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The New York Times as Judge and Jury

By Joe Lauria • Consortium News • September 21, 2018

We’ve seen it before: a newspaper and individual reporters get a story horribly wrong but instead of correcting it they double down to protect their reputations and credibility—which is all journalists have to go on—and the public suffers.

Sometimes this maneuver can contribute to a massive loss of life. The most egregious example was the reporting in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq. Like nearly all Establishment media, The New York Times got the story of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction—the major casus belli for the invasion—dead wrong. But the Times, like the others, continued publishing stories without challenging their sources in authority, mostly unnamed, who were pushing for war.

The result was a disastrous intervention that led to hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths and continued instability in Iraq, including the formation of the Islamic State.

In a massive Timesarticle published on Thursday, entitled, “‘A Plot to Subvert an Election: Unravelling the Russia Story So Far,” it seems that reporters Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti have succumbed to the same thinking that doubled down on Iraq.

They claim to have a “mountain of evidence” but what they offer would be invisible on the Great Plains.

With the mid-terms looming and Special Counsel Robert Mueller unable to so far come up with any proof of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign to steal the 2016 election—the central Russia-gate charge—the Times does it for him, regurgitating a Russia-gate Round-Up of every unsubstantiated allegation that has been made—deceptively presented as though it’s all been proven.

This is a reaffirmation of the faith, a recitation of what the Russia-gate faithful want to believe is true. But mere repetition will not make it so.

The Times’ unsteady conviction is summed up in this paragraph, which the paper itself then undermines only a few paragraphs later:

“What we now know with certainty: The Russians carried out a landmark intervention that will be examined for decades to come. Acting on the personal animus of Mr. Putin, public and private instruments of Russian power moved with daring and skill to harness the currents of American politics. Well-connected Russians worked aggressively to recruit or influence people inside the Trump campaign.”

But this schizoid approach leads to the admission that “no public evidence has emerged showing that [Trump’s] campaign conspired with Russia.”

The Times also adds: “There is a plausible case that Mr. Putin succeeded in delivering the presidency to his admirer, Mr. Trump, though it cannot be proved or disproved.”

This is an extraordinary statement. If it cannot be “proved or disproved” what is the point of this entire exercise: of the Mueller probe, the House and Senate investigations and even of this very New York Times article?

Probing to prove this constructed story without proof is the very point of this piece.

A Banner Day

The 10,000-word article opens with a story of a pro-Russian banner that was hung from the Manhattan Bridge on Putin’s birthday, and an anti-Obama banner hung a month later from the Memorial Bridge in Washington just after the 2016 election.

On public property these are constitutionally-protected acts of free speech. But for the Times, “The Kremlin, it appeared, had reached onto United States soil in New York and Washington. The banners may well have been intended as visual victory laps for the most effective foreign interference in an American election in history.”

Why? Because the Times tells us that the “earliest promoters” of images of the banners were from social media accounts linked to a St. Petersburg-based click-bait farm, a company called the Internet Research Agency. The company is not legally connected to the Kremlin and any political coordination is pure speculation. IRA has been explained convincingly as a commercial and not political operation. Its aim is get and sell “eyeballs.”

For instance the company conducted pro and anti-Trump rallies and social media messages, as well as pro and anti-Clinton. But the Times, in classic omission mode, only reports on “the anti-Clinton, pro-Trump messages shared with millions of voters by Russia.” Sharing with “millions” of people on social media does not mean that millions of people have actually seen those messages. And if they had there is little way to determine whether it affected how they voted, especially as the messages attacked and praised both candidates.

The Times reporters take much at face value, which they then themselves undermine. Most prominently, they willfully mistake a an indictment for a conviction, as if they do not know the difference.

This is in the category of Journalism 101. An indictment need not include evidence and under U.S. law an indictment is not evidence. Juries are instructed that an indictment is merely an accusation. That the Times commits this cardinal sin of journalism to purposely confuse allegations with a conviction is not only inexcusable but strikes a fatal blow to credibility of the entire article.

It actually reports that “Today there is no doubt who hacked the D.N.C. and the Clinton campaign. A detailed indictment of 12 officers of Russia’s military intelligence agency, filed in July by Mr. Mueller, documents their every move, including their break-in techniques, their tricks to hide inside the Democrats’ networks and even their Google searches.”

Who needs courts when suspects can be tried and convicted in the press?

What the Times is not taking into account is that Mueller knows his indictment will never be tested in court because the GRU agents will never be arrested, there is no extradition treaty between the U.S. and Russia and even if it were miraculously to see the inside of a courtroom Mueller can invoke states secrets privilege to show the “evidence” to a judge with clearance in his chambers who can then emerge to pronounce “Guilty!” without a jury having seen that evidence.

This is what makes Mueller’s indictment more a political than a legal document, giving him wide leeway to put whatever he wants into it. He knew it would never be tested and that once it was released, a supine press would do the rest to cement it in the public consciousness as a conviction, just as this Times piece tries to do.

Errors of Commission and Omission

There are a series of erroneous assertions and omissions in the Times piece:

–Not mentioning that the FBI was never given access to the DNC server but instead gullibly believing the assertion of the anti-Russian private company CrowdStrike, paid for by the DNC, that the name of the first Soviet intelligence chief found in metadata proves Russia was behind the hack. Only someone wanting to be caught would leave such a clue.

–Incredibly believing that Trump would have launched a covert intelligence operation on live national television by asking Russia to get 30,000 missing emails.

–Ignoring the possible role of the MI6, the CIA and the FBI setting up Trump campaign members George Papadopoulos and Carter Page as “colluders” with Russia.

–Repeating misleading statements about the infamous Trump Tower meeting, in which Trump’s son did not seek dirt on Clinton but was offered it by a music promoter, not the Russian government. None was apparently produced. It’s never been established that a campaign receiving opposition research from foreigners is illegal (though the Times has decided that it is) and only the Clinton campaign was known to have obtained any.

–Making no mention at all of the now discredited opposition research dossier paid for by the Clinton campaign and the DNC from foreign sources and used by the FBI to get a warrant to spy on Carter Page and potentially other campaign members.

–Dismissing the importance of politicized text messages between FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page because the pair were “skewered regularly on Mr. (Sean) Hannity’s show as the ‘Trump-hating F.B.I. lovebirds.’”

–Putting down to “hyped news stories” the legitimate fear of a new McCarthyism against anyone who questions the “official” story being peddled here by the Times.

–Seeking to get inside Putin’s head to portray him as a petulant child seeking personal revenge against Hillary Clinton, a tale long peddled by Clinton and accepted without reservation by the Times.

–Pretending to get into Julian Assange’s head as well, saying he “shared Mr. Putin’s hatred of Mrs. Clinton and had a soft spot for Russia.” And that Assange “also obscured the Russian role by fueling a right-wing conspiracy theory he knew to be false.”

–Ignoring findings backed by the Veteran’s Intelligence Professionals for Sanity that the DNC emails were leaked and not hacked.

–Erroneously linking the timing of WikiLeaks’ Podesta emails to deflect attention from the “Access Hollywood” tape, as debunked in Consortium News by Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi, who worked with WikiLeaks on those emails.

Distorts Geo-Politics

The piece swallows whole the Establishment’s geo-strategic Russia narrative, as all corporate media do. It buys without hesitation the story that the U.S. seeks to spread democracy around the world, and not pursue its economic and geo-strategic interests as do all imperial powers.

The Times reports that, “The United States had backed democratic, anti-Russian forces in the so-called color revolutions on Russia’s borders, in Georgia in 2003 and Ukraine in 2004.” The Times has also spread the erroneous story of a democratic revolution in Ukraine in 2014, omitting crucial evidence of a U.S.-backed coup.

The Times disapprovingly dismisses Trump having said on the campaign trail that “Russia was not an existential threat, but a potential ally in beating back terrorist groups,” when an objective view of the world would come to this very conclusion.

The story also dismisses American voters’ real concerns that led to Trump’s election. For the Times, economic grievances and rejection of perpetual war played no role in the election of Trump. Instead it was Russian influence that led Americans to vote for him, an absurd proposition defied by a Gallup poll in July that showed Americans’ greatest concerns being economic. Their concerns about Russia were statistically insignificant at less than one percent.

Dismissing Americans’ real concerns exposes the class interests of Times staffers and editors who are evidently above Americans’ economic and social suffering.

Establishment reporters insulate themselves from criticism by retreating into the exclusive Establishment club they think they inhabit. It is from there that they vicariously draw their strength from powerful people they cover, which they should instead be scrutinizing. Validated by being close to power, Establishment reporters don’t take seriously anyone outside of the club, such as a website like Consortium News.

But on rare occasions they are forced to take note of what outsiders are saying. Because of the role The New York Times played in the catastrophe of Iraq its editors took the highly unusual move of apologizing to its readers. Will we one day read a similar apology about the paper’s coverage of Russia-gate?


Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston GlobeSunday Times of London and numerous other newspapers. He can be reached at joelauria@consortiumnews.com and followed on Twitter @unjoe .

September 21, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

Israel bans restoration of East Jerusalem sports stadium

MEMO | September 21, 2018

The Israeli authorities yesterday banned the renovation of a sports stadium in the Palestinian town of Issawiya, northeast of East Jerusalem.

A member of the follow-up committee in Issawiya, Mohammed Abu Al-Homs, said that joint teams from the Israeli Jerusalem municipality and police forces stormed the Yasser Arafat sports stadium during renovation work and forced the workers to stop working under the pretext that the renovation was being financed by a terrorist group.

He explained that the Issawiya management club started about a month ago to restore the stadium with donations from the local residents, but they were surprised yesterday when the Israeli army forces stormed the stadium and stopped the restoration work.

He added that the Jerusalem municipality tried to seize the stadium by offering to restore it themselves and turn it into a public arena, but the club’s management and the town residents refused, stressing that they will restore the stadium on their own.

September 21, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | Leave a comment

Israel declares it is above the law

MEMO | September 21, 2018

Israel’s critics often describe the country as being above the law, but until now this has never been brazenly declared by its government. Documents published this week shows a legal representative of the Israeli government audaciously claiming that Israel can “legislate anywhere in the world,” that it is “entitled to violate the sovereignty of foreign countries,” and that it “is allowed to ignore the directives of international law in any field it desires”.

The bold declaration was made in legal materials recently submitted to the Israeli Supreme Court in which the government representative said that the Knesset is allowed to ignore international law anywhere it desires.

These remarks were made last month in a written response the government filed to the Israeli Supreme Court relating to the petition against the Settlement Regularisation Law filed by Palestinian legal groups, Adalah, The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Centre (JLAC), and Al Mezan Center for Human Rights (Gaza). Their petition was made on behalf of 17 local Palestinian authorities in the West Bank.

The Palestinian plaintiffs challenged an Israeli law passed last year which aimed to retroactively legalise thousands of settler homes and structures built on Palestinian private land, to avert the possibility that the Israeli Supreme Court might one day sanction their removal. Before the law was passed, even Israeli law considered such structures illegal, not to mention that all settlements are a flagrant violation of international law.

In a statement by Adalah, the legal centre said that “fellow petitioners argued that the Knesset is not permitted to enact and impose laws on territory occupied by the State of Israel. Thus, the Knesset cannot enact laws that annex the West Bank or that violate the rights of Palestinian residents of the West Bank”.

In its defence government lawyer, Attorney Arnon Harel said in a statement in which he referred to the West Bank as “Judea and Samaria” that “the Knesset has no limitation which prevents it from legislating extra-territorially anywhere in the world, including the area [‘Judea and Samaria’]”.

In the government statement, which is likely to evoke outrage, Harel rebuffs the legal groups claim by insisting that the plaintiff argument is baseless because Israel is entitled to violate the sovereignty of foreign countries and the West Bank is no exception.

“Although the Knesset can legislate [concerning] any place in the world, although it is entitled to violate the sovereignty of foreign countries through legislation that would be applied to events occurring in their territories […], although it is within the authority of the Government of Israel to annex any territory […], although the Knesset may ignore directives of international law in any area it pleases […] despite all these, the plaintiffs seek to define a ‘rule’ by which precisely in Judea and Samaria the Knesset is prohibited from legislating anything, and that precisely there, and nowhere else in the world, it is subject to the directives of international law,” the Israeli government said.

In their response Adalah said: “The Israeli government’s extremist response has no parallel anywhere in the world. It stands in gross violation of international law and of the United Nations Charter which obligates member states to refrain from threatening or using force against the territorial integrity of other states – including occupied territories. The Israeli government’s extremist position is, in fact, a declaration of its intention to proceed with its annexation of the West Bank.”

September 21, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 2 Comments

Israeli settler runs over Palestinian teen in Hebron City

Ma’an – September 21, 2018

HEBRON – A 16-year-old Palestinian teen was hospitalized after an Israeli settler “deliberately” ran him over, on Friday, in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron.

Witnesses told a Ma’an reporter that an Israeli settler deliberately ran over the Palestinian teen with his vehicle in Hebron City.

The teen was identified by locals as Munir Abdullah Gharib, 16.

Mounir suffered injuries from the attack and was immediately transferred to the Alia Governmental Hospital in Hebron for necessary medical treatment; his condition remained unknown.

Incidents involving Israeli settlers hitting Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory are a relatively regular occurrence, and are usually treated by Israeli security forces as accidents, even in cases when witnesses claim the car rammings were deliberate.

Some 800 notoriously aggressive Israeli settlers now live under the protection of the Israeli military in the Old City, surrounded by more than 30,000 Palestinians.

Palestinian residents of the Old City of Hebron face a large Israeli military presence on a daily basis, with at least 32 permanent and partial checkpoints set up at the entrances of many streets.

Additionally, Palestinians are not allowed to drive on al-Shuhada street, have had their homes and shops on the street welded shut, and in some areas of the Old City, are not permitted to walk on certain roads.

Meanwhile, Israeli settlers move freely on the street, drive cars and carry machine guns.

September 21, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

China’s Chilling ‘Social Credit System’ Is Straight Out of Dystopian Sci-Fi, And It’s Already Switched On

By Peter Dockrill | Science Alert | September 20, 2018

It’s been in the pipeline for years: a sprawling, technological mass surveillance network the likes of which the world has never seen. And it’s already been switched on.

China’s “Social Credit System” – which is expected to be fully operational by 2020 – doesn’t just monitor the nation’s almost 1.4 billion citizens. It’s also designed to control and coerce them, in a gigantic social engineering experiment that some have called the “gamification of trust.”

That’s because the massive project, which has been slowly coming together for over a decade, is about assigning an individual trust score to each and every citizen, and to businesses too.

According to China’s Communist Party, the system will “allow the trustworthy to roam freely under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step”.

To pull this off, the unprecedented scheme will harness the immense reach of China’s technological infrastructure: some 200 million CCTV cameras, according to a report by Australia’s Foreign Correspondent.

The idea is these ever-watchful eyes will be hooked up to facial recognition systems, and cross-checked with financial, medical records, and legal records – with the whole apparatus regulated and interpreted by advanced, big-data-crunching AI networks.

The sweeping dystopia of it all is uncannily reminiscent of the TV show Black Mirror – in particular the eerily prescient episode “Nosedive” – but while several outlets have pointed the similarities out, China’s ultimate goal goes even further.

“This is potentially a totally new way for the government to manage the economy and society,” economist Martin Chorzempa from the Peterson Institute for International Economics told The New York Times in July.

“The goal is algorithmic governance.”

For such a complex plan, the crux of social credit is simple. In localised pilot programs that are already operational throughout Chinese cities, citizens are assigned a numerical score.

For positive personal and social acts – such as paying bills on time, engaging in charity, and properly sorting your recycling – citizens get their score bumped up, which gives them access to perks, like better credit facilities, cheaper public transport, and even shorter wait times for hospital services.

But if you break the rules, beware. People who are late with payments, or caught jaywalking or smoking in non-smoking areas, will be punished.

In what’s being described as a “digital dictatorship”, their score takes a hit for each infraction, meaning they incur things like financial penalties and even travel restrictions.

That’s what happened to investigative journalist Liu Hu, who says the social credit system destroyed his career after he was blacklisted for making accusations of government corruption.

Branded “dishonest”, he had access to rail travel suspended, and his social media accounts – comprising some 2 million followers – were reportedly shut down, effectively making his job impossible.

As Hu told Foreign Correspondent, he doesn’t believe most Chinese are aware of how these kinds of punishments could affect them.

“You can see from the Chinese people’s mental state,” he says.

“Their eyes are blinded and their ears are blocked. They know little about the world and live in an illusion.”

But the social credit system reaches even further than this.

Individuals aren’t the only ones subject to this gamification. So too are companies inside China, but also businesses outside it – with international airlines already feeling the coercive aspects of the controversial system, which some fear could “interfere directly in the sovereignty of other nations“.

Back home, surveys show the early system is already popular with socially advantaged citizens who are already enjoying the perks of pilot programs.

In other words, the game is on.

“It sounds like it will help improve the quality of citizens in the long run,” Shanghai-based saleswoman Joyce Hu told NPR last year.

“As long as it doesn’t violate my privacy, I’m okay with it.”

September 21, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties | | 1 Comment

Alabama debunks the Times’ story about our warming world

Fabius Maximus website | September 19, 2018

Summary: The NY Times gives a story with bold numbers, confidently stated. Too bad their fact-checkers did not notice that their numbers are grossly misleading. Propaganda pretending to be science. This does not help, even if well-intended. The State Climatologist of Alabama tells the real story.

The Alabama Climate Report, August 2018.

By John R. Christy, Alabama State Climatologist.
Also Professor of Atmospheric Science and Director of the Earth System Science Center
at the U of AL in Huntsville. Links added.

Meteorological summer (June, July and August) is over. It is time to check how the summer temperatures compare with other years. For a research project a few years ago we developed a statewide summer temperature index for four 100-mile diameter regions centered on the major cities of the state – Mobile, Montgomery, Birmingham and Huntsville – going back to 1883. This summer will go down in that database and in NOAA’s official records as being slightly cooler than average.

Somewhat related to this, a reader sent me a link to a New York Times interactive website that claims to provide the number of days above 90°F each year for cities across the country: “How Much Hotter Is Your Hometown Than When You Were Born?” The results are produced for the Times by Climate Impact Lab (some might call it an environmental pressure group).

Since I build numerous datasets of this type, I took a look. The website asks you for the town and year in which you were born, then provides a time series purportedly showing the number of 90°F days per year since your birth and how that has increased.

Though a native of California, I have lived in Huntsville more years than any other place, so I put in my birth year and Huntsville as my hometown. Immediately I became suspicious when their dataset started only recently in 1960 (and a few years after my birth). …

For Huntsville and Montgomery, here are their results. Quite scary. It appears that the number of 90°F days has risen to their highest levels ever. It says that in 1960 Huntsville had 45 days above 90°F, but by 2017 it was 57 days and rising.

Huntsville, Alabama.

Huntsville AL - number of 90+ degree days

Montgomery, Alabama.

Montgomery AL - number of 90+ degree days

Then, to make matters even scarier, they use climate model projections to 2090 to tell me that in 2040, when I’m 80, there will be 73 such hot days in Huntsville (as shown below). Yikes!

Huntsville’s future per RCP4.5!

Huntsville AL - projected future temperature

Editor’s note – From the NYT website.

“For each year, the count of days at or above 90 degrees reflects a 21-year rolling average. Temperature observations for your hometown are averaged over an area of approximately 625 km² (240 square miles), and may not match single weather-station records.

“The time series is based on historical data for 1960-2000. The 2001-2020 period relies on a combination of historical data and future projections. After 2020, the data uses a mixed climate model that captures a broad range of extreme temperature responses. The “likely” future range reflects outcomes with 66 percent probability of occurrence in the RCP 4.5 scenario.”

The rest of the story

Before you sell your house and move to Canada, let’s take a look at the real story. Having built many climate datasets of Alabama, some starting as early as 1850, I knew the Times story was designed to create alarm and promote the claim that humans who use carbon-based energy (gasoline, natural gas, coal) to help them live better lives are making our summers ever more miserable. Be aware reader, this webtool is not designed to provide accurate information.

First of all, climate data for Alabama began in the 19th century, not 1960. In 2016 Dr. Richard McNider (Alabama’s former State Climatologist) and I published a carefully constructed time series of summer temperatures for the state starting from 1883. This used numerous station records, including some that the federal government had not archived into its databases (which are the most common source for outfits like the Climate Impacts Lab.)

Time Series Construction of Summer Surface Temperatures for Alabama, 1883–2014, and Comparisons with Tropospheric Temperature and Climate Model Simulations” in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, March 2016.

I’ve updated that work to include summer temperatures through 2018. The result is below. Not only are summer daytime temperatures not rising, they have actually fallen over the last 136 years. After looking at the graph, why do you suppose the Climate Impacts Lab decided to start their charts in 1960?

We went a step further in that paper and demonstrated that climate models failed completely to replicate the downward temperature trend in Alabama over the past 120 years: 76 different models with a 100% failure rate. Would you trust these same models to tell you about the future as the Times does? Why did they not check the models for validity?

Now, what about the number of “hot” (or in Alabama we would say “typical”) 90°F days? For Alabama and the nation, I’ve calculated the average value per station each year since 1895. The results below speak for themselves (there is no increase of days hotter than 90°F) and expose the misinformation provided through the Times.

Alabama - days exceeding 90 degrees

 

Continental 48 US states - days exceeding 90 degrees

Providing accurate information on Alabama’s climate is what we do in our office. In fact, using real data, I can’t even come close to reproducing the images that the Climate Impacts Lab did which show 2010’s as having the most 90°F days in Alabama. I’m guessing they are using some theoretical output rather than sticking with observations. …I’ll check and follow-up as I can, but something is fishy.

This is a great state in which people can enjoy life and in which businesses can operate. Our climate resources are one of the reasons we are doing so well in recruitment. Occasionally though the time comes when I must address claims made by those whose intention is not to inform but to promote false alarm. This usually happens when an environmental pressure group generates a press release whose dramatic statements are published by a willing media (without any fact-checking). This is one of those times, and I’m sure it will not be the last.


Dr. John R. Christy is the Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science and Director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Since November 2000 he has been Alabama’s State Climatologist. See his bio at the U of AL website (from which this bio was taken).

In 1989 Dr. Roy W. Spencer (then a NASA scientist, now a Principle Research Scientist at UAH) and Christy developed a global temperature data set from microwave data observed from satellites beginning in 1979. For this achievement, the Spencer-Christy team was awarded NASA’s Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement in 1991. In 1996, they received a Special Award by the American Meteorological Societyfor developing a global, precise record of earth’s temperature from operational polar-orbiting satellites, fundamentally advancing our ability to monitor climate.” In January 2002 Christy was inducted as a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society.

Dr. Christy has served as a Contributor (1992, 1994, 1996 and 2007) and Lead Author (2001) for the U.N. reports by the IPCC in which the satellite temperatures were included as a high-quality data set for studying global climate change. He has served on five National Research Council panels or committees, has performed research funded by NASA, NOAA, DOE, DOT and the State of Alabama, and has testified 18 times for congressional committees.

His papers have been published in many journals, including Science, Nature, Journal of Climate, and The Journal of Geophysical Research. See the list here (with links).

September 21, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

Down with the Working Classes!

By CJ Hopkins | Consent Factory | September 21, 2018

If the Left is ever going to come together to save the world from Donald Trump and his legions of fascistic Putin-Nazis, we’re going to need to confront our primary enemy … the international working classes. Yes, my comrades, I’m afraid it’s time to face the facts, depressing as they are. The working classes are not our friends. Just look at how they’ve been betraying us … and after all we’ve done for them all these years! This cannot be allowed to continue, not if we are going to rescue democracy from Trump, Putin, Assad, the Iranians, and Palestinian kids with terrorist kites, and eventually stem the blood-dimmed tide of neo-fascist anti-Globalism!

Now, OK, I know you’re probably asking, “how can the international working classes possibly be the enemy of the Left?” and “wouldn’t that render the whole concept of the Left completely absurd and essentially meaningless?” and other pertinent questions like that. And that’s totally fine, you’re allowed to ask that. Questioning aspects of the official narrative the ruling classes are forcing everyone to conform to like members of a worldwide cult doesn’t make you a Nazi or anything. It’s perfectly OK to ask such questions, as long as you don’t continue to ask them, over and over, and over again, after the facts have been explained to you. Here are those facts, one more time.

The international working classes are racists. They are misogynists. Xenophobic transphobes. They do not think the way we want them to. Some of them actually still believe in God. They are white supremacists. Anti-Semites. Gun-toting, Confederate-flag-flying rednecks. Most of them have never even heard of terms like “intersectionality,” “TERF,” and so on. They do not respect the corporate media. They think that news sources like the Washington Post, The New York Times, The Guardian, CNN, MSNBC, BBC, and so on, are basically propaganda outlets for the global corporations and oligarchs who own them, and thus are essentially no different from FOX, whose pundits they believe every word of. Their minds are so twisted by racism and xenophobia that they can’t understand how global capitalism, the graduated phase-out of national sovereignty, the privatization of virtually everything, the debt-enslavement of nearly everyone, and the replacement of their so-called “cultures” with an ubiquitous, smiley-faced, gender-neutral, non-oppressive, corporate-friendly, Disney simulation of culture are actually wonderfully progressive steps forward on the road to a more peaceful, less offensive world.

Now this has been proved in numerous studies with all kinds of charts and graphs and so on. And not only by the corporate statisticians, and the corporate media, and liberal think tanks. Why, just this week, Mehdi Hasan, in an exasperated jeremiad in the pages of The Intercept, that bastion of fearless, adversarial journalism owned by billionaire Pierre Omidyar, proved, once again, that Donald Trump was elected because PEOPLE ARE GODDAMN RACISTS!

Apparently, Hasan has just about had it with these Putin-loving Trump-apologists proposing that general dissatisfaction with global capitalism, neoliberalism, and identity politics could have had anything to do with Americans electing a bombastic ass clown with absolutely no political experience to the highest office in the land. Hasan cites a number of expert studies, among them one by the Democracy Fund, which just happens to be another Omidyar outfit. But let’s not get all paranoid or anything. There are literally hundreds of such studies at this point, each and every one of which has been cited by the mainstream media, the alternative media, the far-alternative media, and virtually every Trump-obsessed loon with a blog or a Facebook or Twitter account.

Look, I realize the truth is painful, but the science of statistics leaves no room for doubt. As much as some of us may want to deny it, the fact is, the country that elected Barack Obama (who is Black) president, twice, has been transformed by Putin’s brainwashing agents into a cesspool of xenophobia and racism, and it is up to us lefties to set things right!

Now, to do this, we need to unite the Left, and get everyone marching in lockstep, and so on. Which means that we need to identify and weed out all the fake leftists among us. Then, and only then (i.e., after we’ve tracked down, sanctimoniously denounced, and exiled any and all neo-Stasserist “alt-Right” infiltrators, Sputnik leftists, and Assad-apologists), can we turn our attention to meeting face-to-face with the international working classes and sanctimoniously denouncing them as a bunch of filthy racists.

OK, that sounds a little harsh, and possibly totally idiotic, but what other choice do we really have? If we’re going to defeat these Putin-Nazis, a few eggs are going to have to get broken. This is not the time to abandon our commitment to imposing our identity-based ideology on every last person on the planet Earth, or to indulge in that ugly kind of old-fashioned leftism that is based on what the working classes want. Who gives a damn what the working classes want? What’s important is what we want them to want. This isn’t the 1990s, after all. All that nonsense about globalization, and supranational entities like the WTO, and the World Bank, not to mention “American jobs” … only fascists talk like that these days!

But, seriously … if you’ve made it this far in my essay, and you consider yourself a leftist of some sort, you’re probably extremely frustrated with what passes for the Left these days, and with how the working classes are flocking to the Right, both in the United States and all over the world. If I’ve got that right, you might want to read this essay by Diana Johnstone (which we lefties are technically not allowed to read, because it’s posted in The Unz Review, where a lot of “alt-Right” pieces are also posted … and you don’t want to get any of that stuff on you!)

What she is writing about is the ongoing “populist” insurgency against globalized capitalism, which is what I’ve also been writing about for the better part of the last two years. This is the historical moment we are experiencing, a clumsy, sloppy, partly fascistic, partly non-fascistic democratic uprising against the continuing spread of global capitalism, the erosion of what is left of national sovereignty, and … yes, people’s cultures and values.

The international working classes understand this. The neo-nationalist Right understands this. The majority of the Left does not understand this, and is refusing to admit that it’s happening, and so is standing around on the sidelines calling everybody “racists” and “fascists” while the global capitalist ruling classes and the neo-nationalists sort things out.

Which is exactly what the ruling classes want, and what the official Putin-Nazi narrative was designed to achieve from the very beginning. The “Overton Window” (i.e., the range of ideas tolerated in public discourse) works best when divided into two clean halves. During the so-called “War on Terror,” it was Democracy versus the Islamic Terrorists. Now, it’s Democracy versus the Putin-Nazis. Both of which narratives are fairy tales, of course, the reality, as ever, being rather more messy.

If what is left of the Left expects to play any meaningful part in our historical moment (other than sanctimoniously cheerleading for the global capitalist ruling classes), it is going need to get its hand a littler dirtier, mingle a bit more with all those working class “populists,” talk to them, and, I don’t know, maybe even listen to them.

Or maybe I’m completely out of my mind … I mean, actually listening to the working classes? Some of them are sure to say racist things, and anti-Semitic and transphobic things, which we cannot ignore for even one second, or rationally discuss and disagree with, because that would mean giving their racism a platform. Yeah, screw it, I don’t know what I was thinking … forget all that stuff I just made you read. Down with the fascist working classes!

September 21, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

‘Ticking time bomb’: New government report claims UK’s nuclear enterprise is not ‘fit for purpose’

RT | September 21, 2018

Budget constraints are preventing the UK’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) from scrapping potentially dangerous nuclear subs, a new government report showed, noting that some nuclear-servicing facilities were “not fit for purpose”.

The condition of some of the UK’s 13 nuclear sites and constant delays in maintenance created “a ticking time bomb,” House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said in their latest report.

The document, published Friday, earmarked two facilities in particular which are in need of urgent upgrades – the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) and Devonport Dockyard, where the Royal Navy’s nuclear submarines are refitted. It said further investment delays are no longer acceptable.

“Although they had deferred dismantling on affordability grounds in the past, this was no longer acceptable on safety and reputation grounds,” the report said, noting that it is likely that the first sub will not be dismantled until the mid-2020s. The UK currently possesses 20 submarines awaiting disposal, nine of which contain fuel (the type of fuel is not specified).

“I am particularly concerned that the infrastructure available to support the Enterprise is not fit for purpose,” Meg Hillier, the chair of the PAC committee noted, adding that the military better “get on top of this quickly.”

Despite MoD reassurances that it is committed to the safety of the “nuclear programmers” and will “carefully” consider the MPs’ recommendations, Labour lawmaker Luke Pollard warned that there is actually no clear plan on how to dismantle and recycle the submarines. And, crucially, the military simply lacks money for it, he said as cited by the Independent.

To maintain the nation’s nuclear deterrent for the next decade, the government must spend £51 billion on nuclear equipment and support programmers, the report claimed.

Britain’s nuclear arsenal has quite a history of safety mishaps and authorities were even accused of downplaying the real dangers stemming from the nuclear deterrent.

UK’s Trident nuclear program in particular has caused concern after reports it operated on a variant of Microsoft’s Windows XP, which has been at the center of the global ransomware outbreak. Last year, Defence Police Federation chairman Eamon Keating warned that budget cuts left military bases practically open to attack.

September 21, 2018 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

New York Times’ fraudulent “election plot” dossier escalates anti-Russia hysteria

By Bill Van Auken | WSWS | September 21, 2018

The New York Times published a fraudulent and provocative “special report” Thursday titled “The plot to subvert an election.”

Replete with sinister looking graphics portraying Russian President Vladimir Putin as a villainous cyberage cyclops, the report purports to untangle “the threads of the most effective foreign campaign in history to disrupt and influence an American election.”

The report could serve as a textbook example of CIA-directed misinformation posing as “in-depth” journalism. There is no news, few substantiated facts and no significant analysis presented in the 10,000-word report, which sprawls over 11 ad-free pages of a separate section produced by the Times.

The article begins with an ominous-sounding recounting of two incidents in which banners were hung from bridges in New York City and Washington in October and November of 2016, one bearing the likeness of Putin over a Russian flag with the word “peacemaker,” and the other that of Obama and the slogan “Goodbye Murderer.”

It acknowledges that “police never identified who had hung the banners,” but nonetheless goes on to assert that: “The Kremlin, it appeared, had reached onto United States soil in New York and Washington. The banners may well have been intended as visual victory laps for the most effective foreign interference in an American election in history.”

Why does it “appear” to be the Kremlin? What is the evidence to support this claim? Among the 8.5 million inhabitants of New York City and another 700,000 in Washington, D.C., aren’t there enough people who might despise Obama as much as, if not a good deal more than, Vladimir Putin?

This absurd passage with its “appeared” and “may well have” combined with the speculation about the Kremlin extending its evil grip onto “United States soil” sets the tone for the entire piece, which consists of the regurgitation of unsubstantiated allegations made by the US intelligence agencies, Democratic and Republican capitalist politicians and the Times itself.

The authors, Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti, complain about a lack of “public comprehension” of the “Trump-Russia” story. Indeed, despite the two-year campaign of anti-Russian hysteria whipped up in Washington and among the affluent sections of the upper-middle class that constitute the target audience of the Times, polls have indicated that the charges of Russian “meddling” in the 2016 presidential election have evoked little popular response among the broad masses of the American population.

The “special report” attempts to remedy this problem by ginning up the meddling allegations, claiming that the Kremlin staged a “stealth cyberage Pearl Harbor” against the United States and succeeded in “hijacking” both “American companies like Facebook and Twitter” and “American citizens’ feelings about immigration and race.”

The reporting is all couched in “maybes” and “appears,” with the claim made that “there is a plausible case that Mr. Putin succeeded in delivering the presidency to his admirer, Mr. Trump, though it cannot be proved or disproved.” In other words, the Times reporters cannot substantiate their claims.

Mazzetti and Shane strain to portray the actions of Putin, assuming for the sake of argument that he was the mastermind behind the Facebook postings, as something uniquely horrible in the annals of international relations.

But as is well known, the US spends tens of billions of dollars every year to influence foreign elections, subvert governments viewed as obstacles to US interests and buy politicians, intellectuals and other agents of influence. It has backed coups and waged direct wars to effect regime change. Many of these coups have been supported by the New York Times. Many of its reporters collaborate with US intelligence agencies and dish up the propaganda required to advance the international interests of the United States.

There is not a country in the world whose political system has not been targeted by the United States. This includes Russia and the former Soviet republics, where it has carried out continuous regime-change operations, while extending the NATO military alliance across vast swaths of territory and spheres of influence vacated by the Soviet Union, deploying US-led armed forces right to Russia’s borders, in contravention of agreements reached between Washington and Moscow at the time of the Stalinist bureaucracy’s dissolution of the USSR.

This is passed over lightly by the Times special report, which presents the alleged Russian “meddling” as all a product of Putin’s personal grudges against President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

In the context of US global operations, what the Times article alleges, even if it were all true, amounts to less than a hill of beans.

It claims that Russian “trolls, hackers and agents” assigned to influence the 2016 US election “totaled barely 100.” Their task, it states, was “to steer millions of American voters” and “sabotage an election.”

To that end, the article states, Russians allegedly spent $100,000 on Facebook ads, “a trivial sum compared with the tens of millions spent on Facebook by both the Trump and Clinton campaigns.” Far less than trivial compared to the nearly $7 billion spent on all US federal elections in 2016.

The ads, the Times claims, were directed at “sowing division” in the American body politic, as if the US was not already a country torn by the deepest social inequality of any of the so-called advanced capitalist countries, with a population seething with anger over declining living standards for the masses of the working population, while a financial and corporate oligarchy has registered the biggest income gains in history.

The article refers to a handful of demonstrations allegedly promoted by Russian Facebook ads that attracted a few dozen people as evidence that Moscow’s “trolls” could act as “puppet masters for unsuspecting Americans.” One only need compare this to Washington’s spending of what former State Department official Victoria Nuland acknowledged was $5 billion to promote an armed fascist-led coup that toppled a pro-Russian government in Ukraine in 2014.

The most sinister side of the Times report is its indictment of WikiLeaks and its founder and editor Julian Assange for the leaking of emails of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. The emails laid bare the DNC’s rigging of the primaries in favor of Clinton against Bernie Sanders and made public the texts of slavish and well-paid speeches given by Clinton to Wall Street audiences, guaranteeing she would defend their interests and making clear her readiness to escalate the war in Syria and bomb Iran.

The Times report complains that Clinton’s self-damning words were “taken out of context” and “subjected to the most damaging interpretation.”

The report paints Assange as either a witting or unwitting agent of the Kremlin at a moment in which the WikiLeaks founder is facing imminent threat of losing his refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London followed by arrest and extradition to the US to stand trial for treason and espionage.

Also resurrected in the report is the neo-McCarthyite vilification of Jill Stein, the Green Party’s presidential candidate in 2016. “The Russian operation also boosted” her candidacy, the Times claims, in order “to draw votes from Mrs. Clinton.”

The political thrust of the “special report” is clear. It is aimed at criminalizing domestic dissent, delegitimizing and suppressing any opposition to the political monopoly exercised by the capitalist two-party system and outlawing the use of the internet to report any news or express any opinions that have not first been vetted by “authoritative sources” like the CIA-embedded stenographers of the Times .

Mazzetti and Shane are Times national security correspondents. In an accompanying piece posted on the newspaper’s website, they claim that their “special report” was modelled upon two special issues of the Times magazine section published in July 1973 and the following January detailing the background and development of the Watergate scandal that ultimately brought down the Nixon presidency.

While they may be attempting to signal that their reporting could bring down Trump, the comparison is as ludicrous as it is self-serving. The pieces produced by the Times 45 years ago provided cogent political analysis that served to at least partially expose the crimes and conspiracies of the US government. They came just three years after the newspaper had defied the Nixon administration in publishing the Pentagon Papers—leaked to the paper by Daniel Ellsberg—exposing the lies and crimes associated with the US war in Vietnam.

Mazzetti and Shane have produced a poorly written propaganda potboiler, parroting the unsubstantiated allegations of US intelligence agencies and making the case for the criminal prosecution of Julian Assange for exposing similar crimes.

Mazzetti is notorious for his secretly passing to the CIA in 2011—prior to publication—a piece written by Times columnist Maureen Dowd, along with a note reading, “this didn’t come from me … and please delete after you read.”

Shane was the author of a 2012 article titled “The moral case for drones,” which attempted to justify the assassination program being run out of the White House that claimed the lives of thousands in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and elsewhere.

The authors are, to put it bluntly, a pair of broken-down hacks, embedded with the US military and intelligence apparatus and held in contempt by serious journalists.

Their “special report” expresses the thoroughgoing repudiation of any democratic principles by the Times and the rest of the major media, which have adopted the role of guarantors of state secrecy and apologists for war and political repression.

September 21, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Researcher Takes on Google’s Subversive Electioneering

Large Google Manipulation: How the search engine brings Clinton millions of votes

Sputnik – September 21, 2018

Big tech companies like Google have the power to “shift upwards of 12 million votes with no one knowing they’re doing so,” a research psychologist told Radio Sputnik Thursday, underscoring the influence profit-making firms can have on public elections.

That, he said, is too much power for “just a couple of executives” and is why tech giant monopolies need to be thought of as public utilities and not private entities.

“Research I have been directing in recent years suggests that Google, Inc., has amassed far more power to control elections — indeed, to control a wide variety of opinions and beliefs — than any company in history has ever had,” research psychologist Robert Epstein says.

In 2015, Dr. Robert Epstein, senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, wrote a groundbreaking paper about the Search Engine Manipulation Effect (SEME), published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

“Google’s search algorithm can easily shift the voting preferences of undecided voters by 20 percent or more — up to 80 percent in some demographic groups — with virtually no one knowing they are being manipulated,” Epstein wrote in Politico at the time.

That kind of a margin could tilt an election, he noted. Indeed, Epstein’s research shows that Google manipulated search results to display pro-Hillary Clinton results higher on the page than others.

With Google reaching a billion users last year, according to The Verge, and the company collecting over $100 billion a year in revenue, the tech giant has acquired an unheard-of power over how we think and how we access information.

Epstein spoke with Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear Thursday about the next phase of his studies: an “electronic cat and mouse game,” a system for collecting, monitoring and analyzing data that can identify and quantify “every single manipulation, every single kind of bias there is,” to hold tech giants accountable.

​”I’ve calculated that the big tech companies can shift upwards of 12 million votes with no one knowing they’re doing so without and leaving a paper trail for the authorities to track,” Epstein told Sputnik.

Google claims user activity causes the manipulation, but Epstein said his research found that it affected both red and blue states and that the first 10 results in searches were consistently biased towards Hillary Clinton.

“All reasonable people… will agree that no private company should have the power to decide what content billions of people around the world will see or will not see. Just think about that issue. Whoever that power should be given to, it’s certainly not to a private company in Mountain View, California; it’s just not. We might need entities that are spin offs from the United Nations, we might need nonprofits, nonpartisan groups… we can all agree it can’t be in the hands of a private company. That’s absurd.”

“The search engine itself is an index to what’s on the internet; it’s an index, basically, to all knowledge. Well, the internet doesn’t belong to Google. The internet belongs to the world, and the index to the internet must be public. And by public I don’t just mean public like, USA; it has to be controlled internationally. There has to be transparency; a lot of cooperation is going to be necessary. And I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but the fact is, that index has to be public — period.”

“In terms of laws or regulations or antitrust actions, there’s some things in motion. There’s lots going on in the EU in that regard; people are gearing up in Washington, DC. Right now there are hearings, there’s talk about antitrust actions — I think some things will happen. I don’t think law or regulation is going to help us very much, because law and regulation moves very slowly. Painfully slowly — sometimes, in fact, it gets stalled, completely stalled. Whereas tech, though, tech moves lightning fast,” Epstein said.

“There is a solution here — in some ways it’s a lighter touch because it doesn’t involve changes in laws and regulations — and that is monitoring. I successfully developed and implemented, deployed a monitoring system in 2016 that was written up in the Washington Post… I’m working now with business partners and with academics on three continents to scale up and broaden what we did in 2016. You have to envision here, probably within the next year, the beginnings of what I call a ‘worldwide ecology of passive monitoring systems.’ That is: systems that can’t be detected, that will show us 24/7 what these big tech companies are showing people or what they’re telling people through these new audio devices.”

“By collecting that data, by monitoring it, by analyzing it rapidly, we will be able to detect, very precisely, when Mark Zuckerberg sends out a targeted ‘go out and vote’ message, for example, that could easily flip an election. We’ll see whether there is bias in search results or search suggestions. We will actually be able to quantify shadowbanning, very precisely, on Twitter and elsewhere. So every single manipulation, every single kind of bias there is, we’ll be able to capture it at the moment. You see, it’s all ephemeral content; it’s transitory. It comes, it goes, it’s gone, it’s not stored anywhere, and then we speculate about what’s going on,” he said.

“Well, with monitoring systems in place, we won’t have to speculate. I believe that these systems will make the big tech companies accountable to the public for the first time. And there’s another advantage here: whereas law and regulation is always behind whatever’s going on, monitoring systems basically are their new technologies. We’re fighting tech with tech, and monitoring systems can keep up with whatever is happening in technology. As technology changes, matures, whatever, the monitoring systems change and mature; they adapt. A cat and mouse game, an electronic cat and mouse game that never stops, maybe goes on for decades.”

Noting how the first companies that provided services such as electrical power, fire departments and roads were initially private but are today thought of as ubiquitous public utilities, Epstein told hosts Walter Smolarek and John Kiriakou that “that’s what happening now with these big tech companies, particularly the search engines, but I would argue we could even put Facebook into that category as well. Once a market is dominated by a monopoly, once the barriers to entry are so large that really no one can get in, and that’s where we are now, and once we become dependent on these services, once they become essential services, which certainly Google’s search engine is, once that happens we have to look at it through a different lens. And that’s happened over and over again in recent history, and I think that’s where we are right now.”

“There is a big difference though,” between older monopolies like Standard Oil and AT&T and internet companies like Google and Facebook, he said. “Those companies were doing things that, for the most part, we could see and we could understand. Whereas what Google and Facebook and Twitter are doing — a lot of what they’re doing we can’t see, we can’t understand. That’s what my discoveries have been about for more than five years. We’re talking about extremely powerful tools for altering people’s thinking.”

“Let’s think about Google for what it really is: a surveillance machine,” he said.

“Let’s think about its real effect, which is the control of thinking and behavior and opinion. Basically it’s the most powerful mind control machine that has ever — ever — been invented in human history.”

“That brings me to the key question: what if the mind control machine doesn’t want you thinking bad things about the mind control machine?”

“This is not AT&T,” he said. “It’s a different beast entirely — and it’s a scary beast.”

Epstein said there wasn’t much recourse in the field of the law. He noted that Google gets sued — a lot — and you can view the catalog of cases brought against the tech giant at Google Crimes, but “when these cases go to court, 99 times out of 100 Google wins, hands down. Because we don’t have laws and regulations that protect us from these companies, and over and over again, the courts rule that these companies are protected, either by [Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996] or by the First Amendment right to free speech.”

Epstein noted that court rulings repeatedly recognized Google’s right to free speech as a private company. He further pointed out that Google, with “one of the highest profit margins of any country in history,” can simply shrug off any fines leveled against it for its conduct — such as the European Union did earlier this year, when it fined Google $5.1 billion, or last year when it leveled a $2.7 billion fine against it for having biased search results.

Epstein told Radio Sputnik about what he called “a landmark article” by him that will be published in the periodical Fast Company in the next few days, which is presently titled, “How Big Tech Could Quietly Hijack Democracy: A Researcher Describes 10 Ways that the Big Tech Companies Can Shift Millions of Votes in the Midterm Elections Without Anyone Knowing.”

“These are not old-fashioned techniques,” he said, like mudslinging ads or untrue billboards and TV ads. “This is all clandestine, this is all invisible to users and all involves ephemeral content, which means it doesn’t leave a paper trail. And it’s all in the hands of just a couple of executives in the northwest corner of the United States. And it’s affecting not just people here, it’s affecting billions of people around the world… Something is wrong with this system.”

See also:

Google Seeks to Dictate Truth Using Dubious New Technology

Google’s Pro-Clinton Search Bias Reflects US Tech Firms’ Ties to ‘Deep State’

September 21, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

First principle of international relations should be ‘do no harm’

By Yves Engler · September 20, 2018

Many progressives call for Canada to “do more” around the world. The assumption is that this country is a force for good, a healer of humankind. But if we claim to be the “doctors without borders” of international relations, shouldn’t Canada swear to “first do no harm” like MDs before beginning practice? At a minimum shouldn’t the Left judge foreign policy decisions through the lens of the Hippocratic oath?

Libya illustrates the point. That North African nation looks set to miss a United Nations deadline to unify the country. An upsurge of militia violence in Tripoli and political wrangling makes it highly unlikely elections planned for December will take place.

Seven years after the foreign backed war Libya remains divided between two main political factions and hundreds of militias operate in the country of six million. Thousands have died in fighting since 2011.

The instability is not a surprise to Canadian military and political leaders who orchestrated Canada’s war on that country. Eight days before Canadian fighter jets began dropping bombs on Libya in 2011 military intelligence officers told Ottawa decision makers the country would likely descend into a lengthy civil war if foreign countries assisted rebels opposed to Muammar Gadhafi. An internal assessment obtained by the Ottawa Citizen noted, “there is the increasing possibility that the situation in Libya will transform into a long-term tribal/civil war… This is particularly probable if opposition forces received military assistance from foreign militaries.”

A year and a half before the war a Canadian intelligence report described eastern Libya as an “epicentre of Islamist extremism” and said “extremist cells” operated in the anti-Gadhafi stronghold. In fact, during the bombing, notes Ottawa Citizen military reporter David Pugliese,Canadian air force members privately joked they were part of “al-Qaida’s  air force”. Lo and behold hardline Jihadists were the major beneficiaries of the war, taking control of significant portions of the country.

A Canadian general oversaw NATO’s 2011 war, seven CF-18s participated in bombing runs and two Royal Canadian Navy vessels patrolled Libya’s coast. Ottawa defied the UN Security Council resolution authorizing a no-fly zone to protect Libyan civilians by dispatching ground forces, delivering weaponry to the opposition and bombing in service of regime change. Additionally, Montréal-based private security firm Garda World aided the rebels in contravention of UN resolutions 1970 and 1973.

The NATO bombing campaign was justified based on exaggerations and outright lies about the Gaddafi regime’s human rights violations. Western media and politicians repeated the rebels’ outlandish (and racist) claims that sub-Saharan African mercenaries fuelled by Viagra given by Gaddafi, engaged in mass rape. Amnesty International’s senior crisis response adviser Donatella Rovera, who was in Libya for three months after the start of the uprising and Liesel Gerntholtz, head of women’s rights at Human Rights Watch, were unable to find any basis for these claims.

But, seduced by the need to “do something”, the NDP, Stephen Lewis, Walter Dorn and others associated with the Left supported the war on Libya. In my new book Left, Right: Marching to the Beat of Imperial Canada I question the “do more” mantra and borrow from healthcare to offer a simple foreign policy principle: First Do No Harm. As in the medical industry, responsible practitioners of foreign policy should be mindful that the “treatments” offered often include “side effects” that can cause serious harm or even kill.

Leftists should err on the side of caution when aligning with official/dominant media policy, particularly when NATO’s war drums are beating. Just because the politicians and dominant media say we have to “do something” doesn’t make it so. Libya and the Sahel region of Africa would almost certainly be better off had a “first do no harm” policy won over the interventionists in 2011.

While a “do more” ethos spans the political divide, a “first do no harm” foreign policy is rooted in international law. The concept of self-determination is a core principle of the UN Charter and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Peoples’ inalienable right to shape their own destiny is based on the truism that they are best situated to run their own affairs.

Alongside the right to self-determination, the UN and Organization of American States prohibit interfering in the internal affairs of another state without consent. Article 2 (7) of the UN Charter states that “nothing should authorize intervention in matters essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state.”

A military intervention without UN approval is the “supreme international crime”. Created by the UN’s International Law Commission after World War II, the Nuremberg Principles describe aggression as the “supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” In other words, by committing an act of aggression against Libya in 2011 — notably bombing in service of regime change — Ottawa is responsible not only for rights violations it caused directly, but also those that flowed from its role in destabilizing that country and large swaths of Africa’s Sahel region.

If Canada is to truly be the “good doctor” of international relations it will be up to Left foreign policy practitioners to ensure that this country lives up to that part of the Hippocratic oath stating, “First do no harm”.

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

UK to Create 2,000-Strong Cyberforce to Counter ‘Russia Threat’ – Reports

Sputnik – 21.09.2018

The United Kingdom will set up a cybersecurity force, comprising up to 2,000 members, to tackle the “threat from Russia” and other actors, local media reported on Friday.

The authorities planned to invest some 250 million pounds (over $330 million) in creating the cyberforce, the Sky News broadcaster reported, citing sources.

The force would be tasked with carrying out offensive cyberoperations and would be composed of the officials of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), military personnel and contractors, the outlet added.

The plan to create the unit was reportedly drafted by the Ministry of Defence and the GCHQ amid London’s claims about the alleged growing cyberthreat from Moscow and the United Kingdom’s recent successful use of cyberweapons against the Islamic State terror group.

Over the recent years, Russia has repeatedly been accused of carrying out cyberattacks against other countries, including the United States, France, the United Kingdom and Germany, and attempting, in particular, to influence the results of elections. Moscow refuted all such claims, calling them unfounded.

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment