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The EU prioritises the Abraham Accords

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | October 4, 2022

At the UN General Assembly, Israeli Prime Minister, Yair Lapid, defined Israel’s security concerns as the motivating factor behind supporting the two-state paradigm, even as the US has been repeating that it does not envisage any resolution in the immediate future. With the Abraham Accords being the main driving force behind US-Israeli decisions, Lapid’s nod towards the failed international consensus holds no substance for the Palestinian people. In practice, Lapid’s words are no different from refuting the paradigm – the Israeli government’s colonial settlement expansion has determined the pace.

However, the EU’s Foreign Policy Chief, Josep Borrell, claimed encouragement at Lapid’s words. “This is also what we want to push for. We want the resumption of a political process that can lead to a two-state solution and a comprehensive regional peace,” Borrell stated at the EU-Israeli Association Council meeting on Monday.

The EU’s position statement regarding the meeting, however, indicates full agreement with the Abraham Accords, which are mentioned prior to the bloc’s adherence to the two-state compromise. Referencing the normalisation agreements, the EU’s statement partly reads, “In this regard, the EU will seek to encourage and build upon the recent establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and a number of Arab countries, with a view to enhancing the prospects to reach a comprehensive settlement in the Middle East Peace Process.” Giving prominence to the Abraham Accords in this way suggests that the EU was not as averse to the Trump administration’s politics as it sought to portray. Only US President Joe Biden made it easier for the EU to retain its two-state diplomacy, while overtly agreeing to policies which were previously ridiculed only because the US had Donald Trump as President.

Since the US is actively engaging with Arab countries through the normalisation framework and trying to get the Palestinian Authority on board as well, the Abraham Accords have gained more recognition in international circles. The EU, however, is clearly stating that it will be using the agreements to “enhance” the possibility of a resolution, knowing full well that the agreements only serve to solidify Israel’s diplomatic ties and, in return, bolster its impunity.

In his virtual address to the meeting yesterday, Lapid’s commitment to the two-state paradigm included an assertion that Jerusalem would remain Israel’s undivided capital, which goes against international resolutions. However, Lapid’s best card was the Israeli government’s economic concessions to the PA, spoken of without the context of Israel knowing it is facing a gradually changing Palestinian society which will not wait upon its leadership to determine the way forward to legitimate resistance against colonialism.

The EU’s press release describing the meeting states the intent to “build upon the momentum generated at the UN General Assembly” in terms of the so-called peace process. Yet, Palestinians know that the veneer of concern was nothing more than a bid to deflect criticism from the fact that the EU chose, yet again, to engage with a colonial entity which specialises in breaking international law and committing war crimes. With the Abraham Accords subtly taking centre stage, and with full agreement on behalf of the EU, it should at least be made clear that no independence and no Palestinian State can be reached, unless a radical change in politics is implemented.

October 4, 2022 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Ukraine

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | October 4, 2022

As many people are beginning to realize but would rather not think about, the United States and Russia are moving perilously close to nuclear war. Russian President Putin has now openly pledged to defend Russian territory with “all the forces and means at our disposal.” U.S. President Biden has responded that Russia will suffer “catastrophic consequences” if it resorts to the use of nuclear weapons.

As Putin has correctly pointed out, it is the U.S. government that has established the precedent for the wartime use of nuclear weapons. That, of course, was the U.S. atomic bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II.

Let’s review the justification that U.S. officials cite for targeting those two cities with nuclear bombs.

U.S. officials, as well as many of their supporters in the mainstream press, have long maintained that the U.S. government was justified in nuking those two cities because, they say, it shortened the war. In the process, they say that the bombings saved thousands of American men whose lives would have been lost if it had become necessary to invade Japan.

That, however, is an invalid legal and moral justification for nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After all, it’s a war crime for soldiers to target civilians in wartime. That’s precisely what U.S. officials did with their atomic bombing of those two cities. There is no difference between, say, what Lt. William Calley did in Vietnam when he killed innocent civilians and what U.S. officials did to the people living in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Moreover, soldiers die in war. That’s the nature of war. To target women, children, seniors, and other civilians as a way to save soldiers from dying in an invasion is totally illegitimate.

It is important to note that to this day U.S. officials and their acolytes in the mainstream press continue to defend their atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki based on that particular justification — that it shortened the war and, in the process, saved the lives of U.S. soldiers.

Given such, how can Biden threaten “catastrophic consequences” on Russia if Russia employs nuclear weapons in its war with Ukraine? What if Russia says that it is using nukes to shorten the war and thereby save the lives of Russian soldiers? In other words, what if Russia uses the exact same justification for using nuclear weapons in wartime that the U.S. used — and continues to use — for its use of nuclear weapons in Japan? What does Biden say: that we can do it but you can’t?

In fact, what if Russia, unlike the United States, limits its use of nuclear weapons to enemy troops rather than on innocent civilians? What does Biden say then — that the U.S. has the authority to nuke whoever it wants, including innocent civilians, but that Russia has no legitimate authority to use nuclear weapons against enemy troops?

Who would have ever thought that the war crime that President Truman committed in World War II would come back to haunt the United States some 75 years later? It might not do any good at this point, but among the best things Biden could do at this point is to openly and publicly acknowledge that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were, in fact, war crimes and then issue a genuine and contrite apology.

With its use of its old Cold War dinosaur NATO to provoke the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Pentagon bears responsibility for moving America and Russia perilously close to nuclear war, even if it happens by miscalculation or accident. The best thing President Biden could do at this point (in addition to apologizing for the U.S. war crimes in Hiroshima and Nagasaki) would be to immediately stop furnishing weaponry and other support to Ukraine, withdraw from NATO, bring all U.S. troops stationed overseas home and discharge them into the private sector, and abandon all foreign military bases, especially those in Eastern Europe and Western Europe.

In other words, the U.S. government should leave the world alone. It has done enough damage already, including moving America and the rest of the world perilously close to a nuclear holocaust.

October 4, 2022 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | | 1 Comment

Perfidious Putin!

BY PHILIP GIRALDI • UNZ REVIEW • OCTOBER 4, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin has certainly been a naughty boy! The always unreliable and unofficial government-originating disinformation source The Hill is reporting that Moscow has spent the equivalent of $300,000,000 in an effort to “influence” world politics in its favor. The story relies on and follows a New York Times special report which again seeks to revive the claim that the Kremlin has been interfering effectively in American elections. Is it a coincidence that all the Russian bashing is surfacing right now before US elections at a time when the President Joe Biden Administration is agonizing over what it describes as sometimes “foreign supported” domestic extremists? I don’t think so.

The Hill report establishes the framework, claiming that “Russia has provided at least $300 million to political parties and political leaders since 2014 in a covert attempt to influence foreign politics, the US State Department alleges. Multiple news outlets reported that a cable released by the State Department reveals that Russia has likely spent at least hundreds of millions more on parties and officials who are sympathetic to Russia… According to the Associated Press… Russia used front organizations to send money to preferred causes or politicians. The organizations include think tanks in Europe and state-owned entities in Central America, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a press briefing on Tuesday that Russia’s election meddling is an ‘assault on sovereignty… It is an effort to chip away at the ability of people around the world to choose the government that they see best fit to represent them, to represent their interests, to represent their values.’”

And why is Russia behaving as it allegedly does? According to another State Department source who spoke to The Hill the Joe Biden Administration’s concern is not regarding any single country but the entire world as “we continue to face challenges against democratic societies.” Oddly enough, that Russia should be disinclined to waste its money and other resources on such a quixotic objective never appears to have occurred to the Department of State or to the editors at The Hill.

Typically, the State Department has shared information with select media but has refused to publicly release any parts of the cable which allegedly provide the intelligence-based evidence supporting the claims of Russian meddling. The Hill, perhaps inadvertently, reveals what the whole story really is about when it concludes its piece with “Intelligence assessments have determined that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election in spreading disinformation online that was designed to help then-candidate Donald Trump over his opponent, Hillary Clinton. Russia also tried to help Trump in his reelection battle against President Biden in 2020.” So yes, it’s all about Moscow helping Trump against the Democratic candidates. Interestingly, however, most non-Democratic Party aligned sources have come to agree that it was the Democrats who were trying to damage Trump in 2016 through use of a fabricated dossier that sought to impugn his character and portray him as a Russian stooge. Far worse, they also used the national security apparatus to “get Trump.”

The Times adds more detail and serves inter alia as a puff piece for the Biden Administration’s foreign policy vis-à-vis Russia. It is based clearly on information provided by unnamed government sources and is largely devoid of any actual evidence, though it does cite some names of Russians to provide authenticity. This is a common trick used in the media and government, particularly by intelligence agencies, to make fabricated material look genuine. One giveaway that the reporting should be considered suspect occurs in the very first paragraph where it states that “Russia has covertly given at least $300 million to political parties, officials and politicians in more than two dozen countries since 2014, and plans to transfer hundreds of millions more, with the goal of exerting political influence and swaying elections.” If the New York Times is privy to Russian top-level planning, even via leaked information from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other government sources, it would be surprising to learn that the US has that capability. If the National Security Agency (NSA) has secretly broken Russian secure communications to obtain such information, it would be a major security breach and a violation of the Espionage Act of 1918 for any American news outlet to suggest that, indicating pari passu that the report is bogus.

