Bulletin N° 824
« MADNESS IN THE TIME OF FASCISM »
22 November 2018
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
The past few days have seen a barrage of reports on the sadistic murder of Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, at the hands of 15 agents dispatched by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “to do the deed.” There seems to be no shortage of credible evidence of who perpetrated of this unspeakable crime, the multiple motives behind it, and the intended beneficiaries.
It was certainly a crime against human rights and an attack on journalism, as well. But it is important to place this individual act in historical perspective in order to understand just where we are situated today. In the larger context, we find that the entire world is threatened with “imminent extinction” by global warming and by thermonuclear war – the so-called “twin disasters”. Very little is being done to reduce this monstrous threat which hangs over our heads like the Sword of Damocles, producing in many people either panic or a feeling of resignation – in either case, a “take it while you can” attitude so characteristic of the acquisitive bourgeois circles of society.
Certainly sadistic violence is not new to humanity. There are historical accounts of cruel and sadistic events dating back to Biblical times in the Middle East, the birth place of our three major western religions. Early literature and other evidence from China, India, Russia, and pre-colonial Africa and pre-Columbian America also indicate the experience of intense gratification from inflicting pain upon the body and mind of another, as well as upon the bodies and minds of those who bear witness to the act. Whether under the guise of “political terror,” or of “religious rituals”, or simply spontaneous moments of impulsive release from powerful inhibitions, this violence always reflects social relationships that have evolved under ruling class controls in any given period and it constitutes “propaganda by deed.” Sadistic actions are socially manufactured by institutions and customs; certainly sadists are not born to that career. Their behavior advertises the milieu from which they spring and is thereby useful to promote the corrupt system as a whole by naturalizing its violence.
The annoying liberal penchant to examine things in isolation – to deliberately not see inter-connections between different social phenomenon, from different places and at different periods of history – seems to be an acquired habit of self-deception. We all have “tunnel vision,” to some degree upon occasion, but to not acknowledge the momentary limitations on our field of vision after it has been pointed out, to refuse to do something to correct this blindness, speaks to cynicism and bad faith - just kicking the can down the road, until it is too late . . . .
Class consciousness involves a certain moral responsibility, not the least of which is to rationally fight back in self-defense and to take note of who is there with you. The “Good Fight,” of course, is for the general well-being - not for national dominance, or for religious/ethnic superiority, or for individual ambition. Those who allow the bully to prevail over them are not class conscious, and they likely lack the skills to acquire this awareness. Instead, they try to protect themselves by collaborating with their class enemies in exchange for small advantages.
The 25 + items below offer readers a window into the private lives of the ruling class. By some stroke of magic, we have been allowed to see in its full repugnance the cynicism and cruelty of our owners and their true class interests. The shallow narcissism of the Man, who is protected by wealth and power, who has everything and wants more, and is hyper-sensitive to his public image - this sort of man is accustomed to finding others to fight his battles for him, and as we have seen repeatedly the struggle is never equal, nor with explicit rules of engagement. It’s more like a massacre, for the owners are not accustomed to loosing, and there is no shortage of mercenaries at their beck and call.
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
Are We About to Face Our Gravest Constitutional Crisis?
by Chris Hedges
Before this lame-duck Congress adjourns in December we could face the most serious constitutional crisis in the history of the republic
if Donald Trump attempts to shut down the investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.
A supine and pliant Republican Party, still in control of the House and the Senate, would probably not challenge Trump. The Supreme Court, which would be the final arbiter in any legal challenge to the president, would probably not rule against him. And his cultish followers, perhaps 40 million Americans, would respond enthusiastically to his trashing of democratic institutions and incitements of violence against the press, the Democratic Party leadership, his critics and all who take to the streets in protest. The United States by Christmas, if Trump plays this card, could become a full-blown authoritarian state where the rule of law no longer exists and the president is a despot.
Trump has flouted the Constitution since taking office. He has obstructed justice by firing the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, James Comey, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, replacing Sessions with the Trump partisan Matthew Whitaker. The president regularly ridicules the Mueller investigation and insults its leader. In a tweet last week he called the investigation a “witch hunt,” a “total mess” and “absolutely nuts,” and he went on to assert that Mueller and his investigators were “screaming and shouting at people” to make them provide “the answers they want.” He called those involved in the probe “a disgrace to our nation.”
He has repeatedly delivered diatribes against the press as “the enemy of the people,” belittled, mocked and insulted reporters during press conferences and defended his revoking of the White House press credentials of a CNN reporter. He and his family openly use the presidency for self-enrichment, often by steering lobbyists and foreign officials to Trump’s hotels and golf courses. He has peddled numerous conspiracy theories to discredit U.S. elections and deployed military troops along the southern border to resist an “invasion” of migrants. However, an attempt to fire Mueller and shut down the investigation would obliterate the Constitution as a functional document. There would be one last gasp of democracy by those of us who protest. It is not certain we would succeed.
Published: 21 Nov, 2018 22:10
"Stop being 'Saudi Arabia's b*tch," Gabbar tells Trump.
From: Groucho Marx
Sent: Tuesday, November 20, 2018
Subject: Byron: Jewish Family Service Press Release....San Diego Rapid Response Network Shelters Asylum Seekers in San Diego
After reading your email, I saw this on the San Diego Jewish Family Services website.
Sandy Young / Ashley Weaver, J. Walcher Communications
San Diego Rapid Response Network Shelters Asylum Seekers in San Diego; Launches GoFundMe Campaign
SAN DIEGO (Nov. 19, 2018)
– Every day since October 26, immigration authorities have released into San Diego 20-30 migrant families (50-70 individuals) seeking asylum at the San Diego-Tijuana Border.
These families are desperately fleeing violence, suffering and persecution in their home countries. They have braved the elements and dangerous hardships on their journey to the U.S. in search of a safer, better life. Once initially processed and vetted for security risks, the Department of Homeland Security has quietly dropped these families –tagged with ankle bracelets and without any resources –at various locations throughout San Diego. The situation has left hundreds of migrants homeless on San Diego’s streets, with nowhere to go and no way of getting to their final destinations.
The San Diego Rapid Response Network (SDRRN), a coalition of human rights and service organizations, has worked with partners to set up a migrant shelter and are responding to the needs of these vulnerable children and families by providing meals, medical care and legal services.
Appealing to the San Diego community for help, a GoFundMe campaign has been launched by the San Diego Rapid Response Network to raise funds for the shelter to maintain its daily operation and provide basic necessities, such as food, blankets and bedding, portable showers and toilets.
The funding will also help SDRRN provide free legal representation for these families and fund bond fees. To donate, visit GoFundMe.com/MigrantReliefSD
The families include an average of one to two young children, ranging in age from three months to 10 years old. Children are given age-appropriate resources, including bottles, formula, diapers and toys.
Once their basic needs are met, families receive one-on-one support and case management from trained staff and volunteers to help them reunite with family members in their destination cities –often a multi-day bus trip across the country. Families also receive detailed information about their rights as asylum seekers and details on their responsibilities to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and court appearances in their destination cities.
Along with the SDRRN’s GoFundMe campaign, Catholic Charities Diocese of San Diego has established a travel fund to support cross-country travel expenses for these migrant families. To donate, visit sharejourneysd.org/families.
Core partners for SDRRN include ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, Employee Rights Center, Jewish Family Service of San Diego, SEIU Local 221 and San Diego Organizing Project.
A 24-hour hotline is available for individuals to call, should they or someone they know be experiencing an immigration emergency (raid, arrest, checkpoint and/or harassment): 619-536-0823.
About the San Diego Rapid Response Network The San Diego Rapid Response Network (SDRRN) is a coalition of human rights and service organizations, attorneys, and community leaders dedicated to aiding immigrants and their families in the San Diego border region. Core partners for SDRRN include ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, Employee Rights Center, Jewish Family Service of San Diego, SEIU Local 221 and San Diego Organizing Project.
San Diego is the largest land border crossing in the world and has been a highly active location for deportations and rights violations by Customs Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). SDRRN was activated to respond to increased immigration enforcement within San Diego County and humanitarian issues arising at the border, including widespread family separation and unjust deportation of asylum seekers arriving at the Port-of-Entry.
A 24-hour hotline is available for individuals to call, should they or someone they know be experiencing an immigration emergency (e.g. raid, arrest, checkpoint and/or harassment): 619-536-0823.
For non-emergency immigration legal assistance inquiries, local immigrants are encouraged to call SDRRN’s pro bono legal assistance line: 858-
For more information or to volunteer, www.rapidresponsesd.org
. To donate, visit GoFundMe.com/MigrantReliefSD.
by Caitlin Johnstone
When it comes to the big questions, what life is all about and what’s really going on here, everyone else is exactly as clueless as you are. The only difference is that some people are better at feigning confidence than others.
Anyone who thinks they’ve got life all figured out is suffering from a psychedelic drug deficiency.
The three most overlooked and under-appreciated things in human experience are (1) consciousness itself, (2) the extent to which compulsive thinking habits dominate our lives, and (3) the extent to which mass media propaganda influences the way we think.
There is a deep, abiding peace just beneath the shifting sensory input and flailing, babbling mental chatter. It isn’t something lofty or distant that you need to strive for to obtain; it is here presently, and you can recognize it right now. Inner turmoil is the result of our falling all over ourselves trying to obtain something we already have, but are overlooking. Sensory impressions, thoughts and feelings all appear upon the canvass of emptiness, and that emptiness is peace.
Society is made entirely of narrative. By that I don’t mean there are no humans and no solid objects; I mean all the rules, laws, expectations, beliefs and protocols we have in place for how human beings are supposed to act are made entirely of mental constructs. The most powerful people in the world are the ones who understand that since society is made of narrative, then whoever controls the narratives controls society. The way to democratize power is for society to awaken to the fact that this is all made of stories, and we can change those stories whenever we want.
Most of our experience is dictated by habits of thought and perception, most of which we formed in early childhood. How our attention moves, how we interpret events and the way we respond to them, the kinds of decisions we’ll make day to day, the kinds of thoughts we think from moment to moment and the way they translate to behavior, all arise from internal habits we set in motion long ago and then kind of forgot about and made subconscious. You can bring consciousness to all of these habits and un-do them, thus allowing you to live a life that isn’t dictated by ingrained unconscious patterns.
Did Israel Kill Yasser Arafat? Stunning Investigation Exposes Israel’s Secretive Assassination Program
Israeli intelligence officials desperately tried to prevent Ronen Bergman from writing “Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations,” a stunning book exposing the details of Israel’s extrajudicial killing program. Israel even changed and extended secrecy laws to prevent Bergman from gaining access to historical documents. Despite this, Bergman gained unprecedented access while writing the book, scouring thousands of documents and meeting with some 1,000 sources. The result is a stunning investigation that dives deep into the targeted killing programs of Israel, which has assassinated more people than any other country in the Western world since World War II. We speak with Ronen Bergman about Israel’s many attempts to kill the former chair of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Yasser Arafat, and the possibility that they succeeded.
Published on Nov 19, 2018
Saudi Arabia's war on journalism | The Listening Post
It's been more than a month since the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which Riyadh has admitted was a "rogue operation". But, given the ensuing geopolitical public relations disaster, one might have thought that the Saudi authorities dealing with the media would be on their best behaviour. However, news has surfaced of another Saudi journalist, Turki bin Abdulaziz al-Jasser, who was arrested eight months ago and allegedly tortured to death while in detention. Al-Jasser ran what he thought was an anonymous account on Twitter, a platform that used to be a proxy public square for Saudis, but where an army of trolls has poisoned debate, harasses dissidents and spreads misinformation. The mastermind of that campaign was Saud al-Qahtani, who worked behind the scenes as an enforcer for Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS). As his boss conducted a charm offensive on the western media, al-Qahtani ensured journalists back home toed the line and critics stayed quiet. He was reportedly fired over his role in the Khashoggi killing, but the chilling effect of his work remains. "He [Qahtani] is not only implicated in Khashoggi's murder but in the kidnapping of former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri. He is a very powerful man, not only in terms of shaping public opinion but in executing Mohammad bin Salman's decisions," says Feras Abu Helal, editor-in-chief, Arabi21. But besides al-Jasser, there are countless others who are missing or imprisoned for their online political activities, according to Ali al-Ahmed, director of The Institute for Gulf Affairs, and former Saudi political prisoner. "There is a famous journalist, an opinion columnist, Turad al-Amri. He has disappeared and we don't know if he is free or not. Ali al-Dhufairi, who worked for Al Jazeera Arabic has gone silent for over two years. We don't know if he's in jail or not. Israa al-Ghomgham, they want to send her to death because she actually used social media to write about the protest in the eastern province in Qatif." But even in the diaspora, Saudis are not "immune," points out Sahar Khamis, associate professor at the University of Maryland. "They were trying to bug Omar Abdulaziz and get into his accounts and get into his social media platforms. And that's why some of them are stopping their activism." In Riyadh, the latest official explanation of the Khashoggi murder places the blame on five allegedly rogue operatives who, according to the foreign minister, could face the death penalty. Saud al-Qahtani faces a travel ban, but nothing more. Meanwhile, his boss MBS - who apparently was completely unaware of the operation that killed one of his most prominent critics - can be seen on Saudi television - meeting with investors, visiting soldiers wounded in the war in Yemen and smiling for selfies with Saudi children. As the Saudi press is "going about their business of trying to show him as the responsible leader, statesman who has Saudi interests at heart", says Chris Doyle, director of The Council for Arab-British Understanding, "I think it's questionable whether this will work right now, certainly it won't work internationally."
Spread of Wahhabism was done at request of West during Cold War – Saudi crown prince
The Saudi-funded spread of Wahhabism began as a result of Western countries asking Riyadh to help counter the Soviet Union during the Cold War, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told the Washington Post.
Speaking to the paper, bin Salman said that Saudi Arabia's Western allies urged the country to invest in mosques and madrassas overseas during the Cold War, in an effort to prevent encroachment in Muslim countries by the Soviet Union.
He added that successive Saudi governments had lost track of that effort, saying "we have to get it all back." Bin Salman also said that funding now comes mostly from Saudi-based "foundations," rather than from the government.
The crown prince’s 75-minute interview with the Washington Post took place on March 22. Another topic of discussion included a previous claim by US media that bin Salman had said that he had White House senior adviser Jared Kushner "in his pocket."
Bin Salman denied reports that when he and Kushner – who is also Donald Trump's son-in-law – met in Riyadh in October, he had sought or received a greenlight from Kushner for the massive crackdown on alleged corruption which led to widespread arrests in the kingdom shortly afterwards. According to bin Salman, the arrests were a domestic issue and had been in the works for years.
He said it would be "really insane" for him to trade classified information with Kushner, or to try to use him to advance Saudi interests within the Trump administration. He stated that their relationship was within a normal governmental context, but did acknowledge that he and Kushner "work together as friends, more than partners." He stated that he also had good relationships with Vice President Mike Pence and others within the White House.
Black Agenda Report
15 November 2018
Ruling Class War Games at the White House
by Glen Ford
The White House press corps, like the corporate media in general, are foot soldiers in a wider conflict between sections of the ruling oligarchy: Trump versus anti-Trump.
“Most of the White House press corps are anti-Trump partisans in this intra-ruling class war.”
The herd of corporate operatives that calls itself a White House press corps is up in arms over the Trump administration’s cancellation of CNN correspondent Jim Acosta’s press pass, last week. Acosta’s bosses at CNN, owned by AT&T’s WarnerMedia conglomerate, have filed suit, charging White House staffers and an unnamed Secret Service agent with violating Acosta’s rights to freedom of the press and due process of law. Acosta had persisted in pressing Trump with questions after the president several times proclaimed, “That’s enough!”
CNN called the press pass revocation “unprecedented” and “a threat to our democracy.”
Two days later, Trump suggested that more press passes might be pulled. “It could be others also," he said.
Despite CNN’s claim that Acosta’s punishment was unprecedented, the Cuban-American wasn’t treated nearly as peremptorily as Jorge Ramos, the Mexican-born anchor for the Spanish-language Univision network. Presidential candidate Trump kicked Ramos out of an Iowa press conference, in August of 2015, when Ramos objected to Trump’s characterization of Mexican immigrants as “rapists.” Ramos was allowed back in the room after other reporters lobbied on his behalf, according to Richard Prince’s Journalisms , which has been keeping track of minorities in journalism since 2002.
“You talk about somebody that’s a loser. She doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing.”
While he was ranting at Acosta, Trump turned on another favorite target, April Ryan, the American Urban Radio Networks correspondent. “You talk about somebody that’s a loser,’ Trump said of Ryan, “She doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing.” Then he zoomed in on another Black woman, CNN’s Abby Phillip, who had asked if newly appointed Attorney General Matt Whitaker would “‘rein in [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller.” “‘What a stupid question that is. What a stupid question,’ said the president.
Trump is a habitual abuser of reporters of color, said Abby Phillip:
“While the president insults many journalists, these critics say his barbs targeting women and people of color feel especially sharp, and hit at the reporter’s basic intelligence and competence as a person. It’s a tone that black reporters and scholars of African-American history say particularly stings, given that [African American] journalists were not allowed into the White House until 1947 — and that the White House press corps remains overwhelmingly white to this day.”
US uses scare tactics to blame Russia and China for its own war preparations: Scholar
The United States uses scare tactics to blame Russia and China for its own war preparations, says American political analyst Dennis Etler, because “the US economy has become totally militarized.”
Etler, a former professor of Anthropology at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Thursday while commenting on a report which has warned that the United States runs the risk of losing a military confrontation with China or Russia.
A US Congress-mandated panel of bipartisan experts released its findings on Wednesday. Their report praised the administration of President Donald Trump for focusing more on Russia and China but it claimed that Trump’s new National Defense Strategy is insufficiently resourced.
"The (National Defense Strategy) too often rests on questionable assumptions and weak analysis, and it leaves unanswered critical questions regarding how the United States will meet the challenges of a more dangerous world," the report said.
This is while the Trump administration has authorized the US Department of Defense to invest around $717 billion into military strategies that will target Russia and China.
Trump has said the budget is aimed at revitalizing the US military, one of his key campaign promises.
US-Funded Neo-Nazis in Ukraine Mentor US White Supremacists
November 17, 2018
Short-sighted U.S. foreign policy that backs jihadists in the Middle East and neo-Nazis in Ukraine is once again blowing back on the United States,
as Max Blumenthal explains.
(FBI: Azov Battalion Trained Rise Above Movement)
by Max Blumenthal
Last month, an unsealed FBI indictment of four American white supremacists from the Rise Above Movement (RAM) declared that the defendants had trained with Ukraine’s Azov Battalion, a neo-Nazi militia officially incorporated into the country’s national guard. The training took place after the white supremacist gang participated in violent riots in Huntington Beach and Berkeley, California and Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017.
The indictment stated that the Azov Battalion “is believed to have participated in training and radicalizing United States-based white supremacy organizations.”
After a wave of racist violence across America that culminated in the massacre of twelve Jewish worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue, the revelation that violent white supremacists have been traveling abroad for training and ideological indoctrination with a well-armed neo-Nazi militia should cause extreme alarm.
Not only are white supremacists from across the West flocking to Ukraine to learn from the combat experience of their fascist brothers-in-arms, they are doing so openly — chronicling their experiences on social media before they bring their lessons back home. But U.S. law enforcement has done nothing so far to restrict the flow of right-wing American extremists to Azov’s bases.
There is one likely explanation for the U.S. government’s hands-off approach to Azov recruitment: the extremist militia is fighting pro-Russian separatists as a front-line proxy of Washington. In fact, the United States has directly armed the Azov Battalion, forking over anti-tank rocket launchers and even sending a team of Army officers to meet in the field with Azov commanders in 2017.
Though Congress passed legislation this year forbidding military aid to Azov on the grounds of its white supremacist ideology, the Trump administration’s authorization of $200 million in offensive weaponry and aid to the Ukrainian military makes it likely new stores of weapons will wind up the extremist regiment’s hands. When queried by reporters about evidence of American military training of Azov personnel, multiple U.S. army spokespersons admitted there was no mechanism in place to prevent that from happening.
Two soldiers from the Azov Battalion in front of a building with Nazi symbol at the battalion’s base in Urzuf. (Carl Ridderstråle-Wikimedia Commons)
Today, Azov boasts combat experience, unlimited access to light weapons, and supporters honeycombed throughout the upper echelons of Ukraine’s military and government. No longer just a militia, the organization has developed into a political juggernaut that can overpower Ukraine’s government. Two years ago, the group flexed its muscle on the streets of Kiev, bringing out 10,000 supporters to demand that the government bend to their will or face a coup.
From Maidan to Main Street
Blowback: An Inside Look at How US-Funded Fascists in Ukraine Mentor US White Supremacists
by Max Blumenthal
Not only are white supremacists from across the West flocking to Ukraine to learn from the combat experience of their fascist brothers-in-arms, they are doing so openly, under the nose of a shrugging law enforcement — chronicling their experiences on social media before they bring their lessons back home.
“Mysterious Helicopters” Continue To Evacuate ISIS Members From Battlefields Across Middle East
There have been sporadic, but regular reports of “mysterious helicopters” extracting ISIS militants from battlefields in the Middle East.
Most recently, on November 13th, Syria’s official news agency SANA cited an anonymous source claiming that US-led military helicopters conducted an operation in the village of al-Suwayda in Hasakah province near the border with Iraq. They reportedly rescued several members of ISIS and transported them to an unknown location.
Between November 10th and 11th, an alleged US-led aircraft landed in the outskirts of al-Susah in Deir Ezzor province and took away three ISIS members.
Earlier, on October 7th, SANA also cited residents of the town of al-Shaafah who claimed that American helicopters evacuated ISIS commanders from the Abu Kamal area of Deir Ezzor province to an undisclosed location.
SANA also reported that on September 22nd the US-led coalition carried out an air landing operation in the outskirts of al-Mrashde village located in the pocket where ISIS militants spread in the southeastern countryside of Deir Ezzor, transferring a number of ISIS commanders.
On August 23rd, TASS reported that Russia recorded flights of mysterious helicopters supplying weapons to ISIS units active in Afghanistan.
US State Dept. claims Daesh was created to protect Syrians from Assad
The Syrian government is directly responsible for creating Daesh (ISIS)*, US special representative for Syria engagement James Jeffrey has alleged.
“The Syrian regime produced ISIS,” the diplomat said, speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday. “The elements of ISIS in the hundreds, probably, saw an opportunity in the total breakdown of civil society and of the upsurge of violence as the population rose up against the Assad regime, and the Assad regime, rather than try to negotiate or try to find any kind of solution, unleashed massive violence against its own population.”
“That created a space for ISIS to recruit people; to protect people to some degree, ironic as it sounds, from the depredations of the Assad regime; and very soon, ISIS had an army of 35,000 troops and had seized big chunks of both Iraq and Syria,” Jeffrey said.
Later in the press conference, Jeffrey appeared to contradict himself, recalling that al-Qaeda in Iraq, the direct precursor to Daesh, was actually started in Iraq.
“ISIS’s predecessor under the same leader, [Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi, al-Qaeda in Iraq, was almost completely defeated when I was in Iraq…But it was able to regenerate itself because there was no long-term strategy in either Syria or Iraq, but particularly in Iraq at the time, because that’s where we were focused on, to ensure the enduring defeat of these elements,” the diplomat said.
Daesh’s predecessor, al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), was formed in 2004, soon after the US invasion of Iraq, which caused the country to descend into chaos as a number of terrorist groups, warlords and militia groups waged guerrilla warfare against the central administration, US forces, and each other for control of their territories.
No US Aid for Reconstruction
The Radical Evolution of WikiLeaks
by Kathy Gilsinan
While the revelation of an apparent indictment against Julian Assange sets an ominous precedent for news organizations, it also serves as a reminder of his group’s stark transformatio
Before the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was an international fugitive, he was running a little-noticed experiment in radical transparency. In the early 2000s, his then-obscure site WikiLeaks was mainly concerned with posting small batches of previously private documents ranging from Swiss bank documents to Sarah Palin’s emails.
Then, in 2010, WikiLeaks posted a graphic video depicting the killing of perhaps a dozen Iraqis, including two Reuters journalists, at the hands of the U.S. military. The video brought the organization acclaim from civil libertarians and transparency advocates, and infamy within the U.S. military and elsewhere. Soon after its release, WikiLeaks posted its largest-ever cache of leaked material: a set of diplomatic cables and Army documents, many of which concerned the conduct of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. If WikiLeaks began as a mere internet curiosity when it was founded in 2006, within four years, national-security officials in the United States were publicly depicting it as a threat.
Exclusive: WikiLeaks Lawyer Warns U.S. Charges Against Assange Endanger Press Freedom Worldwide
Trump Quietly Orders Elimination of Assange
by Eric Zuesse
On June 28th, the Washington Examiner headlined “Pence pressed Ecuadorian president on country’s protection of Julian Assange” and reported that “Vice President Mike Pence discussed the asylum status of Julian Assange during a meeting with Ecuador’s leader on Thursday, following pressure from Senate Democrats who have voiced concerns over the country’s protection of the WikiLeaks founder.” Pence had been given this assignment by U.S. President Donald Trump. The following day, the Examiner bannered “Mike Pence raises Julian Assange case with Ecuadorean president, White House confirms” and reported that the White House had told the newspaper, “They agreed to remain in close coordination on potential next steps going forward.”
On August 24th, a court-filing by Kellen S. Dwyer, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Alexandria Division of the Eastern District of Virginia, stated: “Due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure [than sealing the case, hiding it from the public] is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged. … This motion and the proposed order would need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter.” That filing was discovered by Seamus Hughes, a terrorism expert at the Program on Extremism at George Washington University. On November 15th, he posted an excerpt of it on Twitter, just hours after the Wall Street Journal had reported on the same day that the Justice Department was preparing to prosecute Assange. However, now that we know “the fact that Assange has been charged” and that the U.S. Government is simply waiting “until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter,” it is clear and public that the arrangements which were secretly made between Trump’s agent Pence and the current President of Ecuador are expected to deliver Assange into U.S. custody for criminal prosecution, if Assange doesn’t die at the Ecuadorean Embassy first.
Pamela Anderson accuses 'smutty' Scott Morrison of abandoning Assange
Baywatch star questions whether Australian PM has ‘strength and conviction’ to bring WikiLeaks founder home
Writing on the US website the Daily Beast, Anderson criticised Morrison’s response to her calls for the government to help WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange return to Australia, accusing him of trivialising the issue.
Anderson – a close friend of Assange’s – appeared on 60 Minutes Australia earlier this month to urge Morrison to “defend your friend, get Julian his passport back and take him back to Australia and be proud of him, and throw him a parade when he gets home”.
Assange, who has been holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London since seeking asylum in 2012, is under investigation by US law enforcement agencies for publishing classified diplomatic cables and other secret government records.
Filipino Reporter Maria Ressa on Duterte’s Targeting of the Press & How Facebook Aids Authoritarians
As Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte amps up his attacks on the free press, we speak with renowned Filipino journalist Maria Ressa about Duterte’s deadly “war on drugs,” his affinity for Donald Trump, and his weaponization of social media. Ressa is the CEO and executive editor of the leading independent Filipino news site The Rappler, which Duterte has repeatedly tried to shut down. Last week, the Filipino government indicted her for tax evasion in what is widely seen as the government’s latest attack on the website. We speak with Maria Ressa in New York City. She has received the 2018 Knight International Journalism Award and the Committee to Protect Journalists 2018 Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award.
CIA ‘concludes with high confidence’ Saudi Crown Prince
ordered Khashoggi murder – reports
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey last month, the CIA has concluded, according to anonymous sources who spoke with the Washington Post and Reuters.
The US foreign espionage agency assessed with “high confidence” that the prince was behind the death of the Post columnist, the newspaper reported on Friday evening, citing “people familiar with the matter.” Reuters later cited its own source as saying that the spy agency “had briefed other parts of the US government on its assessment,” which contradicts the official position maintained by both Riyadh and Washington thus far.
‘It’s a suffering tape’:
Sensitive Trump says he won’t listen to audio record of Khashoggi killing
Donald Trump said he has no desire to listen to an audio allegedly depicting the murder of Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, but added that he had been briefed that it was a “very violent, very vicious and terrible” recording.
When asked by Chris Wallace why he doesn’t want to get acquainted with the critical piece of evidence in the killing of the journalist, who was a US resident and wrote for the Washington Post, Trump replied “because it’s a suffering tape.”
CIA ‘concludes with high confidence’ Saudi Crown Prince ordered Khashoggi murder – reports
Khashoggi was brutally murdered and dismembered by a group of assassins at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. Riyadh first claimed that it was unaware of the fate of the journalist, who was critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (also known as MbS) in his articles.
But with all evidence pointing at them, the Saudis eventually admitted that Khashoggi was accidentally killed during an interrogation gone wrong. The key piece of proof is claimed to be a recording from the journalist’s Apple Watch that he turned on as a precaution before entering the consulate.
Turkish authorities said they’ve obtained this gruesome audio and have shared it with several countries, including the US.
Earlier this week, the Washington Post reported that the CIA concluded “with high confidence” that the killing of its columnist was ordered by the Crown Prince himself.
Wallace wondered if MbS was lying when he personally assured Trump that he had nothing to do with the crime.
Who can really know? But I can say this: he’s got many people now that say he had no knowledge.
Since the outbreak of the scandal, Trump has been reluctant to yield to calls for punishing Riyadh –coming from both sides of the aisle– and spoil relations with one of America’s key security and business partners.
In Sunday’s interview, he reiterated his commitment to “stick with an ally that in many ways has been very good.”
Pompeo handed Riyadh a plan to shield MBS from Khashoggi fallout, says source
US secretary of state gave Mohammed bin Salman a roadmap to insulate himself from the scandal, a senior Saudi source tells MEE
Saudi Arabia's king and crown prince are shielding themselves from the Jamal Khashoggi murder scandal by using a roadmap drawn up by the US secretary of state, a senior Saudi source has told Middle East Eye.
Mike Pompeo delivered the plan in person during a meeting with Saudi King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, last month in Riyadh, said the source, who is familiar with Pompeo's talks with the Saudi leaders.
The plan includes an option to pin the Saudi journalist’s murder on an innocent member of the ruling al-Saud family in order to insulate those at the very top, the source told MEE.
That person has not yet been chosen, the source said, and Saudi leaders are reserving the use of that plan in case the pressure on bin Salman, also known as MBS, becomes too much.
“We would not be surprised if that happens,” the source told MEE.
The US State Department denied the Saudi source's allegations, and called them "a complete misrepresentation of the secretary’s diplomatic mission to Saudi Arabia".
"We’ve spoken publicly about our goals: to impress upon Saudi leadership the seriousness to which the United States government attaches to a prompt and complete accounting of the murder of Jamal Kashoggi,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert told MEE.
According to the source, Pompeo outlined his plan on 16 October, when he jetted over to Riyadh to meet with King Salman and MBS as international scrutiny on the Khashoggi case intensified.
Pompeo’s trip to the Gulf kingdom came exactly two weeks after Khashoggi, a prominent journalist and critic of the crown prince, was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.
Just days before Pompeo touched down in Riyadh, MEE reported that Turkish officials had discovered that Khashoggi was killed and dismembered minutes after he entered the consulate to get papers he needed to remarry.
Pompeo sent to Riyadh to advise Saudi leaders
Trump: Jamal Khashoggi 'Enemy Of The State'
Trump can’t ditch MbS because of personal stakes: report
US President Donald Trump can’t let go of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman despite increasing evidence that the prince ordered the murder of a Saudi critic overseas, and that is because the US president has personal stakes in propping up Mohammed, a new report suggests.
An article by The New York Times’ White House correspondent on Sunday explained why Trump was sticking with Mohammed even as “evidence piles up pointing to the Saudi crown prince’s responsibility in the brutal killing of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.”
Khashoggi was assassinated by a hit squad of 15 Saudi Arabian agents — including a frequent companion of Mohammed’s and some members of his security detail — inside the Saudi consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul on October 2.
Turkey “moved heaven and earth” to bring international attention to the killing. As that attention was attracted, Saudi Arabia became incapable of quietly getting away with the assassination.
Riyadh has several times altered its narrative on the killing. Initially, it denied the killing altogether. After 18 days of blatant denial, Riyadh finally acknowledged the killing but said Khashoggi had been killed in a “rogue” operation that had gone haywire. Still later, on Thursday, November 15, the Saudi Public Prosecution offered yet another account, saying the 15 agents had acted on “an order to bring back the victim (Khashoggi) by means of persuasion, and if persuasion fails, to do so by force” but had then went on to kill him on their own.
Citing informed sources, The Washington Post reported on November 16 that the CIA “has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination.”
Trump, who had already refused to directly implicate Mohammed, then defied his own country’s intelligence agency by saying that the CIA assessment was “very premature.”
The New York Times said in its Sunday article that Trump had basically three reasons why he was resisting blaming Mohammed.
It said Saudi Arabia — which is under the de facto rule of Mohammed — is “a linchpin” of the Trump administration’s hawkish strategy on Iran. The Saudi crown prince also has a close relationship with Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is pursuing what he thinks would be a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians. And lastly, Mohammed has pledged to buy 110 billion dollars’ worth of American military equipment.
Khashoggi case story in 2D animation. Will it change power equations in Saudi Arabia?
What Jamal Khashoggi couldn't do while he was alive, in death he may influence the outcome of events in his country of Saudi Arabia. See the unfortunate events that prematurely ended his life and the conspiracy to hide the dreadful deed in this comprehensive 2D animation video from Bisbo. Also make sure to wait for the limerick at the end.
Why Did CIA Turn Against Saudi Crown Prince MBS? It’s More than Khashoggi
Israel's Useful Idiots
by Philip Giraldi
FDD and AIPAC need
Depending on what criteria one uses, there are between 200 and 600 groups in the United States that wholly or in part are dedicated to furthering the interests of Israel. The organizations are both Jewish, like the Zionist Organization of America, and Christian Zionist to include John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel, but the funding of the Israel Lobby and both its political and media access comes overwhelmingly from Jewish supporters and advocates.
Many of the groups are registered with the Internal Revenue Service for tax purposes as 501(c)3 “educational” or “charitable” foundations, which enables them to solicit tax exempt donations. One might dispute whether promoting Israeli interests in the United States is actually educational, but as of right now the Department of the Treasury believes it can be so construed, protected by the First Amendment.
But there is a more serious consideration in terms of the actual relationships that many of the groups enjoy with the Israeli government. To be sure, many of them boast on their promotional literature and websites about their relationships with the Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet, so the issue of dual loyalty or, worse, acting as actual Israeli government agents must be considered.
Israel: Snowden accuses Israeli cybersecurity firm of enabling Khashoggi murder
US whistleblower Edward Snowden accused an Israeli cybersecurity firm of developing and selling surveillance software to Saudi Arabia, enabling the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, at a conference in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.
‘Disgrace to Jews’: Israeli consulate goes after RT America reporter
over Gaza tweets
Israelis in Tel Aviv protest against the ceasefire with Gaza, November 15, 2018. © Reuters / Ammar Awad
The Israeli consulate in Boston has sent angry messages to a RT America reporter, after his criticism of how the US media were covering the deadly events in Gaza was retweeted by Palestinian activists.
Dan Cohen was pointing out how the Associated Press was “whitewashing Israel’s crimes” including the shooting of the agency’s own journalist in Gaza on Monday, when he received the messages from the consulate, calling him a “disgrace to Americans and Jews everywhere.”
Censored ‘Israel Lobby’ Doc Leaks
Anya Parampil reports on Al Jazeera’s censored four-part investigation series on the Israel lobby in the U.S., which was leaked by the Electronic Intifada. She explains why the Qatari network opted to censor their investigation series after years of production. Co-Founder of the Electronic Intifada, Ali Abunimah, explains why Americans must see the films to understand the full scope of Israel Lobby interference. Later, former member of UK Parliament, George Galloway, joins the show to discuss the Israel Lobby’s influence on Al Jazeera’s decision to censor the investigation.
‘We Only Killed the Bad People’: 2 Khmer Rouge Leaders, Forever Linked
by Seth Mydans
The former Khmer Rouge leaders Khieu Samphan, left, and Nuon Chea at a hearing in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital, in 2013. “Let bygones be bygones,” Mr. Khieu Samphan once said.CreditMark Peters/Extraordinary Chambers in The Courts of Cambodia, via Associated Press
Trump’s Defense Spending Is Out of Control, and Poised to Get Worse
(Using a time-honored trick, a bipartisan congressional panel argues
we should boost the president’s record defense bill even more)
by Matt Taibbi
U.S. President Donald Trump puts on a military jacket as he meets the US troops at the U.S. Yokota Air Base, on the outskirts of Tokyo, Nov. 5, 2017.
A bipartisan commission has determined that President Trump’s recent record defense bill is insufficiently massive to keep America safe, and we should spend more, while cutting “entitlements.”
The National Defense Strategy Commission concluded the Department of Defense was too focused on “efficiency” and needed to accept “greater cost and risk” to search for “leap-ahead technologies” to help the U.S. maintain superiority.
The panel added that Defense is “not where most of the money is.” It said Congress should be focused on “domestic entitlement programs” and “interest payments on the national debt” as sources of savings.
The White House Spat With Jim Acosta Is Not A First Amendment Issue, Julian Assange's Indictment Is One
U.S. media support a questionable First Amendment case when one of the network reporters was rebuked by the White House. They are quiet on another case where the danger to the rights of a free press is much more serious.
On November 9, during a White House press conference with U.S. president Donald Trump, CNN reporter Jim Acosta staged a confrontation. His 'questions' to Trump during the press conference amounted to political statements and personal accusations. The situation escalated when Acosta insisted to make more statement while the president invited other reporters to ask their questions.
The first Acosta statement/question was about the so called caravan of immigrants that traveled through Mexico to the U.S. border. Trump had used it as a boogeyman during the midterm election campaign and had called it an "invasion". Trump answered the question by explaining that he wants immigrants to go through the legal immigration process and to not pass the border illegally. Acosta interrupted Trump's answer and asked a follow up, again in an accusing tone. Trump also answered that second question.
Acosta made another attempt to involve Trump into a political discussion about the issue. The president rejected that by telling Acosta to do his job as reporter while he, Trump, would do his as president. He moved on to the next reporter.
A White House aid got up to fetch the mobile microphone Acosta held in his hand. He more or less pushed her away and tried to ask another question, this time on the "Russian investigation". Trump told him "That's enough. That's enough." Acosta continued to ask. Trump relented and answered the question by saying that the whole "Russia investigation" is a hoax. Acosta tried another question, number five, asking if Trump was worried about indictments in the case. Trump turned away.
Acosta finally gave up the microphone. Trump then told Acosta that he is a "rude, terrible person" and that CNN "should be ashamed" to have him as a reporter.
Trump turned to another reporter to continued the press conference. While the next reporter asked his question Acosta got up again, interrupted the other reporter and again tried to get Trump into a discussion. He failed.
A video of the full exchange is here.
The Biggest Threat to Free Speech No One Is Talking About
by Robert Scheer
Since the repeal in June of Obama-era rules guaranteeing net neutrality, websites like Truthdig, Democracy Now!, Common Dreams and more risk being pushed into an internet slow lane that could severely hamper their readership, if not drive them out of business entirely. For Jeff Cohen, editor and co-founder of the media watchdog Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), it may be the most urgent threat to the First Amendment no one is talking about.
“The biggest issue of freedom of the press is not that Trump is mean to reporters, as he was last week with CNN’s Jim Acosta and Yamiche Alcindor of “PBS NewsHour,” he tells Robert Scheer. “The biggest freedom-of-the-press issue is that Trump is working with Comcast and AT&T and Verizon to end net neutrality. … Ownership of the media and the ownership of the internet, the fact that these big internet providers are [a] few giant companies that also produce content—it’s very, very dangerous.”
In the latest installment of “Scheer Intelligence,” Cohen plumbs a range of topics, including the myriad failures of our political press and the Blue Wave election that wasn’t quite, as well as the future of the progressive movement. No matter how many congressional seats it ends up flipping, he contends, the Democratic Party is unlikely to change course until it replaces its leadership: “It’s too indebted to the donor class. So they talk with mush in their mouths. ‘We should have more accessibility to affordable housing’—no! What’s popular is ‘Medicare for all.’ ”
Nov. 19, 2018
The “Resistance” Struggles To Justify Support For Trump’s
Prosecution Of Assange
by Caitin Johnstone
Ever since suspicions were confirmed that the Trump administration is indeed working to prosecute and imprison WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for publishing authentic documents, the so-called “Resistance” has been struggling to explain exactly why it is so enthusiastically supportive of that agenda. And when I say struggling, I am being very, very generous.
When news broke that a court document copy-paste error had inadvertently exposed the fact that the Trump administration is pursuing an agenda which experts of diverse political persuasions agree would have devastating effects on the freedom of the press, #Resistance pundit and DC think tank operative Neera Tanden responded by tweeting, “Never mess with karma”. As of this writing if you do a Twitter search for the words “Assange” and “karma” together, you will come up with countless Democratic Party loyalists using that concept to justify their support for a Trump administration assault on the press that is infinitely more dangerous than the president being mean to Jim Acosta.
The trouble with that of course is that “karma”, as far as observable reality is concerned, is not an actual thing. It’s a Hindu religious concept that is supported by no more factual evidence than the Roman Catholic claim that a priest literally turns bread and wine into the body and blood of a Nazarene carpenter who died thousands of years ago. A Democratic pundit using the concept of “karma” to justify enthusiastic support for Trump’s fascistic attack on press freedoms is exactly the same as a Republican pundit using “God wills it” to justify the existence of poverty, and it is just as intellectually honest.
But it’s also the best argument these people have got.
I mean, think about it. There’s really no other way you can justify supporting a Trump administration agenda–an administration you claim to oppose–in a prosecution with legal implications that are severely detrimental to the free press, which you claim to support. The only way to justify it is with some vague, abstract notion that Assange is just “getting what he deserves” since the 2016 WikiLeaks publications of Democratic Party likely contributed to Trump’s electoral victory over Hillary Clinton, and the only way to reify that vague, abstract notion is with an appeal to some imaginary metaphysical principle, i.e. karma.
But, again, that is not a thing. There is no invisible eight-armed deity floating around behind the scenes arbitrating and distributing the consequences of WikiLeaks drops, and there is no rational argument that the Trump administration prosecuting Assange is desirable because Assange “deserves” it. The fact of the matter is that these people are supporting Trump’s fascism in the most toxic ways possible, they are utterly incapable of defending that support with any intellectual honesty, and the self-proclaimed “Resistance” would be more aptly named “the Assistance”.
Journalist Glenn Greenwald described this phenomenon as follows:
But the grand irony is that many Democrats will side with the Trump DOJ over the Obama DOJ. Their emotional, personal contempt for Assange – due to their belief that he helped defeat Hillary Clinton: the gravest crime – easily outweighs any concerns about the threats posed to press freedoms by the Trump administration’s attempts to criminalize the publication of documents.
This reflects the broader irony of the Trump era for Democrats. While they claim out of one side of their mouth to find the Trump administration’s authoritarianism and press freedom attacks so repellent, they use the other side of their mouth to parrot the authoritarian mentality of Jeff Sessions and Mike Pompeo that anyone who published documents harmful to Hillary or which have been deemed “classified” by the U.S. Government ought to go to prison.
…It is this utterly craven and authoritarian mentality that is about to put Democrats of all sorts in bed with the most extremist and dangerous of the Trump faction as they unite to create precedents under which the publication of information – long held sacrosanct by anyone caring about press freedoms – can now be legally punished.
And indeed this is exactly what has been happening. Check out the joyous celebrations in online comments sections from when the news broke that the Trump administration has brought sealed charges upon Assange (here, here, or here for example) for a taste of where the “blue wave” zeitgeist is at right now. Their hatred for Assange has overpowered not only their hatred for Trump, but the most important ways in which they are meant to be resisting him.
When you find yourself supporting conflicting principles, it’s a sure sign that you were never guided by principle to begin with.
And this is really the lesson we can take from all this. The noxious strain of American liberalism which promotes Russia conspiracy theories, supports the prosecution of government transparency advocates, and only attacks Trump as an idea rather than actually resisting his actual policies was never about any principle of any kind. There were preexisting agendas against Russia, alternative media, WikiLeaks, and government transparency long before Trump took office, and all of those agendas have been systematically advanced by the powerful using the “us vs them” herd mentality of the McResistance. These people aren’t supporting the prosecution of a leak publisher because of their ideological values, they are supporting it because that’s what powerful manipulators want them to do.
Trump’s despicable prosecution of Assange, and corporate liberalism’s full-throated support for it, has fully discredited all of mainstream US politics on both sides of the aisle. Nobody in that hot mess stands for anything. If you’re still looking to Trump or the Democrats to protect you from the rising tide of fascism, the time to make your exit is now.
Monday, November 19, 2018
Israel aims to ignite ‘religious war’: Palestinian Authority
The Palestinian Authority says Israel seeks to ignite a religious war after an Israeli minister forced his way into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem al-Quds with a group of extremists Sunday.
“The aggression on al-Aqsa Mosque by storming it is a hellish crime perpetrated by and initiated by an extremist terror ideology,” Palestinian Authority spokesman Yusef al-Mahmoud said.
His remarks came after Uri Ariel, Israel’s minister of agriculture and rural development, and dozens of extremist settlers barged into the highly sensitive site in a provocative act. Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds is the third holiest site to Muslims and past Israeli incursions have touched off heavy clashes between Palestinians and Israeli troops. Mahmoud said the move was carried out on instructions from the Israeli regime to “storm the Aqsa Mosque on a daily basis”. He said anyone who participates in storming mosques and churches in Jerusalem al-Quds “represents this bloody ideology”.
Boston Billboard Honoring Gaza First Responders Removed over Claims of Anti-Semitism
‘Israeli sniper’ shoots AP cameraman in PRESS vest as he films border protest
(Published on 20 Nov, 2018 13:45)
An Associated Press (AP) cameraman has been injured by gunfire while filming a protest in the Gaza Strip, the agency said. He was apparently shot by an Israeli sniper despite wearing clothes identifying him as a media worker.
Rashed Rashid, 47 was injured in the leg on Monday while covering the weekly protest at the Israeli border wall, AP reported. He received multiple bone fractures above the ankle and will require surgery.
Witnesses say Rashid was standing on an elevated area some 600 meters from the fence, when the shooting happened. He was far from protesters and was wearing a blue helmet and brown protective vest with the word “PRESS” clearly written in white. He was also operating a live camera.
UN Condemns UK government's 'Mean-spirited and Callous Approach'
to Poorest, in Damning Report
by May Bulman
'I have spoken with people who depend on food banks and charities for their next meal, who have sold sex for money or shelter, children who are growing up in poverty unsure of their future,' says UN special rapporteur
The United Nations has condemned the British government's "punitive, mean-spirited and often callous" treatment of the country's poorest and most vulnerable, in a damning report.
The UN's special rapporteur said policies and drastic cuts to social support were entrenching high levels of poverty and inflicting unnecessary misery in one of the richest countries in the world, adding that Brexit was exacerbating the problem.
“The United Kingdom’s impending exit from the European Union poses particular risks for people in poverty, but the government appears to be treating this as an afterthought,” said the UN's expert on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, at the end of a 12-day visit to the country.
May Brexit Deal “Worse” than Remaining in EU- Galloway
with George Galloway
Anya Parampil reports on UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s emergency cabinet meeting, called in an effort to win approval for her final Brexit plan, which members from her own party as well as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have deemed a failure. Former member of UK Parliament George Galloway returns to tell viewers he believes the plan is dead in the water and how he believes Corbyn would negotiate Brexit differently.
85 arrested as ‘Extinction Rebellion’ protest blocks major London bridges (PHOTOS, VIDEO)
The group says it aims to use civil disobedience to force the government to take more steps to tackle climate change, adding that it has plenty of people willing to be arrested to draw attention to the issue.
Midterm Results: the War Party Rules
by Danny Haiphong
There is no doubt who won the midterm elections: the War Party, which for generations has been virtually unopposed in the US.
“Democrats gave a wink and a nod to the military industrial complex by remaining silent on the question of war.”
Forget the midterms. The “blue wave” was a low tide. The Democrats took the House but lost the Senate, and badly. The good news is that another excessively hyped election is over. Let’s talk instead about how under US imperialism, war is a constant. Republican and Democratic Party officials are members of the War Party. US imperial wars rage on regardless of whether a Democrat is elected for President or Congress. The War Party follows of the dictates of Wall Street and the war machine. Party membership not only includes Democratic and Republican officials but also the corporate media.
Democratic Party officials described last week’s midterm elections as the most important electoral moment in U.S. history. So-called “blue wave” politicians such as Stacy Abrams and Beto O’Rourke were deemed the “new” face of the Democrat side of the War Party. Democrats have promised their base that they will protect Obamacare, institute immigration reform, and “resist” Trump. These empty promises lacked the substance necessary to improve the conditions of poor and oppressed people. Beyond empty promises and corporate gesturing, Democrats gave a wink and a nod to the military industrial complex by remaining silent on the question of war.
“The War Party follows of the dictates of Wall Street and the war machine.”
A California Jew in a Time of Anti-Semitism
by Jonah Raskin
According to the FBI, 1,679 religious hate crimes were reported last year. 58.1% were anti-Jewish and 18.6% were anti-Muslim. I don’t like to turn to the FBI for statistics, but I don’t know where else to turn for evidence of crimes of this sort. The statistics might dampen my “holiday spirit” this time of year when I have often celebrated Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza and Tết, the Vietnamese New Year, which I enjoyed in Hanoi for the first time twenty-years ago. I feel like I belong to the world and to all its religions, though I know that religions have brought violence and calamity, and though I was born into a secular Jewish family and grew up when Jews were excluded from country clubs and fraternities.
When I was eleven-years-old, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, two American-born Jews, were sent to the electric chair after they were found guilty of stealing the secret of the atomic bomb and then handing it to the Soviets. That event seared my childhood more than any other; my parents were also Jewish and had belonged to the American Communist Party from 1938 to 1948.
The American Nazi Party was alive and well when I was a boy. Members of the organization wore swastikas and paraded in largely Jewish neighborhoods. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that they had a right to do so under the First Amendment to the Constitution. “Jew Boy” was a term of derision and so was “New York Jew,” which might be taken to mean a Wall Street banker or a Communist agitator. Now, New York Jew it might mean the former mayor of the city, Michael Bloomberg, the eleventh richest person in the world, or the orthodox Jews who are anti-Zionist.
To paraphrase Henry James, “It’s a complex fate to be an American Jew.” Now, more than ever before the American Jewish community, which is as divided as ever before since the height of McCarthyism and the Cold War, faces crucial political and social issues that will not be resolved anytime soon.
I probably will never lose my identity as a Jew, though I don’t believe in the Messiah, don’t care if I never see Jerusalem and have never thought that Jews are the “Chosen People” who have suffered more than any other people because of discrimination and prejudice.
I’m a Jew who believes that the State of Israel has often behaved like a Nazi regime when it comes to Palestinians. I don’t think of myself as a “white person,” if only because so-called “white people” have reminded me for much of my life that I was Jewish and didn’t belong in their fraternities, clubs and cliques, though sometimes I have been a token Jew, as when I played rugby in New York in the early 1960s and rubbed shoulders with Irish from Ireland, white South Africans and white Australians.
After all these years, I remember now a diner party in Antwerp, Belgium in 1988 when the host, who was also a colleague of mine at the university, began to talk about a Belgian woman he described as “a Jewess,” a word I had never heard spoken before. I associated “Jewess” with Rebecca, the dark, exotic Jew, and the daughter of a moneylender in Sir Walter Scott’s 1819 novel Ivanhoe, which is set in the twelfth-century, about the same time that some astute observers of human nature first explained that non-Jews projected their own “dark side” onto Jews, rather than owning it themselves.
The word “Jewess”—when coupled with my landlady’s comment that “the Jews were taking over Antwerp”—raised my hackles, made me aware of Belgian anti-Semitism and brought out my own self-identification as Jewish, which is magnified whenever I hear negative comments about Jews.
Search for "antiSemitism" - PaulCraigRoberts.org
Phil Ochs and the Crucifixion of President John F. Kennedy
by Edward Curtin / November 16th, 2018
They say they
can’t believe it, it’s a sacrilegious shame
Now, who would want to hurt such a hero of the game?
But you know I predicted it; I knew he had to fall
How did it happen? I hope his suffering was small.
Tell me every detail, I’ve got to know it all,
And do you have a picture of the pain?
— Phil Ochs, “The Crucifixion”
You are aware
of only one unrest;
Oh, never learn to know the other!
Two souls, alas, are dwelling in my breast,
And one is striving to forsake its brother.
— Goethe, Faust
President John Kennedy was assassinated by the U.S. national-security state, led by the C.I.A., on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas. That is a fact beyond dispute, except for those who wish to engage in pseudo-debates to deny the obvious. I prefer not to, since there is nothing to debate.
Six Recent US Antiwar Demonstrations Your Rulers Don’t Want You Talking About
by Caitlin Johnstone
November 15, 2018 - A friend told me yesterday that he hadn’t seen an antiwar protest in America in ten years. It was a sincere comment; he genuinely hadn’t seen any coverage on any peace activism in his country during that time. And of course he hadn’t; it is mainstream media’s job to distort public narratives in favor of the war-hungry plutocratic class which owns the media outlets. But I’ve actually been noticing a lot of antiwar activism lately which, while often far from the spotlight of mass media attention, has given me much hope for the future.
It is true there was a noticeable lull in vocal demonstrations against military violence since George W Bush left office, largely due to mainstream US partisan dynamics. Mainstream liberals supported Obama, so they avoided bringing attention to his continuation of Bush’s policies of mass murder, while mainstream conservatives ignored the Obama administration’s violence since they focused on attacking him as a weakling and a terrorist sympathizer, and of course had no ground to stand on for any criticisms of warmongering after supporting eight years of Bush. Some antiwar activism did happen in the US during that time, but not much.
And, bizarrely, we’ve seen a mutation of this trend continue well into the Trump administration, with mainstream liberals herded into holding demonstrations in support of the empty Russiagate conspiracy theory. The mass media-endorsed collusion narrative has fed into an anti-Russia hysteria among Democratic Party loyalists that has been used to manufacture support for dangerous cold war escalations and an obscenely bloated military budget, while any objection to Trump’s warmongering and advancement of longstanding neoconservative agendas has been intentionally lost in the shuffle.
The Iranian Albatross the US Has Hung Around Its Own Neck
“Mr. Trump, nor anyone else in his administration, has announced any conclusions about how Mr. Khashoggi died, or who bears responsibility for ordering the killing”, a Washington Post editorial fulminates. “Instead, they have pretended to be waiting for the results of a Saudi investigation... the obvious problem with that stance is it assumes that Mohammed bin Salman himself is not at the bottom of the Khashoggi plot — though abundant evidence points to the crown prince. In truth, as the administration surely knows, there is no Saudi investigation — only a cover-up operation that has clumsily tried to disguise itself as an inquiry”.
One aspect to this affair is the US domestic issue. The White House is increasingly perceived – as the Washington Post implies – as engaged in a ‘soft’ cover-up of a cover-up. That is to say, the White House is being viewed as so set on keeping MbS in position as lynchpin to Trump’s entire Middle Eastern strategy that the White House and Mr Bolton will try to turn a Nelsonian ‘blind eye’ – or a ‘selective ear’ – to any audio evidence provided by the Turkish government that seems to implicate MbS.
President Trump is keeping his powder dry. He said: “I’ll have a much stronger opinion on that subject over the next week … I’m forming a very strong opinion.” But caution on his part might be wise: leading Turkish daily, Yeni Safak, which is close to the Turkish government, and which has been covering leaked details of the Khashoggi investigation day by day, has reported that Maher Mutrib, the Saudi intelligence official who led the 15-man assassination team in Ankara, spoke to Badr al-Asaker, the head of the Crown Prince's private office, four times directly after Khashoggi was killed (if it was Mutrib who said “tell your boss” to MbS’ chef de cabinet, then the implication is clear). This has not been officially confirmed, but it is possible (and likely) that Turkish intelligence has yet further details to trickle out, piecemeal, to discredit the Saudi ‘line’ each time the kingdom tries to ‘draw the line’ under the case. Erdogan is determined to get MbS’ scalp, it seems.
US promises to ‘disrupt’ oil shipments to Syria,
sanctions Russian & Iranian companies
The US has introduced sanctions against what it called a network of petroleum shipments to Syria, including Russian and Iranian companies and individuals. Washington says it wants to disrupt shipments to Syrian-owned ports.
Six individuals have been sanctioned over oil shipments to Syria, the US Treasury Department has said. Three institutions have also been sanctioned.
In addition to the fresh measures, the US Coast Guard has issued an advisory warning of “significant sanctions risks” on petroleum shipments to Syria. The US has promised that it will “disrupt” any attempted shipments to government-owned ports in Syria.
The Treasury Department claims that the individuals and companies affected by the measures are involved in a “complex and malign scheme” to bolster the regime of Syrian leader Bashar Assad. It claims that oil is being imported into Syria from Iran in defiance of American sanctions. The Syrian government then allegedly transfers cash to Islamic militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah, at Iran’s direction.
It claims that Russian companies act as middlemen, taking money from Iran to move the oil to Syria. In one case detailed in a Treasury Department press release, the Iranian central bank transferred money to an Iranian pharmaceutical company, hoping that its humanitarian name would throw US observers off the trail.
That money was then allegedly wired to a Russian bank, then to a Russian company that shipped the oil from Iran to Syria. Along the way, the Treasury Department claims that Russian ships would switch off their GPS tracking systems to conceal the origin of their cargo.
Noam Chomsky - Confronting Climate Change
(A movement to end climate change – 2019)
Erdogan, MBS, Islamic leadership and the price of silence
by Pepe Escobar
The House of Saud's ties to the Khashoggi slaying are being milked by the Turkish President for maximum benefit amid debate on leadership of the Islamic world and how the crisis may affect US and Saudi strategy in the Middle East
It was packaged as a stark, graphic message, echoing across Eurasia: Presidents Erdogan and Putin, in a packed hall in Istanbul on Monday, surrounded by notables, celebrating completion of the 930 kilometer-long offshore section of the TurkStream gas pipeline across the bottom of the Black Sea.
This is no less than a key landmark in that fraught terrain I named ‘Pipelineistan’ in the early 2000s. It was built by Gazprom in only two and a half years despite facing massive pressure from Washington, which had already managed to derail TurkStream’s predecessor, South Stream.
Senators ask Trump to investigate if MBS was responsible for Khashoggi's death
Published on 21 Nov, 2018 04:37 Edited time: 21 Nov, 2018 13:58
In a rare bipartisan effort, the senior Republican and Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have both asked President Donald Trump to launch a human rights probe into Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.
In a letter penned by the outgoing chairman of the committee, Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and ranking member Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), lawmakers urge Trump to determine whether Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) bears responsibility for the torture and brutal murder of Washington Post columnist and Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey in October.