Huge Backlog Could Trigger New Wave of Shale Oil

January 22nd, 2019 by Nick Cunningham

The number of drilled but uncompleted wells (DUCs) in the U.S. shale patch has skyrocketed by roughly 60 percent over the past two years. That leaves a rather large backlog that could add a wave of new supply, even if the pace of drilling begins to slow.

The backlog of DUCs has continued to swell, essentially uninterrupted, for more than two years. The total number of DUCs hit 8,723 in November 2018, up 287 from a month earlier. That figure is also up sharply from the 5,271 from the same month in 2016, a 60 percent increase. The EIA will release new monthly DUC data on January 22, which will detail figures for December.

Some level of DUCs is normal, but the ballooning number of uncompleted wells has repeatedly fueled speculation that a sudden rush of new supply might come if companies shift those wells into production. The latest crash in oil prices once again raises this prospect.

The calculus on completing wells can cut two ways. On the one hand, lower oil prices – despite the recent rebound, prices are still down sharply from a few months ago – can cause some E&Ps to want to hold off on drilling new wells. That may lead them to decide to complete wells they already drilled as a way of keeping production aloft while husbanding scarce resources. Companies that are posting losses may be desperate for revenues, so they may accelerate the rate of completions from their DUC backlog.

On the flip side, producers don’t exactly want to bring production online in a market that is subdued.

“The lower oil price raises some questions about whether you go ahead with completing these wells,” Tom Petrie, head of oil and gas investment bank Petrie Partners, told S&P Global Platts. “Some companies want to get them in a producing mode; others say they won’t get an adequate return right now, so they’ll wait.”

Rob Thummel, managing director at Tortoise Capital Advisors, told S&P Global Platts that companies may have already started to work through some of their DUC inventory late last year. He suggests that the explosive production figures in 2018 seem higher than last year’s rig count justified. A higher rate of completions from already-drilled wells may explain the higher output levels.

However, the pipeline bottleneck in the Permian – which, to be sure, has eased a bit as some additional capacity has come online in recent months – could prevent a sudden rush of DUC completions. After all, the soaring number of DUCs was itself at least in part the result of the pipeline bottleneck.

A handful of new pipelines will add significant new pipeline capacity in the second half of 2019, after which more DUCs could be completed. Last summer, Pioneer Natural Resources’ CEO Timothy Dove warned in a conference call that oilfield services costs could increase when those pipelines come online because producers may rush to complete DUCs all at once.

“[T]hat could be another period of inflationary activity to the point where everyone is trying to get their DUC count reduced,” Dove said last August. “And so I would say the bigger risk inflation-wise is really past 2019. It’s really 2020 and 2021.”

The prospect of higher completion rates has ramifications for U.S. production levels. DUCs may keep U.S. oil production aloft at a time when low prices are starting to curtail drilling activity. The rig count has been flat for a few months, production growth has slowed, and growing number of companies are detailing slimmer spending plans this year.

That may ultimately translate into disappointing production figures.

“As a result of the slide in oil prices over the past three months, operators have already started to guide down activity for 2019 compared to their initial plans to ramp up activity,” Rystad Energy wrote in a recent commentary. “Consequentially, we have lowered our expectations for oil production growth by about 500,000 bpd for 2020 and 2021, implying less need for takeaway capacity.”

But completing DUCs is low-hanging fruit. The cost of drilling a well accounts for 30 to 40 percent of the total cost, according to S&P Global Platts. As a result, companies deciding on whether to bring a DUC online has already incurred the drilling costs. A shale company may decide to scale back on new drilling this year because of low prices, but the rush of fresh supply from DUCs may allow output to continue to grow. Of course, any decline in new drilling will eventually be felt in the production data, but that may not show up until somewhere down the line. More completions from the DUC backlog could keep near-term production figures on the rise.

How this shakes out is anybody’s guess, but at a minimum, the explosion in DUCs over the past two years complicates oil production forecasts for this year.

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This article was originally published on OilPrice.com

Nick Cunningham is a freelance writer on oil and gas, renewable energy, climate change, energy policy and geopolitics. He is based in Pittsburgh, PA.

Featured image is from OilPrice.com

A Tale of Two Walls

January 22nd, 2019 by Philip Giraldi

The demand of President Donald Trump that congress should appropriate money to build a wall securing the nation’s southern border has resulted in the longest federal government shutdown in history with no end in sight. There is considerable opposition to the wall based on two quite different perceptions of border security. The generally “progressive” view is that there is no border threat at all, that the thousands of migrants heading for the U.S. can be assimilated and indeed should be allowed entry because of U.S. government policies in Central America that have created the ruined states that the would-be immigrants have been fleeing.

There is certainly some truth to that argument, though it suggests that the United States should essentially abandon sovereignty over its own territory, which most Americans would reject. The alternative viewpoint, which has a much broader bipartisan constituency, consists of those who do feel that border security is a national priority but are nevertheless critical of building a wall, which will be expensive, possibly ineffective and environmentally damaging. They prefer other options, to include increased spending on the border guards, more aggressive enforcement against existing illegals and severe punishment of businesses in the U.S. that hire anyone not possessing legal documentation. Some also have argued in favor of a national ID issued only to citizens or legal permanent residents that would have to be produced by anyone seeking employment or government services.

Whether the wall will ever be built is questionable, but one thing that is certain is that there is more than enough hypocrisy regarding it to go around. Democratic Presidents including Bill Clinton and Barack Obama when campaigning have called for better border security, as have Democratic Congressional leaders who are now smelling blood and attacking Trump for seeking to do what they have long at least theoretically sought.

Apart from that, many of the Democrats who are currently criticizing the southern border wall on moral grounds have failed to apply the same standard to another infamous wall, that which is being built by Israel. Israel’s “separation wall” is arguably being constructed at least in part using “aid” and charitable money provided by Washington while also being enabled politically by the U.S. government’s acquiescence to the Israeli violations of international law. And if the moral argument for not having a wall to aid suffering refugees has any meaning, it would be many times more so applied to the Israeli wall, which is an instrument in the maintenance of apartheid in areas under Israeli control while also making permanent the stateless status of the more than one million Palestinian refugees, far more in number than the would-be immigrants marching through Mexico.

The Israeli wall is at many points larger and more intimidating than that planned by Trump, and it is also designed to physically and economically devastate the Palestinian population adjacent to it. Israel’s wall is undeniably far more damaging than anything being considered for placement along the U.S.-Mexican border as it operates as both a security measure and a tool for confiscating more Arab land by including inside the barrier illegal West Bank settlements.

There are both physical similarities and differences relating to the two walls. Judging from prototypes, Trump currently appears to favor prefabricated mostly metal sections with barbed wire coils on top that would be high and intimidating enough to deter climbing over. The sections would be set in foundations sufficiently deep to deter most tunneling and there would be sensors at intervals to alert guards to other attempts to penetrate the barrier. Israel’s wall varies in terms of structural material, including large concrete blocks 28 feet high in some areas while other less populated stretches that are considered low security make do with multiple lines of barbed wire and sensors. It is interesting to note that some Israeli companies have apparently expressed interest in building the Mexico wall and, as one of the many perks Israel receives from congress includes the right to bid on U.S. government contracts, they might well wind up as a contractors or subcontractors if the barrier is ever actually built.

As noted above, the principal difference between the U.S. wall and that of Israel is that the American version is all on U.S. land and is engineered to more or less run in a straight line along the border. The Israeli version is nearly 90% built on Palestinian land and, as it is designed to create facts on the West Bank, it does not run in a straight line, instead closing off some areas to the Palestinians by surrounding Arab villages. It therefore keeps people in while also keeping people out, so it is not strictly speaking a security barrier. Indeed, some Israeli security experts have stated their belief that the wall has been only a minor asset in preventing violence directed by Palestinians against Israelis.

If the Israeli wall had followed the Green Line that separated Israel proper from Palestinian land it would be only half the estimated 440 miles long that it will now be upon completion. The extra miles are accounted for by the deep cuts of as much as 11 miles into the West Bank, isolating about 9% of it and completely enclosing 25,000 Palestinian Arabs from areas nominally controlled by the Palestinian Authority. One often cited victim of the barrier is the Palestinian town of Qalqilyah, with a population of 45,000, which is enclosed on all sides by a wall that in some sections measures more than 25 feet high. Qalqilyah is only accessible through an Israeli controlled military checkpoint on the main road from the east and a tunnel on the south side that links the town to the adjacent village of Habla.

The wall is therefore only in part a security measure while also being a major element in the Israeli plan to gradually acquire as much of the West Bank as possible – perhaps all of it – for Israeli settlers. It is a form of collective punishment based on religion to make life difficult for local people and eventually drive them from their homes.

The human costs for the Palestinians have consequently been high. A United Nations 2005 report states that :

… it is difficult to overstate the humanitarian impact of the Barrier. The route inside the West Bank severs communities, people’s access to services, livelihoods and religious and cultural amenities. In addition, plans for the Barrier’s exact route and crossing points through it are often not fully revealed until days before construction commences. This has led to considerable anxiety amongst Palestinians about how their future lives will be impacted… The land between the Barrier and the Green Line constitutes some of the most fertile in the West Bank. It is currently the home for 49,400 West Bank Palestinians living in 38 villages and towns.”

Amnesty International in a 2004 report observed:

“The fence/wall, in its present configuration, violates Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law… Since the summer of 2002 the Israeli army has been destroying large areas of Palestinian agricultural land, as well as other properties, to make way for a fence/wall which it is building in the West Bank. In addition to the large areas of particularly fertile Palestinian farmland that have been destroyed, other larger areas have been cut off from the rest of the West Bank by the fence/wall. The fence/wall is not being built between Israel and the Occupied Territories but mostly (close to 90%) inside the West Bank, turning Palestinian towns and villages into isolated enclaves, cutting off communities and families from each other, separating farmers from their land and Palestinians from their places of work, education and health care facilities and other essential services. This in order to facilitate passage between Israel and more than 50 illegal Israeli settlements located in the West Bank.

Of course, the situation has become far worse for Palestinians since the two reports dating from 2004 and 2005. Israel has accelerated its settlement construction and the wall has expanded and shifted to accommodate those changes, making life impossible for the indigenous population.

Any pushback from the United States has been rare to nonexistent, with successive administrations only occasionally mentioning that the settlements themselves are “troubling” or a “complication” vis-à-vis a peace settlement. The first direct criticism of the wall itself took place in 2003, when the Bush administration briefly considered reducing loan guarantees to discourage its construction. Then Secretary of State Colin Powell remarked

“A nation is within its rights to put up a fence if it sees the need for one. However, in the case of the Israeli fence, we are concerned when the fence crosses over onto the land of others.”

On May 25, 2005, Bush repeated his concerns, noting that

“I think the wall is a problem. And I discussed this with Ariel Sharon. It is very difficult to develop confidence between the Palestinians and Israel with a wall snaking through the West Bank.”

In a letter to Sharon he stated that it “should be a security rather than political barrier, should be temporary rather than permanent and therefore not prejudice any final status issues including final borders, and its route should take into account, consistent with security needs, its impact on Palestinians not engaged in terrorist activities.”

Congress is, of course, Israeli occupied territory so its response was directed against Powell and Bush in support of anything Israel chose to do. Then Senator Joe Lieberman complained

“The administration’s threat to cut aid to Israel unless it stops construction of a security fence is a heavy-handed tactic. The Israeli people have the right to defend themselves from terrorism, and a security fence may be necessary to achieve this.”

In 2005, Senator Hillary Clinton declared her support for the wall by claiming that the Palestinian Authority had failed to fight terrorism.

“This is not against the Palestinian people. This is against the terrorists. The Palestinian people have to help to prevent terrorism. They have to change the attitudes about terrorism.”

Senator Charles Schumer, also from New York, added

“As long as the Palestinians send terrorists onto school buses and to nightclubs to blow up people, Israel has no choice but to build the Security Wall.”

So, for many in Washington a legal and relatively apolitical wall by the United States to protect its border is a horrible prospect while the Israeli version built on someone else’s land with the intention to damage the local Arab population as much as possible is perfectly fine. The reality is that America’s Establishment, which is dominated by veneration of Israel for a number of reasons, is completely hypocritical, more prepared to criticize actions taken by the United States even when those actions are justified than they are to condemn Israeli actions that amount to crimes against humanity. That is the reality and it is playing out in front of us right now.

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This article was originally published on The Unz Review.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is www.councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is [email protected]. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image: Two Palestinian women walk next to the separation wall in the West bank village of Abu Dis, November 19, 2007. Photo by Anna Kaplan/Flash90.

Everyone is talking about one thing this morning, the outstanding piece by Michelle Alexander in the New York Times, yes, the New York Times, titled, “Time to Break the Silence about Palestine,” in which she says she can’t be quiet about Palestine any longer. 

The author of “The New Jim Crow” is a regular columnist now, and she has changed the discourse about Palestine in one explosive swoop, stating that progressives have been silent about Palestine partly because of fear for their careers, but the time has come to end that silence.

The 51-year-old legal scholar and civil rights advocate begins by quoting Martin Luther King’s courageous coming out against the Vietnam War in 1967, when it could do him no good.

Just as speaking up for Palestinians can only hurt our careers today thanks to the “well-documented power” of the Israel lobby.

[King’s] was a lonely, moral stance. And it cost him. But it set an example of what is required of us if we are to honor our deepest values in times of crisis, even when silence would better serve our personal interests or the communities and causes we hold most dear. It’s what I think about when I go over the excuses and rationalizations that have kept me largely silent on one of the great moral challenges of our time: the crisis in Israel-Palestine.

I have not been alone. Until very recently, the entire Congress has remained mostly silent on the human rights nightmare that has unfolded in the occupied territories. Our elected representatives, who operate in a political environment where Israel’s political lobby holds well-documented power, have consistently minimized and deflected criticism of the State of Israel, even as it has grown more emboldened in its occupation of Palestinian territory and adopted some practices reminiscent of apartheid in South Africa and Jim Crow segregation in the United States.

Many civil rights activists and organizations have remained silent as well, not because they lack concern or sympathy for the Palestinian people, but because they fear loss of funding from foundations, and false charges of anti-Semitism. They worry, as I once did, that their important social justice work will be compromised or discredited by smear campaigns.

Similarly, many students are fearful of expressing support for Palestinian rights because of the McCarthyite tactics of secret organizations like Canary Mission, which blacklists those who publicly dare to support boycotts against Israel, jeopardizing their employment prospects and future careers.

Alexander all but outs herself as a PEP, Progressive Except Palestine.  Here is a principled person who has done groundbreaking work on human rights and anti-racism, and she is revealing that one of the reasons she keeps quiet is because she wants to protect her ability to participate in the mainstream discussion, to write about racism in the U.S. without being smeared and attacked.

This is an open secret that everyone knows: if you speak up for Palestinian human rights, your character will be assassinated. That is a very fair description of the mainstream landscape, surveilled by the likes of Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss of the New York Times, and Abe Foxman and Jonathan Greenblatt of the ADL (Just ask Paul Krugman, who has rationalized his own silence on this issue on that basis).

Alexander also describes the very-productive struggle of the left here. She makes clear that she has broken her own silence thanks to Jewish Voice for Peace and Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar in the Congress. And no matter what you think about identity politics, it must be emphasized that just as queer rights organizing fostered the growth of Jewish Voice for Peace as one-time outliers in the Jewish community, the ascendancy of women of color into positions of real power at last has helped break the ice on Palestine.

Image below: Rep. Betty McCollum

Alexander summarizes the growth of the boycott movement in the US:

Even in Congress, change is on the horizon. For the first time, two sitting members, Representatives Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, and Rashida Tlaib, Democrat of Michigan, publicly support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. In 2017, Representative Betty McCollum, Democrat of Minnesota, introduced a resolution to ensure that no U.S. military aid went to support Israel’s juvenile military detention system. Israel regularly prosecutes Palestinian children detainees in the occupied territories in military court.

That paragraph puts TREMENDOUS pressure on liberal Zionists (including well-meaning people like another New York Times columnist, Roger Cohen, and J Street), to come out for McCollum’s important legislation. If you can’t support removing US aid for the detention of children, what do you stand for?  Alexander’s long, persuasive article will put pressure on all progressives to end their silence about human rights abuses in Palestine backed by the United States.

The piece is getting a huge online response, to judge by Twitter, where Naomi Klein and Glenn Greenwald among others are saluting it. Alexander is telling the truth about the mainstream world. And Hasbara Central is already on top of the article, to judge from some of the readers’ comments at the Times.

Kudos to the New York Times for hiring Alexander as a columnist and letting her say this.

This is a huge step forward. And the most important thing about it is that Alexander uses Martin Luther King as an example of someone who took an unpopular issue that wasn’t his main cause and risked support for his other cause. She’s entirely right about King’s choice. That is why good people have been quiet until now about Israel Palestine. The effect will be . . . continued movement. And pressure on other supporters of human rights to come forward.

Thanks to Dan Walsh and Donald Johnson.

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

All images in this article are from Mondoweiss

Sergei and Yulia Skripal were given first aid by the British Army’s most senior nurse, who just happened to be nearby, according to a new report – adding further intrigue to the highly controversial case.

The latest development in the Salisbury poisoning affair will fuel the claims of skeptics, who don’t believe the official British narrative. UK authorities have claimed that the former double agent and his daughter were targeted by the Russian government in a bizarre failed assassination plot involving a military-grade nerve agent.

It was previously reported by British media that the first person to provide medical assistance to the Skripals after they collapsed on a bench in Salisbury was “an off-duty nurse who had worked on the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone.”

However, the healthcare professional turned out to be not just any nurse. She was Colonel Alison McCourt, a veteran service member who currently holds the position of chief nursing officer in the British Army.

The revelation emerged after her daughter Abigail, 16, was given a Local Hero award from Spire FM, a local radio station. According to a story broadcast by the radio last weekend, Abigail noticed that the Skripals were not well, misdiagnosed Sergei as having suffered a heart attack, and called her mom. The teen, who has first-aid training, then assisted her mother in providing CPR.

Spire FM explained why the story was kept in the dark for almost a year, saying neither of the McCourt women had wanted media attention after the two people they helped turned out to be victims of a high-profile crime that pitted the UK and Russia against each other in a bitter war of accusations and stonewalling.

However, Colonel McCourt, who herself was decorated for her deployment to fight Ebola in Sierra Leone, decided that her daughter also deserved an award and proposed her as a candidate.

Skeptics will say it’s a hell of a coincidence that Britain’s most senior military nurse and her family were celebrating her son’s birthday at just the right time, and in just the right place, to get involved in arguably the decade’s biggest spy scandal in Britain. Perhaps stranger things have happened…

The British military lab that studies chemical weapons also just happens to be located near Salisbury. The victims of the poison, which the UK government have called Novichok, collapsed at the same time, hours after allegedly coming into contact with the substance on the door handle of Sergei Skripal’s front door.

The supposed bungling assassins proved to be so inept that they couldn’t dispose of the highly conspicuous murder weapon in a way in which it wouldn’t be found. And all this coincidentally occurred to cause scandal and distraction just as Britain was failing to negotiate favorable terms for its exit from the EU.

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Featured image: Colonel Alison McCourt. Photo from www.qarancassociation.org.uk

Fire the Fed?

January 22nd, 2019 by Rep. Ron Paul

President Trump’s frustration with the Federal Reserve’s (minuscule) interest rate increases that he blames for the downturn in the stock market has reportedly led him to inquire if he has the authority to remove Fed Chairman Jerome Powell. Chairman Powell has stated that he would not comply with a presidential request for his resignation, meaning President Trump would have to fire Powell if Trump was serious about removing him.

The law creating the Federal Reserve gives the president power to remove members of the Federal Reserve Board — including the chairman — “for cause.” The law is silent on what does, and does not, constitute a justifiable cause for removal. So, President Trump may be able to fire Powell for not tailoring monetary policy to the president’s liking.

By firing Powell, President Trump would once and for all dispel the myth that the Federal Reserve is free from political interference. All modern presidents have tried to influence the Federal Reserve’s policies. Is Trump’s threatening to fire Powell worse than President Lyndon Johnson shoving a Fed chairman against a wall after the Federal Reserve increased interest rates? Or worse than President Carter “promoting” an uncooperative Fed chairman to Treasury secretary?

Yet, until President Trump began attacking the Fed on Twitter, the only individuals expressing concerns about political interference with the Federal Reserve in recent years were those claiming the Audit the Fed bill politicizes monetary policy. The truth is that the audit bill, which was recently reintroduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and will soon be reintroduced in the Senate by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), does not in any way expand Congress’ authority over the Fed. The bill simply authorizes the General Accountability Office to perform a full audit of the Fed’s conduct of monetary policy, including the Fed’s dealings with Wall Street and foreign central banks and governments.

Many Audit the Fed supporters have no desire to give Congress or the president authority over any aspect of monetary policy, including the ability to set interest rates. Interest rates are the price of money. Like all prices, interest rates should be set by the market, not by central planners. It is amazing that even many economists who generally support free markets and oppose central planning support allowing a government-created central bank to influence something as fundamental as the price of money.

Those who claim that auditing the Fed will jeopardize the economy are implicitly saying that the current system is flawed. After all, how stable can a system be if it is threatened by transparency?

Auditing the Fed is supported by nearly 75 percent of Americans. In Congress, the bill has been supported not just by conservatives and libertarians, but by progressives in Congress like Dennis Kucinich, Bernie Sanders, and Peter DeFazio. President Trump championed auditing the Federal Reserve during his 2016 campaign. But, despite his recent criticism of the Fed, he has not promoted the legislation since his election.

As the US economy falls into another Federal Reserve-caused economic downturn, support for auditing the Fed will grow among Americans of all political ideologies. Congress and the president can and must come together to tear down the wall of secrecy around the central bank. Auditing the Fed is the first step in changing the monetary policy that has created a debt-and-bubble-based economy; facilitated the rise of the welfare-warfare state; and burdened Americans with a hidden, constantly increasing, and regressive inflation tax.

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Featured image is from Moneycontrol

Ruling elites stand naked. No more hoping for a rising tide to lift all boats. No more waiting for the trickle down. Fears of drowning in the maelstroms of global finance abound. Feelings of powerlessness among the have-a-little-bits and have-nots fuel the hate of the even more down-trodden and the yearning for the good old welfare state. Bereft of their market populist cover, ruling elites publicly bemoan the rise of xenophobic populism on the right but are really concerned about flares of left populism that might develop into a challenge to the unbridled power of capital.

Yet, the anti-populism from above is helpless in several ways. First, it is blind to the role its own brand of populism – market populism – played in rolling back the countervailing powers of labour and other social movements. Second, it doesn’t realize that telling the people that they shall not be populist confirms the populist charge of arrogant elites who are disconnected from the anxieties and aspirations on main street. Third, professed anti-populism doesn’t correspond to a change in direction. Occasional avowals of understanding ordinary peoples’ concerns coupled with promises of change always end up in the profit-enhancing policies that did so much to produce the economic crises, social inequalities and insecurities that undermined the legitimacy of market-rule in the first place. In so many variations, the ‘market über alles’-theme remains the same.

Private Investment is Better Than Public Spending: Three Variations on one Theme

This theme posits the superiority of private investment over public spending. Since the late 1970s, when market populism replaced widespread trust in the social engineering capacities of the Keynesian welfare state, it was presented in three different variations. First as ‘public spending is crowding out private investment’. Then as ‘selling off’ public enterprises and infrastructure gives private investors the room they need to propel economy-wide growth’. And finally, as ‘bailing out banks is the only way to prevent the entire economy from collapse’.

Admittedly, this last incarnation is very much at odds with the claim that private investments are superior to public spending. Strangely enough, bank bailouts weren’t the last breath of obviously failed market über alles-policies but the first step in another round of privatizations and public spending cuts. Since then, private investment, at least in the West, was largely confined to stock markets where new bubbles were blown up and new crises pre-programmed. Like previous crises, the bust next time will lead to a further loss of legitimacy but also more austerity. The bubble-bust-austerity cycle won’t be broken until a big new economic idea rallies the discontented and exerts enough countervailing power to roll back or even overcome capital rule.

From Crowding Out to Selling Off

Pro-market economists have always been convinced that private investments were the key to the well-being of everyone and that economic policies should focus on creating conditions conducive to such investments. This means: securing private property, removing barriers to market access, keeping regulations and taxes to a minimum. Next to a complete takeover by the state, welfare state expansion was the second worst thing pro-market economists could think of. Yet, as long as this expansion went hand-in-hand with high growth and profit rates, capitalists weren’t too concerned with market principles. Yet, when prosperity turned into stagnation, inflation accelerated, and public deficits grew, they happily used pro-market ideas to rally workers and women, ethnic minorities and student youth who felt that the welfare state didn’t deliver on its promises around an anti-welfare state program.

Part of these rallying efforts was to explain stagnation as the result of wasteful public spending that crowded out private investments. Much public spending, pro-market economists declared, invited workers to collect welfare cheques instead of going out to work. The small part of public spending used for investment purposes diminished private opportunities. Taxes were presented as disincentive for private investment and the deficit financed part of public spending as cause for inflation and financial instability.

The upshot of this explanation of 1970s stagflation was that the best economic policy could do was to roll-back the welfare state and open new markets by selling off state-owned firms and infrastructure. While the privatization of airlines and railways, housing and hospitals, telecoms and utilities in the West created some investment opportunities, the big bang for private investors came with the collapse of communism in the East. So excited were capitalists that profit expectations soon outpaced actually existing profit opportunities. The clash between expectations and reality led to the bursting of the dot.com bubble in 2001 and, on a much larger scale, the world financial and economic crises 2008/09. Investor confidence was shaken to the bone, it was public bailout money that got investors back on their feet.

From Bailing Out to Economic Alternatives

A little bit of fiscal stimulus topped with a lot of bailout money stopped stock markets and economies from free falling, indeed. Added with cheap central bank money, this sort of crisis management also paved the way for new bubbles and crises. The socialization of private losses led to public deficits way beyond those caused by the clash of economic stagnation and expanded welfare states. Moreover, asset-price inflation that was one of the causes of the 2001 and 2008/09 crises was much higher and had more severe effects on financial stability than the price-wage spirals that pro-market economists blamed, along with allegedly excessive public spending and red tape, for the 1970s stagnation. However, capitalists learned that public deficits are useful levers to push for more privatizations and public spending cuts. Austerity raises elite boats at the expense of everybody else. The bubble-bust-austerity cycle is their business model.

Right-wing populists who complain about arrogant elites but who really invite the discontented to escape into the dream-worlds of national and racial purity won’t change the economic reality that produces ever more discontent. Left-wing populism might be successful in advancing real world alternatives if it recognizes that welfare states in the 1970s were sandwiched between popular discontent bemoaning injustices built into those welfare states, and capitalists fearing the detrimental effect of further welfare state expansion on their profits. Alternatives need to be thought out beyond the welfare state and advanced in a way that captures the imagination of today’s fearful and hopeless discontented.

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Ingo Schmidt teaches Labour Studies at Athabasca University. Recent books include Reading ‘Capital’ Today: Marx After 150 Years (with Carlo Fanelli) and The Three Worlds of Social Democracy: A Global View.

Featured image is from The Bullet

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Paying Attention to the Real Voice of Martin Luther King

January 22nd, 2019 by Dr. Gary G. Kohls

“Now That He Is Safely Dead”

By Carl Wendell Hines

Now that he is safely dead let us praise him,
build monuments to his glory,
sing hosannas to his name. 

Dead men make such convenient heroes.
They cannot rise to challenge the images
we would fashion from their lives.

And besides,
it is easier to build monuments
than to make a better world.

“Now That He Is Safely Dead” is the short but poignant poem that was written by black poet/musician Carl Wendell Hines soon after Malcolm X’s assassination in 1965. The poem has also been appropriately associated with the death of Dr Martin Luther King and his legacy of nonviolent struggle for black liberation, freedom, equality, economic justice and the pursuit of happiness for all.

Instead of adhering to Dr King’s powerful, albeit inconvenient, truths about gospel nonviolence, America – and it- ’s Christian churches have instead posthumously awarded him a national holiday with a tip of the hat to the still-unachieved civil rights efforts. As has been usual for northern Minnesota, the celebration again occurred on one of the coldest weekends of the year. And, as has also been usual, officialdom – both secular and sectarian – again “honors” Dr King’s legacy by giving their annual speeches, attends the marches and eats the free breakfasts, but ignores the message of gospel nonviolence. (Take to heart some of King’s quotes below.)

Most peace and justice-seekers who have read the Hines poem above, know that that short poem applies equally well to the legacy of other great champions of the down-trodden, including Gulf War I opponent (who was also calling for an independent investigation of 9/11/01), US Senator from Minnesota Paul Wellstone who was permanently silenced under very suspicious circumstances – and is also now “safely dead”.

No one with an open mind knows that both deaths have all the earmarks of political assassinations.

In addition to the strange deaths of Dr King and Wellstone, there are also many other examples of martyred voices who spoke out against senseless, orchestrated wars and other examples of organized mass killings. Two such progressive leaders whose voices have been silenced or co-opted after their assassinations included John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Robert Kennedy.

Of course, the template for radical peace-making and inconvenient truth-telling was set 2000 years ago by Jesus of Nazareth, whose clear message and example of how to live a life of non-violent love of friend and enemy was totally changed by those in positions of power who gradually usurped his message after the assassination.

Martin Luther King, Jr was just one of the most recent of many other examples of pacifist followers of Jesus has been followed by many other non-violent Christian martyrs who were simply following his radical peace and justice teachings and practicing active, nonviolent, resistance to evil in the struggle for the relief of the human suffering by caring for the “least of these”. Those radical religious teachings only thrived for a couple of centuries after Jesus’ death, and today, there are only a few remaining remnants of the original form of Christianity, mainly the historic peace churches.

So over time there was a rapid reversal of the teachings of the early church, which had been nicely summarized in the Sermon on the Mount (a passage that only gets read from average pulpits every few years. Jesus’ radical peace message was gradually silenced by the doctrines of St. Augustine and many other war-compatible “Church Fathers”, most of whom had themselves been easily co-opted by the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, who was a worshipper of the sun. And so orthodox Christianity became another justified war church, just like all the other Great Religions, thus allowing latter-day Christians to treat fellow Christians and non-Christians in decidedly un-Christ-like ways – including torturing and killing them on the battleground while simultaneously worshipping and adoring the nonviolent Jesus.

Dr King was one of the few who heard the original voice of Jesus and acted upon what he heard.

Sadly, King was silenced just as Jesus and Oscar Romero and Mohandas Gandhi were silenced. None of those three died of accidental deaths. They were assassinated.

The powers-that-be (including money-lenders, the obscenely wealthy, the investor class, multi-national corporations that ruthlessly exploit the earth’s resources, the war-mongers, etc) that think they have something to lose when some whistle-blower acquires a following (or a pulpit) know trouble when they see it, and they usually don’t waste much time developing and then implementing a plan for “the silencing”.

“All (unwelcome) truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”– Arthur Schopenhauer

That famous saying usually doesn’t hold true in these troubled times. Usually whistle-blowers such as Jesus, Gandhi, King, Oscar Romero and Wellstone are indeed first ignored, then they are indeed threatened and violently opposed and then they are killed. But the third part of Schopenhauer‘s quote usually doesn’t hold when there exists so many ways to silence unwelcome truths from being told.

Speaking Truth to Power is a “Vocation of Agony”

Some of the varieties of modern ways to silence whistle-blowers includes rumors, isolation of the victim, threats to the victim’s family, forming an opposing political action committee to spread disinformation, threatening being fired or being harassed on the job, drugging with legal prescription psychiatric drugs, imprisoning in an Ecuadorean embassy, a Deep State/CIA prison or in Guantanamo, then arranging a murder that look like an accident or a suicide, etc.

And so it goes. Being a prophet – speaking truth to power – is hazardous duty. Dr King called it “a vocation of agony”. Achieving liberation, confronting tyranny and exposing tyrants can be hazardous to one’s health. But somebody needs to do it.

Whistle-blowers such as Dr King know very well that they are going to pay a heavy price for their refusal to bow down to authority or to be silent when they see that the status quo is harming people. They know that they will have to endure cowardly character assassinations, and they know that they are at risk of being killed if they don’t shut up.

Earlier this week, justice-seeking non-white minorities (especially those that have been made poor and disadvantaged) plus groups of theological and political progressives of all skin colors, celebrated the birthday anniversary of King, who was born on January 15, 1929.

The “I Have a Dream” Speech was Martin Luther King LITE

Dr King, since his assassination, is mainly known for his “I Have a Dream” speech and his courageous civil rights activism on behalf of poor African-Americans. The powers-that-be are OK with that, as long as the truth about Dr King’s commitment to Christian nonviolence remains unacknowledged and unheard.

However, it is important to realize that Dr King’s strong commitment to his mission came out of his understanding of the life, mission and gospel ethics of his mentor, Jesus of Nazareth.

Dr King’s belief in the practicality of nonviolent societal transformation mirrored the politics and theology of Jesus (and Gandhi), and it was the teachings of those two heroes of his that shaped both the civil rights movement as well as his antiwar activism.

The success of Dr King’s tactics is illustrated by the simple fact that his cowardly enemies (operating in the darkness) had to resort to killing him in order to silence his efforts to push forward the movement’s civil rights and human rights agendas.

But it was Dr King’s willingness to come out against the war that unleashed the assassination plot in order to permanently silence him – with a single bullet to the head on April 4, 1968 by some unknown person or group other that the framed James Earl Ray.

Image result for luther king i have a dream speechThe event that sealed Dr King’s fate was his famous and powerful “Beyond Vietnam” speech, delivered at the Riverside Church in New York City on April 4, 1967. Speaking out against the profitable war in Vietnam was the last straw for the war profiteers, the Pentagon, the CIA, the prowar political operatives in both political parties. There was still a lot of money to be made in the Vietnam War. Dr King had to go.

Dr King had struggled with the ethical imperative of speaking out against the war, and eventually he realized that he had no choice but to do follow his conscience.

Dr Kingsaid:

“As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But, they asked, what about Vietnam? They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today – my own government.”

Dr King had finally seen the connections between 1) the financial and psychological costs of participation in the human slaughter that was going on in Vietnam and 2) the racial and economic violence that was preventing poor blacks from attaining justice in America.

America Can’t Afford Both Guns and Butter

Dr King knew that a nation can’t simultaneously fund both “guns and butter” (the notion that a nation can pay for illegal wars overseas and, at the same time, provide adequately for its people’s basic human needs at home). American politicians had already made the choice of which one to spend scarce dollars on. The choice, as it always seems to be, is to pay for guns but not butter. A liberation movement for blacks and other minorities was deemed unaffordable,

It is a historical fact that the reason America lost President Johnson’s “war on poverty” was because it’s military and political leaders decided to fight his and President Nixon’s wars in Vietnam instead.Understanding the connections between those realities is important.

The “guns and butter” myth (as opposed to the “guns orbutter” reality) has historically been proved to be impossible to achieve in cultures of greed that are ruled by selfish, over-privileged, wealthy elites and their conscienceless corporations. Guns and butter are mutually exclusive realities when an economic system that thrives on ruthlessness is in charge of a nation’s foreign and domestic policy agendas. Dr King knew that the war in Vietnam meant that freedom for the oppressed at home was going to be delayed – perhaps forever, if the white racists had anything to say about it. And, as Dr King often said: “justice delayed is justice denied.”

Many credible historians believe that Dr King’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech was equivalent to his signing his own death warrant.

The war profiteers, pro-war politicians and assorted militarists in positions of power at the time absolutely could not tolerate his antiwar activism. King was working for justice for all, which necessarily meant the defenseless Vietnamese women and children who were being indiscriminately starved, maimed, murdered, bombed and napalmed; and the soil, water and unborn children of Vietnam were being permanently poisoned by Agent Orange and other military toxins. Dr King had no choice but to object on the basis of his conscience.

Dr King received, on a daily basis, during the years leading up to that fateful day in Memphis, dozens of anonymous death threats from the racist, right wing reactionaries that were afraid of black equality and the possible granting of voting rights for African-Americans.

Oppressors naturally fear what long-overdue reprisals will occur when their enslaved victims gain their freedom. They may fear retaliation, but they usually don’t fear for their souls. Dr King had another warning for them.

In the Riverside Church speech, he said:

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

Dr King is not only acknowledging that “guns and butter” is a fallacy, but, in addition, he is accusing those who waste precious resources on killing operations are risking the moral collapse of the nation as well as of themselves.

Even Harry Truman understood that reality when he said,

“All through history it has been the nations that have given the most to generals and the least to the people that have been the first to fall.”

As mentioned above, there is the tendency for Martin Luther King Day to focus mostly on the white racism and on the realities of the Poor People’s Campaign. Those issues were (and still are), of course, vitally important, but something is missing. It is the elephant in the room. – and it is America’s permanent war footing that drives the US economy. It is the willingness to kill our enemies rather than to solve the problems that create the enmity.

America is the Gun-Runner to the World

It is violence that Dr King spoke out against, and it is excessive military spending that is a major reason that justice is still being denied. Reversing poverty and racism will be impossible as long as America continues to spend a trillion dollars every year on militarism, interest on the debt from past wars, over-generous retirement benefits for the retired military officer class and other military projects. Every program of social uplift is made unaffordable when military/police state spending is any nation’s top priority.

The spirit of Martin Luther King is not dead, no matter how much effort has been exerted to suppress his teachings. But his voice can only be heard if those who believe in his dream by repeating his calls for justice and against military and domestic violence.

Dr King and Jesus have been trying to tell the Christian churches:

“Put away the sword, for those who live by the sword will surely perish by the sword.”

If there is any hope for a solvent America, the nation will have to stop wasting so much borrowed money on lethal weapons and being the “Gun-Runner to the World”. If there is any hope for economic relief, sustainable jobs, comfortable retirements for its future retirees, affordable schooling for its students and an end to domestic violence and racism, America’s $21,000,000,000,000 (21 trillion dollar) national debt cannot keep getting progressively larger as it has been doing under the current administration (because of the dramatically lowered taxes for the excessively wealthy and the increased Pentagon spending.

Guns and Butter can’t co-exist.

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Dr Gary G. Kohls is a retired family physician from Duluth, MN, USA. Since his retirement from his holistic mental health practice he has been writing his weekly Duty to Warn column for the Duluth Reader, northeast Minnesota’s alternative newsweekly magazine. His columns, which are re-published around the world, deal with the dangers of American fascism, corporatism, militarism, racism, malnutrition, Big Pharma’s over-drugging and Big Vaccine’s over-vaccination agendas, as well as other movements that threaten human health, the environment, democracy, civility and the sustainability of all life on earth. Many of his columns have been archived at a number of websites, including the following:

http://duluthreader.com/search?search_term=Duty+to+Warn&p=2;

http://www.globalresearch.ca/author/gary-g-kohls;

http://freepress.org/geographic-scope/national; and

https://www.transcend.org/tms/search/?q=gary+kohls+articles

VIDEO – Israele, licenza di uccidere

January 22nd, 2019 by Manlio Dinucci

«Con una mossa davvero insolita, Israele ha ufficializzato l’attacco contro obiettivi militari iraniani in Siria e intimato alle autorità siriane di non vendicarsi contro Israele»: così i media italiani riportano l’attacco effettuato ieri da Israele in Siria con missili da crociera e bombe guidate. «È un messaggio ai russi, che insieme all’Iran permettono  la sopravvivenza al potere di Assad», commenta il Corriere della Sera.

Nessuno mette in dubbio il «diritto» di Israele di attaccare uno Stato sovrano per imporre quale governo debba avere, dopo che per otto anni gli Usa, la Nato e le monarchie del Golfo hanno cercato insieme ad Israele di demolirlo, come avevano fatto nel 2011 con lo Stato libico.

Nessuno si scandalizza che gli attacchi aerei israeliani, sabato e lunedì, abbiano provocato decine di morti, tra cui almeno quattro bambini, e gravi danni all’aeroporto internazionale di Damasco, mentre si dà risalto alla notizia che per prudenza è rimasta chiusa per un giorno, con grande dispiacere degli escursionisti, la stazione sciistica israeliana sul Monte Hermon (interamente occupato da Israele insieme alle alture del Golan).

Nessuno si preoccupa del fatto che l’intensificarsi degli attacchi israeliani in Siria, con il pretesto che essa serve come base di lancio di missili iraniani, rientra nella preparazione di una guerra su larga scala contro l’Iran, pianificata col Pentagono, i cui effetti sarebbero catastrofici.

La decisione degli Stati uniti di uscire dall’accordo sul nucleare iraniano – accordo definito da Israele «la resa dell’Occidente all’asse del male guidato dall’Iran» – ha provocato una situazione di estrema pericolosità non solo per il Medio Oriente. Israele, l’unica potenza nucleare in Medioriente – non aderente al Trattato di non-proliferazione, sottoscritto invece dall’Iran – tiene puntate contro l’Iran 200 armi nucleari (come ha specificato l’ex segretario di Stato Usa Colin Powell nel marzo 2015). Tra i diversi vettori di armi nucleari Israele possiede una prima squadra di caccia F-35A, dichiarata operativa nel dicembre 2017. Israele non solo è stato il primo paese ad acquistare il nuovo caccia di quinta generazione della statunitense Lockheed Martin, ma con le proprie industrie militari svolge un ruolo importante nello sviluppo del caccia: le Israel Aerospace Industries hanno iniziato lo scorso dicembre la produzione di componenti delle ali che rendono gli F-35 invisibili ai radar. Grazie a tale tecnologia, che sarà applicata anche agli F-35 italiani, Israele potenzia le capacità di attacco delle sue forze nucleari, integrate nel sistema elettronico NATO nel quadro del «Programma di cooperazione individuale con Israele».

Di tutto questo non vi è però notizia sui nostri media, come non vi è notizia che, oltre alle vittime provocate dall’attacco israeliano in Siria, vi sono quelle ancora più numerose provocate tra i palestinesi dall’embargo israeliano nella Striscia di Gaza. Qui – a causa del blocco, decretato dal governo israeliano, di fondi internazionali destinati alle strutture sanitarie della Striscia – sei ospedali su tredici, tra cui i due ospedali pediatrici Nasser e Rantissi, hanno dovuto chiudere il 20 gennaio per mancanza del carburante necessario a produrre energia elettrica (nella Striscia l’erogazione tramite rete è estremamente saltuaria). Non si sa quante vittime provocherà la deliberata chiusura degli ospedali di Gaza.

Di questo non ci sarà comunque notizia sui nostri media, che hanno invece dato rilievo a quanto dichiarato dal vice-premier Matteo Salvini nella recente visita in Israele:

«Tutto il mio impegno per sostenere il diritto alla sicurezza di Israele, baluardo di democrazia in Medio Oriente». 

il manifesto, 22 gennaio 2019

VIDEO (PandoraTV) :

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These are troubled times. Rule of law protections don’t help. The US does whatever it pleases, operating by its own rules, inflicting harm on nations, groups and individuals, including its own citizens.

The UN, world community nations, and international courts are complicit by failing to denounce and challenge flagrant US breaches of laws, norms, and standards.

Its authorities have a free hand to operate unrestrained, taking full advantage, at the expense of world peace, equity and justice – things worsening, not improving over time.

On January 13, Press TV Iranian/American journalist/anchor Marzhieh Hashemi was arrested and detained by the FBI without just cause.

She’s held at an undisclosed location in Washington uncharged and untried, given minimal contact with family members in America, afforded no legal counsel for days before assigned public defender representation for a Friday court appearance.

As of now, she’s scheduled to appear before a grand jury on Wednesday. True or false, the FBI claims she’s a material witness in a criminal case her family members know nothing about. Perhaps neither does she.

Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights affirms “the right to liberty and security of person,” adding “(n)o one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention.”

Anyone arrested “shall be informed at the time of arrest of the reasons” for this action “promptly…”

America’s Fourth Amendment prohibits “unreasonable searches and seizures…” Marzieh was illegally seized without just caused.

The Fifth Amendment affirms the right of “due process of law” in any proceeding that denies a citizen “life, liberty or property.”

America’s Eighth Amendment prohibits “cruel and unusual punishments” – what Marzieh has been subjected to daily.

The nation’s 14th Amendment states “(a)ll persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof…”

“No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of (US) citizens..nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…”

Supreme Court rulings affirmed Bill of Rights protections. Retired Justice Anthony Kennedy sided with a majority 2008 ruling, saying:

“Until such time as it can be definitively proven that citizens no longer require the protections provided by the Bill of Rights, it shall remain the principal legal guidance for the United States of America.”

High Court constitutional protections are supposed to be inviolable. Yet the rule of law in America is being systematically eroded, Republicans and undemocratic Dems operating the same way.

Marzieh’s arrest, detention, and mistreatment on what may be spurious grounds violates her international and constitutionally guaranteed rights.

What’s going on is likely connected to US hostility toward Iran, its abhorrence of truth-telling media like Press TV, Marzieh held hostage despite authorities admitting she’s not charged with a crime.

In 2012, America’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) legitimized indefinite detentions prohibited by international law.

It permits America’s military to arrest and indefinitely detain anyone uncharged and untried at home and abroad, including US citizens – holding them on suspicions, hearsay, secret evidence, or none at all.

It denies due process, equal protection under law, habeas rights, and virtually all others. US authorities may order anyone arrested and imprisoned indefinitely without charge or trial.

Abuse of power replaced rule of law protections, a giant step toward full-blown tyranny in America.

Inviolable rights no longer apply. Opposition to imperial lawlessness, social injustice, corporate crime, government corruption, or authorities serving privileged interests exclusively can be criminalized.

So can speech, media, and academic freedoms, assembly, religion, or anything challenging America’s right to kill, destroy, pillage, and do virtually anything else it wishes with impunity.

Indefinite detention uncharged and untried is the hallmark of police state rule. The NDAA authorized military tribunals over civil courts at the discretion of authorities.

Supreme Court rulings are mixed on this issue. In Jennings v. Rodriguez (February 2018), it reversed an appellate court decision, stating that US immigration statutes do not authorize indefinitely detaining undocumented aliens.

The case was sent back to the lower court to consider statutory limits of detention. Center for Gender and Refugee Studies director Karen Musalo responded to the ruling, saying “the Court failed to recognize the statutory rights of immigrants in detention, including the many thousands of asylum seekers fleeing persecution and torture.”

The ruling potentially affects everyone arrested and detained in America. Holding anyone for any reasons uncharged and untried is a crime against humanity, violating statutes explained above.

Indefinite detention in America is longstanding. During WW II, loyal Japanese Americans were lawlessly detained without just cause.

Today, social justice protesters and others wanting responsible change can be arrested and detained charged or uncharged, tried or untried. America’s framers sought to prohibit what’s going on with Bill of Rights protections – what US ruling authorities ignore at their discretion.

The Supreme Court ruled that tribunals other than civil ones are illegal (Rasul v. Bush, June 2004). It granted Guantanamo detainees habeas rights – the ruling reversed by the 2005 Detainee Treatment Act.

In Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (June 2006), the Supreme Court held that federal courts retain jurisdiction over habeas cases, affirming constitutionally guaranteed rights.

In Boumediene v. Bush, the High Court again ruled that Guantanamo detainees (and everyone else held by US authorities) retain habeas rights.

Actions denying what’s affirmed under constitutional and international laws are flagrantly illegal, no allowed exceptions.

US citizens and numerous others have been detained, denied due process, habeas, and equal protection under law without just cause – dehumanized, tortured, and otherwise mistreated.

Post-9/11, legal protections in America greatly eroded on the phony pretext of national security concerns and global war on terrorism US authorities use to advance the nation’s imperium.

Like countless others in America and abroad, Marzieh’s fundamental rights were denied. It’s unclear how long she’ll be held or how the disposition of her detention will turn out.

Middle East commentator Rannie Amiri cited “the muted response” of high-profile human rights groups “whose primary purpose is to stand for” fundamental rights, denouncing abuses when occur.

The ACLU, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders, and other high-profile groups ignored Marzieh’s unlawful arrest and detention so far.

Responses of other human rights organizations were largely inadequate, failing to denounce the flagrant violation of her fundamental rights.

The ACLU ignored its own commentary on indefinite detention headlined: “No Charges? No Trials? No Justice.”

Former right-wing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia once said

“freedom from indefinite imprisonment at the will of the Executive” represents the “very core of liberty.”

The ACLU stressed that

“(i)ndefinite detention without charge or trial violates the essence of American due process and the rule of law.”

That’s precisely how Marzieh and countless others have been and continue to be mistreated by US authorities – police state injustice, pretending otherwise.

US statutes and actions violating international and constitutional law are flagrantly illegal.

On Saturday, the Inminds Human Rights Group and Islamic Human Rights Commission projected Marzieh’s image on the BBC’s wall in London with the tag line “FREE MARZIEH HASHEMI.”

The groups accused the state owned, controlled and run broadcaster of failing to explain her illegal arrest, detention and mistreatment, the same true for most other Western media.

They called her a “Journalist Abducted for Exposing US Crimes Against the Oppressed,” adding:

“We strongly condemn the abduction of Marzieh Hashemi. She is being punished for her forthright reporting, in exposing the crimes of Empire against the oppressed, both internationally and in the United States. She is a political prisoner. We demand her immediate release.”

Western media and major international human rights groups failed to denounce her mistreatment. Everyone criticizing unlawful US actions is vulnerable to similar retaliatory abuse.

America’s self-styled exceptionalism conceals its dark side, threatening everyone everywhere.

That’s the deplorable state of things in the so-called “land of the free and home of the brave.”

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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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Since UK Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour’s 1917 call for establishing a nation for Jews in historic Palestine, their people have endured over a century of discriminatory injustice. 

Israel’s 1948 war of aggression stole 78% of their homeland, the rest in June 1967, including Jerusalem, a UN-designated international city.

Endless conflict, occupation, dispossession, and repression, along with social and cultural fragmentation define conditions for beleaguered Palestinians – over 100 years of suffering, no end of it in sight, the world community dismissive of their fundamental rights.

Virtually everything important affecting their lives and well-being are decided by others, an intolerable situation with no prospect for change – US/Israeli installed quisling PA government, serving as the Jewish state’s enforcer.

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Law professor, scholar, author, civil rights champion Michelle Alexander is perhaps best known for her book titled “The New Jim Crow: Incarceration in an Age of Colorblindness,” her most noted work.

She explained that

“(m)ore black men are in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850 before the Civil War began.”

Racist drug laws largely affect “poor communities of color.” In America’s inner-cities, most Black youths can expect criminal injustice prosecutions one or more times in their lifetimes.

Over 60% of Black men born in 1965 or later without high school degrees (following passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act banning discrimination) have prison records.

They’re marked for life, targeted by militarized cops for the color of their skin, leaving them vulnerable to re-arrest, imprisonment or death. America’s racist war on drugs disproportionately targets people of color and ethnic minorities.

Racism defined the US from inception. Racist war wages against Americans and unwanted aliens of the wrong color, ethnicity or religion – its global gulag the shame of the nation.

In her NYT op-ed, a rare example of truth-telling on a vital issue, permitted by the self-styled newspaper of record, one-sidedly supporting Israel, ignoring its high crimes in its own reporting, Alexander highlighted Martin Luther King’s notable April 4, 1967 “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence” address.

It was delivered one year to the day before his state-sponsored assassination, his truth-telling remarks criticized at the time, ignored ever since by major media.

Over half a century ago, King called America “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today…on the wrong side of a world revolution,” adding: “We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence, or violent co-annihilation.”

“We must move past indecision to action. If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.”

Silence is “betrayal…(N)o one who has any concern for the integrity and life (in) America today can ignore the present war. If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read Vietnam.”

“This madness must cease…We must stop now…We must continue to raise our voices if our nation persists in its perverse ways in Vietnam.”

Accusing America of being run by “criminals,” imagine what he’d say if alive today, US wars of aggression raging in multiple theaters, no end of them in prospect, the threat of possible catastrophic nuclear war.

Alexander explained that King was urged to stay silent about the war or risk being called a communist sympathizer, harming the civil rights movement.

He couldn’t stay silent about the cutting-edge issue of the time “because (his) conscience le(ft) (him) no other choice,” he said, adding “(a) time comes when silence is betrayal. (T)hat time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.”

Taking a moral, ethical, and legal stand for peace and justice cost him his life. If alive today, he’d be age-90.

Alexander wrote her op-ed because she can no longer remain silent about “one of the great moral challenges of our time: the crisis in Israel-Palestine,” explaining:

With rare exceptions, “the entire Congress (most often is) “silent on the human rights nightmare” in Occupied Palestine, Gazans harmed most of all, an issue obsessing me personally, one I address repeatedly, feeling obligated as a Jew to speak out, refusing ever to be silent on this and every other vital issue.

Horrific conditions in the Territories are “reminiscent of apartheid in South Africa and Jim Crow segregation in the United States,” said Alexander, much worse she should have stressed, but to her credit she’s speaking out, taking a stand for long-denied justice, others with her, the only way to push things for hopeful change.

King was right. Silence is betrayal. If alive today, he’d surely champion the Palestinian cause, supporting their human and civil rights the way he did for Black Americans.

Alexander stressed the importance of “speak(ing) out passionately against the human rights crisis in Israel-Palestine, despite the risks…”

“We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak,” said King. Edmund Burke stressed that “(t)he only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is (for) good men (to) do nothing.”

It’s never an option for activists, Alexander saying “to honor King’s message and not merely the man, we must condemn Israel’s actions: unrelenting violations of international law, continued occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, home demolitions and land confiscations,” adding:

“We must cry out at the treatment of Palestinians at checkpoints, the routine searches of their homes and restrictions on their movements, and the severely limited access to decent housing, schools, food, hospitals and water that many of them face.”

“We must not tolerate Israel’s refusal even to discuss the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, as prescribed by United Nations resolutions, and we ought to question the US government funds that have supported multiple hostilities and thousands of civilian casualties in Gaza, as well as the $38 billion the US government has pledged in military support to Israel.”

All of the above issues are essential to speak out about and much more, including civil rule for Jews, militarized apartheid discrimination against Palestinians.

Daily life in Occupied Palestine is intolerable, collective punishment longstanding official policy. So is state terror and institutionalized racism.

Normal daily life is denied. Peaceful demonstrations called “riots” are prohibited, viciously attacked when held. Borders are closed, population centers isolated, economic strangulation imposed, slow-motion genocide inflicted on blockaded Gazans.

Multiple daily neighborhood incursions, land, air, and sea attacks, bulldozed homes, ethnic cleansing, targeted killings, mass arrests, torture, and gulag imprisonment reflect daily life for praying to the wrong God.

Israel gets away with high crimes of war and against humanity because of support and encouragement by Washington, along with world community indifference toward Palestinian rights.

They’re brutalized as viciously as Nazis mistreated Jews, enduring virtually every imaginable form of indignity, degradation, and criminal actions against them – including live fire against peaceful demonstrators threatening no one, never anything this extreme against Jews doing the same thing.

Israel is a flagrant international law violator. Law Professor Francis Boyle explained that since the first intifada erupted in 1987, “the world has seen heinous war crimes inflicted every day by Israel against the Palestinian people,” including daily flagrant breaches of Fourth Geneva, the Rome Statute, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, countless Security Council resolutions, and other international laws.

Israel is guilty of “murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts against any civilian population, before or during the war, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated,” Boyle explained, adding:

Crimes against humanity, a US and Israeli specialty “are the historical and legal precursor to the international crime of genocide as defined by the 1948 Genocide Convention.”

Wanting to live free in sovereign Palestine is called terrorism by Israel, free and open expression considered incitement, resisting tyranny, a universal right, called terrorism.

Alexander and other supporters of Palestinian rights agree that justifiable criticism of Zionism and Israel isn’t anti-Semitism. The Big Lie otherwise won’t die.

She pledged in the new year “to speak with greater courage and conviction about injustices beyond our borders, particularly those that are funded by our government, and stand in solidarity with struggles for democracy and freedom.”

Her “conscience leaves (her) no other choice.” The same spirit should drive every human and civil right supporter of governance of, by, and for everyone equitably at home and abroad.

Alexander’s article is long, detailed, and important to read. Her passion and mine support right over wrong – for Palestinians and all other persecuted people everywhere.

*

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

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Featured image: Jewish residents of the illegal outpost Amona, November 17, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s own admission that Israel has a “permanent policy” to “oppose Iran’s attempts to gain a foothold in Syria”[1] is in fact a public admission that Israel has a permanent policy to commit supreme international war crimes against Syria.

His most recent admission comes on the heels of yet another admission (Why hide the obvious?) from Israeli Army Commander Gadi Eisenkot,[2] that Israel supports terrorists, whom he calls” rebels” in Syria.

These mea culpas come at a time when Canada’s “progressive” prime minister Trudeau recently conflated peaceful opposition to Israel’s flagrant violation of international laws and norms as “anti-semitism”.[3]

No doubt, the Canadian government’s opposition to the BDS campaign is rooted in the fact that Canada supports the exact same international criminality that Netanyahu openly embraces.

Israel’s flagrant violation of international law manifested itself in technicolor last night (January 20, 2019) when Israel launched missiles at Syria, ostensibly targeting Iranian targets, but which in fact terrorized Syrian civilians, killed four Syrian soldiers, and wounded another six (most recent tally).

No doubt colonial media messaging will omit from its stories the fact that the Syrian government invited Iranian military into Syria to fight Western-supported terrorism, and that Iran is therefore legally in Syria, but then colonial media was never interested in conveying the truth about the West’s “Regime Change” war against Syria.

Canada’s foreign policy contradicts the very essence of what Canada should be.  Involvement in NATO and ad hoc coalitions against foreign, sovereign states, and its corollary, direct support for terrorism,  means that Canada is party to a New World Order neo-con agenda that ultimately seeks supranational world control as it negates international law and reduces Canada to the status of a treatied sub-state, bereft of self-determination, an economic colony subservient to transnational diktats.[4]

Our government’s embrace of international criminality does not serve our national interests. It is impoverishing us, and it should be seen for what it is – a national disgrace.

*

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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] “Syria repels IDF air raid on intl airport south of Damascus, shot down 7 missiles – Moscow” RT, 20 January, 2019. (https://www.rt.com/news/449281-idf-raid-syria-russia/?fbclid=IwAR2kSICNawjR2Ic47qkkxC68sM0UfR0dY6Cf8-ivHlrqDau5CLDhDJorRJ0) Accessed 21 January, 2019.

[2] “Israel’s Top Commander Finally Spills Secrets of ‘Invisible War’ in Syria.” Zero Hedge, 14 January, 2019.  Global Research, 17 January, 2019. (https://www.globalresearch.ca/israels-top-commander-finally-spills-secrets-of-invisible-war-in-syria/5665721) Accessed 21 January, 2019.

[3] Ryan Maloney, “Trudeau Says He Will ‘Continue To Condemn The BDS Movement’ At St. Catharines Town Hall.” Huffington Post, 16 January, 2019.( https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2019/01/16/trudeau-bds-movement_a_23644306/?fbclid=IwAR1cxJyUSjP124nXXEEWKO-d0O2qks344oK2F1okoYYDu_e1c104lVDSrBQ) Accessed 21 January, 2019.

[4] See Robin Mathews, “The Trans Pacific Partnership: Canada and Imperial Globalization – Part One American Herald Tribune, 20 May, 2016. (https://ahtribune.com/world/americas/916-ttp-canada.html) Accessed. 21 January, 2019.


Order Mark Taliano’s Book “Voices from Syria” directly from Global Research.

Mark Taliano combines years of research with on-the-ground observations to present an informed and well-documented analysis that refutes  the mainstream media narratives on Syria. 

Voices from Syria 

ISBN: 978-0-9879389-1-6

Author: Mark Taliano

Year: 2017

Pages: 128 (Expanded edition: 1 new chapter)

List Price: $17.95

Special Price: $9.95 

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Eyeing the White House: The Democratic Field

January 22nd, 2019 by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

Not so much hunting season as declaratory season in US politics.  The US presidential candidates from the Democratic side are making promises spiced with forced excitement in anticipation of the 2020 elections.  This early morning of the public holiday of Martin Luther King, Jr., US voters were given a spray of enthusiastic promises by yet another potential candidate for the White House: Senator Kamala Harris. 

The Democratic field is wide, expansive and not necessarily satisfactory in coping with the Trump phenomenon.  The orange hell beast still has them in a tangle, the anti-thesis yet manifestation of so much that is US political behaviour.  Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and Senator Bernie Sanders bear the heavy baggage of wearing and timing.  Sanders’ failure, one also assisted with the customarily ruthless guile of the Clinton machine in 2016, will handicap him.  Biden seems primed for the sunset ride rather than the imperial throne. 

Senator Elizabeth Warren, who fell for the gibes and challenges of President Donald Trump on the issue of Native American heritage, pushed her way into contention with an announcement on the eve of the new year that the White House was in her distant sights.  Even Warren’s own hometown publication, The Boston Globe, felt that she might not make the cut and should best forget it.  The reason? Divisiveness. 

Groups such as the Progressive Change Campaign and Justice Democrats disagree, insisting that Warren embraces “multiracial populism” in an effort to tackle “Trump’s divide-and-conquer agenda”.  Such formulae, however, do little to deal with the actual divisions that translate into votes, whatever the clotted rhetoric suggests.  What the Trump era has shown with such brutal force is that division does win depending on where the votes fall.  The demagogic factor is no longer a matter of fringe politics.  

In terms of her messages, Warren does sound like Sanders lite, with distinctions: focus on the mad cat banking sector; focus on the predatory nature of the US political system and its links with finance, but not remove the problem the private sector poses to politics and the general US citizen.   

For one thing, she wishes her Accountable Capitalism Act to propel worker representation on corporate boards while encouraging corporations to be kinder in terms of how they benefit their stakeholders – not just the investor but the worker.  (Sanders, by way of contrast, wishes to be rid of the sheer influence of Wall Street, unconvinced about its salvaging properties or the ability of it to be tamed.)  Superficially, both sound similar.

“The problem we’ve got right now in Washington,” Warren made clear in her announcement, “is that it works great for those who’ve got money to buy influence, and I’m fighting against that.” 

On the issue of campaign funding, Warren is also staking her claim to purity.

“I don’t think we ought to be running campaigns that are funded by billionaires, whether it goes through super PACs or their own money that they’re spending.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is another figure who has added her feelers to the presidential race.  In many ways she remains one of the more interesting prospects, being suitably oleaginous to the political establishment to worry it.  In 2017, for instance, she did the unthinkable for the morally righteous core of politics in Freedom’s Land: she met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

Rather sensibly, and hardly revolutionary, she suggested that it was

“very important for any leader in this country to be willing to meet with others, whether they be friends or adversaries or political adversaries if we are serious about the pursuit of peace and securing our country.” 

Given the absence of moral cant from such attitudes, she is bound to struggle with the chest-beating moral mongers. 

As for the latest sprightly addition, Senator Harris cannot be accused of having an allergy against opportunism.  She did not, for one, feel the need for any exploratory committees.  The release of her video on Monday morning, to be catalogued along with commemorations of King, is typically decorative, the flimflam of political ornamentation.

“Justice.  Decency.  Equality.  Freedom.  Democracy.  These aren’t just words.  They’re the values we as Americans cherish.  And they’re all on the line now.”

Harris has the whiff of the political animal about her, enough so to garner interest in circles regarding her record as San Francisco district attorney and attorney general for the state of California.  The very fact that she was a prosecutor has niggled contributors to column space.  Briahna Gray poses the question on whether a prosecutor can “become a president in an age when black lives matter”. The view there is that prosecutors side, by definition, with the system, and replicate its faults.  

As Gray reminds us, Harris criminalized truancy and went softly on the misconduct of her prosecutors. She took issue with a finding by a federal judge that the death penalty was unconstitutional.  All of these points might just as well be used to favour her candidacy: the one who could be tough at points on crime (though not the causes of crime), and modestly enlightened on others. 

Finding the progressive ship in US politics is a near impossible task.  The forces of reaction find company with those of conservatism, and in a state steered by two right wings, the progressive aspiration is firstly stifled, then asphyxiated. 

Harris, for that reason, must do as other contenders will: pretend to be something she is not, and dissimulate accordingly.  She will certainly run as a progressive, but her record in the law will stalk her.  It would be best, however, to forget the tag, label or designation of progressive in the broader field now coming to bear.  What will matter is whether the populist sting in the electorate remains strong in 2020. 

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Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.  He is a frequent contributor to Global Research and Asia-Pacific Research. Email: [email protected]

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Does Our Civilization Have at Least A Chance of Survival?

January 22nd, 2019 by Andre Vltchek

Lately, I have been asked this question on several occasions. “Can our humanity really survive?” “Am I an optimist or a pessimist?”

My replies vary, as I don’t think there can ever be one single answer to this most urgent, the most important query.

Sometimes my answer gets influenced by location: where I am at that moment, or where I have been recently? In a Taliban-controlled village in Afghanistan, on a rooftop of a whorehouse in Okinawa while filming deadly US air force bases, or perhaps in an elegant café after visiting an opera performance with my mom, in Stuttgart or in Paris.

Whether I have been injured on a battlefield or in a slum, or have been applauded (most of the time, hypocritically) at some event where I was invited to speak? Have I been doing something ‘forbidden’, insane and dangerous, or merely processing my visual or written materials in Japan or in Bangkok?

Depending on the circumstances, I can sound negative or cautiously optimistic.

But the truth, the honest truth is: I am scared.

Not scared for my own life, or my health or even my well-being. My work and my struggle: nobody forced me into it; all that I do is my own choice. I want to do it and therefore I do it. And while I do it, as it is often not safe, I have to understand that my life may end, prematurely, or that something else, very unpleasant, could happen. I have to understand, and I do understand. Shit happens! Unfortunately, it happens often. But that’s not what makes me scared.

What truly frightens me is something else, something much more essential: this beautiful ‘project’, this incredible, gigantic experiment called humanity, could very soon end in ruins and up in smoke.

What scares me even more is that, perhaps, it is already ending although I sincerely hope that it is not.

I have no religion, and I have absolutely no idea whether there is some sort of afterlife or not. Afterlife, God: what I am absolutely certain of is that no one on this planet really knows any answers to these so-called big questions, and those who claim that they do, know even much less than me.

This world and this damn humanity of ours is all that I know, and it is all that I have and care about. And I love it, because I have no other choice but loving it, despite all of its brutality and foolishness, recklessness and short-sightedness. But this planet, which used to be so brilliantly beautiful and pleasing, to all of our human senses, is now frightened, humiliated and plundered. It is getting raped, savagely, in front of our own eyes. And we are just watching, ruminating like cattle, shitting, and amusing ourselves in increasingly brainless ways.

That’s what we are actually supposed to do, according to those bastards who are ‘in charge’.

Our humanity had been derailed from its natural aims, goals and dreams. Goals like egalitarianism, social justice, beauty and harmony, used to be on everyone’s lips, no matter where they were living; just so recently, just one century ago.

The brightest minds, bravely and determinedly, worked on finishing with all forms of inequality, exploitation, racism and colonialism. Crimes against humanity committed by Western imperialism, racism, slavery and capitalism were being exposed, defined, condemned and confronted.

Unfortunately, it was one century ago that we were just about reaching the peak of enlightenment, and as humanity we were much closer to harmony and peaceful co-existence, than we are now.

Our grand-grandparents had no doubts whatsoever, that reason and logic would soon be able to triumph, everywhere on earth, and that those who had been ruling so unjustly all over this world, would either “see the light” and voluntarily step down, or would be once and for all defeated.

Great revolutions erupted on all continents. Human lives were declared to be well above profit. Capitalism seemed to be finished. Imperialism and capitalism were discredited, spat at and stepped on with millions of feet. It was clearly just a matter of years, before all people of all races would unite, before there would be no more dictatorship of greedy and degenerate businesspeople, of crooked religious demagogues, of perverse monarchs and their serfs.

In those days, humanity was full of optimism, of ground-breaking ideas, inventions, intellectual, as well as emotional courage and artistic creativity.

A new era was beginning. The epoch of serfdom and capitalism was ending.

But then, the dark revanchist forces of oppression, of greed, regrouped. They had money and therefore could pay to buy the best psychologists, propagandists, mass-murderers, scholars, and artists.

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A hundred years later, look where we are! Look at us now.

There is nothing to celebrate, and plenty to puke about.

Gangsters and moral degenerates, who ruled during all previous centuries, are still in full control of the planet. As before, oppressed people form majority: they inhabit Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, Sub-Continent and Southeast Asia.

Actually, things have gone much further than before: the majority of people on our planet lost their ability to think logically. They have been brainwashed by the propagandist mass media, by mass produced movies and pop music, by bizarre ‘trends’ in fashion and by aggressive consumerism.

Education and media outlets have lost all their independence and become subservient to the interests of the regime.

Western ‘democracy’ (not much of a project to begin with), has kicked the bucket quietly and discretely, and its advocates again began taking direct dictates from big business, multi-billionaires and their multi-national corporations. The system has evolved from turbo-capitalism into turbo-kleptocracy.

I work all over the world, on all continents, and what terrifies me is how ‘complete’, or call it ‘bulletproof’ the system has become.

With advanced computerization, with the ability of the regime to monitor and analyze basically all corners of our planet, there seems to be no place on earth that can escape the advances and attacks of Western imperialism and neo-colonialism.

Just imagine: some country decides to resist and to work for the well-being of its own people, and immediately the Western propaganda, its NGO’s, academia, media outlets, and potentially its mercenaries and military, get to work, systematically smearing the rebellious government, and potentially ruining entire countries. This is how Argentina collapsed, and then Brazil. This is how Syria was first destabilized and later almost destroyed.

It appears that nothing can withstand the global dictatorship.

And the global dictatorship has no mercy; it lost all rationale.

Greed, the maximization of profits, knows no boundaries. Sacrificing human lives is now commonly perpetrated. Thousands of human lives, or a few millions, it does not seem to matter. In the Democratic Republic of Congo or in West Papua, who cares, as long as coltan, uranium, gold and oil are flowing.

I witnessed entire nations ‘sinking’, becoming uninhabitable, due to global-warming: Kiribati, Tuvalu, Marshall Islands. I see tremendous islands like Borneo (known as Kalimantan in Indonesia) being thoroughly and irreversibly ruined. And nobody gives a damn. Corrupted (by the West and their own servile governments) scientists in places such as Indonesia, are still arguing that global warning and deforestation, as well as the palm oil plantations, are actually not threatening the world and its survival.

Some fifty years ago, there would have been powerful books written on these subjects. Wonderful art films were made, songs written and sang by brave bards, and the masses in both the oppressed world, but also in the West itself, bought revolutionary novels by the millions of copies. Multitudes of people stood in line, to watch films that were depicting theirlife, theirstruggle and their suffering.

Now? The destroyed masses are conditioned to forget about their nightmares and instead watch brainless horror films, some Star Wars ‘epic’, ‘romantic comedies’ depicting sweet suffering or the rich and famous. After saving for months, poor families in the devastated world are dragging their children to Disney Worlds; to those factories of plastic, emotionless dreams, to those Burger Kings of fairytales!

Mobile phones have replaced paper books, newspapers and magazines. For centuries, paper books were symbols of knowledge. No computer or telephone screen can ever replace the printed word. A scholar, a man or a woman of letters has always been surrounded by books, by notes, by documents.

All this is not happening by chance. Electronic offering is much easier to control, divert and choke, than materials that are printed on paper. The de-intellectualization of the world is clearly being done by design, step by step, in an organized fashion. Forget about ‘renaissance men and women’ in the 21s Century: even educated Western anti-capitalist thinkers are now ‘specialized’. They ‘don’t read fiction’. They are collecting ‘facts’, producing non-fiction essays and books, as well as documentary films and videos, but fully neglecting the point that all successful revolutions were always based on emotions, creativity and art; inspiring the masses, making people laugh and cry, dream and hope.

The world has become full of ‘data’, of digits. ‘Facts’ are widely available, but they do not inspire or move anybody. They do not call people to action; to the barricades. Everything is standardized. Western propaganda has managed to regulate human desire, dictating how the ‘perfect’ female or male body should look and behave. Or what the ‘correct’ perception of ‘democracy’ should be, or what is trendy and what should be considered boring and outdated.

The life of both the victims and victimizers appears to be ‘de-politicized’. But it is not! The acceptance of Western propaganda and collaboration with the regime is actually an extremely political act!

*

I am scared because it appears that a great majority of the people have accepted what the twisted regime has ordered them to accept.

They have accepted surveillance, trends, de-humanized ‘desires’, ‘political correctness’, global imperialist fascism, pop, grotesque capitalism and grey uniformity.

Like parrots, they repeat anti-Communist slogans, as well as propaganda barks against all the countries and governments that are still resisting this monstrous Western dictatorship brought to its most bizarre extreme.

I am scared, and at the same time, I am increasingly furious. If this is the future for humanity, do we, as human beings, really have right to exist; to survive as a species? Are we so submissive, so uninventive that we always end up begging for crumbs, praying to some invented superior forces, and prostrating ourselves in front of evil greedy monarchs and morally-corrupt individuals and systems?

Fortunately, not everyone is blind, and not everyone is on his or her knees. Not all of us have lost the ability to resist, to dream, and to fight for a world that appeared to be so possible just one century ago.

Those who are still alive and standing on their feet, know perfectly well: Revolution is possible and morally justifiable. Capitalism and imperialism are totally inhuman. A Socialist or Communist system is the only way forward: not in some ‘conservative’, dogmatic form, but in an ‘internationalist’, enlightened and tolerant way. (As clarified in my latest book Revolutionary Optimism, Western Nihilism).

It is the beginning of the year; 2019. Let us try to recap some basics:

Destroying entire parts of the world, and ransacking their natural resources for cold, selfish profit, is wrong.

Brainwashing countries, overthrowing their progressive governments, and derailing their natural development, is damn wrong, too.

Turning populations of the entire planet into idiots and zombies, making them consume violent and brainless movies, listen to crap music and eat junk food, dreaming about making love to shop window figurines and their human equivalent, is evil.

Using the media, education and entertainment for indoctrination purposes is barbaric.

And so is turning the entire planet into some primitive consumer market.

To fight such a system is glorious. And it is by definition ‘trendy’ and fun.

To use the terminology of the empire: collaboration and uniformity can never be ‘cool’. Listening and watching the same garbage cannot be ‘fashionable’. Banging into the same mobile phone screens can hardly be defined as ‘advanced’, and broad-minded.

Licking the boots of some old fart who owns banks or destructive corporations, is far from a modern, elegant and refined way of living.

Watching how our beloved planet is going up in flames, due to neo-imperialism and turbo-capitalism, while not doing anything to stop it, is nothing else other than stupid.

*

I began 2019 by writing the first chapter of my 1000-page novel “One Year of Life”. This novel began in 2019 and it will finish at the end of the same year. At the very end of it. Enough of non-fiction only!

As a novelist and playwright, I believe in human emotions. I have also witnessed enough uprisings and revolutions to finally realize that naked facts and data will never bring people to the barricades.

Time to un-dust the old banners, to bring back poetry, art, literature, films, theatre, and music. They are our best allies.

The West tries to silence emotions, ‘burn’ books and hit us all with ugly, meaningless noise and images, because it knows perfectly well that beauty is creative and inspiring. Beauty and creativity are also ‘dangerous’, in fact fatal to the regime’s dark and depressing designs.

I may be scared, but I am also cautiously hopeful. We can still win. Actually, it is our obligation to win. This Planet has to survive. If we win, it will. If we lose, it will go to hell.

It will be an extremely tough struggle that lies ahead of us. And no one will fight just in the name of facts and data, people are known to fight only in the name of a beautiful future. For us to win, all great muses are expected to march by the side of brave and determined revolutionaries!

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This article was originally published on New Eastern Outlook.

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. Three of his latest books are Revolutionary Optimism, Western Nihilism, a revolutionary novel “Aurora” and a bestselling work of political non-fiction: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire”. View his other books here. Watch Rwanda Gambit, his groundbreaking documentary about Rwanda and DRCongo and his film/dialogue with Noam Chomsky “On Western Terrorism”. Vltchek presently resides in East Asia and the Middle East, and continues to work around the world. He can be reached through his website and his Twitter.

Featured image is from NEO

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Another Defeat for Imperialist Feminism in Nicaragua

January 22nd, 2019 by Nora McCurdy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Background Reading

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

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

Key Excerpts

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 — Montenegro would receive a part of the Serbian Sandzak;

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

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

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

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

From The “Yinon Plan” To Timothy Less’ Proposal

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

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

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

The Kosovo Connection

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

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

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

Concluding Thoughts

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

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This article was originally published on Eurasia Future.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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MLK Jr and “Ghetto America”

January 22nd, 2019 by Philip A Farruggio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brexit: UK Caught Between the Past and the Future

January 22nd, 2019 by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

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

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

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

Trying to understand the British Parliament

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

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

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

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

The Second Referendum would reflect where the population stands today

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

Putting Party First

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

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

The truth about the challenges

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image on the right: Refugee children playing in Samos Town

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Socialization of Society

January 22nd, 2019 by Rosa Luxemburg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All images in this article are from The Bullet

Trump’s Midterm Electoral Defeat and Syria Withdrawal

January 22nd, 2019 by Nauman Sadiq

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes

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

[2] The H Bombs in Turkey by Eric Schlosser

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

Media Falsehoods about Syria

January 22nd, 2019 by Rick Sterling

Introduction 

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

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

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

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

Marie Colvin and Homs

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

Syrian journalists killed

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

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

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

Street of Homs

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

Biased and Inaccurate Reporting from Syria

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

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

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

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

Colvin continued her report saying,

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

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

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

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

FSA Commander

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

The Syrian Reality Which Colvin Did Not Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

Promoting External Intervention

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

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

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

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

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

How Marie Colvin Died

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

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

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

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

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

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

All images in this article are from the author

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elements of Trump Trade Strategy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s Next for US-China Trade?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By John Marciano, January 21, 2019

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

Would Martin Luther King Oppose NATO?

By Black Alliance for Peace, January 21, 2019

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

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

By Carl Herman, January 19, 2019

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

We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth

By Edward Curtin, January 19, 2019

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

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

By Abayomi Azikiwe, January 17, 2019

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

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

By James Corbett, April 05, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kevin Ryan is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Israel Says It Struck Iranian Military Targets in Syria

January 21st, 2019 by Middle East Eye

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

War of words

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The alleged confidential cable allegedly read:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Call for a real investigation:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s Calls for Action:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Kennedy, King Families to Congress: Reopen Probes

January 21st, 2019 by WhoWhatWhy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s Calls for Action:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Biographies:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Martin Sheen is an actor and activist.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Palestine Solidarity Campaign spokesperson said:

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

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

They added:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes

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

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

Featured image is from ABC7 Chicago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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John Marciano lives in Talent, Oregon.

Featured image is from BelovedSyria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Would Dr. King oppose NATO?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Featured image is from No2NATO2019.org

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US Training Saudi and UAE Pilots for Combat in Yemen

January 21st, 2019 by Stephen Lendman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CENTCOM spokesman Lt. Col. Josh Jacques lied, saying

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

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

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

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

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Would Martin Luther King Oppose NATO?

January 21st, 2019 by Black Alliance for Peace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No compromise.

No retreat.

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Video: Les Gilets Jaunes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif denounced what happened, saying

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

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said the following:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Explaining her career in journalism, she said

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Twenty-Eight Years of Continuous Aggression Against Iraq

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gellman also wrote that

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

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

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Notes

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

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

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

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

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

All images in this article are from the author

US Withdrawal from NATO Would Benefit Americans Most of All

January 21st, 2019 by Tony Cartalucci

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Myth of NATO’s Purpose 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NATO Seeks to Destroy Russia – Not Defend Against it 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I also warned that police departments around the world are partnering with private companies to use public data, personal information and algorithms to predict where illegal actions are most likely to occur and, crucially, who is most likely to commit them.

In an article I wrote warning of all these coming intrusions, there was also a review of a documentary film that focused on pre-crime technology.

“There are predictive police programs in Fresno, Philadelphia, Chicago, and in Kent and London featured in the film. Are these all pilot programs? And the chilling answer from the director of the documentary “Not any longer. Kent’s program is 4 years old.”

From Big Brother Watch comes the official news that UK police are now investing heavily in pre-crime and predictive systems.

UK police are investing millions in a new predictive system, the National Data Analytics System (NDAS), which will analyse vast quantities of data from  police databases, social services, and even the NHS and schools in order to predict who is likely to commit crimes, despite serious concerns over profiling, ‘the potential reversal of the presumption of innocence’, and the impact of ‘inaccurate prediction’.

Our Director, Silkie Carlo, said:

This would be a remarkable change in policing. Every one of us would risk being monitored, judged and having our lives intruded upon.

“Predictive policing conflicts with the presumption of innocence that our justice system is built on and invites authorities to keep tabs on innocent citizens. It’s extraordinary that police have spent millions on a Minority Report-style scheme.

The Mail on Sunday has covered the story by saying that – “The £48 million National Analytics Solution analyses vast quantities of data from force databases, social services, the NHS and schools to calculate where officers can be most effectively deployed.

But it admits to ‘ethical challenges’ about storing and sharing huge amounts of data on individuals and warns of ‘damaging consequences’ if those risks are not tackled.

The article goes on to say that – “In an effort to address privacy concerns, those behind the trial say it will ‘not create a centralised law enforcement database’ that would allow any officer to search for information on individuals.

The problem is that the government have already announced a new centralised biometric database and a centralised NHS database alongside other local government and government agency databases.

It was only last October that a new super-database being built for the police represented a “grave” risk to privacy, a leading human rights group said. It is called the law enforcement data service (LEDS).

Liberty claims the government is glossing over concerns that the database, the largest built for British law enforcement, threatens civil liberties. The group fears it gives massive power to the state at the expense of millions of Britons.

The Guardian reported their concerns as well.

The Home Office has had consultation meetings with groups and experts concerned about privacy ahead of the super-database becoming operational later this year. Liberty said it has quit them in protest, damaging government hopes of neutralising civil liberties concerns.”

Liberty said in one meeting it was told the new database would include information the government and the police have no legal basis to hold but will do so anyway. The government have actually admitted it is breaking the law.

Home office documents have confirmed that the government accepts that large amounts of the data will have nothing to do with crime that will be used on the database and also confirms that other government agencies like tax inspectors, border control and even credit reference agencies will have access.

Liberty boycotted the Home Office’s meetings because it feared they were a sham and that its continued participation would allow the government to claim it is taking civil liberty concerns into account when the opposite was true.

The Guardian also quoted Hannah Couchman, of Liberty, who said:

Having enormous amounts of our personal information held on this super-database represents a grave threat to our privacy. While the collection of a few pieces of personal data can seem innocuous, combining it with other information can create an intrusive personal profile.

“In the UK, we have a long-held principle of policing by consent. We must be able to trust the police to protect our privacy and our fundamental rights and the Home Office must take seriously the threats this super-database raises.”

A government document said:

The volume of records involved is substantial; there are around 55.4 million driver records and 54.8 million vehicle records whilst there are approximately 10.7 million criminal records, thus non-criminal records form a substantial part of the PNC [police national computer].

The police database also holds 12 million images.

Couchman said:

Even more sinister is the creeping reliance on data-driven surveillance and algorithms the police use to make decisions about us – leading to conclusions which may be inaccurate or biased.”

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MLK DAY 2019. In commemoration of Martin Luther King’s assassination, we bring to you this article by Edward Curtin first published on Global Research in January 2017.

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Very few Americans are aware of the truth behind the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Few books have been written about it, unlike other significant assassinations, especially JFK’s. For almost fifty years there has been a media blackout supported by government deception to hide the truth. 

And few people, in a massive act of self-deception, have chosen to question the absurd official explanation, choosing, rather, to embrace a mythic fabrication intended to sugarcoat the bitter fruit that has resulted from the murder of the one man capable of leading a mass movement for revolutionary change in the United States.  Today we are eating the fruit of our denial.

In order to comprehend the significance of this extraordinary book, it is first necessary to dispel a widely accepted falsehood about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. William Pepper does that on the first page.

To understand his death, it is essential to realize that although he is popularly depicted and perceived as a civil rights leader, he was much more than that.  A non-violent revolutionary, he personified the most powerful force for the long-overdue social, political, and economic reconstruction of the nation.

In other words, Martin Luther King was a transmitter of a non-violent spiritual and political energy so plenipotent that his very existence was a threat to an established order based on violence, racism, and economic exploitation.  He was a very dangerous man.

Revolutionaries are, of course, anathema to the power elites who, with all their might, resist such rebels’ efforts to transform society.  If they can’t buy them off, they knock them off.  Forty-eight years after King’s assassination, the causes he fought for – civil rights, the end to U.S. wars of aggression , and economic justice for all – remain not only unfulfilled, but have worsened in so many respects.  And King’s message has been enervated by the sly trick of giving him a national holiday and urging Americans to make it “a day of service.”  Needless to say, such service does not include non-violent war resistance or protesting a decadent system of economic injustice.

Because MLK repeatedly called the United States the “greatest purveyor of violence on earth,” he was universally condemned by the mass media and government that later – once he was long and safely dead – praised him to the heavens.  This has continued to the present day of historical amnesia.

But William Pepper resurrects the revolutionary MLK, and in doing so shows in striking detail why elements within the U.S. government executed him.  After reading this book, no fair-minded reader can reach any other conclusion.  The Plot to Kill King, the culminating volume of a trilogy that Pepper has written on the assassination, consists of slightly less text than supporting documentation in its appendices, which include numerous depositions and interviews that buttress Pepper’s thesis on the why and how of this horrible murder.  It demands a close reading that should put to rest any pseudo-debates about the essentials of the case.

Pepper, an attorney who represented the King family in the 1999 trial that found U.S. officials of the federal (in particular, the FBI and Army Intelligence), state, and local governments responsible for King’s assassination, has worked on the King case since 1977.  He met MLK in 1967, after King had read his Ramparts’ magazine article, “The Children of Vietnam,” that exposed the hideous effects of U.S. napalm and white phosphorous bombing on young and old Vietnamese innocents.  The text and photos of that article reduced King to tears and were instrumental in his increased opposition to the war against Vietnam as articulated in his dramatic Riverside Church speech (“Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence”) on April 4, 1967, one year to the day before his execution in Memphis.  That speech, in which King so powerfully and publically linked the war with racism and economic exploitation, foretold his death at the hands of the perpetrators of those abominations.

Devastated by King’s death, and assuming the alleged assassin James Earl Ray was responsible, Pepper retreated from the fray until a 1977 conversation with the Rev. Ralph Abernathy, King’s associate, who raised the specter of Ray’s innocence.  After a five hour interrogation of the imprisoned Ray in 1978, Pepper was convinced that Ray did not shoot King and set out on a forty year quest to uncover the truth.

Before examining the essentials of Pepper’s discovery, it is important to point out that MLK, Jr, his father, Rev. M. L. King, Sr, and his maternal grandfather, Rev. A.D. Williams, all pastors of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, were spied on by Army Intelligence and the FBI since 1917.  All were considered communist sympathizers and dangerous to the reigning hegemony because of their espousal of racial and economic equality.  When MLK, Jr. forcefully denounced unjust and immoral war-making as well, and announced his Poor People’s Campaign and intent to lead a massive peaceful encampment of hundreds of thousands in Washington, D.C., he set off panic in the bowels of government spies and their masters.  Seventy-five years of spying on black religious leaders here found its ultimate “justification.”  As Stokely Carmichael, co-chairman of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee, said to King in a conversation secretly recorded by Army Intelligence, “The man don’t care you call ghettos concentration camps, but when you tell him his war machine is nothing but hired killers, you got trouble.”

It is against this “trouble” that Pepper’s investigation must be set, as that “trouble” is also the background for the linked assassinations of JFK, Malcolm X, and RFK.  Understanding the forces behind the military, the spies, and the gunmen who, while operating in the shadows, are actually the second layer of the onion skin, is essential.  The government and mainstream corporate media form the outer layer with their collusion in disinformation, lying, and truth suppression, but Pepper correctly identifies the core as follows.

Bombastic, chauvinistic, corporate propaganda aside, where the slaughter of innocents is, and always was, justified in the name of patriotism and national security, it has always and ever been about money.  Corporate and financial leaders trusted with the keys to the Republic’s treasure moved from boardrooms to senior government positions and back again.  Construction, oil and gas, defense industry, and pharmaceutical corporations, their bankers, brokers, and executives thrive in a war economy.  Fortunes are made and dynasties created and perpetuated and a cooperating elite permeates an entire society and ultimately contaminates the world in its drive for national resources wherever they are ….Vietnam was his [King’s] Rubicon …. Here, as never before, would he seriously challenge the interests of the power elite.

MLK was assassinated on April 4, 1968 at 6:01 PM as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.  He was shot in the lower right side of his face by one rifle bullet that shattered his jaw, damaged his upper spine, and came to rest below his left shoulder blade.  The U.S. government claimed the assassin was a racist loner named James Earl Ray, who had escaped from the Missouri State Penitentiary on April 23, 1967.  Ray was alleged to have fired the fatal shot from a second-floor bathroom window of a rooming house above the rear of Jim’s Grill across the street.  Running to his rented room, Ray allegedly gathered  his belongings, including the rifle, in a bedspread-wrapped bundle, rushed out the front door onto the adjoining street, and in a panic dropped the bundle in the doorway of the Canipe Amusement Company a few doors down.  He was then said to have jumped into his white Mustang and driven to Atlanta where he abandoned the car.  From there he fled to Canada and then to England where he was eventually arrested at Heathrow Airport on June 8, 1968 and extradited to the U.S.  The state claims that the money Ray needed to purchase the car and for all his travel was secured through various robberies and a bank heist. Ray’s alleged motive was racism and that he was a bitter and dangerous loner.

When Ray, under extraordinary pressure, coercion, and a payoff from his lawyer to take a plea, pleaded guilty (only a few days later to request a trial that was denied) and was sentenced to 99 years in prison, the case seemed to be closed, and was dismissed from public consciousness.  Another hate-filled lone assassin, shades of Lee Harvey Oswald and Sirhan Sirhan, had committed a despicable deed.

In the years leading up to Pepper’s 1978 involvement, only a few lonely voices expressed doubts about the government’s case – Harold Weisberg in 1971 and Mark Lane and Dick Gregory in 1977.  The rest of the country put themselves and the case to sleep.  They are still sleeping, but Pepper is trying with this last book to wake them up.  Meanwhile, the disinformation specialists continue with their lies.

While a review is not the place to go into every detail of Pepper’s rebuttal of the government’s shabby claims, let me say at the outset that he emphatically does so, and adds in the process some tentative claims of which he is not certain but which, if true, are stunning.

As with the assassinations of President Kennedy and his brother, Robert (two months after MLK), all evidence points to the construction of patsies to take the blame for government executions.  Ray, Oswald, and Sirhan all bear striking resemblances in the ways they were chosen and moved as pawns over long periods of time into positions where their only reactions could be stunned surprise when they were accused of the murders.

It took Pepper many years to piece together the essential truths, once he and Abernathy interviewed Ray in prison in 1978.  The first giveaway that something was seriously amiss came with the 1979 House Select Committee on Assassinations’ report on the King assassination.  Led by Robert Blakey, suspect in his conduct of the other assassination inquiries, who had replaced Richard Sprague, who was deemed to be too independent, “this multi-million dollar investigation ignored or denied all evidence that raised the possibility that James Earl Ray was innocent,” and that government forces might be involved.  Pepper lists over twenty such omissions that rival the absurdities of the magical thinking of the Warren Commission. The HSCA report became the template “for all subsequent disinformation in print and visual examinations of this case” for the past thirty-seven years.

Pepper’s decades-long investigation, not only refutes the government’s case against James Earl Ray, but definitively proves that King was killed by a government conspiracy led by the FBI, Army Intelligence, and Memphis Police, assisted by southern Mafia figures. He is right to assert that “we have probably acquired more detailed knowledge about this political assassination than we have ever had about any previous historical event.”  This makes the silence around this case even more shocking.  This shock is accentuated when one is reminded (or told for the first time) that in 1999 a Memphis jury, after a thirty day trial and over seventy witnesses, found the U.S. government guilty in the killing of MLK.  The King family had brought the suit and William Pepper represented them.  They were grateful that the truth was confirmed, but saddened by the way the findings were buried once again by a media in cahoots with the government.

The civil trial was the King family’s last resort to get a public hearing to disclose the truth of the assassination.  They and Pepper knew that Ray was an innocent pawn, but Ray had died in prison in 1998 after trying for thirty years to get a trial and prove his innocence (shades of Sirhan Sirhan who still languishes in prison).  During all those years, Ray had maintained that he had been manipulated by a shadowy figure named Raul, who supplied him with money and his white Mustang and coordinated all his complicated travels, including having him buy a rifle and come to Jim’s Grill and the boarding house on the day of the assassination.  The government has always denied that Raul existed.

Blocked at every turn by the authorities and unable to get Ray a trial, Pepper arranged an unscripted, mock TV trial that aired on April 4, 1993, the twenty-fifth anniversary of the assassination.  Jurors were selected from a pool of U.S. citizens, a former U.S. Attorney and a federal judge served as prosecutor and judge, with Pepper serving as defense attorney.  He presented extensive evidence clearly showing that authorities had withdrawn all security for King; that the state’s chief witness was falling down drunk; that the alleged bathroom sniper’s nest was empty right before the shot was fired; that three eyewitnesses, including the NY Times Earl Caldwell, said that the shot came from the bushes behind the rooming house; and that two eyewitnesses saw Ray drive away in his white Mustang before the shooting, etc.  The prosecution’s feeble case was rejected by the jury that found Ray not guilty.

As with all Pepper’s work on the case (including book reviews), the mainstream media responded with silence.  And though this was only a TV trial, increasing evidence emerged that the owner of Jim’s Grill, Loyd Jowers, was deeply involved in the assassination.  Pepper dug deeper, and on December 16, 1993, Loyd Jowers appeared on ABC’s Primetime Live that aired nationwide.  Pepper writes, “Loyd Jowers cleared James Earl Ray, saying that he did not shoot MLK but that he, Jowers, had hired a shooter after he was approached by Memphis produce man Frank Liberto and paid $1,000,000 to facilitate the assassination.  He also said that he had been visited by a man names Raul who delivered a rifle and asked him to hold it until arrangements were finalized …. The morning after the Primetime Live broadcast there was no coverage of the previous night’s program, not even on ABC …. Here was a confession, on prime time television, to involvement in one of the most heinous crimes in the history of the Republic, and virtually no American mass-media coverage.”

In the twenty-three years since that confession, Pepper has worked tirelessly on the case and has uncovered a plethora of additional evidence that refutes the government’s claims and indicts it and the media for a continuing cover-up.  The evidence he has gathered, detailed and documented in The Plot to Kill King, proves that Martin Luther King was killed by a conspiracy masterminded by the U.S. government.  Much of his evidence was presented at the 1999 trial, while other was subsequently discovered.  Since the names and details involved make clear that, as with the murders of JFK and RFK, the conspiracy was very sophisticated with many moving parts organized at the highest level, I will just highlight a few of his findings in what follows.  A reader should read the book to understand the full scope of the plot, its execution, and the cover-up.

  • Pepper refutes the government and proves, through multiple witnesses, telephonic, and photographic evidence, that Raul existed; that his full name is Raul Coelho; and that he was James Earl Ray’s intelligence handler, who provided him with money and instructions from their first meeting in the Neptune Bar in Montreal, where Ray had fled in 1967 after his prison escape, until the day of the assassination.  It was Raul who instructed Ray to return to the U.S. (an act that makes no sense for an escaped prisoner who had fled the country), gave him money for the white Mustang, helped him attain travel documents, and moved him around the country like a pawn on a chess board. The parallels to Lee Harvey Oswald and Sirhan Sirhan are startling.
  • He presents the case of Donald Wilson, a former FBI agent working out of the Atlanta office in 1968, who went with a senior colleague to check out an abandoned white Mustang with Alabama plates (Ray’s car, to which Raul had a set of keys) and opened the passenger door to find that an envelope and some papers fell out onto the ground.  Thinking he may have disturbed a crime scene, the nervous Wilson pocketed them.  Later, when he read them, their explosive content intuitively told him that if he gave them to his superiors they would be destroyed.  One piece was a torn out page from a 1963 Dallas telephone directory with the name Raul written at the top, and the letter “J” with a Dallas telephone number for a club run by Jack Ruby, Oswald’s killer. The page was for the letter H and had numerous phone numbers for H. L. Hunt, Dallas oil billionaire and a friend of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.  Both men hated MLK. The second sheet contained Raul’s name and a list of names and sums and dates for payment.  On the third sheet was written the telephone number and extension for the Atlanta FBI office. (Read Jim Douglass’s important interview with Donald Wilson in The Assassinations, pp.479-491.)
  • Pepper interviewed four other witnesses who confirmed that they had seen Raul with Jack Ruby in Dallas in 1963 and that they were associated.
  • Pepper shows that the alias Ray was given and used from July 1967 until April 4, 1968 – Eric Galt – was the name of a Toronto operative of U.S. Army Intelligence, Eric St. Vincent Galt, who worked for Union Carbide with Top Secret clearance.  The warehouse at the Canadian Union Carbide Plant in Toronto that Galt supervised “housed a top secret munitions project funded jointly by the CIA, the U.S. Naval Surface Weapons Center, and the Army Electronics Research and Development Command …. In August 1967, Galt met with Major Robert M. Collins, a top aide to the head of the 902nd Military Intelligence Group (MIG) Colonel John Downie.”  Downie selected four members for an Alpha 184 Sniper Unit that was sent to Memphis to back up the primary assassin of MLK.  Meanwhile, Ray, set up as the patsy, was able to move about freely since he was protected by the pseudonymous NSA clearance for Eric Galt.
  • To refute the government’s claim that Ray and his brother robbed the Alton, Illinois Bank to finance his travels and car purchase (therefore no Raul existed), Pepper “called the sheriff in Alton and the president of the bank; they gave the same statement.  The Ray brothers had nothing to do with the robbery.  No one from the HSCA, the FBI, or The New York Times had sought their opinion.”  CNN later reiterated the media falsehood that became part of the official false story.
  • Pepper proves that the fatal shot came from the bushes behind Jim’s Grill and the rooming house, not from the bathroom window.  He presents overwhelming evidence for this, showing that the government’s claim, based on the testimony on a severely drunk Charlie Stephens, was absurd.  His evidence includes the testimony of numerous eyewitnesses and that of Loyd Jowers, the owner of Jim’s Grill, who said he took the rifle from the shooter in the bushes and brought it into the bar where he hid it.  Thus, Ray was not the assassin.
  • He presents conclusive evidence that the bushes were cut down the morning after the assassination in an attempt to corrupt the crime scene.  The order to do so came from Memphis Police Department Inspector Sam Evans to Maynard Stiles, a senior administrator of the Memphis Department of Public Works.
  • He shows how King’s room was moved from a safe interior room, 201, to balcony room, 306, on the upper floor; how King was conveniently positioned alone on the balcony by members of his own entourage for the easy mortal head shot from the bushes across the street.  (Many people only remember the iconic photograph taken after-the-fact with Jesse Jackson, Andrew Young, et al., standing over the fallen King and pointing across the street.)  Pepper implicates that Reverends Billy Kyles, Jesse Jackson, and, to a lesser extent, Ralph Abernathy were involved in these machinations.  He uncovers of the role of black military intelligence agent Marrell McCollough, attached to the 111th MIG, within the entourage.  McCollough can be seen kneeling over the fallen King, checking to see if he’s dead.
  • Pepper confirms that all of this, including the assassin in the bushes, was dutifully photographed by Army Intelligence agents situated on the nearby Fire House roof.
  • He presents evidence that all security for Dr. King was withdrawn from the area by the Memphis Police Department, including a special security unit of black officers, and four tactical police units. A black detective at the nearby fire station, Ed Redditt, was withdrawn from his post on the afternoon of April 4th, allegedly because of a death threat against him. And the only two black firemen at Fire Station No.2 were transferred to another station.
  • He names and confirms the presence of Alpha 184 snipers at locations high above the Lorraine Motel balcony.
  • He explains the use of two white mustangs in the operation to frame Ray.
  • He proves that Ray had driven off before the shooting; that Loyd Jowers took the rifle from the shooter who was in the bushes; that the Memphis police were working in close collaboration with the FBI, Army Intelligence, and the “Dixie Mafia,” particularly local produce dealer Frank Liberto and his New Orleans associate Carlos Marcello; and that every aspect of the government’s case was filled with holes that any person familiar with the details and possessing elementary logical abilities could refute.
  • So importantly, Pepper shows how the mainstream media and government flacks have spent years covering up the truth of MLK’s murder through lies and disinformation, just as they have done with the Kennedy and Malcom X assassinations that are of a piece with this one.

But since this is a book review and not a book, I will stop listing Pepper’s very detailed and convincing findings.  While he may not have answered every aspects of the case, and may be mistaken in some small details, he has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt the basic fact that James Earl Ray did not kill Martin Luther King, but that this great and dangerous leader was killed by a conspiracy organized at the highest levels of government.

The Plot to Kill King will mesmerize any reader seeking the truth about MLK’s assassination.  Even when Pepper, towards the end of the book, offers circumstantial and non-corroborated testimony from witnesses Ronnie Lee Adkins and Johnton Shelby, the reader can’t help but be intrigued and to consider their stories highly plausible given all that Pepper has proven.  Adkins claims that his father, a friend of Clyde Tolson, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s deputy, and then he himself, were part of the plot to kill King.  This involved politicians, the FBI, MPD, and mafia, including the aforementioned produce dealer Frank Liberto and others, making payoffs with FBI money to various people, including Jesse Jackson (whom Adkins, Jr. claims was a paid FBI informer) and working closely on the details of the assassination.  Johton Shelby’s story as recounted in his deposition (2014) to Pepper (reproduced, together with Adkins’ (2009), as appendices in the book), is that his mother, who was working as an emergency room aide at St. Joseph’s Hospital when King was brought there, inadvertently witnessed men spitting on Dr. King as he lay in the emergency room and a doctor putting a pillow over his head and suffocating him to death.  Pepper tends to accept these accounts, but says he isn’t completely convinced of all aspects of them.  The reader is offered plenty of food for thought concerning these claims.

Besides clearly proving the government’s part in killing Martin Luther King, this book is very important for the way Pepper links the case to those of JFK and RFK, who was murdered two months after King.  At the center of all these murders is a trinity of men who were devoted to the ending the Vietnam War and all wars, restoring economic justice for all Americans, and eliminating racial inequality.  That their goals were the same provides a motive for their murders by forces opposed to these lofty objectives. That their murders clearly involved highly sophisticated operations and cover-ups that could never have been pulled off by “crazed lone assassins” points to powerful forces with those means at their disposal. And when it comes to opportunity, when did the shadowy forces of the deep state ever lack for that?

The ramifications of the MLK assassination profoundly inform our current condition. For anyone who truly cares about peace, love, and justice, The Plot to Kill King is essential reading.  William Pepper should be saluted.  He has carried on Martin King’s noble legacy.

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Units of the Tiger Forces have been deployed on a frontline near the militant-held town of Qalat al-Madiuq in northwestern Hama, several pro-government sources claimed on January 17 speculating that this is a sign of the upcoming offensive in the area.

However, sources in the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) say that the claims of an immediate military operation in response the Idlib de-escalation zone are not accurate. A source in the SAA told SouthFront that many units of the Republican Guard, 1st Division, 3rd Division, 9th Division and the 100th Regiment will also be deployed in northwestern Hama soon.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin are set to meet in Moscow on January 23. They will discuss the situation in Idlib among other issues. Some experts believe that the two leaders will discuss on a new mechanism to reinforce the failed demilitarized zone agreement during the meeting.

This mechanism is needed to prevent a further expansion of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) in this part of the country. The terrorist group is officially excluded from the ceasefire regime, but so far Turkey and its proxies have undertaken no actions to eliminate the terrorists in the area. At the same time, Ankara opposes a SAA military operation in Idlib because this will mean the further success of the Damascus government in restoring control of the country.

Following the ISIS suicide bombing in Manbij, which caused casualties among US personnel, the Manbij Military Council of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) claimed that it had detained a ‘terrorist’ cell linked to Turkish intelligence services and Turkish-backed militant groups operating in northern Syria. According to the statement, the cell was preparing multiple ‘explosions’ and ‘similar terrorist acts’ in the Manbij area. By this statement, the SDF de-facto attempted to blame Turkey for the terrorist attack that had killed US personnel.

Previously, the SDF had repeatedly accused Turkey of supporting ISIS in the framework of its campaign designed in an attempt to undermine the US-Turkish relations and to prevent an agreement between Washington and Aknara over northern Syria.

In the Euphrates Valley, the SDF captured the villages of al-Susah and Bubadran form ISIS. This advance was supported by almost a hundred of US-led coalition airstrikes. The ISIS-held pocket in the Euphrates Valley is about to collapse. However, this does not mean that the terrorist group will be fully eliminated. Multiple ISIS cells still operate across the country.

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Intelligence sources said “Israel wants Syria to return to the era before 2011 when the leaders of the country were less powerful and experienced than they are today after seven years of warfare, the delivery of Russian advanced equipment mostly for air defence, the supply and manufacturer of sophisticated Iranian missiles in Syria and the formative presence of Iranian and Hezbollah advisors”.

The sources reveal that “Israeli officials told their American counterparts that it would be inappropriate to withdraw forces from the northeast of Syria, leaving Iran and its allies behind. The withdrawal – which now seems partial – of US forces should be done, if not before, at least simultaneously with the departure of all foreign forces operating on Syrian soil to create a balance of power on the ground. Also, it is important to stipulate that President Bashar al-Assad must refrain from using his mid-range precision missiles against Israel any time in the future as part of any US withdrawal from Syria deal. Israel argued that the US is delivering the Levant to Russia and the ‘Axis of the Resistance’ without any concessions in return”, according to the source.

The US establishment seems unwilling to cater to Israeli’s exaggerated anxieties. US officials visiting Tel Aviv told local officials that “the Israeli army holds enough military power to defend itself and that since 1974 Israel has no longer been on the defensive in the region. On the contrary, Israel has been on the offensive, taking the initiative to attack targets in Syria during these seven years of war”. According to western officials, the US reminded Israel that thousands of American forces are based in the country, in the Mediterranean and in various military bases the Middle East. These can intervene in favour of Israel in a timely way whenever appropriate. Therefore, Israel should stop screaming for unneeded help, when it is the one inflicting damage on its adversaries”.

Israel has repeatedly bombed targets in Syria belonging to the Syrian army and the “Axis of the Resistance”. It pushed the red lines even further when it bombed Iranian officials at the T4 airbase in 2018, killing several Iranian officers. In 2019, Israel already bombed a warehouse at Damascus airport, hours after the off-loading of Iranian military cargo. Although most of the Israeli missiles were shot down, a few managed to reach their target. Nevertheless, these bombings have little meaning on the strategic level because, although Israel has shown the long reach of its missiles, it has dramatically failed in its goal of crippling the missile capability of Syria and of Hezbollah in the Lebanon and Syria. During his recent visit to Cairo US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Hezbollah today has “over 130,000 missiles”.

If, as Israeli Chief of Staff General Gadi Eisenkot says, Israel “has complete intelligence superiority in the area” of Lebanon and Syria, how can he explain the arrival and deployment of a hundred and thirty thousands missiles – according to Pompeo – in Hezbollah’s hands? Eisenkot misled the Israelis when he said “Hezbollah possesses no accurate missile capabilities, except for small and negligible ones”. Indeed, when the leader of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah, warned Israel that he would “respond against any Israeli attack on Lebanon”, Israel heeded his warning and refrained from attacking any target in Lebanon. Throughout the war in Syria, Israeli jets violated the Lebanese airspace and flew over Lebanon to bomb Syria but didn’t dare to attack any Hezbollah objective in Lebanon, limiting themselves to attacking Hezbollah’s military trucks, Syrian and Iranian objectives in the Levant.

Eisenkot visiting EUCOM commander General Curtis Scaparrotti with a Chocolate cake (US officials favourite sweet) in honour of the visiting officer’s birthday (Photo JP).

 

According to well-connected sources, Israeli jets fired warning missiles in front of targeted trucks – before destroying the target later on – to avoid human casualties for fear of Hezbollah retaliation. If Israeli intelligence about the supposedly limited military power of Hezbollah is accurate, it makes no sense for Eisenkot to boast about his allegedly almighty military power against a “negligible enemy,” as he describes the military capability of the Lebanese “party of God”.

Sources operating in Syria and Lebanon agree with Israeli statements that Israel has bombarded various objectives in Syria with thousands of bombs, as announced by Prime Minister Netanyahu. Nevertheless, they claim that only 5% of the total weapon supply was intercepted and destroyed.

“Israel’s bombing of targets in Syria has been neither strategic nor tactical. They were political attacks aimed at boosting Netanyahu’s image. These strikes did not weaken the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) nor Hezbollah. Israel contradicts itself all the time. For example, the Israelis say: Hezbollah is the fifth most powerful force in the world, but is very weak and has limited power… Hezbollah is digging four tunnels which represent a serious threat to Israel’s national security, etc.”, said the source.

In fact, Israel has not provoked or attacked Hezbollah since the 2006 war. The only serious attack was registered in 2015 by a drone in Quneitra that killed Jihad Mughnnieh and the Iranian General Mohammad Ali AllahDade. The attack was not planned but rather an opportunistic attack on an Iranian-Hezbollah convoy of 3 four-wheel drive vehicles who spent several hours playing in the snow in an area in sight of an Israeli observation point. Israel didn’t know who was the target and certainly was unaware of the presence of the IRGC General. In retaliation, Hezbollah attacked an Israeli patrol in the Shebaa Farms killing several soldiers and an officer. Israel turned a blind eye and the tit-for-tat was closed between the two sides.

President Assad and his allies believe that Israel is trying to provoke Syria to respond to its violations of Syrian sovereignty in order to postpone or avoid a US withdrawal from Syria. For this reason, they prefer to not respond directly to Israeli provocations, in the expectation of a US withdrawal. Nevertheless, President Trump’s recent comments about “a 20 mile buffer zone” on the borders is an indication that he now intends to keep some forces in Syria and carry out only a partial rather than a full withdrawal of US troops.

Syria and its allies will need to reassess their strategy in response to Israeli aggression and US occupying troops when the dust settles in the northeast of Syria. So far, it is impossible to ascertain what Trump will decide in view of his ongoing contradictory statements about the US occupation of Syria.

Notwithstanding Trump’s intentions towards Syria and his fickle withdrawal plans, Israel has failed in all of its objectives in Syria: the Syrian government is still in place, the army has been rebuilt and Hezbollah and Iran have trained local fighters who are determined to stand against Israel in due course. Today, in 2019, Hezbollah has received all the missiles and different weaponry needed – as Pompeo has admitted– and Iran is a source of great concern for Israel and the US, present on its Syria front where before it was present only on the borders with Lebanon. Therefore, Israel, despite its heated media declarations and the thousands of targets it has hit in Syria in recent years, feels much more vulnerable today than it did in 2011.

Also, the Iraqi front cannot be discounted: al-Hashd al-Shaabi, the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Force, was created in 2014 to stand against ISIS. Today it is made up of tens of thousands of men highly trained and equipped with a strong ideology comparable to that of Hezbollah and Iran. Iranian influence has expanded from Lebanon to Syria and Iraq. Israel has grounds for concern.

But that is not all: Iran is present in Yemen where Saudi Arabia’s destructive war against the Houthis has offered Iran a unique opportunity to support the oppressed against the oppressor. Iran has also managed to create a foothold in Afghanistan: the Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour was invited to Tehran along with a high-ranking Taliban delegation. Iran licked its wounds when Taliban killed ten Iranian diplomats in Mazar i-Sharif and eventually managed to overcome its differences with Taliban for the greater cause of standing up to US hegemony in Afghanistan.

Iran and Syria have shown patience in biding their time and building their strength. After its 1979 revolution Iran’s government had little international experience. It began support of Hezbollah in 1982. Thirty-five years later, Hezbollah has become an organised irregular army present on many Middle Eastern fronts. While Israel may enjoy provoking Syria with tactical attacks and thousands of bombardments against various targets, the new strategic reality is inescapable. Both Iran and Syria have survived continuous threats and wars but have managed to pull through stronger. At the same time Israel, a nuclear power with the strongest air force in the Middle East, is to-date refraining from attacking Lebanon, a small country hardly visible on the world map. Israel is deterred by three words from Sayyed Nasrallah to the powerful Tel Aviv leaders who enjoy the unlimited support of a superpower (USA): Don’t try us!

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Selected Articles: Neocon, Neoliberalism, Resistance

January 20th, 2019 by Global Research News

While “Truth” is a powerful instrument, “the Lie” is generously funded by the lobby groups and corporate charities. And that is why we need the support of our readers.

At this juncture, we are not covering our monthly costs. Reader support is therefore essential.  

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US Will Retain a Military Base in Syria Despite Withdrawal

By Nauman Sadiq, January 20, 2019

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered contradictory messages in a speech in Cairo on Thursday, January 10. On the one hand, he said Washington will withdraw American troops from Syria in line with Donald Trump’s momentous announcement on December 19, and on the other, he emphasized the US will continue fighting the Islamic State and will also contain the influence of Iran in the Middle East region.

Trump, Announcing New Missile Defense Program, Ramps Up Nuclear Arms Race

By Andre Damon, January 20, 2019

Speaking at the Pentagon Thursday, President Donald Trump announced the largest expansion of US missile defense forces since Ronald Reagan’s failed “Star Wars” program.

How Wall Street Finances the Battle against Neoliberalism?

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, January 20, 2019

A critique of the IMF macro-economic agenda for Latin America is funded by a foundation owned by one of Wall Street’s most prominent financiers.

Vive La Résistance: Brexit, Yellow Vests, and the Fate of the EU

By Michael Welch, Diana Johnstone, and Peter Koenig, January 20, 2019

Under the process currently underway, the UK is set to officially abandon the EU on March 29, 2019. Opposition Members of Parliament have been lobbying for an extension of the deadline, a second referendum on EU membership, and even a new election which would potentially lead to a different Prime Minister taking charge of the Brexit negotiations.

Top 6 Things Wrong with Trump Denying Pelosi Government Transport

By Juan Cole, January 20, 2019

Trump’s petty cancellation of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s trip on military transport to Brussels and Afghanistan was clearly his revenge for her cancellation of his State of the Union message until he ends the shutdown of the government.

We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth

By Edward Curtin, January 19, 2019

Revolutionaries are, of course, anathema to the power elites who, with all their might, resist such rebels’ efforts to transform society. If they can’t buy them off, they knock them off.

Breaking US News and Analysis: William Barr Will be a Loyal Foot Soldier in King Trump’s Army

By Prof. Marjorie Cohn, January 19, 2019

At his attorney general confirmation hearing, William Barr sought to reassure senators on the Judiciary Committee that Robert Mueller’s probe would be allowed to continue, saying, “I believe it is vitally important that the Special Counsel be allowed to complete his investigation.”

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January 21, 2019. Martin Luther King Day

First published by GR on November 15, 2013 coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, November 22, 1963). 

April 4, 2018 is the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King‘s Passing.

June 6, 2018 is the Anniversary of the Passing of Robert F. Kennedy,

Their Legacy will live forever.

***

In the last 50 years there have been two major threats to life on our planet.  The first, the nuclear arms race and its near disaster of 1962, was narrowly averted by President John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert Kennedy, who then set a course for peace. 

The second, the ticking climate bomb on its short “business as usual” fuse, has no solution in sight. (PART II of this essay forthcoming)

In both cases unseen forces have blocked a survival response to incalculable danger. We will examine these forces and suggest a way forward, modeled partially on action taken by JFK to avert nuclear war.

Mind is the Master power that moulds and makes,
And Man is Mind, and evermore he takes
The tool of Thought, and, shaping what he wills,
Brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills: —
He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass:
Environment is but his looking-glass. 

                                                      James Allen,1902

I. Introduction

Most people under 60 will not remember the harrowing Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, when the world was brought to the brink of nuclear war.  With the US leading the long-range missile race, short-range Soviet missiles had been quietly installed in Cuba.  Tension ignited when a US reconnaissance pilot was shot down over Cuba and killed. Kennedy, opposed to a war with Cuba, feared that his generals would overthrow him and escalate the crisis to a nuclear war that they believed to be winnable.

In desperation Kennedy turned to urgent, secret negotiations with his Cold War enemy, Premier Nikita Khrushchev.  Disaster was narrowly averted through the vital historical meeting of October 27.[1]

Horrified by the event and under pressure from senior advisors to pursue a first-strike capability,[2] Kennedy made a decisive turn towards peace. He began urging the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and withdrawal from Viet Nam.

In June, 1963 he made an impassioned plea at the American University to make peace with the Soviets: “If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. In the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s futures. And we are all mortal.”[3]

But he would not be long for this world, for he had bitterly alienated the hawks who placed “winning the Cold War” above the life of a President.

JFK’s November, 1963 assassination unleashed nuclear roulette[4] to swagger and bluff its way into the eighties, obstructing his vision for peace while the planet hung in the balance.

Now, 50 years later, we again face a global precipice that cries out for decisive action.  A radical transition to green energy must begin immediately to avert an unstoppable slow-motion disaster.

Again hidden forces have been obstructing a response.  Since the Rio Summit in 1992, CO2 levels have spiked towards disaster while the media have remained fixated on pipeline and tanker routes.

Where is the human outcry for earth’s life-support?  Why have we failed to seize control of our survival?

Trappist monk Thomas Merton figured it out in the sixties.  He coined the term “the unspeakable” during the nuclear madness of the Cold War, to describe a vacuum that can be utterly void of compassion and responsibility.[5]

This systemic moral abyss covertly carries out  CIA assassinations and the overthrow of foreign governments while protecting senior officials from knowing too much, under the doctrine of “plausible deniability.”

In failing to acknowledge and confront the under-side of the state we have allowed the abyss to grow, as it did in Hitler’s Germany.

Following JFK’s murder came the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy, neither of whom, we now know, were murdered by lone gunmen.

Each of these men looked into the void and confronted the unspeakable in the name of peace and justice. Each paid the final price.

To learn from history, and to be worthy of their sacrifices,  we need to “go there” too.

President John F. Kennedy

 “Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings.” John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)

Widespread suspicion that JFK was killed by elements within his own government, most particularly the CIA, has long been fostered by films such as Oliver Stone’s 1991 JFK.

In 2009, Stone reviewed the extraordinary book JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why it Matters:[6]  “It is the best account I have read of this tragedy and its significance. It is a book that deserves the attention of all Americans; it is one of those rare books that, by helping us understand our history, has the power to change it.”[7]

On January 11, 2013, Robert Kennedy Jr. told Charlie Rose in front of a large Dallas audience that his father, Robert F. Kennedy (brother to JFK), privately believed the Warren Commission was “a shoddy piece of craftsmanship,” and that “the evidence at this point I think is very, very convincing that it was not a lone gunman.”[8]

Kennedy said his father had “asked Justice Department investigators to informally look into allegations that the accused assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, had received aid from the Mafia, the CIA or other organizations.  He said the staff members found phone lists linking Jack Ruby, Oswald’s assassin, to organized crime figures with ties to the CIA, convincing the elder Kennedy that there was something to the allegations.”[9] Kennedy also praised the scholarship of JFK and the Unspeakable.

The Rose interview was taped but not broadcast by the media, which evidently does not “go there.”

One man who “went there” in the sixties was the young award-winning Dallas Deputy Sheriff, Roger Dean Craig, who was on duty when JFK was killed.  Craig, in a virtually unknown interview following several attempts on his life, spoke clearly about his orders that morning to watch but not offer security to the JFK motorcade. Though Kennedy had been promised the greatest police protection ever provided to a President, Craig reported surprisingly few Dallas police:  none riding beside the limousine, and none sitting on the trunk to shield him.[10] The rifle Craig and other officers examined in the Texas School Depository did not match the three spent cartridges. Craig’s clear testimony and the tragic story of his ensuing destruction is available online.[11]

A February 25, 2013 news story reports that Robert J. Groden, best-selling New York Times author and forensic photographic consultant to the 1978 House Select Committee on Assassinations, has been arrested or ticketed 81 times in Dallas for lecturing at the site of JFK’s assassination.  Each time he was legally exonerated.[12]  Groden, consultant to Oliver Stone’s film JFK, has written six  books disproving the lone gunman evidence, and produced the virtually unknown 1993 documentary, JFK: The Case for Conspiracy.[13]

A 2011 study tells of a witness who went into hiding for decades after testifying to the Warren Commission that she was on the Depository stairs and did not see Lee Harvey Oswald at the official time he was reported to have fled.  She later found that her testimony to the Commission had been revised.[14]

Much is being done to expose the real murder of JFK.  Now, at the 50th anniversary of his death, with 1,100 JFK assassination records still under wraps (in violation of the 1992 JFK Assassination Records Act), the Mary Ferrell Foundation and JFK Facts offer news and archives about the Kennedy assassination.[15]

 Dr. Martin Luther King

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” MLK, “Beyond Vietnam,” April 4, 1967 Speech, NYC

 American civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was shot on the second-floor balcony of a motel in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968.

Like Kennedy, King had launched a non-violent campaign against the Vietnam war, based on his horror of the unspeakable brutality the Vietnamese children suffered from napalm.

An August, 1963 FBI memo had described King as “the most dangerous Negro of the future in this Nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro and national security.”[16] He was arrested 29 times and his home was bombed.

King’s alleged assassin, James Earl Ray, had long been denied a criminal trial in spite of repeated efforts by the Martin Luther King family. In 1999 the King family commissioned attorney William F. Pepper to pursue a civil wrongful death suit on behalf of Ray, who had died in1998. The case, which called 70 witnesses, was tried in Memphis Circuit Court before Judge James E. Swearengen.  After 30 days of hearing evidence that had never been presented in a court of law, the jury exonerated Ray in a victory for the King family. The 12-person jury instead found a murder conspiracy involving agents of the government of the United States, State of Tennessee, and the City of Memphis.[17]

Only one reporter — Wendell Stacy from Memphis ABC News — covered the trial in depth. He was fired and suffered attempts on his life.[18] The massive evidence and verdict for this trial were thus buried by the US media, stunting history and killing hope.

Senator Robert F. Kennedy

“I’m afraid there are guns between me and the White House.” Robert Kennedy, 1968

Just after midnight on June 5, 1968, RFK was shot three times while leaving the stage of the Ambassador Hotel ballroom in Los Angeles.  He had been celebrating his win of the California democratic primary election the day before.

Of the three alleged lone-gunman assassins, Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan’s role is the most doubtful.

Most eye witnesses reported long ago that Sirhan was facing Kennedy as he walked off-stage into the pantry.  However, the autopsy showed that the bullets entered Kennedy’s body from behind and to the right.[19]  Coroner Noguchi estimated that the lethal shot to the back of his neck was fired from no more than 1.5 inches, and left thick powder burns.[20] The final Coroner’s report described embedded “dark brown to black powder residues in the neck injury.[21]

Eye-witnesses have also long reported more shots than Sirhan’s 8-bullet pistol could hold.  John Pilger, twice Britain’s “Journalist of the Year”, was following Kennedy into the kitchen and reported shots after Sirhan was restrained, confirming, in a 2008 interview, “there was another assassin or another several assassins.”[22]

There was no camera footage of the shooting. However in 2004, the long-archived “Pruszynski Tape” was found in the California State Archives by American journalist Brad Johnson, a senior CNN news writer.[23] This audio recording was judged authentic by forensic analyst of magnetic recordings, Phillip van Praag, whose oscillogram showed 13 shots, including two double shots fired back to back.[24] Two sets of shots with different megahertz patterns were fired from opposite directions.[25]

In 2012 a key witness to the murder went public. Nina Rhodes-Hughes, a fund-raiser for RFK, walked 6-7 feet behind him as he left the stage.  She heard shots from in front of RFK, and then from her right.  She later learned that the FBI had changed her testimony to say that she had heard 8 shots, which she “never, never said…there were at least 12, maybe 14.” Her statements were reported by CNN, Huffington Post, and other major news outlets last year.[26] They exactly mirror accounts of several other witnesses.[27]

Concluding Remarks

Fifty years of research shows that three humane visions of global peace were thwarted by three covert assassinations.

In each case eyewitness accounts were written out of history. In each case the “lone gunman” fiction denied society a true understanding of the deep politics of history.[28]  In each case propaganda masked truth and undermined the public good.

Notes

[1] Hershberg, Jim. “Anatomy of a Controversy. Anatoly F. Dobrynin’s Meeting with Robert F. Kennedy, Saturday 27 October, 1962.” The Cold War International Project Bulletin, Issue 5, Spring 1995 (http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/nsa/cuba_mis_cri/moment.htm).

[2] James K. Galbraith and Heather A. Purcell, “Did the U.S. Military Plan  a Nuclear First Strike for 1963? Notes on National Security Council Meeting July 20, 1961” http://www.maryferrell.org/wiki/index.php/Essay_-_Did_the_US_Military_Plan_a_Nuclear_First_Strike_for_1963. By September 1963, the National Security Council was considering the killing of 140 million Soviets in exchange for 30 million Americans. “Summary Record of the 517th Meeting of the National Security Council,” September 12, 1963 (http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1961-63v08/d141).

[3] John F. Kennedy. American University Commencement Address, June 10, 1963 (http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/BWC7I4C9QUmLG9J6I8oy8w.aspx).

[4] Crisis events in the nuclear age are listed at http://peacemagazine.org/archive/v13n1p20.htm and http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/military/nuclear-false-alarms.html

[5] See for example, the psychiatric interview of Richard Kuklinski by Dr. Park Dietz, “The Iceman Tapes: Inside the Mind of a Mafia Hitman” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psoq8qYvx18).

[6] James W. Douglass, “JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why it Matters,” New York, Simon & Schuster, 2008.

[7] Oliver Stone, “JFK and the Unspeakable,” Huffington Post, July 23, 2009 (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/oliver-stone/jfk-and-the-unspeakable_b_243924.html).

[8] CBS, January 12, 2013, http://washington.cbslocal.com/2013/01/12/rfk-jr-evidence-very-convincing-lone-gunman-did-not-kill-jfk/.

[9] David Flick, “Kennedy’s Make Rare Visit to Dallas, Say RFK Questioned ‘Lone Gunman’ Theory in JFK Assassination,” January 12, 2013 (http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/dallas/headlines/20130112-kennedys-make-rare-visit-to-dallas-say-rfk-questioned-lone-gunman-theory-in-jfk-assassination.ece).

[10] This may be seen in “The Undamaged Zapruder Film,” at http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAkennedyJ.htm. Secret Service interviews have debunked the claim that JFK declined full motorcade support:  http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/palamara/factsheet_vmp.html

[11] “Two Men in Dallas,” released 1976, produced by attorney Mark Lane, author of Rush to Judgment, 1966. Parts 1-5, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyvRfeLDsB4, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFEx8hjD8kE, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hygDvRpam_w, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6vXeg50rjs, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COKE8gVTOuU

[12] Jim Schutze, “JFK Conspiracy Theorist Robert Groden goes 81-0 with Latest Win Against City Censors,” Dallas Observer, Feb. 25, 2013 (http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2013/02/jfk_conspiracy_theorist_robert.php).

[13] Part 1, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAS33MP02b0.  For the second gunman, see particularly Part 9, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePsJiovip4M.

[14] Barry Ernest, “The Girl on the Stairs,” CreateSpace, March 2011 (http://www.amazon.com/The-Girl-Stairs-Missing-Assassination/dp/1460979370)

[15] http://www.maryferrell.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page and JFKfacts.org.

[16] United States Government Memorandum, August 30, 1963.  On December 23, 1936, the FBI’s Domestic Intelligence Division held a major planning to “expose King for the clerical fraud and Marxist he is.” Cited from:  American RadioWorks, “The FBI’s War on King” (http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/king/d4.html)

[17] Filmed highlights from the case are available in 10 parts, under “MLK Assassination Conspiracy Trial.” Part 1:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-mlYaWOu4E.  The complete trial transcript, 2735 pages, is online at the Martin Luther King Center, http://www.thekingcenter.org/sites/default/files/KING%20FAMILY%20TRIAL%20TRANSCRIPT.pdf and in html format at http://ratical.org/ratville/JFK/MLKACT/MLKACTtoc.html.  A journalist’s 6-minute summary of the evidence is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEP94AVshrs. An excellent review of Dr. Pepper’s book about the case, “An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King,” by David T. Ratcliffe, is available at http://www.ratical.com/ratville/JFK/MLKactOstate.html.

[18] Stacy held a Doctor of Philosophy degree in journalism. “Wendell Stacy recorded the trial on his own video tapes and after the trial was fired by his employer Clear Channel because he had been pushing for more coverage of what had happened in the trial and on other issues. He sued Clear Channel and years later won his suit…Using his video recordings he produced an hour-long documentary on the assassination of Dr. King that aired on French and German prime time television. After the documentary was aired he was repeatedly threatened by telephone messages, experienced a series of break-ins to his home, and his car blew up when he was about to get into it. His sudden death in 2007 was from causes that are very difficult to understand.” http://politicalassassinations.com/2012/08/complete-transcript-of-the-martin-luther-king-jr-assassination-conspiracy-trial/

[19] See the second rough draft of the autopsy report by Dr. John E. Holloway, Deputy Medical Examiner, dated June 21, 1968, at http://www.autopsyfiles.org/reports/Other/kennedy,%20robert_report.pdf.

[20] Joseph Geringer. “The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy,” TruTV Crime Library http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/terrorists_spies/assassins/kennedy/5.html.

[21] Report on the Medicolegal Investigation of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, 368-5731.  See page marked 304. (http://www.sirhansresearcher.com/i.pdf).

[22] John Pilger in an Amy Goodman interview,  June 6, 2008, “John Pilger Confirms Multiple RFK Shootings,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZ27B4bSqEw

[23] CNN, “2009 BackStory: 2nd gun in RFK shooting?”  Added on March 13, 2012 to http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/crime/2012/03/02/bs-rfk-assassination.cnn.

[24] “Pruszynski Recording Reveals Second Gun,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URYZjbaeQo8

[25] “RFK: An Open and Shut Case. Robert Joling Interview.”  Part 1 of 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CI9EfIu-00)  Joling was past president of the American Academy of Forensic Scientists, 1975-76.

[26] “RFK Assassination Witness Nina Rhodes-Hughes Says Sirhan-Sirhan Didn’t Act Alone,” April 30, 2012 (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/30/rfk-assassination-nina-rhodes-hughes_n_1464439.html). Denise Ryan, “B.C.-based actress Nina Rhodes-Hughes speaks of Robert K. Kennedy’s assassination (with video),” The Vancouver Sun, May 7, 2012 (http://www.vancouversun.com/news/based+actress+Nina+Rhodes+Hughes+speaks+Robert+Kennedy+assassination/6570188/story.html).

[27] CNN, “2009 BackStory: 2nd gun in RFK shooting?”  Added on March 13, 2012 to http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/crime/2012/03/02/bs-rfk-assassination.cnn.

[28] “Deep politics” is a term coined by Dr. Peter Dale Scott, whose books are listed at http://www.history-matters.com/pds/dp3.htm.

I wish to thank Dr. Michael J. Harvey, biologist, for his assistance with this essay.

This essay is dedicated to Dr. James W. Douglass, from whose book JFK and the Unspeakable and workshop I learned deeply.

PART II OF THIS ESSAY: 

The Climate Bomb:  Failures to Confront the Unspeakable, and The Way Ahead

 

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Over 70,000 “maquiladora” workers from 45 factories in the US-Mexico border town of Matamoros, Mexico have entered the sixth day of their courageous struggle as more and more plants are paralyzed throughout the city.

Last night, thousands of workers marched through the city from factory to factory chanting “unity, unity,” “walk out! walk out!,” “the workers united will never be defeated” and “strike!” Workers stopped at each plant and appealed to workers changing shift to join their strike, greeting each new walkout with a loud round of cheers. The crowd grew throughout the night.

There is a sense in the ruling class that the strike may be getting out of control. Amid a complete media blackout, the hated trade unions are doing everything in their power to restrict the movement to “legal” union-led negotiations and to keep stoppages from spreading to more manufacturing complexes across the border area and internationally.

The strike at Matamoros has been completely ignored by the corporate media. There is not a single article about the Matamoros strike in any of the major Mexican or international news outlets. While devoting front-page news to anti-democratic maneuvers by the Democratic Party, the US-based New York Times and Washington Post, and Mexican newspapers such as El Universal and Reforma, have nothing to say about the largest strike on the North American continent in recent years.

Workers confront the union leader outside of the headquarters on Thursday (Credit AquiMatamoros)

The strike could very soon disrupt global supply chains in the United States, Canada and Asia. Industry experts estimate that the strike has already cost the maquiladora industry $20 million, or $23,000 per minute. The strike is affecting major suppliers to the “Big Three” automakers—GM, Ford and Fiat-Chrysler—as well as other manufacturers. Factories that are on strike include Autoliv, Inteva, Starkey, Edemsa, Aipsa, Cepillos, STC, Polytech, Kemet, Tyco, Parker and AFX.

The workers are sharing information through Facebook, with several pages sprouting up for workers to coordinate actions between plants and to defend workers against victimization by the unions and the companies.

There is no innocent explanation for the lack of coverage. The ruling class is terrified that the strikes will extend to other cities and link up the demands of workers everywhere for social equality. An editorial published yesterday by the state capital’s newspaper, El Diario de Ciudad Victoria, warns of similar unrest spreading to the 120 factories in the border town of Reynosa or to Ciudad Victoria, where over 6,000 auto parts workers at Kemet and APTIV are demanding a 30 percent raise in their current contract negotiations.

Image on the right: Workers strike at Decofinmex

The decision to censor stories about Matamoros is aimed at keeping workers in the dark about developments that could be the turning point in the decision by millions of people around the world to take matters into their own hands by organizing actions outside of the trade unions, just as the Matamoros workers have already bravely demonstrated.

Despite the offer of small bonuses to draw them back to their posts, the maquiladora workers have refused to give in and continue to call for a 20 percent wage increase and a 32,000 peso bonus ($1,700), as well as a reduction in their union dues from four percent to one percent and a return to the 40 hour work week. There is a growing call for a 100 percent raise to mirror the raise that other workers across the US-Mexico border received at the beginning of the year.

Companies have thuggishly threatened workers with plant closures if the strike continues. An Autoliv auto parts worker told the WSWS that companies have blocked their payment cards for bonuses and other allowances and have withheld workers’ salaries for the first week of the month, even though workers were not on strike at that time.

Recognizing that workers everywhere face the same conditions and need to link up their struggles, autoworkers in the US and Canada have sent statements of support to the striking Matamoros workers and urged them to continue their strike.

The Matamoros workers have now rebelled against a second union, the Union of Workers in Maquiladora and Assembly plants (SIPTME). Yesterday, hundreds of workers from Tridonex, an auto parts manufacturer, gathered at SIPTME offices to demand that their plants join the workers who are currently on strike. Rather than face their own membership, union bureaucrats closed down their offices ahead of the arrival of the protesters, citing “security concerns.” A mid-level official eventually emerged and summarily rejected any joint action with the workers affiliated with the Union of Laborers and Industrial Workers of the Maquiladora Industry (SJOIIM).

The SJOIIM is widely hated for taking four percent of workers’ salaries every week while acting as nothing more than a cheap labor contractor. It’s leader, Juan Villafuerte Morales, is working day and night to sabotage the strike and bring it back under the suffocating control of the union. “Negotiations between workers and the companies will continue for another 10 days and it would help very much if workers returned to their posts,” said Villafuerte on Thursday.

Other forces are also seeking to limit the workers to negotiations between the companies and the SJOIIM. Labor lawyer Susana Prieto Terrazas traveled from Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua to give legal guidance to the striking workers. She met with Villafuerte yesterday to obtain the collective bargaining agreements from the union office, which have previously not been shared with the membership. At a mass rally yesterday, she told the crowd: “Fellow workers, you have to pressure, for starters your union. You cannot get rid of Villafuerte for now. You have to pressure until they give in, Villafuerte and the companies.”

Union leader Villafuerte receives backing by lawyer Susana Prieto (credit AquiMatamoros)

Despite Prieto’s support for a strike by legal means, workers must be warned: If they allow their struggle to be bought under the influence of the unions and the Movement for National Regeneration (Morena), they will be isolated and defeated. Prieto’s proposal that workers seek to pressure the union will restrict the true source of its power: their independent, unified action outside of and against the union-corporate alliance. Instead of turning to the union, they must turn to their working class brothers and sisters at other plants in other cities and other industries. This is the ticket to victory.

The formation of rank-and-file committees to take the struggle out of the hands of the union is the immediate order of the day. To be able to stand up to the intimidation of the companies, workers need to rely on the strength of the entire working class. They are receiving widespread support from workers in the US and Canada, who are enthusiastically watching their struggle with great interest.

We urge workers who want to link up with their class brothers and sisters across North America to contact us by email at [email protected] or on our Facebook page.

On February 9, at 2 p.m. autoworkers will demonstrate at GM world headquarters in Detroit, Michigan to oppose the job cuts and concessions announced by the auto and parts companies. Workers from across the world can follow and support this demonstration on Facebook here.

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Trump’s petty cancellation of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s trip on military transport to Brussels and Afghanistan was clearly his revenge for her cancellation of his State of the Union message until he ends the shutdown of the government.

Here are the top 5 things wrong with this step:

1. It is invidious and unfair, since First Lady Melania Trump took off for Mar-a-Lago in a government plane soon thereafter. Given that 800,000 government employees are not getting their paychecks, is this the right time for Melania to vacation in Florida?

2. Although Ivanka and Jared Kushner did not fly a government plane down there, they are also vacationing in Mar-a-Lago. They are supposedly high-powered White House employees. Jared is supposed to be bringing peace to the Mideast and Ivanka is supposed to be picking the next World Bank head. Why are they on vacation when so many government employees in the security area, as with TSA agents, and being made to work, and made to work without pay as long as the shutdown lasts? Isn’t Pelosi’s determination to carry out US security consultations in Brussels and Kabul much more admirable than high level essential personnel sipping Mai Tais in a Florida resort? And by the way, a trip to Mar-a-Lago by the Kushners is estimated to cost tax payers tens of thousands of dollars in, ironically, security costs. Are the Secret Service agents being paid, or are they working for the Trumps for free while the latter are exfoliating?

3. Trump’s Cabinet of Grifters has routinely abused the taxpayers by using military transport for purely political campaign events or for what appear to be personal or corruption-related trips. Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency who turned the EPA into the Environmental Destruction Agency, charged taxpayers $163,000 in just his first year, using a combination of first class commercial flights and charters and requisitioning military flights.

CNBC reported that “Pruitt and staffers flew by Air Force jet to Cincinnati from Washington for an event with President Donald Trump. That flight alone cost more than $36,000.” Then there was the $120,000 trip to Italy. Was he visiting sunny Tuscany to admire the coal plants and sniffing in the thick black particles?

Pruitt is under ethics investigations over his travel abuses.

4. Pelosi is number 2 in line to succeed if the president is incapacitated, after the vice president. Trump does seem non compos mentis, and though Pence seems more immobile than incapacitated, given the parlous state of the Republic, it certainly is legitimate for No. 3 to seek to get up to speed on our national security commitments. More especially at a time when Trump is trashing those commitments.

5. Headlines have in the past week carried the news that privately, Trump spoke of withdrawing from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Breaking up NATO has been a prime goal of Russian president Vladimir Putin, who appears to have some powerful hold on Trump. Some lawmakers even want to pass a law preventing him from trying to do that unilaterally. The congressional delegation intended to reassure NATO members of US commitment to the organization.

6. Trump has underlined to Republican lawmakers that he intends to withdraw from Afghanistan. The Speaker of the House who has a powerful majority in that chamber should be consulting with Afghan president Ashraf Ghani (especially since Trump has not bothered to go visit the latter).

I suggest Speaker Pelosi consult with Rep. Rashida Tlaib about how to deal with Trump’s erratic mind games. I believe she has blueprints for something called “Operation Mofo.”

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered contradictory messages in a speech in Cairo on Thursday, January 10. On the one hand, he said Washington will withdraw American troops from Syria in line with Donald Trump’s momentous announcement on December 19, and on the other, he emphasized the US will continue fighting the Islamic State and will also contain the influence of Iran in the Middle East region.

Obviously, both these divergent goals are impossible to achieve, unless Washington is planning to maintain some sort of long-term military presence in Syria. In an exclusive report [1] by the Middle East Eye’s Turkey correspondent, Ragip Soylu, January 10, he mentions that the US delegation presented a five-point document to the Turkish officials during National Security Advisor John Bolton’s recent visit to Turkey.

“Those in attendance with Bolton during the two-hour meeting at the presidential palace in Ankara included General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and James Jeffrey, the US special envoy to the anti-Islamic State coalition,” according to the report.

A senior Trump administration official briefed on objectives outlined at the meeting, speaking to the reporter, said,

“As the president has stated, the US will maintain whatever capability is necessary for operations needed to prevent the Islamic State’s resurgence.”

And then the reporter makes a startling revelation, though hidden deep in the report and mentioned rather cursorily:

“The US is not withdrawing from the base at al-Tanf at this time,” the official said.

The revelation hardly comes as a surprise, though, as John Bolton alluded to maintaining long-term US military presence at the al-Tanf base during his visit to Jerusalem on January 6.

The al-Tanf military base is strategically located in southeastern Syria on the border between Syria, Iraq and Jordan, and it sits on a critically important Damascus-Baghdad highway, which serves as a lifeline for Damascus. Washington has illegally occupied 55-kilometer area around al-Tanf since 2016, and several hundred US Marines have trained Syrian militant groups, including Maghawir al-Thawra, there.

Thus, for all practical purposes, it appears the withdrawal of American troops from Syria will be limited to Manbij and Kobani in northern Syria and Qamishli and al-Hasakah in northeastern Syria in order to address the concerns of Washington’s NATO-ally Turkey pertaining to the Kurdish militias which Ankara regards as “terrorists,” and the fate of US forces operating alongside Kurds in Deir al-Zor in eastern Syria and al-Tanf military base in particular is still in doubt.

The regions currently being administered by the Kurds in Syria include the Kurdish-majority Qamishli and al-Hasakah in northeastern Syria along the border with Iraq, and the Arab-majority towns of Manbij to the west of the Euphrates River in northern Syria and Kobani to the east of the Euphrates River along the Turkish border.

The oil- and natural gas-rich Deir al-Zor governorate in eastern Syria has been contested between the Syrian government and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, and it also contains a few pockets of the remnants of the Islamic State militants alongside both eastern and western banks of the Euphrates River.

The Turkish “east of Euphrates” military doctrine basically means that the Turkish armed forces would not tolerate the presence of the Syrian PYD/YPG Kurds – which the Turks regard as “terrorists” allied to the PKK Kurdish separatist group in Turkey – in Manbij and Kobani, in line with the longstanding Turkish policy of denying the Kurds any territory in the traditionally Arab-majority areas of northern Syria along Turkey’s southern border.

Regarding the evacuation of American troops from the Kurdish-held areas in northern Syria, clearly an understanding has been reached between Washington and Ankara. According to the terms of the agreement, the Erdogan administration released the US pastor Andrew Brunson on October 12, which had been a longstanding demand of the Trump administration, and has also decided not to make public the audio recordings of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, which could have implicated another American-ally the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in the assassination.

In return, the Trump administration has complied with Erdogan’s longstanding demand to evacuate American forces from the Kurdish-held areas in northern Syria. Another demand Erdogan must have made to Washington is to pressure Saudi Arabia to lift the Saudi-UAE blockade against Qatar imposed in June 2017, which is ideologically aligned to Erdogan’s AKP party since both follow the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, in return for not making public the audio recordings of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

It bears mentioning that after the Khashoggi assassination and the international outrage it generated against the Saudi royal family, Saudi Arabia is already trying to assuage Qatar as it invited Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to attend the Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Riyadh on December 10, though Doha snubbed the goodwill gesture by sending a low-ranking official to the meeting.

The reason why the Trump administration is bending over backwards to appease Ankara is that Turkish President Erdogan has been drifting away from Washington’s orbit into the Kremlin’s sphere of influence. Turkey, which has the second largest army in NATO, has been cooperating with Moscow in Syria against Washington’s interests for the last couple of years and has also placed an order for the Russian-made S-400 missile system, though that deal, too, has been thrown into jeopardy after Washington’s recent announcement of selling $3.5 billion worth of Patriot missile systems to Ankara.

In order to understand the significance of relationship between Washington and Ankara, it’s worth noting that the United States has been conducting airstrikes against targets in Syria from the Incirlik airbase and around fifty American B-61 hydrogen bombs have also been deployed there, whose safety became a matter of real concern during the foiled July 2016 coup plot against the Erdogan administration; when the commander of the Incirlik airbase, General Bekir Ercan Van, along with nine other officers were arrested for supporting the coup; movement in and out of the base was denied, power supply was cut off and the security threat level was raised to the highest state of alert, according to a report [2] by Eric Schlosser for the New Yorker.

Perceptive readers who have been keenly watching Erdogan’s behavior since the foiled July 2016 coup plot against the Erdogan administration must have noticed that Erdogan has committed quite a few reckless and impulsive acts during the last few years.

Firstly, the Turkish air force shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 fighter jet on the border between Syria and Turkey on 24 November 2015 that brought the Turkish and Russian armed forces to the brink of a full-scale confrontation in Syria.

Secondly, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, was assassinated at an art exhibition in Ankara on the evening of 19 December 2016 by an off-duty Turkish police officer, Mevlut Mert Altintas, who was suspected of being an Islamic fundamentalist.

Thirdly, the Turkish military mounted the seven-month-long Operation Euphrates Shield in northern Syria immediately after the attempted coup plot from August 2016 to March 2017 that brought the Turkish military and its Syrian militant proxies head-to-head with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces and their US backers.

Fourthly, Ankara invaded Idlib in northwestern Syria in October 2017 on the pretext of enforcing a de-escalation zone between the Syrian militants and the Syrian government, despite official protest from Damascus that the Turkish armed forces were in violation of Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

And lastly, Turkey mounted Operation Olive Branch in the Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin in northwestern Syria from January to March 2018. And after capturing Afrin in March last year, the Turkish armed forces and their Syrian jihadist proxies have now set their sights further east on Manbij and Kobani.

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Nauman Sadiq is an Islamabad-based attorney, columnist and geopolitical analyst focused on the politics of Af-Pak and Middle East regions, neocolonialism and petro-imperialism.

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Michel Chossudovsky

The “globalization of war” is a hegemonic project. Major military and covert intelligence operations are being undertaken simultaneously in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia and the Far East. The U.S. military agenda combines both major theater operations as well as covert actions geared towards destabilizing sovereign states.

ISBN Number: 978-0-9737147-6-0
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Speaking at the Pentagon Thursday, President Donald Trump announced the largest expansion of US missile defense forces since Ronald Reagan’s failed “Star Wars” program.

The announcement is the latest move in a global nuclear arms race in which the United States, Russia and China are rapidly expanding their nuclear arsenals, even as the Trump administration moves to tear up all restrictions on the development, deployment and use of nuclear weapons.

Trump has accelerated a $1 trillion nuclear modernization program put in place under Obama, while rushing the development of new US strategic bombers, nuclear submarines and “low-yield” nuclear weapons that are more likely to be used in combat.

At the same time, the White House has announced the United States’ intention to withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty as it prepares to ring Russia and China with short- and medium-range nuclear and conventional missiles.

While US missile defense strategy previously claimed to defend against the actions of smaller states such as North Korea and Iran, this year’s missile defense review more directly targets Russia and China. As the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank wrote,

“For the first time, the document puts Russia and China in the same sentence as missile defenses, making explicit what has hitherto been implicit.”

Speaking at the Pentagon Thursday, Trump declared that “foreign adversaries, competitors and rogue regimes are steadily enhancing their missile arsenals… Their arsenals are getting bigger and stronger.”

Trump’s remarks echoed the themes of the Pentagon report he was presenting.

“Military superiority is not a birthright,” the report states. “The scale and urgency of change required to renew our conventional and missile defense overmatch should not be underestimated.”

The report goes on to threaten:

“To our competitors: We see what you are doing, and we are taking action.”

Congress has approved $10.3 billion for the US missile defense agency this fiscal year, a figure that is poised to skyrocket if Trump’s plans are carried through.

In his Pentagon appearance, Trump did not attempt to hide the fact that he was using the prospect of billions of dollars in additional military funding to solicit political support. Responding to applause as he took the podium, Trump told the military audience,

“You’re only doing that because I gave you the greatest and biggest budget in our history. And I’ve now done it two times. And I hate to tell the rest of the world, but I’m about to do it three times. So that’s the only reason you gave me such a nice welcome.”

Despite the bitter factional warfare in Washington, there is overwhelming bipartisan agreement on the vast and perpetual expansion of the military. Last June, the Senate approved, on an 85-10 vote, an $82 billion increase in the Pentagon budget, bringing annual spending to $716 billion. The colossal levels of military spending are almost never discussed in the media and the money is appropriated without question.

The diversion of funds into military appropriations and the pockets of defense contractors is even more shameless in connection with missile defense than with other types of military spending, because the efficacy of missile defense is, according to experts, largely illusory.

Missile defense is “the longest running scam in the history of the Department of Defense,” wrote Joseph Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, and “the new Missile Defense Review continues that proud tradition.”

Since President Reagan first announced his “Star Wars” initiative, the United States has spent some $300 billion on missile defense systems. Cirincione observed that “a decade after the start of ‘Star Wars,’ having spent tens of billions of dollars on X-ray lasers, directed energy weapons, particle-beam weapons, space-based kinetic interceptors and ‘brilliant pebbles,’ the Pentagon was forced to conclude that none of these fanciful concepts would work. We ended up with a concept of limited, ground-based interceptors that might be able to intercept one or two primitive long-range warheads.”

But the extremely limited effectiveness of the US missile defense systems did not prevent Trump from making sweeping claims about US capabilities.

“Our goal is simple: to ensure that we can detect and destroy any missile launched against the United States anywhere, anytime, anyplace,” he said.

“We will destroy every type of missile attack against any American target, whether before or after launch,” he added.

In reality, current US missile defenses are not capable of reliably destroying modern ICBMs possessed by Russia or China, much less the new generation of hypersonic reentry vehicles that the two countries are deploying.

Trump’s statements reflect the two most essential characteristics of American military policy since the fall of the Soviet Union: boundless, often delusional, hubris and a total lack of restraint. Given the series of blank checks Congress keeps writing, it is likely that Trump’s announcement will be the start of a new “Star Wars” boondoggle—turning over hundreds of billions more dollars for fanciful proposals.

However, the dubious efficacy of these initiatives does not lessen their deadly implications. The entire program is part of accelerating preparations for nuclear war, in which US imperialism is preparing to use offensive nuclear weapons.

For all the money Trump’s new missile defense system will consume, the primary mechanism for ensuring that no missiles reach the United States in the event of war is the threat to destroy the entire landmass of a potential opponent with nuclear weapons.

“The United States will continue to rely upon nuclear deterrence for strategic nuclear attack from major powers,” the CSIS declares.

The central aim of the Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review, released last year, was to de-stigmatize the use of nuclear weapons by expanding the range of possible scenarios in which the president could respond with a nuclear strike.

As numerous studies have made clear, a nuclear exchange between the United States and Russia or between the United States and China, beyond an initial death toll in the hundreds of millions, would result in a climatological phenomenon known as nuclear winter, entailing a long-term drop in global temperatures that would make agriculture impossible and wipe out the entire human race.

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French demonstrators scuffled with armed police as they await Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Souillac. The town in southwest France has been locked down in anticipation of the presidential visit.

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Videos circulating on social media shows protesters gathering in front of police who prevent them from passing.

On Boulevard Louis Jean Malvy, demonstrators are seen attempting to shove their way past the line of police, while singing and chanting can be heard as people call for Macron’s resignation.

The city has been closed off in a bid to prevent Yellow Vest protests dominating the president’s visit to meet officials. A decree has banned “any demonstration, especially in the context of the movement called yellow vests” for the day, and the town’s weekly market has been closed.

Souillac residents can only enter the area if they have a special pass and proof of residence.

Police vehicles approached the protesters to get them to retreat, and the majority are now behind a barricade.

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How Wall Street Finances the Battle against Neoliberalism?

January 20th, 2019 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Today I read an interesting article referring to Mexico on how neoliberal economists through the application of “strong IMF economic medicine” contributed to “wreaking  havoc” on the global poor while “protecting the financial elites”.

And then I arrived at the foot of the article published by Alternet:

“This article was produced by Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute”.

The Independent Media Institute, a tax exempt charity foundation supported by George Soros, a multibillion dollar Wall Street tycoon and hedge fund manager largely involved in speculative trade in the commodity and foreign exchange markets.

The Independent Media Center is described as an

“Internet-based, news and events bulletin board [which] represents an invariably leftist, anti-capitalist perspective and serves as a mouthpiece for anti-globalization/anti-America themes.”

Globetrotter is a projet of the IMC which (according to the IMC):

“explores the struggles for independence, dignity and democracy in the developing world, from economic models to war and imperialism.”

Needless to say, I was puzzled. Wall Street finances the battle against neoliberalism?

A critique of the IMF macro-economic agenda for Latin America is funded by a foundation owned by one of Wall Street’s most prominent financiers.

I read through the article once more: The article does not actually bash the Wall Street financial elites involved in destabilizing the Mexican economy. It largely focuses on the failures of the IMF bureaucracy without acknowledging that the IMF bureaucracy always acts on behalf of Wall Street.

While the author accuses the IMF mission to Mexico of window dressing, “[n]othing in the IMF staff statement indicated a policy that would tackle Mexico’s grave problems of poverty and inequality”.

One is however left with the impression that it’s all a big management failure which can be rectified by changing the IMF recipe and training IMF officials to learn the realities of developing countries:

Someone should encourage the IMF to stop sending staff teams into countries like Mexico. Each report is identical to the previous one. Nothing seems to be learned by these teams. Years ago, a senior IMF economist told me that when he arrived in a Central Asian country he knew nothing of that country, he got to see nothing of it when he was there and he knew virtually nothing when he drafted the Article IV review. All he did in the country was sit in one air-conditioned room after another, listen to canned reports from nervous finance ministry officials and then develop the report based on the IMF’s same old recipe—make cuts, target welfare, privatize and make sure that the banks are happy. (Alternet, emphasis added)

“Make sure the banks are happy”. Yes, that is the main goal. And the standard recipe serves their interests.

The IMF is controlled by Wall Street and the US Treasury. It has informal ties to the Pentagon. It routinely interfaces with the Washington think tanks. It is part of what is called the “Washington Consensus” which defines the gamut of deadly  economic measures imposed on indebted developing countries.

Here’s how neoliberal economists wreak havoc on the global poor while protecting the financial elite

“Funding Dissent”

Numerous organizations and protest movements (against neoliberalism) including the World Social Forum (WSF) are funded by Wall Street. How is the process of “manufactured dissent” achieved?

Essentially by “funding dissent”, namely by channeling financial resources from those who are the object of the protest movement to those who are involved in organizing the protest movement.

Co-optation is not limited to buying the favors of politicians. The economic elites –which control major foundations– also oversee the funding of numerous NGOs and civil society organizations, which historically have been involved in the protest movement against the established economic and social order. The programs of many NGOs and people’s movements rely heavily on funding from both public as well as private foundations including the Ford, Rockefeller, McCarthy foundations, among others.

The anti-globalization movement is opposed to Wall Street and the Texas oil giants controlled by Rockefeller, et al. Yet the foundations and charities of Rockefeller et al will generously fund progressive anti-capitalist networks as well as environmentalists (opposed to Big Oil) with a view to ultimately overseeing and shaping their various activities. (Michel Chossudovsky, Manufacturing Dissent, Global Research, 2015

Global capitalism finances anti-capitalism: an absurd and contradictory relationship.

There can be no meaningful mass movement when dissent is generously funded by those same corporate interests which are the target of the protest movement. In the words of McGeorge Bundy, president of the Ford Foundation (1966-1979),Everything the [Ford] Foundation did could be regarded as ‘making the World safe for capitalism’”. (Ibid)

France’s Green Vests

Will elite institutions attempt through various means to infiltrate the Green Vests? France’s intelligence and police apparatus has no doubt already contemplated this option.

Sofar the movement is fully aware of the dangers of cooptation. There is no evidence that the Gilets Jaunes have been coopted or financed by outside funding. While Soros has supported the so-called “color revolutions”, the Yellow Vests have expressed there position in relation to the fake “revolutions” funded by the financial establishment.

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In the case of France, the Gilets Jaunes movement has a grassroots structure.

The Gilets Jaunes call for the withdrawal of France from NATO. It addresses the impacts of neoliberalism while taking a firm anti-war stance. The movement is not manipulated by NGOs or political parties. In the words of Diana Johnstone:

“President Emmanuel Macron’s New Year’s Eve address to the nation made it perfectly clear that after one unconvincing stab at throwing a few crumbs to the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) protest movement, he has determined to get tough.”

Macron is a former senior staff member of  Rothschild & Cie Banque:

Macron is the very embodiment of this system.  He was chosen by that famous elite to carry through the measures dictated by “the Markets”, enforced by the European Union. He cannot give in.  But now that people are awake to what is going on, they won’t stop either.  For all the lamented decline in the school system, the French people today are as well-educated and reasonable as any population can be expected to be.  If they are incapable of democracy, then democracy is impossible.(Ibid)

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