Bulletin N° 849
Seven Days in May
Subject : The Whores of War and the Rest of Us . . . .
15 June 2019
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
Many years ago, when I was contemplating doing research for a Ph.D. in history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I came across the writings of existentialist psychologists, R.D. Laing and David Cooper. Like most graduate students at the time, I was grounded in an idealistic metaphysics, that easily produced a problematic devoid of social context. In this mode of thinking, historical writing risked becaming belle letters and research no more than cherry-picking. Some of my classmates thought the prospect of a Ph.D. was an irresistible opportunity to evade class struggle, like being offered a place at the table in a corporate board room, oblivious to the weather outside.
This was not my take on the situation in which I found myself. Such an effortless existence seemed to contradict my very motives for pursuing higher education in the first place. I was familiar with the jungle that existed outside academia, and my attraction to an intellectual life was not some idealist escape through self-delusion, but rather a genuine desire to understand what the world really looked like and what my corner of this world had produced in me.
I was taught that any course of study should be preceded by a serious meditation on personal motivations; such ethical considerations, I was told, are an indispensible precondition for the production of original work, and I was drawn to books in radical psychology at Wisconsin as a preliminary step toward historical research.
For example, the work of R.D. Laing, H. Phillipson, and A.R. Lee – Interpersonal Perception, A Theory and a Method of Research (London, 1966) - offered insights into the complex character of social interactions and the frequent distortions that produced miscommunication with historic results.
“The human race is a myriad of refractive surfaces staining the white radiance of eternity”, they wrote in their first chapter, entitled, “Self and Others,” discussing their theory of interpersonal perception,
Each surface refracts the refraction of refractions of refractions. Each self refracts the refractions of others’ refractions of self’s refractions of others’ refractions . . . .
Here is the glory and wonder and mystery, yet too often we simply wish to ignore or destroy those points of view that refract the light differently from our own.
Over a hundred years ago Feuerbach effected a pivotal step in philosophy. He discovered that philosophy had been exclusively oriented around “I”. No one had realized that the “you” is as primary as the I. It is curious how we continue to theorize from an egoistic standpoint. In Freud’s theory, for instance, one has the “I” (ego), the “over-me” (super-ego) and “it” (id), but no you. Some philosophers, some psychologists, and more sociologists have recognized the significance of the fact that social life is not made up of a myriad I’s and me’s only, but of you, he, she, we, and them, also, and that the experience of you or he or them or us may indeed be as primary and compelling (or more so) as the experience of “me”.
The critical realization here is that I am not the only perceiver and agent in my world. The world is peoples by others, and these others are not simply objects in the world: they are centers of reorientation to the objective universe. Nor are these others simply other I’s. The others are you, him, her, them, etc.
The presence of the others has a profound reactive effect on me. This has been expressed by a number of thinkers in different ways. Philosophically, the meaninglessness of the category “I” without its complimentary category of “you”, first stated by Feurerbach, was developed by Martin Buber. Scheler and Husserl have incorporated our primary experience of intersubjectvity into their philosophical reflections. George Herbert Mead reflected on how my concept of myself is mediated by the “generalized other”, and Cooley had the concept of “the looking glass self”. Talcott Parsons, in his social action theory, describes the relations between ego and alter, and Heider (1959) has given us some basic constructs for a genuinely interpersonal psychology.
If we obstinately continue to regard human beings as persons, then it is clear that there can no more be “simple locations”, in Whitehead’s sense, in the human scene than anywhere else. But many languages (English included) express as a further complexity , arising from the refractions a person undergoes as he is seen from different perusal perspectives. Language expresses this by forcing the one person through various pronominal transformations, according to his relation to the signifier. This curious and highly significant fact is, we believe, specific to those forms of relationship we are calling personal.
My field of experience is, however, filled not only by my direct view of myself (ego) and of the other (alter), but of what we shall call metaperspectives – my view of the other’s (your, his, her, their) view of me. I may not actually be able to see myself as others see me, but I am constantly supposing them to be seeing me in particular ways, and I am constantly acting in the light of the actual or supposed attitudes, opinions, needs, and soon the others has in respect of me.
From this we see that as my identity is refracted through the media of the different inflections of “the other” – singular and plural, male and female, you, he she, them – so my identity undergoes myriad metamorphoses of alterations, in terms of the others I become to the others.
These alterations in my identity, as I become another to you, another to him, another to her, another to them, are further reinteriorized by me to become multifaceted meta-identities, or the multifacets of the other I take myself to be for the other – the other I am in my own eyes for the other. The concept of a meta-identity should not lead to any error that it is in some way secondary to self-identity, whether ontogenetically, cause-effectwise, or in importance.
To summarize: we have ego (self) and alter (other). We recognize that I have my own view of myself (direct perspective) in terms of which I establish my self-identity. However, self-identity is an abstraction.
We recognize furthermore that ego exists for alter. This gives my being-for-the-other, or one’s identity for the other. The existence one has for the other is not that of the “I”. For the other, I am another. The other I am for the other is a constant concern for us all. My view of the others’ view of me, my perspective on the other’s perspective on me, is what we are calling a metaperspective, and the other that I take myself to be for the other, how I think you see me, is what we are calling my meta-identity. Now this scheme can be extended to encompass meta-meta and meta-meta-meta perspectives and identities logically extendible to infinity.
Self-identity (my view of myself) and meta-identity (my view of your view of me) are theoretical constructs, not concrete realities. In concreto, rather than in abstracto, self-identity (“I” looking at “me”) is constituted not only by our looking at ourselves, but also by our looking at others looking at us and our reconstituting and alterations of the views of others about us. At this more complex, more concrete level, self-identity is a synthesis of my looking at me with my view of others’ view of me. These views by others of me need not be passively accepted, but they cannot be ignored in my development of a sense of who I am. For even if a view by another of me is rejected it still becomes incorporated in its rejected form as part of my self-identity. My self-identity becomes my view of me which I recognize as the negation of the other person’s view of me. Thus “I” become a “me” who is being misperceived by another person. This can become a vital aspect of my view of myself. (E.g., “I am a person who no one really understands”.
Similarly my meta-identity (in which we can incorporate all my meta-identities and my meta-meta-identities) is intimately interwoven with my self-identity. The “me” that I think another sees, the “me” that I feel I perceive that another sees, can be cognitively created only in conjunction with the basic structure of the “me” that I perceive. Thus meta-identity is woven into the fabric of self-identity, as self-identity is woven into the fabric of meta-identity.(pp.3-6)
. . .
In the game theory idiom, everyone has a certain limited repertoire of games, based on particular sets or sequences of interactions that have been learned. Actually others may have games that mesh with the subject sufficiently to allow a greater or lesser variety of more or less stereotyped drama to be enacted. The games a person plays have certain rules, some public, some secret. The games that certain people have come to play break the rules that most other people play by, and certain people play undeclared, secret and unusual games. The latter tend to be regarded as neurotic or psychotic, and to be required to undergo the ceremonials of psychiatric consultations, diagnoses prescriptions, or treatment and cure, which consists in pointing out to them the unsatisfactory issues of the game they play (e.g., Loser wins, Poor little old me, This one will fool you) and teaching them new games. A person reacts by despair more to loss of a game than to losing his partners as real persons. Critical is maintenance of the game rather than the identity of the players e.g. Berne (1961) and Szasz (1961).
This idiom saves those who use it from committing at least some of the more banal and unproductive errors that some psychologists have perpetrated.
The failure to see the behaviour of one person as a function of the behaviour of the other has led to come extraordinary perceptual and conceptual aberrations that are still with us. For instance, in a sequence of moves in a social interaction between person (a) and person (b): a1 → b1 → a2 → b2 → a3 → b3, the sequence a1 → a2 → a3 is extrapolated. Direct links are made between a1 → a2 → a3, and this artificially derived sequence is taken as the entity or process under study. It is in turn “explained” as an intrapersonal sequence (process) due to intrapsychic pathology.
The games theory, has not, however, addressed itself fully to the sector of the problem we shall now consider.(pp.9-11)
The writings of historian Gabriel Kolko stand as an example of original research, using both Marxist and non-Marxist theories to uncover patterns of reality that have affected us all. In his book, Century of War: Politics, Conflicts, and Society Since 1914 (New York, 1994), Kolko emphasizes the habits of thought and limits of consciousness on the part of those privileged and powerful men who rule capitalist society. Again and again we are confronted with their “false expectations”:
To varying degrees, the men who have embarked on wars in this century repeatedly, almost exclusively, substituted their interests, desires, and preconceptions for accurate assessments of the most likely possibilities once they began. Most assumed conflicts would be fought conveniently in the ways the preferred and for which their intellectual and social backgrounds and deeply inculcated myopic visions of reality had prepared them. The result was that they learned very little, if anything, from repeated failures. As we shall later see in greater detail, technology and firepower hypnotized and fascinated politicians and generals before wars and shaped their projections of their length and costs, but experience profoundly deceived them and inevitably destroyed their neat plans.
Wars in this century have been the outcome of not only inherited economic or geopolitical structural forces and nationalism, but also of leaders’ military strategies and assumptions about the nature, conduct, and risks of armed conflict in exceedingly complex institutional and historical contexts. Combining all these elements with increasingly destructive technology, modern wars have always successively become qualitatively distinctive phenomena which, of course, interact in crucial ways with social and structural legacies but also profoundly transcend them to produce essentially new social, political, and economic challenges for future generations to confront. It is the very unpredictability of such changes, each one different from those of past wars, that has caused the very processes of war to defy planning or control, become nonrational organizationally, and irrationally self-destructive in social and class terms. They have blighted our century in countless, terrible ways.
Ultimately, the world in this century has marched into its increasingly destructive major wars with no safeguards against (the irrationality of its doctrines and objectives or against the gravely dysfunctional but relentless political and class needs – both domestic and foreign – of the major aggressors. What was called intelligence became part of an ideologically and politically self-reinforcing system, which complex or often elegant rhetoric buttressed but that repeatedly eliminated any sane, restraining impulse that nominally nonauthoritarian nations still had the latent capacity to consider. Rationality was not the essence of the system but rather its antithesis, and what was deemed ‘intelligence’ became a justification of the propensity of nations to commit fatal errors that only intensified their illusions and false expectations and made wars vastly more costly, both humanly and materially, as the century advanced.(pp.42-43)
The 22 + items below will provide readers with critical interpretive essays and stark first-hand reports of the condition of humankind in this era
of mindless brinksmanship in a game that can only be described as “Mutually Assured Destruction”. Just how far the world’s population will allow political leaders and financial investors to pursue this intrigue is an open question. The alternative to a clearly stated and generally agreed-upon political agenda is more extreme violence, of an almost unimaginable magnitude, and the complicit suicide of humanity.
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
No Furture for our Grandchildren
Unless We 'Overthorw Corporate Power'
All Wars Are Bankers' Wars
Americans Pay Price for Criminal Wars From
Mass Shootings at Home
by Finian Cunningham
America’s horrendous gun violence can be attributed to many factors, but there is one factor that is hardly talked about or explored in public discourse – the apparent link between mass shootings and the rampant culture of US militarism.
Mass shootings in the US – involving four or more persons – occur on an almost daily basis. The most recent major atrocity was in Virginia Beach last month in which 12 people were killed. The shooter was reportedly a military veteran.
Turns out that US military veterans are disproportionately responsible for violent gun deaths among American civilians. Investigative journalist David Swanson has recently found that some 35 per cent of mass shootings in the US have involved an ex-serviceman. Swanson studied a database sample of 97 recent deadly incidents, and found that, from publicly available information, more than a third of the perpetrators were listed at some time in the past as having served in the military. The journalist cautions that the actual proportion could be much higher due to lack of publicly available information on the other shooters.
Swanson emphasizes an obvious point that the vast majority of US military veterans are not mass shooters. Nevertheless, the factor of having served in the armed forces and the frequency of mass shootings does appear to be a highly significant correlation. What’s more, he says that it is strangely conspicuous how US corporate news media have not delved into what seems to be an urgent issue concerning gun violence in American society.
The reluctance by news media and politicians to acknowledge such a factor is no doubt because it would open up a Pandora’s Box of self-indictment. It raises painful questions about a host of issues that Americans take for granted as normal: the militarization of US culture and society, where young children are compelled to salute the stars and stripes and sing paeans to American “greatness”; the obscene expenditure of over $700 billion a year on military instead of on public services and social development; the near-permanent deployment of US military forces all around the world in countless illegal wars; the blasé indifference to war crimes committed by US servicemen, whereby even President Donald Trump wants to grant amnesty to killers in uniforms.
On the latter issue, it should be deplored, but isn’t, how a congressman and former veteran recently went on a mainstream news channel and appeared to brush off mass killings and other war crimes committed by US forces as being a routine occurrence, and therefore in his view no big deal. His chillingly nonchalant views were aired with barely a murmur of public reaction, never mind condemnation.
America’s criminal overseas military rampaging over several decades is bound to take a grim toll on society at home. Veterans return home traumatized in body and mind from the horror of mass violence they have participated in or witnessed. The American public pay the price from ballooning budgets for veterans’ medical care. They also pay a price from broken families and myriad pathological problems, ranging from drug abuse to suicides. It is reckoned that more US veterans have lost their lives by suicide than were killed in action during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. American ex-military personnel turning guns on themselves. Why is that?
Put starkly, it cannot be expected that US military forces inflict millions of casualties in foreign countries and for that slaughter not to be manifest at home in some pathological way or another.
Millions of young Americans, mostly from poor, deprived backgrounds, are trained to use lethal weaponry funded by billions of dollars at public expense. After they are sent to shoot up foreign countries while loaded up on paranoid propaganda that often dehumanizes, these professional killers are then unceremoniously dumped back in their home country, often without jobs or a future, and often with haunting memories of crimes conducted in the service of “American greatness” – whose “greatness” does not extend to treating them as human beings.
This brutalizing subject needs a lot more research. What is the definitive number of US military veterans involved in American society mass shootings? Swanson, the journalist, seems to have tapped a very significant causal factor. But a bigger database of mass shooting incidents should be studied and the military history of all the shooters disclosed. As Swanson surmises, the proportion of ex-servicemen involved in mass killings is likely to be a lot more than 35 per cent.
It should also be studied how many of the veterans involved in mass shootings were deployed overseas.
The Generals Won’t Save Us From the Next War
by Danny Sjursen
The brass are careerists, never punished for their mistakes, quietly assenting to the latest doomed interventions.
Poll after poll indicates that the only public institution Americans still trust is the military. Not Congress, not the presidency, not the Supreme Court, the church, or the media. Just the American war machine.
But perhaps that faith in the U.S. Armed Forces is misplaced. I got to thinking about this recently after I wrote articles calling for dissent among military leaders in order to stop what seems to be a likely forthcoming war with Iran. While I still believe that dissent in the ranks stands the best chance of galvanizing an apathetic public against an ill-advised, immoral conflict in the Persian Gulf, I also know its a pipe dream.
These are company men, after all, obedient servants dedicated—no matter how much they protest otherwise—to career and promotion, as much or more than they are to the national interest. The American military, especially at the senior ranks, is apt to let you down whenever courage or moral fortitude is needed most. In nearly 18 years of post-9/11 forever war, not a single general has resigned in specific opposition to what many of them knew to be unwinnable, unethical conflicts. Writing about the not-so-long-ago Vietnam War, former national security advisor H.R. McMaster, himself a problematic war on terror general, labeled in his book title such military acquiescence Dereliction of Duty. That it was, but so is the lack of moral courage and logical reasoning among McMaster and his peers who have submissively waged these endless wars in Americans’ name.
Think on it: of the some 18 general officers who have commanded the ill-fated, ongoing war in Afghanistan, each has optimistically promised not only that victory was possible, but that it was “around the corner” or a “light at the end of the tunnel.” All these generals needed, naturally, was more time and, of course, more resources. For the most part they’ve gotten it, billions in cash to throw away and thousands of American soldiers’ lives to waste.
Why should any sentient citizen believe that these commanders’ former subordinates—a new crop of ambitious generals—will step forward now and oppose a disastrous future war with the Islamic Republic? Don’t believe it! Senior military leaders will salute, about-face, and execute unethical and unnecessary combat with Iran or whomever else (think Venezuela) Trump’s war hawks, such as John Bolton, decide needs a little regime changing.
Need proof that even the most highly lauded generals will sheepishly obey the next absurd march to war? Join me in a brief trip down an ever so depressing memory lane. Let us begin with my distinguished West Point graduation speaker, Air Force General and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Richard Myers. He goes down in history as as a Donald Rumsfeld lackey because it turns out he knew full well that there were “holes” in the Bush team’s inaccurate intelligence used to justify the disastrous Iraq war. Yet we heard not a peep from Myers, who kept his mouth shut and retired with full four-star honors.
Then, when Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki accurately (and somewhat courageously) predicted in 2003 that an occupation of Iraq would require up to half a million U.S. troops, he was quietly retired. Rummy passed over a whole generation of active officers to pull a known sycophant, General Peter Schoomaker, out of retirement to do Bush the Younger’s bidding. It worked too. Schoomaker, despite his highly touted special forces experience, never threw his stars on the table and called BS on a losing strategy even as it killed his soldiers by the hundreds and then the thousands. Having heard him (unimpressively) speak at West Point in 2005, I still can’t decide whether he lacked the intellect to do so or the conscience. Maybe both.
