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|"Fascism: Any program for setting up a centralized autocratic national regime with severely nationalistic
policies, exercising regimentation of industry, commerce, and finance, rigid censorship, and forcible suppression of opposition."
"Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victim-hood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites , abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion."
- Robert Paxton
That, in its essence, is fascism -- ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.
-- Franklin D. Roosevelt -
“National Socialism was a revulsion by my friends against parliamentary politics, parliamentary debate, parliamentary government—against all the higgling and the haggling of the parties and the splinter parties, their coalitions, their confusions, and their conniving. It was the final fruit of the common man's repudiation of 'the rascals'. Its motif was, 'Throw them all out.'
I fooled myself. I had to. Everybody has to. If the good had been twice as good and the bad only half as bad, I still ought to have seen it. But I didn't want to see it, because I would have then had to think about the consequences of seeing it, what followed from seeing it, what I must do to be decent. I wanted my home and family, my job, my career, a place in the community.”
Milton Mayer, They Thought They Were Free-
You can view neofascism as fixed state ( fixed social system), or as a trend to more extreme forms of nationalism under neoliberalism. I view it more like a trend, with the revival of far right nationalism as a reaction on excesses of neoliberalization and destruction of the civil society under neoliberalism with its cult of globalization. Kind of neoliberal globalization blowback. The key feature of neofacism is a more flexible and more sophisticated mechanism of suppression of opposition, which no longer rely solely on brute force like in classical fascism.
The root of the rise of neofascism (and far right nationalism, which is close but differs in in the social program part, see below) is the impoverishment of working (both blue and lower strata of white collar) and lower middle class under neoliberalism. So neofascism is a reaction on crisis of neoliberalism (which started in 2008 and so far did not end producing "permanent stagnation") , extreme inequality, and the threat from neoliberal globalization to the existence of nation-states. In other words, neoliberalism is a powerful enabler of both neofascism and far right nationalism.
Simplifying neofascism means classic fascism with the following major features removed/modified:
Neofascism rejects or revise several postulates of fascism:
Neofascism like classic fascism is a derivative of corporatism (control of the state by financial oligarchy and large industrialists) and political power still belongs to the capitalists, but the preference is given to "national" monopolies and large banks instead of transnational. In the USA the main part of the neoliberal elite (or more correctly several different parts of the neoliberal elite) support the current shift to neofascism and far right nationalism. Among them are are "imperial servants" and what Eisenhower defined as "military-industrial complex." The latter includes politicized intelligences agencies (the "Deep state" in a narrow sense of this word). In this sense Russiagate is a the second stage of the shift to neofascism in the USA after Bush II regime unleashed series of neocolonial wars after 9/11 (which in this sense is equivalent to Reichstag fire)
At the same time neofascism has large number of common elements with fascism. Among them:
It is important to understand that neofascism inherits all major elements of fascism foreign policy. It is interesting to compare definition of neofascism with the definition of Neoconservatism. The latter, according to Wikipedia was defined by prominent neocons Robert Kagan as:
In 2008, Kagan wrote an article titled "Neocon Nation: Neoconservatism, c. 1776" for World Affairs, describing the main components of American Neoconservatism as a belief in the rectitude of applying US moralism to the world stage, support for the US to act alone, the promotion of American-style liberty and democracy in other countries, the belief in American hegemony, the confidence in US military power, and a distrust of international institutions. According to Kagan, his foreign-policy views are "deeply rooted in American history and widely shared by Americans".
As we can see. in foreign policy Neoconservatism and neofascism are almost identical. I would say that the idea of Neoconservatism was to take fascist foreign policy and recreate it as a separate political supremacist movement using Trotskyism with its idea of "World revolution" as the common glue.
In this sense the victory of the USA after WWII quickly backfired as with the creation of Truman powerful and uncontrollable intelligence agencies and McCarthyism campaign the key elements of neofascism quickly emerged within the country. Especially important in this sense was the creation by Truman powerful intelligence agencies (CIA and FBI) and JFK assassination in 1963. It is also important to remember that McCarthyism hysteria lasted for over decade.
This two developments created preconditions for the slite toward the flavor of neofascism which prominent political scientist Sheldon Wolin called "inverted totalitarism". The existence of a powerful intelligence agencies (or network of such agencies -- the Deep state in a narrow sense) is a litmus test for "inverted totalitarism". As soon a Truman created CIA such the slide became inevitable and 1963 was in this sense the dfining year after which we can consider the the USA has have "inverted totalitarism" regime established. The dominance of intelligence agencies and assumuption by them of political functions is a very important indication of the slide toward neofascism, as it the size of the military budget in general. In a way the role of military establishment in general and intelligence agencies in particular deserve more thorous study. The natural logic of evolution of powerful intelligence agencies presuppose acquiring by them political function (JFK assassination happened just after 15 years of existence of CIA) as well as assuming of FBI the critical role in crushing the political dissent (FBI under Edgar Hoover). If we view intelligence agencies as as special, semi-controlled by the state type of organized crime (and sometimes they have ties with organized crime and are involved in narcotrade and arms trade) there are some similarities with the term "mafia state":
The term mafia state is a political buzzword to describe a state system where the government is tied with organized crime, including when government officials, police, and/or military take part in illicit enterprises. The term mafia is a reference to any organized crime groups strongly connected with the authorities.
According to the critics of the mafia state concept, the term "has now been so used and abused in popularized descriptions of organized criminal activity that it has lost much of its analytic value".
The term may also be used in a positive sense, and be used to describe a political system in which the government has been replaced by organized crime.
As for political role of intelligence agencies, in 2016 the US intelligence agencies (mainly CIA and FBI) definitely attempted to become "kingmakers" in the national election (although previously CIA also played crucial role in Carter defeat, as well as Nixon impeachment; not this not the first case). After they failed to prevent Trump from being elected they launched a color revolution against him (known mostly under the term of Russiagate). Other measures are taken against politicians who deviate too much from the accepted "Party line" in best traditions of blackmail by Gestapo, STASI and NKVD. Assassinations in case the politician who is classified as "hopeless" or "dangerous" is another. Robert Kennedy assassination probably belongs to this case.
In this sense no society with powerful intelligence agencies (be it CIA, MI6, FSB, Mossad, etc) can not be properly called democracy as it has one of the most important elements of neofascism imbedded in the particular society. From the moment of their creation the process of politization and the loss of civil control over intelligence services is an inevitable process, which is difficult to control, although some countries fared better in this respect then the other. As soon as politization reach critical state and "the tail starts waging the dog": such agencies very quickly assume purely political function (such as "kingmakers") and start behaving like the Praetorian Guard in Rome.
Intelligences agencies also play prominent role in brainwashing the population, as they often covertly control substantial part of the national press and the major part of foreign correspondents corps. Former CIA Director William Casey quote "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false" (I think the quote has two levels: level one is about foreign events coverage in the USA; the level two is about CIA attempt to deceive Soviet intelligence which like the US intelligence relied for 80% of their data on public sources ). in proper historical context this can be viewed as a refined statement about importance of creation of national myth under neofascism and the level of distortion of foreign events coverage which is the hallmark of any fascist or neofascist regime. It can be attributed to any the major fascist propagandas machine official, such as Goebbels.
Elimination of political figures using trump up changes of foreign conspiracy is the most obvious sign of politicized intelligence agencies. This essentially makes political dissent a dangerous activity because they are framed as stooges (or worse agents ) of the foreign state. This is the key feature of all fascists and neofascist states (as well as Bolsheviks regime -- look at Stalin "Show Trials") . While McCarthyism period was a specific for the US decade, similar periods can be observed in other nations too.
And now McCarthyism was re-ignited on new level with the framework of Russiagate. In this sense the current color revolution against Trump (aka Russiagate) can be interpreted as a sign of a new stage of sliding of the USA toward neofascism. Please note the that in this case intelligence agencies clearly assumed important political role. As Patrick Martin noted (Inside The FBI's 'Police State' Operation Against Trump, Jan 23, 2019, Off-guardian.org)
The Times article goes on to describe how FBI officials monitored the platform adopted at the Republican National Convention, reporting that the spy agency "watched with alarm as the Republican Party softened its convention platform on the Ukraine crisis in a way that seemed to benefit Russia." That is, the nation's top police agency was concerned that the positions adopted contravened certain basic tenets of dominant sections of the foreign policy establishment.
By what constitutional authority can the FBI, based on political positions adopted by one or the other of the two main capitalist parties, open up a secret investigation into treason and conspiracy? Such an operation bespeaks a police state and recalls the methods of the Stalinist NKVD.
The agency also investigated four of Trump's campaign aides over possible ties to Russia, and even made use of the notorious Steele dossier, consisting of anti-Trump gossip collated from Russian sources by a former British intelligence agent on the payroll of the Democratic Party.
After Trump fired Comey, according to the Times , "law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president's behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests. Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president's own actions constituted a possible threat to national security. Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow's influence."
The operations of the FBI, encouraged, aided and abetted by the Times , recall the paranoid rantings of the John Birch Society, the ultra-right group formed in the 1950s, whose founder, Robert Welch, notoriously claimed that President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the former World War II commander of Allied forces in Europe, was a "a dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy."
Claims that once were the province of an extremist group, on the fringes of American politics, are now embraced by the military-intelligence apparatus, appear on the front page of the most influential American daily newspaper, and dominate the network and cable television news.
But these allegations have no credibility. Why should anyone believe claims that Trump, at age 70, after decades as a real estate mogul, con man and media celebrity, with a billion-dollar fortune, suddenly decided to throw in his lot with Vladimir Putin? Even the Times report itself concedes, in a single sentence buried in the 2,000-word text, "No evidence has emerged publicly that Mr. Trump was secretly in contact with or took direction from Russian government officials."
The third defining feature is rampant militarism and open disregard of all international norms ("might makes right" mentality). That include the pipe dream of "full spectrum dominance" which is the USA neoliberal elite goal since 1991 -- the year of the collapse of the USSR. The USA under Trump administration actually pursued openly disregard international law. Please note that all Presidents since Clinton pursued this policy. Only the degree of violation of international norms varied between those presidencies. all four "post-Soviet" (Clinton, Bush, and Obama and Trump) launched aggressive wars under false pretences (with Bush and Obama -- multiple wars; Trump so far only color revolution in Venezuela with Iran as a possible next step)
One interesting nuance that distinguishes the recent mutation of neofascism in the USA from all previous versions is that political mobilization of masses are discouraged under neoliberalism. "Go shopping" was famous Bush II recommendation to US citizens after the 9/11, while he pushed Patriot act which essentially make intelligence agencies key political actors in the USA, the role which they played both in Third Reich and Stalin regime. In this sense it is important to understand that the use of the term "fascism" by neoliberal propaganda more often then not constitute projection and neoliberalism always carry within itself strong elements of neofascism, and they became even stronger when neoliberalism entered an ideological crisis in 2008.
In a sense the notorious female warmonger and former Secretary of State under Bill Clinton Madeleine Albright (of Yugoslav bombing face and her remark about Iraq children) with her book Fascism A Warning screaming the certain Central European states are sliding toward neofascism is a classic example The pot calling the kettle black. The same is true about primitive (and corrupt) neocon warmonger like Max Boot (chickenhawk who cheerleadered Iraq invasion; see The Iraq War cheerleaders who are still around 15 years later) who claim that Putin is a fascist dictator. Putin probably can be called authoritarian ruler, but he is a neoliberal. If he can be called "fascist dictator" then both Nobel price winner Barack Obama (with his past connections to CIA via his mother family and wars of aggression in Libya and Syria) and Trump with his "humanitarian bombings" of Syria, clear authoritarian tendencies, nepotism and pandering to the oligarchy (Trump tax cuts) are fascist dictators two. In this sense it is important to abstract from neoliberal/neocon propaganda of the USA MSM in order better understand this complex and interesting issue. Aggressive militaristic posture, cult of militarism in the society, are classic features of fascism and neofascism.
And only very naive person can deny the fact that cult of militarism in the USA is an official state policy. Whether of not neocons can be called neofascists is an interesting and so far unresolved question. But the fact that their foreign policy is identical to neofascist policies is undisputable.
By Nuremberg principles all US officials who participated in unleashing Iraq war are war criminals
The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:
- (a) Crimes against peace:
- (i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
- (ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).
- (b) War crimes:
- Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory; murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the Seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.
- (c) Crimes against humanity:
- Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhumane acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.
Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principle VI is a crime under international law.
Still the rise of far right nationalism movement in Europe is an important political factor of modern times. And many ask question: Is this the neofascism or not? I view it more like the reaction to neoliberalism that neofascism some elements of neofascism: both are variations of corporatism. But at the same time fascism in many of its elements is identical to the reaction of any society on grave threat. And neoliberal globalization represents such a threat. Which makes reaction of some Eastern European states look similar to neofascism, but each incarnation of neofascism has important differences and neofascism movements that emerged after 2008 differ from classic fascism movements of 1930th in many key elements.
Again, as used in the USA neoliberal MSM the terms "fascism" or "neofascism" more often then not constitutes projection. Despicable warmongers, especially female neocon Madeleine Albright exploits those terms as a powerful propaganda cliché ( Everything Madeleine Albright Doesn’t Like is Fascism ). In the review of her book Guillaume Durocher noted:
Opponents of American imperialism will observe that Albright's list of quasi-Fascist states corresponds quite closely with those who have opposed U.S. foreign policies in recent decades. There is barely a word about America's authoritarian allies Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States.
... ... ...
Strikingly, the word "Netanyahu" does not appear in the book's Index at all. The existence of a democratic ethno-nationalist state goes against her whole narrative. For what it's worth, I suspect most people in European nationalist parties and in the Alt-Right would be happy to preserve democracy if they could have their own Netanyahus, with the establishment of Western ethnostates dedicated to their own people, with the explicit goal of preserving or restoring ethnic European demographic supermajorities.
This selectivity will encourage the impression that the State Department's talk of "human rights" has less to do with upholding universal moral principles than with demonizing the United States' geopolitical opponents du jour . The American Establishment does not bully China as much as Russia, despite being obviously more authoritarian. I suspect this is because China is already too big to bully, while Russia can still be pushed around and serve as a useful bogeyman (always useful to the Military-Industrial Complex, the National Security State, and for all the Establishmentarians who need a scapegoat for the rise of populism). On that note, I suspect most diplomatic conflicts today have less to do with "realist" international power dynamics than with the utility of foreign enemies for governments domestically.
... ... ...
In a dictatorship, the elimination of political and ideological pluralism means that the country can enjoy political stability. This, by the way, is crucial in multiethnic countries such as Yugoslavia or Iraq, for which the fall of the dictatorship and democratization led to atrocious ethno-religious civil war. As Lee Kuan Yew , my favorite antidote to the political childishness that prevails in the West today, said concerning his multiracial state of Singapore: "We had to lock up people, without trial, whether they are communists, whether they are language chauvinists, or religious extremists. If you don't do that the country would be in ruins today!" Few things have been as murderous as the promotion of "democracy" in Iraq, Libya, and Syria, a policy which, not coincidentally, has destroyed several geopolitical opponents of Israel.
In any case it is important to understand that corporatism is a very resilient political system, which can take many forms. With some being if fierce conflict with each other. Both "classic neoliberalism" and "national neoliberalism" are flavors of the same political system -- corporatism. One promotes globalism including using the force of arms for opening countries to transnational corporations and financial institutions, the other rejects it and promote strengthening of national borders and wars on weaker nations as the way of solving internal problems.
The USA is the example of the country which set a precedent for Deep State type of corporatism structure: Tweed's system was the corrupt mafia-style organization with the level of cohesion so strong that it lasted for decades (Tammny Hall's political patronage "machine" thrived from 1850's to the 1930's.) It was described as:
It's hard not to admire the skill behind Tweed's system ... The Tweed ring at its height was an engineering marvel, strong and solid, strategically deployed to control key power points: the courts, the legislature, the treasury and the ballot box. Its frauds had a grandeur of scale and an elegance of structure: money-laundering, profit sharing and organization [organized crime].
All forms of fascism (aka "national socialism") are forms of corporatism and as such are based on the merger of government and corporations. From classic fascism modern form borrowed the role of intelligence agencies. But, in a sense we can view intelligence agencies as powerful corporations with the majority stakes on government and minor stake of Wall-Street (especially, in case of CIA) and add them to the list of corporations, as they operate semi-independently from the government and often have goals which does not correlate (and sometimes are opposite) with the goals of executive branch especially in foreign policy.
They form the core of so called Deep State and position themselves of a new praetorian guard that makes of breaks presidential candidates at will. The suppression of Hillary Clinton "emailgate" investigation, surveillance over Trump campaign and launching by intelligence services color revolution against Trump (aka Russiagate) after Presidential election of 2016 in the USA are just most prominent illustration of this trend. Derailing Sanders by suppressing emailgate definitely position them as kingmakers Here we are talking about CIA, FBI and the State Department. The role of NSA is not that clear and is somewhat controversial, due to Admiral Mike Rogers warning to Trump (The Last Refuge, Mar 3, 2017).
Fascism combines nationalism, militarism and revival/rebirth of nation fantasies in a unique but very eclectic and self-contradicting framework. It simply lacks a coherent theoretical/ideological core: oscillating between elitism and populism, between anti-capitalist and anti-socialist themes, and between ethnic and cultural nationalism. In all cases fascist movements (and often modern neofascist movements) offers an alternative to liberal and neoliberal ideology and social practice, making the nationalism as the core of the resistance to neoliberal globalization.
The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence is a 1974 controversial non-fiction political book written by Victor Marchetti, a former special assistant to the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and John D. Marks, a former officer of the United States Department of State. The book discusses how the CIA works and how its original purpose (i.e. collecting and analyzing information about foreign governments, corporations, and persons in order to advise public policymakers) has, according to the author, been subverted by its obsession with clandestine operations.
The book was a critically acclaimed bestseller whose publication contributed to the establishment of the Church Committee, a United States Senate select committee to study governmental operations with respect to intelligence activities, in 1975. The book was published in paperback by Dell Publishing in 1975.
Victor Marchetti used the expression "cult of intelligence" to denounce what he viewed as a counterproductive mindset and culture of secrecy, elitism, amorality and lawlessness within and surrounding the Central Intelligence Agency in the service of American imperialism:
There exists in our nation today a powerful and dangerous secret cult -- the cult of intelligence. Its holy men are the clandestine professionals of the Central Intelligence Agency. Its patrons and protectors are the highest officials of the federal government. Its membership, extending far beyond governmental circles, reaches into the power centers of industry, commerce, finance, and labor. Its friends are many in the areas of important public influence -- the academic world and the communications media.
The cult of intelligence is a secret fraternity of the American political aristocracy. The purpose of the cult is to further the foreign policies of the U.S. government by covert and usually illegal means, while at the same time containing the spread of its avowed enemy, communism. Traditionally, the cult's hope has been to foster a world order in which America would reign supreme, the unchallenged international leader.
Today, however, that dream stands tarnished by time and frequent failures. Thus, the cult's objectives are now less grandiose, but no less disturbing. It seeks largely to advance America's self-appointed role as the dominant arbiter of social, economic, and political change in the awakening regions of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. And its worldwide war against communism has to some extent been reduced to a covert struggle to maintain a self-serving stability in the Third World, using whatever clandestine methods are available.
In his 1978 memoir, Honorable Men: My Life in the CIA, William Colby, a former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, endorsed Marchetti's critique and adopted the use of the expression "cult of intelligence":
Socially as well as professionally they cliqued together, forming a sealed fraternity. They ate together at their own special favorite restaurants; they partied almost only among themselves; their families drifted to each other, so their defenses did not always have to be up. In this way they increasingly separated themselves from the ordinary world and developed a rather skewed view of that world.
Their own dedicated double life became the proper norm, and they looked down on the life of the rest of the citizenry.
And out of this grew what was later named -- and condemned -- as the "cult" of intelligence, an inbred, distorted, elitist view of intelligence that held it to be above the normal processes of society, with its own rationale and justification, beyond the restraints of the Constitution, which applied to everything and everyone else.
Control of MSM by intelligence agencies is another important feature of neofqascism ( The CIA and the MSM 50 Facts the World Needs to Know Humans Are Free):
This is exactly the reason why news organizations and individual journalists are tapped as assets by intelligence agencies and, as the experiences of German journalist Udo Ulfkotte (entry 47 below) suggest, this practice is at least as widespread today as it was at the height of the Cold War.
Consider the coverups of election fraud in 2000 and 2004, the events of September 11, 2001, the invasions Afghanistan and Iraq, the destabilization of Syria, and the creation of “ISIS.”
These are among the most significant events in recent world history, and yet they are also those much of the American public is wholly ignorant of. In an era where information and communication technologies are ubiquitous, prompting many to harbor the illusion of being well-informed, one must ask why this condition persists.
Further, why do prominent US journalists routinely fail to question other deep events that shape America’s tragic history over the past half century, such as the political assassinations of the 1960s, or the central role played by the CIA major role in international drug trafficking?
Popular and academic commentators have suggested various reasons for the almost universal failure of mainstream journalism in these areas, including newsroom sociology, advertising pressure, monopoly ownership, news organizations’ heavy reliance on “official” sources, and journalists’ simple quest for career advancement.
There is also, no doubt, the influence of professional public relations maneuvers. Yet such a broad conspiracy of silence suggests another province of deception examined far too infrequently — specifically the CIA and similar intelligence agencies’ continued involvement in the news media to mold thought and opinion in ways scarcely imagined by the lay public.
The following historical and contemporary facts–by no means exhaustive–provides a glimpse of how the power such entities possess to influence if not determine popular memory and what respectable institutions deem to be the historical record.
- The CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD is a long-recognised keystone among researchers pointing to the Agency’s clear interest in and relationship to major US news media. MOCKINGBIRD grew out of the CIA’s forerunner, the Office for Strategic Services (OSS, 1942-47), which during World War Two had established a network of journalists and psychological warfare experts operating primarily in the European theatre.
- Many of the relationships forged under OSS auspices were carried over into the postwar era through a State Department-run organization called the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) overseen by OSS staffer Frank Wisner.
- The OPC “became the fastest-growing unit within the nascent CIA,” historian Lisa Pease observes, “rising in personnel from 302 in 1949 to 2,812 in 1952, along with 3,142 overseas contract personnel. In the same period, the budget rose from $4.7 million to $82 million.” Lisa Pease, “The Media and the Assassination,” in James DiEugenio and Lisa Pease, The Assassinations: Probe Magazine on JFK, MLK, RFK and Malcolm X, Port Townsend, WA, 2003, 300.
- Like many career CIA officers, eventual CIA Director/Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) Richard Helms was recruited out of the press corps by his own supervisor at the United Press International’s Berlin Bureau to join in the OSS’s fledgling “black propaganda” program. “‘[Y]ou’re a natural,” Helms’ boss remarked. Richard Helms, A Look Over My Shoulder: A Life in the Central Intelligence Agency, New York: Random House, 2003, 30-31.
- Wisner tapped Marshall Plan funds to pay for his division’s early exploits, money his branch referred to as “candy.” “We couldn’t spend it all,” CIA agent Gilbert Greenway recalls. “I remember once meeting with Wisner and the comptroller. My God, I said, how can we spend that? There were no limits, and nobody had to account for it. It was amazing.” Frances Stonor Saunders, The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters, New York: The New Press, 2000, 105.
- When the OPC was merged with the Office of Special Operations in 1948 to create the CIA, OPC’s media assets were likewise absorbed.
- Wisner maintained the top secret “Propaganda Assets Inventory,” better known as “Wisner’s Wurlitzer”—a virtual rolodex of over 800 news and information entities prepared to play whatever tune Wisner chose. “The network included journalists, columnists, book publishers, editors, entire organizations such as Radio Free Europe, and stringers across multiple news organizations.” Pease, “The Media and the Assassination,” 300.
- A few years after Wisner’s operation was up-and-running he “’owned’ respected members of the New York Times, Newsweek, CBS, and other communication vehicles, plus stringers, four to six hundred in all, according to a CIA analyst. Each one was a separate ‘operation,’” investigative journalist Deborah Davis notes, “requiring a code name, a field supervisor, and a field office, at an annual cost of tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars—there has never been an accurate accounting.” Deborah Davis, Katharine the Great: Katharine Graham and the Washington Post Empire, Second Edition, Bethesda MD: National Press Inc, 1987, 139.
- Psychological operations in the form of journalism were perceived as necessary to influence and direct mass opinion, as well as elite perspectives. “[T]he President of the United States, the Secretary of State, Congressmen and even the Director of the CIA himself will read, believe, and be impressed by a report from Cy Sulzberger, Arnaud de Borchgrave, or Stewart Alsop when they don’t even bother to read a CIA report on the same subject,” noted CIA agent Miles Copeland. Cited in Pease, “The Media and the Assassination,” 301.
- By the mid-to-late 1950s, Darrell Garwood points out, the Agency sought to limit criticism directed against covert activity and bypass congressional oversight or potential judicial interference by “infiltrat[ing] the groves of academia, the missionary corps, the editorial boards of influential journal and book publishers, and any other quarters where public attitudes could be effectively influenced.” Darrell Garwood, Under Cover: Thirty-Five Years of CIA Deception, New York: Grove Press, 1985, 250.
- The CIA frequently intercedes in editorial decision-making. For example, when the Agency proceeded to wage an overthrow of the Arbenz regime in Guatemala in 1954, Allen and John Foster Dulles, President Eisenhower’s Secretary of State and CIA Director respectively, called upon New York Times publisher Arthur Hays Sulzberger to reassign reporter Sydney Gruson from Guatemala to Mexico City. Sulzberger thus placed Gruson in Mexico City with the rationale that some repercussions from the revolution might be felt in Mexico. Pease, “The Media and the Assassination,” 302.
- Since the early 1950s the CIA “has secretly bankrolled numerous foreign press services, periodicals and newspapers—both English and foreign language—which provided excellent cover for CIA operatives,” Carl Bernstein reported in 1977. “One such publication was the Rome Daily American, forty percent of which was owned by the CIA until the 1970s.” Carl Bernstein, “The CIA and the Media,” Rolling Stone, October 20, 1977.
- The CIA exercised informal liaisons with news media executives, in contrast to its relationships with salaried reporters and stringers, “who were much more subject to direction from the Agency” according to Bernstein. “A few executives—Arthur Hays Sulzberger of the New York Times among them—signed secrecy agreements. But such formal understandings were rare: relationships between Agency officials and media executives were usually social—’The P and Q Street axis in Georgetown,’ said one source. ‘You don’t tell William Paley to sign a piece of paper saying he won’t fink.’” Director of CBS William Paley’s personal “friendship with CIA Director Dulles is now known to have been one of the most influential and significant in the communications industry,” author Debora Davis explains. “He provided cover for CIA agents, supplied out-takes of news film, permitted the debriefing of reporters, and in many ways set the standard for the cooperation between the CIA and major broadcast companies which lasted until the mid-1970s.” Deborah Davis, Katharine the Great: Katharine Graham and the Washington Post, Second Edition, Bethesda MD: National Press Inc, 1987, 175.
- “The Agency’s relationship with the Times was by far its most valuable among newspapers, according to CIA officials,” Bernstein points out in his key 1977 article. “From 1950 to 1966, about ten CIA employees were provided Times cover under arrangements approved by the newspaper’s late publisher, Arthur Hays Sulzberger. The cover arrangements were part of a general Times policy—set by Sulzberger—to provide assistance to the CIA whenever possible.” In addition, Sulzberger was a close friend of CIA Director Allen Dulles. “’At that level of contact it was the mighty talking to the mighty,’ said a high‑level CIA official who was present at some of the discussions. ‘There was an agreement in principle that, yes indeed, we would help each other. The question of cover came up on several occasions. It was agreed that the actual arrangements would be handled by subordinates…. The mighty didn’t want to know the specifics; they wanted plausible deniability.’” Bernstein, “The CIA and the Media.”
- CBS’s Paley worked reciprocally with the CIA, allowing the Agency to utilize network resources and personnel. “It was a form of assistance that a number of wealthy persons are now generally known to have rendered the CIA through their private interests,” veteran broadcast journalist Daniel Schorr wrote in 1977. “It suggested to me, however, that a relationship of confidence and trust had existed between him and the agency.” Schorr points to “clues indicating that CBS had been infiltrated.” For example, “A news editor remembered the CIA officer who used to come to the radio control room in New York in the early morning, and, with the permission of persons unknown, listened to CBS correspondents around the world recording their ‘spots’ for the ‘World News Roundup’ and discussing events with the editor on duty. Sam Jaffe claimed that when he applied in 1955 for a job with CBS, a CIA officer told him that he would be hired–which he subsequently was. He was told that he would be sent to Moscow–which he subsequently was; he was assigned in 1960 to cover the trial of U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers. [Richard] Salant told me,” Schorr continues, “that when he first became president of CBS News in 1961, a CIA case officer called saying he wanted to continue the ‘long standing relationship known to Paley and [CBS president Frank] Stanton, but Salant was told by Stanton there was no obligation that he knew of” (276). Schorr, Daniel. Clearing the Air, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1977, 277, 276.
- National Enquirer publisher Gene Pope Jr. worked briefly on the CIA’s Italy desk in the early 1950s and maintained close ties with the Agency thereafter. Pope refrained from publishing dozens of stories with “details of CIA kidnappings and murders, enough stuff for a year’s worth of headlines” in order to “collect chits, IOUs,” Pope’s son writes. “He figured he’d never know when he might need them, and those IOUs would come in handy when he got to 20 million circulation. When that happened, he’d have the voice to be almost his own branch of government and would need the cover.” Paul David Pope, The Deeds of My Fathers: How My Grandfather and Father Built New York and Created the Tabloid World of Today, New York: Phillip Turner/Rowman & Littlefield, 2010, 309, 310.
- One explosive story Pope’s National Enquirer‘s refrained from publishing in the late 1970s centered on excerpts from a long-sought after diary of President Kennedy’s lover, Mary Pinchot Meyer, who was murdered on October 12, 1964. “The reporters who wrote the story were even able to place James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s head of counterintelligence operations, at the scene.” Another potential story drew on “documents proving that [Howard] Hughes and the CIA had been connected for years and that the CIA was giving Hughes money to secretly fund, with campaign donations, twenty-seven congressmen and senators who sat on sub-committees critical to the agency. There are also fifty-three international companies named and sourced as CIA fronts .. and even a list of reporters for mainstream media organizations who were playing ball with the agency.” Pope, The Deeds of My Fathers, 309.
- Angleton, who oversaw the Agency counterintelligence branch for 25 years, “ran a completely independent group entirely separate cadre of journalist‑operatives who performed sensitive and frequently dangerous assignments; little is known about this group for the simple reason that Angleton deliberately kept only the vaguest of files.” Bernstein, “The CIA and the Media.”
- The CIA conducted a “formal training program” during the 1950s for the sole purpose of instructing its agents to function as newsmen. “Intelligence officers were ‘taught to make noises like reporters,’ explained a high CIA official, and were then placed in major news organizations with help from management. These were the guys who went through the ranks and were told ‘You’re going to he a journalist,’” the CIA official said.” The Agency’s preference, however, was to engage journalists who were already established in the industry. Bernstein, “The CIA and the Media.”
- Newspaper columnists and broadcast journalists with household names have been known to maintain close ties with the Agency. “There are perhaps a dozen well known columnists and broadcast commentators whose relationships with the CIA go far beyond those normally maintained between reporters and their sources,” Bernstein maintains. “They are referred to at the Agency as ‘known assets’ and can be counted on to perform a variety of undercover tasks; they are considered receptive to the Agency’s point of view on various subjects.” Bernstein, “The CIA and the Media.”
- Frank Wisner, Allen Dulles, and Washington Post publisher Phillip Graham were close associates, and the Post developed into one of the most influential news organs in the United States due to its ties with the CIA. The Post managers’ “individual relations with intelligence had in fact been the reason the Post Company had grown as fast as it did after the war,” Davis (172) observes. “[T]heir secrets were its corporate secrets, beginning with MOCKINGBIRD. Phillip Graham’s commitment to intelligence had given his friends Frank Wisner an interest in helping to make the Washington Post the dominant news vehicle in Washington, which they had done by assisting with its two most crucial acquisitions, the Times-Herald and WTOP radio and television stations.” Davis, Katharine the Great: Katharine Graham and the Washington Post, 172.
- In the wake of World War One the Woodrow Wilson administration placed journalist and author Walter Lippmann in charge of recruiting agents for the Inquiry, a first-of-its-kind ultra-secret civilian intelligence organization whose role involved ascertaining information to prepare Wilson for the peace negotiations, as well as identify foreign natural resources for Wall Street speculators and oil companies. The activities of this organization served as a prototype for the function eventually performed by the CIA, namely “planning, collecting, digesting, and editing the raw data,” notes historian Servando Gonzalez. “This roughly corresponds to the CIA’s intelligence cycle: planning and direction, collection, processing, production and analysis, and dissemination.” Most Inquiry members would later become members of the Council on Foreign Relations. Lippmann would go on to become the Washington Post’s best known columnists. Servando Gonzalez, Psychological Warfare and the New World Order: The Secret War Against the American People, Oakland, CA: Spooks Books, 2010, 50.
- The two most prominent US newsweeklies, Time and Newsweek, kept close ties with the CIA. “Agency files contain written agreements with former foreign correspondents and stringers for both the weekly newsmagazines,” according to Carl Bernstein. “Allen Dulles often interceded with his good friend, the late Henry Luce, founder of Time and Life magazines, who readily allowed certain members of his staff to work for the Agency and agreed to provide jobs and credentials for other CIA operatives who lacked journalistic experience.” Bernstein, “The CIA and the Media.”
- In his autobiography former CIA officer E. Howard Hunt quotes Bernstein’s “The CIA and the Media” article at length. “I know nothing to contradict this report,” Hunt declares, suggesting the investigative journalist of Watergate fame didn’t go far enough. “Bernstein further identified some of the country’s top media executives as being valuable assets to the agency … But the list of organizations that cooperated with the agency was a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of the media industry, including ABC, NBC, the Associated Press, UPI, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps-Howard, Newsweek magazine, and others.” E. Howard Hunt, American Spy: My Secret History in the CIA, Watergate, and Beyond, Hoboken NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2007, 150.
- When the first major exposé of the CIA emerged in 1964 with the publication of The Invisible Government by journalists David Wise and Thomas B. Ross, the CIA considered purchasing the entire printing to keep the book from the public, yet in the end judged against it. “To an extent that is only beginning to be perceived, this shadow government is shaping the lives of 190,000,000 Americans” authors Wise and Ross write in the book’s preamble. “Major decisions involving peace and war are taking place out of public view. An informed citizen might come to suspect that the foreign policy of the United States often works publicly in one direction and secretly through the Invisible Government in just the opposite direction.”Lisa Pease, “When the CIA’s Empire Struck Back,” Consortiumnews.com, February 6, 2014.
- Agency infiltration of the news media shaped public perception of deep events and undergirded the official explanations of such events. For example, the Warren Commission’s report on President John F. Kennedy’s assassination was met with almost unanimous approval by US media outlets. “I have never seen an official report greeted with such universal praise as that accorded the Warren Commission’s findings when they were made public on September 24, 1964,” recalls investigative reporter Fred Cook. “All the major television networks devoted special programs and analyses to the report; the next day the newspapers ran long columns detailing its findings, accompanied by special news analyses and editorials. The verdict was unanimous. The report answered all questions, left no room for doubt. Lee Harvey Oswald, alone and unaided, had assassinated the president of the United States.” Fred J. Cook, Maverick: Fifty Years of Investigative Reporting, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1984, 276.
- In late 1966 the New York Times began an inquiry on the numerous questions surrounding President Kennedy’s assassination that were not satisfactorily dealt with by the Warren Commission. “It was never completed,” author Jerry Policoff observes, “nor would the New York Times ever again question the findings of the Warren Commission.” When the story was being developed the lead reporter at the Times‘ Houston bureau “said that he and others came up with ‘a lot of unanswered questions’ that the Times didn’t bother to pursue. ‘I’d be off on a good lead and then somebody’d call me off and send me out to California on another story or something. We never really detached anyone for this. We weren’t really serious.’” Jerry Policoff, “The Media and the Murder of John Kennedy,” in Peter Dale Scott, Paul L. Hoch and Russell Stetler, eds., The Assassinations: Dallas and Beyond, New York: Vintage, 1976, 265.
- When New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison embarked on an investigation of the JFK assassination in 1966 centering on Lee Harvey Oswald’s presence in New Orleans in the months leading up to November, 22, 1963, “he was cross-whipped with two hurricane blasts, one from Washington and one from New York,” historian James DiEugenio explains. The first, of course, was from the government, specifically the Central Intelligence Agency, the FBI, and to a lesser extent, the White House. The blast from New York was from the major mainstream media e.g. Time-Life and NBC. Those two communication giants were instrumental in making Garrison into a lightening rod for ridicule and criticism. This orchestrated campaign … was successful in diverting attention from what Garrison was uncovering by creating controversy about the DA himself.” DiEugenio, Preface, in William Davy, Let Justice Be Done: New Light on the Jim Garrison Investigation, Reston VA: Jordan Publishing, 1999.
- The CIA and other US intelligence agencies used the news media to sabotage Garrison’s 1966-69 independent investigation of the Kennedy assassination. Garrison presided over the only law enforcement agency with subpoena power to seriously delve into the intricate details surrounding JFK’s murder. One of Garrison’s key witnesses, Gordon Novel, fled New Orleans to avoid testifying before the Grand Jury assembled by Garrison. According to DiEugenio, CIA Director Allen “Dulles and the Agency would begin to connect the fugitive from New Orleans with over a dozen CIA friendly journalists who—in a blatant attempt to destroy Garrison’s reputation—would proceed to write up the most outrageous stories imaginable about the DA.” James DiEugenio, Destiny Betrayed: JFK, Cuba, and The Garrison Case, Second Edition, New York: SkyHorse Publishing, 2012, 235.
- CIA officer Victor Marchetti recounted to author William Davy that in 1967 while attending staff meetings as an assistant to then-CIA Director Richard Helms, “Helms expressed great concerns over [former OSS officer, CIA operative and primary suspect in Jim Garrison's investigation Clay] Shaw’s predicament, asking his staff, ‘Are we giving them all the help we can down there?’” William Davy, Let Justice Be Done: New Light on the Jim Garrison Investigation, Reston VA: Jordan Publishing, 1999.
- The pejorative dimensions of the term “conspiracy theory” were introduced into the Western lexicon by CIA “media assets,” as evidenced in the design laid out by Document 1035-960 Concerning Criticism of the Warren Report, an Agency communiqué issued in early 1967 to Agency bureaus throughout the world at a time when attorney Mark Lane’s Rush to Judgment was atop bestseller lists and New Orleans DA Garrison’s investigation of the Kennedy assassination began to gain traction.
- Time had close relations with the CIA stemming from the friendship of the magazine’s publisher Henry Luce and Eisenhower CIA chief Allen Dulles. When former newsman Richard Helms was appointed DCI in 1966 he “began to cultivate the press,” prompting journalists toward conclusions that placed the Agency in a positive light. As Time Washington correspondent Hugh Sidney recollects, “‘[w]ith [John] McCone and [Richard] Helms, we had a set-up when the magazine was doing something on the CIA, we went to them and put it before them … We were never misled.’ Similarly, when Newsweek decided in the fall of 1971 to do a cover story on Richard Helms and ‘The New Espionage,’ the magazine, according to a Newsweek staffer, went directly to the agency for much of the information. And the article … generally reflected the line that Helms was trying so hard to sell: that since the latter 1960s … the focus of attention and prestige within CIA’ had switched from the Clandestine Services to the analysis of intelligence, and that ‘the vast majority of recruits are bound for’ the Intelligence Directorate.” Victor Marchetti and John D. Marks, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1974, 362-363.
- In 1970 Jim Garrison wrote and published the semi-autobiographical A Heritage of Stone, a work that examines how the New Orleans DA “discovered that the CIA operated within the borders of the United States, and how it took the CIA six months to reply to the Warren Commission’s question of whether Oswald and [Jack] Ruby had been with the Agency,” Garrison biographer and Temple University humanities professor Joan Mellen observes. “In response to A Heritage of Stone, the CIA rounded up its media assets” and the book was panned by reviewers writing for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Sun Times, and Life magazine. “John Leonard’s New York Times review went through a metamorphosis,” Mellen explains. “The original last paragraph challenged the Warren Report: ‘Something stinks about this whole affair,’ Leonard wrote. ‘Why were Kennedy’s neck organs not examined at Bethesda for evidence of a frontal shot? Why was his body whisked away to Washington before the legally required Texas inquest? Why?’ This paragraph evaporated in later editions of the Times. A third of a column gone, the review then ended: ‘Frankly I prefer to believe that the Warren Commission did a poor job, rather than a dishonest one. I like to think that Garrison invents monsters to explain incompetence.’” Joan Mellen, A Farewell to Justice: Jim Garrison, JFK’s Assassination, and the Case That Should Have Changed History, Washington DC: Potomac Books, 2005, 323, 324.
- CIA Deputy Director for Plans Cord Meyer Jr. appealed to Harper & Row president emeritus Cass Canfield Sr. over the book publisher’s pending release of Alfred McCoy’s The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, based on the author’s fieldwork and Yale PhD dissertation wherein he examined the CIA’s explicit role in the opium trade. “Claiming my book was a threat to national security,” McCoy recalls, “the CIA official had asked Harper & Row to suppress it. To his credit, Mr. Canfield had refused. But he had agreed to review the manuscript prior to publication.” Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, Chicago Review Press, 2003, xx.
- Publication of The Secret Team, a book by US Air Force Colonel and Pentagon-CIA liaison L. Fletcher Prouty recounting the author’s firsthand knowledge of CIA black operations and espionage, was met with a wide scale censorship campaign in 1972. “The campaign to kill the book was nationwide and world-wide,” Prouty notes. “It was removed from the Library of Congress and from college libraries as letters I received attested all too frequently … I was a writer whose book had been cancelled by a major publisher [Prentice Hall] and a major paperback publisher [Ballantine Books] under the persuasive hand of the CIA.” L. Fletcher Prouty, The Secret Team: The CIA and Its Allies in Control of the United States and the World, New York: SkyHorse Publishing, 2008, xii, xv.
- During the Pike Committee hearings in 1975 Congressman Otis Pike asked DCI William Colby, “Do you have any people paid by the CIA who are working for television networks?” Colby responded, “This, I think, gets into the kind of details, Mr. Chairman, that I’d like to get into in executive session.” Once the chamber was cleared Colby admitted that in 1975 specifically “the CIA was using ‘media cover’ for eleven agents, many fewer than in the heyday of the cloak-and-pencil operations, but no amount of questioning would persuade him to talk about the publishers and network chieftains who had cooperated at the top.” Schorr, Clearing the Air, 275.
- “There is quite an incredible spread of relationships,” former CIA intelligence officer William Bader informed a US Senate Intelligence Committee investigating the CIA’s infiltration of the nation’s journalistic outlets. “You don’t need to manipulate Time magazine, for example, because there are Agency people at the management level.” Bernstein, “The CIA and the Media.”
- In 1985 film historian and professor Joseph McBride came across a November 29, 1963 memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover, titled, “Assassination of President John F. Kennedy,” wherein the FBI director stated that his agency provided two individuals with briefings, one of whom was “Mr. George Bush of the Central Intelligence Agency.” ” When McBride queried the CIA with the memo a “PR man was tersely formal and opaque: ‘I can neither confirm nor deny.’ It was the standard response the agency gave when it dealt with its sources and methods,” journalist Russ Baker notes. When McBride published a story in The Nation, “The Man Who Wasn’t There, ‘George Bush,’ C.I.A. Operative,” the CIA came forward with a statement that the George Bush referenced in the FBI record “apparently” referenced a George William Bush, who filled a perfunctory night shift position at CIA headquarters that “would have been the appropriate place to receive such a report.” McBride tracked down George William Bush to confirm he was only employed briefly as a “probationary civil servant” who had “never received interagency briefings.” Shortly thereafter The Nation ran a second story by McBride wherein “the author provided evidence that the Central Intelligence Agency had foisted a lie on the American people … As with McBride’s previous story, this disclosure was greeted with the equivalent of a collective media yawn.” Since the episode researchers have found documents linking George H. W. Bush to the CIA as early as 1953. Russ Baker, Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years, New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2009, 7-12.
- Operation Gladio, the well-documented collaboration between Western spy agencies, including the CIA, and NATO involving coordinated terrorist shootings and bombings of civilian targets throughout Europe from the late 1960s through the 1980s, has been effectively expunged from major mainstream news outlets. A LexisNexis Academic search conducted in 2012 for “Operation Gladio” retrieved 31 articles in English language news media—most appearing in British newspapers. Only four articles discussing Gladio ever appeared in US publications—three in the New York Times and one brief mention in the Tampa Bay Times. With the exception of a 2009 BBC documentary, no network or cable news broadcast has ever referenced the state-sponsored terror operation. Almost all of the articles referencing Gladio appeared in 1990 when Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti publicly admitted Italy’s participation in the process. The New York Times downplayed any US involvement, misleadingly designating Gladio “an Italian creation” in a story buried on page A16. In reality, former CIA director William Colby revealed in his memoirs that covert paramilitaries were a significant agency undertaking set up after World War II, including “the smallest possible coterie of the most reliable people, in Washington [and] NATO.” James F. Tracy, “False Flag Terror and Conspiracies of Silence,” Global Research, August 10, 2012.
- Days before the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City DCI William Colby confided to his friend, Nebraska State Senator John DeCamp his personal concerns over the Militia and Patriot movement within the United States, then surging in popularity due to the use of the alternative media of that era–books, periodicals, cassette tapes, and radio broadcasts. “I watched as the Anti-War movement rendered it impossible for this country to conduct or win the Vietnam War,” Colby remarked. “I tell you, dear friend, that the Militia and Patriot movement in which, as an attorney, you have become one of the centerpieces, is far more significant and far more dangerous for American than the Anti-War movement ever was, if it is not intelligently dealt with. And I really mean this.” David Hoffman, The Oklahoma City Bombing and the Politics of Terror, Venice CA: Feral House, 1998, 367.
- Shortly after the appearance of journalist Gary Webb’s “Dark Alliance” series in the San Jose Mercury News chronicling the Agency’s involvement in drug trafficking, the CIA’s public affairs division embarked on a campaign to counter what it termed “a genuine public relations crisis for the Agency.” Webb was merely reporting to a large audience what had already been well documented by scholars such as Alfred McCoy and Peter Dale Scott, and the 1989 Kerry Committee Report on Iran-Contra—that the CIA had long been involved in the illegal transnational drug trade. Such findings were upheld in 1999 in a study by the CIA inspector general. Nevertheless, beginning shortly after Webb’s series ran, “CIA media spokesmen would remind reporters seeking comment that this series represented no real news,” a CIA internal organ noted, “in that similar charges were made in the 1980s and were investigated by the Congress and were found to be without substance. Reporters were encouraged to read the “Dark Alliance’ series closely and with a critical eye to what allegations could actually be backed with evidence.” http://www.foia.cia.gov/sites/default/files/DOC_0001372115.pdf
- On December 10, 2004 investigative journalist Gary Webb died of two .38 caliber gunshot wounds to the head. The coroner ruled the death a suicide. “Gary Webb was MURDERED,” concluded FBI senior special agent Ted Gunderson in 2005. “He (Webb) resisted the first shot [to the head that exited via jaw] so he was shot again with the second shot going into the head [brain].” Gunderson regards the theory that Webb could have managed to shoot himself twice as “impossible!” Charlene Fassa, “Gary Webb: More Pieces in the Suicided Puzzle,” Rense.com, December 11, 2005.
- The most revered journalists who receive “exclusive” information and access to the corridors of power are typically the most subservient to officialdom and often have intelligence ties. Those granted such access understand that they must likewise uphold government-sanctioned narratives. For example, the New York Times’ Tom Wicker reported on November 22, 1963 that President John F. Kennedy “was hit by a bullet in the throat, just below the Adam’s apple.” Yet his account went to press before the official story of a single assassin shooting from the rear became established. Wicker was chastised through “lost access, complaints to editors and publishers, social penalties, leaks to competitors, a variety of responses no one wants.” Barrie Zwicker, Towers of Deception: The Media Coverup of 9/11, Gabrioloa Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 2006, 169-170.
- The CIA actively promotes a desirable public image of its history and function by advising the production of Hollywood vehicles, such as Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. The Agency retains “entertainment industry liaison officers” on its staff that “plant positive images about itself (in other words, propaganda) through our most popular forms of entertainment,” Tom Hayden explains in the LA Review of Books. “So natural has the CIA–entertainment connection become that few question its legal or moral ramifications. This is a government agency like no other; the truth of its operations is not subject to public examination. When the CIA’s hidden persuaders influence a Hollywood movie, it is using a popular medium to spin as favorable an image of itself as possible, or at least, prevent an unfavorable one from taking hold.” Tom Hayden, “Review of The CIA in Hollywood: How the Agency Shapes Film and Television by Tricia Jenkins,” LA Review of Books, February 24, 2013,
- Former CIA case officer Robert David Steele states that CIA manipulation of news media is “worse” in the 2010s than in the late 1970s when Bernstein wrote “The CIA and the Media.” “The sad thing is that the CIA is very able to manipulate [the media] and it has financial arrangements with media, with Congress, with all others. But the other half of that coin is that the media is lazy.” James Tracy interview with Robert David Steele, August 2, 2014,
- A well-known fact is that broadcast journalist Anderson Cooper interned for the CIA while attending Yale as an undergraduate in the late 1980s. According to Wikipedia Cooper’s great uncle, William Henry Vanderbilt III, was an Executive Officer of the Special Operations Branch of the OSS under the spy organization’s founder William “Wild Bill” Donovan. While Wikipedia is an often dubious source, Vanderbilt’s OSS involvement would be in keeping with the OSS/CIA reputation of taking on highly affluent personnel for overseas derring-do. William Henry Vanderbilt III, Wikipedia.
- Veteran German journalist Udo Ulfkotte, author of the 2014 book Gekaufte Journalisten (Bought Journalists) revealed how under the threat of job termination he was routinely compelled to publish articles written by intelligence agents using his byline. “I ended up publishing articles under my own name written by agents of the CIA and other intelligence services, especially the German secret service,” Ulfkotte explained in a recent interview with Russia Today. “German Journo: European Media Writing Pro-US Stories Under CIA Pressure,” RT, October 18, 2014.
- In 1999 the CIA established In-Q-Tel, a venture capital firm seeking to “identify and invest in companies developing cutting-edge information technologies that serve United States national security interests.” The firm has exercised financial relationships with internet platforms Americans use on a routine basis, including Google and Facebook. “If you want to keep up with Silicon Valley, you need to become part of Silicon Valley,” says Jim Rickards, an adviser to the U.S. intelligence community familiar with In-Q-Tel’s activities. “The best way to do that is have a budget because when you have a checkbook, everyone comes to you.” At one point IQT “catered largely to the needs of the CIA.” Today, however, “the firm supports many of the 17 agencies within the U.S. intelligence community, including the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate.” Matt Egan, “In-Q-Tel: A Glimpse Inside the CIA’s Venture Capital Arm,” FoxBusiness.com, June 14, 2013.
- At a 2012 conference held by In-Q-Tel CIA Director David Patraeus declared that the rapidly-developing “internet of things” and “smart home” will provide the CIA with the ability to spy on any US citizen should they become a “person of interest’ to the spy community,” Wired magazine reports. “‘Transformational’ is an overused word, but I do believe it properly applies to these technologies,’ Patraeus enthused, ‘particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft’ … ‘Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters — all connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing,” Patraeus said, “the latter now going to cloud computing, in many areas greater and greater supercomputing, and, ultimately, heading to quantum computing.” Spencer Ackerman, “CIA Chief: We’ll Spy on You Through Your Dishwasher,” Wired, March 15, 2012.
- In the summer of 2014 a $600 million computing cloud developed by Amazon Web Services for the CIA began servicing all 17 federal agencies comprising the intelligence community. “If the technology plays out as officials envision,” The Atlantic reports, “it will usher in a new era of cooperation and coordination, allowing agencies to share information and services much more easily and avoid the kind of intelligence gaps that preceded the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.” “The Details About the CIA’s Deal With Amazon,” The Atlantic, July 17, 2014.
And the objective causes of fascism "renaissance" that we observe have less to do with "revival" fantasies of ‘rebirth’ of the society in crisis, than with the failure of neoliberalism as the ideology of modern "market economies." In a way fascism is a revolutionary ‘third way’ ideology, combining elements of conservatism and socialism, anti-materialist revision of Marxism which reflects synthesis of right wing nationalism (some researchers consider fascism as the most extreme form of nationalism) and trade unionism (syndicalism). The key fascist myth of unity and national identity oppose both capitalism and socialism. It also has specific flavor due to the fantasy of ‘national rebirth’ ("Make America Great Again" is the variation on the same theme).
In this sense the events after WWII proved that the merger of government and corporate power was not accidental and proved to have a staying power. Germany, Italy and Spain, each with its own national idiosyncrasies were simply pioneers in this direction. There are strong objections of using the term "fascism" due to its historical baggage (and first of the connection to all the crimes committed by Nazi Germany in WWII), but the ideology of neofascism now experience strong Renaissance in most European countries, the USA and GB.
Critics claim that the term lost any precision and in many respects become a catchall for any kind of totalitarianism and far right policies. But this is not completely true. What is true is that ideas of national socialism recently mutated in more modern forms of "inverted totalitarism" and national security state.
There are distinct new elements in those new political structures, which were absent in the classic fascist states. Some prominent element of classic fascist state such using violence to suppress opposition are now lost relevance. Moreover the dominance of "military industrial complex" is viewed by many as a new form of fascism, which was the essence of warning of President Eisenhower.
Other critics claim that the term became useless because it lacks strict definition. I disagree with this position. Despite clear deficiency the term "neofascism capture important class of social reaction again neoliberalism in various countries and as such a legitimate political/sociological term. It does have more or less "well structured" definition which allows to distinguish it from "classic fascism" on one side and "neoliberalism" on the other. Wikipedia defines the term stressing the neofascism possesses significant elements of fascist ideology, and defining what are those significant elements as:
Neo-fascism is a post–World War II ideology that includes significant elements of fascism. Neo-fascism usually includes ultranationalism, populism, anti-immigration policies or, where relevant, nativism, anti-communism, anti-socialism, anti-Marxism, anti-anarchism, and opposition to the parliamentary system and liberal democracy. Allegations that a group is neo-fascist may be hotly contested, especially if the term is used as a political epithet.
You can see the Wikipedia authors experience difficulties with the definition. That's why they included the phases "usually" and "where relevant." So in their opinion three trait are more important then the other:
Classic fascism (as implemented in Germany by NSDAP and in Italy by Mussolini) can be viewed as a variant of ultra-nationalism which aspires to bring the renewal of a nation deeply in crisis and advocates the replacement of the corrupt liberal democracy with (supposedly temporary) authoritarian dictatorship under a strong leader with extraordinary powers (like in army).
At the same time "classic fascism" it was closely linked to the post WWI realities, especially for Germany. In many ways, Classic Fascism strongly correlates with the mental state of nation which is attacked by strong enemy, the enemy which has supporters inside the country.
But it is more then that. The distinct feature of fascism is its strong aversion to the excessive financialization of economy and banking, which fascist consider evil (in a way prosecution of Jews under Fascism was closely connected with their role in banking, not only as a repression against the ethnic group the refuses to assimilate). And this feature of national socialism now is instrumental in its revival, as financialization was the essence of neoliberalism. Which can be consider as the rule of financial oligarchy -- the same class of people against which original German fascist tried to fight, while masking it with the particular national identity, due to historical for Europe overrepresentation of Jew in financial industry.
Unlike Trotskyism and neoliberalism, fascism is always nationalistic, so attempt to equate neoliberalism and fascism is the attempt to ignore the core difference between them. That's why neofascism is on the rise due to the crisis of neoliberal globalization. It is true though, that neoliberalism carry elements of neofascism and represent a rich subtract on which neofascism can grow, because like situation after the WWI it creates mass of disenfranchised workers and small entrepreneurs, who are deprived of chances to be the valuable members of society
As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.
Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a “disposable” culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”.
Both have the elements of Nietzschean Ubermench philosophy imbedded in hem
If one looks at NSDAP program of 1920, one can clearly see the requisite elements of fascist social movements. Paradoxically those demands now position the US neofascists to the left of the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party, which is in the pocket of financial oligarchy and is ready to privatize Social Security and Medicare to please its Wall Street sponsors. To say nothing about Republican Party:
The 25-point Program of the NSDAP
… … …
7. We demand that the state be charged first with providing the opportunity for a livelihood and way of life for the citizens. If it is impossible to sustain the total population of the State, then the members of foreign nations (non-citizens) are to be expelled from the Reich.
8. Any further immigration of non-citizens is to be prevented. We demand that all non-Germans, who have immigrated to Germany since 2 August 1914, be forced immediately to leave the Reich.
9.All citizens must have equal rights and obligations.
10.The first obligation of every citizen must be to work both spiritually and physically. The activity of individuals is not to counteract the interests of the universality, but must have its result within the framework of the whole for the benefit of all. Consequently, we demand:
11.Abolition of unearned (work and labor) incomes. Breaking of debt (interest)-slavery.
12.In consideration of the monstrous sacrifice in property and blood that each war demands of the people, personal enrichment through a war must be designated as a crime against the people. Therefore, we demand the total confiscation of all war profits.
13.We demand the nationalization of all (previous) associated industries (trusts).
14.We demand a division of profits of all heavy industries.
15.We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare.
16.We demand the creation of a healthy middle class and its conservation, immediate communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low cost to small firms, the utmost consideration of all small firms in contracts with the State, county or municipality.
17.We demand a land reform suitable to our needs, provision of a law for the free expropriation of land for the purposes of public utility, abolition of taxes on land and prevention of all speculation in land.
18.We demand struggle without consideration against those whose activity is injurious to the general interest. Common national criminals, usurers, profiteers and so forth are to be punished with death, without consideration of confession or race.
… … …
21.The State is to care for the elevating national health by protecting the mother and child, by outlawing child-labor, by the encouragement of physical fitness, by means of the legal establishment of a gymnastic and sport obligation, by the utmost support of all organizations concerned with the physical instruction of the young.
22. We demand abolition of the mercenary troops and formation of a national army.
In addition Classic Fascism typically promotes militarism and territorial or economic expansion as the way to deal with internal problems. In this sense it is indistinguishable from neoliberalism (and both have common roots in Trotskyism). Both consider violence including foreign wars a useful political tool. With neoliberalism openly advocating Trotskyite-type of "Permanent revolution" in countries the refuse to switch this social system.
Another important feature of fascism that distinguishes it from neoliberalism is that this ideology has strong suspicion the liberal democracy is just a tool for the dictate of financial oligarchy, which has all the money to buy politicians. In this sense neofascism starts when the party/movement that adhere to the fascism social program renounce violence and accepts parliamentary democracy as the "necessary evil", still striving to get to power using the election mechanisms and use for suppression of financial oligarchy, especially international investment banks and speculators like Soros. But instead of military coup d'état they accept the goal of winning the election within the constrains imposed by this model in Western states (although tremendous growth of political power of intelligence agencies, which really became "kingmakers:, and which in the core can be considered as new type of proto-fascist political parties, put important corrections into this consideration; in a way they stand in the direct opposition to the parliamentary system, like classic fascism)
In its essence any form of fascism is an attempt to simplify control of population by the elite, by "bribing" the dominant in the particular state nationality. It remains a viable right wing program for setting up a highly centralized regime with militaristic, nationalistic policies (especially external expansion, for example in the form of neoliberal empire expansion), merge of industrial and financial corporations with the government, total population control, rigid control of MSM by intelligence agencies, and "extra-judicial" methods of suppression of opposition, including McCarthyism witch hunts and "Russiagate"
In its essence any form of fascism is an attempt to simplify control of population by the elite, by "bribing" the dominant in the particular state nationality.
Neofascism essentially relax the same postulates of "classic fascism" making it more socially acceptable, but preserving the core resentment against financialization of the economy (but no longer associates it with the particular ethnic group) as well as immigration, viewing foreigners as a group which "steals" jobs and wealth from the core demographic group of the particular country.
Unlike "classic fascism", neofascism does not directly oppose to parliamentary democracy and is ready to work within parliamentary system to get to power. It does not advocate violence against political opponents as the primary means of suppressing the opposition, although it does not shut from using it when necessary or expedient.
At the same time modern technology polished the ways of suppression any opposition by other means (see Inverted Totalitarism == Managed Democracy == Neoliberalism ) so this difference is pretty superficial -- the level of spying on the population in any modern Western state is comparable with the level that existed in Germany under the rule of NSDAP.
The strongest common link is rampant militarism and exaggeration of external threat to the nation well-being (for example, the threat from Islamic terrorism), which makes it surprisingly close to the ideology of National Security State and not that different from neoliberalism (Fascism - Wikipedia ):
Fascism is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism 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.
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. 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.
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. 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. Fascism rejects assertions that violence is automatically negative in nature, and views political violence, war, and imperialism as means that can achieve national rejuvenation. Fascists advocate a mixed economy, with the principal goal of achieving autarky through protectionist and interventionist economic policies.
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.
In other words while classic fascism now is almost extinct, there are multiple and more viable mutations of far right nationalism (which experience renaissance due to impoverishment of population caused by neoliberal austerity) that are called by generic name of neofascism. And it proved to be highly adaptable ideology with higher survivability potential than classic Bolshevism. In almost all European countries and in the USA nationalist movements are on the rise and far right parties often enjoy success in elections. They come to power in several European states such as Poland, Ukraine, and several Baltic republics.
The most distinct feature of this set of political movements is obsessive preoccupation with militarism, community decline, humiliation, or victim-hood (Nation under attack meme) and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and the idea of national rejuvenation (as reflected in "Make America Great Again" (MAGA) slogan, although it originated in the Paleoconservatism movement which is not connected to fascist ideology of any kind).
After all, the concept of national rejuvenation after a deep economic/political crisis historically was one of the key reasons classic fascist regimes of the last century came to power. Both Mussolini and then Hitler espoused citizens’ duty to recover their respective nations ancient strength and glory from the situation of deep decline after the defeat in the WWI and reparations imposed. Both fought with valor in WWI.
The key question for particular country is:
"Do the country has an organized, committed nationalistic (please note that "exceptionalism" is a form of nationalism) militants, in alliance with traditional elites, who are ready to use extra-judicial methods (not necessary violence) with minimal legal restrains for internal cleansing of the society and external expansion?".
Without far right nationalists organized in military fashion as was the case in Ukraine it is difficult to classify a movement which adheres to those ideas and is as a fascist movement. But it can well be neofascist. The readiness to go to extra-legal means is the key distinction between neofascism (and any far right nationalism) and regular nationalism (which essentially adhere to "law and order" paradigm).
Both "Regular" nationalism, "national neoliberalism" followers (Trumpism) and economic nationalists still are adhering to the existing legal framework and fights for their ideas on election booth. Fascists cross this boundary (and that's why they often are called far-right). They despise traditional dual law enforcement (one for elite and one for common people) and oligarchic democracy (the democracy for only top 1% or less of population) and think that authoritarian model is preferable to the existing level of corruption in legal system as well as harsh punishment for transgression (not understanding that while the existing "far from being perfect" legal system might be eliminated, both injustice in the form of preferential treatment of the elite (which essentially is above the law) and corruption will remain; just the composition of the elite changes)
Another important distinction is presence of elements of social democratic requirements, requirements for social justice in their program: neofascists movements typically are more pro-middle class and, at least partially, pro working class then far right movements. One litmus test is the level of animosity toward financial oligarchy and "unearned" income. This is the key distinction of neofascism and "national neoliberalism" (Trumpism). Unlike neoliberals, which hare many trials with fascism and neofascism they view sovereignty of the nation as an "ultimate good" that need to be preserved and defended.
They are also anti-elite, and anti multinational corporations and transnational organizations like NAFTA or WTO. And especially against transnational financial oligarchy (in Nazism that degenerated into anti-Semitism as the percentage of Jews among top levels of financial oligarchy was always very high, but it is not necessary for a fascist movement to be anti-Semitic per se; other nationalities can serve as scapegoats).
Like classic economics, a typical neofascist movement distinguished between "earned" and "unearned" income and consider the later a sign of parasitism and decadence of the society. NSDAP program of 1920 explicitly stated
"Abolition of unearned (work and labor) incomes. Breaking of debt (interest)-slavery."
Without this point we can talk only about for-right nationalism or in case of "economic nationalism" and "national neoliberalism" (neoliberalism without globalization as to a certain extent professed by Trump administration).
The idea of Lebensraum - Wikipedia is inherent of fascist movements but typically is absent or is suppressed of neo-fascism movements: .
The German concept of Lebensraum (German pronunciation: [ˈleːbənsˌʁaʊm] "living space") comprises policies and practices of settler colonialism which proliferated in Germany from the 1890s to the 1940s. First popularized around 1901, Lebensraum became a geopolitical goal of Imperial Germany in World War I (1914–1918) originally, as the core element of the Septemberprogramm of territorial expansion. The most extreme form of this ideology was supported by the Nazi Party (NSDAP) and Nazi Germany until the end of World War II.
And as far as external expansion goes, neoliberalism can definitely viewed as a form of neofascism ("Permanent War for Permanent Peace"), so there is a strong connection between neoliberalism and neofascism in foreign policy area and for this reason neoconservatism should probably be viewed as a modern flavor of neofascism. See Professor Andrew Bacevich excellent book Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War
But, in reality it is not, even if it is used as a synonym of "far right nationalism", because most modern far right nationalism movement borrow key ideas of the three classic fascist regimes -- Mussolini in Italy, Nazism in Germany and Fracoism (falangism) in Spain. New is often well forgotten old. As Robert O. Paxton noted in his essay "The Five Stages of Fascism":
We cannot give up in the face of these difficulties. A real phenomenon exists. Indeed, fascism is the most original political novelty of the twentieth century, no less. ... If we cannot examine fascism synthetically, we risk being unable to understand this century, or the next.
We must have a word, and for lack of a better one, we must employ the word that Mussolini borrowed from the vocabulary of the Italian Left in 1919, before his movement had assumed its mature form. Obliged to use the term fascism, we ought to use it well.
Similarly there is a right for existence of the term neofascism, which is general denotes more aggressive and violent forms of far right nationalism, but at the same time expressing interests of lower middle and working class and having strong anti financial oligarchy sentiments (for example, distinguishing between earned and unearned income (rent)). This is a set of trends and far right political movements now observable in many countries which experienced neoliberal austerity, especially in Europe.
Like fascism and neoliberalism, in no way neofascism is a coherent ideology. It is often self-contradicting and contains mutually exclusive elements. That are several sometimes conflicting types of neofascism in modern societies:
Neofascism ideology is pretty fuzzy and flexible (remember that allies of Nazi Germany in WWII were Japanese, which were as far from Arian ethno type as we can get; while Nazi were adamantly anti-Slav, which represents very similar to Arian ethnic type).
All-in-all it represents a popular and rising in importance on the political scene post–World War II ideology, which proved to be more enduring and popular then the communist ideology. It well coexists with neoliberalism (and can be completely merged with it as in Chile under Pinochet). While "excesses" of classical fascism are rejected it still has the key elements of "national socialism" in the form of "socialism for 1%", if you wish.
There are multiple similar terms, such as military-industrial complex (neoconservatives can be viewed as lobbyists of military industrial complex, and as such neofascist at least in foreign policy strategy and goals), predator state, national security state, etc which essentially describe the same phenomenon, stressing different aspects of it.
While still adhering to the core postulates of fascism, neofascism is very flexible and thus more difficult to define precisely. It relies on achievement of modern technologies and first of all new possibility of surveillance. Neofascism replace physical suppression of internal opposition with MSM control (the situation which already is fully achieved in neoliberal societies). Opposition is simply pushed out of mainstream media into alternative media and ignored, but not physically suppressed.
Along with computers and communication technologies, other technological achievement plays in neofascism favor as well. for example war against weaker opponents now can be conducted with much less casualties and most via technological supremacy on the battlefield.
Similar the idea of racial/ethnic purity can be replaced by cultural "belonging", by rejection of speakers of alternative languages (and culture) in particular country. It can be Spanish in the USA, or Russian in Ukraine.
Neo-fascism also deploy more sophisticated forms of identity politics, than classic fascism. And it less oriented on open violence. Neo-fascists often reject ethnic-based identity policies replacing "ethnic nationalism" with the "cultural nationalism" based solely on the language and culture identifies.
Similar, the idea of one party rule system present in classic fascism can be replaced with two party system, producing the same effect and allowing to preserve parliamentary democracy, while achieving basically the same goals as one party system as both party candidates are selected by non-elected party functionaries, be it the "Deep state" in the form o intelligence agencies control of elections, or the "party elite", or some mixture of the two.
Mass authoritarian, far right party can now be replaced by personnel of intelligence agencies which serve the same purpose with intelligence agencies brass becoming political leaders of the movement, much like Nazi bonzes in the past.
Look how close to basic tenets of neofascism (if we assume that Arian nation is limited to financial, government and corporate oligarchy) is what James K Galbraith called the predator state (from the review by Thomas I Palley of the book in Asia Times Online, Aug 22, 2008):
Economist Jamie K Galbraith's recent book  describes modern (Bush-Cheney) Republicanism as creating a "predator state". Its predatory aspects are starkly visible in the gangs of corporate lobbyists who roam Washington DC, the Halliburton Iraq war procurement scandal and the corruption and incompetence that surrounded the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.
However, the broad concept of a predator state needs qualification as we are really talking of an "American corporate" predator state. Thus, the predatory nature of contemporary US governance is quintessentially linked to corporations, and it is also a uniquely American phenomenon.
Kleptocratic predator states, such as Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe or Sese Seko Mobutu's Zaire in Africa, are fundamentally different. There is no equivalent in Europe, and none in East Asia where ruling elites have a sense of obligation to the nation even as they often enrich themselves illicitly. Nor is there an equivalent in Latin America because government there never reached an economic size proportional to that of government in the US.
It is important to understand the social origins of the American corporate predator state because understanding is a necessary part of developing responses for caging the predators and replacing them with another, better, order. Those origins clearly trace back to the military-industrial complex that president Dwight Eisenhower warned about in his final televised address to the nation on January 17, 1961.
That complex has captured politics and corrupted the business of government, including of course the conduct of national security policy. The fact that it has wrapped itself with the flag makes it impossible to confront without being charged as unpatriotic. Worst yet, its enormous enduring profitability has provided a model for imitation by other industrial complexes like Big Pharma and Big Oil.
The political success of these predators is clearly linked to money's role in politics. Money gives the power to buy the political process, and that power is defended by a gospel of free speech that takes no account of the fact that out-shouting someone is qualitatively equivalent to silencing them. Economics also comes to money's defense with its absurd myth of a market for ideas in which participants compete on a level playing field and truth is effortlessly sorted from error.
The American worship of business and businessmen, which Sinclair Lewis (Babbitt, 1922) wrote about long ago, also plays a role. This worship privileges business over thought and other activities, and is behind the dismissive sneer "if you're so smart, how come you're not rich?" As a result, Americans are all too willing to hand over their government to business predators. Today, it is in Goldman Sachs we trust.
Another feature of business worship is a tendency to conflate profit with free markets. That means the distinction between fair competition (which is good) and fat profits (which are bad) is lost, thereby providing cover for predators.
Lastly, there is the legacy of the Cold War which contributed to economic dumbing-down and suppression of awareness of class and class conflict. This suppression was seen as necessary for blunting the dangerous appeal of Soviet communism, but a consequence was to create blindness to the predators in our midst.
All of this reveals a deep deficit in America's social and economic understanding (some deficits really do matter). And as long as this deficit remains, the predators will have a starting-gate advantage in the game of political persuasion.
Yet, how to close the deficit and insert another understanding is an enormous challenge. There are deep institutional obstructions in the academy, the media, and the Democratic Party. Moreover, raising these issues may create unsettling cognitive dissonance that pushes voters into denial and a closer embrace of the predators.
In effect, there is a paradox to be solved. Lasting progressive political victory requires transforming understanding, but the immediate political incentives are aligned to discourage engagement with such a project.
Note: The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too, by James K Galbraith, Free Press, 2008.
Thomas I Palley is the founder of the Economics for Democratic and Open Societies Project.
Fascism is not a uniform doctrine. From the very beginning there were different flavors of it. In this sense attempt to distill key features of such regimes are difficult and non-rewarding task because fascism was always a national not universal (like Marxism) phenomenon. Such attempts as Arendt's leave much to be desired. Even within a single country there can be several competing version of fascism. They can be even hostile to such an extent that the supporters of one of fascism movement strive to completely destroy the supporters of the other.
Since 30-ies of XX century, there were four "classic" flavors of fascism: Italian fascism, Nazism, and Spanish Francoism(falangism) and (mostly Latin American) "induced fascism" régimes. All "classic" versions rely on mass political movement of the "middle class" making a claim to political power -- to the detriment of the traditional elites and "working classes". They were mildly hostile to monopolies and, sometimes, to financial oligarchy. For example, Nazi decried "unearned income" -- rentier capitalism. All those regimes were revolutionary in a sense that they accepted violence as the legitimate political tool in the struggle to get to power.
But even within them there are multiple and significant differences both in social base and proclaimed goals:
Mussolini started his political career as socialist and at one time was the editor of Avanti While associated with socialism, Mussolini's writings after 1913 indicated that he had abandoned Marxism and egalitarianism in favor of Nietzsche's übermensch concept and anti-egalitarianism. After being ousted by the Italian Socialist Party for his support of Italian intervention in 1914, Mussolini made a radical transformation, ending his support for class conflict and joining in support of revolutionary nationalism transcending class lines. Mussolini got his start in politics with the help of a £100 weekly wage (the equivalent of £6000 as of 2009) from the British security service MI5, to keep anti-war protestors at home and to publish pro-war propaganda.
After coming to power after "March on Rome" (27 and 28 October 1922), Mussolini start removing most of the political opposition
using secret police and by outlawing labor strikes. Power was consolidated by converting Italian state into
one party dictatorship through a series of laws. Mussolini enjoyed a wide support in the military and among the industrial and agrarian
elites. Mussolini was also supported by Catholic church. He later initiated an aggressive expansion (limited to Mediterranean region);
But all in all Italian fascism (many of who were former socialists, including Mussolini himself) were not hell bent on racial purity.
They simply viewed their "revolution" as a preventive act - to prevent the "bolshevisation" of Italy; In the merger of the state
and the party the state was probably more dominant then the party. Nazism based was the urban "middle class" and first of
all small business owners; it has strong redistributive component and strives to rebuild the German state as a hierarchical technocratic
military industrial complex (country as a giant military factory); it was supported by a large part of industrialists, by German
military brass. It at least partially rejected religion replacing it with a specific flavor of "pan-German" mysticism, and the drive
for racial purity; its goal was a rapid modernization of the country after the crushing defeat in WWI. It put the state in the subordination
of the party, while like Bolshevism by-and-large merging the Party and the state.
In its racial categorization, Nazism viewed what it called the Aryan race as the master race of the world—a race that was superior to all other races. It viewed Aryans as being in racial conflict with a mixed race people, the Jews, whom Nazis identified as a dangerous enemy of the Aryans. It also viewed a number of other peoples as dangerous to the well-being of the Aryan race. In order to preserve the perceived racial purity of the Aryan race, a set of race laws were introduced in 1935 which came to be known as the Nuremberg Laws. At first these laws only prevented sexual relations and marriages between Germans and Jews, but were later extended to the "Gypsies, Negroes, and their bastard offspring", who were described by the Nazis as people of "alien blood".
Like Italian fascism Nazism rejected the Marxist concept of class struggle, but supported the idea of "class struggle between nations", and sought to resolve internal class struggle in the nation while it identified Germany as a proletarian nation fighting against plutocratic nations. The Nazi Party had many working-class supporters and members, but its strongest appeal was to the middle class, especially small business owners. The financial collapse of the white collar middle-class of the 1920s also led to their strong support of Nazism. The Nazi Party Programme of 1920 guaranteed freedom for all religious denominations not hostile to the State and endorsed Positive Christianity to combat “the Jewish-materialist spirit” (read Marxism). The Nazis were initially highly hostile to Catholics. In 1933, extensive Nazi violence occurred against Catholics due to their association with the Centre Party and their opposition to the Nazi regime's sterilization laws. At the same time in propaganda, the Nazis used elements of Germany's Catholic history, in particular the German Catholic Teutonic Knights and their campaigns in Eastern Europe. The Nazis identified them as "sentinels" in the East against "Slavic chaos".
While Nazis benefitted from the first post-Depression economic upswing, their public works projects, job-procurement program, and subsidized home repair program reduced unemployment by as much as 40% in one year, a development which tempered the unfavorable psychological climate caused by the earlier economic crisis and encouraged Germans to support the regime. march in step with the regime. The Nazis also promised "progressive" social policies like a national labor service, state-provided health care, guaranteed pensions, and an agrarian settlement program.
The Nazis sought to gain support of workers by declaring May Day, a day celebrated by organized labor, to be a paid holiday and held celebrations on 1 May 1933 to honor German workers. Nazi were strongly against "non earned" income and financial sector in general which they considered to be parasitic.
The Nazis argued that capitalism damages nations due to international finance, the economic dominance of big business, and
Jewish influences. Nazi propaganda posters in working class districts emphasized anti-capitalism, such as one that said:
"The maintenance of a rotten industrial system has nothing to do with nationalism. I can love Germany and hate capitalism. Adolf
Hitler, both in public and in private, expressed disdain for capitalism, arguing that it holds nations ransom in the interests of
a parasitic cosmopolitan rentier class. He opposed free market capitalism's profit-seeking impulses and desired an economy
in which community interests would be protected. Hitler told a party leader in 1934, "The economic system of our day is the creation
of the Jews." On other occasion he said to Benito Mussolini that capitalism had "run its course". Hitler also said that the business
bourgeoisie "know nothing except their profit. 'Fatherland' is only a word for them." Hitler was personally disgusted with
the ruling bourgeois elites of Germany during the period of the Weimar Republic, who he referred to as "cowardly shits". A
number of other Nazis held even more strong revolutionary socialist and anti-capitalist beliefs, most prominently Ernst Röhm, the
leader of the Sturmabteilung. Another radical Nazi, Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels had stressed the socialist character of Nazism,
and claimed in his diary in the 1920s that if he were to pick between Bolshevism and capitalism, he said "in final analysis", "it
would be better for us to go down with Bolshevism than live in eternal slavery under capitalism."
Because "induced" fascism was highly depended on a "democratic metropolis" it is often observed in varying degrees of "democratic decorum": there was a Parliament, multiparty system and periodic "elections". Of course, it was to a greater or lesser extent a sham (in Paraguay during the Stroessner the question of "cohabitation" of fascism with parliamentary democracy was solved simply and elegantly: in the country has a military regime, except for one day - election day).
In order to facilitate the creation of regimes "induced fascism" in third world countries the army, police and intelligence services have turned into some kind of fascist parties without the parties themselves and Nazi ideology became part of indoctrination in those organizations. In hindsight, after the military coup in Chile, it became clear that the diehard fascists in the Chilean army were much father to the right then the "civilian" fascist organizations in Chile. Same thing became clear in hindsight in relation to the Brazilian police and military counterintelligence.
"Induced" fascism represent a bridge between parliamentary democracies and the right-wing authoritarian (aka totalitarism) regimes, movements and doctrines, "blurring" the concept of fascism and making it "more acceptable" to liberals. So, the regime of Somoza in Nicaragua planted by the USA, ideologically was close to European fascism, and even helped the Uruguayan fascists to prepare their coup - and at the same time acted as a strategic US ally in the region and was formally at war with the "Axis powers".
In Europe, the first case of "induced" fascism was a post-war pro-British regime in Greece, where after the liberation of the country from German troops the civil war started. The British labor party denounced Churchill for his support in Greece "monarchist fascists" and "Nazi collaborators", but when they came in 1945 to power, themselves supported by the same "monarch-fascist" and "Nazi collaborators".
The political views of the "new right" coincided with the views of practitioners of neoliberalism in the era of Reaganomics and Thatcherism. Not by chance the Pinochet regime (a classic example of "induced, puppet fascism") is characterized as "Militant Thatcherism". Even the fundamental views publicly expressed by Thatcher and Pinochet, were often identical (e.g., he and the other refused to recognize the existence of society - which was, in fact, merely a repetition of the doctrine of Italian fascism). What parties and movements, connecting the idea of "new right" has achieved in recent years greater success in elections in Western Europe: the national front of Le Pen in France, the party of P. Fortuyn in the Netherlands, the freedom Party. Haider in Austria, etc. (revealing, incidentally, that the Freedom Party is included in the Liberal international!).
Other cases pre-war neofascism was monarchist far right regimes developed in countries of Eastern Europe. Rapid inclusion of these parties and regimes in the orbit of Italian and German influences have masked their identity, on the one hand, and did not allow them to develop into independent phenomenon.
There can me multiple fascism movements in the same country. In France before the war all three classic brand of fascism were well represented: French version of the Italian fascism ("francism", etc.), the French version of Nazism (French people's party, etc.), the French version of francoism ("capulary") and, finally, the original aristocratic elitist fascism "action française", close to the monarchist-fascism. Sometimes the supporters of the different flavors of fascism fight with each other. In Austria supporters of Italian fascism came to power in February 1934, but in July, the Nazis organized a putsch and killed Chancellor E. Dollfuss, and ended the fight by smashing austrofascism and initiating the Anschluss. In Hungary, the supporters of Italian fascism - hungarista led by Admiral Horthy was overthrown in 1944 by the Hungarian Nazis movement headed by Salashi. In Romania, the confrontation between supporters of Italian fascism and Nazism - "seleniumselenium", "jeleznovodask", Antonescu and Horia SIMA - has resulted in mutual mass terror .
After World war II the Western ruling elite has never repeated his pre-war mistakes and understood that fascism is a tricky bet in the fight against social revolution. So it was relegated as a tool for countries "About which we do not care" They understood that such a movement as "classical" fascism or other extremist movements of "middle class" easily get out of control. All post-war fascist regimes relied on mass movements. Such movements were outlawed in most Western countries.
As neofascism has a lot of common features with far right nationalism it is very difficult to say when one ends and another starts. Those terms can be used as synonyms, but I would suggest that neofascism is a specific flavor of far right nationalism that has anti-financial oligarchy bent. It is a more "socialist" version of far right nationalism and always was.
So far right nationalism a more generic term then neofascism: all neofascists are far right nationalists, but the reverse is not true.
Neofascism is more narrow concept that emphasizes/defines more features of the movement then far right nationalism. Typically neofascism movements are a more radical, more anti-democratic, more statist than an "average" far right nationalism movements. And their flavor of militaristic bent includes the idea of expanding the "living space"/empire for the particular nation (or country) by promoting rampant militarism (which also serves as a tool to "unify" the nation and suppress dissent). Like for example neoconservatives in the USA. Also neofascism has a certain flavor of "victimhood" which far right nationalism does not necessary possesses.
What is clear that there is a much larger political space for far right nationalist movements then for neofascist movements in modern societies. The backlash against neoliberal globalization now mainly take the form of far right nationalism, but not necessarily neo-fascism: many such far right movement are completely devoid of the hostility to financial oligarchy and unearned income.
So it's given that far right movements and their more specific case -- neofascism -- have many common features, many similarities:
A perception is manufactured that opposition to the power elite is tantamount to an attack on religion.
But there are some important differences.
Griffin, who is a professor of history and political theory at Oxford Brookes University, puts it best: "You can be a total
xenophobic racist male chauvinist bastard and still not be a fascist." For example, as long as Trump does not advocate the abolition
of America's democratic institutions and constitution, and their replacement by some sort of national security state, he, at least
technically, is not a fascist or neofascist. But at the same time calling the current political system corrupt and exaggerating the
level of the degradation of the US society as well as pushing for its "renewal" ("Make America great again" slogan) might still
qualify him as a neofascist.
Like communists, classic fascists promote violence as a legitimate political tool, but this is less true about neofascist. Classic fascism, Payne says, requires
"a philosophical valuing of violence, of Sorelian violence. [Fascists believe] that violence is really good for you, that it's the sort of thing that makes you a vital, alive, dedicated person, that it creates commitment. Fascism makes violence not just a political strategy, but also a philosophical principle. For fascists "war is the health of the nation".
That's mentality is unique to fascism. This feature is reduced and subdued in neofascism, but still is present.
Classic fascism also has some anti-clerical bent and typically promotes a specific secular, "political religion" in which the nation is considered a real, living, and yet sacred thing to be revered and protected, instead of traditional religion. This goes well beyond typical far right nationalism views on religion. Far right nationalists more commonly promote an existing religion (Vox). But those two trends can happily co-exists.
The idea of rejuvenation of the nation also is typical for both. But look more closely at the way Trump talks about rejuvenating America:
- "I will build the finest and most modern veterans hospitals in the world."
- "This lower rate makes corporate inversions unnecessary by making America’s tax rate one of the best in the world."
- "Our highspeed Internet access is only 16th best in the world … The World Economic Forum ranks the US infrastructure as only the 12th best in the world."
These statements are much closer to the "I want my soccer team to win" version of patriotism — and much more concerned with the qualities of Donald Trump as the leader, than America the nation.
Neoliberal MSM brainwash people running a campaign hypertrophied dehumanization of Untermensch. Essentially this campaign is directed toward conditioning people to view "lower classes" as a category of cattle, much like in slavery. This tendency of "blaming poor" is definitely a defining trend of modern day US neoliberalism. And that's as close to fascism as one can get. Redefinition of poverty as inferiority is clearly a neofascism element in the neoliberal societies.
Socialism in national socialism exists only for Ubermensch. And for them (and for them only) it does contain almost all major socialist elements. This is undeniable if we analyze the NSDAP Party program announced by Hitler on February 20, 1920. It is also important to remember that some fascists leaders, such as Benito Mussolini (who previously was the editor in chief of Avate), previously were prominent figures in the social-democratic movement (Wikipedia)
The National Socialist Programme (aka the 25-point Programme and the 25-point Plan) was the party program of the National Socialist German Workers' Party. Originally the name of the party was the German Workers' Party (DAP) but on the same day of the announced party program it was renamed the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP, Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei), headed by Adolf Hitler. Hitler announced the party's program on 24 February 1920 in front of around 2000 people in the Munich Festsaal of the Hofbräuhaus. The National Socialist Program originated at a DAP congress in Vienna, then was taken to Munich, by the civil engineer and theoretician Rudolf Jung, who, having explicitly supported Hitler, had been expelled from Czechoslovakia, because of his political agitation.
... ... ...
- We demand the unification of all Germans in the Greater Germany on the basis of the people's right to self-determination.
- We demand equality of rights for the German people in respect to the other nations; abrogation of the peace treaties of Versailles and St. Germain.
- We demand land and territory (colonies) for the sustenance of our people, and colonization for our surplus population.
- Only a member of the race can be a citizen. A member of the race can only be one who is of German blood, without consideration of creed. Consequently no Jew can be a member of the race.
- Whoever has no citizenship is to be able to live in Germany only as a guest, and must be under the authority of legislation for foreigners.
- The right to determine matters concerning administration and law belongs only to the citizen. Therefore we demand that every public office, of any sort whatsoever, whether in the Reich, the county or municipality, be filled only by citizens. We combat the corrupting parliamentary economy, office-holding only according to party inclinations without consideration of character or abilities.
- We demand that the state be charged first with providing the opportunity for a livelihood and way of life for the citizens. If it is impossible to sustain the total population of the State, then the members of foreign nations (non-citizens) are to be expelled from the Reich.
- Any further immigration of non-citizens is to be prevented. We demand that all non-Germans, who have immigrated to Germany since 2 August 1914, be forced immediately to leave the Reich.
- All citizens must have equal rights and obligations.
- The first obligation of every citizen must be to work both spiritually and physically. The activity of individuals is not to counteract the interests of the universality, but must have its result within the framework of the whole for the benefit of all. Consequently we demand:
- Abolition of unearned (work and labor) incomes. Breaking of debt (interest)-slavery.
- In consideration of the monstrous sacrifice in property and blood that each war demands of the people, personal enrichment through a war must be designated as a crime against the people. Therefore we demand the total confiscation of all war profits.
- We demand the nationalisation of all (previous) associated industries (trusts).
- We demand a division of profits of all heavy industries.
- We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare.
- We demand the creation of a healthy middle class and its conservation, immediate communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low cost to small firms, the utmost consideration of all small firms in contracts with the State, county or municipality.
- We demand a land reform suitable to our needs, provision of a law for the free expropriation of land for the purposes of public utility, abolition of taxes on land and prevention of all speculation in land.
- We demand struggle without consideration against those whose activity is injurious to the general interest. Common national criminals, usurers, profiteers and so forth are to be punished with death, without consideration of confession or race.
- We demand substitution of a German common law in place of the Roman Law serving a materialistic world-order.
- The state is to be responsible for a fundamental reconstruction of our whole national education program, to enable every capable and industrious German to obtain higher education and subsequently introduction into leading positions. The plans of instruction of all educational institutions are to conform with the experiences of practical life. The comprehension of the concept of the State must be striven for by the school [Staatsbürgerkunde] as early as the beginning of understanding. We demand the education at the expense of the State of outstanding intellectually gifted children of poor parents without consideration of position or profession.
- The State is to care for the elevating national health by protecting the mother and child, by outlawing child-labor, by the encouragement of physical fitness, by means of the legal establishment of a gymnastic and sport obligation, by the utmost support of all organizations concerned with the physical instruction of the young.
- We demand abolition of the mercenary troops and formation of a national army.
- We demand legal opposition to known lies and their promulgation through the press. In order to enable the provision of a German press, we demand, that: a. All writers and employees of the newspapers appearing in the German language be members of the race; b. Non-German newspapers be required to have the express permission of the State to be published. They may not be printed in the German language; c. Non-Germans are forbidden by law any financial interest in German publications, or any influence on them, and as punishment for violations the closing of such a publication as well as the immediate expulsion from the Reich of the non-German concerned. Publications which are counter to the general good are to be forbidden. We demand legal prosecution of artistic and literary forms which exert a destructive influence on our national life, and the closure of organizations opposing the above made demands.
- We demand freedom of religion for all religious denominations within the state so long as they do not endanger its existence or oppose the moral senses of the Germanic race. The Party as such advocates the standpoint of a positive Christianity without binding itself confessionally to any one denomination. It combats the Jewish-materialistic spirit within and around us, and is convinced that a lasting recovery of our nation can only succeed from within on the framework: The good of the state before the good of the individual.
- For the execution of all of this we demand the formation of a strong central power in the Reich. Unlimited authority of the central parliament over the whole Reich and its organizations in general. The forming of state and profession chambers for the execution of the laws made by the Reich within the various states of the confederation. The leaders of the Party promise, if necessary by sacrificing their own lives, to support by the execution of the points set forth above without consideration.
Neoliberalism demonstrate the resurgence of classic fascism tendencies with the sharp division between upper class (Ubermensch) and lower class, "inferior people" (Untermensch) and the associated cult of violence. Although in new slightly more moderate form, but with the same set of core ideas and principles.
In neofascism unrestricted violence, terror against "inferior people" is subdued. As the criteria nationality is often (but not completely) replaced with culture and especially the national language (language nationalism) and is directed almost exclusively to foreigners, immigrants and national minorities who continue to use "wrong" language because it is their mother tongue (for example, Russians in case of Far Right Forces in Ukraine).
In neoliberalism nationality is replaced by "creative abilities", which are understood as the ability of capital accumulation and self-enrichment. In cultural variant of neofascism the language and culture replace the race as a defining point of "belonging", and the key distinction between "Arian race" and Untermensch. Replacement of nationality with the cultural identity makes it closer to ultra-right republicanism as exists in the USA. It is also clearly visible in Ukrainian far right movement:
But all-in-all neofascism remains just a mutation of classic fascist ideology (yuricareport.com):
Call it Pseudo Fascism. Or, if you like, Fascism Lite. Happy-Face Fascism. Postmodern Fascism. But there is little doubt anymore why the shape of the "conservative movement” in the 21st century is so familiar and disturbing: Its architecture, its entire structure, has morphed into a not-so-faint hologram of 20th-century fascism.
...Unlike the genuine article, it presents itself under a normative, rather than a revolutionary, guise; and rather than openly exulting in violence, it pays lip service to law and order. Moreover, even in the areas where it resembles real fascism, the similarities are often more familial than exact. It is, in essence, less virulent and less violent, and thus more likely to gain broad acceptance within a longtime stable democratic system like that of the United States.
It is important to understand that neofascism inherited the major traits of fascism connected with creating a scapegoat nationality or anti-immigration sentiments, often induced by actual misbehavior of immigrants (such a rapes, beating of people by criminal gangs, etc) or large influx of immigrant from other nation in economic crisis (Immigrants in Europe, Russia, to lesser extent in other "countries of immigrants" such as USA, Australia, Canada, etc). At certain stages it can actually "return to the roots" and adopt violence as the key form of dealing with the opponents (see EuroMaidan )
The key element of any flavor of fascist ideology is rejection of liberalism and opposition to the parliamentary system and liberal democracy (and implicitly to the rule of law). It is the cult of "strong hand" the makes it similar to authoritarism. While officially neofascists parties no longer endorses violence as a chief means to silence the opposition, they often resort to it as a temporary mean to achieve their goals, and, especially, to come to power.
Allegations that a group is neofascist are typically hotly contested, especially if the term is used as a political epithet.
neofascism can be viewed as one of the forms of the "revolt of the elite", a mutation of corporatism that invariably emerges during acute economic crises and related loss of profitability of many businesses. While cannon fodder of neofascism are small business owners, the puppeteers always are large business owners and, especially, financial oligarchy and oligarchy connected to military-industrial complex. For the latter neofascism is an ideal regime.
That's why right now proto-fascist and neofascist groups and sentiments are on the rise in many countries including, but not limited USA, France, Germany, Holland, Russia, Poland, Greece, Ukraine, Hungary, Finland, Norway. In many cases neofascist parties such as Ukrainian Svoboda get enough votes to be represented in national parliaments (algemeiner.com/2013/05/24):
In Ukraine, the noisiest anti-Semitic group is the Svoboda ( "Freedom”) party. Established in 1991 as the "Social-National Party of Ukraine” under the SS-era symbol of the Wolfsangel. In 2004, with new leader Oleh Tyahnybok, the party renamed itself and adopted innocuous symbols.
That, however, didn’t change the Nazi characteristic of the party. Tyahnybok himself has stated on several occasions that the "Moscow-Jewish mafia” is running Ukraine. Other prominent party members have often used the derogatory, anti Jewish slur ”zhid”, including against Ukrainian-born American actress Mila Kunis, suggesting she was not a "real” Ukrainian because of her Jewish heritage.
Svoboda supporters include among their heroes leaders of pro-Nazi World War II organizations known for their atrocities against Jews and Poles, such as the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), and the 14th Waffen-SS Galicia Division. (To Svoboda’s vocal displeasure, Poland’s parliament recently introduced a resolution condemning the OUN and the UPA for wartime massacres of Polish civilians.)
Here is another telling video:
Skinheads is also a prominent phenomenon which is typical for many European countries. They are definitely part of neofascism movement. This rage is directed toward immigrants. Torch processions borrowed from classic fascism now became common in many countries (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-20929755)
7 January 2013 Last updated at 01:38 ET Help
A sudden rise in popularity of Ukraine's ultra-nationalist party, Svoboda, has caused concern both inside and outside the country.
Svoboda, which means "freedom" in Ukrainian, is allied with European far-right parties. But many observers warn that its views are extremist.
David Stern reports from Kiev.
Also popular are typical for classic fascism physical violence such as street fights with opponents. A new element is that now it can happen during football matches like recently in Poland: video was removed by Youtube
While neofascism is anti-democratic, anti-liberal, and corporatist, unlike classic fascism which openly declared itself as such, they deployed as thick smoke screen of propaganda to present itself in completely different light. The destruction of meaning by creating "empty phrases" combining opposite ideas has, as we have seen, become a prominent strategy deployed by the conservative movement.]
Another key element of neofascism is "vast, systemic, blanket collection of the personal data of innocent people." It often covered with a fig leaf of "fight against terrorism". DW.DE 09.01.2014
Like classic fascism neofascism remains rabidly anti-socialist. Actually socialists and communists, let's not forget, were among the first people imprisoned and "liquidated" by the Nazi regime.
Early on during the first term of the Bush presidency many progressives characterized Bush's statements and actions as "neofascist". It is also true that Bush II has some neofascist baggage, as Bush family did has some ties with fascist regimes in the past and the U.S. government found that Bush's grandfather had illegally aided the Nazis during the 30's. It's true that regime of Bush II has some neofascist leanings. It definitely introduced into public discourse and tried to implement in practice several elements of neofascist ideology. Some of them with some interesting innovations. For example, unlike classic fascism instead of mass mobilization Bush government preferred political passivity as prescribed by Inverted Totalitarism doctrine ("go shopping" was his famous recommendation after 9/11).
But full development of neofascist ideas and forming a popular party is impossible without acute economic distress
or political crisis (like the one in Ukraine) and a real economic crisis arrived only at the end of Bush Presidency (2008). So paradoxically the major implementer of Bush neofascist ideas and first of all the idea of total surveillance was the regime of Barack Obama. With a tea-party being a close proxy of radical neofascist parties in Eastern Europe. There is distinct racial element in it. Nobody will try to disprove the claim that it has mainly white middle class composition. And like European radical parties of neofascist orientation it endorses violence to achieve its goals. See Tea Party and right wing rage
But even if we assume that 9/11 was a false flag operation that is reminiscent of Reichstag Fire generally the USA neofascist elements were innovatively mixed with the ideas from the theoretical model called Inverted Totalitarism. Direct violence toward opponents never materialized. Just the pre-existing process of the conversion of the USA into National Security State dramatically increased. Now we know more about the new role assigned to NSA during this period.
American exeptionalism ideas promoted by Bush administration clearly resonate with the proto-fascist "... uber alles" ideas. The unique feature here is that they were integrated into the framework of globalist neoliberal regime. So it's more like "top 1% uber alles" then "The USA uber alles" ;-).
It should be stressed that some of the ideas inherent in neofascist doctrine are integral part of European culture. As Paxton describes them (Robert O. Paxton, "The Five Stages of Fascism," The Journal of Modern History 70 (March 1998): pp. 3-5.) in the following way:
...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:
- The primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether universal or individual.
- 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.
- Dread of the group's decadence under the corrosive effect of individualistic and cosmopolitan [neoliberalism.
- 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.
- An enhanced sense of identity and belonging, in which the grandeur of the group reinforces individual self-esteem.
- Authority of natural leaders (always male) throughout society, culminating in a national chieftain who alone is capable of incarnating the group's destiny.
- The beauty of violence and of will, when they are devoted to the group's success in a Darwinian struggle.
Paxton's list makes easier to identify typical "passions" which are at play in proto-fascist environment, particularly during the debate over the Iraq war and the attacks on dissenters that occurred during it (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.
In 2002, Laurence W. Britt's Fascism Anyone? analyzed seven fascist regimes in order to find the common features that constitute "generic fascism". He selected the following regimes: Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Franco's Spain, Salazar's Portugal, Papadopoulos's Greece, Pinochet's Chile, and Suharto's Indonesia. He found 14 common characteristics (reprinted below, with 6 additions by Umberto Eco) and concluded:
"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."
We think "maybe not." It's just a matter of degree. There is an ongoing transformation of the US in this particular direction.
It is difficult to tell when far right nationalistic group get brown color. Litmus text is the creation of paramilitary group (death squads, stormtroopers, etc) for repression of opponents and adoption of terror as a legitimate methods of struggle for power. Those paramilitary group exists outside law, the key interpreter of which became the party not the counts. Another telling sign is the creation of concentration camps.
Here are six more characteristics found in Umberto Eco's "Eternal Fascism: Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt," from New York Review of Books, 22 June 1995, pp.12-15.
Both Eastern and Western Europe are experiencing a new and important cultural and political development: the appearance of a new breed, new generation, of far right, extremist movements. These are some indications of the emergence of a new, emerging political forces in Europe which emerged as a reaction to neoliberalism with its dominance of globalized banking. That lead to paradoxical situation when many of Le Pen's votes come from former Red strongholds. In other word like in 20th and 30th the working class is, for very understandable reasons, is turning to nationalism as an antidote to casino capitalism enforced by the USA. So the USA neoliberal empire is the main precondition for resurgence As Slavoj Žižek noted:
The Ukrainian nationalist right is one instance of what is going on today from the Balkans to Scandinavia, from the US to Israel, from central Africa to India: ethnic and religious passions are exploding, and Enlightenment values receding.
These passions have always been there, lurking; what’s new is the outright shamelessness of their display.
... ... ...
One of the signs of this regression is a request often heard on the new European right for a more "balanced" view of the two "extremisms", the right and the left. We are repeatedly told that one should treat the extreme left (communism) the same way that Europe after the second world war treated the extreme right (the defeated fascists)
But in reality there is no balance here: the equation of fascism and communism secretly privileges fascism. Thus the right are heard to argue that fascism copied communism: before becoming a fascist, Mussolini was a socialist; Hitler, too, was a National Socialist; concentration camps and genocidal violence were features of the Soviet Union a decade before Nazis resorted to them; the annihilation of the Jews has a clear precedent in the annihilation of the class enemy, etc.
The point of these arguments is to assert that a moderate fascism was a justified response to the communist threat (a point made long ago by Ernst Nolte in his defence of Heidegger’s involvement with Nazism). In Slovenia, the right is advocating the rehabilitation of the anti-communist Home Guard which fought the partisans during the second world war: they made the difficult choice to collaborate with the Nazis in order to thwart the much greater evil of communism.
Among other condition that favor resurgence of such groups we can name such features of neoliberal regimes, what now dominate the continent as demographic pressures from immigrant labor, social dislocation due to dismantling of social security state, and economic pressures inherent in "dog eat dog" capitalism and outsourcing to lower wage countries advocated by neoliberalism. In many ways neoliberalism represents a perfect environment for nurturing neofascist movements.
Those pressures are very similar to pressures which used to exist in 20th and 30th of the last century. As before they stimulate the formation of a new generation of far right movements whose motives and characteristics while somewhat differ from the right wing groups of the early twentieth century what came to power in Italy, Germany and Spain are still driven by the same resentment of middle class and "Lumpenbourgeoisie". They use the same ideas of dominance of particular ethnic group. scapegoat in form of another ethnic group, glorification of state, using violence against opponents, limitations on civil rights in the name of giving the state more power to protect the populace from "destructive elements" within the society and external aggressors. Fall of "fist generation" fascist regimes did not destroy the movement which acquired strong roots in neoliberal societies across the globe.
They are different from classic far right nationalist of the past that the criteria of belonging is no longer ethnicity per se (although some elements, for example anti-Semitism and Russophobia, of this remained) but "cultural affiliation" and first of all the language. In other words they are not fascists, they are neofascists. But in Ukraine they are not only alive, they are particularly well. Ukraine is the first European state where element of neofascist Party were included in the government after putsch of February 22.
All that means that the huge rise of Ukrainian far right forces is not a unique and isolated phenomenon. Far right organizations that first crystallized around football ultras and skinheads are European-wide phenomenon. See for example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gG-2HdFdvkY
This process also includes Russia although level of suppression of nationalism and especially neofascism in Russia is probably one of the highest among European countries.
And it goes without saying that all major EU counties experience dramatic rise of far right forces too. That includes Germany, France, Sweden as well as usual suspects Hungary, Poland and Baltic states (Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia). The whole story of the EU since the Maastricht Treaty and the establishment of the Euro was about neoliberal conversion similar to the USA conversion. And this conversion destroyed standards of living of lower middle class, especially small merchants, across southern Europe. Now the Southern Europe have had enough and are going to send nationalists to the European Parliament (The Guardian, May 14, 2014):
This new wave of nationalism is different then the previous wave which arose in the beginning of XX century and which led to establishment of "classic" fascist regimes. It can be called "cultural nationalism" where not ethnicity, but cultural identity was put in the center of the nationalistic doctrine.
In France, Denmark and Finland, rightwing nationalist and racist parties are set to win more than 20% of the vote – with Geert Wilders' Muslim-baiting Freedom party not far behind in the Netherlands. So is the virulently anti-Roma and anti-Semitic Jobbik in Hungary, while the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party in Greece is on the way to winning its first Euro seats.In France, Denmark and Finland, rightwing nationalist and racist parties are set to win more than 20% of the vote – with Geert Wilders' Muslim-baiting Freedom party not far behind in the Netherlands. So is the virulently anti-Roma and antisemitic Jobbik in Hungary, while the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party in Greece is on the way to winning its first Euro seats.
For "cultural nationalism" a common identity is based more on acceptance for the language and the culture than on the racial solidarity (although it dies not exclude xenophobia). Due to the power of the USA and general alliance with the West, fewer of this movements and parties are openly anti-Semitic and if they are anti-Semitic then the stress is on refusal of Jews to accept the national culture, the charge similar to the change of "country less cosmopolitans" trials in the USSR in late 40th of the last century.
Ukrainian fascists love the Russia-hammering NATO, but detest the Russia-accommodating and supra-nationalistic EU.
And they aren’t alone. Fascism — and anti-EU sentiment — pervade parts of Europe that never felt Stalin’s wrath. In the last elections for the European Parliament, "eurosceptics” and xenophobic ultra-nationalists scored significant gains, led by Marine Le Pen, whose National Front took 25% of the French seats.
A lot of it has to do with the equivocal track record of globalized neo-liberal capitalism in the last decade. We’re all Pikettyists now, and it seems that among the most important outcomes of neo-liberalism are income inequality and oligarchs.
It is anathema to liberal democrats, but it should be acknowledged that fascism is catching on, largely as a result of a growing perception that neo-liberalism and globalization are failing to deliver the economic and social goods to a lot of people.
Democracy is seen as the plaything of oligarchs who manipulate the current system to secure and expand their wealth and power; liberal constitutions with their guarantees of minority rights appear to be recipes for national impotence. Transnational free markets in capital and goods breed local austerity, unemployment, and poverty. Democratic governments seem to follow the free market playbook, get into problems they can’t handle, and surrender their sovereignty to committees of Euro-financiers.
Fascism, with its exaltation of the particular, the emotional, and the undemocratic provides an impregnable ideological and political bulwark against these outside forces.
Fascism has become an important element in the politics of resistance: a force that obstructs imposition of the norms of globalization, and an ideology that justifies the protection of local interests against the demands of liberal democracy, transnational capital, and property and minority rights.
Maybe it’s neo-liberalism, not fascism, that is facing a crisis of legitimacy and acceptance.
So the idea that fascism can be treated as a delusional artifact of the 20th century and the challenge of fascism to the neo-liberal order can be ignored is, itself, wishful thinking.
... ... ...
For some, resentment will, inevitably, congeal around nationalism and the perception that fascist resistance, defiantly militant, uncompromising, and irrational, racial and undemocratic, exclusionary and brutal, is the best instrument to achieve local identity and agency—power– in an ever bigger, more dangerous, and less responsive continental order.
New nationalist movements and far right groups widely use Internet and have well established Web presence including such social sited as Facebook and Google++. They also establish cross-border links with similar parties. For example Ukrainian far-right group have links not only with Germany far right (which is natural for them), but paradoxically also with Polish far-right with which they theoretically should be bitter enemies and sometimes even with Russian neo-liberals (several of them visited EuroMaidan in "support missions") and far-right groups (despite the fact that Russian culture and by extension people are official cultural enemy of Ukrainian nationalism)
The story of 20th and 30th repeats again. Far right groups are nurtured by both government and part of the big business as the most adequate response to the challenging and poorly controlled political situation at home. That happened, for example, in Ukraine under Yanukovich who essentially nurtured his own demise. As Helena Smith reported about Greece (The Observer, [Jun 09, 2014):
It has been a bad week for democracy in Athens. All around this great Greek city, the politics of hate now lurk. On Friday I got a taste of it in the tiny Italian-style cafe I frequent off Syntagma Square.
It arrived in the form of two middle-aged men, both supporters of the neofascist Golden Dawn – and, by their own account, the holders of university degrees, well-travelled and well-informed. Over espressos, they began to engage in an animated discussion about all that is wrong with Greece.
The first, a self-described businessman decked out in designer suit, brogues and silk tie, blamed the country's economic collapse on malfeasance, corruption and uncontrolled immigration. "The only way to teach our filthy politicians is to bring in Golden Dawn," he trilled, his eyes locked in a fierce glare. "These gentlemen are patriots, proud Greek nationalists, and they know how to deal with the scum, the foreigners who never pay taxes, who steal our jobs, who have taken over our streets."
What makes Ukrainian experience more interesting is the Ukrainian far right forces are classic case of forces brought to the front stage and openly supported by the neoliberal government. They were covertly supported by all Ukrainian governments, but, especially, by pro-US "democratic" Yushchenko regime, since 1991 as a way to create "Ukrainian national identity". This is when they got open state support and Yushchenko even dared to bestow the title of hero of Ukraine to the leader of Ukrainian nationalists in WWII Stepan Bandera, who is guilty of serious crimes such an ethnic cleansing against Polish citizens and Jews.
Viktor Yushchenko, the president produced by the last American-supported Ukrainian uprising, the "Orange Revolution,” put the full weight of the ideological apparatus of the Ukrainian state into reinventing the history of Ukrainian complicity with Nazism into a "national liberation” mythology.
But paradoxically it was not Yushchenko, but Yanukovich regime and his financial and logistical support which essentially launch Svoboda into mainstream. As CounterPunch noted (The Durability of Ukrainian Fascism):
Ukrainian nationalists turned largely toward fascism, specifically toward a concept of "integral nationalism” that, in the absence of an acceptable national government, manifested itself in a national will residing in the spirit of its adherents, not expressed by the state or restrained by its laws, but embodied by a charismatic leader and exercised through his organization, whose legitimacy supersedes that of the state and whose commitment to violence makes it a law unto itself.
That leader, at least for many Ukrainians of the fascist persuasion, was Stepan Bandera. The organization, his OUN-B faction.
This state of affairs persists in today’s successor to the OUN-B, Pravy Sektor, with its fascist trappings, leader cult, and paramilitary arm. The "mainstreaming” of the second major fascist grouping, Svoboda, looks more like a strategic repackaging in order to strive for greater electoral success by hiding its fascist antecedents.
So, unfortunately for apologists for the current Kyiv regime, the correct description of these two groups is not "nationalist” or "ultranationalist”; it is "fascist”.
Fatally, the Ukrainian government has turned to fascist nationalism and heroes in order to forge a post-Soviet, essentially Ukrainian, identity for the post-1991 state
Paradoxically, part of Ukrainian far right groups, at least superficially, are pro-EU. It is less paradoxical then it sounds is we assume that the cultural affinity is the key to the new nationalism. Ukrainian nationalists cultural identity is based on strong, fanatic rejection of all things Russian demonstrating a perfect example of Narcissism of small differences -- the tendency to exaggerate the dissimilarities of those who resemble us in an effort to buttress our own self-regard...
An excellent discussion of why this is the case and why they are nurtured by the US government was provided in the article Charge of the Right Brigade: Ukraine and the Dynamics of Capitalist Insurrection from The Polemicist blog (March 19, 2014). I recommend to read this excellent analysis in full, but here is a (large) relevant quote:
To pretend that the ex-post-facto parliamentary maneuvers that ratified the result of this insurrection actually confer some kind of retroactive constitutional legitimacy on it is ludicrous. As Nicolai Petro points out, these actions were taken by "a Parliament that rules without any representation from the majority party – since most of the deputies of the east and the south of the country are afraid to set foot in Parliament… [and] all across the country, headquarters of parties are being sacked by their opponents,” by a parliament that outlawed the only effective remaining opposition party (the Communists) and that "consolidate[ed] the powers of the speaker of the Parliament and the acting president in a single individual, giving him greater powers than allowed under any Ukrainian constitution,” in a context where "Vigilante militias routinely attack and disperse public gatherings they disapprove of.”25 Please, let’s recognize these parliamentary acts as what they are – the ratification of an insurrection, in defiance of the extant constitutional order. Call them the first steps in a new, post-insurrection constitutional order if you want, but recognize the radical break they represent.
And why not call this what it is? Isn’t that what revolutionary change is all about – a radical break with the old order? To reprise what I said in a previous post on Egypt: An electoral process can be a thin facade of democracy and, effectively, a tool of disempowerment, justifying militant extra-electoral politics, or even insurrection. A serious revolutionary conjuncture, a real break into a new social order, usually involves both. It’s an unapologetic, forceful, seizure of power that seeks to be definitive and irreversible. (Of course, not every insurrection is a revolution, or even a step forward, but let’s leave that aside for the moment.)
As someone who accepts the revolutionary socialist argument, I do not object to extra-legal, extra-parliamentary, insurrectionary politics per se. And guess what? All the self-proclaimed liberal, conservative, moderate, non-violent, constitutional, parliamentary democratic thinkers, politicians and commentators who are proudly and loudly supporting what happened in Ukraine also do not object to extra-legal, extra-parliamentary, insurrectionary politics per se – they just don’t want to admit it. Like me, they will support an insurrection, depending on what it’s about. Unlike me, they will pretend it wasn’t really an insurrection at all, just another, maybe somewhat "messy,” but fundamentally non-violent, constitutionally-authorized transition within the rules of bourgeois parliamentary democracy. And that’s because, as the man said: We wouldn’t permit that in any Western capital, no matter how righteous the cause.
It’s quite amusing, until it gets sickening, to watch American leaders—who cling to the notion that a thin, corrupt, disempowering electoral process legitimizes them — embrace the forceful overthrow of a democratically-elected leader in a functioning parliamentary democracy while insisting they are doing no such thing.
Let’s recognize that virtually nobody really supports or opposes what happened in Ukraine, or anywhere else, because it was an insurrection, but because of what kind of insurrection it was – what it’s explicit and implicit socio-political objective was, what different kind of society and polity it was moving toward creating. And let’s recognize that the US would denounce, and help to crush, any insurrection, no matter how popular or righteous the cause, in which leftist forces played anything close to the prominent fighting role that right-wing, neofascist forced played in this one. If revolutionary anarcho-syndicalists had been the vanguard of the Maidan, Yanukovych would have been America’s "democratic” hero.
As for "democracy” (along with "nonviolent,” one of the most dishonestly abused words in the American political vocabulary), it certainly does not just mean having an election. It means power to the people. Neither Ukrainian oligarchs, nor the EU-IMF neo-liberal "technocrats,” nor the American government, nor NATO, want that. They have too much to lose.
It was a right-wing, imperialist insurrection, powered by fascist groups and permeated with fascist ideology.
The overthrow of Yanukovych was an insurrection accomplished by a political movement that was driven by popular socio-economic discontent and thoroughly imbued by "ultranationalist”—i.e., neofascist—ideology.
It was decidedly not a revolution, in the strong sense of the word. A revolutionary insurrection marks the beginning of a change in the social order. This movement did not, will not, and, given its foundations, could not, establish a popular government that will create anything like more widespread prosperity and deeper democracy, let alone a new social order.
It was a regime change, fuelled by popular discontent, powered by neofascist militants, and surreptitiously managed by American intelligence diplomats, with Ukrainian oligarchs maneuvering for ultimate control behind the scenes—factions that have different, sometimes internally contradictory, agendas. It will create a government that will be controlled by and benefit some Ukrainian oligarchs at the expense of others, that will benefit European and American capitalism at the (acknowledged, indeed promised!) cost of austerity and immiseration for Ukrainian working people, and that will benefit American and NATO plans for an ever-tightening military encirclement of Russia at the expense of possible war and perpetual tension for Ukraine.
The only possibility for a more serious, "revolutionary” break from neo-liberal standards of oligarchic-imperial rule in the near future would come from the neofascist groups, who indeed imagine themselves to have a radically different agenda. But guess what? Faced with any popular uprising against its policies, from the right or the left, the new neo-liberal, Euro-facing, Russia-hating, America-loving, Ukrainian government, and its international supporters, will trot out the bourgeois democratic principles that its leaders, of course, never really contravened, and insist, Berkut (by any other name) and all: We won’t permit that in our democratic, European capital, no matter how righteous the cause.
Is there anybody who honestly doubts any of this?
Brendan O’Neill makes the point quite nicely:
For what we have in Ukraine is not revolution, but regime change …As for the word ‘revolution’ … its deployment in Ukraine takes its bastardisation to a new low: there has of course been no replacement of one social order by another in Ukraine, or even the installment of a people’s government; instead various long-established parties in parliament, some of which are deeply unpopular among certain constituencies in Ukraine, are forming an interim government. Revolutionary? Hardly.
The Western debate and coverage … has certainly made externally generated regime change seem revolutionary, and the Western-assisted anti-democratic removal of an elected leader seem like an act of people’s democracy. It has exposed a severe dearth of independent critical thinking among the Western commentariat. …
The truth of what has happened in Ukraine is this: the EU and Washington have effectively brought about regime change, replacing an elected pro-Russian regime with an unelected, still-being-formed new government that is more amenable to the institutions of the West.26
Regarding the "fascism” question, Max Blumenthal’s Alternet piece, and Per Anders Rudling’s detailed scholarly study are indispensable sources. Rudling understates considerably, when he says: "The far-right tradition is particularly strong in western Ukraine.” The fascist currents in the Kiev movement are undeniable. They are represented in the parliament by the Svoboda (Freedom) Party (originally called the Social National Party). In December, 2012, the European Parliament condemned Svoboda for its "racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic views,” and urged other Ukrainian parties "not to associate with, endorse or form coalitions with this party.”27
As Blumenthal notes, Svoboda’s leader, Oleh Tyahnybok, defines his mission as freeing his country from the "Muscovite-Jewish mafia.” His deputy, Yuriy Mykhalchyshyn founded a think tank named after a historical figure he admires greatly: The Joseph Goebbels Political Research Center. Svoboda’s – and, unfortunately, much of western Ukraine’s – "nationalism” is embodied in the revered figure of Stepan Bandera, a World War II-era Nazi collaborator who led the pro-fascist Organization of Ukrainian (OUN), which helped to form a Ukrainian division of the Waffen SS to fight with the Nazis against the Soviet Union. From 1942-1944, Yaroslav Stetsko, the "Prime Minister” of ONU-B (Bandera’s wing), who supported "bringing German methods of exterminating Jewry to Ukraine,” oversaw the killing of "more than 90,000 Poles and thousands of Jews” in western Ukraine. Banderists in Lvov circulated a pamphlet telling the city’s Jews: "We will lay your heads at Hitler’s feet.”28
After the war, Bandera’s Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) continued its fascist campaign for "a totalitarian, ethnically pure Europe,” engaging in a futile armed struggle against the Soviet Union, until KGB agents assassinated him in Munich in 1959. Nothing "neo” about this Nazi.
