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[l] at 11/16/19 4:25am

When the dust settles in a month or two, the House of Representatives will have impeached President Donald Trump with a one-sided partisan vote and then the Senate will have exonerated Donald Trump with a similarly one-sided partisan vote.  But at the end of the day, the United States will have acquired a new strategic ally in Central Europe: Ukraine. The very first day of the impeachment hearings in November has been responsible for an important national security decision that had no input from Trump’s national security team or from the congressional foreign policy committees. The implications of this decision are onerous.

The key statements on the first day of the impeachment hearing concluded that Ukraine was an “important” or “strategic” partner of the United States.  Chairman Adam Schiff opened the hearings with the view that Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to “rebuild the Russian empire” by invading a “strategic U.S. ally.”  The key witnesses, William Taylor and George Kent, both senior Foreign Service Officers and seasoned diplomats, echoed the chairman’s view.  Taylor, our leading diplomat in Ukraine, referred to a “newly aggressive Russia” that invaded a “strategic partner of the United States.”   He argued that it was essential for the United States to be a “reliable strategic partner” for Ukraine.

Kent, the Department of State’s regional director for Ukraine, went even further in arguing that “U.S. national interest was at stake in Ukraine,” a country “on the path to become a full security partner of the United States within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.” He believes that Ukraine occupies an “important place in U.S. national interest,” and that it is essential for Washington to “stand up to Russia.”  Kent and Taylor argued that Russian “aggression cannot stand” and that the United States must “push back.”

The strong statements from Schiff, Taylor, and Kent may well be in part a reaction to Trump’s bizarre courtship of Russia and his conspiracy-fueled antipathy toward Ukraine.  However, they point U.S. policy in a risky direction.

The decisions of Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to expand the membership of NATO with former members of the Warsaw Pact and former republics of the Soviet Union have created fundamental problems for NATO decision making and weakened the cohesion of the Western alliance.  Moreover, the expansion of NATO has been the major factor in the strategic mishandling of Russian policy since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and has divided the members of the alliance on the important issue of threat perception in Europe.

Russian anxiety regarding the fear of encirclement on its western borders is a genuine problem that has cultural and geopolitical predicates.  The beginning of NATO’s eastward expansion in the 1990s in fact marked an expansion of U.S. political and military influence into a region that had been a Russian sphere of influence throughout the Cold War.  On various occasions, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Presidents Bush and Barack Obama that expressions of interest in bringing Ukraine and Georgia into NATO represented a “red line” to Vladimir Putin and should be avoided.

NATO expansion has proven to be not only a major irritant in Russian-American relations, but the leading cause of what appears to be the start of a new Cold War.  Thirty years after President Ronald Reagan declared that the “Cold War is over,” relations between the United States and Russia have reached an all-time low.  The major factor in the improved relations during the Cold War—the arms control and disarmament dialogue—is moribund.

It has been forgotten that the President George H.W. Bush and Secretary of State James Baker assured their counterparts, Mikhail Gorbachev and Eduard Shevardnadze, that the United States would not “leap frog” over East Germany if the Soviets were to withdraw their 360,000 troops from the east.  In other words, no U.S. military forces would be stationed in East Europe, which would offer the promise of demilitarization to a Kremlin that only reluctantly withdrew its military forces and agreed to the reunification of Germany.  Gorbachev and Shevardnadze’s willingness to accept these terms is the major factor in the Russian vilification of these two men to this day.

Reinhold Niebuhr concluded that one of the greatest challenges in international relations was “finding proximate solutions to insoluble problems.”  The expansion of NATO and the Russian annexation of Crimea and occupation of eastern Ukraine has certainly created one of those problems.  The current level of incompetence in the American national security team and what George Kennan called the “instinctive sense of insecurity” in Russia are barriers to a solution.

Nevertheless, a way must be found to end the toxicity in the relationship and to restore the arms control dialogue between the two sides.  Washington must stop NATO’s eastward push and rethink its sanctions policy.  Moscow must acknowledge its misuse of military power and end its interference in U.S. elections.  Both sides must put an end to the demonization of the other, and  acknowledge the primacy of diplomacy in their bilateral relations.

counterpunch.org

[Category: Editor's Choice, Corruption, Ukraine, United States]

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[l] at 11/16/19 4:00am

“Every artist, every scientist, every writer must decide now where he stands. The artist must take sides. He must elect to fight for freedom or for slavery. I have made my choice”

Paul Robeson, 1937

America today stands at a crossroads. Where an entrenched oligarchy strives desperately to keep hold of those military, intelligence, financial and federal institutions which it spent decades infesting, while attempting to overthrow a nationalist president who has worked to end the “forever wars” while cooperating with both Russia and China.

This fight within the heart of America has been confusing for many people who accustomed themselves to interpret world history from the distorted lens of the age in which they live.

Such confused people cannot fathom HOW America could possibly be anything but an imperialistic nation infested with self-contradiction: A nation founded on Liberty but relying on exploitation, usury and institutional racism.

This confusion can easily be resolved by taking off the distorted glasses of “the present” and look at history as a process defined by the clash between two opposing views of mankind: a creature born free or enslaved.

Where the oligarchical system defines humanity as simply a mass of enslaved apes controlled by higher ‘alpha’ apes, the humanist system defines humanity as a species made in the image of a creator with inalienable rights. Abstract notions of “law, value, goodness, purpose, beauty, creativity or even potential” flow equally as words from each system, but with definitions that stand in stark opposition to each other.

Paul Robeson lived his remarkable life according to this knowledge and gave everything to awaken what he understood as the real America as a force of opposition to the racist, imperialistic machine that had made its move to take control of the republic on the eve of President Roosevelt’s early death in 1945.

Who was Paul Robeson?

Paul Robeson is a man who defies categorization. Although famous as a great African American baritone and actor born of an escaped slave, Robeson was so much more. While his life’s work should be basic knowledge and pride of every American today, the deep state which ran America for over 70 years has done all but erase him from existence labelling him a “communist crackpot” and Soviet spy. Why is the oligarchy so afraid of his memory?

Robeson is a cultural warrior of the highest caliber who knew over 20 languages including Russian, Chinese, Arabic and several African dialects, he early on became a cultural ambassador expressing the universality of mankind as he sung folk songs around the world and created institutions to enhance the best of each cultures development. He combined the anti-imperialist fight to liberate all former colonies with the combat for racial equality in America. He was the most vocal opponent to the Wall Street takeover of America and was recognized internationally as the leading figure and founder of America’s Civil Rights movement.

Music as a Weapon

Robeson famously called “music his weapon”, and used it masterfully to build spiritual bridges with all cultures by absorbing their languages, stories and folk songs. He wrote: “folk songs are, in fact, an expression of a peoples’ innermost nature, of the distinctive and multifaceted conditions of its life and culture, of the sublime wisdom that reflects that peoples’ great historical journey and experience.

In Russia, Robeson sang numerous patriotic pieces like Song of the Plains in perfect Russian:



In China, he sang popular folk songs and was the first western singer to sing Chi Lai (Arise) in 1940 which later became China’s national anthem:



He even learned Yiddish and sang the anti-fascist Warsaw Ghetto Uprising ballad:



Nothing more powerfully conveys the insight Robeson had into the universality of mankind when one hears his incredible description of the universal harmonies, and patterns underlying world languages and folk music conveyed during his 1958 Carnegie Hall concert featuring international folk music:



Political Freedom as the Highest Art

Counted among his close friends and allies were Albert Einstein, Vice President Henry Wallace (who Robeson campaigned vigorously for in his 1948 bid for the presidency), Jawaharlal Nehru, Jomo Kenyatta, and Kwame Nkrumah. Kenyatta and Nkrumah became leaders of the powerful Pan African movement and were members of an organization called the Council on African Affairs founded and chaired by Robeson in 1937.

Presiding over the 1944 Council on African Affairs conference alongside emerging Pan African leaders and American workers of all colors, Robeson oversaw the resolutions defining the conferences’ objectives:

  • To Give concrete help to the struggle of the African masses
  • To disseminate accurate information concerning Africa and its people; in that, to wake up Americans to what is happening in Africa; the one continent where undisguised colonial slavery is still practiced.
  • To influence the adoption of governmental policies designed to promote their advancement and freedom and preserve international peace.
  • To smash the iron curtain of secrecy and double talk surrounding the schemes for imperialist exploitation of Africa and its people.
  • To prevent American loans and guns from being used to crush the freedom struggle of Africans and other subject peoples.
  • To strengthen the allegiance of progressive Americas, black and white, with the peoples of Africa and other lands in the struggle for world peace and freedom.

Albert Einstein who also suffered under McCarthyism, co-chaired the American Crusade Against Lynching founded and chaired by Robeson in response to Truman’s failure to enforce anti-lynching legislation in 1946. Between 1945 and 1946, well over 100 black war veterans were lynched and many more “disappeared” as the south re-asserted their hegemony through terror.

It is not always appreciated today, but the fascist takeover of America in the wake of FDR’s death saw the resurgence of the southern establishment which Lincoln sought to destroy 80 years earlier. African American servicemen returning from WWII expecting to find equal rights, encountered a newly empowered Ku Klux Clan and racist Jim Crow laws- now protected by Hoover’s FBI and a racist little President who was working hard to undo all of FDR’s accomplishments.

Einstein, Wallace and Robeson in 1948

Reviving the Anti-Colonial America

As the founder of the Civil Rights Congress (CRC), Robeson not only fought for racial equality at home but united this new movement with the international anti-colonial struggle saying at a CRC meeting:

“The guarantee that our day of liberation is not far off is that this is a time of colonial liberation. It is a time when dark men and women in Asia and Africa are pulling off their shackles of exploitation which have kept them bound for centuries… As they succeed in Asia and soon, you may be sure, in Africa- as more than half the world escapes the clutches of the Dulles, Rockefellers and Firestones, they lend a powerful stimulus to our freedom struggle here at home.”

In describing the American corporations moving into controlling positions in Africa, Robeson made sure to differentiate the deep state from the real America when he asked:

“Are these financial big boys America? No! They are the former enemies of Roosevelt. They were the ones who were glad when Roosevelt died. They are the same ones who Roosevelt said were the core of American fascism. They are the allies of the remains of the Hitler entourage- they are the friends of Franco, the living representatives of the Spanish conquistadores who enslaved us and still enslave us in Latin America. They are the ones who hate American democracy as did the enemies of Jefferson and Lincoln before them. They are no part of America. They are the ‘would-be’ preservers of world fascism and the enemies of progressive America!”

It is no wonder then that Robeson became enemy #1 for Hoover’s FBI, Dulles’ State Department and Red hunters like Joe McCarthy who did everything in their power to destroy his life by labelling him a “Black Mussolini” and “Soviet agent”. In truth, they were afraid that he was more of a “Black Solon” who would destroy their usurious power hold over the republic and free the bond slaves at the first opportunity.

Resisting American Fascism

Speaking at a rally at Madison Square Garden, Robeson identified the real evil agenda lurking behind the Anglo-American Cold War:

“The ‘Stop Russia’ cry really means- stop the advance of the colonial peoples of Asia and Africa toward independence; stop the forces of the new democracy developing in Europe; stop the organized workers of America from trying to hold their ground against their profit-greedy employers; stop the Negro people from voting and joining trade unions in the South- ‘Stop Russia’ means- stop progress- maintain the status quo. It means- let the privileged few continue to rule and thrive at the expense of the masses. We must indeed win the peace- but we can do it only by using methods exactly the opposite of those pursued at present by the British Foreign Office and our own State Department. To win total peace there must be total freedom”.

The highest leading official in America who stood up to this agenda was “the man who should have been president” Henry Wallace (Vice President 1940-1944), who was fired from his position as Commerce Secretary by Truman in 1946 for the crime of demanding Russia-US friendship. Speaking to thousands on September 21, 1946 Robeson stated: “We are shocked by the forced resignation of Wallace. We join with the overwhelming majority of Americans who want peace and democracy for this country and the world, in fully supporting Wallace’s criticism.  We cannot avoid the painful conclusion that Truman’s action represents a complete capitulation to the reactionary minority in our country who seek world domination”.

When Wallace announced his presidential bid in 1948, Robeson was asked to run as his Vice-presidential running mate, but declined feeling that he could do more good on an international level but dedicated his every waking hour campaigning for Wallace and the Progressive Party in 1948.

In a March 1948 campaign speech for Wallace, Robeson said:  “Either we get along with the Communists, jump in the ocean or blow up the whole world. Saying you can’t get along with Communists is like saying you can’t get along with the birds”. In that speech Robeson described himself as “an advanced New Dealer” and said he supported Wallace because “if anybody continues the new deal traditions of Franklin Roosevelt, it is Wallace.” Robeson’s concept of an “advanced New Dealer” and Wallace’s fight against the deep state was elaborated on in Wallace’s Vision for the Post-War World Order. (1)

Wallace and Robeson at the Progressive Party Convention in 1948

Robeson vs the Deep State

Sadly the entire force of the deep state came down on Wallace resulting in his defeat in 1948 bringing Truman in for another 4 years.

Robeson was punished by John F. Dulles who revoked his passport in 1949, preventing him from travelling while the FBI ensured that he was un-hirable, his records unplayable and his words unprintable. The singer’s revenues collapsed and he relied heavily on the kindness of friends during this time. In 1956, Robeson said “there is a deliberate policy of attempting to prevent me from making a living by practicing my profession as an artist.” In a famous 1956 testimony to the House of Un-American Activities, Robeson courageously called out the fascist nature of the proceedings.

International pressure resulted in an end to his “imprisonment” and he began a new world tour where he sang, performed Othello in Shakespeare’s play in Stratford England, wrote his autobiography Here I Stand and campaigned against neo-colonialism. In a 1960 Australian ABC interview Robeson eloquently laid out his thoughts on the freedom struggle:



In 1961, Robeson began another world tour and let it be known that he would go to the Soviet Union, then to Africa and finally to Cuba where he was scheduled to meet with Fidel Castro and Che Guevara putting into jeopardy Dulles’ plans for a Cuban invasion. After this, Robeson intended to return to America to lead the Civil Rights movement that he had, in large measure began. Sadly, Robeson made it no further than Moscow. Dulles’ invasion of Cuba occurred three weeks later.

MK Ultra and the Deconstruction of Robeson

Much has been written on the topic of Robeson’s victimization under MK Ultra. The most pioneering work having been done by his son Paul Robeson Jr. who spent over 30 years investigating the matter. In short, Robeson had found himself at a surprise party in a Moscow hotel hosted by CIA-funded Soviet dissidents. According to reports, Robeson fell into a paranoid hysteria, hallucinating and locking himself in a room where he tried to commit suicide.

He was quickly sent to London’s Priori hospital where he was put through 54 electro shock therapy sessions and huge doses of psycho-active drugs. Robeson’s son proved that three doctors performing these “treatments” were CIA contractors while MI5 operatives oversaw the entire process. Robeson Jr. wrote that his father was “subjected to mind de-patterning under MK Ultra”.

It took two years for Robeson’s family and friends to get him out of Priori and into a German clinic before returning him home in August 1963 where doctors were shocked to discover the scale of drugs and electro shock he suffered in London.

Although he recorded a handful of messages in support of the Civil Rights movement after 1963, which had thankfully found competent leadership under Martin Luther King Jr., Robeson never recovered, living as a recluse and passing away at 77 years of age in 1976.

Today, as America is again forced to decide whether it wishes to go down the road of fascism and self-annihilation or renew its proper heritage as a defender of liberty, it is worth listening to the wise words of Robeson who gave his last recorded speech in January 1961:

“Despite common suffering, an even greater responsibility lies upon us to guarantee our children and all children everywhere that we shall do everything in our collective power to refrain our ‘would-be’ world dominators, our ‘would-be’ new masters of the century. They must understand that while we are uttering these very words, a new day has dawned in Africa, in Latin America, in Asia and this light awaits just beyond the horizon.”

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

[1] For anyone doubtful of Robeson’s characterization of FDR, believing the singer to be naïve, I invite them to read my previous article documenting Roosevelt’s war with Wall Street and London.

