Turkey has given recordings on the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi to Saudi Arabia, the United States, Germany, France and Britain, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday.

Turkish sources have said previously that authorities have an audio recording purportedly documenting the murder.

Speaking ahead of his departure for France to attend commemorations to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One, Erdogan said Saudi Arabia knows the killer of Jamal Khashoggi is among a group of 15 people who arrived in Turkey one day ahead of the October 2 killing.

Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi rulers, was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Saudi Arabia has admitted he was murdered there, but denied suggestions its royal family was involved.

It had initially maintained the writer had left the consulate unharmed.

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Featured image: People protest against the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy in London. (Source:

War Criminals in High Office Commemorate the End of World War I

November 12th, 2018 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

In a bitter irony, several of the World’s leaders who were “peacefully” commemorating the end of World War I in Paris including Trump, Netanyahu, Macron and May are the protagonists of war in Afghanistan, Palestine, Syria, Libya, Iraq and Yemen. 

To put it bluntly they are war criminals under international law.

They have blood on their hands.

What on earth are they commemorating?

In the words of Hans Stehling: “As We Honour the 15 Million Dead of 1914-1918, a Demented US President Flies into Paris with Plans to Attack Iran” [with nuclear weapons] (Global Research, November 12, 2018)

Lest we forget: War is the ultimate crime, “The Crime against Peace” as defined under Nuremberg.

 The US and its allies have embarked upon the ultimate war crime, a Worldwide military adventure, “a long war”, which threatens the future of humanity. 

The Pentagon’s global military design is one of world conquest. 

The War to End all Wars??? 

One hundred years later: What’s happening NOW in November 2018?

Major military and covert intelligence operations have been launched in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia and the Far East. The U.S. military agenda combines both major theatre operations as well as covert actions geared towards destabilizing sovereign states, not to mention economic warfare.

In the course of the last seventeen years, starting in the immediate wake of 9/11, a series of US-NATO led wars have been launched: Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Yemen, resulting in millions of civilian deaths and countless atrocities. These wars have been led by the US and its NATO allies.

It is all for a good cause:

“Responsibility to Protect”(R2P),

“Going after the bad guys”,

Waging a “Global War on Terrorism”.

It just so happens that “Outside Enemy Number One” Osama bin Laden was recruited by the CIA. And nobody actually denies it.

Image: Osama bin Laden with Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski (circa 1979)

And the Bush and the Bin Laden families are friends.

 

Confirmed by the Washington Post Osama’s brother Shafiq bin Laden was meeting with George W Bush’s Dad, George H. Walker Bush at a Carlyle business meeting at the Ritz Carleton in New York on September 10, one day before 9/11:

It didn’t help that as the World Trade Center burned on Sept. 11, 2001, the news interrupted a Carlyle business conference at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel here attended by a brother of Osama bin Laden. Former president Bush, a fellow investor, had been with him at the conference the previous day. (WaPo, March 16, 2003)

Now does that not sound like a “conspiracy theory”? While Osama was allegedly coordinating the attack on the WTC,  his brother Shafiq was meeting up with the President’s Dad, according to the Washington Post.

In turn, according to the Wall Street Journal “The bin Laden family has become acquainted with some of the biggest names in the Republican Party…” (WSJ, 27 September 2001)

Here is a rather “believe it or not” concept: if the US were to boost defence spending to go after Osama bin Laden (Enemy Number One), the bin Laden family would benefit so to speak because (in September 2001) they were partners of the Carlyle Group, one the World’s largest asset management companies:

Waging War on The Bad Guys 

Amply documented, the “Bad Guys”, namely Al Qaeda and its various affiliates including ISIS-Daesh are constructs of Western intelligence (aka so-called “intelligence assets”).

In recent developments, the US and Israel are threatening Iran with nuclear weapons. U.S. and NATO ground forces are being deployed in Eastern Europe on Russia’s immediate doorstep. In turn, the U.S. is confronting China under the so-called “Pivot to Asia” which was launched during the Obama presidency.

The US also threatens to blow up North Korea with what is described in US military parlance as a “bloody nose operation” which consists in deploying “the more usable” low yield B61-11 mini-nukes which are tagged as “harmless to civilians because the explosion is under ground”, according to scientific opinion on contract to the Pentagon.

The B61-11 tactical nuclear weapon has an explosive capacity between one third and twelve times a Hiroshima bomb.

Hiroshima, August 7, 1945

Flashback to August 6, 1945, the first Atomic Bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Up to 100, 000 people were killed in the first seven seconds following the explosion.

But it was “collateral damage”: In the words of President Harry Truman:

Truman globalresearch.caThe world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians.

What is at stake is a global criminal undertaking in defiance of international law. In the words of the late Nuremberg Prosecutor William Rockler:

The United States has discarded pretensions to international legality and decency, and embarked on a course of raw imperialism run amok.” (William Rockler, Nuremberg Tribunal prosecutor)

We will recall that the architect of Nuremberg, Supreme Court Justice and Nuremberg Prosecutor Robert Jackson said with some hesitation:

We must never forget that the record on which we judge these defendants is the record on which history will judge us tomorrow. To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well.”

Does this historical statement apply to Donald Trump, Benjamin Netanyahu and Theresa May?

In defiance of Nuremberg, the US and its allies have invoked the conduct of “humanitarian wars” and “counter-terrorism” operations, with a view to installing “democracy” in  targeted countries.

And the Western media applauds. War is now routinely heralded in news reports as a peacemaking undertaking.

War becomes peace. Realities are turned upside down.

These lies and fabrications are part of of war propaganda, which also constitutes a criminal undertaking under Nuremberg.

The US-NATO led war applied Worlwide is a criminal endeavor under the disguise of “responsibility to protect” and counter-terrorism. It violates the Nuremberg Charter, the US constitution and the UN charter. According to former chief Nuremberg prosector Benjamin Ferencz, in relation to the 2003 invasion of Iraq:

“a prima facie case can be made that the United States is guilty of the supreme crime against humanity — that being an illegal war of aggression against a sovereign nation.”

Ferenz was referring to “Crimes against Peace and War” (Nuremberg Principle VI): which states the following:

“The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:

(a) Crimes against peace:
(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).
(b) War crimes:
Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory; murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the Seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.
(c) Crimes against humanity:
Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhumane acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.”
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President Michael D Higgins led Ireland’s Armistice commemorations, marking one hundred years since the end of World War One and honouring the 200,000 Irish soldiers who fought in it.

Thousands of people defied wind and heavy rain today to attend Armistice Day ceremonies across Ireland for the 49,000 Irish soldiers killed in World War I.

Mr Higgins lay a wreath as members of the Defence Forces held their heads down, as a mark of respect.

Dignitaries from across the globe joined together at Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, as Victoria Cross commemorative plaques were unveiled, in memory of five fallen soldiers from Dublin, Wicklow, Sligo, Antrim and Down.

Each soldier was posthumously awarded the Cross – the highest British military award for gallantry.

Mr Higgins told the crowd, including families whose relatives died in the conflict:

“We remember, in particular, the 200,000 men from across the island of Ireland, North and south, east and west, who served in that war, and we call to mind in a special way the tens of thousands who never returned home who remain forever in the soil of Belgium, France, Greece and Turkey.”

To read complete article published by The Irish Independent click here

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Featured image: President Michael D. Higgins places a wreath on behalf of the people of Ireland at Armistice Day Commemoration Picture: Caroline Quinn

Edmund Burke put it this way, saying: “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”

George Santanyana said “(t)hose who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Kurt Vonnegut said “I’ve got news for Mr. Santayana. We’re doomed to repeat the past no matter what. That’s what it is to be alive.”

In his novel Bluebeard, Vonnegut said

“(i)t’s pretty dense kids who haven’t figured that out by the time they’re ten…Most kids can’t afford to go to Harvard and be misinformed.”

November 11 marked the 100th anniversary of WW I’s end – officially at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

The so-called war to end all wars was prelude for much worse to come. In 1928, Kellogg-Briand policy renounced aggressive wars. The UN Charter’s Preamble states:

“We the Peoples of the United Nations Determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind…”

Washington, its key NATO partners and Israel wage endless wars of aggression in multiple theaters with no prospect for resolution anywhere.

Are more wars coming? Possibly with thermonuclear weapons.

What are the lessons of History? The US has been at war throughout its entire history, The business of America is war, the world’s leading purveyor of state-sponsored terrorism globally.

Hannah Arendt once said crimes of state aren’t committed by fanatics or sociopaths, just “terrifyingly normal” (people)…neither perverted or sadistic…who accepted the premises of their superiors and their state” to continue current and/or longstanding policies.

US history from the republic’s inception shows it’s addicted to endless war – glorified in the name of peace, its violent culture believing war is peace.

Pacifist nonviolence is considered sissy and unpatriotic. US foreign policy is based on pursuing interests belligerently, forcing other nations to bend to America’s will, sovereign independent ones going their own way not tolerated.

Presidents “reserve the right to act unilaterally if necessary to defend our nation and our interests,” Obama said.

Bush/Cheney operated the same way. Trump aggressively follows in their footsteps, continuing preemptive wars he inherited, escalating them, reserving the right to use first-strike nuclear weapons, including against non-nuclear states.

US presidents claim it’s to defend national security and advance the nation’s values and ideals – at a time America’s only enemies are invented ones. No real ones exist.

So-called values and ideals rape and destroy one nation after another, an endless cycle of aggressive wars – making the world safe for militarists and monied interests.

The US is virtually on a nuclear hair-trigger. Squeezing it could happen by accident or design. Trump has no understanding of what nuclear armageddon could mean, risking the end of life on earth by nuclear winter.

It’s defined as “a long period of darkness and extreme cold that scientists predict would follow a full-scale nuclear war, a layer of dust and smoke in the atmosphere cover(ing) the earth and block(ing) the rays of the sun, (causing) most living organisms (to) perish.”

Anti-nuclear expert Helen Caldicott earlier said

“(o)ne single failure of nuclear deterrence could end human history (quickly). Once initiated, it would take one hour to trigger a swift, sudden end to life on this planet.”

Nuclear disarmament followed by ending wars before they end us may be the only way humanity can survive.

A nation addicted to endless wars for wealth and power risks ending life on planet earth to own it.

Congressional Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) in September 2001, granting carte blanche warmaking authority to presidents, may end up becoming a doomsday authorization if things are recklessly pushed too far.

If nuclear war erupts, there’s no putting the genie back in the bottle, no second chance to step back from the brink, no way to avoid the destructive power thermonukes – making Fat Man and Little Boy look like toys by comparison.

A Final Comment

During WW I, an unplanned Christmas truce occurred over the 1914 Christmas period.

Both sides stopped fighting, fraternizing instead. On both sides, soldiers left trenches over half of the front – defying orders, calling “such an attitude…dangerous (saying it) destroys the offensive spirit…”

What was unimaginable happened. Both sides took time off from fighting, shook hands, buried their dead, chatted with each other, enjoying the calm, even played football with each other.

Unofficial truces occurred other times throughout history, several times during WW I, never like Christmas 1914.

The message was clear. Ordinary people deplore war. It’s the enemy of peace, humanity’s scourge.

Good wars don’t exist, nuclear war worst of all if occurs. Power-hungry madness may doom us all if not curbed – not a hint of it so far today in Washington.

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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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“Get used to this kind of volatility,” warns Hussman Funds’ John Hussman in his latest comment.

“Unfortunately, the moment interest rates hit zero, [historical risk and valuation] limits vanished, and preemptively responding to speculative extremes became terrifically detrimental.”

“Presently, neither valuations nor internals are favorable, and that is what opens up a trap door under the market.”

Goldman  agrees, high valuations in isolation do not provide much of a timing signal for investors but, again, when combined with other factors can indicate risks of a correction or possible bear market.

Goldman aggregated these variables in a signal indicator, and took each variable and calculated its percentile relative to its history since 1948. What it found is that, heuristically, the odds of a bear market at this moment, are in the 73% percentile.

The aggregate Bear Market Risk Indicator shows the average of these factors. Historically, when the Indicator rises above 60% it is a good signal to investors to turn cautious, or at the very least recognise that a correction followed by a rally is more likely to be followed by a bear market than when these indicators are low. By the same token, when the Indicator is very low, below 40% (as was the case in 1975, 1982 and 2009), investors should see any market weakness as an opportunity to buy.

As shown below, the risk of a bear market has almost never been greater.

So where are we now? As Oppenheimer puts it simple, “The signal is red.

While the momo-driven indices have bounced back honorably (fadin Friday), the world’s largest stock index (NYSE’s @24 trillion market cap Composite Index) has bounced and failed at key technical support…

While many eyes prefer to focus on ‘Dr.Copper’ as having the economics PhD, it is Lumber that is the real expert…

And it is flashing red…

And the bounce in the last two weeks has decoupled US equity prices from everything…

 

And if cyclicals underperformance is anything to go by, bond yields are set to tumble…

 

US Financial Conditions have tightened dramatically…

 

And as financial conditions have tightened, something dramatic changed in the way ‘smart’ money is flowing across the US equity market…

And while we have seen some panic in recent weeks, one very notable signal is not offering hope to the bulls – the put-call ratio is at its lowest since early 2017 – not the over-hedged ammunition for another exuberant leg higher in stocks…

As it appears the all-too-eager momo-chasers piled into calls on the first sign of a rebound…

Bond shorts rebuilt their positions a little last week (after 4 weeks of derisking) but previous metals bears unwound their positions further, and VIX positioning shifted further into net long territory.

Finally, we note that there is currently a record number of assets around the world with negative returns YTD…

And if 70 years of historical relationships are anything to go by, the S&P 500’s annual return over the next 10 years may be about zero.

In conclusion, we given John Hussman the final words:

“We can no longer rely on well-defined limits to speculation, as we could in previous market cycles across history.”

“In hindsight, the fix was simple: abandon the belief in any limit to the stupidity of Wall Street.”

“Despite its discomfort, the market decline we observed in October is only a drop in the bucket toward normalizing valuations.”

“Over the completion of the current market cycle, I fully expect the S&P 500 to lose close to two-thirds of its value from the recent peak.”

Is that what The Fed, The Deep State, or The Dems want?

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The Jeff Sessions Matter

November 12th, 2018 by Gary Leupp

(This is intended as a study-aid to anyone trying to make sense out of the unfolding scandal. I proceed from the premise that the study of history is fundamentally the study of causal relationships over time. What leads to what? Scrolling up and down this timeline, expanding it, clarifying, repeating until it’s memorized, maybe we can get some small insights into the reasons for the imminent constitutional crisis.)

Note 1: The Attorney-General of the United States is the chief legal advisor of the U.S. government. Since 1789 this officer’s duties have been defined as “to prosecute and conduct all suits in the Supreme Court in which the United States shall be concerned, and to give his advice and opinion upon questions of law when required by the President of the United States, or when requested by the heads of any of the departments.” Especially since the formation of the Justice Department in 1870 the functions of this official resemble those of Ministers of Justice elsewhere in the world. The Justice Department ranks with State, Defense and Treasury as among the four top power-centers in the regime.

Note 2: Past Attorney-Generals have included John Mitchell of Watergate fame (who served 19 months in federal prison for covering up for Nixon); and Elliott Richardson, who resigned rather than heed Nixon’s demand that he fire special Watergate Prosecutor Archibald Cox. They have included Robert Kennedy, Ramsey Clark, Robert Bork, Edwin Meese, Janet Reno, Eric Holder, John Ashcroft—a mixed bag of liberal opportunists, slowly evolving progressives, total reactionaries, weird religious fanatics.

That someone like Matt Whitaker, who three years ago was threatening a victim ripped off by his bogus firm with “criminal consequences”—positively boasting of his own status as “a former United States Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa,” adding: “and I also serve on World Patent Marketing’s Advisory Board” should not shock those of us familiar with history. (But I fear we are a small minority.)

It should surely not shock anyone who remains unshocked by Trump’s pussy-grabbing talk, his support for Roy Moore, the Kavenaugh confirmation, his apparent satisfaction with Prince MbS’s explanation for the Khashoggi murder, etc., that he would appoint (as “a great guy”) this person he says he doesn’t really know except by reputation as Minister of Justice of this benighted country.

Note 3: Understanding the power and significance of the position, and the fact that it is sometimes held by a total thug who manipulates and avoids the law at will as their power allows, we should encourage anyone entangled in the legal system in the U.S. to soberly consider the possibility that the whole damned thing is presently under constitutionally illegitimate leadership. May doubt and disillusionment reign. They make sense.

Timeline

2015

June 16, 2015: Donald Trump announces his candidacy for president.

August: Matthew Whitaker, on behalf of World Patent Marketing, in an email threatens a bilked customer asking for refund: “I am a former United States Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa and I also serve on World Patent Marketing’s Advisory Board. Your emails and message from today seem to be an apparent attempt at possible blackmail or extortion. You also mentioned filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and to smear World Patent Marketing’s reputation online. I am assuming you understand that there could be serious civil and criminal consequences for you if that is in fact what you and your ‘group’ are doing.”

(In May 2018 a federal judge dissolves World Patent Marketing and fines it $ 26 million for fraud.)

2016

February 18, 2016: Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) surprises the political world by becoming the first senator to endorse Trump for president.

March: Sessions attends campaign meeting with Trump in which aide George Papadopoulos mentions a Russian connection that could produce campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton. His reaction unclear.

July: Campaign staffer Carter Page tells Sessions about his Russian business and other ties later revealed by the Mueller investigation and press reports.

October 7: CIA director James Clapper accuses Russia of election interference.

November 8: Trump unexpectedly elected president.

November 18: newly-elected president Trump announces pick of Sessions as his attorney-general.

2017

January 6, 2017: U.S. intelligence community releases report, “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections,” asserts with high confidence that Russia attempted to interfere in U.S. elections.

January 10: Sessions under questioning in Congress is asked if Trump campaign had any Russian contacts; says he was unaware of any.

February 8: Congress confirms Sessions as Attorney-General, voting 52-47.

March 1: Washington Post reports Sessions had met with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyk at least twice during campaign, one privately in his Senate office.

March 2, 2017: Sessions recuses himself from Russia probe, admits to having had contacts (brief conversations) with Kislyak during campaign. Trump immediately castigates him for this recusal.

April: On tweet Trump denies plan to dismiss Sessions and replace with EPA Chief Scott Pruitt.

May 9: Trump fires FBI director James Comey, stating this is at Sessions’ recommendation. (Deputy director Rod Rosenstein may have written up the argument.) Rosenstein appoints Paul Mueller to direct investigation of Russia election interference.

May: Washington Post reports that Rosenstein threatened to resign if held responsible for Comey’s firing.

May 17: Rosenstein appoints Paul Mueller special counsel to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump, and any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.”

May 18 (4:20 AM EST): Trump tweets, ”This is the greatest witch hunt of any president in American history!”

June 21: As executive director of the (soon discredited) Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, Matthew Whittaker (former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, 2004-9)) appears on the Wilkow Majority show and declares, “The truth is there was no collusion with the Russians and the Trump campaign. There was interference by the Russians into the election, but that was not collusion with the campaign. That’s where the left seems to be combining those two issues. The last thing they want right now is for the truth to come out, and for the fact that there’s not a single piece of evidence that demonstrates that the Trump campaign had any illegal or any improper relationships with the Russians. It’s that simple.”

August  6, 2017: Whitaker writes an opinion column for CNN entitled “Mueller’s Investigation of Trump is Going Too Far.” On same day highlights on Twitter  a Philly.com opinion article  “Note to Trump’s Lawyer: Do Not Cooperate With Mueller Lynch Mob.” Says it’s “worth a read.” Catches Trump’s attention.

September 22: Sessions appoints Whitaker as his chief-of-staff.

2018

February 21: Trump tweets that people should ask Jeff Sessions why Clinton’s crimes are not being investigated. Calls Justice Department “disgraceful.”

February 28: Washington Post says Mueller investigating Trump-Sessions relationship in relation to possible obstruction of justice.

April: Rosenberg personally orders raid on the home and office of Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen, in a spin-off investigation from the Mueller probe. Trump infuriated.

May: Trump blames Mueller investigation on Sessions’ recusal, accuses him of disloyalty (according to NYT.)

June 5: Trump tweets, “The Russian Witch Hunt Hoax continues, all because Jeff Sessions didn’t tell me he was going to recuse himself…I would have quickly picked someone else. So much time and money wasted, so many lives ruined…and Sessions knew better than most that there was No Collusion!”

July 19: Trump tells NYT that Sessions should have told him when he nominated him for AG that he would recuse himself on the Russia thing. The same month he tells the Wall Street Journal that he feels no special appreciation for Session due to his astonishingly early and risky endorsement in July 2015. In his articulate way, Trump says: “It’s not like a great loyal thing about the endorsement. I’m very disappointed in Jeff Sessions.”

July 25: Trump tweets: “Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!”

August 23: Trump demands, by tweet, that Sessions “look into all of the corruption on the ‘other side’ including deleted Emails, Comey lies & leaks, Mueller conflicts, McCabe, Strzok, Page, Ohr.”

August 25 tweet: “Jeff Sessions said he wouldn’t allow politics to influence him only because he doesn’t understand what is happening underneath his command position,. Highly conflicted Bob Mueller and his gang of 17 Angry Dems are having a field day as real corruption goes untouched. No Collusion.”

September 3: Blames Sessions for indicting Republican candidates. “Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen [California Rep. Duncan Hunter and New York Rep. Chris Collin] were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department. Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff……”

September  21: NYT reports that in Spring 2017 soon after Comey dismissal Rosenstein discussed with John Kelly the prospect of recording the president’s conversations and using them to employ Article 25 of the constitution.

September 24: At White House Rosenstein offers resignation to Kelly; not accepted.

October 11 (on Fox): Trump: “I can tell you Matt Whitaker’s a great guy. I mean, I know Matt Whitaker.”

November 6: Democrats sweep the House of Representatives in mid-term elections.

November 7, 2018: Sessions submits undated resignation at Trump’s request after 6 months of criticism. Replaced by his chief-of-staff Matthew Whitaker.

November  9: Trump tarmac interview: “I don’t know Matt Whitaker.”

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Pundits suggest that the various statements Whitaker made in August 2017 were a campaign to get hired as a Justice Department lawyer, and that Trump directed Sessions to hire him (thinking he could take over when needed, to defend him against congressional inquiries). Think, people, is that really plausible?

And is it really true—what some people are saying—that the attorney-general even an acting one needs Congressional approval, and that this power transfer without that approval is invalid? Again, may doubt and disillusionment reign, because they make sense in these troubled times.

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Gary Leupp is a Professor of History at Tufts University, and author of numerous works on Japanese history. He can be reached at: [email protected]. Read other articles by Gary.

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Ten Lies Told About World War I

November 12th, 2018 by Dominic Alexander

This Remembrance Day will doubtless see strenuous efforts by some to justify the fruitless bloodbath that was the First World War. Revisionist commentators have long attempted to rehabilitate the conflict as necessary and just, but the arguments do not stand up. It does no service to the memory of the dead to allow any illusions in the justice or necessity of war, particularly so when the precedents will be used to argue for the next ‘necessary’ conflict. From the causes of the war, to its prosecution and its results, here are the counter-arguments to ten common pro-war ploys.

1. The war was fought in defence of democracy.

This is contradicted by the basic facts. Germany had universal manhood suffrage while in Britain, including Ireland, some 40% of men still did not qualify for the vote. In Germany also, there were attempts to justify the war on the grounds that it was being fought to defend civilised values against a repressive, militaristic state, in the form of Russian autocracy.

2. Britain went to war due to a treaty obligation to defend the neutrality of Belgium.

There was no clear and accepted obligation on Britain to do this, and, in fact, before the Belgian issue appeared, the war party in the cabinet was already pushing for British intervention on the entirely different ground that there were naval obligations to France. These obligations had been developed in secret arrangements between the military of both countries, and were never subject to any kind of democratic accountability. The Germans even offered guarantees over Belgian integrity, which the British government refused to consider at all.

3. German aggression was the driving force for war.

However aggressive the German leadership may have been in 1914, the British establishment was at least as determined to take the opportunity to go to war with its imperial rival. At one point the Foreign Office even seized on imaginary German incursions into France to justify a British declaration of war on Germany. The declaration letter had to be retrieved from the German ambassador and rewritten when it was discovered that the stories were false. The enthusiasm of the British ruling class for war undermines any justification for it based on German aggression.

4. Germany had started a naval arms race with Britain.

Imperialist competition between the two states over markets and resources preceded the arms race in the fifteen years before the war. Britain’s naval power was the vital element in its ability to restrict German access to markets and resources across the world. Unless Britain was willing to allow Germany to expand economically, the logic of capitalist competition meant that Germany was bound to challenge British naval supremacy. The latent violence of the leading imperial nation is always the context for aggressive challenges to the status quo on the part of rising powers.

5. German imperialism was uniquely vicious and had to be challenged.

The atrocities committed against the Herrero people in Namibia were indeed terrible crimes, but were hardly unique compared to the horrors committed by all those involved in the rubber industry in the Belgian Congo, to take but one example. Also, European opinion had only a few years before 1914 been horrified by the brutality of another colonial power when it was engaged in ruthlessly expanding its dominance over independent states in Africa. This was Britain in its wars of aggression against the Boer states in South Africa, during which concentration camps were first used in order to control a civilian population.

6. Public opinion was united in favour of the war, as shown by images of cheering crowds in 1914.

It is now usually admitted that the degree of enthusiasm for the war was strictly limited, and the evidence is that the crowds who gathered at the outbreak of war were by no means united in martial enthusiasm. In fact sizeable and widespread anti-war demonstrations occurred in both Britain and Germany. Had the leaderships of Labour and Socialist parties across Europe not caved into demands to support their national ruling classes in going to war, it is quite possible that the conflict could have been stopped in its tracks.

7. The morale of British troops fighting on the Western Front remained intact to the end of the war.

While Britain may not have suffered quite the same scale of mutinies as in the German and French armies, at times there were whole stretches of the front where troops became so unreliable that generals did not dare order them into combat. The evidence for widespread cynicism about war strategies, contempt for the military leadership, and grave doubts about the purpose of the war, cannot be wished away by the revisionists. In so far as soldiers carried on willingly fighting the war, the explanation needs to be sought in the habituation to obedience, as well as the threat of court-martial executions. There is no need to invoke either fervid nationalism or any kind of deep psychological blood-lust as explanations.

8. The military leadership, notably General Haig, was not a bunch of incompetent ‘donkeys’.

Attempts to rehabilitate the likes of General Haig founder on some of the basic facts about the tactics he relentlessly employed. Repeated infantry attacks on opposing trenches consistently failed to gain any clear advantage, while causing colossal casualties. On the first day of the battle of the Somme, 1st July 1916, 57,000 troops out of 120,000 were killed or wounded. Despite continuing carnage on an incredible scale, Haig carried on ordering further attacks. When any hope of a breakthrough against the German lines was clearly lost, the purpose of the battle was shifted to attrition pure and simple. The plan now was to kill more German troops than the British lost. Since there was no way of reliably measuring the casualties on the other side, Haig relied on estimating it through the losses of his own side. On this basis he began to be angered when the army suffered too few losses, as when he complained that one division in September had lost under a thousand men. There can be no defence for this kind of disregard of human life.

9. The end of the war saw the triumph of liberal capitalism, against collapsing autocratic Empires.

In fact all states involved in the war were deeply destabilised. Even the United States, whose involvement was the most limited, experienced the ‘Red Summer’ of 1919, with unprecedented labour revolts, such as the Seattle general strike, alongside savage repression of socialists and black Americans. Britain saw the beginning of the Irish war of independence, and increasing unrest in India, which marks, in effect, the point at which the Empire began to unravel. Domestically, there was also a wave of radical working-class unrest, particularly in the ‘Red Clydeside’, which culminated in troops being sent into Glasgow to impose martial law.

10. The war achieved anything worthwhile whatsoever.

The war opened up a period of endemic economic dislocation, and outright crisis. In Britain there was a decade of industrial decline and high unemployment even before the Great Depression. In effect, it was only the Second World War which brought the major capitalist powers out of the slump. The First World War saw the point at which capitalism became addicted to war and to a permanent arms economy. The war demonstrated the capacity of capitalism to create industrialised waste, carnage and destruction on a colossal scale. The remembrance of the war is appropriately a time for mourning the horror, the loss and the waste of it all, but it should also provoke a determination to resist our rulers’ insistence on promoting war to further their interests. War can achieve nothing other than to create the conditions for further wars.

Popular opinion has, ever since its ending, remembered the First World War as a time of horrendous and futile misery and slaughter, as epitomising political and military leaders’ incompetence and callous disregard for human life. That popular judgement, which has helped turn common opinion against war in general, was correct, and we must not let the war mongers dismiss this instance of the wisdom of ordinary people.

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Dominic Alexander is a member of Counterfire, for which he is the book review editor. He has been a Stop the War and anti-austerity activist in north London for some time. He is a published historian whose work includes the book Saints and Animals in the Middle Ages, a social history of medieval wonder tales

Notes

The arguments in this article are developed at greater length in the author’s review of Douglas Newton’s book The Darkest Days: The Truth Behind Britain’s Rush to War, 1914 (Verso 2014).

The specifics for General Haig’s murderous rage can be found in Adam Hochschild, To End All Wars (Pan 2013), p.209 – reviewed on this site by Lindsey German.

Featured image: An American soldier lies dead, tangled in barbed wire on the western front. Photograph: American Stock Archive/Getty Images

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Trump Bans Asylum for Unwanted Aliens

November 11th, 2018 by Stephen Lendman

Israel is the only developed nation prohibiting non-Jewish refugees and asylum seekers from entering the country – treating unwanted arrivals oppressively like criminals.

Post-9/11, America is heading in the same direction. Obama was notoriously called the nation’s “deporter-in-chief.”

Trump way exceeds his harshness – militantly hostile to Muslims, Latinos, and other people of color from designated countries – banning their entry to America.

In 2017, his regime arrested and deported more unwanted aliens than Obama in 2016. Last December, acting ICE director Thomas Homan said

“(i)f you’re in this country illegally, we’re looking for you and we’re going to look to apprehend you.”

Since Trump took office, thousands of unwanted aliens were arrested, harshly detained and deported. His policy is unrelated to protecting national security. It’s all about racial hatred toward unwanted people.

Christians and Jews are welcome, especially from favored nations. Treating them one way, people of color and Muslims another is flagrantly hostile to fundamental rule of law principles.

Refugees, asylum seekers, and others from the wrong countries are unwelcome in Trump’s America. Islamophobia and racial hatred reflect official regime policy.

Trump’s new immigration order has nothing to do with protecting national security or US sovereignty, a shameful White House statement saying the following:

“Illegal aliens will no longer get a free pass into our country by lodging meritless claims in seeking asylum. Instead, migrants seeking asylum will have to present themselves lawfully at a port of entry.”

The statement lied claiming Trump is using his authority “to manage and protect the integrity of our immigration system and our national sovereignty.”

His action is all about denying unwanted refugees and asylum seekers entry to America, violating international and constitutional law under the Supremacy Clause (Article VI, Clause 2).

It states all US laws and treaties “shall be the supreme law of the land.” International law is clear and unequivocal.

Article I of the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees calls them:

“A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of their nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail him/herself of the protection of that country.”

Post-WW II, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was established to help them.

To gain legal protection, they must:

  • be outside their country of origin;
  • fear persecution;
  • be harmed or fear harm by their government or others;
  • fear persecution for at least one of the above cited reasons; and
  • pose no danger to others.

Immihelp.com calls asylum and refugee status “closely related.” They differ “only in the place where a person asks for asylum status,” adding:

Refugee status is asked for outside countries of origin. “(A)ll people who are granted asylum status must meet the definition of a refugee.”

“The Refugee Act of 1980 regulates US asylum policy as well as governing refugee procedures.”

“The Act for the first time established a statutory basis for granting asylum in the United States consistent with the 1967 United Nations Protocol on Refugees.”

The 1951 UN Convention on Refugees restricted their status to circumstances occurring before January 1, 1951, notably relating to European ones.

The 1967 protocol removed the temporal and geographic restrictions. Trump’s new order is all about blocking thousands of Central Americans heading for the southern US border.

They’re legitimate refugees and asylum seekers, fleeing repressive US-supported regimes in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, three of the world’s most violent nations.

Days earlier, Trump lied saying caravans heading for the US are “made up of some very bad thugs and gang members.” They’re ordinary people fleeing persecution, seeking safe haven from violence and repression in their home countries.

An ACLU statement said

“(w)hen the government has the power to deny legal rights and due process to one vulnerable group, everyone’s rights are at risk.”

Trump’s new order flies in the face of international and constitutional law. It’s sure to challenged in federal courts.

With legal help, anyone denied asylum or refugee status can apply for “withholding of removal,” limited asylum while contesting Trump’s order.

According to ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project director Omar Jadwat, “Congress very specifically said you can apply for asylum if you arrive in the United States regardless of whether you’re at a port of entry.”

“(A)nyone who reaches the United States” can apply for asylum. It’s the law of the land and international law.

Presidents have no legal authority to flout it, what Trump’s immigration order intends.

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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.

Yemen: A US Orchestrated Living Hell

November 11th, 2018 by Stephen Lendman

Media reports on devastating war in Yemen, including from most alternative sources, fail to explain the conflict was planned and orchestrated in Washington.

It began under Bush/Cheney shortly after US naked aggression was launched in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 – four weeks after the 9/11 state-sponsored mother of all false flags.

Both wars and all others that followed were planned months in advance. US warmaking and enlistment of terrorist groups Washington created and supports, didn’t emerge like Topsy. Strategy and tactics take months of planning in advance.

Afghanistan is America’s longest war in modern times, in its 18th year with no prospect for resolution.

The shocking, largely ignored, reality about Yemen is it’s been ongoing almost as long. The Bush/Cheney regime launched it by drone terror-bombing.

Saudi terror-bombing began, then temporarily stopped, years before full-scale war was launched in March 2015. Resolution is nowhere in sight because the US under Republicans and undemocratic Dems reject peace and stability in all US war theaters.

Saudis and the UAE are US proxies in Yemen. Washington and Britain select targets to strike, including hospitals, schools, residential neighborhoods, mosques, marketplaces, agricultural land, and other civilian sites.

The US provides intelligence, logistics support, and mid-air refueling of Saudi and UAE warplanes.

Practically none of the above hard truths are reported by Western and Israeli media. Make no mistake. The Netanyahu regime is involved in the war – serving US, UK, French, Saudi, UAE and its own interests.

The same agenda is true about Syria, IDF terror-bombing of sites in the country temporarily halted because of Russian supplied sophisticated S-300 air defense systems.

According to the Saker, Syria was supplied with the same ones delivered to Iran and China, not “some antiquated,” less effective version, adding:

“Combined with the EW systems also delivered by Russia, these air defense systems clearly are having an impact on US and Israeli operations…complicat(ing) future attacks.”

Yemen is a different story, Russia involved only in trying to resolve the war diplomatically. It’s an unattainable objective as long as the US wants it continued endlessly.

On November 3, a major Saudi/UAE ground offensive began, trying to capture, control, and cut off remaining humanitarian aid entering Yemen through the port city of Hodeidah – the campaign so far unsuccessful.

On Thursday, spokesman for Yemeni armed forces allied with Houthi fighters General Yahya Sari said the following:

“The offensive operations blocked all the land supply routes, which led to confusion among enemy (Saudi and UAE) forces, and the aggressor warplanes failed to support (their) mercenaries.”

Reportedly, Saudi and UAE forces, along with their proxy fighters, are trapped inside Hodeidah and its surrounding areas after breaking through Houthi defenses on Tuesday.

Fierce fighting continues for the strategically important port city. Houthi fighters controlled it since 2014, a humanitarian aid lifeline for food, medicines and other vital aid able to get into Yemen, far short of what’s desperately needed.

Deplorable Saudi propaganda claims the kingdom “stand(s) with the Yemeni people” – while regime terror-bombing massacres them daily. War and blocked aid risks starvation for millions, young children, the elderly, ill and infirm most vulnerable.

The notion that US aircraft will stop refueling Saudi and UAE warplanes is as hollow as Trump regime war secretary Mattis’ call for ceasefire. US supported aggression in the country escalated after his statement.

In early November, UNICEF called Yemen a “living hell,” especially for its children – severe malnutrition and starvation killing countless tens of thousands, virtually unreported in the West.

UNICEF Middle East/North Africa director Geert Cappelaere said:

“Every 10 minutes, a child is dying from diseases that can be easily prevented” – countless others from war and starvation.

Likely hundreds of thousands of Yemenis perished since March 2015 – not the phony 10,000 figure reported by major media.

Millions of Yemenis may starve to death if war and blockade continue endlessly.

Most Yemenis obtaining food subsist on about 500 calories daily, causing severe malnutrition. It’s a third or more of what’s needed to survive.

Around 80% of Yemenis are food insecure. Save the Children estimates over 50,000 Yemeni children died from starvation and untreated diseases in 2017 alone.

Because of its arid land, Yemen is dependent on food imports. What’s available is too expensive for most Yemenis, the region’s poorest country in normal times, why humanitarian aid is vital. Yet far too little is available.

According to the UN, Yemen faces the “worst famine in the world in 100 years” if war continues.

Famine is already a reality for millions of Yemenis, mass starvation ongoing, largely out of sight and mind, lip service to it alone paid in the US and other Western capitals.

Food and medical treatment deprivation is part of US orchestrated, Saudi/UAE waged war and blockade on the country.

UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen Lise Grande said as many as 13 million civilians may die from starvation if conflict resolution remains unachieved.

There’s no prospect of it ahead because the Trump regime rejects it.

When America goes to war, the human toll is never a consideration.

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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.

Background

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the new US sanctions against Tehran show that Washington has targeted ordinary people.

Rouhani said the US has spared no effort to mount pressure on Iran through what he called wrong sanctions. He noted that Washington, however, failed in its campaign to bring Iranian oil sales to zero as it had to give waivers to Iran’s major customers. He also slammed the US for waging a psychological war against Iran, saying Washington will soon understand that it has taken a wrong path.

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PressTV: What is your take on this?

Peter Koenig: As I said on previous occasions, these and all other US sanctions, interfering in other countries’ sovereign affairs are totally illegal – by any standards of international law.

What is amazing is that this crime – which Washington inflicts with impunity to every nation that refuses to follow its dictate – this crime has grown to become a “normality” – and the rest of the western civilization simply accepts it – well “civilization” – if we can still consider ourselves a “civilization”.

Having said this – these sanctions are actually toothless, they are ineffective, as Iran will keep selling oil and gas to petrol companies and honor their long-term government contracts. Of course, there are countries afraid of being “sanctioned’ by the United States if they continue dealing with Iran. But by and large – they are few and fewer, because even the western world starts seeing that relying on Washington is like committing slow suicide.

Many have decided to go their own way – even the EU talks about it, including creating their own transfer system to avoid going through SWIFT for monetary transfers. SWIFT is the western totally privately-owned transfer system, thanks to which financial sanctions are possible. SWIFT is linked to Wall Street banks – through which all western transfers have to transit.

In the meantime, of course, Iran has been “cut off” SWIFT as mandated by Trump, but that is of little importance, because Iran has linked up – as part of her Economy of Resistance – with the eastern SCO – Shanghai Cooperation Organization – using CIPS – the Chinese International Payment System for international monetary transfers.

Of course, Mr. Trump knows it.

So, his sanctions are not much more than a constantly repeated propaganda stint, trying to impress the world, like “we can put any country to its knees, if we want to” — Sorry, Washington, no longer. These are times of the past – and your dollar hegemony is nearing the end – It’s just a question of time.

PressTV: Do you think considering all the countries that seem to defy US sanctions – has anything changed in recent times?

PK: Absolutely. A lot.

It would have been unthinkable only 5 to 10 years ago that countries like Iran, Venezuela and others trade hydrocarbons, and other goods and commodities, in other currencies than the US dollar. Today it has become a common occurrence. It started some 5 years ago with Russia and China, when they detached themselves from the dollar dictate – opening swap accounts in their respective central banks and started trading in their local currencies, circumventing the SWIFT payment system and the “obligatory” Wall street banks.

This is also reflected in the fact that the US dollar is rapidly losing its status as the world’s reserve currency. When some 20 years back more than 90% of all reserves were held in US dollar denominated securities, today that figure has shrunk to less than 60% – and is going down as we speak. The Chinese yuan is largely replacing the dollar as reserve currency. Some two years ago, the Yuan was admitted by the IMF in the basket of reserve currencies. Since then the yuan has become officially recognized also by the west as a viable reserve money. Many treasurers around the world, who may have been afraid before to divest their dollar reserves into yuans, now dare do so. – This, in the not too distant future may mean the end of the dollar hegemony.

However, coming back to your earlier question related to sanctions and their effectiveness, there is an important “Fifth Column” in Iran, and they will use these sanctions against the Iranian Government, no matter whether these sanctions have any legal standing and impact or not.

They will try to influence the Iranian people to believe that Washington is punishing them because of their government. – And that, in my opinion, is what the Iranian Government has to focus on – the Fifth Column – those infiltrated or local enemies of the state that try to damage Iran from inside.

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

Featured image is from Sprott Money.

This News Is Not Fake. It is just Ordinary Deceit, i.e. a Lie

November 11th, 2018 by Dr. T. P. Wilkinson

Any scanning of the headlines both in standard and critical postings, especially since the 2016 US elections, will suffice. In the interest of brevity, reference is made to almost any pages published concurrent with this remark.

All one of the anonymous speech controllers has to do is introduce some nifty expression and everyone takes it. Inventing such nifty language was once a business known by the sobriquet Madison Avenue. However this ancient weapon of psychological warfare (against the general population) was industrialized, like mass slaughter, during World War I.(1)

Now “Fake”, e.g. “fake news” seems to be the slogan of the year. This is bizarre considering that most if not all so-called “news” is fabricated, i.e. “fake”.That means it does not tell anything except what the controlling editors (and ultimately the owners) want to have said (2). The ostensible event need not even have occurred.

In the echo chambers of the “Left” everyone accuses the Establishment– to which they are the logical complement– of spreading “fake” news. This implies that there is “news” spread which is not fake, i.e. perhaps “true”, a word to be treated with the greatest of caution.

Fowler(3) would certainly have called this “vogue” language. Propaganda (or public relations/ advertising) does not acquire more substance, nor is there more precision in the fashionable term, “fake news”.

