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National Security State as Protection Racket on the Danger of Terrorism: Review of Literature

“Plunderers of the world, when nothing remains on the lands to which they have laid waste by wanton thievery, they search out across the seas. The wealth of another region excites their greed; and if it is weak, their lust for power as well. Nothing from the rising to the setting of the sun is enough for them. Among all others only they are compelled to attack the poor as well as the rich. Robbery, rape, and slaughter they falsely call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace.”

Tacitus, Agricola
 

News Corporatism Recommended Links Skripal poisoning Did Obama order wiretaps of Trump conversations Neofascism Nation under attack meme
Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? The problem of control of intelligence services in democratic societies History of American False Flag Operations False flag operations as an important part of demonization of the enemy strategy False flag operations in cyberspace FBI and CIA contractor Crowdstrike and very suspicious DNC leak saga Vault 7 scandal
Neoliberal war on reality or the importance of controlling the narrative Operation Gladio - Wikipedia The Deep State Litvinenko poisoning Inverted Totalitarism Reconciling Human Rights With Total Surveillance To whom Euromaydan Sharp-shooters belong?
Mystery of Building 7 Collapse Charlie Hebdo - more questions then answers Manchester attack vs Charlie Hebdo Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17? Douma gas attack: Yet another false flag poisoning? Khan Sheikhoun gas attack Idlib false flag chemical attack
Demonization of Putin White Helmets as a tool for false flag poisonings Total Surveillance Media-Military-Industrial Complex Elite Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Two Party System as Polyarchy Corporate Media: Journalism In the Service of the Powerful Few
Edward Snowden as Symbol of Resistance to National Security State Facebook as Giant Database about Users Social Sites as intelligence collection tools DNC and Podesta emails leak and  subsequent false flag operation to  blame Vladimir Putin Systematic Breach of Vienna Convention Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism The Iron Law of Oligarchy
American Exceptionalism New American Militarism Machiavellism Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite The Grand Chessboard Humor Etc

"The greatest threat is that we shall become like those who seek to destroy us"

the legendary US diplomat George Kennan warned in 1947

“In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem”


Ronal Reagan about a different crisis

Books have been written about President Eisenhower’s famous farewell warning in 1961 about the “military-industrial complex,” and what he described as its “unwarranted influence.” But an even greater leviathan today, one that the public knows little about, is the “intelligence-industrial complex.”

Michael Hirsh in

How America's Top Tech Companies
Created the Surveillance State )

If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.

- James Madison


Introduction

The National Security State is an ideology and practice of the USA elite, closely connected with the idea of the rule of the Media-Military-Industrial Complex, and especially three-letter agencies ("Trumanites" because of our 33rd president's role in founding the CIA, the modern Defense Department, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Agency).  It is somewhat different from national socialist idea as it is married to neoliberalism and does not included the decisive influence of the state in economic sphere.

Under neoliberalism society has become increasingly militarized, meaning that as most aspects of the social-democratic state (New Deal state) are eliminated, a police state is rising in its place. All problems that in the past were seen as social problems, and hence required social solutions, now acquire police solutions.

Moreover intelligence services became Praetorian Guard of  neoliberal elite that is in power and that completely changed the nature of governance in the USA. Now there is a country within the country in the USA. It can be called "Classified America".  It has population of around 5 million people and controls the other 320 million. Almost 5 million people is almost 2% of total population and much higher percentage of the adult population  of working  age (around 200 millions). And now it become a formidable political force that strives to become a kingmaker. much like Praetorian Guard in ancient Role it is clearly out of control of elected government and has its own, sometimes nefarious agenda.  All-in-all this is the fastest growing part of media-military-industrial complex and connected to it influential caste of Imperial Servants -- people well being of which is dependent on the existence and expansion of the US global neoliberal empire. This is probably no less then 10 million people if we count defense contractors, Pentagon brass, Intelligence agencies staff, State Department employees, top layers from Wall-Street and Silicon Valley,  and the Staff of the Congress.)  

In economic sphere deregulation (economic liberalism or neoliberalism) produces social conflict, which at some point can not be masked by neoliberal demagogy ("shareholder value", "stakeholder participation" and other neoliberal crap).  At some point it requires police methods of suppression of dissent like was the case with "Occupy Wall Street" movement suppression). As the state now represents interest only of the top 0.1% population, economic and political spheres became merged under authoritarian rule of financial oligarchy, not unlike the USSR under Bolshevism with the only difference that until 1970th the USSR "Nomenklatura" was more aligned with the interests of the society then financial oligarchy. Later it became detached from that interest of lower 80% of population, adopted neoliberal ideology, became turncoats and facilitated dissolution of the USSR privatizing its wealth in the process. 

The neoliberal state now represents interest only of the top 0.1% population, economic and political spheres became merged under authoritarian rule of financial oligarchy, not unlike the USSR under Bolshevism with the only difference that until 1970th the USSR "Nomenklatura" was more aligned with the interests of the society then financial oligarchy. Later it became detached from that interest of lower 80% of population, adopted neoliberal ideology, became turncoats and facilitated dissolution of the USSR privatizing its wealth in the process. 

Under neoliberalism, which established itself in the USA since late 70th, tax laws, inheritance rules, status to trade unions, "revolving door" regulations (which highly correlates with the degree of corruption of the society) became the result of political decisions favoring neoliberal elite at the expense of common citizens. So it was a typical revolution from above. To hide this requires constant brainwashing of the population and instilling fear using external threat (with Russia as preferred object). That's where intelligence agencies come handy as they by-and-large control key journalists and key MSM. For example Washington Post for a long time was called "voice of CIA" even in the US establishment. 

Since 9/11 terrorism is used as a smoke screen to hide the warts of neoliberalism and facilitate the transition of state into national security state. Adoption of Patriot Act and resulting hypertrophied growth of intelligence agencies in the USA are just a tip of the iceberg. In reality the situation became pretty much Orwellian with Intelligence agencies as the new incarnation of the "Big Brother" as well as the "permanent war for permanent peace" between Oceania (USA and NATO vassals) and Eurasia (Russia and China) in the Orwell's famous  novel 1984.  It is clear that the war with terrorism launched also can be called  "permanent war for permanent peace" and the enemy is illusive and can be  really easily faked with minimal propaganda efforts.  The level of rampant militarism in the USA now is close to what we observe in typical neo-fascist movements, especially under Trump (Fascism - Wikipedia ):

Fascism is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism[1][2] that came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe, influenced by national syndicalism. Fascism originated in Italy during World War I and spread to other European countries. Fascism opposes liberalism, Marxism and anarchism and is usually placed on the far-right within the traditional left–right spectrum.[3][4]

Fascists saw World War I as a revolution that brought massive changes in the nature of war, society, the state, and technology. The advent of total war and total mass mobilization of society had broken down the distinction between civilian and combatant. A "military citizenship" arose in which all citizens were involved with the military in some manner during the war.[5][6] The war had resulted in the rise of a powerful state capable of mobilizing millions of people to serve on the front lines and providing economic production and logistics to support them, as well as having unprecedented authority to intervene in the lives of citizens.[5][6]

Fascists believe that liberal democracy is obsolete, and they regard the complete mobilization of society under a totalitarian one-party state as necessary to prepare a nation for armed conflict and to respond effectively to economic difficulties.[7] Such a state is led by a strong leader—such as a dictator and a martial government composed of the members of the governing fascist party—to forge national unity and maintain a stable and orderly society.[7] Fascism rejects assertions that violence is automatically negative in nature, and views political violence, war, and imperialism as means that can achieve national rejuvenation.[8][9][10][11] Fascists advocate a mixed economy, with the principal goal of achieving autarky through protectionist and interventionist economic policies.[12]

Since the end of World War II in 1945, few parties have openly described themselves as fascist, and the term is instead now usually used pejoratively by political opponents. The descriptions neo-fascist or post-fascist are sometimes applied more formally to describe parties of the far right with ideologies similar to, or rooted in, 20th century fascist movements.[13]

Paradoxically intelligence agencies  and Pentagon can't live peacefully with each other and struggle for power. That why intelligence  agencies launched a color revolution against Trump, who can in some ways be viewed as the Presidential Candidate of Pentagon (especially if we view neocons as Pentagon lobbysts and Israel as a state-lobbyst for Pentagon).

After coming to power Trump introduced several new measures which in some way signify a new stage of the development of neoliberalism and can be  "national neoliberalism". He explicitly rejects globalization on the base of multinational treaties (which was neoliberalism Modus operandi since its inception)  and wants to use the power of the US to bully all nations  "one-to-one" basis. Those who behave against the USA wishes have sanctions imposed, cut from US dominated financial system and are threatened with war.  Iran is the latest example here. 

In this mutation of  neoliberalism as a social system US intelligence apparatus and military establishment are raised to the level above and beyond civilian control and become a somewhat autonomous system, a hidden government of the USA. The Deep state as it is now called. For example, intelligence agencies now strive and de facto achieved the role of king maker for the most top positions in the USA government. And, if necessary, can act as a king remover (JFK assassination is a nice example here; CIA fingerprints are all over the place, but nobody from CIA went to jail for this: "mission accomplished"; Nixon removal is another although less visible one).

The colossal budget with  juicy cost-plus contracts of affiliated private companies gives intelligence agencies and Pentagon not only tremendous power, but also create vested ideological and financial interests of the whole caste of "imperial servants", the well being of which depends of their continuation.  Wars became necessary for maintaining the level of those budgets. Existence of the "country-scapegoat" is important too for projecting on it all evil that happens within the USA under neoliberalism and blowbacks from neoliberal foreign policy.

Existence of the "country-scapegoat" is important too for projecting on it all evil that happens within the USA under neoliberalism and blowbacks from neoliberal foreign policy.

It is important to understand that the USA intelligence agencies are probably closer connected to Wall Street and military contractors then the federal government and often serve as enforcers of specific interests. They are able to work against particular administration officially proclaimed policies, for example in organizing the foreign coup d'état.  For example, for the moment of its creation, due to Allen Dulles background CIA was aligned with the interests of Wall Street.

There no real overseeing of three letter agencies from neither executive branch, not from the Congress, nor from the Justice Department. But the reverse is not true: the intelligence agencies have appointees in all mentioned above branches of government. The natural line of development of intelligence agencies  since its inception and toward acquiring more power and securing higher budget. With time, the tail start wagging the dog.  This phenomenon is not limited to the USA. Actually the term the "Deep State" originated in Turkey.  The same hijacking of executive, parliamentarian and judicial braches of govern happened in other countries. A very interesting example provides the USSR: it was actually betrayal of KGB brass (under Andropov, who was instrumental in installing Gorbachov into power), who switched side and decided to privatize the country, that was the key factor that led to the dissolution of the USSR.

The key "three letter agencies" (CIA, DOD, NSA, FBI) were established by the National Security Act of 1947, signed in September 18, 1947 by President Harry S. Truman. This year can be considered as the year when National Security State was born and probably should be celebrated accordingly instead of old-fashioned Independence Day.  Very little was preserved from the "old republic" after this transformation of the USA. 

It is prudent to view National Security State as a modern form of corporatism, closely related to concepts of neo-fascism and Inverted Totalitarism. As ellatynemouth noted in the comment to the Guardian article Internet privacy as important as human rights, says UN's Navi Pillay (Dec 26, 2013):

The surveillance state is the ruling class's key hole through which they monitor us and our potential dissent. It's now an integral part of capitalism and can't be removed.

The game has changed. It's now about convincing us as much as possible that they will stop snooping on us. They won't though. It will just become more heavily hidden.

Surveillance state was made possible with the advent of computers, Internet and wireless communication. In some features it is close to neo-fascism and Latin-American far right authoritarian regimes, but there are important difference. Instead of organized violence against opponents it achieved its goals without relentless physical repression/elimination of opponents. It's key feature is mass surveillance, discreditation and blackmailing of opponents (like in German Democratic Republic there are dossier for every member of society and skeletons from the closet can be revealed for any politician or activist)  as well as control and manipulation of media, not mass repression of opponents. Like neofascist regimes of the past (such as Pinochet regime in Chile) and authoritarian "communist" regimes of the past and present, it make organized opposition to the government virtually impossible. Of the 20 characteristic traits of neo-fascist regimes probably around a half are applicable to the national security state.

After 9/11, Bush government's behavior and especially appeals to public clearly resonate with the proto-fascist "... uber alles" ideas ("America is an exceptional nation"). As an amazing example of doublespeak Bushists managed to integrate American exceptionalism into the framework of globalist neoliberal regime (as the command-and-control center for neoliberal world empire, no less).

Bush government inspired post-9/11 paranoia doesn’t come cheaply, though. Costs were staggering: the military ($682 billion), Homeland Security (about $60 billion), and 15 intelligence agencies (official figure of combined budget is perhaps $75 billion; but in reality more then that). The total is probably over a trillion.  Add to this several trillion dollars wasted on war in Afghanistan and occupation of Iraq. The Congressional Research Service estimate for 2001-2016 is 1.6 trillion; Brown university estimate is 3.6 trillion; some estimates are as high as six trillions (PolitiFact).  Only future medical care and disability benefits for veterans of these war is near $1 trillion (Center for Strategic and International Studies )

Nothing changed under President Obama, which suggests that he is just a figurehead and the  "deep state" is actually in charge. In most areas the Obama administration was more like Bush II administration, with "change we can believe in" as a smokescreen for nefarious actions. Obama launched more wars then Bush II too.  In this sense this was the most blatant and the most successful  "bait and switch" in the recent  political history of the USA.  Later is lightly different form repeated with Trump, who  also during election campaign proposed reasonable steps of improving standard of living of the US population and finishing forign wars, but instance switched sides after election pushing neoliberal policies at home, and continuing all Bush-Obama wars foreign wars abroad.  He also appointed open war hawks into his administration. The list of neocons in Trumps administration is as long as in Bush II administration and includes people in key positions such as Haley, Bolton, and Pompeo.

This is the view of Professor Michel Greenon, who in his book advocated the view that tradition troika of powers in the USA became by and large ceremonial and that real actors, at least in area of national security are not non-elected executives of super-powerful and well financed three-letter agencies. Here is a brief overview taken from review published by Reason (National Security State - Reason.com):

Though Glennon doesn't describe his thesis in terms of public choice theory, it echoes that discipline's insight that institutions are run for the benefit of the people who run the institutions. For the Trumanites, Glennon explains, "benefits take the form of enlarged budgets, personnel, missions; costs take the form of retrenchments in each." Witness the vast archipelago of intelligence facilities-nearly three Pentagons' worth of office space-that have been erected in greater Washington, D.C., since 9/11.

The national security state is becoming an autonomous, self-perpetuating entity, Glennon warns. It sets the table for elected officials' choices and increasingly dictates terms to them. The permanent bureaucracy basks in the "glow" of Madisonian institutions, drawing legitimacy from the illusion that elected officials are in charge. But while the buck may stop with the president, the real power resides with the Trumanites.

This explanation is strongest in the realm of state surveillance, which serves as Glennon's central case study. Recall the embarrassing revelation, in the summer of 2013, that the NSA was tapping German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone. What did the president know, and when did he know it? If you believe top administration officials, Obama was almost as surprised as Merkel. Glennon quotes Secretary of State John Kerry to the effect that the Merkel wiretap, like a lot of NSA programs, occurred "on autopilot."

On one hand, that's what you'd expect them to say. On the other hand, the claim is entirely plausible, and it is consistent with the earlier history of NSA abuses uncovered by the Church Committee in the 1970s. Under Project SHAMROCK, for example, the NSA collected the content of virtually all cable traffic entering or leaving the United States for three decades-150,000 messages a month at its height. It was, the committee's final report concluded, "probably the largest governmental interception program affecting Americans ever undertaken." And yet it's not clear that any president ordered, approved, or was even aware of SHAMROCK. When the program's existence was exposed in the mid-'70s, Louis Tordella, longtime deputy director of the NSA, admitted that he didn't know whether any president or attorney general had ever been briefed on it.

The picture grows somewhat more complicated when we look at the modern practice of presidential war making. From the Truman administration onward, the president has accumulated enormous unchecked authority, despite James Madison's conviction that, since the executive department was "most distinguished by its propensity to war," it is "the practice of all states, in proportion as they are free, to disarm this propensity of its influence."

When it comes to picking the wars we wage, it's not clear that the Trumanites are fully in charge. Take four major war-powers decisions during the Obama administration: the Afghan surge, the escalation of drone attacks, the Libya intervention, and the current war against ISIS. I put the Trumanite win-loss record at roughly .500 here. The military and national security bureaucracy fought hard for the surge and the drone escalation, and got them. They generally opposed the Libyan action, and some prominent Trumanites-such as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs -appear to have been reluctant to endorse our latest war in the Middle East.

In the case of this most recent war, domestic politics seems a better explanation: The president yielded to the near-irresistible demand that he "do something" about the beheading of Americans and the implosion of the Iraqi state. Bombing ISIS is something, so we're doing it.

The Obama experience suggests we get the wars the Trumanites want -- and also some they don't. But this is hardly fatal to Glennon's thesis. He stresses that "a good theory of institutional behavior can predict, at best, only tendency over time"; his "predicts only that national security policy will change little from one administration to the next." So far, that theory is holding up rather well.

Even so, I've always been partial to one version of the "government politics" explanation. A few years ago, I wrote a book arguing that "Americans' unconfined conception of presidential responsibility is the source of much of our political woe and some of the gravest threats to our liberties." If the political reality is such that the president will be held personally accountable for any domestic terror attack, don't be surprised when he seeks powers nearly as vast as the expectations put upon him.

Glennon acknowledges it's not either-or; "explanations overlap," he writes. Dumb wars and security-state overreach are the result of political choices and the bureaucratic imperative. Policy continuity is depressingly overdetermined.

Real-time histories of key national security decisions in the Obama years tend to underscore this point. In Kill or Capture, reporter Daniel Klaidman describes the enormous political pressure the Obama administration was under after the failed "underwear bomber" attack on December 25, 2009. "For the White House," Klaidman writes, "the psychic toll of Christmas Day was profound. Obama realized that if a failed terror attempt could suck up so much political oxygen, a successful attack would absolutely devastate his presidency. And much as he liked to talk about returning to first principles, Obama also had a powerful instinct for self-correction-as well as self-preservation."

The psychic aftershock of Christmas 2009 helped shape a lot of what followed: from body scanners at airports to ramped-up drone strikes to the lethal targeting of an American citizen.

But to Glennon's point, the administration was under pressure from the Trumanites well before that. In the 2012 book, The Obamians: The Struggle Inside the White House to Redefine American Power, James Mann describes a concerted effort by then-CIA director Michael Hayden and other senior intelligence officials to preserve business as usual by scaring the hell out of the incoming Obama team. Their private name for this scheme was the "Aw, Shit! Campaign."

The scare tactics worked. Klaidman reports that both Harold Koh, legal advisor at the State Department, and Jeh Johnson, the Pentagon's general counsel, used the same metaphor to describe the military pressure for more targeted killings: a runaway train. It was like "a massive freight train hurling down the tracks" Koh said. "You would have to throw yourself on the tracks to try to stop it," said Johnson.

All this helps shed light

 
e border="2" width="90%" bgcolor="#FFFF00">   ;s strange and disorienting May 2013 "drone speech" at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., in which the president seemed to be speaking not as commander in chief, but as his own loyal opposition.

In the speech, Obama said things like "Unless we discipline our thinking, our definitions, our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don't need to fight, or continue to grant Presidents unbound powers." And: "The very precision of drone strikes can also lead a president and his team to view [them] as a cure-all for terrorism." I remember thinking: "A president"? Which one? Anyone in particular? Who's in charge here, anyway?

National Security and Double Government suggests that the answer to that last question isn't quite so obvious, that the "most powerful man in the world" isn't nearly as powerful as he might appear.

It remains the case that Obama had the formal authority to say no to mass surveillance and perpetual war. But saying no would require resisting enormous bureaucratic and political pressure. And anybody willing to do what it takes to become president is unlikely to transform himself into a self-denying Cincinnatus once in office. Political survivors don't jump in front of trains.

While US government spent around $3.67 trillion in 2013, the revenue was just $2.77 trillion. Of that amount over one trillion went to three-letter agencies and DOD. Now you understand to whom real power belongs.  Moreover the government has to borrow about $900 billion in order to maintain national security state programs intact. And there are 5 million (yes million) people in the USA with security clearance and around 3 million with top security clearance. In other words "Welcome to the USSR." or even Third Reich (actually republican senators opposed Truman initiative due to fear that he replicated institution of the Third Reich in the USA and only support of powerful Democrats allowed the president to push the act through the Congress.

But even if it was close to the Third Reich in political effects and its essence, this type of political structure is different, because it does not rely on mass mobilization. Instead it relied on the power of "deep state" and mass surveillance as well as passivity of most electorate. 

As Paxton describes it (Tracking Fascism) fascism as just hypertrophied and misguided nationalism, a specific flavor of far right nationalism. The central emotions in fascism and nationalism are identical. In other words at the core of fascist emotional mobilization always lies far right nationalism and that is important distinction with national security state and neoliberalism which are globalist and  "imperial" and does not stress particular nationality as long of the person/group serves empire interests:

...Feelings propel fascism more than thought does. We might call them mobilizing passions, since they function in fascist movements to recruit followers and in fascist regimes to "weld" the fascist "tribe" to its leader. The following mobilizing passions are present in fascisms, though they may sometimes be articulated only implicitly:
  1. The primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether universal or individual.
  2. The belief that one's group is a victim, a sentiment which justifies any action against the group's enemies, internal as well as external.
  3. Dread of the group's decadence under the corrosive effect of individualistic and cosmopolitan liberalism.
  4. Closer integration of the community within a brotherhood (fascio) whose unity and purity are forged by common conviction, if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary.
  5. An enhanced sense of identity and belonging, in which the grandeur of the group reinforces individual self-esteem.
  6. Authority of natural leaders (always male) throughout society, culminating in a national chieftain who alone is capable of incarnating the group's destiny.
  7. The beauty of violence and of will, when they are devoted to the group's success in a Darwinian struggle.

Post 9/11  "passions" in the USA were definitely skillfully used by Bush administration to push the nation into the Iraq war and the attacks on dissenters that occurred during it were pretty vicious, really in traditions of Third Reich ("you are either with us, or with our enemies"). 

But public was not really central in this whole issue. Americans were extras at best, patsies at worst,  Essentially all major decisions were made "behind the curtain" by deep state structures and public was just brainwashed into approval of those action. That's an important different between national security state and classical fascist regimes. In classic fascist state the leading fascist party would be central to unleashing such a war.  Here it was bust a bunch of highly placed bureaucrats in Bush II administration (so called neocons, which is an ideological group allied with the military industrial complex, but not an organized party as such).

Here is a more extended treatment of this issue (cited from Rush, Newspeak and Fascism An exegesis IV Tracking Fascism):

1. [Group primacy]: See, again, the Bush Doctrine. An extension of this sentiment is at play among those jingoes who argue that Americans may need to sacrifice some of their civil rights -- say, free speech -- during wartime.
2. [Victim mentality]: This meme is clearly present in all the appeals to the victims of Sept. 11 as justifications for the war. It is present at nearly all levels of the debate: from the White House, from the media, even from the jingoist entertainment industry (see, e.g., the lyric of Darryl Worley's extraordinarily popular country-western hit, "Have You Forgotten?": "Some say this country's just out looking for a fight / Well after 9/11 man I'd have to say that's right.").
3. [Dread of liberal decadence]: This meme has been stock in trade of the talk-radio crowd since at least 1994 -- at one time it focused primarily on the person of Bill Clinton -- and has reached ferocious levels during the runup to the war and after it, during which antiwar leftists have regularly and remorselessly been accused of treason.
4. [Group integration] and 5. [Group identity as personal validation] are, of course, among the primary purposes of the campaign to demonize liberals -- to simultaneously build a cohesive brotherhood of like-minded "conservatives" who might not agree on the details but are united in their loathing of all things liberal. It plays out in such localized manifestations as the KVI Radio 570th On-Air Cavalry, which has made a habit of deliberately invading antiwar protests with the express purpose of disrupting them and breaking them up. Sometimes, as they did recently in Bellingham, this is done with caravans of big trucks blaring their horns; and they are also accompanied by threatening rhetoric and acts of physical intimidation. They haven't yet bonded in violence -- someone did phone in a threat to sniper-shoot protesters -- but they are rapidly headed in that direction.
6. [Authority of leaders]: This needs hardly any further explanation, except to note that George W. Bush is actually surprisingly uncharismatic for someone who inspires as much rabid loyalty as he does. But then, that is part of the purpose of Bush's PR campaign stressing that he receives "divine guidance" -- it assures in his supporters' mind the notion that he is carrying out God's destiny for the nation, and for the conservative movement in particular.
7. [An aesthetic of violence]: One again needs only turn to the voluminous jingoes of Fox News or the jubilant warbloggers to find abundant examples of celebrations of the virtues -- many of them evidently aesthetic -- of the evidently just-completed war.

I would like to stress that similar processes occurred in different states after WWII as well (Latin America military dictatorships are one example). And with new force and on the new level after the dissolution of the USSR in Russia.  Of course the USSR was a National Security Surveillance State even before WWII, being one of the "pioneers" of this form of state along with Italy and Germany. But it was a rather "primitive" form of national security state  in a sense that it did not rely on computers, collecting "envelope" of all Internet communication, emails headers and other "meta-data" as well as systematic interception of SMS-based communications as well interception of wireless communication and financial operations via computerized banking (especially credit card transactions)  for surveillance.

Rule of Trumanites as the essence of the US National security state -- Boston Globe review of Michael Glennon book

Mickey Edwards, who served in Congress from 1977 to 1993, and is the author of “The Parties Versus the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats Into Americans.” published a very penetrating review of the book in  The Boston Globe. In which he stated:

It has long been the province of conspiracy theorists to claim that the real power of government is not wielded by the obvious practitioners of statecraft — presidents, members of Congress, the judiciary — but by secret or semi-secret entities, real wizards whose hidden machinations send us to war, sell us out to enemies, siphon public treasure into private hands. Depending on your talk show or paranoia of choice, these are the bankers, oil barons, one-worlders, war profiteers, Bilderbergers, Masons, Catholics, Jews, or Trilateralists. Our formal institutions, in this scenario, are stage sets, Potemkin villages; our officials are puppets; we are an unsuspecting audience.

Michael Glennon, a respected academic (Tufts’s FLETCHER SCHOOL) and author of a book brought to us by an equally respected publisher (Oxford University Press), is hardly the sort to indulge in such fantasies. And that makes the picture he paints in “National Security and Double Government” all the more arresting. Considering Barack Obama’s harsh pre-election criticisms of his predecessor’s surveillance policies, for example, Glennon notes that many of those same policies — and more of the same kind — were continued after Obama took office. “Why,” he asks, “does national security policy remain constant even when one President is replaced by another, who as a candidate repeatedly, forcefully, and eloquently promised fundamental changes in that policy?”

The answer Glennon places before us is not reassuring: “a bifurcated system — a structure of double government — in which even the President now exercises little substantive control over the overall direction of US national security policy.” The result, he writes, is a system of dual institutions that have evolved “toward greater centralization, less accountability, and emergent autocracy.”

If this were a movie, it would soon become clear that some evil force, bent on consolidating power and undermining democratic governance, has surreptitiously tunneled into the under-structure of the nation. Not so. In fact, Glennon observes, this hyper-secret and difficult-to-control network arose in part as an attempt to head off just such an outcome. In the aftermath of World War II, with the Soviet Union a serious threat from abroad and a growing domestic concern about weakened civilian control over the military (in 1949, the Hoover Commission had warned that the Joint Chiefs of Staff had become “virtually a law unto themselves”), President Truman set out to create a separate national security structure.

By 2011, according to The Washington Post, there were 46 separate federal departments and agencies and 2,000 private companies engaged in classified national security operations with millions of employees and spending of roughly a trillion dollars a year. As Glennon points out, presidents get to name fewer than 250 political appointees among the Defense Department’s nearly 700,000 civilian employees, with hundreds more drawn from a national security bureaucracy that comprise “America’s Trumanite network” — in effect, on matters of national security, a second government.

Glennon’s book is not a breezy read: It’s thick with fact and not unappreciative of conundrum (“The government is seen increasingly by elements of the public as hiding what they ought to know, criminalizing what they ought to be able to do, and spying upon what ought to be private. The people are seen increasingly by the government as unable to comprehend the gravity of security threats.”). Nor is he glib with proposed solutions: to adequately respond to the threats posed by a below-the-radar second government will require “a general public possessed of civic virtue,” which prompts Glennon to cite retired Supreme Court justice David Souter’s bemoaning of a “pervasive civic ignorance.” Not all of the problem can be laid at Truman’s feet. And if we ourselves are part of the zeitgeist that allows invisible governments to flourish, repair will be difficult. As Glennon puts it, “the term Orwellian will have little meaning to a people who have never known anything different, who have scant knowledge of history, civics, or public affairs, and who in any event have never heard of George Orwell.”

This is no secret conspiracy nor a plot to deprive Americans of their civil liberties. It is the unintended consequence of a thoughtful attempt to head off the very threats that those attempts have inadvertently created. But if Glennon’s book is enlightening it is also scary. And it’s not fiction.

Why National Security State needs provocations -- pseudo terrorist attacks (false flag attacks)

There are multiple reasons such as to instill fear, and to demonstrate competence (Big Brother’s Liberal Friends — Crooked Timber)

Dr. Hilarius, 10.27.14 at 11:44 pm
An excellent analysis and summation.

Any defense of the national security state requires the proponent to show, at a minimum, that the present apparatus is competent at its task. Having lived through Vietnam, the Gulf Wars, Iraq and Afghanistan (not to mention many smaller governmental adventures) I see no evidence of competence. Instead, it’s repetitive failures of analysis and imagination no matter how much raw intelligence is gathered.

Nor is there any evidence that existing oversight mechanisms function as intended. Recent revelations about the CIA spying on the Senate should be enough to dispel the idea that leakers have no role to play.

Kinsley is particularly loathsome. His position is little more than “your betters know best” and that the state’s critics are guttersnipes needing to be kicked to the curb. Kinsley doesn’t need a coherent position, his goal is to be a spokesman for the better sorts, nothing more...

Tremendous push (or acceleration of pre-existing tendencies) toward National Security State occurred after 9/11 under the banner of fighting terrorism. At the point technological capabilities of mass surveillance using computers and the ability to have a dossier for everybody were in place, while mass deployment of PC, credit cards and cell phones provides constant stream of information to those dossiers, not that different from "gum shoes" reports. On November, 2001 the phone records of most Americans begin flowing to the N.S.A. After 9/11, President Bush authorizes the N.S.A. to collect phone and Internet content and metadata without a warrant. Within weeks, under the so-called President’s Surveillance Program (P.S.P.), the major telephone companies voluntarily hand over the data. The N.S.A. creates a twenty-four-hour “Metadata Analysis Center” (MAC) to search the phone records. In October 26, 2001: The Patriot Act is passed. Section 215 allows the government to seize “any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items) for an investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.”

At this point the process started with adoption of Truman doctrine came to a logical end: national surveillance state became a reality. Formally Truman Doctrine was created "to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures." but in reality their function was more questionable and after 9/11 (some people date this event as early as 1963 -- JFK assassination) those activities created what is called "The State Within a State" similar to the USSR KGB role (see The State Within a State by Yevgenia Albats and Catherine A. Fitzpatrick). Here is one review of the book:

A Customer

passionate albeit muddled, August 24, 1999

I have problems with the author's obvious hatred of the Russian Revolution and Stalin and the way she claims there is an unbroken chain of horror going all the way back to 1917. Obviously things are better today -- hence her book! She says 66.7 million people died under "Chekist" rule since the Russian Revolution -- and then cites the Guiness Book of Records as her source!? No one could ever prove such a figure, I think its one of things that's repeated 'til it becomes fact.

I also find the author's lack of knowledge about our own CIA kind of disheartening. This fine organization has spread as much death and terror in the Third World (Indonesia, Guatemala,Chile, Argentina, Brazil etc. etc. ) as the KGB ever did anywhere, yet she seems to make them out to be benevolent compared to the KGB (which if you read this book are responsible for everything wrong with the world today).

After reading this book I still don't understand why she thinks the KGB or its incarnations are as bad today as they were at the height of the Terror in 1937. Its not really explained in the book. I still am not convinced that the KGB was the NKVD, and definitely convinced that either was the SS. Research I have done casually has never come up with hard, convincing figures for a Nazi style genocide in the USSR, and this anecdotal, unconvincing book didn't change my historical views.

See Michael J. Hogan, A Cross of Iron: Harry S. Truman and the Origins of the National Security State, 1945-1954. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998; which "explains the transformative process that ended in the ultimate demise of the New Deal state with its emphasis on social spending and ushered in the militarist National Security State." From Amazon review:

Hogan, a specialist in American diplomatic and national security studies, has written a complex but interesting work on the emergence of the national security state. To create this state, it was necessary to merge the armed forces, the Defense Department, and scientists into a single unit to enhance the military's capabilities. To a large extent, this unification was accomplished in the 1950s. The driving forces were James Forrestal, Dean Acheson, and powerful members of Congress such as Carl Vinson (D-GA), who chaired the Committee on Naval Affairs, along with presidents Truman and Eisenhower.

Hogan presents a compelling case but overemphasizes the importance of Truman and Eisenhower while downplaying the role of Vinson and others in the security state's creation. In fact, both Truman and Eisenhower often seemed opposed to it but succumbed to pressure from Congress and key figures like Acheson. This extremely complex study, which deals with a subject few other books handle, is designed for scholars and informed lay readers interested in the creation of the "military-industrial complex." by Richard P. Hedlund, Ashland Community Coll., KY

Former CIA officer Victor Marchetti in his book "Propaganda and Disinformation: How the CIA Manufactures History" noted:

"As I pointed out in the preface to The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence in 1974, democratic governments fighting totalitarian enemies run the risk of imitating their methods and thereby destroying democracy. By suppressing historical fact, and by manufacturing historical fiction, the CIA, with its obsessive secrecy and its vast resources, has posed a particular threat to the right of Americans to be informed for the present and future by an objective knowledge of the past.

As long as the CIA continues to manipulate history, historians of its activities must be Revisionist if we are to know the truth about the agency's activities, past and present."

Attempts to curtain the surveillance proved to by fruitless.  Church Committee was probably the most important "after JFK assassination" attempt to somewhat tame three latter agencies and especially CIA, but it ended in nothing.

Later NSA overtook CIA in many areas of intelligence gathering activities. Which create internal frictions between two agencies. State Department also "infringed" in CIA role in foreign countries and, for example, in organization of neoliberal color revolutions in oil rich or strategically important countries it is difficult to tell when clandestine actions of State Department ends and clandestine actions of CIA stars and vice versa. 

In is interesting to note that even Senators feel threatened by this total surveillance system. In December 14, 2005 Senators Barack Obama, Chuck Hagel, John Kerry, Richard Durbin, and several colleagues sign a letter warning that Section 215 “would allow the government to obtain library, medical and gun records and other sensitive personal information” that “would allow government fishing expeditions targeting innocent Americans.” They demand that the records requested should “have some connection to a suspected terrorist or spy,” a requirement that would

protect innocent Americans from unnecessary surveillance and ensure that government scrutiny is based on individualized suspicion, a fundamental principle of our legal system.

In March, 2006, the Patriot Act is reauthorized without the changes sought by Obama and others.

In his October 19, 2012 review of the book Saman Mohammadi (The Excavator) wrote:

The case could be made that the creation of the CIA and the National Security State in 1947 was necessary. But after sixty years of human rights abuses, systematic attacks on the constitution, false flag terror events, assassinations of political reformers, and other horrible crimes against humanity, should not the CIA be reformed?

Let's put the question of morality aside. What are the "national security" reasons that legitimize the existence of the CIA? Once you learn that Al-Qaeda is a CIA creation and proxy insurgent army and that 9/11 was a massive false flag operation, you come to the natural conclusion that the CIA does not perform a national security role.

The CIA plays a much dirtier role: engineering the American mind. It is not denied that the shadow CIA has major influence in the mainstream media, especially amongst top newspapers such as The Washington Post and The New York Times. Michael S. Rozeff speculates that the New York Times is entirely run by the CIA.

We can't know for certain if that is true because of the lack of historical documentation in the public domain, but there is a mountain of observable evidence that proves the CIA has many of its spooks working for the New York Times. Go here for just one example.

Until the American people demand that the U.S. government commit to radical transparency and the principles enshrined in the U.S. constitution, the shadow CIA and the mainstream media can twist history and manage public perceptions of reality as much as they like.

The shadow CIA's greatest power comes from its command of the American public mind as well as its ability to create a fictional version of history. The false flag September 11 events was the shadow CIA's biggest media operation to date. It was their Mona Lisa. They painted the canvas of reality with the brush of myth, and worked day and night to shape the collective memory of the American people while the horror of the tragic attacks was still fresh in the nation's mind.

Although the shadow CIA doesn't have a total command of the American mind and of history, as proven by the rise of the global 9/11 truth and justice movement, it possesses enough media power to mold world public opinion and dictate government policy for the United States with ease. There is no question that its power is totalitarian in nature and its aims are evil. It does not serve the interests of the American people; that much is clear.

How can there be freedom when CIA officials in television studios, newspaper offices, and publishing companies drive the public conversation and form the national narrative on every issue of significance. The global alternative media is the only global civil society actor that is putting limits on the CIA's power to make up history and suppress the truth about historical events like 9/11 and the occult sacrifice of JFK.

In the past, the shadow CIA was presented with roadblocks in the Congress. But 9/11 fixed that problem. The laws and the politics changed. In "The Big Chill," author Dan Froomkin says the absence of Congressional leadership in the post-9/11 political universe has strengthened executive power. Here is an excerpt his article:

After past periods of executive excess, the Fourth Estate was certainly more robust and arguably more persistent, but it also found natural allies in the other branches of government—particularly Congress. By contrast, over the summer of 2012, the publication of a minimal amount of new information regarding drones, cyberwarfare and targeted killings incited bipartisan agreement on Capitol Hill—not to conduct hearings into what had been revealed, but to demand criminal investigations into the leaking.

That's how Congress has been ever since the terrorist attacks 11 years ago. "We never got our post 9/11 Church Committee," said Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists's Project on Government Secrecy, referring to a special investigative Senate committee that held hearings on widespread intelligence abuses after the Watergate scandal. "What we've got instead is the intelligence oversight committee drafting legislation to penalize leaks."

Since the Congress is not willing to stand up for the rights of the American people, the truth, human rights, and the U.S. Constitution, then the American people and global civil society must stand up. Congress has no real power. According to a recent Rasmussen survey, Congress only has an eight percent approval rating. There are underground, neo-Nazi groups in Europe that are more popular than the Congress.

The mainstream media is no better. It is content with its role as a propaganda arm of the shadow CIA, and that is a tragedy. American newspapers have the power to improve their nation and change the world for the better, but instead they choose to cover up independent investigations of shady events like 9/11 that shed light on how the U.S. government really operates.

Alternative media outlets like Infowars.com, Veterans Today, Lew Rockwell.com, Washington's Blog, The Corbett Report, and countless others are doing the best they can to educate the American people and wake up humanity.

The last thing the shadow CIA wants to see is an informed and awakened America. It is waging a silent war on human consciousness because it is scared of an enlightened world. A world that is awake and aware of its crimes against humanity is its greatest nightmare.

If the shadow CIA has its way, it will continue inventing stories and passing it off as history with total immunity. But the global alternative media is telling the shadow CIA: Enough is enough, stop lying to the American people and the world.

The CIA's reckless disregard of U.S. traditions and laws made former President Harry Truman rethink his decision to create the CIA in the first place. On December 22, 1963, Truman wrote in The Washington Post:

For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas. I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations.

On August 17, 1975 Senator Frank Church stated on NBC's Meet the Press without mentioning the name of the NSA about this agency (Wikipedia):

In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.

If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.

I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.[11]

Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer list of features of National security state

In his book "Brave New World Order" (Orbis Books, 1992, paper), Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer argues that the Bush I war in Iraq (as well as Bush II invasion and occupation of the country) was an action of the military industrial complex usurping the "peace dividend". Iraq was attractive target as it has oil and far enough away to prove a good vehicle for eating up contract cash. He views the rise of the National Security Defense State as a consequence of "the threat of peace" for military industrial complex and identifies seven characteristics of a such a state:

  1. The military is the highest authority. In a National Security State the military not only guarantees the security of the state against all internal and external enemies, it has enough power to determine the overall direction of the society. In a National Security State the military exerts important influence over political, economic, as well as military affairs.
  2. Political democracy and democratic elections are viewed with suspicion, contempt, or in terms of political expediency. National Security States often maintain an appearance of democracy. However, ultimate power rests with the military or within a broader National Security Establishment.
  3. The military and related sectors wield substantial political and economic power. They do so in the context of an ideology which stresses that 'freedom" and "development" are possible only when capital is concentrated in the hands of elites.
  4. Obsession with enemies. There are enemies of the state everywhere. Defending against external and/or internal enemies becomes a leading preoccupation of the state, a distorting factor in the economy, and a major source of national identity and purpose.
  5. The working assumption is that the enemies of the state are cunning and ruthless. Therefore, any means used to destroy or control these enemies is justified.
  6. It restricts public debate and limits popular participation through secrecy or intimidation. Authentic democracy depends on participation of the people. National Security States limit such participation in a number of ways: They sow fear and thereby narrow the range of public debate; they restrict and distort information; and they define policies in secret and implement those policies through covert channels and clandestine activities. The state justifies such actions through rhetorical pleas of "higher purpose" and vague appeals to "national security."
  7. The church is expected to mobilize its financial, ideological, and theological resources in service to the National Security State.
Now we can add one additional feature
  1. Total surveillance

Compare that definition of the National Security State with the definition of Inverted Totalitarism. Most countries now have features of both.

The debate about National Security State reemerged in June 2008 due to revelations make about existence of the Prism program and similar program by British security services. For example, Jacob Augstein used the term "Obama's Soft Totalitarianism" in his article Europe Must Stand Up to American Cyber-Snooping published by SPIEGEL.

Here is an interesting comment of user MelFarrellSr in The Guardian discussion of the article NSA analysts 'willfully violated' surveillance systems, agency admits (August 24, 2013):

Here's the thing about the NSA, the GCHQ, Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, et al...

We all have to stop commenting as if the NSA and the GCHQ are in this thing on their own; the reality is that no one was supposed to know one iota about any of these programs; the NSA and the GCHQ began and put in place the structure that would allow all internet service providers, and indeed all corporations using the net, the ability to track and profile each and every user on the planet, whether they be using the net, texting, cell, and landline.

We all now know that Google, Yahoo, and the rest, likely including major retailers, and perhaps not so major retailers, are all getting paid by the United States government, hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money, our money, to profile 24/7 each and every one of us..., they know how we think, our desires, our sexual preferences, our religious persuasion, what we spend, etc.; make no mistake about it, they know it all, and what they don’t currently have, they will very soon…

These agencies and indeed all those who are paid by them, will be engaged over the next few weeks in a unified program of "perception management" meaning that they will together come up with an all-encompassing plan that will include the release of all manner of statements attesting to the enforcement of several different disciplinary actions against whomever for "illegal" breaches of policy...

They may even bring criminal actions against a few poor unfortunate souls who had no idea they would be sacrificed as one part of the "perception management" game.

Has anyone wondered why, to date, no one in power has really come out and suggested that the program must be curtailed to limit its application to terrorism and terrorist types?

Here’s why; I was fortunate recently to have given an education on how networks such as Prism, really work, aside from the rudimentary details given in many publications. They cannot, and will not, stop monitoring even one individuals activity, because to do so will eventually cause loss of the ability to effectively monitor as many as 2.5 Million individuals.

Remember the “Two to Three Hop” scenario, which the idiot in one of the hearings inadvertently spoke of; therein lies the answer. If the average person called 40 unique people, three-hop analysis would allow the government to mine the records of 2.5 million Americans Do the math; Internet usage in the United States as of June 30, 2012 reached a total of over 245,000,000 million…

The following link shows how connected the world is… http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats2.htm

We should never forget how the Internet began, and who developed it, the United States Armed Forces; initially it was known as Arpanet, see excerpt and link below…

"The Internet may fairly be regarded as a never-ending worldwide conversation." - Supreme Court Judge statement on considering first amendment rights for Internet users.

"On a cold war kind of day, in swinging 1969, work began on the ARPAnet, grandfather to the Internet. Designed as a computer version of the nuclear bomb shelter, ARPAnet protected the flow of information between military installations by creating a network of geographically separated computers that could exchange information via a newly developed protocol (rule for how computers interact) called NCP (Network Control Protocol).”

http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa091598.htm

There is no government anywhere on the planet that will give up any part of the program…, not without one hell of a fight...

Incidentally, they do hope and believe that everyone will come to the same conclusion; they will keep all of us at bay for however long it takes; they have the money, they have the time, and they economically control all of us...

Pretty good bet they win...

Whether the United States stands within the order of international law or outside it ?

The book American Exceptionalism and Human Rights (edited by Ignatieff) raised an important and probably the most controversial question in world politics: whether the United States stands within the order of international law or outside it.

Following are based on the article by Laurence W. Britt published in Free Inquiry magazine

To a secular humanist, the principles of international law seems logical, right, and crucial. Yet, there is one archetypal political philosophy that is anathema to almost all of these principles. It is fascism. And fascism’s principles are wafting in the air today, surreptitiously masquerading as something else, challenging everything we stand for. The cliché that people and nations learn from history is not only overused, but also overestimated; often we fail to learn from history, or draw the wrong conclusions. Sadly, historical amnesia is the norm.

We are two-and-a-half generations removed from the horrors of Nazi Germany, although constant reminders jog the consciousness. German and Italian fascism form the historical models that define this twisted political worldview. Although they no longer exist, this worldview and the characteristics of these models have been imitated by protofascist regimes at various times in the twentieth century. Both the original German and Italian models and the later protofascist regimes show remarkably similar characteristics. Although many scholars question any direct connection among these regimes, few can dispute their visual similarities.

Beyond the visual, even a cursory study of these fascist and protofascist regimes reveals the absolutely striking convergence of their modus operandi. This, of course, is not a revelation to the informed political observer, but it is sometimes useful in the interests of perspective to restate obvious facts and in so doing shed needed light on current circumstances.

The following regimes can be studies in this respect: Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Franco’s Spain, Salazar’s Portugal, Papadopoulos’s Greece, Pinochet’s Chile, and Suharto’s Indonesia. They constitute a mixed bag of national identities, cultures, developmental levels, and history. But they all followed the fascist or protofascist model in obtaining, expanding, and maintaining power. Further, all these regimes have been overthrown, so a more or less complete picture of their basic characteristics and abuses is possible. Analysis of these seven regimes reveals fourteen common threads that link them in recognizable patterns of national behavior and abuse of power. These basic characteristics are more prevalent and intense in some regimes than in others, but they all share at least some level of similarity.

One can wonder how many of those are applicable to Bush/McCain. What do you think ?
  1. Propaganda of nationalism and Exceptionalism ("shining city on the hill", beckon of democracy, etc). Prominent displays of flags and ubiquitous lapel pins. The fervor to show patriotic nationalism, both on the part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up in its frenzy. Pride in the military, and demands for unity are way of expressing this nationalism. It was usually coupled with a level of suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia (French fries - Freedom fries).

  2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. Despite "freedom rhetorics" the party views human rights as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted. When abuse was egregious and truth about gulags is out, the tactic was to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation.

  3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. The use of scapegoating as a means to divert the people’s attention from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions. The methods of choice—relentless propaganda and disinformation—were usually effective. Often the parties would incite “spontaneous” acts against the target scapegoats, such as Muslims, communists/socialists/liberals, ethnic and racial minorities, traditional national enemies, members of other religions, secularists, homosexuals, and “terrorists.” Opponents of these party were inevitably labeled as terrorists stooges and dealt with accordingly.

  4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. Ruling elites identified closely with the military. A disproportionate share of national budget is allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an ultimate expression of nationalism, and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite.

  5. Sexism. Beyond the simple fact that the political elite and the national culture were male-dominated, the party covertly views women as second-class citizens. Often are both anti-abortion and homophobic with the cover of religious values. For propaganda reasons those attitudes were masterfully blended into strong support of the fundamentalist religious sects, thus lending the party some legitimacy to cover for its abuses.

  6. A controlled mass media. The mass media could be relied upon never to stray from the party line. Control can be indirect and subtle with formal adoption of slogan about "free media". Methods included the control of licensing, access to resources, economic pressure, appeals to patriotism, and implied threats. The leaders and owners of the mass media are part of the power elite. The result is rampant brainwashing, which usually success in keeping the general public unaware of the party's excesses.

  7. Obsession with national security. A national security apparatus is bend to come under direct control of the ruling elite. It is used to bypass laws as a direct instrument of oppression, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting “national security,” and questioning its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.

  8. Abuse of religion. The party attaches itself to the dominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as militant defenders of religious values. The fact that the ruling elite’s behavior was incompatible with those values is swept under the rug. Propaganda kept up the illusion that the ruling elites were defenders of the faith and opponents are “godless.” A perception was manufactured that opposing the party is tantamount to an attack on religion.

  9. Power of corporations protected. Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of “have-not” citizens.

  10. Power of organized labor suppressed or eliminated. Since organized labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Being poor was considered akin to a vice.

  11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals. Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these party. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security and the patriotic ideal. Universities professors come under close scrutiny; politically unreliable faculty harassed or eliminated. Unorthodox ideas or scientific theories, especially economic, are strongly attacked, silenced, or crushed.

  12. Obsession with crime and punishment. Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge prison populations. The police is often glorified and had almost unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. Criminal charges sometimes are used against political opponents. Fear, and hatred, of criminals or “traitors” was often promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power.

  13. Rampant cronyism and corruption. Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. With the national security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood by the general population.

  14. Fraudulent elections. Elections in the form of two candidates representing the same power elite are usually bogus. When actual elections with candidates were held, they would usually be perverted by the power elite to get the desired result. Common methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, suppressing responsibilities for legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite.

Does any of this ring alarm bells? Of course not. After all, this is America, officially a democracy with the rule of law, a constitution, a free press, honest elections, and a well-informed public constantly being put on guard against evils. Historical comparisons like these are just exercises in verbal gymnastics. Maybe, maybe not.

Edward Snowden quotes about National Security State

The most recent debate about the legitimacy of national security state as exists in the USA was sparked by Edward Snowden revelations. The following are 27 quotes from Edward Snowden about National Security State modus operandi  might send a chill up your spine...


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National Security State Bulletin, 2017 National Security State Bulletin, 2016 National Security State Bulletin, 2015

[May 23, 2019] Your smartphone is leaking your information Bram Bonn TEDxGhent - YouTube

Notable quotes:
"... You brought up some great points, some people don't realize that "Free Wi-FI" can be dangerous. it's scary to think how easy it is for someone to be the "middle man" and see your data and location. ..."
"... Smartphones are like very small children that will "speak" to any stranger on the streets. ..."
"... If you have a jaolbroken iPhone, download and install Firewall iP7. It will notify you about every connection, incoming and outgoing, and allows you to choose if you want to deny or allow the connections ..."
"... I'm off of WhatsApp from the past 3 years! and I didn't die.. :D lol ..."
May 23, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Nutmeg Technologies , 2 years ago

You brought up some great points, some people don't realize that "Free Wi-FI" can be dangerous. it's scary to think how easy it is for someone to be the "middle man" and see your data and location.

Saber Tig , 6 months ago

Smartphones are like very small children that will "speak" to any stranger on the streets.

Malseph , 2 years ago

Its so funny how easy it is today to completely hijack someones life due to their careless use of technology. Basically anything you use that doesn't require a wire is a huge risk. Even wired is if you dont know what you are doing. Not to mention... Clouds. Cloud systems are great for spying on stupid people. Did you just take a nude photo of yourself to send to your girlfriend? Well, if you use any apple device i'm not the only one that knows you did. Oh modern society...

Aviatorul Dinfilm , 3 years ago

Smartphone = CIA and FBI

RockJumper , 4 years ago

If you have a jaolbroken iPhone, download and install Firewall iP7. It will notify you about every connection, incoming and outgoing, and allows you to choose if you want to deny or allow the connections

Dolly Doodles , 1 year ago

This is a perfect video to explain why to turn off roaming and Wi-fi when you leave the house

S1gm@_Wolf , 6 months ago

Ive been off all social media for 3 months now and feel amazing. I be cancelling my phone service next month. Minimalism is the way back to life guys.

GizmoGirl , 10 months ago

I'm off of WhatsApp from the past 3 years! and I didn't die.. :D lol

Aerox ⁣ , 1 week ago

I'm seriously considering switching to an old 80's phone, buying an old camera, get rid of my computer and start using cash instead of my creditcard. There's no other way to stay safe in todays society! Heck I can't even trust my refridgerator anymore...

[May 23, 2019] How to Avoid Surveillance...With Your Phone Christopher Soghoian TED Talks

Switched off phone is more or less secure pone ;-)
May 23, 2019 | www.youtube.com

HipHopBeatSource , 2 months ago

Without watching this video simply

(1)turn phone off

(2) Remove battery if you can.

(3)Throw directly into toilet.

(4)Walk away.

Ryan Quintana , 3 months ago

This is a lie and disinformation. Look at project prism for proof that apple has been involved with the Nsa since 2012

Summer Love , 1 month ago

People In The Sixties: The Government Will Wiretap Your Home

People Now: Hey Wire Tap, show me pictures of cats.

Soheb khan , 3 years ago

Apple and Facebook are securing our talks - Don't make me laugh.

HotNitrogen , 3 years ago

whatsapp encrypted and private? Not much point since Facebook pretty much hands over data to governments.

Truthshock 5000 , 3 weeks ago

This Shlomo is a PR shill for tech companies.

[May 23, 2019] William "Bill" Binney, former NSA technical director on how NSA track you. From the SHA2017 conference in Netherlands

Important point is that NSA interesting in unlimited growth and money like any large bureaucracy. and this is like cancer for society.
Those data constitute perfect blackmail material for any politician. So that mean that intelligence agencies control the congress and the government.
An interesting question is: why with this massive data collection organized crime still exists.
Aug 08, 2017 | youtube.com

Agent76 , says: May 23, 2019 at 2:08 pm GMT

Aug 8, 2017 How NSA Tracks You (Bill Binney)

William "Bill" Binney, former NSA technical director on how NSA track you. From the SHA2017 conference in Netherlands.

How NSA Tracks You (Bill Binney) [improved audio] - YouTube

William Schutter 1 year ago

This design of bulk data management demonstrates that they are interested in acquiring leverage over politicians and everyone else rather than analysis to block terrorist acts. Could not be clearer.

Rick Geise 11 months ago

Our government is out of control, not only are they apparently collecting everything on each of us, "Most of these terror attacks are done by government guided terrorists, so the NSA is purposely choosing not to see the terror links until after the attack." -Joel Skousen, 2-09-2018 'World Affairs Brief'.

Soul Survivor 1 year ago

It is designed to be a blackmail tool, a LOOKBACK after they have something else on you. It is so massive to keep the employees busy doing nothing in a timely manner. It isn't meant to me a human run predictive tool, they want "machine learning" to be able to work it out. Bill Binney is brilliant.

Naseem Khan 1 year ago

Who better to expose them than Bill Binney, the man who designed the system and he is doing the right thing by exposing them. I used to think that Pentagon was the largest building but three times the size and collecting bulk that they cannot even use is foolish. I cannot accredit them for anything good out of this because there is nothing good except waste of taxpayers money. There was a time when anything this size would be outdated. They should strictly be asked to provide accountability but because they don't, there is no ceiling on their spending.

PAUL ROBINSON 1 year ago

I write what I write knowing they monitor things praying one day they get a clue. I hide nothing!! Before God as they say all seeing and all knowing we can hide nothing in dark or in the light!! Weather they think they are God or not!! They think before all this admission you can't see hear or feel there tactics!! I notice every thing that tries to interfere with my devices! Phone computers electronics ect. Let them play the game, let us use same technology against them and see how it plays out!! Lol sad that don't need to one lil old me vs how many of them with all technology at their fingertips!!! Wow impressive!! Difference between me and them is they wanna manipulate and rip people off n control them and I only wish to help others and not make slaves out of them. If I had the endless funds I would more than pay people what they are worth and help the less fortunate. I could show how everyone could live better, happier and healthier lives. They don't want this they fear it cause they want all power and control!!! Very very pathetic!! Read more Show less Reply 21 22 Loading... View all 10 replies View all 10 replies Hide replies

Remote Viewer 1 11 months ago

If Binney is accurate, then they are bright enough to use Artificial Intelligence to turn the data pile into real intel. Duh. So I think Mr. Binney is allowed to share disinformation. They are operating a fullt operational battlestar.

Doublevanoz 3 months ago

I worked in the same building about a year before Snowden was there. The facility in the movie(Hawaii) looked Hi-Tech in the movie... The place was a fuckin' dump! I laughed when I saw the movie.. you could of walked in there with 1OO thumbdrives in a bag..no metal detector or scanners Read more Show less Reply 1 2

Reclusus 5 months ago (edited)

If the US is doing this, than 100% sure the Chinese and Russians and Iranians even South Africans and Arab Nations do just the same. So having an NSA as a stasi is nothing new nor different from what other nations do. Sure it is illegal...but knowing and safely assuming more nation collect our data...I don't really worry less or more when owning a hard copy at NSA. And a back up hard copy on what they own of us all...can be handy...So sure file your law suit...but I would advise the judges to say that you are right, but that there is higher reasons for doing so thank you sir...but I am not convinced living with closed eyes against open eyes...is a weak position to stand on. So either they are all brought down...or we need a version of our own. I don't think...there is a choice sir.

And sure defame leading people in this field and stating they are as bad as Darth Vader...well...I think sir...you have a fast opinion with a limit on reaching to the true facts of what is happening in internet-land. I think I don't really need your opinion when it is based and outed as simple jokes on people that try and protect our Western World. And sure crime is using NSA information too and sure people are targetted. We can do something about that...but if it is wise to stall the NSA in protecting us in overall sense is not really smart. I think we just want more control over people using this information. So maybe we need this control, but just make sure it is used for good instead of evil. Well that isn't making our days different from before this new stasi rised.

Than comment you have on Iran...smuggling dope through various internation companies...lol...my dear sir they probably got the idea from the Americans using drug money profits to fund groups in the South Americas trying to bring down foreign governments. They are not any different from what the US agencies do. So kindof hypocritic hearing that from an American. Of course they would want a lid on collected data spread, and of course also the NSA holds infiltrants and people that would misuse power. So sure they keep it as much hidden and unknown. I think that is negatively explain-able as well as positivly.

An objective conclusion is to be made. So sure..file your law suit. I think you are just saying what freightened people wish to hear,..and gaining in on profits on it? And you think that is a nice commercial expertise? Or is this all done for free...I doubt that a seat there is free of charge sir. What are you funding with it?

Chaparral7040 1 year ago

NSA Whistleblower William Binney and CIA Whistleblower Ray McGovern at Manhattan Town Hall DNC/Podesta emails were not hacked by the Russians but were an 87 second download to a thumb drive by Seth Rich, who had issues because the DNC and Hillary had stolen the Nomination from Bernie Sanders. The DNC then had to have Seth Rich murdered to sell their "the Russians did it" diversion to keep everyone from looking at the content of the DNC and Podesta emails. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=4nPCBeMJpKQ simflyr1957 4 months ago George Orwell in 1984 was a prophesy for today

W N 4 months ago

Americans and permanent residents, must realize that we live in a country that the government supposedly elected, created, funded, to serve and protect the rights of the citizens and civilians within our border, has become self-supporting and prioritized their own agendas of self promotion and self preservation. The government no longer represents us. Nor serve us. We now live under a modern fascist state.

Those at the top are no even elected or can held accountable by the people. Imminent Domain, Civil forfeiture, unconstitutional spying, suspicion and persecution, blackmail, threats, and even murder. All state sponsored, and complete immunity from lawful prosecution, and retribution. And unless we accept that we're partially to blame for letting them get away with this, we will never effectively bring about justice and change.

It will be status quo, and can only get worse for our posterity. Remember, if every person in this country were in solidarity in mass focused protest.....boycotting products, refusing to sustain their economy, didn't go to work and all called in sick, didn't file our taxes, refused to vote for anyone, flood their spying databases with keywords, and photos, and phrases, Took a hiatus simultaneously from being a part of their 'machine'....it would send a shockwave like a tsunami disrupting all their infrastructure, and if in unified cooperation across the world....that disruption would be global. Recall what India was able to do in nonviolent civil unrest. It drove the invading British empire out of their country.

Chris Turnblom 5 months ago

William Binney is an absolute hero! It's only through the courageous actions of people like him, that we will end the subversion of justice and the overwhelming corruption that has plagued this nation and the world for far too long. Even if all you are capable of is to engage people in conversations over the internet, it is still a very useful tool. Ridiculing people as "keyboard worriers" is a humiliation tactic. They know it works so they are trying many approaches to manage those who would change the world through logic and reason. I encourage everyone to do everything they can to contribute to the ongoing effort and accomplishing the enormous task of ending the era of rule by psychopaths. Donate money to organizations you think would be helpful, vote, attend public meetings and protests, boycott those companies that contribute to the corruption, there's many ways to get this done. Just use your head, every little bit helps. If the "q" thing is to be believed, we have them on the run now so it's time for everyone to pitch in and end this terrible chapter in our history.

Sarge 7000 5 months ago

How is he able to display Top Secret/OBCON/NOFORM/etc? Like he stares, all this material items are in effect today! Don’t worry about the courts-that why the have those Federal Judges, in every major city, that set behind the closed and sealed doors to stop all these suits against the Fed’s. One of the reasons that no one has taken in actions, on the companies involved in these illegal companies are the political problems in the Senate and the house. If a GI dies, so what, the political system looks to the military as founder, most could care less-unless there a camera near by. This the type of man is exactly the type we need to run these type of organization, vis the polices appointee’s!! This was a great lecture, we could use a few more in several federal level. Thank God for Americans like this. Read more Show less Reply 1

Benoit Vanhees 6 months ago (edited)

NSA tracks them, CIA wacks them :0) Maybe someone should start programs to delta overload their storage capacity so much, they'll need 25 Fort Meades and at least 800 000 employees. Read more Show less Reply 1

checkmate 1 year ago

That's great information, but a salmon couldn't swim up the stream you're fighting. Remember what happened to Frank Olson? He knew too much and "jumped" out of a window. The game is rigged, and you can't beat Them. The only way to survive is to not make waves, stay out of trouble, and under the radar, so to speak. Most of us are just small fish, who They wouldn't be very interested in. There are plenty of big fish to keep Them busy. I'm getting too old to waste my time fighting a battle fueled by an endless amount of money... money always wins. If you aren't a big-time drug dealer or a terrorist, they haven't got time to waste on you. It's fucked up... I know that, but it simply is what it is.

frank brown 5 months ago

Quote:- "Give certain people power and sooner or later they will use it".......that needs modifying to "Give certain people power and sooner or later they will ABUSE it". And therein lies the solution. We must be far more careful to whom we give power. Ask the prospective candidates for council seats in your area or for national governmental positions just what they are prepared to do FOR the people, and if you don't like the answer, don't vote them into power.

TEHCONIP .A 1 year ago

The Gestapo reference is spot on.. and I'm sure there's plenty of "It's for your protection" people to keep this thing chuggin along..

MR WHO CARES , 5 months ago

This man knows sooooooo much more, like to sit down off camera and man to man talk and I'll bet it would blow our minds the stuff our sneaky governments do without warrants or anything

They just take what they want and track your moves, listen in on your calls, watching your texts and FB ECT,,, all without our knowledge or consent, this is not constitutional and it's invading our rights along with our privacy rights my private life what and where and how I do everything

it's downright unconstitutional and should be taken to the highest court in the land and terminated

Case Dismissed Guaranteed, 4 months ago

Why didn't he point out that Israel spy's on Americans and America spy for them. No direct spying because THAT's "illegal."

big Cahuna3 months ago (edited)

Laws and jail are only for the poor and ""unconnected"". How else could the crime families, bankers, church, etc. keep their wealth and power ? The commoners and serfs must be divided, controlled , conquered, brainwashed, taxed, intimidated, imprisoned, overworked , and killed when beneficial to the kings, queens, bankers, Popes, and billionaires.

[May 23, 2019] Connections to CIA from major tech companies

May 23, 2019 | www.unz.com

Sean McBride says: Next New Comment May 22, 2019 at 2:54 pm GMT 100 Words @ababush Who wields more power in the contemporary world: big tech billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Larry Page, or spy agency heads like John Brennan, James Clapper and Robert Ashley?

Billionaires in general can easily purchase the services of armies of current and former spooks.

Did you notice the deferential attitude adopted by the US Congress towards Mark Zuckerberg?

How much power does John Brennan now command compared to Jeff Bezos? Read More Replies: @ababush Reply Agree/Disagree/Etc.

Sean McBride , says: Next New Comment May 22, 2019 at 3:10 pm GMT

Where is real power most intensely concentrated in the contemporary world?

Take a close look at the leading AI experts at

-Alibaba
-Amazon
-Apple
-Baidu
-CIA
-DARPA
-DIA
-Facebook
-GCHQ
-Google
-Microsoft
-MIT
-MSS
-NSA
-Stanford
-Tencent
-Unit 8200

They are developing the tools to radically upend and control *everything* .

You might also want to the analyze the distribution of ethnic backgrounds among that set of minds.

Where do their loyalties lie? What are their long-term objectives?

Do our traditional models for framing the world adequately capture what is going on?

ababush , says: Next New Comment May 22, 2019 at 4:00 pm GMT
@Sean McBride Senators (and presidents) are not the real power. The big tech companies potential power is the datas they collect, as well as some propaganda means. Those companies were established worldwide with the help and under the supervision of the deep state (CIA, NSA etc). It is clear for me that the deep state has access to the datas collected by those companies, and also has personal files on their managers that could be used should they suddenly feel powerful and independant.

[May 23, 2019] Operation Mockingbird: The CIA and the Media

Notable quotes:
"... Tom Charles Huston testified before the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, commonly known as the Church Committee, on the 43-page plan he presented to the President Nixon and others on ways to collect information about anti-war and "radical" groups, including burglary, electronic surveillance, and opening of mail. ..."
May 23, 2019 | www.unz.com

Agent76 , says: Next New Comment May 22, 2019 at 2:24 pm GMT

Mar 1, 2016 Operation Mockingbird: The CIA and the Media

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Z6Hm0Sla65E?feature=oembed

9/23/1975 Tom Charles Huston Church Committee Testimony

Tom Charles Huston testified before the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, commonly known as the Church Committee, on the 43-page plan he presented to the President Nixon and others on ways to collect information about anti-war and "radical" groups, including burglary, electronic surveillance, and opening of mail.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?408953-1/tom-charles-huston-testimony-church-committee

[May 22, 2019] Israel hacking the world

May 22, 2019 | www.unz.com

Republic , says: Next New Comment May 22, 2019 at 3:40 pm GMT

@Sean McBride

https://www.youtube.com/embed/5VGpWl56ZF0?feature=oembed

Israel hacking the world

[May 22, 2019] The Great Power Game is On and China is Winning

Notable quotes:
"... As the Pentagon's strategic paper posits, China's overriding foreign policy goal is to squeeze America out of East Asia and force it back to the Hawaiian islands as its forward position in the Pacific. Thus would Hawaii cease to be America's strategic platform for projecting power into Asia and become merely a defensive position. If this strategic retreat were to happen, it would be one of the most significant developments in international relations since the end of World War II. ..."
"... None of your suggestions is likely to happen, absent defeat. America's trump card is the fiat dollar as world currency, defended by the full faith and power of an imperial global military, with its own economic inertia to the domestic economy as well. ..."
"... The most obvious step is to forge a genuine alliance with India. America can't take on China alone (although China's ineluctable demographic decline may make the US' relative decline in fortunes short-lived), and the world's largest democracy, and soon to be most populous nation, is an obvious counterweight to China, despite its still inefficient economy. ..."
"... The US has been trying to reverse this, but our patronizing attitude towards a proud country seeking great-power status has led to modest progress at best, and their defense relationship with Russia is stronger than with us. ..."
"... There is no countervailing force within the USA that is able to tame MIC appetites, which are constantly growing. In a sense the nation is taken hostage with no root for escape via internal political mechanisms (for all practical purposes I would consider neocons that dominate the USA foreign policy to be highly paid lobbyists of MIC.) ..."
"... Overlooked might be Germany's copycat foreign policy posturing too often hidden behind 'humanitarian' language. https://www.swp-berlin.org/en/projects/new-power-new-responsibility/the-paper/ ..."
"... Guess the parallel with the US 'New American Century' is not misplaced. Do you realize that Germany aims to leverage the EU for establishing its position as a 'World Player'. Do realize too that it tends to categorize other countries along the same zero sum power line of reasoning as the US "either with us or against us". ..."
"... This German foreign policy gave birth to the European Neighborhood Policy which exploited the US instigated coup to indenture Ukraine into a dependent NON-member state associated exclusively with the EU excluding normal economic relations with Russia. ..."
"... One of the most malign effects of Israeli and Saudi control of American politicians is the grotesque overemphasis on the Middle East in US foreign policy. Trump's trade fights to one side, it often seems as if we dismiss or ignore much of the rest of the world. This disproportion has been obvious and growing since the end of the last century, but at this point it's pathological. ..."
"... Well, it all depends on goals doesn't it. US foreign policy goals are to increase chaos and create international tension. Why? Because US foreign policy exists to feed military and intel contractors on the one hand and asserting power for the sake of asserting power with no overall strategy other the Great Game. ..."
May 22, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The Great Power Game is On and China is Winning If America wants to maintain any influence in Asia, it needs to wake up. By Robert W. Merry May 22, 2019

President Donald J. Trump participates in a bilateral meeting with President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People, Thursday, November 9, 2017, in Beijing, People's Republic of China. ( Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead) From across the pond come two geopolitical analyses in two top-quality British publications that lay out in stark terms the looming struggle between the United States and China. It isn't just a trade war, says The Economist in a major cover package. "Trade is not the half of it," declares the magazine. "The United States and China are contesting every domain, from semiconductors to submarines and from blockbuster films to lunar exploration." The days when the two superpowers sought a win-win world are gone.

For its own cover, The Financial Times ' Philip Stephens produced a piece entitled, "Trade is just an opening shot in a wider US-China conflict." The subhead: "The current standoff is part of a struggle for global pre-eminence." Writes Stephens: "The trade narrative is now being subsumed into a much more alarming one. Economics has merged with geopolitics. China, you can hear on almost every corner in sight of the White House and Congress, is not just a dangerous economic competitor but a looming existential threat."

Stephens quotes from the so-called National Defense Strategy, entitled "Sharpening the American Military's Competitive Edge," released last year by President Donald Trump's Pentagon. In the South China Sea, for example, says the strategic paper, "China has mounted a rapid military modernization campaign designed to limit U.S. access to the region and provide China a freer hand there." The broader Chinese goal, warns the Pentagon, is "Indo-Pacific regional hegemony in the near-term and displacement of the United States to achieve global pre-eminence in the future."

The Economist and Stephens are correct. The trade dispute is merely a small part of a much larger and even more intense geopolitical rivalry that could ignite what Stephens describes as "an altogether hotter war."

As the Pentagon's strategic paper posits, China's overriding foreign policy goal is to squeeze America out of East Asia and force it back to the Hawaiian islands as its forward position in the Pacific. Thus would Hawaii cease to be America's strategic platform for projecting power into Asia and become merely a defensive position. If this strategic retreat were to happen, it would be one of the most significant developments in international relations since the end of World War II.

America has been projecting significant power into Asia since the 1890s, when President William McKinley acquired Hawaii through annexation, then seized Guam and the Philippines in the aftermath of the Spanish-American War. For good measure, he cleared the way for the construction of the Panama Canal and continued his predecessors' robust buildup of the U.S. Navy. President Theodore Roosevelt then pushed the Canal project to actual construction, accelerated the naval buildup, and sent his Great White Fleet around the world as a signal that America had arrived on the global scene -- as if anyone could have missed that obvious reality.

With the total victory over Japan in World War II, America emerged as the hegemon of Asia, with colonies, naval bases, carrier groups, and strategic alliances that made it foolhardy for any nation to even think of challenging our regional dominance. Not even the Vietnam defeat, as psychologically debilitating as that was, could undercut America's Asian preeminence.

Now China is seeking to position itself to push America back into its own hemisphere. And judging from the language of the National Defense Strategy, America doesn't intend to be pushed back. This is a clash of wills, with all the makings of an actual military conflict.

But if China represents the greatest potential threat to America's global position, making an eventual war likely (though not inevitable), why is Washington not acting like it knows this? Why is it engaging in so many silly military capers that undermine its ability to focus attention and resources on the China challenge? While the National Defense Strategy paper suggests that U.S. officials understand the threat, America's actions reveal an incapacity to grapple with this reality in any concentrated fashion.

Here's a general idea of what a U.S. foreign policy under Trump might look like if it was based on a clear recognition of the China threat:

Iran: Since the end of the Cold War, the sheer folly of Trump's Iran policy has been exceeded only by George W. Bush's Iraq invasion. Barack Obama bequeathed to his successor a rare gift in the Iran nuclear deal, which provided an opportunity to direct attention away from Tehran and toward America's position in East Asia. In no way did it serve America's national interest to stir up tensions with Iran while the far more ominous China threat loomed. A policy based on realism would have seized that opportunity and used the channels of communication forged through the nuclear deal to establish some kind of accommodation, however wary or tenuous. Instead, America under Trump has created a crisis where none need exist.

Personnel: While the Iran policy might be difficult to reverse, a reversal is imperative. And that means Trump must fire National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. While their bully boy actions on the global stage seem to mesh with Trump's own temperament, the president also appears increasingly uncomfortable with the results, particularly with regard to their maximum pressure on Iran, which has brought America closer than ever to actual hostilities. Whether Trump has the subtlety of mind to understand just how destructive these men have been to his broad foreign policy goals is an open question. And Trump certainly deserves plenty of blame for pushing America into a zone of open hostility with Iran. But he can't extricate himself from his own folly so long as he has Bolton and Pompeo pushing him toward ever more bellicosity in ever more areas of the world. He needs men around him who appreciate just how wrongheaded American foreign policy has been in the post-Cold War era -- men such as retired Army Colonel Douglas MacGregor and former Virginia senator Jim Webb. Bolton and Pompeo -- out!

Russia: Of all the developments percolating in the world today, none is more ominous than the growing prospect of an anti-American alliance involving Russia, China, Turkey, and Iran. Yet such an alliance is in the works, largely as a result of America's inability to forge a foreign policy that recognizes the legitimate geopolitical interests of other nations. If the United States is to maintain its position in Asia, this trend must be reversed.

The key is Russia, largely by dint of its geopolitical position in the Eurasian heartland. If China's global rise is to be thwarted, it must be prevented from gaining dominance over Eurasia. Only Russia can do that. But Russia has no incentive to act because it feels threatened by the West. NATO has pushed eastward right up to its borders and threatened to incorporate regions that have been part of Russia's sphere of influence -- and its defense perimeter -- for centuries.

Given the trends that are plainly discernible in the Far East, the West must normalize relations with Russia. That means providing assurances that NATO expansion is over for good. It means the West recognizing that Georgia, Belarus, and, yes, Ukraine are within Russia's natural zone of influence. They will never be invited into NATO, and any solution to the Ukraine conundrum will have to accommodate Russian interests. Further, the West must get over Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula. It is a fait accompli -- and one that any other nation, including America, would have executed in similar circumstances.

Would Russian President Vladimir Putin spurn these overtures and maintain a posture of bellicosity toward the West? We can't be sure, but that certainly wouldn't be in his interest. And how will we ever know when it's never been tried? We now understand that allegations of Trump's campaign colluding with Russia were meritless, so it's time to determine the true nature and extent of Putin's strategic aims. That's impossible so long as America maintains its sanctions and general bellicosity.

NATO: Trump was right during the 2016 presidential campaign when he said that NATO was obsolete. He later dialed back on that, but any neutral observer can see that the circumstances that spawned NATO as an imperative of Western survival no longer exist. The Soviet Union is gone, and the 1.3 million Russian and client state troops it placed on Western Europe's doorstep are gone as well.

So what kind of threat could Russia pose to Europe and the West? The European Union's GDP is more than 12 times that of Russia's, while Russia's per capita GDP is only a fourth of Europe's. The Russian population is 144.5 million to Europe's 512 million. Does anyone seriously think that Russia poses a serious threat to Europe or that Europe needs the American big brother for survival, as in the immediate postwar years? Of course not. This is just a ruse for the maintenance of the status quo -- Europe as subservient to America, the Russian bear as menacing grizzly, America as protective slayer in the event of an attack.

This is all ridiculous. NATO shouldn't be abolished. It should be reconfigured for the realities of today. It should be European-led, not American-led. It should pay for its own defense entirely, whatever that might be (and Europe's calculation of that will inform us as to its true assessment of the Russian threat). America should be its primary ally, but not committed to intervene whenever a tiny European nation feels threatened. NATO's Article 5, committing all alliance nations to the defense of any other when attacked, should be scrapped in favor of language that calls for U.S. intervention only in the event of a true threat to Western Civilization itself.

And while a European-led NATO would find it difficult to pull back from its forward eastern positions after adding so many nations in the post-Cold War era, it should extend assurances to Russia that it has no intention of acting provocatively -- absent, of course, any Russian provocations.

The Middle East: The United States should reduce its footprint in the region on a major scale. It should get out of Afghanistan, with assurances to the Taliban that it will allow that country to go its own way, irrespective of the outcome, so long as it doesn't pose a threat to the United States or its vital interests. U.S. troops should be removed from Syria, and America should stop supporting Saudi Arabia's nasty war in Yemen. We should make clear to Israel and the world that the Jewish state is a major U.S. ally and will be protected whenever it is truly threatened. But we should also emphasize that we won't seek through military means to alter the regional balance of power based on mere perceptions of potential future threats to countries in the region, even allies. The United States won't get drawn into regional wars unrelated to its own vital interests.

Far East: Once the other regional decks are cleared, America must turn its attention to Asia. The first question: do we wish to maintain our current position there, or can we accept China's rise even if it means a U.S. retreat or partial retreat from the region? If a retreat is deemed acceptable, then America should secure the best terms possible over a long period of tough and guileful negotiations. But if we decide to maintain regional dominance, then China will have to be isolated and deterred. That will mean a long period of economic tension and even economic warfare, confrontations over China's extravagant claims of sovereignty in the South China Sea and elsewhere, strong U.S. alliances with other Asian nations nurtured through deft and measured diplomacy, soaring technological superiority, and a continual upper hand in any arms race.

In this scenario, can war be averted? History suggests that may not be likely. But either way, America won't remain an Asian power if it allows itself to be pinned down in multiple nonstrategic spats and adventures around the world. Asia is today's Great Game and China is winning. That won't be reversed unless America starts playing.

Robert W. Merry, longtime Washington journalist and publishing executive, is the author most recently of President McKinley: Architect of the American Century . MORE FROM THIS AUTHOR

Hide 27 comments 27 Responses to The Great Power Game is On and China is Winning

Fran Macadam, says: May 21, 2019 at 10:36 pm

None of your suggestions is likely to happen, absent defeat. America's trump card is the fiat dollar as world currency, defended by the full faith and power of an imperial global military, with its own economic inertia to the domestic economy as well. That allows U.S. legal decisions to have extra territorial scope as the real international power, not now irrelevant toothless international institutions like the UN.
Whine Merchant , says: May 22, 2019 at 12:02 am
Nice summary, Mr Merry. Even the most die-hard Trumpet can find something to disagree upon with their Dear Leader while supporting everything else he does, but this clear and succinct outline leaves no where for the Deplorables to hide. Coupled with the China trade war fiasco, thias is pretty grim.

Of course, come 2020, all will be forgiven by the GOP, and even one criticism with be blasted with a twitter assault.

Fazal Majid , says: May 22, 2019 at 12:22 am
The most obvious step is to forge a genuine alliance with India. America can't take on China alone (although China's ineluctable demographic decline may make the US' relative decline in fortunes short-lived), and the world's largest democracy, and soon to be most populous nation, is an obvious counterweight to China, despite its still inefficient economy.

Unfortunately our support for the treacherous Pakistanis has poisoned our relationship with India. In 1971, Nixon actually sent a carrier group in the Bay of Bengal to intimidate the Indians into stopping support for the Bangladeshis fighting a war of independence against the genocidal (West) Pakistan, and the Indians had to call on the Soviets to send nuclear submarines to deter that threat. Like all ancient nations, Indians have long memories. Ironically, that reckless action was in cahoots with China.

The US has been trying to reverse this, but our patronizing attitude towards a proud country seeking great-power status has led to modest progress at best, and their defense relationship with Russia is stronger than with us.

likbez , says: May 22, 2019 at 12:29 am
Great article. Thank you very much!

Pragmatic isolationism is a better deal then the current neocon foreign policy. Which Trump is pursuing with the zeal similar to Obama (who continued all Bush II wars and started two new in Libya and Syria.) Probably this partially can be explained by his dependence of Adelson and pro-Israeli lobby. But the problem is deeper then Trump: it is the power of MIC and American exceptionalism ( which can be viewed as a form of far right nationalism ) about which Andrew Bacevich have written a lot:

From the mid-1940s onward, the primacy of the United States was assumed as a given. History had rendered a verdict: we -- not the Brits and certainly not the Germans, French, or Russians -- were number one, and, more importantly, were meant to be. That history's verdict might be subject to revision was literally unimaginable, especially to anyone making a living in or near Washington, D.C.

If doubts remained on that score, the end of the Cold War removed them. With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism, politicians, journalists, and policy intellectuals threw themselves headlong into a competition over who could explain best just how unprecedented, how complete, and how wondrous was the global preeminence of the United States.

Choose your own favorite post-Cold War paean to American power and privilege. Mine remains Madeleine Albright's justification for some now-forgotten episode of armed intervention, uttered 20 years ago when American wars were merely occasional (and therefore required some nominal justification) rather then perpetual (and therefore requiring no justification whatsoever).

"If we have to use force," Secretary of State Albright announced on morning television in February 1998, "it is because we are America. We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall. We see further into the future."

Back then, it was Albright's claim to American indispensability that stuck in my craw. Yet as a testimony to ruling class hubris, the assertion of indispensability pales in comparison to Albright's insistence that "we see further into the future."

In fact, from February 1998 down to the present, events have time and again caught Albright's "we" napping. The 9/11 terrorist attacks and the several unsuccessful wars of choice that followed offer prime examples. But so too did Washington's belated and inadequate recognition of the developments that actually endanger the wellbeing of 21st-century Americans, namely climate change, cyber threats, and the ongoing reallocation of global power prompted by the rise of China.

Rather than seeing far into the future, American elites have struggled to discern what might happen next week. More often than not, they get even that wrong.

Like some idiot savant, Donald Trump understood this. He grasped that the establishment's formula for militarized global leadership applied to actually existing post-Cold War circumstances was spurring American decline. Certainly other observers, including contributors to this publication, had for years been making the same argument, but in the halls of power their dissent counted for nothing.

Yet in 2016, Trump's critique of U.S. policy resonated with many ordinary Americans and formed the basis of his successful run for the presidency. Unfortunately, once Trump assumed office, that critique did not translate into anything even remotely approximating a coherent strategy. President Trump's half-baked formula for Making America Great Again -- building "the wall," provoking trade wars, and elevating Iran to the status of existential threat -- is, to put it mildly, flawed, if not altogether irrelevant.

His own manifest incompetence and limited attention span don't help.

There is no countervailing force within the USA that is able to tame MIC appetites, which are constantly growing. In a sense the nation is taken hostage with no root for escape via internal political mechanisms (for all practical purposes I would consider neocons that dominate the USA foreign policy to be highly paid lobbyists of MIC.)

In this limited sense the alliance of China, Iran, Russia and Turkey might serve as an external countervailing force which allows some level of return to sanity, like was the case when the USSR used to exist.

I agree with Bacevich that the dissolution of the USSR corrupted the US elite to the extent that it became reckless and somewhat suicidal in seeking "Full Spectrum Dominance" (which is an illusive goal in any case taking into account existing arsenals in China and Russia and the growing distance between EU and the USA.)

Piero , says: May 22, 2019 at 2:06 am
Your current foreign policy simply seems to reflect the astonishing degree of violence that permeates your society, when observing you Americans from a place like Hong Kong or China it's really frightening, I would be more scared to visit the US than Liberia or Sierra Leone, with those innumerable ( armed ) nutcases roaming your streets, you are by now used to it, and it saddens me, thinking of how grateful we should be for all you have done in the distant past for so many countries in the world
Fayez Abedaziz , says: May 22, 2019 at 2:30 am
The blockheads advising know nothing Trump about history and geo-politics don't care a whit about the American people or what is ten years down the road. These people, Bolton, Pompeo and the joke-Kushner- are ego/power lovers and are doing the opposite of a sane policy to every part of the globe.
How the hell do you goad and threaten Russia, for example, for no good reason and how do you threaten Russia, which, like the U.S., with the push of several buttons can turn any city in the world to ashes, in minutes.

The American people are not only dumb as a wall, they don't care about foreign policy and they don't wanna know. The're looking at celebrities and looking at their smart phones for fun and weirdness. The phones are smarter than them and they pay the price when clown Trump does things like trade wars and so on.

Yeah, the average American, what prizes they are, as in they look and say,

Is that the actress there on the 'news' oh, what's she wearing is that the 'genius' athlete, what does that smelly guy say today hey, let's order food delivered so we can watch and tomorrow to the sports bar and

Kent , says: May 22, 2019 at 6:32 am
This article forgets to mention why it would be in the American people's interest to be the hegemon of East Asia. I can't think of any reason myself. Anyone?
JR , says: May 22, 2019 at 7:11 am
Thanks for this article.

Overlooked might be Germany's copycat foreign policy posturing too often hidden behind 'humanitarian' language. https://www.swp-berlin.org/en/projects/new-power-new-responsibility/the-paper/

Guess the parallel with the US 'New American Century' is not misplaced. Do you realize that Germany aims to leverage the EU for establishing its position as a 'World Player'. Do realize too that it tends to categorize other countries along the same zero sum power line of reasoning as the US "either with us or against us".

This German foreign policy gave birth to the European Neighborhood Policy which exploited the US instigated coup to indenture Ukraine into a dependent NON-member state associated exclusively with the EU excluding normal economic relations with Russia.

The result is a thoroughly corrupt indebted Ukraine disenfranchising more than 60% of its population through imposing forced 'Ukrainization'.

Cavin , says: May 22, 2019 at 7:51 am
I agree with the article, but not the title. The article acknowledges two important points, but leaves out another.

First, it correctly acknowledges that our obsession with Iran is vastly disproportionate to the threat it poses. In fact, we would do well to scale back our adventurism in the Middle East. If China is winning in the Far East, it is largely because we have chosen to devote resources elsewhere.

Second, it correctly acknowledges that continued antagonizing of Russia by the West is needless. It is time to normalize relations with Russia, recognize its legitimate interest in having some buffer against the West, and repatriate Russian nationals who have recently immigrated to the West.

Third, the article fails to acknowledge that China, like Russia, is also entitled to some sphere of influence. And there is historic precedence for certain such claims. Those claims are tenuous when it comes to Japan and the Korean peninsula. But there is little reason why American Navy ships should be sailing right up to the borders of China, just as there is little reason why Chinese Navy ships should be sailing off the coast of Oregon. We also need to understand that provoking a trade war that slows the Chinese economy merely enhances the power of President Xi. Trump has given President Xi a massive political gift, and for no good reason. The trade imbalance is evidence of the strength of our economy, not a sign that we're losing out to China.

Grits Again , says: May 22, 2019 at 8:02 am
One of the most malign effects of Israeli and Saudi control of American politicians is the grotesque overemphasis on the Middle East in US foreign policy. Trump's trade fights to one side, it often seems as if we dismiss or ignore much of the rest of the world. This disproportion has been obvious and growing since the end of the last century, but at this point it's pathological.

If we are to compete effectively with China and other global players, if we are to have a balanced and effective foreign policy in general, we need to remove the Middle East blinders, get Israel and Saudi Arabia off our back, and start seeing the world as it is, rather than as Israel and Saudi Arabia pay our politicians to see it.

Collin , says: May 22, 2019 at 8:25 am
Simple questions: Why should we care? And how does all this soft power benefit the average citizens? And for all the China fears, they appear to react very rationally and avoid military conflicts.

Ok, it is true Chinese oil buying is probably keeping Iran in a better economic situation but again this seems more of a problem of Iran hawks not the average citizen. Honestly, I wish the US had more of treasury focused foreign policy and stop worrying about US power.

Mommsen the Younger , says: May 22, 2019 at 9:26 am
Excellent. Merry has it exactly. (Note: Have reread paragraph 9 several times and believe the copy editor fell asleep here)
Chris Cosmos , says: May 22, 2019 at 9:30 am
Well, it all depends on goals doesn't it. US foreign policy goals are to increase chaos and create international tension. Why? Because US foreign policy exists to feed military and intel contractors on the one hand and asserting power for the sake of asserting power with no overall strategy other the Great Game.

Any rational analysis of the past couple of decades forces us to come to that conclusion. The reason why this whole scheme is unlikely to fail in the short and medium term is US military involvement in 150 countries has brought much of the world under Washington's control–or at least their ruling elites. The best China can do is provide an alternative to the Empire and live in some sort of harmony with it because China has not shown any intention of competing militarily with the US. Iran is a key part of the Silk Road project and that is the strategic reason for the attempt to crush or destroy Iran that is central to the strategy. The US wants to keep China and Russia out of Europe–that, if you look at policy, seems to be the main contest.

HenionJD , says: May 22, 2019 at 9:30 am
The conflict with Iran has assumed heightened importance because,at 70 years old, John Bolton has to face the possibility that he might die without having started a war somewhere.
Thaomas , says: May 22, 2019 at 9:32 am
The author misses two other two other components of of a proper China "containment" policy: Immigration and trade policy. The US should be actively trying to attract immigration of skilled young workers and entrepreneurs (including from China) and encouraging university graduates from abroad to remain. The US ought to join the TPP in order to increase our leverage in negotiating reductions in Chinese restrictions on trade and investment.
Sid Finster , says: May 22, 2019 at 10:47 am
Why would Russia want to make a deal with the United States, which cannot be trusted to keep its word, or even to act rationally in pursuit of its own interests?
TheSnark , says: May 22, 2019 at 11:20 am
Generally a good article, but it misses an important point. While China and Russia do have natural spheres of influence, the countries within those natural spheres hate being there.

Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam are naturally within China's influence, but they don't trust the Chinese at all, and surely don't want China to dominate their countries. And given they way the Chinese empire treats Tibetan and Uigurs, they have good reason for that.

Similarly in Eastern Europe, where Poland, Ukraine, and the Baltic States might be in Russian sphere, but they sure don't want to be. The fact is that NATO did not aggressively seek them out for membership, those small countries begged to join NATO out of their historical fear of Russia.

While recognizing such spheres of influence, do we want to abandon friendly, democratic countries to a hostile, autocratic power? The Cold War model of Finland give some hope for a compromise, but it won't be easy to implement outside of Finland.

david , says: May 22, 2019 at 1:41 pm
This article is another vivid illustration of how disoriented and narrow-minded when a typical intelligent and well-meaning American is talking about China. For examples:

1. The author has no problem acknowledging specific geopolitical interests to accommodate Russia or even Iran, but when he comes to China, he fails completely to mention any of the legitimate interests China has in East Asia.

2. The author repeats the nonsensical China haters' allegation about China's threat to America, and China's intention to push American out of East Asia.

3. The author resorts back to a typical zero-sum or even cold-war style mentality when talking about overall China strategy, without even considering the possibilities that China and America can co-exist in a friendly manner, where all the peaceful competition between the two countries ultimately translating into net positive results that benefit the people of both countries and the world.

Unfortunately, our so-called "experts" in China are consistently failing Americans badly, because they lack the knowledge and perspective to think from the other side of the coin.

Steve , says: May 22, 2019 at 1:50 pm
I scrolled for quite a bit before finding Thaomas' comment about TPP. Leaving it will prove to be one of the Trump's admin's greatest blunders (which is saying something) and any column about China strategy that omits it is incomplete.
hooly , says: May 22, 2019 at 2:01 pm
So why exactly should Russia be accommodated and be allowed its sphere of influence and a 'defense perimeter' and not China? I don't get it. And why should the USA be allowed the fruits of its aggression in the form of an annexed and brutally conquered Hawaii? why can't Uncle Sam be satisfied with San Diego as a naval base?

The USA has the Monroe Doctrine giving it dominion over the Western Hemisphere, and China holds the Mandate of Heaven granting it hegemony over everything else. Can't the Dragon and the Eagle get along on that basis??

Ken Zaretzke , says: May 22, 2019 at 2:06 pm
In terms of geography, China vitally needs Russia in order to close off a corridor through which Muslims will flow to China. Without that cooperation from Russia, China will be seriously hobbled by unassimilable and hostile migrants in its south. At least symbolically, this will cripple its superpower claims.

The U.S. would be stupid not to seek an alliance with Russia, given Russia's geographical strengths, which also includes its proximity to the Arctic and therefore a legal claim to the oil and gas buried there.

Geography is Russia's long-term strength, and not incidentally is a reason why trying militarily to force Putin to surrender Crimea could easily lead to nuclear war, which might begin with tactical (battlefield) Russian nukes aimed at NATO garrisons in eastern Europe.

China isn't fated to win its contest with the U.S. if it must depend on Russia in order to become an unquestioned superpower. We need Russia for strategic security as much as Russia needs us for economic growth.

fabian , says: May 22, 2019 at 2:47 pm
Nice summary. In my view the US (not Trump) make a big mistake to throw Russia in the arms of China. It's not only its geopolitical situation that is the problem but the fact the it gives China unlimited access to natural resources. In a generation, if things goes the way they do now, the only saving grace for the US will be a failure of this partnership. Because if it works, by the sheer force of gravity it will swallow Europe. But betting on the adversary's failure is not a good strategy.
workingdad , says: May 22, 2019 at 3:08 pm
eh, keeping pressure on Iran keeps Saudi Arabia happy which means they stay in our sphere; as opposed to China's.

Until Venezuala wants to become part of the Oil-for-dollars system or we all drive electric cars and only oil for remote work and emergency military expeditions then we need the Saudis on our side.

Un Citoyen , says: May 22, 2019 at 3:58 pm
This kind of mentality is the reason why I think the demise of America is necessary to achieve world peace.

Why on God's green earth should America dominate East Asia? Last time I checked, America is NOT part of Asia. We are not even in the same hemisphere for crying out loud. Why can't we just leave Asia to the Asians?

When was the last time China invaded a country? Never. These are the same people who discovered Africa and America long before the Europeans, but only wanted to "do business" and trade. They already have 1.3 Billion mouths to feed, the last thing the Chinese government needs is more mouths to feed.

Meanwhile, when Washington thinks of invasion, all they think of is guns, tanks, battleships. The Chinese are already quietly invading and conquering the west -- through immigration. All along the East and West coasts, Chinese dominant cities and schools are popping up everywhere. America really is the stupidest country on earth sometimes. All brawn and no brain. We want to start wars with everybody in the name of protecting "American interests", while the rest of the world are already conquering us from within through immigration. Wake up America.

Ricardo Toledano , says: May 22, 2019 at 7:06 pm
Though Mr. Merry sees things clearly, I can't really see why people like playing these games in the age of nukes.

It's one thing trying to play Kaiser Wilhelm II and dream of containment and conquest when you actually had to send armies to defeat your enemies, It's another to do so when people can kill a few millions by pressing a button.

It's a reckless game for me.

Ricardo Toledano , says: May 22, 2019 at 7:06 pm
Though Mr. Merry sees things clearly, I can't really see why people like playing these games in the age of nukes.

It's one thing trying to play Kaiser Wilhelm II and dream of containment and conquest when you actually had to send armies to defeat your enemies, It's another to do so when people can kill a few millions by pressing a button.

It's a reckless game to me.

Tom Diebold , says: May 22, 2019 at 7:32 pm
I would assume that the US is "in" East Asia, to a significant extent, because Japan, South Korea and Taiwan have sought US security and defense guarantees. The US has not forced itself into the region. Korea has reasons to be concerned about China, due to its experiences during the Korean War, and Taiwan, which wishes to remain independent of Chinese control, is directly threatened by China.

As for other allies in the region, Philippine president Duterte's overtures, upon taking office, to China, and his especially disparaging remarks about the US while making an official visit to China, seem quite puzzling, given China's illegitimate seizing of Philippine territory in the West Philippine Sea. US relations with the Philippines needs to be reexamined in light of this development. While Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are first-level allies in the region, the Philippines is not.

[May 21, 2019] 2020 Elections: It's Militarism and the Military Budget Stupid! by Ajamu Baraka

May 17, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

U.S. ships are involved in provocative "freedom of navigation" exercises in the South China Sea and other ships gather ominously in the Mediterranean Sea while National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo along with convicted war criminal Elliot Abrams conspire to save the people of Venezuela with another illegal "regime change" intervention. But people are drawn to the latest adventures of Love and Hip-Hop, the Mueller report, and Game of Thrones. In fact, while millions can recall with impressive detail the proposals and strategies of the various players in HBO's latest saga, they can't recall two details about the pending military budget that will likely pass in Congress with little debate, even though Trump's budget proposal represents another obscene increase of public money to the tune of $750 billion.

This bipartisan rip-off could not occur without the willing collusion of the corporate media, which slants coverage to support the interests of the ruling elite or decides to just ignore an issue like the ever-expanding military budget.

The effectiveness of this collusion is reflected in the fact that not only has this massive theft of public money not gotten much coverage in the mainstream corporate media, but also it only received sporadic coverage in the alternative media. The liberal-left media is distracted enough by the theatrics of the Trump show to do the ideological dirty work of the elites.

Spending on war will consume almost 70% of the budget and be accompanied by cuts in public spending for education, housing, the environment, public transportation, jobs trainings, food support programs like food stamps and Meals on Wheels, as well as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Most of the neoliberal candidates running in the Democratic Party's electoral process, however, haven't spoken a word in opposition to Trump's budget.

The public knows that the Democratic Party's candidates are opposed to Trump's wall on the southern border, and they expect to hear them raise questions about the $8.6 billion of funding the wall. But while some of the Democrats may oppose the wall, very few have challenged the details of the budget that the U.S. Peace Council indicates . For example:

"$576 billion baseline budget for the Department of Defense; an additional $174 billion for the Pentagon's Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), i.e., the war budget; $93.1 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs; $51.7 billion for Homeland Security; $42.8 billion for State Department; an additional $26.1 billion for State Department's Overseas Contingency Operations (regime change slush fund); $16.5 billion for the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (nuclear weapons budget); $21 billion for NASA (militarizing outer space?); plus $267.4 billion for all other government agencies, including funding for FBI and Cybersecurity in the Department of Justice."

The Peace Council also highlights the following two issues: First, the total US military and war budget has jumped from $736.4 billion to $989.0 billion since 2015. That is a $252.6 billion (about 35%) increase in five years. Second, thesimultaneous cuts in the government's non-military spending are reflected in the proposed budget.

Here are some of biggest proposed budget cuts:

+ $1.5 trillion in cuts to Medicaid over 10 years, implementing work requirements as well as eliminating the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. The budget instead adds $1.2 trillion for a "Market Based Health Care Grant" -- that is, a block grant to states, instead of paying by need. It's not clear whether that would be part of Medicaid.

+ An $845 billion cut to Medicare over 10 years. That is about a 10 percent cut .

+ $25 billion in cuts to Social Security over 10 years, including cuts to disability insurance.

+ A $220 billion cut to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program(SNAP) over 10 years , which is commonly referred to as food stamps, and includes mandatory work requirements. The program currently serves around 45 million people.

+ A $21 billion cut to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families , an already severely underfunded cash-assistance program for the nation's poorest.

+ $207 billion in cuts to the student loan program, eliminating the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and cutting subsidized student loans.

+ Overall, there is a 9 percent cut to non-defense programs , which would hit Section 8 housing vouchers, public housing programs, Head Start, the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) nutrition program, and Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program , among others.

The working classes and oppressed peoples of the U.S. and around the world can no longer afford the unchallenged ideological positions of the Pentagon budget and the associated expenditures for so-called defense that are considered sacrosanct in the U.S. They cannot afford that much of the U.S. public is not concerned with issues of so-called foreign policy that the military budget is seen as part.

The racist appeals of U.S. national chauvinism in the form of "Make America Great" and the Democrats' version of "U.S. Exceptionalism" must be confronted and exposed as the cross-class, white identity politics that they are. The fact that supposedly progressive or even "radical" politics does not address the issue of U.S. expenditures on war and imperialism is reflective of a politics that is morally and political bankrupt. But it also does something else. It places those practitioners firmly in the camp of the enemies of humanity.

The objective fact that large numbers of the public accept that the U.S. can determine the leadership of another sovereign nation while simultaneously being outraged by the idea of a foreign power interfering in U.S. elections demonstrates the mindboggling subjective contradictions that exist in the U.S. For example – that an Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez can assert that she will defer to the leadership of her caucus on the issue of Venezuela or that Barbara Lee can vote to bring Trump's budget proposal out of committee or that Biden can proudly support Trump's immoral backing of a neo-fascist opposition in Venezuela and they will all get away with those positions – reveals the incredible challenge that we face in building an alternative radical movement for peace, social justice and people(s)-centered human rights.

So, we must join with U.S. Peace Council and the other members of the Anti-war, pro-peace, and anti-imperialist communities in the U.S. to "resist and oppose this military attack on our communities, our livelihoods and our lives." This is an urgent and militant first step in reversing the cultural support for violence and the normalization of war that currently exists in the U.S. Now is the moment to demand that Congress reject and reverse the Trump Administration's military budget and the U.S. Government's militaristic foreign policy. But now is also the moment to commit to building a powerful countermovement to take back the power over life and death from the denizens of violence represented by the rapacious 1%. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Ajamu Baraka

Ajamu Baraka is the national organizer of the Black Alliance for Peace and was the 2016 candidate for vice president on the Green Party ticket. He is an editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report and contributing columnist for Counterpunch magazine.

[May 21, 2019] Where Lyme Disease Came From and Why It Eludes Treatment by David Swanson

May 17, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org
A new book called Bitten: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons by Kris Newby adds significantly to our understanding of Lyme disease, while oddly seeming to avoid mention of what we already knew.

Newby claims (in 2019) that if a scientist named Willy Burgdorfer had not made a confession in 2013, the secret that Lyme disease came from a biological weapons program would have died with him. Yet, in 2004 Michael Christopher Carroll published a book called Lab 257: The Disturbing Story of the Government's Secret Germ Laboratory . He appeared on several television shows to discuss the book, including on NBC's Today Show, where the book was made a Today Show Book Club selection. Lab 257 hit the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list soon after its publication.

Newby's book reaches the same conclusion as Carroll's, namely that the most likely source of diseased ticks is Plum Island. Newby reaches this conclusion on page 224 after mentioning Plum Island only once in passing in a list of facilities on page 47 and otherwise avoiding it throughout the book. This is bizarre, because Newby's book otherwise goes into great depth, and even chronicles extensive research efforts that lead largely to dead ends, and because there is information available about Plum Island, and because Carroll's best-selling book seems to demand comment, supportive or dismissive or otherwise.

In fact, I think that, despite the avoidance of any discussion of Plum Island, Newby's research complements Carroll's quite well, strengthens the same general conclusion, and then adds significant new understanding. So, let's look at what Carroll told us, and then at what Newby adds.

Less than 2 miles off the east end of Long Island sits Plum Island, where the U.S. government makes or at least made biological weapons, including weapons consisting of diseased insects that can be dropped from airplanes on a (presumably foreign) population. One such insect is the deer tick, pursued as a germ weapon by the Nazis, the Japanese, the Soviets, and the Americans.

Deer swim to Plum Island. Birds fly to Plum Island. The island lies in the middle of the Atlantic migration route for numerous species. "Ticks," Carroll writes, "find baby chicks irresistible."

In July of 1975 a new or very rare disease appeared in Old Lyme, Connecticut, just north of Plum Island. And what was on Plum Island? A germ warfare lab to which the U.S. government had brought former Nazi germ warfare scientists in the 1940s to work on the same evil work for a different employer. These included the head of the Nazi germ warfare program who had worked directly for Heinrich Himmler. On Plum Island was a germ warfare lab that frequently conducted its experiments out of doors . After all, it was on an island. What could go wrong? Documents record outdoor experiments with diseased ticks in the 1950s (when we know that the United States was using such weaponized life forms in North Korea ). Even Plum Island's indoors, where participants admit to experiments with ticks, was not sealed tight. And test animals mingled with wild deer, test birds with wild birds.

By the 1990s, the eastern end of Long Island had by far the greatest concentration of Lyme disease. If you drew a circle around the area of the world heavily impacted by Lyme disease, which happened to be in the Northeast United States, the center of that circle was Plum Island.

Plum Island experimented with the Lone Star tick, whose habitat at the time was confined to Texas. Yet it showed up in New York and Connecticut, infecting people with Lyme disease -- and killing them. The Lone Star tick is now endemic in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey.

If Newby agrees or disagrees with any of the above, she does not inform us. But here's what she adds to it.

The outbreak of unusual tick-borne disease around Long Island Sound actually started in 1968, and it involved three diseases: Lyme arthritis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and babesiosis. A U.S. bioweapons scientist, Willy Burgdorfer, credited in 1982 with discovering the cause of Lyme disease, may have put the diseases into ticks 30 years earlier. And his report on the cause of Lyme disease may have involved a significant omission that has made it harder to diagnose or cure. The public focus on only one of the three diseases has allowed a disaster that could have been contained to become widespread.

Newby documents in detail Burgdorfer's work for the U.S. government giving diseases to ticks in large quantities to be used as weapons, as they have been in Cuba in 1962, for example. "He was growing microbes inside ticks, having the ticks feed on animals, and then harvesting the microbes from the animals that exhibited the level of illness the military had requested."

Burgdorfer published a paper in 1952 about the intentional infecting of ticks. In 2013, filmmaker Tim Grey asked him, on camera, whether the pathogen he had identified in 1982 as the cause of Lyme disease was the same one or similar or a generational mutation of the one he'd written about in 1952. Burgdorfer replied in the affirmative.

Interviewed by Newby, Burgdorfer described his efforts to create an illness that would be difficult to test for -- knowledge of which he might have shared earlier with beneficial results for those suffering.

Newby, who has herself suffered from Lyme disease, blames the profit interests of companies and the corruption of government for the poor handling of Lyme disease. But her writing suggests to me a possibility she doesn't raise, namely that those who know where Lyme disease came from have avoided properly addressing it because of where it came from.

Newby assumes throughout the book that there has to have been a particular major incident near Long Island Sound, either an accident or an experiment on the public or an attack by a foreign nation. Burgdorfer reportedly claimed to another researcher that Russia stole U.S. bioweapons. Based on that and nothing else, Newby speculates that perhaps Russia attacked the United States with diseased ticks, coincidentally right in the location where the U.S. government experimented with diseased ticks.

"What this book brings to light," Newby writes, "is that the U.S. military has conducted thousands of experiments exploring the use of ticks and tick-borne diseases as biological weapons, and in some cases, these agents escaped into the environment. The government needs to declassify the details of these open-air bioweapons tests so that we can begin to repair the damage these pathogens are inflicting on human and animals in the ecosystem."

Another product of U.S. bio-weapons tax dollars at work, of course, was the anthrax mailed to politicians in 2001. While Newby speculates that perhaps someone was trying to demonstrate the danger for our own good, I don't think we should forget that one purpose served -- whether or not intended -- by the "anthrax attacks" was a significant augmentation of the Iraq war lies. The attacks were falsely blamed on Iraq, and even if people have forgotten that, they fell for it long enough for it to matter. The one bit of truth in current public understanding of Lyme disease is that it has not been falsely blamed on some country the United States is eager to bomb. Let's keep it that way! Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: David Swanson

David Swanson wants you to declare peace at http://WorldBeyondWar.org His new book is War No More: The Case for Abolition .

[May 20, 2019] Technology, Convenience.....and Death

What is the value of smartphone if you are afraid to call your friends using it because you know that the call will be recorded and the data stored for your lifetime? And you understand that you whereabouts are recorded with amazing precision all the time while you are wearing your smartphone.
Notable quotes:
"... In the ongoing and growing opposition to the seemingly dystopian world technology companies are building, convenience is often overlooked. But it's convenience, and the way convenience is currently created by tech companies and accepted by most of us, that is key to why we've ended up living in a world we all chose, but that nobody seems to want . ..."
"... Tierney explains early on that there are two basic questions he is asking: "First, what is the value of technology to modern individuals? And second, why do they hold this value in such high esteem that, even when faced with technological dangers and dilemmas, they hope for solutions that will enable them to maintain and develop technical culture?" ..."
"... I have the exact same feeling towards some of the amenities of the modern world like Amazon Echo, social networks, body sensors etc. I feel like the alleged benefits don't offset the drawbacks and I simply don't use them. ..."
"... We are in a sort of perfect storm where neo-liberalism meets human frailty and bad (exploitative) players and technology, and every kind of power from insidious 5G "smart phones" to macro economic to raw physical power is increasingly in the hands of the few and so on, and liberty itself, not to mention human dignity, is what is at stake; the very definition it, the way it is understood, the way is is or isn't valued. And no one, or precious few seem to be aware of what is being lost. ..."
"... An aspect not mentioned above is that the combination of pervasive surveillance and indefinite data storage means that you will be judged in the future by who you know and every detail of what you do today. So acquaintances/friends who are socially acceptable now may not be in 20-30 years. Not long ago having many Russian and Chinese friends wouldn't raise any eyebrows. But today it'll put you on higher surveillance. ..."
May 20, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Reader Petter S sent along a recent article The Myth of Convenience , by L.M. Sacasas, Director of the Center for the Study of Ethics and Technology. The piece covers a lot of ground in a relatively short space, so I encourage you to read it in full, along with his earlier post, Privacy Is Not Dying, We're Killing It .

The point of departure for Sacasas' post on convenience was an essay by Colin Horgan, The Tyranny of Convenience. As you'll see soon enough, Sacasas starts with familiar material and takes it in some unexpected but important directions.

Hogan, who provided the grist for the Sacasaa post, with well-warranted ire at the notion that JetBlue was using facial recognition, as described here:

He continues with other examples of "Are we sure we are really net positive from technology?"

In the ongoing and growing opposition to the seemingly dystopian world technology companies are building, convenience is often overlooked. But it's convenience, and the way convenience is currently created by tech companies and accepted by most of us, that is key to why we've ended up living in a world we all chose, but that nobody seems to want .

Convenience is signing up to a social media platform to keep in touch with friends and family and keep abreast of current events, and then discovering that the personal information you've been required to upload to enable your account has been used to micro-target you with disinformation.

Convenience is buying a digital assistant for your home to make hands-free information searches easier, and later finding out that employees of the company that makes it are able to listen to the commands you've been giving it  --  or that its recordings of the ambient sounds of your home have been mailed to someone you don't know ,

Convenience is downloading a weather app to check whether you need to pack an umbrella, only to later realize that the app's code makes it easy for someone to track your movements with such specificity that no amount of anonymization of the data would hide that it was you entering a Planned Parenthood, or riding along with the mayor of New York City

Convenience is driving a car for a ride-hail company because it promises flexible hours, only to find yourself making less than minimum wage and subject to phantom price surge promises, the absolutism of personal star ratings, and constant surveillance, including messages that prompt you to get back to driving like a notification that your phone is unmounted.

Putting the Uber/Lyft driver case aside, which is more a case of misleading marketing, I find it hard to understand the appeal of these supposed conveniences. But some people who may not find the use cases all that useful if they thought about it are also swept along by social and institutional pressure. A lot of schools use Facebook to organize extracurricular activities, like sports teams. I wonder how many people got the Amazon Echo just to show their friends they were cool when it was still novel to have one.

And I don't mean to sound critical of MacKenzie Fegan, but if she was that bothered by having to stare into a camera, why didn't she say something then? Unless she was the very first in line (unlikely; pre-boarding types go first), she would have seen other people getting their mugs shot. You can opt out of the body-scanning machines. It looks as if what social psychologists call "group assent" (where people go along with something because those around them signal that it is OK) or fear of making a ruckus at a check point either desensitized or cowed her. 1

But let us return to the bigger theme, that of the supposed convenience advantage of technology. Overwhelmingly, the recent debate over technology is over the loss of privacy, as in giving up our data is the price of getting things that make our lives more "convenient". But even that premise isn't questioned that often, when the "convenience" benefit too often fails to materialize.

Technology allow advertisers to hound you with ads on flat screens in ride share vehicles and taxis. It's made voting less secure and at least from what I can tell in NYC, no faster (plus those old fashioned voting machine with the toggles were fun). Lambert describes how in one supposedly very tech savvy Asian city, they've installed pay by phone for their metro system .and it's way slower than using coins.

But despite the existence of counterexamples and tradeoffs .what exactly is this convenience supposed to be buying for us? Sacasas defines it as saving time. But how are we using that supposedly freed up time? Where does that minute someone saves by not printing out and retrieving a paper boarding pass, or say the ten minutes a day regained by being able to process e-mail while on hold with ahealth insurer go? I must have missed it, but I don't see a lot of stories about how someone was able to write a great novel, or even have more time to hang out with friends, walk in a park, or meditate, as a result of time freed by technology. Engagement with Internet=based technology seems to lead many, maybe most people to reinvest that liberated time back in the Internet. This may not just be the result of all of the dopamine-inducing tricks apps designer rely upon. There's also an element of intertia. You are sitting at a computer or staring at your mobile screen. The path of least resistance is to do more of the same. 2

And a pernicious side of technology is the way it hasn't freed up workers but almost entirely used to whip them harder. Employees do tasks that were once handled by a secretary, on top of job duties that have become more time compressed. Technology at work has served much more to increase output requirements than liberate workers, with Amazon-warehouse-worker monitoring a visible example. But even as of the early 2000s, senior managers, meaning a level or two below the C-suite in big companies, were being asked to do what was recently a job and a half or two job. And that's before you get to the rise of "on call" expectations for a lot of salaried white collar work.

Sacasas looks at different issues coming from convenience as time-saving:

Horgan's piece recalled to mind Thomas Tierney's The Value of Convenience: A Genealogy of Technical Culture ..

Tierney explains early on that there are two basic questions he is asking: "First, what is the value of technology to modern individuals? And second, why do they hold this value in such high esteem that, even when faced with technological dangers and dilemmas, they hope for solutions that will enable them to maintain and develop technical culture?"

... ... ...

Rafael , May 20, 2019 at 5:20 am

I have the exact same feeling towards some of the amenities of the modern world like Amazon Echo, social networks, body sensors etc. I feel like the alleged benefits don't offset the drawbacks and I simply don't use them. I just find it hard to believe that we reached the tipping point of the technology/convenience ratio exactly now, in my generation. Isn't it something a lot of people already thought before? Also when I consider some of the technological amenities I use (e.g. it wouldn't be so inconvenient to switch back to withdrawing cash instead of using a debit card given the privacy issues a debit card imposes), they could be (and are) considered not beneficial by many people from other generations.

I guess my point is: just like there's no end for the need of new technologies, there's no absolute of what's "enough" technology. This will always be a generational issue, whici of course doesn't mean we should not be critical of new technologies.

PlutoniumKun , May 20, 2019 at 5:31 am

What often surprises me is the shoulder shrug so many people give when you talk about this topic – and I include people I know who are very computer literate and know in detail how this works. And I'm guilty of this sometimes myself.

In some ways its like climate change – people know full well what is happening at some level, but day to day pressures and no doubt a sense of helplessness stop people demanding the changes needed.

vlade , May 20, 2019 at 6:42 am

The problem is, it's now so widespread, that in some cases it's like asking for cart and horse.

I don't do FB, but I do LI – it's hard not to professionaly, when people ask you about it. There were some minor HW things I could source only from Amazon or Alibaba. Take your poison pill.

Pre-schools, schools and most free-time activities do FB/Instagram etc. as a way to coordinate, share pictures.

In late 90s, early 20s I tried to stay away from a mobile. I think I managed to avoid having a mobile until about 2003 (getting a work mobile for the very specified times I was on call), but could not really do it post that. And from then on, it was one big slide towards email on phone etc.. And now, honestly, I don't see how I could ever try managing our house renovation w/o being able to call and hassle the builder every time of the day (since he's only responding to people who hassle him, in order of how much grief he gets. We tried to be nice, it cost us about a year of our lives and a lot of money. Talk about positive feedback loop.. ).

Steven B Kurtz , May 20, 2019 at 6:17 am

Have a look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Short_History_of_Progress

Modern technology depends upon exosomatic energy inputs, and there is always heat output from action. Finite resources are inputs. Pollution output. Finite planet. Plague phase of homo superstitious is here having quadrupled in the lifespan of living members like my 94 year old mother. Hubris keeps techno-optimists confident that anthropogenic systems can replace those we destroy. Bad bet. What we don't know about whole-system interactions dwarfs what we think we do know. Our progeny will not see nature the way we did, as megafauna are being eaten and traded for trinkets and superstitious myths. Sad, but real.

a different chris , May 20, 2019 at 8:02 am

It looks as if what social psychologists call "group assent" (where people go along with something because those around them signal that it is OK) or fear of making a ruckus at a check point either desensitized or cowed her.1

Well not everyone is the imitable Yves. :)

But actually this is a lot more complex than that. The whole feeling is "I want my privacy" which seems at first to inform you to not have your picture taken, but if you refuse then you paradoxically find yourself really standing out from the crowd.

Ugh. I think the issue is that you feel "cowed" when you think about either choice. And when you have fear, that's when you go with the group. And it's sad because USians are the most cattleish people on the planet at this point, so we know what the group is going to do.

Brooklin Bridge , May 20, 2019 at 8:11 am

We are in a sort of perfect storm where neo-liberalism meets human frailty and bad (exploitative) players and technology, and every kind of power from insidious 5G "smart phones" to macro economic to raw physical power is increasingly in the hands of the few and so on, and liberty itself, not to mention human dignity, is what is at stake; the very definition it, the way it is understood, the way is is or isn't valued. And no one, or precious few seem to be aware of what is being lost.

We will not come out the other side of this the same if we come out at all. The trick in in all this (including instantaneous teleportation) is to destroy the original. Then it doesn't matter that what comes out at the other end is a copy or not. It's all we've got. And talking to friends and acquaintances and pretty much anyone about issues of privacy vs. convenience and what we might be giving up; the horrible conclusion I can't avoid is that destruction of the original is going gang busters.

DJG , May 20, 2019 at 9:30 am

"While the Greeks thought that the satisfaction of bodily demands required careful attention and planning throughout the household, modernity treats the body instead as the source of limits and barriers imposed upon persons. What these limits require is not planning and attention, but the consumption of various technological devices that allow people to avoid or overcome such limits."

This is an excellent observation, and I note that the word "economy" comes from the Greek word for household (which would have been larger than a modern household and likely would have included a farm and weaving workshop making its own supplies). The horror of the body is deeply embedded in monotheism, which manifests as the idea and practice of mortification (killing) the body. We continue to see a kind of horror of sexuality and gender, which are manifestations of the body–various over-complicated schools of psychology and academic treatises, notwithstanding. The abortion debate seems to center on the inconvenience of pregnancy and who gets to bear the burden–with the added horror of being "inconvenienced" to bear the child of one's rapist.

No wonder there are fantasies like the Singularity and Jesus as My Personal Savior–both of which jettison the body, disdain the material world, and are quite happy to leave a mess behind.

Wukchumni , May 20, 2019 at 9:44 am

In the links thread Luddite piece, i've found i'm one of them, but really only in the way of doing things that computers can't. I've never seen one nurturing a hilly orchard, or taking a walk, or writing anything i'd opt to read, humor not being their long suit. I linked this yesterday, and it deserves another go. These young women from our town have no time for a smartphone

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdnJMhVAGnA&t=198s

Keith Newman , May 20, 2019 at 10:06 am

An aspect not mentioned above is that the combination of pervasive surveillance and indefinite data storage means that you will be judged in the future by who you know and every detail of what you do today. So acquaintances/friends who are socially acceptable now may not be in 20-30 years. Not long ago having many Russian and Chinese friends wouldn't raise any eyebrows. But today it'll put you on higher surveillance. And tomorrow? Will you be passed over for a job, come under extreme surveillance, be barred from entering some countries, come under criticism if you seek public office? And what if you watch online porn, etc?

[May 20, 2019] EP.744 Presidential Candidate Mike Gravel -- Joe Biden's Conventional Wisdom is AMERICAN IMPERIALISM!

May 11, 2019 | www.youtube.com

On this episode of Going Underground, we speak to Democratic Presidential candidate Mike Gravel who discusses why he is joining the race to pull the debate to the left, the nature of his contenders such as Joe Biden, Tulsi Gabbard and Bernie Sanders, US regime change attempts in Venezuela and escalating tension with Iran, Julian Assange's imprisonment in the UK and the US' extradition request. Next we speak to Chris Williamson MP, in his first international interview since being suspended by the Labour Party.

He discusses NHS privatisation by stealth with the new GP contracts due to be signed next week, Israeli oppression of Palestinians, Trump's escalation against Iran and Julian Assange's on-going imprisonment in Belmarsh Prison.


Gary Salisbury , 1 week ago (edited)

Pompeo Finally Tells the Truth: 'We Lie, We Cheat, We Steal'" !! He makes me want to Puke !! His duplicity has no bounds !! A swamp dweller of NOTE !!

B. Greene , 1 week ago (edited)

Senator Gravel needs 100k unique contributions to qualify for the DNC debates. Help him shake things up with a $1 donation at: www.mikegravel.com

TrickyVickey , 1 week ago (edited)

Pompeo is a murderous "dictator pusher" for the military industrial complex.

harriet , 6 days ago (edited)

Love Mike gravel, honest, good, genuine person with pure heart and soul! Donate dollar to get him on the debates! Love Chris Williamson also a great men we need more people like these! This channel should have way more subs and views, great show!

Muzza Man , 1 week ago (edited)

The proven oil reserves in Venezuela are recognized as the largest in the world, totaling 297 billion barrels . They are going to be INVADED by the real world terrorists, the USA,BRITAIN, and their puppet allies !!!! Need I say more?

invisble man , 1 week ago

Joe Biden could stand in the middle of fifth avenue and sniff everybody and he would not lose any voters.

[May 20, 2019] "Us" Versus "Them"

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... There are differences between the parties, but they are mainly centered around social issues and disputes with little or no consequence to the long-term path of the country. The real ruling oligarchs essentially allow controlled opposition within each party to make it appear you have a legitimate choice at the ballot box. Nothing could be further from the truth. ..."
"... There has been an unwritten agreement between the parties for decades where the Democrats pretend to be against war and the Republicans pretend to be against welfare. Meanwhile, spending on war and welfare relentlessly grows into the trillions, with no effort whatsoever from either party to even slow the rate of growth, let alone cut spending. The proliferation of the military industrial complex like a poisonous weed has been inexorable, as the corporate arms dealers place their facilities of death in the congressional districts of Democrats and Republicans. In addition, these corporate manufacturers of murder dole out "legal" payoffs to corrupt politicians of both parties in the form of political contributions. The Deep State knows bribes and well-paying jobs ensure no spineless congressman will ever vote against a defense spending increase. ..."
"... Of course, the warfare/welfare state couldn't grow to its immense size without financing from the Wall Street cabal and their feckless academic puppets at the Federal Reserve. The Too Big to Trust Wall Street banks, whose willful control fraud nearly wrecked the global economy in 2008, were rewarded by their Deep State patrons by getting bigger and more powerful as people on Main Street and senior citizen savers were thrown under the bus. ..."
"... When these criminal bankers have their reckless bets blow up in their faces they are bailed out by the American taxpayers, but when the Fed rigs the system so they are guaranteed billions in risk free profits, they reward themselves with massive bonuses and lobby for a huge tax cut used to buy back their stock. With bank branches in every congressional district in every state, and bankers spreading protection money to greedy politicians across the land, no legislation damaging to the banking cartel is ever passed. ..."
"... I voted for Trump because he wasn't Hillary. ..."
"... If the Chinese refuse to yield for fear of losing face, and the tariff war accelerates, a global recession is a certainty. ..."
"... These sociopaths are not liberal or conservative. They are not Democrats or Republicans. They are not beholden to a country or community. They care not for their fellow man. They don't care about future generations. They care about their own power, wealth and control over others. They have no conscience. They have no empathy. Right and wrong are meaningless in their unquenchable thirst for more. They will lie, steal and kill to achieve their goal of controlling everything and everyone in this world. This precisely describes virtually every politician in Washington DC, Wall Street banker, mega-corporation CEO, government agency head, MSM talking head, church leader, billionaire activist, and blood sucking advisor to the president. ..."
"... The problem is we have gone too far. The "American Dream" has become a grotesque nightmare because people by the millions sit around and dream about being a Kardashian. Makes me want to puke. ..."
May 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog,

"I'll show you politics in America. Here it is, right here. "I think the puppet on the right shares my beliefs." "I think the puppet on the left is more to my liking." "Hey, wait a minute, there's one guy holding out both puppets!"" – Bill Hicks

Anyone who frequents Twitter, Facebook, political blogs, economic blogs, or fake-news mainstream media channels knows our world is driven by the "Us versus Them" narrative. It's almost as if "they" are forcing us to choose sides and believe the other side is evil. Bill Hicks died in 1994, but his above quote is truer today then it was then. As the American Empire continues its long-term decline, the proles are manipulated through Bernaysian propaganda techniques, honed over the course of decades by the ruling oligarchs, to root for their assigned puppets.

Most people can't discern they are being manipulated and duped by the Deep State controllers. The most terrifying outcome for these Deep State controllers would be for the masses to realize it is us versus them. But they don't believe there is a chance in hell of this happening. Their arrogance is palatable.

Their hubris has reached astronomical levels as they blew up the world economy in 2008 and successfully managed to have the innocent victims bail them out to the tune of $700 billion, pillaged the wealth of the nation through their capture of the Federal Reserve (QE, ZIRP), rigged the financial markets in their favor through collusion, used the hundreds of billions in corporate tax cuts to buy back their stock and further pump the stock market, all while their corporate media mouthpieces mislead and misinform the proles.

There are differences between the parties, but they are mainly centered around social issues and disputes with little or no consequence to the long-term path of the country. The real ruling oligarchs essentially allow controlled opposition within each party to make it appear you have a legitimate choice at the ballot box. Nothing could be further from the truth.

There has been an unwritten agreement between the parties for decades where the Democrats pretend to be against war and the Republicans pretend to be against welfare. Meanwhile, spending on war and welfare relentlessly grows into the trillions, with no effort whatsoever from either party to even slow the rate of growth, let alone cut spending. The proliferation of the military industrial complex like a poisonous weed has been inexorable, as the corporate arms dealers place their facilities of death in the congressional districts of Democrats and Republicans. In addition, these corporate manufacturers of murder dole out "legal" payoffs to corrupt politicians of both parties in the form of political contributions. The Deep State knows bribes and well-paying jobs ensure no spineless congressman will ever vote against a defense spending increase.

Of course, the warfare/welfare state couldn't grow to its immense size without financing from the Wall Street cabal and their feckless academic puppets at the Federal Reserve. The Too Big to Trust Wall Street banks, whose willful control fraud nearly wrecked the global economy in 2008, were rewarded by their Deep State patrons by getting bigger and more powerful as people on Main Street and senior citizen savers were thrown under the bus.

When these criminal bankers have their reckless bets blow up in their faces they are bailed out by the American taxpayers, but when the Fed rigs the system so they are guaranteed billions in risk free profits, they reward themselves with massive bonuses and lobby for a huge tax cut used to buy back their stock. With bank branches in every congressional district in every state, and bankers spreading protection money to greedy politicians across the land, no legislation damaging to the banking cartel is ever passed.

I've never been big on joining a group. I tend to believe Groucho Marx and his cynical line, "I don't care to belong to any club that will have me as a member". The "Us vs. Them" narrative doesn't connect with my view of the world. As a realistic libertarian I know libertarian ideals will never proliferate in a society of government dependency, willful ignorance of the masses, thousands of laws, and a weak-kneed populace afraid of freedom and liberty. The only true libertarian politician, Ron Paul, was only able to connect with about 5% of the voting public. There is no chance a candidate with a libertarian platform will ever win a national election. This country cannot be fixed through the ballot box. Bill Hicks somewhat foreshadowed the last election by referencing another famous cynic.

"I ascribe to Mark Twain's theory that the last person who should be President is the one who wants it the most. The one who should be picked is the one who should be dragged kicking and screaming into the White House." ― Bill Hicks

Hillary Clinton wanted to be president so badly, she colluded with Barack Obama, Jim Comey, John Brennan, James Clapper, Loretta Lynch and numerous other Deep State sycophants to ensure her victory, by attempting to entrap Donald Trump in a concocted Russian collusion plot and subsequent post-election coup to cover for their traitorous plot. I wouldn't say Donald Trump was dragged kicking and screaming into the White House, but when he ascended on the escalator at Trump Tower in June of 2015, I'm not convinced he believed he could win the presidency.

As the greatest self-promoter of our time, I think he believed a presidential run would be good for his brand, more revenue for his properties and more interest in his reality TV ventures. He was despised by the establishment within the Republican and Democrat parties. The vested interests controlling the media and levers of power in society scorned and ridiculed this brash uncouth outsider. In an upset for the ages, Trump tapped into a vein of rage and disgruntlement in flyover country and pockets within swing states, to win the presidency over Crooked Hillary and her Deep State backers.

I voted for Trump because he wasn't Hillary. I hadn't voted for a Republican since 2000, casting protest votes for Libertarian and Constitutional Party candidates along the way. I despise the establishment, so their hatred of Trump made me vote for him. His campaign stances against foreign wars and Federal Reserve reckless bubble blowing appealed to me. I don't worship at the altar of the cult of personality. I judge men by their actions and not their words.

Trump's first two years have been endlessly entertaining as he waged war against fake news CNN, establishment Republicans, the Deep State coup attempt, and Obama loving globalists. The Twitter in Chief has bypassed the fake news media and tweets relentlessly to his followers. He provokes outrage in his enemies and enthralls his worshipers. With millions in each camp it is difficult to find an unbiased assessment of narrative versus real accomplishments.

I'm happy he has been able to stop the relentless leftward progression of our Federal judiciary. Cutting regulations and rolling back environmental mandates has been a positive. Exiting the Paris Climate Agreement and TPP, forcing NATO members to pay their fair share, and renegotiating NAFTA were all needed. Ending the war on coal and approving pipelines will keep energy costs lower. His attempts to vet Muslims entering the country have been the right thing to do. Building a wall on our southern border is the right thing to do, but he should have gotten it done when he controlled both houses.

The use of tariffs to force China to renegotiate one sided trade deals as a negotiating tactic is a high-risk, high reward gamble. If his game of chicken is successful and he gets better terms from the Chicoms, while reversing the tariffs, it would be a huge win. If the Chinese refuse to yield for fear of losing face, and the tariff war accelerates, a global recession is a certainty. Who has the upper hand? Xi is essentially a dictator for life and doesn't have to worry about elections or popularity polls. Dissent is crushed. A global recession and stock market crash would make Trump's re-election in 2020 problematic.

I'm a big supporter of lower taxes. The Trump tax cuts were sold as beneficial to the middle class. That is a false narrative. The vast majority of the tax cut benefits went to mega-corporations and rich people. Middle class home owning families with children received little or no tax relief, as exemptions were eliminated and tax deductions capped. In many cases, taxes rose for working class Americans.

With corporate profits at all time highs, massive tax cuts put billions more into their coffers. They didn't repatriate their overseas profits to a great extent. They didn't go on a massive hiring spree. They didn't invest in new facilities. They did buy back their own stock to help drive the stock market to stratospheric heights. So corporate executives gave themselves billions in bonuses, which were taxed at a much lower rate. This is considered winning in present day America.

The "Us vs. Them" issue rears its ugly head whenever Trump is held accountable for promises unkept, blatant failures, and his own version of fake news. Holding Trump to the same standards as Obama is considered traitorous by those who only root for their home team. Their standard response is that you are a Hillary sycophant or a turncoat to the home team. If you agree with a particular viewpoint or position of a liberal then you are a bad person and accused of being a lefty by Trump fanboys. Facts don't matter to cheerleaders. Competing narratives rule the day. Truthfulness not required.

The refusal to distinguish between positive actions and negative actions when assessing the performance of what passes for our political leadership by the masses is why cynicism has become my standard response to everything I see, hear or he read. The incessant level of lies permeating our society and its acceptance as the norm has led to moral decay and rampant criminality from the White House, to the halls of Congress, to corporate boardrooms, to corporate newsrooms, to government run classrooms, to the Vatican, and to households across the land. It's interesting that one of our founding fathers reflected upon this detestable human trait over two hundred years ago.

"It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe, he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime." – Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine's description of how moral mischief can ruin a society was written when less than 3 million people inhabited America. Consider his accurate assessment of humanity when over 300 million occupy these lands. The staggering number of corrupt prostituted sociopaths occupying positions of power within the government, corporations, media, military, churches, and academia has created a morally bankrupt empire of debt.

These sociopaths are not liberal or conservative. They are not Democrats or Republicans. They are not beholden to a country or community. They care not for their fellow man. They don't care about future generations. They care about their own power, wealth and control over others. They have no conscience. They have no empathy. Right and wrong are meaningless in their unquenchable thirst for more. They will lie, steal and kill to achieve their goal of controlling everything and everyone in this world. This precisely describes virtually every politician in Washington DC, Wall Street banker, mega-corporation CEO, government agency head, MSM talking head, church leader, billionaire activist, and blood sucking advisor to the president.

The question pondered every day on blogs, social media, news channels, and in households around the country is whether Trump is one of Us or one of Them. The answer to that question will strongly impact the direction and intensity of the climactic years of this Fourth Turning. What I've noticed is the shunning of those who don't take an all or nothing position regarding Trump. If you disagree with a decision, policy, or hiring decision by the man, you are accused by the pro-Trump team of being one of them (aka liberals, lefties, Hillary lovers).

If you don't agree with everything Trump does or says, you are dead to the Trumpeteers. I don't want to be Us or Them. I just want to be me. I will judge everyone by their actions and their results. I can agree with Trump on many issues, while also agreeing with Tulsi Gabbard, Rand Paul, Glenn Greenwald or Matt Taibbi on other issues. I don't prescribe to the cult of personality school of thought. I didn't believe the false narratives during the Bush or Obama years, and I won't worship at the altar of the Trump narrative now.

In Part II of this article I'll assess Trump's progress thus far and try to determine whether he can defeat the Deep State.


TerryThomas , 32 minutes ago link

"The scientific and industrial revolution of modern times represents the next giant step in the mastery over nature; and here, too, an enormous increase in man's power over nature is followed by an apocalyptic drive to subjugate man and reduce human nature to the status of nature. Even where enslavement is employed in a mighty effort to tame nature, one has the feeling that the effort is but a tactic to legitimize total subjugation. Thus, despite its spectacular achievements in science and technology, the twentieth century will probably be seen in retrospect as a century mainly preoccupied with the mastery and manipulation of men. Nationalism, socialism, communism, fascism, and militarism, cartelization and unionization, propaganda and advertising are all aspects of a general relentless drive to manipulate men and neutralize the unpredictability of human nature. Here, too, the atmosphere is heavy-laden with coercion and magic." --Eric Hoffer

666D Chess , 11 minutes ago link

Divide and conquer, not a very novel idea... but very effective.

Kafir Goyim , 32 minutes ago link

If you don't agree with everything Trump does or says, you are dead to the Trumpeteers

That's not true. When Trump kisses Israeli ***, most "Trumpeteers" are outraged. That does not mean they're going to vote for Joe "I'm a Zionist" Biden, or Honest Hillary because of it, but they're still pissed.

Rich Monk , 33 minutes ago link

These predators (((them))) need to fear the Victims, us! That is what the 2ND Amendment is for. It's coming, slowly for now, but eventually it speeds up.

yellowsub , 42 minutes ago link

Ya'll a dumb fool if you think gov't as your best interests first.

legalize , 46 minutes ago link

Citation needed.

Any piece like this better be littered with footnotes and cited sources before I'm swallowing it.

I'll say it again: this is the internet, people. There's no "shortage of column space" to include links back to primary sources for your assertions. Otherwise, how am I supposed to distinguish you from another "psy op" or "paid opposition hit piece"?

bshirley1968 , 51 minutes ago link

"The question pondered every day on blogs, social media, news channels, and in households around the country is whether Trump is one of Us or one of Them."

If you still ponder this question, then you are pretty frickin' thick. It is obvious at this point, that he betrayed everything he campaigned on. You don't do that and call yourself one of "us".......damn sure aren't one of "me".

If I couldn't keep my word and wouldn't do what it takes to do what is right.....then I would resign. But I would not go on playing politics in a world that needs some real leadership and not another political hack.

The real battle is between Truth and Lie. No matter the name of your "team" or the "side" you support. Truth is truth and lies are lies. We don't stand for political parties, we stand for truth. We don't stand for national pride, we take pride in a nation that is truthful and trustworthy. The minute a "side" or "team" starts lying.....and justifying it.....that is the minute they become them and not one of us.

Any thinking person in this country today knows we are being lied to by the entire complex. Until someone starts telling the truth.....we are on our own. But I be damned before I am going to support any of these lying sons of bitches......and that includes Trump.

Fish Gone Bad , 37 minutes ago link

Dark comedy. All the elections have been **** choices until the last one. Take a look at Arkancide.com and start counting the bodies.

Anyone remember the news telling us how North Korea promised to turn the US into a sea of fire?? Trump absolutely went to bat for every single American to de-escalate that situation.

bshirley1968 , 31 minutes ago link

Don't tell me about Arkancide or the Clintons. I grew up in Arkansas with that sack of **** as my governor for 12 years.

NK was never a real threat to anyone. Trump didn't do ****. NK is back to building and shooting off missiles and will be teaming up with the Russians and Chinese. You are a duped bafoon.

Kafir Goyim , 28 minutes ago link

I don't think anybody thought NK was an existential threat to the US. It has still been nice making progress on bringing them back into the world and making them less of a threat to Japan and S. Korea. Trump did that.

Giant Meteor , 9 minutes ago link

Dennis Rodman did that, or that is to say, Trump an extension thereof ..

Great theater..

Look, i thought it was great that Trump went Kim Unning. I mean after all, i had talked with a few elderly folks that get their news directly from the mainstream of mainstream, vanilla news reportage. Propaganda central casting. I remember them being extremely concerned, outright petrified about that evil menace, kim gonna launch nukes any minute now. If the news would have been announced a major troop mobilization, bombing campaigns, to begin immediately they would have been completely onboard, waving the flag.

Frankly, it is only a matter of time, and folks can speculate on the country of interest, but it is coming soon to a theater near you. So many being in the crosshairs. Iran i suspect .. that's the big prize, that makes these sociopaths cream in their panties.

Probably. In the second term .. and so far, if ones honestly evaluates the "brain trust" / current crop of dimwit opposition, and in light of their past 2 plus years of moronic posturing with their hair on fire, trump will get his second term ..

666D Chess , 15 minutes ago link

Until the last one? You are retarded, the last election was a masterpiece of Rothschilds Productions. The Illuminati was watching you at their private cinema when you were voting for Trump and they were laughing their asses off.

HoodRatKing , 55 minutes ago link

The author does not realize that everyone in America, except Native American Indians, were immigrants drawn towards the false promise of hope that is the American Dream, turned nightmare..

Owning your own home, car, & raising a family in this country is so damn expensive & risky, that you'd have be on drugs or an idiot to even fall for the lies.

I don't see an us vs them, I see the #FakeMoney printers monetized every facet of life, own everything, & it truly is RENT-A-LIFE USSA, complete with bills galore, taxes galore, laws galore, jails & prisons galore, & the worst fkn country anyone would want to live in poverty & homelessness in.

At least in many 3rd world nations there is land to live off of & joblessness does not = a financial death sentence.

bshirley1968 , 39 minutes ago link

Sure. Lets all go back to living in huts.....off the land....no cars.....no electricity.....no running water......no roads....

There is a price to pay for things and it is not always in the form of money. We have given up some of our freedom for the ease and conveniences we want.

The problem is we have gone too far. The "American Dream" has become a grotesque nightmare because people by the millions sit around and dream about being a Kardashian. Makes me want to puke.

There is a balance. Don't take the other extreme or we never find balance.

911bodysnatchers322 , 56 minutes ago link

This article is moronic. One can easily prove that Trump is not like all the others in the poster. Has this author been living under a rock for the last 2.5 yrs? The past 5 presidents represent a group that has been literally trying to assassinate Trump, ruin his family, his reputation, his buisness and his future, for the audacity to be an ousider to the power network and steal (win) the presidency from under their noses. He's kept us OUT of war. He's dissolved the treachery that was keeping us in the middle east through gaslighitng and a proxy fake war that is ISIS, the globalists' / nato / fiveys / uk's fake mercenary army

Giant Meteor , 25 minutes ago link

And yet, I'll never forget all the smiling faces at the gala wedding affair.

Happier times ..

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/30/us/politics/ex-ally-donald-trump-now-heaps-scorn-on-bill-clinton.html

And yes, thanks in advance for noting the link is from New York slime, but i believe the picture in this case anyway, was not photo shopped.

She is, (hillary) after all, good people, a real fighter ..

**** .. mission accomplished ..

ExPat2018 , 1 hour ago link

The greatest threat to the USA is its own dumbed down drugged up citizens who cannot compete with anyone. America is a big military powerhouse but that doens't make successful countries

You must have intelligent people

America doesn't have that anymore.

JuliaS , 1 hour ago link

Notice how modern narrative is getting manipulated. What is being reported and referenced is completely different from how things are. And knowing that we can assume that the entire history is a fabricated lie, written by the ruling class to support its status in the minds of obedient citizens.

911bodysnatchers322 , 54 minutes ago link

This article is garbage propaganda that proves that they think we aren't keeping score or paying attention. The gaslighting won't work when it relies on so much counterthink, willful ignorance, counterfacts and weaponized omissions

istt , 1 hour ago link

The reality is the de-escalation of wars, the stability of our currency and our economy, and the moral re-grounding of our culture does not occur until we do what over 100 countries have done over the centuries, beginning in Carthage in 250AD.

fersur , 1 hour ago link

There's an old saying; "Congress does 2 things well Nothing and Protest" said by Pence Live-Streamed 4 hours ago at USMCA America First speech !

Good, Bad and Ugly

The Good is President Trump works extreme daily hours trying his best !

The Bad is Haters miss every bit of whatever their President Trump does that is good !

The Ugly is Hater Reporters ignoring World events, scared of possibly shining President Trump fairly !

SHsparx , 1 hour ago link

You really are making it a bit too obvious, bro.

911bodysnatchers322 , 52 minutes ago link

The congress are statusquotarians. If they solved the problems they say they would,they'd be out of a job. and that job is sitting there acting like a naddler or toxic post turtle leprechaun with a charisma and skill level of zero. Their staff do all the work, half of them barely read, though they probably can

SHsparx , 1 hour ago link

I still think 1st and 2nd ammedment is predicated on which party rules the house. If a Dem gets into the WH, we're fucked. Kiss those Iast two dying amendments goodbye for good.

Zeusky Babarusky , 1 hour ago link

If we rely on any party to preserve the 1st or 2nd Amendments, we are already fucked. What should preserve the 1st and 2nd Amendments is the absolute fear of anyone in government even mentioning suppressing or removing them. When the very thought of doing anything to lessen the rights advocated in these two amendments, causes a politician to piss in their pants, liberty will be preserved. As it is now citizens fear the government, and as a result tyranny continues to grow and fester as a cancer.

Zoomorph , 1 hour ago link

In other words, those amendments are already lost... we're just waiting for the final dictate to come down.

Zeusky Babarusky , 1 hour ago link

You may very well be right. I still hold out hope, but upon seeing what our society is quickly morphing into, that hope seems to fade more each and every day.

SHsparx , 49 minutes ago link

@ Zeusky Babarusky

I couldn't agree with you more.

Unfortunately, it is what it is, which is why I used the word "dying."

Those two amendments are on their deathbed, and if a Dem gets in the house, that'll be the nail in the coffin.

bshirley1968 , 1 hour ago link

If you think the 1st and 2nd amendments are reliant on who is in office, then you are already done. Why don't you try growing a pair and being an American for once in your life.

I will always have a 1st and 2nd "amendment" for as long as I live. Life is meaningless without them.....as far as I am concerned. Good thing the founders didn't wait for king George to give them what they "felt" was theirs.....by the laws of Nature and Nature's God.

I hope the democrats get the power......and I hope they come for the guns......maybe then pussies like you will finally have to **** or get off the pot......for once in your life. There are worse things than dying.

Nephilim , 1 hour ago link

THEHAZELFLOCKOFCRANES

BRINDLED FOOT,

AUSTRALIAN.

caveofgoldcaveofold

Zoomorph , 1 hour ago link

"Why do we have wars?"

"Because life is war: fighting for survival, resources, and what is best in the world."

"Why do people say war is bad?"

"Because they are useful idiots who have been tricked by religion and/or weak degenerates who are too weary to participate."

delta0ne , 1 hour ago link

This country cannot be fixed through the ballot box. Unless we get rid of *** influencing from abroad and domestically. Getting rid of English King few hundred years ago was a joke! this would be a challenge because dual-citizens masquerading as locals.

blind_understanding , 1 hour ago link

Last revolution (1776) we targeted the WRONG ENEMY.

We targeted King George III instead of the private bankers who owned of the Bank of England and the issued of the British-pound currency.

George III was himself up to his ears in debt to them by 1776, when the bankers installed George Washington to replace George III as their middleman in the American colonies, by way of the phony revolution.

Phony because ownership of the central bank and currency (Federal-Reserve Banks, Federal-Reserve notes) we use, remains in the same banking families' hands to this day. The same parasite remains within our government.

djrichard , 1 hour ago link

https://www.ribbonfarm.com/2013/05/16/the-gervais-principle-vi-children-of-an-absent-god/

It is this strangely incomplete calculus that creates the shifting Loser world of rifts and alliances. By operating with a more complete calculus, Sociopaths are able to manipulate this world through the divide-and-conquer mechanisms. The result is that the Losers end up blaming each other for their losses, seek collective emotional resolution, and fail to adequately address the balance sheet of material rewards and losses.

To succeed, this strategy requires that Losers not look too closely at the non-emotional books. This is why, as we saw last time, divide-and-conquer is the most effective means for dealing with them, since it naturally creates emotional drama that keeps them busy while they are being manipulated.

[May 20, 2019] The dirty art of politicians entrapment: Blackmail, smear campaigns, various traps via honey or corruption, hookers, gay sex, pedophilia, or what-have-you, all or in combination

Highly recommended!
That remind me how old Kushner tried to smear his relative...
Notable quotes:
"... They are told that the daughter of a Russian billionaire plans large investments in Austria. It was said that she would like to help his party. The alleged daughter of the Russian billionaire, who is actually also Austrian, and her "friend" serve an expensive dinner. Alcohol flows freely. The pair offers a large party donation but asks for returns in form of mark ups on public contracts. ..."
"... The "Russian" female is notably very attractive with a slender build. There is a honey-trap angle here as well. This would likely inspire the boasting (in order to impress her) on the part of the wingnut politician. ..."
"... The far-right is the Troy Horse of transnational corporations and capital and already discredited neoliberal stablishment which comes now disguised under the softening label of "populists". Beware, there seems to be a coordinated effort at several blogs in the ten previous days of the European elections to whitewash the far-right. ..."
"... So this very much hints something more. Right now there is a debate of cocain being visible on the table but this accusation points more towards schnickle with a babe imho. The babe to his right is not that ugly, admittely. ..."
"... As expected the hysteria of "russian" meddling have now publicized to weaken FPÖ in the EU election. Winners? NATO/US parties. ..."
"... Seems indeed to be a honeypot aspect to the entrapment, and it's quite possible Strache stepped down at once to avoid that part to come to light, so that the public revelations would be limited to the economic shenanigans and influence-peddling level. ..."
"... Also, this goes to show that the bulk of our Western politicians, across all the political spectrum, are a bunch of mediocre and quite corrupt fools. For him not to smell that this was a setup from the very first minute, it must be that such proposals are common place all across the board - which will only reinforce my suspicion that our societies, peoples and mankind as a whole would only benefit if we fully wiped out our economic, financial and political establishment and started from scratches. ..."
"... Blackmail, smear campaigns, various traps via honey or corruption, hookers and blow, gay sex, paedofilia, or what-have-you, - all or in combination. Politicians are "all" compromised in these ways. Buck the system or threaten the status quo - whereby it gets somebody's serious attention and the shite hits the fan. ..."
"... The savages in this neoliberal order use the secret services to subvert democracy. Deception and manipulation are the means used to corrupt the public domain. They would push the most pliable and ruthless leaders into office. Catastrophe and violence and disinformation are their most powerful weapons. But I still think that political processes and elections do matter; and what counts is a struggle to improve and reform the system of government. Doing our best to protect and maintain the integrity of electoral processes is something that requires both protests and political campaigns. ..."
"... The very strong implication certainly seems to be that there may be further video of Strache sleeping with the honey pot. He obviously knows what happened that night. If there were video cameras hidden everywhere, that was obviously one of the intentions behind the sting from the outset. ..."
"... B, please do an article on the Nazi penetration of the German security services, Interior Ministry, Army, CDU etc, and links to the NSU affair, shredding of millions of documents by the Interior Ministry when demanded by the courts as evidence, links with the Board members and advisory board members of German big business especially Siemens and Deutche Bank and Bayer, etc. ..."
"... It is a wonder Strache's remark "Journalists are the biggest whores on the planet" and how he says he can subvert an entire media outlet to his political agenda by even firing the few remaining fringe elements. ..."
"... I don't think Strache is as harmless as you portray him, B. You fall for his defence strategy if you attribute all his statements to the influence of alcohol. At that time, the man was very confident that he would soon be at the levers of power, which then materialized. It remains to be proven whether he did not put into practice anything of what he talked about at that house in Ibiza. After all, he was talking about the by far most influential newspaper in Austria. ..."
"... Of course it is true that it is the neoliberal globalisers who have brought us to where we stand today. But that doesn' make people like Strache and Salvini any less dangerous. If they rise to total power, the result will be a naked dictatorship. Strache was beaten with his own weapons, you don't have to be under any illusions. ..."
"... Who could have ordered such an elaborate sting operation? ..."
"... The sophisticated operation using actors and a villa prepared with hidden cameras and microphones shows that this is hardly a normal case of dirty campaigning by political opponents. Most likely, either it was an action by a secret service or someone with deep pockets hired former secret agents. ..."
"... If it was an action by secret services, the most plausible explanation seems to be that Western secret services targeted Strache because FPÖ is one of the parties who is in favor of restoring normal relations with Russia ..."
"... François Fillon comes to mind, a French conservative candidate who also had a quite a friendly attitude towards Russia - shortly before the elections, it was revealed (at least claimed) that Fillon had given his wife ficticious employment, and Fillon lost popularity, which helped Macron enormously. ..."
"... Probably, some of the things Strache said during this sting operation were inacceptable, and Fillon may also not be innocent, but if there is a systematic selective targeting of European politicians who want to normalize relations with Russia by secret services, that would be a huge problem for democracy. ..."
"... In 2016, Joseph Mifsud invited George Papadopoulos to Rome and introduced him to "Putin's niece" with the intent of smearing Trump as "Russian puppet" and destroying his election chances. In 2017, someone (who?) invited Heinz-Christian Strache to Ibiza and introduced him to "Russian billionaire's niece" with the intent of smearing Strache as "Russian puppet" and destroying his party's election chances. Notice a pattern? ..."
"... This is a clear case of Germany interfering in Austrian elections. Austria should deport 60 German diplomats, shut down German embassy in Vienna, and impose sanctions on Germany. Also put a German girl interested in Austrian politics in jail for 18 months. ..."
"... Thinking about it, after revealing e-mail of HRC, Podesta etc. were published, their core supporters were enraged about the dirty trick and did not pay attention to the disclosed content, while for the core opponents of HRC she was already sufficiently vilified so the net change in voting intentions that can be attributed to that incident was modest. ..."
"... Anyone who does not directly have his or her family's nose in the EU trough at this point knows that the policies espoused by transatlantic puppets like Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron push our countries and our continent towards self-destruction. Life in Europe, post-1968 and pre-2013, has been pretty damn good. There's absolutely no good reason for us to rip up our traditions or turn into a continent of immigrants and mobile job seekers. ..."
"... As Strache explains in the video, Austrian dirty tricks are done "via another country". ..."
"... To those who fill that politics of Strache are obnoxious and that justifies entrapment, remembers that methods of that type are not improvised, and that means that there is an apparatus that does it. We noted similarities with provocations against George Papadopoulos. In the latter case the target was cautious, after all, we had to be well aware of such methods. But anyone who is despised by NATO establishment are similar group can be on the receiving end, think about Assange. ..."
May 20, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

During the last days a right wing politician in Austria was taken down by using an elaborate sting. Until Friday Heinz-Christian Strache was leader of the far right (but not fascist) Freedom Party of Austria (FPOe) and the Vice Chancellor of the country. On Friday morning two German papers, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung and Der Spiegel published (German) reports (English) about an old video that was made to take Strache down.

The FPOe has good connections with United Russia, the party of the Russian President Putin, and to other right-wing parties in east Europe. It's pro-Russian position has led to verbal attacks on and defamation of the party from NATO supporting and neoliberal circles.

In July 2017 Strache and his right hand man Johann Gudenus, who is also the big number in the FPOe, get invited for dinner to a rented villa on Ibiza, the Spanish tourist island in the Mediterranean. They are told that the daughter of a Russian billionaire plans large investments in Austria. It was said that she would like to help his party. The alleged daughter of the Russian billionaire, who is actually also Austrian, and her "friend" serve an expensive dinner. Alcohol flows freely. The pair offers a large party donation but asks for returns in form of mark ups on public contracts.

Unknown to Strache the villa is professionally bugged with many hidden cameras and microphones.


A scene from the video. Source: Der Falter (vid, German)

During the six hour long party several schemes get proposed by the "Russian" and are discussed. Strache rejects most of them. He insists several times that everything they plan or do must be legal and conform to the law. He says that a large donation could probably be funneled through an endowment that would then support his party. It is a gray area under Austrian party financing laws. They also discuss if the "Russian" could buy the Kronen Zeitung , Austria's powerful tabloid, and use it to prop up his party.

The evening goes on with several bottles of vodka on the table. Starche gets a bit drunk and boosts in front of the "oligarch daughter" about all his connections to rich and powerful people. He does not actually have these.

Strache says that, in exchange for help for his party, the "Russian" could get public contracts for highway building and repair. Currently most of such contracts in Austria go to the large Austrian company, STRABAG, that is owned by a neoliberal billionaire who opposes the FPOe. At that time Strache was not yet in the government and had no way to decide about such contracts.

At one point Strache seems to understand that the whole thing is a setup. But his right hand man calms him down and vouches for the "Russian". The sting ends with Strache and his companion leaving the place. The never again see the "Russian" and her co-plotter. Nothing they talked about will ever come to fruition.

Three month later Strache and his party win more than 20% in the Austrian election and form a coalition government with the conservative party OeVP led by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. Even while the FPOe controls several ministries, it does not achieve much politically. It lacks a real program and the government's policies are mostly run by the conservatives.

Nearly two years after the evening on Ibiza, ten days before the European parliament election in which Strache's party is predicted to achieve good results, a video of the evening on Ibiza is handed to two German papers which are known to be have strong transatlanticist leanings and have previously been used for other shady 'leaks'. The papers do not hesitate to take part in the plot and publish extensive reports about the video.

After the reports appeared Strache immediately stepped down and the conservatives ended the coalition with his party. Austria will now have new elections.

On Bloomberg Leonid Bershidsky opines on the case:

Strache's discussion with the Russian oligarch's fake niece shows a propensity for dirty dealing that has nothing to do with idealistic nationalism. Nationalist populists often agitate against entrenched, corrupt elites and pledge to drain various swamps. In the videos, however, Strache and Gudenus behave like true swamp creatures, savoring rumors of drug and sex scandals in Austrian politics and discussing how to create an authoritarian media machine like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's.

I do not believe that the people who voted for the FPOe (and similar parties in other countries) will subscribe to that view. The politics of the main stream parties in Austria have for decades been notoriously corrupt. Compared to them Strache and his party are astonishingly clean. In the video he insists several times that everything must stay within the legal realm. Whenever the "Russian" puts forward a likely illegal scheme, Starche emphatically rejects it.

Bershidsky continues:

Strache, as one of the few nationalist populists in government in the European Union's wealthier member states, was an important member of the movement Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has been trying to cobble together ahead of the European Parliament election that will take place next week. On Saturday, he was supposed to attend a Salvini-led rally in Milan with other like-minded politicians from across Europe. Instead, he was in Vienna apologizing to his wife and to Kurz and protesting pitifully that he'd been the victim of a "political assassination" -- a poisonous rain on the Italian right-winger's parade.
...
This leaves the European far right in disarray and plays into the hands of centrist and leftist forces ahead of next week's election. Salvini's unifying effort has been thoroughly undermined, ...

This is also a misreading of the case. The right-wing parties will use the case to boost their legitimacy.

Strache was obviously set up by some intelligence services, probably a German one with a British assist. The original aim was likely to blackmail him. But during the meeting on Ibiza Strache promised and did nothing illegal. Looking for potential support for his party is not a sin. Neither is discussing investments in Austria with a "daughter of a Russian oligarch." Some boosting while drunk is hardly a reason to go to jail. When the incident provided too little material to claim that Strache is corrupt, the video was held back until the right moment to politically assassinate him with the largest potential damage to his party. That moment was thought to be now.

But that Strache stepped down after the sudden media assault only makes him more convincing. The right-wing all over Europe will see him as a martyr who was politically assassinated because he worked for their cause. The issue will increase the right-wingers hate against the 'liberal' establishment. It will further motivate them: "They attack us because we are right and winning." The new far-right block Natteo Salvini will setup in the European Parliament will likely receive a record share of votes.

Establishment writers notoriously misinterpret the new right wing parties and their followers. This stand-offish sentence in the Spiegel story about Strache's party demonstrates the problem:

In the last election, the party drew significant support from the working class, in part because of his ability to simplify even the most complicated of issues and play the common man, even in his role as vice chancellor.

The implicit thesis, that the working class is too dumb to understand the "most complicated of issues", is not only incredibly snobbish but utterly false. The working class understands very well what the establishment parties have done to it and continue to do. The increasing vote share of the far-right is a direct consequence of the behavior of the neoliberal center and of the lack of real left alternatives.

Last week, before the Strache video appeared, Craig Murray put his finger on the wound:

The massive economic shock following the banking collapse of 2007–8 is the direct cause of the crisis of confidence which is affecting almost all the institutions of western representative democracy. The banking collapse was not a natural event, like a tsunami. It was a direct result of man-made systems and artifices which permitted wealth to be generated and hoarded primarily through multiple financial transactions rather than by the actual production and sale of concrete goods, and which then disproportionately funnelled wealth to those engaged in the mechanics of the transactions.
...
The rejection of the political class manifests itself in different ways and has been diverted down a number of entirely blind alleys giving unfulfilled promise of a fresh start – Brexit, Trump, Macron. As the vote share of the established political parties – and public engagement with established political institutions – falls everywhere, the chattering classes deride the political symptoms of status quo rejection by the people as "populism". It is not populism to make sophisticated arguments that undermine the received political wisdom and take on the entire weight of established media opinion.

If one wants to take down the far right one has to do so with arguments and good politics for the working class. Most people, especially working class people, have a strong sense for justice. The political assassination of Christian Strache is unjust. What was done during the 2007-8 banking crisis was utterly corrupt and also unjust. Instead of going to jail the bankers were rewarded with extreme amounts of money for their assault on the well being of the people. The public was then told that it must starve through austerity to make up for the loss of money.

While I consider myself to be a strong leftist who opposes the right wherever possible, I believe to understand why people vote for Strache's FBOe and similar parties. When one talks to these people issues of injustice and inequality always come up. The new 'populist' parties at least claim to fight against the injustice done to the common men. Unlike most of the establishment parties they seem to be still mostly clean and not yet corrupted.

In the early 1990s Strache actually flirted with violent fascists but he rejected their way. While he has far-right opinions, he and his like are no danger to our societies. If we can not accept that Strache and his followers have some legitimate causes, we will soon find us confronted with way more extreme people. The neoliberal establishment seems to do its best to achieve that.

Posted by b on May 19, 2019 at 01:10 PM | Permalink


james , May 19, 2019 1:40:31 PM | 1

b - thanks .. i agree "elaborate sting" and "the video was held back until the right moment"... clearly this was a set up.. strache says he is going to pursue this legally..

"working class people, have a strong sense for justice. The political assassination of Christian Strache is unjust." injustices are being done on a constant basis now and being justified by the msm regularly.. i think this is part of the reason people are seeking alternatives - whatever they might be... power to the people..screw the neoliberal agenda and blackmail artists that are so rampant at present...

Bratislav Metulski , May 19, 2019 1:40:51 PM | 2
Funny thing is e.g.- a German comedian Jan Böhmerman knew before. Already in April he said in a Video call live in Austian television duringthe TV-prize-giving of the trophy "Romy" that he couldn´t attend personally to receive the price because right know he was sitting together with some FPÖ-buddies in a Russian oligarch-villa on Ibiza, sniffing cocain, drinking and negotiating the takeover of the "Krone-Zeitung" (the biggest rag in Austira, smth like the "Bild" in Germany or "The sun" in Britain).

Böhmers management released a statement yesterday that Böhermann did know before but didn´t name the source he knew it from.
https://www.welt.de/politik/ausland/article193725535/FPOE-Vize-Strache-Was-Boehmermann-mit-dem-Video-zu-tun-hat.html

Cui bono?

Paul Damascene , May 19, 2019 1:43:18 PM | 3
Your article here raises a number of important issues. More or less at random:

* If I understand your characterization of your political leanings, based on this and on the perspectives MoA offers, I share many of your views. And whereas there may be a certain Schadenfreude at seeing a right-wing, B-team operator reveal himself, I agree that the forces behind the sting itself are of potentially far greater interest (and danger)..

* For every sting and smear such as this that we see, how many others take place sub rosa, corrupting our political and social landscapes, leaving no evidence that might trigger criticism or resistance?

* I'm not sure of how this plays out legally, but this seems not just to have been a sting, but entrapment, in which (if these were law enforcement agents) we could protest that the only illegal activity being proposed, was by those conducting the sting.

* If this was, as you suggest, authored by the BND, then this would be a clear instance of election "meddling" -- though not of the sort that our shining democracies are now being warned against. (At least President Putin will not be accused of conducting it, for once. That oligarch's daughter could have come from anywhere, but of course Russia.) Russia gets smeared is probably the larger aim, rather than this particularly Austrian politician.

hallelujah hinton , May 19, 2019 1:55:07 PM | 4
The "Russian" female is notably very attractive with a slender build. There is a honey-trap angle here as well. This would likely inspire the boasting (in order to impress her) on the part of the wingnut politician.
somebody , May 19, 2019 1:56:55 PM | 5
I think the word is protofascist. b. you have got a blind spot seeing geopolitics everywhere. Truth is most of this is simply a battle of billionaires. The key to understand the Ibiza video is the product placement. Everybody there drinks Red Bull plus alcohol (I am not sure about the alcohol the loss of control of the politicians who are present suggests cocaine).

The owner of Red Bull is an Austrian billionaire called Dietrich Mateschitz. Mateschitz is a right wing crank building a media empire in Austria including an "investigative platform" called addendum that is something like the Austrian version of Breitbart.

For some reason "addendum" began to shoot against Rene Benzko, an Austrian real estate billionaire, who intends to take over Kronenzeitung.

And guess what, Rene Benzko was mentioned in the video "as a friend", and a large part of the conversation centered on taking over Kronenzeitung something Rene Benzko is involved in.

Strache, Vice Chancellor of Austria, explained in the video for every Austrian to understand, that his party's scheme is based on accepting illegal contributions via a ngo, and lowering taxes in return. According to what he says in the video he also intends to charge for water by selling the right to the Latvian/Russien "niece of a Russian oligarch" or someone else prepared to pay to his party's ngo.

Anybody who is not a billionaire voting for FPÖ after this must be braindead.

Arioch , May 19, 2019 1:58:49 PM | 6
> with United Russia, the party of the Russian President Putin

Putin himself though stresses his non involvement in that party, he also tried to bootstrap organizations that could supplant or even challenge U.R. at least in some niches.

While U.R. probably is party of Russian ruling elites, it is hardly one-man-show of LDPR/Zhirinovsky kind and whether Putin is "gray cardinal" of U.R. is very questionable.

Sasha , May 19, 2019 2:05:52 PM | 7
It is said that children and drunk people always say the truth... Why is it not to be taken into account what he said once drunk enough?

For to be a strong leftist, b, you spend a great effort in discharging this man, while whitewashing the far-right saying they are no danger for our societies and assuring that they are clean, when that is a thing you do not know since they have not had yet the possibility to rule.

They are neither cleaner nor inocuous for our societies. For starters they have chosen as scapegoat the migrants when who is to blame for the wave of migration is the US, NATO and their imperial ambitions, so as to throw poor against poor and that way the elites could continue quietly looting us, while we fight each other. You will never heard anything agsint banks ans elites from anybody in the far-right.

FYI, it is not Matteo Salvini who is forming a coalition of the far-right to conflude to European elections, but it is Bannon from his HQ in a Cisterciense monastery in Italy who is commanding this operation. Salvini is really a piece, having supported Guiado and the Venezuelan coup intend, and said what he would do with the Yellow Vests , "I don't go to the Yellow Vests with Molotov cocktails, if anything, I put them in prison" ...

Then it is AfD, who goes also in the block, whose members have claimed the Germans should be proud of the performance of the German Army during both WW....

Then Vox, financed by MEK and Israeli lobby and promoted by Bannon and the WH, who only wear clear neoliberal economic policies in their, for the rest, confusing program.

The best to test what the far-right will do in Europe is taking a look at what is happening in Brazil during these last days, an attack on education and research as if it was a military target ...This, after the moving of the embassy to Jerusalem and wide support to coup d´etat in Venezuela...He is also widely supported and financed by the US and Zionists.

The far-right is the Troy Horse of transnational corporations and capital and already discredited neoliberal stablishment which comes now disguised under the softening label of "populists". Beware, there seems to be a coordinated effort at several blogs in the ten previous days of the European elections to whitewash the far-right.

Bratislav Metulski , May 19, 2019 2:20:38 PM | 8
@4 hallelujah hinton
https://www.heise.de/tp/features/Neuwahlen-Der-gefeierte-Stratege-Kurz-hatte-keine-Optionen-mehr-4425362.html
Telepolis one of the oldest and biggest non-commercial online news and discussion platforms in Germany states in the following article, commenting on his statement at his resignation declaration:

"Glaubt er, man wäre bei Alkohol nachsichtiger? Offenbar schien er sich betrunken kaum mehr im Griff zu haben - und dies ist wohlgemerkt seine Erklärung für die Äußerungen im Video. Erst gegen Ende beginnt er eigenes Fehlverhalten einzuräumen und bittet insbesondere seine Frau um Verzeihung, mit der er ein wenige Monate altes Kind hat. Kenner Straches ahnten an dieser Stelle bereits, dass dieser sich bereits für Dinge entschuldigt, die zu diesem Zeitpunkt der Öffentlichkeit noch gar nicht bekannt sind."

Does he (Strache) really assume he would get more indulgence by blaming it on the alcolhol? Obviously when being drunken he wasn´t in control of himself anymore - and this is actually his explanation for his statements in the video. Somehow at the end he finally begins admitting own misconduct and especially asks his wife for forgiveness, with which he has a few months old child. Experts on Strache suspected from this moment on, that he apologized for things which at this moment are not known to the public, yet"

So this very much hints something more. Right now there is a debate of cocain being visible on the table but this accusation points more towards schnickle with a babe imho. The babe to his right is not that ugly, admittely.

Jackrabbit , May 19, 2019 2:26:38 PM | 9
somebody @5:
battle of billionaires.... Anybody who is not a billionaire voting for FPÖ after this must be braindead.
Anyone who believes voting will change anything is braindead. Only supporting protest Movements (like Gillet Jeune) and free press/citizen journalism (Wikileaks/Assange) will have any real effect.
Zanon , May 19, 2019 2:30:32 PM | 0
Great piece - I dont see how Strache actually made anything wrong or atleast nothing not normal to politicians that constantly seek out support by big, powerful people. Most likely the deep state in Austria struck FPÖ just like FBI struck Trump.

As expected the hysteria of "russian" meddling have now publicized to weaken FPÖ in the EU election. Winners? NATO/US parties.

Arioch , May 19, 2019 2:36:33 PM | 1
@hallelujah hinton #4

Also notice how she pretended to be a niece.

Not some very close relative like daughter or sister, which may be fearsome, as "russian mafia" oligarch could be expected to "protect" her of ladykillers viciously. But also not some far relative who would be seen alien and have no financial support.

Just enough distance to be safe to hit on and try to share the oligarch's money. It was both honey&gold trap.

Sasha , May 19, 2019 2:38:57 PM | 2
Anyone who believes voting will change anything is braindead.

@Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 19, 2019 2:26:38 PM | 9

If voting would be such a waste, why would had taken so hard and long to achieve voting for minorities and women? Why the parties go to such efforts to campaign and disguise themselves as wolves with sheepskin like the far-right?

Why would certain forces need to go to such editorial coordinated efforts through their several blogs out there to give an impression of certain candidates which is opposite to what they really are? Wikilieaks/Assange are part of this efforts, btw

Clueless Joe , May 19, 2019 2:44:05 PM | 4
Metulski:

Seems indeed to be a honeypot aspect to the entrapment, and it's quite possible Strache stepped down at once to avoid that part to come to light, so that the public revelations would be limited to the economic shenanigans and influence-peddling level.

Also, this goes to show that the bulk of our Western politicians, across all the political spectrum, are a bunch of mediocre and quite corrupt fools. For him not to smell that this was a setup from the very first minute, it must be that such proposals are common place all across the board - which will only reinforce my suspicion that our societies, peoples and mankind as a whole would only benefit if we fully wiped out our economic, financial and political establishment and started from scratches.

Sasha , May 19, 2019 2:44:10 PM | 5
Spanish Colonel ( ret.) Pedro Baños, who was postulated for head of the CNI by the Socialist government of Pedro Sanchez, was object of slander campiagn as "pro-Russian" by the Spanish cluster of Integrity Initiative, only for declarations on the prejudice of sanctions for Spain, and nobody made such noise....
hallelujah hinton , May 19, 2019 3:03:31 PM | 6
Blackmail, smear campaigns, various traps via honey or corruption, hookers and blow, gay sex, paedofilia, or what-have-you, - all or in combination. Politicians are "all" compromised in these ways. Buck the system or threaten the status quo - whereby it gets somebody's serious attention and the shite hits the fan.

Enforcement and and penalties are selective. Selective enforcement. It's how "The Law" operates. Not defending the wingnut pig in the article. I appreciate Sasha's Trojan Horse allegory above.

the pair , May 19, 2019 3:16:52 PM | 7
wow...a bunch of elitist neoliberals with contempt for anyone lacking 10 zeroes on their paychecks and zero useful policies use "russian collusion" to entrap and embarrass a pseudo-right wing politician. who could ever imagine such a scenario? and why learn from the masses you represent when james o'keefe gives you all the inspiration you need?

but at least they blocked the ascension of someone who would trade political favors for money. that kind of nonsense simply won't do in western society.

karlof1 , May 19, 2019 3:24:47 PM | 8
Thanks for this explanation, b! I first saw this reported at Geroman's Twitter and used machine translation of the article he linked, but it lacked the context which you provided. This incident is subsumed within the larger conflict that's trying to keep EU from combining with BRI/EAEU, which means its roots/culprits are NATO/Outlaw US Empire--it points to desperation on their part.
Jackrabbit , May 19, 2019 3:25:34 PM | 9
the pair @17

Some will fail to see the sarcasm. Best to use the /sarc tag.

somebody , May 19, 2019 3:34:51 PM | 0
Posted by: hallelujah hinton | May 19, 2019 1:55:07 PM | 4

Sorry, you don't see the Latvian/Russian woman. You see Gudenus' wife who is from Serbia. Whatever the publishing papers got, it was a copy. More will come out.

Copeland , May 19, 2019 4:01:44 PM | 1
The savages in this neoliberal order use the secret services to subvert democracy. Deception and manipulation are the means used to corrupt the public domain. They would push the most pliable and ruthless leaders into office. Catastrophe and violence and disinformation are their most powerful weapons. But I still think that political processes and elections do matter; and what counts is a struggle to improve and reform the system of government. Doing our best to protect and maintain the integrity of electoral processes is something that requires both protests and political campaigns.
BM , May 19, 2019 4:14:36 PM | 2
So this very much hints something more. Right now there is a debate of cocain being visible on the table but this accusation points more towards schnickle with a babe imho. The babe to his right is not that ugly, admittely.
Posted by: Bratislav Metulski | May 19, 2019 2:20:38 PM | 8

The very strong implication certainly seems to be that there may be further video of Strache sleeping with the honey pot. He obviously knows what happened that night. If there were video cameras hidden everywhere, that was obviously one of the intentions behind the sting from the outset.

---

On the issue of "populism" and right-wing parties I confess I have a problem. I certainly want to see the Establishment thrashed, and especially in next week's EU elections, and there is no question that at the moment the right-wing parties have far more potential to upset the establishment than the left. If "Populist" parties are able to radically upset the EU Parliament, that should bring a much-needed hammer and axe to the anti-populist activities of the EU, and hopefully lead to the breakup of the EU.

On the other hand, unlike B, I do have extremely strong worries about the rising power of the far right and their connections to Nazis and neo-Nazis. I am concerned - even without the involvement of Bannon, but far more so with - that the rise of "populism" is a calculated policy of a Nazi segment of the Establishment that is designed specifically to usher in an international Nazi movement across Europe and Latin America under the leadership of and proxies of the - ever more and more Nazi behaving - US (which itself is in so many very real ways descended from Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party and the Japanese war criminals including Bush's family, tight connections with Nazi war criminals in the CIA, and historical leadership figures in the CIA). The large scale and extremely high level infiltration of hardcore Nazis in the German security services, Interior Ministry, Army, and CDU politics is a ticking timebomb waiting for its moment. There seems to be similar high level Nazi infiltration in many other countries.

We have to be careful what we wish for!

B, please do an article on the Nazi penetration of the German security services, Interior Ministry, Army, CDU etc, and links to the NSU affair, shredding of millions of documents by the Interior Ministry when demanded by the courts as evidence, links with the Board members and advisory board members of German big business especially Siemens and Deutche Bank and Bayer, etc.

Sasha , May 19, 2019 4:21:50 PM | 3
On how there is real danger with these wolves on sheepskin who only try to divide and conquer the working masses of the world, this old article by Ho Chi Minh on the importance of class conscience and the great labor of the University of the East in the former USSR to get workers of the world conscous and united in the common struggle. Also on the importance of having the right to vote:
Colonialism is a leech with two suckers, one of which sucks the metropolitan proletariat and the other that of the colonies. If we want to kill this monster, we must cut off both suckers at the same time. If only one is cut off, the other will continue to suck the blood of the proletariat, the animal will continue to live, and the cut–off sucker will grow again. The Russian Revolution has grasped this truth clearly. That is why it is not satisfied with making fine platonic speeches and drafting "humanitarian" resolutions in favor of oppressed peoples, but it teaches them to struggle; and helps them spiritually, as proclaimed by Lenin in his theses on the colonial question. To the Baku Congress, twenty–one Eastern nations sent delegates. Representatives of Western workers' parties also participated in the work of this congress. For the first time, the proletariat of the conquering Western States and that of the subject Eastern countries fraternally joined hands and deliberated in common on the best means to defeat their common enemy, imperialism .

Following this historic congress, despite internal and external difficulties, revolutionary Russia has never hesitated to come to the help of peoples awakened by its heroic and victorious revolution. One of its first important acts was the founding of the University of the East.(...)

The sixty–two nationalities represented at the University form a "Commune." Its chairman and functionaries are elected every three months by all the students.

A student delegate takes part in the economic and administrative management of the University. All must regularly and in turn work in the kitchen, the library, the club, etc. All "misdemeanors" and disputes are judged and settled by an elected tribunal in the presence of all comrades. Once a week, the "Commune" holds a meeting to discuss the international political and economic situation. From time to time, meetings and evening parties are organized where the amateur artists introduce the art and culture of their country.

The fact that the Communists not only treat the "inferior natives of the colonies" like brothers, but that they get them to participate in the political life of the country, is highly characteristic of the "barbarity" of the Bolsheviks. Treated in their native country as "submissive subjects" or "protéges," having no other right but that to pay taxes, the Eastern students, who are neither electors nor eligible for election in their own country, from whom the right to express their political opinion is withdrawn, in the Soviet Union take part in the election of the Soviets and have the right to send their representatives to the Soviets. Let our brothers of the colonies who vainly seek a change of nationality make a comparison between bourgeois democracy and proletarian democracy.

These students have suffered themselves and have witnessed the sufferings of others. All have lived under the yoke of "high civilization," all have been victims of exploitation and oppression by foreign capitalists . Moreover, they passionately long to acquire knowledge and to study. They are serious and full of enthusiasm. They are entirely different from the frequenters of the boulevards of the Latin Quarter, the Eastern students in Paris, Oxford, and Berlin. It can be said without exaggeration that under the roof of this University is the future of the colonial peoples.

The colonial countries of the Near and Far East, stretching from Syria to Korea, cover an extent of more than 15 million square kilometers and have more than 1,200 million inhabitants. All these immense countries are now under the yoke of capitalism and imperialism. Although their considerable numbers should be their strength, these submissive peoples have never yet made any serious attempts to free themselves from this yoke. Not yet having realized the value of international solidarity, they have not known how to unite for the struggle. Relationships between their countries are not yet established as they are among the peoples of Europe and America. They possess gigantic strength and do not yet realize it. The University of the East, assembling all the young, active, and intelligent leaders of the colonized countries, has fulfilled a great task, namely:

-It teaches to the future vanguard militants the principles of class struggle, confused in their minds by race conflicts and patriarchal customs.
-It establishes between the proletarian vanguard of the colonies a close contact with the Western proletariat, thus preparing the way for the close and effective cooperation which will alone ensure the final victory of the international working class.
-It teaches the colonized people, hitherto separated from one another, to know one another and to unite, by creating the bases of a future union of Eastern countries, one of the wings of the proletarian revolution.
-It sets the proletariat of colonialist countries and example of what they can and must do in favor of their oppressed brothers
.

This is why it is needed to throw the workers from the West against the migrants from the East and South, to avoid the invincible force they would constitute together. This dirty work is made by the far-right in the name of corporate liberal elites. They can play that they fight each other, but as soon as they get seats at the European Parliament, you will find the previous allegedly opponents all together aligned in the same Eurogroup. Time to time.

Bacchante , May 19, 2019 4:38:44 PM | 4
It is a wonder Strache's remark "Journalists are the biggest whores on the planet" and how he says he can subvert an entire media outlet to his political agenda by even firing the few remaining fringe elements. Yet here we can still talk about he was drunk, how his being set up was unjust, and how the poor guy will have to miss his lovers' right cause in Italy. Those vulgar masses are at it again! There can be no justification about the masses' support of far-right causes and the clowns like him. If you think otherwise it is the likes of moonofalabama next in line to be "fired", or eliminated. Legitimize their causes and it is Germany in 1920s all over again.

Two wrongs do not make a right, unfortunately.

Walter , May 19, 2019 4:56:04 PM | 5
"Left/right", I agree, is nearly without semantic value. Nevertheless class interests remain...how is it that this is so? Think about that, comrades.

And then consider wsws report about "At the annual meeting of the Bundeswehr reserve in autumn 2016, Veith announced: "I dream that in 2026 there will be a provincial regiment in each state with a charismatic commander, a troop flag and an organization of between 800 and 2,000 reservists to support the police and the Bundeswehr in emergency situations." " see> "German government prepares troops for domestic missions" @ wsws.org

Considering the overall aspects, it's rational to expect all parties in Europe to make plans, is it not? Of course the working class is not permitted to make such plans...is it?

Pnyx , May 19, 2019 5:04:18 PM | 6
I don't think Strache is as harmless as you portray him, B. You fall for his defence strategy if you attribute all his statements to the influence of alcohol. At that time, the man was very confident that he would soon be at the levers of power, which then materialized. It remains to be proven whether he did not put into practice anything of what he talked about at that house in Ibiza. After all, he was talking about the by far most influential newspaper in Austria.

Of course it is true that it is the neoliberal globalisers who have brought us to where we stand today. But that doesn' make people like Strache and Salvini any less dangerous. If they rise to total power, the result will be a naked dictatorship. Strache was beaten with his own weapons, you don't have to be under any illusions.

I agree with you that this is not the big setback for the right the mainstream parties dream of. But it won't help the fascists in spe in the future either.

Adrian E. , May 19, 2019 5:25:25 PM | 7
Who could have ordered such an elaborate sting operation?

A first association might be the dirty, deceptive campaigning SPÖ used against Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) - the Silberstein affair -, but I think the methods that were chosen are too different to make a common source likely, Strache was targeted in a much more sophisticated way. The Silberstein affair may, however, be the reason why the tapes have partially been published now rather than before the last Austrian elections - at that time, dirty campaigning might have been discredited too much for the tape to have the desired effect,

The sophisticated operation using actors and a villa prepared with hidden cameras and microphones shows that this is hardly a normal case of dirty campaigning by political opponents. Most likely, either it was an action by a secret service or someone with deep pockets hired former secret agents.

If it was an action by secret services, the most plausible explanation seems to be that Western secret services targeted Strache because FPÖ is one of the parties who is in favor of restoring normal relations with Russia.

François Fillon comes to mind, a French conservative candidate who also had a quite a friendly attitude towards Russia - shortly before the elections, it was revealed (at least claimed) that Fillon had given his wife ficticious employment, and Fillon lost popularity, which helped Macron enormously.

Probably, some of the things Strache said during this sting operation were inacceptable, and Fillon may also not be innocent, but if there is a systematic selective targeting of European politicians who want to normalize relations with Russia by secret services, that would be a huge problem for democracy.

In the case of Strache and FPÖ, a different motive may also be plausible. There are connections between FPÖ and neonazis, and there are, in my view, legitimate concerns that Strache is too close to such far-right networks. I don't think it is good when right-wing populists whose rise is mainly due to the unpopularity of the neoliberal elites are equated with Nazis too quickly.

But in the case of FPÖ, this is less far-fetched than in the case of other European right-wing parties - historically, Nazis played an important role in FPÖ in post-war Austria, and it is one of the current right-wing parties that probably has more connections to the extreme right (e.g. via Burschenschaften) than others. I could imagine that someone might have ordered and financed the sting operation out of antifascist principles. While I may recognize the motivation as ethical and even partially agree with it, I don't think the right means were chosen, and such dirty methods can backfire.

Michael Droy , May 19, 2019 5:33:51 PM | 8
"While I consider myself to be a strong leftist who opposes the right wherever possible, I believe to understand why people vote for Strache's FBOe and similar parties"

Quite. It seems to me that only the Right and the Left have a clue right now, because they have an instinctive mistrust of what they are told in the media.
People like "b" and Craig Murray are to be thanked for explaining that to us middling voters.

You miss the most glaring "injustice". That which shows that GDP in most western countries had doubled in the last 30 odd years, that earnings for the top quartile have gone up by factors of 3 or 4. But that median earnings in US are unchanged, and in say UK are only up 10% or so (unless one is seeking to buy one's own house or flat).

All the improvements in inequality from 1930s to 1980s have been reversed in full. "Populists" (or better "anti-elitists") are driven mostly by sheer anger at how a small group had taken all the Economic gains of the last 35 years.

somebody , May 19, 2019 5:35:30 PM | 9
Posted by: Pnyx | May 19, 2019 5:04:18 PM | 26

I don't know what b. saw in the video what I saw was a discussion of an Orban like take over of Austria by FPÖ.

In other news people are arguing the following
- who will profit most - ÖVP
- why was the video not published after it was produced in 2017 - because ÖVP wanted a coalition with FPÖ
- why was it published now - ÖVP has been renting advertising space for weeks for an election in September (renting before the video came out), Sebastian Kurz will be the saviour who will get the disappointed FPÖ vote
add
- why the emphasis on Kronenzeitung,
who were the people producing the video
why Red Bull everywhere - Red Bull media empire billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz publicly announced that he would back Sebastian Kurz in 2017

ÖVP/Kurz/Mateschitz have moved so far to the right that there is not much space for FPÖ anyway. His problems will return when he needs another coalition.

brian , May 19, 2019 5:37:28 PM | 0
'The FPOe has good connections with United Russia, the party of the Russian President Putin, and to other right-wing parties in east Europe'

other?

Erelis , May 19, 2019 6:09:06 PM | 1
While the right wing parties in Europe don't have a problem with Putin, it does seem that much of the Western European establish has gone full McCarthyite hysterical where they see any contact for any reason with a Russian is automatically criminal. Aside from being a setup it relied the underlying false flag of presenting the woman as a Russian (and hence guility of some crime against the Austrians).

In fact, a suggestion for a column--personal impressions on whether everyday Europeans are falling for anti-Russian propaganda. Polls in the US indicate that Americans simply do not care (they could believe it, but not effecting their daily lives).

S , May 19, 2019 6:36:42 PM | 2
1. The ER (United Russia) party was founded by Sergey Shoygu, Yuriy Luzhkov, and Mintimer Shaymiev. Its chairman is Dmitriy Medvedev, not Vladimir Putin. Putin is not even a member of ER. Putin is the leader of ONF (All-Russia People's Front), which is a nation-wide discussion platform for politicians, professionals, and NGOs.

2. Russian billionaire Igor Makarov denies having a niece: "I was the only child in the family." ( Forbes.ru , in Russian).

3. In 2016, Joseph Mifsud invited George Papadopoulos to Rome and introduced him to "Putin's niece" with the intent of smearing Trump as "Russian puppet" and destroying his election chances. In 2017, someone (who?) invited Heinz-Christian Strache to Ibiza and introduced him to "Russian billionaire's niece" with the intent of smearing Strache as "Russian puppet" and destroying his party's election chances. Notice a pattern?

4. This is a clear case of Germany interfering in Austrian elections. Austria should deport 60 German diplomats, shut down German embassy in Vienna, and impose sanctions on Germany. Also put a German girl interested in Austrian politics in jail for 18 months.

Piotr Berman , May 19, 2019 6:37:32 PM | 3
Thinking about it, after revealing e-mail of HRC, Podesta etc. were published, their core supporters were enraged about the dirty trick and did not pay attention to the disclosed content, while for the core opponents of HRC she was already sufficiently vilified so the net change in voting intentions that can be attributed to that incident was modest.

Leaving aside the discussion of of various factors in that election, this public reaction is typical. Actually, in both cases the core supporters may be energized by the suspicion that this trick was performed by a foreign government. I do not think that there is a particular hostility toward Germany in Felix Austria, but the to the right wing Merkel government is like red cape for a bull. The women who unleashed a wave of refugees. On top of that, traditionally major parties of Austria gained reputation of dirty patronage, so the voters who care about that issue probably do not vote for them.

I do not expect Austrians to demand expulsions of German diplomats -- interference in our democracy -- or other sanctions, but nevertheless it stinks. Making sting operations on politicians has corrupt potential even if it is done by domestic law enforcement, but foreign intelligence services really do not have any excuse.

Thinking about it, the stings against George Papadopoulos described in his book were remarkably similar.

Piotr Berman , May 19, 2019 6:45:53 PM | 4
Great minds think alike, S!

That said, Austrians have a reputation of good manners etc., they will not unload their frustration on a girl. BTW, why there are suspicions of Germany being involved? Again, even extremist Austrians probably would like to have some proof before doing anything. I guess, America is indeed exceptional.

Uncoy , May 19, 2019 6:49:33 PM | 5
For all those of you whining about the corruption of Strache, this is how business and politics is done in Austria. Strache was just talking about the FPÖ's fair share after an election which they would win.

This all starts with Austrian's Presidential Election of 2016. The FPÖ won the presidential election a couple of years ago in May 2016. After the bell, postal votes overturned it! – postal votes more than 90% in favour of the establishment candidate Van der Bellen. Some constituencies full of Van der Bellen votes turned out to have 148% turn out. There was a court case by the FPÖ about procedure and hinting at ballot falsification. The case was judged by a (non-corrupt but under serious pressure) judge to have enough merit that the elections had to be annulled and the election rerun six months later . Austria went without a president at all for six months!

For six months the mainstream Austrian media campaigned non-stop against the FPÖ and Norbert Hofer. Huge efforts were made for voter turnout (it included huge bussing of potential anti-FPÖ constituencies and bribing pensioners to vote against the FPÖ via parties and cakes). With all of that, Van der Bellen scraped in on 4 December 2016, by 348,231 votes. Despite the non-stop anti-FPÖ propaganda and banging on drums, votes for Hofer's fell by less than 100,000 (95,993 votes to be exact). It's just that with six months to prepare the establishment had found enough "dead souls" to win the second round.

In the parliamentary elections of 15 October 2017, the FPÖ were set to win a strong majority in parliament. To defeat the FPÖ and Strache, the conservatives (Völkspartei) were forced to elect a male model non-university graduate 30 year old sex symbol with no work experience outside of politics as party leader. Of course Sebastian Kurz was mainly a figurehead for establishment figures in the venerable Völkspartei. Kurz does have a mind of his own though (I had the opportunity to interact with him personally at a local political discussion group in 2015) and it's hard to know exactly how much of his policy is dictated to him and how much is off his own bat.

Going back to Austrian corruption, there are enormous sums at stake. There is a long entrenched system of corruption in the establishment parties, the Völkspartei and the SPÖ. Strabag does win most of the government contracts. Favour is regularly granted on quid pro basis. The media landscape is very partisan and mostly for sale. Kurz's spiritual predecessor as a powerful head of the Völkspartei if not direct predecessor Wolfgang Schüssel was forced to retire from politics in 2011 due to never-ending corruption scandals. Schüssel's longstanding finance minister Karl-Heinz Grasser was caught carrying bags of cash to Lichtenstein and is still under investigation. If his mother-in-law were not the richest woman in Austria (Swarovski Crystal) and devoted to her daughter (Grasser's wife), he would long ago have been in jail.

Politically, Grasser knows where a lot of the bodies are buried from the Schlüssel political machine so either he has to be kept out of jail or he may take others down with him. In elite Austrian circles turning informant would be considered unsportsmanlike so there's an uneasy truce still fought to this day in the courts where Grasser is kept out of jail via procedural methods (detect a pattern) and Grasser doesn't rat out the others.

Strache's sin is not planning to use the advantages which accrue to the governing Austrian party but getting caught out talking about it. Strache is something of a lout, not terribly loyal (he was the Brutus who threw Jörg Haider under the bus in 2005 in a palace putsch). He's a smoker in power who used his power to overturn some very positive anti-smoking laws. But he's less corrupt than any of his equivalents in the Völkspartei and is only a nose ahead of the his equivalents in the SPÖ. His politics and policies of Austria for Austrians are pretty simple. Hence people vote for these policies.

Here's a sample of the SPÖ's wares in the 2010 Vienna elections:

The FPÖ has historically been weakest in Vienna but in 2010 they took 27% of the vote in this SPÖ stronghold, their first step in what has been a steady march to power.

Anyone who does not directly have his or her family's nose in the EU trough at this point knows that the policies espoused by transatlantic puppets like Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron push our countries and our continent towards self-destruction. Life in Europe, post-1968 and pre-2013, has been pretty damn good. There's absolutely no good reason for us to rip up our traditions or turn into a continent of immigrants and mobile job seekers. We instinctively abhor what is happening to our nations. By nature Strache is inclined this way himself (he's no great thinker) and has the good sense to ride the wave.

somebody , May 19, 2019 7:11:44 PM | 6
Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 19, 2019 6:45:53 PM | 34

As Strache explains in the video, Austrian dirty tricks are done "via another country".

somebody , May 19, 2019 7:21:16 PM | 7
For all those of you whining about the corruption of Strache, this is how business and politics is done in Austria. Strache was just talking about the FPÖ's fair share after an election which they would win.

So why did he step down?

Here's a sample of the SPÖ's wares in the 2010 Vienna elections:

You mean FPÖ wares .

Hoarsewhisperer , May 19, 2019 7:29:57 PM | 8
...
"This stand-offish sentence in the Spiegel story about Strache's party demonstrates the problem:"

In the last election, the party drew significant support from the working class, in part because of his ability to simplify even the most complicated of issues and play the common man, even in his role as vice chancellor.

"The implicit thesis, that the working class is too dumb to understand the "most complicated of issues", is not only incredibly snobbish but utterly false..."

I can't agree that Spiegel's attitude to Strache's party is condescending toward the working class. Right-wing parties tend to spout a lot of aggressively authoritarian spin tank bullshit to encourage voters to tune out when a R-w politician is telling them what to think. If Strache is adept at separating fact from fiction and superfluous verbiage, then people would appreciate his candor.

In a Democracy, and in theory at least, politicians are supposed to represent and defend the views of the people who voted for them, not vested intere$t$. Or so we've been led to believe...

I'll always remember Spiegel as the folks whose photo-journalists torpedoed Crooked Hillary's feeble-minded Cheonan (NK-SK) bullshit. That story vanished overnight. It's not even referred to in NK smear campaigns. Dead & buried.

somebody , May 19, 2019 8:15:54 PM | 9
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 19, 2019 7:29:57 PM | 38

In a Democracy, and in theory at least, politicians are supposed to represent and defend the views of the people who voted for them, not vested intere$t$. Or so we've been led to believe...

You are making this theory up.

Let's take the American constitution .

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,

That's it.

The German constitution is absolutely clear that members of parliament represent all of the people (ie different views and interests) and are bound by their own judgement and conscience only.

As we are discussing Austria, lets see what the Austrian constitution says. Austria has "linguistic and cultural diversity" and the protection of its grown native peoples in its constitution, this means Slovenian, Croatian, Czech, Slovakian, Roma and Hungarian. So the Austrian constitution has a concept of a multinational state where different peoples grow and are protected even if the Viennese "Stammtisch" does not like them.

There is no "democratic theory" that suggests representatives should follow the uninformed and prejudiced views of their electorate against their better judgement.

Strache seems to have specialized in "fake news" - ie mostly invented stuff claiming Muslims, immigrants or whoever were treated in a better way than native Austrians or threatened native Austrians.

It is a very convenient technique when you plan to cut social services, you have someone to blame.

Piotr Berman , May 19, 2019 9:05:45 PM | 0
To those who fill that politics of Strache are obnoxious and that justifies entrapment, remembers that methods of that type are not improvised, and that means that there is an apparatus that does it. We noted similarities with provocations against George Papadopoulos. In the latter case the target was cautious, after all, we had to be well aware of such methods. But anyone who is despised by NATO establishment are similar group can be on the receiving end, think about Assange.

[May 19, 2019] Lawrence Wilkerson Warns The US Is Driving Down A Highway To War With China

Notable quotes:
"... More broadly, Wilkerson pegs the ramping up of confrontation with China as "all about keeping the [military-industrial] complex alive" that Wilkerson explains "the military was scared to death would disappear as we began to pay the American people back" a peace dividend at the end of the cold war. US government efforts against terrorism, explains Wilkerson, have also been used to ensure the money keeps flowing. ..."
May 19, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Adam Dick via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity,

Former Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, who was chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell in the George W. Bush administration, warns in a new The Real News interview with host Sharmini Peries that the United States government is driving down a "highway to war" with China -- a war for which Wilkerson sees no sound justification.

The drive toward war is not undertaken in response to a real threat posed by China to the people of America. Instead, argues Wilkerson, the US government is moving toward war for reasons related to money for both the military and the broader military-industrial complex, as well to advance President Donald Trump's domestic political goals.

Wilkerson, who is a member of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity's Academic Board, elaborates on the US military's money-seeking motivation to advance the new China scare, stating:

All of this right now, first and foremost, is a budget ploy. They want more money.

And that's largely because their personnel costs are just eating their lunch. And, second, it's an attempt to develop - and this has something to do with money too of course - another threat, another cold war, another feeding system .

The military just hooks up like it is hooking up to an intravenous, you know, an IV system and the money just pours out-slush fund money, appropriated money, everything else.

More broadly, Wilkerson pegs the ramping up of confrontation with China as "all about keeping the [military-industrial] complex alive" that Wilkerson explains "the military was scared to death would disappear as we began to pay the American people back" a peace dividend at the end of the cold war. US government efforts against terrorism, explains Wilkerson, have also been used to ensure the money keeps flowing.

Watch Wilkerson's complete interview here:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/42LauiK_rbY

* * *

Please donate to the Ron Paul Institute

[May 19, 2019] Why The Takedown Of Heinz-Christian Strache Will Strengthen The Right

Notable quotes:
"... In July 2017 Strache and his right hand man Johann Gudenus, who is also the big number in the FPOe, get invited for dinner to a rented villa on Ibiza, the Spanish tourist island in the Mediterranean. They are told that the daughter of a Russian billionaire plans large investments in Austria. It was said that she would like to help his party. The alleged daughter of the Russian billionaire, who is actually also Austrian, and her "friend" serve an expensive dinner. Alcohol flows freely. The pair offers a large party donation but asks for returns in form of mark ups on public contracts. ..."
"... Unknown to Strache the villa is professionally bugged with many hidden cameras and microphones. ..."
"... The right-wing parties will use the case to boost their legitimacy. ..."
"... Strache was obviously set up by some intelligence services, probably a German one with a British assist. The original aim was likely to blackmail him. But during the meeting on Ibiza Strache promised and did nothing illegal. Looking for potential support for his party is not a sin. Neither is discussing investments in Austria with a "daughter of a Russian oligarch." Some boosting while drunk is hardly a reason to go to jail. When the incident provided too little material to claim that Strache is corrupt, the video was held back until the right moment to politically assassinate him with the largest potential damage to his party. That moment was thought to be now. ..."
"... The massive economic shock following the banking collapse of 2007–8 is the direct cause of the crisis of confidence which is affecting almost all the institutions of western representative democracy. The banking collapse was not a natural event, like a tsunami. It was a direct result of man-made systems and artifices which permitted wealth to be generated and hoarded primarily through multiple financial transactions rather than by the actual production and sale of concrete goods, and which then disproportionately funnelled wealth to those engaged in the mechanics of the transactions. ..."
"... The political assassination of Christian Strache is unjust. What was done during the 2007-8 banking crisis was utterly corrupt and also unjust. Instead of going to jail the bankers were rewarded with extreme amounts of money for their assault on the well being of the people. The public was then told that it must starve through austerity to make up for the loss of money. ..."
May 19, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

During the last days a right wing politician in Austria was taken down by using an elaborate sting. Until Friday Heinz-Christian Strache was leader of the far right (but not fascist) Freedom Party of Austria (FPOe) and the Vice Chancellor of the country. On Friday morning two German papers, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung and Der Spiegel published (German) reports (English) about an old video that was made to take Strache down.

The FPOe has good connections with United Russia, the party of the Russian President Putin, and to other right-wing parties in east Europe. It's pro-Russian position has led to verbal attacks on and defamation of the party from NATO supporting and neoliberal circles.

In July 2017 Strache and his right hand man Johann Gudenus, who is also the big number in the FPOe, get invited for dinner to a rented villa on Ibiza, the Spanish tourist island in the Mediterranean. They are told that the daughter of a Russian billionaire plans large investments in Austria. It was said that she would like to help his party. The alleged daughter of the Russian billionaire, who is actually also Austrian, and her "friend" serve an expensive dinner. Alcohol flows freely. The pair offers a large party donation but asks for returns in form of mark ups on public contracts.

Unknown to Strache the villa is professionally bugged with many hidden cameras and microphones.


A scene from the video. Source: Der Falter (vid, German)

During the six hour long party several schemes get proposed by the "Russian" and are discussed. Strache rejects most of them. He insists several times that everything they plan or do must be legal and conform to the law. He says that a large donation could probably be funneled through an endowment that would then support his party. It is a gray area under Austrian party financing laws. They also discuss if the "Russian" could buy the Kronen Zeitung , Austria's powerful tabloid, and use it to prop up his party.

The evening goes on with several bottles of vodka on the table. Starche gets a bit drunk and boosts in front of the "oligarch daughter" about all his connections to rich and powerful people. He does not actually have these.

Strache says that, in exchange for help for his party, the "Russian" could get public contracts for highway building and repair. Currently most of such contracts in Austria go to the large Austrian company, STRABAG, that is owned by a neoliberal billionaire who opposes the FPOe. At that time Strache was not yet in the government and had no way to decide about such contracts.

At one point Strache seems to understand that the whole thing is a setup. But his right hand man calms him down and vouches for the "Russian". The sting ends with Strache and his companion leaving the place. The never again see the "Russian" and her co-plotter. Nothing they talked about will ever come to fruition.

Three month later Strache and his party win more than 20% in the Austrian election and form a coalition government with the conservative party OeVP led by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. Even while the FPOe controls several ministries, it does not achieve much politically. It lacks a real program and the government's policies are mostly run by the conservatives.

Nearly two years after the evening on Ibiza, ten days before the European parliament election in which Strache's party is predicted to achieve good results, a video of the evening on Ibiza is handed to two German papers which are known to be have strong transatlanticist leanings and have previously been used for other shady 'leaks'. The papers do not hesitate to take part in the plot and publish extensive reports about the video.

After the reports appeared Strache immediately stepped down and the conservatives ended the coalition with his party. Austria will now have new elections.

On Bloomberg Leonid Bershidsky opines on the case:

Strache's discussion with the Russian oligarch's fake niece shows a propensity for dirty dealing that has nothing to do with idealistic nationalism. Nationalist populists often agitate against entrenched, corrupt elites and pledge to drain various swamps. In the videos, however, Strache and Gudenus behave like true swamp creatures, savoring rumors of drug and sex scandals in Austrian politics and discussing how to create an authoritarian media machine like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's.

I do not believe that the people who voted for the FPOe (and similar parties in other countries) will subscribe to that view. The politics of the main stream parties in Austria have for decades been notoriously corrupt. Compared to them Strache and his party are astonishingly clean. In the video he insists several times that everything must stay within the legal realm. Whenever the "Russian" puts forward a likely illegal scheme, Starche emphatically rejects it.

Bershidsky continues:

Strache, as one of the few nationalist populists in government in the European Union's wealthier member states, was an important member of the movement Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has been trying to cobble together ahead of the European Parliament election that will take place next week. On Saturday, he was supposed to attend a Salvini-led rally in Milan with other like-minded politicians from across Europe. Instead, he was in Vienna apologizing to his wife and to Kurz and protesting pitifully that he'd been the victim of a "political assassination" -- a poisonous rain on the Italian right-winger's parade.
...
This leaves the European far right in disarray and plays into the hands of centrist and leftist forces ahead of next week's election. Salvini's unifying effort has been thoroughly undermined, ...

This is also a misreading of the case. The right-wing parties will use the case to boost their legitimacy.

Strache was obviously set up by some intelligence services, probably a German one with a British assist. The original aim was likely to blackmail him. But during the meeting on Ibiza Strache promised and did nothing illegal. Looking for potential support for his party is not a sin. Neither is discussing investments in Austria with a "daughter of a Russian oligarch." Some boosting while drunk is hardly a reason to go to jail. When the incident provided too little material to claim that Strache is corrupt, the video was held back until the right moment to politically assassinate him with the largest potential damage to his party. That moment was thought to be now.

But that Strache stepped down after the sudden media assault only makes him more convincing. The right-wing all over Europe will see him as a martyr who was politically assassinated because he worked for their cause. The issue will increase the right-wingers hate against the 'liberal' establishment. It will further motivate them: "They attack us because we are right and winning." The new far-right block Natteo Salvini will setup in the European Parliament will likely receive a record share of votes.

Establishment writers notoriously misinterpret the new right wing parties and their followers. This stand-offish sentence in the Spiegel story about Strache's party demonstrates the problem:

In the last election, the party drew significant support from the working class, in part because of his ability to simplify even the most complicated of issues and play the common man, even in his role as vice chancellor.

The implicit thesis, that the working class is too dumb to understand the "most complicated of issues", is not only incredibly snobbish but utterly false. The working class understands very well what the establishment parties have done to it and continue to do. The increasing vote share of the far-right is a direct consequence of the behavior of the neoliberal center and of the lack of real left alternatives.

Last week, before the Strache video appeared, Craig Murray put his finger on the wound:

The massive economic shock following the banking collapse of 2007–8 is the direct cause of the crisis of confidence which is affecting almost all the institutions of western representative democracy. The banking collapse was not a natural event, like a tsunami. It was a direct result of man-made systems and artifices which permitted wealth to be generated and hoarded primarily through multiple financial transactions rather than by the actual production and sale of concrete goods, and which then disproportionately funnelled wealth to those engaged in the mechanics of the transactions.

...

The rejection of the political class manifests itself in different ways and has been diverted down a number of entirely blind alleys giving unfulfilled promise of a fresh start – Brexit, Trump, Macron. As the vote share of the established political parties – and public engagement with established political institutions – falls everywhere, the chattering classes deride the political symptoms of status quo rejection by the people as "populism". It is not populism to make sophisticated arguments that undermine the received political wisdom and take on the entire weight of established media opinion.

If one wants to take down the far right one has to do so with arguments and good politics for the working class. Most people, especially working class people, have a strong sense for justice. The political assassination of Christian Strache is unjust. What was done during the 2007-8 banking crisis was utterly corrupt and also unjust. Instead of going to jail the bankers were rewarded with extreme amounts of money for their assault on the well being of the people. The public was then told that it must starve through austerity to make up for the loss of money.

While I consider myself to be a strong leftist who opposes the right wherever possible, I believe to understand why people vote for Strache's FBOe and similar parties. When one talks to these people issues of injustice and inequality always come up. The new 'populist' parties at least claim to fight against the injustice done to the common men. Unlike most of the establishment parties they seem to be still mostly clean and not yet corrupted.

In the early 1990s Strache actually flirted with violent fascists but he rejected their way. While he has far-right opinions, he and his like are no danger to our societies. If we can not accept that Strache and his followers have some legitimate causes, we will soon find us confronted with way more extreme people. The neoliberal establishment seems to do its best to achieve that.

Posted by b on May 19, 2019 at 01:10 PM | Permalink

[May 19, 2019] Intel agencies of the UK and US are guilty of fabricating evidence, breaking the laws (certainly of the targeted countries, but also of the UK and US), providing fake analysis and operating as evil actors on the dark side of humanity

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... what is true is that May was judge, jury and executioner in convicting Russia of the poisoning and refused to follow an evidence based discovery process that lies at the heart of the UK justice system - by hiding behind those powers that the UK intelligence community "needs" in order to protect british (not russian, british) citizens from the sinister influences of foreign powers. ..."
"... the criminal activities of howler monkeys, like Strzok, Page, Brennan, McCabe, SUSAN RICE, Comey, Ohr, BIDEN, OBAMA, etc in the USA are bad enough (whilst hardly impacting civilian life in the US - BUT - the tactics used have been deployed to starve, cause disease, "dumb down", reduce life chances all over the middle east and elsewhere for countless millions of people. ..."
May 19, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Couple of factors not mentioned. one is Israel and the other is more sinister still and tied to the conclusions to be drawn from the Mueller report.

it may be true that Skripal helped Steele with some elements of the dossier compiled by Steele, via SKripals handler Pablo Miller. It may be true that Skripal went "stir crazy" and an attempt was made to silence him and his daughter - permanently, because they simply cold not be trusted. a similar motivation could be drawn up against Russia - with the two Russians visiting Salisbury used as diversionary "stool pigeons". It may be true that the "poisoning" was self inflicted and was in fact a murder/suicide attempt as a result of depression along the ines "what's the point of it all".

what is true is that May was judge, jury and executioner in convicting Russia of the poisoning and refused to follow an evidence based discovery process that lies at the heart of the UK justice system - by hiding behind those powers that the UK intelligence community "needs" in order to protect british (not russian, british) citizens from the sinister influences of foreign powers.

what ought to be apparent is

- the same tactics used by the special prosecutor to investigate the "Russia collusion" smoke screen erected by the howler monkeys in the US intel agencies (aided and abetter by howler monkeys in UK intel agencies) to stymie the US executive branch (Trump) are likely to be used by the the UK government and some more as well - in true Le Carre fashion, but with much dumber and less principled actors than Smiley's people.

these tactics prevented (and continue to prevent) investigation and prosecution of heinous corruption within the obama administration of the previous 8 years - these howler monkey intelligence agency tactics include(d) entrapment, honeypots, racketeering, blackmail, de facto kidnapping (in the case of Skripals), bribery, wire fraud, unauthorized wire-tapping, breach of authorized intel agency activities (like the FBI operating overseas and the CIA operating domestically in the US, false and unverified claims in FISA warrants, NSA providing unauthorized information to the CIA and FBI etc)

- given the howler monkey activities of the alphabet soup, it is not beyond the imagination to draw parallels with the CIA's reporting and analysis of situations on the ground wherever they operate to provide intel ahead of military activity. the DOD has already proved complicit by hiring Halper (for hundreds of thousands of dollars) to assist with the entrapment of Trump operative Papadopoulos. Mifsud is likely a CIA, not a Russian, asset.

- given that we have ample evidence of the howler monkeys in the alphabet soup seeking to facilitate a coup against a sitting US president, it is certainly plausible that - as with the US goverment sponsoring the mujaheedin, isis and al qaeda in afghanistan to fight the russians in late 80's early 90's, Iraq yellow cake and WMD - that the howler monkeys paid the white helmets to ovethrow assad and foment civil war in Syria - thus causing the migration of some 5 million syrians into europe, iraq, turkey, jordan, turkey and lebanon.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Helmets_(Syrian_Civil_War)

so , the case is that howler monkey activity in intel agencies of the UK and US (add (F)rance to get FUKUS) are guilty of the manufacture of human conflict by fabricating evidence, breaking the laws (certainly of the targeted countries, but also of the UK and US), providing shitty analysis (howler monkeys are only good at swinging in trees and flinging ****) and generally operating as evil actors on the dark side of humanity.

this can only be brought into sharp relief if howler monkey activities were instead shown to be powers for good rather than the geo-political risks that persist in Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Yemen, Libya and so on and so forth.

Never mind how much past conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and so on relied on evidence and analysis thrown at us by the howler monkeys in the tree tops, how much of what we we are doing now is a fabrication causing needless suffering by civilian (not politicians or military engaged in conflict) populations?

the criminal activities of howler monkeys, like Strzok, Page, Brennan, McCabe, SUSAN RICE, Comey, Ohr, BIDEN, OBAMA, etc in the USA are bad enough (whilst hardly impacting civilian life in the US - BUT - the tactics used have been deployed to starve, cause disease, "dumb down", reduce life chances all over the middle east and elsewhere for countless millions of people.

there are equivalents of strzok, page, ohr right throughout the US and UK government "machines" operating overseas. think about that. crimes exposed by Barr et al in the US - against a sitting president - are replicated wherever howler monkeys operate overseas as well.

[May 19, 2019] The OPCW, Douma, The Skripals

Notable quotes:
"... The neocon faction in the US is usually (and reasonably) regarded as the motivator behind much of the western aggression in the Middle East. ..."
"... Granted the US has been looking for excuses to intervene ever more overtly in Syria since 2013, and in that sense this Douma "initiative" is a continuation of their longterm policy. It's also true Russia was warning just such a false flag would be attempted in early March. But in the intervening month the situation on the ground has changed so radically that such an attempt no longer made any sense. ..."
"... A false flag in early March, while pockets of the US proxy army were still holding ground in Ghouta would have enabled a possible offensive in their support which would prevent Ghouta falling entirely into government hands and thereby also maintain the pressure on Damascus. A false flag in early April is all but useless because the US proxy army in the region was completely vanquished and nothing would be gained by an offensive in that place at that time. ..."
"... The US media has been similarly, and uncharacteristically divided and apparently unsure. Tucker Carlson railed against the stupidity of attacking Syria. Commentators on MSNBC were also expressing intense scepticism of the US intent and fear about possible escalation. ..."
"... The official story is a hot mess of proven falsehoods, contradictions, implausible conspiracy theories, more falsehoods and inexplicable silences were cricket chirps tell us all we need to know. ..."
"... The UK government has lied and evaded on every key aspect. ..."
"... Indeed if current claims by Russian FM Lavrov turn out to be true, a "novichok" (whatever that precisely means in this case) may not have been the only substance found in those samples, and a compound called "BZ", a non-lethal agent developed in Europe and America, has been discovered and suppressed in the OPCW report (more about that later). ..."
"... The Skripals themselves were announced to be alive and out of danger mere days after claims they were all but certain to die. Yulia, soon thereafter, apparently called her cousin Viktoria only to subsequently announce, indirectly through the helpful agency of the Metropolitan Police, that she didn't want to talk to her cousin – or anyone else – at all. ..."
"... She is now allegedly discharged from hospital and has "specially trained officers helping to take care of" her in an undisclosed location. A form or words so creepily sinister it's hard to imagine how they were ever permitted the light of day. ..."
"... If a false flag chemical attack had taken place in Syria at the time Russia predicted, just a week or two after the Skripal poisoning, a lot of the attention that's been paid to the Skripals over the last month would likely have been diverted. Many of the questions being asked by Russia and in the alt media may never have been asked as the focus of the world turned to a possible superpower stand-off in the Middle East. ..."
"... So, could it be the Skripal event was never intended to last so long in the public eye? Could it be that it was indeed a false flag, or a fake event, as many have alleged, planned as a sketchy prelude to, or warm up act for a bigger chemical attack in Syria, scheduled for a week or so later in mid-March – just around the time Russia was warning of such a possibility? ..."
"... This would explain why the UK may have been pushing for the false flag to happen (as claimed by Russia) even after it could no longer serve much useful purpose on the ground, and why the Douma "attack" seems to have been so sketchily done by a gang on the run. The UK needed the second part to happen in order to distract from the first. ..."
"... If this is true, Theresa May and her cabinet are currently way out on a limb even by cynical UK standards. Not only have they lied about the Skripal event, but in order to cover up that lie they have promoted a false flag in Syria, and "responded" to it by a flagrant breach of international and domestic law. Worst of all, if the Russians aren't bluffing, they have some evidence to prove some of the most egregious parts of this. ..."
"... But even if some or all of our speculation proves false, and even if the Russian claims of UK collusion with terrorists in Syria prove unfounded, May is still guilty of multiple lies and has still waged war without parliamentary approval. ..."
"... The UK were the most vocal about Syria, and desperately tried to drum up support over Skripal, but it all came to nothing much in the end. ..."
"... Theresa May's political career still hangs by a thread, and her "Falklands moment", at best, staved off the inevitable for a few months. A washout in the EU elections, a very real threat from Farage's Brexit party, and rumblings inside her own party, make her position as unstable as ever. ..."
"... In the US, generally speaking, it seems that the Trump admin – or at least whichever interested parties currently have control of the wheels of government – have called time on war in Syria. Instead, they've moved on to projects in Venezuela and North Korea, and even war with Iran. ..."
"... The failure of the Douma false flag to cause the war it was meant to cause, and the vast collection of evidence that suggests it was a false flag, should be spread far and wide. Not just because it's a truth which vindicates the smeared minority in the alternate media. ..."
May 19, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Via Off-Guardian.org,

In view of the latest revelations from the leaked report, which seem to prove that at least some elements of the Douma "chemical attack" were entirely staged, we want to take look back at the chaotic events of Spring 2018.

The following is an extract from an article by Catte originally published April 14th last year, which takes on a greater weight in light of certain evidence – not only that the Douma attack was faked, but that the OPCW is compromised.

You can read the whole article here .

* * *

PRIMARILY UK INITIATIVE?

The neocon faction in the US is usually (and reasonably) regarded as the motivator behind much of the western aggression in the Middle East.

Since at least 2001 and the launch of the "War on Terror" the US has led the way in finding or creating facile excuses to fight oil wars and hegemonic wars and proxy wars in the region. But this time the dynamics look a little different.

This time it really looks as if the UK has been setting the pace of the "response".

The fact (as stated above) that Mattis was apparently telegraphing his own private doubts a)about the verifiability of the attacks, and b)about the dangers of a military response suggests he was a far from enthusiastic partaker in this adventure.

Trump's attitude is harder to gauge. His tweets veered wildly between unhinged threats and apparent efforts at conciliation. But he must have known he would lose (and seemingly has lost) a great part of his natural voter base (who elected him on a no-more-war mandate) by an act of open aggression that threatened confrontation with Russia on the flimsiest of pretexts.

Granted the US has been looking for excuses to intervene ever more overtly in Syria since 2013, and in that sense this Douma "initiative" is a continuation of their longterm policy. It's also true Russia was warning just such a false flag would be attempted in early March. But in the intervening month the situation on the ground has changed so radically that such an attempt no longer made any sense.

A false flag in early March, while pockets of the US proxy army were still holding ground in Ghouta would have enabled a possible offensive in their support which would prevent Ghouta falling entirely into government hands and thereby also maintain the pressure on Damascus. A false flag in early April is all but useless because the US proxy army in the region was completely vanquished and nothing would be gained by an offensive in that place at that time.

You can see why Mattis and others in the administration might be reluctant to take part in the false flag/punitive air strike narrative if they saw nothing currently to be gained to repay the risk. They may have preferred to wait for developments and plan for a more productive way of playing the R2P card in the future.

The US media has been similarly, and uncharacteristically divided and apparently unsure. Tucker Carlson railed against the stupidity of attacking Syria. Commentators on MSNBC were also expressing intense scepticism of the US intent and fear about possible escalation.

The UK govt and media on the other hand has been much more homogeneous in advocating for action. No doubts of the type expressed by Mattis have been heard from the lips of an UK government minister. Even May, a cowardly PM, has been (under how much pressure?) voicing sterling certitude in public that action HAD to be taken.

Couple this with the – as yet unverified – claims by Russia of direct UK involvement in arranging the Douma "attack", and the claims by Syria that the perps are in their custody, and a tentative storyline emerges. It's possible this time there were other considerations in the mix beside the usual need to "be seen to do something" and Trump's perpetual requirement to appease the liberal Russiagaters and lunatic warmongers at home. Maybe this time it was also about helping the UK out of a sticky problem.

THE SKRIPAL CONSIDERATION

Probably the only thing we can all broadly agree on about the Skripal narrative is that it manifestly did not go according to plan. However it was intended to play out, it wasn't this way. Since some time in mid to late March it's been clear the entire thing has become little more than an exercise in damage-limitation, leak-plugging and general containment.

The official story is a hot mess of proven falsehoods, contradictions, implausible conspiracy theories, more falsehoods and inexplicable silences were cricket chirps tell us all we need to know.

The UK government has lied and evaded on every key aspect.

  1. It lied again and again about the information Porton Down had given it
  2. Its lawyers all but lied to Mr Justice Robinson about whether or not the Skripals had relatives in Russia in an unscrupulous attempt to maintain total control of them, or at least of the narrative.
  3. It is not publishing the OPCW report on the chemical analyses, and the summary of that report reads like an exercise in allusion and weasel-wording. Even the name of the "toxic substance" found in the Skripals' blood is omitted, and the only thing tying it to the UK government's public claims of "novichok" is association by inference and proximity.

Indeed if current claims by Russian FM Lavrov turn out to be true, a "novichok" (whatever that precisely means in this case) may not have been the only substance found in those samples, and a compound called "BZ", a non-lethal agent developed in Europe and America, has been discovered and suppressed in the OPCW report (more about that later).

None of the alleged victims of this alleged attack has been seen in public even in passing since the event. There is no film or photographs of DS Bailey leaving the hospital, no film or photographs of his wife or family members doing the same. No interviews with Bailey, no interviews with his wife, family, distant relatives, work colleagues.

The Skripals themselves were announced to be alive and out of danger mere days after claims they were all but certain to die. Yulia, soon thereafter, apparently called her cousin Viktoria only to subsequently announce, indirectly through the helpful agency of the Metropolitan Police, that she didn't want to talk to her cousin – or anyone else – at all.

She is now allegedly discharged from hospital and has "specially trained officers helping to take care of" her in an undisclosed location. A form or words so creepily sinister it's hard to imagine how they were ever permitted the light of day.

Very little of this bizarre, self-defeating, embarrassing, hysterical story makes any sense other than as a random narrative, snaking wildly in response to events the narrative-makers can't completely control.

Why? What went wrong? Why has the UK government got itself into this mess? And how much did the Douma "gas attack" and subsequent drive for a concerted western "response" have to do with trying to fix that?

IS THIS WHAT HAPPENED?

If a false flag chemical attack had taken place in Syria at the time Russia predicted, just a week or two after the Skripal poisoning, a lot of the attention that's been paid to the Skripals over the last month would likely have been diverted. Many of the questions being asked by Russia and in the alt media may never have been asked as the focus of the world turned to a possible superpower stand-off in the Middle East.

So, could it be the Skripal event was never intended to last so long in the public eye? Could it be that it was indeed a false flag, or a fake event, as many have alleged, planned as a sketchy prelude to, or warm up act for a bigger chemical attack in Syria, scheduled for a week or so later in mid-March – just around the time Russia was warning of such a possibility?

Could it be this planned event was unexpectedly canceled by the leading players in the drama (the US) when the Russians called them out and the rapid and unexpected fall of Ghouta meant any such intervention became pointless at least for the moment?

Did this cancelation leave the UK swinging in the wind, with a fantastical story that was never intended to withstand close scrutiny, and no second act for distraction?

So, did they push on with the now virtually useless "chemical attack", botch it (again), leaving a clear evidence trail leading back to them? Did they then further insist on an allied "response" to their botched false flag in order to provide yet more distraction and hopefully destroy some of that evidence?

This would explain why the UK may have been pushing for the false flag to happen (as claimed by Russia) even after it could no longer serve much useful purpose on the ground, and why the Douma "attack" seems to have been so sketchily done by a gang on the run. The UK needed the second part to happen in order to distract from the first.

It would explain why the US has been less than enthused by the idea of reprisals. Because while killing Syrians to further geo-strategic interests is not a problem, killing Syrians (and risking escalation with Russia) in order to rescue an embarrassed UK government is less appealing.

And it would explain why the "reprisals" when they came were so half-hearted.

If this is true, Theresa May and her cabinet are currently way out on a limb even by cynical UK standards. Not only have they lied about the Skripal event, but in order to cover up that lie they have promoted a false flag in Syria, and "responded" to it by a flagrant breach of international and domestic law. Worst of all, if the Russians aren't bluffing, they have some evidence to prove some of the most egregious parts of this.

This is very bad.

But even if some or all of our speculation proves false, and even if the Russian claims of UK collusion with terrorists in Syria prove unfounded, May is still guilty of multiple lies and has still waged war without parliamentary approval.

This is a major issue. She and her government should resign. But it's unlikely that will happen.

So what next? There is a sense this is a watershed for many of the parties involved and for the citizens of the countries drawn into this.

Will the usual suspects try to avoid paying for their crimes and misadventures by more rhetoric, more false flags, more "reprisals"? Or will this signal some other change in direction?

We'll all know soon enough.

* * *

Back to today...

...and while things have moved on, we're still puzzling over all the same issues.

All these questions stand, and are important, but more important than all of that is the lesson: They tried it before, and just because it didn't work doesn't mean they won't try it again.

Last spring, the Western powers showed they will deploy a false flag if they need too, for domestic or international motives. And they have the motives right now.

The UK were the most vocal about Syria, and desperately tried to drum up support over Skripal, but it all came to nothing much in the end.

Theresa May's political career still hangs by a thread, and her "Falklands moment", at best, staved off the inevitable for a few months. A washout in the EU elections, a very real threat from Farage's Brexit party, and rumblings inside her own party, make her position as unstable as ever.

Britain had the most to gain, of all NATO countries, and that is still true. We don't know what they might do.

This time they might even receive greater support from France this time around – since Macron is facing a revolution at home and would kill (possibly literally) for a nice international distraction.

In the US, generally speaking, it seems that the Trump admin – or at least whichever interested parties currently have control of the wheels of government – have called time on war in Syria. Instead, they've moved on to projects in Venezuela and North Korea, and even war with Iran.

That's not to say Syria is safe, far from it. They are always just one carefully place false-flag away from all-out war. Last year, Mattis (or whoever) decided war with Syria was not an option – that it was too risky or complicated. That might not happen next time.

Clearly, the US hasn't totally seen sense in terms of stoking conflict with Russia – as seen by the decision to pull out of the INF Treaty late last year. And further demonstrated by their attempts to overthrow Russia's ally Nicolas Maduro. Another ripe candidate for a false flag.

The failure of the Douma false flag to cause the war it was meant to cause, and the vast collection of evidence that suggests it was a false flag, should be spread far and wide. Not just because it's a truth which vindicates the smeared minority in the alternate media.

But because recognising what they were trying to do last time , is the best defense when they try it again next time .

[May 18, 2019] It's time to question the wisdom of our growing exposure to waves, streams of electrons, that we already have for a couple of decades

May 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Really? , May 17, 2019 8:12:32 PM | link

" Not that there aren't legitimate concerns to have, but such concerns should also apply, and should've applied in the last 2 decades, to all previous mobile phone communication systems' effects on global health; cherry-picking just that one time when it's China that's in the lead, and not the West anymore, is quite a blatant admission of the real goal of those who pull the strings."

Can't agree with this. The red flags and warnings have been very prominent regarding cell phone use, microwaves, excessive exposure to any kind of screen, smart phones carried too close to either brains or balls, etc. etc. If you haven't noticed this, you have not been looking. I am very concerned about the health effects of 5G technologyo and it has nothing to do with china. If the China flag is what finally gets this topic into the mainstream, I am, actually, fine with that. It is not only human brains that 5G threatens to scramble: the functioning of all living things, especially all animals, will likely or could strongly be affected. WE DO NOT KNOW. No testing of this technology has taken place. I do not doubt that for many the Chinese element is the only reason to attack 5G at this time. But many, many others are questioning its introduction for the right reasons, as they have questioned the wisdom of our growing exposure to waves, streams of electrons, and what have you for decades. And then there is BlueTooth.
https://www.radiationhealthrisks.com/bluetooth-technology-radiation/

[May 18, 2019] Under the neocon enforced regime of the US militarism winning the competition takes precedence over working together, and diplomacy is reduced to making and enforcing US demands.

May 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Don Bacon , May 18, 2019 10:26:39 AM | link

What we need is a true and functional global community of nations and people, where governments truly work together to balance out the stronger world powers.

The US national security state which enjoys a huge military budget and 800 overseas bases necessarily sees the world in a masculine competitive sense, not in a feminine cooperative sense. So winning the competition takes precedence over working together, and diplomacy is reduced to making and enforcing US demands.

from the recent US National Defense Strategy. . .

We are facing increased global disorder, characterized by decline in the long-standing rules-based international order -- creating a security environment more complex and volatile than any we have experienced in recent memory. Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security. China is a strategic competitor using predatory economics to intimidate its neighbors while militarizing features in the South China Sea. . . here

[May 18, 2019] 'US already spying on public, Huawei threat unproven' Swann

Trump is a bully and he does not have any methods of diplomacy other then bulling.
May 16, 2019 | www.youtube.com

US President Donald Trump declared a national emergency over Huawei, which he has deemed a national security threat. His new executive order makes it more difficult for US companies to do business with the Chinese tech giant. RT America's Manila Chan chats with investigative journalist Ben Swann, who says no evidence exists for the Trump administration's claim. #RTAmerica #InQuestionRT #QuestionMore


US Of Zion , 2 days ago

What US bans I will buy. Huawei has profited from Trump's tweets. 😂😂😂

riva2003 , 2 days ago

National emergency against one single company? What a promotion for HUAWEI! They must have paid US government a looooot of money! LOOOOOL

E Walker , 2 days ago (edited)

U.S. cannot spy via Chinese made technology products. That is the problem. When did competition against American technology get to be a national security threat? It is about creating a monopoly of only certain products in America. I hope American companies fight back. Prices in American stores have already started to rise. Monopolies mean high prices.

BTV-Channel , 2 days ago div

In the age of technology...any country who doesn't SPY on other countries or their own citizens is LYING thru their teeth! USA is NO DIFFERENT than CHINA.....they both are rogue nations, competing for the same thing, TECHNOLOGY LEADERSHIP! The problem is....HUAWEI just got the upper hand in 5G technology before the US can compete...so as such, the US threatens other countries with scare tactics until the US can develop and deploy 5G technology to compete with CHINA. It's all about MONEY and BUSINESS.

OGASI , 2 days ago

USA has dishonestly gathered more data on it's own civilians than it can access or understand in several lifetimes, they have the gaul to attack others without proof? UNREAL

[May 17, 2019] US military complex is a 'malignant virus' that's evolved to defend itself

May 17, 2019 | www.unz.com

annamaria , says: Next New Comment May 16, 2019 at 10:51 pm GMT

@9/11 Inside job Andrew Cockburn: "US military complex is a 'malignant virus' that's evolved to defend itself" https://www.rt.com/usa/459505-us-military-industrial-virus/

"The MIC is embedded in our society to such a degree that it cannot be dislodged, and also that it could be said to be concerned, exclusively, with self-preservation and expansion, like a giant, malignant virus."

The system has evolved to be very good at defending itself – while leaving the country, "in reality so poorly defended".

One Tribe , says: May 16, 2019 at 11:10 pm GMT
Thanks again CJH for all the chuckles. It is time all 'real' people acknowledged that

The NYT is the " Propagandist of Record ".

Nothing more. And it's been like that for quite a while. While it would be logical to identify the systemic bend, and blindness that it has, it is probably against the law, like all discussions about [redacted]

A pattern that has played out consistently for over 2000 years, and can be seen for what it is in reviewing the Pale (of Settlements) and the conditions for those not included in the [redacted]. But really, it's beyond the pale, isn't it. People, slowly but surely, are building immunity to the perception management programs, even with the wildly amplified volume and frequency , we see the early adapters adapting, and opting for the red pill .

Just a co-incidence that while the psychotic ' leaders ' of a small colonial ' government ' squatting on expropriated land, committing escalating genocidal programs against the indigenous population, and actively conflating it with anti-[redacted], while the co-affiliates resident in the empire's other nation-states keep quiet, there seems to be an epidemic of anti-[redacted]?!

" It's a trick, and we use it a lot. "
he, he, aren't we so clever!

This ruse is coming to an end soon
and all of those people working in the desert somewhere, writing stuff online, are going to have to get real jobs.

[May 16, 2019] The Disinformationists by C.J. Hopkins

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... I don' know what are the revenues of NYT or The Guardian, but I know that the US government spends 750 million a year on the Agency for Global Media (formerly Broadcasting Board of Governors). If you think US or France is under attack by warmongers, you can't imagine how many propagandists are these 750 million hiring in low-COL places like Serbia, Burma, Venezuela. ..."
"... The situation is even worse today as the CIA and Pentagon have massive propaganda budgets and have infiltrated the media at every level , the public is unaware that each day they are brainwashed by the MSM to support the agenda of the "deep State' and the MIC. ..."
"... No mention of the journalists as CIA assets who publish planted stories? Isn't Dr Udo Ulfkotte one who did that, repented, told all in his best-seller Bought Journalists, and as a warning to others unselfishly dropped dead of a heart attack within a couple of years? ..."
"... The best sentence was the one expressing the Establishment's collective faux shock that anything other than Russian spybots could be responsible for the serfs' rejection of the "two centrist parties" that have sponged up lobbyist money for 3 decades, cashing in on the globalist-Neoliberal economy, as rents rose and wages fell. ..."
"... Not too sure about the US even remaining important as a continent wide farm.. The aquifers in the West and Midwest are being inexorably drawn down to sustain the current rate of farming, so it's possible North America's value would primarily be as a source of pockets of human talent in the sciences and technologies. ..."
May 16, 2019 | www.unz.com

paraglider , says: May 15, 2019 at 3:39 pm GMT

the hysteria emanating from the nyt, cnn and the rest of the msm is the result of a conscious or subconscious grasp that socialism dying worldwide. the great ponzi scam of forcing future generations to pay for the cookies and ice cream of the present generation has hit the math of the complete dearth of unencumbered assets from which to emit more unpayable debt, insufficient economic growth upon which to pretend the debt can be serviced forget about repayment and the simple fact demographichs throughout the west are so negative the government and public pension scheme blowup in the several years

the more intelligent members of the establishment know in their bones the jig is up. hence the great and urgent need to turn up .lets over throw sovereign nations so the plunder model ..venezuela, syria, russia, china et al.can find more unencumbered assets to be brought into the nyc, london orbit of banks from which new debt can be emitted.

the west is staring at its last decade of global rule, a rule that began 500 years ago. by the 2030's finance, manufacturing and all the global power and prestige that goes with it moves from ny, london to shanghai and moscow.

if the united states is lucky and remains intact, a giant IF, we may wind up as continent size farm with a smidgen of non competitive industry here and there.

the west has only disinformation with which to go to war against the rising east. the weapons of the west are powerful ONLY in their quantity. Russian weapons already are many years beyond anything the pentagon has in the field and the gap is only increasing, ergo the us treasury is forced to fight the battle using sanctions and other forms of restrictions, a long term losing strategy irrespective of any short terms gains.

so, cj worry not, the disinformation campaign is backed by nothing but hot air and the rage from being thwarted by china and russia as well as brave pipsqueakes like iran and venezuela.

see it for what it is, transparent sound and fury signifying nothing

Anon [232] Disclaimer , says: May 15, 2019 at 5:59 pm GMT
I don' know what are the revenues of NYT or The Guardian, but I know that the US government spends 750 million a year on the Agency for Global Media (formerly Broadcasting Board of Governors). If you think US or France is under attack by warmongers, you can't imagine how many propagandists are these 750 million hiring in low-COL places like Serbia, Burma, Venezuela.
Gordo , says: May 15, 2019 at 9:16 pm GMT
@Anon

I don' know what are the revenues of NYT or The Guardian, but I know that the US government spends 750 million a year on the Agency for Global Media (formerly Broadcasting Board of Governors). If you think US or France is under attack by warmongers, you can't imagine how many propagandists are these 750 million hiring in low-COL places like Serbia, Burma, Venezuela.

The UK gov't covertly subsidizes the Guardian.

9/11 Inside job , says: May 16, 2019 at 1:11 am GMT
In 1917 US Congressman Calloway informed Congress that J.P. Morgan interests had purchased 25 of the nations leading newspapers and replaced their editors in order to control the mass media for the benefit of the plutocrats/money interests who ran the country and who still do . The situation is even worse today as the CIA and Pentagon have massive propaganda budgets and have infiltrated the media at every level , the public is unaware that each day they are brainwashed by the MSM to support the agenda of the "deep State' and the MIC.
obwandiyag , says: May 16, 2019 at 3:18 am GMT
See, half a century after McCarthy, wingers got their noses into some (not all) Soviet files, and got to scream, nonstop and to this day, "See!@@#$% McCarthy was RIGHT!"

Betya in a half century, if we're still around, the same type people are going to get nosing in some files somewhere and find incontrovertible evidence that: "See!@#%$%^^ The New York Times was RIGHT!"

Same kind of people. They never change.

OEMIKITLOB , says: May 16, 2019 at 4:13 am GMT
@9/11 Inside job There is a virus-free link to a declassified CIA memo at the end of the article. It's interesting.

https://www.spyculture.com/cia-memos-on-task-force-on-greater-openness/

Nicolás Palacios Navarro , says: Website May 16, 2019 at 4:37 am GMT

And then there's the evil Russian spywhale, which the disinformationists want us to believe is just a harmless "therapy Beluga" for kids, but which has clearly been strapped with some sort of monstrous, mind-controlling apparatus that enables the Kremlin to remotely implant a host of dangerous "populist" ideas in the brains of defenseless Norwegian fishermen, weaponizing them into a horde of neo-Odinist Viking berserkers who will scream down out of Scandinavia and storm the EU Parliament in Brussels smelling of akvavit and fermented shark.

You had me doing a cartoon spit-take with this beaut!

Giuseppe , says: May 16, 2019 at 4:42 am GMT

these enormous corporate media conglomerates, and the transnational corporations that own them, and these intelligence agencies, and their fronts and cutouts, and corporate lobbyists and PR firms, and councils, and think tanks, and research institutes, to disinform the Western masses, or to manufacture an official narrative

No mention of the journalists as CIA assets who publish planted stories? Isn't Dr Udo Ulfkotte one who did that, repented, told all in his best-seller Bought Journalists, and as a warning to others unselfishly dropped dead of a heart attack within a couple of years?

" that enables the Kremlin to remotely implant a host of dangerous "populist" ideas in the brains of defenseless Norwegian fishermen, weaponizing them into a horde of neo-Odinist Viking berserkers who will scream down out of Scandinavia and storm the EU Parliament in Brussels smelling of akvavit and fermented shark "

It isn't the akvavit that does it, but you can't do it without the akvavit.

Biff , says: May 16, 2019 at 4:45 am GMT

And then there's the evil Russian spywhale, which the disinformationists want us to believe is just a harmless "therapy Beluga" for kids, but which has clearly been strapped with some sort of monstrous, mind-controlling apparatus that enables the Kremlin to remotely implant a host of dangerous "populist" ideas in the brains of defenseless Norwegian fishermen, weaponizing them into a horde of neo-Odinist Viking berserkers who will scream down out of Scandinavia and storm the EU Parliament in Brussels smelling of akvavit and fermented shark.

I had a good laugh at the Spy Whale schtick. One look at the thing, and you get the idea it should've been in a Pink Panther movie.

Made up shit that only a mind of a child could believe.

Endgame Napoleon , says: May 16, 2019 at 4:56 am GMT
The best sentence was the one expressing the Establishment's collective faux shock that anything other than Russian spybots could be responsible for the serfs' rejection of the "two centrist parties" that have sponged up lobbyist money for 3 decades, cashing in on the globalist-Neoliberal economy, as rents rose and wages fell.

The serfs have to love that. How could they not embrace it? Only spybots beaming up doom-and-gloom messages from halfway around the globe could persuade the thick-headed serfs that the part-time / churn / gig economy is anything but nirvana.

Alfa158 , says: May 16, 2019 at 5:18 am GMT
@paraglider I think you're probably right about the inevitable collapse of the West as the dominant global power.

Not too sure about the US even remaining important as a continent wide farm.. The aquifers in the West and Midwest are being inexorably drawn down to sustain the current rate of farming, so it's possible North America's value would primarily be as a source of pockets of human talent in the sciences and technologies.

Also Russia has been making some progress, but unless that continues it may not reach the level of competitiveness in science, industry and domestic product to be any more than a junior partner to China.

Whatever happens, a sea change in history seems unavoidable and it won't be what our present rulers think it will. I don't pretend to think I can reliably predict what is coming.

unit472 , says: May 16, 2019 at 5:19 am GMT
I used to know Russian disinformation when I saw it because it was obvious when it came from the USSR. Then the MSM peddled it as authentic as when, in response to Soviet deployment of IRBM in Europe, pinkos magically appeared to protest the American deployment of similar weapons. It was well funded too as Brezhnev had serious oil revenues to finance both his military and his disinformation campaigns and the USSR had 125% of America's population and a satellite Eastern Europe to boot.

Now I am to believe a motheaten "Russia' with less than half the US population, a hostile Ukraine and no Eastern European satrapies is able to exert more 'influence' in the West than the mighty USSR. Yet those same 'pinkos' would have me believe a castrated Russia is an existential threat. Come on!

[May 15, 2019] Chris Hedges Fascism in the Age of Trump

I hope that might be interesting to Tulsi supporters.
In this interesting speech "Fascism in the Age of Trump" Chris Hedges predicts 20 years to the US empire. So somewhere around 2040 or when the age of "cheap oil" approximately ends and/or come under considerable stress.
He does not understands neoliberal social system well and does not use the term "neoliberarism" in his speak (which is detrimental to its value) , but he manages to provide a set of interesting arguments, although the speech is full of exaggerations and inconsistencies.
It also can explains the current Trump stance toward China as "Hail Mary" attempt top preserve the global hegemony by suppressing China even at considerable cost for the USA population.
May 15, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Alex K. , 1 year ago

Chris Hedges is a rare breed. Doesn't care about left/right, liberal/conservative, just dropping truth bombs.

Archvaldor's Warcraft Hacks , 1 year ago

I really feel for Chris Hedges on a personal level. Unlike say Blyth, or Chomsky, whom seem to revel in being intellectual bad boys, Hedges seems to be at heart a very conservative man in the true sense of the word, driven to the extremes by the rabid greed and sociopathic nature of mainstream politics. The corruption of it seems to visibly torture him. It takes a special kind of courage to take an unpopular stand like he does.

TIM BROWN , 1 year ago

President Eisenhower stated that the largest threat to our Democracy was/is the Military Industrial Complex. He quickly terminated the Korean War that he inherited then kept us out of foreign conflict. He believed in a strong Middle Class and promoted our economy with a massive highway system. He kept the highest progressive tax rate at 90% discouraging CEO's from massively overpaying themselves.

김선달봉이 , 1 year ago

A great and courageous man. A very lonely voice in this crazy world.

Jonathan Cook , 1 year ago

Wow, that was awesome, this guy is on a par with our great historical orators.

LiberaLib , 1 year ago

Iceberg. Dead ahead.

Ruth Rivera , 1 year ago

Thank you Chris Hedges. You speak profound truth. I'm listening.

Chris Mclean , 1 year ago

Epic speech. Thank you Chris!

sprite fallen , 1 year ago

Weird hearing someone speak truth

[May 15, 2019] They hate us for our freedom 2.0

Neocons and neolibs control the USA foreign policy. That's given. NYT just reflects foreign policy establishment talking points.
Links between Daniel Jones and Steele are really interesting and new information
Notable quotes:
"... "The goal here is bigger than any one election," said Daniel Jones, a former F.B.I. analyst and Senate investigator whose nonprofit group, Advance Democracy, recently flagged a number of suspicious websites and social media accounts to law enforcement authorities. ..."
"... According to a report published this morning, he notes that the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, which has received "significant funding" from technology billionaires, funneled $500,000 to the non-profit group Advance Democracy. That organization shares a street address with The Democracy Integrity Project. ..."
"... That's because both organizations were founded by former Senate Intel staffer Daniel Jones, who at that time worked for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who hails from just down the road from Silicon Valley in San Francisco. As TruNews has previously reported, those connections to the Senate Intel Committee have played a significant role in the ongoing "Russia Narrative" drama in Washington, D.C. ..."
"... Jones has been previously identified as a central figure in the investigation who served as potential go-between with the committee's ranking Democrat, Sen. Mark Warner, and former MI6 agent Christopher Steele. ..."
"... The NYT is very much invested in the post Cold War status quo. ..."
"... That would be the Clintons and the Bushes. Both political parties and every POTUS since 1968. In fact, I believe this is the main reason why the Dems created and are pushing Russiagate so hard. They don't want us looking at what really gave us Trump: the neoliberal neoconservative fiasco of the past 40+ years. ..."
"... told about Russia and that they interfered with not only our elections, but in so many other countries too. I remember a time when people would insist on seeing the evidence on stuff the intelligence agencies tell them, but ever since Her lost the election they lost their minds. I'll see references to articles that say something, but offer no evidence. Like the one this essay is about. ..."
"... Plus they tried to kill the Skripals. And the GOP are also under Vlad's thumb. This is why Russia Gate has to be debunked. ..."
"... So, yes, it's going to take too long. Short of a miracle, I'm starting to think we're all going to be radioactive ash before Cold War II ends. There was a modicum of restraint with Cold War I; some people had enough sense to realize the end result was nuclear war. That type of sense seems nowhere to be found in Washington, D.C., these days. ..."
"... Dick Cheney is as evil as any human being I've ever heard of. I doubt whether he's done everything some folks believe he's done -- but not because he isn't evil enough, only because he lacked either the guts or the necessity. I believe he would have fit in perfectly well with Himmler and Goebbels, and he would enthusiastically embraced their approach to getting and wielding power. ..."
"... A few months ago, I made a comment to someone that it's like we're supposed to hate them (Russia) for their freedoms. ..."
May 15, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

"They hate us for our freedom" 2.0


gjohnsit on Sun, 05/12/2019 - 5:32pm The NY Times just posted one of the most atrocious pieces of journalistic malpractice I have ever read.

Less than two weeks before pivotal elections for the European Parliament, a constellation of websites and social media accounts linked to Russia or far-right groups is spreading disinformation, encouraging discord and amplifying distrust in the centrist parties that have governed for decades.

European Union investigators, academics and advocacy groups say the new disinformation efforts share many of the same digital fingerprints or tactics used in previous Russian attacks, including the Kremlin's interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.

That's a powerful statement. There's just one problem: the article doesn't present a single bit of proof. Just anecdotes. In fact, it doesn't even quote anyone to back up these claims, but for one single exception.

"The goal here is bigger than any one election," said Daniel Jones, a former F.B.I. analyst and Senate investigator whose nonprofit group, Advance Democracy, recently flagged a number of suspicious websites and social media accounts to law enforcement authorities.

"It is to constantly divide, increase distrust and undermine our faith in institutions and democracy itself. They're working to destroy everything that was built post-World War II."

Russia is why people are losing faith in our government institutions. Not because they are owned by oligarchs. If you listen closely you can hear President Bush.
So who is Daniel Jones and Advance Democracy? That's an interesting story .

According to a report published this morning, he notes that the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, which has received "significant funding" from technology billionaires, funneled $500,000 to the non-profit group Advance Democracy. That organization shares a street address with The Democracy Integrity Project.

That's because both organizations were founded by former Senate Intel staffer Daniel Jones, who at that time worked for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who hails from just down the road from Silicon Valley in San Francisco. As TruNews has previously reported, those connections to the Senate Intel Committee have played a significant role in the ongoing "Russia Narrative" drama in Washington, D.C.

Jones has been previously identified as a central figure in the investigation who served as potential go-between with the committee's ranking Democrat, Sen. Mark Warner, and former MI6 agent Christopher Steele. That's because TDIP, which receives significant funding from George Soros, funneled some of that money toward Steele's research for Fusion GPS that led to the infamous dossier on President Donald Trump.

However, as Ross reports today: "Mystery surrounds both of Jones's operations. The identities of both groups' donors have largely been kept secret, as Jones has avoided revealing his backers.

Nothing to see here. Just two sketchy political organizations sharing the same street address. Perfectly normal.

"The election has yet to come, and we are already suspected of doing something wrong?" the Russian prime minister, Dmitri A. Medvedev, said in March. "Suspecting someone of an event that has not yet happened is a bunch of paranoid nonsense."

It's not nonsense. It's scapegoating. There's a difference.

gjohnsit on Sun, 05/12/2019 - 5:46pm

The Hill forgot Tulsi again

It's #IgnoreTulsiTime again. @thehill pic.twitter.com/rVe306gXxx

-- K. Rosef (@kayrosef) May 10, 2019

they can't even say it

CBS News (2/4/19) briefly interviewed Honolulu Civil Beats reporter Nick Grube regarding Gabbard's campaign announcement. The anchors had clearly never encountered the term anti-interventionism before, struggling to even pronounce the word, then laughing and saying it "doesn't roll off the tongue."
UntimelyRippd on Sun, 05/12/2019 - 5:59pm
If you have trouble pronouncing "anti-interventionism",

@gjohnsit @gjohnsit
you lack one of perhaps three must-have skills for being a TV reporter.

Centaurea on Sun, 05/12/2019 - 6:49pm
The other skills being

@UntimelyRippd a perky voice and a lack of critical thinking ability? And for women, blonde hair.

Bollox Ref on Sun, 05/12/2019 - 6:14pm
I assume that the meteoric rise of Farage's Brexit party

over the last couple of weeks, is all down to Putin/bots/funding. The NYT is very much invested in the post Cold War status quo.

Centaurea on Sun, 05/12/2019 - 6:44pm
Once again, NYT gets the facts wrong

They're [the Kremlin] working to destroy everything that was built post-World War II.

That would be the Clintons and the Bushes. Both political parties and every POTUS since 1968. In fact, I believe this is the main reason why the Dems created and are pushing Russiagate so hard. They don't want us looking at what really gave us Trump: the neoliberal neoconservative fiasco of the past 40+ years.

It's also why so many people of my generation (over 60) are having trouble understanding and accepting what's going on. To do so will require letting go of everything they thought was true. That kind of change does not come easy to many people.

I heard someone recently say "We have to elect a Dem or else our post-War advantages will disappear."

Got to wonder where he's been for the past 40 years. That horse left the barn a long time ago.

snoopydawg on Sun, 05/12/2019 - 7:12pm
Unfortunately people really believe everything they have been

@Centaurea

told about Russia and that they interfered with not only our elections, but in so many other countries too. I remember a time when people would insist on seeing the evidence on stuff the intelligence agencies tell them, but ever since Her lost the election they lost their minds. I'll see references to articles that say something, but offer no evidence. Like the one this essay is about.

Plus they tried to kill the Skripals. And the GOP are also under Vlad's thumb. This is why Russia Gate has to be debunked.

People say that Mueller has put to rest the fact that Russia indeed interfered with the election, but all he showed was the FBIs "belief' that they did and that some Russians will ties to Vlad hacked the DNC computers. He didn't interview anyone involved with that as laid out in my recent essay.

