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Gabbard’s Pro-INF Bill Has ‘No Chance’ Due to Military-Industrial Complex Lobby

Sputnik – March 8, 2019

In a last-ditch effort to keep the US from exiting the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), Democratic Party presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard introduced a draft bill to Congress which would prevent the authorization of government funds for the testing, procurement or deployment of any missile prohibited under the treaty.

Congress released the full text of Gabbard’s bill, dubbed the INF Treaty Compliance Act of 2019, this week, with the proposed legislation originally introduced by the Hawaii congresswoman in mid-February for deliberation by the House Armed Services Committee.

Gabbard had earlier described Trump’s decision to pull out of the 1987 treaty as a “reckless” move which could exacerbate “a new Cold War” with Russia. The bill has now been cosponsored by six Democratic lawmakers, including Ilhan Omar, James McGovern, Mark Pocan, Barbara Lee, Raul M. Grijalva, Eleanor Holmes Norton and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Despite the bill’s positive goal of preserving the global strategic balance and preventing a new arms race, Russian observers fear it has little chance of passing, notwithstanding the Democrats’ recently won majority in the House.

Dr. Sergei Sudakov, a professor at the Russian Academy of Military Science research center in Moscow, argues that the bill won’t pass since it doesn’t have the lobbying support from arms manufacturers.

“Obviously, with the termination of the INF Treaty, the US military-industrial complex will receive additional orders. This doesn’t mean that the Gabbard initiative is in vain, however. It’s possible that the discussion of the bill will cause a public resonance which will prevent the implementation of some of the lobbyists’ plans,” he said.

For his part, Konstantin Blokhin, a fellow at the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies think tank, said that the US exit from the INF was predestined before Trump ever stepped into office, with the Pentagon looking for any excuse to allocate funding for the development of new missile systems banned under the treaty, which restricts ground-based missiles in the 500-5,500 km range.

“Gabbard’s bill has no chance. No matter how Congress votes, Trump is against preserving this treaty. He simply won’t sign it,” the analyst said.

At the same time, Blokhin argued that individual politicians like Gabbard were “on the periphery within the US political elite,” with a normalization of relations with Russia out of the question for the political mainstream, Democrat or Republican, while most ordinary Americans are concerned with domestic politics.

Pavel Podlesny, a researcher at the Moscow-based Institute for US and Canadian Studies, was similarly pessimistic. “It’s in the interest of the current administration, and the overwhelming majority of lawmakers in Congress, to unleash a new cold war. They are confident that this is the most effective way to damage Russia and take it out of the running of global players. Moreover, opponents of this view are sometimes classified as ‘Russian agents’,” he said.

Last month, NBC smeared Gabbard over her “pro-Russian” positions on issues like the war in Syria and accused her of being the Kremlin’s “crush” due to fair media coverage of her campaign by Sputnik and RT. Commenting on the scandal, Podlesny said the smear campaign was just “a bluff.”

“There are no pro-Russian politicians in the US. People like Gabbard, in my opinion, have a more sensible understanding of the world than the ruling elite. They understand that without Russia, Washington will not be able to solve key global problems. Gabbard is disliked for having an independent position. I think that this can help her get quite a bit of support from voters,” the observer concluded.

President Trump announced the US intention to withdraw from the INF Treaty late last year, with Washington formally starting the six-month procedure suspending US obligations under the treaty on February 2.

The US has claimed that it made the decision due to treaty violations by Moscow with the ground-launched 9M729 cruise missile, which Washington claims has a range in excess of 500 km. The Russian Defence Ministry debunked the claims at a press briefing in January.

Moscow, for its part, has accused the US of deploying dual use missile defence system launchers in Poland and Romania which are said to be capable of firing nuclear-armed Tomahawk missiles. Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that the US withdrawal from the INF was “a direct step toward the destruction of the entire system of agreements in the field of international security.”

March 8, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | | 3 Comments

Israel citizen to contest Guatemala presidency

MEMO | March 8, 2019

An Israeli is to stand in the upcoming presidential election in Guatemala, the Times of Israel reported.

Yitzhak Farhi, who grew in the Central American country, is among the founders of the National Advancement Party (PAN) which fielded two presidents in the 1990s.

The 58-year-old moved to Israel 12 years ago but will be moving back to Guatemala to fun in the June elections. If he fails in his bid to serve as government chief, Farhi plans to return to Israel, he told Ynet News.

Guatemala opened its embassy to Israel in occupied Jerusalem in early May. The move came after the US announced that it would be moving its embassy from Tel Aviv on the 70th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, when nearly a million Palestinians were forced out of their homes to make way for the creation of the state of Israel. Israel celebrates this as its independence day.

See also:

Guatemala: City to name all streets after places in Israel

March 8, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

Over 30 New York scholars and activists spied on by former Mossad agents

Palestine Legal | February 28, 2019

NEW YORK — Palestine Legal confirmed today that a 2017 attempt to scare New Yorkers believed to support boycotts for Palestinian rights with bogus ‘cease and desist’ letters was the work of ex-Mossad agents. The Mossad is Israel’s foreign spy agency.

The New Yorker’s Adam Entous reported on how a private Israeli intelligence firm called Psy-Group spied on supporters of Palestinian rights. “The company said that its operatives drew up lists of individuals and organizations to target,” wrote Entous.

The article profiles UC Berkeley lecturer Hatem Bazian, who was targeted by Psy-Group along with eight other Palestinian rights activists.

Before expanding to California, the campaign initially targeted boycott supporters on college campuses in New York, according to the article.

One such attempt was the now-defunct blacklist website outlawbds.com, whose operatives sent dozens of fake letters threatening students, professors and grassroots activists with “legal proceedings” if they did not “cease and desist” from supporting boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) for Palestinian rights. The New Yorker article identifies Psy-Group as the operators of the site.

Screenshot of Psy-Group email

“It’s scary to think that ex-Mossad agents were behind this spying,” said senior staff attorney Radhika Sainath, who advised over 30 individuals targeted by the letters. “The Mossad itself has a history of surveilling, sabotaging and assassinating Palestinian activists around the world.”

The people targeted by former Israeli intelligence agents with Psy-Group include faculty at Columbia University, New York University, multiple City University of New York (CUNY) campuses as well Black, Jewish, and Palestinian volunteers from groups such as Adalah-NY and Jewish Voice for Peace.

“It is disgraceful that professors and students in American public universities are being spied on and intimidated by the former agents of a foreign nation,” said CUNY professor Sarah Schulman, who was targeted by Psy-Group. “Fortunately, the commitment of grassroots Americans to Palestinian rights is increasing everyday, and no level of threatening covert operations can stop it.”

Though outlawbds.com and Psy-Group no longer exist, the tactics and methods they employed —anonymous blacklisting websites, fake profiles used to target or influence people, and smear campaigns—are all still in use by other anti-Palestinian groups, some of which potentially share information with the Israeli government. The largest example is the blacklist site Canary Mission, which has targeted hundreds of students and faculty who advocate for Palestinian rights.

While it is unclear what relationship Psy-Group had with active Israeli intelligence or government agencies, coordinating with a foreign government to secretly spy on people in the US may violate federal laws. The Israeli government has itself encouraged and funded such activities to covertly undermine the movement for Palestinian rights.

March 8, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 1 Comment

Dual Loyalty as Racism

By Eve Mykytyn | March 8, 2019

The US House of Representatives just passed a resolution that declared, “whether from the political right, center, or left, bigotry, discrimination, oppression, racism, and imputations of dual loyalty threaten American democracy and have no place in American political discourse.” The key words in this resolution are “dual loyalty” which make clear that this otherwise banal condemnation of racism was made in direct response to Representative Ilhan Omar’s controversial statement: “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says that it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”

Apparently, the House resolution was a disappointment to some. The New York Times reports that this ‘all-inclusive’ approach was criticized for not “solely condemn[ing] anti-Semitism.” Representative Ted Deutch asked “Why are we unable to singularly condemn anti-Semitism? Why can’t we call it anti-Semitism and show we’ve learned the lessons of history?”

It is bizarre that Mr. Deutch seemingly objects to condemning racism per se. Would Mr. Deutch prefer that the House pass separate resolutions condemning prejudice against each of the ever growing list of identity groups? The House would be so busy debating these resolutions that they would accomplish nothing else, although admittedly, that might be a positive outcome.

Omar has not retracted her statements. In response to criticism from representative Nita Lowy, Omar tweeted, “I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee.”

Omar’s point has been substantiated by the reaction it has provoked. Omar claimed that accusations of anti-Semitism tend to be used to silence critics of Israel. In response, she was called a “Jew hater.”

Representative Juan Vargas tweeted, “It is disturbing that Rep. Omar continues to perpetuate hurtful anti-Semitic stereotypes that misrepresent our Jewish community. Additionally, questioning support for the U.S.-Israel relationship is unacceptable.”

Omar is condemned for criticizing dual loyalty by those who insist upon loyalty to Israel. As journalist Jordan Weisman noted, “If Israel’s most devoted U.S. backers are really so concerned over dual loyalty smears, maybe they should think more carefully about how they’re encouraging them. “

March 8, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | 3 Comments

Bolton’s Act of Sabotage

By David Macilwain | American Herald Tribune | March 8, 2019

Across the Western world, there has been discussion and argument and consternation over the apparent failure to make progress on disarmament at the recent talks in Hanoi. Examination of the reasons for that failure has been replaced by speculation about the DPRK’s next move and suspicions about its motives, without any similar skepticism or doubts about the US intent and strategy. But such speculation is entirely misguided, and only possible because of ignorance of one key detail in the discussions in Hanoi.

Thanks mostly to the efforts of Australia’s former ambassador to South Korea and Vietnam, Richard Broinowski, whose diplomatic contacts in Canberra relayed inside information about the discussions, the alarming truth on why the talks suddenly fell apart was revealed to the SBS TV network, and to its listeners in the evening news broadcast on March 1st.

While media around the world, apparently including those not allied to the US, broadcast the press briefing by Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo laying the blame on North Korea for demanding all the sanctions be lifted, only SBS listeners got to hear what really happened, and thenceforth to see things in an entirely different light. As Richard Broinowski explained several days later writing on John Menadue’s influential blog Pearls and Irritations :

… “a well-informed senior Asian diplomatic source in Canberra has added another reason for the Summit’s breakdown: that Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, persuaded Trump to add another demand, without notice, that led to North Korean refusal and a premature end to the summit even before negotiations had begun.”

“The Asian diplomat recalled that John Bolton had been scheduled to visit Canberra at the end of February. But the visit was cancelled when he suddenly went to Hanoi instead, whether at Trump’s directive or on his own initiative being unclear. The diplomat’s understanding is that Bolton suggested to Trump that as well as demanding a complete inventory of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and delivery systems, Trump should also request details of the country’s chemical and biological arsenal, a demand Kim found unexpected, and for which he was unprepared, and refused. Trump then broke off the meeting before substantive negotiations had even begun.”

We may all too easily forget the anticipation before these crucial talks between Trump and Kim Jong Un, where it at least looked possible that Trump might “do a deal” on a basis that the North Koreans could accept. The early signs were more than promising, with Kim Jong Un assuring that he would not have been there had he not sought progress on denuclearisation, and Trump prepared to take him at his word. While “substantive negotiations” had not begun, the North Koreans had already suggested they would make very significant concessions in return for the lifting of some sanctions and some other commitments by the US to reduce tensions – “security guarantees” in other words.

It’s worth noting in this context that Sergei Lavrov, speaking at a parallel meeting of the Valdai Club in Ho Chi Minh city had stated quite clearly that the US must make significant concessions, rather than demanding that the DPRK completely denuclearise before lifting sanctions. As always it’s worth reading Lavrov’s wide-ranging and straightforward remarks on the poor state of the world and the destabilizing and destructive role being played by the US.

The necessity for lifting some sanctions on the DPRK is further emphasized by the news that their food production this year is severely restricted by the worst climatic conditions for a decade, making food imports and relief urgent. Their demands for sanctions relief in Hanoi concerned this issue rather than anything connected with the nuclear program.

The truth of the story of Bolton’s demands, which look very much like a planned act of sabotage, is beyond doubt and endorsed in statements from South Korea’s former unification minister Chong Se-Hyun published in Korean newspapers and reported elsewhere. The Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian also covered the story on the following Monday, but this was a temporary blip on their normally unchallenging sympathy for the official US viewpoint. Australia’s other State broadcaster the ABC, however, made no mention of it, simply repeating Trump’s cover-up claim on the sanctions removal.

These media along with their Western partners in officially approved disinformation are now once again adding to the rumor mill on “North Korea’s ongoing nuclear threat” with suspect stories about the renewal of a missile launching site. Satellite photos taken only hours after the failure of the talks claim to show such activity.  The Australian Strategic Policy Institute, which has close links to government, has meanwhile warned that moves to scale down the annual war games proposed belatedly as a “goodwill gesture” by the US, are “dangerous and will embolden the North”.

Putting things into a wider perspective, former Australian ambassador to the UN and nuclear disarmament negotiator Richard Butler added his weight to the subject the following day with this footnote on Broinowski’s article:

“This report has now been confirmed by a report published in the March 4th edition of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which cites a statement by the DPRK Foreign Minister, Ri Yong-Ho, in Hanoi, that “John Bolton disrupted the talks by demanding that North Korea disclose its chemical and biological arsenal as well as its nuclear arsenals”. This would seem to answer the question I posed in my article on whether or not a spanner had been thrown into the works and if so, by whom? Not unusually, there seems to have been no report of this highly salient fact by western mainstream media.”

What matters here however is not simply to expose the misinformed and fraudulent claims made about the failure of the Hanoi talks. Bolton and his allies – whoever they are – evidently sought to sabotage the talks and the possibility of agreement and détente, against the intention of Donald Trump. The last thing they want is to lose the pretext for maintaining and expanding missile systems in the region aimed at threatening or “countering” China. An informative report from the East Asia Forum think-tank also makes this suggestion:

For many in the US security community the ‘no deal’ comes as a relief. There were concerns that Trump would be eager to rush into a deal, no matter what the costs of the concessions, to claim the diplomatic achievement for his administration. This seemed an over-urgent goal due to the impending report by FBI special prosecutor Robert Mueller on the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia and possible obstruction of justice, as well as the heat on Trump from his former fixer Michael Cohen’s damning testimony last week to Congress.

So far from returning to the US with an extra feather in his golden cap, Donald Trump came home to face the music, and not just from the Russia-gate witch-hunt. Even though he had called off the talks with Kim Jong Un, he had already engaged in friendly exchanges and pleasantries that some found offensive, inviting media to repeat the tired nonsense about his dealings with President Putin – that “Trump takes the advice of “dictators” over that of his own intelligence community”. (perhaps not an unwise move under the circumstances!)

The story of his brief meeting with Kim then immediately focussed on how Trump had “taken Kim’s word” over the case of Otto Warmbier, the detained American student allegedly killed by mistreatment in a North Korean hospital. The grotesque demand of the DPRK for $500 million compensation for his death from a US court illustrates the problem that many in the US seem to have in relating to those with a different viewpoint and different attitude. If similar suits were brought against the US government by relatives of the millions of North Koreans who have died over the last sixty-five years as a direct or indirect result of US aggression and sanctions, the US would be bankrupted.

It’s hard not to conclude that the man who was considered “too extreme” to join the regime of George W Bush because of his preference for armed attacks and even nuclear strikes over diplomacy has now launched a soft coup against his own President. Immediately following the Vietnam venture, Bolton was making threats of military action against Venezuela’s President Maduro which had a strange resonance. The demand that Venezuela’s democratically elected President be replaced by an unknown and unelected puppet selected and launched like a missile into Caracas by the US and its European allies is now being copied by the self-selected “Interim President of the United States”, John Bolton.

And a world under this new de facto President with his choice of puppet might just make us look back on the Golden Age of Trump if we are lucky enough to survive it.

March 8, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 3 Comments

US Taxpayers On the Hook for Nearly $1 Billion in Saudi Arabia’s Recent Missile Defense Purchase

By Whitney Webb | MintPress News | March 8, 2019

WASHINGTON — On Monday, in an all-but-unreported news item, the Pentagon announced that it would be paying $946 million to Lockheed Martin toward the installation of a missile defense system that was purchased — not by the United States government — but by Saudi Arabia. In other words, the Pentagon is paying nearly $1 billion to subsidize a purchase made by a foreign power.

In its announcement, the Pentagon referred to the payment as an “undefinitized contract action” that would be used, in part, to prepare Saudi Arabia’s current missile defense system for the installation of the $15 billion Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system manufactured by Lockheed.

The Pentagon said the payment was intended to prevent major delays in the delivery and production of the THAAD system, suggesting it was likely a hedge against past Saudi interest in the THAAD’s main (and cheaper) competitor, the Russian-made S-400. However, the payment is also authorized for use by Lockheed to pay for materials, tools and engineering development.

The Saudi THAAD purchase was a major component of the “$110 billion” weapons deal much touted by the Trump administration in 2017. However, many of the key purchases within that massive deal were never finalized, an embarrassment for what the administration had advertised as a major foreign policy success that would create jobs in the United States, even though many Lockheed products are actually manufactured abroad.

A better deal for a better product down the block

One likely explanation for the Pentagon’s willingness to pay such a significant amount to subsidize the Saudi THAAD system is the fact that the Saudi government had intended to purchase the cheaper and more effective Russian-made S-400 instead of the THAAD. Indeed, as MintPress News reported last year, the Saudis let the deadline for the THAAD deal pass on September 30 of last year without signing, and instead expressed interest in the S-400. The Saudis also refused U.S. government requests to disavow its interest in the Russian-made system.

Just two days after the THAAD deadline passed, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared. His disappearance and alleged murder caused international outrage, surprising many observers, as even the most outrage-prone U.S. politicians generally turn a blind eye to Saudi human-rights violations. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who became one of the most vocal critics of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) after Khashoggi’s disappearance, is also heavily funded by Lockheed Martin, which is the largest contributor to his 2020 re-election campaign.

The furor over Khashoggi’s death — which appears to have been, in part, influenced by Saudi lack of interest in the THAAD system — eventually pressured the Saudi government enough to sign letters of offer and acceptance for their purchase of 44 THAAD launchers, missiles and related equipment in November.

However, in order to entice the Saudis to “buy American,” more than political pressure appears to have been needed and it is likely that U.S. officials offered to “sweeten the deal.” Given this context, the Pentagon’s $946 million payout to prevent installation delays appears to be one of these concessions, as the U.S. government continues to scramble to keep its allies from buying the THAAD’s top competitor, the Russian S-400. Unfortunately for them, it’s the U.S. taxpayers who are footing the bill.

Whitney Webb is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism

March 8, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , , | 1 Comment

The Stench of Color Revolution in Serbia

By Tim KIRBY | Strategic Culture Foundation | 08.03.2019

At any given moment there are mass protests happening somewhere for some reason. Whether the protestors have a legitimate call to arms is a very delicate question. However for the Mainstream Media things are much more black and white and this narrative is a critical component of each and every Color Revolution.

Over the last few months a protest movement has sparked up in Serbia and we are going to take a look at this via the mainstream media coverage of it. The actual motivations behind it (although proving motivation beyond a reasonable doubt is impossible) do not matter so much as what the media declares them to be. The Mainstream Media creates a narrative about the movement in order to either motivate us to sympathize with those in the streets (thus legitimizing them) or to be repulsed and afraid of them (thus blocking any chance of legitimacy). Ignoring the obvious and hoping it goes away is a common third option.

You will see this dynamic in action if we take a look at the BBC’s breakdown of the protests

“Thousands of demonstrators in Serbia have rallied for the fifth week against President Aleksandar Vucic.

Protesters say the president has seized control of the media and launched attacks on the opposition and journalists.

An attack on opposition politician Borko Stefanovic by unknown assailants in November triggered the marches.

Opposition umbrella group Alliance for Serbia (SZS) says they were supporters of Mr Vucic – a claim authorities deny.”

At a quick glance this may seem very neutral but the first words of the article make a very bold hint to the subconscious of the reader. First off, the BBC makes it clear that the protestors are just normal Serbian citizens, when in fact all protests are organized and the more successful ones are organized by professional activists. Thousands of normal people on their own don’t just drop their lives for two months to walk around with signs in the hope of making some abstract changes. Even if the masses agree with the protestors there is no way to prove this.

The next form of manipulation is that the BBC and no other media outlet offers any other motives for the attack on Stefanovic other than “protestors say Vucic’s guys did it”, which essentially tells the reader that Vucic is guilty. There is no alternative and if anyone who supports you does a crime then you are guilty even if you have millions of supporters from all walks of life and levels of sanity.

Next if we take a look at Euronews’s situation breakdown then we can see that there is more Color Revolution language….

What are their (the protestors’) demands?

They demand more media freedom and more coverage of opposition groups by the public broadcaster as well as an end to attacks on journalists and opposition figures.”

This is something that sounds nice and reasonable at first, but is actually impossible to implement because it is not a concrete demand. No matter what a government does the opposition could always claim that it is not enough.

For example, if the government in Country X banned Product Y and the population was organized to march to change the law then the government could legalize Product Y and the protestors would get what they want and go home. As long as the government did not look weak during this reversal on position this would pose no threat to causing a Color Revolution. That is why concrete demands are horrible if you want a regime change.

So how can make “media freedom” into a concrete demand? How many “opposition” members are needed in Serbia’s media and in what capacity would be “freedom”? I am sure Serbia has a few Neo-Nazis, Satanists and NAMBLA members in the hills somewhere, do they need access to the media too, they are opposition groups after all, right?

Euronews continues their breakdown…

“Vucic, who has served as president of Serbia since May 2017, became known for his nationalist stance following the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1992.”

In EU-speak being called a nationalist basically means you are a hardcore Hitlerian Nazi. (Deutsche Welle called him “Ultranationalistic”, meaning he is definitely an Ultra Nazi) Furthermore this text is placed a few lines above a picture of Vucic standing next to Vladimir Putin. This drives home the portrayal of him as the bad guy aligned with the Evil Putin. This photo is of some relevance as the protests did spark up around the time of a visit by the Russian President, but then again if you do a Google search for pictures of Vucic you can see him shaking hands with Xi, Trump and Merkel who all hold very different ideological views. They could have shown him in this article with the Angel I, the Queen of EU, but they chose the KGB dark Tsar instead on purpose.

Deutsche Welle early in the article mentioned above lays out the protestors supposed motivations in a very clear Color Revolution tone.

“… what they called a climate of “political violence” created by Vucic and his Serbian Progressive Party”

One would think that journalists, when hearing an accusation of a “climate of violence” would try to present the evidence regarding said violence but DW just sort of lets it fly to the readers that there is some kind of conditions for brutality somewhere, that are somehow consciously caused by one man – The President of Serbia. Violence is very easy to measure, an abstract climate of violence is not and therefore it is good Color Revolution rhetoric – you can accuse the enemy of widespread violence even if there is no actual violence.

DW continues their “journalism” by writing…

“A group of opposition leaders last week drafted an “agreement with the citizens” listing their next steps, including not to take part in an election until the conditions for a free and fair vote are met.”

If the people on Vucic’s side who are also activists made an “agreement with the citizens” would that also bear some sort of legitimacy? DW makes no effort to question by what authority the protestors assume they represent the masses of the nation. Every Mainstream Media outlet writes that there are “thousands” of protestors, yet thousands of people in any country that is not a tiny island are a small percent of the population at best.

So what we can see is that across the board the European Mainstream Media is saying.

  • Some violence happened somehow so Vucic is responsible 100% (Regime Change Warranted)
  • There is a climate of violence and Vucic is responsible 100% (Regime Change Warranted)
  • The protestors are large in number (“thousands” of them!) and represent the average Serbian disgusted with Vucic (Regime Change Warranted)
  • Vucic is some kind of ultra-mega Nazi because he is not ashamed of being Serbian and talked to Putin (Regime Change Warranted)
  • The protestors’ impossibly vague demands must be met even though doing so is impossible, “muh rights”. (Regime Change Warranted)

March 8, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 2 Comments

Regime Change Reality Checks: Lessons from Hanoi, Caracas, and Beyond

Lessons from Hanoi: North Korea and the US

By Maximilian C. Forte | Zero Anthropology | March 7, 2019

The first Kim-Trump Summit, which took place in Singapore a mere eight months ago, seemed so hopeful—a real breakthrough, a new landmark, new history being made. Of course it was due to Trump’s extreme threats—to totally destroy North Korea with fire and fury—that inflated the value of the first summit in the first place. Trump now likes to assert that had he not been elected president, the US would now be at war with North Korea. One cannot prove such an assertion right, or wrong, since it is impossible to prove “what would have been”. We can, however, assume that if, (a) the prior state of relations had continued untouched (unlike Trump, who actively went about making North Korea into the kind of problem he never mentioned during his electoral campaign), and, (b) without any threats from the US (and certainly without any of Trump’s extreme threats), then it is likely that, like before, open war would not have been on the horizon. Trump put in an extra effort into magnifying “the problem of North Korea,” and then made a special effort to “fix” the problem—only he has not fixed anything really, and now Trump is hostage to whatever North Korea decides to do, a fact that could mean North Korea could do something to negatively affect Trump’s chances of getting re-elected by reminding the US electorate of just how badly Trump failed. Meanwhile, North Korea has in fact achieved all of the extra time which analysts said it needed in order to finally complete development of its nuclear weapons program. No longer being published are articles suggesting that North Korea is not quite ready to strike the US mainland, and to do so over and over. As I wrote in an end-of-year review essay in 2018:

“It would be one of the most striking of ironies if Trump, who campaigned against globalism, were to lose his next electoral campaign thanks to the impact of foreign forces, regardless of whether they are China, North Korea, Iran, or others. On the other hand, it should serve as a reminder that as long as US presidents style themselves as ‘war presidents’ or ‘foreign policy presidents,’ then it should be expected that they will be vulnerable to the influences of developments beyond their borders. And it’s a fitting outcome, given the extent to which the US interferes in other nations…”.

Was the second Kim-Trump summit, in Hanoi, a “failure”? Some analysts seem confused about this question, and are very reticent to call it a failure. How does one define failure? In this case, the meeting failed to produce an agreement. The meeting failed to produce an advance toward any of the stated goals of the last meeting—even the value of simply talking was called into question by Trump walking out and thus ceasing to talk. The result was the same as if the two sides had chosen not to meet, only worse, because they had in fact met and now for the expended effort they had little or nothing to show. Now the two sides do not even know if they will meet again.

Trump did his best to downplay the significance of his walking out, but by blaming events such as the congressional testimony of his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen—which was truly riveting—Trump seemed to suggest that the summit had indeed been a failure. Had it not been a failure, then there would be no need to blame anyone for anything.

Trump reaped the fruit of his labour, and that of his predecessors, in Hanoi. There are lessons to be learned here (which means that thanks to the “mindless inertia of history,” nothing will be learned). The Hanoi summit produced the kinds of results which were foreseen by some, like Patrick Lawrence who argued that, “it is clear what would produce a breakthrough if Trump truly wants one”: first, exempting the extensive North-South Korean development plans from sanctions; second, relaxing the untenable US demand that North Korea surrender everything before any sanctions can be lifted—that the US in effect would concede nothing at all, until it got everything. That is not a negotiating position; rather, it is a demand for unconditional surrender. Such a position also erroneously implies that North Korea has no cards on its side of the table—when clearly it does—and thus the failure of the summit bites the US. But there is even more that can be learned from this failure.

Regime change, sanctions, and violations of international law all came back to haunt Trump. The US president could not do and say things in one arena, and then turn around in another and pretend that the big smile on his face would make people forget. Such a strategy assumes that all people, like Americans presumably, are incapable of connecting the dots and seeing how one side of a face contradicts the other side. In terms of international law, Trump—and his predecessors—had already established the fact that any agreement reached with the US might not be worth the paper on which it was printed. Trump tore up the JCPOA (the Iran nuclear agreement), even though Iran had violated none of its provisions, and all the other parties to the agreement defended its value. Likewise, Obama attacked Libya after his predecessor had promised benefits in return for Libya disarming itself. There is already too much painful evidence that the US uses disarmament agreements as a maliciously destructive trick—evidence enough for North Korea not to play the role of the sucker, especially when people like John Bolton openly talked about a “Libya model” with reference to North Korea. Expecting the North Koreans to simply ignore all of this is to assume that they are either beyond desperate, or just stupid, or both. Then there is the problem that the US Congress might not ratify any agreement secured by Trump—a fact that allowed Trump to walk out of the JCPOA. Note how the US Congress has yet to even begin talking of ratifying the USMCA, the successor to NAFTA. The US record of respecting international law is utterly abysmal, whether it is dismissing negative judgments by the International Court of Justice (on Nicaragua and Iran), or by the UN Human Rights Council on Venezuela, or its unlawful acts of aggression against Iraq, Libya, and Syria, or its commission of torture, extrajudicial executions, extraterritorial sanctions, violation of diplomatic missions, propaganda inciting violence, and so forth. In other words, North Korea has been given very little reason to trust the US.

Sanctions clearly stood in the path of achieving anything of substance at the Hanoi summit. Once the US imposes sanctions, it never seems to know how to scale down. Sanctions become effectively permanent, an end in themselves. In place of removing sanctions, US officials, politicians, and the media elevate trivial and basic courtesies to the level of grand concessions: they thus inflate the value of a mere handshake, a photo, or a phone call. They therefore confuse the symbolic with the material, hence the insufferable US fretting about “optics” (image management). North Korea is dealing with a dangerously armed adversary that is also narcissistic, superficial, and dishonest—an ugly combination. What also stands out are the drastically differing visions of “total denuclearization of the Korean peninsula”. The US seems to think this means that North Korea would totally destroy all of its nuclear weapons manufacturing facilities and surrender all of its nuclear weapons. A different, more balanced view, is that the US should also dismantle its ability to threaten North Korea with nuclear destruction—or else how can one argue that the Korean peninsula has been “denuclearized”? What Trump walked out on was an entirely reasonable proposition offered by North Korea: the partial destruction of its nuclear facilities, in return for the partial termination of US sanctions (those that most hurt civilians). The US knew that North Korea would not surrender the keys that ensured regime survival. Even Trump himself did not expect full “denuclearization” to be an outcome, so what did he expect? Trump misrepresenting the North Korean offer does not help matters for the future. Furthermore, well before the Hanoi summit, Kim Jong-un made it plainly clear that he expected the US to make concessions in return for concessions on his side. Intelligent arguments that even peace without disarmament would be a great achievement, were simply ignored. After all, Nixon’s deal with China did not require China to disarm, nor did Reagan’s agreements with Russia. The longer that the US continues maintaining the absurd position that a peace declaration is itself a concession, the longer such talks will continue to fail.

Regime change: when at the very same time that the US continues to threaten Iran and Venezuela, and the US president has committed himself to a war on socialism both at home and abroad, then why would a communist leader of the DPRK sit down with Trump and expect a balanced relationship of mutual respect? North Korea is dealing with the same US where Trump’s friends, including influential senators like Marco Rubio, wave pictures of a brutally murdered Muammar Gaddafi and publicly take lusty pride in regime change atrocity. Trump’s monologues in Twitter, where he fantasized about how much North Korea could be transformed (thanks to US capital investment), is basically a veiled desire by an acknowledged plunderer to steal North Korea out from under its people. Until the US formally and officially renounces regime change, permanently, it can continue to expect more failures like we witnessed in Hanoi.

The US might not be willing to learn these lessons, but North Korea certainly has: even before the summit there was news suggesting that North Korea was moving forward with its nuclear weapons program, and after the summit came more news that North Korea is rebuilding missile facilities.

Lessons from Caracas: One Failed Test after Another

The US is facing the distinct prospect that President Maduro will outlast President Trump, the latter becoming even more vulnerable to domestic efforts that seek to remove him from office by impeaching and/or imprisoning him—and in any case Trump’s re-election is far from certain. It’s one of the ironies to be discussed later, that Trump—the target of a domestic regime change movement—should align himself with his opponents in seeking the overthrow of a foreign leader. Can Americans ever make these connections?

There are a number of foreign leaders that the US tried to overthrow, for decades, leaders the US commanded “must go” and whose “days” were supposedly numbered. One of them, Fidel Castro, outlived and/or outlasted US presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, and Obama, before finally passing away naturally at a very advanced age. Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad was told to go by Obama, who also said his days were numbered—Obama is gone, Assad is still firmly in power. The succession from Kim Il-sung to Kim Jong-un in North Korea is one that outlasted as many US presidential administrations as Cuba has done. Having the “mighty US” as a determined opponent is no guarantee that a government will simply collapse. On the other hand, having the US as a “friend” is no guarantee against the US one day deciding to assassinate or abduct a proxy.

The US-led regime change effort in Venezuela, by most accounts, is coming apart. Certainly, the sanctions are doing what they were intended to do: to inflict maximum hardship on all Venezuelans, regardless of their political affiliations. The legitimate government of Venezuela, however, has already shown an ability and determination to continue, in spite of those sanctions—so the sanctions are failing, just as they have always failed everywhere else to bring about regime change. The US then established two key tests by which to measure success in its efforts to overthrow President Maduro: one was the failed attempt to force entry for fake “humanitarian aid” from the US, and the second was the failure of daring the Venezuelan authorities to arrest Juán Guaidó when he recently returned to Venezuela after ignoring a court-ordered travel ban. It turns out that Guaidó does not matter enough to be arrested—he can travel freely in or out of Venezuela, because who cares.

The US had threatened Venezuela, obliquely, with an unspecified “strong and significant response” should Guaidó be arrested. That was the US engaging in projection: we dare you to arrest Guaidó, because we want you to arrest him. The Venezuelan authorities instantly sniffed out the bait—it was a clumsy attempt by the US to fabricate a provocation, while simultaneously inflating Guaidó’s value as an opposition “leader,” “interim president” even. It was thus an effort by the US to turn a joke into something serious and substantial. The likes of John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and Mike Pence would have gladly “martyred” Guaidó for the cause, if this could advance US aims—and if Guaidó were smart (doubtful proposition), he would be looking over his back in two different directions at once. As it turns out, however, not even an arrest warrant was ever issued for Guaidó.

It’s not surprising then to already see a number of articles and interviews outlining the failures, the incompetence, the sheer frivolity, the lumbering foolishness, and disarray into which US regime change has fallen. This is added to the failed US-backed coup attempt against President Hugo Chávez in 2002. American frustration is palpable.

Lessons from Ottawa: Fix Your Own Damned House

They were already preparing their excuses, with fear-mongering from state media about “Russian meddling” in upcoming Canadian elections. The ruling Liberals, under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau—unable to free Canada from continuing US tariffs, despite caving in to Trump on NAFTA, were still pushing the Russia conspiracy theories (Russia, which never slapped tariffs on Canada, unlike our “friends”). But is it “Russian meddling” even when Canada furnishes RT.com with such a delicious opportunity to trounce Trudeau as this one? (See Danielle Ryan’s excellent, “Surprise! ‘Progressive hero’ Justin Trudeau is a fraud and a hypocrite”.)

More than once, but much more so now, Justin Trudeau has been exposed as a fraud, an empty, virtue-signalling hypocrite who, behind the masks of “diversity” and “inclusion,” panders as a minor technocrat in the service of transnational capitalists and powerful financial donors to his Liberal Party. In an ongoing saga of his abuse of power, unfolding still as this is being written, Trudeau has been revealed as attempting to pervert the course of justice in a series of moves that look increasingly corrupt.

Explosive truths were revealed by the former Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould, who resigned (starting a series of high-profile resignations). She resigned in protest against Trudeau’s attempts to pressure her to change the course of the prosecution against the firm SNC-Lavalin (whose executives, by the way, once sat on the Board of Governors of Concordia University). One immediate result was that Trudeau lost any “moral authority” to govern Canada. Having demanded that President Maduro in Venezuela get out of office, now Trudeau faced the same domestic curse suffered by other regime changers before him, including Nicolas Sarkozy, Hillary Clinton, David Cameron, and possibly Trump. Now the calls were all about demanding that Trudeau himself go, that he immediately resign, and that early elections should be called in Canada. (At least the Conservatives are being tragically consistent: they want regime change both at home and in Venezuela.)

When all of the sordid details are played out, over and over again, during the upcoming electoral campaign, and the Liberals lose, they will likely cry about “Russian interference”. In other words, they will lose like losers. Can Canadians ever make such connections?

Lessons from Tel Aviv: Also Fix Your Own Damned House

At the same time as Justin Trudeau’s collapse in Canada, Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu has been formerly indicted on corruption charges. Netanyahu, who endorsed regime change in Iraq, Libya, Iran, Syria, and most recently Venezuela too, instead faces domestic regime change.

Who exactly are these people? Where do such persons come from? I mean these figures who presume to wag a finger at others, to lecture and even hector them, commanding the removal of this leader and demanding the resignation of the other leader, when just behind them are closets full of skeletons?

Lessons

Among the lessons of these recent episodes, or what I call “reality checks” for regime change, are the following, pretty basic ones (perhaps that is one reason why they are so easily forgotten or overlooked:

  • Impunity: Can Western leaders afford to govern imperiously, as if they could afford to rule with impunity? No, there are always consequences, and the less powerful and the more vulnerable the leader, the greater the impact of those consequences. Having worked to establish regime change as acceptable in the international sphere, they cannot escape its domestic applications and translations. Having interfered in the domestic affairs of other nations, they invite other nations to do the same in return.
  • Limits to power: one can sanction, threaten, demand, petition, smear or even invade a target state, but there is little guarantee that what will result is regime change. Not even being opposed by the world financial centre equipped with the most powerful military, means that regime change is a certain outcome.
  • Loss of credibility: loss of legitimacy inevitably follows from the loss of credibility. It means there is a loss of persuasive authority. A Western leader of a liberal democracy, who threatens and demands the resignation of another country’s leader, better have all his ducks in a row at home. If it is discovered that you routinely lied about your behind-the-scenes actions at home, why should anybody believe you when you start preaching about those abroad?
  • Authoritarian liberalism: we live in a period where supposed liberals, acting putatively in the name of saving “liberalism” and “liberal democracy,” resort to the most illiberal means. Liberals today are more likely to be reactionary, orthodox, authoritarian, and even violent. Whatever checklist of contemporary “threats” and “dangers” you might be keeping, feel free to add liberals to it.
  • The power of elections: while I cannot do this subject any justice in just a few words, we have to beware the seductive belief that elections will result in real change. For example, in the US, it is very doubtful that elections themselves will end the regime change addiction that pervades American society, American moralism, and American exceptionalism. Right now, those who can be counted on—unreliably—as standing against regime change, can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Even if any one of them ever won presidential office, the big question we should be asking (especially since 2016), is whether they would even be allowed to effectively govern. American politicians are notorious flip-flopping fabricators of fables, so even those who seem to be against regime change one day, are likely to disappoint the very next day. It will have to be something beyond elections that impedes the US will to engage in regime change.

March 8, 2019 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Government to Facebook Pipeline Reveals a Corrupt Mix of Social Media and the State

By Matt AGORIST | The Free Thought Project | February 2, 2019

As the Free Thought Project has previously reported, the phrase “Facebook is a private company” is not accurate as they have formed a partnership with an insidious neoconservative “think tank” known as the Atlantic Council which is directly funded and made up of groups tied to the pharmaceutical industry, the military industrial complex, and even government itself. The Atlantic Council dictates to Facebook who is allowed on the platform and who is purged.

Because the Atlantic Council is funded in part by the United States government—and they are making decisions for Facebook—this negates the claim that the company is private.

Since our six million followers and years of hard work were wiped off the platform during the October purge, TFTP has consistently reported on the Atlantic Council and their ties to the social media giant. This week, however, we’ve discovered something just as ominous—the government to Facebook pipeline and revolving door.

It is a telltale sign of a corrupt industry or company when they create a revolving door between themselves and the state. Just like Monsanto has former employees on the Supreme Court and Pharmaceutical industry insiders move back and fourth from the FDA to their companies, we found that Facebook is doing the same thing.

Below are just a few of corrupt connections we’ve discovered while digging through the list of current and former employees within Facebook.

Facebook’s Head of Cybersecurity Policy—aka, the man who doles out the ban hammer to anyone he wishes—is Nathaniel Gleicher. Before Gleicher was censoring people at Facebook, he prosecuted cybercrime at the U.S. Department of Justice, and served as Director for Cybersecurity Policy at the National Security Council (NSC) in the Obama White House.

While Facebook may have an interest in seeking out Gleicher’s expertise, this man is an outspoken advocate of tyranny.

After deleting the pages of hundreds of antiwar and pro-peace media and activist outlets in October, last month, Facebook made another giant move to silence. This time, they had no problem noting that they went after pages whose specific missions were “anti-corruption” or “protest” movements. And it was all headed up by Gleicher.

“Some of the Pages frequently posted about topics like anti-NATO sentiment, protest movements, and anti-corruption,” Gleicher wrote in a blog post. “We are constantly working to detect and stop this type of activity because we don’t want our services to be used to manipulate people.”

Seems totally legit, right?

The list goes on.

In 2017, as the Russian/Trump propaganda ramped up, Facebook hired Joel Benenson, a former top adviser to President Barack Obama and the chief strategist for Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 presidential campaign, as a consultant.

While filling team Zuck with Obama and Clinton advisers, Facebook hired Aneesh Raman, a former Obama speechwriter who now heads up Facebook’s “economic impact programming.”

Highlighting the revolving door aspect of Facebook and the US government is Sarah Feinberg who left the Obama train in 2011 to join Facebook as the director of corporate and strategic communications. She then moved on after and went back to Obama in 2015 to act as the administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

David Recordon also highlights the revolving door between Facebook and the government. Recordon was the former Director of IT for Obama’s White House. He was also Engineering Director at Facebook prior to his role at the White House, and returned to the position after the 2016 election. He is currently Engineering Director for the Chan-Zuckerberg initiative.

Starting to see a pattern of political influence here? You should. But just in case you don’t, the list goes on.

Meredith Carden—who, you guessed, came from the Obama administration — joined the Facebook clan last year to be a part of Facebook’s “News Integrity Team.” Now, she’s battling fake news on the platform and as we’ve shown, there is a ridiculous amount of selective enforcement of these so-called “standards.”

In fact, there are dozens of former Obama staffers, advisers, and campaign associates who quite literally fill Facebook’s ranks. It is no wonder the platform has taken such a political shift over the past few years. David Ploufe, Josh W. Higgins, Lauryn Ogbechie, Danielle Cwirko-GodyckiSarah Pollack, Ben Forer, Bonnie Calvin, and Juliane Sun, are just some of the many Facebook execs hailing out of the Obama era White House.

But fret not right wingers, Facebook likes their neocons too.

Jamie Fly, who was a top adviser to neocon Florida Senator Marco Rubio and who started his career in US political circles as an adviser to the George W. Bush administration, actually took credit for the massive purge of peaceful antiwar pages that took place last October.

“They can invent stories that get repeated and spread through different sites. So we are just starting to push back. Just this last week Facebook began starting to take down sites. So this is just the beginning,” Fly said in December.

Fly backs up his words with the fact that he works with Facebook’s arm of the Atlantic Council to ensure those dangerous antiwar folks don’t keep pushing their propaganda of peace and community.

And yes, this list goes on.

Joel David Kaplan is Facebook’s vice president of global public policy. Prior to his major role within Facebook, Kaplan took the place of neocon extraordinaire Karl Rove as the White House Deputy Chief of Staff for George W. Bush. Before that, from 2001 to 2003 he was Special Assistant to the President for Policy within the White House Chief of Staff’s office. Then he served as Deputy Director of the Office of Management And Budget (OMB).

Myriah Jordan was a special policy assistant in the Bush White House, who was hired on as a policy manager for Facebook’s congressional relations team—aka, a lobbyist. Jordan has moved back and forth between the private sector and the US government multiple times over his career as he’s made millions greasing the skids of the state for his corrupt employers.

So there you have it. Facebook, who claims to be a private entity, is quite literally made up of and advised by dozens of members of government. We’re ready for a change, are you?

March 8, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 1 Comment