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Cuba should be careful not to normalise Israel’s colonisation of Palestine

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | July 13, 2019

In 1947, Cuba was one of the few countries opposing the UN Partition Plan, which laid the groundwork for Israel’s colonisation of Palestine. At the time, the Cuban envoy to the UN Dr Ernesto Dihigo spoke out against Zionist settler colonialism and, with clarity, pointed out the UN’s incompetence and refusal to implement its rhetoric regarding the free determination of people.

Decades later, and at a time when Palestinians are risking the loss of what remains of their land, Cuba must rethink its strategy which runs the risk of normalising Israeli colonialism and human rights violations committed against the Palestinian population.

Israeli media has reported that Doron Markel, chief scientist at the Jewish National Fund (JNF), was invited to an international environmental conference held in Havana, Cuba. Needless to say, Israel was given a golden opportunity to present itself as a model to emulate by lauding its scientific expertise, while eliminating the violent narrative of land and water theft to achieve its goals.

There are no formal diplomatic ties between Cuba and Israel. However, inviting a representative of the JNF to Cuba, an organisation which has been at the helm of displacing the Palestinian people, is tantamount to a tacit decision to normalise the violence upon which Israel has been able to build a prosperous image. For every Israeli achievement, there are hidden Palestinian victims.

The forestation which Markel spoke about must be perceived within the context of destroying Palestine’s own environmental heritage. Likewise, Israel’s water strategy requires mentioning how its theft deprives Palestinians of adequate access to water. Markel’s statement that “science can serve as a bridge” between two countries that have not yet established formal diplomatic relations is a demand for Cuba to normalise Israel’s violations against the Palestinian people. Inviting a JNF representative already points towards such a route.

In one of his memorable speeches to the UN, revolutionary leader Fidel Castro stated: “Colonies do not speak. Colonies are not known unless they have the opportunity to express themselves.”

By inviting an Israeli representative, Cuba has departed from this truthful observation by Fidel and experienced by the Cubans themselves before their liberation.

Cuban support for Palestine is rooted in the shared experience of anti-colonial struggle. The country should be leading by example, rather than accommodating Israeli narratives that speak about achievements at the expense of the Palestinian population. This normalisation of Israeli violations and its neoliberal endeavours is contrary to the Cuban revolutionary struggle and fails to uphold the internationalist principles upon which Cuba was able to impart support to oppressed people around the world, including Palestinians.

While not representative of people’s sentiment, the Cuban government has made its politics ambiguous as a result of this invitation. It is therefore pertinent to ask where Cuba is heading in terms of its own commitment to supporting the anti-colonial struggle of other oppressed people internationally. The US, the EU and the UN have all normalised Israel. Will Cuba rekindle its commitment to its principles or follow the trend that has discarded the Palestinian people’s legitimate political demands?

Read also:

PDFLP condemns renewed US sanctions against Cuba

July 13, 2019 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | Leave a comment

The United States of Fascism Hysteria

By CJ Hopkins | Consent Factory | July 10, 2019

So it’s been an exciting few weeks for Antifa and the rest of the neoliberal Resistance. OK, they haven’t yet managed to overthrow the Putin-Nazi occupation government (hereinafter “POG”), but they’ve definitely got “the Fash” on the run. “Fascism” hysteria is spreading like wildfire. Liberal Twitter mobs are out for blood. At this point, it’s only a matter of time until the sleeping giant of normality awakens and purges America of the fascist filth that have Putin-Nazified this once great nation.

Antifa has been at the vanguard of the fight, smashing the Fash on both East and West Coasts. In Portland, where a gang of neo-fascist anti-masturbationists known as the “Proud Boys” had assembled for a self-promotional street fight they were billing as the “Battle of Portland 2,” Antifa militants positively identified and preventatively beat the living snot out of a journalist named Andy Ngo. To prevent him from snitching to the fascist cops (who are allegedly working hand in hand with POG), they self-defensively robbed him, sprayed him with silly string, and pelted him with vegan milkshakes.

Now, before you get all up in arms about Antifa assaulting and robbing journalists, you need to know a couple of things. First, according to Antifa spokespersons, and those bloodthirsty liberal Twitter mobs, Andy Ngo is a “fascist adjacent,” and possibly even a card carrying fascist. Antifa representative Alexander Reid Ross claims that Ngo is personally responsible for putting people’s names on a Nazi “kill-list” (or at least that Ngo’s writing has been published by Quillette, which published an article by someone else that some fascists read and copied people’s names from), so, basically, he deserves to die.

Also, assaulting and robbing Ngo was technically “preemptive self-defense” (you know, the same as when we invaded Iraq to defend ourselves from those WMDs). Despite their helmets and body armor, and the fact that Ngo is a doughy little gay guy, his presence among them on a public street was making Antifa feel “unsafe.” So, they had no choice but to beat him senseless, steal his camera, and vegan milkshake him. As Antifa expert Mark Bray explains, when you’re Antifa, “fighting back is always self-defense, even if [you] strike the first blow.” (This logic only applies to anti-fascists, of course, like Antifa and the U.S. military, and not to, you know, gangs of thugs, or the perpetrators of wars of aggression.)

Antifa’s self-defensive mugging of a journalist apparently scared the crap out of POG, because one week later, back in Washington, D.C., President Hitler called in the tanks, and the Luftwaffe, and announced that he was going to stage a reenactment of a Nuremberg Rally right in front of the Lincoln Memorial. The liberal intelligentsia went apeshit. This was really it this time! Putin had given Trump the green-light to declare martial law and pronounce himself Führer. The long-awaited Putin-Nazi Apocalypse was finally about to begin!

Unfortunately, Trump’s Fourth of July Jamboree turned out to be a rather tame affair. He even almost made it through his speech without making an ass of himself. This was extremely disappointing for liberals, who were hoping he would go full-Hitler, paint “death’s heads” on the turrets of the Bradleys and a Swastika on the tail of Air Force One, and order ICE to start rounding up the Jews.

The weekend wasn’t a total let-down, however. The Proud Boys (who are clearly gluttons for punishment), staged another self-promotional event, this one billed as “Defend Free Speech.” A few hundred people turned up to listen to speeches by a handful of alt-right clowns desperately trying to reignite their careers. They were outnumbered 2 to 1 by Antifa, Black Lives Matter, assorted drag queens, and an indigenous, two-spirited transperson of color, who reportedly “performed a spoken word” on the meaning of the term “latinx.”

The D.C. police (who are even more fascist than the Portland police who stood by and watched as Antifa beat up and robbed a journalist) fascistically prevented Antifa militants from storming into the Alt-right rally and beating the snot out of everyone in sight. So, the anti-fascists had no choice but to preemptively attack a newspaper dispenser, which was presumably making them feel “unsafe,” or disseminating POG propaganda, or something. One of them tried to burn a flag, but he couldn’t figure out how to operate his matches. Assorted other hilarious acts of revolutionary direct action followed. Apparently, Antifa’s strategy was to smash the Fash by amusing them to death.

Meanwhile, militant Resistance actions against the POG “concentration camps” continue. New York City, San Francisco, and other liberal metropolitan areas have almost completely emptied out as liberals flock to the southern border to liberate the surviving prisoners. Conditions in the camps are now beyond inhuman. According to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, migrants are being forced to drink out of toilets, and otherwise subjected to “systematic cruelty,” (so you can understand why liberals are physically putting their bodies on the line to bring an end to this horrifying sadism, and not just sitting around on the Internet shrieking about “concentration camps” as they travel to their summer holiday rentals on Martha’s Vineyard, or the Hamptons, or wherever).

No, these Putin-Nazi “concentration camps” are nothing at all like the “detention facilities” the Obama administration operated, even though they look exactly the same. Sure, thousands of migrant children were separated from their parents, in cages, and there were tens of thousands of incidents of rape, sexual abuse, beatings, and so on, but, otherwise, these Obama “detention facilities” were more like great big 2-star hotels, or like student dorms at a state university, so there was no need for liberals to get all worked up and start comparing them to places like Dachau and Buchenwald.

Plus, here’s a picture of dead people! Look at this picture! These people are dead! So just shut up about Obama already! Enough with history, and critical thinking, and the practical aspects of immigration policy! It’s time to abolish all national borders, issue everyone a U.S. passport, and transcend the whole concept of national sovereignty … or at least to provide the capitalist ruling classes with an endless supply of cheap, undocumented, extremely compliant unskilled labor. Those Bel Air lawns aren’t going to mow themselves!

Jesus, I can’t believe I just wrote that. Concentration camps and dead people are nothing to joke about. It’s OK, however, to cynically use them to whip people up into a paroxysm of manufactured mass fascism hysteria. Not that the neoliberal ruling classes and the corporate media would ever do that. No, they would never repeatedly attempt to evoke our hatred of the actual Nazis (and their actual concentration camps … which people were dragged out of their homes, loaded onto trains, and shipped away to, and which you could not voluntarily depart) in order to short circuit our critical thinking, or otherwise emotionally manipulate us into supporting their War on Populism.

No, the Putin-Nazi occupation government is not just manufactured mass hysteria concocted by the neoliberal ruling classes. Donald Trump is really a Nazi. There’s a portrait of Hitler in the Oval Office. Putin really controls America. Putin, and his cabal of Russian Nazis. They’re everywhere. They own the banks. They control the media. They control elections. They are the “International Invisible Government.” (Is any of this sounding vaguely familiar?) They are devising the Final Solution to the Immigrant Problem right this minute. They are doing this at Mar-a-Lago, where Trump has had a big “Black Sun” etched into the marble floor.

So, if you’re serious about your anti-fascism, now’s the time to load up on silly string, ski goggles, masks, hard knuckle gloves, and whatever you make those milkshakes with. POG might be on the run at the moment, but there’s an election season coming up, so we need to be prepared for anything. The important thing is to remain hysterical, and to be ready to respond to whatever emotional stimuli the ruling classes wave in our faces. The fate of democracy hangs in the balance.

Oh, and watch out for those fascist newspaper dispensers!

July 10, 2019 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Progressive Hypocrite | | Leave a comment

How Stupid Do They Think We Are?

By Patrick Armstrong | Strategic Culture Foundation | July 7, 2019

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Consumers of the print or electronic output of the League of Copy Typists and their Instructors are expected to believe many impossible things and believe them, not just before breakfast, but all day too.

Come to think it, believing any part of the official Skripal story, from the incredibly lethal nerve agent that didn’t kill them, to the spectacular coincidence of the British Army’s chief nurse being on the scene, to the re-wrapped perfume bottle would tax the White Queen’s ability. Here’s a list. But that’s not to say that we’re finished yet: there always seems to be another absurdity like the dead ducks.

Pseudo psychology explains geopolitics. And pretty idiotically too: a whole country on the couch. “Russia is more insecure and paranoid“, “a kind of neurotic disorder that renders Russia’s sense of insecurity” “The deep sense of humiliation, the dread of arrogant Westerners, the fear of NATO encirclement.” or maybe it’s not the whole country, just Putin: Putin’s insecure because of Russia’s “diminished role in the world“. “Well, Russian President Vladimir Putin is a textbook case of someone with a serious inferiority complex.” Anyway, some gasbag pseudo-psychology explains it: there’s no reality, Russia/Putin is just naturally paranoid. Probably nothing you can do about it.

NATO is just going along, minding its own business when, entirely without provocation, hostile nations try to destabilise the world, interfere with freedom of navigation, assault the Rules-Based International Order, and otherwise force NATO to react. From a current Pentagon study: “Russia is adopting coercive strategies that involve the orchestrated employment of military and nonmilitary means to deter and compel the US, its allies and partners prior to and after the outbreak of hostilities.” “Deter and compel” – poor little NATO, so weak, so bullied! Russia does this because of its “deep-seated sense of geopolitical insecurity” which it has just because it has. (More geopolitical pseudo-psychology.)

And, finally, Putin is interfering in the West’s interference in another country.

July 9, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , | 1 Comment

When Jews Invoke The Holocaust

By Gilad Atzmon | July 1, 2019

30 Jewish protesters were arrested on Sunday outside a privately managed ICE detention centre in New Jersey, which has been used to hold undocumented immigrants.

Invoking the Holocaust, demonstrators described the facilities in which immigrants are being held as concentration camps and spoke of the immigrant children who have died while being held by ICE. The Jewish protesters travelled from cities all over the USA. They were holding signs and singing and chanting in Hebrew and English.

The Jews behind the protest say about themselves, “we are  #JewsAgainstICE because #NeverAgainMeans never again for anyone.” This sounds good enough to me and I have no criticism of the official objective behind this humanist protest. Yet the Jewish nature of the gathering raises some crucial and necessary questions:

 Are these Jewish protestors willing to describe Gaza as a concentration camp?

 Will the Jewish activists protest in front of the Israeli embassy invoking the holocaust, pointing out that the Palestinians are subject to long-term genocidal policies?

 Will these Jewish protestors allow gentile pro Palestinian activists, for instance, to equate Israel with Nazi Germany or maybe invoke the holocaust is a Jews-only domain?

 Would the activists consider a Jewish protest in front of Goldman Sachs headquarters or George Soros’ offices, pointing at the carnage these investors inflicted on states and millions of people around the globe?

 How far are these well-meaning Jewish protestors willing to go to identify problems that might be related to Jewish exceptionalism, nationalism or racism?

 But the Jewish protest raises a much deeper question. What kind of people make a conscious and collective effort to look humane and empathic? I guess one possible answer is that we are dealing with people who accept that some of the actions and politics associated with their tribe are deeply disturbing.

 Newsweek reports that “the protest brought together Jews with a range of religious leanings, creating what Alona Weimer, a member of New York ‘s Yeshivat Hadar, described as an atypical cross-section of attendees for a demonstration.” Once again, it is not Judaism or a meta-Jewish ethos that unites these diverse good Jews and Tikkun Olam enthusiasts. One may wonder: what is it then that bonds this Jewish ‘cross-section’? Is it the phantasy of Jewish humanist DNA? Is it the Jewish revolutionary spirit, or is it the controlled opposition gene?

Unless Jews learn to fight for humanity as ordinary people, these questions may keep surfacing.

July 1, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite | , | 9 Comments

Toronto Raptors’ Trip to Israel

The Obscenity of Jewish Power

By Kevin Barrett • American Herald Tribune • June 26, 2019

I recently received an email from Code Pink:

“Winning the NBA finals is a great achievement, but Raptors billionaire co-owner Larry Tennenbaum—an unapologetic Israel supporter—wants to reward them with a propaganda trip to Israel. Help us appeal to the Raptors to reject their coach’s offer: Tell them to dunk the ball for Palestinian rights by refusing to travel to Israel.”

“Dunk the ball for Palestinian rights?” That is not exactly the world’s catchiest protest chant. No rhyme or alliteration, the meter doesn’t scan, and the image that comes to mind is…what, exactly? Kawhi Leonard stealing Larry Tennenbaum’s head right off his neck and slamming it through the hoop?

Regardless, the well-meaning lefties at Code Pink have their hearts in the right place. Like most well-meaning lefties these days, they feel bad about Israeli atrocities. Unlike most well-meaning lefties, they are trying to do something about them. And unlike just about everybody else in America, they have the guts to get loud and visible, risking arrest or worse. (I will never forget hearing about Medea Benjamin getting her arm broken by al-Sisi’s thugs.)

But Code Pink’s courage does not extend to telling the truth about Jewish power and its most egregious abuses and vulnerabilities. Medea Benjamin must know that 9/11 was a false flag operation—she essentially admitted her suspicions to me, and cheered on my 9/11 activism, during her 2007 interview on my Truth Jihad Radio show. Yet during a 2014 New Horizon Conference in Iran, she and Gareth Porter loudly complained about the Conference’s focus on 9/11 “conspiracy theories” and other forms of “anti-Semitism.” While everyone else at the conference accepted that 9/11 was a Zionist-driven false flag (the show of hands was unanimous except for Benjamin and Porter), the two holdouts raised a stink with the Conference organizers about supposed anti-Jewish sentiment at the event. The two were particularly appalled by a couple of attendees representing the the European New Right, who espoused Holocaust revisionism and ferociously condemned what they saw as grossly disproportionate Jewish power dominating the West.

Which brings us to Gilad Atzmon’s million-dollar question: Why can’t we talk about Jewish power? Some say Jewish power is the elephant in the living room: It is so overwhelmingly huge and obvious that we just don’t notice it. But why don’t we notice it? And why are we met with embarrassed cringes when we mention it? Could it be that the elephant in the living room is standing on its hind legs and displaying a massively oversized sex organ?

In our current cultural living room, Jewish power is a kind of obscenity: It performs unspeakably blasphemous and perverted acts—shooting Palestinian children for sport, putting targets on the bellies of pregnant Palestinian mothers in order to kill the “little snakes” as well as their moms, killing the Kennedies, blowing up the World Trade Center in broad daylight, and so on—and then uses its monopoly on mainstream media to gaslight us and tell us that such things cannot possibly exist. (I analyzed this obscene, “unspeakable” dimension of 9/11 in a 2007 essay.)

When I try to talk about these matters with well-meaning liberal Jews like Medea Benjamin or Rabbi Michael Lerner, I run into a brick wall of denial. Rabbi Lerner seems to think that Jewish power in America is roughly proportional to Jewish demographic status as 1.5% of the population:

Barrett: Is there an American politician who could do that, though, given the ever increasing power of the ever more radical Zionist lobby here in the US? …

Lerner: Well, I think you’re mistaken about the causation. The American Jews represent about 1.5% of the population of the United States. The major force that supports the Republican Party and pushes also forces in the Democratic Party are the Christian fundamentalists. They are at least some place between 30 and 40 million, essentially about 5 or 6 times as many of them as there are Jews…. I think it’s a mistake to exaggerate Jewish power. The United States would be taking the same stance if Israel had no Jews in it, if Israel was simply another country that was willing to play ball with the United States…

Lerner’s seeming obliviousness to the reality of Jewish power in America, and the monstrous crimes it has enabled, is not unlike the reaction of a deep-in-denial child or spouse of an extreme abuser or serial killer. Good-hearted Jews like Rabbi Lerner just can’t face the fact that their community is (a) obscenely disproportionate in its power, and (b) complicit in the obscene crimes of the worst, dominant element of its leadership.

Rabbi Lerner’s assertion that the (organized) Jewish community’s power in America is proportional to its numbers, and has nothing to do with US support for Israel, is absurdly, laughably false. Yet ask average Americans “is Jewish power in America disproportionate, and if so, how disproportionate?” and you’ll probably get a lot of blank, embarrassed stares. We have been trained by the Jewish-dominated mainstream media to imagine that the only people who ask such questions are paranoid Nazi nutcases who fantasize about Jews secretly running the world from Elders of Zion headquarters beneath the South Pole, no doubt in cahoots with a still-living Elvis.

So let’s leave the “how disproportionate is Jewish power” question aside for a moment, and ask a parallel question: “Are African-Americans dominant, i.e. disproportionately represented, in professional basketball?” The answer, as we all know, is “yes.” How disproportionate are they? Rather than bothering to confirm with redundant research what we all know thanks to our own eyes, I confidently opine that the average pro basketball game features ten players, roughly eight of whom appear to be African-Americans. So African-Americans, who make up about 12% of the US population, constitute about 80% of NBA players. In other words, there are between six and seven times as many black NBA players as there would be if their presence was proportional to the black population. That’s a 600% to 700% overrepresentation. One could summarize this all-too-obvious reality by saying that “black people are massively overrepresented on the pro basketball court. They dominate!”

So how about NBA owners? One list claims that 17 out of 39 NBA owners (43.6%) are Jewish. The same list erroneously states that Jews constitute 3% of the population; the reality is less than 1.5%. It seems that Jews are overrepresented in NBA ownership positions by a factor of 2,900%—four times more overrepresentation than black players enjoy on the pro basketball court! So if we say that blacks are massively overrepresented and dominate the NBA courts, what words could possibly describe the overrepresentation of Jews as NBA owners?!

If you’re a Code Pink supporting liberal, it’s OK to protest Larry Tennenbaum dragging his basketball team to Israel to “sportswash” Zionist crimes. But it’s not OK to remark upon the fact that “Tennenbaum” is an obviously Jewish name. It’s even less OK to point out that Jews are absurdly overrepresented in NBA ownership positions. And it is the penultimate in non-OK-ness to point out that this is because Jews are similarly overrepresented among American billionaires, millionaires, people who make at least $100k per year—you name the metric of wealth, Jews pretty much own it. Finally, if you want to really make yourself unpopular by uttering the worst possible obscenity, just point out that this extreme overrepresentation of Jewish wealth, along with even more extreme and disproportionate Jewish dominance of mainstream media, is OBVIOUSLY (sorry Rabbi Lerner) the main reason the US has been bled by the state of Israel to the tune of trillions of dollars while squandering its power, reputation, and freedoms in an endless series of Middle Eastern wars.

Former ADL chief Abe Foxman, upon reading the above words, will no doubt be thrashing around in his plush retirement home bed with rage, screaming: “THE ‘RICH JEW’ IS A PERNICIOUS ANTI-SEMITIC TROPE!” More honest Jewish Americans, like the irrepressible Joel Stein, might reply that like Ilhan Omar’s “anti-Semitic tropes,” this one happens to be true. Joel might even wisecrack that he doesn’t care if Americans think Jews are obscenely rich and powerful, he just wants to keep them that way.

The Jewish community reacted to Stein’s legendary article “Who Runs Hollywood? C’mon!” in much the same way a classroom full of fourth graders might react to an especially loud and stinky fart: Half turned away and held their nose, while the other half giggled. There could be no better illustration of the parallel between the way people naturally react to obscenity, and typical polite middle class liberal reactions to the mention of Jewish power.