[Category: Society, Arts, Paul Robeson, Racism]

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[l] at 11/16/19 3:25am

Craig MURRAY

I find election campaigns in which the Prime Minister addresses scrubbed, smug Tory audiences, filmed by the BBC in close shot to conceal the sparsity of their numbers, deeply disturbing. I find the speeches in factories to employees even more chilling. The sullen compliance of employees, too cowed to show discontent before their bosses, should disturb any right thinking person. This may bore millennials, but back in the 1970s it was inconceivable that a politician of any stripe could address a factory floor without some robust reaction from the workforce. In those days, workers had rights, their employment was protected, and they could not be dismissed on a whim. I have no doubt that the rise of the North Korean factory style meeting in British politics relates directly to the destruction of workers’ rights. Johnson did one in a electric taxi factory a couple of days ago and it was a staple of May’s appalling campaign.

Politicians only give speeches nowadays for them to be carried on electronic media, and the camera angles are considered more thoroughly than the content by their managers. The idea of a political meeting was that a politician would hire a public hall and invite the general public to come and listen to their attempt to win their vote, and engage in discussion with people. That idea has almost died, in favour of the outright propaganda model.

To his great credit, yesterday in Dundee Jeremy Corbyn did hold a relatively open meeting at the Queens Hotel, and he was heckled by Bob Costello. As it happens I know both Jeremy and Bob and have a lot of time for both of them. Bob’s heckle was the perfectly reasonable “I’m interested in what you’re going to do about the will of the Scottish people in relation to Section 30”. Section 30 in this context is Westminster’s agreement to an Independence referendum.

Heckling is a good thing. I do not hold for a moment with the notion that politicians must be heard in a respectful silence and questions reserved to the end. I almost always start my individual talks by encouraging people to interject if they have a burning desire to disagree. This was proper democratic politics as it ought to be conducted. Half decent politicians relish hecklers – they have the microphone and the platform and ought to have no difficulty in dominating the exchange if they are any good at all.

I would add that I have fierce contempt for the “security” argument for hiding politicians from their constituents. Far too often robust disagreement is falsely portrayed as threat. Another friend of mine, Nigel Jones, was when an MP attacked in his constituency office and left with permanent injuries. Public life carries risks. I have received a number of actual death threats over the years since I quit the FCO and started campaigning (often originating in Florida, for some peculiar reason). I doubt any MP has genuinely received significantly more than I. But I still hold perfectly open public meetings. I am in the phone book and on the open electoral register. My address is in Who’s Who. I find the continued bleating by politicians about their security insufferable. I faced the same nonsense in the FCO, when I was advised at various times under the FCO “Duty of Care” not to travel around the Ferghana Valley and around Sierra Leone and Monrovia – all of which I had to do in order to do my job properly. I ignored the advice, telling the FCO that if personal safety were my goal in life, I could have been an accountant.

I am surprised that the Tories feel the need to keep Johnson almost as wrapped in cottonwool as May, because Johnson is a better campaigner. His veneer of chummy bonhommie hides his menace effectively enough to fool most people most of the time. Where he is not good is under detailed, forensic questioning and I shall be surprised if the Tories let Andrew Neil at him. The broadcaster’s decisions on participation in debates are entirely governed by the Tory agenda. The Tories calculate that a sustained campaign of vilification has damaged Jeremy Corbyn to the extent the public will not listen to him, so the Tories are happy to debate Corbyn. They are determined to stop Sturgeon from interacting with Johnson, as she is an excellent debater. The Lib Dems are a major threat to Tory seats, which is why they want to keep Swinson as marginal as possible, although she is not a threat in debate.

By standing down candidates in 300 odd Tory constituencies, Nigel Farage drastically reduced the amount of time the broadcasters will give the Brexit Party. That is so fundamental, I simply do not believe it was done without a hidden Farage/Johnson understanding. The current “spat” between them over other candidates standing down is simply window dressing.

This is a fascinating campaign. I have not undertaken any quantitative analysis, but I have never before in a UK general election felt that, once a campaign was actually under way and the broadcasting rules in force, BBC bias continued quite as blatantly as it does at this moment. It is still my prediction that Cummings’ strategy means that vote spread will heavily disadvantage the Tories under FPTP and they will not get a majority. If they do, that can only hasten Scottish Independence and I will not personally suffer it for too long. But I feel very worried for the millions who would live under boot of the 1% in the conditions of deregulation a Tory victory would unleash.

craigmurray.org.uk

[Category: Editor's Choice, Boris Johnson, Brexit, Elections, Nigel Farage, United Kingdom]

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[l] at 11/16/19 2:55am

If the only people you listen to are TV talking heads or government spokesmen in Kiev, you’d think that rebel-held provinces in eastern Ukraine are groaning under the yoke of Russian oppression – occupied, ripped off, and tortured at every turn.

After all, it was only four years ago that then-Vice President Joe Biden told the Ukrainian Rada, or parliament, that “Russia continues to send its thugs, its troops, its mercenaries across the border” and that “Russian tanks and missiles still fill the Donbas.” Russian-backed rebels “deny humanitarian aid,” he said, they “keep out organizations like Doctors Without Borders,” and they steal “lifesaving medicine to sell on the black market. That’s not a future. That’s not a future I believe any Ukrainian wants for their children.”

So Biden said, but it’s not what people who live in such areas report. Not only do they not blame Russia for their woes, but they consider themselves lucky to live in rebel-held territory, far away from the incompetents and fascist sympathizers who are making a mess of things up elsewhere in the country.

This is not Kremlin propaganda. Rather, it’s the findings of a new poll conducted by New Image Marketing, a private research firm in Kharkiv, some three hundred miles east of Kiev, and Dzerkalo Tyzhnia (Weekly Mirror), a nonpartisan Ukrainian and Russian-language broadsheet that the BBC has described as “Ukraine’s most influential analytical weekly” and one “widely read by the Ukrainian elite.”

The survey, based on face-to-face interviews with more than 1,600 people in rebel-held portions of Donetsk and Luhansk provinces, found that 76 percent view the conflict as a civil war rather than a Russian invasion and that 86 percent believe that it was not the Kremlin that started it. Roughly the same percentage defend Russia’s 2014 takeover of the nearby Crimea as an effort to “legally defend Russian-speaking citizens alienated by Ukraine.”

Instead of Russia, the three groups respondents blame, according to the Kyiv Post, are the Ukrainian government, the United States, and protesters who took part in the fascist-spearheaded 2014 coup d’état that toppled Viktor Yanukovych, the legally-elected president, and brought in a replacement regime hand-picked by Washington. Asked who should pay for the cost of rebuilding, 64 percent said it should be the Ukraine, but that reconstruction should take place under local control.

Finally, only five percent said they would consider moving to Kiev-controlled areas, mainly because they think economic conditions there are stagnant or worse. (Per-capita income in the Ukraine has fallen by better than 25 percent since the February 2014 coup according to the World Bank.) The two people they said they most respect are Vladimir Putin and Russian TV personality Vladimir Solovyov, a Putin supporter who has denounced Kiev as a “Nazi regime.”

This is not what the corporate media want us to believe or, for that matter, Democrats like Biden or Adam Schiff, the neoconservative in charge of impeachment in the House, who was an early voice in favor of lethal military aid for anti-Russian forces. No less hawkish, Biden pushed for lethal aid as well and strongly championed Petro Poroshenko when he took over as president two months after Yanukovych fled the country, but who recently suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Volodymyr Zelensky.

Biden, of course, is fiercely anti-Trump and has attacked for, among other things, his remark that there “were very fine people on both sides” of a fatal clash between leftists and white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017. Such words “shocked the conscience of this nation,” Biden said in a campaign video, because they imply “a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it.”

Quite right. But it begs the question of why Biden didn’t speak up when the same forces were rampaging through Kiev. After all, Oleh Tyahnybok, a leader of the anti-Yanukovych protests, is notorious for railing against the “Moscow-Jewish mafia” allegedly squeezing the Ukraine dry and for leading torchlight parades in honor of Ukrainian nationalist Stepan Bandera, a Nazi collaborator whose forces killed thousands of Poles and Jews during World War II. Tyahnybok’s followers and other neo-fascists hoisted Nazi SS insignias and white-power signs and for good measure hung a Confederate flag inside Kiev’s occupied town hall.

So why didn’t Biden denounce them the same way he denounced ultra-rightists in Charlottesville? Why, in fact, did he praise as “peaceful patriots” reigniting a “flame of hope”?

“Amidst fire and ice, snipers on rooftops,” he said in his December 2015 speech before the Rada, “the Heavenly Hundred paid the ultimate price of patriots the world over. Their blood and courage delivering to the Ukrainian people a second chance for freedom.

So why blame Trump for saying nice things about ultra-rightists in Charlottesville while dishing out even more extravagant praise for neo-fascists in Kiev? If it’s wrong to attack Jews and blacks in one locale, why is it permissible to attack Jews and Muscovites in another? Trump is currently going through the fires of hell for temporarily withholding $391 million in military aid for the Ukraine’s fascist-tinged government. But his real crime was not holding the money up, but relenting and eventually allowing it to go through.

If don’t believe it, ask people in Donetsk and Luhansk who are on the receiving end of US-supplied bullets and Javelin missiles. They’ll give you an earful about what Ukrainian government forces they call “Naziki,” or little Nazis, are doing. And it won’t be what the parade of State Department witnesses are saying in the impeachment hearings on CNN or MSNBC.

[Category: Americas, World, Charlottesville, Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Nazism, Ukraine]

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[l] at 11/15/19 4:25am

Boris Johnson has declared that Britain can have a “super Canada-plus” free trade agreement with the EU and achieve that by the end of 2020 and that “there is no need” for political alignment. That’s wrong – it’s not realistically possible.

TruePublica

Not too many hurdles to achieve this are there eh? Leaving aside winning an election – and winning it with a good majority first, and having done so, throw in a bit of parliamentary scrutiny (and that’s gone well so far), Boris would need to convince everyone he has the ability to bend time itself.

Negotiations with countries outside of the EU are not supposed to be started until Britain has formally left the EU. And only then, can negotiations formally start. It should be noted that it took the Canadians seven years of intense meetings to get their deal done – and importantly, it is emphatically worse than the deal we currently have under the umbrella of the EU.

So, if Canada is the benchmark deal to be looked up to, which Boris says it should be – it’s only a small inconvenience to know that it is worse than our current arrangement – by a long, long way. To make it sound a bit better a few months ago, the swashbuckling Brexiteers took it from the ‘Canada deal’ to – ‘Canada Plus’ but that idea was trashed by economic experts and so now its called ‘Super Canada Plus.’ In a few months, Boris will be referring to it as the Super-Duper-Spiffngly-Excellent-Canada-Plus-Plus’ deal – but the reality is that this is little more than an economic cul-de-sac going towards the dead-end of nowhere in particular.

Let’s take a small point. The current Canada deal with the EU has almost no provision for the financial and services industries – the largest industry Britain has to offer. Another small problem – there are the customs checks Boris keeps promising will never happen – but will.

There is another issue that the arch Brexiteers keep brushing under the carpet. Regulatory alignment. It’s all boring and complicated I know but it is important to understand that if Britain is to do a deal with the EU it must adhere to their regulations – not the other way around. The only way to agree a deal with Canada and the EU is to restrict the goods we currently send to the EU as our own standards will have fallen to meet that of Canada’s or America’s and so on.

The political declaration defines the type of future relationship with the EU and is designed to make it unambiguous. It says:

Given the Union and the United Kingdom’s geographic proximity and economic interdependence, the future relationship must ensure open and fair competition, encompassing robust commitments to ensure a level playing field. The precise nature of commitments should be commensurate with the scope and depth of the future relationship and the economic connectedness of the Parties. These commitments should prevent distortions of trade and unfair competitive advantages. (Paragraph 77).

What this means, in essence, is that Britain needs to toe-the-line with the EU on regulatory alignment – and if Boris doesn’t then the only free trade agreement he can get will be disadvantageous to Britain. Of course.

And here is another important small detail. Boris Johnson knows all of this because he is laying claim to the fact that the current deal that has been negotiated has his signature on it. He owns it. And yet, he is saying something different to the deal that has been done. Either he’s lying (again) or doesn’t understand the deal he’s done – in which case, he should be in charge of it.

This is the problem with Brexit. It’s not just a dichotomy – it’s a political Catch22. We can’t win. Throw the dice as many times as you like – the numbers don’t fall in Britain’s favour.

Look at the words highlighted in that paragraph again. He can’t get the same deal that Canada has – because of what was built into the deal, the “geographic proximity and economic interdependence”. In other words, we’re next door, not 4,000 miles away and we have ties to each other that if broken would cause immense economic damage.

Talking of Canada – these are the opening words of Boris Johnson’s new stable mate Nigel Farage in a document published January 2016 on the EU –  “Leaving the EU will have significant geopolitical and economic consequences. But we believe it is unrealistic to expect a clean break, immediately unravelling forty years of integration in a single step.” At the time, Farage was promoting a separation project from the EU taking two decades and then a second referendum to approve his recommendation of a Norway plus deal. How the wind blows!

It was Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, in 1538 who wrote to Thomas Cromwell, and coined the term “a man can not have his cake and eat his cake.” Ironically, Cromwell was an English lawyer and statesman who served as chief minister an advisor to King Henry VIII of England from 1532 to 1540. It was he who advised on new powers for the king, referred to today as “Henry VIII Powers’. These are the same executive powers Boris Johnson has given himself in the current Withdrawal Agreement Bill.

As a side note and not particularly relevant right now – the advisor was beheaded.

Britain cannot simultaneously have the benefits of the EU cake as it does right now and eat it without being one of its bakers. If that were possible, what would be the point of the EU as a union of trading countries? There is no such thing as a ‘super Canada Plus’ deal because it’s not super, nor will it ever be. It’s a bit like producing a packet of crisps and telling everyone it’s as nutritious as a tuna, avocado and quinoa salad. It just isn’t.

truepublica.org.uk

[Category: Editor's Choice, Boris Johnson, Brexit, United Kingdom]

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[l] at 11/15/19 4:20am

Poor, naive Evo Morales. Instead of seeking secure refuge in a sovereign friendly country, he must be languishing now in the catacombs of Mexico City, where his tormentors are making sure that he will remain isolated and is never allowed to attempt a comeback. They are a wicked lot, but also undeniably sharp learners. They will use every tool at their disposal to make sure Morales does not spring on them a nasty surprise, as Lula just did.

The contours of the racist, anti-democratic coup in Bolivia are progressively coming into view. A few elements in particular need to be stressed.

First of all, it is the absolute amorality (not mere immorality, because there is a difference; immoralists are by comparison fairly decent people) of the empire’s playbook. Any instrument

will do that achieves the empire’s sordid purposes. In the Ukraine it may be the neo-nazi Azov battalion, in Syria head-chopping ISIS. In Bolivia, corrupt public officials and fascist militia heavily tinged with generational remnants of World War II Croatian Ustashi Axis collaborators are just fine too. As if to illustrate the point, the clownish emperor himself averred just a few days ago that “When I meet with the leaders of countries as they come in — kings and queens and prime ministers and presidents and dictators, I meet ’em all … Anybody wants to come in. Dictators? It’s OK. Come on in.” As soon as the junta in Bolivia gets its act together, look for another dictator, “our son of a bitch,” arriving for a visit from La Paz.

For a glimpse of the ideological inspiration behind the coup, it suffices to advert to its principal civilian protagonists, such as the Santa Cruz Youth Union, at one time led by oligarch Luis Fernando Camacho, who also happens to be the éminence grise behind the overthrow of Morales and his government. Their salutes tell the story. Even their imperial sponsors were compelled, in a diplomatic cable, to refer to these useful but unsavory pawns in somewhat uncomplimentary terms:

Among all the usual suspects involved in the Bolivian coup there is also a certain third-generation Ustashi gentleman by the name of Branko Marinkovic, who just happens to be a wealthy landowner and unsurprisingly a backer of right-wing causes. Marinkovic must be a squalid character because he got a bad review even from Stratfor, which is actually suspected of working for the same bosses as he. Around fifteen years ago, Marinkovic was using his wealth and influence to actively promote the Katanga-style secession of Bolivia’s mineral-rich Santa Cruz region, in alliance with transnationals eager to appropriate its natural resources.

This cast of civilian characters inexplicably were allowed to operate by the poor, naive President instead of having been shut down a long time ago. But in terms of executing the coup, they were outdone by the corrupt army and national police chiefs, who apparently profited nothing from the uplifting example shown by their Venezuelan colleagues when faced recently with similar pecuniary temptations. They avidly took the bribes and intimidated the Bolivian President into quitting.