I've even seen people who were once against our invasions being okay with them and repeating the party line. Unfuckingbelievable!

TheOtherMaven on Sun, 05/12/2019 - 7:28pm
I wonder how much of this is residual Millennial Mania

@snoopydawg

The Year 2000 was not that long ago, and we were bombarded for two decades beforehand with talk of all the dreadful things that might happen, could happen, and some people firmly believed would happen - and then didn't happen. (As it turned out, the most obvious sign of "Y2K" was the "19100" bug that plagued Web pages for months afterward. It was cosmetic and harmless, but annoying.)

I expected it to take about ten years for sanity to return - but it looks like being more like fifty. And there will probably be some cultists who construct their own "reality" around what didn't happen, like the 1840s Millerites (who spun off the still-extant Seventh Day Adventists).

snoopydawg on Mon, 05/13/2019 - 1:33am
It might be longer

@TheOtherMaven

The NYT and WaPoo have new articles out about how bad the dastardly Russians are still interfering with the whole dang country now. And WaPoo had some university do a study on how Russia tried to get people to vote for Bernie and blah, blah,...

I read an article last year saying that Bernie needs to knock off being with the Russia Gaters because he is going to be accused of being in Vlad's pockets anyway. But he's still saying that Trump is under Russia's thumb and that Russia is doing all kinds of bad stuff.

Then there's all the websites like DK, emptyhead, democratic underground and others saying that Mueller confirmed Russia did bad things and maybe if the democrats work harder on their investigations they will find stuff that Mueller missed. I think 10 years is optimistic, but however long it's going to take its going to be too long.

travelerxxx on Mon, 05/13/2019 - 3:10am
A lit fuse with nothing to stop it

@snoopydawg

I think 10 years is optimistic, but however long it's going to take it's going to be too long.

Consider how long it took for Cold War I to finally start to ebb. It took at least a decade, and that was with the memory of a horrendous world war fresh on most minds. Now, we're so insulated from the reality of war, not even allowed reports from the battlefields, much less accurate information and numbers, that we have lost touch with the horror. Evil men such as Bolton spend every minute of every day trying to embroil us in deadly excursions and foreign entanglements. Our "intelligence" agencies are no more than modern versions of the NAZI era Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda.

So, yes, it's going to take too long. Short of a miracle, I'm starting to think we're all going to be radioactive ash before Cold War II ends. There was a modicum of restraint with Cold War I; some people had enough sense to realize the end result was nuclear war. That type of sense seems nowhere to be found in Washington, D.C., these days.

thanatokephaloides on Mon, 05/13/2019 - 8:12pm
the Russians

@travelerxxx

So, yes, it's going to take too long. Short of a miracle, I'm starting to think we're all going to be radioactive ash before Cold War II ends. There was a modicum of restraint with Cold War I; some people had enough sense to realize the end result was nuclear war. That type of sense seems nowhere to be found in Washington, D.C., these days.

Fortunately for us ordinary Americans, the Russians really do love their children too.....

//www.youtube.com/embed/wHylQRVN2Qs?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0

Jen on Mon, 05/13/2019 - 9:02am
If Bernie is the nominee

@snoopydawg Are they going to say they're both (Bernie and Trump) working with Russia? That would be amusing. I wonder if it would cause any of them to vote third party or not vote at all.

Hawkfish on Mon, 05/13/2019 - 7:14pm
As someone in the industry...

@TheOtherMaven

...who was a software development consultant at the time, the reason nothing much happened was that's lot of people worked their butts off for several years. COBOL programmers were dragged out of retirement and all kinds of goofy OS and library hacks were implemented to reduce the amount of work and risk.

Sometimes freaking out gets the job done!

SnappleBC on Sun, 05/12/2019 - 10:03pm
It did not come easy for me anyway

@Centaurea

It's also why so many people of my generation (over 60) are having trouble understanding and accepting what's going on. To do so will require letting go of everything they thought was true. That kind of change does not come easy to many people.

I spent several years grappling with my fall down the rabbit hole. I started freeing myself from the matrix during #Occupy and towards the end of Obama's first term I was starting to really get it... at least get it enough to know I wasn't voting for him a second time. Then Bernie arrived on the scene and it was music to my ears. That pretty much completed the process for me but it STILL took time and I STILL have places where I "don't believe they are that evil" (twin towers anyone) yet I suspect that in the fullness of time I may yet find that they are in fact that evil.

I have a lot of sympathy for those still caught in the matrix. It's a really good trap. That doesn't change the fact that I see them as my enemy and the enemy of all mankind but I at least understand.

UntimelyRippd on Sun, 05/12/2019 - 10:50pm
I've always been clear on one thing:

@SnappleBC
Dick Cheney is as evil as any human being I've ever heard of. I doubt whether he's done everything some folks believe he's done -- but not because he isn't evil enough, only because he lacked either the guts or the necessity. I believe he would have fit in perfectly well with Himmler and Goebbels, and he would enthusiastically embraced their approach to getting and wielding power.

travelerxxx on Sun, 05/12/2019 - 10:58pm
I need to focus better

@UntimelyRippd

I believe he would have fit in perfectly well with Himmler and Goebbels ...

I had to go back and re-read your comment, as I had subconsciously read President Security Advisor John Bolton rather than what you wrote -- Cheney .

I mean, you were talking about evil men ...

snoopydawg on Mon, 05/13/2019 - 1:44am
They really are that evil

@SnappleBC

Just this century this country has killed a million Iraqis and who knows how many people in the other countries we've invaded? 40,000 Venezuelans died last year because of our sanctions and no matter how many people in Yemen die every day because of the Saudis we will continue supporting them.

Then there's Hiroshima and Nagasaki as aliasalias stated. Oh hell yes they are that evil.

Not Henry Kissinger on Mon, 05/13/2019 - 3:01am
After all the millions of people...

@snoopydawg @snoopydawg

killed and displaced around the Globe by the Empire in just this century alone, so many still can't believe this same government could murder 3000 on 9/11.

Cognitive dissidence doesn't even start to explain it.

Pluto's Republic on Sun, 05/12/2019 - 7:41pm
Well, the key issue here

...is the intense access that these privatized propagandists have to the New York Times . And certainly the Times should explain why it freely publishes radical divisive stories that cannot be verified from compromised sources that have previously been exposed as disreputable. This is what Russia is accused of doing, sewing confusion and fear in the US, based on misinformation. Now the New York Times is doing it for them. The fact that a US media outlet is deliberately sabotaging the domestic tranquility with alarming lies is exactly what congress should be investigating. But any congressperson that did so would see their careers destroyed. Congress surrendered to the media monopolies a long time ago.

What we can do is confirm for Americans that they must never trust anything they read in the New York Times and the Washington Post . Remind them of the tragic facts in recent history. The lies that endangers people's lives and disables their intelligence are written between the lines.

snoopydawg on Mon, 05/13/2019 - 1:46am
Ayup

@Pluto's Republic

The NYT and WaPoo and other media are continuing to come up with new stories every day telling us something new that Russia is doing. This is not going away any time soon. Unfortunately.

aliasalias on Sun, 05/12/2019 - 10:36pm
I can't forget those commercials nor the school drills

@Lookout @Lookout with us all getting under our desks or along the walls if we are in the hallway and I don't think any one of us didn't treat this as something critical for us to learn in order to survive.
As a kid that loved riding a bicycle one Public Service announcement I paid careful attention to was the instruction to do if I saw that bright flash which was to throw the bike down and curl up along the curb, I even thought about that problem on unpaved streets.

I remember bomb shelters were advertised a lot and I remember some tv dramas were about people fleeing to their bomb shelter and the dilemma of being only fit to hold a small group but had neighbors, friends and strangers pleading to be let in.

The 'Twilight Zone' series even had one episode where a very wealthy man with a shelter picked certain important people in his life, his school teacher, Priest and others were offered shelter only if they will apologize for things he'd caught criticism for his behavior in his past. Trivial stuff, but he had a screen for them to watch the destruction live.

Long story short, they'd rather die than spend the rest of their lives with him. Especially with all their friends and family gone, so he is alone, goes crazy, runs outside and is found by a policemen to be crying and babbling at a city fountain, in a city that had not been bombed, but for him it had happened and all he could see was destruction around him.

All that aside considering we'd already dropped 'the' bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki those behind all the public warnings and information that was needed in order for people to know how to survive couldn't really believe that nonsense.

Unless they could believe all those dead Japanese would've likely survived if they had ducked under their desks or curled up along a curb, and if that were true they were as loony as the 'Twilight Zone' character.
Yeah if only all those schoolchildren had jumped under their desk before the building and everything around it was obliterated.

...if you see a light brighter than the sun. (1 min)

data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==

aliasalias on Sun, 05/12/2019 - 10:51pm
Today I'm watching the NY Yankees vs Tampa Bay and

in the top of the ninth the screen goes black, the live stream has stopped because the electrical grid the Tropicana had shut down and the stadium was without power for the lights, scoreboard, broadcast, etc. were down.

It took about forty-five minutes for power to be restored but right when it happened I thought it was the stream I was watching so I clicked on other streaming sites and it was on a couple of them I read why all broadcasts were off.

But in the chat box I really couldn't tell if a few were joking or not when they blamed it on the Russians. One in particular didn't look like they were joking as that person repeated the claim a few times. No kidding, and one lamented that (paraphrasing) 'now the Russians are messing with our National sport'.

THIS is what mainstream media has wrought.

travelerxxx on Sun, 05/12/2019 - 11:02pm
Worse yet

@aliasalias

THIS is what mainstream media has wrought.

I'd offer that this is what a mainstream media controlled by handful of corporations, reading from a script, has wrought.

snoopydawg on Mon, 05/13/2019 - 1:41am
Bingo

@aliasalias

Any time something happens now people will willingly accept that Russia did something that caused it. See the tweet I posted above. Secret service agents and police are doing nothing as the Guaido goons keeps people from delivering food and stuff to the embassy sitters. One goon tried taking the bag out of a guy's hands and they just watched. One person tried to throw a cucumber and the cops pounced on him, pushed him to the ground and bloodied him up. But Russia is the one who put the embassy sitters into the embassy and is supporting them. SMDH!

Not Henry Kissinger on Mon, 05/13/2019 - 2:57am
Love the projection...

Advance Democracy, recently flagged a number of suspicious websites and social media accounts to law enforcement authorities."It is to constantly divide, increase distrust and undermine our faith in institutions and democracy itself.

An organization that reports undesirable speech to law enforcement is worried about the undermining of democracy. Got it.

Jen on Mon, 05/13/2019 - 9:09am
It's the other way around this time

A few months ago, I made a comment to someone that it's like we're supposed to hate them (Russia) for their freedoms.

[May 14, 2019] The Propaganda Multiplier How Global News Agencies and Western Media Report on Geopolitics

Highly recommended!
Images omitted.
Important article that shed some light on the methods of disinformation in foreign events used by neoliberal MSM
Notable quotes:
"... However, there is a simple reason why the global agencies, despite their importance, are virtually unknown to the general public. To quote a Swiss media professor: "Radio and television usually do not name their sources, and only specialists can decipher references in magazines." (Blum 1995, P. 9) The motive for this discretion, however, should be clear: news outlets are not particularly keen to let readers know that they haven't researched most of their contributions themselves. ..."
"... Much of our media does not have own foreign correspondents, so they have no choice but to rely completely on global agencies for foreign news. But what about the big daily newspapers and TV stations that have their own international correspondents? In German-speaking countries, for example, these include newspapers such NZZ, FAZ, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Welt, and public broadcasters. ..."
"... Moreover, in war zones, correspondents rarely venture out. On the Syria war, for example, many journalists "reported" from cities such as Istanbul, Beirut, Cairo or even from Cyprus. In addition, many journalists lack the language skills to understand local people and media. ..."
"... How do correspondents under such circumstances know what the "news" is in their region of the world? The main answer is once again: from global agencies. The Dutch Middle East correspondent Joris Luyendijk has impressively described how correspondents work and how they depend on the world agencies in his book "People Like Us: Misrepresenting the Middle East" : ..."
"... The central role of news agencies also explains why, in geopolitical conflicts, most media use the same original sources. In the Syrian war, for example, the "Syrian Observatory for Human Rights" – a dubious one-man organization based in London – featured prominently. The media rarely inquired directly at this "Observatory", as its operator was in fact difficult to reach, even for journalists. ..."
"... Ulrich Tilgner, a veteran Middle East correspondent for German and Swiss television, warned in 2003, shortly after the Iraq war, of acts of deception by the military and the role played by the media: ..."
"... What is known to the US military, would not be foreign to US intelligence services. In a remarkable report by British Channel 4, former CIA officials and a Reuters correspondent spoke candidly about the systematic dissemination of propaganda and misinformation in reporting on geopolitical conflicts: ..."
"... "In all press systems, the news media are instruments of those who exercise political and economic power. Newspapers, periodicals, radio and television stations do not act independently, although they have the possibility of independent exercise of power." (Altschull 1984/1995, p. 298) ..."
Jun 01, 2016 | www.globalresearch.ca

By Swiss Propaganda Research Global Research, May 14, 2019 Swiss Propaganda Research Region: Europe , USA Theme: Media Disinformation

This study was originally published in 2016.

Introduction: "Something strange"

"How does the newspaper know what it knows?" The answer to this question is likely to surprise some newspaper readers: "The main source of information is stories from news agencies. The almost anonymously operating news agencies are in a way the key to world events. So what are the names of these agencies, how do they work and who finances them? To judge how well one is informed about events in East and West, one should know the answers to these questions." (Höhne 1977, p. 11)

A Swiss media researcher points out:

"The news agencies are the most important suppliers of material to mass media. No daily media outlet can manage without them. () So the news agencies influence our image of the world; above all, we get to know what they have selected." (Blum 1995, p. 9)

In view of their essential importance, it is all the more astonishing that these agencies are hardly known to the public:

"A large part of society is unaware that news agencies exist at all In fact, they play an enormously important role in the media market. But despite this great importance, little attention has been paid to them in the past." (Schulten-Jaspers 2013, p. 13)

Even the head of a news agency noted:

"There is something strange about news agencies. They are little known to the public. Unlike a newspaper, their activity is not so much in the spotlight, yet they can always be found at the source of the story." (Segbers 2007, p. 9)

"The Invisible Nerve Center of the Media System"

So what are the names of these agencies that are "always at the source of the story"? There are now only three global agencies left:

  1. The American Associated Press ( AP ) with over 4000 employees worldwide. The AP belongs to US media companies and has its main editorial office in New York. AP news is used by around 12,000 international media outlets, reaching more than half of the world's population every day.
  2. The quasi-governmental French Agence France-Presse ( AFP ) based in Paris and with around 4000 employees. The AFP sends over 3000 stories and photos every day to media all over the world.
  3. The British agency Reuters in London, which is privately owned and employs just over 3000 people. Reuters was acquired in 2008 by Canadian media entrepreneur Thomson – one of the 25 richest people in the world – and merged into Thomson Reuters , headquartered in New York.

In addition, many countries run their own news agencies. However, when it comes to international news, these usually rely on the three global agencies and simply copy and translate their reports.

The three global news agencies Reuters, AFP and AP, and the three national agencies of the German-speaking countries of Austria (APA), Germany (DPA) and Switzerland (SDA).

Wolfgang Vyslozil, former managing director of the Austrian APA, described the key role of news agencies with these words:

"News agencies are rarely in the public eye. Yet they are one of the most influential and at the same time one of the least known media types. They are key institutions of substantial importance to any media system. They are the invisible nerve center that connects all parts of this system." (Segbers 2007, p.10)

Small abbreviation, great effect

However, there is a simple reason why the global agencies, despite their importance, are virtually unknown to the general public. To quote a Swiss media professor: "Radio and television usually do not name their sources, and only specialists can decipher references in magazines." (Blum 1995, P. 9) The motive for this discretion, however, should be clear: news outlets are not particularly keen to let readers know that they haven't researched most of their contributions themselves.

The following figure shows some examples of source tagging in popular German-language newspapers. Next to the agency abbreviations we find the initials of editors who have edited the respective agency report.

News agencies as sources in newspaper articles

Occasionally, newspapers use agency material but do not label it at all. A study in 2011 from the Swiss Research Institute for the Public Sphere and Society at the University of Zurich came to the following conclusions (FOEG 2011):

"Agency contributions are exploited integrally without labeling them, or they are partially rewritten to make them appear as an editorial contribution. In addition, there is a practice of 'spicing up' agency reports with little effort; for example, visualization techniques are used: unpublished agency reports are enriched with images and graphics and presented as comprehensive reports."

The agencies play a prominent role not only in the press, but also in private and public broadcasting. This is confirmed by Volker Braeutigam, who worked for the German state broadcaster ARD for ten years and views the dominance of these agencies critically:

"One fundamental problem is that the newsroom at ARD sources its information mainly from three sources: the news agencies DPA/AP, Reuters and AFP: one German/American, one British and one French. () The editor working on a news topic only needs to select a few text passages on the screen that he considers essential, rearrange them and glue them together with a few flourishes."

Swiss Radio and Television (SRF), too, largely bases itself on reports from these agencies. Asked by viewers why a peace march in Ukraine was not reported, the editors said : "To date, we have not received a single report of this march from the independent agencies Reuters, AP and AFP."

In fact, not only the text, but also the images, sound and video recordings that we encounter in our media every day, are mostly from the very same agencies. What the uninitiated audience might think of as contributions from their local newspaper or TV station, are actually copied reports from New York, London and Paris.

Some media have even gone a step further and have, for lack of resources, outsourced their entire foreign editorial office to an agency. Moreover, it is well known that many news portals on the internet mostly publish agency reports (see e.g., Paterson 2007, Johnston 2011, MacGregor 2013).

In the end, this dependency on the global agencies creates a striking similarity in international reporting: from Vienna to Washington, our media often report the same topics, using many of the same phrases – a phenomenon that would otherwise rather be associated with "controlled media" in authoritarian states.

The following graphic shows some examples from German and international publications. As you can see, despite the claimed objectivity, a slight (geo-)political bias sometimes creeps in.

"Putin threatens", "Iran provokes", "NATO concerned", "Assad stronghold": Similarities in content and wording due to reports by global news agencies.

The role of correspondents

Much of our media does not have own foreign correspondents, so they have no choice but to rely completely on global agencies for foreign news. But what about the big daily newspapers and TV stations that have their own international correspondents? In German-speaking countries, for example, these include newspapers such NZZ, FAZ, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Welt, and public broadcasters.

First of all, the size ratios should be kept in mind: while the global agencies have several thousand employees worldwide, even the Swiss newspaper NZZ, known for its international reporting, maintains only 35 foreign correspondents (including their business correspondents). In huge countries such as China or India, only one correspondent is stationed; all of South America is covered by only two journalists, while in even larger Africa no-one is on the ground permanently.

Moreover, in war zones, correspondents rarely venture out. On the Syria war, for example, many journalists "reported" from cities such as Istanbul, Beirut, Cairo or even from Cyprus. In addition, many journalists lack the language skills to understand local people and media.

How do correspondents under such circumstances know what the "news" is in their region of the world? The main answer is once again: from global agencies. The Dutch Middle East correspondent Joris Luyendijk has impressively described how correspondents work and how they depend on the world agencies in his book "People Like Us: Misrepresenting the Middle East" :

"I'd imagined correspondents to be historians-of-the-moment. When something important happened, they'd go after it, find out what was going on, and report on it. But I didn't go off to find out what was going on; that had been done long before. I went along to present an on-the-spot report. ()

The editors in the Netherlands called when something happened, they faxed or emailed the press releases, and I'd retell them in my own words on the radio, or rework them into an article for the newspaper. This was the reason my editors found it more important that I could be reached in the place itself than that I knew what was going on. The news agencies provided enough information for you to be able to write or talk you way through any crisis or summit meeting.

That's why you often come across the same images and stories if you leaf through a few different newspapers or click the news channels.

Our men and women in London, Paris, Berlin and Washington bureaus – all thought that wrong topics were dominating the news and that we were following the standards of the news agencies too slavishly. ()

The common idea about correspondents is that they 'have the story', () but the reality is that the news is a conveyor belt in a bread factory. The correspondents stand at the end of the conveyor belt, pretending we've baked that white loaf ourselves, while in fact all we've done is put it in its wrapping. ()

Afterwards, a friend asked me how I'd managed to answer all the questions during those cross-talks, every hour and without hesitation. When I told him that, like on the TV-news, you knew all the questions in advance, his e-mailed response came packed with expletives. My friend had relalized that, for decades, what he'd been watching and listening to on the news was pure theatre." (Luyendjik 2009, p. 20-22, 76, 189)

In other words, the typical correspondent is in general not able to do independent research, but rather deals with and reinforces those topics that are already prescribed by the news agencies – the notorious "mainstream effect".

In addition, for cost-saving reasons many media outlets nowadays have to share their few foreign correspondents, and within individual media groups, foreign reports are often used by several publications – none of which contributes to diversity in reporting.

"What the agency does not report, does not take place"

The central role of news agencies also explains why, in geopolitical conflicts, most media use the same original sources. In the Syrian war, for example, the "Syrian Observatory for Human Rights" – a dubious one-man organization based in London – featured prominently. The media rarely inquired directly at this "Observatory", as its operator was in fact difficult to reach, even for journalists.

Rather, the "Observatory" delivered its stories to global agencies, which then forwarded them to thousands of media outlets, which in turn "informed" hundreds of millions of readers and viewers worldwide. The reason why the agencies, of all places, referred to this strange "Observatory" in their reporting – and who really financed it – is a question that was rarely asked.

The former chief editor of the German news agency DPA, Manfred Steffens, therefore states in his book "The Business of News":

"A news story does not become more correct simply because one is able to provide a source for it. It is indeed rather questionable to trust a news story more just because a source is cited. () Behind the protective shield such a 'source' means for a news story, some people are quite inclined to spread rather adventurous things, even if they themselves have legitimate doubts about their correctness; the responsibility, at least morally, can always be attributed to the cited source." (Steffens 1969, p. 106)

Dependence on global agencies is also a major reason why media coverage of geopolitical conflicts is often superficial and erratic, while historic relationships and background are fragmented or altogether absent. As put by Steffens:

"News agencies receive their impulses almost exclusively from current events and are therefore by their very nature ahistoric. They are reluctant to add any more context than is strictly required." (Steffens 1969, p. 32)

Finally, the dominance of global agencies explains why certain geopolitical issues and events – which often do not fit very well into the US/NATO narrative or are too "unimportant" – are not mentioned in our media at all: if the agencies do not report on something, then most Western media will not be aware of it. As pointed out on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the German DPA: "What the agency does not report, does not take place." (Wilke 2000, p. 1)

America's "Righteous" Russia-gate Censorship. "Russia Bashing All the Time"

"Adding questionable stories"

While some topics do not appear at all in our media, other topics are very prominent – even though they shouldn't actually be: "Often the mass media do not report on reality, but on a constructed or staged reality. () Several studies have shown that the mass media are predominantly determined by PR activities and that passive, receptive attitudes outweigh active-researching ones." (Blum 1995, p. 16)

In fact, due to the rather low journalistic performance of our media and their high dependence on a few news agencies, it is easy for interested parties to spread propaganda and disinformation in a supposedly respectable format to a worldwide audience. DPA editor Steffens warned of this danger:

"The critical sense gets more lulled the more respected the news agency or newspaper is. Someone who wants to introduce a questionable story into the world press only needs to try to put his story in a reasonably reputable agency, to be sure that it then appears a little later in the others. Sometimes it happens that a hoax passes from agency to agency and becomes ever more credible." (Steffens 1969, p. 234)

Among the most active actors in "injecting" questionable geopolitical news are the military and defense ministries. For example, in 2009, the head of the American news agency AP, Tom Curley, made public that the Pentagon employs more than 27,000 PR specialists who, with a budget of nearly $ 5 billion a year, are working the media and circulating targeted manipulations. In addition, high-ranking US generals had threatened that they would "ruin" the AP and him if the journalists reported too critically on the US military.

Despite – or because of? – such threats our media regularly publish dubious stories sourced to some unnamed "informants" from "US defense circles".

Ulrich Tilgner, a veteran Middle East correspondent for German and Swiss television, warned in 2003, shortly after the Iraq war, of acts of deception by the military and the role played by the media:

"With the help of the media, the military determine the public perception and use it for their plans. They manage to stir expectations and spread scenarios and deceptions. In this new kind of war, the PR strategists of the US administration fulfill a similar function as the bomber pilots. The special departments for public relations in the Pentagon and in the secret services have become combatants in the information war. () The US military specifically uses the lack of transparency in media coverage for their deception maneuvers. The way they spread information, which is then picked up and distributed by newspapers and broadcasters, makes it impossible for readers, listeners or viewers to trace the original source. Thus, the audience will fail to recognize the actual intention of the military." (Tilgner 2003, p. 132)

What is known to the US military, would not be foreign to US intelligence services. In a remarkable report by British Channel 4, former CIA officials and a Reuters correspondent spoke candidly about the systematic dissemination of propaganda and misinformation in reporting on geopolitical conflicts:

Former CIA officer and whistleblower John Stockwell said of his work in the Angolan war,

"The basic theme was to make it look like an [enemy] aggression in Angola. So any kind of story that you could write and get into the media anywhere in the world, that pushed that line, we did. One third of my staff in this task force were covert action, were propagandists, whose professional career job was to make up stories and finding ways of getting them into the press. () The editors in most Western newspapers are not too skeptical of messages that conform to general views and prejudices. () So we came up with another story, and it was kept going for weeks. () [But] it was all fiction."

Fred Bridgland looked back on his work as a war correspondent for the Reuters agency: "We based our reports on official communications. It was not until years later that I learned a little CIA disinformation expert had sat in the US embassy, in Lusaka and composed that communiqué, and it bore no relation at all to truth. () Basically, and to put it very crudely, you can publish any old crap and it will get newspaper room."

And former CIA analyst David MacMichael described his work in the Contra War in Nicaragua with these words:

"They said our intelligence of Nicaragua was so good that we could even register when someone flushed a toilet. But I had the feeling that the stories we were giving to the press came straight out of the toilet." (Hird 1985)

Of course, the intelligence services also have a large number of direct contacts in our media, which can be "leaked" information to if necessary. But without the central role of the global news agencies, the worldwide synchronization of propaganda and disinformation would never be so efficient.

Through this "propaganda multiplier", dubious stories from PR experts working for governments, military and intelligence services reach the general public more or less unchecked and unfiltered. The journalists refer to the news agencies and the news agencies refer to their sources. Although they often attempt to point out uncertainties with terms such as "apparent", "alleged" and the like – by then the rumor has long been spread to the world and its effect taken place.

The Propaganda Multiplier: Governments, military and intelligence services using global news agencies to disseminate their messages to a worldwide audience.

As the New York Times reported

In addition to global news agencies, there is another source that is often used by media outlets around the world to report on geopolitical conflicts, namely the major publications in Great Britain and the US.

For example, news outlets like the New York Times or BBC have up to 100 foreign correspondents and other external employees. However, Middle East correspondent Luyendijk points out:

"Dutch news teams, me included, fed on the selection of news made by quality media like CNN, the BBC, and the New York Times . We did that on the assumption that their correspondents understood the Arab world and commanded a view of it – but many of them turned out not to speak Arabic, or at least not enough to be able to have a conversation in it or to follow the local media. Many of the top dogs at CNN, the BBC, the Independent, the Guardian, the New Yorker, and the NYT were more often than not dependent on assistants and translators." (Luyendijk p. 47)

In addition, the sources of these media outlets are often not easy to verify ("military circles", "anonymous government officials", "intelligence officials" and the like) and can therefore also be used for the dissemination of propaganda. In any case, the widespread orientation towards the Anglo-Saxon publications leads to a further convergence in the geopolitical coverage in our media.

The following figure shows some examples of such citation based on the Syria coverage of the largest daily newspaper in Switzerland, Tages-Anzeiger. The articles are all from the first days of October 2015, when Russia for the first time intervened directly in the Syrian war (US/UK sources are highlighted):

Frequent citation of British and US media, exemplified by the Syria war coverage of Swiss daily newspaper Tages-Anzeiger in October 2015.

The desired narrative

But why do journalists in our media not simply try to research and report independently of the global agencies and the Anglo-Saxon media? Middle East correspondent Luyendijk describes his experiences:

"You might suggest that I should have looked for sources I could trust. I did try, but whenever I wanted to write a story without using news agencies, the main Anglo-Saxon media, or talking heads, it fell apart. () Obviously I, as a correspondent, could tell very different stories about one and the same situation. But the media could only present one of them, and often enough, that was exactly the story that confirmed the prevailing image." (Luyendijk p.54ff)

Media researcher Noam Chomsky has described this effect in his essay "What makes the mainstream media mainstream" as follows: "If you leave the official line, if you produce dissenting reports, then you will soon feel this. () There are many ways to get you back in line quickly. If you don't follow the guidelines, you will not keep your job long. This system works pretty well, and it reflects established power structures." (Chomsky 1997)

Nevertheless, some of the leading journalists continue to believe that nobody can tell them what to write. How does this add up? Media researcher Chomsky clarifies the apparent contradiction:

"[T]he point is that they wouldn't be there unless they had already demonstrated that nobody has to tell them what to write because they are going say the right thing. If they had started off at the Metro desk, or something, and had pursued the wrong kind of stories, they never would have made it to the positions where they can now say anything they like. () They have been through the socialization system." (Chomsky 1997)

Ultimately, this "socialization process" leads to a journalism that generally no longer independently researches and critically reports on geopolitical conflicts (and some other topics), but seeks to consolidate the desired narrative through appropriate editorials, commentary, and interviewees.

Conclusion: The "First Law of Journalism"

Former AP journalist Herbert Altschull called it the First Law of Journalism:

"In all press systems, the news media are instruments of those who exercise political and economic power. Newspapers, periodicals, radio and television stations do not act independently, although they have the possibility of independent exercise of power." (Altschull 1984/1995, p. 298)

In that sense, it is logical that our traditional media – which are predominantly financed by advertising or the state – represent the geopolitical interests of the transatlantic alliance, given that both the advertising corporations as well as the states themselves are dependent on the US dominated transatlantic economic and security architecture.

In addition, our leading media and their key people are – in the spirit of Chomsky's "socialization" – often themselves part of the networks of the transatlantic elite. Some of the most important institutions in this regard include the US Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the Bilderberg Group, and the Trilateral Commission (see in-depth study of these networks ).

Indeed, most well-known publications basically may be seen as "establishment media". This is because, in the past, the freedom of the press was rather theoretical, given significant entry barriers such as broadcasting licenses, frequency slots, requirements for financing and technical infrastructure, limited sales channels, dependence on advertising, and other restrictions.

It was only due to the Internet that Altschull's First Law has been broken to some extent. Thus, in recent years a high-quality, reader-funded journalism has emerged, often outperforming traditional media in terms of critical reporting. Some of these "alternative" publications already reach a very large audience, showing that the „mass" does not have to be a problem for the quality of a media outlet.

Nevertheless, up to now the traditional media has been able to attract a solid majority of online visitors, too. This, in turn, is closely linked to the hidden role of news agencies, whose up-to-the-minute reports form the backbone of most news portals.

Will "political and economic power", according to Altschull's Law, retain control over the news, or will "uncontrolled" news change the political and economic power structure? The coming years will show.

Case study: Syria war coverage

As part of a case study, the Syria war coverage of nine leading daily newspapers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland were examined for plurality of viewpoints and reliance on news agencies. The following newspapers were selected:

The investigation period was defined as October 1 to 15, 2015, i.e. the first two weeks after Russia's direct intervention in the Syrian conflict. The entire print and online coverage of these newspapers was taken into account. Any Sunday editions were not taken into account, as not all of the newspapers examined have such. In total, 381 newspaper articles met the stated criteria.

In a first step, the articles were classified according to their properties into the following groups:

  1. Agencies : Reports from news agencies (with agency code)
  2. Mixed : Simple reports (with author names) that are based in whole or in part on agency reports
  3. Reports : Editorial background reports and analyzes
  4. Opinions/Comments : Opinions and guest comments
  5. Interviews : interviews with experts, politicians etc.
  6. Investigative : Investigative research that reveals new information or context

The following Figure 1 shows the composition of the articles for the nine newspapers analyzed in total. As can be seen, 55% of articles were news agency reports; 23% editorial reports based on agency material; 9% background reports; 10% opinions and guest comments; 2% interviews; and 0% based on investigative research.

Figure 1: Types of articles (total; n=381)

The pure agency texts – from short notices to the detailed reports – were mostly on the Internet pages of the daily newspapers: on the one hand, the pressure for breaking news is higher than in the printed edition, on the other hand, there are no space restrictions. Most other types of articles were found in both the online and printed editions; some exclusive interviews and background reports were found only in the printed editions. All items were collected only once for the investigation.

The following Figure 2 shows the same classification on a per newspaper basis. During the observation period (two weeks), most newspapers published between 40 and 50 articles on the Syrian conflict (print and online). In the German newspaper Die Welt there were more (58), in the Basler Zeitung and the Austrian Kurier , however, significantly less (29 or 33).

Depending on which newspaper, the share of agency reports is almost 50% (Welt, Süddeutsche, NZZ, Basler Zeitung), just under 60% (FAZ, Tagesanzeiger), and 60 to 70% (Presse, Standard, Kurier). Together with the agency-based reports, the proportion in most newspapers is between approx. 70% and 80%. These proportions are consistent with previous media studies (e.g., Blum 1995, Johnston 2011, MacGregor 2013, Paterson 2007).

In the background reports, the Swiss newspapers were leading (five to six pieces), followed by Welt , Süddeutsche and Standard (four each) and the other newspapers (one to three). The background reports and analyzes were in particular devoted to the situation and development in the Middle East, as well as to the motives and interests of individual actors (for example Russia, Turkey, the Islamic State).

However, most of the commentaries were to be found in the German newspapers (seven comments each), followed by Standard (five), NZZ and Tagesanzeiger (four each). Basler Zeitung did not publish any commentaries during the observation period, but two interviews. Other interviews were conducted by Standard (three) and Kurier and Presse (one each). Investigative research, however, could not be found in any of the newspapers.

In particular, in the case of the three German newspapers, a journalistically problematic blending of opinion pieces and reports was noted. Reports contained strong expressions of opinion even though they were not marked as commentary. The present study was in any case based on the article labeling by the newspaper.

Figure 2: Types of articles per newspaper

The following Figure 3 shows the breakdown of agency stories (by agency abbreviation) for each news agency, in total and per country. The 211 agency reports carried a total of 277 agency codes (a story may consist of material from more than one agency). In total, 24% of agency reports came from the AFP; about 20% each by the DPA, APA and Reuters; 9% of the SDA; 6% of the AP; and 11% were unknown (no labeling or blanket term "agencies").

In Germany, the DPA, AFP and Reuters each have a share of about one third of the news stories. In Switzerland, the SDA and the AFP are in the lead, and in Austria, the APA and Reuters.

In fact, the shares of the global agencies AFP, AP and Reuters are likely to be even higher, as the Swiss SDA and the Austrian APA obtain their international reports mainly from the global agencies and the German DPA cooperates closely with the American AP.

It should also be noted that, for historical reasons, the global agencies are represented differently in different regions of the world. For events in Asia, Ukraine or Africa, the share of each agency will therefore be different than from events in the Middle East.

Figure 3: Share of news agencies, total (n=277) and per country

In the next step, central statements were used to rate the orientation of editorial opinions (28), guest comments (10) and interview partners (7) (a total of 45 articles). As Figure 4 shows, 82% of the contributions were generally US/NATO friendly, 16% neutral or balanced, and 2% predominantly US/NATO critical.

The only predominantly US/NATO-critical contribution was an op-ed in the Austrian Standard on October 2, 2015, titled: "The strategy of regime change has failed. A distinction between ‚good' and ‚bad' terrorist groups in Syria makes the Western policy untrustworthy."

Figure 4: Orientation of editorial opinions, guest comments, and interviewees (total; n=45).

The following Figure 5 shows the orientation of the contributions, guest comments and interviewees, in turn broken down by individual newspapers. As can be seen, Welt, Süddeutsche Zeitung, NZZ, Zürcher Tagesanzeiger and the Austrian newspaper Kurier presented exclusively US/NATO-friendly opinion and guest contributions; this goes for FAZ too, with the exception of one neutral/balanced contribution. The Standard brought four US/NATO friendly, three balanced/neutral, as well as the already mentioned US/NATO critical opinion contributions.

Presse was the only one of the examined newspapers to predominantly publish neutral/balanced opinions and guest contributions. The Basler Zeitung published one US/NATO-friendly and one balanced contribution. Shortly after the observation period (October 16, 2015), Basler Zeitung also published an interview with the President of the Russian Parliament. This would of course have been counted as a contribution critical of the US/NATO.

Figure 5: Basic orientation of opinion pieces and interviewees per newspaper

In a further analysis, a full-text keyword search for "propaganda" (and word combinations thereof) was used to investigate in which cases the newspapers themselves identified propaganda in one of the two geopolitical conflict sides, USA/NATO or Russia (the participant "IS/ISIS" was not considered). In total, twenty such cases were identified. Figure 6 shows the result: in 85% of the cases, propaganda was identified on the Russian side of the conflict, in 15% the identification was neutral or unstated, and in 0% of the cases propaganda was identified on the USA/NATO side of the conflict.

It should be noted that about half of the cases (nine) were in the Swiss NZZ , which spoke of Russian propaganda quite frequently ("Kremlin propaganda", "Moscow propaganda machine", "propaganda stories", "Russian propaganda apparatus" etc.), followed by German FAZ (three), Welt and Süddeutsche Zeitung (two each) and the Austrian newspaper Kurier (one). The other newspapers did not mention propaganda, or only in a neutral context (or in the context of IS).

Figure 6: Attribution of propaganda to conflict parties (total; n=20).

Conclusion

In this case study, the geopolitical coverage in nine leading daily newspapers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland was examined for diversity and journalistic performance using the example of the Syrian war.

The results confirm the high dependence on the global news agencies (63 to 90%, excluding commentaries and interviews) and the lack of own investigative research, as well as the rather biased commenting on events in favor of the US/NATO side (82% positive; 2% negative), whose stories were not checked by the newspapers for any propaganda.

*

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English translation provided by Terje Maloy.

[May 14, 2019] 1984 Turns 70-Years-Old In A World That Looks A Lot Like The Book

Notable quotes:
"... In the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four , there is an all-encompassing surveillance state that keeps a watchful eye on everyone, in search of possible rebels and points of resistance. ..."
"... Censorship is the norm in this world, and is so extreme that individuals can become "unpersons" who are essentially deleted from society because their ideas were considered dangerous by the establishment. This is an idea that is very familiar to activists and independent journalists who are being removed from the public conversation for speaking out about government and corporate corruption on social media. ..."
"... Orwell is famous for coining the term "double-speak," which is a way to describe the euphemistic language that government uses to whitewash their most dirty deeds. For example, in Orwell's story, the ministry of propaganda was called the Ministry of Truth, just as today the government agency that was once known as "The Department of War," is now called the "Department of Defense." ..."
"... "Sometimes the man who looks happiest in town, with the biggest smile, is the one carrying the biggest load of sin. There are smiles and smiles; learn to tell the dark variety from the light. The seal-barker, the laugh-shouter, half the time he's covering up. He's had his fun and he's guilty. And men do love sin, oh how they love it, never doubt, in all shapes, sizes, colors, and smells." ..."
"... Unfortunately, just like in Orwell's book, people in the modern world are so distracted by entertainment and the divided by politics that they have no idea they are living in a tyrannical police state. ..."
"... "We are not at war with Eurasia. You are being made into obedient, stupid slaves of the Party." -Emmanuel Goldstein ..."
May 14, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

1984 Turns 70-Years-Old In A World That Looks A Lot Like The Book

by Tyler Durden Tue, 05/14/2019 - 16:25 0 SHARES Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print Authored by John Vibes via ActivistPost.com,

This month, George Orwell's legendary novel Nineteen Eighty-Four turns 70 years old, and the warnings contained within the story are now more relevant than ever. Orwell's predictions were so spot on that it almost seems like it was used as some type of accidental instruction manual for would-be tyrants.

In the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four , there is an all-encompassing surveillance state that keeps a watchful eye on everyone, in search of possible rebels and points of resistance.

Censorship is the norm in this world, and is so extreme that individuals can become "unpersons" who are essentially deleted from society because their ideas were considered dangerous by the establishment. This is an idea that is very familiar to activists and independent journalists who are being removed from the public conversation for speaking out about government and corporate corruption on social media.

Orwell is famous for coining the term "double-speak," which is a way to describe the euphemistic language that government uses to whitewash their most dirty deeds. For example, in Orwell's story, the ministry of propaganda was called the Ministry of Truth, just as today the government agency that was once known as "The Department of War," is now called the "Department of Defense."

There was also never-ending war in Orwell's story, the conditions of which would change on a regular basis, keeping the general population confused about conflicts so they give up on trying to understand what is actually going on. Some of these predictions were merely recognitions of patterns in human history, since the idea of "unpersons" and war propaganda is nothing new. However, Orwell had an incredible understanding of how technology was going to progress over the 20th century, and he was able to envision how technology would be used by those in power to control the masses.

The technological predictions made in the book were truly uncanny, as they give a fairly accurate description of our modern world. Orwell described "telescreens," which acted as both an entertainment device and a two-way communication device. This type of technology was predicted by many futurists at the time, but Orwell's prediction was unique because he suggested that these devices would be used by the government to spy on people, through microphones and cameras built into the devices.

Unfortunately, just like in Orwell's book, people in the modern world are so distracted by entertainment and the divided by politics that they have no idea they are living in a tyrannical police state. This police state was also a strong deterrent in the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four , because although many of the citizens in the book had a positive opinion of "big brother," it was still something that they feared, and it was a force that kept them in control. Of course, this is not much different from the attitude that the average American or European has when confronted with police brutality and government corruption.

Many of the ideas about power and authority that were expressed in Orwell's classic are timeless and as old as recorded history ; but his analysis of how technology would amplify the destructive nature of power was incredibly unique, especially for his time.


wonder warthog , 2 minutes ago link

Not to stray too far, I always liked the part in Ray Bradbury's "Something Wicked This Way Comes":

"Sometimes the man who looks happiest in town, with the biggest smile, is the one carrying the biggest load of sin. There are smiles and smiles; learn to tell the dark variety from the light. The seal-barker, the laugh-shouter, half the time he's covering up. He's had his fun and he's guilty. And men do love sin, oh how they love it, never doubt, in all shapes, sizes, colors, and smells."

The laugh shouter is one of those government or corporate chuckle-heads that goes along, gets along, and usually spends less than an hour a day actually doing his job. You see them on TV and in every office. Everything out of their mouths has to be punctuated with a chuckle.

sacredfire , 2 minutes ago link

Coincidentially, I am reading it now and when I first started reading it three weeks ago I was stunned at it's accurate depiction of todays America!

Teja , 6 minutes ago link

Regarding the way the world is dis-informed and manipulated by social media comments, try "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card, written in 1985.

Reaper , 7 minutes ago link

The Exceptionals find virtue in trusting their "protectors," aka police/FBI/military/CIA./courts.

wonder warthog , 12 minutes ago link

The thing I remember from the novel was the "versificator" which was a typewriter-like device that allowed historical events to be changed as needed . . . very much like the networked computer.

TahoeBilly2012 , 11 minutes ago link

Facebook recently made me an UnPerson, not joking. I had deleted my acct some years ago, re-registered to man a business page and...haha they rejected me, recent photo and all.

Deep Snorkeler , 21 minutes ago link

Donald Trump's World

He watches TV. That's his primary experience with reality.

He communes with nature solely through manicured golf courses.

A man of empty sensationalism, devoid of real experience,

uneducated, insulated and deeply shallow.

WileyCoyote , 22 minutes ago link

A group of 'servants' possessing a monopoly of force and using it to rule over others has never worked out well for the 'citizens' in the long run.

hedgeless_horseman , 28 minutes ago link

...and The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

Barbarossa296 , 19 minutes ago link

A great classic by Edward Gibbons. History does indeed repeat itself.

Alananda , 28 minutes ago link

There are a few other books and booklets and letters that also seem eerily prescient. Following modern-day protocols, however, it's best not to mention them in polite company. ;-)

chumbawamba , 22 minutes ago link

To which Protocols do you refer?

-chumblez.

hedgeless_horseman , 32 minutes ago link

Unfortunately, just like in Orwell's book, people in the modern world are so distracted by entertainment and the divided by politics that they have no idea they are living in a tyrannical police state.

Exactly...

"We are not at war with Eurasia. You are being made into obedient, stupid slaves of the Party." -Emmanuel Goldstein

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-05-10/voting-big-brother-you-might-be-low-information-voter

chumbawamba , 28 minutes ago link

"1984", otherwise known as "Plantation Theory 101" to the bloodline elites.

-chumblez.

hedgeless_horseman , 20 minutes ago link

I plan on voting in the local elections, especially for Sheriff and the bond issues. Also, I still think that voting for the quality Libertarian candidates is a better option than not voting, but I do understand your point. But when all else fails, you better be prepared to vote from the rooftops...

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-04-18/political-power-grows-out-barrel-gun-mao-tse-tung

[May 14, 2019] Despite a $ 22 Trillion National Debt, America Is on a Military Spending Spree. 800 Overseas US Military Bases by Masud Wadan

Highly recommended!
Trump provided to be another Obama -- master of "bait and switch". His promise to disengage from foreign wars remains an unfulfilled promise. Due to thefact that he is owned by pro-Israel lobby he broung into his administrations such rabid neocons as chickenhawk Bolton and smug ruthless careerist masquerading as far-right zealot as Pompeo (and before them Haley). His promises to raise the standard of living of middles class (which is impossible without cutting the military budget) remains fake. He is a fake. The second fake after obama -- Republican Obama.
Notable quotes:
"... While the national debt of the United States was recorded at 22.03 trillion as of April 2019, Washington's going ahead with its hawkish policies worldwide with recent NATO summit pushing for further unity against China, Russia and Iran. NATO's annual overall military budget was US$ 957 billion in 2017 where the US's share was US$ 686 billion, accounting for 72 percent of the total. This number is pressed by the US to rise in the years to come. ..."
"... According to The Guardian, Trump takes more than $1tn in taxpayer money and allocates $750bn to the military. In other words, out of every taxpayer dollar, 62 cents go to the military and Department of Homeland Security and seven cents to Veterans affairs. It leaves just 31 cents for all the rest: education, job training, community economic development, housing, safe drinking water and clear air, health and science research and the prevention of war through diplomacy and humanitarian aid. ..."
"... In 2017, US spent US$ 685,957 billion with 3.6 of its GDP on military spending while the UK stood second at US$ 55,237 billion with 2.1 per cent of GDP. France and Germany allocated US$ 45,927 billion and 45,472 billion respectively with 1.8 and 1.2 percent of their GDPs. The NATO member states are pressured for raising their defense spending to 2 percent and gradually up to 4 percent in five years. ..."
Apr 10, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca

While the national debt of the United States was recorded at 22.03 trillion as of April 2019, Washington's going ahead with its hawkish policies worldwide with recent NATO summit pushing for further unity against China, Russia and Iran. NATO's annual overall military budget was US$ 957 billion in 2017 where the US's share was US$ 686 billion, accounting for 72 percent of the total. This number is pressed by the US to rise in the years to come.

According to The Guardian, Trump takes more than $1tn in taxpayer money and allocates $750bn to the military. In other words, out of every taxpayer dollar, 62 cents go to the military and Department of Homeland Security and seven cents to Veterans affairs. It leaves just 31 cents for all the rest: education, job training, community economic development, housing, safe drinking water and clear air, health and science research and the prevention of war through diplomacy and humanitarian aid.

The Trump budget finds vast billions for militarization, while it cuts "smaller" poverty alleviation projects and other programs, claiming the goal is to save money.

Rutherford Institute's founder and director John W. WhiteHead writes in his institute's website that the American nation is being preyed upon by a military industrial complex that is propped up by war profiteers, corrupt politicians and foreign governments. He remarks:

"Don't be fooled into thinking that your hard-earned tax dollars are being used for national security and urgent military needs".

He writes "you know what happens to tax dollars that are left over at the end of the government's fiscal year? Government agencies – including the Department of Defense – go on a 'use it or lose it' spending spree so they can justify asking for money in the next fiscal year".

"We are talking about $97 billion worth of wasteful spending"

He maintains that the nation's educational system is pathetic, the infrastructure is antiquated and growing more outdated by the day and the health system is overpriced and inaccessible to those who need it most.

The tax cuts on super-rich, outflow of huge sums in interest payment for debt and more spending are plunging the US economy into a new crisis, according to many authors. The US economy faces a deficit which means the spending especially on military and defence is far exceeding the tax revenues.

In 2017, US spent US$ 685,957 billion with 3.6 of its GDP on military spending while the UK stood second at US$ 55,237 billion with 2.1 per cent of GDP. France and Germany allocated US$ 45,927 billion and 45,472 billion respectively with 1.8 and 1.2 percent of their GDPs. The NATO member states are pressured for raising their defense spending to 2 percent and gradually up to 4 percent in five years.

According to a study regarding world powers' overseas military bases

In other words, the US possesses up to 95 per cent of the world's military bases . The Department of Defense says that its locations include 164 countries. Put another way, it has a military presence of some sort in approximately 84 percent of the nations on this planet.

The US Military Bases Abroad Are Disrupting the World Order

The annual cost of deploying US military personnel overseas, as well as maintaining and running those foreign bases, tops out at an estimated US$ 150 billion annually. The US bases abroad cost upwards of US$ 50 billion only for building and maintenance, which is enough to address pressing needs at home in education, health care, housing and infrastructure.

In 2017 and 2018, the world's largest military spenders were the United States, China, Saudi Arabia, Russia and India. The UK took over France as sixth largest spender in 2018 while Japan and Germany stood at eighth and ninth positions.

In early 2018, Pentagon released a report saying that Afghan war costs US$ 45 billion to taxpayers in the preceding year. Of this amount, US$ 5 billion has been spent on Afghan forces, US$ 13 billion towards US forces in Afghanistan and the rest on economic aid.

But these costs are far lower than the time when the US military was highly engaged in Afghanistan. With nearly 100,000 soldiers in the country from 2010 to 2012, the price for American taxpayers surpassed US$ 100 billion each year. For now, there are around 16,000 US troops in Afghanistan. Despite hundreds of billions of dollars have gone into Afghanistan, the US admits it failed in war against militants in Afghanistan.

In November 2018, another study published by CNBC reported that America has spent US$ 5.9 trillion on wars in the Middle East and Asia since 2001 including in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. The study also reveals that more than 500,000 people have been killed in the wars and nearly 10 million people have been displaced due to violence.

The US has reportedly spent US$ 1.07 trillion in Afghanistan since 2001 which include Overseas Contingency Operations funds dedicated to Afghanistan, costs on the base budget of the Department of Defense and increase to the budget of the Department of Veteran Affairs.

In Afghanistan, the US costs of war in 2001 commenced with US$ 37.3 billion that soared to US$ 57.3 billion in 2007 and US$ 100 billion in 2009. The year with record spending was 2010 with US$ 112.7 billion that slightly plummeted to US$ 110.4 billion in 2011 but took downwards trend in the later years.

Due to skyrocketing military costs on the US government, Trump Administration recently decided to pack up some of its military bases in Afghanistan and Middle East to diminish expenditures, though it doesn't mean the wars would end at all.

According to Afghanistan Analysts Network, the US Congress has appropriated more than US$ 126 billion in aid for Afghanistan since financial year 2002, with almost 63 percent for security and 28 percent for development and the remainder for civilian operations, mostly budgetary assistance and humanitarian aid. Alongside the US aid, many world countries have pumped millions of dollars in development aids, but what is evident for insiders and outsiders is that a trickle of those funds has actually gone into Afghanistan's reconstruction.

With eighteen years into Afghan war, the security is deteriorating; Afghan air force is ill-equipped; poppy cultivation is on the rise; roads and highways are dilapidated or unconstructed; no mediocre hospital and health care has been established; weekly conflict causalities hit 150-250; electricity is still imported from Central Asian countries; economy remains dependent upon imports; unemployment rate is at its peak; more than three quarters of population live under poverty line and many, many more miseries persist or aggravate.

The US boasts of being the largest multi-billion dollar donor for Afghanistan, but if one takes a deeper look at the living standards of majority and the overall conditions, it can be immediately grasped that less than half of that exaggerated fund has been consumed. The US-made government of Afghanistan has deliberately been left behind to rank as the first corrupt country in the world. Thanks to the same unaddressed pervasive corruption, a hefty amount of that fund has been either directed back to the US hands or embezzled by senior Afghan officials.

Afghanistan's new Living Conditions Survey shows that poverty is more widespread today than it was immediately after the fall of Taliban regime, or in other words, in the early days of US invasion.

Next month, Kabul will host a Consultative Loya Jirga attended by around 2,000 representatives from Afghanistan which will cost the Afghan Ministry of Finance AF 369 million (equivalent to five million US$). Even as the past has proved that these events are only symbolic and further complicating the achievement of peace, a country with great majority under poverty line doesn't deserve to organize such costly gatherings.

*

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Masud Wadan is a geopolitical analyst based in Kabul. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from Salon.com

The original source of this article is Global Research Copyright © Masud Wadan , Global Research, 2019

[May 13, 2019] The CIA does the coordination of media narratives. You can think of them as the conductor of the neoliberal MSM orchestra...

May 13, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

dan , May 11, 2019 9:34:36 AM | link

Whats difficult to understand here is who is driving who. The white house uses the media, the media uses the white house. The CIA uses both. All of them use the Pentagon, which in turn uses and serves the MIC. These stories that suddenly appear could be any one of those parties using the press, or a drive by the press to prepare the stage for war on behalf of their corporate overlords.
It is not " the job of the media to point that out", the job of the media is to serve shareholders interest, whoever they may be. It is, however, the responsibility of a conscientious public to discriminate very carefully between various consumable media outlets.

William Gruff , May 11, 2019 9:43:04 AM | link

It is the duty of patriotic journalists to support their country's war efforts in times of war, is it not? America has been at war for a very long time. For as long as the latest crop of crappy "journalists" can remember (assuming they can remember anything beyond yesterday's breakfast, which we see precious little evidence of).

Maybe in Europe and the rest of the world outside America there remains this idealized conception of what journalism should be about, but that is long gone in the US. In America the journalists consider themselves the "boots on the ground" in the psy-op information war. They know that they are just as vital to America's imperial ambitions as the Special Forces assassins and CIA covert operatives directing the death squads.

somebody , May 11, 2019 9:51:15 AM | link
Posted by: Don Bacon | May 11, 2019 9:33:11 AM | 4

There is always Poland .

William Gruff , May 11, 2019 10:07:24 AM | link
dan @5

The CIA does the coordination of media narratives. You can think of them as the conductor of the orchestra... the organist at the Mighty Wurlitzer . The CIA also direct a lot of covert operations to strong-arm vassals into line and to knock states off balance that try to resist the empire. They also do lots of assassinations of labor organizers and the like.

But who is above the CIA? Who does the CIA work for? Certainly not the US Executive Branch! The CIA kills presidents when they feel the need.

Just ask yourself who benefits. The corporate elites at Coca-Cola, Nestle, Exxon, Monsanto, GE, and so on; and above them the elites at maybe a dozen giant financial syndicates whose evils psychohistorian is always going on about (he is right, by the way). These are the folks that gather at the Bilderberg and Bohemian Grove meet-ups where the large scale plans are hatched and corrections to faltering plans are debated and that the CIA must then fine tune and implement.

Full Spectrum Domino , May 11, 2019 3:07:11 PM | link
@ William Gruff 8#

"The CIA does the coordination of media narratives."

For an example of just how tightly choreographed that coordination is 2:08-4:25:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LVfi3NInsg&t=156s

[May 12, 2019] Nova The Spy Factory Full Video

An interesting video. clearly shows the danger of over-centralization. Although technology now allow automatic creation of dossier those are of very limited value because to distinguish signal from noise is almost impossible. Aesop language complicates decoding of the conversation greatly and unless long series is available (enough to established the context for used code words; like "bottle of milk" term in this video) it is practically undecodable. In such cases all you have is an envelope. Which is powerful information (tell me who you are calling and who call you and I will tell you who you are ;-), but if person is alert to the fact that NSA is listening (which in after Snowden world that category includes all people who has something to hide) that is also of limited value. In such cases the key conversations are moved from phone to direct contact or to private encrypted channels.
The mere existence of NSA gave huge stimulus for developing to steganography. Also foreign embassies and multinationals located outside of the USA now know that they are dealing with an extremely sophisticated opponent and use appropriate precautions. For example compression of the pain text before applying the cipher recently became the standard practice makes breaking generally beyond NSA capabilities as (if headers are destroyed and the type of compression is unknown or randomly chosen) . Because compression removes lion share of redundancy in the plain text.
Notable quotes:
"... It's exactly like Enemy of the State you Liars and you would still be lying if Edward Snowden hadn't exposed it ..."
May 12, 2019 | www.youtube.com
sam son 3 months ago

It's exactly like Enemy of the State you Liars and you would still be lying if Edward Snowden hadn't exposed it

Roderick Horton 2 years ago

Sometimes even the FBI and NSA need a helping hand.

Otto graff 1 month ago

Al CIA da brought to you by the U.S. government! 9/11 was never met to be stopped! The Patriot Act was sitting on the shelf just waiting for 9/11 to be pulled off!

[May 11, 2019] Has Privatization Benefitted the Public? by Jomo Kwame Sundaram

Highly recommended!
Looks like pendulum start swinging against privatization...
Notable quotes:
"... As corporate profits are the private sector's yardstick of success, privatized monopolies are likely to abuse their market power to maximize rents for themselves. Thus, privatization tends to burden the public, e.g., if charges are raised. ..."
"... In most cases, privatization has not closed the governments' fiscal deficits, and may even worsen budgetary problems. Privatization may worsen the fiscal situation due to loss of revenue from privatized SOEs, or tax evasion by the new privatized entity. ..."
"... In most cases, profitable SOEs were privatized as prospective private owners are driven to maximize profits. Fiscal deficits have often been exacerbated as new private owners use creative accounting to avoid tax, secure tax credits and subsidies, and maximize retained earnings. ..."
"... As a rule of thumb, I'd say that any privatisations that require the introduction of convoluted pseudo-market structures or vast new regulatory bureaucracies or which derive most of their ongoing income from the public sector are likely to be contrary to the long-term public interest. In the UK, unfortunately, all these ships sailed a long time ago ..."
"... Chicago is the proving grounds for thirty or so years of the Democrats' surrender to neoliberalism and austerity politics. Let us not forget, brethren and sistren, that Rahm is the Spawn of Bill + Hill as well as dear friend and advisor of Obama. So there is the work of Daley to undo and the work of the Clintonians to undo. It will take more than one term for Lightfoot. ..."
"... Privatization, at any cost, is no longer a choice. We have abused the pension system and now the public must pay for private companies to provide the most basic services. ..."
"... I keep thinking that perhaps an Act could or should be introduced here in UK (same for the States, i suppose), which should ensure that all politicians that enable any type of privatisation of public resources or PFI arrangement (yes that old chesnut), should be made personally responsible for the results therof. ..."
"... And any losses to the public accidentally or "accidentally" occasioned by such commandeering over public resources, to be treated like deliberate misappropriation by the said public officials. With the financial and custodial penalties as may be appropriate. ..."
"... lots of private services that are suspiciously similar to public utilities in terms of natural monopoly, such as cable TV, internet and even railroads. Maybe these should be nationalized and treated more like public services. It can work when they're adequately funded and oversight accountability has teeth; major airports are a good example. ..."
"... Plus the state giveaways includes tens of millions of dollars each year in corporate tax credits in the name of job creation. A report by the nonprofit " Good Jobs First " revealed that over 300 Illinois companies are keeping the state taxes paid by their employees. EDGE- the Economic Development in a Growing Economy is a corporate freebie tax credit, which is partly from the state personal income taxes paid by workers. That's right, the biggest welfare queens are the corporations collecting and keep their employees state income tax payments. ..."
"... Can it get worse? According to the Chicago Trib , "The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), for example, with billions of untaxed contracts worth well over a quadrillion dollars, and whose profit margin in recent years is higher than any of the top 100 companies in the nation, had the hubris to demand an $85 million per year tax break. They got it." The money is there to secure the pensions and budget but has been diverted to the corporate welfare queens for honoring us mere serfs with their presence in the humble fiefdom of Illinois. ..."
"... Michael Hudson, to his immense credit, explains the pernicious effects of privatization of common goods repeatedly throughout his work, and demonstrates that it has been with us at least as long as the ancient practice of land alienation and rural usury. ..."
Apr 07, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on April 7, 2019 by Jerri-Lynn Scofield Jerri-Lynn here. Another succinct post by Jomo Kwame Sundaram that makes clear the "benefits" of privatization are not evenly distributed, and in fact, typically, "many are even worse off" when the government chooses to transfer ownership of the family silver.

Note that SOE is the acronym for state owned enterprise.

For those interested in the topic, see also another short post by the same author from last September, debunking other arguments to promote the privatization fairy, Revisiting Privatization's Claims .

By Jomo Kwame Sundaram, former UN Assistant Secretary General for Economic Development. Originally published at Inter Press Service

In most cases of privatization, some outcomes benefit some, which serves to legitimize the change. Nevertheless, overall net welfare improvements are the exception, not the rule.

Never is everyone better off. Rather, some are better off, while others are not, and typically, many are even worse off. The partial gains are typically high, or even negated by overall costs, which may be diffuse, and less directly felt by losers.

Privatized Monopoly Powers

Since many SOEs are public monopolies, privatization has typically transformed them into private monopolies. In turn, abuse of such market monopoly power enables more rents and corporate profits.

As corporate profits are the private sector's yardstick of success, privatized monopolies are likely to abuse their market power to maximize rents for themselves. Thus, privatization tends to burden the public, e.g., if charges are raised.

In most cases, privatization has not closed the governments' fiscal deficits, and may even worsen budgetary problems. Privatization may worsen the fiscal situation due to loss of revenue from privatized SOEs, or tax evasion by the new privatized entity.

Options for cross-subsidization, e.g., to broaden coverage are reduced as the government is usually left with unprofitable activities while the potentially profitable is acquired by the private sector. Thus, governments are often forced to cut essential public services.

In most cases, profitable SOEs were privatized as prospective private owners are driven to maximize profits. Fiscal deficits have often been exacerbated as new private owners use creative accounting to avoid tax, secure tax credits and subsidies, and maximize retained earnings.

Meanwhile, governments lose vital revenue sources due to privatization if SOEs are profitable, and are often obliged to subsidize privatized monopolies to ensure the poor and underserved still have access to the privatized utilities or services.

Privatization Burdens Many

Privatization burdens the public when charges or fees are not reduced, or when the services provided are significantly reduced. Thus, privatization often burdens the public in different ways, depending on how market power is exercised or abused.

Often, instead of trying to provide a public good to all, many are excluded because it is not considered commercially viable or economic to serve them. Consequently, privatization may worsen overall enterprise performance. 'Value for money' may go down despite ostensible improvements used to justify higher user charges.

SOEs are widely presumed to be more likely to be inefficient. The most profitable and potentially profitable are typically the first and most likely to be privatized. This leaves the rest of the public sector even less profitable, and thus considered more inefficient, in turn justifying further privatizations.

Efficiency Elusive

It is often argued that privatization is needed as the government is inherently inefficient and does not know how to run enterprises well. Incredibly, the government is expected to subsidize privatized SOEs, which are presumed to be more efficient, in order to fulfil its obligations to the citizenry.

Such obligations may not involve direct payments or transfers, but rather, lucrative concessions to the privatized SOE. Thus, they may well make far more from these additional concessions than the actual cost of fulfilling government obligations.

Thus, privatization of profitable enterprises or segments not only perpetuates exclusion of the deserving, but also worsens overall public sector performance now encumbered with remaining unprofitable obligations.

One consequence is poorer public sector performance, contributing to what appears to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. To make matters worse, the public sector is then stuck with financing the unprofitable, thus seemingly supporting to the privatization prophecy.

Benefits Accrue to Relatively Few

Privatization typically enriches the politically connected few who secure lucrative rents by sacrificing the national or public interest for private profit, even when privatization may not seem to benefit them.

Privatization in many developing and transition economies has primarily enriched these few as the public interest is sacrificed to such powerful private business interests. This has, in turn, exacerbated corruption, patronage and other related problems.

For example, following Russian voucher privatization and other Western recommended reforms, for which there was a limited domestic constituency then, within three years (1992-1994), the Russian economy had collapsed by half, and adult male life expectancy fell by six years. It was the greatest such recorded catastrophe in the last six millennia of recorded human history.

Soon, a couple of dozen young Russian oligarchs had taken over the commanding heights of the Russian economy; many then monetized their gains and invested abroad, migrating to follow their new wealth. Much of this was celebrated by the Western media as economic progress.


diptherio , April 7, 2019 at 9:11 am

SOE must stand for "state owned enterprise."

caloba , April 7, 2019 at 10:45 am

As a rule of thumb, I'd say that any privatisations that require the introduction of convoluted pseudo-market structures or vast new regulatory bureaucracies or which derive most of their ongoing income from the public sector are likely to be contrary to the long-term public interest. In the UK, unfortunately, all these ships sailed a long time ago

DJG , April 7, 2019 at 11:15 am

After the recent Chicago municipal elections, I wrote up some notes on the reasons for the discontent. This article by Sundaram explains exactly how these schemes work. Further, you can apply his criteria of subsidies for the rich, skimming, and disinheriting the middle class and poor to all of the following instances in Chicago.

If I may–some for instances of how Sundaram's observations turn up in U.S. cities:

Chicago is the proving grounds for thirty or so years of the Democrats' surrender to neoliberalism and austerity politics. Let us not forget, brethren and sistren, that Rahm is the Spawn of Bill + Hill as well as dear friend and advisor of Obama. So there is the work of Daley to undo and the work of the Clintonians to undo. It will take more than one term for Lightfoot.

Consider:
–Parking meters and enforcement have been privatized, starving the city of funds and, more importantly, of its police power.
–Taxes have been privatized in TIFs, where money goes and is never heard from again.
–There have been attempts to privatize the park system in the form of the Lucas museum and the current Obama Theme Park imbroglio, involving some fifty acres of park land.
–The school system has been looted and privatized. The Democrats are big fans of charter schools (right, "Beto"), seeing them as ways to skim money off the middle class and the poor.
–Fare collection on public transit has been privatized using a system so deliberately rudimentary and so deliberately corrupt that it cannot tell you at point of service how much you have paid as fare.
–Boeing was enticed to Chicago with tax breaks. Yes, that Boeing, the one that now deliberately puts bad software in your airplane.
–Property tax assessment has been an opaque system and source of skimming for lawyers.
–Zoning: Eddie Burke, pond scum, is just the top layer of pollution.
–And as we have made our descent, all of these economic dogmata have been enforced by petty harassment of the citizenry (endless tickets) and an ever-brutal police force.

And yet: The current Republican Party also supports all of these policies, so let's not pretend that a bunch of Mitch McConnell lookalikes are headed to Chicago to reform it.

California is no better , April 7, 2019 at 5:16 pm

Providing professional services i.e. architecture, engineering, etc. for a public entity, local or federal, does not yield unreasonable profits. Typically, the public agencies have their own staff to monitor and cost control a project. The professional services provided to private developers yields far more profit- oftentimes twice the profits associated with public agency work. Most professional services companies will transition their work to the public agencies during a recession.

At any rate, especially in Illinois, privatizing the work to avoid pension liabilities is no longer a choice. Michael Madigan pension promises will require the public to maintain a public service budget with no staff to fill potholes. Essentially, these are the no work jobs made popular by the Soprano crew twenty years ago.

Discussion of the downside of the privatization of public services is merely an oscillation from discussing the weather, the Bears or any other kitchen table discussion – nothing more than pleasant small talk to pass the time.

Privatization, at any cost, is no longer a choice. We have abused the pension system and now the public must pay for private companies to provide the most basic services.

stan6565 , April 7, 2019 at 6:36 pm

The question is, what can one do to help arrest this wholesale theft of public resources and their expropriation into the hands of well connected. " Public", as in, it is the working public over the last 100 or 200 years that created (or paid for), the electricity grid, or public schools, or entire armed or police forces

I keep thinking that perhaps an Act could or should be introduced here in UK (same for the States, i suppose), which should ensure that all politicians that enable any type of privatisation of public resources or PFI arrangement (yes that old chesnut), should be made personally responsible for the results therof.

And any losses to the public accidentally or "accidentally" occasioned by such commandeering over public resources, to be treated like deliberate misappropriation by the said public officials. With the financial and custodial penalties as may be appropriate.

Anybody out there with similar thoughts or should i really try harder and give up on drugs?

Tyronius Maximus , April 8, 2019 at 4:13 pm

I vociferously disagree with the assertion that the wrecking of pension funding in the past is the reason we are forced to leave privatization schemes in place today.

In a similar vein, the are lots of private services that are suspiciously similar to public utilities in terms of natural monopoly, such as cable TV, internet and even railroads. Maybe these should be nationalized and treated more like public services. It can work when they're adequately funded and oversight accountability has teeth; major airports are a good example.

rps , April 8, 2019 at 12:08 pm

Let's not forget the privatization of the Chicago Skyway , not once but twice.

Plus the state giveaways includes tens of millions of dollars each year in corporate tax credits in the name of job creation. A report by the nonprofit " Good Jobs First " revealed that over 300 Illinois companies are keeping the state taxes paid by their employees. EDGE- the Economic Development in a Growing Economy is a corporate freebie tax credit, which is partly from the state personal income taxes paid by workers. That's right, the biggest welfare queens are the corporations collecting and keep their employees state income tax payments.

Can it get worse? According to the Chicago Trib , "The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), for example, with billions of untaxed contracts worth well over a quadrillion dollars, and whose profit margin in recent years is higher than any of the top 100 companies in the nation, had the hubris to demand an $85 million per year tax break. They got it." The money is there to secure the pensions and budget but has been diverted to the corporate welfare queens for honoring us mere serfs with their presence in the humble fiefdom of Illinois.

Paging Mike Madigan- The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy lists Illinois as one of the "Terrible Ten" most tax-regressive states, imposing a much higher rate on poor residents for sales and excise taxes, property taxes and income taxes. Al Capone would be proud of him.

eg , April 7, 2019 at 12:04 pm

Michael Hudson, to his immense credit, explains the pernicious effects of privatization of common goods repeatedly throughout his work, and demonstrates that it has been with us at least as long as the ancient practice of land alienation and rural usury.

Natural monopolies ought to be nationalised, full stop.

Grizziz , April 7, 2019 at 12:39 pm

I support public ownership of natural monopolies, however it would be helpful if these pieces contained data, case studies or footnoted entries providing some empirical evidence of the author's thesis.

Thuto , April 7, 2019 at 1:00 pm

This article comes at a time when the clarion call for privatizing Eskom, SA's electricity utility, is hitting deafening levels. To the private sector, efficiency = maximizing profits by making the "bloated" enterprise lean (aka cutting the workforce) and quite literally mean (aka cutting services to "unprofitable" segments of the market, iow, the poor and vulnerable). When profits soar because the holy grail of efficiency is achieved, the mainstream business press brings out the champagne and toasts this "success" as proof that the previously "moribund" (they always exaggerate the state of things) monopolistic monolith has been given a new lease on life by privatizing it and the template is set for rescuing other "ailing" SOEs.

The drawbacks are never laid out as cleary as they are in this article and the plight of those worst affected, whether laid-off workers or those whose services have been cut, never makes it into the headlines.

PhilB , April 7, 2019 at 2:53 pm

And then there is prison privatization where the burden of operation and maintaining the institution should clearly be on the public so as to be constant reminder of the burden, among others reasons. The motivations by private prison operators to reduce services and costs out of site of the pesky prying eyes of the public are manifold.

RepubAnon , April 7, 2019 at 7:54 pm

Privatization is a great way to avoid having user fees wasted by providing services, and instead put to better use funding the re-election campaigns of politicians supporting privatization. Plus, it provides much-needed consulting fees for former politicians as well as job-creating 7-figure salaries for the CEOs,

(/snark, if you couldn't tell)

On a side note, the Dilbert comic strip is written about private industry ,

Iapetus , April 7, 2019 at 3:39 pm

There was a rudimentary plan put forward last June that recommended some pretty substantial privatizations of U.S. government assets and services which include:

-Privatizing the US Post Office ( through an Initial Public Offering or outright sale to a private entity ).
-Sell off U.S. government owned electricity transmission lines ( U.S. government owns 14% of this nations power transmission lines through TVA, Southwestern Power Administration, Western Area Power Administration, and Bonneville Power Administration ).
-Spin-off the Federal Aviation Administrations air traffic control operations into a private nonprofit entity.
-Spin-off the Department of Transportations operations of the Saint Lawrence Seaways Locks and Channels into a private non-profit entity.
-End the federal conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, then regulate a new system of private guarantors for their MBS securities.

Not sure if these are still being considered.

Tom Stone , April 7, 2019 at 3:54 pm

There's no way I could ask that question with a straight face.

Jack Parsons , April 7, 2019 at 6:35 pm

At heart, the problem with privatization is that marketing to a government-employed purchaser or "purchase influencer" is ridiculously cheap, due to their poor accountability strictures.

This is abetted by the Katamari Damacy process (self-accretionary tendency) of money and power.

https://youtu.be/-U_Tccwyh70?t=139

The Rev Kev , April 7, 2019 at 7:50 pm

In Oz the electricity grids were privatized as they would be cheaper that way – or so people were told. Instead, the cost of electricity has risen sharply over the years to the point that it is effecting elections on both the State and Federal level as the price hikes are so controversial. A problem is that those companies have to pay back the loans used to buy the public electricity grids and as well, the senior management award themselves sky-high wages because they are totally worth it. These are factors that were never present when it was publicly owned. And just to put the boot in, those very same companies have been 'gold-plating' the electricity grid for their gain-

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-18/australian-gold-plated-power-grid/8721566

Meanwhile, whatever money the governments made selling their electricity companies has been long spent on white elephants or buying themselves re-elections by giving out goodies to voters.

Procopius , April 7, 2019 at 8:54 pm

buying themselves re-elections by giving out goodies to voters.

I don't reside in the states, so I don't see much of the detail of daily life. What are these "goodies" of which you speak? In what I am able to read on the internet, people aren't being given goodies any more. At least the old-time politicians handed out jobs, and turkeys at Christmas. The current crop do hand out jobs to their kids and immediate family, but not so much to anyone else.

John Rose , April 8, 2019 at 10:05 am

The county "poorhouse" in Lebanon County, PA over the years evolved into a bare-bones but very well run nursing home with caring, long-term staff. The Republican county commissioners, however, year after year, avoided raising taxes by underfunding the retirement plan for the employees. Then, "suddenly" there was a crisis because the underfunding had become legally untenable.
The solution was to sell the operation to a for-profit operator to fund the pansion plan shortfall at the minimal level required legally. In the next contract, the new owner cut health care and other benefits. The wages had always been minimal and he was free of the old pension plan requirements.
The employees went on strike for many months, the owner brought in replacements from companies that specialize in that service, until the employees had to cave in.
I had been counting on that facility when my sister was diagnosed with Alzheimers. I have family that is able to step in so she is provided for. Many others in the county are not so fortunate. Here are some staff comments: https://www.indeed.com/cmp/Cedar-Haven-Healthcare-Center/reviews?fcountry=ALL

Stratos , April 8, 2019 at 12:36 pm

" instead of trying to provide a public good to all, many [ordinary working people] are excluded because it is not considered commercially viable or economic to serve them."

There are also social and class dimensions to the exclusion. Private Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the USA have made the "not commercially viable or economic to serve them" argument for decades when pressed about their refusal to wire the entire country. Their "business model" leaves millions without reliable broadband service in a variety of settings, from rural areas and small towns to inner cities and low income suburbs. In many cases, citizens in those areas have no access to broadband at all.

When small towns and counties in the US have taken the initiative to wire their localities, the ISPs have bribed state legislatures to pass laws prohibiting public broadband throughout the rest of the state. Talk about subversion of democracy! Insult to injury: the ISPs who wailed about "unfair competition" to state legislators then refuse to wire areas throughout the rest of the state.

Meanwhile, less affluent countries like Korea and Romania have lightning fast fiber optic broadband universally available at affordable prices.
https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/jp5aa3/why-romanias-internet-is-so-much-faster-than-americas

Lack of universal and affordable broadband has two major effects:

➤ Local governments are shut out of economic opportunities because they lack connectivity. They are unable to shepherd business startups and existing businesses that need broadband to thrive. People move away. Businesses relocate or downsize. Local economies are left with erroding tax bases and boarded up downtowns.

➤ Children and young people in "broadband deserts" cannot tap into the many sources of learning that exist on the web. In particular, they don't have the opportunity to learn anything about frontend or backend web development applications such as, html, php, Ruby on Rails, Photoshop or Indesign.

That is one reason the US tech industry lacks workers from different backgrounds. Most tech workers grew up in areas the ISPs considered "commercially viable". In addition, many tech workers are self taught to some degree, even those with computer science degrees. It is difficult to be self taught if you lack access to the most basic resources and tools.

[May 11, 2019] A Texan Looks At Lyndon: A Study In Illegitimate Power

May 31, 2003 | www.amazon.com

Kurt Harding

A Devastating Diatribe, May 31, 2003

It would be an understatement to say that author Haley does not like Lyndon Baines Johnson. And despite the fact that his book is an unrelenting tirade against all things Lyndon, it provides a useful service in reminding the reader of how Johnson trampled and double-crossed friend and foe alike in his single-minded lust for power.

I am fairly conservative politically, but I am open-minded enough to recognize and oppose corruption whether practiced by liberals or conservatives. In my lifetime, Johnson, Nixon, and Clinton have been shining examples of the worst impulses in American presidential politics in which greed and lust for either power or money ended up overshadowing any of their real achievements.

Haley shows that Johnson was a man of few real principles, neither liberal nor conservative, but rather a man who usually always wanted to know which way the wind was blowing before taking a stand on any important issue. Johnson was a man who used all his powers of persuasion and veiled threats to get what he wanted and woe unto anyone who stood in his way.

He was a man who knew and used the old adage "It's not what you know, but who you know" to Machiavellian extremes.

But he was also a man of sometimes great political courage who would rarely give an inch once he took a stand. He hated those who opposed him, nursed resentments, and wreaked revenge on those who crossed him in the least as most of his enemies and many of his friends learned to their sorrow. From the earliest days, he was involved with corrupt Texas politicians from the local to the state level and swam in the seas of corporate corruption with the likes of the infamous swindler Billy Sol Estes and others of his stripe.

Admittedly, the conservatism of the author is the conservatism of a bygone age and the reader will recognize that the book is meant to be a partisan attack on Johnson. Some of the attacks on Johnson are made solely for political reasons as Johnson was clever enough to outmaneuver Haley's ideological brothers and sisters. But Johnson surrounded himself with enough scummy characters and got involved in so many underhanded political AND business deals that he deserves the rough treatment given him in Haley's devastating diatribe.

No matter your political leanings, your eyes will be opened when you read A Texan Looks At Lyndon. The book is well-written and often riveting in its allegations and revelations, but it loses one star for occasional hysteria. If US or Texas politics interests you, then I highly recommend this.

Randall Ivey

You have been warned, July 31, 2000

Haley wrote this book (and published it himself) in 1964 basically as a campaign tract for Barry Goldwater. In the intervening years it has become a classic of its kind, a philippic, to use M.E. Bradford's term, tracing the illegitimate rise to power of Lyndon Baines Johnson.

If you're politically naive, this book will grown hair on your chest. It's an unblinking, fearless portrait of Johnson's wheeling dealing and underhanded methods to achieve the power, prestige, and money he craved all his life.

Haley names all the names and lays out facts and figures for the reader to make up his mind. And the reader winds up shaking his head in utter astonishment. The best part of the book is that detailing Johnson's eventual election to the U.S. Senate in a contest with former Gov. Coke Stevenson.

The election was clearly Stevenson's, but through the machinations of George Parr, the notorious Duke of Duval County, the results were turned around in LBJ's favor. Investigators later found that among those voting in the primary were people who didn't live in the county anymore and people who weren't alive at all. But the results stood.

(An interesting and amusing aside: when Haley ran for Texas governor in 1956, he approached Parr and said, "I'm Evetts Haley. I'm running for governor, and if I win, it will be my privilege to put you in jail."

Parr's reply: "I believe you will." Parr, the Artful Dodger of Texas politics for years, eventually killed himself.)

At times the book grows tiresome, especially in the Bobby Baker and Billie Sol Estes scandals, where Haley turns a virtual torrent of names and numbers on the reader as to be sometimes confusing.

[May 11, 2019] US Army Colonel Pentagon's Latest China Report A Budget Ploy To Bleed The Taxpayer

May 11, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

https://www.dianomi.com/smartads.epl?id=4777 More ridiculous Civil Asset Forfeiture shenanigans by TDB - May 10, 2019 1:46 pm Chicago police run a vehicle impound racket

"A Little Fear" Makes for an Exciting Week in Gold and Silver by Sprott Money - May 10, 2019 11:45 am Trade Wars, Tariffs, and Volatility. Oh my! US Army Colonel: Pentagon's Latest China Report A "Budget Ploy" To Bleed The Taxpayer

by Tyler Durden Fri, 05/10/2019 - 21:45 2 SHARES

A former US Army Colonel has blasted Department of Defense's (DOD) latest report on China's military capabilities as a "budget ploy" .

"You're looking at a situation where the only thing [the DOD] can ask for, in terms of fixing any of this, is money -- more and more money " retired Colonel Lawrence "Larry" Wilkerson said of the DoD's annual report prepared for Congress entitled, "Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China 2019".

US Navy in the Pacific Ocean, via US Navy/Reuters

Wilkerson, who served as former chief of staff to US Secretary of State Colin Powell, described in an interview with The Real News that hyping the China threat taps into a well-trodden American pastime of fear-mongering in order to squeeze more precious taxpayer dollars towards inflated budgets .

The Pentagon report focused heavily on President Xi's plans for rapid modernization of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), especially China's ambitious plans for the region's "largest navy" -- which has lately included ongoing construction of the country's third aircraft carrier (the first full-sized one), with plans for seven total by 2025.

Watch the interview with Army Col. (ret.) Larry Wilkerson below.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/42LauiK_rbY?start=60

Col. Wilkerson dismissed the idea that China's aircraft carrier or latest much reported naval modernization initiatives were real causes for concern:

We've got a dozen [aircraft carriers]. They've got one at sea, one about to come out, and another one perhaps, and ours are so far ahead of theirs that it's 10, 15, 20 years before they even achieve the kind of capacity we have .

He explained that "aircraft carriers are extraordinarily vulnerable and we're going to find that out when one of them with 5,000 hands and $14bn worth of taxpayer money is sunk in less than 30 minutes, whenever we get engaged in something real."

Now a military analyst who teaches at The College of William & Mary in Virginia, Wilkerson addressed the familiar Pentagon cycle of threat inflation in the interview:

The [US] army could not expand; it could not take on a real enemy today without massive conscription and full mobilization . And I wonder if the nation could even stand that today. And so, you're looking at a situation where the only thing [the DOD] can ask for, in terms of fixing any of this, is money -- more and more money.

However, he did warn that the heightened rhetoric and blustering amidst a trade war could serve to paint both sides into a corner, resulting in a scenario of blindly bumbling toward war, as other analysts have described of the so-called "Thucydides Trap".

Wilkerson said an increasingly aggressive US posture toward Beijing could create a "self-fulfilling prophecy," wherein each minor escalation based on inflating threats begins "demarcating the highway to war with China," - according to the interview.

[May 10, 2019] Mueller Report - Expensive Estimations And Elusive Evidence by Adam Carter

Highly recommended!
Looks more and more like Crowdstrike conducted false flag operation to implicate Russians, not a real investigation.
I always assumed that #Guccifer2 was either a Crowdstryke construction at DNC request (that's probably why it was so badly, incompetently done) or a NSA construction (then, we somehow need to explain, why it was so badly done?). In both cases the goal was to implicate Russia in a DNC 'hack' ...
Craig Murray has stated he received the DNC files in Wash DC from a leaker. Mueller failed to interview him, which suggest the Mueller and his team were the part of cover-up, not the part of investigation.
Notable quotes:
"... We are told the GRU obtained files from the DNC network on April 22, 2016, (this is a little different to the Netyksho indictment that states the files were archived on April 22, 2016 and extracted later): ..."
"... The malware samples provided by CrowdStrike show that the earliest compile date of Fancy Bear malware reportedly discovered at the DNC was April 25, 2016 . ..."
"... Whoever was controlling the Guccifer 2.0 persona went out of their way to be perceived as Russian and made specious claims about having already sent WikiLeaks documents, even claiming that WikiLeaks would release them soon (all before Mueller records any initial contact between the parties) . ..."
"... The Special Counsel seems to have been impervious to critical pieces of countervailing evidence (some of which demonstrates that Guccifer 2.0 deliberately manufactured Russian breadcrumbs) and they have failed to accurately account for the acquisition of WikiLeaks' DNC emails (missing the date on which approximately 70% of them were collected) , which is, in itself, a stunning failure for a supposedly thorough investigation costing US taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. ..."
"... There should have been a proper, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the Guccifer 2.0 persona. The Special Counsel certainly hasn't done that job and, in retrospect, looks to have been ill-equipped (and perhaps somewhat reluctant) to do so from the outset. ..."
May 06, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

On April 18, 2019, a redacted version of Robert Mueller's report on "RussiaGate" related activities was released to the public.

This article focuses on Volume I Part III titled "Russian Hacking & Dumping Operations" and provides details of the errors made, critical omissions, lack of conclusive evidence and reliance on assumptions and speculation.

We will also look at problems relating to attribution methods used, countervailing evidence that has clearly been disregarded and other problems that are likely to have affected the quality of the investigation and the report.


The Mueller Report: Context & Contradiction

We start with a read-through of this section of the report, highlighting missing context, contradictions and errors.

Page 36

[To minimize repetition, we'll deal with statements made in this introduction where the basis is explained or details are provided on other pages ahead.]

Page 36

While the Netyksho indictment does provide details of intrusions and infrastructure used, it's still unclear how the infrastructure has been attributed back to individuals in the GRU and no conclusive evidence has been presented to support that in the indictment or the report.

Page 37

Some of the claims relating to state boards of elections are contradicted by the Department of Homeland Security , we'll return to this where it's covered in more detail later in the report.

Page 37

Whatever the sources are the GRU did their "learning" from they seem to have been outdated as many of the phishing emails were bounced due to being for individuals that were not involved in Clinton's 2016 campaign and that no longer had mailboxes on the relevant domains (they were involved in earlier campaigns in previous years) .

Page 39

In the Netyksho indictment it is stated that the "middle-servers" are overseas:

So, what was the point in having a US-based AMS Panel if you're using overseas servers as proxies?

This seems to be a needlessly noisy setup that somewhat defeats the purpose of having a US-based server for the AMS panel.

This setup makes the assets allegedly used by GRU officers subject to US laws, subject to Internet monitoring by US intelligence agencies and prone to being physically seized.

With the GRU using middle-servers, as alleged, there would have been absolutely no reason to have the AMS panel hosted on a server within the US and every reason to have it hosted elsewhere.

It almost seems like they wanted to get caught!

Page 40

We are told the GRU obtained files from the DNC network on April 22, 2016, (this is a little different to the Netyksho indictment that states the files were archived on April 22, 2016 and extracted later):

The problem with this is that it suggests the GRU had their implant on the DNC network earlier than what the available evidence supports.

The malware samples provided by CrowdStrike show that the earliest compile date of Fancy Bear malware reportedly discovered at the DNC was April 25, 2016 .

Perhaps they didn't discover all the malware until later? (Though, with their flagship product installed across the network, one would think they'd have detected all the malware present by the time they reported on discoveries).

Regarding the stolen opposition research, we've only seen the document as an attachment to one of Podesta's emails and a deliberately tainted version of the same document released by Guccifer 2.0.

The implication that this was stolen from the DNC is questionable due to this.

Going further, the story surrounding this changed in November 2017 when the Associated Press published a story titled " How Russians hacked the Democrats' emails " in which they cite an anonymous former DNC official who asserts that Guccifer 2.0's first document (the Trump opposition report) did not originate in the DNC as initially reported.

Another interesting point relating to this is the "HRC_pass.zip" archive released by Guccifer 2.0 on June 21, 2016 ( which also provided another US central timezone indication ) contained files with last modification dates of April 26, 2016. While this fits within the above timeframe, the transfer of the files individually, the apparent transfer speeds involved and the presence of FAT-like 2-second rounding artifacts ( noted elsewhere in Guccifer 2.0's releases ) when the files came from an NTFS system (and the ZIP implementation was not the cause) does not correlate well with what the report outlines.

In spite of its name ("HRC_pass.zip") this archive appears to contain files that can be sourced to the DNC. Out of 200 files, only one showed up as an attachment (in the Podesta emails) .

Regarding the May 25 - June 1 timeframe cited, this seems to exclude the date on which approximately 70% of the DNC's emails published on WikiLeaks' website were acquired (May 23, 2016)

What makes this interesting is that this is apparently being evaluated on evidence that was very likely to have been provided by CrowdStrike:

Page 40

How did Crowdstrike's evidence not inform the FBI and Special Counsel of the real initial acquisition date of WikiLeaks' DNC emails?

Was the May 23, 2016 activity not recorded?

Going back to the Netyksho indictment , we have also been told that Yermakov was searching for Powershell commands between the May 25 - June 1st period:

However, we know 70% of the DNC emails published by WikiLeaks had already been acquired prior to that time, before Yermakov had allegedly researched how to access and manage the Exchange server.

Page 41

We can tell from the use of "appear" here that the Special Counsel does not have conclusive evidence to demonstrate this.

Page 41

While the overlap between reported phishing victims and the output of DCLeaks cannot be denied, it is still unclear how bitcoin pools or leased infrastructure have been definitively tied back to any GRU officers or the GRU itself.

This isn't to say that there isn't evidence of it (I would assume there is some evidence or intelligence that supports the premise to some degree, at the very least) but we have no idea what that could be and there is no explanation of how associations to individual GRU officers were made (perhaps to protect HUMINT but this still leaves us completely in the dark as to how attributions were made) .

We know already that things are assumed by the Special Counsel on the basis of circumstantial evidence, so there is good reason to question whether the attributions made are based on conclusive evidence.

Page 42

This is the first point at which to recall Assange's announcement on 12 June that WikiLeaks was working on a release of "emails related to Hillary Clinton" - two days before the DNC goes public about being hacked by Russians, and three days before the appearance of Guccifer 2.0.

It's also approximately one month before Mueller says Guccifer 2.0 first successfully sent anything to WikiLeaks.

Whoever was controlling the Guccifer 2.0 persona went out of their way to be perceived as Russian and made specious claims about having already sent WikiLeaks documents, even claiming that WikiLeaks would release them soon (all before Mueller records any initial contact between the parties) .

While WikiLeaks did mention this via their Twitter feed on June 16, 2016, they were clearly skeptical of his claims to be a hacker and although they cite his claim about sending material to WikiLeaks, they don't confirm it:

It also seems a little odd that the GRU would do searches for already translated phrases (using Google translate to get English translations would be more understandable) and if it's Guccifer 2.0 doing it why did he not use the VPN he used for his other activities throughout the same day?

Why does the Mueller report not report on the IP address of the Moscow-based server from which searches occurred? It wouldn't really expose sources and methods to disclose it and it's unclear how it was determined to have been used and managed by a unit of the GRU. (Citation #146 references the Netyksho indictment, however, that fails to provide evidence or explanation of this too.)

Also, Guccifer 2.0 did not attribute the hack to a Romanian hacker in his first blog post , he didn't mention nationality until a week later (after he'd already gone out of his way to leave Russian breadcrumbs behind ) .

Page 43

The version of the opposition research document Guccifer 2.0 released was built using a prepared "Russian-tainted" template document .

The template was made by taking an attachment from one of John Podesta's emails (a document originally authored by Warren Flood in 2008) , stripping out the content, adding in Russian language stylesheet entries , altering "Confidential Draft" in the background of the document to "Confidential", altering the footer and then stripping out the body content.

The body content of a Trump Opposition research document (originally authored by Lauren Dillon) that was attached to another of Podesta's emails was then copied into the template document.

The document was saved (with a Russian author name), its body content cleared and this was then re-used to produce two further "Russia-tainted" documents.

It was no accident that led to the documents being tainted in the way that they were and it looks like Guccifer 2.0's version of the Trump opposition research didn't really come from the DNC.

Page 43

The email sent to The Smoking Gun revealed that Guccifer 2.0 appeared to be operating from somewhere in the central (US) time zone . It is one of several inexplicable examples of US timezone indications from Guccifer 2.0.

Page 43

It should be noted that the data referenced above was also unrelated to the general election and didn't have any noticeable impact on it (the 2.5Gb of data Guccifer 2.0 provided to Aaron Nevins was unlikely to have hurt the Clinton campaign or affect the outcome of the general election) .

In the states that the data related to, general election results didn't flip between the time of the publication of the documents and the election:

Page 43

Interesting to note that Guccifer 2.0 lied about DCLeaks being a "sub project" of WikiLeaks.

Page 44

The only materials Mueller alleges that WikiLeaks confirmed receipt of was a "1gb or so" archive, for which, instructions to access were communicated in an attached message (none-too-discreetly titled "wk dnc link1.txt.gpg") and sent by Guccifer 2 via unencrypted email.

It is an assumption that this was an archive of DNC emails (it could have contained other files Guccifer 2.0 subsequently released elsewhere).

We don't even know for sure whether WikiLeaks released what had been sent to them by either entity.

Even if, theoretically, the archive contained the emails, it couldn't have been the whole collection because the whole collection, when compressed, exceeds 2Gb of data .

This, of course, doesn't rule out the possibility of it being a portion of the overall collection but what the persona had sent to WikiLeaks could also easily have been other material relating to the DNC that we know Guccifer 2.0 later released or shared with other parties.

Page 45

This is the second point at which to recall Assange's 12 June TV announcement of upcoming "emails related to Hillary Clinton", coming two days before Guccifer 2.0's colleagues at DCLeaks reach out to WikiLeaks via unencrypted means on 14 June 2016 to offer "sensitive information" on Clinton.

Then, seven days after Guccifer 2 had already claimed to have sent material to WikiLeaks and stated that they'd soon release it (which made it sound as though he'd had confirmation back), we see that WikiLeaks reaches out to Guccifer 2.0 and suggests he sends material to them (as though there's never been any prior contact or provision of materials previously discussed) .

Page 45

How is it "clear" that both the DNC and Podesta documents were transferred from the GRU to WikiLeaks when there is only around a gigabyte of data acknowledged as received (and we don't even know what that data is) and little is known about the rest (and the report just speculates at possibilities) ?

Page 46

We aren't provided the full dialogue between WikiLeaks and Guccifer 2.0. Instead we have just a few words selected from the communication that could easily be out of context. The Netyksho indictment did exactly the same thing. Neither the indictment nor the report provide the full DM conversation in context.

(It certainly wouldn't harm HUMINT resources or expose methods if this evidence was released in full context.)

Would the GRU really engage in internal communications (eg GRU Guccifer 2.0 to GRU DCLeaks) via Twitter DMs? Maybe, but it seems insanely sloppy with regards to operational security of a clandestine organization communicating between its own staff.

The statement that concludes on the following page (see below) also seems a little bizarre. Would WikiLeaks really ask Guccifer 2.0 to DM DCLeaks to pass on such a message on their behalf?

Why doesn't Mueller provide the comms evidence of WikiLeaks asking Guccifer 2.0 for assistance in contacting DCLeaks?

As written, we are expected to take the words of Guccifer 2.0 (stating that the media organisation wished to talk to DCLeaks) at face value.

The problem with this is that we are talking about a persona who lied publicly about when he first sent material to WikiLeaks ( claiming to have done so already on the day appeared ) , lied about the relationship between WikiLeaks and DCLeaks and who had gone to a great deal of trouble to leave false Russian fingerprints in his work output.

Page 47

It was actually the last-modification date, not the creation date that was recorded as 19 September, 2016.

This wasn't necessarily the creation date and is only indicative of the last recorded write/copy operation (unless last modification date is preserved when copying but there's no way to determine that based on the available evidence) .

The gap between email file timestamps and attachment timestamps may simply be explained by WikiLeaks extracting the attachments from the EML files at a later stage. With the DNC emails we observed last-modifications dates as far back as May 23, 2016 but the attachments had last-modification dates that were much later (eg. July 21, 2016).

The wording is also worth noting: "Based on information about Assange's computer and its possible operating system" [emphasis mine] does not sound like it's based on reliable and factual information, it sounds like this is based on assessment/estimation. This also seems to be relying on an assumption that the only person handling files for WikiLeaks is Assange.

How have the Special Counsel cited WikiLeaks metadata for evidence where it's suited them yet, somehow, have managed to miss the May 23, 2016 date on which the DNC emails were initially being collected?

Going further, the report, based on speculation, suggests that the GRU staged releases in July (for DNC emails) and September (for Podesta emails). However, going off the same logic as the Special Counsel, with last-modification dates indicating when the email files are "staged", the evidence would theoretically point to the DNC emails being "staged" in May 2016).

It doesn't seem so reliable when the rule is applied multilaterally.

Of course, if both assumptions about staging dates are true, then we're left wondering what Julian Assange could have been talking about on June 12, 2016 when mentioning having emails relating to Hillary Clinton.

The speculation in the final paragraph of the above section also shows us that the Special Counsel lacks certainty on sources.

Page 48

Really, this correlation of dates (March 21, 2016 and the reported phishing incident relating to March 19, 2016) is one of the best arguments for saying that emails published by WikiLeaks were acquired through phishing or hacking incidents reported.

However, this merely suggests the method of acquisition, it says nothing of how the material got to WikiLeaks. We can make assumptions, but that's all we can do because the available evidence is circumstantial rather than conclusive.

Page 48

Far from "discredit[ing] WikiLeaks' claims about the source of the material it posted", the file transfer evidence doesn't conclusively demonstrate that WikiLeaks published anything sent to it by Guccifer 2.0 or DCLeaks.

Although there are hints that what was sent by Guccifer 2.0 related to the DNC, we don't know if this contained DNC emails or the other DNC related content he later released and shared with others.

"The statements about Seth Rich implied falsely that he had been the source of the stolen DNC emails" is itself a false statement. The reason Assange gave for offering a reward for information leading to the conviction of Seth Rich's killers was "Our sources take risks and they become concerned when they see things occurring like that [the death of DNC worker Seth Rich]... We have to understand how high the stakes are in the United States" ( source ) .

This implies WikiLeaks is offering the reward for info about Seth Rich at the behest of its actual source/s.

Page 49

By the time Trump had made the statements cited above, it was already assumed that Hillary had been hacked by the Russians, so Trump saying he hoped the Russians would find the emails seems more likely to have been in reference to what he assumed was already in their possession.

Finding those 30,000 emails also wouldn't be achieved through hacking at that point in time as the emails had already been deleted by Hillary Clinton's IT consultants in March 2015 .

Page 50

What is being described here is, to a considerable extent, just common exploit scanning on web services, scanning that will almost certainly have come from other nodes based in other nations too .

These scans are typically done via compromised machines, often with machines that are in nations completely separate to the nationality of those running the scanning effort.

The Department of Homeland Security threw cold water on this a long time ago.

DHS would not characterize these efforts as attacks, only "simple scanning ... which occurs all the time".

Page 51

There was no alteration of ballots or results at all anywhere as of a testimony by DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson on June 21 2017 nor since that time, according to Brian Krebs, to the date of a hearing on November 27, 2017 .

The remaining pages in this section of the report include a lot of redactions and mostly cover the actions of individuals in the US in relation to communications they had with or in relation to WikiLeaks. As this article is about the technical claims made in relation to hacking and so much is redacted, we'll only look at those really relevant to this.

Page 52

By the time Assange made the announcement referenced above, the Hillary Clinton emails obtained through FOIA had already been published by WikiLeaks.

Considering what WikiLeaks subsequently published, it would seem that Assange was making a reference to at least one of the upcoming leaks.

At this time, there was no record of contact between WikiLeaks and either of the parties alleged to be the GRU.

Page 58

Regarding the timing of the leaks and the Access Hollywood tape, it's important to note that journalist Stefani Maurizi, who had worked with WikiLeaks on the Podesta leaks, has stated publicly that she knew of WikiLeaks intention to publish on that date on the evening prior to it .

WikiLeaks stated the "timing conspiracy theory" was the other way round: " The [Access Hollywood] tape was moved forward to the day of our release, which WikiLeaks had been teasing " and was " well-documented ".

[The remaining pages in this section have little relevance to the technical aspects of this section of the report and/or acquisition of materials that this article is intended to cover.]


Circumstantial Evidence & Understandable Assumptions

While the above does show numerous issues with the report, it's important not to fall into the trap of outright dismissing as false anything for which evidence is lacking or assuming there is no evidence at all to support assertions.

However, without knowing what evidence exists we're left to make assumptions about whether it's conclusive or circumstantial, we don't know if the source of evidence is dependable and it's clear in the report that the Special Counsel has relied on assumptions and made numerous statements on the basis of presuppositions.

There is also a considerable amount of circumstantial evidence that, although it doesn't conclusively prove what the report tries to convince us of, it does at least raise questions about relationships between different entities, especially with regards to any overlaps in resources and infrastructure used.

For example, based on the cited evidence, it is perfectly understandable that people will assume Guccifer 2.0 provided DNC emails to WikiLeaks and will also assume that WikiLeaks published whatever it was that Guccifer 2.0 had sent them (especially with Mueller presenting that conversation in the form of a couple of words devoid of all context) .

The apparent overlap between a VPN service used by Guccifer 2.0 and by DCLeaks does suggest the two could be associated beyond Guccifer 2.0 just being a source of leaks for them.

Also, DCLeaks publishing some DNC emails that later appeared in the DNC email collection (though not necessarily from the same mailboxes) also suggests that DCLeaks and WikiLeaks could have had access to some of the same material and/or sources.

The same is true for Guccifer 2.0 releasing Podesta and DNC email attachments before WikiLeaks released both collections. Unless given good reason to consider any ulterior motive, the implied explanation, on the surface, seems to be that it was this persona that was a source for those emails. If nothing else, that's how it appears based on the little information typically made available to us by the mainstream press.

However, despite all of this, we still have not seen conclusive evidence showing that either of the entities was really controlled by the GRU and, when the countervailing evidence (which seems to have been completely ignored by the Special Counsel's investigation) is considered, there is reason to give consideration to Guccifer 2.0's efforts to not just associate himself with WikiLeaks and DCLeaks but also to associate third parties with each other through false claims.


The Mystery Of The May 23, 2016 Omission

One of the most notable omissions is the date on which emails from several mailboxes (including Luis Miranda's) were originally collected.

We know, from analysis of metadata of files hosted by WikiLeaks that this was May 23, 2016.

Not only is this prior to the May 25, 2016 - June 1, 2016 timeframe given for the DNC's exchange server being hacked, this activity is unmentioned throughout the entire report.

How has this failed to come to the surface when it should have been apparent in evidence CrowdStrike provided to the FBI and also apparent based on the WikiLeaks metadata? How is it the Special Counsel can cite some of the metadata in relation to WikiLeaks releases yet somehow manage to miss this?


Countervailing Evidence

What the Special Counsel's investigation also seems to have completely disregarded is the volume of countervailing evidence that has been discovered by several independent researchers in relation to the Guccifer 2.0 persona.

It's worth considering what evidence the Special Counsel has brought to the surface and comparing it with the evidence that has come to the surface as a result of discoveries being made by independent researchers over the past two years and the differences between the two sets of evidence (especially with regards to falsifiability and verifiability of evidence) .

Some excellent examples are covered in the following articles:


Reliability Of Attribution Methods

Skip Folden (who introduced me to VIPS members and has been a good friend ever since) recently shared with me his assessment of problems with the current attribution methods being relied on by the Special Counsel and others.

It covered several important points and was far more concise than anything I would have written, so, with his permission, I'm publishing his comments on this topic:

No basis whatsoever

APT28, aka Fancy Bear, Sofacy, Strontium, Pawn Storm, Sednit, etc., and APT29, aka Cozy Bear, Cozy Duke, Monkeys, CozyCar,The Dukes, etc., are used as 'proof' of Russia 'hacking' by Russian Intelligence agencies GRU and FSB respectively.

There is no basis whatsoever to attribute the use of known intrusion elements to Russia, not even if they were once reverse routed to Russia, which claim has never been made by NSA or any other of our IC.

On June 15, 2016 Dmitri Alperovitch himself, in an Atlantic Council article, gave only "medium-level of confidence that Fancy Bear is GRU" and "low-level of confidence that Cozy Bear is FSB." These assessments, from the main source himself, that either APT is Russian intelligence, averages 37%-38% [(50 + 25) / 2].

Exclusivity :

None of the technical indicators, e.g., intrusion tools (such as X-Agent, X-Tunnel), facilities, tactics, techniques, or procedures, etc., of the 28 and 29 APTs can be uniquely attributed to Russia, even if one or more had ever been trace routed to Russia. Once an element of a set of intrusion tools is used in the public domain it can be reverse-engineered and used by other groups which precludes the assumption of exclusivity in future use. The proof that any of these tools have never been reverse engineered and used by others is left to the student - or prosecutor.

Using targets

Also, targets have been used as basis for attributing intrusions to Russia, and that is pure nonsense. Both many state and non-state players have deep interests in the same targets and have the technical expertise to launch intrusions. In Grizzly Steppe, page 2, second paragraph, beginning with, "Both groups have historically targeted ...," is there anything in that paragraph which can be claimed as unique to Russia or which excludes all other major state players in the world or any of the non-state organizations? No.

Key Logger Consideration

On the subject of naming specific GRU officers initiating specific actions on GRU Russian facilities on certain dates / times, other than via implanted ID chips under the finger tips of these named GRU officers, the logical assumption would be by installed key logger capabilities, physical or malware, on one or more GRU Russian computers.

The GRU is a highly advanced Russian intelligence unit. It would be very surprising were the GRU open to any method used to install key logger capabilities. It would be even more surprising, if not beyond comprehension that the GRU did not scan all systems upon start-up and in real time, including key logger protection and anomalies of performance degradation and data transmissions.

Foreign intelligence source

Other option would be via a foreign intelligence unit source with local GRU access. Any such would be quite anti-Russian and be another nail in the coffin of any chain of evidence / custody validity at Russian site.


Chain Of Custody - Without An Anchor There Is No Chain

Another big problem with the whole RussiaGate investigation is the reliance on a private firm, hired by the DNC, to be the source of evidence.

As I don't have a good understanding of US law and processes surrounding evidence collection and handling, I will, again, defer to something that my aforementioned contact shared:

Chain of Evidence / Custody at US end, i.e., DNC and related computing facilities

Summary: There is no US end Chain of Evidence / Custody

The anchor of any chain of evidence custody is the on-site crime scene investigation of a jurisdictional law enforcement agency and neutral jurisdictional forensic team which investigate, discover, identify where possible, log, mark, package, seal, or takes images there of, of all identified elements of potential evidence as discovered at the scene of a crime by the authorized teams. The chain of this anchor is then the careful, documented movement of each element of captured evidence from crime scene to court.

In the case of the alleged series of intrusions into the DNC computing facilities, there is no anchor to any chain of evidence / custody.

There has been no claim that any jurisdictional law enforcement agency was allowed access to the DNC computing facilities. The FBI was denied access to DNC facilities, thereby supposedly denying the FBI the ability to conduct any on-site investigation of the alleged crime scene for discovery or collection of evidence.

Nor did the FBI exercise its authority to investigate the crime scene of a purported federal crime. Since when does the FBI need permission to investigate an alleged crime site where it is claimed a foreign government's intelligence attacked political files in order to interfere in a US presidential election?

Instead, the FBI accepted images of purported crime scene evidence from a contractor hired by and, therefore, working for the DNC. On July 05, 2017 a Crowdstrike statement said that they had provided "... forensic images of the DNC system to the FBI." It was not stated when these images were provided. Crowdstrike was working for the DNC as a contractor at the time.

This scenario is analogous to an employee of a crime scene owner telling law enforcement, "Trust me; I have examined the crime scene for you and here's what I've found. It's not necessary for you to see the crime scene."

Crowdstrike cannot be accepted as a neutral forensic organization. It was working for and being paid by the DNC. It is neither a law enforcement agency nor a federal forensic organization. Further Crowdstrike has serious conflicts of interest when it comes to any investigation of Russia.

Crowdstrike co-founder and Director of Technology, Dimitri Alperovitch, is a Nonresident Senior Fellow, Cyber Statecraft Initiative, of the Atlantic Council. Alperovitch has made it clear of his dislike of the government of Putin, and The Atlantic Council can not be considered neutral to Russia, receiving funding from many very staunch and outspoken enemies of Russia.

Summary: Not only was no federal jurisdictional law enforcement agency allowed to investigate the alleged crime scene, but the organization which allegedly collected and provided the 'evidence' was not neutral by being employed by the owner of the alleged crime scene, but seriously compromised by strong anti-Russian links.

This issue of this substitute for an anchor then leads us to our next problem: an apparent conflict of interest from the investigation's outset.


Conflict of Interest Inherent In The Investigation?

Would it seem like a conflict of interest if the person in charge of an investigation were friends with a witness and source of critical evidence relied upon by that investigation?

This is effectively the situation we have with the Special Counsel investigation because Robert Mueller and CrowdStrike's CSO (and President) Shawn Henry are former colleagues and friends.

Their history at the FBI is well known and their continued association after Henry had left the agency ( having dinner together at an executive retreat ) has been noted.

If nothing else, it's understandable for people to feel that the Special Counsel would have struggled to be truly impartial due to such relationships.


Conclusion

The Special Counsel seems to have been impervious to critical pieces of countervailing evidence (some of which demonstrates that Guccifer 2.0 deliberately manufactured Russian breadcrumbs) and they have failed to accurately account for the acquisition of WikiLeaks' DNC emails (missing the date on which approximately 70% of them were collected) , which is, in itself, a stunning failure for a supposedly thorough investigation costing US taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.

There should have been a proper, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the Guccifer 2.0 persona. The Special Counsel certainly hasn't done that job and, in retrospect, looks to have been ill-equipped (and perhaps somewhat reluctant) to do so from the outset.


This article may be republished/reproduced in part or in full on condition that content above is unaltered and that the author is credited (or, alternatively, that a link to the full article is included).

[May 10, 2019] I Will Not Yield - In Epic Rant, Jim Jordan Accuses Dems Of Sweeping Spygate Coverup

Jordan speech is informative enough to watch. He summaries "spygate" pretty well.
Notable quotes:
"... During his speech, Jordan cited a 2017 interview with Senator Chuck Schumer on the Rachel Maddow show where he said "if you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday for getting back at you." ..."
"... "I don't know if the FBI went after Trump in six ways, but they sure went after him in two ways. One was the dossier...the FBI used one party's oppo research to get a warrant from a secret court to spy on another campaign." ..."
"... "Second, just last Thursday, New York Times story, the FBI sent an investigator pretending to be somebody else to talk with George Papadopoulos who was working with the Trump campaign. You know what they call that? It's called spying. Think about the term he used: Political surveillance." ..."
"... Unfortunately, Republicans weren't able to stop the contempt vote from moving forward, but now that Trump has invoked executive privilege to protect the unredacted Mueller report and any related materials - which Democrats had demanded Barr release to them. ..."
"... Bill Barr is following the law. What's his reward? Democrats are going to hold him in contempt. ..."
May 09, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

As Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee - led by Chairman Jerry Nadler - voted to hold AG William Barr in contempt on Wednesday , one Republican wasn't having it.

During a heated diatribe during the vote, Jordan refused to yield and instead accused Democrats of trying to punish Barr for vowing to expose skullduggery by the Democrats and the Deep State during the campaign - particularly as it pertains to the provenance of the Russia collusion probe.

When it came his turn to speak, Jordan laid out everything Barr had said about his efforts to investigate exactly how the Russia probe was initiated, and look into suspicions that senior FBI and DoJ officials colluded with the Democrats to create an "insurance policy" to stop Trump. Jordan accused the Democrats of trying to punish Barr for simply following the law, while covering up for the FBI's malfeasance and politically motivated interference.

"He's going to get to the bottom of everything, he's going to find out how and why this investigation started in the first place. Never mind what he said three and a half weeks ago when he testified before the Senate Finance Committee. He said four very interest things: First he said there was a failure of leadership at the upper echelon of the FBI."

Out of everything Barr has said during his appearances before Congress over the last month, Jordan focused on one: Barr's claim that he has found evidence suggesting that "spying did occur," and that said spying may have been politically motivated - a reference to what has become known as "spygate".

"Second thing he said...spying did occur. Third, he said, there's a basis for my concern about the spying that took place. And maybe the most interest thing - two terms he used that frankly I find frightening - he said in his judgment that it looks like there might have been unauthorized surveillance and political surveillance."

During his speech, Jordan cited a 2017 interview with Senator Chuck Schumer on the Rachel Maddow show where he said "if you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday for getting back at you."

As far as Jordan can tell, the intelligence community took two concrete steps to try and get back at Trump for all of his deep state rhetoric.

"I don't know if the FBI went after Trump in six ways, but they sure went after him in two ways. One was the dossier...the FBI used one party's oppo research to get a warrant from a secret court to spy on another campaign."

"When they went to the court they didn't tell the court important things like who paid for it, that Christopher Steele had said he was desperate to stop Trump, and they didn't tell them that Steele had been fired by the FBI because he was out talking to the press."

The second was spying on the Trump campaign. To support this, Jordan referenced a New York Times story recounting an example of FBI spying on the Trump campaign.

"Second, just last Thursday, New York Times story, the FBI sent an investigator pretending to be somebody else to talk with George Papadopoulos who was working with the Trump campaign. You know what they call that? It's called spying. Think about the term he used: Political surveillance."

Asked to yield his time, Jordan replied "I will not yield."

Unfortunately, Republicans weren't able to stop the contempt vote from moving forward, but now that Trump has invoked executive privilege to protect the unredacted Mueller report and any related materials - which Democrats had demanded Barr release to them.

Watch Jordan's speech below:

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-05-10/i-will-not-yield-epic-rant-jim-jordan-accuses-dems-sweeping-spygate-coverup

Rep. Jim Jordan 11:39 AM - May 8, 2019

✔ @Jim_Jordan

Bill Barr is following the law. What's his reward? Democrats are going to hold him in contempt.

[May 08, 2019] Obama Spied on Other Republicans and Democrats As Well by Larry C Johnson

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The CIA, with the knowledge of the Director of National Intelligence, worked with British counterparts starting in the summer of 2015 to collect intelligence on Republican and at least one Democrat candidate. John Brennan was probably hoping that his proactive steps to help the Hillary Clinton campaign would ensure him taking over as DNI in the new Clinton Administration. Regardless of motives, the CIA enlisted the British intelligence community to start gathering intelligence on most major Republican candidates and on Bernie Sanders. This initial phase of intelligence gathering goes beyond opposition research. The information being gathered identified the key personnel in each campaign and identified the people outside the United States receiving their calls, texts and emails. This information was turned into intelligence reports that then were passed back to the United States intel community as "liaison reporting." This was not put into normal classified channels. This intelligence was put into a SAP, i.e. a Special Access Program. ..."
"... One person who needs to be called on the carpet and asked some hard questions is current CIA Director Gina Haspel. She was CIA Chief of Station in London at the time and was a regular attendee at the meeting of the Brit's Joint Intelligence Committee aka the JIC. I suppose it is possible she was cut out of the process, but I believe that is unlikely. ..."
"... I am confident that a survey of NSA and CIA liaison reporting will show that George Papadopoulos was identified as a possible target by the fall of 2015. Initially, his name was "masked." But we now know that many people on the Trump campaign had their names "unmasked." You cannot unmask someone unless their name is in an intelligence report. ..."
"... Sater's communication with Rozov were intercepted by western intelligence agencies -- GCHQ and NSA. I do not know which agency put it into an intel report, but it was put into the system. The Sater FD-1023 will tell us whether or not Sater did this at the direction of the FBI or acted on his own initiative. The key point is that the "bait" to do something with the Russians came from a registered FBI informant. ..."
"... That's good, sooner it's clarified the better, and the stronger the better, ..."
"... Best approach is to slaughter Donald for his bromance with Putin , but not go too far betting on Putin re Syria ..."
"... Hakluyt is described by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism's Henry Williams as " one of the more secretive firms within the corporate investigations world " and as "a retirement home for ex-MI6 [British foreign intelligence] officers, but it now also recruits from the worlds of management consultancy and banking " ..."
"... I do not believe that it is a mere coincidence that Australian diplomat, Alexander Downer, was the one credited by the FBI for launching the investigation into George Papadopolous : It was Downer who told the FBI of Papodopoulos' comments, which became one of the "driving factors that led the FBI to open an investigation in July 2016 into Russia's attempts to disrupt the election and whether any of President Trump's associates conspired," The Times reported. ..."
"... Downer, a long-time Aussie chum of Bill and Hillary Clinton, had been on Hakluyt's advisory board since 2008. Officially, he had to resign his Hakluyt role in 2014, but his informal connections continued uninterrupted, the News Corp. Australian Network reported in a January 2016 exclusive: ..."
"... I'm curious why they went after minor characters in the Trump campaign and not Jared or one of Trump's sons? From what I've read of Hoover, it seems he was constantly building "dossiers" of the powerful and those he considered "subversives" so that he would remain preeminent. Then there was the Church Committee investigation. Is this qualitatively different? Can we ever expect that law enforcement & intelligence with so much secretive power are not the 4th branch of government? ..."
"... Also involved - and I think Judge Ellis was very well aware of this - is a fundamental distinction relating to what law enforcement authorities are trying to achieve. If Mueller was honestly - even of perhaps misguidedly - trying to get witnesses to 'sing', that is hardly a mortal sin. If he was trying to get them to 'compose', then the question becomes whether he should be under indictment for subversion of the Constitution. ..."
"... Why aren't the MSM having a hissy fit about the real, documented election interference by the British Commonwealth/5 Eyes spooks in the 2016 campaign (and before)? The hoax of projecting onto Putin what they themselves have done must be exposed before the country move forward on any front. ..."
"... So, was Skripal one of Steele's so-called Kremlin insiders? I see Pablo Miller is connected to both Porton Down and Steele via the ironically titled II's media pods. And Miller is certainly connected to Skripal. ..."
May 08, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Do not focus on July 2016 as the so-called start of the counter intelligence investigation of Donald Trump. That is a lie. We know, thanks to the work of Judicial Watch, that the FBI had signed up Christopher Steele as a Confidential Human Source (aka CHS) by February of 2016. It is incumbent on Attorney General Barr to examine the contact reports filed by Steele's FBI handler (those reports are known as FD-1023s). He also, as I have noted in a previous post, needs to look at the FD-1023s for Felix Sater and Henry Greenberg. But these will only tell a small part of the story. There is a massive intelligence side to this story.

The CIA, with the knowledge of the Director of National Intelligence, worked with British counterparts starting in the summer of 2015 to collect intelligence on Republican and at least one Democrat candidate. John Brennan was probably hoping that his proactive steps to help the Hillary Clinton campaign would ensure him taking over as DNI in the new Clinton Administration. Regardless of motives, the CIA enlisted the British intelligence community to start gathering intelligence on most major Republican candidates and on Bernie Sanders. This initial phase of intelligence gathering goes beyond opposition research. The information being gathered identified the key personnel in each campaign and identified the people outside the United States receiving their calls, texts and emails. This information was turned into intelligence reports that then were passed back to the United States intel community as "liaison reporting." This was not put into normal classified channels. This intelligence was put into a SAP, i.e. a Special Access Program.

One person who needs to be called on the carpet and asked some hard questions is current CIA Director Gina Haspel. She was CIA Chief of Station in London at the time and was a regular attendee at the meeting of the Brit's Joint Intelligence Committee aka the JIC. I suppose it is possible she was cut out of the process, but I believe that is unlikely.

This initial phase of intelligence collection produced a great volume of intelligence that allowed analysts to identify key personnel and the people they were communicating with overseas. You don't have to have access to intelligence information to understand this. For example, you simply have to ask the question, "how did George Papadopoulos get on the radar." I am confident that a survey of NSA and CIA liaison reporting will show that George Papadopoulos was identified as a possible target by the fall of 2015. Initially, his name was "masked." But we now know that many people on the Trump campaign had their names "unmasked." You cannot unmask someone unless their name is in an intelligence report. We also know that Felix Sater, a longtime business associate of Donald Trump and an FBI informant since December 1998 (he was signed up by Andrew Weismann), initiated the proposal to do a Trump Tower in Moscow. Don't take my word for it, that's what Robert Mueller reported:

In the late summer of 2015, the Trump Organization received a new inquiry about pursuing a Trump Tower project in Moscow. In approximately September 2015, Felix Sater . . . contacted Cohen (i.e., Michael Cohen) on behalf of I.C. Expert Investment Company (I.C. Expert), a Russian real-estate development corporation controlled by Andrei Vladimirovich Rozov. Sater had known Rozov since approximately 2007 and, in 2014, had served as an agent on behalf of Rozov during Rozov's purchase of a building in New York City. Sater later contacted Rozov and proposed that I.C. Expert pursue a Trump Tower Moscow project in which I.C. Expert would license the name and brand from the Trump Organization but construct the building on its own. Sater worked on the deal with Rozov and another employee of I.C. Expert. (see page 69 of the Mueller Report).

Sater's communication with Rozov were intercepted by western intelligence agencies -- GCHQ and NSA. I do not know which agency put it into an intel report, but it was put into the system. The Sater FD-1023 will tell us whether or not Sater did this at the direction of the FBI or acted on his own initiative. The key point is that the "bait" to do something with the Russians came from a registered FBI informant.

By December of 2015, the Hillary Campaign decided to use the Russian angle on Donald Trump. Thanks to Wikileaks we have Campaign Manager John Podesta's email exchange in December 2015 with Democratic operative Brent Budowsky:

" That's good, sooner it's clarified the better, and the stronger the better, " Budowski replies, later adding: " Best approach is to slaughter Donald for his bromance with Putin , but not go too far betting on Putin re Syria ."

The program to slaughter Donald Trump using Russia as the hatchet was already underway. This was more the opposition research. This was the weaponization of law enforcement and intelligence assets to attack political opponents. Hillary had covered the opposition research angle in London by hiring a firm comprised of former MI6 assets-- Hakluyt: there was a second, even more powerful and mysterious opposition research and intelligence firm lurking about with significant political and financial links to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her 2016 campaign for president against Donald Trump.

Meet London-based Hakluyt & Co. , founded by three former British intelligence operatives in 1995 to provide the kind of otherwise inaccessible research for which select governments and Fortune 500 corporations pay huge sums. . . .

Hakluyt is described by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism's Henry Williams as " one of the more secretive firms within the corporate investigations world " and as "a retirement home for ex-MI6 [British foreign intelligence] officers, but it now also recruits from the worlds of management consultancy and banking "

I do not believe that it is a mere coincidence that Australian diplomat, Alexander Downer, was the one credited by the FBI for launching the investigation into George Papadopolous : It was Downer who told the FBI of Papodopoulos' comments, which became one of the "driving factors that led the FBI to open an investigation in July 2016 into Russia's attempts to disrupt the election and whether any of President Trump's associates conspired," The Times reported.

Downer, a long-time Aussie chum of Bill and Hillary Clinton, had been on Hakluyt's advisory board since 2008. Officially, he had to resign his Hakluyt role in 2014, but his informal connections continued uninterrupted, the News Corp. Australian Network reported in a January 2016 exclusive:

But it can be revealed Mr. Downer has still been attending client conferences and gatherings of the group, including a client cocktail soirée at the Orangery at Kensington Palace a few months ago.

His attendance at that event is understood to have come days after he also attended a two-day country retreat at the invitation of the group, which has been involved in a number of corporate spy scandals in recent times.

Much remains to be uncovered in this plot. But this much is certain--there is an extensive documentary record, including TOP SECRET intelligence reports (SIGINT and HUMINT) and emails and phone calls that will show there was a concerted covert action operation mounted against Donald Trump and his campaign. Those documents will tell the story. This cannot be allowed to happen again.

Posted at 05:33 AM in Larry Johnson , Russiagate | Permalink | Comments (9)


turcopolier , 07 May 2019 at 09:53 AM

Having watched interviews of Papadopoulos on TeeVee I would say that this creature would be easy to manipulate. His ego is so enormous that a minimal effort would be required.
blue peacock said in reply to turcopolier ... , 07 May 2019 at 11:19 AM
Col. Lang

I'm curious why they went after minor characters in the Trump campaign and not Jared or one of Trump's sons? From what I've read of Hoover, it seems he was constantly building "dossiers" of the powerful and those he considered "subversives" so that he would remain preeminent. Then there was the Church Committee investigation. Is this qualitatively different? Can we ever expect that law enforcement & intelligence with so much secretive power are not the 4th branch of government?

David Habakkuk -> blue peacock... , 07 May 2019 at 01:31 PM
bp,

The guts of the matter was well expressed by Judge T.S. Ellis when he made the distinction between different results which can be expected from exerting pressures on witnesses: they may 'sing' - which is, commonly, in the interests of justice - but, there again, they may 'compose', which is not.

Also involved - and I think Judge Ellis was very well aware of this - is a fundamental distinction relating to what law enforcement authorities are trying to achieve. If Mueller was honestly - even of perhaps misguidedly - trying to get witnesses to 'sing', that is hardly a mortal sin. If he was trying to get them to 'compose', then the question becomes whether he should be under indictment for subversion of the Constitution.

Alcatraz, perhaps?

blue peacock said in reply to David Habakkuk ... , 08 May 2019 at 12:17 AM
David,

Yes, indeed, many a composition have been elicited by prosecutors in criminal cases. The issue is there is no penalty for prosecutorial misconduct while the advancement points ratchet up with each conviction. The incentives are aligned perfectly for the "institution" to run rough shod on ordinary Americans. Only those wealthy enough to fight the unlimited funds of the government have a chance. But of course in matters relating to national security there is the added twist of state secrets that protects government malfeasance.

I don't know how the national security state we continue to build ever gets rolled back. A small victory would be for Trump to declassify all documents and communications relating to the multifaceted spying on his campaign and as Larry so eloquently writes to frame him as a Manchurian Candidate. At least the public will learn about what their grandchildren are paying for. But it seems that Trump prefers tweeting to taking any kind of action. Not that it would matter much as half the country will still believe that Trump deserves it until the tables are turned on their team. While most Americans will say to use Ben Hunt's phrasing Yay! Constitution. Yay! Liberty. they sure don't care as the state oligarchy tighten their chokehold.

https://www.epsilontheory.com/things-fall-apart-pt-1/

akaPatience -> turcopolier ... , 07 May 2019 at 05:27 PM
Yes, he seems young and ambitious enough to be easy (and willing) prey. Having been involved in some local political campaigns though, I've observed that more and more than before, young people like him are hyper-concerned with networking. Papadopoulos' ego aside, of course he and many people who sign on hope to make self-serving connections. Not only that, it's also been my observation that casual sexual hook-ups go with the territory, and not only among young, single guys like him. I have to say I've been shocked a few times by how risky and cavalier some liaisons have been that've come to my attention, considering "public figures" are involved. No doubt that's why a "honeypot" was dispatched to try to help entrap Papadopoulos.
Rick Merlotti , 07 May 2019 at 12:14 PM
Why aren't the MSM having a hissy fit about the real, documented election interference by the British Commonwealth/5 Eyes spooks in the 2016 campaign (and before)? The hoax of projecting onto Putin what they themselves have done must be exposed before the country move forward on any front.
O'Shawnessey , 07 May 2019 at 02:44 PM
So, was Skripal one of Steele's so-called Kremlin insiders? I see Pablo Miller is connected to both Porton Down and Steele via the ironically titled II's media pods. And Miller is certainly connected to Skripal.
sandra adie , 07 May 2019 at 03:01 PM
Papadopolos was very young hence the nativity getting sucked in. The ego helped for sure. Probably exciting to be part of something important probably for the first time since he started working for Trump campaign
akaPatience , 07 May 2019 at 03:01 PM
One thing that's always concerned me about Larry's informative and insightful essays on these matters is how can we be assured that the IC documentation mentioned has been filled out honestly and accurately -- or that the forms even still exist and haven't been conveniently "lost" or surreptitiously destroyed?

[May 08, 2019] Huawei Hypocrisy by Craig Murray

Notable quotes:
"... I don't think the US government should use operating systems made in China for the same reason that most governments shouldn't use operating systems made in the US and in fact we just got proof since Microsoft is now known to be telling the NSA about bugs in Windows before it fixes them. ..."
"... All the major western tech companies cooperate with the western security services. In Murder in Samarkand I gave the first public revelation that the government can and does listen through your mobile phone microphone even when the phone is ostensibly switched off, a fact that got almost no traction until Edward Snowden released documents confirming it six years later. China is full of western devices with backdoors that are exploited by western intelligence. That the tables turn as Chinese technology advances is scarcely surprising. ..."
May 08, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Craig Murray,

Theresa May almost certainly sacked Gavin Williamson not just on the basis of a telephone billing record showing he had a phone call with a Telegraph journalist, but on the basis of a recording of the conversation itself.

It astonishes me that still, after Snowden and his PRISM revelations, after Wikileaks Vault 7 releases , and after numerous other sources including my own humble contribution, people still manage to avoid the cognitive dissonance that goes with really understanding how much we are surveilled and listened to. Even Cabinet Ministers manage to pretend to themselves it is not happening.

The budget of the NSA, which does nothing else but communications intercept, is US $14.2 billion this year. Think about that enormous sum, devoted to just communications surveillance, and what it can achieve. The budget of the UK equivalent, GCHQ, is £1.2 billion, of which about 10% is paid by the NSA. Domestic surveillance in the UK has been vastly expanded and many taboos broken. But the bedrock of the system with regard to domestic intercepts is still that legal restrictions are dodged, as the USA's NSA spies on UK citizens while the UK's GCHQ spies on US citizens, and then the information is swapped. It was thus probably the NSA that harvested Williamson's phone call, passing the details on. Given official US opposition to the UK employing Huawei technology, Williamson's call would have been a "legitimate" NSA target.

Mass surveillance works on electronic harvesting. Targeted phone numbers apart, millions of essentially random calls are listened to electronically using voice recognition technology and certain key words trigger an escalation of the call. Williamson's call discussing Huawei, China, the intelligence services, and backdoors would certainly have triggered recording and been marked up to a human listener, even if his phone was not specifically targeted by the Americans – which it almost certainly was.

Williamson of course is relying on the security services' secrecy about their methods to maintain his protests of innocence, secure in the knowledge that the recording of him would not be produced. The existence of the recording – of which I am extremely confident – is the only possible explanation for May's degree of certainty and swift action against one of her very few loyal allies.

All of which of course throws into stark relief the stunning hypocrisy of those who are worried that Huawei will be used for electronic eavesdropping, when they are up to their ears in electronic eavesdropping themselves. One of my heroes is the great Richard Stallman, who put it this way six years ago:

RMS: Well, it's perfectly reasonable suspicion to me. I don't think the US government should use operating systems made in China for the same reason that most governments shouldn't use operating systems made in the US and in fact we just got proof since Microsoft is now known to be telling the NSA about bugs in Windows before it fixes them.

RSS: I was just going to bring this up exactly, so I was saying that the NSA recently received notifications about the zero-day holes in advance and [incomprehensible] the NSA and the CIA to just crack PCs abroad for espionage purposes.

RMS: Now, [incomprehensible] that this proves my point, which is that you have to be nuts if you were some other country and using Windows on your computers. But, you know, given that Windows has a universal back door in it, Microsoft would hardly need to tell the NSA about any bugs, it can tell the NSA about the mal-feature of the universal back door and that would be enough for the NSA to attack any computer running Windows, which unfortunately is a large fraction of them.

All the major western tech companies cooperate with the western security services. In Murder in Samarkand I gave the first public revelation that the government can and does listen through your mobile phone microphone even when the phone is ostensibly switched off, a fact that got almost no traction until Edward Snowden released documents confirming it six years later. China is full of western devices with backdoors that are exploited by western intelligence. That the tables turn as Chinese technology advances is scarcely surprising.

Personally I do not want the Chinese, Americans, Russians or British eavesdropping on me, or on each other, and I wish that they would stop. The spy games will of course continue, as they make money for a lot of well-connected people. But for any side to claim moral superiority in all of this is just nonsense.

* * *

Subscriptions to keep Craig Murray's blog going, gratefully received .

[May 08, 2019] It is the ultimate irony that how the old Soviet Union's judiciary used to function is now becoming standing operating procedure in the United States

Notable quotes:
"... Why are Chalupa and Podesta not in prison? ..."
"... Our courts are totally corrupt. There's a prosecutor/FBI/judge cabal which convicts 98+% of its victims at trials. ..."
"... They lie to be promoted. ..."
"... "the FBI will be watching you." 'In America, FBI watch everyone.' ..."
May 08, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

gcjohns1971 , 8 months ago link

"It is the ultimate irony that how the old Soviet Union's judiciary used to function is now becoming standing operating procedure in the United States."

When you consider how many of today's Democrat luminaries were self described as dedicated Communists in the 60's, 70's, and 80's it is not surprising at all.

mc888 , 8 months ago link

Why are Chalupa and Podesta not in prison?

SergeA.Storms , 8 months ago link

If, the information in this article is true, I feel bad for this young lady getting hemmed up in international shenanigans.

If a person loves her country (her home), wants the opportunity for fellow citizens to be free with a right to bare arms, and seeks out the assistance of the USA both as a model for having the 2nd Amendment, and an organization that leads in advocating for personal firearms ownership, the NRA, how is she committing any crime? She should not be locked up for pursuing God given, inalienable rights for her fellow countrymen. She should be encouraged and sponsored by Pro2A groups and manufacturers. Again, if the information as presented is true.

dday1944 , 8 months ago link

Thank you DOJ. There's no need for guns in Russia. These people intoxicated by the alcohol and hard drugs will kill one another by the thousands. I feel for Masha Butina, but as far away she is from Russia, as better for this poor country. Luckily she is in US and even better in prison. Thank you Russophobes, warmongers and sheep that neocons will send to the slaughterhouse, you can not do any better.

Reaper , 8 months ago link

Our courts are totally corrupt. There's a prosecutor/FBI/judge cabal which convicts 98+% of its victims at trials. The excessive long sentences are used to convince the large majority unable to afford a slightly possible defense to bargain a plea. The Exceptional morons selected for juries think, why would the FBI lie. They lie to be promoted. What do you think happens to an agent whose testimony aids the defense?

Kangaroo courts would be more honest in their convictions.

ToSoft4Truth , 8 months ago link

"the FBI will be watching you." 'In America, FBI watch everyone.'

Herdee , 8 months ago link

The Russians are coming:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bReGtDxF1Oo

WW_II , 8 months ago link

"Why is Maria Butina in prison?"

https://garygindler.com/2018/08/05/why-is-maria-butina-in-prison

bh2 , 8 months ago link

"a plausible case for an indictment"

If a case is merely "plausible", that's not enough to indict.

Based on that thread-bare criterion, the FBI could probably come up with "plausible" cause to indict half the US population for something or other. Never mind Russians, all of whom might "plausibly" be suspected as secret agents for the Kremlin because they know other Russians.

This is absurd.

navy62802 , 8 months ago link

The true criminals are attempting to cover their tracks through diversion. The magnitude of the scheme they are executing now is commensurate with the magnitude of their own crimes against the United States.

IridiumRebel , 8 months ago link

I swear these stories are pushed for social media consumption so my faggy lib "friends" can bitch.

SergeA.Storms , 8 months ago link

I agree, it was much more scary in the 80's hiding under our desks at school and learning each week how many times one country could blow up the world, multiple times over. Now, so many people around the world call ********, not because MAD doesn't exist, but everyone realized no matter the quality of your bunker and fortitude of cement, those things only mean you die slower than those outside near the big flash. Hypersonic weapons seem like a step backwards in the whole 'my missile is bigger than your missile' game of Coldwar 2.0.

tmosley , 8 months ago link

Extremely important information there.

McCarthy did nothing wrong.

Yog Soggoth , 8 months ago link

Exactly, he was anti Bolshevik. There was an active campaign against a strong America.

MozartIII , 8 months ago link

McCarthy was right! I do my homework!! The fuckers are still in our government!!!

[May 08, 2019] America's Defense Budget Is Bigger Than You Think

May 08, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

America's Defense Budget Is Bigger Than You Think

by Tyler Durden Tue, 05/07/2019 - 18:50 3 SHARES Authored by William Hartung and Mandy Smithberger via TomDispatch.com,

Each year, Congress approves hundreds of billions of dollars for the US defense budget... but the real number exceeds $1 trillion.

In its latest budget request, the Trump administration is asking for a near-record $750 billion for the Pentagon and related defense activities -- an astonishing figure by any measure. If passed by Congress, it will be one of the largest military budgets in American history, topping peak levels reached during the Korean and Vietnam wars. And keep one thing in mind: That $750 billion represents only part of the actual annual cost of our national security state.

me width=

There are at least 10 separate pots of money dedicated to fighting wars, preparing for yet more wars, and dealing with the consequences of wars already fought. So the next time a president , a general , a secretary of defense , or a hawkish member of Congress insists that the US military is woefully underfunded, think twice. A careful look at US defense expenditures offers a healthy corrective to such wildly inaccurate claims.

Now, let's take a brief dollar-by-dollar tour of the US national security state of 2019, tallying the sums as we go, and see just where we finally land (or perhaps the word should be "soar"), financially speaking.

The Pentagon's base budget: The Pentagon's regular, or base, budget is slated to be $544.5 billion in fiscal year 2020 -- a healthy sum but only a modest down payment on total military spending.

As you might imagine, that base budget provides basic operating funds for the Department of Defense, much of which will be squandered on preparations for ongoing wars never authorized by Congress, overpriced weapons systems that aren't actually needed, or outright waste, an expansive category that includes everything from cost overruns to unnecessary bureaucracy. That $544.5 billion is the amount publicly reported by the Pentagon for its essential expenses and includes $9.6 billion in mandatory spending that goes toward items like military retirement.

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Among those basic expenses, let's start with waste, a category even the biggest boosters of Pentagon spending can't defend. The Pentagon's own Defense Business Board found that cutting unnecessary overhead, including a bloated bureaucracy and a startlingly large shadow workforce of private contractors, would save $125 billion over five years. Perhaps you won't be surprised to learn that the board's proposal has done little to quiet calls for more money. Instead, from the highest reaches of the Pentagon (and the president himself) came a proposal to create a Space Force, a sixth military service that's all but guaranteed to further bloat its bureaucracy and duplicate work being done by the other services. Even Pentagon planners estimate that the future Space Force will cost $13 billion over the next five years (and that's undoubtedly a low-ball figure).

In addition, the Defense Department employs an army of private contractors -- more than 600,000 of them -- many doing jobs that could be done far more cheaply by civilian government employees. Cutting the private contractor work force by 15 percent to a mere half-million people would promptly save more than $20 billion per year . And don't forget the cost overruns on major weapons programs like the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent -- the Pentagon's unwieldy name for the Air Force's new intercontinental ballistic missile -- and routine overpayments for even minor spare parts (like $8,000 for a helicopter gear worth less than $500 -- a markup of 1,500 percent).

Then there are the overpriced weapons systems the military can't even afford to operate, like a $13 billion aircraft carrier, 200 nuclear bombers at $564 million a pop, and the F-35 combat aircraft, the most expensive weapons system in history, at a price tag of at least $1.4 trillion over the lifetime of the program. The Project on Government Oversight has found -- and the Government Accountability Office recently substantiated -- that, despite years of work and staggering costs, the F-35 may never perform as advertised.

And don't forget the Pentagon's recent push for long-range strike weapons and new reconnaissance systems designed for future wars with a nuclear-armed Russia or China, the kind of conflicts that could easily escalate into World War III, in which such weaponry would be beside the point. Imagine if any of that money were devoted to figuring out how to prevent such conflicts rather than hatching yet more schemes for how to fight them.

BASE BUDGET TOTAL: $554.1 BILLION

The war budget: As if its regular budget weren't enough, the Pentagon also maintains its very own slush fund, formally known as the Overseas Contingency Operations account, or OCO. In theory, the fund is meant to pay for the War on Terrorism -- that is, the US wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Syria, and elsewhere across the Middle East and Africa. In practice, it does that and so much more.

After a fight over shutting down the government led to the formation of a bipartisan commission on deficit reduction -- known as Simpson-Bowles after its co-chairs, former Clinton chief of staff Erskine Bowles and former Republican senator Alan Simpson -- Congress passed the Budget Control Act of 2011. It put caps on both military and domestic spending that were supposed to save a total of $2 trillion over 10 years. Half that figure was to come from the Pentagon, as well as from nuclear-weapons spending at the Department of Energy. As it happened, though, there was a huge loophole: The war budget was exempt from the caps. The Pentagon promptly began to put tens of billions of dollars into it for pet projects that had nothing whatsoever to do with current wars (and the process has not stopped). The level of abuse of this fund remained largely secret for years, with the Pentagon admitting only in 2016 that just half the money in the OCO went to actual wars, prompting critics and numerous members of Congress -- including then-Representative Mick Mulvaney, now President Donald Trump's latest chief of staff -- to dub it a "slush fund."

This year's budget proposal supersizes the slush in that fund to a figure that would likely be considered absurd if it weren't part of the Pentagon budget. Of the nearly $174 billion proposed for the war budget and "emergency" funding, only a little more than $25 billion is meant to directly pay for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. The rest will be set aside for what's termed enduring activities that would continue even if those wars ended or for routine Pentagon activities that couldn't be funded within the constraints of the budget caps. The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives is expected to work to alter this arrangement. Even if the House leadership has its way, however, most of its reductions in the war budget would be offset by lifting caps on the regular Pentagon budget by corresponding amounts. (It's worth noting that Trump's budget calls for someday eliminating the slush fund.)

The 2020 OCO also includes $9.2 billion in "emergency" spending for building Trump's beloved wall on the US-Mexico border, among other things. Talk about a slush fund! There is no emergency, of course. The executive branch is just seizing taxpayer dollars that Congress refused to provide. Even supporters of the president's wall should be troubled by this money grab. As 36 former Republican members of Congress recently argued , "What powers are ceded to a president whose policies you support may also be used by presidents whose policies you abhor." Of all of Trump's "security"-related proposals, this is undoubtedly the most likely to be eliminated or at least scaled back, given the congressional Democrats against it.

WAR BUDGET TOTAL: $173.8 BILLION

Running tally: $727.9 billion

The Department of Energy/nuclear budget: It may surprise you to know that work on the deadliest weapons in the US arsenal, nuclear warheads, is housed in the Department of Energy, not the Pentagon. The DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration runs a nationwide research, development, and production network for nuclear warheads and naval nuclear reactors that stretches from Livermore, California, to Albuquerque and Los Alamos, New Mexico, to Kansas City, Missouri, to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, to Savannah River, South Carolina. Its laboratories also have a long history of program mismanagement, with some projects coming in at nearly eight times their initial estimates.

NUCLEAR BUDGET TOTAL: $24.8 BILLION

Running tally: $752.7 billion

Defense-related activities: This category covers the $9 billion that annually goes to agencies other than the Pentagon -- the bulk of it to the FBI for homeland-security-related activities.

DEFENSE-RELATED ACTIVITIES TOTAL: $9 BILLION

Running tally: $761.7 billion

The five categories above make up the budget of what's officially known as national defense. Under the Budget Control Act, this spending should have been capped at $630 billion. The $761.7 billion proposed for the 2020 budget is, however, only the beginning of the story.

The Veterans Affairs budget: The wars of this century have resulted in a new generation of veterans. In all, over 2.7 million US military personnel have cycled through the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. Many of them remain in need of substantial support to deal with the physical and mental wounds of war. As a result, the budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs has gone through the roof, more than tripling in this century to a proposed $216 billion . And this massive figure may not even be enough to provide the necessary services.

\More than 6,900 US military personnel have died in Washington's post-9/11 wars, with more than 30,000 wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan alone. These casualties are, however, just the tip of the iceberg. Hundreds of thousands of returning troops suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, illnesses created by exposure to toxic burn pits, or traumatic brain injuries. The US government is committed to providing care for these veterans for the rest of their lives. An analysis by the Costs of War Project at Brown University determined that obligations to veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will total more than $1 trillion in the years to come. This cost of war is rarely considered when leaders in Washington decide to send US troops into combat.

VETERANS AFFAIRS TOTAL: $216 BILLION

Running tally: $977.7 billion

The Homeland Security budget: The Department of Homeland Security is a mega-agency created after the 9/11 attacks. At the time, it swallowed 22 existing government organizations, creating a massive department that currently has nearly a quarter of a million employees. Agencies that are now part of the DHS include the Coast Guard, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Secret Service, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, and the Office of Intelligence and Analysis.

While some of the DHS's activities -- such as airport security and defense against the smuggling of a nuclear weapon or dirty bomb into our midst -- have a clear security rationale, many others do not. ICE -- America's deportation force -- has done far more to cause suffering among innocent people than to thwart criminals or terrorists. Other questionable DHS activities include grants to local law enforcement agencies to help them buy military-grade equipment.

HOMELAND SECURITY TOTAL: $69.2 BILLION

Running tally: $1.0469 trillion

The international-affairs budget: This includes the budgets of the State Department and the US Agency for International Development. Diplomacy is one of the most effective ways to make the United States and the world more secure, but it has been under assault in the Trump years. The Fiscal Year 2020 budget calls for a one-third cut in international affairs spending, leaving it at about one-fifteenth of the amount allocated for the Pentagon and related agencies grouped under the category of national defense. And that doesn't even account for the fact that more than 10 percent of the international affairs budget supports military aid efforts, most notably the $5.4 billion Foreign Military Financing program. The bulk of FMF goes to Israel and Egypt, but in all over a dozen countries receive funding under it, including Jordan, Lebanon, Djibouti, Tunisia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Georgia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS TOTAL: $51 BILLION

Running tally: $1.0979 trillion

The intelligence budget: The United States has 17 intelligence agencies. In addition to the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis and the FBI, mentioned above, they are the CIA, the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, the Drug Enforcement Agency's Office of National Security Intelligence, the Treasury Department's Office of Intelligence and Analysis, the Department of Energy's Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, the National Reconnaissance Office, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the Army's Intelligence and Security Command, the Office of Naval Intelligence, Marine Corps Intelligence, Coast Guard Intelligence, and Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance. And then there's that 17th one, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, set up to coordinate the activities of the other 16.

We know remarkably little about the nature of the nation's intelligence spending, other than its supposed total, released in a report every year. By now, it's more than $80 billion . The bulk of this funding, including for the CIA and NSA, is believed to be hidden under obscure line items in the Pentagon budget. Since intelligence spending is not a separate funding stream, it's not counted in our tally below (though, for all we know, some of it should be).

INTELLIGENCE BUDGET TOTAL: $80 BILLION

Running tally: $1.0979 trillion

Defense share of interest on the national debt: The interest on the national debt is well on its way to becoming one of the most expensive items in the federal budget. Within a decade, it is projected to exceed the Pentagon's regular budget in size. For now, of the more than $500 billion in interest taxpayers fork over to service the government's debt each year, about $156 billion can be attributed to Pentagon spending.

DEFENSE SHARE OF NATIONAL DEBT TOTAL: $156.3 BILLION

Final tally: $1.2542 trillion

So our final annual tally for war, preparations for war, and the impact of war comes to more than $1.25 trillion, more than double the Pentagon's base budget. If the average taxpayer were aware that this amount was being spent in the name of national defense -- with much of it wasted, misguided, or simply counterproductive -- it might be far harder for the national security state to consume ever-growing sums with minimal public pushback. For now, however, the gravy train is running full speed ahead, and its main beneficiaries -- Lockheed Martin, Boeing , Northrop Grumman, and their cohort -- are laughing all the way to the bank.

[May 07, 2019] The anger towards Silicon Valley is growing on the left and right simultaneously

They now call it Spy Valley
May 07, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

...The American wing of the movement sees big tech as an attractive target of attack; for them, Silicon Valley is a bizarre mix of greedy capitalists and "cultural Marxists", keen on indoctrinating their users into leftwing ideas while getting filthy rich off everyone's data.

Populists in the rest of the world, in contrast, see Silicon Valley's platforms as their best chance of escaping the intellectual hegemony of their own domestic "cultural Marxists", firmly ensconced in elite institutions, such as the media, the academia, and the Deep State.

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In an August 2018 interview with CNN, Steve Bannon called people leading "evil" Silicon Valley "complete narcissists" and "sociopaths"; the data grabbed by their companies, he insisted, should be "put in a public trust". He also predicted that big tech would be one of the main themes of the 2020 presidential election.

Given that the anger towards Silicon Valley is also growing on the left – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the latest sensation of American leftist politics, memorably attacked New York City's $3bn welcome package to Amazon – it seems like a reasonable prediction. Silicon Valley appears to be a perfect enemy for non-centrist forces in America, as bashing it helps to delegitimize the legacy of Obama and Clinton, seen as its primary enablers.

Others on the right endorse Bannon's opinions. Brad Parscale, the digital media director of Trump's 2016 campaign, has complained that "Big tech monsters like Google and Facebook have become nothing less than incubators for far-left [neo]liberal ideologies and are doing everything they can to eradicate conservative ideas and their proponents from the internet."

Recent bans on far-right and conservative personalities by social media and online fundraising platforms have only amplified such perceptions of Silicon Valley.

Even Donald Trump complained that Google was "suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good" – a "very serious situation" that, he promised, "will be addressed".