Lateo.net - Flux RSS en pagaille (pour en ajouter : @ moi)

🔒
❌ À propos de FreshRSS
Il y a de nouveaux articles disponibles, cliquez pour rafraîchir la page.
Hier — 7 juillet 2020Strategic Culture Foundation

Putin’s Vision for an Anti-Fascist/Open System Future and You

Par Andrey Areshev

During the course of President Putin’s June 24 opening speech during the Moscow Parade celebrating the 75th anniversary of WWII, the following call to action was made:

“We understand how important it is to strengthen friendship and trust between nations, and are open to dialogue and cooperation on the most pressing issues on the international agenda. Among them is the creation of a common reliable security system, something the complex and rapidly changing modern world needs. Only together can we protect the world from new dangerous threats.”

This call echoed the President’s powerful June 19 article published in the National Interest where he outlined in stark terms the powerful financier and aristocratic forces behind the rise of Hitler in the wake of WWI, and the vital need to honor those millions who died to ensure freedom and survival for future generations. In his article, Putin laid out the call for an emergency meeting among the five veto-carrying members of the U.N. Security Council which he first publicized during his January 15, 2020 State of the Union.

Although respect for Russia’ leader runs high, I have noticed that most people have still found it exceptionally difficult to see how Putin’s solution-oriented spirit is anything but naïve fancy.

After all, aren’t relations between Russia and America as low as they have ever been? Aren’t things even worse between the USA and China? How could anything good possibly come from a USA which has acted like a decadent imperial machine for decades?

Although very understandable, this inability to understand Putin’s intention is something I would like to help correct within this brief article.

To restate my position: Putin is no idiot.

Putin is a figure who is very much animated by a strong sense of moral duty which has given him the insight into both history and the future which is rare among citizens of our current epoch, and even rarer among the political class.

Putin also recognizes that the western neo-liberal system is sitting on the precipice of the worst financial meltdown in recorded history and he also knows that a new system will, by necessity be brought online. It is understood that the terms of this new system have to be fleshed out as soon as possible if a new hardcore fascist “solution” will be avoided along with the obvious world war that would soon follow.

As I have laid out in a recent report, the foundations for that new operating system will either be rooted in open system or closed system thinking.

Closed Systems in Brief

If humanity’s new system is presumed to be of a closed nature, then I am sorry to tell you that fascism will be necessitated as the ultimate governing mechanism of the elite.

The reason for this depressing fact is simple.

In all closed (ie: finite/bounded) systems, the number of people alive will always tend to consume more energy than the system itself creates over time as resources, and agricultural potential is slowly drawn down and entropy increases.

In such a world, someone has to decide who receives those ever-diminishing returns of resources, and who are the useless eaters to be sacrificed “for the greater good” of the system. This is the Hobbesian world that such misanthropes like Thomas Malthus, T.H. Huxley, Henry Kissinger and Al Gore live in. In true Pygmalion fashion, these cynics will use any and all political clout at their disposal to force society to adhere to their obsession with “balance”, “mathematical equilibrium” and perfect linear predictability. The self-professed “alphas” of these sorts of master-slave societies are committed to forcing the “might-makes-right” laws of the jungle onto humanity. In the closed-uncreative world of such a misanthrope, imbalance is considered both un-natural and evil. Imbalance is wild. It is unpredictable. It is open.

Based on their words and actions, Putin, Xi, and other leaders of today’s multipolar alliance do not think this way.

Open Systems in Brief

As a short example of my meaning, listen to President Xi describe the fundamental principle of open system economics during a 2016 speech to the CPC central committee:

“Coordinated development is the unity of balanced development and imbalanced development. The process from balance to imbalance and then to rebalance is the basic law of development. Balance is relative while imbalance is absolute. Emphasizing coordinated development is not pursuing equalitarianism, but giving more importance to equal opportunities and balanced resource allocation.”

By placing imbalance as the absolute factor, and balance as merely relative, Xi is defining a process of progress built upon creative leaps with each higher system requiring a reasonable balance/distribution of resource use, but without ever becoming reliant on that particular set of finite resources.

Putin expressed his understanding of this principle in his own way when he discussed the importance of unlimited energy and growth potential attainable through the harnessing of fusion power:

“Potentially we can harness a colossal, inexhaustible and safe source of energy. However, we will only succeed in fusion energy and in solving other fundamental tasks if we establish broad international cooperation and interaction between government and business, and join the efforts of researchers representing different scientific schools and areas. If technological development becomes truly global, it will not be split up or reined in by attempts to monopolize progress, limit access to education and put up new obstacles to the free exchange of knowledge and ideas.. With their help, scientists will be able to literally see nature’s creation processes.”

Programs like China’s Belt and Road Initiative (and its space, polar, health and information extensions) has not only won over 135 nations to its framework but this program is entirely rooted in open system thinking. Within this framework’s operating system, there is no presumed fixed limit to resources or endpoint to the progress that nations can create if certain principles are adhered to.

At the heart of these vital principles is found the moral concept of “win-win cooperation” or as China’s former president Sun Yat-sen called it in his Three Principles of the People, the Principle of “Right makes Might”. Sun Yat-sen understood in 1924, as Presidents Xi and Putin do today, that if a nation adheres to win-win/right-makes-might thinking, then that nation will never lose the Mandate of Heaven (Tianxia). In the Western matrix, this principle is expressed beautifully by the Principle of Westphalia which established the first modern nation states in 1648 premised around the principle of the “Benefit of the Other.” When Kissinger, Brzezinski or Blair speak of a “post-Westphalian age”, it is this fundamental principle that they are attacking more than the mere existence of national borders.

This principle is again reflected in the UN Charter, which was designed by the anti-colonial President FDR “to achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion and to be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.”

FDR’s early death and the British-Deep State takeover of America over his dead body prevented these ideals and open system dynamics from ever coming to life.

As long as nations are empowered to stand on their own feet, develop full spectrum agro-industrial economies and if people benefit by developing new skillsets, and if new technologies and new discoveries in science are encouraged rather than sabotaged (as has been the practice under the Might-Makes-Right Darwinian laws of gobble-ization), then potential for human perfectibility is as boundless as our ability to discover, create, plan and inspire future generations.

Some Points of Mutual Interest

Now there are an array of domains which all nations of the U.N. Security Council can focus on during this period of intense crisis that would tie civilization’s interests into open system thinking benefiting all nations and people. If the USA has even a modicum of sanity at this late stage, then Trump will give Pompeo and other neocons the Bolton/Bannon treatment and make Putin’s offer a top priority for the sake of the USA’s very survival as a nation, and humanity more broadly.

To end this paper, I wish to outline several of the most fruitful topics to be tackled at upcoming summits which will best define the coming century (or more) of cooperation and growth:

Space Diplomacy, Asteroid Defense, Arctic and Far east development, energy, and health infrastructure.

Space Diplomacy

America’s successful return to manned space flight on May 28th was more than just another space launch, but rather one important component of a much larger commitment illustrated by the May 15 Artemis Accords to not only send humans back to the Moon for the first time since 1973, but to permanently develop a Lunar and Mars-based economy with a focus on international cooperation. This outlook dovetails Russia’ commitment for permanent lunar colonization and resource development which will start with Luna 25 in 2021 followed by Luna 26, 27 and 28 soon thereafter with a plan to have a permanent manned base in early 2030. Describing Russia’s support for this initiative, Roscosmos Chief Dimitry Rogozin stated: “I can imagine what kind of feeling they had all these nine years, having no opportunity to deliver their astronauts to the ISS. It is a matter of honor and national pride. Let us wish them professional success.” The USA and Russia are also close partners in the ISS and Russia manufactures the strategic RD-180 and RD-181 engines used in American launch vehicles.

Both the USA and Russia are partners on the upcoming Lunar Gateway station which will soon orbit the Moon and serve as an important element in the new space-based infrastructure used both in mining and Mars launches. Although banned from the ISS and U.S.-cooperation since 2011, China has become a pioneer in space with a tight alliance with Russia on lunar cooperation signed in September 2019. China’s own Chang-e program has resulted in landing on the far side of the moon with plans for colonization in the coming decades as well as the development of Helium-3 mining for fusion power.

Asteroid Defense

Faced with the two-fold threat of NATO military encirclement on earth and asteroid collisions from abroad, Rogozin made headlines in 2011 by reviving the concept for a joint U.S.-Russia controlled defense system first announced by President Reagan’s 1983 Strategic Defense Initiative. Rogozin’s 2011 version (titled the Strategic Defense of Earth) now called for turning humanity’s arsenal of atomic weapons away from each other and towards the grave danger of asteroid collisions for which we are woefully unprepared. Introducing this topic into the emerging joint U.S/Russia working groups on arms control set to begin in mid-July would contribute in powerful non-linear ways that cannot be calculated by any linear standard of measurement. This vision has been echoed by China as well as the European and Japanese space agencies.

Arctic and Far East Development

In 2007, Russia revived a 150-year-old idea that once had the support of leading republicans of Lincoln’s 19th century America to unite rail lines in America and Eurasia through the Bering Strait crossing in the form of a 65 mile tunnel. Russia again re-emphasized its commitment to building this $64 billion project in 2011. With China’s Polar Silk Road having extended the traditionally east-west development corridor into the Arctic and as China and Russia have increasingly merged the Belt and Road Initiative with the Eurasian Economic Union, this new development dynamic offers incredible economic opportunities for all Arctic nations and also an escape from military confrontation.

Putin’s Far East Development Plan

Part in parcel with this initiative comes President Putin’s Far East development plans as a “21st century national priority” for Russia. The development of new cities, mining, transport corridors and oil and natural gas of Russia’s Far East represent one of the greatest boons for economic investment during the coming century and already features an array of partners from China, Japan, South Korea, India and other APEC nations. Putin’s 2018 proposal that the USA join in this project of win-win cooperation is important not only because it would build trust, create business opportunities and re-establish the lost art of long-term thinking, but would also help link up western businesses into partnership with the Asia Pacific development process now being shaped by China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Although tensions have been enflamed to schism China and India from cooperating directly on the BRI, India’s embrace of Russian Far East development investments has created a non-linear flank which can help bring these two Asian giants into harmony.

Only the tip of the iceberg…

Overall, there are many other points of common benefit shared by nations committed to a Multi-Polar “open system” future including education/cultural exchange, fission/fusion energy research, counterterrorism, and COVID-19 response coordination. On this last threat, the issue of a new world healthcare system has become an increasing focus of discussion, especially as nations set their sights on the post-pandemic world order.

Here, Russia, China and the USA can play a leading role to ensure a modern and equitable healthcare architecture for nations of the developing sector which has found itself so vulnerable when faced with the threat of world pandemics. Africa, South America, Asia and beyond require vastly improved healthcare services, hospitals, training, and medical technology worthy of the 21st century. Most importantly the world needs preventative systems such as sanitation, clean water, food sovereignty and electricity if COVID-19 and all future threats to world health shall be solved once and for all.

If Russia, America, China and other nations of the UN Security Council and BRICS were to apply their best minds to solving these problems rather than fall into a new arms race, then not only would either country benefit immensely, but so too would humanity more broadly.

Putin’s olive branches have piled up over recent years and there is no sign that he intends on permitting himself to be the cause for history’s repetition into war, and if we are smart, then we will do everything in our power to ensure that this discussion not only occurs, but that open system economics prevails.

The author can be reached at matt.ehret@tutamail.com

Trump’s Racism May Be Blatant, but the Culture He Defends Comes Out of the Civil War and Goes Well Beyond Racial Division

Par Andrey Areshev

Patrick COCKBURN

President Trump is making plain the degree to which the country remains divided by the American Civil War. His threat to veto the $718bn Defence Bill if it renames military bases called after Confederate generals harks back to 1861. His stand highlights the bizarre way that the US military has named its biggest bases, like Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Hood in Texas, after Confederate generals like Braxton Bragg and John Hood who fought a war to destroy the US.

Critics suggest derisively that this tradition of naming military installations after defeated enemies should mean that future bases will include at least one named after Osama bin Laden, the founder of al-Qaeda, and another after Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Isis, both killed by US soldiers.

The fury generated by the dispute over the renaming of the bases and the removal of the statues of Confederate commanders underlines the contemporary relevance of the outcome of the civil war. A tweet by Trump gives a clue as to why this should be the case a century and a half after the Confederate surrender. “It was sad,” Trump wrote, “to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments.”

But which “history and culture” is Trump talking about? The US has two sources of political culture: one derives from Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and a popular revolution against a distant imperial power, the other flows from the slave states with their vastly different tradition. Much of what non-Americans find peculiar and contradictory about the US stems from the uneasy cohabitation of these two cultures, whose democratic and authoritarian strands alternately repel each other and blend together. Americans are often in denial about this tainted legacy, preferring to see their past through the lens of the intentions of the founding fathers and the struggles of the frontier, playing down the civil war over slavery that left 750,000 dead.

The version of culture and history that Trump defends is that of the American South and is primarily to do with contemporary relations between black and white. Most of the statues to Confederate war commanders were erected long after the war and unblushingly asserted white supremacy. Memphis, Tennessee, for instance, until recently boasted a statue erected in 1905 to the Confederate cavalry general Nathan Bedford Forrest, a plantation owner, slave trader and Confederate commander whose troops massacred some 300 black Union army soldiers who surrendered at Fort Pillow in 1864. He later became the first leader of the Ku Klux Klan. As recently as 1998, another statue to Forrest was erected in Nashville, Tennessee.

The reason that the “cultural wars” resonate so strongly in the US is that they have their roots in a real war and have little to do with quaint military nostalgia, like people in England who dress up as 17th-century Cavaliers and Roundheads to restage civil war battles. The real message those statues carried was that the south might have lost the civil war and slavery might have been abolished, but black people would still be segregated, discriminated against and denied civil rights.

Trump’s racism is blatant and unconcealed, but the culture he is pledged to defend encompasses far more than racial division. It includes a whole set of fiercely defended attitudes to women, gun ownership, abortion, evangelical Christianity, paramilitary policing, crime and punishment, affirmative action, and the role of government in society. This matters because of a surprising development in the US since the de jure granting of civil rights to black Americans in the 1960s. This was seen by many as the moment that the US put the past behind it and the toxic traditions of the Old South would disappear into history. But no such thing happened. On the contrary, the counter-reaction to civil rights was in many respects more powerful and influential than the original movement that had tried to break the racist status quo.

This counter-reaction was so strong that the south was able to expand its culture in the broadest sense to the north and west, far beyond the boundaries of the old Confederacy. As Godfrey Hodgson wrote at the turn of the century in his prophetic book More Equal Than Others: America from Nixon to the New Century, it had been “assumed that the South would become more like the rest of the country, [but] in politics and in many aspects of culture, the rest of the country has come to resemble the South”.

This “southernisation” explains many strange aspects of American culture that appear inexplicable, such as the way in which attitudes over everything from gun ownership to abortion have become a mark of identity. It also explains a lot about Trump’s rise to power, which caught most Americans, including many of his supporters and almost all non-Americans, by surprise. He is occasionally referred to as “the last Confederate president”, which is over-simple; but the description does point the way towards the identity of his base, whose loyalty is so impervious to his failures.

The beliefs and values that mutated out of the defeated Confederacy produced a distinct variant of American nationalism. It combined with right-wing conservatism in the rest of the country to produce a winning political formula used by Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump. A Democratic president like Bill Clinton seemed to be an exception to this, but in many respects his record only confirmed the trend. In 1996, Peter Applebome, The New York Times correspondent in Atlanta, wrote a book called Dixie Rising: How the South is Shaping American Values, Politics and Culture. In a passage quoted by Hodgson, he says, “Bill Clinton is coming out for school prayer along with sweeping Republican legislation shredding welfare” and “the Supreme Court is acting as if [the Confederate president] Jefferson Davis were chief justice”.

The title of Applebome’s book explains its theme. He concludes that “to understand America you have to understand the South”.

The same is true of Trump and Trumpism. Southern political culture, which has percolated to all parts of the US, is his political base, which explains why the fate of the statues and the renaming of military bases matters so much to him.

counterpunch.org

As U.S. Police Forces Are Threatened With Extinction, American Gun Owners Under Attack for Protecting Themselves

Par Andrey Areshev

With alarming frequency, law-abiding citizens who attempt to defend themselves and their private property with the use of guns are being portrayed as villains, while trespassers, looters and rioters get bailed out of prison. Have the liberals found a backdoor method for trashing the Second Amendment?

Last month, Mark and Patricia McCloskey were about to sit down for a dinner at their home in St. Louis, Missouri when members of Black Lives Matter smashed through the front gate and began marching through the private property. The McCloskeys, with memories of the violent protests that rocked their city just weeks before still fresh, believed their lives were under threat. They took matters into their own hands, appearing in the front of their home with a semiautomatic rifle and a handgun. Mrs. McCloskey pointed her gun at the trespassers, warning them to stay away. No shots were fired and the protesters moved on. So who came out of that skirmish smelling like roses? Not the McCloskeys.

“I am threatened by the events that occurred over the weekend where… peaceful protesters were met with guns and a violent assault,” said Kimberly Gardner, Missouri Attorney General. “I will work with the public and the police to investigate these tragic events.”

The irony here, aside from the fact that protecting one’s life and property is now deemed “violent assault,” is that the protesters were on their way to the home of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson in order to demand her resignation for releasing the names of the individuals who supported defunding the police. If they believed their cause was so righteous, shouldn’t these people be happy to have their identities known? More to the point, however, is the question of the context. At a time when the police in the United States seem either incapable or unwilling of maintaining law and order, and sections of U.S. cities are being looted and torched, at what point is it legal for law-abiding citizens to brandish a firearm as a preemptive measure against possible violence?

A couple pointed guns at protesters in St. Louis as a group marched toward the mayor’s home to demand her resignation. https://t.co/5EqDd43QCd pic.twitter.com/KWNaif77ch

— ABC News (@ABC) June 29, 2020

Instead of shedding some insight on that question, however, the mainstream media continues to recklessly aggravate the racial dimensions of such scenarios.

The New York Times, for example, reported how the McCloskeys took aim at the “peaceful black protesters” – never mind that there were many whites among the protesters as well – from the property of their “marble mansion.” Mark McCloskey was dressed for the occasion in his “pastel pink polo short and khakis,” the paper of historical record noted, while his very white wife, Patricia, was seen wearing “black capri pants” while brandishing a “silver handgun.”

A person would be forgiven for thinking they were perusing a fashion advert for the Summer Benetton Collection, as opposed to the latest hit piece against the phantom of ‘white privilege’ that it was.

In another powder-keg incident one week later, Eric Wuestenberg and his wife Jillian were attempting to leave a Michigan Chipotle franchise when they were confrontedrob by Takia Hill, a Black woman who accused Mrs. Wuestenberg of bumping into her daughter inside of the restaurant.

The situation escalated in the parking lot as Hill accused the couple of “racism,” while even threatening to beat up Mr. Wuestenberg for not addressing the issue with his wife. As the Wuestenbergs attempt to exit the parking lot, Hill blocked the vehicle, while punching the back window. At this point, Jillian Wuestenberg emerges from the vehicle brandishing a handgun, which she cocks and aims at Hill, telling her to “get the f*ck back!” Eventually, Wuestenberg gets back into the vehicle as her husband drives away.

Full video available here:

The couple has been charged with felonious assault, while Eric Wuestenberg, without a fair hearing in a court of law, has been fired from his job at Oakland University. In short, their lives appear to have been ruined.

In the cases of both the McCloskeys and Wuestenberg, charges of racism have been leveled against them, and this will certainly have incalculable consequences for the rest of their lives. Mr.Wuestenberg has already lost his livelihood. Aside from the question as to whether there is a court in the land where the two couples can get a fair hearing is the question of personal defense. At what point is it acceptable to brandish a firearm?

Missouri state law clearly states that a person “may use physical force upon another person when and to the extent he or she reasonably believes such force to be necessary to defend himself or herself or a third person from what he or she reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful force by such other person.”

Michigan, meanwhile, has ‘stand your ground’ legislation that makes it legal for a person to resort to “deadly force” if the person has “an honest and reasonable belief” that such force is necessary to prevent “imminent death or great bodily harm” to yourself or to another individual.

In both cases, the McCloskeys and the Wuestenbergs clearly felt that the risk to their lives and safety was enough to warrant the brandishing of a weapon. At the same time, their feeling of personal insecurity was certainly heightened by the violence that has been engulfing the country ever since George Floyd lost his life during his arrest by a white police officer. This feeling has been aggravated not only by a media industrial complex that seems invested in the prospect of racial tensions, but by the growing awareness that the police may not respond to the call.

Most disturbingly, however, is how fast citizens are being condemned and imprisoned, their lives totally upended, before the facts of each individual case is given a fair hearing in a court of law. Such an approach to justice should be considered repulsive to Americans, and absolutely frightening to gun owners, who are increasingly found guilty by the mob and media for doing nothing more than defending themselves from possibly bodily harm.

Is the Texas Covid ‘Spike’ Fake News?

Par Andrey Areshev

Ron PAUL

On July 2nd, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order mandating the wearing of face masks across the state, whether indoors or outdoors, when six feet cannot be maintained between people. In the governor’s decree, he cited a rise in Covid cases, a rise in test positivity, and a rise in hospitalizations as justification to force people to cover their faces in public.

The move is not only a violation of the civil liberties of all Texans. Abbott may have based his executive order on inaccurate information about a “rise” in Covid cases due to the Texas State Department of Health Services changing the definition of what constitutes a “Covid case.”

Thanks goes to Collin County Judge Chris Hill for blowing the whistle on what appears to be a move in mid-May to redefine what was a “Covid” case to open the door to a massive increase – all to match the mainstream media line that a “second wave” was on the way.

In a Commissioners Court hearing for Collin County on May 18th, it was revealed that while previously the determination of a Covid “case” was a confirmed test result, the definition was suddenly changed to count “probable” cases as “cases.” At the same time, the threshold for determining “probable” was lowered to a ridiculous level.

As Judge Hill said at that May 18th meeting, “If you have a subjective fever and you have a headache and you live in Collin County, you now meet the qualifications to be a probable COVID patient. It is remarkable how low the standard is now.”

Even worse, once a “probable” case was determined based on possibly unrelated subjective criteria, up to 15 people in possible contact with that “probable” case were also listed as “probable cases.” And “probable cases” were considered cases.

Repeat that farce across Texas and is it any wonder there was a “spike” in “cases”?

Also, Governor Abbott’s claim that hospitals were being over-run by Covid patients was refuted by the Houston hospital directors themselves, who said they were nowhere near actual capacity and in fact were about the same level as they were last year.

The basis for Abbott’s unconstitutional “executive order” has been shown to be false. Will he admit his mistake?

It is encouraging to see so many local and county officials across Texas announcing they will refuse to enforce Governor Abbott’s unconstitutional face mask order. Thankfully the spirit of freedom and love of liberty is still alive in Texas.

The “second wave” is driven by propaganda. Across the country, Covid testing increased from about 150,000 to more than 700,000 per day. You can’t drive through Houston without seeing a flurry of signs advertising “Free Covid test! Results in 15 minutes!” Last week Reuters reported that tests shipped around the country by the federal government were contaminated.

Deaths from coronavirus – even the deaths “with” coronavirus rather than deaths “from” coronavirus – are down more than 90 percent since the peak in April. The decline in deaths continues. That means we are closer to the “herd immunity” that will finally kill this virus. Yet Governor Abbott and others across the country see this as a reason to lock the country back down.

ronpaulinstitute.org

The Afghanistan Debacle

Par Andrey Areshev

Since 1897 The New York Times has carried the slogan “All the News That’s Fit to Print”, and generally speaking that was appropriate over the years, save for a few times such as the invasion of Iraq in 2003 when it conveyed blatant bias in favour of the war and published what the appalling Trump would call “fake news”.

A year after the invasion the Times issued a half-hearted apology for its irresponsible journalistic fandangos which were intended to encourage the American public to support Washington’s war that destroyed countless lives and reduced the Middle East to chaos. In the end, the main reporter involved, a repulsive charlatan called Judith Miller, was forced to leave the newspaper (with a generous severance packet) after she had spent time in jail for having refused to divulge the name of yet another “source” for her information.

One of the intriguing things about the NYT’s lame apology is that it referred to a report that “A scientist who claims to have worked in Iraq’s chemical weapons program for more than a decade has told an American military team that Iraq destroyed chemical weapons and biological warfare equipment only days before the war began.” The Times belatedly admitted that it “never followed up on the veracity of this source or the attempts to verify his claims.” And it seems that the Times continues to be reluctant to follow up on the reliability of some of its sources, because the latest Iraq-style scoop is an unverifiable ‘source-based’ story claiming that Russia paid the Taliban to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan.

The Times refers relentlessly to “officials” as the sources of this extremely sensitive allegation, without the slightest intention of providing names or any sort of corroborative detail. There is not a shred of evidence supporting these explosive accusations because all the “information” comes from these ever-ready intelligence sources who feed attractively contrived drivel to willing patsies. As Ray McGovern put it, “the Times’ dubious allegations grabbed headlines across all media that are likely to remain indelible in the minds of credulous Americans – which seems to have been the main objective.” It certainly was, and although a multitude of independent observers have shredded the story, it was regrettable that the Times didn’t see fit to print the news that the Pentagon would not endorse it. On June 29 the Chief Pentagon Spokesman stated that “to date, DOD has no corroborating evidence to validate the recent allegations found in open-source reports.”

It is interesting that the Times story broke just five days after the Afghan National Security Council’s spokesman announced that “The past week was the deadliest of the past 19 years. Taliban carried out 422 attacks in 32 provinces, martyring 291 ANDSF [security forces] members and wounding 550 others.” He didn’t mention the fact that 148 civilians had been killed and, bizarrely, it was the Times that recorded this, in its excellent “War Casualty Report” which appears in its magazine section each week. It was not stated how many of these civilians had been killed by government forces’ airstrikes, door-crashing home assaults or erratic mortar fire, but the UN’s Assistance Mission in Afghanistan noted that “Civilian casualties attributed to the ANSF for April 2020 numbered 172 civilians, an increase of 38 per cent compared to April 2019 and 37 per cent higher than March 2020.”

Afghanistan’s security forces — its army, police, air force and swaggering special forces —are poorly trained and their motivation is open to question. The numerical strength of these services is not divulged, and in 2018 Reuters reported that the U.S. military had classified “for the first time since 2009, the actual and authorized total troop numbers and attrition rate for the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, or ANDSF.” Suppression of bad or inconvenient news is a well-tried tactic in the propaganda playlist, and as observed by John Sopko, the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, SIGAR, “the American people have constantly been lied to” regarding the conflict in Afghanistan.

In the years of war, 18.8 billion dollars have been poured in to Afghanistan in aid and it has almost all been wasted — notably the vast sums that have been used to purchase luxury mansions, apartments and waterside villas in Dubai and many other sinks for corruption cash.

And the situation on the ground in war-torn Afghanistan is desperate, with the Council on Foreign Relations recording on July 1 that “according to official U.S. government estimates of 2019, only 53.8 percent of Afghan districts [were] under government control or influence, 33.9 percent contested, and the remaining 12.3 percent under the control or influence of the Taliban. The ANDSF continue to suffer heavy casualties and, while actual figures have now been classified by the U.S. military, senior Afghan officials estimate that for several months in 2018 as many as thirty to forty ANDSF personnel were killed every day.”

The government in Kabul is incompetent and incapable of directing affairs throughout the country, as was publicly stated by U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo after he visited Kabul in March 2020. He harshly censured President Ghani and his power-sharing rival Abdullah Abdullah, saying “The United States is disappointed in them and what their conduct means for Afghanistan and our shared interests. Their failure has harmed U.S.-Afghan relations and, sadly, dishonours those Afghan, Americans, and Coalition partners who have sacrificed their lives and treasure in the struggle to build a new future for this country. Because this leadership failure poses a direct threat to U.S. national interests, effective immediately, the U.S. government will initiate a review of the scope of our cooperation with Afghanistan.”

It is extremely irresponsible for the senior foreign affairs representative of any nation to openly criticise the leaders of a supposedly allied country that is engaged in a civil war, because the opponents of the established government will be given the most massive boost in propaganda terms. There are no reports on how the Taliban viewed Pompeo’s monstrous blunder, but it was abundant confirmation for them that those purporting to lead Afghanistan had failed. Not only that but it was said that the president was actually posing a threat to the blustering ally that had invaded their country almost twenty years ago. It would be most surprising if the Taliban were not making maximum propaganda use of this absurd bloomer.

Of equal importance, it is obvious that Pompeo and all the other arrogant amateurs in Washington have totally wrecked U.S.-Afghanistan relations and destroyed whatever shreds of trust in America that may have been lingering in the Kabul government.

An investigation by the Washington Post disclosed that “senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable.” Given the combination of Washington’s deceit and insult, together with Kabul’s rampant corruption, its inability to govern in much of the country, and general incompetence, the picture is one of a disaster, a debacle of colossal proportions.

Washington should cease feeding the New York Times and others with fatuous tales about supposed plots involving bonuses for bodies and simply cut its (gargantuan) losses and get out now.

Operation Bagration

Par Andrey Areshev

Starting on June 22, 1944, the Soviet Union inflicted the biggest defeat in German military history. In the space of a month, Army Group Center, the hard strategic rock on which German domination of Russia’s heartland had rested for three years, was annihilated. It was a cataclysmic defeat on an even bigger scale than Stalingrad.

(Click the image to enlarge)

Shield of the Union: How the Russian Navy Protected America in the Civil War

Par Andrey Areshev

Strange things happen in civil wars: During the Russian Civil War in 1919, 13,000 U.S. troops were dispatched by President Woodrow Wilson to occupy the cities of Archangelsk in the Arctic and Vladivostok on the Pacific.

Half a century earlier, thousands of Imperial Russian Navy sailors and their officers flooded the cities of San Francisco and New York. But the circumstances were very different. They were there to defend the United States from foreign invasion – not to threaten it and they brilliantly succeeded in their tasks.

The incredible story is well told in “Friends in Peace and War: The Russian Navy’s Landmark Visit to Civil War San Francisco” by C. Douglas Kroll published in 2007.

As Kroll documents, the U.S. Navy’s tiny Pacific Squadron was weak at the time and Confederate commerce raiders indulgently encouraged by Britain roamed the Atlantic: The message the Russian forces sent was unmistakable: Any British or French naval attack on New York or San Francisco, the two great centers of U.S. commerce and financial power on the East and the new West Coast, would be an attack on Russia too.

The streets of San Francisco and New York teemed with Russian officers and sailors in their bright uniforms in 1863 and they were social successes too. Innumerable parades, dance balls and dinners were organized, many by the visiting Russians themselves.

The two squadrons were dispatched by Tsar Alexander II, all his life a great and true friend of the United States, to protect the Atlantic and Pacific coastlines of North America if the two other most powerful nations in the world – the British and French Empires – chose to intervene in the Civil War on the side of the Confederacy, as they openly moved towards doing during the high-tide of their war during 1862.

The British Empire’s efforts to dismantle the United States during the Civil War have been documented in these columns in the articles of Matthew Ehret.

The British government was dominated in the1860s by the great champion of democracy, open borders and Free Trade William Ewart Gladstone, whose father had made the family fortune by being the biggest slave trader in the world. Gladstone at the height of his power and influence as Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer or finance minister openly pressed for recognition of the slave-owning Confederacy,

The same policy was pushed by the sinister and brilliant Robert Gascoigne-Cecil, later to rule as foreign secretary and prime minister as Lord Salisbury after Gladstone from 1886 most of the time to 1902. He dominated British foreign policymaking for 40 years and to the day he died he openly expressed regret that the Empire had not seized its opportunity during the Civil War to destroy the United States.

It was Tsar Alexander’s intervention which prevented that. He could see with the burning and plundering of Beijing in 1860 that St, Petersburg could well be next. Across Eurasia, he made common cause with Otto Von Bismarck, new Chancellor of Prussia, to unite Germany and drive back British and French influence from the heart of Europe.

Then Alexander developed an extraordinary friendship with U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. Ignored for almost one and a half centuries. “The Tsar and the President: Alexander II and Abraham Lincoln, Liberator and Emancipator” by Marilyn Pfeifer Swezey (University of Wisconsin Press, 2009) documented this astonishing friendship, conducted by letter between the two great liberators of East and West, who both fell, martyred by foul assassins.

Protecting the Union in its drive to abolish slavery against the British Empire was central both to the great tsar’s moral passion and his strategic vision to defend his country.

Alexander II’s grand strategy is never taught in the schools and universities of the Western World to this day but it was a brilliant success.

By 1870, Russian protection and support had ensured the survival and reunification of the United States in North America and the unification of Germany in Europe.

The alliance of the British and French Empires which had inflicted havoc around the world from Russia and Austria-Hungary to India, China, Mexico and the United States for 20 years was smashed when Napoleon III was toppled in France after Prussian forces captured him in the 1870 war.

Alexander put Britain on the global strategic defensive for the first time since its defeat in the American War of Independence 90 tears earlier. By 1870, the United States and Germany had already outstripped Britain in railroad construction and steel production. Both of them practiced protectionist tariff policies to protect the jobs and well-being, profit and industrial capabilities of their own peoples – a model that was also being adopted by Japan. Between the United States to the west and Germany to the east, Britain was boxed in and could no longer pose a direct threat to Russia.

Until the Russian Revolution, and the arrogant insanity of Woodrow Wilson (diagnosed as chronically insane by none other than Sigmund Freud himself, who wrote a book about it), the United States and Imperial Russia remained good friends.

Tsar Alexander sold Alaska to the United States. Lincoln’s surviving secretary of state William Seward negotiated the deal. Alexander even invited Lincoln and his First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln as his honored guests to St. Petersburg after he stepped down from the presidency and Lincoln accepted the offer.

In the event, Lincoln’s true heir, General Ulysses S. Grant took up the offer and was warmly entertained as the emperor’s guest in August 1878 just three years before his own assassination in 1881. (Grant, the most astute of observers, quietly noted that the great tsar seemed nervous and worn down after so many attempts on his life by the revolutionaries.)

This crucial true story of the real strategic context of the U.S. Civil War is never taught in any U.S. schools and universities. All U.S. politicians, policymakers and pundits (P3) are totally ignorant of it. Once again, total, pathetic ignorance of the most profound lessons of their own history has fatally blinded modern Americans.

How We Got Here: the Global Economy’s 75-Year Stumble to the Precipice

Par Andrey Areshev

Charles Hugh SMITH

Not only will there not be a recovery, but there can’t be a recovery, as those brittle extremes have been lost for good.

How did the global economy end up teetering on a precarious financial precipice? To formulate a cogent answer, let’s take a whirlwind tour of the history of the global economy 1946-2020.

Before we start the tour, I want to return briefly to my first Musings of the year, which was posted on January 4, 2020, before Covid-19 was officially announced on January 23, 2020. (The Musings Reports are sent weekly to patrons and subscribers at the $5/month or higher level.)

Instability Rising: Why 2020 Will Be Different:

“Economically, the 11 years since the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-09 have been one relatively coherent era of modest growth, rising wealth/income inequality and coordinated central bank stimulus every time a crisis threatened to disrupt the domestic or global economy.

This era will draw to a close in 2020 and a new era of destabilization and uncertainty begins.”

The long-term trends set up a row of dominoes that the pandemic has toppled. But any puff of air that toppled the first domino would have toppled all the dominoes of fragility, instability and unsustainable extremes that characterize the global economy.

The whirlwind tour of the global economy’s history must include these essential dynamics: energy, currencies, globalization, debt and financialization, which broadly speaking refers to everything that renders finance (borrowing, leverage, speculation) more profitable than actually generating goods and services.

The “glorious thirty” (Les Trente Glorieuses) years from 1946 to 1975 were decades of rising prosperity in the developed world (Europe, Japan, North America) and rapid development in the first tier of developing countries in Southeast Asia and elsewhere. (Decolonized nations and China struggled with political, social and economic turmoil.)

Costs were low for fuel, housing, food, healthcare, education, etc. as rebuilt industrial bases produced lower cost goods and oil/natural gas were cheap. The global currency market was stable as the U.S. dollar was pre-eminent, enabling Japan and Western Europe to sell their goods to America at discounted prices due to the strong dollar. This policy was explicitly designed to strengthen the economies of allies faced with the threat of the Soviet Union’s global ambitions.

The “glorious thirty” were also decades of rising wages and affordable, modestly growing credit and low inflation as the money supply expanded more or less in tandem with the expansion of goods and services and credit.

The wheels fell off in the 1970s as the oil-exporting nations muscled energy prices higher to gain a share of the profits, the gold-backed US dollar regime fell to pieces and inflation skyrocketed, generating a previously unknown economic malaise known as stagflation: high inflation plus stagnant growth.

At this same juncture, the external costs of industrial pollution finally came due, and global competition from lower-cost nations (helped by currencies that traded at deep discounts to the US dollar) crushed inefficient industries in the U.S. and Europe.

The 1980s saw a resurgence of growth, but with a different mix of sources. Demographically, the global postwar Baby Boom generation entered their highest productivity and spending years, boosting global demand, the supermassive new oil fields discovered in the early 1970s finally came online (Alaska, North Sea, West Africa), dramatically lowered the price of oil while soaring interest rates crushed inflation and wrung bad debt out of the developed economies, Developing nations that had struggled in the 1970s finally found their footing (India, China, South America, etc.)

The steep investment in reducing pollution began paying off and the first wave of financialization boosted mergers, buyouts and asset prices.

The 1980s was capped by the decline and fall of the Soviet Union, eliminating the costly military rivalry of the Cold War, and the collapse of Japan’s massive credit/asset bubble in 1989-90–a warning sign that was ignored as a one-off.

The 1990s continued the trend of global growth, aided by low inflation, cheap energy, expanding globalization and the mass commercialization of the Internet and computing, as technologies that were once expensive and difficult to use became affordable and accessible.

The Neoliberal ideology – that the way to solve virtually any problem, from poverty on up, is to turn everything into a global market of freely traded labor, capital, goods and services– became the default global economic faith, with some variations (a market economy with Chinese characteristics, etc.)

The 1990s was capped by the emergence of China as the manufacturing hub of the global economy, a role that was institutionalized by China’s acceptance into the WTO, and the bursting of the Dot-Com bubble in March 2000.

As globalization and financialization became dominant forces (the natural result of Neoliberalism), instabilities appeared in currency markets (the Thai baht / Asian contagion of the late 1990s) and asset markets (the Dot-Com stock market bubble). Japan’s recovery from the credit bubble collapse faltered, ushering in 30+ years of stagnation, leading to an overlooked social decay with extraordinary demographic and economic consequences that are still playing out.

As the global economy reeled from these instabilities in 1998-2000, central banks flooded asset markets with newly created currency, the goal being to stave off a recession, which burns off bad debt, marginal investments and companies, reducing credit expansion and consumption.

Rather than accept the risks of a conventional business-cycle recession, central banks pushed financialization to new heights–heights which quickly distorted markets.

As a result, the growth of the 2000s was different: in effect, central banks had created a credit/asset-bubble dependent economy, with growth coming not from lowering costs, improving productivity and rising wages, but from speculations in financialized markets.

This was simply the logical extension of Neoliberalism: if existing markets weren’t profitable enough, then create new markets for new exotic financial instruments and lower the cost of borrowing to spur consumption and investment.

The benefits of these financial instruments were asymmetric: those originating these instruments made billions, while the borrowers taking on the subprime mortgages, etc. were accepting risks they didn’t understand. This dynamic fueled soaring wealth/income inequality.

Apparently unbeknownst to central bankers, super-low interest rates and abundant liquidity didn’t spur investments in increasing productivity, it incentivized highly leveraged speculative bets. This manifested in subprime mortgages funding house-flipping by the masses and the origination of exotic financial instruments such as CDOs and CLOs.

Ultimately, the central banks’ no-holds-barred Neoliberalism led to the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2008-09, as the risks that were supposedly hedged blew up and the markets froze up (i.e. markets became illiquid as buyers vanished).

As former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan admitted, the central banks failed to see that markets are not as self-regulating as the Neoliberal faithful believed: when bubbles pop, buyers vanish and markets go bidless/illiquid: sellers are desperate to sell but there are no buyers at any price.

This was the inevitable end-game of financialized, globalized Neoliberalism, and rather than face that reality, central banks and policy-makers double-downed on the same policies that created the 2008 bubble that was destined to pop with horrific consequences to everyone who had a stake in any of the casino’s games.

We now come to the 2010s, in which financialization and globalization essentially conquered the global economy, leading to the brittle fragilities that are now unraveling.

With the cost of living rising and wages stagnating, the “solution” was to borrow $10 to get $1 of growth. Since global markets were saturated with debt and risk, lenders cannibalized domestic markets, loading college students with $2 trillion in student loans and enabling a fracking “miracle” that was less an energy miracle and more a financial miracle as companies that lost billions continued to get cheap loans and sell bonds.

The global economy is now teetering on a precipice in every sector: energy extraction costs have risen, requiring higher prices for oil, but consumers whose wages have stagnated for 20 years can no longer afford higher prices for oil or anything else.

Globalization has optimized profits at the expense of everything else: ecological sustainability, the security of food and energy sources, etc., while financialization has gutted the real economy in an extraction process that concentrates all the gains into the hands of the few at the top of the financialization/globalization pyramid: a winners-take-most economy that has corrupted and distorted the political and social orders.

All the critical dynamics–energy, currencies, globalization, debt and financialization–have reached extremes that made destabilization–i.e. a tumble into collapse–inevitable.

What happens when the naive hope that the brittle, fragile extremes of the global economy could be completely restored to mid-2019 levels dissipates and is replaced by the sober realization there not only will there not be a recovery, but there can’t be a recovery, as those brittle extremes have been lost for good?

Since the authorities have no Plan B, uncertainty, risk and volatility could reach extremes few anticipate as Plan A–push extremes to even riskier extremes–generates increasingly consequential unintended consequences.

The unstable, brittle edge of the precipice is giving way, and there is nothing but air below.

oftwominds.com

À partir d’avant-hierStrategic Culture Foundation

Russian Bounties: Here We Go Again

Par Andrey Areshev

In case you’ve been living in a cave the last few weeks, here’s latest news scoop riling the United States: Russia has been paying the Afghan Taliban bounties for American scalps.

How do we know? Because the New York Times tells us so, and the Times is not the kind of paper to make stuff up. But how does the Times know it’s true? Because sources say so, sources so super-sensitive and high up that it can’t reveal their names. All it can say according to in a front-page exposé that ran on June 26 is that they consist of “officials briefed on the matter” and “officials [who] spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the delicate intelligence and internal deliberations.”

What could be more convincing? But the Times has since added more details from more sources, all anonymous of course. On June 27, it reported that the tip was so solid that it made its way into the morning intelligence wrap-up known as “president’s daily brief,” even though President Trump says he never heard a word. On June 28, it said that two “officials briefed on the matter … believed at least one U.S. troop death was the result of the bounties” and that another unnamed official said that “[i]nterrogations of captured militants and criminals played a central role in making the intelligence community confident in its assessment that the Russians had offered and paid bounties in 2019.”

So it turns out officials they have evidence after all even though we still have no idea what it is. Finally, the Times reported on June 30 that suspicions were aroused when “American officials intercepted electronic data showing large financial transfers from a bank account controlled by Russia’s military intelligence agency to a Taliban-linked account.” Then came the usual disclaimer:

“The three American officials who described and confirmed details about the basis for the intelligence assessment spoke on the condition of anonymity amid swelling turmoil over the Trump administration’s failure to authorize any response to Russia’s suspected proxy targeting of American troops and playing down of the issue after it came to light four days ago.”

It’s all true even though the Times can’t say who its sources are because … because … well, just because it can’t.

Still, the Times wants us to believe since the effect is to discredit two of its top bêtes noires, Trump and Vladimir Putin. (It would score an all-too-perfect trifecta if it could somehow rope Bashar al-Assad into the bargain, but that’s probably asking too much.) In any case, why not play along all that turmoil can continue to swell?

But we can’t for one simple reason: the chances of the story being true, conservatively speaking, are somewhere between zero and one percent.

Why? Let’s start with the most obvious. An assertion by some spook or other is not the same thing as evidence, as the redoubtable Caitlin Johnstone has pointed out. Rather, it’s an opinion that neutral bystanders are free to accept or reject. An assertion by an anonymous spook, moreover, is even more unimpressive. Meanwhile, not only has U.S. intelligence compiled a record of accuracy over the last two decades that couldn’t be more dismal, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who ran the CIA for fifteen months in 2017-18, actually bragged about the agency’s skill in misleading the public. As he put it, “We lied, we cheated, we stole … we had entire training courses.” So after lying about everything from weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to “golden showers” in the Moscow Ritz Carlton, why should we believe the “intelligence community” now when it says it’s telling the truth?

All Cretans are liars, saith Epimenides the Cretan – which is a fancy way saying we shouldn’t, not unless we want to be led by the nose into another disastrous war, that is.

But the report doesn’t even make sense. Not only have the Taliban been at war with the United States since 2001, they’re winning. So why should Russia pay them to do what they’ve been happily doing on their own for close to two decades? Contrary to what the Times wants us to believe, there’s no evidence that Russia backs the Taliban or wants the U.S. to leave with its tail between its legs. Quite the opposite as a quick glance at a map will attest. Given that Afghanistan abuts the former Soviet republics of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan and is less than a thousand miles from Chechnya, where Russia fought a brutal war against Sunni Islamist separatists in 1999-2000, the last thing it wants is a Muslim fundamentalist republic in the heart of Central Asia.

The same goes for China since Afghanistan also shares a small border with the troubled autonomous region of Xinjiang. What both countries want is stability, which is why they’re hoping against hope that the Kabul government will somehow prevail and that the Taliban will remain at an arm’s length.

This is not to say that Moscow doesn’t experience an occasional surge of schadenfreude over America’s plight in Afghanistan. How could it not given that the U.S. financed a decade-long war that drove the Soviets out in 1989 and now, thirty years or so later, finds itself caught in the same trap in precisely the same locale?

It’s an irony worth savoring. Yet schadenfreude is a luxury that Vladimir Putin, with his finely tuned sense of realpolitik, can ill afford. This is why the Kremlin has made it clear that it doesn’t want a U.S. collapse since it would almost surely lead to a replay of the anarchy of the early 1990s. As even the neo-conservative Institute for the Study of War – headed by such luminaries as Bill Kristol, Kimberly Kagan, and ex-Senator Joe Lieberman – concedes:

“…Russia is concerned about the growth of Islamism and terrorism in its traditional sphere of influence or ‘near abroad’ – the Balkans, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. Many militants from these areas have significant ties to the Taliban, al-Qaeda, or other groups in Afghanistan, and therefore Russia does not want to see a Taliban comeback in Kabul or a failed state emerge in Afghanistan. While the Kremlin may disapprove of NATO’s presence along its southern frontier, it does not want to see Afghanistan become a safe haven for a separatist, terrorist, or Islamist forces.

This is why Russia, the ISW adds, “allowed the U.S. and its partners to set up bases in its ‘near abroad’ in Central Asia – Uzbekistan and later Kyrgyzstan – and allowed for the transport of supplies through Russian territory.” It did so because defeating Islamism was its prime goal then and remains so today. But if that’s the case, why reverse course now by paying Afghan mujahideen to kill U.S. troops?

There’s no reason to think it would since it’s unnecessary and the outcry would be sure to be enormous if word got out – as inevitably it would. The fact that the New York Times doesn’t even consider such questions makes its reporting seem all the more dubious.

Still, that hasn’t stopped Democrats from seizing the occasion to pummel Trump yet again as a Kremlin puppet. This is something they’ve been doing nonstop since 2016, and the only thing it’s gotten them has been to firm up Trump’s poll numbers and make themselves look like fools. But even though Trump is destroying his own prospects thanks to his disastrous handling of Covid-19, they’re doing it again. Could it be that, deep down, they want him to win after all?

Netherlands ‘Justice’ Is Totally Corrupt: MH17 Case as Example

Par Andrey Areshev

Eric ZUESSE

On Friday, July 3rd, the judge in the Netherlands court case against Russia as having fired a Buk missile that brought down the Malaysian Airlines plane that Ukrainian Air Traffic Control had instructed to fly over Ukraine’s civil-war zone on 17 July 2014 ruled out any consideration of evidence from Russia.

Judge Hendrik Steenhuis “refused to allow Russian military intelligence to reveal where the missile was located between 1987 and July 17, 2014, when the Dutch prosecution claims the missile was fired by a Russian military crew at MH17,” as John Helmer reported on Friday. The Dutch prosecutor says that that Buk missile was fired by Russia’s Government, not by Ukraine’s Government, and that it was owned by Russia and had been maintained by Russia ever since having been manufactured in Russia in 1986, and the Dutch judge announced that he refuses to consider Russia’s evidence to the contrary.

Russia’s Government alleges that it can provide evidence that that missile did not, in fact, bring the airliner down, and that, instead, it was brought down by two Ukrainian Air Force jets that fired directly at and into the airliner’s pilot, but previously the Dutch court had ruled out any consideration of such evidence, though even the Dutch Government’s own investigation included and buried the following information, as I reported just a few days ago on June 24th:

The Dutch Government’s 279-page investigative findings on the “Crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17” were published in October 2015, and reported, on page 84, (under 2.13.2 “Crew autopsy”) that “First Officer Team A … During the body scan of the First Officer’s body, over 120 objects (mostly metal fragments) were detected. The majority of the fragments were found in left side of the upper torso.” Then, it reported, on page 85 (under 2.13.3) “the First Officer, from Team A, who was operating the aeroplane at the time of the crash.”

(Note that they buried this crucial information, instead of saying clearly that “The pilot’s upper left torso, immediately to the left of the area of the fuselage that had been shot out, had 120 objects that were mostly metal fragments.”) (Here is a closer picture of that side-panel on the left side of the fuselage, to the pilot’s immediate left, and here is that side-panel shown back on the airliner, so that one can see that this firing had to have been done from below, shooting upward into the pilot.)

This crucial physical finding, that the pilot’s corpse had been loaded with “over 120 objects (mostly metal fragments),” is entirely consistent with the side-panel’s having been shot through by bullets, which would have been coming from a Ukrainian military jet and aimed upward, directly at the pilot. That marksman had to have been highly proficient in order to hit the pilot so accurately with so many bullets.

Nothing else was found to be shot through with anything like such an intensity of “mostly metal fragments,” but only the pilot’s upper left torso. This, alone, is virtually conclusive proof that a Ukrainian military jet plane had fired directly at the pilot in order to bring down this civilian plane. (More will be cited here, in #2 below.)

All of this evidence was entirely buried and ignored by the Dutch Government, revealed deep in the report, and only in sub-clauses, instead of in any direct sentences. Furthermore“There have been two or three pieces of fuselage that have been really pockmarked with what almost looks like machine-gun fire, very very strong machine-gun fire.” This remarkable statement comes not from Haisenko, but from one of the first OSCE investigators who arrived at the scene of the disaster. Go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ze9BNGDyk4  and you will see it. [But, now, it has been removed. Here is the information on that video. That video was titled “OSCE monitor mentions bullet holes in MH17”.]

That evidence is consistent with the Dutch Government’s having found (but buried) that the pilot’s corpse had been riddled with “metal fragments.”

The matter which was being addressed on July 3rd was strictly concerning which Government owned and operated that Buk missile (which Russia has always contended did not bring down that plane).

Previously, when Ukraine’s Government authorized Holland’s Government to investigate and rule on what caused the MH17 to be shot down, Holland’s Government signed onto a secret agreement with Ukraine’s Government that included a provision allowing Ukraine’s Government to block and prevent any finding from being issued that would implicate Ukraine’s Government in having shot it down. Holland’s Government violates its own Freedom of Information law by refusing to make public what that secret agreement says. However, at the time when the existence of the agreement slipped through into mention by a Ukrainian news-site on 8 August 2014, that news-report said “As part of the four-party agreement signed on August 8 between Ukraine, the Netherlands, Belgium and Australia [all of which nations are allies of the United States and are cooperating with its new Cold War against Russia], information on the investigation into the disaster Malaysian ‘Boeing-777’ will not be disclosed.”

thesaker.is

Ambassadors Are Not Completely Useless, It Seems. Many Are Getting Their Hands Dirty in New Diplomacy

Par Andrey Areshev

Diplomacy is in a crisis, re-emerging as something else more sinister and darker for its ambassadors. From Venezuela to Lebanon though, their time is up. Their dirty game is no longer a secret and it will be the starving Lebanese who will unseat them.

Diplomacy has been in the news quite a bit in late June. Yet it has still left many of us wondering if there is ever a real role for diplomats to play in this junk-news, social media-obsessed world which has reduced them to mere “waiters who are occasionally allowed to sit down” as Peter Ustinov once put it.

But Venezuela’s President Nicholas Maduro, who the West hates, has proved (contrary to my own thoughts) that diplomats are not entirely useless. Indeed, one could argue that they have a role to play – even a nefarious one – which is why he has thrown out of the country the EU’s own ‘ambassador’ in Caracas. Just recently the EU imposed fresh sanctions on 11 officials there, which follows an earlier ruse to topple Maduro, which involved an arms embargo enforced in 2017.

Maduro is simply getting tired of the dirty tricks that the EU is playing there which include recognising Juan Guaido as “interim president” despite no elections being held. Typically for the EU, any pretences of democratic leanings are dispatched into the long grass when Brussels doesn’t get what it wants – whether we’re talking about re-running referendums when the result is ’wrong’ or installing their own puppet as president in south American regimes which are aligned to their interests.

It was very good though of Maduro to arrange a plane for Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa though during a corona lockdown where all flights are cancelled. I wonder if this move will start a trend with the EU’s 120 or so diplomats around the world, who are mainly based in poor countries where they can bully local despots into signing up to their hegemony – and getting trade and aid in return.

In most cases though this won’t be the knock-on effect as local EU ‘ambassadors’ rarely hold their host countries to account on human rights atrocities. In Morocco where I live, for example, we haven’t heard a squeak out of the EU delegation in Rabat over a spate of journalists being arrested here on trumped up sex-related charges, or even the more sobering reports of the Moroccan government allegedly buying Israeli spy software and using it to bug journalists – denied firmly by Rabat of course.

The same can be said for the British ambassador here who is excremental in making video clips and arranging local media to interview him when the main subject is…himself. But not a word from Thomas Reilly on the local journalists. Given that Reilly hasn’t achieved a single thing for Britain in three years of extreme sycophancy of both elites in Morocco and the UK and is singularly incapable of pulling off one deal for UK businesses, one has to ask the question, what is the point of him?

Indeed, the Foreign Office in London have asked the same question and have concluded that he has to go in the coming weeks, cutting short his expected term by one year.

But it is a valid question. What is the point of diplomats in this age? What should their role be when, in Reilly’s case, all it amounted to be was naked self-promotion to gentrify himself. And yet, even at that, he seems to have failed.

The answer seems to be that they do have a role. It’s just not the one which is sold to us. They are not there to help stranded tourists (the UK embassy’s failure in Morocco is legendary as there are still British tourists as I write stranded here); their role is not to oil the wheels of international business as Reilly’s track record is null. And their role is certainly not to improve relations between their host country and their own. Relations between Britain and Morocco are so bad that the foreign minister in Rabat won’t see – or be seen – with Reilly, who, in turn, doesn’t even rate the gentleman as worthy of an official visit.

A lot of smoke and mirrors. But when you see through the fog, you see that diplomats today have a more disreputable role to play, when required. Just look at the Madeleine McCann scandal which is surfacing once again and examine the role of the British embassy in Portugal whose ambassador initially went to the holiday resort where Maddie was snatched and did his own snooping – with the conclusion that he recommends in a letter to the Foreign Office in London in 2007 that the government should distance itself from the McCanns who he suspects are complicit in their daughter’s death. What followed was a tawdry policy decision by Tony Blair which challenges the Ambassador’s findings (inconsistent witness statements) and kicks off the most corrupt campaign to support the McCanns and to put as much government resources into the ‘abduction’ theory as possible (which supports their innocence). John Buck, the UK ambassador there at the time must have asked himself what is the point of being an ambassador (when London has almost no regard for his point of view whatsoever) while many British people would question whether it’s correct of diplomats to investigate murders.

London didn’t want Buck to do any work unless it concluded in their own political agenda of supporting the McCanns and smothering any possible scandal which could disrupt the EU’s expansion process of going on at the time, The Lisbon Agenda.

And even today we see more examples of diplomats neither helping their own citizens, nor supporting their own countries industries – let alone smoothing relations between their own country and their hosts – but more involved in dirty work.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how the EU was aligning itself with the U.S. over China. In recent days though that informal policy has become formalised into what could only be called an EU-U.S. ‘gang bang’ against Beijing. Goaded on by Mike Pompeo and amid a few denials, it seems that both these blocks are tag-teaming to present a double barrelled policy towards China, post corona. I’m certain diplomats have their hands sullied by this on both sides where they work surreptitiously before cleaning themselves up the next day to do a zoom interview by a local useful elitist idiot who showers them with torrential bullshit about their achievements and presents them with a cake and a candle.

Have a heart for the Lebanese who treated ambassadors of EU countries like superstars, without realising how they were being duped. Now, via twitter, more and more Lebanese are coming to me and regaling me about the utter impotence of EU and – in particular – the British ambassador in Beirut. As now mere spectators to an economy which is heading towards the Venezuela model, as for the first time, bread queues make the headlines, along with middle class Lebanese having empty fridges – the Lebanese reflect on the role of these diplomats. What are they doing? What is the point of them?

How long before the angry crowds in Lebanon vent their anger towards EU embassies and even the EU ‘delegation’ office itself when their unreserved uselessness becomes more and more evident? As each day passes, diplomats there become richer and richer as the local currency crashes but the ambassadors continue to draw their hard currency salaries. Soon only the hyper inflated food in the super markets will be bought by these diplomats while humble Lebanese starve.

Will people think about the role of diplomats then? Will they then be allowed to “sit occasionally” and eat magre du canard while middle class Lebanese can’t even buy bread? Will the starving Lebanese then begin to think of them as supporting the corrupt elite and therefore part of the problem itself?

Fear of Falling

Par Andrey Areshev

Can Making Black Lives Matter Rescue a Failing State?

Rebecca GORDON

You know that feeling when you trip on the street and instantly sense that you’re about to crash hard and there’s no way to prevent it? As gravity has its way with you, all you can do is watch yourself going down. Yeah, that feeling.

I had it the other day on my way to a Black Lives Matter demonstration when I caught my toe on a curb and pitched forward. As time slowed down, I saw not my past, but my future, pass before my eyes — a future that would at worst include months of rehabbing a broken hip and at best a few weeks hobbling around on crutches. I was lucky. Nothing was broken and I’ll probably be off the crutches by the time you read this.

But that feeling of falling and knowing it’s too late to stop it has stayed with me. I suspect it reflects a sensation many people in the United States might be having right now, a sense that time is moving slowly while we watch a flailing country in a slow-motion free fall. It has taken decades of government dereliction to get us to this point and a few years of Trumpian sabotage to show us just where we really are. To have any hope of pulling back from the brink, however, will take the determination of organizations like the Movement for Black Lives.

That national descent, when it came, proved remarkably swift. In less than six months, we’ve seen more than 2.5 million confirmed Covid-19 infections and more than 125,000 deaths. And it’s not slowing down. June 24th, in fact, saw the biggest single-day total in new U.S. infections (more than 38,000) since April and that number may well have been superseded by the time this piece comes out. During this pandemic, we’ve gone from an economy of almost full employment — even if at starvation levels for those earning a minimum wage — to one with the worst unemployment since the Great Depression (even as billionaires have once again made a rather literal killing). The government’s response to these twin catastrophes has been feckless at best and criminal at worst. While this country may not yet be a failed state, it’s certainly in a free fall all its own.

What Is a Failed State?

People use this expression to indicate a political entity whose government has ceased to perform most or all of its basic functions. Such a condition can result from civil war, untrammeled corruption, natural disaster, or some combination of those and more. The Fund for Peace, which has been working on such issues for more than 70 years, lists four criteria to identify such a country:

  • “Loss of control of its territory, or of the monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force therein
  • Erosion of legitimate authority to make collective decisions
  • Inability to provide public services
  • Inability to interact with other states as a full member of the international community”

I’ve always thought of such fallen lands (sometimes given a fatal shove by my own government) as far-away places. Countries like Libya. The Fund for Peace identifies that beleaguered and now fractured nation, where rival armed forces compete for primacy, as the one in which government fragility has increased most over the last decade. The present chaos began when the United States and its NATO allies stepped in militarily, precipitating the overthrow of autocrat Muammar Qaddafi, with no particular plan for the day after.

Then there’s Yemen, where Washington’s support for the intervention of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates only exacerbated an ongoing civil war, whose civilian victims have been left to confront famine, cholera, and most recently, with a shattered healthcare system, the coronavirus. And before Libya and Yemen, don’t forget the Bush administration’s disastrous 2003 invasion of Iraq, which damaged that country’s physical and political infrastructure in ways it is now, 17 years later, starting to dig out of.

So, yes, I’d known about failed states, but it wasn’t until I read “We Are Living in a Failed State” by George Packer in the June 2020 Atlantic magazine that I began to seriously entertain the idea that my country was bouncing down the same flight of stairs. As that article’s subtitle put it: “The coronavirus didn’t break America. It revealed what was already broken.”

The Monopoly of the Legitimate Use of Force

In his 1919 lecture “Politics as a Vocation,” German sociologist Max Weber observed that “a state is a human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory.” In other words, a state is a given territory whose inhabitants recognize that only one institution, the government, has the capacity — and therefore the right — to authorize the use of violence against members of the community.

Weber described three main ways that the use of violence acquires legitimacy: through long tradition, through the charisma of individual leaders, or in the case of many modern states, through the rule of law. In a way, Donald Trump’s administration can be viewed as one long attempt to roll back the legitimacy derived from the rule of law and replace it with the power of one man’s personal charisma. The president’s often-bumbling attempts to rule by fiat have reminded many fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation of a hapless imitation of Captain Jean-Luc Picard repeatedly calling out from the bridge of the Enterprise, “Make it so!”

Recently, however, Trump has used his presidential authority to directly threaten his own citizens with military force. On June 1st, he said at a Rose Garden press conference, “If a city or a state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.” Minutes later, he showed just how it could be done, when protesters in Washington, D.C.’s Lafayette Square were attacked by a combined force of National Guard, federal Park Police, and Secret Service agents. That last group Trump chose to congratulate for the job they did in a celebratory tweet, addressing them as the “S.S.,” an evocation — one hopes unintentional — of the Schutzstaffel (a Nazi paramilitary force of the previous century.) The world saw, as the Washington Post reported, “federal officers shoving protesters with shields and firing pepper balls, chemical grenades, and smoke bombs at retreating crowds” — all so the president could have a photo op with his buddy, the Bible, in front of a church down the street from the White House.

Max Weber was hardly suggesting that, in a functional state, only the government uses force to achieve its ends. Residents would still, for instance, experience criminal violence. When a state begins to fail, however, it either can’t or won’t prevent other forces from threatening or using violence — a growing trend in Donald Trump’s America. He has even, for instance, encouraged attendees at his rallies to “knock the crap out of” hecklers and offered to pay their legal fees afterward. We’ve watched him congratulate a Republican congressman for physically attacking a reporter and noted his approval of some “very fine people” at the 2017 Unite the Right march in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a white nationalist murdered a woman by driving his car into a crowd of counterdemonstrators.

Recently, the president’s support for extralegal violence has taken a far more sinister turn. Now, he’s given his imprimatur not just to his individual supporters, but to armed militias opposing their states’ efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. He’s urged them to “LIBERATE!” places like Michigan and Virginia, approved of armed vigilantes physically menacing legislators deliberating about Michigan’s stay-at-home policies, and had no objection to their parading in front of the office of Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer with signs bearing slogans like “Tyrants get the rope!” His encouragement of armed resistance to state authority so alarmed Washington Governor Jay Inslee that he accused the president of “fomenting domestic rebellion.”

What do you call a nation in which armed militias can threaten officials without fear of penalty? Whether it’s Libya or the U.S., I’d call it a state on the way to failing.

Eroding the Legitimacy of Collective Decision Making

The United States is a republic. Those who can vote elect representatives who make the laws that govern us. That’s how federal and state constitutions, city charters, and town bylaws have set out the major process for collective decision-making in this country. (Of course, sometimes we also participate more directly, as when we speak or write about public affairs, demonstrate our concerns in marches with banners and chants, or organize ourselves as communities, workers, or other groups of people sharing common interests.)

Recognizing that this country is still officially a republic doesn’t mean that everyone legally entitled to vote is actually able to vote. I wish that were so. In many parts of this country, however, the Republicans have been working assiduously to make voting by some of us either illegal or impossible.

In my lifetime, African Americans (and some white allies) died to secure the vote, an effort that culminated in the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In 2013, however, under George W. Bush-appointed Chief Justice John Roberts, the Supreme Court essentially gutted the act. Ever since, we’ve seen an acceleration of efforts to reduce access to the polls for African Americans and other marginalized groups. These include onerous voter identification procedures and restrictions on early voting or access to vote-by-mail options. The Brennan Center for Justice reports that, in the past decade, 25 states have imposed new restrictions on voting.

To the extent that Americans recognize elections as a means of collective decision-making, it’s because a sufficient number of us have confidence in the basic integrity of the system. In less functional societies, the results of elections are frequently, sometimes violently, contested by the losing side. So it’s one thing — and bad enough — for local jurisdictions to make it difficult or impossible for particular groups of people to vote. It’s quite another when a country’s leader acts to undermine public confidence in the entire electoral process.

That, of course, is exactly what Donald Trump has been doing from the moment of his 2016 electoral victory when he began blaming his failure to win the popular vote on millions of ballots supposedly cast illegally by undocumented immigrants. He even set up a presidential commission to investigate such a massive fraud, which later disbanded without finding any evidence to support his contention.

Nonetheless, the president revisited the theme of voter fraud in a 2019 address to young conservatives, this time throwing in a few made-up details for verisimilitude:

“…and then those illegals get out and vote, because they vote anyway. Don’t kid yourself. Those numbers in California and numerous other states, they’re rigged. They’ve got people voting that shouldn’t be voting. They vote many times, not just twice, not just three times. It’s like a circle. They come back, they put a new hat on. They come back, they put a new shirt on. And in many cases, they don’t even do that. You know what’s going on. It’s a rigged deal.”

In the context of an ongoing pandemic, the most sensible way to hold the November 2020 election is largely by mail. Oregon has held successful all-mail elections for two decades. In fact, mail-in voting turns out both to be efficient and to substantially boost participation. (Oregon’s turnout was a whopping 63% in the 2018 midterm election.) Greater turnout, however, often favors Democratic candidates, which may be why Trump has launched a campaign against mail-in elections, claiming they are fraught with fraud, making his own wild claims in the process. In May, for instance, he tweeted:

“There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed.”

Only recently, he went at it again, all-cap tweeting: “RIGGED 2020 ELECTION: MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND OTHERS. IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!”

Undermining public confidence in electoral integrity is a vicious strategy. In a country armed to the teeth like this one, when Trump encourages his supporters to believe that only massive fraud will explain his losing the 2020 election, he’s playing a dangerous game indeed. You know that you’re in a new world when opinion writers in the mainstream media find themselves asking if Trump will actually relinquish the White House, should he lose the election. (And if he is losing and vote-by-mail slows the counting process in some states, he’ll use any delay after November 3rd to create further “rigged-election” chaos.)

Inability to Provide Public Services

There’s no need to rehearse here the hideous details of the Trump administration’s abject failure to confront the spread of Covid-19 and to acknowledge the people it’s killed. Suffice it to say that a combination of disinterest and incompetence at the federal level has thrown responsibility on individual states and counties, which have found themselves in competition for life-saving equipment and have even been reduced to begging the federal government for support. As thousands were dying, corrupt procurement processes led to absurdities like the purchase of millions of miniature (and unusable) soda bottles instead of the glass tubes needed for virus testing.

As a result, by June 20, 2020, the U.S., with 4.25% of the world’s population, accounted for more than 26% of its 8.9 million verified coronavirus cases and about the same proportion of Covid-19 deaths. However, even if the administration’s response had been well-prepared and brilliantly executed, the pandemic would still have revealed this country’s longstanding inability to provide basic healthcare to large numbers of its citizens, especially in communities of color and among the poor.

As Covid-19 spreads in jails and prisons, a grim new aspect of decades of unnecessary and cruel mass incarceration has been revealed. As it ravages encampments of unhoused people, the virus continues to reveal to anyone who hadn’t already noticed the nation’s decades-long inability to house its citizens. The pandemic has also illuminated the devastation wrought by the most profound level of economic inequality since the Gilded Age — the inevitable result of combining staggering tax cuts for the rich with the systematic dismantling of one public service after another, from public education to infrastructure maintenance to emergency food support.

The country that, until recently, had the world’s greatest economy can’t even guarantee clean drinking water for 63 million Americans. The lead-contaminated water of Flint, Michigan, is only the best-known example of this.

Recently, the Ford Foundation, with other big nonprofit funders, made an extraordinary announcement. In the face of the government’s inability to respond adequately to the present crisis, they plan to make at least a billion dollars in new grants. Foundations giving away money is, of course, nothing new. What’s different is how they plan to fund this operation: by issuing “social bonds” — investment instruments for sale alongside U.S. Treasury bills and municipal bonds.

What does it say about a country when private foundations find themselves driven to borrow money in the bond market to provide public services that ought to come from the government?

Inability to Act as a Full Member of the International Community

Here, too, the Trump administration has pushed the United States towards failure. Though this country had, in the past, routinely acted less like a member of the international community than its hegemon, with this president there is no longer even a semblance of international cooperation on global issues. He’s withdrawn us from a previously successful treaty to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, as well as from successful Cold War treaties to control them. He’s repeatedly threatened to pull the U.S. out of NATO and placed sanctions on individuals working with the International Criminal Court investigating possible American war crimes in Afghanistan. In the midst of this global pandemic, he’s even pulling out of the World Health Organization.

Perhaps most disastrous of all, he’s reneged on our obligations under the Paris climate accord, thereby undermining humanity’s best hope of staving off an ecological catastrophe.

Under Donald Trump, in other words, the United States has demonstrated that even if it is not unable to take its place among the community of nations, it is certainly unwilling to do so.

Can Black Lives Matter Break the Fall?

My thinking about our nation’s rapid fall into failure began with my personal tumble on the way to a Black Lives Matter demonstration. In a way, that couldn’t be more fitting, because African Americans, particularly through their presence on the streets and in the media, are leading the present effort to pull this country back from the brink and toward legitimacy, more collective decision-making, the genuine provision of people’s needs, and participation in the community of nations.

The platform of the Movement for Black Lives represents an excellent place to start when it comes to preventing this country from becoming a failed state. The document itself is the result of an extended process of collective discussion and decision-making. Its goals include ending police violence and mass incarceration; investing in community needs; supporting the rights of women, LGBTQ communities, and immigrants; creating economic justice; and increasing black political power.

The Black Lives Matter movement began in response to this country’s long history of state-sanctioned violence against African Americans, whether in the form of lynching, cultural erasure, forced labor, or predatory lending. More than a century of violent, indeed murderous, policing of black and other marginalized communities has made this country’s use of state violence profoundly illegitimate. The present wave of resistance has forced the rest of the country, and the world, to look at it squarely.

If the U.S. is to break its headlong rush into failed statehood, it must begin by addressing the legitimate demands of the people this country has failed from its very inception. Through that process we might also begin to restore our nation’s collective decision-making, improve the genuine provision of public services, and make a new and better place for ourselves in the community of nations. Without it, there is no hope of doing so.

We shouldn’t fool ourselves, though. In Donald Trump’s — or even Joe Biden’s — United States, it’s going to be a long, hard haul. But better that than a steep fall.

tomdispatch.com

Russia’s Political Stability Ensured While the West Sinks

Par Andrey Areshev

Despite what American and European commentators may think, there really is a deep desire among people to vote for their own sovereignty. And that impulse was on full display last week with the announcement of the results of Russia’s public vote to approve the changes to its constitution.

The final tally put the vote at 78% in favor with a 65% voter turnout for the referendum. These are the most sweeping changes to Russia’s constitution since it was ratified back in 1993, which vested the President with immense power.

And while the final package of reforms differed in one important aspect from the original one – allowing for a president to serve more than two ‘consecutive’ terms – the over-arching theme of the changes was to devolve power out of the presidency putting more power in the hands of the elected representatives in the Duma.

The president’s cabinet is to be drawn from the Duma rather than the appointed by the president, while the State Council has been officially added to the constitution which can implement presidential edicts directly to the regions. In effect, there is now a greater balance (and tension) between these various branches of government as the president loses control over appointing his cabinet but strengthens his ability to bypass the elected parliament.

What was clear at the outset of this process was that Putin was trying to prepare his succession while minimizing the potential for another ‘foreign puppet’ to wield the immense power of the Russian presidency, as it was under Boris Yeltsin.

Putin was looking to retire in 2024, at 71, with an eye of maintaining a strong presence in Russian politics by leading the Security Council, which with these reforms has a more direct role in shaping military and diplomatic policy than it did before.

Back in December I did a podcast with Alexander Mercouris of The Duran where we discussed these potential changes in detail (which pre-dates the changes to the president’s term limit) which I think is important to review at this point since the changes are now law.

No matter what political perspective you come from there will be valid criticisms of these changes seeing the potential for abuse, but the overall arc of them is to make Russia far more resistant to outside interference while reflecting the growing pride of Russians for their home and their surviving the hell imposed on them post-USSR.

And these changes have to be viewed through that lens. In my mind Russia has been in a state of war with the West since late 2013 with the EU’s attempt to fast-track Ukraine into its bosom. That morphed into the Maidan uprising and the subsequent reunification with Crimea and the War to Prevent Donbass Secession.

Putin came to power at the height of Russia’s post-Soviet economic and societal collapse. He knows who was behind it and where, metaphorically, the bodies are buried. He is still making moves which are, at best, incremental changes which are achievable when obvious wholesale changes are necessary.

That’s what a lot of these constitutional changes represent, incremental changes necessary to secure Russia’s near-term future in the context of an infinitely hostile West in the death throes of Empire.

For that reason, they are welcome, if to be distrusted as all power is to be inherently distrusted. And the Russian people understand the nature of the conflict to the degree that they were motivated to make a definitive statement about it.

The response from the western press has been suitably pathetic, leading with headlines which only emphasize the potential for Putin to remain in power until 2036 (at which point he’ll be 83) and the small pockets of resistance to these changes.

The people crying the most today are the neoliberal/neocons and their intelligence agents who Putin has consistently outmaneuvered over the past thirty years who planned on waiting him out. These changes to the constitution may, in the end, as Gilbert Doctorow suggests, strengthen the presidency in unforeseen ways, but the one thing it does do is ensure that if Russia is to sink into autocracy it will do so on its terms and not on those that openly destroyed it back in the 1990’s.

This is an age of extreme political instability which reflects the poisoned economic foundation those institutions are built upon. All across the West we are seeing massive resistance to the existing order from all sides of the political spectrum. Their anger and frustration have the same genesis while their goals are vastly different.

The powers that be are behind the ones aimed at tearing down the political order in the U.S. while opposing the same drive in Europe. The irony shouldn’t be lost on anyone that a color revolution is underway in the U.S. where the institutional system is vested in a national government with individual states still operating in accordance with that national government.

While at the same time, a loose collection of treaties binds sovereign nations together into the European Union which has almost zero legal authority to enforce its edicts, but which has violently resisted all expressions of national sovereignty as barbaric.

So, the picture should be very clear what the dynamic is and who is pulling what strings to what end. And this is why there is the kind of howling and teeth gnashing coming from the West over these reforms, they cannot allow to stand any successful expression of national sovereignty lest the serfs get some funny ideas.

But I don’t think either of these dynamics will win out ultimately. The U.S. in its current form may not survive its civil war but neither will Europe go gently into the long night of The Davos Crowd’s intended supranational police state either.

The key to Putin’s success has been his conservative nature which understands that change comes over time. You can’t force lasting change. You have to allow people time to get used to an idea while also be willing to admit some changes made were the wrong ones.

That’s why these changes passed with a near 80% majority. They were overwhelmingly in agreement with public opinion about what Russia’s future should look like and who should make those decisions.

As such Russians stated to the world the other day that the truly dangerous disease infecting the West – unrestrained liberalism bordering on the libertine – will not be public policy going forward.

VIDEO: Is There Really Such a Thing as White Privilege?

Par Andrey Areshev

From the restricted perspective of Segregation America or Apartheid South Africa – Yes. But from a greater historical perspective this idea is madness. Watch the video and read more in the article by Daniel Lazare.

Afghan Bounty Scandal Comes at Suspiciously Important Time for U.S. Military-Industrial Complex

Par Andrey Areshev

The latest scandal, like others before it, is based on scant testimony by anonymous officials and has had the effect of pushing liberal opinion on US foreign policy into a far more hawkish direction.

Alan MACLEOD

Based on anonymous intelligence sources, The New York TimesWashington Post, and Wall Street Journal released bombshell reports alleging that Russia is paying the Taliban bounties for every U.S. soldier they can kill. The story caused an uproar in the United States, dominating the news cycle and leading presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden to accuse Trump of “dereliction of duty” and “continuing his embarrassing campaign of deference and debasing himself before Vladimir Putin.” “This is beyond the pale,” the former vice-president concluded.

However, there are a number of reasons to be suspicious of the new reports. Firstly, they appear all to be based entirely on the same intelligence officials who insisted on anonymity. The official could not provide any concrete evidence, nor establish that any Americans had actually died as a result, offering only vague assertions and admitting that the information came from “interrogated” (i.e. tortured) Afghan militants. All three reports stressed the uncertainty of the claims, with the only sources who went on record — the White House, the Kremlin, and the Taliban — all vociferously denying it all.

The national security state also has a history of using anonymous officials to plant stories that lead to war. In 2003, the country was awash with stories that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, in 2011 anonymous officials warned of an impending genocide in Libya, while in 2018 officials accused Bashar al-Assad of attacking Douma with chemical weapons, setting the stage for a bombing campaign. All turned out to be untrue.

“After all we’ve been through, we’re supposed to give anonymous ‘intelligence officials’ in The New York Times the benefit of the doubt on something like this? I don’t think so,” Scott Horton, Editorial Director of Antiwar.com and author of “Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan,” told MintPress News. “All three stories were written in language conceding they did not know if the story was true,” he said, “They are reporting the ‘fact’ that there was a rumor.”

Horton continued: “There were claims in 2017 that Russia was arming and paying the Taliban, but then the generals admitted to Congress they had no evidence of either. In a humiliating debacle, also in 2017, CNN claimed a big scoop about Putin’s support for the Taliban when furnished with some photos of Taliban fighters with old Russian weapons. The military veteran journalists at Task and Purpose quickly debunked every claim in their piece.”

Others were equally skeptical of the new scandal. “The bottom line for me is that after countless (Russiagate related) anonymous intelligence leaks, many of which were later proven false or never substantiated with real evidence, I can’t take this story seriously. The intelligence ‘community’ itself can’t agree on the credibility of this information, which is similar to the situation with a foundational Russiagate document, the January, 2017 intelligence ‘assessment,’” said Joanne Leon, host of the Around the Empire Podcast, a show which covers U.S. military actions abroad.

Suspicious timing

The timing of the leak also raised eyebrows. Peace negotiations between the U.S. and the Taliban are ongoing, with President Trump committing to pulling all American troops out of the country. A number of key anti-weapons of mass destruction treaties between the U.S. and Russia are currently expiring, and a scandal such as this one would scupper any chance at peace, escalating a potential arms race that would endanger the world but enrich weapons manufacturers. Special Presidential Envoy in the Department of the Treasury, Marshall Billingslea, recently announced that the United States is willing to spend Russia and China “into oblivion” in a new arms race, mimicking the strategy it used in the 1980s against the Soviet Union. As a result, even during the pandemic, business is booming for American weapons contractors.

“The national security state has done everything they can to keep the U.S. involved in that war,” remarked Horton, “If Trump had listened to his former Secretary of Defense James Mattis and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, we’d be on year three of an escalation with plans to begin talks with the Taliban next year. Instead Trump talked to them for the last year-and-a-half and has already signed a deal to have us out by the end of next May.”

“The same factions and profiteers who always oppose withdrawal of troops are enthusiastic about the ‘Bountygate’ story at a time when President Trump is trying to advance negotiations with the Taliban and when he desperately needs to deliver on 2016 campaign promises and improve his sinking electoral prospects,” said Leon.

What kind of monstrous country would fund and recruit fighters to attack occupying troops from an adversary country? It's an unprecedented breach of international ethics in all cases, but it's especially morally grotesque to do it against a foreign military in Afghanistan.🇺🇸🇷🇺pic.twitter.com/D6XdzMONaZ

— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) June 28, 2020

If Russia is paying the Taliban to kill Americans they are not doing a very good job of it. From a high of 496 in 2010, U.S. losses in Afghanistan have slowed to a trickle, with only 22 total fatalities in 2019, casting further doubt on the scale of their supposed plan.

Ironically, the United States is accusing the Kremlin of precisely its own policy towards Russia in Syria. In 2016, former Acting Director of the C.I.A. Michael Morell appeared on the Charlie Rose show and said his job was to “make the Russians pay a price” for its involvement in the Middle East. When asked if he meant killing Russians by that, he replied, “Yes. Covertly. You don’t tell the world about it. You don’t stand up at the Pentagon and say, ‘We did this.’ But you make sure they know it in Moscow.”

Like RussiaGate, the new scandal has had the effect of pushing liberal opinion on foreign policy to become far more hawkish, with Biden now campaigning on being “tougher” on China and Russia than Trump would be. Considering that the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists recently set their famous Doomsday Clock — an estimation of how close they believe the world is to nuclear armageddon — to just 100 seconds to midnight, the latest it has ever been, the Democrats could be playing with fire. The organization specifically singled out U.S.-Russia conflict as threatening the continued existence of the planet. While time will tell if Russia did indeed offer bounties to kill American troops, the efficacy of the media leak is not in question.

mintpressnews.com

A Historical Reminder of What Defines the United States, As Told by a Former Slave

Par Andrey Areshev

We live in tumultuous days… one could say “the end of an era”.

It is clear that there is a storm coming, however, the question is will it be the sort of storm that provides sustenance and relief to drought-stricken and barren lands, or will it be the sort of storm that destroys indiscriminately and leaves nothing recognizable in its wake?

There is such a heavy tension in the air, the buildup we are told of centuries of injustice, oppression and murder. It feels like the entire world’s burden has laid itself upon one culprit and that it is high time that that villain pay for past blood spilled.

That villain is the United States.

It is common to hear that this nation was created under the hubristic banner of “Freedom from Empire”, while it brutally owned slaves and committed genocide on the indigenous people. That the “Declaration of Independence” and the “U.S. Constitution” are despicable displays of the highest degree of grotesque hypocrisy, and that in reality the U.S. was to replace one system of empire with another and far worse.

These are weighty charges indeed, and nobody can deny that great crimes against humanity have been committed. However, it is important that we review this history in full, for if we lose sight of the forest, we will be losing sight of an ongoing battle that is still waging.

We will have abandoned the work of past heroes that has been left unfinished and will have replaced it with the false idol of anarchy, mistaking its ‘empty-promises of liberty’ as a mark of what constitutes a ‘true freedom’.

How can we avoid such ‘empty-promises’ and strive for ‘true freedom’?

There is no better account in addressing such a question as that of Frederick Douglass (1817-1895), a former slave who would become an advisor to Abraham Lincoln during the dark days of the Civil War and the Consul General to Haiti in his elder years.

A through-and-through TRUE American hero (1).

From Slavery to Freedom

Frederick Douglass was born in Talbot County, in the State of Maryland. Though it was impossible to know his exact date of birth, he gathers that the month of February 1817 is as accurate as possible. The name given to him by his dear mother was, in the words of Douglass “no less pretentious and long” than Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey (Frederick’s mother was believed to be the only slave in the region who knew how to read).

Frederick recalls that in his youth “I was just as well aware of the unjust, unnatural, and murderous character of slavery, when nine years old, as I am now. Without any appeals to books, to laws, or to authorities of any kind, to regard God as ‘Our Father’ condemned slavery as a crime.”

Already, by the age of nine, Frederick had set himself upon not only the idea of escape from this destitution, but was always mindful to an education wherever he could find it.

Luckily, in this unhappy state his only adult friend Miss Lucretia, (daughter of Captain Anthony the slaveholder of Frederick), arranged for Frederick, at the age of ten, to be sent away from the plantations to live in Baltimore with her husband’s brother Hugh Auld.

It was in Baltimore that Frederick would learn how to read.

Years go by and at around the age of fifteen or sixteen, Frederick is sent back to the plantations (over a family squabble), and not surprisingly is found to be wholly unfit for a life of hard-labour as an obedient slave. He is thus promptly sent to “Covey, The Negro Breaker” to lodge with for a period of one year.

For six months, Frederick was whipped and beaten on a regular basis. From the dawn of day till the complete darkness in the evening, he was kept hard at work in the fields, and was worked up to the point of his powers of endurance.

Until one day he decides finally that it is better to resist and risk the consequences than continue to live such a contemptible life as a mere brute. He decides one day to simply refuse to be treated as an animal, not to strike back but to oppose the striking.

As Frederick states “A man without force is without the essential dignity of humanity. Human nature is so constituted, that it cannot honor a helpless man, though it can pity him, and even this it cannot do long if signs of power do not arise. He only can understand the effect of this combat on my spirit, who has himself incurred something, or hazarded something, in repelling the unjust and cruel aggressions of a tyrant. Covey was a tyrant and a cowardly one withal. After resisting him, I felt as I had never felt before. It was a resurrection from the dark and pestiferous tomb of slavery, to the heaven of comparative freedom. I was no longer a servile coward, trembling under the frown of a brother worm of the dust, but my long-cowed spirit was roused to an attitude of independence. I had reached the point at which I was not afraid to die. This spirit made me a freeman in fact, though I still remained a slave in form. When a slave cannot be flogged, he is more than half free. He has a domain as broad as his own manly heart to defend, and he is really ‘a power on earth’. From this time until my escape from slavery, I was never fairly whipped. Several attempts were made, but they were always unsuccessful. Bruised I did get, but the instance I have described was the end of the brutification to which slavery had subjected me.”

The Abolitionist Cause in Light of the Preservation of the Union

“…that the fathers of the Republic neither intended the extension nor the perpetuity of slavery and that liberty is national and slavery is sectional.”

– Frederick Douglass

To make a long story short, Frederick would successfully escape the South and on September 3rd 1938, arriving in New York at the age of 21, he would finally embark on a life as a free man.

It would be only four or five months living in New Bedford before Douglass would meet William Lloyd Garrison, one of the most prominent leaders of the Abolitionist movement. It did not take long for Douglass to be invited along their speaking tours to recount his story as a runaway slave from the South.

Though Douglass would owe much of his future as a great orator and writer in thanks to his Abolitionist friends who gave him a strong start in this direction and introduced him to many important figures, Douglass would eventually distance himself from the Abolitionist “scripture”.

This distancing was caused by Douglass’ later recognition that there was in fact, no “pro-slavery” character in the U.S. Constitution as Garrison had been stating.

Douglass states, “After a time, a careful reconsideration of the subject convinced me that there was no necessity for dissolving the union between the northern and southern states, that to seek this dissolution was not part of my duty as an abolitionist, that to abstain from voting was to refuse to exercise a legitimate and powerful means for abolishing slavery, and that the Constitution of the United States not only contained no guarantees in favor of slavery, but, on the contrary, was in its letter and spirit an antislavery instrument, demanding the abolition of slavery as a condition of its own existence as the supreme law of the land.”

During this time, Douglass would start his own anti-slavery newspaper called “The North Star”. Along with this new editorial responsibility, Douglass would no longer leave it to the “good advice” of his “more learned” Abolitionist friends, but would take the responsibility upon himself to seek out and come to know whether such assertions by the Abolitionists on the nature of the Republic were true.

 “My new circumstances compelled me to re-think the whole subject, and to study with some care not only the just and proper rules of legal interpretation, but the origin, design, nature, rights, powers, and duties of civil governments, and also the relations which human beings sustain to it. By such a course of thought and reading I was conducted to the conclusion that the Constitution of the United States – inaugurated to ‘form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty’ – could not well have been designed at the same time to maintain and perpetuate a system of rapine and murder like slavery, especially as not one word can be found in the Constitution to authorize such a belief…the Constitution of our country is our warrant for the abolition of slavery in every state of the Union…being convinced of the fact, my duty upon this point in the further conduct of my paper [The North Star] was plain.”

Abraham Lincoln would be elected as the President of the United States on March 4th, 1861. To which Douglass stated of the occasion:

It was Mr. Lincoln who told the American people at this crisis that the ‘Union could not long endure half slave and half free; that they must be all one or the other, and that the public mind could find no resting place but in the belief in the ultimate extinction of slavery.’ These were not the words of an abolitionist – branded a fanatic, and carried away by an enthusiastic devotion to the Negro – but the calm cool, deliberate utterance of a statesman, comprehensive enough to take in the welfare of the whole country…In a few simple words he had embodied the thought of the loyal nation, and indicated the character fit to lead and guide the country amid perils present and to come.

On Meeting Lincoln

“I still believed, and spoke as I believed, all over the North, that the mission of the war was the liberation of the slave, as well as the salvation of the Union…”

– Frederick Douglass

With this newly discovered orientation, Douglass not only put the preservation of the Union as something necessary and expedient but, most importantly, something that could not be sacrificed in striving for the Abolitionist cause.

Douglass would be one of the first to encourage the recruitment, through his paper “The North Star”, of black soldiers to join the Union’s war against the Confederate South. The thought was that by these men joining the war, they would prove their mettle in the cause for emancipation.

These were hard days, since black soldiers were not given equal treatment nor protection in the Union army. They also risked, if captured by the South, being enslaved, a sentence in Douglass’ words “worse than death”. Douglass had been assured that equal treatment would eventually occur, but it was too slow moving in his eyes and he refused to continue recruiting black soldiers into the Union army.

It was at this point that Douglass was invited to meet with President Lincoln to discuss his concerns over the matter.

Douglass describes his first meeting with Lincoln: “I was never more quickly or more completely put at ease in the presence of a great man than in that of Abraham Lincoln…Long lines of care were already deeply written on Mr. Lincoln’s brow, and his strong face, full of earnestness, lighted up as soon as my name was mentioned…I at once felt myself in the presence of an honest man – one whom I could love, honor, and trust without reserve or doubt.

One of the points of concern Douglass discussed with the President, was on the unfair treatment of black soldiers as POWs and suggested that the North should retaliate and commit the same treatment on their Southern POWs to dissuade this unequal treatment, to which Lincoln responded, “Retaliation was a terrible remedy, and one which it was very difficult to apply – that, if once begun, there was no telling where it would end – that if he could get hold of the Confederate soldiers who had been guilty of treating colored soldiers as felons he could easily retaliate, but the thought of hanging men for a crime perpetrated by others was revolting to his feelings…Though I was not entirely satisfied with his views, I was so well satisfied with the man and with the educating tendency of the conflict I determined to go on with the recruiting.

Douglass reflects on his decision:

“It was a great thing to achieve American independence when we numbered three millions, but it was a greater thing to save this country from dismemberment and ruin when it numbered thirty millions. He alone of all our presidents was to have the opportunity to destroy slavery, and to lift into manhood millions of his countrymen hitherto held as chattels and numbered with the beasts of the field.”

The Emancipation Proclamation

“Since William the Silent, who was the soul of the mighty war for religious liberty against Spain and the Spanish Inquisition, no leader of men has been loved and trusted in such generous measures as was Abraham Lincoln.”

– Frederick Douglass

During the third year of the sanguinary Civil War, January 1st 1863, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Douglass states of the occasion: “the formal and solemn announcement was made that thereafter the government would be found on the side of emancipation…It must be the end of all compromises with slavery – a declaration that thereafter the war was to be conducted on a new principle, with a new aim.

It was at this point that Lincoln received criticism for extending the war unnecessarily. The South was ready to make certain concessions and the North was eager to end the war. By Lincoln announcing the Emancipation Proclamation, it was thought by many to be a reckless provocation making any possibility of peace fruitless.

On this subject, Douglass would meet with Lincoln for the last time, before he would be assassinated.

The main subject on which he wished to confer with me was as to the means most desirable to be employed outside the army to induce the slaves in the rebel states to come within the deferral lines. The increasing opposition to the war, in the North, and the mad cry against it, because it was being made an abolition war, alarmed Mr. Lincoln, and made him apprehensive that a peace might be forced upon him which would leave still in slavery all who had not come within our lines. What he wanted was to make his proclamation as effective as possible in the event of such a peace…He said he was being accused of protracting the war beyond its legitimate object and failing to make peace when he might have done so to advantage. He was afraid of what might come of all these complaints, but was persuaded that no solid and lasting peace could come short of absolute submission on the part of the rebels [the South]…He saw the danger of premature peace…I was the more impressed by this benevolent consideration because he before said, in answer to the peace clamor, that his object was to save the Union, and to do so with or without slavery. What he said on this day showed a deeper moral conviction against slavery than I had ever seen before in anything spoken or written by him. I listened with the deepest interest and profoundest satisfaction, and, at his suggestion, agreed to undertake the organizing of a band of scouts, composed of colored men, whose business should be somewhat after the original plan of John Brown, to go into the rebel states, beyond the lines of our armies, and to carry the news of emancipation, and urge the slaves to come within our boundaries.

…I refer to this conversation because I think that, on Mr. Lincoln’s part, it is evidence conclusive that the proclamation, so far at least as he was concerned, was not effected merely as a [political] ‘necessity’.

President Lincoln would be selected to continue a second term and was inaugurated on March 4th, 1865. About one month after the official end of the Civil War. Lincoln would be assassinated just a mere 41 days after his second inauguration.

Douglass writes, “His first inauguration arrested the fall of the Republic, and the second was to restore it to enduring foundations.” The fact that Lincoln’s leadership was savagely cut short was a tragedy for all who understood that the true foundation of the Republic was built upon the principle “liberty for all”.

In that sad moment, when the country heard of the death of their leader who was to bring them closer to this goal, Douglass states,

“We shared in common a terrible calamity, and this ‘touch of nature made us’ more than countrymen, it made us ‘kin’.”

Reflections on the Past

It is an utmost testament to the grace and nobility of Frederick Douglass’ character that an soon as the law and spirit of slavery had been broken, he made a point to no longer harbour hate and resentment for the past wrongs committed upon himself. He recognised that humanity was indeed inherently good and would ultimately strive towards goodness if left to its natural tendency… that to punish the children of those who committed crimes before them would destroy any good that ever existed in the world.

Douglass recounts, “If any reader of this part of my life shall see in it the evidence of a want of manly resentment for wrongs inflicted by slavery upon myself and race, and by the ancestors of…[those who once owned slaves], so it must be. No man can be stronger than nature, one touch of which, we are told, makes all the world akin. I esteem myself a good, persistent hater of injustice and oppression, but my resentment ceases when they cease, and I have no heart to visit upon children the sins of their father.

I will end here with an account of Douglass when he revisits the place where he was born a “slave” and sees his former “master” Captain Auld, upon his request on his deathbed, after his escape to the North over 25 years ago:

But now that slavery was destroyed, and the slave and the master stood upon equal ground, I was not only willing to meet him, but was very glad to do so…He was to me no longer a slaveholder either in fact or in spirit, and I regarded him as I did myself, a victim of the circumstances of birth, education, law, and custom.

Our courses had been determined for us, not by us. We had both been flung, by powers that did not ask our consent, upon a mighty current of life, which we could neither resist, nor control. By this current he was a master, and I a slave, but now our lives were verging towards a point where differences disappear, where even the constancy of hate breaks down and where the clouds of pride, passion, and selfishness vanish before the brightness of infinite light.

(1) This paper has used Douglass’ account of American history from his writings in his autobiography “Life and Times of Frederick Douglass”, for which the full pdf version can be found here.

The author can be reached at cynthiachung@tutanota.com

Independence Day in the Midst of Dictatorship

Par Andrey Areshev

James BOVARD

How many Americans will greet July 4th Day with gratitude that their governor is no longer compelling them to “shelter in place” or “stay at home” so they can celebrate their freedom? Most of the media is ignoring the fact that this Independence Day is occurring under the most dictatorial restrictions of the modern era. But anyone who values their liberty must recognize the Great Political Unleashing that has occurred this year makes a mockery of the Founding Fathers’ intentions.

Earlier this year, more than 300 million Americans were constrained by “stay-at-home” decrees by governors and mayors. These restrictions were justified by mortality predictions from COVID-19 that turned out to be wildly exaggerated. But most of the media has presumed that the dictates were legitimate because they were supposedly based on “science and data” – regardless of pervasive wrongheaded forecasts.

The Centers for Disease Control estimated last week that 24 million Americans may have been infected with COVID – making a mockery of lockdowns designed to force citizens to pay any price for the slightest potential reduction in infections.

Do America’s politicians and media have any special suggestions on how the tens of millions of people who lost their jobs due to the shutdowns should celebrate Independence Day? How should small business owners who have been bankrupted mark July 4th?

Governors across the nation earlier this year proved that the Bill of Rights is a parchment barrier that can be easily shredded by invoking their emergency powers. Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer prohibited “all public and private gatherings of any size” (prohibiting people from visiting friends) and also prohibited purchasing seeds for spring planting in stores after she decreed that a “nonessential” activity.

Many Michigan counties have less than a handful of COVID cases and few if any fatalities. But their economies have been obliterated by Whitmer’s statewide decrees, which have driven unemployment up to 24 percent. Two weeks ago, Whitmer railed that legislators’ “attempts to take away my authority” were “irresponsible, dangerous and foolish.”

Maryland politicians’ COVID crackdown destroyed more than 400,000 jobs, leading almost one-fifth of the state’s workforce to file for unemployment. Even the Washington Post recognized that Maryland’s COVID “restrictions have crippled the economy and paralyzed daily life since mid-March.” At the time that Gov. Larry Hogan imposed a mandatory “stay-at-home” order for all Marylanders, roughly a thousand Marylanders had tested positive for COVID and eighteen had died from the virus.

Despite the shutdown, the number of people testing positive soared to 68,000 along with more than 3,100 deaths. Ravaging Maryland’s economy failed to stop COVID’s spread but inflicted collateral damage that will hobble the state for many years and probably permanently blight thousands of lives.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown banned the state’s four million residents from leaving their homes except for essential work, buying food, and other narrow exemptions, and also banned all recreational travel. Six Oregon counties had only one confirmed COVID case as of last month, and most of the state has minimal infections. But schools, businesses, and other activities were slammed shut by government edict. Almost 400,000 Oregonians have lost their jobs after Brown’s shutdown.

In May, a circuit judge ruled that Brown’s pervasive restrictions were “not required for public safety when plaintiffs can continue to utilize social distancing and safety protocols.” But the Oregon Supreme Court, stacked with the governor’s appointees, quickly overturned that ruling.

The media and many politicians heaped derision on people who publicly protested against the lockdowns that were destroying their livelihoods. But after a Minneapolis policeman brutally killed George Floyd, politicians cheered as mass protests exploded in cities across the nation. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio sent police to disperse attendees at an Orthodox Jewish funeral for violating his restrictions on public gatherings but endorsed mass protests against police brutality.

Twelve hundred health professionals signed a letter declaring, “We do not condemn these gatherings as risky for covid-19 transmission. We support them as vital to the national public health.” Any tattered remnant of credibility retained by public health officialdom was shattered when they declared that supporting protests against police brutality “should not be confused with a permissive stance on all gatherings, particularly protests against stay-home orders.”

Who knew that COVID-19 only infects “deplorables” and reactionaries?

At the same time that politicians joined and cheered mass protests against the police, many states continue effectively outlawing religious services. Would church services be permitted to resume if parishioners promised to cuss the police? The “experts” might also permit a vast rally to confer sainthood upon Anthony Fauci, the media’s favorite lockdown hysteria monger.

The pandemic pried open authoritarian Pandora’s Boxes at all levels of government. Trump’s Justice Department asked Congress to approve suspending habeas corpus for the duration of the pandemic. Norman Reimer, executive director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, warned, “You could be arrested and never brought before a judge until they decide that the emergency or the civil disobedience is over.” The same type of pre-arrest power could be exercised to detain anyone suspected of being infected or failing to obey lockdown orders. Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee, one of the most principled members of the Senate, tweeted in response to the news of the power grab: “OVER MY DEAD BODY.”

Attorney General Ramsey Clark warned in 1967, “Nothing so diminishes democracy as secrecy.” But the pandemic response by federal, state, and local officials remains shrouded in secrecy. We may have seen only the tip of the iceberg of boondoggles and blunders in government responses to the pandemic.

What did federal, state, and local politicians and health officials know, and when did they know that many of the restrictions they imposed were unnecessary, if not counterproductive? How many states covertly adjusted their formulas or data standards to justify perpetuating lockdowns? How many states have lied or covered up their policies on sending COVID patients to nursing homes, a catastrophe that killed thousands of elderly?

Many locales have canceled their fireworks in order to avoid tempting people from gathering to enjoy the show. The Maryland Office of Tourism offered residents consolation prizes – the opportunity to tune in online and watch a “virtual pet parade” or see a “virtual Independence Day Tour” of the National Museum of Health and Medicine. Maybe the National Endowment for Humanities could supplement those performances by posting on YouTube some videos of 1960s children celebrating the Fourth of July by waving sparklers in the air – behavior which might provoke a SWAT raid nowadays.

All that was necessary to raze limits on political power was wild-eyed extrapolations of potential infection rates. The last few months have established the prerogative of governors and other officials to slap on a tourniquet and cut off the economic blood supply for as long as they claim necessary. The ease with which politicians have captured boundless power should be chilling to anyone who is not a fan of Mussolini. And many governors appear itching to reimpose restrictions based on any uptick in infections elsewhere in the nation.

The Great Pandemic Follies of 2020 have been based on the illusion that government could make life risk-free. But the advocates of shutdowns, lockdowns, and endless prohibitions ignore the risk of dictatorship. That was what our forefathers fought against almost 250 years ago, and their sacrifices and courage should inspire today’s Americans to take far less guff from their rulers.

ronpaulinstitute.org

Why Russians Don’t Want to Be Europeans

Par Andrey Areshev

Pravda lied to us about the USSR, but it told the truth about the West.

– Contemporary Russian joke

In a previous essay I argued that Russia was not a European country. It was its own thing – a civilisation-state. I used a Toynbeean argument that the history of Europe could be written without ever using the word “Russia” up until the time of Peter the Great. I expected to cause some angst given the associations that the word “European” has accumulated over the five centuries of world rule. Promotion to European status was attractive: vide Mohandas Gandhi looking quite unusual in a stiff collar and tie. Russians felt this appeal especially in the late 1800s when so many rich cultured Russians were to be found in the fashionable watering-holes of Europe that it was worth building churches for their use. The height of sophisticated table service was à la Russe. A Russian was one of Freud’s most famous patients. Russians were especially welcome in France as an ally against Germany.

The Bolshevik coup rather spoiled this trend – even if Soviet Russia became a new sort of ideal for world communists. But with the end of the USSR, the idea re-surfaced. The height of the notion that Russia had “joined” or even “re-joined” Europe was in the Gorbachev years of Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals, or even from Vancouver to Vladivostok. “A new era of Democracy, Peace and Unity” “a time for fulfilling the hopes and expectations our peoples have cherished for decades”. Attractive, appealing; many welcomed it. But not all: for them Russia, with or without communists, was The Enemy. Whatever Moscow was actually doing – breakup of the Warsaw Pact, collapse of the USSR, taking on the USSR’s debts, moving tanks and guns out of Europe, signing on to every declaration the West asked it to, filling its government with Western advisors – it was just biding its time and plotting revenge.

NATO has proved itself to be peaceful and the West’s CFE commitments add to that assurance. But as Russia recovers and rearms, as history suggests it will, Moscow’s imperialist urge might well rise again. Then it will be too late and ‘provocative’ to redraw the defence line. (William Safire, International Herald Tribune, 3 Oct 1995.)

Russians have no one to blame but themselves for the brutal dictatorship they built in their own country and imposed on their neighbours. (Chrystia Freeland, Financial Times, 29 May 1996.)

…Caspar Weinberger issued a powerful warning that American policy makers, in their preoccupation with NATO’s expansion, may be missing the fact that Russia has a truly ominous enlargement initiative of its own – ‘dominance of the energy resources in the Caspian Sea region.’ As he observes in the attached op.ed. article which appeared on 9 May in the New York Times… ‘If Moscow succeeds, its victory could prove much more significant than the West’s success in enlarging NATO.’ (Center for Security Policy, Washington, 12 May 1997.)

As is generally known, Russia has had great difficulty adjusting to the fact that its empire, built by conquest over centuries, disappeared in 1991, depriving it of rich borderlands and nearly half its population. (Richard Pipes: “Russia’s Designs on Georgia”; http:/www.intellectualcapital.com 14 May 1998.)

There is an expansionist mentality among Russia’s ruling elite, deeply rooted in the country’s past, which makes it difficult for them to consider forming a partnership with the West. This almost permanent urge for territorial expansion has at the same time become a scourge for the Russian people, who continue to live in appalling poverty in a country rich in resources. (Jan Nowak “What NATO can do for Russia” Washington Times, 19 Apr 2000.)

Note that the quotations above date from the Yeltsin period. When he left, the whole period was re-marketed, re-polished and re-truthed into a potential golden age:

The U.S. will remember Boris Yeltsin as someone who, despite his limitations, meant well and worked to bring his country back to the family of nations, to freedom and humanity, which have been so often lacking in Russia’s tortured history.

These people won the opinion battle: rather than comity, unity, hopes and expectations, reality recorded NATO expansion, the NATO/U.S. war in Kosova, NATO/U.S. interventions everywhere, NATO/U.S. colour revolutions, NATO/U.S. meddling in Russia’s neighbours, NATO/U.S. wars in the Middle East – the never-ending “serious security challenges” of Russia, Russia, Russia.

Russians today must wonder whether all the welcoming words and happy thoughts were just a fraud to get the tanks out of Eastern Europe. To older Russians, NATO expansion was a military alliance ever closer; to young Russians, a slamming of a door in their faces. To George Kennan, “a tragic mistake“. There’s little point in going through the three decades since the Charter of Paris: none of it happened. I’m not here interested in attempting to ascribe blame – although the importance of NATO expansion cannot be glossed over with piffle like “Just as the origins of NATO expansion were benign, so too has been its impact on Russian security” – but many Russians agree with the bittersweet joke quoted above: Pravda was lying when it said the USSR was wonderful but telling the truth when it said the West was bad.

Years of accusations that Putin kills reporters, shoots down airliners, poisons people, steals money, invades his neighbours, has too many watches, sics his dog on Merkel, gunslinger walk and so on and on: no accusation too stupid to gain eyeballs. Conclusions presented before evidence, evidence too secret to be shown, trials in camera, verdicts pre-written. 2012 “The Dictator” 2016 “Vladimir Putin will always be America’s enemy” 2017 “Inside Putin’s Campaign to Destroy U.S. Democracy” 2020 “Putin, a criminal and incompetent president, is an enemy of his own people“. The people who called Russia the once and future enemy were on the margins in the Yeltsin period, now they set the tone. You can even get Pulitzer Prizes for making up anti-Russia stories.

One accusation fades, another one appears. Rachel Maddow doesn’t apologise to her audience for all their time she wasted, nor does Hillary Clinton admit she lost the election fair and square. Nor will either apologise to Putin. Silence about the last Putindunnit fraud as we invent the new one: the riots in the USA are out of the “Russian play book“. And, when Russians aren’t met with hostility, it’s the most absurd condescension: Mercouris gives a perfect illustration of Macron trying to treat Putin like a colonial subject come to learn manners.

Well, Russians have figured it out: they weren’t welcome, they aren’t welcome and they never will be welcome. They are forever aliens. A 2014 poll shows it:

Russians’ attitudes toward the United States and President Barack Obama are extremely unfavorable and have grown sharply more negative in the last couple of years. While opinions toward the European Union also worsened, Russians increasingly view China favorably. Russians see China as an ally and the United States and the European Union as adversaries

It is unlikely, to put it mildly, that another 6 years of hysterical Russophobia will have convinced the Russian public that the West is more welcoming.

At the same time Russians – who it should be understood are well exposed to happenings in the West: lots of them travel, lots of them have Internet and can read and see what’s out there – are deciding that the West is not as attractive as they thought it was. Westerners obsess on LBGT issues but it’s far deeper than that. Russia is, by current Western standards, pretty conservative on social issues. Which is to say that it is much as the West was in the 1950s. They aren’t impressed by what they see. In 2004 only 29% thought the West was a “good model” and four years later that had dropped four points. Ten more years of riots, unemployment, police violence, wars and opioids will not have added any points.

So, as far as Russians are concerned, the West has lost most of the attractiveness that, in the USSR days, they thought it had. Rejection, blame, accusations, condescension, insult, propaganda – a fast tarnishing model.

Gordon Hahn, an astute observer, saw this a year ago. For three centuries Russia has been “on its Western journey”. Which, Hahn argues, by entangling Russia in Europe’s ever-shifting alliance patterns and wars, was not much to Russia’s advantage: “a weighty downside”. He concludes that, after the Western rejection of all Moscow’s overtures and after observing the West’s actual practice of its lofty “values”,

Putin’s Russia now rejects the post-modernist West and its neo-imperial civilizational, indeed, ‘civilizationalist’ ambitions in Russia’s neighborhood and beyond. Instead of seeking to be part of the West or defeat the Western geopolitical paradigm, it seeks along with China and, in some respects, India and several more regional powers in building an alternative global civilization to that in the post-modern West, with which Russia, China and others will merely seek to coexist.

Perhaps, one day, he concludes, Russia will turn West again but it won’t be soon. Vladislav Surkov, a man who has been in and around power in Russia for some time, thinks the same: Russia tried the East, tried the West, nowhere has it been welcome.

Russia is a west-eastern half-breed country. (Россия это западно-восточная страна-полукровка.)

We have just had Putin himself call Russia a “separate civilisation“.

I agree, it’s over. The romance has been burned out, trampled on, spat on. We return to Simonyan’s essay. She spent a year in the USA so she’s hardly ignorant of the actuality. The title says it: “Why we don’t respect the West anymore” – it should be read. I think she speaks for a lot of Russians (and many, many others in the world as well).

with all your injustice and cruelty, inquisitorial hypocrisy and lies you forced us to stop respecting you. You and your so called ‘values.’

The Malign Russians and Chinese Are Coming

Par Andrey Areshev

A feeble Russiagate 2.0 attempt coincides with hypocritical attacks on the new Hong Kong national security law

Pepe ESCOBAR

In Russia, 78% have just voted in support of constitutional amendments.

Among these, we find the paramount Atlanticist obsession: the possibility that Vladimir Putin will be able to run for two more presidential terms.

Predictably, anguished cries of “Dictator! Dictator!” have been lobbed like deadly shells all across the Beltway.

They might even silence the echoes of the latest CIA press release to the New York Times, based on “raw” intel and supported by no evidence or proof whatsoever, that Russia had been paying bounties to the Afghan Taliban to kill US troops.

A crafty amalgamated headline in the Washington Post – the CIA/Jeff Bezos vehicle – gave away the game: “The only people dismissing the Russian bounties intel: The Taliban, Russia and Trump.”

See more: asiatimes.com

The International Dimensions of 1776 and How an Age of Reason Was Subverted

Par Andrey Areshev

This July 4th, a larger-than-usual shadow is cast upon America which has come face-to-face with some serious historic reckonings. While the existence of an oligarchy and international “deep state” should not be ignored as a political force of history- arranging wars, assassinations and promoting economic enslavement of people and nations throughout the centuries, the guilt cannot entirely be placed on this apparatus. As Shakespeare’s Cassius once said to Brutus “our fate… is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

The mob which Shakespeare mocked as a mindless instrument of tyrants in his play Julius Caesar, has again been deployed in America where George Soros’ funding has turned this social-justice beast against the very republic itself (ironically under the banner of Freedom from Tyranny” of course).

Instead of hearing calls to save America, break up the Wall Street banks or return America back to its anti-colonial heritage, today we hear only calls for tearing down monuments, and to undo the Constitution as a fraud wrapped in a lie built upon hypocrisy and white privilege with no redeeming value anywhere to be found.

I’d like to take this brief moment to do something a tad unpopular by honoring the positive traditions of the too-often forgotten America whose Father of Founding Fathers Benjamin Franklin, shaped not merely a revolution of 13 independent-minded colonies against the British Empire, but rather a global movement stretching from France, Russia, Poland, Ireland, Prussia, India and Africa!

Without this international array of republican-minded patriots across cultures, religions and continents, then the revolution of 1776 that established on this earth for the first time a system of government founded upon the Consent of the Governed and for the protection of inalienable rights would never have succeeded.

America’s Revolution as an International Affair

As I laid out in my last paper “Why Canada Failed the Ben Franklin Challenge of 1776”, Franklin’s sad return to the Continental Congress in New York from Quebec in May, 1776 was one of the few defeats suffered by the statesman. Franklin’s decades of work to bring the French Colony of Quebec into the independence movement was sabotaged by 1) the slavish illiteracy rampant among the peasants of the feudal system inherited from France, and 2) the rampant corruption of the Catholic clergy elite which signed a devil’s pact with the British Empire to keep the peasants locked into the empire. These factors would play into the collapse of the French Revolution in 1789 as we will see shortly.

One month after this failed effort, a four-man committee led by Franklin drafted the Declaration of Independence on July 2nd and made public on July 4th proclaiming:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Although a slave owning degenerate named Thomas Jefferson is sadly given sole credit for this document (fueling the argument of those proclaiming America to be a nation built on hypocrisy), the fact is that the great abolitionist Ben Franklin guided the writing of this document from start to finish. Over 40 corrections to Jefferson’s drafts were made by the old statesman including the erasure of Jefferson’s desired wording of “property” derived from his love of John Locke for the higher Leibnizian idea of “happiness” preferred by Franklin.

Franklin had already fought to unite the colonies for over twenty years beginning with his 1754 Plan of Union at the outset of the French-Indian War adopted by the Albany Congress, but rejected by the individual colonies who were always kept divided amongst themselves. Franklin’s “Join or Die” cartoon had its origins not in 1776, but actually during the battle of 1754 and it was an open secret that the British Elite of the 18th century collaborated closely with French oligarchical families to keep the troublesome colonialists subjugated, and underdeveloped as part of the “balance of power” game of empire.

After Franklin’s July 4, 1776 success, he knew that America’s fate hinged upon his ability to engage the international network of statesmen, and scientists whom he had organized over the course of 40 years and especially since his 1752 discovery of electricity made him an international sensation earning him the title “Prometheus of America” and immortalized in the painting by Benjamin West.

This post-1776 phase of his plan took him to France where he was made America’s ambassador in Paris. It was here, that Franklin arranged the French-American Treaty of Alliance of 1778 that turned the tide of the revolution towards the American cause which had zero chance of success before this moment.

Franklin had already organized his allies in Prussia where Friedrich the Great voiced open support for the cause and the great military strategist Wilhelm von Steuben became the Inspector General of the Continental Army providing military drills and modern military techniques to the undisciplined “citizen soldiers” of the USA. The republican Polish military engineer and colonel Tadeusz Kosciuszko served as Brigadier-General in the Continental Army and the young Marquis Lafayette who arrived illegally in America along with other French troops before the 1778 alliance treaty, made invaluable contributions to the cause. Over twenty generals of the Continental Congress were Irishmen, and many led the later efforts to create an Irish revolution in 1798-99.

In his ambassadorial station in France, Franklin met many members of the European intelligentsia- including key Russian figures. Among them included a young woman named Ekaterina Dashkova– the younger sister of Catherine the Great and president of the Russian Academy of Sciences who became friends with the elder scientist and was soon inducted into Franklin’s Philosophical Society (becoming the society’s first woman and first Russian). In turn, Dashkova made Franklin the first American member of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1781. It was through these connections that Franklin played a leading role in organizing the League of Armed Neutrality under the helm of Catherine the Great which ensured that vital supplies and arms would make their way from Europe to America without being blocked by British ships. Within the first 12 months, this League grew to include the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Austria, and Prussia. To this day, Russia’s league created the foundations of Maritime law.

This early alliance sewed the seeds of a larger tradition of U.S.-Russia friendship which saved both nations at existential moments and is outlined brilliantly by American University President Edward Lozansky’s recent July 4th article.

Franklin’s French networks had deep connections into India as well, which made themselves felt in the French-Indian alliance of 1780 that saw pro-American Muslim leader Hydar Ali lead thousands of Indian soldiers on a march across Western Ghats where they attacked the strategic British Base of Fort St. George near the Port town of Madras. Ali was supported by French troops on land and sea under the command of Admiral Suffren. Hydar Ali had already defeated the British in 1760 and represented a powerful independence force in India that kept British oligarchs up at night (It would still be many years before Britain would gain control of this “Crown Jewel” of the empire). During this conflict, Hydar Ali’s forces innovated rockets which decimated British troops, and forced Britain to re-direct over 20% of their naval fleet from fighting in the Americas- this was a vital boon to the French and American forces a world away. Hydar Ali’s son Tipu Sultan even wrote a message to the Continental Congress in 1781 saying: “every blow that is struck in the cause of American liberty throughout the world, in France, India, and elsewhere and so long as a single insolent savage tyrant remains the struggle shall continue.”

America’s flagship of the Continental fleet was named the Hydar Ali in his honor.

In Morocco, the French were able to arrange an important dialogue between Emperor Sidi Mohammed and American officials which saved American shipping from the ravages of Barbary pirates who ruled the coasts of Africa and the Straits of Gibraltar. During the opening of the war, the British made sure to inform these Barbary pirates of American shipping and used these forces against American ships bound for Europe. Sidi Mohammed agreed to supply protection for America’s ships and guaranteed them safe harbor from the Tunisian and Algerian pirates. Soon the Continental Congress had passed an act which called for Franklin to lead a team of negotiators to work out a deal with Morocco and other North African countries.

Although international political chaos and the constant treachery and intrigue within America during its early years resulted in very little progress on this front, it is noteworthy that Morocco was the first nation in the world to recognize America’s independence on December 20, 1777.

Even though Franklin didn’t appear to have any direct contact with the Chinese during this period (who were busy fending off the British Empire’s lusting dogs of the East India Company who were preparing a new phase of Asiatic expansion), Chinese thought did figure prominently in the thinking of Ben Franklin and Thomas Paine. Franklin had published many writings on Confucius from 1737-1757, which shaped many points of wisdom in the Poor Richards Almanac. Writing to a friend in 1747, Franklin stated “Confucius was my example. I followed Confucius”. As Professor David Wang points out, many of his insights into civil administration and law derived from his studies of China.

While there are many more chapters to this international story, the lesson I wanted readers to come away with is that America was both more than you thought it was and also less than it was meant to be.

According to the intentions of such renaissance men as Franklin, the American cause was never meant to be a “local issue” defined by 13 rebelling colonies, but rather a new age of reason for all mankind.

Kindred spirits across Europe watched in horror as the first European nation to attempt revolution led by Lafayette and other leaders of Franklin’s network (who made the American cause a success) was overthrown by a Jacobin “color revolution”. The noble origins of the June 20, 1789 Tennis Court Oath which kick started the French Revolution were soon lost as a bloodbath (directed by British assets from the Foreign Office) channelled the rage of France’s peasant population against ALL of the elite, corrupt and noble alike, proclaiming “the revolution has no need of scientists”. The sound of the guillotine lopping off the heads of the great revolutionary astronomer/mayor of Paris Jean-Sylvain Bailey and chemist Antoine Lavoisier still resonates as a shame of France. Lafayette only saved his head long enough to end up in an Austrian dungeon for 5 years as punishment for fighting to overthrow hereditary systems and was immortalized in Beethoven’s only opera Fidelio in 1805.

The pro-humanist forces of Europe slowly came undone during the Napoleonic wars which culminated in the 1815 Congress of Vienna and Holy Alliance which re-established “peace” by banning dangerous books, teaching, and art that might awaken revolutionary feelings in the minds and hearts of Europeans. These Orwellian laws were outlined in the Carlsbad decrees of 1819 and ruined more than a few lives of great statesmen and teachers. This story was told in my paper “Kissinger’s Adoration of the 1815 Congress of Vienna”.

During this time, the British Empire came out again as a force of evil preparing a new phase of its global conquest with a crushing of the Hydar Ali spirit in India and a new age of opium wars against China.

In spite of this growing darkness, great poets who dreamed of that better age of reason produced some of the greatest and under-appreciated poetry with Percy Shelley and John Keats leading that movement in Britain, Robbie Burns in Scotland and such figures as Schubert, Heine, Schumann and Beethoven representing this spark in Vienna and Germany. Palmerston-Mazzini’s “Young Europe” anarchist mobs were periodically deployed to disrupt constructive nationalist tendencies throughout this period- laying the groundwork for “color revolutions” of the 20-21st centuries.

Beethoven’s 1824 Ninth Symphony setting Schiller’s great poem an “Ode to Joy” to music was a celebration of that dreamed-of age of brotherhood and creative reason which Franklin devoted his life to accomplishing and which today’s multipolar alliance has again awoken as a potential alternative to an age of darkness, war and collapse facing humanity in the 21st century.

The author delivered a lecture on July 1, 2020 on this topic and can be reached at matt.ehret@tutamail.com

#DefundThePolice the Real Strategy Behind the Hashtag

Par Andrey Areshev

The demands of revolutionaries are purposely vague. They always have to do with some feelings-based desire like “freedom” or ending “oppression”. The government can create a law, remove a tax, or do all sorts of specific things, but there is nothing that they can do to make you feel freedom or non oppressed. In today’s America regardless of any factual evidence there are some who feel like they live in a freedom packed utopia while others claim that they are living under the heel of Hitler 2.0. Both of these positions are based on intuition and feelings not a universal rational freedom scale, which simply could not exist. The feeling of freedom is usually derived from being in agreement with society not some Human Freedom Index. So for those that have despised the system for their entire politically active lives there is absolutely nothing that the government can do to remove their feelings of repression. Appeasing a person who is absolutely rock solid in their belief that the state is evil and against them is thus – utterly pointless. In this context it is very surprising that the Black Lives Matter protests that are violently liberating convenience stores of their cigarettes have chosen a surprisingly objective demand from the powers that be – #DefundThePolice.

Photo: “Defund” seems like an unnatural word choice from a protest movement at first glance.

This peculiar choice of the word “defund” is very interesting. It would seem more natural for a supposedly enraged group of oppressed people to pick something hateful and stupid like “#KillThePolice” or “PigLivesDontMatter. One would also expect from today’s protest generation something that is horrifically naive and obviously not going to happen like #BanThePolice or #FireThePolice, but instead they chose the word “Defund”. This is not a hip and cool word for the rainbow hair colored individuals out there but something very bureaucratic and in some ways pragmatic. This is perhaps the reason why it was chosen.

No bureaucrats on the local, state or federal level (we should not forget that in America the police are NOT a monolithic national entity like in many countries) can somehow just get rid of the police. There is no red button to delete massive government entities, but “defunding” is an action that is very viable from a paperwork standpoint. One could never eliminate the U.S. Army but if it were to have no ammunition or food delivered for months the results would be basically the same. At the very least the army would cease to function and at worst the soldiers would turn to selling or stealing anything they could from the army bases to survive like in 1990s Russia. If the U.S. military needs $750 billion per year but were to only get $750 million then it may as well have just been dissolved. But again reducing a budget is bureaucratically vastly easier than elimination.

As we have seen many politicians have been sympathetic to the BLM cause and may be willing to push to cut the lifeblood of any government organization (funding) to a very uncomfortable or completely nonviable level for some greater good. Even just some changes in the way police policy handles the means of arresting suspects has been enough to start making the boys in blue throw in their badges. This is a matter of dozens of people not thousands, but some salary cuts and a lack of ammo could be enough to cull the police herd. But why is defunding law enforcement so critical to BLM?

How does cutting the purse strings of various police departments (probably in predominantly Blue states/cities) end the supposed existence of system racism that has crushed Black America for generations? It doesn’t, but it sure makes revolutionary action a lot more consequence free.

Although the police claim to “serve and protect” ultimately they exist to keep the masses inline (Black or otherwise) and breakup internal threats in a direct way, much like an army that acts only within its own borders. If some kind of Color Revolutionaries get into a fight they are going to be doing so with a cop and not a leatherneck, so law enforcement is their real enemy. Law enforcement, enforces the current laws and are willing to beat and kill Revolutionaries (who want to change those laws) while doing so.

Some individual people behind the BLM movement who are very unlikely to resemble the “target audience” must be feeling pretty smart about themselves at the moment. They have sent a big signal to sympathetic politicians to cripple their enemy, but the thing is that if the police are defunded even on a massive scale that certainly does not guarantee that Hitler 2.0 is doomed to the fate of Hussein or Gaddafi and that this will usher in some new Liberal utopia.

Photo: In a stable society this type of protest is tolerated. During a civil war/revolution they would just be shot.

The irony is that the Antifas, BLMs, Trendy Liberals and some decent people who actually do care about the destiny of Black Americans actually get shown a lot of mercy by the police. In theory they could just shoot them, but they generally when the cameras are rolling the cops maintain the farce that beatings and tear gas are humane and not a violation of one’s right to protest – they do not just open fire. Journalists may write that there are “clashes” between protestors and police but these are not the same type of clashes that happen when organized men with guns engage other organized men with guns. If monument destruction and building tent villages were to turn into a civil conflict the gloves would come off immediately. If the police are taken out of the question, this won’t create a safe space for revolution, but will embolden the Heartland of America to take out its rage. The Right Wingers who have been dreaming of the day when they can finally turn their guns on their enemies would come very quickly in the absence of the police.

For some reason America’s Left has romantic notions about Anarchy when it is really the Populist Heartland Right that that would come out the winners in a temporary absence of government. The dad-homeowner is terrified of going to jail and losing everything he has worked for so the police keep him totally in check, but in a state of complete chaos all of a sudden he is motivated to take violent action to make sure his stuff remains intact.

In the highly unlikely event that the BLM protests do lead to some revolutionary moment, Trump still has the advantage – the military (current and former), the defunded police, homeowners and heartlanders, with no work and the possibility to lose everything in front of their faces will be very easy to mobilize and their wrath will be great. Then again Trump under pressure could take the “Yanukovich” route and just give up to start a fine career in alcoholism in some foreign country.

Defunding the police is a great signal to make revolution easier in America, but it is no guarantee of success. White teenagers who love hating their country of origin and shedding fake tears for the repression of some other ethnicity they have never let into their house are not going to hold the line after the impact of the first volley especially armed with cutesy poo improvised weapons. If certain people want a civil war, maybe they will get it if some politicians are willing to defund, but they certainly are not going to win it.

If you want to hear the official explanation of what #DefundThePolice means to the Black Lives Matter organization in their own words you can read their official statement here.

Seriously, Get the Hell Out of Afghanistan

Par Andrey Areshev

Caitlin JOHNSTONE

With overwhelming bipartisan support, the House Armed Services Committee has added a Liz Cheney-spearheaded amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which throws severe roadblocks in the Trump administration’s proposed scale-down of US military presence in Afghanistan and Germany.

As The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald notes, both parties advancing the amendment cited in their arguments the completely unsubstantiated intelligence leak that was recently published by credulous mass media reporters alleging that Russia has paid bounties to Taliban fighters for killing the occupying forces in Afghanistan. Yet another western imperialist agenda once again facilitated by unforgivably egregious journalistic malpractice in the mass media.

House Democrats, working with Liz Cheney, restrict Trump’s planned withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and Germany https://t.co/WZEjALgJHH

— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) July 2, 2020

Every aspect of this development is enraging.

The mass media have continued to add to their mountain of Gish gallop fallacies promoting this narrative with a new Daily Beast report citing former senior Taliban figure Mullah Manan Niazi who asserts that “The Taliban have been paid by Russian intelligence for attacks on U.S. forces — and on ISIS forces — in Afghanistan from 2014 up to the present.” The Beast’s own article admits that its source has severe conflicts of interest and is believed to be a CIA asset by Taliban leadership, and that Niazi provided no evidence of any kind for his claim or any further details whatsoever.

These flimsy, poorly-sourced allegations are being hammered into mainstream liberal consciousness on a daily basis now in the exact same way the discredited Russiagate psyop was, and just like with Russiagate the narrative they are being used to shape helps advance military expansionism and new cold war escalations which just so happen to fit perfectly into pre-existing geostrategic agendas of planetary domination.

The way mainstream news outlets consistently refuse to account for a fact so obvious and indisputable as intelligence agencies being known liars should by itself be enough to discredit the entire institution of mass news reporting. Yet here we are with these reports being treated as established fact throughout the entire political/media class and down through the entire population of propagandized rank-and-file citizenry.

The Afghanistan Papers established conclusively that the occupation has been unwinnable and without a clear picture of what winning would even look like from the very beginning, and that this fact has been hidden from the world by systematic deceit for two decades. The revelation was in the news for a day and then quickly memory holed without having any meaningful impact on the dominant narrative about Afghanistan, and now the mainstream consensus is that even trying to reduce the number of troops there is a hazardous and outlandish notion.

This is because the mainstream consensus is shaped not by facts, but by narrative. We see this in the way the fact-filled Afghanistan Papers have played no role in shaping the dominant narrative about what should be done about the nineteen-year occupation, and we see it in the way the fact-free “bounty” narrative is shaping public opinion and determining US foreign policy. The propagandists who manufacture consent for imperialist agendas understand that truth and facts play far less of a role in what the propagandized consider important than does mindless repetition and emotion.

The Empire Files has an absolutely phenomenal mini-documentary on the Afghanistan occupation which came out the other day, and everyone should watch it. Abby Martin quickly breaks down the geostrategic, resource control, and military-industrial complex agendas which are advanced by this interminable war, the deceit and depravity which went into initiating and maintaining it, and the devastating toll it has taken on the Afghan people. I strongly encourage my readers to give it a view when you get the chance.

The continued Afghanistan occupation is like if the police stormed a house, shot a bunch of people, realized they got the wrong house and they’d never find the guy they were looking for by staying there, stayed anyway, moved in, and then years later said they can’t move out because they heard a rumor that the neighbors are trying to make them leave.

In a sane world it would be the violent invasion and occupation of sovereign nations which elicits outrage and opposition from elected officials and intense skepticism and critical reporting from prominent journalists. In today’s propaganda-maddened society we get the exact opposite: the invasions and occupations are treated as the normal default position and any attempt to end them is regarded as outlandish.

This cannot continue. We must find a way to awaken from the brainwashing and force it to end. Anyone who works to prevent this from happening is an enemy of human progress.

medium.com

The Trouble With ‘White Privilege’

Par Andrey Areshev

In the wake of the tumultuous Back Lives Matter protests, “white privilege” is the phrase of the day. Everyone uses it, and everyone seems to know what it means.

After all, whites could attend better public schools back in the days of Jim Crow, they could live in better neighborhoods, and they could go to colleges and universities from which blacks were expressly barred. They could enter a store or walk down a street without having to worry about being lynched if they said something wrong to a member of another race, and they could vote without fear of someone burning down their house.

So isn’t this the “white privilege” that everybody’s talking about, i.e. the privilege of living free of terror and degradation? Yes, but it’s also where things get complicated. Because the phrase applies to all whites by virtue of the color of their skin, it implies that all somehow benefit from racism. But is that really the case? What about poor whites who are also economically oppressed and whose minds are twisted by a sick and dangerous ideology that does them nearly as much harm as it does others?

Are they privileged? Harper Lee’s 1962 novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” is a book that many Americans claim to have read but few understand. It’s been packaged as a heartwarming tale of liberal uplift. But at its best it’s an exploration of the dark and spooky world that Jim Crow made for poor southern whites in the depths of the 1930s Depression.

A particularly powerful chapter deals with a white child who is humiliated when his teacher asks why he doesn’t have a lunch pail (as they called it in those days) like everyone else. His eyes are “red-rimmed and watery,” his complexion colorless “except at the tip of his nose, which was moistly pink.” The book goes on: “Walter Cunningham’s face told everybody in the first grade he had hookworms. His absence of shoes told how he got them. People caught hookworms going barefoot in barnyards and hog wallows.”

He’s so poor, in other words, that his family can’t afford food or shoes. “The Cunningham are country folks, farmers, and the crash hit them hardest,” Atticus Finch explains. When his daughter, Scout, invites her classmate home for a decent meal, Walter piles food onto his plate like a starving man and then inundates it with molasses. “He probably would have poured it into his milk glass had I not asked what the sam hill he was doing,” she relates.

“The silver saucer clattered when he replaced the pitcher, and he quickly put his hands in his lap. Then he ducked his head. Atticus shook his head at me again. ‘But he’s gone and drowned his dinner in syrup,’ I protested. ‘He’s poured it all over – ’”

With that, the housekeeper yanks Scout into the kitchen for a lecture.

“He ain’t company, Cal, he’s just a Cunningham – ”

“Hush your mouth! Don’t matter who they are, anybody sets foot in this house’s yo’ company, and don’t let me catch you remarkin’ on their ways like you was so high and mighty!”

Cal is black, but she knows as well as anybody – better, in fact – that any “privilege” Walter Cunningham enjoys is nothing but a cruel joke. Later, when a mob of white men come to lynch the accused black rapist Tom Robinson, Walter’s father, a dirt farmer who “had probably never seen three quarters together at the same time in his life,” is among them. Scout calls him out:

“Don’t you remember me, Mr. Cunningham? I’m Jean Louise Finch … I go to school with Walter. He’s your boy, ain’t he? Ain’t he, sir? … He’s in my grade, and he does right well. He’s a good boy, a real nice boy. We brought him home for dinner one time. Maybe he told you about me, I beat him up one time, but he was real nice about it. Tell him hey for me, won’t you?”

Cunningham hangs his head in shame and goes home. It’s a desperately sad story about an indebted farmer who is so thoroughly boxed in that the only way he knows to express his anger is by attacking someone whose situation is even worse.

This is the “white privilege” that everyone is prattling on about nowadays. What they don’t grasp is the spuriousness of it all, the fact that privilege in this context is nothing but a con, a way of insuring that despairing white farmers would string up impoverished blacks rather than join with their natural allies against the people who were really running the Old South. Theodore W. Allen, the scholar who did more than anyone to popularize the concept, nonetheless warned that it was a double-edged sword.

“In the South,” he wrote in 1967, “where the white-skin privilege has always been most emphasized and formal, the white workers have fared worse than white workers in the rest of the country. The white-skin privilege for the mass is the trustee’s privilege, not release from jail, merely freedom of movement within it….”

Southern whites were a step above blacks, but still neck-deep in the mire. While blacks paid a price for racism, they did as well – not as much, certainly, but a price nonetheless. While “To Kill a Mockingbird” describes a world seeming far removed from our own, the situation today is not all that different. Not only is the South still corrupt and undemocratic, but so is the U.S. in general. The police are out of control, economic polarization is shooting through the roof, unemployment is in the double digits, and the coronavirus epidemic rages unchecked. Most of all, a frozen eighteenth-century constitution allows tiny well-placed minorities to lord it over the democratic majority just as they did during Harper Lee’s childhood. Workers of all colors and races need to overthrow this failed republic and give America “a new birth of freedom,” yet dangerously confused concepts like “white privilege” get in the way.

Theodore Allen’s reputation, in this writer’s opinion, is vastly overrated. His approach to the racial question was narrow and hysterical in a late-Stalinist sort of way. But at least he was a former Communist Party member burning with indignation against capitalist inequality. It’s a quality that the yuppies who run Black Lives Matter definitely do not share as they rake in millions in donations from the Ford Foundation, George Soros, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos. What does it matter if the class roots of racism wind up obscured as long as corporate contributions continue to flow?

India’s Modi Terminates His Weibo Diplomacy

Par Andrey Areshev

What started out as a promising relationship with China is now one struggling to find a direction

MK BHADRAKUMAR

The common perception among Indian analysts, widely articulated in the country’s media, is that the government’s options to “hit back” at China for whatever has happened in eastern Ladakh during the past two months are very limited.

The reported erasure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “official page” on the Chinese social media website Weibo can only reinforce that impression. It simply doesn’t add up.

If reports are to be believed, Modi’s official page on Weibo “went blank” on Wednesday with the removal of the PM’s photograph and all 115 posts made over the past few years. However, some reports say the actual number is 113 and two posts are still remaining.

Why this happened remains incomprehensible – except, perhaps, for the optics it conveys in the domestic perceptions that the government is hanging tough on China. For a start, Modi might not have been a relatively popular figure in China – he only had 244,000 followers in a population of about 1.4 billion.

But such a following was not insignificant, either, in a country where there is no dearth of more attractive topics to engage public attention.

Arguably, therefore, Modi’s effort to communicate with “Chinese friends” through Weibo was not in vain during the period since 2015 when his “Weibo diplomacy” was launched and he wrote his first message, “Hello China! Looking forward to interacting with Chinese friends through Weibo.”

Communicating directly to the people in an authoritarian state is a rare opportunity. Weibo, which is state-controlled, extended to Modi such a privilege. And Modi, conceivably, was aware that every word he wrote would be carefully read by the movers and shakers in Beijing.

There is nothing indicating that the Chinese side ever censored his posts. Having lived as a diplomat in the former Soviet Union for many years, I can only conclude that the authorities in Beijing must have been quietly pleased with Modi’s attempt to build bridges of friendship with the Chinese people.

In diplomacy, the centrality of people-to-people relations in inter-state relations is often understated. Modi is a rare exception. His political persona is virtually nothing without his extraordinary ability to “connect” with people.

What a smashing hit his first major foray into international diplomacy was at Madison Square Garden in New York City in the autumn of 2014.

Without doubt, the event caught then-US president Barack Obama’s imagination – although the two statesmen are poles apart in their beliefs and politics. India-US relations, which were listless at that time, had a booster dose from Modi’s solo performance in New York. The ties never looked back.

Modi’s subsequent “hug diplomacy” with President Donald Trump also had an inherent logic insofar as it created a firewall to minimize collateral damage from the latter’s mercurial personality.

Modi managed to hold Trump captive to a dissimulated relationship of mutual affection and respect. Trump probably understood the game, but played along.

It was a delicate trapeze act, and, inevitably, Modi fumbled as time passed by becoming somewhat excessive, as evident from the raucous “Howdy Modi” and “Namaste Trump” events.

Modi tempted fate. Today, we keep our fingers crossed and hope there won’t be blowback if Joe Biden wins the November presidential election in the US.

In comparison, the “Weibo diplomacy” was a safe bet. The best part was that it cost nothing. Even if the bridge lost its sense of direction and was hanging in the air, it still would have served a purpose, as a constant reminder to the Chinese side of Modi’s intentions and commitment to the Sino-Indian relationship.

Arguably, Weibo’s administrators would have been put on the spot if Modi had just retained his account vowing not to write any further posts until enduring peace and tranquility reappeared in the rocky mountains and valleys of eastern Ladakh.

Having said that, what happened on Wednesday also underscored a maxim that Modi is just about learning – that the role of personalized diplomacy should not be exaggerated. Modi revelled in “hug diplomacy” in its various manifestations and probably had a false notion that India’s foreign policies depended heavily on his personal efforts.

The Chinese experience shows that life is real. It is the interests of countries that matter in international politics and any leader who fancies otherwise is bound to meet with disillusionment.

A famous instance comes to mind – then-US president George W Bush’s famous remark after his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the charming Brdo pri Kranju estate in northern Slovenia on June 16, 2001: “I looked the man in the eye. I found him very straightforward and trustworthy – I was able to get a sense of his soul.”

Bush Jr was not a gifted speaker, but even by his standards, that remark was a bloomer. His top security aide, and later secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice wrote in her memoirs that Bush’s phrasing had been a serious mistake. As Rice put it: “We were never able to escape the perception that the president had naively trusted Putin and then been betrayed.”

Equally, it is a reasonable estimation today, in retrospect, that the Chinese side too went awfully wrong in believing that Modi was a “strong” leader with whom they could do business and even reach a border settlement to transform the Sino-Indian relationship historically.

The Chinese commentaries were noticeably partisan toward Modi in the run-up to the 2014 Indian election when he was storming the castle in Delhi to capture power.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi landed in Delhi on June 8, 2014, as the special envoy of President Xi Jinping within days of Modi assuming office as prime minister. While in Delhi, Wang publicly called Modi “an old friend of China” and paid fulsome praise that he would inject “new vitality into an ancient civilization.”

Even the Washington-based Diplomat magazine, which is usually hostile toward Beijing, admitted: “Rhetoric aside, the greater significance of Wang’s visit is that it reflects a desire in China to pivot the bilateral relationship with India away from tenuous and unproductive disputes and toward economic cooperation. China, and now India under Modi, see economic complementarities to be exploited for mutual gain.”

But the magazine was prescient to add a cautionary note, albeit in riddles: “Despite rhetoric on both sides favoring closer ties, India and China continue to have their share of problems. While Wang’s trip might be the first official interaction between the Chinese government and the Modi administration, the Chinese Foreign Ministry did protest Tibetan leader Lobgsang Sangay’s prominent place at Modi’s swearing-in ceremony on May 26.”

With the benefit of hindsight, if Modi’s China diplomacy is in a shambles today, we cannot but factor in the absence of a consensus within our ruling elite over the sort of trajectory to the Sino-Indian ties that he would have choreographed in the solitude of his mind as he set out to assume the levers of power in 2014.

At what point the Chinese side began sensing this Indian mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma, we may never exactly know. But the denouement to the present crisis also depends on our making a fair guess.

asiatimes.com

Bounty-Hunter Hoax to Kill U.S.-Russia Relations

Par Andrey Areshev

Relations between the United States and Russia have already been badly wounded during recent years, largely as a result of baseless allegations such as Moscow interfering in American elections, colluding with President Donald Trump, or regarding other international developments, from the downing of a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine, to purported war crimes in Syria, to the alleged poisoning of British double-agent Sergei Skripal in England.

But the latest U.S. media effort claiming Russian military intelligence involvement in sponsoring Taliban assassins or “bounty hunters” to target American troops in Afghanistan appears to be aimed at killing off any remaining possibility for restoring relations between Washington and Moscow.

Even the concept of “bounty hunters” sounds like an outlandish reliance on Wild West folklore which in itself betrays the origins of the story as a figment of imagination rooted in the authors’ American parochialism.

Quite appropriately, however, we can extend the analogy further by referring to the U.S. media reporting on the Russian “bounty hunter” claims as “cowboy journalism”.

America’s supposed finest media outlets jumped on this yarn like a posse in bandwagon fashion. The New York Times “broke” the story on June 26 and was followed by others of presumed journalistic stature: The Washington Post, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, and others.

No evidence has been presented to back up the explosive claims made against Russia and against President Trump that he was briefed about the intelligence allegedly implicating Russia in Afghanistan but did nothing about it.

The whole media frenzy has relied on unnamed sources and vague claims about money being found or transferred from bank accounts.

In less than a week since the story “broke” there is a palpable sense that the initial media frenzy has fizzled out, leaving a bitter aftertaste of nothingness and embarrassment for the journalists who pushed the fable with gung-ho grit.

The story has been roundly dismissed as a hoax by the Trump White House, the Kremlin and the Taliban. More politely, the heads of U.S. intelligence and the Pentagon stated there was “no corroborating evidence” for the media claims.

So, what was it all about?

Evidently, it was another shot in the Last Chance Saloon by the anti-Russia Washington political establishment, or deep state, to further undermine bilateral relations. The obsequious way in which supposed bastions of U.S. journalism parroted the disinformation is illustrative of the low standard of American media. As several critical commentators have noted, what we saw from the New York Times et al was not journalism, but rather stenographic dissemination of deep state disinformation.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has remarked that the timing of the “provocative hoax” comes at a critical juncture in efforts to bring a peace settlement in Afghanistan after nearly 20 years of U.S.-led war in that country. Trump is committed to withdrawing U.S. troops and, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the Kremlin has been quietly cooperating with the American State Department to mediate a peace deal. The implication is that there are elements within the U.S. intelligence-military apparatus which have a vested interest in continuing the quagmire war in Afghanistan. The “bombshell” claims of a Russian clandestine assassination program against U.S. troops would thus jeopardize a political settlement in Afghanistan.

Secondly, while the U.S. reporting on the bounty-hunter scheme has been a self-inflicted disgrace to journalism, it has nevertheless succeeded, to a degree, in riling up anti-Russia sentiment in Washington. Lawmakers from Trump’s own Republican party have joined with the usual Democrat chorus to call for increased sanctions against Moscow.

Trump has been accused (again) of “treachery” and “treason” by being “infatuated” with Russian President Vladimir Putin. One Republican political action committee released a spoof advert this week in which Moscow thanks “Comrade Trump” for his “loyalty”.

This pathetic poisoning of relations is ludicrous and dangerous.

Another glaring factor is the forthcoming U.S. presidential elections which are only four months away. The media ruse, we can hardly say “reporting”, is evidently designed to aid Joe Biden, the Democrat rival to Trump. Biden reacted to the media claims against Russia with “shock, horror” and he denounced Trump for (allegedly) not being concerned about security of U.S. troops. Biden said if he is elected to the White House he will “stand up to Putin”.

The transparent manipulation attempt of public emotions and votes is almost laughable. It is gas-lighting as in the Cold War days of McCarthyism.

Like him or loath him, Donald Trump has been a thorn in the side of powerful domestic enemies since he won the 2016 election. We can describe those enemies as the deep state and their apparatus in the Democrat party working in conjunction with servile media surrogates. (No doubt the Republican party would be just as obliging if the shoe was on other other foot.) Trump has certainly been no friend to Russia. Bilateral relations remain as blighted as they were under the previous Obama Democrat administrations.

For various reasons, Trump’s domestic enemies are mobilizing in a desperate effort to block his re-election. That is what the whole Russia “bounty-hunter blockbuster” is all about. But in doing so, the relations between the U.S. and Russia are being kicked to the ground and lynched. That is an appallingly reckless consequence.

The grotesque irony is that Russia is accused of “interference”. American deep political forces are interfering in the nation’s democracy to control the elections, as they have previously done. A price will be paid in worse U.S.-Russia relations and greater international tensions.

Beyond the Toppling of Colonial Monuments, a Rethinking of History and Accountability Is Vital

Par Andrey Areshev

When Chile erupted in protests over the neoliberal politics of President Sebastian Pinera and the dictatorship legacy of Augusto Pinochet, the indigenous Mapuche population embarked upon the tearing down of colonial monuments and statues occupying Chilean public spaces. The news was of paramount importance for Chile’s reclamation of its historical memory, in particular as during the dictatorship, legal references to the Mapuche were removed.

Elsewhere in the world, the Chilean struggle to preserve the people’s historical memory did not resonate so much. Now, as statues glorifying colonialism were toppled over and vandalised in the U.S., the UK and Belgium, the ramifications of colonial rule have been brought closer to home, in particular the links between colonialism and racism. The question that should be asked is what happens once the current protests simmer down and the current reckoning is no longer a news item and shielded from public scrutiny and interest?

There have been mixed reactions to the toppling and vandalising of colonial monuments, from approval of their elimination to the cloistering of such relics in museums. The current uproar necessitates a strategy, if the initial manifestations against historical colonial legacy are to bear any impact on current politics.

Glorification and eradication can both lead to different forms of oblivion in the absence of education. By colonising public spaces and having education systems perpetuate the colonial narrative, the collective historical memory which matters is marginalised to accommodate an ongoing violence which neglects the voices of the colonised. As Fidel Castro once declared in 1960 while addressing the UN General Assembly, “Colonies do not speak. Colonies are not known until they have the opportunity to express themselves.”

For the colonised, anti-colonial struggle is also a reclamation of narratives. The former colonial powers, or systems of governance built upon colonial legacies follow a different trajectory in reckoning with their past. For example, the differentiation between grudgingly made reparations to former colonies, and the glorification of colonialism through erected monuments within the public spaces of former colonisers, is proof of an existent political dissonance which requires more than temporary anger and destruction.

Belgium, for example, has followed up the demonstrations with the intent to set up parliamentary debates that go beyond “gratuitous apologies”. Reparations for Belgium’s colonial legacy in the Congo are expected to form part of a commission that is charged with establishing truth and reconciliation.

Land appropriation and exploitation, slave labour, trafficking, genocide, massacres and the maiming of the colonised populations are components of historical memory which should be brought to the fore, if the former colonial powers now styled as democratic countries are to alter thinking and politics beyond the visible memorabilia and monuments, or the preservation of colonial history in museums, as the fate of some removed statues will be. Preserving racism in museums is an established framework that can impede the current awareness from developing into anti-colonial recognition and solidarity. The repatriation of stolen artefacts and human remains to their respective indigenous communities are only part of the decolonisation framework.

The current focus on public spaces and how these are tainted by colonialism can become a historical act if, through education, society becomes attuned to decolonisation. To think critically about history, in particular to refute the mainstream narratives as absolute truth, should accompany the current furore over monuments, which risks becoming an isolated act if not substantiated by a rethinking of historical identity. In Europe, far from the ramifications of colonialism, this process is paramount. It requires a thorough reckoning with the past, one that brings the subaltern narratives to the helm. Anything less will merely reflect the hegemonic view on human rights and values – a concept which has obstructed an authentic process of decolonisation.

The Growing Police Union-White Supremacist Alliance

Par Andrey Areshev

Within the U.S. labor movement there exists a far right-wing Trojan Horse that is bent on perpetuating police violence and murder of people of color and resisting all attempts at police reform, including criminal prosecution of police officers who commit wanton acts of murder and other forms of physical violence. The Trojan Horse is the police union “blue line,” the corruption of which is coming to light in a number of jurisdiction following the police killing of George Floyd, an African-American, in Minneapolis, an act that set off massive protests around the United States and the world.

At the pinnacle of the police unions is the International Union of Police Associations (IUPA), which is headquartered in Sarasota, Florida. Masquerading as a charitable organization, the IUPA is anything but “charitable.” IUPA’s tax category defines the group as a “labor, agricultural, or horticulture organization whose object must be the betterment of conditions of those engaged in the pursuits of labor, agriculture, or horticulture, which includes lobbying.”

The IUPA, which endorsed Donald Trump for re-election in September 2019, is nothing more than a political right-wing organization that describes the Democratic Party and Democratic office holders and candidates as “anti-police” and “anti-law enforcement,” which is a canard designed to increase its donations from other right-wing Republican organizations and individuals in the United States. IUPA joined the Fraternal Order of Police in endorsing Trump in 2016 and 2020. Unlike the Fraternal Order of Police, which is largely funded by union dues, most of IUPA’s contributions come from dubious phone solicitation fundraisers.

Trump has returned the favor of the IUPA’s endorsement by having his National Security Adviser, Robert O’Brien, declare with a straight face on CNN, “I don’t think there is systemic racism. I think 99.9 percent of our law enforcement officers are great Americans.” As always with statistics and the Trump administration, simple mathematics prove O’Brien very wrong. Statistics show the percentage of U.S. police officers linked to systemic racism to be at least 20 percent.

In a 2006 report titled “White Supremacist Infiltration of Law Enforcement,” the FBI concluded that there was a concerted effort by white supremacist groups to infiltrate law enforcement communities or recruit law enforcement personnel.” In another report from 2015 the FBI revealed that “militia extremists, white supremacist extremists, and sovereign citizen extremists often have identified active links to law enforcement officers.” Under the Trump administration, the situation with white supremacist infiltration of police departments has greatly worsened.

The IUPA has been at the forefront of opposing police reform legislation and edicts at the national, state, county, and municipal levels. In many ways, the IUPA and its constituent member associations and unions act racketeering shakedown artists, threatening government officials who attempt to reform problematic police departments with political retaliation.

According to its tax filings, the IUPA has misrepresented the number of law enforcement officers it represents. The union association has claimed representation for over 100,000 police officers, but the actual number is 19,200. As a charity, the IUPA, which also does business under the names “Police Officers Support Association” and “National Emergency Responders Coalition,” was given a D minus rating by the Better Business Bureau and the “Tampa Bay Times” cited the police organization as one of the worst-run charities in the United States.

The union association’s leadership, working from their own building in downtown Sarasota, consists of an “international union president,” an “international union vice president,” and an “international secretary-treasurer.” The IUPA president, who is a retired detective with the Defiance, Ohio Police Department, has served in his present position since 1995 and as an IUPA official since 1988. The IUPA vice president is retired from the U.S. Air Force Security Police and Milwaukee Police Department. Nothing reeks more of a “good old boys” police network than the IUPA. The IUPA building in Sarasota hosts several front organizations that also conduct telephone fundraising scams. These groups have names like the Fairfax Deputy Sheriff’s Coalition, the US Secret Service Uniformed Division Officers Association, the Institute for Police Research, International Union of Police Associations – Florida Local 6000 – AFL-CIO, and the Law Enforcement Political Action Committee.

It comes as no surprise that for two of the police departments where the IUPA leadership once served – Defiance and Milwaukee — there have been recent “shoot first and ask questions later” incidents by the police. Sometimes, it is law enforcement officers who are on the receiving end of wanton police violence. For example, a Travis Air Force Base, California air policeman, Staff Sgt. Steven Carrillo, was arrested during the recent civil strife across the United States for shooting and killing two law enforcement officers, a federal security guard outside the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building in Oakland and a Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s deputy. Carillo, who was identified as a member of the far-right terrorist organization, “Boogaloo Bois,” also wounded five other law enforcement officers in his killing spree. The Carillo case pointed to white supremacist infiltration of both the military and law enforcement. Rather than purge their ranks of white supremacist police officers, the IUPA and other police unions hide behind their “blue wall” of silence and mutual protection.

As a part of the AFL-CIO, America’s largest labor union, the national labor federation has faced demands from other member union, particularly those with a large number of African-American and Hispanic-American workers, to oust the IUPA from the AFL-CIO. The “Drop the Cops” campaign intensified after the police murders of African-Americans in Minneapolis and Louisville, Kentucky. One group of progressive labor activists, the Action Network, has demanded that the AFL-CIO expel IUPA. In a recent statement, The Action Network asserted, “Since their earliest days, police in the United States have repressed striking workers, brutalized marginalized communities, and fought against an array of efforts to create a more just society… The material interests of police as they presently exist in the United States are antithetical to the values of our labor movement . . . Across the country, police unions stand opposed to the broader aims of the labor movement. Shamefully, Donald Trump is endorsed by the country’s two largest police unions: the unaffiliated Fraternal Order of the Police and the AFL-CIO affiliated IUPA. In Minnesota — the site of George Floyd’s murder — Minneapolis Police Federation President Bob Kroll has amassed dozens of internal investigations and a record of inflammatory statements.” Kroll’s union, like those of New York City and Louisville are independent of both the IUPA and Fraternal Order of Police.

It has been avowedly pro-Trump law enforcement officials like Kroll and former Maricopa, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio (who received a Trump presidential pardon after his federal conviction on contempt of court) who have been at the forefront of brutal repression of minorities and it is individuals like them that the IUPA, Fraternal Order of Police, and Police Benevolent Associations have sought to protect all police officers under the guise of “labor union” safeguards. Joining them in ensuring the solidarity of the “blue wall” are police unions that are part of the International Brotherhood of Police Organizations/National Association of Government Employees and the Teamsters. In reality, police unions are not much better than Mafia organized crime enterprises that have been federally prosecuted pursuant to the Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

Corrupt police unions have also helped foster links between the worst police offenders of civil and human rights and various white supremacist organizations, including many that engaged in “false flag” arson, looting, and vandalism during the recent Black Lives Matter protests around the United States.

A survey of certain constituent IUPA and other police unions, including the Fraternal Order of Police, reveals that many of the police forces they represent have had issues with racist police officers and employees, some with ties to white supremacist and other far-right groups. These include IUPA locals in Bel Air, Maryland; Fairfax County, Virginia; Indianapolis, Indiana; Sussex County, New Jersey; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Orlando, Florida; Orange County, Florida; Anne Arundel County, Maryland; Boca Raton, Florida; and Salt Lake City, Utah. Over the past several decades there have been scandals involving racist law enforcement officers in departments ranging from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office and Los Angeles Police Department to Cleveland, Ohio and the Williamson County, Texas Sheriff’s Office.

In several police departments that have been plagued by white supremacist and neo-Nazi employees there has also been a very bizarre link to Israel. Many problematic police departments in the U.S., including those of Minneapolis; Atlanta; Orlando; Baltimore; St. Louis; Los Angeles; New York City; Boston; Las Vegas; Miami-Dade; Seattle; Oakland; Jacksonville, Florida; Washington, DC; Ferguson, Missouri; San Diego; San Bernardino, California; Anoka County, Minnesota; Gwinnett County, Georgia; Ascention Parish, Louisiana; Ventura County, California; Orange County, California; as well as the New York, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Jersey State Police and the Tennessee and Georgia Bureaus of Investigation, have received training in Israel, either courtesy of taxpayer-funded programs or enterprises funded by the Anti-Defamation League, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the American Jewish Committee, and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. According to Amnesty International, this training, which includes the use of the often lethal “choke hold” and “neck restraint,” have been routinely practiced in both Israel and the illegally-occupied West Bank. Laughably, the ADL’s involvement in such police training involves its “Center on Extremism” and “Civil Rights Counsel.” Israeli police routinely commit human rights abuses against Palestinians, Israeli Arabs, Israeli Jews of North African and Arab descent, and Ethiopian Jews largely because Israel, today, is not much different than the segregationist Jim Crow-era U.S. South.

Responding to calls to end all U.S. police training with Israel, the Vermont State police; Durham, North Carolina; and Alameda County, California have halted all such programs and there are demands for other departments to follow suit.

The election of Trump as president made a bad situation involving white supremacists and neo-Nazis serving in U.S. law enforcement agencies much worse. It will take a major overhaul of law enforcement agencies from Maine to Hawaii by a future Department of Justice to even make a little headway against the rising tide of white supremacist police officers who are aided and abetted by their union leadership.

How ‘News’-Media Lie and Get Away With It

Par Andrey Areshev

Eric ZUESSE

Lots of U.S. invasions are based on blatant lies by the U.S. Government and its stenographic ‘free press’ (which is just as controlled by America’s 788 billionaires as the Soviet Union’s press was controlled by its Communist Party), but this will discuss only one instance, which is especially well-documented:

On 26 May 2004, the New York Times published an editorial headlined “The Times and Iraq”, which seemed to apologize for something, but which wasn’t clear about what, specifically, was being apologized for, if this was an apology. They said that after having “studied the allegations of official gullibility and hype” regarding “the issue of Iraq’s weapons and possible Iraqi connections to international terrorists,” “we have found a number of instances of coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been.” They claimed to have been deceived by a U.S. Government that had been deceived by foreigners. (They pretended that the invasion of Iraq didn’t originate in, and from, America: they were blaming foreigners, especially ones who were from Iraq, for America’s invasion of Iraq.) “Administration officials now acknowledge that they sometimes fell for misinformation from these exile sources. So did many news organizations — in particular, this one.” (So, they were apologizing for “many news organizations — in particular, this one,” implying that they hadn’t done anything out of the ordinary or especially worth apologizing for.) They asserted that “Editors at several levels who should have been challenging reporters and pressing for more skepticism were perhaps too intent on rushing scoops into the paper.” They were pushing the blame down to their employees, the reporting staff, their own hirees — away from themselves (much less the newspaper’s owners). The earliest example they cited of this was:

On Sept. 8, 2002, the lead article of the paper was headlined “U.S. Says Hussein Intensified Quest for A-Bomb Parts.” That report concerned the aluminum tubes that the administration advertised insistently as components for the manufacture of nuclear weapons fuel. The claim came not from defectors but from the best American intelligence sources available at the time. Still, it should have been presented more cautiously. There were hints that the usefulness of the tubes in making nuclear fuel was not a sure thing, but the hints were buried deep, 1,700 words into a 3,600-word article. Administration officials were allowed to hold forth at length on why this evidence of Iraq’s nuclear intentions demanded that Saddam Hussein be dislodged from power: “The first sign of a ‘smoking gun,’ they argue, may be a mushroom cloud.”

Five days later, The Times reporters learned that the tubes were in fact a subject of debate among intelligence agencies. The misgivings appeared deep in an article on Page A13, under a headline that gave no inkling that we were revising our earlier view (“White House Lists Iraq Steps to Build Banned Weapons”). The Times gave voice to skeptics of the tubes on Jan. 9, when the key piece of evidence was challenged by the International Atomic Energy Agency. That challenge was reported on Page A10; it might well have belonged on Page A1.

George W. Bush seems to have been informed, in advance, about this Times article regarding aluminum tubes; and, so, on Saturday, September 7th, of 2002, he said, while standing beside British Prime Minister Tony Blair,

We just heard the Prime Minister talk about the new report. I would remind you that when the inspectors first went into Iraq and were denied — finally denied access, a report came out of the Atomic — the IAEA that they were six months away from developing a weapon. I don’t know what more evidence we need [in order for Congress to authorize an invasion of Iraq].

PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: Absolutely right.

Then, as soon as the weekend was over, on Monday 9 September 2002, was issued by the IAEA the following:

Related Coverage: Director General’s statement on Iraq to the IAEA Board of Governors on 9 September 2002 [this being a republication of their notice three days earlier, on 6 Sep.].

Vienna, 06 September, 2002 – With reference to an article published today in the New York Times [which, as usual, stenographically reported the Administration’s false allegations, which the IAEA was trying to correct in a way that would minimally offend the NYT and the U.S. President], the International Atomic Energy Agency would like to state that it has no new information on Iraq’s nuclear programme since December 1998 when its inspectors left Iraq [and verified that no WMD remained there at that time]. Only through a resumption of inspections in accordance with Security Council Resolution 687 and other relevant resolutions can the Agency draw any conclusion with regard to Iraq’s compliance with its obligations under the above resolutions relating to its nuclear activities.

Contact: Mark Gwozdecky, Tel: (+43 1) 2600-21270, e-mail: M.Gwozdecky@iaea.org.

It even linked to the following statement from the IAEA Director General amplifying it:

Since December 1998 when our inspectors left Iraq, we have no additional information that can be directly linked without inspection to Iraq’s nuclear activities. I should emphasize that it is only through resumption of inspections that the Agency can draw any conclusion or provide any assurance regarding Iraq’s compliance with its obligations under these resolutions.

So, this was proof of the falsehood of Bush’s and Blair’s reference, on September 7th, to the IAEA, in which Bush-Blair were saying that, upon the authority of the IAEA itself, there was “the new report … a report came out of the Atomic — the IAEA that they were six months away from developing a weapon. I don’t know what more evidence we need.”

Because of the news-media’s ignoring the IAEA’s denial of the President’s statement, the author of the IAEA’s denial, Mark Gwozdecky, spoke again nearly three weeks later, by phone, with the only journalist who was interested, Joseph Curl of the Washington Times, who headlined on 27 September 2002, “Agency Disavows Report on Iraq Arms” — perhaps that should instead have been “President Lied About ‘Saddam’s WMD’” — and Curl quoted Gwozdecky: “There’s never been a report like that [which Bush alleged] issued from this agency. … When we left in December ’98 we had concluded that we had neutralized their nuclear-weapons program. We had confiscated their fissile material. We had destroyed all their key buildings and equipment.” Other news-media failed to pick up Curl’s article. And, even in that article, there was no clear statement that the President had, in fact, lied — cooked up an IAEA ‘report’ that never actually existed.

Bush had simply lied, and Blair seconded it, and the ‘news’-media stenographically accepted it, and broadcasted it to the public, and continued to do so, despite the IAEA’s having denied, as early as September 6th, that they had issued any such “new report” at allVirtually all of the alleged news-media (and not only the NYT) entirely ignored the IAEA’s denial (though it was not merely one bullet, but rapidly fired on four separate occasions, into the wilderness of America’s ‘news’-media). It was actually only propaganda-media, and they hid the fact that George W. Bush was lying.

The day after that 7 September 2002 unquestioned lie by Bush, saying Iraq was only six months from having a nuclear weapon, and citing the IAEA as his source for that, the New York Times ran their article which was titled “THREATS AND RESPONSES: THE IRAQIS; U.S. SAYS HUSSEIN INTENSIFIES QUEST FOR A-BOMB PARTS”, and continued further there, as stenographers to the White House, by reporting that, “‘The jewel in the crown is nuclear,’ a senior administration official said. ‘The closer he gets to a nuclear capability, the more credible is his threat to use chemical or biological weapons. Nuclear weapons are his hole card.’” The fake ‘news’ — stenography from the lying Government and its chosen lying sources — came in an incessant stream, from the U.S. Government and its ‘news’ media (such as happened also later, regarding Honduras 2009, Libya 2011, Yemen 2011-, Syria 2011-, Ukraine 2014, and Yemen 2015-).

Also on September 8th, which was a Sunday, the Bush Administration’s big guns were firing off against Iraq from the Sunday ‘news’ shows, and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice delivered her famous “we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud” statement, which was clearly building upon the lying Bush allegation of the day before, that the International Atomic Energy Agency had just come up with this ominous “Atomic” “new report.”

Then, President Bush himself, on 12 September 2002, addressed the U.N. General Assembly, seeking authorization to invade:

We will work with the U.N. Security Council for the necessary resolutions. But the purposes of the United States should not be doubted. The Security Council resolutions will be enforced — the just demands of peace and security will be met — or action will be unavoidable. And a regime that has lost its legitimacy will also lose its power.

Events can turn in one of two ways: If we fail to act in the face of danger, the people of Iraq will continue to live in brutal submission. The regime will have new power to bully and dominate and conquer its neighbors, condemning the Middle East to more years of bloodshed and fear. The regime will remain unstable — the region will remain unstable, with little hope of freedom, and isolated from the progress of our times. With every step the Iraqi regime takes toward gaining and deploying the most terrible weapons, our own options to confront that regime will narrow. And if an emboldened regime were to supply these weapons to terrorist allies, then the attacks of September the 11th would be a prelude to far greater horrors.

Bush failed to win any authorization to invade.

The New York Times editorial lied when it said on 26 May 2004 that the false ‘facts’ had been merely errors. They were instead policy — Government policy, carrying out the demands by some Republican billionaires, who had financed politicians such as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice, and whose firms advertised in the New York Times and other mainstream U.S. propaganda-media. The Democratic Party had its billionaires, too, and some of those likewise wanted this invasion — none of them was objecting to it. (Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton helped to lead the effort in the U.S. Senate authorizing Bush to invade. Bernie Sanders in the House voted against it, and subsequently lost the Democratic Presidential nomination to both of them. Support by the billionaires is far more effective than honesty when running for a Party’s nomination to run as their nominee for a high federal office.) The New York Times was just part of this invade-Iraq crowd, every member of which was an agency for America’s billionaires — the same group of individuals whose heavy thumbs on the weights of the Parties that they finance choose each Party’s nominees and give the country its current two-Party (but one-aristocracy) dictatorship.

A few months after this editorial from the NYT, CNN headlined “Report: No WMD stockpiles in Iraq” and reported that,

Saddam Hussein did not possess stockpiles of illicit weapons at the time of the U.S. invasion in March 2003 and had not begun any program to produce them, a CIA report concludes.

In fact, the long-awaited report, authored by Charles Duelfer, who advises the director of central intelligence on Iraqi weapons, says Iraq’s WMD program was essentially destroyed in 1991 and Saddam ended Iraq’s nuclear program after the 1991 Gulf War.

But America’s billionaires, by then, already had what they wanted. None of them even so much as threatened any of the politicians whom they funded, and announced “I’ll stop funding you unless you never do this again.” And, so, the billionaires, and their ‘news’-media, and the U.S. President, and the members of Congress who voted to invade, just continued on with the invasion and occupation, and with the destruction, of Iraq. As if this was even within America’s right to do. The U.N. didn’t authorize it. And none of of the international-war-criminal invading heads-of-state (Bush and Blair especially) was hanged for it, like the Nazis were at Nuremberg, who were hanged for “aggressive war” — the same thing that the U.S. and its allies now do routinely. None has even apologized for it. And, furthermore, the U.S. military still manages to get all of the volunteers it wants for the U.S. military to perpetrate invasions and destructions of countries such as of Iraq, and of Libya, and of Syria, and of Iran — all without U.N. authorization, and all being obviously invasions against countries that had never invaded the invading country (these definitely were not defensive, but purely aggressive, invasions), and thus all of these invasions constitute international war crimes (“aggressive war” — the chief crime which was being prosecuted at Nuremberg).

On 10 January 2003, which still was more than two months before we invaded Iraq, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer bannered “Search for the ’smoking gun’”, and he wrote:

Last September 8, I interviewed President Bush’s National Security Adviser, Dr. Condoleezza Rice. I was pressing her on Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s nuclear capabilities.

“We know that he has the infrastructure, nuclear scientists to make a nuclear weapon,” she told me. “And we know that when the inspectors assessed this after the Gulf War, he was far, far closer to a crude nuclear device than anybody thought — maybe six months from a crude nuclear device.”

Dr. Rice then said something that was ominous and made headlines around the world.

“The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”

I thought of those comments this week following the statement from the chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix, acknowledging that no “smoking gun” has been found yet since the resumption of the weapons inspections.

On 17 March 2003, “Bush told journalists and weapons inspectors to leave Iraq immediately.” Blix complied, his team left, and the invasion started on March 20th. Bush’s March 17th speech stated that “Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.” Bush said that “The United Nations Security Council has not lived up to its responsibilities, so we will rise to ours.” He addressed the people of Iraq, and promised them, “We will help you to build a new Iraq that is prosperous and free.” America spent many trillions of dollars on the resulting invasion and military occupation of Iraq (and on the post-traumatic-stress-syndrome or “PTSD,” artificial limbs, and the many other medical problems, of America’s troops who survived the invasion). But the really catastrophic harms were done not to America, but to the people of Iraq. Iraq had never threatened to invade the United States, but America nonetheless boldly invaded and destroyed it. Was Bush just a better liar than Adolf Hitler, or was the Nuremberg Tribunal just victors’ ‘justice’?

Why hasn’t George W. Bush been hanged?

Why hasn’t Dick Cheney been hanged?

Why hasn’t Condoleezza Rice been hanged?

This country didn’t learn a thing from the Nuremberg Tribunals. We know it now, because this country has, in fact, become the Nazi Germany of today.

And they all get away with it.

The YouGov polling firm reports that George W. Bush is the second-most-popular living Republican political figure in America, at a net approval (approve minus disapprove) of +10%. For comparisons: Donald Trump is -13%. Hillary Clinton is -10%. Barack Obama is +24%. Bernie Sanders is +7%. Bill Clinton is +5%. Joe Biden is +2%. In other words: George W. Bush is the second-most liked Republican after Arnold Schwarzenegger (the most popular living politician of either Party), at +39%. There is no justice in America. Ever since 9/11, America has had international-war criminals occupy the White House, and none of them has even been charged with any crime, at all. They’ve gotten away with mass-murder in (and with starving economic-sanctions blockades against) foreign countries that never even had threatened the United States, in any way. What does that fact say about this country, a country which pontificates against all of its victim-nations, and offers no restitution to any of them, for so many enormous harms it caused there?

The slimy New York Times has plenty of company, and it’s all bad. It’s 100% bad. And yet none of them even loses subscribers over that. People still pay to be deceived.

The situation is so bad that when the New York Times, and Washington Post, and CNN, and MSNBC, etc., are now all saying (or implying) that Russia offered Taliban-linked fighters bounties to kill U.S. and UK troops who are occupying Afghanistan, I, personally, am more inclined to believe Russia’s assertion that the allegation is a lie (regardless of whether Afghans ought to kill all invaders, who are military occupiers of their country), than that it is true. America’s mainstream ‘news’-media are deceivers on so many levels, the truth in any particular instance is only a drop into an ocean of lies. Especially in international ‘news’-reporting, lying is routine, in America. But, regardless of that, today’s Russia isn’t much like the Soviet Union was, and yet today’s America is terribly much like what Nazi Germany was. And that fact simply can’t be published in America — not even for debate. Because it is too true. (Indeed: is any nation more of a militarized and police-state than the U.S. is today?)

Nothing was learned from the deceit of America about Iraq in 2002 and 2003, not even after 18 years. It’s as if nobody even cares. Not only no apology, and no restitution, but no concern. It is outright psychopathic. And this is a national psychopath that pontificates to the rest of the world. Victors’ ‘justice’ has produced this. Only real justice can replace it.

Some Conspiracy Theories Are for Real

Par Andrey Areshev

What is the best way to debunk a conspiracy theory? Call it a conspiracy theory, a label which in and of itself implies disbelief. The only problem with that is there have been many actual conspiracies both historically and currently and many of them are not in the least theoretical in nature. Conspiracies of several kinds brought about American participation in both world wars. And however one feels about President Donald Trump, it must be conceded that he has been the victim of a number of conspiracies, first to deny him the GOP nomination, then to insure that he be defeated in the presidential election, and subsequently to completely delegitimize his presidency.

Prior to Trump there have been numerous conspiracy “theories,” many of which have been quite plausible. The “suicide” of Defense Secretary James Forrestal comes to mind, followed by the assassination of John F. Kennedy, which has been credibly credited to both Cuba and Israel. And then there is 9/11, perhaps the greatest conspiracy theory of all. Israel clearly knew it was coming, witness the Five Dancing Shlomos cavorting and filming themselves in New Jersey as the twin towers went down. Also the Saudis might have played a role in funding and even directing the alleged hijackers. And we have also had the conspiracy by the neocons to fabricate information about Iraq’s WMDs and the ongoing conspiracy by the same players to depict Iran as a threat to the United States.

Given the multiple crises currently being experienced in the United States it is perhaps inevitable that speculation about conspiracies is at its highest level ever. To the average American it is incomprehensible how the country has become so screwed up because the political and economic elite is fundamentally incompetent, so the search for a scapegoat must go on.

There are a number of conspiracy theories about the coronavirus currently making the rounds. Those libertarians and contrarians who choose to believe that the virus is actually a flu being exploited to strip them of their liberties are convinced that many in the government and media have conspired to sell what is essentially a fraud. One such snake oil salesman persists in using an analogy, that since more Americans are killed in automobile accidents than by the coronavirus it would be more appropriate to ban cars than to require the wearing of face masks.

Another theory making the rounds accuses Microsoft multi-billionaire Bill Gates of trying to take over the world’s healthcare system through the introduction of a vaccine to control the coronavirus, which he presumably created in the first place. The fallacy in many of the virus “conspiracies” that relate to a totalitarian regime or a crazy billionaire using a faux disease to generate fear so as to gain control of the citizenry is that it gives far too much credit to any government’s or individual’s ability to pull off a fraud of that magnitude. It would require people a whole lot smarter than the tag team of Trump-Pompeo or even Gates to convince the world and thousands of doctors and scientists that they should lock down entire countries over something completely phony.

Other coronavirus theories include that the virus was developed in the U.S., was exported to China by a traitorous American scientist, weaponized in Wuhan and then unleashed on the West as part of a communist plot to destroy capitalism and democracy. That would mean that we are already at war with China, or at least we should be. Then there is the largely accepted theory that the virus was created in Wuhan and escaped from the lab. Since that time Beijing has been engaging in a cover-up, which is the conspiracy. It is a theme favored by the White House, which has not yet decided what to do about it beyond assigning funny “Yellow Peril” names to the disease so everyone in MAGA hats will have something to chuckle about leading up to the November election.

But all kidding aside, there are some conspiracy theories that are more worth considering than others. One would be the role of George Soros and the so-called Open Society Foundations that he controls and funds in the unrest that is sweeping across the United States. The allegations against Soros are admittedly thin on evidence, but conspiracy mongers would point out that that is the mark of a really well-planned conspiracy, similar to what the 89 year-old Hungarian Jewish billionaire has been engaging in for a long time. The current round of claims about Open Society and Soros have generated as many as 500,000 tweets a day as well as nearly 70,000 Facebook posts per month, mostly from political conservatives.

The allegations tend to fall into two broad categories. First, that Soros hires protester/thugs and transports them to demonstrations where they are supplied with bricks and incendiaries to turn the gatherings into riots. Second, that Open Society is funding and otherwise enabling the destabilizing flow of illegal immigrants into the United States.

Soros and his supporters, many of whom are Jewish because they think they see anti-Semitism in the attacks on the Hungarian, claim to support democratization and free trade worldwide. He is, in effect, one of the world’s leading globalists. Soros claims to be a “force for good” as the cliché goes, but is it completely credible that his $32 billion foundation does not operate behind the scenes to influence developments in ways that are certainly not democratic?

Indeed, Soros accumulated his vast fortune through vulture capitalism. He made over $1 billion in 1992 by selling short $10 billion in British pounds sterling, leading to the media dubbing him “the man who broke the bank of England.” He has been accused of similar currency manipulation in both Europe and Asia. In 1999, New York Times economist Paul Krugman wrote of him that “Nobody who has read a business magazine in the last few years can be unaware that these days there really are investors who not only move money in anticipation of a currency crisis, but actually do their best to trigger that crisis for fun and profit.”

Far from a passive bystander giving helpful advice to democracy groups, Soros was heavily involved with the restructuring of former communist regimes in eastern Europe and had a hand in the so-called Rose Revolution in Georgia in 2003 and the Maidan Revolution in Ukraine in 2014, both of which were supported by the U.S. government and were intended to threaten Russia’s regional security.

Soros particularly hates President Vladimir Putin and Russia. He revealed that he is far from a benevolent figure fighting for justice in his March Financial Times op-ed (behind a pay wall) entitled “Europe Must Stand With Turkey Over Putin’s War Crimes in Syria.”

The op-ed is full of errors of fact and is basically a call for aggression against a Russia that he describes as engaged in bombing schools and hospitals. It starts with, “Since the beginning of its intervention in Syria in September 2015, Russia has not only sought to keep in place its most faithful Arab ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It has also wanted to regain the regional and global influence that it lost since the fall of the Soviet Union.” First of all, Russia did not “intervene” in Syria. It was invited there by the country’s legitimate government to provide assistance against various groups, some of which were linked to al Qaeda and the Islamic State, that were seeking to overthrow President al-Assad.

And apart from Soros, few actual experts on Russia would claim that it is seeking to recreate the “influence” of the Soviet Union. Moscow does not have the resources to do so and has evinced no desire to pursue the sort of global agenda that was characteristic of the Soviet state.

There then follows a complete flight into hyperbole with: “Vladimir Putin has sought to use the turmoil in the Middle East to erase international norms and advances in international humanitarian law made since the second world war. In fact, creating the humanitarian disaster that has turned almost 6 million Syrians into refugees has not been a byproduct of the Russian president’s strategy in Syria. It has been one of his central goals.” Note that none of Soros’s assertions are supported by fact.

The Soros op-ed also included a bit of reminiscence, describing how, “In 2014, I urged Europe to wake up to the threat that Russia was posing to its strategic interests.” The op-ed reveals Soros as neither conciliatory nor “diplomatic,” a clear sign that he picks his enemies based on ideological considerations that also drive his choices on how to frame his ventures. Given all of that, why is it unimaginable that George Soros is engaged in a conspiracy, that he is clandestinely behind at least some of the mayhem of Antifa and Black Lives Matter as well as the flood of illegal immigration that have together perhaps fatally destabilized the United States?

Russia Bounty-Hunter Story Another Pulp Fiction Release

Par Andrey Areshev

The main peddlers of the alleged Russian-sponsored bounty-hunter scheme in Afghanistan against US troops are the New York Times, Washington Post and CNN. All three have excelled in publishing a series of pulp fiction-style stories over the past four years to discredit President Trump and demonize Russia.

From allegations of Russian meddling in elections to Putin having blackmail on “agent Trump” thanks to hookers in a Moscow hotel. And much more besides.

That dubious record of propaganda-as-journalism serves as a foghorn alert about the latest yarn without even delving into the supposed details.

The story “broke” last Friday with the Times claiming that anonymous “US officials” informed the outlet that Russian military intelligence were paying militants in Afghanistan to assassinate American troops, and that President Trump had been briefed on the matter as far back as February or even last year but didn’t do anything about it.

In “follow-up” reports, the Washington Post and CNN, among others, are reporting that the alleged Russian bounty-hunter scheme did result in American casualties. Trump is being accused of treachery for allegedly ignoring warnings on security, and that – conveniently – piles the pressure on the White House and the Congress to get tough on Moscow.

Democrat presidential rival Joe Biden has fulminated that it is a “truly shocking” dereliction of duty by Trump whose presidency, says Biden, is “a gift” to Russian leader Vladimir Putin. The Democrat vows to confront Moscow if he is elected to the White House in November.

Some Republican lawmakers have also jumped on the bandwagon assailing Trump for treacherous neglect over allegedly not acting on the alleged intelligence. (Apologies to readers for the repetition of “alleged”, but it is necessary for clarity and factualness.)

As the story gathers some legs, it soon runs at breakneck speed. British media reports are quoting anonymous British security officials who “confirm” that the US intelligence claims about Russia bounty-hunting in Afghanistan. What’s more, the British “sources” are saying that the alleged Russian operation is being run by the same military intelligence team that allegedly organized the alleged poisoning of double agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in March 2018.

Pulp fiction stories are thus being referenced supposedly as confirming precedents for the latest episode in Afghanistan. That’s like building an edifice from straws.

Denials and declined comments can be revealing. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has called the bounty-hunter reports “lies”. The Russia foreign ministry said it was an “unsophisticated fabrication”.

A spokesman for the Taliban militants in Afghanistan derided the US claims, saying the militants did not need any foreign help to defeat the Americans.

President Trump in his usual fashion slammed the media reports as another “Russia hoax”. He says he was never briefed on the alleged intelligence and neither was Vice President Mike Pence of White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

John Ratcliffe, the US Director of National Intelligence, has poured cold water on the reports, saying that Trump was not briefed. So too has Trump’s National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien.

The CIA has declined to comment, while the Pentagon has stated it has seen no evidence to substantiate the reported claims.

It seems significant that the New York Times described its sources as “US officials who were briefed on the matter” and not as “US intelligence” sources. That way, the newspaper avoids any potentially embarrassing rebuttal from intelligence agencies. The choice of words “US officials” is suitably vague and uncompromising.

A second dodgy detail is the claim that the alleged “recovery of large amounts of American cash” in a raid by US special forces on some Taliban base provided the basis for the concept that Russian military intelligence was organizing the scheme for paying militants to assassinate American troops. It is also claimed that US intelligence gained information on the pay-for-kill plot from “interrogation of captured militants”.

That’s an incredible admission of how weak is the basis for the reporting and its “bombshell” claims.

Seriously, finding a suitcase of US dollars in a Taliban hideout is cited as implicating the involvement of Russian hit squads.

It is speculated that the Kremlin is waging a “shadow war” against the US in Afghanistan as “revenge” for Washington’s sponsoring of the mujahideen forerunners of the Taliban who dealt defeat to Soviet troops during the 1980s.

A propaganda wheeze always has tell-tale gas-lighting effects whereby thoughts and speculation appear to easily (too easily) flow from one to the other as desired by the orchestrator.

What Joe Biden and others should find “truly shocking” is the flimsy detail that supposedly holds up a “blockbuster” story.

It all has the hallmark of an electioneering ploy to undermine Trump’s support among rank-and-file members of the US armed forces. They are seen as a bedrock for Trump votes in the November elections. What better way to alienate the military ranks than accuse Trump of turning a blind eye to intelligence reports of Russian-assisted murder of troops in Afghanistan?

On top of that, to boot, there is also the desired bipartisan outrage among Democrats and Republican lawmakers demanding more sanctions to “punish” Russia and “hold Putin to account”. More irrelevant melodrama on the Hill of Beans.

It’s another pulp fiction release, but the signs are the sick and tired American public are not buying it. Which means even more dwindling credibility for US mainstream media propaganda outlets, and diminishing power of the Deep State to orchestrate election outcome. Neither Democrats nor Republicans can galvanize voters, which means US politics is increasingly seen to be in a profoundly futile mess.

Three Glaring Problems With the Russian Taliban ‘Bounty’ Story

Par Andrey Areshev

There seems to be a lack of sourcing and a big whiff of politics, say former intelligence officers.

Barbara BOLAND

Abombshell report published by The New York Times Friday alleges that Russia paid dollar bounties to the Taliban in Afghanistan to kill U.S troops. Obscured by an extremely bungled White House press response, there are at least three serious flaws with the reporting.

The article alleges that GRU, a top-secret unit of Russian military intelligence, offered the bounty in payment for every U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan, and that at least one member of the U.S. military was alleged to have been killed in exchange for the bounties. According to the paper, U.S. intelligence concluded months ago that the Russian unit involved in the bounties was also linked to poisonings, assassination attempts and other covert operations in Europe. The Times reports that United States intelligence officers and Special Operations forces in Afghanistan came to this conclusion about Russian bounties some time in 2019.

According to the anonymous sources that spoke with the paper’s reporters, the White House and President Trump were briefed on a range of potential responses to Moscow’s provocations, including sanctions, but the White House had authorized no further action.

Immediately after the news broke Friday, the Trump administration denied the report—or rather, they denied that the President was briefed, depending on which of the frenetic, contradictory White House responses you read.

Traditionally, the President of the United States receives unconfirmed, and sometimes even raw intelligence, in the President’s Daily Brief, or PDB. Trump notoriously does not read his PDB, according to reports.

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said in a statement Saturday night that neither Trump nor Vice President Pence “were ever briefed on any intelligence alleged by the New York Times in its reporting yesterday.”

On Sunday night, Trump tweeted that not only was he not told about the alleged intelligence, but that it was not credible.“Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP” Pence, Trump wrote Sunday night on Twitter.

Ousted National Security Advisor John Bolton said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday that Trump was probably claiming ignorance in order to justify his administration’s lack of response.

“He can disown everything if nobody ever told him about it,” said Bolton.

Bolton is one of the only sources named in the New York Times article. Currently on a book tour, Bolton has said that he witnessed foreign policy malfeasance by Trump that dwarfs the Ukraine scandal that was the subject of the House impeachment hearings. But Bolton’s credibility has been called into question since he declined to appear before the House committee.

The explanations for what exactly happened, and who was briefed, continued to shift Monday.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany followed Trump’s blanket denial with a statement that the intelligence concerning Russian bounty information was “unconfirmed.” She didn’t say the intelligence wasn’t credible, like Trump had said the day before, only that there was “no consensus” and that the “veracity of the underlying allegations continue to be evaluated,” which happens to almost completely match the Sunday night statement from the White House’s National Security Council.

Instead of saying that the sources for the Russian bounty story were not credible and the story was false, or likely false, McEnany then said that Trump had “not been briefed on the matter.”

“He was not personally briefed on the matter,” she said. “That is all I can share with you today.”

It’s difficult to see how the White House thought McEnany’s statement would help, and a bungled press response like this is communications malpractice, according to sources who spoke to The American Conservative.

Let’s take a deeper dive into some of the problems with the reporting here:

1. Anonymous U.S. and Taliban sources?

The Times article repeatedly cites unnamed “American intelligence officials.” The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal articles “confirming” the original Times story merely restate the allegations of the anonymous officials, along with caveats like “if true” or “if confirmed.”

Furthermore, the unnamed intelligence sources who spoke with the Times say that their assessment is based “on interrogations of captured Afghan militants and criminals.”

That’s a red flag, said John Kiriakou, a former analyst and case officer for the CIA who led the team that captured senior al-Qaeda member Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan in 2002.

“When you capture a prisoner, and you’re interrogating him, the prisoner is going to tell you what he thinks you want to hear,” he said in an interview with The American Conservative. “There’s no evidence here, there’s no proof.”

“Who can forget how ‘successful’ interrogators can be in getting desired answers?” writes Ray McGovern, who served as a CIA analyst for 27 years. Under the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques,” Khalid Sheik Mohammed famously made at least 31 confessions, many of which were completely false.

Kiriakou believes that the sources behind the report hold important clues on how the government viewed its credibility.

“We don’t know who the source is for this. We don’t know if they’ve been vetted, polygraphed; were they a walk-in; were they a captured prisoner?”

If the sources were suspect, as they appear to be here, then Trump would not have been briefed on this at all.

With this story, it’s important to start at the “intelligence collection,” said Kiriakou. “This information… appeared in the [CIA World Intelligence Review] Wire, which goes to hundreds of people inside the government, mostly at the State Department and the Pentagon. The most sensitive information isn’t put in the Wire; it goes only in the PDB.”

“If this was from a single source intelligence, it wouldn’t have been briefed to Trump. It’s not vetted, and it’s not important enough. If you caught a Russian who said this, for example, that would make it important enough. But some Taliban detainees saying it to an interrogator, that does not rise to the threshold.”

2. What purpose would bounties serve?

Everyone and their mother knows Trump wants to pull the troops out of Afghanistan, said Kiriakou.

“He ran on it and he has said it hundreds of times,” he said. “So why would the Russians bother putting a bounty on U.S. troops if we’re about to leave Afghanistan shortly anyway?”

That’s leaving aside Russia’s own experience with the futility of Afghanistan campaigns, learned during its grueling 9-year war there in the 1980s.

If this bounty campaign is real, it would not appear to be very effective, as only eight U.S. military members were killed in Afghanistan in 2020. The New York Times could not verify that even one U.S. military member was killed due to an alleged Russian bounty.

The Taliban denies it accepted bounties from Russian intelligence.

“These kinds of deals with the Russian intelligence agency are baseless—our target killings and assassinations were ongoing in years before, and we did it on our own resources,” Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, told The New York Times. “That changed after our deal with the Americans, and their lives are secure and we don’t attack them.”

The Russian Embassy in the United States called the reporting “fake news.”

While the Russians are ruthless, “it’s hard to fathom what their motivations could be” here, said Paul Pillar, an academic and 28-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency, in an interview with The American Conservative. “What would they be retaliating for? Some use of force in Syria recently? I don’t know. I can’t string together a particular sequence that makes sense at this time. I’m not saying that to cast doubt on reports the Russians were doing this sort of thing.”

3. Why is this story being leaked now?

According to U.S. officials quoted by the AP, top officials in the White House “were aware of classified intelligence indicating Russia was secretly offering bounties to the Taliban for the deaths of Americans” in early 2019. So why is this story just coming out now?

This story is “WMD [all over] again,” said McGovern, who in the 1980s chaired National Intelligence Estimates and prepared the President’s Daily Brief. He believes the stories seek to preempt DOJ findings on the origins of the Russiagate probe.

The NYT story serves to bolster the narrative that Trump sides with Russia, and against our intelligence community estimates and our own soldiers lives.

The stories “are likely to remain indelible in the minds of credulous Americans—which seems to have been the main objective,” writes McGovern. “There [Trump] goes again—not believing our ‘intelligence community; siding, rather, with Putin.’”

“I don’t believe this story… and I think it was leaked to embarrass the President,” said Kiriakou. “Trump is on the ropes in the polls; Biden is ahead in all the battleground states.”

If these anonymous sources had spoken up during the impeachment hearings, their statements could have changed history.

But the timing here, “kicking a man when he is down, is extremely like the Washington establishment. A leaked story like this now, embarrasses and weakens Trump,” he said. “It was obvious that Trump would blow the media response, which he did.”

The bungled media response and resulting negative press could also lead Trump to contemplate harsher steps towards Russia in order to prove that he is “tough,” which may have motivated the leakers.

It’s certainly a policy goal with which Bolton, one of the only named sources in the New York Times piece, wholeheartedly approves.

theamericanconservative.com

The Room Where It Didn’t Happen: Inside John Bolton’s Brain

Par Andrey Areshev

When President Donald Trump belatedly but wisely fired John Bolton as his National Security Adviser in September 2019, I wrote in these columns that Bolton relinquished power with all the grace of a cockroach. Now, as I also predicted, he has published his memoirs turning on his benefactor with all the loyalty and gratitude of a scorpion.

There is indeed nothing unexpected whatsoever in Bolton exceptionably badly written – and yet for that very reason, extremely entertaining – new book. It certainly will go down in history as the worst written, gloriously inept and therefore unconsciously revealing American political memoir since Hillary Clinton’s account of her own hilariously bungled 2016 presidential campaign “What Happened” (which of course should have had a question mark to complete the title as Clinton revealed that she too didn’t have a clue what had really happened and why.).

For just like Clinton, Bolton is a self-absorbed, narcissistic psychopath – always the surest path to power, respect and fawning praise from the media in Washington. And unlike Kevin Spacey’s President Frank Underwood in the Netflix TV series “House of Cards,” he is an entirely unselfconscious and unaware one.

Also like Hillary Clinton (who may yet be elected President of the United States), Bolton brilliantly confirms the legitimacy of the Dunning-Kruger Effect in psychiatry. It is always the most stupid, incompetent and useless people who are the most convinced that they are the most brilliant.

Bolton’s new memoir, “The Room Where It Happened,” reflects this sublime egotistical and unimaginably narcissistic dream state from beginning to end. No title could be more inappropriate and more hilariously revealing.

For John Bolton, during his 17 months as National Security Adviser to the President of the United States, supposedly one of the most powerful and important positions on the planet, was never in The Room Where It Happened. He wa salways kicked into the nearest convenient toilet – the Room Where It Didn’t Happen. Bolton was only at the center of affairs in his own imagination: In all his career that was the only thing which never faltered, never let him down and never failed him.

But in that other dimension which the rest of humanity frustratingly and inexplicably (to Bolton) calls “The Real World,” it was a very different story.

For no National Security Adviser in U.S. history has been so un-influential and inept, and so cut out from the actual decision-making process as John Bolton.

It is wrong to suggest, as many have done, that Bolton owed his rise primarily to the Israel Lobby and the financial clout of casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. Without doubt they both played their part, but Bolton clearly owned his inflated reputation in Trump’s eyes to his endless appearances on the Fox News Channel. If any other human being deserves the primary blame for his bizarre rise, it is clearly the late Roger Ailes, CEO of Fox News for 20 years from 1996 to 2016 who promoted him so shamelessly for so long. But even Trump quickly discovered that to be a superficially impressive talking head on a platform dedicated to promoting him, Bolton did not need to actually have a functioning brain.

Bolton’s extraordinary record of unrelieved fiasco, failure and stupidity as national security adviser was clear at the time and his memoir adds nothing new to or surprising to it.

Nor is there anything original or worthwhile in Bolton’s supposedly frank and outspoken endless insults and slanders of Trump’s Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and current incumbent Mike Pompeo. All they reveal is that Bolton was bound to be an utter failure in any position of government because he could not work with or respect anyone and no one could ever trust him.

What this book does do is to reveal the Real John Bolton – an egotistical idiot who imagines that he is always right about everything and that everyone else is unimaginably stupid and inferior to him and therefore always wrong about everything.

In Bolton’s imagination the Room where he is always the Only Room That Matters. He is incapable of realizing that he has always been shunted aside into the nearest convenient lavatory so everyone else can get on with serious business.

Far from being the wisest and shrewdest of policymakers, as Bolton imagines himself to be, the value of his testimony comes because he is so stupid, so innocent and so sublimely unaware of what is really happening.

This extraordinary naiveté is what will make Bolton’s memoir of enduring significance. It is an unintentional comic masterpiece.

A thousand years from now, “The Room Where It Happened” may yet survive as a compelling explanation for why the great world-spanning American Empire collapsed so suddenly. For no society that elevates a figure of such exceptional comic ineptitude to such eminence, after swallowing the fantasy of his supposed “brilliance” for so long can possibly endure.

Why the U.S. Empire Works So Hard to Control the International Narrative About Russia

Par Andrey Areshev

Caitlin JOHNSTONE

On a December 2010 episode of Fox News’ Freedom Watch, John Bolton and the show’s host Andrew Napolitano were debating about recent WikiLeaks publications, and naturally the subject of government secrecy came up.

“Now I want to make the case for secrecy in government when it comes to the conduct of national security affairs, and possibly for deception where that’s appropriate,” Bolton said. “You know Winston Churchill said during World War Two that in wartime truth is so important it should be surrounded by a bodyguard of lies.”

“Do you really believe that?” asked an incredulous Napolitano.

“Absolutely,” Bolton replied.

“You would lie in order to preserve the truth?” asked Napolitano.

“If I had to say something I knew was false to protect American national security, I would do it,” Bolton answered.

“Why do people in the government think that the laws of society or the rules don’t apply to them?” Napolitano asked.

“Because they are not dealing in the civil society we live in under the Constitution,” Bolton replied. “They are dealing in the anarchic environment internationally where different rules apply.”

“But you took an oath to uphold the Constitution, and the Constitution mandates certain openness and certain fairness,” Napolitano protested. “You’re willing to do away with that in order to attain a temporary military goal?”

“I think as Justice Jackson said in a famous decision, the Constitution is not a suicide pact,” Bolton said. “And I think defending the United States from foreign threats does require actions that in a normal business environment in the United States we would find unprofessional. I don’t make any apology for it.”

I am going to type a sequence of words that I have never typed before, and don’t expect to ever type again:

John Bolton is right.

Bolton is of course not right in his pathetic spin job on the use of lies to promote military agendas, which just looks like a feeble attempt to justify the psychopathic measures he himself took to deceive the world into consenting to the unforgivably evil invasion of Iraq. What he is right about is that conflicts between nations take place in an “anarchic environment internationally where different rules apply.”

Individual nations have governments with laws that are enforced by those governments. Since we do not have a single unified government for our planet (at least not yet), the interactions between those governments is largely anarchic, and not in a good way.

“International law”, in reality, only meaningfully exists to the extent that the international community is collectively willing to enforce it. In practice what this means is that only nations which have no influence over the dominant narratives in the international community are subject to “international law”.

This is why you will see leaders in African nations sentenced to prison by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes, but the USA can get away with actually sanctioning ICC personnel if they so much as talk about investigating American war crimes and suffer no consequences for it whatsoever. It is also why Noam Chomsky famously said that if the Nuremberg laws had continued to be applied with fairness and consistency, then every post-war US president would have been hanged.

And this is also why so much effort gets poured into controlling the dominant international narrative about nations like Russia which have resisted being absorbed into the US power alliance. If you have the influence and leverage to control what narratives the international community accepts as true about the behavior of a given targeted nation, then you can do things like manufacture international collaboration with aggressive economic sanctions of the sort Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is currently calling for in response to the the completely unsubstantiated narrative that Russia paid Taliban fighters bounties to kill occupying forces in Afghanistan.

Sen. Schumer: “We need in this coming defense bill… tough sanctions against Russia.” pic.twitter.com/L3M9hZg0Xm

— The Hill (@thehill) June 28, 2020

In its ongoing slow-motion third world war against nations which refuse to be absorbed into the blob of the US power alliance, this tight empire-like cluster of allies stands everything to gain by doing whatever it takes to undermine and sabotage Russia in an attempt to shove it off the world stage and eliminate the role it plays in opposing that war. Advancing as many narratives as possible about Russia doing nefarious things on the world stage manufactures consent for international collaboration toward that end in the form of economic warfare, proxy conflicts, NATO expansionism and other measures, as well as facilitating a new arms race by killing the last of the US-Russia nuclear treaties and ensuring a continued imperial military presence in Afghanistan.

We haven’t been shown any hard evidence for Russians paying bounties in Afghanistan, and we almost certainly never will be. This doesn’t matter as far as the imperial propagandists are concerned; they know they don’t need actual facts to get this story believed, they just need narrative control. All the propagandists need to do is say over and over again that Russia paid bounties to kill the troops in Afghanistan in an increasingly assertive and authoritative tone, and after awhile people will start assuming it’s true, just because the propagandists have been doing this.

They’ll add new pieces of data to the narrative, none of which will constitute hard proof of their claims, but after enough “bombshell” stories reported in an assertive and ominous tone of voice, people will start assuming it’s a proven fact that Russia paid those bounties. Narrative managers will be able to simply wave their hands at a disparate, unverified cloud of information and proclaim that it is a mountain of evidence and that anyone doubting all this proof must be a kook. (This by the way is a textbook Gish gallop fallacy, where a bunch of individually weak arguments are presented to give the illusion of a single strong case.)

This is all because “international law” only exists in practical terms to the extent that governments around the world agree to pretend it exists. As long as US-centralized empire is able to control the prevailing narrative about what Russia is doing, that empire will be able to continue to use the pretext of “international law” as a bludgeon against its enemies. That’s all we’re really seeing here.

medium.com

Why Canada Failed the ‘Ben Franklin Challenge’ in 1776

Par Andrey Areshev

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

– Benjamin Franklin

July 1st is a strange day in Canada. From Pacific to the Atlantic coast, Canadians have made it an annual practice to paint maple leaves on their faces and party like there was no tomorrow.

But what exactly does this day signify?

It may be a bit of a bitter pill to swallow for some, but as I outlined in my Missed Chance of 1867, and the True Story of the Alaska Purchase, the original founding of Canada on July 1st, 1867 was designed by British Geopoliticians for the explicit purpose of keeping Canada locked into the British Empire as a wedge separating the potential U.S./Russia alliance that had the power of breaking the system of empire forever. During this 1863-1867 period, Canada’s pro-Lincoln statesmen under the influence of Les Rouges in Quebec and Isaac Buchanan in Ontario had lost their grip on power and the nation lost a vital chance of becoming a participant in a new world of win-win cooperation, rail and industrial growth outside of systems of empire.

This failure of 1867 was not the first, but rather the third time in 90 years that Canada missed its chance to break free of the Empire and become a genuine nation state.

Here, I would like to review the first of two pre-1867 “missed chances”.

1774 and the Ben Franklin Challenge

Many Canadians (and Americans) find themselves shocked when confronted with the fact that Canada’s first postal service and first newspaper were both created by… Benjamin Franklin!

Established in 1753 in Halifax as part of Franklin’s overhaul in communications infrastructure in the Americas, mail services were extended to Quebec City and Montreal after the French were defeated in the Seven Years’ War in 1763 as France’s colony north of Vermont fell to the British. Franklin had been made Post-Master General in 1753 (the same year his famous kite experiment made him an international sensation).

Montreal’s Gazette was founded by a French republican named Fleury Mesplat recruited by Franklin in order to help counteract the destructive effects the French feudal system had on the cognitive powers of the Quebec colonists whose rampant illiteracy dovetailed their non-existent appetites for representative government or freedom. In this feudal culture, blind obedience to authority (whether political or religious) was seen as preferable to thinking for oneself.

Although Franklin created these cultural milestones and was an active diplomat working to persuade the Quebecois of the importance of becoming a 14th member of the united colonies, his mission failed due to a series of bribes, acts of treason and short sighted thinking by men who should have known better. Ultimately, the Quebecois chose submission to Crown rather than risking their lives for freedom.

Before we say how and why this happened, some additional words on Franklin are necessary.

Getting to know the Real Benjamin Franklin

Despite the widespread mythology that the father of the American Revolution, Dr. Benjamin Franklin was merely a womanizing tinkerer and land speculator, the reality, upon closer inspection, is quite different.

Having become recognized as a world’s leading scientist during the 1750s for his discovery of the nature of electricity, Franklin became revered across Europe as the “Prometheus of America” (having stolen fire from Zeus to share with mankind, Prometheus was always seen as an anti-imperial figure by lovers of freedom since the time of Aeschylus). Franklin polarized the elite of the European nobility and strove to infuse a spirit of creative seeking and self improvement wherever he went by promoting industry, infrastructure and science.

His approach to indiscriminate acts of improvement were highly motivated by his early studies of a 1710 book by his mentor Cotton Mather called “Essays to Do Good” which Franklin described as “an influence on my conduct through life; for I have always set a greater value on the character of a doer of good, than on any other kind of reputation; and if I have been, as you seem to think, a useful citizen, the public owes the advantage of it to that book.”

For many years, Franklin was not in favor of a full revolution, but believed that it were possible to reform the British Empire (which had only recently been hijacked by the Venetian Party faction during the Glorious Revolution of 1688). During Franklin’s lifetime, the republican spirit of Thomas More, Erasmus and Shakespeare was still very much alive and it was this Promethean Christian spirit that he felt could be kindled to transform the Empire from a Satanic Hellfire Club operation into something viable and in harmony with humanity’s wellbeing (1).

This belief led Franklin to transform Britain itself through his creation of the British Lunar Society while acting representative to Britain in 1857. This group featured such scientists as Matthew Boulton, Josiah Wedgewood and Erasmus Darwin and uniquely drove the advancement of internal improvements (roads, canals, bridges, steam power, sewage etc), industrial growth and living standards in Britain.

In the 13 colonies of America, Franklin created the first fire department (1736), public library (1731), and founded the University of Pennsylvania. As a leading printer and later post-master general, Franklin knew that the American population of the 1730s did not yet have the moral or cognitive fortitude to induce a revolutionary positive change for the world and as such he created the influential Poor Richards Almanac which wrapped moral lessons and insights into poetry, science, astronomy and philosophy lessons with every single issue. This popular journal probably did more than anything else as a form of mass cultural education which empowered Americans to eventually think on a level sufficient to understand why concepts like Freedom were worth dying for (taxation without representation was merely one of 27 points enumerated in the Declaration of Independence).

In preparing the foundations for a reform of the world political-economic system, Franklin studied Chinese culture and strove to model western reforms on the best principles of Confucianism and the Chinese constitution.

Franklin applied the best techniques of satirist-republican Jonathan Swift and wrote countless hilarious essays under pen names like Silence Dogood, Martha Careful, Richard Saunders and Anthony Afterwit. He also followed Swift’s lead as he argued against British population control in his Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind. As early as 1729, Franklin codified a system of banking tied not to the worship of money or markets but rather internal improvements which argued for the creation of colonial scrip (not controlled by private central bankers). These insights would derive from his studies of Colbertist Dirigism and preceded the later work by his protégé Alexander Hamilton who established the American system of Political economy in his 1790-91 reports.

Most importantly, Franklin worked to coordinate an international network of collaborators among the enlightened intelligentsias of Russia, France, Germany, Prussia, Spain, Italy and even India and Morocco! In this way, the scientist/poet/statesman walked in the footsteps of the great Gottfried Leibniz who had attempted a similar grand design when Franklin was still a boy.

Back to Canada…

When he was still of the view that Britain could be reformed, Franklin wrote his famous Canada Pamphlets of 1760 which made the case that even though monetarily speaking it was more profitable for Britain to take France’s possessions in Guadeloupe due to the high price of sugar and rum, it was infinitely preferable to take Canada instead where potential for growth and improvement was boundless. Franklin knew the evil corruption of London and the European imperial powers (which had vast possessions in the Americas), but always believed that a united colonial republican movement could become the spark plug for an international new renaissance movement forecasted by John Winthrop’s City on a Hill vision of 1630.

This was the belief that underlay Franklin’s 1769 message to Lord Kames which has confused so many modern scholars as Franklin says:

“No one can more sincerely rejoice than I do, on the reduction of Canada and this not merely as I am a Briton. I have long been of opinion that the foundations to the future grandeur and stability of the British Empire lie in America; And though like other foundations they are low and little now, they are nevertheless broad and strong enough to support the greatest political structure that human wisdom ever erected.”

When it became clear that the British aristocracy was intent on crushing Franklin’s dreams of emancipation by the early 1770s, Franklin began devoting all of his energy towards a full revolution from the “mother country” and French Canada was always a high prize. Since British abuses of the French population ran rampant, and sympathy for the republican cause was widespread among Quebec subjects (though not the feudal elite), Franklin and others believed that Quebec’s eventual participation would not be a difficult affair.

By 1774, the British Empire pre-empted the inevitable participation by passing the Quebec Act giving an unprecedented array of religious freedoms to Quebec’s population which were always fearful of losing their Catholic traditions. These freedoms came however, at the cost of unquestioned loyalty to the Crown, and to accept never having representative government (only Crown appointees). The Jesuit-run clergy elite were overjoyed to keep their hold on the population, tithes and still enjoy revenue of the human cows on their lands. As an additional insurance, the Church under the control of Bishop Briand ensured that any subject who joined Washington’s rebellion would be excommunicated on the spot and thus burn in hellfire for eternity!

Ordering all parishes to accept the reign of King George, Bishop Briand stated:

“The God of armies…who extends or restricts at his pleasure the boundaries of empires, having by his eternal decrees put us under the domination of his Britannic Majesty, it is our duty, based on natural law, to be interested in all that concerns him. We order you to submit to the king and to all those who share his authority.”

A particularly dangerous part of the Quebec Act was the extension of Quebec’s Crown-controlled lands down into the Ohio River fully encircling the 13 colonies and making them subject to non-linear attacks by Jesuit-run natives. While the native population was highly wronged by all sides at different times during this conflict but the British and Jesuit collaborators used the most refined techniques of manipulation and have to the present day. The caging of the colonies onto the Pacific Coast was a far sighted maneuver to subvert the mandate of the “Continental” Congress whose name implied it’s larger goal.

On October 26, 1774 a Letter to the Inhabitants of Quebec was sent from the Continental Congress extolling the population to join in the declaration of independence and unite with the 13 colonies. While the whole letter should be read in full, it ended with this call:

“We only invite you to consult your own glory and welfare, and not to suffer yourselves to be inveigled or intimidated by infamous ministers so far as to become the instruments of their cruelty and despotism, but to unite with us in one social compact, formed on the generous principles of equal liberty and cemented by such an exchange of beneficial and endearing offices as to render it perpetual. In order to complete this highly desirable union, we submit it to your consideration whether it may not be expedient for you to meet together in your several towns and districts and elect Deputies, who afterwards meeting in a provincial Congress, may chose Delegates to represent your province in the continental Congress to be held at Philadelphia on the tenth day of May, 1775.”

The British and their French collaborators ensured that hardly any of these letters would be permitted into Quebec, and sadly for the hundreds that did arrive, the rate of illiteracy among the feudal population made it nearly impossible for most to read or understand it. Despite this problem, several hundred did risk perpetual hellfire and joined the revolutionary cause under the leadership of Clement Gosselin (later known as Washington’s French-Canadian Spy).

The Last Attempt: Franklin in Canada

The last effort to convince Quebec to join came a year later, as a delegation led by an aging Ben Franklin made their way to Montreal where they stayed for two weeks from April 29- May 6, 1776. The Continental Congress gave Franklin the following instructions:

“Inform them that in our Judgment their Interest and ours are inseparably united. That it is impossible we can be reduced to a servile Submission to Great Britain without their sharing in our Fate; and on the other Hand, if we obtain, as we doubt not we shall, a full Establishment of our Rights, it depends wholly on their Choice, whether they will participate with us in those Blessings, or still remain subject to every Act of Tyranny, which British Ministers shall please to exercise over them. Urge all such Arguments as your Prudence shall suggest to enforce our Opinion concerning the mutual Interests of the two Countries and to convince them of the Impossibility of the War being concluded to the Disadvantage of the Colonies if we wisely and vigorously co-operate with each other.

“To convince them of the Uprightness of our Intentions towards them, you are to declare that it is our Inclination that the People of Canada may set up such a Form of Government, as will be most likely, in their Judgment, to produce their Happiness; and you are in the strongest Terms to assure them, that it is our earnest Desire to adopt them into our Union as a Sister Colony, and to secure the same general System of mild and equal Laws for them and for ourselves, with only such local Differences, as may be agreeable to each Colony respectively.”

A rampant smallpox outbreak among American soldiers in Montreal (via the British spread of germ-infested blankets), mass demoralization and news of an oncoming British counterattack to regain control of Montreal put an end to that effort and Franklin returned to America empty handed.

The rest they say is history.

How the International Revolution was Subverted

While the French feudal elite were soon joined by a new set of United Empire Loyalists who left America after the Revolutionary War to establish English-speaking Canada, some traitors remained behind in the United States where they passed themselves off outwardly as friends of the revolution but always maintained a secret allegiance to the City of London and the system of hereditary powers antagonistic to the Principles of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

These traitors fomented the growth of a perverse form of manifest destiny which abolitionists like Franklin, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, Gouvernor Morris, Robert Morris, etc… fought tirelessly against throughout their lives. These traitorous bigots made every effort to spread slavery, destroy native Americans while subverting the true heritage of the republican cause from within.

One notable early representative of this group killed Alexander Hamilton in 1804 and set up the Bank of Manhattan establishing Wall Street as a City of London tentacle within America itself where this proto-deep state remained in power for the next 250 years.

In France, Ben Franklin’s allies led by Marquis Lafayette and Jean-Sylvain Bailey found their noble republican efforts of 1789-90 sabotaged by a color revolution in the form of the Bloody Jacobin terror coordinated by London’s Foreign Office and which I outlined in a recent paper: The Jacobin Terror (Just Another Color Revolution?).

In Canada, the British Foreign Office instituted a form of government which gave some limited elected positions to the plebians in 1791 but ensured that all actual power remained firmly in the hands of appointees of the Crown. During the post-1791 years, local oligarchies formed under the Family Compact of Upper Canada and the feudal elite of the Church in Lower Canada who collaborated closely in an unholy alliance. Their efforts were always driven by the need to keep the nation “un-American” by ensuring that the lands remain under-developed, the economy remain cash cropping as “hewers of wood and drawers of water”, and the population docile, ignorant and malleable.

In spite this perversion of history, growing poverty and injustices did induce a movement of resistance which began to take the form of republican “patriot movements” under the leadership of William Lyon Mackenzie in Upper Canada and Louis-Joseph Papineau in Lower Canada- both of whom would come to a head in the Rebellions of 1837-38 (aka: the second missed chance).

*The author wrote a larger series of studies under the title “Origins of the Deep State in North America parts 1-3 and an even fuller picture of this story is told in The Untold History of Canada.

(1) Franklin’s deployment as a counter-intelligence spy into the London Hellfire Clubs in the 1730s as part of Cotton Mathers’ battle against the empire is told in Graham Lowry’s How the Nation Was Won (1630-1754)

VIDEO: What is the Future of NATO?

Par Andrey Areshev

The 2020 election is sure to have a global impact on NATO’s future. Watch the video and read more in the article by Matthew Ehret.

Madeleine Case Lifts the Lid on Graft, Police Incompetence and Terrible Journalism

Par Andrey Areshev

New revelations now appearing in the German press via a chief suspect raise a number of alarming questions about how the British police and the journalists who worked alongside them were complicit in a Portuguese cover-up.

German prosecutors claims to hae the culprit of the kidnapping and possible murder of the most famous case of a missing person ever, Madeleine McCann – who was just three years old when she disappeared in a Portuguese family holiday resort in 2007.

A convicted paedophile, Christian Brueckner, who has a history of sex offender’s charges, drug dealing, theft and rape and is reported to be linked to a number of missing children across Europe, looks like the perfect culprit. But as from the very beginning of the case, governments are not being honest about what they know and what they are covering up in a depraved game of international politics, which protects inept or corrupt police officers and only fuels speculation for years ahead – ensuring that the case becomes fiction, like a conspiracy theory, rather than a real, up and running missing person’s case.

Indeed, until now, the case has been polarised by two distinct theories. One is abduction, from an assailant who entered the holiday flat probably looking to burgle; the other is simply that no such abduction took place because the McCanns themselves covered up the accidental death of their own daughter.

The Portuguese, since the beginning, have stuck fervently to the former, in support of their leading investigator, while a growing number of journalists and conspiracy theorists lean towards the McCann culpability – especially given the opaque facts about Madeleine’s whereabouts in her last hours, the inconsistency of witness statements and the proximity of the McCann’s to former UK prime minister Gordon Brown.

But now the Germans have a new lead, which breathes new life into the former theory of abduction.

They are being very cagey about giving details, just stating that they believe Brueckner is guilty and that they also believe Maddie is dead. It’s a curious way to proceed and has set many speculating why they should choose such a strategy – rather than opt to cooperate with the Portuguese or British police. Holding back info and continuing with forensics, gives them the legal basis to work in Portugal, it might be argued, rather than sharing evidence which would then give new impetus to the Portuguese case.

Indeed, even more confusing is the stoic statement from the Germans that they are sure Madeleine is dead – which is then accompanied by an appeal with a reward offered to those who can come forward with information leading to her whereabouts. Or indeed, that their accusation against Brueckner is followed by statements in the German press that he is shortly due to be released from prison.

“Perfect suspect”

Accompanying the reports in the German press are others which focus on a key witness who was a friend of Brueckner, who stayed with him in Portugal and was recently interviewed in Austria by authorities there. This, in turn, has thrown a spotlight for journalists back on the original bumbling Portuguese policeman, who admitted that Brueckner was not pulled in for questioning, although colleagues made a half-hearted attempt to knock on his door to find him. It’s a startling revelation of incompetence given that Goncalo Amaral, also admits that Brueckner was known to them for a previous sex office against a teenager. Amaral, who was ultimately taken off the case, believed fervently that there was no abduction and that Madeleine’s parents had covered up her accidental death. He was ultimately sued for defamation by the McCann’s but still clings on to this notion even today and struggles to contain his loathing for them as irresponsible parents. Curiously though, while Brueckner seems the perfect fit for the Madeleine abduction, Amaral seems to be the apt choice for an incompetent police officer to mess up a case. If corruption in Portugal is the heart of the Maddie case, then it fits perfectly that those with power would choose a fool to run to investigation. It’s pretty standard procedure. In the UK, the Lord Lucan enquiry in 1974 was headed by an apparently stupid detective, who was never expected to gather evidence against the upper-class freemason but more bungle the case from day one, which he managed to do, admirably.

Amaral even alludes to corruption on both a Portuguese and German level, now in retirement which throws up more questions. In an interview he hints that there is a bigger game of international corruption going on as he doesn’t believe that Brueckner is really guilty of Maddie’s disappearance. He calls him the perfect a “perfect suspect. All that’s lacking for him to become the perfect suspect is for him to be dead.”. Focus is put again on a VW camper van owned by Brueckner and believed to have been critical to finding evidence. Astonishingly, Amaral accuses the Portuguese authorities themselves of deliberately photoshopping out distinctive markings on the VW van, which would have certainly led witnesses to contact the police immediately after the abduction in May 2007 when the photo was circulated.

Amazingly, recent reports have also surfaced of satellite photos showing the van, the day after the abduction, being parked at Brueckner’s previous home, which he left months earlier. The police were believed at the time to have done a cursory search of the property but it is believed that well shafts were not checked. Why did Amaral return to the property which he has left in a hurry previously, presumably after not paying rent after a six month spell in prison had led him penniless and a stash of stolen passports were also taken by a friend who found them hidden their while Brueckner was inside? Could it have been to dump a body or to place Maddie in the house, locked in a room?

Neither investigators nor journalists looked at such evidence at the time, but focused on the histrionics of the Portuguese investigation, the accusations levelled against the McCanns, the wrongful arrests, the red herrings and the international politics of how Portugal and the UK could not work together.

Was corruption a factor on the Portuguese side? Did its government want the whole thing covered up and buried so as to not disrupt the EU’s Lisbon Treaty being agreed by EU governments, including Britain? And the fact that it took a media campaign in Britain in 2011 to force David Cameron to investigate the Portuguese police findings?

Long road trip

How did Brueckner escape detection in such a small place? There is no evidence to suggest that he fled, indeed, a short while after the abduction – around three weeks – his friend at that time tells Austrian police that Brueckner drives an American camper van to a location in Southern Spain.

Michael Tatschl, a carpenter and a former convict who went to jail in Portugal with Brueckner, tells Austrian police that he moved to a villa near Andalusia and that Brueckner arrived with the huge camper, just a matter of days after the Maddie abduction. Tatschl’s testimony should not be taken as the whole truth as, now that Brueckner has a media spotlight on him for Madeleine, it would be normal that the Austrian carpenter would want to point the finger for the first time. And Tatschl does that certainly, accusing Brueckner straight out of being a paedophile who was easily capable of stealing a little girl with further claims that Brueckner dreamt of making a million dollars by selling children to criminal gangs in Morocco.

Was Tatschl an accomplice? Has he moved quickly to accuse Brueckner to provide a ring of respectability around himself of someone who claims to have not realised that he was sharing a house with a maniac paedophile? Or is it that he assumed that Brueckner travelling to Spain to visit Tatschl would be unearthed sooner or later?

Indeed, British journalists and even police, who completely missed Brueckner in their investigations, are still not putting the pieces together. As with all witnesses, especially criminals, there is always some truth buried in the labyrinth of lies. A number of key elements to Tatschl’s claims need to be examined.

  1. Why did Brueckner acquire a massive American RV camper van and drive to Tatschl in Spain?
  2. Why did Brueckner on the day after Maddie’s abduction, change the registration details in Germany of a Jaguar car he owned?
  3. Why did Portuguese police not do a thorough search of Brueckner’s house, even if he wasn’t there when they came?
  4. Why did it take until now for a satellite image of Brueckner’s van to emerge as evidence?
  5. The Morocco angle – just a distraction?
  6. And perhaps crucially, were British police told about Brueckner in the days after?

This last point is a bombshell, which none of the UK dailies want to tackle as it risks putting their own relationships in peril with cops, if it turns out that British police knew. In 2007, there was no British police investigation but we can assume there was some contingent of communications between Portugal and Britain on the case – as British cops were allowed to propose questions to suspects via the Portuguese. If Brueckner’s arrest in Portugal was registered on an EU database, then there was nothing stopping British police in the UK searching for known child sex offenders in the area.

What sticks out is, in fact, British police did know about Brueckner. In fact, in 2007 and later in 2018, they were aware of Brueckner. In 2007 if British cops knew of Brueckner, then why did a number of astonishing events which followed Maddie’s death, not raise alarm bells?

The circumstances, for example, of why and how Brueckner travels to visit his friend near Andalusia, where he stays with him for a number of days. Why drive the ridiculously large RV van when the four-hour journey could have been done in more comfort with the Jag, unless of course he was hiding something in the RV?

The Morocco file

According to the Daily Mail, Tatschl himself unwittingly provides the answers. He says that Brueckner needed him as his friend who “had connections” in the criminal underworld. Tatschl also speaks about Brueckner talking of selling children to gangs in Morocco. The Morocco element is important as Tatschl may well have been Brueckner’s link to the criminal world to sell all of his stolen loot, everything from passports to expensive watches which he robbed from holiday homes in the region. Did Tatschl pay Brueckner with hashish which he himself acquired off criminal gangs in Spain? When talking about criminal gangs in Spain, we are, of course talking about the Morocco network which has been installed in Marbella for decades and has expanded its business from merely hashish to trafficking and even gun running. All roads lead to Marbella and Moroccan gangs.

The Moroccan side to this investigation is both a scapegoat to corrupt police officers like Amaral, but also perhaps part of its truth. In November 2007, I was living in Morocco and was called by a UK tabloid editor to tell me that the newspaper – along with others – had gone alone with the “Maddie kidnapped by child sex ring in Morocco” lead, which was based on a very dubious testimony of an unemployed single Moroccan mother who claimed she saw Maddie in Northern Morocco and a very dodgy photo acquired by El Mundo.

Where did this Moroccan lady live? Marbella. Was she paid to go to Morocco and contact the press with this story as a smoke screen to divert the attention away from Iberia? Or was it a Moroccan gang which was jealous of another one and wanted to incriminate their competitors?

I tried in vain to convince the editor and subsequently the journalist that the blond baby story was false and offered my services as a researcher or translator. They were flatly rejected as the story had already been written in London before the journalist arrived. All he had to do search for people to corroborate it. Of course, he failed as, although Morocco has sex rings, has even sex trafficking by criminal gangs, any evidence to support that Moroccan gangs trafficked European kids back into Morocco, was unheard of; most of the “sex trafficking” was with young Moroccan girls being forced into being maids, where they were sexually abused. The UN, the State Dept and others have pointed out in various reports however that there is some evidence of young girls being forced into sex slavery for rich clients in Gulf Arab countries.

But the tabloid went even further with its ludicrous claims and suggested that Maddie had been sold to penniless peasants for a few coins to live her early days on the back of a woman working in the fields. You couldn’t make it up and I’m only glad that the journalist turned down my offer, as the tabloid man made it all up, actually. My protestations to the editor was backed up months later by the McCann’s own investigator who came on the wild goose chase here in Morocco only to discover hundreds of blond kids on the backs of women. And so the Morocco lead was buried.

But perhaps it shouldn’t have been so quickly dismissed.

Since Tatschl’s evidence which spoke of Brueckner’s wishes to work with gangs in Morocco, police and journalists should pause and ponder the Maghreb. It is almost certain that Tatschl was working with Moroccans in Spain and where he was living was only 1.5-hours drive to Marbella, their epicentre of criminality and debauchery. Is Tatschl panicking and worried that German police will discover that in fact, Brueckner, delivered Maddie to him in return for a large quantity of hashish, for which he would sell on as part of his regular occupation in Praia da Luz? Is this why Brueckner made the long journey and in the absurdly huge RV? If we are to assume that Maddie is still alive and not dead as Brueckner insists, then it is far from far-fetched to assume she could have been sold to a Moroccan gang in Marbella who would sell her on to a contact in the Middle East. She would have almost certainly been drugged. It is my own research into such gangs I discovered they had a prolific competence and understanding of a myriad of modern day drugs, even using some which wipe the victim’s memory clean, leaving him unable to testify against others.

The Morocco angle is viable and should be examined by UK police. Or was it already and deemed too sensitive? Unbeknown to tabloid journalists from the UK who come here on awaydays, British secret service officers have excellent relations with Moroccan gangs running hashish shipments between Morocco’s Mediterranean coast and Spain’s – due largely to the worry in London that the same channels will be exploited for narcotics from south America, arms, explosives and people trafficking. It really wouldn’t take anything for UK security services to use their connections with gangs in Marbella to find out if a three year-old was sold to the Gulf States in 2007. And why hasn’t Tatschl been interviewed by UK police? The real story of Madeleine McCann is that British media doesn’t have the journalists with the requisite skills to investigate on the ground, and both UK and Portuguese police forces seem determined not to find her abductor.

Bill Clinton’s Serbian War Atrocities Exposed in New Indictment

Par Andrey Areshev

James BOVARD

President Bill Clinton’s favorite freedom fighter just got indicted for mass murder, torture, kidnapping, and other crimes against humanity. In 1999, the Clinton administration launched a 78-day bombing campaign that killed up to 1500 civilians in Serbia and Kosovo in what the American media proudly portrayed as a crusade against ethnic bias. That war, like most of the pretenses of U.S. foreign policy, was always a sham.

Kosovo president Hashim Thaci was charged with ten counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity by an international tribunal in The Hague in the Netherlands charged Thaci and nine other men with a “war crimes, including murder, enforced disappearance of persons, persecution, and torture.” Thaci and the other charged suspects were accused of being “criminally responsible for nearly 100 murders” and the indictment involved “hundreds of known victims of Kosovo Albanian, Serb, Roma, and other ethnicities and include political opponents.” But the American media’s ludicrous bias and/or incompetence on that war continues. The New York Times responded to Thaci’s indictment with a tweet declaring that “Serbia’s leader was indicted for war crimes.”

Hashim Thaci’s tawdry career illustrates how anti-terrorism is a flag of convenience for Washington policymakers. Prior to becoming Kosovo’s president, Thaci was the head of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), fighting to force Serbs out of the Kosovo. In 1999, the Clinton administration designated the KLA s “freedom fighters” despite their horrific past and gave them massive aid. The previous year, the State Department condemned “terrorist action by the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army.” The KLA was heavily involved in drug trafficking and had close to ties to Osama bin Laden.

But arming the KLA and bombing Serbia helped Clinton portray himself as a crusader against injustice and shift public attention after his impeachment trial. Clinton was aided by many shameless members of Congress anxious to sanctify U.S. killing. Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CN) whooped that the United States and the KLA “stand for the same values and principles. Fighting for the KLA is fighting for human rights and American values.” And since Clinton administration officials publicly compared Serb leader Slobodan Milošević to Hitler, every decent person was obliged to applaud the bombing campaign. (Alexander Cockburn was one of the few journalists who condemned the unjust war at the time; this 1999 Los Angeles Times column set the gold standard for calling out Clinton’s BS on Serbia.)

Both the Serbs and ethnic Albanians committed atrocities in the bitter strife in Kosovo. But to sanctify its bombing campaign, the Clinton administration waved a magic wand and made the KLA’s atrocities disappear. British professor Philip Hammond noted that the 78-day bombing campaign “was not a purely military operation: NATO also destroyed what it called ‘dual-use’ targets, such as factories, city bridges, and even the main television building in downtown Belgrade, in an attempt to terrorize the country into surrender.” NATO repeatedly dropped cluster bombs into marketplaces, hospitals, and other civilian areas. Cluster bombs are anti-personnel devices designed to be scattered across enemy troop formations. NATO dropped more than 1,300 cluster bombs on Serbia and Kosovo and each bomb contained 208 separate bomblets that floated to earth by parachute. Bomb experts estimated that more than 10,000 unexploded bomblets were scattered around the landscape when the bombing ended and maimed children long after the ceasefire.

In the final days of the bombing campaign, the Washington Post reported that “some presidential aides and friends are describing Kosovo in Churchillian tones, as Clinton’s ‘finest hour.’” The Post also reported that according to one Clinton friend “what Clinton believes were the unambiguously moral motives for NATO’s intervention represented a chance to soothe regrets harbored in Clinton’s own conscience…. The friend said Clinton has at times lamented that the generation before him was able to serve in a war with a plainly noble purpose, and he feels ‘almost cheated’ that ‘when it was his turn he didn’t have the chance to be part of a moral cause.’” By Clinton’s standard, slaughtering Serbs was “close enough for government work” to a “moral cause.”

Shortly after the end of the 1999 bombing campaign, Clinton enunciated what his aides labeled the Clinton doctrine: “Whether within or beyond the borders of a country, if the world community has the power to stop it, we ought to stop genocide and ethnic cleansing.” In reality, the Clinton doctrine was that presidents are entitled to commence bombing foreign lands based on any brazen lie that the American media will regurgitate. In reality, the lesson from bombing Serbia is that American politicians merely need to publicly recite the word “genocide” to get a license to kill.

After the bombing ended, Clinton assured the Serbian people that the United States and NATO agreed to be peacekeepers only “with the understanding that they would protect Serbs as well as ethnic Albanians and that they would leave when peace took hold.” In the subsequent months and years, American and NATO forces stood by as the KLA resumed its ethnic cleansing, slaughtering Serb civilians, bombing Serbian churches and oppressing any non-Muslims. Almost a quarter-million Serbs, Gypsies, Jews, and other minorities fled Kosovo after Mr. Clinton promised to protect them. By 2003, almost 70 percent of the Serbs living in Kosovo in 1999 had fled, and Kosovo was 95 percent ethnic Albanian.

But Thaci remained useful for U.S. policymakers. Even though he was widely condemned for oppression and corruption after taking power in Kosovo, Vice President Joe Biden hailed Thaci in 2010 as the “George Washington of Kosovo.” A few months later, a Council of Europe report accused Thaci and KLA operatives of human organ trafficking. The Guardian noted that the report alleged that Thaci’s inner circle “took captives across the border into Albania after the war, where a number of Serbs are said to have been murdered for their kidneys, which were sold on the black market.” The report stated that when “transplant surgeons” were “ready to operate, the [Serbian] captives were brought out of the ‘safe house’ individually, summarily executed by a KLA gunman, and their corpses transported swiftly to the operating clinic.”

Despite the body trafficking charge, Thaci was a star attendee at the annual Global Initiative conference by the Clinton Foundation in 2011, 2012, and 2013, where he posed for photos with Bill Clinton. Maybe that was a perk from the $50,000 a month lobbying contract that Thaci’s regime signed with The Podesta Group, co-managed by future Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta, as the Daily Caller reported.

Clinton remains a hero in Kosovo where a statue of him was erected in the capital, Pristina. The Guardian newspaper noted that the statue showed Clinton “with a left hand raised, a typical gesture of a leader greeting the masses. In his right hand he is holding documents engraved with the date when NATO started the bombardment of Serbia, 24 March 1999.” It would have been a more accurate representation to depict Clinton standing on a pile of corpses of the women, children, and others killed in the U.S. bombing campaign.

In 2019, Bill Clinton and his fanatically pro-bombing former Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, visited Pristina, where they were “treated like rock stars” as they posed for photos with Thaci. Clinton declared, “I love this country and it will always be one of the greatest honors of my life to have stood with you against ethnic cleansing (by Serbian forces) and for freedom.” Thaci awarded Clinton and Albright medals of freedom “for the liberty he brought to us and the peace to entire region.” Albright has reinvented herself as a visionary warning against fascism in the Trump era. Actually, the only honorific that Albright deserves is “Butcher of Belgrade.”

Clinton’s war on Serbia was a Pandora’s box from which the world still suffers. Because politicians and most of the media portrayed the war against Serbia as a moral triumph, it was easier for the Bush administration to justify attacking Iraq, for the Obama administration to bomb Libya, and for the Trump administration to repeatedly bomb Syria. All of those interventions sowed chaos that continues cursing the purported beneficiaries.

Bill Clinton’s 1999 bombing of Serbia was as big a fraud as George W. Bush’s conning this nation into attacking Iraq. The fact that Clinton and other top U.S. government officials continued to glorify Hashim Thaci despite accusations of mass murder, torture, and body trafficking is another reminder of the venality of much of America’s political elite. Will Americans again be gullible the next time that Washington policymakers and their media allies concoct bullshit pretexts to blow the hell out of some hapless foreign land?

counterpunch.org

Signs U.S. International Power Is Declining

Par Andrey Areshev

On June 15th, Breaking Defense headlined “Japan Halts $2.1B Aegis Ashore Work; New Black Eye For Struggling Program” and reported that Japan’s defense minister, Taro Kono, announced: “Due to considerations of cost and timing, we have stopped the process of introducing the Aegis Ashore system.” This is the Lockheed Martin anti-ballistic-missile system that the U.S. is installing at many places surrounding Russia in order to be able to eliminate or at least greatly reduce Russia’s ability to strike back effectively against the U.S. and its allies if and when the U.S. decides to culminate its U.S. strategic objective called “Nuclear Primacy,” which is for America to achieve and execute the ability to ‘win’ a nuclear war against Russia by eliminating or neutralizing Russia’s ability to strike back effectively against a sudden blitzkrieg nuclear first-strike attack by the U.S. Eliminating the ability of Russia’s nuclear weapons to leave Russian airspace (this Aegis Ashore “missile shield” destroying the retaliatory weapons) is a crucial aspect of America’s Nuclear Primacy plan, in order to use America’s nuclear arsenal for the purpose of winning a nuclear war against Russia, instead of for any purpose of preventing a nuclear war against Russia.

In 2006, the mega-strategy of Nuclear Primacy was announced in America’s two most influential journals of international relations: Foreign Affairs, from the Council on Foreign Relations, and International Security, from the Belfer Center at the John F. Kennedy School of Goverment at Harvard University. This meta-strategy is a replacement of the long-standing “Mutually Assured Destruction” or “MAD” meta-strategy that the concept of “nuclear deterrence” was based upon. Nuclear Primacy aims for victory, not for peace. It was presented in both journals as being not only a realistic goal but a desirable goal, though the authors did acknowledge that this meta-strategy would require bold American leadership in order to culminate (i.e., to conquer Russia and subsequently control the entire world without any possibility of resistance).

Japan’s reversal of its commitment to be part of this plan is significant, and not only because Japan’s cancellation would negatively affect decisions of America’s other allies to stay with the U.S. in its plan to conquer Russia, but also because Japan actually has more reason to protect itself against North Korea than to protect itself against Russia. In fact, if the United States nuclear-blitzes Russia, then both North Korea and China might be very unpredictable, and maybe Japan would be safer as a neutral nation.

Furthermore, on 1 March 2017, three of America’s leading physicists and experts on nuclear weapons, Hans Kristensen, Matthew McKinzie, and Theodore Postol, published a study in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which concluded that.

This vast increase in US nuclear targeting capability, which has largely been concealed from the general public, has serious implications for strategic stability and perceptions of US nuclear strategy and intentions.

Russian planners will almost surely see the advance in fuzing capability as empowering an increasingly feasible US preemptive nuclear strike capability — a capability that would require Russia to undertake countermeasures that would further increase the already dangerously high readiness of Russian nuclear forces. … [And this technological capability that the U.S. has] creates exactly what one would expect to see, if a nuclear-armed state were planning to have the capacity to fight and win a nuclear war by disarming enemies with a surprise first strike.

What was remarkable is that this statement came from America’s experts, not from Russia’s.

Moreover, since that time, America has unilaterally terminated almost every nuclear arms control agreement it had had with Russia and its predecessor Soviet Union. This too is consistent with America’s objective being to develop a crushing nuclear advantage against Russia so as to place itself in a position to dictate terms of surrender.

The Breaking Defense article noted that, “The $2.1 billion program had been sputtering even before Kono’s announcement, after Tokyo said last month it would scrap the Akita [Prefecture] system in the wake of sustained local protests against it,” and stated that two other planned sites for the Aegis Ashore systems, the ones in Poland and Romania, were running behind schedule and over budget.

America’s adoption of the Nuclear Primacy meta-strategy (aiming for nuclear-weapons victory) replacing its prior MAD meta-strategy (aiming for nuclear-weapons balance and international peace) might even be an extension of America’s actual meta-strategic intention regarding nuclear weapons during the pre-1991 overt and ‘ideological’ (communism versus capitalism) Cold War against the Soviet Union. For example, an indication of this intention was America’s public refusal to accept as being anything other than ‘communist tricks’ the repeated efforts by the Soviets to restore the U.S.-U.S.S.R. joint national-security cooperation that had existed when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was America’s President. America’s responses during the post-World-War-II period were insults, instead of to welcom the Soviet proposals and work behind the scenes with them to obtain progress toward the type of world order, global cooperation, that FDR had intended — a world order which he intended would be policed by the United Nations, not by the United States. For example, on 19 September 1959 at the U.N. General Assembly, the Soviet Representative headlined “Declaration of the Soviet Government on General and Complete Disarmament” and presented a series of proposals including:

https://undocs.org/A/4219

“Declaration of the Soviet Government on General and Complete Disarmament”

September 19, 1959

P. 14:

The Soviet Government proposes that the programme of general and complete disarmament should be carried out within as short a time-limit as possible — within a period of four years.

The following measures are proposed for the first stage:

The reduction, under appropriate control, of the strength of the armed forces of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China to the level of 1.7 million men, and of the United Kingdom and France to the level of 650,000 men;

The reduction of the armed forces of other states to levels to be agreed upon at a special session of the United Nations General Assembly or at a world conference on general and complete disarmament;

The reduction of the armaments and military equipment at the disposal of the armed forces of States to the extent necessary to ensure that the remaining quantity of armaments corresponds to the level fixed for the armed forces.

The following is proposed for the second stage:

The completion of the disbandment of the armed forces retained by States;

The elimination of all military bases in the territories of foreign States; troops and military personnel shall be withdrawn from the territories of foreign States to within their own national frontiers and shall be disbanded.

The following is for the third stage:

The destruction of all types of nuclear weapons and missiles;

The destruction of air force equipment;

The entry into force of the prohibition on the production, possession and storage of means of chemical and biological weapons in the possession of States shall be removed and destroyed under international supervision;

Scientific research for military purposes and the development of weapons and military equipment shall be prohibited;

War ministries, general staffs and all military and paramilitary establishments and organizations shall be abolished;

All military courses and training shall be terminated. States shall prohibit by law the military education of young people.

In accordance with their respective constitutional procedures, States shall enact legislation abolishing military service in all of its forms — compulsory, voluntary, by recruitment, and so forth. …

(4) Conclusion of a non-aggression pact between the member States of NATO and the member States of the Warsaw Treaty;

The U.S. response came a few months later at the “Conference of the Ten Nation Committee on Disarmament”:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/unoda-web/documents/library/conf/TNCD-PV6.pdf

“Conference of the Ten Nation Committee on Disarmament”

22 March 1960

Final Verbatim Record of the Sixth Meeting

Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva

P. 36:

Mr.  Eaton (United States of America): I have no intention of entering into this discussion on foreign bases. I think the discussions that we have had here this morning have indicated that we shall run into political problems at the very earliest stage, problems on which earlier conferences have foundered. I would only say that the forces of my Government are only employed outside my own country and within my own country for the purpose of defending both ourselves and those of our allies who wish to be associated with us, who welcome our troopos as a part of theirs and as a part of the allied defences, and for no other reason. Whenever the time comes when these troops need not be employed, for defensive puroses only, there need be no doubt in gthe mind of anyone here that those forces will be withdrawn.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/unoda-web/documents/library/conf/TNCD-PV46.pdf

“Conference of the Ten Nation Committee on Disarmament”

24 June 1960

Final Verbatim Record of the Forty-Sixth Meeting

Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva

  1. 4:

Mr. Nosek (Czechoslovakia): What did Mr. Eaton propose? He proposed the introduction of control measures. … exclusively with measures of control, that is with the old and well-known requirement of the United States — the introduction of control over armaments. Apparently with a view to misleading world public opinion, which requires a concrete discussion of general and complete disarmament, the United States representatives are beginning to prefer — for tactical reasons — to call those measures not “partial measures” but “initial steps” on the road to general and complete disarmament under effective international control.

https://b-ok.cc/book/5398150/073f73

“The United Nations and Space Security: Conflicting Mandates”

P. 17:

This [obfuscation and evasion by the U.S.] ultimately led to the USSR, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Romania not attending the 48th meeting of the Ten-Nation Committee, which signalled the end of these discussions in the Committee.

Who benefited from America’s refusal even to discuss what had been U.S. President FDR’s aim for the post-WW-II world? The beneficiaries are what Eisenhower when leaving office on 17 January 1960 called the “military industrial complex” (which he had actually served as President though he publicly condemned it in his Farewell Address) and these beneficiaries are basically America’s hundred largest military contractors, especially the owners of the largest weapons-manufacturing firms such as Lockheed.

So, America’s being controlled by its MIC might have long preceded merely 2006.

In any case, the possible withdrawal of Japan from its existing anti-Russian alliance with the U.S. could turn out to be yet another indication, beyond merely such phenomena as America’s performance regarding the coronavirus challenge and other factors, which might indicate that The American Century is in the process of ending.

This Russia-Afghanistan Story Is Western Propaganda at Its Most Vile

Par Andrey Areshev

Caitlin JOHNSTONE

All western mass media outlets are now shrieking about the story The New York Times first reported, citing zero evidence and naming zero sources, claiming intelligence says Russia paid out bounties to Taliban-linked fighters in Afghanistan for attacking the occupying forces of the US and its allies in Afghanistan. As of this writing, and probably forevermore, there have still been zero intelligence sources named and zero evidence provided for this claim.

As we discussed yesterday, the only correct response to unsubstantiated claims by anonymous spooks in a post-Iraq invasion world is to assume that they are lying until you’ve been provided with a mountain of hard, independently verifiable evidence to the contrary. The fact that The New York Times instead chose to uncritically parrot these evidence-free claims made by operatives within intelligence agencies with a known track record of lying about exactly these things is nothing short of journalistic malpractice. The fact that western media outlets are now unanimously regurgitating these still 100 percent baseless assertions is nothing short of state propaganda.

The consensus-manufacturing, Overton window-shrinking western propaganda apparatus has been in full swing with mass media outlets claiming on literally no basis whatsoever that they have confirmed one another’s “great reporting” on this completely unsubstantiated story.

We have confirmed the ⁦@nytimes⁩ scoop: A Russian military spy unit offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to attack coalition forces in Afghanistan. From ⁦@nakashimae⁩ ⁦@missy_ryan⁩ me and ⁦@shaneharrishttps://t.co/R9tQf89L7G

— John Hudson (@John_Hudson) June 27, 2020

“The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post have confirmed our reporting,” the NYT story’s co-author Charlie Savage tweeted hours ago.

“We have confirmed the New York Times’ scoop: A Russian military spy unit offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to attack coalition forces in Afghanistan,” tweeted The Washington Post’s John Hudson.

“We matched The New York Times’ great reporting on how US intel has assessed that Russians paid Taliban to target US, coalition forces in Afg which is a pretty stunning development,” tweeted Wall Street Journal’s Gordon Lubold.

All three of these men are lying.

John Hudson’s claim that the Washington Post article he co-authored “confirmed the New York Times’ scoop” twice uses the words “if confirmed” with regard to his central claim, saying “Russian involvement in operations targeting Americans, if confirmed,” and “The attempt to stoke violence against Americans, if confirmed”. This is of course an acknowledgement that these things have not, in fact, been confirmed.

The Wall Street Journal article co-authored by Gordon Lubold cites only anonymous “people”, who we have no reason to believe are different people than NYT’s sources, repeating the same unsubstantiated assertions about an intelligence report. The article cites no evidence that Lubold’s “stunning development” actually occurred beyond “people familiar with the report said” and “a person familiar with it said”.

The fact that both Hudson and Lubold were lying about having confirmed the New York Times’ reporting means that Savage was also lying when he said they did. When they say the report has been “confirmed”, what they really mean is that it has been agreed upon. All the three of them actually did was use their profoundly influential outlets to uncritically parrot something nameless spooks want the public to believe, which is the same as just publishing a CIA press release free of charge. It is unprincipled stenography for opaque and unaccountable intelligence agencies, and it is disgusting.

“The Washington Post and the WSJ were called up by the same unnamed ‘officials’ as we were.
They were told the same evidence free fairytale.
Their stenographers, like ours, wrote it dutifully down.
All of us proudly published it!”#confirmation https://t.co/bEZ2OYgsxb

— Moon of Alabama (@MoonofA) June 27, 2020

None of this should be happening. The New York Times has admitted itself that it was wrong for uncritically parroting the unsubstantiated spook claims which led to the Iraq invasion, as has The Washington Post. There is no reason to believe Taliban fighters would require any bounty to attack an illegitimate occupying force. The Russian government has denied these allegations. The Taliban has denied these allegations. The Trump administration has denied that the president or the vice president had any knowledge of the spook report in question, denouncing the central allegation that liberals who are promoting this story have been fixated on.

Yet this story is being magically transmuted into an established fact, despite its being based on literally zero factual evidence.

Outlets like CNN are running the story with the headline “Russia offered bounties to Afghan militants to kill US troops”, deceitfully presenting this as a verified fact. Such dishonest headlines are joined by UK outlets like The Guardian who informs headline-skimmers that “Russia offered bounty to kill UK soldiers”, and the Murdoch-owned Sky News which went with “Russia paid Taliban fighters to attack British troops in Afghanistan” after “confirming” the story with anonymous British spooks.

Western propagandists are turning this completely empty story into the mainstream consensus, not with facts, not with evidence, and certainly not with journalism, but with sheer brute force of narrative control. And now you’ve got Joe Biden once again attacking Trump for being insufficiently warlike, this time because “he failed to sanction or impose any kind of consequences on Russia for this egregious violation of international law”.

You’ve also got former George W Bush lackey Richard Haas promoting “a proportionate response” to these baseless allegations.

Russia is carrying out covert wars vs US troops in Afghanistan and our democracy here at home. A proportionate response would increase the costs to Russia of its military presence in Ukraine & Syria and, using sanctions & cyber, to challenge Putin at home. https://t.co/c0Mc7sLriO

— Richard N. Haass (@RichardHaass) June 27, 2020

“Russia is carrying out covert wars vs US troops in Afghanistan and our democracy here at home,” Haas tweeted with a link to the New York Times story. “A proportionate response would increase the costs to Russia of its military presence in Ukraine and Syria and, using sanctions and cyber, to challenge Putin at home.”

Haas is the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, a wildly influential think tank with its fingers in most major US news outlets.

And indeed, the unified campaign to shove this story down people’s throats in stark defiance of everything one learns in journalism school does appear to be geared toward advancing pre-existing foreign policy agendas which have nothing to do with any concern for the safety of US troops. Analysts have pointed out that this new development arises just in time to sabotage the last of the nuclear treaties between the US and Russia, the scaling down of US military presence in Afghanistan, and, as Haas already openly admitted, any possibility of peace in Syria.

“This story is published just in time to sabotage US-Russia arms control talks,” Antiwar’s Dave DeCamp noted on Twitter. “As the US is preparing for a new arms race — and possibly even live nuclear tests — the New York Times provides a great excuse to let the New START lapse, making the world a much more dangerous place. Russiagate has provided the cover for Trump to pull out of arms control agreements. First the INF, then the Open Skies, and now possibly the New START. Any talks or negotiations with Russia are discouraged in this atmosphere, and this Times story will make things even worse.”

“US ‘intelligence’ agencies (ie, organized crime networks run by the state) want to sabotage the (admittedly very inadequate) peace talks in Afghanistan,” tweeted journalist Ben Norton. “So they get best of both worlds: blame the Russian bogeyman, fueling the new cold war, while prolonging the military occupation. It’s not a coincidence these dubious Western intelligence agency claims about Russia came just days after a breakthrough in peace talks. Afghanistan’s geostrategic location (and trillions worth of minerals) is too important to them.”

We’re seeing in real time how Western intelligence agencies are derailing peace talks aimed at ending the nearly 20-year war in Afghanistan.

First anonymous US spies spread this rumor. Now anonymous European spies are doing the same. And the corporate media eats it up like candy https://t.co/l6Rze37MZx

— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) June 27, 2020

All parties involved in spreading this malignant psyop are absolutely vile, but a special disdain should be reserved for the media class who have been entrusted by the public with the essential task of creating an informed populace and holding power to account. How much of an unprincipled whore do you have to be to call yourself a journalist and uncritically parrot the completely unsubstantiated assertions of spooks while protecting their anonymity? How much work did these empire fluffers put into killing off every last shred of their dignity? It boggles the mind.

It really is funny how the most influential news outlets in the western world will uncritically parrot whatever they’re told to say by the most powerful and depraved intelligence agencies on the planet, and then turn around and tell you without a hint of self-awareness that Russia and China are bad because they have state media.

Sometimes all you can do is laugh.

medium.com

Britain’s Disorder and Decline

Par Andrey Areshev

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is no longer united, as most recently illustrated by the vastly dissimilar tactics to control the Covid-19 pandemic taken by England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. This follows the differences of opinion in each region concerning the disastrous Brexit decision to quit the European Union, as Scotland, for example, strongly supported remaining in the EU, and now 51 percent of Scots have indicated they would vote for independence from Britain — if they were permitted to have a vote on the matter. The citizens of Northern Ireland indicated their preference to remain in the EU by a majority of 56% to 44% and although 52.5 per cent in Wales voted to leave, there has been growing realisation that Brexit is a potential economic disaster, and in June the Welsh government announced that it will campaign for the UK to remain in the EU.

There is no unifying influence being exerted by the central government in London, which is obsessed with severing all ties with the EU. Indeed it was reported that Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared yet again that the finalisation of Brexit would mark a moment of “national renewal,” after which the UK would be “a great European power, and truly global in our range and ambitions.”

Yet on June 24, when the Guardian newspaper interviewed David Sassoli, the president of the European parliament, who had been video conferencing with Johnson and the presidents of the European commission and European council, Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, he said “we are very worried because we don’t see great enthusiasm from the British authorities and we don’t see a strong will to get to an agreement that satisfies all parties.”

The Europeans’ reaction to London’s posture is entirely understandable, because the government of the UK (as we may still refer to it, for convenience) is inflexible concerning the UK’s negotiating stance, which is uncompromisingly superior and appears to stem from the belief that Britain is the more important party and the EU must therefore bend to its will. The government in London ignores the fact that it was the UK that demanded to leave the European Union and that the EU therefore owes it nothing.

Originally, it was possible there could be an extension of the Brexit transition period beyond December 31, 2020, meaning that negotiations could continue until mutually-beneficial compromises were reached, but on June 15 the British side pulled the plug and declined to extend the transition. The result of that decision is that if there is no agreed solution by the end of this year, there will be a “no-deal” Brexit and all agreements will be annulled. Unfortunately, it is apparent that the government could not care less about this outcome and that many British citizens are unaware of the consequences, which promise to be calamitous.

The conviction that Britain can be “a great European power” is the base, the essence, of the strange manifestation of national superiority that has led the UK to its present parlous condition. But it has to be realised by Britain that it is a middle-ranking economic and military “power” whose recent performance concerning control of the Covid-19 crisis has given no cause for optimism. As The Economist headlined on June 20, “The British state shows how not to respond to a pandemic. It faced difficult circumstances. And has so far failed to rise to them.” The response to a no-deal Brexit will be equally lamentable.

The Financial Times notes that the UK has “the Brexit delusion of taking back control” but that the European Union had “no significant influence over the UK’s spending on (or policies towards) health, education, housing, pensions, welfare, infrastructure, culture or, for that matter, defence and aid.” In short, the absurd nationalistic slogans that encouraged the British people to distrust and even hate the European Union had no basis in fact, but were designed specifically as part of the Vote Leave campaign in order to whip up antagonism towards a valuable trading partner.

Independent international analyses have shown that post-Brexit consequences for Britain will be economically damaging. For example, the RAND Corporation’s assessment is that “The failure of the UK to achieve an open trading and investment with the EU post-Brexit would have negative implications for the UK and EU” and if there is a ‘no-deal’ then “trading under World Trade Organisation rules would reduce [the UK’s] future GDP by around five per cent ten years after Brexit, or $140 billion, compared with EU membership.” This is fair warning of disaster, one would think, especially when the chief executive of the UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders told the BBC on June 23 that “It is vitally important that the government achieves its ambition, which is a trade agreement before the end of the year” — but if there is no deal, then UK car manufacturers could not afford to pay import tariffs on foreign components, as the cost would be more than their profit margin.

The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association Fact Sheet is concise in stating that “The impact of a no-deal Brexit on the automobile industry would be potentially catastrophic. There is no other industry that is more tightly integrated than the European automotive industry, with highly complex supply chains stretching across Europe and production relying on ‘just-in-time’ delivery.” Chaos looms. And not only in the massive car manufacturing and distribution industry, but right across the board.

The UK publication The Week points out that, for the moment, trade between the UK and EU is tariff-free, “But the Confederation of British Industry predicts that no-deal would mean that 90% of the UK’s goods exports to the EU would be subjected to tariffs.” On June 17 the British Parliament’s research and information service published ‘Statistics on UK-EU trade’ which among other things stated that “the EU is the UK’s largest trading partner. In 2019, UK exports to the EU were £300 billion (43% of all UK exports).”

In spite of the black clouds of impending doom, the government in London continues to ignore the imminent economic catastrophe, and is spending 40 billion pounds (50 billion dollars) on building four Dreadnought nuclear weapons submarines. It is notable that studies by the independent Nuclear Information Service indicate that the UK defence ministry’s (MOD) estimates are incorrect and that the true cost is in the region of £172 billion, but no matter the number of billions the stark fact is that Britain cannot afford to indulge itself in operating a nuclear weapons force and should concentrate on solving its enormous economic problems. The country’s government is existing in a world of fantasy in which, for example, the defence minister announced that “wherever I go in the world I find that Britain stands tall.” He believes that “Brexit has brought us to a moment. A great moment in our history. A moment when we must strengthen our global presence, enhance our lethality, and increase our mass”, which is not only a delusion but a most dangerous military mindset. (And imagine the hysteria if such a policy had been declared in Moscow or Being.)

The British government should concentrate on uniting its own country, engaging with the European Union in order to maintain existing favourable trade agreements, and cancelling the grandiose and preposterously expensive nuclear submarine project. It owes this to the British people who are watching their country reeling in disorder and facing a dreadful decline.

The Roaring First-Timers From the Moscow V-Day Parade 2020

Par Andrey Areshev

The 2020 Moscow Victory Day Parade took place in Moscow’s Red Square on June 24, 2020 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of both the capitulation of Nazi Germany in the Second World War and the historic Moscow Victory Parade of 1945. Some of the military equipment were demonstrated to the broad public for the first time ever. Below is a brief guide to these magnificent first-timers.

To Save the United States From Collapse, College Campuses Must Emancipate Themselves From Social Justice Warriors

Par Andrey Areshev

The American university is restructuring itself along the lines of Liberal foreign policy in that it seeks to utterly destroy the enemy – in this case, conservatism and nationalism. The strategy depends upon a take-no-prisoner approach that shuns debate and crucifies dissenters in order to turn America into an authoritarian socialist state.

It has become something of a cliché among many American parents to relay stories about the moment when their children return home from their first semester at college. These radicalized youth, exposed to the social justice curriculum of leftist teaching, shock their elders with a sense of shame, anger and guilt not only over their history and country, but, if they happen to be white, their own skin color. As a result, Thanksgiving dinner with our freshly woke offspring has become mission impossible, and with the latest shaming of Jesus Christ it looks as though the yearly ‘White Christmas’ festivities will soon be just as tedious.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; the immediate priority is to survive the current season of discontent, which, following the killing of George Floyd by a white cop, has witnessed violent protests, complete with the toppling of ‘white supremacist’ statues, and a call to defund and disband police forces. It would be premature to blame the current madness on ‘racism in America’ – not nearly as bad as the sensationalist media would have us believe, especially when it is considered that almost 50 percent of the enrollment in Black Lives Matter derives from white members. The far more likely culprit is simply poor policing methods and training. So what is the real source for this outpouring of hatred aimed at ‘the patriarchy’ and ‘white privilege’? It derives directly from our liberal universities, the breeding ground for ‘Cultural Marxism’ that has conquered college campuses with its diabolical message. But what does that term actually mean, and from where did it derive?

A radical arrival

At the height of World War II, a group of social scientists from the Frankfurt School made their way from Nazi Germany to the United States. Much to their dismay, however, they realized that the possibility of triggering a worker’s revolution in their new homeland would be nearly impossible. Americans were simply too content. In the post-war ‘golden age,’ the U.S. middle class, protected from the voracious capitalists by vibrant worker unions and decent factory jobs, was beginning to enjoy the material benefits of capitalism. In other words, the Marxists needed to find a new method for ‘flipping’ the country.

Instead of manipulating the timeless owner-worker schism, capitalism’s Achilles heel, these radical philosopher-revolutionaries from the Frankfurt School (also known as ‘Critical Theory’) devised a ‘philosophy’ to fracture society along its many various cultural lines in order to usurp the capitalist order.

Wendy Brown, professor of political theory at the University of California, Berkeley, explained that the Critical Theory of the new arrivals “exceeded the Marxist emphasis on the realm of production to include language, the psyche, sexuality, aesthetics, reason, and thought itself.”

Speaking about the philosophy of Herbert Marcuse, one of the luminaries of the movement, Brown explained that he undertook to work against “masculinist radical politics” and a “dreamless liberal egalitarianism.”

“This unemancipatory rationality was the terrain that the Frankfurt School worked from every direction, as it upturned the myth Enlightenment reason … attacked positivism as an ideology of capitalism, theorized the revolutionary potential of high art, plumbed the authoritarian ethos and structure of the nuclear family … and took philosophies of aesthetics, reason, and history to places they had never gone before,” Brown wrote.

Reading that line it is not difficult to see where the first seeds of identity politics and political correctness got its start.

Marcuse, in one of his discussions on the subject of the women’s liberation movement, which went on to inflict untold damage on sexual relations, summed up feminism as a “revolt against decaying capitalism.” This is a slight variation on another pithy communist slogan that promised the proletariat would eventually “control the means of production.”

Dress however you please.
Call yourself whatever you like.
Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you.
Live your best life in peace and security.
But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill

— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) December 19, 2019

So where is feminism today, to say nothing about the proletariat? Both have been consumed by the very ideology that gave them birth. Women and their assumed ‘oppressed’ status have served their purpose and have now been displaced by another project of the Cultural Marxists known as the transgender movement. Feminism has come full circle as the females who once heaped criticism on their male ‘oppressors’ are now the subject of scorn by ‘transgender women,’ that is, biological males who now identify as females. The progress that women were making in various fields, like in business and sports, is threatened to be overtaken by transgender women. Now the feminists are in the rather strange position of being forced to align themselves with conservatives in an effort to separate transgender women from biological women in places as diverse as the bathroom and changing facilities to the boardroom.

And woe to anyone who challenges the leftist consensus on the matter. But the main point here is how the Cultural Marxists were so quick to alienate one of their primary ‘clients’ once another victim group arrived on the scene. These purportedly oppressed groups were only used to further alienate and atomize Americans, as well as create additional fissures in society that will ultimately serve the means to the end, which is the destruction of the ‘American way’ in favor of a socialist authoritarian state.

Had the college campuses not been adverse to discussion and debate, they would have possibly been reminded about several critical chapters of American history when the ‘white supremacists’ freed the slaves, granted suffrage to minorities, threw their massive support behind the civil rights movement, as well as endorsing Affirmative Action and the Welfare State. While none of that will ever expunge the stain of slavery from America’s past, it does prove that racism in America is a grossly exaggerated lie, put in motion by individuals and their protégés who have no other wish than to destroy the nation.

Trump Used Looted Venezuelan Public Money to Build Border Wall With Mexico

Par Andrey Areshev

Around $24 billion of Venezuelan public money was looted by the US government, and the Trump administration has used at least $601 million of it to construct a militarized wall on the US-Mexico border.

Ben NORTON

Since the United States initiated a coup attempt against Venezuela’s elected leftist government in January 2019, an estimated $24 billion worth of Venezuelan public assets have been stolen by Washington and member states of the European Union.

President Donald Trump’s administration has used at least $601 million of that looted Venezuelan money to fund construction of its border wall with Mexico, according to government documents first reviewed by Univision.

During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump insisted countless times that he would “make Mexico pay” to build a gargantuan wall covering all of the roughly 2,000 miles (3,145 kilometers) of its northern border.

Unable to force Mexico to fund his $18 billion pet project, which has already cost an estimated $30 million per mile in southern Texas, Trump has turned to other questionable sources of financing.

Univision reviewed US congressional records and court documents and found that the Trump administration tapped into $601 million of the Treasury Department’s “forfeiture fund” to supplement the wall construction.

The United States has seized at least $1 billion of Venezuelan public funds that Washington in turn claimed were supposedly being stolen by government officials, according to Univision. This is in addition to the billions more worth of Venezuelan state assets that have been illegally taken over by the Trump administration, the most important of which is Caracas’ crown jewel, the oil refinery Citgo.

“None of that money… has been returned to the Venezuelan people,” Univision reported. “Instead, most of the money is being collected by the U.S. Justice and Treasury Departments and held in special forfeiture funds used mostly to fund law enforcement investigations.”

Right-wing opposition upset Trump didn’t give Guaidó gang all stolen Venezuelan money

The Trump corruption scandal has been almost entirely ignored by mainstream corporate media outlets. Univision buried its own scoop deep in a report that advanced the talking points of Venezuela’s US-backed right-wing opposition and reffered to the elected government of President Nicolás Maduro as a “widely repudiated regime.”

Univision, the largest corporate media network in the United States that focuses on Latino issues, is owned by billionaire-controlled private equity firms, one of the most prominent of whom is the Israeli-American oligarch Haim Saban.

Based in Miami, the de facto capital of the Latin American right, this massive media conglomerate acts as a mouthpiece for conservative forces and corporate interests across Central and South America.

The Univision article, titled “Legal battle over Venezuela’s looted billions heats up,” refers to unelected US-appointed coup leader Juan Guaidó as the leader of the country’s supposed “interim government.”

Univision also absolved the US and European countries of stealing billions of dollars of Venezuelan public money, justifying the theft with allegations of Venezuelan government corruption.

However, the fact that the report saw the light of day reflects a growing schism between supporters of the Venezuelan opposition and their imperial patrons in Washington. Univision was clearly upset that the Trump administration had not given the self-declared “Guaidó government” the money that it stole from Caracas.

“However, when it comes to who gets to keep the money from those looted assets, the U.S. appears unwilling to relinquish the cash,” Univision wrote in frustration.

The Guaidó gang’s blatant corruption

What Univision did not mention in the report was that the Juan Guaidó coup administration had already been exposed for numerous acts of corruption.

Top Guaidó operatives spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of supposed “humanitarian aid” money on fancy hotels, nightclubs, dinners, and clothes during a US-led coup attempt on the Colombia-Venezuela border in February 2019.

The Grayzone’s Anya Parampil also exposed how Guaidó allies oversaw a scam to liquidate Citgo, Venezuela’s most valuable foreign asset, essentially selling it off to North American corporations.

As for the billions of dollars of Venezuelan public assets stolen by Western governments, there is no sign of that money ever being returned to the Venezuelan people.

In his new book “The Room Where It Happened,” former Trump administration national security advisor John Bolton boasted that the British government “was delighted to cooperate on steps they could take” to assist in Washington’s coup efforts, “for example freezing Venezuelan gold deposits in the Bank of England, so the regime could not sell the gold to keep itself going.”

The Bank of England still holds approximately $1 billion of gold that it stole from the Venezuelan government, and has refused to give it back.

According to Trump’s former National Security Advisor, UK’s Foreign Minister was happy to cooperate with the US in applying pressure to Venezuela by freezing our gold deposits in the Bank of England. Evidence showing Venezuela is being illegally robbed keeps surfacing. pic.twitter.com/QoX7rfHFB8

— Jorge Arreaza M (@jaarreaza) June 20, 2020

John Bolton – Traitor to Common Decency

Par Andrey Areshev

There are few men in modern American history more venal than Former National Security Adviser John Bolton. Calling Bolton a relic of the Cold War in his outlook on foreign policy is a kindness.

Bolton is a dangerous and pathetic creature whose entire life is an example of how incomplete men with a talent for violence can rise in a late-stage cesspit of political corruption.

He is simply someone who has never been in a fight in his life who lusts for the power to kill, main and destroy anyone who dares challenge him. A pathology he’s had the dubious distinction of being able to act out in the real world on more than one occasion.

This will, hopefully, be the last article I write about his cretin because once his last fifteen minutes of fame are used up attacking President Trump in slavish interview after interview supporting his book, Bolton will be finished in Washington D.C.

This book is his gold watch for being a lifelong soldier in the service of the American empire and the neoconservative/neoliberal dream of global conquest. $2 million, a handful of residuals and a final victory lap for a life spent in pursuit of the subjugation of those he considers sub-human.

President Trump’s recent tweet about Bolton is a masterful bit of brevity being the soul of wit.

I gave John Bolton, who was incapable of being Senate confirmed because he was considered a wacko, and was not liked, a chance. I always like hearing differing points of view. He turned out to be grossly incompetent, and a liar. See judge’s opinion. CLASSIFIED INFORMATION!!!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2020

And while Bolton spent the balance of his career in D.C. working nominally for Republicans, his lust for war served both parties equally well. That war lust was in service of the empire itself when Bolton was fired, and he turned against President Trump.

He was welcomed as a Hero of the Resistance by Democrats intent on impeaching the President after he was fired last year, one of the few good moments in Trump’s nearly four years at the helm of U.S. foreign policy. Given his involvement with Fiona Hill and Eric Chiaramella, the whistleblower whose testimony created the impeachment charges, Bolton really could be thought of as the architect of that process.

So, it’s no surprise that his book is welcomed as the gossip event of the summer by the media. But remember, this is a guy who refused to testify against Trump for Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff and that’s because he would have never stood up to cross-examination.

This is because, ultimately, John Bolton is a coward. And he’s the worst kind of coward. He’s the kind of man who deals underhandedly while hiding behind rhetoric in controlled environments to pursue his fever dreams of suppressing the Untermensch.

What we know now, thanks to Bolton’s unwillingness to keep his trap shut, is that things were as we suspected while he was in the White House. Every event that occurred was an excuse for Bolton to tell Trump to go to war. And every time Trump was led up to that trough to drink, he backed away causing Bolton’s mustache the worst case of sexual frustration.

Worse than that, Bolton sabotaged any hope of détente with Russia, North Korea and improving the situation in the Middle East. While he was right to hate Jared Kushner’s Deal of the Century for Israel/Palestine, he was instrumental in getting Trump to stay in Syria rather than turn over what’s left of its suppression to the people who actually want it to continue – Israel and Saudi Arabia.

In the end Bolton is really the best example I can come up with for the monolithic thinking that permeates D.C. Despite his best instincts, Trump took Bolton on because the potential talent pool is so thin.

Anyone with original ideas, such as Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, are more valuable in their current position rather than coming into an administration that is hamstrung by a permanent bureaucracy unwilling to change, or in open revolt.

There’s no profit for them to make the jump even if they wanted to.

This point has been in effect since before Trump took office when he wouldn’t stand behind his first National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, who is still embroiled in the worst The Swamp can throw at a person.

Progressives, liberals and anti-imperalists I implore you to stop allying with this creature of The Swamp in his quest to do damage to a president you hate. Because by doing so you are strengthening the very people who are the architects of the empire you believe you are fighting against.

Because that’s who John Bolton wrote this book for.

He didn’t write it for you.

Bolton will ultimately be a foot note in the history books. A man whose only claim to fame was failing to allow a president to make some peace with North Korea and set the U.S. on a path to complete alienation with the rest of the world.

Because of the neoconservatives’ intense war lust, as embodied by Bolton, it pushed Trump, already an arch-mercantilist, even farther along the path of using economic pressure to force change on the world stage.

But, as I’ve been saying for years now, that is a strategy just as ruinous in the long run for the U.S. as Bolton’s cowardice urging use of a military — which he refused to serve in — to do his dirty work for him.

These are both expressions of an empire which refuses to accept that it is in decline. And it has invited the chaos now evident in cities all across the U.S. as our wealth has been squandered on endless wars for regime change overseas while building a regulatory police state at home.

That helped pushed the militarization of our local police, further putting them in conflict with a domestic population growing more desperate and reactionary on both sides of the political aisle.

Bolton’s projection of all the U.S.’s ills onto countries with no real ability to harm us physically ultimately was not only his undoing with Trump but the U.S.’s undoing as a leader of the post-WWII order.

The Blundering British Political Class Has Shown the Same Incompetence in Both Fighting Wars and Coronavirus

Par Andrey Areshev

Patrick COCKBURN

The government’s controversial Prevent programme aims to stop individuals becoming terrorists, but it would be much more effective if it taught British political leaders not to engage in wars that become the seed-beds of terrorism.

Consider the case of Khairi Saadallah, the suspect in the killing of three people in a park in Reading who came to the UK as a refugee from Libya in 2012 and was granted asylum in 2018. An ID card reportedly shows that he had been a member of the Union of the February 17 Revolution, one of the paramilitary groups that had fought Muammar Gaddafi the previous year. Police and intelligence agencies say they have not discovered any current link between Mr Saadallah and jihadist organisations.

But that is not really the point: if David Cameron, Nicolas Sarkozy and Hillary Clinton had not launched the Nato-led war to carry out regime change in Libya in 2011, it is unlikely that refugees like Saadallah would have come to Britain the following year.

The same is true of Salman Abedi, the Libyan suicide bomber who killed 22 and injured 139 people, mostly children, in the Manchester Arena in 2017. Abedi was personally responsible for this slaughter, but the British government had relaxed controls on the movements of jihadi groups like the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group because MI6 saw them as useful local allies in getting rid of Gaddafi.

It is disgusting how leaders like David Cameron continue to defend the launching of the 2011 Nato intervention in Libya. It was this that led to the ongoing nine-year-long war and the chaos that produced a wave of refugees who needed help and turned the country into a haven for jihadis like Abedi. Yet this predictable consequence of foreign intervention, be it in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria, scarcely receives a mention in the wall-to-wall coverage of murders such as those in Manchester, Reading or London Bridge. The media emphasis is on grief and “communities coming together”, a highly convenient response from the point of view of the British government as its own blundering role in turning Libya into place of permanent war is forgotten or is considered irrelevant.

Gaddafi was a dictator but however horrific the conditions under his rule, Libyans are now at the mercy of merciless local warlords who are proxies for foreign powers pursuing their own egocentric interests. This week Turkey and Egypt, and the coalitions they lead, are close to an all-out proxy war as they face off against each other at Sirte, close to where Gaddafi was killed.

This all-consuming violence is not mentioned by the leaders who did so much to bring it about. David Cameron boasts in his autobiography For The Record that, thanks to his efforts, American, British and French aircraft stopped the advance of Gaddafi’s tanks. “Benghazi was saved,” he writes, “and a Srebrenica-style slaughter was averted.”

Cameron has not noticed that Benghazi was not saved at all. Its centre is now a sea of ruins, destroyed in the fighting between the anti-Gaddafi warlords. Cameron’s claim that Gaddafi’s forces were about to carry out mass killings in Benghazi was always dubious. A report by the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee said that the belief that Gaddafi would “massacre the civilians in Benghazi was not supported by the available evidence.” His forces had reoccupied other rebel-held towns and there had been no massacre.

Cameron and Britain were not alone in destroying Libya. In a piece of self-glorifying bombast as revolting as anything said by Donald Trump, the US secretary of state Hillary Clinton crowed after the death of Gaddafi: “We came, we saw, he died.”

So did tens of thousands of other Libyans, but is it naïve to imagine that Clinton, Cameron and Sarkozy ever cared much about what happened to the seven million Libyan population? They were equally blind in looking after the interests of their own countries when they replaced a broadly secular authoritarian state in Libya with murderous anarchy.

These three politicians and other interventionists like Tony Blair and George W Bush defend themselves by saying that this is all hindsight. But it was not. I was in Benghazi and Tripoli during the six-month war to overthrow Gaddafi and it was patent that the violence would not end when he was dead. In the week that Britain recognised the rebel leadership in Benghazi as the legitimate government, the rebels had killed, and by some accounts tortured to death, their chief military commander, General Abdel Fattah Younis. Western governments and media had presented the opposition as liberally minded democrats. but an early proposal of the incoming post-Gaddafi transitional government was to put an end to the ban on polygamy.

Western leaders never suffered much political damage from their unforced errors in these wars in the Middle East and North Africa. The countries that were supposedly saved by foreign intervention might be wracked by endless conflict but they had disappeared from the news agenda. Voters at home never connected up terrorist butchery in their streets with wars fought in their name in far away places. I always thought it unjust yet probably inevitable that incompetent ignorant leaders, particularly in Britain, would never pay much of a price for what they had done.

But I was wrong. The same sort of over-confident amateur leadership that I had witnessed committing serial blunders from Basra to Benghazi finally had to face a real crisis in the shape of Covid-19. Their performance was as dismal at home as it had been abroad. Boris Johnson’s shambolic response to the pandemic, producing the worst death toll from the illness in the world aside from the US and Brazil, was foreshadowed by what David Cameron had done before in Libya. In both instances, unnecessary mistakes had calamitous consequences.Perhaps the British political class had become so used to piggy-backing on US political and military power that it no longer knew what to do when that power stumbled over the last twenty years or finally imploded under Trump.

Competence takes a long time to create and its disintegration can also be imperceptibly slow. Nobody in Britain was much interested in the fate of Libya as it was torn apart in an escalating civil war. Even when Britain is the victim of a small proportion of that violence, there is a reluctance to put any of the blame on past British actions. The pretence is that somehow shouldering any responsibility lets the perpetrators off the hook. In reality, both the relatively limited number of British casualties stemming from its Middle East wars and the horribly large loss of life because of coronavirus have a common source: a political class that is hollowed out and no longer copes successfully with real crises.

counterpunch.org

‘The God That Failed’: Why the U.S. Cannot Now Re-Impose Its Civilisational Worldview

Par Andrey Areshev

It was always a paradox: John Stuart Mill, in his seminal (1859), On Liberty, never doubted that a universal civilisation, grounded in liberal values, was the eventual destination of all of humankind. He looked forward to an ‘Exact Science of Human Nature’, which would formulate laws of psychology and society as precise and universal as those of the physical sciences. Yet, not only did that science never emerge, in today’s world, such social ‘laws’ are taken as strictly (western) cultural constructs, rather than as laws or science.

So, not only was the claim to universal civilisation not supported by evidence, but the very idea of humans sharing a common destination (‘End of Times’) is nothing more than an apocalyptic remnant of Latin Christianity, and of one minor current in Judaism. Mill’s was always a matter of secularized religion – faith – rather than empiricism. A shared human ‘destination’ does not exist in Orthodox Christianity, Taoism or Buddhism. It could never therefore qualify as universal.

Liberal core tenets of individual autonomy, freedom, industry, free trade and commerce essentially reflected the triumph of the Protestant worldview in Europe’s 30-years’ civil war. It was not fully even a Christian view, but more a Protestant one.

This narrow, sectarian pillar was able to be projected into a universal project – only so long as it was underpinned by power. In Mill’s day, the civilisational claim served Europe’s need for colonial validation. Mill tacitly acknowledges this when he validates the clearing of the indigenous American populations for not having tamed the wilderness, nor made the land productive.

However, with America’s Cold War triumph – that had by then become a cynical framework for U.S. ‘soft power’ – acquired a new potency. The merits of America’s culture, and way of life, seemed to acquire practical validation through the implosion of the USSR.

But today, with America’s soft power collapsed – not even the illusion of universalism can be sustained. Other states are coming forward, offering themselves as separate, equally compelling ‘civilisational’ states. It is clear that even were the classic liberal Establishment to win in the November U.S. elections, America no longer has claim to path-find a New World Order.

Yet, should this secularised Protestant current be over – beware! Because its subterranean, unconscious religiosity is the ‘ghost at the table’ today. It is returning in a new guise.

The ‘old illusion’ cannot continue, because its core values are being radicalised, stood on their head, and turned into the swords with which to impale classic American and European liberals (and U.S. Christian Conservatives). It is now the younger generation of American woke liberals who are asserting vociferously not merely that the old liberal paradigm is illusory, but that it was never more than ‘a cover’ hiding oppression – whether domestic, or colonial, racist or imperial; a moral stain that only redemption can cleanse.

It is an attack – which coming from within – forecloses on any U.S. moral, soft power, global leadership aspirations. For with the illusion exploded, and nothing in its place, a New World Order cannot coherently be formulated.

Not content with exposing the illusion, the woke generation are also tearing down, and shredding, the flags at the masthead: Freedom and prosperity achieved via the liberal market.

‘Freedom’ is being torn down from within. Dissidents from the woke ideology, are being ‘called out’, made to repent on the knee, or face reputational or economic ruin. It is ‘soft totalitarianism’. It recalls one of Dostoevsky’s characters – at a time when Russian progressives were discrediting traditional institutions – who, in a celebrated line, says: “I got entangled in my data … Starting from unlimited freedom, I conclude with unlimited despotism”.

Even ‘science’ has become a ‘God that failed’; instead of being the path to liberty, it has become a dark soulless path toward unfreedom. From algorithms that ‘cost’ the value of human lives, versus the ‘costing’ of lockdown; from secret ‘Black Box’ algos that limit distribution of news and thinking, to Bill Gates’ vaccination ID project, science now portends despotic social control, rather than a fluttering standard, hoist as the symbol of freedom.

But the most prominent of these flags, torn down, cannot be blamed on the woke generation. There has been no ‘prosperity for all’ – only distortions and warped structures. There are not even free markets. The Fed and the U.S. Treasury simply print new money, and hand it out to select recipients. There is no means now to attribute ‘worth’ to financial assets. Their value simply is that which Central Government is willing to pay for bonds, or grant in bail-outs.

Wow. ‘The God who failed’ (André Gide’s book title) – a crash of idols. One wonders now, what is the point to that huge financial eco-system known as Wall Street. Why not winnow it down to a couple of entities, say, Blackrock and KKR (hedge funds), and leave it to them to distribute the Fed’s freshly-printed ‘boodle’ amongst friends? Liberal markets no more – and many fewer jobs.

Many commentators have noted the wokes’ absence of vision for the future. Some describe them in highly caustic terms:

“Today, America’s tumbrils are clattering about, carrying toppled statues, ruined careers, unwoke brands. Over their sides peer those deemed racist by left-wing identitarians and sentenced to cancelation, even as the evidentiary standard for that crime falls through the floor … But who are these cultural revolutionaries? The conventional wisdom goes that this is the inner-cities erupting, economically disadvantaged victims of racism enraged over the murder of George Floyd. The reality is something more … bourgeoisie. As Kevin Williamson observed last week, “These are the idiot children of the American ruling class, toy radicals and Champagne Bolsheviks, playing Jacobin for a while, until they go back to graduate school”.

Is that so? I well recall listening in the Middle East to other angry young men who, too, wanted to ‘topple the statues’; to burn down everything. ‘You really believed that Washington would allow you … in’, they taunted and tortured their leaders: “No, we must burn it all down. Start from scratch”.

Did they have a blueprint for the future? No. They simply believed that Islam would organically inflate, and expand to fill the void. It would happen by itself – of its own accord: Faith.

Professor John Gray has noted “that in The God that failed, Gide says: ‘My faith in communism is like my faith in religion. It is a promise of salvation for mankind’’. “Here Gide acknowledged”, Gray continues, “that communism was an atheist version of monotheism. But so is liberalism, and when Gide and others gave up faith in communism to become liberals, they were not renouncing the concepts and values that both ideologies had inherited from western religion. They continued to believe that history was a directional process in which humankind was advancing towards universal freedom”.

So too with the wokes. The emphasis is on Redemption; on a Truth catharsis; on their own Virtue as sufficient agency to stand-in for the lack of plan for the future. All are clear signals: A secularised ‘illusion’ is metamorphosing back into ‘religion’. Not as Islam, of course, but as angry Man, burning at the deep and dark moral stain of the past. And acting now as purifying ‘fire’ to bring about the uplifting and shining future ahead.

Tucker Carlson, a leading American conservative commentator known for plain speaking, frames the movement a little differently: “This is not a momentary civil disturbance. This is a serious, and highly organized political movement … It is deep and profound and has vast political ambitions. It is insidious, it will grow. Its goal is to end liberal democracy and challenge western civilization itself … We’re too literal and good-hearted to understand what’s happening … We have no idea what we are up against … These are not protests. This is a totalitarian political movement”.

Again, nothing needs to be done by this new generation to bring into being a new world, apart from destroying the old one. This vision is a relic – albeit secularised – of western Christianity. Apocalypse and redemption, these wokes believe, have their own path; their own internal logic.

Mill’s ‘ghost’ is arrived at the table. And with its return, America’s exceptionalism has its re-birth. Redemption for humankind’s dark stains. A narrative in which the history of mankind is reduced to the history of racial struggle. Yet Americans, young or old, now lack the power to project it as a universal vision.

‘Virtue’, however deeply felt, on its own, is insufficient. Might President Trump try nevertheless to sustain the old illusion by hard power? The U.S. is deeply fractured and dysfunctional – but if desperate, this is possible.

The “toy radicals, and Champagne Bolsheviks” – in these terms of dripping disdain from Williamson – are very similar to those who rushed into the streets in 1917. But before dismissing them so peremptorily and lightly, recall what occurred.

Into that combustible mass of youth – so acultured by their progressive parents to see a Russian past that was imperfect and darkly stained – a Trotsky and Lenin were inserted. And Stalin ensued. No ‘toy radicals’. Soft became hard totalitarianism.

The Age of Chatham House and the British Roots of NATO

Par Andrey Areshev

NATO secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s recent announcement of a NATO 2030 anti-nation state vision to extend the spheres of NATO’s jurisdiction into the Pacific to contain China demonstrates a disturbing ideology which can lead nowhere but World War III if not nipped in the bud soon.

In my previous article NATO 2030: Making a Bad Idea Worse, I promised to shed light on the paradoxical situation of NATO’s unabashed unipolar agenda on one hand and the many examples of President Trump’s resistance to NATO witnessed by his removal of 9500 American personnel from Germany announced on June 11, his cutting of American participation in NATO military exercises, and his recent attacks on the military industrial complex.

The paradox: If NATO is truly a wholly owned tool of the American Empire, then why would the American Empire be at odds with itself?

Of course, this only remains a paradox to the degree that one is committed to the belief in such a thing as “The American Empire”.

Please do not get me wrong here.

I am in no way saying that America has not acted like an empire in recent decades, nor am I romantically trying to whitewash America’s historic tendencies to support colonization and defend systemic racism.

What I am saying is that there are demonstrably now, just as there have been since 1776, TWO opposing dynamics operating within America, where only one is in alignment of the ideals of the Constitution and Declaration of independence while the other is entirely in alignment with the ideals of the British Empire and hereditary institutions from which it supposedly broke away.

One America has been defended by great leaders who are too often identified by their untimely deaths while in office, who consistently advanced anti-colonial visions for a world of sovereign nations, win-win cooperation, and the extension of constitutional rights to all classes and races both within America and abroad. The other America has sought only to enmesh itself with the British Empire’s global regime of finance, exploitation, population control and never-ending wars.

Lord Lothian and the White Man’s Burden

These two Americas frustrated Round Table controller Sir Philip Kerr (later “Lord Lothian”) in 1918 who wrote to his fellow Round Tabler Lionel Curtis explaining the “American problem” with the following words:

”There is a fundamentally different concept in regard to this question between Great Britain … and the United States …. as to the necessity of civilized control over politically backward peoples…. The inhabitants of Africa and parts of Asia have proved unable to govern themselves … because they were quite unable to withstand the demoralizing influences [i.e. their desire for modernization and independence–ed.] to which they were subjected in some civilized countries, so that the intervention of an European power is necessary in order to protect them from those influences. The American view… is quite different… The extent of this work after the war, sometimes known as the white man’s burden, will be so vast that it will never be accomplished at all unless it is shared… Yet America not only has no conception of this aspect of the problem but has been led to believe that the assumption of this kind of responsibility is iniquitous imperialism. They take an attitude towards the problem of world government exactly analogous to the one they [earlier] took toward the problem of the world war…. “If they are slow in learning we shall be condemned to a period … of strained relations between the various parts of the English-speaking world. [We must] get into the heads of Canadians and Americans that a share in the burden of world government is just as great and glorious a responsibility as participation in the war” (1)

At the time of Kerr’s writing, the British Roundtable, led by Lord Milner had just orchestrated a British coup in 1916 ousting Labour’s Herbert Asquith in order to bring Milner’s Round Table group into dominance as a shaper of imperial foreign policy at a pivotal moment in history. This coup allowed this group to define the terms of the Post-war world at Versailles).

These imperialists were obsessed with ending the dangerous spread of anti-colonial feelings from India, Ireland, Africa and other nations who firmly believed their sacrifices in WWI merited their independence. Most dangerous of all was that their sentiments were very much shared by many leading members of the American government who rejected the evil philosophical roots of the “white man’s burden”.

Sir Philip Kerr (who later took on the name Lord Lothian before becoming ambassador to America during WWII) and his Round Table gang did everything they could to control the terms of Versailles in 1919 which involved the creation of the League of Nations as a new global political/military hegemon powerful enough to destroy sovereign nation states forever under a new British-run empire.

American resistance to this agenda was so strong that Lothian, Milner and the other leaders of the Round Table soon established a new organization called the Royal Institute for International Affairs (Chatham House) in 1919 with branches soon set up across what later became the Five Eyes Anglo-Saxon nations. This network would coordinate and adapt 19th century British Imperial policy using new 20th century techniques.

In America, the Round Table decided that the name “American Institute for International Affairs” was a bit too conspicuous and chose instead the name “Council on Foreign Relations” (CFR) in 1921. Canadian, and Australian Institutes for International Affairs were created in 1928 and 1929 accordingly known as the CIIA and AIIA, but for all their efforts, the pro-nation state dynamic within America could not be broken, and the League of Nations soon collapsed along with its ambitions for a global military and banking monopoly (the latter attempt having been officially destroyed by FDR who sabotaged the London Economic Conference of 1933).

The rise of NATO in the wake of WWII and the death of anti-colonialist Franklin Roosevelt can only be understood by keeping this historical dynamic in mind.

NATO’s Birth was August 1947… NOT April 1949

It is popularly believed that NATO was set up on April 4, 1949 as a tool of the American colonialism. The truth is a bit different.

As Cynthia Chung reported in her recent paper “The Enemy Within: A Story of the Purge of American Intelligence”, 1947 was a very bad year for America as a new intelligence agency was created with the birth of the CIA, now purged of all pro-FDR influences who had formerly dominated the OSS. National Security Council paper 75 (NSC-75) was drafted calling for America to defend the possessions of the British Empire under the new Cold War operating system, leading to a new era of Anglo-American assassinations, wars and regime change.

On March 4th, 1947, the Anglo-French Treaty of Dunkirk established a collective defense pact extending itself the next year to include Belgium, France, Luxemourg and the Netherlands under the guise of the Brussels Pact. Both collective defense pacts operated outside of the UN structure but lacked the military teeth needed to give them meaning- all nations of the time having been crippled by the devastation of WWII. Only America had the military might to make this new alliance meaningful as global military force capable of subduing all resistance and usher in world government.

Escott Reid’s NATO Vision of 1947

In a memorandum called “The United States and the Soviet Union” written in August 1947, a highly influential Oxford Rhodes Scholar and radical promoter of global governance named Escott Reid, then Deputy Undersecretary of External Affairs of Canada “recommended that the countries of the North Atlantic band together, under the leadership of the United States, to form ‘a new regional security organization’ to deter Soviet expansion.”

The motive for this memorandum was to escape the Soviet Union’s veto power in the U.N. Security Council, which prevented the British Great Game from moving forward. The goal was to establish an instrument powerful enough to bring about an Anglo-American Empire as desired by Cecil Rhodes and Winston Churchill and which the League of Nations failed to accomplish.

Escott Reid extrapolated upon his thesis for the creation of such an institution at an August 13, 1947 Canadian Institute of Public Affairs (2) Conference at Lake Couchiching when he stated:

“The states of the Western world are not…debarred by the Charter of the United Nations or by Soviet membership in the United Nations from creating new international political institutions to maintain peace. Nothing in the Charter precludes the existence of regional political arrangements or agencies provided that they are consistent with the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations, and these regional agencies are entitled to take measures of collective self-defence against armed attack until the Security Council has acted.”

This new anti-Soviet military organization would have the important feature of creating a binding military contract that would go into effect for all members should any individual member go to war. Reid described this intention as he wrote:

“In such an organization each member state could accept a binding obligation to pool the whole of its economic and military resources with those of the other members if any power should be found to have committed aggression against any one of the members.”

It was another year and a half before this structure gained the full support of External Affairs Minister Lester B. Pearson, and British Prime Minister Clement Atlee. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) would be formed on April 4, 1949 with its headquarters on 13 Belgrave Square in London.

Escott Reid and Lester B. Pearson: Both Roundtable Oxford Men

Reid had made a name for himself serving as the first Permanent Secretary of the Canadian Institute for International Affairs (CIIA), also known as the Canadian Branch of Chatham House/Roundtable Movement of Canada under the direction of CIIA controller Vincent Massey. Massey was the protégé of racist imperialist Lord Alfred Milner and the controller of the Rhodes Scholar groups of Canada throughout a career that saw him act as Canadian Ambassador to Washington (1926-1930), Liberal Party President (1930-1935), Ambassador to Britain (1935-1945) and Head of State (aka: Governor General of Canada (1952-1959). Reid himself was the founder of the self-professed “Canadian Fabian Society” alongside four other Rhodes scholars known as the eugenics-promoting technocratic League of Social Reconstruction (LSR) in 1932, whose name changed to the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) in 1933 and again later to the National Democratic Party (NDP) in 1961 (3).

Reid spent years working closely with fellow Oxford Massey Scholar Lester B. Pearson, who himself was Vincent Massey’s assistant in London before becoming a controller of the Liberal Party of Canada.

The Racist Agenda Behind the Rhodes Trust

It is vital to remind ourselves that these networks were driven by the design outlined by genocidal diamond magnate Cecil Rhodes, who wrote the purpose for the Scholarship that was to receive his name in his First Will (1877):

“Why should we not form a secret society with but one object – the furtherance of the British Empire and the bringing of the whole uncivilised world under British rule for the recovery of the United States for the making the Anglo-Saxon race but one Empire…”

Later in that will, Rhodes elaborated in greater detail upon the intention which was soon to become official British foreign policy.

“The extension of British rule throughout the world, the perfecting of a system of emigration from the United Kingdom and of colonization by British subjects of all lands wherein the means of livelihood are attainable by energy, labor and enterprise, and especially the occupation by British settlers of the entire continent of Africa, the Holy land, the valley of Euphrates, the islands of Cyprus and Candia, the whole of South America, the Islands of the Pacific not heretofore possessed by Great Britain, the whole of the Malay archipelago, the seaboard of China and Japan, the ultimate recovery of the United States of America as an integral part of the British empire. The consolidation of the whole empire, the inauguration of a system of colonial representation in the Imperial parliament which may tend to weld together the disjointed members of the empire”

The “recovery of the United States” should seriously resonate with anyone with doubts over the role of the British Empire’s ambition to undo the international effects of the American Revolution and should also cause honest citizens to reconsider what nationalist Presidents like John F. Kennedy and Charles de Gaulle were actually struggling against when they stood up to the power structures of NATO and the Deep State. This should be kept in mind as one thinks of the British-steered networks that ran the assassinations of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King in 1968, as well as the attempted Russia-Gating of Donald Trump in our modern day.

Notes

(1) Lothian to Lionel Curtis, Oct. 15, 1918, in Butler, Lord Lothian, pp. 68-70.

(2) The Canadian Institute for Public Affairs (CIPA) was created in 1935 as an affiliate to the Canadian Round Table in order to shape national internal policy while the CIIA focused upon Canada’s foreign policy. Original featured speakers were the CIIA’s Norman Mackenzie, and the eugenicist leader of the newly created CCF Party J.S. Woodsworth. It would be another 20 years before both organizations began to jointly host conferences together. Today, CIPA exists in the form of the Couchiching Conferences and their regular brainwashing seminars have been broadcast across the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) for over 70 years.

(3) Reid’s other Rhodes Scholar co-founders of the LSR were Eugene Forsey, F.R. Scott, and David Lewis. Frank Underhill was a Fabian Society member. Rhodes Scholar F.R. Scott became a leading mentor of a young recruit of the Fabian Society named Pierre Elliot Trudeau upon the latter’s 1949 return from the London School of Economics in order to work in Ottawa’s Privy Council Office. This Trudeau went on to groom himself as a CCF member before being selected to take over the Liberal Party after the ouster of pro-nationalist forces who had led the Liberals from 1935-1958.

* All Reid quotes are taken from Escott Reid, Couchiching and the Birth of NATO by Cameron Campbell, published by the Atlantic Council of Canada.

**The author wrote a larger series of studies on this Round Table-driven world history under the title “Origins of the Deep State in North America parts 1-3 and an even fuller picture is told in volume 4 of The Untold History of Canada.

The author can be reached at matt.ehret@tutamail.com

Biden’s Basement Strategy: Just Say Nothing

Par Andrey Areshev

Patrick J. BUCHANAN

Some polls now have Joe Biden running ahead of Donald Trump by 10 points and sweeping the battleground states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. This vindicates the strategy Biden’s advisers have adopted:

Confine Joe to his basement, no press conferences. Trot him out to recite carefully scripted messages for the cameras. Then lead him back to his stall.

This enables Biden to avoid the blazing questions that are dividing not only Democrats and Republicans but liberals and leftists. And most of these issues touch on the explosive subject of race.

Consider. California’s legislature just voted to put to a statewide ballot in November a return to the racial preferences that were banned as discriminatory in a statewide referendum, 25 years ago.

The proposal would reverse the 1995 constitutional amendment, approved by 55% of voters, which outlawed “preferential treatment” based on “race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin.”

If the measure carries, California returns to a racial spoils system.

Race preferences are being pushed because they are needed to bring about greater representation of Blacks and Hispanics in the student bodies of elite schools of the state university system like UCLA and the University of California, Berkeley.

Asian students are today “overrepresented” in these prestigious schools, because of their superior test scores.

Where does Biden stand on anti-Asian discrimination?

Earlier this June, the California Assembly voted to establish a task force to make recommendations for reparations for slavery.

Now, California did not enter the Union until 1850, and slavery was outlawed in the state constitution, though several thousand slaves were brought there during the 1849 Gold Rush.

Where does Biden stand on reparations for slavery?

Many of the recent protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death have involved the desecration and destruction of monuments.

What does Biden think about tearing down statues of Christopher Columbus and Robert E. Lee? Where does Biden stand on destroying statues of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Lincoln, Grant and Theodore Roosevelt?

What did Biden think of the removal of the statue of Caesar Rodney, Delaware statesman and slave owner, who, despite a grave illness, rode to Philadelphia to sign Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence and cast his lot with the American Revolution?

Understandably, Biden would prefer not having to choose between Caesar Rodney and BLM.

Black men are arrested and incarcerated more often than whites because of the systemic racism of law enforcement officials, we are told.

Does Biden believe white cops are congenital racists?

In the great cities where the killing of Black men is today all too common, the regimes that have ruled them for decades have been almost wholly Democratic.

Does Biden believe there is systemic racism in the ruling circles of all these Democratic-run cities?

Over the last month, there has been an explosion of shootings and killings. In Chicago, over Memorial Day, 84 people were shot, 24 mortally.

Last weekend in Chicago, 106 people were shot and 14 killed. New York City is experiencing the worst shooting violence in a quarter century.

Is there systemic racism in the police departments of our great cities? Again, who has been running those cities, if not Democrats?

Is there inequality in wealth between Black and white America because of systemic racism? If so, why did that inequality persist through two terms of our first Black president, with Biden as his VP?

Does Biden believe, with Elizabeth Warren, in wealth taxes on the rich and wealth transfers to close the Black-white wealth gap?

Is there systemic racism in American media?

Our dominant media institutions include The Washington Post, New York Times, ABC, CBS and NBC. All are controlled by liberals.

Is there systemic racism in our great universities and colleges? Yet, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, and the rest of the Ivy League have long been run by an entrenched liberal elite.

Is our huge federal workforce permeated by racism?

Though African Americans are 13% of the U.S. population, they occupy 18% of all federal jobs.

Is there systemic racism in our public schools? Who controls the teachers unions? Who fills almost all of the teaching positions?

Is there systemic racism in California? If so, who is at fault? The governor, both senators, both houses of the legislature, all statewide offices, and 46 of 53 U.S. House seats in California are held by Democrats.

If Biden emerges, then he will have to answer why all these institutions where his party and people are predominant — the media, Hollywood, the academic community, public schools, big-city governments, the big foundations, the federal bureaucracy — are apparently shot through with systemic racism after decades of Democratic dominance.

And, more precisely, what he intends to do about it.

Perhaps it’s better to shelter in place in the basement.

lewrockwell.com

2022: A Vaccination Passport. The EU Keeps Quiet Over Suspicious Documents

Par Andrey Areshev

Surprise, surprise, the European Commission (EC) had a “Roadmap on Vaccination” ready months before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out.

The Roadmap should lead to a “commission proposal for a common vaccination card / passport for EU citizens by 2022”.

Last updated during the third quarter of 2019, the 10-page document was followed, on September 12th, by a “global vaccination summit” jointly hosted by the EC and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Under the header “Ten Actions Towards Vaccination for All – Everyone should be able to benefit from the power of vaccination”, the summit manifesto laments that:

“Despite the availability of safe and effective vaccines, lack of access, vaccine shortages, misinformation, complacency towards disease risks, diminishing public confidence in the value of vaccines and disinvestments are harming vaccination rates worldwide.”

And with them, arguably, the pharmaceutical companies’ profits.

In July 2017, for example, Italy made 12 vaccinations compulsory for children. In the aftermath, the prices of these very vaccines went up by 62%: from an average price per dose of € 14.02 up to € 22,74.

The global vaccination market is currently worth USD 27 billion a year. According to WHO estimates, it will reach USD 100 billion by 2025.

Since the EC-WHO global vaccination summit also discussed a renewed immunization agenda for 2030, the big pharma’s shareholders need not worry for the long-term performance of their stock.

One ought really not to “harm vaccination rates worldwide”.

The manifesto of the global vaccination summit goes on to list 10 “lessons (…) and actions needed towards vaccination for all”.

Each “lesson” is a gem of what the Italian neo-Marxist philosopher Diego Fusaro calls “the therapeutic capitalism”.

The wording is peremptory and leaves no room for nuance and debate. Adjectives such as “all” “everyone” “indisputably” abound. Statements in the conditional mood are absent.

More than a cautious, scientifically inspired and open-to-doubt plan of action, the tone – “to protect everyone everywhere”, “to leave no one behind” – is unsuitably messianic.

What about those who do not want to be “protected” that way? In Germany alone, roughly 10% of the whole population, or 8 million people, are strongly against a Corona vaccination.

But let’s look at what we can learn, so to speak, from these “lessons”.

Lesson 1 begins with: “Promote global political leadership and commitment to vaccination” – this seems what we are witnessing now, with governments worldwide suggesting that masks and social distancing will remain in place until a vaccine for Corona-Sars2 is found.

And what about those politicians who are against vaccinations?

Will their voters be told, as the EU budget commissioner Gunther Oettinger (in)famously did with Italian Lega voters in 2018, that “markets will teach them to vote for the right thing?”.

Will a new pandemic break out to teach people to vote for the right thing?

Lesson 4, “Tackle the root-causes of vaccine hesitancy, increasing confidence in vaccination,” looks like the blueprint for a major propaganda campaign, one that foresees – we read on the EU Roadmap on Vaccinations – the “development of e-learning training modules targeting GPs and primary healthcare providers focused on improving skills to address hesitant populations and promote behavioral change”.

Lesson 5, “Harness the power of digital technologies, so as to strengthen the monitoring of the performance of vaccination programs”, raises, in times of tracing apps and electronic wristbands, legitimate concerns over the further encroachment of technology in our lives – and bodies.

Which digital technologies are we talking about? Maybe a subcutaneous chip, like the one recently patented with the satanic-sounding number 060606 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation?

Lesson 9 is, for the non-mainstream journalist, and for freedom of speech in general, the most threatening [the bolded type is mine]:

“Empower healthcare professionals at all levels as well as the media, to provide effective, transparent and objective information to the public and fight false and misleading information, including by engaging with social media platforms and technological companies.”

There we go: the fight against so-called Fake News is back. More work for Facebook’s self-appointed “Facts-Checkers”.

Fake News is of course Orwellian Newspeak for any non-aligned information, no matter its contents, origins and verifiability.

Indeed, the global vaccination manifesto provides no definition for “objective information”, or for “false and misleading information”.

If vaccines are as safe as the EU and WHO claim without offering any evidence, why then did the U.S. government create, already in the 1980’s, a body called National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP)?

To provide, we read in the VICP’s official website, “a no-fault alternative to the traditional legal system for resolving vaccine injury petitions.”

Quite successfully, it would seem.

In the period between 10/01/1988 (when the VICP begun awarding damage compensation) and 06/01/2020 (last available data), the VICP has awarded a total of USD 4,385,672,580.43 in compensation.

This figure excludes the compensation resulting from actual legal action, notably class actions, against Big Pharma.

But, as the Italian documentary-maker Massimo Mazzucco explains, the U.S. authorities did not stop there to protect Big Pharma from legal action.

In 2010, a landmark ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court quoted the U.S. Code Title 42 thus:

“The Act eliminates manufacturer liability for a vaccines unavoidable, adverse side effects.”

The same ruling further elaborates:

“No vaccine manufacturer shall be liable in a civil action for damages arising from vaccine-related injury or death associated with the administration of a vaccine after Oct.1, 1988…

…if the injury or death resulted from side-effects that were unavoidable even though the vaccine was properly prepared and was accompanied by proper directions and warnings”

1988 was of course the year in which the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program begun awarding compensations to the victims of vaccine injury – sparing legal headaches to Big Pharma in the process.

As system biologist Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai points out, the impossibility to sue pharmaceutical companies over vaccines, combined with falling profits from drug sales, turned vaccines into Big Pharma’s new business model.

And now the EU and the Bill Gates-financed WHO go along with it.

“The government of the modern state,” Karl Marx famously wrote in his Communist Manifesto, “is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie”.

Were Marx alive today, he might have concluded that governance by international organization is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the global elites.

Convenience and Mobile Gaming are More Important for Most Than Liberty

Par Andrey Areshev

Why do we tolerate the government violating our privacy? Because cellphones are useful, and their spying is completely imperceptible.

❌