A key point is that army commander Gen. Williams Kaliman had served as Bolivia’s military attache in Washington in 2013, prior to being elevated to his current post. It so happens (and someone should have informed the clueless President Morales) that military attaches are favorite recruitment targets. A long forgotten precedent is Gen. Humberto Delgado, Portugal’s military attache in Washington during the 1950s. Apparently turned by his hosts, who were upset at being rebuffed by Prime Minister Antonio Salazar when they offered Portugal several billion dollars  in exchange for oil-rich Angola, he was encouraged to run for president in the 1958 elections on the understanding that if he won, he would dismiss Dr. Salazar. (Oh yes, in keeping with the playbook that vote count was also denounced as fraudulent, just like the recent one in Bolivia.) Delgado tried and failed; Kaliman, on the other hand, took the cash and earned his keep. The famous example of Gen. Pinochet, who was Chile’s military attache in Washington in 1956 but in whose integrity equally clueless President Allende believed until the last minute, also readily comes to mind. The lesson: unless you are prepared to thoroughly clean the stables and staff your government with incorruptible patriots, stay away from revolutionary politics.

The third and related lesson of the Bolivian coup is that a non-servile regime – if it intends to survive – must scornfully dismiss the “democratic” discourse of its imperialist enemies and deal decisively with their fifth column and domestic foot soldiers. It has now been established, and it surfaced literally just hours after the coup, that Srdja Popovic’s infamous CANVAS/Otpor outfit on the operational level was thoroughly embedded in coup preparations. Where was Bolivia’s security service and what were they doing while the foundations of the popular government were being undermined by a determined, organized, and well-financed fringe group using sophisticated technologies of subversion? Were they watching Bugs Bunny cartoons?

Naive President Morales (and he is still President of Bolivia because he was driven out of office illegally and under duress) may have deluded himself that reducing illiteracy from 13% to 2,4%, unemployment from 9,2% to 4,1%, and extreme poverty from 38,2% to 15,2% guaranteed the stability of his government. In the end, these impressive statistics failed him. Did he think that grateful masses would rally to his defense? If, as is probable, he had never heard of the treacherous General Delgado, surely he must have heard of Che Guevara?

There is little doubt that the huddled masses, dispirited by centuries of colonial servitude, are rooting for him in their jungle hovels. But faint is the resistance that they can effectively

counterpose to the machinations of greedy and impudent scoundrels like Messrs. Camacho and Marinkovic, not to mention corrupt bullies like Gen. Kaliman.

[Category: Americas, World, Bolivia, Coup, Evo Morales, Latin America]

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[l] at 11/15/19 3:55am

Never mind obscure troll farms and byzantine cyber-hacking (we’re being ironic here), Russia needs to really raise its game for “interfering” in other nations’ politics. Like, how about President Vladimir Putin going on a national radio show in Britain and telling voters how to vote in the forthcoming election? Now that’s what you call real, in-your-face influence!

Three days after Boris Johnson’s Conservative government announced on October 28 that a snap parliamentary elections would be held on December 12, lo and behold American President Donald Trump gives a “world exclusive” interview to Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage on October 31.

Farage, who counts himself a personal friend of Trump, hosts a nationwide radio talk-show. For nearly 28 minutes, Trump fawned over Farage and repeatedly told listeners how he thought Farage and Boris Johnson were “two brilliant people”. Trump also described Johnson as “the right guy for the times.”

Don’t forget, these public and partisan endorsements of British politicians by the US president are being given while a general election in Britain is underway.

Three times during the interview, Trump urged Farage and Johnson to form an electoral pact in order to push through the long-delayed Brexit plan to leave the Europe Union.

“I’d like to see you and Boris get together cos you would really have some numbers [of votes]… I think it would be a great thing… an unstoppable force,” Trump opined to Farage’s radio listeners.

It was also an opportunity for the American president to explicitly tell the British people to not vote for Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

“Corbyn would be so bad for your country,” said Trump menacingly. “He’d be so bad. He’d take you in such a bad way. He’d take you to such bad places.”

Prime Minister Johnson has previously rebuffed the idea of forming an alliance between the Conservatives and Farage’s Brexit Party, even though both are ardent advocates of Brexit and share a similar nationalistic, neoliberal capitalist view. The two parties are in competition for the same constituency of voters. But more centrist Conservatives tend to see Farage’s party as too rightwing and toxic.

For his part, arch Euro-skeptic Nigel Farage had vowed that his Brexit candidates would fight in every parliamentary constituency – nearly 600 – across Britain in order to push their “clean-break Brexit” agenda. Farage was highly critical of the Tories (Conservatives) under former premier Theresa May for selling-out the 2016 referendum vote to leave the EU. By standing in the forthcoming election, Farage said the Brexit Party would give voters the chance to voice their demand to get “Brexit done”.

This week saw a spectacular U-turn by Farage when he declared that the Brexit Party would not be standing in any areas – some 317 seats – held by Conservative parliamentarians. Tory leader Johnson welcomed that announcement as it would ensure no losses for his parliamentarians.

Farage, however, said his party will contest the 243 seats held by Labour. The objective is to try to steal votes from Labour supporters who are pro-Brexit and to keep the leftwing Corbyn out of power.

So, what we have here is a de facto electoral pact between the Conservatives and Brexit Party – just as President Trump had urged in the national broadcast nearly two weeks ago.

The intervention this week prompted Labour’s Corbyn to denounce what he said was a “Trump-Farage-Johnson alliance”. He also said such an alliance is designed to take British politics in a “hard-right nasty” direction of neoliberalism “on steroids” which will be bad news for workers’ rights, the National Health Service and other public services.

As if that American full-frontal interference in British democracy was not brazen enough, this week also saw Hillary Clinton plunging her oar into the electoral waters. The former Democratic presidential candidate who lost to Trump in 2016 was in Britain promoting a new book. She gave interviews to the BBC state-owned broadcaster and to the Guardian newspaper in which she peddled her nonsense about alleged Russian interference in US elections and Western democracies more generally. You could hardly make the irony of this up.

Clinton used both interviews to accuse Johnson’s government of covering up Russian interference in British politics. This contorted speculation was based on Downing Street delaying the publishing of a parliamentary report into allegations of Russian influence in the 2016 Brexit referendum and in the previous 2017 parliamentary elections. Johnson’s government has cited procedural issues for the delay and said the report will be released after the elections on December 12.

To the BBC, Clinton said it was “shameful” of the British government to not publish the report sooner. “Because there is no doubt – we know it in our country, we have seen it in Europe, we have seen it here – that Russia in particular is determined to try to shape the politics of Western democracies… I find it inexplicable that your government will not release a government report about Russian influence. Inexplicable and shameful.”

Thus, here we have Hillary Clinton pre-empting a secret report by telling Britons that Russia is interfering in their political sovereignty – unlike her or Donald Trump who has single-handedly shaped the electoral landscape of British parties with his proposed Johnson-Farage alliance.

By the way, the most likely explanation for why Johnson is not rushing to publish the said intelligence report is because there is no simply evidence that Russia did interfere in Britain’s politics. Sources close to the report have already told media there is “no smoking gun”. Which corroborates what Moscow has been saying all along; that it was not running any malicious influence campaigns in Britain (or the US and elsewhere in Europe.)

And let’s take the egregious US interference in foreign politics up yet another notch. How about Washington’s sponsorship of violent streets protests in Bolivia to foment a coup against the elected President Evo Morales which Trump this week called, with Orwellian double-think, a “great moment for democracy”?

The absurd hypocrisy of American politicians is only matched by the absurd hypocrisy of Western media which “report” naked and nefarious interference by Washington as if it is normal, benign and acceptable.

[Category: Americas, World, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Interventionism, Russia, Russiagate]

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[l] at 11/15/19 3:25am

Caitlin JOHNSTONE

I just keep tripping on how dumb this latest US-backed military coup is. It’s in Bolivia in case you’ve lost track, which would be perfectly understandable since US-backed coups have become kind of like US mass shootings — there’s so many of them they’re starting to blend into each other.

I mean, for starters the justifications for this one are so cartoonishly reachy and desperate it boggles the mind a bit. The main argument you’ll see in favor of the coup is that Evo Morales was elected after Bolivia’s high court ruled that he could run for a fourth term, but the (democratically elected) court ruled against a 2016 referendum on presidential term limits.

That’s it. That weird, pedantic appeal to a particular interpretation of bureaucratic technicalities is the whole entire argument in support of a literal military coup backed by the United States.

And make no mistake, that’s exactly what this was: the military ousting a government is precisely the thing that a coup is. The coup’s Christian fascist leader Luis Fernando Camacho openly tweeted that the military was actively pursuing Morales’ arrest prior to the ousted leader’s escape to Mexico, a tweet he later deleted presumably because the admission makes it much harder to call this military coup anything other than the thing that it is. The Grayzone has published an article documenting this coup’s many ties to Washington. Put it all together, and you’ve got a US-backed military coup.

Camacho has deleted the tweet Golinger links to openly admitting that the military were pursuing the arrest of ousted Bolivian president Evo Morales. Luckily it’s been archived here: https://t.co/yGjN2YEvYz https://t.co/fkn0uwFLqr

— Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) 14 ноября 2019 г.

As happens every single time the US tries to overthrow a government these days, social media is currently swarming with small, brand-new and suspicious-looking accounts, many of which are publishing the same words verbatim, all defending and supporting the coup. Some of them try to argue that Morales rigged last month’s election, but that’s totally bogus and evidence-free. Others try to claim that “the people” of Bolivia opposed Morales, strongly implying that he was universally loathed, but that claim is invalidated by the election results and the massive demonstrations against the coup.

So the only actual argument really boils down to “Well he ran for another term, and yeah he won, and yeah the democratically elected high court ruled he could run again, but a loud and violent minority of Bolivians don’t want him to be president. What choice do you have in such circumstances other than to support a literal military coup?”

Which is just so crazy. That’s how low the bar has sunk for supporting the toppling of a government today. They don’t have to claim he’s starving his own people. They don’t have to claim that he’s using chemical weapons. They don’t have to claim that he’s governing without the consent of the voting populace. Just “Yeah well some of us don’t like him and there’s some paperwork we disagree on.”

I mean really, how much lower can the bar get for when a US-backed military coup is justified? “Oh, that government needed to be toppled because the leader got a parking ticket once”? “Well the president wore white after Labor Day, and that’s a fashion atrocity”?

So the Morales-supporting line of succession has been ousted and many of his supporters in the government arrested by masked men, and now the US-approved interim president is an appalling racist and absolute dimwit who calls to mind a very low-budget Bolivian version of Sarah Palin.

Bolivian Sarah Palin is the nation’s new US-approved interim president. https://t.co/stUNRC4HK6

— Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) 14 ноября 2019 г.

It’s absolutely amazing how many people all across the political spectrum have been sucked in by this ridiculousness. How lost do you have to be to believe that this US-backed military coup is different from all the others? How many times is Charlie Brown going to run up and try to kick Lucy’s football?

That bitch is never gonna let you kick that goddamn football, Charlie Brown. And this US-backed military coup isn’t going to be any more moral, legal or beneficial than all the others.

The Bolivian opposition, @OAS_official, US government and mainstream media manufactured a phony narrative of election fraud, setting the stage for the fascist coup against @evoespueblo. I explain how it happened: pic.twitter.com/896eBBRgXG

— Dan Cohen (@dancohen3000) 13 ноября 2019 г.

medium.com

[Category: Editor's Choice]

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[l] at 11/15/19 2:55am

With Bolivia’s former President Evo Morales fleeing for his life to Mexico, the Andean country is on the brink of escalating civil strife and a potential take-over by military rulers. Reports of lawmakers belonging to Morales’ socialist party being attacked by riot police and shut out from parliament, where they still hold a majority of seats, raises fears that Bolivia is descending into the anarchy and dark past of former military dictatorships.

It seems stupendous denial to call the tumultuous events in Bolivia over the past week as anything other than a coup against democracy. But that is what Western governments and media are doing. Denying shocking reality.

With street protests by rightwing and neofascist groups mounting over the past three weeks since Morales won re-election on October 20, the military and police finally warned the president to step down. Morales did so on November 10. He said he wanted to “stop the bloodshed.” If that’s not a coup, then what is?

With incredible double-think, US President Donald Trump hailed the news of Morales’ forced resignation as a “great moment for democracy”. Trump’s celebratory remarks were echoed by other rightwing leaders across Latin America, including Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro and Columbia’s Ivan Duque, both of whom are close allies of Washington and its policy of hostility towards socialist governments in the region – a region which Washington considers its “backyard” and prerogative to intervene in at will under the aegis of the 19th century Monroe Doctrine.

In an unveiled menacing message to other Latin American governments whom Washington disapproves of, Trump said: “These events send a strong signal to the illegitimate regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua that democracy and the will of the people will always prevail. We are now one step closer to a completely democratic, prosperous, and free Western hemisphere.”

To the list of Trump’s “illegitimate regimes”, we can add Cuba and the recently elected leftwing administration in Argentina, where Washington’s pro-business ally Mauricio Macri was voted out of office last month.

In many ways what happened in Bolivia was a repeat of Washington’s attempted regime-change operation in Venezuela carried out at the start of this year. An elected leader is smeared by an intensive media campaign as “illegitimate”, “authoritarian” and “undemocratic”. Then follows a campaign of orchestrated street violence to destabilize the targeted country. As usual, the people pulling the strings are connected to US government funding, such as USAID, and to Washington so-called “think-tanks”. In Venezuela’s case, the military remained loyal to the constitution and incumbent President Nicolas Maduro. Hence, US subversion of the oil-rich country seems to have failed. Not so Bolivia. Its military and attachés in Washington appear to have been successfully turned to serve US interests.

At stake are Bolivia’s prodigious natural resources of gas energy and minerals, in particular lithium. President Morales transformed the economy during 14 years of successive administrations to dramatically reduce poverty and increase living standards, especially for the indigenous majority who were previously marginalized by a ruling class descended from Spanish colonialists.

Morales became a hate-figure for the oligarchs and their business patrons in Washington. His nationalization of the energy industry and his growing trade and investment ties with China and Russia made him a target for regime change for Washington and the multi-millionaires in Bolivia who despised his socialist policies and elevation of indigenous people’s rights.

Admittedly, Morales caused controversy when he sought a fourth term as president, thus breaching constitutional term limits. But despite Western media claims and that of the Washington-funded Organization of American States (OAS), it seems Morales decisively won a free and fair election held last month. He won by a margin of 10 per cent ahead of his nearest rival.

We can debate the probity of Morales’ extended would-be fourth term, but what seems quite clear and unacceptable is the systematic US-fomented campaign to throw Bolivia into violent chaos and grossly interfere in the country’s democratic process. The irony of Washington complaining about alleged Russian interference in its elections is amplified by the blatant way the US has trashed the sovereignty of Bolivia to instal a militaristic, pro-oligarchic regime whom it desires for its geopolitical and economic objectives.

Amazingly, or perhaps not, the Western media have reacted to the sinister events in Bolivia with an attempt to whitewash and justify what is an egregious subversion.

A New York Times headline this week stated: “Bolivia’s Interim Leader Pledges to ‘Reconstruct Democracy’”. This is a reference to a pro-Washington opposition figure who has appointed a new cabinet.

The Washington Post in an editorial declared: “Bolivia is in danger of slipping into anarchy. It’s Evo Morales’ fault.

A curious distraction opinion piece by Leonid Bershidsky for Bloomberg made the convoluted analogy between Bolivia and Russia, contending that the Russian people and its military will eventually turn against President Vladimir Putin because of his allegedly similar “arbitrary rule.”

It is disgraceful that Western media should seek to cover-up what has happened in Bolivia. By denying that a coup took place, these media are complicit in giving Washington a license to attack or subvert other nations for regime change. Where is international law? Where is respect for sovereignty? Where is respect for democratic rights, peace and security? This is a green light of creeping fascism.

Here’s the crowning irony for Trump and the American corporate media. They can’t, or won’t, acknowledge illegal regime change and coups in Bolivia, Ukraine, Venezuela, Syria or elsewhere. Because the very same process of subversion is underway in the US itself against an elected president there.

[Category: Americas, Editorial, World, Bolivia, Coup, Evo Morales]

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[l] at 11/14/19 6:32am

Vijay PRASHAD

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales was overthrown in a military coup on November 10. He is now in Mexico. Before he left office, Morales had been involved in a long project to bring economic and social democracy to his long-exploited country. It is important to recall that Bolivia has suffered a series of coups, often conducted by the military and the oligarchy on behalf of transnational mining companies. Initially, these were tin firms, but tin is no longer the main target in Bolivia. The main target is its massive deposits of lithium, crucial for the electric car.

Over the past 13 years, Morales has tried to build a different relationship between his country and its resources. He has not wanted the resources to benefit the transnational mining firms, but rather to benefit his own population. Part of that promise was met as Bolivia’s poverty rate has declined, and as Bolivia’s population was able to improve its social indicators. Nationalization of resources combined with the use of its income to fund social development has played a role. The attitude of the Morales government toward the transnational firms produced a harsh response from them, many of them taking Bolivia to court.

“The idea that there might be a new social compact for the lithium was unacceptable to the main transnational mining companies.”

Over the course of the past few years, Bolivia has struggled to raise investment to develop the lithium reserves in a way that brings the wealth back into the country for its people. Morales’ Vice President Álvaro García Linera had said that lithium is the “fuel that will feed the world.” Bolivia was unable to make deals with Western transnational firms; it decided to partner with Chinese firms. This made the Morales government vulnerable. It had walked into the new Cold War between the West and China. The coup against Morales cannot be understood without a glance at this clash.

Clash With the Transnational Firms

When Evo Morales and the Movement for Socialism took power in 2006, the government immediately sought to undo decades of theft by transnational mining firms. Morales’ government seized several of the mining operations of the most powerful firms, such as Glencore, Jindal Steel & Power, Anglo-Argentine Pan American Energy, and South American Silver (now TriMetals Mining). It sent a message that business as usual was not going to continue.

Nonetheless, these large firms continued their operations—based on older contracts—in some areas of the country. For example, the Canadian transnational firm South American Silver had created a company in 2003—before Morales came to power—to mine the Malku Khota for silver and indium (a rare earth metal used in flat-screen televisions). South American Silver then began to extend its reach into its concessions. The land that it claimed was inhabited by indigenous Bolivians, who argued that the company was destroying its sacred spaces as well as promoting an atmosphere of violence.

On August 1, 2012, the Morales government—by Supreme Decree no. 1308—annulled the contract with South American Silver (TriMetals Mining), which then sought international arbitration and compensation. Canada’s government of Justin Trudeau—as part of a broader push on behalf of Canadian mining companies in South America—put an immense amount of pressure on Bolivia. In August 2019, TriMetals struck a deal with the Bolivian government for $25.8 million, about a tenth of what it had earlier demanded as compensation.

Jindal Steel, an Indian transnational corporation, had an old contract to mine iron ore from Bolivia’s El Mutún, a contract that was put on hold by the Morales government in 2007. In July 2012, Jindal Steel terminated the contract and sought international arbitration and compensation for its investment. In 2014, it won $22.5 million from Bolivia in a ruling from Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce. For another case against Bolivia, Jindal Steel demanded $100 million in compensation.

The Morales government seized three facilities from the Swiss-based transnational mining firm Glencore; these included a tin and zinc mine as well as two smelters. The mine’s expropriation took place after Glencore’s subsidiary clashed violently with miners.

Most aggressively, Pan American sued the Bolivian government for $1.5 billion for the expropriation of the Anglo-Argentinian company’s stake in natural gas producer Chaco by the state. Bolivia settled for $357 million in 2014.

The scale of these payouts is enormous. It was estimated in 2014 that the public and private payments made for nationalization of these key sectors amounted to at least $1.9 billion (Bolivia’s GDP was at that time $28 billion).

In 2014, even the Financial Times agreed that Morales’ strategy was not entirely inappropriate. “Proof of the success of Morales’s economic model is that since coming to power he has tripled the size of the economy while ramping up record foreign reserves.”

Lithium

Bolivia’s key reserves are in lithium, which is essential for the electric car. Bolivia claims to have 70 percent of the world’s lithium reserves, mostly in the Salar de Uyuni salt flats. The complexity of the mining and processing has meant that Bolivia has not been able to develop the lithium industry on its own. It requires capital, and it requires expertise.

The salt flat is about 12,000 feet (3,600 meters) above sea level, and it receives high rainfall. This makes it difficult to use sun-based evaporation. Such simpler solutions are available to Chile’s Atacama Desert and in Argentina’s Hombre Muerto. More technical solutions are needed for Bolivia, which means that more investment is needed.

The nationalization policy of the Morales government and the geographical complexity of Salar de Uyuni chased away several transnational mining firms. Eramet (France), FMC (United States) and Posco (South Korea) could not make deals with Bolivia, so they now operate in Argentina.

Morales made it clear that any development of the lithium had to be done with Bolivia’s Comibol—its national mining company—and Yacimientos de Litio Bolivianos (YLB)—its national lithium company—as equal partners.

Last year, Germany’s ACI Systems agreed to a deal with Bolivia. After protests from residents in the Salar de Uyuni region, Morales canceled that deal on November 4, 2019.

Chinese firms—such as TBEA Group and China Machinery Engineering—made a deal with YLB. It was being said that China’s Tianqi Lithium Group, which operates in Argentina, was going to make a deal with YLB. Both Chinese investment and the Bolivian lithium company were experimenting with new ways to both mine the lithium and to share the profits of the lithium. The idea that there might be a new social compact for the lithium was unacceptable to the main transnational mining companies.

Tesla (United States) and Pure Energy Minerals (Canada) both showed great interest in having a direct stake in Bolivian lithium. But they could not make a deal that would take into consideration the parameters set by the Morales government. Morales himself was a direct impediment to the takeover of the lithium fields by the non-Chinese transnational firms. He had to go.

After the coup, Tesla’s stock rose astronomically.

Globetrotter via truthdig.com

[Category: Editor's Choice, Bolivia, Coup, Evo Morales]

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[l] at 11/14/19 6:19am

Ray MCGOVERN

At Wednesday’s debut of the impeachment hearings there was one issue upon which both sides of the aisle seemed to agree, and it was a comic-book caricature of reality.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff led off the proceedings with this: “In 2014, Russia invaded a United States ally, Ukraine, to reverse that nation’s embrace of the West, and to fulfill Vladimir Putin’s desire to rebuild a Russian empire…”

Five years ago, when Ukraine first came into the news, those Americans who thought Ukraine was an island in the Pacific can perhaps be forgiven. That members of the House Intelligence Committee don’t know — or pretend not to know — more accurate information about Ukraine is a scandal, and a consequential one.

As Professor Stephen Cohen has warned, if the impeachment process does not deal in objective fact, already high tensions with Russia are likely to become even more dangerous.

So here is a kind of primer for those who might be interested in some Ukraine history:

  • Late 1700s: Catherine the Great consolidated her rule; established Russia’s first and only warm-water naval base in Crimea.
  • In 1919, after the Bolshevik Revolution, Moscow defeated resistance in Ukraine and the country becomes one of 15 Republics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).

     

  • In 1954, after Stalin’s death the year before, Nikita Khrushchev, a Ukrainian, assumed power. Pandering to Ukrainian supporters, he unilaterally decreed that henceforth Crimea would be part of the Ukrainian SSR, not the Russian SSR. Since all 15 Republics of the USSR were under tight rule from Moscow, the switch was a distinction without much of a difference — until later, when the USSR fell apart..
  • Nov. 1989: Berlin wall down.
  • Dec. 2-3, 1989: President George H. W. Bush invites Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to summit talks in Malta; reassures him “the U.S. will not take advantage” of Soviet troubles in Eastern Europe. Bush had already been pushing the idea of a Europe whole and free, from Portugal to Vladivostok.

A Consequential Quid Pro Quo

  • Feb. 7-10, 1990: Secretary of State James Baker negotiates a quid pro quo; Soviet acceptance of the bitter pill of a reunited Germany (inside NATO), in return for an oral U.S. promise not to enlarge NATO “one inch more” to the East.
  • Dec. 1991: the USSR falls apart. Suddenly it does matter that Khrushchev gave Crimea to the Ukrainian SSR; Moscow and Kyiv work out long-term arrangements for the Soviet navy to use the naval base at Sevastopol.
  • The quid pro quo began to unravel in October 1996 during the last weeks of President Bill Clinton’s campaign when he said he would welcome Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic into NATO — the earlier promise to Moscow notwithstanding. Former U.S. Ambassador to the USSR Jack Matlock, who took part in both the Bush-Gorbachev early-December 1989 summit in Malta and the Baker-Gorbachev discussions in early February 1990, has said, “The language used was absolute, including no ‘taking advantage’ by the U.S. … I don’t see how anybody could view the subsequent expansion of NATO as anything but ‘taking advantage,’ particularly since, by then, Russia was hardly a credible threat.” (From 16 members in 1990, NATO has grown to 29 member states — the additional 13 all lie east of Germany.)
  • Feb. 1, 2008: Amid rumors of NATO planning to offer membership to Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warns U.S. Ambassador William Burns that “Nyet Means Nyet.” Russia will react strongly to any move to bring Ukraine or Georgia into NATO. Thanks to WikiLeaks, we have Burns’s original cable from embassy in Moscow.
  • April 3, 2008: Included in Final Declaration from NATO summit in Bucharest: “NATO welcomes Ukraine’s and Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations for membership in NATO. We agreed today that these countries will become members of NATO.”
  • Early September 2013: Putin helps Obama resist neocon demands to do “shock and awe” on Syria; Russians persuade President Bashar al-Assad to give up Syrian army chemical weapons for destruction on a U.S. ship outfitted for chemical weapons destruction. Neocons are outraged over failing to mousetrap Obama into attacking Syria.

Meanwhile in Ukraine



  • Dec. 2013: In a speech to the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland says: “The United States has supported Ukraine’s European aspirations. … We have invested over $5 billion to assist Ukraine in these and other goals that will ensure a secure and prosperous and democratic Ukraine.”
  • Feb. 4, 2014: Amid rioting on the Maidan in Kiev, YouTube carries Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland’s last minute instructions to U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt regarding the U.S. pick for new Ukrainian prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk (aka “Yats”) and other plans for the imminent coup d’etat in Kiev.  (See: ) When Pyatt expresses concern about EU misgivings about mounting a coup, Nuland says “Fuck the EU.” She then apologizes to the EU a day or two later — for the profanity, not for the coup. She also says that Vice President Joe Biden will help “glue this thing together”, meaning the coup.
  • Feb. 22, 2014: Coup d’etat in Kyiv; appropriately labeled “the most blatant coup in history” by George Friedman, then President of the widely respected think-tank STRATFOR.
  • Feb. 23, 2014: The date that NATO, Western diplomats, and the corporate media have chosen – disingenuously – as the beginning of recent European history, with silence about the coup orchestrated in Kyiv the day before. President Vladimir Putin returns to Moscow from the winter olympics in Sochi; confers with advisers about Crimea, deciding — unlike Khrushchev in 1954 — to arrange a plebiscite to let the people of Crimea, most of whom strongly opposed the coup regime, decide their own future.
  • March 16, 2014: The official result from the voters in Crimea voted overwhelmingly for independence from Ukraine and to join Russia. Following the referendum, Crimea declared independence from Ukraine and asked to join the Russian Federation. On March 18, the Russian Federal Assembly ratified the incorporation of Crimea into Russia.
  • In the following days, Putin made it immediately (and publicly) clear that Yatsenyuk’s early statement about Ukraine joining NATO and – even more important – the U.S./NATO plans to deploy ABM systems around Russia’s western periphery and in the Black Sea, were the prime motivating forces behind the post-referendum re-incorporation of Crimea into Russia.
  • No one with rudimentary knowledge of Russian history should have been surprised that Moscow would take no chances of letting NATO grab Crimea and Russia’s only warm-water naval base. The Nuland neocons seized on the opportunity to accuse Russia of aggression and told obedient European governments to follow suit. Washington could not persuade its European allies to impose stringent sanctions on Russia, though, until the downing of Malaysian Airlines MH17 over Ukraine.

Airplane Downed; 298 Killed

  • July 17, 2014: MH 17 shot down
  • July 20, 2014: Secretary of State John Kerry told NBC’s David Gregory, “We picked up the imagery of this launch. We know the trajectory. We know where it came from. We know the timing. And it was exactly at the time that this aircraft disappeared from the radar.” The U.S., however, has not shared any evidence of this.
  • Given the way U.S. intelligence collectors had been focused, laser-like, on that part of the Ukrainian-Russian border at that time, it is a near certainty that the U.S. has highly relevant intelligence regarding what actually happened and who was most likely responsible. If that intelligence supported the accusations made by Kerry, it would almost certainly have been publicized.
  • Less than two weeks after the shoot-down, the Europeans were persuaded to impose sanctions that hurt their own businesses and economies about as much as they hurt Russia’s – and far more than they hurt the U.S. There is no sign that, in succumbing to U.S. pressure, the Europeans mustered the courage to ask for a peek at the “intelligence” Kerry bragged about on NBC TV.
  • Oct. 27, 2016: Putin speaks at the Valdai International Discussion Club.

How did the “growing trust” that Russian President Putin wrote about in his September 11, 2013New York Times op-ed evaporate?

How did what Putin called his close “working and personal relationship with President Obama” change into today’s deep distrust and saber-rattling? A short three years later after the close collaboration to resolve the Syrian problem peacefully, Putin spoke of the “feverish” state of international relations and lamented: “My personal agreements with the President of the United States have not produced results.” And things have gone downhill from there.

consortiumnews.com

[Category: Editor's Choice, Impeachment, Maidan, Ukraine, United States]

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[l] at 11/14/19 5:09am

On the 81st anniversary of “Kristallnacht,” the evening of November 9, 1938, when Nazi stormtroopers vandalized and set fire to Jewish-owned synagogues, businesses, and homes in Germany, Donald Trump chose to extend a hat-tip to “nationalism.” Proclaiming nationalism “was back into the mainstream,” Trump gave a plug to a new book by right-wing Washington, DC pundit Rich Lowry, titled “The Case for Nationalism: How It Made Us Powerful, United, and Free.” Trump called it a “very important book.” Mr. Trump, who is not known for reading any books, save for a copy of Adolf Hitler’s speeches he once kept on his bed stand, was promoting the same type of race-based neo-Nazi and white supremacist nationalism that reared its ugly head in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017.

Lowry is the editor of the “National Review” magazine, a once mainstream conservative publication that was founded in 1955 by William F. Buckley. Like other nationalists, Lowry champions the arrival of white European settlers on the American east coast, who then expanded into the “Mexican territories” and absorbed the Pacific littoral. But what of the Native American tribal peoples who had already lived in the Western Hemisphere for several millennia? Lowry discounts the Native Americans by claiming that by forcing them under the control of the United States, the tribal peoples “got political stability, democracy, the rule of law, and a prosperous economic system.” In fact, the “pioneers,” as Lowry calls them, brought nothing but misery to the Native Americans. This included smallpox, guns, whisky, venereal diseases, and forced removal from sacred ancestral lands.

The sort of fascist thinking that now appears regularly on the pages of the “National Review” has been adopted as policy by the Trump administration. All presidents since George H. W. Bush in 1990 have designated the month of November as National Native American Heritage Month. This November, Trump added another federal government observance to the month of November: “National American History and Founders Month.” This observance honors the white European settlers who introduced to the “New World” the genocide of 65 million native peoples, stretching from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego. Lowry discounts this genocide by claiming it resulted in a “stupendous boon,” as far as the United States in concerned.

Trump has done everything possible to intimidate Native Americans. He prominently displayed a painting of President Andrew Jackson in the Oval Office. Jackson was responsible for passage of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which saw the forced relocation of Native American tribes east of the Mississippi River to the Indian Territory – what is now Oklahoma. In what the Native American tribes affected called the “Trail of Tears,” thousands of members of the Cherokee, Muscogee, Seminole, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Ponca, and Ho-Chunk/Winnebago nations lost their lives. It was the invasion and occupation of the West by what Trump calls “founders” and Lowry calls “pioneers” that served as a template for Hitler’s plan to de-populate the Slavic peoples of Europe to create “lebensraum,” living space, for Germans seeking to extend the Third Reich from central Europe through Eastern Europe and Russia beyond the Urals.

Lowry’s neo-fascist tract points to the unitary nature of the Egyptian empire as an example that should be embraced by the United States. He also points to the empires of China and Japan as examples of beneficial unitary states based on their homogeneity. Lowry and his fan, Trump, fail to recognize that the Egyptians had a huge slave population. China and Japan worshiped their emperors as “god kings.” None of these empires have any place in a world of modern democratic political systems. Perhaps Lowry believes that slaves should be used to build Trump’s southern border wall with Mexico as they were used by the Egyptians to build the Pyramids. And, if Lowry is to be taken seriously, the slaves should be happy to build a wall in order to please America’s new god-king, Donald Trump.

Trump’s hostility to the Native American tribes, who Lowry believes should be thankful to their Aryan conquerors for bringing them “democracy,” “the rule of law,” and “prosperity,” stems from his low opinion of them that dates back to the time when sovereign native tribes began opening casinos on their reservations. Trump insists that his Atlantic City, New Jersey casinos went bankrupt because of competition from Indian gaming. In fact, Trump’s casinos collapsed due to Trump’s poor management skills, money laundering by organized crime syndicates, and hefty government fines as a result of Trump casinos being caught laundering mob money. Trump has all but abrogated some 368 international treaties the various Native tribal nations signed with the US federal government.

Trump’s order scaling back protected land of two Western national monuments sacred to the Native nations, Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah, opened up the land to exploitative mining and drilling companies owned by Trump political cronies. Trump’s wall with Mexico cuts in half the Tohono O’odham Nation of Arizona and Mexico. Members of the tribe are no longer be free to cross over the international border from one part of their 4,460-square mile sovereign territory to the other. The Trump Wall also adversely affects the sovereign rights of other tribal nations, including the Yuma, Apache, Yaqui, Pima, and Kickapoo.

The Native American nations were the first victims of US “nationalism” that was proclaimed by President James Monroe with his imperialistic “Monroe Doctrine” that established a US hegemon over the Western Hemisphere; Andrew Jackson with his genocidal treatment of Native Americans east of the Mississippi River; and, now, Donald Trump with his championship of white European nationalism over other ethnicities in the United States.

Trump’s glowering at Bolivian President Evo Morales during the September 26, 2018 meeting of the United Nations Security Council likely placed Bolivia’s first indigenous Aymara leader in the crosshairs of Trump and his acolytes in the US Senate, Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas. Both are the sons of right-wing Cuban immigrants to the United States. Morales, as president of the Security Council, lectured Trump on America’s past abuses. The Bolivian president cited the United States in having “financed coups d’etat and supported dictators,” and having instituted a border policy “separated migrant children from their families and put them in cages.”

On November 10, Morales received his belated response from Trump. After having fallen prey to the US owned and operated Organization of American States (OAS) that deemed Bolivia’s presidential election fraudulent. Morales had a 10-point plurality over his US- and Brazilian-backed right-wing challenger, former president Carlos Mesa.

Even though Morales agreed to a new election, he and his entire government, including Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera, Chamber of Deputies President Victor Borda, and Senate President Adriana Salvatierra, all in the line of succession to Morales, were forced to resign by the Bolivian military and national police. Without a constitutional successor to Morales, the military and national police commanders took over in a classic CIA textbook coup from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. The new de facto head of state appeared to be Bolivian armed forces commander, General Williams Kaliman.

Morales and his Movement for Socialism colleagues saw their homes attacked by mobs. The street action against Morales and the Venezuelan embassy in La Paz was led by domestic and foreign elements employed by the Central Intelligence Agency and Brazilian neo-fascist President Jair Bolsonaro’s intelligence service – “Agência Brasileira de Inteligência” – ABIN. In one case, a relative of Morales was kidnapped by right-wing mobs. The governments of Mexico, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Cuba denounced the coup against Morales. Argentina’s president-elect Alberto Fernández also condemned the coup. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the right-wing governments of Brazil and Colombia welcomed the putsch.

The right-wing putsch in Bolivia, which began with the national police taking the side of CIA-sponsored protesters, was uncannily similar to the 2010 attempted police coup against Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa. There were reports that the junta in charge of Bolivia issued warrants for the arrest of Morales and other top officials of his government. Ironically, the reported arrested warrants came a few days after Brazil’s imprisoned former leftist president, Luis Lula da Silva, a champion of the rights of Brazilians indigenous Amazon peoples, was freed from prison after being convicted on cooked up criminal charges by Brazil’s right-wing political establishment.

Native American indigenous peoples have been among the first victims of Donald Trump’s white nationalist policies, whether they are Sioux, Cherokee, Tohono O’odham, Navajo, Guatemalan Mayans being caged after requesting asylum in the United States, Alaskan Inuit coping with exploitative oil drilling companies, or Aymara in Bolivia being attacked by mobs of Bolivians of European ancestry in the wake of the coup against Morales. Nationalism, as practiced by Trump and his supporters, is not a legitimate political cause, but an excuse for harsh degradation of human and indigenous rights.

[Category: Americas, Society, World, Indians, Indigenous Peoples, Nationalism, United States]

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[l] at 11/14/19 4:56am

Propaganda is essential to the Deep State’s operation.

The Deep State is the small number of people who control the organizations that donate the majority of the funds which finance the political careers of national officials, such as Presidents, Prime Ministers, and members of the national legislature. Almost always, the members of the Deep State are the controlling stockholders in the international corporations that are headquartered in the given nation; and, therefore, the Deep State is more intensely interested in international than in purely national matters. Since most of its members derive a large portion of their wealth from abroad, they need to control their nation’s foreign policies even more than they need to control its domestic policies. Indeed, if they don’t like their nation’s domestic policies, they can simply relocate abroad. But relocating the operations of their corporations would be far more difficult and costly to them. Furthermore, a nation’s public know and care far less about the nation’s foreign than about its domestic policies; and, so, the Deep State reign virtually alone on the nation’s international issues, such as: which nations will be treated as “allies” and which nations will instead be treated as “enemies.” Such designations are virtually never determined by a nation’s public. The public just trust what the Government says about such matters, like, for example, the US regime’s standard allegation, for decades, that “Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism”, which is clearly a blatant lie.

Iran, of course, is the world’s leading Shia nation, whereas Saudi Arabia is the world’s leading Sunni nation; and the US aristocracy are bonded to the aristocracies of both Saudi Arabia and Israel, against Iran. This allegation against Iran has always been promoted by the royal family who own Saudi Arabia, the Saud family, and also by the billionaires who control Israel, as well as by the billionaires who control the US So: this allegation is by the Deep State, which controls at least these three countries: US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel.

But, as was just said, this allegation by the Deep State is false: On 9 June 2017, I headlined “All Islamic Terrorism Is Perpetrated by Fundamentalist Sunnis, Except Terrorism Against Israel” and listed 54 terrorist attacks which had been prominent in US-and-allied media during 2001-2017, and all of them except for a few that were against Israel were attacks by Sunni groups — not affiliated with Iran. Subsequently, Kent R. Kroeger’s 16 May 2019 study “Is Iran the biggest state sponsor of terrorism?” concluded that overwhelmingly the majority of terrorist attacks ever since 1994 have been by Sunni groups, but he attributed the attacks by Yemen’s Shiite Houthis against Sunni Saudi Arabia as being “terrorist” attacks, even though these were instead actually responses to the Sauds’ war against, and to eliminate, Houthis in Yemen. Also, Kroeger attributed those Houthi actions to “Iran,” which is absurd. (The Houthis simply did not like being exterminated. And the US, of course, supplied the weapons and the military planning, for this attempted ethnic cleansing operation.) There were many other methodological flaws. And yet, still, even with its methodological flaws, Kroeger, concluded: “The distorted US propagandized image of Iran’s aggression looming over the Middle East is, frankly, ‘fake news.’” This is how untrustworthy the Deep State’s ‘news’ actually is. The term “fake news” is, in fact, misleading (or itself fake news) if it is not referring to the Deep State’s propaganda. In my 27 November 2017 “How the US Came to Label Iran the Top State Sponsor of Terrorism”, I described specifically the Deep State’s operation that had created the phrase “Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism”. But this is the way the Deep State operates, routinely, on all international issues. It operates by deceit. This is how it achieves the consent of the public, whom it actually rules. This is entirely consistent with the scientific findings about the United States, that it is a dictatorship, not a democracy. All of the evidence is consistent.

The Deep State here is the US-and allied Deep State, no merely national organization. It consists mainly of America’s billionaires, plus of the billionaires in US-allied countries such as UK, France, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Israel — but many more (including, for example, in Honduras, Brazil, etc.). These people number fewer than 2,000 in total, and they do deals together, and their contacts with one-another are both direct person-to-person, and indirect by means of representatives or agents. However, America’s billionaires lead the US-and-allied Deep State. That’s to say, the leaders are among the 607 US billionaires, the people who mainly fund American national political campaigns and candidates — and these 607 individuals determine who will get an opportunity to become a US President or member of Congress, and who won’t. For example: these individuals don’t necessarily select the politician who will become America’s President, but they do select who will get the opportunity to be among the serious contenders for that position. (Basically, what the mullahs do in Iran, these super-rich do in America. Whereas in Iran the clergy rule, in America the aristocracy rule.)

One, in particular, is George Soros, and this article will detail the views of one of his many beneficiaries. Another of these billionaires is Charles Koch, but he will not be discussed here, and inside the United States he is popularly considered to be an enemy of George Soros, only because the two men oppose each other on domestic issues. (Billionaires tend to be much more concerned with, and united about, foreign affairs than about domestic affairs, though they do oppose both their taxation and their regulation — they are for ‘free markets’, both domestically and abroad, and yet they also favor imposition of economic sanctions against countries which resist becoming controlled by them, and so they don’t really favor free markets except to the extent that free markets favor their own increase in power and thus tend toward oligopoly and away from competition.) Both men are much more alike than different, and both represent what’s called “neoliberalism,” which is the universal ideology of billionaires, or at least of all billionaires who donate to (i.e., invest in) politicians. Only few billionaires don’t invest in politicians; and, though politicians disagree with one-another, almost all of them are neoliberals, because politicians who aren’t that are not funded by the Deep State (the billionaires). The foreign policies of neoliberals are called “neoconservative” and this means supporting regime-change in any country that’s labeled by billionaires and their government an “enemy” nation. So, “neoconservative” is merely an extension of “neoliberal”: it favors extending neoliberalism to other nations — it is internationally aggressive neoliberalism; it is imperialistic neoliberalism. It is fascism, but so is neoliberalism itself fascist; the difference between the two is that neoconservatism is the imperialistic extension of fascism — it is the imperialistic fascism that, in World War II, was represented by the three Axis powers — Germany, Italy, and Japan — not by the purely domestic fascism that was represented by Spain. Whereas Spain was merely neoliberal, the Axis were also neoconservative (expansionist neoliberal), and the latter is what the Allies in WW II were warring against. But now the US has emerged as the world’s leading neoconservative regime, invading and occupying country after country, none of which had ever invaded nor even threatened to invade the United States. Propaganda is necessary in order to ‘justify’ doing that. This article will describe how that’s done.

The Deep State doesn’t concern domestic issues, because virtually all of its members control international corporations, and the Deep State is almost entirely about international issues: foreign policies, diplomacy, military issues, and international spying agencies called “intelligence agencies” — extending the empire. The Deep State controls all of that, regardless of what Party is nominally in power. (The public care little about foreign policy, pay little attention to it, and believe the government when it alleges that “national security” is about protecting them, and not about expanding the power and wealth of the billionaires.)

The dictatorship of the US Deep State really is more international than national; it provides the continuity in international relations, when it chooses and defines which nations (which foreign governments) are “allies” (meaning “we sell arms to them”) and which are instead “enemies” (meaning “we should sanction them and maybe even bomb them”). Both allies and enemies are essential in order for the military-industrial-press-government complex (here: “MIPGC”) to thrive, and the Deep State controls the entire MIPGC. In other words: the Deep State is an international empire, and, as such, its supreme aspiration is to conquer (via subversion, sanctions, coups, and/or invasions) all countries that it labels as “enemies.”

The way that the Deep State views things, there is no need for an ‘enemy’ to threaten or invade the United States in order for it to be “an enemy,” but, instead, the United States and its allies possess a God-given right to impose sanctions against, or coups overthrowing, or invasions of, any country they choose, so long as they can criticize that other country for being a ‘dictatorship’, or for ‘violating human rights’, or for otherwise doing what the Deep State itself actually does more than any other government on this planet does (and particularly does it to its selected ‘enemies’ — such as were Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iran, Venezuela, and any other country that’s either friendly toward, or else an ally of, Russia, which is the other nuclear super-power, and the Deep State’s central target).

However, though those few super-wealthy individuals (in addition to the general public’s taxes) fund its operations, their many operatives are true-believing followers (believers in neoliberalism-neoconservatism), and this is the reason why the masters fund those individuals’ careers. It’s why these masters provide the platforms and personal connections and employment which enable the true-believers to advance, while opponents of the Deep State (i.e., opponents of the billionaires’ collective dictatorship) cannot find any billionaires to patronize them. In a society that has extremely concentrated wealth, this means that there will be virtual penury for opponents of the billionaires’ collective dictatorship. Especially the major politicians need patrons amongst the aristocracy, the billionaires, in order to have successful careers.

The beneficiary of the Deep State who will be exemplified, discussed, and finally quoted, here, will be Jacek Rostowski, who is also known as Jan Anthony, and as Jan Anthony Vincent-Rostowski. Wikipedia’s article on him opens:

Jan Anthony Vincent-Rostowski, also known as Jacek Rostowski (Polish pronunciation: [ˈjan ˈvint͡sɛnt rɔsˈtɔfskʲi]; born 30 April 1951, London) is a British-Polish[1] economist and politician who served as Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland.

He was a candidate for Change UK in London at the 2019 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom.[2]

It also says:

From 1995 he has been Professor of Economics and was the head of the Department of Economics at the Central European University in Budapest during the periods: 1995–2000 and 2005–2006.[9] …

Later career[edit]

Rostowski was a member of Britain’s Conservative Party. In the beginning of 2010, it was announced that two months prior[15] he has become member of the Civic Platform party (PO). In the wake of the Parliamentary Elections of 2011, he became Member of Parliament, being elected from the list of Civic Platform Party (PO).[16]

In late 2015, Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz appointed Rostowski as her top political adviser.[17]

Vincent-Rostowski has published around 40 academic papers on European enlargement, monetary policy, currency policy and the transformation of post communist economies. He is the author of academic books including Macroeconomic Instability in Post-Communist Countries published by Oxford University Press.

On November 3rd, the Ukrainian ‘news’-medium Apostrophe interviewed him, and published the interview in Ukrainian. (The interviewee isn’t fluent in Ukrainian, but the article’s translator into Ukrainian isn’t identified.) What will be posted here is an English translation of that Ukrainian original.

The English “About” page on Apostrophe’s site says:

Apostrophe started in August 2014.

The site was aimed to prepare informational and analytical materials, presentations of important events in politics, economics, society and culture. Apostrophe’s editorial policy is based on principles of impartiality, precision and veracity, velocity, objectivity and balance in the presentation of information. Apostrophe sticks to journalism ethical standards. That is why published materials should not propagate violence, cruelty, cause racial, national or religious hatred. Apostrophe is a proponent of the common humanism values, peace, democracy, social progress and human rights.

The project functions with the direct participation and use of the resources of the International Centre for Policy Studies (ICPS). Apostrophe’s idea lies within the framework of synergy between journalists and analysts.

The “About” page on the International Centre for Policy Studies (ICPS) says:

ICPS was founded in 1994 upon the initiative of the Prague-based Open Society Institute (OSI). At that moment, ICPS was the first independent think-tank in Ukraine.

The Open Society Institute was founded by George Soros. He also founded the Central European University in Budapest, where the interviewee was employed for five years.

Those are just the obvious ways in which the interviewee had been funded and advanced by Mr. Soros.

Soros also had helped to fund the overthrow of the democratically elected and internationally non-aligned President of Ukraine in 2014 and to replace him with a nazi anti-Russian regime which serves as a terrific asset for the US-and-allied Deep State, because of Ukraine’s having a 1,625-mile border with the country that the US-installed regime in Ukraine hates: Russia (hates it because the Deep State craves, above all, to control also the other nuclear super-power; so, this is hatred-on-command).

A basic presumption of that interview, both by the interviewer and by the interviewee, is the Russian Government’s being wrong in everything, and the Ukrainian Government’s — the regime which Obama (another of Soros’s beneficiaries) had installed — being right in everything. Here is this interview, as an illustrative example of how propaganda is professionally done:

——

https://apostrophe.ua

ORIGINAL OF THIS ARTICLE (in Ukrainian) (now translated here into English):

——

Apostrophe: How would you describe the current state of security in the European region?

Jan Anthony: Since 2014, military security has become a more important topic of discussion in Europe. After all, the events in Crimea and Donbass caused shock. After a long period of time, when defence issues were put on the back burner, they are now again becoming an important factor in the European security environment. Now there are serious problems requiring high priority and serious solutions. And, of course, there are other problems that relate to the same issue — the fight against terrorism, for example.

The EU and NATO work very closely together to prepare for different types of threats. Now there is a return to a potential military conflict with Russia. In addition, there is an unsustainable security situation in the south, in Africa, because of the conflict in Libya, and in the Sahara. They can also pose a terrorist threat. Therefore, the issue of European security has become more complex than it was 5-10 years ago.

“You specialize in managing military conflicts. How do you think the conflict in Ukraine can be solved?

“Conflict management and conflict resolution are different things. Now I see attempts to create a more positive context in the Donbass issue. We need to return to the Minsk agreements as a basic resolution on the conflict. As you know, discussions are under way on the so-called Steinmeier formula. Therefore, now there is an opportunity to return to the discussion of how the Minsk agreements should be implemented. There are serious questions about the sequence of points — what should be done in the first place. And there is also the question of how to confirm the parties’ compliance with their obligations, because now there is a very low level of trust among the participants. Therefore, everything that will be done, it is necessary to immediately demonstrate — behold, it is fulfilled.

How about the implementation of Minsk? Especially given that it has not worked for almost 5 years.

“As I see it, no one is discussing any alternatives now. Perhaps among the people discussing ways to implement the agreements, there are other options, but I have no idea what they can be. The Minsk agreements are still in the spotlight.

“Let’s talk about Crimea. What are the threats on the peninsula?

“With Crimea it’s a different story than with Donbass. In Crimea there are facilities that can be a base for Russian nuclear weapons, including the Russian navy, capable of carrying nuclear weapons in the Black Sea. [NOTE HERE: Obama’s takeover of Ukraine was originally aimed at taking over Russia’s naval base in Crimea and installing an even larger US naval base there, against Russia.]

“So the main threat is nuclear weapons?

“Of course, it is an extremely serious threat by its nature. Any use of it would be disastrous.

“Will the Kremlin decide to use these weapons in the near future? Or is it just a way to intimidate the West?

“The primary objective of nuclear weapons is deterrence. This is the main goal with which Russia placed it in Crimea.

“Is it possible to compare the situation with the Cuban crisis?

“I would not say that these two situations are similar. There the crisis came very, very close to escalating into an armed conflict. I don’t think we’re going to get to that level of confrontation. [NOTE HERE: Both the interviewer and the interviewee ignore that instead of the Soviet Union’s 1962 attempt to place nuclear missiles on the island of Cuba 95 miles from America’s border, the US ploy now is to place its nuclear missiles right on Russia’s 1625-mile border with Russia — the discussants’ assumption reverses the actual threat, and thus insults their readers’ — or else their own — basic intelligence.] But now it is a very dangerous situation. We need to find more stable mechanisms that cannot be developed by comparing the situation to the Cuban crisis.

“How can the Western world force Russia to take its weapons from Crimea?

“Of course, the sanctions have had an effect. I’m sure they’ll stay — I don’t see any reason to take them off. International pressure on Russia will continue. Normalization of relations with it is impossible as long as the current situation in Crimea remains. And since Russia has no intention of leaving the peninsula, we will live for a long time in difficult relations with it, including sanctions, as well as cooperation of Western countries, taking into account possible military confrontation.

“Let’s recall the attack on Ukrainian military vessels in the Kerch Strait, which occurred almost a year ago. How can we avoid the threat of further Russian attacks on Ukrainian and foreign ships?

“Ukraine has lost control of part of its navigation, as well as guaranteed access to the Sea of Azov — and this is a complex problem. This issue must therefore remain the focus of international attention. Ukraine should have access to the water area and carry out commercial operations in ports. Georgia faced the same problem — the loss of control over navigation in a certain area. A special mechanism is needed to address these issues. But I have no suggestions on what it should be.

“Russia recently blocked international waters in the Black Sea and thus blocked trade routes. How should the international community respond to such behaviour?

“We must respect the International Convention on Navigation. We must continue to conduct military exercises in the Black Sea and it is important that NATO countries participate in them. Of course, there remains a risk that Russia will also organize its exercises. I think the ships will enjoy the freedom of navigation established by the International Convention. Some issues may need to be discussed more broadly for the sake of a future long-term convention. We need to make it more relevant to modern security requirements. It is important to revise time limits on stay in the Black Sea for NATO ships. Nato’s defence and deterrence plans should also be changed. NATO must have greater access to the Black Sea and its naval forces spend more time there.

“Does the need to renegotiate international agreements on the weakness of international institutions, as well as their unpreparedness for strikes by Russia, speak?

“Many countries have entered into bilateral agreements with Russia to ensure their confidence in the use of the sea. I think such deals need to be modernized, as well as add another agreement, which spells out a mechanism for discussing maritime incidents on the basis of international organizations, for example, under the OSCE umbrella. This will avoid misunderstandings that may arise from disregard for the rules.

In the case of deliberate violations, for example, when military exercises block part of the Black Sea, other measures of influence will have to be used. And in that case, there must be a clear international response. If you look at the 2014 NATO summit at Brussels, there have been decisions that have had a very tough response in the event of any crisis. The only question is what to do to Ukraine, which is not a member of the Alliance and does not obey its decisions.

“Regarding Russian military power. During the “Grom-2019” exercises, which were held recently under the personal guidance of Vladimir Putin, the nuclear submarine cruiser K-44 “Ryazan” fired only one ballistic intercontinental missile R-29R. The other missile just didn’t come out of the mine. This is not the first time that the Russian army has failed. So the question arises, is Russia really a threat to peace, all this is just a demonstration?

“Russia can solve the problems that you have named. But no one doubts that it has an extremely powerful nuclear arsenal. Despite some problems with weapons, Russia is still very strong.

“The Kremlin has promised to develop short- and medium-range missiles and deploy them to confront the West (in fact, they already exist — Iskanders). Does this mean that now the situation in Europe is close to the state of the Cold War, when the USSR and the West deployed iCBM for mutual deterrence?

“Yes, Russia has already developed and deployed the ICBM. We don’t know if they’re all equipped with nuclear weapons. But for the balance of power, NATO must have a significant force with nuclear weapons.

There are differences with the Cold War. Then there was complete separation and no contact between East and West. And now we have significant economic cooperation. It is still possible to hold political discussions, including with the participation of intergovernmental organizations. So now the situation is not quite the same as during the Cold War. But, as I said, the security situation in Europe is very difficult and relations with Russia deteriorate. The absence of signs that this deterioration is coming to an end is worrying. There are no very effective ways to improve relations with Russia. Therefore, there are different reasons for concern.

“The Kremlin sent the S-400 division and the Panzir-S battery to Serbia to the Russian Air Defense Forces. This is, in fact, Russian military exercises near the EU. [NOTE HERE: The problem isn’t that Russia is moving too close to the EU — such as the discussants imply — but that NATO has moved right up to Russia’s borders. Again, the presumption insults readers’ — and/or their own — basic intelligence.] Is this preparation for a strike against the West?

“Serbia’s position is that they want to have good relations with both their neighbors and NATO countries, but also with Russia. Serbia is also training with NATO countries. Serbia wants a balance of power, but in the event of a conflict it will support EU membership. It is politically and economically related to Western countries. Therefore, I do not believe that such exercises are the Kremlin’s preparation for an attack on the EU.

“How would you assess the military threats to Europe in Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova?

“It is difficult to answer because these are three different countries and the situation in each of them is completely different from the other.

“Ukraine and Moldova have similar situations. Russian soldiers are still in Transnistria – the only difference is that the conflict there is frozen.

“Yes, they are there, but they do not fight like in Ukraine.

Do you believe that this frozen conflict can continue?

“Today we think it’s not very likely.

“Is Europe expecting a military strike from Russia?

“No, we don’t expect it and we don’t expect it. But we do not rule it out, we allow it in our defense plans. Preparations are under way for these attacks, which means that their probability is reduced.

“Russia invests heavily in European political parties like the French National Front or the League of the North in Italy. Is there any evidence that the Kremlin is investing in “militia” in EU countries and supplying weapons to Europe to shake up the situation. Perhaps it is funding crime to influence the situation in the EU?

“There have been many investigations into ties with the Kremlin, in particular financial ties from politicians. The EU discusses a lot of cyber threats, the possibility of attacks on infrastructure, as well as information attacks. But I have never seen the Kremlin supply weapons to non-state organizations, especially criminal groups.

“Russia has taken up the settlement of the issue in Syria. What’s going on out there now?

“Officially, Russia is helping Bashar al-Assad’s forces gain control over Syrian territory. But what is happening now is, from the Kremlin’s point of view, the formation of a single strategic space, including the Black Sea and the eastern Mediterranean. Russia has free access to the Black Sea and now the Russian Navy has gained much greater access to the waters of the eastern Mediterranean. They plan to use this strategic space for a possible confrontation with NATO forces.

“How can this affect Europe?

“It’s a very difficult question. One issue of concern is the influx of refugees and temporarily displaced persons to Turkey and Europe. On the other hand, again, Russia’s creation of a single strategic space, interference in the Mediterranean.

“Let’s go back to Ukraine. You are a nuclear safety expert. We have many nuclear power plants, can they pose a threat to the world in the event of full-scale aggression?

“Yes, this is a very big threat, first of all for Ukraine itself, then for the rest of the world. One of the Ukrainian officials stated that this is why there was a significant revision of the concept of Ukraine’s security. It includes so-called “internal threats” to nuclear equipment and the creation of national protection, will protect and defend nuclear reactors. I think that the threat to the infrastructure of the nuclear power plant in Ukraine is real. But the Ukrainian government takes this seriously and takes the necessary measures.

CLOSE:

As can be clearly seen there, the basic method of the Deep State’s propagandists is to ask questions which have assumptions that are the reverse of reality, and to answer these questions in ways that confirm those falsehoods. This is what many millions of people get paid to do. And it creates “Big Brother” or the Deep State here, just as, in 1948, George Orwell might have been thinking that it would do in 1984. And a good example of how the Deep State ‘justifies’ itself in America, is shown here.

[Category: Americas, World, Deep State, Propaganda, Terrorism, Ukraine, United States]

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[l] at 11/14/19 4:41am

The saga of pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who may or may not have committed suicide in his jail cell in August, goes on and on as cover stories and out-and-out lies continue to surface, mostly coming from the alternative media which clearly do not share the reticence of their mainstream competitors. The most recent revelation concerns ABC news, which had the goods on Epstein and his activities three years ago but refused to run the story, apparently due to pressure coming from some of those prominent individuals who were implicated in Epstein’s procuring of young girls for sex.

The tale of cowardice and cover-up goes something like this: ABC anchor Amy Robach did an interview in 2015 with Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of Epstein’s victims. Giuffre revealed that she had been forced by Epstein and his procurer Ghislaine Maxwell to have sex with numerous men, including Prince Andrew, Britain’s Duke of York. She claimed that she had had sex with the prince three times while underage. She also apparently provided photos and other documentary evidence to back up her story. The piece was set to run on ABC News but the network’s editors and senior management intervened at the last minute to stop it.

That would have ended the tale but for the fact that Robach complained to a colleague about the killing of her interview, apparently shortly after the Epstein story became nationwide news earlier this year. She did so in front a live microphone and video camera, which recorded her as she vented. A clearly frustrated Robach said “I’ve had this story for three years. I’ve had this interview with Virginia [Giuffre]. We would not put it on the air. First of all, I was told, ‘who’s Jeffrey Epstein? No one knows who that is. This is a stupid story.’ Then the Palace found out that we had her whole allegations about Prince Andrew and threatened us a million different ways.”

That recording recently surfaced at alternative media site Project Veritas, apparently having been provided by a former ABC employee. Robach’s claim that her story had been suppressed due to pressure coming from Britain’s Royal Family was emphasized in the subsequent media coverage of the recording. For what it’s worth, Prince Andrew has denied having “any form of sexual contact or relationship” with Giuffre and ABC News has said that there is “zero truth” to the claim. Buckingham Palace has responded by avoiding a response, stating that “this is a matter for ABC.”

Now it is true that the allegations about Prince Andrew would have been a huge embarrassment for Buckingham Palace, but the prince has not long been referred to in the British media as “randy Andy” for nothing, so the damage was certainly containable. And it is also apparently true that ABC News President James Goldston has something of a close relationship with Britain’s Royal Family, but somehow the story is not completely credible.

One should pay attention to the fact that Robach also said that her interview with Giuffre had included allegations regarding former US President Bill Clinton and litigious Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz. She said “I tried for three years to get it out to no avail, and now these new revelations and — I freaking had all of it. I’m so pissed right now. Like, every day I get more and more pissed, ’cause I’m just like, ‘Oh my God! It was — what we had, was unreal.’ ”

Now consider this: Robach might well believe that her story was scrubbed because of the British Royal Family, which is quite possibly what she was told by her bosses, but unless she was on the phone with a talkative butler at Buckingham Palace, how could she possibly know that that was true? The Brits are hardly so esteemed in the United States that any editor would pull a sensational story because it might be considered offensive to a Royal. If one thinks about it, it is far more likely that the story was deep sixed due to the involvement of someone dear to the hearts of every Democratic Party leaning media editor in New York City, and that would be Bill Clinton, who flew on Epstein’s Lolita Express 26 times. If there is one thing that is for sure it is that even if the House of Windsor is capable of getting back at you a million ways, you could multiply that number by ten in reckoning how lethal crossing the Clintons can be.

And there was also pressure from Dershowitz, one of Epstein’s legal advisers, who contacted ABC News in 2015 before the interview was set to be broadcast. He pressured the network to cancel the program and was able to speak to several producers and an attorney in a series of calls.

And sure enough, the cover up of the cover up started immediately after the video surfaced. Robach explained that she had been “…caught in a private moment of frustration” when the Epstein story hit the mainstream media during the summer. And she even went so far as to scold herself with what must be the line of defense being pursued by ABC Corporate’s lawyers, saying that she had been “upset that an important interview I had conducted with Virginia Roberts didn’t air because we could not obtain sufficient corroborating evidence. My comments about Prince Andrew and her allegation that she had seen Bill Clinton on Epstein’s private island were in reference to what Virginia Roberts said in that interview in 2015. I was referencing her allegation – not what ABC News had verified through our reporting. The interview itself, while I was disappointed it didn’t air, didn’t meet our standards. In the years since no one ever told me or the team to stop reporting on Jeffrey Epstein, and we have continued to aggressively pursue this important story.”

To the casual observer, Robach’s venting and her subsequent apologia sound like two different people talking and only one might be telling the truth. The reality in the national media is that some stories are just too hot to touch for political reasons, which explains why the three Clintons continue to get a pass on their own behavior and are even given platforms in the press to spew nonsense like Hillary’s recent demented attack on Tulsi Gabbard.

And then there is the Epstein story itself, which has generally speaking been made to go away. One might well ask why no one from the FBI has even questioned Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s procurer and partner in his disgusting crimes, and also likely an Israeli agent. And you can search the mainstream media in vain seeking a Fourth Estate demand for an inquiry into Epstein’s intelligence relationships. Miami federal prosecutor Alexander Acosta was told to back off the first time Epstein was arrested in Florida because there was an intelligence connection and it has now been confirmed that he worked with the Jewish state’s military intelligence as early as the 1980s. His main task was to blackmail prominent Americans on behalf of Israel. How many brain cells does it take to pursue that lead? Ask Acosta who told him that and why and then ask the same thing of whoever that turns out to be. Keep working your way up the food chain and eventually you will maybe find out the truth, or at least a version of it.

[Category: Americas, World, Bill Clinton, Epstein, Hillary Clinton, Mass Media]

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[l] at 11/13/19 2:26pm

Green movements see man as the greatest evil on the planet.

[Category: Christianity, Ecology, Greens, Religion]

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[l] at 11/13/19 5:03am

Jesse JACKSON

We just celebrated Veterans Day, paying tribute to the young men and women who have served our country. Across the country, families gathered at the gravesites of those who gave their lives. Veterans drank toasts to their fellow soldiers.

In football and basketball stadiums, crowds offered a moment of silence for the fallen. The rituals are heartfelt, but far from complete.

Too often ignored is the far greater number of lives that are lost not on the battlefield but at home, not from the enemy’s guns but from our veterans’ own hands.

Now, in the sober aftermath of the celebration, there should be a reckoning.

On an average day, a staggering 20 veterans commit suicide. The deaths from suicide outnumber the losses on the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The risk to veterans who served in combat holds true for all generations.

It doesn’t matter if the war is popular or unpopular; the veterans celebrated or controversial. Even the Greatest Generation that fought in World War II suffers current suicide rates four times that of civilians.

In a stunning essay, Matthew Hoh, an Iraqi veteran who came close to suicide himself, tries to put this in perspective.

The famous Vietnam Memorial, he writes, “is a wall that contains 58,000 names. It would have to lengthened by some 2,000 feet to include the 100,000 to 200,000 plus Vietnam vets who are estimated to have been lost to suicide, while keeping space for those yet to come. VA data reveals that almost two Afghan and Iraq veterans die by suicide each day on average. That adds to an estimated 7,300 veterans who have killed themselves since just 2009, after coming home from Afghanistan and Iraq, a number greater than the 7,012 service members killed in those wars since 2001.”

The military is aware of the depth of this horror and has dedicated a billion dollars in trying to solve it.

The New York Times reports that the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL) is incredibly active, staffed 24/7 at 800-273-8255. This service, only available since 2007, has helped stave off hundreds of thousands of potential suicides. More than 30 times a day, VCL responders call police, fire or EMS to intervene in a suicide situation.

Thirty times a day.

There are many explanations offered for why veterans — and the families of veterans — are at greater risk of suicide: the difficulty of readjusting to civilian society; the macho military culture that keeps soldiers from seeking help; the post-traumatic stress disorders that result from combat.

Hoh, wisely in my view, offers a broader explanation: that veterans suffer from a moral injury — a shock to their own sense of themselves, their basic moral values from what they have done or have not done in combat: The killing of the enemy, the failure to save the life of a comrade, the mistaken shooting of the innocent.

Thou shalt not kill is a basic precept of all religions.

In war, the state gives soldiers the mandate to kill. The military has perfected ways of conditioning young men and women to be able to kill in combat.

Yet, Hoh argues, the conditioning does not prevent some from seeing themselves in the enemy, from feeling deeply the violation that comes from violence.

There is a lesson from this.

We should reject the easy assumption that the U.S. military should police the world, that we’ve perfected ways of fighting wars with drones and air power and with limited U.S. casualties from “boots on the ground.”

The national security managers who too often have never served in the military should be far more constrained in sending our soldiers into combat.

War is hell. It is hell for those who fall in combat — and for their families and friends suffering their loss. It is hell for those who survive it — and for their families and friends dealing with their struggles on return.

Risking lives constantly in endless wars is a moral violation and strategic failure.

If we are truly to celebrate the service of our veterans, we should demand that war not be a routine part of American policy, but a last resort used rarely and only to defend our people when attacked.

The best tribute to our combat veterans would be to create fewer of them in the future.

counterpunch.org

[Category: Editor's Choice, Interventionism, United States, War]

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[l] at 11/13/19 4:50am

The political theatrics that begin Wednesday raise several questions. For starters, will Joe Biden be investigated for mounting evidence of corruption? And why is the  corporate media turning the CIA “whistleblower” into a phantom in plain sight?

Patrick LAWRENCE

Now that “Russiagate” has failed and “Ukrainegate” neatly takes its place, many questions arise. Will the Democratic Party, this time in open collusion with the intelligence apparatus, succeed in its second attempt to depose President Donald Trump in what might fairly be called a bloodless coup? Whatever the outcome of the thus-far-farcical impeachment probe, which is to be conducted publicly as of Wednesday, did the president use his office to pressure Ukraine in behalf of his own personal and political interests? Did Trump, in his fateful telephone conversation last July 25 with Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, put U.S. national security at risk, as is alleged?

All good questions. Here is another: Will Joe Biden, at present the leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, get away with what is almost certain to prove his gross corruption and gross abuse of office when he carried the Ukraine portfolio while serving as vice president under Barack Obama?

Corollary line of inquiry: Will the corporate media, The New York Times in the lead, get away with self-censoring what is now irrefutable evidence of the impeachment probe’s various frauds and corruptions? Ditto in the Biden case: Can the Times and the media that faithfully follow its lead continue to disregard accumulating circumstantial evidence of Biden’s guilt as he appears to have acted in the interest of his son Hunter while the latter sat on the board of one of Ukraine’s largest privately held natural gas producers?

Still from C-SPAN video of House of Representatives debate on Sept. 25, 2019. (Wikimedia Commons)

Innuendo & Interference 

It is not difficult to imagine that Trump presented Zelensky with his famous quid pro quo when they spoke last summer: Open an investigation into Biden père et fils and I will release $391 million in military aid and invite you to the White House. Trump seems to be no stranger to abuses of power of this sort. But the impeachment probe has swiftly run up against the same problem that sank the good ship Russiagate: It has produced no evidence. Innuendo and inference, yes. Various syllogisms, yes. But no evidence.

There is none in the transcript of the telephone exchange. Zelensky has flatly stated that there was no quid pro quo. The witnesses so far called to testify have had little to offer other than their personal opinions, even if Capitol Hill Democrats pretend these testimonies are prima facie damning. And the witnesses are to one or another degree of questionable motives: To a one, they appear to be Russophobes who favor military aid to Ukraine; to a one they are turf-conscious careerists who think they set U.S. foreign policy and resent the president for intruding upon them. It is increasingly evident that Trump’s true offense is proposing to renovate a foreign policy framework that has been more or less untouched for 75 years (and is in dire need of renovation).

Ten days ago Real Clear Investigations suggested that the “whistleblower” whose “complaint” last August set the impeachment probe in motion was in all likelihood a CIA agent named Eric Ciaramella. And who is Eric Ciaramella? It turns out he is a young but seasoned Democratic Party apparatchik conducting his spookery on American soil.

Ciaramella has previously worked with Joe Biden during the latter’s days as veep; with Susan Rice, Obama’s recklessly hawkish national security adviser; with John Brennan, a key architect of the Russiagate edifice; as well as with Alexandra Chalupa, a Ukrainian-born Democratic National Committee official charged during the 2016 campaign season with digging up dirt on none other than candidate Donald Trump.

For good measure, Paul Sperry’s perspicacious reporting in Real Clear Investigations reveals that Ciaramella conferred with the staff of Rep. Adam Schiff, the House Democrat leading the impeachment process, a month prior to filing his “complaint” to the CIA’s inspector general.

This information comes after Schiff stated on the record that the staff of the House Intelligence Committee, which he heads, had no contact with the whistleblower. Schiff has since acknowledged the Ciaramella connection.

Phantom in Plain Sight

No wonder no one in Washington will name this phantom in plain sight. The impeachment probe starts to take on a certain reek. It starts to look as if contempt for Trump takes precedence over democratic process — a dangerous priority. Sperry quotes Fred Fleitz, a former National Security Council official, thus: “Everyone knows who he is. CNN knows. The Washington Post knows. The New York Times knows. Congress knows. The White house knows…. They’re hiding him because of his political bias.”

Here we come to another question. If everyone knows the whistleblower’s identity, why have the corporate media declined to name him? There can be but one answer to this question: If Ciaramella’s identity were publicized and his professional record exposed, the Ukrainegate narrative would instantly collapse into a second-rate vaudeville act — farce by any other name, although “hoax” might do, even if Trump has made the term his own.

There is another half to this burlesque. While Schiff and his House colleagues chicken-scratch for something, anything that may justify a formal impeachment, a clear, documented record emerges of Joe Biden’s official interventions in Ukraine in behalf of Burisma Holdings, the gas company that named Hunter Biden to its board in March 2014 — a month, it is worth noting, after the U.S.–cultivated coup in Kiev.

There is no thought of scrutinizing Biden’s activities by way of an official inquiry. In its way, this, too, reflects upon the pantomime of the impeachment probe. Are there sufficient grounds to open an investigation? Emphatically there are. Two reports published last week make this plain by any reasonable measure.

‘Bursimagate’

One, the Obama administration had committed to providing Ukraine with $1 billion in loan guarantees. In a December 2015 address to the Rada, Ukraine’s legislature, V–P Biden withheld an apparently planned announcement of the credit facility.John Solomon, a singularly competent follower of Russiagate and Ukrainegate, published a report last Monday exposing Hunter Biden’s extensive contacts with the Obama State Department in the early months of 2016. Two developments were pending at the time. They lie at the heart of what we may well call “Burismagate.”

Two, coincident with Hunter Biden’s numerous conferences at the State Department, Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin, was swiftly advancing a corruption investigation into Burisma’s oligarchic owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, who was by early 2016 living in exile. Just prior to Biden’s spate of visits to Foggy Bottom, Shokin had confiscated several of Zlochevsky’s properties—a clear sign that he was closing in. Joe Biden wanted Shokin fired. He is, of course, famously on the record  boasting of his threat [starts at 52.00 in video below]to withhold the loan guarantee as a means to getting this done. Shokin was in short order dismissed, and the loan guarantee went through.



Solomon documents his report with memos he obtained via the Freedom of Information Act earlier this year. These add significantly to the picture. “Hunter Biden and his Ukrainian gas firm colleagues had multiple contacts with the Obama State Department during the 2016 election cycle,” he writes, “including one just a month before Vice President Joe Biden forced Ukraine to fire the prosecutor investigating his son’s company for corruption.”

Last Tuesday, a day after Solomon published his report, Moon of Alabama, the much-followed web publication, posted a granularly researched and well-sourced timeline of the events surrounding Shokin’s dismissal at Vice President Biden’s request. This is the most complete chronology of the Burismagate story yet available.

In an ethical judicial system, it or something like it would now sit on a prosecutor’s desk. There is no suggestion in the Moon of Alabama’s timeline that Shokin had shelved his investigation into Burisma by the time Biden exerted pressure to get him sacked, as Biden’s defenders assert. Just the opposite appears to be the true case: The timeline indicates Shokin was about to pounce. Indeed Shokin said so under oath in an Austrian court case, testifying that he was fired because of Biden’s pressure not to conduct the probe.

It is important to note that there is no conclusive evidence that Joe Biden misused his office in behalf of his son’s business interests simply because there has been no investigation. Given what is beginning to emerge, however, the need for one can no longer be in doubt. Can Democrats and the media obscure indefinitely what now amounts to very strong circumstantial evidence against Biden?

We live in a time when the corporate media make as much effort to hide information as they do to report it. But as in the case of Ciaramella’s identity, it is unlikely these myriad omissions can be sustained indefinitely — especially if Biden wins the Democratic nomination next year. Forecast: If only because of Burismagate, Joe Biden will never be president.

As everyone in Washington seems to understand, it is highly unlikely Trump will be ousted via an impeachment trial: The Republican-controlled Senate can be counted on to keep him in office. Whatever Trump got up to with Zelensky, there is little chance it will prove sufficient to drive him from office. As to the charge that Trump’s dealings with the Ukrainian president threatened national security, let us allow this old chestnut to speak for itself.

Price of Irresponsible Theatrics

This leaves us to reckon the price our troubled republic will pay for months of irresponsible theatrics that are more or less preordained to lead nowhere.

More questions. What damage will the Democrats have done when Ukrainegate draws to a close (assuming it does at some point)? What harm has come to U.S. political institutions, governing bodies, judiciary and media? The corporate press has been profligately careless of its already questionable credibility during the years of Russiagate and now Ukrainegate. Can anyone argue there is no lasting price to pay for this?

More urgently, what do the past three years of incessant efforts to unseat a president tell us about the power of unelected constituencies? The CIA is now openly operating on American soil in clear breach of its charter and U.S. law. There is absolutely no way this can be questioned. We must now contemplate the frightening similarities Russiagate and Ukrainegate share with the agency’s classic coup operations abroad: Commandeering the media, stirring discontent with the leadership, pumping up the opposition, waving false flags, incessant disinformation campaigns: Maybe it was fated that what America has been doing abroad the whole of the postwar era would eventually come home.

What, at last, must we conclude about the ability of any president (of any stripe) to effect authentic change when our administrative state — “deep,” if you like — opposes it?

consortiumnews.com

[Category: Editor's Choice, Democratic Party, Donald Trump, Impeachment, United States]

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[l] at 11/13/19 4:30am

US President Donald Trump has previously threatened to unleash a nuclear arms race against Russia and China – and “win it”. Despite the bravado, the gambit is paradoxically a sign of strategic weakness by the US in terms of not being able to match Russia’s new hypersonic weapons, and secondly, not being able to contain China’s rise to power.

It is a high-stakes, not to say reckless, venture by Trump. In trying to assert US control over Russia and China, he seems prepared to risk eroding global security and dialing down the threshold for a nuclear war.

A giveaway in the logic was Trump’s dubious claim last week that his administration was talking with both Russia and China on forming a new arms-control agreement. It seemed like a turnaround from his previous belligerent rhetoric about winning an arms race.

On November 05, Trump told reporters at the White House: “We are looking at arms control right now. We are dealing with China. We are dealing with Russia. I think they would both like to do it especially as we are talking about nuclear weapons. But we are looking at a major arms control-kind of an agreement right now with Russia and China and maybe somebody else.”

The purported talks that Trump refers to seem a figment of his imagination.

Just last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov deplored the lack of reciprocation from the Trump administration on repeated efforts by Moscow to negotiate over “strategic stability” and arms control.

Meanwhile China, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, following Trump’s comments, said it was not interested in engaging in arms-control talks with the US until Washington agrees to first reduce its much greater nuclear arsenal.

The significance of Trump’s remarks regarding his phantom talks with Moscow and Beijing is the linkage he makes between all three engaging in arms control.

This US objective of linking China with Russia for arms controls would explain why the Trump administration is balking at renewing the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with Russia. That treaty is set to expire in February 2021.

As Lavrov said at a non-proliferation conference in Moscow on November 8: “Signals out of the US do not inspire any optimism about the future of the treaty.”

Russia has urged the US to maintain the New START treaty, which Moscow calls the “gold standard” in limiting long-range nuclear weapons. It was signed in 2010 by President Barack Obama and then-President Dmitry Medvedev. The accord aims to limit the number of strategic warheads to 1,550 each for the US and Russia. The treaty requires a formal renewal in under two years, or else it collapses. Trump has continually hinted his administration is not going to uphold it, which he has previously disparaged as a “one-sided” treaty.

In an interview with the Financial Times earlier this year, President Vladimir Putin warned that if the US jettisons the treaty then a global arms race is a real danger.

American experts have also made similar admonishments to the Trump administration. Ernest Moniz, the Energy Secretary during the Obama administration, gave a grim assessment if New START is allowed to lapse.

“It’s going to raise hell for the global non-proliferation regime,” said Moniz, as quoted by the Wall Street Journal.

The Trump administration appears to using a version of Nixon’s “mad man theory” whereby opponents are intimidated by reckless ambiguity.

By reneging on New START, Trump is seeking to gain leverage on two important issues.

First, he is gambling that Russia will be put under duress with the threat of a crippling arms race and will therefore be coerced into persuading China to join a new trilateral arms control deal with Washington and Moscow.

In a media interview last week (at 7-min section), Russia’s top diplomat Sergei Lavrov condemned the lack of engagement by the US on arms controls. He said: “Sadly, we haven’t seen any comprehensive answers [from the US].” Notably, he added: “The only thing they say that they want is to involve China in this [arms controls].”

China is not a signatory to the New START treaty. Its nuclear arsenal is reckoned to comprise around 300 warheads which is far smaller than either the US or Russia’s arsenal, estimated to be around 6,500 each, according the Arms Control Association based in Washington DC.

What China has developed, however, is a formidable range of short and medium-range cruise missiles. Those missiles can’t reach North America but they do present a severe challenge to American warships patrolling Asia-Pacific.

It was to counter this perceived Chinese threat that lay behind the Trump administration’s reason to cancel the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia earlier this year. American claims that the move was prompted because Russia had breached the treaty are disingenuous. The real motive for Washington was to free its hands from the INF so that it could confront China with short and medium-range missiles banned by the INF.

Thus, the Trump administration is whipping up global insecurity by posturing to ditch the New START in the calculation that Russia will do its bidding with regard to corralling China into a supposedly new “grand bargain”.

Russia has adamantly said it will not act as Washington’s lever on China. If the US were serious about forming a comprehensive global arms-control mechanism, then it would not be threatening to rip up the New START. As Moscow also points out, why aren’t Britain and France also being involved in Trump’s so-called “grand bargain”?

As the Arms Control Association puts it: “Extending New START would provide a necessary foundation and additional time for any follow-on deal with Russia that addresses other issues of mutual concern, including non-strategic nuclear weapons, intermediate-range weapons, and understandings on the location and capabilities of missile-defense systems and advanced conventional-strike weapons that each country is developing.”

In other words, it does not make sense to scrap the New START. There is obviously an ulterior motive for the Trump administration.

The other major objective for the US is to curb Russia’s new suite of non-nuclear hypersonic weapons. In this field, Russia is way ahead of the Americans. While the Pentagon has been squandering trillions of dollars on criminal wars and regime-change operations over the past two decades, Russia has developed a whole new class of weapons that can evade any missile-defense system. Washington realizes it has been outmaneuvered strategically.

Hence, Trump’s contradictory call for a new arms-control treaty is in fact motivated by seeking to control China and Russia’s new hypersonic weapons. And in order to force his demands, Trump is using the threat of a global arms race by abandoning New START. But, ironically, what that desperate calculus shows is Washington’s strategic weakness with regard to Russia and China.

[Category: Americas, World, Arms Race, Donald Trump, United States]

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[l] at 11/13/19 3:49am

Public speaking at major forums and conventions is very good for one’s career in analysis (as is writing for the Strategic Culture Foundation) although often these events can be time consuming for little or no payment. But, when I was presented the chance to be part of a panel on the bizarre topic of “Religion and Ecology” at the 5th International Christian Forum in Moscow I simply could not resist. Everyone talks about the dynamics between the US vs. Russia, Trump vs. the Deep State, and the SJWs vs. Reason, but what is the dynamic between Religion (especially Christianity) and Ecology?

After a few nights of ponder and research, I put together my speech, the core argument of which is that traditional Christians and Eco-activists have polar opposite views on the nature of man, thus there will always be a massive unfillable gorge lying between Orthodoxy and today’s Green movements.

Christianity says that God is good, absolutely pure righteous good, and that we are made “in His image” and that we are “His children”, however, we are also heavily flawed and damned by Original Sin. Despite having the potential to be good and holy origins we will all commit sinful acts but by following the teaching of Christ/The Church we can rise towards a state of piety becoming at least less sinful than we were. From the Christian perspective humanity despite some brutal moments in history is NOT inherently evil, just inherently sinful, which can be atoned for or forgiven, or minimized through the grace of God and a lot of hard work by the individual Christian in question.

Environmentalism teaches us the opposite and paints a very different picture of the nature of man. The Green/Vegan/Eco crowd see humans as an all-consuming pestilence on the planet. Each one of us through our modern life style consumes and thus destroys the planet that they claim to love. From an Eco worldview every human is a detriment to nature and there is really no repentance for this status. We consume, consumption is harmful to nature, thus we are all evil.

The great dreams of our ancestors: quick transport, light at night (besides candles), automatic heating/cooling and maybe most of all abundant food are nightmares to those Ecologically minded. All of the triumphs of man, that would make our lives look kingly to a Medieval peasant are “bad for the environment”, as their infrastructure is space and resource consuming and is bad for animals/animal habitats. The more we customize the world to suit us, the worse it gets for plants and animals which do not fit the human habitat mold.

This view of things is the reason why you will never meet a hardcore Green that isn’t absolutely convinced that the world is “over populated” even if he is from a small European country with a declining population. This desire to “cull the herd” is a deep inalienable component of the Eco mindset. They need humanity to dwindle down to save the planet and so this type of worldview is hardcore pro-abortion. Feminism has more-or-less destroyed the family which makes it a key component of Green movements all over the planet – no traditional family = no more children. The whole LGBT thing also works out for Ecology as sex that does not lead to procreation for them is the only good kind.

Christianity on the other hand needs a stable flow of new Christians being born and sees children as a blessing so it is strongly anti-abortion and always pushes some kind of pro-family agenda, as a good family is the factory that produces children. Traditional religions gain the most new members through birth + indoctrination, thus any religion which rejects this position is doomed to extinction.

The Christian doctrine preaches that man is NOT an animal and is the superior form of life on Earth. God made man in His own image, not cows or dogs. Additionally, God gave us domain over the planet and it is up to us to maintain this prime piece of real estate, but ultimately “it’s a man’s world” and we will determine how it shall be damned by the opinion and feelings of other inferior forms of life.

Environmentalists believe that man IS an animal and that we are no different and no better than say dairy cows, endangered parrots or house pets. In fact since humans are the only beings capable of polluting and destroying the Environment we are actually WORSE than animals to Green thinking individuals. The concept of “Animal Rights” could have never come from traditional Christianity as putting man and rat as equals under God is blasphemous Satanic nonsense, but since rats are incapable of destroying the planet from cattle farming and using too many fossil fuels they are at least our equal (if not superior) in the dogma of the church of Environmentalism.

What I have written above may sound shocking or conspiratorial, so it is my duty to provide some examples of how Environmentalists see man as evil to support my claim. If you take 15 minutes of your time you can find many more articles that support the views presented in this short list.

  1. Should We Make Mars More Like Earth?
    A group of adult men with degrees seriously discuss if humans will ruin the “environment” of extraterrestrial planets from their colonization/terraforming. The question “will humans ruin Mars?” is actually a fairly popular topic and shows how those concerned with preserving nature see contact with mankind as a disaster.
  2. Empty half the Earth of its humans. It’s the only way to save the planet
    This piece argues that we not only need to reduce the population but shove everyone into cities Judge Dredd style in order to lessen our impact on the Environment. Essentially man in a concentration camp has far less impact on the Earth so in you go! Your desires and will mean nothing.
  3. Environmental groups that support abortion
    Many Greens support abortion for the reasons I stated above and no one hides this fact. If you see humans as harmful then abortion is a form of global help.
  4. The LGB community is working hard to save the world: New research finds that gay men and lesbian women are disproportionately represented in the anti-war and environmental movements.
    Again, non-procreation oriented sex is preferred when one is committed to reducing human population and there are many links between environmentalism and LGBT. This is NOT a conspiracy but a natural ideological overlap.

In closing, I would like to transform this piece from an interesting intellectual exercise of comparing two ideologies that I have never seen compared before into something of value. The main thing we should take away from this is that we need a pro-Human environmentalism, that tells us that we humans are an amazing rarity that may be truly unique in the universe and that we need to maintain our planet, colonize and maintain others so that the glory of our flame will never be snuffed out. Man is good, he is just a bit irresponsible and at times sinful.

[Category: Society, Christianity, Ecology, Environmentalism, Ideology]

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[l] at 11/13/19 3:26am

France’s Macron has burst into tears again and has used the British press to hold court and whimper about how he and his EU vision aren’t working out.

Oh to be Emmanuel Macron. The French president appears to be on the edge of some kind of meltdown, following his fatuous comment about NATO being “brain dead”. And glancing at the slow growth in the EU – which is hitting Germany for the first time, as well as of course France – you can see how Macron is starting to panic.

He recently warned in an interview with the Economist that America was turning its back on Europe and that he had no confidence in NATO anymore. Was this a dig at Trump or more specifically a vitriolic outburst at Trump’s policy towards Iran, which in a matter of weeks will turn to the EU for cash hand outs and support, as it pulls out all together from the infamous JCPOA, otherwise known as the Iran Deal?

Macron’s big ideas about the EU being a big player are not really working out. Perhaps it is his main idea of him being the big player in a bigger EU which is the real issue though as his attempts to run the EU (in his role as French president) are floundering; few doubt that in five years time, when the EU in Brussels needs a new Council and Commission president, that his name will be on the list and he will break the old unwritten rule that no ‘giant’ of the EU can have a president in Brussels.

Well, not since Jacques Delors, anyway.

The EU is not working. Its economy is hitting new lows, which is even affecting non-eurozone countries like Sweden, and Britain’s more joined up departure will be one more unedifying message to its members: time for a rethink of the project.

The problem is that the ‘rethink’ idea will be as divisive as ever. In one camp, Macron and his pro federalist buddies in Brussels who are addicted to the EU udder tend to think dramatically, rather than rationally when thinking of ‘reforming’ the EU project. ‘Reform’ for them means taking more power in an anti-democratic fashion and then hope that, say a new EU army (from larger national EU defence budgets), bigger EU grants towards research (to compete with the US), minimal wages across 27 member states and, most radically, overhauling the Schengen Agreement with a new, single asylum policy, will all collectively muster greater political support.

Moderates across Europe though – perhaps what he might call ‘Eurosceptics’ – might argue that in such a crisis that the EU is in, that a decaling and downgrading of the projects ambitions might be a way to re-connect with EU voters.

I once asked European Commission president, Romano Prodi in 2002, what his chief task was in office. “To reconnect with voters” he answered confidently.

The smug smile soon vanished from his cherub like face when I replied “but surely that would suggest that once the EU was connected with them?”.

The tantrum that Macron is having presently with NATO is part of a bigger picture of the EU in decline. For EU countries to oblige Trump by agreeing to the 2% of GDP to be put aside on defence spending is an abhorrent attack on Macron and his vision of a new EU. Macron wants bigger defence spending to boost the EU project’s failing political support. But even this logic is flawed. Voters have been in steady decline for the EU project for at least the last three EU elections and a larger populist block in the European parliament is a clear testament to that.

Superpowers act. Pseudo super powers talk and hope their carefully-crafted press releases make an impact. The heart of the matter of this recent attack on NATO is how US policy targeted at Iran is failing. But that failure can be weathered by the US, as superpowers, by definition, look to others to shoulder the burden of their errors. And it is to the EU, where Trump looks for that action. It will be the EU which will pay the greatest price for Iran to make its next move in the coming days and pull itself further away from its obligations under the so-called Iran deal.

The problem with Macron is that he is so entrenched in his ultra conservative neo conservative past. Even in his letter published earlier this year in the Guardian he talks of a new EU looking more to Africa for future investment, perhaps a glimpse of Conrad like old values of France and its colonial legacy. Contrasted to the NATO secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg who has a more modern, realistic view of France and old Europe.

“I strongly welcome efforts to strengthen European defence… But the EU cannot defend Europe” he said recently at an event celebrating 70 years of NATO’s existence. “This is partly about military might. After Brexit, 80% of NATO’s defence expenditure will come from non-EU allies.’

That must have hurt Macron. But if the EU can’t even defend itself, it is ‘brain dead’ to think of any plans to expand itself and its powers?

[Category: Europe, World, Emmanuel Macron, European Army, European Union, NATO]

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[l] at 11/12/19 4:27am

Caitlin JOHNSTONE

There has been a military coup in Bolivia backed by violent right-wing  rioters and the U.S. government, but you’d hardly know this from any of the mainstream media headlines.

“Bolivian President Evo Morales steps down following accusations of election fraud” proclaims CNN.

“Bolivia’s Morales resigns amid scathing election report, rising protests” reports The Washington Post.

“Bolivian Leader Evo Morales Steps Down” says The New York Times.

“Bolivian President Evo Morales resigns amid fraud poll protests” declares the BBC.

“President of Bolivia steps down amid allegations of election rigging” we are informed by Telegraph.

“Bolivia’s President Morales resigns after backlash to disputed election” says the Sydney Morning Herald.

So, there you have it. The indigenous leader of a socialist South American government which has successfully lifted masses of people out of crushing poverty, which happens to control the world’s largest reserves of lithium (which may one day replace oil as a crucial energy resource due to its use in powering smartphones, laptops, hybrid and electric cars), which has an extensive and well-documented history of being targeted for regime change by the U.S. government, simply stepped down due to some sort of scandal involving a “disputed election.” Nothing to do with the fact that right-wing mobs had been terrorizing this leader’s family, or the fact that the nation’s military literally commanded him to step down and are now currently searching for him to arrest him, leading to ousted government officials being rounded up and held captive by soldiers wearingmasks.

All perfectly normal and not suspicious at all.

Fully support the findings of the @OAS_official report recommending new elections in #Bolivia to ensure a truly democratic process representative of the people’s will. The credibility of the electoral system must be restored.

— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) 10 ноября 2019 г.

As is usual, mass media’s reporting on this story is in full alignment with the U.S. State Department, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also advancing the “disputed election” line in a tweet shortly before the forced resignation of Morales. Pompeo cited the evidence-free and discredited allegation of suspicious vote tallies during Morales’s re-election last month from the Washington-basedOrganization of American States (OAS). As Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic & Policy Research explains in a recent article for The Nation, the OAS receives 60 percent of its funding from Washington, which gives the U.S. tremendous leverage over the supposedly neutral and international body. This ties in interestingly with what we discussed the other day about Washington’s known history of using its disproportionate financial support for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons as leverage to force that supposedly neutral and international body to comply with U.S. agendas.

The field of narrative management keeps making more and more advances.

They never did find any evidence of fraud in the October 20th election, but the media repeated the allegation so many times that it became “true,” in this post-truth world. Thread: https://t.co/8oWFNKNebT

— Mark Weisbrot (@MarkWeisbrot) 10 ноября 2019 г.

The U.S.-centralized empire just keeps throwing coup attempts at unabsorbed governments until they stick. The coup in Venezuela failed in 2002 and again in 2019, but they’ll just keep attempting them until one takes hold. A kickboxer throws strikes in combinations with the understanding that most attacks will miss or do minimal damage against a trained opponent, but eventually one will get through and score the knockout blow. Imperialist regime change agendas employ the same punches-in-bunches philosophy: just keep attacking and undermining at every possible turn, and eventually something will stick.

And the empire can afford to do this. When you have all the power and resources, you can bide your time, knowing that if the current attempt at toppling the government in a sovereign nation fails, there’s always tomorrow.

At a United Nations Security Council meeting last year, Morales summed up the true nature of America’s role in the world very accurately, and, it turns out, very presciently.

“I would like to say to you, frankly and openly here, that in no way is the United States interested in upholding democracy,” Morales said. “If such were the case it would not have financed coups d’etat and supported dictators. It would not have threatened with military intervention democratically elected governments as it has done with Venezuela. The United States could not care less about human rights or justice. If this were the case, it would have signed the international conventions and treaties that have protected human rights. It would not have threatened the investigation mechanism of the International Criminal Court, nor would it promote the use of torture, nor would it have walked away from the Human Rights Council. And nor would it have separated migrant children from their families, nor put them in cages.”



“The United States is not interested in multilateralism,” Morales continued. “If it were interested in multilateralism it would not have withdrawn from the Paris Agreement or given the cold shoulder to the global compact on migration, it would not have launched unilateral attacks, nor have taken decisions such as illegally declaring Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel. This contempt for multilateralism is motivated by the thirst of the United States for political control and for the seizing of natural resources.”

“Each time that the United States invades nations, launches missiles, or finances regime change, it does so behind a propaganda campaign which incessantly repeats the message that it is acting in the course of justice, freedom and democracy, in the cause of human rights or for humanitarian reasons,” Morales also said.

“The responsibility of our generation is to hand over a fairer and more secure world to the following generation,” Morales concluded. “We will only achieve this dream if we work together to consolidate a multipolar world, a world with common rules that are respected by and defended from all the threats ranged against the United Nations.”

Indeed, the only reason the U.S. is able to wage its endless campaign of regime change agendas against unabsorbed governments is because the unipolar world order it rules has allowed it the power, resources and leisure to do so. A multipolar world would enable the citizenry of this planet to have a say in what happens to them in a way that is not dictated by a few sociopaths in and around Washington, DC. A multipolar world is to democracy as a unipolar world is to monarchy. The citizens of the world should oppose this unipolarity.

CaitlinJohnstone.com via consortiumnews.com

[Category: Editor's Choice, Bolivia, Coup, Evo Morales]

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