In a two-Party dictatorship, the important truths are kept away from being publicized on either side, Eric Zuesse writes.
Throughout history, aristocrats, and their flaks such as their ‘news’-media, cast blame downward, away from themselves who collectively control the government, and onto, instead, some minority or other mass group, who can’t even plan or function together so as to be able to control the government.
The U.S. has a two-Party aristocracy, as is clear from the “Open Secrets” list of the 100 biggest political donors in the 2020 U.S. Presidential and congressional campaigns, the “2020 Top Donors to Outside Spending Groups”. Those are only these individuals’ publicly acknowledged expenditures, none of the dark political money, which, of course, is donated secretly. At the top there, of the donors’ lists, is Sheldon Adelson (who just died, on January 11th in California, and was buried in Israel), who spent far more than anyone in all of U.S. history had ever spent in any campaign cycle, $215 million, which amount far exceeded even the $82 million that he had spent in 2016, which in 2016 was second only to Thomas Steyer’s $92 million (the previous all-time highest amount donated in any campaign year). Adelson gave exclusively to Republicans, whereas Steyer gave exclusively to Democrats. Steyer in 2020 gave $67 million, which — though he was running for President in 2020, and hadn’t been running in 2016 — was only 73% of his 2016 donations, in that year, when he had been the nation’s top political donor. He was only the 5th-biggest donor in 2020, instead of #1.
The second-biggest donor in 2020 was the liberal Republican Michael Bloomberg, who ran in the Democratic Presidential primaries in order to defeat the only progressive in that contest, who was Bernie Sanders. Bloomberg spent $151 million of his own funds for that purpose. In 2016, he had spent $24 million in order to help Hillary Clinton beat Bernie Sanders, and then try to beat Donald Trump.
The third-biggest in 2020 was Timothy Mellon, the son of Paul Mellon and grandson of Andrew Mellon. Timothy Mellon gave $70 million, all to Republicans.
In 2020, the top ten donors, collectively, spent $776 million to own their chunk of the U.S. Government. The second group of ten (#s 11-20) donated only $187 million; and, so, the top twenty together donated $963 million, just shy of $1 trillion. All 80 of the other top-100 donors, together, gave around $370 million, so that the total from all 100 was around one-and-a-third trillion dollars. 47 gave to Republicans; 53 gave to Democrats.
The smallest publicly acknowledged donor among the top 100, Foster Friess, gave $2.4 million, all to Republicans.
Most of these 100 donors are among America’s approximately 700 billionaires; and, even the ones who aren’t are serving and doing business with the billionaires, and therefore are to some extent dependent upon having good relations with them, not being enemies of any billionaire. All of these 100 are, obviously, also dependent upon the governmental decisions that the public officials whom they have purchased will be making, not only regarding regulations and laws, but also regarding foreign policies. For example, Friess merged his company into Affiliated Management Group, which “is a global asset management firm” that “has grown to approximately $730 billion.” Virtually all of the top 100 political donors are internationally invested, and their personal wealth is therefore affected by American foreign policies, in ways that the personal wealth of the rest of the population is not.
When the U.S. invades a foreign country, or issues sanctions against a foreign country, it benefits some American investors, not only in corporations such as Lockheed Martin and ExxonMobil, but even in some foreign-headquartered corporations. America’s spending around half of the entire world’s military expenses gives an enormous competitive boost to America’s billionaires, which is paid for by all U.S. taxpayers. It takes away money that would otherwise go toward the rest of the U.S. population — people who might even become crippled or killed by their military service for the benefit of America’s billionaires. Marketing this military service to thepublic, as “national defense” — even at a time when no nation has invaded or even threatened to invade America after 1945 — is good PR for America’s wealthiest families, regardless of whether it’s of any benefit whatsoever to other Americans. Because of the success of this PR for the military, Americans consider the U.S. military to be America’s best institution — far higher than any other part of the U.S. Government or any non-governmental institution, such as churches, the press, or the medical system. The U.S. Department of Defense is, also, by far, the most corrupt of all Departments of the U.S. federal Government. This fact is carefully hidden from the U.S. public, so as to keep the public admiring the military.
Billionaires use their media, and their scholars, to point the finger of blame, for the problems that the public does know about, anywhere else than against themselves; and, though the billionaires have political differences amongst themselves, they are unified against the public, so as to continue the gravy train that they all are on.
In order for the aristocracy not to be blamed for the many problems that they cause upon the public, their first trick is to blame some minority or some other vulnerable mass within the public. Or else to blame some ‘enemy’ country. But if and when such a strategy fails, then, they and their media blame the middle class or “bourgeoisie,” in order to fool the leftists, and also they blame the “communists” and the poor, in order to fool the rightists. That’s a two-pronged PR strategy — one to the left, and the other to the right. Since the aristocracy is always, itself, fundamentally conservative, they would naturally rather blame the leftists as being “communists,” than to blame the middle class and poor, because to do the latter would place the public’s ideological focus on economic class, which then would threaten to expose the billionaires themselves as being the actual economic “elite” who are the public’s real enemy (and as being the elite against which the propaganda should instead be focused). Blaming the middle class and poor might work amongst their fellow-aristocrats, but if tried amongst the public, it would present the danger of backfiring. Consequently, there is a return to the days of Joseph R. McCarthy, but this time without communism. Thus, here is how the White House correspondent for a Democratic Party ‘news’-site, CNN, closed his ‘news’-analysis, on January 14th, under the headline “Washington’s agony is a win for autocrats and strongmen”:
Nice work, Mr. Putin.
According to a US intelligence community report, Russia’s chief goal in interfering in the 2016 election in support of Trump against Democrat Hillary Clinton was to “undermine public faith in the US democratic process.” Four years on, there have been two impeachments and an insurrection against the US legislature. Millions believe Trump’s lies that he was illegally ejected from power, and doubt Biden’s legitimacy.
Conspiracy theorists have seats in Congress. There are serious questions about whether one of the country’s great political parties is now anti-democratic. The Covid-19 pandemic exposed weaknesses in a federal system that grants vast power to the states. And America’s self-appointed role as an exceptional nation and beacon of democracy is in the gutter.
Most of the disorienting events of the last few years can be blamed directly on Trump and his particular skill at tearing at the social, racial and political divides that are just below the nation’s surface. So the ex-KGB man in the Kremlin hardly deserves all the credit. But Russia, China and other autocratic nations are gaining much from Washington’s agony. They’re already using it to promote their own closed and totalitarian societies as models of comparative order and efficiency — and to beat back brave local voices calling for democracy and human rights.
In an effective declaration of victory for Russia’s espionage offensive against the US more than four years ago, Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the lower house of the Russian Parliament, slid home the knife. “Following the events that unfolded after the presidential elections, it is meaningless to refer to America as the example of democracy,” he said.
“We are on the verge of reevaluating the standards that are being promoted by the United States of America, that is exporting its vision of democracy and political systems around the world. Those in our country who love to cite their example as leading will also have to reconsider their views.”
That’s propaganda from “leftist” (i.e., Democratic Party) billionaires. A good example of an independent American journalist who has been fooled by Republican Party billionaires to blame some amorphous mass of “leftists” is Sara A. Carter’s 12 January 2021 youtube “Rudy Giuliani talks big tech censorship”, blaming America’s problems on “the government,” or “the bureacracy,” and, of course, especially on Democrats. At 10:15 there, she said “My mother fled from Cuba.” Carter, as a conservative, is so obsessed with her visceral hatred of “communism,” that she interpreted America’s dictatorship as being communists, instead of as being billionaires — of both Parties: actually, fascists. In a two-Party fascist dictatorship, she fears the leftists. This is typical of propagandists on the conservative side. But propagandists on the liberal side (such as the CNN correspondent exemplified) are no better, just different.
Both propaganda-operations cast blame away from the real culprits.
In a two-Party dictatorship, the important truths are kept away from being publicized on either side. What the public sees and hears, instead, is political theater, merely tailored to different audiences.
The Silicon Valley giant suspended the account after detecting suspicious activity originating in Virginia, home of the CIA and numerous other three-letter agencies.
By Alan MACLEOD
The Twitter account of the Russian COVID-19 “Sputnik V” vaccine was suspended yesterday after the Silicon Valley-based platform detected suspicious attempts to log into it. Raising more eyebrows was the stated location of the attempted hack: not Russia, but Virginia, U.S.A.
The news immediately prompted Internet sleuths to question who was behind the hack. “Now who in Virginia might want to sabotage a global health initiative by one of Washington’s “official enemies?” wrote former MintPress contributor Morgan Artyukhina. Virginia is, of course, home to many of the three-letter national security agencies engaged in online warfare, including the CIA. Many social media users suggested this was evidence of a failed nefarious action. Sputnik’s Twitter account has since been reinstated.
Named after the first manmade satellite to orbit the Earth, the vaccine is among the first to be developed and brought to market. With rich nations buying up huge quantities of Western vaccines before they were even approved, leaving little for poorer states, Sputnik is primarily being used in Russia, Asia, and Latin America. Already, 727 million doses have been ordered by 50 countries, including 200 million from India and 160 million from Russia. Meanwhile, Brazil has ordered 100 million and Mexico 24 million. Bolivia, Argentina, and Venezuela are also major customers. In December, Hungary became the first EU nation to purchase the shots, and there is a possibility that the vaccine could be rolled out across the continent soon. Testing occurred in a number of nations in the Global South and the vaccine will be produced in nine countries.
Like Western variants, Sputnik must be delivered in two shots weeks apart and must also be stored in deep freezer conditions (-18°C/-0.4°F). Developed by the state-run Gamaleya Institute, it is a viral vector vaccine, meaning that it employs another virus to carry the DNA encoding of the desired immune response into cells. Protein coding genes from the coronavirus are inserted into two common cold-like viruses that have been genetically modified so they cannot replicate inside the human body. Trial results suggest that the injections are between 91-95% effective, similar to the Moderna and BioNTech/Pfizer vaccines.
However, Western politicians and press have been casting doubts and fears on the safety and effectiveness of the product for months, describing it as “controversial” (The Guardian) or “rushed” (BBC). Others, such as CNN and CNBC have characterized it as unsafe and ineffective.
The new Cold War
This is perhaps unsurprising, given the new levels of anti-Russian sentiment expressed in the corporate media since 2016. A central claim from many in the Democratic Party is that the Russian government strongly interfered in the presidential election and swung the result for Donald J. Trump. Russian President Vladimir Putin is supposedly in possession of incriminating evidence on Trump, making the man in the White House a “Siberian candidate,” according to many. Russophobic sentiment has reached such heights that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper could appear on NBC’s Meet the Press to claim that Russians are “genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate [and] gain favor” and receive no push back at all.
Democrats also immediately saw Russia’s hand behind the deadly storming of the Capitol Building earlier this month. “A complete tool of Putin, this president is. Putin’s goal was to diminish the view of democracy in the world. That’s what he has been about … the president gave him the biggest of all of his many gifts to Putin” said Nancy Pelosi. “This is the day that Vladimir Putin has waited for since he had to leave East Germany as a young KGB officer,” reacted Obama advisor Ben Rhodes. “Putin’s Disinformation Campaign Claims Stunning Victory With Capitol Hill ‘Coup’” wrote Omer Benjakob in Haaretz.
But while many in the Democratic Party see Trump as being either soft on (or controlled by) Putin, in reality, the 45th president has adopted a highly aggressive policy towards Moscow. Trump’s administration armed far-right rebel groups in Ukraine, something Obama shied away from. He also increased sanctions on Russia, bombed a Russian military base in Syria, and walked away from a number of anti-nuclear treaties crucial in maintaining the peace between the two powers.
As a result, Americans’ view of Russia has crashed. As late as 2011, a substantial majority of the country saw Russia in a positive light. Today, the country has a 28% favorable and a 72% unfavorable rating. By comparison, in 1989, during the Cold War, 62% of Americans saw the Soviet Union as either “highly” or “mostly” favorable, according to historic data from pollster Gallup.
Despite the Western speculation about the vaccine’s effectiveness, Sputnik V is considered a superior, more trustworthy vaccine by people in the Global South, according to a study of 11 nations conducted by British polling group YouGov. Good thing too, as, lacking the ability to pay, they might not be able to receive any other COVID-19 shot. Although Russia continues to be a central issue in U.S. politics, it is doubtful whether this attempted hack will receive anything like the attention other alleged hacks going the other way have received.
Denmark is not the only vassal state adhering to the U.S. Military Empire. All 27 members of the European Union and all 30 NATO members, follow suit to varying degrees. Denmark, however, has earned a sit in the front row, Ron Ridenour writes.
Denmark has been fighting with U.S. wars since the 1991 invasion of Iraq. It has sent troops into Afghanistan, Iraq, the Balkans, Libya, and Syria—fighting a bloody Second Cold War.
“We perceive it as natural that once again we are on the way to war, part of our every day,” says Vibeke Schou Tjalve, researcher at Danish Institute for International Studies. “People believe that if the U.S. says it is wise, so it is wise for us to be with them … We have broken our hymen.”
Tjalve explained that, since at least October 2, 2014, practically every military researcher at universities and military think tanks agree that “Denmark is at war to please America.”
At the time of Tjalve’s statement, Denmark announced that it had sent four F-16 war jets and 300 mercenaries to the Baltic States and Poland in response to the U.S.-led coup against Ukraine’s democratically elected government. Sanctions against Russia followed. 
New Cold War against Russia
Denmark is not the only vassal state adhering to the U.S. Military Empire. All 27 members of the European Union and all 30 NATO members, follow suit to varying degrees. Denmark, however, has earned a sit in the front row.
Russia is now under sanctions by the EU, because 97% of Crimeans (1,274,096) voted to join Russia, while 2.5% (32,000) voted to remain with the neo-fascist-led coup government of Ukraine. Eighty-three percent of those eligible voted. A year later, the very capitalist Forbes magazine wrote:
The U.S. and European Union may want to save Crimeans from themselves, but the Crimeans are happy right where they are. One year after the annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula in the Black Sea, poll after poll shows that the locals there—be they Ukrainians, ethnic Russians or Tatars—are mostly all in agreement: life with Russia is better than life with Ukraine.
Member-states rallied behind the sanctions despite traditional worshipping “free market trading.”
Economists from Kiel and Hong Kong calculated in 2019 that $4 billion in trade each month would be lost due to anti-Russian sanctions. Of these export losses, $1.8 billion, or 45%, are borne by authorizing countries, 55% by Russia.
The EU originally introduced sanctions on July 31, 2014, for one year in response to Russia’s actions of “destabilizing the situation in Ukraine,” and extends the sanctions periodically. A double standard is apparent in that Russia is targeted while other countries engaged in real human rights violations are not sanctioned. Examples: Saudi Arabia, Rwanda, Colombia, and Israel, whose right-wing governments routinely seize Palestinian land and homes, encage children, and kill others. The U.S. wages wars of aggression and backs coups in scores of countries for two centuries.
Denmark allows its banks to whitewash money that come from drug and arms smuggling, and refuses to plug loopholes so that the rich can claim refunds from taxes they have not paid. These matters have been news for years, yet when a corporation sells jet fuel to Russia, which it uses to destroy IS terrorist enclaves in Syria, Denmark calls this criminal.
172,000 tons of jet fuel! That is what Dan-Bunkering in Denmark sold to Russia in the decisive years of 2015-17. According to Mikkel Storm Jensen, a military analyst for the Defense Academy, “Without Russian flying would Assad not have won the civil war?”
Does this mean that Establishment military analysts mean the preferred victors should have been the IS terrorists, al-Qaeda and other “milder” U.S.-armed opposition groups?
In November 2020, the government charged Dan-Bunkering with violating EU sanction rules and is seeking not only a fine, which is the most the government seeks for some corporate crimes, but also imprisonment for those responsible.
Dan-Bunkering CEO Keld Demant faces potential jail time for selling jet fuel to Russia. He says that the company had no knowledge that the jet fuel might end up in Syria.
DR (Danish Broadcasting Corporation) wrote that it was U.S. documentation and “sources” (read: NSA/CIA) that showed Denmark this “criminal” behavior on the part of Dan-Bunkering. The company purportedly earned about $3 billion from free market trading.
“Authoritarian” Russia was eliminating real terrorists who cut off heads for any “sinful” behavior or simply for being born in the wrong family. The “democratic” CIA and Pentagon back different terrorist groups fighting against the Syrian government army while also fighting one another.
The Los Angeles Times reported, on March 27, 2016, that Syrian militias armed by different parts of the U.S. war machine have begun to fight each other. In mid-February, a CIA-armed militia called Fursan al Haq, or Knights of Righteousness, was run out of the town of Marea by Pentagon-backed Syrian Democratic Forces moving in from Kurdish-controlled areas to the east. A fighter with the Suqour Al-Jabal brigade, a group with links to the CIA, said intelligence officers of the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State know their group has clashed with the Pentagon-trained militias.
Fursan al Haq sometimes is with al-Qaeda’s Syrian group, Al-Nusra, The CIA operates inside Turkey where it directs aid “to rebel groups in Syria, providing them with TOW antitank missiles from Saudi Arabian weapons stockpiles.”
Russia backs governments in Syria, Iran, Crimea, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Cuba, which the U.S. and allies consider illegitimate and criminal. On top of sanctions, more war weaponry stares at Russians on their borders, and war exercises take place in anticipation of a “Russian attack.”
In 2018, 500,000 NATO troops, 250 aircraft, 65 warship and 500 war vehicles crossed into Denmark from Germany on their way to Norway to conduct maneuvers against a Russian invasion.
Danish Foreign Policy Post-WW11 History
Denmark accepted Nazi Germany’s occupation immediately as its tanks rolled in, April 9, 1940. Its government led by Social Democrats turned over Danish resistance fighters to the Nazis, sometimes even more than asked for. It allowed fascist Danes to fight with German Nazis.
The last two years of the war, Danish underground resistance became quite effective and that convinced the allies to accept Denmark as an ally after the war.
When British troops marched into Denmark on liberation day May 5, 1945, Danish politicians eagerly embraced them, and then decided to follow the lead of the United States. The economy was rebuilt with Marshall Plan funding. Much of that repaid in Danish currency once the economy grew.
Denmark had no conflicts with the Soviet Union after it left the Danish island of Bornholm a few months after ousting Nazi occupiers at the end of the war. Nevertheless, Denmark swore alliance to the UK-USA Cold War started by Winston Churchill and Harry Truman.
Denmark was one of the first dozen nations to form NATO in 1949 and established a clandestine Gladio army, created to stop an alleged forthcoming Communist invasion.
Nevertheless, Denmark did not participate in U.S. wars and coups, and most Danes were adamantly against the war in Southeast Asia. Many Danish youth and left-wing parties were peace activists.
Social Democrat Prime Minister Anker Joergensen led the Danish government most of the time between 1972 and 1982. Having been a union activist and warehouse worker, he argued that Denmark should be neutral in the Cold War and that NATO warships should be barred from carrying nuclear arms in Danish waters.
Joergensen also opposed the Vietnam War. When Vietnam retook its land from the invaders, PM Joergensen expressed support for its liberation, adding that the U.S.’s foreign policy has a “false ideological foundation.”
Peace organizations and left-wing parties, including Social Democrats at that time, opposed NATO’s fascination with escalating the Cold War with more nuclear missiles. A majority of parliament adopted a “footnote” policy that prohibited Denmark supporting Pershing and Cruise middle-range missiles not only on its territory but throughout Europe.
As the U.S. installed their new deadly ware, millions of Europeans resisted. In September 1981, tens of thousands demonstrated in Berlin against visiting U.S. Secretary of State Alexander Haig. They were indignant that Haig had said during his confirmation hearings earlier in 1981, “There are more important things than peace, things which we Americans must be willing to fight for.”
The largest hand-linking demonstration, more than 100 kilometers long, stretched from Ulm to Stuttgart where I stood amongst 200,000 people. Organizers had hoped for half that number, which would have connected in one line the two cities and a U.S. military base where Pershing missiles were to be deployed. We were so many that we had to make a snaking formation. At precisely noon, all traffic stopped, not a word spoken. Our hands were literally electrified in a brotherly sensation as we melted into one spirit.
Our persistent actions connecting hands and hearts across the continents of North America and Europe, West and East, laid the foundation for the largest international peace conference since February 1972 when 1,200 delegates from 84 nations met at Versailles to plan actions against the U.S. war in Southeast Asia. In October 1986, twice that many delegates—2,200 from 2,468 organizations in 136 countries—met in Copenhagen at the World Peace Congress.
As a peace activist-journalist, I reported in print and radio from Stuttgart, from the Versailles conference, and from Copenhagen’s conference as co-chair of the journalist workshop. We were 254 journalists, who pledged to uphold the Helsinki Accords of August 1975 regarding the use of information in the context of “strengthening peace and understanding among peoples; to cooperate irrespective of their economic and social conditions.”
The conferees’ main goal was to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons and to dismantle those that existed. UN Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, India PM Rajiv Gandhi, and U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy sent greetings.
The World Peace Council, the Soviet Union’s peace organization, was present. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev had declared the goal of eliminating all nuclear weapons. Unlike U.S. leaders, Gorbachev did not think economic and political systems led by elites were more important than peace. In the minds of the owners and editors of mass media, however, if Russians wanted peace there must be something fishy about it.
Despite the mass media’s reluctance to support world peace efforts, peoples’ resistance movements, coupled with de-escalation efforts by Gorbachev, led to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
In January 1986, Gorbachev had publicly proposed a three-stage program for abolishing all nuclear weapons. He convinced Reagan to meet in Reykjavik to discuss de-escalating as we met in Copenhagen. Reagan refused to go as far as Gorbachev but within months Gorbachev’s actions de-escalating nuclear weaponry could not be dismissed—the SU reduced its long-range nuclear missiles by half. On December 8, 1987, the INF treaty was signed, passed by the U.S. Senate on May 27, 1988, and ratified by both world leaders, on June 1.
The INF Treaty banned all of the two nations’ land-based ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and missile launchers with ranges of 500–1,000 kilometers, and 1,000–5,500 km. By May 1991, the nations had eliminated 2,692 missiles, followed by 10 years of on-site verification inspections.
However, a majority of voters put right-wing/center parties in the government in the 1980s, they changed the “footnote” foreign policy of no support for more nuclear weapons and war escalation with an “active” one.
Denmark’s subservience to U.S./NATO became a greater priority than the threat of nuclear war. The first war Denmark participated in was Bush I’s 1991 invasion of Iraq.
Modern Danish Viking warriors got their feet wet during the Gulf War (August 1990-February 1991) by invading Iraq, because it had a dispute with Kuwait about oil pricing and production.
On August 2, 1990, Denmark sent a corvette to blockade Iraq and relieve U.S. and UK warships.
The world’s largest shipping owner, A.P. Moeller-Maersk (APMM), was disappointed that the Danish government had offered so little to help the U.S.-led war that he demanded and received direct contact with the U.S. military. He sent dozens of ships to transport a half-million U.S. troops and armaments free of charge. This bought him future war contracts worth billions of dollars.
One of Maersk’s shipping lines, Maersk Line Limited, is based in Norfolk, Virginia. His 56 ships there fly the U.S. stars and stripes; 22 of them are used directly by the U.S. for military operations.
The company offer of ships and expertise brought the Danish government into the picture. APMM ships were contracted to sail parts from around the world to Lockheed Martin’s factory in Fort Worth, Texas. When Lockheed Martin received a contract for building 1,763 F-35 super jets following the September 11, 2001, attacks, Moeller-Maersk was right there.
During the 1990s, Denmark assisted in breaking up Yugoslavia. This ended the socialist-led state replaced by five separate capitalist states. On November 8, 1992, Denmark sent 170 soldiers and observers to Bosnia. Denmark was under UN “peace-keeping” missions and later under NATO fighting missions until March 1995.
In October 1998, the first 875 of many thousands of Danish mercenaries were sent to fight beside the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). Nine F-16s accompanied them. The KLA was a drug-smuggling band and was on U.S. and European terrorist lists. When the KLA attacked socialist-led Serbian forces, it became an ally. Denmark still occupies Bosnia and Kosovo. Hashim Thaçi resigned the presidency on November 5, 2020, after being indicted in June 2020 on ten counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
In December 2001, Denmark joined the U.S. in its invasion of Afghanistan, for allegedly giving refuge to al-Qaeda forces perhaps responsible for the terrorist attacks September 11. The U.S. refused to offer the Taliban government, which it had helped to gain power, any proof that those Saudi al-Qaeda forces were responsible for the terrorist actions.
What Danes, and U.S. Americans, forget, or wish to ignore, is that President Vladimir Putin, just elected following Boris Yeltsin’s decade-long betrayal to Russian sovereignty, complied with President George W. Bush request for assistance in his war against Afghanistan’s Taliban government. President Putin offered intelligence support, use of its military base in Kyrgyzstan, and even proposed a broader NATO with Russia as a member. For Putin’s pains of cooperation, Bush allowed the CIA to infiltrate terrorists in areas of Russian interests in the Caucasus, including in Baku, intending to create separatism and feuds between neighbors (Georgia, Chechnya, North and South Ossetia) and Russia. Bush also withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. (See The Russian Peace Threat: Pentagon on Alert, chapters 13 and 14).
Russia and China are accused of being anti-democratic, authoritarian, even totalitarian states. Yet Anders Wivel and Rasmus Mariager’s 2019 book, Krigsudredningen (The War Investigation), shows how “Denmark’s military engagement [is] driven by Danish politicians’ decision-making will to accommodate American desire for military contribution.”
The decision about going to war is “not what one fights for, but with whom we fight.” “What is lacking is any systematic discussion of goals, means, expected affect, resources, risk, time plan…alternatives and consequence. Elections are not determined by foreign policy… Denmark’s alliances and world goals are decided by politicians,” wrote Information’s editor about the book. By implication, the people have no say especially about foreign policy, i.e., who to murder or not.
Denmark has flown more than 1,000 F-16 missions, used helicopters, transport aircraft, tanks, and thousands of machine guns. It has spent more money there than any other invader in Afghanistan other than the U.S.—three billion dollars between 2002-2015, and still counting. They plan to remain in Afghanistan as long as the U.S. is there.
On March 21, 2003, Denmark became the only government to actually declare war on Iraq. Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s public posture was that Iraq possessed weapons of massive destruction, as if that were an international crime warranting “regime change.” It was later proven that Rasmussen had lied. No such weapons existed and he knew it from his own intelligence service. However, such weapons do exist in the U.S. and some of its allies’ territory.
On March 18, 2011, the Danish parliament voted unanimously to create a no fly zone to prevent Libya’s government from protecting itself, in effect warring against Libya. The parties voting included the Peoples Socialist party (SF) and Red/Green (Enhedslisten). Denmark sent six F-16s, allegedly to prevent President Muammar Gaddafi from “crushing civilian opposition” armed in Benghazi, something that groups associated with al-Qaeda claimed would soon happen.
Denmark dropped one thousand bombs. The “brave pilots,” as the media called them, had no risk as Libya’s air force was crushed. Not one Danish invader was killed, but hundreds of Libyan civilians were. Denmark spent more than $100 million helping destroy schools, hospitals, homes, and soldiers protecting their sovereign nation. Western “humanitarian” forces watched as its “rebel opposition” captured President Gaddafi and tortured him to a painful death.
“WE CAME, WE SAW, HE DIED” chortled Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on CBS news.
In April 2014, Danish ships transported 1,300 tons of chemical weaponry from Syria’s government into the hands of the U.S., the country with the most chemical and biological weaponry. Denmark also sent F-16s on missions inside Syria against all laws of sovereignty.
In January 2017, Denmark sent 60 Special Forces to Syria to assist terrorist groups fighting the Syrian government. Denmark has focused on donating tax money to “opposition” “humanitarian” groups, such as “White Helmets” embedded with IS in its captured territory, and “friendly” militia fighters against the government.
The same month, Denmark flew four F-16s to aid Estonia from being “invaded by Russia”. This action was linked to supporting the neo-fascist Ukrainian coup government, which the U.S. set in. Denmark continues its “peace-keeping mission” in the Baltics.
Greenland Not For Sale, or What?
U.S. Homeland Security official Miles Taylor was with President Donald Trump in Puerto Rico, in August 2018. After he resigned, Taylor recounted: “Not only did he want to purchase Greenland, he actually said he wanted to see if we could sell Puerto Rico…Could we swap Puerto Rico for Greenland because, in his words, Puerto Rico was dirty and the people were poor?”
Trump didn’t bother to ask Puerto Ricans or Greenlanders. He raised it with Denmark’s new PM Mette Frederiksen. Denmark’s prime ministers do not have the authority to make such a deal. Frederiksen made the error of telling Danish media that the notion was “absurd.” This term injured Trump’s vanity. He cancelled his planned trip to Denmark on September 2, 2019. About 1,000 of us gathered to demonstrate against him and Denmark’s cozy relationship with Trump anyway.
Donald Trump does not give up easily, as the 2020 election clearly shows. He tried buying “good will” so that Greenlanders would allow the United States to use their land for more war machinery. In April 2020, Trump sent $12 million “to enhance Greenland’s growth.”
Mette Frederiksen smiled and said the $12 million was a wonderful gift.
Trump’s ambassador to Denmark, Carla Sands, wrote, “Unlike Russia and the PRC [People’s Republic of China], America’s vision for the Arctic area is based on transparency, cooperation and democratic values.”
Sands also wrote that this money would screen Greenlanders from “malicious influence and extortion by Russia and China.” She encouraged Denmark to spend more to protect Greenland, i.e., buy more F-35s. The 27 already contracted will increase its war aircraft fleet by 40% along with General Dynamics F-16s.
The Russian ambassador to Denmark, Vladimir V. Barbin, replied that the U.S. rejects dialogue and cooperation, preferring “confrontation politics” oriented “to achieve domination.”
Unlimited consumerism is causing the melting of all the Arctic’s glaciers within a few years. The territories and countries around it (Greenland, Canada, Alaska, Scandinavia, China, Russia) should see the need to cooperate to help save its glaciers and not remove oil and mineral wealth beneath them. Nor should they put every human in the area in threat of diseases from radioactive chemicals, or entire elimination from nuclear accidents or nuclear war.
Greenlanders remember what most others do not about how dangerous flying around with nuclear weapons can be. On January 21, 1968, a B-52 carrying four nuclear bombs caught on fire and crashed into ice nearby Thule Air Force Base.
Denmark has had a no-nuclear policy since 1957.
The U.S. had moved Greenlanders from Thule village during WWII to build the base. Denmark unwillingly gave the U.S. eternal use of Greenland. It agreed to never inspect what the U.S. brought. After the war, the enemy was again the Soviet Union, and the U.S. brought nuclear weapons to Thule. Since then, the U.S. flies and sails nuclear missiles anywhere regardless of any nation’s laws. Danish politicians faithfully cover up the fact that the U.S. has nuclear weaponry on its territory.
Following the crash, teams of Danes and U.S. Americans conducted as much clean-up of nuclear waste and plutonium as they said they could. The whole matter was hushed up, but a report revealed that only 90% of dangerous material was recovered; 10% was sunken below the seabed at North Star Bay, contaminating plants and fish.
Of the 1,500 Danish workers, 450 died from radiation cancer. There is no information available about how many Greenlanders fell ill and died. In 1995, Danish survivors of the clean-up (“Operation Chrome Dome”) sued for compensation.
Survivors received the grand total of $6,000 each for their pain. Neither the American workers nor native Greenlanders in the area received anything. The Association of Former Thule Workers called it a “cover-up.”
Cover-up is what the Danish governments’ Defense Department has been doing for years, and has led to illegally spying on its residents and European neighbors, a Danish weapons firm, Terma, even the Ministry of Finance, all to please NSA and Lockheed Martin.
Social Democrats Embrace the New Cold War with Relish
In the autumn of 2019, the new Social Democrat government leaders wet their skirts scrambling to convince the most narcissistic president in U.S. history that they are his most loyal of all lackeys. Great Britain move over.
Mette Frederiksen and her war minister, Trine Bramsen, felt the need to make up for not being able to sell Greenland to Donald Trump’s government, something he felt was a condition for his scheduled September 2019 visit.
Frederiksen pledged even closer U.S.-Danish cooperation in efforts to control the Arctic, whose melting ice has increased competition with Russia over oil and minerals. Frederiksen made further offerings to assist the United States Military Empire:
Kristian Soeby Kristensen, senior researcher at the Institute for Military Studies, Copenhagen University, told DR, “Russia constitutes a potential military threat to Europe…so it is decisive that European countries also equip themselves and pose with more powerful forces.”
The “threat” from this huge country is frightening for those who refuse to see how ridiculous it is to claim that 145 million Russians will take on 900 million people in 30 NATO countries.
Denmark and the EU are also increasing the demonization of Russia by following U.S.’s lead in denying that the Soviet Union/Russia played an important role in winning WWII.
On Victory Day, May 4, 75 years after Germany surrendered in Denmark, Danish politicians gave no credit to the fact that the Soviet Union played a central role in liberating Europe from the Nazis. Twenty-seven million Soviet soldiers and civilians were killed (13% of its people), compared to 450,000 in the UK (1%), and 420,000 Americans (0.32%).
Denmark has also come up with reasons to sanction Russia’s ally, China. Denmark’s largest telecommunications company (TDC) worked with Huawei and was satisfied. No one could find any spying capabilities with Huawei products. Trump, however, just as all U.S. presidents tied with Wall Street, must have enemies. They serve for weapon-industry profiteering and as diversions from internal problems. With sanctions against Huawei, TDC switched to Ericsson, a Swedish company.
Mette Swinging with Trump
Following the tense situation about who should control Greenland, Mette Frederiksen met with Donald Trump in London during the December 2019 NATO meeting.
She told the media, “I have a good and positive impression of the president.” “We can count on one another and we can trust one another.” “We swing well.”
To prove how well she swings with her big partner, Frederiksen increased Denmark’s military support over what she had offered just two months before. This support includes:
Key features of Denmark’s military might for its 5.7 million inhabitants include:
Denmark’s Wars: The Toll
Thirty thousand troops and mercenaries sent 67,371 times to war between 1990-2017 (and running) as an aggressor in half-a-dozen countries, either as part of NATO or part of the “coalition of the willing.” Danish troops have also been in two dozen countries as part of UN peacekeeping forces.
Danes killed: 64; wounded, approximately 300; 47 suicides in 300 attempts between 1992-2013 (and running). No figures are kept of how many human beings Denmark has murdered!
Conclusion: Why are Danes so obedient to the United States Military Empire?
Profiteering from the weapons industry and wars is always one answer, usually the main answer. Nevertheless, with the exception of a handful of capitalists (A.P. Moeller Maersk, Terma) income from weapons and war is negligible in Denmark.
Demonizing President Vladimir Putin is the key ideological reason. Copying the United States Military Empire goes hand-in-hand with that.
Can Danes really believe that the Russians would invade them if the U.S. wasn’t behind them militarily? Would the U.S. drop its support if Denmark refused to fight the Yankees’ wars? No. If it did, it would have serious problems with several current vassal states.
Not all 30 NATO countries and the 27 in the EU are so obedient as are the Danes. Danes want to be first in line. In fact, “shoulder to shoulder” was how Social Democrat Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen expressed Danes support for U.S. wars following 9/11 attacks.
In summary, this is what Danes have told me about their complacency over the decades.
 Denmark does not even have a large profiteering weapons industry, not yet. Most of its war profits come from supplying advanced radar and communication apparatuses for satellites and jets, measurements of heat, dust, sounds, and drones. Before Denmark began its warring era, there were less than a handful of such firms. Since 1996, the Defense and Aerospace industry has grown to 73 members (2014). Its exports in 2008 (latest figures provided) were some $3 billion. It has recently reorganized its production from delivery of components to entire systems for such warring giants as Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Northrop Grumman, as well as NASA. It sells war materials to the Balkans and to the Baltic States, pressing Russia on its western borders. (See Outposts of the U.S. Surveillance Empire: Denmark and Beyond, CovertAction Magazine for information on Denmark’s largest weapons firm, Terma, and the Defense Intelligence Service (FE).
 Mercenary because if Denmark has not declared war or is not under attack, no soldier is forced to take to foreign war missions without volunteering, and do so with greater pay. Denmark’s war in Iraq began in March 2003 as George W. Bush invaded the cradle of civilization, murdering hundreds of thousands of human beings while destroying and stealing much of its ancient and modern works. Tjalve pointed out that the so-called “red” social democratic government was then even more willing to continue warring in Iraq—this time against IS instead of the defeated forces of Saddam Hussein—than was the majority in the U.S. The 2014 mission was not official war, rather part of the “anti-terror” mission against IS. Danish soldiers were not ordered to fight in other countries where Denmark had not declared war. They went voluntarily, and are thus mercenaries.
 One must bear in mind that the combined military forces of U.S./NATO/EU/Israel are ten-fold what Russia has. The U.S. has about 800 military bases outside (plus 4,154 on its soil); NATO has 30; Russia has a dozen, and China one. See William Blum books. Blum documented that since WWII the U.S. has attempted to overthrow 50 governments, most of them democratically elected, and been successful about half the time. See also my book, The Russian Peace Threat: Pentagon on Alert, chapter 18. Amazon.com: The Russian Peace Threat: Pentagon on Alert eBook: Ridenour, Ron: Kindle Store
By Robert MARIANI
The balance of two opposing forces—military-industrial surveillance capitalism and progressive cultural hegemony—once formed an equilibrium that gave the average Joe some options in life. That equilibrium was on its way out for a while, but it collapsed with the Capitol riots. The progressive camp has swallowed up its rival—or maybe the other way around. Anyway, who cares. Does the supposed direction of this absorption tell us much besides the team affiliation of the one supposing it?
We’re seeing the beginnings of what unambiguous power looks like. Corporate donors are dropping the GOP, throwing away an intimate, decades-long DD/lg relationship. But perhaps more important is the wave of unprecedented internet censorship that included the digital death penalty for Trump and his allies, and also for any users who continue to make claims of election fraud. This was seemingly coordinated among the entire now-private public square, and private companies are of course allowed to do whatever they want.
But to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe. Here are the interconnecting layers of the internet that you’ll need to recreate yourself.
Scattered across the infamy spectrum are a few attempts to Just Build Your Own Twitter. Building a website, in and of itself, is pretty easy these days, since there are open-source options that cost nothing and no-code services that can be bought. Both result in minimal technical work on your end.
Gab was founded in 2016 as a “free-speech” alternative to Twitter: the only content that’s restricted is content that violates the law. Because the only people who really benefit from a neutral content policy are culturally radioactive right-wingers, the user base quickly spiralled into a den of far-right villainy. Consequently, it was booted from the Google Play app store in 2017, and never made it onto the iOS App Store.
Parler, for reasons that escape me, tried the same thing as Gab but expected it to work. This Twitter-clone was founded in 2018 and was marketed to conservatives as a place free of partisan caprice. The typical user seems to be somewhat less racist than Gab: where Gab has Nazis, Parler has a few too many QAnon cultists.
In a shocking swerve, Parler was also booted from the two mobile app stores. So to build our own Twitter, we must go deeper down the stack.
Eighty percent of Twitter’s users access the social network through the mobile app. Having an app on iOS and Android is pretty essential for something as app-ish as a social media platform. People demand them. Using a mobile browser is an option for an app, but it’s weird and clunky and cuts you off from features that ease life’s difficulties such as push notifications.
Now let’s say we’ve done what Microsoft failed to do: we’ve elbowed our way into the smartphone duopoly and we have a competing app store. But websites like Parler have run into other problems: nobody will host them.
On Sunday Parler was deplatformed by Amazon Web Services, a hosting provider that was once so neutral that it previously hosted Netflix, its number one competitor in the video-on-demand space.
Another hosting provider, DigitalOcean, preemptively stated that Parler is not welcome on its platform. Parler is still homeless at the time of writing and therefore still offline.
We want to avoid this trouble, so we must Build Our Own Hosting Infrastructure. But the internet is a wild place, and any website with a large enough profile needs a readied shield to protect it from the ever-present danger of “the DDoS attack.”
A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is when many different machines on the internet send spam messages to a service or a website with the purpose of overwhelming its bandwidth so that it ceases to function. It’s a ubiquitous problem on the internet and there’s no real solution to it. But there are DDoS mitigation services that can use sophisticated techniques to minimize the impact of such attacks. Without such a service, a website can be taken offline by anyone in the world who is sufficiently motivated and skilled.
8chan, an imageboard-type social media website where many failed predictions were made by QAnon himself, was dropped by DDoS protection service CloudFlare in 2019 because of pressure from the press. This was essentially a deathblow to the website, which isn’t reachable at the time of this writing.
So we Build Our Own. Our website is protected now. But what if we don’t even have a domain name?
The domain-name system (DNS) is like a phonebook for the internet: human-meaningful names like twitter.com are correlated to the machine-meaningful IP addresses of the servers that host websites. A domain name like “theamericanconservative.com” is easy to memorize and manage by a person, but it needs some technical infrastructure to associate it with an actual machine on the network, which is identified by the machine-meaningful IP address of 188.8.131.52.
Private companies called domain-name registrars reserve and allocate domain names to websites. If you don’t have a domain name, nobody can find your website by conventional means; they have to punch in your server’s IP address to connect.
GoDaddy, a domain-name registrar, stripped Gab of their domain name in October 2018. Any serious website can’t live with such a looming risk, so we create our own registrar to secure the life of our Twitter clone. But what happens if nobody can find it?
Search is usually the first step of interacting with the internet. Without access to search, a web surfer is as good as blind. Without being searchable, a website may as well not exist, domain name or not.
Google Search controls a 90 percent share of the internet market. There’s good evidence that they’ve dramatically pushed down conservative news websites in their search rankings. This is compounded by the fact that Google publicly admits to using human “raters” to categorize websites on search in terms of “Expertise/Authoritativeness/
There’s no proof that Google Search has come for dissenting social media websites, but we’ve come this far in rebuilding the layers of the internet, and the political winds don’t seem to be blowing in the favor of principled neutrality. It would be irresponsible to expose ourselves to the risk of politicized search, so we do what we must and build our own Google.
But we’re a business, and businesses need a way to send and receive money. Uh-oh!
Stripe and PayPal, two of the largest payment processors in the world, terminated their relationship with Gab in 2018. So we get our hands dirty.
Further down the line, these payment processors are pressured by Visa, Mastercard, and global banks, who will refuse to do business with them if they don’t abide by certain rules, which sometimes involves policing political content. I hope you’re noticing a pattern by this point.
Visa has relationships with all the top banks—Chase, BofA, Wells Fargo, Citi—that underpin the entire credit card network. Together, these banks have a market cap of well over 1 trillion dollars. Still want to build your own Twitter? You have to build one of these. Creating your own community or regional bank won’t cut it. It will end up just as much a client of the system as anything else in the stack.
Payment processing is so politically fragile because it all falls on the back of this banking oligarchy; their underwriters are the people who can pull the trigger and designate anyone as “high risk.” Risk standards correlate closely with the narratives set by the progressive ideological complex, because mega-banks like everyone else don’t want to draw the withering gaze of the Pink Eye of Sauron.
But banking is one of the most regulated industries in the country, to the point where banks could be considered public-private partnerships. Not to mention that a bank charter is a government document, the kind that is very hard to get. No free market here!
We’re not quitters, though. So we get a charter, go through the regulatory hurdles, and use our superhuman business skills to bring our bank to a market capitalization of $200 billion or so and dethrone one of the Big Four.
We can finally do it! We can finally implement a social media website with a moderation policy different from Facebook and Google! We acted on the advice of Very Smart online commenters and simply outcompeted every multibillion- and multitrillion-dollar company at every layer of the internet and financial sectors of the global economy. Voila! All it took was creating a vertically integrated monopoly, the likes of which the world has never seen.
Not so fast.
There’s something called Operation Choke Point. It’s one of many ways that the federal government circumvents legal limits on its ability to crack down on its enemies by compelling private companies to do it for them. Between 2012 and 2015, firearms dealers, cryptocurrency firms, political radicals, and many others felt the smothering hand of the Department of Justice indirectly—by way of the banking industry.
Even though it’s been officially ended, Operation Choke Point produced a chilling effect in the financial-services industry. It’s basic business logic to hedge against regulatory risk. We’ve come so far, but not quite far enough.
Here we are, at the bottom of the stack. Here we find enlightenment: everything is interconnected, no company is truly “private,” and the government is laundering political favoritism through several degrees of separation. There’s no escape from this web of interdependence. It’s just like the acid trip told us.
We hinted at ways that the federal government deputizes private actors to circumvent constitutional limits of its power, but there’s more. Businesses face legal penalties in the form of hostile workplace litigation if they don’t police employee speech, very often in a partisan direction. This results in the ideological homogeneity we see in the corporations that define the public perception of reality, such as Google and Facebook. These rank-and-file employees, not top executives, are the ones who demand more radical policies of political policing and deplatforming. Remember: the unity of everything, man.
With cultural domination in one hand and financial muscle in the other, power is assuming its final, undivided form. American progressivism has gone mask-off and revealed itself to be little more than pink libertarianism. The interests of working people take a backseat to two symbiotic concerns: increasingly radical social crusades, and the apparently sacred property rights of megacorporations that insulate social crusades from opposition.
The progressivism of just five years ago was deeply suspicious of the military-industrial complex and surveillance capitalism. By pure coincidence it disappeared during the Trump administration. It’s logical for corporate America to play ball. For social media giants, an expensive, complex, and mandatory moderation regime serves as a tall barrier to entry.
This is the moment Russia has been waiting for but it is unknown if those in the halls of the Kremlin even know that it is happening.
The only side that is going to really benefit from Big Tech’s war on free speech will be the Russians. In fact, it is really the Western elite’s deep hubris that has given Russia so many opportunities to become “russurgeant” after being crushed in the Cold War. Decades of questionable wars of “convenience” along with unending threats of destruction for anyone who dares question Washington have created a diverse group of scorned nations all willing to shake hands with Moscow. Making international agreements is a lot easier when no ideological strings are attached and no submission demanded. Thanks to incremental anti-Russian sanctions imposed because the pro-Washington Maidan didn’t take 100% of the territory of Ukraine, 1990s import addict Russia is now living a sober West-free lifestyle actually producing the things it needs to survive under Capitalism. And now, the blanket ban of Right Wing/Conservative figures over Social Media including the President of the United States himself is opening the door for Russian Social Media to explode onto the English-language online space. Without pettiness from within the American elite itself Russia could have never create this #migration of non-Russian speaking users to their sphere of electronic influence. But the big question is will the Russians actually understand this and jump on this truly unique opportunity?
It seems impossible to believe but the present “leader of the free world” Donald Trump has been completely banned from the big Social Media giants for his role in the recent storming of Capitol Hill by the MAGAmen. It is important to note that Trump has never admitted to organizing the aggressive protest nor has he been convicted of inciting a riot in a court of law. Twitter, Facebook and others believe he did this and that is good enough evidence for them. For the morally self-righteous accusation is now as good as guilt. Furthermore, this ban extends to “allies of Trump” which could be anyone of the ~80 million who voted for him and foreign people who like his memes. Noted Conservative speaker Ron Paul was temporarily and inexplicably blocked for “violating community standards” which has become coded language for “we don’t like what you have to say on our platform”. Long story short, anyone for any reason at all, real or fake, can be completely and totally banned from the largest public spaces on the internet and the key victims of these purgings will be those with morals that conflict with Big Tech and the Beltway.
Image: Flagrant hypocrisy is the new normal.
The obvious quick fix for Trump, who feels he is battling to save Democracy from a rigged 2020 electoral “loss”, would be to jump to alternative Social Media platforms across the “free market”. No one is stopping famous rich individuals like him from creating competitors to the big dogs right? Sadly for him, growing FB alternative Parler has been removed from the App Store because some people have used it to incite violence or something. The obvious irony of this is that on every platform there are people who say horrible things and call for the deaths of their enemies. But if a platform is big enough, and they agree with the given fatwa then it’s A-okay.
This complete lack of opportunity on America’s diverse free market has given the Russians the chance of a lifetime to pull every English-speaking conservative into their Social Media space. In fact within just 72 hours of this ban madness starting, Russian Social Media/Messenger Platform “Telegram” gained 25 million new users. This is unlikely to be a fluke or coincidence. Furthermore, this new member surge brings the total user base to healthy 500 million. It is important to note that there are only some 250 million+ Russian speakers on the planet and not all of them like to follow intellectual feeds and memes on Telegram. This means that the majority of Telegram’s audience are now not connected to Russia in any way. The platform has reached the critical mass needed to become a mainstay of daily life across the globe.
The Telegram product combines the ability to make feeds of content like a Facebook group, make big statements like Twitter and message easily like on Whatsapp. It is a program that stands on its own merits, but it’s promise of complete privacy and offer of freedom of speech to 21st century dissidents on the wrong side of the Berlin Wall Museum is what made it explode. It is the absurd hypocritical policies and witch hunts of Western elites that are handing Russia the hearts and minds of the EU/USA on a platter. If you want privacy, and the right to share the opinions of the American President online, as of today you can only go through Russia.
This is similar to the rise of RT. Most people want to hear their own news from within their own culture, but when the Mainstream Media preaches utter madness that even children find mental in it is not surprising that Russian news media became such a hit. People want high quality, professional, reasonable news media and you are 100 times more likely to see that on a given day on RT than CNN, the BBC or the other big boys. Those media giants had the ball in their hands, and they somehow managed to drop it right into their own end zone for the Russians to just fall on.
Image: Ron Paul shutdown: accident or warning?
During the Cold War, thanks to the dismal state of Soviet media, the youth of the USSR was listening to Radio Freedom and doing anything that it could to jump into the Western media sphere of influence. It was simply the better alternative that gave them breathing room to think about life without a framed Lenin picture in the background. Now it looks like Pat Buchanan, Ron Paul, and Donald Trump will be forced onto an expanding Russian side of a social media geopolitical space. This will act like the same type of media “beachhead” that America had in the Soviet Union during the Reagan years.
Telegram is a massive messenger that can replace WhatsApp and Twitter for many users. The Russian equivalent of Facebook, VK.com has been more reluctant to accept its destiny. I have approached their management personally bringing to their attention the fact that a massive Western Convservative audience is being repressed and will jump to a new platform for freedom of speech given the knowledge that such a platform exists. Especially when that platform can and does do everything that Facebook is capable of. My words were met with the usual hopeless pessimism that defines the Russian nation. In America we say “if you build it they will come” in Russia the logic is “if it has not been built, it can’t be and we shouldn’t think about it”. Perhaps with this new development they will reconsider my offer. I could use a percentage of a massive advertising campaign to attract the hordes of Conservative shows and blogs that have been deplatformed. VK, now is your time, they are giving you millions of English-speaking subscribers, just fall on the damn ball.
In terms of YouTube Russia does have an equivalent called RuTube (and some Netflix-like services) but it is not even that popular inside of the country itself. This would really be a good time for gents in the Kremlin to invest in a free speech video platform to win hearts and minds in the countries that threaten to kill them most often. As someone who has been deplatformed I would much appreciate the opportunity to make some fair and square ad revenue without the fear of using YouTube no-no words like “Depression”, “Brazil” and “Idaho”.
This is the moment Russia has been waiting for but it is unknown if those in the halls of the Kremlin even know that it is happening. The powers that be are not exactly filled with people from the media. Hopefully some of them will read this and realize just what a glorious opportunity Big Tech and the Democrats have given them. And since everything I write is banned anyways I’d be more than happy to run any attempts to absorb Western dissidents. It is not like these words are allowed to be posted on FB anyways.
At this moment America hasn’t be this divided since the Civil War, but why? Is it the Russians, the Media, Covid-19 or just a bad economy? It is because the Democrats and Republicans have completely divided. Watch the video and read more in the Editorial article.
By Caitlin JOHNSTONE
The Biden/Harris inauguration event is going to be a star-studded celebration spanning an unprecedented five days, a giddy orgy of excitement at a murderous oligarchic empire having a new face behind the front desk after promising wealthy donors that nothing will fundamentally change.
This comes at a time when Americans are now reporting that they trust corporations more than they trust their own government or media, when pundits are gleefully proclaiming in The New York Times that “CEOs have become the fourth branch of government” as they pressure the entire political system to smoothly install Biden, when the leading contender for the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division is an Obama holdover who went from the administration to working for both Amazon and Google, and when Americans are being paced into accepting an increasing amount of authoritarian changes for their own good.
And this manic celebration and increasing brazenness of corporate power are of course overlaid atop an unceasing river of human blood as the globe-spanning empire continues to smash any nation which disobeys it into compliance so as to ensure lasting uncontested planetary hegemony.
But hey, at least they voted out fascism.
Star-Studded Biden/Harris Inaugural Events To Stretch Over 5 Days, Celebrate “America United” https://t.co/Q7176rbC8I
— Deadline Hollywood (@DEADLINE) January 15, 2021
The US empire is ugly and creepy. The more you look at it, the uglier and creepier it gets. That’s why so much effort goes into keeping the public from looking at it directly.
The US empire has two faces, one rooted in the west coast and the other in the east. The first face, which sprouts up from Hollywood, presents a grinning plastic smile to the world depicting how fun and wonderful and righteous America is and how all its systems are working completely fine. The second face, which sprouts up from DC, Arlington and Langley, is wild-eyed and covered in blood.
Just like any other two-faced monstrosity, the face you will see depends on where you are standing.
If you live in wealthy western nations, or in the US itself, you are mostly presented with the first face. The artificial culture pipeline runs from Hollywood to the rest of the world and keeps everyone seeing American life as fun, enjoyable and packed full of hilarious repartee, interspersed with the sexual attention of beautiful women and kicking bad guys into molten lava. Freedom and Democracy. Capitalism is totally working. You can trust these guys to run the world. News at eleven.
If you live in the Middle East, Asia, or in the Global South, you are far more likely to encounter the second face. The blood-spattered face. The face of murder. The face of tyranny. The face whose actions amount to nothing other than an endless war on disobedience, where any government which tries to insist on its own national, military, resource, commercial or financial sovereignty is smashed into the dirt by any means necessary until it either collapses or complies.
This week in 1968, the US launched Operation Niagara in Vietnam, 66 straight days of carpet bombing, unleashing “the most concentrated application of aerial firepower in the history of warfare”, killing 15,000 Vietnamese. pic.twitter.com/hzZ62B8BT5
— American Values (@Americas_Crimes) January 16, 2021
The empire needs both faces. Without the murder face, it could not exist as an empire. Without the grinning face, the public would never consent to the murder face.
People who inhabit the hub of a murderous empire are historically unaware of its horrific nature. In the old days that was because information was easy to restrict access to. Today it’s because information is easy to manipulate and distort. That’s the only difference between this murderous empire and those of old. That and the fact that this one is brandishing about weapons that can end the world with increasing recklessness.
Humanity will not know health and harmony until it knows truth. Until we collectively come to a lucid reckoning with what’s going on in our world, in our nations, in our society, and in ourselves. The movement toward a healthy world is a movement toward becoming aware of things we previously were not aware of. In this case, as a first step, this means collectively seeing behind that grinning plastic mask to the churning death machine underneath.
More and more of the country being owned by the richest 1%, more and more of the Government is also being controlled by the richest 1%, because money brings power, Eric Zuesse writes.
According to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s table that’s headlined, “Distribution of Household Wealth in the U.S. since 1989”, the percentage of U.S. privately owned wealth which is held by the richest 1% has risen from 5% in 1990 to 36% today, more than a seven-fold increase. If it had instead been a twenty-fold increase, then the richest 1% would already own the entire country, but they instead seem to be heading to reach that 100% by around the year 2035. They’ve been roughly doubling their percentage of America’s privately owned wealth every decade since 1990; and, at that rate, they’d reach 72% by around the year 2030. Once they own everything, everybody else would be either working for them or in debt to them. The poor 99% would no longer be able to buy what the companies that the richest 1% own would be offering for sale. Obviously, an enormous economic crash is coming, but no one can say how soon before around the year 2035 that mega-crash will occur.
That table starts in 1989, so doesn’t show the prior figures, but other studies place the start of the post-WWII increase in America’s wealth-concentration at around the year 1981. Prior to that, it had been pretty unchanged, for decades. Maybe Ronald Reagan was largely responsible for the change, but none of the subsequent U.S. Presidents did anything to reverse his “Greed is good!” policies.
Here is from Reagan’s interview, in the libertarian Reason magazine, on 1 July 1975, headlining “Inside Ronald Reagan”:
REASON: Are there any particular books or authors or economists that have been influential in terms of your intellectual development?
REAGAN: Oh, it would be hard for me to pinpoint anything in that category. I’m an inveterate reader. Bastiat and von Mises, and Hayek and Hazlitt – I’m one for the classical economists.
They had been the formulators of the “Greed is good!” philosophy, now called libertarianism (which in continental Europe is instead called “neoliberalism”). Prior to President Reagan, no U.S. President had been a libertarian. But the losing Presidential candidate in 1964, Republican Barry Goldwater, had been a libertarian. So, the “Greed is good!” philosophy had been respectable in the Republican Party for at least 16 years before a libertarian became elected President in 1980. Then, after Reagan, America has been in the Reagan Era, ever since. The Democratic Party merely adds hypocrisy to it, by condemning libertarianism. That stance (libertarianism while condemning libertarianism) is nowadays called “liberalism.” Such ideological hypocrisy has become a secular religion, which is believed especially by many religious people in America — “Let God do it!” (Otherwise called: adherence to natural law.) Among some, it is called “Prosperity Theology”. Since it effectively inducts the super-rich into a new type of sainthood, America’s billionaires — especially Republican ones — would never object to it. After all: it’s just another form of libertarianism, which already deifies the rich and despises the poor.
As-of 2014, the top 0.1% of Americans owned almost as much wealth as the bottom 90% did. The top 0.1% owned more than the entire bottom 80% did. Furthermore, America’s billionaires now have an absolute veto-power against any candidate in both Parties’ Presidential primaries, such as Bernie Sanders, whom no billionaire wants to become President. Only candidates who are backed by at least a few billionaires has any realistic chance at all. A candidate whom no billionaire backs is not possible to win the nomination of either of the major Parties. Unfortunately, enough Americans are manipulable enough to be deceived by the ceaseless propaganda that’s funded by the super-rich. Any candidate who opposes the super-rich has virtually no chance to win any election to the federal Government. Many federal officials — and almost every Republican one — even overtly champion the super-rich and at least implicitly denigrate labor and deify capital “the entrepreneur”), but such a situation would be impossible in any nation which has an informed and sane electorate, because it entails the vast majority of voters voting against themselves. People don’t do that unless they are deceived (such as to think “I am an entrepreneur” because they own, maybe, a hamburger stand, or receive some rental income). (Anybody who isn’t backed by at least venture capitalists is no “entrepreneur” that federal politicians are likely to care about.)
This is the reason why, today, 36% of America’s private wealth is owned by top-one-percenters, whereas in 1990 only 5% was. “Greed is good!” makes that okay.
A bigger and bigger percentage of U.S. private wealth is going into the stock markets, because more and more of it is sheer excess that’s beyond the ability of its owners to spend for their own consumption. Furthermore, because the Covid-19 crisis hits workers the hardest, and the stock markets have been booming in 2020, the percentage of America’s private wealth that’s owned by the richest 1% is getting a special boost this year. David Sirota’s investigative news blog The Daily Poster headlined on December 30th “10 Stats That Will Blow Your Mind” and the top four were:
During this period of more and more of the country being owned by the richest 1%, more and more of the Government is also being controlled by the richest 1%, because money brings power (such as the ability to hire and fire employees and other agents), and especially it brings the power to hire lobbyists, and to do favors for the members of Congress, and to hire everyone who retires from government-service, including not only former elected officials, but also former career civil servants. The revolving door between service to the Government, and service to the people who fund election-campaigns (the richest 1%), spins ever-faster, as the richest 1% own more and more of the country. If they will own 100% of the private wealth, they will also control the Government 100%, and therefore effectively own 100% of the government wealth, too. What would the U.S. Constitution say about that? It would be an absolute dictatorship by the richest 1%. But what would the U.S. Constitution say about that?
The turning-point was actually in 1976, the U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous Buckley v. Valeo decision (but with Justice Byron White dissenting in part), which said that there can be no limits placed on an individual’s total political donations, because that money is “speech” and the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment prohibits any laws against “speech” — such as against lying, or against any other form of expression, no matter how harmful (and what could possibly be more harmful that allowing the government itself to be bought?) — the Court ruled that if more money means more control over the Government, then that’s okay, but Justice Byron White, in his lone and grandstanding objection said that “Congress and this Court’s cases have recognized this as a mortal danger against which effective preventive and curative steps must be taken.” (He basically wanted to punt the entire issue back to the legislators, who were now legally hamstrung against dealing with it, because of the unanimous decision, which ‘Justice’ White himself was joining in to sign onto.) That unanimous equation of “money” with “speech” was the beginning of the end of America’s till-then-limited democracy, and it marked the beginning of today’s American aristocracy — America’s aristocracy of wealth. But were America’s Founders in favor of creating an aristocracy? Wasn’t their overriding objective to prevent any such thing from taking over here? Who hired these ‘Justices’? Were they actually traitors?
If it started on any date, that’s the date: 30 January 1976.
The events at Capitol Hill provided the perfect excuse for Twitter and other social media companies to advance the agenda of their benefactors in the permanent government of the United States
By Raul DIEGO
On January 6, as the events unfolding at the U.S. Capitol were discussed on Twitter, the barrage of opinions predictably accumulated on one side of the political spectrum. Outrage over what mainstream pundits characterized as the desecration of the symbols of democracy and similar bleeding heart liberal rhetoric was far more prevalent than the opposing camp’s tendency to side with the so-called “insurrectionists” or tweets in support of the made-for-social media putsch.
Evidence of straight forward collusion between elements of law enforcement and the Trump loyalists who stormed the Congressional building began to emerge throughout the evening, giving a measure of credence to the emerging narrative of a purported “coup” attempt by the sitting president. Simultaneously, members of Congress with large followings started calling for impeachment and other retaliatory measures against fellow members of Congress, who seemed to be implicated in the tawdry affair.
Two days later, after tensions continued to simmer among its most vocal user base, the famously left-leaning social media platform carried out a coup of their own by permanently banning Donald Trump’s Twitter account “due to the risk of further incitement of violence” and proceeded to execute a mass purge of 70,000 accounts, which ran afoul of their revamped rules targeting “extremist” behavior.
The ban was celebrated by a number of left-leaning media outlets like The Verge and Raw Story; the former publishing an article detailing all the ways in which Twitter’s actions and those of other social media networks were justified as a “desperate response to a desperate situation,” incongruously disparaging any comparisons to the real-life purges of Stalinist Russia, while citing “the facts on the ground” as a legitimate excuse for the virtual takedowns.
Predictably, conservative publications like Fox News decried the measures as a power grab by Big Tech and protestations came as far away from Europe, where German Chancellor, Angela Merkel – whose disdain for Donald Trump has never been a secret – called the decision to deplatform a head of state “problematic,” an opinion shared by France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Marie, who warned of a “digital oligarchy” usurping the powers of the state.
Missing in the salacious back-and-forth conversation between ideological factions and absent from the argument that they are private corporations, which have the legal authority to ban or deplatform anybody they wish, is the fact that Twitter, Facebook, and all the other major social media platforms are organs of the state to begin with, and that nothing they do falls outside of the ultimate designs of the powers they serve.
Examples abound of how these platforms regularly engage in cyber reconnaissance missions for American and Atlanticist interests in violation of their own terms of service, such as when NATO commanders made use of coordinates provided by Twitter users in order to select missile strike targets in their war against Libya in 2011.
Facebook’s recently created oversight board includes Emi Palmor, who was directly responsible for the removal of thousands of Palestinian posts from the social media giant during her tenure as Director of Israel’s Ministry of Justice. She, along with other individuals with clear sympathies to American interests, now sit on an official body tasked with emitting the last word on any disputes regarding issues of deplatforming on the global social network.
Following you since 1972
In Yasha Levine’s seminal work, “Surveillance Valley,” the military origins of the Internet and the close relationship of social media companies to federal and local law enforcement are made patently clear. Since their creation, Twitter, Facebook, and other Silicon Valley behemoths have worked hand in hand with law enforcement agencies to augment their capacity for mass tracking and surveillance.
From facial recognition technologies to aggregated user post history, these platforms have been a crucial component in the development of the pervasive surveillance state we now live in. In the book’s prologue, Levine details the attempted creation of a citywide police surveillance hub in Oakland, California called the “Domain Awareness Center” (DAC), which drew intense opposition from the local citizenry and privacy advocates who were quick to undress city officials who were trying to hide the proposed center’s insidious links to the NSA, CIA and military contractors.
Among other capabilities, the control hub would be able to “plug in” social media feeds to track individuals or groups that posed any kind of threat to the establishment. While the DAC project was successfully defeated by an engaged public, similar initiatives were quickly implemented throughout law enforcement agencies across the country and continue to be perfected in order to not only track, but infiltrate political groups deemed problematic.
The seemingly innocuous ad-targeting algorithms that generate bespoke advertisements based on our surveilled lives via social media conceals a far more sinister architecture of control, which includes direct influence over people’s political opinions through micro-targeted messaging and even more insidious methods that are powerful enough to influence people’s actual behavior.
Amateur honeypots and the victory of the surveillance state
One of the biggest misconceptions we have about social media is that platforms like Twitter and Facebook represent the voice of the people and that they are the new “public square” where anybody can get on and voice their opinion. While this perception holds some water on the surface, a closer examination reveals that – on the contrary – these platforms are simply propaganda tools brilliantly disguised as vox populi.
According to a Pew Research study from 2019, 80% of all tweets are created by just 10% of Twitter users. Most people who have an account on the ostensibly left-leaning social media platform rarely tweet at all. In addition, a majority of the content is created by accounts with very large followings and, in most cases, verified accounts that mainly represent established mainstream media personalities.
Given that the politics espoused by this minuscule portion of the social network’s user base are amplified by the platform’s own algorithms, which have been shown to contain biases as all algorithms do, the perception that these platforms represent some kind of public opinion is revealed to be a very dangerous assumption.
A case in point is disturbingly reflected in a meme that ostensibly developed in yet another social media platform and rapidly spread on Twitter as a result of the incident on Capitol Hill. A tweet posted the day after on January 7 claimed that a woman in Washington D.C. was changing her profile preference on the Bumble dating app to “conservative” in order to entrap “insurrectionists” looking to hook up while visiting the nation’s capital by forwarding their photos to the FBI.
Get in girls. We’re going hunting. pic.twitter.com/qIjmiXNoSV
— Dr. Lisa Corrigan (@DrLisaCorrigan) January 14, 2021
The tweet received hundreds of thousands of ‘likes’ and was retweeted thousands of times. The comments expressed overwhelming support for what amounts to an ostensibly spontaneous snitching operation by regular American citizens against other American citizens. In such a case, whether the meme itself is true has no bearing on the fact that Twitter, Facebook and any other platform where it was disseminated has the ultimate effect of normalizing and generating consent for the idea of self-monitoring and bringing the designs of the surveillance state full circle.
Trump walked into the DC ‘Forum’, and ended ‘stabbed to death’, as had Julius. It has been truly Shakespearean, Alastair Crooke writes.
The ‘Ides of March’, they came early this year – on 6 January, at least for one current U.S. ‘Caesar’. What happened; how it happened; who concocted the Capitol events, will be long debated. However, the daggers had long been sharpened for Caesar, well before the invasion of the Capitol. In a sense, the stage was already set – Trump walked into the DC ‘Forum’, and ended ‘stabbed to death’, as had Julius. It has been truly Shakespearean.
It was well-known that Trump might well reject the election results, because of postal ballot potential fraud (as postal ballots assumed their disproportionate 2020 electoral predominance). The Transition Integrity Project (TIP) precisely (purposefully?) had taunted Trump last June with its forecast of a contested election in which Trump would lose – after “all of the mail-in ballots had been tallied”. The TIP then had turned to the prospective tactics and tasks for forcefully ousting a President-in-denial from the White House. (The media and ‘platforms’ had been participants in this early war-gaming of how to deal with a Trump, who contested the election result, and questioned the legality and authenticity of postal ballots).
It needn’t have been this way – but no compromise on rules on postal balloting was attempted (rather, the reverse). In any event, the Capitol invasion now stands as a major psychic event (the “Insurrection”) searing the American consciousness. Apart from unnerving the legislators, unused to experiencing a sudden loss of security, the invasion has become the sacrilege to a ‘sacred space’ (with all the additional connotations of America’s exceptional, divine mission). The daggers were gleefully plunged in – Trump is impeached again; he is to be tried in the Senate after the Biden inauguration; and he and his family, may expect the legal dismemberment that will follow.
The ‘Blue State’ has – from Trump’s first election – been determined to crush him. That is underway. And somehow sychronistically, we now have the Tech digital deletion of Red America from social platforms, with talk of a ‘purge’ and cultural ‘re-education’ for his supporters (and their children), as well. Biden is already speaking like a War President (and the Capitol now has taken the air of a theatre of war, with troops and weapons strewn about its corridors): “Trump”, said Biden, “has unleashed an all-out assault on our institutions of democracy, from the outset, and yesterday was but the culmination of that unrelenting attack”.
Here is the key first implication to that ‘psychic event’ – not just for Americans, but for the world spectating the unfolding events: Biden has called for measures against “domestic terrorism”, and used language that is usually reserved for combat with an external enemy state – language such as accompanies major wars. This is ‘revenge cycle’ material. In the case of two nations, literally at war, they do do this. This is a part of it. They hope to resolve their conflict through humiliation, repression and the forced submission of the other (i.e. Japan after WW2). But America is, at least nominally, one nation. What happens when a single nation splits, with one turning the ‘seditious’ elements into an ‘alien other’?
We do not know. But hatred is intense, both toward Trump and the ‘deplorables’. And now, these sentiments are reciprocated in the wake of the President’s humiliation, at a contents-free impeachment, reached in few hours. What seems certain is that the course of events likely will lead to a self-reinforcing cycle of ever greater polarisation.
The rise of Trumpism has created a new radical Manicheanism amongst the liberal élite. Tech, with its algos feeding like-minded material to the like-minded, has a lot to do with this digital and ideological divide. But the bottom line is that this divide is (falsely) cast as a death-struggle now underway between a monolithic liberalism and a monolithic illiberalism.
This carries a huge message for Russia, Iran and China (and others) – the U.S. is deeply divided, but its ‘new mission’ will be a ‘moral high-ground’ war against illiberalism – at home, firstly – and then overseas.
Yet of greater – and wider – significance is that the ‘noble lie’ – the mask concealing the cynical arrangement that is American ‘democracy’ – has been stripped away. The crucial import was underlined by the German FM, Heiko Maas, when he observed: “Without democracy in the U.S., [there is] no democracy in Europe”.
What might have Maas meant? Possibly, he was referring to the angry 75 millions of Red America that have now grasped the shocking magnitude of the fraud played on them. By fraud here is not a reference to the particular claims about 3 November, but to the much bigger fraud of a system rigged in the interests of the Establishment. This has been one of the basic props to the engineered consent upon which public order and social stability in America and Europe has rested for decades: the naïve belief in the democratic essence of the system.
This prop is being overturned by the ‘Blue State’ precisely in order to savour a sweet revenge on Trump for pulling aside the mask on so much else of ‘Establishment America’. Trump laid bare how corrupt the ‘swamp’ had become, and he articulated Red America’s deepest concerns and frustrations about off-shored jobs, economic precarity and ‘forever wars’. They, in turn, had projected their exasperation, bitterness, and illusions back onto him, turning him, by default, into their standard-bearer.
Yet – astonishingly – this toppling of the pillar of an engineered ‘noble lie’ is being done precisely by those (the Establishment), who one might have thought, had the most interest in keeping it intact. But they cannot resist it. They just cannot forgive ‘outsider’ Trump’s intrusion into their neatly constructed illusions: trashing their elaborate ‘construct’ of reality, simply by magicking up new ‘facts’ to contest their ‘science’.
Isn’t this what is so frightening for Merkel and Maas? The EU has its own, more fragile, ‘noble lie’. It is this: States – by relinquishing a portion of their sovereignty – might hope to participate in a ‘greater sovereignty’ (i.e. the European Project), and still believe that it is ‘democratic’.
This cynical European arrangement only stands if Merkel and Macron can hold up American ‘democracy’ as the guiding principle to the European Project (however misleading that may be). But now, with the ‘lights going out’ in the ‘City on the Hill’, and with only a broken democracy ideal under which EU leaders may shelter, how will the dreary formula of a diluted sovereignty, with no real democracy; with no roots in the ground below; with the EU moving to ever closer oligarchy, and led by an unaccountable, and secretive ‘politburo’, survive?
The point is that European ‘democracy’ is also rigged towards Germany and the élites. And ordinary Europeans have noticed, (especially when only one part of the community bears a disproportionate burden of the Covid economic pain). The élites fear Trump: he may lay it all bare, for all to see.
Some EU leaders may hope that Trumpism will be so completely crushed, and its voice silenced, that Europe’s own fracturing engineered public consent can be contained. Yet they must know, in their hearts, that recourse to identity and gender ideology (as pretext for greater state-ism), will only armour-plate the bubbles and divisions because they prevent people from hearing each other. It is the post-persuasion, post-argument politics of polarisation.
For sure, the rest of the world are taking close note. They will not be accepting moral lectures from Europe in the future (though undoubtedly, they will still get them), and states will look to build ‘public consent’ around quite different ‘poles’ – loose concerts of states, traditional culture and the historic narratives of their communities.
“Jenin, Jenin” documents a deadly Israeli assault on a Palestinian refugee camp that left hundreds of civilians dead and over fifteen hundred wounded, and its release has caused an uproar in Israeli society.
In a particularly draconian decision, an Israeli court has ruled that the documentary film “Jenin, Jenin” will be banned from screening in Israel. Additionally, all copies of the film must be collected and destroyed. The court went even further and ordered producer, director, and actor Mohammad Bakri, the man behind the film which documents the Israeli assault on the Jenin refugee camp, must pay damages to an Israeli officer who participated in the massacre and appears in the film for about five seconds.
Israel’s military invasion of the Palestinian refugee camp in Jenin and the slaughter which followed took place in March of 2002. The army entered the camp with tanks, special forces, commando units, and several reservist brigades. The camp was bombarded from the air and from the ground. Several hundred Palestinian fighters fought heroically, armed with nothing but semiautomatic rifles and rudimentary guerrilla warfare skills. Twenty-five Israeli soldiers lost their lives in the camp and countless Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed.
Silencing the survivors’ point of view
“Jenin, Jenin” includes testimony from people of all ages who lived through the Israeli assault on the camp. There is no question that hearing the descriptions and experiences of the survivors of that awful trauma is heart-wrenching. But Bakri himself never makes any direct accusations in the film. He shows footage of Israeli soldiers, tanks, and armored personnel carriers, and of Palestinians being arrested, but at no point in the movie is an actual accusation made and it is clear that the only perspectives offered in the film are from those who live in the camp.
Protests erupted in Israel as soon as the movie was shown. Bakri was called a Nazi and slandered by the press and the public for daring to show what Palestinians had experienced at the hands of the Israeli soldiers who entered the camp. Soldiers who had participated in what is known as “The Battle of Jenin” demanded that Israeli authorities censor the movie and not allow theaters to show it, and they eventually got their way.
Palestinian rescue workers search for human remains in the rubble of the Hawashin district. No heavy equipment was available during the first days after the fighting had ended, and rescue workers had to dig through the rubble with their hands. Jenin Refugee Camp, 2002. Peter Bouckaert | Human Rights Watch
A young boy is treated at the Jenin hospital moments after he and his friend were wounded in an explosion in the Jenin refugee camp. His friend died the next morning. The Jenin refugee camp was strewn with leftover Palestinian explosives and unexploded Israeli ordinance after the attack, causing additional injuries and deaths. Jenin Refugee Camp, 2002. Peter Bouckaert | Human Rights Watch
The film was banned by the Israeli Film Ratings Board on the premise that it was libelous and might offend the public. Bakri appealed the decision and the case went all the way to the Israeli Supreme Court, which ultimately overturned the board’s decision. Since then, those who have participated in the assault have been looking for ways to challenge the film.
In November 2016, Nissim Meghnagi, a reserve officer who took part in Operation Defensive Shield, also known as the massacre at the Jenin refugee camp, sued Bakri for 2.6 million shekels, the equivalent of around 745,000 U.S. dollars. In his suit, Meghnagi claimed that he appears in, and was named in the film and that it libeled Israeli soldiers by presenting them as war criminals.
Bakri argued, correctly, that the purpose of the lawsuit was persecution and political silencing, and that the movie makes no accusation against Meghnagi specifically. It only shows, Bakri continuously yet fruitlessly claimed, the point of view of the Palestinians who experienced the onslaught on the camp. Still, the District Court in the Israeli-occupied city of Lyd ruled in Meghnagi’s favor and ordered Bakri to pay Meghnagi the equivalent of $55,000. Now the case is expected to go back to the Supreme Court.
A History of War Crimes
Israeli forces did not allow the Red Cross or any other international observers to enter the camp for many days after the assault was over. This allowed them to clean up the camp before anyone from the outside was able to witness what had been done.
Israeli authorities, courts, media, and public opinion tend to view Palestinian claims regarding human rights abuses, violence, and massacres committed by military units as lies. Internal investigations by the military and other Israeli government agencies rarely find Israeli forces guilty of any crimes.
The reason that “Jenin, Jenin” created such a strong reaction in Israel is that the people involved, and even those who were not directly involved, know that Israel has a history of atrocities and war crimes. Israel claims that the IDF is the “most moral army in the world,” yet almost every single Israeli has either been witness to or knows someone who has witnessed – or even committed – atrocities.
Committing war crimes of all kinds is a deeply rooted tradition in the Israeli military. It goes back to the earliest days of the pre-state era when Zionist militias operated before an actual Israeli Army was formed. These militias were turned into an organized army in the middle of the 1948 ethnic cleansing campaign of Palestine. They were in the midst of committing a horrendous crime for which no one has yet been brought to justice when they became an official army and when Jewish Zionist settlers in Palestine became citizens of a newly established Apartheid State, a state whose very establishment was a war crime.
This is why there is such opposition to the movie and to Mohammad Bakri himself amongst Israelis. Bakri touched an open nerve and because as a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship, he also happens to be a household name among Israelis, Israelis are furious at him. Bakri dared to enter the camp and to talk to its residents without showing what is commonly known as “the other side.” Furthermore, as is made very clear throughout the movie, the spirit of the people in the camp remains undefeated.
Over and over again throughout the movie, we hear survivors of the assault, even as they sit on the rubble of their own homes, repeat that they will rebuild the camp house by house and that they will never surrender. This is hardly the message that Israelis – who only a short time before had voted for the notorious Ariel Sharon to be their prime minister – want to hear.
The Driver of a D9
On May 31, 2002, Israeli journalist Tsadok Yehazkeli, working for the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot, published an article in Hebrew about the driver of a D9 bulldozer who went by the moniker, “Bear the Kurd.” “Bear” made a name for himself during the assault on the Jenin refugee camp, when for 72 hours straight he drove his bulldozer into countess houses and destroyed everything in his path, ramming into homes regardless of whether or not they were inhabited.
He was quoted as saying “I made them a football stadium,” and “I have no regrets. I’m proud of my work,” and, “I never gave the people a chance to run out of the houses before I ran over them and ruined the houses with my bulldozer.” None of this is shown or mentioned in Bakri’s film yet it provides a picture of the atmosphere among the Israeli troops that entered the camp.
The army unit in which the D9 driver operated went on to receive a medal for its actions during the assault, and the man known as “Bear the Kurd” became a hero to the troops. Because so many were buried under the rubble, to this day no one knows how many Palestinians were killed in 2002 at the Jenin refugee camp.
It is hard to anticipate what the Israeli Supreme Court will rule when it hears the Bakri case. However, in a state that was built on war crimes and atrocities, one may expect that all branches of government will work together to keep the truth from coming out. Either way, few Israeli war crimes are as documented as this one, and so “Jenin, Jenin” must be viewed and shared widely.
In the two months since Cummings exited 10 Downing Street with his famous cardboard box of vital data in his hands, Britain has gone down the toilet.
It has been one of the most popular stories in the world for more than 120 years. An innocent, beautiful young girl falls into the clutches of a sinister, creepy hypnotist three or four times her age: He bewitches her and enables her to sing with the voice of angels, making her one of the most beloved singers and entertainers in the world, but she is totally within his power and if he is not there to hypnotize her, the only sounds she can make resemble those of a strangled frog.
The tale is the story of the sweet, lovely Trilby, and her sinister Controller and Master Svengali.
It is also the story of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his now departed brilliant, dazzling (at least in his own imagination) Mastermind, Dominic Cummings.
Seeing Boris as Trilby and his Chief Policy Adviser — until he was forced at last to resign in November — Cummings as Svengali is the key understanding the ongoing collapse of Britain.
It explains why Johnson, a lazy, easygoing, utterly self-indulgent though (very fitfully) intellectually brilliant dilettante who aspires to a (superficial) understanding of classical situation won a landslide election victory — the greatest his party had enjoyed in well over 60 years and far more sweeping than anything Margaret Thatcher herself ever managed.
It explains how he then appeared to boldly and decisively cut the Gordian Knot of the endlessly complicated negotiations still binding Britain to the European Union — a quandary that had previously bedeviled him as Foreign Secretary for the previous three years.
And most of all it explains why since Cummings/Svengali’s departure, the strange magic spell has startlingly broken.
With Svengali Cummings gone, suddenly Boris Trilby cannot sing any more. Instead, a bewildered, confused prime minister is seen bumbling around Number 10 Downing Street and the Palace of Westminster like Hamlet’s Father — a mere fading shadow of a long-departed leader.
The final deal that “tough, decisive” Johnson made with the European Commission (EC) in Brussels was an abject total surrender on Brussels terms.
Boris has written and published an actually worthwhile book about his hero Winston Churchill. He clearly also harks back to the decisive no-nonsense military rule of Oliver Cromwell 370 years ago — the only military dictator Britain has ever had.
Yet when it came to negotiating with the unpopular, bureaucratic despised EC, it was Boris who folded. He allowed France and Germany to retain almost all the rich fishing grounds that the contemptible Edward Heath allowed Brussels to strip from Britain back in the crucial 1973 negotiations that brought Britain into Europe. Those fishing grounds were the basis for the prosperity and nutrition of the people of the North of England and further for half a millennium. Getting them back was supposed to be the basis for jumpstarting the long moribund economy of the North of England.
Without them — and with the previous modestly flourishing support of European investment within the European Union shut down as well, and with easy access to the great European Single Market cut off — Johnson’s dream — or to be more accurate, Cummings’ dream — of turning the Conservatives into a nationalist, working class populist party with an enduring political base in the working class North, will vanish like snow in the Sahara Desert after the Sun of reality starts to shine.
For without his Svengali, Boris has no idea what to do next. He cannot come up with any alluring new idea without Cummings to provide it for him.
This in many respects is a welcome development as every one of Cummings ideas was bad, crackpot, unworkable and an idiotic pipedream.
This explains what has happened to proud, dignified Britain since its dynamic leader, so beloved for so long by the nation’s raging fake macho of popular tabloid culture, lost his Svengali, his puppet master.
In the two months since Cummings exited Number 10 Downing Street with his famous cardboard box of vital data in his hands, Britain has gone down the toilet.
Even with Cummings to hold his hand, Johnson’s actual record in policymaking was catastrophic. The difference is that since Svengali’s departure, the Prime Minister’s Comfort Zone, the Blissful Force Field that seemed to surround him everywhere, has gone. He is obviously bewildered and lost.
Increasingly his Cabinet colleagues, men and women who owed the revival and survival of their careers to him, have all effectively abandoned him en masse. Business is done without him. He is repeatedly forced to reverse ill-considered remarks he blurts out within the same news cycle.
Already, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, the former Chief Secretary of the Treasury is seen as the Coming Man. Boris is already reduced to a shambolic, sad disheveled teddy bear, less a prime minister than an afterthought, stumbling around the Whitehall and the Palace of Westminster. As much of an afterthought as the ghost of Hamlet’s father at Elsinore.
In truth, Sunak’s record in policymaking is at best dimly conventional and conformist according to the Free Market, minimal government mantras that British Conservatives have drunk like hemlock since the days of Saint Margaret Thatcher herself.
However, Sunak can still master the most crucial attribute for any modern British leader — to project the image that he is decisively and crisply in charge rather than being a bewildered upper class elitist moron stumbling around in the dark. Johnson delighted in that skill for a decade. But bereft of his beloved Svengali, he has lost it.
Let us spare a gentle tear for Britain’s Trilby.
Crippling US sanctions imposed under the Caesar Act are decimating war-ravaged Syrian civilians, are illegal, and should be lifted, the UN Special Rapporteur on sanctions says.
An independent United Nations expert is calling on the US to lift its crippling sanctions on Syria.
Under the Caesar Act, US sanctions explicitly target Syria’s reconstruction in the aftermath of a catastrophic 10-year war. Alena Douhan, the UN Special Rapporteur on the impact of sanctions, says that the US sanctions are illegal and depriving Syrian civilians of their basic needs.
“People shouldn’t die, people shouldn’t suffer, and people shouldn’t fear whether they can survive after tomorrow, because they have neither medicine or food, because of the sanctions applied,” Douhan says.
Guest: Alena F. Douhan, UN Special Rapporteur on sanctions, and a professor at Belarusian State University.
AARON MATÉ: Welcome to Pushback, I’m Aaron Maté. In 2020, the US imposed its harshest sanctions on Syria to date. The Caesar sanctions explicitly target Syria’s reconstruction, making rebuilding from 10 years of war close to impossible. Well, now a top UN expert is calling for these sanctions to be lifted. In a statement, the UN Special Rapporteur on sanctions said: “The sanctions violate the human rights of the Syrian people, whose country has been destroyed by almost 10 years of ongoing conflict.”
Alena F. Douhan joins me now. She is the UN Special Rapporteur on sanctions, and a professor at Belarusian State University. Professor Douhan, welcome to Pushback.
ALENA DOUHAN: It’s a pleasure.
AARON MATÉ: So what prompted you to put out this statement?
ALENA DOUHAN: Well, my intention was to bring attention to the point that imposition of unilateral sanctions in the contemporary world is affecting human rights of those whose rights they’re generally announced to seek to protect. And as a result, the scope of human rights violated by [the] application — not only of Caesar Act sanctions, but many other types of sanctions. And, for example, in the situation of Syria, we can’t identify the impact of the Caesar Act sanctions only, because there is a scope of them [sanctions] applied today. So the impact of these sanctions is enormous both to Syria, and as well as on many other states.
It’s necessary to take into account today that the very notion of unilateral sanctions we hear about every day, is expanding a lot. We used to hear about the idea of targeted sanctions, which target only bad guys. But if we look at the concept of sanctions, we will see that that’s absolutely different from what is said. A number of sanctions have a sort of sectoral character, and as a result, are very equivalent to the economic sanctions in general.
When we speak, for example, about the situation in Syria, it’s not possible in accordance. So the Caesar Act itself seeks to prevent the reconstruction works in Syria. And as we know, after 10 years of the conflict, a lot of buildings, including social infrastructure, like hospitals, or schools, or housing, are destroyed at all, and people have no place to live in. Moreover, when we speak about the economic situation, there are lots of people in Syria who live in poverty. And if the economic system in the sanctioned state can’t restart functioning normally, the population itself becomes very much dependent on the delivery of humanitarian aid, and the society doesn’t develop.
As a result, the prices on the black market are increasing, there are no sufficient goods, and people have no work, and they have no money to pay for [goods]. Moreover, in the contemporary situation, due to the scope of sanctions imposed to Syria, it’s not possible to transfer money to Syria directly, especially after the Syrian central bank has been listed.
Even if there are attempts to transfer money via some other agents, agents start to be scared because of the fear of secondary sanctions, as actors cooperating with [the] Syrian government — already sanctioned institutions — more and more. Moreover, less and less humanitarian organizations are able to do the humanitarian work as they used to do before, again, because of the fear of secondary sanctions. Donors are scared to provide money or any other goods to be delivered to Syria, because they again, are scared to fall under secondary sanctions for doing this humanitarian part.
Again, when we speak about the scope of sanctions, we need to take into account that the new forms appear. And here I speak, for example, about the application of so-called cyber sanctions. When we speak about the situation in Syria, it basically means that due to the limitation on delivery of goods Syrian government was unable to buy software for CT scanners, which is very important in the course of the pandemic. Again, due to the limitations in the course of the pandemic lots of people were not able to go to school, and lots of people couldn’t get necessary medical aid.
However, again, due to the sanctions imposed toward Syria, Syrian citizens as well as Syrian doctors, can’t use Zoom for communication. It directly says in the Zoom license agreement that citizens of Syria are not allowed to use these means. Again, Syrian doctors can’t use other open-access software for distant diagnosis or distant treatment, and there are not sufficient doctors in the country. And moreover, Syrian doctors have complained about the impossibility to use the medical open access results — PubMed — for consultations as concerned the treatment of COVID as well as other diseases in the course of sanctions.
AARON MATÉ: There was an article in the American Prospect in September it was headlined, “From the U.S. to Syria, a Doctor Smuggles Lifesaving Equipment.” A doctor having to smuggle into his own country, into Syria, parts to fix a broken CT scanner. As part of your investigation into the impact of these sanctions, can you talk more about that, and just the impact on a narrow issue such as medical equipment?
ALENA DOUHAN: Indeed, that’s one of the very serious problems today. Due to the limitations on delivery of different sorts of goods to Syria, quite a huge number of goods are identified as so-called “dual-use” goods. Sometimes it comes to the point which seems to be ridiculous for an ordinary person. For example, toothpaste can’t be delivered to Syria, because it’s considered to be a dual-use good.
When it comes to the medicine, there are serious limitations on the possibility of the Syrian government to be able to buy medicine, protective kits, and medical equipment. During the first weeks of the pandemic — that was around April, May 2020 — [the] Syrian government and Syrian doctors were able to do only 100 tests per day because there was no possibility to buy these tests.
Secondly, to be able to get any medicine or medical equipment as a sort of humanitarian aid. The deliverers of humanitarian aid, including humanitarian organizations, are obliged to get a necessary license from the sanctioning countries. I had expert consultations with a huge number of humanitarian NGOs, mostly faith-based NGOs. They were trying to deliver humanitarian aid to Syria. And they were unanimous about the fact that getting these licenses, and getting these permission is a very [inaudible], costly, and complicated process.
Even when they try to deliver medical equipment, they have to prove a genuine humanitarian aim for delivery. Even if we speak about, for example, the COVID test, or about the CT scanners, or any other types of medicines. As a result, small humanitarian NGOs prefer not to be involved in the delivery of these humanitarian aid at all, because they do not have lawyers who will deal with the process, and who will be able. And the organizations themselves are not able to pay for going through the process.
Again, when for example, the permission is received to deliver humanitarian aid to Syria, it doesn’t mean that if the organization brings it across the border, the organization is allowed, for example, to buy fuel for its car to deliver necessary medicine or medical equipment. It will mean that the organization will need another permission to get fuel for a single car in the process of delivery of humanitarian aid.
Some other humanitarian organizations have complained, for example, that because of their humanitarian work aim to deliver medicine, medical equipment, and food to Syria, in the course of the pandemic, their bank accounts have been frozen — as well as the bank accounts of their personnel have been frozen. So they basically fall under the secondary sanctions as a result.
Some of them say that due to this fact they try to transfer money — through around for example, Lebanon — in order to buy some sort of goods in Syria. But if you buy goods in Syria, does it mean that no more medicine or medical equipment is coming here into Syria? Moreover, naturally, the prices in Syria are quite often regulated by the black market prices. I could verify information received not only from the Syrian government, which provided a very detailed one when I prepared to report to the General Assembly — as concerned the humanitarian impact of sanctions and because of the pandemic — but also the unanimous voices of humanitarian organizations. There is a severe shortage of medical equipment, and they name sanctions as the main impediment in the process of delivery of food, medicine, and medical equipment in Syria.
AARON MATÉ: You mentioned earlier the term “dual-use,” which is — just to clarify, a term under, in sanctions discourse — it means a good that could have both a civilian and potential military purpose. So did I hear you correctly that toothpaste has designated in Syria as “dual-use”?
ALENA DOUHAN: That’s what has been reported by humanitarian organizations.
AARON MATÉ: Unbelievable. The Caesar Act itself, I want to quote from it, the US Caesar Act, where it lays out its explicit strategy, it says that its “strategy” is “to deter foreign persons from entering into contracts related to reconstruction,” in the areas that it outlines — the government controlled-areas where most Syrians live. Can you talk more about how it works on the local level. Where how this act itself — by one country, by the US — then pretty much deters the rest of the world from helping Syria rebuild?
ALENA DOUHAN: Yes, indeed, unfortunately, one of the processes which we repeat today in the field of sanctions, is the expanded application of secondary sanctions by the United States. And these sanctions, quite often, as it takes place, for example, in the case of Syria, are applied extraterritorially. That’s quite evident, for example, on the point that the European Union is very much against this policy. If you look at the guidance on the delivery of humanitarian aid, issued by the European Union, at the beginning of December, they say explicitly that the European Union is strictly against extraterritorial application of sanctions, as well as against the application of secondary sanctions.
I align myself with that point. From the point of international law, there is nothing which can allow states to apply extraterritorially its jurisdiction over someone else — and sanctioning someone for getting into trade; some third-country national from getting into trade with someone else, who is already sanctioned.
That’s why we have to mention here two aspects. First of all, a person is punished upon the decision of the executive power of another state without any due process guarantee, without any accusation in accordance with the rule of law for doing something, which quite often doesn’t even constitute a crime. In the majority of the cases, that’s exactly the case.
And as a result, it’s very easy to include someone in the list. And as a result, people start to [get] scared. One of the main messages which have been sent by the humanitarian organizations, during the expert consultations I had in October, was the following: the fear of sanctions — they say today — harm even more than the sanctions themselves.
Everyone is scared to be included tomorrow, or in two days, into the list because they have dealt with their own person or their own country. Like that’s exactly the case of Syria. Donors, humanitarian organizations, banks themselves, any trade partners — anyone who is or will be able to be involved into any engineering or reconstruction process — as it’s said in the Syria [Caesar] Act — are scared. Because they may have other businesses, they do some humanitarian work. or do anything else.
And unfortunately, in the contemporary situation, there is not a single mechanism for them to apply for de-listing in accordance with due process standards. No access to justice in the situation. So that’s one part of the problem.
The second part of the problem is that because of that general fear of everyone — donor states, states, humanitarian organizations, countries, companies and anyone else — the population of the targeted country is suffering a lot. That’s namely Syrian people, who don’t get necessary humanitarian aid. That’s Syrian people who live under the destroyed houses, or somewhere else, because the reconstruction process is not ongoing. That’s Syrian people who can’t get medical treatment, food, who can’t go to school, or even use Zoom for any sort of educational processes, or any sort of at least gathering information, about what’s happening in the world.
AARON MATÉ: I want to quote you from an article in The New Yorker from April 2020. It’s called “America’s Abandonment of Syria.” And it says, “Even though the State Department and USAID no longer have personnel in Syria, they still determine how the majority of foreign funding is spent there.” And the article goes on to quote a senior humanitarian officer who says, “It’s become a collective consensus among donors that we will not do reconstruction in Syria… ‘Reconstruction’ is a dirty word.”
Professor Douhan is this your sense as well, that reconstruction in Syria has basically become a dirty word?
ALENA DOUHAN: I would come again, to the point of fear. Because of the fear, everyone is very scared to be involved into any reconstruction processes. As well as any other processes, which as a result affects the human rights. And I would say, even human lives in Syria a lot. Because if any of us gets sick — everyone is vulnerable today in the face of the pandemic, or in the face of other diseases. If you have no hospitals, if you have no medical equipment, no doctors, and no medicine, your chances to die are much higher than for those who have. And I would say that that basically results in a sort of discrimination to all of the people of targeted countries. How it takes place in Syria: they do not get medical treatment, they do not get housing, they do not get sufficient food. And that endangers their lives a lot.
AARON MATÉ: You mentioned this earlier, but I want to ask you to talk more about it. So the US Treasury has designated the Syrian central bank as being possibly involved in money laundering. What is the impact of that on Syrian civilians?
ALENA DOUHAN: I will answer here probably in two aspects. The very first one, that the very possibility of the organ of one state to designate an organ or a bank in another state as being possibly involved into money laundering, or any other processes, is very dubious from the point of international law. Moreover, it’s possible to make many statements. But the law doesn’t function in this way. The law is based on the rule of law. That’s why upon my opinion, the very designation in this case is absolutely illegal.
When we speak about the impact on the lives of people in this situation: I would say that in this situation it’s generally close to make the possibilities of the Syrian population, to reconstruct the society, as well as to get any humanitarian aid, even smaller than it was before. As I said, one of the very scary developments in this field of sanctions is the development of so-called secondary sanctions by designating the Syrian central bank, as well as a number of other banks.
Because of the fact that the US dollars is used for payments a lot first, the system is controlled by the US a lot. And because of all the general fear, no donor, no company will be ready to communicate to the Syrian bank, or any other bank of Syria, and therefore no payment may be made. No money transfer, or whatever humanitarian purposes may be made. And that will mean that people — even the [inaudible] — which has some sort of international aspect, won’t be paid.
If the money is supposed to come from abroad, humanitarian aid can hardly be delivered. So at least money can’t go inside, to guarantee for example, certain rights for those who are in need, or those who are in poverty. It also will mean that in this situation, the online banking is also impossible. So Syrian people are left alone inside of Syria. And they are cut off of the financial system that limits the right to work, it [inaudible] lots of them. So it doesn’t help them to find good work to provide the necessary living. It keeps them where they were, and it rises the inflation as well, as a result. Therefore the economic situation is deteriorating.
I would like to draw attention here to the fact: naturally, sanctions is not the only reason for the bad economic situation in Syria. But that’s one of the very serious reasons. And it’s necessary to take it into account in order to guarantee rights of the people of Syria.
AARON MATÉ: Right, certainly, it’d be awful enough for me to imagine living under this in normal circumstances — where you know, where I live in New York, if my banking situation was impeded, hospitals lacking medical equipment. But then you think about the fact that this comes after 10 years of war, where a bunch of foreign countries were involved, including the US, which is now imposing these sanctions. And it’s just hard to fathom the impact of trying to not only live under these conditions to begin with, but live under them, while you’re trying to rebuild from a catastrophic decade-long war.
ALENA DOUHAN: Yes, indeed, that’s one of the very serious problems. And that’s why I’m calling for lifting sanctions. There are different means of peaceful settlement of international disputes. There are some sort of legal mechanism which can be used in this field. And moreover, I would like to recall the very fact that the UN Charter doesn’t allow application of any unilateral sanctions. It entitles the UN Security Council to take decisions of any enforcement measures, including a military one, in the situations of the breach of peace, threat to peace, and acts of aggression.
From the point of international law, countries are only allowed to take measures which do not violate their international obligations. And here I speak about the economic ones — about any sort of international treaties, and naturally, international agreements, like for example, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.
I’m absolutely aware that the United States is not a member of the latter one. But lots of their rights, including the right to housing, right to food, right to work — as well as some other of them — have already became customary norms of international law. And they all are set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Another point, which is very important to take into account, is that even after the decade of sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council in the 1990s, there was enormous work done within the United Nations, which identified that the humanitarian impact of those absolutely legal sanctions has also been enormous. And therefore the UN Security Council started to apply targeted sanctions as a result of that. And if you compare the scope of sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council, and the United States of America today, the difference is enormous.
Therefore, I always call to use the rules which already exist in international law. And moreover, I always call not to forget about the principle of humanity. People shouldn’t die, people shouldn’t suffer, and people shouldn’t fear whether they can survive after tomorrow, because they have neither medicine or food, because of the sanctions applied. As well as because of any other reasons.
In accordance with international law, every country is under obligation to act under international law first, and to observe human rights second. Regardless whether the state acts inside of the state, or outside of the state.
AARON MATÉ: In your discussions with humanitarian workers and experts. What are some of the main concerns of theirs that stick out to you?
ALENA DOUHAN: Well, generally speaking, they mentioned several of them. And the very first one was a very complicated character of their work. Due to the multi-layered character of sanctions, especially when we speak about Syria — we speak about the US sanctions, European Union sanctions, some other state sanctions.
[They] quite openly do not even know where they shall apply for humanitarian licenses, or maybe they shall apply to all the places. Secondly, they mention the very fact that donors are very concerned that, for example, they are ready to support [the] function of the organization, but they are scared that their money will go through the country, which is under sanctions, for example of the United States. And they need to differentiate how to use the funds received from different parts of the world.
And the third point, was basically the fact that all the sanctioning countries, or groups of sanctions, lay a burden of proof on the humanitarian organization themselves. We need to take into account that not all of them are enormous and huge. Some of them are small, but they still doing the humanitarian job, and assisting people, including in Syria.
And then these situations, the humanitarian organizations have to take responsibility and to prove, and to guarantee, that the humanitarian aid has genuine humanitarian purpose. Even for example, when we speak about the delivery of medical equipments. Because if you look, for example, at the guidance developed by the European Union, it’s said that generally speaking medical equipment can be sold at the black market afterwards and also be used for corruption.
So the humanitarian organization shall prove humanitarian purpose; shall do some steps to guarantee that it won’t be used for some wrong purposes. And naturally, they are nervous. They do not know where to go. They do not know whom to contact. They have to prepare reports for everyone, for sanctioning states, for banks. They lose money because of the increase in rates of bank transfers. In some situation, the cost of a bank transfer rises up to 10%. Not like 0.2, 0.5 % we used to have.
Moreover, the duration of the consideration of banks for any bank transfers is increasing. For example, when we speak about the transfer of money to Venezuela, the banks may consider the situation up to 45 days. That’s not like transferring money within the day or the next day, as we used to have. Moreover, they say that the main reason and the main aspect, all of them mentioned is that they are scared. They’re scared for their own functioning to be listed. They’re scared for their personnel to be listed for delivering humanitarian aid. They’re scared that donors will be scared, and they already are. And that they will provide less funds for any sort of humanitarian activity.
That’s why for example, after that meeting, I elaborated the guidance on delivery of humanitarian aid in December 2020, did a press release. And the guidance itself is on the back page of the mandate. And I hope very much that the sanctioning countries will read it, and will see the scope. So the accumulation of all the humanitarian concerns, as well as recommendations, and hope that they will change their policy.
AARON MATÉ: And when it comes to the impact of the sanctions now, especially after a 10-year war: in the 1990s, the US imposed crippling sanctions on Iraq. And even though at that time, there was this so called “Oil for Food” program, facilitated by the UN in which Iraq could sell some oil in exchange for buying humanitarian goods. There was still a catastrophic impact of sanctions on the Iraqi people, to the point where two UN coordinators for this program resigned, saying that the sanctions were essentially genocidal. Are we risking a similar situation, or are we [already] seeing a similar situation now with the sanctions on Syria?
ALENA DOUHAN: I’m afraid that my answer is yes. And I will clarify a couple of points. Unfortunately, when, as I have mentioned, the UN Security Council had to change its policy towards sanctions, because of the enormous humanitarian impact not only on Iraq, but on all these states.
And when I speak about the enormous humanitarian impact, I speak about the hundred, million, percents of inflation; the enormous increase of deaths, including the maternal deaths, the deaths of newborn children. There was a study done by a number of huge humanitarian NGOs in Iraq. And if I’m not mistaken, the number of children beyond five, which died within 10 years was plus half a million, because of the impossibility to get food; because of the possibility to get medical treatment; because of the impossibility of vaccination; as well as malnutrition and dysentery all around.
That’s why I always insisted that the humanitarian precaution shall always be taken. That already tends to be a practice of the UN Security Council. And I believe it shall be a practice of every state. We have a similar principle in international environmental law, under the Esper convention. When the preliminary assessment of the possible impact — in that case on the environment — shall be made before any activity starts, and in the course of the activity. The same upon my opinion, shall be applied when we speak about international relations.
Some activity, for example, done by the UN Security Council may be absolutely legal, but the humanitarian impact will be enormous. When we speak about the unilateral sanctions of states, the majority of them have no grounds under international law. And their humanitarian impact is also enormous. We need to start [thinking] about people and to start thinking about human rights. We can’t protect human rights by violating the human rights of those we seek to protect.
AARON MATÉ: And when you speak to humanitarian workers — in their view, how does the impact of sanctions compare to the impact of the 10-year war on Syrian civilians?
ALENA DOUHAN: Well, generally speaking here, I can just repeat the words of one of them — although I do not pretend it to be like the absolute truth, because I do not know the answer. But one of them said that today, the impact of unilateral sanctions on the Syrian population can be pretty equivalent to those of the conflict itself. They said that the conflict itself has affected, like the huge percentage of the population. But sanctions affect the population as a whole.
AARON MATÉ: Finally, when people defend these sanctions — especially in the US government and their allies — they say that there are humanitarian exemptions. And they also say that they are providing humanitarian aid to Syria. Does that make up for the impact of the sanctions?
ALENA DOUHAN: I need to see, first of all, that, indeed, some humanitarian aid is provided. And in all my previous statements, I also always welcomed any sort of humanitarian aid, which was provided. As well as any sort of humanitarian assistance, which is provided by anyone –states, international governmental organizations, non-governmental organization, anyone else.
But generally speaking, when we speak about the humanitarian aid, we need to take into account two aspects. The very first one is that it’s not sufficient. Some, as I said, humanitarian organizations face enormous problems in getting licenses for delivering of this humanitarian aid. Naturally, if that humanitarian aid wouldn’t be delivered, more people would die, because of starvation. More than today, or because of not having sufficient medicine. So naturally, it helps some people. At the same time, it’s not sufficient.
And the second point. We need to take into account, that in accordance to international law, that’s a primary responsibility of a state to guarantee it’s population’s development, and to satisfy its basic needs. If sanctions prevent, for example, a reconstruction of functioning of the oil industry, or building the medical infrastructure — buying medicine or buying medical goods — it means that a country is prevented to do its duty to guarantee the rights of that population.
That’s why I would say, again: it’s good that some humanitarian aid is delivered. From the other side, it’s not sufficient. And moreover, making the population dependent entirely on the humanitarian aid, upon my opinion, prevents the development of that population.
AARON MATÉ: We’ll leave it there. Alena Douhan is the UN Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of sanctions, and a professor at Belarusian State University. Professor Douhan, thank you very much.
ALENA DOUHAN: Thank you.
Patrick Armstrong explains why the Time magazine’s “Yanks to the Rescue” story was utterly wrong.
(This is the first of a two-part series on the 1996 Russian presidential election. They are based on notes I made at the time in the Canadian Embassy in Moscow. I was an accredited observer in both rounds in Moscow Oblast. A reporter accompanied me on the first round and a program appeared on CBC Newsworld, but I haven’t been able to find it on YouTube.)
When, four years ago, the losers concocted the story that the Russians had got Trump elected and beginning the unending series of stories, investigations and allegations, many people said that that was fair enough because Americans had got Yeltsin elected president of Russia in 1996. There was even a Time magazine story to that effect “Yanks to the Rescue“. You can see the argument made on this video.
I was there and I don’t believe it. I watched the polls carefully and a month before the first vote reported:
So the fundamental facts are these: Yeltsin is the only man who can stop the communists and Zyuganov is doing nothing effective to broaden his base from those who supported him in December… This election will be about the lesser of two evils and, at the moment, and with the dynamic of the situation, Yeltsin appears to enjoy that status.
Most Russians didn’t want the communists back and understood, that, like him or like him not – and he wasn’t popular – voting for Yeltsin was the only way to avoid them coming back.
I earlier published an anecdote of a conversation I had with a villager during the election who said that, while life in the village had been pretty dismal, he hoped it could be better for his children and that was why he was voting for Yeltsin. And he was correct: the route to the future did run through Yeltsin. Yeltsin gave way to Putin and the Putin team has achieved much. Russia in 2021 would look very different indeed had Zyuganov, still alive, won in 1996.
Therefore, 1996 was a tremendously important inflection point.
The first key to rationally analysing probabilities was to consider the election realities of Gennadiy Zyuganov, the head of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF). Any observer knew that the communists had a solid and dependable base that would certainly turn out. There was good data from the December 1995 Duma elections when all “communist” parties (not only Zyuganov’s KPRF) received about a third of the votes. It was a reasonable assumption that Zyuganov would retain most of this support six months later. “Brownshirts” took about another 20 percent with Zhirinovskiy’s party (LDPR) taking about half of that. It could also be assumed that he would stay in the race and keep most of his votes. But some of the “brownshirt” vote would go to Zyuganov who campaigned pretty hard for derzhava (Great Power State). Therefore, in January, before any polling was done, we could assume a theoretical maximum for Zyuganov of 35-40%. Zyuganov’s problem was how to attract the other 10-15%. He could get it by persuading people that he wasn’t really a hard communist; that would lose him some of his core but, because they had no other place to go, he could expect to keep most of them. The rules required a run-off between the top two if no one won over fifty percent on the first round. It was highly probable that Zyuganov would get to the second round; the question was who the other finisher would be.
And this is what the video referred to above doesn’t understand: Zyuganov had got the largest vote in December but he hadn’t got more than half; to win the presidency he had to get more than half. Zyuganov’s situation, not Yeltsin and Clinton, was the fixed background against which any analysis had to take place. None of this had anything to do with American whiz kids or money squandered on American-style pizazz: the fundamental reality of Russian politics in the 1990s was there was a strong core of communists – about a third of the population – who would certainly turn out and vote. And that was the situation that opinion polls showed in January: Zyuganov was well in front of Yavlinskiy, Zhirinovskiy, Fedorov and Lebed with President Yeltsin in the middle of the pack. Thus, from the perspective of January 1996, Zyuganov looked like the sure winner.
Some people have stuck at the January moment, failing to take the dynamics into account. But the December election had shown a second reality and that was that the majority did not want the communists back: the communists got a third but they didn’t get half. The dynamic of the interaction of these two realities was the key to understanding the election outcome. And over the next six months what I consider to be the central understanding gradually emerged: if you do anything but vote for Yeltsin, you are effectively voting for Zyuganov. Splitting the vote means Zyuganov wins; staying at home means Zyuganov wins. Only voting for Yeltsin will keep Zyuganov out.
There was one outlying pollster which, although differing from the others at the beginning, served to confirm this trend: Nugzar Betaneli and his Institute of the Sociology of Parliamentarianism. While the other pollsters asked for whom would you vote today, he claimed to be predicting the final result, although he never explained his methodology, and, as events showed, he wasn’t able to see any farther into the future than the others. In April he gave Yeltsin 16-20% and Zyuganov 38-47%. There was a rumour that his results accorded with the Kremlin’s internal polls and caused an apparent panic which was reflected in Korzhakov’s musings that the election should be postponed or cancelled.
But by May he had upped Yeltsin to 27% and dropped Zyuganov to 42%. In short, Betaneli agreed that Zyuganov was staying within his bounds but that Yeltsin had burst through his. This was the essence of the election dynamics. Betaneli agreed with other pollsters on the remaining candidates; his main disagreement was putting Zyuganov up to 15 points ahead of everyone else’s estimate. At this point numbers were less important than the dynamic. Again, there was no need for American legerdemain, just the reality that Zyuganov wasn’t expanding his appeal, a majority did not want the communists back and they were holding their noses and going for Yeltsin as the most viable alternative.
Two realities made Yeltsin the anticommunist centre: the first was the power of incumbency and the second the lack of a “third force”. He could have been pinched out had the “liberals” coalesced but that would have required Yavlinskiy, Fedorov, Lebed and Gorbachev to sink their differences and unite around one of them. Another scheme floated was a “government of national trust” uniting everyone and leading to a postponement of the elections. But nobody was willing to give over to another and neither of these ideas ever got off the ground. (This was the time of the colourful expression “taxi parties”: all the members could fit into a taxi and drive around in circles. But no taxi would ever merge with another.)
As time went on we could see people, understanding the dynamic, swallowing their misgivings and declaring for Yeltsin. Pamyat, the very first super-nationalist faction, declared for him; Yegor Gaydar, in opposition for more than a year, and Boris Fedorov, whom he fired, came over. Cossack leaders supported him because he’d done something for them. The Russian Orthodox Church quietly instructed its clergy to remind parishioners what the communists had done to it. Primorskiy Region’s Governor Nazdrachenko, who had strongly opposed the border settlement with China, supported him. Moscow Mayor Luzhkov, a very canny player, strongly supported him.
By late May the trend was very pronounced and Betaneli, for all his claims to be able to see farther, was no longer the outlier. The average of ROMIR, CESSI and VTsIOM gave Yeltsin 33.5% and Zyuganov 23.2%. Betaneli had the two even at 36% each. The dynamic was holding: Zyuganov stagnant and the other candidates leaking support to Yeltsin.
The last three polls were VTsIOM (11 June), ROMIR (10 June) and ISP (Betaneli) (7 June). All got the most important thing right which was the steady rise of Yeltsin’s rating over the campaign and the flatness of Zyuganov’s support through the same period. The first two got the order of the top five right; ISP had Yavlinskiy beating Lebed. VTsIOM had very accurate predictions for Yeltsin and Zhirinovskiy and the best fit for Lebed and did detect a rise in his score at the last moment (from seven to ten percent). ROMIR was best for Yavlinskiy and ISP best for Zyuganov. So, generally speaking, the pollsters were in the ball park; Betaneli/ISP, having reversed his starting position, had Yeltsin at 40% and Zyuganov at 31%.
I spent some effort calculating “correction factors” for the polling numbers because polling was pretty new to Russia and there were a lot of errors that observation over time had shown. Generally, “liberals” were over-estimated, Zhirinovskiy very under-estimated and communists somewhat under-estimated. But I kept to the lode star that, whatever the numbers produced by individual pollsters, the dynamic was the indicator: Zyuganov flat, Yeltsin gathering the others. And so my final prediction was that Yeltsin would win a second term although I thought he might come second to Zyuganov on the first round and I expected Zhirinovskiy to come third. For what it’s worth, a panel at the Carnegie Institute just before the vote estimated Zyuganov 31%, Yeltsin 28% and Zhirinovskiy 10-11%.
In the event, we were both wrong: in the first round Yeltsin edged Zyuganov 35.8% to 32.5, Lebed was a strong third at 14.7%, Yavlinskiy was 7.4 %, Zhirinovskiy 5.8% and the others were deep in the weeds (Brytsalov coming dead last. Anybody remember him? YouTube does). I observed the election counting at a military base near Moscow and there Lebed won comfortably with Yeltsin second.
One of the things that the Americans were supposed to have done was put some zip into Yeltsin’s campaign ads. I saw little evidence of that. Perhaps Yeltsin’s most effective ad was this one but there was nothing very impressive about the others. The best ads I saw were for Lebed. The one I most remember was at a work site where people were complaining that the country was going to the dogs and there wasn’t anyone who could lead the way out, a sprightly girl pipes up “есть такой человек, ты его знаешь!” (There is such a man, you know him) and Lebed’s face would appear. (And, amazingly, YouTube has preserved one of the series.) This played to his reputation as a man who could make hard decisions and was the very essence of мужественность (manliness, courage). Something he was to prove later in the year when he went to Chechnya, recognised the war was lost, and swiftly negotiated a ceasefire and withdrawal with Aslan Maskhadov. Zyuganov’s advertising was very Soviet – long screeds on cheap paper which probably didn’t shift a single vote.
The media coverage did heavily favour Yeltsin. Some of it was understandable: Yeltsin used the power of incumbency, was doing newsworthy things and his campaign style was far more active than Zyuganov’s; added to which, most reporters did not want a return to the days of GlavLit censorship. But the coverage was pretty heavy-handed: for example, in the last week, TV carried a program about the Cheka terror, an unflattering movie about Stalin and a hagiographic profile of Nikolay II. But Yeltsin ran a much better campaign than Zyuganov: he bribed the taxpayers with their own money (not unknown in our politics), apparently defused the Chechnya disaster, buried the health issue with his frenetic activity and directed his campaign to the issues people were concerned about; and he was cunning: in Novocherkassk he spoke of the strikers gunned down in 1962. So, while he shamelessly used the incumbent’s advantages, he did things that deserved coverage.
So, the dynamic operated: Zyuganov never got past his start state and Yeltsin gathered in the anti-communist vote. Not that surprising. American political operators had little effect.
It no coincidence that our entertainment industry today, so heavily saturated with the influence of Wells’ propaganda, is obsessed with the theme of a post-apocalyptic world, Cynthia Chung writes.
“It has become apparent that whole masses of human population are, as a whole, inferior in their claim upon the future, to other masses, that they cannot be given opportunities or trusted with power as the superior peoples are trusted, that their characteristic weaknesses are contagious and detrimental to the civilizing fabric, and that their range of incapacity tempts and demoralizes the strong. To give them equality is to sink to their level, to protect and cherish them is to be swamped in their fecundity. “
– H.G. Wells’ in “Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical
and Scientific Progress upon Human Life and Thought” 1901
In “The Shape of Things to Come: The Ultimate Revolution” (published in 1933), H.G. Wells writes of the future predicting, rather optimistically, that there will be another world war in just a few years, followed by epidemic and famine. In this fictional future, war continues for thirty years into the 1960s, despite the people having forgotten why they started fighting. Humanity enters a new Dark Age. In a last bid for victory, the enemy deploys a biological weapon resulting in the “wandering sickness,” producing the first zombies, and by 1970 the global population has dropped to a little under one billion.
Though this is depicted as horrific, it is at the same time depicted as a necessity – a “great reset,” to restore the “balance” so to speak. It is only with this reduced population size that the world can begin to build itself back together from the chaos that it was, and enter into its new phase of evolution as a biologically superior species (the inferior having been culled by war and disease), managed by a bureaucratic system under the form of a world government.
This is the sci-fi fantasy of H.G. Wells and is the central theme to everything he wrote including his works of non-fiction. The subject on ways to reduce the world population was a troubling dilemma for Wells…not the reducing part, but the thought that there would be those so foolish as to forbid it.
You see, it was considered by some that the human species had found itself in a crisis by the 1900s. Europe, up until the 17th century had a population size that never exceeded roughly 100 million. But nearly doubled to 180 million in the 18th century, and doubled again to 390 million in the 19thcentury. H.G. Wells wrote of this “the extravagant swarm of new births” as “the essential disaster of the nineteenth century.” (1) Not war, not disease, not starvation, not abject poverty, but population growth was determined as the disaster of an entire century.
Today the world population is 7.9 billion people, a far cry from Wells’ hopeful 1 billion. However, there is good news! The worldometers.info site predicts a decreasing net change in population growth, such that by year 2050 the yearly change will be 0.50% of what it is now! In other words, the rate of population growth will be cut in half 29 years from now! Those are striking projections and would entail a massive cap on growth! Obviously, this is a projection based off of the presumed success of “educational reforms.” Though I do wonder…what will we do if not all of the individuals agree to abide by these reforms? And what will we do if not all of the nations agree to abide by these reforms? Will we enforce it nonetheless, and if so…by what methods?
The Ghosts of Wells’ Past
“The knowledge of today is the ignorance of tomorrow”
The Wells that we have come to know today started his journey as a young boy winning a scholarship to study at the prestigious Normal School of Science (now called the Royal College of Science). His subject of choice was biology and his teacher, and quickly thereafter mentor, was none other than Thomas Huxley, otherwise known as “Darwin’s bulldog” (his words).
Through Huxley, Wells’ conception of the nature of humankind was formed with its foundation built upon the philosophies of Charles Darwin and Thomas Malthus.
Because Wells is so very influenced by these men, in fact they form the very basis for his ethics; I thought it apt to share with you a few quotes.
In Thomas Malthus’ “Essay on the Principle of Population” (1799), he wrote:
“We should facilitate, instead of foolishly and vainly endeavoring to impede, the operations of nature in producing this mortality; and if we dread the too frequent visitation of the horrid form of famine, we should sedulously encourage the other forms of destruction, which we compel nature to use. In our towns we should make the streets narrower, crowd more people into the houses, and court the return of the plague.” [emphasis added]
This approach seems not too different from a proposal to crowd people into a building with kindling and then proceed to light it on fire. After all, fire is a natural phenomenon. A much quicker and more effective remedy, I would think, if one is to take such an approach…
In Charles Darwin’s “The Descent of Man” (no not his autobiography! Though he was very much spiritually conflicted with the social consequences of his philosophies…) stated his thoughts on directed breeding as such:
“No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man itself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.” [emphasis added]
To the credit of Darwin (though the damage was already done), he included a disclaimer in his “The Descent of Man,” that if humankind were to take upon itself the enforcement of the so-called “forces of nature,” it would be at the cost of our “most noble qualities”, as Darwin states:
“Nor could we check our sympathy, even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with an overwhelming present evil.” [emphasis added]
Out of Malthus, Huxley and Wells, Darwin was by far the most troubled by the social consequences of what he believed to be an unavoidable necessity. Yet he could never resolve why something necessary could be so morally destructive and this failure to rectify the two opposing veins of thought would cost him dearly. In his later years he described his spiritual crippling inability to find joy in anything he once did, as he states in his autobiography:
“I have said that in one respect my mind has changed during the last twenty or thirty years. Up to the age of thirty, or beyond it, poetry of many kinds…gave me great pleasure, and even as a schoolboy I took intense delight in Shakespeare, especially in the historical plays…music [was a] very great delight. But now for many years I cannot endure to read a line of poetry: I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me. I have also almost lost my taste for…music…My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive… The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature.” (2)
What is the value of life, if in striving for our supposed “survival” we lose our most noble qualities? Why should we sacrifice our best qualities in a humiliating trade-off for a “contingent benefit” and “an overwhelming evil”?
Britain’s Ministry of Propaganda
Soon after the outbreak of the First World War (1914), the British government discovered that Germany had a Propaganda Agency- and thus it was only reasonable that a British War Propaganda Bureau be established. David Lloyd George, the Chancellor of the Exchequer was to head the task.
On Sept. 2nd, 1914, H.G. Wells (who was 48 by then) was invited amongst twelve other participants (including Arthur Conan Doyle and Rudyard Kipling) to discuss ways of best promoting Britain’s interests during the war. All the writers present at the conference agreed to the utmost secrecy and it was not until 1935 that the activities of the War Propaganda Bureau became known to the general public. It was agreed that pamphlets and books would be written to promote the government’s view of the situation.
Other than writing books for the Ministry of Propaganda, Wells also did some dabbling as a journalist under the supervision of Lord Northcliffe, the owner of The Times and the Daily Mail (the largest circulating newspaper in the early 20th century), among other newspapers.
Northcliffe’s newspapers propagandized for creating a Minister of Munitions, which was held first by David Lloyd George (1915), and played an instrumental role in getting him appointed as Prime Minister of Britain in 1916. Lloyd George then appointed Lord Northcliffe as Director of Propaganda. (3)
Thus, H.G. Wells not only participated in the British War Propaganda Bureau but worked directly under the Director of Propaganda. And thus, much of his writing from 1914 on, should be regarded in service (and certainly not counter) to the interests of the British Empire.
Among the plethora of books Wells wrote, was “The New World Order,” (1940). It appears that Wells was indeed the first to pioneer the now-infamous term.
Wells’ Vision for a New Republic vs the People of the Abyss
In Wells’ “Anticipations” published in 1901, he writes the “vicious, helpless and pauper masses” have appeared, spreading as the railway systems have spread, and representing an integral part of the process of industrialization, like the waste product of a healthy organism. For these “great useless masses of people” he adopts the term “People of the Abyss” and he predicts that the “nation that most resolutely picks over, educates, sterilizes, exports or poisons its People of the Abyss” will be in the ascendant. (4)
The ethical system laid out in Wells’ New Republic forbids the further growth of the “People of the Abyss”. In the past, Nature killed these off, and in some cases killing will still be necessary. And we should not be appalled by this task, as per Mr. Wells. Death for such people will mean merely “the end of the bitterness of failure, the merciful obliteration of weak and silly and pointless things.” Clearly the effecting of this will be morally justifiable according to Wells:
“The new ethics will hold life to be a privilege and a responsibility, not a sort of night refuge for base spirits out of the void; and the alternative in right conduct between living fully, beautifully and efficiently will be to die. For a multitude of contemptible and silly creatures, fear-driven and helpless and useless, unhappy or hateful happy in the midst of squalid dishonour, feeble, ugly, inefficient, born of unrestrained lusts, and increasing and multiplying through sheer incontinence and stupidity, the men of the New Republic will have little pity and less benevolence.” (5) [emphasis added]
If “the whole tenor of a man’s actions” shows him to be unfit to live, the New Republicans will exterminate him. They will not be squeamish about inflicting death because they will have a fuller sense of the possibilities of life. “They will have an ideal that will make killing worth the while.” The killing, Wells explains, will not be needlessly brutal. “All such killing will be done with an opiate.” Whether this will be administered forcibly or whether the victim will be persuaded to swallow it, he does not reveal. Selected criminals will be destroyed by the same means. The death penalty will also be used to prevent the transmission of genetic disorders. People suffering from genetically transmissible diseases will be forbidden to propagate, and will be killed if they do. (6)
As for the “swarms of black, and brown, and dirty-white, and yellow people”, who do not meet the new needs of efficiency, will, he insists “have to go”. It is “their portion to die out and disappear”. (7)
In 1938, Wells’ “War of the Worlds” was broadcasted as a radio drama and narrated by Orson Welles. Apparently, during the broadcast it had not made itself clear to its audience that it was in fact a radio drama and not the actual news. Suffice to say the reporting of a man-eating alien invasion caused quite the panic in its London boroughs, and I am sure the British Propaganda Bureau got quite the chuckle out of it. It was great news for them, for it showed how easy it would be to control the narrative even if it were to be carried out to an absurd degree. It confirmed to them that the public will believe anything.
Wells wrote of the panic caused by the radio drama in the London boroughs:
“If one could have hung that June morning in a balloon in the blazing blue above London, every northward and eastward road running out of the infinite tangle of streets would have seemed stippled black with the streaming fugitives, each dot a human agony of terror and physical distress…Never before in the history of the world had such a mass of human beings moved and suffered together…without order and with a goal, six million people, unarmed and unprovisioned, driving headlong. It was the beginning of the rout of civilization, of the massacre of mankind.” (8) [emphasis added]
I think it no coincidence that our entertainment industry today, so heavily saturated with the influence of Wells’ propaganda, is obsessed with the theme of a post-apocalyptic world, the ever-revolving death game where its avatars are tested on their ability to survive at all cost. Through these adventures, we the audience are brought along and are taught how to feel the thrill of the hunt, the catharsis of the bludgeoning, the release that comes from mayhem. For we are the children of the ultimate revolution… the dawn of the great Purge.
Modern Religion: A Collective Orwellian Mind
In H.G. Wells’ “Open Conspiracy: Blue Prints for a World Revolution”, he makes no qualms in declaring his trilogy: “The Outline of History” (1919), “The Science of Life” (1929), and “The Work, Wealth, and Happiness of Mankind” (1932) as the new Bible:
“I have told already how I have schemed out a group of writings to embody the necessary ideas of the new time in a form adapted to the current reading public; I have made a sort of provisional “Bible,” so to speak, for some factors at least in the Open Conspiracy.” (9)
The reader should be aware that Julius Huxley was a co-author of “The Science of Life”. Julian was also a prominent member of the British Eugenics Society, serving as its Vice-President from 1937-1944 and its President from 1959-1962. Interesting life choices from the authors of the new Bible.
Of Wells’ vision for a “Modern Religion” he wrote:
‘…if religion is to develop unifying and directive power in the present confusion of human affairs it must adapt itself to this forward-looking, individuality-analyzing turn of mind; it must divest itself of its sacred histories…The desire for service, for subordination, for permanent effect, for an escape from the distressful pettiness and mortality of the individual life, is the undying element in every religious system.
The time has come to strip religion right down to that [service and subordination is all Wells wants to keep of the old relic of religion]…The explanation of why things are is an unnecessary effort…The essential fact…is the desire for religion and not how it came about…The first sentence in the modern creed must be, not “I believe,” but “I give myself.” ‘ (10) [emphasis added]
And to what are we to “give ourselves” to without any questions asked, but with a blind faith to worship what we are told is the good?
Wells explains it to us thus:
“The character of the Open Conspiracy will now be plainly displayed. It will have become a great world movement as wide-spread and evident as socialism or communism. It will have taken the place of these movements very largely. It will be more than they were, it will be frankly a world religion. This large, loose assimilatory mass of movements, groups, and societies will be definitely and obviously attempting to swallow up the entire population of the world and become the new human community.” (11)
In Alfred Hitchcock’s film “The Rope” (1948), two Harvard students murder one of their friends as an experiment in committing the “perfect murder” and a display of their intellectual superiority. They stuff the body in a large chest in the middle of the dining room and hold a party, the idea being that all of their guests will be too daft as to figure out that they are dinning in a room with a fresh corpse, that is, everyone except Rupert Cadell (played by James Stewart), a former teacher of theirs. Rupert, they recognise will be their real challenge and their greatest proof of intellectual superiority if they succeed in pulling the wool over his eyes.
In fact, it was Rupert who taught the two men this manner of thinking that “murder is a crime for most men, but a privilege for the few.” This is reasoned by the belief that “moral concepts of good and evil do not pertain to the superior being.”
This subject is discussed at the dinner party, the guests think at first Rupert is kidding, but he assures them that the world would be a better place if the superior were permitted to commit murder, and that such a murder would be an “art form.” He states “think of what this would mean for unemployment, poverty, waiting in long lines.” He thinks open season for murder would be too much, and suggests shorter durations such as “cut a throat week” or “strangulation day.”
As the evening progresses, Rupert, the astute man that he is, observes a series of odd behaviour from the two men. David (the murdered young man) was in fact invited to the party, his father and his fiancé are amongst the guests and there is a growing concern for why David has not shown up.
Long story short – after all the guests had left, only Rupert and the two young killers remain in the apartment. Rupert discovers that they have murdered David (who was also a student of Rupert’s), and he opens the chest to find the body. Horrified and disgusted, he asks “why did you do it?” They of course responded, “we simply acted out what you always talked about.”
Confronted with the reality of his words, Rupert is ashamed at being partially responsible for this macabre scene. However, Rupert states, “there was always something deep within me that prevented me from ever acting out my words,” in other words, he never thought it possible that anyone would actually have it in them to act them out.
It is in this moment that Rupert realises that it is not in fact the superior being who is capable of committing murder, but the criminally insane. That the idea of purging the world of its “inferiors,” would in fact rid the world of its most loving and moral beings, their traits regarded as intolerably foolish and weak.
In the end, we would be left with the worst of humankind, a human race that had cannibalised itself.
The author can be contacted at email@example.com
(1) H.G. Wells, Kipps, Fontana Books, London, 1961, p. 240
(2) Darwin’s Autobiography, pg 26
(3) James K. Boyce “Democratizing Global Economic Governance” 2004
(4) H.G. Wells’ “Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon Human Life and Thought,” Chapman and Hall, London, 1901, pg 81-2, 211-12.
(5) Ibid. pg 298-9.
(6) Ibid. pg 300-301
(7) Ibid. pg 280, 317.
(8) G.G. Welles’ “A Modern Utopia,” Chapman and Hall, London, 1905, pg 135
(9) H.G. Wells’ “Open Conspiracy” pg 50
(11) Ibid, pg 58
Hatred is at an all-time high in Washington. Will Congress step in to become the arbiters of truth?
“Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?” was the question used in congressional hearings in the 1950s in what was portrayed as a witch hunt against leftists that blighted American freedom of speech. A new witch hunt is sweeping Washington, Silicon Valley, and much of the media based on the following question: “Do you currently have any doubts or have you ever written or said anything disparaging the vote counts of the 2020 presidential election?”
Anyone who questions the final vote of that election is now literally being derided as a traitor. Regardless of 65 million mail-in ballots (for which fraud is “vastly more prevalent,” according to the New York Times), regardless of the last minute changes in election procedures in key swing states, and regardless of controversies about computer voting software, anyone who does not attest to the final proclaimed vote count is finding themselves forever damned – or at least that is the intent of Democratic activists and social media companies.
Expelling all those members of Congress would disenfranchise all the voters in those states and congressional districts in the name of punishing anyone who raised questions about the national vote count. While Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tx) maintained that America needed healing, she also declared that “accountability comes before healing.” [Pg. 136 of transcript]
Both before and after the 2020 election, the dominant media narrative endlessly recited that voter fraud was a myth. Facebook earlier this week deleted all posts that included the phrase “Stop the Steal.” Will a long history of electoral frauds by Tammany Hall and other political racketeers be expunged like a bunch of Confederate monuments toppled in the middle of the night? After the backlash to challenges to the 2020 election, must Americans now unquestioningly accept the vote count in every state, county, and dog patch in every election? Why is it now impious to suspect that politicians who brazenly lie on the campaign trail and in office would also connive to illicitly win elections?
On top of the new thought prohibitions, anyone who criticized or protested the election results is now collectively guilty for any violence that occurred during the January 6 clash between Trump supporters and police at the U.S. Capitol. After a policeman suffered fatal injuries from that during the melee, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), the House Democratic Caucus chair, declared on Tuesday, “Blood is on the hands of every single House Republican sycophant. Who perpetrated the big lie. That Trump won the election.” [Sentence breaks accurate for the tweet.]
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer demanded, “Any of those who were inside the Capitol should not be able to fly and should be placed on the No Fly list” by the FBI and TSA. The Supreme Court ruled in 1999 that the “‘constitutional right to travel from one State to another’ is firmly embedded in our jurisprudence.” But Schumer now wants to use the No Fly list to nullify the rights of people based on their political activism or political associations, not on any actual threat they pose to aviation safety.
Schumer wants to see people banned not after a conviction in federal court but merely because they appear in photos or videos in the wrong place at the wrong time. Federal officials make it almost impossible to get one’s name removed from the No Fly list, often tormenting citizens who are guilty of nothing more than having a name resembling a name suspected sometime by some bureaucrat. In 2005, a Stanford University graduate student learned that she was on the No Fly list when she was handcuffed and locked up overnight instead of being permitted to travel. The FBI refused to disclose why she was on that list, and Attorney General Eric Holder attested that the reason her case was a “state secret” was not an “administrative error” or to “prevent embarrassment.” A federal judge in 2014 exposed Holder’s falsehood when he revealed that the No Fly listing was the result of an FBI clerical error. But most of the folks who kept within the rope lines at the Capitol during last week’s brouhaha probably can’t afford the equivalent of $3 million in legal fees necessary to end federal travel restrictions on that graduate student.
Some politicians are talking as if anyone who broke a window on a federal building should be found guilty of attempting to overthrow the government. Scores of protestors have already been charged with “unlawful entry” for last week’s protest. Federal prosecutors will likely seek to pile on charges atop that piddling charge to browbeat guilty pleas from scores if not hundreds of people who cannot afford thousands of dollars of legal fees to prove their innocence. Will the Justice Department seek to hold any demonstrator legally liable for any of the violence at the scene? Unfortunately, the feds have a handy club in the Patriot Act’s “domestic terrorism” offense, defined as violent or threatening private actions intended “to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion.” It requires only a few scuffles at a rally to transform a protest group into a terrorist entity—even if the scuffles are started by undercover government agent provocateurs. American Conservative online editor J. Arthur Bloom has already raised questions about the role of federal informants in Wednesday’s protest. Even people who did not attend the rally where violence broke out could face legal perils from the feds if charged with “material support” (i.e., donations) to an organization later charged with terrorist offenses.
Democratic legislators will exploit the outrage they have fanned in the past week to seek new laws that further muzzle their critics and average Americans. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) declared on Tuesday, “We’re going to have to figure out we rein our media environment so that you can’t just spew misinformation and disinformation.” AOC said that people must be prevented from “saying things that are false.” The progressive icon has not yet revealed the secret codicil she discovered in the First Amendment entitling Congress to be Truth Czars. But, according to her, a cure must be administered to people who “drank the poison of white supremacy.” AOC also declared, “The only way our country is going to heal is through the actual liberation of southern states.” She didn’t specify if she favored the type of military dictatorship that was ended only by a historic compromise after the fraud-ridden 1876 presidential election. Plenty of Democratic members of Congress may agree with CNN’s Don Lemon, who declared yesterday that anyone who voted for Trump is guilty of siding with Nazis and the Klan.
As the Trump era ignominiously ends with a second impeachment, hatred is at high tide in Washington. Democrats appear to believe that they can restore faith in elections by demonizing any criticism of officially promulgated vote totals. But election results are not handed down from Mt. Sinai, and precedents now being established could haunt elections for decades to come.
Although there may not be tanks on the streets and a dictator inciting crowds from his bully pulpit, the end result has been pretty much the same.
Most Americans can probably still remember a time when U.S. companies were in business with one goal in mind – providing a product or service for profit. It was a noble idea, the bedrock of capitalism, in which everyone stood to gain in the process.
Today, the monopolistic powers now enjoyed by a handful of mighty corporations, which are no longer shy about declaring their political bent, have tempted them to wade into the deep end of the political pool with deleterious effects on democracy. Indeed, corporate power wedded to government is nothing less than fascism.
In presenting such a case, it is important to put aside the notion that fascism is a purely right-wing phenomenon, complete with a chauvinistic demagogue haranguing a frenzied crowd. The new dictator on the block is not some fanatical Fuhrer, but rather Silicon Valley, the fountainhead of technological advancement and the formidable fortress of liberal ideology. In other words, fascism is an ideology that moves fluidly along the political spectrum, although some say the ideology grew out of European progressivism.
Jonah Goldberg argued in his 2008 book, Liberal Fascism, that even before World War II “fascism was widely viewed as a progressive social movement with many liberal and left-wing adherents in Europe and the United States.” Many years earlier, the late political theorist Hannah Arendt described the Nazi Party (which stands for, lest we forget, the ‘National SOCIALIST German Workers’ Party’) as nothing more than “the breakdown of all German and European traditions, the good as well as the bad…basing itself on the intoxication of destruction as an actual experience.” That sounds like a pretty accurate description of the cancel culture mentality that has now gripped the ‘progressive’ left with an almost demonic possession.
Did Twitter just delete and lock the @POTUS account as well now?
That’s a US Government account… now we’re on another level.
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) January 9, 2021
It should be shocking to Republicans and Democrats alike that the Commander-in-Chief of the United States is banished from all of the main social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook and YouTube – denying him the ability to communicate with his 75 million constituents, or one half of the electorate. This is real and unprecedented violence being committed against the body politic and far more worrisome than any breach of federal property, as loathsome as such an act may be.
The Capitol building is, after all, ultimately a mere symbol of our freedoms and liberties, whereas the rights laid down in the U.S. Constitution –the First Amendment not least of all – are fragile and coming under sustained assault every single day. Why does the left refuse to show the same concern for an aging piece of parchment, arguably the greatest political document ever written, as it does for a piece of architecture? The answer to that riddle is becoming increasingly obvious.
We are living Orwell’s 1984. Free-speech no longer exists in America. It died with big tech and what’s left is only there for a chosen few.
This is absolute insanity! https://t.co/s2z8ymFsLX
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) January 9, 2021
Big Tech began its slide towards marked fascist tendencies thanks to one of the greatest hoaxes ever foisted upon the American public, known as Russiagate. One after another, Silicon Valley overlords were called before Congressional committees to explain “how and why Russian operatives were given free rein to tamper with 2016 U.S. election,” in favor of the populist Donald Trump, no less.
After this made for television ‘dressing down’, the Big Tech executives at Google, Facebook, Twitter and others got busy reconfiguring their software algorithms in such a way that thousands of internet creators suddenly lost not only a lifetime of hard work and their sustenance, but their voice as well. This is the moment that Big Tech and the Democrats began to really march in lockstep. A new dark age of ‘McCarthyism’ had settled upon the nation, which gave the left unlimited powers for blocking user accounts they deemed “suspicious,” which meant anyone on the right. Now, getting ‘shadow banned,’ demonetized and outright banned from these platforms has become the new dystopian reality for those with a conservative message to convey. And the fact that the story of ‘Russian collusion’ was finally exposed as a dirty little lie did nothing to loosen the corporate screws.
Incidentally, as a very large footnote to this story, Big Tech and Big Business have not dished out the same amount of medieval-style punishment to other violators of the public peace. The most obvious example comes courtesy of Black Lives Matter, the Soros-funded social-justice movement that has wreaked havoc across a broad swath of the heartland following the death of George Floyd during an arrest by a white police officer.
Both BLM and Trump supporters believe they have a very large grudge to bear. The former believes they are being unfairly targeted by police due to the color of their skin, while the latter believes they are not getting fair treatment by the mainstream media due to ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome’, and possibly also due in part to their skin color. But at this point the similarities between BLM and Trump voters come to a screeching halt.
Taking it as gospel that America suffers from ‘systemic racism’ (it doesn’t, although that is not to say that pockets of racism against all colors and creeds doesn’t exist), dozens of corporations jumped on the woke bandwagon to express their support for Black Lives Matter at the very same time the latter’s members were looting and burning neighborhoods across the nation. Strangely, violence has never shocked the progressive left, so long as the violence supported its agenda.
FLASHBACK: Rep. Maxine Waters and Sen. Cory Booker called for violence against elected leaders and Cabinet membershttps://t.co/L7aIAV4hg4
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) January 13, 2021
Here are just some of the ways the corporate world responded to charges that America was a racist cauldron ready to blow, as reported by The Washington Post: “Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, knelt alongside employees during his visit to a Chase branch. Bank of America pledged $1 billion to fight racial inequality in America. Tech companies have invested big dollars in Black Lives Matter, the Center for Policing Equity, Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp and other entities engaged in racial justice efforts…” And the list goes on and on.
Of course, private corporations are free to express their solidarity with whatever group they wish. The problem, however, is that these monopolistic monstrosities have an overwhelming tendency to pledge allegiance to liberal, progressive values, as opposed to maybe steering clear of politics altogether. Nowhere was Corporate America’s political agenda more obvious than in the aftermath of the siege of the Capitol building on January 6, which led to the death of five people.
Corporate America missed a very good opportunity to keep quiet and remain neutral with regards to an issue of incredible partisan significance. Instead, it unleashed a salvo of attacks on Trump supporters, even denying them access to basic services.
Aside from the most obvious and alarming ‘disappearing act,’ that of POTUS being removed from the major social media platforms, were countless lesser names caught up in the ‘purge.’
One such person is conservative commentator and former baseball star Curt Schilling, who says that AIG terminated his insurance policy over his “social media profile,” which was sympathetic to Donald Trump, according to Summit News.
“We will be just fine, but wanted to let Americans know that @AIGinsurance canceled our insurance due to my “Social Media profile,” tweeted Schilling.
“The agent told us it was a decision made by and with their PR department in conjunction with management,” he added.
We will be just fine, but wanted to let Americans know that @AIGinsurance canceled our insurance due to my “Social Media profile”
— President Elect Curt Schilling (@gehrig38) January 13, 2021
While all forms of ‘cancel culture’ (which seems to be part of a move to build American society along the lines of the Chinese ‘social credit system,’ which rewards those who toe the party line, and punishes those who fall out of favor) are egregious and counterintuitive to American values, perhaps the most astonishing was the cancellation of Republican Senator Josh Hawley’s book deal with Simon and Shuster.
“We did not come to this decision lightly,” Simon & Schuster said in a statement over Twitter. “As a publisher it will always be our mission to amplify a variety of voices and viewpoints: At the same time we take seriously our larger public responsibility as citizens, and cannot support Senator Hawley after his role in what became a dangerous threat.”
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) January 7, 2021
The so-called “threat” was a photograph of Hawley raising a fist to the crowd that had assembled outside of the Capitol building before it had breached the security perimeter. It seems that corporations may now serve as judge, jury and executioner when it comes to how Americans behave in public. Is it a crime that Hawley acknowledged a crowd of supporters who were at the time behind the gates of the Capitol building? Apparently it is.
By the way, the name of the Hawley’s book? ‘The Tyranny of Big Tech’. How’s that for irony?
In conclusion, it would be a huge mistake for the Democrats to believe that they are safe from the same sort of corporate and government behavior that has now dramatically silenced the conservative voice across the nation. The United States has entered dangerous unchartered waters, and by all indications it would appear that the American people have inherited a ‘soft’ form of fascism.
Although there may not be troops and tanks on the streets and a dictator inciting crowds from his bully pulpit, the end result has been pretty much the same: the brutal elimination of one half of the American population from all of the due protections provided by the U.S. Constitution due to an unholy alliance between corporate and government power, which is the very definition of fascism. Democrats, you may very well be next, so enjoy your victory while you still can.
By Jonathan COOK
Anyone who believes locking President Donald Trump out of his social media accounts will serve as the first step on the path to healing the political divide in the United States is likely to be in for a bitter disappointment.
The flaws in this reasoning need to be peeled away, like the layers of an onion.
Twitter’s decision to permanently ban Trump for, among other things, “incitement of violence” effectively cuts him off from 88 million followers. Facebook has said it will deny Trump access to his account till at least the end of his presidential term.
The act of barring an elected president, even an outgoing one, from the digital equivalent of the public square is bound to be every bit as polarising as allowing him to continue tweeting.
These moves threaten to widen the tribal divide between the Democratic and Republican parties into a chasm, and open up a damaging rift among liberals and the left on the limits of political speech.
Claims of ‘stolen’ election
The proximate cause of Facebook and Twitter’s decision is his encouragement of a protest march on Washington DC last week by his supporters that rapidly turned violent as several thousand stormed the Capitol building, the seat of the US government.
Five people are reported to have died, including a police officer struck on the head with a fire extinguisher and a woman who was shot dead inside the building, apparently by a security guard.
The protesters – and much of the Republican party – believe that Trump’s Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, “stole” November’s presidential election. The storming of the Capitol occurred on the day electoral college votes were being counted, marking the moment when Biden’s win became irreversible.
Since the November election, Trump has cultivated his supporters’ political grievances by implying in regular tweets that the election was “rigged”, that he supposedly won by a “landslide”, and that Biden is an illegitimate president.
The social networks’ immediate fear appears to be that, should he be allowed to continue, there could be a repetition of the turmoil at the Capitol when the inauguration – the formal transfer of power from Trump to Biden – takes place next week.
No simple solutions
Whatever we – or the tech giants who now dominate our lives – might hope, there are no simple solutions to the problems caused by extreme political speech.
To many, banning Trump from Twitter – his main megaphone – sounds like a proportionate response to his incitement and his narcissistic behaviour. It appears to accord with a much-cited restriction on free speech: no one should be allowed to shout “Fire!” in a crowded theatre.
But that comparison serves only to blur important distinctions between ordinary speech and political speech.
The prohibition on shouting “Fire!” reflects a broad social consensus that giving voice to a falsehood of this kind – a lie that can be easily verified as such and one that has indisputably harmful outcomes – is a bad thing.
There is a clear way to calculate the benefits and losses of allowing this type of speech. It is certain to cause a stampede that risks injury and death – and at no gain, apart from possibly to the instigator’s ego.
It is also easy to determine how we should respond to someone who shouts “Fire!” in a crowded theatre. They should be prosecuted according to the law.
Who gets to decide
Banning political speech, by contrast, is a more complicated affair because there is rarely consensus on the legitimacy of such censorship, and – as we shall see – any gains are likely to be outweighed by the losses.
Trump’s ban is just the latest instance in a growing wave of exclusions by Twitter and Facebook of users who espouse political views outside the mainstream, whether on the right or the left. In addition, the tech giants have been tinkering with their algorithms to make it harder to find such content – in what amounts to a kind of pre-censorship.
But the critical issue in a democracy is: who gets to decide if political speech is unreasonable when it falls short of breaching hate and incitement laws?
Few of us want state institutions – the permanent bureaucracy, or the intelligence and security services – wielding that kind of power over our ability to comment and converse. These institutions, which lie at the heart of government and need to be scrutinised as fully as possible, have a vested interest in silencing critics.
There are equally good grounds to object to giving ruling parties the power to censor, precisely because government officials from one side of the political aisle have a strong incentive to gag their opponents. Incitement and protection of public order are perfect pretexts for authoritarianism.
And leaving the democratic majority with the power to arbitrate over political speech has major drawbacks too. In a liberal democracy, the right to criticise the majority and their representatives is an essential freedom, one designed to curb the majority’s tyrranical impulses and ensure minorities are protected.
‘Terms of service’
In this case, however, the ones deciding which users get to speak and which are banned are the globe-spanning tech corporations, the wealthiest companies in human history.
Facebook and Twitter have justified banning Trump, and anyone else, on the grounds that he violated vague business “terms of service” – the small print on agreement forms we all sign before being allowed access to their platforms.
But barring users from the chief means of communication in a modern, digitised world cannot be defended simply on commercial or business grounds, especially when those firms have been allowed to develop their respective monopolies by our governments.
Social media is now at the heart of many people’s political lives. It is how we share and clarify political views, organise political actions, and more generally shape the information universe.
The fact that western societies have agreed to let private hands control what should be essential public utilities – turning them into vastly profitable industries – is a political decision in itself.
Unlike governments, which have to submit to intermittent elections, tech giants are accountable chiefly to their billionaire owners and shareholders – a tiny wealth elite whose interests are tied to greater wealth accumulation, not the public good.
But in addition to these economic imperatives, the tech companies are also increasingly subjected to direct and indirect political pressures.
Sometimes that occurs out in the open, when Facebook executives get hauled before congressional committees to explain their actions. And doubtless pressure is being exerted too out of sight, behind closed doors.
Facebook, Twitter, Google and Apple all want their respective, highly profitable tech monopolies to continue, and currying favour with the party in power – or the one coming into power – is the best strategy for avoiding greater regulation.
Either way, it means that, in their role as gatekeepers to the global, digital public square, the tech giants exercise overtly political powers. They regulate an outsourced public utility, but are not subject to normal democratic oversight or accountability because their relationship with the state is veiled.
Banning Trump from social media, whatever the intention, will inevitably look like an act of political suppression to his supporters, to potential supporters and even to some critics who worry about the precedent being set.
In fact, to many it will smack of vengeful retaliation by the “elites”.
Consider these two issues. They may not seem relevant to some opponents but we can be sure they will fuel his supporters’ mounting sense of righteous indignation and grievance.
First, both the department of justice and the federal trade commission under Trump have opened anti-trust investigations of the major tech corporations to break up their monopolies. Last month the Trump administration initiated two anti-trust lawsuits – the first of their kind – specifically against Facebook.
Second, these tech giants have chosen to act against Trump now, just as Biden prepares to replace him in the White House. Silicon Valley was a generous funder of Biden’s election campaign and quickly won for itself positions in the incoming administration. The new president will decide whether to continue the anti-trust actions or drop them.
Whether these matters are connected or not, whether they are “fake news” or not, is beside the point. The decision by Facebook and Twitter to bar Trump from its platforms can easily be spun in his supporters’ minds as an opportunistic reprisal against Trump for his efforts to limit the excesses of these overweening tech empires.
This is a perfect illustration of why curbs on political speech – even of the most irresponsible kind – invariably backfire. Censorship of major politicians will always be contested and are likely to generate opposition and stoke resentment.
Banning Trump won’t end conspiracy theories on the American right. It will intensify them, reinforce them, embolden them.
So in the cost-beneft calculus, censoring Trump is almost certain to further polarise an already deeply divided American society, amplify genuine grievances and conspiracy theories alike, sow greater distrust towards political elites, further fracture an already broken political system and ultimately rationalise political violence.
The solution is not to crack down on political speech, even extreme and irresponsible speech, if it does not break the law. Trump is not the cause of US political woes, he is one obnoxious symptom.
The solution is to address the real causes, and tackle the only too justified resentments that fuelled Trump’s rise and will sustain him and the US right in defeat. Banning Trump – just like labelling his supporters “a basket of deplorables” – will prove entirely counter-productive.
Fixing a broken system
Meaningful reform will be no simple task. The US political system looks fundamentally broken – and has been for a long time.
It will require a much more transparent electoral system. Big donor money will have to be removed from Congressional and presidential races. Powerful lobbies will need to be ousted from Washington, where they now act as the primary authors of Congressional legislation promoting their own narrow interests.
The old and new media monopolies – the latter our new public square – will have to be broken up. New, publicly funded and publicly accountable media models must be developed that reflect a greater pluralism of views.
In these ways, the public can be encouraged to become more democratically engaged, active participants in their national and local politics rather than alienated onlookers or simple-minded cheerleaders. Politicians can be held truly accountable for their decisions, with an expectation that they serve the public interest, not the interests of the most powerful corporations.
The outcome of such reforms, as surveys of the American public’s preferences regularly show, would be much greater social and economic equality. Joblessness, home evictions and loss of medical cover would not stalk so many millions of Americans as they do now, during a pandemic. In this environment, the wider appeal of a demagogue like Trump would evaporate.
If this all sounds like pie-in-the-sky idealism, that in itself should serve as a wake-up call, highlighting just how far the US political system is from the liberal democracy it claims to be.
There is something deranged about U.S. politics that continually seeks to find foreign “enemies” who are purportedly hellbent on destroying America.
As the United States heads towards the inauguration of Joe Biden next week to become the 46th president of the republic, the nation is gripped by a foreboding sense of civil violence erupting.
Some 20,000 troops have been deployed in Washington DC to protect government buildings from assault. There are more U.S. soldiers taking up defensive positions in the American capital city than there are currently in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria combined. Both the White House and the Capitol building – where the Congress sits – are ring-fenced with steel and concrete barriers. Images of heavily armed National Guardsmen camped on the floor of the Capitol evoke an inescapable atmosphere that this nation – and the very heart of its government – is under siege. Under siege, that is, from America’s own citizens.
It’s hard to convey the unprecedented circumstances that the United States finds itself in. The outgoing Republican President Donald Trump has been impeached this week (for the second time) based on allegations he incited a violent insurrection against the government on January 6 when thousands of his supporters invaded the Capitol to interrupt the electoral process certifying Democrat President-elect Joe Biden.
The partisan hatred across the U.S. has reached the point where Democrat lawmakers fear that some of their Republican counterparts are willing to facilitate kidnappings and assassinations. Among Trump’s voter base are white supremacists and Neo-fascists who openly proclaim that the “only good Democrat is a dead one”.
It is no exaggeration to say that the United States has not seen such bitter divisions since the Civil War (1861-65). The dissonance is so vast it is almost beyond words and any kind of shared dialogue. There is collapse in common trust and consensus. And that is corrosive of governing institutions and legitimacy. Trump and many of the 74 million people who voted for him on November 3 are convinced that the election was rigged to favor Biden. There is no credible evidence to substantiate that belief. But those who subscribe to the view are resolute in their opinion. On the other hand, for the 81 million who voted for Biden, there is angry disgust that Trump and his supporters have rejected the democratic process and are recklessly pushing the country to the brink of all-out conflict.
In an extraordinary statement this week, the Pentagon’s top generals warned all troops to obey the Constitution and to fulfill their duty to oversee the peaceful transfer of power to President-elect Biden. That remarkable statement underscores just how precarious the situation is right now for the United States.
Federal security services are on high alert for armed insurrection in the coming days from myriad rightwing militia groups. These groups like Trump and his voter base are of the belief that the election was stolen by Democrats in cahoots with deep state organs and corporate media. Again, there is no evidence for such a contention which is more speculative and conspiratorial than fact-based. The courts have unanimously dismissed flimsy claims. Recounts have validated results. And while corporate news media are often misinforming on many occasions and issues, sometimes even they can get it right.
A surreal video report aired on U.S. media this week was that of Vice President Mike Pence reviewing troops stationed on the streets of Washington. With avuncular bonhomie, Pence was heard ginning the soldiers up as if they were going into battle in some far-flung overseas war. Trump’s second-in-command assured that there would be a “peaceful transfer of power” on inauguration day next Wednesday.
This is an astounding revelation of how gravely in turmoil the United States is.
Meanwhile, U.S. media reports absurdly claim that Russia is behind the latest political crisis in America. Television news channel CNN headlined in an online newsletter that it was “mission accomplished” for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Other politicians and pundits declared that the political crisis in the U.S. is “a gift for Putin”.
This is insane and contemptible. For the last four years since Trump was elected in 2016, there has been a relentless media campaign accusing Russia of interfering in U.S. politics. The Democrats and their media supporters as well as large sections of the deep state and intelligence apparatus peddled the absurd notion that Russia had enabled Trump to win the presidency. Then in 2020 when “their man” Biden won the ballot all of a sudden the mantra of Russian meddling in elections disappeared. How irrational is that! And how telling it is of the bogus “Russiagate” nonsense that the Democrats and media had wasted four years spewing to the nation. Republicans may have undermined the 2020 election, but the Democrats undermined the 2016 cycle. There is a plague on all their houses.
Nevertheless, the Russian bogeyman is still invoked whenever Americans try to explain the dire political mess that their country is in. It’s not just Russia. There is something phenomenally deranged about U.S. politics that continually seeks to find foreign “enemies” and “evildoers” who are purportedly hellbent on destroying America. If it’s not Russia, then it’s China, and so on and so on. What is this xenophobia and jingoism about? It betrays a lack of confidence in their own political system where citizens must be corralled by fear of foreign enemies. It is also the addiction of militarism and the military-industrial complex that is so essential to prop up American capitalism and its imperialist ambitions for hegemonic dominance over the rest of the world. It is also a cover for the inherent failures of American politics to deliver on the material and spiritual needs of the nation.
This is the ultimate scapegoating and destructive denial over endemic U.S. problems. Those problems are topped by the vast social and economic inequality that has been presaged by decades of neoliberal capitalism overseen by both Republicans and Democrats. Both parties seem unwilling or incapable of understanding what needs to be fixed in a fundamentally broken system. The rise of Trump was something of a diversion from addressing the root problem. And blaming Russia for ongoing problems is also another futile diversion. This systemic denial of reality by the American political class is why the U.S. crisis will continue to deteriorate because blaming everyone else but itself avoids the necessary ways and means to fix it.
In any case, there is no top-down solution from a supposed self-enlightenment among elites. The solution will require mass popular mobilization for democratic rights. But in order to gain the necessary political direction, the futile mentality of Russophobia, Sinophobia, Iranophobia, and so on, must be expunged.
The truth is Russia and the rest of the world would welcome a peaceful and prosperous democracy prevailing in the United States.
International relations could then be conducted with mutual respect and cooperation, and the world would be a much safer, more peaceful place. As it is, however, the internecine turmoil in the United States under its failing capitalist system is a clear and present danger to itself and the rest of the world.
“Condemnation of memory” is how Trump and his supporters should be viewed by the U.S. government and public now and into the future, Wayne Madsen believes.
The Roman Senate had a method for dealing with traitors, one that can still be seen today in etched stone proclamations among Roman ruins. It was to declare those who brought dishonor upon the Roman Republic to be forever condemned in the memory of future generations, what in Latin is known as “damnatio memoriae.” The Romans borrowed the concept of purging its bad actors from the Egyptians. This is known by archaeologists from examining the faces and hieroglyphs that were chiseled off by order of two pharaohs who employed “condemnation of memory,” Akhenaten and Hatshepsut.
Such “condemnation of memory” is how Trump and his supporters should be viewed by the U.S. government and public now and into the future. The name “Trump” should never grace any federal, state, and municipal structure, thoroughfare, proposed legislation, scholarship, award, or anything else that would bestow honor on a person who encouraged an attempted politico-military coup d’état against the constitutional government of the United States.
The Roman Republic viewed damnatio memoriae as a fate worse than death. Donald Trump, who has called for his inclusion on Mount Rushmore with the likenesses of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt, would likely find his condemnation of memory to be the ultimate punishment, considering Trump’s extreme narcissism and vaingloriousness.
Damnatio memoriae was employed in the Soviet Union after Premier Nikita Khrushchev’s denouncement of Joseph Stalin in 1956. Statues and other images of Stalin came down across the USSR.
Damnatio memoriae has also been used in the United States to purge any honorifics bestowed on the Revolutionary War traitor Benedict Arnold. Actions included Arnold’s removal from the official records of West Point. The monument of the Battle of Saratoga, in which Arnold defeated the British before he switched loyalties, also omits any reference to his being in command.
Critics argue that purging a nation of honors bestowed on leaders who became tyrants is a form of Orwellian re-writing of history. However, there are just as many arguments that the elimination of honors to those leaders who committed genocide and other atrocities must occur if a nation hopes to reclaim its reputation in the eyes of its citizens and the world.
Often, damnatio memoriae measures are taken while the abuses of tyrannical and corrupt leaders and governments are still fresh in the memories of citizens. Witness the speed at which Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania was relegated from hero worship to one of the most despised leaders in Romanian history after his overthrow in 1989. Albania revered Enver Hoxha as “Supreme Comrade, Sole Force and Great Teacher.” After his death in 1985 and the revolution overthrew his successor, Albania pulled down just about anything that honored Hoxha, including statues and ubiquitous street billboards and posters. Into the rubbish bins went all of the plaster images and other portraits of Cambodian butcher Pol Pot after his forces were defeated by the Vietnamese. Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Trujillo was so vainglorious, he had the capital city of Santo Domingo renamed Ciudad Trujillo, or Trujillo City. In 2004, Argentine President Nestor Kirchner ordered the photographs of two of the chief junta architects of the nation’s “Dirty War” — Jorge Rafael Videla and Reynaldo Bignone – removed from the National Military College.
The African nation of Equatorial Guinea still finds itself in the throes of presidential madness. Although damnatio memoriae has been employed in erasing any honorifics bestowed on the first president, Francisco Macias Nguema, hero worship continues to be demanded by his nephew, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who ousted his uncle in 1979. Macias Nguema called himself a “Unique Miracle” and changed the name of Bioko Island to “Masie Ngueme Biyogo Island,” naming it after himself. He even changed the national coat of arms to include the motto: “There is no other God than Macias Nguema.” Macias Nguema’s nephew has adopted similar hero worship policies, referring to himself as the nation’s god and declaring that he is “gentleman of the great island of Bioko, Annobón and Río Muni.” Obiang has failed to take note of what occurred to past fellow African leaders Idi Amin of Uganda and Mobutu Sese Seko of the former Zaire. After their ousters, everything they had named for themselves, including, respectively Lake Edward and Lake Albert, reverted back to their original names as part of the damnatio memoriae cleansing actions of anything associated with the two megalomaniacal dictators.
Along with a determination of damnatio memoriae declaration against the U.S. coup plotters and enablers must come a process of lustration, the cleansing from government of officials of ousted shamed regimes. Lustration, which, again, comes from Latin – lustratio, meaning “purification by sacrifice” — has a spotty record in modern practice in central Europe. De-Nazification in Germany following World War II allowed many officials of the Nazi regime to escape responsibility for their crimes against humanity.
De-Baathification in Iraq following the U.S. military ouster of Saddam Hussein directly led to the rise of the Islamic State, which was enabled by the support rendered to radical Islamist ranks by Sunni officials of the Ba’ath Party. A more successful lustration process was carried out in post-apartheid South Africa with the activities of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Reconstruction in the South following the U.S. Civil War was used as a predicate for revanchist white Southerners to return to the racist ways of the Confederacy. In reaction to Reconstruction, southern states erected statues to Confederate politicians and generals and adopted segregationist Jim Crow laws, acts that are only now being dealt with in a national dialogue interrupted by the pro-Confederacy attitudes of Trump and his supporters.
While the South Africans stressed reconciliation as much as the truth, there is a widespread shared belief among U.S. commentators that any American commission be called a “Truth and Accountability Commission.” Holding those government officials who helped perpetrate the violent acts in the Capitol responsible for their actions can only be successful if they are held accountable, either through criminal indictment, resignation, or expulsion from federal and state legislative bodies.
The process of eliminating Trump from any honorable mention is being led by a coalition not seen in the United States since World War II. Condemnations of Trump’s provocative actions came from the National Association of Manufacturers – which called for Trump’s removal from office pursuant to the 25th Amendment; the AFL-CIO, Service Employees International, and United Auto Workers unions; the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; chief executive officers of the Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Alphabet, PwC, McDonald’s, and PayPal, as well as the influential Business Roundtable; Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church, the National Council of Churches, the United Methodist Church, the National Association of Evangelicals, and the Presbyterian Church (USA) – of which Trump is a congregant; and the University of Pennsylvania (Trump’s alma mater), and Yale, Harvard, George Mason, John Hopkins, and Lehigh Universities (the latter revoking Trump’s honorary degree).
A successful post-impeachment conviction of Trump for insurrection, even if it comes after he leaves office on January 20, will have the benefit of stripping his presidential pension, his annual allowance to maintain and office and staff, lifetime Secret Service protection and postal franking privileges, and his right to run again for future federal office. Informally, people would no longer feel obligated to refer to Trump as “Mr. President,” perhaps the greatest humiliation of all.
By Caitlin JOHNSTONE
It’s intense right now. Damn intense. Especially in America.
Liberals and progressives fear their nation is on the brink of a violent fascist uprising and civil war, and the mass media are happily feeding into that fear. Rightists are outraged over internet censorship and the belief that their democracy has been taken over by Deep State ChiComs (or whatever they’re on about at the moment). People who don’t buy into any particular partisan perspective are being shrieked at by those who do for their refusal to move with the herd.
Wherever you’re at on the political spectrum, it’s intense. And it’s scary. And that’s just the latest development in what looks to conventional wisdom like a decaying society on a dying world. So it’s very easy for a sense of despair to set in.
As things get increasingly weird and the possibility of a healthy impulse seizing control of the reins in this chaos and guiding us to sanity looks more and more remote, it’s common for people to assume they’re watching a disintegration that reflects the actual fundamental nature of humanity, or of reality itself. That maybe humanity is just awful, or we were born into a dark universe of terrible suffering. That life sucks and everything is shit.
It’s one of those beliefs that can creep in unnoticed, without ever even really being consciously put into words in your mind. It can just kind of hang out in your subconscious, pulling the strings of your thought and attention without your ever necessarily being aware of it.
But it’s not true. It’s not true at all.
Things aren’t bad because the world we were born into is innately bad, things are bad because a few manipulative sociopaths have made them that way. A few manipulative sociopaths set up a system that is designed to preserve the status quo which feeds them wealth and power at the expense of the health and wellbeing of everyone else, and at the expense of the health and wellbeing our ecosystem. This system is designed to keep everyone poor and propagandized so that nobody can challenge the power of the manipulative sociopaths whose rule depends on exploitation and endless bloodshed.
The universe is not against you. Just because the system is stacked against you doesn’t mean the universe is. We’re up against the ephemeral agendas of a few mortals whose lives are tiny specks in a yawning infinity. They are tiny wisps of nothing against the vast backdrop of reality.
There is so very, very much more to humanity than conventional wisdom can currently perceive. We have so very, very much untapped potential that simply hasn’t unlocked yet. There are mysterious forces at work in our species, and it just so happens that the very worst-equipped among us to reckon with those forces are the manipulative sociopaths.
Sociopaths do not have inner vision. Their narcissistic wiring and lack of empathy allows them to use people as tools to get them what they want where the rest of us would shy away from such actions, but it blinds them to things like inspiration, healing, and insight.
Things are unpacking in ways that conventional wisdom can’t really understand and language can’t adequately point to, and the very last people who will recognize the fruits of that unpacking are the manipulative sociopaths who run things.
Despair is an irrational position when looking at our plight, because it assumes we possess a kind of omnipotence which can perceive all the factors at play in our situation and rule out the possibility of a desirable outcome. And we just can’t. Anyone who’s had sufficient experience with inner exploration or psychedelics knows there are massive levels of our consciousness which haven’t even come into play yet in our collective functioning as a species, but they are there, all ready to go when the time comes.
What we know is dwarfed by what we know we don’t know, and what we know we don’t know is dwarfed by what we don’t know we don’t know. Anything can happen. Bad things. Good things. A wildly unprecedented world in which humans find a way to collaborate harmoniously with each other and with their ecosystem.
The manipulative sociopaths and their schemes are just the faintest blips against that vast backdrop. And then they die, as Sheldon Adelson has so kindly reminded us.
The universe is not against you. The bastards have not won. Keep your head high and your eyes wide, beautiful rebel.
The statement by the Joint Chiefs of Staff this week shows there are real concerns about Trump’s coup ambitions being taken to the ultimate level.
In an extraordinary intervention, the Joint Chiefs of Staff from the US armed forces issued a stark public admonition instructing all military personnel that they are duty-bound to obey the Constitution and only “lawful orders from civilian leadership”.
The fact that the top brass were compelled to publish the warning to rank and file troops shows there are apprehensions over escalating violence in the next week as the US oversees a disputed transfer of power and new presidency. The disquiet is not just about rank and file troops, but rather what the Trump White House might do amid outbreak of violence.
The rare move of making such a public statement is further proof of deep concerns that there is a cabal within the Pentagon doing President Donald Trump’s bidding. There is concern that Trump’s appointees, including acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, are prepared to sabotage the peaceful transfer of power and the inauguration of Democrat President-elect Joe Biden. That is, the cabal is willing to foment a coup against the electoral process.
In their joint statement, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, and seven other four-star generals wrote: “The American people have trusted the Armed Forces of the United States to protect them and our Constitution for almost 250 years. As we have done throughout our history, the US military will obey lawful orders from civilian leadership, support civil authorities to protect lives and property, ensure public safety in accordance with the law, and remain fully committed to protecting and defending the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
Furthermore, the top brass made it clear that the election is not subject to dispute as President Trump insists. The generals stated: “On January 20, 2021, in accordance with the Constitution, confirmed by the states and the courts, and certified by Congress, President-elect Biden will be inaugurated and will become our 46th Commander in Chief.”
In another pointed line, the Pentagon military chiefs noted: “As Service Members, we must embody the values and ideals of the Nation. We support and defend the Constitution. Any act to disrupt the Constitutional process is not only against our traditions, values, and oath; it is against the law.”
The statement followed the unprecedented assault on Congress last week when a joint session of House and Senate lawmakers was in the process of certifying the election of Biden, the Democrat candidate who won the popular vote in the presidential election on November 3 and the subsequent Electoral College mandate on December 14. Notably, the Joint Chiefs of Staff condemned the storming of the Capitol on January 6 as a “direct assault on the US Congress”.
The invasion of the Capitol by thousands of Trump supporters, including armed rightwing extremists, interrupted the certification process. Five people were killed. The incumbent Republican president had only minutes earlier that day incited the crowds to attack the Congress with incendiary yet unsubstantiated claims that the election was stolen by the Democrats in a massive fraud against his “landslide victory”.
It has since emerged that the lapse in security around the legislature was not merely an oversight but appears to have been a deliberate scenario. Appeals for security back-up with National Guard troops were delayed by up to four hours despite frantic requests by the Washington DC local government officials and police chiefs. The delay in ordering troops to secure the Capitol was the responsibility of acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller. Miller, a former Green Beret, along with a cohort of other Trump loyalists, was installed in senior civilian positions at the Pentagon days after the November 3 election. There have been ongoing apprehensions that “all the president’s men” at the Pentagon are willing to enable his efforts to thwart the electoral process and force a second term in office.
The inordinate delay in sending in the National Guard reinforcements allowed rightwing militias to run amok in the Capitol. It is increasingly clear that their intent was to target individual lawmakers for kidnap or bodily harm. Several of the invaders were armed and in possession of zip ties for handcuffing.
As it turned out, the January 6 incursion of the Capitol was eventually quelled by National Guard and police support. Lawmakers continued their duty later that night to certify the election results, finalizing Biden’s victory. His inauguration is to take place next Wednesday on January 20.
But it seems that the events could have ended much more sinisterly. During the rampage, lawmakers sheltered in secure bunkers with armed security officers. What would have happened if the assailants had managed to accost the Congress members? The entire electoral process could have been aborted, and perhaps martial law imposed by the sitting president.
Subsequently, members of Congress have reportedly been briefed by FBI agents that there are ongoing credible plots to carry out abductions and assassinations by far-right extremists aiming to sabotage the inauguration of Biden as president.
Given reports that there were members of the armed forces and police, either off-duty or retired, who participated in the January 6 assault on the Congress it is by no means assured what would happen if armed clashes with protesters were to erupt over the next week as the inauguration date approaches.
Under US law, the chain of command in the US military is from the president down to his secretary of defense and thence to regional combat commanders. The Joint Chiefs of Staff are in a solely advisory role subordinate to the civilian command. Trump is the Commander-in-Chief up until January 20. With Miller as his righthand man and other members of a pro-Trump cabal at the Pentagon, the armed forces could be thrown into disarray from the issuance of invidious commands.
Trump has still not conceded the election to Biden, even at this late hour. He continues to assert that he and “75 million American patriots” were cheated. Trump’s diehard supporters are incensed by a perceived – albeit delusional – existential struggle against a “socialist takeover of America by Democrats”; they are armed to the teeth, and trained in militia tactics. With a pro-Trump cabal heading the Pentagon, the stakes are raised dangerously higher.
The statement by the Joint Chiefs of Staff this week shows there are real concerns about Trump’s coup ambitions being taken to the ultimate level, for which the January 6 mobbing of the US Capitol was only a primer.
Thoughts that are increasingly unthinkable online may yet find success via handbilling, door-knocking, and person-to-person conversations.
By Oliver BATEMAN and Malcolm KYEYUNE
January 6 represented a turning point, not just for the U.S., but for the broader Western world. The riot on Capitol Hill was preceded by weeks of political fantasies, dreams of some decisive action that would knock the U.S. political system out of a morass that Donald Trump neither created nor proved capable of shifting. But like a wish on the monkey’s paw, what followed after the riots revealed a cruel but altogether fitting irony. Someone had clearly prepared to cross the Rubicon in the period leading up to that event; it just wasn’t a much-diminished Donald Trump.
Already, the merger of “woke” big business, professional-class “knowledge workers,” and political operators within the Democratic Party had occurred brazenly, a declaration of war in plain view of their putative opponents. In war, how one defends reveals priority, while how and where one chooses to attack indicates intent. In that vein, one can already say a lot about what the new powers that be have in store over the coming months and years. A new kind of far-reaching censorship is already being put into effect, amidst calls to start a “war on terror” against domestic political opponents, enemies lurking among the American people themselves.
All of this is depressing, and none of it augurs well for the future. But here one should avoid missing the forest for the trees. This censorious anger and budding political repression can be read not as a sign of overwhelming strength, but rather a startling demonstration of the weakness and vulnerability of the nascent regime. This new political order certainly has the power to censor political thought from all social media platforms, and it is in the process of shedding any lingering moral and cultural restraints on the use of that power. But to accept the idea that exclusion from TikTok is tantamount to political destruction is to (foolishly!) buy into the hype of Silicon Valley.
It is in light of this unassuming piece of technology that the ultimate weakness, not the strength, of this new consensus coalition is revealed. In an age of tech monopoly, one can easily drive Parler to ruin, while banning conservatives from appearing in social media. But Parler did not exist in the time of Tsar Nicholas II, and said tsar could hardly hope to keep either the liberal democrats or the socialist revolutionaries at bay merely by invoking Facebook’s community guidelines.
To deal with decentralized printers churning out political material in the age of the tsars took an enormous police apparatus and real repression, and in the end it failed anyway, with an entire political dynasty wiped out by the revolutionaries who replaced them. To attempt to do the same in an age in which printers are household appliances, rather than bulky industrial machines, would require a totalitarian apparatus not on the scale of Tsarist Russia, but of latter-day China or mid-century Eastern Bloc states such as the Soviet Union and the German Democratic Republic.
This point about handbills versus social media might seem anachronistic and more than a bit naive, but it cuts to the heart of the dilemma with which conservatives are confronted. This new combination of tech-based censorship and progressive repression is likely strong enough to deny conservatives a place within the currently existing political establishment. It is easy, as we are now learning, to slowly (and not so slowly) extirpate even the most establishment-friendly dissident Republicans like Hawley and Cruz from polite society. Indeed, that is obviously the plan. We already see how platforms are being attacked, how corporations are enlisted to deny basic services, including payment services and email, and how donors shift and grow even more activist in their funding predilections. This, in turn, creates a cordon sanitaire around the “wrong” kind of Republican politicians—which, unfortunately, is all of them save the leaders of their genteel country-club elites, lovable losers represented historically by the likes of long-time party leader Robert Michel, who spent 38 years in Congress but not a single year as part of a Congressional majority, and today by Mitt Romney and other politesse-obsessed RINOs.
The political scene in Sweden provides several instructive examples. The Sweden Democrats (SD) have in the past twelve years gone from a tiny and powerless political formation to commanding nearly a quarter of the voters, breaking a century of Social Democratic hegemony in the process. All the while, SD has faced exactly the same sort of political, social and economic repression that is now in its early phases in the U.S. From antifa-style violence tacitly supported or at least tolerated by the state, to overwhelming media hostility, to party activists and members routinely getting fired or shut out of professional institutions, to not even being able to book hotels or conference halls… SD has seen all of this and more.
Similarly, on another point on the political spectrum, the Örebro Party (OP), named after the city of Örebro, serves as yet another practical example of the viability of non-establishment politics. The party leader of ÖP, Markus Allard (grandson of the well-known Social Democratic speaker of parliament, Henry Allard) has a background within the Swedish left, but now mainly describes himself and his party as populist. Founded in 2014, what makes ÖP instructive is that it stresses building functional local political machines and representation. As such, it has managed to leverage 3,000 votes in the 2018 municipal election into national name recognition and rapid creation of a number of other municipal branches, all in the span of a couple of years. And all this on a paltry party budget that wouldn’t even buy a Martha’s Vineyard summer home for D.C.’s indispensable pundit elite!
These two very different parties, taken together, illustrate a basic point: politics is a low-tech business. Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you a barrel of hogwash instead of actual political services, which at least come with promises of tangible, quantifiable municipal and civic reforms. For all intents and purposes, the Sweden Democrats have already survived the not-so-tender mercies that the new consensus coalition is preparing to unleash on their American populist cousins. In fact, the party has not merely “survived,” it has thrived and grown to occupy a dominant role on the political scene. This success is not in spite of, but because of, its complete exclusion from the establishment mode of politics. Both SD and ÖP owe their political dynamism to their reliance on a low-tech, low-cost political “conscript army,” a political yeomanry rather than well-paid and well-heeled consultants and fundraisers.
It would be risible to ask whether American conservatives and populists, already expelled from the digital commons, are ready for such a mode of politics. The answer is so obvious that it hardly needs to be spelled out. The real question is whether the Republican Party would be ready for such a thing, and by and large the answer to that question is still “no.” Just like curing malaria, there simply isn’t enough money in the work to see it through to completion.
Compare the printing of pamphlets at the local print shop to building “Joe Biden Island” in some online video game that children can play on their smartphones. The latter option will always exert a significant appeal to political professionals, because the former is cheap and proven to work if accompanied by grassroots effort, while the latter is politically worthless but expensive and open to all sorts of graft. Some political professionals might argue that pamphlets and face-to-face communication will wither on the vine during an age of endless lockdowns and shelter-at-home orders, making the digital frontier the only area open to the feckless sort of “organizing” they prefer, but this denies reality: the American states and regions where face-to-face communication and pamphleteering might work are already de facto, if not de jure, open for business, and no population of this size can be kept at home permanently absent a repressive surveillance apparatus on the scale of the one operating in China. In other words, the lame sort of “doing the work” preferred by the slick-talking slacktivist political professional is still no match for the actual work of party- and machine-building.
The many sicknesses inherent to Conservatism, Inc. are not new, nor are they necessary to relitigate in depth. But those very sicknesses are, in closing, the real reason why these new Democratic attempts to destroy or cripple the GOP—at least in its current form—will likely prove successful. For a not insignificant part of the Republican Party, being thrown out of the infamous “swamp” and barred from the Beltway really is tantamount to social death. Better, then, to find another well-paid sinecure somewhere else, or even join the Democratic winning team if it seems likely they might find a use and a paycheck for your skillset.
For a lot of the professional soldiery of Western politics, the utterly moribund, politically useless, socially destructive, and economically predatory institutions they belong to are the point—these are the places where you wear the lanyard and “do the work” of moving grains of sand with an eyedropper or counting the angels on the head of a pin. For them, the coming progressive censorship will truly represent hell on earth, a frightening offensive targeting all their weak points and undermining the status, money and access they trade on. In this area, as in many others, a balanced view of the Trump phenomenon ought to grapple honestly with the continuity on display, and not just the differences. For more than a few intrepid politicos, “populism” has turned out to be just another frontier for the never-ceasing grift.
For the rest of you, however, we have some good news. Friends, the Old Gods of retail and machine politics—Boss Tweed, Huey Long, Mark Hanna, the Daleys of Chicago—are not yet dead, and the old ways are still as strong as ever. The American heartland is more than capable of lending its dormant power to confound the censors and defeat the new consensus coalition. The challenge is not whether it can be done, given that it surely can, but whether people actually want to do it. And if out-of-touch, swamp-drained Republican leaders and operatives chased off a rapidly constricting World Wide Web do not want to assist constituents in these strained communities with their political struggles, they may soon find themselves stooping to live among them once again.
The U.S. may morph into two nations with the increasingly impoverished helot “deplorables” under the heel of the empowered social justice warriors.
In a recent article Catholic University professor Claes G. Ryn wrote “Few people are really open to persuasion in any case—not just on political subjects but on any subject about which they care and on which they have adopted certain views. Diehard partisans for a certain outlook will refuse to have their beliefs questioned, and so will many others. They will be no less dismissive of a document challenging their opinions if it is full of footnotes and appendixes. Such a document will, indeed, make them resist it even more. As for the relatively few people who are truly open-minded, they will not find another person’s observations dispositive. They will, as they should, want to consider the evidence on a contested matter for themselves.”
The observation immediately calls to mind the red-blue political division that has hardened in the United States over the past several years, with the two sides persistently talking past each other. Part of the problem is that once someone has staked out an essentially ideological position, he or she will regard new developments in such a way as to fit with that preconception. Once one is locked into a viewpoint in that fashion it becomes practically speaking impossible to “consider the evidence on a contested manner” for oneself.
That tendency to want to believe that something is indisputably true means that most people find it difficult to entertain two somewhat contradictory ideas at the same time. In the current context it should be possible to believe that Donald Trump has been a very bad president based on some aspects of his performance while also conceding that many of his failings have been spawned by the unrelenting criticism he has received from the media as well as the clandestine efforts within the government establishment to undermine and destroy him. Most who emphasize the conspiracy against the president also feel compelled to defend his record. Those who don’t believe there was a conspiracy against him, including Russiagate, support his being impeached and also condemn his achievements.
Or there is the election itself, with one side believing it was stolen and the other maintaining that there was no fraud. In reality, an objective review of the actual evidence and examination of the registration and voting systems that are in place suggests that there certainly was fraud, though the issue of whether it amounted to a change in the outcome is likely a question that will never be answered as the Democrats are now in charge. Voting by mail, much promoted by the Democrats, either was a way of expanding the voters’ rolls or a mechanism that would permit widespread fraud. It is not unreasonable to regard it as doing both.
COVID-19 is another good example of linear thinking. Critics of the pandemic tend to go all the way, minimizing the impact of the disease while also contending that it is a hoax contrived by the government to take away the rights of citizens. Against that, one should be able to recognize that the disease is both highly contagious and deadly for certain demographics while also accepting that the government has mishandled the response to it and is seeking to aggrandize its power over ordinary citizens. So both viewpoints can more-or-less be true.
So, we come to the incident at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington on January 6th. Various unofficial estimates put the number of “Stop the Steal” protesters objecting to what was seen as a fraudulent election at between 20,000 and 200,000. The language being used to describe what occurred that afternoon is suggestive and would likely delight George Orwell. The liberal media (nearly all of it) as well as some Democratic congressmen have officially declared it “incitement of insurrection.” Other expressions that are popping up include “domestic terrorism,” “sedition,” “right wing mobs,” a “coup” or a “storming” of the building, all reportedly driven by incendiary language used by President Trump. Others preferred describing a “breaching” of security or even a “riot” or possibly “treason.”
A local newspaper in Virginia wrote a headline saying that the Capitol building was “ransacked” while Politico sounded the alarm about the “mob who breached the Capitol.” The New York Times thundered that the “mob” included “infamous white supremacists and conspiracy theorists.” What is not in dispute is that five died during the incursion into the building, including a woman Air Force veteran who was unnecessarily shot and a Capitol Police Force officer who was murdered by being hit in the head with a fire extinguisher. That the death toll was not higher is inevitably being attributed by some to restraint by the police due to “white privilege” as most of the demonstrators were Caucasian.
Trump allies reject the language and all it implies, insisting that the president did not ever unambiguously encourage actual violence on the part of participants in the “March to Save America” and that most of the demonstration was peaceful, consisting of ordinary Americans who are shocked by the dying spasms of the country that they grew up in. A Newsweek poll determined that nearly half of Republican voters supported the demonstrations at the Capitol, while no less than 68% opined that they were no threat to the American political system, demonstrating just how divided the country is. There have also been claims that infiltrators from Antifa and BLM might have exploited the opportunity to initiate the successful assault by the demonstrators that broke the police line and forced the entry into the Capitol building. Some Democrats are also suggesting that the entry was itself aided by some of the police, a not completely unreasonable suggestion given the inexplicably poor performance by the Capitol Police Force and some photographic evidence showing demonstrators being assisted by security personnel.
One might have noted that the only thing missing from the event had been the allegations that it included “interference” by the Russians or possibly even the Chinese, but it now appears that some Democrats are actually pointing their fingers at Vladimir Putin. And surely the Iranians and even the North Koreans must have had something to do with it. We will have to wait until the Biden Administration is installed, if it is, to find out which foreigners exactly will have to be implicated and punished. One eagerly awaits the inevitable Washington Post cartoon showing Putin in his office laughing while watching on TV events in Washington.
One thing that is for sure and that is being ignored by many of those who have taken up contrary positions is that there will be consequences from what took place last week. Given the polarization in the discussion itself, “truth” will be the first entity sacrificed as the Republicans will make haste to walk away from Trump while the Democrats will not be eager to permit anyone to dig any deeper into the mechanics of the election. No matter what the GOP chooses to do, it will be the long-term loser even if Trump himself is successfully made the designated fall guy and it will have to learn how to retain the support of the Trumpsters without Donald Trump.
In spite of all the media and talking head fulminations, it nevertheless remains unlikely that Trump will actually be impeached and convicted by both houses of Congress or removed under Article 25 as that would permit his lawyers to mount a defense, which would embarrass everyone. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has nevertheless raised tension by contacting the Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon and inquiring whether the president can be denied the nuclear weapons’ codes as he appears to be “unhinged.” There is also speculation that an attack on Iran in coordination with Israel might be under consideration to change the narrative.
Perhaps more interestingly, some Democrats are calling for investigation and punishment for some fellow politicians, government employees and ordinary citizens who might be found guilty of supporting the Trump “coup.” Several identified demonstrators have already lost their jobs while the Washington Post has demanded that “seditious Republicans must be held accountable.” There is even some discussion of setting up a “truth commission” to investigate and punish those individuals who aided in Trump’s other alleged crimes. Such people might have their liberty to travel on commercial flights, to associate in groups and/or to hold certain jobs restricted, expanding on existing anti-terror legislation that would now include a focus on “rightwing terrorism” while also increasing the number of “hate crimes.” Surveillance of individuals who have committed no crimes would likely increase dramatically. Any or all of those moves by Biden would, however, set a very bad precedent, sure to beget more violence.
And also there are calls for greater restrictions on what appears on social media. One ex-Obama adviser has even claimed that social media caused the Capitol building riot by “enabling the spread of the lies, hate speech, and conspiracy theories [by rightwing extremists] that led to” the attack. Since the Democrats now command a majority in both houses of Congress as well as the White House that will mean that those labeled “white supremacists” and their message will be expunged while politically correct social justice content will be promoted. Several social media platforms have begun banning what they call right wing material and Biden as well as several senators have, in fact, already promised to bring in stronger “domestic terrorism prevention” legislation based on the Patriot Act. And even those who believe themselves “safe” as holding reliably progressive views will eventually discover that any deviance from Establishment acceptable positions will be forbidden. Free speech in America will become as dead at the Dodo and the United States would become effectively two nations with the increasingly impoverished helot “deplorables” under the heel of the empowered social justice warriors. It won’t be pretty, and it won’t be stable.
The US State Department designated Yemen’s Houthi movement — the most effective force in fighting al-Qaeda — as a “terrorist” organization. Meanwhile Washington and Saudi Arabia have supported al-Qaeda.
By Ben NORTON
The United States government has designated the enemy of al-Qaeda in Yemen as a terrorist organization, after spending years backing al-Qaeda in the country.
Like the US-led wars on Syria, Libya, former Yugoslavia, and 1980s Afghanistan, Yemen represents an example of an armed conflict where Washington has supported al-Qaeda and similar Salafi-jihadist extremists in order to foment regime change and extend its hegemony.
Since March 2015, the United States has helped oversee a catastrophic war on Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East, aiding Saudi Arabia as it launched tens of thousands of air strikes on its southern neighbor, bombing the impoverished nation into rubble — and unleashing the largest humanitarian crisis on Earth.
Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis have died in this US-backed war. Tens of millions of civilians have been pushed to the brink of famine, as a result of intentional US-backed Saudi targeting of food production. Yemen’s health infrastructure was ravaged by the Western-sponsored bombing, precipitating the worst cholera outbreak in recorded history.
Throughout the war, al-Qaeda and other Salafi-jihadist groups have metastasized across the south of Yemen. The spread of these dangerous extremists is not a mere coincidence; it is the result of US government policy choices.
For years, forces in Yemen backed by the United States, Britain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have fought in alliance with al-Qaeda. (And it is not the only ongoing conflict in the Middle East where the terror group has been allied with Washington. Former top Hillary Clinton advisor Jake Sullivan, now Joe Biden’s national security advisor, chirped in a 2012 email, “AQ is on our side in Syria.”)
There is overwhelming evidence exposing this de facto alliance between Washington and al-Qaeda. It has been documented even by mainstream corporate media outlets, from the Associated Press to the Wall Street Journal.
Why US troops may fight alongside al-Qaeda in Yemen against Houthi/Saleh forces, as Trump escalates https://t.co/yV6Pyi05vY
— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) April 5, 2017
Western governments and Gulf monarchies are allied with al-Qaeda in Yemen because they share a common enemy: the Houthis, an indigenous, politically orientated Shia movement that emerged out of local struggles to resist Saudi Arabia’s extremist Wahhabi influence in the northern border area of Yemen.
The Houthis, who officially call themselves Ansar Allah, govern the northern regions of Yemen, where the majority of the population lives. They took control of the country after overthrowing an unelected and deeply corrupt US-backed authoritarian regime on September 21, 2014, in what they dubbed the September 21 Revolution.
Since March 2015, the United States and its allies Britain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have proven unable to dislodge Ansar Allah from power. In desperation, the coalition has collectively punished the entire Yemeni civilian population, destroying much of the country around them in the process.
On January 10, 2021, the US State Department took its hybrid war on Yemeni civilians to the next level by officially designating the Houthi movement as a terrorist organization.
— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) January 11, 2021
The terror label constituted a major blow to the international aid organizations working to prevent a famine and save civilian lives in Yemen. Because the Houthis run the government in most of Yemen, the designation effectively criminalized aid work in the majority of the country not under Washington’s de facto control.
We are ceasing all operations in the United States for the time being, as well as putting a temporary halt to our intended plans for humanitarian fundraising.
— Yemen Solidarity Council (@YSCouncil) January 11, 2021
The southern part of Yemen not governed by Ansar Allah is run by a US puppet government, ostensibly led by unelected President Abed Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who has spent nearly the entire war living in Saudi Arabia.
Yemen’s US- and Saudi-backed southern government is closely linked to al-Qaeda. And with the full knowledge of officials in Washington, it has used al-Qaeda as the tip of the spear in its war on the Houthis.
US- and Saudi-backed coalition forces in Yemen have actively recruited al-Qaeda extremists in their fight against Ansar Allah, and the US military halted drone strikes on the Salafi-jihadists.
Yemeni al-Qaeda extremists who are individually named on the US terrorism list have been supported and funded by US-backed Gulf monarchies, and have carved out top positions in Yemen’s southern puppet government.
The Salafi-jihadist militants in Yemen are part of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, one of the terror group’s most extreme and brutal international affiliates, which used an ISIS-style flag for years before the self-declared Islamic State emerged out of the US-backed wars on Iraq and Syria.
Militants from Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which has been supported by the US and Saudi Arabia in Yemen
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed the terrorist designation was part of Washington’s drive to weaken Iranian influence in the region, as part of the US-led propaganda drive to paint the group as a mere “Iranian proxy.”
But though the Houthis have received political and media support from Iran, they are an independent indigenous group whose resistance struggle is deeply ingrained in Yemen’s history.
Terrorist designations of Ansarallah in Yemen confront its terrorist activity and seeks to deter further malign activity by the Iranian regime in the region.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 11, 2021
Like the Lebanese nationalist group Hezbollah, which is often compared to Ansar Allah, the Houthis are allies of Iran, but they are independent. Both grew out of indigenous struggles against attempted foreign domination of their countries – the Israeli war on Lebanon in the case of the former, and Saudi aggression in the case of the latter.
Ansar Allah, which adopted the slogan “Death to America, Death to Israel,” has also demonstrated a consistent anti-imperialist ideology and support for global resistance movements.
The Houthi government refuses to recognize Israel and vociferously promotes the Palestinian liberation struggle. It has also backed the Syrian government and its allies against Western-sponsored Salafi-jihadist militants.
Consistent with their ideology, the Houthis publicly expressed solidarity with Venezuela against the US-led coup attempt to install Juan Guaidó in 2019. Back in 2015, a senior Ansar Allah leader told journalist Safa al-Ahmad, “We will help oppressed people all over the world… We support Chávez in Venezuela. Why this insistence that we receive support from Iran, other than wanting to turn the struggle in this country and the region into a sectarian one, based on the American and Zionist agenda?”
Yemenis from the Houthi movement and leftist parties hold a solidarity rally with Venezuela against a US coup attempt, in Sanaa in 2019
The US terrorist designation is clearly meant to criminalize the Houthi movement, and the majority of Yemen as a whole, for its resistance to Washington’s geopolitical interests.
This labeling is ironic, because Yemenis have themselves held numerous protests under the banner, “No to American Terrorism on Yemen.”
Few English-language journos have been able to get into Yemen to report on the US-Saudi war. Frontline managed to: https://t.co/iRPIV0hTzw
— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) July 21, 2017
During a protest marking the anniversary of the US-Saudi coalition bombing of a funeral hall that killed more than 140 people and wounded 600 more, Yemenis erected a blood-stained, demonic Statue of Liberty holding American and Israeli bombs, alongside a sign reading, “USA Kills Yemeni People.”
1 year ago, the US-Saudi coalition bombed a funeral hall in Sanaa, Yemen, killing 150 and wounding 500.
This is the rally Yemenis held today pic.twitter.com/QsHdBX64IX
— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) October 8, 2017
In a viral photo, a Yemeni man dressed up as Donald Trump, posing with an American flag cape and hat reading “oil” in front of a cow covered by a Saudi flag, standing above an Israeli flag.
A Yemeni man at a “Stop U.S. Terrorism on Yemen” protest in Sanaa in 2017
The US terrorist designation of Ansar Allah recalls similar labels applied to other national-liberation movements in the Global South.
Mandela’s African National Congress, or ANC, was designated a terrorist organization by Washington because of its support for armed struggle against South Africa’s US-backed apartheid regime. The ANC remained on the US terrorist list even after it became the elected government of the country’s post-apartheid democracy.
But the US government’s terrorist labeling of the Houthis is doubly hypocritical, considering Washington’s cozy relationship with al-Qaeda in Yemen.
Mainstream corporate media extensively documents US alliance with al-Qaeda in Yemen
The existence of a de facto alliance between the United States, Saudi Arabia, and al-Qaeda is not just speculation by anti-war journalists; it has been acknowledged by mainstream corporate media outlets.
The Western and Gulf monarchy alliance with the notorious Salafi-jihadist terrorist group has been known since the very beginning of the international war on Yemen in 2015.
In July 2015, the Wall Street Journal published a report acknowledging that “Local militias backed by Saudi Arabia, special forces from the United Arab Emirates and al Qaeda militants all fought on the same side this week to wrest back control over most of Yemen’s second city, Aden, from pro-Iranian Houthi rebels.”
The Journal continued: “Saudi-backed militias are spearheading efforts to roll back Houthi gains and reinstate the government that the rebels drove into exile in neighboring Saudi Arabia. But they have turned to Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, for help, according to local residents and a senior Western diplomat. This puts the U.S.-allied Gulf kingdom on the same side as one of the world’s most notorious extremist groups.”
After al-Qaeda helped US-backed Yemeni forces expel the Houthis from the major southern city of Aden, “AQAP militants celebrated the victory alongside the militias, parading cadavers of Houthis on a main commercial street in the city to a cheering crowd,” the Wall Street Journal wrote.
Aden residents told the newspaper that they saw al-Qaeda flags flying all across the city.
The US government was well aware of the fact that it was strengthening al-Qaeda in Yemen. However, it continued to place the responsibility on Yemen’s Ansar Allah movement. The Journal reported, “American officials acknowledge that AQAP is one of the war’s biggest benefactors, but say Houthi rebels are ultimately to blame.”
In February 2016, video evidence of the dark alliance emerged for the first time. Journalist Safa al-Ahmad filmed forces from the US-, Saudi-, and UAE-backed coalition fighting alongside al-Qaeda against the Houthis, battling for control of the major city of Taiz. She published the footage with the BBC.
In January 2017, a United Nations panel of experts published an annual report on the Yemen war. The document (PDF) acknowledged that al-Qaeda “members have also taken part in the fight in Ta’izz on the side of the ‘resistance’ against Houthi and Saleh forces” (referring to previous President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who had formed an uneasy alliance with the Houthis until he turned on them and was killed in 2017).
A few sentences before in the same report, the UN experts added, “The Panel also assesses that AQAP is actively working towards preparing terrorist attacks to be launched against the West using Yemen as a base.” The statement represented a clear warning about the same kind of potential “blowback” attacks that American and European civilians have endured thanks to their governments’ sponsorship of Salafi-jihadist fanatics.
And yes, the US also bombs/raids AQ in Yemen, showing yet again that a tool of imperialism can also be an ostensible target of imperialism.
— David Mizner (@DavidMizner) June 13, 2017
Washington’s support for al-Qaeda in Yemen under President Barack Obama was quietly acknowledged, but mostly ignored. When President Donald Trump came into office, however, corporate media outlets that had long whitewashed and ignored the Yemen war began to report more critically.
The Associated Press published a detailed investigation in August 2018 further documenting how US- and Saudi-backed coalition forces in Yemen “cut secret deals with al-Qaida fighters, paying some to leave key cities and towns and letting others retreat with weapons, equipment and wads of looted cash… Hundreds more were recruited to join the coalition itself.”
“Coalition-backed militias actively recruit al-Qaida militants, or those who were recently members, because they’re considered exceptional fighters,” the AP wrote.
The news outlet noted that some Yemeni al-Qaeda extremists on the US terrorism list were simultaneously being funded by Gulf monarchies to lead troops in the US-backed coalition.
“Key participants in the pacts said the U.S. was aware of the arrangements and held off on any drone strikes,” the report added.
“The larger mission is to win the civil war against the Houthis, Iranian-backed Shiite rebels. And in that fight, al-Qaida militants are effectively on the same side as the Saudi-led coalition — and, by extension, the United States,” the AP report stated bluntly.
The news outlet quoted a fellow at the Jamestown Foundation, a Cold War-era neoconservative think tank close to the CIA, who admitted, “Elements of the U.S. military are clearly aware that much of what the U.S. is doing in Yemen is aiding AQAP and there is much angst about that… However, supporting the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia against what the U.S. views as Iranian expansionism takes priority over battling AQAP and even stabilizing Yemen.”
The damning AP investigation was followed by a 2019 CNN report which acknowledged that weapons sold by the United States to Saudi Arabia and the UAE were then transferred to al-Qaeda in Yemen.
The Saudi coalition promised not to transfer weapons it buys from the US to third parties. But an investigation shows it’s putting them in the hands of al Qaeda-linked fighters and hardline Salafi militias waging war on behalf of the coalition in Yemen. https://t.co/wO0FsJK1cY
— CNN (@CNN) February 5, 2019
In branding the Houthi movement as terrorists, the United States has not only evinced a staggering level of hypocrisy; it has effectively given a gift to the same extremist organization it used to justify its so-called “war on terror.”
In Book 8 of The Republic, Plato’s protagonist Socrates observes astutely that “the ruin of oligarchy is the ruin of democracy. The same disease magnified and intensified by liberty overmasters democracy- the truth being that the excessive increase of anything often causes a reaction in the opposite direction and this is the case not only in the seasons and in vegetable and animal life, but above all in forms of government”.
Plato continues saying: “the excess of liberty, whether in states or individuals, seems only to pass into excess of slavery and so tyranny naturally arises out of democracy, and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme form of liberty.”
In writing these words, Plato revealed that societies are controlled through false dualisms that cause its victims to slip from one extreme to the other in an endless cycle. This vacillation will forever occur under the condition that the people remain ignorant of certain fundamental facts of life pertaining to the co-existence of our unique freedom-loving individuality and our obligation recognize our participation within a larger social unit and higher moral law.
To the degree that this paradox is not resolved, then the individuals within society will never achieve “inner directedness” (aka: sovereignty) required to give authenticity to a nation organized by the “consent of the governed.”
The core lesson explored by Plato throughout all of his dialogues is that we are a species of BOTH reason and passion who live in a discoverable universe where both freedom and law co-exist. As Plato outlines rigorously throughout his Timaeus, this universe is shaped by a creator who made it not only Good, but also embedded his essence into the smallest particle of creation. By virtue of our ability to discover and act on this causality (aka: intention) organizing Creation, Plato demonstrates with scientific rigor that humanity truly made in the living image of that Creator, and that laws and theories must flow from that discoverable fact.
To the degree that we fail to organize ourselves in this way, society will be doomed to live under varying types of oligarchical structures, while elites (modern day sophists) manage the passions, perceptions and convictions of the masses by casting shadows upon a cave wall which we believe to be our reality.
The Story So Far
In the first installment of this 3-part series, I reviewed the false debate between top-down vs bottom-up thinking catalyzed by John Maynard Keynes vs his Austrian school enemy Friedrich von Hayek. We spent time reviewing the history of the American System of Political Economy that was advanced by Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, Henry Carey, Lincoln, McKinley, and Franklin Roosevelt in opposition to the “British system of political economy” of free trade and speculation.
In the 2nd installment, we reviewed the sordid life and mind of a eugenics-loving imperialist name John Maynard Keynes whom generations of Americans have been told shaped the New Deal and whose ideas of “random-money-printing-during-crises” are the only solutions to stopping a meltdown like the one looming on our horizon.
In this third and final part, we will review the false “anti-Keynesian” counter-gang operation which was spread like a net to catch those unsuspecting fish who rejected the suffocating theories of Keynes and wanted something more compatible with liberty in their lives. The figure who was selected to be the champion of this counter-gang operation took the form of Austrian School economist Friedrich von Hayek.
Introducing Friedrich von Hayek
In his 1944 The Road to Serfdom, Hayek lays out his inability to resolve the “Plato paradox” early on when he discusses the problem of governments who plan for the future:
“In order to achieve their ends the planners must create power – power over men wielded by other men … Their success will depend on the extent to which they achieve such power. Democracy is an obstacle to this suppression of freedom which the centralized direction of economic activity requires. Hence arises the clash between planning and democracy”
In a nutshell, Hayek asserts that ALL forms of national planning lead inexorably to tyranny. In this, Hayek does not differentiate between George Washington, Lincoln, List or McKinley who were followers of the American System School vs fascists or radical Marxists who believed in top-down controls with no regard for individual freedom.
Hayek also argues that all progress of human history is the result of unconstrained individualism liberated from all top-down intention (“spontaneous self organization”) and that all value originates from individual passions to satisfy pleasures and avoid pain.
Neither Hayek nor his teachers Ludwig von Mises and Carl Menger created these ideas themselves, but derived all of it from the earlier works of two British Imperial strategists: 1) Adam Smith and 2) Smith’s intellectual predecessor Bernard Mandeville.
Both figures were celebrated not coincidentally by both von Hayek and John Maynard Keynes as great geniuses, and yet both were provably political agents whose ideas were in direct opposition to the American revolutionary ideals as outlined by Franklin, Hamilton, Washington et al. The patronage of both Mandeville and Smith by the highest echelons of the British Empire (Prime Ministers Walpole and Shelburne) is thus not a coincidence.
The Sick Mind of Bernard Mandeville
In 1966, Hayek delivered a lecture in praise of a figure named Bernard Mandeville (1670-1733) whose ideas, he argued, laid the foundation for British Liberalism of Adam Smith and his own Austrian school.
What did Mandeville say that was considered so innovative and wonderful? Mandeville argues that while people should try to behave ethically, the truth is that morality itself has no intrinsic existence (beyond being a useful regulator of commoners). Moreover, progress only happens when people are free to pursue their vices without limit. In his “Private Vices Public Benefits” (1714), Mandeville even argues that a killer who steals money and buys time with a prostitute, is doing a service to society since she will use that money to buy new buttons for her dress which employs a button maker, who feeds his family etc…
Mandeville defines human nature as fundamentally lustful and selfish saying: “One of the greatest reasons why so few people understand themselves, is that most writers are always teaching men what they should be, and hardly ever trouble their heads with telling them what they really are… I believe man to be a compound of various passions, that all of them, as they are provoked and come uppermost, govern him by turns whether he will or no.”
Mandeville’s famous 1905 poem The Grumbling Hive demonstrated his vile theory with a bit of creative edge:
“Vast numbers thronged the fruitful Hive;
Yet those vast Numbers made ’em thrive;
Millions endeavouring to supply
Each Other’s Lust and Vanity. …
Thus every Part was full of Vice,
Yet the whole Mass a Paradise
Flatter’d in Peace, and fear’d in Wars
They were th’ Esteem of Foreigners. …
Such were the Blessings of that State;
Their Crimes conspired to make ’em Great;
And Virtue, who from Politicks
Had learn’d a thousand Cunning Tricks,
Was, by their happy Influence,
Made Friends with Vice: And ever since
The Worst of all the Multitude
Did Something for the common Good.”
If “vice=good” then one must ask what becomes of “evil” in Mandeville’s strange world?
The answer is simple. Evil occurs when Nation states attempt to regulate or direct the economic behvior of society according to a moral principle.
As a leading figure of Britain’s Hellfire Clubs, Mandeville’s secret societies were the Epstein islands of the 18th century where all the perverse whims and passions of the oligarchy were satisfied without limit and all of the elite who wanted to take part in this early Bohemian Grove happily took part in the forbidden festivities.
Like today’s Satanists, “the Greater Good” is merely the sum total of small acts of individual evil.
Adam Smith Continues Mandeville’s Legacy
In the face of the spread of French dirigisme (protective tariffs, public credit, manufacturing and public works) during the 18th century American colonies threatening independence, another British operative was employed to generate a sanitized version of Mandeville’s system.
This new social engineer’s name was Adam Smith (1723-1790).
In his Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759), Smith asserts that economic systems should remain subject to the random animal passions of the markets. What are the guides for wealth and creativity if not goals, or intentions? Smith says it clearly: hunger, sex and the fear of pain:
“Nature has directed us to the greater part of these by original and immediate instincts. Hunger, thirst, the passion which unites the two sexes, the love of pleasure, and the dread of pain, prompt us to apply those means for their own sakes, and without any consideration of their tendency to those beneficent ends which the great Director of nature intended to produce by them.”
With his 1776 Wealth of Nations, Smith argued that no nation- especially not the new USA, should ever regulate its own economic affairs, use national banking, protect its native industries, or direct credit for internal improvements. Instead, Smith explained that nations should remain agrarian in order to maximize their profits. Every nation would do what it was good at and simply “cash crop”, but under no case develop full spectrum economies.
Like Mandeville earlier, Smith asserted that the unconstrained passions of the mob seeking to maximize their pleasure would cause progress, and invisible hands would keep this spontaneous order somehow moving forward.
While some Americans were stupid enough to drink the Kool-Aid like the democratic feudalist Thomas Jefferson, others whose minds did not turn to jelly, continued to fight to defend full spectrum economics. Throughout the 19th century these American System proponents found their champion in Henry C. Carey (1793-1879).
The American System vs British Free Trade
Carey argued that his fellow Americans must not “surrender their reason to wild, ridiculous, and absurd theories on morals, religion, politics, or science which have domineered over mankind… As a preliminary step we propose to establish the utter fallacy of some maxims, supported by the authority of the name of Adam Smith, author of the Wealth of Nations, but pregnant with certain ruin to any nation which they may be carried into operation… The influence of these maxims has been most sensibly and perniciously felt in our councils; has deeply affected our prosperity; and has been the main source whence the prevailing distress of the nation has flowed.”
Carey acted as leading Whig advisor to Presidents Harrison and Taylor alongside Henry Clay, and later became a founding member of the republican party shaping Lincoln’s economic program throughout the Civil War.
Paragons of the Dirigiste American System (left to right): Alexander Hamilton, Lincoln and Henry Carey
By 1876, Carey organized the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia which was a major watershed moment for the global adoption of the American System. International networks stretching from Russia, Japan, Germany, France, Italy and beyond brought leading scientists and political economists to the USA where they were exposed to the miracles of science, engineering, and industrial progress that allowed the young nation to outproduce every European state in only one century.
In Germany the American System’s greatest champion was Friedrich List (1789-1846) architect of the Zollverein and enemy of the British System. In his National System of Political Economy (1841), he wrote:
“The motto, ‘laissez faire, laissez passer’ is one that sounds no less pleasant to robbers, cheaters, and thieves than to the merchant, and therefore one ought to regard this maxim with suspicion…. This perversity, to surrender the interests of manufacturing and agriculture to the unfettered demands of trade, is a natural consequence of that theory, which universally looks only at prices, never allowing for the work required to produce, and views the entire world as one single and indivisible republic of merchants. This school of thought [Adam Smith’s] does not see that the merchant can achieve his purpose— obtaining profits by trade, even at the expense of agriculture and manufacturing, at the expense of the productive forces—just as easily through the independence and autonomy of nations. It’s all the same to him, and it is in the nature of his business and his aspirations that he cannot give a fig about the effect that the way in which he imports or exports goods might have upon the morality, the prosperity, and the power of the nation.”
Although Chancellor Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898) was ousted by a soft coup in 1890 (putting into motion Germany’s later plunge into WWI), his support for List’s reforms united Germany and catapulted it into a pre-eminent position of industrial productivity fast outpacing even the British Empire in only decades. Announcing his protective tariff policy in 1879, Bismarck stated:
“We were, up to this point, the dumping ground for the surplus production of other countries, because of our open-door policy. In my view, this wrecked the prices in Germany. It has prevented the growth of our industries and the development of our economic life. We must close this door, and erect a higher barrier. And what I now propose is that we create for German industry the same market that we up to now have benevolently allowed foreigners to exploit. If the risks of protectionism are as great as is claimed by the adherents of free trade, then France would been impoverished long ago, because they have gone with this theory since the time of Colbert.”
Similar reforms had been applied under Czars Alexander II and III in Russia under the guidance of “American System” follower Sergei Witte which drove the construction of the Trans Siberian Railway, in Japan during the Meiji Restoration, in Ireland with the Carey network that launched Sinn Fein, and in France where the American System school arose with President Sadi Carnot and Gabriel Hanoteau. These emerging new system of win-win cooperation represented a mortal threat for the decaying system of the British Empire and only a dense period of assassinations, color revolutions and war derailed that development.
The Rise of the Austrian School
It was in this climate of electric potential that Adam Smith’s system was repackaged by an Austrian intellectual named Carl Menger (1840-1921) on behalf of the Hapsburg empire which still maintained an alliance with other oligarchical families of Europe’s nobility and which desperately wanted to keep Europe de-industrial, feudal and undeveloped. Menger himself was the retainer of the Royal Houses of Hapsburg and Wittelbach acting as personal tutor to Crown Prince Rudolph von Hapsburg. Just as Smith was commissioned by Lord Shelburne to attack the French dirigiste economic school in his 18th century treatise, Menger was deployed to do the same thing in the 19th century.
After the fires of WWI had settled, the “peace” became little more than an interlude in preparation of a new form of world order to be run by fascist strong men. Though it is often overlooked today, “corporatist fascist economics” did not make its first appearance in Italy as is commonly believed, but rather in Austria after the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1919.
At this time, von Hayek worked as the aid to Ludwig von Mises who then served as chief economic advisor to Austria’s new government, under the direct control of the Bank of England’s new governor Montagu Norman and the League of Nations’ Arthur Salter (head of the League’s Supreme Economic Council). Under Mises’ direction, the post-war Austrian government-imposed cuts to services, government spending, and wages leading to mass starvation and poverty. These acts would serve as a template for what Italians and Germans would soon face.
Although Libertarians assert that this austerity was necessary to stop hyperinflation, the great German Foreign Minister Walter Rathenau (follower of Friedrich List and the American System) had a very different idea when he organized the Rapallo Treaty with Russia and dirigiste revival (which were only sabotaged with his June 1922 assassination).
At the height of Weimar’s 1923 Hyperinflation, an organization formed called Pan European Movement led by Count Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi, and Archduke Otto von Hapsburg. This organization was funded by Louis de Rothschild, and Max Warburg while its members included Mussolini, Walter Lipmann, and Nazi Finance Minister Hjalmar Schacht. The PEM would aim to replace nation states with a “benign feudalist system” that became the guiding template for the later European Union years later. Von Hapsburg’s dual role as leader of both this organization and several Austrian School think tanks is not a coincidence.
The Mont Pelerin Society: Fascism with a Liberal Face
Before creating the Mont Pelerin Society in 1947, Hayek had earlier founded the Society for Renovation of Liberalism (SRL) in 1939. Nearly all of the founding members of this group were found among the 37 original Mont Pelerin members. Among this Fabian Society-dominated group were Milton Friedman’s teachers Frank Knight and Henry Simons, Fabian Society member Walter Lipmann, George Soros’ mentor Karl Popper, Ludwig von Mises, and Sir John Clapham. George Soros’ Institute for New Economic Thinking is an extremely lame continuation of this tradition.
With the untimely death of the Franklin Roosevelt, who had threatened to create U.S.-Russia-China post-war alliance the way Henry Carey had nearly done earlier, Keynes’ system of fascist controls were infused into the governance of the Bretton Woods institutions as FDR’s anti-colonial dream was killed.
While Keynes’s doctrine of top-down controls, the Mont Pelerin Society created a counter pole of “bottom up” free markets. It is noteworthy that this group was also run by Pan Europeanists Otto von Hapsburg and Max von Thurn und Taxis (heir to the powerful Venetian family that migrated to Germany in the 15th century). One of Otto von Hapsburg’s last projects before his 2011 death was the creation of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, now led by neo-fascist Steve Bannon with the mandate of “uniting the right-wing movements of the world” under an anti-Chinese, anti-Muslim perspective.
Although it took nearly 30 years (and several dozen coups and assassinations of nationalist leaders from 1946-1971), the industrial growth of the Bretton Woods system was ultimately killed when the U.S. dollar was floated onto the speculative markets.
After patiently waiting for decades, their time had finally come.
The hundreds of international Austrian School think tanks spread across the Trans Atlantic went speedily to work applying the “solution” to the problems created by the central planning of Keynesianism. Under this “remedy”, a new age of de-regulation, privatization, and “monetarism” was unleashed under a new “greed=good” ethos that would have made Mandeville and Adam Smith smile proudly.
To give an air of legitimacy to this economic paradigm shift, Hayek and Milton Friedman were awarded Nobel Prizes, and theirs quickly became the “new gospel” that infused itself into the conservative right of the world as the “conservative revolution” was launched.
Hayek’s Supranational Police Force and Population Control
It is here that the image of the “lover of freedom” disintegrates and the actual cold fascist soul of Hayek will show its ugly head.
Even though he is sold as an anti-Malthusian (promoting the idea that totally free markets will magically create the creative changes needed to overcome our carrying capacity), Hayek put his views on record saying in 1981:
“Over the next 20 years, the world population is expected to double again. For a world that is founded on egalitarian ideas, the problem of overpopulation is unsolvable. If we guarantee that everyone who is born will be supported, we will soon no longer be able to fulfill that promise [since growth will outstrip resources- ed]. There is only one break for overpopulation, namely that the only ones who may survive and procreate are those who can support themselves.”
The question now arises: who does Hayek believe should grant permission for those self-supporting alphas to procreate and revoke the right to procreate of those who cannot support themselves? He answers this question in the last chapter of his 1944 Road to Serfdom:
“There must be a power which can restrain the different nations from action harmful to their neighbors, a set of rules which defines what a state may do, and an authority capable of enforcing these rules. The powers which such an authority would need are mainly of a negative kind: it must, above all, be able to say “No” to all sorts of restrictive measures.” [p.232]
Hayek goes onto state: “The need is for an international political authority which, without power to direct the different people what they must do, must be able to restrain them from action which will damage others…. An international authority which effectively limits the powers of the state over the individual will be one of the best safeguards for peace.”
It is interesting how a radical individualist incapable of resolving Plato’s “Duty/Freedom” paradox so quickly concludes that for world peace to exist, a global international police force must be created to control nations and judge who may or may not procreate in order to stop overpopulation (or any action which social engineers judge to be harmful to society for that matter).
The Morals of This Story
To the degree that we fail to understand what Plato was actually doing as a cultural warrior seeking to outflank the imperial cults of Persia then operating through the Temple of Apollo at Delphi during his life and exhibited throughout his dialogues, we will never come to know what Benjamin Franklin understood as he prepared the groundwork for the world’s first Democratic Republic in 1776.
Franklin knew that this would be neither a monarchy nor a mob democracy.
These founding fathers had, after all, studied Plato and strove to finally resolve the “freedom vs duty” paradox by forming a government based simultaneously on the sacredness of the individual as outlined in the Declaration of Independence and the General Welfare of the whole as outlined in the Constitution.
Whether this American experiment will prove to have been a failure or a success will depend on the morality, courage and honesty of citizens both in America itself and globally to confront the lies of the past and the needs of the future as we move into a new phase of civilization.
The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Caitlin JOHNSTONE
I wouldn’t have thought that any mass media reporters would have the temerity to continue the public smear campaign against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after it became clear to everyone that he was the subject of a brutal Trump administration prosecution aimed at criminalizing inconvenient journalism. But if there was going to be anyone to take up that flag, it would be the odious James Ball.
Ball, who as activist Suzie Dawson documented in 2016 has been working within the plutocratic media to destroy Assange’s reputation for years, has just published yet another disgusting smear piece titled “Julian Assange is no hero. I should know — I lived with him and his awful gang”, this time with Murdoch’s Sunday Times. Claiming that Assange is “Reckless and immoral in deed and word”, Ball spins the tortured journalist as a monster who must remain marginalized and never be trusted by sources again.
This would be the same James Ball who, as Financial Eyes recently observed, “admits to having taken money from the Integrity Initiative, a government and NATO funded propaganda unit designed to shape opinion in a direction hostile towards Russia and favourable towards increased militarism.”
It’s no secret that money talks but, in today’s anti-Assange hit piece, @jamesrbuk keeps very quiet about exactly what attracts him to the billionaire US oligarch Mr Rupert Murdoch. https://t.co/tRjsCr9zAd
— Financial Eyes (@financialeyes) January 10, 2021
This would also be the same James Ball who, a year before Assange was dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy in which he’d taken political asylum fearing US extradition, authored a Guardian article titled “The only barrier to Julian Assange leaving Ecuador’s embassy is pride” and subtitled “The WikiLeaks founder is unlikely to face prosecution in the US, charges in Sweden have been dropped – and for the embassy, he’s lost his value as an icon”.
“There is no public criminal case against Assange or WikiLeaks in the US,” Ball argues in his January 2018 article, claiming there is “no real reason to believe anything has changed with Assange’s situation in the US.”
Well something had indeed changed in the US. Assange was being spied on by US intelligence with Trump megadonor Sheldon Adelson acting as a liaison between the CIA and a private intelligence corporation, and in December 2017 the Trump administration had ordered Assange’s arrest and begun orchestrating an international plot to enact it after the CIA Director branded WikiLeaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service.”
If I had written an article in a major publication claiming there was “no real reason” to believe Assange would face extradition proceedings if he left the Ecuadorian embassy, and then that claim had proved horrifyingly wrong, I personally would have done what any normal person would do and shut the entire fuck up about Julian Assange for the rest of my life.
Not James Ball though. There’s a certain type of personality that guarantees it will always fail upward because it possesses a remarkable combination of power-worshipping obsequiousness, a total lack of shame, and a complete lack of scruples. It’s the same type of personality that still gets lucrative punditry work after pushing for the Iraq invasion. James Ball has no more business opining about Julian Assange than John Bolton has about the merits of interventionist foreign policy, yet both remain visible and vocal. Because they are the same kind of creature.
I’m pretty good with words, but I’ve never succeeded in finding any which adequately articulate the absolute depravity of the mass media smearmeisters who’ve spent years getting paid to churn out deceitful hit pieces about Assange while he’s silenced and unable to defend himself. There’s simply no one lower. There’s shit, there’s the shit that would come out of shit if shit could shit, and then there’s people like James Ball.
I’ve worked a lot to debunk this smear campaign, and it’s sucked because I know for a fact that Assange could have done an infinitely better job of it than I can if he still had internet access. He knows all the facts about his work inside and out, and could have knocked out the smears as they came.
But that was the whole idea. That’s why they silenced him, long before they dragged him out of the embassy. The empire needed the public to consent to his persecution, and he was running interference on their consent manufacturing campaign. And now they kick him while he’s down, continuing to stomp his reputation into the ground even as he’s being unjustly locked in Belmarsh after a judge already blocked his extradition.
The torture and brutalization of Julian Assange has only been made possible by the fact that the public consents to it, and the public only consents to it because of a concerted mass media smear campaign that took place between late 2016 and his arrest in April 2019. People like James Ball are directly responsible for the empire’s ability to make an example of what happens to a journalist who exposes US war crimes, and they must never be forgiven for it.
Whether civil war is coming will depend on the degree of stoicism prevalent among the Deplorable multitudes.
I hear the sons of the city and dispossessed
Get down, get undressed
Get pretty but you and me
We got the kingdom, we got the key
We got the empire, now as then
We don’t doubt, we don’t take direction
Lucretia, my reflection, dance the ghost with me
Sisters of Mercy, Lucretia my Reflection
9/11 was the prelude. 1/6 is the Holy Grail.
9/11 opened the gates to the Global War on Terror (GWOT), later softened by Team Obama to the status of Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) even as it was suavely expanded to the bombing, overt or covert, of seven nations.
9/11 opened the gates to the Patriot Act, whose core had already been written way back in 1994 by one Joe Biden.
1/6 opens the gate to the War on Domestic Terror and the Patriot Act from Hell, 2.0, on steroids (here is the 2019 draft ), the full 20,000 pages casually springing up from the sea like Venus, the day after, immediately ready to roll.
And as the inevitable companion to Patriot Act 2.0, there will be war overseas, with the return in full force, unencumbered, of what former CIA analyst Ray McGovern memorably christened the MICIMATT (Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think Tank) complex.
And when MICIMATT starts the next war, every single protest will be branded as domestic terrorism.
The faux coup
Whatever really happened on 1/6 in the militarized Valhalla of a superpower that spent untold trillions of dollars on security since the start of the millennium, the elaborate psy op/photo-op circus – complete with a strategically photogenic MAGA Viking actor – could never had happened if it was not allowed to happen.
Debate will rage till Kingdom Come on whether the break in was organic – an initiative by a few hundred among at least 10,000 peaceful protestors surrounding the Capitol – or rather a playbook color revolution false flag instigated by an infiltrated, professional Fifth Column of agent provocateurs.
What matters is the end result: the manufactured product – “Trump insurrection” – for all practical purposes buried the presentation, already in progress, of evidence of electoral fraud to the Capitol, and reduced the massive preceding rally of half a million people to “domestic terrorism”.
That was certainly not a “coup”. Top military strategist Edward Luttwak, now advising the Pentagon on cyber-war, tweeted, “nobody pulls a coup during the day”. That was just “a show, people expressing emotions”, an actually faux coup that did not involve arson or widespread looting, and relatively little violence (compare it to Maidan 2014): talk about “insurrectionists” walking inside the Capitol respecting the velvet ropes.
A week before 1/6, a dissident but still very connected Deep State intel op offered this cold, dispassionate view of the Big Picture:
“Tel Aviv betrayed Trump with a new deal with Biden and so they threw him to the dogs. Sheldon Adelson and the Mafia have no trouble switching sides for the winner by hook or crook. Pence and McConnell also betrayed Trump. It was as though Trump walked as Julius Caesar into the Roman Senate to be stabbed to death. Any deal Trump makes with the system or Deep State will not be kept and they are secretly talking about ending him forever. Trump has the trump card. Martial law. Military tribunals. The Insurrection Act. The question is whether he will play it. Civil war is coming irrespective of what happens to him, sooner or later.”
Whether civil war is coming will depend on the degree of stoicism prevalent among the Deplorable multitudes.
Alastair Crooke has brilliantly outlined the Top Three main issues that shape Red America’s “Epiphany”: stolen elections; lockdown as a premeditated strategy for the destruction of small and mid-size businesses; and the dire prospect of ‘cancellation’ by an incoming woke ‘soft totalitarianism’ orchestrated by Big Tech.
Cue to a Corpse Reading a Teleprompter, also known as The President-Elect, and his own ominous words after 1/6: “Don’t dare call them protesters. They were a riotous mob. Insurrectionists. Domestic terrorists.” Some things never change. George W. Bush, immediately after 9/11: “Either you’re with us, or with the terrorists”.
That’s the hegemonic, set in stone, narrative now being implemented with an iron fist by Big Tech. First they come for POTUS. Then they come for you. Anyone, anywhere, not following Big Tech’s Techno-Feudalist diktat WILL be cancelled.
Bye bye Miss American Pie
And that’s why the drama is way, way, bigger than a mere discombobulated POTUS.
Every single institution controlled by the ruling class – from schools to mass media to the way workplaces are regulated – will go after the Deplorables with no mercy.
Professional CIA killer and liar John Breenan, key conceptualizer of totally debunked Russiagate, tweeted about the necessity of, in practice, setting up re-education camps. Media honchos called for “cleansing the movement”.
Politically, the Deplorables only have Trumpism. And that’s why Trumpism, with a possible avenue to become an established third party, must be smashed. As much as the 0.0001% is more terrified by the possibility of secession or armed revolt, they need urgent pre-emptive action against what is, for now, a nationalist mass movement, however inchoate its political proposals.
The “unknown unknown”, to evoke notorious neo-con Donald Rumsfeld, is whether the exasperated plebs will eventually reach for the pitchforks – and make the 0.0001% feudal hacienda ungovernable. And then there’s a literally smokin’ element – those half a billion guns out there.
The 0.0001% knows for sure that Trump, after all, was never a radical revolutionary change agent. Inchoately, he channeled Red America’s hopes and fears. But instead of the promised glitzy palace adorned with gold, what he delivered was a shack in the desert.
Meanwhile, Red America, intuitively, understood that Trump at least was a useful conduit. He lay bare how the corrupt swamp actually moves. How these “institutions” are mere corporate puppets – and completely ignore the common man. How the Judiciary is utterly corrupt – when even POTUS cannot get a hearing. How Pharma and Tech actually expanded the MICIMATT (MICIMAPTT?) And most of all, how the two party paradigm is a monstrous lie.
So where will 75 million disenfranchised voters – or 88 million Twitter followers – go?
As it stands, we’re deep into Hardcore Class War. The Top of the Scam Gang are in full control. The remains of “Democracy” have gelled into Mediacracy. Ahead, there’s nothing but ruthless purge, protracted crackdown, censorship, blanket surveillance, smashing of civil liberties, a single narrative, overarching cancel (in)culture. It gets worse: next week, this paranoid apparatus merges with the awesome machinery of the United States Government (USG).
So welcome to Full Spectrum Domestic Dominance. Germany 1933 on steroids. 1984 redux: no wonder the hashtag #1984 was banned by Twitter.
Cui bono? Techno-Feudalism, of course – and the interlocking tentacles of the trans-humanist Great Reset. Defy it, and you will be cancelled.
Bye bye Miss American Pie. That’s the legacy of 1/6.
Britain got its independence back and got the best trade deal it could hope for with Brussels. Too good to be true?
There was a great deal of bluffing on both sides, right up to the line. But the Brexit deal, finally nailed on Christmas eve, was ultimately a considerable victory for Britain and a loss on many levels to the EU. Even the most EU-friendly Financial Times had to swallow hard on the day and admit that Boris had done very well indeed and that Britain got what it wanted: sovereignty
Although the word itself could not even be pronounced properly on the day by Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, even she had to concede that the UK had reached its goal. Britain now will no longer be linked to EU courts and will take back most of its coastal fishing waters but as a compromise to getting the goose that laid the golden egg – zero tariffs and total access to the EU single market – Britain had to bite the bullet. Even Boris Johnson couldn’t secure a deal where the UK would “have its cake and eat it” and the British team of negotiators were forced to agree to signing up to a deal with Brussels which allowed the EU to protest where it saw unfair advantages given to UK firms.
The devil is in the detail. The draft deal includes a new arbitration mechanism which is supposed to guarantee a level playing field between the two sides, with “provision for sanctions in the form of tariffs if either side seriously undercuts the other’s regulations in areas such as environmental protection”, according to the FT.
And so, Britain got its independence back and got the best trade deal it could hope for with Brussels. Too good to be true? Indeed, hardcore eurosceptics will pour over the entrails of the last-minute deal and see that the myth of Brexit is the delusion of sovereignty. Ultimately, if it comes down to the UK keeping in line with thousands and thousands of EU directives for its companies, then many will argue that Britain has broken free, but still keeps its proximity in many ways to the EU. The soft Brexit that Theresa May would have liked but didn’t have the negotiating zeal to pull off herself. Who could forget the tears in front of the Downing Street steps?
And it’s this which the EU will seize upon in the coming weeks and months when it churns out tomes of its own propaganda, to offset any stirring interest from other EU member states mulling the idea of a Brexit of their own. Particularly for EU countries which have less industrial clout, the argument will be “you will lose all the billions in grants, but will still be obliged to keep your companies aligned to EU rules and your government to EU state aid rules”. Keeping the so-called ‘level playing field’ is euro jargon for “even if you’re out, you still can’t benefit from government handouts or rescue plans and if you don’t respect EU company law, you’ll be fair game for arbitration”.
And therein lies the small print which the Brexit lions in the UK media will not be too keen to study. Yes, Britain takes back control of its borders, its decision-making process, the ability to cut new deals with countries around the world, but in the coming years Brussels will become a new euphemism for “trade disputes”. If the UK does well, in any sector, the EU has the mechanism now to cry foul play – with or without justification – and ultimately impose tariffs where it sees fit. If the UK explodes as a tiger economy in the coming years – as many economists believe it can – then the EU will be ready to pounce. Boris Johnson, who always modelled himself on being a one deal, one term Churchillian PM, will not be the key figure in Brexit, but rather future leaders who will be judged by their diplomatic skills in honing key areas of the deal, like services, and keeping the disputes with Brussels to a minimum. Boris is done. He has pulled off what he was required to do and played a deft negotiating hand with Brussels and secured not a bad Brexit deal at all, but not one which is quite as euphoric as the tory press machine is pushing.
His victory as PM will be short-lived as British voters, historically, tend to be short-sighted when it comes to giving gratitude at the ballot box. Like Churchill, once the war is over, they will want a new leader. But Boris should be remembered for showing the world how weak and vulnerable the EU is. The last-minute dirty tricks, the panicking, the chaos at times and most of all the egregious bluffing have all left a mark on the EU’s reputation as at best a wannabee super power. World leaders have watched and witnessed how the EU started off as a lion prowling and threatening but was reduced at the last moment to the role of farcical playground bully who, when it came to the scrap, threw his arms around you and invited you back home for tea and lardy cake. Indeed, there is some victory to be acknowledged for France and Germany which, importantly, won’t lose anything now from a no deal scenario in key sectors. But on really big areas, the EU backed down and caved in as the euro myth in Brussels that the EU had so much less to lose than the UK was finally put to bed. Appeasing the UK and keeping it close to the EU was the only really sensible option for Brussels which in the end didn’t have the balls for the UK crashing out of the EU and basking in the glory of being an EU pariah while it forged a single market of its own with the U.S., Canada and Australia.
British people and certainly British businesses can breathe a sigh of relief. The panic and fear can be put aside. But the real Brexit deal – and its darker side – will not be found in the British press in the coming days which is largely euphoric. Even pro-EU broadsheets had swallowed the story of a no deal Brexit coming (when 90% of the deal had been agreed weeks earlier and both sides were complicit in a fake news stunt) and can’t quite believe a deal which looks like Britain keeps its access to the EU market has been struck. Much has been left out. What, for example, is to happen to the 100 bn euro Brexit divorce bill? Or was that just more Barnier BS?
By Brad EVANS
2021 has already started in the most surreal and dramatic of ways. No sooner had we celebrated in isolation the passing of a difficult year, we looked on as Flintstonian Trumpesters stormed the Capitol Hill in Washington. While this theatre of the absurd was no doubt worrying, it was far from a coup, as what can only be described as dangerous idiots revealed the thoughtlessness of violence.
While attention invariably turned in the immediate aftermath to the reckless words of the soon to be departed President, there was another momentous development taking place, which was effectively cheered on by nearly everyone who stood against Trumpism and his band of cos-play followers. Deciding to act in unison to save democracy and perhaps the world from itself, so all the major technological giants decided to act together and banish the President of the “free world” from their platforms.
Let us be under no illusions this act represents a deeply symbolic moment in the history of global political affairs. Political power is after-all ultimately the ability to regulate and control the circulation of freedoms experienced. This especially includes the free circulation of language, ideas and the communication of thoughts.
I am in no doubt Trump is dangerous and has behaved in fascistic ways, continually stoking division and racial hatred. I am also acutely aware of the dangers of language and the need to confront hateful speech.
But we cannot underestimate what’s been happening the last few days. It is worth reminding that Trump was effectively made by these technology firms who gave him the mass divisive audience he craved. He also mastered better than anyone the spectacle of distraction they permitted, showing in the process how social media can actually be complicit in the infantilisation of political discourse. This has led to a lack of nuance and a simple appreciation that it’s fine and indeed healthy to actually disagree and engage in the conflict of ideas, instead of falling back upon siege mentalities.
That every tech company could work together to effectively block the President of the United States, however much of a dangerous person he has become (or always was) is not something to take lightly. Real power today is not with politicians or the banks, it’s with these new media and big data organisations who have fundamentally transformed lived conditions on earth. I appreciate technology has always been with us. But today it’s different. Technology has become a new religion, the unmediated power that promises to save us from ourselves. The pandemic already provided these companies with such a momentous condition of possibility for changing the lived reality of life on this planet. That we now see even the most “radical” of thinkers and activists cheer them on when they assume for themselves the ultimate political power – the ability to take command of the circulation of thoughts and ideas, however threatening, demands serious critical attention.
This is not just about joining the “free speech” debates, which have also been complicit in creating highly reductive with us or against us narratives. It’s to ask deeper questions about who ultimately decides and who has the power to effectively say a person has no use. For let’s be clear too, Trump was both useful and then utterly disposable for these firms, which will continue to profit from divisions.
There have admittedly been calls from both a number of concerned critical scholars and indeed right-wing preservationists to bring about more control and regulation over the conduct of these entities. Whereas those on the right see the challenge of bringing the corporations back into the national fold, the more radical have demanded more regulatory power over both their profitability, their very status as private entities, and also to have more say over the ethical nature of their content. The latter being more an extension of the cultural wars and the fight over permissible speech.
None of these however deal with the fact that ultimately these platforms have really transformed the political landscape of our times to become the dominant actors shaping the conduct of life, its ontological and epistemological claims, its technological visions, and its new metaphysical orientations. And none of them therefore deal with deeper philosophical questions on the links between life, technology and theology, including how we have fully given over to the idea that the correct use of technology (including the ethical regulation of thought itself) is able to rid the world from its evils.
Twitter is notable here having become a formidable public forum in its own right, which has led to the infantilisation, hyper-moralisation, simplification and suffocation of the political imagination. Having been on the platform for a number of years, a week before Trumps banishment I decided to leave. I had come to realise how it effectively exists for its own purpose, with much of its vitriolic content concerning what others had said on its very terrains – often to deride and publicly shame their provocations. Dramas about said tweeted dramas, fifty-character witch-hunts by actors who demand the freedom to all think alike, morality aside what’s revealed is the luxury and privilege of time wasted.
Not only had Twitter become a self-perpetuating motion machine whose sole purpose was its own activity. While emboldening the bigoted politics of the identarian right, it has also resulted in a notable collapse between the radical and the religious by a new tribe of morally certain priests on the left, who invoking tired modernist terms (we might have hoped students of Nietzsche had long since settled) such as “progressive” “rational” and “reactionary” have become a parody of predictability.
Just another personal observation, every time I have written a sustained critique of technology on social media platforms, it tends to get considerable interaction for about 1 hour then somehow magically falls off a cliff. I guess the algorithms deem these interventions to be less important or at least have less staying power than pictures of cats! Then again, in an age where nothing is certain, maybe it’s also about making everyone feel they are on the verge of being some conspiratorial whack!
Like many, I admittedly breathed a sigh of relief knowing there won’t be another four years of a Trump Presidency. But the political solution to dealing with the dangerous divisions now facing the planet is certainly not to give more regulatory power to undemocratic, nameless and faceless entities, which have already become the key power brokers in global politics and like all good students of politics, they have learned that Sovereign power begins with one notable decision: the right to ban.
A depressing amount of Washington’s foreign policy comes down to cash and the preferred route to commercial gain seems to involve hostility.
As the anti-democracy militias were preparing to storm and loot the Capitol building in Washington on January 6, in what one Republican legislator aptly described as a “banana republic” scenario, the U.S. Secretary of the Navy, Kenneth Braithwaite, announced that the Pentagon had produced a new Arctic Strategy paper detailing an aggressive policy which is unlikely to be altered by the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden.
Domestically, the aggressive mobs at the Capitol had actually been encouraged by the current Washington administration. As the New York Times observed, “President Trump and his Republican enablers in Congress incited a violent attack against the government they lead and the nation they profess to love. This cannot be allowed to stand.”
The Times fulminated that “Mr. Trump sparked these assaults. He has railed for months against the verdict rendered by voters in November. He summoned his supporters to gather in Washington on this day, and encouraged them to march on the Capitol. He told them that the election was being stolen. He told them to fight. He told them he might join them and, even as they stormed the building, he declined for long hours to tell them to stop, to condemn their actions, to raise a finger in defence of the Constitution that he swore to preserve and protect.”
This was a bizarre situation, and while it is unthinkable that Biden and the Democrats will behave in a similarly irresponsible — even criminal — fashion when in power, it is almost certain they will support such violent uprisings in other countries. They will continue to conduct subversive and openly antagonistic operations around the world, and, in the words of Braithwaite, “operate more assertively” in the Arctic to confront Russia and China and attempt to prevent their commercial use of the region.
It was coincidental, if gruesomely ironic, that while the revolutionary mobs were invading the Capitol the Washington Post reported that “Trump administration officials auctioned off oil and gas leases in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on Wednesday, capping Republicans’ decades-long quest to drill in one of the nation’s most vast unspoiled wild places. The move marks one of the most significant environmental rollbacks the president has accomplished in his term.” So now the Arctic’s bears, caribou and waterfowl are under threat from money-crazed gas-drillers, while Arctic waterways are going to be throbbing with U.S. Navy warships that are ordered to “accept calculated tactical risks and adopt a more assertive posture in our day-to-day operations.” In other words, Washington’s policy of belligerent confrontation is set to continue in higher gear.
As to subversive operations, it is exactly two years since mobs took to the streets of Iran to protest against mismanagement and rising food prices caused largely by U.S.-initiated sanctions. The violent protests were greeted with satisfaction in Washington, with Trump declaring it was “time for change”, and his then ambassador to the UN, the egregious Nikki Haley, echoing that “We want to help amplify the voices of the Iranian people.” There must at the moment be a certain grim satisfaction among the loony theocrats in Tehran, because Washington’s blatant encouragement of violence in their country has rebounded dramatically, and the storming of the Capitol, with resultant but inevitable barbarity and death, is exactly what Trump and his cronies wanted (and still want) to happen in their country. There is no reason to believe that the incoming Biden administration will be any different.
The same holds for nutty Maduro in Venezuela. He is an incompetent ditherer and his country is in a desperate situation, but he is the elected leader and his people are aware that much of their economic suffering is caused by U.S. sanctions designed to foment unrest and revolution, with Maduro being replaced by a compliant puppet who will dance to the Washington tune. In 2017, when the first U.S. sanctions were imposed, Trump announced that Washington was considering attacking Venezuela, saying it “is not very far away and the people are suffering, and they are dying. We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary.” But, as made clear by a poll in Venezuela, “when asked whether they would support ‘a foreign military intervention to remove President Maduro from his position,’ only 35 percent of the population said yes.”
It is not surprising, as revealed by the Pew Research Centre in mid-2020, that “just 41% of adults in the United Kingdom expressed a favourable opinion of the U.S. this year, the lowest percentage registered in any Centre survey there. In France and Germany, ratings for the U.S. are essentially as low as they were in March 2003, at the height of U.S.-European tensions over the Iraq War. U.S. favourability also reached all-time lows this year in Japan, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands and Sweden.”
It can be taken that much of the international distaste and disfavour has been caused by Trump’s deranged antics and spiteful malevolence, but it is far from certain that Biden’s foreign policy will be less confrontational so far as such countries as Iran, Venezuela, Russia and China are concerned. His choice to be Under Secretary for Political Affairs, the third senior post in the State Department, is Victoria Nuland, a rabidly nationalistic and anti-Russian figure who was among other things the principal deputy foreign policy adviser to Dick Cheney and Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.
It is disturbing to note that during the move towards rebellion in Ukraine that was encouraged by the United States, Assistant Secretary of State Nuland was photographed together with the U.S. ambassador handing out sandwiches to rebels in Kiev’s Maidan Square in December 2013. One wonders what she (and Biden and the U.S. mainstream media) would have said if Russia’s ambassador in Washington had gone to the Capitol on January 6 with a bag of goodies to hand out to those who Mr Biden described as “Insurrectionists. Domestic terrorists.”
When he was vice president, Biden was forthright about what he considers the undesirability of Europe and Russia cooperating economically. He was reported by Deutsche Welle as “warning European countries against becoming too dependent on Russian oil and gas, saying it would be ‘bad’ for Europe.” He was referring to the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline which “will deliver natural gas from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea route from Russia to Germany, helping to safeguard Europe’s long-term energy security.” Biden doesn’t want friendly cooperation with Russia and declared that EU countries could purchase U.S. liquefied natural gas.
A depressing amount of Washington’s supposedly principled foreign policy comes down to cash, in the end, and the preferred route to commercial gain seems to involve hostility.
Unfortunately for Washington it seems that U.S. nationalistic aggression is not confined to global affairs and that it has surged domestically. But change is practicable, and it would be a very good thing for the world if the Biden administration concluded that leading the way in revolution and confrontation is counterproductive.
By Ron PAUL
Last week’s massive social media purges – starting with President Trump’s permanent ban from Twitter and other outlets – was shocking and chilling, particularly to those of us who value free expression and the free exchange of ideas. The justifications given for the silencing of wide swaths of public opinion made no sense and the process was anything but transparent. Nowhere in President Trump’s two “offending” Tweets, for example, was a call for violence expressed explicitly or implicitly. It was a classic example of sentence first, verdict later.
Many Americans viewed this assault on social media accounts as a liberal or Democrat attack on conservatives and Republicans, but they are missing the point. The narrowing of allowable opinion in the virtual public square is no conspiracy against conservatives. As progressives like Glenn Greenwald have pointed out, this is a wider assault on any opinion that veers from the acceptable parameters of the mainstream elite, which is made up of both Democrats and Republicans.
Yes, this is partly an attempt to erase the Trump movement from the pages of history, but it is also an attempt to silence any criticism of the emerging political consensus in the coming Biden era that may come from progressive or antiwar circles.
After all, a look at Biden’s incoming “experts” shows that they will be the same failed neoconservative interventionists who gave us weekly kill lists, endless drone attacks and coups overseas, and even US government killing of American citizens abroad. Progressives who complain about this “back to the future” foreign policy are also sure to find their voices silenced.
Those who continue to argue that the social media companies are purely private ventures acting independent of US government interests are ignoring reality. The corporatist merger of “private” US social media companies with US government foreign policy goals has a long history and is deeply steeped in the hyper-interventionism of the Obama/Biden era.
“Big Tech” long ago partnered with the Obama/Biden/Clinton State Department to lend their tools to US “soft power” goals overseas. Whether it was ongoing regime change attempts against Iran, the 2009 coup in Honduras, the disastrous US-led coup in Ukraine, “Arab Spring,” the destruction of Syria and Libya, and so many more, the big US tech firms were happy to partner up with the State Department and US intelligence to provide the tools to empower those the US wanted to seize power and to silence those out of favor.
In short, US government elites have been partnering with “Big Tech” overseas for years to decide who has the right to speak and who must be silenced. What has changed now is that this deployment of “soft power” in the service of Washington’s hard power has come home to roost.
So what is to be done? Even pro-free speech alternative social media outlets are under attack from the Big Tech/government Leviathan. There are no easy solutions. But we must think back to the dissidents in the era of Soviet tyranny. They had no Internet. They had no social media. They had no ability to communicate with thousands and millions of like-minded, freedom lovers. Yet they used incredible creativity in the face of incredible adversity to continue pushing their ideas. Because no army – not even Big Tech partnered with Big Government – can stop an idea whose time has come. And Liberty is that idea. We must move forward with creativity and confidence!
Transparency should not be limited to an official apology from the U.S. Latin America has not yet come to terms with its recent history, Ramona Wadi writes.
During his electoral campaign, incoming U.S. President Joe Biden said his administration will “commit to being the most transparent in history, and will declassify documents from past decades related to U.S. policy in Latin America.” In his statement, Biden made reference to the Obama administration, during which he was vice-president. In March 2016, during a visit to Argentina, former President Barack Obama had pledged to declassify documents pertaining to U.S. involvement in propping up dictatorships and human rights abuses. The release of such documents detailing previously concealed details of U.S. involvement in Argentina, notably the death flights, continued until April 2019, when the final batch of declassified documents was released by the Trump administration.
It is estimated that 30,000 Argentinians were murdered and disappeared during the dictatorship of Jorge Rafael Videla. Declassified documents pertaining to Operation Condor clearly show that the U.S. was informed of the systematic process of disappearing Argentinians opposed to the dictatorship and it also provided the helicopters used for the death flights. “A human rights source contact in the medical profession whose reporting has been reliable in the past informed the embassy in late June that terrorists and subversives selected for elimination were now being administered injections of ‘ketalar’.” The substance administered was used to induce rapid loss of consciousness in the victim, facilitating the dictatorship’s practice of disappearing their opponents by throwing the bodies off helicopters into the ocean. Since the declassification of these documents, it has become known that contrary to what was previously believed, the death flights were not only used to disappear detainees who had already been murdered by the state – some victims were only sedated after torture. The death flights, therefore, were both used as a form of murder and disappearance of dictatorship opponents.
The U.S. might have altered its previous methods of intervention in the region, although U.S. President Donald Trump overtly attempted to bring back the era of U.S.-backed coups. However, it is likely that under Biden, the far right-wing leaders in the region such as Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, will find a less accommodating stance, if only for the U.S. to maintain its purported democratic stance. On the other hand, centre-left and right-wing governments that have benefited from previous dictatorship legacies, or which are less outspoken about their preference for dictatorships, may prove to be a better alliance for the U.S.
Latin America doesn’t need U.S. solutions to its politics. The U.S. approach is still built upon the earlier foundations, merely altered in an attempt to dissociate from its past interference. However, the School of the Americas, now known as WHINSEC, still offers training for the region’s militaries. In Chile, the special forces who murdered the Mapuche activist Camilo Catrillanca on his own land were jointly trained by the U.S. and Colombia. The U.S. still maintains its embargo on Cuba, which was announced in 1960 and extended to all trade with the island since 1962. Guantanamo is still occupied by the U.S. military, which it has used as a military base and detention centre in its extended “War on Terror”. These are just a few examples which indicate the U.S. grasp and intrusion in the region.
Transparency should not be limited to an official apology from the U.S. Latin America has not yet come to terms with its recent history. The fight for justice spearheaded by civilians and obstructed by governments and law courts indicates that there is a heavy reliance upon earlier legacies for control and surveillance. Apologising for past violations is just a formality that holds no political or criminal accountability. Declassified documents should not be construed as an apology, and neither governments nor the people should adhere to this intentional discrepancy that seeks to obliterate the difference between rights and diplomatic niceties.
With the likes of Miller and other far-rightists in charge at the Pentagon, there is no guarantee on whose side the military will be, Finian Cunningham writes.
The extraordinary breach of security at the US Congressional building wasn’t just a “failure of planning” which allowed thousands of Trump supporters to trash the seat of government and to interrupt the electoral certification of Joe Biden as the next president. It was a coup attempt.
What’s more, Trump’s acting Pentagon chief Christopher C Miller is implicated in aiding and abetting the coup bid on January 6.
Trump appointed Miller, a former Green Beret and political loyalist, to head the Pentagon as acting Secretary of Defense following the November 3 election. He was among several other Trump loyalists rushed into senior positions at the Department of Defense prompting concerns back then that Trump was planning to overturn the election result which had cast Biden as winner but which Trump and his supporters have relentlessly disputed.
Several media reports have focused attention on the Pentagon to explain how the siege on the Capitol last Wednesday turned into a four-hour ordeal during which over 500 lawmakers, including Vice President Mike Pence, were forced to shelter in secure bunkers fearing for their lives. But media outlets like the New York Times are reporting the fiasco in anodyne terms as a result of “poor planning” or “failure” to coordinate security.
Calls were put out at around 2pm by the Capitol Police that they needed assistance after crowds broke through security fencing. But it was not until 6pm that members of the National Guard arrived to vacate the government buildings of protesters.
Washington DC mayor Muriel Bowser reportedly made phone calls to the Pentagon appealing for troopers to be deployed. So too did lawmakers trapped inside the Capitol, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Those calls went strangely unheeded.
Since Washington DC is not a state it does not have authority over its National Guard. That authority lies with the Pentagon. But the DC troops had been stood down in the days before January 6 or deployed away from the Capitol building on traffic duty, even though there were abundant signals across social media that far-right Trump supporters were planning to rally at the Capitol to block the scheduled certification of Biden’s election by lawmakers in a joint session of Congress.
Mayor Bowser then appealed to the governors in neighboring states of Maryland and Virginia to deploy their National Guards to assist the Capitol. The governors were also receiving frantic calls from those politicians besieged within the chambers of Congress.
However, these state authorities were still obliged to get clearance from the Pentagon in order to deploy their troopers across state lines.
Maryland governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, has said that his requests to deploy the National Guard were repeatedly denied by Pentagon officials. It is not clear who these officials were. But the finger of suspicion points to Christopher Miller and the cohort of Trump-appointed loyalists at the Department of Defense.
This indicates that the events on January 6 were much more sinister than has been reported thus far. Five people, including a Capitol police officer, died on the day Trump protesters stormed the Congressional building.
President Donald Trump has been condemned for inciting the crowds to attack the Capitol. He made an incendiary speech at a rally hours before Congress convened to certify the election, instructing the throngs to “take back their country”.
The storming of the Congress halls has also been widely condemned as an act of “insurrection” and “an assault on democracy”. But the media coverage tends to portray the event as a chaotic breach of security by rag-tag pro-Trump supporters. Belying those reports are more sinister accounts of armed far-right militia among the melee. There were cadres of Neo-fascists who were armed, equipped with zip-ties and nooses. They were even chanting for Republican Vice President Mike Pence’s head after Trump had earlier denounced him for being weak in not backing his effort to overturn the electoral process.
But what if the Capitol was deliberately left undefended? Questions have to be asked of the chiefs of Capitol Police and Washington DC metropolitan force who reportedly declined security back up purportedly offered by the Pentagon in the days before the “stop the steal” rally which Trump had been promoting for weeks. Was that Pentagon offer genuine or part of a charade?
Capitol Police chief Steven Sund told lawmakers before January 6 that everything was under control for all contingencies. They weren’t. He has since resigned. The Capitol was remarkably vulnerable from only a thin line of cops deployed on the day. Former security officials have expressed amazement at the lack of security. And there is video evidence of officers letting protesters through fences, even waving them on, and guiding them to key areas within the cavernous chambers.
But it is the apparent sinister role of the Pentagon that is most disturbing. Four hours to deploy the National Guard while armed men were marauding the seat of government suggests that this was an opportunity afforded to them to kill members of Congress and to block the electoral process of electing Democrat Joe Biden.
Only three days before January 6, an unprecedented oped piece was published in the Washington Post signed by 10 former Pentagon chiefs, including Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, William Cohen, Leon Panetta and James Mattis. In the oped, they warned Christopher Miller to not use the military to overturn the election result otherwise there would be dire consequences for America’s democracy. It was a phenomenal intervention and warning, which shows how degenerated US politics has become.
It looks like Miller and all the President’s Men at the Pentagon ignored the advice. They went ahead to aid and abet a coup. The coup fizzled out. But there is still explosive elements remaining until Biden is inaugurated on January 20.
When far-right groups target the inauguration ceremony fully armed as they are declaring to do, what will the Pentagon’s response be then? With the likes of Miller and other far-rightists in charge at the Pentagon, there is no guarantee on whose side the military will be.
By Eric ZUESSE
I have written many articles documenting how atrocious America’s leading Democrats are — such as “America Is Guilty if We Don’t Prosecute Obama” — but the situation is even more extreme with regard to Trump, because his evilness is far more blatant, not nearly so well hidden as was the case with that silk-tongued Nobel Peace Prize winner. However, no matter how bad Trump is, he still retains the respect of approximately 40% of Americans, and of 86%-89% of Republicans. Here is just some of the most recent evidence of why that 86%-89% range from Republicans is scandalous:
On January 6th, Reuters bannered “Special Report: U.S. regulators ignored workers’ COVID-19 safety complaints amid deadly outbreaks”, and reported that:
Miguel Cabezola, a driver for United Parcel Service Inc in Tucson, Arizona, complained on March 27 to U.S. workplace safety regulators, alleging the company was taking a lax approach to social distancing, sanitizing equipment and quarantining workers with COVID-19 symptoms. He hoped for an inspection of the facility that would force changes to protect worker safety.
Instead, the state arm of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) summarized Cabezola’s concerns in an email to company management, reviewed the UPS response and closed the file.
Over the next two months, a COVID-19 outbreak infected more than 40 Tucson UPS workers – including a manager who eventually died – and caused delivery delays throughout southern Arizona, according to interviews with six Tucson UPS workers and local union officials of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. …
UPS said the firm did not report the manager’s death from COVID-19. …
Arizona OSHA said the agency has no plans to investigate the matter further after UPS told regulators that the death was not work-related. …
The UPS outbreak is among dozens of cases identified by Reuters where OSHA largely disregarded workers who reported lax pandemic safety practices, according to agency records. ,,,
Reuters identified 106 U.S. workplaces where employees complained of slipshod pandemic safety practices around the time of outbreaks – and regulators either never inspected the facilities or, in some cases, waited months to do so. … Regulators never inspected nearly two-thirds of the 106 workplaces where Reuters identified outbreaks. …
In Las Vegas – which has hosted millions of tourists during the pandemic – workers at 25 different resorts across the city sent more than 60 complaints to Nevada OSHA about lax virus safety protocols between June and September.
To date, Nevada OSHA has conducted one COVID-19-related inspection of a Vegas casino – the Aria Resort. The case, prompted by a complaint about inadequate enforcement of mask-wearing and social distancing, is still open. …
Workers at the Cosmopolitan casino filed complaints to Nevada OSHA seven times from June through August, alleging that the hotel wasn’t following state mandates on requiring guests to wear masks and keeping the casino at half capacity. … “Employees have been informed that if they refuse to take a shift, they will then be terminated,” read one complaint from late August. …
At the D Las Vegas casino, a worker complained in July that “fifty percent of the employees at the D have tested positive,” yet “the employer is not notifying potentially exposed employees.” …
Tesla workers complained nine times to OSHA about pandemic-related issues, and Panasonic workers filed 10 complaints.
Tesla workers said in complaints that groups of four to five workers were required to remain in close proximity to maintain production, and that mask wearing wasn’t being enforced. … Tesla managers were aware of the illnesses and required employers to work anyway, the complaint alleged.
Nevada OSHA has not conducted an inspection of the facility. …
Tesla did not respond to requests for comment. …
At Tyson Foods Inc, testing in late April revealed nearly 900 employees in Logansport, Indiana, had contracted COVID-19. …
Indiana OSHA never inspected the site for COVID-19 problems. …
Tyson did not answer questions from Reuters about its workers’ OSHA complaints. …
[However, OSHA has issued citations in some cases.] Some of the federal OSHA citations came with no fines at all. …
Some former OSHA officials say the agency’s hands-off response to the pandemic reflects a notable divergence from the past, even compared to prior Republican administrations that also favored a light touch on industry regulation. …
Former OSHA officials, along with public health experts, labor groups and lawmakers, argued beginning in the spring that OSHA should issue an emergency temporary standard requiring employers to follow specific infection-control practices such as mandating social distancing, requiring masks, and removing infected workers while providing them pay. OSHA issued no such standards. …
Arizona OSHA officials have still not inspected or visited the UPS facility, and the agency told Reuters it has no plans to do so.
Also on January 6th, The Hill headlined “Congress must pass The Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act”, and two physicians urged Congress to pass into law a bill that had been introduced in the U.S. Senate on July 29th and which the Republican leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, has blocked even from being considered, “S.4349 – Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act”:
Named for the New York physician who took her own life after working for months treating COVID patients and seeing far too many die, the bill provides funding for mental and behavioral health awareness, education, and treatment for our health care providers in order to reduce and prevent their alarmingly high rates of suicide, burnout, substance use disorders, and other psychologically-related conditions.
As many predicted since the onset of the pandemic, mental health issues are surging among health care professionals. A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that among some 1,250 medical professionals working with COVID-19 patients in China, more than 50 percent reported symptoms of depression, nearly 45 percent noted symptoms of anxiety, and over seven in 10 reported distress. Buttressing these findings, researchers in Canada discovered that the prevalence of PTSD among nurses was as high as 40 percent. And in the first national study of its size, researchers at the University of California-San Diego confirmed that nurses are at a significantly higher risk of suicide than the average person, while other research has shown that physicians die by suicide at a higher rate – about 1.5 times – than the general population (Suicide among physicians and health-care workers: A systematic review and meta-analysis (plos.org). ‘’’ …
Having worked with populations prone to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, such as veterans, mass shooting survivors, and 9/11 first responders, we, and others in the health care community, know that if not identified early and treated comprehensively, the mental health challenges our medical professionals are facing will become chronic, life altering, and deadly.
That bill had been introduced by a Democrat, Senator Tim Kaine, but was blocked from being considered, because Republicans controlled the Senate. This doesn’t necessarily mean that a Democratic-controlled Senate would have passed it into law, but only that Republicans are more blatant about their benefiting only rich donors. Democrats work hard to hide that they are basically the same.
Both in the White House and in the Congress, America’s Republican Party has been leading at increasing America’s international failure at controlling the global Covid-19 pandemic, and ultimately the failure of the U.S. economy. The more out-of-control the epidemic is, the more damage it will do to the economy; and the Republican Party has been even worse than the Democratic Party has been regarding regulation — basically handing the nation off to the billionaires who finance their political campaigns (and who control the massive corporations that are basically being left to ‘regulate’ themselves — to the benefit of their owners).
Also, Good Jobs First issued a study on January 6th, headlining “50-state breakdown reveals what private and charter schools got in federal pandemic funds”, and reporting that because of many provisions that the lobbyists who now write America’s laws had slipped into the initial Covid-19 relief law that was passed in the Spring, private and church-operated schools had received from the federal Government “$855,000 per facility on average compared to $134,500 for public schools.” For decades, billionaires’ ‘charities’ have propagandized for federal subsidization of private-school education and denigrated the public schools. Everything was being done to serve the wealthiest at the expense of the public. Consequently, low-income families are now heavily subsidizing middle-and-upper-income families, the ones who can afford private schools. The original basis for creating the public schools — to equalize children’s opportunities — is now gone, and instead there is socialism that’s specifically for the non-poor, to exacerbate economic inequality. This has been done by both Republican and Democratic members of Congress, but especially by Republicans — and it has especially been promoted by the Trump Administration.
The latest Morning Consult poll on Trump’s job performance, taken on January 6th and 7th (during the DC riots), shows an all-time record low job-approval for him of 76% among Republicans. Apparently, the recent events have reduced by around 10% his support by Republicans, but it still remains very high; and, so, it is clear that Trump, even now, is very respected among Republicans, even after his colossally failed Presidency, and after his having failed to fulfill any of the promises that he had made as a candidate, except to move the courts even farther to the right, and to waste federal money building only a bit of the southern border wall that he had promised to build complete. He obviously reflects the values of the vast majority of Republicans. And American politics will need to deal with the reality that the Republican Party is an extremist right-wing party, nothing that can reasonably be considered moderate. The Democratic Party is (and ever since Bill Clinton’s Presidency has been) a moderately conservative party, comparable to what the Republican Party had been until Ronald Reagan became elected in 1980. Ever since 1980, the U.S. has been moving farther and farther to the ideological right, just as the nation’s inequality of wealth has been growing to reach perhaps the highest level in all of U.S. history.
America’s Republican Party is rule by billionaires, even more blatantly than the Democratic Party is. At least the Democrats pretend to be concerned about the welfare of the public.
However, the real evil is in the source, the paymasters for it, who are the billionaires of both Parties, who can never be satisfied. Their desires are insatiable, and now control not only the mega-corporations, and the mega-media, but even the federal Government itself.
On the surface, America’s political conflict is between Democrats versus Republicans (such as between Biden versus Trump); but, deeper down, it is only between the billionaires versus the public. The difference between being ruled by Democratic billionaires, versus being ruled by Republican billionaires, is tiny by comparison with the difference between being ruled by the billionaires (an aristocracy) as compared to being ruled by the public (a democracy). America is not ruled by representatives of the public; it is ruled by representatives of the billionaires.
Twenty-five civil society organizations have made a joint statement opposing the Senate’s confirmation of Victoria Nuland, said to be nominated by President-elect Joe Biden for the position of undersecretary of state for political affairs.
Victoria Nuland, former foreign policy adviser to vice president Dick Cheney, should not be nominated for undersecretary of state [for political affairs], and if nominated should be rejected by the Senate.
Nuland played a key role in facilitating a coup in Ukraine that created a civil war costing 10,000 lives and displacing over a million people. She played a key role in arming Ukraine as well. She advocates radically increased military spending, NATO expansion, hostility toward Russia, and efforts to overthrow the Russian government.
The United States invested $5 billion in shaping Ukrainian politics, including overthrowing a democratically elected president who had refused to join NATO. Then-Assistant Secretary of State Nuland is on video talking about the U.S. investment and on audiotape planning to install Ukraine’s next leader, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who was subsequently installed.
The Maidan protests, at which Nuland handed out cookies to protesters, were violently escalated by neo-Nazis and by snipers who opened fire on police. When Poland, Germany, and France negotiated a deal for the Maidan demands and an early election, neo-Nazis instead attacked the government and took over. The U.S. State Department immediately recognized the coup government, and Arseniy Yatsenyuk was installed as Prime Minister.
Nuland has worked with the openly pro-Nazi Svoboda Party in Ukraine. She was long a leading proponent of arming Ukraine. She was also an advocate for removing from office the prosecutor general of Ukraine, whom then-Vice President Joe Biden pushed the president to remove.
Nuland wrote this past year that “The challenge for the United States in 2021 will be to lead the democracies of the world in crafting a more effective approach to Russia—one that builds on their strengths and puts stress on Putin where he is vulnerable, including among his own citizens.”
She added: “…Moscow should also see that Washington and its allies are taking concrete steps to shore up their security and raise the cost of Russian confrontation and militarization. That includes maintaining robust defense budgets, continuing to modernize U.S. and allied nuclear weapons systems, and deploying new conventional missiles and missile defenses, . . . establish permanent bases along NATO’s eastern border, and increase the pace and visibility of joint training exercises.”
The United States walked out of the ABM Treaty and later the INF Treaty, began putting missiles into Romania and Poland, expanded NATO to Russia’s border, facilitated a coup in Ukraine, began arming Ukraine, and started holding massive war rehearsal exercises in Eastern Europe. But to read Victoria Nuland’s account, Russia is simply an irrationally evil and aggressive force that must be countered by yet more military spending, bases, and hostility. Some U.S. military officials say this demonizing of Russia is all about weapons profits and bureaucratic power, no more fact-based than the Steele Dossier that was given to the FBI by Victoria Nuland.
Alaska Peace Center
Center for Encounter and Active Non-Violence
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
Greater Brunswick PeaceWorks
Maine Voices for Palestinian Rights
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
Peace Action Maine
Physicians for Social Responsibility – Kansas City
Progressive Democrats of America
Peace, Justice, Sustainability NOW!
The Resistance Center for Peace and Justice
Veterans For Peace Chapter 001
Veterans For Peace Chapter 63
Veterans For Peace Chapter 113
Veterans For Peace Chapter 115
Veterans For Peace Chapter 132
World BEYOND War
Blue’s embrace of the woke cultural revolution may turn out to be its Achilles’ heel. It runs contrary to the historic norms of human cultures.
Predictions for the year ahead must be so ephemeral that they become pointless. The ‘unknown unknowns’ are too many; the situation, too dynamic. Yet, it is possible to take some key variables, which are all too easily taken for granted, and to look them more directly ‘in the eye’. Why do that, if ‘to look’ is uncomfortable? The answer, the ancients, told us is, that without that piercing ‘look’ of consciousness, our unspoken anxieties evolve through our unconscious, into psychosis – or physical sickness. Our bubble boundaries requires firstly rupture.
Let us then start with the U.S. at this point of fundamental inflection: Biden’s Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan speaking in recent days, exuded confidence that Biden’s chumminess with lawmakers ‘across the aisle’ in the Congress will help push through his China policies: “He (Biden) knows his mind on China and he is going to carry forward a strategy that is not based on politics, not based on being pushed around by domestic constituencies (sic – interesting comment). Sullivan described it as a “clear-eyed strategy, a strategy that recognises that China is a serious strategic competitor to the U.S. – that acts in ways that are at odds with our interests in many ways including trade.” Yet, at the same time, “it is also a strategy that recognises that we will work with China, when it is in our interests to do so”.
What is there to complain about in such ‘a normal, rational statement’? Nothing per se – except that it presumes a return to the old bi-partisan politics, in which Red and Blue lawmakers attend the same Washington cocktails, and assumes a shared desire to engage together in the ‘business’ of Washington.
Patricia Murphy of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, who has been covering the senatorial runoff in Georgia, noted that: “Republicans just don’t trust the election … Not one Republican voter, Murphy has spoken to since Election Day, believes that President-elect Biden won. “Not one, not a person”, she said. “And many of them don’t even think he’ll be inaugurated on January 20”.
Murphy’s statement speaks forcefully to two American realities: One is rooted in a deep distrust of the élites, and of a soiled status quo; the ‘other’ reality views Murphy’s interlocutors as not only in denial, but views them with contempt.
We have today almost unlimited web access: Yet, its sheer overload seems to cause us to ‘dig in’, rather than ‘open up’. Anyone who wants it, can find a whole universe of alternative viewpoints online, but very few do. Paradoxically, the Information age has made us less willing to consider worldviews unlike our own. We cleave to the like-minded. We want to hear from the like-minded and have them as our friends.
And since it is so much easier to confirm our perspective and biases – and disdain others’ – the notion of politics by argument or consensus, is almost entirely lost. We can, and do, live in our segregated digital worlds, even when physically, those ‘others’ may indeed be our next door neighbour. This has meant for the architects of the Trump campaign that his campaign – and politics more generally – must be about mobilisation – rather than persuasion. Politics, in other words is now Post-persuasion; post-‘factual’.
The ‘insurrection’ at the Capitol Building – for those who may have witnessed revolutionary mobs elsewhere – was comparatively inoffensive (one unarmed, former U.S. Air Force vet protestor, was shot dead by the police through a closed door). Clearly, this assault on the Hill was never intended as a real ‘coup’; it was rather Trump manoeuvring to keep his base energised and mobilised – and with him firmly in control of the Party. Nonetheless, it has been PR disaster, leaving many of his supporters bewildered. If the aim were to expose details of fraud as part of the confirmation hearing, it failed.
If it were a coup at all, it was one aimed by Trump at the GOP ‘old guard’, such as Romney, (who was taunted as a traitor, by fellow passengers during his flight to Washington). It is the country-club GOP élite who are struggling to ‘take-back’ the Party from the Trumpistas. Will they succeed, in the light of what has happened? The Deep State has closed ranks irrevocably against Trump. Are his nine (cats’) lives now expended?
Though Trump be at the forefront of what happened on 6 January, it is not just about him (as the MSM insist). Rather, the U.S. today is skirmishing its way towards an existential fight: This is a battle over the nature and direction of change itself; Over where society and its constitutional order are going; and how the legitimacy of republican rule, in its essence, is to be defined. “Simply, America’s longstanding political equipoise (from c. 1876) has completely broken down. Continuity and change, for better or worse, is now locked in a classic death match. How will it be resolved? How will it end?”.
Not trusting in the election, in U.S. democracy, therefore flags a profound change in politics taking hold in America and in Europe. The Georgia loss, perhaps, is less crucial now: Elements of the GOP are preparing for radical opposition (to save the Republic, which they see as courting complete loss). The objecting members of Congress knew that they could never succeed in obtaining supporting majorities in both houses of congress for their objections. Their aim rather, seemed to be to establish a baseline (evidence of fraud) for future activist opposition to the results of the 2020 election. Along this baseline they will insist that Biden/Harris are not legitimately elected, and are usurpers against whom any means of resistance is justified. They hoped to inherit Trump’s base, and to ‘ride its wave’. Is there a vacancy now? That is a question for 2021.
The next question for 2021 then, concerns that old adage: ‘Beware not to win too much’. It can be a mistake to corner your adversaries to having nothing to lose. The Blue state has ousted Trump; and Blue has taken everything across ‘the board’, and are ready to implement the ‘Re-set’ – the ultimate subjugation of Red by main force, achieved by the preponderance of wealth, ruling institutional leverage, and military power. A social ‘woke’ revolution, as well as a political transformation. The full outcome would likely reconstitute the constitutional order, in ways unrecognizable to most Americans today.
But will Red America succumb from exhaustion, or lack of leadership; or, on the other hand, might it find the energy to revitalise ‘their’ Republic? We shall see – a big question whose ramifications might make the EU élites particularly nervous. Of course Blue now possesses force majeure. But there is another old adage: ‘No passionate, partisan assessment has any value, save to inflame’ – and Big Tech and the MSM’s censorship and accompanying humiliation of Trump may turn him a martyr, and make the spirit of defiance all the stronger.
Despite the GOP Old Guard attempted ‘counter-revolution’ (talking 25th Amendment action), the divisions between the two Americas are now so great that it can only mean ultimately a de-coupling of the ‘across the aisle’ chumminess (even if this has to be postponed until the 2022 congressional election round). Is Jake Sullivan’s optimism that Biden’s chums across the aisle will allow him to push through his China policies unscathed – especially as Biden is viewed as deeply blemished in respect to China? Might 2021 rather underline the new era of civil conflict, rather than a return to old civilities – and hence to new, ‘take no prisoners’ politics?
The priority issues for all western leaders surely will be Covid; the concomitant push-back from small and medium sized businessmen against lockdown, and dealing with the noxious ‘them-and-us’ effects of a ‘free money’ economic paradigm. Foreign policy – other than China and Russia (on which there exists the one, and almost only, U.S. bi-partisan consensus) – may garner lesser attention.
And here are the inter-related shibboleths that may require a little more critical re-thinking for 2021: America and the EU – understandably – desperately want their economies to snap-back into recovery: “Biden’s blue wave almost guarantees it”, the Telegraph’s economics editor Evans Pritchard exalts – “as Fiscal stimulus meets monetary jet fuel already tanked in the system – just as America comes out of the pandemic”.
It may seem a tad curmudgeonly even to question such panglossian hopes. The vaccines have been sold as ‘the hope’ for normal; but the notion that the vaccines are about to propel the U.S. tout suite into jet-fuelled nirvana, seems premature. The WHO says that it is yet to be determined whether the vaccines actually stop infection (as opposed to merely mitigating its more severe symptoms).
It is yet to be discovered whether the vaccines are effective, at all, against the new strains of the Covid virus (such as the UK and South African mutations); and it is uncertain how many Americans will even accept to be vaccinated. It seems rather, to boil-down to a race between accelerating infections, and dawdling vaccine manufacture and distribution – with a final outcome to this race still uncertain. That outcome, whatever it is, will have political consequences – for the EU in particular in the year ahead.
There is too, a fragile and peripatetic frontier (in both America and Europe), between the notions that Covid lockdowns are a deliberate élite ploy to concentrate the economy in the hands of a few oligarchs – and, on the other hand, a conviction that the infection is a grave risk, requiring a high degree of public discipline. Where this ‘frontier’ flows; on which side of the median it comes to rest during this year; as well as the success (or lack of it) in rolling out effective and safe vaccines, will constitute a key political event – maybe even an existential one for some governments and institutions.
It is hard to see growth simply springing forth out of further massive increases in government debt – Biden’s ‘jet-fuel’. Since 2008, debt has suffocated growth, seeded a crop of zombie companies, and stimulated mainly a runaway asset appreciation. And it is hard to see such growth coming from an economy that is centralising around huge monopolistic behemoths, who stifle innovation, whilst small businesses are massacred. The question is about real growth, or are we looking at just another just another puff of liquidity pointed towards ‘make-believe’ growth? Polls (Forbes) suggest that 48% of American small businesses, risk closing for good.
Of course centralisation of economic activity around big business represents the central plank to the Great tech Re-set. The latter is promoted as an unstoppable, supply-side ‘miracle’ which will transform productivity, and growth. Yet, this thesis seems is not supported by history: “For a quarter of a century, post WW2”, the Chicago Booth Review notes, the value of production of every worker hour rose 2.7 percent per year. Then there was a slowdown for 20 years, from 1974 to 1994, when productivity growth fell to 1.5 percent per year. This was a period that included the rise of the personal computer and the integration of new technologies in a number of industries – and, as is the case today, people wonder why it was that productivity growth slowed down”. Robert Solow famously said, “I see computers everywhere, except in the productivity statistics.”
“Eventually, we did see the computers in the productivity statistics. Around the mid-1990s, productivity accelerated again, up to about 3 percent per year. It stayed there for a decade, before slowing again. It hasn’t yet picked up. So the 1.2 percent average annual productivity growth we’ve been experiencing since the mid-2000s is less than half of what it was in the decade prior, and is slower even than the 20-year slowdown from 1974 to 1994.
“Despite what seem like incredibly rapid changes in technology, we don’t see technologically-driven growth in the data – and in fact we see the opposite pattern. Since economic growth requires productivity growth: If we don’t figure out why this is happening, and how to fix it, we won’t get sustained increases in GDP per capita”.
Blue has swept the board. Yet, the year is new-born: Blue’s embrace of the woke cultural revolution may turn out to be its Achilles’ heel. It runs contrary to the historic norms of human relations and cultures. The danger of the liberal-style Re-set for Francis Fukuyama, would be that it cannot assuage the Homeric heroic ideal of Thymos – the greater passions which drive man to seek glory and renown. Fukuyama observes that “Thymos is the side of man that deliberately seeks out struggle and sacrifice”. With all our material and political wants satisfied, the human soul will search out deeper, older drives, a need for recognition and glory like that which drove Achilles, foreknowing, to his death on to the battlefield of Troy.
“Those who remain dissatisfied, will always have the potential to restart history”, Fukuyama observes.
The wars since Sept. 11 are part of Joe Biden’s legacy, writes Nick Turse. But the president-elect enters the White House with an opportunity to make good on his pledge to end them.
By Nick TURSE
“This is a different kind of war, which we will wage aggressively and methodically to disrupt and destroy terrorist activity,” President George W. Bush announced a little more than two weeks after the 9/11 attacks. “Some victories will be won outside of public view, in tragedies avoided and threats eliminated. Other victories will be clear to all.”
This year will mark the 20th anniversary of the war on terror, including America’s undeclared conflict in Afghanistan. After that war’s original moniker, Operation Infinite Justice, was nixed for offending Muslim sensibilities, the Pentagon rebranded it Operation Enduring Freedom. Despite neither a clear victory, nor the slightest evidence that enduring freedom had ever been imposed on that country, “U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan ended,” according to the Defense Department, in 2014. In reality, that combat simply continued under a new name, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, and grinds on to this very day.
Like the 2003 invasion of Iraq, known as Operation Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Freedom’s Sentinel failed to live up to their names. Nor did any of the monikers slapped on America’s post-9/11 wars ever catch the public imagination; the battlefields spread from Afghanistan and Iraq to Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya, Syria, Niger, Burkina Faso, and beyond — at a price tag north of $6.4 trillion and a human toll that includes at least 335,000 civilians killed and at least 37 million displaced from their homes. Meanwhile, those long promised clear victories never materialized even as the number of terrorist groups around the world proliferated.
Last month, America’s top general offered an assessment of the Afghan War that was as apt as it was bleak. “We believe that after two decades of consistent effort, we’ve achieved a modicum of success,” said Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley. “I would also argue over the last five to seven years at a minimum, we have been in a condition of strategic stalemate.”
Milley’s soundbites provided appellations far more apt than those the Pentagon dreamt up over the years. Had the Defense Department opened the post-9/11 wars with names like Operation Modicum of Success or Operation Strategic Stalemate, Americans would at least have had a realistic idea of what to expect in the ensuing decades as three presidents waged undeclared wars without achieving victories anywhere across the Greater Middle East or Africa.
Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at Army-Navy football game at U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, Dec. 12, 2020. (DOD, Carlos M. Vazquez II)
What the future will bring in terms of this country’s many armed conflicts is murkier than ever as the Trump administration pursues an array of 11th-hour efforts interpreted as last-minute attempts to make good on pledges to end this country’s “endless wars” or simply as sour-grapes shots at upending, undermining, and sabotaging the “deep state” (the CIA in particular), while handcuffing or kneecapping the incoming Biden administration’s future foreign policy.
As it happens, however, President Donald Trump’s flailing final gambits, while by no means ending America’s wars, provide the Biden administration with a unique opportunity to put those conflicts in the history books, should the president-elect choose to take advantage of the inadvertent gift his predecessor provided.
Third President Not to End War on Terror
For four years, the Trump administration has waged a multifront war, not only in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Syria, and elsewhere around the globe, but with the Pentagon as well. Donald Trump entered the White House vowing to stop America’s ceaseless foreign interventions and repeatedly teased ending those “endless wars.” He didn’t. Instead, he and his administration continued to wage America’s many conflicts, surged troops into Afghanistan and Syria, and threatened nuclear strikes against enemies and allies alike.
When the president finally began making halting gestures toward curtailing the country’s endless conflicts and attempted to draw down troops in various war zones, the Pentagon and State Department slow walked, slow rolled, and stymied their commander-in-chief, deceiving him, for example, when it came to something as basic as the actual number of U.S. troops in Syria.
Even after striking a 2020 deal with the Taliban to settle the Afghan War and ordering significant troop withdrawals from that country and others as he became a lame-duck president, he failed to halt a single armed intervention that he had inherited.
Far from ending endless wars, Trump escalated the most endless of them: the conflicts in Afghanistan and Somalia where America has been intermittently involved since the 1970s and 1990s, respectively. Air strikes in Somalia have, for instance, skyrocketed under the Trump administration.
From 2007 to 2017, the U.S. military conducted 42 declared air attacks in that country. Under Trump, 37 strikes were conducted in 2017, 48 in 2018, and 63 in 2019. Last year, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) acknowledged 53 air strikes in Somalia, more than during the 16 years of the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Aerial view of coast south of Mogadishu, Somalia. (AMISOM, Flickr, CC0, Wikimedia Commons)
The reasons for that increase remain shrouded in secrecy. In March 2017, however, Trump reportedly designated parts of Somalia as “areas of active hostilities,” while removing Obama-era rules requiring that there be near certainty that airstrikes will not injure or kill noncombatants.
Although the White House refuses to explicitly confirm or deny that this ever happened, retired Brigadier General Donald Bolduc, who headed Special Operations Command Africa at the time, told The Intercept that the “burden of proof as to who could be targeted and for what reason changed dramatically.” That change, he noted, led AFRICOM to conduct strikes that previously would not have been carried out.
The uptick in airstrikes has been disastrous for civilians. While Africa Command recently acknowledged five deaths of noncombatants in Somalia from all such airstrikes, an investigation by Amnesty International found that, in just nine of them, 21 civilians were killed and 11 others injured.
According to the U.K.-based monitoring group Airwars, evidence suggests that as many as 13 Somali civilians have been killed by U.S. strikes in 2020 alone, and Trump’s recent decision to withdraw U.S. forces from there will not end those air attacks, much less America’s war, according to the Pentagon. “While a change in force posture, this action is not a change in U.S. policy,” reads a Defense Department statement that followed Trump’s withdrawal order. “The U.S. will retain the capability to conduct targeted counterterrorism operations in Somalia and collect early warnings and indicators regarding threats to the homeland.”
U.S. Army sniper prepares to provide security for an airlift in Somalia, June 16, 2020. (U.S. Air Force, Shawn White)
The war in Afghanistan has followed a similar trajectory under Trump. Far from deescalating the conflict as it negotiated a peace deal with the Taliban and pursued troop drawdowns, the administration ramped up the war on multiple fronts, initially deploying more troops and increasing its use of U.S. air power. As in Somalia, civilians suffered mightily, according to a recent report by Neta Crawford of Brown University’s Costs of War project.
During its first year in office, the Trump administration relaxed the rules of engagement and escalated the air war in an effort to gain leverage at the bargaining table. “From 2017 through 2019, civilian deaths due to U.S. and allied forces’ air strikes in Afghanistan dramatically increased,” wrote Crawford. “In 2019, airstrikes killed 700 civilians — more civilians than in any other year since the beginning of the war in 2001 and 2002.”
After the U.S. and the Taliban reached a tentative peace agreement last February, U.S. air strikes declined, but never completely ceased. As recently as last month, the U.S. reportedly conducted one in Afghanistan that resulted in civilian casualties.
As those civilian deaths from air power were spiking, an elite CIA-trained Afghan paramilitary unit known as 01, in partnership with U.S. Special Operations forces, was involved in what Andrew Quilty, writing at The Intercept, termed “a campaign of terror against civilians,” including a “string of massacres, executions, mutilation, forced disappearances, attacks on medical facilities, and air strikes targeting structures known to house civilians.”
In all, the unit killed at least 51 civilians in Afghanistan’s Wardak province between December 2018 and December 2019. As Akhtar Mohammad Tahiri, the head of Wardak’s provincial council, told Quilty, the Americans “step on all the rules of war, human rights, all the things they said they’d bring to Afghanistan.” They are, he said, “conducting themselves as terrorists. They show terror and violence and think they’ll bring control this way.”
President Biden’s Choice
“We are not a people of perpetual war — it is the antithesis of everything for which we stand and for which our ancestors fought,” Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller wrote as part of a two-page memo to Defense Department employees last November, adding, “All wars must end.” His predecessor, Mark Esper, was reportedly fired, at least in part, for resisting President Trump’s efforts to remove troops from Afghanistan. Yet neither Miller nor Trump turned out to be committed to actually ending America’s wars.
After losing his bid for reelection in November, the president did issue a series of orders drawing down some troops from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. Virtually all military personnel are to be withdrawn from Somalia. There, however, according to the Pentagon, some or all of those forces will simply be “repositioned from Somalia into neighboring countries in order to allow cross-border operations,” not to speak of continuing “targeted counterterrorism operations” in that country. This suggests that the long-running U.S. air war will continue uninterrupted.
The same goes for the other war zones where American troops are slated to remain and no cessation of air strikes has been announced. “You’re still going to have the ability to do the missions that we’ve been doing,” a senior Pentagon official said last month regarding Afghanistan. Miller echoed this during a recent trip to that country when he said: “I especially want to see and hear the plan for our continued air support role.”
Ironically enough, Miller’s all-wars-must-end November memo actually championed a forever-war mindset by insisting on the necessity of “finishing the war that al-Qaida brought to our shores in 2001.”
In classic the-U.S.-has-finally-turned-the-corner fashion, Miller asserted that America is “on the verge of defeating al-Qaida and its associates” and “must avoid our past strategic error of failing to see the fight through to the finish.” To anyone who might have thought he was signaling that the war on terror was coming to a close, Miller offered a message that couldn’t have been more succinct: “This war isn’t over.”
Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher C. Miller visiting Bahrain, Nov 25, 2020. (U.S. Navy, Jordan Crouch)
At the same time, Miller and several other post-election Trump political appointees, including his chief of staff, Kash Patel, and Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Ezra Cohen-Watnick, have sought to make significant last-minute policy changes at the Pentagon, rankling members of the national security establishment.
Last month, for example, Trump administration officials delivered to the Joint Chiefs of Staff a proposal to decouple the leadership of the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command. Miller also sent a letter to CIA Director Gina Haspel informing her that a longstanding arrangement in which the Pentagon offered support to the Agency is in jeopardy.
News reports indicated that the Department of Defense is reviewing its support for the CIA. The reason, former and current administration and military officials told Defense One, was to determine whether Special Operations forces should be diverted from the Agency’s counterterrorism operations to missions “related to competition with Russia and China.” The New York Times suggested, however, that the true purpose could be to “make it difficult” for the CIA to conduct operations in Afghanistan.
The troop drawdowns and 11th-hour policy changes have been cast by pundits and national security establishment boosters as the spiteful final acts of a lame-duck president. Whatever they may be, they also represent a genuine opportunity for a president-elect who has voiced support for a shift in national security policy.
“Biden will end the forever wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East, which have cost us untold blood and treasure” reads the plan for “Leading the Democratic World” at JoeBiden.com. There, too, in the fine print, however, lurk a set of Milleresque fight-to-the-finish loopholes, as the italicized words in this sentence suggest: “Biden will bring the vast majority of our troops home from Afghanistan and narrowly focus our mission on al-Qaeda and ISIS.”
Under an agreement the Trump administration struck with Taliban negotiators last year, the United States promised to remove all remaining troops from Afghanistan by May 1, 2021, if that group upholds its commitments. Were the Biden team to take advantage of both the Trump administration’s withdrawal pact and its last-ditch effort to handcuff the CIA, a significant part of the American war there would simply expire later this spring.
While this would undoubtedly elicit anguished howls from supporters of that failed war, President Biden could defer to Congress’s constitutionally assigned war powers, leaving it to the legislative branch to either declare war in that country after all these years or simply allow the conflict to end.
Joe Biden celebrating his presidential victory, Wilmington, Delaware, Nov. 7, 2020. (David Lienemann, Biden For President, Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
He could also use the bully pulpit of the presidency to call for sunsetting the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, or AUMF, a 60-word resolution passed by Congress three days after the Sept. 11 attacks, which has been used to justify 20 years of war against groups like the Islamic State that didn’t even exist on 9/11.
He could do the same with the 2002 Iraq Authorization for Use of Military Force, which authorized the war against Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq, but was nonetheless cited last year in the Trump administration’s justification for the drone assassination of Iranian Major General Qasem Suleimani.
Almost two decades after President George W. Bush launched “a different kind of war”; more than a decade after President Barack Obama entered the White House promising to avoid “stupid wars” (while promising to win the “right war” in Afghanistan); six months after President Trump committed to “ending the era of endless wars,” President-elect Biden enters the White House with an opportunity to begin to make good on his own pledge to “end the forever wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East.”
As President Bush put it in 2001: “Some victories will be won outside of public view, in tragedies avoided and threats eliminated.” America’s 21st-century wars have, instead, been tragedies for millions and have led to a proliferation of threats that damaged the United States in fundamental ways. Biden has recognized this, noting that “staying entrenched in unwinnable conflicts only drains our capacity to lead on other issues that require our attention, and it prevents us from rebuilding the other instruments of American power.”
Failed forever wars are, however, also a Joe Biden legacy. As a senator, he voted for that 2001 AUMF, the 2002 AUMF, and then seconded a president who expanded America’s overseas interventions — and nothing in his personal history suggests that he will take the bold actions necessary to follow through on putting an end to America’s overseas conflicts. “It’s long past time we end the forever wars,” he announced in 2019. As it happens, on entering the Oval Office he will be faced with a monumental choice: to be either the first U.S. president of this century not to double down on doomed overseas conflicts or the fourth to find failure in wars that can never be won.
TomDispatch.com via consortiumnews.com
Founded in 1844, the American “Know Nothing Party,” officially known as the Native American Party – not to be confused with the indigenous native Americans – rallied around the causes of anti-immigration, xenophobia, and anti-Catholicism. Its name derived from the party’s secretive membership list and political operations. When non-members of the party queried a member about specific details of the organization, they were to reply, “I know nothing.”
Today, the Republican Party has taken up the banner of the Know Nothings. Rather than maintain secrecy about their policies and intentions, the modern-day “Know Nothings” are quite bold in avowing their beliefs in racism, anti-democracy, support for political terrorism and assassinations, and other far-out ideas. The only reason they can share the name “Know Nothings” with their 19th century forebearers is that the neo-Republicans actually “know nothing.” They know nothing about the U.S. Constitution, as witnessed by their attempt to upend the 2020 presidential election. Additionally, they know nothing about U.S. history, including the anti-fascist policies of the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, which led the United States and its allies to victory over fascism in World War II.
What is most lost on the modern-day Know Nothings is the concept of the loyal opposition. The loyal opposition is a cornerstone of democratic government, the United States having adopted the concept from British parliamentary government. A loyal opposition has proven absolutely necessary during times of war and international crisis. The precept that “politics ends at the water’s edge” marked many administrations, including that of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush.
In matters dealing with Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan, President Roosevelt found that he could count on the support of not only Senate Republican Minority Leader Charles McNary, but also Roosevelt’s 1940 Republican presidential opponent, Wendell Willkie. McNary was Willkie’s vice-presidential running mate. The idea that either Willkie or McNary would side with the seditionist “American Firsters,” led by Charles Lindbergh, was preposterous. Willkie and McNary understood that politics did end at the water’s edge when it came to the fight against fascism. Similarly, President Johnson was able to count on the support – misguided as it was – of Republican Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen on foreign policy matters, including the increasingly controversial war in Southeast Asia. It was generally the same situation between President Jimmy Carter and Senate Minority Leader Howard Baker, Jr., President Reagan and Senate Democratic Minority Leader Robert Byrd and Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill, and President George W. Bush and Senate Democratic Minority Leader Harry Reid.
It was the rise of House of Representatives Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich, a current advocate for the policies of Donald Trump, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who did everything he could to block President Barack Obama – within and outside the water’s edge – that led the way for the resurgence of the Know Nothings as a potent and dangerous political force in the United States.
Throughout the former British Commonwealth there are Leaders of the Loyal Opposition. “Loyal” is inserted because these opposition political parties and leaders do not want to be seen as disloyal to the nation, whether the nation is in the form of a monarch (or governor-general representing the monarch), constitution, or constitutional head of state.
While the United States does not have a formal position of loyal opposition leader, the concept of loyalty to the U.S. Constitution by political leaders representing the majority or minority parties in the Congress has only been tested a few times in American history. One of those times was in 1861, when ten U.S. senators and three House members were expelled from the Congress after the states they represented seceded from the United States. In February 1862, an additional three senators were expelled for supporting the secessionist Confederacy. Their names live in infamy in the annals of American history: Former Vice President John Breckenridge of Kentucky, Charles Mitchel and William Sebastian of Arkansas, John Hemphill and Louis Wigfall of Texas, James Mason and Robert Hunter of Virginia, Thomas Clingman and Thomas Bragg of North Carolina, James Chestnut of South Carolina, Alfred Nicholson of Tennessee, Trusten Polk and Waldo Johnson of Missouri, and Jesse Bright of Indiana. Joining them is expulsion were House members John Bullock Clark and John Reid of Missouri and Henry Burnett of Kentucky.
Although Republican Senate Majority Leader McConnell has recognized Joe Biden’s electoral victory, at least twelve members of his caucus decided to vote against Biden’s electoral certification as president-elect. These seditionist Republican senators richly deserve the very same humiliation brought down on their Civil War counterparts and their names should forever be linked to treachery: Josh Hawley of Missouri, Ted Cruz of Texas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, James Lankford of Oklahoma, Steve Daines of Montana, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Mike Braun of Indiana, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama. Not only do these Senate insurrectionists against the Constitution largely represent the same bastion of sedition of the Old Confederacy but they are joined in the U.S. House by some 120 other neo-Know Nothings led by such notable intellectual lightweights as Matt Gaetz of Florida, Mo Brooks of Alabama Louis Gohmert of Florida, and the Adolf Hitler-admiring Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina.
In recent times, there has not been a single instance of an official leader of the loyal opposition in a parliamentary democracy advocating the overthrow of a duly elected government. By challenging the Electoral College and Constitution, the Republican renegades in the Senate and House are moving the United States in the direction of an unstable regime incapable of constitutional government.
Such is the case with Papua New Guinea, a nation governed under parliamentary democratic rules but descending over the past several years into tribal conflict. Prime Minister James Marape has called opposition Members of Parliament “constitutional rapists” and the leader of the opposition, Belden Namah, a “political scumbag.” Namah, for his part, has proclaimed himself a “Huli chief” and challenged the prime minister to a fight to the death on the battlegrounds of Waigani, the location of the National Parliament. Namah is anything but a member of the “loyal opposition.” He would find himself completely at home with the seditionists of the Republican Party in the U.S. Senate and House, whose own political tribal politics match the actual tribal political intrigues of Papua New Guinea.
With Donald Trump calling for far-right neo-Nazi and white supremacists to converge on Washington to overturn a democratic election, he is no better than the self-proclaimed Huli chief in Papua New Guinea. The only difference is that Trump is such a coward, he would never endanger his own life. He does feel comfortable in endangering the lives of others in pursuit of his extra-constitutional plots and ploys.
The modern-day “Know Nothings” who comprise the majority in the Republican Party truly define the phrase, for they know nothing about the U.S. Constitution, democracy, the basics of political science and constitutional law, parliamentary procedures of order, or American history. These tattered moronic remnants of what was once the loyal opposition during Democratic administrations of the past are more interested in establishing an undemocratic idiocracy than in maintaining American democracy.
By Caitlin JOHNSTONE
A lot’s been happening really fast. It’s a white noise saturation day and it’s impossible to keep track of everything going on, so I’m just going to post my thoughts on a few of the things that have happened.
Biden has announced plans to roll out new domestic terrorism laws in the wake of the Capitol Hill riot.
“Mr. Biden has said he plans to make a priority of passing a law against domestic terrorism, and he has been urged to create a White House post overseeing the fight against ideologically inspired violent extremists and increasing funding to combat them,” Wall Street Journal reports.
Did you know that Biden has often boasted about being the original author of the US Patriot Act?
The first draft of the civil rights-eroding USA PATRIOT Act was magically introduced one week after the 9/11 attacks. Legislators later admitted that they hadn’t even had time to read through the hundreds of pages of the history-shaping bill before passing it the next month, yet somehow its authors were able to gather all the necessary information and write the whole entire thing in a week.
This was because most of the work had already been done. CNET reported the following back in 2008:
“Months before the Oklahoma City bombing took place, [then-Senator Joe] Biden introduced another bill called the Omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995. It previewed the 2001 Patriot Act by allowing secret evidence to be used in prosecutions, expanding the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and wiretap laws, creating a new federal crime of ‘terrorism’ that could be invoked based on political beliefs, permitting the U.S. military to be used in civilian law enforcement, and allowing permanent detention of non-U.S. citizens without judicial review. The Center for National Security Studies said the bill would erode ‘constitutional and statutory due process protections’ and would ‘authorize the Justice Department to pick and choose crimes to investigate and prosecute based on political beliefs and associations.’
Biden’s bill was never put to a vote, but after 9/11 then-Attorney General John Ashcroft reportedly credited his bill with the foundations of the USA PATRIOT Act.
“Civil libertarians were opposed to it,” Biden said in 2002 of his bill. “Right after 1994, and you can ask the attorney general this, because I got a call when he introduced the Patriot Act. He said, ‘Joe, I’m introducing the act basically as you wrote it in 1994.’”
The post 9/11 era is over. The single greatest national security threat right now is our internal division. The threat of domestic terrorism. The polarization that threatens our democracy. If we don’t reconnect our two Americas, the threats will not have to come from the outside. pic.twitter.com/ADgGcf7qEo
— Rep. Elissa Slotkin (@RepSlotkin) January 8, 2021
A recent Morning Joe appearance by CIA analyst-turned House Representative Elissa Slotkin eagerly informed us that the real battle against terrorism is now inside America’s borders.
“The post 9/11 era is over,” Slotkin tweeted while sharing a clip of her appearance. “The single greatest national security threat right now is our internal division. The threat of domestic terrorism. The polarization that threatens our democracy. If we don’t reconnect our two Americas, the threats will not have to come from the outside.”
“Before Congress, Elissa worked for the CIA and the Pentagon and helped destabilize the Middle East during the Bush and Obama admins,” tweeted journalist Whitney Webb in response. “What she says here is essentially an open announcement that the US has moved from the ‘War on [foreign] terror’ to the ‘War on domestic terror’.”
And it wasn’t just Trump. Accounts are vanishing quickly, including some popular Trump supporter accounts. I myself have lost hundreds of followers on Twitter in the last few hours, and I’ve seen people saying they lost a lot more.
It also wasn’t just Trump supporters; leftist accounts are getting suspended too. The online left is hopefully learning that cheering for Twitter “banning fascists” irrationally assumes that (A) their purges are only banning fascists and (B) they are limiting their bans to your personal definition of fascists. There is no basis whatsoever for either of these assumptions.
Wow! These people hold rallies protesting the unjust evictions of poor people during the Covid. We have been telling you. They will come for the Progressives as well. That is why we must protect our freedom of speech and our civil liberties. pic.twitter.com/IXVW86HjL6
— Craig Pasta Jardula (@yopasta) January 9, 2021
Google has ratcheted things up even further by removing Parler from its app store, and Apple will likely soon follow. This push to marginalize even the already fringey social media sites is making the libertarian/shitlib argument of “If you don’t like censorship just go to another platform” look pretty ridiculous.
This is all happening just in time for the Biden administration, about which critics had already been voicing grave concerns regarding the future of internet censorship.
The censorship of a political faction at the hands of a few liberal Silicon Valley billionaires will do the exact opposite of eliminating right-wing paranoia and conspiracy theories, and everyone knows it. You’re not trying to make things better, you’re trying to make them worse. You’re not trying to restore peace and order, you’re trying to force a confrontation so your political enemies can be crushed. You’re accelerationist.
A Venn diagram of people who support the latest social media purges and people who secretly hope Trumpers freak out and attempt a violent uprising would look like the Japanese flag.
"Domestic terrorists"; "coup"; "attacks on our democracy"; welcome to the latest iteration of the War on Terror.
The Boutique Left, in the blink of an eye, discards all talk of healthcare & stimulus checks to help lay the groundwork and usher in a new age of authoritarianism. pic.twitter.com/qwMwe8WtjZ
— Richard Medhurst (@richimedhurst) January 8, 2021
The correct response to a huge section of the citizenry doubting an electoral system we’ve known for years is garbage would have been more transparency, not shoving the process through and silencing people who voice doubts and making that entire faction more paranoid and crazy.
Supporting the censorship of online speech is to support the authority of monopolistic tech oligarchs to exert more and more global control over human communication. Regardless of your attitude toward whoever happens to be getting deplatformed today, supporting this is suicidal.
The first and most overpowering impression upon seeing a great state suddenly plunged into agony and disarray is sheer disbelief at “how the mighty have fallen”.
Elitist mind-moulder Edward Bernays’ generous concession to the common man, “People are entitled to the choices we give them,” was played out dramatically during America’s recent electoral season. The multitude gobbled up the meagre choices, and did so voraciously. The distinction between theatre and reality was plainly lost on most of them. They became impassioned actors in a self-destructive play minutely choreographed by forces unseen, for ends suspected by some but completely understood by none.
Students of the controlled demolitions of the USSR and Yugoslavia may also see the ultimate game plan “through a glass, darkly” (1 Cor. 13:12), much like everyone else, but they will at least enjoy a significant heads-up. The rumblings of impending disintegration that even in the initial stages were audible to keen minds back then, are again unmistakably perceptible today.
The first and most overpowering impression upon seeing a great state suddenly plunged into agony and disarray is sheer disbelief at “how the mighty have fallen” (see 2 Samuel 1:19 or 1:27, as the reader may prefer, for both are spot on). The magnitude of the disaster overwhelms both literally and metaphorically. In the latter sense it is particularly striking. A formerly dynamic and agile commonwealth, as in a fiendish practical joke, now in its doddering phase is being put in the charge of an embarrassing senile dotard whose decrepit condition exactly matches the demise of the once imposing entity that he is being installed to nominally govern.
But to shift from broad generalities to banal particulars, it is doubtful that after these outrages America will still be able to represent itself to the outside world as the lofty paragon of the Biblical “city on the hill.” Far more importantly, however, the internal consensus that has held it together as “one nation, under God” (to use another biblical allusion) is now irredeemably broken. The indoctrinated nation that over two centuries was meekly contented, in Bernays’ terms, to settle for the choices it was given, has now fully realized the systemic scandal of that cynical arrangement, and it no longer feels comfortable with it. Still not all, but certainly a good half, and then some. Their overwhelming electoral preference for the “losing” Presidential candidate, regardless of the ruinous economic and health situation of unparalleled severity, is a telling sign. Since, as all pundits know, Americans always “vote their pocketbook,” even if the incompetent incumbent’s opponent happens to be an impaired dotard, such electoral behaviour is a game changer that the Bernays-inspired ruling elite disregard at their peril. In the short-term, after January 20th, the complete gutting of the Second Amendment will undoubtedly be their emergency reflex response; but whether that will be sufficient to restore obedience remains to be seen.
But more fundamentally, beyond mere discontent, and in spite of the greatest coordinated news blackout ever seen, the unhappy masses, some intuitively and some empirically, through the still unrepressed alternative sources, have now grasped the shocking magnitude of the fraud played on them. One of the basic props of the engineered consent upon which public order and social stability have rested for decades, the naïve belief in the democratic essence of the system, was foolishly overturned on November 3rd, and it was done precisely by those who should have been the most interested in keeping it intact. The schism that shattered faith will engender is bound to have incalculable consequences.
But the sacrilegious mob incursion into the hallowed precincts of the Congress definitely was not one of those consequences, the carefully contrived appearances notwithstanding. It was a classical false flag operation, an American adaptation of the standard color revolution playbook that previously had been successfully applied elsewhere in numerous regime change situations. The incessantly battered and largely demoralized regime, headed by a political illiterate whose grasp and cunning do not go far beyond routine prevarications required for New York real estate deals, apparently was thoroughly infiltrated as well, exactly like its third world homologues. Violent Antifa shock troops, now the elite’s Brown Shirts, were bussed into Washington in white vans, under police escort. Capitol Hill guards facilitated the storming of the Congress by removing barricades and letting the mob through. Nor did the choreographers forget to make sure that there would also be the obligatory sacrificial victim. From an operational standpoint, Gene Sharp would have been pleased, though it is unlikely that in his day the domestic application of his technology had actually been envisaged.
The expectation of millions of Americans of all political persuasions and from all walks of life that after repeated court challenges, rejected on flimsy procedural grounds, on January 6th Congress would at last exercise its constitutional authority to order a thorough review of the disputed issues on their merits, came to nought. The officer of the government who had the legal authority to act, Vice President Mike Pence, pointedly failed to do so. Pence practically mirrored the behaviour in 1992 of Yugoslav Presidency member Bogić Bogićević. At a critical moment leading up to the break-up of Yugoslavia, Bogićević refused to vote for proposed solutions that might have defused the crisis, thus ensuring that the measures would not be adopted and laying the groundwork for the country’s ensuing collapse and bloodshed.
The curious fact that in the end establishment figures of both parties and from all major institutions of formal and informal governance were aligned on the same page, certifying a totally implausible electoral outcome, is perhaps the ultimate proof of attorney Lin Wood’s otherwise shocking explanation of how the system works.
Personalizing the issues underlying this crisis, as many outside the United States are wont to do, is mistaken. Both principals are strawmen devoid of substance. In his whimsical quest for the Presidency four years ago, engaged in as a rich man’s ego trip rather than with a serious intention of winning, probably accidentally the incumbent articulated the brooding masses’ deepest concerns and frustrations. They, in turn, projected their exasperation, bitterness, and illusions back onto him, turning him by default into their standard-bearer. The fact that after four years in office their symbolic champion has nothing to show, yet in the midst of economic collapse he was still able to garner about eighty million votes, is a huge sign. It is a sobering warning to the ruling elite that blatant electoral manipulation and ruthless information censorship may serve as Band-Aid solutions, but are losing their effectiveness.
You can pull the tiger’s tail only so much before it pounces.
By Eric S. MARGOLIS
‘Worse than a crime; a mistake’
The mob of yahoos and cretins that broke into the United States capitol this week was not a spontaneous act of violence. Quite the contrary, it was a carefully planned criminal uprising designed to terrorize congress and prevent the election of president-elect Joe Biden.
It was clear orders had been given to the local security forces to largely disarm but accommodate the rioters, and allow them into the capitol buildings. By whom? Clearly by President Trump or his minions. There will probably be no written record. Trump, who grew up rubbing shoulders with gangsters and union thugs, certainly had learned the lesson taught by the late criminal lawyer Roy Cohen to always skirt the law and never leave a clear trail.
It’s also very likely that Trump tried to organize a military coup against his own government, what Latin Americans call an ‘autogolpe.’ That’s why ten former US defense secretaries, including the far-right Dick Cheney, felt compelled to issue a joint letter warning Trump not to involve the military in domestic politics. Draft-dodger Trump fancies himself a potential military genius. His effort at Bonapartism quickly failed.
A mob of low-IQ thugs waving Confederate flags was not enough to take over the US government. For this, military or paramilitary forces would have been needed to seize the Pentagon and major military bases, the major media, airports, telecommunications, the Treasury, and police HQ.
And yet there had been open talk for weeks of some sort of coup attempt by Trump supporters. Americans were so absorbed by the game of politics that they almost ignored the looming threat of a coup attempt by denizens of the far right, driven to a frenzy by Trump’s crass falsehoods about the election being stolen.
It’s interesting to compare Trump’s coup attempt with events in the Soviet Union in 1991. A cabal of die-hard communists, including Defense Minister Marshal Yazov, sought to overthrow the reformist government of Mikhail Gorbachev. They mounted a poorly-organized coup to seize state organs in Moscow and isolated Gorbachev at his retreat in Crimea.
The two Soviet mechanized divisions tasked with seizing Moscow went to the city center, then remained inactive due to lack of orders. Marshal Shaposhnikov refused to order his transport aircraft to bring more troops to Moscow to aid the coup. Special KGB ‘Alpha’ units refused to fire on insurgent leader Boris Yeltsin. In all, the highly patriotic Red Army refused to engage in the coup.
The coup failed and its leaders, most of them drunk on vodka, were rounded up and arrested. But this event, and the anti-Yeltsin coup two year later, marked the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union.
The coup leaders were initially jailed, then released. Stalin would have had them shot. The Soviet Union and its successor, Russia, never recovered.
Trump’s encouragement, and then refusal, to halt the storming of the capitol, will likely mark the end of his political career. He could be censored, or even jailed for his act of insurrection. His plans to run again for president in four years look highly unlikely to succeeded after his act of political arson. His supporters, who are large in numbers, should be deterred from advocating violence, Christian political extremism, extreme Zionism and environmental backwardness. The Republican Party needs a huge enema.
Americans deserve to be deeply embarrassed by this week’s events. Scenes of rioters inside the capitol waving Confederate flags conjure fears of a second American civil war: many of the states that voted for Trump were also part of the old civil war Confederacy.
As a New Yorker and life-long Eisenhower Republican, I was horrified by events in Washington. Trump was flying B-52 bombers over Iran while hooligans were trashing the capitol.
Under the Keynesian takeover of Bretton Woods Trans-Atlantic nations became increasingly dominated by bloated bureaucratic systems while plans for genuine development were undermined, Matthew Ehret writes.
It is as if the battle lines of civil war have been drawn up between masses of Americans who have been led to believe in either a false “bottom up” approach to economics, as defined by the Austrian School represented by Friedrich von Hayek, or in the “top-down” approach of John Maynard Keynes. The former sacrifices the general welfare of the whole nation for the sake of the parts (i.e. individual liberties), while the latter sacrifices the individual liberties of each citizen for the sake of the general welfare (or at least some oligarch’s definition of what that should be).
In my last article, I introduced, in broad strokes, a history of the American System of political economy as advanced by Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Henry Clay, Henry Carey, Lincoln, and McKinley. We reviewed how it was derailed by McKinley’s 1901 murder and was only revived 30 years later with Franklin Roosevelt’s 1932 presidential victory which put a stop to the 1933 Bankers Dictatorship.
Finally, we briefly explored how and why both John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich von Hayek whose ideas so deeply influence the polarization of the USA today, not only despised FDR but hated everything the republic stood for.
In this second installment of a three-part series, we will shed light on the anti-human ideas and the political operations that shaped the mind, the life and the politics of Lord John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946).
Keynes the Fabian Eugenicist
Although Keynes is heralded as the guiding light of the New Deal (and, as such defended by modern “Green New Dealers” and Great Reset technocrats wishing to impose a top-down system of governance onto the world), the fact is that Keynes not only detested Franklin Roosevelt, but also humanity more in general.
This will be seen clearly in 1) his devotion to the theories of Thomas Malthus, 2) his promotion of eugenics as a science of racial purification and population control, and 3) his general devotion to World Government as a leading member of the Fabian Society.
From his earliest days at Cambridge where he rose quickly to become one of the select Cambridge Apostles and shared, among other things, a lifelong friendship with Lord Bertrand Russell, Keynes devoted himself to the service of empire, becoming Knight of the Order of Bath and Order of Leopold by 1919.
His early 1911 book on Indian Currency and Finance (conducted during his five-year foray in the Empire’s Indian Office) ignored all actual political reasons for the famines plaguing India and argued coldly for a greater integration of the Indian banking system into the City of London controls which would somehow solve India’s problems. The provable reality was that Indian famines were coordinated tools of population control by the Malthusian elite of the British establishment who considered “war, famine and disease” as the gifts nature gave the strong to manage the weak.
While his later 1919 Consequences of the Peace appeared to be a reasonably sympathetic warning that the draconian Versailles reparations would do incredible damage and lead to a new world war, in reality, Keynes was displaying a cold sleight of hand. Serving as British Treasury representative to the Versailles Conference, Keynes never opposed fascism: he merely argued that a more liberal pathway to global fascism could be established under the direction of the Bank of England. His opposition, though, to the more violent approach preferred by conservative imperialists among the British Intelligentsia, was one of form more than substance.
Keynes and his fellow Fabians H.G. Wells, Bertrand Russell and G.B Shaw preferred the “slow and steady” “long game”, reminiscent of the Roman general Quintus Fabius Maximus who famously fought his enemies by slow attrition rather than in full-scale confrontation. Due to the public’s general ignorance of this strategy, we celebrate these Fabian Society luminaries for their pacifism, though in reality they were just as racist, fascist and eugenics-loving as their more short-sighted, hard-stomached counterparts sir Oswald Mosley, Lord Alfred Milner and even Winston Churchill.
Where the real solution to the hyperinflationary money printing and economic industrial shutdown of Germany during the post WWI years was to be found in the German-Russian Rapallo Agreement (destroyed with the assassination of American System Foreign Minister Walter Rathenau), Keynes and his ilk merely called for economic integration of the German banking and military system under Bank of England/League of Nations control.
Malthus, Eugenics and Keynes
Two theories advanced by the British Empire in response to the growth of the American System, first in the USA, and later internationally, were those of Thomas Malthus, and of Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin who coined the term “eugenics” in 1883. These sister concepts served as nothing less than religious precepts for the ruling elite as it desperately reorganized itself in the late 19th century.
It must be kept firmly in mind that at this period the British Empire was weak, and incapable of stopping the electric spread of win-win cooperation as the American System was sped around the world bringing progress and full-spectrum economics in its wake. One of the leading voices of the American System in 1890 was Colorado’s first Governor William Gilpin whose The Cosmopolitan Railway laid out a practical vision for a world united by rail, development, and national banking [see map].
Nevertheless, the Empire was determined to put an end to the spread of the American System.
A new breed of think tanks was created to shape the Empire’s grand strategy in the face of this growth of independent sovereign nations: these were T.H. Huxley’s X Club (c.1865), the Fabian Society (c.1884), and the Roundtable Group (c.1902). Where Huxley’s X Club coordinated with Cambridge, and the Roundtable Group/Rhodes Trust interfaced with Oxford, the Fabian Society created a new school called the London School of Economics. All three worked together as one unit.
Defining his misanthropic belief in overpopulation, Thomas Malthus (a British East India Company economist) stated in his famous 1799 Essay on Population:
“The power of population is so superior to the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man, that premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race.”
How could this crisis be avoided? Malthus answers it like only a devout imperialist could:
“We should facilitate, instead of foolishly and vainly endeavoring to impede, the operations of nature in producing this mortality; and if we dread the too frequent visitation of the horrid form of famine, we should sedulously encourage the other forms of destruction, which we compel nature to use. In our towns we should make the streets narrower, crowd more people into the houses, and court the return of the plague.”
Darwin himself admitted in his autobiography that his theory of evolution arose only after his 1838 reading of Malthus’ Essay on Population in which he “at last got a theory by which to work”.
So, Darwinism is really an extension of Malthus’s Hobbesian social theories onto all of living nature: a mere struggle for survival in a universe of entropy and diminishing returns. After a Malthusian version of biology was created, Darwin’s theories were in turn re-applied to human society as imperial tools for population control under the form of Galton’s Eugenics thus giving the same old evil practices of empire, war and slavery a “scientific validation”.
Although some apologists considered Keynes an anti-Malthusian- due to his theory that overpopulation might be overcome by encouraging spending rather than savings, which would, in turn, somehow create markets and thence new factories and more growth, the reality was the opposite. Keynes not only spoke gushingly of Malthus throughout his life as one of the greatest minds of all time, but even plagiarized many of Malthus’ own theories, for instance that of “demand deficiency causing unemployment and recession” outlined in his 1930 Treatise on Money. In his 1933 Essay on Malthus, Keynes wrote:
“Let us think of Malthus today as the first of the Cambridge economists—as, above all, a great pioneer of the application of a frame of formal thinking to the complex confusion of the world of daily events. Malthus approached the central problems of economic theory by the best of all routes.”
In his May 2, 1914 lecture Population, Keynes argued that government should “mould law and custom deliberately to bring about that density of population which there ought to be” and that “there would be more happiness in the world if the population of it were to be diminished.”
Saying that “India, Egypt and China are gravely overpopulated”, Keynes advocated using violence to defend the “superior white races” in this struggle of survival with the pacifist saying: “Almost any measures seem to me to be justified in order to protect our standard of life from injury at the hands of more prolific races. Some definite parceling out of the world may well become necessary; and I suppose that this may not improbably provoke racial wars. At any rate such wars will be about a substantial issue.”
As Acting chair of the Neo-Malthusian League, Keynes stated in 1927: “We of this society are neo-Malthusians… I believe that for the future the problem of population will emerge in the much greater problem of Hereditary and Eugenics. Quality must become the preoccupation.”
By 1946, Keynes, still a member of the British Eugenics Society (after serving as Vice President from 1936-1944) wrote in The Eugenics Review: “Galton’s eccentric, sceptical, observing, flashing, cavalry-leader type of mind led him eventually to become the founder of the most important, significant and, I would add, genuine branch of sociology which exists, namely eugenics.”
This was not ivory tower theorizing, but concepts with very real-world significance.
By 1937, Keynes’ General Theory of Employment was published in Nazi Germany. If anyone wishes to defend the idea that the economist was somehow an anti-fascist defender of “liberal values”, let them read his own words in the preface and then either redefine “liberal values” or their naïve idea of Keynes:
“I may perhaps expect to find less resistance among German readers than among English ones, when I put before them a theory of employment and production as a whole… The theory of production as a whole which is the object of this book, can be much better adapted to the conditions of a totalitarian state, than the theory of production and distribution of wealth under circumstances of free competition.”
Hitler himself was not only a devout eugenicist (whose racial purification policies emerged through the funding of the Rockefeller, Carnegie Foundations as well as British establishment), but was also a devout Malthusian saying:
“The day will certainly come when the whole of mankind will be forced to check the augmentation of the human species, because there will be no further possibility of adjusting the productivity of the soil to the perpetual increase in the population.”
Keynes was by this time extremely frustrated that the intention-driven system of political economy defining the New Deal under the helm of FDR’s leadership was not absorbing his trojan horse theories on employment, demand, and inflation. However, by the end of the war, many Council on Foreign Relation (CFR)-affiliated operatives pushing Keynesianism were making successful inroads into all branches of U.S. bureaucracy and penetrated the highest levels of the state department and treasury. At one point in 1943, Franklin Roosevelt commented on his understanding of this British Deep State operation when he told his son Elliot:
“You know, any number of times the men in the State Department have tried to conceal messages to me, delay them, hold them up somehow, just because some of those career diplomats over there aren’t in accord with what they know I think. They should be working for Winston. As a matter of fact, a lot of the time, they are [working for Churchill]. Stop to think of ’em: any number of ’em are convinced that the way for America to conduct its foreign policy is to find out what the British are doing and then copy that!” I was told… six years ago, to clean out that State Department. It’s like the British Foreign Office….”
The Battle for Bretton Woods
During the Bretton Woods conference (July 1-20, 1944), the two opposing paradigms, on the one hand the American System of anti-colonialism, and on the other hand the. British System of zero sum Malthusianism, went to war.
This war took the form of the battles waged by FDR’s trusted collaborator Henry Dexter White against John Maynard Keynes at Bretton Woods, where 730 delegates representing 44 nations gathered to settle the terms of the post-war order.
Although this conference is famously associated with the creation of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), it is falsely assumed to be a Keynesian creation. Keynes’ role as representative of the British Empire, much like his earlier role at Versailles in 1919, was defined by the intention at all costs to shape the conditions of a post-nation state world order on behalf of the City of London. Like Bertrand Russell and other Cambridge Apostles before and since, Keynes was trained in the sophistical deployment of statistics and mathematical logic to cover for the imperial rape of target nations.
Where Dexter White and Franklin Roosevelt demanded a U.S. dollar-backed post-war system of fixed exchange rates (to block speculation on commodities as a tool of economic war), theirs was not an idea premised on imperialism which FDR’s recorded battles with Churchill attest. Unlike the hard vs soft imperialism of Churchill and Keynes, FDR and his allies rather looked to a post-war system defined by U.S.-China-Russia friendship, and the internationalization of the New Deal applying a win-win approach to foreign policy.
At Bretton Woods, Dexter White and Henry Morganthau reached agreements to provide vast technology transfers to help South America industrialize. At the same time, large-scale programs modelled on the New Deal were presented by delegations from India, Eastern Europe, and China. It is noteworthy that the Chinese delegation introduced infrastructure plans first laid out by Sun Yat-sen in his 1920 International Development of China which both Mao, and Zhou Enlai endorsed alongside the Kuomintang’s Chiang Kai-Shek! Had these plans not been sabotaged, it is amazing to consider what sort of progress might have opened up for the Chinese 70 years before anyone heard of the “Belt and Road Initiative”.
At this early stage, Russia was still happy to be a founding member of the IMF and World Bank which were designed to act as cheap lending mechanisms for long-term, low-interest, high-tech global development.
Commenting on support for FDR’s post-war system of mutual interest, Stalin stated: “Can we count on the activities of this international organization being sufficiently effective? They will be effective if the Great Powers who have borne the brunt of the burden of the war against Hitler’s Germany continue to act in a spirit of unanimity and harmony. They will not be effective if this essential condition is violated”.
In opposition to this anti-imperial win-win system defended by Dexter White, and FDR, Keynes demanded a bankers’ dictatorship with a new supranational currency controlled by the Bank of England called the Bancor, as well as an international clearing house. The Bancor was later revived in a modified form when Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) were established, bringing the world closer to the sort of green synthetic hegemonic currency now promoted by the likes of Mark Carney, Klaus Schwab and George Soros under the veil of a Great Reset and Central Bankers Climate Compact.
Similarly to the League of Nations’ earlier design for World Government, Keynes’ arguments entailed the virtual castration of nation states, preventing their involvement in their own economic planning. These arguments also demanded that the USA fully recognize the legitimacy of the British Empire in the post war age (something which Dexter White and Morgenthau refused to do). In Keynes’ view, nation states should relinquish their sovereign financial controls to Malthusian technocrats managing the levers of production and consumption through a system of globally interconnected central banks.
Keynes’ model of governance would ensure that the sorts of INTENTION-driven large-scale projects that could finally end colonialism would not see the light of day.
The Keynesian World That Emerged Over FDR’s Dead Body
Under the Keynesian takeover of Bretton Woods that emerged during the Anglo-American special relationship created by Truman and Churchill, Trans Atlantic nations became increasingly dominated by bloated bureaucratic systems while plans for genuine development were undermined. With Roosevelt dead by 1945, Harry Hopkins dead by 1946, Dexter White dead by 1948, and Henry Wallace’s presidential efforts sabotaged by 1948, the last serious resistance to Britain’s reconquest of the USA had been put down.
After the war, eugenics-promoting organizations and think tanks changed their names while continuing their work, morphing into new forms by the 1960s such as the environmental movement, transhumanist movement, while not even the pharmaceutical/healthcare sector was left untouched.
In the next chapter we will close up this short series by reviewing the figure of Friedrich von Hayek and the Austrian School of Economics which emerged with the collapse of the Keynesian Bretton Woods in 1971 and the rise of the “Conservative Revolution”.
The author can be reached at email@example.com
By Llewellyn H. ROCKWELL
According to a left-wing propaganda narrative that you can read in the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, and similar outlets, the violence in Congress that occurred in the afternoon of January 6 was the culmination of a long series of outrages by President Donald Trump. When he lost the November election to Joe Biden, he could not accept his loss. He kept making baseless claims that he had won the election and accused Biden supporters of using fake ballots and rigged voting machines to inflate the totals for Biden. He kept filing lawsuits to get parts of the verdict overturned, but the courts rejected all his claims. He thought he still had a chance on January 6, when the electoral votes are counted in Congress. He wanted Vice President Mike Pence to violate the Constitution. Although Pence has the purely ceremonial role of presiding over the joint session, he wanted Pence to toss out slates of electors who opposed him, or at least send them back to the states for recertification. Pence refused to violate the Constitution. When Trump found out about it, he was so angry that he incited part of a rally supporting him to storm Congress and shut down the session. Because of him, several people were killed. He is a sore loser who should be removed from office immediately and sent to prison for sedition as well.
Every word of this narrative is false. Let’s take one item out of chronological order, because it has gotten so much attention. It’s alleged that Trump became enraged at Pence because Pence wouldn’t violate the Constitution. In fact, there is a good case that what Trump was asking Pence to do was perfectly legitimate. As John Yoo and Robert Delahunty pointed out in an article in the American Mind last October 19,
We suggest that the Vice President’s role is not the merely ministerial one of opening the ballots and then handing them over (to whom?) to be counted. Though the 12th Amendment describes the counting in the passive voice, the language seems to envisage a single, continuous process in which the Vice President both opens and counts the votes.
The check on error or fraud in the count is that the Vice President’s activities are to be done publicly, “in the presence” of Congress. And if “counting” the electors’ votes is the Vice President’s responsibility, then the inextricably intertwined responsibility for judging the validity of those votes must also be his.
If that reading is correct, then the Electoral Count Act is unconstitutional. Congress cannot use legislation to dictate how any individual branch of government is to perform its unique duties: Congress could not prescribe how future Senates should conduct an impeachment trial, for example. Similarly, we think the better reading is that Vice President Pence would decide between competing slates of electors chosen by state legislators and governors, or decide whether to count votes that remain in litigation.
Yoo is a controversial person, but there’s no doubt he is a constitutional law scholar in good standing.
Well, you might say, what right did Trump have to blow up on Pence just because Pence disagreed with his understanding of the Constitution? The answer to that is simple. Pence had assured Trump that he accepted his claim that there were irregularities in the voting. He said at a rally in Georgia on January 4, just two days before the count,
that the case for widespread election fraud would be made to the American people when Congress meets this week to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over President Trump.
“We’ve all got our doubts about the last election. I share the concerns of millions of Americans about voting irregularities,” Pence said at an indoor congregation at Rock Springs Church in Milner, Ga., in support of Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in runoff elections there.
Pence, who by law will be tasked with declaring a winner of the Electoral College vote, seemed to leave open the possibility that Trump could still remain in power for a second term.
“Come this Wednesday,” he said, referring to the impending certification of election results, “we’ll have our day in Congress. We’ll hear the evidence.”
The election was in fact stolen from him. It’s easy to hack voting machines, such as those made by Dominion, to change vote totals. When I say this, I’m not relying on a source the Left will dismiss as fantasies from conspiracy-theory nuts. According to a story published by NBC News last year,
It was an assurance designed to bolster public confidence in the way America votes: Voting machines “are not connected to the internet.”
Then Acting Undersecretary for Cybersecurity and Communications at the Department of Homeland Security Jeanette Manfra said those words in 2017, testifying before Congress while she was responsible for the security of the nation’s voting system.
So many government officials like Manfra have said the same thing over the last few years that it is commonly accepted as gospel by most Americans. Behind it is the notion that if voting systems are not online, hackers will have a harder time compromising them.
But that is an overstatement, according to a team of 10 independent cybersecurity experts who specialize in voting systems and elections. While the voting machines themselves are not designed to be online, the larger voting systems in many states end up there, putting the voting process at risk.
That team of election security experts say[s] that last summer, they discovered some systems are, in fact, online.
“We found over 35 [voting systems] had been left online and we’re still continuing to find more,” Kevin Skoglund, a senior technical advisor at the election security advocacy group National Election Defense Coalition, told NBC News.
“We kept hearing from election officials that voting machines were never on the internet,” he said. “And we knew that wasn’t true. And so we set out to try and find the voting machines to see if we could find them on the internet, and especially the back-end systems that voting machines in the precinct were connecting to to report their results.” …
The three largest voting manufacturing companies—Election Systems &Software, Dominion Voting Systems and Hart InterCivic—have acknowledged they all put modems in some of their tabulators and scanners. The reason? So that unofficial election results can more quickly be relayed to the public. Those modems connect to cell phone networks, which, in turn, are connected to the internet.
Trump has every right to be suspicious. Shouldn’t there be a full and impartial investigation by recognized experts of whether fraud occurred? If the Biden camp thinks the election was fair and honest, shouldn’t they have welcomed a full investigation? But of course they didn’t. And this type of fraud is just one of many others, such as truckloads of Biden ballots arriving after it looked like Trump was winning, in just the right numbers to give Biden the victory.
When we look at Trump’s complaints, we need to bear one vital fact in mind. As Mike Davis noted in New Left Review, November–December 2020, p. 5, “Biden eked out a slim victory, in some states only by microscopic margins, that won him 306 electoral votes, the same as Trump four years ago. A mere 256,000 vote in five key states purchased 73 of those votes.” This is why Trump is right: because just a few votes could change the outcome, and because there was a lot of apparent fraud, a full investigation was needed.
But, some people might say, this doesn’t excuse Trump. Didn’t he incite people at a rally to invade the sacred halls of Congress? Well, in the first place, the halls of Congress aren’t “sacred”. They belong to the people. And Trump didn’t incite violence. Not at all. He wanted a peaceful protest, and this is what he got, aside from a few antifa activists who crashed the protest. They had been bused into Washington earlier.
According to in the American Thinker published on January 7, January 6th’s events are being seized on as a game-changer, leading to calls to invoke the 25th Amendment; calls to impeach and remove President Trump; and efforts to discredit Trump, his supporters, and conservatism. It has distracted attention from issues around the legitimacy of voting procedures in several key states and guaranteed the Electoral College vote just before 4 A.M. that ratified Joe Biden’s and Kamala Harris’s inauguration as president and vice president.
Applying the classic legal question ‘cui bono?’ (‘who benefits?’), it is clear that Democrats, anti-Trump establishment Republicans, the leftist media, and TDS-sufferers all are victorious.
Disturbing video available (for now) on Twitter shows Capitol Police allowing demonstrators to enter the Capitol grounds. . . Elsewhere at the Capitol, the police sent out to hold a perimeter were unable to hold off mobs.
Why was the United States Capitol left so vulnerable?
After the demonstrators were led in, a policeman killed a young woman at point-blank rage. The police and Secret Service ended the session of Congress, not the peaceful demonstrators. To give themselves cover, they imported a few Antifa agitators.
Why did they do this? I suggest they did this for a reason, which will become clear if we ask, What was going on just before the demonstration? The members of Congress were about to hear a debate on the objections raised against the votes in the swing states. The American people would have been able to hear the evidence for themselves. This had to be stopped. By stopping the session for about six hours, the debate was shifted to the very late evening hours of January 6 and early morning hours of January 7, when very few people were watching. Besides, all the attention was now on the protest rather than the fraudulent voting.
What can be done now? President Trump should not urge us all to “come together.” Instead, he should support secession. States and communities that support Trump are too far apart from supporters of the Biden-Harris BLM camorra to live in a united country. “Bear not the yoke with unbelievers. For what participation hath justice with injustice? Or what fellowship hath light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14 [Douay-Rheims Bible])
Macron’s claim in a new year broadcast that Brexit was a product of “lies and false promises” has got to be the biggest lie yet itself.
Was it a joke? Does French President Emmanuel Macron need to do irony to show the world that the French have a sense of humour? Macron’s claim in a new year broadcast that Brexit was a product of “lies and false promises” has got to be the biggest lie yet itself, from a leader so desperate to cling on to power and clinch a second term in office that he had to resort to playing dirty over Brexit negotiations to save French fishermen’s jobs.
The lies from the French leader, in fact, stack up quite considerably, leaving many wondering whether he is tone deaf when it comes to such ludicrous political statements. Just look at the doomsday scenario which he was responsible for creating as a scare tactic to intimidate the British team of negotiators. Hundreds of British lorries stranded on the UK side due to measures by the French to block them due to a new strain of Covid – which just so happened to arrive at the eleventh hour of Brexit talks, literally hours before the shutters were to be pulled down and Britain would have adopted WTO rules from January 1st. If that stunt wasn’t enough to show the British people how desperate the French and the EU as a whole is, then we only need to look at another pack of lies to confirm our worst suspicions. The chaos and calamity of a post-Brexit relationship with the EU, apparently, was only a figment of imagination originally created by Macron and his EU cronies when the whole Brexit debate kicked off when President Macron took office in May 2017. Just as a “no deal” scenario, which in reality, we know now from Brussels insiders was never a real option for the French negotiator Michel Barnier.
Was there an exodus of international companies which fled to EU capitals from the UK, as was reported? The thousands of “stranded” British citizens in Europe? Even with a trade deal done, where are the tale backs of British lorries on either side of the channel, coping with new regulations? Where is the run on the British pound? The eclectic range of lies was pretty amazing, none of which have even faintly rung true.
But the real lies are on Macron’s side as he is the herald of disinformation and empty threats by an EU he pretends to love, which, in reality, will give him a top job when his second term expires. The lie of EU unity and the farcical sanctity of the democratic process was evident when France took the decision alone in December to block UK lorries for several days entering French ports – similarly to the validity of the Schengen Agreement which most countries abandoned earlier in the year when Covid broke out.
But there is a bigger lie which Macron and others keep alive, which is of course the one which was presented to many new EU member states who joined the bloc in 2004, who were told that their membership was crucial in rebalancing the bloc away from the so-called ‘Franco-German’ axis. In reality, France and Germany grew even stronger and, barely days after Britain left the bloc, we are seeing smaller EU member states complain about German bullying over rushing through a new EU-China trade deal. The fact that Macron was allowed to get away with threatening to scupper a trade deal with Britain at the eleventh hour over a fishing dispute is plain to see how Macron is capable of holding Brussels hostage for his own political gain. To talk about Brexit lies is preposterous when a big part of why Britain left the EU was really about lies and trickery which Brussels punted to the UK public for decades, which, under scrutiny didn’t stand up. The baloney about the strength of the single market and how much power it yields those who are members, as just one example, blown to pieces by a Brexit deal which Boris Johnson negotiated which gave the UK tariff free access to it.
The real lie though, from Macron, is in fact the one to the French people. They should be taking stock of how he behaved during the Brexit process and how low he stooped to protect his own neck. The lie which he upholds every day is how invaluable EU membership is to the French, when it is EU regulations which are strangling French companies unable to compete with non-EU firms who enjoy unfettered access to France, supposedly respecting EU directives in the manufacturing process. France, a once powerful colonial power and a founding member of the EU has practically become a financial disaster zone and Macron knows only too well that when the UK economy grows post corona at a rate which some economists have predicted could be as high as 8 percent, that he will have to carry on inventing more lies to explain to French people why they can’t heat their own homes or put fuel in their tiny French hatchbacks.
The lies and false promises that Macron talks about surely must be about what he has been telling his own people about the British demise. The EU believes that it has an escape plan for itself to save face in front of a number of sceptical countries which might follow the UK – The Netherlands and Denmark certainly – but in reality this is also just another pack of lies dressed up to fool a gullible public who don’t realise that most of what comes from Brussels via the media is a diatribe of manufactured consent from French hacks in the Belgian capital doing their duty and helping the EU press machine with its fake news agenda. “Lies and false promises” of Brexit? Is Macron having a laugh?
When will the American people realise that the biggest threat to American freedom is not from without but from within its very own walls, where it has been prominently residing for the last 112 years…
Nothing to Excess,
Surety Brings Ruin”
– inscribed at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi
Many are aware of the Apollo at Delphi inscription and associate it as words of wisdom, after all, the Temple at Delphi was at the center of global intelligence. Kings, emperors, statesmen, generals from all quarters of the ancient world would travel to the Temple with a very generous payment in gold in hopes that the wisdom of the great god Apollo would be bestowed on them and give strength and power to their particular cause.
One of the most famous prophecies made by the Cult of Delphi, according to the ancient historian Herodotus, was to King Croesus of Lydia. King Croesus was a very rich king and the last bastion of the Ionian cities against the increasing Persian power in Anatolia. King Croesus wished to know whether he should continue his military campaign deeper into Persian Empire territory and whether he should seek a military alliance in such a feat.
According to Herodotus, the amount of gold King Croesus delivered was the greatest ever bestowed upon the Temple of Apollo. In return the priestess of Delphi, otherwise known as the Oracle, (some poor young girl selected once a year with the “right attributes”) would spout nonsensical babble, intoxicated by the gas vapours of the chasm she was conveniently placed over. The priests would then “translate” the Oracle’s prophecy.
King Croesus was told as his prophecy-riddle, “If Croesus goes to war he will destroy a great empire.” Croesus was also told to ally himself with the most powerful Greek state, and he chose Sparta. Croesus was overjoyed and thought his victory solid and immediately began working towards building his military campaign against Persia. Long story short, Croesus lost everything and Lydia was taken over by the Persians. The Spartans never showed up.
It turns out the prophecy-riddle was not wrong, but that Croesus mistook which great empire would fall.
There is likely a great deal of truth in this story. And the words inscribed at the Temple of Apollo “Know Thyself, Nothing to Excess, Surety Brings Ruin” becomes more a foreboding to anyone who dares enter such a Temple in search of wisdom and power; those who are “worthy” of the god Apollo will have the wisdom to solve the riddle of their prophecy and will prevail, those unworthy of Apollo’s “good graces” will fail and be ruined.
It’s a nice story, but it is in fact, a brilliant cover for a global intelligence racket.
The Cult of Delphi was indeed the nerve center of military and political intelligence that had no “allegiance” to any state or empire, but rather was able to use intel that they collected with their network of spies, along with intel they were given by those foolish enough to layout their plans (and their gold) to them. The priests of Delphi would then decide thereupon what information needed to be shared with what target to fit their purpose, a “prophecy” that they shaped, like moving pawns on a chessboard.
The question for those who dared visit the Cult of Delphi was thus not so much about having enough wisdom to solve the veiled prophecy, but rather, ‘What kind of pawn are you to the priests of Apollo?’
The Morals and Dogma of the Scottish Rite
Those who seek wisdom and power have tended to also have an interest in the realm of “secret knowledge.” After all, who wouldn’t want a fast track toward their desires? Who wouldn’t want to believe that their destiny is to be rich, privileged and powerful? Who wouldn’t want to believe that they were chosen out of a few to hold special qualities (one could say supernatural) that make them superior to the majority?
The Scottish Rite was formally organized in the U.S. in 1801, as a group of Tory partisans on the losing side of the American Revolution. One of the principal men involved from the very beginning was a British general by the name of Augustine Prevost. Prevost had conquered Charleston, South Carolina, and set up a secret police apparatus there which became the Scottish Rite headquarters, after the British Army left. (1)
The Scottish Rite would come to rule over American Freemasonry during the nineteenth century and Albert Pike is recognised as the source of this success.
In 1859, Pike was elected “Sovereign Grand Commander” of the Scottish Rite’s Southern Jurisdiction. In 1871, “Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry” (the anti-bible of the Rite) was first published by its author Albert Pike, former General of the Confederate Armies during the Civil War.
Why am I bringing this all up when the focus of this paper is on the origins of America’s secret police?
Because the man credited for building the FBI into the massive domestic intelligence apparatus that it is today was J. Edgar Hoover, who happened to be a 33rd degree mason of the Scottish Rite, which he was “coroneted” in 1955 after 35 years of membership.
Why is this relevant for the purpose of this paper? If one is to understand what constitutes the “Morals and Dogma” of such a membership, to which Hoover entered the inner most circle, it will become clear that not only does the Rite act as an opposing church to Christianity, but that pledging one’s allegiance to this secret society is understood as coming before all else in this material world, including government and country.
For this reason I think it apt to share a few quotes…
Writing about top-down organization, Pike wrote the following in his book Morals and Dogma:
“The Blue [or lower] Degrees are but the outer court … of the Temple. Part of the symbols are displayed there to the Initiate, but he is intentionally misled by false interpretations. It is not intended that he shall understand them, but it is intended that he shall imagine he understands them. Their true explication is reserved for the Adepts, the Princes of Masonry. . . .” [emphasis added]
These are the very same techniques used by the Cult of Delphi with the understanding that the “true explication” of the “symbols” will only be understood by those supposedly worthy of them, i.e. “the Adepts, the Princes of Masonry.”
How does one know if one is a Prince of Masonry? Those who are foolish enough to have complete faith in the magic of the occult will give an honest attempt to understand such symbols, however, the truth of the matter is those who are chosen for their “understanding” and thus moved closer to the inner “sanctum”, are merely chosen for their usefulness as an instrument for “a higher will.” While this person might be a pawn who plays the determining role in a checkmate, they remain, nevertheless, just a pawn.
Pike would also write in his Morals and Dogma:
“Men are but the automata of Providence, and [Providenae] uses the demagogue, the fanatic, and the knave . .. as its tools and instruments to effect that of which they do not dream, and which they imagine themselves commissioned to prevent …”
Here it becomes clear that the majority of mankind are considered by the Rite as instruments of Providence, and that to do the will of such Providence justifies that the Rite treat mankind as such. I will address shortly what sort of providence they are speaking of.
Pike goes on to explain the Rite’s main guide to the universe, as:
‘‘Magic is the science of the ancient magi.. Magic unites in one and the same science, whatsoever Philosophy can possess that is most certain, and Religion of the Infallible and the Eternal. It perfectly … reconciles these two terms… faith and reason … those who accept [magic] as a rule may give their will a sovereign power that will make them the masters of all inferior beings and of all errant spirits; that is to say, will make them the Arbiters and Kings of the World….”
Again, we see the concept that only a select few will be chosen to be able to decipher and use magic, and that thereby justifies their dominion “that will make them masters of all inferior beings…[and] make them the Arbiters and Kings of the World.”
Pike wrote the above quote to instruct “Sublime Princes of the Royal Secret”- gentlemen of the 32nd Degree.
At this point, it is clear that to truly hold this view of oneself, humankind and the “laws of the universe” means that one is in direct conflict with the idea of democracy towards a “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”
Lastly, I will share a quote from 1889 while Pike was in France, expressing his views of God and what is to be considered “the Good”:
“The Masonic religion should be, by all of us initiates of the high degrees, maintained in the purity of the Luciferian Doctrine. If Lucifer were not God, would Adonay (the God of the Christians) whose deeds prove his cruelty, perfidy and hatred of man, barbarism and repulsion to science, would Adonay and his priests calumniate him?
`Yes, Lucifer is God, and unfortunately Adonay is also God. For the eternal law is that there is no light without shade, no beauty without ugliness, no white without black, for the absolute can only exist as two Gods…the true and pure philosophical religion is the belief in Lucifer, the equal of Adonay; but Lucifer, God of Light and God of Good, is struggling for humanity against Adonay, the God of Darkness and Evil.”
This quote, as per historian Anton Chaitkin, is available in French and English in the Albert Pike vertical file at the library of the Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction at 1733 16th St. NW, Washington D.C.
In later years, the body of Albert Pike would be interred inside the Washington DC Temple’s walls. A few feet away, they built a complete replication of the office and desk of their second most honored member, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.
It should also be known that much of the FBI is implicated in the Scottish Rite. For instance, there are certain Washington lodges which have a disproportionately high number of FBI agents in them such as the Alexandria Lodge.
[For more information on this refer to historian Anton Chaitkin’s “Treason in America”.]
The Seat of Government
On Dec. 17, 1906, Teddy Roosevelt promoted his Navy Secretary, Charles J. Bonaparte, to become Attorney General. Bonaparte lost no time and told Congress that the Department of Justice must be given “a force of permanent police… under its control.”
On May 27, 1908, Congress reacted by prohibiting all Executive departments from using Secret Service agents as policemen, including the Justice Department. During this period only the Treasury Department had the authority to use Secret Service men.
To get around this block from Congress, on July 26, 1908, Attorney General Bonaparte, on Teddy Roosevelt’s instructions, ordered the creation of an investigative agency within the Department of Justice; which later became known as the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
It was the start of what would become an unelected oligarchy, in direct opposition to the rule of self-government.
In the midst of this, a 22-year-old J. Edgar Hoover was first recruited, the year was 1917. Just out of law school, he was put in charge of the Department of Justice’s War Emergency Division’s Enemy Alien Bureau, and was quickly immersed in the wildly lawless wartime counterinsurgency of the First Red Scare (1917-1920).
Anton Chaitkin writes of this period in his paper “Hoover’s FBI and Anglo-American Dictatorship”:
“Attorney General Palmer created a General Intelligence (or “Radical”) Division in the Bureau of Investigation, and appointed Hoover its head. Military Intelligence and Hoover’s agents working together as a single secret service now built up a network of civilian vigilante spies, informers and provocateurs.
These auxiliaries were then set loose in the “Palmer Raids,” a war on unions, radicals, civil rights advocates, teachers, and immigrants from November 1919 to January 1920. This initial descent into a police state was, however, deeply opposed by the American population, and sparked popular protests and outrage.”
In 1922, Walter Lippmann put forth in his incredibly influential book “Public Opinion,” that a dictatorship was of the utmost necessity to correct the crisis America was now facing, and that it could no longer afford to delude itself with the idea of a Constitutional system. Lippmann argued that the general public was incapable of exercising reasoned judgment. He claimed the people could only think in “stereotypes” such that they are led to believe in “villains and conspiracies.”
Thus, to overcome such “ignorance,” Lippmann declared that the consensus must be generated not by the ill-educated people, but rather “engineered” by an elite class of “experts”, using “propaganda.” This elite class was in turn to guide the national government from within its every department, forming a permanent dictatorship, its governing members appointed, not elected, to serve for life. A “soft” dictatorship so to speak.
When the Great Depression hit (1929-1933), Hoover blamed the general lawlessness on inefficient, corrupt local politicians and police. What was the solution? More power to “the Bureau.”
Presidents Come and Go But One Thing Remains Constant
While campaigning for the Presidency, Franklin Roosevelt installed his close friend Thomas J. Walsh as the 1932 Democratic convention chairman.
Montana Senator Walsh “knew where the bodies were buried” so to speak.
The reason for this was that in 1921, Thomas J. Walsh had led the battle at the Senate hearings on the Justice Department’s illegal practices. During the hearings he confronted Palmer and his deputy Hoover with evidence that they had perpetrated “an orgy of terror, violence and crime against citizens and aliens….”
Walsh remained in the Senate as J. Edgar Hoover’s dedicated enemy.
Franklin Roosevelt won the election on November 8, 1932; he was to take office in March. On February 15, 1933, a low-level Italian Freemason named Giuseppe Zingara shot at President-elect Roosevelt. He missed and ended up killing the Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak instead.
On February 26, Franklin Roosevelt announced his appointment of Senator Thomas J. Walsh as U.S. Attorney General. On March 1, the New York Times reported Walsh’s pledge that “he would re-organize the Department of Justice when he assumes office, probably with an almost completely new personnel.” (3) It is said that Walsh had declared that one of his first acts would be to oust J. Edgar Hoover.
Walsh was found dead the next morning, while on a train to Washington, D.C. for Roosevelt’s March 4 inauguration and his own swearing-in.
Starting in July 1933, a group of American Legion officials paid by J.P. Morgan’s men asked Marine Corps General Smedley Butler to lead a coup d’état against President Roosevelt. When General Butler had gathered enough evidence he went to J. Edgar Hoover for action. Hoover refused to take any action stating that there was no evidence a federal criminal statute had been violated. General Butler had no choice but to broadcast the coup plot to the American people in order to subvert the fascist takeover.
Franklin Roosevelt was entirely aware that the growing power of the federal bureau was a terrible threat, and had rapidly become an abhorrent opposing force to the president’s authority. It is for that reason that Franklin Roosevelt made the decision to centralise U.S. intelligence under his own control, which was to be created and guided by Colonel Donovan under the newly created OSS.
It was no secret that Colonel Donovan and J. Edgar Hoover were entirely opposed to each other. In fact, Donovan was up there with Martin Luther King, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Robert Kennedy on Hoover’s most despised list.
Franklin Roosevelt died on April 12th, 1945. WWII was officially over on Sept 2nd, 1945. The OSS would be dissolved three weeks later on Sept 20th, 1945. The CIA was “officially” created two years later, purged of its FDR patriots. Donovan vied for leadership of the CIA and was denied. Instead Truman assigned him the task of heading a committee studying the country’s fire departments. (For more on this refer to my paper)
Following this the FBI continued to conduct witch hunts through Congressional committees, President Truman, Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, and the young California Congressman Richard M. Nixon.
On November 22nd, 1963 President Kennedy was brutally murdered in the streets of Dallas, Texas in broad daylight.
On November 29th, 1963 the Warren Commission was set up to investigate the murder of President Kennedy.
The old Congressman Hale Boggs of Louisiana (an ally of FDR) was a member of that Warren Commission. Boggs became increasingly disturbed by the lack of transparency and rigour exhibited by the Commission and became convinced that many of the documents used to incriminate Oswald were in fact forgeries.
In 1965 Rep. Boggs told New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison that Oswald could not have been the one who killed Kennedy. (4) It was Boggs who encouraged Garrison to begin the only law enforcement prosecution of the President’s murder to this day.
Nixon was inaugurated as President of the United States on Jan 20th, 1969. Hale Boggs soon after called on Nixon’s Attorney General John Mitchell to have the courage to fire J. Edgar Hoover. (5)
It wasn’t long thereafter that the private airplane carrying Hale Boggs disappeared without a trace.
Jim Garrison was the District Attorney of New Orleans from 1962 to 1973 and was the only one to bring forth a trial concerning the assassination of President Kennedy. In Jim Garrison’s book “On the Trail of the Assassins”, J. Edgar Hoover comes up several times impeding or shutting down investigations into JFK’s murder, in particular concerning the evidence collected by the Dallas Police Department, such as the nitrate test Oswald was given and which exonerated him, proving that he never shot a rifle the day of Nov 22nd, 1963. However, for reasons only known to the government and its investigators this fact was kept secret for 10 months. (6) It was finally revealed in the Warren Commission report, which inexplicably didn’t change their opinion that Oswald had shot Kennedy.
Another particularly damning incident was concerning the Zapruder film that was in the possession of the FBI and which they had sent a “copy” to the Warren Commission for their investigation. This film was one of the leading piece of evidence used to support the “magic bullet theory” and showcase the direction of the headshot coming from behind, thus verifying that Oswald’s location was adequate for such a shot.
During Garrison’s trial on the Kennedy assassination (1967-1969) he subpoenaed the Zapruder film that for some peculiar reason had been locked up in some vault owned by Life magazine. This was the first time in more than five years that the Zapruder film was made public. It turns out the FBI’s copy that was sent to the Warren Commission had two critical frames reversed to create a false impression that the rifle shot was from behind.
When Garrison got a hold of the original film it was discovered that the head shot had actually come from the front. In fact, what the whole film showed was that the President had been shot from multiple angles meaning there was more than one gunman. (7)
When the FBI was questioned about how these two critical frames could have been reversed, they answered self-satisfactorily that it must have been a technical glitch…
Today there are those who continue an attempt to discredit the work of Jim Garrison for the crime of challenging the absurd narrative of the Warren Commission. However, anyone who bothers to read the Warren Commission report, would soon discover it to be a mess of contradictions, fallacies and outright fabrications. Not only an absurd sham but ultimately complicit in one of the most disgraceful cover-ups in American history.
When will the American people realise that the biggest threat to American freedom is not from without but from within its very own walls, where it has been prominently residing for the last 112 years…
[In a following article I will be addressing the central role of H.G. Wells and Walter Lippmann in British-American Intelligence which will subsequently be followed by an expose on the role of CIA Godfather Allen Dulles and the real reason Americans were manipulated into entering the Vietnam War.]
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
(1) Anton Chaitkin’s “Treason in America” p. 152-160
(2) Anton Chaitkin’s paper “Hoover’s FBI and Anglo-American Dictatorship”
(3) New York Times, March 1, 1933, p. 2.
(4) Anton Chaitkin’s paper “Hoover’s FBI and Anglo-American Dictatorship”
(5) New York Times, April 6, 1971, “Boggs Demands That Hoover Quit,” p. 1.
(6) Jim Garrison’s “On the Trail of the Assassins” p. 116/(7) For more on this refer to Oliver Stone’s film on the Garrison trial titled “JFK”
The social justice monster has come full circle and is now devouring its ‘Dr. Frankenstein’ creator, Robert Bridge writes.
One might be forgiven for thinking, at a time when panic over a pandemic is sweeping the land, and a political battle over control of the White House is raging, the Democrats would take a break from stoking partisan fires. Forgiven or not, you would be thinking wrong.
The social justice monster has come full circle and is now devouring its ‘Dr. Frankenstein’ creator. That much was clear this week as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, in the name of “inclusivity” and “diversity,” tossed raw meat to the radical progressives inside of the Democratic Party by banning gender-specific terms.
The revamped House code of conduct now forbids use of those words that once made a Hallmark card worth sending. Intimate words that evoke familiarity, like ‘father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, first cousin, nephew, niece, husband, wife, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, half sister, grandson, and granddaughter… gone with the wind.
Because any allusion to the binary world of male and female is offensive to about 0.01 percent of the nation’s population, lawmakers will be forced to substitute those sex-stained terms with surgically sterile and neutered ones like ‘‘parent, child, sibling, parent’s sibling, first cousin, sibling’s child, spouse, parent-in-law, child-in-law, sibling-in-law, stepparent, step child, stepsibling, half-sibling, or grandchild.”
“Amen” and “Awoman”? Really?
I guess the virtue signaling Democrats didn’t check the Herbrew etymology of the word “Amen” to realize it has NOTHING to do with gender.
But don’t let facts get in the way of a good virtue signal.
Also, didn’t those words just get banned?
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) January 4, 2021
At the same time, the new rules call for the creation of an Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which will be empowered to do, among other things, “direct and guide House employing offices to recruit, hire, train, develop, advance, promote, and retain a diverse workforce…” No chance of anything going wrong there.
So what is really going on here, aside from just more taxpayer-funded absurdity from brain-dead politicians? First, the new House rules represent just the latest broadside against the traditional nuclear family, which requires for its very survival a commitment to biological certainties, like the existence of just two reproductive sexes, known throughout millennia as ‘male’ and ‘female’ and denoted by the XY and XX chromosomes, respectively.
These days, however, a newborn baby can no longer expect to be delivered into a sane world where a doctor may freely congratulate its mother and father – excuse me, the parents – on the birth of a beautiful baby girl or boy – excuse me, offspring. That’s because “assigning sex” at birth is no longer acceptable to the cancel culture inquisition. That would be oppressing the little bambino with something called ‘science’ at a time when some politically motivated members of the medical community are insisting that gender is nothing more than a ‘social construct,’ a fluid concept that can change at any time.
This is stupid.
– A father, son, and brother https://t.co/bG9SlRAy6N
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) January 2, 2021
In fact, for those who have not been keeping tabs on the escalating madness, there are now dozens of gender types, including male, female, transgender, gender neutral, non-binary, agender, pangender and genderqueer. Can anyone imagine what it must be like for a pimply pubescent to sit through a sex-education class in the midst of such infernal confusion and uncertainty? Moreover, it’s the height of irony and arrogance how Democrats are lecturing Republicans about “following the science” on Covid-19, yet they refuse to follow the simplest of all science, that is, the existence of exactly two human genders, male and female. The real ‘social constructs’ are the other dozens of categories that now wish to claim status as ‘genders.’
The presumptuousness and stupidity on the part of the Democrats does not end there. At a time when the Cultural Marxists cannot bear to hear familial terms dripping with sexual innuendo, they are gleefully introducing elementary school children to discussions on alternative sexual lifestyles, like transgender. Most adults have no problem with an individual identifying with whichever sex he or she desires. But would it be asking too much to let the children stick to learning the Three Rs before jumping headlong into an orgy of lifestyles choices? The danger of subjecting young and impressionable children to this pseudo-science is apparent in the increasing number of youth who are now regretting their irreversible sex-change operations.
The prayer to open the 117th Congress ended with “amen and a-women.”
Amen is Latin for “so be it.”
It’s not a gendered word.
Unfortunately, facts are irrelevant to progressives. Unbelievable. pic.twitter.com/FvZ0lLMDDr
— Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (@GReschenthaler) January 3, 2021
Finally, in what is perhaps the greatest irony of all is that these ridiculous word games only serve to cancel out legitimate movements. Concealed below the shroud of Orwellian doublespeak is a tyrannical word salad that does just the opposite of what it purports to do: increase “inclusion” and “diversity” in society.
For example, how can one have any sort of conversation on ‘women’s rights,’ for example, when any mention of the fair sex has been outright banned? The question is not a rhetorical one.
“It’s the height of hypocrisy for people who claim to be the champions of rights for women to deny the very biological existence of women,” former Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, who just might be the last Democrat in DC with a functioning brain, told Tucker Carlson. “Instead of doing something that could actually help save people’s lives, they are choosing instead to say ‘You can’t say mother or father.'”
I would ask for an ‘Amen!’ at this point, but, thanks to the clown work of lawmaker Emanuel Cleaver, who ended his congressional prayer opening of the very unsexy 117th Congress with the words “amen and awoman,” even that simple gender-free term (which simply means ‘so be it’) is now tainted with foul political intrigue.
With these sort of unforgivable stunts under the belt, the Democrats should be very grateful they have perfected the art of ‘winning’ elections, otherwise they would probably vanish from the political landscape simply out of lack of doing anything positive for the nation. Indeed, the term ‘Democrat’ may be on the way out faster than that of ‘male’ and ‘female.’
By Jonathan COOK
There was a hope in some quarters after Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled on Monday against an application to extradite Julian Assange to the US, where he faced being locked away for the rest of his life, that she might finally be changing tack.
Washington has wanted Assange permanently silenced and made an example of – by demonstrating to other journalists its terrifying reach and powers of retaliation – ever since the Wikileaks founder exposed US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan a decade ago.
There were reasons, however, to be suspicious of what Baraitser was really up to even as she made her ruling in Assange’s favour. This district judge has a record of nodding through extradition cases, including several that have recently been overturned on appeal by a higher court.
Tomorrow, District Judge Vanessa Baraister will rule on Assange’s US extradition.
The Ministry of Justice blocked our FOI request for a list of cases on which she’s ruled since being appointed a DJ in 2011.
So we used Westlaw + Factiva to construct her extradition case listpic.twitter.com/ViCuMHhe6i
— Matt Kennard (@kennardmatt) January 3, 2021
During the hearings back in September, Baraitser had endlessly indulged lawyers representing the US while showing absolute disdain for Assange’s legal team, obstructing them at every turn. Her contempt for Assange and his political and moral worldview was on show throughout the proceedings. She often arrived in court with a prepared script she read from, barely feigning a pretence that she had listened to the legal arguments presented in court.
Her script always favoured Washington’s line, apart from on those occasions when she took an even more hostile position towards Assange than requested by the US. That included sealing him off from the rest of the court in an impregnable perspex box, treating him more like Hannibal Lecter than a publisher and journalist fighting for press freedom.
Much of the time, Baraitser sounded unnervingly like a prosecution barrister rather than the judge.
First, a dangerous ruling
My latest: The last decade has been about discrediting, disgracing and demonising Julian Assange. Today’s court ruling denying his extradition to the US – though hugely welcome – should be seen as a continuation of that process https://t.co/FtrDGyHwF2
— Jonathan Cook (@Jonathan_K_Cook) January 4, 2021
So it was barely surprising, as I explained in my previous story, that, while denying the extradition claim, she supported all the arguments advanced by the US accruing to itself the right to prosecute Assange – and any other journalist – for the crime of doing journalism. She ignored the facts, the expert testimony presented in court and the legal arguments – all of which favoured Assange – and backed instead what amounted to a purely political case made by the US.
She disregarded warnings from Assange’s legal team that acceptance of the political rationale for extradition amounted to an all-out attack on fundamental journalistic freedoms. She established a terrifying legal precedent for the US to seize foreign journalists and prosecute them for “espionage” if they expose Washington’s crimes. Her ruling will inevitably have a profoundly chilling effect on any publication trying to dig out the truth about the US national-security state, with terrifying consequences for us all.
But while she enthusiastically backed the political case for Assange’s extradition and trial, Baraitser at the same time got the Wikileaks founder off the hook by accepting the humanitarian concerns raised by medical and prison experts. They had counselled that extradition to the US could be expected to lead to Assange spending the rest of his life in a barbaric US super-max prison, exacerbating mental health problems and the risk of suicide.
Then, a perverse ruling
Her ruling, while deeply disturbing in its political and legal implications, did at least suggest that Baraitser was ready to take a compassionate approach in regard to Assange’s health, even if not his journalistic exposure of western war crimes. He should have walked free there and then, had the US not immediately said it would appeal her decision.
Given Assange’s discharge by Baraitser, his team hoped that bail – his release from a high-security prison while the lengthy appeals process unfolds – would prove a formality. They hurried to make such an application after the extradition ruling on Monday, assuming that the legal logic of her decision dictated his release. Baraitser demurred, suggesting that they prepare their case and make it to her more fully on Wednesday.
It now seems clear the judge manipulated Assange’s defence team. Apparently like Assange’s lawyers, former British ambassador Craig Murray, who has attended and reported on the hearings in detail, was lulled by Baraitser into assuming that she wanted a cast-iron case from the defence to justify a decision to release Assange on bail.
There were good reasons for their confidence. Any move to prevent his release would look perverse given that she had decided Assange should not be extradited or stand trial in the US.
They were deceived. Baraitser denied bail, effectively signalling that she thinks her ruling might be wrong and overturned in a higher court. That is extraordinary. It suggests that she has no confidence in her own judgment of the facts of the case. As Murray has noted: “There was little or no precedent for the High Court overturning any ruling against extradition on Section 91 health grounds.”
Any appeal by the US against Baraitser’s ruling to discharge Assange will be hard to win. Its lawyers will have to prove that she was wrong not on her interpretation of the law, but in assessing verifiable facts. They will have to show that she was deceived by prison experts who warned – based on submissions made by the US itself – that Assange would be subjected to permanent, inhuman solitary confinement in a US super-max jail or that she was misled by medical experts who warned that in these conditions Assange would be at significant risk of suicide.
Julian Assange is one of just two inmates at Belmarsh maximum security prison—which houses 797 prisoners—being held for violating bail conditions, according to figures released to me last year.
Over 20% of the Belmarsh prison population is held for murderhttps://t.co/W1RT5s48oJ
— Matt Kennard (@kennardmatt) January 6, 2021
But the perversity of Baraitser’s decision runs deeper still. Her ruling keeps him locked up in Belmarsh, a high-security prison in London that is Britain’s version of a super-max jail. Her refusal to free him, or put him in house arrest with a GPS monitoring tag, flagrantly contradicts the expert assessments she concurred with during Monday’s extradition decision: that Assange is at high risk of suicide. Those expert evaluations are based on his current state – caused by his incarceration in Belmarsh.
Unlike Assange, most of Belmarsh’s inmates have been convicted or charged with major crimes. But while Assange long ago served out his only offence, a minor violation of the UK’s bail regulations, he has been routinely held in even worse conditions than the other prisoners.
If Assange’s mental health is in such poor shape and he is so likely to commit suicide, it is because of the horrifying regime of abuse he has already faced in Belmarsh over the past nearly two years – a regime classified as torture by the UN’s expert on the subject, Nils Melzer. Raising Assange’s hopes of release and then shutting him back in his cell, denying him the chance to see his partner and two young children for the first time since March, risks tipping him over the edge – an edge Baraitser herself is only too aware of and on which she based her decision to deny extradition.
Nils Melzer, the UN expert on torture: ‘Julian Assange has been brought to breaking point by 10 years of joint persecution for political reasons by Sweden, by the UK, by the US, by Ecuador.. He should not have been brought to the point where he is suicidal’ https://t.co/GFArFyhrRt
— Jonathan Cook (@Jonathan_K_Cook) January 4, 2021
No ‘flight risk’
In fact, the judge was up to something else entirely in delaying the bail hearing till Wednesday, two days later. She wanted – as presumably did those who have been supervising her behind the scenes – to refashion the image of her court, which for months has given every appearance of being entirely beholden to the US administration.
As the corporate media briefly raised its head from its slumber to meaningfully acknowledge for the first time the Assange hearings, she wanted to ensure those reports noted how independent her court was. For two days, commentators could crow about British legal sovereignty and humanitarian values, even as most tacitly accepted her dangerous premise that the US has a justified claim to extradite Assange.
When Baraitser slammed the cell door shut once again on Assange, leaving him exactly where he was before she discharged him, her decision was presented as little more than a technical ruling based on a reasonable assessment of Assange’s “flight risk”.
In fact, Assange is no flight risk, and never was. He didn’t “jump bail” in 2012 by heading into the Ecuadorean embassy. He sought political asylum there to escape the very real threat of being extradited to the US for his journalism. He was accepted by the Ecuadorean authorities because they believed his fears were genuine.
Back then, a Swedish prosecutor had revived demands Assange return to Sweden for questioning over flimsy sexual assault allegations – allegations that had been dismissed by a previous prosecutor. That investigation, we now know, was kept alive at British insistence. Nonetheless, Sweden refused to give assurances that they would not extradite Assange on to the US, where a grand jury was drawing up charges against him.
Assange’s decision to seek asylum in the embassy has, of course, been entirely vindicated by the fact that the US did indeed seek his extradition – as soon as they could get their hands on him.
Baraitser even let the cat out of the bag herself at the bail hearing, disrupting her own narrative that he had “absconded” in 2012, when she stated – as evidence against Assange! – that he entered the embassy to evade the threat of extradition to the US.
In doing so, she undermined the narrative promoted for years by every corporate media outlet in the UK that Assange had “holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy to flee the Swedish investigation”. (In fact, that statement was typically corrupted even further by the media, including notably the Guardian, which repeatedly referred not to an investigation, one going nowhere, but to entirely imaginary “rape charges”.)
Baraitser exploited and accentuated Assange’s suffering to make her court look good, to add a veneer of credibility to her deeply flawed political ruling, and to create the impression that she was making her judgment based on the facts rather than illicit collusion with US authorities denying Assange his rights.
Where does the case head now?
Assange’s only immediate hope is that his legal team can appeal the bail decision and win, or that the US throws in the towel and decides not to submit its own appeal on the extradition ruling within the next couple of weeks.
If Washington does press for an appeal, as still seems likely, Assange faces many more months in Belmarsh high-security jail, in declining health in Covid-infested conditions he may not survive if he catches the disease. As experts have warned, the toll taken by nearly two years of almost no contact with other humans, no mental stimulation, no prospect of release – his case ignored by most of his peers and the public – will intensify his sense of despair, his deep depression, and the danger that he tries to take his own life.
His death looks increasingly like an outcome Britain and the US desire, and possibly one that they have been striving towards. That is certainly the conclusion of Yanis Varoufakis, a public intellectual and former Greek finance minister who has seen up close himself how ready European and US elites are to ruthlessly crush dissent.
— Novara Media (@novaramedia) January 6, 2021
But even if Assange’s death is not the goal of the US and UK authorities, they have recklessly ensured that possibility grows ever more likely, and will continue to do so until they swiftly bring his incarceration and torture to an end.
The mayhem in Washington this week is the manifestation of America’s political putrefaction.
The spectacle of a riotous mob invading the U.S. Congressional building this week with the aim of violently overturning the presidential election has shocked the world. It is a moment of truth about America’s bankrupt claims of “exceptionalism” and “moral authority”.
Lawmakers were in the process of certifying the November election of Democrat candidate Joe Biden when thousands of supporters of incumbent President Donald Trump stormed the iconic Capitol legislature forcing police officers to flee and politicians to shelter in secure chambers.
It took several hours before reinforcements from the National Guard managed to restore order by evicting the seething crowds. Five people were killed in the melee, one from police gunshot wounds, the other a police officer who later died from injuries. Windows were smashed, public property was trashed and private offices were vandalized. Several police officers were injured and dozens of protesters arrested.
Many Americans and observers around the world were shocked by the scenes of lawlessness and depravity. The seat of U.S. government was sacked – albeit temporarily – by a baying mob. All the more perplexing was the fact that the brazen act of sedition had been incited by a sitting president. Only minutes before the rampage, Trump had fired up angry crowds to “save” American democracy by forcing lawmakers to overturn the election result. (He later denounced the violence with his trademark cynical duplicity.)
Since the November 3 presidential election, Trump and his supporters have defiantly refused to accept the result of both the popular vote and the Electoral College, which decisively nominated Biden as the clear winner. Trump and his ilk have persisted with unsubstantiated and outlandish claims of systematic election fraud. The sowing of doubt in American democracy by the president led to the chaotic scenes this week in Washington when Congress was attacked by furious mobs who believe in the nefarious nonsense that the election was stolen.
Part of the problem is the dearth in popular trust of U.S. institutions, in particular the news media, as well as the bitter and burgeoning political polarization across American society. If major news media declare Biden the winner and Trump the loser, then the opposite must be true for many people.
It is true that U.S. corporate media have lost credibility over many years from the prevalent lies they have told concerning false pretexts for foreign wars, and, in the past four years, regarding the whole baseless “Russiagate” scandal embroiling Trump. Nevertheless, America at large seems to have become mired in conspiratorial thinking that is bordering on mass delusional, preventing normal cognitive function and rationale dialogue based on any consensus around objective reality.
We are, though, in unprecedented and unchartered political territory when American politicians and media are condemning “insurrection” and an “assault on democracy”.
It is a phenomenal inflection point when world leaders are deploring events in the United States this week as a repudiation of the rule of law and democratic principle.
A telling headline in The Washington Post read: “The end of the road for American exceptionalism”.
Richard Haass, of the Council on Foreign Relations, stated: “We are seeing images that I never imagined we would see in this country… No one in the world is likely to see, respect, fear or depend on us in the same way again.”
The conceited notion of “American exceptionalism” has long been part of the U.S. national mythology. In this conception, the United States is supposed to be uniquely superior to the rest of the world in terms of its purported respect for rule of law and democratic rights. This arrogance has bestowed a domineering sense of “moral authority” over all other nations whereby American presidents and Congress are entitled to lecture others about democracy, and to unilaterally impose sanctions on others whom they accuse of violating “sacred rights”. In extremis, American exceptionalism is invoked to justify military force against others deemed to be “undemocratic”.
Currently, dozens of countries are subjected to American sanctions over allegations of rights violations, including Russia and China. These sanctions are dangerously provoking tensions, laying the ground for war.
American sanctions are taking horrendous toll on lives in countries which are prevented from importing medicines and other basic necessities. Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, to mention only a few.
What “moral authority” does the United States possibly have to use such blatant forms of economic aggression against other nations? Such “authority” was always illusory and unethical. But now the duplicity has been exposed for the disgusting charade that it is.
Amusingly, however, even with its international image in the gutter, some American politicians and media could not stop their habit of living in denial by seeking to blame others.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Michael McFaul, the former U.S. ambassador to Russia, each complained that the events were a “gift to Putin”. Others decried that America’s adversaries would “make propaganda” from the disgrace.
Joe Biden, now the official President-elect who will be inaugurated on January 20, sought to reassure his nation and the rest of the world by asserting that the lawless scenes on Capitol Hill “do not reflect a true America, do not represent who we are.”
The new president solemnly declared: “We are a nation of laws.”
Well, Biden ought to know that the United States has long been a nation which insists on laws for others while viewing itself as being above the law. The endless, illegal wars around the world with millions of innocent victims that the U.S. has propagated are testament to that. Biden personally supported those wars in the past.
The use of economic aggression under the guise of sanctions against nations that are deemed to violate rights is the mark of a deluded, arrogant power that thinks itself “exceptional”.
The mayhem in Washington this week is the manifestation of America’s political putrefaction. Extolling laws and rights has become a hollow, meaningless platitude. Because America has long been violating those very principles it declares to be sacred – when it is expedient and advantageous for its ruling class to do so.
When America gets off its high horse of proclaiming exceptionalism and begins to abide by international law, the UN Charter and respect for the sovereignty of all nations, then we might begin to take its declarations of democracy a little more seriously. Until then, the scenes of chaos in its own society are a salutary reminder of America’s hypocrisy and bankrupt moral authority. Until then, American politicians and media should learn to keep their big mouths shut.
By Caitlin JOHNSTONE
Ever since November third the American political/media class have been keeping Democrats fixated on Trump’s post-election shenanigans with garment-rending urgency, now going so far as to call for yet another oxygen-sucking impeachment as he’s on his way out the door while millions of Americans are struggling just to meet their basic needs.
You wouldn’t know it from the dominant chatter, but Trump’s impotent attempts to reverse the election results don’t rank anywhere remotely near the top ten worst things this president has done while in office, which include vetoing attempts to end the world’s worst mass atrocity in Yemen, escalating world-threatening cold wars with both Russia and China, murdering untold tens of thousands of Venezuelans with starvation sanctions, pushing Iran to the brink of war by assassinating its top military commander, expanding the “war on terror” and rolling back airstrike regulations designed to protect civilians.
US political discourse hasn’t reflected the fact that Trump’s foreign policy has been far more atrocious than anything he’s done domestically–and certainly anything he’s done since November–because news media coverage does not reflect this fact. News media coverage does not reflect this fact because western news media regard imperialism and mass military slaughter as normal US presidential stuff, and do not regard brown-skinned foreigners as human.
I point this out because it’s good to note, as Trump leaves office, that he spent his entire administration advancing murderous imperialist agendas which spilled very real blood from very real human beings while mainstream America barely even noticed. Their attention was drawn instead to endless narrative theater which had no impact whatsoever on the concrete actions taken by the US government’s executive branch. Their gaze was kept fixated on meaningless political drama while the war machine marched on unseen.
Americans are famously uninterested in the rest of the world, to such an extent that you can only get them to watch a British sitcom if it’s remade with American actors and they don’t know that having your nation’s flag flying all over your neighborhood isn’t normal. The story of Kanye and Kim’s divorce is going to generate more news media views than the entirety of the Yemen war since it began. This lack of interest in war and foreign policy is mighty peculiar, seeing how the people who run their country make it their primary focus.
Americans only care about America while their rulers only care about the rest of the world. This is entirely by design.
Americans fixate on America while ignoring the rest of the world not because they are genetically prone to self-obsessed navel gazing, but because their attention is being constantly and deliberately manipulated away from the stage upon which their government is perpetrating monstrous acts.
The nationless alliance of plutocrats and government agencies who drive the US government’s foreign policy cannot have the common riff raff interfering in their affairs. Immense amounts of energy have gone into preventing the rise of an antiwar movement in the hub of the empire like the one which began shaking the earth in the sixties and seventies, with propaganda playing a leading role in this suppression. The US is far too important in the operation of the empire-like power alliance which sprawls across the earth to permit its inhabitants to interfere in its operations by using the power of their numbers to force their nation’s wealth and resources to be used at home. So propaganda is used to hold their attention inside America’s borders.
“The danger for American elites is not that the U.S. may become less able to accomplish geopolitical objectives. Rather, it is that more Americans might begin to question the logic of U.S. global hegemony,” writes @RichardHanania: https://t.co/VagDuHnUFw
— Stephen Wertheim (@stephenwertheim) January 1, 2021
“While most Americans will never experience a ride on a Chinese bullet train and remain oblivious in differences in areas like infrastructure quality, major accomplishments in highly visible frontiers like space travel or cancer treatment could drive home the extent to which the U.S. has fallen behind,” Hanania concludes. “Under such conditions, the best case scenario for most Americans would be a nightmare for many national security and bureaucratic elites: for the U.S. to give up on policing the world and instead turn inward and focus on finding out where exactly our institutions have gone wrong.”
In other words, China’s rise threatens to reverse the carefully-engineered dynamic which has Americans looking inward while their government points its attention outward. If Americans begin turning their gaze internationally and use the power of their numbers to force their government to heal and nurture their crumbling nation, it would spell the end for the imperialists. But it could also be the beginning of a peaceful and harmonious world.