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Hier — 21 juillet 2019Strategic Culture Foundation

The Honey Trap on E 71st

Par Andrey Areshev

Eric MARGOLIS

I’ve had many strange experiences in my decades of covering intelligence affairs. These run from being invited to KGB HQ in Moscow, Chinese intelligence in Beijing, US intelligence in Virginia, Libyan intelligence in Tripoli, South African intelligence, and even Albanian intelligence in Tirana.

But none was odder than the day I was invited to lunch in New York City with the by now notorious figure Jeffrey Epstein. The golden boy of Manhattan and Palm Beach society now sits in a grim jail cell accused of having sex with underage girls. He’s been doing this in plain view since the early 1990’s but, until recently, he seemed bullet-proof.

Soon after I walked into the entrance of Epstein’s mansion on E 71st Street, said to be the city’s largest private home, a butler asked me, ‘would you like an intimate massage, sir, by a pretty young girl?’ This offer seemed so out of place and weird to me that I swiftly declined.

More important than indelicacy, as an old observer of intelligence affairs, to me this offer reeked of ye old honey trap, a tactic to ensnare and blackmail people that was old when Babylon was young. A discreet room with massage table, lubricants and, no doubt, cameras stood ready off the main lobby.

I had arrived with Canada’s leading lady journalist who was then close to Epstein’s sometime girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell and, it was said, procuress – something Maxwell denies. Bizarrely, Maxwell believed that I could get KGB Moscow Center to release satellite photos that showed the murder on his yacht of her father, the press baron Robert Maxwell, who was a well-known double agent for Israel and KGB, and a major criminal.

Also present was the self-promoting lawyer, Alan Dershowitz, who had saved the accused murderer Claus von Bulow, as well as a titan of the New York real estate industry (not Trump) and assorted bigwigs of the city’s elite Jewish society. All sang the praises of Israel.

Epstein reportedly had ties to Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Britain’s Prince Andrew and repeatedly flew them about in his private jet, aka ‘the Lolita Express.’ All guests deny any sexual activity. I turned down dinner with Prince Andrew.

Epstein’s residence in Manhattan and Palm Beach, both of which I visited, were stocked with young female ‘masseuses.’ All were working class girls making big money in their spare time. I did not see any interactions between these girls and the guests.

Epstein and Maxwell became too big for their britches. They flaunted their sexual adventures and laughed at New York society. Everyone wondered about the source of Epstein’s lavish income but no one knew its origins. He claimed to be an exclusive money manager for a group of secretive millionaires. But the only one identified was billionaire Leslie Wexner, the owner of L Brands and Victoria’s Secret. Wexner denied any knowledge of Epstein’s alleged crimes.

Besides sexual frolics, Epstein and Maxwell were up to many odd things. The FBI found diamonds, cash and a fake passport when raiding his mansion and documents showing his net worth at $559,120,954.00. The IRS tax people will be eager to review the sources of this income.

It seems likely that political influence was brought to bear on then US attorney Alexander Acosta (he just resigned under fire last week) to make a sweetheart deal with Epstein, who had been charged by Florida with child molestation. Epstein got off with a token, 13-month jail sentence that allowed him to work from his office much of the day.

Were Trump or Clinton involved? How much did they ‘party’ with Epstein and revel in his fleshmart? There was talk of some sort of ‘intelligence’ angle to the affaire Epstein that spared him a harsh sentence.

A respected former CIA official, Phil Giraldi has come right out and accused Epstein of being an Israeli agent of influence. Epstein was let off with a slap on the wrist on his first child abuse charge, says Giraldi, because of his powerful Israel connections. To Giraldi and this writer, the Epstein ‘massage’ operation was a classic intelligence operation designed to blackmail men of influence into doing Israel’s bidding. Clinton had reportedly already fallen into this trap years earlier while still president.

Now watch this stinking pile of corruption be hurriedly covered up. Talk about draining the swamp.

ericmargolis.com

Anti-Russian ‘Protests’ in Georgia: Inexcusable, but Supported by the West

Par Andrey Areshev

The recent wave of anti-Russian actions in the former Soviet republic of Georgia became an embarrassment even for the notoriously pro-Georgian Russian liberals, of whom there have always been plenty in Moscow. This time the supporters of the exiled former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili (a flamboyant Russophobe admired by the West, but wanted in his own native Georgia for corruption and for starting the war of 2008) disappointed even their ideological “claque” in Moscow.

“The fans of Georgia in Moscow were literally disarmed and made silent by none other than the Georgian TV anchor Giorgy Gabunia, who publicly insulted Vladimir Putin’s late mother on Georgian television, using unprintable words,” admitted Vladimir Vorsobin, a liberal Russian journalist, who spent the last two weeks in Georgia, trying to show the readers of Komsomolskaya Pravda (Russia’s largest newspaper by print circulation) by his example that this small post-Soviet country on the Black Sea coast was “safe for Russian tourists.”

Gabunia’s indecent stunt followed two weeks of ugly anti-Russian demonstrations, with lots of racist slogans, denouncing Russia, “the Russian Ivan,” calling Russians occupiers, etc. So, even the Russians’ patience started to wear thin, especially since these pogrom-like protests were not provoked by any new developments on the Russian side.

Indeed, on earlier occasions the organizers of Russophobic actions at least waited for some pretext. (For example, the brief five days’ war in August 2008, when Russia interfered after Saakashvili’s attack against South Ossetia, saving the small people of that former Georgian autonomy from ethnic cleansing by Saakashvili and Georgian nationalists.) This time, there was literally nothing from the Russian side: no new statements, laws or, heaven forbid, military actions. Nothing. What happened was that on June 20, 2019, a group of Russian parliamentarians came to the Georgian capital Tbilisi in order to attend the Interparliamentary Assembly of Orthodox Christianity (MAP). The rotating presidency of this group, which unites the parliamentarians of various Orthodox Christian countries (both Russia and Georgia belong to this Eastern branch of European Christianity), this year went to Russia. And it was Tbilisi’s turn to be the city host. So, the leader of the Russian parliamentarian delegation, a State Duma member Sergei Gavrilov, was invited by the hosts to take the chairman’s seat in the session hall of the Georgian parliament.

After Gavrilov took his seat, a real hell broke loose in the center of Tbilisi, leading to 240 injured (two people became one-eyed as a result of violence). The supporters of the ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili, representing the largest opposition party United National Movement (UNM), violently removed Gavrilov from his seat and called on citizens to start a protest action. The sound of Russian language and the presence of a Russian deputy in a speaker’s seat were the only officially announced reasons.

“I killed Russians, I am killing them and I will kill them!” yelled one of the leaders of UNM, Akaky Bobikhidze from the tribune of the parliament after removing the “occupier” from there. His behavior was recorded for a YouTube video by the Georgian service of Radio Free Europe.

As a result of several hours of violent protests, the Georgian parliament was stormed by a pro-Saakashvili mob. When riot police defended the building, two hundred and forty people were injured (including many policemen) and more than 300 arrested. Gavrilov and members of his delegation, having suffered minor injuries, but a lot of verbal abuse, had to leave Georgia, with which Russia does not have diplomatic relations since 2008.

The other disconcerting element of this shameful situation was the fact that neither the Georgian government nor the Western media had the courage to condemn the obvious and unprovoked violence from the side of Saakashvili’s supporters. Bidzina Ivanishvili, the leader of the ruling party Georgian Dream, as well as former president Giorgy Margvelashvili solidarized themselves with the “protest action” which looked more like a pogrom because of the crude racist tone of its slogans (anti-Russian demonstrations on a smaller scale continued even after the violent stage of 20-21 July). Margvelashvili even said it was “the right way to oppose Russia’s soft power” and called on the West to imitate Georgia in its fight with Russia during his speech to the protesters. The current president of Georgia, Salome Zurabishvili, who served as the foreign minister under Saakashvili before defecting to the Georgian Dream, called Russia an “enemy,” but expressed her expectation that Russian tourists would return to Georgia, since they are contributing a substantial share of the country’s GDP. (According to World Travel and Tourism Council, tourism contributed 33.7 percent of Georgia’s total GDP.)

The Western press not only solidarized itself with the anti-Russian actions in Tbilisi, it also blamed the casualties on its favorite scapegoat – the Christian Orthodox church in Russia and Georgia. Correspondent Amy MacKinnon of The Foreign Policy (a major US media outlet) traced the origins of the protest to the very idea of holding the assembly of countries with predominantly Christian Orthodox population: “The Russian Orthodox Church has long served as a conduit for Russia’s influence in Eastern Europe and has a potent influence in highly religious Georgia,” McKinnon wrote in her article, where a hope is expressed that the Georgian government will treat Orthodox church with the same suspicion as the Western press does.

The headline chosen by The Daily Beast was even more aggressive and hateful: “Amid Russian and Orthodox Provocations, Riots in Tbilisi Threaten Pride Parade.” Upon reading the article, it becomes clear that the gay parade, which had been scheduled to take place in Tbilisi next day after the ugly anti-Russian riot, did not receive any threats from Russians or, heaven forbid, from the Christian Orthodox believers. The organizers were just afraid to do out when the anti-Russian government (represented by Georgian police) and the anti-Russian protesters (represented by Saakashvili’s supporters) were fighting each other with rubber bullets, truncheons and stones on the streets of Tbilisi.

It is enough to quote one paragraph from that article in order to see how “tolerant” The Daily Beast was to anyone in that story who was not gay, anti-Russian or at least anti-Christian:

“After the brutal events of early Friday morning, the organizers of the Pride Parade postponed the march for several days saying, “We could not permit ourselves to contribute to further escalation of tensions in the country. We will not allow pro-Russian, Neo-Nazi groups to weaken Georgia’s statehood.” Now it is not clear when or even if the parade will take place.

According to the local news site civil.ge, the organizers of Pride feel that the Georgian government “has no desire to protect the LGBTQ community against radical groups financed from Russia.”

This shameless torrent of lies blaming the victims (because the only people threatened in those days on the streets of Tbilisi were Russians or the supporters of the Georgian Orthodox church) is indicative of the degradation of Western attitudes to Georgia.

“We should not forget that the civil wars in Georgia started in 1991, when the Georgian nationalist thugs attacked the local autonomies of Abkhazia and South Ossetia at the order of the first president of independent post-Soviet Georgia, who was then Zviad Gamsakhurdia,” remembers Dmitry Kulikov, a prominent commentator on post-Soviet space at the Moscow-based Vesti FM radio. “They were defeated and now even Georgian officials recognize that these were awful crimes committed by Gamsakhurdia under the flag of Georgian nationalism. So, why does anyone expect the people with the same ideology around Saakashvili and Zurabishvili to be any better?”

At the time, in 1991-1992 the Western press had the objectivity to call Zviad Gamsakhurdia a madman and a criminal. The Western governments did not protest in any way, when Gamsakhurdia’s government was toppled by the internal Georgian opposition in an armed uprising which many said had the backing of Moscow.

So, why is the West backing the same Russophobic Georgian nationalists who are now acting together with exiled Mikheil Saakashvili, a psychological and ideological double of Gamsakhurdia?

This is a question which historians will have a hard time answering. It was not Georgian nationalism that changed (it stayed largely the same – violent, noisy, anti-Russian and always eager to get Western backing). It was the West (namely, the US, the EU and their allies) that changed for worse.

What the Latest Secret Government File Tells Us About UK Middle East Policy

Par Andrey Areshev

Mark CURTIS

The British government is refusing to release a 1941 file on Palestine, as it might “undermine the security” of Britain and its citizens. Why would a 78-year-old document be seen as so sensitive in 2019?

One plausible reason is that it could embarrass the British government in its relations with Israel and Iraq, and may concern a long but hidden theme in British foreign policy: creating false pretexts for military intervention.

The Colonial Office document, at the National Archives in London, was uncovered by journalist Tom Suarez and concerns the “activities of the Grand Mufti [Haj Amin al-Husseini] of Jerusalem” in 1940-41.

After the assassination of Lewis Andrews, British district commissioner for Galilee, in September 1937, the British Government dismissed al-Husseini from his post as president of the Supreme Muslim Council and decided to arrest all members of the Arab Higher Committee, including Husseini.

He took refuge in the Noble Sanctuary (al-Haram al-Sharif), fled to Jaffa and then Lebanon, and ended up in Iraq, where he played a role in the Iraqi national anti-British movement.

He spent the Second World War moving between Berlin and Rome and took part in the propaganda war against Britain and France through Arabic radio broadcasts.

A plan ‘to clip the mufti’s wings’

In April 1941, nationalist army officers known as the Golden Square staged a coup in Iraq, overthrowing the pro-British regime, and signalled they were prepared to work with German and Italian intelligence. In response, the British embarked on a military campaign and eventually crushed the coup leaders two months later.

But Suarez discovered in the files that the British were already wanting such a “military occupation of Iraq” by November 1940 – well before the Golden Square coup gave them a pretext for doing so.

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The reason was that Britain wanted to end “the mufti’s intrigues with the Italians”. One file notes: “We may be able to clip the mufti’s wings when we can get a new government in Iraq. FO [Foreign Office] are working on this.” Suarez notes that a prominent thread in the British archive is: “How to effect a British coup without further alienating ‘the Arab world’ in the midst of the war, beyond what the empowering of Zionism had already done.”

As British troops closed in on Baghdad, a violent anti-Jewish pogrom rocked the city, killing more than 180 Jewish Iraqis and destroying the homes of hundreds of members of the Jewish community who had lived in Iraq for centuries. The Farhud (violent dispossession) has been described as the Iraqi Jews’ Kristallnacht, the brutal pogrom against Jews carried out in Nazi Germany three years earlier.

There have long been claims that these riots were condoned or even orchestrated by the British to blacken the nationalist regime and justify Britain’s return to power in Baghdad and ongoing military occupation of Iraq.

Historian Tony Rocca noted: “To Britain’s shame, the army was stood down. Sir Kinahan Cornwallis, Britain’s ambassador in Baghdad, for reasons of his own, held our forces at bay in direct insubordination to express orders from Winston Churchill that they should take the city and secure its safety. Instead, Sir Kinahan went back to his residence, had a candlelight dinner and played a game of bridge.”

1953 coup in Iran

Could this be the reason that UK government censors want the file to remain secret after all these years? It would neither be the first, nor the last time that British planners used or created pretexts to justify their military interventions.

In 1953, the covert British and US campaign to overthrow the elected nationalist government of Mohammad Mosaddegh in Iran included a “false flag” element. Agents working for the British posed as supporters of the communist Tudeh party, engaging in activities such as throwing rocks at mosques and priests, in order to portray the demonstrating mobs as communists. The aim was to provide a pretext for the coup and the Shah of Iran’s taking control in the name of anti-communism.

Three years later, in 1956, Britain also secretly connived to create a pretext for its military intervention in Egypt. After Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalised the Suez Canal and Britain sought to overthrow him, the British and French governments secretly agreed with Israel that the latter would first attack Egypt. Then, London and Paris would despatch military forces on the pretext of separating the warring parties, and seize the canal. The plan went ahead but failed, largely owing to US opposition.

Five years later, in 1961, it was a similar story in Kuwait. This little-known British intervention was publicly justified on the basis of an alleged threat from Iraq, but the declassified files that I have examined suggest that this “threat” was concocted by British planners. When Kuwait secured independence in June 1961, Britain was desperate to protect its oil interests and to solidify its commercial and military relations with the Kuwaiti regime. The files suggest that the British therefore needed to get the Kuwaitis to “ask” Britain for “protection”.

Kuwait intervention

On 25 June 1961, Iraqi ruler Abdul Karim Qasim publicly claimed Kuwait as part of Iraq. Five days later, Kuwait’s emir formally requested British military intervention, and on 1 July, British forces landed, eventually numbering around 7,000.

But the alleged Iraqi threat to Kuwait never materialised. David Lee, who commanded the British air force in the Middle East in 1961, later wrote that the British government “did not contemplate aggression by Iraq very seriously”.

Indeed, the evidence suggests that the emir was duped into “requesting” intervention by the British, and his information on a possible Iraq move on Kuwait came almost exclusively from British sources. The files show that the “threat” to Kuwait was being pushed by the British embassy in Baghdad but contradicted by Britain’s consulate in Basra, near the Kuwaiti border, which reported no unusual troop movements.

British intervention was intended to reassure Kuwait and other friendly Middle Eastern regimes that were key to maintaining the British position in the world’s most important region. The prime minister’s foreign policy adviser said that letting go of Kuwait would have meant that “the other oil sheikhdoms (which are getting richer) will not rely on us any longer”.

By the time we reached the invasion of Iraq in 2003, creating false pretexts for interventions had become a familiar theme in British foreign policy.

A matter of routine

To return to the 1941 document, British authorities have had a policy of either censoring, “losing” or destroying historical files that could undermine relations with current governments.

In 2012, an official review concluded that “thousands of documents detailing some of the most shameful acts and crimes committed during the final years of the British empire were systematically destroyed to prevent them falling into the hands of post-independence governments”, according to a report in The Guardian.

The files covered policies such as the abuse and torture of insurgents in Kenya in the 1950s, the alleged massacre of 24 unarmed villagers in Malaya in 1948, and the army’s secret torture centre in Aden in the 1960s.

Other papers have been hidden for decades in secret foreign office archives, beyond the reach of historians and members of the public, and in breach of legal obligations for them to be transferred into the public domain.

Whatever is in the 1941 document, if the British government is withholding its release for fear of upsetting relations with key allies, this would be less than surprising and more a matter of routine.

truepublica.org.uk

As Trump Backs Down, the Pips Squeak

Par Andrey Areshev

Last week it was all fire and brimstone. The US was threatening more sanctions on Iran, the Brits were seizing oil tankers and Iran was violating the JCPOA.

This week things look different all of a sudden. An oil tanker goes dark while passing through the Strait of Hormuz, the story fails to get any real traction and the US allows Iranian Foreign Minister, recently sanctioned, to do his job at the United Nations.

Trump then holds a cabinet meeting where he reiterates that “We’re not looking for regime change. We want them out of Yemen.”

I thought National Security Advisor John Bolton said the US would apply pressure until “the pips squeak.”

Where the pips are squeaking is on the Arabian Peninsula, not across the Persian Gulf in Bandar Abbas. Specifically, I’m talking about the United Arab Emirates. The UAE sent a delegation to Tehran recently that coincided with its partial withdrawal of troops from Yemen.

That meeting, according to Elijah Magnier, focused on Emirates realizing they are in the middle of this conflict, up to their skyscrapers.

“The UAE would like to avoid seeing their country transformed into a battlefield between the US and Iran in case of war, particularly if Trump is re-elected. The Emirates officials noted that the US did not respond to Iran’s retaliation in the Gulf and in particularly when the US drone was downed. This indicates that Iran is prepared for confrontation and will implement its explicit menace, to hit any country from which the US carries out their attacks on Iran. We want to be out of all this”, an Emirates official told his Iranian counterpart in Tehran.

Iran promised to talk to the Yemeni officials to avoid hitting targets in Dubai and Abu Dhabi as long as the UAE pulls out its forces from the Yemen and stops this useless war. Saudi Crown Prime Mohammad Bin Salman is finding himself without his main Emirates ally, caught in a war that is unwinnable for the Saudi regime. The Yemeni Houthis have taken the initiative, hitting several Saudi strategic targets. Saudi Arabia has no realistic objectives and seems to have lost the appetite to continue the war in Yemen.

So, with the Houthis successfully striking major targets inside Saudi Arabia and the UAE abruptly pulling forces out, the war in Yemen has reached a critical juncture. Remember, the Republican-controlled Senate approved a bill withdrawing support for the war back in March, which the White House had to veto in support of its fading hopes for its Israeli/Palestinian deal pushed by Jared Kushner.

But things have changed significantly since then as that deal has been indefinitely postponed with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu facing a second election this fall after he failed to secure a stable coalition.

After that there was the failed economic conference in Bahrain in June where Kushner revealed the economic part of the plan to a half-empty room where only the backers of the plan showed any real support.

And that’s the important part of this story, because it was Kushner’s plan which was the impetus for all of this insane anti-Iran belligerence in the first place. Uniting the Gulf states around a security pact leveraging the U.S/Israeli/Saudi alliance was part of what was supposed to pressure the Palestinians to the bargaining table.

By placing maximum economic sanctions on both Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iran while continuing to foment chaos in Syria was supposed to force Israel’s enemies to fold under the pressure which would, in turn, see the Palestinians surrender to the will of Kushner and Bibi.

The problem is, it didn’t work. And now Trump is left holding the bag on this idiotic policy which culminated in an obvious provocation when Iran shot down a $220 million Global Hawk surveillance drone, nearly sparking a wider war.

But what it did was expose the US and not Iran as the cause of the current problems.

Since then Trump finally had to stand up and be the grown-up in the room, such as he is, and put an end to this madness.

The UAE understood the potential for Iran’s asymmetric response to US belligerence. The Saudis cannot win the war in Yemen that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman began. The fallout from this war has been to push Qatar out of the orbit of the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council, cutting deals with Iran over developing the massive North Pars gas field and pipelines to Europe.

And now the UAE has realized it is facing an existential threat to its future in any confrontation between Iran and the US

What’s telling is that Trump is making Yemen the issue to negotiate down rather than Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Because it was never about the nuclear program. It was always about Iran’s ballistic missile program.

And Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would have us believe that for the first time Iran’s missile program is on the negotiating table. I have no idea if that’s actually true, but it’s a dead giveaway that it’s what the US is after.

The main reason why Trump and Netanyahu are so angry about the JCPOA is the mutual outsourcing of the nuclear ballistic missile program by Iran and North Korea. North Korea was working on the warhead while Iran worked on the ballistic missile.

Trump tweeted about this nearly two years ago, confirming this link. I wrote about it when he did this.  Nearly everything I said about North Korea in the blog post is now applicable to Iran. This was why he hated the JCPOA, it didn’t actually stop the development of Iran and North Korea into nuclear states.

But tearing up the deal was the wrong approach to solving the problem. Stop pouring hundreds of billions of dollars in weapons to the region, as Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif pointed out recently, is the problem. By doing this he took both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping off his side of the table.

Now he stands isolated with only the provocateurs – Israel, the U.K., Saudi Arabia – trying to goad him forward into doing something he doesn’t want to do. And all of those provocations that have occurred in the past month have failed to move either Trump or the Iranians. They’ve learned patience, possibly from Putin. Call it geopolitical rope-a-dope, if you will.

I said last month that the key to solving Iran’s nuclear ambitions was solving the relationship with North Korea. Trump, smartly, went there, doing what only he could do, talk with DPRK Chairman Kim Jong-Un and reiterate his sincere desire to end proliferation of nuclear weapons.

He can get Iran to the table but he’s going to have to give up something. So, now framing the negotiations with Iran around their demands we stop arming the Saudis is politically feasible.

Trump can’t, at this point, back down directly with Iran. Yemen is deeply unpopular here and ending our support of it would be a boon to Trump politically. Trading that for some sanctions relief would be a good first step to solving the mess he’s in and build some trust.

Firing John Bolton, which looks more likely every day, would be another.

He’s already turning a blind eye to Iranian exports to China, and presumably, other places. I think the Brits are acting independently trying to create havoc and burnish Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s resume as Prime Minister against Boris Johnson. That’s why they hijacked the oil tanker.

But all the little distractions are nothing but poison pills to keep from discussing the real issues. Trump just cut through all that. So did Iran. Let’s hope they stay focused.

À partir d’avant-hierStrategic Culture Foundation

The Untold Story of Christian Zionism’s Rise to Power in the United States

Par Andrey Areshev

Well before Theodore Herzl founded political Zionism and published The Jewish State, Christian Zionists in the United States and England were already seeking to direct and influence the foreign policy of both nations in service to a religious obsession end times prophecy

Whitney WEBB

he largest pro-Israel organization in the United States is not composed of Jews, but of Christian evangelicals, with a total membership of 7 million, more than 2 million more members than the entirety of the American Jewish community.

Members of this organization, Christians United for Israel (CUFI), met in Washington on Monday, attracting thousands of attendees and featuring speeches from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Secretary of State and former CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Vice President Mike Pence, and National Security Advisor John Bolton. CUFI’s leader, controversial evangelical preacher John Hagee, has met with President Donald Trump several times and was recently part of an exclusive White House meeting in March on the administration’s upcoming “peace plan” for Israel and Palestine.

CUFI is but one of many organizations throughout American history that have promoted the state of Israel and Zionism on the grounds that a Jewish ethnostate in Palestine is a requirement for the fulfillment of end-times prophecy and necessary for Jesus Christ to return to Earth — an event Christians often refer to as “the Second Coming.”

While organizations like CUFI and its predecessors have long seen the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, and the later Israeli victory and conquest of Jerusalem in 1967, as the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, there is one prophecy that this sect of evangelical Christians believes is the only thing standing between them and the Second Coming. There are estimated to be more than 20 million of these Christians, often referred to as Christian Zionists, in the United States and they are a key voting bloc and source of political donations for the Republican Party.

As was explored in previous installments of this series, these Christian Zionists, much like religious Zionist extremists in Israel, believe that the Al Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock must be replaced with a Third Jewish Temple in order to usher in the end times.

These two groups of different faiths, since the 19th century, have repeatedly formed an opportunistic alliance in order to ensure the fulfillment of their respective prophecies, despite the fact that members of the other faith are rarely if ever on the same page in their interpretations of what occurs after the temple’s construction.

This alliance, based on a mutual obsession with hastening the coming of the Apocalypse, continues to this day and now, more than at any other time in history, these groups have reached the heights of power in both Israel and the United States. Parts I and II of this exclusive series explored how this branch of religious Zionism has come to dominate the current right-wing government of Israel and has led Israel’s current government to take definitive steps towards the destruction of the Al Aqsa mosque and the imminent construction of a Third Temple.

Now this installment (Part III) will show how this movement’s Christian counterpart in the United States, Christian Zionism, has likewise become a dominant force in American politics, particularly following the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, where this apocalyptic vision is a major driver behind his administration’s Middle East policy.

Yet, this fire-and-brimstone vision of the end times has long been a guide for prominent figures in American history and the American elite, even predating Zionism’s founding as a political movement. Thus, Christian Zionism’s influence on Trump administration policy is merely the latest of a long list of examples where prophecy and politics have mixed in American history, often with world-altering results.

Puritans, Prophecy and Palestine

Accounts of the role of European and North American Christians in the creation of the state of Israel often begin with the Balfour Declaration of 1917, but the efforts of certain Christian groups in England and the United States to create a Jewish state in Palestine actually date back centuries earlier and significantly predate Zionism’s official founding by Theodore Herzl.

Among the first advocates for the physical immigration of European Jews to Palestine were the Puritans, an offshoot of Christian Protestantism that emerged in the late 16th century and became influential in England and, later, in the American colonies. Influential Puritans devoted considerable interest to the role of Jews in eschatology, or end-times theology, with many — such as John Owen, a 17th-century theologian, member of parliament, and administrator at Oxford — believing that the physical return of Jews to Palestine was necessary for the fulfillment of end-time prophecy.

While the Puritan roots of what would later become known as Christian Zionism are often overlooked in modern accounts of where and why American evangelical support for Israel began, its adherents still clearly acknowledge its legacy. For instance, on Monday at the CUFI conference, Pompeo, himself a Christian Zionist known for his obsession with the end times, told the group the following:

Christian support in America for Zion — for a Jewish homeland — runs back to the early Puritan settlers, and it has endured for centuries. Indeed, our second president [John Adams], a couple years back, said… ‘I really wish the Jews again in Judea an independent nation.’

These Puritan beliefs, which persist today and have only grown in popularity, became more entrenched in England and colonial America with time, especially among the monied political class, and led to a variety of interpretations regarding exactly what the Bible says about the end times. Among the most influential was the development of Christian “dispensationalism,” an interpretive framework that uses the Bible to divide history into different periods of “dispensations” and sees the Bible’s prophetic references to “Israel” as signifying an ethnically Jewish nation established in Palestine.

Charles Russell’s visual interpretation of Darby’s ‘dispensations’ circa 1886

Dispensationalism was largely developed by English-Irish preacher John Nelson Darby, who believed that the God-ordained fates of Israel and the Christian church were completely separate, with the latter to be physically removed from the Earth by God prior to a foretold period of earthly suffering known as the Tribulation.

In Darby’s view, the Tribulation would begin following the construction of a Third Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. This belief in the physical removal of Christians from the Earth prior to the Tribulation, widely known as “the rapture,” was invented by Darby in the 1820s and its lack of scriptural support has been widely noted by theologians of various denominations as well as biblical scholars. However, it is important to point that there are differences among dispensationalist Christians as to whether the rapture will occur before, during or after the Tribulation period.

Yet, despite its relatively short existence as an idea and lack of support in the Bible, the rapture was enthusiastically adopted by some churches in England and the United States, particularly the latter. This was largely thanks to the work of highly controversial theologian Cyrus Scofield.

Notably, Darby’s brand of Christian eschatology coincides with similar developments in Jewish eschatology, namely the ideas of Rabbi Zvi Hirsh Kalisher and the creation of a new branch of Jewish messianism that believed that Jews must proactively work to hasten the coming of their messiah by immigrating to Israel and building a Third Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Darby’s beliefs, and those he inspired promoted something similar in the sense that Christians could hasten the coming of the rapture and the Tribulation by promoting the immigration of Jews to Israel as well as the construction of a Third Jewish Temple.

Christian Zionists pave the way for Theodore Herzl

Darby traveled to North America and several other countries to popularize his ideas, meeting several influential pastors throughout the English speaking world, including James Brookes, the future mentor of Cyrus Scofield. His travels and the spread of his written works popularized his eschatological views among certain circles of American and English Christians during the religious revival of the 19th century. Darby’s beliefs were particularly attractive to the elite of both countries, with some English noblemen placing newspaper advertisements urging Jews to immigrate to Palestine as early as the 1840s.

Another prominent figure influenced by Darby’s end-times doctrine was the American preacher Charles Taze Russell, whose church later gave rise to several different churches, including the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Decades before the founding of modern political Zionism, Russell began preaching — not just to Christians, but to Jews in the United States and elsewhere — about the need for mass Jewish immigration to Palestine.

As Rabbi Kalisher had done a few decades prior, Russell penned a letter in 1891 to a wealthy member of the Rothschild banking family, Edmond de Rothschild, as well as Maurice von Hirsch, a wealthy German financier, about his plan for the Jewish settlement of Palestine. Russell described his plan as follows:

My suggestion is that the wealthy Hebrews purchase from Turkey, at a fair valuation, all of her property interest in these lands: i.e., all of the Government lands (lands not held by private owners), under the provision that Syria and Palestine shall be constituted a free state.”

The same plan was to resurface a few years later in arguably the most influential Zionist book of all time, Theodore Herzl’s The Jewish State, which was published in 1896.

Russell addresses an audience of American Jews in New York in 1910. Photo | Public Domain

It is unknown whether Rothschild or Hirsch was influenced at all by Russell’s letter, though Russell’s ideas did have a lasting impact on some prominent American Jews and American Christians with regard to his promotion of Jewish immigration to Palestine.

The same year that Russell wrote his letter to de Rothschild and von Hirsch, another influential dispensationalist preacher wrote another document that is often overlooked in exploring the role of American Christians in the development and popularization of Zionism. William E. Blackstone, an American preacher who was greatly influenced by Darby and other dispensationalists of the era, had spent decades promoting with great fervor the immigration of Jews to Palestine as a means of fulfilling Biblical prophecy.

The culmination of Blackstone’s efforts came in the form of the Blackstone Memorial, a petition that pleaded that then-President of the United States Benjamin Harrison and his secretary of state, James Blaine, take action “in favor of the restoration of Palestine to the Jews.” The largely forgotten petition asked Harrison and Blaine to use their influence to “secure the holding at an early date, of an international conference to consider the condition of the Israelites and their claims to Palestine as their ancient home, and to promote, in all other just and proper ways, the alleviation of their suffering condition.”

As with Russell’s letter to de Rothschild and von Hirsch, it is unknown exactly how influential the Blackstone Memorial was in influencing the views or policies of Harrison or Blaine. However, the Blackstone Memorial petition is highly significant because of its signatories, which included the most influential and wealthiest Americans of the era, the majority of whom were Christians.

Signatories of the Blackstone Memorial included J.D. Rockefeller, the country’s first billionaire; J.P. Morgan, the wealthy banker; William McKinley, future president of the United States; Thomas Brackett Reed, then speaker of the House; Melville Fuller, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; the mayors of New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston and Chicago; the editors of the Boston Globe, New York Times, Washington Post, and Chicago Tribune, among others; and numerous other members of Congress, as well as influential businessmen and clergymen. Though some rabbis were included as signatories, the petition’s content was opposed by most American Jewish communities. In other words, the primary goal of Zionism, before it even became a movement, was widely supported by the American Christian elite, but opposed by American Jews.

The Blackstone Memorial would later attract the attention of Louis Brandeis, one of the most prominent American Jewish Zionists, who would later refer to Blackstone as the real “founding father of Zionism,” according to Brandeis’ close friend Nathan Straus. Brandeis would eventually succeed in convincing an elderly Blackstone to petition then-President Woodrow Wilson with a second Blackstone Memorial in 1916 that was presented in private to Wilson nearly a year later.

Instead of gathering signatures from prominent members of America’s elite class, Blackstone this time focused on shoring up support from Protestant organizations, namely the Presbyterian Church, in keeping with Wilson’s Presbyterian faith. According to historian Jerry Klinger, president of the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation, this change in focus had been Brandeis’, not Blackstone’s, idea.

Alison Weir, author of Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel, described Brandeis as “one of the most influential” American Zionists and a key figure in the efforts to push Wilson to support the formation of a Jewish state in Palestine, of which Blackstone’s second petition was part. However, Weir asserted that Blackstone’s second petition was secondary to a so-called “gentleman’s agreement” whereby English officials promised to support a Jewish state in Palestine if American Zionists, led by Brandeis, were able to secure the United States’ entry into World War I.

Wilson ultimately supported Blackstone’s new document, which was never presented publicly to the president, but privately by Rabbi Stephen Wise. This second Blackstone Memorial was a key component of the Brandeis-led campaign that eventually guaranteed American support — i.e., private support — for the Balfour Declaration, which established British intentions to support a Jewish ethnostate in Palestine. Notably, the Balfour Declaration is named for the then-English Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour, himself a Christian dispensationalist, though Weir told MintPress that Balfour was more likely influenced by political imperatives than religious motives. The only person in the British cabinet to oppose the Balfour Declaration was its only Jewish member, Edwin Montagu.

The Balfour Declaration was addressed to a member of the Rothschild banking family, Lionel Walter Rothschild, the last in a series of letters written to members of the Rothschild family urging them to use their wealth and political influence to favor the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine: from Rabbi Kalisher, who wrote to Baron Amschel Rothschild in 1836; to Charles Taze Russell, who wrote to Edmond de Rothschild in 1891; and finally to the Balfour Declaration, written to Lionel Walter Rothschild in 1917.

Weir told MintPress that the Rothschilds figure so prominently in these early efforts to establish a Jewish state in Palestine owing to “their wealth and the power that goes with it,” making them very sought after by those who felt that a Jewish state could be formed in Palestine by the purchase of the territory by wealthy European Jews, as both Kalisher and Russell had proposed. However, the Balfour Declaration was addressed to the Rothschilds because, at that time, members of the Rothschild family, Edmond de Rothschild in particular, had become among the strongest supporters of the Zionist cause.

Though the declaration carries his name, it is unclear whether Balfour himself actually authored the document. Some historians — such as Michael Rubinstein, former president of the Jewish Historical Society of England — have made the case that the declaration itself was written by Leopold Amery, then-political secretary of England’s War Cabinet and a Zionist who, despite his commitment to the Zionist cause, obfuscated his Jewish roots for much of his career for reasons that are still the source of speculation.

As shown by the Balfour Declaration and the lobbying efforts that led to its creation, support for what would soon become known as Zionism among the nobility of England and the United States was already formidable before Herzl even began work on The Jewish State. It is worth considering that the power and influence of this religiously-motivated class of Christian elites had an influence on Herzl and his ideas, particularly given the fact that dispensationalist Christians had been promoting a Jewish ethnostate in Palestine at a time when the idea was unpopular among many prominent Jews in Europe and the United States.

Furthermore, the role of Christian Zionists, as they would later become known, continued well after Herzl began his Zionist activities, and resulted in many of the most influential acts that led to the establishment of the State of Israel, including the Balfour Declaration.

Notably, Herzl’s own success in promoting his views following the publication of The Jewish State was largely due to English dispensationalist pastor William Hechler. Hechler, while serving as chaplain at the British Embassy in Vienna,forged an alliance and later close friendship with Herzl and was critical to negotiating meetings between Herzl and prominent members of the German government, including Kaiser Wilhelm II, which lent necessary political legitimacy to Herzl’s Zionist movement.

A largely overlooked figure in the rise of Zionism, Hechler is mentioned in Herzl’s diary more than any other person and passionately felt that the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine would bring about the end times. Hechler is also known to have been extremely interested in the construction of a Third Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount, having devotedconsiderable time to creating models of that Temple, some of which he prominently displayed in his office and showed to Herzl with great enthusiasm during their first meeting.

Herzl gives Kaiser Wilhelm II a tour of an early Jewish settlement near Jaffa, Palestine in 1898. Photo | Israel GPO

The Hechler-Herzl alliance is one early example of how Christian Zionists and Jewish Zionists each used the motivations of the other for political gain despite the fact that Christian Zionists often hold anti-Semitic views and secular Zionists, as well as religious Zionists, do not hold Christianity in high regard. This opportunism on the parts of both Christian and Jewish Zionists has been a key feature in the rise of Zionism, particularly in the United States, and the case of Cyrus Scofield, the man more responsible than any for popularizing Christian Zionism among American evangelicals, offers another important example.

The surprising story of Cyrus Scofield

There is perhaps no other book that has been more influential in the dissemination of Christian Zionism in the United States than the Scofield Reference Bible, a version of the King James Bible whose annotations were written by Cyrus Scofield. Scofield — who had no formal theological training, though he later claimed to have a D.D. (doctor of divinity degree) — originally worked as a lawyer and political operative in the state of Kansas and eventually became the district attorney of that state.

Soon after his appointment to the position, he was forced to resign as a result of numerous allegations of corruption, including bribery, forging signatures on banknotes and stealing political donations from then-Senator of Kansas James Ingalls. During this time, Scofield abandoned his wife and two daughters, an action since blamed on the burgeoning scandals he was facing as well as his self-admitted heavy drinking habits.

Amid this backdrop, Scofield is said to have become an evangelical around the year 1879 and soon became associated with prominent dispensationalist preachers of the era, including Dwight Moody and James Brookes. Local papers at the time, such as the Atchison Patriot, regarded Scofield’s conversion and career change with great skepticism, referring to Scofield as the “late lawyer, politician and shyster generally” who had disgraced himself by committing “many malicious acts.”

Scofield went on to pastor relatively small churches, moving from Kansas to Dallas, Texas, and later Massachusetts. Yet, despite his lack of renown and  his troubled history, by 1901 Scofield had managed to gain entrance to an exclusive men’s club in New York, the Lotos Club, whose members at the time included steel magnate and multi-millionaire Andrew Carnegiemembers of the Vanderbilt family, and famous American writer Samuel Clemens, better known by his pen name, Mark Twain.

Pastor Scofield, center, with the Deacons of the First Congregational Church of Dallas, circa 1880s

Scofield’s membership in this exclusive club — as well as the club’s patronage of his activities, which granted him lodging and financing to produce what would become the Scofield Reference Bible — has been the subject of considerable speculation. Indeed, many have noted that the presence of a fundamentalist, dispensationalist small-town preacher with a disgraced political past in a club stuffed with some of the country’s most elite academics, writers and robber barons just doesn’t add up.

Joseph M. Canfield, in his book The Incredible Scofield and his Book, asserted that “the admission of Scofield to the Lotus Club, which could not have been sought by Scofield, strengthens the suspicion that has cropped up before, that someone was directing the career of C.I. Scofield.”

Canfield puts forth the theory in his book that the person “directing” Scofield’s career was connected to New York lawyer and Zionist activist Samuel Untermeyer, who was on the club’s executive committee and was a close associate of Louis Brandeis and influential in the administration of Woodrow Wilson. He then notes that Scofield’s annotated bible was later “most helpful in getting Fundamentalist Christians to back the international interest in one of Untermeyer’s pet projects — the Zionist Movement.”

Other scholars, such as David Lutz, have been more explicit than Canfield in linking Untermeyer’s Zionist activism to his role in financially backing Scofield and his work on his annotated Bible. Ultimately, like the Blackstone Memorial before it, the Lotos Club’s patronage of Scofield’s work again reveals the interest of the American elite of the era, Christian and Jewish alike, in promoting Christian Zionism.

Untermeyer and the Lotos Club notably also funded Scofield’s numerous travels to Europe, including one fateful trip to England where Scofield met with Henry Frowde, publisher of Oxford University Press. Frowde was taken with Scofield’s work, largely owing to the fact that Frowde was a member of the “Exclusive Brethren,” a religious group founded by John Nelson Darby, the father of dispensationalism. Oxford University Press subsequently published the Scofield Reference Bible in 1909. Twenty years after its publication, it became the first-ever Oxford publication to generate over a million dollars in sales.

Scofield’s Bible became spectacularly popular among American fundamentalists soon after its publication, partly because it was the first annotated bible that sought to interpret the text for the reader as well as because it became the central text of several influential seminaries that were set up after its 1909 publication. Among Scofield’s many annotations are claims that have since become central to Christian Zionism, such as Scofield’s annotation of Genesis 12:3 that those who curse Israel (interpreted by Christian Zionists to mean the state of Israel since its founding in 1948) will be cursed by God and those that bless Israel will similarly be blessed.

Modern Christian Zionists, like Pastor John Hagee of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), have frequently cited this interpretation that originated with Scofield in defending extreme pro-Israel stances. For instance, Hagee made the following statement in 2014:

You have to go back to basics, with the fact that in Genesis (chapter 1), God created the world and made a very solemn promise (brought in Gen. 12:3), ‘I will bless those who bless you and I will curse those who curse you.’ From that moment on, every nation that ever blessed Israel has been blessed by God. And every nation that has ever persecuted the Jewish people, God crushed. And so He will continue.”

Falwell and Likud: a friendship or something else?

Despite the widespread dissemination of the Scofield Reference Bible and its popularization among American evangelical churches and seminaries, the public influence of dispensationalist eschatology and Christian Zionism on American politics was relatively limited for much of the 20th century. However, the private influence of Christian dispensationalists was nonetheless present, as seen through the role of dispensationalist preacher and Third Temple advocate Billy Graham and his close relationships to several presidents including Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon.

Then the political power of dispensationalist theology dramatically moved from the private quarters of the halls of power into the mainstream American political discourse with the founding of the Moral Majority by evangelical preacher Jerry Falwell in 1979.

In the early 1970s, Falwell’s growing ministry was bringing in millions of dollars annually, especially his nationally broadcast program “The Old Time Gospel Hour,” which ran on several major cable networks at the time. Despite — or perhaps because of — the spike in donations, Falwell was soon targeted by the federal government, specifically the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), for “fraud and deceit” and “gross insolvency” in the financial management of his ministry, particularly the ministry’s sale of $6.6 million in church bonds. The SEC lawsuit was eventually settled when a group of businessmen in Lynchburg, Virginia — where Falwell’s ministry was based — took over the ministry’s finances for the next several years, until 1977. Falwell blamed his ministry’s financial problems on his “financial ignorance.”

Jerry Falwell travels with his son Jonathan, right, aboard his private jet in 2004. Todd Hunley | Thomas Road Baptist Church

One year after his ministry appeared to be on a better financial footing, Falwell received an invitation to visit the state of Israel and was personally invited on the all-expenses-paid trip by Menachem Begin, then the prime minister of Israel and leader of the Likud Party. The trip would mark the beginning of a long friendship and close relationship between Falwell and Begin and, more broadly, a relationship between American evangelical leaders and Israel’s Likud Party. As Israeli historian Gershom Gorenberg notes in his book The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount, the Begin administration “was the first to tap evangelical enthusiasm for Israel and turn it into political and economic support.”

Soon after returning from Israel, Falwell’s finances again came under federal scrutiny after a federal investigation found that Falwell had transferred the health insurance policies of his employees to an unlicensed shell company with just $128 in assets and hundreds of thousands in dollars in unpaid claims. Just as Falwell’s financial troubles began to mount yet again, he received a generous gift from none other than Begin in the form of a private Learjet valued at $4 million. Shortly thereafter, Falwell went on to found the Moral Majority organization, “after consultations with theologians and political strategists.”

The Moral Majority is widely credited with turning the Christian evangelical right into a major political force in the United States, promoting extremely pro-Israel policies, increased defense spending, a Reaganite approach to the challenges of the Cold War, as well as conservative domestic policies. Falwell frequently utilized his gift from Begin in traveling and promoting the new organization, as well as himself as a major public figure.

The Moral Majority marks a clear turning point in the Israel-U.S. evangelical relationship, as it made fervent support for Israel an area of major importance to evangelical voters and also led many evangelical voters to pay closer attention to events going on in the Middle East. Yet, given Falwell’s strong promotion of Christian Zionism, many evangelicals who became increasingly politically active following the organization’s founding not only supported Israel’s policies of the era but also supported many of the future ambitions of Begin and the Likud Party. This support was solidified by the beginning of the Israeli Ministry of Tourism’s ongoing practice of offering U.S. evangelical leaders free “familiarization” tours to Israel in the early 1980s.

Begin’s vision of “Greater Israel” — the complete annexation of Palestine as well as large parts of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Egypt by Israel — was also shared and promoted by Falwell. In 1983, Falwell stated that “Begin will quickly tell you, ‘We don’t have all the land yet we’re going to have,’” and further predicted that Israel would never relinquish control over the occupied West Bank because Begin was determined to keep the land “which has been delivered to them (the Israelis).”

Falwell framed Begin’s expansionist ambitions as a religious belief in “the inerrancy of the Old Testament,” a sentiment Falwell shared. Falwell also pushed for a U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and felt that construction of a Third Temple on the Temple Mount was necessary to usher in the end times and the second coming of Christ.

As Falwell helped turn Christian Zionism into a major political force in the United States, he also made himself a key political figure in the Reagan era and an important go-between for U.S.-Israel relations. In 1981 Begin informed Falwell of his plans to bomb an Iraqi nuclear facility before he informed the Reagan administration with the hopes that Falwell would “explain to the Christian public the reasons for the bombing.” According to Canadian academic David S. New, Begin told Falwell during that phone call: “Get to work for me.”

In addition, Falwell frequently met with Begin, whom he later called a personal friend, and these meetings often overlapped with Begin’s official meetings with Reagan. A year later, Begin gave Falwell Israel’s Jabotinsky award, making Falwell the first non-Jew to receive the honor for his advocacy on behalf of Israel and, more specifically, Likud policies and ambitions.

Though the Moral Majority officially shuttered its doors in 1989, its political legacy persisted long after, as did Falwell’s political clout. Indeed, following Begin’s model, Benjamin Netanyahu, during his first term as prime minister, also made a habit of visiting Falwell, meeting with the controversial pastor even before he met with political officials in his visits to Washington.

Netanyahu, left, meets Falwell at a hotel in Washington, Jan. 19, 1998. Greg Gibson | AP

During one trip to D.C. in 1998, Netanyahu’s first visit was to an event co-hosted by Falwell, where the pastor praised Netanyahu as “the Ronald Reagan of Israel.” The New York Times described the purpose of Netanyahu’s U.S. visit not as a visit aimed at meeting with government officials, but rather one intended “to shore up his base of traditional support in the United States. Conservative Christian groups have long been ardent supporters of Israel because of its religious importance to Christianity.”

However, this relationship between Christian Zionists like Falwell and prominent right-wing Israeli politicians has not been without its controversy, especially given that pro-Israel evangelicals like Falwell have a history of making anti-semitic statements.

For example, during a 1999 sermon, Falwell discussed his interpretation of end-times prophecy, widely shared by Christian Zionist evangelicals, that the Second Coming would follow not just the creation of the state of Israel but the construction of a Third Temple on the Temple Mount, from which a figure known to Christians as the “Antichrist” would reign. In responding to his own rhetorical question as to whether the Antichrist is “alive and well today,” Falwell stated that “Probably because when he appears during the tribulation period he will be a full-grown counterfeit of Christ. Of course, he’ll be Jewish.”

Falwell’s comments were immediately condemned by a variety of Jewish groups, including the pro-Israel Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Rabbi Leon Klenicki, then-director of interfaith affairs for the ADL, noted that Falwell’s view is a “common theological position” among American evangelicals and that Falwell was “an influential voice among evangelical and charismatic Christians” who “only supports Israel for his own Christological ends.” “He sees us only as the ones who prepare the coming of Jesus,” Klenicki stated at the time. “It is a great disappointment after more than 30 years of dialogue; he’s still in the Middle Ages.”

Another prominent dispensationalist with great political and literary influence is Hal Lindsey, the author and co-author of several books, including The Late Great Planet Earth. Lindsey’s work greatly influenced many prominent U.S. politicians like Ronald Reagan, who was so moved by Lindsey’s books that he invited Lindsey to address a National Security Council meeting on nuclear war plans and helped make Lindsey an influential consultant with several members of Congress and the Pentagon.

As noted by Israeli historian Gershom Gorenberg, Lindsey sees Jews as serving “two central roles” in Christian dispensationalist eschatology:

[T]he first — despite his insistence of love for Jews — is the classic one of Christian anti-Jewish polemic: They are ‘the Jewish people who crucified Jesus’ and the archetype of those who ignore the truth of prophecy. The second role is to fulfill prophecy despite themselves.”

Gorenberg further notes that Lindsey believes that Jews have fulfilled two of the three crucial prophecies that will usher in the end times, with the first being the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 and the second being the Israeli conquest and occupation of Jerusalem after the Six Day War in 1967. According to Lindsey: “There remains but one more event to completely set the stage for Israel’s part in the last great act of her historical drama. That is to rebuild the ancient Temple…”

As Falwell’s and Lindsey’s comments reveal, the eschatological views of dispensationalism frequently perceive the Jewish people as little more than pawns that must fulfill certain requirements — e.g., establishing the state of Israel, conquering Jerusalem, building a Third Temple — in order to hasten the salvation and “rapture” of evangelical Christians. Meanwhile, Jews in Israel who do not convert to Christianity are expected to die horrible deaths, though some Christian Zionists in recent years, as will be seen shortly, have sought to adjust this still common theological position.

Despite the anti-semitic motivations underlying evangelical support for the state of Israel and the Likud-supported vision of “Greater Israel,” the politically active Christian Zionist movement that Falwell helped create translated into a strong support base for Israel and right-wing Likud policy that has made it crucial to prominent Israeli politicians.

For instance, significantly more American Christians (55 percent) than American Jews (40 percent) believe that God gave Israel to the Jews while that sentiment is shared by only 19 percent of Israeli Christians. In addition, with regards to the Trump administration’s pro-Israel policies, only 15 percent of evangelical Christians believe that President Trump favors Israel too strongly while 42 percent of American Jews hold the view that Trump is biased in favor of Israel.

In a video recorded in the early 2000s — later broadcast on Israeli TV —  Netanyahu, speaking to a family of Jewish settlers, described the mass support among Americans, particularly evangelicals, for Israel as “absurd,” saying:

America is something that can be easily moved. Moved in the right direction. They won’t get in our way; 80 percent of the Americans supprt us. It’s absurd.”

In a 2017 speech to the Christian Zionist group CUFI, Netanyahu made it clear that much of this “absurd” support came from American evangelicals, stating that “America has no better friend than Israel and Israel has no better friend than America, and Israel has no better friend in America than you.”

Richard Silverstein — an academic and journalist whose work has been published in Haaretz and MintPressamong other outlets — has argued that Israeli politicians, particularly Netanyahu, have sought out support from evangelical groups despite their anti-Semitic undertones and the fact they the act out of self-interest in pursuing their political objectives.

In a 2017 article, Silverstein stated that for Israel’s nationalist right-wing:

Judaism is not a spiritual value, it is a physical manifestation of power in the world. These Israelis understand that not all Jews are their “brothers.” Some Jews are too effete, too liberal, too humane, too universalist. These Jews are the detritus which will be washed away by the tide of history. Israeli nationalists need to replace these traditional Jewish allies and have done so by finding new ones: Christian evangelicals, African dictators, European neo-Nazis. Zionism as they define it is less a movement dedicated to ethics and more one dedicated to self-interest.”

A “vital part of Israel’s national security”

As Falwell began to fade from public view in the early 2000s, his legacy has largely fallen to a handful of preachers now at the forefront of Christian Zionism and Christian Zionist political activism, with Falwell’s son, Jerry Falwell Jr., ranking prominently among them. However, of the preachers that followed in Falwell’s footsteps, one stands out: John Hagee.

Hagee is the pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, which has an active membership of over 22,000. A charismatic Christian who believes in dispensationalist eschatology and thinks that Christians are biblically required to support Israel, Hagee has long been a major advocate for Israel within evangelical and charismatic Christianity circles and has raised over $80 million for Israel since he first began hosting “A Night to Honor Israel” events in the early 1980s.

In 2006, Hagee sought to create the “Christian AIPAC” and revived a then-defunct organization previously founded in 1975 known as Christians United for Israel, or CUFI, mentioned at the beginning of this installment. Since its re-founding, CUFI has grown exponentially, now counting 7 million members, a figure that exceeds the Jewish population of the United States, which stands at around 5.7 million. Hagee chairs its executive board, which included Jerry Falwell up until Falwell’s death in 2007.

Vice President Pence, left, greets Hagee at CUFI’s annual summit, July 8, 2019, in Washington. Patrick Semansky | AP

CUFI is exempt from paying U.S. taxes and from publicly disclosing its finances because it is officially registered as a church, though it is often likened to an arm of the pro-Israel lobby in the United States and actively promotes and funds illegal West Bank settlements. CUFI also advocates for Israeli sovereignty over all of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount and the construction of a Third Temple.

Much has been written about CUFI’s influence in the Republican Party, which began under the George W. Bush administration soon after its founding. As journalist Max Blumenthal noted in a 2006 article for The Nation: “Over the past months, the White House has convened a series of off-the-record meetings about its policies in the Middle East with leaders of Christians United for Israel (CUFI).”

As a result of these meetings, CUFI aligned itself tightly with the neoconservatives that were well represented in the Bush administration, even appointing neoconservative and Christian Zionist Gary Bauer to its board and naming Bauer the first director of its lobbying arm, the CUFI Action Fund. Bauer is a founding member of the highly controversial and now-defunct neoconservative group, Project for a New American Century (PNAC), and has also served on the executive board of the neoconservative group Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD).

CUFI has since won powerful allies and counts neoconservative Elliott Abrams; former CIA director James Woosley; neoconservative archon Bill Kristol; former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee; Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Ted Cruz (R-TX); Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence among its staunchest supporters. At a CUFI summit last year, Netanyahu described CUFI as a “vital part of Israel’s national security.”

In addition, CUFI has close ties to casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, the top donor to President Trump and the entire Republican Party. Adelson even received a special award from Hagee at a 2014 CUFI event. “I’ve never had a greater warm feeling than being honored by Pastor Hagee,” said a beaming Sheldon Adelson at the time.

At the most recent CUFI summit, held on Monday, the Trump administration sent Pence, Pompeo, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Assistant to the President and Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt, and National Security Advisor John Bolton, all of whom spoke at the summit.

CUFI’s 2019 Washington Summit is days away and includes speakers @VP @Mike_Pence, @SecPompeo, @USAmbIsrael David Friedman, NSA @AmbJohnBolton, Assistant to President Trump @JdGreenblatt45, @DennisPrager, and @PastorJohnHagee.

Register at https://t.co/q1hsRMLNnA. pic.twitter.com/EO1Bi11llR

— Pastor John Hagee (@PastorJohnHagee) 4 июля 2019 г.

In addition to its own influence as an organization, the group has made Hagee himself a major political player. In 2007, then-Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) compared Hagee to Moses, stating:

I want to take to opportunity to describe Pastor Hagee in the terms the Torah used to describe Moses. He is an Ish Elohim. A man of God. And those words really do fit him. And I have something else. Like Moses, he’s become the leader of a mighty multitude. Even greater than the multitude that Moses led from Egypt to the Promised Land.”

Efforts by prominent politicians to court Hagee were once numerous, until evidence of Hagee making remarks about the Holocaust that were widely considered anti-semitic surfaced during the 2008 presidential campaign. In those remarks, Hagee asserted that Adolf Hitler had been sent by God to act as a “hunter,” and force Jews by means of the Holocaust to resettle in Palestine as a means of fulfilling Biblical prophecy. Then-Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who had aggressively courted Hagee’s endorsement, was forced to distance himself from Hagee after those comments resurfaced.

Yet, the stigma around Hagee has since worn off and his influence is again on the rise following Trump’s election to the presidency, as evidenced by the attendance of numerous top Trump officials to the 2019 CUFI Washington Summit earlier this week.

Though he was not included on the official board of Trump’s evangelical advisers early in Trump’s presidency, several slightly less controversial allies and associates of Hagee were, including Tom Mullins, Jerry Falwell Jr., and Kenneth Copeland. Then, a few months after Trump’s inauguration, Hagee “dropped by” the White House unannounced and met with Trump in the Oval Office to discuss U.S. support for Israel. He also met with Trump a few weeks before Trump announced plans to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a meeting at which Trump had reportedly promisedHagee that the embassy would soon be moved and told the pastor “I will not disappoint you.” Hagee described Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem as having “biblical timing of absolute precision.”

More recently, Hagee was part of an exclusive group of evangelical leaders who met with White House officials this past March prior to the partial release of the so-called “Deal of the Century,” aimed at bringing “peace” to the Israel-Palestine conflict, which is widely viewed as greatly favoring Israel and is expected to be rejected outright by Palestinian leadership.

After the meeting, Hagee issued an urgent prayer request. ”Our topic of discussion was discussing the forthcoming peace plan concerning Israel. Israel and the Jewish people need our prayers and our advocacy like never before,” Hagee said in a video posted to the CUFI Twitter page soon after the meeting. “The Bible gives the command, ‘For Zion’s sake, I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake, I will not keep my peace.’ I urge you tonight to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”

As the final installment of this series will show, the shared apocalyptic visions of extremist religious Zionists and Christian Zionists regarding a Third Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount is a major driver behind the Deal of the Century and was also a major factor in the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, despite Palestinian hopes that East Jerusalem would serve as the capital of their future state. Notably, Christian Zionists believe that Palestinians must be expelled from the state of Israel. In addition, these end-times beliefs are also a factor in the administration’s push for war with Iran, which Christian Zionists like Hagee and Pompeo believe is also a requisite for the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy.

While Hagee’s influence and the influence of his organization CUFI are stronger than ever with Trump in the White House, his political clout with the Trump administration is, at least partially, due to the presence of staunch Christian Zionists in two of the top offices in the executive branch: vice president and secretary of state.

Pence and Pompeo push “holy war”

Though several Trump officials spoke at the recent CUFI summit, two stand out — not just for their high-ranking positions but also for their open admissions that their Christian Zionist beliefs guide their policies. These officials are Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State and former CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

After Trump chose his running mate, Pence’s religious fervor came under media scrutiny, with several outlets noting that he was known to be an ardent Christian Zionist. Pence’s faith gained particular attention owing to his past statements on Israel, which he has often described in prophetic terms.

Though raised Catholic, Pence gradually transitioned to an “evangelical Catholic” and then to an evangelical Protestant and has since become a key political figure representing the fundamentalist Christian movement that promotes “dominionism,” an ideology that varies in its interpretations but ultimately seeks to see the secular nature of the U.S. government shift towards one governed by “Biblical law.” Pence’s association with this movement has led prominent voices in the media to accuse him of supporting a theocratic form of government.

Though many of the initial concerns about Pence revolved around his likely effects on domestic policy, much of his influence has instead been seen in foreign policy, including the administration’s Middle East policy. His public identification as a Christian Zionist and his speech to the 2017 CUFI summit, the first vice president to ever speak at the annual event, have led some to worry that the Christian Zionist view of prophecy is guiding Pence’s political actions.

Pence visits the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site in Jerusalem’s Old City, Jan. 23, 2018. Oded Balilty | AP

Following Pence’s first speech at CUFI, Daniel Hummel, a scholar and fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School, told the Washington Post:

Christian Zionism has a long history in American politics, but it has never captured the bully pulpit of the White House. Past administrations often used general biblical language in reference to Israel, but never has the evangelical theology of Christian Zionism been so close to the policymaking apparatus of the executive branch.

By identifying with Christian Zionism while in office, Pence risks the Trump administration’s ongoing search for an ‘ultimate deal’ to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and erodes the U.S.’ claim that it can be an ‘honest broker’ in the Middle East.”

Concerns that the U.S. is under the influence of extremist religious Zionism and Christian Zionism that would prevent the country from acting as an “honest broker” in the Israel-Palestine conflict have, unsurprisingly, been proven true. In fact, Pence’s religious beliefs are believed to have been a major factor in Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the U.S. Embassy to the contested city.

Though Mike Pence is the highest-ranking member of the Trump administration who is openly a Christian Zionist, it is Pompeo that is the most overt and open about how his religious beliefs regarding the end times guide his decision-making as head of the U.S. State Department.

For uch of his political career, Pompeo has framed U.S. counterterrorism policy as a “holy war” between Christianity and Islam, which he believes is the earthly equivalent of a cosmic battle between good and evil. In 2017, as CIA director, Pompeo claimed:

Radical Islamic terror [will] continue to press against us until we make sure that we pray and stand and fight and make sure that we know that Jesus Christ is our savior [and] truly the only solution for our world.”

That same year, Pompeo created a new CIA “mission center” targeting Iran headed by Michael D’Andrea, whose CIA nickname is “The Prince of Darkness.” Pompeo, like many Christian Zionists, believes that war between the United States and Iran is part of the end times, a belief that is outright alarming given his prior control over CIA covert operations and his focus on Iran, as well as his current role as the U.S.’ chief diplomat, in which he has also been laser-focused on promoting an aggressive policy towards Iran.

In addition to his views on “holy war,” Pompeo also frequently discussed his views on the rapture while serving as CIA director. TYT reported last year that Pompeo had spoken about the rapture so frequently that it had reportedly frightened top CIA officials.

According to Michael Weinstein — founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a watchdog group on issues of religious freedom in the military and intelligence community — who was quoted in the TYT report:

He [Pompeo] is intolerant of anyone who isn’t a fundamentalist Christian. The people that worked under him at the CIA that came to us were never confused — they never had time to be confused. They were shocked and then they were scared shitless.”

A 2015 video of Pompeo that surfaced while he was CIA director also shows the former congressman describing politicsas “a never-ending struggle … until the rapture.”

More recently, a New York Times article published in March again brought Pompeo’s obsession with the end times back into public view. Titled “The Rapture and the Real World: Mike Pompeo Blends Beliefs and Policy,” the article detailed how Pompeo has made it standard operating procedure to mix his Christian Zionist views with his approach to foreign policy. That article also referenced the statement Pompeo made earlier this year, in which he opined that it was “certainly possible” that President Trump had been sent by God to “save the Jewish people from the Iranian menace.”

Pompeo made those statements during an official trip to Jerusalem that was also controversial for other reasons. Indeed, in a state department video shared on social media and meant to publicize Pompeo’s trip, footage of a model of the Third Jewish Temple was included while footage of the Al Aqsa mosque was notably excluded, despite it being the most iconic building in Jerusalem.

Given that Pompeo had also visited the tunnels that have worn away the historic mosque’s foundations, many Palestinians took the video as a sign that the Trump administration was colluding with the Temple Activist movement in Israel, which was discussed in detail in Part II of this series.

Joining forces to target Jerusalem

Well before Theodore Herzl founded political Zionism and published The Jewish State, Christian Zionists in the United States and England were already seeking to direct and influence the foreign policy of both nations in service of a religious obsession with ushering in the end times. The historical record clearly shows how Christian Zionists have influenced events throughout history, particularly in regard to the founding of the state of Israel and subsequent developments in the Israel-Palestine conflict.

In the pursuit of these dispensationalist end-times prophecies, Christian Zionists have forged alliances with Jewish Zionists and each has opportunistically used the other in order to usher in the common events that are believed to facilitate the coming of their respective apocalypses or to aid more secular, political goals. From Hechler and Herzl, to Scofield and Untermeyer, to Begin and Falwell, these alliances have shaped the policy of Western governments, particularly the U.S. and England, for over a century.

Today, only one such prophecy has yet to be fulfilled, the construction of a Third Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount, which is currently occupied by the Al Aqsa mosque compound. Now, more than ever before, Israel’s government, as shown in Part II, is filled with high-ranking officials who openly call for Al Aqsa’s destruction and seek to hastily construct a Third Temple. Similarly, as this report has shown, the Trump administration is greatly influenced by Christian Zionists who also seek the mosque’s destruction, in hopes that the Third Temple will soon be built.

Yet, the Trump administration’s ties to this apocalyptic ideology go even deeper than has been discussed in this article, as many other influential members in the Trump administration — especially top Trump advisers Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman — also share and actively promote this extremist religious Zionist ideology that seeks to rebuild a Third Temple. As will be seen in the next installment of this series, this ideology is also a driving factor for top Trump and Republican Party donors such as Sheldon Adelson.

The end result is that the hold of this apocalyptic ideology on both the governments of Israel and the United States appears to be stronger now than ever, meaning that the danger currently facing Al Aqsa mosque, and with it world peace, looms large.

mintpressnews.com

The US Police-State Is Now Undeniable: The Assange Case

Par Andrey Areshev

It’s not just that the United States has a higher percentage of its people in prison than does any other nation on the planet. (El Salvador — the land that was largely made what it today is, by its US trained-and-equipped death squads — is now number 2 on that measure. In another country the US controls, Honduras, protesters tried to burn down the US Embassy on 31 May 2019.)

This police-state operates also in far subtler ways. Here is one of those subtler ways, which has global importance:

The US Constitution has become thoroughly removed from the functioning US Government — no restraint whatsoever upon governmental powers. For a prominent example of this: What is left of the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of speech (freedom to communicate to the public) and freedom of the press (freedom to transmit to the public) if even online publication (and increasingly notonly printed and broadcast publication) is being censored by the government, and/or by the billionaires (such as the neoconservative Democrat Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter), the 607 individuals whose political donations collectively, and very effectively, control the US Government?

If the public do not possess the means to communicate freely with one-another, then do they possess any meaningful freedom, at all?Or would such a nation instead be a dictatorship, no democracy, at all (except on paper, such as the now-irrelevant US Constitution)?

The case of Julian Assange is especially instructive here:

On July 12th, Caitlin Johnstone headlined “Top Assange Defense Account Deleted By Twitter”, and she reported that, “One of the biggest Twitter accounts dedicated to circulating information and advocacy for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, @Unity4J, has been completely removed from the site. The operators of the account report that they have been given no reason for its removal by Twitter staff, and have received no response to their appeals.”

Mrs Christine Assange
@AssangeMrs
HELP!! @Twitter suspended @Unity4J
The global #FreeAssange supporters account!
Its a central point for updates, interviews & actions re my son politically persecuted journalist JULIAN ASSANGE!

Please demand @TwitterSupport & @Jack re-instate it.
Many thanks #Unity4J
703
4:31 PM – Jul 11, 2019

This is suppression not only of American speech, but of global speech (Wikileaks is global), and it is perpetrated by one of the corporations of the neoconservative (i.e., imperialistic American) supporters of the liberal American Democratic Party, Jack Dorsey, who thinks that his corporation, Twitter, has the right to do this.

Billionaires’ control over the US Government is so total, that they now are so brazen as to impose their censorship even directly, by the companies and ’nonprofits’ (think tanks etc., such as Dorsey’s friend and fellow-Democrat, the liberal neocon billionaire Nicholas Berggruen‘s Berggruen Institute, which is tied to the liberal Huffington Post, which such wealthy people control even more directly than they control the USGovernment). This is how these people pretend to be ‘progressive’, even while they actually are peddling their international corporate empire, by means of hiding the corruption that stands behind and underneath this empire. Even liberal billionaires, such as these, are neoconservatives (US imperialists), because neoconservatism is US imperialism; and, for example, the progressive independent Julian Assange is the world’s leading investigative journalist and publisher against imperialism itself — against any imperialism. To him, there is no decent imperialism: it’s always international dictatorship, never international democracy; and he (just as any progressive) is committed to democracy, not just nationally, but internationally. Democracy is his ideological commitment. Americans call American imperialism “regime change” operations, but it’s always just raw imperialism — the grabbing of other countries, and WikiLeaks is against that; he’s against international dictatorship. So: how can the public vote in a truthfully-informed way, when the chief corruptors run the entire ’news’ show, and thus can freely censor-out whatever they do not like? It’s simply not possible.

How can Dempsey do this, while also being a huge supporter of liberal ‘causes’, such as the ACLU? Here is how: The ACLU and the other ‘causes’ that liberal billionaires contribute to, avoid the issue of imperialism, and avoid any other economic-class-focussed issue, and focus instead on other types of cases (including Black versus White, Jew versus Christian, male versus female, gay versus straight, etc.), which (whatever their own importance) pose no real threat to billionaires’ personal wealth. The ACLU wouldn’t be able to get the huge amounts of donations that they get from liberal billionaires and their corporations, unless it excluded the basic political issue, of the super-rich versus everyone else, and so it does this: it avoids this issue — which is what makes it be a liberal organization, instead of a progressive organization (which, by its very nature, focuses on precisely issues of economic class, such as imperialism).

Imperialism has always been practiced by the aristocracy, never by the public — never by the people who aren’t agents of the aristocracy. Many billionaires are liberal. Virtually, if not entirely, none of them are progressive, because progressivism is the opposite of conservatism, whereas liberalism is a mixture of both. Every billionaire is conservative, though some of them (such as Dorsey) are liberal (mixed) conservatives. Not all of them are pure conservatives, such as the Koch brothers are. Every billionaire benefits from imperialism, because international corporations (which are the main thing that billionaires control) benefit from imperialism. Imperialism benefits onlythe super-rich, because the super-rich have become, and remain, super-rich only because of the military might that enforces their will when international diplomacy (the cheaper alternative) has failed. The entire taxpaying public — 99+% of which are NOT billionaires — pays the tab for this enormously expensive global military (half of which is American). (America has emerged to become today’s Sparta.) But the beneficiaries from imperialism are exclusively the super-rich — it’s an enormous public subsidy to international corporations, and to their investors. It’s the biggest welfare-program that exists, and it is welfare for only the super-rich, at everybody else’s expense. And especially at the expense of the publics in the lands that American billionaires want to grab — such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iran, Ukraine, Venezuela, China, and Russia. It enormously transfers wealth from the rest of the world, to the world’s billionaires.

All of the world’s millionaires, put together, are only 0.8% of the world’s total population, but they own 44.8% of all of the world’s privately owned wealth. The world’s poorest 63.9% own just 1.9%. (Those facts are documented on page 20 there.) Thus, the entire poorest 63.9%, which are 3.211 billion people, own around 4% as much as do the few richest 0.8%, which are 42 million people. And, of course, according to Forbes, there are only 2,153 billionaires. So, there’s 1 billionaire for every 19,531 millionaires. Billionaires are the rarest of the rare, and they control virtually all international corporations.

Those percentages — the enormous inequality — are about the same within the US as they are globally. How is it possible for democracy to exist in such conditions? It’s not. Money is power. Corruption runs the world. And America’s billionaires are the global masters of it. But all billionaires hate Julian Assange, because they cannot corrupt him. That’s why not a single one of them is even trying to protect him from all of the others of them: they are united in their hatred of him.

No one has done as much to reveal the corruption that stands behind empire as Julian Assange has. Billionaires are disunited on lots of things — for examples: fossil fuels, immigration, feminism — but they are united in favor of imperialism. And, all throughout history, the aristocracy has been that way: imperialistic.

And America’s imprisonment-rate, and the Assange case, are hardly the only indications that the US is no democracy but only a dictatorship. Here are some other such indications.

NOTE: Although in terms of per-capita military expenditure the US is higher than any other country (shown by MSN as being second-highest after Saudi Arabia, but this was only because the US systematically under-reports its actual annual military expenditures), the US is nowhere near the top for the percentage of its population who are employed in the military: it’s #75 out of 170 countries, with North Korea being #1 on that. What this demonstrates is the extraordinarily high percentage of America’s military expenditures that go to paying not soldiers but the military contractors, such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and General Dynamics, the giant weapons-making firms. Those are the firms whose markets are virtually 100% the US Government and its allied regimes or vassal nations (such as NATO), America’s allies. The controlling investors in those corporations are the chief beneficiaries of America’s police-state. However, extractive corporations such as ExxonMobil are close behind, because only by means of this enormous military are they enabled to offer foreign regimes “an offer they can’t refuse.” Thus, the arms contractors, and the extractors, control US foreign policies, under both Democratic and Republican administrations. Neoconservatism is America’s bipartisan foreign policy.

Why Are Billionaires Like Jeff Bezos so Obsessed With Space?

Par Andrey Areshev

Marshall AUERBACK

The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing is this year, and it’s worth recalling the memo that then-Vice President Lyndon Johnson wrote to President John F. Kennedy: “If we do not make the strong effort now, the time will soon be reached when the margin of control over space and over men’s minds through space accomplishments will have swung so far on the Russian side that we will not be able to catch up, let alone assume leadership.”

That sense of urgency has shifted over the decades from government to the private sector, where billionaires like Elon Musk, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos, among others, are displaying profound enthusiasm in regard to the notion of exploiting space. Their interest appears to go well beyond space tourism for the thrill-seeking one-percenters, even though that’s what gets most of the media attention. As Cathal O’Connell reports for Cosmos Magazine, “Already companies are sending up 3D printers to produce replacement tools in space. Next we could see orbiting factories making products for sale on Earth or automated robots constructing satellites the size of a football field.”

If this all seems as exotic as those old 1930s “Flash Gordon” films did to the audiences of the day, recall that the experience of the Apollo 11 moon landing showed that reality has a way of catching up quickly to Hollywood fantasy (it also shows that when sufficient government resources are harnessed to a higher common purpose, good results can happen surprisingly quickly and efficiently). Once the likes of Bezos, Branson, Musk, and others find a way to economically hoist heavy machinery into space (and it is becoming more economic), permanent “off-Earth” manufacturing could become a reality. But this raises an interesting issue: who chooses the technological alternatives that set out our future? Should this decision solely be left in the domain of the private sector? Should space be privatized in this matter? What about NASA? Consider the future: Forget about the threat of moving a Midwestern plant from, say, Ohio, to Mexico or China. Next time, it could be a robot-filled factory in space that takes your job.

To be clear, nobody is suggesting a return to medieval-style craft guilds. At the same time, it is worth noting certain salient aspects about technology: rather than acting in the service of mankind, technology has often been used in a way that creates a momentum of its own that establishes limits or controls what becomes socially possible. It is wrapped in an aura of linear progress and scientific inevitability, conveniently ignoring that its benefits are often skewed most heavily to the power brokers who initiate and champion its use. This is a principle danger of subcontracting space to billionaire plutocrats, whose ambitions and interests might be inconsistent with society’s broader public purpose. This is to say nothing of the increasing de-skilling of labor that could follow, if they are not integrated into this process somehow.

As the Wall Street Journal’s Greg Ip notes, the government-sponsored race to the moon spurred considerable “advances in computers, miniaturization and software, and found its way into scratch-resistant lenses, heat-reflective emergency blankets and cordless appliances,” all of which had tremendous benefits for society as a whole. But today, the government has largely lost its “moonshot mindset” and space, in turn, has increasingly become the focus of the oligarch class, seeking to enhance profit opportunities as well as exploiting the increasing trend of displacing human labor with machines. This is despite the fact that Professor Seymour Melman’s own research illustrated that if you give workers decision-making power on the shop floor, productivity tends to increase substantially.

Without a doubt, there are many benefits to be derived from the work being done in the cosmos. For example, the microgravity conditions pertaining in space are considered ideal for developing materials, such as protein and virus crystals, observes Sarah Lewin, in a piece discussing the incipient development of “off-Earth manufacturing.” The insights developed by these crystals could enhance drug research and provide useful new therapies and medical treatments for infections and diseases (such as heart disease and organ transplants). Space also enhances the scope for producing high-tech materials, whose production is otherwise adversely affected by the Earth’s gravity, one example being a “fiber-optic cable called ZBLAN, … [which, w]hen manufactured in microgravity… is less likely to develop tiny crystals that increase signal loss. When built without those flaws, the cable can be orders of magnitude better at transmitting light over long distances, such as for telecommunications, lasers and high-speed internet,” according to Lewin.

We shouldn’t be oblivious to the considerable human costs associated with work in the government’s space program—“Microgravity sets our fluids wandering and weakens muscles, radiation tears through DNA and the harsh vacuum outside is an ever-present threat” (to quote Lewin), to say nothing of the risk of death itself—which are mitigated considerably when you can do things with machines alone. At the same time, left unchallenged or unmonitored, these billionaires could use space to quietly initiate further radical changes to our social structures.

It starts with ownership models. There’s an interesting paradox of futuristic 24th-century economic visions in space being built on the 12-to-13th–century ownership models that make up Silicon Valley. Wealth sharing ownership models should be conceived as part of the futuristic vision if we don’t want to be saddled with human wealth disparities reaching factors of 12 or 15 zeros. Ideally, NASA (or some other space agency) should take a leading national developmental role in the production of goods in space, and then subcontract to manufacturers to do the actual production processes, rather than the other way around.

Of course, if the government does ultimately decide that space privatization is not a great thing, no doubt Silicon Valley and its market fundamentalist champions will trot out the line about the inefficient government fighting “technological inevitability”—a typical playbook from the Silicon Valley oligarchs (i.e., you can’t fight technological progress, so let’s just set up something like a Universal Basic Income—UBI—that acts like a painkiller, but masks the symptoms of economic injustice and fails to address the underlying causes of exploitation and inequality). That’s one major risk of “off-Earth” production when it becomes a plaything of the rich alone. That’s to say nothing of the fact that the billionaire class is already benefiting from a long series of government-funded innovations undertaken in the past, as Professor Marianna Mazzucato has illustrated in her work, “The Entrepreneurial State.”

One of which was the government-led (and funded) space program: at its funding peak, the lunar space program employed over 400,000 Americans. The management, national commitment and personal motivation of the participants were just as important as the technology itself in terms of ensuring the program’s success. It’s hard to see that sort of coalescing of interests in the absence of an overriding government stake when it comes to the production of manufactured goods in an environment outside a planetary atmosphere.

There is another unhealthy aspect to uncritically acceding to a paradigm in which supposedly superhuman entrepreneurs are selflessly taking up the baton from a tapped-out public sector. It becomes self-serving for the billionaires, and implicitly justifies and entrenches the economic status quo. As journalist Amanda Schaffer has argued: “If tech leaders are seen primarily as singular, lone achievers, it is easier for them to extract disproportionate wealth. It is also harder to get their companies to accept that they should return some of their profits to agencies like NASA and the National Science Foundation through higher taxes or simply less tax dodging.” That self-entitlement also manifests itself in other ways. Just look at the way that Elon Musk treats his own employees to get a better sense of this. Or Jeff Bezos’s labor practices at Amazon.com.

It’s undoubted that orbital manufacturing will yield innovations in technology, medicine and material science in the next few decades. But we should recall that technology doesn’t simply have an autonomous momentum and direction that inexorably leads to social progress. Likewise, it bears recalling (as Professor Seymour Melman once observed) that technology “is applied in accordance with specific social criteria wielded by those with economic decision power in the society.” Melman’s implicit argument is that technology can be used to enhance worker control or to create more yet alienation. The government, therefore, shouldn’t be reduced to the role of passive minority shareholder collecting dividends or royalties from a privately run space enterprise. That’s the old market fundamentalist model that has failed pretty badly on this planet, let alone replicating it in space. So before we get too wrapped up in all of the exciting new goodies that Jeff Bezos and his fellow space enthusiasts can create for us, let’s also ensure that this move to “the final frontier” doesn’t simply become a new form of technological control and enslavement, in which the benefits continue to be distributed in a profoundly illiberal direction as they are here on planet Earth.

Economy for All via truthdig.com

The Coming War On China

Par Andrey Areshev

The Coming War on China, from award winning journalist John Pilger, reveals what the news doesn’t – that the world’s greatest military power, the United States, and the world’s second economic power, China, both nuclear-armed, may well be on the road to war.

Space Exploration and Humanity’s Struggle for Open System Economics

Par Andrey Areshev

The 50th anniversary of mankind’s first landing on the moon on July 20, 1969 has created an opportunity to rethink some of the fateful decisions that set western society onto a trajectory of zero-technological growth and mindless consumerism in the early 1970s. Rather than speed up the momentum of ambitious goals for a permanent lunar settlement, nuclear rockets, terraforming and Mars colonization which leading NASA administrators had promoted after the successful landing of 1968, the very opposite occurred.

First the dollar was floated onto the international speculative markets on August 15, 1971 followed by the destruction of the Apollo program in 1975 and cancellation of most of the cutting edge projects that were meant to break humanity out of the closed system of geopolitics and finiteness of the earth’s limits for the first time in history.

Today, America has not only lost the capability to place a man on the moon, but cannot even send an astronaut into orbit without hitching a ride on a Russian Soyuz shuttle. While certain forces within America led by current NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and the sitting President earnestly do wish to revive those capabilities, America’s 50 year visionless dance with monetarism have annihilated the memory of how such funding and long term planning occurred in the post war decades. Ironically, nations like China, Russia and India have discovered these modes of thought and economic practice to such an extent that China has quickly become a leader in Space technology, being the first nation to land a rover on the far side of the moon while all three Eurasian nations have unveiled ambitious programs for lunar-Mars development.

The fact that America put itself onto a course of action that has hollowed out its technological capabilities, and brought about the creation of the largest speculative bubble in history, can be largely accounted for by recognizing the existence of two worldviews at war. Only one of which will win.

Open vs Closed Systems

The idea that mankind is the only species that organizes itself around functions of MIND, will and ideas has been a point of battle going back to ancient records of Greece. Where other species regulate their existence based upon environmental and genetic impulses mediated (in the higher life forms) by pleasure/pain and impulses for survival, humanity is uniquely capable of CHOOSING which organizing principles it applies to its own self-regulation.

The question has always been: Do the CONCEPTS we allow to govern our laws adhere to the discoverable laws of the universe or not? Either way, how do we know?

To address those questions, it will be helpful to visit the minds of three anti-closed system leaders: economist Henry C. Carey (1793-1879), US President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) and the American economist/presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche (1923-2019).

Introducing Henry C. Carey

Abraham Lincoln’s senior economic advisor Henry C. Carey was a leading American Platonist who decried the British closed world view embodied by Thomas Malthus’s promotion of depopulation in his hundreds of books and essays. In his 1872 Unity of Law (which should be studied deeply by all truth seekers today) Carey attacked the British system of Malthus, Ricardo, Darwin, J.S. Mill which he said had the tendency of destroying man’s innate powers of creative reason while bringing the laws of matter into dominance over the life of humanity:

“Such was the state of things when the Rev. Mr. Malthus, minister, as he professed himself to be, of an all-wise and all-merciful God, gave to the world a theory by means of which he satisfied the rich and powerful that the misery and wretchedness by which they were everywhere surrounded were necessary results of error in divine laws; that population tended to increase faster than food; that all attempts at alleviating the miseries of the poor would prove to be sad mistakes; that rise in wages could have no effect other than that of stimulating the growth of numbers; that they themselves were free from responsibility for any and all these things; and that they might, therefore, properly and safely eat, drink and make merry, while closing their eyes to the fact that the condition of their fellow-men was deteriorating in the direct ratio of their own increased power for controlling the great forces that had been given by his Heavenly Master for man’s use and service.”

In opposition to this unjust closed system which divides to conquer, the American system as he then defined it, was premised upon a principle of raising standards of living and powers of mind through an unbounded commitment to discoveries and inventions. Carey described what effects a healthy society must strive to achieve in order to adhere to the truthful laws of the universe by saying: “the more his power of association, the greater is the tendency toward development of his various faculties; the greater becomes his control of the forces of nature, and the more perfect his own power for self-direction; mental force thus more and more obtaining control over that which is material, the labors of the present over the accumulations of the past…”

Carey’s open system thought expressed the best of America’s anti-imperial roots and tended to arise whenever a true nationalist took the helm (often at the expense of their lives) in Washington. The American System which Carey led both in America and globally was premised upon the use of national banking, public credit for long term development and public works in obedience to the public good.

In the post-war era, the last representative of that spirit in high office was America’s – president John F. Kennedy who launched the challenge to break out of the limits to existence which the new Malthusian revival was beginning to claim defined mankind’s absolute population limits.

JFK revives Carey’s Open System Thinking

Unleashing the space program in 1961, Henry C. Carey’s spirit can be heard in the mouth of the president as he said in his inaugural address:

“Man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe.”

After unveiling the challenge to go to the Moon “within the decade”, Kennedy demonstrated the powerful thinking which led his killers to assassinate him when he gave a speech at the UN on September 20, 1963 calling for US-Russia collaboration on the moon landing as the basis for an escape from the Cold War/closed system logic of Mutually Assured Destruction:

“I include among these possibilities [for great power cooperation] a joint expedition to the Moon… Why should man’s first flight to the Moon be a matter of national competition? Why should the United States and the Soviet Union become involved in immense duplications of research, construction, and expenditure? Surely we should explore whether the scientists and astronauts of our two countries—indeed of all the world— cannot work together in the conquest of space, sending someday in this decade to the Moon not the representatives of a single nation, but the representatives of all of our countries.”

Kennedy called not only for a new world of cooperation, but also unleashed funding for a nuclear rocket that was to drive mankind’s access to the broader solar system, making journeys that took months in a chemical rocket diminish to days in a nuclear engine. The space race was never meant to be a geopolitical “race against the reds” in Kennedy’s world view, but rather the rebirth of mankind into a new age of reason.

Kennedy vs. the Malthusian Revival

Kennedy recognized the reawakening of the same closed system ideology that Carey had done battle with a century earlier as he took on the Malthusian revival then underway with the origins of the World Wildlife Fund in September 11, 1961. This new ecological movement was created by a nest of eugenicts such as Prince Bernhardt of the Netherlands, Prince Philip Mountbatten and Sir Julian Huxley (founder of UNESCO and President of the British Eugencs Society). WWF Vice-Presidents over the years included Maurice Strong, and Sir Louis Mortimer Bloomfield, whose Permindex Bureau was banned from France for being caught attempting to kill Charles De Gaulle and which was discovered by US District Attorney Jim Garrison to be at the heart of JFK’s assassination in 1963. All of these figures were devout neo-Malthusians who demanded that the world be as devoid of creative thought as their own minds.

Tackling Malthus head on, JFK said to the National Academy of Sciences on October 22, 1963:

“Malthus argued a century and a half ago that man, by using up all his available resources, would forever press on the limits of subsistence, thus condemning humanity to an indefinite future of misery and poverty. We can now begin to hope and, I believe, know that Malthus was expressing not a law of nature, but merely the limitation then of scientific and social wisdom.”

Within a month of this speech Kennedy was dead and a new green paradigm of adaption to limits grew like a virus in poisonous environment of LSD, cultural irrationalism and the Vietnam War.

The Figure of Lyndon LaRouche

Throughout the 47 years since the cancellation of Apollo and the descent into liberalism, America saw the unique figure of presidential candidate and economist Lyndon LaRouche rise to challenge the neo-Malthusian ethic forming a vast array of political, cultural and scientific organizations such as the Fusion Energy Foundation (1976-1987), and the International Schiller Institute (1984-present). Over the years, these organizations have sponsored thousands of conferences on renewing JFK’s vision, driving fusion power, and were even on record as the earliest western voices promoting the New Silk Road which has become China’s grand design today.

In his 1980 book There Are No Limits to Growth, Mr. LaRouche attacked the core of the Malthusian paradigm saying:

“No beast, or any other lower form of life could willfully increase in potential relative population density by even one order of magnitude. Man is fundamentally different from the beasts. Man is not merely a creature of instinctive potentialities, a mere creature of animal-like perceptions of pleasure and pain. Man is somehow very different. Man has the potential of Reason, the power to make creative discoveries which advance his scientific knowledge, and to convert such scientific advances into advances in technology. We are able to uncover, with increasing perfection, the lawful, universal principles which order universal creation, and to master nature with increasing power, through guiding ourselves to change our ways of behavior in accordance with universal laws.”

China has picked up the torch which had dropped with the death of JFK.

Soon China will have the only functional Space station as the ISS is decommissioned in 2024. China has plans for a manned lunar base by 2030, and has a stated intent to industrialize the moon as a springboard for broader interplanetary flight and mining of rare earth metals and especially Helium-3 (the Holy Grail for Fusion power). Russia is closely aligned with China under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative with India joining into the process at a quicker rate every day. All three nations have ambitions lunar development plans and have offered America olive branches to join them in open system development.

Whether the America of Donald Trump accepts their offers and averts a military confrontation which could turn into WWIII is a question that has yet to be answered.

Brazil and the US – a Neoliberal Alliance Under Bolsonaro and Trump

Par Andrey Areshev

Brazil’s shift to the right-wing has been lauded by the US, which is still not over its penchant for foreign meddling in Latin America. Jair Bolsonaro, who has made news headlines for all the wrong reasons, notably disregard for climate change, indigenous rights and education, has altered the previous diplomacy by prioritising global investment over regional ties, thus facilitating the country’s exploitation.

For the US, of course, this is welcome news. An unnamed US official declared, “Even the friendliest of Brazilian governments was never really that friendly. Here we have now a government in Brazil we truly consider an ally.”

The tactics may have changed – there is enough history of US-backed dictatorships in Latin America to have fomented fractured societies, to the point than a shift to the right-wing through elections was only a matter of time. Brazil was no exception in this regard – the country having followed suit after countries such as Chile and Argentina saw a return to right-wing governments and practices reminiscent of the dictatorship-era. The neoliberal framework was not extinguished – it was just gathering momentum.

For the US and Brazil, Bolsonaro and US President Donald Trump represent an opportunity to cultivate a diplomatic and economic engagement which will impinge upon stability in the region, notably in relation to Venezuela. Following the US lead, Brazil asserted its stance in favour of the Venezuelan opposition, although it has ruled out supporting military intervention against the current President Nicolas Maduro.

Bolsonaro is also the first Brazilian president to have visited the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) earlier this year. Bolsonaro’s son, who is being touted as the new ambassador to the US, described the agency as “one of the most respected intelligence agencies in the world.” For millions of people in Latin America, the CIA represents decades of involvement in dictatorships which resulted in torture, killings and disappearances of the region’s left-wing, notably during Operation Condor in the 1970s and 1980s, in which Brazil attempted to secure a more prominent role.

During the celebrations for the US Independence Day at the US embassy in Brasilia on July 4, Bolsonaro availed himself of the opportunity to highlight what he deemed “a problem … which is not just ours, but of all of us who love freedom,” with reference to the political instability in Venezuela, while eliminating all reference of US interference and plans to overthrow Maduro.

According to Trump, the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is a result of socialism. During the bilateral meeting at the G20 summit between Trump and Bolsonaro, Cuba was singled out to be targeted for possible sanctioning of its support for Venezuela.

Meanwhile, what Bolsonaro has achieved so far back home is reminiscent of the historical neoliberal plans which run contrary to indigenous demands. At the World Economic Forum in January, Bolsonaro declared his intent to open the country to international investors. Increasing deforestation is just the beginning of an invitation for rampant exploitation of Brazil’s natural resources.

During an event in Washington DC last March, Brazil’s Mines and Energy Minister Bento Albuquerque expounded upon the global importance of the Amazon rainforest, “in terms of its riches.” A recent report titled “Complicity in Destruction” notes how Europe and North America in particular are reshaping “Brazil’s socio-economic landscape … to our collective detriment”.

Politically and economically, Brazil is set on a trend that has many precedents. Together with other right-wing governments in Latin America, it is continuing a macabre legacy that will now be implemented through methods which the international community has normalised and is only concerned with finding solutions for, rather than halting.

New CNN Assange Smear Piece Is Amazingly Dishonest, Even for CNN

Par Andrey Areshev

Caitlin JOHNSTONE

CNN has published an unbelievably brazen and dishonest smear piece on Julian Assange, easily the most egregious article of its kind since the notoriously bogus Assange-Manafort report by The Guardian last year. It contains none of the “exclusive” documents which it claims substantiate its smears, relying solely on vague unsubstantiated assertions and easily debunked lies to paint the WikiLeaks founder in a negative light.

And let’s be clear right off the bat, it is most certainly a smear piece. The article, titled “Exclusive: Security reports reveal how Assange turned an embassy into a command post for election meddling”, admits that it exists for the sole purpose of tarnishing Assange’s reputation when it reports, with no evidence whatsoever, that while at the Ecuadorian embassy Assange once “smeared feces on the walls out of anger.” Not “reportedly”. Not “the Ecuadorian government claims.” CNN reported it as a fact, as an event that is known to have happened. This is journalistic malpractice, and it isn’t an accident.

Whenever you see any “news” report citing this claim, you are witnessing a standard smear tactic of the plutocratic media. Whenever you see them citing this claim as a concrete, verified fact, you are witnessing an especially aggressive and deliberate psyop. The Ecuadorian embassy was easily the most-surveilled building in the world during Assange’s stay there, and the Ecuadorian government has leaked photos of Assange’s living quarters to the media in an attempt to paint him as a messy houseguest in need of eviction, so if the “feces on the walls” event had ever transpired you would have seen photos of it, whether you wanted to or not. It never happened.

SCOOP: New documents obtained exclusively by CNN reveal that Assange received in-person deliveries, potentially of hacked materials related to the 2016 election, during a series of suspicious meetings at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. w/ @kguerrerocnn https://t.co/OqC9GBsIKl

— Marshall Cohen (@MarshallCohen) July 15, 2019

“New documents obtained exclusively by CNN reveal that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange received in-person deliveries, potentially of hacked materials related to the 2016 US election, during a series of suspicious meetings at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London,” the article begins.

In its very first sentence the article invalidates all the claims which follow it, because its use of the word “potentially” means that none of the documents CNN purports to have contain any actual evidence. It’s worth noting at this time that there is to this day not one shred of publicly available evidence that any of the Democratic Party emails published by WikiLeaks in 2016 were in fact “hacked” at all, and could very well have been the result of a leak as asserted by former British ambassador Craig Murray, who claims to have inside knowledge on the matter.

The glaring plot holes in the Mueller report’s assertions about Russia being the source of the 2016 WikiLeaks drops have already been ripped wide open by journalist Aaron Maté’s meticulous analysis of the report’s timeline in an article accurately titled “CrowdStrikeOut: Mueller’s Own Report Undercuts Its Core Russia-Meddling Claims”. The CNN smear piece, which claims to “add a new dimension to the Mueller report”, is entirely relying on this porous timeline for its reporting. Plot holes include the fact that Mueller claims (and CNN repeats) that the Russians transferred the emails to WikiLeaks on or around July 14, which Maté notes is “a full month after Assange publicly announced that he had them.”

CNN kicks off its smear piece with the inflammatory claim that “Assange met with Russians and world-class hackers at critical moments”, mentioning both “Russians” and “hackers” in the same breath in an attempt to give the impression that the two are related. It’s not until paragraph 43 and 46, long after most people have stopped reading, that the articles authors bother to inform their readers that the “hackers” in question are German and have no established connection to the Russian government whatsoever. The “Russians” counted among Assange’s scores of visitors consist of RT staff, who have always consistently reported on WikiLeaks, and a “Russian national” about whom almost nothing is known.

The article falsely labels Assange a “hacker”, a defamatory claim the mass media circulates whenever it wants to tarnish Assange’s reputation. Assange, of course, is a publisher. WikiLeaks publishes materials which are given to it, it doesn’t “hack” them.

That is a LIE that’s been debunked over and over. We published ONE article about the emails that were RELEASED already, just not TWEETED about yet, because WikiLeaks had been releasing them like clockwork and we paid attention. It’s called journalism, they should try it sometime.

— Nebojša Malić (@NebojsaMalic) July 15, 2019

CNN also repeats the long-debunked lie that RT “published articles detailing the new batches of emails before WikiLeaks officially released them” during the 2016 election, citing no evidence because this never happened. RT reported on a WikiLeaks release in October 2016 after it had been published by WikiLeaks but before the WikiLeaks Twitter account had tweeted about it, and western propagandists willfully conflated WikiLeaks publications with tweets from the WikiLeaks Twitter account in order to make it look like RT had insider knowledge about the publications.

In reality, RT was simply watching the WikiLeaks site closely for new releases in order to get an early scoop before other outlets, because Podesta email leaks had been dropping regularly.

“That is a LIE that’s been debunked over and over,” tweeted RT America editor Nebojša Malić‏ in response to the smear. “We published ONE article about the emails that were RELEASED already, just not TWEETED about yet, because WikiLeaks had been releasing them like clockwork and we paid attention. It’s called journalism, they should try it sometime.”

“Yes that is fake news,” tweeted RT’s Ivor Crotty. “I was the editor on the team that monitored wikileaks and by Podesta 6 we knew they tweeted at 9am EST each day (1pm Dublin) — so we checked the database by reverse searching and discovered a new dump, tweeted about it, and the conspiracy theorists jumped.”

“RT already addressed this in 2016, convincingly if you read the sequence of events they lay out: the Podesta emails appeared on the WikiLeaks website before WikiLeaks sent a tweet about it,” Maté tweeted at CNN’s Marshall Cohen. “Ignoring that allows for the conspiracy theory you propose. It’s ridiculous to suggest that RT-Wikileaks ‘were coordinating behind the scenes’ based on the fact that RT tweeted about the Podesta emails AFTER they appeared on WL’s site, but BEFORE WL tweeted about them. You’re implicating RT in a conspiracy… for doing journalism.”

It’s not possible to research the “RT had advance knowledge of WikiLeaks drops” conspiracy theory without running across articles which debunked it at the time, so the article’s authors were likely either knowingly lying or taking dictation from someone who was.

“Spanish newspaper El Pais on July 9: ‘Spanish security company spied on Julian Assange’s meetings with lawyers’. Add little security state propaganda and 6 days later you get from CNN: ‘How Julian Assange turned an embassy into command post for election meddling’,” noted Shadowproof managing editor Kevin Gosztola in response to the CNN smear, a reminder of how a little narrative tweaking can turn a story on its head in support of the powerful.

This would be the same CNN who told its viewers that it’s against the law to read WikiLeaks, with Democratic Party prince Chris Cuomo lying “Remember, it’s illegal to possess these stolen documents; it’s different for the media, so everything you learn about this you’re learning from us.” The same CNN which falsely reported that Assange is a pedophile not once, but twice. The same CNN which has been caught blatantly lying in its Russiagate coverage, which has had to fire journalists for misreporting Russiagate in a media environment where that almost never happens with Russia stories, which has deleted evidence of its journalistic malpractice regarding Russiagate from the internet without retraction or apology.

So this latest attempt to tarnish Julian Assange’s reputation from CNN is not surprising. Nor is it surprising that the article contains exactly zero of the “exclusive documents” which it says validate its claims and insinuations. Nor is it surprising that CNN is using invisible evidence which almost certainly came into its hands through a government agency to give weight to its smear. But the sheer volume of disinformation and deceit they were able to pack into one single article this time around was just jaw-dropping. Even for CNN.

medium.com

UAE Pullout From Yemen Less About Peace, More About War With Iran

Par Andrey Areshev

The surprise pullout of troops and warplanes from Yemen by the United Arab Emirates has been interpreted as a “peace move”, or at least a tacit admission of defeat. But, more plausibly, the timing of the withdrawal seems more to do with the UAE redeploying forces at the behest of the United States in order to ramp up military pressure on Iran.

The UAE has been a major actor in the US-backed Arab military coalition, along with Saudi Arabia, which has been waging a war in Yemen for the past four years to oust the Houthi rebel government in Sanaa. The Emiratis and Saudi Arabia want to reinstall an exiled clique which the Houthis kicked out of Yemen at the end of 2014. The US, Britain and France have backed the anti-Houthi coalition with massive arms supplies and logistics for a relentless air war campaign.

Despite the relative lack of Western media coverage of the conflict, Yemen has become widely seen as a horrendous humanitarian disaster. Nearly half its population of 24 million are suffering from critical food and water shortages. The Western-backed coalition has also been blamed for war crimes from indiscriminate air strikes on civilian centers. The war has been described as an “un-winnable quagmire” for the Saudis and Emiratis, not unlike Vietnam was for the Americans.

So, when an Emirati official was quoted last week as saying the withdrawal from Yemen was motivated by bolstering a United Nations-sponsored peace plan, a more skeptical reading would be that the UAE simply wants to get out of a futile and costly war. Thus the move is less about peace and more about saving face for the Emiratis. But there also seems to be a bigger geopolitical picture concerning US designs to confront Iran.

It is reported that the Saudis are not happy about the Emiratis turning their back on active involvement in the war. Understandably too, because the Saudis will have to deploy more financial resources and forces to fill the gap left behind. The Yemen quagmire can only get deeper and more miserable for the Saudis. That suggests Riyadh is being left in the lurch.

Although the UAE is aligned with Saudi Arabia as part of the pro-US Gulf Arab monarchies, including Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman, there are nevertheless petty rivalries for power and regional influence. Saudi Arabia is often resented for its overbearing dominance by the other smaller oil-rich emirates. The Saudi-UAE blockade on Qatar over the past two years is a case in point where the former pair are trying to put the latter in its place over perceived competitive interests.

The UAE rulers would appear to be closest to the hardline Wahhabi Saudis in terms of sharing a vehement hostility towards Shia Iran.

However, given that the impetuous Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is reckoned to have launched the war in Yemen based on an ill-thought-out campaign that was supposed to last for a few weeks, not years, it can be surmised that the Emiratis would only be too glad to let the young royal rue the day for his rash egotism.

In addition, the Emiratis seem to be positioning themselves for a greater regional role by extricating their forces from Yemen. This is less about bolstering peace in Yemen and more about giving itself a freer hand to gain dominance at Saudi expense.

On the news of the pullout last week, the US-based think tank ran an article with this telling headline: ‘Yemen: The UAE Trades Its Involvement in the Yemen Conflict for a Stronger Regional Posture’.

The timing is also significant. Not coincidently, it seems, the UAE announced withdrawal comes just as the US is pushing for a new naval coalition force to deploy in the Persian Gulf and Red Sea, purportedly to “counter Iranian aggression” and to “safeguard” international commercial shipping.

Mike Milley, the nominated top US General who is due to take over from Major General Joseph Dunford as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate confirmation hearing panel last week that the proposed coalition is scheduled to shape up in the “next couple of weeks”.

The Pentagon will have overall command of the naval forces, which will comprise only Washington’s regional allies. The move seems to be a reckless escalation of US-led military forces in the Persian Gulf amid already-combustible tensions with Iran.

A string of sabotage incidents on oil tankers in the Gulf carried out by unknown assailants, as well as a shoot-down of a US spy drone by Iran, strongly suggests that the Trump administration is secretly planning for a military confrontation with Tehran. The Trump White House has said it doesn’t want war nor is seeking regime change in Iran, but all the indicators point to the opposite conclusion.

If the US is indeed lining up for a military strike on Iran, then it would require its regional allies to be mobilized as part of a coalition. The naval coalition being proposed by the Pentagon thus takes on a sinister implication, in spite of the apparently benign “freedom of navigation” claims invoked as its purpose.

The abrupt pullout of UAE forces from Yemen may therefore be less about giving peace a chance, or even about cutting and running from a futile, un-winnable war. Instead, the Emiratis seem to be reconfiguring their forces do Washington’s bidding for a war on Iran.

After all, the Gulf Arab propaganda claims that the Houthi rebels in Yemen are “Iranian proxies”. For them, Yemen has always been about challenging Iran. Pulling forces to redeploy with the US in the Gulf may seem a more appealing, if high-risk, direct way to confront Iran. Furthermore, the UAE gets to play top dog over their petty Saudi rival in pleasing Uncle Sam.

Unfortunately, peace is not about to break out in Yemen because of the UAE military pullout. More ominously, the wider reconfiguration of forces in the region could mean a much bigger and disastrous war breaking out with Iran.

What Machiavelli Can Teach Us About Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt

Par Andrey Areshev

Christopher FEAR

Media scrutiny of politicians’ personal virtues and vices is now more exacting than ever. Commentators have been hard pushed to find novel ways of illustrating the qualities and shortcomings (especially the shortcomings) of the two remaining candidates in the Conservative party leadership contest – Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson.

Journalists’ portraits are now very well worn. Johnson is popular, personable and optimistic; but also clumsy, somewhat comical and bad with details. Hunt is pragmatic, serious and intelligent; but also “managerial”, mercurial on policy, short on charisma and likely to protract Theresa May’s dithering Brexit strategy. In short, though both men embody classic Conservative tropes, they project very different political styles.

My colleague Philip Norton, a professor of government and Conservative peer, has proposed a four-part typology of prime ministers, which is much more insightful than the clichés preferred by journalists. According to his schema, there are “innovators”, “egoists”, “reformers” and “balancers”. He does not explicitly categorise Johnson or Hunt. But it seems fairly clear to me that Conservatives’ choice now is between an “egoist” (Johnson) and a “balancer” (Hunt).

I would not wish to reject the Norton view. But there is a much older typology that fits the contest just as well, and it comes from what is probably still the richest handbook for political rule in the Western canon: Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince (written between 1513 and 1516).

For Machiavelli, a successful ruler takes inspiration from both the lion and the fox. And he will have the wisdom to know when to imitate one, and when it is better to imitate the other:

For the lion does not know how to avoid traps, and the fox is easily overpowered by wolves.

Exhibiting “lion” qualities – essentially the readiness to use force or open violence – enables rulers to dispatch “wolves”. But constant leonine behaviour will quickly get the ruler fatally snared. So a wise ruler must also, like a fox, be suspicious of traps, be able to conceal how crafty he is, and know “how to be a clever counterfeit and hypocrite”. Unlike the lion, whose thinking is based on simplistic notions of honour, he must not be afraid to break his promises when it is to his advantage to do so.

Machiavelli’s typology became a staple in Renaissance literature. Shakespeare was particularly fond of it, depicting in several plays (Othello, for example) the tragedy of a well-loved “lion” falling victim to the superior intelligence of a “fox”, whose cunning schemes he was too naïve to have suspected. The British artist and author Wyndham Lewis wrote his first political book, The Lion and the Fox (1927), about exactly this.

But it was another Italian, the sociologist Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923), who updated the lion and fox idea for the democratic age, explaining how (as he sees it) governing elites overthrow and replace each other by appealing to the public’s alternating, cyclical taste for leonine and vulpine qualities (The Mind and Society).

Again, “lion” elites have force and the courage to use it, but they lack the skill required to exploit those advantages. “Fox” elites rely on intelligence, cunning and chicanery to govern, but they lack force and courage.

For Pareto, when the public grows sick of foxes, it begins to crave lions, and vice versa.

Furthermore, because each type of elite favours new recruits that are like themselves, there is a gradual build-up of the opposite character in the “subject class”. The lasting dominance of a “fox” elite produces a more leonine competitor group, which gets its opportunity when a skilled figure arrives to lead it. This can occur on the left of politics as well as on the right: neither has a monopoly over “force” or “cunning”. (Inflexible, rampant, and unpolishable, Jeremy Corbyn fits the “lion” type quite comfortably.)

Usually, Pareto explains, the new “lion” leader is not actually a true lion, but a skilled and disaffected fox – more leonine than the fox elite he has turned against, but still more vulpine than the lion class whose leadership he now assumes.

An age of foxes

The language used today by commentators, and also by his own campaign team, strongly suggests that Hunt is widely recognised as the “fox” candidate. The case for viewing Johnson as the “lion” is more equivocal. At times, he exhibits the intelligence and cunning associated with political foxes. But still, the lion likeness goes deeper than Johnson’s blonde mane. Consider the other characteristics that he projects: his apparently unrehearsed manner of speech, his brash optimism, his “belief in Britain”, and his apparent inability to conceal his transgressions (public and private).

Tellingly, most commentators see Johnson’s blunders and general foolhardiness as obvious disqualifications. But today’s commentariat are almost all of the “fox” class (I do not exclude myself from this diagnosis). Foxes naturally prize cleverness over force, and assume that it is the only possible criterion of success. They can recognise only with great difficulty that it is exactly these traits – being gaffe-prone and over-confident – that qualify Johnson for “lion” status among significant sections of the electorate. Presently, we prefer to diagnose the public appetite for lions as “populism” – snobbery that is only tolerated because it is shared.

Foxes are proud of their claimed immunity to charisma, and they are bred to expect tricks. But they should try to avoid explaining away the reported preference for Johnson among Conservative members and voters as evidence of their having been captivated by his personal magnetism and tricked by his brash promises.

Instead, the perception that must be engaged (because it is no less true) is that the Brexit process has offered few opportunities for the exercise of cunning, and has instead exposed the usual weaknesses of vulpine rule: that same lack of force and the courage to use it which always makes foxes vulnerable to being “overpowered”.

The Conservative party’s members must now decide whether there are any opportunities left for political cunning, or whether the time has arrived to initiate a period of more leonine government.

theconversation.com

New US Pentagon Chief – Vested Interest in War & Conflict

Par Andrey Areshev

Mark Esper is expected to be confirmed in coming days as the new US Secretary of Defense. His appointment is awaiting final Congressional approval after customary hearings this week before senators. The 55-year-old nominee put forward by President Trump was previously a decorated Lieutenant Colonel and has served in government office during the GW Bush administration.

But what stands out as his most conspicuous past occupation is working for seven years as a senior lobbyist for Raytheon, the US’ third biggest military manufacturing company. The firm specializes in missile-defense systems, including the Patriot, Iron Dome and the Aegis Ashore system (the latter in partnership with Lockheed Martin).

As Defense Secretary, Esper will be the most senior civilian executive member of the US government, next to the president, on overseeing military policy, including decisions about declaring war and deployment of American armed forces around the globe. His military counterpart at the Pentagon is Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, currently held by Marine General Joseph Dunford who is expected to be replaced soon by General Mark Milley (also in the process of senate hearings).

Esper’s confirmation hearings this week were pretty much a rubber-stamp procedure, receiving lame questioning from senators about his credentials and viewpoints. The only exception was Senator Elizabeth Warren, who slammed the potential “conflict of interest” due to his past lobbying service for Raytheon. She said it “smacks of corruption”. Other than her solitary objection, Esper was treated with kid gloves by other senators and his appointment is expected to be whistled through by next week. During hearings, the former lobbyist even pointedly refused to recuse himself of any matters involving Raytheon if he becomes the defense boss.

As Rolling Stone magazine quipped on Esper’s nomination, “it is as swampy as you’d expect”.

“President Trump’s Cabinet is already rife with corruption, stocked full of former lobbyists and other private industry power players who don’t seem to mind leveraging their government positions to enrich themselves personally. Esper should fit right in,” wrote Rolling Stone.

The linkage between officials in US government, the Pentagon and private manufacturers is a notorious example of “revolving door”. It is not unusual, or even remarkable, that individuals go from one sector to another and vice versa. That crony relationship is fundamental to the functioning of the “military-industrial complex” which dominates the entire American economy and the fiscal budget ($730 billion annually – half the total discretionary public spend by federal government).

Nevertheless, Esper is a particularly brazen embodiment of the revolving-door’s seamless connection.

Raytheon is a $25 billion company whose business is all about selling missile-defense systems. Its products have been deployed in dozens of countries, including in the Middle East, as well as Japan, Romania and, as of next year, Poland. It is in Raytheon’s vital vested interest to capitalize on alleged security threats from Iran, Russia, China and North Korea in order to sell “defense” systems to nations that then perceive a “threat” and need to be “protected”.

It is a certainty that Esper shares the same worldview, not just for engrained ideological reasons, but also because of his own personal motives for self-aggrandizement as a former employee of Raytheon and quite possibly as a future board member when he retires from the Pentagon. The issue is not just merely about corruption and ethics, huge that those concerns are. It is also about how US foreign policy and military decisions are formulated and executed, including decisions on matters of conflict and ultimately war. The insidiousness is almost farcical, if the implications weren’t so disturbing, worthy of satire from the genre of Dr Strangelove or Catch 22.

How is Esper’s advice to the president about tensions with Russia, Iran, China or North Korea, or any other alleged adversary, supposed to be independent, credible or objective? Esper is a de facto lobbyist for the military-industrial complex sitting in the Oval Office and Situation Room. Tensions, conflict and war are meat and potatoes to this person.

During senate hearings this week, Esper openly revealed his dubious quality of thinking and the kind of policies he will pursue as Pentagon chief. He told credulous senators that Russia was to blame for the collapse of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. That equates to more Raytheon profits from selling defense systems in Europe. Also, in a clumsy inadvertent admission he advised that the US needs to get out of the INF in order to develop medium-range missiles to “counter China”. The latter admission explains the cynical purpose for why the Trump administration unilaterally ditched the INF earlier this year. It is not about alleged Russian breaches of the treaty; the real reason is for the US to obtain a freer hand to confront China.

It is ludicrous how blatant a so-called democratic nation (the self-declared “leader of the free world”) is in actuality an oligarchic corporate state whose international relations are conducted on the basis of making obscene profits from conflict and war.

Little wonder then than bilateral relations between the US and Russia are in such dire condition. Trump’s soon-to-be top military advisor Mark Esper is not going to make bilateral relations any better, that’s for sure.

Also at a precarious time of possible war with Iran, the last person Trump should consult is someone whose corporate cronies are craving for more weapons sales.

Pompeo’s Big Lie on Iran

Par Andrey Areshev

Jacob G. HORNBERGER

In a tiff over whether Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his delegation would be permitted to enter the United States as part of a meeting of the United Nations and over whether they would be free to travel freely around New York City, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a whopper, one that might have even embarrassed Pinocchio. Expressing a desire to be invited to appear on Iranian television, Pompeo said that he would tell Iranians that “we care deeply about them, that we’re supportive of the Iranian people, that we understand that the revolutionary theocracy is not acting in a way that is in their best interest.”

Why, that’s just a lie, a plain old, downright, old-fashioned lie.

When Pompeo is using the pronoun “we,” he is referring to U.S. officials. And the fact is that U.S. officials, from President Trump on down, couldn’t care less about the well-being of the Iranian people. All that U.S. officials care about is re-installing a pro-U.S. dictatorship in Iran, no different from that of the Shah, who U.S. officials made Iran’s brutal dictator in 1953.

After all, look at the U.S. sanctions on Iran. They target the Iranian people for economic impoverishment and even death. The idea is that if the U.S. government can squeeze the life out of the Iranian people, they will rise up in a violent revolution against the ruling regime and replace it with one that is acceptable to U.S. officials.

There is no maximum limit on the impoverishment or death toll that would cause U.S. officials to lift their sanctions. That is, even if sanctions were causing thousands of people to die every week from starvation, illness, or plane crashes owing to the sanctions, U.S. officials would not lift the sanctions. No price in terms of suffering or death of the Iranian people could be high enough to cause U.S. officials to cease and desist.

Moreover, even though a violent revolution would cost the lives of thousands of Iranians, U.S. officials couldn’t care less. All that matters to them is regime change. If thousands of Iranians have to be sacrificed for that goal, so be it.

How in the world can such a cruel and brutal policy be reconciled with Pompeo’s claim that he and his cohorts “care deeply” about the Iranian people? It can’t be. It’s a flat-out lie.

We saw this same phenomenon when U.S. officials, with the same banality-of-evil mindset, enforced their system of sanctions against the Iraqi people for 11 years. Every year, the sanctions were killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, mostly children. Keep in mind that during the Persian Gulf War, the Pentagon ordered U.S. bombers to destroy Iraq’s water-and-sewage treatment plants, with the aim of spreading infectious illnesses among the Iraqi populace. After the war was over, U.S. officials used their sanctions to prevent the plants from being repaired. The sewage-infested waters were one of the factors leading to the massive annual death toll among the Iraqi people.

Did U.S. officials care about the well-being of the Iraqi people? Are you kidding? No more so than they care about the well-being of Iranians. When Sixty Minutes asked U.S. Ambassador Madeleine Albright in 1995 whether the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children were “worth it,” she responded that while it was a difficult issue, the deaths were, in fact, “worth it.” By “it,” she meant the attempt to remove Saddam Hussein from power and replace him with a pro-U.S. dictator, the same goal that U.S. officials have in Iran. The sanctions on Iraq continued for another six years, until U.S. officials used the 9/11 attacks as the excuse for invading Iraq and ousting Saddam from power, something they had failed to accomplish with 11 years of sanctions and hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis.

When an American named Bert Sacks took medicine to Iraq to help the Iraqi people, U.S. officials went after him with a vengeance, first fining him and then spending many years in an obsessive quest to get their money from him.  Make no mistake about it: If any American violates U.S. sanctions against Iran by trying to help the Iranian people, U.S. officials will go after him with all guns blaring, this time with both harsh criminal and civil penalties.

Think about what U.S. officials did to the Iranian people in 1953. The CIA knowingly, intentionally, deliberately, and secretly ousted Iran’s democratically elected prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh, from office and vested full dictatorial power in the Shah of Iran. The CIA trained the Shah and his secretive SAVAK police force, which was a combination Pentagon, CIA, and NSA, into one of the most tyrannical agencies in history. Torture. Assassination. Indefinite detention. Secret surveillance. Arbitrary arrests. Suppression of free speech. All of the things that were in the U.S. national-security state’s playbook were vested in the Shah and his SAVAK.

After around 26 years of suffering under this horrific U.S.-installed and U.S. trained tyranny, the Iranian people finally violently revolted. The shame, however, was that they were unable to replace the Shah with the democratic regime that U.S. officials had destroyed in 1953. They ended up with a theocratic tyranny.

Thus, it was with great ironic hypocrisy that Pompeo also recently derided the Iranian regime for its tyrannical practices. The irony and hypocrisy are three-fold: One, U.S. officials are responsible for the theocratic tyranny under which the Iranian now suffer. Two, the U.S.-installed Shah was every bit as tyrannical as the current Iranian regime is. And three, U.S. officials have adopted some of the same dark-side practices here in the United States, e.g., torture, assassination, indefinite detention, denial of trial by jury, denial of due process of law, and denial of speedy trial, that are engaged in by dictatorial regimes.

U.S. officials caring about and supporting the Iranian people? Don’t make me laugh. Just more lies from a deeply hypocritical interventionist and imperialist regime, one that targets the innocent with death and impoverishment with the aim of achieving a political goal.

fff.org

Absolute Power Molests Absolutely

Par Andrey Areshev

The Jeffrey Epstein child molestation case made big headlines because of just how close he is to many in power or at least with great pull in Washington and the fact that he had already been busted and possibly used said pull to stay out of jail certainly adds to the drama. Although many people can get photographed with celebrities who don’t really know them or claim to be “friends” with this or that person who’s on TV, most media breakdowns of this case put Epstein as, at the very least, a known associate and maybe even actual friend of Bill Clinton and Donald Trump and others of their social rank. When someone who has abused large numbers of underage girls at his home also chit chats with the US President, this raises eyebrows and shocks the public. But sadly the public should no longer be shocked as there is a crisis of child abuse and rape throughout the halls of power in nations across the Western World. Breaking this cycle may be very difficult but there are certain strategies that could work.

In Britain, Operation Hydrant a police investigation into cases of non-recent child sex abuse has over 2,200 open investigations, but the one thing that unites them is that the suspects, like Mr. Epstein, are all people of “public prominence”. This seemingly large scale operation formed to search for perverts and rapists in the UK elite is sadly not a unique phenomenon.

The Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has been able to shed a lot of light onto numerous suspected pedophiles within Parliament and evaluate how the nation’s political parties dealt with (or refused to deal with) accusations of this crime being thrown at their members. Unlike Operation Hydrant these are much more recent cases that even involve some current politicians. This inquiry (“Westminster”) which deals with MPs is just one of 13 different “strands” of investigation in different areas of British society including religious organizations as well as the aforementioned governmental bodies like Parliament.

Just because someone is looking for pedophilia does not mean it is happening for sure, but many under investigation by the IICSA like Green Party member David Challenor (raping a 10 year old) have been convicted and sentenced for their crimes. These investigations are not just a witch hunt or some sort of PR stunt. There would seem to be enough pedophilia within the British halls of power that the police cannot be bribed or dissuaded from exposing it entirely, which means there is quite a mountain of molestation being hidden in London.

In Australia, Senator Bill Heffernan went forward with police documentation to expose a long list of alleged pedophiles in government which extends even up to one of the former Prime Ministers. The same sort of rumors becoming fact that happened in England are now happening across their former colony.

In America numerous Democratic politicians have been involved in abuse and pedophilia including Jacob Schwartz who was convicted in May 2017 of child pornography and Sen. Robert Menendez who is accused of having sex with underage prostitutes in 2012 and if we are to believe certain independent media sources this is just the tip of the iceberg in Washington.

In France, one cabinet minister was accused of having sex with underage boys while in Morocco. But there are many more possible names still yet to be revealed with him.

In Germany the Green Party which openly advocated for legalizing sex with children in the 1980s has not surprisingly come under investigation/scrutiny for rampant pedophilia. The party at one time had an entire “pedo-commision” working day and night to revoke Section 176 of the German Criminal Code that forbids fornicating with minors.

It would be totally unfair to say that the West is under rule by pedophiles. In the massive rows of seats of Parliament and Congress there are hundreds of people with only dozens of accusations and a handful of convictions being made, but proportionally, relative to the population at-large it would seem that today’s law makers and bureaucrats have a radically higher percentage of pedophile tendencies. Taking shots in the dark you are way more likely to hit Chester Molester in a crowd of senators than car mechanics, waiters or any other profession outside the elite.

Perhaps it is easier for the wealthy/powerful to engage in child rape and get away with it or perhaps it is some bizarre form of sexual ennui that drives the powerful to seek new sexual highs from the weakest of victims. But in the 21st century West, absolute power molests absolutely and this is very dangerous for society far beyond the individual lives that are crushed by freaks and perverts with deep pockets and the right connections to cover it up for years or maybe forever.

Strategically speaking this horrible “tendency” gives governments outside the West the perfect visceral piece of propaganda to use for years to come. “We may be poor, our police may be a little harsh, but at least we don’t *** children” is a message that could make any fumbling government of a poor nation seem tolerable. Even within the West this further undermines any faith the masses may have in their own government and this is the perfect kind of info-armament that could be by revolutionaries. Since many people want pedophiles to be castrated or executed you can see how agitators could use this “stereotype” of men in power to their advantage. These are not strong strategic weaknesses but they exist nonetheless and need to be addressed.

If the nations of the West want to set up the necessary invisible barbed wire to filter our pedophiles from crawling into the top levels of government they need to do the following…

Only allow people who are married with children to be in government. This is no ironclad guarantee but most pedophiles are single and if they are married their marriage is usually hollow meaning they probably do not have children. Being married with children in at least a semi-functional marriage vastly reduces the chances of the individual being a pedophile.

Forbid any members of secret societies and fraternities from being in government. Although you may have a constitutional freedom to be in a secret society any organization which tries to hide itself is most certainly up to no good and people who engage in these secret groups need to stay in the private sector for the sake of the nation. Child sex rings are a form of secret society all their own. No one needs to conduct charity or raise money to fix local park benches from the shadows of a secret network. Fraternities often involve bizarre sexual rituals to gain entrance which means they are filled with the type of people who may be inclined to rape children. David Cameron had sex with a dead pig to get into a fraternity (technically labeled “dining club”) after all.

Restrict the privacy of those in governmental power. If one wants freedom they need to stay in the private sector, if they want power and the ability to lead society they are going to have to lead by example and sacrifice any scrap of personal privacy they have as part of their mission to bring glory to the state. When politicians use their privacy it is more often than not for ill. Normal people who are unable to do much harm to society get to have privacy, those who can fund a pedophile ring and bribe their way to freedom when caught or pull strings need to have their privacy revoked in advance.

Western Intellectuals Freak Over ‘Frankenstein’ China

Par Andrey Areshev

… while academics in Beijing plot decoupling business with the US and teaming up with EU and ASEAN

Pepe ESCOBAR

Western economists and intellectuals obsessed with demonization of China are never shy of shortcuts glaringly exposing their ignorance.

The latest outburst posits that “we” – as in Western intellectuals – “are the modern version of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein,” who electro-shocked a dead body (China) into a resurrected “murderous monster.”

So, welcome to the Sino-Frankenstein school of international relations. What next? A black and white remake with Xi Jinping playing the monster? Anyway, “we” – as in mankind’s best hope – should “avoid carrying on in the role of Frankenstein.”

The author is an economics professor emeritus at Harvard. He cannot even identify who’s to blame for Frankenstein – the West or the Chinese. That says much about Harvard’s academic standards.

Now, compare this with what was being discussed at a trade war symposium at Renmin University in Beijing this past Saturday.

Chinese intellectuals were trying to frame the current geopolitical dislocation provoked by the Trump administration’s trade war – without naming it for what it is: a Frankenstein gambit.

Li Xiangyang, director of the National Institute of International Strategy, a think tank linked to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, stressed that an “economic decoupling” of the US from China is “completely possible,” considering that “the ultimate [US] target is to contain China’s rise … This is a life-or-death game” for the United States.

Decoupling

Assuming the decoupling would take place, that could be easily perceived as “strategic blackmail” imposed by the Trump administration. Yet what the Trump administration wants is not exactly what the US establishment wants – as shown by an open letter to Trump signed by scores of academics, foreign policy experts and business leaders who are worried that “decoupling” China from the global economy – as if Washington could actually pull off such an impossibility – would generate massive blowback.

What may actually happen in terms of a US-China “decoupling” is what Beijing is already, actively working on: extending trade partnerships with the EU and across the Global South.

And that will lead, according to Li, to the Chinese leadership offering deeper and wider market access to its partners. This will soon be the case with the EU, as discussed in Brussels in the spring.

Sun Jie, a researcher at the Institute of World Economics and Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that deepening partnerships with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) will be essential in case a decoupling is in the cards.

For his part Liu Qing, an economics professor at Renmin University, stressed the need for top international relations management, dealing with everyone from Europe to the Global South, to prevent their companies from replacing Chinese companies in selected global supply chains.

And Wang Xiaosong, an economics professor at Renmin University, emphasized that a concerted Chinese strategic approach in dealing with Washington is absolutely paramount.

All about Belt and Road

A few optimists among Western intellectuals would rather characterize what is going on as a vibrant debate between proponents of “restraint” and “offshore balancing” and proponents of “liberal hegemony”. In fact, it’s actually a firefight.

Among the Western intellectuals singled out by the puzzled Frankenstein guy, it is virtually impossible to find another voice of reason to match Martin Jacques, now a senior fellow at Cambridge University. When China Rules the World, his hefty tome published 10 years ago, still leaps out of an editorial wasteland of almost uniformly dull publications by so-called Western “experts” on China.

Jacques has understood that now it’s all about the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative: “BRI has the potential to offer another kind of world, another set of values, another set of imperatives, another way of organizing, another set of institutions, another set of relationships.”

Belt and Road, adds Jacques, “offers an alternative to the existing international order. The present international order was designed by and still essentially privileges the rich world, which represents only 15% of the world’s population. BRI, on the other hand, is addressing at least two-thirds of the world’s population. This is extraordinarily important for this moment in history.”

In fact, we are already entering a Belt and Road 2.0 scenario – defined by Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi as a “high-quality” shift from “big freehand” to “fine brushwork.”

At the Belt and Road Forum this past spring in Beijing, 131 nations were represented, engaged in linked projects. Belt and Road is partnering with 29 international organizations from the World Bank to APEC, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation.

Apart from the fact that Belt and Road is now configured as a vast, unique, Eurasia-wide infrastructure and trade development project extending all the way to Africa and Latin America, Beijing is now emphasizing that it’s also a portmanteau brand encompassing bilateral trade relations, South-South cooperation and UN-endorsed sustainable development goals.

China’s trade with Belt and Road-linked nations reached $617.5 billion in the first half of 2019 – up 9.7% year-on-year and outpacing the growth rate of China’s total trade.

Chinese scholar Wang Jisi was right from the start when he singled out Belt and Road as a “strategic necessity” to counter Barack Obama’s now-defunct “pivot to Asia”.

So now it’s time for Western intellectuals to engage on a freak-out: as it stands, Belt and Road is the new Frankenstein.

asiatimes.com

Pandering to Christian Zionism: Trump Outreach on Display in Washington

Par Andrey Areshev

In Washington on the weekend after the Fourth of July, Israel was praised and Iran was condemned in the strongest terms, with a bit of a call to arms thrown in to prepare the nation for an inevitable war. It might just seem like a normal work week in the nation’s capital, but this time around there was a difference. The rhetoric came from no less than five senior officials in the Trump Administration and the audience consisted of 5,000 cheering members from the Christian Zionist evangelical group called Christians United for Israel (CUFI).

Christian Zionism is not a religion per se, but rather a set of beliefs based on interpretations of specific parts of the Bible – notably the book of Revelations and parts of Ezekiel, Daniel, and Isaiah – that has made the return of the Jews to the Holy Land a precondition for the Second Coming of Christ. The belief that Israel is essential to the process has led to the fusion of Christianity with Zionism, hence the name of the movement. The political significance of this viewpoint is enormous, meaning that a large block of Christians promotes and votes for a non-reality based foreign policy based on a controversial interpretation of the Bible that it embraces with considerable passion.

It would be a mistake to dismiss CUFI as just another group of bible-thumpers whose brains have long since ceased to function when the subject is Israel. It claims to have seven million members and it serves as a mechanism for uniting evangelicals around the issue of Israel. Given its numbers alone and concentration is certain states, it therefore constitutes a formidable voting bloc that can be counted on to cast its ballots nearly 100% Republican, as long as the Republican in question is reliably pro-Israel. Beyond that, there are an estimated 60 million evangelical voters throughout the country and they will likely follow the lead of groups like CUFI and vote reflecting their religious beliefs, to include Trump’s highly visible support for the Jewish state.

Trump’s reelection campaign is reported to be already “…developing an aggressive, state-by-state plan to mobilize even more evangelical voters than supported him last time.” This will include, “voter registration drives at churches in battleground states such as Ohio, Nevada and Florida.” Without overwhelming evangelical support, Trump reelection in 2020 is unlikely, hence the dispatch of all available White House heavyweights to CUFI’s annual summit at the Washington Convention Center.

Though it is an organization that defines itself as Christian, CUFI makes no effort to support surviving Christian communities in the Middle East as most of them are hostile to Israel. The group also supports war against Iran as a precursor to total global conflict. Hagee has explained that “The United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God’s plan for both Israel and the West… a biblically prophesied end-time confrontation with Iran, which will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation, and Second Coming of Christ.”

CUFI operates out of the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio Texas. It was founded at the church in 2006 and is headed by John Hagee, a leading evangelical who has been courted both by the Trump Administration and by Israel itself, which presented him with a a Lear business yet complete with a crew so he would be able to do his proselytizing in some comfort. He frequently appears at commemorations in Israel, is a regular at the annual AIPAC meeting and has been a guest at the White House. He was present at the Trump administration’s ceremony last year when it moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem and gave a speech. He has said that “there has never been a more pro-Israeli president than Donald Trump.”

Present at the CUFI summit were Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Advisor John Bolton, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, and US negotiator in the Middle East Jason Greenblatt. Lest there be any confusion, the White House was represented by two Christian Zionists, two Jewish Zionists and John Bolton, who has been variously described. All five have been urging a military response against Iran for its alleged “aggression” in the Middle East. Israeli Prime Minister also addressed the conference via videolink, with his similar “analysis” of the Iranian threat. There were also a number of Republican Senators present, to include Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Roy Blunt and Tim Scott.

The speeches were all pretty much the same but perhaps the most suggestive was the 2,000 word plus exhortation delivered by Pompeo. His presentation was entitled “The US and Israel: a Friendship for Freedom.” He asked, in a speech full of religious metaphors and biblical references, his audience to “compare Israel’s reverence for liberty with the restrictions on religious freedom facing Christians and people of all faiths throughout the rest of the Middle East,” where “if a Muslim leaves Islam it is considered an apostasy, and it is punishable indeed by death.”

Pompeo was more interested in stirring up his audience than he was in historical fact. He said “In Iraq, Syria, and other countries in the region, the last remnants of ancient Christian communities are at near-extinction because of persecution from ISIS and other malign actors. And just one example: before 2003, there were an estimated 1.5 million Christians living in Iraq. Today, sadly, almost a quarter of a million.”

Pompeo, whose grasp of current events appears to be a bit shaky, did not mention two of the principal reasons that Christianity has been declining in the region. First and foremost is the Iraq War, started by the United States for no good reason, which unleashed forces that led to the destruction of religious minorities. Second, he did not note the constant punishment delivered by Israel on the Palestinians, which has led to the departure of many Christians in that community. Nor did he say anything about the reverse of the coin, Syria, where Christians are well integrated and protected by the al-Assad government which Pompeo and Bolton are seeking to destroy to benefit Israel.

The Secretary of State also delivered the expected pitch for four more years of Donald Trump, saying “But thank God. Thank God we have a leader in President Trump – an immovable friend of Israel. His commitment, his commitment – President Trump’s commitment is the strongest in history, and it’s been one of the best parts of my job to turn that commitment into real action.”

But it has to be Pompeo’s conclusion that perhaps should be regarded as a joke, though it appears that no one in the audience was laughing. He said “Our country is intended to do all it can, in cooperating with other nations, to help create peace and preserve peace [throughout] the world. It is given to defend the spiritual values – the moral code – against the vast forces of evil that seek to destroy them.”

It was a reiteration of Pompeo’s earlier “America is a force for good” speech delivered in Cairo in January. Nobody believed it then and nobody believes it now, given what has been actually occurring over the past 18 years. It would be interesting to know if Pompeo himself actually thinks it to be true. If he does, he should be selling hot dogs from a food truck rather than presiding as Secretary of State.

So, the bottom line is that the Trump Administration pandering to Hagee and company is shameful. Christian Zionist involvement in American politics on behalf of the Washington’s relationship with Israel does not serve any conceivable US national interests unless one assumes that Israel and the United States are essentially the same polity, which is unsustainable. On the contrary, the Christian Zionist politicizing has been a major element in supporting the generally obtuse US foreign policy in the Middle East region and vis-à-vis other Muslim countries, a policy that has contributed to at least four wars while making the world a more dangerous place for all Americans. Christian Zionist promoted foreign policy serves a particularly narrowly construed parochial interest that, ironically, is intended to do whatever it takes to bring about the end of the world, possibly a victory for gentlemen like Pastor John Hagee if his interpretation of the bible is correct, but undeniably a disaster for the rest of us.

I Know What It’s Like to Be Told to ‘Go Back’ to My Own Country

Par Andrey Areshev

Natasha Hakimi ZAPATA

“Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” asked Donald Trump this weekend, all but certainly targeting Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar. The president’s latest tweets came in response to an ongoing public feud between the four progressive women of color—often known as the “Squad”—and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. The episode merely confirmed what The Guardian’s Arwa Mahdawi had pointed out prior to his racist screed:

America is becoming an increasingly hostile place for women and for people of color. Pelosi’s constant public attacks against the four newly elected women of color aren’t just disrespectful, they’re dangerous. Whether she means to or not, her repeated insinuations that the Squad are rabble-rousing upstarts who are undermining the Democratic party helps bolster the right’s vitriolic narratives about the congresswomen. As America grows increasingly brazen in its bigotry, Pelosi should be aggressively standing up for her freshman colleagues, not trying to tear them down.

Since being smeared by the president with characteristically white nationalist rhetoric, each of the congresswomen has issued a powerful response on social media, as well as held a news conference on Monday.

You are angry because you don’t believe in an America where I represent New York 14, where the good people of Minnesota elected @IlhanMN, where @RashidaTlaib fights for Michigan families, where @AyannaPressley champions little girls in Boston.

/2

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) 14 июля 2019 г.

Mr. President,

As Members of Congress, the only country we swear an oath to is the United States.

Which is why we are fighting to protect it from the worst, most corrupt and inept president we have ever seen. https://t.co/FBygHa2QTt

— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) 14 июля 2019 г.

Want a response to a lawless & complete failure of a President?

He is the crisis.
His dangerous ideology is the crisis.
He needs to be impeached.

— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) 14 июля 2019 г.

Let’s set aside that Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib and Pressley were born in the U.S., if only for a moment. Regardless of where you were born, if you’re a person of color in America, it’s likely that you or someone you love has been told a variation of “Go back to where you came from.” I’ve lost track of how many stories I’ve heard, but a personal experience immediately springs to mind watching the most powerful man in the country attack four women of color.

Just after the 2016 election, I was home in the U.S. for an extended period to work and visit my family. My partner, brothers and I were driving through rural Illinois, where I was born, to Chicago, after a wedding in Wisconsin when we stopped at a Dunkin’ Donuts. There, a group of young white men started making loud comments about how we should “immigrate here legally, and then you could vote for Trump” as, I assume, they just had. It’s hard to know if it was my partner’s British accent, or the color of my brothers’ and my skin that made them assume we were not from the country, let alone that very state, but it struck straight to the core of my frustrations that the U.S. had just elected an unabashed nativist as president.

“I was born here. Not voting for Trump makes me no less of a U.S. citizen than you,” I replied through gritted teeth. The kids backed off immediately, and ultimately, they didn’t seem intent on attacking us. While I tell myself it could’ve been worse, and I have indeed heard much worse, their remarks have stayed with me. While I was no stranger to American racism, this was the first time my citizenship status had been openly questioned by a stranger who wasn’t a U.S. border patrol officer. (It should be noted that these officials have had no trouble asking me, repeatedly, why I was re-entering the U.S., unwilling to accept my answer that I was born here.)

What became clear to me at that Illinois Dunkin’ Donuts, its surrounding roads littered with red Trump/Pence signs, was just how emboldened the most racist and xenophobic elements in the country have come to feel under Trump. Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that counties that have hosted Trump rallies have been seen a 226% rise in hate crimes.

My mother, like several other members of my family on both my Mexican and Iranian sides, was undocumented. I was taught from a young age how “lucky” I was to be born north of the Río Grande, how much my parents and grandparents had given up for my generation to have more than they could dream of. It’s a common narrative among immigrant families, which doesn’t mean to say it isn’t true. Every day that migrant men, women and children are kept in abhorrent conditions, I’m reminded that had I been born just a few miles south, I, too, might be in a migrant camp right now. With each ICE raid, I have come to fear that a member of my family could be detained, even though we’ve all been naturalized.

I am not alone in my anxiety. A recent study of Latinx teenagers in California born in the U.S. found that this administration’s xenophobic immigration policies are having a very real impact on their mental health:

In this cohort study of 397 US-born adolescents in California, fear and worry about the personal consequences of current US immigration policy were associated with higher anxiety levels, sleep problems, and blood pressure changes. Reported anxiety statistically significantly increased after the 2016 presidential election, particularly among young people in the most vulnerable families.

The study reminded me of my mom, who often tells me about how her mental health suffered for over a decade while her immigration status remained unresolved, fearing at any moment she would be forced to the leave the country she’s now lived in longer than her native Mexico.

A powerful epistolary poetry exchange between Latinx writers Ada Limón and Natalie Diaz also captures the pain and fear so many are feeling right now in the U.S. Here is an excerpt from a poem in the series by Limón.

Manuel is in Chicago today, and we’ve both admitted
that we’re travelling with our passports now.
Reports of ICE raids and both of our bloods
are requiring new medication.

Below is part of Diaz’s poetic response:

I have my passport with me these days, too, like you and Manuel.
Not because of ICE raids, but because I know
what it’s like to want to leave my country. My country
to say it is half begging, half joke.

Lately, I settle for an hour instead of a country.
What joy might be in this hour? I ask myself.

And there is much—

Ours is a country that decided at its inception what a U.S. citizen must look like, and it’s easy to see now that the founding fathers never had Ocasio-Cortez or Tlaib or Omar or Pressley or me and my family and countless others in mind. This president and his enablers are not the exception in our long, shameful history of systemic racism—they simply have no interest in hiding theirs behind platitudes.

If anything, Trump has exposed “legal citizenship” and “residency” for the constructs they’ve been all along. A passport, a birth certificate, a green card, a visa—each of these documents can be revoked. One’s status is ultimately as fragile as the paper the words are printed on. Just look at Trump’s threats to nullify birthright citizenship or his adviser Stephen Miller’s plot to deny green cards to immigrants who have received benefits, including Obamacare or food stamps. On several occasions, full U.S. citizens have been detained and deported by immigration officials.

I have a U.S. birth certificate and a passport, yet my own president believes I do not have a right to these documents. He also seems to maintain that there are actions, words, events that could make me “un-American,” with all of its McCarthyist implications.

In the end, what do those pieces of paper even really mean? Do they give me more human rights than the 4-month-old child detained somewhere in our purportedly exceptional country? That I even have to ask that is a sign of how clearly our institutions were designed by white hegemonic powers to make us question everyone’s humanity, to dehumanize anyone who didn’t look or sound or act or think like them.

I leave the U.S. often, ironically, and I have been fortunate to live and study and work abroad in countries from Mexico and Argentina to Spain and the U.K.—experiences that have thrown the good and the bad the U.S. has to offer into high relief. On the days when I read the news, I can’t imagine how I can love the country I still, sometimes reluctantly, call home, but I try to remember what the great James Baldwin said in an interview with the Paris Review:

I think that it is a spiritual disaster to pretend that one doesn’t love one’s country. You may disapprove of it, you may be forced to leave it, you may live your whole life as a battle, yet I don’t think you can escape it. There isn’t any other place to go—you don’t pull up your roots and put them down someplace else. At least not in a single lifetime, or, if you do, you’ll be aware of precisely what it means, knowing that your real roots are always elsewhere. If you try to pretend you don’t see the immediate reality that formed you I think you’ll go blind.

I’m trying not to go blind, even though the tears that come more and more often these days make it harder than ever to see the nation for which my parents gave up so much to call their own.

truthdig.com

Diplomatic Security Should Return to Basics

Par Andrey Areshev

In this current age of encryption applications and cloud computing, the old countermeasures employed to ensure diplomatic security are largely being left by the wayside. In days of yore, the diplomatic pouch, which contained dispatches from ambassadors and ministers around the world to their own governments, was protected by various international conventions. With the advent of the telegraph, telephone, facsimile, computer, and data networks, diplomatic “cables” were encrypted by various means.

In the past, diplomatic security has been particularly critical in countries where there is no official diplomatic representation. The very presence of what are known as “gray embassies” is classified and the compromise of dispatches from these unofficial missions can result in major physical threats to “official cover” and “non-official cover” diplomatic personnel. After the Arab-Israeli war on 1967, the US, Britain, and West Germany maintained such “gray embassies” in certain Arab nations – Egypt (United Arab Republic), Syria, Sudan, Iraq, Yemen – that severed relations over perceived US, British, and West German support for Israel. There are suggestions that Israel maintains such gray embassies in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Iraq (the latter used as a conduit for contact with Iran).

In 1917, during World War I, a breakdown in diplomatic security resulted in a major rupture in relations between Sweden, Argentina, and Germany. It was discovered by US Secretary of State Robert Lansing that Count Luxburg, the German chargé d’affaires in the Argentine capital, was using telegraphs sent to Stockholm by the Swedish Legation and Minister Baron Löwes to embed covert messages to Berlin related to the German U-boat campaign against Allied shipping. The revelation about the Swedish role also infuriated the Argentine government since part of the German campaign was to sink Argentine ships, leaving no traces of German involvement with the hope that the Argentines would blame the British and Americans.

Another diplomatic leak in 1917, prior to US entry into World War I, was that of the telegram sent by German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmermann to the German Legation in Mexico City proposing a German-Mexican military alliance that would seek to recover Texas, Arizona and New Mexico for Mexico. Publication of the contents of the diplomatic cable enraged Americans and helped President Woodrow Wilson to propel the US into World War I on the side of the Allies. It was later discovered that the encrypted telegram had been decrypted by British cipher analysts.

The most recent example of a breakdown in diplomatic security was the release to the British press of classified and personal cables from Sir Kim Darroch, the career diplomat ambassador to the United States, and the British Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary. Such diplomatic dispatches are expected to provide select government leaders with honest assessments of the political leadership in the countries to which they are accredited. In Darroch’s case, he did what countless ambassadors and ministers have done throughout the long history of ambassadors, ministers, plenipotentiaries, and diplomatic envoys. In his diplomatic dispatches to the Foreign Office in London, Darroch correctly summed up the Trump administration as “clumsy and inept.” However, the leak of Darroch’s cables resulted in his resigning his position, an event that further worsened relations between London and Washington.

British Foreign Office official Sir Alan Duncan told the House of Commons that the compromise of Darroch’s cables were not the result of computer hacking. In 2011, the US ambassador to Mexico, Carlos Pascual, resigned after WikiLeaks revealed one of Pascual’s classified cables to Washington that bluntly assessed the in-fighting between the Mexican Army and Navy regarding the military crackdown on Mexican narcotics lords. The leaked cables described the lack of faith the US embassy in Mexico City had for not only the Mexican Army, but also the National Action Party (PAN) administration of President Felipe Calderón, in the war on drug trafficking and the Mexican drugs cartels.

Calderón’s lashing out at Pascual was similar, but not as crude as Donald Trump’s criticism of Darroch. Calderón said of Pascual: “That man’s ignorance translates into a distortion of what is happening in Mexico and affects things and creates ill feeling within our own team.” In the case of Darroch, Trump called the ambassador “wacky,” a “very stupid guy” and a “pompous fool.” Trump also called Prime Minister Theresa May “foolish” for ignoring his advice on the implementation of Brexit.

Regardless of the speculation about who leaked Darroch’s cables or how they were compromised to the press, there should be a re-thinking about how such communications are protected during transmittal and the classification and need-to-know requirements that accompany them. There were suspicions in London that it was former British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson who leaked the cables as a way to give him a leg up on becoming Britain’s next Prime Minister. The political intrigue had Johnson working secretly with Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage in a conspiracy that would see Farage pressing Brexiteers in the Conservative Party backing Johnson against his chief rival, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. In return, a Prime Minister Johnson would nominate Farage as the British ambassador in Washington. During the 2016 presidential election, Farage actively campaigned in the United States for Trump.

If Johnson – as a former Foreign Secretary – still had access to Darroch’s cable traffic, it would represent a catastrophic failure in security. The United States saw a similar compromise of classified documents in October 2003 when former Bill Clinton national security adviser Sandy Berger used his past position to remove from the National Archives classified National Security Council documents by hiding them in his socks and underpants. The original, uncopied, and non-inventoried documents Berger removed were critical to the work of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, also known as the 9/11 Commission.

One of the most-effective cryptographic methods that have long been employed by diplomats and their security advisers to ensure maximum security for classified and sensitive diplomatic messages is the use of the One-Time Pad (OTP), a virtually unbreakable cipher. The plain text stream of a single message is paired with random key stream characters. The One-Time Pad existed before the computer. One-Time Pads contained the key streams, usually blocks of five numbers, for example, “02685,” “41087,” “24061,” and so on. In some cases, blocks of random letters were used. Soviet and other intelligence agencies relied on such OTP booklets to encrypt specific messages to their higher operational commands. After an OTP key stream page was used, it was completely destroyed to ensure that the encrypted message could not be decrypted by adversary signals intelligence agencies intercepting the coded number radio traffic or telephonic voice messages. The OTP booklets used by espionage agencies and diplomats arrived at foreign embassies and legations via inviolable diplomatic pouches, always carried by a foreign ministry official possessing diplomatic passports.

With the advent of email, text messaging, and other convenient means of communications, the security protocols assigned to the transmittal and storage of diplomatic dispatches has waned. Mils Electronic of Austria, the only major company that manufactured One-Time Tape, or OTT, encryption machines used to convert plaintext into 5-bit digital codes – a technological improvement on the old One-Time Pad systems, went out of business in 2018 after undergoing a management “restructuring” in 2017. MILS Electronic, which began operations in Trier, Germany in 1947 and moved to Austria in 1967 to escape pressure to weaken its products for Western surveillance from NATO, was always a bugbear for the US National Security Agency (NSA) and its counterpart, the German Federal Intelligence Service (Bundesnachrichtendienst, or BND). MILS was founded as Reichert-Elektronik in Trier by Willi Reichert, a cryptographer for the German Wehrmacht during World War II. Reichert helped invent the famous Enigma-1 portable encryption machine that utilized three coding wheels that, while providing strong encryption, were ultimately vulnerable to Allied cryptanalysis attacks.

It may be more than coincidental that in 2018, the year that MILS, along with its cryptographic maintenance support for its customers ended, the European Commission’s headquarters in Brussels also suffered a breach for thousands of its diplomatic cables. Many were classified as confidential, secret and “tres secret” (top secret). Among other things, the compromise revealed that Chinese President Xi Jinping referred to Trump’s “bullying” that was reminiscent of a “no-rules freestyle boxing match.”

Regardless of the demise of MILS Electronic, diplomats should realize that one-time pad technology remains the safest means to protect sensitive cables or messages during transmittal. As for personnel security, which was clearly compromised in the case of Wikileaks by US Army Private Chelsea Manning and in Darroch’s case by friends of Johnson and Farage, a system of strict need-to-know and access controls for former officials is paramount.

The security of diplomatic communications can make the difference between war and peace. As long as it is given low priority, there will be future ambassadors like Darroch and Pascual.

Trump’s Next Trade War Target: Vietnam

Par Andrey Areshev

Southeast Asian nation has dramatically whipsawed between US-China trade war winner to potential next big tariffed loser

David HUTT

The popular consensus is that Vietnam has been one of the world’s biggest US-China trade war winners, as global supply chains shift production away from tariff-hit China and towards the low-cost Southeast Asian nation.

That upshot, one that may have added as much as 8% to Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP) according to one bank’s research, has apparently already run its full course as US President Donald Trump slaps new punitive tariffs on Hanoi’s exports.

In May, Vietnam was added to the US Treasury Department’s list of possible currency manipulators, a designation that could result in punitive measures if proved. That threat presaged this month’s imposition of a whopping new 400% US duty on Vietnamese steel imports that originate from South Korea and Taiwan.

The US could next slap punitive tariffs on certain Vietnamese imports based on allegations Hanoi is allowing Chinese-made products to be rebranded as Vietnamese goods before export to the US to circumvent tariffs on China, a process officials refer to as “transshipment.”

Some economists predict that, for instance, if the US moves to impose a 25% tariff on Vietnam’s exports, as it has done with China for reasons of national security, the move would cause Hanoi’s exports to fall by a quarter and shave off more than 1% from GDP.

That could be in the offing, analysts reckon, in light of Trump’s scathing comment last month that Hanoi was “almost the single worst abuser of everybody” in regard to trade and that “Vietnam takes advantage of us even worse than China.”

That critique was aimed at Vietnam’s high and rising trade surplus with the US, which hit a record US$40 billion last year, up slightly from 2017 and in spite of a concerted Vietnamese effort to buy more from the US.

Source: US Census Bureau/Haver Analytics

In the first five months of this year, Vietnam’s trade surplus with the US hit $21.6 billion, double the amount compared with the same period in 2018.

Beyond the rhetoric, America’s new tariffs on Vietnam represent a drastic course shift, one that has caught Vietnamese officials off guard amid what was a strong bilateral warming trend under the Trump administration.

In February, when Hanoi staged a second historic round of US-North Korea peace talks, Trump lavished praise on his Vietnamese hosts.

“You’ve made tremendous progress and it’s a great thing for the world to see,” he told Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc while referring to the one-time battlefield adversaries as “friends.”

Soon after Trump took office in January 2016, Vietnam was one of the first targets of his complaints that certain nations maintained big, unequal trade surpluses with the US.

Those complaints were mollified somewhat after Phuc visited Trump at the White House later that year with a multi-billion dollar purchase order for several Boeing-made commercial aircraft.

Communist Party sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, say they are perplexed by Trump’s volte face. For the last two years, Trump has acted as though Vietnam and the US were “best friends”, one Vietnamese official told Asia Times.

The officials say it is unclear whether the Trump administration is genuine about its threat of possible future sanctions on Vietnamese imports, or whether it is a dramatic negotiating tactic to extract more concessions.

Sources say that Vietnam has made the kind of trade-related commitments that they think Washington supports, and that Trump’s latest comments could merely aim to accelerate their implementation.

For instance, a planned law to create three new special economic zones, which sparked rare nationwide protests last year as many thought they would allow Chinese firms to purchase large swathes of Vietnamese land, has now been indefinitely postponed.

Meanwhile, National Assembly delegates recently called on Communist Party functionaries to curb Chinese investment in Vietnam, with lawmakers arguing that Hanoi should be more particular about which foreign-invested projects it accepts.

Vietnamese authorities have also stiffened a crackdown on Chinese products being re-routed through Vietnam on their way to the US, a circumvention of tariffs that has greatly peeved the Trump administration.

To some extent, Vietnam has mitigated the costs of possible US sanctions by signing trade deals with other partners. Earlier this year, it formally became part of the reformed Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multilateral trade pact which Trump took the US out of in one of his first acts as president.

Moreover, on June 30, Vietnam finally signed a free-trade agreement with the European Union after several years of protracted negotiations.

The deal, which will remove import duties from 99% of Vietnam’s exports within seven years, up from 71% when the deal was signed, could boost Vietnam’s exports to the EU by 20% in 2020, according to official estimates.

Last year, the EU purchased $42.5 billion worth of Vietnam’s exports.

Still, the US is Vietnam’s most important trading partner, a fact that is not likely to change any time soon. Last year, the US imported $49 billion worth of Vietnamese goods, while exporting just $9.6 billion to Vietnam.

In the first five months of this year, US imports of Vietnamese goods have jumped to $25.8 billion, compared to $18.9 billion over the same period last year, evidence that Vietnam is benefitting immensely from the trade war.

In June, Japanese investment bank Nomura estimated that Vietnam had gained the equivalent of 7.9% of its GDP from trade diversion and supply chain shifts caused by the US-China spat. (The second largest beneficiary was Taiwan, which has gained about 2.1% of its GDP, the research shows.)

Some analysts believe Washington’s reaction to Vietnam’s trade practices is perfectly normal, particularly in light of allowing Chinese companies to use it as a base to disguise their exports to the US.

Vietnam, now one of the world’s 50 largest economies, is simply being asked to abide by the same rules the US expects from other trading partners – the same rationale that led to the US-China trade spat.

“Every fast-industrializing Asian nation has been at first indulged by the US and other major Western trading partners and then, as its market power became formidable, pressed to play by the rules of international trade,” wrote David Brown, an expert on Vietnam, in World Politics Review this month.

“Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan all cleared that hurdle years ago, none without considerable turmoil. Vietnam is still on probation, and must find the self-discipline to prioritize its larger interests,” the ex-US diplomat added.

Geopolitics, however, are confusing matters. Hanoi has enjoyed US preferential treatment for years because of its strategic importance to American interests, including vis-à-vis China in the South China Sea.

When former US president Barack Obama launched his “pivot to Asia” policy earlier this decade, Vietnam was considered an important new ally because it was one of the few claimants that strongly opposed Chinese expansionism in the maritime area.

Overlooking Vietnam’s many faults – namely it’s abysmal human rights record – has been the price Western nations paid to secure cordial relations with a government that agrees on the need to contain China’s regional rise.

Vietnam has willingly flaunted this position to extract concessions from the West while often playing the US and China off one another to maximize diplomatic benefits from both.

Trump’s recent moves have certainly and unexpectedly put Hanoi on the back foot. Sources say its bureaucracy is working overtime to reform its system on export permits, while also mulling new ways of to reduce its trade surplus.

It is no secret that the US wants Vietnam to purchase more American-made military equipment, and move away from its traditional arms supplier, Russia.

Buying a big-ticket cache of new US military hardware would certainly be looked upon kindly in Washington, a move that would help to narrow Hanoi’s trade surplus while further cementing US-Vietnam defense ties.

asiatimes.com

Thinking Fast and Slow: Why the West Cannot See the Rise of Russia and China

Par Andrey Areshev

Why do Western leaders, pundits and academics all continue to despise the remarkable progress in economic and strategic cooperation being made between Russia and China and with their neighbors?

In the past six years, Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Xi Jinping of China met each other for sustained conferences on no less than 30 occasions.

President Xi paid a state visit to Russia from June 5 to June 7 where he and President Putin held bilateral talks which resulted in the two leaders signing an agreement to step up global strategic stability in the modern-era. Then from June 8 to June 10, both leaders also attended the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

There was nothing sinister or secret about these meetings. On the contrary, they were extensively covered in the Russian and Chinese media. And they celebrated major advances in the growing cooperation two of the largest and most powerful nations in the world.

The trade volume between Russia and China is expected to continue to accelerate and reach new heights, doubling the current record level of $108 billion, the Russian economy ministry said.

Trade between Russia and China in agricultural products and processed food alone rose by nearly 30 percent in 2018 to over $5 billion. Overall bilateral trade volume is now at $108 billion, a rise of 25 percent in only one year and looks to rise even faster.

The significance in these developments to the global balance of power and patterns of investment and trade is very clear. Russia is fast becoming a food exporting superpower likely to reach a level it has not experienced since before World War I.

Already, Russia succeeds in selling wheat at a profit more cheaply and cost effectively to Indonesia than Australia, Jakarta’s next door neighbor.

The economic sanctions slammed on Russia by the United States and the European Union (EU) nations and Canada after Crimea and the two eastern provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk opted out of Ukraine following the Maidan coup in 2014 have backfired spectacularly.

They were meant to force Russia to its knees and bully it into accepting the ongoing neo-colonization of Eurasia by Washington, Wall Street, London and Brussels. Russia was meant to accept the diktat of the Kiev coup d’état and many more or face being plunged back into the hellish starvation of the 1990s.

(That dark era is still falsely lauded throughout the West as a supposed “brief golden age of freedom” rather than the horrific Great Depression on Steroids which, as I saw repeatedly with my own eyes during those years, it truly was.)

However, instead, the sanctions backfired. They proved the superiority of mercantilist industrial and investment reality over the Free Trade, One World dreams of neocons, neoliberals and the like that I sought to expose in my own 2012 book “That Should Still Be Us.”

Following imposition of the sanctions on Russia, domestic food processing and many other domestic industries boomed to fill the demand caused by the end of unlimited processed foods and other consumer imports. Russian agricultural production soared.

Inadvertently, US and EU bungling created a vast domestic protected market across Russia and its Eurasian neighbors. Now the maturing companies and industries created by that market are poised to expand across the Middle East and Asia.

This astonishing development explains why the St. Petersburg Forum continues to grow in scale and value so rapidly every year. It also explains why the media and leaders of the West remain so ludicrously blind to Russia’s growing prosperity and success.

They prefer to cling to the racist contemptible fairytale that the Russian people are incapable of business, industrial and agricultural success and excellence. They never visit Russia to see the reality with their own eyes. They prefer to live in a ludicrous world of their lurid imaginations. (And from Peter Pan to Harry Potter, who has been better at creating dream worlds than the British or the Americans in Hollywood?)

Also, Western leaders are blind to the slow but steady and systematic achievements of Russia and China under Presidents Putin and Xi because those leaders are literally invisible to their Western counterparts.

Western democratic leaders with the partial exception of US President Donald Trump are economic illiterates who believe blindly in free trade, open borders and chaotic growth. They cannot recognize the value of planning slowly, carefully and steadily with long term investment strategies. From Abraham Lincoln to Lyndon Johnson, US leaders could and did think, plan and act this way: But never since.

This is too slow for the instant gratification, “make a quick profit and damn all the rest” mentalities of Wall Street and the City of London and their political puppets today to comprehend. Slow-but-sure moving long range industrial and communications infrastructure development is simply invisible to them.

That is why the leaders of the West today are literally blind to the enormous shifts in world power that have been slowly, massively gathering momentum since the start of this century. But blindness cannot prevent the Rise and Fall of Nations. Soon the true realities of the New World will be clear to all.

Police in America Have Killed 12.8 Times More Citizens Than Mass Shooters in Just the Last 4 Years

Par Andrey Areshev

Matt AGORIST

Tragically, in America, mass shootings — in which murdering psychopaths go on rampages in public spaces — have claimed the lives of 339 people since 2015. While this number is certainly shocking and far too high, during this same time frame, police in America have claimed the lives of 4,355 citizens.

While some of these citizens were armed and dangerous, others were innocent, unarmed, and include small children. Daniel Shaver was one of these people whose life was brought to a screeching halt as he begged on his knees for police not to shoot him. Despite being innocent and unarmed, this father of three was murdered in cold blood by Philip Brailsford who was never held accountable and allowed to retire from the police force with his pension.

Jeremy Mardis was another one of these citizens who was gunned down in cold blood by two killer cops. Mardis was just 6-years-old when he was murdered by these killer cops — one of whom was released last month after serving less than two years for his role in this innocent child’s death. 

The list goes on. Yet despite its increasing length, most American citizens think that reining in America’s deadly police problem is somehow “unpatriotic” or “un-American.” Instead of the right realizing the threat to freedom caused by cops who can kill thousands with impunity, they blame the left. Instead of the left realizing the threat to freedom caused by cops who kill with impunity, most of them blame guns.

The result of this complacency and failure to address the problem has been less freedom and more gun grabs. 

Sadly, most people who call for gun control fail to realize what that actually means—only the government has the guns. And, if the above numbers are any indicator of what that would mean, this would be a horrific scenario.

Every time a lunatic, who is usually on some form mind-altering pharmaceutical, goes on a shooting rampage, the do-gooders in Washington, with the aid of their citizen flocks, take to the TV and the internet to call for disarming the American people.

The citizens who call for themselves and their neighbors to be disarmed, likely think no deeper than the shallow speeches given by the political blowhards, designed to appeal to emotion only. They do not think of what happens during and after the government attempts to remove guns from society. They also completely ignore the fact that criminals do not obey laws and making guns illegal would have zero effect on criminals possessing guns.

In the perfect statist world in which only the government has guns, we’re told that crime rates would plummet, people wouldn’t be murdered, gun violence would be brought to its knees, and a disarmed heaven on Earth would ensue. But how effective would disarming the citizens actually be at preventing gun violence, while at the same time keeping guns in the hands of government?

One simple way to determine the outcome to look at the above numbers and compare mass shootings in America with those killed by police. It is entirely too easy to compare all senseless murders carried out by the state to those carried out by citizens, so we will zoom in with a microscope.

However, just as a point of reference, in the 20th Century alonegovernments were responsible for 260,000,000 deaths worldwide. That number is greater than all deaths from illicit drug use, STD’s, Homicides, and Traffic Accidents — combined.

Now, on to the micro-comparison.

According to a comprehensive database of all American mass shootings that have taken place since 2015, constructed by Mother Jones, there have been exactly 339 deaths attributed to mass shootings that have taken place on American soil.

As Mother Jones notes, in their database, they exclude shootings stemming from more conventional crimes such as armed robbery or gang violence. Other news outlets and researchers have published larger tallies that include a wide range of gun crimes in which four or more people have been either wounded or killed. While those larger datasets of multiple-victim shootings may be useful for studying the broader problem of gun violence, our investigation provides an in-depth look at the distinct phenomenon of mass shootings—from the firearms used to mental health factors and the growing copycat problem.

If we compare the 339 citizens killed in mass shootings to citizens killed by police in the same time frame, the comparison is off the charts. We are talking about a 1,280 percent difference.

Already, in 2019, American police have killed 488 people. This number is set to increase by one, on average, every 8 hours. 

Since 2015, cops in America have killed 4,355 citizens. And most people are not saying anything about it.

As Truth Out recently reported:

The institutional racism rooted in American policing prevents the public from categorizing police shootings as gun violence, Natacia Knapper with Stop Police Terror Project DC explained to Truthout via email. “A large swath of people in our nation — white people in particular, but many others as well — don’t want to reckon with the horrors police have caused in communities of color because to do this would call into question the entire way we have viewed these systems and their roles in our society.” News media consumption, television shows and movies constantly reinforce the belief that policing is an irreplaceable institution keeping society safe and stable. Unlearning this “truth” is akin to unlearning that the Earth is round. Knapper continued, “For many Americans, I think it’s easier to compartmentalize the type of gun violence that comes from the police as “other” and incidents that result in the brutalizing and death of American citizens — Black, Brown or otherwise — are treated as individual instances that are not connected to a larger, overarching problem.” Police and the media exploit this divide when they describe the police violence victims’ unrelated criminal history or the victims’ possession of a gun or pocket knife, regardless of whether it was a factor during the killing. The underlying message is that the deceased deserved to die in order to keep everyone else safe.

As the blowhards spew their nonsense about grabbing guns from law-abiding citizens and those in government demand action, all of these people conveniently ignore the giant pink elephant in the living room — cops in America are killing citizens at an alarming rate.

Ironically enough, those calling for taking guns from citizens are often times the ones most critical of police killings. How, exactly, they rationalize disarming the citizens and having only police, who kill far more people than mass shooters, be the sole possessors of guns, is a mystery.

Indeed, Radley Balko sums up the mental gymnastics of both parties perfectly in regard to the distorted realities held as “truth.”

Red: “We need guns to protect us from the government. Also, it is unpatriotic to second-guess when armed government employees kill people.”

Blue: “The government has a history of racism and oppression. Guns are instruments of death. Only government employees should have guns.”

— Radley Balko (@radleybalko) November 9, 2017

In the United States, the overall homicide rate is 4.9 per 100,000 among the citizens.

Thanks to independent watchdog groups who have decided to document this number on their own, we have a total number of citizens killed by police. Given that America has roughly 765,000 sworn police officers, that means the police-against-citizen kill rate is more than 145 per 100,000.

The police kill rate is nearly 30 times that of the average citizen, yet somehow people still call for disarming citizens and say nothing about the police. And no, the citizens are not becoming more violent. In fact, humanity is at its safest time in history—ever—and, in spite of the lunatic terrorists shooting up public places, violent crimes as well as all crime continues to drop, significantly.

kill

The next time your friends try to tell you that citizens should be disarmed, tell them what that really means; they only want government, who has a history of racism and violence, who kill indiscriminately, with zero accountability, and far more often, to be the ones with guns.

thefreethoughtproject.com

Trump Risks China-Taiwan Conflict for Leverage in Trade War

Par Andrey Areshev

The Trump administration last week cut its fourth and biggest arms sale to Taiwan, sparking a furious condemnation from Beijing that the US was undermining its sovereignty and “grossly interfering in China’s internal affairs”.

The weapons deal reportedly worth some $2.2 billion is expected to be given final approval by Congress in the next few weeks. It follows three other major arms sales since 2017 to Taiwan conducted by the Trump administration.

Beijing slammed the latest military transaction as a “violation of international law and the One China policy” – the latter referring to the long-established US consensus with China that Taiwan island is under Beijing’s sovereignty.

Since the Chinese communist revolution in 1949 Taiwan has always been viewed as a renegade province by Beijing, having sheltered retreating anti-communist nationalist forces. Previous US administrations have sold weapons to Taiwan since 1979 when Washington and Beijing normalized diplomatic relations.

However, the Trump administration appears to be blatantly exploiting secessionist tensions between Taiwan and mainland China. By massively arming the island, there is a danger that Taiwanese separatists will feel emboldened to declare independence, a move which Beijing has always said would trigger it to deploy military force in order to assert its sovereignty.

China’s Global Times reported this week: “The latest US approval of arms sales to the island of Taiwan will hurt delicate China-US relations at a sensitive time when China and the US are to resume trade talks, and Taiwan secessionists should know that they are only being used as a card by the US… China and the US are stuck in a trade war and the US is playing all kinds of cards to create trouble and pressure China. Taiwan is one of them and nothing more.”

The dynamics over Taiwan have resonance with how the Trump administration has used sanctions to hamper commercial market access for Chinese tech giant Huawei, allegedly on the grounds of protecting US “national security”. There is also the suspicion that Washington and its Western allies have exploited political unrest in Hong Kong as another means to undermine Beijing’s sovereignty and meddle in China’s internal affairs. Trump’s dealings with Taiwan thus seem to be part of a broader tactic to antagonize and pressure China.

Last month, American media reported White House sources as saying that President Trump was deliberating using Taiwan as a “bargaining chip” in his trade dispute with China.

The timing of the latest arms sale comes only two weeks after Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping appeared to strike an amicable agreement at the G20 summit to resolve the long-running trade war between the world’s two biggest economies. Over the past year, Trump has been piling tariffs on Chinese exports in a bid to extract concessions from Beijing favoring American interests. China has responded with its own sanctions on US trade and appears unwilling to unilaterally accommodate Trump’s economic demands.

Selling weapons to Taiwan and inflaming nationalist tensions on the island would serve Trump’s negotiating agenda for making “America First” in his trade dispute with Beijing.

A look at the weapons being sold to Taiwan begs questions. The mainstay of the recent sale is an inventory for over 100 Abrams tanks. As Chinese military experts point out, these 60-ton vehicles are unsuited to Taiwan’s dense river network and weak roads. The strategic military value is therefore questionable. But the political value is immense, if the real purpose is to antagonize Beijing.

Moreover, the latest proposed purchase is unlikely to be the last. Earlier this year, the Taiwanese authorities requested to buy 66 F-16 fighter jets from the US. That deal was put on hold by the Trump administration seemingly to mitigate tensions with China over the ongoing trade war. If Trump doesn’t get the far-reaching economic concessions he is seeking from China, one can expect the sale of F-16 squadrons to be green lighted in another act of exerting leverage on Beijing.

The grave trouble is that Trump is recklessly provoking China by using Taiwan as a pawn. Already US warships have increased patrolling through the Strait of Taiwan, the narrow strip of sea separating it from the mainland. The Pentagon cynically calls these maneuvers “freedom of navigation” exercises.

By arming Taiwan with audacious weapons inventories, the danger is that secessionist politicians on the island will adopt a more belligerent position towards Beijing, feeling that they have Washington’s backing if a conflict were to break out.

Thus the Trump administration is shamelessly using Taiwan as a form of blackmail against China. The fiendish American logic is: “do as we say on trade policies or else expect more trouble in your own backyard.”

But in this pursuit, Trump is risking war with China from his egotistical desire to be the winner on trade. It’s a reprehensible reckless tactic that this president is using elsewhere with regard to Iran, Russia, Venezuela and anyone else whom Trump wants to roll over. It’s hardly smart business acumen. It’s simply criminal use of state terrorism as a negotiating technique.

Putin Challenges Malthusians: Fusion Energy Is a National Priority for Russia

Par Andrey Areshev

At a July 9 speech to the 2nd Global Manufacturing and Industrialization Summit in Yekaterinburg, Russia, President Putin presented a brilliant intervention into the visionless anti-growth (and anti-human) ethic characteristic of the neo-liberal world order when he made Russia’s leadership in fusion energy a national priority.

Speaking to 2500 representative from the public and private sector, President Putin laid out the paradox of humanity’s need for development which has often come at the expense of the health of the biosphere by saying: “It is not yet clear how to combine long term development and production build up while preserving nature and high living standards”.

Attacking the anti-growth technocrats who are promoting a halt to progress and decrease of the world population, Putin said “it comes down to appeals to give up progress which will make it possible at best to perpetuate the situation and create local well-being for a select few. At the same time, millions of people will have to settle for what they have today, or it would be more appropriate to say what they don’t have today: access to clean water, food, education and other basics of civilization”.

Separating himself from that cynical worldview, Putin stated “it is impossible and pointless to try to stop human progress. The question is; which base can this progress realistically be built upon to achieve the millennium development goals set by the United Nations?” Answering his own question, Putin laid out the important role of fusion power as the foundation for a harmonization between the realm of nature (the biosphere) and the realm of creative reason (the technosphere): “super-efficient scientific, engineering and manufacturing solutions will help us establish a balance between the biosphere and the technosphere… fusion energy which in fact is similar to how heat and light are produced in our star, the sun, is an example of such nature-like technologies.”

Putin went onto describe the driving role of the Kurchatov Institute which has already begun a project on a fission-fusion hybrid reactors which will be operational by 2020 and its role in driving advanced science which will be a creative force for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) program in France which is scheduled to go online with its first plasma by 2025.

The Recovery of a Forgotten Paradigm

Once upon a time, such speeches as Putin’s were a common thing in the west as scientific/technological progress was recognized as civilization’s basis of existence.

That was before the “new morality” was created in the wake of the 1968 sex-drugs-rock and roll counterculture. The “old obsolete paradigm of the nuclear family” which Woodstock sought to replace recognized the simple truth that “since we will all someday be dead, what good is our lives if we have not left something better for our children and those yet unborn?” This was the foundation for the faith in scientific and technological progress that animated mankind’s combat against fascism in WWII and the launching of humanity out of its limits by exploring space and the secrets of the atom.

Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Lewis Strauss expressed this ethic brilliantly in 1958 when he said: “I hope to live long enough to see the same natural force which powers the hydrogen bomb tamed for peaceful purposes. A breakthrough could come tomorrow as well as a decade hence. Out of our laboratories may come a discovery as important as the Promethean taming of fire.”

Why have we not yet attained fusion?

The valid question yet remains: If statesmen and policy makers dominant during the post-WWII years believed in fusion power so deeply, why did we not attain those lofty objectives set down as national goals for fusion by the 1980s or earlier?

The simplest way to say it is that the Malthusians won.

The 1970s saw the west suffer a subtle coup d’état with the elimination of all nationalist leaders committed to defending their populations from the re-emergence of a financial oligarchy which had only recently failed to achieve world domination under Hitler and Mussolini. After the last bastion of resistance to this coup was killed with the murder of Bobby Kennedy and MLK in 1968, non-governmental organizations were quickly formed to usher in a new ethic under the rubric of the 1001 Club, Club of Rome, and World Wildlife Fund. These organizations were stacked with former eugenicists and imperialists like Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands (founder of 1001 Nature Trust and Bilderberg Group), his friend Prince Philip Mountbatten, and Sir Julian Huxley. All three oligarchs were co-founders of the World Wildlife Fund.

These groups funded a new “science of limits” in order to promote the idea that mankind’s biggest threat was mankind itself rather than scarcity, war, famine or any other by-product of imperialism as was previously believed. Prince Philip embodied this elitist ethic unabashedly when he said in 1980 “Human population growth is probably the single most serious long-term threat to survival. We’re in for a major disaster if it isn’t curbed…We have no option.”

One early Malthusian who gained control of US policy making during this period was Henry Kissinger who moved the USA away from a policy of assisting former colonies’ desire for industrial progress and towards a policy of “population control” under his NSSM 200 Report of 1974 which said: “The US economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad, especially from less developed countries. That fact gives the US enhanced interest in the political, economic, and social stability of the supplying countries. Wherever a lessening of population pressures through reduced birth rates can increase the prospects for such stability, population policy becomes relevant to resource supplies and to the economic interests of the United States… Although population pressure is obviously not the only factor involved, these types of frustrations are much less likely under conditions of slow or zero population growth.”

Kissinger was joined by another Malthusian named George Bush Sr., then a congressman chairing a Task Force on Earth, Resources and Population who said on July 8, 1970: “It is almost self-evident that the greater the human population, the greater the demands for natural resources… The paramount question deals with an optimum human population. How many is too many people in relation to available resources? Many believe that our current environmental problems indicate that the optimum level has been surpassed.”

As Sir Kissinger and Sir Bush (knighted in 1995 and 1993 respectively) re-wired America towards an aggressive anti-growth foreign policy for third world countries, a policy of de-industrialization was underway within America itself as the productive machine tool sector and small/medium agro-industrial system was being dismantled in preparation for an age of neo-liberal globalization. To ensure that the new ethic of “adapting to limits” rather than attempting to transcend those limits with new discoveries was maintained, such programs as the Apollo space program were cancelled for “budgetary reasons” followed soon thereafter by a conscious undermining of the ambitious fusion energy programs which had been unleashed during the 1950s and whose budget had risen from $114 million in 1958 to $140 million by 1968. The budget would continue to rise with record breaking achievements led by Princeton’s Plasma Physics Laboratory which broke the 44 million degree mark to initiate fusion in 1978 and broke international records by achieving a 200 million degree plasma by 1986.

Rather than fund fusion and encourage the construction of new designs and prototypes so necessary to this transformation of society, the opposite occurred, as a systemic underfunding, and collapse of vision led to a demoralization of nuclear scientists who could not carry out their experiments. Quitting his job as Director of Fusion of the US Department of Energy in protest of the sabotage, Ed Kintner said this “leave[s] the fusion program without a strategic backbone—it is a collection of individual projects and activities without a defined mission or timetable… The plan to increase industry involvement in fusion development is postponed indefinitely, and the industrial and economic benefits of high-technology spin-offs, surely an increasingly important by-product of an accelerated fusion technology program, will be lost.”

Indicative of the dishonest philosophy used to justify America’s rejection of fusion research, one of the fathers of the neo-Malthusian revival Paul Ehrlich who authored the Population Bomb in 1968 said in a 1989 interview that providing cheap, abundant energy to humanity was “like giving a machine gun to an idiot child”.

A disciple and co-author of Ehrlich who went onto become “Science Czar” under Barak Obama was biologist John Holdren who wrote in 1969: “The decision for population control will be opposed by growth-minded economists and businessmen, by nationalistic statesmen, by zealous religious leaders, and by the myopic and well-fed of every description. It is therefore incumbent on all who sense the limitations of technology and the fragility of the environmental balance to make themselves heard above the hollow, optimistic chorus—to convince society and its leaders that there is no alternative but the cessation of our irresponsible, all-demanding, and all-consuming population growth.”

The Immanent Death of Malthusianism

President Putin has recently made the point during a June 27 interview with the Financial Times that the neo-liberal order which has defined the west over the past several decades is obsolete. With his strong support for fusion power and a return to a global industrial growth policy alongside China’s Belt and Road Initiative, President Putin has clearly identified the neo-Malthusian worldview as interwoven into the fabric of liberalism. Just as liberalism denies objective principled truths in favor of popular opinion, neo-Malthusianism can only thrive when a “consensus” of pessimism blinds its victims to the truth of humanity’s natural ability to make constant willful discoveries and translate said discoveries into new technologies that bring our species into ever greater states of potential (material, moral and cognitive).

While the Malthusian animal is committed to the belief that humanity may only adapt to scarcity under a closed system of fixed resources managed by privileged elites, humanists, like Putin and Xi Jinping, recognize that mankind’s nature is found not in the flesh, but in the powers of mind which characterize us as a unique species capable of making unending discoveries in a growing creative universe which can be characterized in the same manner that Beethoven described his music: as rigorous as it is free.

This simple statement reflects a powerful truth which liberals and Malthusians cannot stand: The universe’s natural power of creative change – discoverable by the matured power of creative reason allows for the co-existence of lawfulness and freedom under the sole condition that we harmonize our wills and reason to a love of truth and our fellow beings.

The US Is Quietly Opening Detention Camps for Small Children

Par Andrey Areshev

Aura BOGADO

The federal government is quietly expanding its use of shelters to house infants, toddlers and other young asylum-seekers. One Phoenix facility housed 12 children ages 5 and under, Reveal has learned, some as young as 3 months old, all without their mothers.

As part of this expansion, the government has designated three facilities to house newborns and unaccompanied teen mothers. Records obtained by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting indicate a dozen children arrived at Child Crisis Arizona starting in mid-June, after it garnered a $2.4 million contract to house unaccompanied children through January 2022.

The kids, some of whom entered the facility as recently as Thursday and hail from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Ecuador and Brazil, are each living in Child Crisis without a parent.

It’s unclear where the children’s parents are located. Child Crisis didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment. The Office of Refugee Resettlement told Reveal on Friday that it’s working on a response to our questions about the whereabouts of the children’s parents.

The revelations come as the government draws widespread and growing protest over the treatment of infants, children and adults in its care. As advocates and attorneys monitor overcrowding and inhumane conditions at existing locations, new government-financed facilities, run by three agencies within two federal departments, continue to pop up around the country.

Children in at least one of these shelters, which holds a newborn, have not been provided legal services. Meanwhile, hundreds of children at the Carrizo Springs emergency shelter just outside San Antonio are not receiving legal services stipulated under federal law, Reveal has learned.

In addition, Crisis Care Arizona, a nonprofit, was recently cited by state officials for deficiencies before the arrival of unaccompanied infants and toddlers. Inspectors from the Arizona Department of Health Services found hazardous conditions in one location in February, including a “tall floor lamp (that) was unstable and tipped forward easily when light pressure was applied,” as well as unsanitary toys and chipped paint in both the restrooms and outdoor play area.

In January, state monitors found several records for children in Child Crisis’ care lacked information about a parent or health care provider. State standards indicate that water in the sink next to the diaper-changing station should run between 86 degrees and 110 degrees to ensure that employees’ hands are properly disinfected. The sink at Child Crisis in January measured just 70 degrees.

Inspections at three Child Crisis locations in Phoenix and Mesa over the past three years revealed 37 violations, including a lack of drinking water for children in classrooms, a missing lid on a vessel containing soiled diapers, an incomplete first-aid kit, and “dried yellow-orange liquid splatters on the base of one toilet.”

Phoenix City Council member Carlos García said he’s concerned about the welfare of the children at the facility. “Because of the recent deaths and rampant abuse, sexual or otherwise, at the hands of this administration, we need to make sure these kids’ lives are a priority,” he said, adding that reunification with a parent or other family member should happen as soon as possible.

“For those who don’t have that option, we need community response to make sure these children are taken care of,” he said.

In Pennsylvania, meanwhile, Bethany Children’s Home is housing 11 children, including an unknown number of infants, on its campus in Womelsdorf, Reveal has learned. Bethany Children’s Home was awarded a $3.5 million grant in late April to house unaccompanied children through early 2022.

The organization’s website says that its unaccompanied child population includes trafficking victims “ages infant through eighteen years of age (who) are in desperate need of a safe and appropriate shelter while seeking reunification with their family members.” The goal, according to the website, is to facilitate 65 new unaccompanied children.

Just weeks before Bethany Children’s Home was awarded its federal grant, a Philadelphia jury awarded the father of a 16-year-old $2.9 million after she took her own life while living at the facility – the result of a 12-day trial. And in January, a Bethany Children’s Home employee pleaded guilty to charges related to setting up a teen to be beaten by two others while on a school bus.

Inspection records issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services in the last two years indicate a vast array of violations of state standards at the various homes that make up the Bethany Children’s Home campus. These include an allegation of sexual abuse by a staffer that wasn’t immediately reported to the state, problems with children’s medication logsand improper use of restraints – after a staffer placed a child into a restraint when the child was verbally aggressive and kicked a radiator.

Bethany Children’s Home requested that questions be submitted in writing but did not respond in time for publication.

Bethany Christian Services (not connected to the Pennsylvania facility), a Michigan-based provider that already contracts with the federal government to hold unaccompanied children, reopened a Modesto, California, facility last month that was once used as a home for women with unplanned pregnancies.

The state of California has licensed the group home to hold 12 children, and it’s currently holding four minors: two teenage parents and two babies. One of the infants is just 2 weeks old and was born in the United States, making the child a U.S. citizen in the custody of the federal refugee agency.

* * *

As the government expands its use of facilities to shelter children, it has not apparently kept up with federally mandated obligations to provide legal services to these asylum-seekers.

Under the federal law known as the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, the refugee agency must provide vulnerable children in its custody access to legal services. On its website, the agency states that these mandated services include visits with the client and advocating in the child’s best interest.

Bethany Christian Services says the first unaccompanied child arrived at its home in Modesto last month, on June 29. A few days later, on July 4, the refugee agency provided the children with a know-your-rights presentation, produced as either a video or slide presentation, along with a written packet that’s required for unaccompanied children in shelter.

It wasn’t until this week, on July 8, that Bethany says it was in touch with a legal service provider that could furnish the children in Modesto with federally mandated legal services. It’s unknown whether these children have been directly connected with individualized legal services yet. Any delay in legal services could harm a child’s ability to get immigration relief.

In the Carrizo Springs emergency shelter just outside San Antonio, where hundreds of children are being kept, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, better known as RAICES, said the Office of Refugee Resettlement hasn’t yet given it clearance to provide legal services for children.

Jonathan Ryan, RAICES CEO, said the law is designed to protect children who have been placed in proceedings to be deported.

“That’s the case for kids in Carrizo,” he said. “There’s already been cases scheduled for court.”

The shelter has been open for two weeks, but the refugee agency hasn’t authorized a contract for legal services there, Ryan said.

The agency said it’s working on a response to our inquiry about the lack of legal services provided at various facilities in its contracted shelter network.

The news comes as the Trump administration last month ordered the refugee agency to stop funding certain education, recreational and legal aid for children in the agency’s care.

Ryan said RAICES plans to go to the shelter on Tuesday with a team, with or without a contract.

“These kids need lawyers,” he said.

truthdig.com

Britain Bows the Knee to Trump and Plunges From Soap Opera to Dope Opera

Par Andrey Areshev

As Washington’s military-industrial octopus continues to thrive, and US troops and nuclear-armed aircraft and submarines and aircraft carrier groups are tentacled ever further, deeper and higher round the world, there has been an unpleasant upset between London and Washington. This resulted in even more grovelling to the US by the likely next prime minister of Britain, Boris Johnson.

The basics of the story are simple, in that there was a leak of communications from the British ambassador in Washington, Sir Kim Darroch, to the Foreign Office in London. In these he referred to Trump in less than flattering terms and was as perceptive in his observations as might be expected from an experienced and most civilised diplomat.

An inquiry was begun into how the leak came about, and the Daily Mail informed its readers that “the Foreign Office is considering whether Russia hacked Sir Kim to unveil messages that would ‘cause maximum embarrassment and harm’ to officials on both sides of the pond. They believe hackers could have launched a cyber attack to obtain files and damage UK-US relations.”

Sure, the Mail is a celeb-obsessed, rabble-rousing, semi-porno rag, but that’s why it is read by a daily million people. The leak was published initially in The Mail on Sunday, but the trouble for these papers, and their stablemate UK tripe-trotters the Sun and Mirror and so forth, is that they are now caught between their desire to rubbish and condemn honourable professionals like Sir Kim Darroch, their need to find a suitable leak culprit (the Russia absurdity was impossible to pursue), and their anxiety to support somebody who is popular with their readers.

One of the more asinine Mail columnists went so far as to attack Sir Kim himself, as if that were justification for Trump’s determination to insult a distinguished diplomat and vilify the country he represented. The commentator, called Littlejohn, sneered at Sir Kim because he lives “at taxpayers’ expense in one of the most luxurious embassies in Washington,” which is one of the most pathetic ways of attacking public figures serving their nation with the dignity and dedication that dregs such as Littlejohn could not even approach.

Which brings us back to Boris Johnson, who is himself a weekly columnist, paid £275,000/$345,000 a year by the Daily Telegraph. He is devoid of common-sense and decorum, and, as observed by Sam Knight of the New Yorker in June, his two year term as Foreign Secretary “was punctuated by moments of idiocy” while a BBC documentary shown last November “captured Johnson as a distracted, agenda-free buffoon.” He’s obviously the right person to be prime minister of the United Kingdom.

In no manner was his idiocy made clearer than by his recent treatment of Ambassador Darroch, because he does not understand that in the military and the civil service there is a long-standing tradition of Loyalty. No matter what subordinates may do or fail to do, their superior officers back them to the hilt in public. In private, of course, there can be ferocious disciplinary action — but the world must be made aware that the very backbone, the ultimate essence of the entire system of public service rests on the principle of loyalty, up, down and sideways, for without it, nothing can ever be achieved.

And Boris Johnson, by his refusal to support Sir Kim Darroch, has shown that he is unfit to hold any government position. But he is going to be prime minister of the United Kingdom because his electorate are 160,000 Conservative Party members who support Johnson as their sort of man: a disloyal “distracted, agenda-free buffoon.”

The reason Johnson was so disloyal to a distinguished diplomat is that he wishes to curry favour with Trump, the man whose ability was accurately described by Sir Kim Darroch in his observation that “We don’t really believe this administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction-riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept.”

This sparked fury in the dysfunctional Trump who reacted by disparaging Darroch as “not liked or well thought of . . .” and the Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey reported him as tweeting “I don’t know the Ambassador but have been told he is a pompous fool.” In another tweet he added “I do not know the Ambassador, but he is not well liked or well thought of within the US. We will no longer deal with him.”

As usual, when placed in an awkward situation, Trump had told lies, and Josh Dawsey noted that far from “not knowing” the ambassador, he had “sat across from Darroch during the annual St. Patrick’s Day lunch on Capitol Hill in March, inquiring about Brexit and bragging of his strong political standing. Trump interacted with Darroch on a number of occasions in London and Washington.” We are drawn to the sorry conclusion that if the current President of the United States told us the time of day while a clock was striking we would be well-advised to listen to the number of chimes to judge if he was lying or being truthful.

Johnson has many character deficiencies in common with Trump, having the morals of a roving alley-cat on testosterone, and as versified by a former journalist colleague, “Boris told such dreadful lies / It made one gasp and stretch one’s eyes.” And the eyes stretch further when one considers that he didn’t offer even token criticism of the President’s tweets insulting Britain and its ambassador. Last year Johnson declared he was “increasingly admiring” of Trump, which sentiment was reciprocated by Trump’s glowing statement that “I think Boris would do a very good job [as prime minister]. I think he would be excellent. I like him. I have always liked him… I think he is a very good guy, a very talented person” and “very positive about me and our country”.

This love-fest will continue just for so long as Britain bows the colonial knee to its overlord, but the moment the Whitehall warriors appear to be seeking in independent path, there will be an end to “increasing admiration” and a Trumpian tweet series of poisonous malignity.

In the Persian Gulf on July 3 three small Iranian patrol boats sailed near an oil tanker, the British Heritage. There was panic over-reaction, but what was not widely-reported was that “media briefing about British Heritage, and the intervention by HMS Montrose, which warded off the Iranian boats by aiming its guns at them, came originally from the US, and not the Ministry of Defence.”

Think about this. The operational deployment (albeit totally unnecessary) of a major British warship was notified to the world by Washington and not London. That’s where the so-called “special relationship” is placed in perspective.

Britain is on the verge of a disastrous withdrawal from the European Union and desperately seeking trade partners. The President of the United States says he is concerned about the Brexit debacle and on July 9 tweeted that “The wacky ambassador that the UK foisted upon the United States is not someone we are thrilled with, a very stupid guy. He should speak to his country, and Prime Minister May, about their failed Brexit negotiation, and not be upset with my criticism of how badly it was handled. I told her how to do that deal, but she went her own foolish way – was unable to get it done. A disaster! I don’t know the ambassador but have been told he is a pompous fool. Tell him the USA now has the best economy and military anywhere in the world, by far and they are both only getting bigger, better and stronger.”

Keep bowing, Johnson Britain, or Trump will cut you off at the knees. The United Kingdom is plunging from soap opera to dope opera.

‘Strategic Extremism’: How Republicans and Establishment Democrats Use Identity Politics to Divide and Rule

Par Andrey Areshev

T.J. COLES

As we know, both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party are bought, sold, and paid for by big business. For that reason, both have a history of avoiding the issues that are common to Americans of all political persuasions. Addressing such issues would undermine the profits of big business. They include free healthcare, living wages, quality work, secure pensions, unionization, etc.

In order to protect the profits of their business investors, both parties focus on the cultural differences between Americans. As campaigning for the election 2020 gets underway, we can expect the Trump-led Republican Party to increase its inflammatory nonsense in a deliberate effort to mobilize right-wing voters. We can also expect the culturally “liberal” mainstream media to happily take the bait and make Trump’s cultural illiberalism a big issue. As mega-corporations, they also want to avoid real issues.

Until Trump came along, the Republican Party whipped up support among Evangelical Christians by appealing to “moral” issues like abortion (as if free healthcare, for instance, isn’t a moral issue). Because Trump obviously isn’t a Christian, it would have been harder to sell him to Evangelical voters were it not for his platform of Islamophobia. Trump’s cultural provocations are used as a weapon to motivate Republican voters and conceal his egregious economic policies, like Executive Order 13772 on Core Principles for Regulating the United States Financial System, which seeks to further liberalize damaging financial markets.

Equally, in an effort to avoid core economic issues, establishment Democrats have traditionally appealed to cultural progressiveness, like gay rights.

MORAL DIFFERENCES

Morality is common to all human groups. But the precise expression of morality differs from culture to culture. The subjective and variable nature of morality and values makes it easy to use as a tool with which to manipulate voters.

In 2006, Gallup conducted a survey. The results suggested that 71% of Americans believed that the death penalty is morally acceptable, as is using human stem cells for medical research (61%), sex between unmarried people (59%), doctor-assisted suicide (50%), homosexuality (44%), abortion (43%), and suicide (15%). But when the data are extrapolated for political affiliation, differences emerge. Sixty-three percent of Democrats think that the death penalty is acceptable, 69% stem cell research, 65% premarital sex, 53% abortion, 53% homosexuality, 53% doctor-assisted suicide, and 18% suicide. Compare these figures on moral acceptability to Republicans: Death penalty 82%, stem cell research 53%, premarital sex 50%, abortion 30%, homosexuality 36%, doctor-assisted suicide 45%, and suicide 12%.

Just a year before, Glaeser et al. stated that attracting the average voter yields “high” electoral “returns.” As this is the case, they asked an important question: why political candidates take extreme positions (and remember, this is long before Trump). They refer to this political policy as “strategic extremism.” By 2005, religious attendance (overwhelmingly Christian) was as good a predictor of Republicanism as income. Interestingly, income as a predictor of Republican allegiance has been predictable since the 1960s, but religious fundamentalism as a predictor has grown in the same period. It is worth recalling that the late-1960s, but particularly into the 1970s, the US economy was deregulated by both Democrats and Republicans, leading to a decline in wages and the middle-class. Voter turnout among the highly religious increased by seven percentage points between 1976 and 1984, during which time Reagan’s managers fanaticized the Republican Party.

Glaeser et al. explain: “a politician deviating from the median will gain more from energizing his own supporters than he loses by further alienating his opponent’s supporters [sic].” On the abortion issue, the Democrats have moved further left since the 1970s (meaning that their position has been to side with the mother) and the Republicans moved further right (meaning that their position has been to preserve the embryo/foetus/baby no matter what). Team Trump didn’t explicitly try to mobilize the Christian right, though they did implicitly by standing on an anti-Islamic platform. Instead, they mobilized the amorphous alt-right: disenfranchised, usually-wealthy but not super-wealthy voters who considered the Republicans too left-wing. Reaching for the far-right in a country of moderates may seem counterintuitive, until we understand how small statistical shifts can result in significant, aggregate changes.

STRATEGIC EXTREMISM IN ACTION

The comparative secularization of Trump’s main Presidential campaign didn’t affect voter turnout. Pew reports that “white born-again or evangelical Christians and white Catholics, strongly supported Donald Trump,” slightly down from Bush in 2004 but slightly up from Romney the Mormon in 2012.

It is doubtful that many Americans who voted Trump actually voted for his Islamophobic, misogynistic caricature. Trump voters tended to be in the middle-to-upper-income bracket (regardless of gender and ethnicity) and were simply voting in their own economic and class interests. But Trump’s outrageous behavior generated media attention, which was good for the media because it boosted ratings. It was good for Trump’s campaign because the Democratic opposition was emotionally triggered by Trump’s antics and ended up looking hysterical instead of responding rationally. The Democrats had little choice because, having gotten rid of Bernie Sanders, the Democratic machine produced Hillary Clinton whose mandate was, like Trump’s, to avoid real issues. It was good for Trump because the more the “liberal” media hated his illiberalism, the more he could rally the support of his core voters who saw him as a political rebel battling the PC establishment.

Being a showman, Trump understands that attention is everything and ideology is nothing. Trump’s book The Art of the Deal (1987) reads: “I never get too attached to one deal or one approach” (p. 50); “even a critical story, which can be very hurtful personally, can be very valuable to your business” (p. 51); “if you are a little different, or a little outrageous, or if you do things that are bold or controversial, the press is going to write about you” (p. 56); “I play to people’s fantasies” (p. 58).

After Trump’s advisor Steve Bannon was fired or quit, he gave an interview to 60 Minutes, in which he confirmed that Trump’s illiberalism was designed to throw the opposition into psychological confusion, allowing Team Trump to gain the advantage. The “smart” Democrats, says Bannon, stuck to economic issues on the campaign, while Hillary Clinton played identity politics, which most Americans didn’t care about because almost no one sees themselves as racist (even if they are). “President Trump triggers—triggers—the left and they can’t handle it rationally and so long as they can’t handle it rationally, they’re not going to defeat him,” said Bannon.

Bannon’s alt-right followers only become significant demographically in the context elections because of small statistical changes in macro-systems, especially ones aided by an electoral college system. In an election such John McCain vs. Barack Obama, the alt-right wouldn’t have mattered: Obama had a higher approval rating (52%) than McCain (46%), and after eight years of a disastrous Bush presidency, Americans were hoping for change (Hope and Change). However, by 2016, Hillary Clinton represented more of the same. Most Americans knew Trump would be even worse than Clinton, so they reluctantly voted for Clinton. But just enough mobilized Republicans and far-righters were motivated to sway the election to Trump. In this respect, the alt-right becomes significant. The mainstream media, who overwhelmingly backed Clinton, did much to boost the profile of the otherwise obscure alt-right.

CONCLUSION

With the new socialistic Left gaining traction within the Democratic establishment, the 2020 campaign might see a greater focus on issues of the kind currently on display in the Democratic nomination rounds. This is unlikely because the Democratic Party machine will strive to filter out any challenge to corporate power, instead giving Americans an establishment figure like Creepy Joe “Nothing will change” Biden. We can expect a ramping up of Trump’s strategic extremism in concert with establishment Democratic slogans like “Make America Moral Again” or, more hopefully, a focus on real issues if a socialistic candidate does successfully battle the Party machinery.

counterpunch.org

Mainstream Media Hide Skripal’s Connections to Russiagate-Trump Case

Par Andrey Areshev

First of all, everyone should read this:

“The 10 Worst, Most Embarrassing US Media Failures on the Trump-Russia Story”.

It is important background for understanding what follows, because the following helps to explain what is displayed in that brilliant prior article:

News has slowly been getting out that the British Government’s account of the poisoning of the Skripals is a fabrication which had been done in order to escalate hostilities against Russia, and that when information from Democratic Party and Clinton campaign computers subsequently became either leaked or hacked to Wikileaks, the Democratic National Committee hired, in order to investigate that, British contractors who were also involved in the Skripal fraud, and Skripal himself might have been a crucial part of the Russiagate-Trump operation. Russiagate — the alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian Government — resulted from this DNC-UK team. There was collusion, but it was between the US Government (then under Obama) and the UK Government (under Cameron and then May), directed against Trump, and not actually between candidate Trump and the Russian Government, directed against Clinton. The present report summarizes the gradual making-public of this actual history.

Developing that case about the real collusion has been and is a remarkably slow process, because the evidence in the real case requires extensive expertise in order to understand and interpret correctly the relationships between the people who were involved in it. So: the following summary encapsulates those relationships; and, at all points, it will link directly to the reports by the courageous investigative journalists who have participated in making public parts of what is, effectively, a key component of the history of the US Obama Administration’s collusion with the UK Government in order to cripple — and having the aim to overthrow — Trump’s US Government, in the event that Trump would win the 2016 US Presidential contest, as he did. (Perhaps the main reason for this manufactured case against Trump was that Trump had publicly criticised NATO, and that doing this, by any US Presidential candidate who has a real chance of winning his or her Party’s nomination, is prohibited by the Deep State — the rulers of both Parties, and of both US and UK.)

Throughout this peeling-off (thus far) of the layers of this onion that’s behind both the Skripal fraud and the Russiagate fraud, the case became progressively stronger that the US and UK Governments were actually colluding together, in order to prevent any possibility that the Cold War would end on the US-and-allied side, as it had decades earlier ended only on Russia’s side in 1991. All of this has been done so to keep in place the myth that when Russia ended the Cold War on its side in 1991, the US and its allies likewise ended it on their side, instead of secretly proceeded forward on their side of the Cold War (as they have done), their ultimate aim being to gradually isolate and then take control of Russia’s Government, and thereby emerge with incontestable control over the entire planet, the first and only globally all-encompassing empire, a dictatorial government of the entire world — any imperialistic regime’s dream — an unchallengeable rule over everyone. Both the Skripal set-up and the Russiagate-Trump scam (and the cover-ups of both) were parts of that broader international operation.

PEELING THE ONION

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Layer 1:

On 8 May 2018, David Allan Miller of the University of Bath in England headlined at Spinwatch, “Revealed: rebranded D-Notice committee issued two notices over Skripal affair”, and he posted, and then commented upon, a leaked email that the UK’s Defence and Security Media Advisory (DSMA) office had distributed to all of UK’s major news-media, which started:

From: DSMA Secretary <secretary@dsma.uk>

Date: 7 March 2018

Subject: URGENT FOR ALL EDITORS – DEFENCE AND SECURITY MEDIA ADVISORY (DSMA) NOTICE

To: DSMA Secretary <secretary@dsma.uk>

Private and Confidential: Not for Publication, Broadcast or for use on Social Media

TO ALL EDITORS

The issue surrounding the identity of a former MI6 informer, Sergei Skripal …

You can see the full notice here. It instructs all of the major news-media to hide “the identifies [identities] of intelligence agency personnel associated with Sergei Skripal.” This, of course, would include the name of his MI6 handler, Skripal’s MI6 boss.

David Miller then went on to summarize the evidence:

On the evening of 6 March [2018] a Russian opposition news outlet Meduza, styling itself ‘Russia’s free press in exile’, published a long piece on Skripal in English. [Dr. Miller didn’t link to it, but it is dated “March 6, 2018” and opens “On March 4, a 66-year-old former colonel in Russia’s Military Intelligence Directorate was hospitalized in critical condition in Salisbury, England,” and that Meduza article can be seen here.] Citing a variety of online sources including in Russian, some from over a decade old, identifying Pablo Miller as the MI6 agent inside the Estonian embassy who had recruited Sergei Skripal. By the next afternoon, the notice [on 7 March] was issued to the mainstream media. The Telegraph was the first mainstream outlet to discuss – in discreet and decorous terminology – the connection between Skripal and a ‘security consultant’ who is ‘understood to have known him for some time’ and ‘is also based in Salisbury’. … The Telegraph reported that the ‘consultant’ worked at the same company (Orbis Business Intelligence) that compiled the controversial dossier on Donald Trump and Russia – paid for by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Convention. The consultant was, as we now know, Pablo Miller, who had ‘known’ Skripal in the specific sense that he was his MI6 handler. Some, such as Guardian journalist Luke Harding, have suggested that Miller never worked for Orbis, but this seems to be false. …

The notice helps to encourage the climate of anti-Russian hysteria implying that investigative reporting on this matter that might discuss British intelligence is in effect Russian propaganda. This is a nice illustration of David Leigh’s phrase from nearly 40 years ago: ‘the obverse of the secrecy coin is always propaganda’.

It is a standing rebuke to the notion that journalism should question power, that 15 senior media people should agree to sit on this censorship committee. As well as the BBC, ITV, ITN and Murdoch’s Sky News, representing broadcasters, there are a variety of representatives from the broadsheet and tabloid press, regional and Scottish newspapers and magazines and publishing – including two News UK and Harper Collins, (both owned by Murdoch) as well as Trinity Mirror, the Daily Mail and the Guardian. On the government side of the committee are the chair from the MoD and four intelligence connected representatives from the MoD (Dominic Wilson, Director General Security Policy), Foreign Office (Lewis Neal, Director for National Security), Home Office (Graeme Biggar, unspecified post in the OSCT) and Cabinet Office (Paddy McGuinness, Deputy National Security Adviser for Security, Intelligence, and Resilience).

The DSMA [Defence and Security Media Advisory] committee likes to cultivate the impression that it is a rather uninteresting committee that is, as a former vice chair of the committee (a journalist) put it, ‘is emphatically not censorship… but voluntary, responsible media restraint’. Then working at Sky News, that vice chair, Simon Bucks, is now CEO at the Services Sound and Vision Corporation, the broadcasting service which says it is ‘championing the Armed Forces’. Bucks also wrote [in the Guardian] that the DSMA committee is ‘the most mythologised and misunderstood institution in British media. … ‘Slapping a D-notice’ on something the establishment wanted suppressed has been the stuff of thrillers, spy stories and conspiracy theories for more than a century.”

This is a typical deception used regularly by defenders of the British system of censorship.

——————

Layer 2:

This comes from Ludwig De Braeckeleer:

“Salisbury Incident — UK Media silenced by D-Notices Over Skripal Affair”

Posted on May 10, 2018 [two days after David Miller’s article, and adding context to it]

Quick Analysis

In the aftermath of the Skripal incident, the UK government moved quickly to ‘protect’ the identity of Sergei Skripal as well as the identity of his former MI6 handler Pablo Miller who happens to live near Salisbury.

On March 7, the first D-Notice was issued, but their names had already been revealed.

At the same time, a few journalists planted false information regarding Pablo Miller and Orbis, the private Intel company that became famous because of the infamous dossier Chris Steele compiled on Trump’s Russiagate.

On March 8, Gordon Corera tweeted that his sources were certain that no link exists between Skripal and Orbis or Chris Steele.

On the same day, Luke Harding suggested that Miller never worked for Orbis, which is obviously untrue. Pablo Miller had listed his employment by Orbis Business Intelligence on his LinkedIn profile.

So, this much is certain. The UK government has quickly moved to black out the identity of Pablo Miller and his connections to both Sergei Skripal and Orbis.

In 2017, a D-Notice was already issued against British journalists revealing the identity of the Trump’s Dossier author (Chris Steele).

Multiple British outlets ignored this advice and revealed his name anyway, including BBC News, The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian.

The use of a D-Notice is not a rare event. But it is not used very frequently either.

I believe that a couple of such notices have been issued annually on average in the UK over the last ten years. And we KNOW that at least three of these notices were issued in connection with the Skripal and Orbis Affair(s?). Stay tuned!

REFERENCES

Revealed: rebranded D-Notice committee issued two notices over Skripal affair — SpinWatch

The DSMA notices can be found here:

DSMA notice 7 March 2018

DSMA notice 14 March 2018

——————

Layer 3

On 19 March 2018, the anonymous “Moon of Alabama” blogger headlined “No Patients Have Experienced Symptoms Of Nerve Agent Poisoning In Salisbury” and was perhaps the first person to put it all together:

Is this third person the MI6 agent Pablo Miller who in 1995 recruited Skripal as British double agent. Miller who was also involved in handling the MI6 assets Boris Berezovski and Alexander Litvinenko. Pablo Miller who lives close to Sergej Skripal in Salisbury and is considered to be his friend? The same Pablo Miller who worked with former MI6 agent Christopher Steele’s Orbis Business Intelligence which created the ‘dirty dossier’ about Donald Trump? How deep were the Skripals involved in making up the fake stories in the anti-Trump dossier for which the Clinton campaign paid more than $168,000. Did the Skripals threaten to talk about the issue? Is that why the incident [the poisoning] happened?

——————

Layer 4

On 5 July 2019, Aaron Maté issued his enormous study, “CrowdStrikeOut: Mueller’s Own Report Undercuts Its Core Russia-Meddling Claims”, which points out that:

There is also reason to question CrowdStrike’s impartiality. Its co-founder, Dmitri Alperovitch, is a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, the preeminent Washington think tank [NATO’s PR agency, actually] that aggressively promotes a hawkish posture towards Russia. CrowdStrike executive Shawn Henry, who led the forensics team that ultimately blamed Russia for the DNC breach, previously served as assistant director at the FBI under Mueller.

And CrowdStrike was hired to perform the analysis of the DNC servers by Perkins Coie – the law firm that also was responsible for contracting Fusion GPS, the Washington, D.C.-based opposition research firm that produced the now discredited Steele dossier alleging salacious misconduct by Trump in Russia and his susceptibility to blackmail.

——————

Layer 5

On 31 August 2017, Scott Ritter issued his “DUMBSTRUCK: a HomeFront Intelligence Report on how America was conned about the DNC hack”, which described how

the DNC prohibited the US Government from having access to the evidence, and instead went directly to the major ‘news’-media in order to (mis)inform the public what had happened:

At first the DNC tried to get the FBI to make the attribution call, figuring that it would garner more attention coming from the US government. But when the FBI wanted full access to the DNC server so that it could conduct a full forensic investigation, the DNC balked. Instead, after meeting with Alperovitch and Henry, the DNC and CrowdStrike devised a strategy to take the case to the public themselves. Alperovitch prepared a formal technical report that singled out the Russians for attribution. When it was ready, the DNC invited in a reporter from the Washington Post named Ellen Nakashima, who was given exclusive access to senior DNC and CrowdStrike personnel for an above-the-fold, front-page article. … The Post article, published on the morning of June 14, 2016, went viral, with nearly every major media outlet.

——————

Layer 6

On 11 June 2019, Matt Kennard posted a long string of tweets:

https://twitter.com/DCKennard/status/1138493594728304640

Matt Kennard [abbreviated here]

@DCKennard

Guardian’s deputy editor @paul__johnson joined state censorship D-Notice committee (run by MOD) after Snowden revelations in sop to British spooks. In board minutes, they thank him for being “instrumental in re-establishing links” between UK mil/intel and Guardian. Explains a lot

10:09 AM – 11 Jun 2019

Matt Kennard

@DCKennard

Who was @carolecadwalla’s “highly placed contact with links to US intelligence” who fed her clear disinformation? (Mueller report makes clear Podesta/DNC leaks transmitted digitally). Since Snowden, intel agencies have used Guardian/Obs to launder their disinformation operations.

Matt Kennard

@DCKennard

Guardian dep ed @paul__johnson joins D-Notice comm for 1st meeting at MOD in 2014. Air Vice-Marshal Vallance reports relationship w/ Guardian has “continued to strengthen”. Alongside Air Commodore Adams and Brigadier Dodds he’s now in “regular dialogues” w/ “Guardian journalists”

12 Jun 2019

——————

CONCLUSION

So: not only was it “Pablo Miller as the MI6 agent inside the Estonian embassy who had recruited Sergei Skripal,” but “In the aftermath of the Skripal incident, the UK government moved quickly to ‘protect’ the identity of Sergei Skripal as well as the identity of his former MI6 handler Pablo Miller who happens to live near Salisbury.” MI6 was covering its tracks. And, “At the same time, a few journalists planted false information regarding Pablo Miller and Orbis, the private Intel company that became famous because of the infamous dossier Chris Steele compiled on Trump’s Russiagate.” And, “Pablo Miller had listed his employment by Orbis Business Intelligence.” And, “Orbis Business Intelligence … compiled the controversial [MI6 Christopher Steele] dossier on Donald Trump and Russia – paid for by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Convention [Democratic National Committee]. The consultant was, as we now know, Pablo Miller, who had ‘known’ Skripal in the specific sense that he was his MI6 handler.” And, “CrowdStrike was hired to perform the analysis of the DNC servers by Perkins Coie – the law firm that also was responsible for contracting Fusion GPS, the Washington, D.C.-based opposition research firm that produced the now discredited Steele dossier alleging salacious misconduct by Trump in Russia and his susceptibility to blackmail.” And, “At first the DNC tried to get the FBI to make the attribution call, figuring that it would garner more attention coming from the US government. But when the FBI wanted full access to the DNC server so that it could conduct a full forensic investigation, the DNC balked. Instead, after meeting with Alperovitch and Henry, the DNC and CrowdStrike devised a strategy to take the case to the public themselves.” And, “Since Snowden, intel agencies have used Guardian/Obs to launder their disinformation operations.”

Masterful. The Obama-Clinton DNC and MI6, and their hired private contractors, worked together to frame Russia for both the Skripal poisonings and the Trump victory.

And yet, key questions remain unanswered: “How deep were the Skripals involved in making up the fake stories in the anti-Trump dossier for which the Clinton campaign paid more than $168,000. Did the Skripals threaten to talk about the issue? Is that why the incident [their poisoning] happened?” There is the possibility that the Skripals’ poisoning was an inside job, by a contractor, for the UK and/or US Governments.

Not to mention other questions: Why are the Skripals still prohibited from speaking to the press and from answering questions in a court? After all, Boris Johnson, who is likely soon to be UK’s Prime Minister, lied, and repeatedly, in order to allege that UK’s Porton Down intelligence lab had identified Russia as the source of the poison: “Asked how the British government could be so sure Russia was behind the attack, Johnson deferred to ‘the people from Porton Down,’ who he said were ‘absolutely categorical.’” And here’s how corrupt he is.

But the historical background of this entire matter — both Skripal and Trump-Russiagate — is obvious: MI6 is Britain’s equivalent to America’s CIA. That was Obama’s CIA. This was entirely a MI6-CIA disinformation campaign, which was an extension from Obama’s (and the UK Government’s) participation in US President G.H.W. Bush’s decision, on 24 February 1990, to continue the Cold War until Russia becomes swept up in, controlled by the US And Britain’s Guardian served the Deep State as the core conduit for disinformation to the public on this particular operation (Russiagate-Trump — Obama’s operation to make irreversible Obama’s public restoration (most obvious in Ukraine) of the Russia-is-America’s-top-enemy meme), for and on behalf of the Deep State, so as to continue G.H.W. Bush’s Cold War, inside the US — never to reverse it, until ‘victory’ is achieved.

The “special relationship” between the US and UK (CIA and MI6) is obviously to assist each other in deceiving the other’s public. (Not only did MI6 participate in deceiving UK’s public to fear and despise Putin, but it was crucial in deceiving the US public that Trump was Putin’s stooge.)

On 21 March 2016, the Washington Post had headlined “Trump questions need for NATO, outlines noninterventionist foreign policy” and reported:

“I do think it’s a different world today, and I don’t think we should be nation-building anymore,” Trump said. “I think it’s proven not to work, and we have a different country than we did then. We have $19 trillion in debt. We’re sitting, probably, on a bubble. And it’s a bubble that if it breaks, it’s going to be very nasty. I just think we have to rebuild our country.”

He added: “I watched as we built schools in Iraq and they’re blown up. We build another one, we get blown up. We rebuild it three times and yet we can’t build a school in Brooklyn. We have no money for education because we can’t build in our own country. At what point do you say, ‘Hey, we have to take care of ourselves?’ So, I know the outer world exists and I’ll be very cognizant of that. But at the same time, our country is disintegrating, large sections of it, especially the inner cities.”

Five days later, the New York Times bannered “Transcript: Donald Trump Expounds on His Foreign Policy Views” and reported his saying, “NATO is obsolete” because it “was set up to talk about the Soviet Union. Now of course the Soviet Union doesn’t exist now.” How would the controlling owners of corporations such as Lockheed Martin — and extractive international US corporations such as ExxonMobil — feel about that? NATO has produced a significant portion of Lockheed’s sales, and of Exxon’s access to other nations’ natural resources. That sort of thing — enforcement and extension of empire — is NATO’s real purpose. And it didn’t end when the USSR’s communism, and Warsaw Pact, did in 1991.

The Skripal poisonings had occurred earlier that same month, March 2016. And the DNC went to the very same UK operators that UK did in order to frame Russia for Skripal’s poisoning — but now to place that Russian frame around Trump’s face. All of this was part of the US empire’s decision, which had been made on 24 February 1990, to conquer Russia.

In the timeline of events leading up to the DNC’s hiring of its investigators, we also have this, in 2016,

29 April: The DNC discovers the penetration of its servers by unknown hackers. An emergency meeting is called between Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (DNC Chief Executive), Amy Dacey (DNC Technology Director), Andrew Brown, and Michael Sussmann, a lawyer for Perkins Coie. Sussmann is a former federal prosecutor for the DOJ whose expertise is computer crime. …

4 May: Five days after first discovering the server penetration at the DNC, Michael Sussmann – of Perkins Coie – finally calls CrowdStrike to arrange for analysis of the problem.

In other words: Sussman wanted to privatize the ‘investigation’ instead of to hand to the FBI control over it, which would have given the FBI subpoena-power to require the DNC to provide to the FBI access to their computers — the actual evidence which was in their posession on their end of the case. Even the Special Counsel, Robwrt Miller, had no access to that crucial evidence.

Furthermore, Aaron Maté’s painstakingly thorough analysis of the entire Mueller Report, on July 5th, showed “CrowdStrikeOut: Mueller’s Own Report Undercuts Its Core Russia-Meddling Claims”; and, so, even regarding the allegations that Mueller makes against Russia (not merely regarding whether Trump was colluding with Russia), Mueller’s Report was trash — extremely unreliable and untrustworthy. Mueller has a long history as being a Deep State agent.

And through all of this has been the US and UK Governments’ imprisoning-without-trial Julian Assange — for many years including the part that was spent at the Ecuadorean Embassy — and never even negotiating with Assange for him to answer questions under oath such as “Did that information come to you physically via a thumb-drive or instead purely by electronic transmission?” “Did Craig Murray bring it to You?” They’d rather kill Assange or keep him incommunicado in prison for life, than to do that. Why? And Trump, himself, is part of this, no less than Obama was. Obviously, both Presidents serve the same Deep State (even though they serve different billionaires in it).

This, at least, is a credible scenario. There is no evidence for the PR’d one, regarding either Skripal or Russiagate-Trump. There are accusations, but no case, for those.

——————

NOTE: In the current hyper-partisan American political climate, when a vast majority of the supporters of each of the two Parties hates the opposite Party so much as to be closed-minded — blinded to the reality of their own Party’s evilness, and to its incessant lying and cover-ups — I should make clear that there is nothing in this article that is, at all, supportive toward either Party. My personal view is that, ever since at least 1981, only Deep State controlled people have lived in the US White House and controlled Congress. As a group, they have perpetrated incalculable harm (such as this) to the entire world. Their only masters have been America’s billionaires. America certainly is a dictatorship, no democracy — it represents only its hundreds of billionaires and their millions of agents, no public at all. The two Parties represent the two factions into which America’s aristocracy have divided themselves. Neither represents the public. Each represents only a faction of America’s billionaires. A democracy cannot consist merely of contending factions of the aristocracy. That’s not a democracy. It’s like almost all other dictatorships throughout history. But the vast majority of Americans refuse even to consider this scientifically proven fact, that America is a dictatorship, not a democracy. For example: recently, a Democratic Party propaganda site, the Daily Beast, headlined “Mueller Missed the Crime: Trump’s Campaign Coordinated With Russia”, and the law-professor who wrote it ignored the much deeper criticisms that Maté’s article leveled against the Mueller Report. A prominent Democratic Party propaganda site continues, even now, “The Moscow Project” about “Trump’s collusion with Russia.” Closed-minded people are simply closed-minded — and that’s the vast majority. They’re open only to ‘information’ that confirms their prejudices. This widespread closed-mindedness is the Deep State’s biggest protector. The manufacture of consent is based upon it. Being open-minded doesn’t mean being gullible — a fool, manipulable. Being closed-minded does. Most people aren’t even aware of that basic epistemological-psychological fact. It’s the reason why both among Democrats and among Republicans, the vast majority still trust their Party, even after all of the blatant and consistent lying of the US Government at least since 9/11. Any Government with a track-record like this, warrants zero trust, and gets that from any intelligent citizen.

Brexit: It’s Not Just Where Britain’s Going That Matters, but How It Gets There

Par Andrey Areshev

Simon USHERWOOD

We’re talking a lot about Brexit in Britain. Whether it’s our hopes or – more likely – our frustrations, it’s the subject that we never quite seem to escape from.

But take a step back and think what those conversations focus on: outcomes. I’m guessing many people have a pretty good idea of what their family, friends and colleagues would like the end point of this process to be. It’s no coincidence that more people identify as Leavers or Remainers than as members of political parties.

Probably much less clear is how the potential outcomes – leaving the EU without a deal, leaving with a deal or remaining – are going to come about. The referendum was an exercise in ends, not means.

The two campaigns fought for votes with sweeping promises, but no fixed single plan. The vote wasn’t like a general election, where the winners have to take office and make good on their manifesto. Instead, the incentive was for campaigners to say whatever would get people to send votes their way, and if they won then they’d decide what that meant.

That’s why most of the second half of 2016 was spent with politicians arguing that they knew what the people wanted from Brexit.

Making it up as we go

The referendum also failed to produce any consensus about what happened next: it was a decision that lacked a rationale and a roadmap. It’s one thing to say we want to take back control, but quite another to translate that into a practical course of action. And so we’ve had to make it up as we go along.

Of course, all politics is like this. The vagaries of life mean we’re never quite confronted with what we expected. But usually that happens within a fairly well-defined range of parameters, with a political system that can make improvised decisions on the basis of generally-agreed principles.

Brexit hasn’t fitted into that mould, for three reasons.

First, its scope is so broad that its implications touch on every area of our political, economic and social lives. Second, its novelty means that we lack useful benchmarks to judge our actions: in legal terms it might simply be leaving an international organisation, but it clearly goes far beyond that.

And third, the division that the referendum exposed and reinforced between different sections of British society have made it very hard to find common ground.

The upshot has been a growing willingness, from all sides, to do whatever it takes to secure the outcome they want. The UK has gone from being one of the more sedate political systems of the world to one where ever more creative takes on the constitutional and parliamentary procedure are being suggested.

Conservative leadership contender Boris Johnson has not ruled out proroguing, or shutting down, parliament in order to push through a no-deal Brexit. Meanwhile, the Conservative MP Dominic Grieve managed to get parliament to approve an amendment to a piece of legislation regarding Northern Ireland, which could make shutting down parliament more difficult. And the former prime minister, John Major, suggested he may take a future Johnson government to court to prevent parliament being shut down.

The means matter

Brexit matters. The choice we eventually make will have profound implications for decades to come, both for the UK and for its place in the world. But that is precisely why it’s essential that the manner of taking that decision matters as much as the decision itself.

Already we see how distrust of the people and processes that have got us this far has poisoned our ability to progress. Whether you think campaigners broke the rules in the referendum or you think judges are enemies of the state or you feel the media is a cheerleader rather than a reporter of what’s happening, if we don’t trust the way we make the decisions, then we risk also losing trust in the decisions themselves.

All of which brings us to one of the bigger questions of politics: do the ends always justify the means?

History shows us that part of what makes a democracy work, and work in a sustainable way, is a consensus about rules. Constitutions embody and embed that consensus in a way that is different from other rules for precisely that reason.

But extraordinary exceptions have a habit of becoming the norm, as with the emergency powers given to governments post 9/11; the revolution justifies the counter-revolution. We can disagree on what to do, but we need to agree on how we make a decision between the choices facing us – leaving with a deal, leaving with no deal or remaining – otherwise we risk damaging everything that follows.

Usually, this is the point where the author offers a solution, but you’ll not get that here. It’s not for me to tell you what to do, beyond sitting down together and working together to see where our common ground lies. And if we find that our existing political processes won’t work to resolve this – for example, a general election – then we need to agree on new ones that do.

So as politicians and the public alike work on their plans this summer, they might want to reflect on not the “what” of Brexit, but also the “how”. Maybe that might make some of those Brexit conversations a bit more productive and enlightening.

theconversation.com

‘Hawk policy’ in Financialised Garb

Par Andrey Areshev

The ‘max pressure’, Make America Great Again formula is not going to work, for the simple reason that it is consuming America’s ‘capital stock’ at a torrential rate. It will neither restore America’s manufacturing base, nor will it recover to America it’s political hegemony. It polarises widely. All the world now understands that MAGA is about gaining whatever advantage there is that can be accrued to the US, whilst making everyone else pay the price – and pick up the loss. Even the Europeans have ‘got that’ now. Trumpism lacks ‘dimension’ beyond the mercantile. Yet, if it could narrate cultural ‘sovereignty-ism’ as something more than being mere ‘anti-identity politics’, and narrow advantage, it might find some wider sustainability.

As it is, the narrowly defined MAGA policy, simply is eating both into America’s political capital – and, is eating away at America’s unparalleled privilege of being able to consume at a higher standard of living than others on the US reserve currency, ‘credit card’, which requires no settlement by the US of its debit dollar balances. By sanctioning ‘the world’ and playing so loose with dollar hegemony and the Bretton Woods system, the US ultimately will lose it all. It will then face the unpleasant experience of having to pay – with something of real value – for all that it consumes. It will shock.

It is true that the global system sorely needed a shake-up, and Trump’s iconoclasm has been, as it were, to that extent, a creative-destructive force that opens the path to seeding something new. But the ‘disrupter’ impulse can become an unmitigated train-wreck, absent any balancing fecundity which might bring some synthesis or ultimate harmony.

For now, there is no sight of any figure around President Trump that has either the insight, or the political ‘savoir fare’, to lead the US President out from his ‘corner’. On the contrary, a train-wreck in foreign policy – and ultimately – in monetary policy too (as the ‘Fed’ keeps fuelling the financial bubble, while the real economy moulders) – seems ahead. Maximum pressure has not harvested its anticipated political dividends – instead it is dangerously escalating global tensions.

Trump’s foreign policy both has been centred around – and blighted by – his deep-seated antipathy towards Iran. It lies at the apex of his Greater Israel policy, and his 2018 tweet that “Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States. I am asking for WORLD PEACE, nothing less!” (capitalisation is Trump’s).

The collateral damage cascading from the obsession that Iran represents ‘cosmic evil’, and if defeated, WORLD PEACE is somehow assured, is spreading: Russia’s refusal to pivot against Iran represents the principal reason for the souring of Trump’s relations with President Putin. Iran policy is dividing Europe from America. It has become a substantive impediment in the China relationship (as China requires energy security, and is not prepared to join the boycott). And the US Iran policy may yet result in global economic damage (should the oil risk heighten). The Middle East already is roiling, and Iran has become the universal US bureaucratic pretext for why American forces must be kept in place in place across regional conflicts. (They are required there ‘to contain Iran’).

As Daniel Larison writes in The American Conservative, Trump’s Iran “policy is one of regime change in all but name, and Trump has signed off on everything that has made it so. He has no problem waging economic war on Iran, and he has given the hawks virtually everything they want. Trump’s Iran policy is “the hawkish policy” in action, and if it is a disaster, that is because the “hawkish policy” was guaranteed to be one… The president is fixated on nuclear weapons because his National Security Advisor has been running around for months promoting the lie that Iran seeks nuclear weapons, and he and other advisers have managed to convince (dupe) Trump of another lie: that the JCPOA “permits” Iran to acquire nuclear weapons”.

And here is why, Larison observes:

“Iran hawks [have long] opposed the deal because they [never] wanted Iran to benefit from sanctions relief … Iran hawks … [keep] up the pretense that they want a “better deal” [because they] spent the previous 15 years before the JCPOA, hyperventilating about a potential Iranian nuclear weapon, often absurdly describing it as an “existential threat.” For most of this century, many Iran hawks wouldn’t shut up about the need for preventive military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities. The nuclear issue was their pretext for conflict, and they hated it when the nuclear deal took that pretext away … So instead we get the endless carping about the “flaws” in the deal that aren’t really flaws, and the shameless goalpost-moving, that requires a non-proliferation agreement to solve all regional problems [all] at the same time.

“Trump has embraced these lies [and] has repeated them several times. Iran can’t negotiate with an administration that claims that the nuclear deal “permits” them to have nuclear weapons. They know that it doesn’t, and so they have to assume that there is no agreement they would be willing to make that would be acceptable to the administration. Sure enough, the administration’s latest talking point that Iran must agree to give up all enrichment confirms that the US is insisting on a concession that Iran is never going to make. Trump doesn’t want to talk to Iran as his predecessor did. He wants Iran to capitulate. That has always been the goal of “maximum pressure.” Trump’s Iran policy is definitely a hawkish policy, and that is why it is producing such awful results for the US and Iran.”

So, why have the hawks been so vehement in opposing the normalising of relations with Iran? It is because normalisation would shift the strategic balance away from those states favouring accommodation with Israel – towards the so-called resistance states who never have (in their view). PM Netanyahu has been adamant throughout that sanctions relief must never be offered to Iran – he sees US sanctions as the leverage to force Iran’s expulsion from Syria.

It is this intransigent stance that lay behind the failure of the tri-partite meeting of national security advisers of US Israel and Russia in late June. Netanyahu earlier had proposed to Putin that he (i.e Israel) represented the ‘gateway’ to opening doors in DC; that with Israeli endorsement, Netanyahu could bring the ending to US sanctions on Russia, but only were Mr Putin to agree to end Russia’s ties with Iran, and to isolate Tehran.

President Putin had countered with the offer that – were the US to lift sanctions on Iran, and withdraw its forces from Syria – then Russia would use its best endeavours to have Iran exit Syria. American and Israeli interests additionally, then would be ‘accommodated’ in a Syrian political settlement.

The Jerusalem trilateral, in short, was expected by Netanyahu to lay the ground work for a clear commitment by Russia to sever relations with Iran – and that this would be unveiled as the ‘grand outcome’ for Trump at the Osaka G20, following his one-on-one with Putin. It didn’t happen.

In the event, Netanyahu blankly refused any lifting of sanctions on Iran (arguing that sanctions represented real leverage over Iran’s presence in Syria), and the trilateral not only failed in its strategic objective, but the Russian representative at the trilateral, Nikolai Patrushev, while being friendly to Israel, did not abjure Iran. Quite the opposite: He denied Tehran is a threat to regional security. “Russia sides with Iran, against Israel and US. A senior Russian official stands by Tehran’s claim that US drone was shot down in Iranian airspace, defends rights of foreign troops to remain in Syria despite Israeli opposition”, concluded one Israeli journal.

And in consequence, the Osaka summit between Trump and Putin did not go well either: Trump merely handed Putin a list of US demands. Putin smiled sphinx-like, but did not answer.

But look: The White House’s Iran policy is but the lead ‘chariot’ heading towards a tight bend at Circo Massimo (Circus Maximus), and to a potential ‘pile up’. Close behind is US-Russia relations; the chariot of trade war with China, and in the tail, the laggard of trade war with Europe. Far more grave – for us all – would be if US-Russia relations slams into the stadium wall. And we are close to that happening: The incident with the Russian submersible that led to the loss of fourteen lives (whose details the parties prefer to keep quiet), and the letter from NATO insisting that Russia’s 9M729 ground-launched cruise missile systems breach the INF treaty and must be destroyed, all set a scene of gravely deteriorating relations.

Why would Trump risk so much on an ancient Middle Eastern quarrel? Why snub Putin over Iran? Maybe Trump has convinced himself of the narrative that Iran is indeed a cosmic evil, in the biblical sense. But his conversion to this ideology also happens to sit comfortably with his immediate interests:

Last week the summit of Christians United for Israel, took place in DC. Thousands of evangelical Christians from across the country attended the event, at which Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo (both evangelicals), as well as, John Bolton, Jason Greenblatt, and his ambassador to Israel, David Friedman all spoke. The theme, of course, was the Iranian threat.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz notes:

“Evangelicals, the backbone of Christians United for Israel, are a key voting bloc for Trump and the Republicans. Around 80 percent of white evangelicals voted for Trump in 2016, helping him secure victories in several swing states. The consensus among US political analysts is that the president will need similar or greater support among evangelicals to win a second term next year.

“Last week, the news website Axios reported that Trump’s re-election campaign “is developing an aggressive, state-by-state plan to mobilize even more evangelical voters than supported him last time.” This will include, according to the report, “voter registration drives at churches in battleground states such as Ohio, Nevada and Florida,” which will promote Trump’s record on issues important to evangelical voters.”

And the primordial interest for these Evangelical voters? Moving toward actualising (Biblical) Greater Israel as a prophesy fulfilled. And here is the unsolved question – as Iran escalates its counter-pressures, in response, and as America’s strangulation hold tightens – what will Trump do?

“At the moment”, Ben Caspit, a leading Israel commentator notes, “Trump is influenced by his close advisers (mainly John Bolton and Mike Pompeo) who have adopted a hawkish stance and are not deterred at the thought of military involvement (at least aerial involvement) vis-a-vis Tehran. But the US president also has other mentors (some political and some from the media world) who claim that getting involved in a military adventure on the eve of elections would greatly reduce Trump’s chances of reelection to a second term of office.”

Caspit however, does ‘nod’ towards the weight of the Evangelicals: “Israel has transformed this evangelical repository into a tremendous electoral-diplomatic-strategic asset over the last three years, vis-a-vis Trump’s administration. Netanyahu and his ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, have great influence over the evangelical preachers. The relationship between Israel and this American Christian-messianic faction has been deepening … [even to the point of rivalling AIPAC]”

“One thing is sure”, concludes Caspit: “The considerations and analyses in Israel surrounding the Iran issue at this point in time are completely different than what prevailed in the summer of 2012 … One way or another, anyone who thought that the issue of a possible Israeli attack on Iran has long since been removed from the agenda is welcome to catch up: It is returning”.

Turkey Calls Trump’s Bluff

Par Andrey Areshev

Eric MARGOLIS

Turkey has just called Donald Trump’s bluff by going ahead with the purchase of Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missiles. The outrage in Washington is volcanic. Trump is vowing to rain fire and brimstone sanctions down on the disobedient Turks.

The S-400 is Russia’s premier anti-air missile. It is believed highly effective against all forms of aircraft – including stealth planes – cruise missiles, medium range ballistic missiles, drones, and some other types of missiles. It offers the choice of a self-directing version with its own radar seeker, or a less expensive, ‘semi-active’ version that is guided by its launch-battery radar.

What makes this AA missile (SS-21 in NATO terminology) particularly deadly is its remarkable 400 km range. The S-400 is said by Russia to be able to unmask stealth aircraft. I’ve been told by Soviet security officials as far back as 1990 that their radars could detect US stealth aircraft.

The missile’s remarkable range and detection capability puts at risk some of the key elements of US war fighting capability, notably the E-3 AWACS airborne radar aircraft, US electronic warfare aircraft, tankers and, of course, fighters like the new stealth F-35, improved F-15’s, F-22’s and B-1, B-2 and venerable B-52 heavy bombers used to carry long-ranged cruise missiles.

The Russian AA system can ‘shoot and scoot’ – firing and then quickly moving. Even more important, the S-400 system costs about half the price of its leading competitor, the US Patriot PAC-2 system. The S-400 may also be more reliable and accurate. The Great White Father in Washington is not happy.

The Trump administration brought heavy pressure on Turkey not to buy the S-400, threatening to cancel Turkey’s order for 100 of the new, stealthy F-35’s. Few thought the Turks would defy the US on this issue, but they failed to understand the depths of Turkey’s anger at the US.

Most Turks believe that the US engineered the failed 2016 coup against the democratic government in Ankara working through a shadowy religious organization run by the spiritual-political leader, Fethullah Gulen, who lives in exile in the United States. Turkey’s elected president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had been too independent-minded for Washington, clashing over US policy to Syria and the Gulf. He had also incurred the wrath of America’s Israel lobby for demanding justice for the Palestinians.

Turkey is now under economic attack by Washington. President Trump is threatening sanctions (read economic warfare) against Turkey, an old, loyal US ally. During the Korean War, Turkish troops saved American soldiers from Chinese encirclement. But Turks are mostly Muslim, and Muslims are hated by Trump and his allies.

S-400 missiles are now arriving in Turkey. What will Trump do? Cancel sale to Turkey of the F-35 and other military equipment or spare parts. Threaten to oust Turkey from NATO. Get Israel and Greece to menace Turkey.

Turkey can live without the F-35. It’s too expensive and may be more vulnerable than advertised. The Turks can get similar, less expensive warplanes from Russia. India and China are both buying the S-400. Even the Saudis may join them though Moscow is delaying the sale. S-400’s are also stationed in Syria with Russian forces and are slated to go to sea in a naval version.

If the US reacts with even more anger, Turkey could threaten to withdraw from NATO and kick the US out of its highly strategic air base in southeast Turkey at Incirlik. It’s worth recalling that Turkey provided NATO’s second largest army after the US. Someone has to remind the deeply unknowing Trump that NATO without Turkey will be declawed. Equally important, that a Turkey unconstrained by NATO membership, will seek sources of oil which it lacks and desperately needs, and new alliances.

Only a century ago, Iraq’s rich oil fields used to be part of the Ottoman Empire until taken away by the British and French imperial powers. The days of a subservient, tame Turkey may be ending.

ericmargolis.com

Britain’s Betrayal: Siding with Trump Against Iran and the JCPOA

Par Andrey Areshev

Stephen LENDMAN

The US/UK special relationship is longstanding. Throughout the post-WW II era, both nations have been imperial partners, the US calling the shots, Britain saluting and obeying.

During his March 1946 Fulton, MO “Iron Curtain” address, Winston Churchill noted the special relationship, saying the following:

“Neither the sure prevention of war, nor the continuous rise of world organization will be gained without what I have called the fraternal association of the English-speaking peoples…a special relationship between the British Commonwealth and Empire and the United States.”

In November 1945, he said “(w)e should not abandon our special relationship with the United States…”

In 1930, British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald affirmed it long before Churchill. It dates from the 19th century, notably after America’s Civil War, its modern form emerging post-WW II.

The imperial record of both countries, hostile to peace an stability, stands in sharp contrast to their lofty rhetoric, including support for global terrorist groups instead of combatting them, using them as proxies to advance their common agenda, Britain assuming a junior partner role to dominant America.

When the US goes to war against nations threatening no one, or engages in other hostile actions against them like imposing illegal sanctions, Britain virtually always partners in its criminality.

That’s how things are playing out in the run-up to possible US aggression against Iran, a lunatic action if occurs.

Based on its hostile actions against Iran after Trump illegally pulled out of the JCPOA, it’s increasingly clear that Britain only pretends to support the landmark agreement while siding with the White House against it.

The US/UK partnership against Iran increases the likelihood of dooming the JCPOA, negating years of negotiations to produce the landmark agreement if things turn out this way.

At the behest of the Trump regime, Britain seized Iran’s Grace 1 supertanker on July 4, a hostile act of maritime piracy, likely timed with DJT’s militarized Independence Day commemoration.

Impounding the vessel, seizing its documents and electronic devices, along with arresting its captain, chief officer, and two other crew members were bandit actions, flagrant violations of international maritime law.

Britain compounded its hostility toward Iran in deference to the White House by falsely accusing the IRGC of attempting to seize a UK tanker passing through the Strait of Hormuz, its transponder improperly turned off, the vessel followed by a British frigate.

In cahoots with the Trump regime, Britain likely aimed to entrap Iran, wanting it to commit a hostile action its political and military authorities were too savvy to fall for.

They surely won’t give the White House a pretext to unjustifiably justify war on the country, just the opposite by consistently following international laws, norms, and standards in dealings with other nations — polar opposite how the US, Britain, Israel, and their imperial partners operate.

On Friday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi explained the following:

“We have told the British authorities that their move would increase tensions and is in line with those hostile policies of the US,” adding:

“From the first day the oil tanker was seized, Iran started taking legal and diplomatic measures. We summoned the UK ambassador twice, and he appeared at the Iranian foreign ministry for several other meetings to provide some explanations.”

“We have given the case to a lawyer who is currently taking legal and judiciary procedures.”

Sino/Russian “(s)ignatories to the JCPOA, as well as other countries, have done their best to preserve the deal.”

“Iran’s next step, within the two-month deadline to Europe, is planned and will be implemented” if Britain, France, Germany, and the EU remain in breach of their JCPOA obligations — binding international law they violated by their unacceptable actions, siding with the Trump regime against Iran.

On Friday, Iran again demanded the release of its Grace 1 supertanker, calling Britain’s action a “dangerous game under the influence of the Americans with no end in sight.”

President Rouhani warned Britain that it “initiat(ed) insecurity, (unspecified) consequences in the future” to follow if they remain in breach of maritime and other international law.

Foreign Minister Zarif slammed Britain for “creat(ing) tension.” Its fabricate “claims (against Iran) have no value,” he stressed.

Through his spokesman, one-sidedly pro-Western/pro Israel UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres issued his typical unacceptable response to Britain’s hostile action against Iran in cahoots with the Trump regime, calling for “maximum restraint” — while suggesting Iranian responsibility for their unacceptable actions, adding:

“We want…everyone to allow for the freedom of movement of vessels, and we’re hopeful that they will abide by that” — instead of squarely laying blame where it belongs.

Because of US-led hostility toward Iran, on top of its endless wars in multiple theaters, the Middle East remains a tinder box of possible greater US, NATO, Israeli aggression than already.

Note: Four Grace 1 crew members unlawfully arrested by Britain were released on Friday uncharged, with unexplained “conditions.”

The vessel remains illegally impounded — its status unlikely to change unless permitted by Trump regime hardliners, Britain submissive to its unacceptable demands.

Separately, a second UK warship is en route to the Persian Gulf. Will its mission be to push the envelope toward war on Iran?

The US, UK, other NATO nations, Israel, and their imperial partners are archenemies of world peace!

stephenlendman.org

Britain Ramps up Media War on Russia

Par Andrey Areshev

The British government appears to be more and more aping a Monty Python-type farce with each passing day. Soon the absurd ensemble will be complete if either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt becomes the next prime minister.

This week the mandarins at the Ministry of Funny Walks ruled that two internationally respected Russian news media channels were banned from attending a global conference on “press freedom”.

RT and another Russia-based news outlet Sputnik were refused permission by the British government to participate in the Global Conference for Media Freedom, held in London.

A British Foreign Office spokesperson said: “We have not accredited RT or Sputnik because of their earlier role in spreading disinformation.”

The irony of it. The British government is peddling unsubstantiated accusations (more accurately, ridiculous slander) against Russian media which is then invoked as “justification” for censorship at a much-vaunted international conference supposedly dedicated to freedom of the press. You could hardly make the farce up. It’s a kind of cross between George Orwell and Monty Python.

What the British government is doing is blatantly ramping up the media war against Russia. London is giving a license for further outrageous repression of Russian news media, as well as piling on demonization of Russia as a state.

In the same week it was reported that fellow NATO member Lithuania has blocked the news website of Sputnik in the Baltic country.

Previously, France had banned RT and Sputnik journalists from attending public press conferences held by President Emmanuel Macron. In the US, Sputnik radio stations have been curbed from reaching their American audiences.

Russia’s foreign ministry slammed the British and Lithuanian moves this week as putting unreasonable obstacles on the professional work of Russian news media.

RT and Sputnik are internationally recognized news outlets with accredited offices and reporters based in countries all around the world. Just because the channels are financially supported by the Russian government is no grounds whatsoever for accusing them of being “Kremlin operations”. Most countries maintain some level of government sponsorship of their respective national news media.

The British Broadcasting Corporation and France 24 are prime examples. The US’s Voice of America and Radio Free Europe are other well-known instances of government-funded broadcasters. Should they be henceforth pejoratively labelled as “London, Paris, or Washington operations” if we use the same criterion?

Moscow warned this week that British media outlets working in Russia can expect reciprocal restrictions after the banning of RT and Sputnik at the London conference.

If we go down that route of bans and counter-bans, then international news media, journalistic integrity and the principle of free speech will be increasingly eroded. Perhaps that baleful outcome is exactly what the British and other NATO governments want to achieve in a desperate, underhand attempt to shut down Russia’s news perspective.

What’s really going on here is the thin-skinned British authorities and others simply cannot abide the fact that Russian news media have provided an alternative perspective on international politics. A perspective that often sheds critical light on British, US and NATO foreign policies and conduct. It is also a perspective which seems to be increasingly appreciated by greater numbers of international audiences and viewers, including those of Britain and America.

In recent years, Western mainstream news media has witnessed a phenomenal collapse in credibility among Western public over numerous issues. From illegal wars in the Middle East to spurious allegations about “Russian meddling” in elections, Western media have been exposed over and over again as peddlers of government-sanctioned propaganda.

Public trust in Western media seems to be at an all-time low which in turn undermines the authority and credibility of their governments. The fault, perhaps one could say “crisis” in credibility, is inherent. It has little to do with Russia or its media, although Russian news channels like RT and Sputnik have certainly contributed in a legitimate way to exposing the malfeasance of Western governments.

On international politics, such as the NATO-backed covert war for regime change in Syria, or the deplorable incitement of tensions by Washington and London towards Iran, Russian news media have provided a critical source of reporting and analysis. Often that alternative perspective has allowed Western public to hold their governments and derelict media to account. The fable of “the emperor with no clothes” comes to mind.

It is bitterly ironic that an independent journalist like Julian Assange of the Wikileaks website is being currently detained in a maximum security British prison on trumped-up extradition charges to the US for spying – when Assange’s real “crime” is that he exposed American and British war crimes in Iraq and elsewhere. Arguably, Assange’s credibility and appreciation among ordinary citizens the world over is much higher than either of the US or British governments, or their mainstream media.

The same dichotomy applies to the two above-mentioned Russia-based news channels. Not able to cope with hearing the critical message, the British government has resorted to shooting the messenger. However, the British and international public can see what’s going on here, and so the “emperor” is hastily, clumsily trying to cover up the embarrassment from being exposed.

But, more sinisterly, the British assault on press freedom is ramping up a global media war in which Russia is being targeted by NATO powers. The first casualty of war is the truth. And that suggests a war is dangerously looming. That’s why freedom of press is more urgent than ever. But don’t expect the British government to rescue it. It’s trying to bury it – albeit with its la-de-da pretensions of virtue.

An Idiot’s Guide to Destroying Your Country in Six Easy Steps

Par Andrey Areshev

The United States of America seems to have a suicide wish as it wanders aimlessly down a continually narrowing path that can only lead to national ruin. Is this a premeditated act of self-annihilation or simply a series of foolish choices?

Before a nation can be effectively destroyed from within it is necessary first that it be owned lock, stock and barrel. An independent, freedom-loving people are less easily controlled than one that is effectively ball and chained, which brings us to the first step in the program.

Create a Central Bank

Beginning around 1910, representatives from the leading banking powerhouses – Morgan, Rockefeller, Rothschild, Warburg and Kuhn-Loeb – began meeting in secret at distant retreats, and not for the purpose of philandering with underage girls, mind you. No, these elitists had a totally different sort of crime up their sleeves, and that was to dominate the entire US banking system. And would it really surprise anyone that they succeeded? This was achieved by the passage of the Federal Reserve Act, signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson on Dec. 23, 1913, which took away the constitutional power “to coin money, regulate the value thereof,” as enacted by the US Constitution.

As Anthony C. Sutton summed up the dire situation in his book, The Federal Reserve Conspiracy, “Congress handed over all monetary powers to the Fed in 1913. The Fed is a private bank, owned by banks, and pays dividends on its shares owned only by banks. The Fed is a private Bankers’ Bank.”

Today, the power of ‘printing money’ rests with a private corporation. In fact, the Fed is not actually in the business of printing currency, which is handled by Treasury; instead, it creates bank deposits which are stored at the Fed. This ‘legal’ banking cartel, which can manipulate inflation at will, never has to deal with serious competition, least of all from the US government. Indeed, crotchety Uncle Sam depends on this institutionalized ‘lender of last resort’ for his money supply, which he must return – with excessive interest – thus guaranteeing America’s eternal indebtedness, or until the country simply goes broke.

There were many honorable politicians who fought stringently against the Federal Reserve, before and after the money monster came into being. One of the most memorable challenges came on February 12, 1917 from Senator Charles Lindbergh, who attempted to open articles of impeachment against the ‘conspirators’ of the Act.

Lindbergh accused a number of banking executives of conspiring with each other to “devise a means through social, political and other ways of strategy and by chicanery, to deceive the people of the United States, the Congress, and the President of the United States for the purpose and with the object to secure an act of Congress providing a new monetary and banking system …”

The entire congressional exchange, which is a fascinating read, can be found here.

Today, the problem of an outside agency regulating the US money supply remains as serious an issue as it was in Lindbergh’s day.

This month, Donald Trump harshly criticized the Fed, calling it the “most difficult problem” facing the nation. He was particularly incensed with the independent central bank keeping interest rates high, a move that other leaders before Trump have also expressed frustration over.

Is it too late to ‘end the fed,’ as former US Senator Ron Paul recommended in his 2009 book? Or will it continue to be business as usual for the bankers?

….As well as we are doing from the day after the great Election, when the Market shot right up, it could have been even better – massive additional wealth would have been created, & used very well. Our most difficult problem is not our competitors, it is the Federal Reserve!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 6 July 2019

Open the Floodgates

Ever since the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, legislation that has single-handedly altered the face of America forever, the United States has become a cauldron, not a salad bowl, of cultural and ethnic differences. Once a nation largely comprised of European immigrants, that demographic is expected to become the minority in a few short decades. And the people just keep coming.

Today, it is automatically assumed that because America got its start as a ‘nation of immigrants’ that it is somehow expected to keep its doors open forever. We are expected to forever comply with the words of the poem, ‘The New Colossus’, written by the Jewish-American Emma Lazarus, engraved on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, which says:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

It seems the shelf life of that verse expired a long time ago. California can barely take care of San Francisco, let alone America taking care of the world’s “wretched refuse.” Perhaps we would do better than to worry about some tarnished Civil War-era statues of dead Southern generals and think more about editing that plaque.

Yet mass legal migration into the country is no longer considered enough. Even the very concept of a border wall or fence has been derided as “racist,” a grand “monument to white supremacists,” by the radical left.

No nation can last forever when its front door is open to every stranger under the sun.

Push Feminism, the Pill and Abortion

In 1960, with the advent of reliable contraception known as “the Pill,” followed up later with nationwide Planned Parenthood abortion clinics, American society entered upon one of its greatest revolutions of all time. Women, now free to engage in noncommittal sexual relations without fear of unwanted pregnancy, celebrated their emancipation by, yes, entering the workforce. But since there were dishes piling up in the sink and hungry mouths to feed, newly radicalized feminists, seeing males as nothing more than nails that need constant pounding, demanded ‘equal rights’ across the board.

Needless to say, this overnight overhaul of longstanding social norms spelt disaster for the family unit. Divorce rates and single-parent households exploded as men and women, now more concerned with career advancement than marriage commitment, seemed more distant from each other than ever before.

Camille Paglia, the American ‘anti-feminist feminist’ academic, has critiqued that part of feminist ideology that has turned men and women into enemies at worst, strangers at least.

“At this point it’s turned into a neurosis,” Paglia said in a 2017 interview.

And just like that, the two most fundamental relations – that between man and woman – have become almost irreparably damaged, while the greatest victims are American society and the all-important family unit.

Supersize the military

No other nation state or empire in history has had a greater global military footprint than the United States. But that vast presence – with an estimated 800 bases in 80 countries worldwide – does not necessarily equate to power. In fact, it may be the ultimate source of weakness, the veritable Achilles heel of US strength.

At the pinnacle of its power, the Roman Empire stretched from the Atlantic Ocean all the way to the Euphrates River. Yet, as the Romans discovered the hard way, maintaining such an extensive network requires vast amounts of resources, both physical and financial. Today, whereas more isolationist countries, like Russia and China, have chosen not to travel abroad in search of monsters to destroy (with Russia’s decision to go after Islamic State in Syria as the notable exception), this has allowed them to maintain approximate parity with the US military, and despite the latter’s much higher rate of spending. It could be argued that the United States is too preoccupied with taking out “seven countries in five years,” to quote General Wesley Clark, that it risks falling behind on technological development.

To understand how much the US spends on its military, former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced on September 10, 2001 that the Pentagon could not trace over 2 trillion dollars in its coffers. How is that remotely possible? Considering that the US national debt now stands at 22.5 trillion dollars, Rumsfeld revealed a level of corruption – for what else could it be – that simply cannot be sustained over the long haul. And with the next financial crisis predicted to be possibly worse than the last, the most dramatic and unexpected effect from such an event could realistically be the US military going into a quick retreat across the planet for simple lack of resources. Whether that would be a blessing in disguise or the precursor to global pandemonium is anyone’s guess. In any case, to believe for a second that the United States can forever stay one step ahead of excessive spending and corruption just because it has a Central Bank to bail it out may prove to be the greatest fallacy of modern times.

Promote transgender lifestyles – to children

Personally, like most people, I’ve got no problem with people choosing whatever sexual lifestyle they desire. My only requirement is that they either keep it in the bedroom or get a hotel room. Pretty simple. In these days of sexual oversaturation, however, when the LBGTQ community has been designated an entire month to celebrate their sexual proclivities on the street, while the straight, child-producing majority is essentially ostracized and even linked to – wait for it – “white nationalists,” then it’s safe to say, ‘Houston, we’ve got a problem’.

Today, innocent children as young as five and six years old, still in kindergarten, are being exposed to discussions on transgender issues without their parents’ approval. In March, for example, the Washington Post reported – very supportively, by the way – that kindergarten students in Arlington, Virginia were told stories by a transgender advocate.

“I have a girl brain but a boy body. This is called transgender. I was born this way,” the advocate, Sarah McBride, read to the students from a storybook.

Is this really an appropriate topic of discussion for children, many of whom still believe in Santa Claus? My personal take is that this ‘education’ amounts to a form of pedophilia and should be outlawed across the country through federal legislation. After all, such incredibly complicated conversations would be considered risqué for many high schools, and even college students, to say nothing about kindergarten kids. Having written previously on this topic at length, I can avow that this is just the first stage of the madness. Next comes the chance that some misguided or confused child will get it into their head – possibly due to the subtle influence of something they’ve heard on television, from their parents or in the classroom – that they ‘identify’ with the opposite sex. Heaven forbid that a boy should play with a baby doll, or a girl participate in a game of football!

Now should the parents take their child to a counselor, it is now standard medical practice that the child not be provided psychotherapy. I repeat, not be provided psychotherapy. Instead, the medical practitioner must accept the child’s claim at face value that they really are the opposite sex. In fact, this is now law. This bit of mischief at the child’s expense is called “affirmative care,” despite the fact that nothing has been ‘affirmed’ at this point except that the medical community has lost its mind. From here the fun and games really begin.

“Once the teenage years begin, affirmative care means giving young people cross-sex hormones,” one mother, Elaine, said during a panel discussion on ‘transitioning,’ organized by the Heritage Foundation. “Girls as young as twelve are prescribed testosterone for lifetime usage, while boys are given estrogen. These are serious hormonal treatments that impact brain development, cardiovascular health and may increase the risk of cancer.”

Further ‘treatment’ involves puberty-blocking drugs, mastectomies, vaginal surgery and even fake penises; these are just some of the radical experimental methods being used on children with irreversible life-changing procedures.

Can a society that condones such inhumane treatment of its most vulnerable members survive? It is the opinion here that it cannot. Playing such mind games with impressionable children, and then attempting to turn them into the opposite sex with lifelong use of drugs, coupled with surgical procedures is the very definition of insanity. With all due respect for transgender people, children should not be introduced to questions of a sexual nature until they are considered legal adults.

Bury your national history over PC lunacy

The one inviolable aspect of every country is, or should be, its history. This documented record of accumulative deeds and acts, performed by various personalities, is the very foundation stone of any nation. Without it, the country will quickly lose its identity and purpose. Yet that is exactly what is being allowed to happen in the United States, where raw emotions are now king. Whatever alleged victim group screams the loudest over some alleged wrong is declared the winner in this never-ending Olympics of the Emotionally Impaired.

What is now happening is that American history is in the process of being rewritten according to the dictates of what is considered to be ‘politically correct’. Don’t believe it? You don’t need to watch Civil War statues tumbling into the dirt for proof. Just perform a quick Google search on ‘American inventors.’ What appears at the top, in the scrolling bar? Just two inventors of European ancestry are listed in the top ten. No Henry Ford, no Steve Jobs, no Wright Brothers, not even an Albert Einstein. That is no mistake. Yet the people at Google will blame it on the algorithms, of course, as if nobody has been performing searches for ‘Einstein’ or ‘Tesla’ or ‘Ford’ to warrant these individuals their rightful place in the selection. Is ‘machine learning’ really that stupid?

If there is an equivalent in America to Orwell’s ‘Ministry of Truth,’ that place would have to be Silicon Valley, where Liberal-oriented employees are quietly determining what is worthy of public attention and what is not. More often than not, it seems, the conservative right always gets the haircut. This internal slant has already been revealed by Google insiders, like James Damore, the former Google employee who circulated a memo describing the company’s “ideological echo chamber” that actively works to discriminate against conservatives, Whites and men.

More recently, Project Veritas, an investigative group of journalists led by James O’Keefe, captured a former Google executive admitting that the company is working to prevent another ‘Trump situation’ from occurring in 2020.

Today, with Google in the driver’s seat as far as the nation’s history, identity and future is concerned, it has the power to create whatever reality it sees fit. Increasingly, it seems the reality it is giving the American people no longer stands up to the facts. This power, perhaps more than any other, is enough to lead the country astray by simply forgetting who it is and what it stands for. After all, it only takes one generation to ‘reboot’ the national memory.

At that point, it’s game over, your country is history.

The War of 1812

Par Andrey Areshev

The War of 1812 was a military conflict, lasting for two and a half years, fought by the United States of America against the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, its North American colonies, and its American Indian allies.

Iran v. Trump Enters the Next Stage

Par Andrey Areshev

After President Trump decided not to launch an air strike against Iran in response to Iran shooting down a Global Hawk surveillance drone, the big question was, “Okay, now what?”

My initial thoughts on this centered on Russia. And Russia’s affirmation of its relationship with Iran saw Trump begin a pivot towards a different strategy than one of direct confrontation.

He went to North Korea after the G-20 in Osaka, meeting with DPRK Leader Kim Jong-Un to advance his relationship there.

He’s mostly kept his mouth shut on Iran other than a little obvious Twitter-rattling about ‘annihilation’ if Iran attacks any U.S. asset.

So, it seems that Trump himself is ready to alter the trajectory of his foreign policy. The problem is, as has been pointed out repeatedly, these actions have empowered all manner of other actors to commit provocations which Trump will have to respond to at some point.

Case in point the seized oil Iranian oil tanker by British marines at Gibraltar. This is purely outrageous behavior. And the details of the seizure itself are highly suspect. Claims that the tanker was headed for a Syrian port which can’t even berth a tanker of that size are a dead giveaway.

And then there’s the planted story about Iran ‘attack boats’ trying to seize a British tanker in retaliation.

As Bernard at Moon of Alabama points out, the U.S. and the Brits can’t even get their story straight as to how many boats the Iranians used in this operation. Was it three? Five?

Moreover, what was the ship doing turning off its AIS transponder as it passed through the Strait of Hormuz?

Of interest is also that the ship turned off its AIS signal, see the dotted line, during its passage through the Hormuz Strait.

CNN also noted that:

On July 10, the ship turned off its transponders for almost 24 hours, making it undetectable by radars. When it switched on its transponders at around 1pm Eastern Time, it appeared to have sailed through the Persian Gulf escorted by the HMS Montrose.

Turning of the AIS in a high traffic area and especially at night is quite dangerous. The AIS signals a ships type, speed and course and other ships use that data to plan their own course. But even without AIS the ship will still be visible on the Iranian surveillance radars that control the Hormuz Strait. A ship on the radar screen without AIS information would be suspicious.

So why would the British ship do that? Was that an attempt to draw special attention to it from the Iranian coast guard or military?

To me it seems that the empty British crude carrier, which was shadowed by a British frigate, was used as bait. There were probably Royal Marines on board waiting for an Iranian attempt to seize the ship. Iran did not fall for it.

Bernard likely has it right here. And it’s ridiculous. But par for the course if you consider the lengths the U.S. and U.K. ‘security’ infrastructure are willing to go to provoke a war with Iran and a wider war in the Middle East.

Remember it was likely U.K., Israeli and French collaborators which shot down the Russian IL-20 ELINT plane last year. And Russian President Vladimir Putin, had to concoct a fairy tale about Israeli Jets and Syrian Air defense crews to avoid being forced to retaliate and start World War III.

The British, especially under Theresa May, have been a non-stop source of half-baked intelligence and military provocations acting as the U.S. Deep State’s proxy. And one has to wonder if these pokes to Iran are just another set of poison pills Boris Johnson, presumably, will have to deal with while he settles into 10 Downing St.

Johnson will be up to his neck in preparing for confronting the EU over Brexit. These cheap theatrics by the British military and Foreign Office he used to run and his opponent for Prime Minister, Jeremy Hunt, currently does, simply won’t be high on his priority list.

He won’t have the energy, if he was so willing, or time to root out the people behind these decisions and clean them out. Again, that’s assuming Johnson is even opposed to war with Iran in the first place.

Iran’s responses to these clear amateur hour acts of aggression has been to do what Putin does, mostly ignore them. Lodge official complaints and simply let the aggressors look like the bad guys.

How many people in the U.K. are willing to fight and die in John Bolton’s and Bibi Netanyahu’s war on Iran? Not many.

And that’s where this gets interesting. Because Iran’s passivity is part of its means of striking back. The more the U.S. cries wolf over oil tanker aggression the more it highlights why the sanctions are wrong in the first place.

It’s already had the desired effect of raising insurance rates over ten times since the first tankers were attacked a little over a month ago.

The first attacks at Fujairah were likely Iran. But every incident after that has been one of Iran’s enemies trying to pin the attack on it.

There comes a point where the pressure from the real economy will overshadow the games played by ‘intelligence’ operatives and they are reined in.

The Brits are out over their skies here as a signatory to the JCPOA that is supposedly in favor of Iran staying in the deal. And yet, they are out there enforcing U.S. sanctions policy by proxy which sends the wrong message in the end.

And it gives Iran that much more diplomatic cover to violate the terms of the agreement and ensure its complete failure.

That’s where Iran’s leverage is and why it was right, strategically, not morally, to being enriching Uranium beyond 3.67% as stipulated in the deal.

The continued attempt to strangle Iran from every angle will fail in the end. They will remain passive to direct confrontation while upping the pressure on Trump with each kilogram of Uranium processed.

It’s a dangerous game but it’s the one Iran, I think, has to play. They know the U.S. is not interested in a deal that leaves Iran’s sovereignty intact. And Europe is revealed as less than useless.

This is why U.S. and Iranian officials are meeting behind the scenes while entrenched pro-war interests in both the U.S. and British establishment are activating operations or making statements to counter these early steps by Trump to walk back away from the abyss of global war.

Trump wants the unachievable. He wants a new nuclear deal and not to go to war with Iran. Iran knows this and is using that as the fulcrum to beat him back at every turn. Russia and China aren’t happy with Iran provoking the U.S. by violating the deal but it’s likely the only thing that will bring the U.S. to the table.

On the other side, the hawks are pushing him in back towards the middle of the ring to bomb Iran.

Trump needs to make the grand gesture soon, like firing John Bolton, but it may not be enough.

How We Ended Up With Kids in Cages

Par Andrey Areshev

Hysteria won’t solve anything. We’ve created a politicized immigration system and we need to fix it.

Peter Van BUREN

How did we end up with kids in cages? We put them there, across multiple administrations, creating a politicized immigration and asylum system that constrains better options.

It’s time to stop saying this isn’t who we are and it’s time to start looking beyond the hysteria.

Bill Clinton’s 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act set new records for immigrants detained. Next up was George W. Bush’s 2005 Operation Streamline, a zero-tolerance plan to prosecute all illegal entrants. But to avoid the logistics and negative optics, the program made exceptions not written into the law for adults traveling with children. Nature finds a way, and more and more economic migrants arrived with somebody’s child in hand as a Get Out of Jail Free card. Fewer kids in cages, but more illegals.

Obama initially prosecuted only those found illegally entering more than once. Caught off guard by an influx of asylum seekers from Central America, his administration in 2014 established then-legally permitted family detention centers to hold parents and children—potentially indefinitely—in cages as a means of deterring others. And if kids arrived without their parents or in the hands of human traffickers or if their parents were criminally dangerous, they were held alone in cages. The program ended only because of a 2016 court decision ordering the release of most of those hostage families and largely prohibiting family detention facilities. Adult men, women, and children would be caged separately in the future.

Trump set out in April 2018 to prosecute every illegal crosser, first or tenth time, with or without kids, the letter of the law. There had been a growing rise in the number of people from the Northern Triangle (Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador) and from Mexico. For example, the border patrol detained 6,405 unaccompanied children in May 2018, up from 4,302 in April. In comparison with May 2017, the number of unaccompanied children soared by 329 percent, and parents migrating with kids as families surged by 435 percent in 2018.

By law, today, children and adults cannot be detained together, though it was allowed during the Obama years and earlier under the Flores Settlement. Most parents arrested at the border are criminally charged with illegal entry. Due process laws do not allow children to be kept with their parents because the child is not being prosecuted. Overall, interpreting what these laws say must be done versus can be done to end up at what should be done draws some very fine, politically motivated legal lines.

What is clear is that by ending the various catch-and-release and ignore-and-don’t-catch policies of his predecessors, Trump triggered the next variation of an old problem. With no legal avenue to immigrate for work, and with border enforcement stopping many from simply walking north and blending into the estimated 11 million illegals already in the U.S., a vast number of economic migrants now ask for asylum. They are aided by for-illegal-profit asylum cartelsstaff from a Democratic congresswoman’s office, and volunteer American lawyers.

Asylum applicants must demonstrate that, if sent home, they would be persecuted on account of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or social group. The definition of those five protected grounds has varied based on American domestic politics. For example, since 1994, LGBT status has been a possible grounds of asylum. Victims of domestic violence were granted consideration under the Obama administration, only to be rolled back under Trump. However, asylum has never and was never intended to stretch over security or economic situations affecting blanket-like most everyone in a country. “Wanting a better life” has never been grounds for an asylum claim.

And yet economic immigrants without legitimate claims to asylum have long taken advantage of slow processing by American authorities. A Mexican man caught on the border who says he came just to work may be sent back almost immediately. However, should he make a claim to asylum, the U.S. is obligated to adjudicate his case, however frivolous (there are potential expedited processes).

The 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act requires those seeking asylum to be detained while their cases are processed. But for logistical and political reasons, prior administrations simply released most asylum seekers into American society to wait. Asylum seekers become eligible for work authorization if their cases have been pending for more than 150 days, as almost all do. Trump has directed that the letter of the law be followed, ending this catch-and-release system. He has also negotiated for many asylum seekers to wait out their cases in Mexico instead of working while in the U.S.

The problem is that the backlogs are unresolvableAffirmative asylum seekers, such as most of those now at the border, apply administratively through the Department of Homeland Security. The number of such pending cases as of January 2019 was 325,277, more than 50 times higher than in January 2010. Defensive seekers are those applying for asylum once facing deportation or removal for some reason, including being denied under an earlier affirmative application. These cases go through the courts. As of July 2018, there were over 733,000 pending. The average wait time for a hearing was a staggering 721 days.

The approval rates for asylum claims are low, and always have been. The recent rate for Mexican claimant approvals was 12 percent, for Salvadorans 21 percent, Hondurans 22 percent, and Guatemalans 26 percent. Those countries account for more than 40 percent of all asylum applications, and have for some time. The high refusal rates, while up under Trump, are not at odds historically. In 1984, only 3 percent of asylum cases from El Salvador and Guatemala were granted, even as U.S.-sponsored wars raged there. Approval rates for all nationalities over the past decade average only 28 percent, skewed high over recent years by waves of cases designed to pander to American voters (Chinese pro-democracy applicants) and evangelical voters (Chinese anti-One Child Policy applicants).

But as we talk, there are still kids in cages. None of this is to defend the conditions in detainee camps. Those are a result of a sudden shift in implementation of immigration law coupled with a lack of infrastructure planning, driven by a president who impulsively wants to be seen as “tough” facing down a problem, all backed by an asylum system no longer suited for the conditions imposed upon it. Conditions can be quickly improved: the House just voted $4.6 billion to do that.

But we need also acknowledge the dangers in 2019 of hysteria, driven by media and progressive politicians exploiting the situation to paint themselves as liberating another concentration camp on the road to Berlin, when what’s really needed are hygiene kits and child care workers. And no whataboutism. Under Obama, we tolerated kids in cages. So why shouldn’t we under Trump?

There are even deeper dangers. Progressives don’t want to fix Trump’s logistical mistakes (AOC and others voted against the recent humanitarian funding increases). The camps must not be made more humane, they say, they must be closed. Deportations must not be limited, they must be ended by decriminalizing illegal entry. Free medical care for illegal immigrants. Asylum to economic migrants. Abolish ICE. Open borders.

Meanwhile, Trump’s immigration policies resonate with important sectors of the public. Some 60 percent of likely voters support efforts to “prevent migrants from making fraudulent asylum claims and being released into the country.” This does not grow out of racism or white supremacy (Latinos support much of the Republican immigration agenda), though using those words is an easy way to blame people impacted by decades of imposed change and delete them from the conversation over how to do better.

What’s driving all this is elites’ imposition of an uncounted number of illegal immigrants with unknown skills and unknown criminal backgrounds. Do we get the guy with the 4.0 GPA or the one who committed 4.0 murders? We are destined—required—to take the bad with the good, scatter them around the country, and hope for the best.

So when economic turmoil in Mexico during the early 1990s pushed migrants north, just as war in Central America drove them in the 1980s and gang violence does today, in America there was no plan. Tired, consumed, with resources stretched, there was a backlash building that Trump sensed and acted on. As he was unprepared at the border and told DHS to make do, America for decades has been unprepared and told to make due. A de facto open border similar to 2015 Europe imposed by progressives would have the same effect here as there, leading to a new, even more conservative backlash.

The peak year for legal immigration to America was 1907. Your great-grandfather entered an agricultural and rapidly industrializing nation desperate for workers with no time to waste putting kids in cages. To get them out today, we need more than old-timey nostalgia and modern outrage. We need a 21st-century asylum and immigration policy.

theamericanconservative.com

Concord Management and the End of Russiagate?

Par Andrey Areshev

Daniel LAZARE

Don’t look now, but a federal judge in Washington, D.C., has just shut down half of Robert Mueller’s Russian-interference case.

In February 2018, the special prosecutor indicted a St. Petersburg troll farm called the Internet Research Agency along with two other companies, their owner, Yevgeniy Prigozhin, and 12 employees.  The charge: fraud, traveling to the United States under false pretenses, and using social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to “sow discord” and “interfere in US political and electoral processes without detection of their Russian affiliation.”

One-time home in St. Petersburg, Russia, of Internet Research Agency, an “online influence” concern. (WikiMedia Commons)

The charge was both legally dubious and heavy-handed, a case of using a sledge hammer to swat a fly.  But Mueller went even further in his report, an expurgated version of which was made public in April.  No longer just a Russian company, the IRA was now an arm of the Russian government. “[T]he Special Counsel’s investigation,” it declared on page one, “established that Russia interfered in the 2016 election principally through two operations.  First, a Russian entity carried out a social media campaign that favored presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaged presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Second, a Russian intelligence service conducted computer-intrusion operations against entities, employees, and volunteers working in the Clinton campaign and then released stolen documents.”

“Prigozhin,” the report added, referring to the IRA owner, “is widely reported to have ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.”  A few pages later, it said that the IRA’s efforts “constituted ‘active measures’ … a term that typically refers to operations conducted by Russian security services aimed at influencing the course of international affairs.”

Thus, the IRA played a major role in the vast Kremlin conspiracy to alter the outcome of the 2016 election and install Donald Trump in office.  But now Judge Dabney Friedrich has ordered Mueller to stop pushing such stories because they’re unfair to Concord Management and Consulting, another Prigozhin company, which astonished the legal world in May 2018 by hiring an expensive Washington law firm and demanding its day in court.

Silent on IRA-Kremlin Connection

Contrary to internet chatter, Friedrich did not offer an opinion as to whether the IRA-Kremlin connection is true or false.  Rather, she told the special prosecutor to keep quiet because such statements go beyond the scope of the original indictment and are therefore prejudicial to the defendant.  But it may be a distinction without a difference since the only evidence that Mueller puts forth in the public version of his report is a New York Times article from February 2018 entitled “Yevgeny Prigozhin, Russian Oligarch Indicted by US, Is Known as ‘Putin’s Cook.’”

Judge Dabney Friedrich. (Twitter)

It’s a case of trial by press clip that should have been laughed out of court – and now, more or less, it is.  Without the IRA, the only argument left in Mueller’s brief is that Russia stole some 28,000 emails and other electronic documents from Democratic National Committee computers and then passed them along to WikiLeaks, which published them to great fanfare in July 2016.

But as Consortium News pointed out the day the Mueller report came out, that’s dubious as well.  [See “The ‘Guccifer 2.0’ Gaps in Mueller’s Full Report,” April 18.]  The reason: it rests on a timeline that doesn’t make sense:

  • June 12, 2016: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange announces that “leaks in relation to Hillary Clinton” were on the way.
  • June 15: Guccifer 2.0, allegedly a stand-in for Russian military intelligence, goes on line to claim credit for the hack.
  • June 22: Guccifer and WikiLeaks establish contact.
  • July 14: Guccifer sends WikiLeaks an encrypted file.
  • July 18: WikiLeaks confirms that it’s opened it up.
  • July 22: The group releases a giant email cache indicating that the DNC rigged the nominating process in favor of Hillary Clinton and against Bernie Sanders.

But why would Assange announce the leaked emails on June 12 before hearing from the source on June 22?  Was he clairvoyant?  Why would he release a massive file just eight days after receiving it and as a little as four days after opening it up?  How could that be enough time to review the contents and ensure they were genuine? “If a single one of those emails had been shown to be maliciously altered,” blogger Mark F. McCarty points out, “WikiLeaks’s reputation would have been in tatters.”  Quite right.  So if Mueller’s chronology doesn’t hold up, then Assange’s original statement that “our source is not the Russian government and it is not a state party” still stands – which it plainly does.

Going Up in Smoke 

Bottom line: Russiagate is going up in smoke.  The claim that Russian military intelligence fed thousands of emails to WikiLeaks doesn’t stand up to scrutiny while Mueller is not only unable to a prove a connection between the Internet Research Agency and the Kremlin but is barred from even discussing it, according to Friedrich’s ruling, without risking a charge of contempt.  After 22 months of investigating the ins and outs of Russian interference, Mueller seems to have finally come up dry.

Reed Smith’s Pittsburgh office. (Wikimedia Commons)

“Revenge of the oligarchs” might be a good headline for this story.  The IRA indictment initially seemed to be a no-lose proposition for  Mueller. He got to look good in the press, the media got to indulge in yet another round of Russia-bashing, while, best of all, no one had to prove a thing.  “Mueller’s allegations will never be tested in court,” noted Andrew C. McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor turned pundit for the rightwing National Review.  “That makes his indictment more a political statement than a charging instrument.”

Then came the unexpected.  Concord Management hired Reed Smith, a top-flight law firm with offices around the world, and demanded to be heard.  The move was “a real head-scratcher,” one Washington attorney told Buzzfeed, because Concord was beyond the reach of U.S. law and therefore had nothing to fear from an indictment and nothing to gain, apparently, from going to court.  But then the firm demanded to exercise its right of discovery, meaning that it wanted access to Mueller’s immense investigative file.  Blindsided, Mueller’s requested a delay “on the astonishing ground,” according to McCarthy, “that the defendant has not been properly served – notwithstanding that the defendant has shown up in court and asked to be arraigned.”

Prigozhin was forcing the special prosecutor to show what he’s got, McCarthy went on, at zero risk to himself since he was not on U.S. soil.  What was once a no-lose proposition for Mueller was suddenly a no-lose proposition for Putin’s unexpectedly clever cook.

Prigozhin: Forced Mueller to show his hand. (YouTube)

Now Mueller is in an even worse pickle because he’s barred from mentioning a major chunk of his report.  What will he discuss if Democrats succeed in getting him to testify before the House intelligence and judiciary committees next week – the weather?  If his team goes forward with the Concord prosecution, he’ll risk having to turn over sensitive information while involving himself in a legal tangle that could go on for years, all without any conceivable payoff.  If he drops it, the upshot will be a public-relations disaster of the first order.

As skeptics have pointed out, the IRA’s social-media campaign was both more modest and more ineffectual then the Mueller report’s over-the-top language about a “sweeping and systematic” conspiracy would suggest.  Yet after Facebook Vice President Rob Goldman tweeted that “the majority of the Russian ad spend happened AFTER the election,” he was forced to beg for forgiveness like a defendant in a Moscow show trial for daring to play down the magnitude of the crime.

But it wasn’t Goldman who shaved the truth.  Rather, it was Mueller.  Thanks to the unexpected appearance of Concord Management, he’s now paying the price.

consortiumnews.com

Qatar Looks Set to Not Only Be a Conduit of Trump’s Befuddled Foreign Policy, but Might Even Save Him in Iran

Par Andrey Areshev

It’s been well over two years since the Qatar blockade started, one of many regional policy fiascos launched by Saudi Arabia, which even its closest allies have admitted has massively backfired – but the Emir’s recent visit to Washington is a turning point which not only shows how valuable Qatar is to Donald Trump but what an outstanding error of judgment on Trump’s part to go along with it was in the first place.

In fact, what we know now is that Trump agreed to go along with the ruse in May and June of 2017 because he had just received a cash gift of 2.5m dollars from the UAE leader, via his chief fundraiser Elliot Broidy and Middle East fixer George Nader.

The recent Mueller report in America exposed the Lebanese businessman’s dirty work, commissioned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (MBZ) to send the money to the US president in return for a number of policy decisions in the region; Qatar blockade was one, which he claimed just a few days after returning from the summit in Riyadh with King Salman in May of 2017, was in fact his own brainchild. Others include special arms deals to the Saudis being unblocked including nukes to the Saudis and – possibly – even the decision to launch strikes against Iran after the drone incident, which Trump came very close to doing.

But the Qatar blockade, which most blamed the Saudis for as a decision based on rank stupidity, was actually Trump’s which is why Riyadh had the unsettling confidence to do it, in the first place.

Since the arrest of George Nader on June 3 in New York relating to child porn offences – and his story being unearthed by investigative journalists – we are witnessing a wising up of Trump. We can only speculate how much money has been funnelled to him from MBZ and MBS in Saudi Arabia (for sure it’s far more than merely 2.5m USD) but what is clearer is that on June 21st when he pulled back from launching retaliatory strikes against Iran, he realised he was about to fall into a trap – perhaps created by the neocons (to go ahead with a war with Iran) and possibly even Saudi Arabia and UAE, who would dearly love the US to war with Iran, while they both keep a safe distance.

The objectives of that entire cabal, was for Trump to lose his re-election bid in 2020.

But the Qatar blockade is interesting and was seen as a major victory of a middle eastern leader to pull off such a stunt whereby a US president would accommodate whoever was paying, with a policy decision.

Quite apart from the stunt massively backfiring on so many levels, in particular against Saudi Arabia geopolitically (but also to some extent financially the UAE), what we are witnessing now is a new significance and importance to Trump and his administration of this tiny gas-rich country.

Trump does not need warmongers in the Middle East but peace brokers who can pull him out of a hole and win him votes in 2020. Where the UAE and Saudi Arabia patently can’t do that, the bandwidth is taken up by Qatar who is showing sterling signs that it punches above its weight in the region.

In July 2018 Trump instructed his advisors in Afghanistan to pull out all the stops and begin talks with the Taliban, which, quite apart from having an office in Qatar since 2013, is connected in many ways with the country’s rulers. Indeed, Qatar (as well as Germany) has been playing an important role of back channel communicator for quite a while and the Emir’s arrival in Washington on July 8th, to be welcomed by Trump personally at a black tie dinner, gives a lucid clue to onlookers who seek to identify any logic to Trump’s tumultuous attempts at off-the-hoof-diplomacy in the region. Trump has had his fingers burnt by the MBZ/MBS experience which may have filled his coffers with re-election funding but came at a very high price indeed, almost costing him the presidency as he came within a whisker of pressing the Iran war button. Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani is a cool player who prefers peace in the region rather than escalated tensions as a business model. He may well just be Trump’s new partner in the Middle East as if he can give a face saving exit in Afghanistan then Trump will certainly look to him to find a solution in Iran too, which Al Thani is even better placed to do.

US Naval Coalition in Gulf – a Provocation Too Far

Par Andrey Areshev

America’s top General Joseph Dunford this week announced plans for a US-led naval coalition to patrol the Persian Gulf in order to “protect shipping” from alleged Iranian sabotage.

The move is but the latest in a series of efforts by the Trump administration to mobilize Arab allies into a more aggressive military stance towards Iran. It follows recent visits to the region by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton, both of whom have been urging a more organized military front led by the US to confront Iran.

The latest naval coalition proposed by General Dunford will be charged with escorting oil tankers as they pass through the Strait of Hormuz exiting the Persian Gulf to the Indian Ocean, and also through the Bab al Mandab entrance to the Red Sea on the Western side of the Arabian Peninsula. The former conduit serves oil supply to Asia, while the latter position between Yemen and Eritrea leads shipping to the Suez Canal on the way to the Mediterranean and Europe. Both narrow sea passages are strategic chokepoints in global oil trade, with some 20-30 per cent of all daily shipped crude passing through them.

The apparently chivalrous motives of the US to “guarantee freedom of navigation” sounds suspiciously like a pretext for Washington to assert crucial military control over international oil trade. That is one paramount reason for objecting to this American proposal.

Secondly, the very idea of sending more military vessels to the Persian Gulf under Pentagon command at this time of incendiary tensions between the US and Iran is a reckless provocation too far.

In the same week that the Pentagon called for a naval coalition, the US and Britain were blaming Iranian forces for trying to block a British oil tanker near the Strait of Hormuz. Iran has dismissed the allegations that its naval vessels interfered in any way with the British tanker. Both London and Washington claimed that a British Royal Navy frigate had to intervene to ward off the Iranian vessels. Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif dismissed the accusations as “worthless”.

The latest incident follows a string of sabotage attacks against oil tankers in the Persian Gulf by unidentified assailants. The US has blamed Iran. Iran has vehemently denied any involvement. Tehran has countered by saying that tensions are being inflamed by “malicious conspiracies”.

One can easily foresee in this already supercharged geopolitical context in the Persian Gulf and the wider region how any additional military forces would be potentially disastrous, either from miscalculation, misunderstanding or more malign motive.

Furthermore, media reports indicate a heightened wariness among some Gulf Arab states about being pushed into confrontation with their neighbor Iran. US policy is recklessly fomenting regional tensions against the better judgement of proximate countries.

The Washington Post reported this week: “The escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf have exposed differences between the United States and its regional allies, in part over how aggressively the Trump administration should confront Iran… With these countries likely to find themselves on the front lines of any military conflict with Iran, some of the smaller states are hesitant to support the more combative stance of the United States and regional heavyweights Saudi Arabia and the UAE.”

The report goes on: “The more-assertive approach championed by Saudi Arabia — and in particular by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — puts the kingdom at odds with some of the smaller US allies in the region, which want to see the crisis settled through negotiations. Kuwait and Oman, which have pursued bilateral relations with Iran, have long resented Saudi attempts to pressure them to adopt a more confrontational foreign policy, analysts say.”

Qatar is another important regional player which is bound to have misgivings about the growing tensions. The gas-rich emirate has been roughed up by Saudi Arabia and the UAE with a two-year blockade on trade and political links. While Qatar is a US ally and a Sunni Arab neighbor traditionally aligned with Saudi Arabia, the country also shares the region’s close historical trading ties with Shia Iran to the North. Centuries of overlapping cultural ties belie the attempt by the US and its Saudi and UAE allies of trying to polarize the region into an anti-Iran axis.

Aware of the danger of a catastrophic war erupting, several regional states are right to be even more alarmed by the latest proposition of a naval coalition led by the US. Washington is arrogantly over-stepping its presumption to control global oil trade, and it is pushing tensions in the region with a provocation too far. Hopefully, reckless US-led antagonism will be rebuffed by wiser regional states who stand to lose much more than Generals and warmongers sitting comfortably in Washington.

Moreover, the correct way to calm and resolve tensions in the region is for the Trump administration to halt its aggression towards Iran and to respect the 2015 international nuclear accord which it unilaterally trashed last year. Remove sanctions and warships from the region and – for a fundamental change – respect international law, diplomacy and peaceful negotiations.

‘Go Forth and Lie.’ Israel Rolls Out Mandatory Course for Students Travelling Abroad

Par Andrey Areshev

Israel new course to prepare high school students traveling overseas to be good “ambassadors” includes training on how to combat BDS, claims of apartheid and more.

Miko PELED

While Israel tries to portray a friendly face to the outside world, internally it is promoting racism and violence at levels that are more alarming than ever before. A course to prepare young high school students traveling overseas to be good “ambassadors” stands in contrast to racist policies and the advancement of a military that is encouraged to exercise unprecedented violence against civilians.

Young ambassadors

Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, recently demanded that the Israeli Education Ministry halt an online course that was designed to prepare young Israelis traveling abroad to be “good ambassadors.” The content, particularly regarding anti-semitism and BDS (the Boycott, Divest, Sanctions movement), is so offensive to Arabs and Muslims that a school in Nazareth canceled an exchange program for high school students from the city to go to Sweden, rather than having the students exposed to the content of the course.

To actually see the content of the course, one has to enroll, and so I did. The course has 12 chapters, starting with an introduction by former Minister of Education Naftali Bennett. Bennett begins by explaining “what is an ambassador,” and then gives examples of how to be a good one.

Bennett’s introduction is friendly, straightforward and full of praise for Israel. He provides students with tools with which they can “explain” Israel. For example:

If it wasn’t for Israel, you could never wake up in the morning, because the chip in your cell phone that works as an alarm is made in Israel. You couldn’t find your way to work because the application WAZE is an Israeli product, so you’d get lost. If you made it to work somehow you wouldn’t have a computer because Intel produces its parts in Israel, and then your account would be hacked because cyber security is made in Israel. On top of that, you would have no cucumbers to eat because Israel invented the irrigation systems that make it possible to grow cucumbers.”

Bennett also mentions that the students may encounter people saying crazy things about Israel like that it is an “apartheid state,” and that Israeli soldiers are killing Palestinians, and that, of course, this is all nonsense. Israel, he says, as a photo of Palestinian Knesset member Ahmed Tibi is shown, is the only democracy where the minority Arab population has freedom and participates in a real democracy.

Other chapters include “What is a State,” “The Status of Jerusalem,” “Israeli Accomplishments,” “How to Combat Anti-Semitism,” and “BDS,”  among others. It is stated by Gideon Bachar, a special ambassador for issues of anti-semitism, that historically Jews suffered from persecution due to anti-semitism by Christians in Europe and Muslims in the Arab world. Today anti-semitism in Europe is fuelled by massive immigration from Muslim countries.

BDS, Talia Gorodes explains, is a coalition of “green and red.” According to Gorodes, Director of “Reut” Institute for Strategic Thinking, green represents Islamic fundamentalism and red represents radical leftist groups. Together they create a powerful front to delegitimize Israel. However, not to worry, Israel has a plan and “you student ambassadors are part of the plan.” The students are told that the way they conduct themselves and listen and explain things will dramatically change the way the world perceives Israel and change it for the better.

Adalah’s letter stressed that the “Education Ministry’s propaganda exam focuses on core issues of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that are the subject of deep political controversy.” The course guides students — indeed they are required to choose specific “correct” positions, as though “they reflect an objective factual truth.” The course, Adalah also claims — and, having taken it, I must agree — presents a racist ideological perspective that creates an equivalence between Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims and anti-semitism and violence.

This course is also required of Palestinian high school students who are citizens of Israel and study in the Israeli school system.

Notorious general promoted

As the Ministry of Education is preparing students going overseas to show the kind and gentle face of Israel, Ha’aretz reports on the promotion of notoriously violent IDF officer Ofer Winter to the rank of major general. His new job is one of the most prestigious in the IDF: commander of the 98th Division, also known as the Fire Formation, which includes the Paratroopers Brigade, the Commando Brigade, and two reservist brigades.

Winter’s promotion was delayed for several years by the previous IDF Chief of Staff owing to his role in what is called Black Friday in Rafah. “Black Friday” is the name given to a massive, irrational and vengeful attack on Rafah during the Israeli assault on Gaza in the summer of 2014. Winter, then a colonel and commander of the infamous “Givati” Brigade, came to public attention twice, once as the result of a letter he sent to the unit commanders, in which he wrote that they were fighting “a blasphemous enemy that defiles the God of Israel.” His use of religious terminology was cause for concern even in Israel but should come as no surprise.

Winter was educated in two radical, religious-Zionist educational institutions. The first is Yeshivat Or Zion, which is headed by Haim Drukman, one of the most notorious leaders of the “settlers movement.” The second is the military preparatory academy “Bnei David,” in the settlement of “Ali.” Bnei David has come under severe criticism for racist comments made by fanatic Zionist rabbis who teach there. They are known to follow an aggressively racist curriculum and have been quoted teaching that Arabs are slaves and Jews are masters and that Hitler was not wrong, he was just on the wrong side.

Winter also raised concerns when, under his command, the Givati brigade was criticized for its conduct during Black Friday. It was August 1, 2014 in Rafah and a cease-fire was in place when hundreds of innocent people were killed as a result of what is known as the “Hannibal Directive.” Ha’aretz reported at the time that “[t]his was the most aggressive action of its type ever carried out by the IDF.” Codeword “Hannibal” is an IDF military directive that is given when a soldier is taken prisoner. It allows for unrestrained use of firepower to stop the abduction, even at the price of the life of the soldier that was taken.

In this case, the directive was given after an Israeli officer was captured following a clash with Palestinian fighters in which an officer and a soldier were killed. It was during what was supposed to have been a cease-fire for humanitarian purposes. According to a report by Amnesty International, when the IDF attacks began:

The roads in eastern Rafah were full of disoriented civilians moving in all directions. Believing a ceasefire had begun, they had returned – or were returning – to their homes. Many decided to turn around, attempting to flee under a barrage of bombs and gunfire.”

According to testimony given by Palestinian witnesses, the attack included “jets, drones, helicopters and artillery.” The attack was described as “raining fire at pedestrians and vehicles at the intersections, indiscriminately hitting cars, ambulances, motorbikes and pedestrians.”  Ofer Winter was the brigade commander. Now he has been given what many consider to be the most prestigious commands in the IDF, which will no doubt make him a strong candidate to be a future army chief of staff.

Racist municipal ordinances

Following an election promise to act against the “conquest” by Arab residents from surrounding communities of a city park, the municipality of the city of Afula issued an ordinance that says only city residents may enter the city park. Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, reports from the northern city of Afula that when Attorney Nareman Shehadeh-Zoabi who lives in neighboring Nazareth brought her infant to the park, a security guard stopped them from entering because they are from Nazareth, which is a Palestinian Arab city.

This is not the first time that Afula is in the news owing to racist tendencies. In 2018, Jewish residents of Afula, along with the mayor, protested against the sale of a home to an Arab family. Afula is not alone. The establishment of admissions committees in kibbutzim, moshavim, and other communities were created to stop Palestinian citizens of Israel from moving in.

It is no coincidence that Israel’s nation-state basic law includes a clause that authorizes “a community, including those belonging to one religion or nationality, to maintain separate community living.” This basic law affirms Israel’s policy of segregation and makes it constitutional and thus unchallengeable in court.

Israel is more overtly racist and violent than ever before, and yet it is preparing Israeli youth who travel overseas to paint it with bright, friendly colors. If ever there was a time when the call for boycott, divestment and sanctions — BDS — against Israel was not only justified but urgent, it is now.

mintpressnews.com

‘Hysterical and Stupid’: Kushner Reveals His Attitude Towards the Palestinians

Par Andrey Areshev

Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and the person Trump appointed to broker a Middle East peace agreement recently called Palestinians “hysterical and stupid.” That is particularly galling language coming from a notorious New Jersey, New York, and Maryland slumlord and the son of a federally convicted criminal. Kushner’s father and real estate mogul, Charles Kushner, spent fourteen months in prison after being convicted of tax fraud and witness tampering, among other crimes. Jared Kushner believes his father was wrongly convicted and imprisoned. But the wunderkind son-in-law of Trump has no problem in maintaining the status quo in the Middle East, one that has led to the large-scale incarceration of the people of the Gaza Strip in virtual desert ghetto.

Mr. Kushner does not have the business acumen to run a New York City sandwich cart, let alone a major foreign policy initiative like a final Middle East peace agreement. Such a concordat has eluded a every US president since the creation of Israel in 1948. Kushner’s real estate bankruptcies are legendary, and they have resulted in him and his father panhandling for loan relief financing from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, and China, among other countries.

In the wake of Kushner’s “Peace to Prosperity” plan unveiled at a workshop in Bahrain in June of this year, government officials around the world reacted with an almost-unanimous thumbs down. The Bahrain conference more resembled a meeting of potential investors in one of Kushner’s real estate scams. The Palestinians, claiming that to present an economic plan for the Palestinian territories prior to a political settlement, boycotted the Bahrain conclave. Under the “Kushner Plan,” Gaza was to become a tourist resort with transport routes through Israel to the West Bank. No mention was made of the crippling Israeli and Egyptian blockades imposed on the densely populated Gaza enclave of 1.8 million people. Kushner displayed his utter ignorance of geo-politics, history, and diplomacy when he said Palestinians would reap a financial whirlwind of real estate development and tourism investment money if “there’s not a fear of people doing terrorism.” Doing terrorism? In Kushner’s pampered rich kid myopic view of the world, “doing terrorism” is like “doing lunch” or “doing a Broadway show.”

Participating in Kushner’s gabfest, US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin claimed that Kushner’s roll-out was like a “hot IPO,” an initial public offering of shares in a company. Seasoned Middle East experts, including diplomats and scholars, were far less enthusiastic, with one likening Kushner’s conference to a Monty Python sketch.

Kushner also lambasted the Palestinian leadership for saying “crazy things.” The son-in-law of the man who, on a daily basis, says and tweets “crazy things” believes that it is “crazy” for Palestinian leaders to condemn Israeli expansion into East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights. In fact, “crazy” was Trump ordering the moving of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, shuttering the US Consulate General in Jerusalem that served as the de facto US mission in Palestine, cutting off all US economic assistance to the Palestinians, closing the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington, and recognizing Israeli sovereignty over Syria’s Golan Heights.

Kushner called the Palestinians “stupid and hysterical.” However, nothing exemplifies hysterical and stupid more than Kushner family friend Binyamin Netanyahu, who once stood before the United Nations General Assembly and displayed a cartoon drawing of a bomb to “prove” that Iran was nearing development of a nuclear weapon. Netanyahu’s histrionics before the world assembly was not the first time he resorted to gimmickry and lying in order to tick off a list of favorite Zionist talking points.

Kushner does not appreciate the hyper-hysterical nature of Israel and its supporters, of which he is one. The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction (BDS) movement targeting Israel’s racist and expansionist policies has resulted in hysterical extreme measures aimed at undercutting constitutional and other inherent freedoms of speech in other countries. These anti-free speech actions have been advanced by Kushner’s friends and colleagues and include twenty-eight American states enacting legislation that bans individuals and companies supporting BDS from receiving state government contracts. Israel’s intelligence service, Mossad, is actively working to disrupt the global BDS movement, including the operations of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC).

The anti-BDS campaign includes Mossad collecting intelligence on BDS operations in foreign countries and placing BDS leaders and supporters on INTERPOL and EUROPOL watch lists. Kushner’s Zionist friends have even spoken of Israel filing lawsuits against BDS organizations and individuals abroad. There was little surprise when Mossad’s anti-BDS activities in the United States were linked to the now-defunct Israeli private intelligence firm PSY-Group and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Kushner can whine all day long about Palestinians being “hysterical.” No one is more hysterical and hypocritical than Kushner and his Orthodox Jewish cabal that includes the dodgy Chabad movement – which has been tied into everything from drug and human organ trafficking to tax evasion and money laundering, as well as the 2020 presidential campaign of New Jersey Democratic Senator Cory Booker. No sooner had New England Patriots football owner and Trump Mar-a-Lago club member Robert Kraft beat a criminal charge of soliciting prostitution from a Florida massage parlor employing Chinese indentured employees, he donated his $1 million Genesis Prize – Israel’s version of the Nobel Prize – to the anti-BDS movement. That kind of money would have paid for quite a lot of $57 “sessions” at Kraft’s favorite, but now closed, Florida massage parlor. Even though Kraft was dumb enough to get caught on video tape in a law enforcement sting on illegal prostitution activities, Kushner claims it is the Palestinians who are “stupid.”

Recently, Kushner’s friends in Israel and Germany forced the resignation of Dr. Peter Schäfer, a foremost scholar of Judaic Studies, as director of Berlin’s Jewish Museum. Using Inquisition-like tactics, Schäfer stood accused by Israel supporters of backing the BDS movement by tweeting a link to a letter signed by 240 Jewish and Israeli scholars opposing a bill passed by the German parliament that linked the BDS movement to anti-Semitism. The campaign against Dr. Schäfer was centered on the activities of an Israel-based organization called NGO Monitor. The group, which is nothing more than a cipher for Mossad, targets international non-governmental organizations tagged with being supportive of the Palestinians or the BDS movement.

Under pressure from such anti-democratic forces as NGO Monitor; its Geneva-based companion, UN Watch; the American Jewish Committee; and similar repugnant pressure organizations, the freedom of speech rights of pro-Palestine activists have been severely hampered by actions of the governments of Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada, and other nations.

Mr. Kushner and his friends who gathered in Bahrain for his real estate development (land theft) prospectus seminar would trick the world into believing that it is the Palestinians who are “hysterical.” When international supporters of the Palestinians decide to hit the Israelis where it hurts the most – their wallets – all one can hear from the offices and board rooms of Tel Aviv, West Jerusalem, Haifa, Ashkelon, Eilat, Ramat Gan, New York, and other centers of Israeli commerce and intrigue is loud wailing and promises to “get even.” And Kushner accuses the Palestinians of being “hysterical.”

In fact, the Palestinians have been quite measured in response to Israel’s overt and covert campaigns against them and their inalienable rights. Since Trump and Kushner launched their diplomatic, political, and economic warfare against Palestine, the State of Palestine has been recognized by the International Atomic Energy Agency and Colombia; Italy voted for a UN Security Council for a resolution that opposed the US movement of its embassy to Jerusalem; the UN’s Group of 77 (G77) developing nations invited Palestine to chair the group’s meeting during 2019; Spain’s Josep Borell, who is pro-Palestinian and tough on Israel, was named the next Foreign Affairs Commissioner of the European Union; and former US President Jimmy Carter called on the United States to recognize Palestinian sovereignty. These small but significant advances on behalf of the Palestinians were achieved as a result of Palestine’s commitment to diplomacy, not the hysteria practiced by Kushner and his friends in Israel, as well as by pro-Israel embeds found throughout the Trump administration.

The Riptide of American Militarism

Par Andrey Areshev

Lessons from the Natural World on Washington’s Unnatural Wars 

William J. ASTORE

Put up with me for just a moment while I wax literary. It turns out that, if French novelist Marcel Proust lived today, he might have had to retitle his Remembrance of Things Past as Remembrance of Things Present, or even more sadly, Things Future. As an ex-military man who lived through part of the Cold War in uniform, let me make my point, in terms of the Pentagon and an ever-growing atmosphere of American militarism, this way: I love used bookstores. I’ve been browsing in them since my teens. I was, then, an early fan of Stephen King, the famed horror-story writer. Admittedly, today I’m more likely to browse the history section, which has horrors enough for us all, many of which eclipse even the most fevered imaginings of King, though Pennywise the Clown in It still gives me the creeps.

A while back, speaking of things not past, I stumbled across Senator J. William Fulbright’s 1970 book The Pentagon Propaganda Machine and, out of curiosity, bought it for the princely sum of five dollars. Now, talk about creepy. Fulbright, who left the Senate in 1974 and died in 1995, noted a phenomenon then that should ring a distinct bell today. Americans, he wrote, “have grown distressingly used to war.” He then added a line that still couldn’t be more up to date: “Violence is our most important product.” Congress, he complained (and this, too, should ring a distinct bell in 2019), was shoveling money at the Pentagon “with virtually no questions asked,” while costly weapons systems were seen mainly “as a means of prosperity,” especially for the weapons makers of the military-industrial complex. “Militarism has been creeping up on us,” he warned, and the American public, conditioned by endless crises and warnings of war, had grown numb, leaving “few, other than the young, [to] protest against what is happening.”

Back then, of course, the bogeyman that kept the process going was Communism. America’s exaggerated fear of Communism then (and terrorism now) strengthened militarism at home in a myriad of ways while, as Fulbright put it, “undermining democratic procedure and values.” And doesn’t that ring a few bells, too? Complicit in all this was the Pentagon’s own propaganda machine, which worked hard “to persuade the American people that the military is good for you.”

Perhaps my favorite passage from that book was a message the senator received from a citizen who had attended a Pentagon rah-rah “informational seminar.”  Writing to Fulbright, he suggested that “the greatest threat to American national security is the American Military Establishment and the no-holds-barred type of logic it uses to justify its zillion-dollar existence.”

In a rousing conclusion on the “dangers of the military sell” that seems no less apt nearly a half-century later, Fulbright warned that America’s “chronic state of war” was generating a “monster [military] bureaucracy.” Citing themassacre in Vietnam, he noted how “the mindless violence of war” was eroding America’s moral values and ended by emphasizing that dealing with the growth of immoral militarism was vitally important to the country’s future.

“The best defense against militarism is peace; the next best thing is the vigorous practice of democracy,” he noted, citing the dissenters of his day who opposed America’s murderous war in Southeast Asia. And he added a warning no less applicable today: Americans shouldn’t put their faith in senior military men whose “parochial talents” were too narrow “to equip them with the balance of judgment needed to play the political role they now hold in our society.”

Reading Fulbright today, I couldn’t help but recall one of my dad’s favorite sayings, translated from the French: the more things change, the more they stay the same. Sure, the weaponry may be upgraded (drones with Hellfire missiles rather than bombers dropping napalm); the names of the countries may be different (Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia rather than Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia); even the stated purpose of the wars of the moment may have altered (fighting terrorism rather than defeating Communism); but over the last 50 years, the most fundamental things have remained remarkably consistent: militarism, violence, the endless feeding of the military-industrial complex, the growth of the national security state, and wars, ever more wars, always purportedly waged in the name of peace.

Sometimes when you buy a used book, it comes with a bonus. This one held between its pages a yellowed clipping of a contemporary New York Times review with the telling title, “O What a Lovely Pentagon.” In agreeing with Fulbright, the reviewer, Herbert Mitgang, himself a veteran of World War II, wrote:

“To keep up the [Pentagon] budgets, all three services compete for bigger and better armaments in coordination with the publicity salesmen from the major corporations — for whom retired generals and admirals serve as front men. Thousands of uniformed men and millions of dollars are involved in hard-selling the Pentagon way of life.”

Change “millions” to “billions” and Mitgang’s point remains as on target as ever.

Citing another book under review, which critiqued U.S. military procurement practices, Mitgang concluded: “What emerges here is a permanent floating crap game with the taxpayer as loser and Congress as banker, shelling out for Pentagon and peace profiteers with an ineptitude that would bankrupt any other business.”

Spot on, Herb Mitgang, who perhaps played his share of craps during his Army service!

As I read Fulbright’s almost 50-year-old polemic and Mitgang’s hard-hitting review, I asked myself, how did the American people come to forget, or perhaps never truly absorb, such lessons? How did we stop worrying about war and come to love the all-volunteer military quite so much? (Thank youfor your service!) So much so that, today, we engorge the Pentagon and the rest of the national security state with well more than a trillion taxpayer dollars annually — and the power to match.

The Pentagon as a Parasitic Cowbird

In 2019, most Americans see the Pentagon and the U.S. military as this country’s protectors — a force for good, perhaps the equivalent of an eagle, that national symbol, soaring over an endangered land. What if, however, we saw the Pentagon not as a noble bird, a symbol of freedom and strength, but as a parasitic one? What if the avian image that came to mind was the opportunistic cowbird?

I thought of this due to a recent little drama in my own backyard. There, I spied a nest built by a pair of yellow warblers. It had five eggs in it, and I was able to get a photo of them. I didn’t notice at the time — because I was taking care not to linger — that one egg was significantly larger than the others with different markings on it. When they hatched, one chick was also bigger, pushier, louder, more insistent, and hungrier than the others. It turned out to be a cowbird! Like the more famous cuckoo, cowbirds lay their eggs in other birds’ nests and trick them into raising their chicks. In the end, those two adult yellow warblers tirelessly and obliviously fed that alien chick, as their own tiny babes were crowded out and died. The cowbird managed to consume everything, its cavernous mouth eternally clamoring for more.

I assume by now that you get where I’m going with this. Think of that greedy cowbird as the Pentagon and the military-industrial complex in which it’s enmeshed. And we American taxpayers, through our bought-and-paid-for representatives in Congress, are those misguided yellow warblers, continually feeding the equivalent of our very own cowbird chick, now grown to tremendous size and still crying out for more. What we’re feeding it, of course, is the very promise of America, as it starves our real chicks, precious funding for educationinfrastructure, the environment, and health care.

Of course, my analogy is imperfect. After all, that cowbird chick fledged quickly and flew away, releasing the warbler parents from their sad and misbegotten duty. The Pentagon and the rest of the national security state never fledge. They never leave the nest. They’re always crying for more money.

Here’s the truth of it, as I see it these days: if Americans are ever to gain control over that national security state, they will first have to recognize its parasitic nature, and the way it continues to stuff its greedy mouth with our cash, which is killing the best hopes for the future of our country.

Another Lesson from Nature — This Time from the Sea

A friend of mine was recently doing research in the papers of Matthew Ridgway, the celebrated general of both World War II and the Korean War. There, he came across a 1940 statement from the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).  Created by scholars as World War I was ending, originally to advise the administration of President Woodrow Wilson, the CFR typically offers presidents a somewhat broader range of opinions than they usually get from senior military officers and other Washington insiders.

As Americans wrestled with the possibility of finding themselves in a second looming world war, what advice did the CFR have for then-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1940?

“For Germany and Italy, especially, and for Russia and Japan, to a somewhat lesser extent, military power has come to be the ultimate raison d’être of the state, while war itself is regarded as a natural and ennobling process in the international struggle for existence. The non-totalitarian world, on the contrary, still clings to a philosophy in which military power is regarded as a necessary attribute, but not a primary goal, of the national sovereignty — a philosophy which considers war as an aberration from what should be the peaceful norm of human development… If we fail to produce an alternative to the use of force in the totalitarian philosophy, if we fail to demonstrate that our international society holds more hope for a peaceful and profitable future than theirs, then the United States (and other like-minded nations) will be forced into a defensive type of attitude which makes no converts and holds no friends.”

Such statements make me nostalgic. Remember when America was part of the “non-totalitarian world”? Remember when our presidents didn’t boast of having the greatest military in all of history? Remember when our generals didn’t speak proudly of engaging in unending “generational” wars as if they were the ultimate test of our mettle? Remember when we truly saw war as an “aberration,” something both undesirable and antithetical to democracy? Remember when our most basic urge was, if humanly possible, to swim vigorously away from war’s storm clouds toward the shores of “a peaceful and profitable future”?

Yes, in December 1941, the American people did finally begin to mobilize in a big way and march off to war, however reluctantly, and, in the end, they did decisively defeat Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. But also remember how quickly, in the wake of that war, Americans expected that their vast wartime military would be demobilized (and indeed it would, however briefly).

Yet here’s the sad thing: for Americans, World War II, like its prequel, proved to be anything but a war to end all wars. In its aftermath, new rumors of war emerged. Far too quickly, the U.S. found itself in a riptide of never-ending war (whether “hot” or “cold”) and preparations for yet more of the same, all of which pushed us ever deeper into the colder waters of militarism.

Such an oceanic current is a tricky thing.  Caught up in war’s version of the same, from the Cold War to today, Washington has embraced the challenge with ever more weaponry, ever more troops and bases across the planet, ever more military spending, violence, and war.

Nineteen years into a new century, with its forever wars on terror still ongoing across startlingly large stretches of the planet, the U.S. military is now turning as well to preparations for future wars with its so-called peer competitors (China and Russia). No surprise, then, that the country seems to be drowning in militarism and exhausting what’s left of our democratic spirit. It has, in almost any imaginable sense, been swept up in a riptide of militarism.

As in the actual ocean, so in the ocean of militarism, such currents are escapable, but only by using the strokes of a functioning democracy that, in this Trumpian age, seem increasingly less available to us. Collectively, we would have to swim calmly on a course parallel to that rip current, evading its undertow of relentless violence, until we finally escaped its pull. Only then could we turn and swim vigorously toward something generationally meaningful: a shared commitment to averting and ending the all-too-real horrors of today’s forever wars.

tomdispatch.com

Foreign Words Cannot Change America

Par Andrey Areshev

The scandal factory that is the Trump presidency continues to churn out goodies for the Mainstream Media but this time it is not big mouth that is in trouble, instead it is the British ambassador’s low opinion of America’s leader that is the question. Of course, this school yard spat between important political players made big news, but the answer to why it made front page headlines is far more important than what was actually said by an Englishman in private. So, first let’s take a look at the actual “scandal” in question.

Sir Nigel Kim Darroch the British Ambassador to the United States, according to CNN said the following about Trump in private diplomatic cables sent back home to London…

  1. (Trump is) “inept,” “insecure,” and “incompetent.”
  2. (Trump’s presidency could) “end in disgrace”
  3. (Regarding Russian collusion) “the worst cannot be ruled out.”

Trump haters would mostly agree with this, while his supporters would rule out everything except the possibility of his career ending in disgrace. Not to say that Trump has been a disgraceful president from a factual standpoint, but because his enemies (mostly in the Democrats) are obsessed with getting him impeached even after the Mueller Report turned out to be a nothing burger we can’t rule out an ugly end to his political mission.

Trump’s Twitter response as always came out very blunt and yet slightly childish in tone.

The wacky Ambassador that the U.K. foisted upon the United States is not someone we are thrilled with, a very stupid guy. He should speak to his country, and Prime Minister May, about their failed Brexit negotiation, and not be upset with my criticism of how badly it was…

So will this “scandal” have any affect on US-British relations? No, none besides the Brits having to relieve Darroch of his post (which they have already done) and possibly writing an apology on fancy stationary with one of those signet pressed wax seals on it to be extra dandy.

International relations are mostly founded on common interest and/or a dominant/submissive (lord/vassal) relationship between the two countries, not some sort of emotional friendship based on good feelings. People often make the horrible mistake of seeing politics/geopolitics as a reflection of their own lives. Humans are very emotional and we see things mostly from our own perspective which is a terrible perspective to have when thinking about international relations. The methods of interaction between “you and I” do not apply to “Country X and Country Y”.

If your girlfriend called you an idiot to her friends behind your back and you were shown proof of it then you would probably dump her and delete her number and you may well just never speak to her again. This is a mature response in our human to human world, but the US cannot dump Britain as a partner in NATO (and much more) over insulting the US President in what was supposed to be a private.

Viewing the world of international relations/geopolitics from the standpoint of how people interact makes the world a baffling place…

Iran, which Trump despises, says horrible things about America in its propaganda, but so does North Korea, with whom Trump is willing to work. Saudi Arabia is the antithesis of American values but finds itself an ally to America in the Middle-East while secular nations theoretically much closer to a Democratic mindset like Iraq, Libya and Syria had to be destroyed to for a brighter future. Russia bought the US a 9/11 memorial that is quite classy and was the first to offer aid to America in their darkest hour and where did that get them? The Russians also tried to make peace with Hitler, had their elite learn and read French almost universally and utterly capitulated to “democratic values” in the 90s, and that didn’t seem to stop them from being under attack from any of the above.

It is legend within Russia that Vladimir Putin and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder got along extremely well because he hates speaking English and Putin is fluent in German. But did this linguistic kinship woo Germany into Russian orbit, or break it away from NATO, or make it impossible for them to eventually vote for sanctions during the Merkel period? No, no and again no. Being friendly in real life sure helps and is important, but in international relations, ultimately it is interests and power that determine action not spouting spiffy quips over champagne to make ambassadors laugh. Anyone can get along at a meeting or dinner party but questions geopolitical importance go far beyond and have a distinctly different nature.

The Mainstream Media and especially CNN should know and understand this and inform the public that this issue of insults is not particularly critical, that London will just slide in a new Ambassador with better verbal self-control into the same position and that ultimately nothing will change between London and Washington. That would be a responsible and reasonable action from “journalists”.

They could do that, but this event provides the excuse to repeat in big words and letters over and over again that a highly qualified big-time player in politics said Trump is “inept,” “insecure,” and “incompetent”. That is why they are doing this, to send that message ad nauseum to our subconscious. The main goal is not to inform but to continue to plant the idea that Trump is horrible as a US President and as a person.

These insults from a member of the UK’s establishment is the type of thinking that the Mainstream Media want to push hard and so they do it without a gram of shame or respect for trying to properly inform the public as to the nature of politics/geopolitics. This is extremely disrespectful to the American public, but they have the funding and a lot of support from inside the Beltway so they can get away with it.

Remember the whole Victoria Nuland “F*** the EU” recorded phone conversation? Did it have any affect on US-EU relations? No it didn’t, it did however show a certain attitude towards the EU from the American establishment. Maybe it also revealed the nature of the power dynamic between Washington and Brussels. Perhaps there is a strong dislike for Trump within the British Establishment, but what are they going to do about it? Nothing. They will just keep talking behind Trump’s back. They certainly aren’t going to dump NATO the Shanghai Cooperation Organization over it, that can be assured.

Opposing War Is the Best Approach to Revolution

Par Andrey Areshev

Caitlin JOHNSTONE

One of the most common labels people use to describe what I do is some variation of “anti-war journalist” or “anti-imperialist blogger”, and I’m always a tiny bit surprised when I see it. Not because I disagree with it; opposition to US-centralized warmongering probably constitutes a majority of my content, so it’s a reasonable description. I’ve just never explicitly had opposing war in mind when doing what I do. It’s been the main byproduct of my journey here, but it’s never been my objective.

I got started on this gig making Facebook posts in Bernie Sanders groups after noticing that the US mass media were actively sabotaging his 2016 primary race. My goal at the time was the same as it is now: to help jailbreak Americans, and thus the rest of the world, from the nearly invisible power structures which are oppressing us all and driving us toward extinction. When I first started writing about the 2016 presidential campaign I didn’t focus nearly as much on US foreign policy as I do now.

The shift toward emphasis on US-led warmongering wasn’t something I planned, it was just the natural consequence of my staring, day after day, at the puzzle of how to free humanity from its chains. I didn’t understand the mechanics of empire all that well when I started out, so I meticulously studied the behavior of government and media structures and watched for opportunities to expose glitches in the narrative matrix so I could highlight them for my readers. As I got better at noticing these glitches, I found that the opportunities to go “Look! See? They’re lying to you!” most often presented themselves around the issues of war and imperialism.

This is because it turns out that endless war is an absolutely essential component of the globe-spanning alliance between oligarchs and government agencies which is sometimes referred to as the “deep state”. Exerting more and more control over world affairs is how the largest power structures on earth continue to expand their power, and this is impossible to do without using the carrot of US military/economic alliance and the stick of US military/economic punishment. US economic control isn’t hegemonic enough on its own to overcome the influence of growing economic powers like China, so the threat of military violence is absolutely essential for maintaining the power alliance. It’s the glue that holds the entire empire together.

US Foreign Policy Is A War On Disobedience

“So now you’ve got this weird dynamic where the US is constantly working to make sure that no other countries surpass it and gain the ability to treat America the way America treats other countries.”https://t.co/AVJoxuLOSq

— Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) 6 июля 2019 г.

So endless war is a 100 percent indispensable element in preserving existing power structures. The US-centralized empire cannot exist without it. The trouble for the empire, however, is that it can’t just come out and tell the public “Yeah we need to destroy everyone who opposes our resource control agendas and dominance in key geostrategic regions, so we’ll be forcibly eliminating this noncompliant government on Thursday.” The public would never go for it, because that’s a plainly sociopathic values system which we are taught since school age that our society evolved beyond many generations ago. People would lose trust in all government institutions, and revolution would quickly foment as a result.

For this reason, propaganda is necessary. Because America is where the empire has centralized most of its military firepower and billionaires, Americans are the most propagandized people on earth. There are thousands of people whose whole entire job is to convince Americans that it is good and desirable to keep trillions of dollars in military hardware moving around the planet and killing complete strangers who pose no threat to any American.

The challenge for the propagandists is that this is plainly bat shit crazy. It’s an assignment that is both absolutely necessary and extremely difficult. When the entire world order depends on convincing millions of people that something transparently insane and ridiculous is perfectly sane and rational, you’re naturally going to have difficulty smoothing over all the plot holes in the narratives you’re selling. That’s why you’re always seeing glaring discrepancies in the narratives used to promote US foreign policy agendas. In retrospect I’ve pretty much built my career on highlighting these discrepancies.

The primary role US-led warmongering plays in maintaining existing power structures, which I first started to notice during the 2016 Democratic primaries, is on even clearer display during the 2020 Democratic primaries. You see candidates like Bernie Sanders being frowned upon by hardline centrists for promoting domestic policies which would hurt the profit margins of the oligarchs, but overall he’s being treated as a legitimate candidate and receiving reluctant coverage on mainstream media networks. Then you look at the treatment of a candidate like Tulsi Gabbard, who is campaigning on a major overhaul of US foreign policy, and she’s treated as a raving lunatic and a traitor.

“Challenging domestic policy status quo in Washington can be controversial and subject you to some attacks. But those who dissent from DC’s foreign policy addiction to imperialism, militarism and support for repression are those who are always most smeared and maligned,” Glenn Greenwald tweeted a while back.

Challenging domestic policy status quo in Washington can be controversial and subject you to some attacks. But those who dissent from DC’s foreign policy addiction to imperialism, militarism & support for repression are those who are always most smeared and maligned: https://t.co/JYTJo9vXdq

— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) 14 февраля 2019 г.

You can get away with promoting things like universal healthcare or student debt forgiveness with only moderate pushback from the establishment, but wanting to scale back the forever war will quickly see you branded a Russian asset or an antisemite and canceled. The empire won’t even tolerate you interfering with their narratives, let alone getting elected. Your voice will be targeted with an aggressive smear campaign until they make sure that hardly anyone is listening to what you have to say.

The fact that we’re so strictly forbidden from pursuing this line of attack is a clear sign that warmongering is the weakest point in the empire’s armor. It’s the most essential component of the oppression machine, and its narratives are the weakest and most plot hole-riddled. If you’re interested in taking down the oligarchic machine which keeps ordinary people poor, sick and stupid, then attacking war propaganda is the most useful expenditure of energy.

American leftists and progressives have not been great at this; even those who identify as “anti-imperialist” tend to mostly stay focused on domestic issues. This is perfectly understandable, since Americans are the victims of the empire’s soul-crushing neoliberal exploitation and it is therefore the thing that is staring them in the face most often.

But the drivers of empire do not fear a push for domestic policy reform nearly as much as they fear a push for foreign policy reform. They know that the plebs can be kept poor and stupid enough to pose no threat to the oligarchs controlling all the money (and therefore all the power) by simply manipulating the system and herding everyone into controlled political opposition groups who will end up telling them “Ohh, sorry, we couldn’t get the congressional votes. Those damn Republicans!” A large public demand to end warmongering would be a much tougher challenge to manipulate around.

The Forever War Is So Normalized That Opposing It Is “Isolationism”

“Under our current Orwellian doublespeak paradigm where forever war is the new normal, the opposite of war is no longer peace, but isolationism.” #war #peace #TulsiGabbardhttps://t.co/dLbW6O2bRV

— Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) 29 июня 2019 г.

It’s actually the same agenda anyway; the plutocratic class, which is incentivized to keep everyone else poor in a system wherein money equals power and power is relative, is the driving force behind both neoliberal exploitation and the forever war, and if you can end either of these things you will end the whole empire. It just happens that when you look at the whole picture, warmongering turns out to be the far easier and far more efficacious line of attack.

There are plenty of moral arguments against imperialism, but you don’t even need to enter into morality to see that it’s smart to make opposing war your foremost priority. The kingdom of the bastards who are grinding us all down and trying to make us poorer, sicker and stupider so we can’t muster the chutzpah to toss them out on their asses is fed by an umbilical cord of endless war, and we have the power to cut that cord by opposing war and attacking war propaganda together.

Change that, and we change everything. Ordinary humans can finally begin to make the world their own, guided not by sociopathic oligarchs but by an enlightened self-interest which realizes that the only way we can continue to survive is if we learn to collaborate with each other and with our ecosystem for the common good. This is all I’ve ever been pushing toward here. Deep down, it’s all any of us want.

medium.com

The Obama Ukrainian Nightmare Seems to Be Ending, at Last

Par Andrey Areshev

Finally, the process of ending the war in Ukraine seems to be starting in earnest. But to understand how the war can now realistically end, the basic history of how it began needs first to be acknowledged, and this history is something that will be very difficult for U.S-and-allied media to report, because it violates what their ‘news’-reports, ever since the time of the war’s start, had said was happening. So, what will be reported here (like the truth was, when it was news) will far likelier be simply ignored, than ever reported in the US and its allied countries. That’s why this news-report and analysis is being submitted to all mainstream news-media in those countries, which until now have unanimously reported, and accepted as being true, the authorized lies, which everyone in the US and allied countries has read, as if those lies were instead the history.

For one thing: This war did not start with the 16 March 2014 breakaway of Crimea from Ukraine, as Western ‘news’-media have always been claiming; but, instead, it started by what had sparked the overwhelming desire of the vast majority of Crimeans to want to break away from Ukraine. This urge had to do with the three-week-earlier February 2014 bloody coup d’etat in Ukraine, illegally overthrowing Ukraine’s democratically elected President, Viktor Yanukovych, for whom 75% of Crimeans had voted. The vast majority of Crimeans refused to accept Obama’s selected replacement-leaders and their new and US-imposed far-rightwing regime, which made clear, as soon as they took over, what they were intending to do to Crimeans.

The key period in the Ukrainian uprising against the coup, during which the residents in Ukraine’s far east — where the voting percentages for Yanukovych had ranged from 80% to over 90% — blocked Ukraine’s tanks and took over the government’s buildings, was the week of 2 through 9 May 2014, and that’s when the farthest eastern region, Donbass, which had voted over 90% for Yanukovych, were so resistant to the imposed fascist regime, that they actually broke away from Ukraine, despite all the efforts by the US-imposed fascist regime to conquer them — Ukraine’s bombing them for months and intentionally driving them out into Russia. The new regime did this so as to regain the land but without the people on it. Obama’s agents — the appointees to the new regime, which were selected by Obama’s US agents — didn’t want those voters to remain in Ukraine’s electorate, because the residents there would vote against the US-imposed regime’s candidates, who then would lose power. Obama wanted the land, but not the people who lived on it, and that’s what this war was and is all about — seizing the land, from the people who live there.

The US and allied media presented the overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 as having been a democratic revolution, but it was actually a US coup d’etat that was hidden behind anti-corruption demonstrations, which had started to be organized on 1 March 2013, inside the US Embassy in Kyiv; and the US regime hired, for this coup, snipers from several countries, such as Georgia and Lithuania, some of which snipers have since admitted publicly that they had been hired by agents for the United States, to perpetrate this coup. Once inside Ukraine, Georgia’s snipers were introduced, at 9:40 in the Part One video, to “an American military guy, who will be your instructor. This American’s name was Brian Christopher Boyenger. … We were always in touch with this person, Bryan.” The Lithuanian snipers were mentioned at 1:40 in the Part Two video, because those snipers happened to have been assigned to be shooting down, into the crowd, from the same room inside the hotel. Obama’s State Department (under Hillary Clinton at the time) had started, by no later than 2011, to plan this operation. Then, after the coup, and after Crimea broke away on 16 March 2014, rebellions farther east started, in other regions that had likewise voted overwhelmingly for Yanukovych. And this is how the war started, which now finally (after the election of Trump in America, and then of Zelensky in Ukraine) seems likely to end fairly soon. (Neither of those two leaders has a personal commitment to continuing this invasion by Ukraine. From now on, Ukraine’s leaders will need to satisfy the EU far more than the US)

On 17 September 2014, was hidden in Western ‘news’-media — and so I was the first to report and headlined the historic news that — “Russia’s Leader Putin Rejects Ukrainian Separatists’ Aim to Become Part of Russia”. This historically important news was not reported in The West (though my news-report was sent to virtually all media) because America’s President had all along been claiming that Putin was trying to grab ‘more’ territory in Ukraine (Donbass); so, Putin’s rejection of Donbass’s request to be accepted into Russia (as Crimea had been) was too blatant a disproof of The West’s lies to be reported in The West. Eleven days later, on 28 September 2014, Britain’s Telegraph headlined “Putin and Obama exchange barbs on Ukraine; Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama accuse each other of fomenting Ukraine crisis that has plunged Russia’s relations with the West to lowest point since Cold War.” This report said nothing at all about Putin’s refusal to take that land which The West was continuing to imply he was trying to grab. Their supposed cause de guerre was gone, but it lives on, even now, in the Western myths about the war’s start (i.e., that it started on 16 March 2014 instead of 20 February 2014, and that it started because ‘Russia was invading Ukraine’ to grab land there’, and not because of Obama’s coup in Ukraine — which coup The West continues to hide).

So, with that background about The West’s lies (versus the reality), here is the reason why Ukraine now seems finally inclined to accept the Donbassers back into Ukraine as full citizens, with equal rights as all others (and no longer as their being ‘terrorists’).

The West is finally tapped-out on spending for Ukraine’s ongoing invasion of Donbass. If Ukraine fails to stop this war soon, then Ukraine’s Government will have less and less realistic hope of ever being able to join the EU. Putin knows this. Furthermore, Ukraine’s regime had worn out the patience even of the residents in the anti-Russian parts of Ukraine, and so Volodymyr Zelensky, a candidate who was no part of that regime and had had no responsibility for its actions, won the 21 April 2019 Presidential election with an astounding 73% of the votes — by far the biggest win in Ukraine’s history.

On 4 July 2019, the Kyiv Post bannered “Putin calls on Zelensky to talk with Russian-backed militants in Donbas”.

The next day, on July 5th, Deutsche Welle, German radio and television, headlined “Ukraine ready for peace, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy tells DW”, and sub-headed “With conflict simmering in the east, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is hoping to secure a political solution to end a separatist insurgency. He told DW that he has the support of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.” This news-report opened: “Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Friday welcomed the withdrawal of Ukrainian and separatist forces from front line positions in Stanitsa Luhanska in eastern Ukraine, marking a new step towards ending the conflict. In the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk, Zelenskiy told DW that his government is committed to finding a political solution to the conflict.” An accompanying DW news-story was “Why Putin wants to make ‘new Russians’ out of Ukrainians”, and it reported that, “Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of the state-controlled broadcaster [like DW is itself, and BBC, and NPR, and PBS, they all are state-controlled, instead of directly controlled by the billionaires] RT, posted on Facebook that if nothing is done, the population would change so much that by 2040 Russia will be a ‘Muslim country.’ She added that people from the Donbass regions, as well as other migrants, could help maintain the ‘fragile status quo of the dominance of Russian Orthodox Christianity.’” Putin had been able to defeat the Saudi effort to spread its Wahhabist-extremist form of Islam into Russia only by using extreme measures to stop its spread. Whereas Russian Orthodox Christianity is compatible with democracy, the Sauds’ fundamentalist-Sunni faith simply is not. Russia needs more citizens who won’t be vulnerable to the Sauds’ pro-jihadist effort. Russia’s Government is strongly anti-jihadist. By contrast, the US, under Obama, was using Al Qaeda to train the jihadist groups that, led by the United States, The West armed to overthrow the secular Government of Syria. The EU is now, at long last, separating itself from the US regime’s control.

Zelensky needs to rely now far more on pleasing the EU than on pleasing America. Do you remember when Obama’s agent running Ukraine famously said “Fuck the EU” (or “F—k the EU”)? That was because most European leaders weren’t as nazi as Obama was. They didn’t even know about Obama’s coup in Ukraine until it was already over.

The Simple Explanation for the Betrayal of Britain’s Envoy

Par Andrey Areshev

Craig MURRAY

The media is full of over-complicated theories as to who might have leaked the diplomatic telegrams of Kim Darroch, Britain’s ambassador to the U.S., who resigned Wednesday after his candid views about U.S. President Donald Trump were revealed by the Daily Mail.

I should start by explaining the telegram system of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, or FCO. The communications are nowadays effectively encrypted emails, though still known as “telegrams,” to the Americans “cables.” They are widely distributed. These Darroch telegrams would be addressed formally to the foreign secretary but have hundreds of other recipients, in the FCO, No.10 Downing Street, other government departments and intelligence services and scores of British embassies abroad. The field of suspects is therefore immense.

It is very important to note that this is an old-fashioned kind of leak which was given to the mainstream media without the documents being published online. It is therefore pretty useless in terms of public information. We haven’t seen the documents, we only know as much as Isabel Oakeshott and the Daily Mailchose to tell us. It is not possible to envision any more untrustworthy or agenda-driven filter than that. We can therefore be certain this was not aWikiLeaks style disclosure in the interests of freedom of information about public servants and their doings, but the agenda was much more specific.

Darroch’s scathing assessment of Trump is no way out of line with the mainstream media narrative and it is interesting – but exactly what I would expect of him – that Darroch shares the neo-con assumption that Trump’s failure to start a war with Iran over the drone take-down was a weird aberration. The leaks neither tell us anything startling nor obviously benefit any political faction in the U.K. So what was the motive?

I believe the most probable answer is much simpler than anything you will find in the vast amount of media guff printed on the subject these past few days by people with no knowledge.

Kim Darroch is a rude and aggressive person, who is not pleasant at all to his subordinates. He rose to prominence within the FCO under New Labour at a time when right wing, pro-Israel foreign policy views and support for the Iraq War were important assets to career progress, as was the adoption of a strange “laddish” culture led from No. 10 by Alastair Campbell, press secretary of former Prime Minister Tony Blair. This culture involved swearing, football shirts and pretending to be working class (Darroch was privately educated). Macho management was suddenly the thing.

At a time when news management was the be all and end all for the Blair administration, Darroch was in charge of the FCO’s media department. I remember being astonished when, down the telephone, he called me “fucking stupid” for disagreeing with him on some minor policy matter. I had simply never come across that kind of aggression in the FCO before. People who worked directly for him had to put up with this kind of thing all the time.

Most senior ambassadors used to have interests like Chinese literature and Shostakovitch. Darroch’s are squash and sailing. He is a bull of a man. In my view, the most likely source of the leaks is a former subordinate taking revenge for years of bullying, or a present one trying to get rid of an unpleasant boss.

consortiumnews.com

The Death of Privacy: Government Fearmongers to Read Your Mail

Par Andrey Areshev

It is discouraging to note just how the United States has been taking on the attributes of a police state since 9/11. Stories of police raids on people’s homes gone wrong are frequently in the news. In one recent incident, a heavily armed SWAT team was sent to a St. Louis county home. The armed officers entered the building without knocking, shot the family dog and forced the family members to kneel on the floor where they were able to watch their pet struggle and then die. The policemen then informed the family that they were there over failure to pay the gas bill. Animal rights groups report that the shooting of pets by police has become routine in many jurisdictions because the officers claim that they feel threatened.

Indeed, any encounter with any police at any level has now become dangerous. Once upon a time it was possible to argue with an officer over the justification for a traffic ticket, but that is no longer the case. You have to sit with your hands clearly visible on the steering wheel while answering “Yes sir!” to anything the cop says. There have been numerous incidents where the uncooperative driver is ordered to get out of the car and winds up being tasered or shot.

Courts consistently side with police officers and with the government when individual rights are violated while the Constitution of the United States itself has even been publicly described by the president as “archaic” and “a bad thing for the country.” The National Security Agency (NSA) routinely and illegally collects emails and phone calls made by citizens who have done nothing wrong and the government even denies to Americans the right to travel to countries that it disapproves of, most recently Cuba.

And traveling itself has become an unpleasant experience even before one sits down in the 17 inches of seat-space offered by major airlines, with the gropers of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) acting as judge, jury and executioner for travelers who have become confused by the constantly changing rules about what they can do and carry with them. The TSA is now routinely “examining” the phones and laptops of travelers and even downloading the information on them, all without a warrant or probable cause. And the TSA even has a “little list” that identifies travelers who are uncooperative and flags them for special harassment.

Congress is considering bills that will make criticism of Israel a crime, establishing a precedent that will end freedom of speech, and the impending prosecution and imprisonment of Julian Assange for espionage will be the death of a truly free press. Americans are no longer guaranteed a trial by jury and can be held indefinitely by military tribunals without charges. Under George W. Bush torture and rendition were institutionalized while Barack Obama initiated the practice of executing US citizens overseas by drone if they were deemed to be a “threat.” There was no legal process involved and “kill” lists were updated every Tuesday morning. And perhaps the greatest crimes of all, both Obama and George W. Bush did not hesitate to bomb foreigners, bring about regime change, and start wars illegally in Asia and Africa.

The latest assault on civil liberties relates to what used to be referred to as privacy. Indeed, the United States government does not recognize that citizens have a right to privacy. Officials in the national security and intelligence agencies have reportedly become concerned that some new encryption systems being used for email traffic and telephones have impeded government monitoring of what information is being exchanged. As is often the case, “terrorism” is the principal reason being cited for the need to read and listen to the communications of ordinary citizens, but it should be observed in passing that more people in the US are killed annually by falling furniture than by acts of terror. It should also be noted that the federal, state and local governments as well as private companies spend well in excess of a trillion dollars every year to fight the terrorism threat, most of which is completely unnecessary or even counter-productive.

At the end of June senior Trump Administration officials connected to the National Security Council met to discuss what to do about the increasing use of the effective encryption systems by both the public and by some internet service providers, including Apple, Google and Facebook. Particular concern was expressed regarding systems that cannot be broken by NSA at all even if maximum resources using the Agency’s computers are committed to the task. It is a condition referred to by the government agencies as “going dark.”

Under discussion was a proposal to go to Congress and to ask for a law either forbidding so-called end-to-end encryption or mandating a technological fix enabling the government to circumvent it. End-to-end encryption, which scrambles a message so that it is only readable by the sender and recipient, was developed originally as a security feature for iPhones in the wake of the whistleblower Edward Snowden’s exposure of the extent to which NSA was surveilling US citizens. End-to-end makes most communications impossible to hack. From the law enforcement point of view, the alternative to a new law banning or requiring circumvention of the feature would be a major and sustained effort to enable government agencies to break the encryption, something that may not even be possible.

In the past, government snooping was enabled by some of the communications providers themselves, with companies like AT&T engineering in so-called “backdoor” access to their servers and distribution centers, where messages could be read directly and phone calls recorded. But the end-to-end encryption negates that option by sending a message out on the ethernet that is unreadable.

Phone security was last in the news in the wake of the 2015 San Bernardino, California, terrorist attack that killed 14, where the Department of Justice took Apple to court to access a locked iPhone belonging to one of the gunmen. Apple refused to create software to open the phone but the FBI was able to find a technician who could do so and the case was dropped, resulting in no definitive legal precedent on the government’s ability to force a private company to comply with its demands.

There is apparently little desire in Congress to take up the encryption issue, though the National Security Council, headed by John Bolton, clearly would like to empower government law enforcement and intelligence agencies by banning unbreakable encryption completely. It is, however, possibly something that can be achieved through an Executive Order from the president. If it comes about that way, FBI, CIA and NSA will be pleased and will have easy access to all one’s emails and phone calls. But the price to be paid is that once the security standards are lowered anyone else with minimal technical resources will be able to do the same, be they hackers or criminals. As usual, a disconnected and tone-deaf government’s perceived need “to keep you safe” will result in a loss of fundamental liberty that, once it is gone, will never be recovered.

Our Free Speech Crisis

Par Andrey Areshev

Walter E. WILLIAMS

The First Amendment to our Constitution was proposed by the 1788 Virginia ratification convention during its narrow 89 to 79 vote to ratify the Constitution. Virginia’s resolution held that the free exercise of religion, right to assembly and free speech could not be canceled, abridged or restrained. These Madisonian principles were eventually ratified by the states on March 1, 1792.

Gettysburg College professor Allen C. Guelzo, in his article “Free Speech and Its Present Crisis,” appearing in the autumn 2018 edition of City Journal, explores the trials and tribulations associated with the First Amendment. The early attempts to suppress free speech were signed into law by President John Adams and became known as the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. Later attempts to suppress free speech came during the Civil War, when President Abraham Lincoln and his generals attacked newspapers and suspended habeas corpus. It wasn’t until 1919, in the case of Abrams v. United States, when the U.S. Supreme Court finally and unambiguously prohibited any kind of censorship.

Today, there is growing contempt for free speech, most of which is found on the nation’s college and university campuses. Guelzo cites the free speech vision of Princeton University professor Carolyn Rouse, who is chairperson of the department of Anthropology. Rouse shared her vision on speech during last year’s Constitution Day lecture. She called free speech a political illusion, a baseless ruse to enable people to “say whatever they want, in any context, with no social, economic, legal or political repercussions.” As an example, she says that a climate change skeptic has no right to make “claims about climate change, as if all the science discovered over the last X-number of centuries were irrelevant.”

Rouse is by no means unique in her contempt for our First Amendment rights. Faculty leaders of the University of California consider certain statements racist microagressions: “America is a melting pot”; “America is the land of opportunity”; “Everyone can succeed in this society, if they work hard enough”; and “There is only one race, the human race.” The latter statement is seen as denying the individual as a racial/cultural being. Then there’s “I believe the most qualified person should get the job.” That’s “racist” speech because it gives the impression that “people of color are given extra unfair benefits because of their race.” Other seemingly innocuous statements deemed unacceptable are: “When I look at you, I don’t see color,” or “Affirmative action is racist.” Perhaps worst of all is, “Where are you from, or where were you born?”

We should reject any restriction on free speech. We might ask ourselves, “What’s the true test of one’s commitment to free speech?” It does not come when people permit others to say or publish ideas with which they agree. The true test of one’s commitment to free speech comes when others are permitted to say and publish ideas they deem offensive.

The test for one’s commitment to freedom of association is similar. Christian Americans have been hounded for their refusal to cater same-sex weddings. For those who support such attacks, we might ask them whether they would seek prosecution of the owner of a Jewish delicatessen who refused to provide services for a neo-Nazi affair. Should a black catering company be forced to cater a Ku Klux Klan affair? Should the NAACP be forced to open its membership to racist skinheads? Should the Congressional Black Caucus be forced to open its membership to white members of Congress? The true test of a person’s commitment to freedom of association does not come when he permits people to associate in ways he finds acceptable. It comes when he permits people to voluntarily associate in ways he deems offensive.

I am afraid that too many of my fellow Americans are hostile to the principles of liberty. Most people want liberty for themselves. I differ. I want liberty for me and liberty for my fellow man.

creators.com

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