Bulletin N° 823
The 2005 film made by members of the Socialist Party of Great Britain who invite us to take a fresh look at the world we live in
and to question some of the most basic assumptions about life in capitalism :
"Capitalism and other kids stuff"
For Hope, Analysis, and Action
16 November 2018
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
The looming twin disasters of Global Warming and Thermo Nuclear War bring with them murder, torture, famine, mass migration, genocide, fear, bigotry, storms, flood and fire. We are living in a man-made hell of almost biblical proportions. Looked at scientifically, we are facing what appears to be the end of our species, or at least the end of organized life on earth as we have known it. From the beginning of civilization, some 5000 years ago, the historic quantitative progression of labor exploitation and hyper-exploitation started with chattel slavery, and developed into serfdom, and later into wage slavery. These sources of private wealth produced inequalities that in turn produced qualitative leaps from the political economies of absolute monarchies, to those of empires, to dictatorships, and to limited democracies with cultural accoutrements growing like excrescences from every political body. The current attempt to abort democracy, now overseen by an obscure hermit kingdom and an archaic religious sect in the employment of an empire, is an anomaly that might disorient anyone untutored in history. It represents a shattering of rational thought and political tradition, and it constitutes a real threat to humanity. The driving force, of course, is the quest for private profits which is premised on the violence (and the threat of violence) of labor exploitation and class war. Like the slaves of old, our only reward is the grave. We exist to make the “owners” of capital richer!
But, some see this dark cloud has a silver lining. Behind this grim reality is evidence of a stubborn contradiction which raises the question: Who has the legitimate right to control the surplus value that our economy generates, the so-called “owners” or the producers of this wealth? Upon what logic is this right founded, and what are the necessary conditions to maintain this control?
A great deal of disinformation has been generated, and illusions created, to hide the production process from general scrutiny, but in fact necessary goods and services continue to be produced by human labor, even if labor-management and consumer-management has taken on a robotic countenance today to obstruct any inconvenient ideological formations. At the core of human society remains man-and-women-kind, despite the numerous technologies that mediate between labor activity and the actual production of commodities, and despite the various techniques available to control and even eliminate workers in large numbers.
Our struggle remains the same as the one that has been faced by dominated classes for millennia: How to take control of surplus value away from the “owners” and place it under the control of democratic decision-making, for the well-being of all society. Tactics and strategies of this kind must be placed on the agenda, as the morally bankrupt ruling classes careen toward a concrete wall of their own making. . . . This is not our chosen destination!
The 20 + items below discuss the consequences and the causes of political alliances that are creating great harm to mankind. The ability to differentiate, to classify, categorize and to generalize must be learned, and to succeed it must be based on factual accounts of material reality as it exists, and not as we wish it were. These essays below are an attempt to look beyond mere wish fulfillment, to offer readers factual elements with which to make their own analyses of what is actually going down in today’s world and how this affects them and those they love.
Professor emeritus of American Studies
Director of Research
University of Paris-Nanterre
Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements
The University of California-San Diego
Is The Evidence of Global Warming Too Scary
For Humans To Cope With?
by Paul Craig Roberts
I appreciate the numerous emails thanking me for providing an understandable explanation of the global warming scenario. The book, Unprecedented Crime, about which I reported, caused me to start thinking more seriously about man-made global warming. I already was thinking about it, because capitalism owes its profits to the costs that it imposes on the environment, costs that are external to the capitalist entity. I have been thinking about this since I addressed “external costs” in my 2013 book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism. I am thinking that if man-made global warming is indeed in the cards, as the current evidence supports, the external costs of capitalism will far exceed the total value of all the goods produced over the course of the industrial revolution. Past material comforts will be paid for by future curtailment of life on Earth. Greed, gluttony, envy, lust, and pride will have proven to be the five of the seven deadly sins that were deadly for planet Earth.
I hope I can find the time and energy to get around to a book on the subject. For now, like you, I am learning. It struck me, as it strikes many of you, how a one or two degree rise in temperature can cause ice caps, glaciers, and the Greenland ice shelf to melt. We don’t think of the Artic or glaciers hovering on the temperature border of frozen and melting. It is not intuitive that small changes can make such large differences.
Like you, I also found it puzzling that as carbon dioxide is only a small part of the atmosphere, how its increase can have such dangerous effects.
While struggling to put what I learned into understandable language, I thankfully came across this explanation in Scientific American:
“Small changes in the Earth’s heat balance can lead to large climatic changes. For example, the ice ages during the last several million years–and the warmer periods in between–appear to have been triggered by no more than a different seasonal and latitudinal distribution of the solar energy absorbed by the Earth, not by a change in output from the sun. The geologic record shows that the differences in ice cover, sea level and precipitation as well as in plant and animal populations were quite dramatic between the ice ages and the warm interglacials. Yet the global average temperature differences corresponding to these radically different climates were only about 5 degrees C in the tropics and 8 degrees C in polar regions.”
In case you don’t understand what is being said, the message is that very small differences in temperature are the difference between ice ages and heat extinction ages.
War and Poverty at the Heart of European & US Migration Turmoil
by Finian Cunningham
Europe has certainly adopted more fortress-like controls against would-be refugees. A concomitant rise in anti-immigrant political parties has in turn fueled popular resentment towards EU institutions.
But the debate requires much more than “moral appeals.”
A recent study entitled ‘Building Walls’ puts the growth of EU internal and external border barriers into stark perspective. In the 1990s, there were two border walls. Now the number has grown to a total of 17, with most of the structures built over the past three years.
Ten countries out of 28 EU member states have built physical barriers to control migrants entering from outside the bloc. They include Austria, Spain, the United Kingdom, Hungary, Greece, Slovenia and Latvia.
The authors of the above report call the structures “edifices of fear” and make the startling comparison to the Berlin Wall that separated East and West Germany until its dismantlement in 1989. EU states have built border barriers equivalent to the length of six Berlin Walls.
The report also reproaches the proliferation of “mental walls” across EU member states with the rise of what it calls “far-right” and “racist” political parties. There are now, it is claimed, 10 EU states in which “xenophobic” parties have significant government or parliamentary representation.
Israel to Police European Coastlines – Protecting the Continent from Refugees?
by Peter Koenig
A Celebration of Killing and Dying
by Camillo Mac Bica
November 10th is the 242nd birthday of the United State Marine Corps. It is a time of celebration during which current and former Marines acknowledge the storied history and glorious traditions of the branch of the military in which they so proudly served. I, however, am torn. As a former Marine Corps officer with service during the Vietnam War, I still occasionally admit to having been a Marine, perhaps also with a measure of pride, Yet, I have realized that this admission encompasses more than the pomp and pageantry that we celebrate each year on November 10th. I realized what being a Marine actually entails, that as a young man I underwent, perhaps endured is better, a profound life-altering experience, Marine Boot Camp, during which everything I was, embraced, stood for, and held sacred, was brutally and methodically destroyed, with the resultant void filled with the values, “virtues,” and abilities appropriate to the role I was about to assume.
The Marine Corps builds men (and women), it is said, albeit of a specific sort. I have realized that much of this physical, emotional, psychological, and ethical conversion and conditioning process is intended to create effective instruments of death and destruction, killing machines who will do the bidding of our nation’s political and military leadership without hesitation or question. I have realized that Marine training focuses on building an intense fraternity and camaraderie with others who wear the uniform. Anyone who has experienced the insanity of the battlefield understands that when the shit hits the fan, we kill and sacrifice not for god, flag, country, or even for Corps, but for the man or woman at our side.
I have realized that I and many others who claim the title of Marine have had our selflessness, dedication, and patriotism exploited; asked, better compelled, to make sacrifices fighting in wars that were (are) ill-conceived, unnecessary, unjust, and immoral. I have realized that as a Marine I was fighting not for freedom – ours, or in my case, the Vietnamese – a claim we hear so often, and that I was an aggressor, invader, and occupier fighting for corporate profit and national hegemony placed in an untenable survival situation of kill or be killed.
War Criminals in High Office Commemorate the End of World War I
by Prof Michel Chossudovsky
In a bitter irony, several of the World’s leaders who were “peacefully” commemorating the end of World War I in Paris including Trump, Netanyahu, Macron and May are the protagonists of war in Afghanistan, Palestine, Syria, Libya, Iraq and Yemen.
To put it bluntly they are war criminals under international law.
They have blood on their hands.
What on earth are they commemorating?
In the words of Hans Stehling: “As We Honour the 15 Million Dead of 1914-1918, a Demented US President Flies into Paris with Plans to Attack Iran” [with nuclear weapons] (Global Research, November 12, 2018)
Lest we forget: War is the ultimate crime, “The Crime against Peace” as defined under Nuremberg.
Germany on a Political Seesaw
by Victor Grossman
While Americans teetered, arguing as to which side gained more in the elections, Germans have been balancing on a seesaw of their own – which can also have decisive consequences.
Seated precariously on the descending side are the ruling parties of the Grand Coalition – GroKo in German journalese. When on October 14th the Christian Social Union (CSU) in Bavaria, the unique one-state subsidiary of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU),” got the worst result anyone could recall in a state election, the blow sent shock waves through the whole country. It was still the strongest party in this biggest German state but must now share cabinet seats with an equally conservative local breakaway party. All exertions of its fading king-pin, Horst Seehofer, who tried to win points by attacking and insulting his ally Angela Merkel from the right, failed miserably. So did his attempts – he’s still Federal Interior Minister – to save the head of the Bureau to Protect the Constitution (like the FBI), who had become all too openly pro-fascist. It looks as if the amused-smiling Seehofer will soon follow his appointee into involuntary retirement and right-wing Bavarian loud-voiced pride – recalling old Texas in a way – was reduced to a rather hoarse croak.
Two weeks later came the next blow. The wealthy state of Hesse, with its center in Frankfurt/Main, was a stronghold of the Social Democrats (SPD) for decades. Then they were pushed out by the Christian Democrats, often using racist stereotyping propaganda. The state elections on October 28th shocked them both. The SPD was reduced to a pitiful relic, under 20 %, while the CDU got its worst result in 50 years.
BRICS: A Future in Limbo?
by Peter Koenig
The BRICS are not what they intended to be, never really were.
Today it’s clear that fascist-turned Brazil is out – so we are at RICS. There is not much to argue about. The world’s fifth largest economy, Brazil, has failed and betrayed the concept of the BRICS and the world at large. Whether you consider South Africa as a valid member of the BRICS is also questionable. Much of SA’s social injustice has actually become worse since the end of apartheid. Ending apartheid was a mere political and legal exercise.
Distribution of power and money in SA have not really changed. To the contrary, it worsened. 80% of all land is still in the hands of white farmers. This is what President Cyril Ramaphosa wants to change drastically, by confiscating white farmers’ land without compensation and re-distribute it to black farmers, who have no formation of how to run these farms. This is not only utterly unjust and will create internal conflicts, the last thing SA needs, but it is also very inefficient, as farming and agricultural production will decline most likely drastically and SA, a potential exporter of farm and agricultural goods, will become a net importer, a serious hit on South African’s economy.
The principle of redistributing land to the black African society is a solid one. But not by force and not by confiscation without compensation, nor without an elaborate training program for African farmers – to lead to a peaceful transfer – all of which does takes time and cannot happen over-night. There are too many examples of rush-rush land reforms that failed miserably and actually plunged entire societies into poverty and famine. Land reforms – YES, but planned and well organized and strategized. Land reforms are long-term propositions. To be successful, they don’t happen over night.
The Unreal World of US Elections – Fake As A Pro Wrestling Match
If US Politics Were Real, A Massive Blue Wave Would Be 100% Certain
by Caitlin Johnstone
I haven’t been writing about the US midterms much, because I don’t care about that nonsense anymore. The whole thing’s a fake pro wrestling performance staged every couple of years to give a heavily armed populace the illusory sense that they have some degree of control over the things their government does.
By this I do not mean that the votes aren’t real or that the outcomes are predetermined, I simply mean that both mainstream parties are controlled by plutocrats who benefit from the status quo and are only interested in their own power and profit.
No matter who wins on Tuesday, the wars are guaranteed to continue, the oligarchs are guaranteed to keep siphoning more and more money out of the pockets of ordinary Americans, opaque and unaccountable intelligence agencies are guaranteed to continue expanding intrusive surveillance practices and narrative control psyops in collaboration with powerful Silicon Valley corporations, and we’re guaranteed to keep hurtling toward climate catastrophe on the back of an economic system which requires infinite growth on a finite planet.
Saudi Arabia Has To Be Stopped And This Time It May Get Stopped
by Andre Vltchek
It appears that the KSA has crossed all lines of decency, if there were ever any.
In the eyes of many in the West, it crossed them not because it has been brutally killing tens of thousands of innocent people in Yemen, not even because it keeps sponsoring terrorists in Syria, (and in fact all over the world), often on behalf of the West. And not even because it is trying to turn its neighboring country, Qatar, from a peninsula into an island.
The crimes against humanity committed by Saudi Arabia are piling up, but the hermit kingdom (it is so hermit that it does not even issue tourist visas, in order to avoid scrutiny) is not facing any sanctions or embargos, with some exceptions like Germany. These are some of the most barbaric crimes committed in modern history, anywhere and by anyone. Executing and then quartering people, amputating their limbs, torturing, bombing civilians.
But for years and decades, all this mattered nothing. Saudi Arabia served faithfully both big business and the political interests of the United Kingdom first, and of the West in general later. That of course includes Israel, with which the House of Saud shares almost a grotesque hatred towards Shi’a Islam.
Bin Salman 'tried to persuade Netanyahu to go to war in Gaza': Sources
by David Hearst
War was among scenarios suggested by damage-limitation task force established to advise Saudi crown prince in aftermath of Khashoggi killing
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attempted to persuade Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to start a conflict with Hamas in Gaza as part of a plan to divert attention from the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, sources inside Saudi Arabia have told Middle East Eye.
A war in Gaza was among a range of measures and scenarios proposed by an emergency task force set up to counter increasingly damaging leaks about Khashoggi's murder coming from Turkish authorities, according to sources with knowledge of the group's activities.
The task force, which is composed of officials from the royal court, the foreign and defence ministries, and the intelligence service, briefs the the crown prince every six hours, MEE was told. It advised bin Salman that a war in Gaza would distract Trump's attention and refocus Washington’s attention on the role Saudi Arabia plays in bolstering Israeli strategic interests. It also advised bin Salman to “neutralise Turkey by all means” - including attempts to bribe Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with offers to buy Turkish arms and statements by the crown prince attempting to shore up relations between Riyadh and Ankara.
In comments made at last month's Future Investment Initiative, bin Salman claimed Khashoggi's murder was being used to drive a wedge between Saudi Arabia and Turkey. He said that would not happen "as long as there is a king called King Salman bin Abdelaziz and a crown prince called Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia".
Israel Sabotages Ceasefire Talks, Assassinating Hamas Commander, IDF Senior Commander Also Killed
by Richard Silverstein
(November 12, 2018)
Today, IDF commandos invaded Gaza in a night-time raid and murdered seven Hamas operatives, including the commander responsible for the tunnel defense system maintained by the Islamist rulers of the enclave. According to various media sources, the raid was exposed and Palestinian militants fought back fiercely. In order to free the IDF forces, the Israelis had to lay down a massive drone and air attack which permitted them to withdraw back to Israel.
The Israeli military censor has prohibited domestic media naming the Israeli commando who was killed. But an Israeli source has informed me he is Lt. Col. Mahmoud Kheireddine from the Druze village of Hurfeish. Another officer who was wounded is from Isfiya.
They both served in Sayeret Matkal, Israel’s equivalent of the Navy SEALs. Kheireddine was deputy commander of the unit. Given the death of so high-ranking an IDF officer, something went terribly wrong on this mission.
In response, Hamas has launched missiles into southern Israel and driven hundreds of thousands into air raid shelters. Once again, just as both sides thought they might be close to a ceasefire and/or a prisoner exchange, Israel rescued defeat from the jaws and victory and almost guaranteed a new escalation, if not war, against Gaza.
Israel kills seven Palestinians in covert Gaza raid
Senior Hamas commander killed by Israeli special forces in cross-border operation in which one Israeli soldier died.
Israeli forces killed seven Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in a clandestine raid targeting a Hamas commander and air attacks that provided cover for the commandos to escape back into Israel by car.
The Israeli incursion and air attacks drew rocket fire from the Hamas-controlled enclave late on Sunday. A senior Hamas official said the Israeli special forces team infiltrated an area near the southern city of Khan Younis in a civilian vehicle.
Among those reported killed in the attack was Nour Baraka, a prominent commander of the al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas.
A ground operation inside the Gaza Strip is rare and it is likely to raise tensions significantly.
John Bolton Wins “Defender of Israel” Award from Zionist Lobby Group
The ZOA, Bolton’s enthusiastic sponsor, led the campaign to remove former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster from his post after railing against McMaster’s “anti-Israel” positions, most notably his support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), better known as the Iran nuclear deal.
by Alastair Crooke
Nahum Barnea, a leading Israeli commentator, writing in Yedioth Ahronoth in May (in Hebrew), set out, unambiguously, the ‘deal’ behind Trump’s Middle East policy: In the wake of the US exit from JCPOA [which occurred on 8 May], Trump, Barnea wrote, will threaten a rain of ‘fire and fury’ onto Tehran … whilst Putin is expected to restrain Iran from attacking Israel using Syrian territory, thus leaving Netanyahu free to set new ‘rules of the game’ by which the Israel may attack and destroy Iranian forces anywhere in Syria (and not just in the border area, as earlier agreed) when it wishes, without fear of retaliation.
This represented one level to the Netanyahu strategy: Iranian restraint, plus Russian acquiescence to coordinated Israeli air operations over Syria. “There is only one thing that isn’t clear [concerning this deal]”, a senior Israeli Defence official closest to Netanyahu, told Ben Caspit,“that is, who works for whom? Does Netanyahu work for Trump, or is President Trump at the service of Netanyahu … From the outside … it looks like the two men are perfectly in sync. From the inside, this seems even more so: This kind of cooperation … sometimes makes it seem as if they are actually just one single, large office”.
There has been, from the outset, a second level, too: This entire ‘inverted pyramid’ of Middle East engineering had, as its single point of departure, Mohammed bin Salman (MbS). It was Jared Kushner, the Washington Post reports, who “championed Mohammed as a reformer poised to usher the ultraconservative, oil-rich monarchy into modernity. Kushner privately argued for months, last year, that Mohammed would be key to crafting a Middle East peace plan, and that with the prince’s blessing, much of the Arab world would follow”. It was Kushner, the Post continued, “who pushed his father-in-law to make his first foreign trip as president to Riyadh, against objections from then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson – and warnings from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis”.
Well, now MbS has, in one form or another, been implicated in the Khashoggi murder. Bruce Riedel of Brookings, a longtime Saudi observer and former senior CIA & US defence official, notes, "for the first time in 50 years, the kingdom has become a force for instability” (rather than stability in the region), and suggests that there is an element of ‘buyer’s remorse’ now evident in parts of Washington.
The ‘seamless office process’ to which the Israeli official referred with Caspit, is known as ‘stovepiping’, which is when a foreign state’s policy advocacy and intelligence are passed straight to a President’s ear – omitting official Washington from the ‘loop’; by-passing any US oversight; and removing the opportunity for officials to advise on its content. Well, this has now resulted in the Khashoggi strategic blunder. And this, of course, comes in the wake of earlier strategic ‘mistakes’: the Yemen war, the siege of Qatar, the Hariri abduction, the Ritz-Carlton princely shakedowns.
To remedy this lacuna, an ‘uncle’ (Prince Ahmad bin Abdel Aziz) has been dispatched from exile in the West to Riyadh (with security guarantees from the US and UK intelligences services) to bring order into these unruly affairs, and to institute some checks and balances into the MbS coterie of advisers, so as to prevent further impetuous ‘mistakes’. It seems too, that the US Congress wants the Yemen war, which Prince Ahmad consistently has opposed (as he opposed MbS elevation as Crown Prince), stopped.(General Mattis has called for a ceasefire within 30 days.) It is a step toward repairing the Kingdom’s image.
MbS remains – for now – as Crown Prince. President Sisi and Prime Minister Netanyahu both have expressed their support for MbS and “as U.S. officials contemplate a more robust response [to the Khashoggi killing], Kushner has emphasized the importance of the U.S.-Saudi alliance in the region”, the Washington Post reports. MbS’ Uncle (who as a son of King Abdel Aziz, under the traditional succession system, would be himself in line for the throne), no doubt hopes to try to undo some of the damage done to the standing of the al-Saud family, and to that of the Kingdom. Will he succeed? Will MbS accede now to Ahmad unscrambling the very centralisation of power that made MbS so many enemies, in the first place, to achieve it? Has the al-Saud family the will, or are they too disconcerted by events?
Why America? Mass Shootings & White Nationalism Share Roots
with Abby Martin
Since October 2017, America experienced three of the deadliest mass shootings in modern history. This epidemic coincides with a frightening resurgence of white nationalism. Sometimes the two trends overlap.
From which man above would you buy a used car?
Crucifying Julian Assange
by Chris Hedges
Julian Assange’s sanctuary in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London has been transformed into a little shop of horrors. He has been largely cut off from communicating with the outside world for the last seven months. His Ecuadorian citizenship, granted to him as an asylum seeker, is in the process of being revoked. His health is failing. He is being denied medical care. His efforts for legal redress have been crippled by the gag rules, including Ecuadorian orders that he cannot make public his conditions inside the embassy in fighting revocation of his Ecuadorian citizenship.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has refused to intercede on behalf of Assange, an Australian citizen, even though the new government in Ecuador, led by Lenín Moreno—who calls Assange an “inherited problem” and an impediment to better relations with Washington—is making the WikiLeaks founder’s life in the embassy unbearable. Almost daily, the embassy is imposing harsher conditions for Assange, including making him pay his medical bills, imposing arcane rules about how he must care for his cat and demanding that he perform a variety of demeaning housekeeping chores.
The Ecuadorians, reluctant to expel Assange after granting him political asylum and granting him citizenship, intend to make his existence so unpleasant he will agree to leave the embassy to be arrested by the British and extradited to the United States. The former president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, whose government granted the publisher political asylum, describes Assange’s current living conditions as “torture.”
Justice for Assange –
The Latest debacle of 2018
by Ann Garrison
It appears increasingly likely Wikileaks founder and publisher Julian Assange will wind up in the clutches of the U.S. government.
It’s hardly surprising, given that in ten years’ time, Wikileaks published more classified information than all other media combined. It exposed human rights abuses, government spying, torture, and war crimes on an unprecedented scale. WikiLeaks put government, corporations and even the Pentagon, the FBI, the CIA and other intel agencies on notice that they could no longer count on operating in secret. It created a trove of primary source material that serious journalists and researchers will mine for years to come. Its publications are accessible to readers who prefer primary sources to mostly mediated news.
Wikileaks so infuriates the USA’s most violent, corrupt, and criminal institutions that Hillary Clinton half-jokingly suggested drone-bombing Assange. Other U.S. politicians called for his execution by other means. California’s 28th District Congressman Adam Schiff, who became the chair of the House Intelligence Committee when Democrats reclaimed the House, said he would speak to Assange “when he is in U.S. custody, not before.”
Schiff is a vociferous and supremely self-righteous leader of the Democratic Party’s “Resistance,” which sullies the name of the underground movement formed in France during World War II to fight Nazi Germany’s occupying forces and the collaborationist Vichy government. The “Resistance” tolerates only one truth and one loyalty: Russia is the enemy, interfering in Syria, the Ukraine and even U.S. elections. Russia elected Trump with Wikileaks’ help, it says. Russia dares to position missiles on its own borders, it says, to respond to NATO’s missiles on the other side. The U.S. must build more missiles, more drones, more nuclear weapons, and every other sort of weapon to defend the European world against Russia and its ally China.
Moral and Racial Superiority
Moral and racial superiority entitles the U.S. to occupy the world with military bases, ringing any nation that challenges its hegemony with military aircraft, battleships, assault vehicles, and military surveillance. Moral and racial superiority entitles its spy state agencies to shut down access to information deviating from its narratives and therefore to arrest and extradite Julian Assange.
Noam Chomsky Warns of the Rise of ‘Judeo-Nazi Tendencies’ in Israel
Israel to Police European Coastlines – Protecting the Continent from Refugees?
Saudi Intelligence Met with Trump Admin and Mossad
To Discuss Iran Sabotage and Assassinations
A plan to use private intelligence operatives to sabotage Iran was developed by Trump confidant George Nade and Joel Zamel, an Israeli known for his “deep ties” to Israeli intelligence and security agencies.
by Jackson Diehl
Is Israel turning a blind eye as Israeli scammers swindle victims
in France, US, elsewhere?
by Alison Weir
Amazon Is Everything That's Wrong With America
by Robert Reich
While America was fixated on the most tumultuous midterm election in modern history, Amazon reportedly decided that its much-vaunted “second headquarters” would be split between Long Island City in Queens, and Crystal City, across the Potomac from Washington, D.C.
What does Amazon’s decision have to do with America’s political tumult? Turns out, quite a lot.
Amazon’s main headquarters is in Seattle, one of the bluest cities in the bluest of states. New York and metropolitan Washington are true-blue, too.
Amazon could have decided to locate its second headquarters in, say, Indianapolis, Indiana. Indianapolis vigorously courted the firm. Indianapolis is also a Republican city in a bright red state.
Amazon’s decision wasn’t based on political partisanship, but it reveals much about the real political and economic divide in America today.
Amazon’s business isn’t just selling stuff over the Internet. It’s getting consumers anything they want, faster and better. To do so, it depends on a continuous flow of great new ideas.
Like the other leading firms of the economy, Amazon needs talented people who interact with each other continuously and directly – keying off one another’s creativity, testing new concepts, quickly discarding those that don’t work, and building cumulative knowledge.
Technology isn’t a thing. It’s a process of group learning. And that learning goes way beyond the confines of any individual company. It happens in geographic clusters, now mostly along the coasts.
As the Times’ Emily Badger has reported, the digital economy has been great for places like Seattle, New York, metropolitan Washington, and the other big talent hubs like San Francisco, Boston, and LA. But it’s left behind much of the rest of the country.
The result is widening inequalities of place.
Banksy's art highlighting occupation angers Israeli peace-pretender
A British-Israeli art collector who claims to be an advocate of peace between Palestine and Israel has been angered at the way British artist Banksy has depicted Israel’s long years of occupation of Palestine.
Batia Ofer, the wife of London-based Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer, said Saturday that the way the British underground artist had depicted Israel’s presence in the occupied West Bank in a recent poster was more anti-Semtic than artistic.
In his poster meant for encouraging tourism in the West Bank, Banksy depicted children on a fair riding around a watchtower in the occupied territory. A slogan written underneath the poster reads, “Visit historic Palestine, the Israeli army liked it so much they never left!”
Israeli forces shoot, injure dozens of Palestinian students in occupied West Bank
(November 11, 2018)
Dozens of Palestinian students have sustained gunshot wounds and several others suffered tear gas inhalation when Israeli military forces stormed a school in the central part of the occupied West Bank.
Local sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Israeli troops raided the high school in the town of Tuqu’, located 12 kilometers southeast of Bethlehem, on Sunday, and fired tear gas canisters and rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinian students.
Sources also confirmed that Israeli forces briefly detained the school’s principal and other staff members.
Israeli forces forced the students and staff members to evacuate the premises, and then took control of the high school and shut it down.
They later sealed off the two main entrances to the town.
Israeli Defense Minister Resigns Over Gaza Cease-Fire Deal
White House is helping cover up Khashoggi murder: Former CIA officer
Speaking to CNN's Jake Tapper on Nov. 13, Bob Baer, who worked at a CIA case officer primarily in the Middle East, said the US has purposely muted its response to Khashoggi's murder. "We've always turned a blind eye to what's going on in Saudi Arabia," he told CNN. Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor and US resident, was murdered after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Saudi Arabia has repeatedly shifted its version of the events that transpired that day, and it has fired five top officials and arrested 18 Saudis it says are connected to the killing.
MIT and Harvard reconsidering Saudi ties after Khashoggi murder
Saudi Arabia has paid more than $350m to dozens of US universities since 2011 – and now those institutions are re-examining it amid growing questions from their communities.
Last March, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, came to the United States with a mission: to boost his image as a moderniser, liberaliser and reformer at a time when he stood accused of war crimes in Yemen and had recently consolidated power by jailing rivals, critics, rights activists and even family members.
Over the course of his three-week trip he appeared alongside American giants of government, business and entertainment, inking lucrative business deals while letting the celebrity and reputation of people such as Michael Bloomberg, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Dwayne Johnson rub off on him. One of his most important stops was Boston, where he crossed the Charles River with his entourage to visit Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, two of the world’s most prestigious universities. On their campuses, the crown prince met with administrators and presided over the signing of fresh agreements with the universities. At the time, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) president Rafael Reif hailed the young authoritarian, saying: “The kingdom is accelerating its progress toward a promising new future.”
Harvard and MIT are anchors of innovation and progress – as well as institutions that champion free speech. To be hosted and lauded by them was a powerful seal of approval for the future king.
How Khashoggi was killed: Erdogan says chilling audio sent to Saudi Arabia, US, UK, France & Germany
Turkish President Erdogan said that Khashoggi murder was ordered at the “highest levels” of the Saudi government. © AFP / Adem Altan; © Middle East Monitor / Handout via Reuters; © Saudi Royal Palace / Bandar al-Jaloud
The recordings that could reveal the killing of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi embassy in Turkey in shocking detail have been shared with France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, the UK, and the US, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said. “They all know since they all listened to the conversations and everything,” Erdogan said in a televised speech on Saturday. Erdogan also accused Saudi Arabia of knowing that the killer of the former Washington Post columnist is among a group of 15 Saudis who touched down in Turkey the day prior to the killing, leaving again for Riyadh in the hours following Khashoggi’s death.
“Saudi Arabia could resolve this by making this 15 talk,” Erdogan said. “The murderers are surely among this 15 or 18, there's no need to look elsewhere.”
Ankara has claimed to have had audio of the blood-curdling murder ever since the journalist went missing on October 2, after going inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, never to be seen again. Unconfirmed reports of the contents of gruesome tape allege that Khashoggi was grabbed, drugged and dismembered on a tape with a bone saw. The voice attributed to a Saudi forensic evidence chief also suggests that others witnessing Khashoggi’s harrowing fate listened to music in order to drown out the sounds
officials have heard audio of journalist's murder, but White House refuses to
Linguistic Perversion and Obfuscation of Empire Building
In the contemporary world, western imperialist propagandists, particularly journalists and editors of the mass media, have resorted to perverting everyday concepts and the language of politics.
The use and abuse of the language of politics has served to blame victims and to justify imperial aggressors. The consequences are multiple, both in legitimizing war crimes and economic plunder, as well as neutralizing domestic opposition. We will proceed by identifying the key terminology which furthers imperial aggression. We will then describe the economic and political objectives of linguistic imperialism. We will conclude by examining the political/cultural alternatives.
The most abused and obfuscated concept in the modern imperial lexicon is ‘populism’. In its original meaning ‘populism’ referred to mass movements composed of exploited workers. Popular movements fought oligarchical bankers and media moguls.
At the turn of the 19th and the early decades of the 20th century, populists formed powerful political movements and electoral parties in the US, Canada, Russia and Western Europe. By the mid 20th century, populist parties and movements multiplied, and in some cases, came to power in Asia and Latin America. Populist movements gained mass support in Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Mexico. In the United States populist parties and movement represented farmers who fought railroad monopolies, bankers and corrupt political bosses. Their objective was to secure fair market prices for transport , moderate interest rates from banks and honest elections, free of corruption by political bosses.Populists elected several governors,scores of mayors and several state legislaturers.
In Latin America, populist parties in Peru (APRA) fought for indigenous rights, opposing neo-colonial and oligarchical rule.In Argentina, Brazil and Mexico populist parties led by Juan Peron, Getulio Vargas and Lazaro Cardenas fought and secured workers’ rights, and national ownership of essential resources (especially the oil fields). They successfully launched national industrialization programs. Similar developments took place in China, the Philippines, Indo-China and India. Nationalism and populism were the twin motors of independence and social justice.
Nationalism was based on ending imperial domination and recovering national cultural values free from colonial impositions. By the turn of the 21st century with the rise and advance of post-colonial regimes, the western imperial powers sought to denigrate the movements and parties which questioned their legitimacy. No longer could the imperial powers rely on the ideology of beneficent empires (“the white mans’ burden”). Nor could they claim that foreign capital exploitation and pillage were serving ‘nation-building’. Imperial ideology resorted to distorting and reverting the positive concepts associated with liberation struggles into their opposite. Instead they associated populism with oppressive and authoritarian doctrines of regressive regimes.
Populism was emptied of its original emancipatory content and replaced by, and associated with reactionary, racist, xenophobic, anti-immigrant, fascist ideology.
No matter who is elected Israel comes first
by Philip Giraldi
Judging from the mainstream media, Israel was not a major issue in the midterm election but it sure did come up a lot when candidates for office were wooing Jewish or Evangelical voters. To cite only one example, Florida Congressman Ron DeSantis criticized his opponent Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum during their gubernatorial race for receiving support from the Dream Defenders, a group favoring Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, and giving a speech welcoming members of the Council on American-Islamic Relations to his city. DeSantis claimed in a videoclip that “I can find anti-Semites around him, but it’s almost like ‘we don’t want to discuss that.’”
DeSantis, who sponsored the 2013 Palestinian Accountability Act which called for the withholding of U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority until it recognizes Israel as a Jewish state, charged that Gillum would not be a “friend” of Israel. In 2017, he co-founded the Congressional Israel Victory Caucus, saying “Israel is our strongest ally in the Middle East, as we share common national interests and possess similar national values. Israel is not the problem in the Middle East; it is the solution to many of the problems that bedevil the region. American policy must ensure that Israel emerges victorious against those who deny or threaten her existence.” Earlier this year, DeSantis drafted a proposal calling on the U.S. to recognize Syria’s Golan Heights as an ‘integral part’ of the State of Israel.
DeSantis boasted about his presence in Jerusalem when the U.S. Embassy was moved to that city in May and has promised as governor to visit Israel’s illegal settlements on the West Bank, which he refers to by the preferred Israeli usage as “Judea and Samaria.” He threatens critics that “If you boycott Israel, the state of Florida will boycott you.”
One might note at a minimum that for Ron DeSantis and ambitious slimeballs like him it is all about Israel due to their own political self-interest, with nothing actually in the mix for either Florida or the United States. The uninformed public buys into the narrative because it doesn’t know any better thanks to the media’s heavy slant in favor of Israel, allowing uncritical support for the Jewish state to continue under the radar unchallenged. DeSantis, a former U.S. Navy lawyer, has demonstrated that he reveres Israel even more than his former comrades in arms. In his congressional district there are a number of survivors of the U.S.S. Liberty, which was attacked in international waters by Israel on June 8, 1967, killing 34 crewmen and injuring 171 more. They report that DeSantis has been completely unsympathetic to their requests that a commission of inquiry finally be convened to determine what actually happened on that day.
In fact, Americans have never had the option of voting on the “special relationship” that Israel enjoys with the United States as no Congressman would dare run against it lest they be smeared in the media and find themselves running against an extraordinarily well funded opponent benefitting from large donations coming from out of state sources. The list of prominent politicians “taken down” by Israel is lengthy, and includes Cynthia McKinney, Adlai Stevenson III, Paul Findley, Chuck Percy, William Fulbright, Roger Jepsen, and Pete McCloskey.
It is particularly ironic that as the midterm campaigns were drawing to a close there appeared some serious investigative journalism that demonstrates precisely how Israel and Jewish groups corrupt the political process in America to provide virtually unlimited support for anything and everything that the despicable Benjamin Netanyahu and his gang of war criminals seek to do. How the process has succeeded is best illustrated by the current Israeli government’s policy of “mowing the grass” in Gaza where it is using army snipers to kill unarmed Palestinian protesters. Washington not only does not protest against the in-your-face war crime, it aids and abets it with U.S. Ambassador David Friedman justifying the military response as measured and appropriate.
Another area where Washington chooses to look the other way is regarding Israel’s nuclear arsenal, believed to consist of two hundred warheads. Under U.S. law, any country that has an undeclared nuclear weapons arsenal cannot obtain American-made weapons and cannot received aid of any type. Congress and the White House pretend that the Israeli nuclear arsenal does not exist, in spite of the fact that the Israelis themselves have more than once implicitly acknowledged it and instead of cutting aid to Israel have instead increased it. It is currently $3.8 billion per year guaranteed for the next ten years, with extra money also available if needed. No other country benefits from such largesse and gives in return so little.
To be sure, the groundbreaking book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy by professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, which appeared in 2007, pulled no punches in describing how the Israel Lobby operates in the United States. It also made clear that the relationship with Israel serves no United States national interest whatsoever and exists solely because of the corruption of the political system and the media by principally Jewish individuals and groups that are dedicated to that task.
Israel's defence minister has resigned over the cabinet's decision to accept a ceasefire ending two days of fighting with Palestinian militants in Gaza.
Avigdor Lieberman denounced the move as "surrendering to terror".
He said his right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party would leave the ruling coalition, which could lead to an early election.
Eight people were killed on Monday and Tuesday as militants fired 460 rockets towards Israel and Israeli forces bombed 160 targets in Gaza.