Bulletin N° 844
film by Pier Paolo Pasolini
(several clicks might be necessary to access this film, which is mostly a visual experience)
Theorem - Definition:
a general proposition not self-evident but proved by a chain of reasoning; a truth established by means of accepted truths.
You must go to Yemen to Learn the Truth.
US Leaders Aid and Abet War Crimes in Yemen - by Marjorie Cohn.
(Published August 24, 2018)
Yemen: The Triumph of Barbarism - by Cesar Chelala.
(Published April 22, 2018)
V-E Day 2019
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
In Chapter 3 of Marcuse’s book, “Five Lectures,” he discusses the “obsolescence of the Freudian concept of man” with a surprising twist of meaning, which opens up a new critical dimension of contemporary society and its effect on the individual. He begins this lecture by acknowledging the historical nature of Freudian analysis.
Some of the basic assumptions of Freudian theory both in their orthodox as well as revisionist development have become obsolescent to the degree to which their object, namely the “individual” as the embodiment of id, ego, and superego has become obsolescent in the social reality. The evolution of contemporary society has replaced the Freudian model by a social atom whose mental structure no longer exhibits the qualities attributed by Freud to the psychoanalytic object. Psychoanalysis, in its various schools, has continued and spread over large sectors of society, but with the change in its object, the gap between theory and therapy has been widened. Therapy is faced with a situation in which it seems to help the Establishment rather than the individual. The truth of psychoanalysis is thereby not invalidated; on the contrary, the obsolescence of its object reveals the extent to which progress has been in reality regression. Psychoanalysis thus sheds new light on the politics of advanced industrial society.
This essay outlines the contributions of psychoanalysis to political thought by trying to show the social and political content in the basic psychoanalytic concepts themselves. The psychoanalytic categories do not have to be “related” to social and political conditions – they are themselves social and political categories. Psychoanalysis could become an effective social and political instrument, positive as well as negative, in an administrative as well as critical function, because Freud had discovered the mechanisms of social and political control in the depth dimension of instinctual drives and satisfactions.
It has often been said that Freud’s theory depended, for much of its validity, on the existence of Viennese middle-class society in the decades preceding the Fascist era – from the turn of the century to the inter-war period. There is a kernel of truth in this facile correlation, but its geographical and historical limits are false. At the time of its maturity, Freud’s theory comprehended the past rather than the present – a vanishing rather than a prevalent image of man, a disappearing form of human existence. Freud describes a dynamic mental structure: the life-and-death struggle between antagonistic forces - id, ego and superego, pleasure principle and reality principle, Eros and Thanatos. This struggle is fought out entirely in and by the individual, in and by this body and mind; the analyst acts as the spokesman (silent spokesman!) of reason –in the last analysis of the individual’s own reason. He only activates, articulates what is in the patient, his mental faculties and capabilities. “The id shall become ego”: here is the rationalist, rational program of psychoanalysis – conquest of the unconscious and its “impossible” drives and objectives. It is by virtue and power of his own reason that the individual abandons the uncompromising claims of the pleasure principle and submits to the dictate of the reality principle, that he learns to maintain the precarious balance between Eros and Thanatos – that he learns to eke out a living in a society (Freud say “civilization”) which is increasingly incapable of making him happy, that is to say, of satisfying his instinctual drives.(pp.44-45)
Elsewhere, Marcuse has coined useful terms, such as “repressive tolerance,” and in a question-and-answer session following one of the lectures in this series dealing with the concepts of freedom and progress in Freud’s thoughts, he invents the term, “totalitarian democracy” (p.73), by which he means a mental operation where “repression itself is repressed: society has enlarged, not individual freedom, but its control over the individual. And this growth of social control is achieved, not by terror but by the more or less beneficial productivity and efficiency of the apparatus.” The individual, as seen by Freud, no longer exists in late capitalist societies; according to Marcuse, “those who live in advanced industrial societies no longer develop the autonomy, rationality, and conscience that Freud considered the prerequisite of a healthy person.” He insists that the very concept of “progress,” under these conditions, must be challenged if authentic freedom is to be rescued from totalitarian forces which are ravaging us in this era of imperialist expansion.
We have here a highly advanced stage of civilization where society subordinates the individuals to its requirements by extending liberty and equality – or, where the reality principle operates through enlarged but controlled desublimation. In this new historical form of the reality principle, progress may operate as vehicle of repression. The better and bigger satisfaction is very real, and yet, in Freudian terms, it is repressive inasmuch as it diminishes in the individual psyche the sources of the pleasure principle and of freedom: the instinctual – and intellectual – resistance against the reality principle. The intellectual resistance too is weakened at its roots: administered satisfaction extends to the realm of higher culture, of the sublimated needs and objectives. One of the essential mechanisms of advanced society is the mass diffusion of art, literature, music, philosophy; they become part of the technical equipment of the daily household and of the daily work world. In this process, they undergo a decisive transformation; they are losing the qualitative difference, namely the essential dissociation from the established reality principle which was the grounds of their liberating function. Now the images and ideas by virtue of which art, literature, and philosophy once indicted and transcended the given reality are integrated into the society, and the power of the reality principle is greatly extended. These tendencies alone would corroborate Freud’s hypothesis that repression increases as industrial society advances and extends its material and cultural benefits to a larger part of the underlying population. The beneficiaries are inextricably tied to the multiplying agencies which produce and distribute the benefits while constantly enlarging the giant apparatus required for the defense of these agencies within and outside the national frontiers; the people turn into the objects of administration. µas long as peace is maintained, it is a benevolent administration indeed. But the enlarged satisfaction includes and increases the satisfaction of aggressive impulses, and the concentrated mobilization of aggressive energy affects the political process, domestic as well as foreign.
The danger signs are there. The relationship between government and the governed, between the administration and its subjects is changing significantly –without a visible change in the well-functioning, democratic institutions.-(pp.57-58)
Marcuse concludes this discussion by endorsing the individual’s claim to what has been lost in the development of the social repression that has accompanied modern industrialization. “Psychoanalysis draws its strength from its obsolescence : for its insistence on individual needs and individual potentialities which have become outdated in the social and political development.”
That which is obsolete is not, by this token, false. If the advancing industrial society and its politics have invalidated the Freudian model of the individual and his relation to society, if they have undermined the power of the ego to dissociate itself from the others, to become and remain a self, then the Freudian concepts invoke not only a past left behind but also a future to be recaptured. In his uncompromising denunciation of what a repressive society does to man, in his prediction that, with the progress of civilization, the guilt will grow and death and destruction will ever more effectively threaten the life instincts, Freud has pronounced an indictment which has since been corroborated: by the gas chambers and labor camps, by the torture methods practiced in colonial wars and “police actions,” by man’s skill and readiness to prepare for a “life” underground. It is not the fault of psychoanalysis it is without power to stem this development. Nor can it buttress its strength by taking in such fads a Zen Buddhism, existentialism, etc. The truth of psychoanalysis lies in its loyalty to its most provocative hypotheses.(pp.60-61)
The 19 + items below will inform readers of the one-dimensional response to the suicidal tactics of late capitalism which pushes the envelope of private profits toward the very edge of our existence. This preparedness for collective self-sacrifice is captured by a famous London Guardian Newspaper political cartoonist. (Click on Steve Bell beginning @ 16:25 into the RT news program link. And not to be distracted, please see, also : Photos from Yemen.)
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
Clinton Foundation and ISIS were funded from the same source
by John Pilger and Julian Assange
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange stated that Hillary Clinton’s Clinton Foundation and the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS) are funded from the same sources.
He was speaking about the organisation’s latest release of Clinton emails, during an interview on the John Pilger Special show that is to be exclusively broadcast by RT, courtesy of Dartmouth Films. The interview took place in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London where Assange has been residing since August 2012. The footage was released on Thursday.
by Patrick Cockburn
Independent - October 14, 2016
There is a bizarre discontinuity between what the Obama administration knew about the jihadis and what they would say in public
Evidence of Intent by the President to Support Wahabbism
by Phil Butler
In a recent tweet by US presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard, the Army colonel and congresswoman called President Donald Trump out on America’s controversial support of Saudi Arabia. The candidate’s record and her recent gestures are at the center of what will be a pivotal American presidency. The 2020 elections are right around the corner and my countrymen need to know the real score. Here’s the latest on Donald Trump’s questionable intentions.
Gabbard is bringing to the forefront suspicions that the Trump/Pence team is hiding the fact that it is the Saudis who are a fundamental cause of the recent attacks on Christians/Christian churches in Sri Lanka and elsewhere. In another Tweet, the Hawaii representative railed at Trump for doing business with a regime many consider one of the instruments of Middle East chaos. Gabbard tweeted directly to POTUS:
“Hey @realdonaldtrump: being Saudi Arabia’s bitch is not ‘America First.”
This came on the heels of President Trump announcing his administration would take no actions against Saudi Arabia’s rulers regarding the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Trump sided with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who allegedly ordered the killing. The CIA reported to various news outlets that it had concluded the Saudi Prince did, in fact, order the killing.
President Trump made a statement saying, “It could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” In the same statement, Trump outlined how the US needed Saudi support to help fight terrorism and to help keep oil prices low. Right after this chain of events, oil prices plummeted. Here is the President’s Tweet to the American people:
“Oil prices getting lower. Great! Like a big Tax Cut for America and the World. Enjoy! $54, was just $82. Thank you to Saudi Arabia, but let’s go lower!”
Now, unless you are a fanatical right-wing extremist Trump supporter, another American president kissing the Saudi leadership’s behind should be an easy vision for you. Tulsi Gabbard made the call for us all. I have no doubt that Rep. Gabbard is focusing on the real Achilles heel of Trump and the deep state on the other side of the political aisle. If you’ll allow me to explain.
Bombshell: Professor Stuns MSNBC Panel On Syria
with Jeffrey Sachs
The Occupation of the American Mind
Posted May 06, 2019
"This is a film that demands to be seen! It shows, with devastating precession, how effective propaganda can hide crimes that are epic in scale and have catastrophic consequences" - Ken Loach, Filmmaker & Activist
Despite receiving an overwhelmingly positive response from those who have actually seen it, The Occupation of the American Mind has been repeatedly attacked and misrepresented by right-wing pressure groups and outright ignored by virtually all mainstream media outlets and North American film festivals.
The Gaza Ghetto uprising
by Gideon Levy
The cruelty and temerity of the people in Gaza once more reached new heights Saturday: dozens of rockets on Israel before the week of its Independence Day, just after its Holocaust Remembrance Day, and worst of all, two weeks before its Eurovision. How dare you Gaza, how dare you.
Israel still hasn’t recovered from the Holocaust, is preening itself for its Independence Day, the musicians are starting to arrive at Ben-Gurion Airport, and you’re firing Qassam rockets. How will we be able to celebrate? News reports give the impression that Israel is under siege; Gaza is threatening to destroy it. Twitter has already suggested “Eva’s Story on the Gaza Border” – a play on the social media campaign about the Holocaust.
Pundits explain that it’s all because of Hamas’ greed. Ramadan is beginning and “they’re under crazy pressure for cash.” Or, “It’s all because of the weak security policy that has gotten the terror groups used to Israel; we only strike buildings.”
And so they shoot, those villains. Hamas wants money, Israel’s too soft on them, they are terror, we are peace; they were born to kill. On Friday the army killed four protesters by the Gaza border fence, but who’s counting. In Israel a teenage boy tripped while running for a shelter. “When a lack of policy and continuity yields to blackmail,” a voice of wisdom mumbled, and nobody could figure out what he was proposing. Benny Gantz, the alternative. This is what we have an opposition for.
From: "Mark Crispin
To: "newsfromunderground" <email@example.com>
Sent: Sunday, May 5, 2019 2:50:01 AM
Subject: [MCM] What happened just today in Gaza. (Can you stand to look? In any case, PLEASE help.)
Here is the latest report from my friend Amal Arafa, a nurse in Gaza, working
with a team that has been struggling to contend with the atrocious consequences
of Israel's daily slaughter of the Palestinians there—an ongoing massacre that
"our free press" does not report.
Please donate what you can to help them.
From Amal Arafa:
The Israeli occupation forces, shelling more than 200 places, including houses and residential
towers, launched a fierce attack on the Gaza Strip this morning, killing five people, including a
mother and her child.
These are the people killed:
Imad Muhammad Nasir, 22
Khaled Mohammed Abu Qiaq, 25
Saleh Abu Arar, 37
Saba Mahmoud Abu Arar, 18 months old
Abdullah Abu Arar, unborn
We are doing all we can to help the injured. We cannot do it without you.
Please donate through this link:
Israel Again Bombs Gaza - But Is It "In Response"?
by Moon Of Alabama
Since Friday noon a fire exchange between besieged Palestinians in the Gaza strip and Israel escalated into heavy bombing and missile fire.
The reporting thereof in U.S. media again proves that these are unable to fairly cover on the conflict.
Jeff Bezos' blog headlines:
The first graph:
Militants in Gaza fired more than 250 rockets into southern Israel on Saturday, and Israel responded with airstrikes and artillery fire, ending weeks of relative calm and threatening efforts to forge a long-term truce.
Most readers do not read further than the headline and maybe the first paragraph. Their impression will understandably be that "militants in Gaza" started the fight and that the Zionists "responded". But that is far from the truth.
One has to read down to the fifteenth paragraph to learn that those 'facts' are probably false:
The Israeli military reported on Friday that two soldiers were lightly wounded in a shooting incident along its border with Gaza. In response, Israel struck sites belonging to the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, killing two fighters.
Also on Friday, two Palestinian protesters were killed taking part in ongoing weekly demonstrations at the border fence with Israel, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.
Note the sequencing. The exchange is again described as a "response" by Israel. The two murdered demonstrators, who were unarmed and posed no threat to Israel, are mentioned as an aside.
But is was their murder, by Israeli snipers, that actually started the escalating violence:
Ilhan Omar's tweet on Israel-Gaza violence
sparks condemnation from Republicans
Economist Jeffrey Sachs: U.S. Sanctions Have Devastated Venezuela & Killed Over 40,000 Since 2017
ZERO PERCENT OF US CORPORATE MEDIA COMMENTATORS OPPOSE REGIME CHANGE IN VENEZUELA
US Corporate Media Are All-In On Venezuela Regime Change
by Brett Wilkins
As is all too often the case when the United States sets its sights on its next target for war or regime change, the corporate mainstream media – which supposedly exists to speak truth to power – is once again marching in lockstep with the government as it beats the drums of war, this time against Venezuela.
The media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) has just released a survey of US opinion journalism on the Venezuela crisis which found that in the three-month period between January 15 and April 15, not a single voice in what it called the "elite corporate media" opposed regime change or supported Venezuela’s democratically elected government. FAIR analyzed coverage in the New York Times, Washington Post, PBS NewsHour and the Sunday morning talk shows on ABC, CBS and NBC. Of the 76 articles, opinion pieces and TV commentator segments focusing on Venezuela, 54, or 72 percent, explicitly supported removing President Nicolás Maduro from power. Only 11 pieces took no position on the matter.
The Times published 22 pro-regime change commentaries, three ambiguous ones and only five that took no position. The nation’s paper of record published a January 30, 2019 opinion piece by coup leader Juan Guaidó calling on the entire world to stand behind his effort to usurp the Venezuelan presidency. The Post also ran 22 pieces supporting Maduro’s ouster and only four that were neutral. Not to be outdone by its main competitor, the Jeff Bezos-owned paper also ran an opinion article by Guaidó in which he had the temerity to call Maduro "a usurper." Even the normally measured PBS NewsHour got in on the act, featuring a lengthy interview with Guaidó in which he called the possibility of violent confrontation "worth it" and dismissed the possibility of negotiating with Maduro.
Behold the breathtaking weakness of the Empire!
by The Saker
The Empire has suffered painful defeats in Afghanistan and Iraq, but one has to admit that these are “tough” countries to crack. The Empire also appears to have lost control of Libya, but that is another complex country which is very hard to control. We also saw all the pathetic huffing and puffing with the DPRK. But, let’s be honest, the USA never stood a chance to bully the DPRK into submission, nevermind invading or regime-changing it. Syria was much weaker, but here Russia, Iran and Hezbollah did a world class job of repelling all the AngloZionist attacks, political and military. Besides, I for one will never blame Trump for not listening to Bolton and not triggering WWIII over Syria (yet?)
No Hezbollah or Iran backing Maduro there. And Venezuela is way too far away from Russia to allow her to do what she did in Syria. In fact, Venezuela is in the proverbial “backyard” of the USA and is surrounded by hostile puppet regimes. And yet, tonight, it appears that the US puppet Guaidó has failed in his coup attempt.
Moon of Alabama did a great job covering the events of the day, so I will refer you to the excellent article “Venezuela – Random Guyaidó’s New Coup Attempt Turns Out to Be A Dangerous Joke“. I fully concur that today’s coup was both a joke and very dangerous.
Russian readers can also check out this article by Vzgliad which also gives a lot of interesting details, including the fact that Guaidó launched his coup from the Colombian Embassy in Caracas (see here for a machine translation).
But the thing which amazes me most tonight is the truly breathtakingly pathetic weakness of the clowns who launched this latest failed operation: Pompeo and Mr MAGA. Check them out . . .
Trump's Foreign Policy | Full Debate | George Galloway, Mark Leonard
Chomsky BRILLIANTLY Dissects Trump, Democrats & RussiaGate
Barr Hearings on Mueller Report Display the Threat to Democracy
Attorney and activist Kamau Franklin dissects the questioning of Attorney General Barr on his handling of the Mueller report
Glen Greenwald reams media for Collusion coverage
Tucker Carlson, It’s been a bewildering couple of months for Bill Barr. Barr first served as attorney general in the George HW Bush administration. That was 1991. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had just turned two years old at the time. That’s how long ago it was. Then, this February, by process of elimination, Barr became attorney general again. The Mueller investigation was nearly over when he got the job.
Barr probably didn’t expect to become a major figure in the Russia story. He had nothing to do with it. As far as we know, Barr never met with secret agents in Prague. He never texted Vladimir Putin on his blackberry. He never managed a Macedonian content farm. If Barr betrayed his country for a sack or rubles and a case of vodka, nobody has ever proved it. But it doesn’t matter. The Russia story cannot die. CNN, The Washington Post, and the Democratic Party have too much invested in it.
The fact it’s been proved a hoax is irrelevant to them. Bill Barr is a handy way to keep the Russia in the news. Watch today’s talking point in action. Somewhere in the basement of the DNC, some a messaging consultant has decided that “credibility” is the most effective line of attack:
Greenwald Reacts to "Rage" against AG Barr after Senate Hearing
Cloud Hovers Over Russia-gate
by Ray McGovern
Ray McGovern calls out the void of evidence at the heart of the Senate hearing with Attorney General Barr on Wednesday.
George Orwell would have been in stitches Wednesday watching Attorney General William Barr and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee spar on Russia-gate. The hearing had the hallmarks of the intentionally or naively blind leading the blind with political shamelessness.
From time to time the discussion turned to the absence of a legal “predicate” to investigate President Donald Trump for colluding with Russia. That is, of course, important; and we can expect to hear a lot more about that in coming months.
More important: what remains unacknowledged is the absence of an evidence-based major premise that should have been in place to anchor the rhetoric and accusations about Russia-gate over the past three years. With a lack of evidence sufficient to support a major premise, any syllogism falls of its own weight.
The major premise that Russia hacked into the Democratic National Committee and gave WikiLeaks highly embarrassing emails cannot bear close scrutiny. Yes, former CIA Director John Brennan has told Congress he does not “do evidence.” In the same odd vein, Brennan’s former FBI counterpart James Comey chose not to “do evidence” when he failed to seize and inspect the DNC computers that a contractor-of-ill-repute working for the DNC claimed were hacked by Russia.
Call us old fashioned, but we Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) still “do evidence” — and, in the case at hand, forensic investigation. For those who “can handle the truth,” the two former NSA technical directors in VIPS can readily explain how the DNC emails were not hacked — by Russia or anyone else — but rather were copied and leaked by someone with physical access to the DNC computers.
We first reported hard forensic evidence to support that judgment in a July 2017 memorandum for the president. Substantial evidence that has accumulated since then strengthens our confidence in that and in related conclusions. Our conclusions are not based on squishy “assessments,” but rather on empirical, forensic investigations — evidence based on fundamental principles of science and the scientific method.
Bizarre, Medieval . . . .
Noam Chomsky on Venezuela
In this clip from his March 2019 interview on PRIMO NUTMEG #169, acclaimed scholar and "Manufacturing Consent" author Noam Chomsky discusses the ongoing power struggle in Venezuela. Chomsky gives his thoughts on how the crisis arose, humanitarian aid, sanctions, and whether we can categorize the Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro regimes as "socialist."
Leaked: USA’s Feb 2018 Plan for Coup in Venezuela
by Eric Zuesse
A detailed plan from “UNITED STATES SOUTHERN COMMAND” dated “23 FEBRUARY 2018” was issued with the title “PLAN TO OVERTHROW THE VENEZUELAN DICTATORSHIP ‘MASTERSTROKE’” and is here presented complete.
This document was personally signed by Admiral Kurt W. Tidd, who was the Commander (the chief), at SOUTHCOM, and he was thus the top U.S. military official handling Venezuela. But this was far more than just a military plan. It was comprehensive — directing military, diplomatic, and propaganda, policies — regarding the Trump Administration’s planned “Overthrow” of Venezuela’s Government. His plan has since guided the Administration’s entire operation, including “the capacities of the psychological war,” regarding Venezuela.
It instructed SOUTHCOM:
Encouraging popular dissatisfaction by increasing scarcity and rise in price of the foodstuffs, medicines and other essential goods for the inhabitants. Making more harrowing and painful the scarcities of the main basic merchandises.” …
intensifying the undercapitalization of the country, the leaking out of foreign currency and the deterioration of its monetary base, bringing about the application of new inflationary measures.” …
Fully obstruct imports, and at the same time discouraging potential foreign investors in order to make the situation more critical for the population.” …
compelling him to fall into mistakes that generate greater distrust and rejection domestically” …
To besiege him, to ridicule him and to pose him as symbol of awkwardness and incompetence. To expose him as a puppet of Cuba.” …
Appealing to domestic allies as well as other people inserted from abroad in the national scenario in order to generate protests, riots and insecurity, plunders, thefts, assaults and highjacking of vessels as well as other means of transportation, with the intention of deserting this country in crisis through all borderlands and other possible ways, jeopardizing in such a way the National Security of neighboring frontier nations. Causing victims and holding the Government responsible for them. Magnifying, in front of the world, the humanitarian crisis in which the country has been submitted to.”
Structuring a plan to get the profuse desertion of the most qualified professionals from the country, in order ‘to leave it with no professionals at all’, which will aggravate even more the internal situation and along these lines putting the blame on of Government.”
the presence of combat units from the United States of America and the other named countries, under the command of a Joint General Staff led by the USA.”
It was posted online at the Voltairenet site, and was first copied to a web archive on 14 May 2018. So, it has been online since at least that date. However, because the photo in it of the document wasn’t made available via software which includes the individual symbols, but presented only the full visual image of the paper document, it still hasn’t yet gone viral on the Web.
Venezuela - Guaidó Got Snookered
White House Starts Beating War Drums
by Moon Of Alabama
Yesterday's failed coup attempt in Venezuela significantly hurt the Trump administration's international standing. It delegitimized its Venezuelan clients Juan Guaidó and Leopoldo López. After recognizing that their original 'regime change' plan failed (again) the White House starts to beat the war drums.
That wasn't the plan:
The Trump administration, which has backed Mr. Guaidó since he first challenged Mr. Maduro’s authority more than three months ago, clearly thought the day would unfold differently.
There is no official explanation why the Trump administration believed that the comical coup attempt by Juan Guaidó and his master Leopolo López would work.
There are signs though that the government of President Nicolas Maduro set a trap. Several people in the top echelon of the Venezuelan government gave false promises that they would join the U.S. proxy side. They snookered Guaidó into launching his coup to let him fail.
From: "Ariel, CODEPINK, DC" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Saturday, May 4, 2019
Subject: I was arrested for sharing bread.
Dear Francis ,
As part of the Embassy Protection Collective, I've been staying inside the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington D.C. to protect it from takeover by Trump's coup collaborators. On Thursday, I came out to replenish food supplies, but was arrested as I tried to get the bread, salad greens, and other food back inside. Right-wing pro-Guaidó/Trump supporters blocked the doors. Rather than helping me get food to people legally inside the embassy, the police arrested me. I am charged with "throwing missiles." I am not kidding.
Let me be clear why we are inside the Venezuela Embassy. We are there to protect it from a takeover by an unelected group of Guaidó supporters, a takeover that would dangerously escalate the conflict. If the opposition takes over the DC Embassy, the Venezuelan government will probably take over the US Embassy. The US could consider this an act of war and use it as an excuse to invade. We can’t allow that to happen. That’s why, despite intense harassment and even a cut-off of our food supplies by right-wing thugs, our peaceful presence INSIDE the Embassy continues.
Meanwhile, inside Venezuela, Guaidó’s continued call for a military uprising threatens to plunge the country into a bloody coup that could lead to decades of war. And US economic sanctions are leading to more misery. There needs to be mediation, like the Mexican government and the Vatican are calling for. We need your help to stop this coup attempt. Contact your representatives in Congress now. Tell them to speak out against a coup and US military intervention. Tell them to prohibit an unconstitutional military intervention in Venezuela.
The aggressive abuse we are facing at the DC Embassy everyday now, including physical assaults against Medea, Tighe and myself, are a microcosm of the violence being perpetrated by Guaidó followers and a warning of how devastating it will be if Donald Trump, John Bolton, and Elliot Abrams are successful in orchestrating their coup. It's more important than ever that we stop them.
We've seen this before–in Chile, Haiti, Iraq, Afghanistan, Honduras, Libya, and Syria–and we know the process: impose sanctions to devastate the economy, provide financing and weapons to the opposition, sabotage peace processes, exploit human needs, name a “leader,” and install a government that will serve U.S. interests. It never turns about well for the people.
A U.S.-backed coup in Venezuela would only serve the interests of the U.S. and Venezuelan elite who stand to profit by taking over a country with the largest oil reserves in the world. We must prevent unnecessary bloodshed and suffering in Venezuela. Contact your representatives in Congress now. Tell them to vote to prevent a U.S.-backed coup in Venezuela!
Towards peace and diplomacy,
P.S. Click here to view all of the press coverage of our recent actions at the Embassy
At the Venezuelan embassy, where @SecretService has sanctioned a right-wing riot. I’m going to ask some officers why they won’t protect the embassy right now!
with Max Blumenthal
From: Mark Crispin Miller
Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Subject: [MCM] Israeli rabbis at military prep school caught on video praising Hitler.
This shocking story really isn't all that shocking in the larger context of the history of Zionism,
whose leading German champions at one point met with Adolf Eichmann to negotiate a selective
exodus of Jews to Palestine. As recounted in Lenni Brenner's Zionism in in the Age of the Dictators,
the two parties quite admired each other, sharing the same racialist ideology (each side claiming to
represent "the Chosen People") as well as a ferocious anti-communism.
This is, to say the least, ironic, since the Zionists did nothing to avert the Holocaust, which those
hated Communists were trying to prevent; and having thus done zilch to keep that genocide from
happening, once the world saw what had happened in the camps, and were appropriately
horrified, the Zionists exploited that reaction, and the widespread sense of guilt, to push for the
foundation of the Jewish state.
So what this story tells us is that the racist ideology of Zionism (political Zionism, as opposed to
to the old ideal of spiritual Zionism) is as durable—and lethal—as the Nazi ideology resurgent
now in Europe and Ukraine (whose prior, neo-Nazi government had Israel's unquestioning
And will the New York Times, now franticly atoning for the Nazi-style cartoon that one of its
millennial employees ignorantly posted on the paper's website, tell its readers about this
far more alarming sign of Hitler-friendliness among the rabbis teaching (teaching what?)
in Israel's settlements?
Don't bet on it; and don't let anybody any longer get away with calling anti-Zionism
(Another lesson in psychological warfare?)
Israeli rabbis at military prep school are caught on video
by Jonathan Ofir, April 30, 2019
Yesterday, Israeli Channel 13 aired video recordings by rabbi educators at the state-sponsored military prep-academy Bnei David in the West Bank settlement of Eli. The rabbis hail Hitler’s Nazi racist ideology as “100% correct”, only criticizing it for not being applied to the right people – that is, the Jews should be the master-race, and non-Jews the ‘untermenschen’.
The statements are jaw-droppers. The full coverage with subtitles can be seen in a video prepared by journalist David Sheen.
These educators send young men to the army, and have been advocating these ideas for years. They have close ties to lawmakers, specifically to Rabbi Rafi Peretz, now head of the Union of Right Wing Parties, the notorious merger with the Kahanist party Jewish Power, who is now the leading candidate for Minister of Education. The academy is also tied to a Yeshiva, to which many students come after their military service.
Slavery should return.
It starts out with Rabbi Eliezer Kashtiel, who bemoans that slavery has been abolished:
Abolishing legal slavery has created deficiencies. No one is responsible for that property. With God’s help it will return. The goyim (non-Jews) will want to be our slaves. Being a slave of the Jews is the best. They must be slaves, they want to be slaves. Instead of just wandering the streets, being foolish and harming each other, now he’s a slave, now his life is beginning to come into order.
The ‘goyim’ in this context is to be understood as Palestinians.
He says it’s because they have “genetic problems”, and posits that they want to be under occupation:
There are around us people with genetic problems. Ask any average Arab where he wants to be. He wants to be under occupation. Why? Because they have genetic problems, they don’t know how to run a country, they don’t know how to do anything – look at the state of them.
Yes, we are racists.
“Of course there is racism”, Kashtiel continues.
Are we unaware that there are different races? Is it a secret? Is it untrue? What can you do? It’s true. Yes, we are racists, we believe in racism.
Kashtiel suggests that because Jews are a superior race, they can “help” the inferior ones:
Correct, there are races in the world, nations have genetic characteristics, so we [the Jews] must consider how to help them. Racial differences are real, and that’s precisely a reason to offer help.
A student asks the rabbi: “Who put you to decide who is who?”
I can see that my accomplishments are much more impressive than his.
The Holocaust is humanism and pluralism.
Another rabbi, Giora Radler, says that the Holocaust is not what you think, it’s not about killing Jews. It is humanism and pluralism that is killing us for real:
The Holocaust for real is not about the killing of Jews – that’s not the Holocaust. All of these excuses claiming that it was based on ideology or that it was systematic, this is ridiculous. Because it was based on ideology, to a certain extent, makes it more moral than if people murdered people for no reason. Humanism, all the secular culture about us believing in the human, that’s the Holocaust. The Holocaust, for real, is being pluralist, believing in “I believe in the human”. That’s what’s called a Holocaust. The Lord (blessed be his name) is already shouting for many years that the [Jewish] exile is over, but people don’t listen to him, and that is their disease, a disease which needs to be cured by the Holocaust.
In other words, the Holocaust was there to teach Jews a lesson – drop pluralism, isolate yourself in the Jewish State and let go of the diaspora “illness”.
These remarks were made in a lesson titled “relating to the Holocaust”.
The Nazi logic was right.
The Nazi logic was right unto themselves. Hitler says that a certain group in society is the seed of all calamity for all humanity, that because of it all of mankind will go to oblivion, that they harm humanity, and therefore must be exterminated.
Radler asks a student: “Does this ideology sound illogical to you? Very bad?”
Student answers: “It doesn’t sound moral.”
Radler: “Was Moses as bad as Hitler?”
Why not? There is one thing in the world that is truly evil and that is to be a hypocrite. Does it make a difference to you if they killed you now with a knife the way they did to Agag [the Amalekite king whom the prophet Samuel ‘hacked in pieces’] or if they kill you in a gas chamber?
Hitler was right, “100% correct” . . . .
Click on the link for the rest: https://mondoweiss.net/2019/04/israeli-military-praising/
Mass. Judge Refuses to Halt Pro-Palestinian Event at UMass Featuring Roger Waters & Linda Sarsour
Roger Waters on Palestine:
“You Have to Stand Up for People’s Human Rights
All Over the World”
Gaza killings spike ahead of Eurovision
From: "The National Security Archive" <email@example.com>
Sent: Thursday, May 2, 2019
Subject: JFK vs. Israel's Bomb 1963.
THE NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE is an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The Archive collects and publishes declassified documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). A tax-exempt public charity, the Archive receives no U.S. government funding; its budget is supported by publication royalties and donations from foundations and individuals.
PRIVACY NOTICE The National Security Archive does not and will never share the names or e-mail addresses of its subscribers with any other organization. Once a year, we will write you and ask for your financial support. We may also ask you for your ideas for Freedom of Information requests, documentation projects, or other issues that the Archive should take on. We would welcome your input, and any information you care to share with us about your special interests. But we do not sell or rent any information about subscribers to any other party.
VIPS: Extradition of Julian Assange Threatens Us All
by Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
(May 1, 2019)
by Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
Retaliation against Julian Assange over the past decade plus replicates a pattern of ruthless political retaliation against whistleblowers, in particular those who reveal truths hidden by illegal secrecy, VIPS says.
MEMORANDUM FOR: The governments and people of the United Kingdom and the United States
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
SUBJECT: Extradition of Julian Assange Threatens Us All
On April 11, London police forcibly removed WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange from the embassy of Ecuador after that country’s president, Lenin Moreno, abruptly revoked his predecessor’s grant of asylum. The United States government immediately requested Assange’s extradition for prosecution under a charge of “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion” under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).
Former U.S. Government officials promptly appeared in popular media offering soothing assurances that Assange’s arrest threatens neither constitutional rights nor the practice of journalism, and major newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post fell into line.
Not So Fast
Others found reason for concern in the details of the indictment. Carie DeCel, a staff attorney for the Knight First Amendment Institute, noted that the indictment goes beyond simply stating the computer intrusion charge and “includes many more allegations that reach more broadly into typical journalistic practices, including communication with a source, encouraging a source to share information, and protecting a source.”
In an analysis of the indictment’s implications, the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) observed that it includes an allegation that “Assange and Manning took measures to conceal Manning as the source of the disclosure…including by removing usernames from the disclosed information and deleting chat logs between Assange and Manning,” and that they “used a special folder on a cloud drop box of WikiLeaks to transmit classified records.”
JULIAN ASSANGE WORLD EXCLUSIVE:
Secrets from inside the embassy | 60 Minutes Australia
(April 28, 2019)
There’s no middle ground when it comes to what the world thinks of Julian Assange. He’s either loved or loathed. Just over a fortnight ago, the Australian founder of WikiLeaks made more headlines when police dragged him, not so much kicking, but definitely screaming, out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he’d been holed up for seven years. Watching the shock eviction was Assange’s father, John Shipton, who fears his son will be sent to the United States, locked up and never released. In a 60 MINUTES world exclusive, Shipton tells Tara Brown he wants everyone to know the real Julian Assange is not some careless villain computer hacker, but a hero of free speech.
Disproportionate Sentences: Julian Assange, Bail, and Extradition
by Binoy Kampmark
Should journalism ever have a deity worth His, Her or Its salt, looking down upon the recent proceedings against Julian Assange will provide endless choking fits of confusion and dismay. The prosecution continues in the twisted logic that engaging a source to disclose something secret while also protecting anonymity is somehow unnatural in the world of journalism. Most prosecutions in this regard tend to be ignorant of history and its various contortions; theirs is to simply fulfil the brief of a vengeful employer, in the now, in the falsely clear present. If their reasoning could be extended, the likes of those in press land would spend far more time in prisons than out of them.
The savagery being meted out to Assange is evident by receiving the maximum sentence for skipping bail. Fifty weeks may not seem like much in the scheme of things, but when you consider relative punishments, it smacks of a certain state vindictiveness. What the decision also ignores is the entire context of Assange’s escape to the Ecuadorean embassy in 2012. Since then, Britain has abandoned that beastly instrument known as the European Arrest Warrant, the Swedish allegations against him for sexual assault have been withdrawn and he, importantly, was found to be living in conditions of arbitrary detention by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.
The refusal to take the decision of the UN Working Group seriously has been a hallmark of British justice, one skewed in favour of handing out to Assange the worst treatment it can find. In 2016, the body, chaired by Seong-Phil Hong, found that “various forms of deprivation of liberty to which Julian Assange has been subjected to constitute a form of arbitrary detention.” The Working Group further maintained “that the arbitrary detention of Mr. Assange should be brought to an end, that his physical integrity and freedom of movement be respected, and that he should be entitled to an enforceable right to compensation.”
The UK Government, for its part, decided to rebuff the decision. “The original conclusions of the UN Working Group are inaccurate,” came a scoffing statement, “and should be reviewed.” Foreign Office minister Hugo Swire insisted at the time that the working group had erred for not being “in possession of the full facts.” Assange had remained in the embassy purely on his own volition, a fantastic form of reasoning that denied the broader context of US efforts to seek his scalp, and the prospect of extradition should he have been sent to Sweden. On this issue, WikiLeaks and Assange have proven to be right, but critics remain deaf and dumb to the record.
The same Working Group also expressed bafflement at the stiff sentence, noting that the Swedish allegations had been withdrawn, meaning that the original bail terms be negated as a result. The entire treatment “appears to contravene the principles of necessity and proportionality envisaged by human rights standards.” It was also “further concerned that Mr. Assange has been detained since 11 April 2019 in Belmarsh prison, a high-security prison, as if he were convicted for a serious criminal offence.”
Kristinn Hrafnsson, who currently holds the reins as editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, told gathered press members that Assange had been confined for periods of 23 hours a day at Belmarsh. The publisher was, effectively, keeping company with the less savoury while facing the damnable conditions of solitary confinement.
Only a day after the rough determination, Assange faced an extradition hearing in which the UK legal system, pressured by US lawyers and officials, will again have a chance to display its ignominious streak. The hearing, lasting a few minutes, took place via video link in Westminster Magistrates Court.
“I do not wish,” Assange told the court, “to surrender myself for extradition for doing journalism that has won many, many awards and protected many people.” (Perhaps Assange might have eased off on his accolades, but history has its callings.)
Assange’s legal team is clear: focus the issue on publishing, thereby bringing the work of their client within the ambit of free speech and traditional journalism. As his lawyer Jennifer Robinson has explained, to accept the validity of the US charge would result in a “massive chill on investigative journalism.” Assange’s involvement with Chelsea Manning was “about a journalist and a publisher who had conversations with a source about accessing material, encouraged that source to provide material and spoke to that source about how to protect their identity.”
“Julian Assange and Wikileaks have never told me a lie”
with George Galloway
Wikileaks Editor-Julian Assange in De-Facto SOLITARY CONFINEMENT!
On this episode of Going Underground, we speak to Wikileaks Ambassador Joseph Farrell and former Ecuadorean Embassy Consul Rafael Narvaez on the sentencing of Julian Assange to 50 weeks in prison, the possible extradition of Assange to the United States, his condition and treatment in prison. Next we speak to legendary political cartoonist Steve Bell who discusses his recent artwork depicting Brexit, Netanyahu, Corbyn and others. He also discusses whether he is censored and takes us inside the mind of a political cartoonist
Florida lawmakers approve arming teachers
with guns in classrooms
by Deutsche Welle
Florida teachers will be able to carry guns
in classrooms after undergoing police-style training and a psychiatric
evaluation. Opponents say fewer guns should be on schools and the policy is
prone to deadly accidents.
Florida lawmakers passed legislation on Wednesday allowing more teachers to carry guns in the classroom. It is the latest response to last year's deadly shooting at a Parkland high school.
The bill enables teachers in school districts that wish to participate in the voluntary "guardian" program to carry a weapon in the classroom after passing a 144-hour training program and undergoing a psychiatric evaluation.
Ahead of passage of the new legislation, school employees in 40 of Florida's 67 counties had already enrolled in, or stated they planned to take, the police-style training course, a spokesman for the Speaker of the House said
The OKC Bombing: What Happened And Why It Still Matters
Today James Corbett and Chris Emery of Free Mind Films join Ricky Varandas on The Ripple Effect podcast to discuss the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and why it still matters.
From: "Jim O'Brien via H-PAD"
Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Subject: [H-PAD] H-PAD Notes 5/1/19: Links to recent articles of interest
Links to Recent Articles of Interest
By Stephen Wertheim, Foreign Affairs, May-June issue
The author is a visiting assistant professor of history at Columbia University.
By Gregory D. Foster, History News Network, posted April 28
The author is a Vietnam War veteran who teaches at the National Defense University's Eisenhower School. This is a trenchant critique of US policies from a surprising source.
By Lawrence S. Wittner, History News Network, posted April 28
On Puerto Ricans' long but ultimately successful struggle to stop the Navy's use of the island of Vieques for bombing practice. The author is a professor emeritus of history at SUNY Albany.
By Stephen M. Walt, Foreign Policy, posted April 26
The author teaches international relations at Harvard University.
By Stephen Kinzer, Boston Globe, posted April 26
The author is a longtime reporter and analyst of U.S. foreign policy.
By Joseph Cirincione and Mary Kaszynski, LobeLog, posted April 23
This article traces moves by the Trump administration against Iran and draws parallels with the preparations for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
By Andrew J. Bacevich, New York Times, posted April 19
The author is a professor emeritus of history and international relations at Boston University. This is a review essay on Leap of Faith by Michael J. Mazarr.
By Alfred W. McCoy, TomDispatch.com, posted April 9
The author teaches history at the University of Wisconsin. His most recent book is In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power.
By Adam Harris, The Atlantic, posted April 8
And eloquent and heartbreaking account of the life and death of historian Thea Hunter, who died in December 2018 at age 62.
By Adam Tooze, London Review of Books, posted April 4
The author teaches history at Columbia University.
Thanks for Rusti Eisenberg, Van Gosse, and an anonymous reader for suggesting articles that are included in the above list. Suggestions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anti-Capitalist Chronicles: The Significance of China in the Global Economy
with David Harvey
"What China Will Be Like As A Great Power" : Martin Jacques Keynote (32nd Annual Camden Conference)
Martin Jacques delivered the keynote address at the 32nd Annual Camden Conference in Camden, Maine, US on February 22, 2019. The talk was titled “What China Will Be Like as a Great Power”.
Interview with Gore Vidal for "The Great Depression"
(Published on Dec 23, 2013)
What Past Civil Wars Tell Us About the Future of Syria
by Robert Fisk
When Syrian government soldiers first recaptured the small village of Deir Hafar from Isis in 2017, they found the black-painted but hurriedly abandoned Islamic “court” strewn with piles of documents. These hundreds of pages contained terrible proof of how the Syrian civilians there had behaved under at least three years of Isis occupation.
I arrived in the village along with the Syrian army after Russian aircraft had bombed Isis out of the streets – the Islamists were still firing shells as they retreated, killing a senior Syrian commander – and reached the local sharia court building, a concrete blockhouse beside three equally black-painted but iron crucifixion bars on a platform above the road.
But the papers on the floor of the court were the real story of Deir Hafar.
The judges had been Egyptian and their jurisdiction stretched all the way back to the then Isis “capital” of Syria in the town of Raqqa.
The documents revealed that the people of the village had used Islamist “justice” to betray their neighbours – in one case to name family cousins as potential spies, in another to accuse a young man of secretly meeting his girlfriend when he was supposed to attend evening prayers. Other neighbours accused each other of theft. A man supposedly collecting money for an electrical generator had pocketed the cash for himself. One potential agent – possibly for the Syrian government – was handed on for “justice” by the “Revolutionary Islamic Police Court”.
The prosecution witnesses, the defendants, sometimes their “Islamist” guards were precisely named in these archives.
And it came as no surprise when, an hour after I had come across these hundreds of documents on the floor of the “court”, a large group of grimly smiling citizens from 27 villages around Deir Hafar arrived in the main highway through the village, dressed in long, grubby brown robes, to seek out the Syrian army’s officers. They brought with them a joint petition signed by their mukhtars and village leaders seeking “reconciliation” with the Syrian government. The soldiers were not interested. They accepted the petition indifferently and briskly told the sorrowful men, heads bowed in submission, to get in touch with the authorities in Aleppo and Damascus if they wished to seek forgiveness.
Both sides understood the reality. When your home is occupied by another army – when your village is occupied by a rival force – you must collaborate in order to survive. Or, at the least, cooperate. Because the moment of occupation becomes the moment of collaboration.
The Billionaires Behind the Far-Right
Photograph Source: DonkeyHotey – CC BY 2.0
by T.J. Coles
Billionaires and working people have one thing in common: they hate the government. But they hate the government for different reasons. For working people, government is too right-wing on some issues: it allows transnational capital to undermine jobs and wages. On other issues, many working people see government as too left-wing, allowing what they see (incorrectly) as excessive immigration. Billionaires hate government because government is sometimes forced to respond to grassroots pressure, which can mean introducing financial regulation, unionization, and other profit-harming policies.
In the absence of staging outright fascist coups, elements of the ruling class engineer social unrest to compel government to support policies that are against the interests of working people.
BILLONAIRES FUNDING A BILLIONAIRE PRESIDENT
Today, a handful of billionaires fund far-right, anti-Islamic, anti-immigrant, and/or ultra-nationalist political figures, movements, and alternative media personalities. Their aim is to push mainstream politics further to the right, as mainstream politicians fear losing voters to the new extreme parties. But how can elites get working people to support policies that are against their own interests? The answer is to divert them from the real causes of their misery—austerity, privatization, economic deregulation, and disinvestment, i.e., the very policies supported by billionaires—and, instead, play on their anger over immigrants and Islam.
In the US, concerns have been raised about President Trump’s affiliations with far-right hate groups and the political support he receives from those groups. Robert Mercer is a billionaire hedge fund manager and CEO of Renaissance Technologies. A Trump donor, Mercer worked with Trump’s short-lived strategist, Steve Bannon, to make Breitbart News a platform for the so-called alternative right, or “alt-right.” The term alt-right was coined by Richard Spencer, a white supremacist and Trump-supporter who is himself funded by the multimillionaire, William Regnery II, via the National Policy Institute. Regnery has published a series of anti-Islamic, anti-left books by, among others David Horowtiz, director of the eponymous Freedom Center. Having helped to get Trump elected, Mercer then dissociated himself from Bannon, Breitbart, and the alt-right. Job done.
Another Bannon-Mercer venture was Cambridge Analytica, a company set up in the UK as a subsidiary of SCL, a group known for its involvement in elections abroad, including its providing of consultancy services for Iraq’s first “democratic” elections while the nation was still under illegal US-British occupation. Cambridge Analytica supported the Leave campaign in the run-up to Britain’s 2016 referendum on whether or not to remain in the European Union. Indeed, the pro-Brexit faction of the Conservative Party consists of billionaire hedge funders and asset managers who want to leave the EU to avoid its financial regulations. They include: Crispin Odey, Michael Hintze, and Peter Hargreaves. Another pro-Brexiter hedge funder is Arron Banks. It is alleged that, as Home Secretary, Britain’s PM Theresa May personally intervened to prevent a police investigation into Banks’s alleged financing of the Leave.EU campaign, which used Cambridge Analytica to market anti-EU, anti-immigrant messages to social media users.
BREXIT & THE BILLIONAIRES . . . .
Emmanuel Macron approval ratings at just 26 percent after Yellow Vest
EU foreign affairs chief slams US ‘full activation’
of Cuba embargo law, vows counter steps
Full implementation of US embargo law on Cuba is illegal under international law, the EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said as she promised retaliatory measures amidst yet another row between Brussels and Washington.
The “full activation” of US embargo legislation against Cuba is “contrary to international law” and goes against the previous US-EU agreements, Mogherini said on Thursday, promising to apply “all appropriate measures” to defend European interests.
On May 2, the Trump administration did not renew the decades-old suspension of the Title III of the 1996 Helms-Burton Act, also known as Libertad Act, which regulates the embargo on foreign trade with Cuba. The provision allows US citizens to sue foreign companies profiting from properties which Cuba confiscated or nationalized after the 1959 revolution.
EU officials fear that this will hit European firms. Last month, Mogherini and EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom reportedly penned a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in which they warned that the EU may launch a WTO case against Washington should its actions damage European trade.
How Carl Schmitt Took Over the White House
by Dan Steinbock
As the controversial German jurist Carl Schmitt saw it in the interwar Third Reich, legal order ultimately rests upon the decisions of the sovereign, who alone can meet the needs of an “exceptional” time, transcending the law so that order can then be reestablished. “Sovereign is he who decides on the exception,” he wrote. “All law is situational law.”
In post-Weimar Germany, such ideas contributed to the eclipse of liberal democracy. Following Sept. 11, 2001, similar arguments renewed neoconservative interest in Schmitt and the “state of exception.” In this world the status quo is in a permanent state of exception, as enemies — “adversaries, others and strangers” — will unite “us” against “them.”
In this view, the U.S. response to 9/11 was not unusual because liberal wars are “exceptional.” Rather, it was a manifestation of ever-more violent types of war within the very attempt to fight wars that would end “war” as such.
(Pauljoffe, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)
Collapse of 2 World Trade Center seen from Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Similarly, it is politically expedient to legitimize a trade war and other political battles in the name of “national security,” which allows the sovereign to redefine a new order on the basis of a state of exception. Subsequently, a new national security strategy redefines “friends” as “enemies” and “us” as victims who are thus justified to seek justice from our “adversaries” — “them.”
The logic of the state of exception leaves open the question how the White House could establish such a trade war as a sovereign, when such trade wars have not been supported by most of President Donald Trump’s constituencies and have been opposed by much of the Congress and by most Americans.
Unitary Executive Theory . . .
China and Russia: Whoopin' Uncle Sam at His Own Game
by Mike Whitney
Your Geopolitical Quiz for the Day:
Two countries are embroiled in a ferocious rivalry. One country’s meteoric growth has put it on a path to become the world’s biggest economic superpower while the other country appears to be slipping into irreversible decline. Which country will lead the world into the future?
Country A builds factories and plants, it employees zillions of people who manufacture things, it launches massive infrastructure programs, paves millions of miles of highways and roads, opens new sea lanes, vastly expands its high-speed rail network, and pumps profits back into productive operations that turbo-charge its economy and bolster its stature among the nations of the world.
Country B has the finest military in the world, it has more than 800 bases scattered across the planet, and spends more on weapons systems and war-making than all the other nations combined. Country B has gutted its industrial core, hollowed out its factory base, allowed its vital infrastructure to crumble, outsourced millions of jobs, off-shored thousands of businesses, plunged the center of the country into permanent recession, delivered control of its economy to the Central Bank, and recycled 96 percent of its corporate and financial profits into a stock buyback scam that sucks critical capital out of the economy and into the pockets of corrupt Wall Street plutocrats whose voracious greed is pushing the world towards another catastrophic meltdown.
Which of these two countries is going to lead the world into the future? Which of these two countries offers a path to security and prosperity that doesn’t involve black sites, extraordinary rendition, extrajudicial assassinations, color-coded revolutions, waterboarding, strategic disinformation, false-flag provocations, regime change and perennial war?
China’s Belt and Road Initiative: A Tectonic Shift in the Geopolitical Balance of Power
Over the weekend, more than 5,000 delegates from across the world met in Beijing for The Second Belt and Road Forum For International Cooperation. The conference provided an opportunity for public and private investors to learn more about Xi Jinping’s “signature infrastructure project” that is reshaping trade relations across Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa. According to journalist Pepe Escobar, “The BRI is now supported by no less than 126 states and territories, plus a host of international organizations” and will involve “six major connectivity corridors spanning Eurasia.” The massive development project is “one of the largest infrastructure and investment projects in history, ….including 65% of the world’s population and 40% of the global gross domestic product as of 2017.” (Wikipedia) The improvements to road, rail and sea routes will vastly increase connectivity, lower shipping costs, boost productivity, and enhance widespread prosperity. The BRI is China’s attempt to replace the crumbling post-WW2 “liberal” order with a system that respects the rights of sovereign nations, rejects unilateralism, and relies on market-based principles to effect a more equitable distribution of wealth. The Belt and Road Initiative is China’s blueprint for a New World Order. It is the face of 21st century capitalism.
The prestigious event in Beijing was barely covered by the western media which sees the project as a looming threat to US plans to pivot to Asia and become the dominant player in the most prosperous and populous region in the world. Growing international support for the Chinese roadmap suggests that Washington’s hegemonic ambitions are likely to be short-circuited by an aggressive development agenda that eclipses anything the US is currently doing or plans to do in the foreseeable future.
Assange to Extradition Court: ‘I Won’t Surrender to the US
for Doing Journalism’
(May 2, 2019)
by Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News
The WikiLeaks founder appeared via video link in Westminster Magistrates Court for the first hearing in what could be a lengthy process in the US request for extradition.
Julian Assange had his first day in court on Thursday in his fight against extradition to the United States in an historic press freedom case that could have a profound impact on the future of journalism.
Dressed in jeans, a dark jacket and a T-shirt, Assange appeared on a video screen inside a cramped courtroom in Westminster Magistrates Court in London. “I won’t surrender to the U.S. for doing journalism that has won many awards and protected lives,” Assange told the court, according to a tweet from a USA Today correspondent.
Assange was arrested on April 11 after Ecuador lifted his political asylum at its embassy in London where Assange had lived since June 2012. On that day the U.S. unsealed an indictment against the publisher for conspiring with WikiLeaks’ source Chelsea Manning to crack a password needed to hide Manning’s identity. Protecting a source is a routine part of investigative journalism.
Watch the replay of a Special Extradition Vigil for Assange webcast Thursday on Consortium News.
Assange or Khashoggi: Whither Journalistic Standards?
by Barbara Nimri Aziz
During the media frenzy, diplomatic flurry and widespread speculations around a hitherto marginal Saudi journalist’s apparently grizzly demise in Istanbul’s Saudi consulate last October, my thoughts stayed with the deathly silence that had fallen around Wikileaks’ founder and director.
Information about Julian Assange had become increasingly sparse and obscured. After six years under virtual house arrest in Ecuador’s London embassy, his fate was more precarious every day. Seeking temporary asylum with Ecuador was apparently a serious miscalculation by Assange and his lawyers.
By 2017, Assange’s astute observations on a range of policy issues were few and far between, his opinion on international matters sought or quoted, became less tantalizing too. (The most recent post is dated January, 2019.)
Did international media and free press advocates who once celebrated Assange, utilized his revelations and heaped awards on Wikileaks, collectively agreed to abandon their erstwhile hero? And why the turnaround? (It’s not easy to explain although one observer suggests former associates actually conspired to depose him.)
Increased silence from within Assange’s refuge presaged his recent ‘capture’. Then, when he suddenly appeared, subdued by dozens of guards, how shamelessly international media rushed to cheer his arrest. They seemed to delight in highlighting scant, salacious details of his condition at the time of his arrest. Reprehensible. Dismaying. Will those gloating journalists care what his captors do to Assange in detention?
This for the man whose political analyses and Wikileaks revelations had been daily headlines not long ago. This for a journalist and publisher who introduced a profound strategy to expose a government’s sinister diplomatic schemes, excesses and crimes documented by their own internal reports. This for an organization gathering evidence of government wrongdoing at a critical time, starting in 2006 when U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were being reevaluated by a sobering public. Rumors of military crimes, cover-ups, torture, black-site prisons, etc. had gradually, although belatedly, gained credibility and, following the Abu Graib Prison revelations, Wikileaks provided irrefutable evidence of how U.S.A. and its allies conducted their wars. (How useless normal checks are was demonstrated by Chelsea Manning’s thwarted attempts to report questionable practices within the U.S. military structure.)
Also, Assange launched Wikileaks soon after we recognized the potential of new digital technology. This was a tool with the capacity to store and transfer massive quantities of data; hard copy was redundant and security systems for digital data, including those of intelligence agencies, were untested.
Julian Assange was no ordinary, lone, computer geek hacking commercial operators. He had a clear political agenda. He emerged as the unmatched pioneer sleuth for our new digital age, building Wikileaks as a free public platform for distributing huge quantities of data, material supposedly only accessible to authorized personnel. In its audacity Wikileaks even published a CIA manual on its (own) hacking methods! The undeniable content of the Iraq and Afghanistan War Logs and diplomatic files know as CableGate clearly demonstrates how the U.S. spies on governments, including allies.
Wikileaks set a new standard for investigative journalism. It took an exceptional mind to create the Wikileaks platform but also to assess and manage massive amounts of data gathered and uploaded to it. (I myself never searched through those files, but my perusal of the 2015 book, The Wikileaks Files (with an introduction by Assange) offers a hint of the treasure the original files represent. (They will doubtless be drawn on by historians and policy analysts for decades.)
Sokal 2.0: Hoaxing Cultural Studies
by Binoy Kampmark
In the 1990s, NYU physicist Alan D. Sokal did the groves of academy a sterling service that should have earned him plaudits etched in gold. It began with the meaningless yet teasing “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Theory,” published in Social Text. It is a ribbing article that still reads with appropriate cheek today: a velvet gloved challenge to the claims of science to a higher objectivity. (The clue here should have always been the insertion of Quantum Theory into the discomforting embrace of hermeneutics.)
There were a few teasing gems that should have alerted reviewers to Sokal’s play, given the author’s physics pedigree. “The Einsteintinian constant is not a constant, is not a centre. It is the very concept of variability – it is, finally, the concept of the game. In other words, it is not the concept of something – of a centre staring from which an observer could master the field – but the very concept of the game.” These were, fittingly, not Sokal’s words but those of Jacques Derrida, master of deconstruction and sceptic of all matters objective.
In Lingua Franca, a journal whose editors’ eyewash was evidently a touch stronger, Sokal explained his Social Text foray with grim satisfaction. The article opened with the ominous observation of Larry Laudan’s Science and Relativism (1990): “The displacement of the idea that facts and evidence matter by the idea that everything boils down to subjective interests and perspectives is – second only to American political campaigns – the most prominent and pernicious manifestation of anti-intellectualism in our time.” The article published in Social Texthad been “liberally salted with nonsense”. It had been accepted by the editors because “it sounded good” and “flattered the editors’ ideological preconceptions.”
He was subsequently accompanied by fellow stone thrower Jean Bricmont, and, as co-conspirators, Intellectual Impostures, also titled as Fashionable Nonsense, became more than the barbarian at the gates for the poststructuralist, and postmodernist fraternity. The integrity of science, and the value of factual verification, was being reclaimed. Postmodernism, according to Richard Dawkins, had been disrobed.