June 26, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , | 6 Comments

US NED-Funded Meddling Exposed in The Philippines

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By Joseph Thomas – New Eastern Outlook – 21.06.2019

With little else to offer the nations of Southeast Asia, the US has opted instead to wield the familiar and well-honed weapon of political subversion to peel potential partners away from Beijing in Washington’s continued bid to rescue its waning primacy in Asia-Pacific.

The most recent manifestation of this can be seen in the Philippines where Manila has accused media front Rappler, founded by long-time CNN bureau chief Maria Ressa, and others of representing foreign interests and conspiring with foreign intelligence agencies in direct violation of the nation’s constitution.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in its defense of Rappler would claim:

First were the politically motivated state charges that funding provided to the news website Rappler by a U.S. philanthropic foundation represented a violation of constitutional provisions barring foreign control or ownership of Philippine media.

Then came government allegations in April that journalists from independent media groups, including Rappler, the independent media organization VERA Files, and the non-profit Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, were involved in a conspiracy to discredit and oust President Rodrigo Duterte’s elected government. All four outlets issued statements denying the allegation.

Now, a pro-government media campaign claims that the same independent news outlets and the Philippine press freedom group Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility are in the pay of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), a potential criminal offense under local law.

The CPJ notes that all of the accused groups are openly and admittedly funded by the US government via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The CPJ admits (my emphasis):

All four outlets receive substantial grants from the NED. 

Funded largely by Congress, NED was founded in the early 1980s as a way for the U.S. to openly promote democracy worldwide by providing annual grants to non-governmental groups, according to its website.

The CPJ categorically fails to challenge what are the NED’s own assertions that it is merely “promoting democracy worldwide.”

NED: The Public Face of (Often Violent) US Regime Change

The NED’s board of directors includes individuals openly involved in US-backed regime change including in Iraq, Ukraine and ongoing US regime change efforts in Venezuela.

Board members including Francis Fukuyama and Elliott Abrams openly advocated the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 in which the government in Baghdad was toppled and its senior leadership murdered based entirely on now verified lies regarding supposed “weapons of mass destruction.”

Elliott Abrams is listed on the NED’s website as “On Leave,” having been appointed as a US special envoy for Venezuela amid ongoing efforts to overthrow the government there.

The Guardian in an article titled, “US diplomat convicted over Iran-Contra appointed special envoy for Venezuela: Elliott Abrams, who was linked to failed coup against Chávez, to join Pompeo to urge security council to recognize Guaidó as head,” would report:

Elliott Abrams was appointed US special envoy for Venezuela on Friday, as Donald Trump’s administration and European leaders on Saturday further increase the pressure on the socialist president, Nicolás Maduro, to step aside from leading the country he has taken into a deepening crisis.

Abrams will accompany the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, to a meeting of the UN security council in New York on Saturday, during which Pompeo will urge members to join the US in declaring Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the legitimate head of state.

The Guardian also notes:

Abrams is widely remembered in Central America, but particularly from his time in the Reagan administration, when he tried to whitewash a massacre of a thousand men, women and children by US-funded death squads in El Salvador, when he was assistant secretary of state for human rights.

Other NED directors include Victoria Nuland who played a key role in leading US regime change efforts in Ukraine in 2014.

Reuters in its article, “Leaked audio reveals embarrassing U.S. exchange on Ukraine, EU,” would admit:

A conversation between a State Department official and the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine that was posted on YouTube revealed an embarrassing exchange on U.S. strategy for a political transition in that country, including a crude American swipe at the European Union.

The article also admitted:

The audio clip, which was posted on Tuesday but gained wide circulation on Thursday, appears to show the official, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, weighing in on the make-up of the next Ukrainian government.

The convergence of senior US representatives openly and repeatedly involved in (often violent) regime change most certainly involving the CIA among myriad other US organisations within the halls of the NED is no coincidence.

The NED exists to promote regime change worldwide, merely under the guise of “promoting democracy worldwide.”

The CPJ Defends US-funded Subversion Under Guise of “Press Freedom”

The CPJ failed categorically to inform readers of facts surrounding the true nature of NED and its activities in its defence of Rappler.

This however should come as no surprise. The CPJ itself is yet another shell organisation likewise funded by US corporate foundations for the purpose of promoting US interests. The CPJ does this by protecting fronts like Rappler under the guise of “press freedom” from the repercussions of engaging in US government-funded subversion.

Fronts like Rappler serve as a propaganda “sword” while the CPJ exists as a “shield” to block efforts by targeted nations to defend themselves.

The CPJ in its 2018 annual report (.pdf) is admittedly funded by corporate foundations like convicted financial criminal George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, US corporations like pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and tech giants Twitter, Microsoft and Yahoo, financial institutions like Mastercard and Morgan Stanley and mainstays of Western media including Reuters, Vice, NPR, PBS, Time, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and NBC.

Many of these interests funding the CPJ are involved in activities at the NED. Anne Applebaum, for example, is a senior columnist at the above mentioned Washington Post and serves as an NED director.

The CPJ’s defence of Rappler continues, claiming:

Manila Times columnist Yen Makabenta, in an April 30 op-ed, called for the enactment of a foreign agents registration law to “tame in a hurry the intrusive criticism and interference in national affairs by these foreign-funded [media] organizations, whose activities are subversive by design.” Makabenta continued, “Indeed, if they are working for a group like the CIA, they could be working to change the government.”

CPJ has chronicled how governments, including in Russia and China, have passed laws that require bloggers, journalists and civil society members to register as foreign agents in moves that threaten to obstruct the free flow of information, including over social media. Makabenta’s op-ed suggested the Philippines should implement similar legislation.

The U.S. government has denied the CIA is involved in any destabilization plot against Duterte. The U.S. ambassador responded to the claims by saying, “There is absolutely no effort by the CIA to undermine the Philippines leadership,” according to reports.

Makabenta’s fears are well-founded.

Even at a glance the NED’s board of directors reflects the organisation’s role in fueling regime change worldwide. NED-funded media fronts are demonstrably biased and transparent in their efforts to undermine targeted governments and to promote US-favoured politicians, political parties and opposition groups.

The Philippines’ Punishment for Building Bridges with Beijing 

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has demonstrated a pattern of disobedience toward Washington, having previously threatened to expel US forces from Philippine territory, building closer ties with Beijing and even excluding Washington from bilateral talks held with Beijing seeking solutions to disputes over the South China Sea.

For all of these reasons and more, President Duterte and others throughout the Philippines’ establishment have become targets of US-backed subversion, the public face of which being NED-funded media fronts like Rappler.

A similar pattern can be seen throughout Southeast Asia with NED-funded fronts like Prachatai, iLaw, Isaan Record and Benar News targeting the current Thai government headed by a Beijing-friendly military-led faction that twice ousted US proxy Thaksin Shinawatra and his political allies from power.

It is difficult to say how long organisations like the CPJ can continue successfully defending fronts like Rappler under the guise of defending “press freedom.” Only the CPJ’s intentional omission of facts like the nature of the NED’s board of directors and its extensive history of regime change allows the CPJ to portray its defense of Rappler and others taking NED funds as credible.

Were the CPJ truly dedicated to defending press freedom it would note the danger of foreign-funded sedition dressed up as journalism and alert the public to how this above all else threatens to undermine a free press. Instead, the CPJ defends this abuse, thus ironically undermining genuine press freedom in the process.

Should the Philippines enact an effective foreign agents registration law, other nations in the region might follow, delivering a severe blow to US meddling and pose as a further setback to US ambitions to reassert itself vis-à-vis China.

With the US unable to compete with China’s infrastructure-centred regional partnerships, and even lagging behind in the sale of military hardware, security partnerships and investments, political subversion is the last tool on offer. But maybe taking this last tool away from Washington could be a blessing in disguise. Without it, perhaps Washington will reevaluate other, more constructive methods of engaging with Asia-Pacific (and the rest of the world) based on mutual respect and benefits and above all, upon the primacy of national sovereignty.

Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas.

June 21, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | Leave a comment

Canada Backs Pro-US Puppet Party in Venezuela

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau poses with Voluntad Popular’s Antonieta López and Lilian Tintori. (Twitter/@liliantintori)
By Yves Engler | Venezuelanalysis | June 3, 2019

Not only has Canada financed and otherwise supported opposition parties in Venezuela, Ottawa has allied itself with some of its most anti-democratic, hardline elements. While the Liberal government has openly backed Voluntad Popular’s bid to seize power since January, Ottawa has supported the electorally marginal party for years.

Juan Guaidó’s VP (Popular Will in English) party has repeatedly instigated violent protests. Not long after the Democratic Unity Roundtable opposition coalition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles effectively conceded defeat in January 2014, VP leader Leopoldo López launched La Salida (exit/departure) in a bid to oust Nicolas Maduro. VP activists formed the shock troops of “guarimbas” protests that left forty-three Venezuelans dead, 800 hurt and a great deal of property damaged in 2014. Dozens more were killed in a new wave of VP backed protests in 2017.

Effective at stoking violence, VP has failed to win many votes. It took 8% of the seats in the 2015 elections that saw the opposition win control of the National Assembly. With 14 out of 167 deputies in the Assembly, it won the fourth most seats in the Democratic Unity Roundtable coalition. In the December 2012 regional elections VP was the sixth most successful party and did little better in the next year’s municipal elections. More recently, in the October 2017 regional elections the party failed to secure a single governorship.

VP was founded at the end of 2009 by Leopoldo López who “has long had close contact with American diplomats”, reported the Wall Street Journal. A great-great-grand nephew of independence leader Simón Bolívar, grandson of a former cabinet member and great-grandson of a president, López was schooled at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Between 2000 and 2008, López was the relatively successful and popular mayor of the affluent 65,000 person municipality of Chacao in eastern Caracas.

During the 2002 military coup, López “orchestrated the public protests against [President Hugo] Chávez and he played a central role in the citizen’s arrest of Chavez’s interior minister.” He was given a 13-year jail sentence for inciting and planning violence during the 2014 “guarimbas” protests.

Canadian officials have had significant contact with López’s emissaries and party. In November 2014, Lilian Tintori visited Ottawa to meet Foreign Minister John Baird, Conservative cabinet colleague Jason Kenney and opposition MPs. After meeting López’s wife, Baird called for his release and other “political prisoners,” which referred to a number of other VP representatives.

Three months later, VP National Political Coordinator Carlos Vecchio visited Ottawa with Leopoldo López’s sister, Diana López, and Orlando Viera-Blanco to speak to the Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. At a press conference, “Popular Will’s international wing” denounced the Venezuelan government and spoke at a McGill University forum on “Venezuela in Crisis: The Decline of Democracy and the Repression of Human Rights.”

Vecchio was appointed as the Guaidó phantom government’s “ambassador” to the US and Orlando Viera-Blanco was named its “ambassador” to Canada. In October 2017, Vecchio and VP deputy Bibiana Lucas attended the anti-Maduro Lima Group meeting in Toronto.

In June 2015, VP councillor of Sucre, Dario Eduardo Ramirez, spoke to the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade. In May 2016, VP Assistant National Political Coordinator Freddy Guevara and VP founding member Luis Germán Florido met Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion and members of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee to denounce Maduro’s government. During the trip, VP’s Coordinator of International Relations Manuel Avendaño and an aide Abraham Valencia published an opinion in the Hill Times titled, “Venezuela is on the brink of disaster. Here’s how Canada can help.”

The Canadian embassy in Caracas and former Ambassador Ben Rowswell worked with VP officials pushing for the overthrow of the elected government. The runner-up for the embassy’s 2012 “Human Rights Prize,” Tamara Adrián, represents VP in the National Assembly. At the embassy during the presentation of the 2014 human rights award to anti-government groups were López’s lawyers and wife. In response, then President of the National Assembly Diosdado Cabello accused Rowswell of supporting coup plotters.

The leader of VP in Yaracuy State, Gabriel Gallo, was runner-up for the embassy’s 2015 human rights award. A coordinator of the Foro Penal NGO, Gallo was also photographed with Rowswell at the embassy’s 2017 human rights prize ceremony.

The Montreal-based Canadian Venezuelan Engagement Foundation is closely aligned with VP. Its president is Guaidó’s “ambassador” to Canada — Viera-Blanco — and its founding director is Alessa Polga whose LinkedIn page describes her as VP Canada’s Subcoordinator and Intergovernmental Relations. Polga has been invited to speak before the House of Commons and in 2017 demanded Canada follow the US in adopting sanctions on Venezuela. Justin Trudeau offered words of solidarity for a recent Canadian Venezuelan Engagement Foundation “Gala for Venezuela” in Toronto.

In 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018, VP youth outreach leader and former Mayor David Smolansky spoke at the Halifax International Security Conference. During his 2018 trip to Nova Scotia, Smolansky published an opinion piece in the Halifax Chronicle Herald claiming, “more than just a failed state, Venezuela is a criminal state.”

In May 2017, Tintori met Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the leaders of the opposition parties. In response, Venezuela’s Foreign Affairs Minister Delcy Rodríguez described Lopez’s wife as an “agent of intervention” who claims the “false position of victim” while she’s aligned with “fascist” forces in Venezuela.

Three months earlier, Tintori met US President Donald Trump and The Guardian reported on her role in building international support for the plan to anoint VP deputy Guaidó interim president. According to the Canadian press, Canadian diplomats spent “months” working on that effort and the Associated Press described Canada’s “key role” in building international support for claiming a relatively marginal National Assembly member was Venezuela’s president. Presumably, Canada’s “special coordinator for Venezuela” organized these efforts which included foreign minister Chrystia Freeland speaking to Guaidó “the night before Maduro’s swearing-in ceremony to offer her government’s support should he confront the socialist leader.” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has spoken with Guaidó at least twice since.

Canada has strengthened VP’s hardline position within the opposition. A February Wall Street Journal article noted that leading opposition figures on stage with Guaidó when he declared himself interim president had no idea of his plan despite it being reliant on the Democratic Unity Roundtable’s agreement to rotate the National Assembly presidency within the coalition. (VP’s turn came due in January).

Venezuelans require a vibrant opposition that challenges the government. They don’t need Canada to boost an electorally marginal party that drives the country into increasing conflict.

Yves Engler is the author of 10 books including his latest, Left, Right — Marching to the Beat of Imperial Canada.

June 4, 2019 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | , | Leave a comment

Bipartisan Support for Trump’s Aggressive Iran Policy Reveals the Hollowness of Russiagate

By Whitney Webb | MintPress News | June 3, 2019

In early May, MSNBC news host Rachel Maddow — known as one of the top promoters of the new Cold War and Russiagate in American media — emphatically endorsed regime change in Venezuela after she claimed that President Donald Trump’s hawkishness towards the South American country had changed, all because of a single phone call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Though Maddow’s claims were arguably the most extreme in suggesting that Trump was “taking orders” from Putin on Venezuela, she wasn’t alone in making them. For instance, Cenk Uygur of the Young Turks also made the claim that the Trump-Putin phone call on Venezuela was “direct evidence that he is literally taking orders from Putin.” In addition, several corporate media outlets supported this narrative by suggesting that Trump “echoed” Putin’s Venezuela stance after the phone call and directly contradicted his top staffers and even himself in doing so.

Yet now, strangely, those same corporate media voices remain silent on the Trump administration’s other regime-change project — in Iran — despite the fact that the Putin-led Russian government is set to be the biggest winner as tensions between the U.S. and the Islamic Republic boil over and threaten to send the Middle East into a fresh bout of destruction and chaos.

How Russia wins

As tensions between the U.S. and Iran have grown in recent months, analysts in both corporate and independent media have speculated about what country is set to benefit the most from the U.S.’ campaign of “maximum pressure” and regime change against the Islamic Republic. Of the many analyses, two countries have stood out as likely beneficiaries: Russia and China.

The cases for China and Russia’s benefit are somewhat similar given that the Trump administration’s focus on Iran results in less pressure on both Russia and China. This is despite the fact that, officially, the U.S.’ current National Defense Strategy explicitly calls for focusing attention on preparing for a “long war” against Russia and China to prevent either from superseding the U.S. as a global superpower. Yet, with the U.S. focused on regime change in Iran and Venezuela, Russia and China can avoid bearing the brunt of U.S. military adventurism, either directly or by proxy, while the U.S. wears itself thin by trying to do it all at once.

Several U.S. military analysts have been warning against war with Iran for precisely this reason. Nikolas Gvosdev, a professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College, recently wrote in The Hill that the U.S. faces a lose-lose scenario by pursuing a militaristic, aggressive Iran policy:

To gear up for a major conflict with Iran, the U.S. would be forced to de-emphasize Europe’s eastern flank, allowing Russia more time and breathing space to consolidate its position. On the other hand, a U.S. campaign that is defined more by bellicose rhetoric and less by action will buttress Russia’s claim, already seemingly validated in Syria and in Venezuela, that the U.S. talks a good game but has no real stomach for projecting its power.”

Both countries also stand to benefit from Iran’s increasing desperation for trading partners unwilling to bow to the U.S. Currently, China represents 30 percent of Iran’s international trade and the current U.S. sanctions on Iran have pushed Tehran to rely more heavily on Russia, especially for weapons purchases, than it had while the Iran nuclear deal (officially the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA) was in force.

However, upon closer examination, it becomes clear that China, though it benefits to some degree, is not a clear winner amid current tensions, while Russia stands to gain the most. The reason for this is the effect of current and future U.S.-Iran tensions on the oil market. While China trusts Iran to be a key oil supplier even if there is a breach in U.S.-China relations, any shock to the oil market and any jump in oil prices — both of which are likely to occur if U.S.-Iran tensions continue to escalate — will spell disaster for the Chinese economy, given that China is now the world’s largest importer of oil.

Russia, on the other hand, stands to benefit massively from the chaos that U.S.-Iran tensions are set to unleash on the oil market and, by extension, oil prices. With the U.S. seeking to starve Iran of any and all oil export revenue, all countries that had been purchasing Iranian oil must seek new suppliers. Yet, with the prospect of a U.S-Iran conflict still ever-present, it will be those oil producers outside of the Middle East that will come out on top, since oil supply routes that do not pass through the Middle East do not risk supply disruptions that would be caused by a war in the region. Thus, Russia, owing to its location, will emerge as an oil producer of extreme importance. Furthermore, given that such instability in the Middle East will lead to a surge in global oil prices, Russia will be able to export more oil at a higher price and will see its economy and geopolitical clout benefit greatly as a result.

A potential geopolitical killing

In addition to a great boost to its oil sector, Russia also stands to make unique geopolitical gains, particularly in the Middle East and beyond. For instance, in Syria, Russia is increasingly seeking to use its pull with Syria’s government as a major bargaining chip with Israel and the U.S., as made clear by the upcoming trilateral summit on the Middle East between Russia, Israel and the U.S. The main focus of that summit will likely be the fate of the presence of foreign militaries in Syria, particularly Iranian and U.S. forces.

The summit will likely be dominated by Russia and Israel, given Israel’s influence over the U.S., and particularly over National Security Adviser John Bolton, who will represent the U.S. at the summit. Israel’s key interest in Syria at this stage of the conflict is the removal of Iranian forces from Syria. Russia is likely to oblige that request, as doing so would allow Russia to dominate a post-war Syria at Iran’s expense. This seems to be a current Russian objective in Syria, given recent reports of in-fighting among Russian and Iranian forces in Northern Syria.

However, Russia is unlikely to help reduce Iran’s Syria presence if doing so would favor the United States’ occupation of Syrian territory or threaten to upset Russia’s own interests in Syria. Thus, in this case, Russia is counting on Israel’s influence on the Trump administration to ensure that, if Iranian forces vacate Syria, it will be Russia that will dominate the country post-conflict.

Russia also stands to gain geopolitically from the isolationism being forced on Iran by the Trump administration. Indeed, U.S. pressure on Iran has already served Russian interests by pushing Iran further towards Russia, giving Moscow the status of an increasingly important economic partner of Tehran. While benefiting the Russian economy, closer economic ties between Moscow and Iran would also give Russia a leg up in discussions with the U.S., as Washington may then need to make concessions to or coordinate with Russia in future efforts to pressure Iran.

Meanwhile, Russia stands to reap major profits by selling more weapons to Iran, and to gain geopolitical clout by further cementing its role as a mediator of conflict by promoting compliance with the JCPOA and opposing regime change. Iran’s dwindling options for strategic alliances with non-U.S. aligned countries will make it difficult for Tehran to resist Russian demands on key issues, including the Syria conflict.

Another major geopolitical win for Russia that has resulted from the U.S.’ current Iran policy is the tension that that policy has engendered between the U.S. and its European allies. When the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA, it began the development of a rift between the U.S. and its key European allies who are also JCPOA signatories — particularly France, Germany and the United Kingdom. As a signatory, Russia’s stance on Iran has revolved around the JCPOA, with Russia having urged Iran to remain in the deal “no matter what,” advice that Iran does not now seem keen to follow.

Russia’s stance on JCPOA is likely aimed just as much at Europe as it is at Iran, since promoting the agreement amid the U.S. unilateral withdrawal paints Russia as more predictable and stable in terms of its political stances and diplomacy in comparison to the U.S. If nothing else, Putin is known for excelling at taking advantage of the missteps made by his geopolitical adversaries.

This is all part of a careful public image that Russia is seeking to cultivate with European countries as it hopes to attract them to do business with Russian oil and gas companies as the Middle East now seemingly approaches another era of extreme instability. By promoting the JCPOA alongside Europe, Russia makes increased Russo-European cooperation seem more attractive.

As U.S.-Iran tensions mount, particularly if armed conflict breaks out, importing goods from Russia, especially oil and gas, will appear more attractive and safer in comparison to goods that originate from or pass through the Middle East before arriving in Europe. Depending on how the situation plays out, Europe — driven by concerns about stability and reliability — may be willing to risk angering the U.S. to pursue increased economic cooperation with Russia, even though doing so would run counter to current U.S. and NATO objectives.

Putin plays Netanyahu

While it is often difficult to find accurate, honest reporting on Vladimir Putin –reporting that is neither too biased against him nor too much in his favor — it is generally acknowledged that Putin, above all else, is interested in advancing Russia’s national interest and is a cunning strategist who often thinks several steps ahead of both his allies and his adversaries.

In viewing the ratcheting up of tensions between the U.S. and Iran, Putin’s modus operandi remains unchanged and, upon closer examination, it is clear that he is giving the hotheads driving this still-escalating situation just enough rope to hang themselves. Meanwhile, Russia is waiting in the wings to pick up the pieces and further cement its already acknowledged role as the new foreign “peacemaker” in the Middle East while gaining economic and geopolitical clout in the process.

Prior to the Israeli election earlier this year, Israeli media noted on several occasions that Putin was backing the reelection of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, including when Putin hosted Netanyahu at a sudden pre-election summit. Israeli newspaper Haaretz described Putin’s decision to host Netanyahu at the time as aimed at helping Netanyahu secure the “crucial Russian vote” among Russian-Israeli Jews in order to “outflank” his competitors. In another instance, Putin was alleged to have further helped Netanyahu’s reelection odds by having Russian special forces find and deliver the remains of Zachary Baumel — an Israeli soldier who had gone missing in Lebanon in 1982 — to Israel just ahead of the election.

Putin’s direct support of Netanyahu may seem odd to observers of geopolitics, given that the two have often been at odds over Syria. However, Putin and Netanyahu have developed an effective working relationship and Russia and Israel enjoy relatively strong bilateral ties and economic agreements.

Yet, beyond the ties that have been forged between the two countries in recent years, Putin likely knows that he can play Netanyahu’s weaknesses to his advantage. For instance, Putin is acutely aware of the benefits to be reaped from increasing tensions between the U.S. and Iran and is also aware of the key role that Netanyahu has played and continues to play in driving the Trump administration’s Iran policy. Netanyahu’s near-obsession with regime change in Iran and the practical likelihood that a U.S.-Iran war would be “unwinnable” for the U.S. and would leave its military weakened and distracted are points that Putin is likely eager to exploit in pursuance of Russian geopolitical goals.

Russia seeks to play the role of mediator but only to a certain extent and has kept its attitude towards Iran intentionally vague when dealing with the Israeli government, so much so that Israeli officials have cited Russia’s unknown stance towards Iran as a major difficulty in negotiating the deconfliction of Russian and Israeli forces in Syria. This is likely because Russia doesn’t seek to aid either side amid escalating tensions, instead waiting for the current tensions to play out, as it stands to make gains in either case.

That Russia stands to gain from current U.S.-Iran tensions hasn’t been lost on all Israeli officials, however. Earlier this month, a former Israeli intelligence official, Yakkov Kedmi, openly stated that not only is a war against Iran “unwinnable” for the U.S. and its regional allies, but further that Russia would be the only major country to benefit from any military conflict pitting the Americans against the Iranians. Appearing on Russian television program Evening with Vladimir Solovyov, Kedmi stated that, if war does break out, the U.S. “won’t remain whole” after the conflict and that “if anyone wins, it’ll be Russia.”

“If the price of oil exceeds $100 per barrel, it hits the Chinese economy. Most of all, it hits the European and American economies,” Kedmi stated. “If you double the price,” he added, “[global] industry will be ruined. First of all, it will happen in the U.S.” To that, the program’s host, Vladimir Solovyov, asserted that “Their [American] industry will be [ruined]. It’ll be the opposite in our country. Our economy will begin to develop. We’ll feel like kings with golden diamond-studded wheels on our cars.”

Why the Russiagaters are silent on Iran

Given Russia — and Putin’s — clear benefit from the continuing U.S. escalation with Iran and a potential military conflict, it is striking that Putin’s fiercest critics in the American media have remained silent about this clear pay-off as the Trump administration continues to pursue an aggressive, hawkish Iran policy that hardly benefits the U.S. and instead benefits its supposed adversary. This is especially notable in light of the fact that these same American critics of Russia and Putin’s leadership were recently accusing Trump of “taking orders” from Putin by altering his Venezuela policy in a way that was perceived to benefit Russian over American interests.

This dichotomy is most easily deconstructed by noting that top promoters of Russiagate and news personalities known for their hyperfocus on Putin rarely call for any policy that would involve a reduction in tensions or less militarism abroad. Indeed, all too often, the “solutions” offered by these journalists involve sending weapons to U.S. proxy forces, shooting missiles at Russian allies, sanctioning Russia and its allies, and other “useful reminders of the military strength of the Western alliance” between the U.S. and NATO.

Without fail, the suggested solutions of how to counter Putin from the U.S. media and political establishment almost always involve “pushing back” with force equal to or greater than the perceived aggression. Rarely do they involve backing down or unwinding tensions, even in the cases where doing so would clearly challenge key geopolitical objectives of the Russian government.

In the case of Russia’s benefit from Trump’s Iran policy, the benefit is so clear that it has been voiced in several mainstream media outlets — including CNN, The Hill, Forbes and Bloomberg —  with most of those reports focusing exclusively on the oil angle. However, while Russia’s advantage has been noted, it is also clear that Trump’s current Iran policy has avoided inflaming the Russiagate hysteria that has marked media coverage of other Trump policies and statements that were perceived as being “pro-Putin” for the past few years.

One reason that the media has skipped a prime opportunity for another Russiagate frenzy is the fact that many of the driving forces behind Russiagate are also supportive of regime change in Iran. Indeed, while Russiagate has recently been cast by Trump and prominent Republicans as a “hoax” narrative exclusive to Democrats, prominent neoconservatives have long been pivotal in creating and fomenting Russigate for over five years.

For instance, the origins of the infamous Steele dossier — which was used to assert that Russia’s government had a litany of salacious blackmail on Trump that it would use to manipulate him as president — trace back to top neoconservative Republican donor Paul Singer. That dossier was subsequently circulated within the Obama administration during the 2016 campaign by neoconservatives Victoria Nuland and the late Senator John McCain.

Many of the same neoconservative figures who have helped stoke Russiagate and pounced on the resulting climate of hysteria to promote increased militarism as the solution, also support regime change in Iran. Michael McFaul — U.S. Ambassador to Russia during the Obama administration — is both a strong advocate for aggressive U.S. measures to counter Putin and also a vocal proponent of U.S.-led regime change in Iran. Similarly, on the supposed other side of the political spectrum, Bill Kristol — well-known neoconservative writer, an icon of the establishment “resistance” to Trump, and a promoter of Russiagate — also strongly supports hawkish measures to contain Russia and is a long-time, vocal supporter of regime change in Iran.

While the tense situation between the U.S. and Iran is undeniably troubling, the relative silence among figures in U.S. media and politics who claim to be Putin’s fiercest critics with regard to Trump’s aggressive Iran policy reveals a stark truth about Russiagate. The goal of Russiagate is not actually about “countering” Putin or Russian geopolitical influence; it is about promoting the expansion and widespread adoption of hyper-militarism by both the establishment left and establishment right in the United States.

While Russia often serves as a useful “boogeyman” in service to this agenda of promoting militaristic policies, the odd moments when those same policies actually benefit Russia and do not run into hysterical opposition from the political and media establishment provide a rare glimpse into the real motivations behind Cold War 2.0 and the dubious validity of the media-driven narratives upon which current anti-Russian hysteria is based.

Whitney Webb is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.

June 3, 2019 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Who cares how war criminals vote?

By Kit Knightly | OffGuardian | May 30, 2019

Alastair Campbell has been kicked out of the Labour Party.

Apparently, he voted for the Liberal Democrats in the recent European Parliamentary elections, and then announced he had done so on Sky News. Thus putting him in breach of paragraph 2 of Labour’s Membership Rules, which states:

A member of the Party who joins and/ or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour group or other unit of the Party, or supports any candidate who stands against an official Labour candidate, or publicly declares their intent to stand against a Labour candidate, shall automatically be ineligible to be or remain a Party member, subject to the provisions of Chapter 6.I.2 below of the disciplinary rules.”

It’s a fairly open and shut case, to be honest.

And so ends the Labour career of Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s PR man, one of the key architects of the “dodgy dossier”, a man complicit in every death that resulted from the US/UK illegal invasion of Iraq.

The reaction of anyone, with even the most rudimentary grasp of ethics, should be “good riddance”.

Clearly therefore, the vast majority of the pundits, “journalists” and talking heads do not have a rudimentary grasp of ethics.

Yes, Campbell was actually defended. By journalists. And celebrities. And members of parliament.

Campbell is a “strong voice for Labour values” according to some, his expulsion is “Stalinist” according to others.

It’s time for a very serious reality check: Alastair Campbell should not be in the Labour Party.

He shouldn’t be tweeting his thoughts or giving interviews or writing columns. He shouldn’t have any power or influence or authority. He shouldn’t even be breathing free air.

He should be in the dock at the Hague, briefly. And then – hopefully – spending the rest of his time in eternity’s waiting room, carving tally marks on a cell wall.

Who cares who he voted for? He’s a fucking monster.

This is not “silly” or “old fashioned” or “predictable”. It’s just true.

As a society it’s important we try and recognise principles and morality. Virtue matters. Truth matters. There ARE absolutes. Most of the Labour MPs defending Campbell voted FOR that war. They all voted against investigations into it.

They are complicit in crimes against humanity. That is a statement of fact. And yet their opinions are treated as if they carry weight. They are assumed to have ideals, to be sincere, when their actions demonstrate this is simply not the case.

We don’t talk about Pinochet’s economic reforms.
We don’t isolate Pol Pot’s opinion on free healthcare.
We don’t defend Mussolini’s well organised internal transport infrastructure.

It is accepted that crimes of a certain scale put a mark on you that you can’t scrub off. That doesn’t change because these criminals are all well-spoken chaps with open shirt collars, it doesn’t change because they managed to slime their way out of punishment, it doesn’t change because our national ego lifts Britain above the law, and it doesn’t change because we’re all so English and confrontation makes us uncomfortable.

These people are monsters. Who they vote for does not matter. What they say does not matter. They have no values. They have no standing. They have no place in a decent world. If it were any other crime of the same magnitude that would not need to be explained.

“Progressives” will vilify Tulsi Gabbard for even daring to speak to Narendra Modi, or visit Assad’s Syria. Corbyn has been raked over the coals for talking with the IRA. Nigel Farage is considered a “Russian stooge” for deigning to even vaguely compliment Vladimir Putin.

All those people combined don’t add up to the butcher’s bill Campbell racked up in the Middle East. Not even in the most fevered, deceitful propaganda of the Western press.

But no one is talking about Iraq. When Momentum tweeted about it, they were accused of being “shallow” and “stuck in the past”.

Maybe people are just divorced from the reality. Maybe the scale warps in their minds. Maybe it’s just too big, too dreadful to actually picture.

One. Million. Dead.

The entire population of Birmingham dropping dead tomorrow.

More than double the British losses in World War 2.

9/11 happening every single day, for a whole year.

Alastair Campbell helped make that happen. He did it dishonestly. He did it deliberately. He did it for personal and political gain.

And he has not, to this day, faced any kind of punishment. In all likelihood, he never will.

If you EVER find yourself defending him, whether opportunistically to undermine Corbyn or earnestly because you see no problem with his actions, then you are through the looking glass. Your morality is tonaly inverted.

Alastair Campbell’s voting record is an irrelevance. I don’t know who he voted for, or if he voted at all. I don’t care. It probably was the Lib Dems. It’s the mootest of moot, and the media outcry about it is beyond absurd.

Every time any person who played a part in the crimes of the Iraq war is allowed to exist in our society, without reference to the immense crime they committed, we normalise the idea that murder is OK when WE do it to THEM. That our wars are mistakes, or misjudgments or “foreign policy blunders”. They don’t really count. We don’t really mean it. We’re nice.

Blair and Campbell are given column inches. Their enablers in parliament rail against “antisemitism” and for the “people’s vote”, or talk about the evil “dictators” in Venezuela or North Korea who don’t share our “values”. Their cheerleaders in the press talk up Vladimir Putin as a “pariah” because of the totally bloodless Crimean referendum, but happily chuckle through interviews with Campbell as if he isn’t soaked to the bone in the blood of innocents.

Criminals discussing Brexit and football and Love Island, like it’s all a big joke. Campbell talks “candidly” about his “battles with depression” and we’re all supposed to go “awwww!”

All the while the man who proved their criminality rots in jail, barely able to move.

The world of the media is upside down.

It is disgusting, but wholly expected. The Establishment is rallying to defend one its own, it always does.

But most people know the truth: The only thing wrong with Alastair Campbell being kicked out of the Labour party, is that it’s fifteen years too late.

Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he’s forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.

May 29, 2019 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | | 1 Comment

Hungary’s Foreign Minister Calls Western Europe ‘Hypocrites’ for China Criticism

teleSUR | May 23, 2019

Hungary’s foreign minister Thursday accused major Western European nations of “hypocrisy” and “hysteria” for criticizing central European countries’ business dealings with China, and defended Hungary’s use of Huawei 5G mobile phone technology.

Sixteen central and eastern European countries, including 11 European Union members, held a summit with China in April during which it pledged to increase trade and provide more support for big cross-border infrastructure projects.

The area is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to link China by sea and land with Southeast and Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

France and Germany oppose such independent moves, which they fear might make Europe appear disunited at a time when the EU is trying to forge a more defensive strategy towards China.

On Tuesday, speaking to reporters in Paris, France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire criticized “negotiations of 16 states from the east with China in parallel to negotiations that the EU is leading with China”.

But Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, who is serving in the government of far-right Prime Minister Victor Orban, rejected such criticism, saying Germany and France do far more business with China than the central European states, and often negotiate directly with Beijing.

“There is such a bad hypocrisy in the European Union when it comes to China,” Szijjarto told Reuters on the sidelines of an OECD meeting in Paris. “The 11 central and eastern European member states … represent 9.9 percent of EU trade with China.”

“When the German chancellor and French president meet China’s leadership nobody thinks that’s a problem,” he said. “Nobody raises a question about how it is possible that they sell 300 aircraft to China, which is a bigger deal than the (entire) trade represented by the 11 central European countries.”

He said it was also unfair for Western European states to criticize Hungary for using technology from Chinese firm Huawei in its 5G mobile phone networks, when those networks were being built under license by German and British companies, Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone.

Hungary’s government has been at odds with Brussels for the erosion of media and judicial independence, attacks on civil organizations, treatment of migrants, laws against poverty, and the ousting of educational institutions like the progressive Central European University.

May 24, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Progressive Hypocrite | , , | Leave a comment

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

By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | May 21, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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