Bulletin N° 852
Essentialist Thinking and Infinite Regressions,
as we sit on the Cusp of Catastrophic World War
26 June 2019
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
Reviewing the history of technological advances made over the past 1000 years is a heady experience. And examining the now antiquated ideologies that were once used to maintain social order and to hide contradictions is a sobering experience that invariably has parallels today.
How was leverage used by a few to dominate the many is an immemorial question that applies to humanity across the ages.
Once again this question attracts our interest, and the specificities of every historic age - including the one we are now living - provide different answers . . . .
The 11 + items below speak to another historic collapse of Imperialist Order and the desperate attempts by some to evade the reconstruction of a global political economy that works for all.
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
As We Face Armageddon
the Western World Is Leaderless
by Paul Craig Roberts
According to news reports, the validity of which cannot be ascertained by the general public, a crazed US government came within 10 minutes of igniting a general conflagration in the Middle East, the consequences of which could have been catastrophic for all.
The moronic warmongers in high office—Bolton, Pompeo, and Pence—and their Israel Lobby masters are determined, and they have not abandoned their campaign for war with Iran. Of course, the liars say that Iran will just accept its punishment for defending its territory and there will be no war. But this is not what Iran says. I believe Iran.
Some of the tiny percentage of people in the Western World who are still capable of thought regret that Trump called off the insane plan. They think the consequences would have been the destruction of the Saudi and Israeli governments—two of the most evil in history—and the cut-off of oil to the US and Europe, with the resulting depression causing the overthrow of the Western warmonger governments. They believe that catastrophic American defeat is the only way peace can be restored to the world.
In other words, it is not clear whether Trump calling off the attack saved us or doomed us. The Israel Lobby and their neoconservative agents have not been taught a lesson. Trump has not fired Bolton and Pompeo for almost igniting a conflagration, and he has not dressed down his moronic vice president. So, it can all happen again.
And likely will. The lesson that Bolton and Israel have learned is that the fake news about an Iranian attack on a Japanese freighter, denied by the Japanese, was not sufficient to lock Trump into “saving face” by attacking Iran. So be prepared for a larger orchestrated provocation. Bolton and Israel know that the Western presstitutes will lie for them. Watch for a provocation that allows Trump no alternative to an attack.
Washington’s use of fake news and false flag attacks to launch military attacks goes back a long way. In the 21st century we have had a concentrated dose—Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, Assad’s use of chemical weapons, Iranian nukes, Russian invasions, Maduro starving his own people, the endless lies about Gaddafi. Yes, I know there are more. I am writing an article, not an encyclopedia.
Washington has grown accustomed to attacking countries on false pretenses and getting away with it. Therefore, there is nothing to discourage the Israel Lobby and its Washington puppets from continuing to set-up Iran for an attack. Success breeds incaution. The attack on Iraq was stage-managed by a credible US Secretary of State before the UN. The attack on Libya was stage-managed by a UN resolution that a deceived Russia and China failed to block. In situations such as these, Washington arranged a green light for its war crimes. However, Washington has failed to stage-manage a green light for an attack on Iran. Moreover, Iran is a more powerful military force than Iraq and Libya, and the extent of the depth of Russian and Chinese support for Iran is unknown to Washington.
If Israel succeeds in having its Washington puppet attack Iran, Israel and its neoconservative agents will not welcome failure of their objective. They will fight against failure with more dangerous moves. I can easily imagine the fanatics having Trump “save face” by destroying the world and issuing some kind of ultimatums to Russia and China or resorting to the use of nuclear weapons against Iran.
The insouciant American—indeed, Western—people are kept unaware by design. It is the function of the presstitutes to control the explanations given to the people. The US Congress is bought and paid for by the Israel Lobby, as are most important politicians in the UK and Europe. What I am telling you is that it is very easy for fanatics to produce Armageddon.
Stephen Cohen and I, and a few surviving others, lived through the 20th century Cold War. In recent years we both have reported on numerous occasions that the threat of nuclear war today is far higher than during the Cold War. One reason is that during the Cold War US and Soviet leaders worked to defuse tensions and to build trust. In contrast, since the Clinton regime the US has worked consistently to build tensions. Both Cohen and I have listed on many occasions the tension-building activities pursued by all post-Reagan/George H.W. Bush administrations.
The Russians no longer trust Washington, and neither do the Chinese. Washington has lied to, and about, Russia so often in the 21st century that Russian trust of Washington is exhausted. No matter how earnestly the Russian government wants to trust Washington, it dare not do so.
Therefore, it takes very little miscalculation for the morons in Washington to cause a threat-ending response from Russia as Washington has convinced the Russian government that the US intends to destroy them.
Iran and Trump
on the edge of the abyss
by Elijah J. Magnier
Iran is pushing US President Donald Trump to the edge of the abyss, raising the level of tensions to new heights in the Middle East. After the sabotage of four tankers at al-Fujairah and the attack on the Aramco pipeline a month ago, and last week’s attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC – now categorized by the USA as a terrorist body) yesterday shot down a US Navy drone, sending two clear messages. The first message is that Iran is ready for an all-out war, no matter what the consequences. The second message is that Iran is aware that the US President has cornered himself; the embarrassing attack came a week after Trump launched his electoral campaign.
According to well-informed sources, Iran rejected a proposal by US intelligence – made via a third party – that Trump be allowed to bomb one, two or three clear objectives, to be chosen by Iran, so that both countries could appear to come out as winners and Trump could save face. Iran categorically rejected the offer and sent its reply: even an attack against an empty sandy beach in Iran would trigger a missile launch against US objectives in the Gulf.
Iran is not inclined to help Trump come down from the tree he has climbed and would rather keep him confused and cornered. Furthermore, Iran would love to see Trump fail to win a second term, and will do everything to help oust him from the White House at the end of his mandate in 2020.
Moreover, Iran has established a joint operations room to inform all its allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan of every step it is adopting in confronting the US in case of all-out war in the Middle East. Iran’s allies have increased their level of readiness and alert to the highest level; they will participate in the war from the moment it begins if necessary. According to sources, Iran’s allies will not hesitate to open fire against an already agreed on bank of objectives in a perfectly organised, orchestrated, synchronised and graduated response, anticipating a war that may last many months.
Sources confirmed that, in case of war, Iran aims to stop the flow of oil from the Middle East completely, not by targeting tankers but by hitting the sources of oil in every single Middle Eastern country, whether these countries are considered allies or enemies. The objective will be to cease all oil exports from the Middle East to the rest of the world.
Trump is trying to find a way out and calm tensions, stopping short of doing anything to ease the sanctions on Iran. It was the US President who triggered the current crisis by revoking the JCPOA nuclear deal at Benjamin Netanyahu’s request. Trump wants to see Iran suffer from the severe US sanctions for the duration of his presidential campaign. This status-quo is congenial to Trump but catastrophic for Iran.This is why Iran refused to go along with a scenario which would make Trump look like a winner by bombing locations in Iran, claiming he had destroyed the exact locations from which the missile was fired against his drone.
Trump wants to win the war of appearances, but is facing an Iranian regime as unaccommodating to him as he has been to Iran. Trump seems oblivious of the fact that economic embargo is an act of war; by unilaterally blocking the export of Iranian oil and so crippling Iran’s economy, Trump has already declared war on Iran.
Austerity and Militarism are Killers
by Ajamu Baraka
Iran Had the Legal Right to Shoot Down US Spy Drone
by Marjorie Cohn
On June 19, an Iranian surface-to-air missile shot down an unmanned U.S. surveillance drone. The White House claimed that its drone was at least 20 miles from Iran, in international airspace, while Iran maintains the drone was in Iranian airspace.
Iran presented GPS coordinates showing the drone eight miles from Iran’s coast, which is inside the area of 12 nautical miles that is considered Iran’s territorial waters under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea. Iran has the legal right to control its own airspace. The United States has no lawful claim of self-defense that would justify a military attack on Iran. Both the U.S. and Iran are parties to the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, which provides “that every State has complete and exclusive sovereignty over the airspace above its territory.”
Iran’s sovereignty over its airspace includes the right to shoot down an unmanned drone present without consent. “Although there is no black letter law on the question, state practice suggests that a state can use force against unmanned drones that have entered its airspace without consent,” Ashley Deeks and Scott R. Anderson wrote at Lawfare. “Assuming that for once Washington is telling the truth” about how far the U.S. drone was from Iran when it was downed, “it is still undeniable that Iran has the right to demand identification from any aircraft flying this near its territory,” H. Bruce Franklin, former Air Force navigator and intelligence officer, wrote on Facebook. U.S. Air Defense Identification Zones extend 200 miles from the U.S. border. “Any unidentified drone” which flew that close to the U.S. “would most likely be shot down,” Franklin added.
Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, Majid Takht-Ravanchi, wrote to the Security Council that the drone did not respond to several radio warnings before it was shot down.
US 'launched cyberattacks on Iran weapons' after drone downing
US officials say the attacks on Iranian military computers disabled systems that control missile and rocket launchers.
Why Israel wants Iran destroyed
by Greg Shupak
Iran and Endless War
by Margaret Kimberley
Iran ‘Violates’ Nuclear Deal, After US ‘Withdraws’
by Joshua Cho
Quick question: Does the US ever break, breach or violate its international agreements? Apparently not, according to US coverage of Iran’s recent announcement that it intended to go beyond the limits of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in enriching uranium for its civilian nuclear program (frequently mischaracterized as a nuclear weapons program in media coverage). Reading corporate media’s inversion of reality, it’s hard to escape the impression that while Iran “betrays” its international agreements, the US just “leaves them behind”.
An Associated Press report carried by USA Today (6/17/19) was headlined: “Iran Says It Will Break Uranium Stockpile Limit in 10 Days,” and reported that Iran’s announcement indicated its “determination to break from the landmark 2015 accord,” while noting that “tensions have spiked between Iran and the United States,” partly because the US “unilaterally withdrew” from the landmark agreement. Note that the US rejection of its obligations under the deal is referred to in neutral terms—Washington “withdrew”—while Iran’s response to US nonobservance gets negatively characterized as a “break”—a pattern that persists throughout the coverage.
There was no indication in the AP piece that Iran offered conditions under which it would continue to comply with the Iran Deal (formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), which gives the false impression that Iran’s decision to end compliance with the JCPOA is settled and unconditional.
The Wall Street Journal (6/17/19) offered the same kind of misleading headline: “Iran to Breach Limits of Nuclear Pact, as US to Send More Troops to the Middle East.” Again, Iran’s potential departure from the pact whose terms the US has vitiated is portrayed as a “breach,” while the US’s actual violation of the deal is labeled a “pullout” in the accompanying piece.
The Journal, unlike the AP, did note that Iran offered conditions under which it would continue to comply with the JCPOA’s terms:
The spokesman for Iran’s atomic energy agency, Behrouz Kamalvandi, said that by June 27—10 days from Monday—the country would surpass its enriched-uranium limits. He said Iran would further increase its production in early July, but could reverse both steps if Europe provided relief from [US] sanctions.
CNN (6/17/19) went with “Iran says it will break the uranium stockpile limit agreed under nuclear deal in 10 days,” as their headline. Only people who read past the headline, which most people don’t, would’ve known that that’s not really what Iran is saying:
Iran has reiterated that it could reverse the new measures should the remaining European signatories in the nuclear deal (France, Germany and the United Kingdom) step in and make more of an effort to circumvent US sanctions.
To its credit, CNN added “withdraw” in addition to the usual “violate,” “break” and “breach” in its list of words to describe Iran’s potential departure compared with just “withdrew” to describe the US’s actions.
The New York Post (6/17/19) chose “Iran Will Violate Nuclear Deal, Boost Uranium Stockpile” as the headline to mislead readers, and kept with the pattern of describing the US’s JCPOA breach as “pulling out of the deal.” However, unlike other reports, it didn’t feature any sources skeptical of Iran’s responsibility for the recent Gulf of Oman attacks on Japanese and Norwegian commercial oil tankers, despite crew members aboard the Japanese Kokuka Courageous contradicting US allegations of an Iranian mine attack by claiming to have been hit by a “flying object,” and European officials calling for further investigation and urging “maximum restraint.”
The New York Times’ headline (6/17/19): “Trump Adds Troops After Iran Says It Will Breach Nuclear Deal,” not only continued the above trends by not giving any hint that Iran might not depart from the pact, and characterizing the US’s JCPOA violations as a mere “withdrawal,” it also reported on US sanctions on Iran without mentioning that the sanctions themselves are violations of international law (Guardian, 10/3/18).
The Times uncritically cited Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s statements that the US is “considering a full range of options”—including military strikes—without mentioning that these would be violations of international law because they go against UN Security Council Resolution 1887, which requires peaceful resolutions to disputes regarding nuclear issues, in accordance with the UN Charter and the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which both the US and Iran are parties to.
In fact, virtually all coverage fails to address the JCPOA in light of the NPT, because none of it challenges the legitimacy of the US’s prerogative to impose limits on Iran’s civilian nuclear program to begin with. Article IV of the NPT supports the “inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes,” in accordance with Articles I and II forbidding the transfer and receiving of nuclear weapons from nuclear-weapon states.
FAIR (10/17/17) has observed that corporate media frequently attribute malicious intentions to Official US Enemies without going through the bother of presenting evidence. Iran is often accused of sneakily plotting to develop nuclear weapons, the way US ally Israel actually did when it built the only nuclear weapons arsenal in the Middle East (Guardian, 1/15/14).
This is ironic, because Iran has actually been a consistent leader in the nuclear disarmament movement. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, when Iran was the chair of the Non-Aligned Movement, critiqued the JCPOA because it didn’t go far enough to ensure peace in the Middle East by not establishing a Nuclear Weapons–Free Zone there. Iran was also one of the first countries to propose making the Middle East a NWFZ, bringing up the proposal to the UN General Assembly in 1974 (CounterPunch, 12/13/13).
Journalist Gareth Porter (Foreign Policy, 10/16/14), reporting on Iran’s little-understood theocratic system, noted that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa against building any kind of WMDs in the 1990s is a formal ruling on Islamic jurisprudence, holding a legal status above mere legislation. He also pointed to Khomeini’s refusal to develop WMDs when up to 20,000 Iranians were killed by chemical weapons by then–US ally Saddam Hussein in the 1980s (Reuters, 9/16/13)—with an additional 100,000 survivors developing chronic diseases. Current US sanctions aiming to bring Iran’s “oil exports to zero” are exacerbating those chronic diseases, in addition to further strangling Iran’s economy, by restricting access to necessary medicine (Guardian, 9/2/13).
Of course, none of this can be mentioned, because it contradicts the corporate media narrative of Iran being an enemy that must be confronted, with US aggression against Iran being portrayed as defensive countermeasures (FAIR.org, 5/19/19, 6/6/19). For US media, Iran is the only JCPOA party with commitments that can be “breached,” “violated” or “broken,” with the US free to leave them whenever it wants to, without harming its reputation as a trustworthy party to international agreements.
As Trump Imposes New Sanctions, Iran Says U.S. Has “Permanently Closed Path to Diplomacy”
Trump May Already be in Too Deep to Avoid War With Iran
From: "United for Peace & Justice" <email@example.com>
Sent: Monday, June 24, 2019
Subject: Take Action. No War On Iran!
Palestinians resist US plan for more efficient Israeli occupation
China is still Buying Iranian LPG Despite Sanctions, Ship Tracking Shows
by Saket Sundria and Dan Maurtag
No way Trump can ‘steamroll’ Russia into accepting US stance on Iran & Venezuela – Putin
How US foreign policy spawned terror and Trump
The Guardian’s direct collusion
with media censorship by secret services exposed
by Thomas Scripps
Minutes of Ministry of Defence (MoD) meetings have confirmed the role of Britain’s Guardian newspaper as a mouthpiece for the intelligence agencies.
Last week, independent journalist Matt Kennard revealed that the paper’s deputy editor, Paul Johnson, was personally thanked by the Defence and Security Media Advisory Notice (or D-Notice) committee for integrating the Guardian into the operations of the security services.
Minutes of a meeting in 2018 read: “The Chairman thanked Paul Johnson for his service to the Committee. Paul had joined the Committee in the wake of the Snowden affair and had been instrumental in re-establishing links with the Guardian.”
D-Notices are used by the British state to veto the publication of news damaging to its interests. The slavish collusion of the mainstream media ensures that such notices function as gag orders.
Johnson joined the committee in 2014 and evidently excelled in his performance. A separate set of minutes from the first meeting attended by Johnson records the Guardian’s close collaboration with military officials.
Under a section detailing “advice” given by the intelligence agencies to the media, the document reads “most of the occurrences and requests for advice were related to further publications by The Guardian of extracts from the Snowden documents. The Secretary reported that the engagement of DPBAC [Defence Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee] Secretariat with The Guardian had continued to strengthen during the last six months, with regular dialogues between the Secretary and Deputy Secretaries and Guardian journalists.”
The secretary and deputy secretaries were Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Vallance CB OBE, Air Commodore David Adams and Brigadier Geoffrey Dodds OBE. The chairman was Peter Watkins CBE, the MoD’s director general of Strategy, Security and Policy Operations.
Under the direction of these military intelligence handlers, the Guardian played a role in bringing other newspapers internationally to heel. The minutes note, “because of an agreement between The Guardian and allied publications overseas to coordinate their respective disclosures of Snowden material, advice given to the Guardian has been passed on to the New York Times and others, helping guide the disclosures of these outlets.”
In September 2014, the Guardian allowed the former head of GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) Sir David Omand to publish an article titled, “Edward Snowden’s leaks are misguided—they risk exposing us to cyber-attacks.”
He declared, “Journalists are not best placed to identify security risks; we have to trust those who oversee the intelligence-gathering.”
In 2016, Paul Johnson used an unprecedented interview with a serving head of MI5, Andrew Parker, to propagandize for the antidemocratic, warmongering interests of British imperialism.
These facts are damning proof of the Guardian’s total integration into the propaganda wing of the MoD following its involvement in the WikiLeaks and Snowden files releases. Indeed, the work of WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange has served to expose and confirm the deep ties of the entire mainstream media to the military-intelligence complex.
Richard Wolff: The Next Economic Crisis Is Coming
with Lee Camp
The Unauthorized Biography of David Rockefeller
with James Corbett
The Ruling Class Will Not Tolerate the Sanders-Led Assault
by Glen Ford
From: Jim O'Brien via H-PAD
Sent: Monday, June 24, 2019
Subject: [H-PAD] H-PAD Notes 6/24/19: Links to recent articles of interest
Links to Recent Articles of Interest
By Juan Cole, Informed Comment blog, posted June 21
The author teaches Middle Eastern history at the University of Michigan.
By Robert W. Merry, The American Conservative, posted June 21
A brief recounting from the Mexican War to the Iraq invasion. The author is a longtime journalist and former editor of the Congressional Quarterly and The National Interest.
By Jerry Lembcke, CounterPunch.org, posted June 21
The author, a Vietnam veteran and retired sociology professor at Holy Cross, has written widely on war and American culture.
By Brett Wilkins, CommonDreams.org, posted June 20
A historical refutation of a bizarre claim by the Trump administration.
By Andrew J. Bacevich, TomDispatch.com, posted June 20
On the D-Day celebration's erasure of the Soviet Union's predominant role in the defeat of Nazi Germany. The author is a professor emeritus of history and international relations at Boston University.
By Eladio Bobadilla, Latino Rebels, posted June 19
The author teaches history at the University of Kentucky. His research focuses on the modern immigrant rights movement.
By Stephen F. Cohen, The Nation, posted June 19
The author is a professor emeritus of history at Princeton University and New York University.
By Rashid Khalidi, NYRB [New York Review of Books] Daily, posted June 12
The author teaches Arab Studies at Columbia University and is the author of a forthcoming book, The Hundred Years' War on Palestine.
By Stephen Kinzer, The Future of Freedom Foundation, posted June 10
Review-essay on Covert Regime Change: America's Secret Cold War by Lindsay A. O'Rourke (Cornell, 2018). Stephen Kinzer is a veteran journalist and author of Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq.
By Stephen Wertheim, New York Times, posted June 8
The author is a visiting assistant professor of history at Columbia University.
Thanks to Rusti Eisenberg and an anonymous reader
for suggesting articles that are included in the above list. Suggestions can be
sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Largest Migrant Shelter Is a House of Horrors, Report Finds
by Ilana Novick
“Somebody Is Going to Die”: Lawyer Describes Chaos, Illness & Danger at Migrant Child Jail in Texas
with Warren Binford
Naomi Klein and Jeremy Corbyn: How the Left Is Changing the Global Political Debate
(Video - June 19, 2019)
Yellow Vest: Shock stats reveal depth of Macron chaos –
50,000 on streets and 11 dead
by Joey Millar