And then there is the question of context. The United States has been routinely doing what is now being blamed on Russia ever since the conclusion of the Second World War. And it does it on a scale much larger than a paltry $300 million. The effort to bring about regime change in Ukraine alone cost something like $5 billion. Meddling in foreign elections and politics is, in fact, a major function of the CIA. It is called “covert action” or referred to in the trade as “CA.” Covert action is defined in the National Security Act of 1947 as “[a]n activity or activities of the United States Government to influence political, economic or military conditions abroad, where it is intended that the role of the United States Government will not be apparent or acknowledged publicly. 50 U.S.C. § 3093(e).”

Most CIA Stations and even the larger Bases overseas have covert action capabilities and their activity is frequently governed by the operating directives that are applied to every country where the Agency operates. In practice, covert action most often consists of recruiting, paying and directing journalists and other opinion-shapers to write stories and support narratives favorable to US interests. In some cases, depending on circumstances, the CA officers will either directly or indirectly fund groups and individuals who are opponents of the established government. If there is a major operation, like Ukraine, success comes when there is regime change.

And what is the value for money with CA operations? It is hard to say but the official intelligence budget for the US government is $84.1 billion with additional sums hidden in other government funding, to include the Pentagon and Homeland Security. The CIA gets a large chunk of that, and, as covert operations are costly, much of the money goes in support of those activities. So, we are talking about the US spending multiple billions of dollars in support of “actions” analogous to those that Putin is being accused of carrying out over the course of a decade in more than two dozen countries worldwide with $300 million! Good luck Vlad!

I might reasonably conclude by observing that the United States government effort to hoodwink the American public into believing a lot of nonsense about what is going on in the world might itself be described as a covert action. And it is particularly interesting in that it is self-funded by the US taxpayer. Never before in history has a free or at least somewhat free people funded its own destruction, but there is always a first for everything.

October 4, 2022 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

Why did the Left Fail the Covid Test So Badly?

BY THOMAS HARRINGTON | BROWNSTONE INSTITUTE | SEPTEMBER 19, 2022

Like every other important social phenomenon, propaganda regimes have historical genealogies. For example, a very strong case could be made that the ongoing, and sad to admit, largely successful Covid propaganda onslaught under which we now live can trace its roots back to the two so-called demonstration wars (the Panama Invasion and the First Gulf Conflict) waged by George Bush Sr.

The American elites were badly stung by the country’s defeat in Vietnam. In it, they rightly saw a considerable curtailment of what they had come to see as their divine right since the end of WWII: the ability to intervene as they so fit in any country not explicitly covered by the Soviet nuclear umbrella.

And in their analysis of that failure, they correctly alighted to the role that the media—by simply bringing the tawdry and ignoble reality of the war into our living rooms—had played in undermining citizen willingness to engage in such fruitless, costly and savage adventures in the future.

With his massive military build-up and heavy support of proxies in Latin America in the eighties, Ronald Reagan took the first steps toward recovering this lost elite prerogative.

But it was not until the administration of George Bush Sr. and the two conflicts mentioned above that, as he himself exultantly put it in the wake of his pitiless slaughter of some 100,000 poorly equipped Iraqis, “We’ve kicked the Vietnam Syndrome once and for all.”

Bush knew what he was talking about, and it wasn’t necessarily, or even primarily, military force or prowess.

What had largely limited Reagan to proxy wars during eight years in office were two things. The first was a citizenry that still had fresh memories of the debacle in Southeast Asia. The second, and arguably more important one was a press corps with on-the-ground familiarity with the reality of these conflicts that continued to challenge him on both their morality and strategic efficacy.

Bush and his team, which as you’ll remember included one Richard Cheney at Defense, made remedying this “problem” of war-hesitancy one of the central aims of his presidency. As Barbara Trent suggests in her remarkable The Panama Deception, experimenting with new media management techniques was not a strategic sideshow of the conflict, but rather its prime goal.

The Panama invasion was followed in quick succession by the Gulf War, where press coverage put heavy emphasis on the opinions of US military figures and their explanations of the technical genius of American-made military technology. In this way, the war was presented to Americans as a sort of exciting video game characterized by flashes of light in the night and precision attacks devoid of any bloodshed and death.

This process of desensitizing of the media, and from there, the American people to the horrendous human effects of war-making culminated in the revolting spectacle, on January 30th, 1991 of reporters chuckling along with General Norman Schwartzkopf as he joked while showing them videos of supposed “smart bombs” killing people like ants from the safety of 30,000 feet.

Having received no coordinated pushback from anyone with power about this degrading treatment of human life and the American people, they tripled down and went full Manichaean after September 11th.

Why not?

With Reagan’s repeal of the fairness Doctrine in 1987 and Bill Clinton’s Telecommunications Act of 1996 never had the media been a) concentrated in so few hands b) so beholden to the government regulation for the continuance of the super-profitability generated through this consolidation c) debilitated by the internet-induced collapse of the newspaper business model and thus d) less obligated to the reflect take into account the concerns and interests of a broad spectrum of the American people.

It was now truly, as George Bush Jr said, a matter of “You’re either with us or against us,” us of course being the war-making government (including the Deep State) along with its slavishly loyal media mouthpieces. If like Susan Sontag—who whether you like her or not, was a very bright and highly accomplished thinker—you believed the maniacal presumptions of the US response to September 11th were flawed, and said so, you could in this new environment, expect to be the object of well-coordinated attacks on your character.

Never once did the administration call for restraint in such attacks, nor did any administration figures remind people of the importance of the supposedly American value of everyone’s right to be respectfully heard.

Seeing the exhaustion of the Bush brand after the Iraq debacle, the Deep State switched party allegiances in the run-up to the 2008 election. And it has stayed firmly on the side of the so-called “left” ever since, encouraging the use of Bush-Cheney-style government-media mobbing against those who might dare to question the motives of the sainted warmonger Obama, or, say, the “logic” of trying to reduce the problems of racism by promoting it through identity politics.

The efficiency of such mob-style takedown tactics was greatly enhanced by the dramatic expansion of social media platforms in the Obama and Trump years.

It is no exaggeration to say that a person born in 1990 or later has little if any understanding of what it means to disagree in detail and in good faith with someone whose political and/or social ideals are different than their own. Nor what it means to feel obligated to respond to the claims of others with careful factual refutations.

What they do know, because it’s mostly all that they have seen from their “betters,” is that to argue is to seek the destruction of one’s interlocutor, and failing that, to make sure his or her arguments are impeded from circulating freely in our shared civic spaces. The ever-increasing dialectical poverty of those who have been socialized and educated in this environment is evident to anyone who has served as a classroom instructor during the last quarter century.

A sanctuary for the weary 

While most people seemed to want to pretend that nothing new was happening, that the collaboration between media and government had always been this extreme, many of us did not. We had memories. And we knew the “field of thinkable thought” was dramatically smaller in 2005 than in 1978. And we knew it had become much, much smaller in 2018 than it was in 2005. In our search for answers we turned to media critics and scholars of media history. We also turned to the writings of journalist-activists with both interest and insight into these matters.

When it came to this last group, I found myself drawn principally to what might be termed leftist anti-imperialists. Reading them, I widened my understanding of how elites and their chosen “experts” manage information flows, and constantly seek to shrink the parameters of acceptable opinion on foreign policy issues.

Two years ago last March, however, my sense of intellectual kinship with this subset of thinkers suddenly became very strained. We were facing what I immediately recognized as the largest and most aggressive “perception management” campaign in recent times, and perhaps in the history of the world. One, moreover, that was utilizing all the techniques employed during the previous two to three decades to insure citizen allegiance to US war-making.

And yet in the face of it, almost all my go-to people on propaganda analysis had little or nothing to say. And when I sent contributions outlining my doubts about the congruity of the emergent Covid discourse to places that had generally welcomed my analyses of pro-war propaganda, suddenly there was hesitation on the other end.

And the passage of time cured nothing. Indeed, the only things these people said down the road; that is, if they addressed Covid at all, was to underscore the unprecedented severity of the situation (a very questionable assertion) and harp on Trump’s supposedly disastrous handling of it.

There was virtually no daylight between the opinions of these people and the feckless liberals they, as true-blue leftists, always claimed to disdain. And on it went, for the entire two years of the Covid panic.

A week or so ago, John Pilger, arguably one of the brightest and more persistent leftist analysts of establishment propaganda, published “Silencing the lambs: How propaganda works” on his website and then a number of progressive news outlets.

In it, he repeats all sorts of well-known ideas and concepts. There’s a reference to Leni Riefenstahl and how she believed the bourgeoisie are those most amenable to influence campaigns, a reminder of Julian Assange’s horrendous and undeserved fate, much deserved praise for Harold Pinter’s absolutely extraordinary if largely ignored Nobel acceptance speech, an intelligent discussion about how our media studiously refuses to tell us about anything that went on between Russia and the West, and Russia and Ukraine between 1990 and February of this year.

The underlying thesis of the piece is that while emitting and constantly pushing elite-approved messages are key elements of propaganda, so too is the strategic disappearance of essential historical realities and truths.

All good stuff. Indeed, all themes that I have written about with frequency and conviction over the years.

Toward the end piece Pilger asks the following rhetorical question:

When will real journalists stand up?

And a few lines later, after providing us with a list of where to find the few outlets and journalists that do know what they are doing when it comes to the elite’s informational misdirection plays, he adds:

And when will writers stand up, as they did against the rise of fascism in the 1930s? When will film-makers stand up, as they did against the Cold War in the 1940s? When will satirists stand up, as they did a generation ago?

Having soaked for 82 years in a deep bath of righteousness that is the official version of the last world war, isn’t it time those who are meant to keep the record straight declared their independence and decoded the propaganda? The urgency is greater than ever.

Reading this final flourish while remembering the lamb-like silence of John Pilger in the face of the sustained Covidian onslaught of institutionalized lies and Soviet-grade censorship, one doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

And when considering that virtually all those he endorses as exemplars of propaganda-savvy journalism—people such as Chris Hedges, Patrick Lawrence, Jonathan Cook, Diana Johnstone, Caitlin Johnstone all of whose work I have frequently and enthusiastically championed over the years—took the same cud-chewing path, the sense of farce only grows.

The same can be said of most all of the outlets (Grayzone, Mint Press News, Media Lens, Declassified UK, Alborada, Electronic Intifada, WSWS, ZNet, ICH, CounterPunch, Independent Australia, Globetrotter ) who portray themselves as being wise to the wiles of elite-sponsored influence operations.

Who, the question thus occurs to me, is actually living in a “a deep bath of righteousness” that impedes the ability to access the truths that lie beyond the “official version” of our past and present?

Who is failing to respond to the presence of fascistic tendencies in our midst?

If I didn’t know better, I’d swear it was John and his merry band of crack propaganda dissectors.

Is it that hard for them to see the shadow of fascism in the now heavily documented collaboration between the US government and Big Tech in censoring opinions that go counter to the government’s and Big Pharma’s desired discourse on Covid?

Is it really difficult for them to see the presence of the same dark forces in the US government’s insouciant abrogation of the Nuremberg principle relating to informed consent and medical experimentation?

Are they not troubled by the fact that the experimental vaccines that were sold to the population on the basis of their ability to stop infection do not do that? Or that this was known to anyone who read the FDA briefing papers published when these injections were unleashed on the public?

Does this count as a major “propaganda problem” worth looking into?

Do they care about the millions of people who lost their jobs over these lies, and of course the government’s abject disdain for the longstanding statutory right to object to medical treatment on religious grounds?

As long-time mavens of foreign policy, have they looked into the mafia-like nature of the vaccine contracts forced upon sovereign countries around the world?

Being the great sleuths of information-hiding that they are, did it raise any suspicions in them when Pfizer sought to keep all clinical information relating to the vaccines under wraps for 75 years?

And being the good progressives they are, did the enormous upward transfer of wealth that took place during the years of the Covid state of exception trouble them?

Did it light any suspicions that all this hullabaloo might not just be about health?

Have they organized support groups and action plans for the billions of children around the world whose lives were thrown into chaos by the useless quarantine and masking that was foisted upon them, and who, in all likelihood will never recover the years of developmental progress lost to this program of senseless cruelty?

I could go on.

As far as I can tell, the answer to all these questions is a resounding “NO!”

I am truly grateful for all that John Pilger and his companions in the leftist propaganda dissection cadres have taught me over the years. But as Ortega y Gasset said, a public intellectual is only as good as his ability to remain at the “height of his times.”

Sadly, this group of otherwise talented individuals has failed this test, badly, over the last two-plus years. As much as it may pain them to hear this, they have shown themselves to be much more like the “clerics” that Julien Benda rightly castigated in 1927 after they lost their moral bearings and their critical acuity before the massive propaganda onslaught used to promote the senseless slaughters of World War I.

Why these professional uncoverers of camouflaged realities of our times suddenly decided to unsee what was happening before their eyes is a job for future historians.

But if I had to hazard a guess today, I’d say that it had a lot to do with all the usual human things like fear of losing friends and prestige or being seen by ideological enforcers on their side as going over to the enemy. All of which is fine and understandable.

But if that is the case, isn’t it too much to publicly admit now that you missed the boat on this important story?

And if you can’t manage that, could you at least have the sense to stop issuing sermons on topics like “how propaganda works” for a good long while?

Thomas Harrington, Senior Scholar at Brownstone Institute, is Professor Emeritus of Hispanic Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, where he taught for 24 years. His research is on Iberian movements of national identity and contemporary Catalan culture. His essays are published at Words in The Pursuit of Light.

September 30, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Progressive Hypocrite, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

The Democratic Party, Now the Leading Party of War

By John V. Walsh | The Greanville Post | September 27, 2022

Last May a remarkable column by Stephen Kinzer appeared in the Boston Globe. It was headlined: “Republicans Return To Their Roots As The Antiwar Party.”

More significantly, the subheading ran: “Since the Vietnam era, Americans have come to expect antiwar rhetoric from liberal Democrats. Cancel that.” It began:

With Americans now engulfed in passion for Ukraine, it wasn’t surprising that President Biden proposed sending $33 billion worth of weaponry and other aid to Ukraine’s beleaguered military. Nor was it surprising that Congress raised the number to $40 billion, or that both the Senate and House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in favor. Hidden within that lopsided vote, though, was a shocker: Every single “no” vote – 11 in the Senate and 57 in the House – came from a Republican.

“Since the Vietnam era, Americans have come to expect antiwar rhetoric from liberal Democrats. Cancel that. This month’s votes in Washington signal a dramatic role reversal. Suddenly it is conservative Republicans who oppose US involvement in foreign wars.”

Strikingly not only did the “conservative” Democrats vote for the $40 billion that included more weapons of death and destruction for Joe Biden’s cruel proxy war against Russia to the last Ukrainian. All the “progressives” did so, including AOC and The Squad, Bernie Sanders, Ro Khanna, Barbara Lee and all the rest. It was a clean sweep.

Second, this was not a one-off event. There is another vote coming up in the next few weeks for another $13.7 billion for Ukraine with over $7 billion for weapons. What is the response of the 100 Democrats to this request by Biden? The answer came during the September 11 Week Of Action called for by Code Pink and the progressive Peace In Ukraine Coalition reported here as follows:

“In the nation’s capital CODEPINK co-founders Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans, together with Colonel Ann Wright and other activists, kicked off the Week of Action, going door to door to the offices of the House Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), …. While some members of the caucus call for much-needed diplomacy and raise concerns about the risk of nuclear war – either through a miscalculation or an intentional first strike – not one member of the nearly 100-member CPC will commit to voting against more weapons for Ukraine.” (Emphasis, jw)

This was also acknowledged in a very dispiriting interview by The GrayZone with prominent activists after the lobbying effort.

The pro-war mentality among the “progressive” Dem pols is not limited to Biden’s cruel proxy war to the last Ukrainian. It extends to a second proxy war now being ginned up in Taiwan. When Nancy Pelosi recently visited the island to stir up secessionist sentiment, not a single progressive Democrat in Congress made so much as a peep of protest. In fact Rep. Ro Khanna, Co-chair of Bernie Sanders’s 2020 Presidential campaign boosted it in rants on CNN and Twitter.

Both of these proxy wars bring the US into conflict with two other major global nuclear powers. If the progressive pols cannot be against military escalation in cases like this, it is hard to see that they have any claim to be for peace. And yet all too many activists in the progressive antiwar movement are loyal to them. In fact some peace organizations have gone so far as to endorse them for election in 2022, even after their vote for the $40 billion to Ukraine for example here!

Moreover this support for the proxy war in Ukraine shows up among rank and file Democrats as well. By every measure in a recent Ipsos poll taken after 6 months of war, support for intervention in Ukraine was higher among Democrats than among Republicans or Independents. IF the roots of this are partisan in nature, that is deeply disturbing because it means that Democrats will follow warhawks simply because they are Dems. Biden may be a case in point for such misplaced loyalty.

Let me end on a personal note. Working in peace organizations and coalitions, I find many activists who labor mightily for the cause of peace also maintain loyalty to the Democratic Party. And that loyalty extends especially to the “progressive” Democratic politicians. This is most disturbing because on the most important issues of war and peace, these peace activists get nothing in return. And since there is no price to pay for their hawkish votes, these politicians will simply ignore such activists. This is an abusive relationship and ought to be terminated forthwith.

The minimal policy of those who work for peace should be quite simple: no votes for politicians who vote to fund war in Ukraine – no matter the Party. Otherwise those who support war and US unipolarity will continue to ignore those who work for peace.

September 30, 2022 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | | Leave a comment

Don Quixote… de la Left!

By Jordan Henderson | OffGuardian | September 25, 2022

The pull of Right vs Left Politics is still so strong, at least here in the USA, that I feel the need to state at the outset that my motivation here is not to score any points for the Right. This painting – Don Quixote de la Left – is a picture of the Woke Left.

A few months ago I painted a similarly unflattering and honest portrait of the Christian Right. The intent of these paintings is to serve as open windows presenting clear views of dissenting perspectives.

Critically portraying both wings of the ruling class, makes it evident, I hope, that these works are not part of the Right/Left trap.

Early this year, lines of heavy trucks rumbled across Canada’s frozen north and converged on Ottawa to protest vaccine mandates for cross-border truckers. The protest swelled in number, expanding in scope to a protest against the Medical Police State in general.

The Ottawa Freedom Convoy was sufficiently monumental that even the mainstream “news” was eventually forced to acknowledge its existence whereupon they began slandering it. This coverage did not last long: the current thing changed, the Ukraine War was brought to the front of the world stage, and most everything else was shoved off the stage.

I’m revisiting the Freedom Convoy. I wish to spark additional conversation about it. So I created this artwork. I intend it as a tribute befitting the valorous deeds of the . . . counter protesters and Canadian police; I’ll immortalize their symbiotic relationship.

Like the knights of old, the counter protesters and police sallied forth to subdue the rabble of unruly peasants, putting them back in their proper place firmly under the thumb of the authorities.

The slander against the Freedom Convoy was not particularly sophisticated; it amounted to ignoring that the protest was obviously a protest against the Medical Police State, and instead making up stories about it being a vaguely racist/fascist/Nazi event where the racist/fascist/Nazis inadvertently brought anti-vax signs and forgot the racist/fascist/Nazi signs that they were supposed to bring.

The logic goes like this: If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it is definitely a racist/fascist/Nazi.

If they look like, act like, and sound like, people protesting the Medical Police State, then they must really be racist/fascist/Nazis disguised as freedom advocates.

Any evidence that supported the racist/fascist/Nazi narrative was widely trumpeted, and any evidence that contradicted this narrative was discounted – if it was acknowledged at all.

For example: The Nazi flag guy at the Ottawa Trucker Protest, whoever he was, fits the Establishment Narrative, so he represents the Freedom Convoy.

However, Sikhs at the Freedom Convoy, some of whom brought the Sikh flag, were an inconvenient reality that directly contradicted the Establishment Narrative. So according to those who wish to see the Freedom Convoy in a negative light, the Sikh protesters do not represent the Freedom Convoy.

Apparently the Sikh protesters do not represent anything at all; they are just “a Token.”

1 Nazi Flag Guy = Emblematic of the Freedom Convoy.

100 Sikhs = Token/Not Emblematic of the Freedom Convoy.

How does Candice Sero, an Indigenous woman at the protest who was trampled by the RCMP, fit the narrative?

…Well let’s just pretend that didn’t happen; ignore her, ignore tens of thousands of other protesters, ignore why they were there, and what they were about, and let’s get back to focusing on that Nazi Flag Guy.

As a counter-protester helpfully explained:

I tried really hard to de-emphasize issues of vaccination/COVID restrictions that were being used, in my mind, as cynical ‘wedge’ issues, and to emphasize opposing the convoy as a political vehicle of the far-right,”

This determination to see the Freedom Convoy as a racist/fascist/Nazi event, reality be damned, reminded me of the Ingenious Knight Don Quixote de la Mancha.

I built my painting around that famous knight, because tilting at windmills was the principal activity of the Counter Protesters and Police who suppressed the Freedom Convoy.

I present – Don Quixote…de la Left!

Don Quixote de la Left – Oil Painting by Jordan Henderson – 36×52 inches / 91×132 centimeters

September 25, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

Chile’s Boric wasted an opportunity for Palestine at the UN General Assembly

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | September 24, 2022

Chilean President Gabriel Boric may currently be the most outspoken leader in Latin America on Palestinian rights and Israeli violations. However, his rhetoric leaves much to be desired. It, in turn, raises questions about how Chile – the country with the largest Palestinian community in the region – can differentiate itself from other countries to become a model to follow, rather than following international consensus over the two-state compromise and Israel’s security narrative.

In his first address to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Boric spoke about Palestine’s right to freedom and sovereignty while mangling his message by including a false equivalence with Israel that eliminates the colonial context. “[Palestinian people] should yield to their inalienable right to establish their own free and sovereign state. In the same way, [let’s] guarantee Israel’s legitimate right to live within secure and internationally recognised borders,” Boric asserted.

Boric’s speech was pronounced “politically correct”, while noting that Chile’s stance has always advocated for the recognition of Palestinian people’s rights and Israel’s rights while promoting the two-state compromise, like the rest of the international community. In which case, Boric’s activist stances as president are unlikely to leave any impact on Chilean diplomacy. Under Boric, the Chilean government is advocating for the same stance that his predecessor Sebastian Pinera adhered to, which is a bonus for Israel, despite the grievances Israeli media aired upon Boric’s electoral victory.

Days before his UNGA speech, Boric postponed accepting the credentials of the new Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, in response to the Israeli forces’ killing of 17-year-old Palestinian Odai Trad Salah in Kufr Dan near Jenin. However, his stance, which made headline news in major media outlets worldwide, was diminished by the UNGA speech that attempted equivalence between the coloniser and the colonised while simplifying, to the point of obliteration, the reason why Palestinians are deprived of a state, possibly permanently.

Boric is not unaware of the Palestinian plight as a result of Zionist colonisation. Neither is he oblivious to the fact that Palestinians and the indigenous people of Chile – the Mapuche – have suffered similar forms of aggression because of governments criminalising their struggle for land reclamation and political autonomy. Yet, it is possible that, as president, Boric’s activist stances will be mellowed by diplomatic requirements, such as abiding by the two-state compromise, which has failed Palestinians and become defunct in all but international rhetoric.

Prior to the presidency, Boric stood out as one of the most vocal activists in Chile. As president, Boric is navigating a complex reality that includes the legacy of Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship and ties to Israel during that period, as well as the country’s reliance on securing military and surveillance equipment from Palestine’s oppressors.

To cast Israel and legitimacy together is an aberration, particularly when using such descriptions to balance advocating for Palestinian rights. Boric wasted an opportunity at his first UNGA speech to call out Israel’s colonial violence and how it invalidates legitimacy. It is not up to the international community to guarantee Israel’s existence, but Boric knows that Chile can play a pivotal role in ensuring that the international community gravitates towards the legitimacy of the Palestinian people’s political demands.

September 25, 2022 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Political Protest Is Not a White Collar Crime”

By Diana West | OffGuardian | September 23, 2022

On July 30, 2002, President George W. Bush signed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a post-Enron law “aimed at fraud in corporations,” as summed up in a headline in the New York Times.

The newspaper elaborated:

The bill, an extensive overhaul of corporate fraud, securities and accounting laws, creates a regulatory board with investigative and enforcement powers to oversee the accounting industry and punish corrupt auditors. It also establishes new standards for prosecuting wrongdoing and gives corporate whistle-blowers broad new protections. Executives who deliberately defrauded investors would face long prison terms.

Did you know that this same bill crafted to stop white-collar-crime is being used as a big stick felony  charge against January 6 protestors?

I refer to the provision of the law against “obstruction of an official proceeding.” It’s a crime, the DOJ website tells us, which carries “a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, fine of $250,000 or twice the monetary gain or loss of the offense.”

The financial penalty — that fine of $250,000 “or twice the monetary gain or loss of the offense” — really gives it all away. That is, the crime this law is meant to prohibit is inextricably connected to financial activity, not political protest.

This provision already has an infamous and unjust past.

Perhaps its very first application was by mad-dog-prosecutor Andrew Weissman, who was able to convince a jury to convict and thus bankrupt the accounting firm Arthur Andersen for its business-as-usual, internal-policy-perfect destruction of Enron documents in the period before the company ever received a subpoena.

The Supreme Court overruled the lower court verdict, 9-0.

Now the misbegotten provision is being totally and willfully misapplied to political protest.

Indeed, in President Bush’s brief remarks on signing the bill twenty years ago, he singled out this one section of the lengthy law to reassure the American people that it would not be used to infringe on the People’s right to protest.

As Bush put it:

To ensure that no infringement on the constitutional right to petition the Government for redress of grievances occurs in the enforcement of section 1512(c) of title 18 of the U.S. Code, enacted by section 1102 of the Act, which among other things prohibits corruptly influencing any official proceeding, the executive branch shall construe the term “corruptly” in section 1512(c)(2) as requiring proof of a criminal state of mind on the part of the defendant.

It’s well worth remembering that the right to petition the Government for redress of grievance, as attorney Joseph D. McBride explains, was continually exercised across the country for much of the year 2020 during the George Floyds protests which preceded the January 6 protest.

“January 6 did not happen in a vacuum,” McBride recently told the Blaze’s Daniel Horowitz. “In the year or so that preceded January 6, you had all the BLM and Antifa riots all over the United States of America. We saw the burning down of cities, the attacking of police officers. Members of antifa out there in black bloc covered head to toe in full riot gear going at it with police, the looting of stores—you name it, we saw it.”

As reported by Deborah Heine in American Greatness :

McBride posited that the left-wing agitators got a pass in 2020 because of new and expanded definitions of “civil disobedience, and political protest” which allowed government entities to view even violent riots “as grounded in the First Amendment, not criminality.

In the wake of this, he explained, the pro-Trump protesters showed up in Washington, D.C. on January 6 with the impression there was this “new and modern definition of political protest.” Of course, most of the January 6 rioters came nowhere near the levels of violence the nation saw during the George Floyd riots, McBride was careful to point out.

Because of who they were, however, (that is, mainly white, middle-class, patriotic, pro-Trump Americans) they were targeted, persecuted, and not given the constitutional protections the much more violent and destructive left-wing rioters were routinely given, he argued.

“For the first time in U.S. history, the political party in power is hunting down and jailing members of the opposition party for political dissidence, and not only that, they’re torturing them in jail,” McBride said. “This is the stuff of dictatorships.”

It is also the stuff of dictatorships to twist the law, hold show trials, and criminalize the state of mind of the political opposition.


Diana West is an award-winning journalist, a syndicated columnist for 15 years, and the author of The Red Thread: A Search for Ideological Drivers Inside the Anti-Trump Conspiracy (Center for Security Policy Press, 2019), American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character (St. Martin’s Press 2013) and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America’s Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin’s Press 2007). In Fall 2013, West brought out a companion volume to American Betrayal titled The Rebuttal: Defending American Betrayal from the Book-Burners, which includes essays by the late Vladimir Bukovsky and M. Stanton Evans. She blogs at dianawest.net, and makes videos here. Having earned her Twitter suspension, Diana now thinks aloud and uncensored at Gab @realDianaWest.

September 23, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Progressive Hypocrite | | Leave a comment

Iraqi girl killed during US military drills

The Cradle | September 22, 2022

A 15-year-old Iraqi girl, Zainab Essam Majed al-Khazali, was killed on 20 September by the gunfire of US army troops as they were conducting military drills on Victoria Base, near Baghdad International Airport.

The Iraqi Security Media Cell (ISMC) announced that it has launched an investigation into the murder, which it initially referred to as a “random shooting.”

Iraq’s security forces, however, said: “The killing of Zainab Essam Majed coincided with the presence of training operations for the American forces … the bullet that was taken out of the girl’s head confirms that it is from one of the weapons used by the American forces in the embassy and airport.”

The head of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq resistance group, Qais al-Khazali, demanded via twitter that “intelligence services present a detailed report to the Iraqi people, explaining … this cowardly incident, and how a military base can exist on Iraqi soil in clear violation of the Iraqi constitution … and sovereignty.”

Khazali also condemned the use of live ammunition in the US training and drill exercises, which he said were carried out in a residential area with a disregard for civilian life.

According to reports, the girl, who bears the same family name as the Asaib Ahl al-Haq leader, is the granddaughter of a member of the organization who was martyred, Majed al-Khazali. Her funeral procession was held the following day.

The killing of Zainab al-Khazali took place near the notorious Abu Ghraib prison camp, which was formerly run by US forces during the years following its invasion and occupation of the country in 2003.

Abu Ghraib was the center of several scandals involving the brutal torture, mistreatment, and murder of dozens of Iraqis by US military personnel.

The illegal US occupation of Iraq, which persists until today, has been responsible for the deaths of at least one million Iraqis.

Khazali was killed just days after the death of Mahsa Amini in Iran, whose passing has been used by western media and political leaders to further their attacks against the Islamic Republic.

During his speech at the UN General Assembly (UNGA), US President Joe Biden blasted Tehran for Amini’s death while in police custody, while at the same time failing to make any mention of Khazali.

September 22, 2022 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , | 1 Comment

In This House . . .

“Joint Base Cape Cod” contaminated groundwater plumes

By Richard Hugus | September 18, 2022

As reported by national news in the US, on September 16, 2022, 50 illegal immigrants from Venezuela were flown from Florida to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Officials on the island said they did not have the resources to take care of the immigrants, so they were transported by the Massachusetts National Guard to a military base on Cape Cod. The immigrants were tolerated on Martha’s Vineyard for exactly two days.

The military base they were taken to, with the purposely non-descriptive name, “Joint Base Cape Cod,” is about 30 miles north of the church in Edgartown where the immigrants stayed. The base was formerly known as the Massachusetts Military Reservation, or Otis/Camp Edwards. The base is notorious for being a dump site for the federal government, so it probably seemed to the authorities a logical place to get rid of the immigrants. The 22,000 acre base was designated a Superfund site in 1989 due to massive amounts of fuels and solvents dumped at Otis Air Base into the sandy soil above Upper Cape Cod’s sole-source aquifer. As more and more contaminated groundwater was being discovered on the Air Force side, yet more was discovered from the past dumping of propellants and explosives by the Army at Camp Edwards. At one site on the base in the 1960s, the Air Force dumped up to 6 million gallons of aviation fuel on the ground just to test aircraft emergency release valves. Enough fuel from here and elsewhere got into water supplies in nearby Forestdale to the point that tap water at a kitchen sink could be lit on fire. Meanwhile, the Army was accustomed for years to firing Howitzer and mortar rounds into the base “impact area” whose explosions would shake windows in residential areas all over the Upper Cape. Nearby residents also lived with the frequent sound of machine gun fire from one of many gun ranges. Indeed, the Army National Guard has lately insisted it needs 200 acres of forest clearcut for a new machine gun range, with 5,000 acres reserved for strays and overshoots. For those feigning such concern, this was some place to send a group of helpless refugees. The public has no access to and very little knowledge of this huge area of sunny Cape Cod.

Martha’s Vineyard has had its own episode of Pentagon abuse. A small island called Nomans, just south of the Vineyard, was used as an aerial bombing range for many years, leaving the land littered with unexploded ordnance and contaminated soil. Rather than remediate, the US Navy conveniently handed the land over the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife who simply called it a conservation area, posted No Trespassing signs, and called it a day. The small island, a beautiful gem once inhabited by Wampanoag Indians and early settlers, it is now just a sacrifice zone, like a closed landfill. No one is allowed to set foot on it.

Both Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard have a service and tourist economy. Most people who live and work there are not wealthy, but have jobs serving the wealthy in one way or another. They build and repair the homes of the rich, they entertain them, run the restaurants, cook the food, clean the houses, and maintain their boats and cars. Low wage workers and immigrant labor are brought in every year for the summer season as there is evidently not enough money to pay local workers asking for a decent wage. Nor can working people afford houses on local wages. It’s a rentier economy. Poverty is real on both Martha’s Vineyard and the Cape because so many among the rich know very well how to spend as little of their money as possible for the services they receive. While working people there might not be happy about immigrant labor lowering wages and taking jobs, they would not have called the National Guard to come in and remove the strangers from Venezuela. And of course they would not have had the power to do so even if they wanted to. That call had to have come from new world order hopeful Governor Charlie Baker, on orders from Vineyard residents like Barack Obama who don’t want to see the results of the unrestricted immigration that they initiated actually becoming visible in their own neighborhoods. This is why the 50 Venezuelans were brought to eastern Massachusetts’ go-to military dump site, incidentally also home to the Barnstable County Jail — another thing no one wanted to see or hear anywhere else on the Cape.

We might ask why people in Venezuela got to the point of leaving family, home, culture, and country to emigrate in the first place. Obviously, two decades of coup attempts from the Chavez era on, relentless sanctions, and the theft of assets by the US has made life in Venezuela hard for many people. The US government created this problem. The further abuse of Venezuelans in a program of engineered destruction of sovereign countries and cultures, which is what the immigration crisis amounts to worldwide, is the same attack multiplied. Democrats are accusing Republicans of using the 50 immigrants as pawns. Higher powers still are using the Democrats and Republicans as pawns. This is a play inside a play and involves a level of manipulation that is not just cynical, but diabolical.

We’ve all seen the “In This House, We Believe” signs. The signs are displayed by some of the people on Martha’s Vineyard who this past week didn’t mind seeing 50 of the world’s poor carted off to a restricted military base. Between the lines on these cute little emblems of virtue we now read the ugly truth:

In this house, we believe . . .

In complete, shameless hypocrisy

In full totalitarianism, as long as it’s nicely wrapped in self-righteous liberal jargon

Virtue-signaling is better by far (and much easier) than actual virtue

Immigrants are welcome (to mow our lawns and wash our dishes)

Climate change is real (how else do we explain it being sunny one day and cloudy the next?)

All orientations are preferable to heterosexuality — the human race has gone on long enough

We hate humanity

A woman’s rights are human rights (but there is no such thing as a woman, so there is no such thing as “women’s rights”)

Black lives matter (especially when they can be used to create disruption and chaos while we do nothing to actually improve the lives of black people)

No human is illegal (unless he’s too close to my $12 million oceanfront property)

There is no place for hate (unless you’re a white hetero male, a Palestinian, a Muslim, a Christian, a Russian, a ‘right wing extremist’, an anti-vaxxer, a climate ‘denier’, or anyone else on our list)

Science is real (so long as it serves pharmaceutical company profits and ‘great reset’ eugenics)

Love is love, and all other nice-sounding, mystifying, empty tautologies

Kindness is everything (after money, power, and control)

September 18, 2022 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , | Leave a comment

The Specter of Germany Is Rising

By Diana Johnstone | Consortium News | September 12, 2022

The European Union is girding for a long war against Russia that appears clearly contrary to European economic interests and social stability. A war that is apparently irrational – as many are – has deep emotional roots and claims ideological justification. Such wars are hard to end because they extend outside the range of rationality.

For decades after the Soviet Union entered Berlin and decisively defeated the Third Reich, Soviet leaders worried about the threat of “German revanchism.” Since World War II could be seen as German revenge for being deprived of victory in World War I, couldn’t aggressive German Drang nach Osten be revived, especially if it enjoyed Anglo-American support? There had always been a minority in U.S. and U.K. power circles that would have liked to complete Hitler’s war against the Soviet Union.

It was not the desire to spread communism, but the need for a buffer zone to stand in the way of such dangers that was the primary motivation for the ongoing Soviet political and military clampdown on the tier of countries from Poland to Bulgaria that the Red Army had wrested from Nazi occupation.

This concern waned considerably in the early 1980s as a young German generation took to the streets in peace demonstrations against the stationing of nuclear “Euromissiles” which could increase the risk of nuclear war on German soil. The movement created the image of a new peaceful Germany. I believe that Mikhail Gorbachev took this transformation seriously.

On June 15, 1989, Gorbachev came to Bonn, which was then the modest capital of a deceptively modest West Germany. Apparently delighted with the warm and friendly welcome, Gorbachev stopped to shake hands with people along the way in that peaceful university town that had been the scene of large peace demonstrations.

I was there and experienced his unusually warm, firm handshake and eager smile. I have no doubt that Gorbachev sincerely believed in a “common European home” where East and West Europe could live happily side by side united by some sort of democratic socialism.

Gorbachev died at age 91 two weeks ago, on Aug. 30. His dream of Russia and Germany living happily in their “common European home” had soon been fatally undermined by the Clinton administration’s go-ahead to eastward expansion of NATO. But the day before Gorbachev’s death, leading German politicians in Prague wiped out any hope of such a happy end by proclaiming their leadership of a Europe dedicated to combating the Russian enemy.

These were politicians from the very parties – the SPD (Social Democratic Party) and the Greens – that took the lead in the 1980s peace movement.

German Europe Must Expand Eastward

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is a colorless SPD politician, but his Aug. 29 speech in Prague was inflammatory in its implications. Scholz called for an expanded, militarized European Union under German leadership. He claimed that the Russian operation in Ukraine raised the question of “where the dividing line will be in the future between this free Europe and a neo-imperial autocracy.” We cannot simply watch, he said, “as free countries are wiped off the map and disappear behind walls or iron curtains.”

(Note: the conflict in Ukraine is clearly the unfinished business of the collapse of the Soviet Union, aggravated by malicious outside provocation. As in the Cold War, Moscow’s defensive reactions are interpreted as harbingers of Russian invasion of Europe, and thus a pretext for arms buildups.)

To meet this imaginary threat, Germany will lead an expanded, militarized EU. First, Scholz told his European audience in the Czech capital, “I am committed to the enlargement of the European Union to include the states of the Western Balkans, Ukraine, Moldova and, in the long term, Georgia”. Worrying about Russia moving the dividing line West is a bit odd while planning to incorporate three former Soviet States, one of which (Georgia) is geographically and culturally very remote from Europe but on Russia’s doorstep.

2022 Fall Fund Drive

In the “Western Balkans”, Albania and four extremely weak statelets left from former Yugoslavia (North Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina and widely unrecognized Kosovo) mainly produce emigrants and are far from EU economic and social standards. Kosovo and Bosnia are militarily occupied de facto NATO protectorates. Serbia, more solid than the others, shows no signs of renouncing its beneficial relations with Russia and China, and popular enthusiasm for “Europe” among Serbs has faded.

Adding these member states will achieve “a stronger, more sovereign, geopolitical European Union,” said Scholz. A “more geopolitical Germany” is more like it. As the EU grows eastward, Germany is “in the center” and will do everything to bring them all together. So, in addition to enlargement, Scholz calls for “a gradual shift to majority decisions in common foreign policy” to replace the unanimity required today.

What this means should be obvious to the French. Historically, the French have defended the consensus rule so as not to be dragged into a foreign policy they don’t want. French leaders have exalted the mythical “Franco-German couple” as guarantor of European harmony, mainly to keep German ambitions under control.

But Scholz says he doesn’t want “an EU of exclusive states or directorates,” which implies the final divorce of that “couple.” With an EU of 30 or 36 states, he notes, “fast and pragmatic action is needed.” And he can be sure that German influence on most of these poor, indebted and often corrupt new Member States will produce the needed majority.

France has always hoped for an EU security force separate from NATO in which the French military would play a leading role. But Germany has other ideas. “NATO remains the guarantor of our security,” said Scholz, rejoicing that President Biden is “a convinced trans-atlanticist.”

Every improvement, every unification of European defense structures within the EU framework strengthens NATO,” Scholz said. “Together with other EU partners, Germany will therefore ensure that the EU’s planned rapid reaction force is operational in 2025 and will then also provide its core.

This requires a clear command structure. Germany will face up to this responsibility “when we lead the rapid reaction force in 2025,” Scholz said. It has already been decided that Germany will support Lithuania with a rapidly deployable brigade and NATO with further forces in a high state of readiness.

Serving to Lead … Where?

In short, Germany’s military buildup will give substance to Robert Habeck’s notorious statement in Washington last March that: “The stronger Germany serves, the greater its role.” The Green’s Habeck is Germany’s economics minister and the second most powerful figure in Germany’s current government.

The remark was well understood in Washington: by serving the U.S.-led Western empire, Germany is strengthening its role as European leader. Just as the U.S. arms, trains and occupies Germany, Germany will provide the same services for smaller EU states, notably to its east.

Since the start of the Russian operation in Ukraine, German politician Ursula von der Leyen has used her position as head of the EU Commission to impose ever more drastic sanctions on Russia, leading to the threat of a serious European energy crisis this winter. Her hostility to Russia seems boundless. In Kiev last April she called for rapid EU membership for Ukraine, notoriously the most corrupt country in Europe and far from meeting EU standards. She proclaimed that “Russia will descend into economic, financial and technological decay, while Ukraine is marching towards a European future.” For von der Leyen, Ukraine is “fighting our war.” All of this goes far beyond her authority to speak for the EU’s 27 Members, but nobody stops her.

Germany’s Green Party foreign minister Annalena Baerbock is every bit as intent on “ruining Russia.” Proponent of a “feminist foreign policy”, Baerbock expresses policy in personal terms. “If I give the promise to people in Ukraine, we stand with you as long as you need us,” she told the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy (NED)-sponsored Forum 2000 in Prague on Aug. 31, speaking in English. “Then I want to deliver no matter what my German voters think, but I want to deliver to the people of Ukraine.”

People will go on the street and say, we cannot pay our energy prices, and I will say, ‘Yes I know so we will help you with social measures. […] We will stand with Ukraine and this means the sanctions will stay also til winter time even if it gets really tough for politicians.’”

Certainly, support for Ukraine is strong in Germany, but perhaps because of the looming energy shortage, a recent Forsa poll indicates that some 77 percent of Germans would favor diplomatic efforts to end the war – which should be the business of the foreign minister. But Baerbock shows no interest in diplomacy, only in “strategic failure” for Russia – however long it takes.

In the 1980s peace movement, a generation of Germans was distancing itself from that of their parents and vowed to overcome “enemy images” inherited from past wars. Curiously, Baerbock, born in 1980, has referred to her grandfather who fought in the Wehrmacht as somehow having contributed to European unity. Is this the generational pendulum?

The Little Revanchists

There is reason to surmise that current German Russophobia draws much of its legitimization from the Russophobia of former Nazi allies in smaller European countries.

While German anti-Russian revanchism may have taken a couple of generations to assert itself, there were a number of smaller, more obscure revanchisms that flourished at the end of the European war that were incorporated into United States Cold War operations. Those little revanchisms were not subjected to the denazification gestures or Holocaust guilt imposed on Germany. Rather, they were welcomed by the C.I.A., Radio Free Europe and Congressional committees for their fervent anticommunism. They were strengthened politically in the United States by anticommunist diasporas from Eastern Europe.

Of these, the Ukrainian diaspora was surely the largest, the most intensely political and the most influential, in both Canada and the American Middle West. Ukrainian fascists who had previously collaborated with Nazi invaders were the most numerous and active, leading the Bloc of Anti-Bolshevik Nations with links to German, British and U.S. Intelligence.

Eastern European Galicia, not to be confused with Spanish Galicia, has been back and forth part of Russia and Poland for centuries. After World War II it was divided between Poland and Ukraine. Ukrainian Galicia is the center of a virulent brand of Ukrainian nationalism, whose principal World War II hero was Stepan Bandera. This nationalism can properly be called “fascist” not simply because of superficial signs – its symbols, salutes or tatoos – but because it has always been fundamentally racist and violent.

Incited by Western powers, Poland, Lithuania and the Habsburg Empire, the key to Ukrainian nationalism was that it was Western, and thus superior. Since Ukrainians and Russians stem from the same population, pro-Western Ukrainian ultra-nationalism was built on imaginary myths of racial differences: Ukrainians were the true Western whatever-it-was, whereas Russians were mixed with “Mongols” and thus an inferior race. Banderist Ukrainian nationalists have openly called for elimination of Russians as such, as inferior beings.

So long as the Soviet Union existed, Ukrainian racial hatred of Russians had anticommunism as its cover, and Western intelligence agencies could support them on the “pure” ideological grounds of the fight against Bolshevism and Communism. But now that Russia is no longer ruled by communists, the mask has fallen, and the racist nature of Ukrainian ultra-nationalism is visible – for all who want to see it.

However, Western leaders and media are determined not to notice.

Ukraine is not just like any Western country. It is deeply and dramatically divided between Donbass in the East, Russian territories given to Ukraine by the Soviet Union, and the anti-Russian West, where Galicia is located. Russia’s defense of Donbass, wise or unwise, by no means indicates a Russian intention to invade other countries. This false alarm is the pretext for the remilitarization of Germany in alliance with the Anglo-Saxon powers against Russia.

The Yugoslav Prelude

This process began in the 1990s, with the breakup of Yugoslavia.

Yugoslavia was not a member of the Soviet bloc. Precisely for that reason, the country got loans from the West which in the 1970s led to a debt crisis in which the leaders of each of the six federated republics wanted to shove the debt onto others. This favored separatist tendencies in the relatively rich Slovenian and Croatian republics, tendencies enforced by ethnic chauvinism and encouragement from outside powers, especially Germany.

During World War II, German occupation had split the country apart. Serbia, allied to France and Britain in World War I, was subject to a punishing occupation. Idyllic Slovenia was absorbed into the Third Reich, while Germany supported an independent Croatia, ruled by the fascist Ustasha party, which included most of Bosnia, scene of the bloodiest internal fighting. When the war ended, many Croatian Ustasha emigrated to Germany, the United States and Canada, never giving up the hope of reviving secessionist Croatian nationalism.

In Washington in the 1990s, members of Congress got their impressions of Yugoslavia from a single expert: 35-year-old Croatian-American Mira Baratta, assistant to Sen. Bob Dole (Republican presidential candidate in 1996). Baratta’s grandfather had been an important Ustasha officer in Bosnia and her father was active in the Croatian diaspora in California. Baratta won over not only Dole but virtually the whole Congress to the Croatian version of Yugoslav conflicts blaming everything on the Serbs.

In Europe, Germans and Austrians, most notably Otto von Habsburg, heir to the defunct Austro-Hungarian Empire and member of the European Parliament from Bavaria, succeeded in portraying Serbs as the villains, thus achieving an effective revenge against their historic World War I enemy, Serbia. In the West, it became usual to identify Serbia as “Russia’s historic ally”, forgetting that in recent history Serbia’s closest allies were Britain and especially France.

In September 1991, a leading German Christian Democratic politician and constitutional lawyer explained why Germany should promote the breakup of Yugoslavia by recognizing the Slovenian and Croat secessionist Yugoslav republics. (Former CDU Minister of Defense Rupert Scholz at the 6th Fürstenfeldbrucker Symposium for the Leadership of the German Military and Business, held September 23 – 24, 1991.)

By ending the division of Germany, Rupert Scholz said, “We have, so to speak, overcome and mastered the most important consequences of the Second World War … but in other areas we are still dealing with the consequences of the First World War” – which, he noted “started in Serbia.”

Yugoslavia, as a consequence of the First World War, is a very artificial construction, never compatible with the idea of self-determination,” Rupert Scholz said. He concluded: “In my opinion, Slovenia and Croatia must be immediately recognized internationally. (…) When this recognition has taken place, the Yugoslavian conflict will no longer be a domestic Yugoslav problem, where no international intervention can be permitted.”

And indeed, recognition was followed by massive Western intervention which continues to this day. By taking sides, Germany, the United States and NATO ultimately produced a disastrous result, a half dozen statelets, with many unsettled issues and heavily dependent on Western powers. Bosnia-Herzegovina is under military occupation as well as the dictates of a “High Representative” who happens to be German. It has lost about half its population to emigration.

Only Serbia shows signs of independence, refusing to join in Western sanctions on Russia, despite heavy pressure. For Washington strategists the breakup of Yugoslavia was an exercise in using ethnic divisions to break up larger entities, the USSR and then Russia.

Humanitarian Bombing

Western politicians and media persuaded the public that the 1999 NATO bombing of Serbia was a “humanitarian” war, generously waged to “protect the Kosovars” (after multiple assassinations by armed secessionists provoked Serbian authorities into the inevitable repression used as pretext for the bombing).

But the real point of the Kosovo war was that it transformed NATO from a defensive into an aggressive alliance, ready to wage war anywhere, without U.N. mandate, on whatever pretext it chose.

This lesson was clear to the Russians. After the Kosovo war, NATO could no longer credibly claim that it was a purely “defensive” alliance.

As soon as Serbian President Milosevic, to save his country’s infrastructure from NATO destruction, agreed to allow NATO troops to enter Kosovo, the U.S. unceremoniously grabbed a huge swath territory to build the its first big U.S. military base in the Balkans. NATO troops are still there.

Just as the United States rushed to build that base in Kosovo, it was clear what to expect of the U.S. after it succeeded in 2014 to install a government in Kiev eager to join NATO. This would be the opportunity for the U.S. to take over the Russian naval base in Crimea. Since it was known that the majority of the population in Crimea wanted to return to Russia (as it had from 1783 to 1954), Putin was able to forestall this threat by holding a popular referendum confirming its return.

East European Revanchism Captures the EU

The call by German Chancellor Scholz to enlarge the European Union by up to nine new members recalls the enlargements of 2004 and 2007 that brought in twelve new members, nine of them from the former Soviet bloc, including the three Baltic States once part of the Soviet Union.

That enlargement already shifted the balance eastward and enhanced German influence. In particular, the political elites of Poland and especially the three Baltic States, were heavily under the influence of the United States and Britain, where many had lived in exile during Soviet rule. They brought into EU institutions a new wave of fanatic anticommunism, not always distinguishable from Russophobia.

The European Parliament, obsessed with virtue signaling in regard to human rights, was particularly receptive to the zealous anti-totalitarianism of its new Eastern European members.

Revanchism and the Memory Weapon

As an aspect of anti-communist lustration, or purges, Eastern European States sponsored “Memory Institutes” devoted to denouncing the crimes of communism. Of course, such campaigns were used by far-right politicians to cast suspicion on the left in general. As explained by European scholar Zoltan Dujisin, “anticommunist memory entrepreneurs” at the head of these institutes succeeded in lifting their public information activities from the national, to the European Union level, using Western bans on Holocaust denial to complain, that while Nazi crimes had been condemned and punished at Nuremberg, communist crimes had not.

The tactic of the anti-communist entrepreneurs was to demand that references to the Holocaust be accompanied by denunciations of the Gulag. This campaign had to deal with a delicate contradiction since it tended to challenge the uniqueness of the Holocaust, a dogma essential to gaining financial and political support from West European memory institutes.

In 2008, the EP adopted a resolution establishing August 23 as “European Day of Remembrance for the victims of Stalinism and Nazism” – for the first time adopting what had been a fairly isolated far right equation. A 2009 EP resolution on “European Conscience and Totalitarianism” called for support of national institutes specializing in totalitarian history.

Dujisin explains, “Europe is now haunted by the specter of a new memory. The Holocaust’s singular standing as a negative founding formula of European integration, the culmination of long-standing efforts from prominent Western leaders … is increasingly challenged by a memory of communism, which disputes its uniqueness.”

East European memory institutes together formed the “Platform of European Memory and Conscience,” which between 2012 and 2016 organized a series of exhibits on “Totalitarianism in Europe: Fascism—Nazism—Communism,” traveling to museums, memorials, foundations, city halls, parliaments, cultural centers, and universities in 15 European countries, supposedly to “improve public awareness and education about the gravest crimes committed by the totalitarian dictatorships.”

Under this influence, the European Parliament on Sept. 19, 2019 adopted a resolution “on the importance of European Remembrance for the Future of Europe” that went far beyond equating political crimes by proclaiming a distinctly Polish interpretation of history as European Union policy. It goes so far as to proclaim that the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact is responsible for World War II – and thus Soviet Russia is as guilty of the war as Nazi Germany.

The resolution,

“Stresses that the Second World War, the most devastating war in Europe’s history, was started as an immediate result of the notorious Nazi-Soviet Treaty on Non-Aggression of 23 August 1939, also known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, and its secret protocols, whereby two totalitarian regimes that shared the goal of world conquest divided Europe into two zones of influence;

It further:

“Recalls that the Nazi and communist regimes carried out mass murders, genocide and deportations and caused a loss of life and freedom in the 20th century on a scale unseen in human history, and recalls the horrific crime of the Holocaust perpetrated by the Nazi regime; condemns in the strongest terms the acts of aggression, crimes against humanity and mass human rights violations perpetrated by the Nazi, communist and other totalitarian regimes;”

This of course not only directly contradicts the Russian celebration of the “Great Patriotic War” to defeat the Nazi invasion, it also took issue with the recent efforts of Russian President Vladimir Putin to put the Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement in the context of prior refusals of Eastern European states, notably Poland, to ally with Moscow against Hitler.

But the EP resolution:

“Is deeply concerned about the efforts of the current Russian leadership to distort historical facts and whitewash crimes committed by the Soviet totalitarian regime and considers them a dangerous component of the information war waged against democratic Europe that aims to divide Europe, and therefore calls on the Commission to decisively counteract these efforts;”

Thus the importance of Memory for the future, turns out to be an ideological declaration of war against Russia based on interpretations of World War II, especially since the memory entrepreneurs implicitly suggest that the past crimes of communism deserve punishment – like the crimes of Nazism. It is not impossible that this line of thought arouses some tacit satisfaction among certain individuals in Germany.

When Western leaders speak of “economic war against Russia,” or “ruining Russia” by arming and supporting Ukraine, one wonders whether they are consciously preparing World War III, or trying to provide a new ending to World War II. Or will the two merge?

As it shapes up, with NATO openly trying to “overextend” and thus defeat Russia with a war of attrition in Ukraine, it is somewhat as if Britain and the United States, some 80 years later, switched sides and joined German-dominated Europe to wage war against Russia, alongside the heirs to Eastern European anticommunism, some of whom were allied to Nazi Germany.

History may help understand events, but the cult of memory easily becomes the cult of revenge. Revenge is a circle with no end. It uses the past to kill the future. Europe needs clear heads looking to the future, able to understand the present.


Diana Johnstone was press secretary of the Green Group in the European Parliament from 1989 to 1996. In her latest book, Circle in the Darkness: Memoirs of a World Watcher (Clarity Press, 2020), she recounts key episodes in the transformation of the German Green Party from a peace to a war party. Her other books include Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Delusions (Pluto/Monthly Review) and in co-authorship with her father, Paul H. Johnstone, From MAD to Madness: Inside Pentagon Nuclear War Planning (Clarity Press). She can be reached at diana.johnstone@wanadoo.fr

September 13, 2022 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prosecuting Trump

By Peter Van Buren | We Meant Well | September 6, 2022

What would you do if you were Merrick Garland? Would you prosecute Trump? Or would you walk away, concerned about accusations you and the FBI were playing politics?

Step One appears easy, put off any decision until after the midterms. Trump is not a candidate, key issues driving the midterms (inflation, Ukraine, Roe) are not his issues and though Trump is actively stumping for many candidates, initiating any prosecution before the midterms is just too obvious. Nothing else about Mar-a-Lago has had an urgency to it (months passed from the initial voluntary turnover of documents and the forced search) and announcing an indictment now would be a terrible opening move. So if you’re Garland, you have some time.

On the other hand waiting until after the midterms can be dangerous if as expected the Republicans do well and take both the House and the Senate. Even with slim majorities Republicans are expected to initiate their own hearings, into Hunter Biden’s laptop and how the FBI played politics with that ahead of the 2020 election. Holding off an indictment until that is underway risks making your case look like retaliation for their case. That’s a bad look for a Department of Justice which claims it is not playing politics. It would look even worse if the Republicans try and cut you off, opening some sort of hearings into the Mar-a-Lago search prior to an indictment. Nope, if you’re Merrick Garland you are caught between a rock and a hard place.

But there is a bigger question: if you are Garland and you indict Trump, can you win? Candidate Trump is already earning a lot of partisan points claiming he is the victim of banana republic politics, and his indictment ahead of 2024 (it matters zero if he has formally announced or not, he is running of course) will allow him to claim he was right all along. An indictment will allow Trump to fire both barrels, one aimed at Garland and the other at the FBI and these, coupled with the dirty tricks a Republican investigation into the FBI and Russiagate will expose will make Trump look very right. He was the victim of partisan use of justice, and the FBI did try to influence both the 2016 election (with Russiagate) and the 2020 (by deep-sixing Hunter Biden’s laptop claiming falsely it was Russian misinformation) and now is taking a swing at 2024 with the Mar-a-Lago documents. If public opinion moves further to Trump’s side, Merrick Garland through his indictment just reelected Trump to the White House as a sympathy candidate. The spooks call that blowback, and it is a real threat in this instance.

Any action against Trump must preserve what is left of faith in the rule of law applied without fear or favor, or risk civil disenfranchisement if not outright civil unrest. Garland will have to address the most obvious precedent case involving former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who maintained an unsecured private email server which processed classified material. Her server held e-mail chains classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level which included the names of CIA and NSA employees. The FBI found classified intelligence improperly stored on Clinton’s server “was compromised by unauthorized individuals, to include foreign governments or intelligence services, via cyber intrusion or other means.” Clinton and her team destroyed tens of thousands of emails, potential evidence, as well as physical phones and Blackberries which potentially held evidence. She operated the server out of her home kitchen despite the presence of the Secret Service on property who failed to report it. Her purpose in doing all this appeared to have been avoiding Freedom of Information Act requests during her tenure as SecState, and maintaining control over what records became part of the historical archive post-tenure.

Clinton seems to have violated all three statues Trump was searched under. If the FBI is going to take similar fact sets and ignore one while aggressively pursuing another, it risks being seen as partial and political. Any further action against Trump and certainly any prosecution of him must address why Hillary was not searched and prosecuted herself. Fair is fair, and after all nobody is above the law.

The other fear holding Garland back would be that of losing the case outright in court. Classified documents are typically dealt with either via administrative penalties (an officer is sent home for a few days without pay) or as part of some much larger espionage case where the documents were removed illegally as part of the subject spying for a foreign country. Rarely is a case brought all the way to court for simple possession. Most of the laws Trump may have broken require some sort of intent to harm the United States. In other words, Trump would have had to have taken the documents not just for ego or his library or as some uber-souveniers but with the specific intent to commit harm against the United States. Garland certainly does not have that.

Other factors which typically play into documents cases are also not in Garland’s favor. Despite not being kept in line with General Services Administration standards, the documents appear to have been locked away securely at Mar-a-Lago, the premises itself guarded by the Secret Service. Trump has already turned over surveillance video of the documents storage location, which presumably does not show foreign agents wandering in and out of frame. It is much harder to prosecute a case when no actual harm was shown done to national security.

Another factor in documents cases involves the content of the documents themselves. The uninformed press has made much of the classification markings, but Garland will need to show the actual content of the docs was damaging to the U.S., and that Trump knew that. Overclassification will play a role, as will the age and importance of the information itself; after all, it is that information which is classified, not the piece of paper itself marked Secret. Garland will know Trump will fight him page by page, meaning much of the classified will be exposed in court and/or the trial will move to classified sessions to shield the information but feed the conspiracy machine. One can hear Trump arguing his right to a public trial being taken away.

Hyperbole aside, the critical question returns to whether or not prosecutors could prove specific intent on Trump’s part for the more serious charges. Proving a state of guilty mind — mens rea — would be the crux of any actual prosecution based on the Mar-a-Lago documents. What was Trump thinking at the time, in other words, did he have specific intent to injure the United States or to obstruct some investigation he would have had to have known about? Without knowing the exact nature of the documents this is a tough prediction but even with the documents on display in front of us proving to a court’s satisfaction what Trump wanted to do by keeping the documents would require coworkers and colleagues to testify to what Trump himself had said at the time, and that is unlikely to happen. It is thus unlikely based on what we know at present that Trump would go to jail for any of this.

Take for example the charges of tax evasion now levied again the Trump Organization (i.e., not Trump personally and not part of the Mar-a-Lago case.) Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, as part of a plea deal, will testify against the Organization but not Trump himself as to why the Organization paid certain compensation in the form of things like school tuitions, cars, and the like, all outside the tax system. It will be a bad day for the Organization but loyal to the end, Weisselberg will not testify as to his boss’ mens rea. It is equally unclear who would be both competent and willing to do so against President of the United States Trump. Blue Check enthusiasm aside, he won’t go to jail over this.

The final questions are probably the most important: DOJ knows what the law says. If knowing the chances of a serious conviction are slight, why would the Justice Department take the Mar-a-Lago case to court? Then again, if knowing the chances for a serious conviction are slight, why would the FBI execute a high-profile search warrant in the first place? To gather evidence unlikely ever to be used? No one is above the law, but that includes politics not trumping clean jurisprudence as well.

And then what? If Garland successfully navigates the politics, if he proves his case in court, and if he secures some sort of conviction against Trump which withstands the inevitable appeal, then what? Trump’s Mar-a-Lago “crimes” are relatively minor. Could Garland call Trump having to do some sort of community service during the 2024 campaign a win? Pay a fine? It seems petty. It sure seems Trump wins politically big-picture whether he wins or loses at Mar-a-Lago. If you were Merrick Garland, what would you do?

September 10, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Progressive Hypocrite | , , | 1 Comment