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Establishment Narrative Managers Struggle With New Syria Plot Holes

By Caitlin Johnstone | May 20, 2019

It has been about a week since the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media (WGSPM) published a leaked internal document from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) investigation into an alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria last year. The document, whose authenticity the OPCW has confirmed, contends that the official story which was used to justify an air strike by the US, UK and France about poison gas being dropped on civilians from Syrian government helicopters is scientifically implausible, saying “In summary, observations at the scene of the two locations, together with subsequent analysis, suggest that there is a higher probability that both cylinders were manually placed at those two locations rather than being delivered from aircraft.”

The document, titled “Engineering Assessment of Two Cylinders Observed at the Douma Incident”, was signed by a man named Ian Henderson, whose name is seen listed in expert leadership positions on OPCW documents from as far back as 1998 and as recently as 2018. The OPCW hid this information from the public, for reasons it has yet to attempt to justify.

The fact that a longtime OPCW-trained investigator wildly dissented with the OPCW’s official conclusions within the OPCW’s own investigation should obviously have been made public knowledge, and this revelation should obviously have made headline news throughout the western media. Instead, it’s been completely ignored. Only a few alternative media outlets and the usual Russian publications have covered it.

“According to ProQuest database, [Peter] Hitchens’ piece is the only mention in any UK corporate newspaper so far,” tweeted media analysis site Media Lens yesterday.

So there’s a total media blackout on this story from the usual plutocratic news outlets, which is a huge story in and of itself. Just as significantly, the less well-known propagandists who are typically the first to attack any argument which casts doubt on the “Assad is a child-gassing monster who must be stopped at all cost” imperial narrative have been incredibly feeble in their attempts to dispute this new revelation.

Bellingcat is a pro-NATO narrative management firm which has defended ridiculous Syria regime change propaganda like the Bana Alabed psyop, and is consistently elevated with fawning puff pieces and collaborative reports from major mass media outlets like the Guardian and the New York Times. As of this writing it has published absolutely nothing on the Engineering Assessment. Nothing for, nothing against. Nothing. The outlet’s incredibly shady founder, Eliot Higgins, has responded to this new revelation by pinning a tweet citing a completely baseless theory that the WGSPM “got played by a disgruntled OPCW employee.”

“This reporting by @Brian_Whit on the leaked Douma report that the conspiracy theorists and chemical weapon denialists are so excited about is consistent with what I’m hearing. Looks like they all got played by a disgruntled OPCW employee,” Higgins tweeted with a link to a Medium article by UK reporter and virulent Syria regime change cheerleader Brian Whitaker, adding, “This is why the Syrian Propaganda Group needs to work on verifying things it decides to republish, even if it fits with their attempts to deny chemical weapon use in Syria, otherwise they just get played by people with their own agenda.”

The silliness of this argument was pointed out by journalist Aaron Maté, who responded, “What ‘reporting’? He’s citing rumors that he acknowledges are ‘not confirmed.’ Regardless, the document comes from OPCW, as Whitaker’s update notes. The question now is whose findings are accurate — and there’s nothing in this article that challenges the leaked findings.”

Maté highlighted portions of the text that Higgins shared from Whitaker’s article, which I will put in bold here:

“One story circulating in the chemical weapons community (though not confirmed) is that Henderson had wanted to join the FFM and got rebuffed but was then given permission to do some investigating on the sidelines of the FFM. The suggestion (again, not confirmed) is that this was a way of extending his contract at the OPCW. If true, it might explain how he appeared to be working with the FFM while not (according to the OPCW press office) actually being part of it.”

Even if all of the completely unconfirmed things Whitaker is speculating are true, it wouldn’t actually negate the importance of the Engineering Assessment; this is merely an attempt to divert attention from the message to the messenger. And, again, this was a post that Higgins pinned to the top of his Twitter profile. It was his very best argument.

It is not terribly surprising that Higgins has struggled to address this new revelation, partly because there’s not much ground upon which for him to do so, and partly because in the midst of an online debate in the wake of the alleged Douma attacks he already conceded that one of the gas cylinders may have been manually placed where it was photographed.

“Again, you’re assuming it was photographed in its original resting place and not moved. Keep up,” Higgins tweeted following the April 2018 incident in response to someone questioning the strange placement and circumstances of one of the cylinders. It was lying on an unbroken bed in relatively good condition and people were rightly perplexed as to why it hadn’t shattered the bed base upon impact.

Idrees Ahmad, a particularly loathsome anti-Assad regime change propagandist who has smoothly transitioned into an anti-Maduro regime change propagandist as well when the US empire focused its crosshairs on Venezuela, has had similar difficulty in addressing the leaked document. Ahmad flipped out and posted dozens of tweets in response to Susan Sarandon sharing my article about the OPCW’s admission that the Henderson report is legitimate. His arguments range in brilliance from falsely claiming that I am an “Australian fascist”, to repeatedly arguing that Henderson’s conclusions differ from the official OPCW report (duh), to repeatedly regurgitating Higgins’ aforementioned baseless argument about Henderson being a “disgruntled OPCW employee”.

So they’ve really got nothing. There is no actual argument to be made that the OPCW had any business keeping the public in the dark about a dissenting assessment about the Douma incident signed by a longtime OPCW investigator. Or if there is I haven’t seen it, and I’ve been looking in all the usual places one might expect such an argument to appear.

There are still plenty of unanswered questions about the Douma incident. The leaked document doesn’t by itself prove that the Engineering Assessment is correct and the official OPCW findings are incorrect, it just proves that there were other analyses which differed sharply with the official conclusions we’ve been permitted to see, and that we weren’t permitted to see those analyses. In a post-Iraq invasion world, this by itself is entirely unacceptable. And, rather than pushing for answers and accountability, the so-called journalists of the largest media outlets in the west are completely ignoring it.

May 21, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Two scenarios on Trump-Russia investigators — and neither is comforting

By Sharyl Attkisson – The Hill – 05/21/19

As the investigations into the Trump-Russia investigation proceed, it’s not too difficult to figure out a few of the theoretical starting points.

The first and most obvious theory is the one largely promulgated in the media for the better part of two years. It goes something like this: The sharp, super-sleuth investigative skills of top officials within the Justice Department and our intel community enabled them to identify Donald Trump and his campaign as treacherous conduits to Russian President Vladimir Putin himself.

That theory was summarily dismissed by special counsel Robert Mueller’s conclusion that there wasn’t so much as even coordination between Russia and Trump, or any American. So that leaves several other possibilities … and none of them is good:

They knew

One possibility to be considered is that top Obama administration officials knew all along there never was any real collusion or crime at play, but they manufactured the false Russia premise in order to justify their political spying.

Under this hypothetical scenario, they wanted to get inside information on the Trump campaign and, perhaps, gather dirt against the competition for blackmail or political purposes.

This effort included surveillance using paid spies and wiretaps on multiple Trump associates, as reported in the press.

The Obama officials had lots of help from foreign players such as the United Kingdom and Russia’s nemesis, Ukraine. Ukrainian-linked Democrats assisted with an early effort to gin up negative press coverage about key players, such as Trump associate Paul Manafort, who had been hired by the pro-Russian Ukrainian government prior to the anti-Russian Ukrainian government taking over in 2014. There were other Ukraine entanglements, such as the lucrative position earning millions of dollars that then-Vice President Joe Biden’s son got in 2015 to serve on the board of a Ukrainian energy company under the anti-Russia Ukraine regime.

Anyhow, under this scenario, after Trump defied all predictions and won the election, those who had conspired against him went into panic mode. They rightly worried that Trump, his national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, and others outside the “establishment” would be able to see what Justice Department and intel officials had been up to in secret.

They were worried that not only would their furtive activities in 2016 be exposed but that their behavior during the past decade-plus, when there were many other documented surveillance and intel abuses. These abuses include improper surveillance of American citizens, political figures, journalists and other targets.

One can only imagine all the things they did that never became public. Whose communications did they pretend to capture accidentally? Whose bank records, photos, emails, text messages, internet history and keystrokes were monitored? What unverified or false evidence did intel officials present to the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to get wiretaps on political enemies? Who improperly “unmasked” whom?

Hypothetically, these government officials — desperate to keep their deeds in the dark — rushed to amplify the Trump-Russia collusion narrative. Putting Trump under investigation, even if under false pretenses, would accomplish the goal of keeping him from poking around into their business and practices. Any attempts he’d make to find out what was going on inside his own Justice Department or intel agencies would automatically be declared “Obstruction!”

However, they were sloppy.

First, they were sloppy in the improper actions they undertook over a decade or more. They never imagined outsiders would ever really get a look at the evidence of their alleged wrongdoing. Then, they became sloppier in their panic-stricken attempts to cover up after Trump got elected.

As you can see, this scenario presumes a level of corruption.

For those who aren’t prepared to accept the possibility that some within our Justice Department and intel community would frame Trump and his associates to keep their own alleged crimes secret, there is at least one other possibility. But it may not be much more palatable.

They didn’t know

If Mueller is correct and there was no collusion or even coordination between Russia and Trump, or any American, and if the Obama administration officials who insisted that was the case are not corrupt, then they collectively suffered from one of the most historically monumental cases of poor judgment in U.S. intelligence history.

Under this scenario, the seasoned experts entrusted to protect our national security committed the kind of bush-league mistakes that few novice investigators would make. They jumped to conclusions with no evidence. They let their own biases lead them down trails in the wrong direction. They misinterpreted evidence, misread people’s actions and barked up the wrong trees. They misconstrued exceedingly common business and political contacts with Russians as deep, dark, dastardly plots. They wasted energy and resources chasing specters, ghosts and conspiracies where none existed.

Under this scenario, the misguided obsession over nonexistent treachery and enemies of the state caused the officials to underestimate or ignore the real threats that were right under their noses.

We do know this much: Only after Trump was elected did these officials ring major alarm bells about the Russians. It’s as if they are utterly unaware that the election interference they suspected and detected happened while they were in charge.

Or maybe they just hope to convince us to look the other way.

Instead of looking the other way, we might be well advised to open the books and examine how these officials were running their shops well before 2016. What does either scenario imply about how these operators behaved behind closed doors? How did they use their power and the powerful tools at their disposal? How well did they guard the nation’s interests and our deepest secrets?

Whether they were corrupt or inept, whether they knew or whether they didn’t know, the questions seem important to answer.

Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson) is an Emmy Award-winning investigative journalist, author of best-sellers “The Smear” and “Stonewalled,” and host of Sinclair’s Sunday TV program, “Full Measure.”

May 21, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception | , , , , , | Leave a comment

US Navy wants to create archive of 350 BILLION social media posts for ‘research’ purposes

RT | May 21, 2019

The US Navy is seeking to create an archive that will store no less than 350 billion social media posts, as part of the military branch’s “research efforts” into “modes of collective expression.”

The Department of the Navy has posted a solicitation asking contractors to bid on a project that would amass a staggering 350 billion social media posts dating from 2014 through 2016. The data will be taken from a single social media platform – but the solicitation does not specify which one.

“We seek to acquire a large-scale global historical archive of social media data, providing the full text of all public social media posts, across all countries and languages covered by the social media platform,” the contract synopsis reads. The Navy said that the archive would be used in “ongoing research efforts” into “the evolution of linguistic communities” and “emerging modes of collective expression, over time and across countries.”

The archive will draw from publicly available social media posts and “no private communications or private user data” will be included in the database. However, all records must include the time and date at which each message was sent and the public user handle associated with the message. Additionally, each record in the archive must include all publicly available meta-data, including country, language, hashtags, location, handle, timestamp, and URLs, that were associated with the original posting.

The data must be collected from at least 200 million unique users in at least 100 countries, with no single country accounting for more than 30 percent of users, the advert says.

While the stated intentions of the project may sound benign, the US government has previously expressed interest in collecting social media data for more eyebrow-raising purposes. Last year, the US Department of Homeland Security issued a notice asking contractors to bid on a database that tracks 290,000 global news sources in over 100 languages. The contract also mentioned the ability to keep tabs on “influencers,” leading some reports to speculate that the proposed database could be used to monitor journalists.

Also on RT:

‘Conspiracy theory’? US Homeland Security wants to track journalists & analyze media ‘sentiment’

Massive Instagram data dump by Indian firm exposed records of millions of influencers – report

May 21, 2019 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | | 1 Comment

What is ‘the Palestinian Cause’?

By Blake Alcott | Palestine Chronicle | May 21, 2019

At a recent Palestine conference in Istanbul, many speakers talked of ‘the Palestinian cause’. Many also spoke of ‘solidarity’ with the Palestinians. What do these words mean?

Although I’ve been active in solidarity with the Palestinian cause for ten years, I had to admit to myself that if asked by a ‘man on the street’ in the West, I could only give a vague or even contradictory answer to the questions of what the cause is, and with what one is being asked to be in solidarity with. We all have a general idea and can point to specific rights violations, or know that Zionism itself is the problem, but a short, precise answer?

In the fight against Apartheid South Africa, internationals like myself could say the cause is ‘one man, one vote’ – a standard human rights-based democracy modeled on constitutions from all over the world. One could point to the Freedom Charter and to the broad anti-Apartheid consensus, after the offer of Bantustans was rejected, as to what internationals are in solidarity with.

In the Civil Rights struggle in the U.S., similarly, there was a clear and unanimous call for equality as citizens. And I suppose that, after most feminists had rejected various offers of partial enfranchisement, men the world over knew exactly what the cause was when they supported Women’s Suffrage.

Palestine is, of course, more complicated, both because it has been divided in addition to being conquered and because the PLO in the late 1980s and early 1990s abandoned the simple goal of national liberation. Consequently, some Palestinians support the two-state solution, some a re-unified democratic state and others a re-unified Islamic state. There is no clarity or straightforward vision.

But can a liberation movement do without a vision that is 1) inspiring and 2) simple to convey?

Which Cause, Solidarity with Which Palestinians?

For some, the cause is a sovereign state, any state, even on 15% of Palestine. This comes however at the price of leaving the diaspora in the diaspora and leaving the Palestinians in Israel to fend for themselves. The cause is: some of the rights of some of the Palestinians.

For others, the cause is getting all of the homeland back, with Right of Return as the non-negotiable key, and replacing present-day Israel and the territories occupied in 1967 with a democracy. This corresponds to fulfilling all the rights of all the Palestinians.

Perhaps this disunity on the basics is unavoidable today. But from 1918 until 1988 there actually was Palestinian unity: freedom from Britain, Zionism, and Israel, no dispossession from the land. Such a goal today would make the Palestinian cause easier to understand for the rest of the world.

It is inevitable and understandable that some Palestinians have fought long and hard enough from inside and outside of prison, have lost enough relatives and friends and will settle for the two-state compromise. This stance is to be respected, even if it is in the form of a final settlement.

It is also logical that some Palestinians balk at the sheer unfairness of the two-state solution, and have also perhaps concluded that the two-state cause has now been tried but has failed. Thus, for ethical as well as practical reasons the cause should be the single independent democratic state insisted on by all Palestine Arab Congresses and then by the PLO for 70 years. Many feel there is nothing more to lose, so why not ‘go for it’.

In any case, if we internationals want to work and argue for a Palestinian cause we must pick and choose. Which cause? Solidarity with which Palestinians? Otherwise, we are left with the dampening message that there is as yet no Palestinian consensus, and we have to revert to focusing not on a goal but on Israel’s specific misdeeds as a settler-colonial, apartheid state.

For us, this is not inspiring and even causes feelings of helplessness. In my case, discussing with the public at Palestinian events and market-place stalls, I can say that it usually led to indeterminate, anti-climactic, qualified generalities then a parting shrug of the shoulders. There was no motivating and simple vision to point to.

BDS and Right of Return

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) offers the closest thing to a vision with its call for non-violent pressure on Israel until three demands are met: return, equality within the 1948-occupied territories, and sovereignty in the 1967-occupied territories. It also calls for ‘self-determination’, but this term is vague in leaving open the question of self-determination where. In most of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, or in all of Palestine?

We BDS supporters can point to these 3 concrete goals as, added together, ‘the Palestinian cause’ and can claim that it is explicitly supported by many, many Palestinians.

Similarly, we can follow the brave example of the Marches of Return from Gaza, and demand one single thing: that refugees become returnees – to their homes, places of origin, and property – wherever that is all over historic Palestine. This is a clearly conveyable cause with impeccable credentials in both ethics and international law. And it involves about 7 million Palestinians.

But are any relatively simple political solutions, or end ‘causes’, implied by BDS and Right of Return?

Rights vs Solutions

Many Palestinians have recently begun arguing that one should desist from debating political solutions, of debating for or against one state or two states. One often hears the message, ‘One state, two states, five states, no state, I just want my rights.’

The choice, however, I believe, comes down to just two – one democratic state or the permanent partition – even if a bi-national federation is somewhat different from one democratic state and even if some Palestinians contemplate the ‘Jordanian option’ of adding the West Bank once again to Jordan. (Nobody seems to be advocating two states on the borders of General Assembly Resolution 181 in 1947, which would make the discussion more interesting.)

Instead, these people argue, one should just argue for Palestinian rights, to whatever solution that leads. Or one should just keep fighting the (negative) fights against Israeli colonialism and ongoing ethnic cleansing and house destruction and apartheid.

In my experience, most of the Palestinians who argue against discussing solutions favor the two-state solution, but even some who focus on BDS, right of return and even one democratic state believe that the time is not ripe for settling the one-state/two-states question. I do not understand why working for rights and working for one solution or the other should be mutually exclusive, but many feel that more work must first be done against the many-headed Israeli state.

But are rights and solutions really separable? I don’t think so. Take for example BDS. The boycott would be called off when the 3 goals are fulfilled, and if they were fulfilled, what would be the result in terms of a political solution?

First, full equality would reign in the 1948-occupied territories. Second, the West Bank and Gaza Strip would be utterly sovereign. Third, if only 4 million of the roughly 7 million exiled Palestinians return, in what is now Israel there would no longer be a Jewish or a Zionist majority – something that results, as well, if only right of return is realized, without equality and without an end to the 1967 occupation.

The result of the achievement of BDS’s goals would literally be Two Democratic States. But would there be any reason not to re-unify Palestine the following morning? If this logic holds up, then BDS actually implies one democratic state.

Put the other way around, it is easy to see that the two-state solution is not compatible with either right of return or equality within Israel, for one of the two states in the two-state solution is apartheid Israel, which could not let the refugees come back or treat its Palestinian citizens equally and still be called Israel.

What to Argue for?

Those of us in international solidarity as well as people in our societies who are thinking about the issue at all, and whom we are trying to convince, naturally ponder solutions. One cannot quit thinking, or play dumb. How can one help but work out the logic of which rights fit with which solutions? Yet it is sometimes said simply to ‘leave solutions to the Palestinians’. Of course, but can we not argue for one or the other, in order to make the options clear?

Some internationals do not enter the solutions debate because we shouldn’t ‘tell the Palestinians what to do’. I find this a strange stance, because none of us are in a position to tell a single Palestinian what to do. We have no power and no Palestinian has to listen to a single word we say. We are not Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn or Cyril Ramaphosa, all of whom might be in a position to co-dictate some solution (and all of whom support the two-state solution, by the way).

After a century of Zionism’s being imposed by outsiders – and debating the Question of Palestine without any Palestinians in the room – many Palestinians understandably object to any international acting as if they were an actual stakeholder. But does this mean not arguing for a political vision?

The dilemma of the international picking amongst Palestinian causes and choosing which Palestinians to support might be to simply admit it, and say that we have picked and chosen and that we support those Palestinians who support one or the other solution. Many Palestinians have written in detail for one democratic state, and I, for instance, support them, not the Palestinian Authority.

What we should not do is claim that supporting one or the other solution is supporting ‘the Palestinians’. We can’t claim this simply because there is no unity. In fact, while Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are often polled as to their views on the best political solution, and the Palestinians in Israel as well, all Palestinians are never polled. Those in the diaspora are not even registered in a database. They are never asked, so we can only speculate on what a majority of Palestinians want.

It could be that hesitancy in coming out for one of the solutions can be explained by certain awkward consequences. Those for two states must answer the charge that they are supporting a Zionist solution, since Israel – yes, the Israel we know – would still exist, exist more safely and permanently than ever. The truncated Palestinian state, that is, has a price, and that price is both states ‘secure within their borders’.

Those, on the other hand, who support one democratic state must deal with the consequence that there would be no more Israel, no more Jewish state in Palestine. This entails navigating the minefield that has been laid around the concept of ‘destroying’ the ‘only Jewish state in the world’, of de-legitimizing Israel and denying its ‘right to exist’.

This is a huge challenge, but there are ways to defuse it: In most one-state visions the Jewish Israelis could stay as citizens. Violence is not contemplated. Most importantly during the witch-hunt over ‘anti-Semitism’, one can openly grant that Yes, a Jewish state somewhere might be justified, but not in Palestine – because it is against the will of the indigenous people and because it is at the cost of the Palestinians who had nothing to do with the European ‘Jewish problem’ in the first place. But whether Jewish, Christian or Hindu, it is any ethnocracy imposed from outside which is the problem.

A Vision

I can say from experience which internationals and which Jewish Israeli Jews are actively behind the two-state solution. They are the ones who want to save Israel’s skin. They argue pragmatically, that Zionism must give up ‘Judea and Samaria’ in order to salvage the state on some four-fifths of Palestine. Israel should stay, for historical reasons having mainly to do with European guilt. It should become nicer, but it is ‘right’ that it exists in Palestine. (Those in ‘solidarity’ supporting two states cannot, however, call themselves ‘anti-Zionist’.)

I also know from experience that next to no internationals are actually enthused about a two-state solution. They get enthused about BDS and ODS because their goals are clear and they don’t compromise even before the other side has come to the table.

The one-democratic-state vision, on the other hand, has the power to enthuse, because it contains all the rights of all the Palestinians and because it is simple and explicable. It is like other democracies on all continents. One can obviously put more energy and conviction into ‘justice for all’ than in ‘justice for some, tough luck for the rest’.

Palestinians and Internationals

I am assured by almost all Palestinians that the national liberation struggle needs outside support. Who can doubt that it would help if more and more academics, journalists, and governments would come to feel the need to pressure their governments to pressure Israel so that Palestinian rights can be fulfilled – or at least abandon their unwavering Zionism?

Internationals cannot be expected to suspend their own judgment as to what justice would entail, or to use their logic to see how the pieces of Palestinian rights fit into what solutions. We are in fact not able to simply follow and support the wishes of ‘the Palestinians’ because there is as of now no unity. I’ve seen a move towards one democratic state amongst the rank-and-file in the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in the U.K., for instance, even if that organization still holds back. It is something we can get behind with real feeling.

I also know many Palestinians who miss having a clear vision, shared at least by a large minority of Palestinians. A vision not only clear but inspiring. The idea of simple re-unification, democracy and right of return seems to fit this bill. I believe it would do the ‘cause’ good if advocating for this solution were accepted and its vision of combining anti-colonialism, equal rights and right of return were to crystallize into a Call like that of BDS in 2005, led by Palestinians.

– Blake Alcott is an ecological economist and the director of One Democratic State in Palestine (England) Limited. The author welcomes any information on ODS or bi-nationalism activity sent to blakeley@bluewin.ch.

May 21, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Roger Stone Shines New Light on Russia-Gate Hoax

By Matthew Ehret | Strategic Culture Foundation | May 21, 2019

As if more evidence was needed to debunk the pathetic narrative that the Russians hacked the DNC computers during the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump confidant Roger Stone, currently on trial for lying during the Mueller inquisition released an important truth to the light of day on May 10th. During a court filing, Stone’s lawyers finally gave a voice for the first time in an official setting to former NSA Technical Director Bill Binney, who has been fighting to have his testimony heard by special prosecutor Robert Mueller for nearly two years to no avail.

Binney’s incredible array of forensic evidence demonstrating the impossibility of a Russian hack brings the focus back to the real motive behind Russia-Gate: The destruction of the potential alliance between Russia and a reformed USA under a non-technocratic leader.

The Story so Far

For those who are unaware, Trump advisor and long-time friend Roger Stone is under indictment for his alleged role in the broad “conspiracy to coordinate the Russian-led intervention” into the 2016 elections and for lying to Mueller. He is also pleading not guilty to accusations of obstruction of justice and witness tampering. If the facts now show that there was never any Russian hacking, it follows that the case against both Stone and President Trump should be rendered null and void.

In a nine page motion to suppress ill-gotten evidence now being used against Roger Stone, his lawyers made the point that the entire case, including all warrants to collect evidence were contingent upon the pre-supposition that the Russians irrefutably hacked the DNC computers and provided the data to WikiLeaks. The motion stated: “It is clear. . . that the government has relied on the assumptions made by a source outside of the U.S. intelligence community that the Russian State was involved in the hacking and that the data taken from the various servers were given to WikiLeaks… The government does not have the evidence, and it knew it did not have the evidence, when it applied for these search warrants.”

Bill Binney’s Voice is Finally Heard

Stone’s motion includes expert testimony by Bill Binney whose forensic evidence proved conclusively that the 49.1 megabytes per second download speed of emails from DNC servers on May 23-25th, 2016 which were uploaded to WikiLeaks could not possibly have occurred through the means of a hack of any source external to the USA but rather COULD ONLY have occurred via a thumb drive such as that which DNC staffer Seth Rich conducted and released to WikiLeaks before his murder on July 10th, 2016.

In spite of having briefed CIA Director Mike Pompeo at Trump’s personal request in October 2017, Binney has been blocked for two years from providing expert testimony during the $26 million inquisition. Binney’s affidavit states in part: “WikiLeaks did not receive the stolen data from the Russian government. Intrinsic metadata in the publicly available files on WikiLeaks demonstrates that the files that were acquired by WikiLeaks were delivered in a medium such as a thumb drive physically local to the DNC.”

Much of the evidence used in Stone’s motion was featured first by Binney, alongside his colleague Larry Johnson (former CIA analyst) in a February 13th memo “Why the DNC was not Hacked by the Russians” which provide a mountain of information overthrowing the Mueller narrative. In the memo and affidavit, Binney also demonstrates that the file information of the WikiLeaks emails includes evidence that they were registered under a FAT file system since all of the time stamps were rounded off to even last numbers. If the files were acquired via a Russian hack, Binney explains that there would be no such rounding of numbers but an equal distribution of even and odd time stamps.

Lastly, Binney points out the absurdity that anti-Russian private security firm CrowdStrike admitted that they observed that supposed Russian hackers began penetrating DNC servers on May 6th, 2016 yet chose to do nothing until June 10th, 2016. For these reasons Stone is demanding unredacted copies of CrowdStrike’s forensic reports which have never been made public. CrowdStrike had a monopoly on all DNC computers and other physical evidence at the time, which has never been made accessible to the FBI or any other government agency.

More Layers of Narrative Crumble

With the destruction of the Russia-Gate story, a yet higher, long standing and more poisonous narrative is ready to crumble. This century-old narrative states that America is the rightful heir to the British Empire and must co-rule a post-nation state world order together under an “Anglo-American special relationship”. In the 20th century this view was promoted by anglophile puppet presidents on both sides of the aisle.

While all truly nationalist American leaders from 1776 to the present have fought against the British Imperial system which has poisoned America from within since its earliest days, the unfortunate majority of American political leaders have been either witless puppets at best and outright agents of the British deep state at worst. The seeds of the deep state were established by pro-Monarchist families that chose to remain in America after the “United Empire Loyalists” ran off to set up English-speaking Canada in 1783 creating a base for British operations into the Americas ever since.  Such mini dynastic clans such as the Bushes, the Mueller family, the Morgans, Duponts etc. are heirs to this unfortunate disease today (1). Every political leader who arose in defense of America’s constitutional traditions faced this British deep state cancer embedded within the Republic and many gave their lives in the fight. It is of note that eight presidents have died in office during the Republic’s short experience, and it should not surprise anyone to hear that all eight were actively opposing in various degrees; Wall Street control of finances within America and British Imperial intrigues abroad (2).

Many of America’s greatest patriots fought hard to ally America with Russia. The historic friendship of Russia and America began in the earliest days of the American Revolution with Catherine the Great’s League of Armed Neutrality and again came alive with Russia’s intervention on Lincoln’s behalf during the Civil War. Amidst a sea of British-intrigue it again congealed under the friendship of Franklin Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin who realized they had more in common with each other than either had with Sir Winston Churchill.

Now that Donald Trump and his allies are increasingly free of the shackles of the Mueller hoax, we are witnessing an incredible potential breakthrough as the June 27-28th G20 emerges where Presidents Trump, Putin and Xi Jinping will be meeting. Since the earliest days of the 2016 election campaign, President Trump has distinguished himself apart from the technocrats and neo-con puppets infecting America’s elite by stating repeatedly how “friendship with Russia and China is a good thing”, and has continued to display a policy orientation preferring a revival of America’s genuinely nationalist interests and cooperation with Russia and China in opposition to many war mongers within his own cabinet.

Although these revelations of May 10th may not appear to be a large matter, we must recall that it was a single Stone that took down Goliath.

(1) Much of this story is exposed in the 1984 book Treason in America: From Aaron Burr to Averell Harriman by Anton Chaitkin.

(2) William Harrison (1840), Zachary Taylor (1850), Abraham Lincoln (1865), James Garfield (1881), William McKinley (1901), Warren Hardin (1923), Franklin Roosevelt (1945), John F. Kennedy (1963). Additionally, noteworthy assassinated figures include Alexander Hamilton (1804), Martin Luther King Jr. (1968) and leading Presidential candidate Bobby Kennedy (1968)

May 21, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Brexit, the Uncivil War: Watering Myths with the Teardrops of the Ruling Class

By Maximilian C. Forte | Zero Anthropology | May 21, 2019

What have been billed as momentous EU Parliament elections are taking place this week (May 23–26), and it seemed like the right time to review some Brexit films—one is entertainment, the other is a documentary. The reason for the Brexit theme has to do more with 2019 than with 2016, especially since the Brexit Party, led by Nigel Farage, is supposed to make a massive showing in the EU election. As expected, long lists of injunctions against the left retaking ground ceded to the right are coming out in The Guardian, chief purveyor of wishes for doing everything wrong again and never learning from mistakes. Also as expected, Russia is being blamed in advance—because the right thing to do with a really bad conspiracy theory is to keep it alive.

The first movie being reviewed for our Brexit mini-series is Brexit: The Uncivil War (2019), produced by House Productions and shown on HBO and the UK’s Channel 4. It was directed by Toby Haynes, written by James Graham, and stars Benedict Cumberbatch. The plot synopsis is available here, and the official trailer is below. The movie opens with these words on the screen: “This drama is based on real events and interviews with key people who were there. Some aspects of dialogue, character and scenes have been devised for the purpose of dramatisation”. The second sentence effectively negates the first. In fact, not only were “some aspects” merely “devised,” they were completely invented, including not just dialogue but also some of the “real events” with “key people” shown in the film. This movie is a mixture of comedy and docudrama, a tepid attempt at reproducing and combining The Big Short and In the Loop, both of which are immeasurably superior films (and probably less insulting to the intelligence of viewers).

The movie opens with Dominic Cummings (played by Benedict Cumberbatch), the manager of the Leave campaign. Cummings is immediately shown as eccentric—or perhaps a little of an idiot savant. He opens the film with the line, “Britain makes a noise” (only I heard, “Pudding makes a noise”—perhaps the script should have chosen what I heard, to really emphasize how weird the main character is meant to be, for us).

In one of his fragmented opening monologues, the Cummings character makes some indisputably wise points: “as a global society we are entering a series of profound economic, cultural, social and political transitions, the like of which the world has never seen…. Massive increase in resource requirements…. A rising tide of religious extremism…. A synthesis of… inter-generational inequality in the West on an historic level”. At other times, as discussed below, he is a mere puppet for the filmmakers’ polemic against Brexit.

Insight into Elite Myth-Making

The movie can serve as a useful insight into the minds of elite, establishment Remainers, and their ability to dedicate time, energy, and resources into orchestrating a collective international wailing. As has been said repeatedly on this site: those in power would love for us to feel their pain as if it were our own, to make a loss for the transnational capitalist class appear to be our loss, so that we may then rise up and strike out to defend their interests (while annihilating our own).

The movie references the fall of the Berlin wall—with Brexit being the biggest political upset since then. That is a “problem”: the thing about Berlin walls is that they are only supposed to fall in other countries, never in our own. “We” have suffered a basic transgression, a violation of our entitlement to eternal continuity, in spite of the contradictions and conflicts we create and multiply. In other words, it shows you just how deranged our ruling classes have become.

The Ugly Face of Conspiracy

The opening’s main point is to prepare us for the revelation of yet another alleged grand conspiracy, almost like the mythical Russiagate conspiracy theory. We hear forgettable technocrats droning on about UK law and asking Cummings if his actions were within electoral law, or were a threat to democracy. Then the Cummings character, facing the camera, states: “Everyone knows who won. But not everyone knows how”—and that is the point of this movie. And what a miserable little point it is. In the end, what the filmmakers achieve is another reminder to us that the only real conspiracy we face is the conspiracy of enforced unanimity by state and corporate media—unanimous in their contempt for voters, and for the will of the voters. Abolish the “will” of the voter, by making it appear to be merely the by-product of a sinisterly-devised algorithm and data mining operation, and you thus abolish the voter. No agency, thus no agent. The only real people are the members of the ruling elite.

Appropriate for a conspiracy movie, Douglas Carswell (laughable troglodyte), holds a secret meeting with Matthew Elliott (nervous nerd), in a portrait gallery. I foolishly hoped this would be the end of the silly caricatures, forgetting this is a commercial entertainment product and not a documentary. Had I prayed for more caricatures, I would have been immediately satisfied—meet Arron Banks (snarling pig). Only the Boris Johnson character is a softer version of the real thing, the actual Boris Johnson being abundantly self-caricaturing already.

The usual inflation of grotesque features that one finds in British films, is a simplistic equivalent of bold print, only it is applied to faces. The face is meant to convey meaning—and the meaning here is: villainous conspiracy. Thus we are shown the faces “behind the [imagined] scenes,” with the hatching of a conspiracy in the UK Independence Party (UKIP, the notorious villain in all establishment narratives second only to “Russia”). “Gunpowder, treason, and plot,” mutters the Cummings character, thus evoking the 1605 Gunpowder plot.

What follows is a lesson from the arch conspirator, Cummings: “How to Change the Course of History. Lesson One: Kill conventional wisdom”. The aim here is to learn from the “true disruptors of Europe”: Napoleon, Otto von Bismarck, and Alexander the Great.

The film hurries through the reasons for voter discontent—there were many, and they were diverse—so that we instead come away with the impression that mere “talking points” are being generated by conspirators: the EU seems abstract; immigration is a problem—but what kind of problem? Is it about race? Integration? The levels of immigration?; “people are feeling angrier, left out, ignored”; “don’t think our kids will have a better future than us”; “we spend more time than ever online, but we feel more alone”; “we’re not getting married as much”; “less of us have faith”; “we’re not saving as much”; “we trust less the institutions and people our parents trusted”. Had the movie drawn this out longer, it would have been a service to the Remainers who seem particularly thick when it comes to trying to understand the opposition and the groundswell of support for Brexit. No luck.

Instead, we are shown the conspiracy, boiling it all down to core talking points: “Loss of national identity. Clear. Sovereignty. Digestible. Loss of community. Simple. Independence. Message repeated over, and over, and over”.

The point is to, “tap into all these little wells of resentment, all these little pressures that have been building up, ignored, over time. We could make this about something more than Europe. Europe just becomes a symbol, a cypher, for everything: every bad thing that is happening, has happened…”.

One reviewer noted a basic contradiction in the movie’s polemic, which involves its magnification of the role of Dominic Cummings. The movie has Cambridge Analytica, Robert Mercer, foreign data firms, big private donors, and every theory possible thrown at the screen as to why Brexit won. Then why did Cummings matter at all?

“Post-Truth”: The Anti-Anthropological Message

The movie also shows us what “post-truth” is meant to mean. Truth is where one appeals to voters’ heads, by using “facts”. The other thing, which has no name other than “post-truth,” appeals to voters’ hearts, using “emotions”. What a poor anthropology this is, where human emotions are divorced from the facts of being human. Any anthropologist who uses the phrase, “post-truth,” does not deserve to be called an anthropologist at all, because they have essentially abolished anthropology. A truth that denies that humans often understand facts emotionally, and that emotions can generate facts, is no truth at all. The real “post-truth” then lies among those who coined the phrase “post-truth” in the first place.

This movie makes no bones about which side owns “the truth”: the Remainers. The movie shows the Remain campaign desperate to counter Brexit with, in their own words, “the truth”. The truth is not shared, equally accessible to all—it is the special preserve of an equally special class, the class that has the Nobel prize-winning economists on their side. The Remainers are shown complaining about the media giving any air time to opponents—there is a deep yearning for censorship. It is all about virtue against democracy. The Remainers own “expertise”—and the other side owns the ignorant ingrates who forgot their duty was to obey by believing the experts, regardless of their many mounting failures. This is precisely the kind of movie that is not needed now (or ever); it merely invites more scorn and can only validate the resentment of Brexit supporters (and judging from reviews posted online, it has).

The voice of the establishment—Craig Oliver, communications director for Prime Minister David Cameron—describes Cummings as “basically mental”—“just an egotist with a wrecking ball”. And the voters are Frankenstein: “There’s the danger… of having unleashed something which we can’t then control”.

The voters, shown in focus groups, are cast as either ignorant and bumbling fools, or overly opinionated extremists. We are meant to see voters as a pathetic, troubling mass. If we cannot abolish the vote, and the voters, then we should at least try to do so. If moviegoers thought that, then the movie would have succeeded in achieving one of its aims.

One needs to be familiar with the conventions of British entertainment television and the movie industry, obviously in the hands of elites with an axe to grind, to understand how working class voters are shown. This is the same industry that produces things like Coronation Street and The East Enders, or My Name is Lenny (2017), which portray working class people as freakish, mutant rogues. They are either malicious with contorted expressions, or simple dopes who look like they are permanently suffering a stroke. Lacking truth, so they lack goodness and beauty too. We are thus back at “post-truth,” the cherished trope of a neo-Aristotelian class that claims a monopoly on virtue, that tolerates vast inequalities and produces a teleology to justify them.

Does History Need a Sock Puppet?

The filmmakers also resort to using the Cummings character as their sock puppet, having him mouth lines critical of the referendum as “a really dumb idea”—which is what the filmmakers think, and what they want us to think. Here is fake Cummings:

“Referendums are quite literally the worst way to decide anything. They’re divisive. They pretend that complex choices are simple binaries… and we know there are more nuanced and sophisticated ways out there to make political change and reform, not that we live in a nuanced or political age, do we? Political discourse has become utterly moronic, thanks to the morons who run it…. But there it is. If that is the way it is to be, then I will get us across the line, in whatever way I can”.

This is meant to be the honest, hidden, inside appraisal said in secret—so we think that it’s the truth.

The Cummings character then styles himself as a political “hacker,” entering the “back door,” to “re-program the political system”. It’s all covert, dishonest, and there is a sense of illegality. Meetings are always secret, surreptitious, cloaked—classic conspiracy stuff. Having abolished the will of the voter, the film now abolishes the vote. It’s an expression of a deep desire: for Brexit to have never happened, for the vote to never have been allowed. That’s all. It’s crude, and transparently obvious to even a half-awake viewer.

It was not the only time the filmmakers used Cummings in a contradictory role, that made no sense for the movie. They had this supposed algorithmic genius of online data mining look all disturbed and scared as an American explained to him the new politics of data. He turns and looks at people walking by, using smart phones and tablets, as if they were alien invaders. The final act of sock puppetry was when the filmmakers had Cummings mutter that Nigel Farage is, “a moronic little cunt”—their script, their view. Keeping it classy.

All About Trump?

Of course, there had to be a Trump angle—there is a Trump angle to everything now. We are thus presented with some whispering conspirators from America, in the figures of Robert Mercer (financier), and the Dark Lord himself, Steve Bannon of Breitbart, shown entering the UK to intervene on the side of Brexit. Then we hear “Cambridge Analytica”—the British, not Russian firm that allegedly masterminded Trump’s online campaign. Of course, none of this is true: Robert Mercer never went to offer help with Leave; and, Zack Massingham, the Canadian whose company boasted having a cutting edge date-modeling program, never provided it to the Leave campaign. It’s too bad Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles were not alive to act in this film—their presence could have vastly dignified this poor attempt at film noir. Albert R. Broccoli would have made a more believable film, with more credible villains.

How to Abuse One’s Viewers with Misdirection and Mystification

This movie works by building a chain of misplaced concerns and misidentified problems. That is how mystification works. The “problem” (fake) is with the fear-driven, resentful working class—not their exploitation, marginalization, and even vilification by the privileged. The “problem” (fake) is with nostalgia—not with the current climate being so bad it makes everyday people miss the past. The “problem” (fake) is with hatred—because the problem is always with the response to what has been provoked by those who hold the power. The “problem” (fake) is with xenophobia—not with a system that taught them pride in being British in the first place, that colonized the world, and for centuries looked down on others with contempt. The fact that huge numbers of refugees were entering Europe—fleeing the regime change wars that Europe helped to manufacture by participating in NATO—only added to the sense of an urgent crisis. Engineering a massive influx of immigrants when locals are locked out of the labour market is a recipe for social peace—exactly nowhere. The “problem” (not fake, just misleading) was that Jo Cox, Member of Parliament, was assassinated in the lead up to Brexit—the problem was never that Cox herself backed ever escalating violence in Syria to promote catastrophic regime change in the name of “humanitarianism”. The “problem” (fake) is with the previously apathetic being marshalled to come out and vote—not the fact that they were previously ignored, impeded, and so generally turned off by the dominant politics. The “problem” (fake) is with crafty data miners who know their business—not with the asymmetry in access to information that props up the political system, or the fact that every political campaign exploits data. The “problem” (fake) is with the lying politicians on their side—not the lying politicians on all sides, who get away with lying because the system refuses any corrective mechanism to ensure accountability. And on it goes. When you opt for ideology instead of analysis, you get garbage.

Lessons Not Worth Teaching

So what are the “lessons” of the film? One is “data is power”—actually, data is just data, but anyway. The idea here is that Britain was a “lab experiment” for a new politics based on data mining. Is it bad to gather data about voters? But then why would it be bad? Should one not try to understand voters and what they want? In a system that bars ordinary people from making decisions even about the basic, immediate, day-to-day aspects of their lives, and that permanently distances and silences them except for a few seconds at a ballot box every few years—how many other ways does the system allow itself to hear from them? Does it matter even, if you can effectively criminalize the mere act of gaining knowledge about voters? Even this movie itself repeats the fact that one side—Remain—had access to the national voter database, while the other side had Cummings try to build an alternative from scratch. If there was a conspiracy, it was here, in this lopsided and unfair distribution of advantages, which the Brexit side overcame. Was Brexit wrong to overcome this data disadvantage?

Did only one side mine online data? Was only one side guilty of “spin”? How much did the Remain campaign spend, compared to the Leave campaign? In fact, the Remain campaign outspent the Leave side by millions of pounds. The movie makes no mention of that fact, nor of the private investors backing Remain, and has little to say about their key influencers. The people with the most votes, spent less money (and won), and they came under investigation for campaign finance violations.

If viewers were truly shocked, chilled, appalled, etc., by what they saw in this movie, then what has stopped them from militating for the total abolition of the advertising industry? Advertisers and PR firms have been doing what this movie shows for generations now. Why the sudden raising of a hue and cry? Why is the outrage so selectively focused on a pinpoint example? Because it’s a dishonest pseudo-critique. That’s one of the things you get when ideology substitutes for analysis.

A second lesson of the film appears to be that the Brexit side was backed by shady financiers—with agendas that are not made clear to us. So who backed the other side? Is there an innocent and pure party here, which the filmmakers neglected to present? Was it the Brexit side that invented the structure of private financing of public political campaigns?

A third lesson has something to do with voter apathy, and the ability of one side to tap into the huge mass of people that regularly refuse to vote in elections in our societies (which would include myself). The crime here appears to have been Brexit’s ability to bring out such persons to vote—as if they found a secret list of dead persons and padded voter rolls. Reducing voter apathy thus becomes something like rigging an election. Yet the quest for the non-voter seems to have failed altogether with Trump: a plurality of eligible voters refused to actually vote. The real winners of the popular vote in the 2016 US presidential elections were precisely those who refused to come out and vote.

The final lesson, with which the movie closes, is that the real problem with the referendum was that it had two sides to it, when ideally it should have had only one: stay. A “crime” was committed by the other side working as if they actually wanted to win. Indeed, the movie closes with the statement that, “in 2018, the Electoral Commission found the Vote Leave campaign guilty of breaking Electoral Law. Leave.EU were subsequently referred to the National Crime Agency for investigation into breaches of Electoral Law”. Had the country in question been Venezuela, the headlines would have read: “Authoritarian regime cracks down on opponents”. In fact, the investigations had not opened by the time the film was made and, more importantly, the movie itself shows absolutely nothing about how the Leave campaign violated said law. One would think that is a major omission.

Accidentally Intelligent

“We’re asking voters not to reject the status quo, but to return to it”. The only really intelligent point the movie made, was one done quickly and only in passing—it seems to have been by accident, so it may be wrong to ascribe “intelligence” to the filmmakers. The point was this: the real contest in 2016 was not between the status quo and a “disruptive” insurgency, but between two status quos: the present status quo versus those preferring the status quo ante. In other words, it was effectively a conservative vs. conservative fight. Neither side proposed any revolutionary transformation, of anything really. It was a clash between those clinging to what was known and tried—the only difference being where their preferences fell on an historical timeline. In other words, the Remain vs. Brexit fight was between preservation and restoration, both of which are conservative positions. Now the two sides have been reversed: the pro-Brexit side is struggling to ensure that Britain remains on track to leave, while the pro-Remain side imagines the EU in utopian terms and occupies itself with, “lament, regret, and nostalgia for an imagined arcadian past in which the EU was a land of milk and honey”.

Similarly, in the US Trump was cast as the candidate nostalgically pining away for the lost days of American glory. However today he is campaigning with a new slogan: “Keep America Great”. Joe Biden instead presents himself as driven by the nostalgic need to restore the old order. Just wait until Biden delivers a blistering speech about life in America under Trump—Fox News is certain to denounce him as the “doom and gloom” candidate who offers a picture of “Midnight in America” (just as the others did with Trump).

The best “lesson” of the movie was the one that was unintended, and it is revealed by how the movie backfires on its makers. This movie is a reminder of why dominant interests so richly deserved to lose—and not necessarily that the other side deserved victory. Brexit has been very “profitable” in at least one sense: it has revealed a dysfunctional UK, quasi-governed by inept, visionless elites, incapable of containing a crisis of their own making. Remember: these are the same elites that turn around and lecture other countries about democracy and good governance, and that bomb other nations in the name of human rights. If anything, Brexit was not a mean enough defeat: much more is needed.

May 21, 2019 Posted by | Film Review, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

OPCW, Douma and the Post Truth World

By James O’Neill – New Eastern Outlook – 21.05.2019

The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) came into effect on 29 April 1997. 193 Member States of the United Nations have ratified it. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is the United Nations body charged with the task of monitoring compliance with the CWC. It is based in The Hague. Among its powers are the powers to investigate allegations of the use of chemical weapons, and (since June 2018) the power to assign blame.

The investigations are carried out by a Fact Finding Mission, which compromises a team of experts from the relevant scientific disciplines. Additional technical assistance is frequently sought from bodies external to the OPCW, typically university departments.

The use of chemical weapons, apart from being banned under the CWC, can constitute war crimes and/or crimes under the civil jurisdiction of the country where they are used. As with any forensic examination of a crime scene, the integrity of the investigation process and any conclusions reached must accord with the highest standards of professional practice.

The work of the OPCW has had a high profile in the past two years because of three well-publicized incidents. The first of these was the alleged use of sarin gas in the Syrian town of Khan Shaykun on 4th of April 2017.

Less than one week after the alleged attack, the United States government released his own intelligence report in which they expressed their “confidence” that the Syrian ‘regime’ had used sarin against its own people. On this unsourced and uninvestigated, much less forensically examined incident, the United States launched a barrage of cruise missiles against Syrian targets. That this response was itself a gross violation of international law was barely considered by the mainstream media at the time, so content were (and are) they in demonizing the Syrian government and in particular its President Bashar al Assad.

The OPCW report of the incident was no better than the US intelligence estimate. Without having visited the site, and without meeting minimum forensic standards such as determining a proper chain of custody, the OPCW in its October 2017 report nonetheless attributed the release of sarin gas to the Syrian government.

The second incident to receive wide publicity, expressions of outrage from western governments and large-scale expulsion of Russian diplomats, was the alleged nerve agent attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, United Kingdom, in March 2018.

The UK government, again before any scientific investigation and a proper conclusion could be reached, announced in parliament the first of its many versions or what they alleged had happened. The manifold absurdities of the U.K. Governments explanation as to what happened to the Skripals is outside the scope of this article. They are usefully summarised by British researcher Rob Slane.

In the Salisbury case, the OPCW investigators arrived at the scene nearly three weeks after the incident and then produced a report that is a masterpiece of obfuscation. Without actually rebutting the UK government’s version, they also failed to confirm it. They would only refer to the “toxic chemical compound which displays the properties of a nerve agent” as being found in the biomedical and environmental samples provided to them by the UK government.

One clue as to the reason for this caution is that the samples analysed by the OPCW were said to be of “high purity”, something that is literally impossible if examined weeks after the event. As with Khan Shaykun, evidence and logic did not feature in the responses of either the western governments who expelled Russian diplomats, or the western mainstream media that blamed the Russians. Then as now, the official government version is the least likely scenario of several possible versions.

Had the OPCW properly investigated the incident, and perhaps more importantly released the full details of its investigation, including the real cause of the Skripal’s illness, the Russian blame game would not have travelled the distance that it has.

Only a month after the Salisbury events, and perhaps coincidentally, there was another alleged chemical attack by the Syrian government on civilians in the city of Douma.

Douma was an area held by the Al Qaeda linked terrorist group, Jaysh-al-Islam. The Syrian army was on the verge of recapturing the city. Jaysh-al-Islam had a powerful motive to try and enlist the support of the US led “Coalition” that has been illegally occupying Syrian territory since 2015. Australia is a member of that coalition, and the only justification given for that participation (by then Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in November 2015) is simply nonsense from the viewpoint of international law.

At the time of the alleged attack, the western media were full of images of dead persons including children, the claimed activities of the so-called humanitarian White Helmets personnel, and pictures of two cylindrical objects purportedly used to spread the chemical agents that caused the death of the pictured victims.

The OPCW team began its on-site investigations in April-May 2018. It obtained expert assistance from two European universities as well as its own internal experts. The final report was issued on 1st of March 2019, long after western media and politicians had not only taken the view that the Syrian government was responsible, but that it ought to be punished. Part of that response was a missile attack by United States, United Kingdom and French forces long before the OPCW team had commenced, let alone concluded, their investigation. As with the Khan Shaykun missile attack a year earlier, this latest attack was also a breach of international law.

What the OPCW report failed to disclose were the conclusions of an internal report by its own experts of their assessment as to what had actually happened. That suppressed report has now been leaked. Its findings are devastating, not only to the credibility of the OPCW, already damaged by the Khan Shaykun and Salisbury reports, but also to the credibility of the western mainstream media and western politicians.

Both of these groups had sought to blame the Syrian government and its principal backers, Russia Iran and Hezbollah, in the most extreme terms, and utterly without regard to the most basic principles of international law, forensic methodology, and the need to establish an evidential foundation before taking precipitate action which in this case could have had catastrophic consequences.

The suppressed report was signed by Ian Henderson, a senior OPCW staffer since 1998. Dr Henderson’s team applied the laws of physics and engineering to the results of their empirical observations. A detailed analysis of the Henderson report can be found in Paul McKeigue et al Briefing Note on the Final Report of the OPCW Fact-finding Mission on the Alleged Chemical Attack in Douma in April 2018.

The OPCW team led by Dr Henderson inspected the locations where the aforementioned cylinders were found (and widely photographed) as well as the alleged associated damage to the buildings. They concluded that the dimensions, characteristics and appearance of the cylinders and the surrounding scenes were inconsistent with those cylinders having been dropped from an aircraft. That they were manually placed where they were photographed “is the only plausible explanation for observations at the scene”.

McKeigue et al referred to the findings set out in their earlier Briefing Note and concluded “these findings, taken together, establish beyond reasonable doubt that the alleged chemical attack in Douma on 7 April 2018 was staged”.

Those conclusions raised a number of obvious questions. The first is, how did the victims, so graphically displayed, actually die? The forensic evidence clearly shows that these victims were undoubtedly hung upside down, their eyes blindfolded, and then murdered with exposure to a toxic chemical. Their bodies were then transported to the location where they were photographed, to form the pictorial backdrop to the allegations of a chemical attack by Syrian government forces.

The terrorists were the only ones with the means, motive and opportunity to murder these victims and then arrange the scenes for their propaganda purposes. It is an irresistible inference that in these staged scenes they were aided and abetted by the White Helmets. Far from being a neutral humanitarian group, the White Helmets, trained by the British, are not part of the solution; they are part of the problem.

The second question Dr Henderson’s report raises is in two parts: why did the OPCW suppress this report and not include its findings in the OPCW final report released in March 2019; and why have the western media, including Australia, completely failed to report both the fact of the suppression of the crucial evidence in Dr Henderson’s report, and the substance of the fact-finding missions conclusions?

It is a measure of the disgraceful state that the western mainstream media have fallen into, that they refuse to report, much less analyse, vital information that could easily have led to a major war between the United States and its allies (including Australia) and Russia.

At the time that the United States, United Kingdom and France were announcing their intention to attack Syria in retaliation for the Douma incident, the Russian military warned that if the missiles targeted their serviceman they would not only destroy the missiles but the carriers from which they were fired. There is no doubting their capacity to do so (Martyanov Losing Military Supremacy 2018). A full-scale war could easily have eventuated.

The final point is that any future OPCW reports must inevitably be treated with a degree of skepticism. The international community, and undoubtedly the overwhelming majority of the member states that signed the CWC are concerned that such an important body has been compromised in this way. It is not too difficult to infer that political pressure had been applied to all three of the investigations noted here.

It is too much to expect that our mainstream media and the politicians will issue a mea culpa after this latest exposure of their duplicity and sacrifice of principle and probity in pursuit of US geopolitical aims. Perhaps in the future however, they will be less quick to condemn and take actions that could so very easily lead to another war based on lies and imperial hubris.

James O’Neill is an Australian-based Barrister at Law and geopolitical analyst.

May 21, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Dissecting The Unfathomable American-Iranian War

By Ghassan Kadi | The Saker Blog | May 21, 2019

As the American military build-up continues around the Strait of Hormuz, and as a potential American-Iranian war looms, many analysts are convinced that war is imminent. I beg to differ.

Ever since the “War on Syria” started, I kept reiterating that America would never launch a full-on attack on Syria, and for very good reasons, and not long ago, I finally felt compelled to write a series of articles explaining that in as much as America would love to be able to pillage Syria, it is unable to do so.

Those predictions, which stood the test of time, were made long before the Russian involvement in Syria, and now, after Syria’s triumph, the chances of a decisive victory that America is able to score by way of a military gamble anywhere in the Middle East have been shrinking and reduced to the level of zero chance. If anything, the “War on Syria” was the surrogate war that America could not launch directly either on Syria or on Iran, and even by turning its war into a war by proxy, America was still unable to win.

To recap briefly, some obstacles that stood against an all-out American NATO-led assault on Syria back in 2013, I argued that America would never risk a retaliatory attack against Israel by both Syria and Hezbollah.

An American attack on Iran will not eliminate the risk of a Hezbollah retaliatory attack on Israel, and if anything, it will bring in a new risk; the risk of a retaliatory Iranian attack on Saudi soil.

Whether or not an American-Iranian show down will directly involve Saudi troops, given that Saudi Arabia is still unable to win in its war against Yemen, even though it has the third largest military budget after the USA and China, a direct Saudi role will have little in effecting any significant input. However, with or without a direct Saudi intervention, an American attack on Iran will immediately put American interests in Saudi Arabia under the Iranian target list.

In the event of such an attack, the first thing that Iran will do is close marine traffic in the Strait of Hormuz. As a result, the whole world will be affected and the price of a barrel of oil may jump to $200 and beyond, but the relevant issue here is the impact on the feasibility of American military success.

An American attack on Iran cannot be seen as an event that is independent from the wars on Syria and Yemen. It will be seen as an upscaling that directly involves Iran. Any such turning point will sooner or later involve Saudi Arabia directly. And given that Iran will more than likely close the Strait of Hormuz and thereby putting all Saudi oil exports to halt, whether or not Iran intended to intimidate America alone, the Saudis will see it as an act of war; and they will be “forced” to retaliate.

But the moment the Iranians see that Saudi forces are involved in military action against them, they will have a huge array of critical soft Saudi targets to hit; all the way from oil wells, ports, and more importantly perhaps, water desalination plants that are all scattered on the east coast of Saudi Arabia; ie across the gulf from Iran.

Those sites are undoubtedly protected by ground to air defence shields, but in the face of thousands, tens of thousands of cheap rockets fired from Iran, much more expensive and harder-to-come-by Patriot missiles will not be able to totally stop waves and waves of Iranian rockets.

The Saudi desalination plants feed all cities in the east; including the capital Riyadh. Without them, Saudi citizens will have no water. And without oil exports, they will also lose their income.

Power stations are also in the east, if they get hit, eastern Saudi Arabia will plunge into darkness, and as summer approaches, without air-conditioning, today’s Saudis who are not any longer attuned to the harsh climate of the desert, will suffer greatly from heat exhaustion; especially without water and fuel.

America may not give a damn about Saudis, but it cannot afford to lose Saudi revenue.

But this is only on the eastern front.

On the southern front, a weaker Saudi Arabia will have to relent in its attack on Yemen. Where will this leave the battle front?

On the western front however, an all-out American attack on Iran will be seen as a bigger existential threat to Hezbollah than the “War on Syria”. Hezbollah will retaliate by hitting back at Israel; not only using its rocket power in a retaliatory manner, but also for leverage and the ability to trade-off a cease fire against Israel by an American one against Iran. A scenario like this can become a game of playing chicken and seeing who blinks first; and more than likely, faced by potential civilian casualties, Israel will be the party to relent.

An onslaught of Hezbollah rockets on Israel has been something that the USA has thus far managed to avoid; despite its deep role in the “War on Syria”. But if the carnage eventuates, America will be “forced” to supply Israel with a massive number of Patriot missiles. But these cost more than a million dollars each at least. Such figures are easy to estimate even according to sources such as Wikipedia. But the question is, who is going to fork out the cost? Furthermore, Hezbollah is estimated to have over 150 thousand rockets poised at Israel. Does America have enough Patriots to intercept them? And if THAAD missiles are to be used here and there, the economy becomes more daunting with batteries costing over a billion dollars each, according to Wikipedia again.

This of course brings in the bigger question of economy; ie the economic front. If the invasion of Iraq has cost the American treasury something between 2 and 4 trillion dollars, how much will a war with Iran cost? With the American economy on the brink, can America financially afford a new war with an enemy that it hasn’t tested the fighting prowess of?

Trump was quoted saying that a war with Iran will be the official end of Iran. But the United States of America has thus far lost all of its post WWII wars, even though they were all launched against foes of seemingly much less military readiness than Iran. As a matter of fact, if one looks at the regional strategic risks, the military risks, plus the economic risks, an American war against Iran could well become the straw that breaks America’s back.

The above analysis does not even take into account the economic impact of such war on the EU and/or the possibility of Russian, Chinese and Indian roles.

As an energy exporter, Russia may gain from inflated petrol and gas prices, but strategically, it is not going to sit idle as America wreaks havoc and imposes superiority in an area that is of high interest to Russia. But China and India, and the EU, are highly dependent on fuel that has no way out of its origin to their ports other than via the Strait of Hormuz. Some EU nations may give America some grace if convinced by big brother that the attack will only last a matter of days, but what if it takes weeks, months, or years? What if the norm becomes a $200 oil barrel? Which world economy can survive such a calamity?

The only logical scenario here is that not unless America is able to incinerate Iran in a single knockout blow, any attack on Iran will result in a series of independent repercussions that have the potential of turning the attack into a nightmare for America.

The days of bottomless pockets that allowed America to launch wars on Korea and Vietnam under the guise of fighting Communism are no more.

The days of the so-called “New World Order” of the post-USSR period and which gave America a carte-blanche to attack Iraq, Afghanistan, Iraq again and Libya was put on hold in Syria, and Russia has marked her redlines for any such future offensives.

Without international impunity, without a successful military track record, without the risk of retaliation against Israel, with the prospect of losing EU support, with the prospect of turning the Saudi war on Yemen in favour of the Houthis, destroying the Saudi economy and leaving Saudis without power and water, and above all, without enough funds to fight a war that can last a very, very long time, and finally, without being able to hit Iran with a single knockout blow that can avoid all of the above, how can America enter this venture?

Hawks like Bolton may think that any military action is a walk in the park, but the top brass in the American military know better. Love him or hate him, Trump is a pragmatic man, financially pragmatic perhaps, but this is alone enough reason for him not to take stupid financial decisions; and any war against Iran will be judged by Trump on its financial merits.

On paper, Trump will see that this war is impossible to win, and just like his White House predecessors who have eyed Syria in the hope of being able to attack it, he will be the chicken who will blink first and find a face-saving exit. At the end of the day, if on the scale of one to ten, America’s decision to not attack Syria scored eight, the decision not to attack Iran will score ten.

May 21, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , | 3 Comments

Has OPCW Become a Four-Letter Word?

By Martin Jay | Strategic Culture Foundation | May 21, 2019

The information war between those who believe that OPCW investigations in Syria over the chemical attack of Douma in 2018 was staged – verses those who choose to believe the West’s blithe claim that Assad poisoned his own people – is more or less over.

In recent months a number of curious elements of the investigation have been questioned by cynics who don’t swallow the West’s assertion that President Assad was dropping chemicals – sarin or chlorine – on his own people, such as the delay in the reaction of the OPCW itself in getting investigators there on the ground, through to the obvious bias of the way the investigation was handled. There was always a whiff of something quite unsavoury about the probe into the Douma chemical attack, which we should not forget resulted in air strikes being carried out in April of 2018 by France, the US and the UK.

And now we know what it is and a great deal of the mystery around the OPCW and its investigation can now be revealed.

The report was doctored.

Evidence which has emerged this week shows how, critically, engineers who were commissioned to carry out studies more or less immediately after the attack, had their findings blocked from making it into the final report, which was an opaque dossier which failed to really nail Assad, but also carefully avoided any suggestion that the West had set up the whole thing, using its Al Qaeda mercenaries in the region, which had been actually seen a couple of weeks earlier being trained by UK special forces in how to go about using chlorine.

Originally many skeptics such as myself were astounded that so much time had passed before the OPCW seemed to move – given that western figures like the then UK foreign minister Boris Johnson spoke about “evidence” and being “certain” that Assad had carried out the attack.

We now know though why it appeared that they hadn’t sent investigators there on the ground immediately. They had. But their findings proved controversial and didn’t support the West’s narrative that Assad had done the deed.

According to an incendiary report just published by a mostly British academic Assad-leaning group, the engineers’ findings – that the cylinder tanks were almost certainly not dropped from the air – were completely left out of the final report. Crucially, if this element had been put into it, the West would have had to admit that it had really got it wrong on Assad and that its own governments were faking the theatre of war, not to mention the fake news which is fed to MSM outlets in the days after. Who could, after all, forget the BBC report from the hospital showing the victims in agony, which finally was revealed to be staged video footage handed to the BBC who took it hook, line and sinker.

But now the cat is fully out of the bag. The OCPW report itself was also heavily redacted.

“It is hard to overstate the significance of this revelation. The war-machine has now been caught red-handed in a staged chemical weapons attack for the purposes of deceiving our democracies into what could have turned into a full-scale war amongst the great-powers” says firebrand maverick politico George Galloway on twitter.

But if this report is correct in its assertions, then we can be sure that most of what is being reported by western media is entirely false and part of a longer term strategy to build the case against Iran to carry out a strike “defending” the West. Just in the last few days there are reports of John Bolton planning to send 120,000 US troops to the region to intimidate Iran into accepting the demands of Trump over its weapons program. This coincides with an elaborate series of minor fake news stories over Iran presenting itself as a “threat” to the US, justifying a US aircraft carrier being sent to the Persian Gulf amidst tensions from reports of Iran moving troops to prepare itself to be on the receiving end of a strike. And then the oil tankers attacked off the UAE shores which the same fake news machine is hinting was done by Iran – which most seasoned hacks know could have easily been staged by the Saudis or Emiratis [or Mossad]. It’s interesting how no one was hurt in the so-called attacks.

But if the OPCW can get away with this report and its false assertion, then it’s hard to see how we can expect to understand what is really happening in the middle east if we are to rely on reporters working for western agencies who are happy to play their role in this nefarious ruse of Trump’s. If the truth about Douma is as ghastly as we are led to believe – i.e staged by the West so as to build the case against Iran and its proxies – then we shouldn’t be remotely surprised by the histrionics of tankers being attacked in the same region, with no casualties and Iran being accused, with no evidence. It’s hard to not be shocked by the implications of the doctored report and harder to understand how biased and poor western newsrooms have become over reporting on the region, with the BBC continuing to plummet in terms of standards of fact checking. The lack of on air corrections is also hardly edifying. We’re living in a new era, with a new syndrome. And it’s called O.P.C.W.

May 21, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment

Observations & Implications Of A Possible BJP Victory

By Andrew Korybko | EurasiaFuture | 2019-05-21

Many media outlets are reporting that the BJP will probably win re-election according to exit polling conducted over the month-long electoral process that was finally made public after it ended, which would be the result of several important factors if true and also carry with it some very significant implications.

Practically all international media outlets are predicting a landslide re-election for the BJP-led “National Democratic Alliance” according to recently released exit polling conducted over the month-long electoral process, and while the official results won’t be known until later this week, it’s still possible to assess the reasons why this might happen as well as the effect that it’ll have on India’s domestic and foreign affairs. The following is a brief listing of some of the most important observations and implications related to this scenario, which is intended to provide a look at both the past and the future in order for the reader to better understand the historic moment in which India might very well find itself:

Observations

* The BJP’s victory would represent the triumph of nationalist rhetoric over economic realities and would be largely due to Modi distracting the masses from his unfulfilled economic promises through the Bollywood-like “surgical strike” stunt that he ordered earlier this year and the subsequent events that followed.

* The suspicious circumstances surrounding the Pulwama incident strongly suggest that a loyal faction of the Indian security services “passively facilitated” the attack that would later be used to “justify” the “surgical strike” stunt by stepping back and letting it happen instead of proactively stopping it.

* Hindutva ideologues have succeeded in wresting control of India’s permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) from their secular rivals just like how the neoconservative globalist faction did in the US vis-a-vis their nationalist counterparts from the Old Cold War era.

* While Kashmir is a false flag flashpoint for manufacturing international crises, the role of the Hindutva-controlled “deep state” in fomenting communal violence for political ends also shouldn’t be overlooked since it plays a key role in polarizing the country along identity lines and promoting majoritarianism.

* The famous North-South division will probably once again be on full display, but the demographic weight of the so-called “Cow Belt” in the “Hindi Heartland” and the growing Hindutva majoritarianism all across the country in general will likely lessen the political impact of this traditional division.

Implications

* A BJP victory would put India on the path to becoming a “Hindu Rashra” (fundamentalist Hindu state) if the authorities use their mandate to go forward with “constitutionally uncomfortable” “reforms” to remove the state’s legally enshrined secularity in favor of becoming a religious state to please their Hindutva base.

* Lacking Modi’s charisma and being bereft of any visionary plans for the future, the opposition would increasingly become nothing more than a “coalition of malcontent minorities” comprised of leftists, Dalits, Muslims, and maybe some ethnic minorities, further accelerating its decline in a majoritarian future.

* Modi will probably use his mandate to agree to a lopsided free trade deal with the US as long as his country is promised the chance of “poaching” Western companies from China as a consequence of the trade war, hoping that this will stimulate his “Make in India” vision even if it ends up being disastrous for millions of farmers.

* Along the same lines and bearing in mind his country’s betrayal of Iran earlier this month when it discontinued oil purchases under the pressure of American sanctions, Modi might also reconsider his promise to purchase Russia’s S-400s for the same reason.

* Considering the anti-Chinese (US free trade deal), -Iranian (stopping oil imports), and -Russian (rethinking the S-400s) moves that Modi has either already made or is likely to make after his new mandate, India will probably become the central component of the US’ “Pivot to Asia” and its main hemispheric military-strategic ally.

May 21, 2019 Posted by | Economics | , | Leave a comment

Madonna’s Fake Revolution: Eurovision, Cultural Hegemony and Resistance

By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | May 21, 2019

Rim Banna, a famous Palestinian singer who translated Palestine’s most moving poetry to song, passed away on March 24, 2018, at the age of 51. Rim captured the struggle for Palestinian freedom in the most dignified and melodious ways. If we could imagine angels singing, they would sound like Rim.

When Rim died, all Palestinians mourned her death. Although a few international outlets carried the news of her passing at a relatively young age, her succumbing to cancer did not receive much coverage or discussion. Sadly, a Palestinian icon of cultural resistance who had inspired a whole generation, starting with the First Palestinian Intifada in 1987, hardly registered as an event worthy of remembrance and reflection, even among those who purport to champion the Palestinian cause.

Compare Rim to Madonna, an ‘artiste’ who has stood for self-aggrandising personal fame and money-making. She has championed the most debased moral values, utilising cheap entertainment while catering to the lowest common denominator to remain relevant in the music world for as long as possible.

While Rim had a cause, Madonna has none. And while Rim symbolised cultural resistance, Madonna symbolises globalised cultural hegemony – in this case, the imposition of consumerist western cultures on the rest of the world.

Cultural hegemony defines the US and other Western cultures’ relationship to the rest of the world. It is not culture as in the collective intellectual and artistic achievements of these societies, but as a set of ideological and cultural tools used by ruling classes to maintain domination over the disadvantaged, colonised and oppressed.

Madonna, along with Michael Jordan, the Beatles and Coca Cola represent far more than mere performers and fizzy drinks, but also serve as tools used to secure cultural, thus economic and political dominance, as well. The fact that in some cities around the world, especially in the Southern hemisphere, Coca Cola “flows more freely than water” speaks volumes about the economic toll and political dimension of cultural hegemony.

This issue becomes critical when a pro-Israel Madonna decides to perform in Israel, as she has done repeatedly in the past, as part of the Eurovision contest. Knowing who she is and what she stands for, her decision should not come as a surprise; after all, in her September 2009 Tel Aviv concert, she sang while wrapped in an Israeli flag.

Of course, it is essential that artists of her calibre and the contestants representing 41 different countries are reminded of their moral responsibilities towards occupied and oppressed Palestinians. It is also important that Israel is confronted regarding its unrelenting efforts to mask its apartheid and war crimes in Palestine.

Indeed, the whitewashing of Israeli human rights violations using art – also known as “art washing” – should not be allowed to continue when Gaza is under siege, where Palestinian children are shot and killed daily without remorse and the least legal accountability.

This is why such artistic events are essential for the Israeli government and society. Israel has used Eurovision as a distraction from the blood and gore that has been taking place not far from that venue. Those who laboured to ensure the success of the event, knowing fully how Israel is using the brand as an opportunity to normalise its war against Palestinians, should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

But, on the other hand, should we be the least surprised? Aren’t such global music events, as Eurovision, at the heart of the western-centric globalisation scheme of cultural hegemony, which sole purpose is to enforce a capitalist view of the world, where western culture is consumed as a commodity, no different from a McDonald’s sandwich or a pair of Levi jeans?

Calling on 60-year-old Madonna to refrain from entertaining apartheid Israel can be considered beneficial as a media strategy, for it helped highlight, although momentarily, an issue that would have been otherwise absent from news headlines. However, by placing so much focus on Madonna, and whatever human rights’ values she supposedly stands for, we also take the risk of inadvertently validating her and the consumerist values she represents. More, in this Madonna-driven trajectory, we are also neglecting Palestine’s cultural resistance, the core driver behind Palestinian ‘somoud’ – steadfastness – over a century.

In response to her critics, Madonna answered, “I’ll never stop playing music to suit someone’s political agenda nor will I stop speaking out against violations of human rights wherever in the world they may be.” In the eyes of many who are ignorant of the facts, such an answer may appear as if an ‘empowered’ response to those who are trying to sway a genuine, pure artiste from following her calling.

Madonna is an expert in appearing as if morally-guided, yet never translating such morality to anything meaningful in reality. In a speech described as “powerful” by Rolling Stone Magazine, Madonna declared during a Women’s March in Washington D.C. in 2017 “to the rebellion, to our refusal as women to accept this new age of tyranny. Where not just women are in danger, but all marginalised people.”

Of course, Palestinian, Lebanese and Syrian women – who have paid a heavy price for Israeli Occupation, war and marginalisation – are not to be included in Madonna’s false revolution. And the chances are, shortly after she sings and dances in a jubilant, apartheid Israel, she will once more take on many platforms as if the Rosa Parks of revolutionary art.

While it is essential that we keep the pressure on those who engage and validate Israel politically, economically and culturally, these efforts should come secondary to embracing Palestine’s culture of resistance. Behaving as if Madonna’s stage shenanigans represent right culture while ignoring Palestinian culture altogether, is similar to academics addressing decolonisation from the point of view of the coloniser, not the colonised. The truth is, nations cannot truly rid themselves from the colonial mindset without having their narratives take the centre-stage of politics, culture and every other aspect of knowledge.

“The intellectual’s error consists in believing that one can know without understanding and, even more, without feeling and being impassioned,” wrote Italian anti-fascist intellectual, Antonio Gramsci. This entails the intellectual and the artist to feel “the elementary passions of the people, understanding them and, therefore, explaining and justifying them.”

The truth is that appealing to Madonna’s moral sense without immersing ourselves passionately in the art of Rim Banna will, in the long run, do Palestinians no good. Only embracing Palestine’s culture of resistance will, ultimately, keep the self-serving, hegemonic and cheap cultural messages of the Madonnas of this world at bay.

May 21, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , | Leave a comment