Aletho News


Sweden abolishes nuclear tax

World Nuclear News – June 10, 2016

The Swedish parliament has today agreed to abolish a tax on nuclear power as it recognizes nuclear’s role in helping it to eventually achieve a goal of 100% renewable generation.

The framework agreement announced by the Social Democrats, the Moderate Party, the Green Party, the Centre Party and the Christian Democrats, will see the tax phased out over two years. It also allows for the construction of up to ten new nuclear reactors at existing sites, to replace plants as they retire. Setting 2040 as the date at which Sweden should have a 100% renewable electricity system, the document stresses that 2040 is a ‘goal’ and not a cut-off date for nuclear generation.

A variable production tax on nuclear power introduced in 1984 was replaced by a tax on installed capacity in 2000. Since its introduction this tax has gradually increased and today corresponds to about 7 öre (0.8 US cents) per kilowatt-hour. In February this year, utility Vattenfall said that the capacity tax had brought its nuclear operating costs to around 32 öre (3.8 US cents) per kWh. However, its revenue from nuclear power generation is only about 22 öre (2.6 US cents) per kWh.

Swedish utilities had sought redress against the tax through the courts, but the European Court of Justice ruled last October that Sweden could continue to tax nuclear power, deciding the tax is a national, rather than European Commission, matter.

Vattenfall CEO Magnus Hall welcomed the agreement, which he said gave the utility the predictability it needed. “The abolishment of the nuclear capacity tax is an important precondition for us to be able to consider the investments needed to secure the long-term operation of our nuclear reactors from the 1980s,” he said. Vattenfall’s reactors at Forsmark and Ringhals have undergone a comprehensive modernisation programme to allow them to operate until the mid-2040s. However, to continue operating beyond 2020 they must meet stricter safety requirements through the installation of independent core cooling. Investing in those upgrades was economically impossible with the tax in place.

“Even with the abolishment of the capacity tax, profitability will be a challenge,” Hall concluded. “Low electricity prices put all energy producers under pressure and we will continue to focus on reducing production costs. Naturally, investment decisions must be taken on commercial grounds, taking all cost factors and expected long-term market developments that the agreement implies into account,” Hall said.

The director general of the World Nuclear Association, Agneta Rising, said: “Today’s announcement is a positive development. It is vital that there is now consistent policy to give operators the confidence to make the investments needed in their plant to allow for their long term continued operation. Other countries should follow Sweden’s example and ensure that their energy policies provide a level playing field that treats all forms of generation equally on their merits.”

June 12, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment

Real ‘aid’ means ending exploitation of Africa

By Yves Engler · June 10, 2016

What is wrong here? While Canadian companies exploit African resources for their own benefit this country’s charities call on us to join Africa “hope” walks.

Last week Toronto-based Lundin Mining hired the Bank of Montreal to help it decide what to do with its stake in the massive Tenke Fungurume copper-cobalt mine in Eastern Congo (Kinshasa). Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for Toronto firms to make economic decisions that affect hundreds of thousands of Africans and for Canadian companies to exchange African mineral assets among themselves.

A number of companies based and traded here have even taken African names. African Queen Mines, Tanzanian Royalty Exploration, Lake Victoria Mining Company, African Aura Resources, Katanga Mining, Société d’Exploitation Minière d’Afrique de l’Ouest (SEMAFO), Uganda Gold Mining, East Africa Metals, Timbuktu Gold, Sahelian Goldfields, African Gold Group and International African Mining Gold (IAMGOLD) are all Canadian. With a mere 0.5 percent of the world’s population, Canada is home to half of all internationally listed mining companies operating in Africa.

Active in 43 different African countries, Canadian mining firms have been responsible for dispossessing farmers, displacing communities, employing forced labour, devastating ecosystems and spurring human rights violations. And, as I detail in Canada in Africa300 Years of Aid and Exploitation, numerous Canadian mining companies have been accused of bribing officials and evading taxes. Last year TSX-listed MagIndustries was accused of paying$100,000 to tax officials in a bid to avoid paying taxes on its $1.5-billion potash mine and processing facility in Congo (Brazzaville). In April a Tanzanian tribunal ruled that Barrick Gold organized a “sophisticated scheme of tax evasion” in the East African country. As its Tanzanian operations delivered over US$400-million profit to shareholders between 2010 and 2013, the Toronto company failed to pay any corporate taxes, bilking the country out of $41.25 million.

While Canadian companies loot (legally and illegally) African resources, government-funded “charities” (aka NGOs) and the dominant media call on Canadians to walk for “hope” in Africa. Last weekend the Aga Khan Foundation Canada organized the World Partnership Walk in 10 cities across the country. In an article titled “How the World Partnership Walk” lets Canadians bring hope to African communities the organization’s International Development Champion, Attiya Hirj, writes about visiting Aga Khan Foundation and Global Affairs Canada sponsored projects in Tanzania and Mozambique. Hirj says her “trip really opened my eyes to what rural communities truly need, which is a sense of hope.” She suggests the situation can be remedied if enough Canadians come “together to fundraise and generate awareness through activities such as the World Partnership Walk.” There is no mention of the need for African resources to be controlled by and for Africans.

Hirj’s article reflects an extreme example of Canadian paternalism towards Africans. But it’s deeply rooted in our political culture.  Gripped by a desire to rid “darkest Africa” of “nakedness” and “heathenism”, Canadian missionaries helped the European colonial powers penetrate African society. In 1893 a couple of Torontonians founded what later became the largest interdenominational Protestant mission on the continent and by the end of the colonial period as many as 2,500 Canadians were proselytizing across Africa.

Today, all the media-anointed Africa “experts” promote a similarly paternalistic version of ‘aid’ and largely ignore Canadian companies’ role in pillaging the continent’s wealth. But, Canadians concerned about African impoverishment should point their fingers at the Canadian firms controlling the continent’s resources and offer solidarity to those sisters and brothers fighting for African resources to be controlled by and for Africans.

June 12, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Economics | , | 1 Comment

‘US govt, MSM give no evidence to confirm ex-Gitmo detainees reengage in terrorist activities’

RT | June 12, 2016

The US government isn’t providing any evidence to confirm reengagement of former Guantanamo detainees in terrorist activities. They give numbers they allege are accurate but provide no facts, said Andy Worthington of the Close Guantanamo group.

The US government’s greatest fears about releasing Guantanamo Bay prisoners are that inmates might re-emerge on the ‘battlefield’ and re-engage in terrorist activities. Seventeen percent of former detainees, or 118, are confirmed to have re-engaged in militant activity, while 13 percent, or 86, are suspected of re-engaging.

Author of “The Guantanamo Files” and co-founder of the group Close Guantanamo, Andy Worthington, told RT America’s Simone Del Rosario that the US government isn’t supplying any evidence to confirm their fears.

RT: You’ve dedicated a chunk of your life to documenting files and stories from Guantanamo not as an attorney, but as an investigative journalist. After all of your research, what do you consider to be the most pressing reason to close Guantanamo for good? 

Andy Worthington: From the very beginning it’s been a bad idea. If you’re going to deprive people of liberty, there are only two ways to do that, if you claim to respect the rule of law. That is that you either charge them with a criminal offence and put them on trial in a Federal court – that would be in the US; or they’re soldiers protected by the Geneva conventions and you can hold them until the end of hostilities.

But after 9/11 the US did neither of those things. So the men held in Guantanamo were held initially without any rights whatsoever. Human beings deprived of all rights, which is a really shocking thing. Although, over the years there have been various efforts to give them legal rights – going up to the Supreme Court, the situation still is that the people held in Guantanamo are effectively prisoners of the political system – we can almost describe them as political prisoners. There is no recognizable justice in their cases. The releases from Guantanamo end up being down to a political process. That is just an unfair way for a country like the US, which claims to be founded on the rule of law and to respect the rule of law, to behave.

RT: As Obama’s term comes to a close are you finding yourself more or less hopeful that he will fulfill his promise to close Guantanamo Bay?

AW: I am certainly more hopeful than I was a few years ago. There was a period in the middle of Obama’s presidency when he’d faced a lot of abstraction from Congress; he was unwilling to spend political capital overcoming that. And for a period of nearly three years only five men were released from Guantanamo.

In 2013, a massive prison-wide hunger strike brought Guantanamo back into sharp focus and put pressure on President Obama to do something about it. Since then he has been releasing many prisoners. We are now in the best position that we’ve been in during his presidency – only one tenth of the men held in Guantanamo is still held there – just 80 men. Thirty of those men have been approved for release by a variety of review processes under President Obama. We have a promise from the administration that they will be released by the end of the summer. Of the rest of the men – so the other 50 – just 10 are facing trials, or have had trials. The other 40 are undergoing this latest review process called the periodic review boards. We don’t know how many of those are going to be approved for release, but at the current rate of the reviews three out of four of the men have been recommended for release – there are currently 24 out of 33 men recommended for release.

Now these are men who were initially described as “too dangerous to release,” but the Task Force that looked at their cases said there was insufficient evidence to put them on trial; or they are men who were initially put forward for prosecution by a Task Force that President Obama set up in his first year in office. But the basis for prosecution has since collapsed. Appeals Court judges ruled that the war crimes for which the majority of the men were being convicted had actually been invented by Congress and were not internationally recognized. That is just a little summing up of the extraordinary ways in which Guantanamo is a shame and embarrassment on every level.

RT: A Washington Post article came out citing the Obama administration and the Pentagon saying that at least 12 released Guantanamo detainees are implicated in attacks on Americans that have resulted in American deaths. Do some of those Congressional members, who are against the closure, have a point in wanting to keep some of these men locked up? 

AW: I think, first of all, they would have to provide us with evidence and they never do. In the early days of the defense department providing information on prisoners who they said have returned to the battlefield, or … have engaged in some kind of anti-American activity. They would provide information about who these men were. For around five years now they have provided nothing. They tell us numbers that they allege accurate, but they don’t provide any further information so that people can do some investigation to judge whether the information is correct or not. They have people that they say are confirmed of engaging in anti-American activities and ones that are suspected. Those figures generally get lumped together by the right-wing lawmakers and by most parts of the mainstream media – very irresponsibly… But, as I said, they don’t provide the information. This latest article in the Washington Post is unfortunately yet another lazy example of propaganda masquerading as journalism, without giving us the facts how are we supposed to accept that there is any truth to this.

June 12, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | Leave a comment

Signal from Russian sub lurking near Sweden in 2014 ‘came from Swedish object’

RT | June 12, 2016

A sonar signature, which Swedish military claimed to be crucial evidence of a foreign submarine’s presence near Stockholm during the 2014 hunt, came from a “Swedish object,” the country’s defense minister has admitted.

Peter Hultqvist would not go into details about the source of the signal, but said the military reconsidered their assessment of its nature in September 2015, he told Sveriges Radio.

The hunt for a foreign submarine, presumed to be Russian by the Swedish media, was launched off Stockholm in October 2014. The media reported that an emergency hail on a frequency used by the Russian Navy prompted the hunt. An amateur photo of the supposed boat was widely circulated. Hultqvist took up office earlier the same month.

At the time of the search Swedish military reported having crucial evidence of the presence of a foreign submarine in the country’s waters. The perceived threat to national security was used to justify a multimillion-dollar boost to military spending.

In April 2015, the supposed intruder was revealed to have been a workboat by Swedish media.

Sweden is not the only nation where Russian submarines have been blamed for things they didn’t do. In April last year, a fishing vessel collided with an unidentified submarine off Scotland, with British media speculating that it must have been Russian. The Royal Navy admitted in September that the boat was actually theirs.

Western media blame Russia sometimes bizarrely for various incidents, including the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in 2014 to the vandalizing of a Swedish TV mast last month.

READ MORE: ‘Oops, it was us’: Military concedes British sub, not Russian, damaged UK trawler in April

June 12, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Militarism | , | Leave a comment

PLC member Dr. Samir al-Qadi among at least nine Palestinians arrested by Israeli occupation forces


Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – June 12, 2016

Dr. Samir al-Qadi, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, was among one of at least nine Palestinians arrested by the Israeli occupation forces early Sunday, 12 June, in armed night raids in Jerusalem and throughout the West Bank.

Al-Qadi, 60, was arrested in an early-morning military raid on his home in Surif, northeast of Al-Khalil. He is a member of the Change and Reform Bloc in the PLC, associated with Hamas.

Al-Qadi was among at least four Palestinians arrested in al-Khalil district, alongside Ahmed Abdelfattah Hudoush, 30; Izz al-Ghaith; and Shaher Daoud, 40; as well as three in Jerusalem, Mohammed Ruweidi, Hamza al-Nimr and Musa Dabbagh, all working in the Islamic Waqf; Amer Samih Hamdan, 17, of Bethlehem; and Thaer Abu Zaher, 25, of Deir Bzeigh near Ramallah, reported the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society.

He has been arrested and imprisoned by Israeli occupation forces on multiple occasions in the past, in 1997, 2006, 201 and 2014, generally under administrative detention without charge or trial. He joins 6 more PLC members in Israeli prisons: 4 fellow Change and Reform Bloc PLC members, Hassan Yousef, Hatem Kufaisheh, Mohammed Abu Teir, and Abdel Jaber Fuquha; Ahmad Sa’adat, the General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, elected on the Abu Ali Mustafa slate; and Marwan Barghouthi of Fateh.

June 12, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment

Testimony of one of the latest attacks against Gaza’s fishermen

International Solidarity Movement | June 12, 2016

Gaza Strip, occupied Palestine – Last Wednesday Rajab Khaled Abu Riela, 30 years old, his brother and two cousins left Gaza’s port at 12 pm. They stayed out fishing until 1:30 am. “When we started our way back to the port one Israeli warship approached, the soldiers started insulting us through the microphone and immediately after started shooting against our two small boats with live ammunition”. “Then their warship crashed against us. In that moment I decided to try to escape, but I was immediately shot in the leg with live ammunition”. They took Rajab and his brother to Ashdod port, where they wouldn’t give him any medicine or treatment for the injury he sustained by the Israeli forces. “I was left bleeding until 9:30am”. Finally they were sent back to Gaza, where an ambulance took him directly from Erez border to the hospital, where he had to undergo surgery.

When he finally reached Shifa Hospital, doctors managed to remove the biggest pieces of the bullet – but many small pieces still remain in his leg.

Rajab's mother shows the bullet removed from his leg

Rajab’s mother shows the bullet removed from his leg

“Our future [for the fishermen] is uncertain; we don’t know what will happen tomorrow. Israel assaults us every day, takes our boats, shoots at us… Since 2005 I have pain in my chest due to an attack of the occupation, and as well my brother was injured while fishing in 2008. I’m responsible for providing for my family, we are 21 members… Now no one is providing for us, as I’m injured and they took our boat and motor. How I can work now without a boat?”

Rajab after the surgery

June 12, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment

Brussels Unethical Relationship with Israel is Sufficient Reason for UK to Leave the EU

By Anthony Bellchambers – Global Research – June 12, 2016

The economy of the state of Israel that enables it to treat the international community with such contempt, is dependent entirely upon its trade with the EU single market. And that, apart from any other consideration, is another important reason for the UK to vote to leave the European Union.

The position of the EU as Israel’s primary trading partner is enabled under the EU-Israel Association Agreement, notwithstanding that Article 2 of that Agreement very clearly states:

“Relations between the parties, as well as all the provisions of the Agreement itself, shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles, which guides their internal and international policy and constitutes an essential element of this agreement.”

It is a blatant fact that Israel – as illegal occupier of the Occupied Palestinian Territories has been in gross breach of this provision since the very inception of the Agreement and yet the EU has turned a blind eye to the continuing violations that include the illegal settlement of over a half a million Israelis on Palestinian soil in a deliberate effort to prevent the establishment of an independent state for the largest indigenous people of the region.

The reason for this intolerable state of affairs is unquestionably the influence of the lobbyists embedded within the councils and committees of the European Union at virtually every level in Brussels and elsewhere, who exert a corrupting effect upon EU political and economic policy in order to skew EU political decisions, funding and bilateral trade to the favour of the (non-member) Israeli state.

A vote to divorce the United Kingdom from the EU would clearly indicate British rejection of such artificial and dangerous ‘arrangements’ that have such an adverse impact upon both regional and world peace.

June 12, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Only Clinton Can Save Trump’s Electoral Victory

By James Petras | June 11, 2016

Rational Voters and Irrational Experts

Large swaths of the US electorate are voting for rational choices against a system controlled by an economic and political oligarchy.

Rational choice is based on experience with political leaders who pursue policies which lead to a trillion dollar financial crises and bailouts which impoverish millions of mortgage holders and working family tax payers.

Rational rejection of the established leadership of the major parties is based on an understanding of the futility of relying on their campaign promises.

Rational commitments to ending inequality and overseas wars which weaken America, has led to greater emphasis on making America strong and transforming the domestic American economy and security system.

A vast array of electoral analysts have ignored the rational socioeconomic and political choices of the American electorate and repeatedly rely on psycho-babble, claiming that contemporary voters are reacting out of ‘anger’ and ‘irrational emotionalism’.

Sanders and Trump: Appeals to the New Rationality?

The woeful blindness of political experts is in large part a product of their own hostility to the rise of two Presidential candidates, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, who challenge the established party and economic leadership.

The Sanders campaign proceeded along the lines of a political polarization between big business and the working class; demanding higher taxes for the wealthy and greater social spending for public health and education for the working class.

Sander’s sought to unify racial and ethnic minorities and majoritarian workers with progressive gender, religious and environmental movements.

The Trump campaign sought to mobilize white American majorities among workers, small business people and professionals, who are downwardly mobile and have been marginalized by globalization.

Sanders emphasized a refurbished class identity. Trump promoted a new nationalist symbolism. Yet in many ways the establishment opposition, the parties, mass media and the economic elite, are far more hostile to Trump’s ‘nationalist politics’ than Sanders’ democratic socialist program and class appeal.

It appears that Sanders willingness to come to terms with the Democratic elite and back Clinton’s candidacy when he lost the nomination, is far more acceptable to the establishment than Trump. According to all known precedents, the Democratic Party allows progressive candidates to post advanced socio-economic campaign platforms to secure working class voters, all the better to tank them in favor of business-warmonger policies once in office.

Trump’s initial nationalist-anti-globalist rhetoric aroused greater animosity from business, liberal and militarist elites than Sanders’ occasional critical comment.

Trump’s nationalism was rooted in popular and reactionary appeals. On the one hand he spoke of relocating multi-nationals from abroad to the US. On the other hand, he demands the expulsion of over ten million Mexicans from the US labor market.

His anti-globalization-business relocation strategy lacked several essential ingredients: he did not specify which multi-nationals would be affected; nor what policies he would apply to implement the trillion-dollar return.

In contrast, Trump was precise in naming the immigrants to be expelled; the police methods to expel the target population; and the border security system to blockade their entry.

Trump’s Electoral Victory and Neoliberal Right Turn

Trump’s successful nomination led to an appeal to big donors for campaign funding and endorsements by Republican neo-liberal Congressional leaders like Paul Ryan. This has led Trump to downgrade his anti- globalization, economic nationalist politics, in favor of his chauvinist ethno-racist appeals.

Trump’s current electoral strategy seeks to unify the hard neo-liberal elite with the ‘patriotic’ white working class.

Trump’s ideological vehicle to the Presidency no longer attacks globalization. Instead he relies on arousing public support by stigmatizing ‘anti-American’ minorities and targeting Clinton’s reactionary and corrupt policies.

Trumps’ “Make America Strong” propaganda follows closely in line with Obama’s headline attack on China’s steel exports to the US markets.

Trump’s “Make America Strong” policy follows Obama’s systematic assault on the World Trade Organization’s for rejecting US agricultural trade subsidies. More recently, in tune with Trumps rhetoric, Obama unilaterally dictated the membership of the WTO’s trade settlement process.

Obama blocked the reappointment of an independent South Korean lawyer who opposed Washington’s violation of WTO rules. Rather than look upon Trump as an anti-establistment “populist” his policy would follow Obama’s promotion of business lobbies against the WTO.

Trump follows Obama’s policy of favoring globalization only insofar as Washington controls the international institutions that run it. Trump follows Washington’s imperial policy of packing global institutions with its vassals.

Trump in the Footstep of Sanders

Trump’s embrace of the neo-liberal business elite follows Sanders submission to the Democratic Party bosses. Trump hopes his mass base can be deluded from his right-turn embrace of the economic elite by increasing slanders and provocations, turning them against working class Mexicans by accusing them of stealing jobs, crimes and drugs. Trump’s mass meetings of almost exclusively white working and middle class voters in Mexican-American regions of California are designed to provoke violent protests.

Trump gains nation-wide nationalist support by circulating videos of NBC, CNN and ABC reports depicting peaceful white Trump supporters being “terrorized and beaten up by mobs of (Mexican-American) protesters”.

Trump appeals to his “Americans” to denounce and “stand strong” against demonstrators waving Mexican flags and burning the Stars and Stripes alongside Trumps’ “Make America Great” hats.

Trump’s turn to the neo-liberal Republican elite means he will heighten his repressive and anti-immigrant policies. Trump will be aided by mindless violent protesters and provocations “overcoming the police” at anti-Trump rallies. Trump effectively engages in the “propaganda of the deed”; linking “disloyal foreign immigrants” waving the Mexican, not the US flag.

The realignment of the Republican Party brings Trump into the arms of the hardline neo-liberal Congressional-Wall Street elite. This shift means Trump’s ideological and mass base needs to be redirected toward greater hostility to domestic enemies – Mexicans, Muslims, women and ecologists.

Trump is especially counting on the incorporation of Sanders’ electoral machine into the Clinton campaign. White workers face to face with Wall Street warmonger Clinton will be less likely to reject Trump’s embrace of the rightwing Congressional business alliance.

Trump will deflect working class opposition from his turn to the neoliberal Congressional Republicans by targeting Clinton’s big business and covert, illicit government operations. Clinton’s gross violations of federal laws, her felonious communications and liaisons with foreign officials could hand the Presidency to Trump.

Trump has gained working class voters in West Virginia, Ohio, and many other rust-belt states because of Clinton’s free trade and anti-working class history.

Trump’s electoral victory will hinge on his capacity to cover-up his neoliberal turn and to focus voters’ attention on Clinton’s militarist, Wall Street, conspiratorial and anti-working class politics.

June 12, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

The Agenda is Set: Elect the War-Hawk for the Sake of “Progress”


Hillary Clinton is the most qualified person to “rule the world”, if she can get around the “insane” US Constitution
OffGuardian | June 11, 2016

With the democratic nomination now officially all but certain (Sanders, quite obviously, never had a chance), the Guardian has thrown their full editorial weight – such as it is – into a pre-emptive defence of Hillary’s record and an hysterical celebration of the “progress” that the election of this particular bank-backed, corporate-bought, war-hawk would (apparently) demonstrate.

First there was Jonathan Freedland’s anaemic plea that Sanders’ voters get in line and stand with Clinton against the “true enemy”, Jill Abramson followed with gushing sentiment and simpering praise. And then? Then came Polly Toynbee, going full Guardian. Never go full Guardian.

The headline:

Those out to demonise Hillary Clinton should be careful what they wish for”

“Demonise”, in this instance, seems to mean “accurately describe her political career and possible criminal activities”. If you can demonise someone by holding a mirror up to their face, chances are that person is a demon.

“The choice of the next US president is now so stark that it’s time the left put aside its sneers and pray that this strong woman will get to rule the world”

“Rule the world?” Does the US president rule the world? I think I missed that particular UN resolution. As I recall, the POTUS doesn’t even wield supreme executive power within their own nation, the US constitution prevents that… but we’ll get to that later.

As for the starkness of the electoral field – I have to say I agree with Toynbee there. The choice between a bombastic orange billionaire, who sometimes seems to be running for president as an elaborate prank, and a proven corrupt and dangerous war-hawk, backed by lunatics like Victoria Nuland is indeed a stark one. Nuclear winter type stark. Perhaps literally.

This is a time to celebrate. At last, a woman leads a major US party to fight for the presidency.

Yes. At last, a woman. It doesn’t matter who the woman is, what she has done, how much she cheats to get there. Irrelevancies used to “demonise” her. Hillary is a woman, and thus her being president is A Good Thing… because progress. This is going to be key to Clinton’s campaign, and you will hear it a lot. It’s one of only 2 real tactics the Clinton camp have at their disposal. “What’s the other”, you ask? Simple: Lying. A lot of lying.

… as the first woman to enter the White House, she will also step through the door as by far the most qualified and experienced arrival there for generations…”

Now, this isn’t technically a lie… but only because we don’t know what Toynbee means by “qualified”. If being a shambolic Secretary of State and highly unpopular first lady makes you qualified then sure. If being proven to lie for your own benefit, time and time again, makes you “qualified”, or being firmly behind every American military intervention for the past 25 years… then I guess Hillary has qualifications to spare.

… a searing firestorm of abuse… Why so fierce, so unreasonable, so vitriolic?”

This is called a strawman. Having made a statement, one which is not backed up by any citations or quotes, she will attempt to “explain” this fictional phenomenon with some cloying cod psychology:

If you are naturally left of centre, especially if you are a woman, yet you find you instinctively dislike her, ask yourself why. There may be some good reasons…

So, liberal traitors – especially the female liberal traitors – why do you “instinctively” dislike Hillary Clinton? I mean there may be some good reasons, for example:

… she’s not as radical as Sanders; she is not a natural rabble-rouser at rallies; she is the wife of a past president; she’s called “robotic” in her careful choice of words; and as a flesh-presser she warms the cockles of few hearts.

To rephrase: You may not like her because she has no principles, is a bad public speaker, her election reeks of nepotism or she comes off as cold and sociopathic. Toynbee volunteers these facts – and we should note that these are the qualities the media list when they are trying to make her look good.

There are others: You MAY not like her because she planned and executed an illegal coup in Honduras, the destruction of Libya and execution of its head of state, she backed the Afghan and Iraq wars, she lied to cover up for a pedophile by blaming his 12 year old victim, the many alleged crimes, or any of the other callous and dreadful instances of dishonesty and self-aggrandisation she has taken part in.

These are the reasons you MAY think justify your “instinctive” hatred of this woman. But Toynbee knows better. She knows why you REALLY don’t like her – It’s because you’re a misogynist who doesn’t understand how tough it is for a woman:

If women of the left do break into the bastions of power, the sisters often view them as sell-outs to the establishment, as if permanent outsiderdom and victimhood is the only true mark of feminism.

You see? You “instinctively” dislike her, because you assume she must be a member of the establishment. That is the burden of the female “liberal”. You start a few wars, attend a few Bilderberg conferences, get a few million dollars donated to you from the most powerful banks in America, speak at the Council of Foreign Relations a few times and suddenly – BOOM – you’re viewed, unfairly, as part of the establishment.

But, putting aside the forced gendercentric argument and massive intellectual dishonesty, there’s some far more worrying agenda being whispered subliminally into the minds of Guardian readers here – Hillary’s greatest opponent is not the Republicans, it’s not the patriarchy, it’s not the other women who so resent her rise to power.

No, it is the law itself:

Unlike most, she knows how to wield the power levers, insofar as the insane US constitution allows any president to carry out their manifesto.

The United States Constitution is insane folks. I’m not sure which specific part of the most important egalitarian legal document of all time Toynbee has taken issue with – and she declined to answer when I asked her on twitter. But there’s a lot of good places to start.

For one thing: Limiting the power of the chief executive, making them answerable to the legislative body in order to prevent tyranny? That is obviously stupid when your head of state is a WOMAN who only wants to be nice. No, that has to go. The three separate branches of government should obviously be reshaped into a supreme executive with control over both legislative and judicial bodies. After all, how can you expect to implement a “manifesto” when you don’t have absolute power?

Free speech? Well, this is an antiquated notion, from a time before “progress” when people didn’t understand what was definitively correct. Now that we have reached consensus on what is “right” and what is “wrong” there is no need for freedom of speech – and in fact it is a hindrance, as people will only abuse their “right to free speech” by spreading propaganda, or broadcasting opinions which we have all agreed are wrong. As the Guardian has made clear many times, free speech is meaningless if people use it to bully and disenfranchise minorities. If free speech is being used to inflict hatred and tyranny on women, ethnic minorities or the trans community, then what use is it? Free speech doesn’t mean hate speech… but unfortunately banning hate speech DOES mean banning free speech sooo…. yeah.

Right to bear arms? Absolutely crazy. The very idea that civilians having access to firearms is important as a general principle in guarding against tyranny is foolish. There isn’t going to BE any tyranny anymore, because we’ve handed absolute power over to a woman who has banned the “tyranny” of “free speech”.

This frightening statement gives us a flash of the future – of the agenda already set in place. The US constitution has been largely ignored and misinterpreted for years to excuse totalitarian laws, such as the Patriot Act. But when Clinton is president, it will come under full-blown attack. Make no mistake: Clinton will be president, there’s no doubt about that. The election will be fixed, either literally like in 2000 and 2004, or more subtly by simply making the alternative bizarre and unelectable – as in 2008 and 2012. The latter possibility even explains the rise of Trump.

I don’t know if the man is genuine or not, I don’t know if he really believes he can win, but I understand his role. He is there to guarantee a Clinton victory. That’s why the press talks up his “violent” supporters, and balloons any and every tiny comment he makes into “racism” and “sexism”. He exists so that people like Toynbee can say this:

Outside, the world looks on aghast at any possibility America could choose a racist, sexist brute over a feminist with a long track record of standing up for the right causes.”

… and has there be a tiny kernel of truth to it. A very tiny kernel.

Consider professional wrestling. It’s fake, everybody knows that, it only just barely pretends to be otherwise. An elaborate action-based soap opera, with wild stunts and expensive tickets. That is all that American democracy has become. In wrestling it is predetermined who will win, they have labels for their wrestlers. First there is the Face, the hero, the good guy. He fights fair, he has a noble cause. He wears the American flag like a cape. When his music pipes up, we cheer because we’re supposed to. And the other guy? He’s the Heel. He’s obnoxious, he cheats, he’s mean for mean’s sake and smiles when we boo. And when your Face is Hillary Clinton, you need a HELL of a big Heel. Enter Donald Trump. A cartoon character. The caricature of the everything we’re supposed to hate about the GoP.

The fact that Clinton has still somehow contrived to be behind him in the polls tells you all you need to know about the desperate struggle the media face in turning Clinton into a believable hero.

Regardless, Clinton WILL be President. But it won’t be a sign of progress, it will be a neon display highlighting everything that has gone wrong with the American political system. It won’t be because she’s a woman, or a liberal, or an idealist. It will be because she sold her soul to finance her ambition for fleeting prestige and the appearance of power.

Rarely has any candidate so deserved their place.

In this case I tend to agree with Toynbee – never before has a candidate SO obviously worked SO hard to become president. Never before has a candidate so brazenly sold out the values they were (at best) pretending to hold dear. Never before has a candidate so artlessly and obviously lied about so many things. Never before has a candidate been so open and obvious about the Faustian pact they needed to make to get where they want to go, so obviously played the political game of the oligarchs who really run the country, in order to get her pay-off.

Editorials such as Toynbee’s will appear on the regular all through the campaign, all variations on a theme, all attempting to re-write Clinton’s history and hinging on the worst kind of puddle-deep identity politics. The truly tragic part is that they KNOW they are lying, they KNOW they will be called on it, they KNOW what they ARE, and they resent us for telling them. That’s why they say stuff like this:

And if you want a reminder of what women like her are up against, just read the comments that will no doubt follow this.

The comments, as you’d expect, were full of people commenting on her obvious bias, pointing out her half-truths and correcting her glaring factual errors. In the world the Guardian wants Clinton to build, this will be called “demonisation”.

And it will be illegal.

June 12, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

State Department Emails Reveal How Unqualified Clinton Donor Was Named to Intelligence Board

By Peter Van Buren | We Meant Well | June 11, 2016

rajivEmails recently released by the State Department give more information on how a securities trader and big-money Clinton donor was appointed by her office to the International Security Advisory Board (ISAB), a group that advises the Secretary of State on nuclear weapons and other security issues.

According to the State Department’s own website, members are “national security experts with scientific, military, diplomatic, and political backgrounds.” The current members show a lot of generals, ambassadors and academics.

So it seemed odd to ABC News that Clinton felt that Rajiv K. Fernando, pictured, qualified for the group, since his background is in high-frequency stock trading and Internet “ventures.” He has donated heavily both to the Clinton Foundation, Hillary Clinton’s two presidential campaigns, and the Obama campaigns.

The newly released emails show he was added to the panel by then Clinton chief of staff Cheryl Mills. ““Raj was not on the list sent to [the Secretary of State]; he was added at their insistence” reads one 2011 email from Wade Boese, Chief of Staff for the Office of the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, to a press aide.

Fernando’s appointment even confused some staffers, the emails reveal. One press aide wrote internally, “it appears there is much more to this story that we’re unaware of,” and “it’s natural to ask how he got onto the board when compared to the rest of the esteemed list of members.”

That press aide wrote in a separate email: “We must protect the Secretary’s and Under Secretary’s name, as well as the integrity of the Board. I think it’s important to get down to the bottom of this before there’s any response.”

— Fernando declined to comment at the time, and promptly resigned from ISAB.

— The Clinton campaign declined to comment. Why did she decline to comment on a person she hand-selected to advise her? If it’s all just a witch hunt, say so, and explain why.

— The State Department put out a statement saying the ISAB is meant to reflect “a balance of backgrounds and points of view.” Including apparently unqualified points of view. That’s diversity, Clinton-style!

BONUS: Raj Fernando is a superdelegate for Clinton!

June 12, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , | Leave a comment

Sanders Shouldn’t be in Vermont, He Should be in Brazil

By Sam Husseini | June 12, 2016

Media report that presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is meeting with advisers in Vermont on Sunday.

This last week, many spoke laudingly of the recently deceased Muhammad Ali.

As some noted, Ali’s great contribution was not being a talented athlete, heavy weight champion — there are many such prominent sports figures, but they don’t play a historic role. His true greatness came because at the height of his fame and powers, he challenged an oppressive system: He refused to go into the Army during the Vietnam War. It cost him a great deal of money and stature — and tremendously helped the world and assured his canonization.

Sanders has a similar opportunity now. As pundits are voicing alleged ecstasy over Hillary Clinton “shattering the glass ceiling” by becoming the first female presidential nominee of a major political party, the first female president in Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, has been ousted in a defacto coup. This has been fostered by establishment media in Brazil, as for-profit media often plays the role of king maker in ways stark and subtle in every country, including the U.S., as we’ve seen in this current election.

Rousseff’s cabinet was diverse, both in terms of gender and ethnically. The new government is all white males. Rousseff was set to investigate corruption, including in the Brazilian Senate, and the coup was planned out by corrupt senators. Indeed, the anticorruption minister in the new coup government was recently forced to resign when a tape was leaked about how he was trying to cover up corruption. All this and more is being done with U.S. government silence and tacit support.

Certainly, Sanders has challenged the power of Wall Street and the wealthy from within the Democratic Party. But, largely because of the role of the media in fostering a mantle of celebrity around Hillary Clinton (and Donald Trump for that matter), they are the likely nominees.

But perhaps, for all the good that Sanders did, he might feel a measure of remorse for what he hasn’t done: Spoken serious about the U.S. government’s role in the world. Even in his discussions of inequality, he’s confined himself to inequality inside the U.S. But what about global poverty?

Has Sanders been moved by slums in Latin America? Refugee camps in the Mideast? Stark poverty in Africa? Sweatshops in Asia? He went to a Vatican conference where Bolivian President Evo Morales also spoke. They chatted. What can be built from that? How can progressive leaders work together globally? How can movements cross boundaries? Are not movements weakened when they confine themselves to national barriers?

Ali took himself out of his comfort zone. He focused not just on getting a seat on a bus for himself, and not just for African Americans, but spoke against the Vietnam War. Sanders has not transcended himself. As Ben Jealous has said, Sanders “has been giving the same damn speech for 50 years.” Well, that’s not necessarily a good thing. There are people living in horrible conditions around the world, in large part because of economic, political and military policies determined in marble facade buildings in Washington, D.C. Sanders has been remarkably mute about that.

The power of the establishment rests in large part because of its global connections. But progressive forces have been reluctant to wield such power. Recall shortly before the invasion of Iraq, there were quasi-global protests against the war on Feb. 15, 2003. Just after that, the New York Times called the peace movement “the second super power.” Yes, that didn’t stop the war, but that was because there was only some global solidarity late in the day. The answer is more solidarity sooner.

And now, Sanders has campaigned in all 50 states. It’s late in the day, but not too late for him to break the wall and seriously engage the rest of the world. That should start with going to Brazil and meeting with Rousseff. It would help overturn the coup, thus doing a tremendous service to the people of Brazil and it would put the heat on the U.S. government regarding its behind the scenes machinations. It would also highlight the fake feminism that surrounds the Clinton campaign. Do we want women in officialdom simply so that they can be as murderous and corrupt as men have been? Or do we want a different kind of politics that is inclusive in terms of gender, but that is based on solidarity and uplift rather than “I got mine”?

Clinton’s crimes on foreign policy constitute quite a rap sheet. Sanders has at best scratched the surface. From bombing Libya, to voting for the Iraq war, to backing Netanyahu, to backing the Honduran coup and responsibility for the killing of Berta Cáceres, it’s a gruesome tail that few have really come to grips with.

And perhaps Sanders, struck by fear of Trump, desperately wants to look away. He doesn’t want a sun rise, he wants a sunset. Does he want to be a pawn in the Clinton machine? See the roles that other past “insurgent” candidates play now: Howard Dean, Jesse Jackson, Dennis Kucinich. They played the role of what Bruce Dixon has called “sheepdogging” — they ended up being little more than a tool of the Democratic Party establishment to get presumably serious progressives to end up supporting an increasingly pro-corporate Democratic Party. That same fate of accessory or marginalization awaits Sanders.

Now, the consultants and “advisers” he’s meeting with this weekend are probably pushing Sanders to accept what bread crumbs he can get from Clinton & Co. After all, they have their careers to think about, and their careers are with the Democratic Party machine or some appendage of it.

But real power, real greatness, doesn’t come from accepting such a role. That’s why we remember the name Muhammad Ali and forget many, many others.

June 12, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment