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Skepticism and critical thinking is not panacea, but can help to understand the world better
|News||Fifth column||Recommended Links||Russiagate -- a color revolution against Trump by neocons and DemoRats||Coordinated set of leaks as a color revolution tool||MSM as attack dogs of color revolution|
|Venezuela: another "bombs for oil" scenario after Libya?||Syria civil war||Civil war in Ukraine||Yemen war||Looting pays dividends to empire||War and Venture Capitalism|
|Methods used for destabilization of the society in color revolutions||Bombing country with dollars||Government snipers on rooftops false flag operation||"Fight with Corruption" as a smoke screen for color revolutions undermining government in developing and xUSSR countries||Role of State Department and western embassies||NGOs and think tanks as brain trust of color revolutions|
|Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair||Democracy as a universal opener for access to natural resources||Hypocrisy and Pseudo-democracy||"Fight with Corruption" as a smoke screen for neoliberal penetration into host countries||Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism||The World as the Grand Chessboard of the American empire|
|Control of the MSM during color revolution is like air superiority in the war||Delegitimization of Ruling Party||Parasitism on Human rights: children of Lieutenant Schmidt||Human right activists or globalism fifth column||The art of manufacturing of prisoners of consciousness||Sect of fraudulent election witnesses|
|Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism||Neoconservatism||Media-Military-Industrial Complex||The Deep State||Compradors|
|Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair||NGOs as braintrust of color revolutions||Hong Cong Color Revolution of 2014||EuroMaidan||Russian Color Revolution of 2012||Ukrainian orange revolution|
|Frustrated underachievers||Russian neoliberal compradors||Net Hamsters as a part of fifth column||Exploiting Revolutionary Romantics as polit-technology||IntelliXencia: Corruption of Intelligentsia and it usage in fifth column in Russia||Gene Sharp Recipes and Russian Experience|
|Elite Theory And the Revolt of the Elite||The Iron Law of Oligarchy||Two Party System as polyarchy||Foreign Agents Registration Act||Attack of Think Tanks||Destruction by the USA of international law|
|Predator state||The Real War on Reality||Media as a weapon of mass deception||Anatol Leiven on American Messianism||Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich|
|American Exceptionalism||Non-Interventionism||Hypocrisy of British ruling elite||Politically Incorrect Humor||Russian Fifth column Humor||Etc|
For the list of top articles see Recommended Links section
|"The great masquerade of evil has played havoc with all our ethical concepts. For evil to appear disguised
as light, as charity, as historical necessity, or social justice is quite bewildering to anyone raised on traditional ethical
concepts. But for the Christian who builds his life on the word of God, it merely confirms the fundamental perversity of evil."
-- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Sep 16, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
jayc , Sep 15 2019 19:04 utc | 24SCMP Hong Kong @SCMPHongKong - 13:47 UTC · Sep 15, 2019
A video going viral online shows a middle-aged man being beaten up by protesters this afternoon. He was later found lying injured at Gloucester Road. Paramedics treated him; he was conscious vid
There were several such incidents today. These rightwing 'protesters' are extremely aggressive. The true utility of the HK protests was articulated by former US envoy to HK and Taiwan Stephen Young in the Asia TImes this week, declaring that the "one country, two systems" framework was now "dead" since "Beijing has reneged on its pledges to introduce local autonomy and democracy to Hong Kong." He claims it is already too late for HK - "But the lesson for Taiwan's 23 million citizens is different. Build your defences, solidify your relations with your essential security partner, America, and make it clear you will fight for your freedom."
This is an incorrect and self-serving analysis. China has not reneged on any pledges or undermined the Basic Law, despite claims to the contrary. Much like "Russian aggression" became a key narrative thread in Ukraine despite little actual evidence of such aggression, the alleged "brutal authoritarian" activity on behalf of the Chinese government will continue as "the" story in Hong Kong even if it hasn't actually happened.
A big provocation has been promised by the protesters to spoil the October 1 celebration of 70 years of PRC. Then focus will switch to Taiwan and its election in January. The Americans hope the nationalist anti-PRC forces win, helped by the hysteria generated over HK, and then the program of militarizing the island to serve as a fount of tension in the region will begin in earnest with an explicit rejection of Taiwan's status as a part of China.
arby , Sep 15 2019 20:02 utc | 28Jaye @24
IMO the Honk Kong thing is backfiring a bit on the empire.
These very loud calls for Trump and England to come to their aid and liberate them is not what the evil empire had in mind.
Sep 16, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
dh-mtl , Sep 15 2019 15:58 utc | 3b,
The Americans have gotten themselves in a real bind with their maximum pressure campaign on Iran. This latest attack on Saudi Arabia's oil production looks like an escalation of the previous attacks on shipping and the spy drone. It is not evident how the Americans can respond to this latest attack.
As I see it their options are:
1. To let KSA respond to the Houthi attack and continue with their campaign to shut down Iranian oil production, without any direct U.S. response to the attack. However this will achieve nothing, as next month Iran will up pressure again with another attack on Middle-East oil assets, and we'll be back to the same place.
2. To bomb Iran's oil industry, as Pompeo and Graham suggest. However this risks blowing up the whole Middle East, as well as the World's oil market and their own (Western) economies.
3. Forget about Iran and move the fight to maintain U.S. global hegemony to another front: back to Venezuela? Serbia? Hong Kong? Taiwan? However the end result of such a move would more than likely be another humuliating defeat for the U.S.
4. Do as Stephen Wertheim / New York Times suggest and sue for peace. This will end the dream of U.S. World dominance, Globalization and the current western based financial system. The U.S. will become no more than a heavily indebted regional power in a 'Multi-polar World Order' led by China and Russia.
As I see it, the U.S. is out of options to continue their war for global dominance. #4 is the only viable option. But, as one author argued in a recent paper (I don't have the reference), wars continue long after the victor is clear, because the loser can't admit defeat (at heavy additional costs to the loser). I think that this is the position that the U.S. finds itself in now.
DontBelieveEitherPr. , Sep 15 2019 16:21 utc | 4What the attack on Saudi oil infrastructure shows us, is that now Iran has united her proxys into one united front.Don Bacon , Sep 15 2019 20:13 utc | 29
While they were cautious to not leave evidence of their involvment with the Houtis before, they now are putting their support more and more into the open.
The attack seemed to have involved not only Houti drones (already build with help from Iran), but also Iranian backed forces in Iraq, AND pro Iranian forces in Saudi Arabia itself. And maybe even other actors.
This is a major new development. Not only for the war on Yemen, but also in the context of Iran providing a credile detterence against US+Saudi aggression.
They excalated with increasing levels, and one wonders, what could top this last attack off.
And i am pretty sure, we will find out sooner rather than later.@ 27Hercules , Sep 15 2019 21:27 utc | 35
WaPo: Abqaiq . .damaged on the west-northwest sides
That's it! It was Hezbollah for sure. (not)
Actually there were two targets, the Buqaiq (Abqaiq) oil processing plant and the Khurais oil field, both in the Eastern Province.
These attacks are not the first -- from longwarjournal:
Last month, the Houthis claimed another drone operation against Saudi's Shaybah oil field near the United Arab Emirates. At more than 1,000 miles away from it's Yemen territory, that strike marked one of the Houthis farthest claimed attacks.
The Houthis also claimed a drone strike on the Abu Dhabi airport last year, but that has been denied by Emirati officials.
Additionally, a drone strike on Saudi's East-West oil pipeline near Riyadh earlier this year, which the Houthis claimed responsibility, was allegedly conducted by Iranian-backed Iraqi militants. If accurate, that means the Houthi claim of responsibility acted as a type of diplomatic cover for the Iraqi militants.
Since beginning its drone program last year, the Houthis have launched at least 103 drone strikes in Yemen and Saudi Arabia according to data compiled by FDD's Long War Journal. . . here . . .and more here .Really appreciated the write up on the Houthis attack.
Sounds like the attack left substantial damage. Another bigger issue underlying all of this, aside from Saudi inability to get what it wants now from it's IPO, is the fact that the US Patriots did not detect this attack.
The Saudis spent billions last year on this defense system. Sounds like the clown Prince better give Russians a call about their S-400.
But the US wouldn't appreciate that much, would they?
Jan 01, 2019 | dailymaverick.co.za
The Guardian, Britain's leading liberal newspaper with a global reputation for independent and critical journalism, has been successfully targeted by security agencies to neutralise its adversarial reporting of the 'security state', according to newly released documents and evidence from former and current Guardian journalists.
The UK security services targeted The Guardian after the newspaper started publishing the contents of secret US government documents leaked by National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden in June 2013.
Snowden's bombshell revelations continued for months and were the largest-ever leak of classified material covering the NSA and its UK equivalent, the Government Communications Headquarters. They revealed programmes of mass surveillance operated by both agencies.
According to minutes of meetings of the UK's Defence and Security Media Advisory Committee, the revelations caused alarm in the British security services and Ministry of Defence.
" This event was very concerning because at the outset The Guardian avoided engaging with the [committee] before publishing the first tranche of information," state minutes of a 7 November 2013 meeting at the MOD.
The DSMA Committee, more commonly known as the D-Notice Committee, is run by the MOD, where it meets every six months. A small number of journalists are also invited to sit on the committee. Its stated purpose is to "prevent inadvertent public disclosure of information that would compromise UK military and intelligence operations". It can issue "notices" to the media to encourage them not to publish certain information.
The committee is currently chaired by the MOD's director-general of security policy Dominic Wilson, who was previously director of security and intelligence in the British Cabinet Office. Its secretary is Brigadier Geoffrey Dodds OBE, who describes himself as an "accomplished, senior ex-military commander with extensive experience of operational level leadership".
The D-Notice system describes itself as voluntary , placing no obligations on the media to comply with any notice issued. This means there should have been no need for the Guardian to consult the MOD before publishing the Snowden documents.
Yet committee minutes note the secretary saying: "The Guardian was obliged to seek advice under the terms of the DA notice code." The minutes add: "This failure to seek advice was a key source of concern and considerable efforts had been made to address it."
' Considerable efforts'
These "considerable efforts" included a D-Notice sent out by the committee on 7 June 2013 the day after The Guardian published the first documents to all major UK media editors, saying they should refrain from publishing information that would "jeopardise both national security and possibly UK personnel". It was marked "private and confidential: not for publication, broadcast or use on social media".
Clearly the committee did not want its issuing of the notice to be publicised, and it was nearly successful. Only the right-wing blog Guido Fawkes made it public.
At the time, according to the committee minutes , the "intelligence agencies in particular had continued to ask for more advisories [i.e. D-Notices] to be sent out". Such D-Notices were clearly seen by the intelligence services not so much as a tool to advise the media but rather a way to threaten it not to publish further Snowden revelations.
One night, amidst the first Snowden stories being published, the D-Notice Committee's then-secretary Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Vallance personally called Alan Rusbridger, then editor of The Guardian. Vallance "made clear his concern that The Guardian had failed to consult him in advance before telling the world", according to a Guardian journalist who interviewed Rusbridger.
Later in the year, Prime Minister David Cameron again used the D-Notice system as a threat to the media.
" I don't want to have to use injunctions or D-Notices or the other tougher measures," he said in a statement to MPs. "I think it's much better to appeal to newspapers' sense of social responsibility. But if they don't demonstrate some social responsibility it would be very difficult for government to stand back and not to act."
The threats worked. The Press Gazette reported at the time that "The FT [Financial Times] and The Times did not mention it [the initial Snowden revelations] and the Telegraph published only a short". It continued by noting that only The Independent "followed up the substantive allegations". It added, "The BBC has also chosen to largely ignore the story."
The Guardian, however, remained uncowed.
According to the committee minutes , the fact The Guardian would not stop publishing "undoubtedly raised questions in some minds about the system's future usefulness". If the D-Notice system could not prevent The Guardian publishing GCHQ's most sensitive secrets, what was it good for?
It was time to rein in The Guardian and make sure this never happened again.
GCHQ and laptops
The security services ratcheted up their "considerable efforts" to deal with the exposures. On 20 July 2013, GCHQ officials entered The Guardian's offices at King's Cross in London, six weeks after the first Snowden-related article had been published. At the request of the government and security services, Guardian deputy editor Paul Johnson, along with two others, spent three hours destroying the laptops containing the Snowden documents.
The Guardian staffers, according to one of the newspaper's reporters, brought "angle-grinders, dremels drills with revolving bits and masks". The reporter added, "The spy agency provided one piece of hi-tech equipment, a 'degausser', which destroys magnetic fields and erases data."
Johnson claims that the destruction of the computers was "purely a symbolic act", adding that "the government and GCHQ knew, because we had told them, that the material had been taken to the US to be shared with the New York Times. The reporting would go on. The episode hadn't changed anything."
Yet the episode did change something. As the D-Notice Committee minutes for November 2013 outlined: "Towards the end of July [as the computers were being destroyed], The Guardian had begun to seek and accept D-Notice advice not to publish certain highly sensitive details and since then the dialogue [with the committee] had been reasonable and improving."
The British security services had carried out more than a "symbolic act". It was both a show of strength and a clear threat. The Guardian was then the only major newspaper that could be relied upon by whistleblowers in the US and British security bodies to receive and cover their exposures, a situation which posed a challenge to security agencies.
The increasingly aggressive overtures made to The Guardian worked. The committee chair noted that after GCHQ had overseen the smashing up of the newspaper's laptops "engagement with The Guardian had continued to strengthen".
Moreover, he added , there were now "regular dialogues between the secretary and deputy secretaries and Guardian journalists". Rusbridger later testified to the Home Affairs Committee that Air Vice-Marshal Vallance of the D-Notice committee and himself "collaborated" in the aftermath of the Snowden affair and that Vallance had even "been at The Guardian offices to talk to all our reporters".
But the most important part of this charm and threat offensive was getting The Guardian to agree to take a seat on the D-Notice Committee itself. The committee minutes are explicit on this, noting that "the process had culminated by [sic] the appointment of Paul Johnson (deputy editor Guardian News and Media) as a DPBAC [i.e. D-Notice Committee] member".
At some point in 2013 or early 2014, Johnson the same deputy editor who had smashed up his newspaper's computers under the watchful gaze of British intelligence agents was approached to take up a seat on the committee. Johnson attended his first meeting in May 2014 and was to remain on it until October 2018 .
The Guardian's deputy editor went directly from the corporation's basement with an angle-grinder to sitting on the D-Notice Committee alongside the security service officials who had tried to stop his paper publishing.
A new editor
Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger withstood intense pressure not to publish some of the Snowden revelations but agreed to Johnson taking a seat on the D-Notice Committee as a tactical sop to the security services. Throughout his tenure, The Guardian continued to publish some stories critical of the security services.
But in March 2015, the situation changed when the Guardian appointed a new editor, Katharine Viner, who had less experience than Rusbridger of dealing with the security services. Viner had started out on fashion and entertainment magazine Cosmopolitan and had no history in national security reporting. According to insiders, she showed much less leadership during the Snowden affair than Janine Gibson in the US (Gibson was another candidate to be Rusbridger's successor).
Viner was then editor-in-chief of Guardian Australia, which was launched just two weeks before the first Snowden revelations were published. Australia and New Zealand comprise two-fifths of the so-called "Five Eyes" surveillance alliance exposed by Snowden.
This was an opportunity for the security services. It appears that their seduction began the following year.
In November 2016, The Guardian published an unprecedented "exclusive" with Andrew Parker, the head of MI5, Britain's domestic security service. The article noted that this was the "first newspaper interview given by an incumbent MI5 chief in the service's 107-year history". It was co-written by deputy editor Paul Johnson, who had never written about the security services before and who was still sitting on the D-Notice Committee. This was not mentioned in the article.
The MI5 chief was given copious space to make claims about the national security threat posed by an "increasingly aggressive" Russia. Johnson and his co-author noted, "Parker said he was talking to The Guardian rather than any other newspaper despite the publication of the Snowden files."
Parker told the two reporters, "We recognise that in a changing world we have to change too. We have a responsibility to talk about our work and explain it."
Four months after the MI5 interview, in March 2017, the Guardian published another unprecedented "exclusive", this time with Alex Younger, the sitting chief of MI6, Britain's external intelligence agency. This exclusive was awarded by the Secret Intelligence Service to The Guardian's investigations editor, Nick Hopkins, who had been appointed 14 months previously.
The interview was the first Younger had given to a national newspaper and was again softball. Titled "MI6 returns to 'tapping up' in an effort to recruit black and Asian officers", it focused almost entirely on the intelligence service's stated desire to recruit from ethnic minority communities.
" Simply, we have to attract the best of modern Britain," Younger told Hopkins. "Every community from every part of Britain should feel they have what it takes, no matter what their background or status."
Just two weeks before the interview with MI6's chief was published, The Guardian itself reported on the high court stating that it would "hear an application for a judicial review of the Crown Prosecution Service's decision not to charge MI6's former counterterrorism director, Sir Mark Allen, over the abduction of Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his pregnant wife who were transferred to Libya in a joint CIA-MI6 operation in 2004".
None of this featured in The Guardian article, which did, however, cover discussions of whether the James Bond actor Daniel Craig would qualify for the intelligence service. "He would not get into MI6," Younger told Hopkins.
More recently, in August 2019, The Guardian was awarded yet another exclusive, this time with Metropolitan police assistant commissioner Neil Basu, Britain's most senior counter-terrorism officer. This was Basu's " first major interview since taking up his post" the previous year and resulted in a three-part series of articles, one of which was entitled "Met police examine Vladimir Putin's role in Salisbury attack".
The security services were probably feeding The Guardian these "exclusives" as part of the process of bringing it onside and neutralising the only independent newspaper with the resources to receive and cover a leak such as Snowden's. They were possibly acting to prevent any revelations of this kind happening again.
What, if any, private conversations have taken place between Viner and the security services during her tenure as editor are not known. But in 2018, when Paul Johnson eventually left the D-Notice Committee, its chair, the MOD's Dominic Wilson, praised Johnson who, he said, had been "instrumental in re-establishing links with The Guardian".
Decline in critical reporting
Amidst these spoon-fed intelligence exclusives, Viner also oversaw the breakup of The Guardian's celebrated investigative team, whose muck-racking journalists were told to apply for other jobs outside of investigations.
One well-placed source told the Press Gazette at the time that journalists on the investigations team "have not felt backed by senior editors over the last year", and that "some also feel the company has become more risk-averse in the same period".
In the period since Snowden, The Guardian has lost many of its top investigative reporters who had covered national security issues, notably Shiv Malik, Nick Davies, David Leigh, Richard Norton-Taylor, Ewen MacAskill and Ian Cobain. The few journalists who were replaced were succeeded by less experienced reporters with apparently less commitment to exposing the security state. The current defence and security editor, Dan Sabbagh, started at The Guardian as head of media and technology and has no history of covering national security.
" It seems they've got rid of everyone who seemed to cover the security services and military in an adversarial way," one current Guardian journalist told us.
Indeed, during the last two years of Rusbridger's editorship, The Guardian published about 110 articles per year tagged as MI6 on its website. Since Viner took over, the average per year has halved and is decreasing year by year.
" Effective scrutiny of the security and intelligence agencies -- epitomised by the Snowden scoops but also many other stories -- appears to have been abandoned," a former Guardian journalist told us. The former reporter added that, in recent years, it "sometimes seems The Guardian is worried about upsetting the spooks."
A second former Guardian journalist added: "The Guardian no longer seems to have such a challenging relationship with the intelligence services, and is perhaps seeking to mend fences since Snowden. This is concerning, because spooks are always manipulative and not always to be trusted."
While some articles critical of the security services still do appear in the paper, its "scoops" increasingly focus on issues more acceptable to them. Since the Snowden affair, The Guardian does not appear to have published any articles based on an intelligence or security services source that was not officially sanctioned to speak.
The Guardian has, by contrast, published a steady stream of exclusives on the major official enemy of the security services, Russia, exposing Putin, his friends and the work of its intelligence services and military.
In the Panama Papers leak in April 2016, which revealed how companies and individuals around the world were using an offshore law firm to avoid paying tax, The Guardian's front-page launch scoop was authored by Luke Harding, who has received many security service tips focused on the "Russia threat", and was titled "Revealed: the $2bn offshore trail that leads to Vladimir Putin".
Three sentences into the piece, however, Harding notes that "the president's name does not appear in any of the records" although he insists that "the data reveals a pattern his friends have earned millions from deals that seemingly could not have been secured without his patronage".
There was a much bigger story in the Panama Papers which The Guardian chose to downplay by leaving it to the following day. This concerned the father of the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, who "ran an offshore fund that avoided ever having to pay tax in Britain by hiring a small army of Bahamas residents including a part-time bishop to sign its paperwork".
We understand there was some argument between journalists about not leading with the Cameron story as the launch splash. Putin's friends were eventually deemed more important than the Prime Minister of the country where the paper published.
Getting Julian Assange
The Guardian also appears to have been engaged in a campaign against the WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, who had been a collaborator during the early WikiLeaks revelations in 2010.
One 2017 story came from investigative reporter Carole Cadwalladr, who writes for The Guardian's sister paper The Observer, titled "When Nigel Farage met Julian Assange". This concerned the visit of former UKIP leader Nigel Farage to the Ecuadorian embassy in March 2017, organised by the radio station LBC, for whom Farage worked as a presenter. Farage's producer at LBC accompanied Farage at the meeting, but this was not mentioned by Cadwalladr.
Rather, she posited that this meeting was "potentially a channel of communication" between WikiLeaks, Farage and Donald Trump, who were all said to be closely linked to Russia, adding that these actors were in a "political alignment" and that " WikiLeaks is, in many ways, the swirling vortex at the centre of everything".
Yet Cadwalladr's one official on-the-record source for this speculation was a "highly placed contact with links to US intelligence", who told her, "When the heat is turned up and all electronic communication, you have to assume, is being intensely monitored, then those are the times when intelligence communication falls back on human couriers. Where you have individuals passing information in ways and places that cannot be monitored."
It seems likely this was innuendo being fed to The Observer by an intelligence-linked individual to promote disinformation to undermine Assange.
In 2018, however, The Guardian's attempted vilification of Assange was significantly stepped up. A new string of articles began on 18 May 2018 with one alleging Assange's "long-standing relationship with RT", the Russian state broadcaster. The series, which has been closely documented elsewhere, lasted for several months, consistently alleging with little or the most minimal circumstantial evidence that Assange had ties to Russia or the Kremlin.
One story, co-authored again by Luke Harding, claimed that "Russian diplomats held secret talks in London with people close to Julian Assange to assess whether they could help him flee the UK, The Guardian has learned". The former consul in the Ecuadorian embassy in London at this time, Fidel Narvaez, vigorously denies the existence of any such "escape plot" involving Russia and is involved in a complaint process with The Guardian for insinuating he coordinated such a plot.
This apparent mini-campaign ran until November 2018, culminating in a front-page splash , based on anonymous sources, claiming that Assange had three secret meetings at the Ecuadorian embassy with Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.
This "scoop" failed all tests of journalistic credibility since it would have been impossible for anyone to have entered the highly secured Ecuadorian embassy three times with no proof. WikiLeaks and others have strongly argued that the story was manufactured and it is telling that The Guardian has since failed to refer to it in its subsequent articles on the Assange case. The Guardian, however, has still not retracted or apologised for the story which remains on its website.
The "exclusive" appeared just two weeks after Paul Johnson had been congratulated for "re-establishing links" between The Guardian and the security services.
The string of Guardian articles, along with the vilification and smear stories about Assange elsewhere in the British media, helped create the conditions for a deal between Ecuador, the UK and the US to expel Assange from the embassy in April. Assange now sits in Belmarsh maximum-security prison where he faces extradition to the US, and life in prison there, on charges under the Espionage Act.
Acting for the establishment
Another major focus of The Guardian's energies under Viner's editorship has been to attack the leader of the UK Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn.
The context is that Corbyn appears to have recently been a target of the security services. In 2015, soon after he was elected Labour leader, the Sunday Times reported a serving general warning that "there would be a direct challenge from the army and mass resignations if Corbyn became prime minister". The source told the newspaper: "The Army just wouldn't stand for it. The general staff would not allow a prime minister to jeopardise the security of this country and I think people would use whatever means possible, fair or foul, to prevent that."
On 20 May 2017, a little over two weeks before the 2017 General Election, the Daily Telegraph was fed the story that "MI5 opened a file on Jeremy Corbyn amid concerns over his links to the IRA". It formed part of a Telegraph investigation claiming to reveal "Mr Corbyn's full links to the IRA" and was sourced to an individual "close to" the MI5 investigation, who said "a file had been opened on him by the early nineties".
The Metropolitan Police Special Branch was also said to be monitoring Corbyn in the same period.
Then, on the very eve of the General Election, the Telegraph gave space to an article from Sir Richard Dearlove, the former director of MI6, under a headline: "Jeremy Corbyn is a danger to this nation. At MI6, which I once led, he wouldn't clear the security vetting."
Further, in September 2018, two anonymous senior government sources told The Times that Corbyn had been "summoned" for a "'facts of life' talk on terror" by MI5 chief Andrew Parker.
Just two weeks after news of this private meeting was leaked by the government, the Daily Mail reported another leak, this time revealing that "Jeremy Corbyn's most influential House of Commons adviser has been barred from entering Ukraine on the grounds that he is a national security threat because of his alleged links to Vladimir Putin's 'global propaganda network'."
The article concerned Andrew Murray, who had been working in Corbyn's office for a year but had still not received a security pass to enter the UK parliament. The Mail reported, based on what it called "a senior parliamentary source", that Murray's application had encountered "vetting problems".
Murray later heavily suggested that the security services had leaked the story to the Mail. "Call me sceptical if you must, but I do not see journalistic enterprise behind the Mail's sudden capacity to tease obscure information out of the [Ukrainian security service]," he wrote in the New Statesman. He added, "Someone else is doing the hard work possibly someone being paid by the taxpayer. I doubt if their job description is preventing the election of a Corbyn government, but who knows?"
Murray told us he was approached by the New Statesman after the story about him being banned from Ukraine was leaked. "However," he added, "I wouldn't dream of suggesting anything like that to The Guardian, since I do not know any journalists still working there who I could trust."
The Guardian itself has run a remarkable number of news and comment articles criticising Corbyn since he was elected in 2015 and the paper's clearly hostile stance has been widely noted .
Given its appeal to traditional Labour supporters, the paper has probably done more to undermine Corbyn than any other. In particular, its massive coverage of alleged widespread anti-Semitism in the Labour Party has helped to disparage Corbyn more than other smears carried in the media.
The Guardian and The Observer have published hundreds of articles on "Labour anti-Semitism" and, since the beginning of this year, carried over 50 such articles with headlines clearly negative to Corbyn. Typical headlines have included " The Observer view: Labour leadership is complicit in anti-Semitism ", " Jeremy Corbyn is either blind to anti-Semitism or he just doesn't care ", and " Labour's anti-Semitism problem is institutional. It needs investigation ".
The Guardian's coverage of anti-Semitism in Labour has been suspiciously extensive, compared to the known extent of the problem in the party, and its focus on Corbyn personally suggests that the issue is being used politically. While anti-Semitism does exist in the Labour Party, evidence suggests it is at relatively low levels. Since September 2015, when Corbyn became Labour leader, 0.06% of the Labour membership has been investigated for anti-Semitic comments or posts. In 2016, an independent inquiry commissioned by Labour concluded that the party "is not overrun by anti-Semitism, Islamophobia or other forms of racism. Further, it is the party that initiated every single United Kingdom race equality law."
Analysis of two YouGov surveys, conducted in 2015 and 2017, shows that anti-Semitic views held by Labour voters declined substantially in the first two years of Corbyn's tenure and that such views were significantly more common among Conservative voters.
Despite this, since January 2016, The Guardian has published 1,215 stories mentioning Labour and anti-Semitism, an average of around one per day, according to a search on Factiva, the database of newspaper articles. In the same period, The Guardian published just 194 articles mentioning the Conservative Party's much more serious problem with Islamophobia. A YouGov poll in 2019, for example, found that nearly half of the Tory Party membership would prefer not to have a Muslim prime minister.
At the same time, some stories which paint Corbyn's critics in a negative light have been suppressed by The Guardian. According to someone with knowledge of the matter, The Guardian declined to publish the results of a months-long critical investigation by one of its reporters into a prominent anti-Corbyn Labour MP, citing only vague legal issues.
In July 2016, one of this article's authors emailed a Guardian editor asking if he could pitch an investigation about the first attempt by the right-wing of the Labour Party to remove Corbyn, informing The Guardian of very good inside sources on those behind the attempt and their real plans. The approach was rejected as being of no interest before a pitch was even sent.
A reliable publication?
On 20 May 2019, The Times newspaper reported on a Freedom of Information request made by the Rendition Project, a group of academic experts working on torture and rendition issues, which showed that the MOD had been "developing a secret policy on torture that allows ministers to sign off intelligence-sharing that could lead to the abuse of detainees".
This might traditionally have been a Guardian story, not something for the Rupert Murdoch-owned Times. According to one civil society source, however, many groups working in this field no longer trust The Guardian.
A former Guardian journalist similarly told us: "It is significant that exclusive stories recently about British collusion in torture and policy towards the interrogation of terror suspects and other detainees have been passed to other papers including The Times rather than The Guardian."
The Times published its scoop under a strong headline , "Torture: Britain breaks law in Ministry of Defence secret policy". However, before the article was published, the MOD fed The Guardian the same documents The Times were about to splash with, believing it could soften the impact of the revelations by telling its side of the story.
The Guardian posted its own article just before The Times, with a headline that would have pleased the government: "MoD says revised torture guidance does not lower standards".
Its lead paragraph was a simple summary of the MOD's position: "The Ministry of Defence has insisted that newly emerged departmental guidance on the sharing of intelligence derived from torture with allies, remains in line with practices agreed in the aftermath of a series of scandals following the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq." However, an inspection of the documents showed this was clearly disinformation.
The Guardian had gone in six short years from being the natural outlet to place stories exposing wrongdoing by the security state to a platform trusted by the security state to amplify its information operations. A once relatively independent media platform has been largely neutralised by UK security services fearful of being exposed further. Which begs the question: where does the next Snowden go? DM
The Guardian did not respond to a request for comment.
Daily Maverick will formally launch Declassified a new UK-focused investigation and analysis organisation run by the authors of this article in November 2019.
Matt Kennard is an investigative journalist and co-founder of Declassified . He was previously director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism in London, and before that a reporter for the Financial Times in the US and UK. He is the author of two books, Irregular Army and The Racket .
Mark Curtis is a leading UK foreign policy analyst, journalist and the author of six books including Web of Deceit: Britain's Real Role in the World and Secret Affairs: Britain's Collusion with Radical Islam .
Sep 14, 2019 | www.theguardian.com
With John Bolton dismissed, Taliban peace talks a fiasco and a trade war with China, US foreign policy is ever more unstable and confrontational
It was by all accounts, a furious row. Donald Trump was talking about relaxing sanctions on Iran and holding a summit with its president, Hassan Rouhani, at this month's UN general assembly in New York. John Bolton, his hawkish national security adviser, was dead against it and forcefully rejected Trump's ideas during a tense meeting in the Oval Office on Monday.
...Bolton's brutal defenestration has raised hopes that Trump, who worries that voters may view him as a warmonger, may begin to moderate some of his more confrontational international policies. As the 2020 election looms, he is desperate for a big foreign policy peace-making success. And, in Trump world, winning matters more than ideology, principles or personnel.
The US president is now saying he is also open to a repeat meeting with North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, to reboot stalled nuclear disarmament talks. On another front, he has offered an olive branch to China, delaying a planned tariff increase on $250bn of Chinese goods pending renewed trade negotiations next month. Meanwhile, he says, new tariffs on European car imports could be dropped, too.
Is a genuine dove-ish shift under way? It seems improbable. Since taking office in January 2017, Trump has not merely broken with diplomatic and geopolitical convention. He has taken a wrecking ball to venerated alliances, multilateral cooperation and the postwar international rules-based order. He has cosied up to autocrats, attacked old friends and blundered into sensitive conflicts he does not fully comprehend.
The resulting new world disorder to adapt George HW Bush's famous 1991 phrase will be hard to put right. Like its creator, Trump world is unstable, unpredictable and threatening. Trump has been called America's first rogue president. Whether or not he wins a second term, this Trumpian era of epic disruption, the very worst form of American exceptionalism, is already deeply entrenched.
The suggestion that Trump will make nice and back off as election time nears thus elicits considerable scepticism. US analysts and commentators say the president's erratic, impulsive and egotistic personality means any shift towards conciliation may be short-lived and could quickly be reversed, Bolton or no Bolton.
Trump wanted quick 'n' easy, primetime credit for a dramatic peace deal in Afghanistan with the Taliban, pushed ahead blindly, then changed his mind at the last minute
Trump is notorious for blowing hot and cold, performing policy zigzags and suddenly changing his mind. "Regardless of who has advised Mr Trump on foreign affairs all have proved powerless before [his] zest for chaos," the New York Times noted last week .
Lacking experienced diplomatic and military advisers (he has sacked most of the good ones), surrounded by an inner circle of cynical sycophants such as secretary of state Mike Pompeo, and driven by a chronic desire for re-election, Trump's behaviour could become more, not less, confrontational during his remaining time in office, suggested Eliot Cohen, professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins university.
"The president has proved himself to be what many critics have long accused him of being: belligerent, bullying, impatient, irresponsible, intellectually lazy, short-tempered and self-obsessed," Cohen wrote in Foreign Affairs journal . "Remarkably, however, those shortcomings have not yet translated into obvious disaster. But [that] should not distract from a building crisis of US foreign policy."
This pending crisis stems from Trump's crudely Manichaean division of the world into two camps: adversaries/competitors and supporters/customers. A man with few close confidants, Trump has real trouble distinguishing between allies and enemies, friends and foes, and often confuses the two. In Trump world, old rules don't apply. Alliances are optional. Loyalty is weakness. And trust is fungible.
As a result, the US today finds itself at odds with much of the world to an unprecedented and dangerous degree. America, the postwar global saviour, has been widely recast as villain. Nor is this a passing phase. Trump seems to have permanently changed the way the US views the world and vice versa. Whatever follows, it will never be quite the same again.
Clues as to what he does next may be found in what he has done so far. His is a truly calamitous record, as exemplified by Afghanistan. Having vowed in 2016 to end America's longest war, he began with a troop surge, lost interest and sued for peace. A withdrawal deal proved elusive. Meanwhile, US-led forces inflicted record civilian casualties .Facebook Twitter Pinterest The US and Israeli flags are projected on the walls of Jerusalem's Old City in May, marking the anniversary of the US embassy transfer from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Photograph: Ahmad Gharabli/Getty
The crunch came last weekend when a bizarre, secret summit with Taliban chiefs at Camp David was cancelled . It was classic Trump. He wanted quick 'n' easy, primetime credit for a dramatic peace deal, pushed ahead blindly, then changed his mind at the last minute. Furious over a debacle of his own making, he turned his wrath on others, notably Bolton who, ironically, had opposed the summit all along.
All sides are now vowing to step up the violence, with the insurgents aiming to disrupt this month's presidential election in Afghanistan. In short, Trump's self-glorifying Afghan reality show, of which he was the Nobel-winning star, has made matters worse. Much the same is true of his North Korea summitry, where expectations were raised, then dashed when he got cold feet in Hanoi , provoking a backlash from Pyongyang.
The current crisis over Iran's nuclear programme is almost entirely of Trump's making, sparked by his decision last year to renege on the 2015 UN-endorsed deal with Tehran. His subsequent "maximum pressure" campaign of punitive sanctions has failed to cow Iranians while alienating European allies. And it has led Iran to resume banned nuclear activities a seriously counterproductive, entirely predictable outcome.
Trump's unconditional, unthinking support for Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's aggressively rightwing prime minister including tacit US backing for his proposed annexation of swathes of the occupied territories is pushing the Palestinians back to the brink, energising Hamas and Hezbollah, and raising tensions across the region .
With Trump's blessing, Israel is enmeshed in escalating, multi-fronted armed confrontation with Iran and its allies in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. Add to this recent violence in the Gulf, the disastrous Trump-backed, Saudi-led war in Yemen, mayhem in Syria's Idlib province, border friction with Turkey, and Islamic State resurgence in northern Iraq, and a region-wide explosion looks ever more likely.
The bipartisan consensus forged in the 1990s in which the US towered over the world and, at low cost, sought to remake it in America's image has failed and cannot be revivedStephen Wertheim, historian
Yet Trump, oblivious to the point of recklessness, remains determined to unveil his absurdly unbalanced Israel-Palestine "deal of the century" after Tuesday's Israeli elections. He and his gormless son-in-law, Jared Kushner, may be the only people who don't realise their plan has a shorter life expectancy than a snowball on a hot day in Gaza.
... ... ...
...he is consistently out of line, out on his own and out of control. This, broadly, is Trump world as it has come to exist since January 2017. And this, in a nutshell, is the intensifying foreign policy crisis of which Professor Cohen warned. The days when responsible, trustworthy, principled US international leadership could be taken for granted are gone. No vague change of tone on North Korea or Iran will by itself halt the Trump-led slide into expanding global conflict and division.
Historians such as Stephen Wertheim say change had to come. US politicians of left and right mostly agreed that "the bipartisan consensus forged in the 1990s in which the US towered over the world and, at low cost, sought to remake it in America's image has failed and cannot be revived", Wertheim wrote earlier this year . "But agreement ends there " he continued: "One camp holds that the US erred by coddling China and Russia, and urges a new competition against these great power rivals. The other camp, which says the US has been too belligerent and ambitious around the world, counsels restraint, not another crusade against grand enemies."
This debate among grownups over America's future place in the world will form part of next year's election contest. But before any fundamental change of direction can occur, the international community and the US itself must first survive another 16 months of Trump world and the wayward child-president's poll-fixated, ego-driven destructive tendencies.
Survival is not guaranteed. The immediate choice facing US friends and foes alike is stark and urgent: ignore, bypass and marginalise Trump or actively, openly, resist him.
Here are some of the key flashpoints around the globeUnited Nations
Trump is deeply hostile to the UN. It embodies the multilateralist, globalist policy approaches he most abhors because they supposedly infringe America's sovereignty and inhibit its freedom of action. Under him, self-interested US behaviour has undermined the authority of the UN security council's authority. The US has rejected a series of international treaties and agreements, including the Paris climate change accord and the Iran nuclear deal. The UN-backed international criminal court is beyond the pale. Trump's attitude fits with his "America First" isolationism, which questions traditional ideas about America's essential global leadership role.Germany
Trump rarely misses a chance to bash Germany, perhaps because it is Europe's most successful economy and represents the EU, which he detests. He is obsessed by German car imports, on which protectionist US tariffs will be levied this autumn. He accuses Berlin and Europe of piggy-backing on America by failing to pay its fair share of Nato defence costs. Special venom is reserved for Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel, most likely because she is a woman who stands up to him . Trump recently insulted another female European leader, Denmark's Mette Frederiksen, after she refused to sell him Greenland .Israel
Trump has made a great show of unconditional friendship towards Israel and its rightwing prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who has skilfully maximised his White House influence. But by moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, officially condoning Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights, and withdrawing funding and other support from the Palestinians, the president has abandoned the long-standing US policy of playing honest broker in the peace process. Trump has also tried to exploit antisemitism for political advantage, accusing US Democrat Jews who oppose Netanyahu's policies of "disloyalty" to Israel.
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Sep 13, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com
"Carlson concluded by warning about the many other Boltons in the federal bureaucracy, saying that "war may be a disaster for America, but for John Bolton and his fellow neocons, it's always good business."
He went on to slam Trump's special representative for Iran and contender to replace Bolton, Brian Hook, as an "unapologetic neocon" who "has undisguised contempt for President Trump, and he particularly dislikes the president's nationalist foreign policy." Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif echoed Carlson hours later in a tweet, arguing that "Thirst for war – maximum pressure – should go with the warmonger-in-chief." Reuters and Haaretz
Yes, people tend to forget that Bolton and all the other neocons are worshipers at the altar of a secular religion imported to the US by members of the Frankfurt School of Trotskyite German professors in the 1930s. These people had attempted get the Nazis to consider them allies in a quest for an ordered world. Alas for them they found that the Nazi scum would not accept them and in fact began preparations to hunt them down.
Thus the migration to America and in particular to the University of Chicago where they developed their credo of world revolution under that guidance of a few philosopher kings like Leo Strauss, the Wohlstetters and other academic "geniuses" They also began an enthusiastic campaign of recruitment of enthusiastic graduate students who carefully disguised themselves as whatever was most useful politically.
They are not conservative at all, not one bit. Carlson was absolutely right about that.
They despise nationalism. They despise the idea of countries. In that regard they are like all groups who aspire to globalist dominion for their particular ideas.
They should all be driven from government. pl
Sep 13, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org
As for the gory details of CIA involvement in the Chilean coup d'état of 1973, Costa-Gavras' film "Missing" (Universal Pictures, 1982) staring Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek exposes the surreptitious U.S. involvement via CIA operatives, supportive of Pinochet's cold-bloodied massacre of students and other innocent bystanders. Not surprisingly, the film was removed from the U.S. market following a lawsuit against the director and Universal Pictures by former ambassador Nathaniel Davis for defamation of character. When Davis lost his lawsuit, the film was re-released by Universal in 2006.
The face of neoliberalism in Chile today is disheartened, reflecting deep losses for the wealthy class as the people of the country reject Milton Friedman's neoliberal policies, including clever tax evasion techniques by the business class. Could this be the start of a worldwide movement against neoliberalism?
After all, Chile is the country that neoliberal advocates crowned their "newborn" in the battle against big government, "get government off our backs," according to Milton Friedman (and, Reagan picked up on the adage.) But, au contraire, according to the film "Missing," fascism took control over Chile. Is it possible that Friedman and Kissinger secretly cherished a fascist empire, where control would be complete, disguised as "the land of individual economic freedom?" Whatever their motives, that's what they got, and they never hesitated to revere Chile's remarkable economic achievements, fascism and all, which is powerfully expressed in the film "Missing," from end to end the heavy hand of fascism is ever-present.
Today is a new day as the people of Chile abandon decades of rotting neoliberal policies. They've had enough of Milton Freidman. The people have decided that the "state" is a beneficial partner for achievement of life's dreams. The "state" is not the menacing force of evil preached by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.
The people of Chile are embracing an anti-neoliberalistic nation/state for the first time in over four decades. Will the world follow in their footsteps similar to the world adopting the principles of the "Miracle of Chile" these past four decades?
As for the new way forward, it's all about student debt. Yes, student debt was the catalyst behind Chile's repudiation of neoliberalism. In 2011 students in Chile made headlines by launching nationwide strikes over high tuition costs that drove their families into debt (sound familiar?) The strike lasted for eight months.
Over time, the student marches gained recognition by other like-minded organizations like trade unions and protests of environmental degradation. According to Tasha Fairfield, an assistant professor for the London School of Economics' Department of International Development, the strikes were pivotal: "The student movement played a critical role in creating political space," according to Fairfield, it "dramatically changed the political context in Chile and helped to place the issues of Chile's extreme inequalities centrally on the national agenda," Sebastian Rosemont, Chilean Activists Change the Rules of the Game, Foreign Policy In Focus, Dec. 2, 2014.
Subsequently, the national election of 2013 swept the left wing into power with a huge wave of public support, gaining strong majorities in both houses of the National Congress as well as electing Michelle Bachelet president. The big leftward sweep came as over two thirds of the population grew to support student demands for free university tuition.
Ever since the 2013 election, neoliberal policies have crumbled like a decrepit equestrian statue of Pinochet, who carried the stigma of brutal criminality to, and beyond, the grave.
In stark contrast to 40 years ago, today, when students, armed with only stones clashed with police equipped with full regalia of riot gear, tear gas, and armored vehicles, the harsh police activity drew heavy international criticism. That, combined with more than two-thirds of the population in support of the student movement, led to a new politics, Nueva Mayoria (New Majority), a center-left coalition made up of Bachelet's Socialist Party, the Christian Democratic Party, and the Party for Democracy.
Whereupon, Nueva Mayoria, turning up its nose to neoliberalism, raised corporate taxes from 20 percent to 25 percent and closed tax loopholes for companies and wealthy business owners. Those changes added $8.3 billion annually to government coffers, thus, serving as a source of funds to provide free education to all Chileans by 2020, as well as improved health care, and including a roll back of the for-profit schools that emerged under Pinochet's dictatorship, which is another neoliberal fascination, witness the U.S. for-profit schools listed on the New York Stock Exchange honestly, what's with that? In order to achieve success, the new Chilean politics astutely employed a key tactical move by applying the corporate tax hikes to only the largest corporations. As a result, nearly 95% of businesses are not be affected by higher taxation. This, in fact, served to secure a broad base of support for the new politics by having those who can afford to pay Pay.
Along those same lines, the new government removed a tax dodge employed by large business owners that allowed them to mostly escape taxes on $270 billion of profits (similar to the U.S. 15% "carried interest" for private equity entities, e.g., Mitt Romney's 15% tax rate).
Thus, it's little wonder that public backlash is challenging neoliberalism, especially considering the conditions throughout the Pinochet regime, as described in the meticulously structured documentary film, "The Pinochet Case," (Icarus Films, 2002), which opens with scenes of ordinary Chileans scouring the desert for the remains of family members who were tortured and killed decades previous.
Chile, "The Babe of Neoliberalism," came to life as an experiment for the "Chicago School" of economic thought. It worked. Today neoliberal theory rules the world, laissez-faire capitalism as practiced from China to the United States, privatization, open markets, slash government, and deregulation, in short, "whatever works best for profits works best for society." But, does it?
Forty years of neoliberal thought and practice has changed the world's socio-economic landscape, but it only really, truly works for the same class of people today as it did 800 years ago for the nobility of the Middle Ages.
Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Sep 13, 2019 | consortiumnews.com
Stephen M , September 10, 2019 at 15:14
This is as good a time as any to point to an alternative vision of foreign policy. One based on the principle of non-interference, respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, and, above all, international law. One based on peaceful coexistence and mutual cooperation. A vision of the world at peace and undivided by arbitrary distinctions. Such a world is possible and even though there are currently players around the world who are striving in that direction we need look no further than our own history for inspiration. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you one Henry A. Wallace, for your consideration.
(The following excerpts from an article by Dr. Dennis Etler. Link to the full article provided below.) --
The highest profile figure who articulated an alternative vision for American foreign policy was the politician Henry Wallace, who served as vice president under Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1940-1944 and ran for president in 1948 as the candidate of the Progressive Party.
After he became vice president in 1940, as Roosevelt was increasingly ill, Wallace promoted a new vision for America's role in the world that suggested that rather than playing catch up with the imperial powers, the United States should work with partners to establish a new world order that eliminated militarism, colonialism and imperialism.
Wallace gave a speech in 1942 that declared a "Century of the Common Man." He described a post-war world that offered "freedom from want," a new order in which ordinary citizens, rather than the rich and powerful, would play a decisive role in politics.
That speech made direct analogy between the Second World War and the Civil War, suggesting that the Second World War was being fought to end economic slavery and to create a more equal society. Wallace demanded that the imperialist powers like Britain and France give up their colonies at the end of the war.
In diplomacy, Wallace imagined a multi-polar world founded on the United Nations Charter with a focus on peaceful cooperation. In contrast, in 1941 Henry Luce, publisher of Time Magazine, had called for an 'American century,' suggesting that victory in war would allow the United States to "exert upon the world the full impact of our influence, for such purposes as we see fit and by such means as we see fit."
Wallace responded to Luce with a demand to create a world in which "no nation will have the God-given right to exploit other nations. Older nations will have the privilege to help younger nations get started on the path to industrialization, but there must be neither military nor economic imperialism." Wallace took the New Deal global. His foreign policy was to be based on non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries and mutual respect for each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty.
Sadly, since then, despite occasional efforts to head in a new direction, the core constituency for US foreign policy has been corporations, rather than the "common man" either in the United States, or the other nations of the world, and United States foreign relations have been dominated by interference in the political affairs of other nations. As a result the military was transformed from an "arsenal for democracy" during the Second World War into a defender of privilege at home and abroad afterwards.
Foreign aid for Wallace was not a tool to foster economic dominance as it was to become, but rather "economic assistance without political conditions to further the independent economic development of the Latin American and Caribbean countries." He held high "the principle of self-determination for the peoples of Africa, Asia, the West Indies, and other colonial areas." He saw the key policy for the United States to be based on "the principles of non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations and acceptance of the right of peoples to choose their own form of government and economic system."
Wallace's legacy suggests that it is possible to put forth a vision of an honest internationalism in US foreign policy that is in essence American. His approach was proactive not reactive. It would go far beyond anything Democrats propose today, who can only suggest that the United States should not start an unprovoked war with Iran or North Korea, but who embrace sanctions and propagandist reports that demonize those countries.
Rather than ridiculing Trump's overtures to North Korea, they should go further to reduce tensions between the North and the South by pushing for the eventual withdrawal of troops from South Korea and Japan (a position fully in line with Wallace and many other politicians of that age).
Rather than demonizing and isolating Russia (as a means to score political points against Trump), progressives should call for a real détente, that recognizes Russia's core interests, proposes that NATO withdraw troops from Russia's borders, ends sanctions and reintegrates Russia into the greater European economy. They could even call for an end to NATO and the perpetuation of the dangerous global rift between East and West that it perpetuates.
Rather than attempt to thwart China's rise, and attack Trump for not punishing it enough, progressives should seek to create new synergies between China and the US economically, politically and socioculturally.
In contrast to the US policy of perpetual war and "destroying nations in order to save them," China's BRI proposes an open plan for development that is not grounded in the models of French and British imperialism. It has proposed global infrastructure and science projects that include participants from nations in Africa, Asia, South and Central America previously ignored by American and European elites -- much as Wallace proposed an equal engagement with Latin America. When offering developmental aid and investment China does not demand that free market principles be adopted or that the public sector be privatized and opened up for global investment banks to ravish.
The United States should be emulating China, its Belt and Road Initiative and Community of Common Destiny, as a means of revitalizing its political culture and kicking its addiction to a neo-colonial concept of economic development and growth. Rather than relying on militarization and its attendant wars to spark the economy, progressives should demand that the US work in conjunction with nations such as China and Russia in building a sustainable future rather than creating one failed state after another.
Link to the full article provided below.
Sep 12, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Bolton's is an extreme black-and-white view of the world: if you aren't an ally of the United States, you are an adversary who needs a boot on your neck in the form of U.S. military force or economic sanctions. The second- and third-order strategic consequences are no obstacle in Bolton's mind. Why go through the humiliating spectacle of negotiations when you can simply bomb Iran's nuclear facilities or take out the Kim regime by force ?
Diplomacy, after all, is for wimps, spineless State Department bureaucrats, and appeasers. If the boss is insisting on diplomacy, then demand the moon, stars, and everything in between before offering a nickel of sanctions relief.
This is how John Bolton made his career: as the proverbial wrecking ball of arms control agreements -- and indeed agreements of any kind. And he makes no excuses for it. Indeed, he takes prideful ownership of his views, seeing anyone who disagrees with him or who isn't on his level as a weasel. Before Bolton joined the Trump administration as national security adviser, he was the short-lived ambassador to the United Nations and the undersecretary of state for arms control, where he attempted to get an intelligence analyst removed for disagreeing with his position on Cuba's alleged biological weapons program.
All of this is why so many of us were worried and confused when President Trump asked Bolton to serve as his national security adviser last year. The two men could not have more fundamental disagreements on foreign policy. While both laugh at the U.N. and international organizations more broadly, they diverge paths on some of the weightiest issues on the docket. Bolton would rather blow up Iran than talk to its leaders, engagement Trump has said numerous times he is more than happy to consider (maybe as soon as next week's U.N. General Assembly meeting).
On Venezuela, Trump seems to have soured on pushing Nicolás Maduro from power, even as Bolton refers to Caracas as part of the "troika of tyranny." Bolton's obsession with getting North Korea denuclearized in one fell swoop -- an approach that came crashing down on Trump's head during his second summit with Kim Jong-un in February -- is far more likely to lead to an end of diplomacy than an end to Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program (an uphill climb if there ever was one).
Trump grew tired of Bolton the same way he grew tired of other staffers. Rex Tillerson, James Mattis, Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus, H.R. McMaster, and John Kelly were all liked by the president at one time, only to be fired or convinced to resign. Bolton, prickly as a porcupine in dealing with colleagues, had long been under Trump's skin. NBC News reports that the two men had a shouting match behind closed doors the night before Bolton's resignation.
Whatever finally pushed Bolton out the door, however, is far less relevant than where Trump goes from here. He will announce a new national security adviser next week, and the Washington parlor game is already swirling with names.
We don't know who Bolton's replacement will be, but we do know what he or she needs to do: dump most of the previous regime's ideas in the garbage and start over with strategies that actually have a chance at success.
Trump needs an adviser who is willing to engage in a pragmatic negotiation and be prepared for uncomfortable but necessary bargaining. He needs someone who will help him end wars -- like the 18-year-long quagmire in Afghanistan -- that have gone on aimlessly and without purpose.
He needs someone who will hold those within the administration accountable when they refuse to execute policy once it is cleared by the inter-agency. And above all, he or she should prize restraint and think through all the options when the Beltway loudly urges immediate action.
All of this will be easier with Bolton off the team.
Daniel R. DePetris is a foreign policy analyst, a columnist at Reuters, and a frequent contributor to The American Conservative.
Sep 12, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.comThe Bloomberg editors urge Trump not to give up on brain-dead maximalism with Iran:
Rather than push for an extended sunset, Trump should hold out for a complete termination of Iran's nuclear activities and an end to its other threatening behavior -- such as its ballistic-missile program and its support for terrorist groups across the Middle East -- in exchange for readmission into the world economy.
This chance may never come again.
Bloomberg's latest advice to Trump on Iran is terrible as usual, but it is a useful window into how anti-Iran hard-liners see things. They see the next year as their best chance to push for their maximalist demands, and they fear the possibility that Trump might settle for something short of their absurd wish list. If Trump does what they want and "holds out" until Iran capitulates, he will be waiting a long time. He has nothing to show for his policy except increased tensions and impoverished and dying Iranians, and this would guarantee more of the same. The funny thing is that the "extended sunset" they deride is already an unrealistic goal, and they insist that the president pursue a much more ambitious set of goals that have absolutely no chance of being reached. As always, hard-liners ignore the agency and interests of the other government, and they assume that it is simply a matter of willpower to force them to yield.
The Bloomberg editorial is ridiculous in many ways, but just one more example will suffice. At one point it says, "Nor is there any doubt that Iran wants nuclear weapons." Perhaps ideologues and fanatics have no doubt about this, but it isn't true. If Iran wanted nuclear weapons, they could have pursued and acquired them by now. They gave up that pursuit and agreed to the most stringent nonproliferation agreement ever negotiated to prove that they wouldn't seek these weapons, but the Trump administration chose to punish them for their cooperation. Iran has not done any of the things that actual rogue nuclear weapons states have done. They have not left the Non-Proliferation Treaty. On the contrary, they have agreed to abide by the Additional Protocol that has even stricter standards. They are not enriching uranium to levels needed to make nuclear weapons. They certainly haven't built or tested any weapons.
Iran has jumped through numerous hoops to demonstrate that their nuclear program is and will continue to be peaceful, and their compliance has been verified more than a dozen times, but fanatics here and in Israel refuse to take yes for an answer. That is because hard-liners aren't really concerned about proliferation risk, but seek to use the nuclear issue as fodder to justify punitive measures against Iran without end.
They don't want to resolve the crisis with Iran, but rather hope to make it permanent by setting goals that can't possibly be reached and insisting that sanctions remain in place forever.
Sep 12, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
Moscow Exile September 5, 2019 at 12:54 am"Это дорогого стоит": Госдума оценила готовность американского посла прийти поговорить после интервью "Комсомолке"yalensis September 5, 2019 at 2:47 am
С Джоном Хантсманом хотят обсудить иностранное вмешательство в московские протесты
"It will be well worth while": the state Duma has praised the willingness of the American Ambassador to come and have a talk following his interview "Komsomolskaya Pravda"
Okhotny Ryad [address of State Duma -- ME] is now waiting for the Ambassador of the USA to Russia, following his interview with "Komsomolskaya Pravda". We shall remind you, that Jon huntsman, who, following his resignation, is leaving in October, has stressed that he is ready to discuss allegations of interference (here he was talking about the publication on Twitter by his Embassy of the announcement of the rally and a map of its route, together with a request that these places be avoided these), but there has yet been no invitation made that he do so.
I would be very happy to discuss this with anyone, but nobody has invited me and I think I have not been invited because people know the truth, and it consists of the fact that on the eve of the demonstrations, the Embassy should publish a consular alert and warn its citizens to stay away from the places where they are to take place. My first responsibility is to ensure the safety of American citizens.
And if I do not tell people, I would thereby have demonstrated neglect of my duty, and my official duties. So I did what I did in all other cases – what I was doing in China and what to do in Singapore when I was Ambassador there: we took documents already in the public domain, and warned U.S. citizens that they should stay away from specific locations, and published a map of where these places were marked.
That is what all this is really about, and I am very surprised that the standard function of the Embassy has been presented as something unusual", said the Ambassador."
(above) 02.20 2011, Beijing: Huntsman staying away from a specific place that the US Embassy to China considered as being potentially dangerous to US citizens.Oh, Huntsman is just a misunderstood angel, ain't he? Too bad he had to pack his Mormon underpants and hie himself home.
Sep 12, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
J.T. September 7, 2019 at 6:29 pmDuring the time I am away, KS does both a book review and coverage of Nina Khrushcheva? ))Mark Chapman September 7, 2019 at 7:26 pm
Dr. Khrushcheva maintains a WordPress blog , which also doubles as her official webpage for the New School. It is amusing?
Once, still in grad school and a misanthropic Russian to boot (given our totalitarian history most Russians are unhappy), I wrote a very sad novel Small World, published in Moscow and quickly out of print. But that was a fluke, living in New York I am much happier now. And all in all, my favorite theme is political culture in Russia and America. Politicians lie all the time, but culture never lies about politics. Culture and politics are symbiotically linked like the famous double-headed Russian eagle that used to be on the front of the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow and now is rotting in the backyard of the city's museum of architecture. It is the perfect symbol of Russia's former political and cultural grandeur and current decay. American eagle is just one-headed, of course, yet this country is no less interesting in its own idiosyncratic relations between culture and politics.
( source )
I (with the architect colleague Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss) have curated an exhibition titled Romancing True Power: D20. It ran February 12-26, 2015 at Parsons The New School for Design, 66 Fifth Avenue (between 12th and 13th St). In the meantime my amazing research assistant and student Yiqing Wang (who really should be running not-a-small country) and I have produced a supplement to the exhibition, a D20 Journal, in which we put together thoughts on true power, dicktatroship, dicktatorial fashion, economics, philosophy, body count and other stats.
D20 (modeled on G20, group of most industrialized nations) is a selective list of leaders from present and recent past across continents and different political systems. Romancing True Power investigates an idea of power: autocratic, authoritarian and dictatorial. This type of power–the Dick power–could be found in both dictatorships and democracies. The exhibition looks at dicktatorial construct, its typology and trappings. What constitutes a "strong leader"? Why does the public often prefer one? Since everyone's list of dicktators is subjective, at the show visitors were invited to PYOD (Pick Your Own Dick). For the Dick winners and more information check out the D20 Facebook page.
Other topics I am fond of include politics, and mostly Russian politics, and, of course, movies. But whatever I do, all fits neatly into the last line of Billy Wilder's 1959 classic Some Like it Hot, the best ever, "Nobody's perfect."
(source: see hyperlink above)
I do not intend to slam the IMO legitimate topic – only the content and tone of this "analysis." You have a PhD in Comp Lit (Princeton, 1998). You shouldn't be writing like a second-year undergrad.Hey, JT – welcome back, where you been? Yes, that attitude is familiar among the emigre Russian Jews, the too-smart-to-believe Ashkenazim that make American jaws drop with their brilliance: Russians in Russia are miserable and always unhappy, but put them in America and they shine like diamonds, they're so fucking hap-hap-happy you'd better just get out of the way. I don't believe Khrushchev was Jewish, but the complaining sounds just like all the Jewish 'refugees' like Miriam Elder and Julia Ioffe; Russia was a drag, man – but New Yawk, Dahling, now there's a city! It's almost as if they feel denigrating the country of their birth is the price of acceptance. Perhaps it is – for a people who snap to attention whenever they see the American flag, Americans are awfully smitten with Russians who dump on Russia, as if it affirms their own beliefs.J.T. September 8, 2019 at 5:55 am
Khrushcheva seems very stuck on herself, but perhaps she simply believes all the hype. For my part, I find her mean-spirited and shallow, prone to go for the cheap laugh, and most comfortable in a crowd of like-minded 'free thinkers'. It amazes me that anyone who classified him/herself as a free thinker could see American-style democracy as the last word in human development, but perhaps I'm just thick.Between a lecture Dr. Khruscheva gave at my university a year or so ago and an attempted reading of her book, In Putin's Footsteps , I have concluded that she is the kind of writer who takes advantage of an absence of consistent critical voices to let her opinions run wild, untethered from factual backing, theory, or academic standards.moscowexile September 8, 2019 at 1:25 am
She lectured at my university with the backing of some powerful people within "Russia-Watching" (quite literally in this case, as one sat behind her while she lectured). Although she made her argument sloppily, painting in broad brushstrokes, no one challenged the argument during Q&A.
Read the preview of In Putin's Footsteps on A'zon. It's ridiculous. The same generalizing commentary as before but sprinkled on what reads like an extended TripAdvisor review.
For whatever reason, academia and editors give her a free pass. The resulting writing, while insightful re: how she thinks, is not useful [to me] in any professional sense.
Hey, JT – welcome back, where you been?
Haha I've been doing the blog equivalent of breathing into a brown paper bag. Now that I'm back at uni with a capstone/distinction project, Russia Reviewed will hopefully regain its previous sense of direction.Yes, Russians are so miserable, never smile and are permanently depressed at thought of their misfortune of having been born in Russia and, therefore, condemned to a life of woe under an authoritarian regime.
I mean, just look at all those sad bastards who have been celebrating "Moskva Day" since Thursday, 5 September this year.
I wish I could send you some clips that my permanently depressed because he is a Russian son sent me late yesterday evening from Red Square: a big firework display and sad looking Russians pretending to be enjoying themselves.
Most of them, I am sure, had been ordered to go to Tversksya Street and walk down to Red Square.
Tverskaya has been closed to traffic since Thursday (the bogus celebrations end this evening) and along its length are the usual Soviet-style distractions that the oppressed multitudes pretend are so much fun.
Since 5 September until the 8th inclusive the city is celebrating the founding of Moskva in 1147.
Well, not its founding, really, but the earliest date that they have a written record of a place called "Moskva" – in a letter from the Prince of the city of Vladimir, Yuri Dolgoruki, to his brother, inviting him to visit him in Moskva. (Remember, this was when Kiev was the centre of world civilisation.)
It was during the first of these "Moskva Day" celebrations, held 22 years ago, when on 7 September 1997 I asked Mrs. Exile if she wished to marry me.
It was our first date.
I don't like to waste time over important matters.
She jumped at the offer, of course.
No holding her back!
Luckiest break she's ever had, I reckon, for my ebullient presence in her life has most certainly rescued her from the pit of permanent gloom that would most certainly have accompanied her living under this regime and from the likelihood of her being wed to a brute of a balalaika strumming, vodka swilling Russian husband.
Limp-wristed, tea sipping Englishmen are much more preferable!
Sep 12, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
Nina Khrushcheva is a kreakl. We use that word here a lot, and perhaps not all the readers know what it means. It is a portmanteau of "Creative Class", but makes use of the letter 'k', because the letter 'c' in Russian has a soft 's' sound, so we use the hard 'k'. The Creative Class, or so they styled themselves, were the intelligentsia of Soviet times; the free-thinking liberals who were convinced Russia's best course lay in accommodating the west no matter its demands, in hope that it would then bless Russia with its secrets for prosperity and all the fruits of the American Dream.
A kreakl is a Russian liberal, often the child or grandchild of Soviet-era intellectuals who believed they knew better than anyone else how the country should be run. They express their disapproval of the current government in the most contemptuous way, interpret its defense of family values as homophobia, and consider its leadership – uniformly described by the west as 'authoritarian' – to be stifling their freedom. My position is that their often privileged upbringing insulates them from appreciating the value of hard work, and lets them sneer at patriotism, as they often consider themselves global citizens with a worldly grasp of foreign affairs far greater that of their groveling, sweaty countrymen. Their university educations allow them to rub shoulders with other pampered scions of post-Soviet affluence, and even worse are those who are sent abroad to attend western universities, where they internalize the notion that everyone in America and the UK lives like Skip and Buffy and their other college friends.
Not everyone who attends university or college turns out a snobbish brat, of course, and in Russia, at least, not everyone who gets the benefit of a superior education comes from wealth. A significant number are on scholarships, as both my nieces were. Some western students are in university or college on scholarships as well, and there are a good many in both places who are higher-education students because it was their parents dream that they would be, and they saved all their lives to make it happen.
