt charity foundation supported by George Soros, a multibillion dollar Wall Street tycoon and hedge fund manager largely involved in speculative trade in the commodity and foreign exchange markets.

The Independent Media Center is described as an

“Internet-based, news and events bulletin board [which] represents an invariably leftist, anti-capitalist perspective and serves as a mouthpiece for anti-globalization/anti-America themes.”

Globetrotter is a projet of the IMC which (according to the IMC):

“explores the struggles for independence, dignity and democracy in the developing world, from economic models to war and imperialism.”

Needless to say, I was puzzled. Wall Street finances the battle against neoliberalism?

A critique of the IMF macro-economic agenda for Latin America is funded by a foundation owned by one of Wall Street’s most prominent financiers.

I read through the article once more: The article does not actually bash the Wall Street financial elites involved in destabilizing the Mexican economy. It largely focuses on the failures of the IMF bureaucracy without acknowledging that the IMF bureaucracy always acts on behalf of Wall Street.

While the author accuses the IMF mission to Mexico of window dressing, “[n]othing in the IMF staff statement indicated a policy that would tackle Mexico’s grave problems of poverty and inequality”.

One is however left with the impression that it’s all a big management failure which can be rectified by changing the IMF recipe and training IMF officials to learn the realities of developing countries:

Someone should encourage the IMF to stop sending staff teams into countries like Mexico. Each report is identical to the previous one. Nothing seems to be learned by these teams. Years ago, a senior IMF economist told me that when he arrived in a Central Asian country he knew nothing of that country, he got to see nothing of it when he was there and he knew virtually nothing when he drafted the Article IV review. All he did in the country was sit in one air-conditioned room after another, listen to canned reports from nervous finance ministry officials and then develop the report based on the IMF’s same old recipe—make cuts, target welfare, privatize and make sure that the banks are happy. (Alternet, emphasis added)

“Make sure the banks are happy”. Yes, that is the main goal. And the standard recipe serves their interests.

The IMF is controlled by Wall Street and the US Treasury. It has informal ties to the Pentagon. It routinely interfaces with the Washington think tanks. It is part of what is called the “Washington Consensus” which defines the gamut of deadly  economic measures imposed on indebted developing countries.

Here’s how neoliberal economists wreak havoc on the global poor while protecting the financial elite

“Funding Dissent”

Numerous organizations and protest movements (against neoliberalism) including the World Social Forum (WSF) are funded by Wall Street. How is the process of “manufactured dissent” achieved?

Essentially by “funding dissent”, namely by channeling financial resources from those who are the object of the protest movement to those who are involved in organizing the protest movement.

Co-optation is not limited to buying the favors of politicians. The economic elites –which control major foundations– also oversee the funding of numerous NGOs and civil society organizations, which historically have been involved in the protest movement against the established economic and social order. The programs of many NGOs and people’s movements rely heavily on funding from both public as well as private foundations including the Ford, Rockefeller, McCarthy foundations, among others.

The anti-globalization movement is opposed to Wall Street and the Texas oil giants controlled by Rockefeller, et al. Yet the foundations and charities of Rockefeller et al will generously fund progressive anti-capitalist networks as well as environmentalists (opposed to Big Oil) with a view to ultimately overseeing and shaping their various activities. (Michel Chossudovsky, Manufacturing Dissent, Global Research, 2015

Global capitalism finances anti-capitalism: an absurd and contradictory relationship.

There can be no meaningful mass movement when dissent is generously funded by those same corporate interests which are the target of the protest movement. In the words of McGeorge Bundy, president of the Ford Foundation (1966-1979),Everything the [Ford] Foundation did could be regarded as ‘making the World safe for capitalism’”. (Ibid)

France’s Green Vests

Will elite institutions attempt through various means to infiltrate the Green Vests? France’s intelligence and police apparatus has no doubt already contemplated this option.

Sofar the movement is fully aware of the dangers of cooptation. There is no evidence that the Gilets Jaunes have been coopted or financed by outside funding. While Soros has supported the so-called “color revolutions”, the Yellow Vests have expressed there position in relation to the fake “revolutions” funded by the financial establishment.

click to enlarge

In the case of France, the Gilets Jaunes movement has a grassroots structure.

The Gilets Jaunes call for the withdrawal of France from NATO. It addresses the impacts of neoliberalism while taking a firm anti-war stance. The movement is not manipulated by NGOs or political parties. In the words of Diana Johnstone:

“President Emmanuel Macron’s New Year’s Eve address to the nation made it perfectly clear that after one unconvincing stab at throwing a few crumbs to the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) protest movement, he has determined to get tough.”

Macron is a former senior staff member of  Rothschild & Cie Banque:

Macron is the very embodiment of this system.  He was chosen by that famous elite to carry through the measures dictated by “the Markets”, enforced by the European Union. He cannot give in.  But now that people are awake to what is going on, they won’t stop either.  For all the lamented decline in the school system, the French people today are as well-educated and reasonable as any population can be expected to be.  If they are incapable of democracy, then democracy is impossible.(Ibid)

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“There’s a military base – a German military base, with the help of NATO – being built for urban warfare training…Why would Europe need a training camp for urban warfare if they wouldn’t expect upheavals that you may see in the case of Brexit, we don’t know yet, that you have seen already in Greece, that you may see more of in Greece, and that may happen in Italy, and in all those cities in Hungary for example, or in Poland…? All these upheavals, these civil upheavals, must be oppressed.”

– Peter Koenig, from this week’s interview.

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The latest chapter in the Brexit saga played out this past Tuesday. Members of the British Parliament soundly rejected the withdrawal agreement arrived at following months of negotiations between the government of Theresa May and EU leaders. With 430 votes against, including 118 members of her own party and elements of both the Leave and Remain camps, and only 202 in favour, it was reportedly the most devastating defeat of a sitting government’s policy in the history of the country. [1]

The debacle illustrates the difficulties of crafting a deal which will be acceptable both to the EU leadership and the UK Parliament, to say nothing of the general public.

Under the process currently underway, the UK is set to officially abandon the EU on March 29, 2019. Opposition Members of Parliament have been lobbying for an extension of the deadline, a second referendum on EU membership, and even a new election which would potentially lead to a different Prime Minister taking charge of the Brexit negotiations. [2][3]

Meanwhile, the Gilets Jaunes in France (Yellow Vests) are into their 10th weekend of protests. Triggered by opposition to a proposed hike in fuel taxes, ostensibly to combat global warming, the demands of the French populace have extended to encompass a wider range of concerns, generally centred around advancing prospects for the working class and ending austerity measures. Critically, they have also demanded France depart from both the European Union (FREXIT) and from the NATO alliance! [4]

The European Union has arguably been a culprit in undermining the democratic will of the peoples of all member states. As Belgian human rights activist Andy Vermaut pointed out in a December 2018 article, the EU through the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), mandates that all EU members must submit their budgets to the European Commission before those budgets are discussed in the members’ national parliaments. The rules designed to “pursue sound public finances” and coordinate the fiscal policies of EU members has, Vermaut argues, resulted in “many years of austerity policy throughout Europe.” [5]

On top of these developments, a new Treaty is set to be signed between Germany and France on January 22nd which would align the diplomatic, economic, military, and other policies of the two European and NATO powers. It has been suggested that this pact would act as an incubator for military as well as economic integration throughout Europe. Such a development naturally invokes questions as to the democratic sovereignty of constituent nations. [6]

On this week’s Global Research News Hour we build on the EU-connected political developments of recent weeks with analyses from two guests.

Peter Koenig provides some insights into the Brexit vote last week and what lies ahead for the UK. He also provides some background on the origins of the European Union project, which did not originate from Europeans themselves, and describes the forces that shaped its trajectory through the creation of the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1957, and the signing of the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 which established the European Union and a common currency (the euro.) Koenig also shares his thoughts about the upcoming Franco-German Treaty and its implications for military containment and suppression of civic unrest.

In the final half hour, Diana Johnstone returns to share her perspectives on the Gilets Jaunes in France, who they are, what they are demanding, and what distinguishes this movement from other popular mobiliizations such as the Occupy Wall Street Movement.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Diana Johnstone is an American political writer based in Paris. Best known for her book, Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Delusions, Johnstone is also the author of Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton. Diana Johnstone is a past guest of the Global Research News Hour and a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization

(Global Research News Hour Episode 245)

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Notes:

  1. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-46885828
  2. ibid
  3. Alex Hunt & Brian Wheeler (January 16, 2019), ‘Brexit: All you need to know about the UK leaving the EU’, BBC News; https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-32810887
  4. https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/france-bleu/demands-of-frances-yellow-vests-as-uploaded-by-france-bleu-november-29
  5. https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201812111070566448-yellow-vests-austerity-eu/
  6. David Scott (January 16, 2019), ‘Will the New Treaty of Aachen make the EU Dream Come True?’, UK COLUMN; https://www.ukcolumn.org/article/will-new-treaty-aachen-make-eu-dream-come-true
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First published by Washington’s Blog and Global Research in February 2015

The U.S. Has Only Been At Peace For 21 Years Total Since Its Birth

In 2011, Danios wrote:

 Below, I have reproduced a year-by-year timeline of America’s wars, which reveals something quite interesting: since the United States was founded in 1776, she has been at war during 214 out of her 235 calendar years of existence.  In other words, there were only 21 calendar years in which the U.S. did not wage any wars.

To put this in perspective:

* Pick any year since 1776 and there is about a 91% chance that America was involved in some war during that calendar year.

* No U.S. president truly qualifies as a peacetime president.  Instead, all U.S. presidents can technically be considered “war presidents.”

* The U.S. has never gone a decade without war.

* The only time the U.S. went five years without war (1935-40) was during the isolationist period of the Great Depression.

*  *  *

 

Year-by-year Timeline of America’s Major Wars (1776-2011)

1776 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamagua Wars, Second Cherokee War, Pennamite-Yankee War

1777 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Second Cherokee War, Pennamite-Yankee War

1778 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War

1779 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War

1780 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War

1781 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War

1782 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War

1783 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War

1784 – Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War, Oconee War

1785 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1786 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1787 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1788 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1789 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1790 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1791 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1792 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1793 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1794 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1795 – Northwest Indian War

1796 – No major war

1797 – No major war

1798 – Quasi-War

1799 – Quasi-War

1800 – Quasi-War

1801 – First Barbary War

1802 – First Barbary War

1803 – First Barbary War

1804 – First Barbary War

1805 – First Barbary War

1806 – Sabine Expedition

1807 – No major war

1808 – No major war

1809 – No major war

1810 – U.S. occupies Spanish-held West Florida

1811 – Tecumseh’s War

1812 – War of 1812, Tecumseh’s War, Seminole Wars, U.S. occupies Spanish-held Amelia Island and other parts of East Florida

1813 – War of 1812, Tecumseh’s War, Peoria War, Creek War, U.S. expands its territory in West Florida

1814 – War of 1812, Creek War, U.S. expands its territory in Florida, Anti-piracy war

1815 – War of 1812, Second Barbary War, Anti-piracy war

1816 – First Seminole War, Anti-piracy war

1817 – First Seminole War, Anti-piracy war

1818 – First Seminole War, Anti-piracy war

1819 – Yellowstone Expedition, Anti-piracy war

1820 – Yellowstone Expedition, Anti-piracy war

1821 – Anti-piracy war (see note above)

1822 – Anti-piracy war (see note above)

1823 – Anti-piracy war, Arikara War

1824 – Anti-piracy war

1825 – Yellowstone Expedition, Anti-piracy war

1826 – No major war

1827 – Winnebago War

1828 – No major war

1829 – No major war

1830 – No major war 

1831 – Sac and Fox Indian War

1832 – Black Hawk War

1833 – Cherokee Indian War

1834 – Cherokee Indian War, Pawnee Indian Territory Campaign

1835 – Cherokee Indian War, Seminole Wars, Second Creek War

1836 – Cherokee Indian War, Seminole Wars, Second Creek War, Missouri-Iowa Border War

1837 – Cherokee Indian War, Seminole Wars, Second Creek War, Osage Indian War, Buckshot War

1838 – Cherokee Indian War, Seminole Wars, Buckshot War, Heatherly Indian War

1839 – Cherokee Indian War, Seminole Wars

1840 – Seminole Wars, U.S. naval forces invade Fiji Islands

1841 – Seminole Wars, U.S. naval forces invade McKean Island, Gilbert Islands, and Samoa

1842 – Seminole Wars

1843 – U.S. forces clash with Chinese, U.S. troops invade African coast

1844 – Texas-Indian Wars

1845 – Texas-Indian Wars

1846 – Mexican-American War, Texas-Indian Wars

1847 – Mexican-American War, Texas-Indian Wars

1848 – Mexican-American War, Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War

1849 – Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians

1850 – Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Yuma War, California Indian Wars, Pitt River Expedition

1851 – Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, Yuma War, Utah Indian Wars, California Indian Wars

1852 – Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Yuma War, Utah Indian Wars, California Indian Wars

1853 – Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Yuma War, Utah Indian Wars, Walker War, California Indian Wars

1854 – Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians

1855 – Seminole Wars, Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Yakima War, Winnas Expedition, Klickitat War, Puget Sound War, Rogue River Wars, U.S. forces invade Fiji Islands and Uruguay

1856 – Seminole Wars, Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, California Indian Wars, Puget Sound War, Rogue River Wars, Tintic War

1857 – Seminole Wars, Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, California Indian Wars, Utah War, Conflict in Nicaragua

1858 – Seminole Wars, Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Mohave War, California Indian Wars, Spokane-Coeur d’Alene-Paloos War, Utah War, U.S. forces invade Fiji Islands and Uruguay

1859 Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, California Indian Wars, Pecos Expedition, Antelope Hills Expedition, Bear River Expedition, John Brown’s raid, U.S. forces launch attack against Paraguay, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1860 – Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Paiute War, Kiowa-Comanche War

1861 – American Civil War, Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Cheyenne Campaign

1862 – American Civil War, Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Cheyenne Campaign, Dakota War of 1862,

1863 – American Civil War, Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Cheyenne Campaign, Colorado War, Goshute War

1864 – American Civil War, Texas-Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Cheyenne Campaign, Colorado War, Snake War

1865 – American Civil War, Texas-Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Colorado War, Snake War, Utah’s Black Hawk War

1866 – Texas-Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Snake War, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Red Cloud’s War, Franklin County War, U.S. invades Mexico, Conflict with China

1867 – Texas-Indian Wars, Long Walk of the Navajo, Apache Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Snake War, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Red Cloud’s War, Comanche Wars, Franklin County War, U.S. troops occupy Nicaragua and attack Taiwan

1868 – Texas-Indian Wars, Long Walk of the Navajo, Apache Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Snake War, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Red Cloud’s War, Comanche Wars, Battle of Washita River, Franklin County War

1869 – Texas-Indian Wars, Apache Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Comanche Wars, Franklin County War

1870 – Texas-Indian Wars, Apache Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Comanche Wars, Franklin County War

1871 – Texas-Indian Wars, Apache Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Comanche Wars, Franklin County War, Kingsley Cave Massacre, U.S. forces invade Korea

1872 – Texas-Indian Wars, Apache Wars, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Comanche Wars, Modoc War, Franklin County War

1873 – Texas-Indian Wars, Comanche Wars, Modoc War, Apache Wars, Cypress Hills Massacre, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1874 – Texas-Indian Wars, Comanche Wars, Red River War, Mason County War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1875 – Conflict in Mexico, Texas-Indian Wars, Comanche Wars, Eastern Nevada, Mason County War, Colfax County War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1876 – Texas-Indian Wars, Black Hills War, Mason County War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1877 – Texas-Indian Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Black Hills War, Nez Perce War, Mason County War, Lincoln County War, San Elizario Salt War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1878 – Paiute Indian conflict, Bannock War, Cheyenne War, Lincoln County War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1879 – Cheyenne War, Sheepeater Indian War, White River War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1880 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1881 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1882 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1883 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1884 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1885 – Apache Wars, Eastern Nevada Expedition, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1886 – Apache Wars, Pleasant Valley War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1887 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1888 – U.S. show of force against Haiti, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1889 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1890 – Sioux Indian War, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Ghost Dance War, Wounded Knee, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1891 – Sioux Indian War, Ghost Dance War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1892 – Johnson County War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1893 – U.S. forces invade Mexico and Hawaii

1894 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1895 – U.S. forces invade Mexico, Bannock Indian Disturbances

1896 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1897 – No major war

1898 – Spanish-American War, Battle of Leech Lake, Chippewa Indian Disturbances

1899 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1900 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1901 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1902 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1903 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1904 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1905 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1906 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1907 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1908 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1909 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1910 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1911 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1912 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1913 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars, New Mexico Navajo War

1914 – Banana Wars, U.S. invades Mexico

1915 – Banana Wars, U.S. invades Mexico, Colorado Paiute War

1916 – Banana Wars, U.S. invades Mexico

1917 – Banana Wars, World War I, U.S. invades Mexico

1918 – Banana Wars, World War I, U.S invades Mexico

1919 – Banana Wars, U.S. invades Mexico

1920 – Banana Wars

1921 – Banana Wars

1922 – Banana Wars

1923 – Banana Wars, Posey War

1924 – Banana Wars

1925 – Banana Wars

1926 – Banana Wars

1927 – Banana Wars

1928 – Banana Wars

1930 – Banana Wars

1931 – Banana Wars

1932 – Banana Wars

1933 – Banana Wars

1934 – Banana Wars

1935 – No major war

1936 – No major war

1937 – No major war

1938 – No major war

1939 – No major war

1940 – No major war

1941 – World War II

1942 – World War II

1943 – Wold War II

1944 – World War II

1945 – World War II

1946 – Cold War (U.S. occupies the Philippines and South Korea)

1947 – Cold War (U.S. occupies South Korea, U.S. forces land in Greece to fight Communists)

1948 – Cold War (U.S. forces aid Chinese Nationalist Party against Communists)

1949 – Cold War (U.S. forces aid Chinese Nationalist Party against Communists)

1950 – Korean War, Jayuga Uprising

1951 – Korean War

1952 – Korean War

1953 – Korean War

1954 – Covert War in Guatemala

1955 – Vietnam War

1956 – Vietnam War

1957 – Vietnam War

1958 – Vietnam War

1959 – Vietnam War, Conflict in Haiti

1960 – Vietam War

1961 – Vietnam War

1962 – Vietnam War, Cold War (Cuban Missile Crisis; U.S. marines fight Communists in Thailand)

1963 – Vietnam War

1964 – Vietnam War

1965 – Vietnam War, U.S. occupation of Dominican Republic

1966 – Vietnam War, U.S. occupation of Dominican Republic

1967 – Vietnam War

1968 – Vietnam War

1969 – Vietnam War

1970 – Vietnam War

1971 – Vietnam War

1972 – Vietnam War

1973 – Vietnam War, U.S. aids Israel in Yom Kippur War

1974 – Vietnam War

1975 – Vietnam War

1976 – No major war

1977 – No major war

1978 – No major war

1979 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan)

1980 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan)

1981 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan and Nicaragua), First Gulf of Sidra Incident

1982 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan and Nicaragua), Conflict in Lebanon

1983 – Cold War (Invasion of Grenada, CIA proxy war in Afghanistan and Nicaragua), Conflict in Lebanon

1984 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan and Nicaragua), Conflict in Persian Gulf

1985 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan and Nicaragua)

1986 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan and Nicaragua)

1987 – Conflict in Persian Gulf

1988 – Conflict in Persian Gulf, U.S. occupation of Panama

1989 – Second Gulf of Sidra Incident, U.S. occupation of Panama, Conflict in Philippines

1990 – First Gulf War, U.S. occupation of Panama

1991 – First Gulf War

1992 – Conflict in Iraq

1993 – Conflict in Iraq

1994 – Conflict in Iraq, U.S. invades Haiti

1995 – Conflict in Iraq, U.S. invades Haiti, NATO bombing of Bosnia and Herzegovina

1996 – Conflict in Iraq

1997 – No major war

1998 – Bombing of Iraq, Missile strikes against Afghanistan and Sudan

1999 – Kosovo War

2000 – No major war

2001 – War on Terror in Afghanistan

2002 – War on Terror in Afghanistan and Yemen

2003 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, and Iraq

2004 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen

2005 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen

2006 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen

2007 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen

2008 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen

2009 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen

2010 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen

2011 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen; Conflict in Libya (Libyan Civil War)

In most of these wars, the U.S. was on the offense. Danios admits that some of the wars were defensive.   However, Danios also leaves out covert CIA operations and other acts which could be considered war.

Let’s update what’s happened since 2011:

2012 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Syria and Yemen

2013 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Syria and Yemen

2014 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Syria and Yemen; Civil War in Ukraine

2015 – War on Terror in Somalia, Somalia, Syria and Yemen; Civil War in Ukraine

So we can add 4 more years of war. That means that for 222 out of 239 years – or 93% of the time – America has been at war. (We can quibble with the exact numbers, but the high percentage of time that America has been at war is clear and unmistakable.)

Indeed, most of the military operations launched since World War II have been launched by the U.S.

And American military spending dwarfs the rest of the world put together.

No wonder polls show that the world believes America is the number 1 threat to peace.

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First published by Global Research on September 11, 2016

Globalisation is the demise of humanity. That being said, if we want peace, solidarity, harmonious cohabitation, justice and equality – we have to defeat globalisation. And to be able to defeat it, countries which strive to take back autonomy and sovereignty may want to move away from the oppressive fist of the west.

BREXIT offers Europe and the world a formidable opportunity to break loose from the rigged, dollar-based fiat monetary system. BREXIT opens the door for other European Union (EU) nations to do likewise. Different polls indicate that between 60% and 80% of all EU citizens are fed up with the corrupt EU, wanting to leave. In France, whose Mr. Hollande has reached the attribute of least popular President of all times and who is openly called a traitor of the people, a recent survey says more than 85% of the French are against the EU.

Europeans are also worried about the gradual but steady integration of the EU with NATO. A militarisation of Europe with a US-led war machine moving ever closer towards Moscow is a strong and present danger for WWIII – meaning Europe may become again the theatre of war and destruction the third time in 100 years. Encircling China with two thirds of the US Navy fleet in the South China Sea, provoking territorial conflicts via the Philippines, a former colony and a US vassal; and presenting a constant menace with uncountable military bases in the area, all the way to Australia, are no signs of peaceful cooperation by Washington.

Bringing down the EU would break up the Euro and may also break up NATO. This, of course, is non-coherent with Washington’s hold on power over Europe and aggression against Russia. Breaking up the EU would also annihilate the secretly negotiated nefarious TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) turn Europe into US corporate-finance slavehood. As usual with US-imposed trade agreements, the TTIP would tilt the balance of benefits heavily in favour of Washington and its corporate-finance masters. It would superimpose private courts upon sovereign nations’ legal system to arbitrate on behalf of corporations and financial institutions for foregone profit, in case EU nations might dare introducing profit hindering legislation, for example for environmental protection, food safety and social wellbeing.

And last but not least, bringing down the Euro would seriously jeopardise the hegemony of the US dollar, as the two currencies are really one coin with two faces, one governing Europe, the other the world – except for China and Russia; two very important exceptions.

Different polls indicate that between 60% and 80% of all EU citizens are fed up with the corrupt EU, wanting to leave.

In the western economic system, the US currency means everything for the US empire to fully dominate the world, its resources, people and finances. The US dollar has been created for this purpose. And so has the European Union and her single currency, the Euro. They are not the product of Europe, they are the deceitful construct of the CIA, a process begun shortly after WWII. In 1946 Winston Churchill proclaimed, [we must]re-create the European family, or as much of it as we can, and to provide it with a structure under which it can dwell in peace, in safety and in freedom. We must build a kind of United States of Europe.” He was then as Cameron and his successor, Theresa May, are today a mouthpiece for the United States, expressing Washington’s ideas as a Trojan horse in Europe.

Some 240 years ago, the freemason founders of the United States of America duped the common US population and later the world with Big Words, like Democracy, Equality, Free Speech, and Justice for All – into believing that they are living in a free and just country. These ideals were just slogans stamped into the US Constitution, while the long-script is favouring a small privileged elite. For example, slavery existed already since early colonial days in British North America. It was legal at the time of US Independence in 1776. Instead of being abolished under the principles of Equality and Justice for All, it prevailed throughout the 18th and part of the 19th Century. Yet, the sham of a free America continues to this day, providing fertile ground for a predatory monetary system to lead a predatory world economy.

Today’s western debt-based monetary system is – but a foster child of the deceitful Constitution. It began in 1910, when a group of prominent Wall Street bankers travelled clandestinely to Jekyll Island, Georgia, on what they disguisingly called “The Duck Hunt”, where they concocted what in 1913 became the Federal Reserve Act. Thus, emerged the entirely privately owned, Rothschild dominated Federal Reserve system (FED), serving as the US Central Bank. It is the omnipotent dollar making machine.

After signing the FED Act into existence, then President Woodrow Wilson as a dying man declared, “I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world, no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.”

The Brits had already a central bank way back in 1694. It was then already controlled by the Rothschild family, as was the entire banking system. Baron Nathan Mayer Rothschild once declared: “I care not what puppet is placed upon the throne of England to rule the Empire on which the sun never sets. The man that controls Britain’s money supply controls the British Empire, and I control the British money supply.” What the Baron may have said some 320 years ago, still holds true to this day.

When Nixon in 1971 abandoned the gold standard (one troy-ounce of gold = US$35), essentially created by the Bretton Woods institutions, the IMF and the World Bank, to control the western monetary system – the US dollar became de facto the world’s currency of reference and by implication the world’s reserve currency. This Machiavellian move allowed the FED to print dollars as needed to fund US / NATO instigated conflicts and wars, as well as propaganda to sell the wars around the globe. Every new dollar was a dollar of debt, most of them externalised, since the world held them in their reserve coffers.

The good news is that the paradigm is changing rapidly. When twenty years ago about 90% of worldwide reserves were kept in dollar-denominated securities, today this figure is below 60% and falling. Of course, as long as the value of currencies can be manipulated, the value of dollar reserves is relative. However, the trend is clear. Slipping below 50% may be the beginning of a sea change in world economy, giving rise to alternative monetary systems.

The shift has already started. China, Russia and other eastern countries are quietly divesting their dollar reserves into securities of other denominations. The idea for the future is to back monetary systems, funds circulating and released by central banks, by actual socio-economic outputs of a nation, including social and environmental achievements, such as public health, education, protection and conservation of natural resources, as well as a sovereign’s ability of internal and external conflict resolution.

China, Russia and other eastern countries are quietly divesting their dollar reserves into securities of other denominations. The idea for the future is to back monetary systems, funds circulating and released by central banks, by actual socio-economic outputs of a nation.

Simultaneously with the end of the “gold standard”, the limitless dollar production was further facilitated by Father Bush (George H. W.). He negotiated with the House of Saud – his friends – to remain at the head of OPEC, as long as Saudi Arabia would assure that hydrocarbons would never be traded in currencies other than the US-dollar. In return, the US would guarantee the Saudis’ security. Done deal. It allowed the US to establish a series of US bases in Saudi Arabia, with which to control the Middle East and surrounding areas and to carry on wars and proxy conflicts, destroying Yemen and Syria, killing and maiming hundreds of thousands of civilians, women and children. The Saudis, Qatar and other Gulf vassals were also coopted into funding the US-created NATO ground troops in Syria, Iraq and Libya, namely the “terror” organisation, and Islamic State (IS-ISIS-Daesh).

Under this OPEC arrangement with the Saudis, the demand for US-dollars increased almost exponentially. Every dollar created means new US debt. This is irrelevant, since US debt was never meant to be paid off. Alan Greenspan, former chief of the FED once answered a journalist’s question on how the US was ever able to repay her debt, “We never will pay our debt, since we can just print new money.” This confirms the pyramid principle of the dollar based monetary system: You create dollars as debt which bears interest which you pay by new debt. In other words: Never; creating an endlessly growing and ever shakier house of cards – until it collapses, and collapse it will.

Greece is a typical showcase, strangled into misery by a rigged monetary system. Similar criminal deeds emanating from the dollar denominated worldwide “Ponzi” scheme, are “sanctions”, punishing countries that do not submit to the tyrannical dominance of the empire, blocking trade, confiscating assets, foreign currency accounts – and more. This is possible, because the US dollar scam-currency still dominates international trade. As long as hundreds of trillions of dollars are flooding the globe, it is possible to manipulate the value of any currency, including gold. The secretive Basle-based BIS (Bank for International Settlement), also called the central bank of central banks, entirely privately owned and controlled by Rothschild and Co, is best suited for such manipulations.

No wonder, breaking loose from this abusive monetary scheme is number one priority of most countries that treasure sovereignty, autonomy and freedom, though many do not dare say so openly, lest the empire lashes out at them punishing them with the very financial terror they want to escape from – illegal economic sanctions. And lashing out at the unaligned nations the empire does, like a dying beast, attempting to pull with it much of the living world into its own shoveled grave.

The western culture is based on aggressive, greed driven mono-theistic Judo-Christianism. It foments constant competition instead of cooperation, conflict instead of harmony, supremacy instead of solidarity. It thrives on a constant growth fetish which flourishes on extreme consumerism – it plunders mercilessly the earth’s natural resources, representing an unsustainable marauder economy, bound to implode rather sooner than later.

Since the ascent of neoliberalism in the 1980s, exacerbated by the auto-coup 9/11, the Washington-declared war on terror has killed an estimated 12 to 15 million people around the globe in the last 15 to 20 years. It has also fed and fueled the US military-security complex that by now accounts for a majority of the US economic output, including associated industries and services.

Wars and conflicts have become Washington’s guarantee of survival. The US economy could not survive without the military industrial complex unlimited amounts of dollars that finances them. This war dependency and tool for dominance used by world financiers may soon spread to Europe. Aggressions by “regime change” of every “unaligned” government, US/NATO military invasions, or mercenary wars, from the Middle East, through Asia, Latin America and Europe abound. They are enhanced by western organised false flag “terror” attacks, gradually reaching around the globe, sacrificing the lives of western governments’ own citizens, with the purpose of spreading fear. Since history remembers, fear is the weapon of dictators to subdue people, countries and eventually entire continents. The very useful culprits are invariably Islamic “jihadists”, who hate the west. The ultimate goal is to complete militarisation of Europe, US and eventually the world. People under Martial Law can be controlled and manipulated.

The US economy could not survive without the military industrial complex unlimited amounts of dollars that finances them.

If the multi-trillion-dollar cycle of debt-interest-debt is broken, the western economy is dead. The war on Iraq and the murder of Washington’s long-time ally, Saddam Hussein, was foremost a currency war. At the end of the 1990’s “sanctions” upon Iraq for its western provoked attack on Kuwait, Saddam planned to sell Iraq’s hydrocarbons, at that time the world’s second largest known source, for Euros and later for the “Gold Dinar”, Libya’s new gold-backed currency; the very currency with which Mohammed Gaddafi intended to free Africa from the voracious fangs of the west. Gaddafi wanted to gradually introduce the Gold Dinar as a common (reserve) currency in Africa. He also planned to bring low cost mobile telecommunication to Africa, thereby foregoing European and US phone monopolies’ insane profits reaped off the African people. Therefore, Gaddafi and Libya also had to go.

Iran was falsely accused as a nuclear threat, even when the 16 most prominent US secret services said that Iran had no intentions of producing nuclear weapons. It was again the dollar that was at stake. In 2007 Iran was about to launch the Teheran Oil Bourse, where hydrocarbons could have been traded in Euros, instead of dollars, an idea many oil producers cherished. Imagine, the trillions of dollars lost to the empire; dollars required by Washington’s proxy government to sustain its supremacy around the world. Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Chad, Afghanistan and more Middle-Eastern and North-African countries were already condemned to fall under the Zionist-neocon fabricated PNAC (Plan for a New American Century). However, the “oil bourse” and what it would have meant for the decline of the dollar, triggered the nuclear pretext for illegal “sanctions” and economic attacks on Iran.

To return to peace, it is high time for the world to move to an alternative monetary system. A new future is dawning. SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication), the western privately-owned and Wall Street dominated international transfer system is being disbanded by the East. SWIFT makes it possible that Iran can be excluded from receiving and making monetary transfers, and that Argentina can be blackmailed into acceding to the US-based Vulture funds demanding US$4 billion of UN-declared illegal debt. SWIFT is being replaced by the Chinese CIPS which can be rolled out internationally and made available to countries that would like to disconnect from western control. Western media are silent about the emerging change, lest it might help awaken the slumbering oppressed masses.

The only reason BREXIT may have a negative impact, is if the powers that control the dollar-economy – the minute elite of less than 1% – manage to fabricate another crisis in Europe and accuse BREXIT for it.

BREXIT, if allowed to happen, might put an avalanche of international discontent in motion. But BREXIT is under tremendous pressure not to happen by Washington and its European vassals, as it puts dollar hegemony on the brink. The IMF has started a lie and manipulation campaign falsely – and ridiculously – predicting BREXIT may jeopardise the world economy. There are no reasons or explanations given whatsoever for such nonsense. People have to blindly believe the authorities (sic) of the International Monetary Fund. The only reason BREXIT may have a negative impact, is if the powers that control the dollar-economy – the minute elite of less than 1% – manage to fabricate another crisis in Europe and accuse BREXIT for it. This is entirely possible. The criminals controlling the mendacious “system” know no scruples in oppressing and enslaving the world.

The British voters’ preference for LEAVE, is giving rise to higher aspirations – EUREXIT, a challenge already in the crosshairs of several EU countries’ populations – though not necessarily shared by their undemocratic puppet governments – including Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland – and the list goes on. An alternative economic and monetary model is already available and being launched.

“Economy of Resistance” counters neo-fascist globalisation imposed around the world by the west. This for our times revolutionary concept, though not new, is already successfully applied by Russia and Iran, using local banking and local money to promoting local capacities and resources to replace imports by building internal production facilities, creating labour, scientific research and adding in-country value.Resistance Economy may effectively defeat the dollar hegemony and western economy of war, destruction and assassinations, replacing it with an economy of equal opportunities, justice and peace.

Peter Koenig is an economist, and water resources and environmental specialist. He has worked for over 30 years with the World Bank, the World Health Organization, and the Swiss Development Cooperation, in Africa, Middle East, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, East and South East Asia and Latin America. Peter is also a geopolitical analyst for Global Research, Information Clearing House, RT, PressTV, Sputnik, TeleSUR and The 4th Media, China. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.

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Italienische Soldaten im Einsatz in Dschibuti haben der humanitären Organisation, die den Flüchtlingen in diesem winzigen Land am Horn von Afrika hilft, Nähmaschinen angeboten. Es befindet sich in einer strategischen Position an der wichtigsten Handelsroute Asien-Europa, an der Mündung des Roten Meeres, gegenüber dem Jemen. Italien hat dort eine Militärbasis, die seit 2012 “logistische Unterstützung für italienische Militäroperationen im Gebiet des Horns von Afrika, des Golfs von Aden, des Somalibeckens und des Indischen Ozeans” leistet.

So scheint es in Dschibuti, dass sich das italienische Militär nicht nur mit Nähmaschinen beschäftigt.

In der Übung Barracuda 2018, die im vergangenen November stattfand, wurden ausgewählte Scharfschützen der Spezialeinheiten (mit Sitz in Pisa) unter allen möglichen Umgebungsbedingungen, einschließlich Nachtoperationen, mit den modernsten hochpräzisen Gewehren trainiert, die das Ziel in einer Entfernung von ein oder zwei Kilometern zentrieren können. Wir wissen nicht, an welchen Operationen die Spezialeinheiten teilgenommen haben, da ihre Missionen geheim gehalten werden – es ist jedoch sicher, dass sie im Wesentlichen in einem multinationalen Kontext unter dem Kommando der USA stattfanden.

In Dschibuti befindet sich das Camp Lemonnier, die riesige US-Basis, von der aus die Gemeinsame Task Force am Horn von Afrika seit 2001 arbeitet. Die Task Force besteht aus 4.000 Spezialisten für streng geheime Missionen, darunter gezielte Morde durch Kommandos oder Killerdrohnen, insbesondere im Jemen und Somalia. Während Flugzeuge und Hubschrauber für diese Spezialeinsätze vom Lager Lemonnier starten, sind die Drohnen auf dem Flughafen Chabelley, ein Dutzend Kilometer von der Hauptstadt entfernt, konzentriert. Dort werden neue Hangars gebaut, und die Arbeiten wurden vom Pentagon an ein Unternehmen aus Catania übergeben, das bereits für die Arbeiten in Sigonella, der Hauptdrohnenbasis der USA und der NATO für Einsätze in Afrika und dem Nahen Osten, eingesetzt wird.

In Dschibuti gibt es auch eine japanische und eine französische Basis, in der sich deutsche und spanische Truppen befinden. Im Jahr 2017 kam eine chinesische Militärbasis hinzu, die einzige außerhalb ihres Staatsgebiets. Neben einigen grundlegenden logistischen Funktionen, wie der Unterbringung der Besatzungen der Militärschiffe, die Handelsschiffe begleiten, und Lagerhallen für die Lagerung von Hilfsgütern, stellt sie ein wichtiges Signal für die wachsende chinesische Präsenz in Afrika dar.

Dies ist eine im Wesentlichen wirtschaftliche Präsenz, der die Vereinigten Staaten und andere westliche Mächte eine wachsende militärische Präsenz entgegensetzen. Dies erklärt die Intensivierung der Operationen unter der Führung von AfriCom (US Command for Africa), das in Italien zwei wichtige untergeordnete Kommandos hat – die US Army Africa in der Kaserne Ederle de Vicence; die US Naval Forces Europe-Africa mit Sitz auf der Capodichino-Basis in Neapel, bestehend aus den Kriegsschiffen der Sechsten Flotte mit Sitz in Gaeta.

In der gleichen strategischen Infrastruktur befindet sich eine weitere US-Basis für bewaffnete Drohnen, die in Agadez, Niger, im Bau ist, wo das Pentagon bereits die Air Base 101 in Niamey für Drohnen nutzt. Diese Basis dient militärischen Operationen, die die USA seit Jahren leiten, mit Frankreich im Sahel, vor allem in Mali, Niger und Tschad. Präsident Giuseppe Conte wird ab morgen die beiden letzten Stützpunkte besuchen.

Diese Länder gehören zu den ärmsten der Welt, sind aber sehr reich an Rohstoffen – Coltan, Uran, Gold, Öl und vielen anderen -, die von transnationalen Unternehmen mit Sitz in den USA und Frankreich genutzt werden, welche zunehmend Angst vor der Konkurrenz durch chinesische Unternehmen haben, die afrikanischen Ländern viel günstigere Bedingungen bieten.

Der Versuch, den wirtschaftlichen Fortschritt Chinas mit militärischen Mitteln in Afrika und anderswo aufzuhalten, beginnt zu scheitern. Vermutlich sind sogar die Nähmaschinen, die von italienischen Soldaten für die Flüchtlinge nach Dschibuti gespendet wurden, “Made in China”.

Manlio Dinucci

Übersetzung
K. R.

Quelle Il Manifesto :

VIDEO – Il «grande gioco» delle basi in AfricaL’Arte della guerra

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We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth

January 19th, 2019 by Edward Curtin

First published on MLK day 2018

As Martin Luther King’s birthday is celebrated with a national holiday, his death day disappears down the memory hole. Across the country – in response to the King Holiday and Service Act passed by Congress and signed by Bill Clinton in 1994 – people will be encouraged to make the day one of service. Such service does not include King’s commitment to protest a decadent system of racial and economic injustice or non-violently resist the U.S. warfare state that he called “the greatest purveyor of violence on earth.” 

Government sponsored service is cultural neo-liberalism at its finest, the promotion of individualism at the expense of a mass movement for radical institutional change.

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous,” warned Dr. King, “than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

How true those words. For the government that honors Dr. King with a national holiday killed him. This is the suppressed truth behind the highly promoted day of service. It is what you are not supposed to know. It is what Thomas Merton, as quoted by James W. Douglass, called The Unspeakable: “It is the void that contradicts everything that is spoken even before the words are said; the void that gets into the language of public and officials declarations at the very moment when they are pronounced, and makes them ring dead with the hollowness of the abyss.  It is the void out of which Eichmann drew the punctilious exactitude of his service.”

The word service is a loaded word; it has become a smiley face and vogue word over the past 35 years. Its use for MLK Day is clear: individuals are encouraged to volunteer for activities such as tutoring children, painting senior centers, or delivering meals to the elderly, activities that are good in themselves but far less good when used to conceal an American prophet’s radical message. After all, Martin Luther King’s work was not volunteering at the local food pantry with Oprah Winfrey cheering him on.

The Assassination

King was not murdered because he had spent his heroic life promoting individual volunteerism. To understand his life and death – to celebrate the man – “it is essential to realize although he is popularly depicted and perceived as a civil rights leader, he was much more than that. A non-violent revolutionary, he personified the most powerful force for a long overdue social, political, and economic reconstruction of the nation.” Those are the words of William Pepper, the King family lawyer, from his comprehensive and definitive study of the King assassination, The Plot to Kill King, a book that should be read by anyone concerned with truth and justice.

Revolutionaries are, of course, anathema to the power elites who, with all their might, resist such rebels’ efforts to transform society. If they can’t buy them off, they knock them off. Fifty one years after King’s assassination, the causes he fought for – civil rights, the end to U.S. wars of aggression, and economic justice for all – remain not only unfulfilled, but have worsened in so many respects. And King’s message has been enervated by the sly trick of giving him a national holiday and then urging Americans to make it “a day of service.” The vast majority of those who innocently participate in these activities have no idea who killed King, or why. If they did, they might pause in their tracks, and combine their “service” activities with a teach-in on the truth of his assassination.

Because MLK repeatedly called the United States the “greatest purveyor of violence on earth,” he was universally condemned by the mass media and government that later – once he was long and safely dead and no longer a threat – praised him to the heavens. This has continued to the present day of historical amnesia.

Educating people about the fact that U.S. government forces conspired to kill Dr. King, and why, and why it matters today, is the greatest service we can render to his memory.

William Pepper’s decades-long investigation not only refutes the flimsy case against the alleged assassin James Earl Ray, but definitively proves that King was killed by a government conspiracy led by J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI, Army Intelligence, and the Memphis Police, assisted by southern Mafia figures.

The Trial

This shocking truth is accentuated when one is reminded (or told for the first time) that in 1999 a Memphis jury, after a thirty day civil trial with over seventy witnesses, found the U.S. government guilty in the killing of MLK. The King family had brought the suit and Pepper represented them. They were grateful that the truth was confirmed, but saddened by the way the findings were buried by the media in cahoots with the government.

Pepper not only demolishes the government’s self-serving case with a plethora of evidence, but shows how the mainstream media, academia, and government flacks have spent years covering up the truth of MLK’s murder through lies and disinformation. Another way they have accomplished this is by convincing a gullible public that “service” is a substitute for truth.

But service without truth is a disservice to the life, legacy, and radical witness of this great American hero. It is propaganda aimed at convincing decent people that they are serving the essence of MLK’s message while they are obeying their masters, the very government that murdered him.

It is time to rebel against the mind manipulation served by the MLK Day of Service. Let us offer service, but let us also learn and speak the truth.

“He who lives with untruth lives in spiritual slavery,” King told us, “Freedom is still the bonus we receive for knowing the truth.”

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Edward Curtin is a writer whose work has appeared widely. He teaches sociology at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. His website is http://edwardcurtin.com/

Back in 2016, I posed the question in The Ecologist whether regulators in the EU were acting as product promoters when it came to the relicensing of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup. The renewal of the license for glyphosate in the EU was being debated at the time and much evidence pointed to collusion between regulators and corporate interests whose sales of the herbicide add up to many billions of dollars a year.

In that article, I referred to evidence presented in various documents written by environmentalist and campaigner Dr Rosemary Mason. Now, in the wake of a new, important paper by Charles Benbrook (14 January) in the journal ‘Environmental Sciences Europe’, Dr Mason has lodged a complaint with the European Ombudsman accusing European regulatory agencies of collusion with the agrochemicals industry.

Mason has been writing to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the EU Commission over a period of 18 months, challenging them about ECHA’s classification of glyphosate. She notes that many people around the world have struggled to understand how and why the US Environmental Protection Agency and the EFSA concluded that glyphosate is not genotoxic (damaging to DNA) or carcinogenic, whereas the World Health Organisation’s cancer agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), came to the opposite conclusion.

The IARC stated that the evidence for glyphosate’s genotoxic potential is “strong” and that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen. While IARC referenced only peer-reviewed studies and reports available in the public literature, the EPA relied heavily on unpublished regulatory studies commissioned by pesticide manufacturers.

In fact, 95 of the 151 genotoxicity assays cited in the EPA’s evaluation were from industry studies (63%), while IARC cited 100% public literature sources. Another important difference is that the EPA focused its analysis on glyphosate in its pure chemical form, or ‘glyphosate technical’. The problem with that is that almost no one is exposed to glyphosate alone. Applicators and the public are exposed to complete herbicide formulations consisting of glyphosate plus added ingredients (adjuvants). The formulations have repeatedly been shown to be more toxic than glyphosate in isolation.

Mason notes that this reflects issues raised by the European Parliament’s PEST Committee, which was set up in response to the concerns raised by the European Citizens’ Initiative to ban glyphosate, and the Monsanto Papers (internal Monsanto documents disclosed in cancer litigation in the USA revealing how industry has subverted science).

In an unusual step, the editor-in-chief of Environmental Sciences Europe, Prof Henner Hollert, and his co-author, Prof Thomas Backhaus, weighed in with a strong statement in support of the acceptance of Dr Benbrook’s article for publication. In a commentary published in the same issue of the journal, they write:

“We are convinced that the article provides new insights on why different conclusions regarding the carcinogenicity of glyphosate and GBHs [glyphosate-based herbicides] were reached by the US EPA and IARC. It is an important contribution to the discussion on the genotoxicity of GBHs.”

The IARC’s evaluation relied heavily on studies capable of shedding light on the distribution of real-world exposures and genotoxicity risk in exposed human populations, while the EPA’s evaluation placed little or no weight on such evidence.

In the wake of the IARC’s evaluation, there has been an industry-orchestrated attempt to discredit or even destroy the agency.

You can read here – The European Regulatory Authorities are colluding with a corporation involved in the Holocaust – the document that Mason has submitted to the European Ombudsman. It includes all of her recent correspondence with various regulatory agencies (and their responses) that outline concerns about the toxicity of glyphosate and some of the methods that have been used to keep it on the market.

Mason has also written a scathing open letter to Bayer CEO Werner Baumann. You can read the open letter here (Monsanto was recently incorporated into Bayer).

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Colin Todhunter is a frequent contributor to Global Research and Asia-Pacific Research.


seeds_2.jpg

Seeds of Destruction: Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation

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

List Price: $25.95

Special Price: $18.00

 

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

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

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

The U.S. military is finally withdrawing (or not) from its base at al-Tanf. You know, the place that the Syrian government long claimed was a training ground for Islamic State (ISIS) fighters; the land corridor just inside Syria, near both the Iraqi and Jordanian borders, that Russia has called a terrorist hotbed (while floating the idea of jointly administering it with the United States); the location of a camp where hundreds of U.S. Marines joined Special Operations forces last year; an outpost that U.S. officials claimed was the key not only to defeating ISIS, but also, according to General Joseph Votel, the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, to countering “the malign activities that Iran and their various proxies and surrogates would like to pursue.” You know, that al-Tanf.

Within hours of President Trump’s announcement of a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria, equipment at that base was already being inventoried for removal. And just like that, arguably the most important American garrison in Syria was (maybe) being struck from the Pentagon’s books — except, as it happens, al-Tanf was never actually on the Pentagon’s books. Opened in 2015and, until recently, home to hundreds of U.S. troops, it was one of the many military bases that exist somewhere between light and shadow, an acknowledged foreign outpost that somehow never actually made it onto the Pentagon’s official inventory of bases.

Officially, the Department of Defense (DoD) maintains 4,775 “sites,” spread across all 50 states, eight U.S. territories, and 45 foreign countries. A total of 514 of these outposts are located overseas, according to the Pentagon’s worldwide property portfolio. Just to start down a long list, these include bases on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa, as well as in Peru and Portugal, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. But the most recent version of that portfolio, issued in early 2018 and known as the Base Structure Report (BSR), doesn’t include any mention of al-Tanf. Or, for that matter, any other base in Syria. Or Iraq. Or Afghanistan. Or Niger. Or Tunisia. Or Cameroon. Or Somalia. Or any number of locales where such military outposts are known to exist and even, unlike in Syria, to be expanding.

According to David Vine, author of Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World, there could be hundreds of similar off-the-books bases around the world. “The missing sites are a reflection of the lack of transparency involved in the system of what I still estimate to be around 800 U.S. bases outside the 50 states and Washington, D.C., that have been encircling the globe since World War II,” says Vine, who is also a founding member of the recently established Overseas Base Realignment and Closure Coalition, a group of military analysts from across the ideological spectrum who advocate shrinking the U.S. military’s global “footprint.”

Such off-the-books bases are off the books for a reason. The Pentagon doesn’t want to talk about them. “I spoke to the press officer who is responsible for the Base Structure Report and she has nothing to add and no one available to discuss further at this time,” Pentagon spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Michelle Baldanza told TomDispatch when asked about the Defense Department’s many mystery bases.

“Undocumented bases are immune to oversight by the public and often even Congress,” Vine explains. “Bases are a physical manifestation of U.S. foreign and military policy, so off-the-books bases mean the military and executive branch are deciding such policy without public debate, frequently spending hundreds of millions or billions of dollars and potentially getting the U.S. involved in wars and conflicts about which most of the country knows nothing.”

Where Are They?

The Overseas Base Realignment and Closure Coalition notes that the United States possesses up to 95% of the world’s foreign military bases, while countries like France, Russia, and the United Kingdom have perhaps 10-20 foreign outposts each. China has just one.

The Department of Defense even boasts that its “locations” include 164 countries. Put another way, it has a military presence of some sort in approximately 84% of the nations on this planet — or at least the DoD briefly claimed this. After TomDispatch inquired about the number on a new webpage designed to tell the Pentagon’s “story” to the general public, it was quickly changed. “We appreciate your diligence in getting to the bottom of this,” said Lieutenant Colonel Baldanza. “Thanks to your observations, we have updated defense.gov to say ‘more than 160.’”

The progressive changes made to the Defense Department’s “Our Story” webpage as a result of questions from TomDispatch.

What the Pentagon still doesn’t say is how it defines a “location.” The number 164 does roughly track with the Department of Defense’s current manpower statistics, which show personnel deployments of varying sizes in 166 “overseas” locales — including some nations with token numbers of U.S. military personnel and others, like Iraq and Syria, where the size of the force was obviously far larger, even if unlisted at the time of the assessment. (The Pentagon recently claimed that there were 5,200 troops in Iraq and at least 2,000 troops in Syria although that number should now markedly shrink.) The Defense Department’s “overseas” tally, however, also lists troops in U.S. territories like American Samoa, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Wake Island. Dozens of soldiers, according to the Pentagon, are also deployed to the country of “Akrotiri” (which is actually a village on the island of Santorini in Greece) and thousands more are based in “unknown” locations.

In the latest report, the number of those “unknown” troops exceeds 44,000.

Official Defense Department manpower statistics show U.S. forces deployed to the nation of “Akrotiri.”

The annual cost of deploying U.S. military personnel overseas, as well as maintaining and running those foreign bases, tops out at an estimated $150 billion annually, according to the Overseas Bases Realignment and Closure Coalition. The price tag for the outposts alone adds up to about one-third of that total.

“U.S. bases abroad cost upwards of $50 billion per year to build and maintain, which is money that could be used to address pressing needs at home in education, health care, housing, and infrastructure,” Vine points out.

Perhaps you won’t be surprised to learn that the Pentagon is also somewhat fuzzy about just where its troops are stationed. The new Defense Department website, for instance, offered a count of “4,800+ defense sites” around the world. After TomDispatch inquired about this total and how it related to the official count of 4,775 sites listed in the BSR, the website was changed to read “approximately 4,800 Defense Sites.”

“Thank you for pointing out the discrepancy. As we transition to the new site, we are working on updating information,” wrote Lieutenant Colonel Baldanza. “Please refer to the Base Structure Report which has the latest numbers.”

In the most literal sense, the Base Structure Report does indeed have the latest numbers — but their accuracy is another matter.

“The number of bases listed in the BSR has long born little relation to the actual number of U.S. bases outside the United States,” says Vine. “Many, many well-known and secretive bases have long been left off the list.”

One prime example is the constellation of outposts that the U.S. has built across Africa. The official BSR inventory lists only a handful of sites there — on Ascension Island as well as in Djibouti, Egypt, and Kenya. In reality, though, there are many more outposts in many more African countries.

A recent investigation by the Intercept, based on documents obtained from U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) via the Freedom of Information Act, revealed a network of 34 bases heavily clustered in the north and west of that continent as well as in the Horn of Africa. AFRICOM’s “strategic posture” consists of larger “enduring” outposts, including two forward operating sites (FOSes), 12 cooperative security locations (CSLs), and 20 more austere sites known as contingency locations (CLs).

The Pentagon’s official inventory does include the two FOSes: Ascension Island and the crown jewel of Washington’s African bases, Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, which expanded from 88 acres in the early 2000s to nearly 600 acres today. The Base Structure Report is, however, missing a CSL in that same country, Chabelley Airfield, a lower-profile outpost located about 10 kilometers away that has served as a drone hub for operations in Africa and the Middle East.

The official Pentagon tally also mentions a site that goes by the confusing moniker of “NSA Bahrain-Kenya.” AFRICOM had previously described it as a collection of warehouses built in the 1980s at the airport and seaport of Mombasa, Kenya, but it now appears on that command’s 2018 list as a CSL. Missing, however, is another Kenyan base, Camp Simba, mentioned in a 2013 internal Pentagon study of secret drone operations in Somalia and Yemen. At least two manned surveillance aircraft were based there at the time. Simba, a longtime Navy-run facility, is currently operated by the Air Force’s 475th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron, part of the 435th Air Expeditionary Wing.

Personnel from that same air wing can be found at yet another outpost that doesn’t appear in the Base Structure Report, this one on the opposite side of the continent. The BSR states that it doesn’t list specific information on “non-U.S. locations” not at least 10 acres in size or worth at least $10 million. However, the base in question — Air Base 201 in Agadez, Niger — already has a $100 million construction price tag, a sum soon to be eclipsed by the cost of operating the facility: about $30 million a year. By 2024, when the present 10-year agreement for use of the base ends, its construction and operating costs will have reached about $280 million.

Also missing from the BSR are outposts in nearby Cameroon, including a longtime base in Douala, a drone airfield in the remote town of Garoua, and a facility known as Salak. That site, according to a 2017 investigation by theIntercept, the research firm Forensic Architecture, and Amnesty International, has been used by U.S. personnel and private contractors for drone surveillance and training missions and by allied Cameroonian forces for illegal imprisonment and torture.

According to Vine, keeping America’s African bases secret is advantageous to Washington. It protects allies on that continent from possible domestic opposition to the presence of American troops, he points out, while helping to ensure that there will be no domestic debate in the U.S. over such spending and the military commitments involved.

“It’s important for U.S. citizens to know where their troops are based in Africa and elsewhere around the world,” he told TomDispatch, “because that troop presence costs the U.S. billions of dollars every year and because the U.S. is involved, or potentially involved, in wars and conflicts that could spiral out of control.”

Those Missing Bases

Africa is hardly the only place where the Pentagon’s official list doesn’t match up well with reality. For close to two decades, the Base Structure Report has ignored bases of all sorts in America’s active war zones. At the height of the American occupation of Iraq, for instance, the United States had 505 bases there, ranging from small outposts to mega-sized facilities. None appeared on the Pentagon’s official rolls.

In Afghanistan, the numbers were even higher. As TomDispatch reported in 2012, the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) had about 550 bases in that country. If you had added ISAF checkpoints — small baselets used to secure roads and villages — to the count of mega-bases, forward operating bases, combat outposts, and patrol bases, the number reached an astounding 750. And counting all foreign military installations of every type — including logistical, administrative, and support facilities — hiked ISAF Joint Command’s official count to 1,500 sites. America’s significant share of them was, however, also mysteriously absent from the Defense Department’s official tally.

There are now far fewer such facilities in Afghanistan — and the numbers may drop further in the months ahead as troop levels decrease. But the existence of Camp Morehead, Forward Operating Base Fenty, Tarin Kowt Airfield, Camp Dahlke West, and Bost Airfield, as well as Camp Shorab, a small installation occupying what was once the site of much larger twin bases known as Camp Leatherneck and Camp Bastion, is indisputable. Yet none of them has ever appeared in the Base Structure Report.

Similarly, while there are no longer 500-plus U.S. bases in Iraq, in recent years, as American troops returned to that country, some garrisons have either been reconstituted or built from scratch. These include the Besmaya Range Complex, Firebase Sakheem, Firebase Um Jorais, and Al Asad Air Base, as well as Qayyarah Airfield West — a base 40 miles south of Mosul that’s better known as “Q-West.” Again, you won’t find any of them listed in the Pentagon’s official count.

These days, it’s even difficult to obtain accurate manpower numbers for the military personnel in America’s war zones, let alone the number of bases in each of them. As Vine explains, “The military keeps the figures secret to some extent to hide the base presence from its adversaries. Because it is probably not hard to spot these bases in places like Syria and Iraq, however, the secrecy is mostly to prevent domestic debate about the money, danger, and death involved, as well as to avoid diplomatic tensions and international inquiries.”

If stifling domestic debate through information control is the Pentagon’s aim, it’s been doing a fine job for years of deflecting questions about its global posture, or what the late TomDispatch regular Chalmers Johnson called America’s “empire of bases.”

In mid-October, TomDispatch asked Heather Babb, another Pentagon spokesperson, for details about the outposts in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria that were absent from the Base Structure Report, as well as about those missing African bases. Among the other questions put to Babb: Could the Pentagon offer a simple count — if not a list — of all its outposts? Did it have a true count of overseas facilities, even if it hadn’t been released to the public — a list, that is, which actually did what the Base Structure Report only purports to do? October and November passed without answers.

In December, in response to follow-up requests for information, Babb responded in a fashion firmly in line with the Pentagon’s well-worn policy of keeping American taxpayers in the dark about the bases they pay for — no matter the theoretical difficulty of denying the existence of outposts that stretch from Agadez in Niger to Mosul in Iraq. “I have nothing to add,” she explained, “to the information and criteria that is included in the report.”

President Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria means that the 2019 Base Structure Report will likely be the most accurate in years. For the first time since 2015, the Pentagon’s inventory of outposts will no longer be missing the al-Tanf garrison (or then again, maybe it will). But that still potentially leaves hundreds of off-the-books bases absent from the official rolls. Consider it one outpost down and who knows how many to go.

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Nick Turse is the managing editor of TomDispatch and a contributing writer for the Intercept. His latest book is Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead: War and Survival in South Sudan. His website is NickTurse.com.

At his attorney general confirmation hearing, William Barr sought to reassure senators on the Judiciary Committee that Robert Mueller’s probe would be allowed to continue, saying, “I believe it is vitally important that the Special Counsel be allowed to complete his investigation.”

But Barr, who champions a disturbing radical right-wing theory of all-encompassing presidential power called the “unitary executive,” refused to say whether Congress would see Mueller’s report when his investigation is complete, instead pledging only to provide a summary of it.

Federal regulations do not prohibit the release of the special counsel’s report to Congress or the public. They simply state that,

“At the conclusion of the Special Counsel’s work, he or she shall provide the Attorney General with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the Special Counsel.”

What the attorney general does with the report is up to him.

Professor Neil J. Kinkopf, who testified at Barr’s confirmation hearing, predicts that,

“Barr will take the position that any discussion or release of the Mueller report — relating to the president, who again cannot be indicted — would be improper and prohibited by [Department of Justice] policy and regulations.”

Kinkopf noted that in 1989, Barr opposed legislation requiring executive officials to submit concurrent reports to Congress. Barr claimed they “prevented the President from exercising his constitutionally guaranteed right of supervision and control over executive branch officials,” infringing “on the President’s authority as head of a unitary executive to control the presentation of the executive branch’s views to Congress.”

The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel has twice determined that a sitting president can’t be indicted. Although Barr admitted he hadn’t read those opinions in a long time, he told senators he saw no reason to reverse them.

During both the Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton administrations, the Office of Legal Counsel took the position that sitting presidents are immune from criminal prosecution for policy — if not for constitutional — reasons.

But Watergate Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski’s office concluded that “the Framers did not specifically provide for Presidential immunity from indictment.” Further, a 1998 memo from independent counsel Kenneth Starr’s investigation of Clinton resolved that a president could be indicted for criminal activity: “It is proper, constitutional, and legal for a federal grand jury to indict a sitting president for serious criminal acts that are not part of, and are contrary to, the president’s official duties. In this country, no one, even President Clinton, is above the law.”

Barr’s Memo Criticizing the Mueller Probe

Barr likely came to Trump’s attention after writing an unsolicited 19-page memo in June 2018, criticizing the Mueller probe and claiming the president has total control over the executive branch. In it, Barr maintained the president has authority over all law enforcement, including matters involving his own conduct and those in which he has a personal stake.

That theory likely endeared Barr to Trump, who fired former Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation. Trump wants an attorney general who will have his back.

In his memo, Barr wrote,

“Mueller should not be permitted to demand that the President submit to interrogation about alleged obstruction [of justice].” Although he has not been privy to the details of Mueller’s investigation, Barr opined, “Mueller’s obstruction theory is fatally misconceived.”

Trump cannot be guilty of obstruction of justice, in Barr’s opinion, unless Trump and his campaign are guilty of collusion. “Mueller should not be permitted to interrogate the President about obstruction until [he] has enough evidence to establish collusion,” Barr wrote. He denies that Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey after suggesting that Comey should “let” the investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn “go” constitutes obstruction of justice.

Barr’s memo demonstrates he has prejudged Mueller’s case against Trump and found it wanting — without even knowing what it is. Barr assumes the Comey-Flynn matter is all that Mueller has against Trump.

In his memo, Barr writes that subornation of perjury (causing a witness to lie under oath), knowingly destroying or altering evidence, inducing a witness to change testimony, or committing any act deliberately impairing the integrity or availability of evidence could establish obstruction of justice. But Barr notes, “as far as I know,” the president isn’t being accused of that.

The Unitary Executive Theory of Total Presidential Power

Barr wrote in his memo,

Constitutionally, it is wrong to conceive of the President as simply the highest officer within the Executive branch hierarchy. He alone is the Executive branch. As such, he is the sole repository of all executive powers conferred by the Constitution.

The unitary executive scheme claims to emanate from Article II of the Constitution, which states, “The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.” Proponents of the unitary executive say that Article II establishes a “hierarchical, unified executive department under the direct control of the President” who “alone possesses all of the executive power and … therefore can direct, control, and supervise inferior officers or agencies who seek to exercise discretionary executive power.”

The ramifications of this philosophy are frightening. Barr wrote that the president “has illimitable discretion to remove principal officers carrying out his Executive functions.”

Kinkopf has said that Barr’s “manifesto of imperial power” threatens the independence of federal agencies, including the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission. If Trump demands the chairman of the Federal Reserve raise interest rates (or not) and he refuses, Kinkopf testified, Trump could fire him under Barr’s regime.

But, Kinkopf notes, the Supreme Court has rejected this theory in every case, beginning with Humprey’s Executor v. United States in 1935. That case determined that a president can’t remove an appointee to a regulatory agency except for reasons Congress has established.

Trump lawyer Marc Kasowitz wrote in a confidential memo to Mueller on June 23, 2017, that “the President also possesses the indisputable authority to direct that any executive branch investigation be open or closed because the Constitution provides for a unitary executive with all executive power resting with the President.” Kasowitz was warning Mueller that Trump could fire the special counsel and end his investigation whenever he liked.

But in Morrison v. Olson, the Supreme Court upheld congressional limitations on the president’s power to fire subordinate officers. In that case, the high court analyzed the attorney general’s ability to dismiss the independent counsel, holding that the president does not necessarily have the power to direct inferior officers’ interpretations of the law.

Although the unitary executive theory has not gained traction in mainstream legal circles, at least three current Supreme Court justices adhere to it.

In 2000, Justice Samuel Alito told the conservative Federalist Society that the Constitution “makes the president the head of the executive branch, but it does more than that. The president has not just some executive powers, but the executive power — the whole thing.” Justice Clarence Thomas used the phrase “unitary executive” in his dissent in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, a case in which the high court upheld due process rights for US citizens held as enemy combatants. Lastly, newly minted Justice Brett Kavanaugh is a proponent of the unitary executive.

After 9/11, George W. Bush’s legal mercenary John Yoo saw to it that his boss included the words “unitary executive” in several of his signing statements, which purported to limit the parameters of congressional statutes. Yoo made the astounding claim that a president could legally crush the testicles of the child of a person under interrogation, notwithstanding US laws categorically prohibiting torture.

Barr Advocated Cruel Treatment During the Bush Administration

Barr’s views on torture and cruel treatment are also alarming. In 2005, he took the position that detainees in the war on terror were not protected by the Geneva Convention’s prohibitions on torture and cruel treatment. He further advocated the use of military commissions, which provide a reduced form of due process, to try war crimes at Guantánamo.

The following year, in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the Supreme Court struck down the military commissions because their procedures did not comply with the Geneva Conventions and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The Court ruled that members of al-Qaeda are entitled to the protections of Geneva’s Common Article 3, which outlaws torture, cruel treatment and outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.

Barr had advocated “coercive interrogation, applying pain, discomfort and other things to make people talk, as long as it doesn’t cross the line and involve the gratuitous barbarity that’s involved in torture.”

But when queried at his hearing by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) about whether waterboarding constitutes torture, Barr demurred. Waterboarding, which Trump favors, has long been considered torture, a war crime. In fact, after World War II, the United States tried, convicted and hanged Japanese leaders for the war crime of torture based on waterboarding.

“William Barr’s view of the Constitution exalts presidential power, ignores Congress’s legitimate legislative powers, and minimizes the role of the judiciary,” Kinkopf stated in his written testimony. “What remains is an executive power of breathtaking scope, subject to negligible limits. This is not the presidency our founders contemplated; this is not the presidency our Constitution meant to embody.”

The Senate should reject Barr’s nomination for attorney general. His long-standing commitment to the dangerous unitary executive theory may well lead him to support unfettered power by Trump. That is intolerable.

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Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and an advisory board member of Veterans for Peace. She is editor and contributor to The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration, and Abuse. She is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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Monsanto/Bayer Giant Moving to “Genome Edit” Fruits and More

January 19th, 2019 by F. William Engdahl

Not surprising, Monsanto, today hidden behind the Bayer logo, as the world leader in patented GMO seeds and the probable carcinogenic Roundup herbicide with glyphosate, is attempting to quietly patent genetically modified or GMO varieties of fruits using controversial gene-editing. The “beauty” of this for Monsanto/Bayer is that in the USA, according to a recent ruling by the US Department of Agriculture, gene-edited agriculture needs no special independent testing. The developments are not good for human health or safety, nor will it do anything to give the world better nutrition.

The agrichemical and GMO giant Monsanto, which today tries to keep a lower profile inside the German agrichemical and GMO giant Bayer, is moving into the highly controversial domain of gene-editing of new crop varieties. In 2018 as the company was being deluged with lawsuits over its use of the probable carcinogen, Roundup, Monsanto invested $125 million in a gene-editing startup called Pairwise. The link is anything but casual.

Former Monsanto Vice President for Global Biotechnology, Tom Adams, has taken the post of CEO of Pairwise. In short, this is a Monsanto gene-editing project. In a press release, Pairwise says it is using the controversial CRISPR gene-editing technology to create genetically edited produce. Among their goals apparently is a super-sweet variety of strawberry or apples, just what our sugar-saturated population doesn’t need.

CRISPR gene-editing, a stealth attempt by the global agribusiness industry to promote artificial mutations of crops and, as the world was shocked recently to hear, even humans, as in China, is being advanced, much like GMO crops falsely were, as solution to world hunger. Pairwise founder, Keith Joung, told media that their CRISPR gene-edited fruits, “will speed innovation that is badly needed to feed a growing population amid challenging conditions created by a changing climate.” How sweeter genetically-edited strawberries will solve world hunger he leaves to the imagination. Pairwise also says that gene-edited fruits would somehow also cut down on food waste. One has to be also skeptical there as well, even if it makes nice promotion copy. In addition to super-sweet strawberries, Monsanto plans to use its work with Pairwise to develop new varieties of gene-edited corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton and canola crops. And because the USDA unfortunately has given the green light, the new genetically modified foods will undergo no independent testing for health and safety.

USDA’s Foolish Ruling

The US Department of Agriculture recently made a ruling that CRISPR and other new gene-editing of food products need no special regulatory oversight or independent testing. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced in 2018 reaffirmation of an Obama-era ruling exempting gene-edited crops from special testing. In a press release, Purdue stated that the USDA won’t regulate plant breeders who use gene-editing techniques without introducing genes from another species, or “plants that could otherwise have been developed through traditional breeding techniques.” The statement added that, “USDA seeks to allow innovation when there is no risk present.” The problem is that there has been no exhaustive scientific testing by any us government agency or others to prove no risk in gene-edited plants.

Fortunately, in a ruling that takes the health and safety of the population more seriously, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) — the highest court in the European Union — ruled last year that gene-edited products should be treated like genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which are subject to substantial regulation in the EU.

That ruling has drawn howls of protest from the likes of Monsanto/Bayer but to date, it stands. This makes the USA the focus of agricultural gene-editing developments, likely bad news for the American population which is already–as a result of an executive policy ruling made by then-president G.H.W. Bush in 1992–consuming a diet heavily saturated with GMO soy, rice, corn, potatoes, sugar beets and other products, even GMO insulin for diabetes.

Risk-free?

The recent attention given to a Chinese biophysicist who went public with claims he had successfully gene-edited a human embryo to make the new-born twins “HIV-immune” has turned the world attention to the relatively unpublicized genetic manipulation technology known as gene-editing. That was bad news for companies like Monsanto/Bayer who had been hoping to advance their dreams of genetic manipulation under the rubric of “biotechnology,” to avoid the Frankenfoods label the world put on the earlier GMO technology.

Whether the current USDA Secretary Perdue simply relied on the earlier arguments of bureaucratic appointees of the previous pro-GMO Obama administration, clearly it warrants a serious re-examination.

The CRISPR-Cas9 technology which has transformed the gene-editing landscape is merely five or so years in existence. The risks have largely been left to individual scientists to reveal. In one such study, published in May, 2017 in Nature magazine, gene-editing researchers reported they were shocked to find an unexpectedly high number of secondary mutations in a mouse model of gene therapy. In other words, results were not predictable.

When Chinese biophysicist He Jiankui shocked the world in December, 2018 by announcing he had used CRISPR to alter a gene in human embryos in the womb of a woman, who gave birth to twin girls in November, the Chinese authorities tried to silence the affair by putting He under house arrest, some suggesting he may even have been sentenced to death. What biophysicist He did, obviously with little regard to the genetic consequences, was gene-editing of the so-called germ-line. Changing the genes in an embryo means changing genes in every cell. If the method succeeds, the baby will have alterations that will be inherited by all of the child’s progeny in incalculable ways. If the mouse studies are any indication, the unintended consequences could be horrendous, not just for the two unwitting Chinese newborn twins.

The implications of gene-editing using CRISPR and its modifications are so grave as to warrant the utmost caution before unleashing it on to the world market. Unfortunately, the opposite seems to be the case. Gene-editing kits can be bought by anyone online without proof of scientific qualifications, and for little money. Calls for a moratorium on gene-editing until the technology has been proven or disproven go unheeded. President Obama’s Director of Intelligence, James Clapper, even had genome-editing on the list of “weapons of mass destruction and proliferation.” The Pentagon DARPA is reportedly doing research on weaponizing certain varieties of mosquitoes. Anything is possible

It is long overdue to invoke the prudent “precautionary principle” by imposing a global moratorium on gene-editing pending far more controlled independent research before we perhaps one day learn that gene-edited strawberries, ever so sweet, can destroy life inadvertently or by design.

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

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seeds_2.jpg

Seeds of Destruction: Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation

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

List Price: $25.95

Special Price: $18.00

 

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

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

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

Trump Driving Doomsday Clock Towards Midnight

January 19th, 2019 by Shane Quinn

Next Thursday, 24 January, should the atomic scientists push forward the Doomsday Clock, it will be a third successive year it has progressed towards midnight (apocalypse). The Doomsday Clock is currently set at two minutes to midnight, as advanced a position since 1953, when America and the Soviet Union were each testing massive hydrogen bombs.

Another movement of the clock’s hand, as is most probable, and we enter uncharted territory. It comes as no accident that this race to the cliff  has accelerated under the Donald Trump administration, which is systematically increasing the risk of nuclear war and environmental catastrophe.

Yet as the postwar record shows – more of it coming to light in recent times – it is by the grace of considerable fortune that humans have escaped annihilation from nuclear bombs, with the nuclear winter extinction phenomenon that follows it. Much of this is due to policies sought by consecutive US administrations dating to the Second World War, governing the world’s prominent nuclear and military power.

America, though a uniquely strong and affluent country, is also a very young state, having been founded less than two and a half centuries ago. America does not possess the deep-rooted culture and heritage of nations steeped in history, such as Egypt and Greece, which are thousands of years old. When the US empire invades another country, it does not come forth to spread its civilization like ancient Rome, but to gain command of natural resources in pivotal earthly regions. Wealth and control are its prime concerns.

The US is also a state lacking in maturity and prudence, chained to an inability to halt incessant technological advancements; no matter how harmful and outlandish they are, from militarization of space to indestructible submarines and drone warfare.

These far-flung and dangerous policies are indeed borne out in the US Armed Forces, who have committed some of the most severe aggression since 1945, as in the attacks on Indochina and Iraq.

To offer a hair-raising example of this irresponsibility from the height of the Cold War, there were continued situations whereby US pilots flying jet aircraft in formation – all with thermonuclear bombs on board – were performing patrols without adequate communication to their commanding officer at the Kunsan Air Base, in South Korea.

Furthermore, the American pilots were roaming about on unclear orders, geared for combat, and nothing prevented a rogue flier from carrying out an “Execute message”; that is, the unloading of his nuclear device on a target (north-east Russia).

In such a case, his fellow pilots would likely have followed him and released their own nuclear payload. As an American major in command of these men admitted,

“Of course, if one of them [the pilots] were to break out of that circle and go for his target, I think the rest would follow. And they might as well. If one goes, they might as well all go. I tell them not to do it though”.

This major was commanding a fleet, of 12 planes, that contained six and a half times the bomb outlay dropped during the whole of World War II.

Unknown to them, any such attack would have made the planet uninhabitable for at least 99% of humans – with perhaps those natural born survivors, the “primitive” societies in remote rainforests and polar regions, having a chance of living through the ensuing nuclear winter.

As seen, the old cliche of “American blundering” may have some grains of truth to it. During the Vietnam War, thousands of highly expensive US helicopters were utilized in “counter-insurgency” operations, military attacks in truth. It is difficult to grasp the thinking behind deployment of a craft as noisy as a helicopter in conducting surprise assaults, whose approach could be heard for miles around by North Vietnamese and National Liberation Front forces, lying in wait. Over 5,000 US helicopters were destroyed by war’s end, at a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Meanwhile, as the years advanced, even staunchly conservative figures like George Shultz and Henry Kissinger have come to realize that nuclear stockpiles should be removed from the face of the earth. Having been present through the entire Cold War period, both Shultz and Kissinger are more familiar than most with these weapons.

As we enter 2019, the nuclear era rumbles on and one can almost hear the clock’s ticking in the background. Humanity’s luck will run out unless firm steps are engineered leading to wide-scale abolition of nuclear weapons, however long that process would take. Disarmament can only be achieved should America lead the way, with the eight other nuclear states following suit. The signs are far from encouraging, however.

In April 2009, a youthful Barack Obama was declaring to an audience in the Czech Republic of, “America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons… First, the United States will take concrete steps towards a world without nuclear weapons”.

As with a long line of privileged politicians, words are merely words that can sound pleasant to unassuming audiences. By September 2014, president Obama was doing the opposite by aggressively modernizing America’s “aging” nuclear capabilities.

It appears not enough to merely unload the bomb, but they must have as advanced a means as possible to do so. No longer does it reach the glamorous heights to attack from an aircraft, but the nuclear warheads must be fired from an invulnerable submarine.

Coinciding with late Obama-era policies like this and worsening climate change, in January 2015 the Doomsday Clock’s hand progressed to three minutes to midnight, the highest threat level since the Ronald Reagan days. Partly driving Obama’s strategy was his antipathy towards Russia and its leader Vladimir Putin, who was outfoxing Obama in countries like Syria. The then US president also recognized China’s rise as an unprecedented challenge to American hegemony.

In early 2016, Obama was agreeing to a trillion dollar overhaul of America’s nuclear arsenal – a complete U-turn on past remarks while his country’s infrastructure was falling into further disrepair. Obama’s reckless initiatives are now being vigorously pursued by the Trump administration, who have increased nuclear outlay to $1.2 trillion as they confront the daunting power of China, and to a lesser extent Russia.

The growing possibility of calamity saw Putin highlight last month that, “The danger of the situation is being downplayed” with humans staring at “the end of all civilization and maybe also the planet”.

Atomic scientists in charge of the Doomsday Clock have responded in kind to Trump’s presidency, pushing the hand closer to midnight over the preceding two Januaries (2017 and 2018).

Since 2016, the possessing classes have lambasted Trump on issues that warranted little more than peripheral mention. It has gone on unchecked. In regards the critical subjects that Trump should be held to account for, rising threat of nuclear destruction and environmental degradation, he has received remarkably little criticism.

Due to Trump’s ambition in promoting “clean coal” and the likes, America’s carbon emissions are steadily rising for the first time in years, and increased by 3.4% in 2018. Trump and his team are fully aware climate change is occurring, but his prevailing attitude is that it is too late to counter the problem so why bother doing anything about it?

Trump is further attune to the fact it is the poorest people on earth suffering the severest climate consequences. The Republican Party establishment, and big business broadly, have a general disregard for poverty-stricken states; so their viewpoint is that it is only natural they should suffer the most.

These outlooks are a blend of the outrageous to the insane, while it will eventually return to haunt those privileged sectors. All humans, no matter how rich or poor, are reliant on basic needs to survive – clean water for drinking and food almost entirely derived from crops. The wheat fields cannot grow if our planet’s weather systems deteriorate or nuclear winter arrives, the latter phenomenon being far quicker and more devastating.

Trump, and many others, are loathe to shed profits should it even mean reducing damage to the globe and its ecosystems. Something similar can be said for major corporations institutionally geared towards amassing wealth; the end result being a contribution to emissions, felling of forests, rising volumes of plastic entering the oceans, etc.

None of it is sustainable. The greed and avarice has increased tenfold since the end of World War II, as a global assault is meted out on the natural world resulting in our planet’s sixth mass extinction. One need only look at the pollution and waste produced by consumer societies, from the US to China.

Amid the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters, while America’s carbon emissions in 2018 grew by over 3%, China’s rose by 4.7% last year, and India’s climbed a staggering 6.3%.

On a per capita (per person) basis, the US is comfortably the planet’s largest carbon emitter. However, because of China’s enormous population and industrial base, it produces more emissions than America and India combined.

In spite of the numerous scientific warnings, some stretching back decades, global greenhouse gas levels are at an all time high and rising. Lying at the core of this, is the inexcusable failure of those governing the major powers to rid themselves of powerful vested interests, and shift away from fossil fuel industries to clean, renewable energy.

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Shane Quinn obtained an honors journalism degree. He is interested in writing primarily on foreign affairs, having been inspired by authors like Noam Chomsky. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.


Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War” 

by Michel Chossudovsky

Available to order from Global Research! 

ISBN Number: 978-0-9737147-5-3
Year: 2012
Pages: 102
Print Edition: $10.25 (+ shipping and handling)
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Michel Chossudovsky is Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), which hosts the critically acclaimed website www.globalresearch.ca . He is a contributor to the Encyclopedia Britannica. His writings have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Reviews

“This book is a ‘must’ resource – a richly documented and systematic diagnosis of the supremely pathological geo-strategic planning of US wars since ‘9-11’ against non-nuclear countries to seize their oil fields and resources under cover of ‘freedom and democracy’.”
John McMurtry, Professor of Philosophy, Guelph University

“In a world where engineered, pre-emptive, or more fashionably “humanitarian” wars of aggression have become the norm, this challenging book may be our final wake-up call.”
-Denis Halliday, Former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations

Michel Chossudovsky exposes the insanity of our privatized war machine. Iran is being targeted with nuclear weapons as part of a war agenda built on distortions and lies for the purpose of private profit. The real aims are oil, financial hegemony and global control. The price could be nuclear holocaust. When weapons become the hottest export of the world’s only superpower, and diplomats work as salesmen for the defense industry, the whole world is recklessly endangered. If we must have a military, it belongs entirely in the public sector. No one should profit from mass death and destruction.
Ellen Brown, author of ‘Web of Debt’ and president of the Public Banking Institute   

WWIII Scenario

Spy Theories and the White House: Donald Trump as Russian Agent

January 19th, 2019 by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

The level of absurdity in US politics has now reached such vertigo inducing levels as to render all manner of things permissible.  Contact with the unwashed implies collaboration; discussion with the enemy implies assent.  To go to a dinner party with a perceived hostile force in the context of business of diplomacy has become a child’s condemnation of misplaced loyalties.  Yet everyday, thousands of engagements are made between powers and interests where nothing other than a hello is exchanged, or a pleasantry.  Perhaps the more relevant question to ask here is that businessmen and women in power suggest the limits of the nation state and representation: to what extent can such figures claim to be legitimate as figure who think outside the logic of money and finance? 

In the impoverished, manic era of Donald Trump, the accusers have mimicked the man they wish to destroy.  Mimicry replaces originality; the copycat cat reigns with derivative accusation and complaint.  It is with ironic semblance that the individuals accuse him of mendacity, a dislike of evidence, and an aversion to the record, should be happy to throw all convention out as they take ring seats in speculation.  Trump, the spy, the man of treason, the sell-out, runs the stables of the addled and confused. 

CNN was particularly busy on this dithering foolishness, demonstrating yet again that newfangled point that no news is worthy unless it can be made into a confection of some heft.  The president demands this because of his character, the sensationalist figure, the man of game shows and the reality television persona.  He must be sensationalised.

Such theatre leads to such levels of gabbing as to be moronic.  The president might be a Russian agent, because the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation in 2017 on Trump.  Pause for laughter.  The President was investigated by that glorious agency of record, the FBI, for suspected links.  Pause for befuddlement.  The Washington Post then ran a story claiming that Trump had gone to extensive lengths to conceal, even from his own aides, his interactions with Russia’s Vladimir Putin.  Tax payers’ funds, it seems, are being used for the most notable of ends. 

Wired was similarly speculating along such lines, with a twist: Trump’s actions had been “pro-Putin, pro-Russia, anti-FBI, anti-intelligence community”; he had lied and engaged in obfuscation around Russian meetings and conversations; he must be hiding a “massive conspiracy”.  Better that he be a Russian agent than the alternative, which was supposedly worse: a figure oblivious to geopolitics, self-centred, insecure, anti-democratic and a terrible manager.

Interesting here is how such a view is oblivious to remembering other US presidents whose anti-democratic, oblivious, self-centred tendencies were as developed, if not worse than a businessman turned populist. But such views are cured in the vinegar and salt of intense prejudice and presumption: the enemy is in Moscow, and must be condemned.  Better this be done than understanding Trump’s erring and bumbling as a product of a true US capitalist; he is seen as an American gone bad, an anti-patriot.

Donah Goldberg of the Boston Globe tweaks the approach on the spy conspiracy theory – slightly.  “When was the last time a popular and contentious conspiracy theory turned out to be true?  Not a little true, but, like, really true?”  Think of Whittaker Chambers and his outing of Alger Hiss for being a Soviet spy.  He dismisses the views of Jerome Corsi, shooting bolts of manic persuasion from Infowars, claiming that the president is a target of the Deep State, including its emissaries, the CIA and NSA, determined to unseat him.  But Corsi’s comments should be taken in the broader readings of antipathy against Trump which have legitimised the most extreme approaches to unseating and overthrowing an elected figure.  No one in high office is suggesting a grand assassination or beheading, but not a day goes by without some casual articulation of symbolic regicide.  Trump must go, so goes the narrative.

We were told about the unprecedented nature of things, always a danger.  We are being fed an inverted pyramid of Cold War dregs.  Trump might be, hazards the Wired piece, the “useful idiot,” an expression purposely used by the communists who used co-option without knowledge as an ingredient of unwitting recruitment.   

Easily, then, we can presume utterances to have the steel of proof.  The US voter is sidestepped and dismissed – after all, according to Clinton family associate and former Deputy Secretary of State, Strobe Talbott, Russia’s conduct in 2016 breached “the firewall of American democracy” and influenced “a high-stakes presidential election.”  (The poorly concealed barb here is that Talbott doesn’t like the outcomes that might arise from democratic conduct, presuming a hidden hand if his friends fail to make the electoral grade.)

Ironically enough, the United States is witnessing the tendencies it has encouraged, for decades, in other states: foster local indignation, suspicion and paranoia, and unleash them against the leader of the day.  As former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was known to have said, the democratic choice of a people would have to be corrected in certain circumstances, if in the interest of the US.  The same rules apply, as do the same interests.

The one person who can truly toast to hearty merriment at this entire unfolding farce of column wasting and derangement is Vladimir Putin.  The Russian president commands as much free publicity in the United States as he does in so-called friendly states.  Then again, so does Trump, a man who would cease to exist without the twenty-four hour scheme of exposure, discussion and spurting.  To speak and propose is to give oxygen to the phenomenon.

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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 The Unz Review

The European Union is under numerous existential threats. On one hand, there are the internal threats, with the rise to power of the so-called nationalist-populist eurosceptics — which are in reality racist neofascists — in Austria, Hungary, Poland, and to a lesser extent Italy, where the Interior Minister Matteo Salvini is an influential part of the country’s coalition government, plus the recent gains in political clout by anti-EU far-right parties such as the Rassemblement National of Marine Le Pen, in France.

There is a cautionary tale here for all Europeans, especially those like the Gilets Jaunes who reject the Europe of bankers and technocrats. It is a geopolitical cautionary tale about reforming what you have and not jumping to conclusions and doing a tabula rasa of an EU adventure that has been 62 years in the making.

In an era of Cold War redux, the EU is a geopolitical imperative

The EU was signed into existence in the 1957 Treaty of Rome by the six founding members: Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Italy, Luxembourg and West Germany. This must be understood in the context of a post-Yalta world, which effectively started the split of world affairs and influences between the two empires born out of the ashes of World War II: the United States of America, of course, and the USSR, which have agreed to disagree on ideologies but come to a tacit understanding about spheres of influence.

The conflicts between the two blocks have manifested themselves through various proxy wars, always at the expense of third parties. The US came up with NATO in 1949, using the fear of the supposed Soviet threat to subjugate its European allies, which became not much more than vassals. Behind the legendary Iron Curtain, Stalin’s USSR had the Warsaw Pact.

Source: News Junkie Post

Since the Ukrainian crisis, five years ago, we have reentered a Cold War logic. Again, Russia is painted by Western mainstream media as the biggest threat to the supposed free world, and Vladimir Putin as the ultimate bogeyman head of state. It took some courage for the six founding members of Treaty of Rome to take this initiative, considering that all had US troops de facto occupying their respective countries. This timid start in the mid-1950s was followed by attempts to make the EU, not only an economic union but a political force.

Source: News Junkie Post

The current legal framework of the EU and cornerstone of the EU’s political framework is the Treaty of Lisbon, which is an amendment of the Maastricht Treaty of 1993 that is still in force today. The Treaty of Lisbon was signed in Portugal on December 13, 2007; however, it took two years to be ratified by all EU members, and it became a legally binding agreement for all members on December 1, 2009. In this treaty, which BREXIT has put to a serious test, Article 50 established the provision that “Any member state may decide to withdraw from the union in accordance with its own constitutional requirement.” In the case of BREXIT, this was after an exit of the EU was voted on by British citizens, and this referendum narrowly won.

The neocon United States of Trumpism: Main enemy of the EU

A recent policy change in Washington went almost unnoticed by European observers, although it was symbolically of great importance. The Trump administration downgraded the EU’s official representation from an embassy to a mere delegation with an office. This is an important illustration of the US view of the EU as being something cumbersome and redundant in its foreign policy agenda. This stand of Trumpism, controlled by the neocon John Bolton, is reminiscent of what the neocon Donald Rumsfeld called, in the build up to George W. Bush’s 2003 Iraq war, the Old Europe. A compliant New Europe was wanted, as opposed to the not-so-subservient Old Europe, personified by the French President, Jacques Chirac, who was unwilling to join the invasion of Iraq. France was not then part of NATO.

Let’s face it. The neocons control Trump’s foreign policy and are pursuing more than ever their goal of uncontested US world domination by all necessary means: political, economic through sanctions on countries they declare to be enemy states, and of course, in cases of last resort, through the armed fist of US imperialism, which is NATO. Those are the US policy imperatives defined almost a quarter century ago in the Project for the New American Century: the neocons’ bible and opus.

Europeans should exit NATO

What the demagogues of the European far-Right in Italy, Hungary, Austria, and Poland, as well as neoliberal governments in Germany, Spain, and the UK are not telling their populations, while they posture about nationalism, is the simple fact that their countries are occupied by US troops. In the case of Poland, they are even eager to host more American occupiers. The unapologetic ultra neocon deep-pocketed think tank, The Heritage Foundation, which is providing a lot of top-position appointees to the Trump administration, gloats about the US empire’s military strength in Europe, and of course frames the narrative in terms of deterrent against semi-fictitious potential Russian aggressions.

Seventy-four years after the end of World War II, a staggering number of US troops are stationed in the EU. About 65,000 active US troops are deployed in Europe, in around 17 main operating bases, mainly in Germany, Italy (Mr. Salvini, how about Italian sovereignty?), the UK, and Spain. Deployments are in the works in Poland, at the request of the far-Right government. The Gilets Jaunes and some European politicians are correct: EU nations should break free from their servitude to giant multinational corporations, financial institutions like the IMF and the World Bank, as well as nefarious State players such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. But the real masters are not in Brussels, they are somewhere in the United States, around Washington DC, shuttling between the Pentagon, White House, CIA, and Wall Street.

Source: Radiowood/Flickr

Despite the claims of the US administrations, either Democrat or Republican, and their vassals in Europe and Canada, NATO’s wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria were not necessarily meant to be won on the battlefield, but rather to become semi-permanent occupations for the exploitation of natural resources. This first-wreck-then-exploit strategy has been especially applied in the Middle East by toppling Saddam Hussein and Qaddafi. In Iraq and Libya, two failed states were, either on purpose or by default, engineered by NATO. Because of Russia, Hezbollah, and Iran, the same plan, with the minute variation of using ISIS as a proxy, didn’t work at all against Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

Afghanistan has been called the graveyard of empires: rightly so in the cases of Alexander the Great, the British Empire and the Soviets. NATO, and especially Europeans should have known better than to venture into such a dangerous land as invaders. However, America Empire Inc. and its financial, economical and military might thought that they could break the will of the Pashtuns. They didn’t.

The European Union must become for the people by the people

In December 2010, I was, to my knowledge, the first analyst to forecast the collapse of the current dominant global empire. The madness of Trumpism might help along that process. A redefined EU for the people by people, following the lead of the Gilets Jaunes movement, might help us to free ourselves from the shackles of a globalization that only serves to profit a minute portion of the population worldwide. The EU can be remodeled rather than destroyed. Once it finally stops serving as the little helper of corporate imperialism, it might become an inspiration of real conviviality for other continents, a truly multi-ethnic and multi-cultural association of people, more than States, which departs from the dead end that is our global capitalist system.

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This article was originally published on the author’s blog site: News Junkie Post.

Gilbert Mercier is the author of The Orwellian Empire.

Featured image is from Theophilos Papadopoulos/Flickr

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UPDATE

This article was originally published on December 12, 2018. The serious questions raised in the piece remain completely unanswered.

Why was Barr chosen, given his shocking and deeply criminal/cover-up kingpin background?

Was Trump duped by Deep State enemies, who have placed another predator into his administration with the power to destroy his presidency? Or has Trump co-opted and turned Barr, in the hopes that Barr will do Trump’s bidding? Why would Barr ever turn against his own Deep State cronies?

Does Trump have a plan? With Barr in place, is Trump signaling to his enemies that “I now own the Deep State”? Or is Barr the Deep State’s ultimate and final weapon against Trump, who remains surrounded by Bush/Clinton “swamp creatures” such as National Security Adviser John Bolton, who is one of Barr’s many fellow Iran-Contra co-conspirators, Vice President Mike Pence (who is in ideal position for a coup against Trump, and remains very cozy with the Clintons, dozens of Obama appointees that remain in place, and Republican “Never Trumpers”, all of whom continue to undermine Trump.

Pay careful attention to the confirmation “hearings”. How many of the senators “questioning” Barr are themselves connected to the Bush/Clinton era criminal operations that Barr supervised as George H.W. Bush’s attorney general?

Will anyone in Washington, or in the CIA asset-filled mainstream media, dare bring up Iran-Contra? Will anyone dare detail Barr’s corruption, and his longstanding ties to the Bush/Clinton network? What about the fact that Barr is best friends with Robert Mueller?

Even the alternative media, including the whistleblowing research-intensive pro-Trump anon community, has been virtually silent on Barr, despite the fact that his criminal history is glaringly obvious, lurid, and begging to be exposed.

Rumors abound that slippery Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is expected to leave the Justice Department following Barr’s likely confirmation. This further clears the way for Barr to seize the power to determine the fate of the Mueller probe, the John Huber (Inspector General) report, FISAgate, Clinton emails, Uranium One, and other key investigations.

William Barr could well determine the course of the political war between President Donald Trump and his enemies, and decide  the fate of Donald Trump’s presidency itself.

Larry Chin, January 14, 2019

***

Should William Barr serve as the highest law enforcement official of the country?

For a presidential administration whose mandate was the eradication of corruption, the “draining of the swamp”, and the restoration of law?

With the nomination of William Barr for attorney general, that is what President Donald Trump wants American citizens and the world to accept.

Fawning mainstream media coverage, and streams of puff pieces laud Barr as a “respected” establishment “legal scholar”, as do Donald Trump’s Twitter posts about Barr.

The fact is, there is nothing to “respect” and everything to condemn about Barr’s work as a key inner circle operative throughout George Herbert Walker Bush’s rise to power, from CIA Director to Vice President to President. These aspects of Barr’s resume remain whitewashed by mainstream coverage. They have been amply documented by whistleblowers and those who worked directly with Barr.

The issue at hand is not Barr’s “legal mind”, but the ruthless mind that he wielded with frightening authority and expertise as George H. W. Bush’s treasonous hatchet man in the Justice Department. William Barr distorted and corrupted the law, as grossly as anyone in modern history.

Barr: CIA operative 

It is a sobering fact that American presidents (many of whom have been corrupt) have gone out of their way to hire fixers to be their attorney generals.

Consider recent history: Loretta Lynch (2015-2017), Eric Holder (2009-2015), Michael Mukasey (2007-2009), Alberto Gonzales (2005-2007), John Ashcroft (2001-2005),Janet Reno (1993-2001), Dick Thornburgh (1988-1991), Ed Meese (1985-1988), etc.

Barr, however, is a particularly spectacular and sordid case. As George H.W. Bush’s most notorious insider, and as the AG from 1991 to 1993, Barr wreaked havoc, flaunted the rule of law, and proved himself to be one of the CIA/Deep State’s greatest and most ruthless champions and protectors:

  • Barr was a full-time CIA operative, recruited by Langley out of high school, starting in 1971. Barr’s youth career goal was to head the CIA.
  • CIA operative assigned to the China directorate, where he became close to powerful CIA operative George H.W. Bush, whose accomplishments already included the CIA/Cuba Bay of Pigs, Asia CIA operations (Vietnam War, Golden Triangle narcotics), Nixon foreign policy (Henry Kissinger), and the Watergate operation.
  • When George H.W. Bush became CIA Director in 1976, Barr joined the CIA’s “legal office” and Bush’s inner circle, and worked alongside Bush’s longtime CIA enforcers Theodore “Ted” Shackley, Felix Rodriguez, Thomas Clines, and others, several of whom were likely involved with the Bay of Pigs/John F. Kennedy assassination, and numerous southeast Asian operations, from the Phoenix Program to Golden Triangle narco-trafficking.
  • Barr stonewalled and destroyed the Church Committee investigations into CIA abuses.
  • Barr stonewalled and stopped inquiries in the CIA bombing assassination of Chilean opposition leader Orlando Letelier.
  • Barr joined George H.W. Bush’s legal/intelligence team during Bush’s vice presidency (under President Ronald Reagan) Rose from assistant attorney general to Chief Legal Counsel to attorney general (1991) during the Bush 41 presidency.
  • Barr was a key player in the Iran-Contra operation, if not the most important member of the apparatus, simultaneously managing the operation while also “fixing” the legal end, ensuring that all of the operatives could do their jobs without fear of exposure or arrest.
  • In his attorney general confirmation, Barr vowed to “attack criminal organizations”, drug smugglers and money launderers. It was all hot air: as AG, Barr would preserve, protect, cover up, and nurture the apparatus that he helped create, and use Justice Department power to escape punishment.
  • Barr stonewalled and stopped investigations into all Bush/Clinton and CIA crimes, including BCCI and BNL CIA drug banking, the theft of Inslaw/PROMIS software, and all crimes of state committed by Bush
  • Barr provided legal cover for Bush’s illegal foreign policy and war crimes
  • Barr left Washington, and went through the “rotating door” to the corporate world, where he took on numerous directorships and counsel positions for major companies. In 2007 and again from 2017, Barr was counsel for politically-connected international law firm Kirkland & Ellis. Among its other notable attorneys and alumni are Kenneth Starr, John Bolton, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and numerous Trump administration attorneys. K&E’s clients include sex trafficker/pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, and Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital.

A strong case can be made that William Barr was as powerful and important a figure in the Bush apparatus as any other, besides Poppy Bush himself.

Iran-Contra

To understand the scope, scale, and gravity of William Barr’s central role working for  George H.W. Bush, one must grasp the significance of Iran-Contra, the massive criminal operation that was the cornerstone of the Bush era, headed by the Bushes, with the Clintons as partners.

As previously written:

Originally coined “Iran-Contra” (in reference to illegal arms sales to Iran in exchange for American hostages in Lebanon and arms to the Contra “freedom fighters” in Nicaragua), the moniker hides the fact that it became a massive and permanent criminal business and political machine that went far beyond then-current political concerns.

In The Conspirators: Secrets of an Iran-Contra Insider, Al Martin describes the Iran-Contra Enterprise that a vast operation that included (and was not limited to) drugs, weapons, terrorism, war, money laundering, criminal banking and securities fraud, currency fraud, real estate fraud, insurance fraud, blackmail, extortion, and political corruption that involved countless Washington politicians of both Republican and Democratic parties.

Martin:

“Iran-Contra itself is a euphemism for the outrageous fraud perpetrated by government criminals for profit and control. Offhandedly, this inaccurate term entered history as shorthand for the public scandals of illicit arms sales to Iran coupled with illicit weapons deals for Nicaragua. The real story, however, is much more complex…When George Bush, [CIA Director] Bill Casey and Oliver North initiated their plan of government-sanctioned fraud and drug smuggling, they envisioned using 500 men to raise $35 billion….they ended up using about 5,000 operatives and making over $35 billion.” In addition, the operation became  “a government within a government, comprising some thirty to forty thousand people the American government turns to, when it wishes certain illegal covert operations to be extant pursuant to a political objective” with George [H.W.] Bush “at the top of the pyramid”.

The operation’s insiders and whistleblowers place George H.W.Bush as one of its top architects, and its commander. It was carried out by CIA operatives close to Bush since his CIA directorship and even stretching back to the Bay of Pigs. These included Oliver North, Ted Shackley, Edwin Wilson, Felix Rodriguez, and others. Iran-Contra was a replication of the CIA’s Golden Triangle drug trafficking in Southeast Asia (operations also connected to Bush) but on a larger scale and sophistication, greater complexity, and far-reaching impact that remains palpable to this day.

In George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, Webster Tarpley wrote that, “many once-classified documents have come to light, which suggest that Bush organized and supervised many, or most, of the criminal aspects of the Iran-Contra adventures.”

Tarpley further points out that George H.W. Bush created new structures (“special situation group”, “terror incident working group” etc.) within the Reagan administration—and that

“all of these structures revolved around [creating] the secret command role of the then-Vice President, George Bush…The Bush apparatus, within and behind the government, was formed to carry out covert policies: to make war when the constitutional government had decided not to make war; to support enemies of the nation (terrorists and drug runners) who are the friends and agents of the secret government.”

This suggests that George H.W.Bush not only ran Iran-Contra, but much of the Reagan presidency. Then-White House press secretary James Baker said in 1981,

“Bush is functioning much like a co-president. George is involved in all the national security stuff because of his special background as CIA director. All the budget working groups, he was there, the economic working groups, the Cabinet meetings. He is included in almost all the meetings.”

Hundreds of insiders, witnesses and investigators have blown the lid off of the Iran-Contra Enterprise in exhaustive fashion. These include the investigations of Mike Ruppert (From The Wilderness, Crossing the Rubicon), Al Martin (The Conspirators: Secrets of an Iran-Contra Insider), Gary Webb (Dark Alliance), Rodney Stich (Defrauding America, Drugging America), Terry Reed (Compromised: Clinton, Bush and the CIA), Stew Webb (and here), Dois “Chip” Tatum (The Tatum Chronicles) (summarized here), Pete Brewton (The Mafia, the CIA and George Bush), among others. The accounts of Barry Seal, Edward Cutolo, Albert Carone, Bradley Ayers, Tosh Plumley, Bill Tyree, Gunther Russbacher, Celerino Castillo, Michael Levine, Trenton Parker, Russell Bowen, Richard Brenneke, Larry Nichols, William Duncan, Russell Welch and dozens more implicate the Bushes, the Clintons and the CIA.

As described by Mike Ruppert (image left):

“It stood, and still stands today, isolated and immune from the operating principles of democracy. It is autonomous and it operates through self-funding via narcotics and weapons trafficking. To quote [former CIA director] William Casey it is ‘a completely self-funding, off-the-shelf operation.’ It, in fact, dictates a substantial portion of this country’s foreign, economic and military policy from a place not accessible to the will of a free people properly armed with facts.”

CIA deep cover agent pilot Chip Tatum, a key Iran-Contra player who flew drugs into Mena and Little Rock in Arkansas, worked alongside CIA pilot and drug smuggler Barry Seal. It is believed that Seal was subsequently murdered by the Medellin Cartel, on order of Oliver North and the Bushes, to prevent him from testifying about his activities. Before he was killed, Seal provided Tatum a list of Iran-Contra “Boss Hogs” who allegedly controlled the drug trade. The Pegasus File summaries Tatum’s activities, and features the “Boss Hog” list.

The Iran-Contra apparatus was byzantine, comprised of a network of connected government agencies, subsidiaries, and shell companies and corporations can be seen in the diagram provided by whistleblower Stew Webb:

Bush Crime Family Flow Chart

Progressive Review (1998)

Why is Iran-Contra still relevant today?

The Iran-Contra Enterprise’s overseers, criminal associates and beneficiaries, to this day, remain at large [including Barr], with most enjoying massive illegally-obtained wealth, privilege, and highest political and corporate positions. The imperial positions of the Bush and Clinton clans exemplify this.

The operation, in essence, evolved and metastasized into ever-more modern and sophisticated incarnation with even more global reach. New names, new banks, new drugs, new wars, same blueprint.  It is not a “deep state” or a “shadow state” but a Criminal State that operates “in broad daylight”.  It is the playbook of the New World Order.  It is globalization at its finest.

All attempts to prosecute were largely unsuccessful—blocked, stalled, or given a “limited hangout” treatment. As written by Ruppert, one of many Iran-Contra whistleblowers, in Crossing the Rubicon:

“[In Congress] Iran-Contra was effectively ‘managed’ by Lee Hamilton in the House [of Representatives] and John Kerry (among others) in the Senate throughout the late 1980s to conceal the greatest crimes of the era, crimes committed by a litany of well-known government operatives.”

Which brings us to this:

Iran-Contra was also managed on both the operational and all-important judicial “legal” end by none other than William Barr.

Barr: Iran-Contra insider alias “Robert Johnson”

In his books Drugging America: A Trojan Horse and Defrauding America: Dirty Secrets of the CIA and other Government Operations, whistleblower Rodney Stich exposed in exhaustive detail the firsthand accounts of whistleblowers and insiders, who participated in the many criminal operations that stretched across the Bush and Clinton presidencies.

Some of the shocking evidence exposes Barr acting simultaneously as a hands-on covert operative, and as Bush’s judicial/political fixer:

In Drugging America, Stich wrote:

[CIA operative] Terry Reed had been in frequent telephone contact with the man he knew as Robert Johnson. Johnson directed the drug trafficking and drug money laundering, the training in Arkansas of Contra pilots and fighters, and authorized Reed to set up the CIA proprietary in Mexico. At a later date, Reed learned that Robert Johnson was really William Barr, appointed by President George Bush to be Attorney General of the United States.

Reed’s CIA contact, William Barr, known at that time by his alias Robert Johnson, told Reed that Attorney General Edwin Meese had appointed Michael Fitzhugh to be US Attorney in Western Arkansas, and that he would stonewall any investigation into the Mena, Arkansas drug-related activities. This obstruction of justice by Justice Department officials did occur.

William Barr, who Bush appointed to be the top law enforcement officer in the United States—US Attorney General—played a key role in the smuggling of drugs into the United States. [CIA pilot Chip] Tatum’s statements about reaching Barr at Southern Air Transport in Miami through the name of Robert Johnson confirmed what [CIA operative] Terry Reed, author of the book Compromised, had told me and had written. Nothing like having members of felony drug operations hold the position of US Attorney General—in control of the United States Department of Justice—and a vice president of the United States [Bush]. With this type of influence, no one needs fear being arrested. And don’t forget the Mafia groups working with the CIA who also receive Justice Department protection that is not available to US citizens.  

According to Stich, Tatum also detailed to him meetings that took place in which he was present for meetings and telephone conversations between Bush, [NSC Colonel] Oliver North and Barr, discussing not only operations but the skimming of drug money by the Clintons.

The purpose of the meeting was to determine who was responsible for stealing over $100 million in drug money on the three routes from Panama to Colorado, Ohio, and Arkansas. This theft was draining the operation known as the “Enterprise”…The first call was made by [CIA agent Joseph] Fernandez to Oliver North, informing North that the theft was occurring on the Panama to Arkansas route, and “that means either [CIA pilot Barry] Seal, Clinton, or [Panamanian General Manuel] Noriega”…Fifteen minutes later, the portable phone rang, and Vice President George Bush was on the line, talking to William Barr. Barr said at one point, referring to the missing funds, “I would propose that no one source would be bold enough to siphon out that much money, but it is more plausible that each are siphoning a portion, causing a drastic loss.”..Barr told Bush that he and Fernandez were staying in Costa Rica until the following day after first visiting [CIA operative] John Hull’s ranch. Barr then handed the phone to Tatum, who was instructed by Bush to be sure that Noriega and [Mossad operative Michael] Harari boarded Seal’s plane and departed, and for Tatum to get the tail number of Seal’s plane….Tatum said that Barr dialed another number, immediately reaching then-governor Bill Clinton. Barr explained the missing money problem to Clinton…Barr suggested that Clinton investigate at the Arkansas end of the Panama to Arkansas route, and that he and North would continue investigating the Panama end of the connection, warning that the matter must be resolved or it could lead to “big problems”…(This description of missing drug money provided support to a subsequent meeting in Little Rock, described by Terry Reed, during which William Barr accused Clinton of siphoning drug money and that this had to stop.)

Tatum also described to Stich a March 15, 1985 flight, during which “Tatum met with Barr, Harari, and Buddy Young (head of Governor Bill Clinton’s security detail). Barr represented himself as an emissary of Vice President George Bush, who would be arriving soon. Tatum would note on his flight book “Bush visit/meet with Barr and had dinner at German restaurant”.

The fact is, William Barr was  heavily involved in the Iran-Contra.

Cover-up of BCCI and BNL scandals

As attorney general, obviously still working for CIA/Bush purposes, Barr and Richard Thornburgh (George H.W. Bush’s previous attorney general) killed off investigations into BCCI, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, the notorious CIA drug bank. Barr also stonewalled investigations in the Banca Nationale del Lavoro (BNL), another CIA drug bank.

BCCI was a leading CIA bank used by the Bush/Clinton machine for a vast array of operations, including Iran-Contra drug money laundering.

Barr himself had a personal relationship with BCCI going back to the early 1980s.

William Barr is heading the drive in Virginia to turn prisons into slave labor camps. Here he is shown during a hearing at the Senate Judiciary Committee, Nov. 12, 1991, on his nomination as Attorney General in the Bush administration. Left to right: Sen. Strom Thurmond, Sen. Joseph Biden, Barr, Sen. Patrick Leahy. (Source: EIR)

According to Rodney Stich,

“before William Barr came to the Justice Department, he was an attorney with the Washington law firm of Shaw Pittman Potts & Trowbridge. This law firm represented BCCI for several years…Barr’s former law firm also represented B. Francis Saul II, a director and powerful shareholder in Financial General Bankshares, Inc. Financial later became First American Bankshares, a covert BCCI operation…Further, Barr had been legal counsel for the CIA, the same agency that was heavily involved with BCCI corrupt activities. He was CIA counsel during the time that George Bush was Director of the CIA.”

When both the CIA and the Justice Department connections and cover-up of BCCI were exposed by the dogged investigations of Congressman Henry Gonzalez, then-FBI Director William Sessions [note: not related to recent Trump attorney general Jeff Sessions] promised an investigation. This prompted Attorney General Barr, who himself was engaged in the cover-up and the obstruction of justice, to remove Sessions on trumped-up ethics charges, replacing him with someone more malleable.

Also, as part of the BCCI “negotiation” as well as to maintain control over the Iran-Contra drug operations, Barr allegedly also crafted a legal justification for then-President Bush to invade Panama and kidnap their associate General Manuel Noriega, in order to imprison and silence him before he could expose the operation.

Cover-up of Inslaw and PROMIS software theft

Barr stonewalled investigations and assisted the cover-up of the theft of Inslaw, and PROMIS software by the Department of Justice and the CIA. The otherworldly power of PROMIS software was and still is so coveted that extreme criminal measures have been get it.

Inslaw

PROMIS (Mike Ruppert, From the Wilderness publications)

PROMIS part 2 (Mike Ruppert, From The Wilderness publications)

The Undying Octopus: the FBI and the PROMIS affair

NSA surveillance: PROMIS

According to Rodney Stich in Defrauding America,

“by misusing the power of their office…three US attorney generals in the Reagan-Bush administrations, Edwin Meese, Richard Thornburgh, and William Barr misappropriated, or aided and abetted, the theft of the software called PROMIS.”

When the scandal became too noisy, Barr

“appointed a former Justice Department crony to conduct an “investigation” of the Inslaw matter, and then report back to him. The special counsel would be selected by Barr; would be subservient to him; and would report to him. Barr could then ignore the recommendations if, in the remote possibility the special counsel did not cooperate in the expected cover-up.”

The Iran-Contra pardons

In the most brazen insult to the American people and the entire world, Barr facilitated George H.W. Bush’s infamous 1992 Christmas Eve pardons of six Iran-Contra co-conspirators Caspar Weinberger, Elliott Abrams, Robert McFarlane, Dewey Clarridge, Alan Fiers, Clair George,

With the stroke of a pen, Bush gleefully set free six of his Iran-Contra criminal flunkies, and effectively decapitating Special Prosecutor Lawrence Walsh’s six-year long Iran-Contra probe.

It was Barr who closed the lid on Iran-Contra, freeing virtually the entire Bush/Clinton network, including himself, from punishment.

It was Barr who, with this move, “saved their asses”.

The New World Order could not have asked for a better henchman, fixer, and spook than William Barr.

Trump’s nomination of Barr: insanity or “part of the plan”?

Trump won the presidency in 2016 on the power of the single mandate to “drain the swamp”, and Destroy the Deep State. A vicious global struggle continues to be waged on every front between populist reformers led by Trump and the Deep State/New World Order. This war is taking place in every nation and on every continent. The stakes are deadly. Time is running short.

The Justice Department has been ground zero in this war. Jeff Sessions’ tenure as attorney general was opaque and riddled with uncertainties. His interim replacement, Matthew Whittaker, is true Trump loyalist who has the unenviable task of taking immediate action on FISAgate and other investigations into Obama/Clinton administration spying/treason, ending the Robert Mueller’s manufactured anti-Trump “Russian Collusion” witch hunt hoax, and do it all before January 2019, when a new Congress full of emboldened Democrats (who will come into office via rampant mid-term election fraud) pursue new avenues to further attack Trump. Numerous critical and potentially explosive congressional testimonies, including investigations into the Clinton Foundation, are all scheduled to take place before January, which could well decide the course of Trump’s presidency, and the movement behind him.

Why is William Barr—the antithesis of a “patriot” and the swampiest of swamp monsters— now being inserted into the middle of what is supposed to be a “white hat” anti-corruption operation? The move is baffling.

Why did Trump make the pick—the sole pick—so immediately, seemingly without thorough vetting?

Who recommended Barr for the job? The “white hats”, or the “black hats” that have never stopped planting assassins into Trump’s inner circle?

Is it significant or coincidental that the Barr pick came shortly after the death of George H.W. Bush?

Does Trump, who made the pick but claims that he “does not know” Barr (do we believe this?) realize that Barr—“Robert Johnson”—is the Deep State swamp’s most loyal operators and protectors? And that Barr is deeply connected and loyal to everyone and everything that Trump opposes?

What role could Trump possibly envision for Barr? Will Barr go after Bill and Hillary Clinton? Jeb and George W. Bush, with whom Barr managed numerous Iran-Contra operations? Will he go after Robert Mueller and James Comey, and dozens of members of Congress, who were also deeply connected to the “Enterprise”?

Why would Barr go against everything he helped create and everything he stood for? Why would he undo his own criminal handiwork by prosecuting his own lifelong criminal colleagues and friends? Barr’s career has been about saving the Deep State and the New World Order that he helped make invincible. Why would he do any differently now?

For reasons known only to him, Trump has surrounded himself with bad actors, too many to count. Mike Pence (longtime Bush loyalist), John Bolton, H.R. McMaster, etc. etc. Trump’s cabinet has been in constant flux, with many shakeups underway. But William Barr is an entirely different level of criminal. What next? Will Trump invite Dick Cheney to his administration? Bring back Henry Kissinger?

Is Trump being a genius, or is he a dupe and/or a sell-out?

Have Trump and his forces “turned” or leveraged Barr? Is it even possible to control someone like him? “Once CIA, always CIA.”

Imagine the spectacle of the pending “confirmation hearings”. Will any member of this corrupt Congress grill Barr about Iran-Contra or BCCI? Will anyone stand up and ask “Robert Johnson” to tell the truth?  Or will Barr look across at a room full of frightened politicians (many of whom he knows too well) and chortle, knowing that no one in the chamber will dare.

Is this the “draining of the swamp”, or is Barr the swamp’s ultimate victory, and the end of Trump?

Of limited hangouts and deceptions

In recent interviews, Barr issued noises that seemed supportive of Trump. Barr obviously caught the Trump team’s attention based on these comments. (Humorously, the CIA-managed corporate mainstream media has labeled Barr, an actual CIA criminal conspirator, a “conspiracy theorist”for his statements.)

While the mainstream media has latched on to quotes in which Barr said that he supports “some” investigations into the Clintons, he also insists that “throwing Hillary Clinton in jail is inappropriate”.

In other words, Barr does not want the swamp to be drained. In other words, Barr only supports limited investigations and limited hangouts.

Barr should be disqualified for the job simply based on this.

Or does the nomination of Barr suggest that President Trump also does not want to fully “drain the swamp”? Is his goal to merely co-opt the New World Order co-opt the New World Order and co-opt the Bush Republican apparatus, in order to take down the Clinton/Obama side of it, while leaving the Bush side intact?

Given that Bush-Clinton/Obama are two sides of the same coin, it is ridiculous and impossible to “go after” one side without “going after” the other, and then claim that any real swamp draining is taking place.

It is also possible that Barr and/or his Bush/CIA colleagues have baited the Trump team with his statements, in order to place him in Trump’s administration as a Trojan Horse.

Muted reaction  

It is too much to expect the masses, remain uninformed and controlled by propaganda, to understand the significance and danger posed by the reappearance of Barr.

The few who seem aware of Barr’s background are alarmedfor good reason. But even the more informed observers aren’t getting it. Most of those who “trust Trump” and “trust the plan” have not aggressively questioned the move. Even the research-intensive Internet Anoncommunity has been quiet about Barr.

Some Trump optimists are stretching, trying to convince themselves that Trump is using the Barr nomination to “troll”, and to point attention back to the Bush history, thus forcing the public to research, recoil and awaken to the truth.

They would like to believe that Trump is continuing to play a game of deception. The “4-D chess player”, is merely “keeping enemies close”; manipulating, co-opting, and leveraging compromised figures to his personal bidding; and turn one of the Deep State’s own into a weapon against the Deep State. Perhaps they believe that Trump is purposely elevating Barr, in order to fire him later, as he has already done with numerous others in his administration.

Some argue that Barr is useful because he “knows where the bodies are buried”. Barr himself helped bury them—literally in many cases.

If Trump thinks that he can control or leverage someone as dangerous as Barr, then Trump is taking the biggest risk of his presidency, and of his life.

He is also placing the country and the world at risk.

All in the crime family

The atrocities and crimes of the Bushes and Clintons are unspeakable and unimaginable in depravity and scale.

These atrocities were facilitated by William “Robert Johnson” Barr.

Barr, a hands-on participant, is guilty. Furthermore, he poisoned and manipulated the judicial system—“law enforcement”— to get himself and his friends off the hook.

Barr must be exposed and condemned, along with the entire Bush/Clinton/Obama network, and all must be denied and removed from all positions of influence and power.

In an unguarded moment in 1992, George H.W. Bush said to reporter Sarah McClendon:

“If people ever knew what we had done, we would be chased down the street and lynched.”

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US Crimes against Humanity. The People of Nicaragua

January 19th, 2019 by William Edstrom

I am writing to request that both the 1) member states of the UN General Assembly and 2) member states of the Security Council hold hearings, debate and vote on an effective plan of action against various crimes that have been committed by people working for the government of the US that are of significance to the global community.

These crimes include:

  1. The US government’s current (2018) attempts to overthrow the democratically elected government of Nicaragua
  2. US government interventionist policies and practices into the internal affairs of most of the member states of the UN (i.e. the US governments long history of being the #1 global bully on Earth)
  3. The US government’s ascendancy to having become the #1 violator of human rights globally and
  4. The Global Surveillance State program of the US secret police (e.g. NSA, CIA, FBI, DEA, DIA, etc.).

In April 2018, elements of the US government (e.g. NSA, CIA) began attempts to overthrow the democratically elected government of Nicaragua. I have been in Nicaragua from March 2018 to present (i.e. September 2018) and have been a direct eyewitness to US government attempts to overthrow the democratically elected government of Nicaragua.

US secret police operatives have incited riots, provoked killings and paid for the highways and roads in Nicaragua to become barricaded to obstruct transportation.

Read complete article on Popular Resistance

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Featured image is from Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

On January 16, a suicide bombing attack hit the center of Manbij in the province of Aleppo. According to initial reports, over 25 people were killed  or injured in the attack, which also caused casualties among US service members. Minutes after the explosion, a coalition H-92 helicopter landed in Manbij for an evacuation operation.

Later the US military stressed that 2 US service members, a US Defense Department civilian employee and a contractor supporting the department were killed while “conducting a routine patrol” in the area. The names of those killed were not released immediately.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack and revealed that it was carried out by a suicide bomber named “Abu Yasin al-Shami”. According to local sources, al-Shami blew himself up in front of a US-led coalition patrol outside the Prince Restaurant in the center of Manbij.

This was the first successful ISIS suicide attack aimed at US-led coalition forces in Syria. Previous attacks were mainly aimed at US-backed Kurdish fighters and locals cooperating with the coalition.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the Manbij attack “could be meant to dissuade the U.S. from leaving Syria”. The president added that he does not believe that the  attack will impact U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria because he saw “honorable Trump’s determination on this point.”

However, the full withdrawal of US forces from Syria still remains in question, especially after another bright media demonstration of the remaining ISIS influence in the country. Earlier it appeared that the US is going to continue its operations in Syrian airspace even when the troops are fully withdrawn.

On January 15, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said that the US delegation led by National Security Advisor John Bolton conveyed to the Turkish side “an unofficial five-point document in which the United States confirms the withdrawal of its troops from Syria, the determination to continue the fight against the Islamic State terrorist group and Washington’s intention to maintain its presence in Syrian airspace as part of the coalition”.

The developing US withdrawal and a reported US-Turkish understanding on a safe zone in northern Syria also forced the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to adapt their approach towards Turkey.

The SDF claimed that it hopes to find an understanding with Turkey and promised to provide all necessary help to establish a “safe zone”. However, the group insisted that there should be international guarantees.

“We never posed any threat to neighboring countries, especially Turkey, we hope and look forward to reaching understandings and solutions which would ensure stability and safety in the border areas,” the SDF’s official statement said.

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