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Why You Shouldn’t Read The Independent Even If You Want To – #PropagandaWatch

corbettreport | August 15, 2018

Just kidding. Of course you should read and gain information from a wide variety of sources, including those you disagree with. Just don’t dare tell The Independent that, because they’re here to pester you into only ever trusting the MSM and government sources. Join James for this week’s edition of #PropagandaWatch where he breaks down the latest attempt to stamp out anti-establishment WrongThink.


August 15, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Video | , | Leave a comment

Reality Check: U.S. Can Legally Propagandize Its Own Citizens

Ben Swann | August 14, 2018

The head of the NSA says that the United States is engaged in a war of “weaponized information” with China and Russia… but what about the fact that it is legal for the U.S. government to propagandize its own people? Lets give it a Reality Check.

August 15, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | | Leave a comment

Netanyahu has dug himself into a hole in a graveyard full of untruths

By Yvonne Tidley | MEMO | August 15, 2018

Benjamin Netanyahu has dived headlong into the furore engulfing Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, revealing the most blatant meddling to-date by Israel in British politics. What’s more, he’s done it armed with lies and distortions.

The Israeli Prime Minister blasted Corbyn for apparently paying tribute to those behind the 1972 Munich massacre in which 11 Israeli Olympic athletes were killed. The allegations were thrown at Corbyn after photographs emerged in the right-wing media of him attending a wreath-laying ceremony in 2014 at a cemetery in Tunisia.

Incorrect reports suggested that Corbyn had joined a ceremony eulogising the Palestinians who took part in the Munich atrocity. Their bodies, though, are buried in Libya, where they were flown after being killed by German security forces in an ill-fated attempt to rescue the Israeli athletes. A funeral procession was held from Tripoli’s Martyr’s Square to Sidi Munaidess Cemetery back in 1972.

While Corbyn protested that the Israeli leader’s “claims about my action and words are false,” Netanyahu himself had already taken to the social networks. “The laying of a wreath by Jeremy Corbyn on the graves of the terrorists who perpetrated the Munich massacre and his comparison of Israel to the Nazis deserves unequivocal condemnation from everyone – left, right and everything in between,” he wrote on Twitter.

The wreath laying in question was actually marking the 1985 air strike by Israel on the Tunisian capital which was condemned around the globe at the time. Details of exactly what took place at the memorial ceremony have been confirmed by Dr Mohammed Shtayyeh, a minister from the Palestinian Authority who stood next to Corbyn in 2014.

Despite the Labour leader’s efforts to clear his name, a tsunami of condemnation has been raised on the social networks by supporters of Israel and British politicians, including some within Labour ranks who want to oust Corbyn. The direct involvement of both Israel and Netanyahu in the plot to remove Jeremy Corbyn is now apparent following the Prime Minister’s inaccurate contribution to the Twitter storm which has been concocted with a plethora of fake details.

Corbyn was in Tunisia in 2014 for a conference aimed at solidifying relations between the Palestinian factions Fatah, which controls the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, and Hamas, which has effectively formed the government in the Gaza Strip since it won the 2006 Palestinian elections. During the conference, delegates went to the Palestinian cemetery at Hammam Chott to pay tribute to those killed in the 1985 Israeli air strike on what was then the PLO headquarters.

Eight fighter jets of the Israeli Air Force took part in the raid on 1 October 1985; the operation was codenamed Wooden Leg. The F-15s took off from Tel Nor airbase near Tel Aviv and flew low over the Mediterranean Sea to avoid detection by Egyptian, Libyan and US radar. The six-minute attack on the PLO HQ in the seaside town killed 47 people, including 15 Tunisian civilians, and injured another 65.

The rogue action was condemned worldwide; even British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher joined in by criticising the Israelis, something else that Netanyahu has chosen to forget in his rush to attack Corbyn. The UN Security Council also registered its anger and “condemned vigorously the act of armed aggression” by Israel in Resolution 573 on 4 October. Although the US abstained from the 14-0 vote, it did not use its veto to block the resolution, which branded the deed as an “act of armed aggression perpetrated by Israel against Tunisian territory in flagrant violation of the Charter of the United Nations, international law, and norms of conduct.” US President Ronald Reagan changed his original position, and instead of calling the bombing a “legitimate response,” he said that it “cannot be condoned.”

In their desire not to let the facts spoil a good story, anti-Corbyn individuals and groups have been posturing and gesturing since the Tunisian photographs were published, and calling on Corbyn to resign. Among them has been Home Secretary Sajid Javid, whose Conservative Party has sought to exploit the controversy by choosing — conveniently some might say — to forget Thatcher’s words at the time of the Israeli air strike on Tunisia. The late Prime Minister’s speech was made on the 40th anniversary of the UN, where she contested the assertion of the then Israeli leader Shimon Peres that the attack was justified.

Archives reveal that at a meeting with Peres, held at the UN Plaza Hotel on 23 October, Thatcher is reported (by Charles Powell) to have said that she had “recoiled” from Israel’s attack on Tunis with the killing of many civilians. “There was no legal or historical justification for Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. Nor was it right that Israel should now deny the Palestinians the rights which Israel had sought for herself for more than 2,000 years,” she added.

For those left in any doubt at her feelings about the issue, the so-called Iron Lady went on to condemn the Israeli air strike during a meeting in the House of Commons on 29 October when — according to Hansard, the official parliamentary record — she was asked during Prime Minister’s Questions to comment on the Israeli bombing of Tunis. “We have in fact condemned the attack on Tunis,” she told the House.

In conclusion, it is clear that Corbyn did not lay a wreath at the Tunisian graveyard, nor was the event held to commemorate those from the Black September group who carried out the terror attack on Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics. Their graves are in Libya.

For Corbyn to travel to Tripoli to lay a wreath at the graves of those responsible for the Munich massacre would be regarded as offensive as, for example, Israeli terrorists and their supporters from Irgun gathering annually at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem to celebrate the killing of 91 people, including 28 Britons, in a bomb attack on 22 July, 1946. Oh, but hang on a minute… that’s exactly what has been done in Jerusalem for decades.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) meets with British Prime Minister Theresa May (R) during his official visit in London, UK on 2 November 2017 [UK Prime Ministry/Anadolu Agency]

While most of the perpetrators were not around for the 70th anniversary of the terrorist atrocity in 2016, a plaque was unveiled by former Irgun terror gang members and right-wing politicians at the King David Hotel ten years earlier on the 60th anniversary. It reads: “The hotel housed the Mandate Secretariat as well as the Army Headquarters. On July 22, 1946, Irgun fighters at the order of the Hebrew Resistance Movement planted explosives in the basement. Warning phone calls had been made urging the hotel’s occupants to leave immediately. For reasons known only to the British, the hotel was not evacuated and after 25 minutes the bombs exploded, and to the Irgun’s regret and dismay 91 persons were killed.”

To kill 91 innocent people and then blame the victims for not acting on the warning is deplorable. But to then go on to hold annual gatherings to commemorate the event and even unveil a plaque on the 60th anniversary is even more disturbing. Netanyahu and Britain’s anti-Corbyn Lobby should tweet about that.

They won’t, of course, because they are fully at ease with Israel acting with impunity. Even, it must be said, to the extent that its Prime Minister commemorates the killing of British citizens by “Jewish terrorists” in 1946, and interferes blatantly in the affairs of an independent sovereign state as part of the efforts to have the leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition discredited and thus less likely to win the next General Election. Such interference in British democracy is totally unacceptable; Netanyahu has dug himself into a hole in a graveyard full of untruths, but Britain, as all Members of Parliament must make clear to Israel’s lobbyists, is not the United States of America. His words just won’t wash here.


UK Labour leader slams Netanyahu’s ‘false’ claims

August 15, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel approves plans to build military colleges in Jerusalem

MEMO | August 15, 2018

Israel’s Jerusalem Municipality Planning and Construction Committee has approved a plan to build military colleges on Palestinian land located in Ein Karem village, southwest of the holy city, Safa reported yesterday.

According to the news site, the Israeli Broadcasting Committee has said that the plan was approved despite strong opposition by the Franciscan Church and its followers who fear the construction will drown Mary’s Spring, which is a holy site for Christians.

Ein Karem is one of the largest and most important villages in Jerusalem. It lies along the highway that connects Jerusalem with Yaffa. Palestinians who inhabited the village were forced out of their homes during the 1948 Nakba.

Occupation forces continue to target Islamic and Christian sites in the occupied Palestinian lands through land expropriation and allocating areas as “military zones”.

August 15, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Israelis leaving and not returning to Israel

MEMO | August 15, 2018

The number of Israelis leaving the country is higher than the number of those who are immigrating, Arab48 reported data from the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) showing.

Data from 2016 showed that 6,300 more Israelis left Israel than those who moved back to the country.

The CBS statistics also showed that between 560,000 and 596,000 Israelis remained abroad at the end of 2016. This number does not include children born outside the country.

According to the data, 53 per cent of the people who left were accompanied by their wives, but only 38 per cent of those who returned brought their wives back with them.

At least 26 per cent of those who left in 2016 emigrated to Israel during the last decade.

The data showed that the average age of those who left Israel in 2016 was 28.3 and 53 per cent of them were male.

In 2016, 8,900 Israelis, from those who remained abroad more than a year, returned to Israel, compared to 8,500 in 2015, including 6,700 Jews and 2,200 non-Jews with an age average of 29.1.

August 15, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | 2 Comments

Corbyn attacked for Islamist hand-sign, claims it was in solidarity with Cairo massacre victims

RT | August 15, 2018

Jeremy Corbyn has found himself involved in a row after a picture of him making a sign linked to the Muslim Brotherhood surfaced. His spokesperson said it was done in solidarity with the victims of a 2013 massacre in Egypt.

The picture, published by the Daily Telegraph and reportedly taken in Finsbury Park Mosque in 2016, shows Corbyn with four outstretched fingers and his thumb tucked in against his palm. The hand-gesture is called Rabbi’ah and used by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in a sign of solidarity with ex-Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and the victims of the Rabaa massacre.

Morsi, who was democratically elected following the Arab Spring and the subsequent fall of dictator Hosni Mubarak, was overthrown by, now-president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in a July 2013 coup d’etat.

A spokesperson for Corbyn said he had been “standing up for democracy” when he used the Rabbi’ah symbol, telling the paper: “The four fingered gesture is a well-known symbol of solidarity with the victims of the 2013 Rabaa massacre in Cairo.”

The hand gesture stems from the August 2013 massacre, when Egyptian security forces under the command of el-Sisi raided two Morsi supporter camps in Cairo; including one in Rabaa al-Adawiya Square where the gesture gets its name. Human Rights Watch, who described the raids as “one of the world’s largest killings of demonstrators in a single day in recent history,” estimated that a minimum of 817 people and more likely at least 1,000 died during the dispersal.

The Islamist MB is a transnational organization which originated in Egypt, before spreading across the Arab world. Its brand of political Islam has influenced groups such as Hamas in Gaza, and cites Turkey and Qatar amongst its supporters. The organisation is listed as a terrorist group by countries including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Russia and Syria

In 2003 the Supreme Court of Russia listed MB as a terrorist organisation for its role the creation of a largely Chechen Islamic extremist group, which has committed multiple terrorist attacks on Russia

While it is not considered a terrorist group by the UK, upon the conclusion of an investigation into the MB ex-British prime minister David Cameron said aspects of the group’s ideology “run counter to British values of democracy.”

August 15, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | 1 Comment

Qatar pledges $15bn of direct investments in Turkey – Ankara

RT | August 15, 2018

Qatar has pledged $15 billion of direct investment in Turkey’s financial markets and banks. The news comes in a statement released on Turkey’s President’s website following his meeting with Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

“The Turkish President and Emir of Qatar met today [Wednesday] in the presidential complex in Ankara. They have exchanged views on bilateral relations and regional issues, Al-Thani said that Qatar intends to directly invest $15 billion in Turkey,” said a press release after the meeting.

The Turkish lira firmed to 5.8699, from 6.04 to the US dollar after the news. The record low level of 7.2 against the greenback happened on Monday.

The Turkish officials did not provide any further information on the nature of the investments, according to AP. Erdogan’s office said the pledge was made by Qatar’s head, Al Thani.

The investment will be channeled into Turkish financial markets and banks, a government source told Reuters.

The Turkish economy has recently been hit by a record depreciation in the national currency lira. On Friday, US President Donald Trump doubled tariffs on aluminium and steel from Turkey in response to the detention of a US citizen. American pastor Andrew Brunson is being held on terrorism charges in Turkey, facing up to 35 years in prison for his alleged role in a failed coup in 2016.

In response, Erdogan announced boycott of US electronic devices, including Apple iPhones. Turkey has also hiked tariffs on US goods such as tobacco, alcohol, cars, cosmetics and others.

August 15, 2018 Posted by | Economics | , , | Leave a comment

Protectionism for liberals

By Robert Skidelsky | Asia Times | August 15, 2018

Liberal revulsion at US President Donald Trump’s mendacious and uncouth politics has spilled over into a rigid defense of market-led globalization. To the liberal, free trade in goods and services and free movement of capital and labor are integrally linked to liberal politics. Trump’s “America First” protectionism is inseparable from his diseased politics.

But this is a dangerous misconception. In fact, nothing is more likely to destroy liberal politics than inflexible hostility to trade protection. The upsurge of “illiberal democracy” in the West is, after all, the direct result of the losses suffered by Western workers (absolutely and relatively) as a result of the relentless pursuit of globalization.

Liberal opinion on these matters is based on two widespread beliefs: that free trade is good for all partners (so that countries that embrace it outperform those that restrict imports and limit contact with the rest of the world), and that freedom to trade goods and export capital is part of the constitution, of liberty. Liberals typically ignore the shaky intellectual and historical evidence for the first belief and the damage to governments’ political legitimacy wrought by their commitment to the second.

Countries have always traded with one another, because natural resources are not equally distributed round the world. “Would it be a reasonable law,” asked Adam Smith, “to prohibit the importation of all foreign wines, merely to encourage the making of claret and burgundy in Scotland?” Historically, absolute advantage – a country importing what it cannot produce itself, or can only produce at inordinate cost – has always been the main motive for trade.

But the scientific case for free trade rests on David Ricardo’s far more subtle, counter-intuitive doctrine of comparative advantage. Countries with no coal deposits obviously cannot produce coal. But assuming that some production of a naturally disadvantaged good (such as wine in Scotland) is possible, Ricardo demonstrated that total welfare is increased if countries with absolute disadvantages specialize in producing goods in which they are least disadvantaged.

The theory of comparative advantage greatly widened the potential scope of beneficial trade. But it also increased the likelihood that less efficient domestic production would be destroyed by imports. This loss to a country’s production was brushed aside by the assumption that free trade would allocate resources more efficiently and raise productivity, and thus the growth rate, “in the long run.”

But this is not the whole story. Ricardo also believed that land, capital, and labor – what economists call the “factors of production” – were intrinsic to a country and could not be moved around the world like actual commodities. “Experience … shows,” Ricardo wrote,

“that the fancied or real insecurity of capital, when not under the immediate control of its owner, together with the natural disinclination which every man has to quit the country of his birth and connexions, and intrust himself, with all his habits fixed, to a strange government and new laws, check the emigration of capital. These feelings, which I should be sorry to see weakened, induce most men of property to be satisfied with a low rate of profits in their own country, rather than seek a more advantageous employment for their wealth in foreign nations.”

This prudential barrier to capital export fell as secure conditions emerged in more parts of the world. In our own time, the emigration of capital has led to the emigration of jobs, as technology transfer has made possible the reallocation of domestic production to foreign locations – thus compounding the potential for job losses.

Economist Thomas Palley sees the reallocation of production abroad as the distinguishing feature of the current phase of globalization. He calls it “barge economics.” Factories float between countries to take advantage of lower costs. A legal and policy infrastructure has been built to support offshore production that is then imported to the capital-exporting country. Palley rightly sees offshoring as a deliberate policy of multinational corporations to weaken domestic labor and boost profits.

The ability of companies to allocate jobs globally changes the nature of the discussion about the “gains from trade.” In fact, there are no longer guaranteed “gains,” even in the long run, to those countries that export technology and jobs.

At the end of his life, Paul Samuelson, the doyen of American economists and co-author of the famous Stolper-Samuelson theorem of trade, admitted that if countries like China combine Western technology with lower labor costs, trade with them will depress Western wages. True, citizens of the West will have cheaper goods, but being able to purchase groceries 20% cheaper at Walmart does not necessarily make up for wage losses. There is no assured “pot of gold” at the end of the free-trade tunnel. Samuelson even wondered whether “a little inefficiency” was worth suffering to protect things that were “worth doing.”

In 2016, The Economist conceded that “short-term costs and benefits” from globalization are “more finely balanced than textbooks assume.” Between 1991 and 2013, China’s share of global manufacturing exports increased from 2.3% to 18.8%. Some categories of US manufacturing production were wiped out. The United States, the authors averred, would gain “eventually.” But the gains might take “decades” to be realized, and would not be equally shared.

Even economists who concede the losses that come with globalization reject protectionism as an answer. But what is their alternative? The favored remedies are somehow to slow down globalization, giving labor time to re-skill or move to more productive activities. But this is scant comfort to those stuck in the rust belts or decanted into low-productivity, low-paid jobs.

Liberals should certainly exercise their right to attack Trumpian politics. But they should refrain from criticizing Trumpian protectionism until they have something better to offer.

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2018.

August 15, 2018 Posted by | Economics | | Leave a comment

EU ‘disinfo-busting’ outlet targets ‘Russophiles’ in McCarthyist campaign to push own narrative

By Danielle Ryan | RT | August 15, 2018

In a stunt that would have made Joe McCarthy proud, a Brussels-based think tank endeavoured to brand Twitter users posting about a scandal involving French President Emmanuel Macron’s former bodyguard as ‘Russophiles’.

EU DisinfoLab, whose raison d’etre is to “fight disinformation with innovative methodology,” published a report about “hyperactive” Twitter accounts that were sharing news about Alexandre Benalla, Macron’s former deputy chief of staff and bodyguard who was fired in July when it was revealed that he had violently assaulted a protester during an annual May Day rally.

French media excitedly latched onto the DisinfoLab report (The Russians! The Russians!) and soon headlines appeared about Russian “bots” and their apparent involvement in the Benalla scandal, prompting national discussions about what could be done to combat social media manipulation by the “Russophile” accounts. During all the hysteria, the EU DisinfoLab graciously decided to clarify its findings to say that not all of the accounts posting about Benalla were of the ‘Russophile’ variety. But, according to the NGO’s co-founder Nicolas Vanderbiest, the case was a hot topic for the “Russophile ecosystem” and a sizable 27 percent of the accounts were part of the “Russian disinformation system”.

If you were wondering, the “Russian disinformation system” is, according to DisinfoLab, comprised of anyone sharing content from RT or Sputnik or anyone promoting the “Russian narrative” in any way.

Because remember, in good, free, open Democratic societies, questioning established narratives is unacceptable and grounds for public shaming and having your name immediately placed on some kind of Twitter blacklist. You might also be as surprised as I was to hear there is apparently an overarching “Russian narrative” for every world event, regardless of whether or not it relates to Moscow in any way.

Making matters worse, the NGO released the raw data which it used in its research which appeared to categorize users with labels such as “jew,”“lesbian” and “homo” – prompting questions from users about why they were being politically profiled in such a public way. The NGO then seemingly deleted the those files and denied posting them before appearing to admit to publishing them and releasing an apology to those affected.

Ironically, funding for the report on this alleged suspicious Russian Twitter activity was provided by none other than Twitter itself. Luckily, Twitter had some money lying around for such purposes; the very money it had received from RT and Sputnik to run ads on its platform. Having realized the error of its ways, Twitter pledged that money to “civil society” projects such as EU DisinfoLab – who was the happy recipient of $125,000,  according to the organization itself.

Immediately, the furor surrounding the ‘Russophiles’ list reminded me of a similar attempt by a European ‘think tank’ to brand anyone remotely associated with RT as Kremlin stooges. In October of last year, the US-government funded, Prague-based ‘European Values’ outfit published a list of 2,327 people who have appeared as guests on RT, branding them “useful idiots” for the the Kremlin.

Included on that list were well-known Russian agents Greta van Susteren, Gloria Steinem, Bob Woodward, Dick Cheney, Naomi Klein, Kofi Annan, Perez Hilton, Denzel Washington and Pierce Brosnan.

The think tanks that produce utterly pointless reports like this claim that it is all in an effort to fight disinformation and cleanse the news environment of false or misleading information. In reality, these reports are nothing more than exercises in public shaming and serve no legitimate, useful purpose whatsoever. They are not designed to protect or promote truth per se, but to bolster their preferred narrative and ensure that no-one is exposed to any other dangerous ideas or perspectives — and that if they are, they quickly discount them in favor of the safer, sanctioned narratives.

They are part of a long history in the West – but particularly in the US – of linking political opponents or dissidents to Russia in an attempt to discredit them. They are the modern-day incarnation (if far less effective) of the McCarthyist pamphlets of the 1950s, denigrating public figures (or these days just random Twitter users) for the alleged crime of being sympathetic to the Soviet Union/Russia.

The infamous Red Channels pamphlet which listed 150 actors, writers, journalists, musicians and other entertainers who were purportedly communist sympathisers ended careers and threatened to ruin lives. No doubt, the likes of EU DisinfoLab and European Values would love to be so influential, but luckily, in today’s media landscape, it’s much easier to call them out for the chancers that they are.

Considering that, as EU DisinfoLab admitted, only 27 percent of those posting about the Benalla affair are ‘Russophiles’ (and the rest were presumably not) and that there was no evidence of any Russian government “interference” in the case, it would seem more likely that a wide variety of French citizens, from all points on the political spectrum, were not wholly delighted with the fact that their president’s bodyguard pretended to be a police officer and beat people up at a protest— and decided to tweet their frustrations, as is their prerogative.

But it would be a bit more difficult to produce a “disinformation” report about that.

Danielle Ryan is an Irish freelance writer based in Dublin. Her work has appeared in Salon, The Nation, Rethinking Russia, teleSUR, RBTH, The Calvert Journal and others. Follow her on Twitter @DanielleRyanJ

Read more:

‘Useful idiots?’ George Soros’ Prague lobbyists direct their fire at RT guests

August 15, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

US-Turkish alliance reaches the point of no return

The sense of indignation among Turks should not be underestimated, which makes this an exceptional rupture

By M.K. Bhadrakumar | Asia Times | August 15, 2018

The Turkish lira fell 22% on Friday before recovering to 17% on the backdrop of the Trump administration’s announcement to double the tariffs on imports of Turkish steel and aluminum.

The tariffs affect Turkish exports worth more than $1 billion in trade with the United States.

The US was the top destination for Turkish steel exports in 2017. Turkey came in sixth place among the countries the US imported steel from last year, while the share of Turkish steel was 7% of total US steel imports.

More to the point, President Trump brazenly hinted that this was a political decision and he tauntingly noted that he also kept an eye on the Turkish lira’s exchange rate.

Trump tweeted: “I have just authorized a doubling of Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish Lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar! Aluminum will now be 20% and Steel 50%. Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!”

Trump’s tweet has been the proximate cause of the market mayhem hitting the Turkish lira. This comes on top of foreign investors pulling back money in recent months from the Turkish market even as the US Federal Reserve raised interest rates and cut back on asset holdings from quantitative easing. Unsurprisingly, the dollar has sharply increased in value and the lira has lost value and Turkish bond yields have risen.

Turkey traditionally resorted to external borrowing in foreign currency to bridge current account deficits. External funds were lured to the Turkish economy due to the higher yields, fueling growth in the Turkish economy, especially in the construction sector.

With the pullback of money from the Turkish market in recent months, Turkish companies and banks, which took out loans in dollars or euros, are staring at a potential crisis in repaying their debts. In sum, the currency exchange rate volatility is turning into a debt and liquidity crisis.

The financial crisis means that many Turkish companies may have to file for bankruptcy, which will hit the banks. Meanwhile, a cycle is forming as investor confidence dips despite Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s economic policy of low interest rates.

At such moments, psychological factors inevitably play a big part. Indeed, the Trump administration increasingly prefers to wage economic wars than deploying military force to exert “maximum pressure” in pursuit of foreign policy objectives. Russia, China, Venezuela, Iran, etc are glaring examples. Turkey now joins the rogues’ gallery.

Erdogan too has become a marked man due to his independent foreign policies that are undermining American regional strategies. Trump’s tweet virtually brags about his pressure tactic. Trump’s agenda is unmistakably to bring Erdogan down on his knees.

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party traditionally drew support from the “bazaar” and the so-called “Anatolian Tigers,” who form Erdogan’s core constituency and are the worst affected in this crisis.

The intervention by credit agencies Merrill Lynch and Standard & Poor’s at critical junctures to rubbish Turkey’s credit rating was an early warning of an impending economic conflict.

Erdogan’s dilemma is two-fold. He could approach the International Monetary Fund for a bail-out, which is what Wall Street and Trump expect him to do. But if he does that, Turkish policies will be subject to tight US scrutiny. And Erdogan will not capitulate.

The alternative is that Erdogan takes help from elsewhere. In an op-ed in the New York Times last week, Erdogan sternly warned Trump: “Before it is too late, Washington must give up the misguided notion that our relationship can be asymmetrical and come to terms with the fact that Turkey has alternatives. Failure to reverse this trend of unilateralism and disrespect will require us to start looking for new friends and allies.”

However, Trump has now snubbed him by promptly doubling the tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum. Erdogan is furious. He said on Sunday: “I declare that we have seen your plot and we are challenging it. There is no economic reason for the present [currency plunge] situation. This a plot to force Turkey to surrender in every field from finance to politics, to make Turkey and its people kneel down.”

The sense of indignation among Turks should not be underestimated, which makes this an exceptional rupture in what has been all along a problematic relationship through the past seven decades. Erdogan on Tuesday said he would enforce an embargo on all American electronic products – including the iPhone famously used to FaceTime CNN Turk the fateful night of the failed coup attempt two years ago.

Alienating Turkey to this extent will be a risky foreign-policy venture on Trump’s part. The US cannot have an effective Middle East policy while antagonizing both Turkey and Iran.

The wider regional geopolitical ramifications are yet to sink in. Turkey is a “swing” state and its policies cast shadows on several regions – from the Balkans, Caucasus and Central Asia to the Middle East and North Africa and the Mediterranean.

Iran has vastly gained in strategic depth. Tehran has expressed strong solidarity with Erdogan. A special envoy from Tehran visited Ankara and met with Erdogan on the weekend. Erdogan expressed a desire for an early meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Statements from Berlin and Rome already convey a growing sense of exasperation over Trump’s unwarranted sanctions against Turkey. In tackling the migrant or refugee crisis, Erdogan is a crucial partner for the EU. Turkey also has a Customs Union agreement with the EU.

The astonishing part is that all this is unfolding at a time when the US and NATO are raring to redraw the strategic map of the Black Sea to challenge Russia and when the US military presence in Iraq and Syria is facing growing local opposition.

Erdogan said on Sunday that Turkey is considering other markets and political alternatives to its “strategic partnership” with Washington. No doubt, China will be the big winner. China prioritizes Turkey as a key partner in its Belt and Road Initiative.

Trump is seriously underestimating the potency of Turkish nationalism, which is rising to a crescendo. In his Art of the Deal, nationalism has no place – business goes to the highest bidder. The Turkish opinion is hardening that the US was behind the 2016 July failed coup attempt in a concerted strategy to take control of Turkish policies, and the “economic war” is its latest manifestation.

August 15, 2018 Posted by | Economics | , , | 2 Comments

Internet Censorship: Appeal to Reinstate “American Everyman”

OffGuardian | August 15, 2018

Just a week or so after Spotify, Google, Apple and Facebook made the curiously synchronized move to kick Alex Jones and InfoWars off their platforms, and just days after Facebook shut down Venezuelan news network TeleSur’s facebook page (for the second time), the war on the free internet has opened up another front.

Small independent blogs are being shut down, seemingly without reason and certainly without explanation. has been closed without notice or warning, according to the blog’s owner Scott Creighton. Allegedly for violating WordPress’ “terms of service”, although they have apparently been entirely vague about how.

Other such blogs – and – have suffered the exact same fate, on the exact dame day. There is undeniably a push to silence dissent and purge it from the internet. There may well be dozens – even hundreds – of other examples.

If you object to censorship, of any kind, please fill out a form on and request that these blogs are reinstated.

Please support our friends who wish to do nothing but tell the truth. If enough of us make an appeal, they will listen.

… and if this website disappears, well, you know what happened.

August 15, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Solidarity and Activism | | 1 Comment

Alex Jones suspended from Twitter after tweet calling to end censorship

RT | August 15, 2018

Controversial right-wing commentator Alex Jones has been banned from tweeting after he posted a link to a video of himself calling on President Trump to “take action” against tech companies censoring his content.

Infowars Editor Paul Joseph Watson tweeted a screenshot of the notification sent by Twitter staff to Jones. According to Twitter, a tweet by Jones one day earlier was considered to be “targeted harassment,” and, as a result, the Infowars host would have his access to the social-media platform restricted for one week. Watson described the situation as “truly, monumentally, beyond stupid.”

In the video, Jones ranted about the censorship of conservative voices by Silicon Valley tech companies, directing much of his scorn at Apple CEO Tim Cook. He called his own ban from various tech platforms a “total anti-American attack,” and called on President Trump to “do something about it.” Along the way, he bashed Democrats, criticized the mainstream media, and accused Cook of working with the Chinese government to undermine America.

Jones’ Twitter page will remain visible for the duration of the ban, but he will not be able to tweet, retweet, follow, or like.

Last week, Infowars found itself banned from the platforms of almost every major Silicon Valley company – including Facebook, YouTube, Apple, and Spotify – for violating their community standards and spreading ‘hate speech.’

Until Tuesday, Twitter was one of Jones’ last safe havens online, and CEO Jack Dorsey said that Jones would not be banned until he broke the site’s rules.

Jones’ excommunication was cheered by many in the US, including Senator Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut), who called Infowars “the tip of a giant iceberg of hate and lies.” He demanded even more censorship in the name of ‘saving democracy.’

Jones’ supporters blasted the companies for censoring the rabble-rousing host, and former UKIP leader Nigel Farage called him a “victim of collusion by the big-tech giants.”

While effectively banned from much of the internet, Jones still posted content to the Infowars website, and via the Infowars app, which has surged in popularity amid the furore. However, on Tuesday, the Infowars website went offline in what staff called a cyberattack. Upon landing on the site, visitors would simply find an error message, which was later replaced with a low-fi splash page directing them to several other affiliated sites.

August 15, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 3 Comments