But many of the Russian loudmouths are those who learned at their daddy's knee that he coulda been a contendah, if only the money-grubbing, soulless monsters in the government hadn't kept him down – could have been wealthy if it were not for the money pit of communism, could have taken a leadership role which would have moved the country forward had the leader who usurped power not filled all the seats with his cronies and sycophants.
Khrushcheva is somewhat an exception to the rule there, because her grandpa actually was the leader of the Soviet Union – First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Nikita Khrushchev. It was he who oversaw the transfer of Crimea to the Ukrainian SSR in 1954, the same year the Soviet Union applied to join NATO . Some references consider Khrushchev her grandfather, and some her great-grandfather; it's complicated. Julia – Khrushcheva's mother – was the daughter of Leonid, who was a fighter pilot in World War II and the son of Khrushchev. When he was shot down in the war and did not return, Khrushchev adopted Julia. Nina Khrushcheva is therefore his biological great-granddaughter, but his adoptive granddaughter.
Now, she's Professor of International Affairs at The New School, New York, USA, and a Senior Fellow of the World Policy Institute, New York. As you might imagine, The New School is a hotbed of liberal intellectualism; as its Wiki entry announces, " dedicated to academic freedom and intellectual inquiry and a home for progressive thinkers". So let's see what a liberal and progressive thinker thinks about the current state of affairs vis-a-vis Russia and China, and their western opponents.
You sort of get an early feel for it from the title: " Putin and Xi are Gambling with their Countries' Futures ". I sort of suspected, even before I read it, that it was not going to be a story about what a great job Putin and Xi are doing as leaders of their respective countries.
Just before we get into that a little deeper – what is the purpose of an 'Opinion' section in a newspaper? If it was 'Facts', then it would be news, because the reporter could substantiate it. As I best understand it, people read newspapers to learn about news – things that happened, to who, and where, when and why, documented by someone who either saw them happen, interviewed someone who did, or otherwise has researched the issue. 'Opinion' sections, then, allow partisans for various philosophies to present their conclusions as if they were facts, or to introduce disputed incidents from a standpoint which implies they are resolved and that the author's view represents fact.
Well, hey; here's an example, in the first paragraph – "Continuing street protests in Hong Kong and Moscow have no doubt spooked the authoritarian duo of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Moscow protests, the largest in many years, must be keeping Mr. Putin up at night, or they wouldn't be dispersed with such unabated brutality."
I suppose they have their fingers on the world's pulse at The New School, but I haven't seen any indication at all, anywhere, that either Mr. Putin or Mr. Xi are 'spooked' about anything. The protests in Hong Kong appear to be instigated at the urging of the USA – as usual – with reports that the protesters are receiving western funding , and photographs showing protest leaders apparently meeting with the US Consul-General . Nonetheless, despite the aggressive violence displayed by the protesters, who are certainly not peaceful, the issue seems to be mostly confined to Hong Kong, and there have been no indications I have seen that Beijing is 'spooked' about it at all. In fact, the position of the Chinese government seems fairly reasonable – it does not want to see Chinese criminals escape justice by fleeing to Hong Kong.
As to whether either protests are representative of a large number of people, it is difficult to say: organizers of the Hong Kong protests claim almost 2 million, while the police – responsible for crowd control – say there were no more than a tenth of that number. And if the Moscow protests really were the largest in years, those hoping to see Putin overthrown might want to keep quiet about that; organizers claim about 50,000 people, and organizers usually overestimate the crowd for their own reasons. Moscow is a city of over 13 million just within the city limits. So the massive crowd represents less than half of one percent of the city's population. Polling of the protest crowd suggested more than half of them were from outside Moscow, where who is on the city council is no concern of theirs, since they cannot vote. And in an echo of the iconic Tahrir Square protests, an element of the 'Arab Spring' – probably the first mass demonstrations managed by social media – the Moscow protests appear to be managed and directed via social media links, where it is possible to exercise disproportionate influence on a targeted crowd of restless youth who have little or no personal investment in the country, and just want to be part of what's cool.
Let's move on. According to Khrushcheva, the protests are 'being dispersed with unabated brutality'. That so? Show me. Bear in mind that all these protests are unauthorized, and those participating in them are breaking the law and in breach of the public peace. Flash violence is an objective of the demonstrations, because otherwise their numbers are insignificant, and if they play it by the book nobody pays them any mind. I've seen loads of pictures of the protesters in Moscow being hauled away to the paddywagons, and nobody is bloody or has their clothing ripped. Here are some examples (thanks, Moscow Exile).
None of those adolescents looks old enough to vote. A video clip of a Chinese policeman using his beanbag gun to disperse protesters has been edited to omit the part where he was swarmed by protesters who were punching him. No citizens who are in high dudgeon at what they are being told is 'unabated brutality' would tolerate unauthorized protests by young hooligans in their own towns for a second, and would scorn any suggestion that they are pursuing noble goals such as freedom and democracy. Fellow demonstrators in these photos seem far more interested in capturing every bit of the action on their phones than in assisting their captured co-demonstrators.
By way of contrast, check out this clip of US police officers in New Jersey arresting a young woman on the beach because there was alcohol – apparently unopened – on the same beach blanket, which she claimed belonged to her aunt. A pretty small-potatoes issue, you would think, compared with the fearless defense of freedom and democracy. Yet the police officers, viewed here on their own body cameras, throw her to the ground and punch her in front of her child although she is obviously not drunk and their breathalyzer test does not register any alcohol on her breath. Bystanders gratuitously and repeatedly advise her, "Stop resisting". People who complain about the way the girl is being handled are told, "Back off, or you'll be locked up, too". For what? Which of these looks like a police state, to you? Nina Lvovna? I'm talking to you.
The demonstrations, we are told, are a poignant sign of Putin's declining popularity. Yes, poor old chap. In fact, Putin's approval rating in 2019 was 64%; it was 70% in 2000, nearly 20 years ago. Just for info, Donald Trump, the Leader Of The Free World, had an approval rating with his own voters of 44% in 2018, and Macron was even worse at 26%. I guess a little Macron goes a long way – his current approval rating is only 28%. His fortunes have not improved much, you might say. Boris Johnson has not yet even properly taken the reins in the UK, but his people do not appear optimistic; about 35% speculate he is or will be a capable leader , while only 23% rate him more honest than most politicians. Enjoy those, BoJo; they represent a zenith born of unreasonable hope – The Economist describes these ratings as 'surprisingly high'. In 2018, the Netherlands' Mark Rutte had only 10% approval – and that was the highest of the ministers – while 34% disapproved. Apparently about half just didn't care.
Look; Khrushcheva is talking out her ass. There just is no way to sugar-coat it. In 2015, Vladimir Putin was the most popular leader in the world with national voters. I daresay he is now, as well; with the state of the world, I find it hard to imagine any other leader has an approval rating higher than 64%. But feel free to look. Polling agencies carefully parse their questions so as to push the results in the direction they'd like to see, but when the question is reduced to a basic "Do you trust Putin? Yes or No?", his approval rating goes higher than it is right now. Please note, that's the reference supplied by Khrushcheva to substantiate her statement that fewer and fewer Russians now conflate their nation with its leader.
I don't personally recall Putin ever saying he hoped Trump would improve relations with Russia, although it would not be an unreasonable wish had he said it. I think he was probably glad Hillary Clinton did not win, considering her shrill Russophobic rhetoric and fondness for military solutions to all problems, but Khrushcheva makes him sound like a doddering old fool who barely knows what century he is living in. I think Russia always hoped for better relations with America, because when any country's relations with America are very bad, that country would be wise to prepare for war. Because that's how America solves its problems with other countries. Washington already had a go at strangling Russia economically, and it failed spectacularly, and we're getting down to the bottom of the toolbox.
Next, Khrushcheva informs us that Russia is in as weak a position to defeat the USA in a nuclear war as it was when it was the USSR. That's true, in a roundabout way. For one, there would be no victors or defeated in a nuclear war. It would quickly escalate to a full-on exchange, and much of the planet would become uninhabitable. For another, Russia was always in a pretty good position to wax America's ass in a nuclear exchange and it still is. Russia still has about 6,800 nuclear weapons to the USA's 6,500 , and has continued to modernize and update its nuclear arsenal through the years. A Russian strike would be concentrated on a country about a third its size. If I were a betting man, I wouldn't like those odds. Mind you, if I were a free-thinking liberal professor who did not have a clue what I was talking about, I would laugh at the odds – ignorance seasoned with a superiority complex tends to make you act that way. Just as well that betting men mostly run the world, and not jackhole liberal professors.
The recent explosion at what was believed to be development of a new nuclear weapon in Russia is assessed by Khrushcheva to be a clear sign of incompetence, which is quite a diagnosis considering no investigation has even started yet. Somehow she missed the dramatic explosion of Elon Musk's SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, together with its multi-million-dollar satellite payload, back in 2016. Oh, never mind – Musk quickly explained that it was 'an anomaly'. Well, that clears it all up. Must have; the US government has continued to throw money at Musk as if he were embarrassingly naked or something, and nobody seems prepared to suggest it was incompetent. While we're on that subject, the whole reason SpaceX even exists is because the USA continues to use Russian RD-180 rockets developed in the 1960s to launch its satellites and space packages into orbit, because it doesn't have anything better. I'd be careful where I tossed that 'incompetent' word around. Cheer up, though the news isn't all bad: just a bit more than a year ago, the most advanced commercial reactor designs from Europe and the United States just delivered their first megawatt-hours of electricity within one day of each other. Oh, wait. It is bad news. Because that took place in China . You know, that place where Xi in his unabated brutality is trampling upon the fair face of democracy. In fact, according to nuclear energy consultant Mycle Schneider, principal author of the annual World Nuclear Industry Status Report, "The Chinese have a very large workforce that they move from one project to another, so their skills are actually getting better, whereas European and North American companies haven't completed reactors in decades".
Is that bad? Gee; it might be. "This loss of nuclear competence is being cited by nuclear and national security experts in both the U.S. and in Europe's nuclear weapons states as a threat to their military nuclear programs. The White House cited this nuclear nexus in a May memo instructing Rick Perry, the Secretary of Energy, to force utilities to buy power from unprofitable nuclear and coal plants. The memo states that the "entire US nuclear enterprise" including nuclear weapons and naval propulsion, "depends on a robust civilian nuclear industry." You see, Ninushka, competence in nuclear weapons is directly related to competence in nuclear engineering as a whole.
I hope she knows more about Russia than she does about China – in a single paragraph she has the Chinese government threatening to send in the army to crush protests, and standing aside while thugs beat up protesters – and both are bad. And of course, this threatened action/inaction had to have been sanctioned by Xi's government. Why? Well, because everyone in Hong Kong knows it. Much of the rest of her reasoning – free thinking, I guess I should call it – on China is what Xi 'might be contemplating' or 'could be considering'. Supported by nothing, apparently, except the liberal free-thinker's gift of clairvoyance.
Hong Kong was always Chinese. The Qing dynasty ceded it to the British Empire in the Treaty of Nanjing, and it became a British Crown Colony. Britain was back for Kowloon in 1860, and leased what came to be known as The New Territories for 99 years, ending in 1997. Time's up. The people of Hong Kong are Chinese; it's not like they are some different and precious race that China aims to extinguish. I was there a decade after it returned to Chinese control, and it was largely independent; it had its own flag, the British street names were retained, and you can probably still stop on Gloucester Road and buy a Jaguar, if you have that kind of money. To a very large degree, China left it alone and minded its own business, but like I said; it's Chinese. These ridiculous western attempts to split it off and make an independent nation of it are only making trouble for the people of Hong Kong and, as usual, appeal mostly to students who have never run anything much bigger than a bake sale, and 'free-thinking liberals'.
The New Kremlin Stooge
China is not 'isolated diplomatically'. Beijing is host city to 167 foreign embassies . There are only 10 more in Washington, which considers itself the Center of the Universe. Lately China has been spreading itself a little, muscling into Latin America , right in Uncle Sam's backyard. Foreign Direct Investment into China increased 3.6 percent year-on-year to $78.8 billion USD in January-July 2019, and has increased steadily since that time, when it fell dramatically owing to Trump's trade war. That has proved far more disastrous to the USA than to China, which is rapidly sourcing its imports from other suppliers and establishing new trading relationships which exclude the United States, probably for the long term. "China is isolated diplomatically" is precisely the sort of inane bibble-babble liberal free-thinkers tell each other because they want to believe it is true. It is not. Similarly – and, I would have thought, obviously – China is also not 'increasingly regarded as an international pariah'. That's another place she's thinking of.
There is nothing Russia or China could do to please the United States and its increasingly lunatic governing administration, short of plucking out its eye and offering it for a bauble, like Benton Wolf in The Age of Miracles. The type of 'reforms' demanded by the US State Department suggest its current state is delusion, since they are patently designed to weaken the government and empower dissident groups – is that the essence of democracy? It sure as fuck is not. You can kind of tell by the way Washington pounces on its own dissident groups like Mike Pompeo on a jelly roll; the FBI investigated the Occupy Wall Street movement as a terrorist threat. Russia got a prescient preview of the kind of treatment it could expect from the west when it applied to join NATO, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post. The acceptance of the Soviet Union "would be incompatible with its democratic and defensive aims."
So as most ordinary thinkers could have told you would happen, America's hold-my-beer-and-watch-this hillbilly moves to split Russia and China apart have succeeded in driving them closer together; the world's manufacturing and commercial giant and a major energy producer – a great mix, unless you are the enemy. The rest of the world is kind of watching America with its pants around its ankles, wondering what it will do next. It failed to wreck the Russian economy, failed to depose and replace Bashar al-Assad in Syria, failed to depose and replace Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, and it will fail to prevent a Sino-Russian axis which will reshape global trade to its own advantage at the expense of America. Because whenever it has an opportunity to seize upon a lucid moment, to turn away from its destructive course, it chooses instead to bullshit itself some more. To whisper what it wishes were true into its own ear.
And if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.
Sep 12, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
NOrthern Star September 9, 2019 at 3:59 pmHK article gets at the nascent conflicting conflagrations wrt objectives .what is to be cast into the fire and what is to be taken as a new HK socioeconomic script.
The comments are **well worth** reading ,some of which mirror comments on HK by Stooges.
Sep 12, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
Jen September 6, 2019 at 3:40 amIf Carrie Lam had half a brain, she could always threaten to bring back the extradition bill with a new provision that people who damage essential infrastructure like railway lines and roads, and who target police with rocks, laser beams and grenades shot from portable grenade launchers will be extradited to Beijing to stand trial for their misdeeds, if the protesters keep changing and ramping up their demands.Mark Chapman September 6, 2019 at 2:57 pmCarrie Lam chose to play it like Yanukovych, and to give the protesters what they asked for. That resulted in Yanukovych running for his life, and Lam might well find herself in the same situation if the police don't get a handle on the hoodlums that are smashing the place up and hurling stones and Molotov cocktails. Appeasing protesters only makes them feel empowered, and that empowerment causes them to wonder why they should be satisfied with only what they originally demanded. That's a natural effect, and this is not a natural protest, but a destabilization effort instigated and nurtured by foreign interests. So the protesters' demands are just going to grow and grow, because the goal is either a violent clash with the police or complete government capitulation. China is not going to let the latter happen.
Lam has said already that there will be no negotiation with groups that destroy public property, but protesters have vowed not to give an inch. The ball is in Lam's court, and if she does not harden up and present a credible defense, she will be removed either by China or by the protesters. Hong Kong is not going to become a democratic independent country – China is not going to let it be snatched away under their noses. Firm action right now might be able to get the situation under control with a minimum of violence, but if it goes on much longer, people are going to be killed And there is zero the west could do to stop it, as it is a domestic Chinese matter, so their continued egging on of the protesters shows how little it cares for their lives.
Sep 12, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
Jen September 3, 2019 at 6:26 pmWSWS,org's reporting on the Hong Kong protests has been dismal and ideologically biased. To my knowledge, the protesters' demands have never covered working conditions, housing conditions and the tremendous social inequalities (said to be the highest in the world). They have never covered the state of a tax haven economy used and abused by billionaires in mainland China to minimise their tax obligations to Beijing or to send money to other overseas tax havens through registering their offspring or other people as Hong Kong residents, resulting in money being poured into property speculation which itself has led to sky-high property prices and the inability of ordinary people to afford to buy or rent homes of a suitable space at reasonable prices.Northern Star September 4, 2019 at 2:46 pm
The protesters' initial demands were to withdraw the extradition bill, to force Carrie Lam to resign as Chief Executive and to force her government to investigate what they claimed was police violence – in spite of the fact that most of the violence and sabotage (which has now extended to fighting with commuters and throwing things at them, vandalising MTR stations and throwing rocks and objects onto train lines) has been committed by protesters themselves – and (as if as a last thought) demanding universal suffrage.
Photos and videos of protesters throwing rods onto a train line, and damaging ticket machines at MTR stations:
Full 10-minute video of middle-aged and elderly commuters fighting with protesters, the incident that led to the Prince Edward MTR station staff calling in police over the August / September weekend to subdue and arrest protesters, some of whom attempted to evade arrest by changing clothes:Yes You are correct in that wsws appears to be not on its game in its analysis of the HK situation,as was noted in some of the comments to the article. Addressing fundamental economic disparities in HK does not seem to feature in the agenda of the protesters.Mark Chapman September 4, 2019 at 5:06 pm
As you know,Lam has done a volte-face on the extradition bill:
But it's not clear if that in itself will extinguish the protesters' fires of various complaints.
I've yet to see a cogent analysis of the dynamic interplay-with the potential for lethal conflict- between:
The HK protesters
The Super elite HK billionaires
The Super elite mainland billionaire class
The mainland population as a wholeCan't wait to see the Chinese headline: "Safe in Hong Kong, Chinese Accused Murderer Wei Tu Lukky says, 'Thanks for the Democracy, Students!" Of course you'll never see it, because no western paper would ever print it. As far as the west is concerned, it really is all about freedom and democracy. Like no such things as extradition treaties exist between democracies. Canada and the United States have an extradition treaty – aren't they democracies? Aren't they free?Jen September 4, 2019 at 9:36 pm
What it boils down to is that westerners like Bill Browder do not want to be snatched when they are passing through Hong Kong International Airport, and extradited to China. Westerners do not particularly care otherwise about the rule of law in China, but the usual troublemakers sense an opportunity to destabilize and create a problem for China. If China soft-pedals it, as they have done, it quickly gets out of hand to the point where they are dealing with rioters rather than protesters, smashing and destroying in an orgy of violence. Had they cracked down hard in the beginning and kicked out all western journalists reporting on the issue, the 'protests' would have been strangled in the cradle, and while the west would have gotten a little mileage out of the brutal Chinese authoritarianism, it would have been nowhere near as bad as it is now.
The 'student leaders' of the 'protests', Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow, are 22. I suppose there might be a place somewhere in which 22-year-olds don't feel like they know everything, but I've never heard of it. With political unit chief of the US Consulate Julie Eadeh stroking them and telling them she's never seen anyone so brave, they can barely keep the grins off their faces and fancy they really are somebody important. Lam did indeed flip on the extradition issue, but it's too late for that now. She is going to learn the Yanukovych lesson all over again – appeasing protesters, especially when it is part of a destabilization program, only leads to more demands and more protests.
The Chinese government perhaps thought to go slow and not give the western media any money shots to make a big issue of. That might have worked, if this was a genuine one-issue protest. But it isn't – as i just pointed out, extradition treaties have nothing to do with democracy and freedom, and if a bunch of students think they are going to have their own country to play Independence Doctor in, they have a big surprise coming. Remember when Poroshenko was justified in doing whatever he wanted, including taking students right out of the university parking lot and putting them on a bus to Army training, because he was 'protecting his country'? Well, the Chinese government sees itself as having the same rights where a small group of students is causing a major problem, and is blatantly violating public order in an attempt to win western approbation; it is plainly not legal to throw stones and gas bombs at the police and smash up public infrastructure.
You can't give people whatever they want when they are acting like hooligans – it only makes them think of more things they want. And that's just what is happening here. If they are not very careful, the entire Lam government is going to be replaced overnight with hardliners, and then heads will roll.Withdrawing the extradition bill is an easy move because Lam can always reintroduce it later (perhaps in a changed form) though perhaps when that happens, the guy who killed his pregnant girlfriend in Taiwan on St Valentine's Day in 2018, and used all her bank cards to clear his own debts will have already gone free and for all we know have left Hong Kong.
Also by withdrawing the bill, Lam takes some of the wind out of the sails of the protest movement. If the protesters are not happy over the withdrawal and ratchet up their demands that Lam and her entire government resign, then Beijing knows this is a Color Revolution protest movement and might start to press Hong Kong to expel British and American consular staff stationed in the territory and shut down British and American NGOs and think-tanks using whatever the laws of Hong Kong permit Lam to use against them. Lam may not be able to stop the protests from escalating but she can slow them down by cutting off their funding, advice and support.
Sep 12, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
Mark Chapman September 2, 2019 at 12:06 pmYes, it's curious that western governments are justified in using whatever force they feel is necessary to put down anti-government protests, or just to keep order in general – reports abound of ordinary people not doing anything wrong meeting up with a mean cop who decides to slam them around a little in the process of establishing their identity, and the aversion of the American police to bystanders filming them is well-known. But in certain countries – and sometimes just certain governments in those countries – dispersal of protesters or those posing as peaceful protesters is always 'brutal'. So it is in Hong Kong, where 'pro-democracy protesters' – which is a label used to justify pretty much any behavior – throw stones and gas bombs at police and destroy public property (rioting by another, more palatable name). Nothing Saakashvili did to put down protests was ever described by western media as 'brutal' in my recollection.
Sep 11, 2019 | www.nytimes.com
Some former intelligence officials said the president's closed-door meetings with Mr. Putin and other Russian officials , along with Twitter posts about delicate intelligence matters , have sown concern among overseas sources.
"We have a president who, unlike any other president in modern history, is willing to use sensitive, classified intelligence however he sees fit," said Steven L. Hall, a former C.I.A. official who led the agency's Russia operations. "He does it in front of our adversaries. He does it by tweet. We are in uncharted waters."
But the government had indicated that the source existed long before Mr. Trump took office, first in formally accusing Russia of interference in October 2016 and then when intelligence officials declassified parts of their assessment about the interference campaign for public release in January 2017. News agencies, including NBC , began reporting around that time about Mr. Putin's involvement in the election sabotage and on the C.I.A.'s possible sources for the assessment.
The following month, The Washington Post reported that the C.I.A.'s conclusions relied on "sourcing deep inside the Russian government." And The New York Times later published articles disclosing details about the source .
The news reporting in the spring and summer of 2017 convinced United States government officials that they had to update and revive their extraction plan, according to people familiar the matter.
The extraction ensured the informant was in a safer position and rewarded for a long career in service to the United States. But it came at a great cost: It left the C.I.A. struggling to understand what was going on inside the highest ranks of the Kremlin.
The agency has long struggled to recruit sources close to Mr. Putin, a former intelligence officer himself wary of C.I.A. operations. He confides in only a small group of people and has rigorous operational security, eschewing electronic communications.
James R. Clapper Jr., the former director of national intelligence who left office at the end of the Obama administration, said he had no knowledge of the decision to conduct an extraction. But, he said, there was little doubt that revelations about the extraction were "going to make recruiting assets in Russia even more difficult than it already is." Correction : Sept. 10, 2019
An earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to the timing of the initial reporting on the C.I.A.'s 2016 exfiltration offer to a Russian informant. An offer that appears to be the same one that The New York Times described was reported in 2018 in Bob Woodward's book "Fear."
Sep 11, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Sally Snyder , Sep 11 2019 17:43 utc | 3Given that Washington continuously claims that Russians are responsible for the election of Donald Trump, here is an interesting look at what Vladimir Putin had to say about why Donald Trump was elected:
While drawing links from economic class to voting patterns is difficult given that education impacts voting rates, it is pretty clear that Vladimir Putin's observations about American society and the growing sense that middle class America is being left behind is accurate. It is becoming increasingly clear that globalization benefits the few at the top and leaves behind the vast majority of society who feel that their place in society is under threat.
Sep 10, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
librul , Sep 10 2019 19:54 utc | 19Is someone brewing up some fresh Novichok nerve agent as we speak?
Don't touch those doorknobs, Oleg!
for future reference: this post was for amusement purposes only
Sep 11, 2019 | www.rt.com
Hong Kong protesters rallied in their thousands and clashed with police in fresh unrest. They even called on Washington to "liberate" them from Chinese rule, suggesting some may now view the US as their patron. Thousands of demonstrators marched to the US Consulate in Hong Kong on Sunday, in what they said was an appeal to President Donald Trump to intervene in the weeks-long political turmoil. Videos of the rally show protesters waving American flags as they sing the US national anthem and play 'The Star Spangled Banner' through the speakers on their phones.
© Courtesy Andre Vltchek
People also carried banners, urging Trump to "liberate" Hong Kong. American lawmakers are currently mulling the so-called 'Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act'. The legislation would require Washington to annually assess Hong Kong's level of autonomy from Beijing and react with economic countermeasures if self-rule is compromised.
Some signs of protest used to drum up support for the cause have raised questions about the factual accuracy of the messaging. According to the Global Times, a banner attached to an overpass erroneously claimed that "China owes America $1 trillion."
#HK radical protesters fail to get the facts right on a banner which states that "China owes US$1 trillion." Here is a free lesson: As of May, the US owes China about $1.11 trillion, not the other way round. #香港 pic.twitter.com/hky6WCDJqA-- Global Times (@globaltimesnews) September 8, 2019
Footage from the city also documented flagrant acts of vandalism targeting the infrastructure and public transportation. In one video, a staircase was spray-painted with an inspiring message, "fight for freedom," accompanied by a swastika.
© Courtesy Andre Vltchek
The protesters – many of them masked and armed with metal rods and clubs – also erected street barricades, which were then set ablaze. Police used tear gas to disperse the unruly crowds.
© Courtesy Andre Vltchek
Videos – not always publicized by the mainstream media – also show aftermath of vandalism as anti-government unrest enters its 14th week.
© Courtesy Andre Vltchek
Beijing has repeatedly accused Washington of fueling the political turmoil, a claim that became more difficult to refute after a senior American diplomat was seen meeting with protest leaders.
With their direct appeal to Trump, it appears that many of the protesters are not interested in negotiating directly with the government. Hong Kong had already officially withdrawn the controversial extradition bill with China that sparked the unrest.Also on rt.com
Sep 11, 2019 | www.rt.com
Hong Kong protest figurehead Joshua Wong, who has been rocking up to 'pro-democracy' meetings with various Western officials in recent weeks, has been spotted hanging out with the chairman of the White Helmets in Berlin. Wong attended the 'Bild 100' summer party in Berlin this week, where he seems to have bumped into White Helmets boss Raed Al Saleh. That's a tad awkward, since the Syrian first-responders group operates solely in areas controlled by anti-government fighters and has been heavily suspected of links to Al Qaeda and US-sponsored jihadist militias – a fact that did not go unnoticed on Twitter.
To prove that he's not a pawn of the US intelligence ... Joshua Wong met with Al Qaeda's medic team, the White Helmets. 😀 My God, what a stupid world we live in #HongKongProtests #StandWithHongKong https://t.co/M9DkVgdctc-- Economics Geopolitics Tech (@EconGeopolTech) September 10, 2019
The White Helmets is a dead giveaway that this is a Propaganda Construct.-- Martin Larner (@MartinLarner) September 10, 2019
There was another familiar face in the snaps, too: Mayor of Kiev Vitaly Klitschko, who was, for a time, himself a Western favorite when Ukraine was in Washington's regime-change crosshairs.
Can't make this up #CIA #NED mascott Joshua Wong in Berlin next to Klitschko 😂🤦♂️🤪 https://t.co/EAWZqt6uRX-- amin dada (@kambrone64) September 9, 2019
But Wong has had some questionable high-level meetings, too. He also met German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at the event – with that tete-a-tete quickly slammed by Beijing.
These meetings come on the heels of photos showing Wong speaking to Julie Eadeh, an official from the US consulate general in Hong Kong, which raised more suspicions that Washington had a hand in the recent violent anti-China protests
Sep 11, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Beijing and other as critics of Joshua Wong have alleged he's being used as a foreign agent to do the West's bidding in Hong Kong.
Herodotus , 20 minutes ago linkNA X-15 , 18 minutes ago link
Watch for persons disguised as Red Chinese troops attacking the local Hong Kong radio station.EuroPox , 19 minutes ago link
Only it will be the PLA - they don't allow imposters. Nazi Wehrmacht historical reference noticed....bismillah , 23 minutes ago link
A lot of countries are getting involved. Last Sunday there were many protesters who didn't even speak Cantonese! They were Mandarin speakers from Taiwan and when the crowd shouted to "Run away" (from the approaching police) they just stood and looked confused. Obviously the western MSM hasn't bothered to mention the point. They want you to think it is still HK students. BS!!BritBob , 29 minutes ago link
All one needs to do is look at the fake protesters, the signs, the violent behaviors, the top leaders' contacts in the US consulate, the White Hats, and elsewhere, and it is clear and obvious who leads, funds and directs the destructive rioting scum bags.
The PRC needs to close the US and all EU consulates, terminate the HK-SAR, bring in a hundred thousand tough well-disciplined PLA soldiers who will in an hour put a stop to this US-directed garbage.Thebighouse , 32 minutes ago link
Foreign Intervention in Democracy
China insisted that Hong Kong be removed from the UN's list of territories that needed to be decolonised prior to hand-over by the UK. Now China along with Russia, Cuba, Syria and Iran are members of the UN decolonisation committee that is meant to assist territories to decolonise. How strange democracy is.
The militant, unconstitutional and ineffective committee.
Falklands – UN C24 Committee (2 pgs):
https://www.academia.edu/11274445/Falklands_-_UN_C24_Committe eonewayticket2 , 37 minutes ago link
God Bless Freedom. God Bless Hong Kong.Heavenstorm , 40 minutes ago link
Joseph Misfud and Agent Steele could not be reached for commentpablozz , 31 minutes ago link
So according to the irrational narrative of the China Media now, German government is actually working for US and CIA. Nevermind the fact that German elites are supporting EU breaking away from USA and detest Trump.
The Chinese Journalists must have received detailed fake news training from CNN and NBCinhibi , 26 minutes ago link
Your dislike of China blinds you to simple facts like Germany is a vassal of usa that is still under ww2 military occupation . Small domestic differences are allowed in all politics to give the illusion of choice. But tyranny gets a vote everytime. Democracy is a buzzword that died a long time ago in all countries.kowalli , 26 minutes ago link
Your love of China blinds you to the facts that EU and US are bastions of freedom, and not every single incident is a ******* conspiracy of the US and EU.
Also, I think you need to look up the word 'vassal'. Wrong time period & context.
German government is actually working for US and CIA
Sep 09, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org
There is consensus amongst the Washington foreign policy élite that all factions in Iran understand that – ultimately – a deal with Washington on the nuclear issue must ensue. It somehow is inevitable. They view Iran simply as 'playing out the clock', until the advent of a new Administration makes a 'deal' possible again. And then Iran surely will be back at the table, they affirm.
Maybe. But maybe that is entirely wrong. Maybe the Iranian leadership no longer believes in 'deals' with Washington. Maybe they simply have had enough of western regime change antics (from the 1953 coup to the Iraq war waged on Iran at the western behest, to the present attempt at Iran's economic strangulation). They are quitting that failed paradigm for something new, something different.
The pages to that chapter have been shut. This does not imply some rabid anti-Americanism, but simply the experience that that path is pointless. If there is a 'clock being played out', it is that of the tic-toc of western political and economic hegemony in the Middle East is running down, and not the 'clock' of US domestic politics. The old adage that the 'sea is always the sea' holds true for US foreign policy. And Iran repeating the same old routines, whilst expecting different outcomes is, of course, one definition of madness. A new US Administration will inherit the same genes as the last.
And in any case, the US is institutionally incapable of making a substantive deal with Iran. A US President – any President – cannot lift Congressional sanctions on Iran. The American multitudinous sanctions on Iran have become a decades' long knot of interpenetrating legislation: a vast rhizome of tangled, root-legislation that not even Alexander the Great might disentangle: that is why the JCPOA was constructed around a core of US Presidential 'waivers' needing to be renewed each six months. Whatever might be agreed in the future, the sanctions – 'waived' or not – are, as it were, 'forever'.
If recent history has taught the Iranians anything, it is that such flimsy 'process' in the hands of a mercurial US President can simply be blown away like old dead leaves. Yes, the US has a systemic problem: US sanctions are a one-way valve: so easy to flow out, but once poured forth, there is no return inlet (beyond uncertain waivers issued at the pleasure of an incumbent President).
But more than just a long chapter reaching its inevitable end, Iran is seeing another path opening out. Trump is in a 'China bind': a trade deal with China now looks "tough to improbable", according to White House officials, in the context of the fast deteriorating environment of security tensions between Washington and Beijing. Defense One spells it out:
"It came without a breaking news alert or presidential tweet, but the technological competition with China entered a new phase last month. Several developments quietly heralded this shift: Cross-border investments between the United States and China plunged to their lowest levels since 2014, with the tech sector suffering the most precipitous drop. US chip giants Intel and AMD abruptly ended or declined to extend important partnerships with Chinese entities. The Department of Commerce halved the number of licenses that let US companies assign Chinese nationals to sensitive technology and engineering projects.
"[So] decoupling is already in motion. Like the shift of tectonic plates, the move towards a new tech alignment with China increases the potential for sudden, destabilizing convulsions in the global economy and supply chains. To defend America's technology leadership, policymakers must upgrade their toolkit to ensure that US technology leadership can withstand the aftershocks.
"The key driver of this shift has not been the President's tariffs, but a changing consensus among rank-and-file policymakers about what constitutes national security. This expansive new conception of national security is sensitive to a broad array of potential threats, including to the economic livelihood of the United States, the integrity of its citizens personal data, and the country's technological advantage".
Trump's China 'bind' is this: A trade deal with China has long been viewed by the White House as a major tool for 'goosing' the US stock market upwards, during the crucial pre-election period. But as that is now said to be "tough to improbable" – and as US national security consensus metamorphoses, the consequent de-coupling, combined with tariffs, is beginning to bite. The effects are eating away at President Trump's prime political asset: the public confidence in his handling of the economy: A Quinnipiac University survey last week found for the first time in Trump's presidency, more voters now say the economy is getting worse rather than better, by a 37-31 percent margin – and by 41-37 percent, voters say the president's policies are hurting the economy.
This is hugely significant. If Trump is experiencing a crisis of public confidence in respect to his assertive policies towards China, the last thing that he needs in the run-up to an election is an oil crisis, on top of a tariff/tech war crisis with China. A wrong move with Iran, and global oil supplies easily can go awry. Markets would not be happy. (So Trump's China 'bind' can also be Iran's opportunity ).
No wonder Pompeo acted with such alacrity to put a tourniquet on the brewing 'war' in the Middle East, sparked by Israel's simultaneous air attacks last month in Iraq, inside Beirut, and in Syria (killing two Hizbullah soldiers). It is pretty clear that Washington did not want this 'war', at least not now. America, as Defense One noted , is becoming acutely sensitive to any risks to the global financial system from "sudden, destabilizing convulsions in the global economy".
The recent Israeli military operations coincided with Iranian FM Zarif's sudden summons to Biarritz (during the G7), exacerbating fears within the Israeli Security Cabinet that Trump might meet with President Rouhani in NY at the UN General Assembly – thus threatening Netanyahu's anti-Iran, political 'identity' . The fear was that Trump could begin a 'bromance' with the Iranian President (on the Kim Jong Un lines). And hence the Israeli provocations intended to stir some Iranian (over)-reaction (which never came). Subsequently it became clear to Israel that Iran's leadership had absolutely no intention to meet with Trump – and the whole episode subsided.
Trump's Iran 'bind' therefore is somehow similar to his China 'bind': With China, he initially wanted an easy trade achievement, but it has proved to be 'anything but'. With Iran, Trump wanted a razzmatazz meeting with Rohani – even if that did not lead to a new 'deal' (much as the Trump – Kim Jung Un TV spectaculars that caught the American imagination so vividly, he may have hoped for a similar response to a Rohani handshake, or he may have even aspired to an Oval Office spectacular).
Trump simply cannot understand why the Iranians won't do this, and he is peeved by the snub. Iran is unfathomable to Team Trump.
Well, maybe the Iranians just don't want to do it. Firstly, they don't need to: the Iranian Rial has been recovering steadily over the last four months and manufacturing output has steadied. China's General Administration of Customs (GAC) detailing the country's oil imports data shows that China has not cut its Iranian supply after the US waiver program ended on 2 May, but rather, it has steadily increased Iranian crude imports since the official end of the waiver extension, up from May and June levels. The new GAC data shows China imported over 900,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil from Iran in July, which is up 4.7% from the month before.
And a new path is opening in front of Iran. After Biarritz, Zarif flew directly to Beijing where he discussed a huge, multi-hundred billion (according to one report ), twenty-five-year oil and gas investment, (and a separate) 'Road and Belt' transport plan. Though the details are not disclosed, it is plain that China – unlike America – sees Iran as a key future strategic partner, and China seems perfectly able to fathom out the Iranians, too.
But here is the really substantive US shift taking place. It is that which is termed "a new normal" now taking a hold in Washington:
"To defend America's technology leadership, policymakers [are] upgrading their toolkit to ensure that US technology leadership can withstand the aftershocks Unlike the President's trade war, support for this new, expansive definition of national security and technology is largely bipartisan, and likely here to stay.
with many of the president's top advisers viewing China first and foremost as a national security threat, rather than as an economic partner – it's poised to affect huge parts of American life, from the cost of many consumer goods to the nature of this country's relationship with the government of Taiwan.
"Trump himself still views China primarily through an economic prism. But the angrier he gets with Beijing, the more receptive he is to his advisers' hawkish stances toward China that go well beyond trade."
"The angrier he gets with Beijing" Well, here is the key point: Washington seems to have lost the ability to summon the resources to try to fathom either China, or the Iranian 'closed book', let alone a 'Byzantine' Russia. It is a colossal attenuation of consciousness in Washington; a loss of conscious 'vitality' to the grip of some 'irrefutable logic' that allows no empathy, no outreach, to 'otherness'. Washington (and some European élites) have retreated into their 'niche' consciousness, their mental enclave, gated and protected, from having to understand – or engage – with wider human experience.
To compensate for these lacunae, Washington looks rather, to an engineering and technological solution: If we cannot summon empathy, or understand Xi or the Iranian Supreme Leader, we can muster artificial intelligence to substitute – a 'toolkit' in which the US intends to be global leader.
This type of solution – from the US perspective – maybe works for China, but not so much for Iran; and Trump is not keen on a full war with Iran in the lead up to elections. Is this why Trump seems to be losing interest in the Middle East? He doesn't understand it; he hasn't the interest or the means to fathom it; and he doesn't want to bomb it. And the China 'bind' is going to be all absorbing for him, for the meantime.
Aug 25, 2019 | portside.org
Originally from: Monthly Review printer friendlyThe ideology of neoliberal capitalism was the promise of growth. But with neoliberal capitalism reaching a dead end, this promise disappears and so does this ideological prop.
Harry Magdoff's The Age of Imperialism is a classic work that shows how postwar political decolonization does not negate the phenomenon of imperialism. The book has two distinct aspects. On the one hand, it follows in V. I. Lenin's footsteps in providing a comprehensive account of how capitalism at the time operated globally. On the other hand, it raises a question that is less frequently discussed in Marxist literature -- namely, the need for imperialism. Here, Magdoff not only highlighted the crucial importance, among other things, of the third world's raw materials for metropolitan capital, but also refuted the argument that the declining share of raw-material value in gross manufacturing output somehow reduced this importance, making the simple point that there can be no manufacturing at all without raw materials. 1
Magdoff's focus was on a period when imperialism was severely resisting economic decolonization in the third world, with newly independent third world countries taking control over their own resources. He highlighted the entire armory of weapons used by imperialism. But he was writing in a period that predated the onset of neoliberalism. Today, we not only have decades of neoliberalism behind us, but the neoliberal regime itself has reached a dead end. Contemporary imperialism has to be discussed within this setting.Globalization and Economic Crisis
There are two reasons why the regime of neoliberal globalization has run into a dead end. The first is an ex ante tendency toward global overproduction; the second is that the only possible counter to this tendency within the regime is the formation of asset-price bubbles, which cannot be conjured up at will and whose collapse, if they do appear, plunges the economy back into crisis. In short, to use the words of British economic historian Samuel Berrick Saul, there are no "markets on tap" for contemporary metropolitan capitalism, such as had been provided by colonialism prior to the First World War and by state expenditure in the post-Second World War period of dirigisme . 2
The ex ante tendency toward overproduction arises because the vector of real wages across countries does not increase noticeably over time in the world economy, while the vector of labor productivities does, typically resulting in a rise in the share of surplus in world output. As Paul Baran and Paul Sweezy argued in Monopoly Capital , following the lead of Michał Kalecki and Josef Steindl, such a rise in the share of economic surplus, or a shift from wages to surplus, has the effect of reducing aggregate demand since the ratio of consumption to income is higher on average for wage earners than for those living off the surplus. 3 Therefore, assuming a given level of investment associated with any period, such a shift would tend to reduce consumption demand and hence aggregate demand, output, and capacity utilization. In turn, reduced capacity utilization would lower investment over time, further aggravating the demand-reducing effect arising from the consumption side.
While the rise in the vector of labor productivities across countries, a ubiquitous phenomenon under capitalism that also characterizes neoliberal capitalism, scarcely requires an explanation, why does the vector of real wages remain virtually stagnant in the world economy? The answer lies in the sui generis character of contemporary globalization that, for the first time in the history of capitalism, has led to a relocation of activity from the metropolis to third world countries in order to take advantage of the lower wages prevailing in the latter and meet global demand.
Historically, while labor has not been, and is still not, free to migrate from the third world to the metropolis, capital, though juridically free to move from the latter to the former, did not actually do so , except to sectors like mines and plantations, which only strengthened, rather than broke, the colonial pattern of the international division of labor. 4 This segmentation of the world economy meant that wages in the metropolis increased with labor productivity, unrestrained by the vast labor reserves of the third world, which themselves had been caused by the displacement of manufactures through the twin processes of deindustrialization (competition from metropolitan goods) and the drain of surplus (the siphoning off of a large part of the economic surplus, through taxes on peasants that are no longer spent on local artisan products but finance gratis primary commodity exports to the metropolis instead).
The current globalization broke with this. The movement of capital from the metropolis to the third world, especially to East, South, and Southeast Asia to relocate plants there and take advantage of their lower wages for meeting global demand, has led to a desegmentation of the world economy, subjecting metropolitan wages to the restraining effect exercised by the third world's labor reserves. Not surprisingly, as Joseph Stiglitz has pointed out, the real-wage rate of an average male U.S. worker in 2011 was no higher -- indeed, it was marginally lower -- than it had been in 1968. 5
At the same time, such relocation of activities, despite causing impressive growth rates of gross domestic product (GDP) in many third world countries, does not lead to the exhaustion of the third world's labor reserves. This is because of another feature of contemporary globalization: the unleashing of a process of primitive accumulation of capital against petty producers, including peasant agriculturists in the third world, who had earlier been protected, to an extent, from the encroachment of big capital (both domestic and foreign) by the postcolonial dirigiste regimes in these countries. Under neoliberalism, such protection is withdrawn, causing an income squeeze on these producers and often their outright dispossession from their land, which is then used by big capital for its various so-called development projects. The increase in employment, even in countries with impressive GDP growth rates in the third world, falls way short of the natural growth of the workforce, let alone absorbing the additional job seekers coming from the ranks of displaced petty producers. The labor reserves therefore never get used up. Indeed, on the contrary, they are augmented further, because real wages continue to remain tied to a subsistence level, even as metropolitan wages too are restrained. The vector of real wages in the world economy as a whole therefore remains restrained.
Although contemporary globalization thus gives rise to an ex ante tendency toward overproduction, state expenditure that could provide a counter to this (and had provided a counter through military spending in the United States, according to Baran and Sweezy) can no longer do so under the current regime. Finance is usually opposed to direct state intervention through larger spending as a way of increasing employment. This opposition expresses itself through an opposition not just to larger taxes on capitalists, but also to a larger fiscal deficit for financing such spending. Obviously, if larger state spending is financed by taxes on workers, then it hardly adds to aggregate demand, for workers spend the bulk of their incomes anyway, so the state taking this income and spending it instead does not add any extra demand. Hence, larger state spending can increase employment only if it is financed either through a fiscal deficit or through taxes on capitalists who keep a part of their income unspent or saved. But these are precisely the two modes of financing state expenditure that finance capital opposes.
Its opposing larger taxes on capitalists is understandable, but why is it so opposed to a larger fiscal deficit? Even within a capitalist economy, there are no sound economic theoretical reasons that should preclude a fiscal deficit under all circumstances. The root of the opposition therefore lies in deeper social considerations: if the capitalist economic system becomes dependent on the state to promote employment directly , then this fact undermines the social legitimacy of capitalism. The need for the state to boost the animal spirits of the capitalists disappears and a perspective on the system that is epistemically exterior to it is provided to the people, making it possible for them to ask: If the state can do the job of providing employment, then why do we need the capitalists at all? It is an instinctive appreciation of this potential danger that underlies the opposition of capital, especially of finance, to any direct effort by the state to generate employment.
This ever-present opposition becomes decisive within a regime of globalization. As long as finance capital remains national -- that is, nation-based -- and the state is a nation-state, the latter can override this opposition under certain circumstances, such as in the post-Second World War period when capitalism was facing an existential crisis. But when finance capital is globalized, meaning, when it is free to move across country borders while the state remains a nation-state, its opposition to fiscal deficits becomes decisive. If the state does run large fiscal deficits against its wishes, then it would simply leave that country en masse , causing a financial crisis.
The state therefore capitulates to the demands of globalized finance capital and eschews direct fiscal intervention for increasing demand. It resorts to monetary policy instead since that operates through wealth holders' decisions, and hence does not undermine their social position. But, precisely for this reason, monetary policy is an ineffective instrument, as was evident in the United States in the aftermath of the 2007–09 crisis when even the pushing of interest rates down to zero scarcely revived activity. 6
It may be thought that this compulsion on the part of the state to accede to the demand of finance to eschew fiscal intervention for enlarging employment should not hold for the United States. Its currency being considered by the world's wealth holders to be "as good as gold" should make it immune to capital flight. But there is an additional factor operating in the case of the United States: that the demand generated by a bigger U.S. fiscal deficit would substantially leak abroad in a neoliberal setting, which would increase its external debt (since, unlike Britain in its heyday, it does not have access to any unrequited colonial transfers) for the sake of generating employment elsewhere. This fact deters any fiscal effort even in the United States to boost demand within a neoliberal setting. 7
Therefore, it follows that state spending cannot provide a counter to the ex ante tendency toward global overproduction within a regime of neoliberal globalization, which makes the world economy precariously dependent on occasional asset-price bubbles, primarily in the U.S. economy, for obtaining, at best, some temporary relief from the crisis. It is this fact that underlies the dead end that neoliberal capitalism has reached. Indeed, Donald Trump's resort to protectionism in the United States to alleviate unemployment is a clear recognition of the system having reached this cul-de-sac. The fact that the mightiest capitalist economy in the world has to move away from the rules of the neoliberal game in an attempt to alleviate its crisis of unemployment/underemployment -- while compensating capitalists adversely affected by this move through tax cuts, as well as carefully ensuring that no restraints are imposed on free cross-border financial flows -- shows that these rules are no longer viable in their pristine form.Some Implications of This Dead End
There are at least four important implications of this dead end of neoliberalism. The first is that the world economy will now be afflicted by much higher levels of unemployment than it was in the last decade of the twentieth century and the early years of the twenty-first, when the dot-com and the housing bubbles in the United States had, sequentially, a pronounced impact. It is true that the U.S. unemployment rate today appears to be at a historic low, but this is misleading: the labor-force participation rate in the United States today is lower than it was in 2008, which reflects the discouraged-worker effect . Adjusting for this lower participation, the U.S. unemployment rate is considerable -- around 8 percent. Indeed, Trump would not be imposing protection in the United States if unemployment was actually as low as 4 percent, which is the official figure. Elsewhere in the world, of course, unemployment post-2008 continues to be evidently higher than before. Indeed, the severity of the current problem of below-full-employment production in the U.S. economy is best illustrated by capacity utilization figures in manufacturing. The weakness of the U.S. recovery from the Great Recession is indicated by the fact that the current extended recovery represents the first decade in the entire post-Second World War period in which capacity utilization in manufacturing has never risen as high as 80 percent in a single quarter, with the resulting stagnation of investment. 8
If Trump's protectionism, which recalls the Smoot-Hawley tariff of 1931 and amounts to a beggar-my-neighbor policy, does lead to a significant export of unemployment from the United States, then it will invite retaliation and trigger a trade war that will only worsen the crisis for the world economy as a whole by dampening global investment. Indeed, since the United States has been targeting China in particular, some retaliatory measures have already appeared. But if U.S. protectionism does not invite generalized retaliation, it would only be because the export of unemployment from the United States is insubstantial, keeping unemployment everywhere, including in the United States, as precarious as it is now. However we look at it, the world would henceforth face higher levels of unemployment.
There has been some discussion on how global value chains would be affected by Trump's protectionism. But the fact that global macroeconomics in the early twenty-first century will look altogether different compared to earlier has not been much discussed.
In light of the preceding discussion, one could say that if, instead of individual nation-states whose writ cannot possibly run against globalized finance capital, there was a global state or a set of major nation-states acting in unison to override the objections of globalized finance and provide a coordinated fiscal stimulus to the world economy, then perhaps there could be recovery. Such a coordinated fiscal stimulus was suggested by a group of German trade unionists, as well as by John Maynard Keynes during the Great Depression in the 1930s. 9 While it was turned down then, in the present context it has not even been discussed.
The second implication of this dead end is that the era of export-led growth is by and large over for third world economies. The slowing down of world economic growth, together with protectionism in the United States against successful third world exporters, which could even spread to other metropolitan economies, suggests that the strategy of relying on the world market to generate domestic growth has run out of steam. Third world economies, including the ones that have been very successful at exporting, would now have to rely much more on their home market.
Such a transition will not be easy; it will require promoting domestic peasant agriculture, defending petty production, moving toward cooperative forms of production, and ensuring greater equality in income distribution, all of which need major structural shifts. For smaller economies, it would also require their coming together with other economies to provide a minimum size to the domestic market. In short, the dead end of neoliberalism also means the need for a shift away from the so-called neoliberal development strategy that has held sway until now.
The third implication is the imminent engulfing of a whole range of third world economies in serious balance-of-payments difficulties. This is because, while their exports will be sluggish in the new situation, this very fact will also discourage financial inflows into their economies, whose easy availability had enabled them to maintain current account deficits on their balance of payments earlier. In such a situation, within the existing neoliberal paradigm, they would be forced to adopt austerity measures that would impose income deflation on their people, make the conditions of their people significantly worse, lead to a further handing over of their national assets and resources to international capital, and prevent precisely any possible transition to an alternative strategy of home market-based growth.
In other words, we shall now have an intensification of the imperialist stranglehold over third world economies, especially those pushed into unsustainable balance-of-payments deficits in the new situation. By imperialism , here we do not mean the imperialism of this or that major power, but the imperialism of international finance capital, with which even domestic big bourgeoisies are integrated, directed against their own working people.
The fourth implication is the worldwide upsurge of fascism. Neoliberal capitalism even before it reached a dead end, even in the period when it achieved reasonable growth and employment rates, had pushed the world into greater hunger and poverty. For instance, the world per-capita cereal output was 355 kilograms for 1980 (triennium average for 1979–81 divided by mid–triennium population) and fell to 343 in 2000, leveling at 344.9 in 2016 -- and a substantial amount of this last figure went into ethanol production. Clearly, in a period of growth of the world economy, per-capita cereal absorption should be expanding, especially since we are talking here not just of direct absorption but of direct and indirect absorption, the latter through processed foods and feed grains in animal products. The fact that there was an absolute decline in per-capita output, which no doubt caused a decline in per-capita absorption, suggests an absolute worsening in the nutritional level of a substantial segment of the world's population.
But this growing hunger and nutritional poverty did not immediately arouse any significant resistance, both because such resistance itself becomes more difficult under neoliberalism (since the very globalization of capital makes it an elusive target) and also because higher GDP growth rates provided a hope that distress might be overcome in the course of time. Peasants in distress, for instance, entertained the hope that their children would live better in the years to come if given a modicum of education and accepted their fate.
In short, the ideology of neoliberal capitalism was the promise of growth. But with neoliberal capitalism reaching a dead end, this promise disappears and so does this ideological prop. To sustain itself, neoliberal capitalism starts looking for some other ideological prop and finds fascism. This changes the discourse away from the material conditions of people's lives to the so-called threat to the nation, placing the blame for people's distress not on the failure of the system, but on ethnic, linguistic, and religious minority groups, the other that is portrayed as an enemy. It projects a so-called messiah whose sheer muscularity can somehow magically overcome all problems; it promotes a culture of unreason so that both the vilification of the other and the magical powers of the supposed leader can be placed beyond any intellectual questioning; it uses a combination of state repression and street-level vigilantism by fascist thugs to terrorize opponents; and it forges a close relationship with big business, or, in Kalecki's words, "a partnership of big business and fascist upstarts." 10
Fascist groups of one kind or another exist in all modern societies. They move center stage and even into power only on certain occasions when they get the backing of big business. And these occasions arise when three conditions are satisfied: when there is an economic crisis so the system cannot simply go on as before; when the usual liberal establishment is manifestly incapable of resolving the crisis; and when the left is not strong enough to provide an alternative to the people in order to move out of the conjuncture.
This last point may appear odd at first, since many see the big bourgeoisie's recourse to fascism as a counter to the growth of the left's strength in the context of a capitalist crisis. But when the left poses a serious threat, the response of the big bourgeoisie typically is to attempt to split it by offering concessions. It uses fascism to prop itself up only when the left is weakened. Walter Benjamin's remark that "behind every fascism there is a failed revolution" points in this direction.Fascism Then and Now
Contemporary fascism, however, differs in crucial respects from its 1930s counterpart, which is why many are reluctant to call the current phenomenon a fascist upsurge. But historical parallels, if carefully drawn, can be useful. While in some aforementioned respects contemporary fascism does resemble the phenomenon of the 1930s, there are serious differences between the two that must also be noted.
First, we must note that while the current fascist upsurge has put fascist elements in power in many countries, there are no fascist states of the 1930s kind as of yet. Even if the fascist elements in power try to push the country toward a fascist state, it is not clear that they will succeed. There are many reasons for this, but an important one is that fascists in power today cannot overcome the crisis of neoliberalism, since they accept the regime of globalization of finance. This includes Trump, despite his protectionism. In the 1930s, however, this was not the case. The horrors associated with the institution of a fascist state in the 1930s had been camouflaged to an extent by the ability of the fascists in power to overcome mass unemployment and end the Depression through larger military spending, financed by government borrowing. Contemporary fascism, by contrast, lacks the ability to overcome the opposition of international finance capital to fiscal activism on the part of the government to generate larger demand, output, and employment, even via military spending.
Such activism, as discussed earlier, required larger government spending financed either through taxes on capitalists or through a fiscal deficit. Finance capital was opposed to both of these measures and it being globalized made this opposition decisive . The decisiveness of this opposition remains even if the government happens to be one composed of fascist elements. Hence, contemporary fascism, straitjacketed by "fiscal rectitude," cannot possibly alleviate even temporarily the economic crises facing people and cannot provide any cover for a transition to a fascist state akin to the ones of the 1930s, which makes such a transition that much more unlikely.
Another difference is also related to the phenomenon of the globalization of finance. The 1930s were marked by what Lenin had earlier called "interimperialist rivalry." The military expenditures incurred by fascist governments, even though they pulled countries out of the Depression and unemployment, inevitably led to wars for "repartitioning an already partitioned world." Fascism was the progenitor of war and burned itself out through war at, needless to say, great cost to humankind.
Contemporary fascism, however, operates in a world where interimperialist rivalry is far more muted. Some have seen in this muting a vindication of Karl Kautsky's vision of an "ultraimperialism" as against Lenin's emphasis on the permanence of interimperialist rivalry, but this is wrong. Both Kautsky and Lenin were talking about a world where finance capital and the financial oligarchy were essentially national -- that is, German, French, or British. And while Kautsky talked about the possibility of truces among the rival oligarchies, Lenin saw such truces only as transient phenomena punctuating the ubiquity of rivalry.
In contrast, what we have today is not nation-based finance capitals, but international finance capital into whose corpus the finance capitals drawn from particular countries are integrated. This globalized finance capital does not want the world to be partitioned into economic territories of rival powers ; on the contrary, it wants the entire globe to be open to its own unrestricted movement. The muting of rivalry between major powers, therefore, is not because they prefer truce to war, or peaceful partitioning of the world to forcible repartitioning, but because the material conditions themselves have changed so that it is no longer a matter of such choices. The world has gone beyond both Lenin and Kautsky, as well as their debates.
Not only are we not going to have wars between major powers in this era of fascist upsurge (of course, as will be discussed, we shall have other wars), but, by the same token, this fascist upsurge will not burn out through any cataclysmic war. What we are likely to see is a lingering fascism of less murderous intensity , which, when in power, does not necessarily do away with all the forms of bourgeois democracy, does not necessarily physically annihilate the opposition, and may even allow itself to get voted out of power occasionally. But since its successor government, as long as it remains within the confines of the neoliberal strategy, will also be incapable of alleviating the crisis, the fascist elements are likely to return to power as well. And whether the fascist elements are in or out of power, they will remain a potent force working toward the fascification of the society and the polity, even while promoting corporate interests within a regime of globalization of finance, and hence permanently maintaining the "partnership between big business and fascist upstarts."
Put differently, since the contemporary fascist upsurge is not likely to burn itself out as the earlier one did, it has to be overcome by transcending the very conjuncture that produced it: neoliberal capitalism at a dead end. A class mobilization of working people around an alternative set of transitional demands that do not necessarily directly target neoliberal capitalism, but which are immanently unrealizable within the regime of neoliberal capitalism, can provide an initial way out of this conjuncture and lead to its eventual transcendence.
Such a class mobilization in the third world context would not mean making no truces with liberal bourgeois elements against the fascists. On the contrary, since the liberal bourgeois elements too are getting marginalized through a discourse of jingoistic nationalism typically manufactured by the fascists, they too would like to shift the discourse toward the material conditions of people's lives, no doubt claiming that an improvement in these conditions is possible within the neoliberal economic regime itself. Such a shift in discourse is in itself a major antifascist act . Experience will teach that the agenda advanced as part of this changed discourse is unrealizable under neoliberalism, providing the scope for dialectical intervention by the left to transcend neoliberal capitalism.Imperialist Interventions
Even though fascism will have a lingering presence in this conjuncture of "neoliberalism at a dead end," with the backing of domestic corporate-financial interests that are themselves integrated into the corpus of international finance capital, the working people in the third world will increasingly demand better material conditions of life and thereby rupture the fascist discourse of jingoistic nationalism (that ironically in a third world context is not anti-imperialist).
In fact, neoliberalism reaching a dead end and having to rely on fascist elements revives meaningful political activity, which the heyday of neoliberalism had precluded, because most political formations then had been trapped within an identical neoliberal agenda that appeared promising. (Latin America had a somewhat different history because neoliberalism arrived in that continent through military dictatorships, not through its more or less tacit acceptance by most political formations.)
Such revived political activity will necessarily throw up challenges to neoliberal capitalism in particular countries. Imperialism, by which we mean the entire economic and political arrangement sustaining the hegemony of international finance capital, will deal with these challenges in at least four different ways.
The first is the so-called spontaneous method of capital flight. Any political formation that seeks to take the country out of the neoliberal regime will witness capital flight even before it has been elected to office, bringing the country to a financial crisis and thereby denting its electoral prospects. And if perchance it still gets elected, the outflow will only increase, even before it assumes office. The inevitable difficulties faced by the people may well make the government back down at that stage. The sheer difficulty of transition away from a neoliberal regime could be enough to bring even a government based on the support of workers and peasants to its knees, precisely to save them short-term distress or to avoid losing their support.
Even if capital controls are put in place, where there are current account deficits, financing such deficits would pose a problem, necessitating some trade controls. But this is where the second instrument of imperialism comes into play: the imposition of trade sanctions by the metropolitan states, which then cajole other countries to stop buying from the sanctioned country that is trying to break away from thralldom to globalized finance capital. Even if the latter would have otherwise succeeded in stabilizing its economy despite its attempt to break away, the imposition of sanctions becomes an additional blow.
The third weapon consists in carrying out so-called democratic or parliamentary coups of the sort that Latin America has been experiencing. Coups in the old days were effected through the local armed forces and necessarily meant the imposition of military dictatorships in lieu of civilian, democratically elected governments. Now, taking advantage of the disaffection generated within countries by the hardships caused by capital flight and imposed sanctions, imperialism promotes coups through fascist or fascist-sympathizing middle-class political elements in the name of restoring democracy, which is synonymous with the pursuit of neoliberalism.
And if all these measures fail, there is always the possibility of resorting to economic warfare (such as destroying Venezuela's electricity supply), and eventually to military warfare. Venezuela today provides a classic example of what imperialist intervention in a third world country is going to look like in the era of decline of neoliberal capitalism, when revolts are going to characterize such countries more and more.
Two aspects of such intervention are striking. One is the virtual unanimity among the metropolitan states, which only underscores the muting of interimperialist rivalry in the era of hegemony of global finance capital. The other is the extent of support that such intervention commands within metropolitan countries, from the right to even the liberal segments.
Despite this opposition, neoliberal capitalism cannot ward off the challenge it is facing for long. It has no vision for reinventing itself. Interestingly, in the period after the First World War, when capitalism was on the verge of sinking into a crisis, the idea of state intervention as a way of its revival had already been mooted, though its coming into vogue only occurred at the end of the Second World War. 11 Today, neoliberal capitalism does not even have an idea of how it can recover and revitalize itself. And weapons like domestic fascism in the third world and direct imperialist intervention cannot for long save it from the anger of the masses that is building up against it.Notes
- Harry Magdoff, The Age of Imperialism (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1969).
- Samuel Berrick Saul, Studies in British Overseas Trade, 1870–1914 (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1960).
- Paul A. Baran and Paul M. Sweezy, Monopoly Capital (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1966).
- One of the first authors to recognize this fact and its significance was Paul Baran in The Political Economy of Growth (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1957).
- Joseph E. Stiglitz, " Inequality is Holding Back the Recovery ," New York Times , January 19, 2013.
- For a discussion of how even the recent euphoria about U.S. growth is vanishing, see C. P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh, " Vanishing Green Shoots and the Possibility of Another Crisis ," The Hindu Business Line , April 8, 2019.
- For the role of such colonial transfers in sustaining the British balance of payments and the long Victorian and Edwardian boom, see Utsa Patnaik, "Revisiting the 'Drain,' or Transfers from India to Britain in the Context of Global Diffusion of Capitalism," in Agrarian and Other Histories: Essays for Binay Bhushan Chaudhuri , ed. Shubhra Chakrabarti and Utsa Patnaik (Delhi: Tulika, 2017), 277-317.
- Federal Reserve Board of Saint Louis Economic Research, FRED, "Capacity Utilization: Manufacturing," February 2019 (updated March 27, 2019), http://fred.stlouisfed.org .
- This issue is discussed by Charles P. Kindleberger in The World in Depression, 1929–1939 , 40th anniversary ed. (Oakland: University of California Press, 2013).
- Michał Kalecki, " Political Aspects of Full Employment ," Political Quarterly (1943), available at mronline.org.
- Joseph Schumpeter had seen Keynes's The Economic Consequences of the Peace as essentially advocating such state intervention in the new situation. See his essay, "John Maynard Keynes (1883–1946)," in Ten Great Economists (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1952).
Utsa Patnaik is Professor Emerita at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her books include Peasant Class Differentiation (1987), The Long Transition (1999), and The Republic of Hunger and Other Essays (2007). Prabhat Patnaik is Professor Emeritus at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. His books include Accumulation and Stability Under Capitalism (1997), The Value of Money(2009), and Re-envisioning Socialism(2011).
Sep 10, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
It looks as though liberals may never learn that just because they disagree with someone's opinion, it doesn't automatically make them a tool of the Russian government. And leading the charge of liberals disseminating Russiagate nothingburgers, of course, continues to be Rachel Maddow.
Conservative television network One America News (OAN) is suing Rachel Maddow for $10 million after she referred to the network as "paid Russian propaganda" . OAN filed the defamation suit in federal court in San Diego, according to AP . OAN is a small, family owned conservative network that is based in San Diego and has received favorable Tweets from the President. It is seen as a competitor to Fox News.
OAN's lawsuit claims that Maddow's comments were retaliation after OAN President Charles Herring accused Comcast of censorship. The suit said that Comcast refuses to carry its channel because "counters the liberal politics of Comcast's own news channel, MSNBC."
It was about a week after Herring e-mailed a Comcast executive when Maddow opened her show by referring to a Daily Beast report that claimed an OAN employee also worked for Sputnik News, which has ties to the Russian government. Maddow said: "In this case, the most obsequiously pro-Trump right-wing news outlet in America really literally is paid Russian propaganda. Their on-air U.S. politics reporter is paid by the Russian government to produce propaganda for that government."
Except Maddow, likely still upset from spending 3 years trying to promulgate a Russian hoax that didn't exist, didn't quite get her facts straight. Big surprise.
OAN said in its lawsuit that while reporter Kristian Rouz was associated with Sputnik News, he worked solely as a freelancer for them and was not a staff employee of OAN. And the lawsuit includes a statement from Rouz stating that while he has written some 1,300 articles over the past 4 and a half years for Sputnik, he has "...never written propaganda, disinformation, or unverified information." Skip Miller, OAN's attorney stated:
"One America is wholly owned, operated and financed by the Herring family in San Diego. They are as American as apple pie. They are not paid by Russia and have nothing to do with the Russian government. This is a false and malicious libel, and they're going to answer for it in a court of law."
The lawsuit included an August 6th letter from an NBC Universal attorney who stated that "OAN publishes content collected or created by a journalist who is also paid by the Russian government for writing over a thousand articles. Ms. Maddow's recounting of this arrangement is substantially true and therefore not actionable."
We'll see about that.
Bone-Machine , 13 seconds ago linkEenuschOne , 25 seconds ago link
A fate worse than death; being stuck in a 10x10 room for eternity with Maddow.Bay of Pigs , 58 seconds ago link
"MSNBC interrupts Rachel Maddow's scissoring to bring you an urgent news update."
Pulling for OAN.
How is Maddow still on TV? Who watches that **** anymore?
Sep 10, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Pacifica Advocate , 09 September 2019 at 11:01 AMThe reaction to what's going on in Hong Kong that I've seen, amongst the educated Taiwanese classes, is that most are horrified by it, perceiving it as a spasm of nihilist, ignorant Hong Kong youth manipulated by cynical outside forces.blue peacock said in reply to Pacifica Advocate... , 09 September 2019 at 07:59 PM
Remember that support for Tsai Yingwen & her coalition remains somewhere in the 20 to 30% range--that is, very much near the same range that Chen Shuibian was afflicted with, before he was prosecuted and sent off to prison for corruption.
If the US intelligence agencies believe that Taiwan will throw in support for Hong Kong following a protest like this, it should think again. People in Taiwan have become far more skeptical of the US-Taiwan relationship, since the Sunflower Movement.
Yes--there will be a period of chaos, as the majority slowly explains to the unruly outliers that no, their ideas are not useful. Yes, as in Hong Kong, that period may last a period that US/uk authorities may find untenable.
But no: none of this will result in a China-NATO war. None of this will result in a hard, black line running between the Koreas, Taiwan, and Japan. None of this will stop the Philippines from continuing their gravitation westward ("Eastward", for you Euroyanks.)
Taiwan, I predict, will be the second-to-last stalwart holdout against US hegemony in East Asia--with Japan being the last.I get a different perspective from Taiwanese business people who I speak with regularly. They are uniform in their disgust and fear of CCP. What they seem most concerned about is that the US will abandon them when push comes to shove.different clue , 09 September 2019 at 01:46 PM
They are watching what's happening in HK with much interest and are privately very sympathetic to the aims of the people of HK to be independent of CCP rule.I will guess that you are living in Taiwan, otherwise how would you be able to see the reaction among the educated Taiwanese classes?b , 09 September 2019 at 03:08 PM
I would have to read up on the names of the people and movements you have given us before I could know anything about them.
I had not heard, way back here in Great Lakestan, that US intelligence agencies were thinking about whether Taiwan would "support" Hong Kong or not, though I suppose the US intelligence agencies try to think about every possible thing. It seems more likely to me that the agencies would be thinking about how Taiwan does or does not plan to welcome the ChiCom regime when it looks their way and says " okay, you're next".
So, the "majority" will explain to the unruly outliers how useless their ideas are? In what sense is a pack of ChiCom Regime-Lords a "majority"? A "majority" of what or whom?
I hope you are correct that there will be no China-NATO war. American hegemony is fading and I hope the slow fade-out leaves America intact as a free country. I hope America can break free from the International Forcey-Free-TradeRape system.
Yes, as one hegemony fades away . . . another rises. Since Taiwan is largely Han-majority, I believe, I suppose Taiwan will fare better under Great Han Lebensraumist ChiCom rule than Tibet or Sinjiang or Inner Mongolia or or or . . .
And maybe Taiwan will find Chinese hegemony more enjoyable than the American kind. And aren't you the lucky lad? You may get to find out within your own lifetime.
As Angel-Eyes said to the Colonel with gangrene: " I wish you luck."Come on Pat.blue peacock said in reply to b ... , 09 September 2019 at 08:02 PM
You predicted the immediate introduction of Chinese troops in Hong Kong how many month back? Where are they?
China does not care about Hong Kong. It will not be provoked into another NED/CIA arranged Tianamen.
In Hong Kong the U.S. is making the usual mistake of betting on the extreme rightwing, libertarians and fascists.
The rioting students have already lost much of the wider support they had at the beginning of this operations. They will soon be seen as the nihilist idiots who only care about themselves that they truly are. The people of Hong Kong who care about Hong Kong will fight them down."..betting on the extreme rightwing, libertarians and fascists."Amir -> blue peacock... , 10 September 2019 at 09:14 AM
Ha! Ha! Everyone that is not Communist.There is alas a consistency in our ruling elite's modus operandi: just look at DC's support for Taliban, liver-eating Al Nusra (Al Qaeda) in Syria, slave-trader Jihadists in Libya & above all, genocidal Salafists in Yemen, Boston-marathon-bombing Chechens & above all Saudi terror-financing Clown Prince ⚙️Mohammad Bone Saw⚙️: it is telling that you are more concerned about a dead ideology as opposed to an expanding current dangerous movement.Barbara Ann said in reply to b ... , 10 September 2019 at 09:41 AMbturcopolier , 09 September 2019 at 03:52 PM
I disagree with your characterization of the rioting students as nihilist idiots. Many probably believe (with justification) that the liberties they currently enjoy are at stake if HK's system of self-governance is eroded away to nothing. However, you raise a good point about the Chinese leadership being provoked into another Tiananmen. The PNAC crowd must be frustrated with the widespread public perception of China as *just* a manipulative trade competitor/pseudo adversary. A very public bloodbath in HK is just what they need to promote China to Axis of Evil status.
Mr Wong and his comrades would be well advised to treat support from an American administration still full of neocons with a great deal of suspicion. I don't doubt that people like Bolton would willingly goad them into escalating the confrontation until the PLA is forced to crush them. They may do so anyway. But if the risk of contagion is low an example can be made of HK without violence. If major disruption continues businesses will be forced to relocate. HK could simply be allowed to rot as this happens, pour encourager les autres.bfredw , 09 September 2019 at 05:22 PM
I did not. Chinese troops were massing on the HK border in August. There was a general strike and that was a possible flash point. I predicted that China would inevitably crush the rebellion in Hong Kong. I stand by that. Your anti-Americanism is showing again,walrus , 09 September 2019 at 06:07 PM"China does not care about Hong Kong."
Obviously they do care. As the quoted article noted, they are the ones who provoked this situation. Students (and others) did not just rush out into the streets on a whim. They have not endured police state violence and arrests in pursuit of being "nihilist idiots".
Their chances seem slim. The question that I don't see asked or answered is "Why hasn't this been put down already?" That seems the only plausible end to it. The Chinese government certainly has the capability.
Holding back is not an effect of any strictness about rules or morals. Not having done it can only mean that they see costs or dangers that they are not (yet) willing to face.
Personally I think that the (the government) and powerful people with China derive a LOT of money and power from the perception of Hong Kong as a rule-of-law environment. But I have seen very little discussion of the motives for holding off. The costs of holding off are obvious. The reasons for doing so must be massive.There are indications elsewhere on the web that China will try and quarantine HK and let it slowly die. Provided this can be achieved there is no need for military action. As for overseas chinese attitudes, I didn't see any support for HK when I was in Singapore last month and demonstrations by Chinese students in Australia seem to be neatly divided into pro and anti HK camps. Most Chinese, I expect, just want to get on with their lives rather than agitate about the CCP.
Aug 31, 2019 | Chris Fraser @ChrisFraser_HKU • Aug 27 \z
Replying to @edennnnnn_ @AMFChina @lihkg_forum
A related resource that deserves wide circulation:
Why nonviolent resistance beats violent force in effecting social, political change – Harvard Gazette
CHENOWETH: I think it really boils down to four different things. The first is a large and diverse participation that's sustained.
The second thing is that [the movement] needs to elicit loyalty shifts among security forces in particular, but also other elites. Security forces are important because they ultimately are the agents of repression, and their actions largely decide how violent the confrontation with -- and reaction to -- the nonviolent campaign is going to be in the end. But there are other security elites, economic and business elites, state media. There are lots of different pillars that support the status quo, and if they can be disrupted or coerced into noncooperation, then that's a decisive factor.
The third thing is that the campaigns need to be able to have more than just protests; there needs to be a lot of variation in the methods they use.
The fourth thing is that when campaigns are repressed -- which is basically inevitable for those calling for major changes -- they don't either descend into chaos or opt for using violence themselves. If campaigns allow their repression to throw the movement into total disarray or they use it as a pretext to militarize their campaign, then they're essentially co-signing what the regime wants -- for the resisters to play on its own playing field. And they're probably going to get totally crushed.
Wai Sing-Rin @waisingrin • Aug 27
Replying to @ChrisFraser_HKU @edennnnnn_ and 2 others
Anyone who watched the lone frontliner (w translator) sees the frontliners are headed for disaster. They're fighting just to fight with no plans nor objectives.
They see themselves as heroes protecting the HK they love. No doubt their sincerity, but there are 300 of them left.
Sep 09, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Roy G , Sep 8 2019 16:34 utc | 22I think the Car Wash conspiracy against Lula is a bombshell, and Pepe Escobar's prison interviews with Lula provide insight to the larger global Borgist conspiracy. Check out what Lula had to say about the JCPOA. Be sure to read partsI I and II as well.
Sep 09, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
robjira , Sep 8 2019 18:20 utc | 35
I saw this on
Muslim Brotherhood MediaI mean Qatari State MediaI mean al Jazeera re: Hong Kong and thought to myself, "these scumbags can't really mean to try the same sheise they pulled in Ukraine...?" Like that has turned out to be such a resounding success...
The sooner the 50 states secede from that cesspool in Maryland and try something different, the better.
I agree, b; the panic amongst US military planners is indeed setting in; all the resources wasted in developing dubious-quality weapons systems has been made plain for all the world to see with the rapid (and highly cost-effective) counter-measures both Russia and China (and now Iran) have been able to put into serial production (pretty sure this ain't an RC video)
jayc , Sep 8 2019 20:00 utc | 40AuGold , Sep 8 2019 21:01 utc | 46 Zanon , Sep 8 2019 21:04 utc | 47
Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong rearrested based on bail violations, which supporters claim represents political persecution. After being released on bail last week, Wong published an op-ed in the New York Times declaring the protests as the "front line" in a hybrid war vs the PRC, and travelled to Taiwan where he urged the government there to join forces with HK activists in open conflict against Beijing. In both forums, Wong hinted a major provocation was in the works to disrupt the October 1st celebration of the PRC's 70th anniversary.
Meanwhile, "thousands of people converged at a park in central Hong Kong, chanting 'Resist Beijing, Liberate Hong Kong.' Many of them, clad in black shirts and wearing masks, waved American flags and carried posters that read 'President Trump, please liberate Hong Kong Protesters urged Washington to pass a bill, known as the Hong Kong Democratic and Human Rights Act, to support their cause. The bill proposes sanctions against Hong Kong and Chinese officials found to suppress democracy and human rights in the city, and could also affect Hong Kong's preferential trade status with the U.S."
That is, just as the Maidan protesters, knowingly or not, demanded that the IMF impose an austerity program on them, the Hong Kong protesters demand sanctions and the withdrawal of preferential trading deals. The Maidan protests have been deliberately seeded as a correlating event to the HK protests, with numerous public screenings in HK of the contentious "Winter On Fire" documentary. This comparison first appeared in online journals such as Quartz many weeks ago, and appears to be one of the originating "memes" promoted by the PR people working behind the scenes.Wow those hongkong protesters are not even shy about their call for regime change by Trump against China/Hongkong:dh , Sep 8 2019 21:14 utc | 48
Hong Kong protesters cozy up to US, ask to 'liberate' city amid ongoing violence (VIDEOS)
Scary with such ignorant people.@47 What do they expect Donald to do? Send in the 6th Fleet?
No Union Jacks being waved this week. I guess they've given up on Britain.
Sep 09, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org
Speculation's abounded about the political loyalty of the head of Russia's central bank Elvira Nabullina. Luongo simply explains:
"Nabullina has always been a controversial figure because she is western trained and because the banking system in Russia is still staffed by those who operate along IMF prescriptions on how to deal with crises.
"But those IMF rules are there to protect the IMF making the loans to the troubled nation, not to assist the troubled nation actually recover....
"The fundamental problem is a miseducation about what interest rates are, and how they interact with inflation and capital flow. Because of this, the medicine for saving an economy in trouble is, more often than not, worse than the disease itself.
"If Argentina's fourth default in twenty years doesn't prove that to you, nothing will."
It sounds like he's been reading Hudson's J is for Junk Economics !
The real rescue is Putin's aggressive de-dollarization policy that's finally rid Russia of "dollar-dependency":
"She [Nabullina] keeps jumping at the shadows of a dollar-induced crisis. But the Russian economy of 2019 is not the Russian economy of 2015. Dollar lending has all but evaporated and the major source of demand for dollars domestically are legacy corporate loans not converted to rubles or euros."
The key for me is to weave the content emphasis of Putin's Eastern Economic Conference speech with his increasing pressure on Nabullina for the bank to support this very important development policy direction and show China and other nations that Russia's extremely serious about the direction being taken. Just Putin's language about mortgage rate reductions as an attracter ought to be a huge message for Nabullina to respond properly. And a further kick in the pants was provided by the massive deal announced between China and Iran. Luongo briefly alludes to foreign policy in his article, its regional economic aspects, while omitting aspects hidden by the US-China Trade War, specifically Russia's now very clear technological supremacy to the Outlaw US Empire.
This brings us to Crooke's article in which he inadvertently tells us the #1 false assumption in Trump's Trade War policy with China:
"To defend America's technology leadership , policymakers must upgrade their toolkit to ensure that US technology leadership can withstand the aftershocks." [My Emphasis]
Twice in the same sentence we get told what that assumption is: "America's technology leadership" which so clearly no longer exists in weaponry, electronics, nuclear engineering, rocketry, high speed rail and mass transportation, low energy building techniques, and a host of other realms. This same sort of thinking pervades every defense doctrine paper produced during Trump's administration--the planners have eaten and all too well digested their own propaganda about the backwardness of Russia, China and Iran.
I could write further about the supposed handcuffing of POTUS by the unconstitutional and illegal sanction regime "imposed" by the US Congress. Crooke mentions as a significant hindrance--but if it was indeed a hindrance, any POTUS could break it by suing to prove its unconstitutional, illegal standing, yet no effort is put into that, begging the question Why? Crooke spends lots of space about this but fails to see the above solution:
"The pages to that chapter have been shut. This does not imply some rabid anti-Americanism, but simply the experience that that path is pointless. If there is a 'clock being played out', it is that of the tic-toc of western political and economic hegemony in the Middle East is running down , and not the 'clock' of US domestic politics. The old adage that the 'sea is always the sea' holds true for US foreign policy.
And [with] Iran repeating the same old routines, whilst expecting different outcomes is, of course, one definition of madness. A new US Administration will inherit the same genes as the last.
"And in any case, the US is institutionally incapable of making a substantive deal with Iran. A US President – any President – cannot lift Congressional sanctions on Iran. The American multitudinous sanctions on Iran have become a decades' long knot of interpenetrating legislation: a vast rhizome of tangled, root-legislation that not even Alexander the Great might disentangle: that is why the JCPOA was constructed around a core of US Presidential 'waivers' needing to be renewed each six months. Whatever might be agreed in the future, the sanctions – 'waived' or not – are, as it were, 'forever'.
"If recent history has taught the Iranians anything, it is that such flimsy 'process' in the hands of a mercurial US President can simply be blown away like old dead leaves. Yes, the US has a systemic problem: US sanctions are a one-way valve: so easy to flow out, but once poured forth, there is no return inlet (beyond uncertain waivers issued at the pleasure of an incumbent President)."
Being British, we should excuse Crooke for not knowing about the crucial Supremacy Clause within the US Constitution, but that doesn't absolve any POTUS if that person is really intent on talking with Iran--or any other sanctioned nation. IMO, the Iranians know what I know and have finally decided the Outlaw US Empire's marriage to Occupied Palestine won't suffer a divorce anytime soon. The result is the recent very active change in policy direction aimed at solidifying the Arc of Resistance and establishing a Persian Gulf Collective Security Pact that will end in check mating the Empire's King thus causing further economic problems for the Empire.
Crooke does a good job of summarizing my comment and many more made over the year regarding the reasons for the utter failure of Outlaw US Empire policy:
"Well, here is the key point: Washington seems to have lost the ability to summon the resources to try to fathom either China, or the Iranian 'closed book', let alone a 'Byzantine' Russia. It is a colossal attenuation of consciousness in Washington; a loss of conscious 'vitality' to the grip of some 'irrefutable logic' that allows no empathy, no outreach, to 'otherness'. Washington (and some European élites) have retreated into their 'niche' consciousness, their mental enclave, gated and protected, from having to understand – or engage – with wider human experience."
The only real way for the Outlaw US Empire to regain its competitive "niche" with the rest of the world is to mount a massive program of internal reform verging on a revolution in its outcome. It's patently obvious that more of the same will yield more of the same--FAILURE--and the chorus of inane caterwauling by BigLie Media over where to place the blame.
Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 9 2019 17:24 utc | 118
Sep 08, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
True Blue , 1 minute ago linkPKKA , 4 minutes ago link
It is hard, if not impossible, to think of a more toxic allegation in American presidential history than the one leveled against candidate, and then president, Donald Trump that he "colluded" with the Kremlin in order to win the 2016 presidential election
Oh, I can think of one, and it absolutely isn't mere allegation: every one of those pimps at the State and Federal level colludes with Tel Aviv every ******* day. They get their marching orders from a foreign country whose 'dual citizens' even infest every branch of our government and at every level.
Yet not a word is spoken.
Unless you buy Mel Gibson a beer or three.Cabreado , 5 minutes ago link
Marxism-Leninism today is opposed by bourgeois ideology. The state ideology of the ruling class of the US bourgeoisie is militant Zionism.
Modern Zionism is an extremely nationalist, racist ideology, it is politics and practice that express the interests of the big Jewish bourgeoisie. The main content of modern Zionism is militant chauvinism, racism, anti-communism and anti-Sovietism, the aim is to conquer world domination and assert the so-called New World Order.
Fidel Castro, noted that at the end of World War II, which the peoples were waging against fascism, a new government arose that imposed the current absolutist and tough order.
WHAT is this new, parallel power and its "elite core"?
The top-level parallel secret government, or real, parallel power, its "elite core" - these are Jewish bankers and industrialists, members of the 60 families that govern the United States, openly located on Capitol Hill in full view of the White House, US Congress on Downing Street 10 (and in the British Parliament). These are the servants of the World Government and the New World Order. Or, the new Fascism!stonedogz , 11 minutes ago link
If We as an organization can't even admit there was an attempted coup on the Presidency, and don't even care...
How 'bout we talk about what We do know...
the DOJ is defunct, and the Rule of Law is broken.ohm , 13 minutes ago link
ANSWER: It came from the top. Obama. Obama was to be Hillary's pick for SC Justice by a planned post Obama RBG retirement. It is the only plausible explanation for the coup and for why an aging, terminally ill Justice would risk her Seat for nomination by a Republican administration.
RBG is pragmatic as much as she is tenacious. And handing her seat gambled like that in an election year was not a risk she would have taken given both her age and her health.
Her ideology would not have risked that except for one reason: To have that hallowed seat pass to a former President, the first Black President, and one with an ideology almost identical to her own plus an easy confirmation given Obama's experience in Constitutional law.
When Trump came up in the poles and Hillary's star looked to be dimming about July of 2016 (the 4th to be specific) (when they breach loaded her like an oat bag into the back of that iconic SUV on national TV) Plan B was officially rolled out, Obama rolled it out and an FBI official would later boast both of Obama's intimate knowledge of the plan and that this was to be the backup plan should the election favor Trumps win.
Textual evidence by those running the both the FISA warrants and the planting of spies into Trumps campaign all point to the Commander in Chief being both briefed but also directing at the very last minute and unprecedented Executive Order allowing all of the Intelligence Agencies full intra-agency access to all mutual intelligence.
They thought they could seed the collusion early, and if it didn't take, overturn the election early with an impeachment following the certain dirt that they overwhelmingly knew Mueller would find on Trump.
Trump, he had to be dirty. Look at anyone in the media and who was as rich as he was... just look at the women he's dated...
Inspite of rabid Obama staffers in the White House leaking and outing those under investigation and especially at the State Department then Mueller's Gang of 13 Clinton supporting prosecutors along with the top leaders in the now mutually cooperative Intelligence Cabal the 35 million dollars and 2 years of probing and intimidation of witnesses couldn't produce a single slab of sidewalk with the DNA evidence that Trump had actually spit on it. They couldn't find it or anything.
And now its all coming out....
Interesting to note that the best chance for Obama to reclaim the motive for the Coup is that Biden has already said that he will nominate Obama, who by his truest actions as the Traitor in Chief, to the Supreme Court if elected.
That's why Obama orchestrated the Coup so that he could sit in the highest Chair of Government and influence it more than he could as President... for the rest of his life.ohm , 13 minutes ago link
Are Barr and Durham, whose own careers include associations with US intelligence agencies, determined to uncover the truth about the origins of Russiagate?
Have you seen Barr charge anyone with a crime? Has Barr given Durham the power to charge anyone with a crime? Barr is just the Deep State's cleanup man.ze_vodka , 24 minutes ago link
Are Barr and Durham, whose own careers include associations with US intelligence agencies, determined to uncover the truth about the origins of Russiagate?
Have you seen Barr charge anyone with a crime? Has Barr given Durham the power to charge anyone with a crime? Barr is just the Deep State's cleanup man.Johnny Fingers , 30 minutes ago link
We know it was fake.
We know Hillary and Obama paid for and directed it.
We also know that Not a single one of the Actual Criminals will ever go to prison.gro_dfd , 11 minutes ago link
This is simple:
What is the evidence that:
1) The DNC was 'hacked;'
2) At the direction of the Russian state?
you need both.
Well, the wish-thinking of the products of incest like Steverino999 aside - the *evidence* is essentially non-existent.
Clapper's DNI report, which deliberately used hand-picked analysts from only 3 agencies, a report which relied on Ukrainian and Clinton-linked CrowdStrike for image analysis, since the feds NEVER SEIZED AND EXAMINED THE ******* SERVER - (or interviewed Assange, or Binney, or Murray) is not only NOT proof, and NOT even credible evidence... it is in fact evidence of a deliberate effort to fudge intel to both 1) blame Russia Russia Russia (too white, and Christian, and not totally controlled by the usual suspects , you see) and denigrate Trump's election win.
The idea that our democracy is threatened by clickbait ads (or seeing the corruption of The Establishment's candidate) is preposterous and depends on people receptively watching their (((television))) and not giving a moment's thought as to how or why an ad that somehow changes someone's vote, to the extent it ever happened, isnt what democracy is.
If the complaint is 'they were lies' and leaving aside the truth of the clickbait lie, the MSM by that standard is the most guilt of election 'meddling' given their lies and omissions that were all designed to propel Al Qaeda-arming, charity-robbing, inveterate crook Hillary Clinton into office.
You should never believe a thing, sinply because you want it to be true.
I will change my mind when someone presents something approaching credible evidence that the DNC was hacked by Russia, and that but-for seeing Hillary's corruption (did the media actually ever really cover the content of the emails? ) Americans would have voted for her more...
And that's essentially the argument: Americans learned what a piece of **** Hillary is and so didnt vote for her, so they were brainwashed by a foreign state.
It is ******* absurd, and relies on 1) ignorance, 2) stupidity, and 3) motivated reasoning.
And other factors:
https://youarenotsosmart.com/2011/06/10/the-backfire-effect/amp/PKKA , 36 minutes ago link
@Johnny Fingers: You present an excellent overview of Russiagate, especially the total lack of evidence that the DNC leaks originated with Russia. Thank you!Yippie21 , 35 minutes ago link
Do you know how much the United States has funded Israel since 1949? These many billions are no longer calculable! American taxpayers are very kind and rich. And this is not only money, it is the supply of food products, economic assistance and weapons.
And how many American young men died in the Middle East defending the interests of Israel?ohm , 22 minutes ago link
A strong Israel is worth every dollar.Johnny Fingers , 17 minutes ago link
Why? Specifically, what benefit has Israel ever brought to the US?Stainless Steel Rat , 22 minutes ago link
To whom, other than Israel?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOKJZwlbWSoohm , 10 minutes ago link
IF America actually defended itself as Israel does, there would be no need to Press 2 for Spanish (much less Press 1 for English as a 2nd language in New Delhi.)
Israel does more for American interests in the Middle East than the reverse.
That's Bang for the Buck, Bibi!😎Johnny Fingers , 9 minutes ago link
Israel does more for American interests
Do you have an example?Yippie21 , 36 minutes ago link
Israel is a liability in virtually every way.G-R-U-N-T , 37 minutes ago link
What if there was active spying on a Presidential campaign by a outgoing administration to aid a candidate preferred? What if every lever available was pulled to cover up, minimize and excuse actual violations of Federal law by the outgoing administration to aid that same candidate. What if, somehow, out of nowhere, the opposition candidate overcame the odds and won triggering the outgoing administration to set up a foreign policy mess ( accusing Russia of _______ and throwing a bunch of them out of the US less than a month before the new President takes office ).
Then, the same outgoing aperachiks of the departing administration go about framing the new President, leaking and acting in a seditious manner to undermine and ultimately even overthrow the new President. A coup... sedition... by the permanent political class within the CIA, State, FBI and DOJ. Oh, and the national press corps..... IN ON IT up to their eyeballs and willing participants.
Nice , huh?San Pedro , 38 minutes ago link
'All YOUR SERVERS ARE BELONG TO US'!!!
Nothing can stop what's coming, Nothing!!!
Grab your popcorn, sit back and enjoy the show.oldanalyst , 38 minutes ago link
The cost of the Russiagate hoax By Thomas Lifson The media that promoted the hoax originally generated by the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign and the Democratic Party are in full denial mode. They don't merely ignore their role, they defend it.
https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2019/04/the_cost_of_the_russiagate_hoax.htmlYippie21 , 32 minutes ago link
The intelligence agencies went off the reservation to cover up years of illegal spying and surveillance of US citizens by the Obama administration as they accumulated the info needed to "influence" people. To prove me wrong, you must prove that Admiral Mike Rogers is a liar.
Why? Money. The slush funds of foreign aid, foundations, think tanks and big donor money. Billions were at stake. Think Biden, Gore, Clinton, Obama and almost every prominent politician you can name. All rich beyond our deplorable dreams.otschelnik , 41 minutes ago link
I'd say, not only money... but these folks believe their own book. They live that elitist BS globalist " right side of history " **** and are ideologues. They are all intermarried to other career folks in the DC / NYC pool and they and everyone they hang out with are wealthy because of it and they actually can't imagine what the hell has happened to their setup.847328_3527 , 44 minutes ago link
Much better would be a truly bipartisan, independent investigation based in the Senate,
Well Prof. Cohen normally would agree with you. But given the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is run by a Democratic hack like Warner, who tried to get in direct contact with dossier author Steele "without a paper trail", his aide Wolff was leaking to his underaged lover at the NYT, and a RINO like Burr who would be happy if Trump were impeached for sedition or something else, so don't hold your breath.MadelynMarie , 29 minutes ago link
When MuleHer said he never heard of Fusion GPS during the Congressional hearings, everyone knew the $50 million Russia Gate "investigation" was a complete farce.
Shameful Barr has not indicted anyone. Confirms how corrupt the system is and why so many Americans are disillusioned.J S Bach , 54 minutes ago link
maybe they're leaking it out slowly, to gradually acclimatize the public to how corrupt things actually are
that's the BS Dave at x22 peddles!! always making excuses and covering for the fact that NOTHING IS HAPPENING!!
And the public doesn't need to be acclimated to how corrupt the govt is--everybody already knows!!!
Barr is a deep state swamp rat, who has a long history of covering for the intelligence agencies!! He's there to keep things covered up!
Barr's DOJ continues to protect Killary:
Barr's DOJ refuses to prosecute Comey, Strozk, and McCabe.
And, so far, nothing has come of this either:
https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2018/10/26/grassley_refers_avenatti_swetnick_to_doj_for_criminal_investigation_138471.htmlgold_silver_as_money , 59 minutes ago link
"What We Still Do Not Know About Russiagate"
Simple question... What more can one possibly know about something that did not exist? Answer? Nothing.
Period... end of discussion. Move on to topics of importance such as the largest sex/pedophile/blackmail/treason/spy scandal in recorded history with Jeffrey Epstein and his Maxwell/Mossad darlings. ALL of our energies and concern must be poured into matters such as these... for if we do not, our doom is sealed.Johnny Fingers , 54 minutes ago link
But but but...Trump is still nothing more than a Zionist puppet.
Yeah, that makes so much sense, given that just about all of Congress is in their pocket but the political establishment still hates his guts AND he has managed to deescalate conflicts in the region.gold_silver_as_money , 51 minutes ago link
And the Bolsheviks weren't mostly Jewish because the Zionists were mostly Jewish.
AND he has managed to deescalate conflicts in the region.
Dumbest thing I've read this week - you absolute ******* idiot.MadelynMarie , 17 minutes ago link
Countervailing facts please?
Did we ramp up in Ukraine?
Did we use Syria as an excuse to openly engage Russia?
Have we staged troops in Taiwan?
Have we started a hot war via Eastern Europe?
Did we oust Assad?
Did we bomb Iran?
PS **** you. Obama and Hillary went to town in the Middle East leaving Trump to clean it up, proposing a pragmatic and non-psychopath-neocon approach to dealing with adversaries from campaign days until the present time. At a minimum, not ramping up existing conflicts counts as a deescalation in my book. I do believe you are the idiot.gold_silver_as_money , 56 minutes ago link
... then everything changed. And after it changed, Mueller released his report saying: "Trump is not guilty after all!" So, what changed? Trump changed.
Think about it: In mid December 2018, Trump announced the withdrawal of all U.S. troops in Syria within 30 days. But instead of withdrawal, the US has been sending hundreds of trucks with weapons to the front lines. The US has also increased its troop levels on the ground, the YPG (Kurdish militia, US proxies) are digging in on the Syria-Turkish border, and the US hasn't lifted a finger to implement its agreements with NATO-ally Turkey under the Manbij Roadmap. The US is not withdrawing from Syria. Washington is beefing up its defenses and settling in for the long-haul. But, why? Why did Trump change his mind and do a complete about-face?
The same thing happened in Korea. For a while it looked like Trump was serious about cutting a deal with Kim Jong un. But then, sometime after the first summit, he began to backpeddle. at the Hanoi Summit, Trump blindsided Kim by making demands that had never even been previously discussed. Kim was told that the North must destroy all of its chemical and biological weapons as well as its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs before the US will take reciprocal steps. In other words, Trump demanded that Kim completely and irreversibly disarm with the feint hope that the US would eventually lift sanctions.
Trump made these outrageous demands knowing that they would never be accepted. Which was the point, because the foreign policy establishment doesn't want a deal. They want regime change, they've made that perfectly clear. But wasn't Trump supposed to change all that? Wasn't Trump going to pursue "a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past"?
Yes, that was Trump's campaign promise. So, what happened?
There are other signs of capitulation too; like providing lethal weapons to the Ukrainian military, or nixing the short-range nuclear missile ban, or joining the Saudi's genocidal war on Yemen, or threatening to topple the government of Venezuela, or stirring up trouble in the South China Sea. At every turn, Trump has backtracked on his promise to break with tradition and "stop toppling regimes and overthrowing governments." ' At every turn, Trump has joined the ranks of the warhawks he once criticized.
Trump is now marching in lockstep with the foreign policy establishment. In Libya, in Sudan, in Somalia, in Iran, in Lebanon, he is faithfully implementing the neocon agenda. Trump "the peacemaker" is no where to be found, while Trump the 'madman with a knife' is on the loose.
Is that why Mueller let Trump off the hook? Was there a quid pro quo: "You follow our foreign policy directives and we'll make Mueller disappear? It sure looks like it.G-R-U-N-T , 56 minutes ago link
But but but...Trump is a nothing more than a Zionist puppet.
Yeah, that makes so much sense, given that just about all of Congress is in their pocket but the political establishment still hates his guts AND he has managed to deescalate conflicts in the region.
"What We Still Do Not Know About Russiagate"
Absolutely damn right, most haven't a clue about the MOAB that's coming down on these treasonous anti-American bitchez.
This network to take down our dear POTUS spans worldwide, they're be hell to pay once the unredacted FISA warrants/302's are released for public view, the IG report, Huber investigation and Durham the 'prosecutor' burp up undeniable indictments and prosecutions for sedition, treason and crimes against humanity.
Uranium 1, Weiner laptop, Clinton emails, Clinton Foundation, Epstein perv's with names big names, will be blown wide open making many people ill hearing and seeing the nature of who and what these massively corrupt politicians, bureaucrats, corporate dignitaries, have been involved with. Many are resigning, both dems, repubs, ceo's, why, because (((they))) know what's coming and the DS is full blown panic, just look at their lapdog MSM going thoroughly crazy. Indeed, they're doing everything they can to take down Trump hoping to save themselves from the HAMMER, NO DEALS, even the those in the press will be indicted for conspiracy and attempted coup to take down a standing President.
Pain is coming!!!
Sep 08, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com
anne , September 07, 2019 at 09:00 AMhttp://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-09/07/c_138374167.htmPlp -> anne... , September 07, 2019 at 09:27 AM
September 7, 2019
Behind Hong Kong's chaos lie deep-seated social problems
"Seclusion brings no development opportunity for Hong Kong," said economist Lau Pui-King. "Some youngsters don't understand that Hong Kong would be even worse if it is secluded from the Chinese mainland."
"To come out of the current economic difficulty, Hong Kong needs to be linked with the Chinese mainland much closer and more effectively," she said.
HONG KONG -- Kwong loves the pure adrenaline rush he gets when he takes his motorcycle out on the weekends to light up his lackluster life.
The 35-year-old lives with his parents in an old and cramped apartment in the New Territories of Hong Kong. He has a girlfriend but is hesitant to get married and start a family.
"The rent is so high, and there is no way I can afford an apartment," said Kwong, who earns 15,000 HK dollars (1,950 U.S. dollars) a month. Renting a 30-square meter one-bedroom apartment would cost him about two-thirds of his salary.
"Future? I don't think much about it, just passing each day as it is," he said.
Kwong's words reflect the grievances among many people in Hong Kong, particularly the young. Many vented their discontent in prolonged streets protests that have rocked Hong Kong since June.
The demonstrations, which started over two planned amendments to Hong Kong's ordinances concerning fugitive offenders, widened and turned violent over the past months.
"After more than two months of social unrest, it is obvious to many that discontentment extends far beyond the bill," said Carrie Lam, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), referring to the now-withdrawn amendments.
To Lam, the discontent covers political, economic and social issues, including the often-mentioned problems relating to housing and land supply, income distribution, social justice and mobility and opportunities, for the public to be fully engaged in the HKSAR government's decision-making.
"We can discuss all these issues in our new dialogue platform," she said.
For nine straight years, housing in Hong Kong has been ranked as the least affordable in the world. Homes in the city got further out of reach for most residents, according to Demographia, an urban planning policy consultancy. The city's median property price climbed to 7.16 million HK dollars in 2019, or 20.9 times the median household income in 2018, up from 19.4 times from a year earlier.
In the latest case of house transaction, an apartment of 353 square feet (about 33 square meters) at Mong Kok in central Kowloon was sold at 5.2 million HK dollars in September, according to the registered data from Centaline Property Agency Limited.
For those fortunate enough to have bought an apartment, many have to spend a large part of their monthly income on a mortgage. For those who have not bought any property yet, it is common to spend more than 10,000 HK dollars in rent, while saving every penny up for a multi-million HK dollar down payment.
From 2004 to 2018, the property price increased by 4.4 fold, while income stagnated, statistics show. From 2008 to 2017, average real wage growth in Hong Kong was merely 0.1 percent, according to a global wage report by the International Labor Organization. Homeownership dropped from 53 percent to 48.9 percent from 2003 to 2018.
Efforts of the HKSAR government to increase land supply to stem home prices from soaring also went futile amid endless quarrels. Of Hong Kong's total 1,100 square kilometers of land area, only 24.3 percent has been developed, with land for residential use accounting for a mere 6.9 percent, according to data from the HKSAR government.
Social worker Jack Wong, 29, lives in an apartment bought by his parents. "I'm lucky. Most of my friends still have to share apartments with their parents. My cousin has been married for seven years, but he is still saving for his down payment, so he has to live at his parents' house," he said.
"The older generation changed from having nothing to having something. We, the younger generation, thought we had something, but it turns out we have nothing," he said.
MIDDLE CLASS' ANXIETY
While young people complain about having few opportunities for upward mobility, Hong Kong's middle class, which should have long been stalwarts of the society, are under great economic pressure and in fear of falling behind.
It is not easy to be middle class in Hong Kong, one of the world's most expensive cities. To join the rank, a household needs to earn at least 55,000 HK dollars, or 7,000 U.S. dollars, a month, according to Paul Yip Siu-fai, a senior lecturer at the University of Hong Kong. About 10 percent of the households in the city are up to the rank.
Earning that much can be counted as rich in many parts of the world. But in Hong Kong, the money is still tight if you have a child to raise and elderly to support.
Housing is the biggest burden for the average middle-class resident. The cost of having a child is another headache in Hong Kong, where pricey extra-curricular activities and private tutoring are considered necessary to win in the fierce competition.
Fears of descending to the low-income group are real for the middle class. Many think they belong to the middle class only in education and cultural identity, but their living conditions are not much better than the impoverished, said Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, former secretary for transport and housing of the HKSAR government.
Civil servants and teachers, who earn much more than the average income, are traditionally considered middle class. But Cheung found out in a survey that many of them could not afford to have their own apartment, with some even living in the narrow rooms of partitioned apartments.
"We don't belong to the low-income group, but we could just rent an apartment now," said Lee, a teacher at a secondary school in Hong Kong.
Lee and her husband earned nearly 1.3 million HK dollars a year, but a 50-square meter apartment is the best they could rent now for a five-member family. She preferred not to give her full name as she feels her situation is embarrassing.
"We want to save more money to buy a house near prestigious elementary schools for our kids," Lee said. "If our kids can't go to a good school, it'll be very tough in the future."
CHANGING ECONOMIC STRUCTURE
In the 1970s, nearly half of Hong Kong's labor force were industrial workers when manufacturing thrived in Hong Kong. During the 1980s, Hong Kong's finance, shipping, trade and logistics and service industries started to boom.
Since then, the economic landscape began to change amid subsequent industrial upgrading.
Due to the hollowing out of the manufacturing industry, the wealth gap in Hong Kong widened and the class division worsened. Despite the prosperity of finance, trade and tourism in recent years, more than 1.37 million people are living below the poverty line in Hong Kong, home to more than 7 million.
Working career options are now limited, leaving little hope for the youngsters to move up the social ranks.
As a result, Hong Kong's social class has largely been solidified in the 21st century, with the richest people dominated by property developers and their families.
The Gini coefficient, which measures the inequality of income distribution, reached a new high of 0.539 in 2016, far above the warning level of 0.4, according to data by the HKSAR government's Census and Statistics Department. The greater the number toward one, the more unequal in income distribution.
Though the HKSAR government tried to narrow the wealth gap, many people in Hong Kong said they are not sharing the fruits of economic prosperity, the young and those low-income groups in particular.
STAGNATING POLITICAL BARRIERS
What makes the deep-seated problems in Hong Kong such a hard nut to crack? The reason is complicated, according to observers, partly due to the containment in the current political structure that leads to governance difficulty, partly due to a doctrinaire implementation of the principle of "small government, big market," or laissez faire, and most importantly due to the opposition's "say no for none's sake" that stirs political confrontation and sends Hong Kong into a dilemma of discussions without decisions, or making decisions without execution.
Over the past 22 years, the successive HKSAR governments have tried many times to tackle these problems by rolling out affordable housing programs and narrowing the rich-poor gap.
For example, to make houses more affordable, Tung Chee-hwa, the first HKSAR chief executive, proposed in 1997 to build at least 85,000 flats every year in the public and private sectors, raise the homeownership rate to 70 percent in 10 years and reduce the average waiting time for public rental housing to three years.
Such plans, however, went aborted as home prices plunged in Hong Kong amid the Asian financial crisis in 1998.
"Since Hong Kong's return, many economic and livelihood issues would not be as politicized as they are now, should the HKSAR government have introduced more policies and better social security arrangements to address those problems," said Tian Feilong, a law expert of the "one country, two systems" center with the Beijing-based Beihang University.
To carry out major policies or push forward major bills, the HKSAR government needs to garner the support of two-thirds majority at the Legislative Council (LegCo).
The HKSAR government's previous motions, be it economic policies or fiscal appropriations, were impeded by the opposition time and again at the LegCo, regardless of the interests of the majority of Hong Kong residents and the long-term development of the society.
The HKSAR government sought in 2012 to establish the Innovation and Technology Bureau to ride the global wave of innovative startups, diversify its economic structure and bring more opportunities for young people. Such efforts, however, were obstructed by the opposition at the LegCo in defiance of repeated calls by the public. After three years, the proposal to create the bureau was finally passed by the LegCo.
In another case, a Hong Kong resident, incited by the opposition, appealed in 2010 for a judicial review of the construction plan of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. Though the HKSAR government won the lawsuit after more than a year of court proceedings, 6.5 billion HK dollars of taxpayers' money had been wasted in the increased construction costs of the bridge's Hong Kong section due to the delay.
As time passed, problems remained unsolved, so did public discontent.
Repeated political bickering stalled Hong Kong's social progress amid the sparring, and the opposition created a false target and blamed the Chinese mainland for those deep-seated problems.
Lau Pui-King, an economist in Hong Kong, snubbed the opposition's resistance of or even antagonism to the Chinese mainland, saying such thinking of secluding Hong Kong from the entire country could end nowhere but push the city down an abyss.
"Seclusion brings no development opportunity for Hong Kong," Lau said. "Some youngsters don't understand that Hong Kong would be even worse if it is secluded from the Chinese mainland."
"To come out of the current economic difficulty, Hong Kong needs to be linked with the Chinese mainland much closer and more effectively," she said.Thank youPlp -> Plp... , September 07, 2019 at 09:37 AM
The protesters class profiles ?
Are they college kids like in Venezuela?
Problems may not be well represented by
The profiles of the protesters
IS there a large wage class base of active or at least tacit supportPublic housing built and contracted as lease to buy dealsPlp -> Plp... , September 07, 2019 at 09:53 AM
And a George tax funding system
Wage labor factories are going or gone
But starter jobs need to pay well and remain plentiful
Build build build
Make hong kong like CopenhagenModern tax and transfer payment systems
Are not remedies uncle milty recommended for his beloved city state
De facto capitalist class dictatorships
Sep 05, 2019 | www.antiwar.com
Through the summer the world has watched as protests shook Hong Kong. As early as April they began as peaceful demonstrations which peaked in early June, with hundreds of thousands, in protest of an extradition bill. That bill would have allowed Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region of China, to return criminals to Taiwan, mainland China or Macau for crimes committed there – after approval by multiple layers of the Hong Kong judiciary. In the wake of those enormous nonviolent demonstrations, Carrie Lam, CEO of Hong Kong, "suspended" consideration of the extradition bill, a face-saving ploy. To make sure she was understood, she declared it "dead." The large rallies, an undeniable expression of the peaceful will of a large segment of the Hong Kong population had won an impressive victory. The unpopular extradition bill was slain.
But that was not the end of the story. A smaller segment continued the protests. (The Hong Kong police at one point estimated 4,000 hard core protesters.) They pressed on with other demands, beginning with a demand that the bill be "withdrawn," not simply "suspended." To this writer death by "suspension" is every bit as terminal as death by "withdrawal." As this piece is sent to press, news comes that Corrie Lam has now formally withdrawn the bill .
As the summer passed, two iconic photos presented us with two human faces that captured two crucial features of the ongoing protests; they were not shown widely in the West.
First, Fu Guohao , a reporter for the Chinese mainland newspaper, Global Times , was attacked, bound and beaten by protesters during their takeover of the Hong Kong International Airport. When police and rescuers tried to free him, the protesters blocked them and also attempted to block the ambulance that eventually bore him off to the hospital. The photos and videos of this ugly sequence were seen by netizens across the globe even though given scant attention in Western media. Where were the stalwart defenders of the press in the US as this happened? As one example, DemocracyNow! (DN!) was completely silent as was the rest of the U.S. mainstream media.
Fu's beating came after many weeks when the protesters threw up barriers to stop traffic; blocked closure of subway doors, in defiance of commuters and police, to shut down mass transit; sacked and vandalized the HK legislature building; assaulted bystanders who disagreed with them; attacked the police with Molotov cocktails; and stormed and defaced police stations. Fu's ordeal and all these actions shown in photos on Hong Kong's South China Morning Post, a paper leaning to the side of protesters, gave the lie to the image of these "democracy activists" as young Ghandis of East Asia. (The South China Morning Post is based in Hong Kong and its readership is concentrated there so it has to have some reasonable fidelity in reporting events; otherwise it loses credibility – and circulation. Similarly, much as the New York Times abhorred Occupy Wall Street, it could not fail to report on it.)
Which brings us to the second photo, much more important to U.S. citizens, that of a "Political Counselor" at the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong who in August was pictured meeting with, Joshua Long and Nathan Law, at a hotel there. The official was formerly a State Dept functionary in the Middle East – in Jerusalem, Riyadh, Beirut, Baghdad and Doha, certainly not an area lacking in imperial intrigues and regime change ops. That photo graphically contradicted the contention that there is no US "black hand," as China calls it, in the Hong Kong riots. In fact, here the "black hand" was caught red-handed, leading Chen Weihua, a very perceptive China Daily columnist, to tweet the picture with the comment: "This is very very embarrassing. a US diplomat in Hong Kong, was caught meeting HK protest leaders. It would be hard to imagine the US reaction if a Chinese diplomat were meeting leaders of Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter or Never Trump protesters."
And that photo with the protest leaders is just a snap shot of the ample evidence of the hand of the U.S. government and its subsidiaries in the Hong Kong events. Perhaps the best documentation of the U.S. "black hand" is to be found in Dan Cohen's superb article of August 17 in The Greyzone entitled, "Behind a made-for-TV Hong Kong protest narrative, Washington is backing nativism and mob violence." The article by Cohen deserves careful reading; it leaves little doubt that there is a very deep involvement of the US in the Hong Kong riots. Of special interest is the detailed role and funding , amounting to over $1.3 million, in Hong Kong alone in recent years, of the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy (NED), ever on the prowl for new regime change opportunities.
Perhaps most important, the leaders of the "leaderless" protests have met with major US political figures such as John Bolton, Vice President Pence, Secretary Pompeo, Senator Marco Rubio, Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel, Nancy Pelosi and others, all of whom have heartily endorsed their efforts. This is not to deny that the protests were home grown at the outset in response to what was widely perceived as a legitimate grievance. But it would be equally absurd to deny that the U.S. is fishing in troubled Hong Kong waters to advance its anti-China crusade and regime change ambitions.
That said, where is the U.S. peace movement on the question of Hong Kong?
Let us be clear. One can sympathize with the demand of many citizens of Hong Kong to end the extradition bill or even the other four demands: an inquiry into police handling of their protests; the retraction of a government characterization of the demonstrations as riots; an amnesty for arrested protesters; and universal suffrage. (The first three all grow out of violence of the protests, be it noted.) But that is the business of the citizens of Hong Kong and all the rest of China. It is not the business of the U.S. government. Peace activists in the US should be hard at work documenting and denouncing the US government's meddling in Hong Kong, which could set us on the road to war with China, potentially a nuclear war. And that is a mission for which we in the U.S. are uniquely suited since, at least in theory, we have some control over our government.
So, we should expect to hear the cry, "US Government, Hands Off Hong Kong"? Sadly, with a few principled exceptions it is nowhere to be heard on either the left or right.
Let's take DemocracyNow! (DN!) as one example, a prominent one on the "progressive" end of the spectrum. From April through August 28, there have been 25 brief accounts ("headlines" as DN! calls them, each amounting to a few paragraphs) of the events in Hong Kong and 4 features, longer supposedly analytic pieces, on the same topic. Transcripts of the four features are here , here , here and here . There is not a single mention of possible US involvement or the meetings of the various leaders of the protest movement with Pompeo, Bolton, Pence, or the "Political Counselor" of the US Hong Kong consulate.
And this silence on US meddling is true not only of most progressive commentators but also most conservatives.
On the Left when someone cries "Democracy," many forget all their pro-peace sentiment. And similarly on the Right when someone cries "Communism," anti-interventionism too often goes down the tubes. Forgotten is John Quincy Adams's 1823 dictum, endlessly quoted but little honored, "We do not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy." Where does this lapse on the part of activists come from? Is it a deep-seated loyalty to Empire, the result of endless indoctrination? Is it U.S. Exceptionalism, ingrained to the point of unconsciousness? Or is it at bottom a question of who the paymasters are?
On both sides anti-interventionism takes an especially hard hit when it comes to major competitors of the US, powers that could actually stand in the way of US global hegemony, like Russia or China. In fact on its August 12 program, DN! managed a story taking a swipe at Russia right next to the one on Hong Kong – and DN! was in the forefront of advancing the now debunked and disgraced Russiagate Conspiracy Theory. In contrast, the anti-interventionist movement is front and center when it comes to weaker nations, for example Venezuela – and quite properly so. But when one puts this advocacy for weaker nations together with the New Cold War stance on China and Russia, one must ask what is going on here. Does it betoken a sort of imperial paternalism on the part of DN and like-minded outlets? It certainly gains DN!, and others like it, considerable credibility among anti-interventionists which can help win them to a position in favor of DN!'s New Cold War stance. And the masters of Empire certainly understand how valuable such credibility can be at crucial moments when support for their adventures is needed from every quarter.
Fortunately, there are a handful of exceptions to this New Cold War attitude. For example, on the left Popular Resistance has provided a view of the events in Hong Kong and a superb interview with K.J. Noh that go beyond the line of the State Department, the mainstream media and DN! And on the libertarian Right there is the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity and the work of its Executive Director Dan McAdams.
We would all do well to follow the example of these organizations in rejecting a New Cold War mentality which is extremely dangerous, perhaps fatally so. A good beginning for us in the U.S. is to demand of our government, "Hands Off Hong Kong."
John V. Walsh can be reached at email@example.com.
Sep 08, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com
anne -> anne... , September 07, 2019 at 09:47 AMHong Kong is essentially self-governing, administered in much the same way as during the later period of British colonial control. Hong Kong is part of China but completely unlike a Beijing or Shanghai or Shenzhen in terms of governance. Hong Kong while having a high per capita income level is highly inequitable in income with economic tensions accentuated by a British-country-style property system.anne -> anne... , September 07, 2019 at 09:49 AM
The parallels in Hong Kong property prices, with those of Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are striking. Singapore has a completely different and relatively equitable property system, so too does neighboring Shenzhen.anne -> anne... , September 07, 2019 at 09:53 AM
- January 15, 2018. Real Residential Property Prices for Hong Kong and United Kingdom, 1992-2018 (Indexed to 1992). https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=onx4
- January 15, 2018. Real Residential Property Prices for Australia and Hong Kong, 1992-2018(Indexed to 1992)https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=onIc
- January 15, 2018. Real Residential Property Prices for Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong, 1992-2018(Indexed to 1992) https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=os70EMichael -> anne... , September 07, 2019 at 10:12 AM
- January 15, 2018. Real Residential Property Prices for Hong Kong and Singapore, 1998-2018 (Indexed to 1998) https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=onIh
- January 15, 2018. Real Residential Property Prices for China, Hong Kong and Singapore, 2005-2018 (Indexed to 2005)https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=oFCX
[ Notice the stark differences in favor of Shanghai and mainland China. ]Chinese Communist Party propaganda from the usual source. Yep, Hong Kong has its problems. Control by the CCP will not help them one bit.JohnH -> EMichael... , September 07, 2019 at 01:22 PM
"The Gini coefficient, which measures the inequality of income distribution, reached a new high of 0.539 in 2016, far above the warning level of 0.4" Pot meet kettle.
"China's Gini Coefficient data was reported at 0.467 NA in Dec 2017. This records an increase from the previous number of 0.465 NA for Dec 2016. China's Gini Coefficient data is updated yearly, averaging 0.477 NA from Dec 2003 to 2017, with 15 observations."
https://www.ceicdata.com/en/china/resident-income-distribution/gini-coefficientWith a GINI co-efficient of about 0.4, the US has nothing to cheer about. But why not demonize China instead of addressing our own problems first?Plp -> anne... , September 07, 2019 at 10:19 AMUrban housing is a nightmare where ever. Population density is uncontrolled and lot owners can restrict new housing developments
...The crisis just builds
Sep 07, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Here are just some of the twists and turns in the case, which has gone on for more than three years.
- Flynn's trip to Russia in 2015, where it was claimed Flynn went without the knowledge or approval of the DIA or anyone in Washington, was proven not to be true .
- Flynn was suspected of being compromised by a supposed Russian agent, Cambridge academic Svetlana Lokhova, based on allegations from Western intelligence asset Stefan Halper. This was also proven to be not true.
- Flynn's phone calls with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were framed as being incredibly shady and a potential violation of the Logan Act . This allegation was always preposterous .
- Unnamed intelligence officials leaked the details of the Flynn-Kislyak phone calls to The Washington Post.
- FBI agents Peter Strzok and Joseph Pientka were dispatched by Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe to interview Flynn at the White House, even though the FBI had already reviewed the transcripts of the calls and cleared Flynn of any crimes .
- Both FBI Director James Comey and McCabe testified to Congress that Flynn didn't lie.
- Despite what McCabe and Comey both testified to under oath before Congress, the Mueller special counsel's office decided to prosecute Flynn for perjury in November of 2017 .
- The very strange post-dated FD-302 form on the FBI's January 2017 interview of Flynn that wasn't filled out until August 2017, almost seven months afterward, is revealed in a court filing by Flynn's defense team .
- FBI agent Pientka became the "DOJ's Invisible Man," despite the fact that Congress has repeatedly called for him to testify. Pientka has remained out of sight and out of mind more than a year and a half since his name first surfaced in connection with the Flynn case.
- Judge Rudolph Contreras was removed from the Flynn case immediately after accepting Flynn's guilty plea and was replaced by Judge Emmit Sullivan .
- Sullivan issued what's known as a Brady order to prosecutors -- which ordered them to immediately turn over any exculpatory evidence to Flynn's defense team. Flynn's team then made a filing alleging the withholding of exculpatory evidence .
- Flynn was given a chance to withdraw his guilty plea by Judge Sullivan but refused , and insisted to go forward with sentencing.
- Flynn suddenly fired his lawyers for the past two years and hired Sidney Powell to lead his new legal team following special counsel Robert Mueller's disastrous testimony to Congress . And now, the latest startling development:
- Flynn filed to have the Mueller prosecution team replaced for having withheld exculpatory evidence , despite Sullivan having directly ordered them to hand any such evidence over months ago.
Now, it's not that far-fetched of an idea that the Mueller special counsel prosecutors would hide exculpatory evidence from the Flynn defense team, since they've just admitted to having done exactly that in another case their office has been prosecuting .
The defense team for Internet Research Agency/Concord, more popularly known as "the Russian troll farm case," hasn't been smooth going for the Mueller prosecutors.
First, the prosecution team got a real tongue-lashing from Judge Dabney L. Friedrich in early July , when it turned out they had no evidence whatsoever to prove their assertion that the Russian troll farms were being run by the Putin government.
Then, in a filing submitted to the court on Aug. 30, the IRA/Concord defense team alerted Judge Friedrich that the prosecutors just got around to handing them key evidence the prosecutors had for the past 18 months. The prosecution gave no explanation whatsoever as to why they hid this key evidence for more than a year.
It's hard to see at this point how the entire IRA/Concord case isn't tossed out.
What would it mean for Flynn's prosecutors to have been caught hiding exculpatory evidence from him and his lawyers, even after the presiding judge explicitly ordered them in February to hand over everything they had?
It would mean that the Flynn case is tossed out, since the prosecution team was caught engaging in gross misconduct.
Now you can see why Flynn refused to withdraw his guilty plea when Judge Sullivan gave him the opportunity to do so in late December 2018.
A withdrawal of the guilty plea or a pardon would let the Mueller prosecution team off the hook.
And they're not getting off the hook.
Flynn hired the best lawyer he possibly could have when it comes to exposing prosecutorial misconduct. Nobody knows the crafty, corrupt, and dishonest tricks federal prosecutors use better than Powell, who actually wrote a compelling book about such matters, entitled " License to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice ."
Everything this Mueller prosecution team did in withholding exculpatory evidence from Flynn's defense team -- and continued to withhold even after Judge Sullivan specifically issued an order about it -- is going to be fully exposed.
Defying a federal judge's Brady order is a one-way ticket to not only getting fired, it's a serious enough offense to warrant disbarment and prosecution.
If it turns out Mueller special counsel prosecutors withheld exculpatory evidence -- not only in the IRA/Concord case, but also in the cases against Flynn, Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, Rick Gates, Roger Stone, and others -- that will have a huge impact.
If they are willing to withhold exculpatory evidence in one case, why wouldn't they do the same thing in other cases they were prosecuting? Haven't they have already demonstrated they are willing to break the rules? Tags
Tirion , 3 minutes ago linkconsistentliving , 2 hours ago link
We have become a third-world country. Even throwing Mueller and his entire prosecutors' team in jail would not be enough to restore confidence in our legal system. But it would be a start.Charlie_Martel , 2 hours ago link
On or about December 28, 2016, the Russian Ambassador contacted FLYNN.
c. On or about December 29, 2016, FLYNN called a senior official of the Presidential Transition Team ("PTT official"), who was with other senior ·members of the Presidential Transition Team at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, to discuss what, if anything, to communicate to the Russian Ambassador about the U.S. Sanctions. On that call, FLYNN and 2 Case 1:17-cr-00232-RC Document 4 Filed 12/01/17 Page 2 of 6 the PTT official discussed the U.S. Sanctions, including the potential impact of those sanctions on the incoming administration's foreign policy goals. The PIT official and FLYNN also discussed that the members of the Presidential Transition Team at Mar-a-Lago did not want Russia to escalate the situation. d. Immediately after his phone call with the PTT official, FLYNN called the Russian Ambassador and requested that Russia not escalate the situation and only respond to the U.S. Sanctions in a reciprocal manner. e. Shortly after his phone call with the Russian Ambassador, FLYNN spoke with the PTT official to report on the substance of his call with the Russian Ambassador, including their discussion of the U.S. Sanctions. f. On or about December 30, 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin released a statement indicating that Russia would not take retaliatory measures in response to the U.S. Sanctions at that time. g. On or about December 31, 2016, the Russian Ambassador called FLYNN and informed him that Russia had chosen not to retaliate in response to FL YNN's request. h. After his phone call with the Russian Ambassador, FLYNN spoke with senior members of the Presidential Transition Team about FL YNN's conversations with the Russian Ambassador regarding the U.S. Sanctions and Russia's decision not to escalate the situation.
https://www.justice.gov/file/1015126/downloadMah_Authoritah , 2 hours ago link
The coup plot between the international intelligence community (which includes our FBI-CIA-etc) and their unregistered foreign agents in the multinational corporate media is slowly being revealed.Transmedia001 , 3 hours ago link
The truth is so precious that it must be spoon fed.spoonful , 2 hours ago link
Here’s another possibility... elites in the US Gov set on running a soft coup against a duly elected president and his team made up a whole pile of **** and passed it off as truth.Boris Badenov , 3 hours ago link
Agreed, so long as you put Flynn on the side of the elitesTheAnswerIs42 , 3 hours ago link
The Manafort thing has me totally riled since HRC's "Password" guy and his brother were PARTNERS with manafort, did the same damn things, and were NOT investigated.
Donald Trump is many things to many people, but is not his social personna to be patient. He is being VERY patient to let this unfold, to "give a man enough rope" or political party and its owner, as it may be....
Donna Brazile's book is under-rated: it holds they keys as to who ran the DNC and why after Obie bailed.LEEPERMAX , 4 hours ago link
Our local community rag (Vermont) had an opinion piece last week about "The slide towards Facism", where the author breathlessly stated that she had learned from a MSNBC expose by Rachel Maddow that the administration was firing researchers at NASA and EPA as well as cutting back funding for LGBTQ support groups. Oh the horror. The author conveniently forgot that the same dyke had lied for 2 years about Russia,Russia,Russia but it's still OK to believe any **** that drops out of her mouth.
This is the level of insanity happening around here. Of course it is Bernie's turf.
People who are so stupid and gullible deserve everything they are gonna get.LEEPERMAX , 4 hours ago link
14 Strange Facts About Mueller's "Michael Flynn Scam"
https://youtu.be/ksb8VsOMqQgDrop-Hammer , 4 hours ago link
MUELLER and his "Band of Legal Clowns" have played us all for "Absolute Fools" again and again.
THE U.S. IS A CAPTURED OPERATIONWestcoastliberal , 3 hours ago link
Poor Flynn. Rail-roaded by ZOG and Obama and Hillary and Co. I hope beyond hope that the truth is revealed and that he can sue the **** out of the seditionists/(((seditionists))) who put him into this mess such that his great-great-grandchildren will never have to work.
I also blame Trump for throwing Flynn under the bus.just the tip , 36 minutes ago link
Trump didn't throw Flynn under the bus, I think he would pardon him later, but Trump needs to let this play out. Otherwise the left will bury him.Homer E. Rectus , 4 hours ago link
trump threw flynn under the bus when trump said the reason he let flynn go was flynn lied to pence.Roger Casement , 4 hours ago link
If they are willing to withhold exculpatory evidence in one case, why wouldn’t they do the same thing in other cases they were prosecuting? Haven’t they have already demonstrated they are willing to break the rules?
Duh! Because it's easy and the media never covers it and AG Barr and FBI director Wray will cover it all up. America no longer operates under rule of law, and now we all know it. Never cooperate with them!ztack3r , 4 hours ago link
Mike Flynn stands for us. Help him put handicapped trolls out of work.
Buy lunch for Sidney Powell. o7
https://mikeflynndefensefund.org/my new username , 4 hours ago link
flynn didn't rape children, to buzy trying to fight liberators of iraq and afganistan from invasion... that's his major crime.
I guess, kelly, mattis, mcmaster neither are on the child rape trend. but what can they do? when the entire cia and doj and fbi are full on controlled and run by the pedos? it's like when all the cardinals and the pope are pedos, what a bishop to do...
Why would CIA Rothschild'd up puppet Trump pick only the best William Barr?
Who told Acosta to cut no prosecution deal with Epstein? George Bush? Robert Mukasey? or Bob Mueller?
Trump, Barr, Bush, Mueller all on the same no rule of law national no government pys op , for Epstein & 9/11 clean op team Poppa Bush, Clinton, & Mossad.
Barr: CIA operative
It is a sobering fact that American presidents (many of whom have been corrupt) have gone out of their way to hire fixers to be their attorney generals.
Consider recent history: Loretta Lynch (2015-2017), Eric Holder (2009-2015), Michael Mukasey (2007-2009), Alberto Gonzales (2005-2007), John Ashcroft (2001-2005),Janet Reno (1993-2001), **** Thornburgh (1988-1991), Ed Meese (1985-1988), etc.
Barr, however, is a particularly spectacular and sordid case. As George H.W. Bush’s most notorious insider, and as the AG from 1991 to 1993, Barr wreaked havoc, flaunted the rule of law, and proved himself to be one of the CIA/Deep State’s greatest and most ruthless champions and protectors :
- Barr was a full-time CIA operative, recruited by Langley out of high school, starting in 1971. Barr’s youth career goal was to head the CIA.
- CIA operative assigned to the China directorate, where he became close to powerful CIA operative George H.W. Bush, whose accomplishments already included the CIA/Cuba Bay of Pigs, Asia CIA operations (Vietnam War, Golden Triangle narcotics), Nixon foreign policy (Henry Kissinger), and the Watergate operation.
- When George H.W. Bush became CIA Director in 1976, Barr joined the CIA’s “legal office” and Bush’s inner circle, and worked alongside Bush’s longtime CIA enforcers Theodore “Ted” Shackley, Felix Rodriguez, Thomas Clines, and others, several of whom were likely involved with the Bay of Pigs/John F. Kennedy assassination, and numerous southeast Asian operations, from the Phoenix Program to Golden Triangle narco-trafficking.
- Barr stonewalled and destroyed the Church Committee investigations into CIA abuses.
- Barr stonewalled and stopped inquiries in the CIA bombing assassination of Chilean opposition leader Orlando Letelier.
- Barr joined George H.W. Bush’s legal/intelligence team during Bush’s vice presidency (under President Ronald Reagan) Rose from assistant attorney general to Chief Legal Counsel to attorney general (1991) during the Bush 41 presidency.
- Barr was a key player in the Iran-Contra operation, if not the most important member of the apparatus, simultaneously managing the operation while also “fixing” the legal end, ensuring that all of the operatives could do their jobs without fear of exposure or arrest.
- In his attorney general confirmation, Barr vowed to “attack criminal organizations”, drug smugglers and money launderers. It was all hot air: as AG, Barr would preserve, protect, cover up, and nurture the apparatus that he helped create, and use Justice Department power to escape punishment.
- Barr stonewalled and stopped investigations into all Bush/Clinton and CIA crimes, including BCCI and BNL CIA drug banking, the theft of Inslaw/PROMIS software, and all crimes of state committed by Bush
- Barr provided legal cover for Bush’s illegal foreign policy and war crimes
- Barr left Washington, and went through the “rotating door” to the corporate world, where he took on numerous directorships and counsel positions for major companies. In 2007 and again from 2017, Barr was counsel for politically-connected international law firm Kirkland & Ellis . Among its other notable attorneys and alumni are Kenneth Starr, John Bolton, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and numerous Trump administration attorneys. K&E’s clients include sex trafficker/pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, and Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital.
A strong case can be made that William Barr was as powerful and important a figure in the Bush apparatus as any other, besides Poppy Bush himself.
https://www.globalresearch.ca/ciabushiran-contra-covert-operative-fixer-william-barr-nominated-attorney-general/5662609Roger Casement , 5 hours ago link
That's FBI lawfare: either you plead guilty of crimes you did not commit, or we frame your son, as well as bankrupt you.ztack3r , 4 hours ago link
Mike Flynn stands for us. Going to buy guns or butter for the cause?
These consiglieres went after his son. They aren't lawyers. They are hitmen.
there is a war on america, and the DoD and men like flynn are too arrogant, dumb, and proud to admit they have been fucked and conned deeply by men way smarter than them...
we don't need ******* brains, but killers to wage this revolution against the american pedostate.
and that, what they master, they don't want to do.
if they want money, they should have learned to trade and not kill...
Sep 06, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
The Rev Kev , August 17, 2018 at 7:59 am
This author is right. I do not know if you would call what the media did a form of virtue-signalling or whatever but the net effect is a demonstration that the media is into coordinated campaigns. I do not think that people have forgotten the "This Is Extremely Dangerous to Our Democracy" Sinclair script a few months ago. This is just more of the same.
I don't even know why they act so b***-hurt when Trump attacks their honesty. In the last few months I have seen them call him a traitor, a gay-bitch, they have called for a military coup to unseat him, they have begged for the deep state to rescue them, they have elevated people who are responsible for the deaths of thousands of American soldiers to the ranks of noble heroes of the Republic. As far as I am concerned, they have made their own bed and now they can lay in it, even if they have to share it with Donald J. Trump.
Kokuanani , August 17, 2018 at 9:20 am
Big media outlets need not actually report news that affects your life and point to serious solutions for social ills. They can just bad mouth Trump.
Substitute "The Democratic Party" for "big media outlets" and you've got another accurate picture.
Angie Neer , August 17, 2018 at 1:40 pm
Yesterday when I looked at the NYT online, the big featured graphic in the center of the page, typically a photo, was a rotating feed of Trump tweets, in headline-sized text. It struck me as a new low in the pathetic Trump-media feedback loop. It's all a game of "made you look!"
Bill Smith , August 17, 2018 at 2:05 pm
Yeah, they probably got a summer intern to do that.
Anyone read Ronan Farrows "War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence"? In one passage he describes a meeting at the State Department where they are complaining that nobody is interested in their policy prescriptions and decide that the problem is that they need some graphs. They all turn to Farrrow and look at him as he is the youngest in the meeting and figure he is the only one who would know how to do that. "Ageism" he thought.
Altandmain , August 17, 2018 at 6:25 pm
The problem with the mainstream media calling out Trump is that this is like the pot calling a kettle black. Trump is awful, sure. But so is the corporate media with its pro-war and neoliberal economic agenda.
As Ian Welsh notes, the press is Trump's enemy, not the servant of the people: https://www.ianwelsh.net/the-press-is-trumps-enemy-not-the-lefts-friend/
A case could be made that independent media like Naked Capitalism is doing a key public service. Not the corporate media though, whose main objective is always to maximize advertising revenues and to impose the views of its owners, the very rich, on society.
Lambert Strether , August 18, 2018 at 2:32 pm
Two random comments on this topic:
1) The best justification for giving officials formally out of government clearance on either side of the revolving door is that you may need to call on them for advice. It seems to me that this incentivizes "intelligence" over wisdom. And for wisdom, long experience plus open sources should be enough. (For example, if you want to call in an ex-official on North Korean nukes, they don't really need to know the details of the latest weaponry, or Kim's weight gain, or whatever. That can be explained to them by the customer , as needed. What's really needed is an outside voice -- the role played by an honest consultant -- plus wisdom about power relations on the Korean peninsula. No need for clearance there.)
2) RussiaRussiaRussia has been very profitable, not only personally for the talking heads in the intelligence community but for the press. Removing clearance not only hits the talking heads in the wallet, it disrupts the relation between the press and its network of anonymous sources.
Enquiring Mind, August 18, 2018 at 9:02 pm
Re 2), there seems to be an element of induced demand to support the preponderance of repetitive coverage, somewhat akin to the dopamine manipulation in video games and on social media websites. Bug and feature.
Sep 06, 2019 | newrepublic.com
Samantha Power did not set out to justify war. By Daniel Bessner
September 4, 2019Add to Pocket Subscribe
Let's say it's January 2021 , and President Bernie Sanders has just assumed office. On his second day as commander-in-chief of the most powerful military in world history, Bernie and his foreign policy team are ushered into the White House Situation Room. After being seated at a long wooden table, a group of diplomats and military officers informs Bernie that armed militants in the Central African Republic have placed artillery around a town and are threatening to bombard its 10,000 inhabitants. The townspeople have requested that the United States destroy the weapons and save their lives. What should Bernie do?
For Samantha Power , who served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations during Barack Obama's second term, this really is no question at all: You eliminate the weapons. Power has dedicated her life to promoting humanitarian intervention -- the idea that the United States, as the world's "indispensable nation," has the moral duty to use its awesome military capabilities to prevent or halt atrocities. First as a war reporter covering the Balkans in the 1990s, then as the Pulitzer Prizewinning author of " A Problem From Hell": America and the Age of Genocide , and finally as a government official herself, Power has insisted that the "responsibility to protect" innocents from slaughter is sacrosanct, even if it means U.S. military adventurism or violating foreign nations' sovereignty. When civilians are threatened, Power believes we must save them.
For this position, she has been both praised and lambasted. Power's supporters see her as a moral beacon in a world focused on power politics at the expense of human rights. In the last two decades, she has shaped the way a generation of liberal analysts and policymakers understand international relations and their role within it: Barack Obama has called her "one of our foremost thinkers on foreign policy," while Ben Rhodes has said she was "who I wanted to become when I moved down to Washington." Meanwhile, critics like the law professor Aziz Rana understand her as an unreconstructed "war hawk," who employs the discourse of human rights to mask American imperialism. For them, Power embodies the contradictions of liberal geopolitics, in which lofty rhetoric is used to justify military action in regions where the United States has at best tangential interests.
Power's memoir arrives at a time when she and her approach have fallen from favor -- both with the current administration, which has adopted a nakedly transactional approach to foreign affairs, and with left-wing foreign policy thinkers, who want to dismantle U.S. military dominance. Against these tides, Power's new book seems intended to rehabilitate both her agenda and her own reputation, as she narrates in vivid and engaging prose her rapid rise to some of the most influential positions in U.S. foreign policy-making. It's the story of a sympathetic protagonist just trying to save innocent lives -- yet one that inadvertently demonstrates the lethality of good intentions. The most startling thing about a book titled The Education of an Idealist is that Power appears not to have learned very much.
Power's early years exemplified the peripatetic privilege of the global bourgeoisie. She was born in Ireland in 1970, the daughter of a doctor mother and a dentist father. In 1979, after her father's alcoholism destroyed her parents' marriage, Power's mother moved with Samantha and her brother to the United States. Power quickly acclimated to American life; she lost her Irish accent, began a lifelong love affair with baseball, and started on her high school's basketball team. She also studied hard for the SAT, and in 1988 was accepted to Yale University.
During Power's sophomore year, the Berlin Wall came down, the Cold War ended, and she became a political junkie who quizzed herself on the news of the day. In the summer of 1990, she took a trip to Europe that would transform her life. Power began her journey with a visit to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. Walking through the bleak Secret Annex drove home to Power "the horror of Hitler's crimes," and after her visit she started to keep a list of books she wanted to read on "what U.S. officials knew about the Holocaust and what they could have done to save more Jews." Soon after, she traveled to Dachau, where she "wondered aloud what the modern world would look like if President Roosevelt had not finally entered the war." (Ignoring, naturally, the Soviet Union's role in ending World War II, and that it was the Red Army that liberated Auschwitz.)
Power's trip persuaded her that U.S. military force could legitimately be used to save innocent lives. The Holocaust became for her the moral justification for American empire in an era in which the United States no longer faced any perceived existential threats. Power concluded that if the United States didn't rule the world, genocide was inevitable, and for the remainder of her career she would view atrocities in the Balkans, Africa, and the Middle East through the prism of the Holocaust: After all, if the U.S. military had liberated victims of genocide in the 1940s, why couldn't it do the same in the 1990s , 2000s , and 2010s ?If the U.S. military had liberated victims of genocide in the 1940s, why couldn't it do the same in the 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s?
The timing of Power's trip was also crucial for her intellectual development. Before the disintegration of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, it was difficult to argue that the U.S. military could serve as a neutral arbiter of human rights. Not only was the nation engaged in an avowedly political struggle with an existential communist enemy, but the Vietnam War and several other failed interventions underlined the dangers of using military force for ideological ends. Communism's collapse made it possible for Power to imagine the U.S. military as a nonideological guarantor of broadly accepted human rights. The empire could act for humanity, not politics. For Power -- and for many in her generation -- the U.S. military was the base upon which the liberal international order of free markets, democracy, and human rights would be constructed.
By her senior year at Yale, Power had determined that she "wanted to end up in a position to 'do something'" about humanitarian crises. After graduating, she interned at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where Mort Abramowitz, the endowment's president and a former ambassador to Turkey, was turning his attention to the incipient Bosnian War. The more Power learned about the conflict and its atrocities, "the more unnerved" she became. The war, she writes, provided her with "a focus -- a specific group of people in a specific place who were being pulverized." To publicize their suffering, she decided to become a war reporter , and in late 1993 she moved to the Balkans, armed with little more than a laptop. Power was in Zagreb, Croatia, when on February 5, 1994, Bosnian Serbs mortared the Markale market in Sarajevo, killing 68 civilians. As she watched news footage of "market vendors carrying away the bloodied remains of their mutilated friends," she found herself "rooting for the first time in [her] life for the United States to use military force." She spent the next year and a half writing pieces on civilian suffering that she hoped would engender a domestic outcry and convince President Bill Clinton to forcibly end the siege of Sarajevo.
As time went on and Clinton refused to intervene (the U.S.-led NATO Operation Deliberate Force would not commence until August 1995), Power began to consider a new track that was "less about describing events and more about directly trying to shape them." The decisive moment came in July 1995, when she learned that the Bosnian Serb army murdered more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica. The sheer brutality of the genocide compelled Power to take up a place at Harvard Law School (she had applied and been accepted earlier that year), with the intention of becoming a prosecutor "who could bring murderers to justice."
At Harvard, Power returned to the question that had haunted her at the Anne Frank House and Dachau: Don't Americans, as citizens of the world's greatest power, have a personal responsibility to save lives if we have the capacity to do so? She enrolled in a class on the ethics of using force and, most important for her future career, she wrote a paper that examined "what U.S. policymakers themselves were thinking" when they failed to respond to twentieth-century genocides. This paper was her first step toward her 2002 book "A Problem From Hell," which codified a decade of liberal thinking about humanitarian intervention, and which transformed Power into an internationally renowned expert on human rights and genocide prevention.
"A Problem From Hell" had two main arguments. First, it claimed that throughout the twentieth century "the United States has consistently refused to take risks in order to suppress genocide" and, by not acting, had failed the people of Armenia, Cambodia, and Rwanda, among other places. Second, the book maintained that in the future, U.S. decision-makers should take steps to prevent or halt atrocities along "a continuum of intervention" that would range "from condemning the perpetrators or cutting off U.S. aid to bombing or rallying a multinational invasion force." Power did not, as many critics later avowed, unthinkingly advocate military intervention; rather, she considered intervention as the final in a series of graduated steps intended to avert or stop genocide. But as Power herself would soon learn, when Americans were presented with the hammer of military force, many atrocities began to look like nails.
Power's book was perfectly primed for the post-9/11 moment, during which the question on many Americans' minds was not whether the United States should remake the world, but how. "A Problem From Hell" quickly became a cudgel in the debate over invading Iraq; as Power notes, several pundits clamoring for war invoked her book, arguing that the 1980s Iraqi campaign of genocide against the Kurds gave the United States a casus belli. Even though Power herself opposed the invasion, the writers who referenced "A Problem From Hell" were not exactly misreading the book: Power had placed U.S. military intervention on the menu of options available to policymakers who said they wanted to protect human rights.
In a moment defined by paranoia, revenge fantasies, and a sense of moral crusade, it is not particularly surprising that "A Problem From Hell" was employed to rationalize war. The book's relevance at the time, in fact, helps explain why it won the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction in April 2003, one month after the George W. Bush administration invaded Iraq.
With the election of Barack Obama in 2008, Power got the chance to use her ideas to shape U.S. policy more directly. Obama and Power first met in the spring of 2005, when Obama was an ambitious junior senator from Illinois. They worked together for a year (Power volunteered to serve in his office), and when Obama won the Democratic primary in 2008, he hired her as a foreign policy adviser, later appointing her to the National Security Council as senior director for multilateral affairs and senior director for human rights.
In government, Power swiftly learned that few officials cared about human rights; many, in fact, deemed them a distraction from more important issues of power politics. Nevertheless, while at the NSC, Power helped expand by $50 million U.S. aid to Iraqi refugees, increased the number of Iraqis allowed to resettle in the United States, and doubled the government's refugee stipend. She also advocated for the United States to run for a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council , which it won in 2009. From this perch, U.S. officials spurred a number of resolutions focused on revealing human rights abuses in various nations, including Iran, Syria, Sudan, and North Korea. Moreover, Power proudly emphasizes, the United States "succeeded in getting the Human Rights Council to reduce by half the share of country-specific resolutions on Israel."
As this last comment indicates, for Power, protecting human rights means disciplining nations of the Global South that are not U.S. allies. Throughout The Education of an Idealist , she barely mentions Israel or Saudi Arabia -- she says nothing about Israel's occupation of the West Bank or the Saudi war on women and LGBTQI+ people. These silences are deafening, because the type of world Power wants to build will never be realized if only certain countries -- namely, those that stand outside America's imperial sphere -- are held to account. Her approach does not make much sense from a pragmatic perspective either: U.S. officials have the highest likelihood of ending human rights abuses in countries that depend on us; there is little point in spending political capital in a mostly quixotic attempt to transform antagonists like North Korea.
Meanwhile, Power completely ignores the human rights violations that took place in her own country under Obama's watch; like many liberal interventionists, she is far more vexed by suffering abroad. Nowhere does she address police violence against African Americans, mass surveillance , refugee detention , or mass incarceration . Nor does she give much thought to the colonial violence that defines American history: In The Education of an Idealist , she recalls inviting a Serbian official to meet with her in the so-called Indian Treaty Room, where she lectured him on the importance of apprehending the war criminal Ratko Mladić. Somehow, Power overlooks the irony of championing justice in a room named for repeatedly broken treaties that the U.S. government made with the native population against which it committed genocide.
Power's most consequential decision during Obama's first term displayed a shortsightedness that has often accompanied her faith in U.S. military power. With the outbreak of civil war in Libya, Power began to advocate vociferously in favor of intervention to stop a potential massacre at Benghazi. In particular, during a March 15, 2011, meeting, Power endorsed U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's proposal to establish a no-fly zone over Libya and attack Muammar Qaddafi's forces. Obama approved Rice's plan, and on March 19, a U.S.-led NATO coalition began bombing Libya , initiating a process that concluded with Qaddafi's death. Despite the war's expansion and the chaos that ensued, Power remains proud of her contribution. For her, "once the revolution spread, the real question became how to use the tools at our disposal to bring about the best possible -- or the least bad -- outcome."
But was that the real question? Here are some other questions that are equally important and that she should have taken more seriously before Obama commenced Operation Odyssey Dawn: Is the war likely to expand? If the war expands and Qaddafi is deposed, who will govern Libya? Is the United States -- especially the American public -- willing to commit itself to reconstruction efforts? What precedent does the intervention potentially set? Power never really asked these questions, because ultimately, as the historian Stephen Wertheim has argued, she considers humanitarian intervention a categorical imperative (as long as it doesn't involve U.S. allies, of course). For this reason, throughout her time in office Power regularly encouraged war.
In Obama's second term, Power left the NSC to become U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. In this position, she won many admirable victories: She aided in establishing a U.N. post dedicated to monitoring global LGBT rights; brought countries together to end the deadly Ebola outbreak of 2014; and promoted a resolution that demanded the United Nations deport any peacekeeping units from countries in which U.N. soldiers were reported to have committed sexual assault.
Yet it was also during Obama's second term that Power found herself less able to convince the president of the moral necessity of intervention. In her memoir, she relates that when she first learned that Bashar al-Assad's government had employed chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war, she hoped "Obama would respond forcefully" and was disappointed when he didn't. Nevertheless, in August 2013, Power was heartened to discover that Obama intended to answer the Syrian government's murder of 1,400 people in a chemical weapons attack with airstrikes of military targets.
Power's expectations, however, were dashed when she was informed that Obama had decided to seek congressional authorization for the airstrikes. "What happens if Congress doesn't support you?" she asked the president. "Does that mean Assad could just keep using chemical weapons?" In the end, Obama determined that Congress would rebuff his plan and chose not to go ahead with a vote; against Power's wishes, he also refused to intervene. Instead, the president accepted Russia's offer to work together to disable Assad's chemical weapons program. For her part, Power "shuddered at the inadequacy of the effort" to decrease Assad's stockpile, despite the fact that U.S.-Russian collaboration provided an opportunity to build the trust necessary to reach a political resolution of the conflict.
Power's recollection of the Syria debate highlights her meritocratic skepticism of democratic politics. She writes that she "regretted that our administration had not ascertained whether we had the votes before the President announced he was going to Congress. Had he known he would fail, [she] did not believe he would have chosen the path he did." Power, in other words, wanted Congress to rubber-stamp Obama's decision to intervene; she wasn't interested in having a real public discussion about the potential benefits and drawbacks of using military force. In fact, Power has the temerity to express disappointment with the U.S. public for refusing to support intervention. Most Americans, she laments, "wanted no part of Syria. The student activists, civic groups, churches, mosques, and synagogues that had come out en masse to demand help for the people of Darfur [where in the mid-2000s a genocide erupted] were largely silent." Such a statement evinces the privilege of an individual who has no reason to fear the effects another Middle Eastern intervention might have on her own family -- or on the people of the Middle East.
The assumption running through Power's career is that the American empire is able to act as a force for good in the world. At her memoir's end -- and in the wake of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria -- she affirms that "on issue after issue, either the United States brought a game plan to the table or else the problem worsened." Though this might be true in some cases, it is certainly not the rule, especially when one considers the disastrous effects of the nation's wars in the Greater Middle East; its pointless antagonism of China, Russia, and Iran; its unwillingness to take the business-unfriendly steps required to arrest climate change; and its unhesitating promotion of a capitalist system that has exploited the labor of untold millions. The last several decades have taught us that the world needs far less American "leadership" than it has enjoyed.
If you accept Power's premises, then humanitarian intervention boils down to a purely philosophical inquiry: Is it right to save lives if one has the capacity to do so? The answer, of course, is yes. The problem, though, is that intervention is not a thought experiment; it takes place in a world of brutal realities. In particular, humanitarian forces confront radical uncertainty. Is intervention likely to impel more violence in the long term? Do policymakers actually know enough about the situation on the ground to make the "right" decisions? Is the American public willing to commit itself to years-long reconstruction efforts? Honest answers here may not sit well with idealism. In many instances, the most moral act is not to act at all.
Simply maintaining an enormous military able to intervene anywhere in the world carries its own set of malign consequences: endless wars, global arms proliferation, a militaristic political culture, the diversion of resources from welfare to weapons, and the strengthening of the military-industrial complex, to name just a few. The Education of an Idealist does not account for these social ills, or consider that the only way we can avoid them is by giving up the capacities that enable us (theoretically, if not in practice) to alleviate foreign suffering.
The historian Samuel Moyn has warned that we must be careful not to elevate "the narrow and rare problem of when to send the military to help strangers into the decisive one around which the future of American foreign policy revolves." Power's memoir shows how much the discourse of humanitarian intervention obscures. By focusing on the question "Do we save innocent lives?" liberal interventionists like Power shift our attention from an equally important query: "How do we change conditions so lives don't need to be saved?" A world oriented around this last question would look very different from the one we have now. Daniel Bessner is the Pyle Assistant Professor in American Foreign Policy at the University of Washington and author of Democracy in Exile: Hans Speier and the Rise of the Defense Intellectual . @ dbessner
Sep 06, 2019 | thegrayzone.com
AARON MATÉ: When it comes to Russiagate, there have been too many embarrassing media stories to count. And somehow, after nearly three years of this, the most discredited journalists are finding new ways to discredit themselves. The latest is Lawrence O'Donnell of MSNBC. Speaking another prominent conspiracy theorist, Rachel Maddow, O'Donnell shared this bombshell claim.
LAWRENCE O'DONNELL : This single source close to Deutsche Bank has told me that the Trump – Donald Trump's loan documents there show that he has co-signers. That's how he was able to obtain those loans. And that the co-signers are Russian oligarchs.
RACHEL MADDOW : What? Really?
LAWRENCE O'DONNELL : That would explain, it seems to me, every kind word Donald Trump has ever said about Russia and Vladimir Putin, if true.
AARON MATÉ: Well it turns out, it's not true, or at least, there's no evidence for it. According to MSNBC, Lawrence O'Donnell's "information came from a single source who has not seen the bank records." And so, O'Donnell had to retract his story after less than 24 hours.
LAWRENCE O'DONNELL: I should not have said it on air or posted it on Twitter. I was wrong to do so. This afternoon, attorneys for the president sent us a letter asserting the story is false. They also demanded a retraction. Tonight, we are retracting the story.
AARON MATÉ: But in the process of walking back his story, O'Donnell also said this.
LAWRENCE O'DONNELL: Saying 'if true' as I discussed the information was simply not good enough. I did not go through the rigorous verification and standards process here at MSNBC before repeating what I heard from my source.
AARON MATÉ: That's about as dubious a claim as Lawrence O'Donnell's retracted one. When it comes to the Trump-Russia story, the idea of "a rigorous verification and standards process" at MSNBC is a joke. The bulk of this network's output for more than two years has been innuendo and conspiracy theories about a non-existent Trump-Russia plot and a massive Russia interference campaign.
This also was not the first time that MSNBC has used the 'if true' caveat to put something on air. Take the time Lawrence O'Donnell himself speculated that Vladimir Putin orchestrated a chemical weapons attack in Syria to distract the media from his ties to Donald Trump.
LAWRENCE O'DONNELL: If Vladimir Putin, if, if, if Vladimir Putin masterminded the last week in Syria, he has gotten everything he could have asked for . Go ahead. Do a small chemical attack. Nothing – nothing like the big ones you've done in the past. Just big enough to attract media attention so that my friend in the White House will see it on TV. And then Donald Trump can fire some missiles at Syria that will do no real damage, and then the American news media will change the subject from Russian influence in the Trump campaign and the Trump transition and the Trump White House. It's perfect.
AARON MATÉ: By the way that was in April 2017 -- more than two years ago. Fast forward to say, July 2018, when MSNBC's Chris Hayes brought on liberal writer Jonathan Chait to ponder if Donald Trump has been a Russian military intelligence asset since 1987.
CHRIS HAYES: In a new cover story for New York Magazine, Writer Jonathan Chait argues we have not allowed ourselves to consider the full range of possibilities. Chait lays out what could be considered the worst-case scenario for Trump-Russia collusion, that Donald Trump has been a Russian intelligence asset since 1987.
AARON MATÉ: Then there's Rachel Maddow. I don't know, take your pick. How about, Putin may use the pee tape & other kompromat to force Trump into withdrawing US troops near Russia.
RACHEL MADDOW : And here's the question. Is the new president going to take those troops out? After all the speculation, after all the worry, we are actually about to find out if Russia maybe has something on the new president? We're about to find out if the new president of our country is going to do what Russia wants once he's commander-in-chief of the U.S. military starting noon on Friday. What is he going to do with those deployments?
AARON MATÉ: Trump didn't withdraw those troops. How about also, Vladimir Putin got Trump to hire Paul Manafort as his campaign manager.
RACHEL MADDOW: I mean, take the view from Moscow. If you know a guy who needs a presidential campaign manager, how about our friend Paul? Right? From the Russian's point of view, who would be the better choice to run Donald Trump's presidential campaign? From our perspective in the United States, Paul Manafort made no sense. Who's he? From the Russian perspective, he'd be the obvious choice.
AARON MATÉ: Speaking of hiring decisions, there was also Vladimir Putin getting Trump to hire Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State.
RACHEL MADDOW: Rex Tillerson – who Donald Trump had never met, had never had anything to do with before, had never laid eyes on before. How did Rex Tillerson get that job? He must have come very highly recommended – by someone. [MSNBC screen shows Putin with Tillerson].
AARON MATÉ: By the way, when Trump later fired Rex Tillerson, Maddow blamed that on Putin as well. So you get the picture. Lawrence O'Donnell's story was not MSNBC's first glaring error. Before this one, there was just no accountability for them. But the biggest problem here is not that these stories are embarrassing the cable news hosts and pundits who promote them. The Trump- Russia conspiracy theory has degraded journalism, and seriously undermining the actual resistance to Donald Trump.
Think about what a gift it is for Trump that his media critics constantly validate his claims about fake news. And it's an even bigger gift to Trump that his media and political foes have spent the bulk of their air time on a moronic conspiracy theory, instead of his actual policies, and the damage that they do.
So the Russiagate conspiracy theory has done serious damage. And it will continue to do so unless there is some minimal accountability for the people who promote it and profit from it. Because when you think about the fact that MSNBC hosts and others are still doing this – still promoting the Russiagate conspiracy theory, and still calling themselves journalists in the process – well, this is my response.
RACHEL MADDOW : What? Really?Aaron Maté
Sep 06, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
William Gruff , Sep 5 2019 20:00 utc | 28"Do you really think they spend $400 on a hammer?"
That line comes straight out of a movie . Didn't I tell you American get their reality from their Plato's Cave screens?
I briefly worked in a machine shop that did DoD contract work. We would buy washers by the pound from the hardware store down the street, heat seal them individually into little plastic baggies with the part number printed on them, and then sell them to the Navy for $50 each .
Yeah, the military pays $400 each, if not a good deal more, for their hammers.
karlof1 , Sep 5 2019 20:23 utc | 35To focus exclusively on weapons is to focus on the wrong aspect of a nation's strength. I always find it funny in a very sadistic manner that the Outlaw US Empire is constantly declared to be the richest nation on the planet when it has at minimum 30 Million people well below the far too low poverty line, millions more mal-nourished, millions more kept in a state of ignorance, and with a wealth disparity problem of an enormous magnitude where 3 men own as much wealth as the bottom 50% of the population, or @165 Million people.what did I just read , Sep 5 2019 20:32 utc | 38
What all that and more not included spells out to me is that the Outlaw US Empire is the planet's most Dysfunctional nation.
Russia in stark contrast as clearly shown by Putin's speech I linked to above is striving very hard to overcome the dysfunctions applied to it by outside actors and the previous system in ways only Bernie Sanders is promoting while Trump and the neoliberals from both political parties continue to do the exact opposite by striving to escalate the dysfunctions.
The message being sent to Americans by the Current Neoliberal Oligarchy is Get Out; We Don't Need You! as they fight tooth & nail to destroy what little remains of the pathetic to begin with welfare state, while dumbing-down education and promoting carcinogenic foodstuffs. Putin's contrasting message: Come Here! I Welcome You! Here are the many inducements to become Russian and fulfill your abilities and destiny! No! It's not a pipe dream; read his speech! One of the most important factors in a nation's strength is the opportunities it provides for its citizens and how well that collective cares for itself via the mediums of government and culture. In that respect, IMO, the USA is in the worst shape its ever been due to its insane level of moral corruption.
Putin's trolling points directly at that last sentence. It's his way of pounding his shoe on the podium and saying We'll bury you all while smiling wryly. Moreover, other national leaders are beginning to abandon the dysfunctional Outlaw US Empire as they find it irrational and impossible to deal with.
The same goes for the EU with its similar domineering neoliberal nature. Putin was correct about the demise of Liberalism. What needs to rise up and replace it is a mother-like humanistic social order that cares for and provides opportunities to fulfill one's abilities while also paying close attention to the condition of the planet that supports us.Ok, lets clear this misunderstanding up. The nuclear missile is not hypersonic and Putin never sold these weapons as "super weapons" ala Trump. That's an ungenerous reading. A while back, Putin gave a speech before the parliament in which he detailed some new weapons systems.William Gruff , Sep 5 2019 20:44 utc | 40
The point of it all was to highlight the foolish and dangerous assumptions on which aggressive Western policy towards Russia rest. One of these assumptions is that the US could launch a first strike against Russia and be safe from retaliation behind it's ABM screen. In reality, that system is incapable of stopping any significant number of current ballistic warheads and that further, Russia was now fielding systems that can circumvent or penetrate that defense easily.
He listed several of these systems. Two were hypersonic, the kinzhal and avangard. Another was the new ICBM, RS-28 Sarmat. It is powerful enough to send the warheads into orbit. From there they no longer follow a strict ballistic path and can circle the earth to any target they choose, making them impossible to predict and defend against. It is a concept tried in the early 70's but then withdrawn called fobos.
The last of the strategic weapons were based around the new miniaturized nuclear reactor that had just been perfected. It is being applied to a cruise missile and a sub-torpedo concept. The nuclear cruise missile will have practically unlimited range, but it will be subsonic not hypersonic.Clue for the clueless: "Secret weapons" are only useful for surprise attacks... sucker punches. Defensive weapons intended to deter attacks only work as a deterrence if they are advertised. The very fact that Putin announced the existence of the new weapons is in and of itself proof that those weapons are intended to deter aggression, not be used aggressively.
The corollary to this fact is that if the United States really does have secret weapons like attack sharks with frickin` laser beams on their heads, then those are intended as offensive first strike weaponry.
Why is it that Americans are proud of being seen as the most offensive people on the planet? Arguing for the existence of super secret weapons is arguing for Americans being the biggest scumbag villains alive. It is strange that many Americans don't get that. Super-secret weapons don't deter and defend, their secrecy can only surprise America's victims.
This is part and parcel of why I am always arguing that Americans are literally mentally ill.
Sep 04, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com
The short answer to the title of this article--YES!!
Michael Flynn's new lawyer, Sidney Powell, is a honey badger. If you do not know anything about honey badgers I encourage you to watch the documentary, Honey Badgers, Master's of Mayhem . They tear the testicles off of lions. And it sure looks like Ms. Powell is emasculating prosecutor Andrew Weisman.
Last Friday, August 30th, Sidney Powell filed a brief with the District Court in the District of Columbia laying out in exquisite detail the misconduct of the Mueller prosecutors, who have withheld exculpatory evidence. The document is still behind a pay wall (Pacer). But let me share with you some of the salient points of this filing:
The government's most stunning suppression of evidence is perhaps the text messages of Peter Srzok and Lisa Page. In July of 2017, (now over two years ago), the Inspector General of the Department of Justice advised Special Counsel of the extreme bias in the now infamous text messages of these two FBI employees. Mr. Van Grack did not produce a single text messages to the defense until March 13, 2018, when he gave them a link to then-publicly available messages.14
Mr. Van Grack and Ms. Ahmad, among other things, did not disclose that FBI Agent Strzok had been fired from the Special Counsel team as its lead agent almost six months earlier because of his relationship with Deputy Director McCabe's Counsel -- who had also been on the Special Counsel team -- and because of their text messages and conduct. One would think that more than a significant subset of those messages had to have been shared by the Inspector General of the Department of Justice with Special Counsel to warrant such a high-level and immediate personnel change.
Indeed, Ms. Page left the Department of Justice because of her conduct, and Agent Strzok was terminated from the FBI because of it.
Likewise, the prosecutors did not produce evidence of Weissmann's and Ahmad's relationship and work with Bruce Ohr on transmitting the corrupt information to the FBI, and the numerous 302s resulting from the interviews of Bruce Ohr by the second agent.
The Government's misconduct was not limited to General Flynn. Ms. Powell describes in detail how the Government lied in another case related to General Flynn:
In yet another recent demonstration of egregious government misconduct, the government completely changed the meaning of exculpatory information in a declassified version of a report -- by omitting the word "not." This case, involving Adam Lovinger, is related to issues involving Mr. Flynn, as Mr. Lovinger was wrongly charged (and secretly cleared) after blowing the whistle on the fraudulent payments to FBI/CIA/DOD operative Stefan Halper -- a central figure in the government's targeting and intelligence abuses of the last several years -- including against Mr. Flynn.
Mr. Lovinger had been an analyst at the Pentagon for more than ten years when he was detailed to the White House at then-National Security Advisor Flynn's request. Mr. Lovinger voiced concerns internally regarding the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment for prioritizing academic reports (one of which was written by Stefan Halper) at the expense of real threat assessments. He was recalled to the Pentagon, accused of mishandling sensitive information, stripped of his security clearance, and suspended. As it turned out, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service conducted a thorough examination of his electronic devices, but "[a]gents found no evidence he leaked to the press, as charged, or that he was a counterintelligence risk.
Even though the investigation exonerated Mr. Lovinger of these charges a full month before Mr. Lovinger's hearing, the government did not reveal to Mr. Lovinger's attorneys that this investigation occurred.17 Even worse, the declassified version of the NCIS left out a crucial "not". It read that the investigation "did yield any classified or sensitive information,"18 when the truth was the investigation "did not yield any classified or sensitive information."19 The declassified version omitted the word "not."
Got that? The Mueller prosecutors lied about what the investigation of Mr. Lovinger concluded. He did NOT, repeat NOT, "yield any classified or sensitive information. " But Mueller's team of hacks, disgraceful pieces of excrement, took out the word, "NOT".
Now here is where it gets interesting. Sidney Powell filed her document on Friday night (30 August). She also submitted a sealed portion detailing how the Mueller team has lied about the evidence. I have seen one of the affidavits she filed. I will not say who or what it contained other than to expose specific details how Michael Flynn's Fourth Amendment rights were violated. But the prosecutors ran immediately to Adam Goldman of the New York Times as leaked this sealed information.
Adam wrote an article the same day and "reported" the following:
Lawyers for Michael T. Flynn, the president's first national security adviser, escalated their attacks on prosecutors on Friday, recycling unfounded conspiratorial accusations in a last-ditch bid to delay his sentencing in a case in which he has twice admitted guilt.
The move could anger Emmet G. Sullivan, the federal judge who will sentence Mr. Flynn. The filings could magnify any doubts by Judge Sullivan about whether Mr. Flynn truly accepts responsibility for his crime of lying to the F.B.I. and whether he fulfilled his cooperation agreement with the government in one of the lingering cases brought by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.
In a pair of filings, Mr. Flynn's lawyers made clear that they view him as a victim of prosecutorial misconduct, amplifying right-wing theories about a so-called deep state of government bureaucrats working to undermine President Trump. The defense lawyers accused prosecutors of engaging in "pernicious" conduct in Mr. Flynn's case, saying they had been "manipulating or controlling the press to their advantage to extort that plea."
Yet, when you read the full filing by Ms. Powell, not a single "unfounded conspiratorial accusation" is discussed. The prosecutors gave that protected information to Goldman.
Worse, the prosecutors gave Goldman information from the NSA intercepts of Michael Flynn's conversation with the Russian Ambassador. So far, the Mueller team of miscreants have refused to turn over this material to Michael Flynn's lawyer. But they shared it with Goldman, who wrote:
"We must have access to that information to represent our client consistently with his constitutional rights and our ethical obligations," Mr. Flynn's lawyers wrote.
The classified transcripts of the calls make clear that the two men discussed sanctions at length and that Mr. Flynn was highly unlikely to have forgotten those details when questioned by the F.B.I., several former United States officials familiar with the documents have said. It was clear, the officials said, that sanctions were the only thing Mr. Flynn wanted to talk about with Mr. Kislyak.
Mr. Flynn's lawyers also suggested in the filing that the government had exculpatory material, but it is not clear if they consider the transcripts to be that material. Some conservatives have embraced a theory that Mr. Flynn's nonchalance in the F.B.I. interview, which agents documented because it seemed at odds with how blatantly he was lying, was exonerating.
How in the hell does Goldman know what is in those "transcripts"? He was told.
But there is a broader, more important point--Michael Flynn's conversation with the Russian Ambassador was not illegal. It was not improper. He could discuss whatever he wanted to discuss as the incoming National Security Advisor for Donald Trump. This was a false claim by the Mueller Prosecutors.
If the Mueller team, what is left of it, was confident of their position, they would not have leaked this story to the New York Times hack, Goldman. This is a sign of desperation and panic.
Knowing what we know about Judge Sullivan, who is in charge of the Michael Flynn case, he is likely to be furious by this bald lying by Mueller's hacks.
Should be an interesting week ahead. Sidney Powell will probably be feasting on a heaping plate of prosecutor balls. Like the Honey Badger, she is ripping them a new one.
Posted at 10:27 PM in Larry Johnson , Russiagate | Permalink
Factotum , 03 September 2019 at 11:24 AMYear of the Woman finally finds the right woman. I'm with her.Jack , 03 September 2019 at 12:05 PMWhat were Flynn's previous attorneys doing? They got him to cop the plea deal.Larry Johnson -> Jack... , 03 September 2019 at 12:34 PMThey were incompetents. They should be sued for malpractice and disbarred. They helped serve up General Flynn and he trusted them. That's now water under the bridge. Sidney Powell is a force to be reckoned with.Don Schmeling said in reply to Jack... , 03 September 2019 at 06:40 PMThey might have been too scared of what Mueller would do to them if they put up a good case for Flynn.Factotum said in reply to Don Schmeling... , 03 September 2019 at 09:22 PM
I think the same thing happened to George Popadopoulos who had his lawyers roll over and play dead before Mueller.
You need to find Lawyers who are not afraid of the system, or are in bed with the system.The "confession" they got Papadopolus to sign made no sense and almost looked like it had been altered after Papadopolus had already signed his name. There were a series of very disjointed and irrelevant statements of facts, to which Papadopolus agreed they were factual.jd hawkins said in reply to Factotum... , 04 September 2019 at 04:15 AM
Then pow at the very end was basically a confession he had violated the Logan Act.
None of the prior statements supported this conclusion, but as the cherry on top of his "confession" was the claim he engaged in policy level discussions with the very highest Russian higher ups while Obama was still President. (Was he ever in this role - hard to remember?).
That always struck me as a very weird "confession - but there is was with Papadolopus's signature on it, and accepted by the deep state investigating authorities.
This "confession" deserves a re-read in light of what we are learning now about the set-up and ambush mentality of the deep state "investigators.I'm in your 'Amen' corner on this.ex PFC Chuck , 03 September 2019 at 05:38 PMOn another front of the Russiagate affair, per a Monsieur America Twitter thread, Loretta Lynch in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee has absolved herself of any involvement in the FISA warrant on Carter Page. https://twitter.com/MonsieurAmerica/status/1168885394269564928Fred -> ex PFC Chuck ... , 03 September 2019 at 06:54 PMNow the rats are throwing their subordinates under the sinking ship. Good to know the grandma AG had time to meet Hillary's husband on the tarmac but no time to be briefed about "foreign interference" in our election. I can't wait to hear Obama's excuse.Ghost Ship , 03 September 2019 at 07:30 PMJamesT -> Ghost Ship... , 04 September 2019 at 12:35 AMdid yield any classified or sensitive informationLogically just doesn't make sense - it's almost as if the person editing the NCIS report decided he didn't like doing what he asked to do and produced a piece of text that only really made sense with a "not" in it. Either that, or he was actually an idiot.Or the mangled language was used to let them claim it was accidental ... "gosh, we just made an honest mistake".MP98 , 04 September 2019 at 12:01 AMFlynn may have been set up and lied to right and left, BUT... how did he get three stars? He comes across in this as a victim and a dummy.
He should have known that the FBI NEVER interviews people honestly. The agents told him that he didn't need a lawyer so he didn't call one. That's just massive stupid.
Cops I know have told me to NEVER talk to police without a lawyer present. How come the former head of the DIA didn't know that?
Sep 04, 2019 | www.thenation.com
It must again be emphasized: It is hard, if not impossible, to think of a more toxic allegation in American presidential history than the one leveled against candidate, and then president, Donald Trump that he "colluded" with the Kremlin in order to win the 2016 presidential election -- and, still more, that Vladimir Putin's regime, "America's No. 1 threat," had compromising material on Trump that made him its "puppet." Or a more fraudulent accusation.
Even leaving aside the misperception that Russia is the primary threat to America in world affairs, no aspect of this allegation has turned out to be true, as should have been evident from the outset. Major aspects of the now infamous Steele Dossier, on which much of the allegation was based, were themselves not merely "unverified" but plainly implausible.
Was it plausible, for example, that Trump, a longtime owner and operator of international hotels, would commit an indiscreet act in a Moscow hotel that he did not own or control? Or that, as Steele also claimed, high-level Kremlin sources had fed him damning anti-Trump information even though their vigilant boss, Putin, wanted Trump to win the election? Nonetheless, the American mainstream media and other important elements of the US political establishment relied on Steele's allegations for nearly three years, even heroizing him -- and some still do, explicitly or implicitly.
Not surprisingly, former special counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence of "collusion" between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. No credible evidence has been produced that Russia's "interference" affected the result of the 2016 presidential election in any significant way. Nor was Russian "meddling" in the election anything akin to a "digital Pearl Harbor," as widely asserted, and it was certainly far less and less intrusive than President Bill Clinton's political and financial "interference" undertaken to assure the reelection of Russian President Boris Yeltsin in 1996.
Nonetheless, Russiagate's core allegation persists, like a legend, in American political life -- in media commentary, in financial solicitations by some Democratic candidates for Congress, and, as is clear from my own discussions, in the minds of otherwise well-informed people. The only way to dispel, to excoriate, such a legend is to learn and expose how it began -- by whom, when, and why.
Officially, at least in the FBI's version, its operation "Crossfire Hurricane," the counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign that began in mid-2016 was due to suspicious remarks made to visitors by a young and lowly Trump aide, George Papadopoulos. This too is not believable, as I pointed out previously . Most of those visitors themselves had ties to Western intelligence agencies. That is, the young Trump aide was being enticed, possibly entrapped, as part of a larger intelligence operation against Trump. (Papadopoulos wasn't the only Trump associate targeted, Carter Page being another.)
But the question remains: Why did Western intelligence agencies, prompted, it seems clear, by US ones, seek to undermine Trump's presidential campaign? A reflexive answer might be because candidate Trump promised to "cooperate with Russia," to pursue a pro-détente foreign policy, but this was hardly a startling, still less subversive, advocacy by a would-be Republican president. All of the major pro-détente episodes in the 20th century had been initiated by Republican presidents: Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan.
So, again, what was it about Trump that so spooked the spooks so far off their rightful reservation and so intrusively into American presidential politics? Investigations being overseen by Attorney General William Barr may provide answers -- or not. Barr has already leveled procedural charges against James Comey, head of the FBI under President Obama and briefly under President Trump, but the repeatedly hapless Comey seems incapable of having initiated such an audacious operation against a presidential candidate, still less a president-elect. As I have long suggested, John Brennan and James Clapper, head of the CIA and Office of National Intelligence under Obama respectively, are the more likely culprits.
The FBI is no longer the fearsome organization it once was and thus not hard to investigate, as Barr has already shown. The others, particularly the CIA, are a different matter, and Barr has suggested they are resisting. To investigate them, particularly the CIA, it seems, he has brought in a veteran prosecutor-investigator, John Durham.
Which raises other questions. Are Barr and Durham, whose own careers include associations with US intelligence agencies, determined to uncover the truth about the origins of Russiagate? And can they really do so fully, given the resistance already apparent? Even if so, will Barr make public their findings, however damning of the intelligence agencies they may be, or will he classify them? And if the latter, will President Trump use his authority to declassify the findings as the 2020 presidential election approaches in order to discredit the role of Obama's presidency and its would-be heirs?
Equally important perhaps, how will mainstream media treat the Barr-Durham investigation and its findings? Having driven the Russiagate narrative for so long and so misleadingly -- and with liberals perhaps finding themselves in the incongruous position of defending rogue intelligence agencies -- will they credit or seek to discredit the findings?
It is true, of course, that Barr and Durham, as Trump appointees, are not the ideal investigators of Intel misdeeds in the Russiagate saga. Much better would be a truly bipartisan, independent investigation based in the Senate, as was the Church Committee of the mid-1970s, which exposed and reformed (it thought at the time) serious abuses by US intelligence agencies. That would require, however, a sizable core of nonpartisan, honorable, and courageous senators of both parties, who thus far seem to be lacking.
There are also, however, the ongoing and upcoming Democratic presidential debates. First and foremost, Russiagate is about the present and future of the American political system, not about Russia. (Indeed, as I have repeatedly argued, there is very little, if any, Russia in Russiagate.)
At every "debate" or comparable forum, all of the Democratic candidates should be asked about this grave threat to American democracy -- what they think about what happened and would do about it if elected president. Consider it health care for our democracy.
This commentary is based on Stephen F. Cohen's most recent weekly discussion with the host of The John Batchelor Show . Now in their sixth year, previous installments are at TheNation.com .
Stephen F. Cohen Stephen F. Cohen is a professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University. A Nation contributing editor, his most recent book War With Russia? From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate is available in paperback and in an ebook edition. His weekly conversations with the host of The John Batchelor Show, now in their sixth year, are available at www.thenation.com .
Sep 04, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.comDaniel Bessner has written a very interesting review of Sar's memoir, The Education of an Idealist . Here he focuses on her narrow thinking about "humanitarian" intervention:
If you accept Power's premises, then humanitarian intervention boils down to a purely philosophical inquiry: Is it right to save lives if one has the capacity to do so? The answer, of course, is yes. The problem, though, is that intervention is not a thought experiment; it takes place in a world of brutal realities. In particular, humanitarian forces confront radical uncertainty. Is intervention likely to impel more violence in the long term? Do policymakers actually know enough about the situation on the ground to make the "right" decisions? Is the American public willing to commit itself to years-long reconstruction efforts? Honest answers here may not sit well with idealism. In many instances, the most moral act is not to act at all.
Can military intervention ever be humanitarian? It may be possible in theory, but as Bessner notes it doesn't work that way in practice. "Humanitarian" interventionists want the wars they support to be judged by their intentions to save lives and not by the results of ensuing chaos, instability, and violence. Taking sides in foreign conflicts inevitably means deciding that our government should end the lives of some people that have done nothing to us because we have concluded that it is the right thing to do. That takes for granted that our government has the right to act as judge and executioner in other people's wars simply because we have the power to affect the outcome. When we think about "humanitarian" intervention this way, we can see that it is driven by the worst kind of arrogant presumption. The first question we should ask is this: what gives us the authority to interfere in another country's internal conflict? We should also ask ourselves what gives us the right to cast aside international law whenever we deem it necessary. Isn't "humanitarian" intervention in practice little more than international armed vigilantism?
The Libyan war is one example of just such a "good" intervention that pretty clearly caused more harm than it prevented. It also violated most of the requirements of the "responsibility to protect" doctrine that was invoked to justify it. Like more than a few other die-hard Libyan war supporters, Power remains convinced that it was the right decision, because she doesn't ask the questions that would force her to confront the harm that the intervention did to Libya and the surrounding region. Bessner comments:
Power never really asked these questions, because ultimately, as the historian Stephen Wertheim has argued, she considers humanitarian intervention a categorical imperative (as long as it doesn't involve U.S. allies, of course).
That last qualification is an important one, and it gets at the heart of what is wrong with "humanitarian" interventionism in the U.S. and the West. If a government is considered to be on "our" side, it can commit war crimes with impunity, devastate whole countries, and starve tens of millions of people, and the most vocal "humanitarian" interventionists will usually have nothing to say about it. I have remarked on several occasions that "humanitarian" interventionists just ignored the catastrophe in Yemen despite the fact that it was the world's worst man-made humanitarian disaster, and it has only been in the last year or two that any of them have spoken up about it now that it is Trump's policy.
The most telling part of Power's career in government was that she served as ambassador to the U.N. at a time when the U.S. was enabling and supporting the Saudi coalition war on Yemen, and as part of the administration she had nothing to say about the crimes being committed against Yemeni civilians by coalition forces with U.S. military assistance and weapons.
As Bessner notes, she doesn't have much to say about the abuses of U.S. clients in her book. She has been eager to advocate for using force against hostile or pariah regimes when they commit atrocities, but when client states use American weapons to commit the same atrocities while enjoying full U.S. backing Power didn't so much as utter a protest. After she left government and Trump became president, Power criticized U.S. support for the war, but when she was in a position to challenge a monstrous policy from inside the administration she apparently said nothing.
Bessner observes that railing against hostile and pariah states while letting clients off the hook makes no sense if the goal is to minimize the harm to civilians:
Her approach does not make much sense from a pragmatic perspective either: U.S. officials have the highest likelihood of ending human rights abuses in countries that depend on us; there is little point in spending political capital in a mostly quixotic attempt to transform antagonists like North Korea.
Of course, it is much safer politically to denounce the states with which our government has no ties or influence, and it is much easier to remain silent about the crimes of client states that have significant clout in Washington. The point here is not just that Power failed her own test when she served in government, but that the impulse to intervene on "humanitarian" grounds amounts to agitating for war against certain governments while giving U.S. clients a free pass to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity with our government's blessing.
Alex (the one that likes Ike) 5 hours agoThere's yet one more reason to why she wasn't saying anything about Yemen when in office beside the one that it were her guys who directed that war then. Perhaps less phony, but, I'd rather say, more tragic. It's much easier to criticize someone for neglecting his duties than not to neglect those duties when you've got them yourself.
I almost see those lemmings on her Twitter chirping: 'Oh, you're so brave, you're standing up to the Terrible Orange Tyrant.' (Not that the "Tyrant" was even aware that she's standing up to him).
And no one with enough intellectual honesty to mention that she was among the greatest enablers of Yemenis' suffering yet before the said "Tyrant" (who might be a tyrant to anyone but her social class) entered the office. Profiles in cowardice, all of them.
Sep 02, 2019 | www.yahoo.com
The first-of-its-kind virus, designed to sabotage Iran's nuclear program, effectively launched the era of digital warfare and was unleashed some time in 2007, after Iran began installing its first batch of centrifuges at a controversial enrichment plant near the village of Natanz.
The courier behind that intrusion, whose existence and role has not been previously reported, was an inside mole recruited by Dutch intelligence agents at the behest of the CIA and the Israeli intelligence agency, the Mossad, according to sources who spoke with Yahoo News.
An Iranian engineer recruited by the Dutch intelligence agency AIVD provided critical data that helped the U.S. developers target their code to the systems at Natanz, according to four intelligence sources. That mole then provided much-needed inside access when it came time to slip Stuxnet onto those systems using a USB flash drive.
The Dutch were asked in 2004 to help the CIA and Mossad get access to the plant, but it wasn't until three years later that the mole, who posed as a mechanic working for a front company doing work at Natanz, delivered the digital weapon to the targeted systems. "[T]he Dutch mole was the most important way of getting the virus into Natanz," one of the sources told Yahoo.
Neither the CIA nor the Mossad responded to inquiries from Yahoo News about the information. The AIVD declined to comment on its involvement in the operation.
The now famous covert operation known as "Olympic Games" was designed not to destroy Iran's nuclear program outright but to set it back for a while to buy time for sanctions and diplomacy to take effect. That strategy was successful in helping to bring Iran to the negotiating table, and ultimately resulted in an agreement with the country in 2015.
The revelation of Dutch involvement harkens back to a time when there was still extensive cooperation and strong, multilateral agreement among the U.S. and its allies about how to deal with the Iranian nuclear program -- a situation that changed last year after the Trump administration pulled out of the hard-won nuclear accord with Tehran.
withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, May 8, 2018. (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)
The Olympic Games operation was primarily a joint U.S.-Israel mission that involved the NSA, the CIA, the Mossad, the Israeli Ministry of Defense and the Israeli SIGINT National Unit, Israel's equivalent of the NSA. But the U.S. and Israel had assistance from three other nations, according to sources, hence the covert codename that gave nod to the five-ring symbol of the world's most famous international sporting event. Two of the three participating players were the Netherlands and Germany. The third is believed to be France, although U.K. intelligence also played a role.
Germany contributed technical specifications and knowledge about the industrial control systems made by the German firm Siemens that were used in the Iranian plant to control the spinning centrifuges, according to sources. France is believed to have provided intelligence of a similar sort.
But the Dutch were in a unique position to perform a different role -- delivering key intelligence about Iran's activities to procure equipment from Europe for its illicit nuclear program, as well as information about the centrifuges themselves. This is because the centrifuges at Natanz were based on designs stolen from a Dutch company in the 1970s by Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan. Khan stole the designs to build Pakistan's nuclear program, then proceeded to market them to other countries, including Iran and Libya.
The Dutch intelligence agency, known as AIVD, along with U.S. and British intelligence, infiltrated Khan's supply network of European consultants and front companies who helped build the nuclear programs in Iran and Libya. That infiltration didn't just involve old-school tradecraft but also employed offensive hacking operations being developed as part of the burgeoning field of digital espionage.
AIVD's cyber capabilities are well known now -- last year it was revealed that AIVD was responsible for tipping off the FBI to the 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee, knowledge it had acquired because its operatives had hacked into computers belonging to the Russian hacking group known as Cozy Bear in 2014 and were watching in 2015 when the Russians broke into computers at the U.S. State Department and the DNC.
But during the early days of Iran's nuclear program, AIVD's hacking team was small and still developing.The Iranian program, which had been on the back burner for years, kicked into high gear in 1996, when Iran secretly purchased a set of blueprints and centrifuge components from Khan. In 2000, Iran broke ground at Natanz with plans to build a facility that would hold 50,000 spinning centrifuges for enriching uranium gas. That same year, AIVD hacked the email system of a key Iranian defense organization in an effort to obtain more information about Iran's nuclear plans, according to sources.
Israeli and Western intelligence agencies secretly monitored the progress at Natanz over the next two years, until August 2002, when an Iranian dissident group publicly exposed the Iranian program at a press conference in Washington, D.C., using information provided by the intelligence agencies. Inspectors for the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations body that monitors nuclear programs around the world, demanded access to Natanz and were alarmed to discover that the Iranian program was much further along than believed.
Iran was pressed into agreeing to halt all activity at Natanz while the IAEA sought to obtain more information about the nuclear program, and the suspension continued throughout all of 2004 and most of 2005. But it was only a matter of time before operations at Natanz resumed, and the CIA and the Mossad wanted to be inside when they did.
The request to the Dutch for help with this came toward the end of 2004, when a Mossad liaison working out of the Israeli Embassy in the Hague and a CIA official based at the U.S. Embassy met with a representative from AIVD. There was no talk yet about inserting a digital weapon into the control systems at Natanz; the aim at that time was still just intelligence.
But the timing wasn't random. In 2003, British and U.S. intelligence had landed a huge coup when they intercepted a ship containing thousands of centrifuge components headed to Libya -- components for the same model of centrifuges used at Natanz. The shipment provided clear evidence of Libya's illicit nuclear program. Libya was persuaded to give up the program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions, and also agreed to relinquish any components already received.
By March 2004, the U.S., under protest from the Dutch, had seized the components from the ship and those already in Libya and flown them to the Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee and to a facility in Israel. Over the next months, scientists assembled the centrifuges and studied them to determine how long it might take for Iran to enrich enough gas to make a bomb. Out of this came the plot to sabotage the centrifuges.
The Dutch intelligence agency already had an insider in Iran, and after the request from the CIA and Mossad came in, the mole decided to set up two parallel tracks -- each involving a local front company -- with the hope that one would succeed getting into Natanz.
Establishing a dummy company with employees, customers and records showing a history of activity, takes time, and time was in short supply. In late 2005, Iran announced it was withdrawing from the suspension agreement, and in February 2006 it began to enrich its first batch of uranium hexaflouride gas in a pilot plant in Natanz. The Iranians ran into some problems that slowed them down, however, and it wasn't until February 2007 that they formally launched the enrichment program by installing the first centrifuges in the main halls at Natanz. [ in 2007 it is still Bush administration (which means Cheney) at the helm]
By then, development of the attack code was already long under way. A sabotage test was conducted with centrifuges some time in 2006 and presented to President George Bush, who authorized the covert operation once he was shown it could actually succeed.
By May 2007, Iran had 1,700 centrifuges installed at Natanz that were enriching gas, with plans to double that number by summer. But sometime before the summer of 2007, the Dutch mole was inside Natanz.
The first company the mole established had failed to get into Natanz -- there was a problem with the way the company was set up, according to two of the sources, and "the Iranians were already suspicious," one explained.
The second company, however, got assistance from Israel. This time, the Dutch mole, who was an engineer by training, managed to get inside Natanz by posing as a mechanic. His work didn't involve installing the centrifuges, but it got him where he needed to be to collect configuration information about the systems there. He apparently returned to Natanz a few times over the course of some months.
"[He] had to get in several times in order to collect essential information [that could be used to] update the virus accordingly," one of the sources told Yahoo News.
The sources didn't provide details about the information he collected, but Stuxnet was meant to be a precision attack that would only unleash its sabotage if it found a very specific configuration of equipment and network conditions. Using the information the mole provided, the attackers were able to update the code and provide some of that precision.
There is, in fact, evidence of updates to the code occurring during this period. According to the security firm Symantec, which reverse-engineered Stuxnet after it was discovered, the attackers made updates to the code in May 2006 and again in February 2007, just as Iran began installing the centrifuges at Natanz. But they made final changes to the code on Sept. 24, 2007, modifying key functions that were needed to pull off the attack, and compiled the code on that date. Compiling code is the final stage before launching it.
The code was designed to close exit valves on random numbers of centrifuges so that gas would go into them but couldn't get out. This was intended to raise the pressure inside the centrifuges and cause damage over time and also waste gas.
This version of Stuxnet had just one way to spread -- via a USB flash drive. The Siemens control systems at Natanz were air-gapped, meaning they weren't connected to the internet, so the attackers had to find a way to jump that gap to infect them. Engineers at Natanz programmed the control systems with code loaded onto USB flash drives, so the mole either directly installed the code himself by inserting a USB into the control systems or he infected the system of an engineer, who then unwittingly delivered Stuxnet when he programmed the control systems using a USB stick.
Once that was accomplished, the mole didn't return to Natanz again, but the malware worked its sabotage throughout 2008. In 2009 the attackers decided to change tactics and launched a new version of the code in June that year and again in March and April 2010. This version, instead of closing valves on the centrifuges, varied the speed at which the centrifuges spun, alternatively speeding them up to a level beyond which they were designed to spin and slowing them down. The aim was to both damage the centrifuges and undermine the efficiency of the enrichment process. Notably, the attackers had also updated and compiled this version of the attack code back on Sept. 24, 2007, when they had compiled the code for the first version -- suggesting that intelligence the Dutch mole had provided in 2007 may have contributed to this version as well.
By the time this later version of the code was unleashed, however, the attackers had lost the inside access to Natanz that they had enjoyed through the mole -- or perhaps they simply no longer needed it. They got this version of Stuxnet into Natanz by infecting external targets who brought it into the plant. The targets were employees of five Iranian companies -- all of them contractors in the business of installing industrial control systems in Natanz and other facilities in Iran -- who became unwitting couriers for the digital weapon.
"It's amazing that we're still getting insights into the development process of Stuxnet [10 years after its discovery]," said Liam O'Murchu, director of development for the Security Technology and Response division at Symantec. O'Murchu was one of three researchers at the company who reversed the code after it was discovered. "It's interesting to see that they had the same strategy for [the first version of Stuxnet] but that it was a more manual process. ... They needed to have someone on the ground whose life was at risk when they were pulling off this operation."
O'Murchu thinks the change in tactics for the later version of Stuxnet may be a sign that the capabilities of the attackers improved so that they no longer needed an inside mole.
"Maybe back in 2004 they didn't have the ability to do this in an automated way without having someone on the ground," he said. "Whereas five years later they were able to pull off the entire attack without having an asset on the ground and putting someone at risk."
But their later tactic had a different drawback. The attackers added multiple spreading mechanisms to this version of the code to increase the likelihood that it would reach the target systems inside Natanz. This caused Stuxnet to spread wildly out of control, first to other customers of the five contractors, and then to thousands of other machines around the world, leading to Stuxnet's discovery and public exposure in June 2010.Months after Stuxnet's discovery, a website in Israel indicated that Iran had arrested and possibly executed several workers at Natanz under the belief that they helped get the malware onto systems at the plant. Two of the intelligence sources who spoke with Yahoo News indicated that there indeed had been loss of life over the Stuxnet program, but didn't say whether this included the Dutch mole.
While Stuxnet didn't significantly set back the Iranian program -- due to its premature discovery -- it did help buy time for diplomacy and sanctions to bring Iran to the negotiating table. Stuxnet also changed the nature of warfare and launched a digital arms race. It led other countries, including Iran, to see the value in using offensive cyber operations to achieve political aims -- a consequence the U.S. has been dealing with ever since.
Gen. Michael Hayden, former head of the CIA and the NSA, acknowledged its groundbreaking nature when he likened the Stuxnet operation to the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. "I don't want to pretend it's the same effect," he said, "but in one sense at least, it's August 1945."
Kim Zetter is a journalist and the author of Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World's First Digital Weapon . Huib Modderkolk is a journalist with the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant who broke the story last year of AIVD's hack of Cozy Bear; he is also the author of Het is oorlog: maar niemand die het ziet (The Invisible War), to be published this week in the Netherlands.
Operation Ajax seem to be forgotten by the West, but well remembered, by the Iranian folks. Gary
"The now famous covert operation known as "Olympic Games" was designed not to destroy Iran's nuclear program outright but to set it back for a while to buy time for sanctions and diplomacy to take effect."
REALITY CHECK 2 hours ago
General Michael Hayden (ex CIA and NSA head) "In other words, there were many of us in government who thought the purpose of the [Israeli threatened air] raid wasn't to destroy the Iranian nuclear system but the purpose of the raid was to put us at war with Iran." -in "Zero Days" 2016 documentary about the Stuxnet attack on Iran
From the 'Zero days' documentary on Stuxnet: "Inside the ROC (NSA Remote Operations Center] we were furious. The Israelis took our code for the [Stuxnet] delivery system and changed it. Then, on their own, without our agreement they just ****ing launched it. 2010, around the same time they started killing Iranian scientists, [unintelligble] ****ed up the code, Instead of hiding, the code started shutting down computers, so naturally people noticed. Because they [Israel] were in a hurry, they opened Pandora's Box. They let it out, and it spread all over the world. ... The problem was that the Israelis, Unit 8200, were always pushing us to be more aggressive ----
Our "friends" in Israel took a weapon that we jointly developed, in part to keep Israel from doing something crazy, and then used it on their own in a way that blew the cover of the operation and could have led to war. And we can't talk about that?" But my concern, and the reason I'm talking, is because when you shut down a country's power grid, it doesn't just pop back up. It's more like Humpty Dumpty. and if all the King's men can't turn the lights back on, or filter the water for weeks, then lots of people die. And something we can do to others, they can do too. Is that something we should keep quiet? Or should we talk about it? ---- R
REALITY CHECK 1 hour ago@potz.. Nice try at the diversion. In fact it's already well known that the "jewish state" funds your internet propaganda operations. In fact I'll give readers a little insight to your operation. Ever wondered why Mid East comments are so overwhelmingly anti-Muslim, anti-Iran, anti-Palestinians and pro-israel? A new propaganda app sponsored by the Israeli Strategic Affairs Ministry for israel's thousands of internet trolls, Act.il : "A new app 'arms' thousands of motivated civilians worldwide, defending Israel's image online&