Simply sticking to the essence: fake news is just another term, a euphemism,  for “lie” circulated by one or more elements of the mass media. Thus the lie loses the quality of active deceit. Moreover the wide adoption of this vogue language marks any user as someone “up to date”, part of the herd or swarm that reports about the reporting, while propagating the specious claim that journalism is something other than the commercial exploitation of voyeuristic or solipsistic text and image production.(4)

What does “fake” mean? Does the “news” lacks authenticity? Is the underlying event not genuine? Is the source false or fraudulent? Is the dissemination itself fraudulent? Were that the case, then the mere repetition of the “fake” is collaboration in the fraud, witting or unwitting. Is the opposite of “fake” real? And if so what does that mean: A real fabrication as opposed to a fake one? Although I do not have an attribution (but do not claim one), I recall reading somewhere in a discussion of counterfeiting luxury brands that the owners of the “genuine brand” actually benefit from the counterfeiting because it perpetuates the brand mystique and the quest for the real article among all the “fakes”.

Journalistic “truth”, despite all the raving about free press (i.e. free markets) and integrity, is a luxury product, a commodity, like any other. The more “news” sold but denounced as “fake”, the higher the value of the luxury brands whose “truth” need not be questioned. One of the principal qualities of any commodity is its ultimate and infinite substitutability. Maybe the problem is that all “news” is fodder for consumption, an activity by itself very different from thinking.

Notes

1) See George Creel, How We Advertised America  (1920).

2) The newspapers of record in most countries are private property and always have been, the holy New York Times, the blessed Washington Post, the venerable (once Manchester) Guardian, just to name the most notorious. It is a testimony to the superficiality of critical thought in much of what passes for political opposition that there is a presumption of truth applied to commercial product of monopoly media, no matter how often this presumption has been rebutted. People engaged by these corporations are bound by contract to obey their employers, just like in any other employment relationship. Ironically for monopoly commercial media bona fide lies (in compliance with corporate policy) are usually protected by law and academic scholarship. A back page correction is sufficient to indemnify the publisher or the source/ informant for the lie.

3) H. Fowler, Modern English Usage

4) Joseph Pulitzer’s campaign to “professionalize” public information, e.g. with the tax-exempting bequest funding the first journalism schools at the University of Missouri (1908) and Columbia University (1912) and the eponymous prize (1917), was foremost an effort to create a cadre of writers who could be employed interchangeably to generate text product for the great newspaper cartels. It was also intended to marginalise the partisan writer (usually from somewhere Left) and discredit him/ her as biased and unprofessional. In the so-called Progressive Era of US history (late 19th century), licensed professions were created– e.g. physicians and dentists– ostensibly rooted in modern scientific training but more accurately in monopolistic and anti-democratic political and economic practices. So today’s medical profession is essentially the sales/ marketing department of the chemical/ pharmaceutical cartels. Professionalisation can be translated as “profitization”.

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Dr T.P. Wilkinson writes, teaches History and English, directs theatre and coaches cricket between the cradles of Heine and Saramago. He is also the author of Church Clothes, Land, Mission and the End of Apartheid in South Africa. Read other articles by T.P.. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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A $240-billion-a-day market has announced today that it is to switch London for Amsterdam ahead of Brexit.

CME Group Inc. is moving its European market for short-term financing, the largest in the region, out of London because the exchange operator wants to guarantee continental firms can continue to use it if there is a no-deal Brexit, Bloomberg has reported.

The decision is the first example of an entire major financial market leaving the UK.

John Edwards, managing director of BrokerTec Europe, as the business is known, said in an interview:

“All of our euro-denominated bonds and repo will move to Amsterdam.

“We saw no benefit in splitting liquidity pools. Our UK business will not be able to provide services to the European clients.”

Stifel Financial Corp. has also been rumoured to be planning for the worse ahead of Brexit by buying brokerage operations in Germany.

BNP Paribas SA also plans to move between 85 and 90 employees from its global markets unit in London to other European financial centres in case of a hard Brexit.

BrokerTec Europe currently employs as many as 90 people in London. A third of those are front office, with the remainder working in technology or support roles.

About 210 billion euros ($240 billion) per day of European short-term financing instruments were traded on BrokerTec in October. That market will be shifted to CME’s Dutch subsidiary, NEX Amsterdam BV.

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Jack is a business and economics journalist and the founder of The London Economic (TLE). He has contributed articles to The Sunday Telegraph, BBC News and writes for The Big Issue on a weekly basis. Jack read History at the University of Wales, Bangor and has a Masters in Journalism from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Featured image is from The London Economic.

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The JCPOA, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the Iran nuclear deal, is an agreement on the nuclear program of Iran reached in Vienna on 14 July 2015 between Iran, the P5+1, and the European Union.

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  • Date effective: 18 October 2015 (Adoption); 16 January 2016 (Implementation);
  • Signatories: China, France, Germany, European Union, Iran, Russia, United Kingdom, United States (since withdrawn)
  • Purpose:  Nuclear non-proliferation.
  • Created: 14 July 2015

More than half of the international community was involved for more than 20 months in arduous negotiation to formulate the JCPOA Agreement with Iran.   The action of the 45th President of the United States in repudiating that accord which America signed is an act of sabotage against the international community and part of an agenda to gain control of the Middle East and its strategic oil fields.  It is an act of bad faith on behalf of the US superstate and a huge disappointment to both the U.N., the E.U. and those governments affected worldwide.

To the above, one has to add the incredulity of the international community at Trump’s politically and economically ignorant, unilateral rejection of the Paris accord on Climate Change in denial of international scientific opinion.

These actions of political stupidity constitute the greatest danger to world peace, international trade and the global balance of power that have faced the United Nations and its 193 member states, since World War 2.

There is now an urgent combined need for joint action against the foreign policies of the current administration in Washington. One action would be the creation of a new global reserve currency as a valid alternative to the US dollar that is now being used to impose American hegemonic autocracy  upon the world, led by Donald Trump, President and architect of a new world order of Right-wing warmongers.

It should be borne in mind that according to the IMF, America’s GDP of $19 trillion is dwarfed by the global GDP total of $60 trillion (excl the US).  In fact, just three states, China, Japan and Germany have a combined GDP that exceeds that of the United States.

Both Mr Trump and the US dollar need to be confined to where they belong i.e. in the only state in the world where guns (393m) outnumber people (326m) and where every week there is a new mass shooting in a school, a place of worship, a school bus or a bar.

What Europe and the rest of the world needs is a reduction in nuclear and chemical weaponisation, not an increase as favoured by the Trump warmongers.

There must be no war or so-called pre-emptive strike against Iran or any other sovereign state, particularly when there is a nuclear non-proliferation treaty in force.  Furthermore, pressure must be applied to the Israeli government to join with the international community by ratifying not only the nuclear NPT but also to join the OPCW Chemical & Biological Weapons Conventions in line with the rest of the world.  If not, then the Israeli state stands outside the membership of the United Nations as a dissident state.  And that is a distinct danger to us all.

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Hans Stehling (pen name) is a political analyst based in the UK. 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)
PDF Edition:  $6.50 (sent directly to your email account!)

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

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A second round of tests commissioned by the Environmental Working Group found the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer in every sample of popular oat-based cereal and other oat-based food marketed to children. These test results fly in the face of claims by two companies, Quaker and General Mills, which have said there is no reason for concern. This is because, they say, their products meet the legal standards.

Yet almost all of the samples tested by EWG had residues of glyphosate at levels higher than what EWG scientists consider protective of children’s health with an adequate margin of safety. The EWG findings of a chemical identified as probably carcinogenic by the World Health Organization come on the heels of a major study published in JAMA Internal Medicine that found a significant reduction in cancer risk for individuals who ate a lot of organic food.

The tests detected glyphosate in all 28 samples of products made with conventionally grown oats. All but two of the 28 samples had levels of glyphosate above EWG’s health benchmark of 160 parts per billion, or ppb.

Products tested by Anresco Laboratories in San Francisco included 10 samples of different types of General Mills’ Cheerios and 18 samples of different Quaker brand products from PepsiCo, including instant oatmeal, breakfast cereal and snack bars. The highest level of glyphosate found by the lab was 2,837 ppb in Quaker Oatmeal Squares breakfast cereal, nearly 18 times higher than EWG’s children’s health benchmark.

New EWG Tests Find Glyphosate in All Cheerios and Quaker Oats Cereals Sampled

Test information: EWG scientists purchased products in grocery stores in the San Francisco Bay area and Washington, DC, area. Either one or two different samples were purchased for testing, depending on the type of product. Approximately 300 grams of each product were packaged and shipped to Anresco Laboratories, in San Francisco. Glyphosate levels were analyzed by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry method, with the limit of quantification of 10 ppb. Testing methodology is described here. A PDF of the testing results is available here.

Glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the world, is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as “probably carcinogenic” to people. The IARC has steadfastly defended that decision despite ongoing attacks by Monsanto.

In 2017, glyphosate was also listed by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a chemical known to the state to cause cancer.

“How many bowls of cereal and oatmeal have American kids eaten that came with a dose of weed killer? That’s a question only General Mills, PepsiCo and other food companies can answer,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “But if those companies would just switch to oats that aren’t sprayed with glyphosate, parents wouldn’t have to wonder if their kids’ breakfasts contained a chemical linked to cancer. Glyphosate and other cancer-causing chemicals simply don’t belong in children’s food, period.”

Results of the new tests come two months after EWG’s first series of tests found glyphosate in all but two of 45 samples of foods made with conventionally grown oats, and in about one-third of the 16 products made with organic oats. About two-thirds of the samples of conventional foods had levels of glyphosate above EWG’s health benchmark.

Following release of the first batch of tests, General Mills and the Quaker Oats Company went on the defensive, noting that glyphosate levels found were within regulatory limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

But just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s safe. Federal government standards for pesticides in food are often outdated, not based on the best and most current science. The EPA’s standards for pesticides and other chemicals are also heavily influenced by lobbying from industry.

Studies regularly find that the legal limits on contaminants in food, air, drinking water and consumer products fall short of fully protecting public health, particularly for children and other people more sensitive to the effects of toxic chemicals. The EPA’s legal limit for glyphosate on oats, 30 parts per million, was set in 2008, well before the cancer findings of the IARC and California state scientists.

EWG does not believe chemicals linked to cancer belong in children’s food. Our recommended maximum daily intake of glyphosate in food is 0.01 milligrams. For a 60-gram portion of food, this daily intake limit translates to a safety standard of 160 ppb of glyphosate. This health benchmark is based on the risks of lifetime exposure, because small, repeated exposures can add up if someone eats food containing glyphosate every day.

After sitting on data from its own glyphosate tests for more than a year, the Food and Drug Administration finally made the results public last month. The FDA found glyphosate on about two-thirds of corn and soybean samples. But it did not test any oats or wheat, the two main crops on which glyphosate is used as a pre-harvest drying agent.

More than 156,000 people have signed a petition from EWG and Just Label It calling on General Mills, Quaker and Kellogg’s to get glyphosate out of their products. Last month EWG – joined by companies including MegaFood, Ben & Jerry’s, Stonyfield Farm, MOM’s Organic Market, Nature’s Path, One Degree Organic Foods, Happy Family Organics, Patagonia, PCC Community Markets and Amy’s Kitchen – petitioned the EPA to sharply limit glyphosate residues allowed on oats and prohibit its use as a pre-harvest drying agent.

“Once again, our message to General Mills, Quaker and other food companies is that you can take the simple step of telling your oat farmers to stop using glyphosate,” said Cook. “You can hide behind an outdated federal standard, or you can listen to your customers and take responsibility for cleaning up your supply chain. It’s your choice.”

EWG sent letters today to General Mills and PepsiCo asking each company if it had conducted similar analyses for the presence of glyphosate. And, if any tests have been done, we asked if the companies to inform the public when the testing began and what they found.

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This article was first published by Global Research in May 2015

It was the dying cry of Charlton Heston in the creepy 1973 film Soylent Green… and it could resemble our desperate near future.

The ocean is dying, by all accounts – and if so, the food supply along with it. The causes are numerous, and overlapping. And massive numbers of wild animal populations are dying as a result of it.

Natural causes in the environment are partly to blame; so too are the corporations of man; the effects of Fukushima, unleashing untold levels of radiation into the ocean and onto Pacific shores; the cumulative effect of modern chemicals and agricultural waste tainting the water and disrupting reproduction.

A startling new report says in no uncertain terms that the Pacific Ocean off the California coast is turning into a desert. Once full of life, it is now becoming barren, and marine mammals, seabirds and fish are starving as a result. According to Ocean Health:

The waters of the Pacific off the coast of California are a clear, shimmering blue today, so transparent it’s possible to see the sandy bottom below […] clear water is a sign that the ocean is turning into a desert, and the chain reaction that causes that bitter clarity is perhaps most obvious on the beaches of the Golden State, where thousands of emaciated sea lion pups are stranded.

[…]

Over the last three years, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has noticed a growing number of strandings on the beaches of California and up into the Pacific north-west. In 2013, 1,171 sea lions were stranded, and 2,700 have already stranded in 2015 – a sign that something is seriously wrong, as pups don’t normally wind up on their own until later in the spring and early summer.

“[An unusually large number of sea lions stranding in 2013 was a red flag] there was a food availability problem even before the ocean got warm.”Johnson: This has never happened before… It’s incredible. It’s so unusual, and there’s no really good explanation for it. There’s also a good chance that the problem will continue, said a NOAA research scientist in climatology, Nate Mantua.

Experts blame a lack of food due to unusually warm ocean waters. NOAA declared an El Nino, the weather pattern that warms the Pacific, a few weeks ago. The water is three and a half to six degrees warmer than the average, according to Mantua, because of a lack of north wind on the West Coast. Ordinarily, the north wind drives the current, creating upwelling that brings forth the nutrients that feed the sardines, anchovies and other fish that adult sea lions feed on.

Fox News added:

The warm water is likely pushing prime sea lion foods — market squid, sardines and anchovies — further north, forcing the mothers to abandon their pups for up to eight days at a time in search of sustenance.

The pups, scientists believe, are weaning themselves early out of desperation and setting out on their own despite being underweight and ill-prepared to hunt.

[…]

“These animals are coming in really desperate. They’re at the end of life. They’re in a crisis … and not all animals are going to make it,” said Keith A. Matassa, executive director at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, which is currently rehabilitating 115 sea lion pups.

The same is true of seabirds on the Washington State coast:

In the storm debris littering a Washington State shoreline, Bonnie Wood saw something grisly: the mangled bodies of dozens of scraggly young seabirds. Walking half a mile along the beach at Twin Harbors State Park on Wednesday, Wood spotted more than 130 carcasses of juvenile Cassin’s auklets—the blue-footed, palm-size victims of what is becoming one of the largest mass die-offs of seabirds ever recorded. “It was so distressing,” recalled Wood, a volunteer who patrols Pacific Northwest beaches looking for dead or stranded birds. “They were just everywhere. Every ten yards we’d find another ten bodies of these sweet little things.”

“This is just massive, massive, unprecedented,” said Julia Parrish, a University of Washington seabird ecologist who oversees the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST), a program that has tracked West Coast seabird deaths for almost 20 years. “We may be talking about 50,000 to 100,000 deaths. So far.” (source)

100,000 doesn’t necessarily sound large, statistically speaking, but precedent in the history of recorded animal deaths suggests that it is, in fact massive. Even National Geographic is noting that these die off events are “unprecedented.” Warmer water is indicated for much of the starvation faced by many of the dead animals.

Last year, scientists sounded the alarm over the death of millions of star fish, blamed on warmer waters and ‘mystery virus’:

Starfish are dying by the millions up and down the West Coast, leading scientists to warn of the possibility of localized extinction of some species. As the disease spreads, researchers may be zeroing in on a link between warming waters and the rising starfish body count. (source)

[…]

The epidemic, which threatens to reshape the coastal food web and change the makeup of tide pools for years to come, appears to be driven by a previously unidentified virus, a team of more than a dozen researchers from Cornell University, UC Santa Cruz, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and other institutions reported Monday. (source)

Changing temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, driven by the natural cycle of gyres over decades, shifts wildlife populations, decimating the populations of species throughout the food chain, proving how fragile the balance of life in the ocean really is.

Recently, the collapse of the sardine population has created a crisis for fisheries and marine wildlife alike on the West Coast:

Commercial fishing for sardines off of Canada’s West Coast is worth an estimated $32 million – but now they are suddenly gone. Back in October, fisherman reported that they came back empty-handed without a single fish after 12 hours of trolling and some $1000 spent on fuel.

Sandy Mazza, for the Daily Breeze, reported a similar phenomenon in central California: “[T]he fickle sardines have been so abundant for so many years – sometimes holding court as the most plentiful fish in coastal waters – that it was a shock when he couldn’t find one of the shiny silver-blue coastal fish all summer, even though this isn’t the first time they’ve vanished.” [emphasis added]

[…]
“Is it El Nino? Pacific Decadal Oscillation? [La] Nina? Long-term climate change? More marine mammals eating sardines? Did they all go to Mexico or farther offshore? We don’t know. We’re pretty sure the overall population has declined. We manage them pretty conservatively because we don’t want to end up with another Cannery Row so, as the population declines, we curb fishing.” said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) official Kerry Griffin. (source)

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the worst events have wiped out 90% of animal populations, falling short of extinction, but creating a rupture in food chains and ecosystems.

And environmental factors are known to be a factor, with pollution from chemicals dumped by factories clearly tied to at least 20% of the mass die off events of wildlife populations that have been investigated, and many die offs implicated by a number of overlapping factors. TheDaily Mail reported:

Mass die-offs of certain animals has increased in frequency every year for seven decades, according to a new study.

Researchers found that such events, which can kill more than 90 per cent of a population, are increasing among birds, fish and marine invertebrates.

The reasons for the die-offs are diverse, with effects tied to humans such as environmental contamination accounting for about a fifth of them.

Farm runoff from Big Agra introduces high levels of fertilizers and pesticides which createoxygen-starved dead zones which fish and aquatic live is killed off. Also preset in agriculture waste are gender bending chemicals like those found in Atrazine, used in staple crop production, and antibiotics and hormones, used in livestock production, which creates hazardous runoff for fish populations:

Livestock excrete natural hormones – estrogens and testosterones – as well as synthetic ones used to bolster their growth. Depending on concentrations and fish sensitivity, these hormones and hormone mimics might impair wild fish reproduction or skew their sex ratios. (source)

Pharmaceutical contaminants are also to blame for changing the sex of fish and disrupting population numbers, while a study found that the chemicals in Prozac changed the behavior of marine life, and made shrimp many times more likely to “commit suicide” and swim towards the light where they became easy prey.

Fish farms also introduce a large volume of antibiotic and chemical pollution into oceans and waterways:

The close quarters where farmed fish are raised (combined with their unnatural diets) means disease occurs often and can spread quickly. On fish farms, which are basically “CAFOs of the sea,” antibiotics are dispersed into the water, and sometimes injected directly into the fish.

Unfortunately, farmed fish are often raised in pens in the ocean, which means not only that pathogens can spread like wildfire and contaminate any wild fish swimming past – but the antibiotics can also spread to wild fish (via aquaculture and wastewater runoff) – and that’s exactly what recent research revealed. (source)

Mass die offs of fish on the Brazilian coastline have linked to pollution from the dumping of raw sewage and garbage.

In the last few days it was reported that a massive die off of bottlenose dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico was connected by researchers to BP’s Deep Water Horizon oil spill. Evidence was found in a third of the cases of lesions in the adrenal gland, an otherwise rare condition linked with petroleum exposure. More than a fifth of the dolphins also suffered bacterial pneumonia, causing deadly lung infection that is likewise rarely seen in dolphin populations.

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First published on TruePublica and Global Research in July 2018

A recent Guardian article entitled “The inconvenient truth about cancer and mobile phones” stated that “On 28 March this year, the scientific peer review of a landmark United States government study concluded that there is “clear evidence” that radiation from mobile phones causes cancer.”

The article went on to say that

For a quarter of a century now, the industry has been orchestrating a global PR campaign aimed at misleading not only journalists but also consumers and policymakers about the actual science concerning mobile phone radiation. Indeed, big wireless has borrowed the very same strategy and tactics big tobacco and big oil pioneered to deceive the public about the risks of smoking and climate change, respectively. And like their tobacco and oil counterparts, wireless industry CEOs lied to the public even after their own scientists privately warned that their products could be dangerous, especially to children.

The Guardian appears, at least in this article, to be surprised at being misled. Yet, the Guardian’s sister paper, The Observer published an article in 1999 that stated: “Lloyd’s underwriters refuse to insure mobile phone manufacturers against the risk of damage to users’ health.

That article was unequivocally clear. The insurers had: “fears mobile phones will be linked to illnesses such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.” Twenty years ago, the industry already knew their business models were a risk to the general public, especially because insurers were already refusing to cover their biggest liabilities. And as TruePublica reported yesterday in Dieselgate to Phonegate – the news was was very much kept under wraps by the industry.

As for the insurers themselves, they had learned hard lessons before. If you go back to asbestos, it wasn’t a problem either – until it became one. Asbestos claims helped bring the Lloyd’s insurance market to its knees in the early 1990s, where US claims alone accounted for an estimated $250 billion in losses.

“Across the market”

After years of contradictory industry led evidence, in February 2015, Lloyds of London, one of the largest insurers in the world, finally made its position absolutely clear with regards to exposure to non-ionizing radiation. In acknowledgement to clarification, this response was received on Feb. 18 2015, from CFC Underwriting LTD, London, UK agent for Lloyd’s – published in an article by RFSafe.

“‘The Electromagnetic Fields Exclusion (Exclusion 32) is a General Insurance Exclusion and is applied across the market as standard. The purpose of the exclusion is to exclude cover for illnesses caused by continuous long-term non-ionising radiation exposure i.e. through mobile phone usage.

Lloyd’s of London Insurance Won’t Cover Smartphones – WiFi – Smart Meters – Cell Phone Towers By Excluding ALL Wireless Radiation Hazards – source

That commercial insurance renewal policy contained a particular liability exclusion clause about electromagnetic fields as it excludes any compensation for claims for:

“directly or indirectly arising out of, resulting from or contributed to by electromagnetic fields, electro-magnetic radiation, electromagnetism, radio waves or noise.”

The policyholder made an understandable inquiry seeking more clarification about the exclusion language. CFC Underwriting sent the following:

“The Electromagnetic Fields Exclusion (Exclusion 32) is a General Insurance Exclusion and is applied across the market as standard. The purpose of the exclusion is to exclude cover for illnesses caused by continuous long-term non-ionising radiation exposure i.e. through mobile phone usage.”

The all important words used there are just as clear: “applied across the market”. All major insurers had analysed the potential risk and were not prepared to insure the industry from claims arising out of radiation exposure.

The policy document (HERE) states that:

“Exclusions (starting on Page 6):

We will not

a) make any payment on your behalf for any claim, or
b) incur any costs and expenses, or
c) reimburse you for any loss, damage, legal expenses, fees or costs sustained by you, or
d) pay any medical expenses:

32. Electromagnetic fields (General Insurance Exclusions –Page 7 of policy): “directly or indirectly arising out of, resulting from or contributed to by electromagnetic fields, electromagnetic radiation, electromagnetism, radio waves or noise.”

Interestingly, this also includes the use of electromagnetic radiation emitted from Smart Meters (AMR, AMI, PLC), from Home Area Network devices and appliances (including thermostats), from Wi-Fi transmitters, from wireless devices in schools, offices, and homes, and from wireless sensors and wireless-connected fire alarms.

Like Deiselgate

Around the same, in 2015, the Volkswagen emissions scandal began when the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice of violation of the Clean Air Act to Volkswagen Group. The agency had found that Volkswagen had intentionally programmed diesel engines to activate their emissions controls only during laboratory emissions testing, which caused the vehicles’ NOx output to meet US standards during regulatory testing. However, they were emitting up to 40 times more NOx in real-world driving. Volkswagen deployed this programming software in about eleven million cars worldwide in model years 2009 through 2015.

Clear research had already shown that tens of thousands of people a year die early due to the failure of diesel vehicles to meet official limits in real driving conditions.

‘Dieselgate’ has widened out to other manufacturers since and has had many other impacts. Britain’s auto industry, for instance, has been brought to the brink of a real crisis with thousands of manufacturing jobs being axed and dealerships across the country threatened with savage restructuring. The sector is fighting some severe operational fires on several fronts – financial, environmental and regulatory as a result. It goes to show the (illegal) risks corporations are prepared to take with other peoples health and well-being in the pursuit of big bucks.

Warnings and alarm bells

Mobile phone corporations including Blackberry, EE, Nokia and Vodafone have more recently informed investors they could face new forms of legal action from device users if research eventually finds these uninsurable links between their products and health conditions such as cancer. And this is confirmed further with British Telecom, which owns EE, telling its own investors in its 2017 annual report:

We can’t provide absolute assurance that research in the future won’t establish links between radio frequency emissions and health risks.

And just as with the other big corporate health scandals such as tobacco, pharmaceutical, asbestos and Dieselgate –  they continue to fail to clearly warn users of potential risks in their ads and packaging of the harms of using their products.

The alarm bells are ringing for the industry. In May this year, 60-year-old Neil Whitfield is thought to be the first in Britain to sue a mobile phone company for developing a golf ball-sized brain tumour which left him deaf in one ear. Nokia is in the frame.

Last year, Roberto Romeo, an Italian business executive won damages for work-related use of a mobile phone, which caused him to develop a benign brain tumour. A medical expert estimated the damage to Romeo at 23% of his bodily function.

In the United States, 13 ongoing cases allege mobile phone radiation led to brain cancer involving 46 defendants including Motorola, Nokia, AT&T, Bell Atlantic, Cellular One, Cingular Wireless, SBC Communications, Verizon, Vodafone, the Telecommunications Industry Association, the IEEE, ANSI, the CTIA, and the FCC.

In fact, for three decades, dozens of cases have been filed in the US alone related to brain tumours and mobile phones use. In the last ten years, cases have started piling up. Many courts, especially in America have sided with the industry on the basis of a lack of evidence. More recently cases are being won on exactly those grounds.

International agreement

In 2015, over 200 scientists from 41 countries, all specialists in the effects of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) on biological systems, signed an appeal to the UN and the WHO calling for more protective exposure limits and for the public to be advised to reduce its exposure to anthropogenic RFR.

In September 2017 over 180 scientists from 35 countries addressed an appeal to the EU calling for a moratorium on the roll-out of 5G technology until potential hazards for human health and the environment were thoroughly investigated by scientists independent from the mobile industry. They pointed out that 5G “will substantially increase exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) on top of the 2G, 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi, etc. for telecommunications already in place.”

This appeal sits uneasily with the current massive roll-out of gas and electricity smart meters in the UK and the projected deployment of 5G. No-one at the industry level or policymakers in the British government has taken much notice of the ever-increasing warnings. However, it may surprise you to know that since 2005, UK Chief Medical Officers have recommended anyone under 16 should use mobile phones for essential purposes only and keep all calls short. That advice has still not changed.

The first 5G ready smartphones are due to be rolled out later this year irrespective of the known dangers and the general publics mandatory exposure to it.

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Featured image is from the author.

BRICS: A Future in Limbo?

November 11th, 2018 by Peter Koenig

The BRICS are not what they intended to be, never really were.

Today it’s clear that fascist-turned Brazil is out – so we are at RICS. There is not much to argue about. The world’s fifth largest economy, Brazil, has failed and betrayed the concept of the BRICS and the world at large. Whether you consider South Africa as a valid member of the BRICS is also questionable. Much of SA’s social injustice has actually become worse since the end of apartheid. Ending apartheid was a mere political and legal exercise.

Distribution of power and money in SA have not really changed. To the contrary – it worsened. 80% of all land is still in the hands of white farmers. This is what President Cyril Ramaphosa wants to change drastically, by confiscating white farmers’ land without compensation and re-distribute it to black farmers, who have no formation of how to run these farms. This is not only utterly unjust and will create internal conflicts, the last thing SA needs, but it is also very inefficient, as farming and agricultural production will decline most likely drastically and SA, a potential exporter of farm and agricultural goods, will become a net importer, a serious hit on South African’s economy.

The principle of redistributing land to the black African society is a solid one. But not by force and not by confiscation without compensation, nor without an elaborate training program for African farmers – to lead to a peaceful transfer – all of which does takes time and cannot happen over-night. There are too many example of hush-hush land reforms that failed miserably and actually plunged entire society in poverty and famine. Land reforms – YES, but planned and well organized and strategized. Land reforms are long-term propositions. To be successful, they don’t happen over night.

On a recent trip to SA, I spoke to several people, including especially women from townships, i.e. SOWETO, who said they were better off under apartheid.

It is not a scientific statistic, but the fact that some black people dare say that the system that atrociously discriminated, exploited and raped them, was better than today’s non-apartheid system, is significant. It is a sad testimony to a generation of SA’s democracy.

So, now we could say, the BRICS are down to RIC – Russia, India and China.

Does India deserve to belong to a club that has as a goal of equality and solidarity?

The cast system, about which very little is written, is a horrible, horrible mechanism of discrimination. And there are no efforts under way to abolish it. To the contrary. The Indian elite likes it – it provides cheap labor. It’s actually legalized slavehood, totally submissive to the upper class, the higher casts. It’s cultural, they say. Is such injustice excusable under principles of tradition? Hardly. Especially as this “cultural tradition” serves only a small upper class, is devoid of any compassion and has absolutely no ambition to transform itself to an equal and level playing field. That alone is unworthy of the BRICS’ principles.

The other point, which I believe is important in considering India’s “BRICS viability”, is the fact that PM Narendra Modi is like a straw in the wind, constantly wavering between pleasing the US and leaning toward the east, Russia and China. This is certainly not an indication of stability, for a country to become a member in good standing and solidarity with a group of eastern countries, that intend to follow some rather noble human and social justice standards, like Russia and China. But that’s precisely what happened. India has weaseled her way into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

However, on 6 September 2018, The US and India signed a breakthrough security agreement, as reported by the Financial Times. According to the FT, this new compact was “cementing relations between the pair [US and India] and unlocking sales of high-tech American weaponry worth billions of dollars to the world’s top arms importer (meaning India [not considering Saudi Arabia]). Washington sees India as the linchpin of its new Indo-Pacific strategy to counter the rise of China, but has spent months pushing for closer co-operation. It wants Delhi to participate in more joint military exercises, boost its role in regional maritime security and increase arms purchases.”

“We fully support India’s rise,” said Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, during a visit to New Delhi. The FT continues, “later on Thursday the two countries signed Comcasa, a security agreement tailored to India that Jim Mattis, US Defense Secretary, said meant the pair could now share “sensitive technology”. All of this does not bode well for the BRICS, nor for the SCO, of which India has recently become a member.

The BRICS also have a so-called development bank, the “New Development Bank” (NDB) which so far has been and remains largely non-functional, mostly because of internal conflicts.

Then, there is the Crime of the Century committed by Indian PM Norendra Modi, who on 8 November 2016 decided to follow USAID’s advice and demonetize India’s mostly rural society – a society of almost sixty percent without access to banks, thereby committing “Financial Genocide”, in the name of Washington. Modi brutally declared all 500 (US$ 7) and 1,000 rupee-notes – about 85% of all money in circulation – invalid, unless exchanged or deposited in a bank or post office account until 31 December 2016. After this date, all unexchanged ‘old’ money is invalid. More than 98% of all monetary transactions in India take place in cash.

Thousands of Indians, mostly in rural areas, died of famine or suicide. Nobody knows the exact figures. Many rural Indians could not bear the moral burden of being unable to sustain their families, not having access to a bank and to exchange their old money for new money. This is a US-driven effort towards global demonetization. India – with 1.3 billion people – is a test case for poor countries, while demonetization, or rather digitization of money in rich western countries is already moving ahead in giant steps, i.e. in Scandinavian countries and Switzerland. See this. Modi clearly betrayed his people, following orders of the US, transmitted through the infamous USAID.

Under close scrutiny, the BRICS don’t stand the test they subscribed to in their first summit in 2009, in Yekaterinburg, Russia on June 16, 2009, and under which they were legalized and officiated in December 2010, when South Africa joined the club of four, to make it the BRICS.

At this point we are down to Russia and China – R and C are left as viable partners of the BRICS. They are also the founders of the SCO.

Washington was once again successful in dividing – according to the historic, age-old axiom, ‘divide and conquer’. The concept of the BRICS was a real threat to the western Anglo-Saxon led world order.  No more. If anything, the concept and structure of the BRICS has to be rethought, re-invented and re-drafted. Will it happen?

How much longer and how many more times the BRICS can meet in lush summits and publicly declare their solid alliance as a new horizon against western world hegemony, when in reality, they are utterly divided and full of internal ideological strife – adhering to none of the noble goals of solidarity they once committed to?

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This article was originally published on New Eastern Outlook.

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

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Faced with the relentless U.S. economic war, Iran needs a to address the broader issue of its national economy

To say that the brutal economic sanctions on Iran, which are effectively tantamount to an economic war, require a “war economy” on the part of Iran is not to suggest that Iran should respond militarily—not at all. It is rather to suggest that, to minimize or mitigate the destructive effects of economic sanctions, Iran needs a state-guided macroeconomic plan that could guide, control, manage, or monitor its vital economic sectors and industries such as international trade, money and banking, natural resources, infrastructural industries, and the like.

In this sense, the plan of a “war economy” should not, indeed, be very difficult for Iran to implement since it has a relatively successful experience of carrying out such an economic strategy: during the 8-year war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, Iran embarked on an extensive state-guided economic management that effectively provided for both its military and civilian needs. Because of the  atmosphere of the time, and because of the corresponding spirit of generosity, selflessness, social cohesion, and national unity the country was able to effectively withstand both the military and economic wars launched against its territory and its people. 

Despite the extremely costly war, both in terms of blood and treasure, and despite the fact that Iran’s total output, or national income, at the time was only a fraction of what it is today, its people did not experience nearly as much economic hardship as they do today. Why? Mainly because its national resources were at the time distributed relatively equitably—unlike today where those resources are monopolized and plundered by a clique of financial oligarchs and economic mafias. 

To embark on a “war-economy route”, Iran needs, first and foremost, to revive the real (value-producing) sector of its economy, that is, manufacturing and agricultural activities. These real-value and employment generating activities, which are the physical or material sources of the wealth of a nation, as the classical economist Adam Smith put it, have become dormant under President Rouhani—largely by a persistent and out-of-control barrage of imports, both legal and illegal. 

To begin with, the government must embark on a large scale and affordable construction of housing facilities. In addition to reducing the cost of housing for low-income citizens, this would also revive many industries that tend to feed as well as feed-off this industry. It is estimated that there are nearly 200 industries that could be revived from an effective revival of the housing industry. Indeed, despite the largely unfair criticism by the Rouhani administration, the government-sponsored housing project that was carried out by the previous (Ahmadinejad) administration not only succeeded in keeping the cost of housing under control and, thereby, allowing 4.4 million low-income families to become homeowners, it also significantly contributed to economic growth and high employment rates of the time. 

To revive its semi-paralyzed economy, Iran must also embark on a policy of import-substitution, combined with a policy of export-promotion. Import-substitution simply means curtailing imports that can be substituted by domestic products. Only those products that are essential for basic consumer and manufacturing needs (but cannot be produced domestically) should be imported. Such critically-needed foreign products must be imported directly by the government and distributed through the chain networks of consumer cooperatives or municipal retail stores at subsidized, affordable prices. Due to utter paralysis of market mechanism in Iran, the government must simultaneously contain the skyrocketing inflation by administrative means, that is, by strict laws against hoarding, price gouging, and speculative transactions. To make the administrative price control effective, the government must also restore the coupon system of pricing and distribution it used during Iran-Iraq war. 

An export promotion policy means supporting exporters of domestic products, promoting their products abroad, standardizing and improving the quality of such products, thereby broadening their sales markets beyond national borders. In this connection, two important policy issues should be kept in mind. First, only those products that are above and beyond domestic consumer and manufacturing needs should be exported. Second, the export earnings of foreign exchange must be returned to the national reserves of foreign currencies. 

Liberal-Neoliberal proponents of free trade would sneer at these proposals as schemes of a planned or command economy. These proponents forget or ignore the fact that proposals of these sort are no more than development strategies of a guided capitalist economy; that almost all the presently advanced capitalist economies, including the U.K. and the U.S., resorted to such protectionist strategies in the early stages of their economic development; and that even today the core capitalist country of the world, the United States, is protecting its non-competitive industries such as steel, aluminum, automobiles, and sugar against imports from China, Europe, Canada, South Korea, and Japan. It is altogether ironic that while the most advanced capitalist country in the world is resorting to protectionism and the erection of tariff walls to support its non-competitive industries, President Rouhani and his economic advisors are singing the song of free trade. These misguided Iranian champions of free trade tend to be more catholic than the pope! 

Crucial to a successful implementation of a “war economy” is control of the country’s money and banking system, that is, of the financial sector. A radically-different management of the nation’s money and banking requires that the parasitic formation and growth of the shadow banks (or moasesat-e eatebari in Farsi), which are essentially based on Ponzi or Pyramid schemes, be terminated. It further requires that the commercial banks be prohibited by law from engaging in non-bank, speculative activities. This is, indeed, what the United States did in response to the Great Depression of the 1929-1933. That depression was blamed largely on commercial banks’ parasitic investment and speculative loan pushing, which created an unviable stock market bubble that eventually collapsed on October 29, 1929. To prevent the recurrence of such a destructive act of the banking system, the U.S. Congress instituted the landmark Glass-Steagall Act that prohibited commercial banks from engaging in non-bank activities, or speculative investments. Specifically, it prohibited them from participating in the investment banking business. 

More importantly, the power of money creation and, therefore, control of money supply must be taken away from commercial banks and delegated exclusively to the publicly-owned Central Bank of Iran (CBI). Following the Anglo-Saxon model of fractional reserve banking, the power of money creation in Iran rests not so much with the government, or Central Bank, as it does with commercial banks. When commercial banks make loans or extend credit to their clients, in effect, they create money, which is called debt money, or credit money, or bank money, as opposed to sovereign or real money created by the government. Although in essence bank money is not real money, in practice it functions just as real money. 

In theory, the ability of the banking system to create credit or debt-money is determined or limited by (a) the amount of savings or deposits they receive from households and businesses, and (b) the central bank regulation of these deposits—a regulatory mechanism which is called fractional reserve banking. In practice, however, the ability of the banking system to create credit, or bank money, is not much constrained by the amount of deposits they receive or by central bank regulation of money supply. 

The ability of the commercial banking system to create money explains why the all-important power of controlling or manipulating money supply, of financing and, therefore, of influencing national economies in most capitalist countries has increasingly come to rest with commercial banks—often mediated by central banks and treasury departments that are frequently headed by the proxies of the financial oligarchy. 

What has made the ability of the commercial banking system to create money—of course, debt or credit money—especially more dangerous in recent years is that, as the financial sector has systematically freed itself from traditional rules and regulations, most of the debt money they create is increasingly geared towards speculation, not production. This explains the exponential growth of parasitic finance in most capitalist countries. Parasitic growth of the financial sector in Iran represents an extreme case of this ominous development—a developments that has made the country’s economic landscape akin to a nationwide casino (for more information on this point please see here). 

It follows that an effective cleansing of Iran’s economy of the poisonous effects of parasitic finance requires (a) ending the commercial banks’ ability to engage in speculative or non-banking activities, and (b) ending their ability to create money. Aside from the destabilizing and destructive economic effects, private banks’ ability to create money is also problematic on legal and/or constitutional grounds. As a critically important economic decision or policy of any nation, money creation is logically a sovereign prerogative, that is, a national right; it belongs to the public, not private, domain. The right of creating money ought to exclusively be granted to the publicly-owned central bank as the monetary authority of the state. This would replace sovereign money system for the currently corrupt bank- or debt-money system based on fractional reserve banking. 

In brief, Iran needs a government that could guide, manage, monitor or control its international trade, its banking and financial markets, its foreign exchange market, its money supply, and its natural endowments, or gifts from nature, such as forests, water resource, oil, natural gas and other underground resource. It also needs to put a leash on the corrupt privatization of national resources and industries—a fraudulent practice that is used as a pretext for the looting of public domain properties, or national wealth. It further needs to embark on a state-guided extensive development or industrialization plan, along with a relatively generous social safety net program that would reduce inequality and economic hardship for the overwhelming majority of its people. 

The funding sources of such an ambitious developmental and social safety-net projects are readily available—provided that there is political will and managerial ability. One such a source of financing could be provided by a reallocation of a larger portion of the oil revenue to such projects. Since becoming president, Mr. Rouhani has reduced the share of the reconstruction and development budget of the total national budget from over 20 percent to less than 10 percent. By the same token he has drastically increased the share of the largely ceremonial and wasteful current expenditures. A re-allocation, or re-setting, of these two categories of the national budget to pre-Rouhani days could free a significant amount of funding for social and developmental expenditures. 

A second, and more important, source of financing could come from government funding through the publicly-owned Central Bank of Iran (CBI). Instead of borrowing from abroad or from domestic private banks at interest, CBI could print money (as needed) and directly spend it into the economy through social and developmental projects without going into debt and paying interest. Champions of neoclassical-neoliberal school of economic thought would scream at this suggestion, which is called deficit spending for productive investment, that it would be inflationary. But it does not have to be so. Whether it would be inflationary or not depends on the management of the funds thus created. If they are used for productive investment, they could lead to a rise of production, employment, economic development and social progress—not inflation. Indeed, all the core capitalist countries of the world, especially Germany, rebuilt their devastated economies by the Great Depression and World War II largely by virtue of deficit financing. 

Strategies of a “resistance” or war economy along the lines suggested here are rather well-known both in theory and practice. As noted earlier, most of the advanced capitalist countries of today successfully utilized such protectionist strategies of industrialization in the early stages of their development. They switched from policies of economic protection and strategic trade to policies of free trade only after they became internationally competitive under protectionist strategies of trade and development. Also as noted earlier, Iran too resorted to similar strategies of economic protection and resistance during the 8-year war with Iraq, which enabled it to successfully provide for both its civilian and military needs. Even today Ayatollah Khamenei and a number of economists such as Ebrahim Razaghi, Ahmad Tavakoli and their co-thinkers have been calling for the implementation of a protectionist developmental strategy, which they call “resistance” economics. 

The main economic problem facing Iran today is, therefore, not a lack of theoretical knowledge or practical experience; it is rather an absence of political will and managerial ability of implementing such a strategy that is crippling Iran’s economy. As I have shown in a number of previous essays (please see here, here and here), President Rouhani and his economic advisors are too deeply wedded and/or committed to the doctrine of liberal-neoliberal economics to carry out a war or resistance economic policy. Implementation of such a policy, which is essential to the revival of Iran’s paralyzed economy, requires a different administration: an inward-looking administration that would rely on domestic resources, talents and capabilities; not an outward-looking administration that pins its hopes for economic development on Western capital, expertise and markets. Obviously, this implies the need for an altogether new, revolutionary government. 

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Ismael Hossein-zadeh is Professor Emeritus of Economics (Drake University). He is the author of Beyond Mainstream Explanations of the Financial Crisis (Routledge 2014), The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism (Palgrave–Macmillan 2007), and the Soviet Non-capitalist Development: The Case of Nasser’s Egypt (Praeger Publishers 1989). He is also a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion.

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BRICS and the Future of Multilateralism

November 11th, 2018 by Beenish Sultan

Ms. Beenish Sultan, a Ph.D. student at Pakistan’s National Defence University, conducted the following interview with Andrew Korybko as part of her research on the topic of BRICS and the post-Cold War order:

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Andrew Korybko: What in your opinion is the future of ‘multilateralism’ and the rise of major powers like China and Russia against the US?

Beenish Sultan: I think that we’ll see complicated and sometimes ever-changing multilateral partnerships forming in the future that are more functionally effective than the big “talking clubs” of BRICS, the G20, and other groups. What I mean is that tangible goals like defeating terrorism, bringing peace to a war-torn country, or using national currencies in trade are a lot easier to pursue than ambitious but vague ones of defeating the US, for example. Larger platforms will continue to be important in gathering like-minded states and setting broad objectives, but it’ll really come down to so-called “working groups” within these organizations to actually get something done.

Great Powers like China, Russia, and Pakistan will take the lead in actually achieving results, whereas smaller- and medium-sized states such as Nepal and Uzbekistan, for example, will generally just tag along and bandwagon. That said, it would be a mistake to overlook the strategic importance that some of these smaller- and medium-sized states could play in certain contexts, since they might be the key to making or breaking a multilateral “working group”, meaning that the most diplomatically adroit of them could “balance” between the US and its rivals to their supreme benefit. This could, however, also be exploited by America for divide-and-rule purposes.

AK: Can BRICS as an organization be the champion of multilateralism in the post-Cold War order?

BN: Personally, I’m not too optimistic about BRICS and I look at it as being more of a “talking club” than anything significant. It’s encouraging that the five countries meet every year and issue high-sounding statements about expanding their cooperation and other vague things, and it certainly makes for popular photo-ops that play enormously well to their domestic audiences, but BRICS hasn’t really accomplished anything of note. Granted, there is a currency reserve system in place and a development bank, but these still leave a lot to be desired and aren’t the driving engines behind the emerging Multipolar World Order that are needed to take multilateralism (in this instance, in the financial sense) to the next level.

A lot of BRICS’ failings have to do with the group pretty much being a collection of three bilateral relationships between Russia-China, Russia-India, and India-China, with South Africa and Brazil apparently tacked on for symbolism’s sake to say that the organization has a presence in each continent of the “Global South”. Those two aforementioned non-Eurasian members, however, barely contribute to BRICS and are treated more as objects than subjects, though that’s understandable given the power and economic asymmetries between them and the three others. On top of that, China wants to use BRICS as a platform for spreading the Belt & Road Initiative through the BRICS+ concept, while India is opposed to this and could obstruct it.

AK: What is the future of international organizations in the post-Cold War world order, particularly when it comes to BRI?

BS: International organizations and institutions will remain important in the future, especially because of BRI, but that paradigm-changing global vision will seek to establish alternative ones that can eventually replace their Western counterparts. These newer ones will prospectively be Chinese-centric, though not necessarily Chinese-controlled (even if there might be a grey line between the two). The transition from Western-/US-controlled international bodies to Chinese-centric/-controlled ones will present the opportunity for third-party entities to sprout up and “balance” between the two, but this won’t be a 21st-century revival of the Non-Aligned Movement. Instead, there might not even be a formal umbrella organizing its members, nor any official acknowledgement from any likeminded countries that this movement even exists, since it could just take place somewhat spontaneously on a case-by-case basis when it comes to “working groups” and might not be preplanned or even capable of being organized.

This development could be a double-edged sword for the US and China because each could attempt to instrumentalize this trend to undermine the international bodies that the other controls. The resultant competition could take both kinetic and non-kinetic forms. The first-mentioned will most likely be relied upon by the US in carrying out Color Revolutions, Hybrid Wars, and coups against targeted states, while the latter would probably be utilized more by China in seeking to court other countries’ “deep states” (permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies) by giving their members’ affiliated companies preferential (and ultimately very profitable) trading arrangements within BRI that are much more sustainable than the suitcases full of cash that America is known for. This will further reinforce the notion that international organizations are objects of the New Cold War between the US and China instead of independent subjects in their own right.

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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.

“When I was there, even the protestors we talked to on the ground… they just want to be filmed by the international press so then they can show it (to) the international media to create an international scandal. So they’re quite aware of what the strategy is and they’ve been at it for some time.” – Mike Prysner, from this week’s interview.

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While the Trump Administration is mobilizing U.S, troops to greet the arrival to the U.S. border of 7000 Central American migrants, Colombia takes in over 4000 Venezuelan migrants daily as a result of the economic crisis plaguing the country.

The economic noose has been tightening around the population of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela over the last year. The economic sanctions directed at the Maduro government have taken their toll contributing to the plight of ordinary Venezuelans.

Those sanctions were triggered in September 2017, following a call by the Association formed between Canada and the United States to “take economic measures against Venezuela and persons responsible for the current situation in Venezuela.” [1]

The Canadian and American governments cite what they considered to be anti-democratic behaviour, including the use of a National Constituent Assembly (NCA) to subvert the will of the democratically elected National Assembly. These and other countries around the globe rejected an NCA electoral process which was boycotted by the (anti-Maduro) opposition, and that they determined to be “fraught with gerrymandering and allegations of vote rigging.”[2]

Efforts to challenge these government narratives have been frustrated. National broadcasts in Canada and the U.S. have been ratcheting up the perception of President Maduro and his ‘dictatorial’ ways as a contributor to the human rights situation now plaguing the Venezuelan citizenry. Most recently, solidarity activists in Canada have been lamenting their failure, as of this date, to bring a Venezuelan Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carlos Ron Martinez, to Canada. The claim has been made, though not yet verified, that Ottawa is deliberately blocking the Minister’s passage to Canada.

On this week’s Global Research News Hour radio program, we make an effort to counter the conventional talking points about Venezuela, and get more detail on some of the efforts to change the Canadian government’s stance.

American-based Telesur journalist Mike Prysner has done exhaustive reporting from Venezuela throughout the National Constituency election process and witnessed much of the opposition protests directed against Maduro in the last year. He brings us his perspective in our first half hour.

In the second half hour, Toronto based organizer Barry Weisleder joins us to share his thoughts about the Trudeau government’s hostility toward the Bolivarian Republic and some of the challenges, including the above mentioned setback, faced by Canadian solidarity activists.

Finally, we hear part of a speech given to a Winnipeg audience (via skype) by Venezuelan Deputy Minister Carlos Ron Martinez about the situation in Venezuela, and how they are coping.

Los Angeles based Mike Prysner is an Iraq War veteran turned anti-war activist. He has co-produced the Empire Files with noted journalist Abby Martin. He also produces the Eyes Left podcast.

Barry Weisleder is a retired teacher and union organizer and the federal secretary of Socialist action.

Carlos Ron Martinez is the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs for North America. He had previously served in Washington D.C. as the Chief of Venezuelan business affairs in the United States. Plans to host talks by the Minister in several Canadian cities were derailed following indefinite delays in securing a visitor’s visa.

Global Research News Hour Episode 236

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The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at globalresearch.ca . Excerpts of the show have begun airing on Rabble Radio and appear as podcasts at rabble.ca.

The Global Research News Hour now airs Fridays at 6pm PST, 8pm CST and 9pm EST on Alternative Current Radio (alternativecurrentradio.com)

Community Radio Stations carrying the Global Research News Hour:

CHLY 101.7fm in Nanaimo, B.C – Thursdays at 1pm PT

Boston College Radio WZBC 90.3FM NEWTONS  during the Truth and Justice Radio Programming slot -Sundays at 7am ET.

Port Perry Radio in Port Perry, Ontario –1  Thursdays at 1pm ET

Burnaby Radio Station CJSF out of Simon Fraser University. 90.1FM to most of Greater Vancouver, from Langley to Point Grey and from the North Shore to the US Border.

It is also available on 93.9 FM cable in the communities of SFU, Burnaby, New Westminister, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey and Delta, in British Columbia, Canada. – Tune in  at its new time – Wednesdays at 4pm PT.

Radio station CFUV 101.9FM based at the University of Victoria airs the Global Research News Hour every Sunday from 7 to 8am PT.

CORTES COMMUNITY RADIO CKTZ  89.5 out of Manson’s Landing, B.C airs the show Tuesday mornings at 10am Pacific time.

Cowichan Valley Community Radio CICV 98.7 FM serving the Cowichan Lake area of Vancouver Island, BC airs the program Thursdays at 6am pacific time.

Campus and community radio CFMH 107.3fm in  Saint John, N.B. airs the Global Research News Hour Fridays at 10am.

Caper Radio CJBU 107.3FM in Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia airs the Global Research News Hour starting Wednesday Morning from 8:00 to 9:00am. Find more details at www.caperradio.ca

RIOT RADIO, the visual radio station based out of Durham College in Oshawa, Ontario has begun airing the Global Research News Hour on an occasional basis. Tune in at dcstudentsinc.ca/services/riot-radio/

Radio Fanshawe: Fanshawe’s 106.9 The X (CIXX-FM) out of London, Ontario airs the Global Research News Hour Sundays at 6am with an encore at 4pm.

Los Angeles, California based Thepowerofvoices.com airs the Global Research News Hour every Monday from 6-7pm Pacific time. 

Notes:

  1. http://www.international.gc.ca/world-monde/international_relations-relations_internationales/sanctions/venezuela.aspx?lang=eng
  2. ibid

 

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O juiz federal Sergio Moro disse nesta terça-feira (6) que atuará no comando do Ministério da Justiça e Segurança Pública, a partir de 2019, utilizando o modelo da Operação Lava Jato para combater o crime organizado.

“A ideia é replicar no ministério as forças-tarefas adotadas na Operação Lava Jato”, disse o juiz em Curitiba, na primeira entrevista coletiva concedida desde 2014, quando assumiu operação.

Questionado sobre como atuará no assassinato longe de ser elucidado – e devidamente punido – da ex-vereadora Marielle Franco e de seu motorista, Anderson Gomes em março deste ano, o novo ministro alegou nao ignorar “o problema”, demonstrando grau de indignação sem lugar a duvidas bastante abaixo, neste crime hediondo, em relação aos outros casos, longe de hediondos, que destacaram midiaticamente o novo pop star dos tribunais de primeira instancia nacionais.

“Não desconheço o problema que envolve o assassinato da ex-vereadora Marielle Franco e do senhor Anderson Gomes”.

Com toda a certeza bastante “confortante”, “encorajadora” sobretudo aos familiares de ambos os assassinados, a “posição” do juizeco em questão, não?!

Para concluir genialmente: “Eu acho [grifo nosso] que é um crime que tem que ser solucionado”. Eureca! Ele “acha” que o crime de uma militante de esquerda, mulher, negra e pobre, deve ser solucionado. Bravo, Moro! O Verde-Amarelo vive, de verdade, novos tempos!

“By the way”, pupilo de Tio Sam que aparece em cabos secretos liberados por WikiLeaks rebolando freneticamente diante dos “lords” do bem-dizer de Washington, a ver se ficou claro: Vossa Alteza pretende utilizar no referido Ministério a “indústria das delações” da Lava Jato que, periciada na Espanha no segundo semestre do ano passado (devidamente abafada pela canalhada da grande midia de imbecilização em massa), veio a detectar “panela” de advogados no comércio indiscriminado de testemunhas?

Alias, seu Ministério podera muito bem, movido pela euforia social e midiatica anticorrupção, dedicar-se a investigar tal “indústria” com base na “panela”, que tal?

E o modelo seguira tambem a linha de relacao promiscua com a imprensa, “que comprava tudo” da Operação Lava Jato segundo palavras de vossa ex-assessora de imprensa, Christiane Machiavelli?

“As facilidades fizeram com que a imprensa ‘comprasse’ a Lava Jato quase que imediatamente. Denúncias do Ministério Público eram publicadas em reportagens quase na íntegra, assim como os inquéritos da PF e as decisões de Moro.

“Foram poucos os jornalistas que se valeram daquele mundaréu de elementos para fazer o papel que cabe à imprensa: o de usar os dados para construir investigações mais aprofundadas.”

Disse Christiane em recente entrevista ao sitio The Intercept, sobre a operacao desmoralizada em todo o mundo, duramente criticada pelos mais renomados juristas internacionais pela seletividade descarada, incriminando sem provas da maneira mais visivelmente tendenciosa.
Mais um belo cardapio, acima, para a sociedade e os meios de comunicacao extravasarem toda a sua raiva contra a corrupção. Que tal?

Tudo, uma grande farsa! “Não penso, não existo, apenas assisto – Rede Globo e Record do Bispo”, dizem-nos, pelo menos, 57 milhões de ignorantes, mentalidades pautadas por meios que elas mesmas alegam lavar cerebros. E dizia o filosofo: o pior cego, é o que não quer ver.

Edu Montesanti

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[Fall 1918, after the failure of the German final offensive:] The majority of the German soldiers on the western front realized that the war was lost, they wanted to get it over and done with, and go home. And they did not hide their contempt for the political and military leaders who had unleashed the conflict and thus caused so much misery. They were not willing to lose their lives for a lost cause.

The German army began to disintegrate, discipline broke down, and the number of desertions and mass surrenders skyrocketed. Some German historians have described this situation as a Kampfstreik, an undeclared “military strike” or “refusal to fight,” a “refusal to carry on with the war.”

Canadian troops arriving in Mons, November 11, 1918 (painting by Inglis Sheldon-Williams, “The Return to Mons”, Canadian War Museum Ottawa CWM 19710261-0813, c/o Wikimedia Commons)

Between mid-July 1918 and the armistice of November 11 of that year, 340,000 Germans surrendered or ran over to the enemy. In September 1918, a Tommy witnessed how German POWs laughed and applauded each time a new contingent of prisoners was brought in. Even elite soldiers capitulated in large numbers. Of the German losses at that time, prisoners represented an unprecedented 70 per cent. The German soldiers now used all kinds of tricks to avoid going to the front, a practice that became known as Drückebergerei, “shirking.” Many men who were transferred from Eastern Europe to the western front crossed into the neutral Netherlands in order to be able to await there the end of the war as internees. No less than 750,000 German soldiers allegedly deserted at that time; and just about as many were simply reported as “absent” from their unit. The number of deserters hanging around in the capital, Berlin, was estimated by the police to be in the tens of thousands.

The epidemic of desertions, mass surrenders, and shirking mushroomed during August and September 1918, so much so that this state of affairs has been described as an “undeclared military strike.” And that is certainly how the “front swine” [German soldiers] themselves saw things. The soldiers who were leaving the front often insulted men that were marching in the opposite direction, calling them “strike breakers” and Kriegsverlängerer, “war prolongers”! The influence of the Russian Revolution in all this became obvious when, in October, the sailors stationed in the port of Kiel mutinied. They refused to obey orders — especially an absurd order for the fleet to undertake a suicidal sortie against the Royal Navy — and set up councils of soldiers and workers; in other words, Russian-style soviets. Similar councils soon emerged all over Germany.

Under these circumstances, it amounted to a miracle that the Germans managed to put up an ordered and relatively effective resistance when their enemies launched a final offensive toward the end of the summer and in the fall of 1918. They had to withdraw, and did so, but slowly and in good order. Until the bitter end, the Great War thus remained the murderous enterprise it had been from the start. During the last five weeks of the war, half a million men were still killed or wounded. Even the very last day saw heavy casualties being inflicted on both sides. Some soldiers “fell” only minutes before the armistice went into effect on November 11 at 11 a.m. On November 10, British and Canadian troops arrived on the outskirts of the Belgian town of Mons, where in August 1914 the British forces had first faced the Germans in a battle. Late at night, a message reached the local commanders. In Rethondes, a hamlet in a forest near Compiègne, where General Foch, supremo of the allied armies, had installed his headquarters, an agreement had been reached with German emissaries to lay down the arms later that same day, namely at 11 a.m. The British poet May Wedderburn Cannan has saluted this long-awaited announcement in a poem entitled “The Armistice”:

The news came through over the telephone: All the terms had been signed: the war was won And all the fighting and the agony, And all the labour of the years were done.

At Mons, however, the fighting and agony were not done yet. The men could have enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and waited until 11 before sauntering into the town. However, the Canadian commander, General Arthur Currie, gave the order to take Mons early in the morning, knowing very well that the Germans would resist and that blood would flow. “It was a proud thing,” he was to explain later, “that we were able to finish the war there where we began it, and that we, the young [Canadian] whelps of the old [British] lion, were able to take the ground lost in 1914.” But his subordinates saw things quite differently. Two Canadian historians describe their reaction:

[They] openly questioned the need to advance any further . . . None of [them] wanted any part of the Mons show. They were all grumbling to beat hell. They knew the war was coming to an end and there was going to be an armistice. ‘What the hell do we have to go any further for?’ they grumbled . . . At the end of the day the men were furious about the losses.”

These losses included George Ellison and George Price, respectively the last Tommy and the last Canadian to “fall” in the Great War; they were killed within minutes before the arms were laid down. They rest in the British-German war cemetery of Saint-Symphorien, a few kilometres outside of Mons, together with John Parr, the very first British soldier to lose his life in the Great War. Hundreds of other British, Germans, and Canadians perished in and around Mons in the early stages and in that war’s final minutes. However, the very last soldier to be killed in the Great War was an American of German origin, named Henry Gunther; he fell in the village of Chaumont-devant-Damvillers, situated to the north of Verdun, just one minute before the end.

 

 

Exhausted soldiers after a battle in World War I

(photo from the Imperial War Museums)

On the last day of the Great War, November 11, 1918, all armies combined suffered 10,944 casualties on the western front, including 2,738 men killed. This was approximately twice the daily average of killed and wounded during 1914–1918. (It was also about 10 per cent more than the total casualties on D-Day, the first day of the landings in Normandy in June 1944.)

This bloodshed could have been avoided if the French and allied commander-in-chief, Marshal Foch, had not refused to accept the German negotiators’ request to declare a ceasefire as soon as the capitulation was signed in the night, rather than to wait until 11 a.m. In Mons, the disgruntled Canadian soldiers “were exhausted and just wanted a good meal, a hot shower, and a comfortable bed. They were glad the war was over, but for many it was not a cause for celebration because of the many friends they had lost . . .” There were no celebrations other than “some jumping around and things like that,” a soldier reported; and it did not help that the commanders ordered a general inspection, causing the men to have to “stand out six hours in the cold rain.”

With respect to the final minutes of the Great War, a quaint anecdote deserves to be mentioned, even though it may be apocryphal. Shortly before 11 a.m., somewhere on the western front, a German started to fire his machine gun furiously. At precisely 11 he stopped, stood up, took off his helmet, took a bow, and walked quietly to the rear.

Distinguished historian Dr. Jacques Pauwels is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)


To order Dr. Jacques Pauwels book entitled the Great Class War, 1914-1918, click front cover of book

Historian Jacques Pauwels applies a critical, revisionist lens to the First World War, offering readers a fresh interpretation that challenges mainstream thinking. As Pauwels sees it, war offered benefits to everyone, across class and national borders.

For European statesmen, a large-scale war could give their countries new colonial territories, important to growing capitalist economies. For the wealthy and ruling classes, war served as an antidote to social revolution, encouraging workers to exchange socialism’s focus on international solidarity for nationalism’s intense militarism. And for the working classes themselves, war provided an outlet for years of systemic militarization — quite simply, they were hardwired to pick up arms, and to do so eagerly.

To Pauwels, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in June 1914 — traditionally upheld by historians as the spark that lit the powder keg — was not a sufficient cause for war but rather a pretext seized upon by European powers to unleash the kind of war they had desired. But what Europe’s elite did not expect or predict was some of the war’s outcomes: social revolution and Communist Party rule in Russia, plus a wave of political and social democratic reforms in Western Europe that would have far-reaching consequences.

Reflecting his broad research in the voluminous recent literature about the First World War by historians in the leading countries involved in the conflict, Jacques Pauwels has produced an account that challenges readers to rethink their understanding of this key event of twentieth century world history.

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Sad to say, the US has taught us various things about abusing detainees in Abu Ghraib and beyond. We learned another sorry lesson in Ian Cobain and Clara Usiskin’s expose (November 6, 2018) in which they filled in some important details to the biggest torture story never fully told: that of Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi.

Unfortunately, the mistakes caused by torture come in various degrees. It is one matter if the CIA abuses one of my clients into confessing falsely to a crime. True, the man suffers twice: first in the mistreatment, and then when he is locked in a legal black hole like Guantanamo Bay, as with the 40 men who continue to languish in that notorious Cuban prison.

Screenshot: Middle East Eye, November 6, 2018

Yet there is an even darker side to such secrets, and this is where Middle East Eye’s investigation is so important: some “intelligence” adduced by abuse is used to change government policy, even to start a war.

Some years ago, Shaker Aamer, one of my Guantanamo clients, told me what he knew about Libi. Shaker was being held in a cage at the Bagram air base in Afghanistan when he was taken into the same room as Libi. There, he said, he saw someone he thought was a British agent, present during the torment.

Soon after, early in 2002, he saw a coffin being carried out. It transpired that Libi was in it – very much alive, but on his way to Egypt, where the US had President Hosni Mubarak’s henchmen do their dirty work, taking an electric cattle prod to their victim.

Unsurprisingly, Libi said what the US wanted to hear – that Saddam Hussein was in league with al-Qaeda. Later, I was able to report evidence declassified from Guantanamo, where a detainee being tortured there also said that Saddam’s people were developing weapons of mass destruction.

When Libi first said all this, some CIA operatives expressed doubt, but that did not stop US President George W. Bush relying on it in a speech in October 2002, or Secretary of State Colin Powell delivering his infamous presentation to the UN Security Council in February 2003.

Thus, false intelligence extracted by torture not only kept Libi in prison, but it also weighed heavily in a decision to invade Iraq later that year.

We do know the disaster that followed, but what happened to the torture victim? In the first five years after 9/11 I had a project where I tried to follow what was happening to some of the better known people who had been captured in the so-called “War on Terror”.

Secret US prisons

Although 760 prisoners appeared in Guantanamo Bay, none of the big names surfaced for a long time. We heard dark rumours that they were in secretive US prisons, scattered from Morocco to Poland.

Then, in September 2006, a number of the more notorious “High Value Detainees” appeared in Cuba – including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the supposed mastermind of the attack on the World Trade Center. Notably missing from the new arrivals was Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi.

We later learned what had happened: he had been rendered back to Libya.  As early as March 2004, British Prime Minister Tony Blair had been shaking hands with Muammar Gaddafi in the desert.

Libi was rendered there to face further mistreatment. By a stroke of good fortune, we found a way to get messages to and from him, but no sooner was this door to his story ajar than – according to Gaddafi – Libi “committed suicide”.

Only the most credulous observer believes that, but it was true that the poor man had been put in a coffin and thence into a real grave this time. He posed a problem: if he had ever been reunited with the rule of law, he would have been just too embarrassing to powerful people.

We would have learned that the US was wrong on the most basic facts – far from running an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan, he did not even support Osama Bin Laden’s worldwide terror campaign, as his goal was to liberate his own country.

But most importantly, his torture had not just led (as in other cases) to a bogus trial in a kangaroo court in Guantanamo Bay, but to a calamitous war costing hundreds of thousands of lives, tipping the Middle East further into chaos. He had to disappear and Gaddafi was willing to make that happen.

It is a truism that we cannot learn the lessons of history unless we know what actually happened. When it comes to government misconduct, sunlight is the greatest disinfectant, yet there are powerful forces that would like to keep their dirty secrets well hidden – from Blair to Bush, and beyond.

Indeed, while the British have sometimes tut-tutted, and suggested that the semi-civilised Americans went a bit off-piste with their torture and rendition, the latest revelations about Libi’s treatment add another nail in the coffin of that particular lie: the British knew precisely what was going on, and even sought to “benefit” from it by sending questions into Libi’s cell of suffering.

In the end, only with the long-promised full and transparent judicial inquiry will the truth be exposed. Blair, by way of contrast, has said that freedom of information was the worst lapse in judgement of his tenure, because he would like officials to make decisions in secret.

Perhaps, when we have full disclosure, even he will see that signing up to torture, and using “intelligence” obtained through torture to start a calamitous war, was a rather bigger mistake.

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Clive Stafford Smith is an international human rights lawyer. He has represented over 300 people facing the death penalty in the USA, and secured the release of 69 prisoners from Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

Featured image: Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi was flown from Afghanistan to Egypt in a sealed coffin (Source: Middle East Eye)

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Last week, I came across something I didn’t think I would ever see. But in hindsight, it shouldn’t have surprised me: one of the country’s leading left publications, The Nation, rebuking New York art museums and galleries for showcasing critical perspectives on official narratives of major events — or what we’ve come to know as “conspiracy theories” ever since the media’s embrace of the CIA campaign in the 1960s to discredit critics of the Warren Commission.

The article, “Conspiracy Theories Are Not Entertainment,” takes aim mainly at two exhibitions that opened in September: “Everything Is Connected: Art and Conspiracy,” on display at the Met Breuer until January 6, 2019, and Fredric Riskin’s “9/11: The Collapse of Conscience,” which ran from September 11 to October 13 at the Ronald Feldman Gallery in Soho.

Zachary Small, a young “arts journalist” and “theatremaker,” purports to be writing art criticism, but his overarching point is a purely political one: Art institutions should not legitimize, intentionally or unintentionally, anything considered by the mainstream to be “conspiracy theory.” Doing so, he argues, “mutes the destabilizing and degrading effects of conspiracy on democracy.”

Small is not entirely opposed to the idea of “Everything Is Connected.” His complaint, rather, is against the show’s combining of pieces that “take an investigative approach,” documenting things like “the very real existence of government-sanctioned torture and money laundering,” with works of “artistic interpretation” that “revel in the passion of discontent” or that “glorify the notion that the September 11 attacks were an inside job.” (The latter are the paintings of Sue Williams, one of which shows the Twin Towers with the word “nano-thermite,” somewhat smudged out, hovering almost playfully above them.) Small insists that this mix “helps mollify the viewer toward conspiracy.”

But who decides what is “very real” versus “conspiracy” toward which the viewer must not be mollified? Perhaps that line is not so sharply defined for curators Douglas Eklund and Ian Alteveer, who apparently want to nudge viewers to be more skeptical of official narratives. In the final moment of the show’s video preview, Eklund affirms: “I would like to bring back the idea of art as a way of jolting people to get rid of their preconceived notions and to hopefully question more.”

Instead of probing his own preconceived notions about the topics explored in the art, Small berates Eklund and Alteveer for believing “there is value in scavenging through the most contested chapters of American history to find plausible alternatives to today’s hard truths.” In Small’s view of the world, it seems, everything he believes is “hard truth.” Everything he doesn’t believe is “conspiracy theory.”

The blinding effect and harsh consequences of Small’s immovable boundary between truth and falsehood are on full display in the second part of his piece for The Nation, which turns into a diatribe against Fredric Riskin and his installation “9/11: The Collapse of Conscience.” The primary target of Small’s attack is Riskin’s contention that the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers and Building 7 collapsed not because of the airplane crashes, but from controlled demolition.

Partway into his assault, Small lays bare his extreme lack of knowledge about the science of the World Trade Center’s destruction when he alleges that Riskin “baldly ignores the available evidence, produced by MIT’s Civil Engineering Department less than a month after the attack.” Small goes on to call the omission of this evidence “purposefully irresponsible.”

In fact, the article by MIT professor Thomas Eagar and his research assistant, Christopher Musso, was positing a theory of the Twin Towers’ collapse that was in vogue in the first year after 9/11 but that official investigators would rule out by 2004. Eagar was hypothesizing that the “weak points . . . were the angle clips that held the floor joists between the columns on the perimeter wall and the core structure.” “As the joists . . . gave way and the outer box columns began to bow outward,” Eagar speculated, “the floors above them also fell.”

The government’s present-day explanation, though just as devoid of evidentiary support, is diametrically contrary to Eagar’s scenario. Today, the story goes that the angle clips connecting the floors and columns did not fail. Consequently, the floor trusses, sagging from the heat of the fires, pulled the perimeter columns inward — not outward — until they buckled. The failure of one wall of columns then caused the other columns to fail. The top section of each tower then fell straight down and completely destroyed the lower 60 and 90 stories of intact structure, respectively. (Never mind that the South Tower’s top section actually tips away from the rest of the structure before spontaneously disintegrating into a midair fireworks display of pulverized concrete and steel projectiles.)

Besides providing an outdated theory and a few corrections to some common misconceptions — indeed, jet fuel fires cannot burn hot enough to melt steel and steel doesn’t need to melt in order for structural failures to occur — Eagar’s article offers little substance compared with today’s large body of literature about the World Trade Center’s destruction. If Small had done any meaningful research on the subject, he surely would not have presented Eagar’s article as the totality of “available evidence.” Nor would he have implied that all of the available evidence, or even a sufficient amount of evidence to draw any conclusions, could be produced less than a month after the event. This notion flies in the face of forensic investigation principles.

Nevertheless, Small is unrestrained in his criticism of Riskin, accusing him of “pseudo-scientific observations” that devolve into “vengeful incoherence.” On the evidence of his scant research, Small is probably unaware (or he chooses to omit) that each of the statements included in Riskin’s three panels on the World Trade Center’s destruction — while delivered in Riskin’s own idiosyncratic, poetic style — echoes the arguments made by thousands of architects, engineers, and scientists.

“Building 7 . . . goes limp in a free-fall descent with pyroclastic flows of dust. Free-fall is impossible for a naturally collapsing building. It becomes the only steel structured skyscraper in the world to ever collapse due to fire.” Support for Riskin’s claims, most of which are undisputed factual observations, can be found in 9/11: Explosive Evidence — Experts Speak Out, World Trade Center 7, Part 5, and in several peer-reviewed papers, including “The collapse of WTC 7: A re-examination of the ‘simple analysis’ approach” in the Challenge Journal of Structural Mechanics. (Fredric Riskin, 9/11 The Collapse of Conscience, 20″ X 27”, Panel 24 of 43, Printed on kozo-backed Gampi using pigment inks. Courtesy the artist and Ronald Feldman Gallery, NY.)

“A structure collapsing upon itself, floor by floor, is not the path of least resistance. How is it the towers didn’t simply snap and fall like a tree struck by lightening? Instead, they pulverized.” Support for Riskin’s claims can be found in 9/11: Explosive Evidence — Experts Speak Out, World Trade Center Twin Towers, Part 3 and Part 5, and in several peer-reviewed papers, including “Some Misunderstandings Related to WTC Collapse Analysis” in the International Journal of Protective Structures. (Fredric Riskin, 9/11 The Collapse of Conscience, 20″ X 27”, Panel 23 of 43, Printed on kozo-backed Gampi using pigment inks. Courtesy the artist and Ronald Feldman Gallery, NY.)

“9/11 dust is different. It contains nano-engineered explosives. Sometimes the smallest possible element tips the scales into reveal.” Support for Riskin’s claims can be found in 9/11: Explosive Evidence — Experts Speak Out, Ground Zero, Part 3, and in several peer-reviewed papers, including “Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe” in The Open Chemical Physics Journal. (Fredric Riskin, 9/11 The Collapse of Conscience, 20″ X 27”, Panel 16 of 43, Printed on kozo-backed Gampi using pigment inks. Courtesy the artist and Ronald Feldman Gallery, NY.)

When Small is not ineptly attempting to impugn the scientific validity of Riskin’s exposition, he is leveling gratuitous insults at so-called “conspiracy theorists,” a pejorative meant to degrade and dehumanize its target. As if artwork about 9/11 should not be shown on 9/11, Small blasts the Feldman Gallery for launching its show on the September 11th anniversary, likening the day to “Christmas for conspiracy theorists.” I would like to know what is Christmas-like about a father or a brother calling out for justice on the anniversary of their loved one’s murder.

Sadly for the state of our understanding of what actually took place on 9/11 — a day that almost any Nation reader will agree was used to launch a series of unjustified and disastrous wars that continue to this day — Small is not The Nation’s first writer to spew such vitriol at those who question the official narrative of that seminal event. In a 2006 diatribe, “The Conspiracy Nuts,” the late Alexander Cockburn made several remarkable statements wholly negating “the available evidence.” The most notable of those was his certain declaration that “People inside who survived the collapse didn’t hear a series of explosions.”

Cockburn posed as being well-versed on the claims of the 9/11 Truth Movement. But evidently he did not read, or he chose to ignore, the paper published two weeks earlier by Graeme MacQueen, a retired professor of Religious Studies and Peace Studies at McMaster University in Canada, titled “118 Witnesses: The Firefighters’ Testimony to Explosions in the Twin Towers.”

Based on his methodical analysis of transcribed testimonies from 503 members of the New York Fire Department (FDNY), which were made public in 2005 after The New York Times sued the City of New York for their release (no, not all of the evidence could be produced in less than a month), MacQueen found that 118 out of the 503 FDNY personnel interviewed “perceived, or thought they perceived, explosions that brought down the Towers.” Still, it’s not difficult to imagine Cockburn reading these oral histories and proceeding to lecture first responders like Captain Karin DeShore on how the phenomena she witnessed were not explosions taking down the World Trade Center. DeShore recounted in her interview:

“Somewhere around the middle of the World Trade Center, there was this orange and red flash coming out. Initially it was just one flash. Then this flash just kept popping all the way around the building and that building had started to explode. The popping sound, and with each popping sound it was initially an orange and then red flash came out of the building and then it would just go all around the building on both sides as far as I could see. These popping sounds and the explosions were getting bigger, going both up and down and then all around the building.”

The irony is that Cockburn and now Small are guilty of the very thing they seem to be crusading against: people drawing conclusions about world-changing events based more on their biases than on careful evaluation of evidence — what amounts to the ultimate act of hypocrisy for journalists.

Of course, Cockburn and Small are far from the only journalists guilty of this ultimate act of hypocrisy. The New York Times published its review of “Everything Is Connected” one day after The Nation’s review was published. More measured and positive in his assessment, Timeswriter Jason Farago reserves his only stridently negative criticism for the aforementioned piece by Sue Williams. It comes as no surprise that he brandishes the same demeaning contempt:

“And sometimes the artists here edge too close to the nutcases’ side for comfort. Sue Williams has recently painted churning, color-saturated works evoking the destruction of the World Trade Center; I bridled at one canvas’s inclusion of the word ‘nanothermite,’ an explosive often mentioned by conspiracy theorists who doubt that planes felled the twin towers.”

It is telling that of all the topics covered in the exhibition, the word “nano-thermite” —  an incendiary found in large quantities in the World Trade Center dust, as documented in a 2008 peer-reviewed academic paper and corroborated by the presence of previously molten iron spheres, by “Swiss cheese” steel members, by numerous eyewitness accounts of molten metal, and by liquid metal seen pouring out of the South Tower — is what causes Farago to bridle and resort to epithets like “nutcase” and “conspiracy theorist.” I would wager that Farago has not bothered to investigate why so-called “conspiracy theorists” believe that nano-thermite was used in the World Trade Center’s destruction.

To their immense credit, curators Douglas Eklund and Ian Alteveer refrain almost entirely from using the terms “conspiracy theorist” and even “conspiracy theory” throughout their exhibit. And herein lies the fundamental source of Small’s and Farago’s disgust: Sue Williams’ pieces about 9/11 are featured in a show whose subtitle is “Art and Conspiracy,” not “Art and Conspiracy Theory.” The exhibit’s introductory placard eschews the term “conspiracy theory” in favor of praiseful commentary. The curators write that even the “fantastical works” on display “unearth uncomfortable truths” and that “the exhibition reveals, not coincidentally, conspiracies that turned out not to be theories at all, but truths.”

Zachary Small asserts that the Met Breuer and the Feldman Gallery are “whetting their audience’s appetite for distrust, disdain, and disaffection,” thus feeding “conspiracy theories” that destabilize and degrade our democracy. I assert these developments that Small is concerned about are fed not by the actions of the Met Breuer and the Feldman Gallery, but by the cataclysmic political crimes of the past half century and the refusal of news outlets like The Nation to help expose them.

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This article was originally published on ae911truth.org.

Ted Walter is the director of strategy and development for Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth (AE911Truth). He is the author of AE911Truth’s 2015 publication Beyond Misinformation: What Science Says About the Destruction of World Trade Center Buildings 1, 2, and 7 and its 2016 publication World Trade Center Physics: Why Constant Acceleration Disproves Progressive Collapse and co-author of AE911Truth’s 2017 preliminary assessment of the Plasco Building collapse in Tehran. Ted moved to New York City two weeks before 9/11 and has lived there for most of the past 17 years. He holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Featured image: Fredric Riskin, 9/11 The Collapse of Conscience, Installation view. Courtesy the artist and Ronald Feldman Gallery, NY.

White Helmets terrorist factions, supported directly by the US and its allies including Canada, are currently operating missile detection systems in Idlib, Syria.

The Sentry system[1] – funded in part by the Canadian government – will warn against Syrian and Russian airstrikes, but not against U.S airstrikes. 

Special US envoy Brett McGurk recently admitted that,

“Idlib province is the largest al-Qaeda safe-haven since 9/11, tied to directly to Ayman al Zawahiri, this is a huge problem.” [2]

So clearly, the White Helmets- operated Sentry system will be protecting the West’s al Qaeda proxies.

When the West annihilated Raqqa, Syria, and countless civilians, in a four month siege, from June 6 – October 17, 2017, it offered inadequate evacuation procedures for civilians to leave, but it did provide safe passage for its ISIS proxies to redeploy elsewhere, only to re-occupy the destroyed and depopulated[3] area with SDF proxies. The siege was actually an operation that involved destruction, depopulation, and reoccupation disguised as “liberation”[4]. 

In stark contrast to the West’s criminality, when Syria and its allies – all operating in accordance with international law —- liberated Aleppo, Syria, from November-December 2016, they offered reconciliation and amnesties to occupying terrorists[5], with a view to saving lives where possible, while at the same time liberating the area from all terrorist factions.

Whereas Aleppo has been reborn, Raqqa remains a wasteland. The White Helmets are serving Empire’s agenda of mass death and destruction.

Aleppo Citadel, April 2018 (Source: Mark Taliano)

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

Notes

1. “Missile Detection System developed by USAID May Have Helped al Qaeda.” RT. (https://www.facebook.com/SYRIAN.SYriaRealInfosAndNews/videos/499216630541545/) Accessed 9 November, 2018. 

 2. “The Truth About Idlib in the US State Department’s Own Words. ‘The Largest Al Qaeda Safe Haven Since 9/11.’ ” Zero Hedge, 2 September 2018, Global Research, 3 September 2018.( https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-truth-about-idlib-in-the-state-departments-own-words-the-largest-al-qaeda-safe-haven-since-911/5652789) Accessed 11 September, 2018.

3. Andrew Korybko, “US Backed YPG Kurds Are Ethnically Cleansing Arabs From Raqqa, and the World Is Silent.” Global Village Space, 15 June, 2017, Global Research, 19 June, 2017. “US Backed YPG Kurds Are Ethnically Cleansing Arabs From Raqqa, and the World Is Silent.” (https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-truth-about-idlib-in-the-state-departments-own-words-the-largest-al-qaeda-safe-haven-since-911/5652789) Accessed 9 November, 2018.

4. Mark Taliano, “War Crimes as Policy.” Global Research, 17 November, 2017. (https://www.globalresearch.ca/war-crimes-as-policy/5618777?fbclid=IwAR0nGN2twxcMeNuZLVSM8VXK_nxankoyfSIbYZ-IQGn1_vRGYFFs79pmDAE) Accessed 9 November, 2018.

5. “Syria: Refugees leave Aleppo through humanitarian corridor.” RT, 30 July, 2016.  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DG2CiPnyNig) Accessed 9 November, 2018.

America Must Not Live and Die by the Gun

November 10th, 2018 by Prof. Alon Ben-Meir

When I woke up yesterday morning, I was shocked yet once again to read about Wednesday’s mass killing of 12 people during “college night” at a country music bar in southern California, sending hundreds fleeing in terror. I have young children who occasionally visit these types of bars, and I can only imagine how devastating and heart wrenching it must be for any parent to lose a child to this heartless mass shooting phenomenon, which has tragically become routine.

All we hear from Trump and his stooges in Congress are hollow and insincere expressions of sorrow and condolences to the families of the victims whose lives are shattered. Like millions of citizens, I am offended by the callous way the Trump administration is dealing with this national disaster that robs the lives of more than 3,000 innocent fellow citizens every single month.

To be sure, America is at war with itself, and the National Rifle Association (NRA) is profiting from the slaughter of Americans by Americans. Our so-called lawmakers in Congress are benefitting from the political contributions the NRA generously hands out to these corrupt politicians, who couldn’t care less that we are paying with our blood.

Every time the question of gun control is raised, the defenders of the wild west culture – of living by the gun – rush to invoke the Second Amendment that supposedly grants every American the right to bear arms for self-protection. I say supposedly because when this amendment was enacted, we were living in a different time under different circumstances, and had a different responsibility to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Today, we have “a well-regulated militia” in the form of the National Guard; we also have police forces to protect our inner cities, the FBI to investigate state-wide and interstate crimes, and of course the military. The responsibility of each branch of our collective security is well-defined, and they are accountable to a specific command structure.

Now given the changing order of our personal and collective security, the part of the second amendment that reads “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”, needs also to be reinterpreted. We are not calling for a total ban on gun ownership, we are calling for stricter gun control laws on the right to possess a firearm, including of course a background check of any individual who wishes to purchase a gun.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there were 39,000 deaths from gun-related injuries in 2016. Of this, 456 were from mass shootings—the rest were 14,000 homicide deaths and 23,000 suicides. The gun lobby asserts that these statistics have little bearing on the number of people killed deliberately by mass shootings. True, but if guns were not readily accessible, how many of these people would have successfully committed suicide by stabbing or hanging themselves, or by swallowing deadly poison? While drowning, for example, is effective 66% of the time in attempted suicides, suicide by gun is effective 82% of the time.

Since November 2016, 10 mass shootings took place resulting in 152 deaths. Mass shooting here is defined by the Congressional Research Service, where a shooter a) kills 4 or more people; b) selects victims randomly; and c) attacks in a public place. In a looser definition (4 or more people shot but not necessarily killed at the same time and location, which includes incidents related to domestic violence and gang violence), 314 people have been killed in mass shootings in 2018.

Just think, nearly one third of the mass shootings that occur in the world have taken place in the United States—a country with five percent of the world’s population has 31 percent of all public mass shootings.

There is indisputable proof that the people who died of gunshot wounds in every single developed nation is minuscule when compared to the US. Take a look at some countries with strict gun laws; their annual death by firearms speaks for itself: in the United Kingdom, with a population of 56 million, on average 50–60 are killed; in Germany with a population of 82.29 million, an average of 165; and in Japan with a population of 129 million, 13 or (often) fewer are killed by guns.

In Australia, before enacting strict gun control laws in 1996 following the deadliest mass shooting in Australian history, there were 13 mass shootings in 18 years. In the same time period following the legislation, there were zero.

Let’s set statistics aside. Every person that dies as a result of a gunshot is one person too many. How do you console a father or a mother who lost their child without even knowing why? What do you say to a parent whose child was just gunned down, to alleviate their agony and sinking soul? What sort of condolences and prayer can you offer to assuage the penetrating pain that sucks out the parent’s heart? There are no words, no expressions, no prayer, no sympathy, and no condolences that can ease the consuming suffering and grief that a parent must endure.

The answer, Mr. Trump, is not placing armed guards in every restaurant, night club, bar, school, synagogue, church, amusement park, museum, movie theater, bank, hospital, or in every store, every street corner, every hotel, and every railway and bus station. No, this is not how we should live our lives.

No, we cannot, and we will not succumb to your and Congress’ whims to prevent effective gun control laws. And we will no longer live and die by the gun.

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

He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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First published by Global Research on August 11, 2018

Introduction

Few, if any, believe what they hear and read from leaders and media publicists. Most people choose to ignore the cacophony of voices, vices and virtues.

This paper provides a set of theses which purports to lay-out the basis for a dialogue between and among those who choose to abstain from elections with the intent to engage them in political struggle.

Thesis 1

US empire builders of all colors and persuasion practice donkey tactics; waving the carrot and wielding the whip to move the target government on the chosen path.

In the same way, Washington offers dubious concessions and threatens reprisals, in order to move them into the imperial orbit.

Washington applied the tactic successfully in several recent encounters. In 2003 the US offered Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi a peaceful accommodation in exchange for disarmament, abandonment of nationalist allies in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. In 2011, the US with its European allies applied the whip – bombed Libya, financed and armed retrograde tribal and terrorist forces, destroyed the infrastructure, murdered Gaddafi and uprooted millions of Africans and Libyans. . . who fled to Europe. Washington recruited mercenaries for their subsequent war against Syria in order to destroy the nationalist Bashar Assad regime.

Washington succeeded in destroying an adversary but did not establish a puppet regime in the midst of perpetual conflict.

The empire’s carrot weakened its adversary, but the stick failed to recolonize Libya ..Moreover its European allies are obligated to pay the multi-billion Euro cost of absorbing millions of uprooteded immigrants and the ensuing domestic political turmoil.

Thesis 2

Empire builders’ proposal to reconfigure the economy in order to regain imperial supremacy provokes domestic and overseas enemies. President Trump launched a global trade war, replaced political accommodation with economic sanctions against Russia and a domestic protectionist agenda and sharply reduced corporate taxes. He provoked a two-front conflict. Overseas, he provoked opposition from European allies and China, while facing perpetual harassment from domestic free market globalists and Russo-phobic political elites and ideologues.

Two front conflicts are rarely successful. Most successful imperialist conquer adversaries in turn – first one and then the other.

Thesis 3

Leftists frequently reverse course: they are radicals out of office and reactionaries in government, eventually falling between both chairs. We witness the phenomenal collapse of the German Social Democratic Party, the Greek Socialist Party (PASOK), (and its new version Syriza) and the Workers Party in Brazil. Each attracted mass support, won elections, formed alliances with bankers and the business elite – and in the face of their first crises, are abandoned by the populace and the elite.

Shrewd but discredited elites frequently recognize the opportunism of the Left, and in time of distress, have no problem in temporarily putting up with Left rhetoric and reforms as long as their economic interests are not jeopardized. The elite know that the Left signal left and turn right.

Thesis 4

Elections, even ones won by progressives or leftists, frequently become springboards for imperial backed coups. Over the past decade newly elected presidents, who are not aligned with Washington, face congressional and/or judicial impeachment on spurious charges. The elections provide a veneer of legitimacy which a straight-out military-coup lacks.

In Brazil, Paraguay and Venezuela, ‘legislatures’ under US tutelage attempted to ouster popular President. They succeeded in the former and failed in the latter.

When electoral machinery fails, the judicial system intervenes to impose restraints on progressives, based on tortuous and convoluted interpretation of the law. Opposition leftists in Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador have been hounded by ruling party elites.

Thesis 5

Even crazy leaders speak truth to power. There is no question that President Trump suffers a serious mental disorder, with midnight outbursts and nuclear threats against, any and all, ranging from philanthropic world class sports figures (LeBron James) to NATO respecting EU allies.

Yet in his lunacy, President Trump has denounced and exposed the repeated deceits and ongoing fabrications of the mass media. Never before has a President so forcefully identified the lies of the leading print and TV outlets. The NY Times, Washington Post, the Financial Times, NBC, CNN, ABC and CBS have been thoroughly discredited in the eyes of the larger public. They have lost legitimacy and trust. Where progressives have failed, a war monger, billionaire has accomplished, speaking a truth to serve many injustices.

Thesis 6

When a bark turns into a bite, Trump proves the homely truth that fear invites aggression. Trump has implemented or threatened severe sanctions against the EU, China, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, North Korea and any country that fails to submit to his dictates. At first, it was bombast and bluster which secured concessions.

Concessions were interpreted as weakness and invited greater threats. Disunity of opponents encouraged imperial tacticians to divide and conquer. But by attacking all adversaries simultaneously he undermines that tactic. Threats everywhere limits choices to dangerous options at home and abroad.

Thesis 7

The master meddlers, of all times, into the politics of sovereign states are the Anglo-American empire builders. But what is most revealing is the current ploy of accusing the victims of the crimes that are committed against them.

After the overthrow of the Soviet regime, the US and its European acolytes ‘meddled’ on a world-historic scale, pillaging over two trillion dollars of Soviet wealth and reducing Russian living standards by two thirds and life expectancy to under sixty years – below the level of Bangladesh.

With Russia’s revival under President Putin, Washington financed a large army of self-styled ‘non-governmental organizations’ (NGO) to organize electoral campaigns, recruited moguls in the mass media and directed ethnic uprisings. The Russians are retail meddlers compared to the wholesale multi-billion-dollar US operators.

Moreover, the Israeli’s have perfected meddling on a grand scale – they intervene successfully in Congress, the White House and the Pentagon. They set the Middle East agenda, budget and priorities, and secure the biggest military handouts on a per-capita basis in US history!

Apparently, some meddlers meddle by invitation and are paid to do it.

Thesis 8

Corruption is endemic in the US where it has legal status and where tens of millions of dollars change hands and buy Congress people, Presidents and judges.

In the US the buyers and brokers are called ‘lobbyists’ – everywhere else they are called fraudsters. Corruption (lobbying) grease the wheels of billion dollars military spending, technological subsidies, tax evading corporations and every facet of government – out in the open, all the time and place of the US regime.

Corruption as lobbying never evokes the least criticism from the mass media.

On the other hand, where corruption takes place under the table in Iran, China and Russia, the media denounce the political elite – even where in China over 2 million officials, high and the low are arrested and jailed.

When corruption is punished in China, the US media claim it is merely a ‘political purge’ even if it directly reduces elite conspicuous consumption.

In other words, imperial corruption defends democratic value; anti-corruption is a hallmark of authoritarian dictatorships.

Thesis 9

Bread and circuses are integral parts of empire building – especially in promoting urban street mobs to overthrow independent and elected governments.

Imperial financed mobs – provided the cover for CIA backed coups in Iran (1954), Ukraine (2014), Brazil (1964), Venezuela (2003, 2014 and 2017), Argentina (1956), Nicaragua (2018), Syria (2011) and Libya (2011) among other places and other times.

Masses for empire draw paid and voluntary street fighters who speak for democracy and serve the elite. The “mass cover” is especially effective in recruiting leftists who look to the street for opinion and ignore the suites which call the shots.

Thesis 10

The empire is like a three-legged stool it promotes genocide, to secure magnicide and to rule by homicide. Invasions kills millions, capture and kill rulers and then rule by homicide – police assassinating dissenting citizens.

The cases are readily available: Iraq and Libya come to mind. The US and its allies invaded, bombed and killed over a million Iraqis, captured and assassinated its leaders and installed a police state.

A similar pattern occurred in Libya: the US and EU bombed, killed and uprooted several million people, assassinated Ghadaffy and fomented a lawless terrorist war of clans, tribes and western puppets.

“Western values” reveal the inhumanity of empires built to murder “a la carte” – stripping the victim nations of their defenders, leaders and citizens.

Conclusion

The ten theses define the nature of 21st century imperialism – its continuities and novelties.

The mass media systematically write and speak lies to power: their message is to disarm their adversaries and to arouse their patrons to continue to plunder the world.

*

Prof. James Petras is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

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First published by Global Research on Christmas Day, December 25, 2015

***

Everything is interrelated: war, terrorism, the police state, the global economy, economic austerity, financial fraud, corrupt governments, poverty and social inequality, police violence, Al Qaeda, ISIS, media disinformation, racism, war propaganda  weapons of mass destruction, the derogation of international law, the criminalization of politics, the CIA, the FBI, climate change,  nuclear war, Fukushima, nuclear radiation, crimes against humanity, The China-Russia alliance, Syria  Ukraine, NATO, false flags, 9/11 Truth, ….  

An overall understanding of  this Worldwide crisis is required: the last section deals briefly with reversing the tide of war, peace-making, instating social justice and real democracy.

This article includes a compendium of relevant citations (from my writings) pertaining to different dimensions of this  global crisis. Citations from other authors are indicated in italics.

The hyperlinks in each of the paragraphs indicate the original source of the quotation.    

The Globalization of War. America’s Long War against Humanity 

1. The US has embarked on a military adventure, “a long war”, which threatens the future of humanity. US-NATO weapons of mass destruction are portrayed as instruments of peace.

2. 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 US military agenda combines both major theater operations as well as covert actions geared towards destabilizing sovereign states.

3. “[The] Five-year campaign plan [includes]… a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.”  General Wesley Clark in “Winning Modern Wars” (page 130)

4. In 2005, former Vice President Dick Cheney hinted, in no uncertain terms, that Iran was “right at the top of the list” of the “rogue enemies” of America, and that Israel would, so to speak, “be doing the bombing for us without being asked”, i.e without US military involvement and without us putting pressure on them “to do it”. This foreign policy stance still prevails under Obama.

9/11 and The Global War on Terrorism (GWOT)

5. The “war on terrorism” is a war of conquest. Globalization is the final march to the “New World Order”, dominated by Wall Street and the U.S. military-industrial complex.

6. September 11, 2001 provides a justification for waging a war without borders. Washington’s agenda consists in extending the frontiers of the American Empire to facilitate complete U.S. corporate control, while installing within America the institutions of the Homeland Security State.

7“The forbidden truth” is that Western governments including US, UK, France, NATO and Israel –while waging a self-proclaimed “Global War on Terrorism”– routinely provide covert support to the same terrorist entities which are the object of their “humanitarian wars” and “counter-terrorism operations”.

War and the Economic Crisis

8. In all major regions of the world, the economic recession is deep-seated, resulting in mass unemployment, the collapse of state social programs and the impoverishment of millions of people.

9. The economic crisis is accompanied by a worldwide process of militarization, a “war without borders” led by the United States of America and its NATO allies. The conduct of the Pentagon’s “long war” is intimately related to the restructuring of the global economy.

10. “The Pentagon’s ‘black’ operations, including the intelligence budgets nested inside it, are roughly equal in magnitude to the entire defense budgets of the UK, France or Japan, and ten percent of the total.” (Tom Burghardt)

11. An outright “economic war” resulting in unemployment, poverty and disease is carried out through the free market. People’s lives are in a freefall and their purchasing power is destroyed. In a very real sense, the last twenty years of global “free market” economy have resulted, through poverty and social destitution, in destroying the lives of millions of people.

12. Vast amounts of money wealth are acquired through market manipulation. Often referred to as “deregulation”, the financial apparatus has developed sophisticated instruments of outright manipulation and deceit.

13. With inside information and foreknowledge, major financial actors, using the instruments of speculative trade, have the ability to fiddle and rig market movements to their advantage, precipitate the collapse of a competitor and wreck havoc in the economies of developing countries.

14. What is at stake is a process of  “financial cleansing” whereby the “too big to fail banks” in Europe and North America (e.g. Citi, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, et al ) displace and destroy lesser financial institutions, with a view to eventually taking over the entire “banking landscape”.

15. The underlying tendency at the national and global levels is towards the centralization and concentration of bank power, while leading to the dramatic slump of the real economy.

Greece: Austerity Measures

16. The creditors will use Greece’s multibillion debt obligations as means to  impose deadly macro-economic reforms which will serve to destabilize the national economy and further impoverish the population. These are referred to by the IMF as “policy conditionalities’, which enable the creditors to essentially dictate economic and social policy.

17. The creditors are largely interested in acquiring real wealth within the national economy, namely the acquisition of Greece’s national banking institutions, its public enterprises, its agricultural land, etc.

Disinformation, Media Propaganda and the CIA

18. Disinformation is routinely “planted” by CIA operatives in the newsroom of major dailies, magazines and TV channels. Outside public relations firms are often used to create “fake stories”.

19. “A relatively few well-connected correspondents provide the scoops, that get the coverage in the relatively few mainstream news sources, where the parameters of debate are set and the “official reality” is consecrated for the bottom feeders in the news chain.” (Chaim Kupferberg in relation to 9/11 media coverage)

20. To sustain the war agenda, these “fabricated realities”, funneled on a day to day basis into the news chain must become indelible truths, which form part of a broad political and media consensus. In this regard, the corporate media –although acting independently of the military-intelligence apparatus, is an instrument of this evolving totalitarian system.

“Islamic Terrorism” and the Human Mindset

21 Al Qaeda-ISIS concepts, repeated ad nauseam have potentially traumatic impacts on the human mind and the ability of normal human beings to analyze and comprehend the “real outside World” of war, politics and the economic crisis.

22. Al Qaeda constitutes a stylized, fake and almost folkloric abstraction of terrorism, which permeates the inner consciousness of millions of people around the World.

The Islamic State Caliphate Project (ISIS/ISIL/Daesh)

23 Those who ordered the bombing campaign are those who are behind the Caliphate Project.

24. The Islamic State militia, which is currently the alleged target of  a US-NATO bombing campaign under a “counter-terrorism” mandate, is  supported covertly by the United States and its allies.

25.  The ISIS terrorists are the foot soldiers of the Western alliance. While America claims to be targeting ISIS, in reality it is protecting ISIS. The air campaign is intent upon destroying Syria and Iraq rather than “going after the terrorists”.

26. A complex network of Al Qaeda affiliated terrorist organizations overseen by US and allied intelligence agencies has unfolded, extending across the Middle East, North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia, Western China, South and South East Asia.

27. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is a creation of US intelligence. 

Washington’s “Counter-terrorism Agenda” in Iraq and Syria consists in Supporting the Terrorists.

28. The incursion of the Islamic State (IS) brigades into Iraq starting in June 2014 was part of a carefully planned military-intelligence operation supported covertly by the US, NATO and Israel.

29. Without Western support, according to Vladimir Putin, the terrorists would not have been able to gain control over entire regions of the country. “The so-called Islamic State [ISIS] has taken control of a huge territory. How was that possible? (Vladimir Putin’s speech to the Valdai Conference, October 2015)

Western Special Forces are Assisting the Terrorists in Syria

30. Western special forces and covert intelligence agents including British SAS, French Parachutistes, CIA, MI6  and Mossad have integrated rebel ranks.

31 Their activities are not limited to training. They are routinely involved in overseeing the conduct of terrorist operations on the ground together with Turkish and Qatari special forces, as well thousands of mercenaries recruited from Muslim countries.

32.The French have been actively involved in Syria since the outset of the insurgency on the ground in liaison with their US, British and Israeli counterparts. In February 2012, 13 French military officers were arrested in Homs pointing to the presence of foreign troops on Syrian soil inside rebel ranks.

America’s Allies: Support to the Islamic State by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey

33 Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan, Qatar, Jordan, et al.  have been involved in recruiting, training and financing Islamic terrorists.

34. A  large number of ISIS mercenaries are convicted criminals released from Saudi prisons on condition they join the ISIL. Saudi death row inmates were recruited to join the terror brigades.  (January 23, 2013)

35 The practice of beheading civilians by ISIS operative in Syria emanates from Saudi Arabia.. The ISIL’s practice of beheadings is part of the US sponsored terrorist training programs implemented in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Israel and the Islamic State

36 Netanyahu does not deny that his government’s support of the terrorists in Syria.  The IDF top brass has acknowledged that  “global jihad elements inside Syria” are supported by Israel

37 The State of Israel collaborates with the French authorities in the Charlie Hebdo counterterrorism operation,  while also supporting the two main terrorist entities in Syria: the Islamic State (ISIS) and Al Nusrah

The Criminalization of the State

38 The “Criminalization of the State”, is when war criminals legitimately occupy positions of authority, which enable them to decide “who are the criminals”, when in fact they are the criminals.

Wars of Aggression are in Violation of International Law  and the UN Charter

39  The US, France, Britain are the aggressor nations against Syria. They cannot under any circumstances invoke the Right of Self-defense.

40 In contrast, Syria is the victim of foreign aggression and has the Right to Self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter which states that: “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of collective or individual self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a member of the United Nations” ,

War Crimes

41 The US-NATO led war applied Worlwide is a criminal undertaking under the disguise of counter-terrorism. It violates the Nuremberg Charter, the US constitution and the UN charter.

Nuremberg Trial (archive photo, right)

42 According to former chief Nuremberg prosector Benjamin Ferencz, in relation to the 2003 invasion of Iraq: “a prima facie case can be made that the United States is guilty of the supreme crime against humanity — that being an illegal war of aggression against a sovereign nation.” Ferenz was referring to “Crimes against Peace and War” (Nuremberg Principle VI)

43 Nuremberg Principle III relates directly to president Obama and the heads of State and heads of government of the US-NATO led coalition:  ”a person who committed an act which constitutes a crime under international law acted as Head of State or responsible government official does not relieve him from responsibility under international law.”

The Clash of Civilizations: Worldwide Campaign against Muslims

44. A good versus evil dichotomy prevails: a “Clash of Civilisations”. 

45. The West has a “Mission”: “We must fight against evil in all its forms as a means to preserving the Western way of life.” The perpetrators of war are presented as the victims.

46. The “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT) directed against Al Qaeda launched in the wake of 9/11 is evolving towards a full-fledged “war of religion”, a “holy crusade” directed against the Muslim World.

47. A “war of religion” is unfolding, with a view to justifying a global military crusade. In the inner consciousness of many Americans, the “holy crusade” against Muslims is justified.

48 While President Obama may uphold freedom of religion, the US inquisitorial social order has institutionalized patterns of discrimination, prejudice and xenophobia directed against Muslims.

49. Ethnic profiling applies to travel, the job market, access to education and social services and more generally to social status and mobility.

50. The wave of xenophobia directed against Muslims which has swept across Western Europe is tied into geopolitics. It is part of a military agenda. It consists in demonizing the enemy.

51. Muslim countries possess more than 60 percent of total oil reserves.  In contrast, the United States of America has barely 2 percent of total oil reserves. Iraq has five times more oil than the United States.

52. A large share of the World’s oil lies in Muslim lands. The objective of the US led war is to steal and appropriate those oil reserves. And to achieve this objective, these countries  are targeted: war, covert ops, economic destabilization, regime change.

US-NATO Threatens Russia and China

53.The “Communist threat” of The Cold War era has been replaced by the worldwide threat of “Islamic terrorism”.

54. Whereas Russia and China have become capitalist “free market” economies, a first strike pre-emptive nuclear attack is nonetheless contemplated.

55. China and Russia are no longer considered to be “a threat to capitalism”.  Quite the opposite. What is at stake is economic and financial rivalry between competing capitalist powers.

56. The China-Russia alliance under the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) constitutes a “competing capitalist block” which undermines U.S. economic hegemony.

57. In May 2014, the  Russian Aggression Prevention Act (RAPA) was  introduced in the US Senate (S 2277), calling for the militarization of Eastern Europe and the Baltic States and the stationing of US and NATO troops on Russia’s doorstep

58. In Asia, the U.S. has contributed under its “Pivot to Asia” to encouraging its Asia-Pacific allies including Japan, Australia, South Korea, The Philippines and Vietnam to threaten and isolate China as part of a process of “military encirclement” of China, which gained impetus in the late 1990s.

The Dangers of Nuclear War

A B61-12 nuclear weapon ©the Center for Investigative Reporting

59. In the wake of the Cold War, an understanding on the dangers of nuclear war (MAD) no longer prevails. Publicly available military documents confirm that pre-emptive nuclear war is still on the drawing board  of the Pentagon. Compared to the 1950s, the nuclear weapons are more advanced. The delivery system is more precise.

60. In addition to China and Russia, Iran, Syria and North Korea are targets for pre-emptive nuclear war.  Let us be under no illusions, the Pentagon’s plan to blow up the planet using advanced nuclear weapons is still on the books.

61. With an explosive capacity varying between one third and six times a Hiroshima bomb, mini-nukes are said to be “harmless to civilians”. Pre-emptive nuclear war is portrayed as a “humanitarian undertaking”.  Scientists on contract to the Pentagon have endorsed the use of tactical nuclear weapons: they are “harmless to civilians because the explosion is underground.”

62. The Pentagon has confirmed its policy of a nuclear first strike against the Russian Federation in response to Russia’s alleged aggression against Ukraine.  If these US nuclear strikes were to be implemented, humanity would be precipitated into a Third World War, which could potentially be the “final war” on planet earth.

63. Should we be concerned? The people at the highest levels of government who decide regarding the use of nuclear weapons haven’t the foggiest idea as to the implications of their actions. Blowing up the planet through the use of nuclear weapons is fully endorsed by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who believes that nuclear weapons are instruments of peace-making. Her election campaign is financed by the corporations which produce WMDs.

Pentagon 1959 Plan to implement a Nuclear Holocaust:

Excerpt of list of 1200 cities targeted for nuclear attack in alphabetical order

Fidel Castro on the Dangers of Nuclear War

64. “The conventional war would be lost by the US and the nuclear war is no alternative for anyone.  On the other hand, nuclear war would inevitably become global”

65. “I think nobody on Earth wishes the human species to disappear.  And that is the reason why I am of the opinion that what should disappear are not just nuclear weapons, but also conventional weapons.  We must provide a guarantee for peace to all peoples without distinction

66. “In a nuclear war the collateral damage would be the life of humankind.  Let us have the courage to proclaim that all nuclear or conventional weapons, everything that is used to make war, must disappear!”

67. “It is about demanding that the world is not led into a nuclear catastrophe, it is to preserve life.”  Fidel Castro Ruz, Havana, October 2010. (Recorded by Michel Chossudovsky, Havana, October 2010, image right, Fidel Castro, Michel Chossudovsky)

Fukushima: Worldwide Nuclear Radiation

68 The Fukushima disaster in Japan has brought to the forefront the dangers of Worldwide nuclear radiation. The crisis in Japan has been described as “a nuclear war without a war”.

69. In the words of renowned novelist Haruki Murakami: “This time no one dropped a bomb on us … We set the stage, we committed the crime with our own hands, we are destroying our own lands, and we are destroying our own lives.”

70. Nuclear radiation –which threatens life on planet earth– is not front page news in comparison to the most insignificant issues of public concern, including the local level crime scene or the tabloid gossip reports on Hollywood celebrities.

71. The shaky political consensus both in Japan, the U.S. and Western Europe is that the crisis at Fukushima has been contained. The truth is otherwise. Known and documented, the ongoing dumping of highly radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean constitutes a potential trigger to a process of global radioactive contamination.

72. This water contains plutonium 239 and its release into the Ocean has both local as well as global repercussions.  A microgram of plutonium if inhaled, according to Dr. Helen Caldicott, can cause death

Geo-engineering: Modifying the Weather for Military Use

73. Environmental modification techniques (ENMOD) for military use constitute, in the present context of global warfare, the ultimate weapon of mass destruction.

74. Rarely acknowledged in the debate on global climate change, the world’s weather can now be modified as part of a new generation of sophisticated electromagnetic weapons. Both the US and Russia have developed capabilities to manipulate the climate for military use.

75. Weather manipulation is the pre-emptive weapon par excellence. It can be directed against enemy countries or even “friendly nations”, without their knowledge. Weather warfare constitutes a covert form of pre-emptive war. The manipulation of climate can be used to destabilize an enemy’s economy, ecosystem and agriculture

The Resurgence of Nazism in Ukraine

76. The forbidden truth is that the West has engineered in Ukraine –through a carefully staged covert operation– the formation of a proxy regime integrated by Neo-Nazis.

77. Unknown to most Americans, the US government is channeling financial support, weapons and training to a Neo-Nazi entity –which is part of The Ukraine National Guard– The Azov Battalion (Батальйон Азов). Canada and Britain have confirmed that they also are providing support to the National Guard.

78. The Azov Battalion -which “officially” displays the Nazi SS emblem is described by the Kiev regime as “a volunteer battalion of territorial defense”. It’s a National Guard battalion under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the equivalent of America’s Homeland Security.

79. The Azov battalion supported by its Western partners is not only involved in para-military operations in Eastern Ukraine. it is also running a Summer Camp military training project for young children as part of its broader training and Nazi indoctrination program.

80. With Svoboda and Right Sector political appointees in charge of national security and the armed forces, a real grassroots protest movement directed against the IMF’s deadly macroeconomic reforms, will in all likelihood be brutally repressed by the Right Sector’s “brown shirts” and the National Guard paramilitary led by Dmitri Yarosh, on behalf of Wall Street and the Washington consensus.

The Police State

81. Rather than addressing an impending social catastrophe, Western governments, which serve the interests of the economic elites, have installed a “Big Brother” police state, with a mandate to confront and repress all forms of opposition and social dissent.

82. The Department of Defense now authorizes the domestic deployment of US troops  in “the conduct of operations other than war”  including law enforcement activities and the quelling of “civil disturbances”.

83. The repeal of democracy is portrayed as a means to providing “domestic security” and upholding civil liberties.

84. An FBI department established in 2004 under the Bush administration was conducive to the integration of law enforcement and domestic spying. Its mandate was  essentially political, directed at curbing all forms of social and political dissent in America.

85. According to a 2004 Report of the Homeland Security Council, these domestic “conspirators” are said to be acting in coordination with “foreign terrorists”. The Report identified “domestic radical groups” and “disgruntled employees”.

The November 13, 2015 Paris Terror Attacks

86. The November 13 attacks were immediately followed by the enactment of a State of Emergency, the closing of France’s borders and the suspension of civil liberties as a means — according to president François Hollande– to safeguarding democratic values.

87. The tragic loss of life has been used by the Hollande government (with the support of the media) to harness the public into accepting the implementation of police state measures in the interest of French Republic, namely protecting France’s national security against an illusive self-proclaimed “Islamic State” based in Northern Syria, which happens to be a creation of US intelligence.

88. The measures also included procedures which enable the police to conduct arbitrary arrests and house searches without a warrant within the Paris metropolitan area opening up the development of a potential hate campaign directed against France’s Muslim population.

89. These drastic police state measures (including the repeal of habeas corpus) ordered by president Hollande were decided upon prior and in the absence of a police report.

Reversing the Tide of War, Building Peace, Democracy and Social Justice   

90 War propaganda has become increasingly pervasive. War is upheld as a peace-making operation.

Image:  War and Peace by Anthony Freda

91 When war becomes peace, the world is turned upside down. Conceptualization is no longer possible. An inquisitorial social system emerges. The consensus is to wage war. People can longer think for themselves. They accept the authority and wisdom of the established social order.

92 War however is not an inevitable process.

93 War can be prevented through mass social action.

94. The issue is not whether the war will inevitably take place but what are the instruments at our disposal which will enable us to shunt and ultimately disarm this global military agenda. 

95. War criminals occupy positions of authority. The citizenry is galvanized into supporting the rulers, who are “committed to their safety and well-being”. Through media disinformation, war is given a humanitarian mandate.

96. The legitimacy of war must be addressed. Antiwar sentiment alone does not disarm a military agenda. High ranking officials of the Obama administration, members of the military and the US Congress have been granted the authority to uphold an illegal war.

97. A significant segment of the antiwar movement has been co-opted. We are against war but we support the “war on terrorism”. We can rely on an ambiguous political discourse.

98. How does one effectively break the war and police state agendas?

99. Essentially by refuting the “war on terrorism” and America’s holy crusade against the “Islamic jihad” which constitute the very foundations of America’s national security doctrine.

100. Without the “war on terrorism”, politicians in high office do not have a leg to stand on. Once the Big Lie is fully revealed, their legitimacy collapses like a deck of cards.

101. How best to achieve this objective? By fully uncovering the lies behind the “war on terrorism” and revealing the fact amply documented that Western governments are supporting the terrorists, i.e. they are State sponsors of terrorism.

102. Media propaganda sustains the legitimacy of  “war on terrorism”. “Evil folks are lurking”, the jihad is said to be threatening the Western World

103. The corporate backers and sponsors of war and war crimes must also be targeted including the oil companies, the defense contractors, the financial institutions and the corporate media, which has become an integral part of the war propaganda machine.

Regime Change in the West 

104. What is required is a grass roots antiwar network, a mass movement at national and international levels, which challenges the legitimacy of the main military and political actors, as well as their corporate sponsors, and which would ultimately be instrumental in unseating those who rule in our name.

105. This is no easy task. The first step is to break the consensus, and that is done through what we might describe as counter-propaganda. It is in this context that Truth becomes a powerful weapon.

106. The construction of this type of network will take time to develop. Initially, it should focus on developing a firm antiwar stance within existing citizens’ organizations (e.g. trade unions, community organizations, professional regroupings, student federations, municipal councils, etc.). In many of these, organizations, however, –which include NGOs such as Amnesty International–, the leadership has been coopted; many of these organizations are generously funded by corporate foundations. In turn, since 2003, the antiwar movement in Western countries is virtually at a standstill.

107. Breaking the Lie means breaking a criminal project of global destruction, in which the quest for profit is the overriding force.

108 .This profit-driven military agenda destroys human values and transforms people into unconscious zombies.

109. Let us reverse the tide by breaking the consensus, namely by breaking the propaganda apparatus.

110. Swaying public opinion is not enough what has to be undertaken is to break the process of internal propaganda within government,  the judicial system, law enforcement, the military, intelligence, etc. Because ultimately these are the areas where decisions are taken.

111. The doctrine of the US Armed Forces is the “war on terrorism”. It is deeply entrenched. It provides a “Just Cause” to war. It is the driving force behind the troops. It is used to provide legitimacy to the bombing raids. What needs to done is to break the decision making process within the military through counter propaganda.

112. William Shakespeare’s rightfully describes in our contemporary World the architects of the New World Order: Hell is empty and all the devils are here.” 

113. Our indelible task is to send the “devils” of our time, the self-proclaimed architects of “democracy” and the “free market”, “down” to where they rightfully belong.

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Fidel Castro and Michel Chossudovsky, Havana 2010

This article was first published on August 13, 2016

In the words of Albert Einstein,  “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” And that in so few words describes Fidel Castro’s contribution to the future of humanity.  Fidel’s message is of particular relevance in relation to the “fake news” campaign directed against the independent media.

Author’s Introduction

The dangers of a Third World War are looming. Nuclear war is “on the table”.  “I want the Iranians to know that if  I’m the president, we will attack Iran ….we will obliterate them.”  says presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. 

The outright criminalization of politics. How do we instil sanity and honesty in US foreign policy. 

How do we reverse the tide, how do we dismantle the US-led military agenda?

America’s global war of conquest is supported by a vast propaganda apparatus including the Western mainstream media, segments of the online “alternative media”, the corporate foundations, the elite universities and the establishment thinks tanks. 

War is upheld as a peace-making endeavor. When war becomes peace, the lie becomes the truth. There is no turning backwards. 

 Without war propaganda, the legitimacy of the US-NATO war would collapse like a house of cards.  

War is a criminal undertaking. What is required is to break that legitimacy, to criminalize war through a global counter-propaganda campaign. The lies and  fabrications which provide legitimacy to America’s “humanitarian wars” must be fully revealed. 

In this regard, Fidel’s  “Battle of Ideas” opens up an important avenue. It serves to break a political consensus, it reveals the twisted nature of science and the social sciences, namely the inability of knowledge and analysis to provide an understanding of the true nature of an unfolding “New World Order” predicated on the destruction of representative government and the de facto criminalization of politics. 

The Battle of Ideas consists in confronting the war criminals in high office, breaking the US-led consensus in favor of war, changing the mindset of hundreds of millions of people, abolishing nuclear weapons and ultimately changing the course of world history.

The media, intellectuals, scientists and politicians, in chorus, obfuscate the unspoken truth, namely that the US-NATO led war destroys humanity.

When war is upheld as a humanitarian endeavor,  the judicial system is criminalized, the entire international legal system is turned upside down: pacifism and the antiwar movement are criminalized. Opposing the war becomes a criminal act. Meanwhile, the war criminals in high office have ordered a witch hunt against those who challenge their authority.

The Big Lie must be exposed for what it is and what it does.

It sanctions the indiscriminate killing of men, women and children.

It destroys families and people. It destroys the commitment of people towards their fellow human beings.

It prevents people from expressing their solidarity for those who suffer. It upholds war and the police state as the sole avenue.

It destroys both nationalism and internationalism.

Breaking the lie means breaking a criminal project of global destruction, in which the quest for profit is the overriding force.

This profit driven military agenda destroys human values and transforms people into unconscious zombies.

Let us reverse the tide.

Challenge the war criminals in high office and the powerful corporate lobby groups which support them.

Undermine the US-NATO-Israel military crusade.

Close down the weapons factories and the military bases.

Bring home the troops.

Members of the armed forces should disobey orders and refuse to participate in a criminal war.

This is our task, in towns and villages across the land, nationally and internationally: Counter-propaganda for peace.

The following text is the English version of  the Preface of the Spanish edition of my book,  The Globalization of War, America’s Long War against Humanity, launched in Managua, Nicaragua. June 2016.  

Michel Chossudovsky, August 13, 2016

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Counter-propaganda as an “Instrument of Peace”. Fidel Castro and the “Battle of Ideas”: The Dangers of Nuclear War

English version of the Preface to the Spanish Edition,

published in Managua, Nicaragua and Mexico City, Mexico

 

By Michel Chossudovsky

This book is dedicated to Fidel Castro Ruz, leader of the Cuban Revolution, whose practice and teachings have been the source of inspiration to grassroots revolutionary movements throughout the World. 

Fidel’s understanding of US imperialism, his writings on neoliberalism and global warfare are of crucial importance in the social struggle against the capitalist World Order including the articulation of people’s movements at national and international levels.  

In our 2010 “Conversations” (see Chapter II), Fidel focussed on the “Battle of Ideas”. He defined the role of concepts and knowledge as a powerful instrument of revolutionary change. While the “Battle of Ideas” emerged in Cuba at an earlier period, Fidel’s recent analysis focusses on the dangers of a Third World War and how to prevent it from occurring.

In the case of a Third World War, Fidel quite rightly pointed out:

“There would be ‘collateral damage’, as the American political leaders always affirm, to justify the deaths of innocent people. In a nuclear war, the ‘collateral damage’ would be the life of all humanity”. 

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For me, Fidel’s formulation had a profound significance. Following our meeting in Havana and upon returning to Canada, I started digging through piles of articles and US military documents on  America’s post 9/11 “pre-emptive” nuclear doctrine, which consists in using nukes for “self-defence” with “minimum collateral damage”: an absurd and diabolical proposal, which in the real sense of the word threatens the future of humanity. In the following year (2011),  I completed my book on this subject entitled: Towards a World War III Scenario, The Dangers of Nuclear War. 

Fidel Castro in focussing on the “collateral damage” associated with nuclear war had uncovered the “building block” of post-cold war imperialism. The Cold War concepts of “Mutually Assured Destruction” and “Deterrence” not to mention the US-Soviet Union communications “hotline” had been scrapped.

Is nuclear war part of a US policy agenda? Is it on the drawing-board of the Pentagon? The answer is a resounding Yes. Nukes are upheld as “peace-making bombs”. For Hillary Clinton in her 2016 election campaign, the use of nukes against Russia and the Middle East is “on the table”. they are also contemplated for use on a pre-emptive basis against non-nuclear states.

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The Globalization of War

The Pentagon uses the concept of “the long war” to describe what is tantamount to “a war without borders”. In the broader context of World geopolitics, Fidel upholds the “Battle of Ideas” as a means of confronting a powerful propaganda apparatus, precisely with a view to reversing the tide of global warfare which includes the “pre-emptive” first strike use of nuclear weapons.

The Battle of Ideas consists in confronting the war criminals in high office, breaking the US-led consensus in favor of war, changing the mindset of hundreds of millions of people, abolishing nuclear weapons and ultimately changing the course of world history.

The Sources of Propaganda

The structures of propaganda include the Western mainstream media, the establishment thinks tanks and research institutes whose “science” increasingly serves dominant corporate interests including the military industrial complex, Wall Street, the Anglo-american oil companies and Big Pharma.

A related form of propaganda emanates from America’s science laboratories on contract to the Pentagon, the objective of which is to provide a “human face” to  America’s so-called “defense contractors” (weapons producers).  According to “scientific opinion”, US advanced weapons systems are “instruments of peace”. Only America’s enemies produce Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD): Mini-nukes with an explosive capacity of one third to six times a Hiroshima bomb are described in official military documents as “harmless to the surrounding civilian population because the explosion is underground”.

Erasing the History of Socialism 

Academic historians are entrusted with the rewriting of colonial and imperial history. The crimes of empire are soon forgotten. America’s wars of conquest are casually described as “civil wars”. America’s “war on terrorism” is described as a humanitarian undertaking.

In turn, university social scientists both in teaching and research increasingly uphold “globalization” as an avenue of economic and social progress, as the “solution” rather than the “cause” of the Worldwide crisis.

This propaganda exercise also consists in erasing the history of socialism as well as eradicating from our collective memory the numerous nationalist movements and social struggles against US imperialism:  Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Vietnam, Korea, Cambodia, Indonesia, Palestine, Yugoslavia, Egypt, Tanzania, Chile, Grenada, Algeria, South Africa, Mozambique, Angola, Afghanistan, Libya, …and many more…. the list is long.

“Economic Science” 

In economics, abstract models totally divorced from reality are used to analyze reality.

Students must conform to the tenets of macro-economic theory and mathematical model building.

Economic theory ignores the reality of economics. Its abstract “pure theory” formulations constitute a pseudo-science which provides de facto legitimacy to the neoliberal monetary policies imposed by corrupt Western governments, on behalf of powerful banking institutions.

Realities are turned upside down. The neoliberal consensus prevails. Drastic austerity measures coupled with the “free market” under IMF auspices are upheld as a means to generating economic growth and alleviating poverty. Ultimately what is at stake is that science, knowledge and analysis have been moulded and manipulated to such an extent that an understanding of the “real world” is no longer possible.

It is in this context that the “Battle of Ideas” opens up an important avenue. It serves to break a political consensus, it reveals the twisted nature of science and the social sciences, namely the inability of knowledge and analysis to provide an understanding of the true nature of an unfolding “New World Order” predicated on the destruction of representative government and the de facto criminalization of politics.

My understanding of the “Battle of Ideas” is that it seeks to reveal and uphold the Truth. It  targets the fake science and knowledge practiced by establishment researchers, journalists, scientists, historians and social scientists.

In the present day and age, critical analysis is indelibly threatened:  most Western intellectuals by conforming to a broad “politically correct” consensus, are tacitly supportive of the capitalist world order. This is crucial because the “authority” of knowledge and understanding which these establishment intellectuals convey ultimately  trickles down to the grassroots of society and shapes the perceptions of the broader public.

That “authority” emanating from those who “think on behalf of the ruling elites” must be broken as a means to ultimately breaking the ruling elites. The consensus which provides legitimacy to a corrupt economic and social system must be broken.

In contrast, the role of the committed intellectual —invariably blacklisted by the Western media— consists in refuting and ultimately breaking that “politically correct” consensus: what this requires is an all out “Battle of Ideas” against media disinformation, war propaganda, think tank research and establishment scholarship.

Some people on the Left will say: what we need is to formulate an alternative paradigm, i.e.  “Another World is Possible”.  Let us be clear: we are not dealing with an ideological battle between conflicting paradigms or World views. An abstract blueprint of an “Alternative” discussed at a World Forum will not in itself lead to fundamental changes in the capitalist World order.  Proposing a “new paradigm” in the abstract removed from an understanding of how the existing social, political and economic system actually functions will not result in meaningful change.

What is required are social movements which rely on a detailed understanding (through research and empirical analysis) of the functioning of contemporary capitalism, its complex economic and social system. And that analytical understanding cannot remain solely within the sphere of intellectual debate, It must be embodied within a mass movement, it must constitute the basis for strategic action against the corporate elites.

Social and economic research must so to speak be “democratized”, namely the workings of this system have to be understood by the grassroots social movements. Ideas are thereby integrated into the revolutionary praxis of class struggle. And that can only be effectively accomplished once the neoliberal propaganda apparatus is broken.

Theory and Practice 

Concepts and analysis are never formulated in the abstract. The relationship between concepts and the concrete social realities of class struggle is fundamental. (This relationship is the essence of Marxian analysis which is often misunderstood). Concepts are built from a detailed investigation of the New World Order, its global financial system, its real economy, its institutions, its extensive military and intelligence apparatus, its historical evolution and how it impacts on fundamental economic and social relations and more fundamentally on people’s lives.

Theory cannot under any circumstances override this complex reality. Reality does not conform to theory. Quite the opposite: theory, namely conceptualization, emanates from reality. Ideas in support of a revolutionary process are not abstract theoretical concepts.  Theoretical formulations are derived from empirical analysis, through a detailed understanding of real life, of the conditions of poverty and despair affecting large sectors of the World population.

This dialectical relationship between theory and reality defines the revolutionary role of  the intellectual committed to ultimately breaking the neoliberal consensus.

Manipulating the Class Struggle: Neoliberalism Creates Social Divisions

The imposition of neoliberalism feeds on divisiveness, it encourages the creation of divisions within political parties and organizations opposed to the neoliberal consensus. The underlying strategy of the Neocons is not to crush the protest movement but to create a variety of separate protest movements which do not threaten the capitalist world order. It is in this regard that protest (supported and financed by elite foundations) becomes a ritual of dissent which accepts the legitimacy of those who are the object of the protest.

In an era marked by “humanitarian wars”, “color revolutions” and regime change, various “left” opposition coalitions have emerged.  Yet at the same time many of these social movements supported by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been highjacked. They are co-opted and financed by corporate foundations (Rockefeller, Ford, et al). The latter are not only controlled by powerful financial conglomerates, they also have links to US intelligence.

Despite the setbacks of recent years including US led wars in the Middle East, coups d’état, insurgencies, State supported terrorism, economic sanctions, regime change,… the class struggle must indelibly prevail. For it to succeed, however, the inner workings of global capitalism must be understood: And that is where the “battle of ideas” comes in.

Conceptualization and analysis of economic and social realities are to be combined with the formulation of strategies and revolutionary praxis with a view to disarming the capitalist World Order.

But that cannot be achieved when “progressive leaders”, “left intellectuals” and anti-war activists  are coopted by elite foundations. The ploy is to infiltrate people’s organizations, selectively handpick civil society leaders “whom we can trust” and integrate them into a “dialogue”, make them feel that they are “progressives” acting on behalf of their grassroots, but make them act in a way which serves the interests of the corporate establishment.

Global Capitalism 

What is ultimately at stake are the structures and institutional base of global capitalism which are characterized by fraud, money laundering, corruption and co-optation. The latter not only permeate the corporate establishment, they also characterize the “opposition” organizations coopted and financed by elite foundations.

The “Battle of Ideas” questions the legitimacy of government decision-makers in high office; concurrently it reveals the criminal nature of the State and more specifically of US foreign policy. In turn the latter are sustained by the criminalization of international law.

The ultimate objective is to to reverse the dominant imperial ideology, which upholds “humanitarian wars” as peacemaking undertakings and which upholds austerity measures, low wages, bankruptcies, privatization and the repeal of social programs as an “economic solution”.

The underlying institutional fabric of global capitalism —political as well as economic— is sustained by a vast intelligence and propaganda apparatus.  And that is what has to be broken.

Ultimately honesty, solidarity and commitment combined with carefully formulated strategies and “analysis” are the driving forces behind a genuine class struggle.

In the words of Albert Einstein,  “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” And that in so few words describes Fidel Castro’s contribution to the future of humanity:

“We don’t need the empire to give us anything. Our efforts will be legal and peaceful, because our commitment is to peace and fraternity among all human beings who live on this planet.” (Fidel Castro Ruz, “Brother Obama”, Grannma, March 27,  2016, Message to Barack Obama upon his visit to Cuba)

Michel Chossudovsky, Montreal, Quebec, May 2016


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Mike Pompeo, Psychopath

November 9th, 2018 by Kurt Nimmo

During an interview with BBC Persia, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States will starve millions of Iranians to death if the country’s leadership doesn’t bend to its will. 

Pompeo said Iran’s “leadership has to make a decision that they want their people to eat.” 

This is siege warfare. It is illegal under the Geneva Conventions, in particular the protocol relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Article 53: Starvation of civilians as a method of warfare is prohibited). 

But then neocons don’t do international law. 

John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser and a neocon’s neocon, recently said the US will “use any means necessary” to push back against the International Criminal Court (ICC) and its commitment to punish war crimes. Bolton warned the US will sanction and arrest individuals investigating war crimes and the torture of detainees, the latter conducted by “patriots,” according to Bolton. He added that frustrating prosecution of war crimes “remains one of my proudest achievements.” 

In 2002, the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and China refused to sign the ICC’s founding document, thus indicating they would continue to use siege warfare, famine, torture, ethnic cleansing, rape, and wholesale murder of innocent civilians. 

For more than 70 years, Israel has shot, bombed, and ethnically cleansed Palestinian Arabs. Saudi Arabia has produced the worst humanitarian crisis in recent memory as it continues to viciously attack Yemen with the help of the United States. China continues its “strike hard” campaign against Uyghur opposition, the ethnic cleansing of Tibetan monastics, and the expansion of its laogai forced labor camps (where consumer goods are manufactured and then sold to Walmart shopping Americans). 

A normal, non-psychopathic person would undoubtedly recoil at the thought of Iranian children starving, but then we’re talking about neocons responsible for the engineered murder of 1.5 million Iraqis, including 500,000 children under the Bush-Clinton sanctions regime. 

Hillary Clinton isn’t considered a card-carrying neocon, yet she stands shoulder to shoulder with Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, and John Bolton when it comes to killing recalcitrant Arabs, Muslims, and other enemies of Israel and Saudi Arabia, and prevent what the late Zbigniew Brzezinski described as vassals and barbarians coming together in organized resistance to neoliberal geostrategy of domination and exploitation. 

Mike Pompeo’s psychopathic ultimatum was not widely covered by the corporate media. The apathy and intellectual laziness of the American people make genocide, siege warfare, starvation, and other crimes against humanity possible, mostly due to incessant lies and distortions produced by a corporate media acting as a propaganda ministry for the war state.  

There has not been a viable—or even visible—antiwar movement since the days of George W. Bush, thanks in large part of the political voodoo of Barack Obama and his CFR, Trilateral Commission, and Bilderberg insiders, basically the same folks now calling the shots for the geopolitical ignoramus, Donald Trump. 

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

Kurt Nimmo is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Globalresearch.ca

November 9th, 2018 by Global Research News

An ongoing smear campaign against Global Research appears at the top of the search engines.

According to Canada’s Global and Mail “Globalresearch.ca is being investigated [by NATO] for the dissemination of conspiracy theories and Kremlin-friendly points of view.” 

I will not go into details or respond to this gush of derogatory statements.

Readers should consult our site and decide who is telling the truth. 

Below are comments from prominent authors and personalities.

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, November 2018.

P.S, This is not a donation drive. But if you wish to support us, click this link or the image at the bottom of the page. Your endorsement is much appreciated.

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Global Research provides penetrating analysis with breaking news for a planetary audience and remains the indispensable resource for citizens of the world. Michael Carmichael, Founder and Director of the Planetary Movement.

Global Research is the leading research source on the fundamental issues of war and peace, imperialism and resistance, on the financial crises and the alternatives… Prof Chossudovsky has provided a forum for cutting edge critical essays which challenge the principle pundits of the mass media.” Prof. James Petras, award winning author, retired Bartle Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University, NY.

Global Research provides penetrating analysis of world events. The articles published by this invaluable website pull no punches in reporting on global power relations. Prof. Marjorie Cohn, distinguished author and Professor Emerita, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, University of California, San Diego. 

Today, more than ever before, war depends on deception. To oppose war without seeing through the deceptions currently being practiced by governments of the West is to act in vain. Global Research bravely takes on this task, and that is why it is a vital resource for us all.  This is why I have made its website my homepage. Prof. Graeme MacQueen, author and distinguished professor of religious studies

The articles and debates are very well documented and the information that is shared is honest and impartial. We need such professionalism in a moment where the Main Stream Media have sold their souls to the “politically correct” and forgotten their duty to inform honestly the public opinion. Mother Agnes-Mariam of the CrossMonastery Saint James the Mutilated, author, analyst and human rights advocate based in Syria.

When I want real, up to the minute information on world events, I first check with Globalresearch.ca Its writers are some of the best journalists in the world.  Others display unique insights and local knowledge not available elsewhere in the so-called “Main Stream Media”. J. Michael Springmann, renowned author and former US State Department official. 

Global Research is one of the finest and most easily accessed research tools on the web. A vast array of articles by the best known researchers are instantly available. Michel Chossudovsky’s meticulous research, perspicacity and courageous reporting offer the reader credible and in-depth analyses of the complex and controversial events of our time.  Bonnie Faulkner, Producer/Host, Guns and Butter, The Pacifica Radio Network

Truth is rare to find nowadays. We are consistently being lied to by the mainstream media – MSM, and especially by our ‘elected’ politicians. Global Research contains articles from conscious politicians, professors, journalists, whistle-blowers, geopolitical analysts, as well as ‘common people’, who simply want to help raise global consciousness by spreading the truth. Peter Koenig, renowned economist and former World Bank official.

I absolutely count on Globalresearch.ca as the highest quality, most professional news analysis service in North America and beyond. For many ethical, well-known authors and journalists with deep investigative and critical analysis skills, Global Research is one of very few high-readership places they can seek publication now that the corporate-controlled media has shut them out.  Elizabeth Woodworth, renowned Canadian author

I have known this Website for years and did not find another one that would be of a similar quality with respect to it being truly independent, best informed, analytically deep, close to many different realities of this world, and reader-friendly. I cannot imagine to renounce on looking at globalresearch every day. Prof. Claudia von Werlhof, distinguished author, professor of political science and women’s studies, University of Innsbruck,  Austria.

Global Research is massive! I think as a resource for anyone interested in world affairs, it’s probably unrivalled in its depth and breadth. William Bowles, renowned author and geopolitical analyst.

Global Research is one of the few international news site I completely trust. I make it required reading for my Political Sociology classes. Prof. Peter Phillips Professor of Political Sociology, Sonoma State University, Cal. (image right)

We consider the globalresearch.ca website our most important source of reliable news.  We especially value its courageous coverage of state crimes against democracy, which are rarely covered by most news and analysis organization.  We trust the site’s integrity and rely on it almost exclusively. Speaking personally, I would be lost without the extraordinary information provided by globalresearch: I would not know where else to find it. Karin Brothers, Canadian author and human rights activist  

Every day I turn several times to Global Research to read the latest postings on developments at home and abroad. Under the directorship of Professor Michel Chossudovsky, a distinguished Canadian professor, Global Research provides a wide array of analysis based on facts that stand in contradiction to the official lies that are used to control the explanations fed to the public.  If you care to work your way out of The Matrix, read Global Research. Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, renowned economist and author, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy under President Reagan

Primarily, I appreciate the artillery of Professor Chossudovsky’s grand statements on a variety of political issues, books, and analysis of the crimes of the US Empire in the international arena. What I also do appreciate is the guts of GR to question the official narrative of 9/11, which in itself is considered a mortal sin. To keep up with the real developments of US politics and keep one’s critical senses, GR is vital. Dr.Ludwig Watzal, Journalist and Editor based in Bonn, Germany. 

Global Research is edited by a renowned political economic scholar with no fear but much knowledge who has always in his work, since exposing the plan for genocide of democratic socialist Yugoslavia before it happened,  laid bare the horror while the privileged journals, media, academics and political climbers ignored and profited. Global Research contributors are cut from similar cloth, and track the reality otherwise unsaid – so far ahead of and deeper than the chattering ideologues in the MSM as to be an embarrassment to them and their paymasters. Prof. John McMurtry, professor of philosophy emeritus at Guelph University, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (FRSC).

In these times of great political upheaval and confusion, when the very core of civilized society appears to be disintegrating, Global Research can consistently be relied on to provide the facts with a clarity, a thoroughness and a truth like no other. Renee Parsons, distinguished author and former Mayor of Durango City, Colorado. 

Global Research is a key part of the effort to get the truth out and to provide activists with the information we need to overwhelm the corporate media. They set an example for all of us. We all need to think of ourselves as media outlets and use our social media and other outlets to put forward a narrative to support a popular movement for radical transformation. Kevin Zeese, author, human rights activist and co-director of Popular Resistance

‘I say ‘no mother and child should be in the least harmed anywhere in our still beautiful world’. But they will be and they are now: in Palestine, Yemen, Syria and a dozen other places on our globe. Humankind is on the brink. Widespread dissemination of truth and of truthful analysis is central in restoring rationality and world peace. Global Research is doing its very best in this. Dr. David Halpin, retired British surgeon and renowned human rights advocate. 

Does this unflinching commitment to deal with the facts behind the mainstream media narrative, irrespective of the consequences, create controversy? Yes. In fact, Professor Chossudovsky has been and is the target of innumerable character assassinations and disinformation regarding his views. However, he and the CRG have not only survived these obvious attempts to put a halt to their work, but collectively and individually the entire staff has blossomed even further. Wherever I go in different countries, progressive people follow GR. There is no other independent web site that has this incredible reach and scope.  Arnold August, award-winning Canadian author and political analyst of Cuba.

“Global Research is a much-needed and potent antidote to the massive doses of disinformation administered to us daily by the mainstream media, including newspapers, magazines, and of course television. Dr. Jacques R. Pauwels, prominent Canadian historian and author. 

Since March of 2015 the United States has engineered and guided a genocidal war against the people of Yemen.

Daily bombing operations by the Saudi Arabian-led Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has killed tens of thousands of people, injured and sickened hundreds of thousands more and created the worse humanitarian crisis in the world.

At present Yemen is facing famine due to the targeting of hospitals, schools and neighborhoods in an effort to break the will of the people to resist this military onslaught. The strategic port at Hodeida is a key element in the campaign waged by the Saudi-GCC coalition to starve the Yemini population into submission.

Nonetheless, the U.S. and British-backed forces are nowhere nearer to defeating the Ansurallah-led coalition which has seized huge swaths of territory in the north, central and southern regions of the country, the most underdeveloped and impoverished in the entire West Asia. A renewed battle launched by the Saudi-allied militias to take control of Hodeida has failed amid stiff resistance by the Popular Committees committed to defending this important outlet for essential goods flowing into the country.

Even after the call for a ceasefire by the administration of President Donald Trump and the British Prime Minister Theresa May, the attacks by the Saudi-GCC coalition have escalated. Such a course of action raises serious questions about the sincerity of the appeal for the resumption of United Nations brokered talks to end the horrendous war. 

It should be reiterated that the warplanes, ordnances, refueling technology and diplomatic cover provided by Washington and London have been essential in the Saudi-GCC war against Yemen since 2015. Successive U.S. administrations and British governments continue to supply arms to the Saudi monarchy and its cohorts in the region. 

The apparent premeditated killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi embassy in Turkey has highlighted the links between Washington and Riyadh. The response to the killing of Khashoggi by the Trump administration has been cautious and muted. 

Perhaps in an effort to deflect attention away from the implicit guilt of Washington, the Trump administration called for a cessation of hostilities and the beginning of efforts to end the war which has regional implications. The political reasoning of the U.S. for their sponsoring of the genocidal onslaught in Yemen is based upon allegations that the Ansurallah movement is supported by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

This imperialist rationale is aimed at containing the influence of Tehran which is a major threat to the hegemony of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), both of whom are staunch participants in the broader designs for total western hegemony in the region. The inability to dislodge the Ansurallah and the Popular Committees exposes the obvious limitations of such an approach therefore emboldening resistance forces seeking a genuine independent and sovereign existence for the people of West Asia and beyond.

An article published by Press TV on November 7 based upon a speech delivered by Ansurallah leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi says:

“The US role in the military operations against our nation is pivotal. All fiendish plots against Yemen are hatched by the US, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Traitors just struggle to carry them out on the ground. Washington is speaking of peace at the same time that it is directing the Yemen war. Traitors are operating under the auspices of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and executing their orders.”

This same speech by al-Houthi points directly at the role of the U.S. noting that those “allies” of Saudi Arabia are viewed as mere pawns in the process. The Ansurallah leader claimed that the desire by Washington to reap profits from the sale of weapons to Riyadh is the driving force in the war.

Al-Houthi is quoted as emphasizing that:

“The United States has managed to reap tremendous financial gains, including arms deals, from the Saudi-led aggression on Yemen. Washington is supporting the Riyadh regime to be able to stand [on] its feet. It is also managing the violent and criminal role of Saudi Arabia. The recent uptick in attacks on Yemen comes as a number of (Persian) Gulf littoral states, notably Saudi Arabia and the UAE, are warming their relations with the Zionist regime (of Israel).”

Genocidal War Brings Yemen to the Brink of Famine

The character of the Yemen war as represented by the deliberate targeting of civilians many of whom are internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees impacted by wars throughout the region is largely being hidden from the people of the U.S. and Britain. In many cases reports on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen fail to mention the daily bombings and ground operations notwithstanding the supply of arms and other forms of assistance by the imperialists.

Assessments by the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator Mark Lowcock conveys that three-quarters of the people in Yemen, a nation of over 28 million, are in dire need of food, healthcare, medicines, potable water and housing. This same agency is predicting that the country could be the scene of the worst famine witnessed anywhere in the world in generations.

A cholera epidemic has sickened over one million people since 2017. Official figures published by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that approximately 2,500 have died from this disease which is contracted through the consumption of contaminated drinking water. 

Bombing and ground operations around Hodeida port has hampered the ability of healthcare facilities to provide emergency services. This siege of the port on the Red Sea represents the entry point for 85% of the food supplies imported into the country.

In a statement released on November 8 by Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari, the WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, the humanitarian specialist provides details on the current situation around the port city of Hodeida. The attempts of the Saudi-GCC coalition to dislodge the Popular Committees from the area have further endangered 2.4 million people living and working there.

Dr. Al-Mandhari in his statement said:

“The current violence in Al Hudaydah (Hodeida) is placing tens of thousands of already vulnerable people at risk, and preventing WHO from reaching them with the help they urgently need. The violence, now in close proximity to the area hospitals, is affecting the movement and safety of health staff, patients and ambulances, as well as the functionality of health facilities, leaving hundreds without access to treatment…. The people of Yemen are victims of this tragic, man-made crisis. Many have died due to the violence, some directly but most as the result of restricted access to health care, causing deaths that are normally preventable.” (See this)

Post-Elections Context for U.S. Foreign Policy in Yemen

Worldwide attention has been focused on the November 6 midterm elections in the U.S. which resulted in the Republican Party losing its majority in the House of Representatives and at the same time gaining several seats within the Senate, increasing its dominance over this legislative wing of the Congress. A split government will intensify the existing struggle over the domestic policies governing the country in the realms of immigration, healthcare, race relations and environmental regulations, etc.

Nonetheless, there have been virtually no differences related to foreign policy questions among the Democrats and the Republicans. The current phase of the war against Yemen began under the administration of former Democratic President Barack Obama. There was no serious attempt to end the war in 2015-2016, therefore the Trump administration inherited the situation and has continued the attempts to defeat the Ansurallah and its allies within the Popular Committees. 

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders earlier in 2018 sought to pass a resolution calling for an end to direct military support for Saudi-GCC war. This effort failed and there are no clear signals as to whether the incoming 2019 Democratic majority House will even debate the current military assistance provided to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Both the Democratic and Republican parties are controlled by the U.S. ruling class. Even though the two groupings have different constituencies within the population, decisions related to war and peace has continued to favor the militarization of the society.

Resources allocated for imperialist wars abroad and state repression domestically could be utilized for the rebuilding of the cities, suburbs and rural areas of the U.S. Tens of millions remain in poverty as the gap between rich and poor widens.

These issues will only be resolved through a fundamental shift in the control of economic and political institutions in the U.S. Until the government is forced by the people to end its wasteful and genocidal war machine the world will continue to experience instability and dislocation.   

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Abayomi Azikiwe is the editor of Pan-African News Wire. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

All images in this article are from the author.

On 4th November, 2018, Christine Assange, mother of Julian Assange, made a deeply moving video public  appeal to  save the life of her son Julian.  

Julian Assange is Editor in Chief of Wikileaks. Because of Wikileaks reporting of acts during US/NATO’s illegal wars against Afghanistan, Iraq, etc., and the highlighting of corruption by USA/CIA and Corporate powers, and continuing his fight in disclosing the links between the private corporations and government agencies, Julian Assange has been threatened by high profile USA citizens, and a Grand Jury has been set up in America to try Julian Assange and Wikileaks, for their publications.  For this he is being persecuted and deprived of his right to liberty, basic human rights etc., Six years ago Julian Assange, aware of these extradition plans of America, sought asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy, in London, where he remains.  Julian Assange is now six years within the Ecuadorian Embassy, and has now been detained WITHOUT CHARGES for eight years.

In her appeal for her sons life, Christine Assange says he is in immediate critical danger.  He is now all alone, sick, cut off from all contacts including computer phone mail  and being persecuted in the heart of London. Ms. Assange says‚

‘for the past six years the UK Gov. has refused his request for basic health care, fresh air, sunshine for vitamin D, access to proper medical and dental care. As a result his health has seriously deteriorated.  Doctors  have said the detention conditions are life threatening. In 2016 after in-depth investigations the UN ruled that Julians legal and human rights had been violated on multiple occasions and that he has been illegally detained in 2010 and they ordered his immediate release, safe passage and compensation. The UK Gov has refused to abide by this UN decision’.   

When US Vice President Mike Pence visited Ecuador several months ago, behind scenes, Ecuador done a deal with US to have Julian Assange extradited for life to USA prison. Ecuador are trying to make this acceptable by saying that the US has agreed not to kill him. Now its a propaganda war with the US and UK to reduce his support enough to get away with  it politically. The UK/US extradition act means he could be held in Guantanamo Prison and face torture, 45 years indefinite detention and/or death penalty.

Currently there is a court case in Ecuador fighting the threats to violate his asylum given by the previous President of Ecuador.   There are strict protocol set down by the Ecuadorian Embassy regarding visitors and to date Julian has not managed to have visitors for many months now.

The Ecuadorian Embassy has admitted formal restrictions on Julian Assange  and he is gagged from saying anything about politics, foreign policy human rights abuses, in fact anything critical about any country in the world.

This is political persecution of Julian Assange by high level people and it is punishment for exposing high level corruption when he was editor of Wikileaks.

Christine Assange has appealed to save her sons life, and her appeal deserves an immediate response by us all and the Parties responsible. Mr. Assange is not asking for special treatment, he simply insists that the UK applies standard laws and procedures to him. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention’s opinion confirmed Mr. Assange’s right to liberty and right to protection. A text between Ecuador and the United Kingdom guaranteeing Assange  would not be extradited to the USA,would provide an immediate resolution to the continued illegal and arbitrary detention of Mr. Assange.

Mr. Assange is an Australian Citizen and the Australian Government have a moral and legal responsibility to renew his passport and facilitate his  safe return to  his own country, should he wish to do so. Julian Assange deserves all our admiration and gratitude for his courage and bravery in truth-telling. He is an inspiration to us all, together with his colleagues at Wikileaks, who are paying a high price for informing the public and upholding our right to know when Governments’ violate human rights and international laws.

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In the moral version of human history – expressed in the Quran, Bible, and Torah – corruption is considered the worst reckless impulse that caused men to fall from grace. It was the betrayal of trust and loyalty for purely selfish gains.

From that perspective, the root cause of corruption is individual moral shutdown, derailment or deficiency. On the other hand, modern-day scrutiny of corruption zooms in on institutions and good governance – professional and technocratic excellence and adherence to policies and procedures.

Much of this article will be dealing with the latter perspective, though no lasting solution to corruption can be found without considering the individual aspect. This could be the reason why corruption is scandalously ever-present in every aspect of the Somali government.

Harmonized Contradictions

Ironically, if a “Corruption Hall of Shame” were inaugurated, the majority of the top 10 list would be Muslim rulers representing nations ranking high in natural resources. Somalia would be leading the list as it has the past decade. This is the direct result of a culture of impunity and a lack of anti-corruption teachings.

However, you would not have heard this from the former UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Somalia Michael Keating. In his briefing to the Security Council last month, he said that Somalia has “a government with a compelling reform agenda anchored in strong partnership between President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre.” He continued by telling the Council members that “its centerpiece is to make the country creditworthy and accountable as a step to gain full sovereignty, reduce dependency and attract both public and private investments. IMF benchmarks are being met … and debt relief is closer.”

Well, of course. Somalia’s politicians are ready for more loans and dodgy deals such as Soma Oil and Gas, whose former Executive Director for Africa is the country’s current prime minister. Never mind the glaring conflict of interests.

Being instituted a few months after Somalia emerged out of its “transitional period” in 2012, the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) was established as a central bank of the donor funds and to facilitate the reconciliation process. However, UNSOM gradually morphed into the carrot-dangler that lures all across the political spectrum, the gatekeeper of the political process, and the legitimizer of any selected new government through corruption as long as it does not challenge certain dubious deals such as Soma Oil and Gas and the massive IMF and World Bank debts.

Incidentally, the United Kingdom is Somalia’s penholder at the Security Council. In other words, the U.K. has the most powerful role in all Somalia related issues. It has the exclusive authority to draft resolutions and frame any debate on the country. All three UNSOM leaders were British (guerilla) diplomats, though the latest has South African citizenship.

If I was not blunt enough in the past, let me try again. The international apparatus that was set up to “fix Somalia” is the main hoax for keeping it perpetually broken. As long as there are corrupt or pitifully credulous Somali politicians who are eager to legitimize the current system for their personal gains the nation will remain at the mercy of international and local predators.

As long as there are corrupt or pitifully credulous Somali politicians who are eager to legitimize the current system for their personal gains, the schizophrenia – journey toward sovereignty – will continue and the nation will remain at the mercy of international and local predators.

On Scale

In a 2013 article titled The Corruption Tango I wrote: “While robust functioning of all governmental institutions and policies of checks and balances are crucial to fighting corruption, the most crucial is the branch that enforces such policies.” Five years later, there is not an iota of improvement towards that end. The courts remain scandalously corrupt. Cash, clan, and connections are still the three most popular currencies in Somalia. Yet the current government audaciously claims it is committed to ending corruption.

Can a government that came to power through a manifestly corrupt process of purchasing votes through dark money “eradicate that sick mentality,” as Prime Minster Khayre said in 2017? Of course not, but it can manage perceptions and put on a good show for public relations.

Selective Enforcement and Co-option

Unlike its predecessor, the current government has a clever plan for distraction. They routinely carry out public prosecutions of petty corruption cases with media fanfare and public trumpet blasts while turning a blind eye to various shady deals that involve top officials within the government.

A few mega “corporations” practically own the entire country. Over the past two decades, these companies, especially those in the telecommunication business who are granted exclusive right to use the official gateway and country code without paying licensing fees or taxes, have been investing in keeping business as usual. It is an open secret how these mega companies co-opt key political actors by bringing them on board as stakeholders or through kickbacks to ensure their silence. Meanwhile, the old lady selling tomatoes under the scorching sun is routinely harassed by the municipality to pay her “public service” dues.

This widely accepted, flagrantly unjust clan-based system, known as the 4.5 system, remains the most potent force that maintains the culture of corruption and impunity in Somalia. Certain clans are guaranteed high ministerial positions. Once inside, these ministers are expected to suck as much as they can for their respective clans, themselves or both. Nepotism continues to be the most common practice in all branches of the government.

Defusing Scrutiny

Like the previous governments, the current administration facilitates key Members of Parliament and their family members with foreign medical services, scholarships for their children, and armored vehicles for protection.

Certain elements within the international community not only tolerate this corruption but also cultivate the right environment for it. Selected Somalian ministers may be granted easy access to funds for this or that project, or may be invited to some of those never-ending conferences in foreign cities. In return, these key individuals give those in the international community priceless cover, a patronage system, and a code of silence that sustains a two-way system of corruption.

Most of the Somalian ministers are members of the parliament, and the government is aggressively using whatever is in its disposal to co-opt the parliament. Only days after President Farmajo returned from his Qatar state visit in May, his office or the executive branch offered the Somali parliamentarians a deal none of them could refuse: an early vacation or recess and $5,000 cash per MP – so much for checks and balances.

These actions are to neutralize a restless parliament bent on advancing a “no confidence” motion to oust the current prime minister, whose long affiliation with the predatory Soma Oil and Gas and his draconian policies to silence opposition groups reached a breaking point.

You probably got the hunch now as to why a provisional constitution that fails to address key issues such as the national border has been the law of the land since 2012, why “constitutional reform” conferences are being held almost bi-monthly, and why the Constitutional Court and an Independent Reconciliation Commission are not established.

Corruption does not only erode public trust or causes division and malice. It squanders scarce resources and thus creates an existential threat. Impunity opens the gate for a culture of self-destruction (politically, economically, socially, and spiritually). Therefore, institutional tolerance of a culture of corruption is corruption.

Corruption is dangerous as it directly undermines security by making infiltration and intelligence compromise an easy endeavor. Terrorists have been going through checkpoints and security barricades very easily to reach their soft targets.

When it comes to corruption, there is no such thing as “bottom top” reform. There is only “top bottom.” Both the parliament and the executive branch are well aware of where to start if and when they become serious about fighting corruption. But knowing what kind of funky business it is in, the government remains too thin-skinned when it comes to scrutiny or criticism.

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This article was also published on The Globe Post.

Abukar Arman is a political analyst, writer, and former Somalia Special Envoy to the U.S. Contact him @Abukar_Arman

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According to Cold War notion of strategic stability, deterrence will prevail if both countries have second strike capability due to the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). Likewise, deterrence will be fragile if only one state has second strike capability.

The Indian Ocean is a global common and is named after India in geographical sense but New Delhi has lately started self-believing that this Middle Eastern cum Afro-Asian oceanic expanse is India’s backyard. India is the first South Asian littoral State that is introducing nuclear weapons into this Ocean. Like India nuclearized South Asia in 1974, the onus of provoking a response in the Indian Ocean rests with it.

The pursuit and maintenance of nuclear capability has been important for India to project its power, to revise global order and increase its influence and prestige not only in South Asia but also the Indian Ocean rim and beyond. In November 2017, India deployed its second Arihant-class SSBN, the Arighat. Currently, India is also constructing two more Arihant-class submarines. Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has also dedicated GSAT-7 satellite which is used by Indian Navy as a multi-band military communications satellite. Aside from India’s second operational nuclear-powered submarine, it has 13 diesel-electric ones, among which about half are in service. Such Indian ambitions, growing economic and industrial and naval capabilities coupled with canisterization and MIRVing of missiles pose serious challenges not only for Pakistan’s maritime, energy and economic security but also for its conventional and strategic capabilities.

India started gaining experience of operating leased Russian nuclear powered submarines in 1980s. A sea-based nuclear strike force is a route to an assured second-strike capability beyond South Asia. New Delhi will be able to project its strategic capability globally. Major Powers which presently, do not take India as a threat might have a plan B if India shifts to its so called non-alignment policy to version 3.0.

In 2003, India revised its 1999 nuclear doctrine. The draft doctrine of 2003 relied on the principals of No First Use (NFU), Massive Retaliation, and Credible Minimum Deterrence (CMD). Having officially adopted a posture of no first use and assured retaliation, India considered it essential to acquire a capacity for continuous at-sea nuclear deterrence (CASD) to ensure the survivability of its nuclear second-strike capability. Recently, a debate has evolved on the possibility of shift in Indian nuclear doctrine. As India terms its sea-based leg of the nuclear triad as a critical enabler of doctrine of No-First-Use. The potential change in No-First Use policy and adopting the First Use doctrine does not hold logic in this paradigm.

India portrays that it faces a security trilemma due to two-front challenges in terms of security (One being China, other being Pakistan). Furthermore, by camouflaging behind South Asian Naval Nuclear Trilemma, India has plans to continue to enlarge and modernize its SSBN fleet due to alleged threat from China. Such Indian motivations and perceptions vis-à-vis China do not hold ground as Indian military program started before Chinese nuclear tests which were conducted in 1964. In 1963, Homi Bhabha who is considered the father of Indian Nuclear Program wrote to Prime Minister Nehru stating that the Chinese nuclear test will be of no military significance and Chinese possession of a few bombs will not make any difference to the military situation. Also, even when China possesses only 250 nuclear weapons, India has the capability and capacity to produce approximately 2600 nuclear weapons. This capability, if acquired and goes unchecked by the major powers, does not hold ground vis-à-vis regional ambitions. This shows Indian ambitions to opt for blue water navy and global hegemonic ambitions which may pose a serious security threats in future to the U.S. and Russia alike.

India, China and Pakistan security calculus cannot be seen in isolation from the role of the U.S. in the region. U.S. considers India as a major defence partner, providing it a bigger role in the Asia-Pacific. The Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) between U.S. and India, coupled with Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) which permits both India and the U.S. military forces to use each other’s bases and other infrastructure, can antagonize China and affect the Balance of Power in the region. Therefore, this situation can be termed as India, China Pakistan, U.S. Nuclear Quadrangle.

Like Pakistan reluctantly responded to nuclearization of South Asia in 1974, Islamabad has started taking restrained and minimal measures to ensure deterrence stability in the IOR. Pakistan’s navy at present operates five French diesel-electric submarines: three purchased in the 1990s and two dating from the late 1970s. In May 2012, Pakistan established its Naval Strategic Force Command (NSFC) which is the custodian of Pakistan’s sea-based developing capability to strengthen its CMD and maintain strategic stability in the region. In November 2016, Pakistan established a Very Low Frequency (VLF) communication facility that provides a secure military communication link, hence, enhancing the flexibility and reach of operations including the use of submarines. Pakistan also has developed Babur III SLCM (450 Km range).

The completion of nuclear triad by India and its naval nuclear modernization can persuade it to use non-violent compellence against Pakistan in the future. This strategy can include a naval blockade. Thus, the nuclearization of Indian Ocean by India can give it more offensive edge, prompting possibilities of coercive nuclear escalation between India and Pakistan in case of a conflict.

To stabilize deterrence, both adversaries should have an assured second strike capability. India has an unfair advantage of lead time in developing the capability and also has access to foreign technologies. Therefore, it is logical for Pakistan should also take minimal measures to stabilize deterrence.

To end with, it is imperative to address the security issues between India and Pakistan which will be reverberated due to emerging Indian maritime nuclear capabilities. It is high time to reconcile India-Pakistan nuclear deterrence with arms control.

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Anum A Khan is a Senior Research Fellow at Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), Islamabad, and a PhD Scholar at Defense and Strategic Studies Department (DSS), Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad.

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Selected Articles: 5G Corporate Grail. Microwave Radiation

November 9th, 2018 by Global Research News

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Citizens’ Petition to Lift All Sanctions Against Venezuela Is Rejected by Canadian Parliament

By Nino Pagliccia, November 09, 2018

While Canada chooses to speak of the “dire human rights and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela” – where there is none – it ignores, condones and rather endorses Saudi Arabia in the making of one of the worst humanitarian crisis in Yemen. That is the most vicious double standard that a “democratic” country can demonstrate.

US

None Dare Call It Victory: Analysis of US 2018 Elections

By Dr. Jack Rasmus, November 09, 2018

The failure of Democratic Party leaders’ 2018 strategy to deliver as promised last night should also raise some serious questions about its strategy going forward for 2020. That strategy focused on running women and a few veterans in suburban districts and targeting the independent voter—a Suburbia Strategy—i.e. an approach apparently abandoning the 2008 successful Democratic strategy of targeting millennials, blacks and latinos, and union workers who since 2012 have been steadily reducing their support for Democrats.

Nicaragua and the U.S. Neo-fascist Offensive

By Fabián Escalante Font, November 09, 2018

A police force and army (both formed in the liberation war against the empire) have together provided security for citizens and have systematically combated drug trafficking and gangs in the region. The security they offer doesn’t exist in any other country in the area nor probably in other regions of the continent.

5G Corporate Grail. Microwave Radiation

By Joyce Nelson, November 09, 2018

There’s a lot of hype about 5G, the fifth-generation wireless technology that is being rolled out in various “5G test beds” in major cities including Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, New York, and Los Angeles. But it’s hard to see why we should be excited. Proponents talk about the facilitation of driverless vehicles and car-to-car “talk,” better Virtual Reality equipment, and, of course, “The Internet of Things” (IoT) – the holy grail of Big Tech that is just vague enough to sound sort of promising.

What is the Significance of the Reopening of the UAE Embassy in Damascus. Syria’s “Pivot” towards “Reconciliation” with Saudi Arabia?

By Andrew Korybko, November 08, 2018

It would be foolish to believe that the uber-wealthy UAE needs war-torn Syria more than the reverse, so the reported reopening of the Emirati Embassy more than likely signals a significant change in policy on Damascus’ behalf and not Abu Dhabi’s, the ramifications of which could be far-reaching for the entire region and especially Iran.

US institutions

The CIA’s Latest Greatest Failure

By Philip Giraldi, November 08, 2018

Government agencies that are skilled at invading nearly everyone’s privacy worldwide are sometimes totally inept at keeping their own internal communications secure. The problem is particularly acute for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which must maintain secure contact with thousands of foreign agents scattered all over the world.

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On November 8, the Syrian Special Forces freed all hostages, who had been captured by ISIS in eastern al-Suwayda and then held in eastern Homs, the Syrian state media reported. According to the report, the operation took place in the area of Hamimah east of Palmyra, where Syrian troops eliminated a group of ISIS terrorists and feed the hostages.

The SANA provided no further details. However, Syrian pro-government activists believe that Russia Special Forces may have played own role in the operation.

ISIS captured civilians in a brutal attack on the government-held area on July 25. Since then, the Damascus government had been struggling to rescue the hostages and even attempted to strike a deal on this issue with the terrorist group in October. However, only 6 civilians were saved this way. The military option appeared to be more effective.

Earlier this week, troops of the Russian Special Operations Forces reportedly arrived to the eastern part of al-Suwayda province in order to support the Syrian Army operation against ISIS in the al-Safa area.

A day earlier, Syrian pro-government sources reported that the elite 4th Division had been redeployed from northwestern Syria to positions around al-Safa. Several heavy rocket launchers were also deployed near the ISIS-held area. A source in the Syrian Army told SouthFront that government troops are preparing to launch a new attack on ISIS in al-Safa in the nearest future.

Since late July, the army has carried out several attempts to eliminate the ISIS pocket in the area, but a part of the pocket has remained in ISIS hands. Now, when the hostages are freed and the Russian military advisers are deployed ISIS is in much more complicated situation.

On November 8, the US-led coalition repelled an ISIS attempt to attack its military garrison near the al-Tanak oil field in the province of Deir Ezzor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported. The coalition reportedly eliminated over 20 ISIS members and 7 vehicles.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) also deployed additional troops to boost  security in the area.

Previously, the SDF recaptured a number of positions which it had lost to ISIS near the Hajin pocket in the Euphrates Valley. However, the situation in the area remains tense because the SDF is conducting no offensive operations against ISIS there now. The reason is Turkish strikes on SDF positions as well as Ankara’s threats to kick off a large-scale military operation against the Kurdish-dominated group in northern Syria.

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We’ve been warning about this moment since the first day TruePublica went online. We said that the government would eventually take the biometric data of every single citizen living in Britain and use it for nefarious reasons.  DNA, fingerprint, face, and even voice data will be included. But that’s not all.

The excuse to be used, as ever, will be national security or terrorism, despite the huge fall in fatalities from terrorism and terror-related incidents since the 1970s.

Apart from crime-fighting, the Home Office also proposes in its long-awaited report that it will use the centralized database for vetting migrants on the streets and borders of Britain.

Not for the first time, civil rights groups argue that systems such as face recognition is faulty, dubiously legal, and collected without public consent. The outcry over Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and the EU referendum should, if nothing else, confirm that bulk data collection, used without either public debate or a legal basis is emphatically against our civil liberties.

However, the legality of the creation of a centralised biometric database will not stop a government who have been repeatedly caught breaking the law when it comes to privacy and data collection. Police, immigration, and passport agencies already collect DNA, face, and fingerprint data. On the latter, police forces across Britain now have fingerprint scanners on the streets of Britain with officers providing no more than a promise that fingerprint data taken will be erased if the person stopped is innocent of any crime.

The government’s face database already has 12.5 million people – or so it has admitted to. The Home Office, embroiled in all sorts of privacy and surveillance legal cases caused a scandal last April when an official said it would simply be too expensive to remove innocent people from its criminal face databases of mugshots.

Without proper, enforcible regulation that can be fully scrutinised by civil society, there are many opportunities for the misuse of biometric data. It means nothing when the Home Office says its collection of biometric data will be “lawful,” when it is found by the highest courts in both Britain and the EU of breaking basic surveillance and data protection laws. And what laws there are, remain deliberately ambiguous on how they will ethically collect, store, or share biometric data.

Without any obstacles put in its way, the Home Office has essentially granted itself the right to end anonymity of any type to all the people of Britain.

Big Brother Watch recently released a report detailing a staggering 90% false positive rate for its face recognition systems and then went on to describe the Home Office defence of these systems – “misleading, incompetent and authoritarian.”

The fact that on Remembrance Sunday 2017, the Metropolitan Police used automated facial recognition to find so-called ‘fixated individuals’ – people not suspected of any crime, but who might be suffering mental health issues, should be a wake-up call for us all.

TruePublica has just reported on one local authority in Thurrock using databases and algorithms to deliver public services. More particularly it is surveilling its own systems and citizens to pinpoint and target certain families, vulnerable people, the homeless and anti-social behaviour. The system is called a “predictive modelling platform” and was only revealed through a freedom of information request by a local journalist.

Council data from housing, education, social care, benefits and debt all contribute to the creation of a profile that is used to predict whether a person is at risk or what services is provided. The profiles then assign people a score that indicates whether they need attention from social services. That risk score is stored in a centre where identifiable details are replaced with artificial ones, a process known as pseudonymised data.

The warning we gave was that it wouldn’t be that long when all citizens will be given such scores by local councils, local authorities, the police and various other government agencies. The speed of implementation has surprised even us though. One should not forget that there are 78 high profile government agencies and a further 401 public bodies closely associated with them.

To be fair to Thurrock council the system has become so embedded within their social services system that it is responsible for 100 per cent of referrals to the Troubled Family programme, a government-led scheme aimed at early social work intervention. The council also claims it has an 80 per cent success rate in predicting children who are at risk and should enter safeguarding. It does not say how the system failed the other 20 per cent or how it affected them.

However, there is a dark side to this. TruePublica warned two years ago that social scoring systems were on the way. We wrote in 2016 and then again in early 2017 as a result of an in-depth report by Civil Society Futures regarding a new wave of surveillance:

Citizens are increasingly categorised and profiled according to data assemblages, for example through data scores or by social credit scores, as developed in China. The purpose of such scores is to predict future behaviour and allocate resources and eligibility for services (or punishment) accordingly. In other words, rules will be set for citizens to live by through data and algorithms.”

The government is now building, without debate such a system for all of its agencies to access and input. Once complete the next step will be to ‘manage’ population behaviour through social credit scores.

Current common forms of biometric data collection include – fingerprint templates, iris and retina templates, voiceprint, 2D or 3D facial structure map, hand and/or finger geometry map, vein recognition template, gait analysis map, blood DNA profiles, behavioural biometric profiles and others.

These days gathering biometric data generally requires the cooperation (or coercion) of the subject: for your iris to get into a database, you have to let someone take a close-up photograph of your eyeball. That is no longer the case. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in the USA have perfected a camera that can take rapid-fire, database-quality iris scans of every person in a crowd from a distance of 10 meters. Consent is not required otherwise the technology would be worthless if it did.

In the meantime, biometric data will not be secure. It never can be, especially in the hands of the government. That’s because the hacking industry, already costing a mind-blowing $1.6 trillion annually across the world is expected to reach $2.1 trillion in just 3 months time. That’s the sum spent fighting off cyber-crime, not the sum spent of conducting it.

Identity theft directly affected 174,523 individuals in Britain last year – an increase of 125 per cent in little more than ten years. The authorities have simply been unable to stop this inescapable rise. Recent research has found that fraudsters operating on the dark web can buy a person’s entire identity, everything, the lot, for just £820. At that point your bank accounts are emptied, credit cards maxxed out – the horrendous list goes on. £4.6 billion was stolen in cyber-crime from Brits last year.

Would a new form of identity theft develop with biometric data added to the armoury of criminals?

At the very least, the government should restrict the collation of different types of biometric data into a single database. And it should certainly require that all biometric data be stored in the most secure manner possible. Currently, it is not proposing either as the database will be available to thousands of governments workers and hundreds of technology contractors.

And how easy is that theft going to be? Edward Snowden, a third-party contractor for the NSA stole 58,000 files from GCHQ sitting at his desk in Hawaii and then calmly flew off to Moscow for protection against the USA/UK. If GCHQ can have such sensitive information so easily stolen, that they claim is of national security, what guarantees can the government give that your biometric data will be safe? The short answer – is they can’t.

BigBrotherWatch Director Silkie Carlo said:

“The Government’s biometrics strategy is a major disappointment. After five years of waiting, it reads like a late piece of homework with a remarkable lack of any strategy.

While Big Brother Watch and others are doing serious work to analyse the rights impact of the growing use of biometrics, the Home Office appears to lack either the will or competence to take the issues seriously. For a government that is building some of the biggest biometric databases in the world, this is alarming.

Meanwhile, the Met today is surveilling Londoners with facial recognition cameras that they have no legal basis to even use. The situation is disastrously out of control.”

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The Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, an authority completely outside Ukraine, on Oct. 11 stripped away the canonical authority of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church—Moscow Patriarchate (MP), sparking a crisis with Russia.

The 1030-year old church is headed by Patriarch Kirill in Russia and the Russian church responded by severing ties to the Istanbul patriarch. Tensions have now been raised even further in the crisis between Ukraine and Russia that erupted after the U.S.-backed 2014 coup in Kiev that overthrew an elected president who tilted towards Moscow.

In Washington, the events were reported in The Washington Post as part of Ukraine’s struggle to “withdraw from Moscow’s control.” In Europe, Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini made the sober warning in the Austrian newspaper Der Standard that the religious interference in Ukraine could provoke a war.

Bartholomew’s action is seen as a first step to giving full autonomy, known as “autocephaly” in the Orthodox faith, to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kiev Patriarchate (KP), a heretical split-off that was created only in 1992 just after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Ukraine’s independence.

The KP church is headed by a self-styled leader named Mikhail Denisenko, who goes by the name Patriach Filaret. He is a defrocked former bishop in the Moscow Patriarchate of Ukraine.

The MP’s lineage goes back to the tenth century Christian conversion of all the people of Kievan Rus, the proto-state that was precursor to the nations of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Its authority in Ukraine was established in 1686 by the same Constantinople Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Bartholomew reversed his seat’s own 332-year-old decision. While the Ecumenical Patriarch is known as “the first among equals,” among Orthodoxy’s 14 autocephalic churches, he has no authority to rule over them. Unlike Roman Catholicism, Orthodoxy has no single church authority that can impose decisions over all the others.

The 14 churches are supposed to be independent of governments. But in Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, the anti-Russian president installed after the coup, and other government forces, are using the ruling to further erode Russian influence.

Members of the Moscow church in Ukraine have already been the targets of violent assaults by thugs trying to disrupt worship services, and such conflict is being fueled by politicians’ rhetoric.

In October, when Constantinople lifted Denisenko’s ex-communication, Poroshenko called the decision “a victory of good over evil, light over darkness.” He also said that recognition of the renegade Ukraine church would mean severing all links to Orthodox Russia and its “Moscow demons,” reported gazeta.ru.

Bartholomew’s decision didn’t come out of thin air, and the geopolitical implications are clear: breaking Russia’s ties to the Ukrainian people. This was demanded by Poroshenko, and supported by Denisenko, whose church has never been recognized by the 14 other churches.

On Oct. 31, Denisenko made his view clear in a statement to RFE/RL. “We will be striving to have a single Orthodox Church in Ukraine and to make sure that the Russian [Orthodox] Church is not hiding under the Ukrainian name while, in essence, it is Russian,” he said.

Moscow Responds

“Constantinople’s decision is aimed at destroying unity,” Kirill explained, as reported in Russian language media.

“We can’t accept it. That is why our Holy Synod took the decision to stop eucharistic communication with the Constantinople Patriarchate.” He added that the attack against the Orthodox in Ukraine “was having not only a political, but also a mystical dimension.”

He called for faithfulness to the canonical church, the Moscow Patriarchate, and says he’s “ready to go anywhere and talk to anyone” to prevent the schism among the Orthodox inside Ukraine and remove barriers separating the faithful in the two countries.

The break in eucharistic communication means that the priests of the two patriarchates won’t be able to hold church services together.

While Western media have played the break as an aggressive act by Moscow, the reality is more complex. The Russian Orthodox Church is the largest congregation among the approximately 300 million Eastern Orthodox Christians, and Kirill went to Istanbul to meet the Ecumenical Patriarch in August to try to avert any actions that would harm the unity.

Metropolitan Hilarion, chief spokesman on questions of schism and unity for the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow, explained, “For a church with more than 1000 years of history and ancient monasteries of some 500 to 900 years of age, the perspective of merging with some unrecognized entities, formed 20 years ago, is unacceptable.”

On October 31, Russian President Vladimir Putin referred to the action against the Ukrainian church in remarks to the World Congress of Russian Compatriots, an organization uniting people of Russian origin from all over the world.

“Politicking in such a sensitive sphere as religion has always led to grave consequences, first and foremost for the people who got involved in this politicking,” he said. He also referenced a “war” on Russian historical monuments by some forces in Ukraine.

Washington’s Hand

In the past year, discussions were held by U.S. officials with Poroshenko and Denisenko. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback, and Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell met with Denisenko in September. Then on Oct. 17, a press release in the name of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for religion in Ukraine to be “without outside interference.”

That statement came four days after Bartholomew recognized the breakaway Ukrainian church.

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Dmitry Babich is a multilingual Russian journalist and political commentator. Born in 1970 in Moscow, graduated from Moscow State University (department of journalism) in 1992. Dmitri worked for Russian newspapers, such as Komsomolskaya Pravda and The Moscow News (as the head of the foreign department). Dmitri covered the Chechen war as a television reporter for TV6 channel from 1995 to 1997. Since 2003 he has worked for RIA Novosti, RT, and Russia Profile. Dmitry is a frequent guest on the BBC, Al Jazeera, Sky News and Press TV. 

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Universal Man: The Seven Lives of John Maynard Keynes

November 9th, 2018 by Bryant Brown

Most of us know little about John Maynard Keynes and although he lived a century ago, he continues to affect our lives. This book about him is written in a style that is as formal as the hyphenated name of the author is stuffy! Yet, the book is a delight to read. Extensive research helps to reveal a complex interesting and dedicated person. It’s a timely book because the economics of Keynes have once again become favorable after some decades of being disparaged and ignored.

Most of us have heard of Keynes and his economics. What we don’t know is much about the man, about the thinking behind the ideas, how they became popular, got into favor, were rejected for decades, then reborn. Milton Freedman’s flawed ideas replaced Keynes for decades; until the economic collapse of 2008 and then Keynes was resurrected into favor again. Throughout, we have known little about the life, the character and the values of the man.

Let’s start with the basics; he was born in 1883 into an upper middle-class English family in Cambridge. Both of his parents were Cambridge graduates. His dad, like Adam Smith a century before him, lectured in both economics and moral philosophy. Mom was active in the local community eventually becoming the Mayor of Cambridge in 1932 when she was 70. Keynes was raised with a belief nurtured by society at that time, that a career in the civil service was a good and honorable profession.  That image of the decency, honor and usefulness of civil service work has been much maligned in recent decades, but that was he aspired to do. Thus, the first of the seven lives ascribed to him in the book’s title; the altruist!

His second life was as that of a boy prodigy. He did his upper school at Eton, an old private residential school and then on to King’s College Cambridge. For both he received scholarships. He graduated with a BA in mathematics in 1902 and stayed around campus for two more years, debating and studying philosophy and taking some economics lectures. In 1905 he passed the civil service exams. For a while he worked both in the Government and in Cambridge alternating his time between the government’s India office in London … to working on campus on probability theory. In the First War, the government called on him for help planning the financing for it.

This led to his third live, that as an official. He joined the Treasury in 1915 where he managed Britain’s credit arrangements during the war. For this he was awarded honours by the king and sent as the Treasuries representative to the Versailles Peace Conference in 1919. This experience, he summarized in his book The Economic Consequences of the Peace in which he rightly predicted that the unfair economic penalties imposed on Germany would create the pressure for World War Two.

With this publication, he was starting to live his forth life, as a public figure. In the chapter ‘Public Man’, Davenport-Hines adds his explanation of his task as author; he sought to delineate ‘Keynes’s frame of mind as an economist; his disposition, his reactions to events, his partisan loyalties, his second thoughts and the inducements that he offered as he tried to educate opinion and alter policy.’ Keynes for his part embraced his public role and sought to use his reputation to change public opinion to views he thought were correct.

Keynes kept his fifth role just under the radar; lover. The book has a lot of detail on a lot of lovers over the years, primarily male. There was so much detail in the manuscript that the publisher asked the author to amend it and include a little less sex, a request authors today don’t usually get! In the end Keynes met and married a Russian ballerina, Lydia Lopokova and they stayed together for life.

Life number six was as a connoisseur which was so apt for a Cambridge based person. There, there was a culture shared by the biographer; life was based on the Aristotelian ideal in which people worked to live, not lived to work! Keynes thought the pursuit of money was a sickness. Instead he opted for and lived a more balanced life; he collected books and art; he enjoyed and supported opera, theatre and ballet.

The last of the seven lives was as an envoy, a diplomat and ambassador for Britain, a role that grew from his minor bit in the first World War and became increasingly meaningful. In March of 1946 he attended his last function which was on Wilmington Island, Savannah where details on the establishment of the International Monetary Fund were being worked out. Although at the height of his powers it did not go his way (as Bretton Woods earlier had not gone his way). His way was to create a universally agreeable international fund; the United States had the power, had different self-serving plans and prevailed.

Davenport-Hines sums up Keynes life; ‘…no economist had left such footprints on policy. He was peerless in developing technical theory, explaining it to doubters and apply in it to practical business. He had, too, done more than anyone to secure state funding for the arts …. (and) in doing so, he had upheld civilized values in a decade of lowest barbarism. ‘

Keynes views steadily lost popularity to the ideas of Friedrich Hayek in the nineteen sixties, the Chicago School of economics and Milton Friedman in the seventies and eighties, and then to the much-eulogized practices of Alan Greenspan who took center stage for almost twenty years ending in 2006. In 2008 the house of cards the three of them created, collapsed.

It was this crash that brought a resurgence of interest in John Maynard Keynes and indeed of Karl Marx!

The most significant economic lesson for us from Keynes is that the unregulated free market is not stable. Not only that, but worse; when it goes into recession, its natural tendency is to stay there. Without public action, it will not recover. Thus, to fix this built in weakness of capitalisms, government intervention is essential; spend in recession and tax that spending back in good times. Keynes believed in balanced budgets but balanced in the longer run.

It is essential for the government to intervene in the economy. Keynes taught us why. The years 2007 and 2008, if we paid attention; proved it. Keynes dedicated himself to the common good, the welfare of everyone and he felt our economic system should do the same. That is not a common thought in the world of today.

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Yemeni War Deaths Underestimated by Five to One

November 9th, 2018 by Nicolas J. S. Davies

In April, I made new estimates of the death toll in America’s post-2001 wars in a three-part Consortium News report. I estimated that these wars have now killed several million people.  I explained that widely reported but much lower estimates of the numbers of combatants and civilians killed were likely to be only one fifth to one twentieth of the true numbers of people killed in U.S. war zones. Now one of the NGOs responsible for understating war deaths in Yemen has acknowledged that it was underestimating them by at least five to one, as I suggested in my report.

One of the sources I examined for my report was a U.K.-based NGO named ACLED (Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project), which has compiled counts of war deaths in Libya, Somalia and Yemen.  At that time, ACLED estimated that about 10,000 people had been killed in the war in Yemen, about the same number as the WHO (World Health Organization), whose surveys are regularly cited as estimates of war deaths in Yemen by UN agencies and the world’s media.  Now ACLED estimates the true number of people killed in Yemen is probably between 70,000 and 80,000.

ACLED’s estimates do not include the thousands of Yemenis who have died from the indirect causes of the war, such as starvation, malnutrition and preventable diseases like diphtheria and cholera. UNICEF reported in December 2016 that a child was dying every ten minutes in Yemen, and the humanitarian crisis has only worsened since then, so the total of all deaths caused directly and indirectly by the war must by now number in the hundreds of thousands.

Another NGO, the Yemen Data Project, revealed in September 2016 that at least a third of Saudi-led air-strikes, many of which are conducted by U.S.-built and U.S.-refueled warplanes using U.S.-made bombs, were hitting hospitals, schools, markets, mosques and other civilian targets. This has left at least half the hospitals and health facilities in Yemen damaged or destroyed, hardly able to treat the casualties of the war or serve their communities, let alone to compile meaningful figures for the WHO’s surveys.

In any case, even comprehensive surveys of fully functioning hospitals would only capture a fraction of the violent deaths in a war-torn country like Yemen, where most of those killed in the war do not die in hospitals. And yet the UN and the world’s media have continued to cite the WHO surveys as reliable estimates of the total number of people killed in Yemen.

The reason I claimed that such estimates of civilian deaths in U.S. war zones were likely to be so dramatically and tragically wrong was because that is what epidemiologists have found whenever they have conducted serious mortality studies based on well-established statistical principles in war zones around the world.

Epidemiologists recently used some of the same techniques to estimate that about 3,000 people died as a result of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. The results of studies in war-ravaged Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been widely cited by Western political leaders and the Western media with no hint of controversy.

When some of the very same public health experts who had worked in Rwanda and the DRC used the same methods to estimate how many people had been killed as a result of the U.S. and U.K.’s invasion and occupation of Iraq in two studies published in the Lancet medical journal in 2004 and 2006, they found that about 600,000 people had been killed in the first three years of war and occupation.

Wide acceptance of these results would have been a geopolitical disaster for the U.S. and U.K. governments, and would have further discredited the Western media who had acted as cheerleaders for the invasion of Iraq and were still blaming the Iraqi victims of the illegal invasion of their country for the violence and chaos of the occupation.  So, even though the U.K. Ministry of Defence’s Chief Scientific Advisor described the Lancet studies’ design as “robust” and their methods as “close to best practice,” and British officials admitted privately that they were “likely to be right,” the U.S. and U.K. governments launched a concerted campaign to “rubbish” them.

In 2005, as American and British officials and their acolytes in the corporate media “rubbished” his work, Les Roberts of Johns Hopkins School of Public Health (now at Columbia), the lead author of the 2004 study, told the U.K. media watchdog Medialens, “It is odd that the logic of epidemiology embraced by the press every day regarding new drugs or health risks somehow changes when the mechanism of death is their armed forces.”

Roberts was right that this was odd, in the sense that there was no legitimate scientific basis for the objections being raised to his work and its results. But it was not so odd that embattled political leaders would use all the tools at their disposal to try to salvage their careers and reputations, and to preserve the U.S. and U.K.’s future freedom of action to destroy countries that stood in their way on the world stage.

By 2005, most Western journalists in Iraq were hunkered down in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone, reporting mainly from the CENTCOM briefing room.  If they ventured out, they were embedded with U.S. forces traveling by helicopter or armored convoy between fortified U.S. bases. Dahr Jamail was one of a few incredibly brave “unembedded” American reporters in the real Iraq, Beyond the Green Zone, as he named his book about his time there.  Dahr told me he thought the true number of Iraqis being killed might well be even higher than the Lancet studies’ estimates, and that it was certainly not much lower as the Western propaganda machine insisted.

Unlike Western governments and the Western media over Iraq, and UN agencies and the same Western media over Afghanistan and Yemen, ACLED does not defend its previous misleadingly inadequate estimates of war deaths in Yemen. Instead, it is conducting a thorough review of its sources to come up with a more realistic estimate of how many people have been killed. Working back from the present as far as January 2016, it now estimates that 56,000 people have been killed since then.

Andrea Carboni of ACLED told Patrick Cockburn of the Independent newspaper in the U.K. that he believes ACLED’s estimate of the number killed in 3-1/2 years of war on Yemen will be between 70,000 and 80,000 once it has finished reviewing its sources back to March 2015, when Saudi Arabia, the U.S. and their allies launched this horrific war.

But the true number of people killed in Yemen is inevitably even higher than ACLED’s revised estimate.  As I explained in my Consortium News report, no such effort to count the dead by reviewing media reports, records from hospitals and other “passive” sources, no matter how thoroughly, can ever fully count the dead amid the widespread violence and chaos of a country ravaged by war.

This is why epidemiologists have developed statistical techniques to produce more accurate estimates of how many people have really been killed in war zones around the world.   The world is still waiting for that kind of genuine accounting of the true human cost of the Saudi-U.S. war on Yemen and, indeed, of all America’s post-9/11 wars.

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The US, UK, and French governments are behind millions of people starving in Yemen because they are “supporting this war,” an Oxfam representative told RT, urging London to stop beefing up Saudi Arabia’s military.

“We have 14 million people starving,” Richard Stanforth, Oxfam UK’s regional policy officer for the Middle East, said.

British, French, American governments are all behind this, they are all supporting this war.

Stanforth blamed the British government in particular, saying that London should stop its arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which is accaused of targeting food supplies and even no-strike locations in Yemen.

“We’ve seen attacks on water infrastructure, on hospitals, warehouses of food. This pattern is continuing. Certainly, it’s the airstrikes that are killing most civilians,” he said.

Stanforth says Riyadh’s bombing is not sparing humanitarian sites either… including that of Oxfam. Saudi Arabia is “aware of many of these locations” and along with the UAE, it is still hitting them, he added.

Western states have been widely criticized by rights groups for their continued arms sales to Riyadh. However, turning the tide on multibillion-dollar deals may not be so easy.

Following the killing of exiled Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, US President Donald Trump issued strong words to Riyadh. He was not prepared, however, to cancel a $400 billion arms deal, saying there are other ways to “punish” America’s Middle East ally.

Trump’s position was echoed by the attitude of Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, who said it is “very difficult” (or… costly, to be precise) to get out of the arms deals with Saudi Arabia.

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The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, approved passing a bill into law that allows execution of Palestinian prisoners, Hebrew-language news sites reported on Monday.Netanyahu reportedly gave the green light, on Sunday, to members of his Likud policitical party to support the law on the execution of Palestinian prisoners, a law introduced in 2017 by the Yisrael Beiteinu party, which is headed by the Israeli Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman. 

At the time, Lieberman said that the bill would be a powerful deterrent to Palestinians,

“We must not allow terrorists to know that after a murder they have committed, they will sit in prison, enjoy the conditions and may be released in the future.”

Despite that Israel currently has a law allowing death penalty, it has not been carried out since 1962 when the Jewish state executed Nazi SS officer Adolf Eichmann.However, the current law allows Israeli military courts to only hand down the death penalty if a panel of three judges impose a unanimous decision.The proposed bill would remove this condition which would allow Israeli civilian and military courts to carry out executions against Palestinians convicted of murder. In addition, it would require military courts to carry out executions by a majority of only two judges instead of full consensus by all judges.

Many Palestinian politicians and human rights activists have already denounced the bill and expressed concern that it will give Israel “legal cover to target Palestinians,” and argued that although it does not define a specific group, it is “intended mainly for the Palestinian people.”The controversial bill had previously passed its preliminary vote in January with 52 votes in favor and 49 opposing.

According to prisoners rights group Addameer, currently there are 5,640 Palestinian prisoners currently being held in Israeli prisons, of whom 465 are in administrative detention, 53 are female prisoners, 270 are child prisoners, and 50 are under the age of 16.

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How to be a Reliable ‘Mainstream’ Journalist

November 9th, 2018 by Media Lens

There are certain rules you need to follow as a journalist if you are going to demonstrate to your editors, and the media owners who employ you, that you can be trusted.

For example, if you write about US-Iran relations, you need to ensure that your history book starts in 1979. That was the year Iranian students started a 444-day occupation of the US embassy in Tehran. This was the event that ‘led to four decades of mutual hostility’, according to BBC News. On no account should you dwell on the CIA-led coup in 1953 that overthrew the democratically-elected Iranian leader, Mohammad Mossadegh. Even better if you just omit any mention of this.

You should definitely not quote Noam Chomsky who said in 2013 that:

‘the crucial fact about Iran, which we should begin with, is that for the past 60 years, not a day has passed in which the U.S. has not been torturing Iranians.’ (Our emphasis)

As Chomsky notes, the US (with UK support) installed the Shah, a brutal dictator, described by Amnesty International as one of the worst, most extreme torturers in the world, year after year. That ordinary Iranians might harbour some kind of grievance towards Uncle Sam as a result should not be prominent in ‘responsible’ journalism. Nor should you note, as Chomsky does, that:

‘When he [the Shah] was overthrown in 1979, the U.S. almost immediately turned to supporting Saddam Hussein in an assault against Iran, which killed hundreds of thousands of Iranians, used extensive use of chemical weapons. Of course, at the same time, Saddam attacked his Kurdish population with horrible chemical weapons attacks. The U.S. supported all of that.’

As a ‘good’ journalist, you should refrain from referring to the US as the world’s most dangerous rogue state, or by making any Chomskyan comparison between the US and the Mafia:

‘We’re back to the Mafia principle. In 1979, Iranians carried out an illegitimate act: They overthrew a tyrant that the United States had imposed and supported, and moved on an independent path, not following U.S. orders. That conflicts with the Mafia doctrine, by which the world is pretty much ruled. Credibility must be maintained. The godfather cannot permit independence and successful defiances, in the case of Cuba. So, Iran has to be punished for that.’

As a reliable journalist, there is also no need to dwell on the shooting down of Iran Air flight 655 over the Persian Gulf by the US warship Vincennes on July 3, 1988. All 290 people on board the plane were killed, including 66 children. President Ronald Reagan excused the mass killing as ‘a proper defensive action’. Vice-President George H.W. Bush said: ‘I will never apologize for the United States — I don’t care what the facts are. … I’m not an apologize-for America kind of guy.’

The US has never forgiven Iran for its endless ‘defiance’ in trying to shirk off Washington’s impositions. Harsh and punitive sanctions on Iran, that had been removed under the 2015 nuclear deal, have now been restored by President Donald Trump. Trump has also decided to pull out of the INF, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, with Russia. This is the landmark nuclear arms pact signed in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

But ‘balanced’ journalism need not focus on the enhanced threat of nuclear war, or the diplomatic options that the US has ignored or trampled upon. Instead, journalism is to be shaped by the narrative framework that it is the US that is behaving responsibly, and that Iran is the gravest threat to world peace. Thus, BBC News reports that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has:

‘warned that the US will exert “relentless” pressure on Iran unless it changes its “revolutionary course”.’

BBC News adds:

‘Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani earlier struck a defiant tone, saying the country will “continue selling oil”.

‘”We will proudly break the sanctions,” he told economic officials.’

Good reporters know that Official Enemies resisting US imperialism must always be described as ‘defiant’. But the term is rarely, if ever, applied to the imperial power implementing oppressive measures.

BBC News dutifully reported Pompeo’s comments:

‘The Iranian regime has a choice: it can either do a 180-degree turn from its outlaw course of action and act like a normal country, or it can see its economy crumble.’

A good reporter knows not to critically appraise, far less ridicule, the idea that the US is an exemplar of ‘a normal country’, rather than being an outlaw state that outrageously threatens to make another country’s economy ‘crumble’ for refusing to obey US orders.

Don’t Talk About The Israel Lobby

Another rule of corporate journalism is to downplay the influence of the Israel lobby in British politics; or just pretend it doesn’t exist. Moreover, you can boost your credentials by reporting from within the skewed, pro-Israel narrative that Jeremy Corbyn, a lifelong campaigner against racism, has succumbed to antisemitism. Even better if you can somehow link him to a horrific event, such as the recent murder of eleven worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue by a far-right white supremacist. That’s what Christina Patterson, a newspaper columnist, did on Sky News. She said:

‘I have to say in our own country, the Labour party has had a very heavy shadow of antisemitism hanging over it for much of this year… I know that Jeremy Corbyn and his colleagues have tried to say that it’s not a problem.’

This was a blatant smear.

If you work for BBC News, it is especially important that stories have an appropriate headline and narrative framework: namely, one that promotes Israel’s perspective and also obscures the agency involved when Palestinians have been killed by Israelis. Thus, a story about three young Palestinians, aged 13 and 14, killed in an Israeli air attack should be titled:

‘Gaza youths “killed planting bomb”‘

And definitely not:

‘Israel kills three Palestinian children’

Otherwise, you – or more likely your superiors – are likely to receive a phone call from the Israeli embassy in London. As a senior BBC News producer once told Professor Greg Philo of the Glasgow Media Group:

‘We wait in fear for the telephone call from the Israelis’.

This helps keep journalists in line.

It is also important not to watch, far less report, one recent film the Israel lobby doesn’t want the public to see. Titled, ‘The Lobby – USA’, it is a four-part undercover investigation by Al Jazeera into Israel’s covert influence in the United States. The film was completed in October 2017. However, it was not shown after Qatar, the gas-rich Gulf emirate that funds Al Jazeera, ‘came under intense Israel lobby pressure not to air the film.’ The Electronic Intifada website has obtained a copy of the film and has now published the episodes.

In Britain, an Al Jazeera undercover sting operation on key members of the Israel lobby last year revealed a £1 million plot by the Israeli government to undermine Corbyn. It’s best to look the other way, however, if you are an aspiring journalist in the ‘mainstream’. In particular, if you work for BBC News or the Guardian, you certainly do not wish to draw attention to a recent report by the Media Reform Coalition (MRC) about inaccuracies and distortions in media coverage of antisemitism and the Labour Party. The BBC and the Guardian were among the worst offenders.

Over one month after the damning report was published, Guardian editor Katharine Viner has still said nothing in public about it (as far as we are aware), despite being prompted by us, and many others, more than once. Perhaps unsurprisingly, not a single person at the Guardian has so much as mentioned it; including those columnists, notably Owen Jones and George Monbiot, the public is encouraged to regard as fearless radicals. Justin Schlosberg, the lead author of the report, has now published an open letter to the Guardian readers’ editor on behalf of the MRC. He wrote:

‘Both before and since publishing our research, which raised serious concerns about the Guardian‘s coverage of antisemitism within the Labour Party, we have made strident efforts to engage in constructive dialogue with both editorial and public affairs staff. Unfortunately, these efforts do not appear to have born any fruit to date. There has also been no reporting or commenting on our research, despite the significant public debate and controversy that it sparked. We nevertheless continue to hope and expect that a reflexive and considered response to the evidence will be forthcoming.’

Respected media academics – including Robert McChesney, Greg Philo, James Curran, David Miller and many others – are clear that the MRC report on coverage of antisemitism and Labour is serious and requires addressing:

‘It is imperative that news institutions — especially the BBC and those newspapers who pride themselves on fair and accurate reporting — answer to these findings. It is not enough to simply dismiss the research on the basis of presumed bias without engaging constructively with the research, including the notably cautious approach adopted by the researchers.’

The statement continued:

‘Silence or blanket dismissal will only speak volumes about the widely sensed malaise in our free press and public service media. A functioning democracy depends on a functioning fourth estate.’

The academics’ statement went unheeded by the ‘mainstream’ media; thus highlighting the dearth of a functioning fourth estate, and the grievous lack of a functioning democracy.

Attack Julian Assange

As a ‘mainstream’ journalist, you also need to ensure that you treat WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange with the requisite amount of contempt and ridicule. Thus, ‘impartial’ BBC News featured a story on its website titled, ‘Julian Assange given feline ultimatum by Ecuador’. Assange, the BBC said, had:

‘been given a set of house rules at the Ecuadorean embassy in London that include cleaning his bathroom and taking better care of his cat.’

The original version of the article even included a fake quote, ‘Save water, don’t shower’, from a parody Julian Assange Twitter account; possibly a symptom of an over-eager BBC reporter trying to make Assange look as ridiculous as possible.

In similar vein, The Times ran a piece titled, ‘Clean up after your cat or else, Ecuadorian embassy tells Julian Assange’, followed later by another article with the flippant headline, ‘Ecuadorian Embassy tires of Julian Assange’s kickabouts and skateboarding’. The Express went with ‘Feline fine? Assange’s cat needs Embassy assistance’ (October 17, 2018; article not found online). The Guardian, which benefited from an earlier collaboration with WikiLeaks and Assange, published a flippant piece titled, ‘How to get rid of an unwanted housemate’ which chuckled:

‘The Ecuadorians are fed up with their longtime lodger, Julian Assange. But many of us have had a nightmare flatmate. Here’s how to get them to leave.’

By contrast, Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi, doing actual journalism, wrote:

‘While the media focused on Julian Assange’s cat rather than his continuing arbitrary detention, evidence shows that Britain worked hard to force his extradition to Sweden where Assange feared he could then be turned over to the U.S.’

Maurizi pointed out that Sweden dropped its investigation in May 2017, after Swedish prosecutors had questioned Assange in London, as he had always asked. She added:

‘Although the Swedish probe was ultimately terminated, Assange remains confined. No matter that the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention established that the WikiLeaks founder has been arbitrarily detained since 2010, and that he should be freed and compensated. The UK, which encourages other states to respect international law, doesn’t care about the decision by this UN body whose opinions are respected by the European Court of Human Rights. After trying to appeal the UN decision and losing the appeal, Britain is simply ignoring it. There is no end in sight to Assange’s arbitrary detention.’

Real journalists would be hugely concerned by the implications of someone publishing details of war crimes and corruption being targeted by a state and threatened with extradition and long-term imprisonment. But, as the Canadian writer Joe Emersberger says, the ‘Assange case shows support for free speech depends on who’s talking’.

Independent journalist Caitlin Johnstone notes that what ’empire loyalists’ in corporate media ‘are really saying when they bash Julian Assange’ is that they can be trusted to protect establishment interests. Of course, it is all the easier to attack Assange knowing that he has essentially been silenced in the Ecuadorean embassy. He is also at serious risk of deteriorating health if he is unable to leave the embassy soon without the risk of being extradited to the US.

At the time of writing, he still apparently has no access to the internet. His mother, Christine Assange, has just issued an urgent and impassioned plea to raise awareness of his plight:

‘This is not a drill. This is an emergency. The life of my son…is in immediate and critical danger.’

She adds that:

‘A new, impossible, inhumane set of rules and protocols was implemented at the embassy to torture him to such a point that he will break and be forced to leave.’

She warns that if her son leaves the embassy, he will be extradited to the US, given a ‘show trial’, face detention ‘in Guantanamo Bay, 45 years in a maximum-security prison, or even the death penalty.’

Meanwhile, as Johnstone adds, the message sent out by would-be careerists smearing and laughing at Assange is:

‘Hey! Look at me! You can count on me to advance whatever narratives get passed down from on high! I’ll cheer on all the wars! I’ll play up the misdeeds of our great nation’s rivals and ignore the misdeeds of our allies! […] I will be a reliable mouthpiece of the ruling class regardless of who is elected in our fake elections to our fake official government. […] I understand what you want me to do without your explicitly telling me to do it. […] Look, I’m even joining in the dog pile against a political prisoner who can’t defend himself.’

Soft-Pedal Fascism

Another rule to abide by as a corporate journalist is to worship the global economy, excusing or even acclaiming the rise of extreme right-wing politicians because that leads to possible gains for big business. As Alan MacLeod, of the Glasgow University Media Group, observed in a recent piece for Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting, the financial press cheered the election of a fascist president in Brazil:

‘Jair Bolsonaro was an army officer during Brazil’s fascist military dictatorship (1964–85), which he defends, maintaining that its only error was not killing enough people.’

He is set to apply ‘shock therapy’ to Brazil, initiating ‘a fire sale of state assets and an opening up of the country’s vast natural resources for foreign exploitation’, including the Amazon. Moreover, he has threatened to unleash a wave of violence on the working class, minorities and the left.

Bolsonaro stood against the centre-left Workers’ Party candidate Fernando Haddad. International markets, and therefore the financial press, clearly wanted Bolsonaro to win, observes MacLeod. Socialism is never popular with business and financial elites, after all.

MacLeod notes that Bolsonaro was elected with just 55.5 per cent of the vote after former leftist President Lula da Silva, by far the most popular candidate, had been jailed and barred from running on highly questionable charges. After being elected, Bolsonaro brazenly appointed the prosecutor who jailed Lula as Justice Minister in the new Brazilian government.

The Financial Times reported that the markets were ‘cheering’ Bolsonaro’s lead in the presidential race. The FT also noted surging stocks in weapons companies and a boost to the general economy as Bolsonaro’s performance ‘heartened investors.’

MacLeod concluded:

‘When it comes to opportunities for profits, all else is forgotten. After all, fascism is big business.’

Of course, a ‘real’ journalist would never say something like that.

An opinion piece on the business-oriented Bloomberg website proclaimed:

‘Brazil’s Bolsonaro Completes a U.S. Sweep of South America.’

Adding:

‘Other than Venezuela — and only for as long as Maduro holds on — the continent is now U.S.-friendly.’

The piece was written by James Stavridis, a retired U.S. Navy admiral and former military commander of NATO.

As journalist Ben Norton summed up via Twitter:

‘I repeat for the umpteenth time: capitalism and imperialism infinitely prefer fascism over socialism. Capitalist imperialism wholeheartedly embraces fascists, while murdering socialists. This ex-commander of U.S. Southern Command is bragging about this.’

‘Responsible’ journalism means providing a regular, amplified outlet for imperial-friendly ‘analysis’. As Jonathan Cook pointed out recently, Bolsonaro is ‘a monster engineered by our media’. In other words, in much the same way that the corporate media facilitated the rise of Donald Trump to become US president.

Bury UK Responsibility for Yemen’s Nightmare

There are always exceptions to the rules. Patrick Cockburn, a long-time foreign correspondent with The Independent, is an example of a journalist who questions established ‘truths’. For almost two years, the corporate media have cited a UN figure of 10,000 Yemenis who have been killed in the US-and UK-backed Saudi war. Recently, Cockburn pointed out that this figure grossly downplays the real, catastrophic death toll which is likely in the range 70,000-80,000.

Cockburn interviewed Andrea Carboni, a researcher with the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED). This is an independent group formerly associated with the University of Sussex. Carboni is focusing attention on the real casualty level in Yemen. He estimates the number killed between January 2016 and October 2018 to be 56,000 civilians and combatants. When he completes his research, Carboni told Cockburn that he expects to find a total of between 70,000 and 80,000 victims who have died since the start of the Saudi-led assault in the Yemen civil war in March 2015.

Cockburn adds:

‘The number is increasing by more than 2,000 per month as fighting intensifies around the Red Sea port of Hodeidah. It does not include those dying of malnutrition, or diseases such as cholera.’

In fact, figures from UNICEF and Save the Children show that between January 2016 and November 2017, at least 113,000 Yemeni children died from preventable causes; mostly disease and malnutrition.

In an interview with Ben Norton on The Real News Network, Cockburn points out that, despite the horrendous scale of this suffering, it is being given minimal news coverage:

‘It’s horrific. And you know, it’s not- a point, actually, that the UN was making recently, I don’t think got picked up very much, was, you know, that famines are pretty uncommon. You know, there was a famine in Somalia some years ago. There was another smaller one in South Sudan. But a famine like this, as big as this, this is very uncommon. I mean, it’s entirely manmade. And one could say it’s been taking place in view of the whole world. But actually it isn’t, because the news of it isn’t being reported.’

Cockburn also highlights a study by Professor Martha Mundy, titled ‘Strategies of the Coalition in the Yemen War: Aerial Bombardment and Food War’, concluding that the Saudi-led bombing campaign, which is supported by the US and the UK, deliberately targeted food production and storage facilities. (See also our media alert, ‘Yemen Vote – The Responsibility To Protect Profits’).

As a well-established veteran reporter of impressive credentials, Cockburn can report such uncomfortable truths without suffering career oblivion. But woe betide any young journalist trying to make their way in the ‘mainstream’ who tries to do likewise. Instead, they should follow the example of Patrick Wintour, the Guardian‘s diplomatic editor, who performs contortions to provide a fictitious ‘balance’ in a recent piece on Yemen. Wintour refers to mere ‘claims’ that the UK ‘is siding too much with the Saudis’. The Orwellian language continues with the description of Saudi Arabia as a ‘defence partner’ of Britain.

The sub-heading under the main title of Wintour’s article gives prominence to the perspective of the UK Defence Secretary:

‘Jeremy Hunt says cessation of hostilities could “alleviate suffering” of Yemeni people.’

As the historian and foreign policy analyst Mark Curtis observed via Twitter:

‘This sub-heading is a microcosm of what a joke the Guardian is. After over 3 yrs of UK govt’s total backing of mass murder in Yemen, the paper has the temerity to equate UK policy with easing humanitarian suffering. The state could not ask for more.’

Aspiring journalists should take note of the state-corporate requirement to bury the bloody reality of ‘defence’ and the huge profits that must be protected.

Curtis also recently highlighted an admission by the Ministry of Defence that has seemingly gone under the radar of the corporate media:

‘Oh, so Saudi pilots *are* being trained at RAF Valley in Wales (Anglesey). https://bit.ly/2qiNkrN’

It would also not do for those hoping for a career in journalism to examine the daily contortions and sleight-of-hand pronouncements emanating daily from government departments. Thank goodness, then, for Curtis who regularly highlights the distasteful deceits that are churned out by the UK state.

We tweeted BBC News about the buried truth that the UK is training Saudi pilots, even as Saudi Arabia commits war crimes in Yemen:

‘Hello @BBCNews. Perhaps you could devote a decent amount of coverage to this? Or would you rather keep the public in the dark about the extent of UK government complicity in #Yemen’s nightmare?’

As ever, the BBC did not respond.

In short, being a reliable ‘mainstream’ journalist entails a number of basic rules including: propagating the myth that ‘we’ are the good guys; conforming to the requirements of wealth and power; keeping one’s head down and never challenging authority in any deep or sustained way; and refraining from any public discussion about these rules.

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Justin Trudeau used an apology for Canada’s historical rejection of Jewish refugees during World War II to condemn the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian human rights.

The Canadian prime minister apologised in the House of Commons on Wednesday for Canada’s decision to turn away a ship carrying more than 900 Jewish refugees in 1939.

More than 250 of the passengers were later killed in Nazi death camps after the MS St Louis was forced to return to Europe, historians have estimated. Canada and other countries in the Western Hemisphere declined to let the refugees in.

“We apologise to the 907 German Jews aboard the St Louis, as well as their families,” Trudeau said. “We are sorry for the callousness of Canada’s response. We are sorry for not apologising sooner.”

The prime minister then pivoted away from the historical episode to condemn anti-Semitism in the world today — and that’s when he linked anti-Jewish racism with the Palestinian-led BDS movement.

Launched by 170 Palestinian civil society groups in 2005, BDS seeks to pressure Israel to end its occupation of the Palestinian territories, ensure equal rights for Palestinian citizens of the state and allow the return of Palestinian refugees.

“Anti-Semitism is far too present. Jewish students still feel unwelcomed and uncomfortable on some of our colleges and university campuses because of BDS-related intimidation,” Trudeau said.

“And out of our entire community of nations, it is Israel whose right to exist is most widely and wrongly questioned.”

BDS organisers reject charges of anti-Semitism and argue that Israel’s supporters aim to stifle the debate about Palestinian human rights by conflating legitimate criticism of Israeli policies with anti-Jewish hatred.

Strong ties to Israel

Canada has maintained strong ties to Israel for decades, but the countries’ relationship deepened under previous Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper.

Aside from a few measures, such as pledging funds for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, Trudeau’s Liberals have largely stayed in line with their Conservative predecessors.

On 31 October, Canada’s minister of foreign affairs, Chrystia Freeland, was in Israel, where she met with President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“This is a great friendship between Israel and Canada. It’s one that is based on similar values and our commitment to democracy and freedom and liberty and the rule of law and all the good things that I think characterise our two countries,” Netanyahu said during Freeland’s visit.

In 2016, the Liberals backed a symbolic parliamentary resolution condemning BDS, “given [that] Canada and Israel share a long history of friendship as well as economic and diplomatic relations”.

That motion called on Canada to condemn “any and all attempts by Canadian organisations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement”.

A year earlier, before he was elected prime minister, Trudeau said he was “disappointed” that a BDS motion was passed at his alma mater, Montreal’s McGill University.

“The BDS movement, like Israeli Apartheid Week, has no place on Canadian campuses,” he tweeted.

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Three Years On, Yazidis in Northern Iraq Have Nowhere to Return

November 9th, 2018 by Norwegian Refugee Council

Three years since Sinjar was retaken from Islamic State group, more than 200,000 people, mostly Yazidis, remain displaced in northern Iraq and abroad, with no homes to return to.

While the plight of Yazidi victims was highlighted last month through the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Yazidi survivor Nadia Murad, the city remains largely uninhabitable. Unlike elsewhere in Iraq where reconstruction is slowly happening, in Sinjar it never even started. Meanwhile Sunni Muslim neighbours are afraid to return, fearing reprisals from community members or local security forces.

The Norwegian Refugee Council is releasing interviews with Yazidi survivors from Sinjar.

“Three years since the retaking of Sinjar from Islamic State group, this place is still a ghost town,” said NRC’s media coordinator in Iraq, Tom Peyre-Costa, who collected the interviews. “Streets are empty, you barely see anyone. Hundreds of thousands of Yazidis are still displaced across the country and cannot come back because of security issues and also because of the lack of basic services such as water and electricity. There is an urgent need to rebuild schools and hospitals otherwise this place is going to stay empty.”

NRC’s needs assessment in Sinjar found that it urgently lacks health centres, schools and security. People who fled from Sinjar also report high levels of psychological distress requiring long term psychosocial support.

NRC has spokespeople available in Iraq and in the region.

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Featured image: Yazidi children in a displacement camp near Dohuk. Photo: Tom Peyre-Costa/NRC

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There’s been a lot of talk about how Russia’s decision to sell S-400s to India might negatively affect its incipient partnership with Pakistan, but such speculation reveals an improper understanding of these two Great Powers’ developing relations that recalls the outdated zero-sum mentality of the Old Cold War.

Russia’s decision to sell S-400s to India was met with concern by some Pakistani observers who worried that it might affect their country’s incipient partnership with Moscow, though this was later revealed to have been nothing more than speculation after the latest developments in their relations that occurred after that event.

The joint anti-terrorist drills between the two Great Powers took place as planned, and their militaries later agreed to strengthen cooperation between their navies in early November. Around the same time, their two Prime Ministers met one another in China, where PM Khan invited his Russian counterpart Medvedev to visit Pakistan sometime in the future. Although it’s unclear when or even whether this will happen, an opportune moment would be if the memorandum of understanding on Rosneft’s possible construction of a $10 billion pipeline linking Iran, Pakistan, and India leads to anything tangible in this regard.

Seeing as how Russian-Pakistani relations clearly weren’t affected by Moscow’s S-400 agreement with New Delhi, the question naturally arises about why some people were worried in the first place. It can’t be known for sure, but it’s very likely that those observers inaccurately perceived this partnership through the outdated zero-sum lense of the Old Cold War when such a move would have undoubtedly caused a problem in their relations. The times have changed since then, however, and China’s win-win vision is the order of the day all across Eurasia. Russia and Pakistan understand that their relations with one another are strictly bilateral and aren’t aimed at any third party, even if others interpret them that way. This means that Pakistan accepts that Russian-Indian relations are independent of Islamabad’s ties with Moscow, just as Pakistani-American relations don’t have anything to do with Russia.

Having clarified that, Russia nevertheless agreed to sell India a formidable missile defense system that could upset the balance of power in South Asia, potentially to the point of imbuing India with enough confidence to undertake more aggressive conventional measures against Pakistan because of the expectation (whether correctly or not) that it’s capable of protecting itself from its adversary’s most likely responses. This might dangerously bring the region to the brink of war if that trend isn’t responsibly dealt with before then, though the fact remains that many Pakistani military analysts have remained calm and insisted that their country can still counter the S-400s through MIRVs (multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles), cruise missiles, and the nuclear triad. Another factor to keep in mind is that Russia’s “military diplomacy” with India is encouraging an intensification of China’s own with Pakistan through the sale of state-of-the-art drones in response to the S-400s.

In their own way, Russian and Chinese arms shipments are retaining the balance of power in South Asia and attempting to control the disruptive influence that American exports are poised to have there in the coming future. For example, India has gradually reduced its purchase of Russian arms to the point that it was granted a waiver from the Trump Administration’s CAATSA sanctions for its S-400 deal because of its compliance with what the US mandated in its National Defense Authorization Act of 2019 in this respect. The US, “Israel”, and France have been chipping away at Russia’s previous market dominance in this sphere, which is why it’s so important for Russia to retain whatever influence it still can in India through big-ticket military deals like the S-400. Similarly, China commands a lot of influence in Pakistan through its own arms exports there, suggesting that any future Pakistani-Indian conflict might be a Chinese-American proxy war.

Interestingly, however, Russia is the only Great Power capable of “balancing” between both South Asian states, seeing as how there’s enormous potential for it to increase its weapons shipments to Pakistan to both financially but also strategically compensate for its progressive loss of market share in India. Seeing as how the S-400 deal was successfully signed, India wouldn’t have any serious grounds to suspect any “double-dealing” on Russia’s part if it pragmatically sells other sorts of military equipment to Pakistan in the future. In fact, military ties are expanding between Russia and Pakistan as their initial anti-terrorist cooperation slowly evolves and begins to take on conventional dimensions. More work can certainly be done in this sphere, but that’s precisely why it’s being prioritized at the moment, albeit at a pace that’s comfortable enough for both parties.  All told, it’s expected that Russian-Pakistan ties will strengthen after Moscow’s sale of S-400s to India, and that this will contribute to strategically stabilizing South Asia.

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This article was originally published on Dispatch News Desk.

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.

Mid-Term Divisions: The Trump Take: “Defeat is Victory”

November 9th, 2018 by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

President Donald J. Trump has a special, strained take on the world.  Defeat is simply victory viewed in slanted terms.  Victory for the other side is defeat elaborately clothed.  Both views stand, and these alternate with a mind bending disturbance that has thrown the sceptics off any credible scent.  “It wasn’t me being slow,” came Frank Bruni’s lamentation in The New York Times. “It was America.”  Dazzlingly unsettling, the results has been tight “but many of the signals they sent were mixed and confusing.”

Those daring to make predictions that the House would fall to the Democrats were not disappointed, even if they could not be said to be spectacular.  Losses to the incumbent party in the White House in the mid-terms tends to be heavy, varying between 24 and 30.  President Barack Obama’s presidency bore witness to 63 loses to his party in 2010.  On this occasion, the GOP yielded ground in Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

The Senate, just to press home the sheer polarity of the results, slid further into red territory.  Joe Donnelly of Indiana, who had, in any case, been deemed quite vulnerable in the state, fell to Mike Braun.  Braun was one who drank from the cup of Trumpism, a move which seems to have paid off.  Missouri Democratic senator Clair McCaskill succumbed to Republican challenger Josh Hawley. North Dakota also turned red.

The Democrats showed some resurgence in various state level capitols.  Key governor’s seats were reclaimed, though their victories in Illinois, Michigan, Nevada and Wisconsin were matched by Republicans clawing on to Florida.  The governor’s offices of Arizona and Ohio also remained in the hands of the GOP.  The defeat of Republican Scott Walker in Wisconsin was particularly sweet, given his lingering dedication to the abridgment of union rights that resulted in an effective end to collective bargaining for public workers.

Moving aside the gripping minutiae and individual bruising, and the US is a state fractured and splintering, putting pay to such notions as “waves” of any one party coming over and overwhelming opponents.  Walls – psychic, emotional and philosophical – have been erected through the country. 

Rural areas remain estranged from their urban relatives; urban relatives remain snobbishly defiant, even contemptuous, of the interior. 

“The midterms,” came a gloomy Mike Allen in Axios AM, “produced a divided Congress that’s emblematic of a split America, drifting further apart and pointing to poisonous years ahead.” 

The angry voter was very much in vogue, be it with record liberal turnouts in suburbs, or high conservative voter participation in Trumpland.

What Trump succeeded in doing after the mid-terms was implanting himself upon the GOP, grabbing the party by the throat, thrashing it into a sense that their hope of survival in the next two years rests with him.  He could blame losses on Republicans who decided to keep him at tongs length, those who “didn’t embrace me”, while Democrats who sided against his choice of Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh were duly punished. 

Trump could also smirk with excitement that the punditry is still awry about how to assess the US political landscape.  Republican pollster Frank Luntz insists in a magical two to three percent “hidden Trump” vote that analysts refuse to factor into their calculations.

The news conference in the East Room provided Trump the perfect platform to spin, adjust and revise.  He also reverse heckled, striking out at journalists with brutal surliness.  PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor was accused of asking a “racist question” in pressing for his position on white nationalists. “It’s a very terrible thing that you said.”   

He could also weigh heavily into his favourite playground targets, one being CNN’s Jim Acosta. 

“CNN should be ashamed of itself, having you working for them.  You are a rude, terrible person.  You shouldn’t be working for CNN.” (The politics of playground fancy also took another turn, with Acosta’s accreditation subsequently suspended “until further notice” by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.)  

As has been frequent, if scattered, the president was not entirely off the message in attempting to reason the results.  The “wave” that was supposedly to come from the Democrats had not exactly drowned the GOP, and in terms of performance, he could happily point to a Republican increase of numbers in the Senate.  

He then brandished a weapon he has mastered since he became president: the art, less of the deal than the diversion.  Within hours of the results coming in, Attorney General Jeff Sessions came another addition to the long list of casualties that has made this administration particularly bloody.  Zac Beauchamp supplied a depressed note in Vox: the sacking of the marginalised and mocked Sessions was not shocking, which made it worse, a sort of normalised contempt.

“The truth is that Trump firing Sessions, and temporarily replacing him with a loyalist named Matthew Whitaker who has publicly denounced the special counsel investigation, should scare us.”

Trump, for his part, anticipates “a beautiful, bipartisan type of situation” working with Democrat House leader Nancy Pelosi.  “From a deal-making standpoint, we are all much better off the way it turned out.”  Far from being further rented, the chances for legislation have presented themselves, though the president was just as happy to issue a slap down warning: avoid initiating any investigations.  “They can play that game, but we can play it better because we have the United States Senate.”  As the dark lord of the Bush era, Karl Rove, surmised with apposite force: “Let’s be clear… Both parties are broken.”

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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]

Last November 27 of 2017 Alan Freeman who is a Canadian economist co-director of the Geopolitical Economy Research Group [1] based at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Manitoba, initiated an E-Petition to the Government of Canada. The petition was about lifting all sanctions against Venezuela.

E-Petitions are a novel method that allows any citizen to circulate electronically and introduce a petition to the government provided the petition is sponsored by a Member of Parliament. In this case the sponsoring MP was Robert-Falcon Ouellette of the Liberal Party. [2]

The following is the full text of the petition:

“Whereas:

  • On September 22, 2017, the Government of Canada imposed new sanctions against Venezuela, Venezuelan officials, and other individuals under the Special Economic Measures Act in violation of the sovereignty of Venezuela;
  • Such sanctions impede dialogue and peace-building in Venezuela and in the region more generally;
  • These sanctions impede the normal operation of Venezuela’s duly constituted political processes including elections;
  • The Government of Canada has supported the U.S. government’s sanctions against Venezuela
  • The Government of Canada has met with, supported, and continues to echo the demands of Venezuela’s violent anti-government opposition;
  • The Government of Canada refuses to recognize the legitimacy of Venezuela’s democratically elected government and falsely refers to it as dictatorial; and
  • The government of Canada seeks to promote foreign intervention in the internal affairs of Venezuela.

We, the undersigned, residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to immediately lift all sanctions against Venezuela, Venezuelan officials, and other individuals, retract all statements in support of US sanctions against Venezuela, immediately cease its support for the efforts of the US and other right wing governments in the Organization of American States (OAS) that violate the sovereignty and self-determination of another member-state and immediately cease all intervention against Venezuela.”

The petition was circulated over a period of four months and I personally signed it together with 581 other Canadians. The relatively low number of signatures should not be interpreted as a reflection on the relevance of, and support for the petition, but rather on the novel electronic process used. Any petition introduced in Parliament should be valued by its relevance and content. 

The petition was presented to the House of Commons on September 24, 2018 (Petition No. 421-02649) and the Government response was tabled on November 6, 2018 (Sessional Paper No. 8545-421-02) [3]

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, who has been a vocal opponent to the Venezuelan government, signed the Canadian government response. Therefore it was not a surprise to read the same old ideologically motivated arguments against the petition.

Canadians find it quite disturbing that the response would start with a worn out statement such as “The promotion of democracy and democratic governance, as well as human rights and the rule of law, lie at the heart of Canada’s values and foreign policy.” This comes precisely at a time when Canadian foreign policy is being openly questioned for Canada’s sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that is conducting indiscriminate bombings of Yemen. [4] The UN reported that 14 million Yemenis face imminent big famine and the consequent death by starvation of thousands of children. Canada is regarded as being complicit in those crimes.

While Canada chooses to speak of the “dire human rights and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela” – where there is none – it ignores, condones and rather endorses Saudi Arabia in the making of one of the worst humanitarian crisis in Yemen. That is the most vicious double standard that a “democratic” country can demonstrate.

Many of the arguments in the response to the petition have been questioned and rejected in a long-standing rebuttal to the government’s position on Venezuela in other venues.

For instance, Canada continues “condemning” the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), that it claims was “established in contravention of the Venezuelan constitution.” That is a blatant lie. We (Canadians) have often stated that Venezuela has acted in its full constitutional right (Article 348 of the Constitution) to establish the ANC, which has achieved the major accomplishment of ending the violence promoted by some foreign-endorsed opposition groups, and is today democratically proceeding with its mandate according to reports. [5]

Likewise Canadians have strongly objected to the absurd serious accusation by the government of Canada against Venezuela of “crimes against humanity”. The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, has taken the unprecedented action of signing a letter to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) last September 26 requesting an investigation. We can only state again the hypocritical double standard vis-à-vis Canada’s reported involvement in serious crimes in the Middle East.

Finally, confronted by the uncompromising politically motivated position of the Canadian government, Canadians are actively organizing and are not showing any signs of giving up on their request “to immediately lift all sanctions against Venezuela” and “immediately cease all intervention against Venezuela.”

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

Notes

[1] https://geopoliticaleconomy.org

[2] http://www.ourcommons.ca/Parliamentarians/en/members/Robert-Falcon-Ouellette(89466) 

[3] http://www.ourcommons.ca/Content/ePetitions/Responses/421/e-1353/421-02649_GAC_E.pdf

[4] https://thevarsity.ca/2018/09/10/yemeni-community-stages-protest-against-canadas-arms-deal-with-saudi-arabia/

[5] https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/14138

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None Dare Call It Victory: Analysis of US 2018 Elections

November 9th, 2018 by Dr. Jack Rasmus

For months, the leadership of the Democratic Party hyped the message that a ‘blue wave’ was on its way that would politically engulf Trump and reverse his policies. Well, the wave washed up on shore on November 6, 2018, but Trump barely got his feet wet.

The failure of Democratic Party leaders’ 2018 strategy to deliver as promised last night should also raise some serious questions about its strategy going forward for 2020. That strategy focused on running women and a few veterans in suburban districts and targeting the independent voter—a Suburbia Strategy—i.e. an approach apparently abandoning the 2008 successful Democratic strategy of targeting millennials, blacks and latinos, and union workers who since 2012 have been steadily reducing their support for Democrats. But the Dems believe their new Suburbia Strategy works. As former House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, declared to the media on November 6 after polls closed, the Dems had just won “a great victory”. But was it ‘great’? Or even a ‘victory’?

And is the Suburbia Strategy targeting women and independents in the ‘burbs a formula for winning anything but a couple dozen or so toss up, suburban House districts in off year elections? If not, what is—given the Democrat Party’s abandonment of strategies that once were successful?

If one listens to the talking heads of pro-Democratic media like MSNBC or anti-Trump CNN, they echoed Pelosi in believing the answer is ‘yes’. The message was the Dems won big time. Center-left periodicals like The Nation magazine declared “We Won!”. Even Democracy Now reported it was an “Historic Midterm”. More mainstream liberal media, like the Washington Post, editorialized the election gave the Dems in 2020 “a path to victory”. Ditto similar spin from the New York Times.

A closer analysis, however, shows if the Dems repeat and run their suburbia-women-independents strategy again two years from now it will be a path to defeat in 2020. And if they then lose again and do not stop Trump again two years from now– for they certainly did not stop Trump this stop around as they promised—it will likely be their end as a major party contender in national politics in the 2020s.

None Dare Call It Victory

True, the Dems won the US House of Representatives, but not by any historic margin. Not like they lost it in 2010. The average historical turnover of House seats in midterms for decades has been about 30. That’s probably the upper limit of what Dems will win in 2018, give or take a few more yet to be decided seats by late vote tallies. And it may be less than 30. A net swing of 30 in the House is just an average recovery of seats for the out party in midterms. That’s not an historic sweep or blue wave by any means. Trump won’t lose sleep over that.

But he will stay up late now tweeting a clear victory for his team in the Senate, where results for 2018 will soon prove strategically devastating for the Dems. Historically in midterm elections the out party is able to swing its way a net gain on average of 4 seats in the Senate. But the Democrats lost four seats, not gained them. That’s an historic defeat. In the Senate, the blue wave predicted to roll in was replaced by the red tide that continued to roll out.

Sad to say, the Dems’ Suburbia Strategy has failed to put any dent into the Trump machine, which deepened its hold on red states America, even if the Dems chipped away at its ragged edge here and there. And that failure has consequences. Here’s just some:

  • With the Senate now even more firmly behind Trump, with a majority of 54 Republicans, any possibility of impeachment of Trump by the House is out of the question. Moreover, Trump will now likely get to select a third conservative, pro-business Supreme Court judge. And with a 54 majority, he could nominate Genghis Khan and the ‘in his pocket’ Senate would vote him up.
  • A locked in Senate majority also means that Mitch McConnell will now go even more aggressive attacking social security, Medicare, education spending than he’s already signaled. And watch for an even larger flood of highly conservative, mid-level federal court appointments than those that have already been pushed through Congress.
  • The Democrats’ Senate debacle will not only solidify the big handouts to businesses and investors in tax cuts and deregulation under Trump’s first two years, but will mean a Senate now firmly in the hands of Republicans and Trump willing to undertake renewed attacks on abortion rights, on immigrants, and workers’ rights for another two years.
  • Another immediate consequence is that Trump’s 2018 $4t trillion tax cuts for investors, businesses, and the wealthiest 1% and his sweeping deregulation of business are now firmly entrenched for at least another six years. It’s not surprising that the US stock market surged 545 pts. on November 7, the day after the elections. Investors and the wealthy now know the Trump windfall tax that boosted their profits and capital gains by 20%-25%, and his deregulation policies that lowered costs even more, are now baked in long term.

While Trump’s Republicans expanded their control of the Senate throughout nearly all the rest of ‘red America’, by unseating Democrat Senators in Indiana, Missouri, Florida, and North Dakota, they retained control of strategic governorships in Georgia, Florida, Ohio, and elsewhere. The Republican red state governorships are strategic for several reasons: first, because Florida and Ohio are key swing states in presidential elections. They are also states that have been notorious in the past for manipulating election outcomes (Florida 2000), Ohio (2004) and suppressing voters’ right. Like Florida and Ohio before, in 2018 Georgia appears to be leading the way in voter suppression, as is North Dakota where potentially 30,000 Native Americans’ voting rights were restricted. Both states have been identified for weeks as having undertaken voter suppression measures.

Moreover, Republicans will likely win the governorship in Georgia, where votes are still being contested in a narrow result. And should they win, it will be only because Georgia’s Republican governor candidate, Brian Kemp, as the standing Secretary of State in charge of elections, personally engineered the voter suppression on his own behalf.

Another swing state, North Carolina, also notorious for voter suppression initiatives, has now just passed a ballot measure to allow its legislature to restrict voters rights still further. The Trump voter suppression offensive remains thus well intact and continues to expand its footprint in anticipation of 2020 elections.

What should worry Democrats for 2020 is that all these swing states with long standing voter suppression and gerrymandering histories—i.e. Florida, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina (add Texas as well)—will remain in the hands of Trump Republican governors come the 2020 elections.

  • The Senate and strategic Governorship wins for Trump will now embolden red state right wing radicals to become even more aggressive and organized. Bannon and his billionaire buddies—the Mercers, Adelsons, et. al.—will see to that.
  • Not the least significant consequence of the questionable Democratic victory is that Trump is now, in a way, in a stronger position to deal with the Mueller investigation.

He fired his Justice Dept. Secretary, Jeff Sessions, the day after the elections, replacing him with yet another ‘yes man’, Whitaker. Rod Rosenstein, the second in charge at the Department and liaison with Mueller, may likely be next pushed out. That leaves Mueller out on a limb—unless he moves the investigation to the House under the Democrats before getting fired himself. But that shift would make the Mueller investigation look like a partisan Democratic investigation.

  • And no one should expect the House Democrats now to seriously pursue Trump impeachment.

The House has authority to raise impeachment but the Senate must conduct the impeachment trial, and that’s just not going to happen now with 54 solid Republican Senators and Trump knows it. So the Dems in the House won’t even try to raise impeachment on the House floor. They’ll do a PR campaign for the media from the perch of House Committee hearings. No matter what Trump does from here on out, no matter what House committee hearings turn up in his tax returns (which will not be shared with the public), and no matter what Mueller reports out, it will all be a ‘smoke and mirrors’ offensive to stop Trump by Pelosi and her Dems in the US House of Representatives.

The Pelosi-Trump Bipartisan ‘Lovefest’

Further mitigating against any Democratic moves against Trump in the House is what appears to be an emerging ‘love fest’ between Trump and Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi repeatedly emphasized in her statement to the press on November 6,, the Democrat party leadership is going to go big on bipartisanship (again!). She signaled to Trump a desire for bipartisanship several times. Trump quickly responded to the overture by calling Pelosi, praising her publicly, and then tweeting that she should be the Speaker of the House now that the Dems have taken it back.

So Obama era Democrat Party bipartisanship is back, and we know what that produced: Obama continually held out the bipartisan offer, the Republican dog continually bit his hand. Mitch McConnell refused and turned down offers to compromise again and again. The result was a failure of an economic recovery for all but bankers and investors. Obama’s 2008 coalition and base thereafter dribbled away and then disappeared altogether in 2016. The Obama 2008 coalition of youth, latinos, blacks and union labor dissolved as fast as it was formed. The result of that was not only the debacle of 2016, but the subsequent conservative conquest of the Supreme Court and virtually the entire federal judiciary under Trump, an across the board wipeout of decades of business regulations, a $4 trillion tax windfall for business, investors and wealthy households, a total retreat on climate change, and a descent into a nasty political culture of emerging ‘white nationalism’ and increasing social violence and polarization. It all began with Obama’s naïve bipartisanship that we now see Democrat Party leaders like Pelosi (and no doubt the corporate moneybags on the DNC) attempting to resurrect once again.

Bipartisanship is a political indicator of a party no longer convinced of its own ability to lead and forge a new direction. Contrast the results of Democratic Party bipartisanship from Obama to Pelosi with Republican party rejection of anything bipartisan. Who prevailed proposing bipartisanship? Who won rejecting it? Yet, here we go again with Obama-like bipartisanship being offered by Pelosi. It will be a set-up for Democratic failure in 2020, just as it was after 2008.

Here’s my prediction why:

A bipartisan approach by the Democrat House will result in Dems getting the short end of the legislative stick once again. Policy areas where Pelosi-Trump may agree include

  • infrastructure spending,
  • limits on prescription drug price gouging by big Pharma companies,
  • token 5% tax cuts for median income family households,
  • paid family leave

But Pelosi legislative proposals will then run into a wall of opposition in Mitch McConnell’s Senate that will demand significant cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Housing, Education and other programs as a condition of Senate support for passage of their proposals. In addition, to get something passed, the Pelosi Dems will have to agree to watered down versions of their proposals as well. They’ll then get outmaneuvered in House-Senate conference committee, agreeing to the watered down proposals and the least publicly obvious and onerous of McConnell’s cuts to social programs—i.e. just to get something passed. If they don’t agree to McConnell’s compromises, they will appear to be voting against their own proposals. Either way, the Dems again will look ineffective again to their base, as they had throughout 2008-16. They will have walked into the bipartisan trap, and Trump-McConnell will slam the door behind them in 2020.

But we’ve seen that story before—under Jimmy Carter after 1978, in Bill Clinton’s second term, and during Obama’s first.

*

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

Dr. Jack Rasmus is author of the forthcoming book, ‘The Scourge of Neoliberalism: US Policy from Reagan to Trump’, by Clarity Press, 2019, and ‘Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression, Clarity Press, August 2017. He hosts the Alternative Visions radio show on the Progressive Radio Network and blogs at jackrasmus.com. His twitter handle is @drjackrasmus. His video, radio and interviews are available for download at his website, http://kyklosproductions.com

Nicaragua and the U.S. Neo-fascist Offensive

November 9th, 2018 by Fabián Escalante Font

In April of the current year, media headlines pointed to a ‘revolution’ breaking out in Nicaragua against the Sandinista Front government headed by Commander Daniel Ortega. Until then, and for 11 years, the government of that country, legitimately chosen in elections supervised by regional organizations, had carried out wide-ranging programs for reducing residual poverty, poor health, and illiteracy and also implemented many social programs that benefited rural and urban populations. Highways, roads, aqueducts, and an expansive electrical system were constructed. A solid social front, with the participation of unions, private companies, and the state, managed the economic and political interrelations among such programs. Benefits for the poor and marginalized sectors of the country were prioritized.

A police force and army (both formed in the liberation war against the empire) have together provided security for citizens and have systematically combated drug trafficking and gangs in the region. The security they offer doesn’t exist in any other country in the area nor probably in other regions of the continent.

Highlights of these years of the Sandinista government include diversity of political and religious tendencies and freedom of speech and assembly as evidenced by the country’s numerous television, radio and newspaper media outlets. All political currents receiving votes are represented in the National Assembly. Over that time they’ve contributed to the balance that is necessary for achieving sustained economic development. That shows up now with a GDP growing at a four percent annual rate.

Nicaragua’s original sin was to have achieved a Revolution and then to have defended it vigorously. The United States and local reactionaries wouldn’t ever forget that. At the end of the last century a dramatic and terrible war devastated that country, one with only 3.5 million inhabitants at that time. The cost was 55,000 deaths, tens of thousands of wounded, and destruction of the country’s socio-economic infrastructure. Then three liberal governments ruined the economy and stole even the keys. The FSLN won the elections of 2006 and Daniel became president. The counterrevolutionaries backed off, but remained in their hideouts waiting for whatever opportunity.

The empire for its part was working away in secret. For several years the CIA and its “legal” arm, the International Agency for Development (USAID), were training cadres and organizing groups inside the various dissident sectors in Nicaraguan society. The object was to attack, discredit and defeat the Sandinista government. They were working through organizations like National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Freedom House, Heritage Foundation, and the Albert Einstein Institute. They wanted to show the world and particularly our America that being revolutionary is a venal sin. Similarly, acting on behalf of masses of people is a crime against humanity.

In April the Nicaraguan government, facing demands from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) joined with private companies and labor unions to negotiate reforms to society security. The IMF was proposing to raise the retirement age in a population whose life expectancy hardly reached 70 years. The FMI also wanted to increase contributions from workers and employers, drastically reduce pensions for retired people, and eliminate social programs.

Negotiation led by the government and with the participation of private enterprise and unions was difficult, so much so that Nicaragua received a lot of help from international organizations. But still there was a real threat. Finally, thanks to skillful negotiation, the government and IMF agreed not to change the retirement age and to adjust contributions to social security. So workers would have to contribute 7 percent of their wages to social security, up from the current 6.25 percent. Businesses would contribute 22.5 percent, up from 19 percent. And retired people would lose five percent of their pensions to cover medical expenses. The government would compensate them by providing monetary bonds for their benefit.

A little afterwards, after a decree on this had been released, disturbances broke out. They were concentrated at first in universities and teaching centers, many of them private ones where subversives were waiting. On realizing how things were going, the government annulled the decree and expressed willingness to negotiate an alternative agreement inasmuch as the earlier one had been imposed through FMI pressure on the negotiations. Nicaragua receives important financing from international organizations having to do with electricity, water, health care, education etc. The country could have lost all this inasmuch as the FMI exerts a decisive influence over those entities.

It was at that point that disturbances broke out. The CIA and its acolytes from the USAID were prepared. With help from counterrevolutionaries and encouraged by the media, and with skillful manipulation by social networks, the rioting extended rapidly across the country like an epidemic. The police reacted to the circumstances according to their mission. The initial confrontations worsened once homemade weapons and conventional ones showed up in the rioters’ hands. As if following a master-plan, they began to install “blockages” across highways and other access roads throughout the country in order to bring down its economy.

Strangely, the opposition’s demands were never about immediately taking power away from the established authorities, but instead were about refusing to wait until 2019 to hold presidential elections. That requires some thinking: an observer might ask, “Why would that be?” There’s only one reason: the counterrevolution wasn’t prepared to take power. Moreover, those involved wanted to wear down government authorities and discredit them. They lacked program, cohesion, and leaders capable of governing.

At that point the government appealed to the Catholic Church to mediate as “guarantor and witness” on the assumption that its leaders would be acting in good faith. The first meeting with the participation of Daniel and his colleagues was on May 23. It turned into a media show assembled under the complicit eye of the Church hierarchy. Strange young people, dour businessmen, and renegades from way back fell upon the government delegation in a monumental provocation. President Daniel had to endure insults of all kinds. But with his well known presence of mind he rode out the storm and made sure in the following days that the negotiations wouldn’t fail. The government’s proposal that the barriers be taken down, which was essential for replenishing supplies, was accepted. And likewise the opposition’s demand for the police to be withdrawn in all localities was agreed to. The police forces had been accused of abuses, which, by the way, was a claim quite unprecedented and unheard-of.

The government went along with such a demand in an attempt to avoid confrontation. Also it was confident that the Church with its supposed moral authority together with its allies would react positively. They were thinking that Church authorities also desired a peaceful resolution of the manufactured conflict, which was something that didn’t happen. Confrontations escalated just as the counterrevolutionary “general staff” had expected.

Let us imagine for a moment what it means to take away the police in whatever city in the midst of overflowing passions stimulated by all the media and social networks. Confrontations mushroomed and multiplied. Gangs working for the opposition and for their own interests inserted themselves in the streets and at the barricades. The outcome was predictable. Victims accumulated on both sides, either murdered or wounded.

There were killings of militants and police, attacks on public buildings and government or Sandinista radio stations, dances of death by hot-heads on top of the “trees of life,” (1) men burned alive with their pleas being “uploaded” to social networks, and finally a society in chaos. All the while, “opposition” agitators howled for help, playing the part of victims. With rifles in their hands and shooting right and left, they invoked the OAS, the United Nations, the “Lima Group,” and all the international organizations. Raising their “cry to heaven,” they expressed outrage and demanded punishment for Nicaraguan leaders. Today, of course, they look on with indifference at the humanitarian crisis associated with the exodus of Hondurans pursuing the “American Dream.”

The atmosphere around their barricades was that of the 1980s war. Money fell into already overfilled hands for the buying of mercenaries and for killing and kidnapping police, or Sandinistas, or anyone looking suspicious. I don’t remember having seen or lived through such dramatic circumstances within the heart of a noble, friendly, warm, cordial people.

Once the authorities realized the Church was no neutral party, no guarantor of anything, and realized too that several churches were now counterrevolutionary headquarters and that the opposition was working toward a soft coup against the state, they reacted. They took back the streets and imposed order, arresting the main leaders and the terrorists. These were turned over to the courts. This was all done within the existing legal framework and without the army having to leave its barracks.

Slowly the streets returned to normal, and in massive demonstrations Sandinista supporters backed their government and its leaders.

The Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy emerged out of the roar of confrontation and smoke from gunfire. It was composed of the main opposition groups and headed by the Council of Private Enterprise (COSEP) and leaders of the Catholic Church. Little groups formed in its wake at the last moment, among them the April 19 Movement, the anti [inter-oceanic] canal activists, and others. What was astonishing was that for the first time in the history of humanity, rich people and their bishops claimed to be leading a “people’s revolution.” What a paradox!

Having carefully investigated these events, North American journalist Max Blumenthal had this to say about U.S. interventions:

“Since the unrest began, the NED (National Endowment for Democracy) has taken measures to conceal the names of the groups it funds in Nicaragua on the grounds that they could face reprisals from the government. But the main recipients of backing from Washington were already well known in the country.

“Hagamos Democracia, or Let’s Make Democracy, is the largest recipient of NED funding, reaping over $525,000 in grants since 2014. The group’s president, Luciano Garcia, who oversees a network of reporters and activists, has declared that Ortega has turned Nicaragua into a ‘failed state’ and demanded his immediate resignation.

“The Managua-based Institute for Strategic Studies and Public Policy (IEEPP) has received at least $260,000 from the NED since 2014. The grants have been earmarked to support the IEEPP’s work in training activists on ‘encouraging debate and generating information on security and violence.’ The funding has also covered efforts to monitor the ‘increased presence of Russia and China in the region,’ an obvious priority for Washington.

“As soon as the violent protests against Ortega were ignited, IEEPP director Felix Mariadiaga brought his agenda out into the open. A former World Economic Forum Young Global Leader educated at Yale and Harvard, Mariadaga was hailed by La Prensa for having “sweated, bled and cried alongside the young students who have led the protests in Nicaragua that continue from April until the end of May.”

“Asked by La Prensa if there was any way out of the violence without regime change, Mariadaga was blunt: ‘I can not imagine a way out at this moment that does not include a transition to democracy without Daniel Ortega.’”

In the wake of their failures, the opposition and its operatives created a new organization, “Blue and White for National Unity.” The name perhaps honors the unity the CIA created in the 1980s with UNO (The National Opposition Union), which was the organization opposing Sandinistas in that era. This time they are claiming to unite all opposition groups in forming a rear guard for the Civic Alliance. But in view of the latter’s class composition and its “revolutionary” plans, some discomfort is very likely.

This history looks a lot like the soft corps orchestrated by the CIA, NED, and their associates in Eastern European countries after the Soviet collapse. Organizations with similar slogans and operating under cover brought down governments in that region. But this still unresolved episode in Nicaragua will be different. Nicaraguans are a combative people with traditions of struggle. They don’t allow themselves to be easily fooled and they did overthrow one of the continent’s oldest dictatorships. They are armed with the thinking and examples of Augusto C. Sandino and Carlos Fonseca.

As an epilogue for these lines, we’ll use testimony from an adversary of the Sandinistas who reveals what goes on inside the coup-plotting groups.

“I am from the San Juan district in Jinotepe municipality and am a student of FAREM [University] in Carazo. Along with several friends and comrades I joined the protests of April 19 in Jinotepe. These protests were against the reforms to social security that the Sandinista Government was carrying out. They affect us and all other Nicaraguans […] All the time on social networks, we were making up attacks by the police, by the Sandinista Youth group, even saying that they kidnapped us students in order to have us issue a repudiation and express hatred toward people in the government. We too wanted to build support and backing from the population. At the same time we said we wouldn’t continue with this campaign of lies and that we would publicize our own struggle, but they kept on with the lies […]

“The hiring of gangs from the barrios generated much controversy. Many of us were opposed. We did so because they let the gangs watch over the barricades at night. That led to robberies and kidnappings like the seizing of the two transit police. But what certainly bothered us the most was to know that there were people who were financing the pay for these gangs. Where did that money come from? […] Their entering San Jose Colegio (St. Joseph’s College) was the tipping point. When the sisters handed over the College supposedly for protection from attacks, no one foresaw the disaster this would become.

“Their action allowed for more bums and more thugs to come in and that led to more violence. We also criticized all that and declared that this wasn’t the objective when we began on April 19. […] It was regrettable to see how drugs and alcohol were circulating at night at San Jose and regrettable too to observe the stealing amongst ourselves, and fights with real punching over a drink, over an order, or for anything else.

“Today I decided to make this public denunciation for a simple reason […] It pains me to see the harm they brought to Jinotepe, to see how they beat up our friends just because they thought differently, to see how they gave drugs to kids, to see how they plundered government institutions that attend to our own people, to see dead people in the streets of our Jinotepe […] When was this going to end? In my own memory I don’t recall seeing people with AK47s and every kind of weapon and saying they want to kill a police officer.

“I ask for pardon and am repenting, and I know that God will bring more calm to Jinotepe and to Nicaragua – the calm that we all had and that a few of them had snatched away from us.”

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

This article was originally published in Spanish on La Pupila Insomne.

Translated by W. T. Whitney Jr.

Fabian Escalante became head of Cuba’s Department of State Security in 1976 and afterwards was a senior official in the Interior Ministry. He is currently director of the Cuban Security Studies Center. He is an authority on CIA activities against Cuba. He has also undertaken research on the JFK assassination.

Note

1. The “Trees of Life” are “enormous metallic structures” that celebrate the Sandinista movement. Constructed by the current government, they are located in public spaces in Managua.  Opposition protestors targeted them beginning in April, 2018.

5G Corporate Grail. Microwave Radiation

November 9th, 2018 by Joyce Nelson

There’s a lot of hype about #5G, the fifth-generation wireless technology that is being rolled out in various “5G test beds” in major cities including Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, New York, and Los Angeles. But it’s hard to see why we should be excited. Proponents talk about the facilitation of driverless vehicles and car-to-car “talk,” better Virtual Reality equipment, and, of course, “The Internet of Things” (IoT) – the holy grail of Big Tech that is just vague enough to sound sort of promising.

But when it comes to specifics, there seems to be a lot of hot air in the IoT bag.

For example, in March 2018, Canada’s Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, while pumping $400 million into 5G test beds, reportedly “gushed” about IoT applications, including “refrigerators that monitor food levels and automatically order fresh groceries.”

Then there is the 5G proponent who enthused to CBC News (March 19, 2018) about “augmented reality headsets” being replaced by “a pair of normal looking glasses,” which everyone would be wearing in 10 years. Those glasses would “automatically recognize everyone you meet, and possibly be able to overlay their name in your field of vision, along with a link to their online profile.”

Apparently, the future human will be too brain-addled to make a grocery list or remember the names of acquaintances… which may not be the image that 5G proponents are hoping for.

“There are thousands of published studies that show that even low levels of microwave radiation do cause a biological effect.”

Amidst all the #5G hype, it’s rare to find a blunt statement like this one from Eluxe Magazine’s Jody McCutcheon: “Until now mobile broadband networks have been designed to meet the needs of people. But 5G has been created with machines’ needs in mind, offering low-latency, high-efficiency data transfer…. We humans won’t notice the difference [in data transfer speeds], but it will permit machines to achieve near-seamless communication. Which in itself may open a whole Pandora’s box of trouble for us – and our planet.”

Box of trouble

Many scientists would say that box of trouble has already been opened by earlier wireless technologies, which emit health-endangering electromagnetic radiation. As Josh del Sol Beaulieu, creator of the documentary Take Back Your Power, told me by email, “There are literally thousands of published studies that show that even low levels of microwave radiation do cause a biological effect.”

In fact, in March of this year, the scientific peer review of a landmark US National Toxicology Program study on mobile phone radiation and health found that there is “clear evidence” that radiation from mobile phones causes cancer – specifically, a heart tissue cancer in rats, and “some evidence” of cancer in the brain and adrenal glands.

“One key player has not been swayed by all this wireless-friendly research: the insurance industry…. ‘Why would we want to do that?’ one executive asked with a chuckle before pointing to more than two dozen lawsuits outstanding against wireless companies demanding a total of $1.9 billion in damages.”

But as Mark Hertsgaard and Mark Dowie reported in The Guardian (July 14, 2018), “Not one major news organization in the US or Europe reported this scientific news.” They attribute that silence to the power of the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA) and the whole wireless industry, which for decades “has been orchestrating a global PR campaign aimed at misleading not only journalists, but also consumers and policymakers about the actual science concerning mobile phone radiation.”

They have used the same “doubt-creation” strategy used by the tobacco industry and the oil industry: fund friendly research to make it seem like the scientific community is truly divided on issues like smoking or climate change.

But, as Hertsgaard and Dowie note, “One key player has not been swayed by all this wireless-friendly research: the insurance industry.” In their reporting for the story, they found “not a single insurance company that would sell a product-liability policy that covered mobile phone radiation. ‘Why would we want to do that?’ one executive asked with a chuckle before pointing to more than two dozen lawsuits outstanding against wireless companies demanding a total of $1.9 billion in damages.”

Massive experiment

Recently, 236 radiation-research scientists from around the world have signed a petition charging that 5G will be “massively increasing” the general population’s radiation exposure. And it’s not just humans that are endangered by this.

Dr. Joel Moskowitz, a University of California-Berkeley public health professor, told the UK’s Daily Mail (May 29, 2018) that the deployment of 5G “constitutes a massive experiment on the health of all species.”

In order to facilitate faster data-transfer speeds, 5G will utilize millimeter waves (MMWs), smaller waves accessed through a higher frequency of the electromagnetic spectrum not previously used by the telecom industry. These smaller waves cannot travel far, nor can they penetrate many types of materials. So this means that there will need to be millions of “small cell towers” (about the size of a refrigerator) close together – within a few feet of one another on every street.

Dr. Moskowitz warns that these millimeter waves can affect the eyes, the testes, the skin, the nervous system, and the sweat glands.

Eluxe Magazine’s Jody McCutcheon states that the higher-frequency MMW bands “give off the same dose of radiation as airport scanners. The effects of this radiation on public health have yet to undergo the rigours of long-term testing.”

Adding to the dangers to the planet, 5G infrastructure will depend on the deployment of thousands of satellites propelled into orbit by hydrocarbon rocket engines, contributing to atmospheric pollution.

An Oct. 27, 2016 article in The Ecologist titled “Wireless pollution ‘out of control’ as corporate race for 5G gears up” states: “The long-term, ecological implications of our new, anthropogenic radiation are not known. But peer-reviewed studies revealing harm to birds, tadpoles, trees, other plants, insects, rodents and livestock, offer clues.”

Given that he called 5G “a massive experiment on the health of all species,” I asked Dr. Moskowitz whether the mainstream media had expressed interest in this perspective. He replied by email,

“Although I have been interviewed hundreds of times by journalists since 2009 about cell phone health effects, there has been little interest in 5G,” with only three publications in the past two years showing interest in the new technology’s health effects.

When asked why there is such a rush to deploy 5G, Dr. Moskowitz responded that the telecom companies in the US “have convinced policymakers and the public that we are in a global race with China and other countries to deploy this new technology, and that we won’t reap the economic benefits unless we are the first to deploy.” As well, the industry claims that we need 5G for the Internet of Things and to “improve broadband internet access in rural areas,” although such claims are “arguable.”

Josh del Sol Beaulieu told me that the rush into 5G is because of “corporate profit – ‘tens of billions of dollars of economic activity’ as stated very clearly by former FCC [US Federal Communications Commission] frontman Tom Wheeler in 2016.”

Beaulieu refers to the fact that surveillance is becoming big business. “If the data harvested unlawfully from ‘smart’ meters will be worth much more than residential electricity, than what will the unparalleled amount of ‘user data’ harvested by ultra-invasive 5G technology be worth?” Beaulieu also mentions the fact that 5G “emits the same frequencies that are used in crowd control weapons” developed by the Pentagon.

Gadgets & climate change

People are becoming aware of the “dirty” side to their gadgets: the horrendous conditions of the coltan miners in the Democratic Republic of Congo; the mounting e-waste; the social and personal implications of our addictions to these devices. More recently, the connection to climate change has been revealed.

As tech site Gizmodo has explained,

“The Internet works because every network is connected, somehow, to every other. Where do those connections physically happen? More than anywhere else in America, the answer is ‘Ashburn’ [Virginia].”

This location is one of many data-hubs in that state where, as U.S. News put it,

“Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, hundreds of thousands of servers here rapidly transmit E-mails, process Internet search queries, safeguard classified data, handle online financial transactions, and store videos and medical records. And suck up megawatts.”

Calling these massive data servers “energy hogs,” U.S. News noted that they’re located in Virginia because that state has “the country’s cheapest electricity rates.” Indeed, The Guardian reported (July 17, 2018) that “70% of the world’s online traffic” is routed through just one county in Virginia, with such server farms “set to soon have a bigger carbon footprint than the entire aviation industry.” The article  points out the IT industry is predicted to account for 14% of the world’s total carbon emissions by 2040, with the Internet of Things adding greatly to that number.

But now the push is on in the US for these energy hogs to use “clean energy.” (Is that why the Trudeau Liberal government is planning to build 118 hydroelectric dams in the coming years?)

Beaulieu suggests we educate our city councillors to resist the 5G build-out. Others recommend staying wired, and refusing to buy any “smart” appliances. With the Canadian government poised to auction off more of the electromagnetic spectrum to the telecom industry, we can also remember that the spectrum is part of the Commons. We should all have a say in this.

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This article was originally published on Watershed Sentinel.

Joyce Nelson’s seventh book, Bypassing Dystopia: Hope-filled challenges to corporate rule, has been nominated for the 2018 George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature. It is the sequel to Beyond Banksters (both published by Watershed Sentinel Books).

Featured image is from Alan Levine CC, cropped from original

Bolsonaro disse que a Constituição é o único norte da democracia na manhã desta terça-feira (6) em Brasília, em sessão solene no Congresso Nacional em homenagem aos 30 anos da Constituição.

“Na topografia, existem três nortes, o da quadrícula, o verdadeiro e o magnético. Na democracia só um norte, é o da nossa Constituição”, disse o presidente eleito do Brasil em 28 de outubro após criminosa campanha que, retratando perfeitamente o histórico deste político corrupto, ineficiente e acentuadamente truculento, feriu e assassinou centenas de cidadãos inocentes.

Inflada por Bolsonaro, que se eleito prometia ser ainda mais cruel que a ditadura militar brasileira (1964-1985) condenada por todos os organismos internacionais por crimes de lesa-humanidade, a campanha do presidente eleito ainda foi ilegal e impunemente financiada por empresas privadas, inclusive para a ilegal e impune difusão de notícias falsas, decisiva para o resultado final.

XXIV. CONTRACAPA: CURTINHAS - Nacional

Enquanto somos levados a refletir inevitavelmente se o canalha Bolsonaro sofre de bipolaridade, de excesso de cinismo ou das duas coisas, o “juiz” Sergio Moro, outro proeminente cara-de-pau deste patético picadeiro nacional, aceitou o convite para ser ministro da “Justiça” tupiniquim: ele mesmo havia afirmado, em tempos nao muito distantes, que jamais ingressaria a politica pois isso fatalmente colocaría em xeque a Operação Lava Jato perante a sociedade, e sua propria isenção como (lave-se a boca) “juiz”. Pois ai esta!

Ou sera mais uma tatica de confundir a sociedade, o que prevaleceu na campanhaa presidencial de Bolsonaro: dizer algo efervescente, posteriormente desmentir acusando tratar-se de noticia falsa, para mais tarde afirmar o mesmo e de maneira ainda pior?

O mundo político, incluindo este farsante sistema de “justica” brasileiro, definitivamente e pautado pelo oportunismo mais baixo – quanto mais cinico, melhor!

A tempo: nao era a “Justiça” brasileira, alegremente aplaudida pela canalhada da grande midia e por uma sociedade altamente imbecilizada, que fazia uma completa “faxina contra a corrupção” no Brasil?

Quanta mediocridade! Tem sido um verdadeiro festival da estupidez o cenario politico brasileiro, que nunca foi nenhuma grande coisa – longe disso.

Apenas uma coisa pode salvar o Brasil: o povo em peso, fincando o pé nas ruas em todo o Pais. Tenha-se certeza: eles tremem! Incluindo essa mal-acabada versao tupiniquim de xerife, Jair Bolsonaro que se enriqueceu em um sistema político no qual, em quase 30 anos, teve apenas dois projetos de sua autoria aprovados no Parlamento carioca.

Acendam uma vela para a ignorancia no Brasil!

Edu Montesanti

Foto : Sergio Moro

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Upside Down Mark Twain

November 8th, 2018 by Philip A Farruggio

Mark Twain AKA Samuel Clemens (1835-1910) best known for his literary works like Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn, was also a man with deep rooted empathy for any underclass containing people of color. Few readers of his works realize that he was also a staunch opponent of imperialism, having been president of the Anti Imperialist League from 1901 to his death in 1910. Twain wrote about the treatment of the Chinese in San Francisco during the Civil War when he was a newspaper reporter. In 1865 he astonished many passersby, even those who fought for the abolition of slavery years earlier, when he chose to walk arm in arm through the San Francisco streets with the editor of the recently established Afro American newspaper, the Elevator. Of course, one of his most famous quotes was on his definition of politics:

“To protect us from the crooks and scoundrels”.

He also said something that resonates so strongly today:

“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really believe it.”

We just had a mid-term election that broke the record for both voter turnout and money spent, a real conundrum to say the least. The Two Party/One Party ‘food fight’ did have one added caveat, something that got this writer to actually do something I never do, and that was to vote across the board in my state of Florida for all Democrats.

Why? Well, as Bob Dylan sang so profoundly: “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” Sadly, the ‘wind’ has been one filled with Fascist and even Neo Nazi elements, with such an exclamation point right here in the ‘Sunshine State’. One guy, the sitting Governor, has such a tainted past as a businessman that many felt he should have more easily been indicted than to be even running for office years ago. The other guy, a congressman running for Governor, had an electoral machine behind him with intentions of getting him from the Governor’s mansion to the White House in 2024. Running against an Afro American mayor of Tallahassee, his campaign supporters’ infamous robo calls played what many would call ‘Jungle music’ along with a voice that could be construed as that of a ‘Ghetto black man’. Between that and the fear card of an ‘evil caravan’ getting closer seemed to push some perhaps who maybe would have sat this one out, to get off their duffs and go and vote. After all, those good and decent taxpaying Floridians needed  to be protected  from the diabolical black and brown undesirables.

One could only imagine how Mark Twain would have reacted to all of the above… and much more; That being the utter war mongering foreign policies of ALL of our recent presidents, including this latest tool of empire. He would have been out there ‘front and center’ protesting our nation’s illegal and immoral excursions into Panama, The Balkans, Iraq 1, Iraq 2, Afghanistan, Libya and now Syria. Twain said it all in this quote of his:

“I have read carefully the treaty of Paris [between the United States and Spain], and I have seen that we do not intend to free, but to subjugate the people of the Philippines. We have gone there to conquer, not to redeem…. And so I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land.”
(New York Herald, 15 October 1900)

Though this writer did the unimaginable, by my principles, of casting votes for the Democrats this time around… never again! For, they now control the House, and perhaps in 2020 the Senate and even the White House, but what will change on the issue that Mark Twain devoted his later years to: Imperialism?

We know that even progressive Democrats like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and now Ms. Ocasio Cortez, remain silent on

  • A) obscene military spending,
  • B) 1000 foreign bases worldwide,
  • C) our destruction of Libya and aid to the jihadists in Syria, causing millions of refugees spilling into Europe and elsewhere;
  • D) NATO’s planned encirclement of Russia and the diversion by the Russian election tampering hoax and
  • E) Israel’s continued fascist like treatment of Palestinians. Thus, the only hope to finally see Amerika become America is for tens, even hundreds of millions of working stiffs nationwide, to realize that imperialist and ultra militarist foreign policy bleeds our economy and  destroys our nation’s moral compass. Mark Twain knew that over 100 years ago. Why not us?

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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].

Jair Bolsonaro: Um Monstro criado pela nossa mídia

November 8th, 2018 by Jonathan Cook

Com a vitória de Jair Bolsonaro nas eleições presidenciais do Brasil no fim de semana, os fatalistas das elites ocidentais estão de novo em cena. O seu sucesso, como o de Donald Trump, confirmou um preconceito de longa data: que não se pode confiar nas pessoas; que, quando têm poder, estas comportam-se como uma multidão impulsionada por desejos primitivos; que as massas encardidas ameaçam agora derrubar os pilares da civilização que foram cuidadosamente levantados.

Os guardiões do status quo recusaram aprender a lição com a eleição de Trump, e assim acontecerá com Bolsonaro. Em vez de empregarem as faculdades intelectuais que eles reivindicam como sendo exclusivamente suas, os “analistas” e “especialistas” ocidentais, estão novamente a desviar o olhar daquilo que pudesse ajudá-los a entender o que levou as nossas supostas democracias aos lugares sombrios habitados pelos novos demagogos. Em vez disso, como sempre, a culpa está a ser diretamente enfocada nas redes sociais.

As redes sociais e as notícias falsas são aparentemente as razões pelas quais Bolsonaro ganhou nas urnas. Sem os guardiões no local para limitar o acesso à “imprensa livre” – em si o brinquedo de bilionários e corporações globais, com marcas e resultados para proteger – a plebe supostamente foi liberada para dar expressão ao seu fanatismo inato.

Aqui está Simon Jenkins, um veterano guardião britânico – ex-editor do The Times de Londres que agora escreve uma coluna no The Guardian – pontificando a Bolsonaro:

“A lição para os defensores da democracia aberta é manifesta. Os seus valores não podem ser tomados como garantidos. Quando o debate não é mais realizado através da mídia regulada, tribunais e instituições, a política reverterá aos padrões da populaça. As redes sociais – outrora aclamada como agente de concórdia global – tornou-se num fornecedor de falsidades, raiva e ódio. Os seus algoritmos polarizam a opinião. Sua pseudo-informação leva os argumentos aos extremos “.

Este é agora o consenso paradigmático da mídia corporativa, seja nas suas encarnações de direita ou no lado liberal-esquerdo do espectro, como no The Guardian. As pessoas são estúpidas e precisamos ser protegidos dos seus instintos básicos. As redes sociais, afirmam, desencadearam o id da humanidade.

Vendendo a plutocracia

Há um elemento de verdade no argumento de Jenkins, mesmo que não seja o pretendido. As redes sociais libertaram de facto as pessoas comuns. Pela primeira vez na história moderna, estas não eram simplesmente os recipientes de informação oficial sancionada. Não eram apenas os ouvintes dos seus superiores, poderiam responder de volta – e nem sempre com tanta deferência quanto a classe da mídia esperaria.

Agarrando-se aos seus antigos privilégios, Jenkins e os seus, estão nervosos e com motivo. Eles têm muito a perder.

Mas isso significa também que eles estão longe de ser observadores desapaixonados da cena política atual. Eles investiram profundamente no status quo, nas estruturas de poder existentes que os mantiveram como cortesãos bem pagos das corporações que dominam o planeta.

Bolsonaro, como Trump, não é uma ruptura da atual ordem neoliberal; ele é uma intensificação ou escalada dos seus piores impulsos. Ele é a sua conclusão lógica.

Os plutocratas que comandam as nossas sociedades precisam de figuras de proa, atrás das quais podem ocultar seu poder incompreensível. Até agora, eles preferiam os vendedores mais astutos, aqueles que podiam vender guerras como uma intervenção humanitária, em vez de exercícios baseados no lucro, na morte e na destruição; o saque insustentável dos recursos naturais como crescimento económico; a enorme acumulação de riqueza, escondida em paraísos fiscais, como o resultado justo de um mercado livre; os resgates financiados pelos contribuintes comuns para conter as crises económicas que eles haviam arquitetado, como austeridade necessária; e assim por diante.

Falinhas mansas como Barack Obama ou Hillary Clinton, eram os vendedores favoritos, especialmente numa época em que as elites haviam nos convencido com recurso a um argumento interesseiro: que identidades baseadas no tom de pele ou género importavam muito mais do que classe. Era o dividir para governar mascarado de empoderamento. A polarização agora lamentada por Jenkins foi, na verdade, alimentada e racionalizada pela própria mídia corporativa a qual ele serve tão fielmente.

Medo do efeito dominó

Está na hora de despertar: a ordem neoliberal está a morrer.

Apesar da sua professada preocupação, os plutocratas e seus porta-vozes da mídia preferem muito mais um populista de extrema direita como Trump ou Bolsonaro a um líder populista da genuína esquerda. Preferem as divisões sociais alimentadas por neo-fascistas como Bolsonaro, divisões que protegem a sua riqueza e privilégio, do que a mensagem unificadora de um socialista que queira restringir o privilégio de classe, a base real do poder da elite.

A verdadeira esquerda – seja no Brasil, na Venezuela, na Grã-Bretanha ou nos EUA – não controla a polícia ou os militares, o setor financeiro, as indústrias de petróleo, os fabricantes de armas ou a mídia corporativa. Foram essas mesmas indústrias e instituições que abriram caminho para o poder de Bolsonaro no Brasil, Viktor Orban na Hungria e Trump nos EUA.

Lula

Ex-líderes socialistas como o brasileiro Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva ou Hugo Chavez na Venezuela estavam condenados ao fracasso não tanto por causa das suas falhas como indivíduos, mas porque poderosos interesses rejeitavam o seu direito de governar. Esses socialistas nunca tiveram controle sobre as principais alavancas do poder, os recursos-chave. Os seus esforços foram sabotados – de dentro e de fora – desde o primeiro momento em que foram eleitos.

As elites locais da América Latina estão amarradas umbilicalmente às elites americanas, que por sua vez estão determinadas em garantir que qualquer experimento socialista no seu “quintal” fracasse – como uma forma de evitar um temido efeito dominó, que poderia plantar a semente do socialismo perto de casa.

A mídia, as elites financeiras, as forças armadas nunca estiveram ao serviço dos governos socialistas que lutam por reformar a América Latina. O mundo corporativo não tem interesse em construir moradias adequadas no lugar de favelas ou em tirar as massas do tipo de pobreza que alimenta os gangues do narcotráfico que Bolsonaro diz que vai esmagar com mais violência.

Bolsonaro não enfrentará nenhum dos obstáculos institucionais que Lula da Silva ou Chávez precisaram superar. Ninguém no poder ficará no seu caminho quando estabelecer as suas “reformas”. Ninguém vai impedi-lo de sacar a riqueza do Brasil para os seus amigos corporativos. Como no Chile de Pinochet, Bolsonaro pode ter a certeza de que o seu tipo de neofascismo viverá em harmonia com o neoliberalismo.

Sistema Imunológico

Se se quiser entender a profundidade do auto-engano de Jenkins e outros guardiões da mídia, basta contrastar a ascensão política de Bolsonaro à de Jeremy Corbyn, o modesto líder social-democrata do Partido Trabalhista britânico.

Aqueles que tal como Jenkins lamentam o papel das redes sociais – para eles significa que você, o público – ao promover líderes como Bolsonaro representa também o coro da mídia que feriu Corbyn dia após dia, golpe a golpe, por três anos – desde que acidentalmente este conseguiu passar pelas protecções levantadas por burocratas do partido para manter alguém como ele afastado do poder.

O suposto jornal liberal The Guardian tem liderado esse ataque. Tal como a mídia de direita, demonstrou a sua absoluta determinação em deter Corbyn a todo custo, usando qualquer pretexto.

Dias depois da eleição de Corbyn para a liderança do partido trabalhista, o jornal The Times – a voz do establishment britânico – publicou um artigo citando um general, o qual recusou mencionar o nome, alertando para o facto de que os comandantes do exército britânico haviam concordado em sabotar o governo de Corbyn. O general insinuou fortemente que poderia haver de antemão, um golpe militar .

Não é suposto chegarmos ao ponto em que tais ameaças – romper a fachada da democracia ocidental – precisem ser implementadas. As nossas democracias do faz de conta foram criadas com sistemas imunológicos cujas defesas são agrupadas muito antes para eliminar uma ameaça como Corbyn.

Uma vez que Corbyn se aproximou do poder, a mídia corporativa de direita foi forçada a implantar a tropologia padrão usada contra um líder de esquerda: que era incompetente, antipatriótico, até traidor.

Mas, assim como o corpo humano tem células imunes diferentes para aumentar as suas hipóteses de sucesso, a mídia corporativa tem agentes de esquerda faux-liberal como o _The Guardian_ para complementar as defesas da direita. O The Guardian procurou ferir Corbyn através da política de identidade, o Calcanhar de Aquiles da esquerda moderna.

Um fluxo interminável de crises fabricadas sobre o anti-semitismo pretendia corroer a reputação que Corbyn acumulara ao longo de décadas pelo seu trabalho anti-racista.

Política de corte e queima

Por que o Corbyn é tão perigoso? Porque ele apoia o direito dos trabalhadores a uma vida digna, porque se recusa a aceitar o poder das corporações, porque sugere que uma maneira diferente de organizar as nossas sociedades é possível. É um programa modesto, até mesmo tímido, o que articula, mas mesmo assim é radical demais, seja para a classe plutocrática que nos domina, seja para a mídia corporativa que a serve como braço da propaganda.

A verdade ignorada por Jenkins e esses estenógrafos corporativos é que, se se continuar a sabotar os programas de um Chávez, um Lula da Silva, um Corbyn ou um Bernie Sanders, então ganha-se um Bolsonaro, um Trump, um Orban.

Não é que as massas sejam uma ameaça à democracia. É, antes, que uma proporção crescente dos eleitores entende que uma elite corporativa global manipulou o sistema para acumular riquezas cada vez maiores.

Não são as redes sociais que polarizam as nossas sociedades. É, antes, a determinação das elites em saquear o planeta até que este não tenha mais recursos para extrair, que alimentou o ressentimento e destruiu a esperança.

Não são as notícias falsas que estão a soltar os instintos básicos das classes mais baixas. Pelo contrário, é a frustração daqueles que acham que a mudança é impossível, que ninguém no poder está a ouvir ou se importa.

As redes sociais deram poder às pessoas comuns. Mostrou-lhes que não podem confiar nos seus líderes, que o poder supera a justiça, que o enriquecimento da elite precisa da sua pobreza. As pessoas concluíram que, se os ricos podem empreender políticas de corte e queima contra o planeta, nosso único refúgio, as pessoas podem empreender políticas de corte e queima contra a elite global.

Estarão escolhendo sabiamente ao eleger um Trump ou um Bolsonaro? Não. Mas os guardiões liberais do status quo não estão em posição de julgá-las.

Durante décadas, todas as partes da mídia corporativa ajudaram a minar uma esquerda genuína que poderia oferecer soluções reais, que poderia ter assumido e derrotado a direita, que poderia ter oferecido uma bússola moral a um público confuso, desesperado e desiludido.

Jenkins quer dar um sermão às massas sobre suas escolhas depravadas enquanto ele e o seu jornal, as afastam de qualquer político que se preocupa com o seu bem-estar, que luta por uma sociedade mais justa, que prioriza reparar o que se encontra danificado.

As elites ocidentais irão condenar Bolsonaro na esperança desesperada e cínica de reforçar as suas credenciais como guardiões da ordem moral supostamente existente. Mas foram eles que o criaram. Bolsonaro é o monstro deles.

Jonathan Cook

 

Artigo publicado originalmente em Global Research em 1 de Novembro, 2018

With Brazil’s Bolsonaro, Israel Finds Another Natural Partner on the Far-right

Tradução: Plutocracia.com

 

Jonathan Cook ganhou o Prémio Especial Martha Gellhorn de Jornalismo. Seus livros incluem “Israel e o choque de civilizações: Iraque, Irão e o plano para refazer o Oriente Médio” (Pluto Press) e “Palestina Desaparecendo: as experiências de Israel em desespero humano” (Zed Books). Seu site é www.jonathan-cook.net. Ele é um colaborador frequente da Global Research.

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Information Picket: The Resettlement of Syria’s White Helmets in Canada

November 8th, 2018 by Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War

On Friday, November 9th, members of the Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War will be holding an information picket outside the CBC offices during the James St. North “Art Crawl.”

This informational picket will challenge the CBC’s unrelentingly favourable coverage of the Syrian White Helmets, in particular their resettlement in Canada by the Trudeau government.

Unbeknownst to many, “White Helmets” routinely appear in public in Syria alongside the terrorist groups in which they are embedded, primarily Al Qaeda.

where: CBC Hamilton, 118 James Street North

when: this Friday, November 9, 7 to 8:30 pm during the monthly Art Crawl

special instructions: Rain showers predicted. Please dress appropriately

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On November 11, 100 years ago, the First World War ended. At glamorous commemorative events, Western leaders will shed thick crocodile tears over the “twentieth-century catastrophe.”

However, this does not stop them from stirring the war drums for the next big war on behalf of the ruling elite at the same time: The US-led Nato exercises in Norway near the Russian border with 50,000 soldiers from 31 countries ever before the “emergency”, the two Great powers Russia and China are already preparing for war to protect their countries. (1) Instead of “kneeling down” on the occasion of this centenary of the millions of victims of the largest military conflict in world history to date, the leading Western elite seeks sole world domination and gigantic war profits.

Reports from contemporary witnesses of the Great War from 1914 to 1918 remind us of what war means to combatants and civilians alike. But the Godless and history-forgotten warmongers of the Deep State and their puppets in politics and corporate media will not stop even in the face of these terrifying contemporary witnesses.

Erich Maria Remarque: “The youth died before they could begin to live.”

The German writer Remarque (1898-1970) was drafted into the imperial army as a reserve recruit in November 1916, joined the Western Front as a soldier in June 1917 and was wounded at the end of July. In the army hospital in Duisburg he worked in a writing room and began to write down his war experiences here. (2) After his recovery he returned to the army. His famous work “Im Westen nichts Neues” (“All Quiet on the Western Front”), the “classic experience book of a front soldier”, first appeared in 1928 and was translated into more than 50 languages.

Remarque begins his novel with a personal explanation:

“This book is neither an accusation nor a confession. It is only an attempt to report on a generation that was destroyed by war – even if it escaped its shells.” (3)

He then describes the cruelty of the First World War from the perspective of a young front-line soldier who sees himself and his comrades as a lost generation. At the age of 18, his class had already joined the voluntary military service at the insistence of the teacher. They all went straight to war from their school desks, without being able to develop a perspective for their lives beforehand.

Countless comrades lost their lives during missions on the Western Front. Some of the fallen are replaced by inexperienced soldiers from the recruiting camp who are helplessly at the mercy of the extreme demands of the war of positions. The front-line soldier experiences how his comrades are killed in hopeless battles; they are killed in drumfire, shredded by grenades or suffocated by gas attacks. He himself falls shortly before the end of the war as the last of his group on a very quiet day: the army report reports that there is all quiet on the Western front.

Three years after the classic “All Quiet on the Western Front”, Remarque’s anti-war novel “The Way Back” appears as a consistent continuation. In it he paints the picture of a “youth who died before they could begin to live”. The content can be summarized as follows: “November 2018: finally peace. From France, a few front-line soldiers retreat to their homeland, the path to life. The revolution is raging in Germany, nothing has remained of the enthusiasm with which they were sent into the struggle for their fatherland years ago. Instead, the former heroes are met with incomprehension, indifference and open contempt. They feel strange and superfluous, desperately searching for a meaning: ‘Our ideals are bankrupt, our dreams broken’. All that remains is comradeship, but even that is gradually crumbling.” (4) 

The course of the historical events has bitterly proved Erich Maria Remarque’s stirring accusation right. For this reason he called for a “fight against the threatening militarization of the youth, against militarism in all its forms” for the time after the end of the war. (5) In Nazi Germany his works were banned as “harmful and undesirable literature” and publicly burned in 1933. He himself was expatriated from Germany in 1938.

Ernst Friedrich: “War against War!”

Ernst Friedrich (1894-1967) was an anarchist pacifist. Between the two World Wars he was politically, agitatorially and artistically engaged against the war. When he was drafted into the First World War, he refused military service for reasons of conscience. Since he refused to wear a uniform, he was sent to an observation station for the mentally ill. He was sentenced to prison in 1917 for sabotage in an important factory. (6) 

With his book “Krieg dem Kriege!” (in the original in four languages: Krieg dem Kriege! Guerre à la Guerre! War against War! Oorlog aan den Oorlog!), which first appeared in 1924 and was translated into another 50 languages, Friedrich erected a monument to the victims of the Great War. The book shows its true face: battlefields, the horrors of the trenches, the severely wounded, the mutilated, the executed, the suffering, the misery and the dying. Friedrich tried to shake the people awake by showing the horrors of war. The book also attracted worldwide attention because the disfigured war victims were largely hidden from the public in secluded homes for the war-disabled.

Kurt Tucholsky (1890-1935), politically committed journalist, writer and one of the most important publicists of the Weimar Republic, commented on the book “War against War!”: “The photographs of the battlefields, the photographs of the war-mutilised are among the most terrible documents I have ever seen”. (7) And he made the suggestion: “To those who have so often affirmatively listened to me, I suggest: to buy the book in one or more copies and to ensure its distribution”. (8) For Robert Jungk (1913-1994), Austrian publicist, journalist and one of the first futurologists, the book “War against War!” was an “eye opener”: “Ernst Friedrich opened my eyes to the most terrible of all epidemics, to the great cripple, the senseless destroyer war. (9) 

But Ernst Friedrich also writes positive and encouraging things in his book: He made far-sighted suggestions on how to prevent wars. Addressing to parents, he writes in the chapter “Prevention of war”: “(…) How many people overlook all too easily the fact that in their own home, in their family, war is prepared voluntarily! And here is the beginning of all vice. (…) You parents, who do not want your sons of other parents to murder loving sons, you should bear in mind that the child you bestow with helmet, sabre and rifle plays its tender soul from the young body! But those children who are brought up to love and solidarity, to unconditional respect for the inviolably holy life of man, the children will certainly be unfit for military service and war use. (…).“ (10) 

Rudolf Archibald Reiss / Henri Barbusse: “The eyewitness accounts of the war crimes in Serbia caused horror in the civilized world.”

The First World War is commonly referred to as the “primal catastrophe of the twentieth century”, because without a thorough examination of this great war European history would not be understood. It had determined the further course of the 20th century – until today. An example are the wars in former Yugoslavia. The “primordial catastrophe” began with the fact that Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia on 28 July 1914 after the Sarajevo shots and a completely unacceptable ultimatum. It was waged by the great and powerful nation with extreme harshness and cruelty.

On the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, the “Serbian Literature Co-operative” together with the “Belgrade Forum for a World of Equals” published the excellently researched historical work “Serbia in the Great War 1914-1918”. It was also published in English, Russian and German. The authors are two famous Serbian historians and members of the board of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SANU), Mira Radojevic and Ljubodrag Dimic. In the introduction to the book, they state their motive: “The authors of this book had the modest intention, born out of a desire to affirm the scientific results of Serbian historiography, to embed them in the stimulating scientific perceptions of historians of other cultures, and thus to draw attention to the shameful effects of a politically motivated revision of history”. (11) 

This war was waged by Austria-Hungary not only against Serbia as a state, but also against the entire Serbian people. This is evident from the statements of the German Emperor, who was allied with Austria, as well as from the orders of the army leadership, which it gave to the Austro-Hungarian soldiers when they invaded Serbia. The famous “guiding principle” of Emperor Wilhelm II before the beginning of the war is well known: “Now or never”, followed by the words: “The Serbs must be cleared up, and soon. Everything goes without saying, and these are truisms.” (12) The Austrian cultural critic Karl Kraus has described the Serbophobe mood prevailing in Austria at that time in the World War tragedy “The last days of mankind” with the winged cry “Serbia must die! – whether it wants to or not”. (13)

The order of General Lothar Elder von Hortstein, commander of the 9th Corps of the Austro-Hungarian Army, which he gave after the entry of his troops into Serbia, also revealed the intentions of the great power Austria: “The war leads us into an enemy country with a population that is full of fanatical hatred against us; into a country, where the assassination, as the catastrophe of Sarajevo shows, is permitted even to higher classes, where it is even celebrated as heroism. Against such a population any humanity and generosity is completely out of place, it is even harmful (…). I order that during the operations and throughout the war everyone be treated with extreme harshness, severity and mistrust. (…) Above all, I cannot tolerate the imprisonment of ununiformed but armed inhabitants of the enemy country (…); they must be killed unconditionally. Those who show mercy in such cases will be severely punished.” (14)

In order to inform the world of the crimes committed against the Serbian civilian population as a result of these orders, the Serbian government commissioned a group of criminologists to investigate their character and extent. The famous Swiss physician and university professor Rudolf Archibald Reiss led this group of experts. His first report, based on the collected facts, had the title: “How Austria-Hungary Fought in Serbia”. What is written in this report is difficult to bear: “The type of death chosen by the executioners was very diverse. Very often the victims were mutilated before or after death. I noticed the following types of killing or mutilation: The victims were perforated by shots, murdered, their throats were cut with a knife, raped and then murdered, stoned, hanged, beaten to death with shafts and sticks, stabbed, burnt alive; there were victims (…)”. (15) What follows becomes more and more cruel and sadistic. 

The reports of Archibald Reiss were confirmed by other doctors and eyewitnesses and “caused horror in the civilized world”. (16) Shocking facts about the crimes committed in Serbia were also reported by other foreign correspondents such as the American journalist John Reed and the French politician and writer Henri Barbusse (1873-1935), known from his war diary “The Fire” published in 1916. 

In the book “Serbia in the Great War 1914-1918” Radojevic and Dimic write: “According to Henry Barbusse, the population was ‘driven mad by terror and fear’. For the Austro-Hungarian army began ‘its annihilation work as soon as it entered Serbia’ with cruelty and ‘hellish orgies’. ‘How often have I been petrified with shock,’ he says, ‘given the results of the murderous drunkenness, fires or sadism of these soldiers who belong to a great country proud of its civilization! What Austria wanted ‘a great and powerful nation, throwing itself at a small people, was nothing other than to destroy Serbia, and had sworn to do it systematically, with fire and sword, with the destruction and burning down of towns and villages, and also with the annihilation and massacre of the Serbs’.“ (17)

 

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This article was originally published on the “Neue Rheinische Zeitung NRhZ”.

Notes

(1) „RT Deutsch“ vom 30.10.2018: „Russischer UN-Diplomat: ’Ja, Russland bereitet sich auf einen großen Krieg vor’“ und „Chinas Präsident Xi Jinping ordnet für das Militär Kriegsvorbereitung an“.

(2) https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erich_Maria_Remarque.

(3) Remarque, E. M. (1957). Im Westen nichts Neues. West-Berlin. Buchdeckel. 

(4) Remarque, E. M. (20097). Der Weg zurück. Köln. „Über das Buch“.

(5) https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erich_Maria_Remarque.

(6) https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernst_Friedrich.

(7) Friedrich, E. (2004). Krieg dem Kriege. München. Buchdeckel.

(8) https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krieg_dem_Kriege.

(9) A.a.O.

(10) Friedrich, E. (2004). Krieg dem Kriege. München, S. 10.

(11) Radojevic, M./Dimic, L. (2014). Serbien im Großen Krieg… Belgrad, S. 9.

(12) A.a.O., S. 94.

(13) Kraus, K. (2014). Die letzten Tage der Menschheit. Salzburg und Wien, S. 75f.

(14) Radojevic, M./Dimic, L. (2014) Serbien im Großen Krieg… Belgrad, S. 143.

(15) A.a.O., S. 144f.

(16) A.a.O.

(17) A.a.O., S. 146f.

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On November 3, the Saudi-UAE-led coalition kicked off a new large-scale military operation to capture the port city of al-Hudaydah from the Houthis and their allies. Prior to that the coalition had concentrated several tens of thousands of troops and a few thousands of various military equipment on frontlines near the city.

Additionally, coalition warplanes started a massive bombing campaign pounding Houthi positions as well as the city’s infrastructure.

Using their advantage in manpower, military equipment and firepower, coalition forces had reached the eastern, western and southern entrances of al-Hudaydah by November 8. However, coalition-led troops were not able to capture the al-Hudaydah airport, which remains a key strongpoint fr the Houthis.

According to Sky News Arabia, over 70 Houthi fighters and commanders have been killed since the start of the offensive. Pro-Houthi sources say that about 200 coalition fighters were killed and up to 300 were injured during the same period. Additionally, the Houthis reportedly destroyed up to 20 vehicles.

It’s interesting to note that Brigadier General Yahya Sari, a spokesman of the Yemeni Armed Forces, which are allied with the Houthis, stated that the coalition advance to capture al-Hudaydah had been repelled. However, this is a kind of wishful thinking given the current situation.

The coalition front east of the city is overstretched and vulnerable to attacks. Nonetheless, al-Hudaydah is at least partly encircled and while coalition forces maintain their positions east and southwest of the city, they pose a significant threat to the Houthis and can develop their advance further.

If the coalition were to capture al-Hudaydah, it would be the first major coalition success since the start of the year. The port city is a key logistical hub allowing the government to supply the Houthi-controlled area with food and medicine as well as other supplies.

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Nahum Barnea, a leading Israeli commentator, writing in Yedioth Ahronoth in May (in Hebrew), set out, unambiguously, the ‘deal’ behind Trump’s Middle East policy: In the wake of the US exit from JCPOA [which occurred on 8 May], Trump, Barnea wrote, will threaten a rain of ‘fire and fury’ onto Tehran … whilst Putin is expected to restrain Iran from attacking Israel using Syrian territory, thus leaving Netanyahu free to set new ‘rules of the game’ by which the Israel may attack and destroy Iranian forces anywhere in Syria (and not just in the border area, as earlier agreed) when it wishes, without fear of retaliation.

This represented one level to the Netanyahu strategy: Iranian restraint, plus Russian acquiescence to coordinated Israeli air operations over Syria.

 “There is only one thing that isn’t clear [concerning this deal]”, a senior Israeli Defence official closest to Netanyahu, told Ben Caspit, “that is, who works for whom? Does Netanyahu work for Trump, or is President Trump at the service of Netanyahu … From the outside … it looks like the two men are perfectly in sync. From the inside, this seems even more so: This kind of cooperation … sometimes makes it seem as if they are actually just one single, large office”.

There has been, from the outset, a second level, too: This entire ‘inverted pyramid’ of Middle East engineering had, as its single point of departure, Mohammed bin Salman (MbS). It was Jared Kushner, the Washington Post reports, who

“championed Mohammed as a reformer poised to usher the ultraconservative, oil-rich monarchy into modernity. Kushner privately argued for months, last year, that Mohammed would be key to crafting a Middle East peace plan, and that with the prince’s blessing, much of the Arab world would follow”.

It was Kushner, the Post continued,

“who pushed his father-in-law to make his first foreign trip as president to Riyadh, against objections from then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson – and warnings from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis”.

Well, now MbS has, in one form or another, been implicated in the Khashoggi murder.  Bruce Riedel of Brookings, a longtime Saudi observer and former senior CIA & US defence official, notes, “for the first time in 50 years, the kingdom has become a force for instability” (rather than stability in the region), and suggests that there is an element  of ‘buyer’s remorse’ now evident in parts of Washington.

The ‘seamless office process’ to which the Israeli official referred with Caspit, is known as ‘stovepiping’, which is when a foreign state’s policy advocacy and intelligence are passed straight to a President’s ear – omitting official Washington from the ‘loop’; by-passing any US oversight; and removing the opportunity for officials to advise on its content.  Well, this has now resulted in the Khashoggi strategic blunder. And this, of course, comes in the wake of earlier strategic ‘mistakes’: the Yemen war, the siege of Qatar, the Hariri abduction, the Ritz-Carlton princely shakedowns.

To remedy this lacuna, an ‘uncle’ (Prince Ahmad bin Abdel Aziz) has been dispatched from exile in the West to Riyadh (with security guarantees from the US and UK intelligences services) to bring order into these unruly affairs, and to institute some checks and balances into the MbS coterie of advisers, so as to prevent further impetuous ‘mistakes’.  It seems too, that the US Congress wants the Yemen war, which Prince Ahmad consistently has opposed (as he opposed MbS elevation as Crown Prince), stopped. (General Mattis has called for a ceasefire within 30 days.) It is a step toward repairing the Kingdom’s image.

MbS remains – for now – as Crown Prince. President Sisi and Prime Minister Netanyahu both have expressed their support for MbS and “as U.S. officials contemplate a more robust response [to the Khashoggi killing], Kushner has emphasized the importance of the U.S.-Saudi alliance in the region”, the Washington Post reports. MbS’ Uncle (who as a son of King Abdel Aziz, under the traditional succession system, would be himself in line for the throne), no doubt hopes to try to undo some of the damage done to the standing of the al-Saud family, and to that of the Kingdom.  Will he succeed?  Will MbS accede now to Ahmad unscrambling the very centralisation of power that made MbS so many enemies, in the first place, to achieve it?  Has the al-Saud family the will, or are they too disconcerted by events?

And might President Erdogan throw more wrenches into this delicate process by further leaking evidence Turkey has, if Washington does not attend sufficiently to his demands.  Erdogan seems ready to pitch for the return of Ottoman leadership for the Sunni world, and likely still holds some high-value cards up his sleeve (such as intercepts of phone calls between the murder cell and Riyadh).  These cards though are devaluing as the news cycle shifts to the US mid-terms.

Time will tell, but it is this nexus of uncertain dynamics to which Bruce Reidel refers, when he talks of ‘instability’ in Saudi Arabia.  The question posed here, though, is how might these events affect Netanyahu’s and MbS’ ‘war’ on Iran?

May 2018 now seems a distant era.  Trump is still the same ‘Trump’, but Putin is not the same Putin. The Russian Defence Establishment has weighed in with their President to express their displeasure at Israeli air strikes on Syria – purportedly targeting Iranian forces in Syria.  The Russian Defence Ministry too, has enveloped Syria in a belt of missiles and electronic disabling systems across the Syrian airspace. Politically, the situation has changed too: Germany and France have joined the Astana Process for Syria. Europe wants Syrian refugees to return home, and that translates into Europe demanding stability in Syria. Some Gulf States too, have tentatively begun normalising with the Syrian state.

The Americans are still in Syria; but a newly invigorated Erdogan (after the release of the US pastor, and with all the Khashoggi cards, produced by Turkish intelligence, in his pocket), intends to crush the Kurdish project in north and eastern Syria, espoused by Israel and the US.  MbS, who was funding this project, on behalf of US and Israel, will cease his involvement (as a part of the demands made by Erdogan over the Khashoggi murder). Washington too wants the Yemen war, which was intended to serve as Iran’s ‘quagmire’, to end forthwith.  And Washington wants the attrition of Qatar to stop, too.

These represent major unravelings of the Netanyahu project for the Middle East, but most significant are two further setbacks: namely, the loss of Netanyahu’s and MbS’ stovepipe to Trump, via Jared Kushner, by-passing all America’s own system of ‘checks and balances’.  The Kushner ‘stovepipe’ neither forewarned Washington of coming ‘mistakes’, nor was Kushner able to prevent them. Both Congress and the Intelligences Services of the US and UK are already elbowing into these affairs.  They are not MbS fans.  It is no secret that Prince Mohamed bin Naif was their man (he is still under ‘palace arrest’).

Trump will still hope to continue his ‘Iran project’ and his Deal of the Century between Israel and the Palestinians (led nominally by Saudi Arabia herding together the Sunni world, behind it).  Trump does not seek war with Iran, but rather is convinced of a popular uprising in Iran that will topple the state.

And the second setback is that Prince Ahmad’s clear objective must be other than this – instability in, or conflict with, Iran.  His is to restore the family’s standing, and to recoup something of its leadership credentials in the Sunni world, which has been shredded by the war in Yemen – and is now under direct neo-Ottoman challenge from Turkey.  The al-Saud family, one may surmise, will have no appetite to replace one disastrous and costly war (Yemen), with another – an even greater conflict, with its large and powerful neighbor, Iran.  It makes no sense now.  Perhaps this is why we see signs of Israel rushing to hurry Arab state normalisation – even absent any amelioration for the Palestinians.

Nehum Barnea presciently noted in his May article in Yediot Ahoronot: “Trump could have declared a US withdrawal [from the JCPOA], and made do with that. But under the influence of Netanyahu and of his new team, he chose to go one step further. The economic sanctions on Iran will be much tighter, beyond what they were, before the nuclear agreement was signed. “Hit them in their pockets”, Netanyahu advised Trump: “if you hit them in their pockets, they will choke; and when they choke, they will throw out the ayatollahs””.

This was another bit of ‘stovepiped’ advice passed directly to the US President.  His officials might have warned him that it was fantasy.  There is no example of sanctions alone having toppled a state; and whilst the US can use its claim of judicial hegemony as an enforcement mechanism, the US has effectively isolated itself in sanctioning Iran: Europe wants no further insecurity. It wants no more refugees heading to Europe. Was it Trump’s tough stance that brought Jong Un to the table?  Or, perhaps contrarily, might Jong Un have seen a meeting with Trump simply as the price that he had to pay in order to advance Korean re-unification?  Was Trump warned that Iran would suffer economic pain, but that it would nonetheless persevere, in spite of sanctions? No – well, that’s the problem inherent in listening principally to ‘stovepipes’.

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Alastair Crooke is a former British diplomat, founder and director of the Beirut-based Conflicts Forum.

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The Grand Egyptian Museum is calling for the return of the Rosetta Stone to Egypt, according to director of the new Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) Dr. Tarek Tawfik, after being displayed in the British Museum for more than 200 years.

“It would be great to have the Rosetta Stone back in Egypt but this is something that will still need a lot of discussion and co-operation,” Dr Tawfik told the Evening Standard.

The ancient slab, which is engraved in three languages and single-handedly unlocked the secrets of the hieroglyphs, and hence the entire Egyptian civilisation, has created tension between Cairo and London for some time now. It’s engraved with an identical message in Ancient Greek, Demotic and Egyptian hieroglyphs, which is what allowed 19th century scholars to decipher it into hieroglyphs. It was found by French soldiers in 1799 in a Nile-delta town called Rosetta (hence the name), as they were rebuilding a fort during Napoleon’s campaign in Egypt.

Napoleon was interested in arts, culture, and history, so he took along a group of scholars with him to Egypt and told them to seize all important cultural artifacts. After defeating Napoleon’s army in Egypt, British soldiers stole the piece and transferred it to the British Museum, and it’s been the most visited-object there since.

Dr. Tawfik claims being in “vivid discussions” about the return of the historic artifact, though a British spokeswoman from the British Museum said that “they have not received a request for the return of the Rosetta Stone from the Grand Egyptian Museum”.

This is the best part though – Dr. Tawfik suggested virtual reality be used in order to reach a compromise and a “way of co-operation and means of complementing each other between the museums”. Is he suggesting the British Museum display the artifact in virtual reality, and give Egypt the real one back? Or is it the other way around?

The Rosetta Stone has been desperately pursued by Egyptian authorities, who have never been able to convince the British Museum to give back what belongs to Egypt on the basis that it was legally taken out of Egypt… By colonising forces, we may add.

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Featured image is from The British Museum.