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Antifa or Antiwar: Leftist Exclusionism Against the Quest for Peace

By Diana Johnstone | Consortium News | May 21, 2018

CounterPunch has astonished many of its old fans by its current fundraising ad portraying the site as a prime target of Russia hostility. Under the slogan, “We have all the right enemies”, CP portrays itself as a brave little crew being blown off the water by an evil Russian warship out to eliminate “lefty scum.”

Ha Ha Ha, it’s all a joke of course. But it’s a joke that plays into the dangerous, current Russophobia promoted by Clintonite media, the deep state and the War Party. This is a reminder that Russophobia finds a variant in the writing of several prominent CounterPunch contributors.

Yes, CounterPunch continues to publish many good articles, but appears also to be paying its tribute to the establishment narrative.

Put on the defensive by the “fake news” assault against independent media, CP senior editor Jeffrey St Clair seemed to be shaken by Washington Post allegations that he had published articles by a “Russian troll” named Alice Donovan. St Clair never publicly questioned the FBI claim that the ephemeral plagiarist worked for the Kremlin, when she could as well have been planted by the FBI itself or some other agency, precisely in order to embarrass and intimidate the independent website.

The ‘Step Toward Fascism’

St. Clair: Co-founded CounterPunch

The anti-Russian attitude on CP is promoted mainly by the same writers who stigmatize the slightest suggestion of building a broad non-ideological antiwar movement as a step toward “fascism”. This leftist exclusionism goes against the traditions of the website founded by Alexander Cockburn and St Clair, and indeed, CounterPunch was fiercely attacked less than three years ago for its “red-brown”, or “QuerFront” tendencies.

The attack, originating on a German site, warned that leftists who publish on CounterPunch “are unwittingly helping to promote the agenda of the far right”. This article spelled out the Antifa doctrine:

The idea of a red-brown alliance, or Querfront (German for ‘transversal front’), has been a recurrent motif in far-right thought over the past century. Craving the legitimacy that an alliance with progressive forces can provide, reactionaries seize on ostensibly shared positions, chief amongst them opposition to corrupt élites, to create the impression that progressives could benefit from making common cause with them.

Querfront (also known as ‘third position’) propaganda can be highly seductive. Today’s (crypto)-fascist and other hard-right suitors, for example, focus on the commonplace left themes of opposition to war and corporate globalisation, the depredations of the ‘banksters’, civil liberties, and Palestinian solidarity.”

So, you genuine leftists, beware: if someone seems to agree with you, it may be a far righter out to ensnare you into her web.

The article gave advice on how to tell a QuerFront argument from a true leftist one:

A serious left analysis, say, of US support for Israeli apartheid will start by looking at the documented record of US foreign policy as a whole”, whereas the red-brown, QuerFront third-positions position will say: “A foreign lobby has taken over the US government and media, and is forcing the US to act against ‘American interests’ and ‘American values’, and anyone who says otherwise is a Zionist infiltrator.”

So you mustn’t blame Zionists for Israel, it’s all Washington’s fault.

CounterPunch contributors singled out as dangerous right-wingers included Ralph Nader, Alison Weir, Ron Paul, Gilad Atzmon, Israel Shamir, Paul Craig Roberts and even Alexander Cockburn himself.

In his reply to the article, published on its website, St. Clair seemed to understand exactly where this was coming from.

Caity Gets Counter-Punched

Caitlin Johnstone: Counter-punched

Thus it was surprising when, last July, CounterPunch ran a whole series of articles attacking independent antiwar blogger Caitlin Johnstone (no relation) for some inconsequential remark about her willingness to join in opposing war even with male supremacist Mike Cernovich. The purists pounced on the incongruity of a hypothetical Caitlin-Cernovich alliance as an opportunity to ridicule the more general principle of a broad single-issue antiwar movement. For this minor heresy, Caitlin Johnstone was denied her right to respond on the site calling itself “the fearless voice of the left”.

On July 11, 2017, Yoav Litvin opened fire in an aggressive style that may have been fortified by his service in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). Exclusion is a habit one can learn in the IDF. It’s ours, you have no right to be here, get out! That goes for the occupied left territories too. They decide who can stay and who does not belong.

In an interview last year, Litvin prided himself on adopting “the positive aspect of Zionism,” which is “the image of a Jew who is a fighter.” As a result of Jewish experience of persecution, he said, “We can lead a fight with all our brothers and sisters in minority communities.”

Fight against whom? In order to accomplish fundamental change, one needs to build majorities. Jews leading a fight of minorities will go where? Into the dead end of identity politics?  

On July 28, CounterPunch published an even more contemptuous piece in the anti-Caitlin series: “Enough Nonsense! The Left Does Not Collaborate with Fascists”, by Eric Draitser. The Draitser rhetorical pose was to claim to prefer being water-boarded rather than having to write about Caitlin’s “doltish” prose, but felt obliged to do so in order to stop the advance of fascism.

Still, he does not easily tire from coming back to the subject.

As moderator of CounterPunch Radio, Draitser has promoted himself as the voice of CP and thus as a leading authority on what is or is not “left”. His role as mentor was demonstrated on his hour-long April 19, 2018 podcast with CP editors St. Clair and Joshua Frank. Draitser set the tone by elaborately ridiculing those who profess to be afraid of World War III. As if nuclear war were anything to worry about! What nonsense, he implied, getting all three to chortle contemptuously at the mention of Caitlin Johnstone, noted for such absurd concerns.

The Hilarity of World War III

Draitser: WWIII a ‘fun conversation’

Draitser dismissed the danger of World War III with his own original “class analysis”: since Russia and the United States are both ruled by Oligarchs, they have too much in common to reasonably want to throw nuclear missiles at each other. (In other words, what was precisely the Marxist view of imperialist war.) St. Clair hesitated at this, noting the prevalence of irrationality in high spheres. But Draitser dismissed this objection and forged ahead undisturbed, managing what he called a “fun conversation.”

The exclusionists are less concerned about war with Russia than about the failure of “the left” to be sufficiently critical of Russia – as if a shortage of Russophobia were a real problem these days. Shortly before the anti-Caitlin campaign, Litvin interviewed Draitser and their fellow anti-fascist watch dog, Portland State University geography instructor Alexander Reid Ross, who also publishes frequently on CounterPunch.

Draitser complained that: “You see a lot of leftist academics, intellectuals and activists who have in many ways abandoned a real class analysis in favor of a loosely defined politics of opposition. Within this mindset, everything that opposes the United States, Israel, the Saudis or the EU is automatically good and should be supported irrespective of its qualities.”

That simplistic dismissal of the antiwar “mindset” qualifies Draitser for his future place in mainstream media.

Ross’ Red-Brown Chaos

Reid Ross, went him one better. “I see a number of red-brown alliances forming today, particularly in the field of political geography. A number of far-right groups view the modern-day axis of Syria, Iran and Russia as a kind of international counterweight to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which has always been seen by fascist groups as a kind of nemesis led by the nations that defeated the Rome-Berlin axis in 1945.”

This is pure delirium. The nemesis that did the most to defeat the Rome-Berlin axis in 1945 was the Red Army. By conjuring up unidentified “far right groups”, Ross manages to identify Syria, Iran and Russia with the fascist Axis powers in World War II. In reality, NATO has been a magnet for attracting European fascists, from Italy, where they cooperated in clandestine “Gladio” operations to destroy the left, to Ukraine, where genuine fascists are in a “partnership for war” with NATO.

Most Americans have not been well educated in the complexities of modern history. In his Antifa hoodie, Ross can dazzle his audience with a plethora of unfamiliar facts strung together by extremely questionable analysis, unchallenged by genuine experts.

Reid Ross: Article pulled (Photo European Graduate School)

In the Litvin interview, both Draitser and Ross add their small bit to prevailing Western Russophobia by dwelling on Putin’s alleged support for European right-wing groups. Both stress the danger represented by Russian ambitions to establish a Eurasian empire, based on the ideology of Alexander Dugin.

Dugin is a religious reactionary, a tendency that may alarm Jews still haunted by Tsarist pogroms. They are also alarmed by Dugin’s devotion to the thought of German philosopher Martin Heidegger, an ardent believer in Nazism and party member. This is ironic, since Heidegger has been the favorite of a whole line of post-World War II French philosophers, from Sartre to Foucault, considered to be “on the left”. This merely shows that philosophy can be a source of great confusion.

In an Intercept article last September, Ross was quoted as saying that, “Assad is a figure that is central to a realization of Eurasionism,” embodying the idea that, “Russia will lead the world out of a dark age of materialism and toward an ultranationalist rebirth of homogenous ethno-states federated under a heterogeneous spiritual empire.”

It’s hard to see what is so terrifying about such a vague aspiration, with so little chance of realization. But it does provide a new angle for condemning the Russian connection with Syria.

Ideological ‘Iron Curtain’

Ross went so far on March 9 in his vituperations, that the Southern Poverty Law Center, which first published his article on its “Hate Watch” site, felt obliged to withdraw it. The title perfectly echoes the QuerFront accusation earlier leveled against CounterPunch : “The Multipolar Spin: how fascists operationalize left-wing resentment.”

In this gem of guilt by association, Ross applied the “six degrees of separation” theory to show that people have been seen with the wrong people and thus must be red-brown. The long list of untouchables included Ray McGovern, Brian Becker, Global Research, Margaret Kimberly of Black Agenda Report, Daniel McAdams, “conspiracy theorist” Vanessa Beeley, and special focus on Max Blumenthal, guilty of having spoken favorably of a “multipolar world.”

The main problem with “multipolarism”, according to Ross, “may be that it supports not the emergence of Russia as a world power but the rise of the Kremlin’s authoritarian conservative political ideology.”

So, we may conclude, we need an ideological Iron Curtain to protect the “liberal leftist” West from Russian “authoritarian” conservatism.

Westernizers vs. Slavophiles

Russian relations with the West have historically been marked by ideological rivalry between Westernizers and Slavophiles. It is obvious that Dugin is no more than the latest prophet of Slavophilia, the idea that Christian Russia is a beacon of virtue to the world.

Historically, Westernizers in Russia have repeatedly gained influence and then lost out, because their overtures to the West were rebuffed on one pretext or another. (The British geopolitical tradition, based on the timeless dictum divide et impera, has traditionally favored policies to keep the continent divided) This merges easily with the Brzezinski doctrine of maintaining separation between Western Europe as a whole and Russia to maintain U.S. global hegemony.

Western rejection of Russia naturally favors a rise of the Slavophiles. It also obliges Russia to look to Eurasia rather than Western Europe. This is happening again.

Vladimir Putin is clearly in the Westernizing tradition. Not an ignorant buffoon like Yeltsin, ready to give away the shop to get a pat on the back from Bill. But rather someone who, as an intelligence agent (yes, KGB people learn a lot) lived in the West, spoke fluent German, and wanted Russia to have a dignified place in Europe – which was the dream of Gorbachev.

But this aspiration has been rudely rebuffed by the United States. Russians who yearned to be part of Europe have been disappointed, humiliated, and finally, angered. All their efforts at friendship have been met with increasingly outlandish portrayals of Russia as “the enemy”.

And yet despite everything, Putin persists in demonstrating his desire to work with Western partners, both by cutting back on military spending and again proposing to keep the pro-Western Dmitry Medvedev as Prime Minister.

If the West were really worried about Duginism, the remedy has always been obvious: improve relations with Putin.

Even Stalin did not really consider it Moscow’s job to convert Western Europe to communism, and it is certain that Putin has no illusion about converting his Western neighbors to Duginism. Russia is not out to change the West, but to make peace and do business, with whoever is willing.

The Russophobic exclusionists really constitute the ultra-left wing of the War Party, which uses different arguments to arrive at the same conclusions: Syria and Russia are enemies. The exclusionists offer no practical solutions to any real problem, but spread suspicion, distrust and enmity. They discredit the very idea of joining with Russia in peaceful mediation between Israel and Iran, for example. The real thrust of this odd campaign is to minimize the danger of war with Iran, or of direct confrontation with Russia, as Netanyahu continues to drag the United States and its European sidekicks deeper into Middle East wars on behalf of Israel’s regional ambitions.


Diana Johnstone is a political writer, focusing primarily on European politics and Western foreign policy. She received a Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota and was active in the movement against the Vietnam War. Johnstone was European editor of the U.S. weekly In These Times from 1979 to 1990, and continues to be a correspondent for the publication. She was press officer of the Green group in the European Parliament from 1990 to 1996. Her books include Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary ClintonCounterPunch Books (2016) and Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO and Western DelusionsPluto Press (2002).

May 21, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Haspel is Not the Problem. The CIA is the Problem.

By Ron Paul | May 21, 2018

As a general rule, when Dick Cheney favors a foreign policy position it’s best to be on the opposite side if you value liberty over war and authoritarianism. The former vice president’s enthusiastic endorsement of not only Gina Haspel as CIA director but of the torture program she oversaw should tell us all we need to know about Haspel.

Saying that Haspel would make a great CIA director, Cheney dismissed concerns over the CIA’s torture program. Asked in a television interview last week about the program, Cheney said, “if it were my call, I’d do it again.”

Sadly, the majority of the US Senate agreed with Cheney that putting a torturer in charge of the CIA was a good idea. Only two Republicans – Senators Paul and Flake – voted against Haspel. And just to confirm that there really is only one political party in Washington, it was the “yes” vote of crossover Democrats that provided the margin of victory. Americans should really be ashamed of those sent to Washington to represent us.

Just this month, the New York Times featured an article written by a woman who was kidnapped and sent to the secret CIA facility in Thailand that Haspel was said to have overseen. The woman was pregnant at the time and she recounted in the article how her CIA torturers would repeatedly punch her in the stomach. She was not convicted or even accused of a crime. She was innocent. But she was tortured on Haspel’s watch.

Is this really what we are as a country? Do we really want to elevate such people to the highest levels of government where they can do more damage to the United States at home and overseas?

As the news comes out that Obama holdovers in the FBI and CIA infiltrated the Trump campaign to try and elect Hillary Clinton, President Trump’s seeming lack of understanding of how the deep state operates is truly bewildering. The US increasingly looks like a banana republic, where the permanent state and not the people get to decide who’s in charge.

But instead of condemning the CIA’s role in an attempted coup against his own administration, Trump condemned former CIA director John Brennan for “undermining confidence” in the CIA. Well, the CIA didn’t need John Brennan to undermine our confidence in the CIA. The Agency itself long ago undermined the confidence of any patriotic American. Not only has the CIA been involved in torture, it has manipulated at least 100 elections overseas since its founding after WWII.

As President Trump watched Gina Haspel being sworn in as CIA director, he praised her: “You live the CIA. You breathe the CIA. And now you will lead the CIA,” he said. Yes, Mr. president, we understand that. But that’s the problem!

The problem is not Haspel, it’s not John Brennan, it’s not our lack of confidence. The problem is the CIA itself. If the president really cared about our peace, prosperity, and security, he would take steps to end this national disgrace. It’s time to abolish the CIA!

May 21, 2018 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 16 Comments

Sheldon Adelson, the Godfather

If Americans Knew | May 21, 2018

Wendy Mesley discusses Sheldon Adelson’s role in getting the U.S. embassy moved to Jerusalem, as well as his massive influence on Donald Trump and American politics in general.

May 21, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Head of Portugal’s national theatre endorses BDS, cancels Israel cultural event

Portuguese director and playwright Tiago Rodrigues [PACBI/Twitter]
MEMO | May 21, 2018

A Portuguese director and playwright who was scheduled to take part in next month’s Israel Festival, has announced that he is officially joining the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment movement (BDS).

According to the Israeli Haaretz, Tiago Rodrigues was supposed to perform in Israel twice in the beginning of June but decided to reverse his decision after learning that the festival was part of Israel’s 70th Independence Day celebrations.

In a Facebook post explaining his decision, the artist said he had initially agreed to take part because he believed that the festival was being organised by “non-profit organisation that presents itself as an artistic project”. Once he realised that the event was tied to the government and to the celebration of Israel’s founding he declined the offer saying he does “not accept the use of [my] artistic work for political purposes without my agreement.”

Rodrigues added that he decided not to perform in the Israel Festival because he believed “that it is the only guarantee that my artistic work will not be used to condone and promote a government that deliberately violates human rights and is currently violently attacking the Palestinian people.”

Rodrigues admitted that given the fact the he also serves as the director of Portugal’s national theatre his “decision might originate diplomatic discomfort.” But he insisted he needed to “remain true, above all, to [my] conscience”.

He concluded by saying that having seen the terrible violence perpetrated by the Israeli government he had “decided to join the cultural boycott of Israel, convinced that global and collective pressure might produce similar results to the boycott of South Africa during apartheid”.

May 21, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Hamas: Israel’s rejection of UN probe “evidence against it”

Palestine Information Center – May 21, 2018

GAZA – The Hamas Movement on Sunday said that Israel’s rejection of an investigation ordered by the UN Human Rights Council into the recent mass murders of unarmed protesters in the Gaza Strip was evidence that its forces committed war crimes against innocent civilians.

“The Israeli occupation’s rejection of the UN inquiry commission emphasizes its brutality, and insistence on terrorizing and killing our people, disrespecting UN and international institutions and flouting their resolutions,” Hamas spokesman Abdul-Latif al-Qanoua said in a brief press release.

Israel’s foreign ministry railed against the UN Human Rights Council last Friday after it voted to set up a probe into recent killings in Gaza and accused Israel of excessive use of force.

The ministry said it would not allow or cooperate with such inquiry, calling the UN body as “made up of a built-in anti-Israel majority, and guided by hypocrisy and absurdity.”

May 21, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ireland’s book of condolence for Palestinians killed in Gaza blocked by pro-Israel groups

MEMO | May 21, 2018

A request by the Irish Republican Party, Sinn Fein, to open a book of condolence in Belfast city council for Palestinians killed in Gaza last week was blocked by Unionists allied with the Northern Ireland Friends of Israel group.

Denouncing the book of condolence as “deeply shameful”, the Israeli lobby group accused Sinn Fein of supporting terrorists for wanting to mark the killing of Palestinians by Israeli occupation forces in Gaza.

The two main Unionist parties, who have strong ties with the pro-Israel lobby group, blocked the request, which forced Sinn Fein to open an internal book of condolence. According to the rules, a book of condolence can only be opened with the agreement of all parties at City Hall.

The Belfast Telegraph reported that the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) council group leader Tim Attwood said he was “disappointed” that Unionists blocked the book of condolence “to mark the killings and injuries inflicted on the people of Gaza”.

“People of Belfast are horrified and wish to express their sympathy at the tragic loss of life,” he added.

Meanwhile,  Sinn Fein group leader on the Belfast City Council, Deirdre Hargey, was reported as saying that her party would be opening its own book of condolence in the party’s room at City Hall, open to all members of the public.

The request for the book of condolence came after a number of Palestinian solidarity protests were held across Northern Ireland last week. Sinn Fein reacted to the killing and the pro-Palestinian demonstration by also demanding the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador.

This is the second time in two months that the plight of Palestinians became a cause of tension in Belfast. In March the Northern Ireland Friends of Israel group invited the Israeli ambassador to the UK, Mark Regev, to speak at an event in the local public library. Activists denounced the decision saying that Regev “has a long history of excusing, apologising and justifying [Israel’s] murder, torture and genocide as well as land theft from the indigenous population of Palestine.”

Members of the community in Belfast who supported the decision to open a book of condolence were disappointed by the Unionist parties. They told MEMO that many Unionist politicians and councillors were members of the Friends of Israel and revealed that Unionist parties have all hosted friends of Israel events.

May 21, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Wikipedia Is An Establishment Psyop

By Caitlin Johnstone | Medium | May 20, 2018

If you haven’t been living in a hole in a cave with both fingers plugged into your ears, you may have noticed that an awful lot of fuss gets made about Russian propaganda and disinformation these days. Mainstream media outlets are now speaking openly about the need for governments to fight an “information war” against Russia, with headlines containing that peculiar phrase now turning up on an almost daily basis.

Here’s one published today titled “Border guards detain Russian over ‘information war’ on Poland,” about a woman who is to be expelled from that country on the grounds that she “worked to consolidate pro-Russian groups in Poland in order to challenge Polish government policy on historical issues and replace it with a Russian narrative” in order to “destabilize Polish society and politics.”

Here’s one published yesterday titled “Marines get new information warfare leader,” about a US Major General’s appointment to a new leadership position created “to better compete in a 21st century world.”

Here’s one from the day before titled “Here’s how Sweden is preparing for an information war ahead of its general election,” about how the Swedish Security Service and Civil Contingencies Agency are “gearing up their efforts to prevent disinformation during the election campaigns.”

This notion that the US and its allies are fighting against Russian “hybrid warfare” (by which they typically mean hackers and disinformation campaigns) has taken such deep root among think tanks, DC elites and intelligence/defense circles that it often gets unquestioningly passed on as fact by mass media establishment stenographers who are immersed in and chummy with those groups. The notion that these things present a real threat to the public is taken for granted to such an extent that they seldom bother to even attempt to explain to their audiences why we’re meant to be so worried about this new threat and what makes it a threat in the first place.

Which is, to put it mildly, really weird. Normally when the establishment cooks up a new Official Bad Guy they spell out exactly why we’re meant to be afraid of them. Marijuana will give us reefer madness and ruin our communities. Terrorists will come to where we live and kill us because they hate our freedom. Saddam Hussein has Weapons of Mass Destruction which can be used to perpetrate another 9/11. Kim Jong Un might nuke Hawaii any second now.

With this new “Russian hybrid warfare” scare, we’re not getting any of that. This notion that Russians are scheming to give westerners the wrong kinds of political opinions is presented as though having those political opinions is an inherent, intrinsic threat all on its own. The closest they typically ever get to explaining to us what makes “Russian disinformation” so threatening is that it makes us “lose trust in our institutions,” as though distrusting the CIA or the US State Department is somehow harmful and not the most logical position anyone could possibly have toward historically untrustworthy institutions. Beyond that we’re never given a specific explanation as to why this “Russian disinformation” thing is so dangerous that we need our governments to rescue us from it.

The reason we are not given a straight answer as to why we’re meant to want our institutions fighting an information war on our behalf (instead of allowing us to sort out fact from fiction on our own like adults) is because the answer is ugly.

As we discussed last time, the only real power in this world is the ability to control the dominant narrative about what’s going on. The only reason government works the way it works, money operates the way it operates, and authority rests where it rests is because everyone has agreed to pretend that that’s how things are. In actuality, government, money and authority are all man-made conceptual constructs and the collective can choose to change them whenever it wants. The only reason this hasn’t happened in our deeply dysfunctional society yet is because the plutocrats who rule us have been successful in controlling the narrative.

Whoever controls the narrative controls the world. This has always been the case. In many societies throughout history a guy who made alliances with the biggest, baddest group of armed thugs could take control of the narrative by killing people until the dominant narrative was switched to “That guy is our leader now; whatever he says goes.” In modern western society, the real leaders are less obvious, and the narrative is controlled by propaganda.

Propaganda is what keeps Americans accepting things like the fake two-party system, growing wealth inequality, medicine money being spent on bombs to be dropped on strangers in stupid immoral wars, and a government which simultaneously creates steadily increasing secrecy privileges for itself and steadily decreasing privacy rights for its citizenry. It’s also what keeps people accepting that a dollar is worth what it’s worth, that personal property works the way it works, that the people on Capitol Hill write the rules, and that you need to behave a certain way around a police officer or he can legally kill you.

And therein lies the answer to the question. You are not being protected from “disinformation” by a compassionate government who is deeply troubled to see you believing erroneous beliefs, you are being herded back toward the official narrative by a power establishment which understands that losing control of the narrative means losing power. It has nothing to do with Russia, and it has nothing to do with truth. It’s about power, and the unexpected trouble that existing power structures are having dealing with the public’s newfound ability to network and share information about what is going on in the world.

Until recently I haven’t been closely following the controversy between Wikipedia and popular anti-imperialist activists like John Pilger, George Galloway, Craig Murray, Neil Clark, Media Lens, Tim Hayward and Piers Robinson. Wikipedia has always been biased in favor of mainstream CNN/CIA narratives, but until recently I hadn’t seen much evidence that this was due to anything other than the fact that Wikipedia is a crowdsourced project and most people believe establishment-friendly narratives. That all changed when I read this article by Craig Murray, which is primarily what I’m interested in directing people’s attention to here.

The article, and this one which prompted it by Five Filters, are definitely worth reading in their entirety, because their contents are jaw-dropping. In short there is an account which has been making edits to Wikipedia entries for many years called Philip Cross. In the last five years this account’s operator has not taken a single day off–no weekends, holidays, nothing–and according to their time log they work extremely long hours adhering to a very strict, clockwork schedule of edits throughout the day as an ostensibly unpaid volunteer.

This is bizarre enough, but the fact that this account is undeniably focusing with malicious intent on anti-imperialist activists who question establishment narratives and the fact that its behavior is being aggressively defended by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales means that there’s some serious fuckery afoot.

“Philip Cross”, whoever or whatever that is, is absolutely head-over-heels for depraved Blairite war whore Oliver Kamm, whom Cross mentioned as a voice of authority no fewer than twelve times in an entry about the media analysis duo known collectively as Media Lens. Cross harbors a special hatred for British politician and broadcaster George Galloway, who opposed the Iraq invasion as aggressively as Oliver Kamm cheered for it, and on whose Wikipedia entry Cross has made an astonishing 1,800 edits.

Despite the overwhelming evidence of constant malicious editing, as well as outright admissions of bias by the Twitter account linked to Philip Cross, Jimmy Wales has been extremely and conspicuously defensive of the account’s legitimacy while ignoring evidence provided to him.

“Or, just maybe, you’re wrong,” Wales said to a Twitter user inquiring about the controversy the other day. “Show me the diffs or any evidence of any kind. The whole claim appears so far to be completely ludicrous.”

“Riiiiight,” said the totally not-triggered Wales in another response. “You are really very very far from the facts of reality here. You might start with even one tiny shred of some kind of evidence, rather than just making up allegations out of thin air. But you won’t because… trolling.”

“You clearly have very very little idea how it works,” Wales tweeted in another response. “If your worldview is shaped by idiotic conspiracy sites, you will have a hard time grasping reality.”

As outlined in the articles by Murray and Five Filters, the evidence is there in abundance. Five Filters lays out “diffs” (editing changes) in black and white showing clear bias by the Philip Cross account, a very slanted perspective is clearly and undeniably documented, and yet Wales denies and aggressively ridicules any suggestion that something shady could be afoot. This likely means that Wales is in on whatever game the Philip Cross account is playing. Which means the entire site is likely involved in some sort of psyop by a party which stands to benefit from keeping the dominant narrative slanted in a pro-establishment direction.

A 2016 Pew Research Center report found that Wikipedia was getting some 18 billion page views per month. Billion with a ‘b’. Youtube recently announced that it’s going to be showing text from Wikipedia articles on videos about conspiracy theories to help “curb fake news”. Plainly the site is extremely important in the battle for control of the narrative about what’s going on in the world. Plainly its leadership fights on one side of that battle, which happens to be the side that favors western oligarchs and intelligence agencies.

How many other “Philip Cross”-like accounts are there on Wikipedia? Has the site always functioned as an establishment psyop designed to manipulate public perception of existing power structures, or did that start later? I don’t know. Right now all I know is that an agenda very beneficial to the intelligence agencies, war profiteers and plutocrats of the western empire is clearly and undeniably being advanced on the site, and its founder is telling us it’s nothing. He is lying. Watch him closely.

May 21, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

‘Strongest sanctions in history’: Pompeo issues 12 demands to Iran, vows ‘unprecedented pressure’

RT | May 21, 2018

Tehran will struggle to “keep its economy alive” if it does not comply with a list of 12 US demands, including Iranian withdrawal from Syria, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed on Monday.

Speaking at the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing Washington think tank, Pompeo laid out a list of 12 “basic requirements” for Iran. The demands call on Iran to withdraw from Syria, “release all US citizens,” end support for Houthi rebels in Yemen, stop “enrichment” of uranium, and promise never to process plutonium. Iran must also allow “unqualified access to all nuclear sites throughout the country,” Pompeo said.

He promised that the US would impose the “strongest sanctions in history” if Iran failed to comply with these demands.

Pompeo said that “the sting of sanctions will be painful” and Iran will struggle to “keep its economy alive” if Tehran “does not change its course from the unacceptable and unproductive path it has chosen.”

“Thanks to our colleagues at the Department of Treasury, sanctions are going back in full effect and new ones are coming … These will indeed end up being the strongest sanctions in history,” Pompeo said.

The secretary of state also pledged that the US “will track down Iranian operatives and their Hezbollah proxies operating around the world, and we will crush them. Iran will never again have carte blanche to dominate the Middle East.”

Speaking directly to the Iranian people, Pompeo claimed that “President [Hassan] Rouhani and Foreign Minister [Javad] Zarif… are your elected leaders. Are they not the most responsible for your economic struggles?” He added: “The United States believes you deserve better.”

Pompeo also said he’s sure that over time, Washington’s allies will warm to the Trump administration’s now unpopular stance on Iran.

Washington’s strategy is to weaken Iran economically, rather than engage in an actual war, Dr. Said Sadik, Professor of political sociology at the American university of Cairo, told RT in response to Pompeo’s address. “What the [US] is doing now is increase sanctions trying to undermine the power of Iran regionally, economically with the hope that that would lead to unrest and disturbances in Iran, that it would make the Iranian government stop trying to help its allies or extend its influence in the area. This is basically what they want.”

Sadik added: “I don’t think they want a war because war is very expensive and dangerous in this strategic area…What they want is to weaken Iran financially, economically, with the hope that the Iranian government will not be that powerful in the area as it is now.”

The speech comes after Trump announced earlier this month that he was pulling out of the 2015 nuclear deal. Europeans allies had pleaded with Trump not to withdraw from the historic accord, which put tight restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Iranian president Hassan Rouhani described the US pull-out from the deal as a “historic experience for Iran,” adding that “by exiting the deal, America has officially undermined its commitment to an international treaty.”

Iran says it expects the EU to continue to honor the agreement, despite Washington’s withdrawal from the accord. Inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have repeatedly confirmed that Iran is in full compliance with its obligations under the deal.

May 21, 2018 Posted by | War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Sweden to Issue ‘If Crisis or War Comes’ Booklet For First Time in Decades

Sputnik – 21.05.2018

The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) will issue a new pamphlet on public preparedness and security with guidelines to teach people how to behave in crisis situations, during terror attacks or in the event of war after a 57-year-long break.

“From May 28 to June 3 MSB will begin distributing the pamphlet “If crisis or war comes” to 4.8 million Swedish households,” the agency’s message read.

The Swedish national broadcaster SVT emphasized that the last time similar booklets were published was back in 1961, and mainly addressed a war situation. Until now, the Swedes had to browse through telephone catalogues to find out whom to call in emergency situations; the new edition is expected to be broader and include civil crises.

“We all have a responsibility for our country’s security and preparedness, and it is important that we all also have knowledge of how we can prepare for something serious,” said Dan Eliasson, the head of MSB.

The updated 19-page booklet, which is already available to download, will include instructions on how to handle serious emergencies, calamities, cyberattacks and war, as well as guidelines on home preparedness, such as meeting basic needs like food, water, heating, communications and keeping packed belongings in the nearest shelter (ID, clothing and gas mask) and, finally, how to identify “fake news” and propaganda.

The recommendations will soon be translated into English and 13 other languages.

May 21, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | Leave a comment

Maduro re-elected Venezuelan president; rival candidate challenges results

Press TV – May 21, 2018

Nicolas Maduro has been re-elected for a second term in office as Venezuela’s president in an election rejected as “illegitimate” by his main rival, who has also demanded that a repeat vote be held later this year.

With more than 90 percent of the ballots cast in Sunday’s presidential election counted, the National Election Council announced that incumbent Maduro had won another six-year term after securing 67.7 percent of the vote.

Maduro’s main challenger Henri Falcon came in second with 21.2 percent, followed by the president’s other rival, Javier Bertucci, who gained some 10 percent, said the Council’s head, Tibisay Lucena.

With the country’s mainstream opposition having boycotted the vote, the turnout was 46.1 percent, according to the board, which means 8.6 million out of the 20.5 million eligible voters took part in the election.

The ballots were recorded electronically, making the voting quick and easy. The presence of government troops around polling stations also ensured the safety of voters.

Some 150 international observers from 30 countries and international organizations were present in the Latin American country to monitor the process.

Maduro hails ‘historic’ win

When the results were released, Maduro’s supporters gathered outside his Miraflores presidential palace in downtown Caracas, celebrating his re-election with fireworks.

Maduro, surrounded by thousands of his supporters, also hailed his “popular victory,” saying, “This was a historic day! The day of a heroic victory! The day of a beautiful victory – of a truly popular victory.”

“Never before has a presidential candidate taken 68 percent of the popular vote,” he told the cheering crowd.

“The whole of Venezuela has triumphed! Democracy has triumphed! Peace has triumphed! Constitutionality has triumphed [These were] elections that were constitutional, legitimate and legal,” he said. “We have a president of the people! A working president!”

The president also called on the defeated challengers to join him for negotiations about the future of the country.

He said “permanent dialog” is needed with the entire opposition so that Venezuela could set aside political disputes.

Vote ‘lacks legitimacy’

However, before the official results were announced, Falcon said he would not recognize the vote for what he called irregularities, including widespread vote buying in favor of Maduro.

“As far as we are concerned there has been no election. There must be new elections in Venezuela,” he told reporters. “The process undoubtedly lacks legitimacy and as such we do not recognize it.”

Falcon, who broke with an opposition boycott to run for the election, also called for a fresh election to be held in November or December.

Several of Venezuela’s Latin American neighbors as well as the European Union also joined voices with Maduro’s challenger and said they would not recognize the results of the election.

They alleged that the conditions did not exist for the election to be free and fair.

However, former Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who is in Venezuela as an international observer, said he has no “doubt about the voting process.”

“It is an advanced automatic voting system. I come here to keep peace, coordinate and promote dialogue so as to improve the democratic mechanism here. What I need to do here is to see whether people can cast their ballots at their own discretion. Now we all see how people vote, don’t we?” he added.

The US also said it would not recognize the election and would actively consider oil sanctions on the country.

Washington has already imposed sanctions against Venezuela and blamed, together with its allies in the region and elsewhere, Maduro’s government for the country’s acute economic crisis.

On Saturday, the US ramped up pressure on Caracas by imposing new sanctions against the government’s top officials.

Maduro’s government, however, said the US was using new sanctions to sabotage the election.

It called Washington’s move as part of “a systematic campaign of aggression” by President Donald Trump’s administration and said they had no legal base.

May 21, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 1 Comment

Yes, Virginia, There is a Deep State

By Thomas L. Knapp | The Garrison Center | May 20, 2018

Since the “Russiagate” probe began, US president Donald Trump and his supporters have used lots of bandwidth raging against what they refer to as the “Deep State.” Does the Deep State exist? If so, what is it, and are its forces arrayed specifically against Donald Trump and his administration?

Yes, the Deep State exists — probably more so at one end of its numerous definitions and less so at the other, but to some degree at both ends.

At the seemingly more benign end, the Deep State is simply what one might think of as the “permanent government” — the army of bureaucrats and functionaries whose careers span multiple administrations. Like all career employees of large organizations as groups, they tend to fear and resist change, and their sheer mass has an inertial effect. They energetically do things the old way and drag their feet on new things.

At the end dismissed by mainstream commentators as “conspiracy theory,” the Deep State is an invisible second government which acts in a coordinated manner to protect its prerogatives and advance its interests and favored policies versus changes supposedly demanded by “the people” via their elected representatives in Congress and the presidency. The premier example of this view is the claim that John F. Kennedy was assassinated by the CIA and the military industrial complex because (in one version) he was about to get the US out of Vietnam.

If that end of the spectrum sounds crazy to you, consider:

Former FBI attorney Lisa Page and former FBI deputy counterintelligence chief Peter Strzok, while working on a pre-election investigation into alleged collusion between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russian government, exchanged text messages with incendiary content such as “there’s no way [Trump] gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk.”

In mid-May, it emerged that an FBI informant approached two or three (reports vary) advisers to Trump’s campaign during the same period to pry into those advisers’ alleged ties to the Russian government.

Is President Trump stretching the reports we’ve seen when he tweets “Reports are there was indeed at least one FBI representative implanted, for political purposes, into my campaign for president. It took place very early on, and long before the phony Russia Hoax became a ‘hot’ Fake News story?”

Well, maybe. But not by much. On any fair reading, those two stories combined do look a lot like the second definition of Deep State skulduggery. The FBI was meddling in — acting to influence or in extremis overturn — a US presidential election (sound familiar?). The messages between Page and Strzok color that meddling as intentional Bureau political action, not as incidental investigative fallout which just happened to touch on the election.

While I disagree with President Trump on most issues, it’s hard to disagree with him when he rails against a transparently political witch hunt that has dragged on for more than a year visibly and for months before that beneath the surface. The Deep State is real. And dangerous.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org).

May 21, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , | Leave a comment

US anti-tank missiles found at former Al-Nusra facility in Syria – Russian MoD

RT | May 21, 2018

US-made TOW anti-tank missiles, along with other weapons, have been found in facilities once controlled by Al-Nusra militants in Syria’s Homs province, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

The trove was located in a former observation point of the Al-Nusra Front terrorist group in the liberated Zaafaran settlement in Homs province, the Russian Center for Reconciliation in Syria said on Monday. “[We] can see here a large number of gas masks, weapons produced abroad, for example, TOW-2 anti-tank guided missiles. The facilities are very well-equipped,” Andrey Nekipelov, an official at the center, stated.

The BGM-71 TOW (Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided) is one of the most widely used anti-tank missiles, which has been produced in the US since the 1970s. The missile has an operational range of more than 3,000 meters and an armor penetration of up to 800 millimeters, depending on the model. The TOW-2 referred to by the Russian MoD is an advanced and upgraded version of the missile.

Hundreds of the missiles have fallen into the hands of various rebel factions during the Syrian conflict. The US-made TOW was reportedly used in an attack on an RT crew in Syria back in 2015.

In 2016, another video published by a Syrian rebel group showed what appeared to be a direct hit by a US-made BGM-71 TOW on the turret of a Russian-supplied T-90 tank of the Syrian Army. A TOW usually devastates its target after a direct hit, causing ammo to explode and killing the crew. The alleged T-90, however, seemed to have been saved by its reactive armor.

TOW was reportedly deployed in the Vietnam War in 1970s, as well as in Afghanistan, Iraq, and a number of other conflict zones where Washington has been engaged in recent decades. Syria has become one of the recent locations where anti-tank missiles were spotted.

Speaking to RT back in 2016, German journalist Jurgen Todenhofer suggested that the US knows that the weapons it delivers to rebels end up with terrorists. “Everybody knows that they are using allies and they are allowing allies… It doesn’t matter if a TOW rocket or a TOW missile, which is an American missile, comes [to terrorists] from another group,” he said at the time. – Video

May 21, 2018 Posted by | War Crimes | , | 1 Comment