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Resurgence of neofascism as a reaction on crisis of neoliberalism, extreme inequality, and neoliberal globalization threat to nation-states

News Corporatism Recommended Links Recommended books Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? Media-Military-Industrial Complex National neoliberalism
Neocons Robert Kagan The problem of control of intelligence services in democratic societies Predator state Crisis of Neoliberalism of 2008 and Shift to neofascism Gangster Capitalism: The United States and the Globalization of Organized Crime Big Uncle is Watching You
NeoMcCartyism National Security State Nation under attack meme Inverted Totalitarism Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime
National Socialism and Military Keysianism F-scale American Exceptionalism Neoconservatism Authoritarian Corporatism Audacious Oligarchy and Loss of Trust The Grand Chessboard
Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few New American Militarism Militarism and reckless jingoism of the US neoliberal elite Tea Party and right wing rage Totalitarian Decisionism The Far Right Forces in Ukraine If Corporations Are People, They Are Psychopaths
Corruption of Regulators Double High Authoritarians The Iron Law of Oligarchy The Great Democratic Party Betrayal: Pro-War Neoliberal Democrats as Vichy Left Mussolini on the Corporate State Reconciling Human Rights IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement
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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."

--Merriam-Webster Dictionary

"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-


Introduction

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:

  1. Surveillance of the population became the most vital state function which led to disproportionate growth of intelligence agencies, which now (like STASI) are directed "inside," not only outside. It was fascism that invented the role of intelligence agencies as the major part of oppressive apparatus of the state.  And this feature became even more sophisticated under  neofascism.
  2. A strong emphasis on Social Darwinism, on competition between nations (which makes it  sound  very similar to neoliberalism), indicating a pessimistic acceptance of the human need to dominate and the capacity of rulers to resist the degeneration of state authority and financial oligarchy in the interests of maximizing the potential of the nation;
  3. The idea of revival/rebirth of the nation. An interesting nuance here that  this idea is accepted both by conservatives who sought restoration of "old order" as well as by radicals who sought a new order. Fascism mythology connects a mythical past with an idealized future through the revalorization of history, cult of personality and the power of state intervention. Similarly, nationalism could be conceived both in terms of the (re)creation of identity, and in terms of restoration of the damaged economic interest of specific strata of population, and first of all white working class and small businesses.
  4. Rampant militarism; glorification of military, high level of "defense" expenditures in the budget. Aggression against other states as legitimate and desirable foreign policy.  
  5. The belief in desirability of nation expansion and hegemony over other nationas,  the view of  in military as an instrument of foreign policy (the idea which is very similar to American Exceptionalism, in which the USA is proclaimed to be special, blessed nation, that has the right to extent its power and influence any way it likes on other states and nations). Madeleine K. Albright. statement "What's the point of having this superb military if you can't use it?" is clealy can be viewed as a statement of a fascist politician; the same was true about her statement Madeleine Albright - The deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children was worth it for Iraq's non existent WMD's - YouTube"; in this sense her book Fascism A Warning is a projection  ), and a distrust of international institutions (which Trump administration aptly demonstrates as a part of Trump "national neoliberalism" platform.
  6. Glorification of mystical never existent past and political enforcement of those myths.    This is connected with the idea of revival/rebirth of the nation listed above, but  is much wider.  Fascist and neofascist regimes rewrite history and promote their version of history as the only legitimate interpretation, suppressing dissent.  This is a very important and often misunderstood point.  Fascism create an elaborate myth which is brainwashed into the nation becomes "material force" driving people behaviour and providing sustainability for the regime. Some false myths under fascism are viewed as sacred and can't be questioned, despite availability of evidence that they are false. So any regime that suppresses objective investigation of national political and economic history (which is true also for Bolshevism and neoliberalism) is highly suspect. 
  7. Like far right nationalism, neofascism denies equality of people and instills "us vs them" mentality. In this sense it opposes Christian morality and the ethic code (as well ethic code of other major religions.)  This is a clearly anti-elitarian ideology "at large," while it can be egalitarian "in  the small", within an  "Arian nation" whatever it means for the particular movement.  In a fundamental way internal fascist policies are just a transfer of policies and methods used Europeans in colonies to the specific ethnicities in European countries (Slavs, Jews, Gypsies).  In this sense Hitler idea of colonizing and exterminating Slavs was a plagiarism from the USA colonists treatment of Indians. 
  8. Elements of the regime of Apartheid. If we abstract from external expansion, then the idea Arian ("titular") nation or social group in fascism is a variation of the theme of Apartheid and can be called internal colonialism, or internal colonization of the country.  The same is generally true about many strains of far right nationalism although the selection of the Arian group is different in each case.  South Africa and Rhodesia in the past and Israel today are examples of this trend.

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,[31] the confidence in US military power, and a distrust of international institutions.[32] According to Kagan, his foreign-policy views are "deeply rooted in American history and widely shared by Americans".[33]

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.[1] 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".[2]

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

Principle VI[edit]

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.

Principle VII[edit]

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.

 As used in the USA neoliberal MSM the terms "fascism" or "neofascism" more often then not constitutes projection

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.

The Deep State and neofascism

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. 

Cult of intelligence

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.[1]

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.[5]

 

Control of MSM

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.
 

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. When the OPC was merged with the Office of Special Operations in 1948 to create the CIA, OPC’s media assets were likewise absorbed.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. “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.”
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.”
  19. 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.”
  20. 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.”
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.”
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. “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.”
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
  41. 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
  42. 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.
  43. 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.
  44. 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,
  45. 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,
  46. 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.
  47. 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.
  48. 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.
  49. 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.
  50. 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.

Neofascism and far right movement Renaissance after the Financial crisis of 2008 and the Great Recession

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:

  1. ultranationalism,
  2. populism,
  3. anti-immigration policies

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

Elements of neofascist programs

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

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

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

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

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.

Preoccupation with the community decline, humiliation and idea of rejunivenation of the nation

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)

Animosity toward financial oligarchy; distinguishing between earned and unearned income

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).

Territorial or economic expansion

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,[2] 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.[3] The most extreme form of this ideology was supported by the Nazi Party (NSDAP) and Nazi Germany until the end of World War II.[4]

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. 

Modern technologies makes neofascist regimes more viable

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.

Neofascism and the predator state

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 [1] 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.
 

Classic fascism

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:

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.  

Fascism vs. far right nationalism

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:

  1. Like far right nationalism, neofascism denies equality of people. So in a way it oppose to Christian and other major religions. This is a clearly anti-elitarian ideology "at large" while it can be egalitarian "in  the small", within an  "Arian nation" whatever it means for the particular movement.  In a fundamental way internal fascist policies are just a transfer of policies and methods used Europeans in colonies to the specific ethnicities in European countries (Slavs, Jews, Gypsies).  In a way the Hitler idea of colonizing and exterminating Slavs was a plagiarism from the USA colonists treatment of Indians.
     
  2. Obsession with national security. Inevitably, a national security apparatus under direct control of the ruling elite is the most effective tool for crushing social protest, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting 'national security'. Questioning its activities is portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.
     
  3. Element of "Apartheid" state. If we abstract from external expansion, then the idea Arian ("titular") nation or social group in fascism is a variation of the theme of Apartheid and can be called internal colonialism, or internal colonization of the country.  The same is generally true about far right nationalism although the selection of Arian group is different. Like far right nationalism neofascism  instills hatred and direct, open discrimination of some identifiable social groups and/or nationalities (immigrants, Jews, Gipsy, Russians, Chinese, etc)  -- the key ideas fascism stems from the concept of "national socialism" or socialism for one "chosen"/Arian nationality at the expense of others (the idea very similar to American Exceptionalism, in which the USA is proclaim to be special, blessed nation, that has the right to extent its power and influence any way it likes on other states and nations). In fascist ideology one group of people is classified as Ubermensch  and everybody else as  Untermensch. This division of people into two distinct classes is a fundamental feature of both far right nationalism and neofascism. Various forms of far right nationalism and neofascism differ only in the criteria of this division. It can be separation by race, nationality, language, or even between "creative people" (capitalists) is everybody else as in Randism.
     
  4. The idea of inferiority (of other nationalities, countries, political systems, etc). Neoliberalism is classic example of this trend. It simply denies the right to exist of any other form of political rule and practice so called "export of democracy" (read export of neoliberalism, often by military means, much like fascist governments of the past.
     
  5. Nationalist hysteria with a particular scapegoat as the tool to increase unity,  for example anti-Russian hysteria which replaced anti-Jewish hysteria in the past.
     
  6. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. Ruling elites always identified closely with the military and the industrial infrastructure that supported it. But the immanent feature of this type of regimes is that a disproportionate share of national resources was allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an expression of nationalism/exeptionalism, and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite. See New American Militarism. The second part of this trend is cancer-style growth of intelligence agencies. Which at some point became uncontrolled government of the country and are engages in political actions. Role of CIA in JFK assassination is still covered but many researcher consider CIA the major player in the plot to kill JFK.
     
  7. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism. From the prominent displays of flags to the ubiquitous lapel pins, the fervor to show patriotic nationalism is carefully stroked up. Catchy slogans, pride in the military, and demands for unity were common themes in expressing this nationalism. It was usually coupled with a suspicion of foreigners that often borders on xenophobia. In the USA the role of nationalism serves American exeptionalism.
  8. High level of disdain for the importance of human rights. While the regime can and often pay lip services to human rights, this is just a smokescreen. In reality such regimes views human rights of opponents as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite. Terror against opponents or war against "rogue states" considered to be legitimate. At the same time, they can promote human rights as false flag operation at home and at foreign policy. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human rights abuses of paramilitary squads by marginalizing, even demonizing groups or nationalities being targeted. When abuse was egregious as was the case in Guantanamo Bay detention camp and Abu Ghraib, the tactic is to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation.
  9. Using scapegoats as a unifying cause. The most significant common thread among these regimes was the use of scapegoating as a means to divert the people's attention from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions. The methods of choice -- relentless propaganda and disinformation --were usually effective. Often the regimes would incite 'spontaneous' acts against the target scapegoats, usually communists, socialists, liberals, Jews, Russians Chinese, other ethnic and racial minorities, traditional national enemies, members of other religions, secularists, homosexuals, and "terrorists." Active opponents of these regimes were inevitably labeled as terrorists and dealt with accordingly. Paradoxically the attempt to enforce absolute equality to people of non traditional sexual orientation can serve the same purpose.
  10. A controlled mass media. Under most of neofascist regimes, the mass media is under strict direct or indirect control and could be relied upon never to stray from the party line. Monopolization of MSM works that same way as total government control representing slightly more sophisticated and more subtle power to ensure media orthodoxy. Methods included the control of licensing and access to resources, economic pressure, appeals to patriotism, buyout of journalists and news anchors, various direct or indirect forms of bribes, and implied threats. Sometimes physical violence is used too. The owners of the mass media are an integral part of the elite and as such do its bidding. The net result was usually complete success in keeping the general public unaware of the regimes excesses.
  11. Religion and ruling elite tied together. Most of the regimes attached themselves to the predominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as defenders of religion . The fact that the ruling elite's behavior was incompatible with the precepts of the religion was generally swept under the rug. Propaganda is used to keep up the illusion that the ruling elites are defenders of the faith.

    A perception is manufactured that opposition to the power elite is tantamount to an attack on religion.

  12. Power of corporations, oligarchy is protected, while power of labor suppressed.. Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of 'have-not' citizens. Since organized labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Under some regimes, being poor was considered akin to a vice.
  13. Suppression of "non-conformist" intellectuals. Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these regimes. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security. In modern day direct physical suppression or elimination of opponents is no longer necessary. Indirect ways such as silencing them are no less effective. Universities are tightly, but indirectly, controlled; politically unreliable faculty harassed and deprived of funding. Unorthodox ideas or expressions of dissent are silenced. To these regimes, art and literature should serve the national interest or they had no right to exist.
  14. Obsession with crime and punishment. Most of these regimes maintained Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge prison populations, directed at lower classes. The police were often glorified and had almost unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. Difference between regular and political crimes sometimes is fuzzy due to trumped-up criminal charges which sometimes are used against political opponents of the regime. Fear, and hatred of criminals is promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power and repression of political opponents. Police are militarized and provided with powerful weapons and military level communication tools.
  15. Rampant cronyism and corruption. On propaganda front such regimes often pretend to be anti-oligarchic and populists. But in reality rampant cronyism rules. Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. Members of the power elite were in a position to obtain vast wealth from other sources as well: for example, by stealing national resources. With the national security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood by the general population.
  16. Fraudulent elections. Under such regimes elections in the form of plebiscites or public opinion polls are usually bogus. With public opinion polls servicing as a powerful mean to ensure results of election not as a simple sampling tool. When actual elections held, candidates are preselected and both represents the same "party in power" just under slightly different sauce (Bush vs. Kerry), This way the whole idea of elections is perverted by the power elite to get the desired result. Additional methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, destroying or disallowing legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite.

But there are some  important  differences.

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:

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.

Two classes of people and NSDAP Party program of 1920

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.[1]

... ... ...

  1. We demand the unification of all Germans in the Greater Germany on the basis of the people's right to self-determination.
  2. 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.
  3. We demand land and territory (colonies) for the sustenance of our people, and colonization for our surplus population.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  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 nationalisation 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.
  19. We demand substitution of a German common law in place of the Roman Law serving a materialistic world-order.
  20. 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.
  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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.[9]
  25. 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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=vUDhy4BA-Xs

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.

Revolt of the elite against "commoners"

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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Z24XaNIbmp0

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)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=MEKJDle0nZ0

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

Neofascism and National Security State

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

www.youtube.com/embed/Z24XaNIbmp0

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" ;-).

The common features that constitute "generic fascism"

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:
  1. The primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether universal or individual.
  2. The belief that one's group is a victim, a sentiment which justifies any action against the group's enemies, internal as well as external.
  3. Dread of the group's decadence under the corrosive effect of individualistic and cosmopolitan [neoliberalism.
  4. Closer integration of the community within a brotherhood (fascio) whose unity and purity are forged by common conviction, if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary.
  5. An enhanced sense of identity and belonging, in which the grandeur of the group reinforces individual self-esteem.
  6. Authority of natural leaders (always male) throughout society, culminating in a national chieftain who alone is capable of incarnating the group's destiny.
  7. The beauty of violence and of will, when they are devoted to the group's success in a Darwinian struggle.

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.

  1. Neofascism is based upon a selective populism, a qualitative populism, one might say. In a democracy, the citizens have individual rights, but the citizens in their entirety have a political impact only from a quantitative point of view -- one follows the decisions of the majority. For neofascism, however, individuals as individuals have no rights, and the People is conceived as a quality, a monolithic entity expressing the Common Will. Since no large quantity of human beings can have a common will, the Leader pretends to be their interpreter. Having lost their power of delegation, citizens do not act; they are only called on to play the role of the People. Thus the People is only a theatrical fiction. There is in our future a TV or Internet populism, in which the emotional response of a selected group of citizens can be presented and accepted as the Voice of the People. Because of its qualitative populism, neofascism must be against "rotten" parliamentary governments. Wherever a politician casts doubt on the legitimacy of a parliament because it no longer represents the Voice of the People, we can smell neofascism.
  2. Neofascism speaks Newspeak. Newspeak was invented by Orwell, in Nineteen Eighty-Four, as the official language of what he called Ingsoc, English Socialism. But elements of neofascism are common to different forms of dictatorship. All the Nazi or Fascist schoolbooks made use of an impoverished vocabulary, and an elementary syntax, in order to limit the instruments for complex and critical reasoning. But we must be ready to identify other kinds of Newspeak, even if they take the apparently innocent form of a popular talk show. [When fascism is employed in a society with democratic traditions, one strand of Newspeak is to use the traditional words, like "freedom," but to give them new meaning. This strategy is also employed when new programs are initiated. --Politex]
  3. Disagreement is treason. [As opposed to neofascism,] the critical spirit makes distinctions, and to distinguish is a sign of modernism. In modern culture the scientific community praises disagreement as a way to improve knowledge. For neofascism, disagreement is treason. neofascism grows up and seeks consensus by exploiting and exacerbating the natural fear of difference. The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist movement is an appeal against the intruders. Thus neofascism is racist by definition.
  4. Skilled manipulation of social frustration. neofascism derives its power from individual social frustration. That is why one of the most typical features of the historical fascism was the appeal to a frustrated middle class, a class suffering from an economic crisis or feelings of political humiliation, and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups. In our time, when the old "proletarians" are becoming petty bourgeois (and the lumpen are largely excluded from the political scene), the fascism of tomorrow will find its audience in this new majority.
  5. Life is permanent warfare. For neofascism life is lived for struggle. Thus pacifism is trafficking with the enemy. It is bad because life is permanent warfare. This, however, brings about an Armageddon complex. Since enemies have to be defeated, there must be a final battle, after which the movement will have control of the world. But such "final solutions" implies a further era of peace, a Golden Age, which contradicts the principle of permanent war. No fascist leader has ever succeeded in solving this predicament.
  6. Cult of personality. [The neofascist leader presents himself as a hero, a strong man. As such, his image is ubiquitous in the media, and is often photographed in costume in conjunction with images or people that represent the fascist characteristics noted above. --Politex] Since both permanent war and heroism are difficult games to play, the neofascist transfers his will to power to sexual matters. This is the origin of machismo (which implies both disdain for women and intolerance and condemnation of nonstandard sexual habits, from chastity to homosexuality). Since for such people sex is a difficult game to play, the neofascist hero tends to play with weapons -- doing so becomes an ersatz phallic exercise.

Rise of neofascism in Eastern and Western Europe

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):

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.

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.

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)

Strong support by the government and big business

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

Narcissism of small differences

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.”32

Keep 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”:

"http://www.youtube.com/embed/5SBo0akeDMY

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.34
And 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.35
So 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.36
As 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 as proto-fascist organizations

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...

--Harley Schlanger

... ... ...

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.


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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.

Robert Paxton

[Jun 23, 2019] As former right-wing operative Allen Raymond famously said: "this is not about morality, this is about winning"

Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

1Byron , 5 Mar 2012 17:44

It's no wonder the US is so screwed up these days. Somehow the NeoCons, before and after stealing the 2,000 election for Bush, with the help of abundance of Liars 4 Hire think tanks like CATO, CEI, AEI, Heritage Foundation blah, blah, blah, bankrolled by the likes of the Koch Bros, The Scaifes, Exxon, Monsanto, Dow, Dupont the Nuke Industry etc. were, and are still able to convince low intelligence people that wrong is right, bad is good, meanness is "compassion" and abuse is "tough love".

But it only works if those being duped are already predisposed to hateful philosophy, and that they got in spades with careful conditioning (brainwashing) from bastards like Rush Limbaugh and Rupert Murdoch, people with no moral scruples whatsoever.

Thus the right today (actually for a long while now) is no more than a collection of racists and bigots, pathological liars and scammers, charlatans and greedmeisters.

It's why they care nothing for the poor, nothing for protection the environment, nothing for anyone or anything but themselves. They are the cult of mean.

As former right-wing operative Allen Raymond famously said: "this is not about morality, this is about winning"

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/8/how_to_rig_an_election_convicted

[Jun 23, 2019] Only the greedy, selfish, well off, egotistical and share holders believe that Public Services should, could and would benefit from privatisation and deregulation.

Apr 11, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

JohnS58 , 11 Apr 2019 06:15

Only the greedy, selfish, well off, egotistical and share holders believe that Public Services should, could and would benefit from privatisation and deregulation.

Education and Health for example are (in theory) a universal right in the UK. As numbers in the population rise and demographics change so do costs ie delivery of the service becomes more expensive.As market force logic is introduced it also becomes less responsive - hence people not able to get the right drugs and treatment and challenging and challenged young people being denied an education that is vital for them in increasing numbers.

Meanwhile - as Public Services are devalued and denuded in this system the private sector becomes increasingly wealthy at the top while its workers become poorer and less powerful at the bottom.

With the introduction of Tory austerity which punishes the latter to the benefit of the former there is no surprise that this system does not work and has provided a platform for the unscrupulous greedy and corrupt to exploit Brexit and produce conditions which will take 'Neoliberalism' to where logic suggests it would always go - with the powerful rich protected minority exerting their power over an increasingly poor and powerless majority.

[Jun 23, 2019] The competitive tender approach ensures the cheapest bids get the contracts and the cheapest bids are those most likely to employ exploited labour and cheap materials as well as cutting corners

Apr 10, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Monkeybiz -> dd34342 , 10 Apr 2019 20:27

The competitive tender approach ensures the cheapest bids get the contracts and the cheapest bids are those most likely to employ exploited labour and cheap materials as well as cutting corners. Result? a job of sorts gets done, but the quality is rubbish, with no investment or pride in the product. Look at Hong Kong where this is longstanding practice: new tunnel, half the extractor fans do not work correctly because they were poorly installed. I once spoke to the Chief Engineer of the Tsing Ma bridge, he was stressed out of his socks for the whole construction period trying to monitor all the subcontractors who had bid so low they had to cheat to make a profit with the result that they would try to cut corners and avoid doing things if they thought they could get away with it. Good job that engineer was diligent. Others may be less able or willing.
Monkeybiz -> dd34342 , 10 Apr 2019 20:20

BTW: I seldom find comparisons in UK-media to other countries when those countries are better.

I think that's because most of the UK media is propaganda for the established system, which they rely on for advertising revenue and access to information. If an outlet's journalists start seriously questioning the existing system, a few things happen: 1. the journo doesn't get promoted within the system; 2. their access to information is curtailed (they are not invited to briefings etc., and; 3. advertising revenue drops. As the business model of most mainstream media is to present consumer audiences to advertisers, this is not going to sit well with the owners, see 1 and 2 above leading to poor evaluations. Any journo with half a brain quickly learns this and fits in. Only so far and no further.

[Jun 23, 2019] I have to agree that whilst some things have flourished once privatised, certain services must remain in public ownership and control to enable governments to improve or reduce, depending on national taxation and expenditure

Apr 10, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Richard Burston , 10 Apr 2019 17:11

As a Tory for most of my longish life, I have to agree that whilst some things have flourished once privatised, certain services must remain in public ownership and control to enable governments to improve or reduce, depending on national taxation and expenditure - if people want better services then they must be prepared to pay for them, and of course the long-term pensions of the workforce. Managers should be subject matter experts before running departments, not just accountants or management consultants, so they can improve delivery not just constantly re-structure or carp on about 'efficiency savings'.

Having worked in shipping, that industry has oscillated several times but rail is an interesting example - a disaster in the dying days of national ownership, the private world started well improving safety, reliability and capacity but has gone downhill in recent years, not helped by the track management system. Again, the airlines started well but now several have gone into administration and BA has 'down-qualitied' itself to become one of the worst.

Some parts of the NHS can be provided by private industry but limited to service provision and collective buying only - certainly NOT cancer screening.
Then, when you look at private providers who go bust and completely fail to provide any acceptable capability - jails, probation, social care etc. one wonders when, if ever, politicians will realise that it costs them, the civil service and commercial management an incredible amount of time, effort and cost just to fail!

[Jun 23, 2019] Outsourcing government work is the most inefficient way of getting it done for the benefit of taxpayers.

Apr 10, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

MichaelAnthony , 10 Apr 2019 17:31

Outsourcing government work is the most inefficient way of getting it done for the benefit of taxpayers. When the profits private companies make from it are added to what economies must invest to pay the taxes for it it's astonishing how popular it has become throughout the world, something only explicable if those authorising it are amongst the most stupid of financial administrators or the most corrupt.
Outsourcing for example £1m worth of work requires that amount to be paid in taxes, which needs about £5m to be earned in wages and profits to pay £1m in taxes, which in turn needs an investment of perhaps ten times that amount, when the £1m is borrowed by debt laden governments to be repaid by over-borrowed and overtaxed economies.
If the outsourced company is not profit-making it will borrow the capital to be able to deliver what's required and that in turn will raise the amount it will want for future work, which is what I think accounts for Carillion and the other outsource giants going to the wall.
The process is generally the fault of governments failing to adhere strictly to the necessity of only paying its workforce on average the same as the private sector pays its workers, which in democracies is not an unfair requirement demanded by equality legislation. Many would claim that such was why Margaret Thatcher decided on privatising so many public utilities especially after the miners' strike in Ted Heath's government and why it gained so much support and popularity when wages and benefits for similar skill levels seemed so much better and jobs more secure for many public sector workers involved than they were in the private sector. Now of course, the high costs of private necessary public services are making life unbearable for the majority of workers and welfare recipients while profits are going abroad to those who own them and the EU in getting the flak – courtesy of the media - for the resultant poverty and austerity, allowed the false £350m a week to win the referendum. The £4 billion a week worth of exports to the EU paid most of that and the way companies are relocating to hedge against Brexit means a lot of lost jobs will go with them – some earlier estimates but it at more than 100,000 - which doesn't seem to deter those determinedly wanting out of the EU one little bit.
This is a blessing for the low labour cost Member States, who being in the populous markets the multinationals need, can attract the UK industries looking to further cut costs and freight charges so those that go will never come back because higher costs in the Brexit UK will not be compensated for easily with uncompetitive price hikes for EU customers, unlike CAP payments that have been promised to farmers by the government proBrexit Minister.
The doom and gloom felt by many I think is well justified when sovereign debt and bank credit is considered relative to taxes. While sovereign debt is regarded as an asset and future taxes are acceptable for bank credit and both can be securitized by banking systems to borrow even more capital that will be acceptable to central banks as QE, it's not surprising that sovereigns don't need to worry about economies being unable to provide the taxes their governments unlawfully spend even when leaving it for future generations is also unlawful i.e. is a crime, since if they don't, their central banks and bond holders covered by them will. When the cost in trillions since 2016 already spent by government in preparing for Brexit is included one can't help but think that the financial economy has made a proverbial killing from UK incorporated and now owns most if not all of it. If most of the finance for Brexit came from its financiers and investors is it possible that after Brexit they'll pour trillions back into the economy to make it capable of not only surviving but also competing favourably with the EU, Japan, China, and the US?

[Jun 23, 2019] Hardly anything has flourished after privatisation.

Apr 10, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

makingalist -> Richard Burston , 10 Apr 2019 18:06

I have to disagree. Hardly anything has flourished after privatisation. The big failures, which get all the publicity, were generally basket case private businesses which had to be nationalised to save them from collapse.

Sometimes they are stuffed with public money and sold at a loss to the public, like the Tory nationalisation of Rolls Royce, or deprived of funds like British Rail to provide an excuse to liberate thousands of square miles of real estate

This latter is the scheme for the NHS with hospitals and other property provided at great public expense sold off to any shark who says he has the money, and once it's private load the enterprise with debt and walk away.

[Jun 23, 2019] So neoliberalism stumbles on almost as a reflex action. Ben Fine calls it a 'zombie' but I think the better analogy is cannibalism.

Unlike the privatisations of the 80s and 90s there's barely any pretence these days that new sell-offs are anything more than simply part of a quest to find new avenues for profit-making in an economy with tons of liquid capital but not enough places to profitability put it.
Apr 10, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

hartebeest , 10 Apr 2019 18:42

Back in the Thatcher/Reagan years there were at people around who genuinely believed in the superiority of the market, or at least, made the effort to set out an intellectual case for it.

Now we're in a different era. After 2008, hardly anyone really believes in neoliberal ideas anymore, not to the point that they'd openly make the case for them anyway. But while different visions have appeared to some extent on both left and right, most of those in positions of power and influence have so internalised Thatcher's 'there is no alternative' that it's beyond their political horizons to treat any alternatives which do emerge as serious propositions, let alone come up with their own.

So neoliberalism stumbles on almost as a reflex action. Ben Fine calls it a 'zombie' but I think the better analogy is cannibalism. Unlike the privatisations of the 80s and 90s there's barely any pretence these days that new sell-offs are anything more than simply part of a quest to find new avenues for profit-making in an economy with tons of liquid capital but not enough places to profitability put it. Because structurally speaking most of the economy is tapped out.

Privatising public services at this point is just a way to asset strip and/or funnel public revenue streams to a private sector which has been stuck in neoliberal short-term, low skill, low productivity, low wage, high debt mode for so long that it has lost the ability to grow. So now it is eating itself, or at least eating the structures which hold it up and allow it to survive.

[Jun 23, 2019] The central premise used by Governments for privatising public servcies seems to have been that publicly run services are inefficient compared to private companies

Apr 10, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

lollipops42 , 10 Apr 2019 18:49

The central premise used by Governments for privatising public servcies seems to have been that publicly run services are inefficient compared to private companies; that the need to turn a profit means wasteful systems and behaviours are minimised. Therefore, money can be saved by outsourcing as private companies can provide the same or better service more cheaply.

I think this is very disrespectful to all those who work in public service, many of whom are dedicated to their jobs to provide care or a good service to members of the public. The idea that making money is the only motivating force that can make someone do their job well seems flawed. Further, if efficiency gains alone are not enough to make a profit, then the only recourse for companies is to provide a poorer service or be more exploitative of their employees, which is regularly played out.

This central premise is not widely challenged by politicians. It seems accepted as fact. I wonder if there have been any studies to either support or challenge this idea.

[Jun 22, 2019] Use of science by the US politicians

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "the administrator uses social science the way the drunk uses a lamppost, for support rather than illumination." Scholars' disinclination to be used in this way helps explain more of the distance. ..."
Jun 16, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The evidence suggests that foreign policymakers do not seek insight from scholars, but rather support for what they already want to do.

As Desch quotes a World War II U.S. Navy anthropologist, "the administrator uses social science the way the drunk uses a lamppost, for support rather than illumination." Scholars' disinclination to be used in this way helps explain more of the distance.

[Jun 21, 2019] Disgraced Vice President of Walt Disney Convicted of Child Rape, Gets 6 Years by Matt Agorist

Jun 21, 2019 | thefreethoughtproject.com

Portland, OR -- A former top level Walt Disney executive was sentenced to prison this month for nearly seven years for child rape. Michael Laney, 73, who was the Vice President of Walt Disney was found guilty of four counts of first-degree sexual abuse and sentenced to 81 months in prison.

After the sentencing, Laney's attorneys pleaded with the judge to suspend the sentence, claiming that Laney's wife would suffer if her husband goes to jail.

According to Oregon Live , Laney's wife's doctor, Blain Crandell, submitted a letter on Laney's behalf, saying his wife "could be expected to suffer serious consequences to her health and well-being" without an in-home caregiver, a role her husband had been filling.

Thankfully, the judge and district attorney did not see it that way. In response to this request, Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Charles Mickley called the claims "peculiarly offensive and insulting."

"Defendant wholly ignores the compelling evidence of his guilt presented at trial, including the evidence of his longstanding sexual interest in children," Mickley wrote.

Laney will also have to serve an additional 120 months of probation after prison, pay a $4,000 fine, and register as a sex offender.

... ... ...

This article originally appeared on The Free Thought Project .

Matt Agorist Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on Twitter , Steemit , and now on Minds.

[Jun 20, 2019] The difference between old and new schools of jounalism: old-school journalism was like being assigned the task of finding out what "1+1 =?" and the task was to report the answer was "1." Now the task would be to report that "Some say it is 1, some say it is 2, some say it is 3."

Highly recommended!
Jun 20, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

A way to capture this change was thinking in terms of the traditional task of journalists to interview or consult a variety of sources to determine was is truth or true. The shift gradually became one of now interviewing or consulting various sources and reporting those opinions.

Old-school journalism was like being assigned the task of finding out what "1+1 =?" and the task was to report the answer was "1."

Now the task would be to report that "Some say it is 1, some say it is 2, some say it is 3."

[Jun 18, 2019] Have the neoliberal ruling elite gotten lazy or stupid

Notable quotes:
"... The Gulf of Credibility - I really cannot begin to fathom how stupid you would have to be to believe that Iran would attack a Japanese oil tanker at the very moment that the Japanese Prime Minister was sitting down to friendly, US-disapproved talks in https://t.co/P1wE1Y886i ..."
"... When the ruling elite wanted a war with Iraq they invented incubator babies and WMD programs that didn't exist. Their inventions were far fetched, but not unbelievable. However, the idea that the paranoid dictator Saddam was just going to hand over his most powerful weapons to religious fanatics that hated his guts, was laughably stupid. ..."
"... When the ruling elite wanted a war with Libya they invented a genocidal, Viagra-fueled, rape army. Their invention was far fetched, and bit lazy, but you could be forgiven for believing that the Mandarins believed it. ..."
"... This latest anti-Iran warmongering is just plain stupid. It's as if they don't really care if anyone believes the lies they are telling. For starters, look at the shameless liar who is telling these lies. ..."
"... Looking at this incident/narrative from any/every angle leaves one to conclude "false flag". ..."
"... As for the "most obvious culprit is usually responsible for the crime" that also happens to be "bazaar-level conspiracy theories involving a false-flag operation by Israel's Mossad". Because Mossad actually does that. ..."
"... If El Trumpo was going to drain the swamp, why did he take these cretins, Bolton, Pompeo, Haspel, Abrams into his cabinet? Is the tail, wagging the dog as usual? ..."
"... The elite are both lazy and stupid. Even the Orange Man will not be sucked into another Douma style false flag operation. The reasons why this is a basic false flag is obvious. If anybody reading about this doesn't understand the culprits responsible weren't Iranian, then they should be interviewed for mental competency. ..."
"... But Pompous Mike and Bolt-on Bolt-off need to be removed from any semblance of governmental authority. I could go on but this whole affair is making me tired...I'm going back to my swamp. ..."
Jun 14, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

gjohnsit on Fri, 06/14/2019 - 5:42pm

The Gulf of Credibility - I really cannot begin to fathom how stupid you would have to be to believe that Iran would attack a Japanese oil tanker at the very moment that the Japanese Prime Minister was sitting down to friendly, US-disapproved talks in https://t.co/P1wE1Y886i

-- Craig Murray (@CraigMurrayOrg) June 14, 2019

When the ruling elite wanted a war with Iraq they invented incubator babies and WMD programs that didn't exist. Their inventions were far fetched, but not unbelievable. However, the idea that the paranoid dictator Saddam was just going to hand over his most powerful weapons to religious fanatics that hated his guts, was laughably stupid.

When the ruling elite wanted a war with Libya they invented a genocidal, Viagra-fueled, rape army. Their invention was far fetched, and bit lazy, but you could be forgiven for believing that the Mandarins believed it.

This latest anti-Iran warmongering is just plain stupid. It's as if they don't really care if anyone believes the lies they are telling. For starters, look at the shameless liar who is telling these lies.

You mean "Mr. We Lied, We Cheated, We Stole"? What a disgraceful character... pic.twitter.com/pMtAgKaZcG

-- Brave New World (@ClubBayern) June 13, 2019

Then there are the many problems of their "proof".

Where is the video of the Iranians PLACING explosives & detonating them? Removal would be prudent by any Navy/CG. Also location of explosives is VERY high off waterline ...Weird. It's not a limpet mine, it's a demo charge. Had to be put on by fairly high boat w/ a long gaff/pole https://t.co/3qzB7TrrYv

-- Malcolm Nance (@MalcolmNance) June 14, 2019

The distress call went out at 6 am. So, according to CENTCOM's analysis of this video, they're suggesting that 10 hours after the tanker was hit, the IRGC just casually pulled up to the tanker to remove unexploded limpet mine in broad daylight?!

-- Rosalind Rogers راز (@Rrogerian) June 14, 2019

BREAKING: Owner says Kokuka Courageous tanker crew saw "flying objects" before attack, suggesting ship wasn't damaged by mines.

-- The Associated Press (@AP) June 14, 2019

The Japanese company that owns the ship has refused to cooperate in this false flag mission.

But in remarks to Japanese media, the president of the company that owns the ship said the vessel wasn't damaged by a mine. "A mine doesn't damage a ship above sea level," said Yutaka Katada, president of Kokuka Sangyo, the owner and operator of the vessel. "We aren't sure exactly what hit, but it was something flying towards the ship," he said.

When the propaganda begins to fall apart and @realDonaldTrump tries to find another way to start a war to win an election. pic.twitter.com/r8Cp7BNQ7z

-- Bamboozll (@bamboozll) June 14, 2019

Looking at this incident/narrative from any/every angle leaves one to conclude "false flag".

Finally, there is the question of "why"?

What would Iran hope to accomplish by this? I found one establishment source that tried to rationalize.

Iran denied responsibility, with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif descending to bazaar-level conspiracy theories involving a false-flag operation by Israel's Mossad.

If you're not inclined to believe the Trump administration – and such skepticism is entirely reasonable – most detectives would still tell you that the most obvious culprit is usually responsible for the crime.

To those seeking logic behind the attacks, though, it may be hard to see why Iran would do this – but that assumes that the regime in Tehran is a rational actor.

The Gulf of Oman attacks are especially hard to explain: targeting Japanese shipping on the very day that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was meeting Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on a well-publicized peace mission would seem extraordinarily counterproductive, even for a regime with an almost fanatical commitment to self-harm.

Have you ever noticed that everyone that we want to start a war with is crazy? Regimes that stand solid for generations under hostile conditions are always run by maniacs. You'd think that insanity would prevent them from taking power in the first place, but that seems to only be true with our allies.

As for the "most obvious culprit is usually responsible for the crime" that also happens to be "bazaar-level conspiracy theories involving a false-flag operation by Israel's Mossad". Because Mossad actually does that.

Since the U.S.'s tightening of sanctions has squeezed Iranian oil exports, nobody else's should be allowed to pass through waters within reach of the IRGC.

The Iranians know that these threats, if repeated, can lose their power if not followed with action. The attacks on the tankers, then, can be explained as a demonstration that Khamenei's attack dogs have some teeth.

There is another rationale. If Iran does eventually agree to negotiate with the U.S., it will want to bring some bargaining chips to the table – something it can exchange for the removal of sanctions. In the negotiations over the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran was able to offer the suspension of its nuclear program. It doesn't have that particular chip now, although Tehran has recently threatened to crank up the centrifuges again.

Meanwhile, the regime may have calculated that the only way to secure some kind of negotiating position is blackmail: End the sanctions, or we take out some more tankers, and send oil prices surging.

This almost sounds logical, except for one thing: Iran tried that in 1988 and it didn't work. It only caused the one thing the U.S. was itching for: to kill some Iranians.
Do you think that they've forgotten? Or that the U.S. is less warlike? Oh wait. Iranians are crazy and can't be reasoned with, amirite?

US public radio @NPR does not mention it was Iranians who saved the crew. That's how terrible they are at journalism

-- boomerWithaLandline (@Irene34799239) June 14, 2019

The only real question is, why such a transparent lie? Has the ruling elite gotten lazy or stupid? Or do they think that we are that lazy and stupid? I have an alternative theory .

For the last two years, as you've probably noticed, the corporate media have been not so subtly alternating between manufacturing Russia hysteria and Nazi hysteria, and sometimes whipping up both at once. Thus, I've dubbed the new Official Enemy of Freedom "the Putin-Nazis." They don't really make any sense, rationally, but let's not get all hung up on that. Official enemies don't have to make sense. The important thing is, they're coming to get us, and to kill the Jews and destroy democracy and something about Stalin, if memory serves. Putin is their leader, of course. Trump is his diabolical puppet. Julian Assange is well, Goebbels, or something. Glenn Greenwald is also on the payroll, as are countless "useful idiots" like myself, whose job it is to sow division, discord, racism, anti-Semitism, anti-capitalism, anti-Hillaryism, collusion rejectionism, ontological skepticism, and any other horrible thing you can think of.

Their bullsh*t lies have gotten lazy and stupid because real effort isn't required to start a war and kill a lot of people.

WoodsDweller on Fri, 06/14/2019 - 6:18pm

I'm going to go with "desperate"

Something's happening to move up the time table, and it isn't the election, we're already in plenty of wars, another one won't help El Trumpo.

Sirena on Fri, 06/14/2019 - 6:31pm
Who is playing who?

That is the question, I ask thee? If El Trumpo was going to drain the swamp, why did he take these cretins, Bolton, Pompeo, Haspel, Abrams into his cabinet? Is the tail, wagging the dog as usual?

TheOtherMaven on Fri, 06/14/2019 - 6:31pm
All of the above

Lazy, stupid, and desperate.

Alligator Ed on Fri, 06/14/2019 - 6:33pm
The answer to your title is YES

The elite are both lazy and stupid. Even the Orange Man will not be sucked into another Douma style false flag operation. The reasons why this is a basic false flag is obvious. If anybody reading about this doesn't understand the culprits responsible weren't Iranian, then they should be interviewed for mental competency.

My money, the little that I have, is on either the Saudis or the Israelis; maybe even both.

But Pompous Mike and Bolt-on Bolt-off need to be removed from any semblance of governmental authority. I could go on but this whole affair is making me tired...I'm going back to my swamp.

[Jun 18, 2019] America's Managerial Elite Has Failed, But We Can't Get Rid of Them

Jun 19, 2019 | www.oftwominds.com

The system is broken, and the managerial elite will keep it broken because it serves their interests to keep it broken.

America's managerial elite came to do good and stayed to do well--at the expense of everyone beneath them. Now that they've entrenched themselves at the top of the status quo, there's no way to dislodge them, even as their failure to address what's broken, much less actually fix what's broken, insures systemic breakdown.

In government, the managerial elite is known as The Deep State : those who remain in power regardless of who's in elected office. In local government, managerial elites often shift positions, moving from elected office to a plum position in the bureaucracy where they can draw a big paycheck out of sight until they retire.

In Corporate America, managerial elites also move around, leaving sinking ships (that they may well have helped sink) as needed, and moving to think tanks or academia if their failures start multiplying.

Changing elected officials does nothing to dislodge our managerial elite overlords. The new mayor, governor or president comes and goes, and all the major institutions--education, higher education, healthcare, national defense, critical infrastructure--continue down the same path of enriching entrenched insiders while the institution fails its core missions.

If you think this chart of soaring student loan debt is a sign of "success," you are 1) delusional 2) protected from the dire consequences of this failure 3) getting your paycheck from this failed system. That in a nutshell is the state of the nation: those who are protected from the consequences of failure are loyal to the Establishment, as are the millions drawing a paycheck from systems they know are irredeemable failures.

Let's review the central institutions of the nation:

  1. Healthcare: a failed system doomed to bankrupt the nation.
  2. Defense: a failed system of cartels and Pentagon fiefdoms that have saddled the nation with enormously costly failed weapons systems like the F-35 and the LCS.
  3. Higher Education: a bloated, failed system that is bankrupting an entire generation while mis-educating them for productive roles in the emerging economy. (I cover this in depth in The Nearly Free University and the Emerging Economy and Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy .)
  4. Foreign policy: Iraq: a disaster. Afghanistan: a disaster. Libya: a disaster. Syria: a disaster. Need I go on?
  5. Political governance: a corrupt system of self-serving elites, lobbyists, pay-to-play, corporate puppet-masters, and sociopaths who see themselves as above the law.

In Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform , I explain why the only possible output of these systems is failure .

The sole output of America's managerial elite is self-serving hubris.

In an open market, failed leadership has consequences. Customers vanish and the enterprise goes bankrupt, or shareholders and employees rally to fire the failed leadership.

In our state-cartel system, failed leadership only tightens its grip on the nation's throat. The Deep State can't be fired, nor does it ever stand for election. The two political parties are interchangeable, as are the politicos who race from fund-raiser to fund-raiser.

It's tempting to blame the individuals who inhale the wealth and power of our failed system, but it's the system, not the individuals , though a more corrupt, craven, self-serving lot cannot easily be assembled.

Centralized hierarchies concentrate power at the top of the pyramid. That power is a magnet for everyone who seeks to wield power and enrich themselves in the process.

In the financial system, this concentration of power is visible in the chart below: the super-rich have become immensely richer in the past few decades of central banks' vast expansion of credit and financialization.

As systems become more complex, the need for a professional class to manage the overwhelming complexity grows. This class excels at appearing to manage complexity while ignoring the larger dynamics driving the system over the cliff.

And so we have endless meetings of highly paid people over trivial issues while the entire system careens toward meltdown. "Stakeholders" multiply in endless profusion, dooming every project to a glacial process that increases the sums paid to manage the glacial process and pushes the final cost to the moon.

The self-serving managerial elite always has one answer for every problem: give us more money. If the budget expands by 10% and nothing actually changes for the better, then the "solution" is a 25% increase in funding.

Budgets expand by leaps and bounds, but none of the systemic problems are ever resolved.

It's not hard to figure out why: look at the system's incentives. If systems were radically simplified and made more efficient, the need for an ever-expanding class of permanent managers would diminish. And so the solution is always more fodder for the managerial elite: more complexity, more meetings, more accumulation of power, more managers and always, more money.

Thus it is no surprise that the calls for "free" college and "Medicare for All" are rising: the managerial elite that has bankrupted higher education and healthcare while enriching themselves desperately needs to be bailed out, lest the systems they've steered toward the fiscal cliff deservedly go broke.

In a similar set of incentives, few weapons systems ever come in under budget when the Pentagon can always come up with another $10 or $20 billion for cost over-runs.

The system is broken, and the managerial elite will keep it broken because it serves their interests to keep it broken. Unfortunately we'll all suffer when the managerial elite is no longer able to stave off the dire fiscal consequences of their self-serving leadership.

[Jun 17, 2019] America's Legacy of Regime Change by Stephen Kinzer

Notable quotes:
"... For the United States, as for all warlike nations, military power has traditionally been the decisive factor determining whether it wins or loses its campaigns to capture or subdue other countries. World War II was the climax of that bloody history. ..."
"... It was not only the Dulles brothers, however, who brought the United States into the regime-change era in the early 1950s. Eisenhower himself was a fervent advocate of covert action. Officially his defense and security policy, which he called the "New Look," rested on two foundations, a smaller army and an increased nuclear arsenal. In reality, the "New Look" had a third foundation: covert action. Eisenhower may have been the last president to believe that no one would ever discover what he sent the CIA to do. With a soldier's commitment to keeping secrets, he never admitted that he had ordered covert regime-change operations, much less explained why he favored them. ..."
Jun 10, 2019 | www.fff.org

Covert Regime Change: America's Secret Cold War by Lindsey A. O'Rourke (Cornell University Press, 2018); 330 pages.

For most of history, seizing another country or territory was a straightforward proposition. You assembled an army and ordered it to invade. Combat determined the victor. The toll in death and suffering was usually horrific, but it was all done in the open. That is how Alexander overran Persia and how countless conquerors since have bent weaker nations to their will. Invasion is the old-fashioned way.

When the United States joined the race for empire at the end of the 19th century, that was the tactic it used. It sent a large expeditionary force to the Philippines to crush an independence movement, ultimately killing some 200,000 Filipinos. At the other end of the carnage spectrum, it seized Guam without the loss of a single life and Puerto Rico with few casualties. Every time, though, U.S. victory was the result of superior military power. In the few cases when the United States failed, as in its attempt to defend a client regime by suppressing Augusto Cesar Sandino's nationalist rebellion in Nicaragua during the 1920s and 30s, the failure was also the product of military confrontation. For the United States, as for all warlike nations, military power has traditionally been the decisive factor determining whether it wins or loses its campaigns to capture or subdue other countries. World War II was the climax of that bloody history.

After that war, however, something important changed. The United States no longer felt free to land troops on every foreign shore that was ruled by a government it disliked or considered threatening. Suddenly there was a new constraint: the Red Army. If American troops invaded a country and overthrew its government, the Soviets might respond in kind. Combat between American and Soviet forces could easily escalate into nuclear holocaust, so it had to be avoided at all costs. Yet during the Cold War, the United States remained determined to shape the world according to its liking -- perhaps more determined than ever. The United States needed a new weapon. The search led to covert action.

A news agency

During World War II the United States used a covert agency, the Office of Strategic Services, to carry out clandestine actions across Europe and Asia. As soon as the war ended, to the shock of many OSS agents, Harry Truman abolished it. He believed there was no need for such an agency during peacetime. In 1947 he changed his mind and signed the National Security Act, under which the Central Intelligence Agency was established. That marked the beginning of a new era. Covert action replaced overt action as the principal means of projecting American power around the world.

Truman later insisted that he had intended the CIA to serve as a kind of private global news service. "It was not intended as a 'Cloak & Dagger Outfit!'" he wrote. "It was intended merely as a center for keeping the President informed on what was going on in the world [not] to act as a spy organization. That was never the intention when it was organized." Nonetheless he did not hesitate to use the new CIA for covert action. Its first major campaign, aimed at influencing the 1948 Italian election to ensure that pro-American Christian Democrats would defeat their Communist rivals, was vast in scale and ultimately successful -- setting the pattern for CIA intervention in every Italian election for the next two decades. Yet Truman drew the line at covert action to overthrow governments.

The CIA's covert-action chief, Allen Dulles, twice proposed such projects. In both cases, the target he chose was a government that had inflicted harm on corporations that he and his brother, John Foster Dulles, had represented during their years as partners at the globally powerful Wall Street law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell. In 1952 he proposed that the CIA overthrow President Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala, whose government was carrying out land reform that affected the interests of United Fruit. By one account, State Department officials "hit the roof" when they heard his proposal, and the diplomat David Bruce told him that the Department "disapproves of the entire deal." Then Dulles proposed an operation to overthrow Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh of Iran, who had nationalized his country's oil industry. Secretary of State Dean Acheson flatly rejected it.

White House resistance to covert regime-change operations dissolved when Dwight Eisenhower succeeded Truman at the beginning of 1953. Part of the new administration's enthusiasm came from Allen Dulles, Washington's most relentless advocate of such operations, whom Eisenhower named to head the CIA. The fact that he named Dulles's brother as secretary of State ensured that covert operations would have all the necessary diplomatic cover from the State Department. During the Dulles brothers' long careers at Sullivan & Cromwell, they had not only learned the techniques of covert regime change but practiced them. They were masters at marshaling hidden power in the service of their corporate clients overseas. Now they could do the same with all the worldwide resources of the CIA.

It was not only the Dulles brothers, however, who brought the United States into the regime-change era in the early 1950s. Eisenhower himself was a fervent advocate of covert action. Officially his defense and security policy, which he called the "New Look," rested on two foundations, a smaller army and an increased nuclear arsenal. In reality, the "New Look" had a third foundation: covert action. Eisenhower may have been the last president to believe that no one would ever discover what he sent the CIA to do. With a soldier's commitment to keeping secrets, he never admitted that he had ordered covert regime-change operations, much less explained why he favored them. He would, however, have had at least two reasons.

Since Eisenhower had commanded Allied forces in Europe during World War II, he was aware of the role that covert operations such as breaking Nazi codes had played in the war victory -- something few other people knew at the time. That would have given him an appreciation for how important and effective such operations could be. His second reason was even more powerful. In Europe he had had the grim responsibility of sending thousands of young men out to die. That must have weighed on him. He saw covert action as a kind of peace project. After all, if the CIA could overthrow a government with the loss of just a few lives, wasn't that preferable to war? Like most Americans, Eisenhower saw a world of threats. He also understood that the threat of nuclear war made overt invasions all but unthinkable. Covert action was his answer. Within a year and a half of his inauguration, the CIA had deposed the governments of both Guatemala and Iran. It went on to other regime-change operations from Albania to Cuba to Indonesia. Successive presidents followed his lead.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States was once again free to launch direct military invasions. When it found a leader it didn't like -- such as Saddam Hussein or Muammar Qaddafi -- it deposed him not through covert action, but by returning to the approach it had used before World War II: the force of arms. Covert efforts to overthrow governments have hardly ceased, as any Iranian or Venezuelan could attest. The era when covert action was America's principal weapon in world affairs, however, is over. That makes this a good time to look back.

Metrics for covert action

Books about the Cold War heyday of covert action era are a mini-genre. Lindsey A. O'Rourke's contribution is especially valuable. Unlike many other books built around accounts of CIA plots, Covert Regime Change takes a scholarly and quantitative approach. It provides charts, graphs, and data sets. Meticulous analysis makes this not the quickest read of any book on the subject, but certainly one of the best informed. Chapters on the disastrous effort to overthrow communist rule in Eastern Europe, which cost the lives of hundreds of deceived partisans, and on the covert-action aspects of America's doomed campaign in Vietnam are especially trenchant.

O'Rourke identifies three kinds of covert operations that are aimed at securing perceived friends in power and keeping perceived enemies out: offensive operations to overthrow governments, preventive operations aimed at preserving the status quo, and hegemonic operations aimed at keeping a foreign nation subservient. From 1947 to 1989, by her count, the United States launched 64 covert regime-change operations, while using the overt tool -- war -- just six times. She traces the motivations behind these operations, the means by which they were carried out, and their effects. Her text is based on meticulous analysis of individual operations. Some other books about covert action are rip-roaring yarns. This one injects a dose of
rigorous analysis into a debate that is often based on emotion. That rigor lends credence to her conclusions:

Although these conclusions are not new, they have rarely if ever been presented as the result of such persuasive statistical evidence. Yet even this evidence seems unlikely to force a reassessment of covert action as a way to influence or depose governments. It is an American "addiction." The reasons are many and varied, but one of the simplest is that covert action seems so easy. Changing an unfriendly country's behavior through diplomacy is a long, complex, multi-faceted project. It takes careful thought and planning. Often it requires compromise. Sending the CIA to overthrow a "bad guy" is far more tempting. It's the cheap and easy way out. History shows that it often produces terrible results for both the target country and the United States. To a military and security elite as contemptuous of history as America's, however, that is no obstacle.

Although covert regime-change operations remain a major part of American foreign policy, they are not as effective as they once were. The first victims of CIA overthrows, Prime Minister Mossadegh and President Arbenz, did not understand the tools the CIA had at its disposal and so were easy targets. They were also democratic, meaning that they allowed open societies in which the press, political parties, and civic groups functioned freely -- making them easy for the CIA to penetrate. Later generations of leaders learned from their ignorance. They paid closer attention to their own security, and imposed tightly controlled regimes in which there were few independent power centers that the CIA could manipulate.

If Eisenhower could come back to life, he would see the havoc that his regime-change operations wreaked. After his overthrow of Mossadegh, Iran fell under royal dictatorship that lasted a quarter-century and was followed by decades of rule by repressive mullahs who have worked relentlessly to undermine American interests around the world. The operation he ordered in Guatemala led to a civil war that killed 200,000 people, turning a promising young democracy into a charnel house and inflicting a blow on Central America from which it has never recovered. His campaign against Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba of the Congo, which included the fabrication of a poison kit in a CIA laboratory, helped turn that country into one of the most violent places on Earth.

How would Eisenhower respond to the long-term disasters that followed his covert action victories? He might well have come up with a highly convincing way to excuse himself. It's now clear, he could argue, that covert action to overthrow governments usually has terrible long-term results -- but that was not clear in the 1950s. Eisenhower had no way of knowing that even covert regime-change operations that seem successful at the time could have devastating results decades later.

We today, however, do know that. The careful analysis that is at the center of Covert Regime Change makes clearer than ever that when America sets out to change the world covertly, it usually does more harm than good -- to itself as well as others. O'Rourke contributes to the growing body of literature that clearly explains this sad fact of geopolitics. The intellectual leadership for a national movement against regime-change operations -- overt or covert -- is coalescing. The next step is to take this growing body of knowledge into the political arena. Washington remains the province of those who believe not only that the United States should try to reconfigure the world into an immense American sphere of influence, but that that is an achievable goal. In the Beltway morass of pro-intervention think tanks, members of Congress, and op-ed columnists, America's role in the world is usually not up for debate. Now, as a presidential campaign unfolds and intriguing new currents surge through the American body politic, is an ideal moment for that debate to re-emerge. If it does, we may be surprised to see how many voters are ready to abandon the dogma of regime change and wonder, with George Washington, "Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground?"

This article was originally published in the June 2019 edition of Future of Freedom .


This post was written by: Stephen Kinzer Stephen Kinzer is an author and newspaper reporter. He is a veteran New York Times correspondent who has reported from more than 50 countries on five continents. His books include "Overthrow" and "All the Shah's Men".

[Jun 16, 2019] When false information is specifically political in nature, part of our political identity, it becomes almost impossible to correct lies.

Jun 16, 2019 | www.politico.com

Leda Cosmides at the University of California, Santa Barbara, points to her work with her colleague John Tooby on the use of outrage to mobilize people: "The campaign was more about outrage than about policies," she says. And when a politician can create a sense of moral outrage, truth ceases to matter. People will go along with the emotion, support the cause and retrench into their own core group identities. The actual substance stops being of any relevance.

Brendan Nyhan, a political scientist at Dartmouth University who studies false beliefs, has found that when false information is specifically political in nature, part of our political identity, it becomes almost impossible to correct lies.

... ... ...

As the 19th-century Scottish philosopher Alexander Bain put it, “The great master fallacy of the human mind is believing too much.” False beliefs, once established, are incredibly tricky to correct. A leader who lies constantly creates a new landscape, and a citizenry whose sense of reality may end up swaying far more than they think possible.

[Jun 16, 2019] Cover-Ups and Truth Tellers

Notable quotes:
"... Of course, being cover-ups by the government may make them appear acceptable, at least to a naive public. Many of them are rationalized as necessary for the sake of national "security." And, of course, everyone wants to be "secure," accepting the notion that "people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." ..."
Jun 16, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

In a May, 22, 2019 appearance in the White House Rose Garden, President Donald Trump declared that "I don't do cover-ups ." Various news outlets immediately started to enumerate a long list of bona fide cover-ups associated with the president.

... ... ...

Unfortunately, Trump's behavior is but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cover-ups. One can surmise that just by virtue of being the head of the U.S. government, the president -- any president -- must be directly or indirectly associated with hundreds of such evasions. That is because, it can be argued without much paranoia, that every major division of the government is hiding something -- particularly when it comes to foreign activities.

Of course, being cover-ups by the government may make them appear acceptable, at least to a naive public. Many of them are rationalized as necessary for the sake of national "security." And, of course, everyone wants to be "secure," accepting the notion that "people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."

The fact that much of this violence is done to other innocent people trying to get a peaceful night's rest is "classified" information. So woe be it to the truth tellers who defy these rationalizations and sound off. For they shall be cast out of our democratic heaven into one of the pits of hell that pass for a U.S. prison -- or, if they are fleet-footed, chased into exile.

[Jun 16, 2019] Trump s Lies vs. Your Brain by Maria Konnikova

Notable quotes:
"... But Donald Trump is in a different category. The sheer frequency, spontaneity and seeming irrelevance of his lies have no precedent. ..."
"... Those who have followed Trump's career say his lying isn't just a tactic, but an ingrained habit. ..."
"... Our brains are particularly ill-equipped to deal with lies when they come not singly but in a constant stream ..."
"... In politics, false information has a special power. If false information comports with preexisting beliefs -- something that is often true in partisan arguments -- attempts to refute it can actually backfire , planting it even more firmly in a person's mind. ..."
"... Brendan Nyhan, a political scientist at Dartmouth University who studies false beliefs, has found that when false information is specifically political in nature, part of our political identity, it becomes almost impossible to correct lies. ..."
Jun 16, 2019 | www.politico.com

Maria Konnikova is a contributing writer at the New Yorker and author, most recently, of The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It Every Time .

All presidents lie. Richard Nixon said he was not a crook, yet he orchestrated the most shamelessly crooked act in the modern presidency. Ronald Reagan said he wasn't aware of the Iran-Contra deal; there's evidence he was. Bill Clinton said he did not have sex with that woman; he did, or close enough. Lying in politics transcends political party and era. It is, in some ways, an inherent part of the profession of politicking.

But Donald Trump is in a different category. The sheer frequency, spontaneity and seeming irrelevance of his lies have no precedent. Nixon, Reagan and Clinton were protecting their reputations; Trump seems to lie for the pure joy of it. A whopping 70 percent of Trump's statements that PolitiFact checked during the campaign were false, while only 4 percent were completely true, and 11 percent mostly true. (Compare that to the politician Trump dubbed "crooked," Hillary Clinton: Just 26 percent of her statements were deemed false.)

Those who have followed Trump's career say his lying isn't just a tactic, but an ingrained habit. New York tabloid writers who covered Trump as a mogul on the rise in the 1980s and '90s found him categorically different from the other self-promoting celebrities in just how often, and pointlessly, he would lie to them. In his own autobiography, Trump used the phrase "truthful hyperbole," a term coined by his ghostwriter referring to the flagrant truth-stretching that Trump employed, over and over, to help close sales. Trump apparently loved the wording, and went on to adopt it as his own.

On January 20, Trump's truthful hyperboles will no longer be relegated to the world of dealmaking or campaigning. Donald Trump will become the chief executive of the most powerful nation in the world, the man charged with representing that nation globally -- and, most importantly, telling the story of America back to Americans. He has the megaphone of the White House press office, his popular Twitter account and a loyal new right-wing media army that will not just parrot his version of the truth but actively argue against attempts to knock it down with verifiable facts. Unless Trump dramatically transforms himself, Americans are going to start living in a new reality, one in which their leader is a manifestly unreliable source.

What does this mean for the country -- and for the Americans on the receiving end of Trump's constantly twisting version of reality? It's both a cultural question and a psychological one. For decades, researchers have been wrestling with the nature of falsehood: How does it arise? How does it affect our brains? Can we choose to combat it? The answers aren't encouraging for those who worry about the national impact of a reign of untruth over the next four, or eight, years. Lies are exhausting to fight, pernicious in their effects and, perhaps worst of all, almost impossible to correct if their content resonates strongly enough with people's sense of themselves, which Trump's clearly do.

***

What happens when a lie hits your brain? The now-standard model was first proposed by Harvard University psychologist Daniel Gilbert more than 20 years ago. Gilbert argues that people see the world in two steps. First, even just briefly, we hold the lie as true: We must accept something in order to understand it. For instance, if someone were to tell us -- hypothetically, of course -- that there had been serious voter fraud in Virginia during the presidential election, we must for a fraction of a second accept that fraud did, in fact, take place. Only then do we take the second step, either completing the mental certification process (yes, fraud!) or rejecting it (what? no way). Unfortunately, while the first step is a natural part of thinking -- it happens automatically and effortlessly -- the second step can be easily disrupted. It takes work: We must actively choose to accept or reject each statement we hear. In certain circumstances, that verification simply fails to take place.

As Gilbert writes, human minds, "when faced with shortages of time, energy, or conclusive evidence, may fail to unaccept the ideas that they involuntarily accept during comprehension."

When we are overwhelmed with false, or potentially false, statements, our brains pretty quickly become so overworked that we stop trying to sift through everything.

Our brains are particularly ill-equipped to deal with lies when they come not singly but in a constant stream...

... ... ...

In politics, false information has a special power. If false information comports with preexisting beliefs -- something that is often true in partisan arguments -- attempts to refute it can actually backfire , planting it even more firmly in a person's mind. Trump won over Republican voters, as well as alienated Democrats, by declaring himself opposed to "Washington," "the establishment" and "political correctness," and by stoking fears about the Islamic State, immigrants and crime. Leda Cosmides at the University of California, Santa Barbara, points to her work with her colleague John Tooby on the use of outrage to mobilize people:

"The campaign was more about outrage than about policies," she says. And when a politician can create a sense of moral outrage, truth ceases to matter. People will go along with the emotion, support the cause and retrench into their own core group identities. The actual substance stops being of any relevance.

Brendan Nyhan, a political scientist at Dartmouth University who studies false beliefs, has found that when false information is specifically political in nature, part of our political identity, it becomes almost impossible to correct lies. When people read an article beginning with George W. Bush's assertion that Iraq may pass weapons to terrorist networks, which later contained the fact that Iraq didn't actually possess any WMDs at the time of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the initial misperception persisted among Republicans -- and, indeed, was frequently strengthened.

In the face of a seeming assault on their identity, they didn't change their minds to conform with the truth: Instead, amazingly, they doubled down on the exact views that were explained to be wrong.

It's easy enough to correct minor false facts if they aren't crucial to your sense of self. Alas, nothing political fits into that bucket.

With regard to Trump specifically, Nyhan points out that claims related to ethno-nationalism -- Trump's declaration early in the campaign that Mexico was sending "rapists" across the border, for instance -- get at the very core of who we are as humans, which "may make people less willing or able to evaluate the statement empirically." If you already believe immigrants put your job at risk, who's to say the chastity of your daughters isn't in danger, too? Or as Harvard University psychologist Steven Pinker puts it, once Trump makes that emotional connection, "He could say what he wants, and they'll follow him."

... ... ...

[Jun 16, 2019] Cult of the Irrelevant -- National Security Eggheads Academics

Jun 16, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

It also explains the rise of think tanks, which are more pliant than academics but provide similar marketing support. As Benjamin Friedman and I wrote in a 2015 article on the subject, think tanks undertake research with an operational mindset: that is, "the approach of a passenger riding shotgun who studies the map to find the ideal route, adjusts the engine if need be, and always accepts the destination without protest."

As former senator Olympia Snowe once put it, "you can find a think tank to buttress any view or position, and then you give it the aura of legitimacy and credibility by referring to their report." Or consider the view of Rory Stewart, now a member of parliament in the UK, but once an expert on Afghanistan who was consulted on the Afghan surge but opposed it:

It's like they're coming in and saying to you, "I'm going to drive my car off a cliff. Should I or should I not wear a seatbelt?" And you say, "I don't think you should drive your car off the cliff." And they say, "No, no, that bit's already been decided -- the question is whether to wear a seatbelt." And you say, "Well, you might as well wear a seatbelt." And then they say, "We've consulted with policy expert Rory Stewart, and he says "

Or look at how policymakers themselves define relevance. Stephen Krasner, an academic who became a policymaker, lamented the uselessness of much academic security studies literature because "[e]ven the most convincing empirical findings may be of no practical use because they do not include factors that policy makers can manipulate."

The explicit claim here is that for scholarship to be of any practical use, it must include factors that policymakers can manipulate. This reflects a strong bias toward action, even in relatively restrained presidencies.

To take two recent examples, the Obama administration blew past voluminous academic literature suggesting the Libya intervention was likely to disappoint. President Barack Obama himself asked the CIA to analyze success in arming insurgencies before making a decision over what to do in Syria. The CIA replied with a study showing that arming and financing insurgencies rarely works. Shortly thereafter, Obama launched a billion-dollar effort to arm and finance insurgents in Syria.

♦♦♦

As Desch tracks the influence of scholars on foreign policy across the 20th century, a pattern becomes clear: where scholars agree with policy, they are relevant. Where they do not, they are not.

In several of the cases Desch identifies where scholars disagreed with policy, they were right and the policymakers were tragically, awfully wrong. In the instances where scholars differed with policy at high levels, Desch blames their "unrealistic expectations" for causing "wartime social scientists to overlook the more modest, but real, contribution they actually made" to policy. But why would we want scholars to trim their sails in this way? And why should social scientists want to be junior partners in doomed enterprises?

Social scientists have produced reams of qualitative and historically focused research with direct relevance to policy. They publish blog posts, tweets, excerpts, op-eds, and video encapsulations of their work. The only thing left for them to do is to convey their findings via interpretive dance, and a plan for doing that is probably in the works already. In the meantime, it should be simultaneously heartening and discouraging for policy-inclined scholars to realize that It's Not Us, It's Them.

In a country as powerful and secure as the United States, elites can make policy built on shaky foundations. Eventually, the whole thing may collapse. Scholars should focus on pointing out these fundamental flaws -- and thinking about how they might help rebuild.

Justin Logan is director of programs and a research associate at the Center for the Study of Statesmanship at Catholic University.


Oleg Gark June 11, 2019 at 9:03 pm

[Karl Rove] said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' [ ] 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do'.

Experts, shmexperts! Who needs realism when you're creating your own reality.

EliteCommInc. , says: June 12, 2019 at 3:56 am
I was thinking -- the academics involved in policy are in think tanks and then

"It also explains the rise of think tanks, which are more pliant than academics but provide similar marketing support."

but what I found intriguing is the assessment concerning most of the research being faulty or dead wrong in various ways.

Given that and the real world success of the think tank players who develop foreign policy Dr. Desch should consider the matter a wash --

Those on the field aren't scoring any big points. in fact they seem intend on handing the ball over to the opposing team repeatedly.

trying to predict and then replicate human behavior is a very dicey proposition.

enjoyed the reference to the ongoing debate quantative analysis verses qualitative.

EliteCommInc. , says: June 12, 2019 at 4:05 am
Sadly when the numbers quantative research ruled they could really be abusive in stating what the data meant.

Nowhere is this more evident than with crime stats.

polistra , says: June 12, 2019 at 8:23 am
Excellent article.

Another question occurs to me: Who are the executives or politicians trying to impress when they bring in captive consultants or scholars? Ordinary people (customers or voters) don't care. Customers just want a good product, and voters just want sane policies.

Competing leaders know the game and don't bother to listen.

So who's the audience for the "thinkers"?

JohnT , says: June 12, 2019 at 9:01 am
In so much of the world's leadership today it is not science that is being ignored and corrupted so much as rational thought and a personal insight mature enough to find indisputable the need for the opinion of others.
But, to this post's point, I once had a statistician with a doctorate in his profession casually state their numbers predicted Stalin would fail. In response, my thought was when in the history of the known galaxy did putting a soulless person in charge ever not fail? Compassion alone would predict that outcome.
Taras 77 , says: June 12, 2019 at 12:14 pm
The absolute most corrupting influence in current foreign policy discussion is the growth of the mis-named growth of "think" tanks. One can discern immediately the message when determining author and organization.

Moar war, russia, iran, et al are threats, moar military spending, support israel at all costs, etc, etc.

These 'think' tanks are extremely well funded by oligarchs and foreign money so the bottom line is directed towards pre-selected objectives. Even the state dept is getting into the act to atk pro-Iran activists.

Where is the level playing field?

Kouros , says: June 12, 2019 at 3:20 pm
While the academics might be deemed irrelevant when views differ, the government in-house analysts might even loose their jobs if their positions differ from those of the decision makers. I know I lost mine, and it wasn't even in foreign policy or national security
Christian J Chuba , says: June 13, 2019 at 7:13 am
It's the mentality of forever war that considers diversity subversive.

The purpose of Think Tanks and foreign policy experts (misnamed) is to rally the troops against our enemies list, not to improve our interaction with the rest of the world but to defeat them. To them, it is always WW2. Yemen must die because we can connect them to Iran; they are Dresden.

BTW I know the author was talking about actual experts. They have all been purged and dismissed as Arabist or enemy sympathizers. Track records don't matter, to them we are at war and will always be so.

C. L. H. Daniels , says: June 13, 2019 at 1:26 pm
President Barack Obama himself asked the CIA to analyze success in arming insurgencies before making a decision over what to do in Syria. The CIA replied with a study showing that arming and financing insurgencies rarely works. Shortly thereafter, Obama launched a billion-dollar effort to arm and finance insurgents in Syria.

*Silently screams in frustration*

And this is why I ended up ultimately disappointed with Obama. The man was utterly incapable of standing up to what passes for conventional wisdom inside the Beltway. "Hope and change," my butt. The hoped for change never did arrive in the end.

Say what you will about Trump, he surely doesn't give a flying fart about wisdom, conventional or otherwise. Instead of driving the car off a cliff, he just sets it on fire from the get go to save on gas.

Dr. Diprospan , says: June 14, 2019 at 4:06 pm
I liked the article.
A good reminder that if people did not heed the divine warning in Paradise,
but chose the disastrous advice of the serpent, then what can we expect
from modern politicians? Wrong, dangerous behavior seems to be inherent
in the human mentality, otherwise who would smelt metals, descend into mines,
discover America, study radiation?
Cult of the Irrelevant reminds me of the 80 and 20 statistical, empirical principle,
where out of 100 things, articles, words, recommendations, 20% are useful,
80% are useless. However for 20 useful percent to form, you need a statistical
pressure of 80 useless.
"Practice is the criterion of truth." Having eaten the forbidden apple, people were driven out of paradise, but instead they learned to distinguish between good and evil.
Without this property, it would be impossible to recognize "the effective treatments"significantly exaggerated by dishonest pharmacologists..

[Jun 14, 2019] Total control of narrative means total control of population

Notable quotes:
"... I agree with the premise, that the NARRATIVE is the means by which oligarchy rules the masses. ..."
"... As Mencken stated (approx) "the common man avoids the truth [because] it is dangerous, no good can come of it, and it doesn't pay." ..."
"... Americans are propagandized from childhood, and it's very hard for most to break free, even if they want to. In my case, a rather abusive childhood made me disinclined to accept conventional wisdom. ..."
"... The proverbial man in the street is well aware that capitalism/politics is a racket and openly say so. ..."
"... The falling numbers in the 'democracies' who now bother to vote is an indication of this, as is the growing political unrest in the heartlands of the Anglo-Zionist empire. It is not possible to 'fool all of the people all of the time'. Whether they do anything about it is another matter. ..."
"... These are dangerous times, but that is the usual condition when the structure of any social and political order is beginning to crumble. Ultimately, the Anglo-Zionist empire is, to use Lenin's description 'A colossus with feet of clay.' No empire lasts forever, and the US is not exceptional in this respect. The real problem is that the demise of the US hegemonic project will taken down the rest of the planet with it. ..."
Jun 14, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

AnneR , June 14, 2019 at 09:35

Thank you Caitlin for this piece. Depressing but not unexpectedly so. And if my late husband's FB friends (as I've mentioned on here before) are anything to go by, the overwhelmingly bourgeois crowd will continue to be *willingly* propagandized with the Russophobic, Sinophobic and Iranophobic lies of commission and omission that regale them via MSDNC, NPR, PBS, BBC and the so-called "progressive" press (e.g. The guardian, Jacobin, the NYT).

These friends post pro-Demrat, pro-Russiagate, consider the choice to be between Warren and Klobuchar (?), and concentrate their minds on *progressive* ideations: sexual preference/"gender" identity/racial/ethnic identity and now and then a little on climate change (especially via the "green ND" – saving capitalism being all consuming or ignored). Never a word about income inequality, about the ongoing slaughter in Yemen, of the ongoing, never-ending nightmare of Palestinian life, of what we have done to Libya, Iraq or Afghanistan or are doing to Syria. Not a word about the immorality, illegality of our economic sanctions against NK, VZ, Iran nooo. Nary a peep about what we (US-UK-AU) are doing to Assange .

These really existing realities as lived by "others" whether the poor within these borders or the darker hued folks far from these shores do *not* matter one iota, certainly not by comparison with being able to vacation in this or that place, buy a bigger house, more clothes, demonstrate one's *Progressiveness.*

Lee Anderson , June 14, 2019 at 09:30

I agree with the premise, that the NARRATIVE is the means by which oligarchy rules the masses.

For example, we are now being inundated with the NARRATIVE that Iran is attacking Japanese oil tankers. Pure nonsense, but the media is an adjunct of the bankster/military/oil industrial complex.

Politicians are merely puppets doing the bidding of their pay masters.

Sam F , June 14, 2019 at 05:46

Yes, money control of mass media is the problem. Such articles may help some with doubts to formulate an awareness that leads to admission of the problem. The major factor in admissions is the rare direct experience, which may include a story close to home, a personal loss due to narrative control. Of course the majority seek the mass media narrative because it directs them to safety and profit in their social and economic dependent relationships. Our unregulated market economy encourages the selfishness that enslaves the people to money power. As Mencken stated (approx) "the common man avoids the truth [because] it is dangerous, no good can come of it, and it doesn't pay."

I hope to set up a college of policy debate CPD constituted to protect all points of view, and to conduct moderated text-only debate among experts of several disciplines, of the status and possibilities of each world region, and the policy options. Debate summaries commented by all sides are to be made available for public study and comment. The CPD would bring the knowledge of society into public debate, educate the electorate, discourage propaganda, and expose the wrongs of society and the corruption of government that desperately needs reform.

The debates will require a higher standard of argument in foreign and domestic policy on both right and left, ensure that all points of view are heard, and require all challenges to be answered. This would have much reduced the group-think that led to our mad wars since WWII. Extreme and naïve politicians will be easier to expose, and media commentators will have a starting point and a standard for investigation and analysis.

Zhu , June 14, 2019 at 04:14

Americans are propagandized from childhood, and it's very hard for most to break free, even if they want to. In my case, a rather abusive childhood made me disinclined to accept conventional wisdom.

Donald Duck , June 14, 2019 at 03:18

"The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation." I have forgotten who actually said this but it seems appropriate for our age. I think the mass of people are very well aware of what is going on. The proverbial man in the street is well aware that capitalism/politics is a racket and openly say so.

The falling numbers in the 'democracies' who now bother to vote is an indication of this, as is the growing political unrest in the heartlands of the Anglo-Zionist empire. It is not possible to 'fool all of the people all of the time'. Whether they do anything about it is another matter.

If note is taken of the David Icke phenomenon it is possible to identify a growing awareness of the of ordinary people to the crimes of the rich and powerful.

These are dangerous times, but that is the usual condition when the structure of any social and political order is beginning to crumble. Ultimately, the Anglo-Zionist empire is, to use Lenin's description 'A colossus with feet of clay.' No empire lasts forever, and the US is not exceptional in this respect. The real problem is that the demise of the US hegemonic project will taken down the rest of the planet with it.

Zhu , June 14, 2019 at 04:21

"Quiet desperation" is ftom Thoreau. The colossus with the feet of clay is the Biblical book of Daniel, the dream of Nebuchadnezzar.

Neither Reptilans nor Zionists make us Americans commit the crimes and follies we do. We oirselves are responsible.

T.J , June 14, 2019 at 02:43

Caitlin Johnstone has concisely and precisely, in this article, provided a compendium of ideas and sources to explain how the powerful through it's control of propaganda corrupts democracy to the core. Laziness, ignorance and acceptance of the status quo prevents the vast majority from acknowledging this to be the case. As Caitlin states it takes courage to reject the "narrative control matrix " of the powerful and that can only be achieved by changing our relationship with that narrative. This, of course, takes time and effort but is liberating nonetheless.

[Jun 11, 2019] The Omnipresent Surveillance State: Orwell s 1984 Is No Longer Fiction by John W. Whitehead

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Surveillance cameras are everywhere. Government agents listen in on our telephone calls and read our emails. Political correctness -- a philosophy that discourages diversity -- has become a guiding principle of modern society. ..."
"... We are increasingly ruled by multi-corporations wedded to the police state. ..."
"... What many fail to realize is that the government is not operating alone. It cannot. The government requires an accomplice. Thus, the increasingly complex security needs of the massive federal government, especially in the areas of defense, surveillance and data management, have been met within the corporate sector, which has shown itself to be a powerful ally that both depends on and feeds the growth of governmental overreach. ..."
"... In fact, Big Tech wedded to Big Government has become Big Brother, and we are now ruled by the Corporate Elite whose tentacles have spread worldwide. For example, USA Today reports that five years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the homeland security business was booming to such an extent that it eclipsed mature enterprises like movie-making and the music industry in annual revenue. This security spending to private corporations such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft and others is forecast to exceed $1 trillion in the near future. ..."
"... Everything from cell phone recordings and logs, to emails, to text messages, to personal information posted on social networking sites, to credit card statements, to library circulation records, to credit card histories, etc., is collected by the NSA and shared freely with its agents in crime: the CIA, FBI and DHS. One NSA researcher actually quit the Aquaint program, "citing concerns over the dangers in placing such a powerful weapon in the hands of a top-secret agency with little accountability." ..."
Jun 11, 2019 | www.theburningplatform.com

"You had to live -- did live, from habit that became instinct -- in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized." -- George Orwell, 1984

Tread cautiously: the fiction of George Orwell has become an operation manual for the omnipresent, modern-day surveillance state .

It's been 70 years since Orwell -- dying, beset by fever and bloody coughing fits, and driven to warn against the rise of a society in which rampant abuse of power and mass manipulation are the norm -- depicted the ominous rise of ubiquitous technology, fascism and totalitarianism in 1984 .

Who could have predicted that 70 years after Orwell typed the final words to his dystopian novel, "He loved Big Brother," we would fail to heed his warning and come to love Big Brother.

"To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do not live alone -- to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone: From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of doublethink -- greetings!" -- George Orwell

1984 portrays a global society of total control in which people are not allowed to have thoughts that in any way disagree with the corporate state. There is no personal freedom, and advanced technology has become the driving force behind a surveillance-driven society. Snitches and cameras are everywhere. People are subject to the Thought Police, who deal with anyone guilty of thought crimes.

The government, or "Party," is headed by Big Brother who appears on posters everywhere with the words: "Big Brother is watching you."

We have arrived, way ahead of schedule, into the dystopian future dreamed up by not only Orwell but also such fiction writers as Aldous Huxley, Margaret Atwood and Philip K. Dick.

"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."―George Orwell

Much like Orwell's Big Brother in 1984 , the government and its corporate spies now watch our every move. Much like Huxley's A Brave New World , we are churning out a society of watchers who "have their liberties taken away from them, but rather enjoy it, because they [are] distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing." Much like Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale , the populace is now taught to "know their place and their duties, to understand that they have no real rights but will be protected up to a point if they conform, and to think so poorly of themselves that they will accept their assigned fate and not rebel or run away ."

And in keeping with Philip K. Dick's darkly prophetic vision of a dystopian police state -- which became the basis for Steven Spielberg's futuristic thriller Minority Report -- we are now trapped in a world in which the government is all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful, and if you dare to step out of line, dark-clad police SWAT teams and pre-crime units will crack a few skulls to bring the populace under control.

What once seemed futuristic no longer occupies the realm of science fiction.

Incredibly, as the various nascent technologies employed and shared by the government and corporations alike -- facial recognition, iris scanners, massive databases, behavior prediction software, and so on -- are incorporated into a complex, interwoven cyber network aimed at tracking our movements, predicting our thoughts and controlling our behavior, the dystopian visions of past writers is fast becoming our reality .

Our world is characterized by widespread surveillance, behavior prediction technologies, data mining, fusion centers, driverless cars, voice-controlled homes , facial recognition systems, cybugs and drones, and predictive policing (pre-crime) aimed at capturing would-be criminals before they can do any damage.

Surveillance cameras are everywhere. Government agents listen in on our telephone calls and read our emails. Political correctness -- a philosophy that discourages diversity -- has become a guiding principle of modern society.

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."―George Orwell

The courts have shredded the Fourth Amendment's protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. In fact, SWAT teams battering down doors without search warrants and FBI agents acting as a secret police that investigate dissenting citizens are common occurrences in contemporary America. And bodily privacy and integrity have been utterly eviscerated by a prevailing view that Americans have no rights over what happens to their bodies during an encounter with government officials, who are allowed to search, seize, strip, scan, spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation.

"The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."―George Orwell, Animal Farm

We are increasingly ruled by multi-corporations wedded to the police state.

What many fail to realize is that the government is not operating alone. It cannot. The government requires an accomplice. Thus, the increasingly complex security needs of the massive federal government, especially in the areas of defense, surveillance and data management, have been met within the corporate sector, which has shown itself to be a powerful ally that both depends on and feeds the growth of governmental overreach.

In fact, Big Tech wedded to Big Government has become Big Brother, and we are now ruled by the Corporate Elite whose tentacles have spread worldwide. For example, USA Today reports that five years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the homeland security business was booming to such an extent that it eclipsed mature enterprises like movie-making and the music industry in annual revenue. This security spending to private corporations such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft and others is forecast to exceed $1 trillion in the near future.

The government now has at its disposal technological arsenals so sophisticated and invasive as to render any constitutional protections null and void. Spearheaded by the NSA, which has shown itself to care little to nothing for constitutional limits or privacy, the "security/industrial complex" -- a marriage of government, military and corporate interests aimed at keeping Americans under constant surveillance -- has come to dominate the government and our lives. At three times the size of the CIA, constituting one third of the intelligence budget and with its own global spy network to boot, the NSA has a long history of spying on Americans, whether or not it has always had the authorization to do so.

Money, power, control. There is no shortage of motives fueling the convergence of mega-corporations and government. But who is paying the price? The American people, of course.

Orwell understood what many Americans, caught up in their partisan flag-waving, are still struggling to come to terms with: that there is no such thing as a government organized for the good of the people. Even the best intentions among those in government inevitably give way to the desire to maintain power and control over the citizenry at all costs. As Orwell explains:

The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know what no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.

"The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it." ― George Orwell

How do you change the way people think? You start by changing the words they use.

In totalitarian regimes -- a.k.a. police states -- where conformity and compliance are enforced at the end of a loaded gun, the government dictates what words can and cannot be used. In countries where the police state hides behind a benevolent mask and disguises itself as tolerance, the citizens censor themselves, policing their words and thoughts to conform to the dictates of the mass mind.

Dystopian literature shows what happens when the populace is transformed into mindless automatons. In Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 , reading is banned and books are burned in order to suppress dissenting ideas, while televised entertainment is used to anesthetize the populace and render them easily pacified, distracted and controlled.

In Huxley's Brave New World , serious literature, scientific thinking and experimentation are banned as subversive, while critical thinking is discouraged through the use of conditioning, social taboos and inferior education. Likewise, expressions of individuality, independence and morality are viewed as vulgar and abnormal.

And in Orwell's 1984 , Big Brother does away with all undesirable and unnecessary words and meanings, even going so far as to routinely rewrite history and punish "thoughtcrimes." In this dystopian vision of the future, the Thought Police serve as the eyes and ears of Big Brother, while the Ministry of Peace deals with war and defense, the Ministry of Plenty deals with economic affairs (rationing and starvation), the Ministry of Love deals with law and order (torture and brainwashing), and the Ministry of Truth deals with news, entertainment, education and art (propaganda). The mottos of Oceania: WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

All three -- Bradbury, Huxley and Orwell -- had an uncanny knack for realizing the future, yet it is Orwell who best understood the power of language to manipulate the masses. Orwell's Big Brother relied on Newspeak to eliminate undesirable words, strip such words as remained of unorthodox meanings and make independent, non-government-approved thought altogether unnecessary. To give a single example, as psychologist Erich Fromm illustrates in his afterword to 1984 :

The word free still existed in Newspeak, but it could only be used in such statements as "This dog is free from lice" or "This field is free from weeds." It could not be used in its old sense of "politically free" or "intellectually free," since political and intellectual freedom no longer existed as concepts .

Where we stand now is at the juncture of OldSpeak (where words have meanings, and ideas can be dangerous) and Newspeak (where only that which is "safe" and "accepted" by the majority is permitted). The power elite has made their intentions clear: they will pursue and prosecute any and all words, thoughts and expressions that challenge their authority.

This is the final link in the police state chain.

"Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious." -- George Orwell

Americans have been conditioned to accept routine incursions on their privacy rights . In fact, the addiction to screen devices -- especially cell phones -- has created a hive effect where the populace not only watched but is controlled by AI bots. However, at one time, the idea of a total surveillance state tracking one's every move would have been abhorrent to most Americans. That all changed with the 9/11 attacks. As professor Jeffrey Rosen observes, "Before Sept. 11, the idea that Americans would voluntarily agree to live their lives under the gaze of a network of biometric surveillance cameras, peering at them in government buildings, shopping malls, subways and stadiums, would have seemed unthinkable, a dystopian fantasy of a society that had surrendered privacy and anonymity ."

Having been reduced to a cowering citizenry -- mute in the face of elected officials who refuse to represent us, helpless in the face of police brutality, powerless in the face of militarized tactics and technology that treat us like enemy combatants on a battlefield, and naked in the face of government surveillance that sees and hears all -- we have nowhere left to go.

We have, so to speak, gone from being a nation where privacy is king to one where nothing is safe from the prying eyes of government. In search of so-called terrorists and extremists hiding amongst us -- the proverbial "needle in a haystack," as one official termed it -- the Corporate State has taken to monitoring all aspects of our lives, from cell phone calls and emails to Internet activity and credit card transactions. Much of this data is being fed through fusion centers across the country, which work with the Department of Homeland Security to make threat assessments on every citizen, including school children. These are state and regional intelligence centers that collect data on you.

"Big Brother is Watching You."―George Orwell

Wherever you go and whatever you do, you are now being watched, especially if you leave behind an electronic footprint. When you use your cell phone, you leave a record of when the call was placed, who you called, how long it lasted and even where you were at the time. When you use your ATM card, you leave a record of where and when you used the card. There is even a video camera at most locations equipped with facial recognition software. When you use a cell phone or drive a car enabled with GPS, you can be tracked by satellite. Such information is shared with government agents, including local police. And all of this once-private information about your consumer habits, your whereabouts and your activities is now being fed to the U.S. government.

The government has nearly inexhaustible resources when it comes to tracking our movements, from electronic wiretapping devices, traffic cameras and biometrics to radio-frequency identification cards, satellites and Internet surveillance.

Speech recognition technology now makes it possible for the government to carry out massive eavesdropping by way of sophisticated computer systems. Phone calls can be monitored, the audio converted to text files and stored in computer databases indefinitely. And if any "threatening" words are detected -- no matter how inane or silly -- the record can be flagged and assigned to a government agent for further investigation. Federal and state governments, again working with private corporations, monitor your Internet content. Users are profiled and tracked in order to identify, target and even prosecute them.

In such a climate, everyone is a suspect. And you're guilty until you can prove yourself innocent. To underscore this shift in how the government now views its citizens, the FBI uses its wide-ranging authority to investigate individuals or groups, regardless of whether they are suspected of criminal activity.

"Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull." ― George Orwell

Here's what a lot of people fail to understand, however: it's not just what you say or do that is being monitored, but how you think that is being tracked and targeted. We've already seen this play out on the state and federal level with hate crime legislation that cracks down on so-called "hateful" thoughts and expression, encourages self-censoring and reduces free debate on various subject matter.

Say hello to the new Thought Police .

Total Internet surveillance by the Corporate State, as omnipresent as God, is used by the government to predict and, more importantly, control the populace, and it's not as far-fetched as you might think. For example, the NSA is now designing an artificial intelligence system that is designed to anticipate your every move. In a nutshell, the NSA will feed vast amounts of the information it collects to a computer system known as Aquaint (the acronym stands for Advanced QUestion Answering for INTelligence), which the computer can then use to detect patterns and predict behavior.

No information is sacred or spared.

Everything from cell phone recordings and logs, to emails, to text messages, to personal information posted on social networking sites, to credit card statements, to library circulation records, to credit card histories, etc., is collected by the NSA and shared freely with its agents in crime: the CIA, FBI and DHS. One NSA researcher actually quit the Aquaint program, "citing concerns over the dangers in placing such a powerful weapon in the hands of a top-secret agency with little accountability."

Thus, what we are witnessing, in the so-called name of security and efficiency, is the creation of a new class system comprised of the watched (average Americans such as you and me) and the watchers (government bureaucrats, technicians and private corporations).

Clearly, the age of privacy in America is at an end.

"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- for ever." -- Orwell

So where does that leave us?

We now find ourselves in the unenviable position of being monitored, managed and controlled by our technology, which answers not to us but to our government and corporate rulers. This is the fact-is-stranger-than-fiction lesson that is being pounded into us on a daily basis.

It won't be long before we find ourselves looking back on the past with longing, back to an age where we could speak to whom we wanted, buy what we wanted, think what we wanted without those thoughts, words and activities being tracked, processed and stored by corporate giants such as Google, sold to government agencies such as the NSA and CIA, and used against us by militarized police with their army of futuristic technologies.

To be an individual today, to not conform, to have even a shred of privacy, and to live beyond the reach of the government's roaming eyes and technological spies, one must not only be a rebel but rebel.

Even when you rebel and take your stand, there is rarely a happy ending awaiting you. You are rendered an outlaw.

So how do you survive in the American surveillance state?

We're running out of options

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People , we'll soon have to choose between self-indulgence (the bread-and-circus distractions offered up by the news media, politicians, sports conglomerates, entertainment industry, etc.) and self-preservation in the form of renewed vigilance about threats to our freedoms and active engagement in self-governance.

Yet as Aldous Huxley acknowledged in Brave New World Revisited : "Only the vigilant can maintain their liberties, and only those who are constantly and intelligently on the spot can hope to govern themselves effectively by democratic procedures. A society, most of whose members spend a great part of their time, not on the spot, not here and now and in their calculable future, but somewhere else, in the irrelevant other worlds of sport and soap opera, of mythology and metaphysical fantasy, will find it hard to resist the encroachments of those would manipulate and control it."

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The corrupt establishment will do anything to suppress sites like the Burning Platform from revealing the truth. The corporate media does this by demonetizing sites like mine by blackballing the site from advertising revenue. If you get value from this site, please keep it running with a donation. [Jim Quinn - PO Box 1520

Every hour taxpayers in the United States are paying $32,077,626 for Total Cost of Wars Since 2001.

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BB

I'm going through a Department of Defense background check right now and it's not so bad. The thing is they already know everything damn there is to know about me. How do I know this ? Because I can pull up on their computers what they already know. It's to help guys like me pass or at least that's what they say.
They got us by the balls now . How can you fight something like this Unless you take down the whole electric grid. Only God knows the horror that would bring.

grace country pastor

"The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it." – Orwell

Galatians 4:16 KJB "Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" – Paul

Boat Guy

It is serious concern the move from a free republic to a corporate state with armed government badge wearing just doing my job minions existing in comfort thanks to the confiscatory tax and asset forfeiture programs in play by the circle jerk of Wall Street to K-Street to Capitol Street .
Sadly the people of honor and integrity that could initiate a Nuremberg style justice system upon those in power and control will quickly be stricken down by minions unaccountable thanks to nonsense like the patriot act and FISA courts . So much for the bill of Rights that is supposed to be the impenetrable shield protecting Americans from government . Our alleged honor and oath bound representatives have been able to turn it into Swiss cheese !
Refuse & Resist , Forget Me Not !

Hollywood Rob

Yes, and they do this using the tactics described in plain sight. You can download their bible if you like. It's free.

https://monoskop.org/images/4/4d/Alinsky_Saul_D_Rules_for_Radicals_A_Practical_Primer_for_Realistic_Radicals.pdf

KaD

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/surveillance-tool-coming-u-skies-080010177.html

[Jun 11, 2019] Cult of personality as integral feature of neofascism

Jun 11, 2019 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com

"Cult leaders [demagogues] arise from decayed communities and societies in which people have been shorn of political, social and economic power. The disempowered, infantilized by a world they cannot control, gravitate to cult leaders who appear omnipotent and promise a return to a mythical golden age.

The cult leaders vow to crush the forces, embodied in demonized groups and individuals, that are blamed for their misery. The more outrageous the cult leaders become, the more they flout law and social conventions, the more they gain in popularity.

Cult leaders are immune to the norms of established society. This is their appeal. Cult leaders demand a God-like power. Those who follow them grant them this power in the hope that the cult leaders will save them."

Chris Hedges, Cult of Trump

"Mounting a campaign against plutocracy makes as much sense to the typical Washington liberal as would circulating a petition against gravity. What our modernized liberal leaders offer is not confrontation but a kind of therapy for those flattened by the free-market hurricane: they counsel us to accept the inevitability of the situation."

Thomas Frank, Rendezvous With Oblivion

"We of the Republic sensed the truth that democratic government has innate capacity to protect its people against disasters once considered inevitable, to solve problems once considered unsolvable. We would not admit that we could not find a way to master economic epidemics just as, after centuries of fatalistic suffering, we had found a way to master epidemics of disease. We refused to leave the problems of our common welfare to be solved by the winds of chance and the hurricanes of disaster. In this we Americans were discovering no wholly new truth; we were writing a new chapter in our book of self-government.

Franklin Roosevelt, Second Inaugural Address

"The problem of the last three decades is not the 'vicissitudes of the marketplace,' but rather deliberate actions by the [corporatist] government to redistribute income from the rest of us to the one percent."

Dean Baker

[Jun 11, 2019] A Word From Joe the Angry Hawaiian

Highly recommended!
Jun 11, 2019 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com

Word From Joe the Angry Hawaiian

This just in from the Big Island. The natives seem restless.

"Imagine if you will, in a few short years, that information on current events will only be available from a narrow band of sources sanctioned by the government/corporate media. And this Orwellian future will be embraced by the majority of people because it provides security, both ideological and emotional.

Any dissension, criticism, whistle-blowing, anti-exceptionalism coming from critical voices will be labeled extremist. And this has been embraced by the two monopoly political parties.

I just received a questionnaire from the Democrats posing the question, "What's the most important issue in the upcoming election?"

The very first multiple choice answer to pick from was - "Russian aggression and increasing global influence" Russia, a country with a small population and an economy that is a fraction of the US or Europe is our dire threat? Let's just ignore the expansion of NATO onto Russia's borders, or that the US State Dept. spent 5 billion dollar to change the politics of Ukraine.

Second most important issue asked on the questionnaire, "Protecting America from foreign cyber attacks" Let's ignore the fact that the NSA is spying on all Internet traffic, that the CIA has misinformation programs like, "Operation Mockingbird" and many other covert activities to influence perceptions domestically.

The third Democratic Party priority question is "China's increasing economic and military strength" China's state controlled mercantile success lies directly on the twin shoulders of the US Government and it's multi-national corporations. The US granted China, Most Favored Nation status in 1979, which gave it exposure to US markets with low tariffs. Almost immediately, corporations went to China and invested in factories because of the cheap Chinese labor while abandoning the US worker. And in May 2000 Bill Clinton backed a bipartisan effort to grant China permanent normal trade relations, effectively backing its bid to join the WTO.

We live in a country whereby the US Government has made it possible for corporations to pay little or no taxes, to be deregulated from government laws designed to protect the public, and allow corporate crimes to go unpunished while maintaining vast influence over the political system through campaign contributions and corporate ownership of the mass media.

This US Government/corporate partnership smells a lot like Fascism. Instead of Mussolini we have Trumpolini. And so our time's brand of corporatism has descended over the eroding infrastructure of America."

Joe the Angry Hawaiian

[Jun 11, 2019] One of the older male anchors on financial TV today noted, in a very condescending tone, that for some reason Elizabeth Warren has an attitude when it comes to corporations

Notable quotes:
"... "When the modern corporation acquires power over markets, power in the community, power over the state and power over belief, it is a political instrument, different in degree but not in kind from the state itself. To hold otherwise -- to deny the political character of the modern corporation -- is not merely to avoid the reality. It is to disguise the reality. The victims of that disguise are those we instruct in error." ..."
Jun 11, 2019 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com

Lies Owe a Debt to the Truth

"There was time when average Americans could be counted upon to know correctly whether the country was going up or down, because in those days when America prospered, the American people prospered as well. These days things are different.

Let's look at it in a statistical sense. If you look at it from the middle of the 1930's (the Depression) up until the year 1980, the lower 90 percent of the population of this country, what you might call the American people, that group took home 70 percent of the growth in the country's income. If you look at the same numbers from 1997 up until now, from the height of the great Dot Com bubble up to the present, you will find that this same group, the American people, pocketed none of this country's income growth at all.

Our share of these great good times was zero, folks. The upper ten percent of the population, by which we mean our country's financiers and managers and professionals, consumed the entire thing. To be a young person in America these days is to understand instinctively the downward slope that so many of us are on."

Thomas Frank, Kansas City Missouri, 6 April 2017

"When the modern corporation acquires power over markets, power in the community, power over the state and power over belief, it is a political instrument, different in degree but not in kind from the state itself. To hold otherwise -- to deny the political character of the modern corporation -- is not merely to avoid the reality. It is to disguise the reality. The victims of that disguise are those we instruct in error."

John Kenneth Galbraith

One of the older male anchors on financial TV today noted, in a very condescending tone, that for some reason Elizabeth Warren 'has an attitude' when it comes to corporations.

I hope she and some of her like minded fellows get their opportunity to extend the hand of equal justice to these smug serial felons, pampered polecats, and corporatist clowns. It has been a long time coming.

[Jun 09, 2019] Donald Trump isn't Mussolini or Hitler yet - but he's not far off by Patrick Cockburn

Jun 09, 2019 | www.unz.com

Is Donald Trump a fascist? The question is usually posed as an insult rather than as a serious inquiry. A common response is that "he is not as bad as Hitler", but this rather dodges the issue. Hitler was one hideous exponent of fascism , which comes in different flavours but he was by no means the only one.

The answer is that fascist leaders and fascism in the 1920s and 1930s were similar in many respects to Trump and Trumpism. But they had additional toxic characteristics, born out of a different era and a historic experience different from the United States.

What are the most important features of fascism? They include ultra-nationalism and authoritarianism; the demonisation and persecution of minorities; a cult of the leader; a demagogic appeal to the "ignored" masses and against a "treacherous" establishment; contempt for parliamentary institutions; disregard for the law while standing on a law and order platform; control of the media and the crushing of criticism; slogans promising everything to everybody; a promotion of force as a means to an end leading to violence, militarism and war.

The list could go on to include less significant traits such as a liking for public displays of strength and popularity at rallies and parades; a liking also for gigantic building projects as the physical embodiment of power.

Hitler and Mussolini ticked all these boxes and Trump ticks most of them, though with some important exceptions. German and Italian fascism was characterised above all else by aggressive and ultimately disastrous wars. Trump, on the contrary, is a genuine "isolationist" who has not started a single war in the two-and-a-half years he has been in the White House.

It is not that Trump abjures force, but he prefers it to be commercial and economic rather than military, and he is deploying it against numerous countries from China to Mexico and Iran. As a strategy this is astute, avoiding the bear traps that American military intervention fell into in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is an approach which weakens the targeted state economically, but it does not produce decisive victories or unconditional surrenders.

It is a policy more dangerous than it looks: Trump may not want a war, but the same is not true of Mike Pompeo, his secretary of state, or his national security adviser John Bolton. And it is even less true of US allies like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who have been pushing Washington towards war with Iran long before Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman took control in Riyadh in 2015.

Trump's aversion to military intervention jibes with these other influences, but it is erratic because it depends on the latest tweet from the White House. A weakness, not just of fascist leaders but of all dictatorial regimes, is their exaggerated dependence on the decisions of a single individual with God-like confidence in their own judgement. Nothing can be decided without their fiat and they must never be proved wrong or be seen to fail.

Trump has modes of operating rather than sustained policies that are consequently shallow and confused. One ambassador in Washington confides privately that he has successfully engaged with the most senior officials in the administration, but this was not doing him a lot of good because they had no idea of what was happening. The result of this Louis XIV approach to government is institutionalised muddle: Trump may not want a war in the Middle East but he could very easily blunder into one.

Of course, Trump is not alone in this: populist nationalist authoritarian leaders on the rise all over the world win and hold power in ways very similar to the fascists of the inter-war period. What is there in these two eras almost a century apart that would explain this common political trajectory?

Fears and hatreds born out of the First World War, the Russian Revolution and the Great Depression propelled the fascists towards power. When old allegiances and beliefs were shattered and discredited, people naturally looked to new creeds and saviours. "The more pathological the situation the less important is the intrinsic worth of the idol," wrote the great British historian Lewis Namier in 1947. "His feet may be of clay and his face may be blank: it is the frenzy of the worshippers which imparts to him meaning and power."

Is the same thing happening again? Fascism was the product of a cataclysmic period in the first half of the 20th century that is very different from today. The US failed to get its way in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but these were small-scale conflicts in no way comparable to the First World War. The recession that followed the 2008 crash was a blip compared to the Thirties.

Many of the better off reassure themselves with such thoughts. But they underestimate the destructiveness of de-industrialisation and technological change for great numbers across the globe. Inequality has vastly increased. Economies expand, but the benefits are skewed towards the wealthy. Metropolitan centres plugged into the global economy flourished, but not their periphery.

The distinction between winners and losers varies from country to country but governments everywhere underestimated the unhappiness caused by social and economic upheaval. Beneficiaries of the status quo invariably downplay the significance of fault lines that populists are swift to identify and exploit.

Philip Hammond, the British chancellor of the exchequer, contemptuously dismisses claims by the UN that great number of people in Britain were living in "dire poverty" and saying that, in so far as deprivation existed, the government was acting effectively to address the problem. The new wave of Trump-like leaders springing up all over the globe do not have to do very much to do better than this.

Such overconfidence on the part of the powers-that-be is becoming rarer. Democrats who had convinced themselves that Trumpism would be exposed and discredited as a conspiracy wished on America by the dark powers in the Kremlin have seen their fantasy evaporate.

But there is probably worse to come: experience shows that populist authoritarian nationalism – what Namier called "Caesarian democracy" – is not a static phenomenon. It may not begin with all the fascist characterisation listed above, but its trajectory is always in their direction. Regimes become more nationalistic, authoritarian, demagogic, shifting from intolerance of criticism or opposition to a determination to extinguish it entirely.

A case study of this process is Turkey, where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is reinforcing his one-man rule by overturning an opposition victory in the election to choose the mayor of Istanbul. Many Americans deny that the same process is happening in the US, but they tend to be the same people who did not believe that Trump could be elected in the first place.


peter mcloughlin , says: June 8, 2019 at 1:09 pm GMT

'Trump may not want a war in the Middle East but he could very easily blunder into one.'
Nations blunder into the very war they are trying to avoid – abject defeat. The US president, encouraged by his counselors, might launch an attack on Iran, not realizing the consequences. He wouldn't be alone in history for doing that, so it cannot be held against him. Regional conflicts today are so interconnected that a localized dispute could drag in the major nuclear powers in multiple theaters. That is what happens if vital interests clash. It is the pattern of history. And there is nothing to suggest it has changed.
https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/
plantman , says: June 8, 2019 at 1:38 pm GMT
Let me get this straight: Cockburn identifies the central problem as the widening inequality that emerged following the Great Recession of 2008, but then he blames Trump for being Trump.

WTF!

Here's Cockburn: " Inequality has vastly increased. Economies expand, but the benefits are skewed towards the wealthy. Metropolitan centres plugged into the global economy flourished, but not their periphery."

Anon [762] Disclaimer , says: June 8, 2019 at 1:43 pm GMT
Trumps a ceo which is dictatorial hardly as dangerous as your FDR WILSON TEDDY LINCOLN ETC.

FASISM is the death throes of democracy as it tries to resist its inevitable slide into further extremes of Mobism it tries to put a bit of lipstick on the pig with fascism. It tries to recover a bit of order with authority and a bit of lawfulness by reigning in a bit of the elite looting Democracy leads to cultural degeneracy and so there's often a lowbrow attempt at restoring the culture the elite highbrows having led the degeneracy spiral only the middle is available to try and save the culture.

G , says: June 8, 2019 at 1:46 pm GMT
I am yet to read a convincing argument how the most hardline Zionist president in US history, who had his campaign run by the AIPAC guy Michael Glassner, influenced by Jared Kushner and proud Christian Zionist Steve Bannon, who hired Jewish Goldman Sachs bankers Mnuchin and Cohen right from the start, made the Jewish olgarchy of the Kushners and others into Jewish aristocracy in the white house, has most to all his children married or dating Jews, is an obscene, vulgar and tasteless vessel for the wishes of the Jewish Casino Godfather Sheldon Adelson, filled his government with Neocons, has his power base in Zionist Evangelical Christians, has somehow anything remotely to do with with Adolf Hitler or Benito Mussolini. -- This one isn't.

Neither are Boomerisms about what "fascism" is or isn't. And the downright idiotic habbit of Anglosphere journalists and intellectuals to label totalitarianism as "fascist" brings already a fundamental misinformation in the term itself. And I can only explain it from a necessity of the Anglosphere commentators, who are drenched in post WW2 mythology, to obfuscate the fact that one was allied to a certain Stalin and produced the rise of communist China starting under Mao himself. The greatest mass murderer in human history who did have near total control over his subjects and their minds. Unlike Mussolini and Hitler or even Stalin.

What are the most important features of fascism? They include ultra-nationalism and authoritarianism

As ultra-nationalistic as Churchill or Roosevelt, as authoritarian as Stalin and Mao.

the demonisation and persecution of minorities

Tibetans, Uyghurs, Palestinians – ah yes, and concentration camps for the Boer!

a cult of the leader

Echnaton, Caesar himself is actually a weaker example, Mao, Stalin, again Churchill, then Truman; or John F. Kennedy for that matter: The enshrined patron-saint of US democracy and its tragedy and crucifixion, his mythological rise to almost sainthood like Lincoln, or until recently MLK jr. Nevermind that Hillary Clinton was the absolute and total cult leader figure for the US establishment and Angela Merkel was crowned leader of the free world in a detestable act of disinformation and lies, almost on the level of Stalinist lies. A woman who has turned German parliamentary politics into a GDR like one party coalition of leftist neo-liberal imperialism on her own people.

a demagogic appeal to the "ignored" masses and against a "treacherous" establishment

The masses are ignored. Want Anglosphere examples? Brexit. And as Charles Murray noted: the peoples have – for generations! – voted against more immigration, the establishment has also for generations ignored them. There is also something to be said about the victims of Rotherham and how they were ignored, for over a decade crimes comitted against them systematically covered up.

And when it comes to a treacherous establishment, look no further than to the Ziocons, Merkel, May and unfortunately Trump himself now. How utterly rotten and morally bankrupt, for example, the establishment of Britain is shows the case of again Rotherham and Jimmy Savile.

contempt for parliamentary institutions

And for good reason! Politicians are mindless and usually incompetent drones to be bought by foreign and corporate lobbies, pushed by manipulative and deceptive mass media and to be used as pawns for foreign policy of unelected deep state actors.

disregard for the law while standing on a law and order platform

Ah yes! There is something about the acts of the declared "leader of the free world" Angela Merkel breaking the German constitution and European law while ordering a stand down to the German border police who was ready to close the German borders, to allow in a million illegals against the strong wishes of at least a significant minority. This crypto-communist also leads the "conservative" party of "stability" who loves to talk about democracy, toleranz and openness and the dangers of undemocratic Russia.

control of the media and the crushing of criticism

ADL, SPLC, overwhelming control over the old media corporations and near monopoly control over the internet and social media platforms of a certain group that shall not be named. But it's certainly not better when the government itself directly controls the media as in Europe. Is the author seriously trying to make the claim that today the dangers in this regard come from new right populists? Or that this was something singular and a defining characteristic of fascism?

slogans promising everything to everybody

"Wir schaffen das!", "Stadt für alle!", "Land für alle!", "Diversity is our strength!" , "Globalism brings more wealth for everyone involved!", "Free trade is good for everybody!", "Workers of the world unite! All you have to lose is your chains!"

a promotion of force as a means to an end leading to violence, militarism and war.

Ah yes such a true forces for peace and democracy and the freedom of all peoples of the world the British Empire was and the USA are! The peoples of Vietnam, Serbia, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Palestine and Germany can sing a song about it. The USA are such a peaceful hegemon! Dedicated to spreading human rights, democracy and freedom globally. -- But they are also nothing special in this regard. Indeed this point is typical for basically all forms of government. Haven't you people read your Machiavelli?

What did derail the Trump movement and turned MAGA into MIGA and a continuation of the status quo and its lobbies, were not the populist grassroots support for Trump – across the entire West, even globally, or the hopes and wishes of the indeed ignored masses of the USA, or the populist supporters in the West who saw him as a beacon of their own hopes and wishes. It was the 'deep state' which by all means is just the functional reality of representative, parliamentary democracy in the age of mass media, a global financial system and corporations.

The claim that tree of life recipient Donald Trump and life long supporter and friend of Israel is a "fascist" is even more bizarre and ridiculous than calling Saddam Hussein or Muammar al-Gaddaffi Adolf Hitler. And do I really need to quote all the things Trump said about Israel and Netanyahu, or after the synagogue shootings..?

But the idea that he is a true isolationist who doesn't want war, is absurd. The Syria strikes speak volumes about his intellect, judgement, foreign policy independence and also about his willingness to do anything what Bibi and Adelson want. Just as the embassy move to Jerusalem, just as the Golan Heights and so much more.
The USA simply cannot start a war with Iran. Because they don't have the sufficient access to execute a major ground invasion of Iran through Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan or a D-Day like operation from the Sea. The USA also cannot do it, because the overwhelming majority of the people in Europe, globally and even a majority in the USA itself would condemn another war of aggression by the USA. This has nothing to do with the wishes of the Kushner, Bolton, Pompeo Trump government and its shadow puppeteers Netanyahu and Adelson. The same is true for Venezuela and Syria.

The Anglosphere, with the USA as its hegemonic leader, is caught in its own life-long delusions, its own mythology from the British Empire to WW2, its decade spanning structural and fundamental mistakes and errors and flaws. It's not the first Empire to be in this situation and it won't be the last Empire who will have its own downfall accelerated by it all.

Liberal democracy is a failed, a false and a falsified political model turned into a post-political ideology of an increasingly undemocratic establishment. The Europeans do not want it, the Africans do not want it, the Asians do not want it and increasingly the citizens of the USA and Great Britain do not want it. Trump and Brexit are indeed indicators for this.
Because people are communal, they do not wish to be atomized individuals. And nobody wants social-democracy either for that matter. They do not solve problems, they do not provide people with what they need and they have no truly inspiring visions to offer either. And that's why the future lies in nations and peoples. Not because there is a threat of "fascism". And I think when it comes to the erosion of the rule of law and democracy being a means for the demos, the establishment has done absolutely everything itself to make this the reality for the citizens in the USA and EU.

A123 , says: June 8, 2019 at 2:10 pm GMT
@dearieme The false claims about Trump are intended to deflect from the Truth.

dasFuherer Obama started down the road to Facism directing the SS/FBI to conduct surveillance and enforce political orthodoxy. If the transfer of power to dasFuherer H. Clinton had taken place successfully we would be living in a Facist nation by this point.

Authoritarian Left National Socialism (Nazism), also known as Globalism, is a threat to the Christian Citizens of the U.S. The Democratic party openly embraces these National Socialist / Globalist goals. The Facist Stormtroopers of Antifa are their version of the Hitler Youth.

Alfa158 , says: June 8, 2019 at 4:39 pm GMT
@Paul "control of the media and the crushing of criticism; slogans promising everything to everybody; a promotion of force as a means to an end leading to violence, militarism and war.

The list could go on to include less significant traits such as a liking for public displays of strength and popularity at rallies and parades; a liking also for gigantic building projects as the physical embodiment of power."

More of those fit Obama than Trump...

Carlton Meyer , says: Website June 8, 2019 at 4:56 pm GMT
Trump hasn't conquered any nations, while Emperor Obama conquered Honduras, Libya, Somalia, Ukraine, and tried to conquer Yemen, Turkey, and Syria. Obama also expanded the drone assassination campaign, to include US citizens. Obama restarted the Cold war by demonizing Russia and dispatching American troops to Russia's borders with new military bases in the Baltic states.

Control of the media? Trump has none, while the media cheered Obama all the time, even when he imprisoned journalists. They want to impeach Trump, but have no specific reason. I can list a dozens reasons to impeach any of our past Presidents. Finally, whenever Trump tries to ease tensions with Russia and North Korea, or pull troops from Syria, he is attacked by the media and Democrats.

Trump is no saint, but this article is absurdly biased; typical of a corporate media figure.

Priss Factor , says: Website June 8, 2019 at 5:23 pm GMT
He's more like Abbas. A cuck puppet of Jewish Power.
Brad Smith , says: June 8, 2019 at 5:28 pm GMT
Fascism (A police state created by the wedding of corporate and state powers) has been coming to America along various lines for quite some time but it's not the "nationalism" that we need to worry about. In fact our tendencies to run fascistic have moved quickest while nationalism evaporated.

The US is a divided nation, there is barely a "nation" here anymore, so we can stop worrying about nationalism. We are no longer a single nation and haven't been for some time. Trump isn't going to change that. LOL We are more in danger from increasing polarity ripping us apart than we are nationalism uniting us into some new Reich.

Trump has at best hit 40% approval ratings in the polls, he barely holds onto power and in fact lost the house. That's not a dictator in the making. There is zero danger that he will unite the country either, that isn't going to happen.

As for socially that one is really a joke. There has never been a nation on Earth that is less "Socially" fascist, NEVER. How a nation like ours, where you can literally self identify as any thing you want, would be socially fascist is beyond me, yet that is actually what is being described.

The fascism I'm worried about comes in the form of Crony Capitalism spawning endless wars for profit while cracking down on liberty at home with the Patriot act and all the rest. That's the creeping fascism we all should be worried about and many of us were. We voted for Trump as the only alternative to that very problem.

TG , says: June 8, 2019 at 7:30 pm GMT
No, no, no, missing the point. A 'Fascist' is someone saying something that the rich and powerful don't want said.

So when Donald Trump said that he wanted to stop us from wasting trillions of dollars on pointless winless foreign wars that serve only to enrich politically-connected defense contractors, that was Fascist and Rascist and Literally Hitler.

Trump got beaten down, and without consulting Congress, launched a completely unjustified and stupid missile attack on Syria, and suddenly he was 'presidential.' So you see, a leader taking power into his own hands and running roughshod over the rule of law, that's 'Democracy' – as long as he's doing what the rich want done.

Bottom line: now that Trump has morphed into "Swamp Thing," there will be political theater and screaming and howling, but it's all for show. It's a circus.

Mulegino1 , says: June 9, 2019 at 2:06 am GMT
Trumpism is a mixture of kosher Americana and an apotheosis of the sharp vulgarian businessman as politician as opposed to the hero or the visionary leader as statesman. It is a kind of halfhearted bourgeoisie reaction to the extreme cultural Marxism and social engineering, as well as a slavish adherence to Zionism. Its so called "national spirit" may be more exemplified by a hexagram or skull cap on top of its figurehead leader, as opposed to a legionary's helmet, Fuehrer's cap or Latin Cross. It is almost the polar opposite of the eponymous Fascism of Mussolini, in which the Fascist Council dictated to the cartels, not vice versa, and Il Duce was in charge and not a boardroom of soulless corporate internationalists . Fascism can cut both ways- it can be used by an authoritarian leader to unify the state and nation or it can be used by corporate oligarchs and their figurehead to destroy the nation and its people.

Trumpism is even further removed from National Socialism and the Fuehrer. A man of the people arose from humble origins on his own merits and reputation for courage under fire and engineered both the greatest economic recovery and most spectacular renaissance of national pride and dignity in recorded history. Hitler was not driven by personal vanity to see the "H" of his name in lights, nor was he a crooked vulgarian beholden to casino pimps and subterranean international Jews. Had National Socialism been allowed to flourish and had not been destroyed by the world Sanhedrin and its shabbos goyim camp followers, Europe would in all likelihood be a far cleaner, culturally vibrant and thriving culturally radiant center of power for the entire world and especially its own far flung diaspora.

Trump could have been a true, independent nationalist leader but he scorned that role and has largely turned on his base. While he is still the lesser of the two evils compared to most of the Democratic automaton and pervert contenders, he certainly knows on which side his shekels are buttered.

[Jun 07, 2019] The CIA is completely out of control. This begs the question, as to why do, or should, American citizen vote for candidates when those candidates are effectively being managed by the CIA

Notable quotes:
"... A sincere question: who is running the CIA and on whose behalf? ..."
"... They consider us the people, their enemy. We are the 'enemy within', because as we become increasingly aware of our politicians' criminality any action we take may threaten the status quo. ..."
"... Just because Americans don't tend to care about anything that happens beyond their own borders doesn't mean the rest of the world can live with the same blissful ignorance. ..."
"... The NSA scandal has made us realize that the US regards us as second-rated citizens who are nondeserving of the 'special protections' that Anglo-speaking countries do. ..."
"... This is extremely telling about Obama's continued failure to discern good character in his aides and cabinet. His administration has been a shambles largely due to his inability to surround himself with good people. ..."
"... I guess so, as we all know that the CIA always tried to silent war opponents. This had been largely documented about Vietnam opponents to the War on US soil. ..."
"... The CIA is now a discredited organization run by proven liars. When will Congress do something about it? Answer -- never. They are all being blackmailed. ..."
"... The CIA is completely out of control. This begs the question, as to why do, or should, American citizen vote for candidates when those candidates are effectively being 'managed' and spied on by people in the CIA. Senators in both houses are not making 'decisions' the CIA is. ..."
"... Yes and the only politician who has called for the abolition of the CIA is Ron Paul. ..."
"... The NSA isn't hindering your movements as you are not a danger to the status quo. You can keep getting blasted at your BBQ's and coming online to defend the indefensible, you're not a threat. But it's not about you. It's about the people who are in a position to challenge the system. This can include anti-war activists, judges, politicians and journalists. ..."
Jun 07, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

BarrieJ -> fringe_perception , 1 Aug 2014 04:21

Yeah and let's take a look at the CIA's backing for Operation Gladio in post WW2 Europe.

Yeah, you Americans were there but you certainly weren't saving lives or making the aftermath bearable for the victims.

BarrieJ -> johhnybgood , 1 Aug 2014 04:10
A sincere question: who is running the CIA and on whose behalf?
BarrieJ -> jma123 , 1 Aug 2014 04:08
They consider us the people, their enemy. We are the 'enemy within', because as we become increasingly aware of our politicians' criminality any action we take may threaten the status quo.
Alex Robinson , 1 Aug 2014 03:45
They should rename the CIA the KGB or the Gestapo
SelfServingShite -> cashedupbogan , 1 Aug 2014 03:44
leaders haven't been voted into office for a while now - they're rigged into office - from the lowly dog catcher to the president - and its happening all over the world.
lsfischer -> Kaitain , 1 Aug 2014 03:29
If you take the easy way now, you will take the easy way in the future. This not a sandlot baseball game here. These are high- powered people , who are responsible for matters extremely operant to the people of our country, and it must be admitted, the world.

To simply brush off these serious breaches of Government procedure (law) would serve to perpetuate the Executive Branch intrusions into the business of the Legislative Branch.

Separation of the powers is a time-honored method of setting up a government that has kept us 'moving along' for quite awhile now. Most of its problems stem from the populace placing too much trust in their elected officials .

It is everyone's responsibility to collectively maintain our government. It was never the intention of our founders that our leaders become reclusive despots: from today's vantage point, we can see this. It is a short walk to realize where the blame should be laid. Up and on your way to no future.

Dutchgirl88 -> fringe_perception , 1 Aug 2014 03:28
Just because Americans don't tend to care about anything that happens beyond their own borders doesn't mean the rest of the world can live with the same blissful ignorance.

The NSA scandal has made us realize that the US regards us as second-rated citizens who are nondeserving of the 'special protections' that Anglo-speaking countries do.

I find it absolutely shocking that this guy's dismissal is still debatable. Should be a no-brainer is any democracy

justAcomment , 1 Aug 2014 03:14

The three technicians "demonstrated a lack of candor about their activities during interviews."

You mean they lied through their teeth? But of course they were acting on their own initiative ha ha ha ha

jma123 , 1 Aug 2014 02:53
In the UK and USA these spooks backed by politicians and civil servants are getting way out of hand. Having the technology to do things doesn't provide the need or right to do such things. They are getting to the point where they are "protecting" us from the very people and system they have become.
CornsilkSW , 1 Aug 2014 02:48

although the White House indicated its support for a man who has been one of Barack Obama's most trusted security aides.

This is extremely telling about Obama's continued failure to discern good character in his aides and cabinet. His administration has been a shambles largely due to his inability to surround himself with good people.

gab2201 -> killerontheroad , 1 Aug 2014 02:46
I guess so, as we all know that the CIA always tried to silent war opponents. This had been largely documented about Vietnam opponents to the War on US soil.
paramed1 , 1 Aug 2014 02:41
They're all fuc@#$g rogue. Power corrupts but absolute power corrupts absolutely. Who polices the police? No one apparently. They and all their UK counterparts will walk away from this unscathed. If the heat gets a little too warm just play your joker, 'Terrorism'.
carolusmagnus , 1 Aug 2014 02:32

CIA admits to spying on Senate staffers

They have yet to admit they also spy on their President and ex-Presidents. When there is no morality, everyone is an enemy.

johhnybgood , 1 Aug 2014 02:26
The CIA is now a discredited organization run by proven liars. When will Congress do something about it? Answer -- never. They are all being blackmailed.
chuck nasmith , 1 Aug 2014 01:34
Phuck you Brennan. My family worked for the CIA, NSA etc. when they were not the corporate MIC, NSA Zionist mob. Go to jail or Gitmo.
NikMitev -> StrategicVoice213 , 1 Aug 2014 01:33
Your state can imprison anyone it wants, for as long as it wants, without having to justify it in any way... hell they are not even required to let relatives know. That is a police state. The US is operating what effectively are concentration camps all over the place, Guantanamo being the flagship.
Woodby69 , 1 Aug 2014 01:29
America - the land of the free...
Hottentot , 1 Aug 2014 01:22
The CIA is completely out of control. This begs the question, as to why do, or should, American citizen vote for candidates when those candidates are effectively being 'managed' and spied on by people in the CIA. Senators in both houses are not making 'decisions' the CIA is.

Quite how the CIA, White House or any other government body think that they have any credibility regarding any matter, is amazing.

whatdidyouexpect , 1 Aug 2014 01:04
If I was using a program set up by the CIA, I would assume it would monitor my activity. Just like Amazon does. Just like the Guardian does.

I don't see a problem, apart from the naivete of the complainants.

jcamcaldasca , 1 Aug 2014 00:54
'... that's just beyond the – you know, the scope of reason in terms of what we would do,"' Allies, on the other hand, fall within that scope.

'demonstrated a lack of candor' has the same ring to it as being 'economical with the truth'.

Anthony Russell , 1 Aug 2014 00:39
I JUST PUT A LIST OF QUESTIONS ON MY TIME LINE THIS SHOULD KEEP THE SPY NETWORK BUSY FOR A WHILE ! BUT THEY NEVER DO ANYTHING THAT MAKES SENSE ANYWAY ; THEY ONLY HAVE A 30 BILLION DOLLAR BUDGET ; BUT CANNOT TELL US WHAT HAPPENED TO MH370 MALAYSIAN AIRPLANE ! WOW ! SOME SPY NETWORK ! IT 'S EASY FOR THEM TO SCREW WITH US ; BECAUSE WE ARE EVERYDAY MARKS !
majid akram -> Malkatrinho , 1 Aug 2014 00:38
They will never admit until its proven
marmite99 , 1 Aug 2014 00:35
Feinstein couldn't care less about you and me being spied on, but complains when she is spied on. Just like Angela Merkel.
samwoods77 , 1 Aug 2014 00:33
Obama still hasn't fired this turd. Maybe he doesn't want to interrupt his endless rounds of $33k/plate fund raisers to attend to running the country.
marmite99 -> StrategicVoice213 , 1 Aug 2014 00:33
@strategicvoice: More people are imprisoned in the US than in China (on a per capita basis).
sacco -> SummerLulstice , 1 Aug 2014 00:28

People like Feinstein are chosen to oversee mass surveillance for the simple reason that they are old, completely technologically illiterates

See also: M. Rifkind, et al.

FFS, Jacqui f@&%ing Smith use to be Home Secretary ...

Could they really not make it any more obvious that there is absolutely nothing even vaguely resembling effective oversight?

marmite99 -> traidep , 1 Aug 2014 00:28
Yes and the only politician who has called for the abolition of the CIA is Ron Paul.
BaronGrovelville , 1 Aug 2014 00:23
When criminal methods are used expect criminals to use them. John Brennan and Jose Rodriguez are criminals.
SummerLulstice -> inabster , 31 Jul 2014 23:54
The entire Republican and Democrat parties are puppets.
SummerLulstice -> inabster , 31 Jul 2014 23:47
If the United States government doesn't even govern by popular mandate, it certainly won't give a fuck about anyone's respect, dear fellow internet commentator.
DrKropotkin -> jrhaddock , 31 Jul 2014 23:47
The penalties for lying under oath are quite strict and can include up to 5 years of prison time. But nobody is willing to go after these guys, they have too much information on too many people. The day the US congress voted for the patriot act was the last day of their democracy.
SummerLulstice -> madmonty , 31 Jul 2014 23:43
The death penalty in California and Virginia is done by lethal injection. Assuming Diane Feinstein and John Brennan weren't above the law.
error418 -> Therevolt , 31 Jul 2014 23:38
What exactly does a CIA member have to do to get arrested, prosecuted and convicted for an action inside the USA? It is not spying on Congress. It it spying on the Supreme court, or killing a Senator? Do they walk away free after assassinating their own president? Do they need to do more?
DrKropotkin -> StrategicVoice213 , 31 Jul 2014 23:37
The NSA isn't hindering your movements as you are not a danger to the status quo. You can keep getting blasted at your BBQ's and coming online to defend the indefensible, you're not a threat. But it's not about you. It's about the people who are in a position to challenge the system. This can include anti-war activists, judges, politicians and journalists.

Everyone who matters can be kept inline with blackmail and for public figures it can be the smallest thing. Recently, during a primary, a candidate lost as questions were raised about the fact he had checked in the a mental care facility. He probably had a breakdown and needed to be observed for a couple of days. This piece of information would be easy to pick up with the various NSA programmes.

If this candidate had the same views as you, this little fact would not have been released but I believe he was a defender of your constitution and that could cause problems for the criminal regime you now live under.

Snooping is poison in a democracy. Your system was built so that it had self correction and could hence adapt to new situations and constantly improve. This served Americans well for many years, but it has ended.

Enduroman -> James J Pitcherella , 31 Jul 2014 23:32
Come on, is not like they sold 2 ounces of marijuana.
SummerLulstice -> Joshua Jeffery , 31 Jul 2014 23:30
Feinstein and the word "hope" do not belong in one and the same sentence. She along with her fellow conspirators in the intelligence committee are the ones that have been green-lighting this fascism for years. It's like expecting John McCain to repeal the Patriot Act.

People like Feinstein are chosen to oversee mass surveillance for the simple reason that they are old, completely technologically illiterates who can be easily fooled or if need be blackmailed through their extensive business empires .

[Jun 07, 2019] The power of neoliberal brainwashing by Jason Holland

Jun 01, 2019 | dissidentvoice.org

If man were wise, he would gauge the true worth of anything by its usefulness and appropriateness to his life.

-- Michel de Montaigne, Complete Book of Essays , Book 11, Essay 12, Page 543

For your consideration, the modern idiot in a habitat of prime viral fecundity; after centuries of western civilization spreading toxic oppressive imperialism through contrived financial schemes and brutish warfare the dream of global neoliberalism has come to full fruition where all personal responsibility for actions of selfish business interests has been discretely removed from the profiteers and accountability placed upon all powerful implacable nation states. As a result what has been set into motion is the perfect bewildering breeding ground for the whims of the idiot mind to thrive. Complexity is artificially created in financial systems, legalese, and bureaucratic nomenclature to obfuscate the deceptions and allow the idiots in charge to more deftly carry out their scams on the general public..

What is before us now are the death throes of capitalism, which is oddly enough also capitalism at its apogee with a precipitous descent ahead due to its profound unsustainability. A common analogy of our times is referencing going off a cliff of some kind to describe the present trajectory of this idiot society, e.g. an unstoppable train with no brakes going over a cliff, or Wile E. Coyote having already gone over the cliff and simply hasn't bothered to look down yet to notice he's run out of terra-firma. Whatever variation of the analogy chosen, the point is that we know the cliff is there, but the collective state of our idiocy doesn't seem to care too much. It has other idiot priorities it deems more necessary to care about, so it plows ahead despite knowing it has run out of track.

This state of being has of course been intentionally manufactured by the idiots in charge. The direct derivation of widespread capitalist ideology creates faux democracies run by political stooges who are sycophantic to corporate power amounting to an orchestrated production of bureaucratic theater where everyone affected by the reach of this system catches the virus of idiocy and finds themselves at various stages of recovery. Each person inculcated into the cult of the idiot via institutional systems is ensnared by the traps set by boardroom bandits who conspire to break the will of the people by attempting to normalize that which isn't normal, and comport the natural better intentions of the masses to enrich the loosely formed global capitalist state.

Their scheme is simplistic yet highly effective; engineer a society based on a need for money issued from a central source and then see to it that money is always in scarce supply for all but an elite class. The effect on the common person is a state of perpetual fear and desperation which allows for the masses to be easily controlled, always servile to the money. The idiotic mind is then molded by saturating the senses in a simulacrum overlay of reality which obscures our real values, uses our love against us, and reforms us into the idiot that the idiots in charge wish us to be so we may be easily exploited once the will is broken, hence the average human animal won't put up much resistance when they are asked to do the cruel and often ecologically ruinous labor for an elite class. After the institutional indoctrination the hope for a better world becomes a futile prospect with the specter of our own conscious/cognitive deficiencies looming large over our collective actions. And certainly any would-be paradise or substantially better world for all, which theoretically could come into being, will never emerge so long as the agenda of the idiot prevails over higher wisdom.

A melancholic realization of our predicament is to understand we are trapped in a death spiral under idiotic reign where some horrific form of collapse is nearly inevitable due to our own inability to change the compulsory-destructive- unsustainable-status quo. We are damned to this present state because the idiots learned long ago that all it takes to control a herd of humans to create a self reinforcing system of subservience. This system is instantiated by fostering dependency in a hierarchical social system where a cadre of idiots seize control and installs safeguards to protect their system making it intractable with feedback loops of rewards and punishments, and each time the people begin to wise up to the plots of the idiots in charge they are slapped back into depraved imbecility unless they want to endure more of the whip which power will see to it is all that lies before them if they attempt to stray too much from the desired course of the idiots in charge.

The idiot is inherently an idiot because they are motivated by idiotic whims. At the core of the idiot are misplaced values leading to misplaced priorities that lead them to take up activities and belief systems which are antithetical to their own contentment, and typically not only are these types of activities a path to nowhere for them but also have added externalities which make their actions corrosive to all life as well. Inevitably their facile search for greater pleasure, status, and legacy damns not only them to their own personal hell, but has the potential to damn all others impacted by their decisions chasing after shallow endeavors.

The idiot mind argues their positions with a barrage of overlapping nested logical fallacies couched in reductionism and baked down to simplistic one liners which buries the truth so far down it takes an hour to fully unpack a single sentence. "Everything is a cycle", "Communism has killed 100 million people", "Capitalism has led to the greatest increase in quality of life", "Guns don't kill people, people do" – twisted distractive arguments ignoring a compendium of logical antecedents all purposed to defend capitalist propaganda people have either conveniently or unwittingly absorbed and requires time and a calm dialectical conversation to break apart the conflated lies. However the conditioned idiot mind isn't really interested in hearing the counterarguments to these claims. They only want a simple reassurance that their previously held positions are correct because admitting one is wrong is painful and requires a degree of humility, a virtue which the idiot has in short supply. And if one attempts to fully explain the full breadth of the argument the more hardened idiots will proclaim that if one cannot manufacture the counterargument in an equally terse and trite statement it must be wrong. The idiot mind will ultimately dismiss the opposing arguments with laconic stupidity and they'll quickly come to rest on the premise that we can "agree to disagree", or they'll claim on any point in which they might potentially be wrong is simply that the truth may be in the middle somewhere, or they'll suddenly become spurious epistemological philosophers and question what can truly ever be known?

To be glib and facile is a common feature of the idiot and entails not thinking about arguments in proper scope or with valid supporting warrants, or to casually perhaps conveniently misattribute the root of a problem which in fact may be be a product of a deeper problem(s). The idiot sees before them only what they desire, and their desire so often blinds them. The idiot is jealous, competitive and desires material stuff and power while sometimes not even questioning why they want what they believe they want. Like why do idiots care so much about immigrants? If they had their border wall built and actually were able to keep out 100% of illegal immigration their lives would not appreciable improve in any manner, there would be no sudden spike in their pay or offering of jobs. There's a long line of issues people think they care about that if corrected would not make much of a difference, and some of them being symptoms of deeper problems.

A rich entitled idiot will spend countless hours trying to think of ways to make more money and for what? More sexual partners? A new boat? Bigger house? A private jet? What exactly is gained and why is that worthwhile? And a war-mongering bureaucrat like Trump's national security advisor John Bolton, does anyone think he actually cares so much about the security of the US that he feels it necessary to try to attack Iran and Venezuela, and what would be accomplished when they are toppled? Even if he admitted the true reason he wants to attack these countries, for economic neoliberal expansion and to plunder their resources, what is gained even then? What is the end game there? Why do any of these folk who already are much wealthier than the common person and also nearing the end of their lives feel it so absolutely necessary to impose their will violently on others? The results will only end like every military conflict does, with throngs of innocent people dead and the world no more peaceful or better off than it was when they started the conflict.

And what exactly is gained if an already wealthy US gains more wealth? What happens? Who is happier? Who is better off? Almost nobody. Why they do what they do is an insanity and spreads discord throughout the world, as Hans Koning stated in his book Columbus: His Enterprise regarding the Spanish empire's plundering of the Americas:

For all the gold and silver stolen and shipped to Spain did not make the Spanish people richer. It gave their kings an edge in the balance of power for a time, a chance to hire more mercenary soldiers for their wars. They ended up losing those wars anyway, and all that was left was a deadly inflation, a starving population, the rich richer, the poor poorer, and a ruined peasant class.

This is the typical result of imperialism. Always has been. Thus the elites imposing their selfish will on others doesn't do anything of value and never has. This realization doesn't stop the present idiots in charge from doing their nefarious deeds or cause a hint self introspection, the idiot mind is a busied mind supremely confident they are correct. And once they have a head of steam in a direction they will most always barrel on forward out of nothing more than foolish pride reassuring themselves that whatever minor gains they may receive from any heinous act they take up is worth it, while often taking the shortest, most brutish path, to acquire more of what they desire but don't need in any conceivable way. They don't bother to think of the ramifications or the pain they cause; they just do because they feel they have the power to do so, consequences be damned.

And the facile machinations of the modern idiot in western countries doesn't seem to want to stop doing even the most frivolous of activities in order to stop the bleeding of mother Gaia. Any capitalist desire is of utmost importance to be maintained to the idiots in charge. They feel like it's their right in their ostensibly free market to use their money to engage in whatever spectacle or peculiarity they wish no matter the consequence and won't budge or go without one less triviality, not one less light buzzing over Times Square. Not a single casino can be sacrificed. It would be a tragedy if there was one less assault rifle rolling off an assembly line. An impossibility to go with one less cruise ship, or one less all you can eat buffet, not one less computer server warehouse storing useless surveillance information, not one less gaming console, or Hollywood car crash scene, or all night convenience store or fast food restaurant Not a thing they will do to impede what their idiot facile minds believe is freedom. To the idiot it's somehow all a worthwhile endeavor despite if it means inducing abrupt climate change or killing off the majority of the flora and fauna on the planet. The idiots simply won't stop being idiots until some force greater than them makes them.

And to diminish the rapid onset of climate change the idiot mind speaks of the money needed to do so. As if human will was solely reliant on convincing the idiots in charge to create more currency for the most pressing issue humans have perhaps ever faced. The idiot ignores history of Native Americans who primarily used a gift economy for likely thousands of years in comparative peace and were more advanced than most modern idiots give them credit, certainly leaps and bounds more advanced socially. But in modernity and throughout the history of western civilization money has been a tool of power and created through loans and enslaving people into debt in the billions of dollars everyday for the most absurd reasons. But debate in the public sphere continually revolves around the idea of how can we afford to maintain our highly destructive system in the face of anthropogenic Armageddon. They insist it's an impossibility that a bunch of corrupt bankers can't create the money as they do all the time and an equally impossible idea that perhaps we free ourselves entirely from these shackles and abandon the concept of money altogether to do what is necessary through the bonds of trust and lessen the damage to our environment so we have a habitat to live in while also freeing ourselves from cycle of imperial idiocy created through the use of currency. Truly the reasons for which we are destroying this planet are idiotic, and the things that are stopping the people from fully revolting against the idiots in charge are also idiotic considering what is on the line.

Our cultural heritage in western civilization is rooted in idiocy, driven by elite idiots in charge with an agenda to make the inability to discern the difference between a higher truth and an outright lie a widespread epidemic so they can convince the masses to do the stupid things the idiots in charge desire. Through tyranny and manipulation the idiot powers that be have manufactured a world which has planted seeds of doubt in otherwise unassailable truths. And perhaps this is why so many people in the west have sought out wisdom within eastern philosophy and shamanistic societies. They seek to find truth that is shunned by the modern western mind, and to understand truth one must disengage from this toxic culture so they can remember once again what the truth looks like.

The idiocy is compounded by an ironic competitive pride in their intellectual abilities where one idiot proclaims to be smarter and more qualified than another based on idiotic criteria. Like the spurious intelligence in being able to out maneuver another capitalist through underhanded means, or exhibiting the callousness to exploit employees more than their competitors. Or the supposed craftiness in brown-nosing up to one's superiors in a place of work and appearing more subservient than coworkers as to be awarded a promotion. These are not acts of intelligence but acts of one who is making an obsequious race to the bottom and proclaiming themselves champions for their willingness to sink to lower levels of deception to achieve their so called success. However there is no success when the entire ecology of our world is recklessly destroyed so their ideas of success can be had. There is no success when needless wars and mass human suffering are imposed so their ill conceived goals can be achieved. The idiot's idea of success is in actuality grand treachery.

Examples of the idiot's falsely contrived ideas of success are everywhere. The unemployment rate is seemingly quite low at 3.6%, but what does this mean when so many are excluded out of the equation once they haven't had any employment for a long enough amount of time, and further, what is considered employment in many cases doesn't provide the ability to afford a roof over your head. And who cares if the unemployment number is low when the end product of these jobs also makes species extinction and climate change worse. What good are these jobs when they create so much human misery that lives have little value to all those who are stuck in the labor. And who cares if a metric like the GDP goes up if it is achieved through barbarous imperialism, or grossly overcharging for medical care/housing/education, or by creating slave like conditions for people thousands of miles away so corporations can glean more profits? This is again is not success, it is but the apex of disdainful human treachery.

The idiot is constantly seeking validation externally from others and never generates their own validation through self acceptance. Thus they are ravenous attention seekers, and will inevitably sniff out all things that garner attention for them so they create awards shows, diplomas with haughty ceremonies, important sounding titles of all sorts to manufacture the facade of their worth. If an action is harmful to others in their trek for external validation it's not of any great importance to the idiot, the worthiness of action is again determined by if it's beneficial to them and exclusionary society comprised of other idiots so it compliments their high sense of themselves which their ego assures them is valid.

The idiot believes all things are impossible except what currently exists. They are exceptional at meeting the criteria for the definition for insanity. They do the same thing over and over and expect different results. The idiot does not understand history even when they read it since cultural and self reinforced myopia has rotted away the plasticity of thought in their minds so what they take away from the reading of history is only what is convenient to their present system of thought. The idiot believes in social systems like representative democracies, centralized government in nation states, courts, and prisons that cannot cure the simplest of society's ailments over thousands of years of use, but to the idiot just one more election is going to make all the difference. One more go around the installed idiotic system with idiotic desires at the root is going to change course and suddenly become wise. They believe by just replacing the current idiots in charge they will be able to cause the change that is so desperately needed, but like a hiker refusing to admit they are lost and continuing down the trail out of hubris they are only further compounding the problem by insisting they aren't lost. And our society is most certainly lost, and it's a long way back to the trail that leads to redemption and a place we actually want to be, which we get further away from each day we stay on our present course.

And after all our idiotic overcomplicated plots and schemes, they are but to mask simple truths the idiot facade tries so desperately to avoid; the inner torments of being afraid of not being good enough, not measuring up to our peers, not meeting arbitrary expectations we either accept from others or set for ourselves, or quite simply feeling like we are not worthy of love. So we play these pointless high stakes games which have a rewards as meaningless and worthless as a plastic trophy just to prove our worth. The idiot is a temporal state of being, although many are finer long term examples of displaying the behaviors of the idiot; however none of us are the perfect idiot. To avoid the affectations of being in an idiotic state it takes conscious effort to live our lives moment to moment with authenticity, to be in a state of awareness of our actions, to always be willing to suffer for something worthwhile and to be consistently well reasoned examiners of what constitutes something worthwhile.

Jason Holland is a writer and a proponent of peaceful revolution. He can be reached at jason.holland@reasonbowl.com or follow him on twitter @ReasonBowl. Youtube content at Reason Bowl Radio. Read other articles by Jason , or visit Jason's website .

This article was posted on Saturday, June 1st, 2019 at 10:13pm and is filed under Capitalism , Classism , Imperialism , Neoliberalism .

[May 31, 2019] Comments on Official Response by OPCW to the Engineering Assessment on Douma

OPSW proved to be a gang of a despicable, completely bought by the USA bottomfeeders. Looks like they are now a part of "Intergity Initiative"
At this point credibility of the USA and UK experts on the topic is not zero, it is negative: they systematically generate false flags.
Truth be told after Skripals affair the level of credibility of the UK government and expects is far below zero in any case. This is just a gang of despicable warmongers.
Notable quotes:
"... If SST readers are confused by OPCW's constantly shifting explanations for why the Final Report on the Douma incident excluded the Engineering Assessment, they're not the only ones. ..."
"... Unfortunately for whoever thought up this defence, it is explicitly contradicted by both the Interim Report (published last July) and the Final Report, which state that the objective of the engineering studies was to evaluate how the cylinders arrived in position. ..."
May 29, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Comments on official response to the release of the Engineering Assessment of the Douma cylinders Paul McKeigue, David Miller, Jake Mason, Piers Robinson

Members of Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media 1 Introduction

This post comments on the response to our release of the Executive Summary of the Engineering Assessment of the Douma cylinders on 13 May 2018. All emphases in quoted passages are added by us. After OPCW had confirmed the document to be genuine, the story was covered extensively by Russian media.

An informed commentary by Professor Hiroyuki Aoyama in Tokyo has been published on Yahoo News's Japanese site. The only coverage in western corporate media has been by Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday , Robert Fisk in the Independent and Tucker Carlson on Fox .

Other journalists who have been in touch with us have told us that their stories were spiked by editors. As expected, the story has reached much larger numbers through websites and videos that have disseminated it.

2 OPCW's response to the release of the document

2.1 Official response

In an email dated 11 May and shown to us, Deepti Choubey, the head of OPCW Public Affairs, wrote:

Thank you for reaching out to us. It is exclusively through the Fact-Finding Mission, set up in 2014, that the OPCW establishes facts surrounding allegations of use of toxic chemicals for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic. On 1 March 2019, the OPCW has issued its final and only valid official report, signed by the Director-General, regarding the incident that took place in Douma, Syrian Arab Republic, on 7 April 2018. The document you shared with us is not part of any of the material produced by the FFM. The individual mentioned in the document has never been a member of the FFM .

A subsequent email on 16 May stated:

The OPCW establishes facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic through the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM), which was set up in 2014. The OPCW Technical Secretariat reaffirms that the FFM complies with established methodologies and practices to ensure the integrity of its findings. The FFM takes into account all available, relevant, and reliable information and analysis within the scope of its mandate to determine its findings. Per standard practice, the FFM draws expertise from different divisions across the Technical Secretariat as needed. All information was taken into account, deliberated, and weighed when formulating the final report regarding the incident in Douma, Syrian Arab Republic, on 7 April 2018. On 1 March 2019, the OPCW issued its final report on this incident, signed by the Director-General.

Per OPCW rules and regulations, and in order to ensure the privacy, safety, and security of personnel, the OPCW does not provide information about individual staff members of the Technical Secretariat. Pursuant to its established policies and practices, the OPCW Technical Secretariat is conducting an internal investigation about the unauthorised release of the document in question. At this time, there is no further public information on this matter and the OPCW is unable to accommodate requests for interviews.

This was taken as confirmation that the document was genuine.

2.2 Unofficial briefings

Following OPCW's confirmation on 16 May that the document we had released was genuine, two individuals in the UK whose communications have supported UK government policy on Syria favoring regime change – Professor Scott Lucas of Birmingham University, and the former Guardian journalist Brian Whitaker – began reporting that they had inside information on how the Engineering Assessment had been excluded from the Final Report.

2.2.1 Lucas

On 16 May Lucas reported that:

Henderson was writing what was, in effect, a dissenting assessment from that of most of the OPCW's team and consultant experts. His findings were considered but were a minority opinion as final report was written.

He followed this with a remarkably indiscreet tweet asserting that "I know how OPCW review process was conducted and what place Henderson's assessment had in it." When challenged to explain his connection to OPCW, Lucas did not answer. Hitchens reported on 24 May that OPCW Public Affairs had refused to comment on whether Lucas was receiving authorised briefings from OPCW.

2.2.2 Whitaker

Whitaker was at first more circumspect about his sources, reporting on 16 May that:

One story circulating in the chemical weapons community (though not confirmed) is that Henderson had wanted to join the FFM and got rebuffed but was then given permission to do some investigating on the sidelines of the FFM.

Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat extended Whitaker's version with:

This reporting by @Brian_Whit on the leaked Douma report that the conspiracy theorists and chemical weapon denialists are so excited about is consistent with what I'm hearing . Looks like they all got played by a disgruntled OPCW employee.

In an article posted on 24 May, Whitaker was more explicit in reporting the spin of "an informed source" on the Engineering Assessment.

an informed source has now shed some light on it. The key point here is the FFM's terms of reference. Its basic role was to establish facts about the alleged attack, and it was not allowed to apportion blame -- that is the job of the OPCW's newly-created Investigation and Identification Team (IIT). Although the FFM determined that the cylinders were probably dropped from the air, the published report (in line with its mandate) omitted any mention of the obvious implication that they had been dropped by regime aircraft. According to the informed source, when Henderson's assessment was reviewed there were concerns that it came too close to attributing responsibility, and thus fell outside the scope of the FFM's mandate. Whether or not that was the right decision, there was no doubt that Henderson's assessment did fall within the mandate of the new Investigation and Identification Team. For that reason, according to the source, he was advised to pass it to the IIT instead -- and he did so.

Unless this account was entirely fabricated, it could only have come from someone with close knowledge of how the Final Report had been prepared. A subsequent tweet from Whitaker on 25 May, presumably channelling the same source, confirmed that "Henderson and others" had been in Douma:

Henderson and others did go to Douma to provide temporary support to the FFM, but they were not official members of the FFM.

2.3 What the channelling of off-the-record briefings tells us

It is likely that (at least on this occasion) Lucas and Whitaker are telling the truth, and that they have been briefed by someone with close knowledge of how the FFM Final Report was prepared. If these briefings had not been authorised, OPCW Public Affairs could easily have responded to Hitchens's question with a standard statement reiterating that "there is no further public information on this matter" and that this extended to off-the-record briefings. We would expect OPCW press officers to be reluctant to issue further statements that could subsequently be shown to be false.

Like cellular biologists who perturb a complex system and measure its outputs, we can infer from these observations the existence of a pathway. This pathway connects the production of OPCW reports on alleged chemical attacks in Syria with a network of communicators in the UK who in different ways have promoted the cause of regime change in Syria since 2012. It is evident that Lucas and Whitaker are output nodes of this pathway. From August 2012, Whitaker as the Guardian's Middle East editor promoted Higgins from obscure beginnings as a blogger to become a widely-cited source on the Syrian conflict. Whitaker was the first journalist to devote an article to attacking the Working Group, in February 2018 when its only collective output had been a brief blog post.

It is of course possible that OPCW management for some procedural reason was unable to provide further information on the record, and sought to disseminate an accurate version of events via off-the-record briefings. But the choice of such highly partisan commentators as Lucas and Whitaker as channels inevitably calls into question the good faith of whoever provided these briefings, and undermines any remaining pretence to impartiality on the part of OPCW management.

2.4 Discrepancies between versions of OPCW's response

An established method in investigative journalism is to compare official versions and to infer from discrepancies what they are trying to hide. On 11 May OPCW Public Affairs stated that "The document you shared with us is not part of any of the material produced by the FFM. The individual mentioned in the document has never been a member of the FFM". After we pointed out that these two statements were provably false – the external collaboration on the engineering assessment of the Douma cylinders must have been authorised by OPCW, and Henderson could hardly have been in Damascus on a tourist visa – they were not repeated on the record. By 16 May OPCW Public Affairs had formulated a new policy: "Per OPCW rules and regulations the OPCW does not provide information about individual staff members of the Technical Secretariat." A more subtle version of Henderson's role was then channelled through Lucas and Whitaker: "minority opinion", "on the sidelines" and elaborated by Higgins as "disgruntled OPCW employee"'. Between 16 May and 25 May the story channelled through Whitaker changed from "Henderson had wanted to join the FFM and got rebuffed but was then given permission to do some investigating on the sidelines of the FFM." to admitting that "Henderson and others" were in Douma "to provide temporary support to the FFM".

On 24 May Whitaker's informed source admits that "Henderson's assessment was reviewed" for the Final Report, no longer attempting to maintain that the Engineering Assessment was not part of the FFM's process. If we strip away the flannel from this latest story, it appears to be accurate. The "informed source" tells us that the Engineering Assessment was excluded from the Final Report not because its technical analysis had been rebutted, but because the conclusion that the cylinders had been placed in position rather than dropped from the air would necessarily have attributed responsibility for the incident to the opposition .

The argument that the mandate of the FFM prevented it from endorsing the Engineering Assessment's conclusion is easily refuted as a matter of logic. Announcing the release of the Final Report, OPCW stated that "The FFM's mandate is to determine whether chemical weapons or toxic chemicals as weapons have been used in Syria." In Douma this could be reduced to deciding between two alternatives: (1) the gas cylinders were dropped from the air, implying that they were used as chemical weapons; (2) the cylinders were placed in position, implying that the incident was staged and that no chemical attack had occurred. Although to conclude that alternative (2) was correct would implicate the opposition, this would not be attribution of blame for a chemical attack but rather a determination that chemical weapons had not been used.

Clearly a verdict that the alleged chemical attack had been staged would have been unacceptable to the French government, which had joined in the US-led missile attack on 14 April 2018. We can surmise that the Chief of Cabinet of OPCW, Sébastien Braha, who (according to his Linkedin profile ) is still in post as a French diplomat, would have been in a difficult position if he had allowed the FFM to release a report that reached this conclusion. He would be in an even more difficult position if he were to allow the newly-established Investigation and Identification Team (IIT), which also reports to him, to overturn the conclusions of the Final Report and report that the alleged chemical attack was staged. Even if Braha's failure to update his online profile with the date of leaving his diplomatic post is an oversight, this would still be a conflict of interest based on the OECD definition of what "a reasonable person, knowing the relevant facts, would conclude". As we have noted, OPCW appears to have no arrangements for managing conflicts of interest. Until the governance and working practices of OPCW are radically reformed, it is hard to see how neutral observers can have confidence in the impartiality of the FFM or the IIT.

3 Government responses to an alleged chlorine attack on 19 May 3.1 Reports of the alleged attack

Possible allusions to the release of the Engineering Assessment on 13 May can be discerned in government responses to a report of an alleged chlorine attack in Idlib on 19 May. The earliest report , mentioning three missiles or shells loaded with chlorine was from an Arabic-language website named ebaa.news at 11.01 am Syrian time. The location was given as Kubina Hill in Kabbana village, on the border with Lattakia. At 12.46 am Syrian time Hamish de Bretton-Gordon (HdBG) tweeted

Appears to be a chlorine attack from Regime artillery shells in Jose Al Shugour village - 4 casualties being evacuated for treatment

"Jose Al Shugour village" is presumably the town of Jisr Al-Shughour. Rami Abdulrahman's Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on 22 May that four fighters were treated in hospital after they "suffocated in the intense and violent shelling by the regime forces, within caves and trenches" but did not endorse the claims of a chlorine attack, noting that the source of this story was "the Media platform of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham". The story was elaborated in a Fox News report on 23 May that quoted a "Dr Ahmad" from Idlib, who reported that he had treated the casualties. Fox News also quoted Nidal Shikhani of the Chemical Violations Documentation Centre Syria (CVDCS).

A possible match for the identity of "Dr Ahmad" is Dr Ahmad al-Dbis, quoted by Reuters on 4 May 2019 as Safety and Security Manager for the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations (UOSSM), describing airstrikes on Idlib and northern Hama. Since 2016 both HdBG and the CBRN Task Force that he set up in 2013 have been affiliated to UOSSM. A report from 2014 quotes a "Dr Ahmad" described as a medic trained by HdBG for the CBRN Task Force. CVDCS is an NGO that has worked closely with the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission since 2015 to provide purported eyewitnesses for interview in Syria, originally established in 2012 as the Office of Documentation of the Chemical File in Syria , and later registered in Brussels as a non-profit company named Same Justice. This company never complied with the legal requirement to file accounts, and went into liquidation on 27 February 2019.

The ebaa.news site appears to be closely linked to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), frequently quoting HTS spokesmen and sometimes reporting exclusive stories obtained from HTS. On 31 May 2018 HTS was designated by the US Department of State as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. The Coordinator for Counterterrorism noted that this designation "serves notice that the United States is not fooled by this al-Qa'ida affiliate's attempt to rebrand itself." In conclusion, the provenance of this story of a chemical attack on 19 May is dubious, and the extent to which the sources are independent of one another is not clear.

3.2 UK response

On 22 May John Woodcock MP asked at Prime Minister's Questions :

British experts are this morning investigating a suspected chlorine attack by al-Assad in Idlib. If it is proved, will she lead the international response against the return of this indiscriminate evil?

As expected, the Prime Minister gave a bellicose answer, but made no reference to OPCW.

We of course acted in Syria, with France and the United States, when we saw chemical weapons being used there. We are in close contact with the United States and are monitoring the situation closely, and if any use of chemical weapons is confirmed, we will respond appropriately.

Woodcock's "British experts" appear to have included HdBG, who had suggested in a tweet the day before that Woodcock should ask the Prime Minister about Idlib, though not about a chemical attack. In a subsequent tweet Woodcock stated that his experts were "on the ground in Syria".

3.3 French response

The daily press from the French foreign ministry on 22 May responded to a question on the alleged chemical attack on 19 May with:

We have noted with concern these allegations which must be investigated. We have full confidence in the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons .

3.4 US response

A press statement from State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus on 21 May dealt with the alleged chemical attack two days earlier:

Unfortunately, we continue to see signs that the Assad regime may be renewing its use of chemical weapons, including an alleged chlorine attack in northwest Syria on the morning of May 19, 2019. We are still gathering information on this incident, but we repeat our warning that if the Assad regime uses chemical weapons, the United States and our allies will respond quickly and appropriately.

She mentioned a " continuing disinformation campaign " to "create the false narrative that others are to blame for chemical weapons attacks that the Assad regime itself is conducting". The following day Mr James Jeffrey, the State Department's special representative to Syria, testified to the House Foreign Affairs Committee that "So far we cannot confirm [the reports of chemical weapons use] but we're watching it". The New York Times reported this to be a "carefully worded recalibration" of the announcement by Morgan Ortagus the day before, and that American military officials had "expressed surprise over the State Department's strong statement". 4 Comparison of the Engineering Assessment with the published Final Report

A comparison of the Engineering Assessment and the Final Report have been reported in outline form by McIntyre . As Larson has noted , there are indications in the Final Report that whoever drafted it had access to an earlier version of the Engineering Assessment (the released version dated 27 February 2019 is marked Rev 1) and was attempting to rebut it without overtly mentioning it. For instance the Engineering Assessment lists five points supporting the opinion of experts that the crater at location 2 had been created by a the explosion of a mortar round or artillery rocket rather than an impact from a falling object. These points included:

"an (unusually elevated, but possible) fragmentation pattern on upper walls"

"(whilst it was observed that a fire had been created in the corner of the room) black scorching on the crater underside and ceiling."

The Final Report states falsely that a fragmentation pattern, visible in open-source images, was absent:

The FFM analysed the damage on the rooftop terrace and below the crater in order to determine if it had been created by an explosive device. However, this hypothesis is unlikely given the absence of primary and secondary fragmentation characteristic of an explosion that may have created the crater and the damage surrounding it.

This is followed by a paragraph that notes the blackening of the ceiling and attributes it to the fire set in the room. The Final Report's allusion to the possibility of an explosive device, with mention of fragmentation pattern and the setting of a fire in the room appears to be an attempt to explain away the argument made in the Engineering Assessment.

We note that several of the key findings of the Engineering Assessment are based only on examination of the cylinders. For instance the Engineering Assessment reports that the cylinder at Location 2 bears no markings that would be consistent with the frame with fins (lying on the balcony) ever having been attached to it, let alone the markings that would be expected if the frame had been stripped off by impact. The Final Report records that the Syrian government insisted on retaining custody of the cylinders for criminal investigation purposes. Accordingly:

On 4 June, FFM team members tagged and sealed the cylinders from Locations 2 and 4, and documented the procedure.

A useful way to take forward the investigation of the Douma incident would now be for the Syrian government to invite an international team of neutral experts to examine the cylinders, to assess whether the observations support the findings of the Engineering Assessment or the conclusions of the published FFM Final Report, and to publish their findings in a form that allows peer review and reproducibility of results from data. The next step would be a criminal investigation of this incident, focusing on where, how and by whom were the 35 victims seen in images at Location 2 killed.

Posted at 02:37 AM in government , History , Syria , The Military Art , weapons | Permalink

Castellio , 29 May 2019 at 12:05 PM

Thank you for pursuing this issue in depth and with rigour.

Paul McKeigue , 29 May 2019 at 12:05 PM

If SST readers are confused by OPCW's constantly shifting explanations for why the Final Report on the Douma incident excluded the Engineering Assessment, they're not the only ones.

Yesterday OPCW released its official response (dated 21 May) to Russian criticisms (dated 26 April) of the Final Report of the Fact-Finding Mission on the Douma incident. In this response OPCW made, officially and on the record, the same argument as that made by Whitaker's "informed source: that to assess how the cylinders arrived in their positions was outside the mandate of the FFM.

Unfortunately for whoever thought up this defence, it is explicitly contradicted by both the Interim Report (published last July) and the Final Report, which state that the objective of the engineering studies was to evaluate how the cylinders arrived in position.

Peter Hitchens is on the case, and has listed these contradictions and requested an explanation from OPCW.

https://t.co/siF2D4yita

[May 28, 2019] Iran Won't Reward Trump's Aggression by DANIEL LARISON

Trump is sign of degeneration of the US political elite. Much like Pompeo and Bolton.
But his hostility to Iran is just desire to please people who control him and finance his re-election bid .
Notable quotes:
"... ran sees no prospect of negotiations with the United States, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Tuesday ..."
"... Iranian officials have repeatedly stated that there won't be any talks with the U.S. until our government rejoins the JCPOA. ..."
"... I don't see how Iranians could view Trump as anything other than a menace when one of his first acts as president was to declare all of them to be potential security threats with the unnecessary and cruel travel ban. His hostility to and contempt for Iran and its people have been intense and consistent for more than two years. ..."
"... When the president veers between "genocidal tweets" and disingenuous offers to talk, this doesn't come across as the work of a master negotiator but rather the impulsive babbling of a leader who can be easily enraged by the smallest and most inconsequential things that he happens to see on television ..."
"... Trump is not talking to Iran but his lackies in the U.S. MSM. They are seeing Iran as being fanatic and unreasonable in refusing to talk. This will be one of the justifications for war and permanent hostilities. ..."
"... I think you're wrong here. Trump doesn't hate or have contempt for Iranians. He's supremely indifferent to them. The hostility and contempt he has shown Iran and Iranians is meant to keep his major Israel and Saudi Arabia donors happy. That's been true from the beginning. Scores of millions in campaign contributions are riding on it. ..."
"... Increasingly, Donaldius Iohannes Trumpius reminds me of some latter day Roman emperor like Caligula or Nero. Absolute power, depravity, insatiable appetites for everything from power to money and women, a pathological lack of empathy, fawning courtiers – it's all there. ..."
May 28, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

In case there was any doubt, the Iranian government made clear that they were not interested in talking to Trump:

I ran sees no prospect of negotiations with the United States, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Tuesday , a day after U.S. President Donald Trump said a deal with Tehran on its nuclear program was possible.

Iranian officials have repeatedly stated that there won't be any talks with the U.S. until our government rejoins the JCPOA. That definitely won't happen under the current administration, so there has never been a realistic chance of starting up U.S.-Iranian negotiations in the near term. Everyone understands that, and that makes the president's random "offers" to talk all the more ridiculous. Iran has already been burned by Trump's decision to renege on the nuclear deal and wage economic war on the entire country, so there would have to be a major effort on the U.S. side to regain Iranian trust. The Trump administration would have to reverse course and undo every anti-Iranian thing that it has done over the last two years, and even then that would barely get the U.S. and Iran back to where they had been in 2017. Trump wouldn't ever do that because it would require him to admit being completely wrong.

Najmeh Bozorgmehr reports on how Iranians are adapting to life under U.S. economic warfare against them:

Iranian analysts tell me the US made one big mistake this time. It used almost all its non-military leverage against Iran over the wrong issue, because the country was not violating the 2015 nuclear accord. Iranians may despise their rulers but they are aware that the US is not righteous, either. How can they see Mr Trump as a saviour when he calls Iran "a nation of terror" and promises "the official end of Iran"?

I don't see how Iranians could view Trump as anything other than a menace when one of his first acts as president was to declare all of them to be potential security threats with the unnecessary and cruel travel ban. His hostility to and contempt for Iran and its people have been intense and consistent for more than two years. The complete lack of respect that Trump has shown to Iranian leaders and the Iranian people alike stands in sharp contrast to his fawning praise for the North Korean leader, and they cannot help but take that as an insult. It also isn't lost on the people being strangled by Trump's sanctions that they are being punished for abiding by an international agreement backed by the world's major powers while North Korea is celebrated after successfully defying the rest of the world by building up their nuclear arsenal and long-range missiles. Iran is being penalized because they trusted the U.S., and Trump has proven to them that this was a foolish thing for them to do. Why would they reward Trump's aggression and make the same mistake twice?

When the president veers between "genocidal tweets" and disingenuous offers to talk, this doesn't come across as the work of a master negotiator but rather the impulsive babbling of a leader who can be easily enraged by the smallest and most inconsequential things that he happens to see on television . As the North Koreans have also learned, no one can successfully negotiate with a person as unreliable and moody as Trump. No one in Iran's government is going to go out on a limb and take the political risk of engaging with the U.S. again after the last effort blew up in their faces, and Trump's mercurial instability guarantees that it would be a waste of everyone's time.


Sid Finster, says: May 28, 2019 at 12:00 pm

Why should Iran, when the United States will not abide by its agreements?

Christian J Chuba , says: May 28, 2019 at 1:20 pm

Trump is not talking to Iran but his lackies in the U.S. MSM. They are seeing Iran as being fanatic and unreasonable in refusing to talk. This will be one of the justifications for war and permanent hostilities.

Our own acts of aggression are completely ignored.

Horn City , says: May 28, 2019 at 1:57 pm

"His hostility to and contempt for Iran and its people have been intense and consistent for more than two years. "

I think you're wrong here. Trump doesn't hate or have contempt for Iranians. He's supremely indifferent to them. The hostility and contempt he has shown Iran and Iranians is meant to keep his major Israel and Saudi Arabia donors happy. That's been true from the beginning. Scores of millions in campaign contributions are riding on it.

Janwaar Bibi , says: May 28, 2019 at 2:18 pm

Increasingly, Donaldius Iohannes Trumpius reminds me of some latter day Roman emperor like Caligula or Nero. Absolute power, depravity, insatiable appetites for everything from power to money and women, a pathological lack of empathy, fawning courtiers – it's all there.

[May 28, 2019] PODCAST Michael Brenner on Trump-Russia It's about the Russian mob, not the Russian government -- but Mueller won't go there

May 23, 2019 | www.unz.com

Truth Jihad / Kevin Barrett May 23, 2019 9 Comments Reply

Will Trump's organized crime activity be buried by a bipartisan coverup?

International Affairs professor Michael Brenner writes:

"Mueller supposedly has forwarded some material to federal and New York State prosecutors who have clear legal authority in those domains. It has been known for at least two years, though, that substantial grounds (and evidence) already existed to bring several cases to a grand jury.

That suggests that serious action never will be taken. For one things, a number of prominent people would be exposed: e.g. Bibi Netanyahu, the heads of the Russo-Israeli mafias, Felix Sater, the twice convicted felon and Trump 'counsellor' who avoided a second prison term by agreeing to inform for the FBI and CIA but in fact worked both sides of the street, and God knows who else.

Just as the Panama Papers scandal disappeared over the horizon, and the big 5 financial families got away with massive money-laundering for the drug cartels, and Deutsche Bank was granted immunity by Angela Merkel despite their multiple criminal activities, so will the Trump affair die out in obscurity."

In this interview we discuss Trump-Russia and the deep state, disagree about 9/11, but agree that high-level corruption is out of control.

Michael Brenner is Professor of International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh; a Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations, SAIS-Johns Hopkins (Washington, D.C.), contributor to research and consulting projects on Euro-American security and economic issues. He publishes and teaches in the fields of American foreign policy, Euro-American relations, and the European Union.


Haxo Angmark , says: Website May 23, 2019 at 9:22 pm GMT

see if you can figure out why this movie got no (((theatre distribution))):

https://www.youtube.com/embed/HSf_lgV3KYw?feature=oembed

Curmudgeon , says: May 24, 2019 at 6:01 pm GMT
The Russian Mafia isn't Russian, it's (((Russian))), just as it is in the US. They just use Russians (or Italians in the US) as front men.
anon26_ , says: May 25, 2019 at 3:13 am GMT
@Haxo Angmark Anything specific, other than the fact that the Russian mob is mostly ((()))?
The scalpel , says: Website May 26, 2019 at 2:38 am GMT
@Haxo Angmark I just watched the movie. Its good! That's probably why it wasn't seen in theatres lol.
Sean , says: May 26, 2019 at 9:34 am GMT
Trump did business with cement companies run by mafioso thugs because they also controlled the unions and would call strikes if crossed. He was basically a target for shakedowns, and Trump knew those people were not anyone to profitably do business with. I am sure Russian-Israeli organised crime would be the same.

Anything to do with the Mafia back in the days of Gotti was massively investigated Trump is too wary and careful with his money to get burned that way.

As Halifax observed, men often mistake themselves but they never forget themselves, so I would think it is neither conspiracy as Barrett says or the incompetence which Brenner suggests.

You did not need to be in the CIA to have an inkling. In fact the whole plan was virtually public knowledge beforehand. It was broadcast on the BBC well before 9/11 that mullahs in London mosques were advocating the highjacking of airplanes and crashing them into American skyscrapers. This fact was subsequently alluded to by BBC reporters in the aftermath of 9/11.

I think it is becoming clear that a disproportionate amount of FBI and NY DA's resources were put into chasing the Mafia instead of Muslim terrorism.

Giuliani made such a reputation on the back of prosecuting the Mafia, and then the FBI had a household name like Gotti to go after, that the careerists in law enforcement doubled down on a bunch of low level racketeers, even after the first WTC attack.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/al-qaeda-and-the-mob-how_b_34336

The belief that somehow the Mafia was more of a threat to New York than al Qaeda -- that caused the FBI to let their guard down on the bin Laden threat. [ ]

There is now little doubt that if the Feds had devoted as much energy to a surveillance of Sphinx as they had to the Ravenite Social Club, they would have been in the middle of the 9/11 plot months before Black Tuesday. Because in July of 2001, Khalid al-Midhar and Salem al-Hazmi got their fake I.D.'s delivered to them in a mailbox at the identical location the FBI had been onto in the decade since El Sayyid Nosair had killed Meier Kahane. The man who supplied those fake ID's that allowed al-Midhar and al-Hazmi to board A.A. Flight #77 that hit the Pentagon, was none other than Mohammed El-Attriss the co-incorporator of Sphinx with Waleed al-Noor – whom Patrick Fitzgerald had put on the unindicted co-conspirators list along with bin Laden and Ali Mohamed in 1995.

Haxo Angmark , says: Website May 26, 2019 at 9:16 pm GMT
@anon26_ that, and the fact that it's race-realist throughout. Note, for instance, the early juxtaposition of the 2 rich "Russian" mafia Jew sisters (played to the hilt by 2 Jewesses, Gal Gadot and Kate Winslett) reading to the half-'groid kid (while getting their feet manicured) with the elementally poor-but-good, White cop's wife reading to their White kid. It's full of subtle stuff like this, but you have to see it a few times to pick it all out. I also like the way they got actual spic 'bangers playing spic 'bangers. That worked.
restless94110 , says: May 28, 2019 at 12:03 am GMT
@Haxo Angmark I saw this film a year ago and I can tell you exectly why it got no distribution:

It was a shitty, mean-spirited story of horrible people robbing, stealing, killing for no good reasons. Yeah there were reasons but none of them were good ones.

Furthermore the tragic ending made absoutely no sense and was just a stupid contrivance. Despite good acting from Gal Gadot, Woody and Alfeck, nothing could save this movie.

I needed to shower and scrub myself 10 times after watching this horrible nonsense.

Horrible in every respect.

I know that wasn't what you were expecting. It's because of the Jews. Ugh. Had nothing to do with that, but a lot to do with how the movie tested and it tested poorly because if you watch it, you hate humanity and yourself just from this movie.

Highly unrecommended.

[May 28, 2019] Any time you read an article (or a comment) on Russia, substitute the word Jew for Russian and International Jewry for Russia and re-read.

Highly recommended!
May 28, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Sid Finster says: May 23, 2019 at 11:06 am

Any time you read an article (or a comment) on Russia, substitute the word "Jew" for "Russian" and "International Jewry" for "Russia" and re-read.

If the revised article would not look out of place in Der Stuermer, that should tell you something.

[May 27, 2019] Neofascists as a variety of True Believers

May 27, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

CitizenOne , May 23, 2019 at 23:42

John Bolton is a True Believer. The True Believer mindset is manifest in terrorist acts. True Believers have signed onto the ideology that dictates that True Believers must act in any way to oppose their perceived enemy. War is not a last option for the True Believer. Terrorist attacks are not beyond the possible actions of the True Believer. The True Believer has one goal which is to defeat the perceived enemy at all costs and which will use all means to do so including violent attacks on innocent persons.

Terrorists are usually members of organizations that have a True Believer mentality and can rationalize unspeakable acts of terror in order to wipe out innocents if that will further their cause.

What is the advantage of enlisting True Believers and how do they further the causes of their affiliated organizations? That is the same question that we ask about terrorist organizations that imagine and create violent acts in order to fulfill the plans of the terrorist organization.

What is the motivation of a terrorist to strap on an explosive vest and wander into a crowd of innocent people and detonate their explosives? Why are they willing to commit suicide in order to kill a whole bunch of people that they have no quarrel with?

The answer is that they are True Believers in their cause and will do anything to advance the agenda of their affiliated organizations including murder.

The problem we face today is the ideological domination of opposing forces which will absolutely send Kamikaze's to their death in order to win.

It works both ways. The US is determined to wipe out opposition to its interests even if that means that warships will rain down explosives on anyone they remotely suspect is an enemy of the ideology of the West. We are willing to go to war with our perceived enemies even if it means that millions of innocents will be killed in the process of defeating our ideologically opposed enemies.

On the other side the ideological goals of the countries we attack is also aligned to commit mass atrocities and use of illegal weapons in order to win their bid to destroy the United States or its allies notably Israel.

There are True Believers on each side that are willing to inflict mass casualties on the other in order to preserve their ideology.

Iran is surely guilty of vowing the destruction of Israel and the US is also guilty of vowing the destruction of Iran. Each ideology depends on True Believers to take the stakes to the ultimate goal of annihilation of the enemy.

We have a choice in this. We can decide whether or not the differences in ideology are worth war.

The big issue we face is whether or not we trust those opposed to our policies and actions will try diplomacy despite historical diplomatic failures on both sides leading to the clash of ideologies and ending in a military solution. I say "we trust" because we are also on the line to trust the opposition with plenty of history which has shown that diplomacy doesn't work.

The even bigger issue is the geopolitical strategy of nations which seek to control huge natural resources like oil. This issue is at the top of every national agenda of oil states and is the reason we quarrel with oil rich nations that seek to place ideological political restrictions on the free flow of oil or depend on the money provided by the sale of the resources to advance an agenda which is opposed to the West. It is the reason that Iran seeks to dominate the politics of the region and intervene when we try to interfere with their economic output with sanctions based on ideological differences that end in official US sanctions which are the economic equivalent of warfare on Iran.

We see economic sanctions on Iran as the least violent way of dissuading them from carrying out their anti western agenda especially their anti Israel agenda which includes lots of funding for the True Believers (terrorists) who are willing to die for the "Cause" to destroy Israel.

The Iranians see sanctions as a an unwarranted threat to their economy and are even more determined to fund groups that try to defeat the Western policies that include support for Israel they see as an illegal foreign power occupying Muslim lands.

It is no surprise that the tensions in the Middle East have resulted in the rise of the True Believers on both sides based equally on economic and ideological differences. Each side is steeped in the belief that the survival of their culture and their economy is at stake. There can be little doubt that these differences amount to a potential powder keg.

Layered on top of the clash is the historical realization that compromise and diplomacy have failed in the past and that the failure of diplomacy has resulted in war. Neville Chamberlain's efforts to secure "peace within our time" by capitulating to German demands are seared on everyone who has a responsibility to prevent war. It was a huge mistake to believe that Hitler would abide by a piece of paper. Huge mistake is an understatement for the millions who lost their lives.

We need to use historical facts to guide future actions. Prevention of war via diplomacy has been thoroughly debunked by historical facts such as WWII. The belief of Western nations and their content that promises of aggressors promising peace would be honored has a historical and factual basis proving that the peaceful approach and the trust in aggressors to abide with peace plans leads to World War, death, destruction etc. WWII was certainly a formative event for the West which has since forged its disdain for diplomacy based on the history of world war.

Enter Donald Trump, President of the United States of America. A tragically flawed man who is just as tragically flawed as all of the rest of us as the leader of our nation. We are so tragically flawed in so many ways we cannot count them all. We wanted a president who was first and foremost a businessman. We wanted a populist president as we always do but we got a rich and privileged president who has done his level best to support the rich which is not exactly a populist notion by filling the swamp rather than draining it. We have a president that calls all the news "fake" but who also spends his time in conversations with the right wing media never assuming that right wing views of the news of the day might just be the real fake news. Fake news to him is talk from the left.

Where does all this end up? It is anybody's guess.

[May 27, 2019] The Pathology of John Bolton by Joe Lauria

In short Bolton is a neofascist.
Notable quotes:
"... Most diplomats, officials, and journalists were shocked that Bolton (evading confirmation with a recess appointment) had actually become the U.S. representative, given his long, public disdain for the UN ..."
"... It's been the strategy of Republican administrations to appoint the fiercest critic to head an agency or institution in order to weaken it, perhaps even fatally. ..."
"... Bolton possesses an abiding self-righteousness rooted in what seems a sincere belief in the myth of American greatness, mixed with deep personal failings hidden from public view. ..."
"... It is more than an ideology. It's fanaticism. Bolton believes America is exceptional and indispensible and superior to all other nations and isn't afraid to say so. ..."
"... Bolton's all too willing to make his bullying personal on behalf of the state. He implicitly threatened the children of José Bustani, who Vice President Dick Cheney wanted out of his job as head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons because Bustani had gotten Iraq to agree to join the chemical weapons protocol, thereby making it harder for the U.S. to invade Iraq. ..."
"... We saw a pattern of Mr. Bolton trying to manipulate intelligence to justify his views. If it had happened once, maybe. But it came up multiple times, and always it was the same underlying issue: he would stake out a position, and then, if the intelligence didn't support it, he would try to exaggerate the intelligence and marginalize the officials who had produced it." ..."
"... Bolton is no fan of democracy if things don't go his way. He is a vociferous instigator of the so-far failed U.S. coup in Venezuela and of course Bolton organized the "Brooks Brothers riot" that disrupted the recounting of votes in Florida in the disputed 2000 presidential election ..."
"... This is a common ruling class tactic in the U.S. to portray disobedient leaders ripe for overthrow as Hitler. Saddam was Hitler, Milosevic was Hitler, Noriega was Hitler and Hillary Clinton called Putin Hitler. It is a false revival of U.S. glory from World War II to paint foreign adventures as moral crusades, rather than naked aggression in pursuit of profits and power. ..."
"... Bolton is the distillation of the pathology of American power. He is unique only in the purity of this pathology. ..."
"... Two months after Bolton was appointed national security adviser, in June 2018, Trump pulled the U.S. out of the six-nation deal that has seen Tehran curtail its nuclear enrichment program in exchange for relaxation of U.S. and international sanctions. ..."
"... Both Israel and Saudi Arabia, lacking the military firepower of the United States, have long tried to get the U.S. to fight its wars, and one no more important than against its common enemy. ..."
"... It is the typical provocation of a bully: threaten someone with a cruise missile and the moment they pick up a knife in self-defense you attack, conveniently leaving the initial threat out of the story. It then becomes: "Iran picked up a knife. We have to blow them away with cruise missiles." ..."
"... The New York Times that day reported : "Privately, several European officials described Mr. Bolton and Mr. Pompeo as pushing an unsuspecting Mr. Trump through a series of steps that could put the United States on a course to war before the president realizes it." ..."
"... Pompeo told a radio interviewer after the briefing that the U.S. had still not determined who attacked two Saudi, a Norwegian and an Emirati oil tanker in the Gulf last week, which bore the hallmarks of a provocation. Pompeo said "it seems like it's quite possible that Iran was behind" the attacks. ..."
"... But also last Sunday he told Fox News that the "military-industrial complex" is real and "they do like war" and they "went nuts" when he said he wanted to withdraw troops from Syria. Trump said he didn't want war with Iran, here possibly reflecting Israel's views. ..."
"... Joe, nice piece of work covering the psycho-pathology of America's leading nazi! ..."
"... To correct one of your statements: Trump DID NOT appoint him National Security Adviser, but Adelson and Mercer did. Trump is a brain-dead, blackmailed puppet who fancies himself as POTUS ..."
"... Everybody I know who is following the Washington Beltway histrionics of Trump et al know full-well that a certain intelligence agency of a small Middle East domiciled country have THE definitive dossier on Trump and have been building it for the last five decades. ..."
"... The Bolton-Pompeo-Pence presidency is destined to go down in history as one of infamy and treason. Trump? dead-man walking, more than likely by a stroke-heart attack when he's popping out one of his idiotic and manic tweets! ..."
"... John Bolton is a psychopath, He should be dismissed immediately, but I think that he should be institutionalized. ..."
"... Yeah Joe, it wasn't just you and other reporters who were stunned by Bolton's recess appt to the UN by W -- - many of us were staggered by the jaw-dropping inappropriateness of it, ..."
"... But, as you accurately mentioned, the Republicans had long-ago (I recall first hearing about it during Nixon's reign, with Earl Butz) used that gambit to effectively sabotage regulatory agencies & depts. Rather than try to dissolve an agency that most people want, they can neutralize it by appointing some hack or lobbyist for the entity being regulated so that nothing meaningful gets done, AND it has the 'beneficial' effect of discrediting the agency involved, and government in general, which is what many libertarian-inclined Republicans like. ..."
"... Israel doesnt want the US to attack Iran Well that is BS! Israel and its Fifth Column in the US have agitated for the US to attack Iran for years .we've all seen and heard it .and now they want to try to wipe our memories of their war mongering with their typical hasbara in the NYT and Netanyahu claiming .'oh we have nothing to do with it." ..."
"... Bolton is a psychopath but he is Sheldon Adelson's errand boy .who Bolton met with in Las Vegas the week before Trump appointed him and Adelson is the Orange carnival barker's 100 million dollar donor. ..."
"... Trump's incoherent mixture of neoconservative & isolationism almost make him a Bush! ..."
"... I assume Trump knows what a 'neocon' but is so indebted to Israel and intoxicated by Islamophobic rhetoric that he cannot free himself from his addiction to surrounding himself with more neo-cons ..."
"... The progression from Flynn to McMaster to Bolton was just selecting between neocon flavors for his National Security Advisers. What a joke of a nation! ..."
"... I appreciate the article, but it doesn't mention Israel, which is the fountainhead of the agenda to take out Iran, Iraq, and Syria. ..."
"... "Overall, 28 sitting senators have received sizable contributions from John Bolton PAC during the election cycle, as have nine representatives on the House defense, foreign affairs, and homeland security subcommittees." ..."
"... Don't forget who told Donald Trump to hire John Bolton. It was Steve Bannon and Roger Ailes. ..."
"... They like Bolton because he is "incapable of empathy and good on Israel." ..."
"... The NYT has indeed supported wars but it is not alone nor is this a recent trend. There is a very old trend of the commercial news establishments becoming war hawks and regurtitators of official propaganda whenever the USA wants to pick a fight. It goes back to the period after the establishment of the nation when expansionism set its roots down and what grew out of that is pretty much the same kind of nationalistic propaganda we see today. ..."
May 23, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Special to Consortium News 129 Comments

John Bolton has been saying for years he wants the Iranian government overthrown, and now he's made his move. But this time he may have gone too far, writes Joe Lauria.

I knew John Bolton and interacted with him on a nearly daily basis with my colleagues in the press corps at United Nations headquarters in New York when Bolton was the United States ambassador there from August 2005 to December 2006.

Most diplomats, officials, and journalists were shocked that Bolton (evading confirmation with a recess appointment) had actually become the U.S. representative, given his long, public disdain for the UN. But that turned out to be the point. It's been the strategy of Republican administrations to appoint the fiercest critic to head an agency or institution in order to weaken it, perhaps even fatally.

Bolton's most infamous quote about the UN followed him into the building. In 1994 he had said : "The Secretariat building in New York has 38 stories. If it lost ten stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference."

But a more telling comment in that same 1994 conference was when he said that no matter what the UN decides the U.S. will do whatever it wants:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/VOINBs8eOdk?feature=oembed

Bolton sees such frank admissions as signs of strength, not alarm.

He is a humorless man, who at the UN at least, seemed to always think he was the smartest person in the room. He once gave a lecture in 2006 at the U.S. mission to UN correspondents, replete with a chalk board, on how nuclear enrichment worked. His aim, of course, was to convince us that Iran was close to a bomb, even though a 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate being prepared at the time said Tehran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program in 2003.

I thought I'd challenge him one day at the press stakeout outside the Security Council chamber, where Bolton often stopped to lecture journalists on what they should write. "If the United States and Britain had not overthrown a democratically elected government in Iran in 1953 would the United States be today faced with a revolutionary government enriching uranium?' I asked him.

"That's an interesting question," he told me, "but for another time and another place." It was a time and a place, of course, that never came.

More Than an Ideology

Bolton possesses an abiding self-righteousness rooted in what seems a sincere belief in the myth of American greatness, mixed with deep personal failings hidden from public view.

He seemed perpetually angry and it wasn't clear whether it was over some personal or diplomatic feud. He seems to take personally nations standing up to America, binding his sense of personal power with that of the United States.

It is more than an ideology. It's fanaticism. Bolton believes America is exceptional and indispensible and superior to all other nations and isn't afraid to say so. He'd have been better off perhaps in the McKinley administration, before the days of PR-sugarcoating of imperial aggression. He's not your typical passive-aggressive government official. He's aggressive-aggressive.

And now Bolton is ordering 120,000 troops to get ready and an aircraft carrier to steam towards Iran.

Bolton's all too willing to make his bullying personal on behalf of the state. He implicitly threatened the children of José Bustani, who Vice President Dick Cheney wanted out of his job as head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons because Bustani had gotten Iraq to agree to join the chemical weapons protocol, thereby making it harder for the U.S. to invade Iraq.

After Bolton's failed 2005 confirmation hearings, Tony Blinken, the then staff director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told The New Yorker 's Dexter Filkins:

"We saw a pattern of Mr. Bolton trying to manipulate intelligence to justify his views. If it had happened once, maybe. But it came up multiple times, and always it was the same underlying issue: he would stake out a position, and then, if the intelligence didn't support it, he would try to exaggerate the intelligence and marginalize the officials who had produced it."

Bolton is no fan of democracy if things don't go his way. He is a vociferous instigator of the so-far failed U.S. coup in Venezuela and of course Bolton organized the "Brooks Brothers riot" that disrupted the recounting of votes in Florida in the disputed 2000 presidential election.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/MbVtROU9J_E?feature=oembed

What is alarming about the above video is not so much that he justifies lying, but the example he gives: lying to cover up military plans like the invasion of Normandy. This is a common ruling class tactic in the U.S. to portray disobedient leaders ripe for overthrow as Hitler. Saddam was Hitler, Milosevic was Hitler, Noriega was Hitler and Hillary Clinton called Putin Hitler. It is a false revival of U.S. glory from World War II to paint foreign adventures as moral crusades, rather than naked aggression in pursuit of profits and power.

Bolton is the distillation of the pathology of American power. He is unique only in the purity of this pathology.

Regime Change for Iran

The U.S. national security adviser has been saying for years he wants the Iranian government overthrown, and now he's made his move. But this time John Bolton may have flown too high.

He was chosen for his post by a president with limited understanding of international affairs -- if real estate is not involved -- and one who loves to be sucked up to. Trump is Bolton's perfect cover.

But hubris may have finally bested Bolton. He had never before maneuvered himself into such a position of power, though he'd left a trail of chaos at lower levels of government. Sitting opposite the Resolute desk on a daily basis has presented a chance to implement his plans.

At the top of that agenda has been Bolton's stated aim for years: to bomb and topple the Iranian government.

Thus Bolton was the driving force to get a carrier strike force sent to the Persian Gulf and, according to The New York Times, on May 14 , it was he who "ordered" a Pentagon plan to prepare 120,000 U.S. troops for the Gulf. These were to be deployed "if Iran attacked American forces or accelerated its work on nuclear weapons."

Two months after Bolton was appointed national security adviser, in June 2018, Trump pulled the U.S. out of the six-nation deal that has seen Tehran curtail its nuclear enrichment program in exchange for relaxation of U.S. and international sanctions.

At the time of Bolton's appointment in April 2018, Tom Countryman, who had been undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, as had Bolton, predicted to The Intercept that if Iran resumed enrichment after the U.S. left the deal, it "would be the kind of excuse that a person like Bolton would look to to create a military provocation or direct attack on Iran."

In response to ever tightening sanctions, Iran said on May 5 (May 6 in Tehran) that it would indeed restart partial nuclear enrichment. On the same day, Bolton announced the carrier strike group was headed to the Gulf.

Bolton Faces Resistance

If this were a normally functioning White House, in which imperial moves are normally made, a president would order military action, and not a national security adviser.

"I don't think Trump is smart enough to realize what Bolton and [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo are doing to him,"

former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel told RT's Afshin Rattansi this week.

"They have manipulated him. When you get the national security adviser who claims that he ordered an aircraft carrier flotilla to go into the Persian Gulf, we've never seen that. In the days of Henry Kissinger, who really brought sway, he never ordered this, and if it was ordered it was done behind closed doors."

Bolton claimed he acted on intelligence that Iran was poised to attack U.S. interests close to Iran.

Both Israel and Saudi Arabia, lacking the military firepower of the United States, have long tried to get the U.S. to fight its wars, and one no more important than against its common enemy. An editorial on May 16 in the Saudi English-language news outlet, Arab News , called for a U.S. "surgical strike" on Iran. But The New York Times reported on the same day that though Israel was behind Bolton's "intelligence" about an Iranian threat, Israel does not want the U.S. to attack Iran causing a full-scale war.

The intelligence alleged Iran was fitting missiles on fishing boats in the Gulf. Imagine a government targeted by the most powerful military force in history wanting to defend itself in its own waters.

Bolton also said Iran was threatening Western interests in Iraq, which led eventually to non-essential U.S. diplomatic staff leaving Baghdad and Erbil.

It is the typical provocation of a bully: threaten someone with a cruise missile and the moment they pick up a knife in self-defense you attack, conveniently leaving the initial threat out of the story. It then becomes: "Iran picked up a knife. We have to blow them away with cruise missiles."

But this time the bully is being challenged. Federica Mogherini, the EU's high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, resisted the U.S. on Iran when she met Pompeo in Brussels on May 13.

"It's always better to talk, rather than not to, and especially when tensions arise Mike Pompeo heard that very clearly today from us," said Mogherini. "We are living in a crucial, delicate moment where the most relevant attitude to take – the most responsible attitude to take – is and we believe should be, that of maximum restraint and avoiding any escalation on the military side."

The New York Times that day reported : "Privately, several European officials described Mr. Bolton and Mr. Pompeo as pushing an unsuspecting Mr. Trump through a series of steps that could put the United States on a course to war before the president realizes it."

Ghika: No new threat from Iran. (YouTube)

British Maj. Gen. Chris Ghika then said on May 14: "There has been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq or Syria." Ghika was rebuked by U.S. Central Command, whose spokesman said, "Recent comments from OIR's Deputy Commander run counter to the identified credible threats available to intelligence from U.S. and allies regarding Iranian-backed forces in the region."

A day later it was Trump himself, however, who was said to be resisting Bolton. On May 15 The Washington Post reported:

"President Trump is frustrated with some of his top advisers, who he thinks could rush the United States into a military confrontation with Iran and shatter his long-standing pledge to withdraw from costly foreign wars, according to several U.S. officials. Trump prefers a diplomatic approach to resolving tensions and wants to speak directly with Iran's leaders."

The Times reported the next day:

"President Trump has told his acting defense secretary, Patrick Shanahan, that he does not want to go to war with Iran, according to several administration officials, in a message to his hawkish aides that an intensifying American pressure campaign against the clerical-led government in Tehran must not escalate into open conflict."

Then it was the Democrats who stood up to Bolton. On Tuesday Pompeo and Shanahan briefed senators and representatives behind closed doors on Capitol Hill regarding the administration's case for confronting Iran.

"Are they (Iran) reacting to us, or are we doing these things in reaction to them? That is a major question I have, that I still have," Sen. Angus King told reporters after the briefing. "What we view as defensive, they view as provocative. Or vice versa."

Democratic Representative Ruben Gallego told reporters after the briefing: "I believe there is a certain level of escalation of both sides that could become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The feedback loop tells us they're escalating for war, but they could just be escalating because we're escalating."

Pompeo told a radio interviewer after the briefing that the U.S. had still not determined who attacked two Saudi, a Norwegian and an Emirati oil tanker in the Gulf last week, which bore the hallmarks of a provocation. Pompeo said "it seems like it's quite possible that Iran was behind" the attacks.

Bolton was conspicuously absent from the closed-door briefing.

It's Up to Trump

Trump has pinballed all over the place on Iran. He called the Times and Post stories about him resisting Bolton "fake news."

"The Fake News Media is hurting our Country with its fraudulent and highly inaccurate coverage of Iran. It is scattershot, poorly sourced (made up), and DANGEROUS. At least Iran doesn't know what to think, which at this point may very well be a good thing!" Trump tweeted on May 17.

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

The Fake News Media is hurting our Country with its fraudulent and highly inaccurate coverage of Iran. It is scattershot, poorly sourced (made up), and DANGEROUS. At least Iran doesn't know what to think, which at this point may very well be a good thing!

77.7K 9:44 AM - May 17, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy
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Then he threatened what could be construed as genocide against Iran. "If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!" he tweeted on Sunday.

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!

239K 4:25 PM - May 19, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy
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But also last Sunday he told Fox News that the "military-industrial complex" is real and "they do like war" and they "went nuts" when he said he wanted to withdraw troops from Syria. Trump said he didn't want war with Iran, here possibly reflecting Israel's views.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/vc4vYWJfJnE?feature=oembed

On Monday he implied that the crisis has been drummed up to get Iran to negotiate.

"The Fake News put out a typically false statement, without any knowledge that the United States was trying to set up a negotiation with Iran. This is a false report ."

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

The Fake News put out a typically false statement, without any knowledge that the United States was trying to set up a negotiation with Iran. This is a false report....

80.8K 1:30 PM - May 20, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy
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John Bolton must be stopped before he gets his war. It is beyond troubling that the man we have to count on to do it is Donald Trump.

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former correspondent for T he Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe , Sunday Times of London and numerous other newspapers. He can be reached at joelauria@consortiumnews.com and followed on Twitter @unjoe .


Jym Allyn , May 26, 2019 at 19:27

Or as Pogo said, "We have met the enemy and he is US." As in the lies that created the Vietnam war and the waste of 58,000 American soldiers and thousand of Vietnamese. Or the lie that Iran is our enemy when we funded and encouraged Saddam to attack them and destroyed their attempt to have a secular government.

Or the lie of the WMD's and the 9/11 attack which was funded by Saudi Arabia, and run by Saudis and NOT Iraq.

Or the lies of Afghanistan which was economically and culturally better off when it was controlled by the USSR...

John Hawk , May 26, 2019 at 16:56

Joe, nice piece of work covering the psycho-pathology of America's leading nazi!

To correct one of your statements: Trump DID NOT appoint him National Security Adviser, but Adelson and Mercer did. Trump is a brain-dead, blackmailed puppet who fancies himself as POTUS.

It can't get any more delusional than this. Everybody I know who is following the Washington Beltway histrionics of Trump et al know full-well that a certain intelligence agency of a small Middle East domiciled country have THE definitive dossier on Trump and have been building it for the last five decades.

After all, deception is their game and they use it liberally, like feeding their agenda to Bolton as 'intelligence' info of the highest order. The Bolton-Pompeo-Pence presidency is destined to go down in history as one of infamy and treason. Trump? dead-man walking, more than likely by a stroke-heart attack when he's popping out one of his idiotic and manic tweets!

Zhu , May 26, 2019 at 03:20

If Bolton were struck by lightning tomorrow morning, would anything change much? I doubt it. We Americans are as warlike as the ancient Assyrian. We've been slaughtering Indians, Koreans, SE Asians, Central Americans, and multiple Middle Eastern people for a looong time. It is flattering to blame this individual or th t country, but no. We, as a community, are all responsible to some degree. Even me, on the far side of the world.

Alex , May 25, 2019 at 21:50

Bolton's choosing destroyed IRAN but staying friends with Saudi Arabia it's so contradicting, and so obvious that he is influenced to behave this way is because Israelies influence. Saudy Kingdom using Bolton to get IRAN so Saudy will be only country promote Extreme version of Wahhabi Islam which is didn't existed In Islam's history.

So Bolton's obsession with destruction of Iran is ignorance as its best. September 11th suspects were most of them Saudy nationals, yet nobody wanted to talk about it, because there is irony that, George W Bush was and probably still doing business with Saudy. So how can you explain that to American people? No you can not.

Perhaps collectively hypnotism !

OlyaPola , May 26, 2019 at 02:58

" So how can you explain that to American people?"

Given that useful fools are useful, why would you want to?

" No you can not."

An illustration of the benefits of dumbing down do not accrue solely to those actively engaged in dumbing down, facilitating the minimising of blowback during implementation of strategies based on "How to drown a drowning man with the minimum of blowback", given that many believe that critical mass is a function of linear notions of 50% +1 and above; a further conflation of quantity with quality to which the opponents are prone.

William , May 25, 2019 at 19:06

John Bolton is a psychopath, He should be dismissed immediately, but I think that he should be institutionalized. Put him in a strait jacket and keep him in a padded cell. He poses a threat to millions of people.

Eddie S , May 25, 2019 at 11:26

Yeah Joe, it wasn't just you and other reporters who were stunned by Bolton's recess appt to the UN by W -- - many of us were staggered by the jaw-dropping inappropriateness of it, IF it was assessed from a pro-peace perspective.

But, as you accurately mentioned, the Republicans had long-ago (I recall first hearing about it during Nixon's reign, with Earl Butz) used that gambit to effectively sabotage regulatory agencies & depts. Rather than try to dissolve an agency that most people want, they can neutralize it by appointing some hack or lobbyist for the entity being regulated so that nothing meaningful gets done, AND it has the 'beneficial' effect of discrediting the agency involved, and government in general, which is what many libertarian-inclined Republicans like.

Good article about a reprehensible politician.

renfro , May 25, 2019 at 11:18

"But The New York Times reported on the same day that though Israel was behind Bolton's "intelligence" about an Iranian threat, Israel does not want the U.S. to attack Iran causing a full-scale war. "
________________________________

Israel doesnt want the US to attack Iran Well that is BS!
Israel and its Fifth Column in the US have agitated for the US to attack Iran for years .we've all seen and heard it .and now they want to try to wipe our memories of their war mongering with their typical hasbara in the NYT and Netanyahu claiming .'oh we have nothing to do with it."

Bolton is a psychopath but he is Sheldon Adelson's errand boy .who Bolton met with in Las Vegas the week before Trump appointed him and Adelson is the Orange carnival barker's 100 million dollar donor.

Seriously, how stupid do they think we are? If we attack Iran it will be for the Zionist and Saudis and we all know it.

Luther Bliss , May 25, 2019 at 10:57

Trump's incoherent mixture of neoconservative & isolationism almost make him a Bush!

Remember it wasn't until Bush JR's second term that he asked his father, "What's A Neocon?" to which Pappy Bush replied, "Israel."

I assume Trump knows what a 'neocon' but is so indebted to Israel and intoxicated by Islamophobic rhetoric that he cannot free himself from his addiction to surrounding himself with more neo-cons.

The progression from Flynn to McMaster to Bolton was just selecting between neocon flavors for his National Security Advisers. What a joke of a nation!

Mark , May 25, 2019 at 02:30

I appreciate the article, but it doesn't mention Israel, which is the fountainhead of the agenda to take out Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Bolton stands out for his extremity among extremists, but he's a means rather than the end. The agenda is something into which he bought, passionately by all indications, but which a paucity of other people created strictly to advance their own, tiny, exclusive clan, not for the benefit of the United States.

Hank , May 25, 2019 at 09:43

To think that this administration campaigned on a promise to restrict future wasteful and needless interventions and then hired this dinosaur of a warmonger makes my blood curl! Everyone with half a brain knows what Bolton's agenda is yet here he is leading the USA into a war at the behest of a foreign nation led by a felon and terrorist! The American people who want peace and their tax dollars invested into improving the USA have once again been stabbed in the back by a conniving administration. Will this cycle of non-democracy ever end? Until it does, future administrations will continue on just like previous ones- kowtowing to special interests, in particular the military/industrial mafia and the apartheid criminal state of Israel! All this massive business of holding "elections" in the USA, all the talk about "Russian collusion" and the REAL collusion is right there in front of us all- the US administration has once again COLLUDED to go back on a campaign promise and once again open the money trough for the military/industrialist pigs!

Mark , May 26, 2019 at 05:31

I get the idea, but it's necessary to look 'behind' back-stabbing, conniving, colluding administrations, and Bolton, and the military/industrial complex, and to bring Israel and some barely known U.S. history, at least back to World War I, explicitly to the fore for public scrutiny. That's a monumental task, to say the least, owing to American attention spans and the contrary interests of the powers that be.

Taras77 , May 24, 2019 at 20:24

Bolton has his own well funded PAC, from which he is free to "contribute" (bribe) sychophant congress individuals. What a situation for the fix for war.

https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2019/05/interests-pushing-for-hard-line-against-iran/

"Overall, 28 sitting senators have received sizable contributions from John Bolton PAC during the election cycle, as have nine representatives on the House defense, foreign affairs, and homeland security subcommittees."

ricardo2000 , May 24, 2019 at 17:29

By far the most productive, and most verifiable, way to eliminate weapons is at a negotiating table. The easiest way to start a war is with ignorant blather.

O Society , May 24, 2019 at 16:09

Don't forget who told Donald Trump to hire John Bolton. It was Steve Bannon and Roger Ailes.

They like Bolton because he is "incapable of empathy and good on Israel."

Trump initially declined on Bolton because "he doesn't like Bolton's moustache."

Kool Aid drinkers and idiots. We're being lead by a cult of morons who worship the bombs, money, and a white separatist state.

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/01/michael-wolff-fire-and-fury-book-donald-trump.html?gtm=bottom

Truth First , May 24, 2019 at 11:40

They don't call him, 'Bonkers' Bolton for nothin'.

Pedro Masculino Ghirotti , May 24, 2019 at 10:53

Nice piece Joe, but you just forgot to mention who Bolton actually works for, the Israelis.

JOHN CHUCKMAN , May 24, 2019 at 07:11

"Pathology." That's exactly the right word. But I think it has a wider application. See:

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2019/05/11/john-chuckman-comment-why-trump-doesnt-rein-in-bolton-dismal-bolton-pompeo-and-abrams-are-part-of-the-price-trump-paid-for-political-support-against-threats-he-felt-and-getting-a-big-pile-of-ca/

old geezer , May 26, 2019 at 13:08

an accurate, concise review.

i doubt the iranians will test a nuke until after djt is out of office. after that you might wake up one morning and everything you knew before becomes quite obsolete.

my guess is israel has stealth cruise missiles with h bombs. it would be very foolish of them to not have them. those descendants of egyptian slaves are anything but foolish.

Sam , May 27, 2019 at 00:33

@ CitizenOne: Thank you for your long comment. I agree with much of what you wrote, but would like to know why you claimed, "Iran is surely guilty of vowing the destruction of Israel " . According to what I've read, Iran has not initiated hostilities with any nation for over a century – a clear, peaceful contrast to the rogue states of Israel & the U.S. Are you referring to the long-ago-debunked claim that Iran claimed to 'wipe Israel off the map'?
(See https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2006/jun/14/post155 ? "So there we have it. Starting with Juan Cole, and going via the New York Times' experts through MEMRI to the BBC's monitors, the consensus is that Ahmadinejad did not talk about any maps. He was, as I insisted in my original piece, offering a vague wish for the future.

"A very last point. The fact that he compared his desired option – the elimination of "the regime occupying Jerusalem" – with the fall of the Shah's regime in Iran makes it crystal clear that he is talking about regime change, not the end of Israel. ")

Or perhaps you're referring to Revolutionary Guard deputy leader Hossein Salami's warning that if Israel starts an aggressive war against Iran, it 'will end with {Israel's} elimination from the global political map'? IMHO, warning an extremely aggressive, self-obsessed, Apartheid-practicing rogue state against trying to attack your nation is wise ;-) .

I look forward to your response. Thanks very much.

Sam F , May 27, 2019 at 06:12

Sam: please use an identifier initial as I do, to prevent confusion.
I have asked you twice before; perhaps not the same person.
It is unfair to expect others to make the clarification, and easy to prevent.

O Society , May 23, 2019 at 21:15

Neoconservative war pigs riding the bomb and the belligerence of Empire

http://opensociet.org/2019/05/23/the-belligerence-of-empire/

mike k , May 23, 2019 at 18:55

How is it that crazies like Bolton can end up high in our government hierarchy? It is because the whole damned government is crazy through and through

Joe , May 23, 2019 at 20:48

His Dad probably made a huge donation to Yale just like Bush's Dad. That's what happens when the system is gamed.

Art Thomas , May 25, 2019 at 09:22

Yes, in my opinion. The state stripped of patriotic rhetoric and other obfuscations that keep us devoted to it is nothing more than a criminal gang that hides behind the law.

Some basic examples. 1. The law: taxation, the crime: theft. 2. The law: monetary credit expansion, i.e. debt financing, the crime: counterfeiting, i.e. creating money out of thin air. 3. The invasion of countries not a threat to the invading state. Etc. etc.

Tiu , May 23, 2019 at 18:30

If the US "political establishment" was working for America's benefit, things would look very different.
They are instead working on the "globalist" agenda, which will, if successful, destroy all nations as we know them today and what remains will be ruled over by a bunch of sociopaths who are the same group that has inflicted John Bolton on the world.
Bolton's a tool, a bit like a hammer, to get their project done. The Democrats have equivalent tools e.g. H R Clinton.

Mark Thomason , May 23, 2019 at 18:04

The problem is if he hasn't gone too far. If he gets his war.

Vonu , May 23, 2019 at 16:53

John Bolton should get to ride the missile in the remake of Dr. Strangelove.

evelync , May 23, 2019 at 19:53

hah hah hah

I loved that movie :)

and yes Bolton is a perfect caricature of Slim Pickens AKA Dr Strangelove.

I also refer to him as Yosemite Sam

one difference for our current real life war monger is that the movie character was simply insane and didn't justify his craziness with explanations.

Bolton, OTOH, blames "national Security" and "the national interests" of this country .say what????

if we look at the horrific human costs and the enormous financial costs of the wars that were fought for U.S. "national interests" one would want to ask, once the rubble had cleared, what "interests" were actually served and whose "security" did they actually improve?
The answers always take us back to Eisenhower's MIC and Ray McGovern's MICIMATT (maybe I got a couple of these letters wrong?).
Whoever profited from the mayhem don't represent either our "national interest' or our "national security" IMO and yet those two phrases are used to shut down any discussion or criticism in the lead up .

whew

Mork D , May 25, 2019 at 01:20

Strictly about the movie – Slim Pickens plays the ranking officer on the B-52 (I think?) which is actually dropping the bomb. Dr Strangelove is a totally different character, one of a few played by Peter Sellers in that movie, and is a (mostly!) wheelchair-bound German scientist.

Jym Allyn , May 26, 2019 at 19:17

And the wheelchair bound psychopathic scientist of Dr. Strangelove was inspired by Kubrick meeting Henry Kissinger at a cocktail party and recognizing that Kissinger was the most evil person on this planet because he looked and sounded so responsible and rational.
Now that Saddam, bin Laden, Pol Pot, Stalin, and Hitler are dead, Kissinger holds the record of the person still alive who has needlessly killed more people, both Americans and non-Americans, than any other person on this planet.
Hillary's idea of destabilizing Libya and creating a political vacuum there was from her training when working for Kissinger.

Abe , May 23, 2019 at 16:51

The Pathology:

John Bolton
Senior fellow at American Enterprise Institute (pro-Israel Lobby organization)
Chairman of Gatestone Institute (pro-Israel Lobby organization)
Former board member of Project for the New American Century (pro-Israel Lobby organization)
Former Adviser to Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (pro-Israel Lobby organization)
https://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/john-bolton/

Richard Goldberg – Aide to John Bolton at NSC (2019 – )
Former Senior Adviser at Foundation for Defense of Democracies (pro-Israel Lobby organization)
https://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/richard-goldberg/

Frederick Fleitz – Bolton's Former Chief of Staff at NSC (2018)
CEO of Center for Security Policy ( (pro-Israel Lobby organization)
https://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/frederick-fleitz/

Abe , May 23, 2019 at 19:32

The Pathology, Part Duh:

Mike Pompeo
Christian Zionist: "We will continue to fight these battles, it is a never ending struggle until the Rapture."
Associate of Center for Security Policy (pro-Israel Lobby organization)
Sponsor of ACT! for America (pro-Israel Lobby organization)
https://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/mike-pompeo/

Sam , May 27, 2019 at 00:38

@ Abe: Thanks for the info!

Litchfield , May 23, 2019 at 16:42

John Bolton is obviously a very sick puppy.
This is patently obvious to any observer with the least desgree of psyhological sophistication and insight.
If he lived on your block and made such statements about his neighbors, or a woman living nearby, he would be looking at restraining orders.
He is an out-of-control abusive pig who belongs in an institution where a course of shock therapy might actually help him. I reckon any basic psychological test would find that he has a least borderline personality and at worst is actually insane and incapable of taking responsibility for the consequences of his action.
Bolton has permanent termporary insanity.
Letting this tortured, psychopathic individual run the military is itself an enormous crime, one of murderous negligence, one for which Trump truly should and could be impeached. Congress must take all possible steps to get this man out of the Executive Branch.

Threaten Trump with impeachment if he doesn't fire Bolton.
His appointment of Bolton is reckless negligence and endangers this country.

James , May 23, 2019 at 19:09

I wonder how good American politicians of the past, if there were any, would react to the appointment of this psychopath as what he is now. Whom should be blamed for it? Donald Trump? The pro-Israeli lobbies? Or the American nation? A glance at the man's face is enough to realize that he is deeply sick. To me, he doesn't look like a human being at all! He looks like a monkey out of a stuffy room. Why don't psychotherapists do anything about him? Shouldn't he be hospitalized for the safety/security of the world population? By the way, I wonder where Netanyahu, the psychopath's provoker, is. He has been very quiet for about a month or so. Maybe he is waiting for the war to ignite without getting himself directly involved in it. Let Americans and Iranians kill one another while he waits to pick up the fruit in the end.

Mork D , May 25, 2019 at 01:27

Where does the blame lie? Who hired him? Who's the chief of the executive branch? Who's a person who could actually fire him (as he's so famous for doing on reality TV shows) instead of wringing his hands on friendly TV networks declaring he doesn't want to actually go to war, but if he's 'forced' to, he'll erase Iran from the map?

Druid , May 26, 2019 at 03:16

He would have to get permission from Adelson and the Mercers first.

CitizenOne , May 24, 2019 at 20:52

Bolton and Pompeo are the only things keeping him from impeachment. As long as Trump satisfies the bloodthirsty war mongers and the insatiable appetite of the MIC and the Pro Israel lobby and the Oil Lobby or Koch Industries he cannot lose. So far Trump is bangin on all cylinders. I really think he knows what he needs to do to survive. All this impeachment talk is just fantasy by the left dreaming about getting him out of office "somehow".

bjd , May 23, 2019 at 16:13

That the mono-maniacal psychopath Bolton is a walking exhibit of the Dunning–Kruger effect is no surprise to me. It is extra frightening though.

Realist , May 23, 2019 at 16:00

What was Bolton's day job before he started mucking around in politics and foreign policy? Master waterboarder or testicular electrificator in extraordinary renditions for the CIA? He seems the sort to have spent much time at Abu Ghraib, and not just to take notes. Honestly, his major goals seem to be the eradication of entire cultures and societies, which will somehow redound to the magnificence of the United States of America. Clearly a sociopathic personality. A lot in common with Cheney.

Jimmy G , May 23, 2019 at 15:57

Again the panic is stirred by .. The NYT! (The source of such good info regarding Russia gate) .
The statement regarding Bolton " ordering" anything is just one more example of the media and the intel bureaucrats trying to put the President in a jam politically . (Remember how a month ago we were invading Venezuela?)

Bolton is doing nothing more than getting enough rope to hang himself, and the military intelligence service, congressional and media Trumpophobes are willing to stir this to the very edge, and we all know Congress could (if it could act in good Constitutional faith, rather than pretending to be the judicial branch) unite for the good of this country and Trump would be amenable to whatever they came up with. Trump is far less of a warmonger than any POTUS we've had in a very long time.

Realist , May 23, 2019 at 16:18

If Congress is the only branch of government with the constitutional power to declare a war, surely it has the power to FORBID the executive branch from fomenting such a war against their judgement.

In fact, wasn't the Boland Amendment such a legislative act passed with the intent of preventing the Reagan administration from pursuing military action in Central America, most notably Nicaragua and El Salvador?

What's to prevent the Congress, if it were so inclined (which I doubt it is) to instruct the president (especially if he seems trigger-happy) to refrain from initiating any unprovoked attacks upon Iran, Venezuela, North Korea or any other country, for that matter?

Vonu , May 23, 2019 at 16:56

Ollie North worked for Reagan, didn't he?

RnM , May 25, 2019 at 17:27

Trump is very aware that 'Stache Bolton and Mike "Mumbles" Pompeo are significant threats to his re-election. Would not be surprised to see them removed before January.

CitizenOne , May 25, 2019 at 21:02

The NYT has indeed supported wars but it is not alone nor is this a recent trend. There is a very old trend of the commercial news establishments becoming war hawks and regurtitators of official propaganda whenever the USA wants to pick a fight. It goes back to the period after the establishment of the nation when expansionism set its roots down and what grew out of that is pretty much the same kind of nationalistic propaganda we see today.

I agree with your statement that Trump is far less vulnerable based on his history but I am sure that the war planners are always concocting special information diets that are carefully prepared to appeal to the particular tastes of the leader of the day. Whatever Trumps opinion is he will be surrounded by the hand picked lunatics of the day who will entice and enjoin him to agree with plans for war based on their carefully prepared menu of propaganda specifically designed to be appealing to the palate of whoever is in charge.

It is less certain that Trump's long history of opposing military action will have real staying power as he is served up courses of a sumptuous meal prepared specially for his palate designed to engage him in support for military action all over the World.

Trump is particularly susceptible to flattery and appeals to his greatness and his very stable genius. He wants to be the great leader and for that he needs a plan to deal with the geopolitical situation in many countries.

Trump is a man who knows what to do too.

He advised Germany that it was a puppet of Russia until he didn't
He advised Teresa May how to do Brexit the right way until he didn't
He announced to the World he had forged deep connections with North Korea until he didn't
He had high hopes for an alliance with Russia until he didn't.
He specified the right type of fire fighting to be used to fight the Notre Dame Cathedral fire until he didn't
He wanted to walk away from the fight in Syria until he didn't
He wanted to walk away from the war in Syria again until he didn't
He wanted to cut the military budget until he didn't

Ordinarily if we were in the middle of a democratic presidency the press would be raising the "flip flopper" argument every second of their available airtime.

Democrats are the flip floppers but never a republican even when he is. It all depends on the way the flips and the flops land. If they land on conservative positions then a flop or a flip never occurred. With republicans, flip flopping is just a corrective action to realign the president on the correct course. If it is a democrat then their hypocrisy and flip flopping are broadcast 24/7 and are portrayed a fundamentally disqualifying events which demonstrate a fundamental lack of principles and weakness of character deserving of condemnation. When errant republicans flip flop over to the "correct" vision they are welcomed with open arms into the fold.

Trump wants to be accepted so badly that the democrats hounding him are in fact herding him into the fold of the conservatives who will shelter him and support him at all costs and the media will never ever ever never call this flip flopping.

In short, if a political candidate shifts to the left his integrity will be destroyed as his character will be portrayed as weak and built on shifting sands. He will be deemed not to be trusted like some loose cannon.

On the other hand, if a political candidate shifts to the right he will be greeted as a prodigal son returning to the fold and will be welcomed with open arms.

So I am not as sure as you that Trump's background will be any indicator of his future ideas about how to succeed in the environment he is in where both democrats by their antagonism and republicans by their defense of him both push him over to the right.

He may once have been far less of a war hawk but politicians on both sides of the aisle are pushing him further to the right every day.

Consortium News editor Joe Lauria may wish to contribute a follow up series of articles detailing the purity of pro-Israel Lobby pathology exemplified by Bolton, Pompeo, and the beyond troubling Trump preferably before the next war.

Litchfield , May 23, 2019 at 19:33

"the wider extent of pro-Israel Lobby pathology in the US government. "

That's it in a nutshell.

KiwiAntz , May 24, 2019 at 18:46

Thanks Joe for the great article. Bolton (aka the moustache) truly is a humourless, warmongering, depraved psycho? This is a cowardly man who dodged the Vietnam draft as he didn't want to die in some foreign patty field! But this lunatic has no qualms to send other peoples sons & daughters into a Iranian war zone as cannon fodder to satisfy his deluded & perverted bloodlust to destroy Iran? If "the moustache" wants a War with Iran he should be forced to fight on the frontlines with his troops along with POTUS Bonespurs Trump, another cowardly draft dodger? Let the moustache & the Dotard make a stand, like Jon Snow in the Battle of the bastards, sword in hand, facing down the so called Iranian, bogeyman enemy, but this would never happen as cowards & bastards like Bolton & Trump don't personally fight in the battles they start, they hide in safety in a Washington situation room, as far away from any War zone as possible! If Bolton gets his War with Iran, Trump will pay the price for this suicide mission because he would be blamed for the fallout of any Military defeat! America's already sorry record of Military humiliation & defeat in Regime change operations around the Globe would reach a crescendo if they ever dared to try to attack & overthrow Iran as it would be the endgame of the US Empire!

mark , May 23, 2019 at 22:28

Trump is just Israel's bitch.

incontinent reader , May 24, 2019 at 01:08

Good comment, Abe. We've missed you. Keep posting more of the same.

Zhu , May 25, 2019 at 01:37

We Americans were bloodthirsty long before Israel existed.

anon , May 25, 2019 at 06:35

What an absurd zionist troll post. Try it with someone dumb, Zhu.

Michael Steger , May 23, 2019 at 15:17

First Joe, McKinley did not implement American submission to British Imperialism, though it began with the end of Grant's administration as with the twice elected Groucher Cleveland, but it's confirmation as US policy began with Teddy Roosevelt. The Roosevelt Corollary destroyed JQA's Community of Principle in the Americas which should be known as the true Monroe Doctrine, contrary to popular opinion today which has incorrectly replaced the Monroe Doctrine with the Roosevelt Corollary (as Bolton is especially want to do). TR signalled the end of the Lincoln Era of American industrial development and global cooperation, which was best represented by Grant, the most overlooked of great Presidents (and perhaps we see similarities of Grant to Trump today). Bolton indeed is Captain Kangaroo, presiding over his Court as the Queen of No Hearts would in Alice's confrontation with British rule once she penetrates behind the facade of British Lockean empiricism. With insight only equalled to Lincoln's, who said "We can't fight two wars at once, so first the Confederacy and then the British," Trump has identified the fascist nexus within our government as that same British foe, a nexus led by Brennan, Rice, Clapper, Jarrett, et al, which works on behalf of what Eisenhower (another overlooked great President and General) called the Military Industrial Complex. The MIC is a British Intelligence deployment to fundamentally undermine our Constitution and put the US into a state of perpetual war and police surveillance. It is now over 70 years in the making, and is enforcing a new Cold War and attempted coup of our elected Government, and yet, it may have finally found its match, not just in Trump, but in Trump's intended cooperation with Putin of Russia and Xi of China. These three nations, along with Modi of India (just reelected) are a true threat to this rotten British system, from Fabian liberals to Bolton chickenhawks, the true enemy is this British System. If we move on that effectively, we may just have a chance to win this revolutionary moment now unfolding throughout the trans-Atlantic world. Let us return to JQA's community of principle for the entire world. Let us work with Trump to end this fascist British nexus. Let us celebrate our true heritage as Americans!

Litchfield , May 23, 2019 at 16:51

Your comments read with interesting and well taken.
BUT: The bottom line is that Trump hired Bolton (and Pompeo) and has wound him up and set him loose goosewalking across the globe.
Why?
The buck for Bolton's suicidal buffonery stops with Trump.
So, I can't see him as a genuine foe of the Deep State-MIC as you describe.

Michael Steger , May 23, 2019 at 18:10

Bolton is loyal to Trump, even though he is a failed chickenhawk. Look at McMaster, at the leaking, and outright betrayal of the President. Same with Tillerson, betrayal. Pompeo and Bolton have ridiculous views and bloated war rhetoric, but they're personally loyal, perhaps opportunistically, and even temporarily, but nonetheless right now they are, and when they're not, I bet they're gone. But Trump does control the policy. Look at North Korea, any war? Media said there would be, then worked to undermine a deal. Venezuela, war? They're talking in Norway now, how'd that happen? Syria, troops out? MIC, Dems and Media opposed, and Trump called them out for the first time since Eisenhower! Pompeo to Sochi to see Putin, progress. How'd that happen? Trump is fighting the MIC and too many good Americans are spinning so fast from the propaganda machine they can't see straight.

anon4d2 , May 24, 2019 at 18:40

Interesting, but it is easy for a president to fight the MIC: simply fire and arrest anyone who acts against efforts to control them. He could send any federal enforcement agency, FBI, CIA, Homeland Security, reserves, national guard, or even the Coast Guard, Secret Service, DC police, or private guards to arrest them and prosecute any resisters as traitors. It is not one man against the MIC.

And they cannot assassinate him once he has announced that intention, without exposing their hand and unleashing a generation of purges and strict controls. If he is surrounded by traitors, he has only to say that and fire the lot of them. He could leak that anonymously to Wikileaks or tweet it and they would be terrified.

Mork D , May 25, 2019 at 01:48

Bolton has been working DC bureaucracy like a pro for decades. He's using Trump like a marionette while he runs circles around the amateur. He was helping orchestrate foreign wars of choice back when Trump was still playing a pretend boss on TV. Bolton has no loyalty except as a facade for those he needs to suck up to.

Your examples of non-wars are terrific. Trump is amazing! – because he's running the government so badly that the State Dept doesn't know what the Pentagon is doing doesn't know and vice versa. He chose to ignore the Iran nuclear deal, which had prevented Iran from developing nuclear weapons. So now, the Iranians declare (out of self defense) that they're now going to pursue nuclear weapons. Trump then says that he doesn't want to attack Iran, but they must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. This is a circular argument exactly of the type the MIC uses to engage in war. Pompeo then indicates that laughable, ineffectual attempts at sabotage are most likely Iranian. This grave threat to our nation can't even do enough damage to an oil tanker to make it take on water.

Just because someone fails to do something doesn't mean that they were against it the whole time. Maybe they're just awful at it. Sure, Trump says some things that are heartening to the anti-war and anti-interventionist crowd. But the next day he'll say something heartening to rabid neocons. He needs to grow a spine, but it's far too late. He's a dandy, a spoiled rich kid fop who's never had to answer for his mishaps, because why, when you have inherited money and a stout legal team?

anon4d2 , May 24, 2019 at 19:06

The idea that "the MIC is a British Intelligence deployment" is fantastical, as the US MIC is several times the size of UK's entire MIC, and such a secret could never be kept. The US MIC has engaged UK secret agencies to subvert the US Constitution by serving as agents to pass intercepted US communications back to the US to pretend that the MIC didn't do it, or that it was foreign intel. But that is a long way from UK controlling the US MIC.

There are certainly confluences of interests between the US and UK oligarchies, but I see no basis for the contention that "American submission to British Imperialism began with the end of Grant's administration" when the US prosecuted Britain for building the Alabama etc. to break the Union blockade, and was outraged that Britain considered recognition of the Confederacy until it lost at Gettysburg. The US under TR was not submitting to anyone when it sent the Great White Fleet on tour, or when it seized Cuba and the Philippines. Nor under Wilson when it stayed out of WWI until very late in the war, despite the Lusitania loss. Nor under FDR when it stayed out of WWII until attacked, despite the passionate pleas of Churchill.

Some detailed argument with credible references would be needed to support those assertions.

Zhu , May 25, 2019 at 01:44

Scapegoating is real popular with lefties & rughties alike. American Exceptionalism forbids we ever accept respobility for what we've done.

Zhu , May 25, 2019 at 01:45

No, the rest of humanity is not any better.

anon4d2 , May 25, 2019 at 06:48

The commenter was searching for causes, and some UK conspiracy is simply too far from any available evidence. In fact it much appears to be a wild attempt to distract from the obvious causes including zionism, which you pretend is "scapegoating." No, zionism is a principle corrupting factor in US politics, especially foreign policy.

If you don't see that, you must start learning the evidence, rather than relying on the presumption that it is mere scapegoating. Otherwise you are serving their wrongful and racist tribal purposes, and others will presume that you know that.

Oscar Shank , May 26, 2019 at 07:24

Zhu knows it.

Vera Gottlieb , May 23, 2019 at 14:56

How much more peaceful the life on our entire planet would be if the Americans weren't around.

Vonu , May 23, 2019 at 16:58

Extend that to all humans, and the head of PETA would support the project.

David G. Horsman , May 23, 2019 at 17:16

I doubt that. Nature hates a void.

Bethany , May 24, 2019 at 17:50

Exactly. Very well put.

Abe , May 23, 2019 at 14:19

Brazilian diplomat Jose Bustani, the first director-general of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), only served about one year of his second term.

Bustani was forced out by the U.S. government in April 2002 because he wanted international chemical weapons monitors inside Iraq and thus was seen as impeding the US push for war against Iraq. The US accused Bustani of "advocacy of inappropriate roles for the OPCW".

Since 2011, the United Nations has stood by a US-Saudi-Israeli Axis financed and armed the mercenary terrorist forces attacked Syria. In addition to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, major support for terrorist mercenaries has provided via NATO-member state Turkey, as well as Jordan. Israel has launched repeated air attacks and provided direct support for terrorist forces in Syria.

From July 2010 to 2018, the Director-General of the OPCW was Turkish career diplomat Ahmet Uzumcu. Uzumcu served ambassador to Israel from 1999 to 2002, and as the Permanent Representative of Turkey to NATO between 2002 and 2004.

Turkey has been the primary channel for mercenary terrorist forces assaulting the Syrian state. The remaining terrorist forces in the Idlib Governorate continue to be supplied through Syria.

Since Uzumcu announced the creation of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission in Syria on 29 April 2014, not a single OPCW report has acknowledged these basic facts concerning the conflict in Syria.

Following a consensus recommendation by the OPCW Executive Council in October 2017. Spanish career diplomat Fernando Arias was appointed to replace Uzumcu as Director-General of the OPCW. Previously, Arias served as Ambassador of Spain to the Netherlands and the Permanent Representative of Spain to the OPCW. He also has served as Permanent Representative of Spain to the United Nations in New York.

Uzumcu, and now Bustani, obviously understand that the appropriate role of the OPCW is to provide propaganda support for "regime change" operations, and to say nothing contrary to the "narrative" endorsed by the US-Saudi-Israeli Axis.

David G. Horsman , May 23, 2019 at 17:52

The OPCW has certainly disgraced themselves in Syria. What a sham.

Randal Marlin , May 23, 2019 at 13:48

John Bolton's questioner in the second clip should have made the distinction between deception used to lead the country into war, and deception used to pursue a war already constitutionally declared and already underway.
In the first case there is a violation of democratic principle. When the people are the ultimate sovereign, they need to be properly informed. They can agree to deception, like where and when D-Day will occur, during war; but not in the case of leading the people into war. Lying to Congress is always unacceptable, and those who do lie to Congress should be made to suffer serious penalties.

zhenry , May 24, 2019 at 02:13

I read a report that the aircraft carrier strike force and preparation of 120,000 US troops, to Persian Gulf was ordered sometime ago and that Bolton took advantage of that fact to make it look that 'Bolton ordered it'?

vinnieoh , May 24, 2019 at 10:54

What I'd read is that the carrier strike force and bomber detachment were previously scheduled: there had been a previous drawdown and this deployment represents a return to a level similar to the end of the Iraq war, and that does sound like Bolton/Pompeo opportunism. The 120,000 troops plan sounds like something Bolton prodded pentagon scribes to produce. How to interpret when Bolton says that then Trump denies it, and then a new troop deployment (1% of the previous) is announced/suggested/leaked? I see it as Trump taking his dogs out for a walk to snarl at the neighbors.

David G , May 23, 2019 at 13:07

"Thus Bolton was the driving force to get a carrier strike force sent to the Persian Gulf and, according to The New York Times, on May 14, it was he who 'ordered' a Pentagon plan to prepare 120,000 U.S. troops for the Gulf."

That the National Security Advisor, irrespective of whether the job is currently held by a lunatic like Bolton, may be giving such orders should in and of itself be a subject of serious inquiry by Congress and the media.

The National Security Advisor is, as the title states, merely an advisor – not confirmed by the Senate, and therefore not, in constitutional terms, an "officer of the United States" with the authority to carry out the policy of the government. Other than his assistant fetching him lunch, nobody in government should be following Bolton's orders at all while he holds this job.

But this is nothing new. I had the same concern, on an even larger scale, during the first Bush Jr. administration when Cheney was running around reshaping the government in his own warped image. Despite the Vice President's elected status, he has no executive power under the Constitution – no power at all, in fact, except when sitting as President of the Senate. There was a time when everyone knew that.

With all the perennial crowing we see about the greatness of the Constitution, and the mewling about how Trump is degrading it, it would be nice if Congress and the media could spare a moment to care about whether the people giving orders to the world's largest military and covert/intelligence apparatus are legally empowered to do so.

Ash , May 23, 2019 at 17:17

> That the National Security Advisor, irrespective of whether the job is currently held by a lunatic like Bolton,
> may be giving such orders should in and of itself be a subject of serious inquiry by Congress and the media.

It does kind of have an Alexander Haig flavor to it, doesn't it?

David G , May 23, 2019 at 22:08

When Bolton gets up and says "I'm in control here", I'm definitely finding a rock to hide under.

Zenobia van Dongen , May 23, 2019 at 13:06

The question that Joe Lauria asked of John Bolton, i.e. "If the United States and Britain had not overthrown a democratically elected government in Iran in 1953 would the United States be today faced with a revolutionary government enriching uranium?" seems to imply that Iran seeks revenge against the US for the CIA's 1953 coup d'état against prime minister Mohammed Mossadeq.
However the current leaders of Iran are not entitled to consider themselves the heirs of Mossadeq, nor are they morally justified in avenging him, since the CIA coup relied largely on support from the very same clerical establishment that now rules Iran. As a matter of fact in the 1950s and 60s Shia clerics in Iran were routinely considered CIA agents. Consequently the Iranian elite's pretense of carrying on Mossadeq's anti-imperialist struggle is profoundly hypocritical. I grant that the current reactionary clique that governs Iran defends Iran's sovereignty against US imperialism as Mossadeq did. But the underlying concept of the Iranian nation is profoundly different. The present régime has no respect for the principles of democracy and popular sovereignty that pervaded Iran's anti-imperialist struggle in the 1950s and was derived from the democratic ideals of the Persian constitutionalist revolution of 1909.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persian_Constitutional_Revolution
Indeed, Iran has no hesitation in crushing underfoot the aspirations to independence of other nations. It ruthlessly conducts ethnic cleansing in Syria, commits assassinations in South America, and in general behaves with imperialist ruthlessness that is moreover unmitigated by any concern for human rights or international law.

vinnieoh , May 23, 2019 at 14:27

As to your last paragraph please provide proof for your allegations. As to your second paragraph you assume to know the meaning behind the question Mr. Lauria asked. Could it be possible (this I believe is more likely) that what Mr. Lauria meant or realizes that absent the '53 coup would there now be an Islamic theocracy ruling Iran?

Again making the disclaimer that I'm no expert on the region or Iran particularly I have followed many leads of reading and investigation to understand the ramifications of that seminal event (the '53 coup.) What I believe I've understood is that Iran prior to and until the '53 coup was on its own unique trajectory of reclaiming its sovereignty and rejecting its status as a (UK) colonial vassal. There seemed to be a somewhat fluid acceptance of the rising democratic movement of Mosaddeq et. al., a fading nod to the former royal house, and an acceptance of Shiite religiosity of some considerable social legitimacy.

So, three centers of power and influence working its unique way to an unique Iranian future.

With the US/UK engineered coup the imperialists destroyed the legitimate democratic evolution happening there. With the re-installation of the Shah Reza Pahlavi as the puppet ruler of the US, that traditional center of power and legitimacy was likewise forever delegitimized in the eyes of most Iranians. That sentiment was cemented with the creation of SAVAK by the US, UK, and Israel to be the iron fist of the Shah and his new imperial master.

That left only one center of power or authority which retained legitimacy in the eyes of Iranians – the Shiite theocrats, and that is why when Iranians kicked the US out it was the Islamic theocracy doing the booting. You are correct that there was at least one Shiite cleric (I've forgotten his name,) jealous and fearful of the rising influence of democratic governance, who is a known and recorded collaborator with the US/UK machinations of the coup. Without the help of the US/UK his part in the affair would probably have been inconsequential.

It is not Iran that is funding and establishing Islamic madrasses in Pakistan, India, China, Indonesia, Africa and elsewhere. It is the Wahhabist Sunnis and they preach intolerance and violent jihad. Furthermore, of the total global population of adherents of Islam, 75% are Sunni affiliated, and 25% are Shiite affiliated. Those percentages hold true in the immediate region of the ME as well. The repeated claims of Iranian desires of empire are a shibboleth emanating from KSA and UAE.

Nick , May 23, 2019 at 15:36

The leaders of the Islamic Revolution used Mossadegh's image to help get people on board against the Shah, The National Front was allowed to be a party again for a short time, and a Street in Tehran was renamed post-revolution for Mohammad Mossadegh. This was a cynical ploy by the Mullahs to get people on board with their revolution and make people believe that they were indeed the true heirs of Mossadegh and committed to democracy. It was all a sham. The National Front was made illegal again at some point in the 80s, and the street named for Mossadegh was renamed around the same time. These people are the heirs of the Shah whether they like it or not.

anon4d2 , May 23, 2019 at 16:59

Joe's question points out that, had the US not overthrown Mossadegh, there would have been a secular democratic government. That is true throughout the Mideast, where in the 1950s-70s the US supported radical Islamic movements that suppressed secular movements and overthrew secular governments, pretending that the USSR was moving in. There was no evidence of USSR interest there, as it was preoccupied with such factions in its central Asian republics, and apparently only some arms from the USSR in Egypt were ever found as "evidence."

Similar US actions have continued to date, almost 30 years after the collapse of the USSR, the US always supporting fanatics against moderates like Assad and Ghaddafi, and pretending to support "democracy."

Compare the US support of Saudi Arabia, a fanatical fundamentalist monarchy engaged in terrorism throughout the region, including against their only neighbor that defends minority rights, Syria. Again falsely claiming the need to protect oil supply, which it can buy anywhere without bombing anyone, like any other oil buyer. Again falsely claiming to support democracy which it overthrows everywhere at the pleasure of its own oligarchy, always to "protect Israel" or attack socialism, which is always to get political bribes.

There is no evidence of any "ethnic cleansing" by Iran in Syria or elsewhere. Where do you get that idea? Iran is majority Shiah, defending the majority Sunni population of Syria from Sunni fundamentalists. You certainly have no evidence that Iran "commits assassinations in South America" or opposes "aspirations to independence of other nations" and made that up to deceive others. Your comments on this site have been knowingly false.

zhenry , May 24, 2019 at 03:44

The above, re the current Iranian religious govt, very informative, thankyou.
Re Joe's article I cannot take seriously that Trump is against war and the Deep State.
If Trumps rhetoric during his electioneering, supporting the middle class (deeply deprived after the US corporations abandoned them for low paid Chinese labour) was in any way honest he would not have chosen the cabinet he did (and keeps on choosing).
Trump has not chosen one cabinet member that would support that supposed sympathy for the middle class.
Reporting that assumes Trump is fighting for moderation (against his own cabinet) and to establish policies in the direction of that sympathy, is without evidence, it seems to me, regardless of what he might suggest to Fox News.

Vonu , May 23, 2019 at 17:00

"The present régime has no respect for the principles of democracy and popular sovereignty that pervaded Iran's anti-imperialist struggle in the 1950s and was derived from the democratic ideals of the Persian constitutionalist revolution of 1909."
And the American government has equal respect for the Constitution.

David , May 23, 2019 at 12:56

Bolton didn't order a carrier group to the Persian Gulf. He doesn't have the authority. The carrier group left because of the deployment was already planned. Bolton does not have the power that has been ascribed to him. He is a grandiose clown who knows how to play the press. I don't think he will have his job six months from now.

David G , May 23, 2019 at 12:16

"At the time of Bolton's appointment in April 2018, Tom Countryman predicted to The Intercept that if Iran resumed enrichment after the U.S. left the deal, it 'would be the kind of excuse that a person like Bolton would look to to create a military provocation or direct attack on Iran.' In response to ever tightening sanctions, Iran said that it would indeed restart partial nuclear enrichment."

Two problems with this part of the article:

• The link in the main text here goes to an Intercept article about Bolton, but it has no mention of Tom Countryman, or even of Iran.

• It isn't accurate to say that Iran may now, or is saying it will, "resume" or "restart" nuclear enrichment, since it never ceased, nor did it ever commit to cease, such activity. The JCPOA merely imposed strict *limits* and monitoring on nuclear enrichment and stockpiling, some of which Iran is saying it will now depart from.

I also disagree with the imputation elsewhere in the article that Donald Trump has a good understanding of real estate. His disastrous, decades-long record in that business suggests otherwise. But I suppose some people will always believe what they see on TV.

lou e , May 23, 2019 at 12:06

Creeping fascism works like fishing with a rod and reel. You hook the fish and it runs off 100 ft of line . You reel in 50 ft and the fish takes 30 feet back. Do the Math! Some times burning down the village IS the only way to get rid of the infestation. Bit hard on the USSA, but as Ben Franklin put it you have a democratic republic IF ypu can Keep It.

Herman , May 23, 2019 at 11:56

Remember at an earlier time with Bolton, someone described him as a kiss up kick down kind of guy, i.e., a real jerk. I defended Trump against Russiagate because it was a threat to the office of the president. Unless, he gets his head straight, his "political" moves in the Middle East and Southwest Asia can spin out of control. He is not negotiating a new deal with some city to build another hotel, and his rhetoric makes him sound like that is the way he thinks he should act with other countries.

One can defend him by saying maybe it will work, but then maybe not and it is not a matter of your target taking his papers and leaving the room.

Great article, Mr. Lauria. Have you posted your resume on your site? Interested in your confrontation with Bolton.

Trump wants to be reelected more that being the President but in his defense we know what he will face if he decides to enter into honest negotiations. He's going to have a heck of a time finding people to cover his back. He can count on one presidential aspirant, Tulsi Gabbard but she's on the other side.

Jeff Harrison , May 23, 2019 at 11:42

If we have to rely on Thump for anything other than social controls, we're screwed.

David G , May 23, 2019 at 11:40

These personal reminiscences of Bolton at the U.N. by Joe Lauria unfortunately only confirm the man's very public record. The fact that such a creature has been accepted for so long in the heart of U.S. foreign "policy" is yet more evidence that the country's crisis of political culture started long before Trump came on the scene.

I don't quite accept the slight comfort implied in the formulations here that this time Bolton has "gone too far", or "flown too high", since to me they imply that there is some moral or rational bedrock that he has struck beneath which the establishment is not willing to go.

I don't think that's true, as a general proposition. For example, the U.S. continues less noisily but inexorably on its long-term collision course with China, which will be even more catastrophic than war with Iran, not to mention the ultimate one with the planet's environmental limits.

For me it's enough that, for a number of contingent reasons, Bolton's (and MBS's and Netanyahu's) lunge at Iran has fallen flat with both U.S. and European policy and media elites – for now, and I hope forever.

jessika , May 23, 2019 at 11:26

I just called WH 202-456-1111 to tell President Trump that Bolton should be fired; had to wait 8 min to talk. Trump certainly has lots of problems, but he'll have plenty more if he starts a war! Pox Americana!

Litchfield , May 23, 2019 at 16:58

Great idea.
I'll do the same.

vinnieoh , May 23, 2019 at 11:04

Thank you Mr. Lauria. I'm tending to believe that not only has Bolton flown too high, but Trump's predictable method of trying to get what he wants was completely miscalculated wrt Iran. There is no better treaty or deal to be had concerning keeping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. The failures of the JCPOA that Trump is probably griping about all have to do with matters of Iran's necessary and legitimate right to security and self-defense. No sane nation would willingly give in to this bullying. Thanks again.

vinnieoh , May 23, 2019 at 11:44

Also, wrt Trump's predictable patterns, note that little if anything has changed regarding the US and the DPRK, so if he is a crafty and effective negotiator I'm having a hard time seeing it.

David G. Horsman , May 23, 2019 at 18:22

Good example Vinnieoh. NK and SK are reaching out and (more importantly) shoving out the US. More winning.

I love Trump. He is useful. Fascism, NAFTA, generic racism you name it, he really shines a light on issues.

Here again. (Currently) SA, GAZA, Israel, Syria and of course Iran. Hell, the entire region. What a train wreck he is.

What about the dollar? The EU? Yikes.

By gosh this man could single handedly take down an empire! MAGA!

O Society , May 23, 2019 at 10:47

Well done, Joe Lauria. Of course our dilemma is Donald Trump says one thing and contradicts himself 5 minutes later. You could say he "changes his mind" but I do not think his mind is stable to begin with. He's far too nuts to put any faith in for "doing the right thing,"

Bolton and his neoconservative pox on the world serve the interests of the war machine and fossil fuel corporations. When will be rid of them? When We the People grow a set of testicles and throw them all into prison. Trump isn't going to save us, but he might let Bolton get us all killed.

Time for the people to rise.

http://opensociet.org/2019/05/19/the-interlocking-crises-of-war-climate-chaos

Piotr Berman , May 23, 2019 at 11:31

Seems that Trump is so small minded that what we observe cannot be explained mechanistically, we need quantum mechanics. Rather that a particular state of mind we have a stochastic distribution, wave patterns and spin.

Marc R Hapke , May 23, 2019 at 14:34

Great analogy

O Society , May 23, 2019 at 12:39

The expert says what's going on in Trump's mind is solipsism and I agree with him:

https://opensociet.org/2018/07/07/assault-on-reality-solipsism-whats-wrong-with-donald-trump-part-1/

Sam F , May 23, 2019 at 13:12

Yes, Joe Lauria has presented the problem very well.

A major factor is certainly the persuasiveness of the NSC and other MIC entities which surround the president, and comprise much of official DC. Try persuading anyone in the MIC that war is ever inappropriate: they are all full of extreme scorn and false accusations, and have endless "evidence" of threats behind every tree, and rationales to attack this or at least that, just to make "statements" and "warnings" to invisible foreign monsters. The MIC is a completely and permanently logic-proof subculture of bullying, which bullies every member of its own tribe to line up behind tyrants like Bolton and a million other puerile bullies devoid of humanity.

No doubt you know that this was all well understood by the founders of the US, who restricted federal military powers to repelling invasions and knew that any standing military was a threat to democracy. The Federalist Papers should be required reading in the US. All of those understandings were gradually lost after the War of 1812 and the 1820s, as the founders died off. As the US became confident that it could repel any invasion, it lost the sense of the necessity of unity and cooperation of regions, and Congress degenerated into a battle of intransigent factions leading to the completely unnecessary Civil War. With the ebullient emergence of the middle class, no effort was made to correct the defects of the Constitution in failing to protect the institutions of democracy from the rising power of economic concentrations. With WWI and WWII, the power of oligarchy over mass media was consolidated, and by WWII the oligarchy and MIC effectively controlled elections, mass media, and the judiciary, the tools of democracy. Democracy has been a facade ever since.

The US has zero security problems that the MIC has not created, and could at any time re-purpose 80% of the MIC to developing infrastructure in the poorest nations with positive effects upon its security. Had it done so since WWII, we would have rescued the poorest half of humanity from poverty, ignorance, malnutrition, and disease, and would have had a true American Century. Instead we have killed over 20 million innocents and mortgaged the lives of our children to serve the infantile psychopaths of the MIC.

The solution is not only to eliminate the 2000-member NSC, cut the military by at least 80 percent, prohibit acts of war or surveillance by the executive branch, tax the rich so that no one has income above upper middle class, and demand amendments to the Constitution restricting funding of the mass media and elections to limited and registered individual donations. We also desperately need a fourth branch of federal government, which I am calling the College of Policy Debate, to conduct moderated textual debates of policy issues in all regions, protecting and representing every viewpoint, in which all views are challenged and must respond, and all parties must come to common terms. The CPD should produce commented debate summaries available to the public with mini-quizzes and discussion groups. Without that rational analysis and access to the core debates, we do not have a democracy at all, we are all no more than the fools and pawns of these oligarchy scammers, who must be actively excluded from all government capacities.

Sorry for the lecture.

Linda Wood , May 24, 2019 at 01:59

Please don't apologize, Sam F. Your brilliant and humane words give me hope at a time in which I am in shock at the blatancy of fascism in our government.

Doggrotter , May 23, 2019 at 10:33

Where is a drone strike when you need one?

OlyaPola , May 23, 2019 at 10:23

" seemed to always think he was the smartest person in the room."

Useful fools are often most useful when they are believers that they are not fools.

Once upon a time there was a discussion of which of the opponents' should be proposed for the Nobel Peace Prize – the list being relatively long.

After extensive analysis and discussion the short-list consisted of two opponents in alphabetical order Mr. John Bolton and Mr. Karl Rove.

However in light of the notion "Do you think your opponents are as stupid as you are? " the proposal question was left in abeyance, not only as a function of decorum but also through understanding that "Useful fools are often most useful when they are believers that they are not fools." and that even small dogs can seem tall when you are lying on your stomach.

OlyaPola , May 24, 2019 at 17:33

Since omniscience can't exist perhaps Mr. Bolton was/is subject to misrepresentation and misunderstanding?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6l6vqPUM_FE&list=RDXIOSOlqMaj8&index=17

bobzz , May 23, 2019 at 10:12

"Pompeo told a radio interviewer after the briefing that the U.S. had still not determined who attacked two Saudi, a Norwegian and an Emirati oil tanker in the Gulf last week, which bore the hallmarks of a provocation. Pompeo said "it seems like it's quite possible that Iran was behind" the attacks."

What possible advantage could accrue to Iran from putting a few dents in the ships? Smells of another false flag.

Piotr Berman , May 23, 2019 at 11:46

I would not be so sure. A delicate signal that Iran has more capabilities concerning stopping in-out-Gulf traffic than naive people like Bolton realize has a sobering potential. By the way of contrast, what kind of black flag it is if it is instantly put in doubt, "we do not know" etc. When there were "chemical incidents" in Syria, no one in Washington claimed the need for more facts, uncertainty etc.

Instead, UAE initially denied that it happened at all, subsequently, together with KSA, they did not have any "certain knowledge". Somehow no government appears to promote the incident. Even USA.

BTW, the allegation that Iran is placing missiles on fishing boats staggers the mind. First of all, "missile boats" of which Iran has plenty are small ships, BUT NOT VERY small, ca. 500-800 tons, which are fast, 40 kt, but not as fast as their predecessors, torpedo boats (200-300 tons, 50-60 kt). They are still faster than any of the larger naval vessels, can trail them, and attack from small distance in the case of start of hostilities. That Iran places missiles on such boats can be learned from videos proudly provided by PressTV.ir.

Using "fishing boats" for that purpose is dubious, and the largest question mark would be: WHY? The reason that missile boats are larger and heavier than torpedo boats is that you need more stability to launch missiles than torpedoes. Then you need a radar etc. Placing missiles on fishing boats would be a waste of missiles. Hardly an escalation.

OlyaPola , May 23, 2019 at 12:47

"Hardly an escalation."

Perhaps you are being deflected by framing?

One of the escalations is the escalation of belief in, requirement of, and resort to, the dumbed-downess of the "target audience".

One of the salient questions being deflected is why, and as ever investigation requires some knowledge of Mr. Heisenberg and his principles.

mark , May 23, 2019 at 22:34

Perhaps the Iranians are putting missiles on fishing boats to stun the fish and catch them that way. Fishing boats aren't exactly very fast.

Thomas , May 23, 2019 at 12:21

Anyone who actually believes the oil tanker incidents were carried by Iran should seek an immediate consultation with their doctor. These blatant false flags clearly are the work of fools and Iranians are not fools.

Brian , May 23, 2019 at 17:22

Exactly. According navel personnel, Iran has been using fishing boats to transfer rockets from land to it's vessels for years, supposedly because the gulf is too shallow. I don't have hydrographic maps of the area, anyone know if this is true?

Piotr Berman , May 23, 2019 at 23:33

Clearly, Persian Gulf has routes for the largest ships on Earth, but the supply bases for missiles may be away from ports, and it would make sense to place them so they are not easily accessible to a big ship navy, and in general, to disperse them.

Tim , May 26, 2019 at 06:43

"Thomas"

> These blatant false flags clearly are the work of fools

Since neither you nor I know who did it, and there are a whole slew of plausible suspects, we don't know why they did it, either. So it is silly to claim they are fools.

Since the Saudis and UAE are in the midst of waging war on Yemen, the most obvious suspects are their enemies there, al-Ansara.

(And by the way, contrary to what another commentator claimed, it was not a "few dents", but a gaping hole in the hull just below the waterline. And since the local authorities spoke of an impact by an unidentified object, these were presumably torpedo strikes.)

OlyaPola , May 26, 2019 at 07:58

"What possible advantage could accrue to Iran from putting a few dents in the ships?"

Quite a few including but not limited to further data on the opponents' perception of what constitutes plausible belief for the opponents' target audience, and the opponents' increasing resort to, amplitude, scope and velocity of "misrepresentations".

As is the case with the benefits of dumbing down not accruing solely to those actively engaged in dumbing down, the benefits of creation and implementation of "false flags" do not accrue solely to those engaged in "false flags", and are enhanced when the creators and implementers of "false flags" are immersed in amalga of projection and notions of sole/prime agency, facilitating potential benefits to many others not restricted to Iran.

[May 19, 2019] Some Shocking Facts on the Concentration of Ownership of the US Economy

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the world has not seen these levels of concentration of ownership. The Soviet Union did not die because of apparent ideological reasons but due to economic bankruptcy caused by its uncompetitive monopolistic economy. Our verdict is that the US is heading in the same direction. ..."
"... In a future instalment of this report, we will show that the oligarchization of America – the placing it under the rule of the One Percent (or perhaps more accurately the 0.1%, if not 0.01%) - has been a deliberate ideologically driven long-term project to establish absolute economic power over the US and its political system and further extend that to involve an absolute global hegemony (the latter project thankfully thwarted by China and Russia). ..."
"... In present-day United States a few major investors – equity funds or private capital - are as a rule cross-owned by each other, forming investor oligopolies, which in turn own the business oligopolies. ..."
"... A study has shown that among a sample of the 1,500 largest US firms (S&P 1500), the probability of one major shareholder holding significant shares in two competing firms had jumped to 90% in 2014, while having been just 16% in 1999. (*2). ..."
"... Institutional investors like BlackRock, Vanguard, State Street, Fidelity, and JP Morgan, now own 80% of all stock in S&P 500 listed companies. The Big Three investors - BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street – alone constitute the largest shareholder in 88% of S&P 500 firms, which roughly correspond to America's 500 largest corporations. (*3). Both BlackRock and Vanguard are among the top five shareholders of almost 70% of America's largest 2,000 publicly traded corporations. (*4). ..."
May 19, 2019 | russia-insider.com

A close-knit oligarchy controls all major corporations. Monopolization of ownership in US economy fast approaching Soviet levels

Starting with Ronald Reagan's presidency, the US government willingly decided to ignore the anti-trust laws so that corporations would have free rein to set up monopolies. With each successive president the monopolistic concentration of business and shareholding in America has grown precipitously eventually to reach the monstrous levels of the present day.

Today's level of monopolistic concentration is of such unprecedented levels that we may without hesitation designate the US economy as a giant oligopoly. From economic power follows political power, therefore the economic oligopoly translates into a political oligarchy. (It seems, though, that the transformation has rather gone the other way around, a ferocious set of oligarchs have consolidated their economic and political power beginning from the turn of the twentieth century). The conclusion that the US is an oligarchy finds support in a 2014 by a Princeton University study.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the world has not seen these levels of concentration of ownership. The Soviet Union did not die because of apparent ideological reasons but due to economic bankruptcy caused by its uncompetitive monopolistic economy. Our verdict is that the US is heading in the same direction.

In a later report, we will demonstrate how all sectors of the US economy have fallen prey to monopolization and how the corporate oligopoly has been set up across the country. This post essentially serves as an appendix to that future report by providing the shocking details of the concentration of corporate ownership.

Apart from illustrating the monopolization at the level of shareholding of the major investors and corporations, we will in a follow-up post take a somewhat closer look at one particularly fatal aspect of this phenomenon, namely the consolidation of media (posted simultaneously with the present one) in the hands of absurdly few oligarch corporations. In there, we will discuss the monopolies of the tech giants and their ownership concentration together with the traditional media because they rightfully belong to the same category directly restricting speech and the distribution of opinions in society.

In a future instalment of this report, we will show that the oligarchization of America – the placing it under the rule of the One Percent (or perhaps more accurately the 0.1%, if not 0.01%) - has been a deliberate ideologically driven long-term project to establish absolute economic power over the US and its political system and further extend that to involve an absolute global hegemony (the latter project thankfully thwarted by China and Russia). To achieve these goals, it has been crucial for the oligarchs to control and direct the narrative on economy and war, on all public discourse on social affairs. By seizing the media, the oligarchs have created a monstrous propaganda machine, which controls the opinions of the majority of the US population.

We use the words 'monopoly,' 'monopolies,' and 'monopolization' in a broad sense and subsume under these concepts all kinds of market dominance be it by one company or two or a small number of companies, that is, oligopolies. At the end of the analysis, it is not of great importance how many corporations share in the market dominance, rather what counts is the death of competition and the position enabling market abuse, either through absolute dominance, collusion, or by a de facto extinction of normal market competition. Therefore we use the term 'monopolization' to describe the process of reaching a critical level of non-competition on a market. Correspondingly, we may denote 'monopoly companies' two corporations of a duopoly or several of an oligopoly.

Horizontal shareholding – the cementation of the oligarchy

One especially perfidious aspect of this concentration of ownership is that the same few institutional investors have acquired undisputable control of the leading corporations in practically all the most important sectors of industry. The situation when one or several investors own controlling or significant shares of the top corporations in a given industry (business sector) is referred to as horizontal shareholding . (*1). In present-day United States a few major investors – equity funds or private capital - are as a rule cross-owned by each other, forming investor oligopolies, which in turn own the business oligopolies.

A study has shown that among a sample of the 1,500 largest US firms (S&P 1500), the probability of one major shareholder holding significant shares in two competing firms had jumped to 90% in 2014, while having been just 16% in 1999. (*2).

Institutional investors like BlackRock, Vanguard, State Street, Fidelity, and JP Morgan, now own 80% of all stock in S&P 500 listed companies. The Big Three investors - BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street – alone constitute the largest shareholder in 88% of S&P 500 firms, which roughly correspond to America's 500 largest corporations. (*3). Both BlackRock and Vanguard are among the top five shareholders of almost 70% of America's largest 2,000 publicly traded corporations. (*4).

Blackrock had as of 2016 $6.2 trillion worth of assets under management, Vanguard $5.1 trillion, whereas State Street has dropped to a distant third with only $1 trillion in assets. This compares with a total market capitalization of US stocks according to Russell 3000 of $30 trillion at end of 2017 (From 2016 to 2017, the Big Three has of course also put on assets).Blackrock and Vanguard would then alone own more than one-third of all US publicly listed shares.

From an expanded sample that includes the 3,000 largest publicly listed corporations (Russell 3000 index), institutions owned (2016) about 78% of the equity .

The speed of concentration the US economy in the hands of institutions has been incredible. Still back in 1950s, their share of the equity was 10%, by 1980 it was 30% after which the concentration has rapidly grown to the present day approximately 80%. (*5). Another study puts the present (2016) stock market capitalization held by institutional investors at 70%. (*6). (The slight difference can possibly be explained by variations in the samples of companies included).

As a result of taking into account the common ownership at investor level, it emerges that the US economy is yet much more monopolized than it was previously thought when the focus had been on the operational business corporation alone detached from their owners. (*7).

The Oligarch owners assert their control

Apologists for monopolies have argued that the institutional investors who manage passive capital are passive in their own conduct as shareholders as well. (*8). Even if that would be true it would come with vastly detrimental consequences for the economy as that would mean that in effect there would be no shareholder control at all and the corporate executives would manage the companies exclusively with their own short-term benefits in mind, inevitably leading to corruption and the loss of the common benefits businesses on a normally functioning competitive market would bring.

In fact, there seems to have been a period in the US economy – before the rapid monopolization of the last decade -when such passive investors had relinquished control to the executives. (*9). But with the emergence of the Big Three investors and the astonishing concentration of ownership that does not seem to hold water any longer. (*10). In fact, there need not be any speculation about the matter as the monopolist owners are quite candid about their ways. For example, BlackRock's CEO Larry Fink sends out an annual guiding letter to his subject, practically to all the largest firms of the US and increasingly also Europe and the rest of the West. In his pastoral, the CEO shares his view of the global conditions affecting business prospects and calls for companies to adjust their strategies accordingly.

The investor will eventually review the management's strategic plans for compliance with the guidelines. Effectively, the BlackRock CEO has in this way assumed the role of a giant central planner, rather like the Gosplan, the central planning agency of the Soviet command economy.

The 2019 letter (referenced above) contains this striking passage, which should quell all doubts about the extent to which BlackRock exercises its powers:

"As we seek to build long-term value for our clients through engagement, our aim is not to micromanage a company's operations. Instead, our primary focus is to ensure board accountability for creating long-term value. However, a long-term approach should not be confused with an infinitely patient one. When BlackRock does not see progress despite ongoing engagement, or companies are insufficiently responsive to our efforts to protect our clients' long-term economic interests, we do not hesitate to exercise our right to vote against incumbent directors or misaligned executive compensation."

Considering the striking facts rendered above, we should bear in mind that the establishment of this virtually absolute oligarch ownership over all the largest corporations of the United States is a relatively new phenomenon. We should therefore expect that the centralized control and centralized planning will rapidly grow in extent as the power is asserted and methods are refined.

Most of the capital of those institutional investors consists of so-called passive capital, that is, such cases of investments where the investor has no intention of trying to achieve any kind of control of the companies it invests in, the only motivation being to achieve as high as possible a yield. In the overwhelming majority of the cases the funds flow into the major institutional investors, which invest the money at their will in any corporations. The original investors do not retain any control of the institutional investors, and do not expect it either. Technically the institutional investors like BlackRock and Vanguard act as fiduciary asset managers. But here's the rub, while the people who commit their assets to the funds may be considered as passive investors, the institutional investors who employ those funds are most certainly not.

Cross-ownership of oligarch corporations

To make matters yet worse, it must be kept in mind that the oligopolistic investors in turn are frequently cross-owned by each other. (*11). In fact, there is no transparent way of discovering who in fact controls the major institutional investors.

One of the major institutional investors, Vanguard is ghost owned insofar as it does not have any owners at all in the traditional sense of the concept. The company claims that it is owned by the multiple funds that it has itself set up and which it manages. This is how the company puts it on their home page : "At Vanguard, there are no outside owners, and therefore, no conflicting loyalties. The company is owned by its funds, which in turn are owned by their shareholders -- including you, if you're a Vanguard fund investor." At the end of the analysis, it would then seem that Vanguard is owned by Vanguard itself, certainly nobody should swallow the charade that those funds stuffed with passive investor money would exercise any ownership control over the superstructure Vanguard. We therefore assume that there is some group of people (other than the company directors) that have retained the actual control of Vanguard behind the scenes (perhaps through one or a few of the funds). In fact, we believe that all three (BlackRock, State Street and Vanguard) are tightly controlled by a group of US oligarchs (or more widely transatlantic oligarchs), who prefer not to brandish their power. It is beyond the scope of this study and our means to investigate this hypothesis, but whatever, it is bad enough that as a proven fact these three investor corporations wield this control over most of the American economy. We also know that the three act in concert wherever they hold shares. (*12).

Now, let's see who are the formal owners of these institutional investors

In considering these ownership charts, please, bear in mind that we have not consistently examined to what degree the real control of one or another company has been arranged through a scheme of issuing different classes of shares, where a special class of shares give vastly more voting rights than the ordinary shares. One source asserts that 355 of the companies in the Russell index consisting of the 3000 largest corporations employ such a dual voting-class structure, or 11.8% of all major corporations.

We have mostly relied on www.stockzoa.com for the shareholder data. However, t