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Averting World Conflict with China

The PRC Should Retaliate by Targeting Sheldon Adelson’s Chinese Casinos

By Ron Unz • Unz Review • December 13, 2018

As most readers know, I’m not a casual political blogger and I prefer producing lengthy research articles rather than chasing the headlines of current events. But there are exceptions to every rule, and the looming danger of a direct worldwide clash with China is one of them.

Consider the arrest last week of Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of Huawei, the world’s largest telecom equipment manufacturer. While flying from Hong Kong to Mexico, Ms. Meng was changing planes in the Vancouver International Airport airport when she was suddenly detained by the Canadian government on an August US warrant. Although now released on $10 million bail, she still faces extradition to a New York City courtroom, where she could receive up to thirty years in federal prison for allegedly having conspired in 2010 to violate America’s unilateral economic trade sanctions against Iran.

Although our mainstream media outlets have certainly covered this important story, including front page articles in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, I doubt most American readers fully recognize the extraordinary gravity of this international incident and its potential for altering the course of world history. As one scholar noted, no event since America’s deliberate 1999 bombing of China’s embassy in Belgrade, which killed several Chinese diplomats, has so outraged both the Chinese government and its population. Columbia’s Jeffrey Sachs correctly described it as “almost a US declaration of war on China’s business community.”

Such a reaction is hardly surprising. With annual revenue of $100 billion, Huawei ranks as the world’s largest and most advanced telecommunications equipment manufacturer as well as China’s most internationally successful and prestigious company. Ms. Meng is not only a longtime top executive there, but also the daughter of the company’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, whose enormous entrepreneurial success has established him as a Chinese national hero.

Her seizure on obscure American sanction violation charges while changing planes in a Canadian airport almost amounts to a kidnapping. One journalist asked how Americans would react if China had seized Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook for violating Chinese law…especially if Sandberg were also the daughter of Steve Jobs.

Indeed, the closest analogy that comes to my mind is when Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia kidnapped the Prime Minister of Lebanon earlier this year and held him hostage. Later he more successfully did the same with hundreds of his wealthiest Saudi subjects, extorting something like $100 billion in ransom from their families before finally releasing them. Then he may have finally over-reached himself when Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident, was killed and dismembered by a bone-saw at the Saudi embassy in Turkey.

We should actually be a bit grateful to Prince Mohammed since without him America would clearly have the most insane government anywhere in the world. As it stands, we’re merely tied for first.

Since the end of the Cold War, the American government has become increasingly delusional, regarding itself as the Supreme World Hegemon. As a result, local American courts have begun enforcing gigantic financial penalties against foreign countries and their leading corporations, and I suspect that the rest of the world is tiring of this misbehavior. Perhaps such actions can still be taken against the subservient vassal states of Europe, but by most objective measures, the size of China’s real economy surpassed that of the US several years ago and is now substantially larger, while also still having a far higher rate of growth. Our totally dishonest mainstream media regularly obscures this reality, but it remains true nonetheless.

Provoking a disastrous worldwide confrontation with mighty China by seizing and imprisoning one of its leading technology executives reminds me of a comment I made several years ago about America’s behavior under the rule of its current political elites:

Or to apply a far harsher biological metaphor, consider a poor canine infected with the rabies virus. The virus may have no brain and its body-weight is probably less than one-millionth that of the host, but once it has seized control of the central nervous system, the animal, big brain and all, becomes a helpless puppet.

Once friendly Fido runs around foaming at the mouth, barking at the sky, and trying to bite all the other animals it can reach. Its friends and relatives are saddened by its plight but stay well clear, hoping to avoid infection before the inevitable happens, and poor Fido finally collapses dead in a heap.

Normal countries like China naturally assume that other countries like the US will also behave in normal ways, and their dumbfounded shock at Ms. Meng’s seizure has surely delayed their effective response. In 1959, Vice President Richard Nixon visited Moscow and famously engaged in a heated “kitchen debate” with Premier Nikita Khrushchev over the relative merits of Communism and Capitalism. What would have been the American reaction if Nixon had been immediately arrested and given a ten year Gulag sentence for “anti-Soviet agitation”?

Since a natural reaction to international hostage-taking is retaliatory international hostage-taking, the newspapers have reported that top American executives have decided to forego visits to China until the crisis is resolved. These days, General Motors sells more cars in China than in the US, and China is also the manufacturing source of nearly all our iPhones, but Tim Cook, Mary Barra, and their higher-ranking subordinates are unlikely to visit that country in the immediate future, nor would the top executives of Google, Facebook, Goldman Sachs, and the leading Hollywood studios be willing to risk indefinite imprisonment.

Canada had arrested Ms. Meng on American orders, and this morning’s newspapers reported that a former Canadian diplomat had suddenly been detained in China, presumably as a small bargaining-chip to encourage Ms. Meng’s release. But I very much doubt such measures will have much effect. Once we forgo traditional international practices and adopt the Law of the Jungle, it becomes very important to recognize the true lines of power and control, and Canada is merely acting as an American political puppet in this matter. Would threatening the puppet rather than the puppet-master be likely to have much effect?

Similarly, nearly all of America’s leading technology executives are already quite hostile to the Trump Administration, and even if it were possible, seizing one of them would hardly be likely to sway our political leadership. To a lesser extent, the same thing is true about the overwhelming majority of America’s top corporate leaders. They are not the individuals who call the shots in the current White House.

Indeed, is President Trump himself anything more than a higher-level puppet in this very dangerous affair? World peace and American national security interests are being sacrificed in order to harshly enforce the Israel Lobby’s international sanctions campaign against Iran, and we should hardly be surprised that the National Security Adviser John Bolton, one of America’s most extreme pro-Israel zealots, had personally given the green light to the arrest. Meanwhile, there are credible reports that Trump himself remained entirely unaware of these plans, and Ms. Meng was seized on the same day that he was personally meeting on trade issues with Chinese President Xi. Some have even suggested that the incident was a deliberate slap in Trump’s face.

But Bolton’s apparent involvement underscores the central role of his longtime patron, multi-billionaire casino-magnate Sheldon Adelson, whose enormous financial influence within Republican political circles has been overwhelmingly focused on pro-Israel policy and hostility towards Iran, Israel’s regional rival.

Although it is far from clear whether the very elderly Adelson played any direct personal role in Ms. Meng’s arrest, he surely must be viewed as the central figure in fostering the political climate that produced the current situation. Perhaps he should not be described as the ultimate puppet-master behind our current clash with China, but any such political puppet-masters who do exist are certainly operating at his immediate beck and call. In very literal terms, I suspect that if Adelson placed a single phone call to the White House, the Trump Administration would order Canada to release Ms. Meng that same day.

Adelson’s fortune of $33 billion ranks him as the 15th wealthiest man in America, and the bulk of his fortune is based on his ownership of extremely lucrative gambling casinos in Macau, China. In effect, the Chinese government currently has its hands around the financial windpipe of the man ultimately responsible for Ms. Meng’s arrest and whose pro-Israel minions largely control American foreign policy. I very much doubt that they are fully aware of this enormous, untapped source of political leverage.

Over the years, Adelson’s Chinese Macau casinos have been involved in all sorts of political bribery scandals, and I suspect it would be very easy for the Chinese government to find reasonable grounds for immediately shutting them down, at least on a temporary basis, with such an action having almost no negative repercussions to Chinese society or the bulk of the Chinese population. How could the international community possibly complain about the Chinese government shutting down some of their own local gambling casinos with a long public record of official bribery and other criminal activity? At worst, other gambling casino magnates would become reluctant to invest future sums in establishing additional Chinese casinos, hardly a desperate threat to President Xi’s anti-corruption government.

I don’t have a background in finance and I haven’t bothered trying to guess the precise impact of a temporary shutdown of Adelson’s Chinese casinos, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the resulting drop in the stock price of Las Vegas Sands Corp would reduce Adelson’s personal net worth were by $5-10 billion within 24 hours, surely enough to get his immediate personal attention. Meanwhile, threats of a permanent shutdown, perhaps extending to Chinese-influenced Singapore, might lead to the near-total destruction of Adelson’s personal fortune, and similar measures could also be applied as well to the casinos of all the other fanatically pro-Israel American billionaires, who dominate the remainder of gambling in Chinese Macau.

The chain of political puppets responsible for Ms. Meng’s sudden detention is certainly a complex and murky one. But the Chinese government already possesses the absolute power of financial life-or-death over Sheldon Adelson, the man located at the very top of that chain. If the Chinese leadership recognizes that power and takes effective steps, Ms. Meng will immediately be put on a plane back home, carrying the deepest sort of international political apology. And future attacks against Huawei, ZTE, and other Chinese technology companies would not be repeated.

China actually holds a Royal Flush in this international political poker game. The only question is whether they will recognize the value of their hand. I hope they do for the sake of America and the entire world.

December 13, 2018 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , | 2 Comments

Federal Judge Orders Mueller To Turn Over Flynn Material

By Jonathon Turley | December 13, 2018

In a surprising move, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ordered Mueller late Wednesday to turn over all of the government’s documents and “memoranda” related to Flynn’s questioning. This follows a Flynn filing that described an effective trap set by agents who encouraged him not to bring a lawyer and left inconsistencies unaddressed in what has been described by critics as a “perjury trap.” I have practiced in front of Judge Sullivan for years and he is a respected judge who has a keen eye for prosecutorial and investigative abuse. That does not mean that he will find such abuse here and could ultimately make a finding that nothing improper occurred. Yet, despite a recommendation of no jail time, Sullivan wants to review the entire record before deciding on the issue.

Sullivan’s order gives Mueller a 3:00 p.m. EST Friday deadline for the special counsel’s office to produce the FBI documents. Those include 302 field reports that have been widely discussed in the media, including one which reportedly shows then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe pushing Flynn not to have an attorney present during the questioning. McCabe of course was later fired from the Justice Department and is viewed by critics as someone who had an anti-Trump agenda. Many however have defended his actions and denounced efforts, including President Trump, to make him a villain without any clear evidence of political bias. The scene however is made all the more suspicious for Trump supporters with the involvement of Peter Strzok, who was also later fired.

Some have also noted that McCabe never warned Flynn that false statements to investigators are crimes or that this was not some routine sit-down during the very busy opening days of the Administration. The fact is however that Flynn was not in custody and thus was not guaranteed a Miranda warning.

On the other hand, the false statement that Flynn allegedly made was not reportedly viewed by the agents as an intentional lie. His meeting with the Russians was not illegal or even unprecedented as the incoming National Security Adviser. He did not deny the meeting but a memory of sanctions being discussed. Robert Mueller however decided to reexamine the statement and charge it as a violation of 18 U.S.C. 1001.

In reality, it was doubtful that Flynn would ever get jail time for such an alleged false statement. His range as a first offender started at 0 and that is likely where it would remain even without the recommendation of Mueller.

There is no question that this was an aggressive approach to an interview at a time when the subject was in the middle of establishing a new office for a new Administration in the midst of serious national security pressures. Moreover, Flynn “clearly saw the FBI agents as allies,” according to the 302 prepared by Strzok and another agent. They made the conscious decision that “If Flynn still would not confirm what he said, … they would not confront him or talk him through it.” Again they have no duty to reveal the discrepancy but it is unclear why they would adopt such a seemingly hostile or aggressive stance toward Flynn.

Flynn is set to be sentenced next Tuesday.

December 13, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , | 1 Comment

Butina Pleads Guilty After Being ‘Sexually Assaulted’ & ‘Abused’ In DC Jail

Sputnik – December 14, 2018

Russian national Maria Butina pleaded guilty to conspiring to act as an unregistered foreign agent at a federal court in Washington, DC, on Thursday. But she only did so after authorities “broke her,” argues human rights attorney Dan Kovalik.

Rather than acting as a “spy” for Russia, as the mainstream media — and only the mainstream media — has alleged, what Butina “was doing looks more like a cultural exchange,” Kovalik, the author of the book “The Plot to Scapegoat Russia,” told Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear.

Butina moved to the US in 2016 on a student visa and graduated from American University with a masters degree in international relations in May. Prosecutors even wrote that “all available evidence indicates that Butina had interest in a graduate school education.”

Butina interacted with a number of officials and powerful actors in the Republican Party and members of the National Rifle Association while attending school in the US capital.

“This is called human interaction. To claim that she is a spy is ridiculous,” Kovalik told Loud & Clear hosts John Kiriakou and Brian Becker.

“She is this young woman who was dealing with a very specific issue, and that is gun rights. And she posed no threat to the United States, no threat to the secrets of the United States,” Kovalik said. “It seems to me, in this case, if they wanted her to register they could have just said, ‘Ms. Butina, we think you should register,’ and that would be the end of it. It wasn’t about her.”

Butina was arrested in July. The Department of Justice announced the arrest while US President Donald Trump was in Helsinki, Finland, for a bilateral, closed-door meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Since then, she has spent much of her time in jail in solitary confinement. Butina was also subjected to cavity searches after every visit from her lawyer, Kovalik said.

“They broke her. They abused her. They sexually assaulted her in jail, and now she’s pleading guilty. People should be very shocked by this,” Kovalik said. “Women’s rights groups should be shocked by this, because initially they claimed without any basis that she was selling sex for access, and that turned out to be a lie, and they withdrew that charge. How she’s been treated is absolutely despicable.”

Butina’s guilty plea on Sunday followed an interview of her father from the end of November, in which he said that money was running out for her defense. Earlier in December, Butina was assigned a public defender, although her original attorney, Robert Driscoll, was still cited as one of Butina’s lawyers in the plea agreement.

December 13, 2018 Posted by | Russophobia, Subjugation - Torture | , | 1 Comment

Dahlan slams US ‘deal of the century’, prefers one-state solution

MEMO | December 13, 2018

The Palestinian Authority (PA)’s ex-Security Chief Mohammed Dahlan has criticised the US’ “deal of the century” claiming he would prefer to see a one-state solution prevail in Israel-Palestine.

In an interview yesterday with Russian state TV channel Russia Today, Dahlan argued that “the ‘deal of the century’ that the Americans speak of as a solution to the Palestinian problem is a total disaster,” Ynet reported. Dahlan added: “I [also] do not see the two-state solution happening. That is why I come with a new proposal: to establish one state, where Palestinians can run their lives without being dependent on Israel.”

While acknowledging that “our [Palestinians’] bigger dream is, of course, an independent Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza,” Dahlan argued this option was unlikely to be accepted by Israel or its main ally the United States. “Instead of nurturing illusions that will never be fulfilled,” he explained,

We should start internalising the notion of one-state for two nations, and demand full rights for the Palestinians.

Dahlan also criticised PA President Mahmoud Abbas, with whom he has been engaged in a feud since resigning as the PA’s Security Chief in 2007 and going into exile in the UAE. Dahlan told Russia Today that: “[Yasser] Arafat’s death marked the end of the era of great leaders in the Palestinian Authority. Abbas is nothing but a manager of a civilian authority in Ramallah. Nothing more. I suggest he pays a visit to the Gaza Strip, to pacify and encourage the people there, because the Gaza citizens are paying a very heavy price.”

This is not the first time Dahlan has called for Abbas to visit Gaza. Addressing an event in the besieged Strip via video link in November, Dahlan said: “I am calling for Abbas to visit Gaza and announce a national unity government,” referring to the split between Hamas – which governs the Gaza Strip – and Fatah – which dominates the PA in the occupied West Bank – that has been ongoing since Hamas won the last Palestinian elections in 2006.

Though Abbas has also criticised the so-called “deal of the century” – touted by US President Donald Trump as a solution to the situation in Israel-Palestine – his response has been meek. This has drawn condemnation from numerous parties and claims that the PA president has “lost his legitimacy”. Abbas has also seemed unable to counter the US’ repeated measures against Palestinians, from halting UNRWA funding to closing the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington.

This inaction has heightened tensions with Dahlan, who is often mentioned in discussions of who will succeed Abbas as PA president. Yet Dahlan is not without controversy, having grown close to the Emirati establishment and formed ties with Israel and Saudi Arabia. In October it emerged that Dahlan had arranged for US mercenaries to carry out targeted assassinations in Yemen on behalf of the UAE, meeting with an Israeli security contractor to arrange the deal. In November, Dahlan’s security team was revealed to have helped cover up the brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, using fake passports to travel to Istanbul carrying tools and chemicals to hide any traces of the killing.

See also:

Israel settlers call for Abbas’ assassination

Dahlan: Bin Salman will remain in power for the next 50 years

December 13, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Israel’s Executions Can’t Kill Palestinian Resistance

Remembering Ashraf Na’alwa, Saleh Barghouthi, Majd Matir and Hasan Arda

Ashraf Na’alwa, Saleh Barghouthi, Majd Mteir (l-r). Graphic: Quds News
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network | December 13, 2018

On 13 December 2018, Israeli occupation forces shot down four Palestinians, including several resistance fighters who had evaded their pursuit for months. Ashraf Na’alwa, 23, was killed by occupation forces who attacked the home where he was staying in Askar refugee camp near Nablus. He had been pursued by occupation forces since he carried out an armed resistance operation on 7 October in the illegal colonial settlement of Barkan in the northern West Bank of occupied Palestine in which two settlers were killed.

Na’alwa, a Palestinian worker at a factory in the colonial settlement, evaded occupation forces for months. During that time, his entire family was repeatedly harassed and attacked by occupation forces. His mother, sister, brother and father were all repeatedly detained and interrogated, while his home village of Shweika near Tulkarem was subjected to ongoing attacks, raids and intensive surveillance. Many of his family members remain behind bars as we remember him today. Occupation forces ordered his family home demolished, a tactic of collective punishment that the Israeli occupation continued from the former British colonial mandate over Palestine.

Israeli sources reported that Na’alwa’s location was finally revealed under “harsh interrogation,” usually a euphemism for torture under interrogation. The occupation forces deliberately aimed to kill Na’alwa, who resisted until the last moment; indeed, Israeli headlines bragged about “eliminating” the “terrorist.” Occupation forces reportedly chased Na’alwa through the camp for hours before surrounding him in the building. Around the bloody scene, occupation forces seized more Palestinians, accusing them of “providing aid” to the “wanted” resistance fighter.

The extrajudicial execution of Ashraf Na’alwa did not come alone today. Saleh Omar Barghouthi, 29, the son of former Palestinian prisoner Omar Barghouthi, who served 25 years in Israeli prisons, was shot dead near the village of Sarda near Ramallah. Barghouthi, from Kobar village, carried out an armed resistance action at Ofra illegal colonial settlement on Sunday, 9 December, wounding seven settlers. Occupation forces attacked the taxi he drove, seized him and shot him dead, according to Palestinian witnesses at the scene.

Barghouthi is also the nephew of Nael Barghouthi, one of the longest serving Palestinian prisoners, with 39 years in Israeli prison. Saleh’s brother, Asem, has spent 10 years in Israeli occupation prisons, while another uncle, Jacir, was deported to Gaza when released from Israeli prison.

Also on Thursday morning, Israeli occupation forces in Jerusalem shot Majd Mteir, 26, a Palestinian refugee from Qalandiya camp, ten to twelve times in a row. Witnesses said that Mteir was left lying on the ground bleeding for 40 minutes before his death. Occupation forces accused him of attempting to stab Israeli armed “border police” in Jerusalem.

These killings were carried out in a coordinated fashion, alongside the arrest of dozens of Palestinians on the same night. Clearly, these were intended to be a deadly blow not only against these strugglers, but also the Palestinian resistance as a whole.

Nevertheless, ensuing events made clear that the military power of the occupation and its extrajudicial executions would only inflame Palestinian resistance further. Three Israeli soldiers at the illegal colonial settlement of Givat Asaf were shot dead by unknown Palestinian resistance fighters, who left the scene, withdrawing from the area, later on Thursday morning. This response indicated that Palestinian resistance forces did not accept that the blood of these young strugglers should be spilled casually and without cost to the colonial occupier.

The assassination raids recall previous attacks, like those on Basil al-Araj and Moataz Washaha, Palestinian strugglers targeted for Israeli “elimination.” The policy of extrajudicial killings and assassinations by the Israeli state stretches back years and beyond borders, targeting resistance strugglers, local organizers and national leaders: Ghassan Kanafani, Abu Ali Mustafa, Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, Khaled Nazzal, Fathi Shiqaqi, Abu Jihad, Abdel-Aziz Rantisi and many others, including some of the Palestinian people’s brightest writers, poets and emissaries to the world. Despite decades of assassinations and killings, the Palestinian resistance has not been crushed. Instead, it has continued to adapt, survive and grow, resisting a brutal, colonial occupation and its imperialist sponsors despite vast disparities in wealth and resources.

Photo: Hamdan Arda. Credit: Raya News

Israeli occupation forces have imposed a harsh siege on Ramallah and the surrounding villages. They shot dead 60-year-old Hamdan Arda, originally from the village of Arraba near Jenin, in his vehicle near el-Bireh, accusing him of attempting to run over soldiers. Arda was returning home from his aluminum factory when he was shot. As he lay inside his car, the soldiers refused to allow the Red Crescent ambulance to reach him and provide treatment. The killing of Arda came alongside attacks by soldiers and settlers on Palestinian cities and villages. Six Palestinians were wounded in el-Bireh, shot by live ammunition and rubber-coated metal bullets. Illegal colonial settlers attacked Palestinians and their vehicles in cities and towns throughout the West Bank of occupied Palestine, while Palestinians took to the streets in protest.

Palestinian political parties, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and even Fateh called for mobilization inside and outside Palestine to confront the escalating occupation attacks. Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Abu Mazen attempted to distance himself from “violence,” while leaving the PA’s security coordination with the Israeli occupation intact.

These events come only a week after the latest effort by Israel and the United States at the United Nations to attack and criminalize Palestinian resistance. An attempt to pass a General Assembly resolution against Palestinian resistance actions in Gaza failed. This was only the latest attempt to redefine international principles in the interests of imperialism, seeking to undermine the position expressed in UN General Assembly resolution 34/43 (1982). This document supporting Palestinian rights as well as those of African peoples fighting colonization and apartheid “Reaffirm[ed] the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, including armed struggle… Strongly condemn[ed] those Governments that do not recognize the right to self-determination and independence of all peoples still under colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation, notably the peoples of Africa and the Palestinian people.”

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network highlights the importance of global solidarity with the Palestinian people, their liberation movement and their resistance. We remember and honor Ashraf Na’alwa, Saleh Barghouthi, Majd Mteir and Hasan Arda, as we remember the over 200 martyrs of today’s intifada, the Great March of Return in Gaza.

As we look back on 31 years of the First Intifada and see its spirit reflected today throughout occupied Palestine, we urge people of conscience around the world to organize protests and actions to stand with Palestinians confronting occupation, colonization and imperialism. We also urge communities, municipalities, university groups and trade unions to escalate the boycott of Israel, including economic, academic and cultural boycott – and especially a military embargo of the occupation state.

The lives of these strugglers shall not be lost in vain, but will live on as symbols of resistance and the ability of an indigenous people to struggle by all means despite the most challenging odds and the most disadvantageous balance of power. From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!

December 13, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment

Gerry Docherty on the Hidden History of WWI

Corbett Report Extras | December 11, 2018

Gerry Docherty, co-author with Jim MacGregor of Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War, joins us for an in-depth discussion about the real origins of WWI. In this wide-ranging discussion, Docherty reveals the machinations of the Secret Elite that ensnared Europe, and, ultimately, the world, in war. We also talk about the teaching of history and who controls the historical narrative on key global events.

Watch this video on BitChute / DTube / YouTube or Download the mp4

SHOW NOTES:
Hidden History blog and website

Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War

Prolonging the Agony: How the Anglo-American Establishment Deliberately Extended WWI

December 13, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Deep State…

… and Bob Parry Exposed It

By Ray McGovern | Consortium News | December 13, 2018

A year ago yesterday, it became fully clear what was behind the feverish attempt by our intelligence agencies and their mainstream media accomplices to emasculate President Donald Trump with the Russia-gate trope.

It turned out that the objective was not only to delegitimize Trump and make it impossible for him to move toward a more decent relationship with Russia.

On December 12, 2017, it became manifestly clear that it was not only the usual suspects — the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank Complex, namely, the Boeings, Lockheeds, and Raytheons profiteering on high tension with Russia; not only greedy members of Congress upon whom defense contractors lavish some of their profits; not only the TV corporations controlled by those same contractors; and not only the Democrats desperately searching for a way to explain how Hillary Clinton could have lost to the buffoon we now have in the White House.

No, it was deeper than that. It turns out a huge part of the motivation behind Russia-gate was to hide how the Department of Justice, FBI, and CIA (affectionately known as the Deep State) — with their co-opted “assets” in the media — interfered in the 2016 election in a gross attempt to make sure Trump did not win.

Russia-gate: Cui Bono?

This would become crystal clear, even to cub reporters, when the text exchanges between senior FBI officials Peter Strzok and girlfriend Lisa Page were released exactly a year ago. Typically, readers of The New York Times the following day would altogether miss the importance of the text-exchanges.

Readers of Robert Parry’s article on December 13, 2017, “The Foundering Russia-gate ‘Scandal,” would be gently led to understand the importance of this critical extra dimension explaining the media-cum-anonymous-intelligence-sources frenzied effort to push the prevailing Russia-gate narrative, and — how captivated and unprofessional the mainstream media had become.

Bob Parry did not call me frequently to compare notes, but he did call on Dec. 12, 2017 for a sanity check on the release of the Strzok-Page texts. We agreed on their significance, and I was tempted to volunteer a draft to appear the next day. But it was clear that Bob wanted to take the lead, and it would turn out to be his last substantive piece. He had already laid the groundwork with three articles earlier that month. (All three are worth reading again. Here are the links.

Here’s how Bob began his article on the Strzok-Page bombshell. (Not a fragment of it seemed to impact mainstream media.):

“The disclosure of fiercely anti-Trump text messages between two romantically involved senior FBI officials who played key roles in the early Russia-gate inquiry has turned the supposed Russian-election-meddling “scandal” into its own scandal, by providing evidence that some government investigators saw it as their duty to block or destroy Donald Trump’s presidency.

“As much as the U.S. mainstream media has mocked the idea that an American ‘deep state’ exists and that it has maneuvered to remove Trump from office, the text messages between senior FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok and senior FBI lawyer Lisa Page reveal how two high-ranking members of the government’s intelligence/legal bureaucracy saw their role as protecting the United States from an election that might elevate to the presidency someone as unfit as Trump.”

Parry’s Cri de Coeur

Fast forwarding just two weeks, Bob had a stroke on Christmas Eve, which seriously affected his eyesight. By New Year’s Eve 2017, though, he was able to “apologize” (typical Bob) to Consortium News readers for not filing for two weeks.

In January, he had additional strokes. When I visited him in the hospital, he was not himself. What is indelible in my memory, though, is the way he kept repeating from his hospital bed: “It’s too much; it’s just too much, too much.”

What was too much?

Since Bob told me how hard he had to struggle, with impaired vision, to put together his Dec. 31 piece, and since what he wrote throws such light on Bob and the prostitution of the profession he loved so much, I include a few excerpts below. (Forgive me, but I cannot, for the life of me, pare them down further.)

These paragraphs from Bob are required reading for those who want to have a some clue as to what has been going on in Washington, and the Faustian bargain Strzok — sorry, I mean struck — between the media and the Deep State. Here’s what Bob, clear-eyed, despite fuzzy eyesight, wrote:

“On Christmas Eve, I suffered a stroke that has affected my eyesight (especially my reading and thus my writing) although apparently not much else. The doctors have also been working to figure out exactly what happened since I have never had high blood pressure, I never smoked, and my recent physical found nothing out of the ordinary. Perhaps my personal slogan that ‘every day’s a work day’ had something to do with this.

“Perhaps, too, the unrelenting ugliness that has become Official Washington and national journalism was a factor. It seems that since I arrived in Washington in 1977 as a correspondent for The Associated Press, the nastiness of American democracy and journalism has gone from bad to worse. …

“More and more I would encounter policymakers, activists and, yes, journalists who cared less about a careful evaluation of the facts and logic and more about achieving a pre-ordained geopolitical result –and this loss of objective standards reached deeply into the most prestigious halls of American media. This perversion of principles –twisting information to fit a desired conclusion – became the modus vivendi of American politics and journalism. And those of us who insisted on defending the journalistic principles of skepticism and
evenhandedness were increasingly shunned by our colleagues … Everything became ‘information warfare.’ …

“The demonization of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia is just the most dangerous feature of this propaganda process – and this is where the neocons and the liberal interventionists most significantly come together. The U.S. media’s approach to Russia is now virtually 100 percent propaganda. Does any sentient human being read the New York Times’ or the Washington Post’s coverage of Russia and think that he or she is getting a neutral or unbiased treatment of the facts? … The American people and the West in general are carefully shielded from hearing the ‘other side of the story.’ Indeed to even suggest that there is another side to the story makes you a ‘Putin apologist’ or ‘Kremlin stooge.’

“Western journalists now apparently see it as their patriotic duty to hide key facts that otherwise would undermine the demonizing of Putin and Russia. Ironically, many ‘liberals’ who cut their teeth on skepticism about the Cold War and the bogus justifications for the Vietnam War now insist that we must all accept whatever the U.S. intelligence community feeds us, even if we’re told to accept the assertions on faith. …

“The hatred of Trump and Putin was so intense that old-fashioned rules of journalism and fairness were brushed aside. On a personal note, I faced harsh criticism even from friends of many years for refusing to enlist in the anti-Trump ‘Resistance.’ The argument was that Trump was such a unique threat to America and the world that I should join in finding any justification for his ouster. Some people saw my insistence on the same journalistic standards that I had always employed somehow a betrayal.

“Other people, including senior editors across the mainstream media, began to treat the unproven Russia-gate allegations as flat fact. No skepticism was tolerated and mentioning the obvious bias among the never-Trumpers inside the FBI, Justice Department and intelligence community was decried as an attack on the integrity of the U.S. government’s institutions. Anti-Trump ‘progressives’ were posturing as the true patriots because of their now unquestioning acceptance of the evidence-free proclamations of the U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

“Hatred of Trump had become like some invasion of the body snatchers –or perhaps many of my journalistic colleagues had never believed in the principles of journalism that I had embraced throughout my adult life. To me, journalism wasn’t just a cover for political activism; it was a commitment to the American people and the world to tell important news stories as fully and fairly as I could; not to slant the ‘facts’ to ‘get’ some ‘bad’ political leader or ‘guide’ the public
in some desired direction.”

Robert Parry, who exposed Deep State skullduggery in the Iran-Contra affair, died on January 27, 2018. Our corrupt media, though, live on in infamy. Strokes and pancreatic cancer were named as the cause. But I think Bob was also a casualty of the Faustian media/Deep State bargain. It was just “too much.”

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. Bob Parry was happily surprised when he learned that CIA and other intelligence analysts, as opposed to operations people, were as devoted as he was to spreading some truth around; he welcomed our input — in particular the corporate memos from Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity; the VIPS archive on CN appears at: https://consortiumnews.com/vips-memos/

December 13, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , | 6 Comments

Tale of two uprisings: Ukraine’s Maidan got McCain & cookies, French Yellow Vests get shunned

By Robert Bridge | RT | December 13, 2018

Unlike the 2014 Ukraine uprising, which witnessed invasive meddling on the part of US politicians and diplomats, Western support for the French Yellow Vest protests has been conspicuously missing in action.

With the streets of Paris ablaze for a fourth weekend in a row, as a swarm of Yellow Vests assert themselves against a French government which, they argue, has become increasingly detached from the cares of ordinary citizens, support among Western capitals for the protesters is nowhere to be found.

This is a bit odd since the ‘gilets jaunes’ are not just protesting Macron’s (rescinded) plans for a fuel tax, but have released a list of 42 demands they want to see implemented. This includes an increase of the minimum wage, pensions and wages, as well as a halt to illegal immigration into the country. In other words, we are not talking about violent anarchists on the streets of France, but regular citizens. Thus far, the movement enjoys a high level of support among the French, with one poll showing 72 percent siding with the protesters.

The United States and its allies may have trouble explaining their tone-deafness in the face of these legitimate concerns on the part of millions of French citizens. At the very least, their icy silence will reveal a no small amount of double standards and outright hypocrisy since the West rarely misses an opportunity to interfere in the affairs of foreign states – mostly in the Middle East – when ‘democracy’ is purportedly on the line.

Consider Washington’s starkly different attitude to Ukraine’s 2014 Maidan revolution, which brought down the government of Viktor Yanukovich through the explicit support of the United States, as well as a number of influential NGOs operating in the country. Yanukovich committed the unforgivable mistake of thinking he would be allowed to pursue an independent course for his country, despite the fact that since 1992, the US had spent over $5 billion propping up ‘democracy-building programs’ in Ukraine.

Did Kiev really think that Washington would not eventually expect something in return for all those dollars, like maybe deciding who would eventually rule the Eastern European country on Russia’s border? And that is exactly what happened.

When Yanukovich signaled that he would not sign Ukraine up to an EU trade deal, he awoke a sleeping giant below his feet. Several weeks after the announcement, as his country was becoming increasingly divided over its options, the late US Senator John McCain appeared in central Kiev where he tossed dry wood on the smoldering fires by proclaiming at a rally on Independence Square, “Ukraine will make Europe better, and Europe will make Ukraine better… America is with you.”

What could have motivated Washington to pursue such blatant interference in the affairs of Ukraine, while ignoring the French ‘gilets jaunes’ that are now fanning out across France, protesting the neo-Liberal policies of President Emmanuel Macron? Could the answer have anything to do with something as simple as money? That certainly seems to be a large part of the equation.

After all, steering Kiev away from Russia, Western officials understood, would pay off handsome dividends for Western lending institutions, like the International Monetary Fund, which had already lent Kiev billions of dollars to stay afloat. The West was fiercely opposed to the idea of Russia and China becoming ‘lenders of last resort’, a financial and political function that the Western world covets more than any other, with the possible exception of military interventionism against sovereign states.

Fast forward one year after John McCain was agitating rallies in Kiev, and Victoria Nuland was handing out cookies to the protesters, and we find Ukraine, under the new leadership of the US-anointed President Petro Poroshenko, inking a $17.5bn (£11.5bn) loan deal with the IMF, together with the painful austerity measures that always accompany the bags of cash.

Presently, there are no such financial incentives in France that would convince Western capitals to ‘rally on behalf of democracy’ as it had done without delay in Ukraine.

This glaringly hypocritical position with regards to the French protesters reveals a deeply flawed, cart-before-the-horse Western axiom that commands: ‘whatever works to the advantage of Western institutions and its political elite is automatically good for democracy.’ This does not exclude social upheaval and revolution. If violence in the streets translates into the empowerment of Western institutions, not least of all the global financial institutions, then such actions will be rewarded with Western support without a moment’s thought.

Today, Emmanuel Macron, 40, the former Rothschild investment banker known as “president of the rich” by his countrymen, is facing the prospect of an early political demise, no less than Viktor Yanukovich faced in 2014.

Indeed, to say that Macron’s popularity among the French is in the toilet would be putting the situation mildly.

As one local English-language French magazine summed up his plight: Macron is “long-hated by the extreme-leftist groups because of his past as a banker… detested by the far-right because of his pro-European, globalist beliefs and now hated by many ordinary French people, who see him as arrogant, aloof and unsympathetic to their problems.”

Yet, not a single Western politician to date has appeared in the French capital, rallying the protesters and demanding Macron step aside; nor has any top-ranking US diplomat been spotted handing out cookies to the French rabble as Victoria Nuland did in Kiev at the height of Ukrainian tensions.

Incidentally, with such stark images in mind, it seems preposterous that the US can actually accuse Russia of meddling in its political affairs, and without a shred of evidence to back the claims. But I digress.

The simple reason that no Western country has come out to condemn Macron is because he toes the line on neo-liberalism and extreme free-market economics that has ravaged the French middle class to breaking point. The fuel hike was just the proverbial straw that broke the voters’ back.

It would be no exaggeration to say that all segments of French society have become caught up in the protests. Today we see hundreds of French schools, for example, shutting down as students take to the streets to protest Macron’s unpopular education reform. Pensioners are also counted among the protesters after Macron lectured them to stop “whining” about spending cuts, at the very same time he was slashing taxes for the wealthy.

Clearly, there is nothing about Macron that Western leaders can find not to their liking. He is carrying out painful liberal reforms with gusto, and only under pain of usurpation does he backpedal on his political program. Although the rudderless French president may fancy himself as a modern-age Napoleon, acting tough with his subjects to get what he wants, ultimately it will be the French street that decides his fate, which at the moment looks very bleak.

Such a brutal wake-up call may very well be in store for many more Western neo-liberal leaders, who fail to feel the pulse of their people when instituting their unpopular policies, in the weeks and months to come.

December 13, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Progressive Hypocrite, Solidarity and Activism | , | Leave a comment