Viktor Yushchenko, the president produced by the last American-supported Ukrainian uprising, the "Orange Revolution,” put the full weight of the ideological apparatus of the Ukrainian state into reinventing the history of Ukrainian complicity with Nazism into a "national liberation” mythology. He "tasked a set of nationalistically minded historians” into "disseminating a sanitized, edifyingly patriotic version of the history of the ‘Ukrainian national liberation movement,’ the leaders of which were presented in iconographic form as heroic and saintly ﬁgures, martyrs of the nation.”
Thus, in 2010, against the protestation of the European Parliament—which he accused of having a "historical complex” — Yushchenko awarded Stepan Bandera the title of "Hero of Ukraine."29 As Rudling notes: "There was little protest from intellectuals who identify themselves as liberals.” It was the government of big, bad Yanukovych that later annulled the award.
And thus, still satisfied by their political research, Svoboda led a 15,000-person march in honor of Bandera in Kiev on January 1st of this year, with chants of "Ukraine above all” and "Bandera, come and bring order!” 30
Now, as a result of the insurrection, Svoboda, which won about 10% of the vote in the last election, has effectively muscled the much larger (34% of the last vote) Party of the Regions out of parliament, and seeks nationally to outlaw it and the Communist Party (13% of the vote), whose leader’s house was burned down. With the help of its Right Sector allies, these parties have already been banned in a number of regions. Svoboda now holds "key leadership positions in the parliament and law enforcement, four ministerial portfolios in the new government [including Prosecutor General and Deputy Prime Minister] and several appointed governorships.” Svoboda’s co-founder, Andriy Parubiy, is head of the National Security & Defense Council of the new, democratic, government of Ukraine.31
So, fourteen months after denouncing Svoboda for its "racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia,” European governments are gushing over the new "democracy” in Ukraine over which Svoboda presides. And, as the BBC reports: "Inside the columned central hall of Kiev's city council, an activist base of operations, hung a giant banner with a Celtic cross, a symbol of ‘white power,’ and an American confederate flag….and an immense portrait of Stepan Bandera.”32Keep in mind, too, Rudling’s point that the whole Banderist "national liberation” narrative "was well received in western Ukraine but was received coldly or met open hostility in the eastern and southern parts of the country.”
As Svoboda represents fascism in the parliament, Right Sector (Pravy Sektor) represented fascism in the maidan, and continues to do so with its intimidating tactics in the streets and administrative offices of Kiev and the regions, as well as from its new positions in government. Right Sector is a confederation of far-right groups such as Patriots of Ukraine, the Social-National Assembly, White Hammer, Stepan Bandera’s Trident, and the Ukrainian National Assembly-Ukrainian People's Self-Defense (UNA-UNSO). Their favorite ensign is the wolfsangel--a favorite, too, of the Waffen SS--which was on display all over the maidan:
As Ukrainian journalist Oleg Shynkarenko points out, Right Sector leader, Dmytro Yarosh defines the group's creed thusly: "We are against degeneration and totalitarian liberalism, but we support traditional morals and family values, against the cult of profit and depravity.” Right Sector’s websites rail against the "liberal homodictatorship” of modern Western society.33 Blumenthal points out that Right Sector is: "linked to a constellation of international neofascist parties,” and "through the Alliance of European National Movements (AEMN), Right Sector is promising to lead its army of aimless, disillusioned young men on ‘a great European Reconquest’.” In some ways, the neofascist right does want power to the people—just the morally and ethnically pure people.
BBC did a decent report on the "Neo-Nazi threat in new Ukraine.” Again, maybe not so "neo.” The reporter, Gabriel Gatehouse, interviews Svoboda and Right Sector militants, meets a group called C14 (apparently an armed wing of Svoboda) under a portrait of Lenin in the Communist Party headquarters they had taken over, and shows two Svoboda MPs displaying "14” and "88” tokens. These numbers, which are often displayed in combination, and which appeared in graffiti throughout the maidan, have special fascist significance: "14” stands for from the Fourteen Words coined by an American white supremacist: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White children” (there’s an alternate version, about "the White Aryan woman”); "88” represents a double of the eighth letter of the Latin alphabet, HH, for Heil Hitler. [I cannot make this stuff up.]
Yes, it depends what you’re fighting for.
My favorite is this 2½-minute tidbit from a young Right Sector gentleman, explaining the group’s, and his, affinity for "National Socialist themes,” and assuring his interviewer that they want a society that’s just "a little bit like” that "under Hitler”:
The leader of the Right Sector, Dmytro Yarosh, is now the deputy head of the National Security Council, and is running for President, of Ukraine’s new, democratic, government.
You might also take a look at this video, where Right Sector leader Aleksandr Muzychko roughs up a local prosecutor to show him who’s the boss now, and threatens to have him lynched: "Shut the fuck up, you bitch! Your fucking time is over… If you think I am goodie because I’ve come without my rifle, you are gravely mistaken. I’ve come with a pistol. There are a few choice videos of Muzychko, who is also identified as a member of the "Wiking" unit of the Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian People’s Self-Defense (UNA-UNSO), another post-Banderist right-wing paramilitary group.
So there’s no question that fascists were part of the insurrection, and there is no question that they were crucial to its success. As Oleg Shynkarenko insists, the scenes of fighting resistance and advance were led by Right Sector and allied groups:[I]t was the far right that first started to talk back to Yanukovych in his own language. They were the first to throw Molotov cocktails and stones at police and to mount real and well-fortified barricades. They were amongst those who burned two military troop carriers that attacked the barricades on February 18. The Euromaidan won thanks to the resoluteness of people who were ready to fight rather than to negotiate in parliament when any negotiation became pointless.Nicolai Petro agrees, and points out the political ramifications:I ascribe a much greater role to the Right Sector…the spearhead of the revolution. … [T]he actual coup was accomplished thanks to the armed intervention of extreme nationalists, led by the Right Sector. And the fact that they were so instrumental in accomplishing this change of power has put them in the driver’s seat. From now on, whatever political decisions are arrived at will really be at the sufferance of the Right Sector.Let’s be clear, also, that these neofascist groups not only fought and defeated Yanokovych’s police, they attacked and drove away any political group from the left that tried to establish a presence in the maidan. The fascists made sure they controlled the radical politics of the square. Sascha, a member of AntiFascist Action Ukraine, a group that monitors and fights fascism in Ukraine, recounts in an interview published in mid-February:A group of 100 anarchists tried to arrange their own self-defense group, different Anarchist groups came together for a meeting on the Maidan. While they were meeting a group of Nazis came in a larger group, they had axes and baseball bats and sticks, helmets, they said it was their territory. They called the Anarchists things like Jews, blacks, Communists. There weren’t even any Communists, that was just an insult. The Anarchists weren’t expecting this and they left. People with other political views can’t stay in certain places, they aren’t tolerated.34And Mira, of the same group, adds:One of the worst things is that Pravy has this official structure. They are coordinated. You need passes to go certain places. They have the power to give or not give people permission to be active. We’re trying to be active but we have to avoid Nazis, and I’m not going to ask a Nazi for permission!...Early on a Stalinist tent was attacked by Nazis. One was sent to the hospital. Another student spoke out against fascism and he was attacked.Pravy Sektor got too much attention after the first violence, the media gave them popularity and they started to think they’re cool guys. Pravy existed before but now it’s growing and attracting a lot of new people.Ilya Budraitskis, a Russian Socialist who came to the maidan in January, tells us how the "ultranationalists” brutalized and evicted everyone from leftish Europhiles to anarchists:Another part of the left repetitively tried to join the movement, even after they were repetitively kicked out of it. Some of the "euro-enthusiastic” leftists came to Maidan in November with red (instead of blue) flag of the EU, with banners for free healthcare and education, and with feminist slogans. They were brutally attacked by Nazis. Then there was an episode when the far-right attacked the tent of the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine near the Maidan. A man on the stage said that there were some "provocateurs” and said that "men know what to do”; as a result, a mob of Nazis has broken ribs of the trade union activists, tore their tent with knives and stolen their property. The victims hadn’t been doing anything "leftist” per se, but they were members of the left movement, known to their political adversaries, and that was enough….[T]here is also another group of people who are often confused with the radical left. …who call themselves anarchists but actually have a very conservative political agenda full of machismo and xenophobia. After the protests have begun, they shifted to the right dramatically; they reached truce with the nazi groups and showered Molotov cocktails at the police together. Eventually, they parted ways with left movement finally.A week ago they, together with some actual leftists who wanted to "act”, decided to form an "anarchist sotnia [defense unit]” in the Maidan self-defence. In order to do that, they were prepared to give an oath to [Svoboda leader] Andriy Parubiy. But when they formed their ranks to do this, they were met by approximately 150 Svoboda fighters with baseball bats and axes. The fascists accused them of being racially impure and politically irrelevant and forced them out of Maidan.35So much for Professor Snyder’s agora.
Of course, the great majority of the people in the square are not fascists, but, for all the reasons of history and ideology discussed above, a lot of people in western Ukraine are susceptible to their charms. As Denis, from Kiev Autonomous Workers Union says: "[I]n the long run the rightist political hegemony is being reinforced,” because "That’s what happens when you don’t have a developed left movement and your liberals are too corrupt and ugly!” Here’s how he describes the rightward political momentum on the maidan:[Far right] ideology has really become more acceptable in the mainstream (which had initially been leaning to the right!). ... Of course, most protesters really say they want political pluralism, bourgeois democracy. … But at the same time the crowd at the Maidan revives some deeply buried pre-modern, medieval social practices like whipping post, lynching, reinforced traditional gender roles. This scary readiness to slip into barbarism is born from the general disenchantment with parliamentary politics and the ubiquitous nationalist mythology about the golden past, imposed in schools and media.The original Euromaidan agenda in November was a right liberal one, standing for the EU, "economic liberties” and bourgeois democracy. But even then the issues of multiculturalism, LGBT rights, workers’ rights and freedoms were severely repressed by the politically conscious far-right activists … [whose] political programme had always included critique of the EU’s "liberal fascism”. … The attackers didn’t represent the majority of protesters, but the majority was very susceptible to their political agenda which they had been aggressively pushing through…[P]eople are new to politics, they just "know” they are rightists and nationalists. And therefore they trust the more politically experienced leaders to express their views and formulate their programme for them. It just so happens that those leaders are nationalists or even Nazis. And they shift the centre of the political discourse even further to the right.But, first of all, their ideas are welcome among the apolitical crowd; second of all, they are very well organized, and also people love their "radicalism”. An average Ukrainian worker hates the police and the government but he will never fight them openly and risk his comfort. So he or she welcomes a "vanguard” which is ready to fight on their behalf; especially if that vanguard shares "good” patriotic values….And since the basic "common sense” had long ago been established on the nationalist fundamental assumptions, the radicalization goes only further in that direction.36As we all know, fascists don’t have to be a majority to determine outcomes, and their power to do so can increase very quickly under favorable conditions. Perhaps the most telling, and disturbing remark of the leftists cited in these interviews was this, from Sascha of AntiFascist Action Ukraine, a couple of weeks before the head of Right Sector became deputy head of the National Security and Defense Council: "If Pravy [Right Sector] has positions in a new government that would be really dangerous but that isn’t possible, they aren’t powerful enough.”
Oh, yes they are. Consider the stunning turn of events we have just witnessed: "the ascension of a genuinely fascist mass movement into the corridors of power” in a European country for the first time since WWII, greeted with a stunning non-chalance—nay, embraced as an exemplar of democracy—by the Western liberal democracies. University of Ottawa political scientist Ivan Katchanovski specifies: "The paramilitary right sector has de facto power at least in some Western Ukrainian regions,” and "The far right in Ukraine has now achieved the level of representation and influence that is unparalleled in Europe.”37
Then imagine, please, Professor Katchanovski’s last sentence with "left” substituted for "right,” and consider how unthinkable it is that any American government would be so welcoming of such a "democratic” outcome. The United States and its allied liberal democracies are, in other words, willing to accommodate very hard swings to the right in order to secure and/or extend the neo-liberal capitalist, and US/NATO imperialist, order, but will abide not an inch of movement toward resistance from the left—no matter how righteous or democratic the cause.
Intelligence agencies represent now a distinct and powerful political force with employees of those agencies as a surrogate of the authoritarian party that brought to power such leaders as Mussolini. And top brass as the leadership of the this quasi-party. In a way the tremendous growth of intelligences agencies creates state within the state and makes possible neofascism without mass political party. Professor Stephen Cohen aptly noted this newfound role of intelligence agencies in determining the results of the USA elections as well as the USA foreign policy in his article in Nation (US Congress has no Russian policy other than sanctions)
Oct 17, 2018
Inconvenient thoughts on Cold War and other news. Intelligence agencies, Nikki Haley, sanctions, and public opinion.
1. National intelligence agencies have long played major roles, often not entirely visible, in international politics. They are doing so again today, as is evident in several countries, from Russiagate in the United States and the murky Skripal assassination attempt in the UK to the apparent murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey. Leaving aside what President Obama knew about Russiagate allegations against Donald Trump and when he knew it, the question arises as to whether these operations were ordered by President Putin and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) or were " rogue " operations unknown in advance by the leaders and perhaps even directed against them.
There have been plenty of purely criminal and commercial " rogue " operations by intelligence agents in history, but also " rogue " ones that were purposefully political. We know, for example, that both Soviet and US intelligence agencies - or groups of agents - tried to disrupt the Eisenhower-Khrushchev détente of the late 1950s and early 1960s, and that some intelligence players tried to stop Khrushchev's formal recognition of West Germany, also in the early 1960s.
It is reasonable to ask, therefore, whether the attacks on Skripal and Khashoggi were " rogue " operations undertaken by political opponents of the leaders' policies at home or abroad, with the help of one or another intelligence agency or agents. Motive is a - perhaps the - crucial question. Why would Putin order such an operation in the UK at the very moment when his government had undertaken a major Western public-relations campaign in connection with the upcoming World Cup championship in Russia? And why would MbS risk a Khashoggi scandal as he was assiduously promoting his image abroad as an enlightened reform-minded Saudi leader?
Growth of censorship ad the level of control of MSM are another two signs of growing influence of intelligence agencies in political life of many countries and first of all the USA (Article Globalist Traitors Seek to Delete History--Who Are the Real Fascists OpEdNews )
We're living in a moment where we are seeing people adopting what used to be denounced as fascist policies--the shutting down of free speech, the destruction of opposition voices--and the people who are doing it are arguing that the president is a supporter of fascism. It is Orwellian...
... ... ...
Through the Foreign Intelligence Court (FISC), and a reciprocal intelligence-sharing partnership among the nations of Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. called the "Five Eyes," the Obama administration manufactured, altered and misrepresented various pieces of evidence in an attempt to justify conducting surveillance on certain individual Americans. The Obama administration--in conjunction with the FBI, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and, yes, the CIA--employed the same process that is used to spy on foreigners deemed to be severe terror threats to America against American citizens... specifically, in this case, political opponents vying against the Clinton-Obama globalist cabal.
Fascism is a system of political authority and social order intended to reinforce the unity, energy, and purity of communities in which liberal democracy stands accused of producing division and decline. [...]
A form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.
Aug 14, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Michael Fiorillo , , August 14, 2019 at 11:38 am
I can't add much to Yve's excellent post and the follow-up comments, except to say that the events of recent days and weeks have made Pizzagate (as deranged as it was) into some kind of weird Jungian premonition which is to say, the s&#* is out of control.
When Trump was first elected, I tried to calm down friends with advanced TDS, who expected Kristallnacht to be directed at their favorite brunch spots, by saying that "This is what empires in decline look like."
In regard to this sordid tale, I'm reminded of Robert Graves' (and the superb BBC TV version of) "I, Claudius."
"Don't eat the figs."
adrena , , August 14, 2019 at 11:48 am
In this sordid world, girls/women have absolutely no value.
ambrit , , August 14, 2019 at 12:16 pm
Don't forget the young boys who get traded around like fudge recipes. Something quick on the Hollywood angle on bent dicks. It applies almost everywhere in America now: https://news.avclub.com/corey-feldman-made-a-documentary-about-sexual-abuse-he-1834310252
My reinterpretation of your comment would be; In this sordid world, people without power have absolutely no value. Otherwise, I'm with you all the way. Abuse is abuse. No other definition is logical.
ambrit , , August 14, 2019 at 4:18 pm
Epstein's World was tied in with Hollywood and Wall Street. Both are homoerotic paedophile havens. The world of the Vatican is tied in to Wall Street; it has it's own bank, the Instituto per le Opere de Religioni.
Who knows? Perhaps there will be some Prelates unearthed from the Lolita Express passenger log.
Pelham , , August 14, 2019 at 1:54 pm
As is true with the continued withholding of key documents in the JFK assassination, I believe that if the lousy reporting and official screwups in the Epstein case persist, it will be perfectly fine for the public to conclude and believe the absolute worst and act accordingly.
Actually, we SHOULD believe the worst.
Robin Kash , , August 14, 2019 at 2:16 pm
Given the spotiness and inadequacy of reporting on the Epstein affair I wonder if an avenue for exploration might be that of a more direct involvement of media moguls and highly placed media staff in being serviced by Epstein i.e., the decision-makers regarding what gets covered and published are themselves subject to exposure, embarrassment, and other things that befall men caught in such matters.
Who covers the press and roots out its secret malefactions? Rogue reporters? And who publishes them? Indeed!
Aug 18, 2019 | dergipark.org.tr
To Michels organizations are the only means for the creation of a collective will and they work under the Iron Law of Oligarchy. He explicitly points out the indispensability of oligarchy from the organizations by saying that "It is organization which gives birth to the domination of the elected over electors, of the mandatanes over the mandators, of the delegates over delegators, who says organization, says oligarchy" (Michels 1966, p.365).
Oligarchical tendencies in organizations is not related to ideology or ends of the organizations. Of course, it is evident that any organization which is set up for autocratic aims , it is oligarchic by nature. To Michels, regardless of any ideological concerns, all types of organizations have oligarchic tendencies. It was his major question in political parties that "how can oligarchic tendencies be explained in socialist and democratic parties, which they declared war against it?"( Michels 1966, pp. 50-51).
When he examines this question throughout in his book: Political Parties, he sees organization itself particularly bureaucracy, nature of human being and the phenomenon of leadership as major factors for oligarchical tendencies in organizations. According to Michels' assessments, the crowd is always subject to suggestion and the masses have an apathy for guidance of their need. In contrast the leaders have a natural greed of power ( Michels 1966, pp. 64, 205). To Michels, leadership itself is not compatible with the most essential postulates of democracy, but leadership is a necessary phenomenon in every form of society. He says "At the outset, leaders arise spontaneously, their functions are ACCESSORY and GRATUITOUS. Soon however, they become professional leaders, and in this second stage of development they are stable and irremovable"(
Michels 1966, p. 364).
Leaders also have personal qualities that make them successful as a ruling class. These qualities are , the force of will, knowledge, strength of conviction, self sufficiency, goodness of heart and disinterestedness ( Michels 1966, p. 100 ). Furthermore there is a reciprocal relationship between leadership functions and the organizational structure. Majority of leaders abuse organizational opportunities for their personal aims by using their personal qualities and by creating means, organizational process or principles like party discipline.
As for as organization itself is considered as a source of oligarchy, Michels says that it is generally because of "PSYCHOLOGY OF ORGANIZATION ITSELF, that is to say, upon the tactical and technical necessities which result from the consolidation of every disciplined political aggregate."( Michels 1966, p. 365). Further as a particular type of organization bureaucracy and its features require an oligarchic structure.
At the societal level, although development in the democracy, oligarchy still exists. First of all he says by looking at the state as an organization, which needs a bureaucracy that is the source of enemy of individual freedom, the state represents a single gigantic oligarchy. An attempt to destroy this gigantic* oligarchy in fact brings a number of smaller oligarchies in society but does not eliminate it ( Michels 1966, p. 188,191,202). Secondly he agrees with Jean Jack Rousseau on the idea that "it is always against the natural order of things that the majority rule and the minority ruled." (Michels 1965, p. 106). Along with this idea professional leadership is seen by Michels as an incompatible phenomenon with
democracy, because , although the leaders at once are not more than executive agents off collective will, as soon as they gain the technical specialization, they emancipate themselves form the masses and start to use their power against the majority. ( Michels 1966, p.70). In addition to this, representative political system is not compatible with the ideal democracy, because to Michels, "a mass which delegates its sovereignty, that is to say transfer its sovereignty to the hands of the few individuals, abdicates its sovereign function ( Michels 1966, p. 73).
The third factor is related to level of socio-economic development of societies and experience of democracy in history. To him in this time ideal democracy is impossible due to socio-economic conditions, that further more he says that," The democracy has an inherent preference for the authoritarian solution of the important questions" (Michels 1966, p. 51, 342).
As a logical result of his iron law of oligarchy, he admits there are elites in society but not elite circulation in terms of replacing one another. He does not redefine the concept of elite, he took Pareto's theory of circulation of elites and modified it. To Michels, there is a battle between the old and new elites, leaders.
The end of this war is not an absolute replacement of the old elites by the new elites, but a reunion of elites, a perennial amalgamation. Complete replacement of elites is rare in history. The old elites attract, absorb and assimilate the new ones, and it is a continuous process (Michels 1966, p. 182, 343; Michels 1949, p. 63). Because for Michels, first " old aristocracy does not disappear, does not become proletarian or impoverished ( at least in absolute sense ), does not make way for new group of rulers , but that always remains at the head of nations, which it led over the course of centuries...[and second]...the old aristocracy be it very old rejuvenated, does not exercise the rule alone but is forced to shave it with some kind of new ruler" (Michels 1965, p. 75-76).
Aristocracy for Michels is not homogenous stratum, and consists of nobility and ruling class. Nobility represents a small but strong part of aristocracy. In this sense it seems that nobility represents real oligarchical power in the society. To Michels nobility holds itself at the helm and does not even dream of disappearing from the stage of history. Though not coinciding with aristocracy,
To Michels nobility holds itself at the helm and does not even dream of disappearing from the stage of history. Though not coinciding with aristocracy, and not constituting more than a part of it, nobility generally takes hold of it and makes itself its master. It pervades, conquers, and molds, the high middle class according to its own moral and social essence" ( Michels 1949,p. 77, 80 ). In contrast to nobility aristocracy is heterogeneous and a place where lower classes' members can easily rise and members of aristocracy can be subject to downward social mobility. For his time, he describes elements of aristocracy (1) aristocrats by birth (2) aristocracy of government clerks, (3) aristocracy of money (4) aristocracy of knowledge . All this groups also represent ruling class (Michels 1965, p. 76 ).
Michels does not get in too much special analysis of the relationships between aristocracy, ruling class and majority. I think he doesn't see that there are much differences in oligarchy in organization and oligarchy in society at large.
To me these two must be separated because (1) for individuals society in a sense an unavoidable place to be in contrast to organizations, particularly voluntary organization , (2) while society represent a more natural entity, organizations are more artificial entities and (3) organizations are set to realize certain targets in a certain period of time, in contrast society's targets are relatively unstable, and subject to reconstruction by people. To think of these questions, does not necessarily reject the existence of oligarchical tendencies in societies. In fact as Michels pointed out democracy has a legacy to solve important questions of society, by using oligarchic methods. Furthermore he also points out that at any social organization there is an intermixture of oligarchic and democratic tendencies. He says that"... In modem party life, aristocracy gladly present itself in democratic guise, while the substance of democracy is permeated with aristocratic elements. On the one side we have aristocracy is a democratic form, and on the other hand democracy with an aristocratic context" (Michels 1966, p.50).
... ... ...
In terms of replacement of old elites by new ones, there is a distinction between Pareto and Michels. Michels does not admit replacement of elites, but admits, amalgamation of new and old elites. In fact historically we can see both of them happened. In short term amalgamation of old and new elites, and in long terms replacement of old elites by new ones. This time period depends on changes in society at large. For example, consider socialist revolutions and aftermath of independent movement in developing countries where these two movements took place, old elites were wiped out. This type of changes are rarely in history. In short term, amalgamation of elites takes place and new elites gradually increases its proportion in the elite strata and ruling class. For example as a result of
industrialization in burope, Hughes observes that at the beginning ...upper class oligarchy shared power with the old aristocracy-but with each year that passed the balance seemed to incline more heavily in favor of the former" (Hughes 1965, pp.149-150). It can be concluded that new elites are bom as a result of socio- economic , political, and historical changes in society, and then these new elites via upward mobility, and that in the end the new elites take place the highest position in the society. In this process the adaptation ability of old elites determine their fates.
On democracy, Pareto always separate ideal democracy and democracy applied, and prefers to talk about the subjects of democracy rather than democracy itself. Michels is clearly in favor of democracy, Mosca was previously against democracy but after the experience of Fascism in Italy, he changed his mind.
How elitist theories affected democracy ? Two answers have given for this question. On the negative side, it has been said that these anti-democratic theories helped European ruling classes by restoring their self confidence and by increasing their consciousness about their privileges; therefore, elite theories become a vehicle for ruling classes (Hughes 1965 (b), p. 149), On the positive side, it has said that elitist theories have helped to enhance democratic theories, Michels himself believed that research on oligarchies necessary for development of democracy by saying that "...a serene and frank examination of oligarchical dangers of democracy will enable us to minimize these dangers,...(Michels 1966, p.370).
It can be said that elitist theories extended and increased awareness of masses and scientist against governments and ruling classes. As a result, many researches have been conducted on application of democracy in organizations.
Researches have shown that oligarchical tendencies are dominant in organizations and can not be eliminated totally. Further more, attempts to reduce oligarchic contrgl in organizations with very few exception have failed. In general, in voluntary organizations, the functional requirements of democracy con not be met most of the time (Lipset, Trow, and Coleman 1956, p.4,6,452).
Is democracy still compatible with elite theories? That has been the question that lead to redefine, reconceptualize the democracy. Here we must pay attention that Pareto, Mosca, and Michels worked J.J. Rousseau's definition of democracy: government by the people, but not government for the people (Burnham 1943, pp.156-7).
New democratic theories like political pluralism, theory of the mass society are compatible with elitist theories. Schumpeter was one of the earliest thinker that he redefined democracy considering elitists 1 arguments. To him democracy defined as "...institutional arrangement for arriving the power to decide by means of competitive struggle for the people's vote" (Bottomore 1964, p.10).
In contrast to compatibility of elitist theories with democracy, it can not be compatible with Marxism. Michels pointed out that M [t]he law of circulation of elites destroy the thesis of the possibility of a society without social levels...[and]... destroy equally the supposition of a ruling class that remains closed and inaccessible" (Michels 1965, p. 106). In terms of preference of political systems he clearly says that "the defects inherent in democracy are obvious. It is none the less true that as a form of social life we must choose democracy as the least of evils" (Michels 1966, p.370).
Elitist theorists not only introduced elites but also contributed on better understanding of social and political life of societies. The key concept is "power" and who has the power she/he is the leader of society. Heredity, wealth, intellect, organizations are the means to get power.
Aug 17, 2019 | consortiumnews.com
Tim Jones , August 15, 2019 at 20:47
Because "The links between high government officials, CIA, FBI, and organized crime is astonishing." we will never have an answer, just like John Kennedy, MLK, etc.
In the grand scheme of things, there is a compelling historical argument for the idea that when the NSA/CIA was created, Dulles found an opportunity to consolidate control of information and by logic, populations which was in reality, a velvet coup.
The other aspect this control and coup was NACA being taken over by Nazi Intel/strategists/scientists/war planners through Paper Clip and other relations of the Dulles family were involved with this. Dulles had not one patriotic bone in his body but only cared about elitism, and power. Yes, he made patriotic statements but they were as thin as his skin.
Aug 16, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
In our tense populist moment, Jeffrey Epstein's crimes land like a grenade. • August 15, 2019Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein in Cambridge, MA on 9/8/04. (Photo by Rick Friedman/Corbis via Getty Images) Hands up, those of you who made a Fort Marcy Park joke last Saturday. Anyone? Surely there were a few. Fort Marcy Park was the Washington, D.C. woodland where White House attorney Vince Foster was found dead in 1993, and while his demise was repeatedly ruled a suicide, certain conservatives spent years afterwards hallucinating that the Clintons had him killed. Now, a quarter century later, both right and left are back in conspiracy mode. Mere hours after pedo-to-the-stars Jeffrey Epstein was reported to have killed himself, the hash tag #ClintonBodyCount began circulating on Twitter, followed closely by #TrumpBodyCount. Both Bill Clinton and Donald Trump had been associates of Epstein's; both, the thinking went, might have been desperate for him not to take the stand.
It is wrong, of course, to publicly speculate that Epstein was whacked, given that all available evidence points to gross negligence on the part of the jail. But can you really blame people? Twenty-five years ago, if you'd said that a roll call of America's elites, everyone from a former president to the most famous lawyer in the country, would be implicated in a sex trafficking ring masterminded by an enigmatic Wall Street financier who was also a member of the Trilateral Commission , you would have been laughed into the darkest corner of the local subway platform (next to the guy holding the "Vatican Hides Pedophiles" sign, presumably). Today, you'd be reading AP copy. Validate an improbable conspiracy theory, and you grant license to all the related improbable conspiracy theories: Bill Clinton flew dozens of times on the Lolita Express; was it really beyond him to order a hit?
And if we know one thing about the Epstein story, it's that everything about it is utterly improbable. Epstein stands credibly accused of assembling a veritable underage harem . One of his victims, Virginia Guiffre, has already implicated Prince Andrew , the third-born of Queen Elizabeth II, and a picture has since emerged showing the royal with his arm around the then-teenager's waist. Guiffre says she was also ordered to have sex with , among others, a "foreign president," a "well-known prime minister," and a "large hotel chain owner." Such an open secret was all this perversion that the current president of the United States made cheeky reference to it back in 2002. So invincible did Epstein think himself that he discussed underage sex openly, telling a New York Times reporter that laws against pedophilia were a "cultural aberration."
That Epstein looked to other cultures to rationalize his behavior is nothing new -- Oscar Wilde wrapped his similar predilections in lofty talk about the Greek ideal. What is different is that rather than being hunted and exposed by the powerful, as Wilde was, Epstein was protected by them for decades. Even after he was convicted of soliciting an underage prostitute in 2008, he was sentenced to only 18 months in prison, held in a private wing of the Palm Beach County stockade, and let out on generous "work release."
Study the Epstein case long enough and you end up at Alex Jones's favorite conclusion: they're all sons of bitches. Everyone who was anyone seemed to be in on this, or at least acting at the behest of someone who was. The essence of the conspiratorial mindset is that powerful shadowy forces are, first, capable of and engaged in the most dastardly skullduggery imaginable, and, second, in cabal-like cooperation with each other across all levels of power. The Epstein case seems to affirm both planks. It makes our elites seem like aliens, of a different culture, a different moral code, a different species -- how else could they have let slide what none of us ever would? Mary Colum's remark to Ernest Hemingway, "The only difference between the rich and other people is that the rich have more money," has rarely rang less true.
There's been for some time now a sense of drift between most Americans and their elites, driven by factors like income inequality, geographic enclaving, and cultural differences. We are living in a populist moment, to be sure, an era when the usual purveyors of class warfare sound more apt than they otherwise would. In such a fraught environment, the Epstein revelation lands like a grenade. Not only are America's gentry hitching rides on the Acela while mumbling about deplorables -- so the feeling goes -- they're also running cover for a Caligula who's preying on little Susie down the street. Suddenly the populist divide doesn't just run between classes or races or regular toast versus avocado, but between ethical extremes, good and literal evil.
This is, of course, what most populists profess: the people as a group are wholesome, the elites as a group are venal, and the former has to be vaulted over the latter in order for society to be made whole again. Yet Epstein's crimes are so wicked as to potentially set this moral chasm ablaze like never before. That's why, though Trump may have associated with Epstein, he's unlikely to be damaged by him: everything that's happened only confirms what he's been saying for years. In fact, you might view the Epstein fracas as a dialectic between two of his former associates, Trump's throw-them-out populism versus Clinton's benevolent stewardship of society by the smart set. And Trump won out.
Just as populisms aren't driven entirely by economic causes, so too are revolutions often about more than bread. Consider the Russian Revolution, sparked at least in small part by the people's perception of Rasputin as a sexual deviant. Consider, too, the French Revolution's rage against the profligate "Madame Déficit" Marie Antoinette. In such cases, the moral tends to get intertwined with the economic; license is seen as enabling decadence while the people pray and starve. This can be a blind spot in traditional conservative thinking. We rightly detest (most) revolutions and the tremors they cause, but we sometimes fail to notice that the Jacobins have good reason to be angry and that the ruling classes they overthrow really are that loathsome.
America is nowhere near 1789 France, or armed revolution in general. But we are anxious, restive, hungry for justice. A republic likes ours depends on the harmonious coexistence of its people and its elites, a matter that our Founders spent a good deal of time worrying about. Now we have a hideous face f0r elite corruption, one that's enabled fever in the national mind and dehumanized those around him. For those of us who prize stability and liberty in a polity, who think populism is always best in modest doses, the weeks ahead may be reason for worry.
Because it seems there's only more to come. On Wednesday, another victim came forward , alleging that Epstein raped her when she was 14 after she turned down sex with him. That this carnal omega, this pathetic loser, this finger-sniffing pervert from every teen comedy lurking outside the pretty girl's home longing for a piece of discarded lingerie was somehow elevated into a Teflon-coated Wall Street sun god is beyond comprehension. My friend Michael Davis calls Epstein and company the Hellfire Club , but just how much will they torch on their way down?
Matt Purple is the managing editor of .
Amy Ehlers • a day ago • editedWhen I started to see what was going on in this country, which was my journey, I was amazed to find out that there is sex trafficking 8 blocks from the White House and I learned of this in 2011. Lisa Ling did a great documentary on it. "Night time traffic greater than the day time." Pimps attempting to recruit girls walking home from school. If you pay attention it is also a journey of the food chain of Corporate America that supports this.Krazy Uncle • a day ago
This is a Money Changer issue, that is about the closing of eyes from both parties. and please don't tell me this is not so. I know better than that.To be absolutely, clear there was speculation that Epstein was going to be assassinated weeks before it happened. For the most part citizens aren't so much surprised, as disappointed that Justice is once again foiled.Krazy Uncle Bill In Montgomey • 15 hours ago
Are the Elites the arch villains from the comic books, probably not, but then again many of them operate corporations that cause suffering to economically deprived populations all over the world.
When the World's 26 richest people own as much as poorest 50%, just how close do they seem to achieve a god like status when looking up from the bottom? Maybe that's one reason that people are so angry when it seems that the most vulnerable among us, our children, are the victims of a limited number of the Elites and their twisted and horrific appetites.
I personally doubt much will come of the Epstein affair it will most likely be just one more myth added to the tally of injustice, and the people will have to bitterly swallow it whole. It will probably take many more cases like this being exposed before the people actually have their fill, and decide to do something about it. In the meantime, prepare to see more of the same by the laughing and mocking ElitesIn this day and age, I doubt a reporter will touch this story, and if they did, the real story would never make it into the Main Stream Media. And, most likely the reporter would be permanently black balled, and never work in Journalism again. It's happened many times before, because it doesn't fit within the approved propaganda message.polistra24 • a day ago
Give the story a couple decades or more, and it may come out, but otherwise it will be handled as a whack-job Conspiracy Theory.
The Fourth Estate is the only business that is protected by the Constitution, and yet it has been neutered, and those in the Press, who were supposed to be the Watchdogs for the people, have become the Lapdogs of the Elites.
What passes as News today is formulaic programming, passed on from the Propagandist to the Media, both nationally and locally.
Have you ever seen Conan O'Brian's local news videos?
Newscasters Agree: Rising Gas Prices Edition
There is one reporter, Julie K. Brown, of the Miami Herald that actually brought to light the Epstein story again.
Here's the Thing: How Julie Brown broke the Jeffrey Epstein story
So, there is at least one reporter that has the guts to do investigative journalism hope her life insurance policy is up to date.
p.s. I didn't listen to the broadcast in the second link I just posted it in case others are interested. I've read the story elsewhere.Why is this surprising? Aristocrats have always behaved this way.minsredmash • a day agoTwo Republican state senators and two New York City Policemen died violently within 72 hours ....Jessica Ramer Amy Ehlers • a day ago
1. On June 4, former Arkansas Senator Linda Collins-Smith, 57, was found dead outside her home, her body unrecognizable on discovery. Police are now investigating her death as a homicide. On June 5, the county prosecutor announced that the circuit judge sealed the documents and statements obtained by police.
2. On June 5, Deputy Chief Steven Silks, 62, weeks away from retirement, was found in an unmarked police car with a gunshot wound to the head. News reports reported indicate it seemed self-inflicted.
3. On June 5, former Oklahoma Sen. Jonathan Nichols, 53, was found shot dead in his home. Police have not announced whether they are investigating a suicide or homicide..
4. On June 6, Detective Joseph Calabrese, 58, was found near his police car on a Brooklyn, NY beach, dead of a gunshot wound in what one report called an apparent suicide.
Many other Americans died violently this past week. Why link these four together?
The answer comes down to a dark suspicion and a few hard facts which suggest that one or more of these four deaths might have had something to do with these individuals' work against pedophiles and human trafficking, or the official corruption so often surrounding both.
Now Jeffrey Epstein...The sexual abuse of children and kids in their early teens is a very democratic crime. While physical abuse and neglect are linked to lower-income parents, sexual abuse occurs in all strata of society. It is not confined to the elites or to money changers. Nor to Jews, if that is what you are implying.mrscracker Jessica Ramer • 16 hours ago
Just about everyone in America has a family member who was sexually abused by someone who was usually not elite. Therefore, I cannot get worked up about class issues because of Jeffrey Epstein.
What I can get worked up about are the way elites start wars for poor people to die in and the way poor people get cruel sentences while the elite either walk or get the Epstein treatment--private wing, generous work release.I agree. Young girls are trafficked in more circles than the elite. I don't understand the connection to any particular social class. But better connected people do have better lawyers and can get away with more. Until like Mr. Epstein , they don't.Bill In Montgomey • a day ago • editedThe true character of these people is starting to be revealed. This (lack of) character is not only displayed when these men travel to Pedo Island, it's on display everywhere they go, in everything they do. Every organization they lead, or have anything to do with, is likely rotten to the core.Krazy Uncle Bill In Montgomey • a day ago
Unconcerned about negative consequences, these people have become increasingly brazen. They certainly know that the laws that apply to you and me do not apply to them.
If the system is so corrupt to have protected Epstein for decades, who else is being protected? Who else is getting away with figurative rape in every department of government, or house of finance?
The sooner the public recognizes the "true face" of our elites and rulers the better. Left to their own devices, these people - who think they have class but in reality are the worst kind of trash - can bring down a nation.prodigalson • a day agowho else is being protected?
Good point... who else indeed... and how many more children are suffering?Literally no one I know thought this guy would make it to trial alive with the exception of me, as I still had some hope in the system, and I was proven wrong. I've lost whatever remaining faith I had in the system.Sid Finster • a day ago
In the words of George Carlin, "it's a big club, and you ain't in it." I stopped reading after the first two para's on this, tone is exactly the same as the sneering disdain from the empire's various MSM propaganda arms aimed at those "not in the club."There are two possibilities here:Mccormick47 Sid Finster • a day ago
1) Either our intelligence agencies knew what was going on with Epstein and did nothing to stop him. Or...
2) They had no clue ... which would mean our much vaunted intelligence community knew nothing about the travel habits of the "ruling class" of the world, about Jeff Epstein's real activities, had received no tips, had no insiders, and were incapable of "putting two and two together," etc. In short, Big Brother - with all its resources and intelligence and sources - with capabilities that put the Gestapo or the KGB to shame - had no idea.
Occam's Razor says Possibility No. 1 is more likely to be the truth. But what would such a truth tell us?The third possibility is that BigBrother was in on it and didn't object to sacrificing teenage girls to get compromising information on people they wanted tp blackmail.Sid Finster • a day ago"What I am saying is that Epstein's direct testimony – AND ONLY EPSTEIN'S DIRECT TESTIMONY – had the potential to create a Common Knowledge moment that could bring down – not just specific sociopathic oligarchs like Mob Boss Donald or Mob Boss Bill or Mob Boss Andrew if they were the specific targets of that testimony – but the entire Mob system of sociopathic oligarchy.Bill In Montgomey Sid Finster • a day ago
Jeffrey Epstein was the Missionary to bring down the monsters behind the monster, to bring down the SYSTEM of monsters. Jeffrey Epstein's books and records are not. The individual voices of Jeffrey Epstein's victims are not.
And that's what makes me angriest of all.
That while the individual victims of Jeffrey Epstein's crimes will maybe (maybe!) get some smattering of "justice" and recompense from the show trial of a monster's estate, there will be no Justice served against the monsters behind the monster, that the Mob system of sociopathic oligarchy that CREATED this Jeffrey Epstein and the next Jeffrey Epstein and the next and the next will continue unabated. Untouched. Golden."
https://www.epsilontheory.c...One strongly suspects that Ghislaine Maxwell knows just as much as Epstein did. Her participation was just as important to the operation of this "trafficking" ring. She was the lead recruiter, handled logistics, "grooming" and also was Epstein's "in" to many of his VIP associates (who were really clients). If witness accounts are accurate, she was also a participant in a good number of these depraved, criminal acts.Tony55398 • a day ago
The fact she has not been charged is quite the tell about our system of "justice."Whether Epstein was killed or committed suicide I don't know. I would however like to know who these elites were who participated in the rapes of these young girls. They are just as guilty as Epstein whether they knew the ages of these girls or not, it was there responsibility to find out.ChristopherRobin1 • a day agoThis is a dangerous slope. People once bowed to the elites because there was a principle of enforcement called nobless oblige. Society felt that elites had to be held to a higher standard because they carried greater responsibilities and burdens for society and the welfare of the national good.atimoshenko ChristopherRobin1 • a day ago
Since the 1960s nobless oblige has been downgraded to sound bites and photo ops for publicity and marketing. The elites have all but abandoned their responsibilities to support religion, to support education (except to indocrinate), to support tradition and society and the national good. The elites have become inward looking, inbred and narcissistic with little to no outward focus except in a marxist totalitarian vein of thought which serves their interest, indulges their hungers, preserves their wealth and power.
What you are have been seeing since the 1960s is the veneer being pulled off the rich and powerful. I would say Nixon and Princess Diana and Ted Kennedy did the most to pull down the veneer from the rich and powerful but it could be argued that Nixon and Princess Diana and Ted Kennedy were accidental victims of circumstance. However Epstein's human trafficking of children for sex and blackmail .... breaks the most because his crimes were no accident nor was he a victim of circumstance. Epstein planned this and created an organization around it elevating his elitist crimes to a level no that I dont think anyone in modern history can match.I doubt that history's elites were ever any better. It's just that with far less transparency and access, it was much easier for them to hide how awful they were. The 1960s was the start of mass media, and so the veneer started to crack.Bill In Montgomey ChristopherRobin1 • a day agoI do think this COULD qualify as "the story of the century." That is, If the story was told in its entirety - all "names" exposed.BXVI • a day ago • edited
If fully told, the swamp might, in fact, be "drained."
Now the people in said swamp have a strong incentive to protect their domain. Which is why so many of us are skeptical the true story will ever be told.
If there was ever a time where brave and patriotic whistleblowers were needed ..."This is, of course, what most populists profess: the people as a group are wholesome, the elites as a group are venal, and the former has to be vaulted over the latter in order for society to be made whole again."johnhenry • a day ago
Sorry, but take a look at the average American. The so-called "people" are for the most part just as morally obtuse as the "elites" but they carry the additional burden of being not only ignorant but also stupid. Just look around. Best recent example of the utter stupidity of the American people: a recent survey shows they think 23% of the population is gay. Really."Hands up, those of you who made a Fort Marcy Park joke last Saturday."atimoshenko • a day ago
Matt, are you tired of people making jokes about *purple prose*?
Just wondering :)But isn't the issue exactly that the "only difference between the rich and other people is that the rich have more money" comment is perfectly true?Cosmin Visan atimoshenko • 20 hours ago
The rich and powerful are us, but corrupted by riches and power. Many of them behave the way many of us would quickly start to behave if we found ourselves in their shoes. If the gap in power between you and most other people is so huge that you can do anything to them and get away with it, your morals stop applying to them because you start to view them as somewhat subhuman. In this sense, I'm sure Epstein never even thought of raping the underage daughters of other elites.
Thus, the issue is stratospheric inequality of power (by whatever fungible measure you choose - money, political, religious, social, etc). And we see it happen ALL the time throughout history and across geographies - as soon as the power gap is in excess of social boundaries, as soon as there is a group of people you can do pretty much anything you want to and get away with it, you start going a little crazy. Exploitation, rape, torture, murder, slavery - everything starts looking justified. Then it's just a matter of degree, with tin-pot dictators on one end and Epstein somewhere in the middle.Read Machiavelli. He observed that the popolo minuti (regular folks) just wished to be left alone by authorities whereas popolo grossi (fat cats) were of a different psychological composition: they delighted in deception, were vain, greedy and hungry for power.atimoshenko Cosmin Visan • 11 hours ago • edited
Centuries later, studies of psychopaths reveal these creatures are different from regular humans at the brain level. The elites are psychopathic (the key ones are) and no, they ain't like regular people. They are literally a different kind.My point was that as popolo minuti transform into popolo grossi in terms of access to power, they tend to start to transform into them in terms of moral character as well. (Inequality of) power corrupts, and absolute (inequality of) power corrupts absolutely. Thus, it seems that the over-representation of psychopaths in positions of power is because the psychopathy is acquired (and plenty of studies show drastic declines in empathy with even a little priming for power), rather than because it is easier for psychopaths to rise to the top. The worst of the popolo grossi tend to be hereditary.minsredmash atimoshenko • 6 hours ago • edited
In my opinion, there is nothing so dangerous as to believe that evil people are a different breed from the rest of us. Instead, they tend to simply be us, but in different circumstances. History tends to show that revolutions aimed at replacing the evil people with better people end up with corrupted revolutionaries, rather than a fundamentally less abusive system."It reminds me of a well known speech by a defense counsel, who pleaded his client's poverty as an excuse of robbing and murdering six of his victims, on the lines that "My client's poverty drove him to murder six people, everybody else would have done the same!"phreethink • a day ago
Dostoevsky, The Idiot.Outstanding article. However, I think we're a lot closer to 1789 France than we want to believe. Read some Chris Hedges to see how the socialists see the current situation. Here's an example. https://www.commondreams.or...Zsuzsi Kruska • a day agoElites, that is those with more wealth and/or power than the rest of the masses have always been this way. Remember how decadent the European aristocracy was with their sport of "wenching"? that is going around in groups raping young peasant girls. Also, there was the Hellfire Club which you can research if you want details. This scandal will get less and less coverage in the MSM until it fades away like all the others involving the rich and powerful.Jr. • a day agoThe Global "Elite" control our Ruling Class by means of blackmail. A person does not get raised to high truly influential positions of power(Politicians, Judges, Hollywood, etc.) unless they have enough dirt on you to know that they can control you without question. The most powerful form of blackmail that they have is ped0filia because it is THE most abhorrent crime that someone can commit, so much so that even criminals in prison refuse to allow ped0 scumbags to be housed near them.Cosmin Visan • 20 hours ago
Trump has an obvious penchant for beautiful WOMEN not kids. He was helping and somewhat part of the "Elite" in that he was joining in with them to buy politicians for influence but Trump neutralized that being over his head by openly admitting to buying politicians. They thought it was safe to allow him to run because they thought it was a joke and he would never get elected. They were wrong. In my opinion, they don't have enough dirt on him to get him to go along with their agenda of selling out the USA to the highest bidder hence the all-out attacks on him.
The key to understanding the "Elite"/Ruling Class dynamic is not conflating the two and realizing that blackmail is the main tool used by the one to keep the other under their control.
*Sorry about the Trump tangent above but it's absolutely ridiculous that people are trying to tie Trump to Epstein even though Trump has been trying to bring national attention to the Epstein case FOR YEARS."given that all available evidence points to gross negligence on the part of the jail." How is gross negligence different from deliberate negligence?stevek9 • 19 hours ago • edited
You can tell? And btw the WaPo just came out with news that broken bones in Epstein's neck are more usual in cases of homicide.
I generally see anyone who belittles
'Conspiracy theorists' as part of an Establishment that uses 'incompetence' as the perennial excuse for everything that goes wrong.The old accusation, that you are a 'conspiracy theorist' (a term invented by the CIA after the Kennedy assassination) is holding less and less weight. The irrational kooks now seem to be the people who think Epstein committed suicide. Jokes were everywhere about how 'we were shocked to hear about the suicide of Jeffrey Epstein, next Tuesday' when a day later we hear, 'Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide'.JeffK from PA stevek9 • 5 hours ago • edited
By the way, this equivalence between Trump and Clinton is bogus, I believe. There isn't much evidence of any involvement of Trump (some evidence to the contrary in fact), but there is a load of evidence suggesting 'Wild Bill' was availing himself.Remember when Maxine Waters was labelled a kook for saying the CIA was bringing cocaine into her LA district? She was mocked and ridiculed. Now we know she was right. You can't make this stuff up.YoungHegelian2020 • 18 hours agoI'm sorry, but this case stinks to high heaven, and if you're ready to accept "gross negligence" as the explanation you're likely to believe ANYTHING the authorities tell you. Epstein was either murdered, as the autopsy and reports of shrieking from his cell indicate, or subbed out by intelligence services and replaced by a murdered homeless person who received plastic surgery. Study the history of modern intelligence services: appearances are deceiving, and systemic disinformation is endemic to politics. Careful public speculation, acknowledging where we're uncertain, is very much the responsible thing to do; otherwise there is no hope of democratic accountability. The investigation we're being promised will be conducted by the exact same institution -- the US Department of Justice -- that was responsible for keeping Epstein safe and securing his public testimony about his criminal network. These are the people you want us to trust? Come on, a little critical reasoning, please!Bryan • 10 hours agoThe most ridiculous part is the idea that being rich and powerful gives you a predilection to turn a blind eye. My wife's family turned a blind eye to a perverted uncle that molested multiple family members over decades. No one stood up, it would've been a shame to them to admit it. How is this any different?Will Thomas • 10 hours ago • editedNo one really cares. He was pretty rich. Talk radio and weird cable conspiracies shows will benefit. Truth is irrelevant.
Aug 15, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Michael Fiorillo , , August 14, 2019 at 11:53 am
" (the) factional struggle evident in the rise of Trump "
One of the many purposes of Russiagate was to misdirect people away from the fact that Trump's election represents (among other things) a huge split in the ruling class, which can roughly be described as one between extractive industries (energy, agriculture, mining, etc.) and finance, media and tech. A map of the 2016 election results strongly supports this analysis. Thus, Comcast was more than happy to give free reign to Rachel Maddow's two+ years of disinfotainment
This split in the ruling class would provide an immense opportunity if the US had a real functioning Left, rather than lumpen bourgeois and childish virtue signalling about open borders and reparations.
Aug 14, 2019 | averypublicsociologist.blogspot.com
... ... ...
The problem, however, is because this is overlaid by factional struggle ...
This, of course, is compounded by the over-amplifying of anti-Semitism by the media and the alacrity with which it has been taken up by Corbyn opponents, including hypocrites who floated "rootless cosmopolitan" criticisms of Ed Miliband when it suited just a few years ago.
Here's the thing. Just because your opponents take up an issue, some times cynically and in bad faith. and use it to inflict as much damage as they can does not mean the problem is fictitious.
Precisely because they can point to Facebook groups full of useful fools, and Twitter accounts with Corbyn-supporting hashtags acting as if the Israel lobby and "Zionists" are the only active force in British politics, this is the stuff that makes the attacks effective and trashes the standing of the party in the eyes of many Jews and the community's allies and friends.
The institutional anti-Semitism in the Labour Party is, therefore, somewhat different to the kind you find in other institutions. It is sustained by the battle for the party, a grim battlefront in a zero sum game of entrenched position vs entrenched position. As such, whatever the leadership do, whatever new processes the General Secretary introduces for one side it will never be enough because, as far as many of them concerned, the leadership are politically illegitimate; and for the other it's a sop and capitulation.
The resolution of the anti-Semitism crisis then is not a matter of compromise -- for each side the issue will only go away with the complete crushing and driving out of the party of the other. A situation that can only poison the well further, and guarantee anti-Semitism won't honestly and comprehensively be confronted.
Boffy said... 3 March 2019 at 16:42A good analysis. But, it emphasizes the point I made in the previous post, which is that, the right are currently engaged in an all out push to remove Corbyn and crush the left with the same old bureaucratic means. Whatever else Williamson may or may not be guilty of, his point that the leadership have facilitated this situation by their continual appeasement of the right is absolutely valid. Its that he is being attacked for, not anti-Semitism.asquith said... 3 March 2019 at 18:54
It is first necessary to close ranks, and defeat the assault of the Right. As Marr said to Blair this morning, had Prescott announced he was forming a separate group, and was establishing his own witch-hunting bureaucratic apparatus in the party, Blair would have sacked him immediately - actually not so easy as the Deputy is elected. But the thrust is valid. Unless Corbyn deals with Watson, the Right will roll over the Left, despite the huge disparity in numbers.
Again it comes down to whether Corbyn is up for that task, or whether we need a leadership of the left with a bit more backbone to see it through.I'm afraid this IS due to the "intersectionality" cult, whereby certain groups are always privileged and wrong, and some are always oppressed and right. Jews are, according to this "analysis", the uber-privileged and uber-white.Ian Gibson said... 4 March 2019 at 05:30
We've heard several times that according to "intersectionality" that it's impossible to be racist against white people because racism requires both prejudice and power, and white people are by definition powerful. Therefore, anti-Semitism is dismissed because it can't be a thing because Jews are all-powerful and even more oppressive than other whites.
Those who don't subscribe to all of these beliefs are nevertheless tinged with them, which is why people who aren't staunch antisemites will nevertheless fail to take anti-Semitism seriously.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66qe76gkCxo&t=166sComing on the day when the FT have a column seriously positing that criticizing capitalism is inherently anti-Semitic, it seems to me that dancing on the head of a pin about whether the 'careless' anti-Semitism you've described means the party is institutionally anti-Semitic is rather missing the point. (OK, the column is by John McTernan, but the FT gave him column inches to argue that case, and I guess they didn't mean it as the satire it most certainly is.)Boffy said... 4 March 2019 at 09:47
As many of the comments on your blog on Williamson attest, the salient feature of this - well, call it witch-hunt for the sake of argument - is the double standards where we have to be whiter than white, whilst no account whatsoever is taken of the most egregious racism elsewhere. We live in society: we can never, ever be that whiter than white - especially when it comes to Israel/Palestine, which is so full of contradictions and traps for the unwary (e.g. the position of the Israeli state claiming to speak for all Jewry around the world, in the way that the Board of Deputies position themselves as speaking for all British Jews - neither close to being true, but small wonder that opponents of what they do and stand for take that universality at face value.)
The fight we need to take up is to compare and contrast just how pro-active the current party is against anti-Semitism in its constitution and machinery with the glaring absence of such elsewhere, and to present a positive picture of what we are doing, rather than mumbling apologetically into our beards. We need to take the fight to the rigged system at the same time as being unstinting in rooting out the troubling stuff.The other nonsense that has grown up is that it is only those that suffer any form of discrimination who can define what that discrimination is, i.e. only Jews can define anti-Semitism, only black people can define racism against them, only women can define discrimination against women.Jim Denham said... 4 March 2019 at 15:25
That then assumes that the members of each of these groups are themselves homogeneous, and agreed in such definitions. In reality, it means that dominant elements, i.e. those connected to the ruling class and ruling ideas get to make those determinations.
If we look at anti-Semitism, for example, it is quite clear that there is no agreement amongst Jews on what constitutes anti-Semitism. The JVL, certainly have a different definition than the JLM.
But, just rationally, the concept that only those discriminated against get to define the discrimination is bonkers. Suppose you come from Somalia or some other country that practices FGM, you could argue that it is part of your cultural heritage, and that anyone seeking to prevent you from undertaking this barbaric practice was thereby racist, on your self-definition of what that discrimination against you amounts to. Or Saudis might argue that it is racist to argue against their practice of lopping off women's heads, or stoning them to death for adultery, including having been raped, etc.The JVL come pretty close to arguing that there is *no* anti-Semitism in the Labour party (Jenny Manson, for instance, says she's never witnessed any)and Glyn Secker wrote a piece in the Morning Star last year comparing claims of anti-Semitism within Labour to the story of the emperor's new clothes.Boffy said... 5 March 2019 at 09:00Given that the actual data, even allowing for all of the spurious and mischievous accusations of anti-Semitism in the party, made by right-wing enemies of the the party, and particularly of Corbyn and his supporters, amounts to only 0.1% of the membership, and given that of these, 40% were straight away found to be accusations against people who were not even LP members, with a further 20%, being found to have absolutely no evidence to back them, its quite possible that individual members of the LP, have never seen any instance of it.Boffy said... 5 March 2019 at 09:22
Take out all those mischievous and malicious allegations made in order to whip up the hysteria, so as to to damage the party, by its enemies, and you arrive at a figure of only 400 potential cases, out of a membership of 600,000, which is 1 member in 1500. If the average branch size if 100 active members, it means on average there is one potential case of anti-Semitism in every 15 branches. So, if you are a member in any of the other 14 branches, you would never see that one potential case of anti-Semitism.
In fact, based upon the actual facts, as opposed to the fiction and factional hysteria that is being whipped up by right-wing opponents of Corbyn and the party, and by supporters of Zionism for their own narrow political reasons, the chances are about 14: that you will never see any even potential instance of anti-Semitism, even on the narrow definition that the party has now imposed upon itself, which comes pretty close if not entirely to identifying anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism, or even just criticism of the current Bonapartist regime of Netanyahu.
In the US, Jewish groups that have long been ardent defenders of Israel have more recently come out to criticize the regime of Netanyahu, and the actions of the Israeli state. The main defenders of Zionism, besides the actual Zionists themselves, appear to be people like the AWL, who for whatever reason hitched their wagon to Zionist ideology some time ago, probably in their usual knee-jerk reaction of putting a plus sign wherever the SWP put a minus. Having done so, and as a result of the bureaucratic centrist nature of the sect, they find themselves now having to follow through on the position they adopted on the basis of the "practical politics" - opportunism - as it dictated itself to them at the time.
If, and probably more likely when, they change position, it will come as with all their previous changes of position with the assertion that "nothing has changed", as when after claiming a few years ago that the LP was a stinking corpse - as they ridiculously stood their own candidates in elections with the inevitable result - and the next minute proclaimed themselves as its most ardent militants, as they sought to use their sharp elbows to gain positions on Momentum's leading bodies!Incidentally, on the question of "observance", the only time I have seen someone get stabbed, is more than 50 years ago, when I was at school. I've seen plenty of other violent stuff in the intervening period, for example, people getting glassed, people having wrought iron tables smashed over their heads. My sister, who is several years older than me, and was out bopping during the days of the Teddy Boys, saw more people getting slashed, in the 1950's, because the flick knife was the Ted's favoured weapon.Jim Denham said... 5 March 2019 at 11:14
But, that doesn't mean that I disbelieve the media when it talks about the current spate of knife crimes. Its just that, however, terrible such crimes are for those that suffer or witness them, and no matter how much the media that has to sensationalise every story, for its own commercial purposes, talks about an epidemic or a knife crime crisis, the number of knife crimes per head of population is extremely small.
The chances that 999 out of 1,000 of us will never be the victim of, or witness knife crime does not mean it doesn't exist. But, those that then claim that the 999 out of 1,000 of us who say we have not seen it, must be somehow being dishonest, are not dealing with the facts, and are simply fuelling a moral panic.
When some phenomena is statistically insignificant, which 1 in 1,500 cases, is, and when as with many such phenomena there is no normal distribution of the occurrence of such cases - for example, knife crime will tend to be concentrated in particular areas - trying to present any kind of rational analysis based upon personal observation is a mug's game.
Just because the only case of stabbing I have witnessed was more than 50 years ago, does not, and should not lead me to think that knife crime was worse 50 years ago than it is today. The actual data would seem to suggest that cases of anti-Semitism were greater in the LP in previous times than they are currently, contrary to what the media and those with factional motives would have us believe. It is certainly thec ase that anti-Semitism is a bigger problem in the Tory party, and other right-wing organisations than it is in the LP, again not that you would know that from the reporting of it, or from the attitude of certain factional sects, such as the AWL.Speedy said... 6 March 2019 at 06:39
Labour has 'much larger' group of antisemitic members which Corbyn has failed to deal with, Momentum founder warns
By Rob Merrick Deputy Political Editor The Independent, Monday 25 February 2019 16:10 |
Labour has "a much larger" group of antisemitic members than it recognises which Jeremy Corbyn has failed to "deal with", Momentum founder Jon Lansman has warned.
The Labour leader's long-standing ally said "conspiracy theorists" had infiltrated the party – a consequence of its huge surge in membership in recent years.
Mr Lansman stopped short of backing the call from Tom Watson, Labour's deputy leader, for Mr Corbyn to take personal charge of the antisemitism complaints dogging Labour.
But he said: "I do think we have a major problem and it always seems to me that we underestimate the scale of it. I think it is a widespread problem.
"I think it is now obvious that we have a much larger number of people with hardcore antisemitic opinions which, unfortunately, is polluting the atmosphere in a lot of constituency parties and in particular online. We have to deal with these people."Approaching this from another angle...Boffy said... 6 March 2019 at 10:42
The apparent level of anti-semitism in Labour is a modern phenomenon turbo-charged and amplified by social media. People have their views reinforced within their bunkers where anti-Israeli memes become anti-Zionist and then become anti-Semitic. It is much easier to send an anonymous email than a letter.
History is very much the tale of new technology transforming the potential of human behaviour and beliefs, and one of the oldest beliefs ("the blood libel") is anti-Semitism.
This is how Labour has changed - ie, the rise of Corbyn has coincided with the ubiquity of this technology. In fact, arguably the rise of Corbyn was aided by it.
Corbyn's nuanced position on Israel/Palestine gives permission to social media extremists.
The rest is history.
Incidentally, this is why you are less likely to confront anti-Semitism in real-life while the internet may be awash with it - there are the real and virtual identities which only occasionally bleed into each other.
Which is true and which is not? We might wonder if technology has evolved ahead of human adaptation - the "real world" filters that govern apparently "real" behaviour missing.
I'm sure even certain posters here are less bananas in "real life" than their online comments might suggest!
I wouldn't trust Lansman on this issue, any more than on many others. Lansman abolished democracy, to the extent it existed to begin with, by turning it into his personal fiefdom, reminiscent of the activities of Hyndman and the SDF. His position on anti-Semitism, and fighting the witch-hunt, and of appeasing the Blair-right's as they attacked Corbyn, has been appalling throughout.Jim Denham said... 7 March 2019 at 09:10
Having abolished any democracy in Momentum, which he now runs as its CEO, he also appears to want Corbyn to do the same thing with the Labour Party, abolishing its internal democratic procedures, and putting himself personally in charge of those disciplinary measures. That truly would be the actions of a Bonapartist. That Tom Watson is prepared to do that, as he sets himself up in a situation of dual power, to confront Corbyn is no surprise that anyone who even remotely considers themselves a part of the Left should support should a move is a disgrace. Perhaps no surprise that the AWL supporters of Zionism, and the witch-hunt, appear to be doing so, then.
Its notable that, yesterday, when the Welsh Labour Grass Roots organisation came out to call for Williamson's suspension to be reversed, Kinnock and other Blair-rights immediately called for an investigation into them, and for its Secretary who sits on Labour's NEC to also be suspended, for interfering in an ongoing investigation! So, why did those same Blair-rights not call for the suspension of Watson, who immediately demanded Williamson's suspension, and withdrawal of the whip, before any investigation, or indeed of Hodge and others who on a daily basis go to the media to sally forth about cases that are under investigation, or waiting for investigation.
This truly is reaching into the realms of McCarthyism, where you are found guilty not just of witchcraft, but of consorting with witches, or even having an opinion as to whether an individual charged with witchcraft is guilty, or even the extent to which the number of witches amongst might be exaggerated.
Jim Denham's comment is a case in point. How much more "anti-Semitism" exists? What is the factual basis of the statement, as opposed to click bait headline. Even if the actual extent is 100% more than the data so far presented, that would mean that potentially 1 in 750 LP members might be guilty of some form of anti-Semitism. Its hardly an epidemic, or institutional anti-Semitism, and far less than exists in the Tory Party, which is also infected by Islamaphobia, misogyny, homophobia and xenophobia.
In fact, its probably much less than you would find in the BBC, Sky or other establishment institutions. Anti-Semitism exists, and is a problem, but that does not mean it is not being used by Labour's enemies or the proponents of Zionism for their own political ends. The real conspiracy theorists are those that try to present anti-Semitism as a conspiracy based upon infiltration of the LP, the same people who presented the support for Corbyn from 300,000 new members as really just being a case of far left entryism, by Trots.This is a meme, taken from Incog Man, a far-right site. It was posted with positive endorsement by a Labour member, Kayla Bibby, a delegate to conference in fact:Boffy said... 7 March 2019 at 12:36
Link to the meme:
Bibby subsequently received only a formal warning, with Thomas Gardiner of Labour's Governance and Legal Unit (what used to be the Compliance Unit), saying it was only anti-Israel, and not anti-Semitic.
Not only could a Labour member post something obviously anti-Semitic, it was not deemed to be so by the Compliance Unit. I bet we all know people who would agree.It's not a factually accurate description of global political realities, because Israel does not control the US, if that is what the image is intended to imply. But, the message, is thereby anti-Israeli state, not anti-Semitic. It could only be considered anti-Semitic, if in fact you are a Zionist and claim that Israel and Jews are are interchangeable terms, which they are not.Boffy said... 7 March 2019 at 13:47
In fact, there are probably not an inconsiderable number of Jews, who think that the state of Israel does exercise undue influence over US policy, and certainly it seems to be the case that, in the US, more liberal Jewish groups, seem to think that one reason that the Bonapartist regime of Netanyahu, in Israel, was so supportive of Trump, and we see the same support for Trump amongst Zionists in Britain, is at least in part due to the fact that Obama had been distancing the US from its historical uncritical support for Israel.
If we replace Zionism with Toryism, and Jew with British, the situation becomes fairly clear. If the we show the British state as being controlled by Tories, who implement their ideology of Toryism, in what way would criticism of the British state, under the control of such Tories, or criticism of Tories be the equivalent of British people as a whole?
Clearly it wouldn't, because there are a majority of British people who oppose Toryism, and thereby oppose the actions of the British state under the control of the Tories. A nationalist, or racist might want to equate the nation state with the whole of its people, but the people who are doing that here, by interpreting criticism of the Israeli state with anti-Semitism, are the Zionists themselves, and their apologists, because they seek thereby to delegitimize any criticism of the state of Israel and Zionism by equating it with anti-Semitism.
That in effect makes the Zionists themselves, and their apologists anti-Semites, because in adopting this equation of Jewishness with being Zionist, and with Israel, they make all Jews thereby responsible for the actions of Zionism and of the state of Israel!The problem for the AWL, and its members like Jim Denham, on this issue comes down to this. Until thirty years ago, the organisation, under its previous names, was an ardent defender of the ideas and traditions of Jim Cannon. Cannon's "The Struggle for a Proletarian Party" was required reading for all of its members. Then, in an about face, the organisation overnight collapsed into what Trotsky called "the petit-bourgeois Third Camp", and so became ardent defenders of the enemies of Cannon, the petit-bourgeois Third Camp of Burnham- Shachtman. That kind of wild zig-zag is typical of bureaucratic-centrist organisations, which is what the AWL is.Anonymous said... 7 March 2019 at 16:54
As part of this collapse into the petit-bourgeois Third Camp, and the moralistic politics it is based upon, the AWL also adopted the ideas of Third Campists like Al Glotzer, in relation to Israel and Zionism, as opposed to the position of Mandel, which represented a continuation of the ideas of Cannon and Trotsky. I set this out in a short blog post 12 years ago Glotzer and the Jews as Special , after the AWL had repeatedly censored it appearing on their website in response to an article setting out Glotzer's position.
Having committed themselves to the reactionary Zionist ideology that essentially underpins Glotzer's stance - the same thing idea of having lost faith in the working-class, and so having to rely on the bourgeois state, or "progressive imperialism" to accomplish the tasks of the working-class, is behind the AWL's support for NATo's war against Serbia, Iraq, Libya etc., but is also behind the politics of other Third Campists such as the SWP, that instead look to other larger forces, such as reactionary "anti-imperialist" states to carry forward its moral agenda - the AWL are left now trying to defend their position of support for the creation of a racist, expansionist state in Israel, as the inevitable consequences of that venture unfold.
For a Marxist, it is not at all difficult to say that the establishment of the state of Israel is one that we should not have supported at the time, because it would lead to the kind of consequences we see today, and yet, to say, 75 years on from the creation of that state, it is an established fact, and trying to unwind history, by calling for the destruction of that state would have even more calamitous consequences for the global working-class. It is quite easy for a Marx to say that the current nature of the Israeli state, as a racist Zionist state, based, like almost no other state in the world on a confessional basis, i.e. of being a Jewish state, a state for Jews in preference to every other ethnic/religious group flows from the ideology, and nature of its creation. But, then to argue that the answer to that is not a destruction of the state of Israel, which could only be done on the bones of millions of Israeli citizens, Jews and Arabs alike, but is to wage a working-class based struggle against that racist foundation upon which the state has been founded, and that struggle is one that must unite Jews and Arabs alike. In fact, the position of palestinians today is a mirror image of that of the Jews 75 years ago.
The hope of a Two-State Solution disappeared long ago, and was never credible. It simply allows Zionists to proclaim they are in favour of it, whilst doing everything to make it practically impossible, such as extending West Bank Settlements. The solution must flow from a struggle for democratic rights for Israeli Arabs, and for a right for all Arabs in occupied territories to be extended the same rights as any other Israeli, including the right to vote, and send representatives to the Knesset. As I argued thirty years ago, the longer-term solution is a Federal Republic of Israel and Palestine, guaranteeing democratic rights to all, as part of building a wider Federal Republic of MENA.Boffy said... 8 March 2019 at 11:15
Jim Denham: imperialist lackey and sycophant turned Witch hunter in chief
Let us be very clear about what this witch hunt is about, it is about purging from public life any credible and effective opposition to Israel in particular and more generally opposition to the imperialist barbarians of the imperialist core. It is about driving from universities, social media and intellectual life any form of opposition to the interests of the imperialists.
This is nothing but authoritarianism in action, censorship of political opponents and the closing down of any credible definition of free speech.
In other words this is something any leftist worth half an atom would be fighting against with all their energies.
But what do we find, pathetic pro war pro imperialists leftists and post modern liberals joining the witch hunt.
Meanwhile in the real world:
A UN report has concluded that Israel deliberately targeted and killed hundreds of protesting civilians, including children and disabled people and it shot 20,000+ people (yes 20,000+!). The UN says this likely a war crime. Why are the noble defenders of the Palestinian cause in the dock and not notorious Palestinian haters like Jim Denham?
How can anyone on the left get away with supporting and providing ideological cover for Israel How can any leftist allow a socialist movement to be sabotaged by the Israel state and its army of appalling immoral apologists?
These attacks on Corbyn and his supporters, repeated in all of the most aggressive imperialist countries, are simply a proxy attack on the Palestinian people themselves.
Jim Denham's comment here illustrates the problem entirely. The picture he has linked to shows an alien symbiote having attached itself to the face of the statue of liberty. The statue of liberty here represents the US. The symbiote has on its back the Israeli Flag, and likewise, thereby represents the state of Israel. The picture therefore, represents the well-worn, and clearly factually wrong meme that Israel controls the US.Boffy said... 9 March 2019 at 08:58
But, as a Zionist organisation, the AWL and its members cannot distinguish between the state of Israel and Jews, so they cannot distinguish between criticism of the state of Israel, and criticism if Jews. For them, as for the Zionist ideology of the state of Israel, which is most clearly manifest in the ideology of its current political leadership, in the form of the Bonapartist regime of Netanyahu, with the recent introduction of blatantly racist laws that discriminate even more openly against not Jewish Israeli citizens, and with his willingness to try to keep his corrupt regime in office by going into coalition with an avowedly Neo-Nazi party that until recent times was considered beyond the pale, even by most Zionists, the term Zionism is synonymous with the term Jew. So, any criticism of Zionism, or of Israel is for them immediately equated with anti-Semitism.
It is what leads such Zionists to then also insist on their right to determine who is a Jew or not. The AWL do that with all those Jews, such as the JVL, who refuse to accept the AWL's definition of anti-Zionism = Anti-Semitism. Its like the old saw that the definition of a Scot is someone who wears a kilt, and when asked about Jock McTavish, from Arbroath, who does not wear a kilt, the reply comes back, then he cannot really be a Scot!
The Zionists insists on defining anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism, and thereby closing down debate. Jim Denham does that most clearly here, in his refusal to debate the actual substantive points. It is typical of the attitude of the AWL, in general which long since gave up trying to defend its bourgeois liberal, opportunist politics by rational debate, and instead turned to bureaucratic censorship, and ill-tempered invective.Once again Jim Denham reefuses to engage in rational debate, and again resorts instead to his assumption that Israel = Jews, as well as his crude attempts at a typical Stalinist amalgam, to conflate the views of his opponents with some hate figure.Boffy said... 9 March 2019 at 16:31
Again Jim Denham makes the conflation of Israel and Jews explicit when he says, "This image also plays on the tired and disgraceful antisemitic 'conspiracy theory' trope of undue Israeli (Jewish) influence on world affairs."
The conflation of equating Israel with the term Jew flows directly from the Zionist ideology that underpins the Israeli State, but which also adopted by the AWL, and its members like Jim Denham. It thereby effectively denies statehood to non-Jewish Israeli citizens, making them non-persons, erasing them from history, in the same way that Jim Denham has sought to do in diminishing if not entirely denying the genocides against other ethnic groups such as Native North Americans, Australian and New Zealand aboriginals etc., as a result of his Zionist privileging of the specific genocide against Jews in the Holocaust.
It is the same kind of racism, of course, that is applied by the BNP and other white nationalists, who seek to portray Britain as being a nation for white Britons, and thereby deny other Britons the right to consider themselves really British. Every socialist, can understand the racist nature of that ideology when it is applied to Britain, and elsewhere, but the AWL, and its members, like Jim Denham, deny it when it is applied to Israel, which they want to treat as being different to every other state on the planet, in defence of their Zionist ideology that privileges Israeli Jews over others, and by extension equates the term Jew with the term Israel.
Its most extreme version comes with the fascists that Netanyahu has now gone into alliance with, whose ideology states that God only put gentiels on the Earth to be slaves and serve the needs of Jews, as the chosen people! It means that they see the place of non-Jewish Israelis in those terms, as being allowed to remain in Israel only on that subservient basis. This is the ideology that the AWL is now logically tied to, in having adopted Zionism as the answer to the problems of Jewish workers rather than socialism.
And, of course, the extension of that principle for other Zionists is illustrated in their support for fascists like Orban in Hungary, who wants to adopt a similar nationalist ideology of keeping Hungary, and other "white" European nations exclusively for "whites", in the same way that Zionists want to keep Israel exclusively for Jews.
It is a sorry state when socialists have degenerated to such an extent that not only do they fail to distinguish between nationalist ideology and socialist ideology by adopting nationalist solutions to workers problems such as "nationalisation", by the capitalist state, but where, in adopting such reactionary nationalist ideology, the logic of their position drives them to supporting the idea that nation states should be exclusively for particular ethnic groups, such as Israel for the Jews, Hungary for white Christians and so on.The way that the right are using anti-Zionism as the equivalent for anti-Semitism, and the appeasement of that attack has led them to widen the scope of that attack. As Labour List reports , right-wing Labour MP Siobhan McDonagh, is now claiming that to be anti-capitalist is also to be "anti-Semitic". The idea was put forward also by former Blair-right spin doctor, John McTernan, who wrote an article in the FT to that same effectBoffy said... 10 March 2019 at 11:09
Channelling Jim Denham, McTernan writes,
"As the historian Deborah Lipstadt points out, anti-Semitic tropes share three elements: money or finance is always in the mix; an acknowledged cleverness that is also seen as conniving; and, power -- particularly a power to manipulate more powerful entities.
All of these feature in the criticism of Israel and the so-called Israel lobby. They can be easily moulded into a critique of capitalism, too."
The line of argument was illustrated to me some weeks ago, in a comment I received in relation to an article I wrote about Marx's analysis of fictitious capital, as part of my critique of Paul Mason's Postcapitalism . The commenter, argued that Marx's analysis of fictitious capital appeared to be simply Marx blaming bankers and money lenders, for which read Jews, for the world's ills, and was thereby simply an expression of the well-known fact that Marx was a self-hating Jew, much as the AWL, describe all those other Jews that do not share their commitment to |Zionism. The commenter as evidence of this provided a link to a literary critique of Marx's On The Jewish Question , which is cited as proving that Marx was an anti-semite.
In fact, I pointed out that in nothing that Marx had written about fictitious capital, or what I had written describing Marx's analysis of fictitious capital are bankers discussed, let alone Jewish bankers. The anonymous commenter, has, in fact, since deleted their comments, meaning that my responses to them were also deleted.
But, this is the way this right-wing witch-hunt proceeds, by throwing a net to catch whatever they can trawl in, and at the very least sowing the seeds of doubt as they require those being attacked to respond to their wild accusations. It means that any statement can be framed to mean that there is some subtext beneath the actual words and pictures that is somehow anti-Semitic, if only you know the relevant coda to unlock the true meaning, and anyone who doubts the meaning being placed upon it, is thereby a defender of the anti-Semitic message. As with the attacks on Momentum, and the initial surge of membership supporting Corbyn, it is always phrased in dark conspiratorial language, about unseen forces being behind what is seen on the surface. So, we were supposed to believe that a few hundred Trots in Britain somehow morphed into 300,000 new LP members! But, Momentum now having shown that it is a tame part of the establishment, is even able to recruit McTernan himself as a member.
The appeasement as with all witch-hunts only provokes the witch-hunters to widen the scope of their activities. The AWL, which was at the forefront of helping the witch-hunters with their shameful support for the witch-hunting of Jackie Walker, was repaid by having their own members expelled too, and having right-wing Labour MP's appear on TV, to characterise the AWL themselves as "anti-Semites", despite their well-known Zionist politics. Yet, oddly, the AWL seem to consider that a price worth paying, as their advocacy of Zionism seems to trump any other consideration for them in their politics.
It didn't take long for my comment of yesterday to be proved correct. Today we learn that Jess Phillips has claimed that Marxism is necessarily misogynist, because it places class oppression above all else, and so now claims that as well as the Left in the party being anti-Semitic, it is also misogynist. The attack of the Right, as I said yesterday will spread ever wider on this irrational basis, using all of the usual conspiratorial language that such witch-hunts have always adopted. Rather like a Dan Brown novel, it will imply that there are dark (Marxist) forces at work, of which Corbyn is the head of the coven (or even worse that some unseen Dark Overlord is really standing behind Corbyn, who is only its representative on Earth (i.e. in the LP).
It will suggest that these dark forces do not speak openly, but only in codes and symbols that have to be unlocked by the forces of Light, who like Jim Denham, can look into the minds of men and women, and see what is really going inside.
I actually found that despite the anonymous Zionist commenter to my article on Medium having deleted their comments, my replies to them, were in fact still floating around here , here , and here .
As the right-wing extend their witch-hunt against socialists in the LP to claim that Marxists are necessarily misogynist, as well as anti-Semitic – and the same logic presented by McDonagh, McTernon, and Phillips would presumably mean that the Left must also be xenophobic, homophobic, anti- Green, and many other charges they want to throw into the mix – it will be interesting to see whether and to what extent the AWL, join them in that assault, in the same way they have done in their promotion of Zionism.
Aug 14, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Anarcissie , , August 14, 2019 at 5:03 pm
If you consider social democrat types to be Left -- the 'near Left' -- then they've made great progress during the reign of Trump. It is true they are nowhere near dominance as yet, but in any case the stuff the Deep State factions are struggling over, war, empire, funny money, and other con games, are inherently corrupt and corrupting, and formal dominance could only mean submission to the rules of the Game. Probably better to lose influentially; victory is death.
In the case of Epstein, I was thinking not that he was a principal who had to be offed because he ' knew too much ', but was more like the racehorse whose head winds up in someone's bed. Or hearing that someone has been given plutonium tea. 'We can do this, sucker!'
elissa3 , , August 14, 2019 at 2:55 pm
A more elaborate take on factional struggle: https://www.oftwominds.com/blogaug19/deep-state-war8-19.html
Aug 03, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org
Something is 'up'. When two Financial Times columnists – pillars of the western Establishment – raise a warning flag, we must take note: Martin Wolf was first off, with a piece dramatically headlined: The looming 100-year, US-China Conflict . No 'mere' trade war, he implied, but a full-spectrum struggle. Then his FT colleague Edward Luce, pointed out that Wolf's "argument is more nuanced than the headline. Having spent part of this week among leading policymakers and thinkers at the annual Aspen Security Forum in Colorado," Lucetr writes , "I am inclined to think Martin was not exaggerating. The speed with which US political leaders of all stripes have united behind the idea of a 'new cold war' is something that takes my breath away. Eighteen months ago the phrase was dismissed as fringe scaremongering. Today it is consensus."
A significant shift is underway in US policy circles, it seems. Luce's final 'take' is that "it is very hard to see what, or who, is going to prevent this great power rivalry from dominating the 21st century". It is clear that there is indeed now a clear bi-partisan consensus in the US on China. Luce is surely right. But that is far from being the end of it. A collective psychology of belligerence seems to be taking shape, and, as one commentator noted, it has become not just a great-power rivalry, but a rivalry amongst 'Beltway' policy wonks to show "who has the bigger dick".
And quick to demonstrate his, at Aspen (after others had unveiled their masculinity on China and Iran), was the US envoy for Syria (and deputy US National Security Adviser), James Jeffrey: A US policy boiled down to one overriding component: 'hammering Russia'. "Hammering Russia" (he insisted repeatedly), will continue until President Putin understands there is no military solution in Syria (he said with heightened verbal emphasis). Russia falsely assumes that Assad has 'won' war: "He hasn't", Jeffrey said. And the US is committed to demonstrating this fundamental 'truth'.
Therefore, the US plans to 'up the pressure'; will escalate the cost to Russia, until a political transition is in place, with a new Syria emerging as a "normal nation". The US will 'leverage' the costs on Russia across the board: Through military pressure – ensuring a lack of military progress in Idlib; through Israelis operating freely across Syria's airspace; through 'US partners' (i.e. the Kurds) consolidating in NE Syria; through economic costs ("our success" in stopping reconstruction aid to Syria); through extensive US sanctions on Syria (integrated with those on Iran) – "these sanctions are succeeding"; and thirdly, by diplomatic pressure: i.e. "hammering Russia" in the UN.
Well, the US shift on Syria also takes one's breath away. Recall how little time ago, the talk was of partnership, of the US working with Russia to find a solution in Syria. Now the talk of the US Envoy is the talk of Cold War with Russia as much as were his Aspen colleagues – albeit in respect to China. Such 'machismo' is evidenced too coming from the US President: "I could – if I wanted – end the US war in Afghanistan in a week", (but it would entail the deaths of 10 million Afghans), Trump exclaimed. And, in the same mode, Trump now suggests that for Iran, he is easy: war or not – either path is fine, for him.
All this braggadocio is reminiscent of late 2003 when the war in Iraq was just entering its insurgent stage: It was said then that mere "boys go to Baghdad; but real men chose to go to Tehran ". It gained wide circulation in Washington at the time. This type of talk gave rise, as I well recall, to something approaching an hysteric elation. Officials seemed to be walking six inches above the ground, in anticipation of all the dominos expected to fall in succession.
The point here is that the tacit coupling of Russia – now termed a major 'foe' of America by US Defense officials – and China, inevitably is being refracted back at the US, in terms of a growing strategic Russo-Chinese partnership, ready to challenge the US and its allies.
Last Tuesday, a Russian aircraft, flying in a joint air patrol with a Chinese counterpart, deliberately entered South Korean airspace. And, just earlier, two Russian Tu-95 bombers and two Chinese H-6 warplanes -- both nuclear capable -- reportedly had entered South Korea's air defense identification zone.
"This is the first time I'm aware of that Chinese and Russian fighters have jointly flown through the air defence identification zone of a major US ally -- in this case two US allies. Clearly it's geopolitical signalling as well as intelligence collection," said Michael Carpenter, a former Russia specialist with the US Department of Defense. It was a message to the US, Japan, and South Korea: If you strengthen the US-Japan military alliance, Russia and China have no choice but to react militarily as well.
So, as we look around, the picture seems to be one in which US bellicosity is somehow consolidating as an élite consensus (with but a few individuals courageously pushing-back on the trend). So what is going on?
The two FT correspondents effectively were signalling – in their separate articles – that the US is entering on a momentous and hazardous transformation. Further, it would seem that America's élite is being fractured into balkanised enclaves that are not communicating with one another – nor wanting to communicate with each other. Rather, it is another conflict between deadly rivals.
One such orientation insists on a renewal of the Cold War to sustain and renew that supersized military-security complex, which accounts for more than half of America's GDP. Another élite demands that US dollar global hegemony be preserved.
Another orientation of the Deep State is disgusted at the contagion of sexual decadence and corruption that has wormed its way into American governance – and truly hopes that Trump will 'drain the swamp'.
And yet another, which sees DC's now explicit amorality as risking the loss of America's global standing and leadership – wants to see a return of traditional American mores – a 'moral rearmament', as it were. (And then there are the deplorables, who simply want that America should attend to its own internal refurbishment.)
But all these divided Deep State factions believe that belligerence can work.
However, the more these fractured, rival US élite factions with their moneyed and comfortable lifestyles, cloister themselves in their enclaves, certain in their separate views about how America can retain its global supremacy, the less likely it is that they will understand the very real impact of their collective belligerence on the outside world. Like any cosseted élite, they have an exaggerated sense of their entitlement – and their impunity.
These élite factions – for all their internal rivalry – however seem to have coalesced around a singularity of talking and thinking that allows the dominant classes to substitute for the reality of an America subject to severe stress and strain – the fable of a hegemon which still can elect which non-compliant governments and peoples to bully and remove from the global map. Their rhetoric alone is curdling the atmospherics in the non-West.
But a further implication of the incoherence within the élites is applicable to Trump. It is widely assumed that because he says he does not want more wars – and because he is US President – wars will not happen. But that is not how the world works.
The leader of any nation is never sovereign. He or she sits atop a pyramid of quarrelling princelings (Deep State princelings, in this instance), who have their own interests and agenda. Trump is not immune to their machinations.
One obvious example being Mr Bolton's successful gambit in persuading the Brits to seize the Grace I tanker off Gibraltar. At a stroke, Bolton escalated the conflict with Iran ('increased the pressure' on Iran, as Bolton would probably term it); put the UK at the forefront of America's 'war' with Iran; divided the JCPOA signatories, and embarrassed the EU. He is a canny 'operator' – no doubt about it.
And this is the point: these princelings can initiate actions (including false flags) that drive events to their agenda; that can corner a President. And that is presuming that the President is somehow immune to a great 'switch in mood' among his own lieutenants (even if that consensus is nothing more than a fable that belligerency succeeds). But is it safe to assume Trump is immune to the general 'mood' amongst the varied élites? Do not his recent glib comments about Afghanistan and Iran suggest that he might leaning towards the new belligerency? Martin Wolf concluded his FT piece by suggesting the shift in the US suggests we may be witnessing a stumbling towards a century of conflict. But in the case of Iran, any mis-move could result in something more immediate – and uncontained.
Apr 12, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Kadath , Apr 11, 2019 9:56:58 AM | link
oh, I quite agree that the UK government is deliberately torpedoing Brexit through a deliberate campaign of profound incompetence in the hopes that this will allow them to prevent Brexit without outraging the voting public. However, my assertion is that the US & UK elites while think this campaign is oh so clever and will allow them to subvert the will of the people, they are in fact showing their true incompetence by choosing this method of Publicly campaigning on one policy to get elected, then deliberately and obviously sabotaging it.
in civics 101 we are taught that the advantage of a Democracy is that an "informed populous, making informed decisions will enact informed policies that accurately represent the will of the people (and hopefully be the best policies overall). of course, we all know in reality that the political & economic (and now the technical elites) have always despised the whole concept of Democracy because it restricts their power. Their current vision for subverting the will of the people is through total information control or the "control of the narrative" as they call it. But at the end of the day all this really means is a massive domestic propaganda campaign aimed at the seething masses of plebeians aimed that tricking the masses into voting as the elite require. However, a Democracy is still a Democracy so deliberately mis-informing the populous into voting for policies that are bad for the people, but good for the elite will create a dispirited, apathetic population that isn't politically invested in the government.
Now people might say "see the elites succeeded, they crushed the democratic will, got their policies enacted and successfully replaced Democracy with Oligarchism while the sheep did nothing". But this is actually where the elites (Political, Economic and Technical) show their utter incompetency in understanding statecraft and governance.
The greatest danger to any state is NOT foreign invasion or even a rebellion by the peasants. Rather it is internal conflict between the elites within the society. When civics 101 teachers say that "informed populous, making informed decisions will enact informed policies that accurately represent the will of the people", what they really mean (without being able to forthrightly state) is that through the mandate of the vote the populous will resolve specific conflicts between the elites and that the legitimacy resolution of the dispute is intrinsically & inseparably tied to the legitimacy of the vote.
If the elites sabotage the legitimacy of the vote by propagandized the masses so that they can't make informed decisions or become to apathetic to vote, then the entire process by which Western Elites resolve internal conflicts in irrevocably tainted and delegitimized, what will happen next time the elites have an major internal dispute? The losing side will simply see the failure of their political position as the result of them not being corrupt and dishonest enough to beat the other side so they will response by trying to subvert the other side's policies through even more corrupt and dishonest actions.
Hilary vs Trump is a good example of where the US (and the west in general) is heading, there's scarcely a hair's difference between the policies these two advocated and the terrible consequences that the commoners will be subjected to regardless of who ended up winning the presidency. However, that hair's difference, while having no real impact of the massive majority of the world's population, it still meant tens of BILLIONS of dollars going to one group of elites vs another group of elites.
Everyday, throughout the world, people are killed over essentially trivial amounts of money ($20 drug deals gone bad, $10,000 life insurance schemes), does anyone really think that in a conflict over billions of dollars, Western elites will behave any differently than a street corner drug dealer. Bear in mind, that we have overwhelming evidence that the Iraq War, the Libyan war and the Syrian "civil" war were about Western interest's desire to loot these countries natural resource (and the Western tax payer to boot!).
Linking this back to Assange, he campaigned against the Western Elites control of the narrative and for that "crime" they will destroy him whatever the cost to the Empire's prestige, reputation, trust and self-worth. But as I said, their too greedy to see the bigger picture and how their actions against truth, justice, and democracy will place the dagger in the hand that slits their own throats. What group (the public at large, the military, a subgroup of the elite, etc...) specifically does the deed is irrelevant, without a legitimate way to resolve the inevitable internal conflicts between the elites, the end result is clear, societal collapse.
Apr 02, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Zachary Smith , Apr 1, 2019 5:14:39 PM | 93 ">link
@ bevin #90But that doesn't bother Trump, Bolton, Pompeo and their mob. They think quarter by quarter. Immediate gratification is the name of their game. They know that "in the long run we are all dead". And they don't care what happens then.
Your viewpoint is the same as that of Jonathon Cook. He says "Russiagate" was a faction fight between two groups of the Power Elites.
One wanted to keep 'putting the lipstick on the pig' which is predatory Capitalism, and the other wants to let it all hang out and rape the planet NOW.
Just as there was a clueless "liberal" cheering group for Mueller, the Looters have a fan club among the "right". Both sets of the applauding groups are just puppets. And of course neither has recognized their true role in the unfolding dramas.
Aug 12, 2019 | www.rt.com
"How many other millionaires and billionaires were part of the illegal activities that he was engaged in?" he asked. Even the BBC website has as its heading of a news story today "Jeffrey Epstein: Questions raised over financier's death."
Aug 12, 2019 | www.unz.com
9/11 Inside job , says: August 11, 2019 at 11:33 pm GMTPer ArcAngel "If the authorities and the Ministry of Truth say that Epstein is dead I go to my Orwellian dictionary and it states that he is alive . "
Aug 11, 2019 | www.unz.com
Goy , says: August 10, 2019 at 10:44 pm GMT@Haxo Angmark Why would anyone have to bring down Trump? The man is fully compromised, a puppet and the FBI has already likely 15 years of material on him as revealed in Kushner, Inc.
There is the possibility that Epstein functioned as a pass to the highest echelons: you would compromise yourself by having intercourse with minors, let Epstein record it, hand it over to Mossad and possibly other agencies he worked with. To show that you can be trusted. Not unlike Unz himself suggested and exemplified by McCain.
But that is not necessary for Trump. Netanyahu gets everything he wants. And the whole Trump campaign was a distraction, bankrolled by Sheldon Adelson and managed by a former AIPAC guy and Christian Zionist and personal friend of Adelson Steve Bannon no less. Anyone who still believes Trump is not part of the deepest filth of "the swamp" is delusional and ignores way too many facts.
There is no left, no right. There is no democracy. There is an unelected oligarchy and its political puppets. Long since bought and paid for before you and I were even born
Goy , says: August 11, 2019 at 1:29 am GMT@peterAUS Well, the particularity with Epstein is: Many people did and are paying attention. Millions. And the elite knows that we know. As you said it yourself: this was not just a cover-up. It was a demonstration of power directed at us.
And they are laughing at us; as they are getting away; as they are taking every bit of freedom and sovereignty away which the patriot act hadn’t already devoured, through bipartisan decision of the system which should (theoretically) serve the people.
The Dystopia is also already here: the cold-blooded apathy with which the ruling class in Britain treated victims as in Rotherham, the Savile case and now Epstein exposing their true characters, and those are also the leaders and elites who lecture us on morality: Ghislaine Maxwell -- save nature! Clinton Foundation, Mother Merkel… It’s disgusting.
And so many unthinkable theories which were declared “conspiracy theories” about WW2, the aftermath and our current reality turn out to be true.
But I agree: the internet allowed us to decode the illusion of the media Matrix and its artificial reality. And it is those possibilities which the ruling class wants to snuff out for good. So that the monopoly to manufacture consent, truth and reality goes back to them
Securitate , says: August 11, 2019 at 5:20 pm GMTSystemic elite kompromat shielded with arbitrary acts spanning all levels of government. Now anybody who tells you this is a democracy, or an open society, or a free country, or any of that shit, is either a mental defective or a pedo CP star in Comey’s personal Playpen stash.Alden , says: August 11, 2019 at 5:25 pm GMT
You can’t pretend we’re ever going to vote our way out of this. We’re deep in the forcible-overthrow zone. If you aspire to rights or rule of law lots of CIA vermin are going to have to be Ceaușescued.@Bardon Kaldian Epstein was a pimp. The girls were prostitutesColin Wright , says: • Website August 11, 2019 at 6:59 pm GMT@Bardon Kaldian ‘…All pimps are criminals. But not all criminals are the same.’annamaria , says: August 12, 2019 at 1:30 am GMT
Indeed. Some grow up in circumstances at least as dreadful as those of their victims, and while they indeed need to be locked up, are to be pitied as well.
Others have been given perfectly decent lives, and are even affluent — and yet still commit acts of depravity and cruelty.
These I have no sympathy for at all. Who is worse: the person who has never known a decent life, or the person who has been offered it, but prefers moral depravity?
Jeffrey Epstein enjoyed chewing up unfortunate children and spitting them out like sunflower husks when he was done. There was nothing keeping him from being a reasonably decent, moral man.@Bardon Kaldian Could you just show some decency and stop fantasizing about “female sexuality?”
This is a story of Mossad’s blackmailing operation and the abuse of underage girls.
If you have an itch for discussing “female desires” and such, look for the appropriate blogs. This forum is not an appropriate venue for you: https://empireexposed.blogspot.com/2018/02/chapter-14-jeffrey-epstein-scandal.html
During the ensuing decade since Epstein’s conviction, the seedy truth has slowly trickled out, exposing the dark, twisted, perverse sex slave trafficking operation that Epstein and his bevy of co-conspirators recruited child victims as sex slaves from poor neighborhoods in Florida, New York, South America, Europe and Russia, including three 12-year old girls from France as a birthday gift. Incredibly, his procuring pimp co-conspirators and scores of powerful pedo patrons were all granted immunity…
Aug 11, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com
John Merryman , 10 August 2019 at 06:20 PMThis does significantly strain the overall credibility of the system, among those who would like nothing more than to believe in it, but still have some conscience and working brain cells.strateshooter , 11 August 2019 at 09:06 AM
Yet having been raised fairly rural, with a significant respect for the natural cycles, this is nothing so much as watching necrotic tissue decay even further. Only for those raised in fairly sterile conditions, does it seem abnormal.this corruption in US politics and DOJ is now so so pervasive hat I think only way to clear the cancer is for trump to use the Military to replace CIA, FBI, DOJ , clean out the Judges , clean out the Media and start again with STRICT compliance to the Laws of the US Constitution.EK -> strateshooter... , 11 August 2019 at 10:43 AM
The FBI /DOJ is clearly infested with the cancer of corruption.
The DC and NY offices need to be fired in entirety and replaced by mid America new blood.I was wondering when I would see a Trump supporter explicitly promoting a military coup in the US in a Trump supportive blog with the alibi of returning to "Constitution and Law strict compliance"...turcopolier -> EK... , 11 August 2019 at 11:15 AM
No wonder a military coup is anti-constitutional....
I always thought all these stories of the "deep state", the "borg", "drainning the swmp", "paedophilia conspiracy theories", "Epstein case", "white supremacism terrorism", and attacks by Trump, and his ideologues, against any US institution, were designed to sow the enough ammount of distrust and confussion amongst the US population so that they become more rone to allow such an outrage...
"The FBI /DOJ is clearly infested with the cancer of corruption."
Mainly since both ends of the bipartisan system try to hijack the independence of some these powers by placing their ideologically kindred men any time they grab presidency. This includes Trump.
"The DC and NY offices need to be fired in entirety and replaced by mid America new blood."
A public officers corps which reachs its position by merits independent from political filiation is the best gurantee for a Constitutional rule and a vaccine against authoritarian aims/intends like coup d´etats.EK
I suppose that from your position of "resistance" tht I appear to be a Trump supporter but I am not. I support the constitution and little else.
Aug 11, 2019 | twitter.com
Robert P. George 8:12 AM - 10 Aug 2019Robert P. George @McCormickProf Aug 10
Epstein's suicide--while on suicide watch in a prison--is simply too convenient for too many wealthy, politically powerful people (of both parties) whom he might have implicated. The investigation must be thorough, transparent, and by someone whose integrity is beyond question.Will Chamberlain @willchamberlain Aug 10
We won't get a special counsel in a case like this, but if I had the power to appoint one the choice would be easy: Jack Goldsmith of Harvard Law School. We need a person of his exceptional ability and integrity to get to the bottom of this and stop the further erosion of trust.
Replying to @McCormickProf
Last time we were promised someone whose integrity was “beyond question” we got Robert Mueller and a team of Hillary donors investigating a GOP President
Aug 11, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com
walrus , 10 August 2019 at 06:51 PMWhat hopefully happens now is called "diffusion of responsibility". The AG is suitably "appalled". We find that the dumbest prison guard in the history of New York was rostered on that night. He was called away to the telephone- by what proved to be an overseas telemarketing call. The paper records got jammed in the printer. The supervisor had a flat tire on the way to work. The computer broke down. You know the drill.
I said "hopefully" because if an investigation discovers a perpetrator, then they will be dead in short order too. You always remove two links between victim and murderer. That way the crime is impossible to investigate.
What this now means in practical terms is that HRC is free to run again for President.
Aug 11, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Petrel , 10 August 2019 at 06:53 PMEpstein may have been lured back to the US with some cover story of a get-out-of-jail fake death -- only the powers that be had decided to terminate his contract.ancientarcher said in reply to Petrel... , 11 August 2019 at 03:28 AMWe still don't know whether it's the real Epstein who died! We'll be told that, of course. But if you believe that, you'll believe anythingJP Billen , 10 August 2019 at 07:39 PMPetrel -
Why not terminate him overseas before his return? No mess, no fuss.
Aug 11, 2019 | www.unz.com
Ron Unz: August 10, 2019 at 11:47 pm GMTThis reminds me a little of a almost forgotten incident from the 1960s
Some government inspector in Texas had agreed to testify about the details of a gigantic corruption ring that was closely connected with LBJ. I can't remember the exact details, but not long afterward, he was found dead, shot seven times.
The local Texas court ruled it an apparent suicide and that's exactly how it was reported in the Washington Post and the other national newspapers
Iris : August 11, 2019 at 12:16His name was Henry Marshall.
In 1984, Billie Sol Estes told a grand jury investigating the 1961 shooting death of Henry Marshall, an official with the Department of Agriculture, that LBJ’s associate Malcolm Wallace was Marshall’s murderer.
Malcolm Wallace and LBJ had been closely linked. In the early 50’s, LBJ had gone to great extents to save Wallace’s life after he shot down a professional golfer who was having an affair with LBJ’s alcoholic sister. Although guilty of murder, Wallace ended up with a minor sentence.
Interestingly, a Wallace fingerprint was apparently found at the TSBD “Sniper nest” from where Oswald allegedly shot JFK. Probably some insurance taken against LBJ by his co-conspirators…
lysias , says: August 11, 2019 at 1:34 am GMT@Iris Shortly before he died, Estes collaborated with a French journalist on a book called “Le dernier temoin” (“The Last Witness”) in which Estes claimed that he had participated in a meeting with LBJ in which the JFK assassination was planned. The book was published in French (I have a copy), but no English translation has ever appeared.
Aug 04, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Watt4Bob , August 4, 2019 at 9:28 am
We were warned about the situation you describe.
The following is a portion of an op-ed piece that appeared in the New York Times On April 4, 1944 . It was written by Henry Wallace, FDR's vice president;
If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful. Most American fascists are enthusiastically supporting the war effort. They are doing this even in those cases where they hope to have profitable connections with German chemical firms after the war ends. They are patriotic in time of war because it is to their interest to be so, but in time of peace they follow power and the dollar wherever they may lead.
American fascism will not be really dangerous until there is a purposeful coalition among the cartelists, the deliberate poisoners of public information, and those who stand for the K.K.K. type of demagoguery.
The European brand of fascism will probably present its most serious postwar threat to us via Latin America. The effect of the war has been to raise the cost of living in most Latin American countries much faster than the wages of labor. The fascists in most Latin American countries tell the people that the reason their wages will not buy as much in the way of goods is because of Yankee imperialism. The fascists in Latin America learn to speak and act like natives. Our chemical and other manufacturing concerns are all too often ready to let the Germans have Latin American markets, provided the American companies can work out an arrangement which will enable them to charge high prices to the consumer inside the United States. Following this war, technology will have reached such a point that it will be possible for Germans, using South America as a base, to cause us much more difficulty in World War III than they did in World War II. The military and landowning cliques in many South American countries will find it attractive financially to work with German fascist concerns as well as expedient from the standpoint of temporary power politics.
Fascism is a worldwide disease. Its greatest threat to the United States will come after the war, either via Latin America or within the United States itself.
The full text is quite useful in understanding that there is no question as to how and why we find ourselves in the present predicament, it is the logical outcome of a process that was well understood during FDR's tenure.
That understanding has since been deliberately eradicated by the powerful interests that control our media.
Jul 27, 2019 | www.unz.com
Pornography multiplies frequency, duration, angles, positions and sexual partners, an endless and eternal sexual buffet, except that none of it is really happening. Similarly, American democracy gives the appearance of boundless participation by all citizens, for they can't just vote in caucuses and elections, but cheer at conventions, march in protest, write letters to newspapers, comment on the internet and follow, blow by blow, the serial mud wrestling between opposing politicians. Pissed, they can freely curse Bush, Obama or Trump without fearing a midnight knock on the door. Alas, none of their "political activities" actually matters, for Americans don't influence their government's policies, much less decide them. It's all an elaborate spectacle to make each chump think he's somehow a player, in on the action, when he's actually all alone, in the dark, to beat his own meat, yet again.
He has railroaded, premasticated opinions on everything, but without the means to act on any of it. Only his impotence is real.
Jul 25, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Monty , July 23, 2019 at 12:55 pm
"Now, there's one thing you might have noticed I don't complain about: politicians. Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says they suck. Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don't fall out of the sky. They don't pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens. This is the best we can do folks. This is what we have to offer. It's what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you're going to get selfish, ignorant leaders. Term limits ain't going to do any good; you're just going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Americans. So, maybe, maybe, maybe, it's not the politicians who suck. Maybe something else sucks around here like, the public. Yeah, the public sucks. There's a nice campaign slogan for somebody: 'The Public Sucks. F*ck Hope."
Never gets old.
Arizona Slim , July 23, 2019 at 7:07 pm
Source of this delicious quote, please.
WheresOurTeddy , July 23, 2019 at 10:51 pm
George Carlin, or as I think of him, 21st century Mark Twain
Jul 24, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
GramSci , , , July 23, 2019 at 8:04 am
When Alex Stamos announced that the Internet Research Agency's ad buys were a drop in the ocean, Zuckerberg was promptly taken to the Congressional Woodshed and told to report to the Atlantic Council. Those two billion-odd fake accounts may be a fraud perpetrated on the advertisers, but they are invaluable to US "law" enforcement and to US propaganda, where the ability to open a fake account on Facebook gives the illusion of privacy.
With all due respect to Mr. Greenspan and his Lowell House creds, I think he fails to understand that Facebook is now an NSA asset.
Summer , , July 23, 2019 at 11:55 am
NSA and other law enforcement asset.
Remember stories about stupid criminals on the run who took the time to update their Facebook page?
The Rev Kev , July 23, 2019 at 10:38 am
This is a fascinating article and it certainly put a smile on my dial. As an asset for use by governments around the world, Facebook may be too invaluable to just let sink. One guy reported that he was in a meeting with Facebook’s top brass including the Zuck when a head honcho of the FBI came into the meeting and sang Zuck’s praises for all the help that Facebook gave the FBI. So the question remains. Just how many “real” Facebook accounts does Facebook have? Ones that people check on daily. Now that is the killer question.
Jul 25, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Michael Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,
Perhaps, at long last, a serial rapist and pedophile may be brought to justice , more than a dozen years after he was first charged with crimes that have brutalized countless girls and women. But what won't change is this: the cesspool of elites, many of them in New York, who allowed Jeffrey Epstein to flourish with impunity.
For decades, important, influential, "serious" people attended Epstein's dinner parties, rode his private jet, and furthered the fiction that he was some kind of genius hedge-fund billionaire. How do we explain why they looked the other way, or flattered Epstein, even as they must have noticed he was often in the company of a young harem? Easy: They got something in exchange from him , whether it was a free ride on that airborne "Lolita Express," some other form of monetary largesse, entrée into the extravagant celebrity soirées he hosted at his townhouse, or, possibly and harrowingly, a pound or two of female flesh.
– From the New York Magazine article: Who Was Jeffrey Epstein Calling?
An honest assessment of the current state of American politics and society in general leaves little room for optimism regarding the public's ability to accurately diagnose, much less tackle, our fundamental issues at a root level. A primary reason for this state of affairs boils down to the ease with which the American public is divided against itself and conquered.
Though there are certain issues pretty much everyone can agree on, we simply aren't focusing our collective energy on them or creating the mass movements necessary to address them. Things such as systemic bipartisan corruption, the institutionalization of a two-tier justice system in which the wealthy and powerful are above the law, a broken economy that requires both parents to work and still barely make ends meet, and a military-industrial complex consumed with profits and imperial aggression not national defense. These are just a few of the many issues that should easily unite us against an entrenched power structure, but it is not happening. At least not yet.
We currently find ourselves at a unique inflection point in American history. Though I agree with Charles Hugh Smith's assessment that " Our Ruling Elites Have No Idea How Much We Want to See Them All in Prison Jumpsuits, " we have yet to reach the point where the general public is prepared to do something about it. I think there are several reasons for this, but the primary obstacle relates to how easily the citizenry is divided and conquered. The mass media, largely owned and controlled by billionaires and their corporations, is highly incentivized to keep the public divided against itself on trivial issues, or at best, on real problems that are merely symptoms of bipartisan elitist plunder.
The key thing, from a plutocrat's point of view, is to make sure the public never takes a step back and sees the root of society's problems. It isn't Trump or Obama, and it isn't the Republican or Democratic parties either. These individuals and political gangs are just useful vehicles for elitist plunder. They help herd the rabble into comfortable little tribal boxes that results in made for tv squabbling, while the true forces of power carry on with the business of societal pillaging behind the scenes.
You're encouraged to attach your identity to team Republican or team Democrat, but never unite as one voice against a bipartisan crew of depraved, corrupt and unaccountable power players molding society from the top. While the average person living paycheck to paycheck fashions themselves part of some biblical fight of good vs. evil by supporting team red or blue, the manipulative and powerful at the top remain beyond such plebeian theater (though they certainly encourage it). These folks know only one team -- team green. And their team keeps winning, by the way.
When scanning the news most days, I see a constant amplification of wedge issues by mass media, blue-check pundits and even many in the so-called alternative media. I see people increasingly being encouraged to demonize and dehumanize their fellow citizens. Anyone who voted for Trump is automatically a Nazi, likewise, anyone who supports Sanders is an anti-American communist. The reality is neither of these things is even remotely true, so why are people so quick to say them?
Why is most of the anger in this country being directed at fellow powerless Americans versus upward at the power structure which nurtured and continues to defend the current depraved status quo? I don't see any upside to actively encouraging one side of the political discussion to dehumanize the other side, and I suggest we consciously cease engaging in such behavior. Absolutely nothing good can come from it.
Which is partly why I've been so consumed by the Jeffrey Epstein case. For once, it allows us to focus our energy on the depraved nature of the so-called American "elite," rather than pick fights with each other. How many random Trump or Sanders supporters do you know who systematically molest children and then pass them off to their wealthy and powerful friends for purposes of blackmail?
The Epstein case shines a gigantic spotlight on just how twisted and sociopathic the highest echelons of U.S. society have become. This is exactly what happens when you fail to put wealthy and powerful super predators behind bars. They get more brazen, they get more demented and, ultimately, they destroy the very fabric that holds society together. We are in fact ruled by monsters.
Unfortunately, by being short-sighted, by fighting amongst ourselves, and by taking the easy route of punching down versus punching up, we allow such cretins to continue to rape and pillage what remains of our civilization.
If we can truly get to the bottom of exactly what Epstein was up to, I suspect it has the potential to focus the general public (beyond a few seconds) on the true nature of what's really going on and what makes the world tick. Revelations of such a nature could provide the proverbial tipping point that's so desperately needed, but this is also why the odds of us actually getting the whole story is quite low. There's simply too much at stake for those calling the shots.
* * *
Side note: I've been consistently updating my Epstein twitter thread as I learn new information. I suggest checking back in from time to time.
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Ali Tarpate , 23 minutes ago linkgiovanni_f , 32 minutes ago link
> ...f urthered the fiction that he was some kind of genius hedge-fund billionaire
He wasn't - he was set up by Mossad
Mossad Epstein Connection
Notice the Bronfman involvement...He–Mene Mox Mox , 35 minutes ago link
If we can truly get to the bottom of exactly what Epstein was up
1. We can't.
2. Epstein was in the business to set up people with kompromat material ...
3. ...and did it for someone else , it appears as he was protected from above for many years.
4. These " elses " won't allow that the support of the Americans to forever fight Israels wars gets shattered.
5. I expect operation diversion & coverup soon. My hunch is that they will pull a 9/11 hoax as a last resort if things get out of hand fast.
6. They did it in the past, they will do it in the future.
7. Human lives don't matter to them.Give Me Some Truth , 14 minutes ago link
Michael Krieger said: "It's sad and mind-boggling how easy it is to divide and conquer the American public. Manipulating the masses in this country is trivial. The next few years will not be pretty".
Despite all the news of how the elites have manipulated the American public, it still goes on, unabated. Americans, for the most part, are dumb and fat couch potatoes. They are not going to rise up against their elite masters, because they don't have the wherewithal to do so. So, the show continues on, and the elites don't seem to have anything to worry about, and do as they will.
If Americans were truly energetic about reigning in the abuses of the elites, they would have done so back in the 1870's, when Mark Twain wrote about the Gilded Age Elites. Here it is, 149 years later, and nothing has changed in America today. The elites still rule, and everyone else is an indentured servant. Of course, there are benefits for the elites to keep the American masses dumbed down, and letting them lead couch potato life styles. Doing so, keeps them in power.phillyla , 38 minutes ago link
I suspect it was the CIA or FBI. But the goal was to keep Acosta from investigating Virginia Roberts' claims. If authorities did this they would have had to investigate Prince Andrew.
If they found her to be truthful, they might even have to arrest Prince Andrew (can you imagine this happening?). Or at least ask him to testify in a trial.
If the truth came out, this would humiliate the British nation, and Great Britain was (still is) one of America's most important allies in the "war on terror" and all our other neocon initiatives.
Acosta was essentially told to "back off" Prince Andrew (not necessarily Epstein, who was best buddies with "Andy.")
This doesn't mean Israel intelligence was not involved in some way. It just means that American intelligence was involved, or wanted to protect key people. Hell, they still do.
We can be almost certain that the exact same thing that happened with Acosta is happening right now. Some prosecutor is being told to "back off. Don't go here. Focus only on Epstein and Epstein only."
This is why Ghislaine Maxwell has not been charged and will not be charged. This is why the FBI has not raided Pedo Island or Pedo Ranch. This is why Epstein's four "co-accomplices" have not been charged.
Prosecutors have again been told that "intelligence" is saying that it's okay to do this (charge Epstein with sex crimes), but NOT okay to do this (investigate and arrest any fellow predators).Obamanism666 , 45 minutes ago link
It isn't just the elites and we need to stop pretending it is
"Child sex trafficking which is the buying and selling of women, young girls and boys for sex, some as young as 9 years old, has become big business in America. It is the fastest growing business in organized crime and the second-most-lucrative commodity traded illegally after drugs and guns.
Adults purchase children for sex at least 2.5 million times a year in the United States.
It's not just young girls who are vulnerable to these predators, either.
According to a 2016 investigative report, "boys make up about 36% of children caught up in the U.S. sex industry (about 60% are female and less than 5% are transgender males and females)."
Who buys a child for sex?
Otherwise, ordinary men from all walks of life. "They could be your co-worker, doctor, pastor or spouse."
https://www.groundzeromedia.org/7-17-19-apex-predator-den-of-vipers-heart-of-darkness-w-ed-Opperman/Give Me Some Truth , 53 minutes ago link
If Epstein was muslin would this be a crime? Of course not it would be part of Muslim Culture. Look into the Abuse done to young girls in the Rotherham abuse case. BTW I am no sticking up for Epstein but the ruling elites and certain minorities are treated different from Joe and Jane PublicGive Me Some Truth , 26 minutes ago link
The headline for this story is great:
"The Epstein Case Is A Rare Opportunity To Focus "On The Depraved Nature Of America's Elite"
This IS a "rare opportunity' for Americans to do just this (focus on how deprived our elite leaders really are).
If Americans really started to do this, for an extended period of time, and got, you know, kind of pissed off about this state of affairs, we might even throw all the bums out. We might really "drain the swamp."
So this is a BIG story. Potentially.
Of course, the Powers that Be are going to do everything they can to make sure Americans do NOT focus on this story for too long. Or that the "narrative" is controlled. (For example by focusing only on Epstein, not his hundreds of depraved buddies and corrupt institutions).
I've been posting for 10 days that there are "too many" of these people. And they are too powerful.
Seems to me if authorities went after one of the "johns," they would have to go after ALL of the "Johns." And this includes Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton, former senators, governors, CEOs, secretaries of the treasury, bankers, etc.
It's the massive numbers of possible offenders that is probably keeping all of these people "safe."
And I still think Prince Andrew is the biggest fish the authorities don't want to humiliate/charge.
Even more so than Clinton. Half the country would throw a party if Clinton was charged. But in the UK, 90 percent of British citizens would be mortified and greatly embarrassed if one of their Princes was proven to have done all the things that have been alleged he did.
Jul 23, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.comRobert O. Paxton's "The Five Stages of Fascism" Posted on July 22, 2019 by Lambert Strether By Lambert Strether of Corrente
The word "fascism" has been much in the news of late. Here is a chart of the year 2019 from Google Trends:
Interestingly, usage is more or less flat until the first spike, when President Trump put tanks on the National Mall for July 4 , and then a second, larger spike, when he gave his Greenville, NC speech, and the crowd chanted, of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, " send them back ." Omar reacted as follows:
... ... ...
Omar is a serious person and that's a serious charge, so it's worth looking at. Certainly my left/work corner of the Twittersphere was consumed by the word "fascism," to the extent that RussiaRussiaRussia was drowned out. Notably, however, the two spikes, and the resulting moral panic, were caused by symbols: Tanks on the mall, and a speech. (Interestingly, words about the border, like "concentration camps," and "fascism" do not spike simultaneously , even though one might expect them to. We'll see more about symbols in the Appendices.) However, although fascist deliverables often have excellent symbolism -- graphic treatments especially -- fascism is about more than symbols, although you might not know it from the ruminations of our symbol-manipulating political class.
So I thought it would be worthwhile to take a deeper look at the work of Columbia historian Robert O. Paxton , who is a scholar of fascism. Basically, this post will be the notes for the class I wish I had taken with him; Paxton writes as lucidly as another great scholar of fascism, Richard J. Evans, author of The Coming of the Third Reich and two wonderful successor volumes. I'm going to quote great slabs mostly from Paxton's article " The Five Stages of Fascism " (The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 70, No. 1. Mar., 1998, pp. 1-23), but also from his later book, The Anatomy of Fascism (2004). "Five Stages" is only 24 pages, and easy, so do consider reading it in full, because I'm not really doing it justice; I'm leaving out all the historiography, for example.
And so to Paxton. I'm selecting passages partly when they contain useful ideas I just don't see in today's discourse, but mostly to give us tools to assess the current "conjuncture," as we say.
Fascism and Democracy
From the Five Stages of Fascism , page 3:
The fascist phenomenon was poorly understood at the beginning in part because it was unexpected. Until the end of the nineteenth century, most political thinkers believed that widening the vote would inevitably benefit democracy and socialism. Friedrich Engels, noting the rapid rise of the socialist vote in Germany and France, was sure that time and numbers were on his side. Writing the preface for a new edition in 1895 of Karl Marx's Class Struggles in France , he declared that "if it continues in this fashion, we will conquer the major part of the middle classes and the peasantry and will become the decisive power." It took two generations before the Left understood that fascism is, after all, an authentic mass popular enthusiasm and not merely  a clever manipulation of populist emotions by the reactionary Right or  by capitalism in crisis.
I think most "hot take" analysis by liberals would fall into the bucket labeled ; by the left, label . I think the idea that democracy is, as it were, the host body for fascism deserves some thought. Certainly there was no fascism as such until democracy was well advanced.
Fascism: Made in America?
From the Five Stages of Fascism , page 12:
But it is further back in American history that one comes upon the earliest phenomenon that seems functionally related to fascism: the Ku Klux Klan. Just after the Civil War, some former Confederate officers, fearing the vote given to African Americans by the Radical Reconstructionists in 1867, set up a militia to restore an overturned social order. The Klan constituted an alternate civic authority, parallel to the legal state, which, in its founders' eyes, no longer defended their community's legitimate interests. In its adoption of a uniform (white robe and hood), as well as its techniques of intimidation and its conviction that violence was justified in the cause of the group's destiny, the first version of the Klan in the defeated American South was a remarkable preview of the way fascist movements were to function in interwar Europe. It is arguable, at least, that fascism (understood functionally) was born in the late 1860s in the American South.
(As an aside: It's probably coincidence, but Civil War tactics, especially by the time of the Overland Campaign, were also a "remarkable preview" of World War I. Intuitively, I feel that fascism does not take hold of the body politic without a lot of organic damage, whether in the entrenchments of the Civil War, the trenches of World War I, or -- just possibly -- the opioid crisis, deaths of despair, and falling life expectancy.) Hitler's American Model shows that Nazi jurists and lawyers came to America to research Jim Crow, and thought very highly of the legislation; they saw Jim Crow as an example of modernity -- how advanced the United States was. Of course, by their lights, Jim Crow was misdirected.
Mutability of Fascism
From the Five Stages of Fascism , page 4:
[Individual cases of fascism] differ in space because each national variant of fascism draws its legitimacy, as we shall see, not from some universal scripture but from what it considers the most authentic elements of its own community identity. Religion, for example, would certainly play a much greater role in an authentic fascism in the United States than in the first European fascisms, which were pagan for contingent historical reasons. They differ in time because of the transformations and accommodations demanded of those movements that seek power.
And page 5:
Fascists deny any legitimacy to universal principles to such a point that they even neglect proselytism. Authentic fascism is not for export. Particular national variants of fascism differ far more profoundly one from another in themes and symbols than do the national variants of the true "isms." The most conspicuous of these variations, one that leads some to deny the validity of the very concept of generic fascism, concerns the nature of the indispensable enemy: within Mediterranean fascisms, socialists and colonized peoples are more salient enemies than is the Jewry. Drawing their slogans and their symbols from the patriotic repertory of one particular community, fascisms are radically unique in their speech and insignia. They fit badly into any system of universal intellectual principles.
One result of the "Lost Cause" propaganda and the historiography of the Dunning School -- William Dunning, ironically enough, professed at Columbia as well -- is that the notion that there might already have been an American Fascism (see above) is not available to us. Hence, we often see Nazis (and generally Nazis, not even Mussolini) as the quintessential fascists. The argument can be made that globalization has, in fact, created fascism of export -- some in my Twitterverse had no problem believing that Trump was simultaneously a Russian puppet and a fascist -- but I just don't see how that helps fascism to root itself (see below) in any given country, which is a requirement for it to grow.
The Stages of Fascism
From the Five Stages of Fascism , page 11:
But one must compare what is comparable. A regime where fascism exercises power is hardly comparable to a sect of dissident intellectuals. We must distinguish the different stages of fascism in time. It has long been standard to point to the difference between movements and regimes. I believe we can usefully distinguish more stages than that, if we look clearly at the very different sociopolitical processes involved in each stage. I propose to isolate five of them: .
And stage 2, the importance of parties, pages 12-13:
The second stage -- rooting, in which a fascist movement becomes a party capable of acting decisively on the political scene -- happens relatively rarely. At this stage, comparison becomes rewarding: one can contrast successes with failures. . Some fascist leaders, in their turn, are willing to reposition their movements in alliances with these frightened conservatives, a step that pays handsomely in political power, at the cost of disaffection among some of the early antibourgeois militants.
That underlined portion does seem familar, doesn't it? However, it's worth noting that there's no "seem" to American decline; how is a nation with dropping life expectancy not in decline? It's also worth noting that "frightened conservatives" doesn't necessarily equal Republicans; it was not, after all, the Republican Party that painted the anti-semitism target on Ilhan Omar's back. It's worth asking, then, whether centrist Democrats would seek a bipartisan alliance against the left.
Here is Paxton's first definition of fascism, from the Five Stages of Fascism pages 22-23:
Where is the "fascism minimum" in all this? Has generic fascism evaporated in this analysis? It is by a functional definition of fascism that we can escape from these quandaries. . Its complex tensions (political revolution versus social restoration, order versus aggressive expansionism, mass enthusiasm versus civic submission) are hard to understand solely by reading its propaganda. One must observe it in daily operation .
And his second, from The Anatomy of Fascism , page 218:
Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victim- hood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.
Speaking as an amateur, I think the two definitions map to each other, and both to the present day ("liberal democracy stands accused" v. "abandons democratic liberties," but I like the second one much better, because the language is crisper, and is testable. For example, "redemptive violence": During Reconstruction, the states that came under control of the former Slave Power, a process achieved by great violence, were referred to as "redeemed."
More from the Five Stages of Fascism , page 23:
Can fascism still exist today, in spite of the humiliating defeat of Hitler and Mussolini, the declining availability of the war option in a nuclear age, the seemingly irreversible globalization of the economy, and the triumph of in- dividualistic consumerism? After ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, the rise of exclusionary nationalisms in postcommunist Eastern Europe, the "skinhead" phenomenon in Britain, Germany, Scandinavia, and Italy, and the election of `
Mirko Tremaglia, a veteran of the Republic of Salo, as chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Italian Parliament during the Berlusconi government, it would be hard to answer "no" to that question.
The most interesting cases today, however, are not those that imitate the exotic colored-shirt movements of an earlier generation. New functional equivalents of fascism would probably work best, as George Orwell reminded us, clad in the mainstream patriotic dress of their own place and time. An authentically popular fascism in the United States would be pious and anti-Black; in Western Europe, secular and antisemitic, or more probably, these days, anti-Islamic; in Russia and Eastern Europe, religious, antisemitic, and slavophile.
Rather prescient for 1998, I must say. (And much as I loathe black bloc, it may be that they have their place in making these "functional equivalents" less easy to form.) Nevertheless, we do not have a "mass-based party of committed nationalist ," Yet. Paxton goes on:
The right questions to ask of today's neo- or protofascisms are those appropriate for the second and third stages of the fascist cycle. Are they becoming rooted as parties that represent major interests and feelings and wield major influence on the political scene? [TBD] Is the economic or constitutional system in a state of blockage apparently insoluble by existing authorities? [Yes] Is a rapid political mobilization threatening to escape the control of traditional elites, to the point where they would be tempted to look for tough helpers in order to stay in charge? [TBD]
And from Anatomy , page 218:
Fascism exists at the level of Stage One within all democratic countries -- not excluding the United States. "Giving up free institutions," especially the freedoms of unpopular groups, is recurrently attractive to citizens of Western democracies, including some Americans. We know from tracing its path that fascism does not require a spectacular "march" on some capital to take root; seemingly anodyne decisions to tolerate lawless treatment of national "enemies" is enough. Something very close to classical fascism has reached Stage Two in a few deeply troubled societies. Its further progress is not inevitable, however. Further fascist advances toward power depend in part upon the severity of a crisis, but also very largely upon human choices, especially the choices of those holding economic, social, and political power.
Our immune system kills off little cancers all the time ; a metastatizing tumor takes a lot of effort to create. Stage One fascisms are little cancers, killed off by a healthy body politic. Stage Two fascisms, without treatment, will metastatize.
I think we're somewhere in Stage Two: Rooting -- or, to be optimistic, Up rooting. I invite the views of readers!
APPENDIX I: "Cosmopolitan"
Stoller tweeted, of a speech by possible Trump 2.0 Josh Hawley:
Then ensued the most moralizing and banal Twitter discussion I've seen in some time, and that's saying something. Hawley used the word "cosmopolitican" ( Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry here ), which Stoller's detractors felt proved Hawley was sending an anti-semitic dog whistle, and hence Stoller, in defending him, was an anti-semite too. (Paxton: "not by checking the color of the shirts or seeking traces of the rhetoric ."). To show how useless the entire episode was, I'll quote The Nation's Jeet Heer:
Of course, the view that "all politics is based on a division between friend and foe" could be traced right back to Nazi legal theorist Carl Schmitt, whose doctrine that was , and so Heer could be said to be sending an anti-semitic dog whistle. Of course that's absurd, because context matters. Our symbol manipulating professional friends in the political class would do far better to look at function instead of checking their Index Expurgatorius of words suitable for censure and calling out. Liberals, and the left, have been calling out "dog whistles" for twenty years, at least. It hasn't gotten them anywhere. Yet still they do it!
Summer , July 22, 2019 at 4:25 pm
"Certainly there was no fascism as such until democracy was well advanced."
Coming back to this article later. This stopped me dead in my tracks: "democracy was well advanced."
Isn't that ultimately how fascism works? Pointing the finger at what passes for "democracy?"
Ford Prefect , July 22, 2019 at 6:41 pm
The populist leader to complete the road to fascism generally has to come out of a democratic process. They get voted into power by a disgruntled populace and by the time the populace realizes they have made a pact with the devil, power has been consolidated and there is no going back.
The Tea Party was a warning shot across the bow where the Republican Party itself was helpless to prevent establishment candidates from being primaried. Gerrymandering and polarization means that quite a few people on the right and left get into Congress and State legislatures simply by winning a primary. So blockades in Congress started with small groups of people who could control if a majority vote was possible. Since their positions are on the extreme end, no compromise is possible and the system seizes up.
That leaves the door open for a Trump to come in announcing he will cut the Gordian knot with the sword of his personality "I am the only one who can .."
Can a Trump do an end run on a paralyzed Congress to take over? Hitler did it in 1933. Is our Constitution and the defenders of it engaged and strong enough to prevent it? Can Congress with Mitch McConnell in the Senate do it? Can the Supreme Court with John Roberts as Chief Justice do it?
Harold , July 22, 2019 at 7:12 pm
"Certainly there was no fascism as such until democracy was well advanced."
What????? "Until 1922, Italy was a constitutional monarchy with a parliament; in 1913, the first universal male suffrage election was held. The so-called Statuto Albertino, which Carlo Alberto conceded in 1848 remained unchanged, even if the kings usually abstained from abusing their extremely large powers (for example, senators were not elected but chosen by the king)." (wikipedia)
Thus from 1870 to 1922 Italy was a not a democracy.
Under the Monarchical Constitution the King of Italy had exclusive power over foreign policy, which he repeatedly used to engage in misguided and stupid colonial adventures in Africa. An huge insurrection in the south was violently put down by the Piedmontese military, who also routinely shot strikers.
From 1922, when Italy became a republic, until 1923, when Mussolini took over, doesn't seem like a "well-advanced democracy" to me.
As for Germany, you had the Freikorps running around assassinating prominent political figures like Rathenau -- not to mention their earlier murders of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht in 1919 instigated by the future Social Democratic President Friedrich Ebert himself. Strikers and demonstrators were also routinely put down with bullets.
As the first elected president of Germany (1919-1925), Ebert presided over a bloody civil war and "used the presidency's emergency powers a total of 134 times. " (wikipedia) Seven years later Hitler was elected to head a coalition government with substantial financial assistance from Germany's wealthiest citizens and industrialists and also the from Catholic church. And as everyone knows one of H.'s first acts was to suspend parliament. You could hardly call Germany an example of well-advanced democracy either.
Bugs Bunny , July 22, 2019 at 4:31 pm
Excuse me, but I found this post really hard to follow. And I tried.
I think there is a definite growth in a certain very conservative strain of nationalism and a rejection of free trade across the world but I don't see a connection to the points laid out by Paxton. What we've got is something totally new that seems like a reaction to globalization (and neoliberalism) to people on the left, but maybe isn't that at all.
Lambert Strether Post author , July 22, 2019 at 5:49 pm
Well, they're class notes on a difficult topic. If you agree on the definition of fascism (I like the second), and you agree there are stages of fascism, the question becomes what phase are we in? I say phase two. (It also makes denial harder, but recognition easier, if one concedes that the Reconstruction South was fascist, indeed the first case.)
Plenue , July 22, 2019 at 6:24 pm
I'm of two minds on this. I get what you're saying, that fascism is a gradient, and not simply binary. So Trump could be seen as a step along the road to eventual full on fascism. But that seems to just be another way of saying he, and the current right wing movements, aren't actually fascist.
Fascism is nationalist, but not all nationalism is fascism. Nor does it have to inevitably evolve into fascism. Economic protectionism also has a long history, and very little of that is fascist. I think that what we're seeing is just a bog-standard right-wing nationalist reaction to the demonstrable damage of globalization, enabled by the complete dereliction of duty by the left. Liberal cynics and ignorant useful idiots can cry 'fascism' all they want, but their whining isn't going to just magically make these nationalist movements genuinely fascist.
The right-wing is perfectly capable of being racist and ugly (in fact right-wing politics is incapable of *not* being ugly) while still not being fascist.
Tomonthebeach , July 22, 2019 at 6:07 pm
Read Paxton's paper, or better yet download The Anatomy of Fascism (2004). (It's free if you Google around). It is not a challenging read, and as you progress the deja vu gets increasingly unnerving.
The one element that Paxton mentions time and again is the role played by the state's economy. Fascism in France, for example, did not take hold because their middle class were happy campers. Of course, after Hitler invaded, the French fascists ascended to power anyway and became the Vichy government. Because today's .01% have not shared their wealth with the middle class, it might not take much to tip the balance.
Deschain , July 22, 2019 at 4:44 pm
I mean Hawley literally identifies JC as a Jewish rabbi. Or is that a dog whistle too?
Summer , July 22, 2019 at 5:02 pm
After reading this, I'd say the issue is a lacking consensus about what "democracy" is that starts the problems. That lack has been manipulated. That would be key to it being a potent foe against fascism.
For instance, I don't see anything approaching "democracy" where the even concept of "royalty" still exists but, hey, maybe that's just me.
Synoia , July 22, 2019 at 5:04 pm
in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion
Such as using drones to execute people? Does that read like a definition of the CIA? Or the Current "Deep State"?
Lambert Strether Post author , July 22, 2019 at 5:51 pm
No. Drones are not necessarily "redemptive violence." No. Were the deep state to exist, it would not be a party.
Travis Bickle , July 22, 2019 at 5:09 pm
It's nice that there's a historical precedent that lends itself to academic analysis and distillation: that there are trends and history repeats itself. But, it's all just part of the human condition, and a widespread and inclusive Democracy is a historical aberration, and hardly something with any history of enduring.
Putting all this stuff to one side, isn't America today just experiencing a moment as the wheel of history turns? With progress, or just the natural passage of time, people and power always stratify, and there will be those left behind; those seeking power will mobilize those left behind by blaming their blight on some "other," (preferably recognizable at a glance). It is, after all, in the fundamental nature of man to seek (ever more) power.
Mobilized society around the State as a quasi-religious deity works, and as long as it can be sustained as long as a flow of enemies endures. What else is a soccer club after all? Below the surface, such a consolidation of power would be driven by an oligarchy, eventually yielding a Czar-like creature, but whomever will need to justify their excesses.
This is what it seems the Romanov family was before their demise, as the wheel turned yet again, when they got just TOO greedy in terms of the local gini coefficient and even WWI couldn't keep the masses sufficiently distracted.
Just a thought. As implied by Paxton, I don't think these times are exceptional any more than America is.
Carolinian , July 22, 2019 at 6:18 pm
Arguably fascism was an outgrowth of WW1 and the extreme nationalism and imperialism that preceded it. It's hard to see anything like that now. Americans claim to be patriotic and hang flags in front of their houses but you don't see them lining up to join the military.
It seems to me that what happened in the 20th century was so very much of its time. Inverted totalitarianism is what we have now and Trump is just a bit player as are we all. When it finally breaks down we are more likely to have chaos than goose stepping regiments. Start hoarding those canned goods.
Tomonthebeach , July 22, 2019 at 6:49 pm
That the times are not exceptional is hardly reassuring. The times seem to validate that those who are ignorant of their history are often doomed to repeat it. The signs of rising fascism can be seen in US militia groups and the political influence of their NRA, the rise of violent White Supremacy groups bringing together skinheads and sweet little college boys as we saw in Charlottesville. We have seen the growing political left-right chasm urged on by Gingrich. Polls show public support for police malfeasance and a report that 70% of Americans oppose holding US troops accountable for war crimes. The caging of refugees – something being called out as concentration camps (which by definition they are in that the concentrate all the immigrants in one spot) is already a fact of daily life. Members of the growing "locker her up" police state are posting racists and sexist things on Facebook which violate their oath of office. Yep! Nothing exceptional there.
Like pre WWI, the immoral, sex-trafficking US aristocracy is being led by a president who seems incapable of leading and governing, but he excels at staffing his government with billionaire crooks and scoundrels. The billionaire class has kept us in wars profitable to them, at the expense of the middle class just like the Kaisers and Tsars that created 2 World wars. Then we have the monthly Trump rallies which mirror those of Mussolini and Hitler. Just substitute red MAGA hats for brownshirts.
Yep, nothing exceptional, however until this week, the US press could not bring itself to use the "F" word.
ptb , July 22, 2019 at 5:24 pm
I would highlight, on the list of symptoms, the classic stereotypical element: fetishization of the military. (With budgets to match).
And add to the list of causes/development-mechanisms (stages 2-3): circumstances of foreign relations that make that fetishization logical.
To me this was the story of post-2001 USA, and perhaps with a politically-inverted reprise post-2016. It is also where the role of mass media kindof stands out – pushing this dangerous process forward with an enthusiasm I find disturbing.
Also these parts of the foundation for a fascist movement were built not just in the Bush era, but non stop ever since, and they span party lines. Perhaps I would call it a nationalist revival, rather than outright fascism. In this sense I am thinking it is in fact at stage 2, except the rooting isn't in a specific party, but the institutional governing networks that are common to both parties. That there is disagreement between the 2 parties about whom to "otherize" is perhaps fortunate, but one particular danger is that future developments may resolve this disagreement, in which case only a major setback on the foreign policy arena would remain on the checklist before the full pattern is liable to repeat itself.
Lambert Strether Post author , July 22, 2019 at 5:44 pm
> the rooting isn't in a specific party, but the institutional governing networks that are common to both parties.
I've been groping toward a formulation like that -- it's clear, for example, that the institutional machinery for rooted fascism has been developed on a bipartisan basis since at least 9/11, as the camps controversy shows -- but now I'm dubious about it. I don't see how militants would work for something as mushy as the Beltway network. You need a party, something to belong to. The KKK wasn't a professional association, after all.
ptb , July 22, 2019 at 7:32 pm
> You need a party, something to belong to. The KKK wasn't a professional association, after all.
Yes, that certainly shouldn't be overlooked, trying to understand political power of fascism via populist appeal.
The flip side, maybe, has to do with asking whether broadcast media (and social media) do answer to a Beltway network? This includes the think tanks (their less academic side) connecting media, govt, politics, and business the post 9/11 hyper patriotic sentiment was guided by neocon policy advocacy network plugging into cable TV media. The effect on business did happen to align with the nationalist interests (unlike the debate over NAFTA, as a counterexample) ..
Gramsci , July 22, 2019 at 5:29 pm
Fascism is just rich people hiring thugs. The richer they are, the more thugs they can hire.
Lambert Strether Post author , July 22, 2019 at 5:40 pm
That could be feudalism as well, as I'm sure Gramsci would be the first to admit. Do you actually want to move to Stage Three?
Stratos , July 22, 2019 at 5:33 pm
"It's worth asking, then, whether centrist [corporate] Democrats would seek a bipartisan alliance against the left."
Done and done. They have been in that alliance for decades now.
Plenue , July 22, 2019 at 5:58 pm
"And much as I loathe black bloc, it may be that they have their place in making these "functional equivalents" less easy to form."
They don't. Because these functional equivalents aren't forming to begin with. Maybe they could in the future; we certainly have plenty of broken veterans on the streets (though they seem to mostly just be killing themselves, over a hundred thousand suicides in the last twenty years. I'm curious why American versions of the Stahlhelms haven't formed. Maybe Americans just not doing collective action extends even to former 'Brothers in Arms'). But as of right now there are no Weimar paramilitaries engaging each other in bloody street warfare. US Nazis can't manage anything more than comically small gatherings that inevitably attract far larger counter protests that shout them down.
And should that change, it isn't going to be the combination of overzealous edgelords and undercover cops of black bloc smashing windows that challenges it.
dearieme , July 22, 2019 at 6:01 pm
Of course, the view that "all politics is based on a division between friend and foe" could be traced right back to Nazi legal theorist Carl Schmitt.
Well, the Nazis and (I imagine) Sumer.
Alfred , July 22, 2019 at 6:06 pm
Did you recently observe in another post the importance of seeing "Jim Crow as an example of modernity" – or am I having a deju vu as I read this one? In any case, Jim Crow did indeed emerge and develop inside American modernity. It never challenged modernity, but rather was designed by modernity's boldest proponents to safeguard and advance it. The education policy of the Wallace administrations in Alabama – which were unabashedly progressive – offer a notable case in point. But plenty of other cases are reviewed in the remarkable book, Deluxe Jim Crow, by Karen Kruse Thomas. The 19th-century KKK was also part and parcel of a modern America (at least, as the New South understood it), and by no means a rejection of it. It was during the Progressive era, and not some period of reaction, that the link between the 19th- and 20th-century incarnations of the KKK were forged by the politics of the Lost Cause, largely through interventions in art-culture. There is a remarkable passage in Milton W. Brown's classic book, American Painting from the Armory Show to the Depression (1955), pp. 85-87, in which he parallels the early 20th-century art theories of sculptor-critic F. W Ruckstull (born Ruckstuhl) with the cultural program pursued some decades later by Nazi Germany. Ruckstull's oeuvre included monuments memorializing both the northern and southern versions of the 'Civil War', though arguably with more sympathy for the latter than for the former. Brown's assessment of Ruckstull's work as "directly foreshadow[ing] the Nazi artistic credo" is as persuasive as it is disturbing. I can only fault him for neglecting to connect that work to the ideology of Lost Cause into which it plunged some of its deepest roots to find nourishment in the myths of "'native instincts'" and "'racial purity'" (p. 87). The issue of both Jim Crow and his brother, the 'modern' KKK, from the Lost Cause requires no demonstration. That fascist Germany produced not only an art almost indistinguishable from that of the Lost Cause, but also carried out social and financial policies directly inspired by the Jim Crow models of segregation and convict-leasing, cannot be doubted. But this line of descent is by no means extinct. I will close by mentioning that rehabilitation of the reputation of Albert Speer, the notorious architect to the Nazi government and hence a powerful influencer of its cultural as well as military policies, was one of the by-products of Postmodernism; which is to say, of the decades of neoliberal hegemony and the 'new' identity politics that so far seems to have been quite successful at underpinning it.
martell , July 22, 2019 at 6:29 pm
Just reread Nicos Poulantzas' "On the Popular Impact of Fascism" in anticipation of your post on Paxton. Poulantzas was a Marxist political theorist with some connection to the Althusserians. Like Paxton, he wrote a book on fascism: Fascism and Dictatorship . I took several things away from Poulantzas' essay on popular impact. First, the impact of fascism wasn't uniform as far as "the people" are concerned. Fascists infiltrated, took over, or created organizations of which some people, not others, were members, especially political parties. Fascism, according to Poulanztas, never had much appeal among either the German or Italian working class. It mainly appealed to members of the petty bourgeoisie (artisans, small-scale tradesmen, relatively well-compensated employees, and state employees). Based on the above synopsis of Paxton's views, he seems to have entirely overlooked this point. Poulantzas stresses, though, that the appeal of fascism fluctuated wildly, gaining support until it revealed itself as an anti-popular movement, subsequently losing popular support, and then gaining again owing to international affairs (the Anschluss, the war with Libya). I doubt such fluctuation is reflected by Paxton's stages. Finally, Poulantzas notes a number of reasons why a variety of different segments of the populace found fascism appealing: it offered a startlingly effective solution to terrible levels of unemployment, it tapped into justifiable (if not justified) beliefs to the effect that the nation was being treated as a second-class citizen in the international community, and it offered solutions to problems attending delayed formation of a nation-state in both Germany and Italy. Perhaps most importantly, Poulantzas closes his essay by noting that fascism had whatever popular appeal it had during the time of its initial ascendance owing in part to failure of the left. The problem, as Poulantzas saw it, was not that traditional right and left parties just couldn't get along, reached a stalemate, and were unable govern (which seems to be Paxton's view). The problem was that the left in Germany and Italy were unable to effectively organize working class people so as to bring about the fundamental changes in society that would have benefited this class. A sort of power vacuum came about, which fascists were able to exploit. In any case, those failures of the left also appear to go without mention in Paxton's account, which is understandable given that his politics are likely quite different from those of Poulantzas.
I suppose an upshot of this brief comparison of accounts of fascism is that I remain a fascism skeptic. I doubt the term currently applies to the situation in the US, even if it is qualified as 'stage two fascism.' I doubt too that stage two or any higher stage was ever reached at any point in American history or within any region of the US, including the post Civil War South. To the best of my knowledge, KKK activities were about restoring the position of what amounted to a landed aristocracy by way of race-based terrorism. Horrible? Yes. Unprecedented? Doubtful. A harbinger of 20th century fascism? Almost certainly not. For one thing (among many), I doubt that the Italian fascists were really about restoration. The German fascists certainly were not. They were radical revolutionaries, in their own way.
Bugs Bunny , July 22, 2019 at 6:51 pm
Thanks. This is a chain of logic that I can get down with.
There's something about the Paxton framework that just seems like, if one wanted to, you could drop it on almost any contemporary society with an authoritarian bent. China if you stretched it. From there, Russia or the Philippines follow easily enough. Then maybe Brazil, and why not all of Central America minus Costa Rica. Etc.
barrisj , July 22, 2019 at 7:49 pm
In fairness, Paxton, in his " Anatomy of Fascism", does in fact discuss Fascism as practiced by Italy and Germany in the 30s-early 40s in relation to authoritarian and totalitarian governments (Franco's Spain, the USSR and Stalinism, Mao's China, etc.), and does indeed make sharp distinctions. My reading of "Anatomy" points to Hitler's Third Reich and Mussolini's Italy as being quite sui generis , each arising from "special" circumstances that share certain Eurocentric features, and that the concatenation of events that solidified Fascism in each country then are so entirely different from the peculiarities of today's advanced capitalist "democracies", that compare-and-contrast exercises, or ticking one or more of five boxes or stages is a fool's errand. All organized societies will produce rabble-rousers and an eager rabble to be aroused, and within those societies there classically have been a marginalized "other" to serve as a rallying point for alleged causative agency in "national decline" or loss of status for a majority. Don't want to minimize Trump's crude race-baiting and all, but let's remember Godwin's Law in our attempt to fit Trump's foot into a fascist shoe.
The Rev Kev , July 22, 2019 at 7:24 pm
Did the author actually swiped Orlov's idea of "The Five Stages of Collapse"? I'm not sure how relevant a seven month graph would be when talking about fascism. Now if you have a twenty year one that might be more impressive but Google Trends is just one narrow slice of society after all. If you want to talk about fascism, I would be more impressed if he talked about Obama getting rid of habeas corpus in the US – something that goes back a thousand years in legal theory and practice. And why talk so much about the bogey men of American liberals – the KKK – when you actually had an actual American Nazi party called the German American Bund and which drew an audience of 20,000 at Madison Square Gardens back in 1939. To get a full picture, you cannot limit US fascism to American shores either but must consider them in context of America's foreign empire as the practices of what happens in the empire come back home sooner or later. The torture employed overseas has made its way back home and if you want to a direct influence, look at the militarization of US police as they receive military gear used overseas. Without mentioning the empire's yin of a fascist yang, you will never get a real comprehensive understanding of this subject in my opinion.
hamstak , July 22, 2019 at 8:02 pm
"Did the author actually swiped Orlov's idea of 'The Five Stages of Collapse'?"
I would guess no, given that the paper in question was published in March of 1998.
It is possible that both were plays on the "five stages of grief", which predates them both.
And there may have been some, or many other "five stages" preceding them -- it's "five stages" all the way down
barrisj , July 22, 2019 at 8:02 pm
The KKK example by Paxton is perhaps a bit of a stretch, because following the failure of Reconstruction and eradication of the Republicans, the resulting Democratic Party in fact neatly incorporated and served white supremacy and concomitant black suppression; the Klan was – as it were – an extraparlimentarian enforcement tool, sharing membership with local and state officials and community white citizens, and in fact was subsumed within the Party over time.
Democrats served the interests of powerful white elites, and pitted poor whites against black people for generations in order to maintain its political hegemony, and to resist any kind of economic reform and betterment.
Summer , July 22, 2019 at 7:48 pm
Because there is always the tendency to point fascism as a failure of "democracy" – instead of failure of the establishment or the failure of fascists! – it shows there is no working consensus for what a "democracy" is.
Monty , July 22, 2019 at 8:37 pm
Democracy is three wolves and two sheep deciding what's for dinner.
Frank Little , July 22, 2019 at 8:20 pm
Whether or not you think Hawley was using a dog whistle by pointing to a "cosmopolitan" elite, it strikes me as absurd that he is actually combatting the real powers that be. Here's a longer quote from the speech:
The cosmopolitan elite look down on the common affections that once bound this nation together: things like place and national feeling and religious faith.
They regard our inherited traditions as oppressive and our shared institutions -- like family and neighborhood and church -- as backwards.
What they offer instead is a progressive agenda of social liberation in tune with the priorities of their wealthy and well-educated counterparts around the world.
And all of this -- the economic globalizing, the social liberationism -- has worked quite well. For some. For the cosmopolitan class.
In case your curious, Hawley has raised over $1.6 million from the finance, insurance, and real estate sector for the 2020 cycle alone. He may not have been using an anti-Semitic dog whistle, but it's clear that to him lefty adjuncts below the poverty line are part of this elite while the FIRE sector, which could not be more in line with this "cosmopolitan consensus" that he's inveighing against, are not. The other top contributors according to OpenSecrets, in order:
-Other (?) – $1,606,786
-ideological/single issue – $1,516,586
-Misc business – $988,954
-Lawyers and lobbyists – $601,553
-Agribusiness – $464,414
for a grand total of $6,786,139.
That's just for 2020! Hard to see an industry that hasn't made off well in this cosmopolitan consensus.
This is relevant to the overall topic of fascism because gestures towards anti-capitalism were key to fascist success in winning some popular support but once in power they put all their focus on breaking trade unions, rounding up communists, and then cementing corporatist control over key industries.
His speech marks a notable shift among non-Trump people on the right, but reading the entire speech it's clear that his real priority is acknowledging the damage done to gain votes from a primarily white base while taking money from the people who did it. I don't know for sure but I'd bet he'd be more apt to include adjunct professors below the poverty line in the cosmopolitan elite than companies like Cargill.
Craig H. , July 22, 2019 at 9:14 pm
Not a bad synopsis. I would have squeezed in:
" some even doubt that the term fascism has any meaning other than as a smear word. The epithet has been so loosely used that practically everyone who holds or shakes authority has been someone's fascist. Perhaps, the doubters suggest, it would be better to just scrap the term." p.8
Then in footnote he writes the most credible support for this view:
Gilbert Allardyce "What Fascism is Not: Thoughts on the Deflation of a Concept" American Historical Review April 1979
Jul 22, 2019 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com
"To reduce a complex argument to its bare bones, since the Depression, the twin forces of managed democracy and Superpower have opened the way for something new under the sun: 'inverted totalitarianism,' a form every bit as totalistic as the classical version but one based on internalized co-optation, the appearance of freedom, political disengagement rather than mass mobilization, and relying more on "private media" than on public agencies to disseminate propaganda that reinforces the official version of events.
It is inverted because it does not require the use of coercion, police power and a messianic ideology as in the Nazi, Fascist and Stalinist versions (although note that the United States has the highest percentage of its citizens in prison -- 751 per 100,000 people -- of any nation on Earth). According to Wolin, inverted totalitarianism has 'emerged imperceptibly, unpremeditatedly, and in seeming unbroken continuity with the nation's political traditions.'
The main objectives of managed democracy are to increase the profits of large corporations, dismantle the institutions of social democracy (Social Security, unions, welfare, public health services, public housing and so forth), and roll back the social and political ideals of the New Deal. Its primary tool is privatization [and deregulation].
Chalmers Johnson, Inverted Totalitarianism: A New Way of Understanding How the U.S. Is Controlled
"Thus the elements are in place: a weak legislative body, a legal system that is both compliant and repressive, a party system in which one (I would in 2019 now say either) party, whether in opposition or in the majority, is bent upon reconstituting the existing system so as to permanently favor a ruling class of the wealthy, the well-connected and the corporate, while leaving the poorer citizens with a sense of helplessness and political despair, and, at the same time, keeping the middle classes dangling between fear of unemployment and expectations of fantastic rewards once the new economy recovers.
That scheme is abetted by a sycophantic and increasingly concentrated media; by the integration of universities with their corporate benefactors; by a propaganda machine institutionalized in well-funded think tanks and conservative foundations; by the increasingly closer cooperation between local police and national law enforcement agencies aimed at identifying terrorists, suspicious aliens and domestic dissidents."
Sheldon Wolin, Inverted Totalitarianism
"The truth is that we were so spiritually and morally bankrupt that we could not even see some of those lines: we stepped over them blindly. Other times we saw the lines alright, but we wanted to cross them... It wasn't God who was dead. We were."
Ray A., Practice These Principles
"Oh where is the noble face of modesty, or the strength of virtue, now that blasphemy is in power and men have put justice behind them, and there is no law but lawlessness, and none act with fear of the gods?"
Euripides, Iphigenia in Aulis
"Religion used to be the opium of the people. To those suffering humiliation, pain, illness, and serfdom, religion promised the reward of an after life.
But now we are witnessing a transformation: a true opium of the people is the belief in nothingness after death, the huge solace, the huge comfort of thinking that for our betrayals, our greed, our cowardice, our murders, that we are not going to be judged."
Czeslaw Milosz, The Discreet Charm of Nihilism
Sep 07, 2011 | politicalissues.blog.com
Posted by Political Issues in Sep 07, 2011, under IssuesWho really holds power in the United States' Do "we the people" genuinely run the country through elected representatives? Or is there small elite of Americans that governs behind the scenes? It is difficult to determine the location of power in a society as complex as the Unite States In exploring this critical question, social scientists have developed two basic views of our nation's power structure the elite and pluralism models.
Karl Marx essentially believed that nineteenth century representative democracy was a shape.
He argued that industrial societies were dominated by relatively small numbers of people who owned factories and controlled natural resources.
In Marx's view, government officials and military leaders were essentially servants of the capitalist class and followed their wishes therefore, any key decisions made by politicians inevitably reflected the interests of the dominant bourgeoisie Like others who hold an elite model of power relations, Marx thus believed that society is ruled by a small group of individuals who share a common set of political and economic interests.
The Power Elite . In his pioneering work. The Power Elite , sociologist C. Wright Mills described the existence of a small ruling elite of military, industrial, and governmental leaders who controlled the fate of the United States. Power rested in the hands of a few, both inside and outside of government -- the power elite . In Mill's words:
The power elite is composed of men whose positions enable them to transcend the ordinary environments of ordinary men and women, they are in positions to make decisions having major consequences. They arc in command of the major hierarchies and organizations of modern society.
In Mills's model, the power structure of the United States can be illustrated by the use of a pyramid. At the top are the corporate rich, leaders of the executive branch of government, and heads of the military (whom Kills called the "warlords"). Below this triumvirate are local opinion leaders, members of the legislative branch of government, and leaders of special-interest groups. Mills contended that such individuals and groups would basically follow the wishes of the dominant power elite. At the bottom of society are the unorganized, exploited masses.
This power elite model is, in many respects, similar to the work of Karl Marx. The most striking difference is that Mills felt that the economically powerful coordinate their maneuvers with the military and political establishments in order to serve their mutual interests. Yet, reminiscent of Marx. Mills argued that the corporate rich were perhaps the most powerful element of the power elite (first among "equals"). And, of course, there is a further dramatic parallel between the work of these conflict theorists The powerless masses at the bottom of Mills's power elite model certainly bring to mind Marx's portrait of the oppressed workers of the world, who have "nothing to lose but their chains".
Mills failed to provide detailed case studies which would substantiate the interrelationship among members of the power elite. Instead, he suggested that such foreign policy decisions as America's entry into the Korean war reflected a determination by business and military leaders that each could benefit from such armed conflict. In Mills s view, such a sharing of perspectives was facilitated by the frequent interchange of commanding roles among the elite. For example, a banker might become the leader of a federal regulatory commission overseeing financial institutions, and a retired general might move to an executive position with a major defense contracting firm.
A fundamental element in Mills's thesis is that the power elite not only has relatively few members but also operates as a self-conscious, cohesive unit. Although not necessarily diabolical or ruthless, the elite comprises similar types of people who regularly interact with one another and have essentially the same political and economic interests. Mills's power elite is not a conspiracy but rather a community of interest and sentiment among a small number of influential Americans.
Admittedly, Mills failed to clarify when the elite acts and when it tolerates protests. Nevertheless, his challenging theories forced scholars to look more critically at the "democratic" political system of the United States.
The Ruling Class
Sociologist G. William Domhoff agreed with Mills that American society is run by a powerful elite. But, rather than fully accepting Mills's power elite model, Domhoff argued that the United States is controlled by a social upper class "that is a ruling class by virtue of its dominant role in the economy and government". This socially cohesive ruling class owns 20 to 25 percent of all privately held wealth and 45 to 50 percent of all privately held common stock.
Unlike Mills, Domhoff was quite specific about who belongs to this social upper class. Membership comes through being pan of a family recognized in The Social Register -- the directory of the social elite in many American cities. Attendance at prestigious private schools and membership in exclusive social clubs are further indications that a person comes from America's social upper class. Domhoff estimates that about 0.5 percent of the American population (or 1 of every 200 people) belongs to this social and political elite.
Of course, this would mean that the ruling class has more than 1 million members and could hardly achieve the cohesiveness that Mills attributed to the power elite. However, Domhoff adds that the social upper class as a whole does not rule the nation. Instead, members of this class who have assumed leadership roles within the corporate community or the nation's policy-planning network join with high-level employees of profit-making and nonprofit institutions controlled by the social upper class to exercise power.
In Domhoff's view, the ruling class should not be seen in a conspiratorial way, as "sinister men lurking behind the throne." On the contrary they tend to hold public positions of authority. Almost all important appointive government posts -- including those of diplomats and cabinet members -- are filled by members of the social upper class. Domhoff contends that members of this class dominate powerful corporations, foundations, universities, and the executive branch of government. They control presidential nominations and the political party process through campaign contributions. In addition, the ruling class exerts a significant (though not absolute) influence within Congress and units of state and local government.
Perhaps the major difference between the elite models of Mills and Domhoff is that Mills insisted on the relative autonomy of the political elite and attached great significance to the independent power of the military. By contrast, Domhoff suggests that high-level government and military leaders serve the interests of the social upper class. Both theorists, in line with a Marxian approach, assume that the rich are interested only in what benefits them financially. Furthermore, as advocates of elite models of power. Mills and Domhoff argue that the masses of American people have no real influence on the decisions of the powerful.
One criticism of the elite model is that its advocates sometimes suggest that elites are always victorious. With this in mind, sociologist J. Alien Whitt (1982) examined the efforts of California's business elites to support urban mass transit. He found that lobbying by these elites was successful in San Francisco but failed in Los Angeles. Whitt points out that opponents of policies backed by elites can mobilize to thwart their implementation.
Domhoff admits that the ruling class does not exercise total control over American society. However, he counters that this elite is able to set political terms under which other groups and classes must operate. Consequently, although the ruling class may lose on a particular issue, it will not allow serious challenges to laws which guarantee its economic privileges and political domination.Pluralist Model
Several social scientists have questioned the elite models of power relations proposed by Marx, Mills, Domhoff, and other conflict theorists. Quite simply, the critics insist that power in the United States is more widely shared than the elite model indicates. In their view, a pluralist model more accurately describes the American political system. According to the pluralist model , "many conflicting groups within the community have access to government officials and compete with one another in an effort to influence policy decisions".
Veto Groups . David Riesman's The Lonely Crowd suggested that the American political system could best be understood through examination of the power of veto groups. The term veto groups refers to interest groups that have the capacity to prevent the exercise of power by others. Functionally, they serve to increase political participation by preventing the concentration of political power. Examples cited by Riesman include farm groups, labor unions, professional associations, and racial and ethnic groups. Whereas Mills pointed to the dangers of rule by an undemocratic power elite, Riesman insisted that veto groups could effectively paralyze the nation's political processes by blocking anyone from exercising needed leadership functions. In Riesman's words, "The only leaders of national scope left in the United States are those who can placate the veto groups".
Dahl's Study of Pluralism . Community studies of power have also supported the pluralist model. One of the most famous -- an investigation of decision making in New Haven, Connecticut -- was reported by Robert Dahl in his book, Who Governs? (1961). Dahl found that while the number of people involved in any important decision was rather small, community power was nonetheless diffuse. Few political actors exercised decision-making power on all issues. Therefore, one individual or group might be influential in a battle over urban renewal but at the same time might have little impact over educational policy. Several other studies of local politics, in such communities as Chicago and Oberlin, Ohio, further document that monolithic power structures do not operate on the level of local government.
Just as the elite model has been challenged on political and methodological grounds, the pluralist model has been subjected to serious questioning. Domhoff (1978) reexamined Dahl's study of decision making in New Haven and argued that Dahl and other pluralists had failed to trace how local elites prominent in decision making were part of a larger national ruling class. In addition, studies of community power, such as Dahl's work in New Haven, can examine decision making only on issues which become pan of the political agenda. This focus fails to address the possible power of elites to keep certain matters entirely out of the realm of government debate. Conflict theorists contend that these elites will not allow any outcome of the political process which threatens their dominance. Indeed, they may even be strong enough to block discussion of such measures by policymakers.
Jul 12, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
NAV , 2 hours ago
Congress and the courts are the enablers of America's destruction. Legislation is morality; it's the definition of how you live together, where people can live together and raise their families. Our Congress instead serves the sex industry, whether it be in our schools and universities or in our homes via television and the internet and magazines. Yvonne Ridley in "**** in the USA" wrote on June 2, 2011:
"In Obama's Apple Pie America, cable and satellite companies pump *********** into millions of homes where the American Dream has, for some, become X-rated.
"And the Americans are keen to share – I remember one of the first things that followed the arrival of US forces in Afghanistan was the sex industry. Scores of channels promoting straight and gay **** suddenly became readily available on television sets without even the need to subscribe ."
And, our media, upon arrival, gleefully subjected small children to **** just to watch their innocence torn asunder.
*********** and its consequences in America wears a Supreme Court robe... *********** is the law of the land.
C I eh? , Jul 11 2019 8:01 utc | 137
Jul 12, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
anon , Jul 11 2019 6:36 utc | 134 whatever, coward. I won't be staying long I see little point is spending time at a place taken over by nonce's who can only read stuff that adheres to their tiny world view. Otherwise they lose their sh1t.
Even worse few do more than hunt out anything, including stuff from the very same msm they profess to eschew, which buttresses that view in an odd and pointless game of "see what I just read, one upmanship". Actually getting out and involved helping even one of the humans whose life is sh1t thanks to the empire is never even considered.
Of course the types who perpetrated this horror should go down but if you are naive enough to believe the lie that zionists pull all the greedies (jew/gentile/saudi) strings instead of the blindingly obvious, that all the greedies pull the strings of everyone they can, including those of the stupid & ignorant israeli settlers, then the odds of you anon, finding any 'truth' in the machinations of empire are slim.
If there weren't any twisted Clintons or Trumps prepared do do any damn thing just to sodomise a preadolescent girl, no one would abduct the girls in the first place.
Every f++ker who went to edelsteins island should be locked up for the rest of their lives unless they can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they only cut the grass/washed the dishes.
ps if 'the jews' control everything why are so many of em on the bones of their arses? Surely any jew who was stuck with driving a cab/pushing a pen/ or even robbing a bank would just manipulate the nearest billionaire 'goy' into handing over his/her dosh?
@ anonjohn , Jul 11 2019 10:25 utc | 143
(((Debisdead))) comes back from the dead to tell everyone the rampant child abuse is the fault of anyone except the jewish names actually involved...
You said it.
What brought me here at 3:30 am was an Amber Alert on my phone, with an incredibly obnoxious alarm, for a child apparently abducted 500kms away. I've received three such alerts in the past hour so I know everyone in Ontario will be talking about it tomorrow.
Psych ops are ramping up ladies and gents...
Krollchem , Jul 11 2019 5:19 utc | 129For more on the pedophile "epidemic in America and the purchase children for sex at least 2.5 million times a year in the United States.Krollchem , Jul 11 2019 5:31 utc | 131
The Heart of Darkness: The Sexual Predators Within America's Power Elite
By John W. WhiteheadSee also the global incident map for a small portion of sex trafficing in the US and around the world. http://human.globalincidentmap.com/
This site covers lots of other criminal incidents and other issues.anon , Jul 11 2019 6:36 utc | 134
(((Debisdead))) comes back from the dead to tell everyone the rampant child abuse is the fault of anyone except the jewish names actually involvedDebsisdead , Jul 11 2019 7:45 utc | 136
- Billionaire pedophile (((Jeffrey Epstein))) .
- billionaire (((Robert Maxwell))) and his daughter (((Ghislaine Maxwell)))
- (((Alan Dershowitz))), Epstein's lawyer, also accused of raping children
- billionaire clothing magnate (((Les Wexner))) who may have financed Epstein
- (((Harvey Weinstein)))
- billionaire (((Clare Bronfman))) charged with sex trafficking
etc etc etc... ad nauseumre #
Jul 10, 2019 | www.unz.com
JULY 8, 2019 1,500 WORDS 2 COMMENTS REPLY
As Congress arrives back into town and the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees prepare to question ex-Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller on July 17, partisan lines are being drawn even more sharply, as Russias-gate blossoms into Deep-State-gate. On Sunday, a top Republican legislator, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) took the gloves off in an unusually acerbic public attack on former leaders of the FBI and CIA.
King told a radio audience:
"There is no doubt to me there was severe, serious abuses that were carried out in the FBI and, I believe, top levels of the CIA against the President of the United States or, at that time, presidential candidate Donald Trump," according to The Hill.
King (image on the right), a senior congressman specializing in national security, twice chaired the House Homeland Security Committee and currently heads its Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. He also served for several years on the House Intelligence Committee.
"There was no legal basis at all for them to begin this investigation of his campaign – and the way they carried it forward, and the way information was leaked. All of this is going to come out. It's going to show the bias. It's going to show the baselessness of the investigation and I would say the same thing if this were done to Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders It's just wrong."
The Long Island Republican added a well aimed swipe at what passes for the media today:
"The media went along with this – actually, keeping this farcical, ridiculous thought going that the President of the United States was somehow involved in a conspiracy with Russia against his own country."
According to King, the Justice Department's review, ordered by Attorney General William Barr , would prove that former officials acted improperly. He was alluding to the investigation led by John Durham , U.S. Attorney in Connecticut. Sounds nice. But waiting for Durham to complete his investigation at a typically lawyerly pace would, I fear, be much like the experience of waiting for Mueller to finish his; that is, like waiting for Godot. What about now?
So Where is the IG Report on FISA?
That's the big one. If Horowitz is able to speak freely about what he has learned, his report could lead to indictments of former CIA Director John Brennan , former FBI Director James Comey , former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe , former Deputy Attorneys General Sally Yates and Rod Rosenstein , and Dana Boente -- Boente being the only signer of the relevant FISA applications still in office. (No, he has not been demoted to file clerk in the FBI library; at last report, he is FBI General Counsel!).
The DOJ inspector General's investigation, launched in March 2018, has centered on whether the FBI and DOJ filing of four FISA applications and renewals beginning in October 2016 to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page amounted to abuse of the FISA process. (Fortunately for the IG, Obama's top intelligence and law enforcement officials were so sure that Hillary Clinton would win that they did not do much to hide their tracks.)
The Washington Examiner reported last Tuesday, "The Justice Department inspector general's investigation of potential abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is complete, a Republican congressman said, though a report on its findings might not be released for a month." The report continued:
"House Judiciary Committee member John Ratcliffe (R, Texas) said Monday he'd met with DOJ watchdog Michael Horowitz last week about his FISA abuse report. In a media interview, Ratcliffe said they'd discussed the timing, but not the content of his report and Horowitz 'related that his team's investigative work is complete and they're now in the process of drafting that report. Ratcliffe said he was doubtful that Horowitz's report would be made available to the public or the Congress anytime soon. 'He [Horowitz] did relay that as much as 20% of his report is going to include classified information, so that draft report will have to undergo a classification review at the FBI and at the Department of Justice,' Ratcliffe said. 'So, while I'm hopeful that we members of Congress might see it before the August recess, I'm not too certain about that.'"
Earlier, Horowitz had predicted that his report would be ready in May or June but there may, in fact, be good reason for some delay. Fox News reported Friday that "key witnesses sought for questioning by Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz (image on the left) early in his investigation into alleged government surveillance abuse have come forward at the 11th hour." According to Fox's sources, at least one witness outside the Justice Department and FBI has started cooperating -- a breakthrough that came after Durham was assigned to lead a separate investigation into the origins of the FBI's 2016 Russia case that led to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe.
"Classification," however, has been one of the Deep State's favorite tactics to stymie investigations -- especially when the material in question yields serious embarrassment or reveals crimes. And the stakes this time are huge.
Judging by past precedent, Deep State intelligence and law enforcement officials will do all they can to use the "but-it's-classified" excuse to avoid putting themselves and their former colleagues in legal jeopardy. (Though this would violate Obama's executive order 13526 , prohibiting classification of embarrassing or criminal information).
It is far from clear that DOJ IG Horowitz and Attorney General Barr will prevail in the end, even though President Trump has given Barr nominal authority to declassify as necessary. Why are the the stakes so extraordinarily high?
What Did Obama Know, and When Did He Know It?
Recall that in a Sept. 2, 2016 text message to the FBI's then-deputy chief of counterintelligence Peter Strzok, his girlfriend and then-top legal adviser to Deputy FBI Director McCabe, Lisa Page , wrote that she was preparing talking points because the president "wants to know everything we're doing." [Emphasis added.] It does not seem likely that the Director of National Intelligence, DOJ, FBI, and CIA all kept President Obama in the dark about their FISA and other machinations -- although it is possible they did so out of a desire to provide him with "plausible denial."
It seems more likely that Obama's closest intelligence confidant, Brennan, told him about the shenanigans with FISA, that Obama gave him approval (perhaps just tacit approval), and that Brennan used that to harness top intelligence and law enforcement officials behind the effort to defeat Trump and, later, to emasculate and, if possible, remove him.
Moreover, one should not rule out seeing in the coming months an "Obama-made-us-do-it" defense -- whether grounded in fact or not -- by Brennan and perhaps the rest of the gang. Brennan may even have a piece of paper recording the President's "approval" for this or that -- or could readily have his former subordinates prepare one that appears authentic.
Reining in Devin Nunes
That the Deep State retains formidable power can be seen in the repeated Lucy-holding-then-withdrawing-the-football-for-Charlie Brown treatment experienced by House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member, Devin Nunes (R-CA, image on the right). On April 5, 2019, in the apparent belief he had a green light to go on the offensive, Nunes wrote that committee Republicans "will soon be submitting criminal referrals on numerous individuals involved in the abuse of intelligence for political purposes. These people must be held to account to prevent similar abuses from occurring in the future."
On April 7, Nunes was even more specific, telling Fox News that he was preparing to send eight criminal referrals to the Department of Justice "this week," concerning alleged misconduct during the Trump-Russia investigation, including leaks of "highly classified material" and conspiracies to lie to Congress and the FISA court. It seemed to be no-holds-barred for Nunes, who had begun to talk publicly about prison time for those who might be brought to trial.
Except for Fox, the corporate media ignored Nunes's explosive comments. The media seemed smugly convinced that Nunes's talk of "referrals" could be safely ignored -- even though a new sheriff, Barr, had come to town. And sure enough, now, three months later, where are the criminal referrals?
There is ample evidence that President Trump is afraid to run afoul of the Deep State functionaries he inherited. And the Deep State almost always wins. But if Attorney General Barr leans hard on the president to unfetter Nunes, IG Horowitz, Durham and like-minded investigators, all hell may break lose, because the evidence against those who took serious liberties with the law is staring them all in the face.
Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. No fan of the current President, Ray has been trained to follow and analyze the facts, wherever they may lead. He spent 27 years as a CIA analyst, and prepared the President's Daily Brief for three presidents. In retirement he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).
niteranger , says: July 9, 2019 at 11:30 pm GMTFran Macadam , says: July 10, 2019 at 12:24 am GMT
Mr. McGovern you are right in your analysis. Obama is in this up to his neck, however there will be a limited investigation at best because the Jews and Israel don't want this. They are involved and a real investigation would show what control they have over the FBI and CIA.
Trump by now realizes these agencies can make anything up and the Jewish owned and controlled media will do their bidding. I have to assume that Trump has come to the conclusion that he wasn't suppose to win and that the NWO wasn't happy with that because he stands in their way especially on World Trade and Immigration.
The world is controlled by the Corporate Fascist Military-Intelligence Police State in which governments are nothing more than Proxies with Intelligence Agencies who work against the average citizen and for the Corporations. Politicians like Trump are nothing more than figureheads who must "Toe the Line" or else.
I believe Trump knows he could be assassinated at any time. Obama the "God King" did his part for NWO and that's why he gets a King's Ransom for his speeches for reading a teleprompter and banging on his chest and saying, "I did that." What he is really saying is I did that for you -- now where's my check!
When they frog-marched you out of that Clinton event, Ray, they had no idea what they were unleashing.
Jul 09, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Tom Luongo,
"Bernie Birnbaum is a horse of a different color, ethics-wise that is...
...as in he ain't got none!"
-- Johnny Caspar, "Miller's Crossing"
Serial pederast Jeffrey Epstein is going to be arrested again. The big questions are why? And why now? I never doubted Donald Trump's sincerity in wanting Hillary in jail. But the reality is that Trump was not in any position to do so. Until a few months ago.
When Attorney General William Barr ended the Mueller investigation back in February that was a turning point. I talked about it back then in a piece called " The Old Political Order is Just Old ."
Mueller, his staff of hatchetmen, the Obama administration and the rest of the corrupt old-guard in D.C. fully expected to be allowed free rein to convict Trump politically of Obstruction of Justice based on an interpretation of Federal Statutes that could only be justified in the world of Philip K. Dick's Minority Report. When that didn't happen, they are now looking at potential blowback from a vain and vindictive man occupying the supposedly most powerful office in the world.
But is that really the case anymore? It seems John Bolton has been more president than Trump recently.
I was cautiously optimistic that Trump would turn the corner on his presidency now that Mueller, impeachment and the rest of it would lift from his shoulders. His foreign policy maneuvers didn't fill me with much, if any, confirmation of this hope.
But domestically signs were there that he had stabilized the battlefield.Epstein's arrest tells me he's now out for blood.
Because this goes directly to the heart of the matter. Trump left the Clintons' social circle in disgust and I'm convinced he ran to stop her corrupt sell out of the U.S. Never forget that, while corruption is rampant in D.C., it is not all-pervasive. It's not a black and white thing.
William Barr may not be a Boy Scout or anything but even he, like Trump, has a disgust circuit. And that circuit has a threshold.
The level of corruption of the Departments of Justice, State, Treasury and the intelligence agencies needed to coordinate the RussiaGate hoax all to serve as Hillary's revenge porn was too much for enough people.
And there are still plenty of people in all of those departments willing to step up now that the board state has changed. Remember back when Trump said we should just leave Hillary be, she's been through enough? That wasn't him capitulating to the Deep State, that was him offering her a way out. He knew then what was going on but thought he was powerless to stop it, politically.
To go after her you go after the person who is her Achilles' heel, Epstein through his association with Bill. Because what if this isn't just about Bill's antics? But this is more than just Hillary and Bill. This is likely far deeper a rabbit hole than anyone in D.C. wants to admit. Don't think for a second that Epstein hasn't been blackmailing very prominent people for years. Because he has. And they are all now scared to death.
And Robert Mueller is up to his neck in this. Because it was Mueller who helped Epstein mostly get off the hook the last time and had the court documents sealed.
Now that Mike Cernovich worked to get those documents unsealed, we have an arrest warrant a week later by a Justice Department led by someone, at this point, loyal to Trump.
Even if Barr and Trump have a marriage of convenience here, it doesn't matter. What matters is that Epstein will no longer be able to hide behind Clinton bag men and will this time have to cut a real deal to stay out of gen pop.
This process will be slow and painful, but it will grind to the kind of conclusion that will only benefit Trump's re-election bid. It will be an epic drip feed of leaks, innuendos, implications, indictments and the rest.
Because there comes a point where the Alinsky method of accusing your enemy of the thing you do backfires when it's raping 14-year-old girls.
Once this thing gets a head of steam, once the #MeToo crowd gets a hold of this, there won't be anyone left standing. I always said Hillary would indict herself. Her insane lust for power and revenge against her obstacles led us here. And it will lead her to the kind of shame and disgrace that befits her avarice.
When Nancy Pelosi's daughter is out there signaling for her mother on this immediately, you know this is bad. Pelosi doesn't roll over for nothing folks. Think what you want about her but she's a pitbull. And she rolled over on border wall funding last week.
This Epstein arrest is a testament to what happens when the pendulum swings too far in one direction. Where despicable people get away with the most heinous acts simply because they are connected in a web of corruption and venality.
Maybe this is the moment of Peak Swamp? Maybe it's the moment where we can see things begin, ever so slightly to improve. Is it too little, too late? Likely. But something had to be done to keep our faith in our political and social institutions intact. Because otherwise that way leads to only chaos and collapse.
* * *
Join my Patreon because you also weep for humanity at where these people have led us.
Jul 05, 2019 | www.unz.com
Originally from The plot to keep Jeremy Corbyn out of power, by Jonathan Cook - The Unz Review
... ... ...
In the preceding two years, it was hard to avoid on TV the figure of Russell Brand, a comedian and minor film star who had reinvented himself, after years of battling addiction, as a spiritual guru-cum-political revolutionary.
Brand's fast-talking, plain-speaking criticism of the existing political order, calling it discredited, unaccountable and unrepresentative, was greeted with smirking condescension by the political and media establishment. Nonetheless, in an era before Donald Trump had become president of the United States, the British media were happy to indulge Brand for a while, seemingly believing he or his ideas might prove a ratings winner with younger audiences.
But Brand started to look rather more impressive than anyone could have imagined. He took on supposed media heavyweights like the BBC's Jeremy Paxman and Channel 4's Jon Snow and charmed and shamed them into submission – both with his compassion and his thoughtful radicalism. Even in the gladiatorial-style battle of wits so beloved of modern TV, he made these titans of the political interview look mediocre, shallow and out of touch. Videos of these head-to-heads went viral, and Brand won hundreds of thousands of new followers.
Then he overstepped the mark.
Democracy as charade
Instead of simply criticising the political system, Brand argued that it was in fact so rigged by the powerful, by corporate interests, that western democracy had become a charade. Elections were pointless . Our votes were simply a fig-leaf, concealing the fact that our political leaders were there to represent not us but the interests of globe-spanning corporations. Political and media elites had been captured by unshored corporate money. Our voices had become irrelevant.
Brand didn't just talk the talk. He started committing to direct action. He shamed our do-nothing politicians and corporate media – the devastating Grenfell Tower fire had yet to happen – by helping to gain attention for a group of poor tenants in London who were taking on the might of a corporation that had become their landlord and wanted to evict them to develop their homes for a much richer clientele. Brand's revolutionary words had turned into revolutionary action.
But just as Brand's rejection of the old politics began to articulate a wider mood, it was stopped in its tracks. After Corbyn was unexpectedly elected Labour leader, offering for the first time in living memory a politics that listened to people before money, Brand's style of rejectionism looked a little too cynical, or at least premature.
While Corbyn's victory marked a sea-change, it is worth recalling, however, that it occurred only because of a mistake. Or perhaps two.
The Corbyn accident
First, a handful of Labour MPs agreed to nominate Corbyn for the leadership contest, scraping him past the threshold needed to get on the ballot paper. Most backed him only because they wanted to give the impression of an election that was fair and open. After his victory, some loudly regretted having assisted him. None had thought a representative of the tiny and besieged left wing of the parliamentary party stood a chance of winning – not after Tony Blair and his acolytes had spent more than two decades remaking Labour, using their own version of entryism to eradicate any vestiges of socialism in the party. These "New Labour" MPs were there, just as Brand had noted, to represent the interests of a corporate class, not ordinary people.
Corbyn had very different ideas from most of his colleagues. Over the years he had broken with the consensus of the dominant Blairite faction time and again in parliamentary votes, consistently taking a minority view that later proved to be on the right side of history . He alone among the leadership contenders spoke unequivocally against austerity, regarding it as a way to leech away more public money to enrich the corporations and banks that had already pocketed vast sums from the public coffers – so much so that by 2008 they had nearly bankrupted the entire western economic system.
And second, Corbyn won because of a recent change in the party's rulebook – one now much regretted by party managers. A new internal balloting system gave more weight to the votes of ordinary members than the parliamentary party. The members, unlike the party machine, wanted Corbyn.
Corbyn's success didn't really prove Brand wrong. Even the best designed systems have flaws, especially when the maintenance of the system's image as benevolent is considered vitally important. It wasn't that Corbyn's election had shown Britain's political system was representative and accountable. It was simply evidence that corporate power had made itself vulnerable to a potential accident by preferring to work out of sight, in the shadows, to maintain the illusion of democracy. Corbyn was that accident.
'Brainwashing under freedom'
Corbyn's success also wasn't evidence that the power structure he challenged had weakened. The system was still in place and it still had a chokehold on the political and media establishments that exist to uphold its interests. Which is why it has been mobilising these forces endlessly to damage Corbyn and avert the risk of a further, even more disastrous "accident", such as his becoming prime minister.
Listing the ways the state-corporate media have sought to undermine Corbyn would sound preposterous to anyone not deeply immersed in these media-constructed narratives. But almost all of us have been exposed to this kind of " brainwashing under freedom " since birth.
The initial attacks on Corbyn were for being poorly dressed, sexist, unstatesmanlike, a national security threat, a Communist spy – relentless, unsubstantiated smears the like of which no other party leader had ever faced. But over time the allegations became even more outrageously propagandistic as the campaign to undermine him not only failed but backfired – not least, because Labour membership rocketed under Corbyn to make the party the largest in Europe.
As the establishment's need to keep him away from power has grown more urgent and desperate so has the nature of the attacks.
Jake , says: July 5, 2019 at 11:43 am GMTJake , says: July 5, 2019 at 12:03 pm GMT
What is the last refuge of the scoundrel in the Anglo-Zionist Empire?
Smearing decent people, people who see things we are not supposed to see, as anti-Semites.@Ordinary Brit
There were no Jews anywhere around most native Britons. And yet the Empire was banked most importantly by Jews back to at least the post-Glorious Revolution closing the 17th century, and that pattern of Jewish bankers being indispensable to the UK and the Brit WASP Empire goes back to Oliver Cromwell.
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Jun 30, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org
As I documented on March 9 on this platform in my article " What Makes Gavin Run ?" Williamson knows no shame or integrity and is the living embodiment of the repulsive, two-faced backstabber, intriguer and liar Sammy Glick in the great writer Budd Schulberg's legendary 1941 novel of Hollywood "What Makes Sammy Run?" So he is a natural fit for Johnson, whose entire career has been dictated by similar shameless, reckless lies, opportunism and crass incompetence.
No one gets every, or usually most, professional predictions right, and in the news business sensible people make the best of their brilliant insights – or lucky guesses – when they can. But I have seldom hit a hole-in-one prediction that came true as quickly as my column on Williamson did.
On March 9, Williamson, after only a decade in the UK main chamber of parliament, the ancient House of Commons was still riding high and making a fool of himself insulting major nations from Russia to China and also the UK's badly-needed European allies as the most incompetent defense chief in the modern history of his nation.
On May 1, less than two months after my article appeared – and with no causality that I could see – Williamson was humiliatingly sacked by his benefactor, Prime Minister Theresa May after being accused of leaking highly confidential national security information to the media.
Williamson immediately turned on his long-time benefactor Mrs. May savagely and helped drive her from office – which was admittedly long overdue. She resigned on June 7, just over a single month after sacking him.
Williamson then joined May's arch-enemy, former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who had relentlessly schemed to topple her for years and joined Johnson's own campaign to win the leadership of the rapidly disintegrating Conservative Party and thence become prime minister.
At the time of writing, Johnson remains far in the lead in the contest to replace May as prime minister despite repeated attacks on his character, utter lack of political consistency, convictions or achievement and his entertainingly squalid private life.
Johnson is twice divorced with neither marriage lasting longer than five years and he is now being accused of screaming rows with his 20-years-younger girl friend that may or may not have involved him hitting her, which he naturally denies.
Through all this Williamson, who like Johnson himself does not lack for energy in the service of his own ambition, has been rounding up support for his new master among Conservative Party Members of Parliament.
According to many UK media reports – which Williamson understandably denies – his most effective weapons are bullying, bluster and threats. These are patterns of behavior which those who have worked for him or who have bothered following his career over the years find extremely convincing and in character (or, rather, lack of it).
Reports are also circulating in the UK media – which are usually well-connected and informed on such matters – that Williamson is holding out to be reappointed as the UK's defense chief or as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland is my native land and is tiny in size. But over the past century and more it has repeatedly displayed an infinite capacity for generating wars, embarrassment and catastrophe for both Ireland and the UK, which otherwise get along easily and well.
Putting Williamson in charge of such a delicate, nervously balanced and ultra-sensitive province is like appointing a Sith Lord as head of the Jedi Knights in "Star Wars" or putting the late Boston underworld mass murderer Whitey Bulger in charge of the FBI.
Therefore it will probably happen.
Because like attracts like, competent honorable people in any country and culture seek to promote and advance others with the same qualities and empty, shallow sociopaths and confidence tricksters similarly admire and advance people exactly like themselves.
On Monday, June 24, without mentioning Williamson once, one of the UK's most experienced and respected journalists, war correspondents and historians, Sir Max Hastings wrote a scathing article in the liberal "Guardian" newspaper entitled "I was Boris Johnson's boss: he is utterly unfitted to be prime minister."
Therefore Johnson will re-elevate Williamson, either to drive Northern Ireland back into civil war or destroy the remaining security of the entire UK as defense secretary once again. And Williamson will remain loyal, until he in his turn sees the chance to stab Johnson in the back and briefly rule as prime minister until he in his own turn is politically knifed and toppled by one of his own hand-picked sociopaths.
And Sammy Glick will rise again – on the suffering and smashed lives of everyone else.
Jun 30, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
And how many congresspeople served in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan? How many presidential candidates had boots on the ground in combat theaters? The answer is one. Here is the moral decay of America's ruling elites boiled down to a single word.Giant Meteor , 5 hours ago link44_shooter , 5 hours ago link
Moral leaders, lead. There is your moral decay.
It didn't matter when they did. McStain fought, and absolutely LOVED war. Plenty of the Hawks served and fought, it's like frat boys who were hazed, carrying on the hazing.
Jun 30, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,
Here is the moral decay of America's ruling elites boiled down to a single word.
There are many reasons why Imperial Rome declined, but two primary causes that get relatively little attention are moral decay and soaring wealth inequality. The two are of course intimately connected: once the morals of the ruling Elites degrade, what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine, too.
I've previously covered two other key characteristics of an empire in terminal decline: complacency and intellectual sclerosis, what I have termed a failure of imagination.
Michael Grant described these causes of decline in his excellent account The Fall of the Roman Empire , a short book I have been recommending since 2009:
There was no room at all, in these ways of thinking, for the novel, apocalyptic situation which had now arisen, a situation which needed solutions as radical as itself. (The Status Quo) attitude is a complacent acceptance of things as they are, without a single new idea.
This acceptance was accompanied by greatly excessive optimism about the present and future. Even when the end was only sixty years away, and the Empire was already crumbling fast, Rutilius continued to address the spirit of Rome with the same supreme assurance.
This blind adherence to the ideas of the past ranks high among the principal causes of the downfall of Rome. If you were sufficiently lulled by these traditional fictions, there was no call to take any practical first-aid measures at all.
A lengthier book by Adrian Goldsworthy How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower addresses the same issues from a slightly different perspective.
Glenn Stehle, commenting on a thread in the excellent website peakoilbarrel.com (operated by the estimable Ron Patterson) made a number of excellent points that I am taking the liberty of excerpting: (with thanks to correspondent Paul S.)
The set of values developed by the early Romans called mos maiorum, Peter Turchin explains in War and Peace and War: The Rise and Fall of Empires , was gradually replaced by one of personal greed and pursuit of self-interest.
"Probably the most important value was virtus (virtue), which derived from the word vir (man) and embodied all the qualities of a true man as a member of society," explains Turchin.
"Virtus included the ability to distinguish between good and evil and to act in ways that promoted good, and especially the common good. Unlike Greeks, Romans did not stress individual prowess, as exhibited by Homeric heroes or Olympic champions. The ideal of hero was one whose courage, wisdom, and self-sacrifice saved his country in time of peril," Turchin adds.
And as Turchin goes on to explain:
"Unlike the selfish elites of the later periods, the aristocracy of the early Republic did not spare its blood or treasure in the service of the common interest. When 50,000 Romans, a staggering one fifth of Rome's total manpower, perished in the battle of Cannae, as mentioned previously, the senate lost almost one third of its membership. This suggests that the senatorial aristocracy was more likely to be killed in wars than the average citizen...
The wealthy classes were also the first to volunteer extra taxes when they were needed A graduated scale was used in which the senators paid the most, followed by the knights, and then other citizens. In addition, officers and centurions (but not common soldiers!) served without pay, saving the state 20 percent of the legion's payroll...
The richest 1 percent of the Romans during the early Republic was only 10 to 20 times as wealthy as an average Roman citizen."
Now compare that to the situation in Late Antiquity when
"an average Roman noble of senatorial class had property valued in the neighborhood of 20,000 Roman pounds of gold. There was no 'middle class' comparable to the small landholders of the third century B.C.; the huge majority of the population was made up of landless peasants working land that belonged to nobles. These peasants had hardly any property at all, but if we estimate it (very generously) at one tenth of a pound of gold, the wealth differential would be 200,000! Inequality grew both as a result of the rich getting richer (late imperial senators were 100 times wealthier than their Republican predecessors) and those of the middling wealth becoming poor."
Do you see any similarities with the present-day realities depicted in these charts?
And how many congresspeople served in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan? How many presidential candidates had boots on the ground in combat theaters? The answer is one. Here is the moral decay of America's ruling elites boiled down to a single word.
* * *
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Jun 26, 2019 | dissidentvoice.org
It is the assessment of the United States Government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today. This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication.
This is only the latest in a series of attacks instigated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and its surrogates against American and allied interests, and they should be understood in the context of 40 years of unprovoked aggression against freedom-loving nations.
-- US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announcement , June 13, 2013
The secretary of state delivered this appallingly Orwellian official assessment of the US government within hours of the five explosions on two tankers, well before any credible investigation establishing more than minimal facts could be carried out. As is his habit, Mike Pompeo flatly lied about whatever might be real in the Gulf of Oman, and most American media ran with the lies as if they were or might be true. There is almost no chance that Mike Pompeo and the US government are telling the truth about this event, as widespread domestic and international skepticism attests.
Pompeo's official assessment was false even in its staging. For most of his four-minute appearance, Pompeo stood framed by two pictures behind him, each showing a tanker with a fire amidships. This was a deliberate visual lie. The two pictures showed the same tanker, the Norwegian-owned Front Altair , from different angles. The other tanker, Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous , did not catch fire and was not shown.
First, what actually happened, as best we can tell five days later? In the early morning of June 13, two unrelated tankers were heading south out of the Strait of Hormuz, sailing in open water in the Gulf of Oman, roughly 20 miles off the south coast of Iran. The tankers were most likely outside Iran's territorial waters, but within Iran's contiguous zone as defined by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea . At different times, some 30 miles apart, the two tankers were attacked by weapons unknown, launched by parties unknown, for reasons unknown. The first reported distress call was 6:12 a.m. local time. No one has yet claimed responsibility for either attack. The crew of each tanker abandoned ship soon after the explosions and were rescued by ships in the area, including Iranian naval vessels, who took the Front Altair crew to an Iranian port.
Even this much was not certain in the early afternoon of June 13 when Mike Pompeo came to the lectern at the State Department to deliver his verdict:
It is the assessment of the United States Government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today.
Pompeo did not identify the unnamed intelligence entities, if any, within the government who made this assessment. He offered no evidence to support the assessment. He did offer something of an argument that began:
This assessment is based on intelligence .
He didn't say what intelligence. He didn't say whose intelligence. American intelligence assets and technology are all over the region generating reams of intelligence day in, day out. Then there are the intelligence agencies of the Arab police states bordering the Persian Gulf. They, too, are busy collecting intelligence 24/7, although they are sometimes loath to share. Pompeo didn't mention it, but according to CNN an unnamed US official admitted that the US had a Reaper Drone in the air near the two tankers before they were attacked. He also claimed that Iran had fired a missile at the drone, but missed. As CNN inanely spins it, "it is the first claim that the US has information of Iranian movements prior to the attack." As if the US doesn't have information on Iranian movements all the time . More accurately, this is the first admission that the US had operational weaponry in the area prior to the attack. After intelligence, Pompeo continued:
This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used .
Pompeo did not name a single weapon used. Early reporting claimed the attackers used torpedoes or mines, a claim that became inoperative as it became clear that all the damage to the tankers was well above the waterline. There is little reason to believe Pompeo had any actual knowledge of what weapons were used, unless one was a Reaper Drone. He went on:
This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation
The "level of expertise needed" to carry out these attacks on a pair of sitting duck tankers does not appear to be that great. Yes, the Iranian military probably has the expertise, as do the militaries of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, Israel, or others with a stake in provoking a crisis in the region. And those who lack the expertise still have the money with which to hire expert surrogates. The number of credible suspects, known and unknown, with an interest in doing harm to Iran is easily in double figures. Leading any serious list should be the US. That's perfectly logical, so Pompeo tried to divert attention from the obvious:
This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping .
There are NO confirmed "recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping," and even if there were, they would prove nothing. Pompeo's embarrassingly irrelevant list that follows includes six examples, only one of which involved a shipping attack. The one example was the May 12, 2019, attack on four ships at anchor in the deep water port of Fujairah. Even the multinational investigation organized by the UAE could not determine who did it. The UAE reported to the UN Security Council that the perpetrator was likely some unnamed "state actor." The logical suspects and their surrogates are the same as those for the most recent attack.
Instead of "recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping," Pompeo offers Iran's decades-old threat to close the Strait of Hormuz (which it's never done), together with three attacks by the Houthis on Saudi Arabia, an unattributed rocket attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad, and an unattributed car bomb in Afghanistan. Seriously, if that's all he's got, he's got nothing. But he's not done with the disinformation exercise:
This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication.
The whole proxy group thing is redundant, covered by "the level of expertise needed" mentioned earlier. Pompeo doesn't name any proxy group here, he doesn't explain how he could know there's no proxy group that could carry out such an attack, and he just throws word garbage at the wall and hopes something sticks that will make you believe – no evidence necessary – that Iran is evil beyond redemption:
Taken as a whole, these unprovoked attacks present a clear threat to international peace and security, a blatant assault on the freedom of navigation, and an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension by Iran.
The attacks in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Afghanistan have all been provoked by the US and its allies. The US has long been a clear threat to international peace and security, except when the US was actually trashing peace and security, as it did in Iraq, as it seems to want to do in Iran. There is, indeed, "an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension," but it's a campaign by the US. The current phase began when the Trump administration pulled out of the multinational nuclear deal with Iran. The US wages economic warfare on Iran even though Iran continues to abide by the Trump-trashed treaty. All the other signatories and inspectors confirm that Iran has abided by the agreement. But Iran is approaching a point of violation, which it has been warning about for some time. The other signatories allow the US to bully them into enforcing US sanctions at their own cost against a country in compliance with its promises. China, Russia, France, GB, Germany, and the EU are all craven in the face of US threats. That's what the US wants from Iran.
Lately, Trump and Pompeo and their ilk have been whining about not wanting war and claiming they want to negotiate, while doing nothing to make negotiation more possible. Iran has observed US actions and has rejected negotiating with an imperial power with a decades-long record of bad faith. Lacking any serious act of good faith by the US, does Iran have any other rational choice? Pompeo makes absolutely clear just how irrational, how dishonest, how implacable and untrustworthy the US is when he accuses Iran of:
40 years of unprovoked aggression against freedom-loving nations.
This is Big Lie country. Forty years ago, the Iranians committed their original sin – they overthrew one of the world's most brutal dictatorships, imposed on them by the US. Then they took Americans hostage, and the US has been playing the victim ever since, out of all proportion to reality or justice. But the Pompeos of this world still milk it for all it's worth. What about "unprovoked aggression," who does that? The US list is long and criminal, including its support of Saddam Hussein's war of aggression against Iran. Iran's list of "unprovoked aggressions" is pretty much zero, unless you go back to the Persian Empire. No wonder Pompeo took no question on his statement. The Big Lie is supposed to be enough.
The US is stumbling down a path toward war with no justification. Democrats should have objected forcefully and continuously long since. Democrats in the House should have put peace with Iran on the table as soon as they came into the majority. They should do it now. Democratic presidential candidates should join Tulsi Gabbard and Elizabeth Warren in forthrightly opposing war with Iran. Leading a huge public outcry may not keep the president from lying us into war with Iran any more than it kept the president from lying us into war with Iraq. But an absence of outcry will just make it easier for this rogue nation to commit a whole new set of war crimes.
Intellectually, the case for normal relations with Iran is easy. There is literally no good reason to maintain hostility, not even the possibility, remote as it is, of an Iranian nuclear weapon (especially now that Trump is helping the Saudis go nuclear). But politically, the case for normal relations with Iran is hard, especially because forty years of propaganda demonizing Iran has deep roots. To make a sane case on Iran takes real courage: one has to speak truth to a nation that believes its lies to itself.
William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. This article was first published in Reader Supported News . Read other articles by William .
Jun 28, 2019 | www.unz.com
Jeffrey Epstein's story is similarly abusive. The convicted sex offender prostituted dozens of underage girls and should have spent the rest of his life in jail. Again this is no 'one-off' abuse of an underage child, he was a serial sex predator.
According to Joseph Recarey, the lead Palm Beach detective on the case, Epstein was essentially operating a "sexual pyramid scheme."
The Vox writes that the girls and women who reported abuse by Epstein, meanwhile, were markedly powerless. Most of them "came from disadvantaged families, single-parent homes or foster care, Many of the girls were one step away from homelessness."
In November 2017 the genius comedian Larry David was criticized in the Jewish press for admitting on Saturday Night Live that many of those accused of sexual harassment in Hollywood are Jewish.
... Alan Dershowitz , who was a member of Epstein's legal team and was later accused by one of the victims' lawyers of himself participating in the sex trafficking ring .
Jun 27, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Western News Agencies Mistranslate Iran's Pre