After Bush landed a fighter plane on a carrier and triumphantly announced “mission accomplished” in Iraq, poor Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, the newest three-star in the Army, took over the hard part of conquest: bringing the “natives” to heel. He utterly failed, being too reliant on what he knew—Cold War armored combat—and too ambitious to yell “stop!” Soon after, it came to light that Sanchez had bungled the investigation—or coverup (take your pick)—of the massive abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib prison.
General John Abizaid was one of the most disappointing in a long line of subservient generals. It seems Abizaid knew better: he knew the Iraq war couldn’t be won, that it was best to hand over control to the Iraqis posthaste, that General David Petraeus’s magical “surge” snake oil wouldn’t work. Still, Abizaid didn’t quit and retired quietly. He’s now Trump’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, which is far from comforting.
Forgiving Debt to Promote Environmental Healing
The Unipolar Moment is Over
by Pepe Escobar
The Russia-China strategic partnership, consolidated last week in Russia, has thrown U.S. elites into Supreme Paranoia mode, which is holding the whole world hostage.
Something extraordinary began with a short walk in St. Petersburg last Friday.
After a stroll, they took a boat on the Neva River, visited the legendary Aurora cruiser, and dropped in to examine the Renaissance masterpieces at the Hermitage. Cool, calm, collected, all the while it felt like they were mapping the ins and outs of a new, emerging, multipolar world.
Chinese President Xi Jinping was the guest of honor of Russian President Vladimir Putin. It was Xi’s eighth trip to Russia since 2013, when he announced the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
First they met in Moscow, signing multiple deals. The most important is a bombshell: a commitment to develop bilateral trade and cross-border payments using the ruble and the yuan, bypassing the U.S. dollar.
Then Xi visited the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russia’s premier business gathering, absolutely essential for anyone to understand the hyper-complex mechanisms inherent in the construction of Eurasian integration. I addressed some of SPIEF’s foremost discussions and round tables here.
In Moscow, Putin and Xi signed two joint statements – whose key concepts, crucially, are “comprehensive partnership”, “strategic interaction” and “global strategic stability.”
In his St. Petersburg speech, Xi outlined the “comprehensive strategic partnership”. He stressed that China and Russia were both committed to green, low carbon sustainable development. He linked the expansion of BRI as “consistent with the UN agenda of sustainable development” and praised the interconnection of BRI projects with the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU). He emphasized how all that was consistent with Putin’s idea of a Great Eurasian Partnership. He praised the “synergetic effect” of BRI linked to South-South cooperation.
“The Coming War on China”
by John Pilger
The Coming War on China (2016) is John Pilger's 60th film for ITV. Pilger reveals what the news doesn't - that the world's greatest military power, the United States, and the world's second economic power, China, both nuclear-armed, are on the road to war. The film is a warning and an inspiring story of resistance.
Putin says U.S.-Russia relations
are getting ‘worse and worse’
"We really hope that common sense will finally prevail. I hope that, together with our partners, including US partners, we will be able to achieve some solutions, as part of the upcoming G20 meeting, that will be constructive and will create stable conditions for economic cooperation," Putin said in an interview with the MIR broadcaster.
"[Relations] are deteriorating and becoming worse and worse. I believe that over the past years, the current [US] administration has made several dozen decisions related to sanctions toward Russia," Putin added.
Earlier, US President Donald Trump confirmed that he will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the upcoming G-20 Summit in Osaka, Japan.
In mid-March, the US Treasury Department hit Moscow with new punitive measures, on eight Russian individuals and six entities, including shipbuilding and energy companies.
The sanctions were introduced over their alleged role in the Ukrainian crisis. Washington stated that the restrictions were imposed with coordination with its allies: the European Union and Canada.
Within the past five years, the United States has imposed numerous rounds of punitive measures against Russia, accusing Moscow of interfering in Ukraine's internal affairs, also in the American presidential election in 2016, alleged use of chemical weapons against Russian former intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the UK city of Salisbury and over the Kerch Strait incident.
What Comes After Trump – World War III?
by Federico Pieraccini
What will the United States’ relations with Russia and China be like when the 46th president of the United States takes office in 2025? This is a question that I often ask myself, especially in light of Trump’s political choices regarding international arms-control treaties (INF Treaty), nuclear proliferation, economic war with China, a financial crisis that is artificially postponed thanks to QE, out-of-control military spending, an increasingly aggressive NATO stance towards the Russian Federation, and continuous provocations against the People’s Republic of China. Where will we end up with after another five years of provocations? For how much longer will Putin and Xi Jinping maintain the “strategic patience” not to respond to Washington with drastic measures?
Let us imagine we are in 2025
The four current global hot spots – Iran, Syria, Venezuela and DPRK – have maintained their resistance to Washington’s diktats and have emerged more or less victorious. Syrian territory in its entirety is now under the control of Damascus; Iran has established enough deterrents not to be attacked; Pyongyang continues in its negotiations with Washington as the reunification of the two Koreas continues along; the Bolivarian revolution still lives on in Venezuela.
Putin is preparing to leave the Russian Federation as president after 25 years. Xi Jinping could see his mandate expire in a few more years. Washington is about to appoint a new president, who in all probability will be the opposite of Trump, in the same way Obama was the opposite of Bush and Trump a reaction to Obama.
So let us imagine someone emerging in the Democratic Party completely committed to advancing the view of the US deep state and the military-industrial complex – someone like Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright or any of the 2019 Democratic candidates for the 2020 elections (the ones with anything to commend them do not count). Such a person would be committed to reinvigorating the idea of American exceptionalism following eight years of a Trump presidency that has mostly focused (the neocons notwithstanding) on domestic issues and the policy of “America First”.
Now let us think about what has been, and will be, dismantled internationally by Trump during his presidency, namely: the suspension of the INF Treaty and an indication not to extend the New START treaty (on nuclear-arms reduction), deployment of troops on the Russian border in Europe, sanctions, tariffs and economic terrorism of all kinds.
Ask yourself how likely it is that the next US president will want and be able to improve relations with Russia and China as well as accept a multipolar world order? The answer to that is zero, with the Trump presidency only serving to remind us how every administration remains under the control of the military, industrial, spy and media apparatus, expressed in liberal and neocon ideologies.
Trump has increased military spending considerably, singing the praises of the military-industrial complex and promising to modernize the country’s nuclear arsenal. Such a modernization would take two decades to be completed, a detail always omitted by the media. For Trump it is a case of “America First”. For the deep state the project is long term and ought to be far more alarming for the global community.
Russia, China and the US all appear committed to further militarization, with Russia and China strongly focussing on defending their strategic interests in the face of US aggression. Beijing will focus on building a large number of aircraft carriers to defend her maritime borders, while Moscow seeks to seal her skies against missiles and stealthy aircraft (a land campaign against Russia, as history teaches us, has little chance of success).
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Accuses Iran of Attacking Oil Tankers
with Vijay Prashad
More Evidence US Armed Syria Terrorists as Trump Pleads Ceasefire
by Finian Cunningham
Remember when Donald Trump was running for president back in 2016, and he bragged he would “bomb the hell out of” terrorists in Syria. Now, in a reversal, Trump is calling on Syrian and allied Russian forces to stop bombing Idlib, the last redoubt of terror groups in Syria.
Trump urged Syria, Russia and Iran to “stop bombing the hell out of Idlib” claiming that civilians were being indiscriminately killed in the offensive to retake the renegade northwest province.
It seems like a strange plea from the American president. Idlib is unquestionably a stronghold for internationally proscribed terror groups, mainly Jabhat al Nusra (rebranded as Hayat Tahrir al Sham). Syrian government forces backed by Russian air power say it is their sovereign right to rout the militants, who have reportedly broken ceasefire agreements to launch attacks on civilian areas in government-controlled areas, as well as on the Russian air base at Hmeimim.
Moscow rejected Trump’s characterization of indiscriminate killing of civilians, saying that its operations along with Syrian forces are being directed at defeating illegally armed militants.
Moreover, the offensive to retake Idlib comes as new evidence emerges of the massive – albeit covert – international military support given to the various terror groups during Syria’s nearly eight-year war. Syrian state media this week reported arsenals of weaponry recently recovered in Damascus countryside and further south in the Daraa area.
The arsenals included rows and rows of heavy machine-guns, sniper rifles and US-made TOW missiles. Much of the weaponry was also of Israeli-origin, according to reports.
A separate find showed tonnes of C-4 plastic explosive, which Syrian military intelligence said was “US-made”. Up to four tonnes (4,000 kgs) were recovered this time around. Half a kilo of this lethal material is enough to kill several people.
This is not, of course, the first time that such huge caches of US, Israeli and NATO-origin weaponry have been recovered from territory formerly held by terrorists in Syria. There have been numerous such finds, which also included industrial chemicals made in Germany and Saudi Arabia, capable of producing sarin and other highly toxic munitions. That implies military-grade logistics and technical knowhow.
Taken together, the unavoidable conclusion is that internationally proscribed terrorist groups have been systematically weaponized by the US, its NATO allies, Israel and the Arab regimes of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The array of weaponry indicates international and state-level organization, not haphazard procurement from disparate private arms dealers.
A plausible configuration for how the weapons into Syria were delivered and paid for is the following: most likely through smuggling routes from Turkey, Jordan and Israel. The oil-rich Arab monarchs would have footed the bill. The American CIA and Britain’s MI6 managed the logistics and weapons handling. The circuitous supply chain was sufficiently obscure to avoid oversight by the US Congress and European parliaments. But the bottomline is that terrorist organizations were evidently weaponized by Washington and its allies for the objective of regime change in Damascus.
That is why President Trump and other Western leaders do not have any moral authority whatsoever when they make belated calls for a ceasefire in Idlib province.
Syria has faced an international criminal conspiracy to destroy its nation. Washington and other NATO states have been fully complicit in directing that conspiracy by arming terror groups to the teeth. Western corporate news media have served as propaganda cover for the entire criminal enterprise, lionizing the terrorists as “rebels”, and continually demonizing the Syrian army and its allies in their efforts to liberate the country from the foreign-sponsored scourge. Recall the disgraceful Western media distortion over the liberation of Aleppo by the Syrian army and Russia in 2016-2017, endeavoring to portray that defeat of besieging terror groups as a “massacre”. The Western media never followed up their hysterical charade with subsequent reports of how Aleppo citizens actually rejoiced in their liberation from Western-backed “rebels”.
The infernal problem of conflict and violence in Syria is the direct consequence of Western states embarking on a criminal scheme years before the war started in 2011 in order to overthrow the government of President Bashar al Assad.
by Paul Edwards
Noam Chomsky’s “Manufacturing Consent”, published in 1988, was a ground-breaking, comprehensive analysis of the processes used by American government to persuade citizens to approve whatever witches’ brew of deceit, crime, and murder the ruling elite elected to perpetrate.
Today that idea has a quaint, nostalgic charm since no serious person would now contend that our government requires anything resembling consent from its people. It rules imperiously an intellectually lobotomized public it has rendered torpid, quiescent, inanimate. You are now told what it has done or is doing, if you are told anything at all.
While the stupefied, comatose condition of Americans that allows them to opt out of the moral universe and assuage their guilt with petitions, donations, and memberships in faineant feel-good drum circles is not necessarily permanent, an awakening is most unlikely since all forces that could break that trance are devoted to maintaining it.
Government, which Plato, Burke and the Federalist argue will always work to aggrandize itself against all restraint, has triumphed over the people who theoretically empower it, but Government is only a device, a giant toy, a Rube Goldberg machine, and the wholly-owned subsidiary of Capitalism, and the dirty, tattered cover for its absolute rule. With apologies to Clausewitz, American government is the continuation of Capitalism by other means.
Capitalism, controling education, media and culture, ran an intense PR blitz to create a society of shallow, childish, insatiable consumers, paradoxically certain that they were at once utterly worthless and undeniably Number 1. This infantilization of the people produced a double payoff: a citizenry without the acuity to oppose the criminality of the state, but with no limit to their ingrafted materialist “needs”. As their regressive, debilitating self-absorption grew, so did their indifference to their own psychic, spiritual, and social health, as well as to the full-spectrum horror their country continually inflicts on nations that won’t come to Jesus and kneel to submit to our ravenous Minotaur.
Capitalism, dubiously victorious, is not what it used to be, evolving as its DNA coding required and Marx described. It is now so sick with Financial Elephantiasis that it can’t evade its own voracity and, enchained in unpayable debt, it blindly, greedily devours itself. The insanity of world neurosis based on U.S. Capitalist rapacity is now driven entirely by America’s own economic panic, not ideology.
There will be no redemption. Capitalism will crash and come disastrously, catastrophically undone. As Marx said, a mode of production’s power continues until advancing history enforces its replacement. We are there, and ironically, as the terminally haemorrhaging Capitalist ghoul lurches toward its demise, its death throes will be most agonizingly painful to those zombified American souls who lost consciousnes to the siren lullabies of their destroyers.
British Home Secretary signs US extradition order for Julian Assange
Journalists silent on Assange’s plight are complicit
in his torture and imprisonment
Video Emerges of Assange in Belmarsh
On Contact: “Julian Assange w/UN Special Rapporteur on Torture"
As US seeks to crush media freedom, we all need to read Assange’s letter from prison
by John McEvoy
The Canary has received exclusive access to a purportedly hand-written letter from Julian Assange in Belmarsh prison. The letter, dated 13 May 2019, reveals Assange’s prison conditions and difficulties building his own defence. It also acts as a critique of Washington’s attempts to crush media freedom, and as a call to action from his supporters.
Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei visits Julian Assange in prison hospital, urges Britain to stop WikiLeaks founder’s extradition to US
Assange's Father Visits Son in Prison, Shares News on WikiLeaks' Founder Condition
US official sacked after 'illegally fast-tracking $8bn
in weapons transfers' to Saudi Arabia, UAE
The US State Department has sacked a senior official who is thought to have helped spearhead a scheme that saw the weapons manufacturer he formerly lobbied for rake in billions of dollars in arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Charles Faulkner, who formerly represented weapons manufacturer Raytheon Co. as a lobbyist, used his influential position in the Trump administration to bypass the usual congressional review process and fast-track over $8 billion in weapons deals to the two Gulf kingdoms by declaring an emergency over rising tensions with Iran in May this year.
A former arms lobbyist in the Trump administration is accused of helping bypass restrictions for a weapons deal to the Gulf countries that saw his former company earn billions.
The Joke of the Century
by Jeremy Salt
With fresh elections called by Benyamin Netanyahu for September, it is possible that the ‘deal of the century’ may never see the light of day. Condemned across the board by Palestinians, even supporters are backing away. Mike Pompeo, Trump’s Secretary of State, said recently it was a deal “only the Israelis could love” and was “unexecutable.” Still, for what it reveals of the minds that could come up with such a scheme, the ‘deal of the century’ is still worth examining.
The ‘deal’ would be the joke of the century were it not so seriously intended. Whether deal or joke, however, the bottom line is blackmail and even murder. If Hamas and Islamic Jihad don’t accept this deal, the US will allow Israel to “personally harm” their leaders, in other words, kill them.
The full package is to be unveiled in late June but these are some of the details, as leaked from the Foreign Ministry to Sheldon Adelson’s newspaper, Israel Hayom, a propaganda conduit for the Netanyahu government. Adelson’s wife Miriam, Israel Hayom’s chief executive, is one of the richest women in the world, with an estimated personal fortune of $22 billion. She and her husband have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into their pet causes, the Republican Party and the state of Israel. Described in the US media as an ‘humanitarian’ and ‘philanthropist,’ this sponsor of Israel’s racist war on the Palestinians was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2018, the highest US award that can be conferred on a civilian.
Some of the detail in the Jared Kushner ‘deal of the century’ may be kite-flying, to be modified before the formal release of the plan, so that it won’t look so bad after all, but the deadly intent, to erase Palestine forever and replace it with a strangulated state of ‘New Palestine,’ is not to be doubted.
As outlined in Israel Hayom, Israel would annex all the West Bank settlement blocs. Together with the isolated settlements to be brought within this land grab, Israel could be expected to seize most if not all of Area C of the West Bank, as assigned to full Israeli control in the long-moribund ‘peace process.’
This would give it up to 62 percent of the West Bank. ‘New Palestine’ would consist of Area A (about three percent) and presumably most of Area B, consisting of 24 percent, to make statehood even remotely plausible. The territory taken by Israel would include the fertile and well-watered Jordan Valley. Overall, the Palestinians would be left with about 12 percent of their stolen homeland. In practice, there would be no real change from the present situation. The ‘deal’ would simply ratify Israeli settlement and land seizures in a new pseudo-legal arrangement.
The West Bank would be connected to Gaza by a highway, to be funded mainly by China but with smaller financial contributions from South Korea, Australia, Canada, the US, and the EU. Egypt would lease land to ‘New Palestine’ for the construction of an airport and an industrial zone in Sinai. The Palestinians would also have a port. This and other infrastructural and administrative costs would be covered by $30 billion paid by the oil-producing Gulf states (70 percent, the US (20 percent) and the EU (10 percent).
A time frame of five years would provide plenty of room for the freezing of grants if the Palestinians misbehave, in the event of rockets still being fired into Israel or through their perceived failure to comply with the terms imposed on them, as interpreted by Israel, of course.
Israel would continue to oversee the ‘security’ of ‘New Palestine’s’ land and sea borders, so no change here either except the semantic. As the trump hand in negotiations would always be held by someone else - Israel, the US or Egypt or the donors to the various projects – the Palestinians would be perennially open to threat and intimidation and the withholding of financial grants.
‘New Palestine’ would have its capital in Jerusalem, most probably in the village of Abu Dis, which was brought within the municipal boundaries by Ehud Barak during the Camp David negotiations to create the fiction of a shared capital. In fact, Jerusalem would remain under the full control of the Israeli municipality and government. Palestinians would have no say at all in how the city is run.
East Jerusalem Palestinians would remain the citizens of ‘New Palestine’ but Israel would control their daily lives as before. Restrictions would be formally applied to real estate deals, so that Israelis could not buy Palestinian houses and Palestinians could not buy properties sequestered by Jewish settlers. In practice, given Israel’s determination to turn Jerusalem into a wholly Jewish city, except for Palestinian remnants, it is difficult to see this restriction being applied to the settlers, whom the occupier’s law allows to seize Palestinian property by the most dubious means.
Good Morning Britain: Watch "George Galloway Fired From talkRADIO After 'Anti-Semitic' Tweet”
with Lord Alan Sugar
Gaza: Isolation and control
by Ben White
Australian film: 'Stone Cold Justice'
on Israel's torture of Palestinian children
“Advocate”: Israeli Attorney Lea Tsemel Reflects on Defending Palestinians Who Resist Occupation
US Senators meet with Jewish leaders in semi-secret annual event
by Alison Weir
In Leaked Tape, Pompeo Vows to Prevent Jeremy Corbyn
From Becoming UK's Prime Minister
by Sputnik News
US President Donald Trump’s administration has been foraying into British politics; last week, during his UK visit, Trump praised Boris Johnson, lauding him as an acceptable successor to Theresa May, while snubbing Jeremy Corbyn, calling the Labour leader a negative force.
US State Secretary Mike Pompeo has been accused of trying to stop the UK’s Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn from becoming prime minister; an audio clip leaked to the Washington Post featured him reassuring Jewish leaders that he would “push back” against the Labour party’s leadership after continued allegations of anti-Semitism within its fold.
In the leaked recording, Mike Pompeo was apparently asked what he would do if Jeremy Corbyn were elected prime minister.
The questioner asked: “Would you be willing to work with us to take on actions if life becomes very difficult for Jews in the UK?”
In the response, Mike Pompeo appears to suggest he would seek a pre-emptive push back before Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had an opportunity to claim the prime minister’s seat.
“It could be that Mr. Corbyn manages to run the gauntlet and get elected,”
he said in the audio clip.
“It’s possible. You should know, we won’t wait for him to do those things to begin to push back. We will do our level best. It’s too risky and too important and too hard once it’s already happened.”
In response to Pompeo’s comments, a Labour spokesman rejected accusations of anti-Semitism and condemned US President Donald Trump and his senior officials for wading into British domestic politics.
“President Trump and his officials’ attempts to decide who will be Britain’s next prime minister are an entirely unacceptable interference in the UK’s democracy,” said the spokesperson.
He added that the party was “fully committed to the support, defence and celebration of the Jewish community and is implacably opposed to antisemitism in any form”.
Mike Pompeo’s comments are the latest example of a glaring intervention by the Trump administration in British politics.
Last week, during a visit to Britain, Donald Trump had praise for Boris Johnson, saying the former Foreign Secretary would be an "excellent" successor to Theresa May.
The US President also snubbed Jeremy Corbyn during his trip to London, calling the Labour leader a negative force.
During a press conference with Theresa May Trump had said:
“He wanted to meet, today or tomorrow, I decided I would not do that.”
“I don't know Jeremy Corbyn, I've never met him, never spoke to him,”
“I think that he is, from where I come from, somewhat of a negative force.”
The UK Labour Party has been embroiled in a crisis since 2016 which has seen senior MPs accused of engaging in anti-Semitism. Leader Jeremy Corbyn established the Chakrabati inquiry in 2016 to investigate the state of racism within the party’s ranks.
Now, the Equality and Human Rights Commission announced last week that it is to formally investigate Labour over anti-Jewish racism.
The Neocolonial Arrogance of the Kushner Plan
By Rashid Khalidi
“You cannot do without us,” Lord Curzon condescendingly told the Indians over whom he ruled as British imperial viceroy more than a century ago. As the Trump family rubbed shoulders with the Windsors during their recent visit to London, there was no mistaking the difference between the real aristocracy and the trumped-up one. However, Jared Kushner, presidential son-in-law and senior adviser responsible for crafting a Middle East peace plan, does have something in common with Lord Curzon and his colonial ilk.
In an interview with Axios shown on HBO on June 2, shortly before he arrived in the UK, Kushner cast doubt on the feasibility of independent Palestinian self-rule, declaring, “we’ll have to see,” adding, “the hope is that they over time can become capable of governing.” When asked if Palestinians should ever be able to enjoy freedom from “Israeli government or military interference,” he said only that this was “a high bar.” After suggesting that Kushner had consulted few if any Palestinians over the two years during which his peace plan was in the works, his interviewer asked if he understood why the Palestinians did not trust him. Kushner responded curtly, “I’m not here to be trusted.”
This was not the first time the Palestinians have been told they cannot govern themselves, that they are obliged to remain under foreign tutelage, and do not warrant being consulted about their national future. In 1919, another British imperialist, Lord Balfour, wrote—in a confidential memo to Curzon himself—“in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country… Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land.”
The 1917 declaration associated with Balfour’s name, the basis of the British Mandate that led to the establishment of Israel, excluded the Palestinians—whom Balfour never mentioned by name—from the political and national rights it accorded to Jews. In the Axios interview, Kushner echoed Balfour’s words, repeatedly excluding Palestinians from political and national rights. Kushner and his colleagues, White House adviser Jason Greenblatt, and David Friedman, the US ambassador to Israel, have consistently stressed that theirs is essentially an economic development initiative for the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, meant to operate under existing conditions of almost absolute Israeli control. So far, it has no disclosed political element, except the clear indication that Palestinian statehood and sovereignty are ruled out. All the Palestinians deserve, in Kushner’s view, is “the opportunity to live a better life… the opportunity to pay their mortgage,” under Israel rule.
Understandably, almost universally, Palestinians—along with many international commentators—see such an approach as simply paving the way to a normalization of never-ending occupation and creeping annexation under conditions of extreme legal discrimination between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs: a situation resembling nothing so much as apartheid South Africa.
Astonishingly, for someone who is supposedly a successful businessperson, Kushner is apparently ignorant of the economic consensus that describes a Palestinian economy as strangled primarily by the systematic interference of the Israeli military occupation that he advocates maintaining. The Trump administration has added to this economic stranglehold with its decisions to cut both direct US aid to the West Bank and Gaza and its support for UNRWA. Meanwhile, the US continues to support the Israeli blockade of Gaza, aided by Egypt, with disastrous effects on its 1.8 million people, including chronic power and water shortages, minimal sewage treatment, more than 50 percent unemployment, and a complete lack of freedom of movement.
These are only some of the ways that the administration of which Kushner is part has made its contempt for the Palestinians apparent. In recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, it has unilaterally taken an issue Israel is treaty-bound to negotiate with the Palestinians off the table, and reversed seventy-plus years of US policy, while ignoring an international consensus that the city’s final status would be subject to a mutually acceptable peace agreement. The Trump administration has also explicitly avoided endorsing a two-state solution or any form of Palestinian sovereignty, positions Kushner reiterated in his interview. It closed the Palestinian mission in Washington, D.C., and cut off US aid to the Palestinian Authority. It claimed that, contrary to the status of all other refugees since World War II, the descendants of Palestinians, declared refugees in 1948, are not themselves refugees. Finally, in endorsing Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, the Trump administration has cleared the way for the annexation of whatever parts of the West Bank Israel should choose to swallow up.
Indeed, in a recent interview with The New York Times, Ambassador Friedman, who is reportedly a “driving force” in shaping the Trump Administration’s Middle East policy, stated that Israel has the “right” to annex “some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank.” Friedman then waxed philosophical: asked whether Kushner’s plan includes a Palestinian state, he mused, “What’s a state?” He concluded by ludicrously comparing the indefinite forcible Israeli occupation of Palestinian land to the treaty-based US military presence in Germany, Japan, and Korea. These declarations are the clearest possible indicator of which way the wind is blowing in Washington.
An Israeli Double-Feature:
52nd Anniversary of Israel’s Attack on the USS Liberty
Israel Is a Dictatorship, Not a Democracy
by Paul Craig Roberts
Two days ago the US celebrated the 75th anniversary of D-Day with accolades to the armed forces and thanks to surviving veterans. The country stood strongly with the military. But today two days later is the 52nd anniversary of a day of shame when Washington turned its back on the US Navy. It was June 8, 1967 when the USS Liberty, a surveillance ship stationed off the coast of Egypt was attacked by Israeli fighter aircraft and torpedo boats.
The Israelis were unable to sink the Liberty, but managed to kill 34 American sailors and wound 174. Seventy percent of the crew were casualties of the Israeli attack.
The White House, fearing the Israel Lobby, prevented the US Navy from going to the defense of the Liberty, thus sacrificing American lives, and further dishonored the US Navy by ordering Admiral McCain, father of the former US Senator John McCain, to orchestrate a cover-up. The surviving crew were threatened with court-martial and imprisonment if they spoke about the event. It was 20 years before one of the surviving officers wrote a book about the greatest act of shame the US government ever inflicted on the US military.
In 2003, 36 years after the Israeli attack on the Liberty, Admiral Tom Moorer, former Chief of Naval Operations and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, convened the Independent Commission of Inquiry into the Israeli Attack on USS Liberty, the Recall of Military Rescue Support Aircraft while the Liberty was Under Attack, and the Subsequent Cover-up by the United States Government. The Commission consisted of Adm. Moorer, Gen. Raymond Davis, former Assistant Commandant of the US Marine Corps, Rear Adm. Merlin Staring, former Judge Advocate General of the US Navy, and Amb. James Akins, former US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
You can read the report online, here for example: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Moorer_Report
The report is devastating. Among the report’s conclusions, these stand out:
“That due to the influence of Israel’s powerful supporters in the United States, the White House deliberately covered up the facts of this attack from the American people;
“That due to continuing pressure by the pro-Israel lobby in the United States, this attack remains the only serious naval incident that has never been thoroughly investigated by Congress; to this day, no surviving crewmember has been permitted to officially and publicly testify about the attack;
“That there has been an official cover-up without precedent in American naval history; the existence of such a cover-up is now supported by statements of Rear Admiral Merlin Staring, USN (Ret.), former Judge Advocate General of the Navy; and Captain Ward Boston, USN, (Ret.), the chief counsel to the Navy’s 1967 Court of Inquiry of Liberty attack;
“That the truth about Israel’s attack and subsequent White House cover-up continues to be officially concealed from the American people to the present day and is a national disgrace;
“That a danger to our national security exists whenever our elected officials are willing to subordinate American interests to those of any foreign nation, and specifically are unwilling to challenge Israel’s interests when they conflict with American interests; this policy, evidenced by the failure to defend USS Liberty and the subsequent official cover-up of the Israeli attack, endangers the safety of Americans and the security of the United States.”
After interviewing many of the survivors, Captain Ward Boston, who was assigned to cover up the attack and afterward repudiated the cover-up, and Bill Knutson, the executive officer of the USS America fighter squadron that was called back on orders from the White House, and lengthy discussions with Adm. Moorer, my former colleague at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, I have written about the Israeli attack on the Liberty a number of times. Some of them are available in the archive on this website, for example: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/07/26/the-israeli-attack-on-the-uss-liberty-paul-craig-roberts/
All who discount the influence of Israel on the US government are ignorant fools.
Netanyahu Elevates Himself to Dictator
We hear every day that “Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East,” but is Israel a democracy or a dictatorship?
In a democracy even the highest members of the government are accountable to law, but this isn’t the case with Netanyahu. After a two-year investigation the Israeli attorney general announced his intention to indict prime minister Netanyahu on charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/28/world/middleeast/benjamin-netanyahu-indicted.html
This is like Mueller indicting President Trump for colluding with Putin to steal the US presidential election. All would be over for Trump, but not for Netanyahu. Netanyahu simply removed the Israeli justice minister, Avichai Mandelblit, and appointed himself to the post, thus immunizing himself from prosecution. https://www.rt.com/news/461082-netanyahu-justice-minister-charges/
As prime minister Netanyahu had already assigned himself the ministries of Defense, Health, and Education. Now he is Justice minister as well. How much of a government can be in the hands of one person before that person becomes a dictator? Think about it this way: If President Trump were also Secretary of Defense, Attorney General, Secretary of the Treasury, and Secretary of Homeland Security, would he be a president or a dictator?
Trump has none of these posts, but some Democrats accuse him of being a dictator. What then does that make Netanyahu?
Israel attacks Gaza after rocket 'intercepted' from territory
Netanyahu Has Changed The Democratic Party –
One Candidate At A Time
by Peter Beinart
If you don’t think Benjamin Netanyahu has changed the debate about Israel inside the Democratic Party, just listen to Pete Buttigieg’s foreign policy speech yesterday at Indiana University. Buttigieg is no radical; he’s a darling of the post-Obama Democratic establishment. And yet he said things on Tuesday that would have been unthinkable during Obama’s campaigns.
First, Buttigieg implicitly compared Israel to Saudi Arabia. After initially talking about China and Russia, he then called for “upholding our values not just with our adversaries but with our allies.” His first example was Riyadh’s treatment of dissidents; his second was Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.
This linkage is an unintended byproduct of the de facto Israeli-Saudi alliance, and the parallel behavior of the two Middle Eastern powers. Both are growing more arrogant and more brutal. Both undermined Obama and boost Donald Trump. And both are pushing America towards a confrontation with Iran that could lead to war. It’s not surprising that Democrats increasingly lump them together.
Second, Buttigieg made it clear that while Israel may share some of America’s democratic principles, Benjamin Netanyahu—whose government the South Bend mayor called “right-wing” and “turning away from peace”—does not. This too is the result of Netanyahu’s affinity with Trump.
Just as Democrats see Trump as threatening America’s democratic principles, they see Netanyahu as doing the same to Israel’s. Why does Beto O’Rourke feel comfortable calling Netanyahu a “racist”? Because Democrats now routinely apply that epithet to Trump. Obama may have thought such things but he couldn’t say them publicly. Now Democrats can.
Most importantly, Buttigieg warned that, “if Prime Minister Netanyahu makes good on his threat to annex West Bank settlements, a President Buttigieg will take steps to ensure that American taxpayers won’t foot the bill.” Obama never said anything like this. To the contrary, in his final year in office he gave Israel the largest aid package in its history without requiring any changes in its policies toward the Palestinians. No president has used American military aid as a vehicle to change Israeli policy since George H.W. Bush more than a quarter-century ago.
As policy, Buttigieg’s statement isn’t that significant. Israel doesn’t need American money to annex parts of the West Bank. But it opens a broader conversation. (One I discussed at greater length in an essay a few weeks ago).
If America shouldn’t subsidize policies that, in Buttigieg’s words, increase the “suffering of the Palestinian people” and turn Israel “away from peace,” why stop at the annexation of settlements? Why not refuse to subsidize settlement building at all?
Make Israel prove that none of the weaponry it buys with American money is used to entrench a system of bigotry and land theft in which Israeli Jews enjoy citizenship, due process, free movement and the right to vote for the government that controls their lives while their Palestinian neighbors are denied these rights. The core of the problem, after all, isn’t that Israel might formalize its oppression of Palestinians by annexing parts of the West Bank. It’s that Israel is oppressing Palestinians in the West Bank in the first place.
Palestine in Pictures: May 2019
A day in the life of a Palestinian Child
'I was afraid to protest when I was 8. Not anymore':
18-yo Palestinian icon Ahed Tamimi to RT
Letters from Our Readers
by Jahan Chowdhry
This week you wanted to talk about Joe Biden’s presidential run, the National Lawyers Guild, Julian Assange, and Israeli apartheid. Strong comments came for “Joe Biden, Prince of Private Prisons,” “National Lawyers Guild Echoes Smear Campaign Against Julian Assange,” and “Parallels Between Black and Palestinian Struggles.”
“Joe Biden, Prince of Private Prisons” by Glen Ford exposes the presidential candidate’s key role in black mass incarceration.
Inside Israel's million dollar troll army
Act.IL’s Israeli headquaters in Herzliya. (Act.IL/Facebook)
by Asa Winstanley
A global influence campaign funded by the Israeli government had a $1.1 million budget last year, a document obtained by The Electronic Intifada shows.
Act.IL says it has offices in three countries and an online army of more than 15,000.
In its annual report, from January, Act.IL says its goal is to “influence foreign publics” and “battle” BDS – the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement for Palestinian rights.
Through its app, Act.IL issues “missions” to this troll army in exchange for “cool prizes” and scholarships.
The app directs comments towards news websites in support of Israeli wars and racism, while attacking Palestinians and solidarity campaigners.
The leaked report claims Act.IL’s app completes 1,580 such missions every week.
Act.IL’s report was obtained by The Electronic Intifada thanks to researcher Michael Bueckert.
Bueckert monitors the app, and posts screenshots of its missions to the Twitter account Behind Israel’s Troll Army.
Doublespeak in Israel and the United States
Targets “the Left” as Traitorous
Photograph Source: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv – Public Domain
by Yoav Litvin
No syncretistic faith can withstand analytical criticism. The critical spirit makes distinctions, and to distinguish is a sign of modernism. In modern culture the scientific community praises disagreement as a way to improve knowledge. For Ur-Fascism, disagreement is treason. ~ Umberto Eco
In spite of a seemingly convincing victory in Israel’s recent elections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a right-wing coalition, which would secure him the premiership for an additional four years.
The reason: hard-right Member of Knesset (MK), former Israeli Security Minister, and leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu party Avigdor Lieberman – a settler in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, ex-nightclub bouncer and convicted child beater – refused to budge on a draft bill for ultra-orthodox Jews. In response to Lieberman’s opportunistic move, a disheveled-looking Netanyahu spoke to reporters claiming: “Lieberman is now part of the left”.
Yet Lieberman is as far from left wing politics as can be. In fact, his signature fascistic opinions are no secret – e.g. he has openly endorsed expulsion of Palestinians from Israel and spearheaded attempts to legalize execution and even beheading of Palestinian prisoners, whom he collectively refers to as “terrorists”.
Across the pond in the United States, President Donald Trump has adopted the term “radical left” to describe his opponents in the media and the Democratic Party. With the ramping up of the 2020 election fever, Trump will likely soon drop the “radical” and simply scapegoat the “left”.
“They Are Not the Central Park 5”: Ava DuVernay’s Series
Restores Humanity of Wrongly Convicted Boys
Rev. William Barber: Racist Gerrymandering Created
a GOP Stronghold in the South. We Must Fight Back
Scott Warren Provided Food & Water to Migrants in Arizona;
He Now Faces Up to 20 Years in Prison
DHS Agents Treat Undocumented Immigrants as Criminals in Hospitals, Shackling Them to Beds and Impeding Care, Study Finds
Teen Mother and Premature Baby Found Neglected
in Border Patrol Custody
From: "Medea Benjamin,
Sent: Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Subject: Arrested at 13, now facing execution
Murtaja Qureiris was 10 years old. Wearing a t-shirt, jeans, and black flip-flops, he smiled for the camera as he took off on his bicycle to join a children’s protest for the rights of Shia Muslims in Saudi Arabia. “The people demand human rights!” he shouted into a megaphone as he rode along. Three years later, as he and his family were traveling to Bahrain, Murtaja was arrested for the bicycle protest and attending other peaceful demonstrations. He has been in prison since the age of 13. Now that he has turned 18, the kingdom wants to execute him.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo constantly says that Iran needs to behave like a “normal country” but is U.S. ally Saudi Arabia a normal country? Shamefully, the U.S. continues its close relationship with this ruthless kingdom regardless of the number of juveniles, journalists, activists, bloggers, and dissidents it imprisons and executes. Send Secretary Pompeo and Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud a message now: Don’t let Saudi execute child prisoner Murtaja Qureiris.
Murtaja is being tried in Saudi’s “anti-terror” court, where the sentence of execution will be carried out by crucifixion or dismemberment after execution. This is despite any evidence that Murtaja engaged in any violent activity. The only evidence against Murtaja are his confessions, obtained through torture when he was only 13.
If Murtaja is sentenced to death, he will be the third prisoner executed this year by Saudi Arabia for crimes allegedly committed before the age of 18. In April, the country carried out a mass execution of 37 people — 33 of them Shia minority. The UN and human rights groups condemned the mass execution and called for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to be held accountable. But the U.S. made no change to its relationship with the Saudis, once again sending MBS a message that he can act with complete impunity. Will Murtaja be the next victim? Add your name to our petition to Secretary Pompeo and Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Princess Reema asking speak up that Saudi not execute child prisoner Murtaja Qureiris.
Ann, Ariel Carley, Clara, Jodie, Kelly, Kirsten, Lily, Maya, Mark, Medea, Nancy, Paki, Ryan, Sarah, Tighe, Ursula, and Zena
P.S. Want to do more to hold Saudi Arabia accountable? We are asking Lush cosmetics — a company known for social responsibility to close its stores in Saudi Arabia. Send an email now to Lush asking them to speak out in condemnation of the execution of Murtaja Qureiris and then plan a protest outside a Lush store near you. You only need 2 people and 15 minutes to carry out the protests and we have supplies available for you to use.
From: Mark Crispin Miller
Sent: Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Subject: [MCM] Since Assange indictment, cops worldwide are going after journalists for publishing classified material (2)
After Assange’s Espionage Act Indictment, Police Move Against More Journalists for Publishing Classified Material
by Joe Lauria
The Thought Police Are Coming
Mr. Fish / Truthdig
by Chris Hedges
DHS Agents Treat Undocumented Immigrants as Criminals
in Hospitals, Shackling Them to Beds and Impeding Care,
by Julia Conley
couldn't think of the rationale of chaining someone who is so sick he almost
A new report by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) revealed Monday that although most of these migrants have broken no laws other than the misdemeanor of crossing the border without going through a designated entry point, the agents frequently shackle them to beds, insist on standing guard in their rooms, and interfere with their care in a number of ways.
"Doctors, who have a moral and ethical obligation and duty to care for patients, are actively being prevented from carrying out the practice of medicine as they've been trained to practice it," Kathryn Hampton, a program officer for PHR and a co-author of the report, New York Times. the
Times, such arrests have caused immigrants who are already living in the U.S. to avoid seeking care, including one man in Texas who delayed getting medical attention for a stroke. the
What are the most important features of fascism? They include ultra-nationalism and authoritarianism; the demonisation and persecution of minorities; a cult of the leader; a demagogic appeal to the “ignored” masses and against a “treacherous” establishment; contempt for parliamentary institutions; disregard for the law while standing on a law and order platform; control of the media and the crushing of criticism; slogans promising everything to everybody; a promotion of force as a means to an end leading to violence, militarism and war.
The list could go on to include less significant traits such as a liking for public displays of strength and popularity at rallies and parades; a liking also for gigantic building projects as the physical embodiment of power.
Hitler and Mussolini ticked all these boxes and Trump ticks most of them, though with some important exceptions. German and Italian fascism was characterised above all else by aggressive and ultimately disastrous wars. Trump, on the contrary, is a genuine “isolationist” who has not started a single war in the two-and-a-half years he has been in the White House.
It is not that Trump abjures force, but he prefers it to be commercial and economic rather than military, and he is deploying it against numerous countries from China to Mexico and Iran. As a strategy this is astute, avoiding the bear traps that American military intervention fell into in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is an approach which weakens the targeted state economically, but it does not produce decisive victories or unconditional surrenders.
It is a policy more dangerous than it looks: Trump may not want a war, but the same is not true of Mike Pompeo, his secretary of state, or his national security adviser John Bolton. And it is even less true of US allies like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who have been pushing Washington towards war with Iran long before Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman took control in Riyadh in 2015.
Trump’s aversion to military intervention jibes with these other influences, but it is erratic because it depends on the latest tweet from the White House. A weakness, not just of fascist leaders but of all dictatorial regimes, is their exaggerated dependence on the decisions of a single individual with God-like confidence in their own judgement. Nothing can be decided without their fiat and they must never be proved wrong or be seen to fail.
Trump has modes of operating rather than sustained policies that are consequently shallow and confused. One ambassador in Washington confides privately that he has successfully engaged with the most senior officials in the administration, but this was not doing him a lot of good because they had no idea of what was happening. The result of this Louis XIV approach to government is institutionalised muddle: Trump may not want a war in the Middle East but he could very easily blunder into one.
Of course, Trump is not alone in this: populist nationalist authoritarian leaders on the rise all over the world win and hold power in ways very similar to the fascists of the inter-war period. What is there in these two eras almost a century apart that would explain this common political trajectory?
Fears and hatreds born out of the First World War, the Russian Revolution and the Great Depression propelled the fascists towards power. When old allegiances and beliefs were shattered and discredited, people naturally looked to new creeds and saviours. “The more pathological the situation the less important is the intrinsic worth of the idol,” wrote the great British historian Lewis Namier in 1947. “His feet may be of clay and his face may be blank: it is the frenzy of the worshippers which imparts to him meaning and power.”
Is the same thing happening again? Fascism was the product of a cataclysmic period in the first half of the 20th century that is very different from today. The US failed to get its way in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but these were small-scale conflicts in no way comparable to the First World War. The recession that followed the 2008 crash was a blip compared to the Thirties.
Many of the better off reassure themselves with such thoughts. But they underestimate the destructiveness of de-industrialisation and technological change for great numbers across the globe. Inequality has vastly increased. Economies expand, but the benefits are skewed towards the wealthy. Metropolitan centres plugged into the global economy flourished, but not their periphery.
The distinction between winners and losers varies from country to country but governments everywhere underestimated the unhappiness caused by social and economic upheaval. Beneficiaries of the status quo invariably downplay the significance of fault lines that populists are swift to identify and exploit.
From: Monty Kroopkin
Sent: Monday, June 10, 2019
Subject: A new article posted at newindicator.org
Military Minds Contemplate Human Extinction ?
"Airports rush to adopt controversial facial recognition tech"
More than a dozen US airports are using facial recognition and biometric technology and more are expected to follow, even though the technology is imperfect and largely unregulated. RT America’s Trinity Chavez reports for News.Views.Hughes.
The Omnipresent Surveillance State: Orwell’s 1984 Is No Longer Fiction
by John W. Whitehead
“You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.”—George Orwell, 1984
Tread cautiously: the fiction of George Orwell has become an operation manual for the omnipresent, modern-day surveillance state.
It’s been 70 years since Orwell—dying, beset by fever and bloody coughing fits, and driven to warn against the rise of a society in which rampant abuse of power and mass manipulation are the norm—depicted the ominous rise of ubiquitous technology, fascism and totalitarianism in 1984.
Who could have predicted that 70 years after Orwell typed the final words to his dystopian novel, “He loved Big Brother,” we would fail to heed his warning and come to love Big Brother.
“To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do not live alone— to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone: From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of doublethink — greetings!”—George Orwell
1984 portrays a global society of total control in which people are not allowed to have thoughts that in any way disagree with the corporate state. There is no personal freedom, and advanced technology has become the driving force behind a surveillance-driven society. Snitches and cameras are everywhere. People are subject to the Thought Police, who deal with anyone guilty of thought crimes. The government, or "Party," is headed by Big Brother who appears on posters everywhere with the words: "Big Brother is watching you."
We have arrived, way ahead of schedule, into the dystopian future dreamed up by not only Orwell but also such fiction writers as Aldous Huxley, Margaret Atwood and Philip K. Dick.
“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”―George Orwell
Much like Orwell’s Big Brother in 1984, the government and its corporate spies now watch our every move. Much like Huxley’s A Brave New World, we are churning out a society of watchers who “have their liberties taken away from them, but … rather enjoy it, because they [are] distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing.” Much like Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, the populace is now taught to “know their place and their duties, to understand that they have no real rights but will be protected up to a point if they conform, and to think so poorly of themselves that they will accept their assigned fate and not rebel or run away.”
And in keeping with Philip K. Dick’s darkly prophetic vision of a dystopian police state—which became the basis for Steven Spielberg’s futuristic thriller Minority Report—we are now trapped in a world in which the government is all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful, and if you dare to step out of line, dark-clad police SWAT teams and pre-crime units will crack a few skulls to bring the populace under control.
What once seemed futuristic no longer occupies the realm of science fiction.
Incredibly, as the various nascent technologies employed and shared by the government and corporations alike—facial recognition, iris scanners, massive databases, behavior prediction software, and so on—are incorporated into a complex, interwoven cyber network aimed at tracking our movements, predicting our thoughts and controlling our behavior, the dystopian visions of past writers is fast becoming our reality.
Our world is characterized by widespread surveillance, behavior prediction technologies, data mining, fusion centers, driverless cars, voice-controlled homes, facial recognition systems, cybugs and drones, and predictive policing (pre-crime) aimed at capturing would-be criminals before they can do any damage.
Tariff Temper Tantrum: Trump “Created a Fake Crisis & Has Announced a Fake Solution” with Mexico
with Lori Wallach
From: RT in English
Sent: Thursday, June 13, 2019
Subject: RT NEWSLETTER (June 12, 2019)
RT NEWSLETTER (June 12, 2019)
UK report on ‘human rights’ forgets to mention Saudi Arabia in section on Yemen war
The UK has published its annual human rights report, but with some notable omissions in its section on Yemen’s war – namely the identity of the country bombing its civilians, and the UK’s own involvement in the conflict.
John Bolton’s Long Goodbye – Consortiumnews
Greenwald defiant after 'grotesque' threats
over Brazil's Car Wash leaks
Ola Bini Was Friends with Julian Assange. He Has Spent Two Months in Jail Without Charge in Ecuador
Robert Reich: Here are the 7 biggest failures of Trumponomics
German car nightmare: Motor expert warns of worldwide chaos WORSE than financial crisis
by Levi Winchester
A WORLDWIDE car crisis is feared to be imminent with a German motor expert predicting the United States-China trade war will leave a deeper scar than the 2008 financial crisis.
Mark Crispin Miller
Sent: Friday, June 14, 2019
Subject: [MCM] The state has smeared THREE champions of Wikileaks as sex criminals (MUST-READ)
This is a masterful analysis of how the tactics used to smear Assange as a
sex criminal were also used to ruin Jacob Applebaum and Trevor Fitzgibbon,
two other figures crucial to maintaining Wikileaks.
In a sense, this represents the dark side—which is to say, the state's
GUEST BLOG: Suzie Dawson – Freeing Julian Assange: Part One
We’ve been so busy sifting through the ashes that too few of us have noticed what’s been staring us in the face all along.
Let’s change that.
The Big Picture
With millions of words written about Julian Assange, WikiLeaks and its associates, swirling all around us daily, it’s easy not to see the wood for the trees.
The first port of call for those defending the world’s most at-risk publishing organisation and its staff has been tackling the individual narratives of its oppressors. Focusing on Sweden, or Ecuador, or the US Department Of Justice, the Grand Juries or the United Kingdom and debunking their spin seems a necessary task. But we have to face the reality: Years of arguing til we’re blue in the face about the intricacies of all the various aspects of the aforementioned – plenty of which I’ve engaged in myself – hasn’t achieved victory. We aren’t better off, or stronger for it. Things are slipping, and slipping fast.
A decade into this battle, it’s time to reflect upon the sum total of the parts. We need to acknowledge what has happened not just to Julian – but to his organisation as a whole. We need to examine WikiLeaks at an architectural level, just as its opponents have. In doing so, we see that the desecration of Julian’s reputation and the attacks against his work, relationships and his physical person were actually never about him – it was always about his organisation, what it is and what it does, all along.
Sweden and the cases against Julian were only ever a distraction, a red herring. To get a crystal clear picture of the situation we must zoom out to an eagle eye’s view.
What that lofty vantage point reveals is an obvious and protracted systematic destabilisation of the key pillars of the organisation. The social decapitation of its most effective members. The undermining of their ability to continue to serve and add value to it.
These are the rotten fruits of the transnational agenda to eradicate WikiLeaks. A state-level, international conspiracy which long pre-dates then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s declaration of war against WikiLeaks in 2017. His overt threats were merely a cover for covert operations that track back at least as far as 2009.
Those who oppose WikiLeaks are closer to their goal of destroying it than ever before. If we’re to turn that tide, we must examine what made WikiLeaks good at its best, find the missing pieces between then and now, and reinstitute them with haste.
Click on the link for the rest: https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2019/06/09/guest-blog-suzie-dawson-freeing-julian-assange-part-one/
"Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK"
Sent: Friday, June 14, 2019
Subject: Latest attack on oil tankers by Iran?
BREAKING NEWS: Just hours after the attack on the Japanese and Norweigan oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, Secretary of State Pompeo was already blaming Iran. He is using the attack to push his agenda of going to war with Iran, just like the Bush administration manufactured a crisis to go to war with Iraq. Take action right now. Tell Congress: Don’t let Trump take us to war with Iran.
The attacks came as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wrapped up his trip to Iran to help ease tensions between the U.S. and Iran. We don’t know who is behind the sabotage, but whoever is behind it wants to escalate the conflict between the two nations.
The only REAL news here is that the Trump administration’s maximum pressure policy is pushing us closer to war. It’s the Trump administration’s bellicose actions, withdrawing from the nuclear agreement, imposing brutal sanctions, and deploying warships closer to the Persian Gulf to “send a clear and unmistakable message to Iran” that is driving this escalation. The facts of this latest attack on the oil tankers are not clear, but we know that we can’t trust anything warmonger Pompeo and serial liar John Bolton tell us about Iran without providing internationally verified evidence. And no matter who was responsible for this attack, the solution is mediation.
What’s happening right now with Iran is all too reminiscent of the prelude to the war with Iraq in 2003, when Bush’s “intelligence” showed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction — which turned out to be all lies. Now in 2019, Trump’s “intelligence” insists that Iran is responsible for the attacks in the Gulf of Oman.
Key members of Trump’s administration, especially John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, have been looking for a pretext for war with Iran. So have their allies in Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and Israel. Against the will of Congress, the Trump administration is trying to sell more weapons to Saudi Arabia and the UAE under the guise of a national emergency — the emergency being Iran. And now the warmongers in the administration are using the incident in the Gulf to try to create that emergency. The Middle East is still coping with the horrible consequences of the Iraq war. Send a message to Congress now that they can’t let the Trump administration take us to war with Iran.
stopping the next war,
P.S. Today, June 14, is Trump’s birthday and so in (dis)honor of the Tweeter in Chief’s special day, we are fundraising to bring the Baby Trump blimp to Washington, D.C when Trump will be making his July 4 speech at the Lincoln Memorial. Send Trump a birthday present now by making a donation to fly Baby Trump in D.C. on the Fourth of July!
From: RT in English [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Saturday, June 15, 2019
Subject: RT NEWSLETTER (June 14, 2019)
RT NEWSLETTER (June 14, 2019)