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Turning Kids’ Grey Matter a Mushy Green

By Tony Thomas | Quadrant | September 23, 2020

Australian schools in the past decade have forced literally millions of kids to watch Al Gore’s error-riddled propaganda movie, An Inconvenient Truth. In 2007 an outraged English truck driver and parent took the education minister to the High Court in 2007 over the film’s gross inaccuracies, with Justice Burton ordering UK teachers must not show it without first warning kids it is politically partisan and contains nine significant errors. Those include Gore’s absurd claim that many low-lying Pacific island populations had already been  evacuated to New Zealand. Despite his vast wealth, Gore has never edited prints of his film to remove the errors.

No such mandatory warnings have accompanied Australian screenings. The Australian Academy of Science, our supposed bulwark against science misinformation, has made no objection to the brainwashing, although its president rushed to condemn a skeptic equivalent film in 2007.

The propaganda cycle is now being repeated. Kids in class are being drenched with Damon Gameau’s saccharine documentary 2040 about purported solutions to a purported climate crisis. The film doesn’t actually tell kids, “Vote Green”, but it calls for strong new political leadership. “Wouldn’t it be terrific if new leaders emerge who could navigate us to a better 2040,” Gameau hints.

Pushing the film into classrooms is Cool Australia, which has provided teachers with at least 32 ready-to-use lessons based on the documentary. The film is backed and part-funded by bedfellows, the Australian and Victorian governments.

Gameau reveals his inner Zeitgeist in interviews, which include an urge to re-shape our democratic ways. He imagines a “shift from a society built upon industry to a life-sustaining civilisation” which he called “The Great Turning”. As he spoke at Byron Bay (where else?) a year ago, a certain Olivia Rosebery “boldly stood in the audience” and sang her own song, ‘No more need for greed and hunger if we respect the Mother’s ways.’”

In an interview last May regarding COVID-19, he likes all the “silver linings”. He says,

Do we really need all these things, this excess of all these things we’re told are going to make us happy? In fact, I’m happier with a lot less of this stuff. And that excess is the very thing that would be destroying us ecologically…. So, I think that’s been a great win. So, how do we take this time to now rebuild with a lot more resilience … with food or energy or even our democracy. This is the time to have those discussions and think quite radically. And thankfully some countries and regions around the world are doing that.

Interviewer: What is bringing you hope during these unprecedented times?

Gameau: I would say, the fact that we do have closed shops, the streets are empty and we’ve got these silent skies. I think that’s a clue that we do care about each other, somewhere deep down…

As a documentary, his 2040 would normally be laughed away, but played in class to susceptible kids from about age 6 upwards, it’s pernicious. He’s also happy to do speeches on how to save the planet. But, “Please note that a speaker fee will be applicable.”

This essay will first detail the workings of leftist lobby Cool Australia, then analyse the content of 2040.

Few parents know that Education Departments around Australia have farmed out much of their kids’ schooling to green/Left lobbies. The most significant is Cool Australia, operating in 8,400 primary and secondary schools —  90 per cent of all schools. Nearly half our teachers use the lessons, downloading 2.1 million of them last year.[i]

Cool Australia delivers a win-win for everyone except Coalition supporters. Its agenda is anti-capitalism, anti-growth, and anti-coal, gas and petroleum. It’s pro the re-writing of the Constitution for the benefit of the Aboriginal industry, and watering down our Western heritage in favor of all sorts of multi-culturalism. Cool Australia’s CEO and founder, Jason Kimberley, boasts how Cool turns kids into green activists, whether or not they’ve yet learnt to tie their shoelaces.[ii] The video below shows how it’s done:

While most of Cool Australia’s ready-to-use topics are innocuous or praiseworthy, recall that the Antifa and BLM mobs now torching US cities are “mostly peaceful”. Our kids are lining up as Greens cadets, demanding “zero carbon” and the up-ending of two centuries of capitalist progress. Another example is Cool Australia’s foisting the anarchism of dark-green Canadian raver Naomi Klein onto teens and pre-teens.

I’ve been documenting Cool Australia’s work for half a decade (here, here, here) and have noticed how the organisation has ratcheted up in the past year by pushing into classes a barking-mad climate “documentary” called 2040. The film, after five years’ gestation, sports high production values, cute actors and story line. It’s had respectful reviews in the New York Times and LA Times and, according to Gameau, ‘the UN is going to show three minutes [of it] to all world leaders’. Taxpayers paid for some of it via the Australian Government and Screen Australia and the Victorian Government and Film Victoria.[iii] Below is a sample of what taxpayers got for their money.

Cool’s 32 lessons are half an hour or more.[iv] Add the kids’ viewing of the entire 92-minute film, and a typical nipper might tangle with this travesty for  a full day of school. Never mind the 3Rs, where Australian kids’ performance is sliding internationally.

The Cool Australia charity was founded in 2008 by Just Jeans heir[v] and climate alarmist Jason Kimberley, now teamed with leftist warriors including WWF, Earth Hour and the Human Rights Commission, and titans like Google, Atlassian and Foxtel. Cool Australia gets into classes on-line with 1400 ready-to-use lessons tapped by 120,000 teachers for 3.2 million kids.

Cool Australia has only eight full-time staff, $1.3 million in revenue (none from government) and a flock of savvy pedagogues. (Charity watchdog ChangePath rates it zero stars out of three for transparency). But Cool Australia has leveraged its way into almost all schools by mapping its free lessons according to teachers’ required curricula. Because of a mandatory cross-curricula priority for “sustainability”, Cool Australia is pushing against an open door. The priorities were designed in 2008-09 by Julia Gillard and state Labor governments.

At a recent gathering with Cool Australia, the former president of the Education Union, Angelo Gavrielatos, is quoted by Jason Kimberley, “Only UNICEF has a greater school’s penetration and they had a 50-year head start … You are, quite seriously, the good guys in education.”

Cool Australia saves teachers 1.65 million hours of lesson-preparations yearly, and plugs the yawning holes in their worldly knowledge with its own climate, refugee, “global citizenship” and gender tropes. Teachers love it, since about 45 per cent of them are teaching outside their expertise and three-quarters complain of unmanageable workloads. Says one teacher: “I haven’t touched Geography since the mid 1980s, and there I was, explaining resources – with an eventual focus on water – to Year 7! Cool Australia rescued me at a time of dire need and ever so slight panic.”

The Human Rights Commission is notorious for its years-long persecution of innocent Queensland University of Technology students who complained on social media about being kicked out of an Indigenous-only computer room.[vi] Cool Australia quotes ex-HRC head Gillian Triggs, “With values such as empathy, collaboration and real world learning there [has been] a close synergy with Cool Australia. In just a few months, our animated video, interactive time-line and lesson plans reached more than 1,200 schools.” This HRC grievance-mongering involved 640,000 students and 14,000 lessons.

Cool Australia’s overt goal is to turn kids into child soldiers in the culture wars, via its “unique action-based pedagogy”. Jason Kimberley says, “Cool Australia’s role is to educate in a way that empowers young people to take agency and tackle the many challenges that urgently require twenty-first century skills. Our focus is always on what can be done.”

Cool Australia’s surveys show that after absorbing its materials, 70 to 80 per cent of kids adopt its positions, change their behaviour towards social and environmental issues, and are ready “to take action”. Here’s from a set of guides for 10-to-12 year olds, most unable or unwilling to put their singlets in the wash.

Step 1: Think about some of the big issues that are facing the world at the moment. How can we ensure that the world’s population can have its basic needs around food, water, housing, clothing, employment, education and health met whilst also looking after the environment and reducing the effects of climate change? … Your idea could aim to make a change in your house, your street, your school or your neighbourhood.

A mainstream Cool Australia cause is Earth Hour, when the woke folk dispense with electricity for 60 minutes (renewables’ unreliability is already achieving that). But Cool Australia’s Earth Hour folderol by last year had reached 2.3 million kids via 50,000 downloaded lessons.[vii]

Now let’s get back to the 2040 documentary. By time travelling into the future, the film can pretend that every green policy works. Make way for rainbows and unicorn stampedes! Its climate solutions include swapping steaks for seaweed and pulling down levels of evil CO2 to return the atmosphere to 350ppm CO2 (now 412ppm). That’s some feat.

To scare and prime the kids, the perceived status quo is from Al Gore’s climate-porn: allegedly CO2-caused cyclones, floods, droughts, acid oceans, bushfires, melted ice-caps and those long-foreseen but invisible millions of climate refugees. While touting its message as positive, there’s enough doom-talk in this film to give kids and even credulous adults a lot of what Gameau calls “climate grief”.

The end-result of the solutions in 2040 is ecstatic kids literally playing ring-a-rosy in the park (I’m not making that up) and birds twittering in a car-less CBD (ditto). Car parks become vege plots and push-bikers wave to sharers of electric driverless cars. Trucks? Who needs those when we live in green self-sufficient communes?

In the plotline 2040‘s protagonist helps his real-life 4-year-old daughter, Velvet, to navigate through climate perils to his 20-years-hence nirvana. He spends half the film in airports and planes to Bangladesh, Stockholm etc. He’s begged off the guilts by using carbon credits and planting a few trees to save 90 tonnes of CO2 by 2040. China happens to be putting out 10 billion tonnes CO2 a year, but Gameau doesn’t mention China once. Here’s how director Gameau shows kids how to deal with sceptics.

# Governments spend $10 million a minute subsidising fossil fuels.

He doesn’t say which governments or which currency, but it looks like $A5.3 trillion a year. Australia’s total GDP is only $2 trillion.

# US fossil fuel vested interests are now spending $US1 billion a year preventing us from lowering emissions, using the tobacco-lobby playbook of creating doubt and confusion.

This $US1 billion appears sourced from a debunked 2013 paper by “environmental sociologist” Robert J. Brulle in the journal Climatic Change.[viii] He added up the total spending of 91 US conservative organisations instead of their fractional spending on climate, and mysteriously lumped even arch alarmist James Hansen among his list of “deniers”.[ix] The tobacco analogy is febrile hand-waving from Naomi Oreskes in her Merchant of Doubt tract, 2010.

# Sceptics create websites full of misinformation like claiming the science is not settled and that climate-peril is a religion.

No science is settled, as Einstein would vouch. The IPCC’s now-disgraced skirt-chasing leader Rajendra Pachauri himself said his cause was religious.[x]

# Exxon-Mobil finances multiple “denier” groups to make it look like “denialism” has broad support.

The oil giant funded 43 skeptic groups with a total $US16 million from 1998 to 2005. That was $US260,000 per group and it ceased 15 years ago. For perspective, Australia’s climate princess, Dr Joelle “Paper Withdrawn” Gergis, got $A692,000 taxpayer money just for one study, which she had to retract in 2012 because of statistical flaws pointed out by skeptics, and she re-did it over the subsequent four years 2013-16. Renewables are now a $US1.5 trillion per year juggernaut. Meanwhile, world-leading skeptic bloggers like JoNova (Perth), Paul Homewood (UK) and Anthony Watts (US) mostly live off tip jars.

# “Deniers” create algorithms and “bots” masquerading as humans to populate the web with climate falsehoods.

The source list points to a 2011 blog post. Its content is just nuts].

The film’s “fact-based dreaming” has spooky or inspirational music to reinforce its messages. It starts with Gameau’s house getting filled with choking smoke after he stokes his fireplace. That represents rising CO2. He mourns that little daughter Velvet will be facing “a deteriorating environment” as ice caps “melt faster than scientists predicted”. That’s odd as the Arctic ice extent has been stable for half a decade and the Antarctic is cooling, not heating.

The oceans, which are alkaline anyway, we’re told are getting so acidic that its animals struggle to make their shells (nonsense). In fact NOAA concedes the historic ocean pH measurements are unreliable, so no conclusions are possible.[xi]

Sea rise, continues the flick, threatens “hundreds of millions” of people. (The UNEP in 2005 predicted a 50 million horde of climate refugees by 2010. When none showed up, it sneakily changed their arrival date to 2020. Now they’d better advance it again to 2030).

Every ten minutes Gameau interviews some of his 100-kid stockpile in the six-to-eleven age bracket, and they repeat memes from adults, like

Ten-year-old girl: “I would like for the government to have done something on global warming and pollution as now I think they are not really doing anything about it.” [Except waste $US1 trillion a year].

“I don’t want to see people eating meat because that is from animals.” [Gameau says we’ll be salivating over “pretty convincing” meat substitutes].

 “The sea looks like a big big mess.”

“The beach would not be the same if you could not swim in the water and whales are all gone.”

 “I wish they would stop killing off animals and forests like that. That would be cool.”

Gameau comments without irony: “It’s sobering to learn how pre-occupied kids are with the state of the planet.”

Daughter Velvet, berates a guilty adult: “What were you guys thinking?”

Adult (shame-facedly): “Well sometimes we weren’t.”

Gameau’s first solution is from Bangladesh (would we all just love to live like Bangladeshis? OK, probably not), which he celebrates for deploying “solar microgrids” powering what looks like 15W light globes. (The others enjoy fossil-fired mains 220V power. Renewables in Bangladesh are currently 2.5 per cent of its electricity capacity, and the renewables target is only 10 per cent.[xii] Mustn’t tell schoolkids that inconvenient truth, Mr Gameau.

His narrative also claims that somehow we will get those all-important solar household batteries “so cheap you are not even going to notice”. The cost of a battery system: currently between $2000 and $20,000., which are certainly numbers large enough to be noticed. Many countries, he dreams, could be close to 100 per cent renewables by 2040, presumably when the sun will be shining at night and the wind never stops.

He trots out a succession of “experts”, like Oxford’s Dr Kate Raworth. She’s a “renegade economist”  and “the brain behind the widely influential theory of Doughnut Economics.” She plans for a free economy where the value created is shared more equitably, granting prosperity to everyone in the world without climate change or pollution, the film says.

Cars are scrapped or converted to electric drive (wow, what would the mechanic charge?). The film provides another of those wonderful ‘peak oil’ forecasts:  “If no-one buys (normal) cars, oil demand will peak and go down dramatically and never come back”. We will have “less road rage” and actually hear birds singing in the city. (The flick’s sound editor splices helpfully “tweet, tweet” into the sound-track at this point).

Another of Gameau’s talking heads is author/film-maker Helena Norberg-Hodge, who “has been promoting an economics of personal, social and ecological well-being for more than 30 years.” She pushes purer living patterns in both “North and South” hemispheres, according to her blurb, which explains she mastered her green methods over decades of work in Ladakh, Kashmir, which is famous for its religious mask-dancing and weaving. Her books include Learning from Ladakh and the rather ambitious Schooling the World.

Australian actress, Davini Malcolm, plays a shaman in Gameau’s film. She was born “Lindy” but received the name “Davini” from her Indian spiritual teacher, Osho, in 1994. She went on to help produce and write the 13-part children’s TV Series Teenie Weenie Greenies and do a film, Lotus Birth, of her experience having twins in the bath. The births were preceded by her partner, Peter, and their two boys around the piano singing what the DVD notes call their famous and delightful “fart song”.

In 2040 a glum fellow Eric Toensmeier lectures our kids that “even if we ceased all our human emissions altogether, cut emissions to zero, we would still be toast” because we’ve passed some phony tipping point “and on our way to a point of no return”. So we have to sequester and store existing “carbon” (he means CO2 but only nerds do chemistry). Experts describe how to “flip” global crop and livestock farming to cut emissions through soil regeneration and fence-free cattle grazing. Gameau’s case study is Cole Seis who has reworked his 2000 acres at Shepparton and claims savings of over $2 million – except “I don’t know where the $2 million went,” he says.[xiii]

The future-stepping Velvet explains that someone did get stung for the costs of all this transformation: “Those who polluted our era with excess carbon [she means CO2] had to pay a penalty and the money raised paid farmers to clean our air.” This innovative economic planning is accompanied by vision of “smoke” aka steam, billowing from a coal-fired power station.

Next up is marine permaculture for the oceans “to get the overturning circulation going again”, quite a task. A 100 square kilometre patch of oceanic desert between Australia and America would be switched to permaculture, producing food to stave off those “unprecedented numbers of [climate] refugees”, according to Gameau. Seaweed farms flourish for thousands of kilometres in the Bay of Bengal and around the coast of Africa, contributing to ‘thriving local economies’.

The film’s explanatory notes say, “Kelp and seaweed are nature’s climate warriors … Researchers estimate that if 9 per cent of the world’s ocean surfaces were used for seaweed farming, we would be removing 53 billion tonnes of CO2 per year from the atmosphere.” Hmm, what’s 9 per cent of the oceans? On my estimate, four times the size of Australia. That’s a challenge.

Cool Australia tells kids:

Students will investigate the relationship between seaweed farming, the health benefits of eating seaweed and climate change. They will use this info to develop an infographic that uses numbers to convince their peers to eat more seaweed.

Can we surmise Cool Australia founder Jason Kimberley does his bit by lunching on kelp and algae? Somehow I doubt it.

De-commissioned oil rigs, we learn, “become exciting tourist destinations for those keen to explore marine life.” Who needs silly old oil and plastics? Newsreader Angela Pippos is wheeled on to read this fake script: “Big banks continue to take a hit as the public shifts its money away from organisations that support fossil fuels.” […]

He closes his concoction with rapturous music and vision of youngsters of all colors and creeds dancing in a hi-tech ambience through a forest. One white-clad 20-something grows from her shoulder-blades giant butterfly wings that actually flap. Gameau rhapsodises that this generation is “celebrating regeneration” (geddit?) because CO2 levels are coming down. This must be the cheesiest movie clip ever made or even imaginable.

Gameau leaves his world-straddling Boeing at the airport and heads home to start planting stuff, as distinct from planting stuff in kids’ heads. There are so many helpers involved in this 92-minute mock epic that ten minutes are needed for the closing credits.

Cheryl Lacey is an education strategist and author of Marching Schools Forward (Connor Court, 2019). She comments:

Whether schools are being used by Al Gore, Cool Australia, Gillard, the Greens, or even the Liberal party, the truth is that schools have become nothing more than a playing field for power and wealth distribution. This ‘child abuse’ isn’t new. Education’s been bastardised for at least 50 years: the Greens especially have  deeply penetrated young minds.  It’s no surprise that 90% of all schools are buying into Cool Australia’s propaganda. Just print and distribute. No teaching required. As for thinking? Impossible.

Remarks in a Tagespiegel article from Germany last week seem quite applicable to Australian schools. The former Potsdam Climate Institute Director, Prof. Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber is quoted: “The closing of ranks of science and youth in the fight for a new society that is sustainable in its management and living is like a ‘big bang’. We need these heroes and heroines who are not even of age”.

Tagespeigel comments,

These minors are well organized in their own schools – that is their basis. But something has changed fundamentally. Whereas ten years ago, the climate and environment clubs in the schools themselves were not taken seriously by students and particularly frequented, today they are the smallest units from which mobilization and organization for the big demonstrations are done. (Translation by Pierre Gosselin, Notrickszone )

I know conservative politicians are timid but why are they supporting schools’ campaign for their own extinction?

Tony Thomas’s new book, Come To Think Of It – essays to tickle the brain, is available here as a book ($34.95) or an e-book ($14.95) 

https://www.tagesspiegel.de/berlin/hinter-den-kulissen-von-fridays-for-future-berlin-was-die-jungen-aktivisten-treibt-und-wer-sie-sind/26197788.html

[i] Cool Australia Impact Report, 2019

[ii] Impact Report: “The outcome is better engaged students who commit to individual and community action. This approach goes beyond a simple transfer of knowledge. It builds on an individual’s capacity for transformational change.”

[iii] Some items I’ve tracked include Film Victoria: 2018-19, $22,000; 2017-18, $88,000; 2016-17, $10,000. Screen Australia, 2016-17, $15,000 (development), unstated (production).

[iv] In a search, “2040” comes up in 64 lessons

[v] Craig Kimberley sold his Just Jeans empire for $64m in 2001.

[vi] The HRC also trawled for complaints about The Australian’s cartoonist Bill Leak, who died of a heart attack during the furore.

[vii] Cool Australia Impact Report, 2019

[viii] Institutionalizing delay: foundation funding and the creation of U.S. climate change counter-movement organizations

[ix] Hansen is known as “the father of the global warming movement” from his 1988 testimony to Congress.

[x] Pachauri: ‘For me the protection of Planet Earth, the survival of all species and sustainability of our ecosystems is more than a mission. It is my religion and my dharma.’

[xi] The data collected prior to 1989 are typically not well documented and their metadata is incomplete; therefore, such data are of unknown and probably variable quality.

[xii] 48 power plants with a combined generation capacity of 16,875 megawatts (MW) are under construction in Bangladesh. State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid says the power division has been working on uninterrupted, reliable and quality power at reasonable and affordable prices.

[xiii] “Colin Seis discovered a new way of farming after his 2,000-acre family farm burned to the ground in a devastating bushfire. The disaster forced Colin to rethink his approach and develop a radical new farming technique. It was so successful it became a global agricultural movement, known as ‘pasture cropping’.”

October 17, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Film Review, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

Canadian Troops in Saudi Arabia a Legacy of Support for Iraq War

By Yves Engler | Dissident Voice | September 9, 2020

The revelation that Canadian soldiers have been in Saudi Arabia for 17 years highlights Canada’s ties to the repressive monarchy, contribution to the Iraq war and hollowness of Canadian foreign policy mythology.

Recently researcher Anthony Fenton tweeted, “raise your hand if you knew that there was a ‘Detachment’ of Canadian soldiers serving under US auspices operating AWACS spy planes out of a Saudi Arabian air base since the war on Iraq began in 2003 to THE PRESENT DAY.”

The Canadian soldiers stationed at Prince Sultan Air base near Riyadh represent another example of Canada’s military ties to the authoritarian, belligerent monarchy. Canadian naval vessels are engaged in multinational patrols with their Saudi counterparts in the region; Saudi Air Force pilots have trained in Alberta and Saskatchewan; Montreal-based flight simulator company CAE has trained Saudi pilots in numerous locales; Canadian-made rifles and armoured vehicles have been shipped to the monarchy, etc.

According to DND, Canada’s deployment to Saudi Arabia began on February 27, 2003. That’s four weeks before the massive US-led invasion of Iraq. The Canadians stationed in Riyadh were almost certainly dispatched to support the US invasion and occupation.

In another example of Canadian complicity in a war Ottawa ostensibly opposed, it was recently reported that Canadian intelligence agencies hid their disagreement with politicized US intelligence reports on Iraq. According to “Getting it Right: Canadian Intelligence Assessments on Iraq, 2002-2003”, Canada’s intelligence agencies mostly concluded that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, which was the justification Washington gave for invading Iraq. While CSIS delivered a report to their US counterparts claiming Iraq was seeking nuclear weapons capabilities, more serious analyses, reported the Canadian Press, were “classified ‘Canadian Eyes Only’ in order to avoid uncomfortable disagreements with the U.S. intelligence community which would exacerbate the sensitivities affecting relations at the political level.”

As Richard Sanders has detailed, Canada supported the US-led invasion of Iraq in many ways: Dozens of Canadian troops were integrated in US units fighting in Iraq; US warplanes en route to that country refueled in Newfoundland; Canadian fighter pilots participated in “training” missions in Iraq; Three different Canadian generals oversaw tens of thousands of international troops there; Canadian aid flowed to the country in support of US policy; With Canadian naval vessels leading maritime interdiction efforts off the coast of Iraq, Ottawa had legal opinion suggesting it was technically at war with that country.

As such, some have concluded Canada was the fifth or sixth biggest contributor to the US-led war. But the Jean Chrétien government didn’t do what the Bush administration wanted above all else, which was to publicly endorse the invasion by joining the “coalition of the willing”. This wasn’t because he distrusted pre-war US intelligence or because of any moral principle. Rather, the Liberal government refused to join the “coalition of the willing” because hundreds of thousands of Canadians took to the streets against the war, particularly in Quebec. With the biggest demonstrations taking place in Montréal and Quebecers strongly opposed to the war, the federal government feared that openly endorsing the invasion would boost the sovereignist Parti Québecois vote in the next provincial election.

Over the past 17 years this important, if partial, victory won by antiwar activists has been widely distorted and mythologized. The recent National Film Board documentary High Wire continues the pattern. It purportedly “examines the reasons that Canada declined to take part in the 2003 US-led military mission in Iraq.” But, High Wire all but ignores Canada’s military contribution to the war and the central role popular protest played in the “coalition of the willing” decision, focusing instead on an enlightened leader who simply chose to do the right thing.

The revelation that Canadian troops have been stationed in Saudi Arabia for 17 years highlights our military ties to the Saudi monarchy and warfare in the Middle East. It also contradicts benevolent Canada foreign policy mythology.


Yves Engler is the author of 10 books, including A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Exploitation.

September 9, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Film Review | , , , | Leave a comment

HBO’s ‘Welcome to Chechnya’ Is Latest Anti-Russian Cold War Propaganda

By Max Parry • Unz Review • August 26, 2020

In 2017, explosive allegations first emerged that the authorities of the Chechen Republic were reportedly interning gay men in concentration camps. After a three year period of dormancy, the accusations have resurfaced in a new feature length documentary by HBO Films entitled Welcome to Chechnya. Shot between mid-2017 and early last year, the film has received widespread acclaim among Western media and film critics. Shortly after its release last month, the Trump administration and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced an increase in economic sanctions and imposed travel restrictions against Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and his family, citing the putative human rights abuses in the southern Russian republic covered in the film.

Most of the boilerplate reviews of Welcome to Chechnya have heaped particular praise upon the documentary’s novelty use of ‘deepfake’ technology to hide the identities of alleged victims in the cinematic investigation. Yet at the closing of the film, one subject who previously appears with his likeness concealed by AI reveals himself at a news conference without the disguise—rendering the prior use of synthetic media fruitless. Maxim Lapunov, who is not even ethnically Chechen but a Russian native of Siberia, is still the only individual to have gone public with the charges. Despite the obvious credibility and authenticity questions regarding the use of such controversial technology, it has not prevented critics from lauding it unquestioningly. Unfortunately, even some in alternative media have been regurgitating the film’s propaganda such as The Intercept, a slick online news publication owned by billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar whose financial ties to the national security state and U.S. soft power institutions conflict with the outlet’s purported mission. Notably, The Intercept’s glowing review of Welcome to Chechnya was written by Mehdi Hasan, a journalist who also works for Al-Jazeera, a news agency owned by the ruling emirs of Qatar, a theocratic dictatorship where homosexuality is actually illegal .

The documentarians follow the work of a purported network of activists who evacuate individuals like Lapunov out of the Caucasian republic. This is the film’s primary source of drama, despite their encountering seemingly no difficulty from the local authorities in doing so. We are then subjected to random cell phone clips of apparent hate crimes and human rights abuses going on, but at no point does the film crew even visit the Argun prison where the anti-gay pogroms are alleged to have taken place. In 2017, the imperial hipsters at Vice news were given unrestricted access to the facility where nothing was found and the warden adamantly denied the allegations — but not without expressing his own disapproval of homosexuality which was assumed by his interrogators to be evidence of the detentions having occurred. In the HBO documentary, a similar hatchet job is done to Ramzan Kadyrov, whose uncomfortable denial of the existence of homosexuality in the deeply conservative and predominantly Muslim republic is implied to be proof that the purges must be happening. One may recall this same sort of smear tactic was previously done to former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. However, Kadyrov and the warden’s predictable responses to the subject serve only as confirmation bias, not confirmation.

The selective outrage in response to the alleged purges, like all things Russia-related, is highly politicized. Western viewers would have no idea that of the 74 countries worldwide where homosexuality is still criminalized, Russia isn’t among them. In more than a dozen of those nations, same-sex activity is punishable by death, a few of which happen to be close strategic allies of the United States, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. As recently as 2017, the U.S. was one of 13 countries to vote against a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution condemning countries with capital punishment for same-sex relations to avoid falling-out with those allies, most of which have legal systems established on their respective interpretations of Sharia law. While the local authorities of the Muslim-majority Chechen Republic have been allowed to introduce some elements of the fundamentalist religious code by the Russian government such as the banning of alcohol and gambling and requiring the wearing of hijab by women, as a federal subject it is still ultimately beholden to Russia’s secular constitution. In fact, it was Kadyrov’s predecessor, Alu Alkhanov, who hoped to govern Chechnya with Sharia law, not the current administration. Credulous audiences would have no clue that Kadyrov actually represents the more moderate wing of Chechen politics because there is absolutely no history or context provided, a deliberately misleading choice on the part of the filmmakers.

The absence of any historical background deceptively suggests that the anti-gay sentiment in the mostly Muslim North Caucasus is somehow an extension of the homophobia in Russia itself, despite the autonomous differences in religion, culture, and society. In the last decade, the weaponization of identity politics has been central to Washington’s ongoing demonization of Russia and its President, Vladimir Putin, with the issue of LGBT rights particularly given significant attention. While homosexuality is decriminalized, there is admittedly no legal prohibition of discrimination against the LGBT community in Russia. In particular, human rights groups have condemned the notorious federal law passed in 2013 known as the ‘gay propaganda law’ that forbids the distribution of information promoting “non-traditional sexual relations” to minors, which entails the banning of gay pride parades and other LGBT rights demonstrations. However, the measure enjoys widespread support among the Russian people whose social conservatism has been resuscitated by the Orthodox Church since the breakup of the Soviet Union. It is rather ironic and hypocritical that the West has since taken issue with this turn, considering it facilitated that political transformation.

In reality, the reason for the relentless vilification of Putin has absolutely nothing to to do with the exaggerated plight of gays in Russia and a lot more to do with the reversal of policies under his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin. In the nineties, the mass privatization of the former state-owned enterprises during Russia’s conversion to capitalism resulted in the instant impoverishment of millions and the rapid rise of the notorious ‘oligarchs’ which the West characterized at the time as progression towards democracy. In the loans-for-shares scheme, a new ruling class of bankers and industrialists accumulated enormous wealth overnight and by the middle of the decade, owned or controlled much of the country’s media outlets. The oligarchs held enormous power and influence over the deeply unpopular Yeltsin, who would surely have lost reelection in 1996 without their backing and the assistance of Western meddling in the form of massive loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

While economic disparity and corruption persists today, overall the Russian economy has been rebuilt after its energy assets were re-nationalized and brought back under state control by the Putin administration, resulting in improved living standards and income levels for the last two decades. By the same measure, the Russian people can hardly be blamed for associating homosexuality with the unbridled neoliberalism, vulture capitalism and draconian austerity imposed on their country by Western capital. It is also truly paradoxical that the notion of “Russian oligarchs” has become synonymous with Putin in the minds of Westerners when many of the most obscenely wealthy oligarchs of the Yeltsin era now live in exile as his most ardent political opponents after they faced prosecution for their financial crimes. Not coincidentally, the initial reports of the ‘gay gulags’ in Chechnya were published in Novaya Gazeta, an anti-Putin newspaper partly owned by former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, the very man who ushered in the economic liberalization which auctioned off the state assets to oligarchs like co-owner Alexander Lebedev.

Gorbachev’s reforms, particularly that of perestroika (“restructuring”), also had destructive consequences for the national question and ethno-regional interests. V.I. Lenin had famously called the Russian Empire a “prison house of nations”, in reference to its heterogeneous range of nationalities and ethnic groups. The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 especially re-agitated ethno-national conflicts in the Caucasus, a region that had enjoyed several decades of relative harmony and stability under socialism with rights and representation that did not exist in pre-revolutionary Russia. While Azerbaijan and Georgia were granted independence, Chechnya and many other municipalities remained under federal control of the Russian Federation, as sovereignty did not constitutionally apply because it had never been an independent state. Not to mention, its oil and gas reserves are essential to Russia’s very economic survival.

The jihadism which plagued the Caucasus was an outgrowth of the U.S.-backed ‘holy war’ in Afghanistan in the 1980s, the brainchild of Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor in the Jimmy Carter administration. It was the Polish-born Brzezinski who not only authored the geostrategy of arming the mujahideen against the Soviets but the efforts to turn Russia’s own large Muslim minority community against them. This was mostly unsuccessful as the majority of its 20 million Muslims (10% of the population) are harmoniously integrated into Russian society, but the Atlanticists did fan the flames of a militant secessionist movement in Chechnya that erupted in a violent insurgency and became increasingly Islamist as the conflict dragged on. For Washington, the hope was that the West could gain access to Caspian oil by encouraging the al-Qaeda-linked separatists rebranded as “rebels” vulnerable to its domination in the energy-rich region. The collapse of the USSR already escalated hostilities between the intermingling ethnic communities of the region, but the antagonisms were intensified by CIA soft power cutouts like the Jamestown Foundation fomenting the secessionist insurrection. As the separatist movement grew increasingly Wahhabist thanks to U.S.-ally Saudi Arabia, its more moderate nationalist faction led by Akhmad Kadyrov eventually defected back to the Russian side. The elder Kadyrov would pay the price when he was assassinated in a 2004 stadium bombing in Grozny during an annual Victory Day celebration, with his son becoming one of his successors.

The Kremlin’s support for the Kadyrovs should be understood as a compromise which prevented the more radical Islamists from taking power, which apparently Washington would be happier with running the North Caucasus. What a human rights utopia Chechnya would be as a breakaway Islamic state, under the salafists which during the Chechen wars committed unspeakable acts of terrorism including the taking of hospital patients, theater goers, and even hundreds of schoolchildren as hostages. One can be certain that if there aren’t anti-gay pogroms going on in Chechnya now, there definitely would be without the likes of Kadyrov in power. In the documentary, what the Chechen leader does implicitly acknowledge may be occurring are individual honor killings within families and clans, a social problem common in other Muslim countries such as Pakistan, and certainly not a human rights issue particular to Chechnya. Many instances of honor killings in the Muslim world have included homosexuality as a motive for the extrajudicial killings by relatives of victims believed to have betrayed the family honor. On the other hand, Kadyrov himself has overseen the establishment of unprecedented reconciliation commissions to address the issue of honor culture, blood feuds and vendetta codes of Caucasian tribes. Kadyrov’s promotion of reconciliation has made significant progress in reducing such killings which were rampant during the Chechen Wars as family members would often seek to avenge the deaths of loved ones. Now that the region is in a period of relative stability, peace and economic recovery, with the once devastated city of Grozny now known as the ‘Dubai of the North Caucasus’, the West is suddenly feigning concern over human rights.

The swift end brought to the conflict by Putin was another reason for his becoming a target of Washington who had been counting on the balkanization of southern Russia. In a pinnacle of imperial projection, the explanation for Putin’s rise to power has since been revised by the Atlanticists to his having somehow secretly masterminded the 1999 Moscow apartment bombings while director of the Federal Security Service (FSB, the KGB’s successor), as if the neocons hope to deflect all of the longstanding rumors about the Bush administration and the 9/11 attacks onto the Kremlin. Except this Machiavellian conspiracy would be a lot more believable if the Chechen wars had not been going on since the early nineties, with much worse terrorist attacks already having been committed by the separatists, such as the taking of thousands of hospital patients as hostages in southern Russia. Since the end of the Chechen Wars, on the flip side the U.S. has also backed Russian opposition figure and Putin critic Alexei Navalny, a right-wing Islamophobe who has pledged to secede the North Caucasus while comparing its Muslim inhabitants to cockroaches. Despite his anti-immigrant rhetoric and minuscule 2% support among Russians, Navalny has been depicted as a “pro-democracy” and “anti-corruption” campaigner in Western media, who have been crying foul over his recent suspected poisoning in Russia and ensuing comatose airlift to Germany. If only the naive American liberals who read The New York Times and The Washington Post had any idea that Mr. Navalny has far more in common with the dreaded Mr. Trump than Putin does.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has already experienced blowback for its nurturing of terrorism in the Caucasus in the form of the Boston Marathon bombings, which recently returned to the news when convicted Chechen-American perpetrator Dzokhar Tsarnaev’s death sentence was vacated on appeal last month. In the aftermath of the April 2013 attacks, it was revealed that Tsarnaev’s deceased older brother and co-conspirator Tamerlan Tsarnaev had been radicalized attending seminars financed by the Jamestown Foundation while traveling abroad in Tblisi, Georgia, and the brothers’ uncle Ruslan Tsarni had previously been married to the daughter of high-ranking U.S. intelligence officer Graham Fuller, Brzezinski’s CIA station chief in Kabul, Afghanistan, during the Afghan-Soviet war. It also came to light that ‘Uncle Ruslan’ had previously worked for the CIA-linked United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and established a company called the Congress for Chechen International Organizations which funded Islamic militants in the Caucasus. Despite the astounding ‘coincidences’ surrounding the Tsarnaev clan, Uncle Ruslan was never considered a person of interest by the FBI, who had ignored warnings by the Russian FSB of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s extremism prior to the attacks.

Two years before Putin’s election, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the prime mover of the West‘s plan to dominate the globe by using Islam to bring down the USSR in delivering the Soviet equivalent of the Vietnam War, wrote in The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives (1997):

“… The last decade of the twentieth century has witnessed a tectonic shift in world affairs. For the first time ever, a non-Eurasian power has emerged not only as a key arbiter of Eurasian power relations but also as the world’s paramount power. The defeat and collapse of the Soviet Union was the final step in the rapid ascendance of a Western Hemisphere power, the United States, as the sole and, indeed, the first truly global power.”

Those words were written before the return of both Russia and China on the world stage, developments that have thrown a monkey wrench into Washington’s plans which the Russophobic Warsaw-native did not anticipate in his blueprint for Western hegemony. When the U.S.-backed headchoppers in the Syrian war nearly had control of Damascus, just a thousand miles or so from Sochi, the threat of jihadism returning to the Caucasus became very real. Beginning at the Munich Conference in 2007, Putin had begun to criticize the monopolistic expansion of NATO on Russia’s borders — but after the subsequent overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi where Moscow witnessed Libya transformed into a hotbed of terrorism like post-Saddam Iraq, the prospect of the same happening in Syria was an existential threat that could not be tolerated. In mainstream media, reality has been inverted where Moscow’s self-defense has been portrayed as expansionism, even though the so-called “annexation” of Crimea was virtually nonviolent compared to the Nazi junta initiated by Washington in Ukraine and the Russian-speaking people of Donetsk and Luhansk who voted to join Russia did not wish to end up like those massacred in Odessa. Besides, is the U.S. not currently annexing northeast Syria? The Crimean parliament and Syrian government invited Moscow, while the same cannot be said for the US presence in violation of international law.

Those in Washington with no respect for the sovereignty of nations would prefer Americans to see Russia as an adversary. During the Cold War, the threat was communism, but with capitalism restored in Eastern Europe, it became necessary to manipulate liberals into perceiving Russia as an ultra conservative regime. They must also keep Americans from knowing the true history of US-Russia relations — that Russia was the first nation to recognize American independence when Catherine the Great’s neutrality during the Revolutionary War indirectly aided the Thirteen Colonies in their victory against the Loyalists and Great Britain. During the War of Independence, the Russian Empress had maintained relations with the U.S. and rebuffed British requests for military assistance. The Russian Empire also later helped secure the Union victory during the Civil War, with an Imperial Navy fleet off the shores of the Pacific preventing the Confederates from landing troops on the west coast and deterring intervention by the British and the French. Then as Allies in WWII, while the U.S. was victorious in the Pacific, it was the Soviets who truly won the war in Europe, a feat the Anglo-Americans are still trying to take credit for to this day. Unfortunately, despite his promising rhetorical embrace of détente with Moscow that has made him the subject of political persecution, Donald Trump has proven to be every bit as hostile toward Russia as his forerunners. With the latest actions taken by his state department regarding Chechnya that are right out of the Brzezinski playbook, the idiom that “the more things change, the more they stay the same” certainly applies to Washington and US-Russia relations.

Max Parry is an independent journalist and geopolitical analyst. His writing has appeared widely in alternative media. Max may be reached at maxrparry@live.com

August 26, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Film Review, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t Forget Trump’s Deal with the CIA on the JFK Records

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | August 17, 2020

In April 2018, President Trump issued an order to the National Archives to continue keeping thousands of CIA records relating to the John Kennedy assassination secret from the American people. The new deadline, which could be extended again by either Trump or a President Biden, was set for October 2021.

Since the order was issued early in the Trump regime, no doubt he felt confident that there would be no adverse political consequences flowing from his order. But now that Trump is engaged in a heated race with Joe Biden, he ought to be called upon to explain and justify his order for continued secrecy in an assassination that took place almost six decades ago.

Given the official narrative of the Kennedy assassination, the massive secrecy in which the Pentagon and the CIA engaged after the assassination has never made any sense.

The official narrative says that a lone nut former U.S. Marine communist killed Kennedy with no apparent motive. The most that proponents of the lone-nut theory have ever come up with on a possible motive is that a little man wanted to become a big man by killing a big man. The big problem with that theory is that the accused assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, denied that he did it and even contended that he was being framed for the crime. If a little man wanted to become a big man by killing a big man, wouldn’t he be acknowledging that he did it and even boasting about it?

IN 1991, Oliver Stone come out with his movie JFK, which posited that Kennedy had been assassinated as part of a U.S. domestic regime-change operation intended to protect “national security” from a president who had declared an end to the Cold War and an intention to establish peaceful and friendly relations with the Soviet Union and the rest of the communist world. (See FFF’s book JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne, who served on the staff of the ARRB.)

At the end of JFK, Stone inserted a blurb pointing out the continued secrecy of federal agencies with respect to records relating to the Kennedy assassination some 30 years after the assassination in what had been presented as nothing more than a lone-nut murder of a president.

While the mainstream media was poo-pooing Stone’s movie, the American people were outraged over the continued secrecy. Public pressure caused Congress to enact the JFK Records Collection Act in 1992, which mandated the release of all assassination-related records of federal agencies, including the Pentagon and the CIA.

To enforce the law, Congress called into existence the Assassination Records Review Board. In its four years of operation, the ARRB secured the release of tens of thousands of records relating to the assassination, some of which pointed to the fraudulent nature of the autopsy that the U.S. military conducted on the president’s body. (See my books The Kennedy Autopsy  and The Kennedy Autopsy 2.)

There were two strange parts of the JFK Records Act:

1. The law expressly prohibited the ARRB from investigating any aspect of the JFK assassination. Doesn’t that seem to be a rather strange provision? If a matter that had intentionally been kept secret for 30 years needed to be investigated, wouldn’t you think that Congress would want it investigated? The no-investigation provision was strictly enforced on the ARRB staff by the ARRB board of trustees.

2.The law permitted federal agencies to keep their records secret for another 25 years, a provision that the CIA took advantage of. Given that this was supposedly just a lone-nut murder, why was secrecy necessary in the first place? What “national security” concern would there have been? And wouldn’t a lapse of 30 years be sufficient for any such “national security” concern? Why another 25 years, especially since continued secrecy would only serve to buttress Stone’s thesis in JFK?

Back in the 1990s, 25 years must have seemed like a long time away, long enough that the CIA and the Pentagon could rest easy. Anyway, by the time those 25 years expired, there was a good chance that no one would care anyway, especially within the mainstream press.

But when that deadline rolled around in 2018, there were people who still cared. They were demanding that Trump release the records.

That’s not what Trump did. Instead, he granted the CIA’s request for at least another 3 1/2 years of secrecy.

Back in 2018, Trump didn’t have to justify his decision, but now that he’s running for reelection, he should be made to account for what he did by being asked the following questions:

1. How could the release of the CIA’s long-secret JFK-assassination-related records possibly pose a threat to “national security”?

2. Why not order an immediate release of those long-secret records now rather than wait until October of next year?

3. If the CIA has nothing to hide, why is it still hiding it almost 60 years after the Kennedy assassination?

The big problem, of course, is the deep loyalty that the mainstream press, Democrats, Republicans, and even some conservative-oriented libertarians have toward the CIA, not to mention the deep fear of being labeled a “conspiracy theorist.” That is why it is unlikely that Trump will be required to justify his deference to the CIA and its desire for continued secrecy in the Kennedy assassination.

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education.

August 18, 2020 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, Film Review, Timeless or most popular | , , | 6 Comments

Why Immunity for the CIA?

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | August 11, 2020

Amidst the controversy over the doctrine of qualified immunity for cops, no one is talking about the full immunity accorded to the Central Intelligence Agency, an agency within the national-security establishment that wields omnipotent power.

Among the most interesting lines in the new Amazon Prime series The Last Narc is what a CIA official says to DEA investigator Hector Berrellez, who was charged with leading the investigation into the kidnapping, torture, and murder of DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena. The official tells Berrellez that the CIA is not a law-enforcement agency and, therefore, doesn’t have to comply with the Constitution. Its mission, he said, is to protect the United States. Therefore, the implication is that the Constitution cannot be permitted to serve as a barrier to that end.

That’s the way it’s been since the beginning. The CIA has had omnipotent power to do whatever it deems necessary to protect “national security.” That includes, of course, the power of assassination, a power that the CIA assumed practically since its inception. In fact, as early as 1952, the CIA was developing a formal assassination manual for its assassins.

The CIA also wields the power of torture, the power to record its torture sessions, and the power to destroy such recordings to prevent Congress or the public from listening to them or viewing them.

The CIA also wields the power to lie, at least if it’s in the interest of “national security.”

No one jacks with the CIA. Not the Justice Department, including every U.S. Attorney in the land. Not the Congress. Not the president. Not the military. Who is going to mess with an organization that wields the omnipotent power to destroy or kill people and is more than willing to exercise that power in the name of protecting “national security”?

The kidnapping, torture, and execution of Kiki Camarena

A good example of this phenomenon is found in The Last Narc, which I wrote about in a blog post last week.

In 1985, 37-year-old DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena was kidnapped on the streets of Guadalajara, Mexico, and brutally tortured for 36 hours before finally being executed.

It was commonly believed that the crime had been committed by the Guadalajara drug cartel, which was headed by Rafael Caro Quintana, Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo, and Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, all of whom are featured in Netflix’s series Narcos: Mexico. But Mexican officials steadfastly refused to extradite the three drug lords to the United States for trial.

The DEA assigned Berrellez to take charge of the investigation. Berrellez, who felt as comfortable operating in Mexico as he did in the United States, found three former members of the Jalisco State Police who were willing to talk. They came to the United States and told Berrellez that back in 1985, they had been working double jobs — as state policemen and also as bodyguards for Caro, Fonseca, and Gallardo.

Berrellez interviewed them separately to ensure the integrity of their statements. They each pointed toward complicity of high Mexican officials with the cartel in the distribution of drugs into the United States, which I don’t think would surprise anyone.

The three former cops and bodyguards told Berrellez that they were in the room while Camarena was being tortured. Each of them stated that there were several high Mexican officials present in the house in which Camarena was being tortured while he was being tortured.

The heroism of Hector Berrellez

But then Berrellez discovered something else. According to the three former Mexican state policemen, a man named Max Gomez, also known as Felix Rodriguez, was inside the torture room and taking an active role in the brutal interrogation of Camarena. Berrellez investigated and determined that Rodriguez was a “retired” CIA agent.

Among the principal questions that was being addressed to Camarena was the extent to which he had discovered, in the course of his investigation, the nexus between the drug cartel, the CIA, and the Mexican government in the drug trade.

It was later learned that the interrogation was being recorded, which is something that one would not expect drug lords to do but that one would expect a CIA agent to do.

At that point, Berrellez was in trouble. It’s one thing to conduct an investigation that leads to the Mexican government’s involvement in Camarena’s torture and murder. It’s another thing to conduct an investigation that leads to the U.S. government’s involvement in the torture and murder of a DEA agent who is also an American citizen.

As Berrellez states in The Last Narc, he was warned to back off and let sleeping dogs lie. He was warned that if he didn’t, his life would be in jeopardy. If he didn’t back off, U.S. officials even threatened to forcibly return him to Mexico to face criminal charges that the Mexican government had leveled against him.

But Berrellez refused to back off, and so U.S. officials removed him from the investigation. Even though he could have remained silent, he instead decided to go public with his findings and cooperated in the making of The Last Narc. He comes across as a heroic figure in the series.

For his part, Rodriguez denies that he was in the torture room or that he has had anything to do with Guadalajara cartel and with drug dealing. The problem, however, is that CIA agents will lie if they believe that it is in the interest of “national security.” And they all know that they have immunity when it comes to lying and anything else that touches on “national security.”

Full immunity for the CIA

Here you have a prima facie case of U.S. governmental involvement in the torture and assassination of a U.S citizen, one who was an agent of the DEA. The alleged purpose of the torture was to determine if Camarena had uncovered evidence of CIA complicity with the Guadalajara Cartel and the Mexican government in the drug trade. Three witnesses, all giving their testimony separately, identified Rodriquez as one of Camarena’s interrogators.

That’s clearly enough evidence to launch a formal investigation into the matter. Perhaps it’s worth mentioning that Camarena’s murder took place during Iran Contra, when U.S. officials were breaking the law to raise the money to give to the Nicaraguan contras.

Has any of this caused any U.S. Attorney or the U.S. Congress to launch an aggressive investigation into the matter?

Don’t make me laugh. This is the CIA we are talking about. No one investigates the CIA, which makes the U.S. government as crooked and corrupt as the Mexican government. If you want to get a good sense of how both governments operate, I highly recommend watching The Last Narc.

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics.

August 11, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Film Review | , , , , | 4 Comments

Bill Browder, a Billionaire Accused of Being a Fraud and Liar

By John Ryan • Unz Review  • July 1, 2020

William “Bill” Browder has been a figure of some prominence on the world scene for the past decade. A few months back, Der Spiegel published a major exposé on him and the case of Sergei Magnitsky but the mainstream media completely ignored this report and so aside from Germany few people are aware of Browder’s background and the Magnitsky issue which resulted in sanctions on Russia.

Browder had gone to Moscow in 1996 to take advantage of the privatization of state companies by Russian President Boris Yeltsin. Browder founded Hermitage Capital Management, a Moscow investment firm registered in offshore Guernsey in the Channel Islands. For a time, it was the largest foreign investor in Russian securities. Hermitage Capital Management was rated as extremely successful after earning almost 3,000 percent in its operations between 1996 and December 2007.

During the corrupt Yeltsin years, with his business partner’s US $25 million, Browder amassed a fortune. Profiting from the large-scale privatizations in Russia from 1996 to 2006 his Hermitage firm eventually grew to $4.5 billion.

When Browder encountered financial difficulties with Russian authorities he portrayed himself as an anti-corruption activist and became the driving force behind the Magnitsky Act, which resulted in economic sanctions aimed at Russian officials. However, an examination of Browder’s record in Russia and his testimony in court cases reveals contradictions with his statements to the public and Congress, and raises questions about his motives in attacking corruption in Russia.

Although he has claimed that he was an ‘activist shareholder’ and campaigned for Russian companies to adopt Western-style governance, it has been reported that he cleverly destabilized companies he was targeting for takeover. Canadian blogger Mark Chapman has revealed that after Browder would buy a minority share in a company he would resort to lawsuits against this company through shell companies he controlled. This would destabilize the company with charges of corruption and insolvency. To prevent its collapse the Russian government would intervene by injecting capital into it, causing its stock market to rise—with the result that Browder’s profits would rise exponentially.

Later, through Browder’s Russian-registered subsidiaries, his accountant Magnitsky acquired extra shares in Russian gas companies such as Surgutneftegaz, Rosneft and Gazprom. This procedure enabled Browder’s companies to pay the residential tax rate of 5.5% instead of the 35% that foreigners would have to pay.

However, the procedure to bypass the Russian presidential decree that banned foreign companies and citizens from purchasing equities in Gazprom was an illegal act. Because of this and other suspected transgressions, Magnitsky was interrogated in 2006 and later in 2008. Initially he was interviewed as a suspect and then as an accused. He was then arrested and charged by Russian prosecutors with two counts of aggravated tax evasion committed in conspiracy with Bill Browder in respect of Dalnyaya Step and Saturn, two of Browder’s shell companies to hold shares that he bought. Unfortunately, in 2009 Magnitsky died in pre-trial detention because of a failure by prison officials to provide prompt medical assistance.

Browder has challenged this account and for years he has maintained that Magnitsky’s arrest and death were a targeted act of revenge by Russian authorities against a heroic anti-corruption activist.

It’s only recently that Browder’s position was challenged by the European Court of Human Rights who in its ruling on August 27, 2019 concluded that Magnitsky’s “arrest was not arbitrary, and that it was based on reasonable suspicion of his having committed a criminal offence.” And as such “The Russians had good reason to arrest Sergei Magnitsky for Hermitage tax evasion.”

“The Court observes that the inquiry into alleged tax evasion, resulting in the criminal proceedings against Mr Magnitskiy, started in 2004, long before he complained that prosecuting officials had been involved in fraudulent acts.”

Prior to Magnitsky’s arrest, because of what Russia considered to be questionable activities, Browder had been refused entry to Russia in 2005. However, he did not take lightly his rebuff by the post-Yeltsin Russian government under Vladimir Putin. As succinctly expressed by Professor Halyna Mokrushyna at the University of Ottawa:

[Browder] began to engage in a worldwide campaign against the Russian authorities, accusing them of corruption and violation of human rights. The death of his accountant and auditor Sergei Magnitsky while in prison became the occasion for Browder to launch an international campaign presenting the death as a ruthless silencing of an anti-corruption whistleblower. But the case of Magnitsky is anything but.

Despite Brower’s claims that Magnitsky died as a result of torture and beatings, authentic documents and testimonies show that Magnitsky died because of medical neglect – he was not provided adequate treatment for a gallstone condition. It was negligence typical at that time of prison bureaucracy, not a premeditated killing. Because of the resulting investigation, many high level functionaries in the prison system were fired or demoted.

For the past ten years Browder has maintained that Magnitsky was tortured and murdered by prison guards. Without any verifiable evidence he has asserted that Magnitsky was beaten to death by eight riot guards over 1 hour and 18 minutes. This was never corroborated by anybody, including by autopsy reports. It was even denied by Magnitsky’s mother in a video interview.

Nevertheless, on the basis of his questionable beliefs, he has carried on a campaign to discredit and vilify Russia and its government and leaders.

In addition to the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights, Browder’s basic underlying beliefs and assumptions are being seriously challenged. Very recently, on May 5, 2020, an American investigative journalist, Lucy Komisar, published an article with the heading Forensic photos of Magnitsky show no marks on torso:

On Fault Lines today I revealed that I have obtained never published forensic photos of the body of Sergei Magnitsky, William Browder’s accountant, that show not a mark on his torso. Browder claims he was beaten to death by prison guards. Magnitsky died at 9:30pm Nov 16, 2009, and the photos were taken the next day.

Later in her report she states:

I noted on the broadcast that though the photos and documents are solid, several dozen U.S. media – both allegedly progressive and mainstream — have refused to publish this information. And if that McCarthyite censorship continues, the result of rampant fear-inducing Russophobia, I will publish it and the evidence on this website.

Despite evidence such as this, till this day Browder maintains that Sergei Magnitsky was beaten to death with rubber batons. It’s this narrative that has attracted the attention of the US Congress, members of parliament, diplomats and human rights activists. To further refute his account, a 2011 analysis by the Physicians for Human Rights International Forensics Program of documents provided by Browder found no evidence he was beaten to death.

In his writings, as supposed evidence, Browder provides links to two untranslated Russian documents. They were compiled immediately after Magnitsky died on November 16, 2009. Recent investigative research has revealed that one of these appears to be a forgery. The first document D309 states that shortly before Magnitsky’s death: “Handcuffs were used in connection with the threat of committing an act of self-mutilation and suicide, and that the handcuffs were removed after thirty minutes.” To further support this, a forensic review states that while in the prison hospital “Magnitsky exhibited behavior diagnosed as “acute psychosis” by Dr. A. V. Gaus at which point the doctor ordered Mr. Magnitsky to be restrained with handcuffs.”

The second document D310 is identically worded to D309 except for a change in part of the preceding sentence. The sentence in D309 has the phrase special means were” is changed in D310 to “a rubber baton was.”

As such, while D309 is perfectly coherent, in D310 the reference to a rubber baton makes no sense whatsoever, given the title and text it shares with D309. This and other inconsistences, including signatures on these documents, make it apparent that D310 was copied from D309 and that D310 is a forgery. Furthermore, there is no logical reason for two almost identical reports to have been created, with only a slight difference in one sentence. There is no way of knowing who forged it and when, but this forged document forms a major basis for Browder’s claim that Magnitsky was clubbed to death.

The fact that there is no credible evidence to indicate that Magnitsky was subjected to a baton attack, combined with forensic photos of Magnitsky’s body shortly after death that show no marks on it, provides evidence that appears to repudiate Browder’s decade-long assertions that Magnitsky was viciously murdered while in jail.

With evidence such as this, it repeatedly becomes clear that Browder’s narrative contains mistakes and inconsistencies that distort the overall view of the events leading to Magnitsky’s death.

Despite Magnitsky’s death the case against him continued in Russia and he was found guilty of corruption in a posthumous trial. Actually, the trial’s main purpose was to investigate alleged fraud by Bill Browder, but to proceed with this they had to include the accountant Magnitsky as well. The Russian court found both of them guilty of fraud. Afterwards, the case against Magnitsky was closed because of his death.

After Browder was refused entry to Russia in November of 2005, he launched a campaign insisting that his departure from Russia resulted from his anti-corruption activities. However, the real reason for the cancellation of his visa that he never mentions is that in 2003 a Russian provincial court had convicted Browder of evading $40 million in taxes. In addition, his illegal purchases of shares in Gazprom through the use of offshore shell companies were reportedly valued at another $30 million, bringing the total figure of tax evasion to $70 million.

It’s after this that the Russian federal government next took up the case and initially went after Magnitsky, the accountant who carried out Browder’s schemes.

But back in the USA Browder portrayed himself as the ultimate truth-teller, and embellished his tale by asserting that Sergei Magnitsky was a whistleblowing “tax lawyer,” rather than one of Browder’s accountants implicated in tax fraud. As his case got more involved, he presented a convoluted explanation that he was not responsible for bogus claims made by his companies. This is indeed an extremely complicated matter and as such only a summary of some of this will be presented.

The essence of the case is that in 2007 three shell companies that had once been owned by Browder were used to claim a $232 million tax refund based on trumped-up financial loses. Browder has stated that the companies were stolen from him, and that in a murky operation organized by a convicted fraudster, they were re-registered in the names of others. There is evidence however that Magnitsky and Browder may have been part of this convoluted scheme.

Browder’s main company in Russia was Hermitage Capital Management, and associated with this firm were a large number of shell companies, some in the Russian republic of Kalmykia and some in the British Virgin Islands. A law firm in Moscow, Firestone Duncan, owned by Americans, did the legal work for Browder’s Hermitage. Sergei Magnitsky was one of the accountants for Firestone Duncan and was assigned to work for Hermitage.

An accountant colleague of Magnitsky’s at Firestone Duncan, Konstantin Ponomarev, was interviewed in 2017 by Lucy Komisar, an investigative journalist, who was doing research on Browder’s operations in Russia. In the ensuing report on this, Komisar states:

“According to Ponomarev, the firm – and Magnitsky — set up an offshore structure that Russian investigators would later say was used for tax evasion and illegal share purchases by Hermitage. . .

the structure helped Browder execute tax-evasion and illegal share purchase schemes.

“He said the holdings were layered to conceal ownership: The companies were “owned” by Cyprus shells Glendora and Kone, which, in turn, were “owned” by an HSBC Private Bank Guernsey Ltd trust. Ponomarev said the real owner was Browder’s Hermitage Fund. He said the structure allowed money to move through Cyprus to Guernsey with little or no taxes paid along the way. Profits could get cashed out in Guernsey by investors of the Hermitage Fund and HSBC.

“Ponomarev said that in 1996, the firm developed for Browder ‘a strategy of how to buy Gazprom shares in the local market, which was restricted for foreign investors.’”

In the course of their investigation, on June 2, 2007, Russian tax investigators raided the offices of Hermitage and Firestone Duncan. They seized Hermitage company documents, computers and corporate stamps and seals. They were looking for evidence to support Russian charges of tax evasion and illegal purchase of shares of Gazprom.

In a statement to US senators on July 27, 2017, Browder stated that Russian interior ministry officials “seized all the corporate documents connected to the investment holding companies of the funds that I advised. I didn’t know the purpose of these raids so I hired the smartest Russian lawyer I knew, a 35-year-old named Sergei Magnitsky. I asked Sergei to investigate the purpose of the raids and try to stop whatever illegal plans these officials had.”

Contrary to what Browder claims, Magnitsky had been his accountant for a decade. He had never acted as a lawyer, nor did he have the qualifications to do so. In fact in 2006 when questioned by Russian investigators, Magnitsky said he was an auditor on contract with Firestone Duncan. In Browder’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2017 he claimed Magnitsky was his lawyer, but in 2015 in his testimony under oath in the US government’s Prevezon case, Browder told a different story, as will now be related.

On Browder’s initiative, in December 2012 he presented documents to the New York District Attorney alleging that a Russian company Prevezon had “benefitted from part of the $230 million dollar theft uncovered by Magnitsky and used those funds to buy a number of luxury apartments in Manhattan.” In September 2013, the New York District Attorney’s office filed money-laundering charges against Prevezon. The company hired high-profile New York-based lawyers to defend themselves against the accusations.

As reported by Der Spiegel, Browder would not voluntarily agree to testify in court so Prevezon’s lawyers sent process servers to present him with a subpoena, which he refused to accept and was caught on video literally running away. In March 2015, the judge in the Prevezon case ruled that Browder would have to give testimony as part of pre-trial discovery. Later while in court and under oath and confronted with numerous documents, Browder was totally evasive. Lawyer Mark Cymrot spent six hours examining him, beginning with the following exchange:

Cymrot asked: Was Magnitsky a lawyer or a tax expert?

He was “acting in court representing me,” Browder replied.

And he had a law degree in Russia?

“I’m not aware he did.”

Did he go to law school?

“No.”

How many times have you said Mr. Magnitsky is a lawyer? Fifty? A hundred? Two hundred?

“I don’t know.”

Have you ever told anybody that he didn’t go to law school and didn’t have a law degree?

“No.”

Critically important, during the court case, the responsible U.S. investigator admitted during questioning that his findings were based exclusively on statements and documents from Browder and his team. Under oath, Browder was unable to explain how he and his people managed to track the flow of money and make the accusation against Prevezon. In his 2012 letter that launched the court case, Browder referred to “corrupt schemes” used by Prevezon, but when questioned under oath he admitted he didn’t know of any. In fact, to almost every question put forth by Mark Cymrot, Browder replied that he didn’t know or didn’t remember.

The case finally ended in May 2017 when the two sides reached a settlement. Denis Katsyv, the company’s sole shareholder, on a related matter agreed to pay nearly six million dollars to the US government, but would not have to admit any wrongdoing. Also the settlement contained an explicit mention that neither Katsyv nor his company Prevezon had anything to do with the Magnitsky case. Afterwards, one of Katsyv’s, lawyers, Natalia Veselnitskaya, exclaimed: “For the first time, the U.S. recognized that the Russians were in the right!”

A major exposé of the Browder-Russia story is presented in a film that came out in June 2016 The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes by the well-known independent filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov. Reference to this film will be made later but to provide a summary of the Browder tax evasion case some critical information can be obtained from a report by Eric Zuesse, an investigative historian, who managed to get a private viewing of the film by the film’s Production Manager.

In the film Nekrasov proceeds to unravel Browder’s story, which was designed to conceal his own corporate responsibility for the criminal theft of the money. As Browder’s widely accepted story collapses, Magnitsky is revealed not to be a whistleblower but a likely abettor to the fraud who died in prison not from an official assassination but from banal neglect of his medical condition. The film cleverly allows William Browder to self-destruct under the weight of his own lies and the contradictions in his story-telling at various times.

Following the raid by tax officials on the Moscow Hermitage office on June 2, 2007, nothing further on these matters was reported until April 9, 2008 when Ms Rimma Starlova, the figurehead director of the three supposedly stolen Browder shell companies, filed a criminal complaint with the Russian Interior Ministry in Kazan accusing representatives of Browder companies of the theft of state funds, i.e., $232 million in a tax-rebate fraud. Although Hermitage was aware of this report they kept quiet about it because they claimed it as a false accusation against themselves.

On September 23, 2008, there was a news report about a theft of USD 232 million from the Russian state treasury, and the police probe into it. On October 7, 2008, Magnitsky was questioned by tax investigators about the $232 million fraud because he was the accountant for Browder’s companies.

The central issue was that during September of 2007 three of Browder’s shell companies had changed owners and that afterwards fraud against Russian treasury had been conducted by the new owners of these companies.

According to Magnitsky the way that ownership changed was through powers of attorney. This is a matter that Browder never mentioned. The Nekrasov film shows a document: “Purchase agreement … based on this power of attorney, Gasanov represents Glendora Holdings Ltd.” Glendora Holdings is another shell company owned by Browder. This shows that Gasanov, the middleman, had the power of attorney connecting the new nominees to the real beneficiaries. However, Gasanov could not be questioned on whose orders he was doing this because shortly afterwards, he mysteriously died. No one proved that it was murder, but if that death was a coincidence, it wasn’t the only one.

During September 2007 the three Hermitage shell companies, Rilend, Parfenion and Mahaon, were re-registered by Gasanov to a company called Pluton that was registered in Kazan, and owned by Viktor Markelov, a Russian citizen with a criminal record. Markelov through a series of sham arbitration judgments conducted fake lawsuits that demanded damages for alleged contract violations. Once the damages were paid, in December 2007 the companies filed for tax refunds that came to $232 million. These were taxes that had been paid by these companies in 2006.

On February 5, 2008 the Investigative Committee of the Russian General Prosecutor’s Office opened a criminal case to investigate the fraud committed by Markelov and other individuals.

Markelov had hired a Moscow lawyer, Andrey Pavlov, to conduct these complex operations. Afterwards Pavlov was questioned by Russian authorities and revealed what had happened. Markelov was convicted and sentenced to five years for the scam. At his trial Markelov testified that he was not in possession of the $232 million tax refund and that he did not know the identity of the client who would benefit from the refund scheme. And till this day no one knows! However, Russian tax authorities suspect it is William Browder.

At his trial, Markelov testified that one of the people he worked with to secure the fraudulent tax refund was Sergei Leonidovich. Magnitsky’s full name was Sergei Leonidovich Magnitsky. Also when questioned by the police, Markelov named Browder’s associates Khairetdinov and Kleiner as people involved in the company’s re-registration.

So this provides evidence that Magnitsky and Browder’s other officials were involved in the re-registration scheme – which Browder later called theft. In his film Nekrasov states that Browder’s team had set things up to look as if outsiders — not Browder’s team — had transferred the assets.

According to Nekrasov’s film documentation, Russian courts have established that it was the representatives of the Hermitage investment fund who had themselves voluntarily re-registered the Makhaon, Parfenion and Rilend companies in the name of other individuals, a fact that Mr Browder is seeking to conceal by shifting the blame, without any foundation, onto the law enforcement agencies of the Russian Federation.

Indeed there is cause to be skeptical of the Browder narrative, and that the fraud was in fact concocted by Browder and his accountant Magnitsky. A Russian court has supported that alternative narrative, ruling in late December 2013 that Browder had deliberately bankrupted his company and engaged in tax evasion. On the basis of this he was sentenced to nine years prison in absentia.

In the meantime, over all these years, Browder has maintained and convinced the public at large that the $232 million fraud against the Russian treasury had been perpetrated by Magnitsky’s interrogators and Russian police. With respect to the “theft” of his three companies (or “vehicles as he refers to them) on September 16, 2008 he stated on his Hermitage website: “The theft of the vehicles was only possible using the vehicles’ original corporate documents seized by the Moscow Interior Ministry in its raid on Hermitage’s law firm in Moscow on 4 June 2007.”

As such, Browder is accusing Russian tax authorities and police for conducting this entire fraudulent operation.

In his film Nekrasov says that the Browder version is: “Yes, the crime took place [$232 million fraud against the public treasury but, according to Browder, actually against Browder’s firm], but somebody else did it — the police did it.”

In this convoluted tale, it should be recalled that the fraud against the Russian treasury had first been reported to the police by Rimma Starlova on April 9, 2008. This had been recorded on the Hermitage website. In preparing the material for his film, Nekrasov noted that

“In March 2009, Starlova’s report disappeared from Hermitage’s website. . . . This is the same time that Magnitsky started to be treated as an analyst . . . who discovered the $232 million fraud. Thus the Magnitsky-the-whistleblower story was born, almost a year after the matter had been reported to the police.”

Nekrasov’s film also undermines the basis of Browder’s case that Magnitsky had been killed by the police because he had accused two police officials, Karpov and Kuznetsov, but this is questionable since documents show Magnitsky had not accused anyone. As Nekrasov states in the film: “The problem is, he [Magnitsky] made no accusations. In that testimony, its record contains no accusations. … Mr. Magnitsky did not actually testify against the two officers [Karpov and Kuznetsov].” So this factual evidence should destroy Browder’s accusations.

It should be noted Magnitsky’s original interview with authorities was as a suspect, not a whistleblower. Also contradicting Browder’s claims, Nekrasov notes that Magnitsky does not even mention the names of the police officers in a key statement to authorities.

In his film Nekrasov includes an interview that he had with Browder regarding the issues about Magnitsky. Nekrasov confronts Browder with the core contradictions of his story. Incensed, Browder rises up and threatens the filmmaker:

Anybody who says that Sergei Magnitsky didn’t expose the crime before he was arrested is just trying to whitewash the Russian Government. … Are you trying to say that Pavel Karpov is innocent? I’d really be careful about your going out and saying that Magnitsky wasn’t a whistleblower. That’s not going to do well for your credibility.” Browder then walks off in a huff.

Nekrasov claims to be especially struck that the basis of Browder’s case — that Magnitsky had been killed by the police because he had accused two police officials, Karpov and Kuznetsov — is a lie because there is documentary evidence that Magnitsky had not accused anyone.

Because of Browder’s accusations, Nekrasov interviewed Pavel Karpov, the police officer who Browder accused of being involved in Magnitsky’s alleged murder, despite the fact that Karpov was not on duty the day Magnitsky died.

Karpov presents Nekrasov with documents that Browder’s case was built on. These original documents are actually fundamentally different from the way Browder had described them. This documentary evidence further exposes Browder’s story for what it is.

Nekrasov asks Karpov why Browder wants to demonize him. Karpov explains that he had pursued Browder in 2004 for tax evasion, so that seems to be the reason why Browder smears him. And then Karpov says, “Having made billions here, Browder forgot to tell how he did it. So it suits him to pose as a victim. He is wanted here, but Interpol is not looking for him.”

Afterwards in 2013, Karpov had tried to sue Browder for libel in a London court, but was not able to on the basis of procedural grounds since he was a resident of Russia and not the UK. However at the conclusion of the case, set out in his Judgment the presiding judge, Justice Simon, made some interesting comments.

“The causal link which one would expect from such a serious charge is wholly lacking; and nothing is said about torture or murder. In my view these are inadequate particulars to justify the charge that the Claimant was a primary or secondary party to Sergei Magnitsky’s torture and murder, and that he would continue to commit or ’cause’ murder, as pleaded in §60 of the Defence.

The Defendants have not come close to pleading facts which, if proved, would justify the sting of the libel.”

In other words – in plain English – in the judge’s view, Karpov was not in any sense party to Magnitsky’s death, and Browder’s claim that he was is not valid.

On the basis of the evidence that has been presented, it is undeniable that Browder’s case appears to be a total misrepresentation, not only of Magnitsky’s statements, but of just about everything else that’s important in the case .

On a separate matter, on April 15, 2015 in a New York court case involving the US government and a Russian company, Previzon Holdings, Bill Browder had been ordered by a judge to give a deposition to Prevezon’s lawyers.

Throughout this deposition, Browder (now under oath) contradicted virtually every aspect of his Magnitsky narrative and stated “I don’t recall” when pressed about key portions of his narrative that he had previously repeated unabashedly in his testimonies to Congress and interviews with Western media. Browder “remembered nothing” and could not even deny asking Magnitsky to take responsibility for his (Browder’s) crimes.

As a further example of Browder’s dishonesty, in one of his publications, he shows a photo of an alleged employee of Browder’s law firm, Firestone Duncan, named “Victor Poryugin” with vicious facial wounds from allegedly being tortured and beaten by police. However, the person shown was never with Browder’s firm. Instead, this is a photo of “an American human rights campaigner beaten up during a street protest in 1961.” It was Jim Zwerg, civil-rights demonstrator, during the 1960s, in the American South. Nekrasov was appalled and found it almost unimaginable that Browder would switch photos like that to demonize Russia and its police.

Browder was arrested by the Spanish police in June 2018. Even though Russia has on six occasions requested Browder’s arrest through Interpol for tax fraud, the Spanish national police determined that Browder had been detained in error because the international warrant was no longer valid and released him.

A further matter that reflects on his character, William Browder, the American-born co-founder of Hermitage Capital Management is now a British citizen. The US taxes offshore earnings, but the UK does not. Highly likely because of this, in 1998 he gave up his American citizenship and became a British citizen and thereby has avoided paying US taxes on foreign investments. Nevertheless, he still has his family home in Princeton, NJ and also owns a $11 million dollar vacation home in Aspen, Colorado.

To put this in political context, Browder’s narrative served a strong geopolitical purpose to demonize Russia at the dawn of the New Cold War. As such, Browder played a major role in this. In fact, the late celebrated American journalist Robert Parry thought that Browder single-handedly deserves much of the credit for the new Cold War.

Browder’s campaign was so effective that in December 2012 he exploited Congressional willingness to demonize Russia, and as a result the US Congress passed a bipartisan bill, the Magnitsky Act, which was then signed by President Obama. U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and John McCain were instrumental in pushing through the Magnitsky Act, based on Browder’s presentations.

However, key parts of the argument that passed into law in this act have been shown to be based on fraud and fabrication of ‘evidence.’ This bill blacklisted Russian officials who were accused of being involved in human-rights abuses.

In her analysis of the Magnitsky Act, Lucy Komisar, an investigative journalist, reveals a little known fact:

“A problem with the Magnitsky Act is that there is no due process. The targets are not told the evidence against them, they cannot challenge accusations or evidence in a court of law in order to get off the list. This “human rights law” violates the rule of law. There is an International Court with judges and lawyers to deal with human rights violators, but the US has not ratified its jurisdiction. Because it does not want to be subject to the rules it applies to others.”

In 2017, Congress passed the Global Magnitsky Act, which enables the U.S. to impose sanctions against Russia for human rights violations worldwide.

In a move that history will show to be ill-advised, on October 18, 2017 Canada’s Parliament and Senate unanimously approved Bill 226, a ‘Magnitsky Act.’ It mimics the US counterpart and targets Russia for further economic sanctions. Russia immediately denounced Canada’s actions as being counter-productive, pointless and reprehensible. Actually an act of this type had been opposed by Stéphane Dion while he was Canada’s minister of foreign affairs because he viewed it as a needless provocation against Russia. Dion also stated that adoption of a ‘Magnitsky Act’ would hurt the interests of Canadian businesses dealing with Russia and would thwart Canada’s attempt’s to normalize relations with Russia. However, Dion was replaced by Chrystia Freeland who immediately pushed this through. This is not surprising considering her well-documented Nazi family background and who is persona non grata in Russia.

A version of the Magnitsky Act was enacted in the UK and the Baltic republics in 1917.

In early 2020 a proposal to enact a version of the Magnitsky Act was presented to the Australian parliament and it is still under consideration. There has been considerable opposition to it including a detailed report by their Citizens Party, which exposes the full extent of Browder’s fraud and chicanery.

The investigation into Browder’s business activities in Russia is still an ongoing endeavour. On October 24, 2017 the

Russian Prosecutor General, Yuri Chaika, requested the US Attorney General Jeff Sessions to launch a probe into alleged tax evasion by Bill Browder, who in 2013 had already been sentenced in absentia to 9 years in prison in Russia for a similar crime.

Browder at that time was still being tried in Russia for suspected large-scale money laundering, also in absentia. Chaika added that Russian law enforcement possesses information that over $1 billion was illegally transferred from the country into structures connected with Bill Browder.

The Prosecutor General also asked Sessions to reconsider the Magnitsky Act. As he put it,

“… from our standpoint, the act was adopted for no actual reason, while it was lobbied by people who had committed crimes in Russia. In our view, there are grounds to claim that this law lacks real foundation and that its passing was prompted by criminals’ actions.”

It’s not known if Sessions ever responded to the Russian Prosecutor General. In any event, President Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions on November 7, 2018. As such it’s evident that Russia’s concerns about Browder’s dishonest activities are stymied.

Extensive reference has already been made to the film that came out in June 2016 The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes by the independent filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov. When Nekrasov started the film he had fully believed Browder’s story but as he delved into what really happened, to his surprise, he discovered that the case documents and other incontrovertible facts revealed Browder to be a fraud and a liar. The ensuing film presents a powerful deconstruction of the Magnitsky myth, but because of Browder’s political connections and threats of lawsuits, the film has been blacklisted in the entire “free world.” So much for the “free world’s” freedom of the press and media. This film is not available on YouTube or anywhere else.

The documentary was set for a premiere at the European Parliament in Brussels in April 2016, but at the last moment – faced with Browder’s legal threats – the parliamentarians cancelled the showing.

There were hopes to show the documentary to members of Congress but the offer was rebuffed. Despite the frantic attempts by Browder’s lawyers to block this documentary film from being shown anywhere, Washington’s Newseum, to its credit, had a one-time showing on June 13, 2016, including a question-and-answer session with Andrei Nekrasov, moderated by journalist Seymour Hersh. Except for that audience, the public of the United States and Europe has been essentially shielded from the documentary’s discoveries, all the better for the Magnitsky myth to retain its power as a seminal propaganda moment of the New Cold War.

Nekrasov’s powerful deconstruction of the Magnitsky myth – and the film’s subsequent blacklisting throughout the “free world” – recall other instances in which the West’s propaganda lines don’t stand up to scrutiny, so censorship and ad hominem attacks become the weapons of choice to defend “perception management.”

Other than the New York Times that had a lukewarm review, the mainstream media condemned the film and its showing. As such, with the exception of that one audience, the public in the USA, Canada and Europe has been shielded from the documentary’s discoveries. The censorship of this film has made it a good example of how political and legal pressure can effectively black out what we used to call “the other side of the story.”

Andrei Nekrasov is still prepared to go to court to defend the findings of his film, but Bill Browder has refused to do this and simply keeps maligning the film and Mr. Nekrasov.

Recent Developments

Although for almost the past ten years Browder’s self-serving story had been accepted almost worldwide and served to help vilify Russia, in the past few months there has been an awakening to the true state of affairs about Browder.

The first such article “The Case of Sergei Magnitsky: Questions Cloud Story Behind U.S. Sanctions” written by Benjamin Bidder, a German journalist, appeared on November 26, 2019 in Der Spiegel. At the outset Bidder states:

“Ten years after his death, inconsistencies in Magnitsky’s story suggest he may not have been the hero many people — and Western governments — believed him to be. Did the perfidious conspiracy to murder Magnitsky ever really take place? Or is Browder a charlatan whose story the West was too eager to believe? The certainty surrounding the Magnitsky affair becomes muddled in the documents, particularly the clear division between good and evil. The Russian authorities’ take is questionable, but so is everyone else’s — including Bill Browder’s.

But with the Magnitsky sanctions, it could be that the activist Browder used a noble cause to manipulate Western governments.”

In summation, the article raises serious questions about many aspects of Browder’s account. It concluded that his narrative was riddled with lies and said Western nations have fallen for a “convenient” story made up by a “fraudster.

The report provoked Browder’s fury, and he swiftly filed a complaint against Der Spiegel with the German Press Council as well as a complaint to the editor of Der Spiegel.

On December 17, 2019 Der Spiegel responded: “Why DER SPIEGEL Stands Behind Its Magnitsky Reporting.” In a lengthy detailed response the journal rejects all aspects of Browder’s complaint. They point out the inconsistencies in Browder’s version of events and demonstrate that he is unable to present sufficient proof for his claims. They state: We believe his complaint has no basis and would like to review why we have considerable doubts about Browder’s story and why we felt it necessary to present those doubts publicly.”

Their report is highly enlightening and will have long-term consequences. It is one of the best refutations of Browder’s falsified accounts that led to the Magnitsky Act. It exposes Browder as a fraud and his Magnitsky story as a fake. Despite all this, this exposé was ignored in the mainstream media so most people are unaware of these revelations. A good review of it is presented by Lucy Komisar in her article The Der Spiegel exposé of Bill Browder, December 6, 2019.

The German Press Council rejected Browder’s complaint against Der Spiegel in January 2020 but Browder did not disclose this so it became known only in early May. Lucy Komisar reported this on May 12 and the main points of the Council’s rejection are presented in her account. Browder had complained that the article had serious factual errors. The Press Council stated that Browder’s position lacks proof and there could be no objection to Der Spiegel’s examination of events leading to Magnitsky’s death. All other Browder objections were rejected as well. In summation the Council stated: “Overall, we could not find a violation of journalistic principles.”

But the action of the press council has not been reported in the Canadian, U.S. or UK media. Nor was the November Der Spiegel report.

The German Press Council ruling follows a December 2019 Danish Press Board ruling against another Browder complaint over an article by a Danish financial news outlet, Finans.dk, on his tax evasion and invented Magnitsky story. Significantly, both the Danish and German cases involve mainstream media, which usually toe the US-UK-NATO strategic line against Russia, which Browder’s story serves. And these press complaint rulings follow a September 2019 European Court of Human Rights ruling that there was credible evidence that Magnitsky and Browder were engaged in a conspiracy to commit tax fraud and that Magnitsky was rightfully charged.

In summation, for ten years or more, no one in the West ever seriously challenged Bill Browder’s account of what happened to his “lawyer” Sergei Magnitsky and his stories of corruption and malfeasance in Russia. This is what allowed him to get such influence that the Magnitsky Act was passed, despite Russia’s attempts to clarify matters.

But when pressure was exerted on Germany to install a Magnitsky Act, one of their most influential journals Der Spiegel published an investigative bombshell picking apart Browder’s story about his auditor Sergei Magnitsky’s death. Browder immediately lashed out at Der Spiegel, accusing it of “misrepresenting the facts.” However, his outraged objections backfired and resulted in a further even more damaging Der Spiegel article and a rebuke from the German Press Council.

At long last, thanks to Der Spiegel, its investigative reports have effectively rejected and discredited Browder’s claim that Magnitsky was a courageous whistleblower who exposed corruption in Russia and was mercilessly killed by authorities out of revenge.

Despite this important and significant course of events, because of its imbedded Russophobia, the mainstream media have completely ignored the Der Spiegel exposé and almost nowhere has this been reported. To some extent this is because Browder has used his fortune to threaten lawsuits for anyone who challenges his version of events, effectively silencing many critics. Hence aside from people in Germany, this has been a non-event and the Browder hoax still prevails. Given this, it is important for us to publicize this revelation as best we can.

John Ryan, Ph.D. is a Retired Professor of Geography and Senior Scholar, University of Winnipeg

July 1, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Film Review, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Epstein Case: Documentaries Won’t Touch Tales of Intel Ties

By Elizabeth Vos | Consortium News | June 17, 2020

Investigation Discovery premiered  a three-hour special, “Who Killed Jeffrey Epstein?” on May 31, the first segment in a three-part series, that  focused on Epstein’s August 2019 death in federal custody. The series addresses Epstein’s alleged co-conspirator Ghislaine Maxwell, his links with billionaire Leslie Wexner, founder of the Victoria Secrets clothing line, and others, as well as the non-prosecution deal he was given.

The special followed on the heels of Netflix’s release of “Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich,” a mini-series that draws on a book of the same name by James Patterson.

Promotional material for “Who Killed Jeffery Epstein?” promises that: “… exclusive interviews and in-depth investigations reveal new clues about his seedy underworld, privileged life and controversial death. The three-hour special looks to answer the questions surrounding the death of this enigmatic figure.” Netflix billed its series this way: “Stories from survivors fuel this docuseries examining how convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein used his wealth and power to carry out his abuses.”

Neither documentary however deals at all with Epstein’s suspected ties to the world of intelligence.

Absent from both are Maxwell’s reported links to Israeli intelligence through her father, Robert Maxwell, former owner of The New York Daily News and The Mirror newspaper in London. Maxwell essentially received a state funeral in Israel and was buried on the Mount of Olives after he mysteriously fell off his yacht in 1991 in the Atlantic Ocean.

In an interview with Consortium News, former Israeli intelligence officer Ari Ben-Menashe said Epstein did not work with Mossad. “Military intelligence was who he was working with,” said Ben-Menashe. “Big difference,” he said. “He never worked with Mossad, and Robert Maxwell never did, either. It was military intelligence.”

Ben-Menashe claimed Robert Maxwell was Epstein’s “tie over. Robert Maxwell was the conduit. The financial conduit.”

In “Epstein: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” a book published in December, Ben-Menashe is quoted as saying he worked with Robert Maxwell who introduced his daughter and Epstein to Israeli intelligence, after which they engaged in a blackmail operation for Israel. “[Epstein] was taking photos of politicians f**king fourteen-year-old girls — if you want to get it straight. They [Epstein and Maxwell] would just blackmail people, they would just blackmail people like that,” he says in the book.

Ben-Menashe also claims that Robert Maxwell had attempted to blackmail Mossad. “He really lost his compass once he started playing these games with people,” he told Consortium News.

Prince Andrew

About a week after both documentaries premiered, the U.S. Department of Justice approached the U.K.’s Home Office requesting that Prince Andrew answer questions in the U.K. over his links to Epstein, The Mirror reported.  If he refuses, the paper said, U.S. prosecutors would ask that he be brought to a British court to respond to their questions. Andrew’s lawyers say he three times agreed to be questioned by U.S. authorities, but it is not known if Andrew attached conditions, such as immunity.

Both documentaries mention Prince Andrew in the context of allegations about him from one of Epstein’s victims, Virginia Roberts Giuffre. But neither film goes into much detail about Andrew’s role in the Epstein operation, which Ben-Menashe said, was to lure powerful men into Epstein’s orbit.

“One of the things that are really key to this is that he [Epstein] befriended a very useful idiot called Prince Andrew,” Ben-Menashe told CN. “Now what really happened was that this Prince Andrew, with nothing to do, was having fun with this, and Prince Andrew brings in the fancy people, invites them to play golf with him, and then takes them out for fun. Then Epstein shows up, and these people are basically blackmailed.”

“The only person that can talk, that probably knows quite a bit, is the great prince,” Ben-Menashe said. “He was with him [Epstein] all the time. I really don’t know what his future is going to be like, either.”

Since a number of influential figures were named in a lawsuit filed by Giuffre against Ghislaine Maxwell the day before Epstein was found dead in his federal prison cell in New York, Ben-Menashe said: “I’m starting to think that lawsuit was his death sentence, because people didn’t want to be named. That’s my guess, it’s just a guess. Obviously, somebody decided that he had to go.”

Epstein’s death was ruled a “suicide” by New York’s chief medical examiner. A pathologist hired by Epstein’s brother said it was homicide.

An Angry Call

Just before Ben-Menashe spoke to Consortium News on Monday, he said he had received an angry telephone call from Israel’s Channel 13 television station.

“They called me, and they went wild: ‘What, you believe Israel would use little girls? You are saying that? You are insulting the nation, you are making us anathema around the world.’ I said, ‘The truth is the truth.’ And Jeffrey Epstein’s story is something that nobody wanted to hear. He was working with the Israelis, he was working with Maxwell,” Ben-Menashe said.

He added: “It’s a very bad story, and I can see why the Israelis are so concerned about it. I believe [Channel 13] were expressing anger, and I believe this was a message. I don’t like messages like that… it has to do with the timing and these stories coming out about Epstein. They [Israel] are starting to become anathema to the world, this adds to it — the Epstein story.”

Victims’ Voices

The Netflix and Investigation Discovery productions allow survivors to recount their experiences in interviews as well as taped police recordings and focus on the sweetheart plea deal provided to Epstein by former Trump Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta during Acosta’s tenure as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida.

Each series outlines Epstein’s relationships with Wexner, Maxwell, and a variety of elite figures. Investigation Discovery focuses on the controversy surrounding Epstein’s death while Netflix’s “Filthy Rich” examines the second attempt to prosecute Epstein in the context of the Me Too movement.

The Netflix series describes the initial investigation of Epstein as it shifted from the state to the federal level, and airs allegations that Florida  journalists covering the story were threatened. Netflix also interviews psychologist Dr. Kathryn Stamoulis, a specialist in adolescent sexuality, who gives a description of Epstein’s targeting and grooming of young girls. Epstein survivor Giuffre later describes in the film being groomed to tolerate exploitation and sex trafficking as part of a “deranged family.”

The final section of the fourth episode in Netflix’s miniseries includes a survivor stating that this was not simply an Epstein operation, but an “international sex trafficking ring that reached all over the world.” Epstein is described as a “very small piece in a huge network.” But the documentary goes no further than that.

As in the Belgian Dutroux case, victims alleged that multiple abusers acted in concert with each other, using blackmail to keep each other in line. In both instances, authorities and the media portrayed the abuse as chiefly the product of an aberrant lone predator.

“This wouldn’t be the only time this happened, but this guy got way over his head,” Ben-Menashe told Consortium News. “He probably was blackmailing too many people, too many powerful people. And then, this is a story the Israelis wouldn’t want to come out, anyway.”

Thriving in Murky Waters

Another angle the documentaries did not approach was the environment in which Epstein thrived like an algae bloom in stagnant water, that is, within a long history of child trafficking rings linked with intelligence agencies, often with the aim of gathering blackmail material. It was within this reality that Epstein appeared to be rendered untouchable.

Omitting the intelligence aspect of Epstein’s history allows the Establishment media to portray his case as a mysterious and unsolvable aberration, rather than perhaps a continuation of business-as-usual amongst those in power.

The glaring refusal to address Epstein’s intelligence involvement becomes clear when Investigation Discovery and Netflix’s programs discuss the role of Acosta in securing Epstein’s “sweetheart” plea deal, but do not reference Acosta’s widely reported explanation as to why Acosta agreed to the deal. As reported by The Daily Beast, Acosta claimed that he cut the non-prosecution deal because he had been told that “Epstein ‘belonged to intelligence’ and to leave it alone.”

Independent journalist Whitney Webb has reported on Epstein’s many ties with intelligence, telling  CNLive! in August last year that there is evidence this included with the CIA.

Webb spoke about  Iran-Contra links to Epstein via his and billionaire Wexner’s efforts to relocate Southern Air Transport (formerly the CIA’s Air America) from Florida to Ohio: “What’s significant here is that out of all the airlines in the United States, Wexner and Epstein choose the airline, the only airline that is outed, publicly known at the time, to be a CIA cut-out. Out of all the airlines that exist, that’s the one they go for,” she said.

Webb also cited reporting by Nigel Rosser, a British journalist, who wrote in the Evening Standard in 2001 that Epstein claimed he worked for the CIA in the 1990s.

Lip Service

Investigation Discovery and Netflix give lip service to Wexner’s ties with Epstein, omitting that Wexner gave Epstein the largest private residence in New York City — essentially for free. Investigation Discovery does not mention that the residence was extensively wired with surveillance equipment, per Webb and The New York Times.

“James Patterson, before writing his book on Epstein, ‘Filthy Rich,’ on which this documentary [by Netflix] is based, wrote a novel [‘The President is Missing’] with Bill Clinton , who is of course quite close to the Epstein scandal, so that definitely, in my opinion, raises some eyebrows,” Webb told Consortium News.

“I think that one of the goals of this [Netflix] documentary is to basically imply that Epstein was the head of the operation and that now that he is dead, all of that activity has ceased,” Webb said. “If they had actually bothered to explore the intelligence angle, in some of the more obvious facts about the case, like Leslie Wexner’s role, for example, it becomes clear that Epstein was really just more of a manager of this type of operation, [and] that these activities continue.”

Webb said a main reason for avoiding discussion of the intelligence angle is that mention of state sponsorship would lead to calls for accountability and open inquiry into a history of sexual blackmail by intelligence agencies. “So if they had given even superficial treatment of those ties, it would have exposed threads that if anyone had bothered to pull on a little bit, would start to unravel a lot of things that obviously these powerful people and institutions don’t want exposed,” Webb said.

More than nine months since Epstein’s death, no alleged Epstein co-conspirator has been arrested or charged with a crime despite reports of an active criminal investigation of Maxwell (who has disappeared), and multiple failed attempts of alleged Epstein victims to serve her with civil suits.

“The criminal case against him, and all the evidence that was gathered against him as part of that, will never be made public unless someone else is charged,” said Webb. “So, the fact that they’re not charging anyone else is quite telling, and the fact that the mainstream media isn’t pushing back against that, I think is telling as well.”

The omissions of major aspects of the Epstein case by the media, specifically its links with the intelligence community, seems to be yet another example of a buffer between justice and those responsible for rendering Epstein untouchable.

Elizabeth Vos is a freelance reporter and co-host of CN Live. 

June 19, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Film Review, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

Planet of the Greens: why eco-activists turn on each other

GWPF | May 18, 2020

Attempts by eco-activists to censor and shut down Planet of the Humans reveals the green movement’s authoritarian nature that turns most aggressively on its own apostates.

Jeff Gibbs’ and Michael Moore’s new film, Planet of the Humans has been watched more than eight million times. It has cast doubt on the green movement’s claims to be concerned with the environment and questioned the motivations and integrity of its leaders and backers.

In reply, environmental activists have attacked Moore and Gibbs, and called for their film to be censored. What this reveals is that the green movement is incapable of responding to criticism and that it turns most aggressively on its apostates.

Gibbs and Moore’s film has been attacked for supporting the interests of fossil fuel companies. But the film itself exposes deep links between even the most vilified energy producers and the green agenda. Other critics have accused the pair of ‘ecofascism’ for their allusions to population control, yet Planet of the Humans says nothing that celebrated green film makers such as David Attenborough have not said.

Neither the film revelations nor the green movement’s hostility should surprise anyone. A deep contradiction lies at the heart of the green agenda, the exposure of which has triggered campaigners whose interests depend on it. Since its first days, it has been wealthy industrialists such as oil tycoon Maurice Strong who have used their power to establish environmental concerns on the global political agenda. And it is wealthy philanthropists, whose fortunes were made from fossil fuels, such as the Rockefeller family, who have backed green organisations.

Despite the failure of greens’ dire prognostications, the green movement’s message of despair and its demands for draconian and authoritarian policies have change little over the last half century. And the very nature of the green movement has changed little, too – it is still the PR tool of billionaires such as Jeremy Grantham, who, having made part of his fortune from fossil fuels, now profits from the environmentally-destructive technologies that the green movement campaigns for.

Campaigners’ anger at Gibbs and More is not owed to the pair making false technical arguments about the shortcomings of ‘renewable’ energy technology, but for their exposing the lie at the heart of the green movement.

Watch the full documentary on Bitchute.

May 18, 2020 Posted by | Environmentalism, Film Review, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | Leave a comment

The War in Vietnam: John Wayne Was Wrong

By Marko | The Voluntaryist Reader | 12/10/2012

John Wayne’s Vietnam-era pro-war classic, The Green Berets opens with a scene of a press conference. It starts off with a group of Green Berets introducing themselves to the press, which is followed by a Q&A session with two Green Berets sergeants who have been assigned to answer questions. The scene reaches a crescendo when a reporter asks one of the sergeants if the war in Vietnam does not seem like a war between the Vietnamese and if the Americans should therefore stay out of it. Hearing this, the visibly irritated sergeant proceeds to pick up captured Vietnamese firearms from a display board nearby, and drops them in front of the reporter one by one, all the while explaining in a voice laden with hostile emotion that the weapons are Chinese-made, Soviet-made and Czechoslovakian-made respectively.

The implication is clear. The war in Vietnam is not merely an internal Vietnamese affair, because quite aside from the American factor in the war there is also the Soviet, the Chinese, even the Czechoslovakian factor. It is therefore on the account of this involvement of foreign Communist powers in Vietnam that the United States has to involve itself on the other side.

Now it is easy to see the inadequacy of that argument. Providing war material, even on a vast scale, is in no way comparable to a direct military intervention carried out with an occupation force of half a million soldiers, which is how many the United States had in Vietnam at the time The Green Berets aired in 1968.* Clearly the American involvement in Vietnam went far beyond what was necessary to balance out the involvement of the Soviets, the Chinese, or the Czechoslovaks, on the side of Hanoi.

But is it even true the American involvement was a reaction, perhaps an exaggerated reaction, to the Soviet, etc involvement? What were the actual cause and effect, in life rather than on film? Were the Americans in Vietnam because Soviet shipments of weaponry were going there, or were the Soviets shipping weaponry to Vietnam because the Americans had come there? How does this and other claims of war propagandists of the time stack up against what we know from the works of historians today?

In fact, where the Soviets are concerned their relationship with the Vietnamese before the American intervention in Vietnam was at its nadir precisely because the Soviet Union would not support DRV (North Vietnam) in reunifying Vietnam by military means. Soviet aid to DRV in this period, that is when the North was facilitating the struggle of the NLF (“Viet Cong”) in the South and before direct American involvement on a great scale, was relatively small and almost exclusively economic, not military.

When the unifying elections called for by the Geneva Accords of 1954 that had ended the French War in Vietnam did not come about, Hanoi gradually resolved to wage a military campaign to oust the American-backed government in the South. In this, however, it did not have the support of Moscow.

The Soviets feared American intervention which would have to result in an American-Soviet confrontation that would interfere with their policy line of “peaceful coexistence” with the Capitalist bloc. They made it clear to Hanoi they supported its struggle to reunify Vietnam only in as much as it was pursued by diplomatic means and encouraged Hanoi to pursue a peaceful strategy.

Vietnamese Communists shared many of the concerns being voiced by Moscow, but ultimately pressed on regardless. Both the Vietnamese and the Soviets were acutely aware that waging a violent struggle for reunification could result in an American invasion in Vietnam. They were both uneasy about this prospect and regarded it as highly undesirable, even disastrous. The difference was that the Vietnamese were ultimately willing to accept a confrontation with the Americans if they stood in the way of the reunification of their country, but the Soviets were not.

It was not until the time of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which marked the official entry of the United States into the war in Vietnam that the USSR begun to provide DRV with military assistance. The Soviets had held back on providing Vietnamese Communists with war material because this would encourage them to wage war in the South, which could in turn result in an American intervention. Now that Americans had intervened regardless, the Soviets no longer had a reason to continue to hold back. Whatever they did, the Americans were already in Vietnam. Now they would provide the Vietnamese with aid, because that was the only way these could hope to prevail against the Americans.

An additional reason for the Soviet reversal on the question of military assistance was to regain the influence they had lost with North Vietnam to China. In 1954 Moscow and Beijing had pressured the Vietnamese Communists into signing the Geneva Accords, which ended the French War in Indochina, but also split Vietnam in half.** Since then both China and the Soviet Union acted as a moderating force on Hanoi. They encouraged the Vietnamese to pursue the goal of reunification by peaceful means only, even after these had clearly shown themselves to be ineffectual when unifying elections called for by the Accords failed to materialize.

Following the Sino-Soviet split, however, Beijing gradually moved away from this position and came to see a military struggle could complement diplomatic and propaganda efforts. In time, the Chinese position would become further radicalized and they would reject the notion that negotiations could be of any use at all. It is important to understand, however, that Beijing came to approve of the armed struggle of the Vietnamese only in 1961, fully two years after the Vietnamese had gone ahead with it.

The change in the position of the PRC and the resultant increase in assistance to Vietnam enabled the Chinese-Vietnamese relationship to thrive. In the context of the Sino-Soviet confrontation within the Communist camp North Vietnam was now aligning ever more closely to China. That is, until the American intervention in the war caused the Soviets to launch a giant, Lend Lease-like program of military assistance to the DRV and regain their lost influence with Hanoi.

The key thing to take from here is that it was not the case that the Vietnamese fell under China’s influence which directed them to pursue the goal of unification of their country with military means. The Vietnamese were orienting themselves to that of the two Communist powers which would support them in their own policy line on South Vietnam. Chinese-Vietnamese relations could thrive precisely because China had come to adopt Hanoi’s view of peaceful means to reunify Vietnam as inadequate. The Soviet Union in turn could regain its influence over DRV and pull it back from the Chinese camp only when it had dropped its opposition to the military struggle of the Vietnamese.

The presence of Soviet and Chinese-made firearms in Vietnamese hands did not in fact point to the latter being simply the agents of monolithic Communism with designs over the entire globe as John Wayne wanted Americans to believe in 1968. In actuality, by going to war the Vietnamese Communists had defied the Kremlin and had frustrated its plans. It was precisely by opting for a military struggle that the DRV leadership had demonstrated its freedom of action. It was also the case that the USSR did everything it could to spare the US its calamitous war in Vietnam.

The Soviets attempted to dissuade the Vietnamese leadership from waging a military struggle even at the cost of losing nearly all its influence in Hanoi and seeing North Vietnam slide into the Chinese camp. If the mistake the Soviets committed was failing to appreciate just how important it was to the Vietnamese to reunify their country, it was a mistake the Americans tragically made as well. In part, due to propagandists like John Wayne who put out the idiotic drivel of the Vietnamese struggle for reunification as a matter of “world Communist domination”.

~ Marko

Source: Mari Olsen, Soviet–Vietnam Relations and the Role of China, 1949–64: Changing Alliances (New York: Routledge, 2006)


*Albeit by the time The Green Berets aired this was no longer the case, the Chinese also stationed troops in Vietnam, specifically in the Communist-run Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam), but on a far smaller scale. In all 320,000 Chinese anti-aircraft and engineer troops served in Vietnam in comparison to 2.7 million Americans. The Chinese deployed in North Vietnam in mid 1965, in response to the Americans landing in the South. They evacuated in early 1968, having suffered about 1100 dead, mainly in the American bombing of the North.

**The two powers went as far as to signal the Viet Minh that rejecting the Accords may result in their ending their material assistance to the movement’s struggle.

March 21, 2020 Posted by | Film Review, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | 2 Comments

Leftist Neo-McCarthyite Witchhunters Hypocritically Mourn the Death of Kirk Douglas

By Matthew Ehret | Strategic Culture Foundation | February 9, 2020

Hollywood film legend Kirk Douglas’ passing on February 5th at the age of 103 has resulted in a sickening level of hypocrisy from the leftist mainstream media outlets. These outlets have written countless homages and memorials honoring the life of the man who “used his star power and influence in the late 1950s to help break the Hollywood blacklist” as CNN reported on February 6. Similar eulogies have followed this line from MSNBC, the NY Times, Washington Post, as well as many Hollywood celebrities.

What makes this so sickening is not that these memorials are untrue, but rather that it is these same MSM/Hollywood forces that are the heirs to the fascist McCarthyite machine which Kirk Douglass and his close network of collaborators fought so courageously against during their lives.

Hollywood and the CIA Today

In recent decades, barring a few exceptions, Hollywood (just like much of the mainstream media) has become a branch of the CIA and broader military industrial complex. While fake news agencies as CNN spin false facts to the intellects of mushy-minded Americans, Hollywood prepares the fertile soil for those false seeds to grow by shaping the hearts and imagination in their victims through the important hypnotic power of storytelling. Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies, Red Sparrow and Bitter Harvest are just a few of the most popular propaganda films which portray Russians as the nefarious villains of the earth and heroically elevate the CIA to patriotic heights.

Hacked emails from Sony pictures published on WikiLeaks provided a smoking gun when it was revealed that the Obama administration had courted Hollywood execs to the task of promoting films to “counter Russian narratives” and all of this in the midst of a renewed Cold War terror which has led to attacks on Chinese scholars in America and an attempted coup against a sitting U.S. President.

YET, just as Hollywood can serve as a force of great evil, Kirk Douglas and his small network of collaborators demonstrated that it could equally serve as a force of great good. This is because films exhibiting a spirit of honesty and courage can bypass the gatekeepers of intellect and strike at the inner being of the audience rendering a people, under certain circumstances better patriots of their nation and citizens of the world.

This brings us to the important question of “what truly made Kirk Douglas and his small but influential network of collaborators so important during such a dark period of World history during the peak of the Cold War?”

Ending the Blacklist: Douglas and Trumbo

The above quote from a CNN memorial cited Douglas’s efforts to end the Hollywood Blacklist. For those who are not aware, the blacklist was the name given to the “untouchables” of Hollywood. Those writers, directors and producers who courageously refused to cooperate with the fascist hearings of the House on Un-American Activities run under the dictatorial leadership of Senator Joseph McCarthy and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. By the end of the hearings, hundreds of careers were destroyed and examples were made of ten leading writers led by the great Dalton Trumbo- who were not only given prison sentences for defending the U.S. Constitution, but who became un-hirable for years after their release. Not only this, but anyone caught employing them were threatened with similar penalties.

In spite of that grim reality many of them continued to work under pseudonyms with Trumbo even winning two uncredited academy awards during the 1950s (Roman Holiday and the Brave One).

During this dark period, a network of brave film makers formed who worked very closely together for 20 years which centered around Trumbo, Kirk Douglas, David Miller, John Frankenheimer, Stanley Kramer, Burt Lancaster and producer Edward Lewis. Many of the films produced by these men not only carried stories which shook the foundations of the newly reorganized deep state, but also strove to awaken the moral sensibilities of Americans whose complacency had permitted the creation of a new Pax Americana abroad, and racist police state within.

Kirk Douglas responded to this early on by forming his own studio called Bryna Productions which created the anti-war classic Paths of Glory (1957) and Spartacus (1960).

Paths of Glory told the true story of the unjust execution of several French soldiers who refused to obey a suicide mission during WW1 and provided a strong statement against irrational wars but also arbitrary political power run amok.

Set in 72 BC, Spartacus told the true story of a Thracian slave who led a two year freedom struggle against Rome and spoke directly to the civil rights movement in America and fight against imperialism more broadly.

What gave Spartacus its strategic potency to end the Blacklist was due to the fact that it was written by the leading untouchable “commie-lover” of America… Dalton Trumbo. Kirk Douglas’ last minute decision to use Trumbo’s real name was more of a risk than most people realize, and in later years, Douglas described this period:

“The choices were hard. The consequences were painful and very real. During the blacklist, I had friends who went into exile when no one would hire them; actors who committed suicide in despair … I was threatened that using a Blacklisted writer for Spartacus — my friend Dalton Trumbo — would mark me as a ‘Commie-lover’ and end my career. There are times when one has to stand up for principle. I am so proud of my fellow actors who use their public influence to speak out against injustice. At 98 years old, I have learned one lesson from history: It very often repeats itself. I hope that Trumbo, a fine film, will remind all of us that the Blacklist was a terrible time in our country, but that we must learn from it so that it will never happen again.”

When the newly-elected president John Kennedy and his brother Robert crossed anti-Communist picket lines to first attend the film, and then endorsed it loudly, the foundations of the Blacklist were destroyed and the edifice of 15 years of terror came crashing down.

Kennedy’s Murder and Trumbo’s Revenge

Kennedy’s death in 1963 sent America into a spiral of despair, drugs and insanity. Films like Frankenheimber’s Manchurian Candidate (1962), and 7 Days in May (1964) attempted to shed light on the deep state takeover of America but it was too late. During the 1960s, Douglas, Ed Lewis, Trumbo and Frankenheimber continued to work closely together on films like Lonely are the Brave, Town without Pity, the Fixer, Last Sunset, Seconds, The Train, Devil’s Disciple, Johny Got His Gun, the Horsemen and more. Sadly, the cultural rot had set in too deeply and nothing came as close to the artistry of the dense 1957-1964 period of creative resistance.

One little known film stands out quite a bit however, and since so little is known of this small masterpiece, a word must be said now.

Ten years after Kennedy’s murder, Trumbo, Edward Lewis, David Miller, Mark Lane and Garry Horrowitz created a film which could be called “Trumbo’s last stand”. This film was called Executive Action (1973) and starred Kirk Douglas’ long-time collaborator Burt Lancaster as a leading coordinator of the plot to assassinate President John F. Kennedy. Edward Lewis, who had also produced Spartacus with Douglas earlier, spearheaded this film which tells the story of a cabal of oligarchs who arrange the murder of John Kennedy using three teams of professional mercenaries (former CIA men fired after the Bay of Pigs fiasco). This incredibly well-researched storyline infused fiction with powerful facts and was based upon the work of Mark Lane- a close friend of the Kennedys, NY State Attorney, and civil rights activist (the only legislator to be arrested as a Freedom rider fighting segregation).

During a powerful dialogue between James Farrington (Lancaster) and the leader of the cabal Robert Foster (played by Robert Ryan), the gauntlet is dropped, as the true reason is given for the need to [assassinate] Kennedy in chilling detail: Global Depopulation.

Here Farrington is told by Foster:

“The real problem is this James. In two decades there will be seven billion human beings on this planet. Most of them brown, yellow or black. All of them hungry. All of them determined to love. They’ll swarm out of their breeding grounds into Europe and North America… Hence, Vietnam. An all-out effort there will give us control of south Asia for decades to come. And with proper planning, we can reduce the population to 550 million by the end of the century. I know… I’ve seen the data.”

James: “We sound rather like Gods reading the Doomsday book don’t we?”

Foster: “Well, someone has to do it. Not only will the nations affected be better off. But the techniques developed there can be used to reduce our own excess population: blacks, Puerto Ricans, Mexican Americans, poverty prone whites, and so forth”.

Although the film was pulled from most American theaters, it still stands as one of the most direct and chilling refutations of the lone-gunman narrative and is also the only film this author is aware of which showcases the deeper neo-Malthusian agenda underlying the murder of Kennedy which feared the optimistic vision he had threatened to create as outlined in my previous paper “Remembering JFK’s Vision for the Future that Should Have Been”.

The oligarchs attempting to play God in today’s world, just as their predecessors who oversaw JFK’s murder know that hunger, war and disease are not the natural state of humanity, but simply means of checking population growth.

It is worth keeping in mind that those same media and Hollywood outlets mourning Douglas’ passing are the perpetrators of this Malthusian legacy, and are deathly afraid of a renewal of JFK’s legacy under a revived space program to establish permanent human colonies on the Moon and Mars as well as establish cooperative relations with Russia and China which provides humanity its last, best chance to end the oligarchy’s pandemic of wars, disease and hunger forever.

February 9, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Film Review, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

Is Hollywood about to award an Oscar to ‘For Sama’ – a propagandumentary that pushes Al Qaeda’s narrative in Aleppo?

Screenshot from the trailer for For Sama (2019) PBS distribution
By Vanessa Beeley | RT | February 8, 2020

Oscar-nominated ‘For Sama’ is a gritty, well produced “documentary” claiming to present the reality of the five-year siege of the Syrian city of Aleppo. Just how deceptive is this portrayal?

The 90-minute video directed by UK Channel 4’s Waad Al-Kateab and English filmmaker Edward Watts has been unanimously praised in the mainstream media and tonight it might win this year’s Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. But does the film present a truly  unbiased picture of the Syrian conflict or, rather, just the side of the story that fits the Western narrative about the war?

Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts, February 4, 2020 © REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

The armed-group occupation of East Aleppo portrayed as “freedom”

East Aleppo was the armed group hinterland of the city of Aleppo for five years. During this time the shape-shifting militant cadres mingled and confronted each other in mafia-style gang warfare over territory, status, financing and control over the civilians living through their occupation. Ultimately the dominant force was Al-Qaeda or Nusra Front in Syria.

Very few journalists could safely enter this barren and desolate zone reigned over by brutal, extremist groups. Channel 4 teamed up with Syrian “revolution” sympathiser and camera-woman, Waad Al-Kateab, and her alleged “doctor” husband who goes by the pseudonym of Hamza Al Kateab (real name Zahed Katurji) to produce “citizen journalist” reportage that would effectively choreograph the events in Aleppo for an unsuspecting public in the West.

Screenshot taken from Channel 4’s series of reports on Aleppo, provided by Wa’ad Al Kateab

Inside Aleppo consisted of a series of video reports produced by Waad, for Channel4, that claimed to record the daily life inside the extremist group-controlled districts of East Aleppo. Channel 4 accepted and republished these reports without any apparent independent verification or investigation.

Aleppo was Channel 4’s perceived “Guernica,” their reporting was consistently one-sided and partisan towards the “moderate rebels” who, according to the British TV network, were being “disproportionately” targeted by the “dictator Assad” and the Syrian Arab Army. The reality for journalists, like myself, who spent time in Syrian-government secured West Aleppo, sheltering 1.5 million civilians including an estimated 500,000 who had fled East Aleppo when it was invaded by armed militants in 2012, was diametrically different from the narrative being marketed by Channel 4 and the majority of state-aligned media in the West. Aleppo, according to residents, was opposed to the “revolution” from day one.

Channel 4 normalising terrorism and extremism

Channel 4’s reporting in Aleppo and Syria has almost invariably presented the child-beheading, ethnic-cleansing sectarian groups as “rebels with a cause.” In a 2016 report, ‘Aleppo: up close with the rebels’, Krishnan Guru Murthy follows none other than members of formerly US-funded Nour Al Din Zinki, responsible for the horrific public torture and decapitation of 12-year-old Palestinian child, Abdullah, in July 2016.

In the same report, Murthy appears to legitimize the armed group strategy of mass suicide bombing as an act of “defense” without mentioning that many of these suicide bombers were targeting civilian and residential areas. Channel 4 removed this report after their lack of recognition of the war crimes committed by its protagonists was exposed.

‘For Sama’ is little more than a compilation of the ‘Inside Aleppo’ reports, skilfully converted into a feature-length documentary that has already been awarded the Bafta for best documentary and is nominated for the Oscars this weekend.

Dedicated to Waad’s daughter, the documentary can only be described as a grotesque misrepresentation of life in East Aleppo under the tyranny of sectarian armed groups. Anyone watching this movie will assume that East Aleppo was the “free country” as described by Waad, besieged and preyed upon by the Syrian government. The film literally airbrushes Nusra Front  from the scenario. Groups like Nour al-Din al-Zenki are not referred to, their crimes go unmentioned.

The role of Hamza Al-Kateab affiliated with the armed groups in East Aleppo

Many journalists have pointed out the dangers of working in areas occupied by the militant factions. Waad and her husband have no apparent issues living side by side with groups renowned for their brutal violence against anyone who would challenge their rule. In fact, a number of videos and social media interactions demonstrate the close relationship that Hamza had with members of these groups – in particular with the aforementioned Nour al-Din al-Zenki.

While corporate media and ‘For Sama’ portray Hamza as a compassionate “doctor,” we must ask how deceptive that image is. Many interactions have been deleted from Hamza’s social media accounts but are still available as screenshots. In these interactions Hamza is involved in military strategy discussions with extremist groups. Hamza is clearly aware of the violence and abuse meted out against civilians by the occupying forces but he never condemned it to the media outlets who relied heavily upon his testimony to file their Aleppo reports.

When the terrorists were evacuated from the last district of East Aleppo, Al Sukare, where Al Quds hospital was located, they left behind a deadly trail of mines and booby traps designed to kill civilians returning to their homes. I was, myself, witness to one of these explosions, after a booby trap left in a washing machine was detonated – murdering and injuring civilians on Christmas Eve 2016.

According to social media conversations, Hamza was aware of this heinous practice. He and Waad evacuated at the same time as the armed groups. Therefore, it can be assumed that they knew about the dangers that awaited civilians, yet they apparently did nothing to warn them.

Much of ‘For Sama’ footage is located in the Al Quds hospital which was, itself, the center of controversy in East Aleppo when Doctors without Borders (MSF) declared it “destroyed” by a Russian airstrike in May 2016. Various independent researchers and journalists exposed this narrative as misleading and unsubstantiated.

Screenshot from movie ‘For Sama’ (2019) Dir: Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts, Channel 4/PBS Distribution

‘For Sama’ omits the reality that hospitals in East Aleppo were taken over by the armed groups, often converted into military headquarters. The vast complex of the Childrens and Eye hospital was transformed into a torture and detainment center for civilians who did not comply with the armed group ideology or those perceived to be Syrian government-loyalists. After liberation of East Aleppo, civilians testified that they did not receive medical treatment in the remaining hospitals which were effectively militant triage centers. I spoke with children and teenagers whose injured limbs had been amputated by the so-called medical staff who preferred such cruel expediency over long-term treatment. Why does ‘For Sama’ not cover any of these inconvenient truths?

The children I interviewed in East Aleppo who were forced to witness public executions and crucifixions, by the extremist groups, are ignored by Channel 4 and ‘For Sama’. Journalists like Theo Padnos and Matthew Schrier, who were imprisoned and tortured by the armed groups in the Eye Hospital compound  are not referred to.

The mortars fired daily into West Aleppo by the militants that Waad does not refer to were responsible for thousands of civilian deaths and the maiming of countless more who lost limbs in the rain of lethal “Hell-cannon” gas canister missiles or were sniped in the streets that bordered the Nusra Front-dominated enclaves.

The 2013 Queiq River narrative explained

The 2013 River Queiq massacre is portrayed, in the film, as a Syrian government crime, the gory scenes exploited to further criminalise the SAA. If Channel 4 had conducted any kind of investigation into this event, they might have fulfilled their duty to provide context and evidence that would have better informed their audiences in the West. Channel 4 must be considered grossly negligent in their distorted representation of the Syrian conflict.

Aleppo-based journalist, Khaled Iskef, did exactly this investigation over a period of years before Al Mayadeen channel published his findings based upon forensic DNA reports and witness testimony. ‘For Sama’ glosses over fact in favor of propaganda and denies justice for the victims of extremist violence & brutality. According to Iskef’s evidence, River Queiq was a convenient dumping ground for these armed groups to dispose of evidence, Waad and Channel 4 have apparently provided cover for the crimes they committed.

Screenshot from Khaled Iskef documentary on the 2013 River Queiq massacre, blamed on the Syrian government

Channel 4, media architects of war

It is no surprise that Channel 4 has been instrumental in the production of ‘For Sama’. I have extensively documented the channel’s role in the behind-the-scenes management of other such revisionist projects on Syria. The White Helmets, another terrorist-linked entity operating in East Aleppo, produced an award winning, Oscar nominated movie, ‘Last Men in Aleppo’, which also eradicated the presence of extremist fighters and terrorist groups from the conflict landscape – reducing the narrative down to “bad Assad” and “good rebels.”

Channel 4 were among the hidden architects of this production and were also at the forefront of support for the White Helmets Nobel Peace Prize nomination while this UK/US funded group stands accused of all manner of war crimes by the Syrian people who lived under militant-group-occupation across Syria.

‘For Sama’ is an exploitative and well packaged instrument of injustice. It is an attempt by governments and media in the West to rewrite history, to erase their shameful role in maintaining a nine-year conflict, in Syria, based on lies and obfuscation of fact.

If you were to speak to the Syrian people in Aleppo who lived through the period covered by ‘For Sama’, they would tell you that this film does not represent their suffering or abuse at the hands of the armed gangs. They would tell you that ‘For Sama’ effectively defends those who tortured, imprisoned and subjected them to all manner of horror and bloodshed. They would tell you that ‘For Sama’ is just another insult from the billionaire funded PR industry for war that has denied the real Syrian victims a voice for nine years while those who help perpetrate the crimes against them will, once again, be on Hollywood’s red carpet.

Vanessa Beeley is an independent journalist and photographer who has worked extensively in the Middle East – on the ground in Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Palestine, while also covering the conflict in Yemen since 2015. In 2017, Vanessa was a finalist for the prestigious Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, which was won by the much-acclaimed Robert Parry that year. In 2018, Vanessa was named one of the 238 most respected journalists in the UK by the British National Council for the Training of Journalists. In 2019, Vanessa was among the recipients of the Serena Shim Award for uncompromised integrity in journalism. Follow Vanessa Beeley on Patreon.com and on Twitter @VanessaBeeley.

February 8, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Film Review, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment