Aletho News


A Call for a Coup Plus a Week Like No Other for Tulsi Gabbard

Clinton, McRaven and Pelosi all are featured

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • October 22, 2019

There was what might be described as an extraordinary amount of nonsense being promoted by last week’s media. Unfortunately, some of it was quite dangerous. Admiral William McRaven, who commanded the Navy Seals when Osama bin Laden was captured and killed and who has been riding that horse ever since, announced that if Donald Trump continues to fail to provide the type of leadership the country needs, he should be replaced by whatever means are necessary. The op-ed entitled “Our Republic is Under Attack by the President” with the subtitle “If President Trump doesn’t demonstrate the leadership that America needs, then it is time for a new person in the Oval Office” was featured in the New York Times, suggesting that the Gray Lady was providing its newspaper of record seal of approval for what might well be regarded as a call for a military coup.

McRaven’s exact words, after some ringing praise for the military and all its glorious deeds in past wars, were that the soldiers, sailors and marines now must respond because “The America that they believed in was under attack, not from without, but from within.”

McRaven then elaborated that “These men and women, of all political persuasions, have seen the assaults on our institutions: on the intelligence and law enforcement community, the State Department and the press. They have seen our leaders stand beside despots and strongmen, preferring their government narrative to our own. They have seen us abandon our allies and have heard the shouts of betrayal from the battlefield. As I stood on the parade field at Fort Bragg, one retired four-star general, grabbed my arm, shook me and shouted, ‘I don’t like the Democrats, but Trump is destroying the Republic!’”

It is a call to arms if there ever was one. Too bad Trump can’t strip McRaven of his pension and generous health care benefits for starters and McRaven might also consider that he could be recalled to active duty by Trump and court martialed under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. And the good admiral, who up until 2018 headed the state university system in Texas, might also receive well merited pushback for his assessment of America’s role in the world over the past two decades, in which he was a major player, at least in terms of dealing out punishment. He wrote ““We are the most powerful nation in the world because we try to be the good guys. We are the most powerful nation in the world because our ideals of universal freedom and equality have been backed up by our belief that we were champions of justice, the protectors of the less fortunate.”

Utter bullshit, of course. The United States has been acting as the embodiment of a rogue nation, lashing out pointlessly and delivering death and destruction. If McRaven truly believes what he says he is not only violating his oath to defend the constitution while also toying with treason, he is an idiot and should never have been allowed to run anything more demanding than a hot dog stand. Washington has been systematically blowing people up worldwide for no good reasons, killing possibly as many as 4 million mostly Muslims, while systematically stripping Americans of their Bill of Rights at home. “Good guys” and “champions of justice” indeed!

And then there is the Great Hillary Clinton caper. In an interview last week Hillary claimed predictably that Donald Trump is “Vladimir Putin’s dream,” and then went on to assert that there would be other Russian assets emerging, including nestled in the bosom of her own beloved Democratic Party. She said, clearly suggesting that it would be Tulsi Gabbard, that “They’re also going to do third-party again. I’m not making any predictions, but I think they’ve got their eye on someone who’s currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She’s the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far.”

Clinton explained how the third-party designation would work, saying of Jill Stein, who ran for president in 2016 as a Green Party candidate, “And that’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not because she’s also a Russian asset. Yeah, she’s a Russian asset — I mean, totally. They know they can’t win without a third-party candidate. So I don’t know who it’s going to be, but I will guarantee you they will have a vigorous third-party challenge in the key states that they most needed.”

Tulsi responded courageously and accurately “Great! Thank you @HillaryClinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know — it was always you, through your proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine, afraid of the threat I pose. It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly.”

Tulsi has in fact been attacked relentlessly by the Establishment since she announced that she would be running for the Democratic nomination. Shortly before last Tuesday’s Democratic candidate debate the New York Times ran an article suggesting that Gabbard was an isolationist, was being promoted by Russia and was an apologist for Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. In reality, Gabbard is the only candidate willing to confront America’s warfare-national security state.

The Hillary Clinton attack on Gabbard and on the completely respectable Jill Stein is to a certain extent incomprehensible unless one lives in the gutter that she and Bill have wallowed in ever since they rose to prominence in Arkansas. Hillary, the creator of the private home server for classified information as well as author of the catastrophic war against Libya and the Benghazi debacle has a lot to answer for but will never be held accountable, any more than her husband Bill for his rapes and molestation. And when it comes to foreign interference, Gabbard is being pilloried because the Russian media regards her favorably while the Clinton Foundation has taken tens of millions of dollars from foreign governments and billionaires seeking quid pro quos, much of which has gone to line the pockets of Hillary, Bill and Chelsea.

Finally, one comment about the Democratic Party obsession with the Russians. The media was enthusing last Friday over a photo of Speaker Nancy Pelosi standing up across a table from President Trump and pointing at him before walking out of the room. The gushing regarding how a powerful, strong woman was defying the horrible chief executive was both predictable and ridiculous. By her own admission Pelosi’s last words before departing were “All roads lead to Putin.” I will leave it up to the reader to interpret what that was supposed to mean.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is

October 21, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Russophobia | , | 3 Comments

FBI/DOJ Likely to Throw the CIA and Clapper Under the Bus

By Larry C. Johnson | Sic Semper Tyrannis | October 20, 2019

Law Enforcement versus the Intel Community. That’s the battle we will likely see unleashed when the Horowitz report comes out next week. The New York Times came out Saturday with info clearly leaked from DOJ that can be summarized simply–the FBI was relying on the intel community (products from the CIA and NSA) under the leadership of Jim Clapper. If they relied on bad, unverified information it ain’t their fault. They trusted the spies.

Let us start with a reminder of how damn corrupt the NY Times and its reporters are. Consider this paragraph penned by Adam Goldman and William Rashbaum:

Closely overseen by Mr. Barr, Mr. Durham and his investigators have sought help from governments in countries that figure into right-wing attacks and unfounded conspiracy theories about the Russia investigation, stirring criticism that they are trying to deliver Mr. Trump a political victory rather than conducting an independent review.

“Unfounded conspiracy theories?” What a damn joke. The facts of a conspiracy to take out Donald Trump or cripple him are very clear. Robert Mueller and Jim Comey lied when they claimed that Joseph Mifsud, who tried to entrap George Papdopoulus in London, was a Russian agent. Nope. He worked for western intelligence. Unless Comey and DOJ have a document or documents from the CIA or NSA stating that Mifsud worked for the Russians, they have no where to hide. Plus, prosecutor John Durham now has Mifsud’s blackberries. What do you think is the likelihood that Mifsud was in communication with FBI or CIA or MI6 personnel? Very likely.

Then there is Stefan Halper, who played a key role in a sophisticated counterintelligence operation that involved the FBI, the CIA British Intelligence and the media. The ultimate target was Donald Trump. Halper’s part of the operation focused on using an innocent woman who had the misfortune of being born in Russia, Svetlana Lokhova, to destroy General Michael Flynn. Halper and Mifsud both were involved in targeting General Michael Flynn. Not a conspiracy? Halper’s nefarious activities included manufacturing and publishing numerous false and defamatory statements. Halper, for example, falsely claimed that Svetlana Lokhova  was a “Russian spy” and a traitor to her country. He also circulated the lie that Lokhova had an affair with General Flynn on the orders of Russian intelligence. Not content to use the unwitting Svetlana as a weapon against General Flynn, Stefan Halper also acted with malice to destroy Svetlana Lokhova’s  professional career and business by asserting that she was not a real academic and that her research was provided by Russian intelligence on the orders of Vladimir Putin.

Thanks to Robert Mueller we have clear evidence of a conspiracy against Trump. Mueller’s investigation of Trump “collusion” with Russia prior to the 2016 Presidential election focused on eight cases:

Proposed Trump Tower Project in Moscow—

George Papadopolous—

Carter Page—

Dimitri Simes—

Veselnetskya Meeting at Trump Tower (June 16, 2016)

Events at the Republican Convention

Post-Convention Contacts with Russian Ambassador Kislyak

Paul Manafort

One simple fact emerges–six of the eight cases or incidents of alleged Trump Campaign interaction with the Russians investigated by the Mueller team, the pitch to “collude” with the Russian Government or Putin originated with FBI informants, MI-6 assets or people paid by Fusion GPS, not Trump or his people. There is not a single instance where Donald Trump or any member of his campaign team initiated contact with the Russians for the purpose of gaining derogatory information on Hillary or obtaining support to boost the Trump campaign. Not one.

Simply put, Trump and his campaign were the target of an elaborate, wide ranging covert action designed to entrap him and members of his team as an agent of Russia.

We do not need to say anything about Dmitri Simes, who was unfairly smeared by even being named as target in the investigation. And the “non” events at the Republican Convention, pure nonsense.

The other six cases “investigated” my Mueller and his team of clowns are damning.

THE PROPOSED TRUMP TOWER PROJECT IN MOSCOW, according to Mueller’s report, originated with an FBI Informant–Felix Sater. Mueller was downright dishonest in failing to identify Sater as an FBI informant. Sater was not just a private entrepreneur looking to make some coin. He was a fully signed up FBI informant. Sater’s status as an FBI snitch was first exposed in 2012. Sater also was a boyhood chum of Michael Cohen, the target being baited in this operation. Another inconvenient fact excluded from the Mueller report is that one of Mueller’s Chief Prosecutors, Andrew Weissman, signed the deal with Felix Sater in December 1998 that put Sater into the FBI Informant business.

All suggestions for meeting with the Russian Government, including Putin, originated with Felix Sater. The use of Sater on this particular project started in September 2015.

GEORGE PAPADOPOLOUS. Papadopolous was targeted by British and U.S. intelligence starting in late December 2015, when he is offered out of the blue a job with the London Centre of International Law and Practice Limited (LCILP) , which has all the hallmarks of a British intelligence front. It is Joseph Mifsud, working for LCILP, who introduces the idea of meeting Putin following a lunch with George in London.

And it is Mifsud who raises the possibility of getting dirt on Hillary. During Papadopolous’ next meeting with Mifsud, George writes that Mifsud:

leaned across the table in a conspiratorial manner. The Russians have “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, he tells me. “Emails of Clinton,” he says. “They have thousands of emails.”

More than three weeks before the alleged Russian hack of the DNC, Mifsud is peddling the story that the Russians have Clinton’s emails. Conspiracy?

CARTER PAGE. The section of the Mueller report that deals with Carter Page is a total travesty. Mueller and his team, for example, initially misrepresent Page’s status with the Trump campaign–he is described as “working” for the campaign, which implies a paid position, when he was in fact only a volunteer foreign policy advisor. Mueller also paints Page’s prior experience and work in Russia as evidence that Page was being used by Russian intelligence, but says nothing about the fact that Page was being regularly debriefed by the CIA and the FBI during the same period. In other words, Page was cooperating with US intelligence and law enforcement. But this fact is omitted in the Mueller report. The Christopher Steele dossier was used as “corroborating” intel to justify what was an illegal FISA warrant. The FBI lied about the veracity of that dossier. Conspiracy?

TRUMP TOWER MEETING (JUNE 9, 2016). This is another glaring example of a plant designed to entrap the Trump team. Mueller, once again, presents a very disingenuous account:

On June 9, 2016, senior representatives of the Trump Campaign met in Trump Tower with a Russian attorney expecting to receive derogatory information about Hillary Clinton from the Russian government. The meeting was proposed to Donald Trump Jr. in an email from Robert Goldstone, at the request of his then-client Emin Agalarov, the son of Russian real-estate developer Aras Agalarov.

The real problem is with what Mueller does not say and did not investigate. Mueller conveniently declines to mention the fact that Veselnitskaya was working closely with the firm Hillary Clinton hired to produce the Steele Dossier. Even the corrupt NBC News got these damning facts about Veselnitskaya on the record:

The information that a Russian lawyer brought with her when she met Donald Trump Jr. in June 2016 stemmed from research conducted by Fusion GPS, the same firm that compiled the infamous Trump dossier, according to the lawyer and a source familiar with the matter.

In an interview with NBC News, Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya says she first received the supposedly incriminating information she brought to Trump Tower — describing alleged tax evasion and donations to Democrats — from Glenn Simpson, the Fusion GPS owner, who had been hired to conduct research in a New York federal court case.

Unfounded Conspiracy?

PAUL MANAFORT. If Paul Manafort had rebuffed Trump’s offer to run his campaign, he would be walking free today and still buying expensive suits and evading taxes along with his Clinton buddy, Greg Craig. Instead, he became another target for DOJ and intel community and the DNC, which were desperate to portray Trump as a tool of the Kremlin. Thanks to John Solomon of The Hill, we now know the impetus to target Manafort came from the DNC:

The boomerang from the Democratic Party’s failed attempt to connect Donald Trump to Russia’s 2016 election meddling is picking up speed, and its flight path crosses right through Moscow’s pesky neighbor, Ukraine. That is where there is growing evidence a foreign power was asked, and in some cases tried, to help Hillary Clinton.

In its most detailed account yet, Ukraine’s embassy in Washington says a Democratic National Committee insider during the 2016 election solicited dirt on Donald Trump’s campaign chairman and even tried to enlist the country’s president to help.

In written answers to questions, Ambassador Valeriy Chaly’s office says DNC contractor Alexandra Chalupa sought information from the Ukrainian government on Paul Manafort’s dealings inside the country, in hopes of forcing the issue before Congress.

Manafort was not colluding, but the Clinton campaign and the Obama Administration were colluding with Ukraine.

GENERAL MICHAEL FLYNN. This is the biggest travesty. Flynn was being targeted by the intel community with the full collaboration of the FBI. Thanks to his new attorney, the Honey Badger Sidney Powell, there is an avalanche of evidence showing prosecutorial misconduct and an unjustified, coordinated effort by the Obama team to frame Flynn as catering to the Russians. It is a lie and that will be fully exposed in the coming weeks.

Any fair reporter with half a brain would see these events as pointing to a conspiracy. But not the liars at the New York Times. But the Times does tip us off to the upcoming mad scramble for life boats. It will it the FBI and DOJ against the DNI, the CIA and NSA. According to the Times :

It is not clear how many people Mr. Durham’s team has interviewed outside of the F.B.I. His investigators have questioned officials in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence but apparently have yet to interview C.I.A. personnel, people familiar with the review said. Mr. Durham would probably want to speak with Gina Haspel, the agency’s director, who ran its London station when the Australians passed along the explosive information about Russia’s offer of political dirt.

There is no abiding affection between the FBI and the CIA. They mix like oil and water. In theory the FBI only traffics in “evidence.” The CIA deals primarily with well-sourced rumors. But the CIA will argue they were offering their best judgement, not a factual conclusion. Brennan and Clapper will insist they were not in a position to determine the “truth” of what they were reporting. It is “intel” not evidence.

The Horowitz report will not deal with the CIA and NSA directly. Horowitz can only point out that the FBI folks insisted that they were relying on the intel community and had no reason not to trust them. This is likely to get ugly and do not be surprised to see the intel folks try to throw the FBI under the bus and vice versa. Grab the popcorn.

October 21, 2019 Posted by | Deception | , , , | 3 Comments

Western central bankers: they’re God, they trust – a 10-part series on the QE economy

By Ramin Mazaheri | The Saker Blog | October 21, 2019

It’s not that the West’s central bankers are infallible – the similarity is that they cannot be held accountable. After all – who can call God to account for His decisions?

Like God, when things succeed it is They (central bankers) who deserve all the credit – when things fail it’s because we failed to properly follow Their policies.

And like God, they don’t need regulation – it is They who give the regulations, which must be accepted on faith alone and no matter how poor the results.

Central bankers are held partially accountable by only one sector – the markets of money. If markets go down based on any of their statements the bankers immediately reverse themselves, regardless of the situation. Countless times Bernake, Yellen, Trichet, Draghi and others have made statements purposely as clear as mud and then backtracked at the first lower lip quaver from the rich. Despite this exception, neoliberalism has proven to be the worship of bankers, as they rule and not markets – central bankers, of course, subvert and control the markets in many ways.

This idolatry is not new: for two centuries “capitalism with Western characteristics” has truly been “banker rule”. The most impressive victory of neoliberalism – their ability to extend their unholy domain despite provoking the Great Recession – proves this: Central bankers in the G7 nations and the Eurozone have all been given the power to set fiscal policy, to decide social policy priorities and to render domestic elections irrelevant. Western nations are no longer democracies (and they were all, every one, merely the types of democracies which pointedly refused to evolve after 1917) but bankocracies.

The Great Recession has exposed modern capitalism to be not just banker worship but also banker governance.

This is not some wild-eyed lefty nonsense – they are deciding public policy. If we called them a “Politburo” instead of a “central bank” the West would rally up a posse of Nazis and send them to invade.

This multipart series will – as many of my previous such series have also done – use an exceptionally important political book as a jumping off point, which also allows me to humbly impart my point of view gleaned from my work as a daily hack journalist in the heart of the Eurozone. This point of view is rarely heard, yet has virtues which academics, think-tankers, specialists and authors cannot possibly contain – even we hack journalists must have some virtues, after all?

The book is 2018’s Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World by Nomi Prins, a former Wall Street executive who saw the light and is now informing on the crimes of Western imperialism-capitalism.

Quite simply, the book’s primary virtue is chronological: Prins gives a historical account of central banker doings in key areas – Mexico, China, Brazil, Japan and Europe – ever since US banker crimes set off the Great Recession in 2007. Prins gives us all the key happenings in these regions (only China is the one which is undoubtedly not capitalist-imperialist), and that is not something you can find all in one place elsewhere.

And because central bankers run the West, it is like reading the daily itinerary of a dictator – “this is how things were decided”.

What Prins does a good job in reminding us is that this has all been done to keep US banks solvent. Every policy of the US Fed is about defending this goal, and not at all about the health of the global economy; the idea that the US would be militarily aggressive and culturally overbearing yet financially benevolent is preposterous and unsupported by evidence.

But the book is essentially conventional journalism – it is a recounting of historical decisions, facts and consequences. The only radical, non-Western change Prins really suggests is to move away from the dollar. The world “class” is used less than a handful of times. Her mentions of the negative effect of central bankers’ decisions on the average person are clearly sincere but both sparing and brief. Few people get into Wall Street out of their love for poetry, after all. The book is a former Wall Streeter watching other Wall Streeters who have taken a brief detour into public service (except in China) – it is banker-centric. And this is quite useful in the 21st century.

Prins clearly and correctly views bankers as the problem, but her solution is essentially limited to hoping that China’s central bankers will re-balance the status quo, and that their stewardship will allow developing countries to coordinate cooperatively instead of exploitatively. She does not believe that the entire system needs re-ordering upon new moral and political foundations (or even upon the very different moral foundations upon which Red China rests, and which account for their different policies).

But merely changing Western-centrism to Sino-centrism, with its obvious shift away from the US greenback (and even combined with her correct approval of cryptocurrency) cannot be enough. China is not insisting that Western capitalist-imperialist nations follow Beijing, but that they reform themselves – Iran does this too, but where Beijing uses a whisper Iran uses a megaphone amplified by a megaphone. Prins needed far more moral condemnation and to propose far more actual changes to the prevailing Western system, but – as I wrote – this is essentially a book of typical Western capitalist “objective” journalism, where moralising is supposed to be left entirely to the reader.

This series is advocacy journalism. What I have done is to take Prins’ useful chronological, globally-oriented journalism on modern economic history and analyse it from a perspective very different from her own: a pro-socialist and anti-imperialist one.

It’s a great book, but lacks a modern political viewpoint

Prins gets the main point across, though, and it’s there in her title: G7/G20 central bankers have colluded since 2008 to (greenback) paper over the causes of the Great Recession.

Her book makes it undoubtedly clear how monetary policy has been coordinated to inflate and appease the 1%-dominated “markets” at different points around the world at different times. She doesn’t use these correct political terms, but she shows that 21st century Western financial policies are fundamentally neo-imperialist: the world has slaved for the benefit of the former unipolar imperium since 2008 – even though said imperium provoked the financial crisis in 2008 – because of collusion orchestrated by the imperium to inflict policies on the global economy which were mainly to save their biggest, busted banks.

There you have it: three major points upon which the past 11 years of Western economic history have been resting. This also explains why the West’s financial foundation is even shakier than it was in 2008.

You don’t need a PhD in economics to immediately grasp the correctness of these allegations: Nobody in their right mind would buy the securities of the top US banks… except for unaccountable central bankers. Central banks West-wide routinely bought $200 billion of such assets per month. Taxpayers were not enriched by buying bad investments, of course, but the busted banks in the US, Germany and France were.

The collusion Prins refers to in her title is the way the Fed used their influence to force other G20 banks to adopt the same policies. These policies are: massive money printing via QE, ZIRP (Zero interest rate policies) to persuade banks to take the money, and relaxing collateral standards in order to make sure banks got that money no matter how unsound everybody knew they were.

The problem comes down to a simple difference between capitalist and socialist views of finance: governments with policies dominated by the former give taxpayer money to private banks with no rules or accountability, whereas governments with policies dominated by the latter give this money with massive oversight, regulations and directives in order to ensure that it is used as efficiently as humanly possible. The irony for socialist-inspired nations is that they are the ones who are painted as corrupt!

Governments influenced by the former can rely on compliant, privately-owned Mainstream Media to repeatedly insist that these loans are for the benefit of all even though there is no such evidence for such a claim, nor any logical reason to expect such an outcome. Governments influenced by the latter really don’t care what the Western MSM says – their own people don’t need to be propagandized in favor of capitalist lies, and thus they mainly try to keep a low profile as regards international media.

(Cuba spends almost nothing on their media; Iran only recently started PressTV (and this service is more notable for its “different” viewpoint – “Voice of the voiceless” is the official slogan – rather than its scope and size); Xinhua seems to spend most of its time on soft news and certainly doesn’t trumpet its own beliefs. Indeed, much can be said about that difference between Iran and China: the former is nearly screaming up to Heaven what it is thinking and doing, whereas inscrutability in China is not just a cliché but their government policy, which aims to avoid friction. But I digress….)

The ultimate problem with Prins is that – like all “I’m a capitalist but not THIS capitalism” – she is ultimately a historical/economic nihilist:

Prins is like so many fine commentators on the Anglophone fringe: accumulating, exposing and railing against the crimes of capitalism, and garnering many clicks and views, but remaining fundamentally supportive of the capitalist system. They don’t believe in the only philosophical and economic alternative humans have designed to capitalism – socialism – nor do such analysts ever thread the camel through needle and become the one capitalist who finally proposes a capitalist system which is not based on exploitation, competition, aggression, etc.

There are ostensibly two main types of central bankers: the ones with more legacy power, and the ones with less but rising power, as is the case in China.”

Totally false: very real alternatives exist, and denying that – which Prins essentially does – only keeps people stuck in the political nihilism of TINA (There Is No Alternative).

The very real, very working alternative: the ‘terrorist’ central bankers of Iran & China

As I alluded to, China’s central bank is predicated on totally different foundations. And then you have Iran’s central bank: Iran’s central bank chief, Valiollah Saif, was declared a terrorist last month by Washington. Neither of these countries with socialist-inspired revolutions have banking leaders who are quotidian, interchangeable “central bankers minus legacy power”, as Prins describes.

Why was Iran’s Central Bank declared a “global terrorist”?

More flagrantly oppositional than Iran’s foreign policy are the tenets which guide Iran’s National Bank: it is totally state-owned, whereas the Fed is a consortium of private banks and set up like private corporations (something rarely understood). Iran’s National Bank is not “independent” from the government in the slightest. Iran’s central bank cannot meddle in – much less dictate – domestic policy, because that is why Iran has elections. Iran’s Central Bank, due to its fundamental independence, anti-capitalist and revolutionary nature proves that not all central bankers are the same.

Importantly, the independence of many Western central banks came after the Iranian Islamic Revolution of 1979: The Bank of Japan was made independent in 1998, the same year the ECB opened its doors to let greed rush in. Of course, their independence ensures that they follow policies which are for private concerns and not public ones.

Contrarily, China and Iran have central banks owned, literally, by the People. Former ECB chief Jean-Claude Trichet often talked about how the ECB was a “bank of the people”, but it was classic continental hypocrisy – the Maastricht treaty, in the neoliberal & anti-socialist model in which the EU and Eurozone were created, explicitly made the ECB independent of any government. Does anyone possibly persist in believing, 10 years into (not after) the crisis, that the ECB has chosen policies which benefit the 99% and not the 1%?

There is widespread agreement in Iran that Islam tolerates capitalism – there are plenty of private banks – but Iran has agreed with socialism that the only solution is to have the biggest banks owned by the state. That is the only way “strings” can ever be applied to taxpayer money-created-loans in order to create a virtuous – and not exploitative – monetary cycle between government and business.

Such a solution is not proposed by a capitalist like Prins. She even tries to intimate that China’s Central Bank is almost equally duplicitous (though she could never get away with implying that China’s central bank was as exploitative), which is pure political nihilism and easily disproved.

The reality is that governments must issue paper money and private bankers act as the middleman to get this money to citizens… but only in capitalist countries. In socialist-inspired countries government workers serve as the middleman, and that is why they are succeeding in the 21st century. China and Vietnam are the two biggest boomers since 1980, while Cuba, Iran, Venezuela and a handful of others would be booming if they were not so terribly sanctioned.

Conclusion: There is no god but God

(That is perhaps the theological heart of Islam there, and repeated in every Salah daily prayer. Various stone idols with multiple limbs, the Christian trinity and Western central bankers all are not God because there is only one, single God and His name is God.)

Allow me to conclude with a few more indisputable truths, many of which have been painfully learned over the past decade:

  • Neoliberal central bankers are not as competent as even those much-maligned Iranian Revolutionary Shi’a mullahs. Per Prins:

With rates already near zero, or negative in some countries, there is little-to-no room to maneuver in the event of a looming crisis. After the decade-long money-conjuring policy, one with no real end in sight, one thing has become clear: central bank craftsmanship has been ineffective, at best, and has demonstrated gross negligence for the lasting consequences at worst. The assumption that these central banking policies will anytime soon evoke real growth is as preposterous as it is wrong.”

  • Once these paper props are stopped, chaos is certain to result in the Western economy. This chaos was always merely postponed via QE’s “helicopter money” (money thrown from helicopters (to the rooftops of fancy banker soirees?) in the hope that it will do good); this chaos will be even worse because 10 years of failed policies logically means that the West’s economies are far weaker than they were 10 years ago.
  • Capitalism is guaranteed to go from boom to bust, but the 2008 bust was both exceptionally bad and exceptionally driven by the US. The policy response was also exceptionally bad and also exceptionally driven by the US, and is also culturally designed to make Western society’s labor and financial laws even more exceptionally like those of the US.
  • If Western central bankers wanted to do everything they could to empower their enemy – socialist China – only then can they consider themselves as having been a success. The past decade has seen China soar so high they have broken the glass ceiling of a unipolar world. In slower historical processes, China has floated its yuan since January 2016, no longer pegging it to the dollar, and they have gotten the yuan added to the IMF Special Drawing Rights basket. QE could have changed the nature of Western societies in a good way, as it did in China, per Prins: “In China, conjured money went to building real things, whether they were needed or not, whereas for the rest of the G7, it tended to go into less tangible and more speculative uses.” The idea that China is building “unneeded” things and ghost towns is pro-capitalist propaganda, and is debunked here, but the result is clear: QE has only made China stronger but the West weaker.
  • The West has been told that the problem is developing countries not pulling their weight – China (alleged currency manipulation, their “slowdown” from incredible growth to merely fantastic growth, their trade war, etc.), Greece and other weak economies – when both the primary cause of the Great Recession and the primary cause of the continued global slowdown has been due to following the leading ideologies of the capitalist-imperialist West.
  • What the MSM has refused to shout from the rooftops is that all these trillions of QE could have gone directly into the pocket of the average person and produced comparatively spectacular economic growth on the macro level and on the micro/individual level. Half could have gone to citizens and the other half to infrastructure growth, and the money-conjuring nations would have assured their people 50 years of success and modernity. Sadly, capitalism does not believe in controlling their banks or their 1%. Instead, as everyone reading this fringe series on a fringe website written by a fringe hack journalist likely already knows, it went into the FIRE economy (Finance, Insurance and Real Estate) and created massive bubbles worse than the ones a decade ago.

It comes down to a palpable feeling of social responsibility in government policy – there is none in hyper-competitive, “you have no right to a social safety net” Western neoliberal capitalism: contrarily, there is some of this rather holy spirit in Iranian Islamic Socialism, Socialism With Chinese Characteristics, Cuban-style socialism, etc.

It does not matter if this social responsibility comes from fear of God, or fear of incurring social shame or fear of el Norte, or whatever – results matter in social policy, because they mean life and death; because social policy always has and always will include very real judges dispensing very real (even if unfair) justice. Western distractions like “psychological motivation” are mainly overly-dwelled upon by existential Western urbanites who need to pay a psychologist to get them to finally accept that they are ragingly self-destructive, just like their economic principles and policies.

I will allow you to skip to the final page (of my series, not Prins’): At some point China will be asked to pick up the baton of QE collusion, because they are the only major economy which hasn’t done it yet… and they will not do it.

Why would they save the West? Not just because of their socialist ideals, nor their “Century of Humiliation”, but also because they have already been propping up the US monetarily (along with Japan) for quite some time.

But perhaps realizing that China won’t devalue its own economy via Western economic policies, the US has begun their fourth round of Quantitative easing. Their private media/propaganda outlets are ordering us “dont call it QE4”, but it’s exactly the same as before: printing new money to give to private banks with no strings attached.

QE, like God, has to be permanent.

Unlike God, there will be a reckoning for QE one day and it will be worse than in 2008.

For now, the West remains righteous neoliberal believers, and heaven rain down furious destruction on any Yellow Vester who smashes the window of a Western bank!

An 10-part series may seem like a lot, but these articles are shorter than my usual output when it comes to analytical series (Part 1 is the longest, or nearly). This series is essentially a continuation, updating and expansion of a 7-part series I wrote in autumn 2017 which also covered the failed Western policy of QE. Here is the list of articles slated to be published, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!


Part 1Western central bankers: they’re God, they trust – a 10-part series on the QE economy

Part 2 – How QE has radically changed the nature of the West’s financial system

Part 3 – QE paid for a foreign buying spree: developing countries hurt the most

Part 4 – Iran vs Mexico: ‘economic inflows’ versus ‘economic independence’

Part 5 – Understanding the West’s obsession with inflation

Part 6 – The new ‘beggar thy neighbor’: wars to devalue labor, not currencies

Part 7 – Blaming China for the Great Recession… to avoid emulating China’s (socialist-inspired) success

Part 8 – 1941, 1981, 2017 or today – Europe’s mess is still Germany’s fault

Part 9 – Don’t forget the real root of Brexit: fear of Eurozone economic contagion

Part 10 – Bankocracies: the real Western governance model

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books Ill Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China and the upcoming Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television.

October 21, 2019 Posted by | Book Review, Economics, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 4 Comments

Class Issue: Swedish Communist Newspaper Changes Tune on Immigration

Sputnik – October 21, 2019

According to the newspaper’s new editor-in-chief, immigration is not only a right-wing issue, but something that directly affects the working class.

In a marked switch, Proletären (“The Proletarian”), the mouthpiece of the Communist Party, will begin to report on the negative consequences of immigration.

Robert Wettersten, the newspaper’s new editor-in-chief who replaced Jenny Tedjeza after 18 years at the helm, suggested that Proletären’s goal is to “dare to stick out, provoke and ponder the issues that affect the working class anno 2019”.

According to Wettersten, restrictions on the right to strike, which was a relevant issue for many previous generations of left-wingers, is no longer something workers care about. Instead, immigration and integration as well as law and order are at the top of the list among the issues that labour voters consider important.

“Many regard it as a typical right-wing issue, and nothing that a communist labour newspaper should write about. I think that’s wrong. If these are issues that concern workers, then it is our damned duty to take them up in Proletären”, Robert Wettersten said.

Otherwise, he continued, you are “just a working-class newspaper on paper, not in reality”.

“Purely objectively, migration affects most things; labour market, housing situation, municipal finances, equality – you name it! And it is mainly workers and ordinary people who are affected by crime. So this is not an exclusively labour issue, I don’t think so”, Wettersten stressed.

Proletären has been issued by the Communist Party since 1970. A lot of famous Swedes, such as Jan Myrdal, Peter Birro, and Sven Wollter have contributed to the newspaper.

Sweden, a country with long-standing socialist traditions, has not one but two active communist parties, the Communist Party and the Swedish Communist Party, both originating in the 70s. Surprisingly, though, the two are at odds with each other despite formally sticking to Marxism-Leninism, not least over the issue of immigration.

In July 2018, the Swedish Communist Party decided to break all cooperation with the Communist Party, citing the latter’s “development towards opportunism and its adoption of right-wing populism”. Both, however, remain in effect fringe parties with no parliamentary representation.

Owing to the Swedish establishment embracing mass immigration in recent decades, the share of foreign-born has reached 2 million (or 20% of the Swedish population).

October 21, 2019 Posted by | Economics | , | 1 Comment

Australian media stages front-page ‘blackout’ to protest against govt clampdown on press freedom

RT | October 21, 2019

In a rare show of unity, all major news outlets in Australia have staged a mass protest against increasingly draconian secrecy laws passed by the government, which are infringing on press freedom and the public’s right to know.

Rivals News Corp Australia and Nine, among others, printed front pages which showed blacked-out, ‘redacted’ text emblazoned with red stamps that read “secret.”

The protest was organized by the Right to Know Coalition, with the support of numerous TV, radio, newspaper and digital outlets.

Collectively, the press are arguing against national security laws which are stifling the freedom of the press and, in doing so, creating a “culture of secrecy” in Australia wherein freedom of information requests relating to even the most trivial government affairs are being denied. Some 60 laws relating to secrecy have been passed in the past two decades.

ABC Managing Director David Anderson warned that “Australia is at risk of becoming the world’s most secretive democracy.” The Australian media argue the government is trying to penalize whistleblowing, criminalize journalism, and infringe upon the public’s right to know.

The protest comes after a series of high-profile raids on the offices of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the home of a News Corp Australia journalist following the publication of articles detailing alleged war crimes and domestic spying carried out by the government.

Three journalists may face prosecution following the raids for their part in the whistleblower articles’ publication.

During these press investigations, it was revealed that the Australian Secret Intelligence Service had bugged the offices of Timor-Leste officials during a multimillion-dollar resource negotiation in 2004.

Meanwhile, Australian Tax Office whistleblower Richard Boyle is facing up to 161 years in prison for revealing abuse of powers by the Australian tax authority apparatus.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that while press freedom was important, it is still subject to the rule of law, adding that “no one was above the law.”

“That includes me, or any journalist, or anyone else.”

A press freedom inquiry is under way, the findings of which will be revealed in parliament next year. The media are fighting for the right to challenge government applications for warrants against journalists, while calling for freedom of information and defamation law reform, and the introduction of special protections for journalists and public sector whistleblowers.

October 21, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Solidarity and Activism | | 2 Comments

4 Sinai civilians killed after Egypt army bombs house

MEMO | October 21, 2019

At least four civilians have been killed and 12 injured after a bomb was dropped on a house in Abu Al-Araj, Sheikh Zuweid, on Saturday.

Ten-year-old Mohammed Masoud, 90-year-old Farha Ibrahim, 24-year-old Aya Juma Eid and 28 year-old Rania Juma Eid all died in the drone attack in Egypt’s northern Sinai Peninsula.

For years now the Egyptian government has waged a war on Sinai it says is against terrorism, but which locals say is a war on civilians aimed at systematically displacing them from their land.

In the last seven years 14 villages in Sheikh Zuweid have been razed by the Egyptian military. According to a Facebook post written by Sinai researcher Ahmed Salem:

There is no such thing as a random aerial bombing and there is no such thing as a flight that makes mistakes 20 times in the coordination and rockets directed with modern technologies, the error rate is almost zero; the village has 20 or 30 homes and you know them by name.

The aggression continues across the peninsula. Just one week ago a shell hit a truck carrying civilians from an olive farm to the city of Bir Al-Abd as they were travelling home, killing at least ten people from the same family. Six others were injured and taken to hospital.

Following the attack the Arabic hashtag “Al-Sisi kills Sinai residents” was one of the top trending in the country.

A photograph of a baby with cuts on his head circulated online – the only survivor after the rest of his family died.

According to activists, the Egyptian government has been trying to remove the population of Bir Al-Abed for months now. Locals fear it will become the next Rafah, a city along the border with Gaza that has been completely flattened and the population displaced.

On 30 September the Egyptian military killed a six-year-old boy and his father in a revenge attack after Daesh attacked the Toffaha military checkpoint in Bir Al-Abed.

Suleyman Abu Dabbous, who works in a petrol station, was on his way home with his son Karim, 24, and his six-year-old grandson when the army opened fire on the car.

October 21, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , | 2 Comments

A Panicked Israel Is a Dangerous Israel

By Alastair Crooke | Strategic Culture Foundation | October 21, 2019

Former US Presidential Candidate, Pat Buchanan has written, “the Middle East and world, have been awakened to the reality that, when Trump said he was ending everlasting commitments and bringing U.S. troops home from “endless wars,” he was not bluffing. The Saudis got the message when the U.S., in response to a missile and drone strike from Iran or Iranian-backed militias, which shut down half of Riyadh’s oil production, did nothing … thus, the Saudis have begun negotiating with the Houthi rebels, with whom they have been at war in Yemen since 2015. And they are seeking talks with Iran.” In other words, the paradigm has begun to shift.

The Trump decisions indeed, did send shock waves to the world. And in their wake, Twitter in the US has been ‘white hot’ with indignation and outrage.

That is one side of the Syria US forces withdrawal ‘coin’ – the outrage. The other, is that realistically, the US had been trying to achieve too many irreconcilable aims: ousting President Assad; enforcing ‘domain denial’ to both Russia and Iran; plus attempting to install an unpopular minority population (the Kurds are a minority – even in NE Syria) in a blatant nation-building ‘state-let’ project to rival Damascus. With such diverse aims, and with Russia and Iran opposing these aims, the US was achieving none.

In the same vein of an overdue dose of realism, (and as Edward Gibbons highlighted in his celebrated Decline and Fall in respect to Imperial Rome), once certain qualities are lost, decline and fall is fore-ordained. Saudi Arabia has long lost those original attributes that brought Ibn Saud power, and without which, decline follows inevitably (which Gibbons persuasively argued, is exactly what happened earlier, to Rome).

Saudi Arabia today, has not the least energy to rouse itself, and life is flaccid. The Houthis though, by contrast, exactly embody these Gibbons-esque vital qualities and virtues. The outcome to today’s Saudi-Yemeni conflict was foreshadowed in the character of its contestants – irrespective of all other disparities. The Pentagon, to be fair, saw this from the outset, but allowed the momentum of old US strategic alliances and enmities to override this key insight.

So why such hue and clamour in Washington over an overdue recognition of realities? The indignation is not so surprising – for it is not just the contrived hand-wringing over the Kurds that lies behind such a fuss and bother; but rather, it is because Trump has taken a hammer to two (inter-connected) establishment shibboleths — and shattered them into pieces.

One strand here concerns Vietnam: it’s always there, lurking in the US backdrop. In that still formative US war experience, more than two decades of involvement and half a million American troops never managed to alter the basic weakness of a U.S. proxy that could never hold the line, without constant American support. It finally collapsed under the weight of a conventional North Vietnamese invasion, in April 1975. (Think Afghanistan today?).

Here is the point. Though a majority of historians subscribe to the basic contours of the above narrative, the vast majority of senior American military officers do not.

Petraeus, Mattis, McMaster, and others entered service, when military prestige was at a low ebb. They and their colleagues were taught that the Vietnam failure was due to political pusillanimity in Washington (or in the nation’s streets), or else due to a military high command that was too weak to assert its authority effectively.

But none of the military analysis done by this post-Vietnam war generation of officers ever addressed the basic question “about whether the Vietnam War was winnable, necessary, or advisable” from the first. (Think: Syria today).

No – in this view, the Vietnam war could, and should, have been won – if only the right approach had been pursued. Thus, the ‘forever war’ notion was born: It was designed, empirically to ‘prove’ the two major military theses of the war lacunae (no ‘Clausewitz’ or COIN): That is, if both these strategies had been fully implemented in Vietnam, instead of being neglected, they would assuredly have led to an American ‘win’. (Mattis echoed this thinking when he introduced 2018 Trump’s Defense and Nuclear Reviews: America, Mattis insisted, simply must “start winning” again).

This revisionist version of Vietnam war history began in 1986 with an article by David Petraeus, in the military journal Parameters, in which he argued that the US army was unprepared to fight low intensity conflicts (such as Vietnam); and that “what the country needed wasn’t fewer Vietnams; but better-fought ones”. The definitive COIN doctrine, Field Service Manual 3-24, Counterinsurgency Operations, however, was overseen by David Petraeus, working with another officer, Lt General James Mattis (the former US Defense Secretary), who has this week been howling at Trump about the US withdrawal from Syria (the issue – prospective withdrawal – over which he resigned as then Defense Secretary).

Thus, Trump’s original team of ‘my generals’ were precisely those who had spent three administrations expanding COIN-influenced missions to approximately 70% of the world’s nations. In an interview in 2017, Petraeus described the Afghan conflict as “generational”. In short, Trump’s original most senior military advisers didn’t even pretend that the post-9/11 wars would ever end. Essentially, the Trump Administration’s National Strategy Statement put an ‘America First’ gloss on Bush’s 2002 NSS: that no rival would, or should, be permitted to challenge US political or financial primacy.

But this basic contradiction simply could not be sustained. Forever Wars were precisely those which Trump had campaigned as Candidate to end. And now, with Presidential elections again at hand, he has ditched the whole revisionist Vietnam meme.

Trump then, should be able to weather the criticism from this quarter quite easily. The US public is fed up with ‘forever wars’. And in any event, a new generation at the Pentagon now has shifted from COIN to ‘Great Power Competition’, and is intent on pivoting away from the Middle East, to China.

The other Shibboleth, still deeply embedded in certain strains of US thinking, but which now lies shattered by Trump too, is of a different order – and is far more perilous: It is the ‘Wolfowitz doctrine’, encapsulated in this 1991 exchange the then US Undersecretary for Defense had with General Wesley Clark. And for this act of iconoclasm, Trump can expect severe push-back.

Clark: “Mr. Secretary, you must be pretty happy with the performance of the troops in Desert Storm.”

Wolfowitz: “Yeah, but not really, because the truth is we should have gotten rid of Saddam Hussein, and we didn’t … But one thing we did learn is that we can use our military in the region — in the Middle East — and the Soviets won’t stop us. And we’ve got about 5 or 10 years to clean up those old Soviet client regimes — Syria, Iran, Iraq — before the next great superpower comes on, to challenge us.”

Wolfowitz’s thinking was then taken up more explicitly by David Wurmser in his 1996 document, Coping with Crumbling States (following on, from his contribution to the infamous Clean Break policy strategy paper written by Richard Pearle for Bibi Netanyahu earlier in the same year). The aim of both these seminal documents was to directly counter American ‘isolationist’ thinking.

Daniel Sanchez has noted: “Wurmser characterized regime change in Iraq and Syria (both ruled by Baathist regimes) as “expediting the chaotic collapse” of secular-Arab nationalism in general, and Baathism in particular. He [asserted that] “the phenomenon of Baathism,” was, from the very beginning, “an agent of foreign, namely Soviet policy”… [and therefore advised] the West to put this anachronistic adversary ‘out of its misery’ – and to press America’s Cold War victory on toward its final culmination”.

This tract, Coping with Crumbling States, which together with Clean Break was to have a major impact on Washington’s thinking during the GW Bush Administration (in which David Wurmser would serve). What aroused the deep-seated neo-con ire in respect to the secular-Arab nationalist states was not just that they were, in the neo-con view, crumbling relics of the ‘evil’ USSR, but that from 1953 onwards, Russia sided with these secular-nationalist states in all their conflicts regarding Israel. This was something the neo-cons could neither tolerate, nor forgive. Both Clean Break and the 1997 Project for the New American Century (PNAC) were exclusively premised on the wider US policy aim of securing Israel.

The point here is that whilst Wurmser stressed that demolishing Baathism must be the foremost priority in the region, he added: “Secular-Arab nationalism should be given no quarter – not even – he added, for the sake of stemming the tide of Islamic fundamentalism”.

There was, therefore, no other option: The point is that – on this premise – the US had no other choice but to ally with the Kings, Emirs and Rulers of the Middle East. It still is.

And in return, these States benefitted from the US security umbrella — until, that is, when Saudi Arabia lost half of its oil processing capacity with the strike on Aramco, and “Trump did nothing” (in Pat Buchanan’s words). The ‘umbrella’ guarantee expired.

It is in this context – the withdrawal of US security commitment – that Trump is at real political risk. Israel is in a panic. Israeli correspondents see these linked events as Trump’s death blow to Israel, with the “strategic balance of power shifting right before Israel’s eyes”. Israel is left alone: (Smadar Peri writing in Yediot Ahoronot (in Hebrew) : “Trump abandons allies without blinking, and Israel is liable to be next”. As Ben Caspit notes, “The shift in the region is forcing Israel to change its plans, rethink its concepts and prepare for scenarios that were shelved long ago. One of them is the possibility of fighting a war on more than one front in the very near future”.

[Ex-] Israeli commentator, Gilad Atzmon observes:

“Israel has seriously mismanaged its conflict with Iran. For over a decade, Israel has relentlessly threatened and sought to intimidate Iran. Iran’s response has been effective: slowly but surely Iran encircled the Jewish state. Israel doesn’t share a border with Iran but Iran is present on so many of Israel’s borders … The recent attack on Saudi oil facilities achieved an astonishing precision of less than one meter, despite the fact that it was launched from 650 miles away, and delivered with it a clear message to Israel. Iran can attack any target in Israel from Western Iraq with precision, and without being detected. It proved that Iranian technology is decades ahead of anything offered by Israel, America or the west.

It now seems totally unrealistic to expect America to act militarily against Iran on behalf of Israel. Trump’s always unpredictable actions have convinced the Israeli defense establishment that the country has been left alone to deal with the Iranian threat. The American administration is only willing to act against Iran through sanctions, and by now the Israelis have grasped that sanctions can easily boomerang. They nourish technological and strategic independence … As things stand, Israel used the billions of dollars it squeezed from American taxpayers to build an obsolete anti-missile system that at best, might be effective against 1940 era German V2 missiles. Once again Israel prepared for the wrong war”.

Here is the ‘rub’ for Trump: It is not just that Israel’s overwhelming influence in the US Congress and amongst the élites puts him in a risky political corner. It does do that, of course. But a bigger danger is that culturally, Israel cannot change course. Netanyahu’s tardy response to Aramco was that Israel must immediately ‘spend billions on defence’.

Rationally, one might expect Israel, in these new circumstances, to rethink its strategy in respect to Iran. But can it? Is it not too culturally committed to Iran as the cosmic evil? There is little difference here between Likud and the Blue and White coalition of Gantz. Will a panicked Israel rather try somehow to recover its earlier regional military ‘edge’? Will Trump be able to maintain America’s distance, if Israel does try?

Trump probably sees himself as having taken a courageous decision (and it was that — a huge break with conventional thinking) to free America from “endless wars”. But he will need to watch his back from the repercussions arising from the Israeli realisation notes Ben Caspit, “after three years of being convinced that it was on the winning side, Israel is beginning to realise that it is on the one that’s losing; or at least [the side that] has been abandoned”. A cornered, and panicked Israel is a dangerous Israel.

October 21, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , | 6 Comments

Can Trump Survive Ending Project Syria?

By Tom Luongo | Strategic Culture Foundation | October 21, 2019

From the moment that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Davos) announced reluctantly that impeachment proceedings would begin against President Trump I knew this was about his shift in Middle East policy.

It happened on Terrible Tuesday where both Trump and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson were handed smackdowns by their respective Deep States over their plans to unwind multiple decades of aggressive foreign policy on the one hand and subjugation to the growing European Union on the other.

Now that Trump has fully embraced ending some of the US’s involvement in Syria the knives have come out in full. There have been nothing but howls of pain from every corner of neoconservatism and liberal interventionism on both sides of the domestic political aisle, about how Trump is unfit for office because he abandoned the heroic Kurds to genocide by the Turks after fighting for freedom against the brutal Bashar al-Assad.

Even the impressive Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) promoted this narrative at the recent Democratic debate.

This narrative is so wrong on so many levels that it amazes me anyone still promulgating it can do so without their brain seizing up from the cognitive dissonance.

The Kurds were mercenaries in a cynical multi-country operation to atomize Syria into a failed state, a la the Libya model which John Bolton threatened North Korea with (and led to the public reason for his firing). This atomization would have seen Turkey take Idlib and the north eastern Arab lands its moving into now, the Kurds get a country comprised of Southeastern Syria and Northern Iraq with the eventual annexation of Kurdish territory in Iran.

This operation was paid for by the US, Saudi Arabia, Israel, the UK as well as sanctioned by EU leadership in Paris and Berlin. Russia’s intervention put the kibosh on all of it and the alliance formed in Syria’s defense between it, China, Hezbollah and Iran not only won back most of the country over the past four years but also defeated the Iraqi Kurds at Erbil after a failed rebellion by Mamoud Barzani and his Peshmerga forces.

Once Aleppo was retaken, Raqqa demolished, and the Peshmerga defeated the Kurds’ fate was sealed. The past two and a half years have been nothing more than delaying actions against the day that Trump finally gained control over the White House insurrections amongst his staff and ordered the operation ended.

Trump ordering US troops out of the region put the Kurds on notice that they either make a deal with Russia and the Syrian government or get slaughtered by the Turks. That took all of a day.

It also, as the great Pat Buchanan points out in his latest article, put the Saudis on notice that they no longer set US foreign policy objectives because they sell their oil in dollars and splash some money around D.C. and the media.

Their bloodthirst for war with Iran can be done on their dime or not at all.

The most shocking part in all of this is Trump just made the same statement to, of all people, Israel.

And that’s where the highest concentration of anguish is coming from in the media and elsewhere.

Finally, a Republican president had the stones to call AIPAC’s bluff and stop kowtowing to them over their highly sought-after election funds. Trump doesn’t need AIPAC’s money anymore. He raised $125 million in Q3 and with these moves will likely raise more in Q4.

His firing John Bolton was the clue you needed that AIPAC and Sheldon Adelson were no longer important voices in Trump’s White House. He doesn’t need favorable media coverage from a media dominated by Saudi and Israeli money.

It’s not like he’s gotten good press from them on any consistent basis since 2015. He only gets that when he’s willing to bomb people in the name of their agendas and call it ‘freedom.’

But at the same time, he made powerful enemies doing so.

This was finally the right move made by a US president standing firm in front of oppressive political and media opposition. Trump is showing a strength we haven’t seen since Ronald Reagan pulled troops out of Beirut after the massacre of more than 200 marines in 1983.

That he didn’t immediately cave to the pressure like he did in December is noteworthy. I’ve given Trump no end of grief over his lack of moral courage on this very issue, but now that he’s been unleashed by the move to impeach him, he has little left to lose.

It proves that changing personnel can change policy. John Bolton is out and he’s running his mouth about how terrible Trump is trying to become the Hero of the Resistance in the process.

He and former Trump adviser on Russia, Fiona Hill, dominated the news cycle in the wake of the Kurds making a deal with Syria and Russia, to paint Trump with the Nixon brush of spying on his political enemies.

Meanwhile, his replacement Robert O’Brien is gutting the National Security bureaucracy, reportedly cutting the staff in half. Good. That’s more than a hundred people no longer employed to feed the president false information to suit an agenda that contravenes US security.

These moves by Trump have upset the status quo in a fundamental way. It has blown up the narrative that we were in Syria to defeat ISIS. That was the cover story. And Trump has neatly called it out for exactly that.

The real story is that partitioning Syria has been the long-held goal of Israel, the neoconservatives, PNAC and so many others. And that goal is now looking to be out of reach lest they can convict Trump for doing his job for the first time since he became President.

With the rapid changes happening across the region and the collapse of so many narratives concurrently, Trump is in an excellent position to make good on many of his long-delayed promises.

What’s also clear is that Putin has played everyone in the region perfectly, balancing his relationships with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel so that once Trump made his move to pull back the curtain in Syria, they would all turn to him to broker their terms.

What’s also clear is that any move he makes now will be interpreted through the impeachment lens as proof he’s trying to save himself or that he really is a Putin puppet or whatever random anti-Trump thought flits through the tiny openings in the minds of his opponents.

Trump has stepped on sacred ground here, US interventionist foreign policy. And, right now, only he has the platform and the ability to separate fact from fiction about its efficacy and who it really serves.

Because it doesn’t serve the American people, nor does it serve the people our continued presence is supposed to protect. Trump won’t come out and say that he’s turned his back on Israel’s goals in the Middle East. But with his Deal of the Century dead, its proponents on their last legs politically (Netanyahu and Kushner) it seems likely that he’s cutting bait and changing course.

And even if he doesn’t survive this politically, the vacuum he’s creating right now is big enough that it won’t matter. With Putin signing major deals with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, China welcoming Iraq into the Belt and Road family and Turkey all but leaving NATO, what are a bunch of feckless and politically spent neocons going to do?

Not much from where I’m sitting.

October 21, 2019 Posted by | Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , | 5 Comments

Ceasefire ends, talks on Syria between Erdogan and Putin begin

By Sarah Abed | October 21, 2019

Monday marks the thirteenth day since Turkey began its third cross border military operation in Syria ironically named “Operation Peace Spring”. In the past two weeks civilian and militant lives on both sides have been lost, a large exodus has taken place, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a resolution that opposes US troop withdrawal, a five-day ceasefire was brokered between Turkey and the United States, and Kurdish militias have withdrawn from the “safe-zone”.

On Wednesday, there was overwhelming bipartisan approval for a measure that opposes President Trump’s U.S. forces withdrawal from Syria. The resolution was introduced by Reps. Michael McCaul, Republican from Texas and Eliot Engel, Democrat from NY and it calls on the White House to put forth a plan for the “enduring defeat” of Daesh and demand that Turkey cease its military operations in Syria.

The measure which passed 354-60 with four members voting present and all sixty of the nays coming from Republican’s stated, “An abrupt withdrawal of United States military personnel from certain parts of Northeast Syria is beneficial to adversaries of the United States government, including Syria, Iran and Russia.”

It’s absurd that there’s outrage about ending a war and allowing Syria to handle its own domestic affairs. However, nothing of the sort happened when Nobel Peace Prize winner and former US President Barack Obama was bombing seven countries and creating some of the wars that President Trump has inherited including Syria. Bipartisan support for carrying on with endless wars is mindboggling.

On Thursday, a ceasefire was brokered between the United States and Turkey. This pause was meant to for the Kurdish militias to dismantle their posts and retreat from the 32km “safe zone” and in response the US would not impose any new sanctions on Turkey. However, there’s a lesser mentioned point that prompted the ceasefire and that’s the entrapment of US/UK Coalition Joint Special Operations Task forces in northern Syria. It was necessary for hostilities to cease long enough for them to withdrawal out of harm’s way.

Washington and Turkey do not want the Kurdish militias to work in conjunction with the Syrian Arab Army, but for different reasons. The US would rather see them stay independent from the SAA and keep them as an ally in case US troops return. Remember northeast Syria is advantageous to the US because they can keep an eye on Iran and protect Israel plus there’s oil. Turkey would like to see the Kurdish militias dissolved along with any separatist Kurdish hopes and dreams of establishing an independent Kurdistan on its border.

Ankara has made it clear that if the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) plans on protecting the YPG/SDF that this will be considered an “act of war”. The Turkish administration is worried that the SAA will enter Manbij, Ayn al-Arab, and Qamishli to protect the Kurdish militias, but that wouldn’t be in the Syrian governments best interest.

There’s been some disagreement among the Kurdish militias as to where they need to be withdrawing from, Turkey is demanding that they entirely vacate the 32km border, and not just some of their posts. If the Kurdish militias withdraw entirely from Turkey’s “safe zone” by the ceasefire deadline, what excuse will Ankara have to continue their military operation? None.

In the past week or so Syrian troops have made significant progress in regaining territory previously occupied by Kurdish militias in northern Syria, and Russia tried to broker negotiations between the Kurdish militias and the Syrian government.

Turkey’s stated goals are to fight the terrorist organizations on their southern border, create a safe-zone, and a “peace corridor” for the resettlement of 1-2 million Syrian refugees. They have stated that they are not looking to land grab or encroach but if we know anything about Turkey’s politics it’s that surprises lie behind every corner, much like the United States.

It’s no coincidence that the 120-hour ceasefire ends on Tuesday, and that’s precisely when President Erdogan will be going to Russia to meet with President Vladimir Putin. President Putin has taken on the role of negotiator and is usually the most level-headed adult in the room when it comes to the Syria conflict and dealing with Turkey, Syria, the Kurdish militias, and yes even the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia along with other players.

I assume the seasoned politician serving his fourth term in office will handle the Sochi meeting on Tuesday with Turkey, in the same polite and diplomatic manner we’ve grown accustomed to.

There were some questions as to whether the ceasefire will continue till then, due to violations on both sides. Turkey’s defense ministry stated on Sunday that one of their soldiers was killed and that the Kurdish militias violated the ceasefire over 20 times in the past three days. The SDF is stating that 16 of their fighters have been killed. Also, as part of the agreement between the US and Turkey, an 86- vehicle Kurdish convoy left Ras al-Ayn toward the town of Tal Tamr this weekend.

On Sunday, hundreds of trucks carrying almost 500 US personnel were seen withdrawing troops near Al Hasakah to Iraq’s border. It’s also been noted that US troops are destroying their own airfields and equipment before fleeing.

It appears that out of the supposed 1,000 US troops that about 500-700 will be sent to Iraq and about 200-300 will remain in Syria to perform what a senior US official referred to as a “counter Daesh mission”. Back in December President Trump had said he wanted to bring all 2,000 troops back home, and now it doesn’t seem like any of them will be coming back home anytime soon.

October 21, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 1 Comment

University Feels No Need to Explain: Crockford Story Part 2

The University of Victoria receives hundreds of millions of tax dollars, yet refused to answer a single question about the firing of Susan Crockford.

By Donna Laframboise | Big Picture News | October 21, 2019

I recently wrote about Susan Crockford, a world-renowned Canadian zoologist. After serving 15 years as an unpaid Adjunct Professor at the University of Victoria (UVic), her adjunct status has now been revoked. First she was banned from participating in UVic’s Speakers Bureau. Then she was excommunicated from UVic altogether.

In an era in which others bite their tongues and keep their heads down, Crockford courageously disputes the claim that polar bears are at risk from climate change. She has now paid a heavy price.

It’s time to remind ourselves that UVic is a public institution funded by tax dollars. According to its most recent budget document, it spends more than half a billion a year. 52% of its general operating revenue comes directly from provincial and federal government grants. An additional 37% of its revenue comes from student fees – which themselves rely heavily on government grants.

The UVic budget document says a great deal about government funding, but not once does it use the word taxpayer. This institution appears to have forgotten that it owes its very existence to ordinary Canadians. Money is taken away from ordinary people, in the form of taxes, and handed over to UVic to spend.

Publicly funded entities have a special obligation to be transparent. Under British Columbia law, for example, they must publish the salaries of everyone earning above $75,000 a year (see UVic’s annual Financial Information Act report, posted online here).

Crockford was purged even though she didn’t cost UVic one red cent. Compare that to the $188,510 in salary plus $14,583 in expenses Ann Stahl earned last year. While serving as chair of the Anthropology Department, Stahl stopped Crockford from giving free lectures via UVic’s Speakers Bureau.

Compare Crockford’s pricetag to the $145,532 plus $17,272 in expenses April Nowell earned last year. Nowell was chair of the Anthropology Department when it excommunicated Crockford altogether.

We can also compare Crockford’s unpaid position to the $85,851 salary of Paul Marck, the UVic spokesperson I dealt with. He advised me that UVic department heads earning the salaries mentioned above aren’t allowed to speak to journalists working on stories for national newspapers. Everything has to go through Media Relations and Public Affairs, he said, inviting me to e-mail him written questions. That was on September 13th.

I submitted questions the same day. Two dozen of them. Do you know how many Marck answered? Zero. Zip.

I began by asking him to confirm that Crockford had been an adjunct professor for 15 years. He refused to say. After a ridiculous delay of 18 days, a man who’s paid $85,000 annually replied to my long list of questions with a single paragraph. Here’s his October 1st response, in its entirety:

Hello Donna;

Yes, you are correct that Dr. Susan Crockford held an appointment as a non-remunerated, adjunct assistant professor with the University of Victoria’s Department of Anthropology. Under the constraints of provincial privacy legislation, the university is unable to provide personal information relating to the status or renewal of adjunct appointments. For clarification, those who hold adjunct positions are neither faculty members nor employees of the university. As to your remaining questions, the university does not disclose identifying or personal information about our faculty members, staff or students including information about internal processes. We respect the privacy rights of all members of our campus community.



My first group of questions merely attempted to verify dates and basic information. Double-checking facts with both sides of a story is important, but UVic made that impossible. If my understanding of events was inaccurate, this was UVic’s opportunity to let me know. Instead, it chose to stonewall, refusing to say if the Speakers Bureau had ever given Crockford negative feedback, or if anyone in the Anthropology Department had advised her she was at risk of losing her adjunct status.

My next six questions were emphatically not about identifiable individuals. I asked how many people had been on the committee that revoked Crockford’s adjunct status. How many had voted for her versus against her. How many were zoologists? How many adjuncts had the Anthropology Department severed ties with over the past decade? How many adjuncts had UVic as a whole severed ties with? I also asked about safeguards that would prevent adjuncts from being punished for politically incorrect views.

Answering those questions would have violated the privacy of absolutely no one. It’s hilarious that, when I then asked how many UVic professors had matched Crockford’s achievement by being recently published in a prestigious scientific journal, UVic declined even to answer that. University PR people spend their days boasting about this sort of thing. They normally send journalists press releases begging for celebratory coverage.

My final group of questions concerned Crockford’s banishment from the Speakers Bureau. The first one asked why Stahl had refused to endorse – and had therefore silenced – Crockford. This clearly involved identifiable individuals, but the eight questions that followed did not. Here are four of them, typo and all. I’ve inserted the italics here:

ii.   Since 2017, how many other UVic adjunct professors (within and beyond the Anthropology Department) are no longer participating in the Speakers Bureau due to a similar refusal on the part of their department chair?

iii.   Since 2017, what percentage of UVic graduate students participating in the Speaker’s Bureau have been similarly required to secure written endorsement from their department chair?

iv.   How many of these graduate studetns have been refused? [sic]

ix.   What mechanisms exist to vet the content of Speakers Bureau presentations, particularly regarding controversial topics such as climate justice, renewable energy, Israeli-Palestinian relations, restorative justice, and so forth?

That last issue is of particular importance. Either there’s a system to vet presentations or there isn’t. I was seeking basic information, trying hard to understand what’s normal, sincerely trying to sort out what had transpired. UVic felt absolutely no need to explain, to reassure Canadian taxpayers that it had behaved honourably and fairly.

Let me repeat. The University of Victoria was given ample opportunity – 18 bleeping days. Like an untouchable and unaccountable monarch, it chose not to answer a single question.

October 21, 2019 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 1 Comment

Will the Democratic Party Exist after 2020 Election

By Renée Parsons | OffGuardian | October 21, 2019

Even before Rep. Tulsi Gabbard threatened to boycott the October 15th Dem debate as the DNC usurps the role of voters in the Democratic primacy 2020 election and with an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump on the table, the Swamp was stirred and its slimy muck may be about to come to the surface as never before.

If so, those revelations are long overdue.

It is no secret to the observant that since the 2016 election, the Democratic Party has been in a state of near-collapse, the victim of its own hubris, having lost their moral compass with unsubstantiated Russisgate allegations; those accusations continue as a futile exercise of domestic regime change.

Today’s Dems are less than a bona fide opposition party offering zero policy solutions, unrecognizable from past glories and not the same political party many of us signed up for many years ago. Instead, the American public is witnessing a frenzied, unscrupulous strategy.

Desperate in the denial of its demise, confronting its own shadow of corruption as the Dems have morphed into a branch of the CIA – not unlike origins of the East German Stasi government.

It should not be necessary to say but in today’s hyper volatile political climate it is: No American should be labelled as anything other than a loyal American to be deeply disturbed by the Democrat/CIA collusion that is currently operating an unprecedented Kangaroo Court in secret, behind closed doors; thus posing an ominous provocation to what remains of our Constitutional Republic.

As any politically savvy, independent thinking American might grasp, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and their entire coterie of sycophants always knew that Russiagate was a crock of lies.

They lied to their willing Democratic rank n file, they lied to American public and they continue to lie about their bogus Impeachment campaign.

It may be that whistleblower Ed Snowden’s revelations about the NSA surveillance state was the first inkling for many Americans that there is a Big Problem with an out-of-control intelligence community until Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer warned that Trump was being ‘really dumb” in daring to question Intel’s faulty conclusion that Russia hacked the 2016 election.

“Let me tell you. You take on the intelligence community = they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”

Inescapably, Schumer was suggesting  that the Congress has no oversight, that there is no accountability and that the US has lost its democratic roots when a newly elected President does not have the authority to question or publicly disagree with any of the Intel agencies.

Since the 2016 election, there has been a steady drumbeat of the US Intel’s unabashed efforts to undermine and otherwise prevent a newly elected President from governing – which sounds like a clear case of insubordination or some might call it treasonous.

The Intel antipathy does not appear to be rooted in cuts to a favorite social services program but rather protecting a power, financial and influence agenda that goes far deeper and more profound than most Americans care to contemplate.

Among a plethora of egregious corporate media reactions, no doubt stirred by their Intel masters, was to a July, 2018 summit meeting between Russian President Putin and Trump in Helsinki emblematic of illegitimate censures from Intel veterans and its cronies:

Trump sides with Putin over US IntelligenceCNN

Did Trump Commit Treason at Putin Meeting?Newsweek, and

Trump Slammed Over Disgrace, Disgusting Press Conference with PutinNewsweek.

Not one praised Trump for pursuing peace with Russia.

And yet, fellow Americans, it is curious to consider that there was no outrage after the 911 attacks in 2001 from any member of Congress, President Bush or the Corporate Media that the US intelligence community had utterly failed in its mission to keep the American public safe.

There was no reckoning, not one person in authority was held accountable, not one person who had the responsibility to ‘know’ was fired from any of the Intel agencies. Why is that?

As a result of  the corrupt foundation of the Russiagate allegations, Attorney General Bob Barr and Special Investigator John Durham appear hot on the trail with law enforcement in Italy as they have apparently scared the bejesus out of what little common sense remains among the Democratic hierarchy as if Barr/Durham might be headed for Obama’s Oval Office.

Barr’s earlier comment before the Senate that “spying did occur’ and that ‘it’s a big deal when an incumbent administration (ie the Obama Administration) authorizes a counter-Intelligence operation on an opposing candidate (ie Donald Trump) has the Dems in panic-stricken overdrive – and that is what is driving the current Impeachment Inquiry.

With the stark realization that none of the DNC’s favored top tier candidates has the mojo to go the distance, the Democrats have now focused on a July 25th phone call between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in which Trump allegedly ‘pressured’ Zelenskyy to investigate Joe Biden’s relationship with Burisma, the country’s largest natural gas provider.

At issue is any hanky panky involving Burisma payments to Rosemont Seneca Partners, an equity firm owned by Joe’s errant son, Hunter, who served on Burisma’s Board for a modest $50,000 a month.

Zelenskyy, who defeated the US-endorsed incumbent President Petro Poroshenko in a landslide victory, speaks Russian, was elected to clean up corruption and end the conflict in eastern Ukraine.  The war in the Donbass began as a result of the US State Department’s role in the overthrow of democratically elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014.

Trump’s first priority on July 25th was Crowd Strike, a cybersecurity firm with links to the HRC campaign which was hired by the DNC to investigate Russian hacking of its server.

The Dems have reason to be concerned since it is worth contemplating why the FBI did not legally mandate that the DNC turn its server over to them for an official Federal forensic inspection.

One can only speculate…those chickens may be coming home to roost.

Days after an anonymous whistleblower (not to be confused with a real whistleblower like Edward Snowden) later identified as a CIA analyst with a professional history linked to Joe Biden, publicly released a Complaint against Trump.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the initiation of an ambiguous Impeachment Inquiry campaign with little specificity about the process.  The Complaint is suspect since it reads more like a professionally prepared Affidavit and the Dems consider Pelosi’s statement as sufficient to initiate a formal process that fails to follow the time-honored path of a full House vote predicating a legitimate impeachment inquiry on to the Judiciary Committee.

Of special interest is how the process to date is playing out with the House Intelligence Committee in a key role conducting what amounts to clandestine meetings, taking depositions and witness statements behind closed doors with a still secret unidentified whistleblower’s identity and voice obscured from Republican members of the Intel Committee and a witness testifying without being formally sworn in – all too eerily similar to East Germany.

The pretense of shielding the thinly veiled CIA operative as a whistleblower from public exposure can only be seen as an overly-dramatic transparent performance as the Dems have never exhibited any concern about protecting real whistleblowers like Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Bill Binney, Thomas Drake, John Kiriakou, Julian Assange, Jeffrey Sterling and others who were left to fend for themselves as the Obama Administration prosecuted more true, authentic whistleblowers than any other administration since the Espionage Act of 1917.

As the paradigm shift takes its toll on the prevailing framework of reality and our decayed political institutions, (the FBI and DOJ come to mind as the Inspector General’s report is due at  week’s end), how much longer does the Democratic Party, which no longer serves a useful public purpose, deserve to exist?

Renee Parsons has been a member of the ACLU’s Florida State Board of Directors and president of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, an environmental lobbyist with Friends of the Earth and staff member of the US House of Representatives in Washington DC. She can be found on Twitter.

October 21, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , | 3 Comments

‘Naive wind industry could destroy our way of life’

By Andrew Lee | Recharge | February 20, 2019

Clean power, green jobs, no emissions – the wind industry is used to being one of the good guys. But to Åsa Larsson-Blind, president of the Sami Council, it’s just the latest – and potentially most deadly – industrial threat to a fragile, ancient culture focused around reindeer herding up towards the Arctic Circle.

“The wind industry often says it wants to have a dialogue,” Larsson-Blind told Recharge. “But I believe it thinks it is easier to accommodate than it actually is. I think it has a naïve view that it is just putting up some windmills, not taking away [reindeer] pastures.”

The most immediate spark for Larsson-Blind’s anger is the Norwegian state’s rejection of a non-binding request from the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) to order a halt to work on the Storheia wind farm in central Norway, ahead of further investigation of the impact on traditional reindeer husbandry at the site.

The 288MW Storheia is the second and largest project in the Fosen complex, the 1GW development led by Norwegian utility Statkraft. According to the Sami Council, like other wind farms already operating across the Nordic states and – far worse – the many more in the pipeline, it will have a drastic effect on the reindeer grazing lands that have underpinned the livelihoods and culture of the indigenous Sami people for thousands of years.

Storheia’s 80, V117 Vestas turbines are due to start installation from April. The Sami Council hoped its complaint to the UN CERD, followed by the organisation’s mid-December request for a pause to work, would at least prompt the Norway to allow time for more studies of the project’s impact.

But Larsson-Blind is resigned to a decision that she claimed reflects the odds stacked against the Sami as they attempt to defend the herders’ way of life against a regional wind boom. “We know there are huge economic interests that are at stake.”

A favourable regulatory regime, excellent wind conditions and demand from the region’s flourishing data centre sector means Nordic wind power is moving north and its projects getting larger. The Sami people – numbering about 100,000, and whose traditional lands stretch across Norway, Sweden, Finland and part of Russia – fear the consequences. With a potential 4GW total scope, Markbygden in Sweden is another Nordic mega-project with implications for the Sami.

Wind is the most recent of a clutch of industries to impinge on lands traditionally used for reindeer husbandry – mining and logging are others – but the scale of the projects planned in the Nordics could be “the last straw”, said Anna Skarin, a researcher at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, who has investigated the impact of the industry on reindeer grazing lands.

Skarin – who says her work on the issue is non-partisan and funded by the Swedish Energy Agency – has found reindeer avoidance of turbines even on small projects of eight or 10 machines, with an impact observed up to 5km away. The reindeer have a visual aversion to the turbines and, it is believed – Skarin is about to start work to establish for sure – also dislike their noise. On top of that comes disruption from the associated construction work and infrastructure needed to support the projects.

At the level of build-out planned, Skarin reckons the ability to implement mitigation measures could be stretched to breaking point. “There are thousands of turbines in the planning system,” Skarin told Recharge. “I think if everything is built, it will really be a big impact on the ecosystem. We’ve already seen it beginning.”

The number affected is hard to pin down, but Skarin estimates there are 1,000 reindeer herders in Sweden alone, most of them Sami.

Larsson-Blind claims the threat from the wind industry is one of “life or death” for the Sami culture. “When a big wind farm comes like Fosen, it will be impossible to carry on the traditional lifestyle [embodied by reindeer herding].

“The traditional way of life is considered one of the big denominators of Sami culture. If you can’t continue that way of life and pass on the culture, you have no culture.”

Her most scathing criticism is reserved for the Norwegian state, which she believes is providing legal cover for wind power and other industries in a manner that shows “double standards” in a nation that likes to see itself as a paragon of human rights.

In its rejection of the CERD request for a pause at Fosen, Norway’s energy ministry found “no basis” for complying, noting that the project has been “thoroughly tested in several rounds in the legal system” during which racial discrimination against the Sami did not arise as an issue.

Larsson-Blind claims that legal system simply isn’t set up to adequately deal with the issue, leaving the Sami with no choice but to turn to international agencies like CERD. “The hard thing is that we do not have enough support from legislation or the government in securing Sami rights to land.” And she appealed to the wind industry to take an independent view of its impact.

“Every company needs to make sure they are taking Sami rights to land into consideration. They can’t just trust the state processes, because they are not perfect.”

For its part, the Nordic wind sector is at pains to emphasise its efforts to take account of the Sami when developing projects – and to scrupulously abide by the legal process operating in each jurisdiction.

Asked by Recharge whether a request from a UN agency should of itself be enough to prompt a halt in work at Fosen, a spokesman for Statkraft said: “If you don’t look at the facts of the case, I can see it would be easy to jump to that conclusion.”

But a “long and thorough licensing process” had consulted all affected parties, “and we know the effect on reindeer herding was given extensive attention, and thoroughly assessed during the appeals processes”.

The Statkraft spokesman pointed to mitigation measures for reindeer populations contained in the license – and that a compensation agreement had been struck with the local herders.

“We do acknowledge that the reindeer herders will be negatively affected by the wind farm. But the negative effects will be mitigated and compensated fully.”

“We are committed to act in a sustainable, ethical, socially responsible manner in everything we do,” said the Statkraft official.

Charlotte Unger, head of industry association Svensk Vindenergi, is also keen to stress the industry’s “dialogue” with the Sami.

“Since they depend on nature with their reindeers, and of course a stable environment, trying to hinder climate change is of course very important also for the Sami people. I hope we could find solutions that are good for [the industry], the Sami people, and regarding climate change,” Unger told Recharge.

With the Sami on the frontline of climate change around the Arctic Circle, this is an argument Larsson-Blind hears often – but it cuts little ice with her.

“Do children really have to grow up without their language, their culture, in the name of fighting climate change?”

October 21, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Environmentalism, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment