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Unindicted War Criminal Tony Blair Calls Brexit a Coup

By Stephen Lendman | The Peoples Voice | July 5, 2016

Britain’s most reviled and discredited leader when leaving office in June 2007 allied with Bill Clinton’s rape of Yugoslavia, George Bush’s naked aggression on Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as Israel’s war on Palestine.

Greed now drives him. So does selling influence, becoming super-rich over the last decade, using secretive offshore companies and trusts, remaining unaccountable for involvement in genocidal high crimes – from Belgrade to Kabul to Baghdad to Palestine.

Responsible editors wouldn’t touch his rubbish. The New York Times featured it, Blair taking full advantage, mocking a democratic process, calling Brexit a “stunning coup.”

His deplorable record as prime minister featured loyal service to bankers and war profiteers, public welfare be damned. On leaving office, he failed trying to reinvent himself.

Impossible to ignore his sordid record. He’s a warmaker, not a peacemaker, a criminal like the Clintons, Bush and Obama.

He supported Gaza’s siege and Israeli wars of aggression. His appointment as Middle East peace envoy showed occupation harshness would continue, Palestinian statehood prevented.

He called Brexit supporters insurgents, “standard-bearers of a popular revolt… encourage(d) (and) magnified by… social media…”

EU membership comes with a huge price – loss of sovereignty to Brussels, most of all to Washington, doing its bidding, backing its war agenda, enriching its privileged class at the expense of most others, and tolerating no resistance.

Blair is part of the problem. Supporting wrong over right enriched him.

The London Independent once said years of investigation showed he “prostituted himself in pursuing Mammon.” Political friends and foes alike revile him.

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Stephen Lendman can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book as editor and contributor is titled Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks World War III.

July 5, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Brexit: the English and Welsh Enlightenment

By Aidan O’Brien | CounterPunch | July 1, 2016

“No one really knows what happens now: the collective imagination leads to dark places.”

The International New York Times, June 25-26 2016

DublinBy voting for Brexit the English and Welsh have switched on the light. And, as usual, when the light suddenly conquers the dark the cracks become obvious and the cockroaches scatter. It’s a beautiful sight.

The speculators and the hoarders are running for cover. And their liberal apologists are blinded. At the same time their global gunmen feel naked. And what once felt like a palace now looks like a filthy dungeon. However it is a dungeon with a well marked exit.

It is an English and Welsh enlightenment rather than a British one because the British elite in London and their Celtic counterparts  in Edinburgh and Belfast voted to remain in the dark.

The critics of Brexit think that switching on the light is an act of madness. It is far better in their eyes to see nothing and to continuously walk into the wars.

Martin Wolf, the main man in the Financial Times, calls Brexit “irrational” and immune to “cold calculations”. And a Die Ziet editor, Jochen Bittner, writing in the New York Times thinks that Brexit is something an “Arab” would do rather than a “rational” European. Ireland’s leading liberal, Fintan O’Toole, in the Irish Times likens the voters for Brexit to a “drunk”. And the King of the liberals, Tony Blair, again in the New York Times, opines that those who voted for exit are controlled by “dangerous impulses”.

This is class war in words – a stab in the dark at the working class who actually decided the outcome of the referendum.

Despite this liberal attempt to assassinate the working class character; despite the accusation of irrationalism, and indeed the racism, directed at the English and Welsh workers: the vote for Brexit was an act of pure reason.

No matter the perspective (political, economic, military or moral) Brexit makes perfect sense for the working class. Has there ever been in the history of England or Wales a better example of rationalism? Probably not.

According to the mainstream media the determining issue in the referendum was immigration. The mainstream however is Murdoch: a man who has built an empire on lies and insults directed at the working class. And contrary to what the “quality” liberal press think: Murdoch doesn’t speak for the working class. And neither do the right-wingers, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, who were and are presented as being the leaders of Brexit.

The vote for Brexit was based on solid ground rather than on a fog of emotion. There was nothing alcoholic about it, nothing fearful nor fantastical nor dangerous. In fact the vote was raw rationalism. And the fact that it was based on “uneducated” workers is brilliantly hopeful.

The empirical reasons for voting for Brexit were as clear as day. The obvious one is that there is no “European Union” to belong to. Germany rules the roost. The “Union” doesn’t exist. But the “Apartheid” does.

The facts have being piling up for all to see in recent years. Only an educated fool could miss them. The financial crisis of 2008 crystallised everything. The subsequent rape of Greece and the generalised attack on workers throughout the EU (Austerity) made the EU feel more like a Banana Republic than a Super State.

And the 2014 coup in Ukraine made this banana feeling unbearable. The USA was doing to Europe what it did to Honduras in 2009. To paraphrase the US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland, the US was “fucking” Europe. And the response of the EU? Silence. Not a word of complaint. So why would anyone want to belong to an organisation that is being “fucked”?

The fact that damns the EU the most however, in the eyes of “cold calculation”, is the EU’s death wish. The EU’s push for World War III in the East is truly mad. And makes a mockery of the “peaceful” portrayal of the EU.

By allowing NATO to goose-step the EU into the Middle East and up to the borders of Russia completely discredits the EU. Even more so if you’re an English or Welsh worker. Because it is they who are expected to kill and die on the frontline. The fact is that the English and Welsh working class are the EU’s best canon fodder. And in a time of permanent war: why should they continue to be so?

The vote for Brexit was not a vote against immigration but was a vote against the wars of the ruling class – those stemming from neoliberalism and imperialism (class and world war). That is why the ruling class are now panicking.

This is the hard factual ground upon which Brexit stands. But you will not see or feel this in the gutter liberal press and the gutter liberal education that dominates the European mind.

Therefore to grasp EU reality despite EU propaganda is a triumph of human reason. To understand the class hatred that is dressed up as the “educated” liberal norm and to rebel against it is rationalism at work. And to see the real race hatred that is presented as sophisticated EU foreign policy and to reject it is rational logic at it’s best.

In short: to identify the disunity beneath the rhetoric of European unity is today straightforward common sense. And this is what the common people have in abundance. The English and the Welsh have just tapped into it. And by doing so they may have just kick started another enlightenment.

And what about the darkness? The New York Times, the leading liberal daily, is trapped inside it. Read it’s June 27 International editorial:

“Compounding the problem [of Brexit] is Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin. Ruthlessly playing a weak hand, he has worked hard to undermine NATO and challenge the post-cold War order by invading Ukraine, funding right-wing groups in France and elsewhere and recklessly brandishing his military power from the Baltics to Syria. European countries have struggled to remain united on issues ranging from NATO’s budget to how best to respond to Mr. Putin.”

Have you ever read anything more sinister and stupid? This no doubt is what the US and EU “elite” see in their dark “places”. Thanks for switching on the light England and Wales.

Aidan O’Brien is a hospital worker in Dublin, Ireland.

July 1, 2016 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

From Brexit to Nicaragua : Liberal Contempt for Ordinary People

By Tortilla Con Sal | teleSUR | July 1, 2016

After the Brexit vote on June 23,  no one reading the coverage by liberal media like the U.K.’s Guardian and Independent newspapers, or the New York Times in the U.S., could possibly mistake the fierce anti-democratic, neocolonial metropolis mentality of the attacks against the mainly working class people who voted for Britain to leave the European Union.

That explains a lot about why these newspapers’ coverage of Latin America and the Caribbean has always been hostile to every progressive government in the region. These media outlets’ foreign affairs reporting has consistently attacked progressive governments in Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela, despite all the huge achievements of those governments on behalf of the region’s impoverished majority over the last 15 years.

The latest example of this comprehensive psychological warfare campaign is the Guardian’s attack on Nicaragua’s Sandinista government using the same lazy, skewed reporting and dishonest editorial practice Western liberal media routinely apply to Venezuela, Ukraine, Syria or any other foreign news story the Western elites need to misrepresent for propaganda purposes. Nina Lakhani’s June 26 report “Nicaragua suppresses opposition to ensure one-party election, critics say,” is a text book example of malicious innuendo with close to zero factual content, purposefully edited to obscure and confuse rather than clarify and explain. The most pernicious feature of this kind of propaganda attack is that general readers never see a strong fact-based rebuttal and even if they were to do so would find the detail relentlessly boring. Only specialists are likely to take an interest. So in practice, the liberal and progressive minded public, virtual captives of their own media taste, are entirely at the mercy of liberal media psychological warfare unless they have a special interest in seeking out more truthful reporting.

The most important political reality in Nicaragua since 2011 has been the solid and growing popular support for Daniel Ortega and the Sandinista Front for National Liberation. A poll by a center-right polling consultancy, published over the same weekend that the Guardian’s article appeared, confirmed that 60 percent of people in Nicaragua say they support the FSLN and Daniel Ortega. That augurs a total vote of probably around 70 percent for Daniel Ortega in the forthcoming national elections in November this year. Lakhani’s report ends with a quote from a U.S. academic acknowledging this reality, “The opposition are poorly organized, bereft of ideas and spend too much time fighting amongst themselves …. there’s no one in opposition capable of beating Ortega. He’s too popular – it was always going to be one-horse race.”

But that truth is buried at the end of an arbitrary disinformation pot pourri, jumping from one anti-Sandinista falsehood to another. Much more interesting than the routine falsity of the Guardian’s report is the fundamental assumption underlying it, namely that the opinion of a cosseted, self-interested neocolonial managerial class is worth more than the opinion of at least 60 percent of people in Nicaragua.

This reality was roughly stripped of its usual suave cosmetic makeover by the commentary in all the Western liberal media, almost universally attacking what they regarded as the ignorance and lack of education of the voters supporting Britain’s exit from the European Union. The political expression of that duplicity and cynicism has been the attack on Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the British Labour Party by party MPs largely carried over from the dead-end neoliberal era of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, who are talking openly about splitting to form a new political grouping. So at precisely the moment when the governing right-wing Tory Party is at its lowest ebb since the last general election, these avowed social democrats have chosen to attack the most faithful progressive expression of working class people in Britain. They cannot accept the stark challenge to the privileged status quo of which they are beneficiaries that the June 23 Brexit vote represents. There’s a very clear precedent for this moment in British politics and it comes from … Nicaragua.

After the Sandinista Front lost the 1990 election, a strong debate developed between those who believed in staying faithful to the principles of the Sandinista Revolution and those who believed in a move towards European style social democracy. Daniel Ortega lead those who insisted on fighting to defend strong government intervention in a mixed economy and an anti-imperialist foreign policy. The social democrat faction, led by former Vice-President Sergio Ramirez, argued for a shift to a more free market economic policy and an accommodation with the reality of U.S. power in the region. Through 1993 and 1994, Ramirez and his allies organized a parliamentary coup leading a majority of the 39 Sandinista deputies elected in 1990 to work with right-wing factions, railroading through the National Assembly restrictive changes to the 1987 Constitution with zero popular consultation.

In May 1994, the Sandinista Front held a national party congress in which Sergio Ramirez and his sympathizers lost a series of positions in the party structure while Daniel Ortega strengthened his grass roots support to consolidate his leadership. In the subsequent national elections in 1996, Daniel Ortega lead his party to important electoral success in the legislature with 36 out of 93 seats but, amid blatant electoral fraud, failed to win the Presidency. Sergio Ramirez’s Sandinista Renewal Movement polled a negligible vote, winning a solitary seat in the legislature as a result of questionable adjudication by the head of the Supreme Electoral Council, who was also the wife of the candidate in question. Over the subsequent decade, the MRS went into steady decline eventually disappearing as a formally constituted political party after the national elections of 2006.

There may well be a lesson in that history for Britain’s Labour Party. Nicaragua’s economy and society were in deep crisis in 1994 with opinion extremely polarized and a large floating vote desperate for policies to alleviate the crisis. The right wing only won the presidential elections of 1996 and 2001 by ruthless fear-mongering. Daniel Ortega and the Sandinista Front finally won the 2006 presidential election through astute alliances and positive policy proposals, insisting on national unity and reconciliation. In office, Ortega’s team successfully implemented those policy proposals despite being in a minority in the legislature. Their success enabled the Sandinista Front to win the 2011 election with over 63 percent of the vote, while the MRS social democrats by then had disappeared as a national political force. Parallels between Nicaragua in 1994 and Britain now may seem far fetched, but the political logic is strikingly similar. A progressive, relatively radical leader with a massive grassroots mandate faces a rebellion from a privileged social democratic parliamentary clique in a national context dominated by the right wing.

That configuration of forces may well foreshadow, for the social democrat Labour MPs a steady decline into oblivion and, for Jeremy Corbyn, a clear trajectory into office, if not immediate power. The Nicaraguan precedent will not be lost on Corbyn, who for decades has been a strong supporter of progressive movements in Latin America. What is common to both Britain and Nicaragua is the sheer contempt with which social democrat politicians have treated their party and the cynical opportunism of their timing.

The Brexit vote expresses both ordinary voters’ recognition of that cynicism and opportunism and, certainly in England and Wales, their rejection of it. The attitudes of the West’s social democrat political and media class to progressive political movements in Latin America evince the same obtuse, cynical neocolonial arrogance they apply to their own electorate. And that is why it is a waste of time hoping for a coherent, truthful account of events in Latin America and the Caribbean from media disinformation outlets owned and operated by that political and social class, as the Guardian’s latest inaccurate, phony report on Nicaragua demonstrates yet again.

July 1, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Ancillary Lessons from Brexit

By Evan Jones | CounterPunch | July 1, 2016

Apart from the substantive issues for the European elites of the Brexit referendum victory, two ancillary lessons have been thrust upon us, if we were not already wise to them.

One, the contemptible character of the mainstream media. Two, the crucial importance of historical understanding.

The mainstream media

One, the elite mainstream media, especially the financial media, is intolerable. Tabloids of and for the opinion makers. If one has been inclined to put a peg on the nose and tolerate the smell for the odd bit of useful information, the Brexit coverage should surely show that the daily sacrifice is not worth the candle.

Universal hysteria has reigned. It has been a tsunami of shit.

This from the super smug Financial Times :

“Britain takes a leap into the dark. … Britain’s decision to leave the EU is the biggest shock to the continent since the fall of the Berlin Wall.”

The bloody dismantlement of Yugoslavia and the financial coup d’État in Greece were apparently of minor significance.

The Economist, if at times sober, declaimed:

“After the vote, chaos. … June 23rd will be a landmark in British and European history.”

John Lloyd (a contributing editor at the Financial Times no less) blesses Reuters readers with a condescending inconsequential piece titled “… the chaos that will be felt around the world”. Well no it won’t.

Said the Guardian, now running on empty:

“Britain was heading into a period of unprecedented political, constitutional and economic crisis on Saturday night as European leaders stepped up demands for it to quit the EU as soon as possible.”

Beyond ground zero, other countries’ MSM joined in the shock horror clamor.

This from France’s L’Obs (formerly Le Nouvel Observateur), just before the vote:

“Après le Brexit, l’apocalypse?”

And on 24 June:

“Un suicide économique: après le Brexit, la City se réveille en panique”

France’s MSM is now overwhelmingly the plaything of the mega-rich. L’Obs could do well to hone in on the economic suicide perpetrated on its own turf.

Down under, in the colonies, The Sydney Morning Herald (deteriorating by the week with large-scale retrenchment of seasoned staff), dutifully reproduces whatever Anglo-America is saying. Thus the Washington Post appears, with:

“Brexit vote raises global recession fears”

Tabloid-style front page graphics inform us of:

“Anarchy in the UK … Broken Britain as the world reels”

The pot has been simmering, suppressed

Broken Britain indeed. The geographical distribution of the voting patterns highlights a predictable disparity that wasn’t generated the day before yesterday.

The afore-mentioned John Lloyd, from his Oxonian watchtower, declaims (of Scotland and Northern Ireland, but of general application):

“London and the southeast region generate the surplus they help to spend.”

What? As the City funnels its lucre to tax haven satellites (the Channel Islands aptly named), the regions will be appreciative of Lloyd setting the record straight on their mendicancy.

Here is the fundamental problem of the frenzy. The Brexit vote merely reflects a pre-existing condition. Why the supposed shock reaction?

The shock is because ‘the masses are revolting!’ They are supposed to know their place. We, the quality MSM, tell them what’s what, we set the agenda. That we report selectively, that we lie to them as a matter of principle, this is none of their business. It’s their role to take their medicine and be grateful. The universal franchise has been a problem from the beginning; we thought we had it under control, and these wretched people don’t know the rules. Non-stop propaganda not entirely successful, disenfranchisement here we come.

MSM failings have led to the birth of media watch outfits like the British Medialens and the French Acrimed. And now, praise the Lord, we have Off-Guardian, product of the precipitous decline of that once admirable masthead. Off-Guardian nails the MSM’s hysteria:

“You’d be forgiven for thinking that the referendum had been for turning off the sun, banning talking, or killing the first born son of every family in Britain…rather than a return to a state of affairs that has existed for all but the last 40 years of human history. Such is the level of the destruction.”

Thank you and goodnight to the ‘quality’ MSM.

Washington to the rescue?

Before moving on, there appeared an instructive piece emanating from the colonial cringe-worthy political culture in Australia, courtesy of a local academic ‘defense expert’, Stephen Fruehling. We discover that the evil Putin, everybody’s anti-Christ, is the major beneficiary of Brexit: The cad!

“Brexit is a great setback for the security of the Western world … [Fruehling] branded the successful exit vote a victory for Russia, which under Vladimir Putin has been trying to drive wedges into Europe. For Russia, this is a great win as it demonstrates that the institutions that hold together the West are cracking, and can be prised apart … Russia … will be encouraged to step up its corrosive and subversive influence on domestic debates in the EU member states.

Critically for Australia, it would leave Washington less time to focus on its ‘pivot’ to Asia. The turmoil to come can only reinforce the recent tendency of US re-engagement with Europe on the security front. Washington now has yet another crisis to manage in Europe, and will have even less time for allies in Asia.”

‘Washington now has yet another crisis to manage in Europe’? Has our expert let something out of the bag here?

(Real) history matters

But on to issue two – the importance of historical understanding.

Escaping from harsh reality, I was recently watching a re-run of the BBC B-grade copper sitcom, New Tricks, and there was handed down a word of advice from a petty crim to an honest- ex-cop trying to reclaim his integrity from a murky past.

“The past is a foreign country. It’s not a tourist destination. I should leave well enough alone if I were you!”

Quite. And an elitist catechism of general applicability. Leave history to your betters. Control the past and it’s easier to dictate the present.

It’s true that the European Union has been a scapegoat for what Conn Hallinan calls ‘a very British affair’. But the palaver confidently handed down from the MSM over Brexit has universally steered clear of the disaster that is the European Union. A few minor problems, slow to recover after the GFC blah, a refugee tide coming from a whacko sectarian bloodbath nothing to do with us, plebeian xenophobes thrusting for attention, etc.

The strategic myopia, the dishonesty regarding the stench emanating from Brussels is comprehensive. And that’s before TAFTA is promulgated.

The conventional wisdom is that (Inigo Thomas, LRB): “The European Union was formed with the idea of diminishing the power of any country to wage war; the nation state was believed to be part of the problem.” In this regard, Jean Monnet and Robert Schuman are credited as key visionaries and progenitors of economic integration, the ‘fathers’ of the European Union.

The New York Times’ Roger Cohen, long time European correspondent, has been an ardent expositor of this line, allowing him to blithely ignore the trajectory of Europe’s damnable flaws.

But the creation of the European Union didn’t prevent war; it merely pushed it elsewhere, with the connivance of the EU’s leadership. This neglected point has been recently highlighted by Joseph Richardson on this site. Europe’s integration into NATO, and its subservience to US imperatives therein, guarantees the institutional artillery for endless aggression. A collectivity of states can wage war as well as a single nation state, indeed with more intemperance, especially under a belligerent hegemon.

What price the conventional wisdom?

A century down the track from World War I has prompted re-examination of its origins and after-effects. Recent cathartic events within Europe (the debacle of Greece, the refugee influx, Brexit) provide the incentive for a re-examination of the origins of the EU.

By coincidence, I happen to be reading Alexander Werth’s France: 1940-1955 (published in 1956). Werth, a Russian-born English journalist, long-time Moscow correspondent, was by then living in France. He is an unjustly neglected author. Werth’s account of post-War French politics is minutely detailed and iconoclastic.

Monnet’s Plan of December 1945 was designed to engineer faster French re-industrialization. It was integrally dependent on German coal (and incidentally German prisoners of war/peace), which involved simultaneously limiting German re-industrialization. In effect, Versailles redux. The results were paltry, not least because Monnet’s ideas (especially regarding French agriculture) were fanciful.

By mid-1948, the agenda was essentially being set by the US, and Monnet fell into line. The priority was to bring what was to become West Germany into the Western camp – vehicle for the West’s own Iron Curtain. The scene was set with the March 1948 Treaty of Brussels which established the Western European Union (France, Britain, Benelux). France’s attempt to appropriate and/or dominate the German coalfields permanently (the Ruhr, the Saar) could no longer be tolerated.

In mid-1949 the US government instructed Schuman, then French Foreign Secretary, that he had to come up with a plan to deal with the German coal problem. Schuman handed the job to Monnet, who handed it to his bureaucrats. Thus was devised the so-called Schuman Plan, which appeared in ‘bare skeleton’ form in May 1950. This was the beginning of the coal-steel pool, to become the European Coal and Steel Community. There appeared for the first time the idea of a federalist Europe and of the creation of supra-national authorities.

The mis-named ECSC was compromised from the start, as Britain (major coal miner and steel maker) declined to join it. Some French envisaged the creation of a ‘third force’ industrial powerhouse that would balance the US and the Eastern bloc. That idea readily succumbed to US interests and British concerns for its sovereignty.

Schuman and Monnet consulted no-one in the French government, and parliament had no idea. The government, parliament and the public were hostile to the plan. Schuman and Monnet themselves were out of their depth. With the US in Korea, the Schuman Plan soon became integrally linked to US pressure for Western European re-militarization through the creation of a supra-national European army, to include German troops.

In late 1950, the US was even considering incorporating Spain into defense of the ‘free world’. The cynics quipped: “If Syngman Rhee, why not Franco?”.

France was naturally opposed, for economic as well as security reasons. ‘Neutralism’ (the then buzz word) was France’s ‘sound instinct of self-preservation’. West Germany at that stage preferred emphasis on the return of its sovereignty and on re-industrialization. So much for facilitating Franco-German cooperation.

Werth reproduces an excerpt from the French press in April 1948, foreshadowing this trajectory:

“The transformation of the Marshall Plan into a Holy Alliance against Communism means that priority is to be given to military aid, and that the European countries will also be expected to increase their military expenditure, thus adding to their inflation. Secondly, it means the intensification of the Cold War. … What its advocates represented a few months ago as America’s way of saving peace at the lowest possible price has now become one of the greatest war dangers since the Liberation.”

But France was broke, thankful for Marshall Aid, bogged down in Indochina (hoping for American support there), and the US and Britain were relentless. In September 1950, President Truman and Secretary of State Acheson announced that Europe had to have sixty divisions, ten of them German. British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin, speaking for Britain, immediately fell into line. Ditto Schuman, speaking for himself.

The Pleven Government buckled in its proposed 1951 budget, with a planned 75 per cent increase in military expenditure, to the detriment of civil infrastructure. The Radical Party deputy Pierre Mendès-France was excoriating of the government. He noted, citing the truncated original Monnet Plan, that industrial robustness was a precondition for military preparedness and to prioritize military spending would entrench France’s then economic fragility.

By 1953, the French leadership thought that the idea of a European army was dead. The Americans thought otherwise. In January Life magazine brutally lampooned French politics (the American media has been doing it ever since). The incoming Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, known on the continent as ‘Europe’s Bully No 1’, exclaimed (Werth):

“The USA had already spent thirty billion dollars in Europe since the war, and this money had been ‘invested’ in the hope that Europe would achieve unity. But if it was found that France, Britain, and Germany were each to go their own way, it would be necessary to ‘give a little re-thinking’ to America’s policy in Europe.”

In October, a speech by Churchill to the Party faithful, drippingly condescending to the French, claimed that Germany would be rearmed, with or without the proposed European Defence Community.

As the French noted, Britain refuses to be integrated in Europe but wants to dictate, with its US masters, the terms on which France has to do so. The clip from Yes Minister  currently doing the rounds has substance behind the farce.

De Gaulle responded in a November speech, contemptuous and prescient:

“Since victorious France has an army and defeated Germany has none [he parodied Monnet] let us suppress the French Army. After that we shall make a stateless army of Frenchmen and Germans, and since there must be a government above this army, we shall make a stateless government, a technocracy. As this may not please everybody, we’ll paint a new shop sign and call it ‘community’; it won’t matter, anyway, because the ‘European Army’ will be placed at the entire disposal of the American Commander-in-Chief.”

On the contrary, de Gaulle considered that it was time to revive the Franco-Russian alliance, given that they remained formal allies. That recommendation went down like the proverbial …

At the December 1953 Bermuda Conference, the French Prime Minister Laniel and Foreign Minister Bidault were profoundly humiliated by Churchill. Eisenhower demanded that the EDC be ratified by 15 March. More, just when finally France wanted to sue for peace in Indochina, the US insisted that it was moving in there itself. Following the Bermuda Conference:

“The demand that EDC be ratified without delay became increasingly peremptory. The agitation against EDC in France became correspondingly more violent. …

“… despite assurances, promises and other ways of keeping the United States in an at least relatively good humour, all the French governments from the end of 1950 (Pleven Plan) till the actual rejection of EDC in 1954, knew that at no time was there a majority in the National Assembly or in the country, to sanction EDC.

“If finally, in 1955, German rearmament was agreed to in a different form, it was only because of two years of ever-growing American and especially British pressure and threats, which, it was thought, could no longer be ignored.”

Mendès-France became Prime Minister in June 1954. By now he feared for France’s isolation from the Atlantic Alliance and sought a compromise proposal in August from his Cabinet on the EDC. Bitter conflict resulted in a series of protocols qualifying the original, which Mendès-France took to the Six-Power Conference in Brussels. Mendès-France was confronted by “a general Anglo-American-German gang-up”, supported by the Belgian Conference Chair Paul-Henri Spaak and the Dutch Foreign Minister Johan Beyen. The protocols were laughed out of court. Spaak concluded the conference (at. 2.35 am) with:

“The failure of this conference is a catastrophe. France will be completely isolated. There will be an EDC without her. Western Germany will rearm … We must, must make Europe. The military side isn’t everything. What matters more is the integration of Europe. EDC is only a step in that direction, but if there is no EDC, then everything falls to the ground …”

Mendès-France defied the will of the Conference gang and immediately took the EDC issue to the Assembly, which chucked the whole thing out again “in a stormy and highly emotional debate”.

There was more fury from the foreign press. Churchill told Mendès-France that Germany would be rearmed within NATO if necessary.

Instructive is the fact that the Nazi General Carl Oberg, supreme overseer in France of Jewish deportations and repression of the Resistance, already condemned to death by a British court, was being tried again in October 1954. If the trial’s disclosures reinforced French public hostility to German rearmament, it was of no interest to Britain or to the US. Earlier in 1954 the British Foreign Office, via the Lord Chancellor, had attempted to prevent the publication of Bertrand Russell’s The Scourge of the Swastika. This skirmish was part of a propaganda battle being waged in Britain over official attempts to forge West Germany as an ally amongst civilized nations.

In June the Guatemalan President Jacobo Árbenz was overthrown by a US-engineered coup. Le Monde, in September, likened Mendès-France to Árbenz and France as a United Fruit Republic.

In October, the Paris agreements were signed over France’s ‘head’, legitimizing the rearmament and sovereignty of West Germany. On Friday 24 December, Mendès-France took the ratification bill authorizing a German army to the Assembly, which the Assembly promptly rejected. With more fury from London and Washington. Noted Werth, the British Foreign Office “had gone off the deep end”. The Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Committee also rejected the bill.

During the next week, the Assembly debated for three days. A wise voice said that rearmament was now by the by; the priority henceforth was to stop the bomb! By that stage, exhaustion and resignation had set in. Mendès-France got his ratification bill passed by a bare margin. Having got France out of Indochina, Mendès-France couldn’t bridge the massive gulf between France and its dictatorial ‘allies’. He was out of office within two months.

The EU a Cold War project

In short, the European Union has its origins not in the mutual thrust for economic cooperation and harmonization of interests but as an American-Anglo Cold War project.

West Germany was to be the core of Cold War Europe, and France was to become frankly irrelevant. West Germany (later a unified Germany) became an Atlantic Alliance satrap but in return obtained carte blanche to become, by whatever means, the industrial and economic powerhouse of the Union. More, it would dictate the terms on which closer economic integration took place. France got, as consolation prize … the Common Agricultural Policy.

And sixty years later? For all its evolution, the EU remains a Cold War project. The ex-Soviet satellites – Eastern Europe and the Baltic states – were incorporated into the Union within that ambit. NATO, the replacement for the ultimately unachievable EDC, dictates military and even foreign policy imperatives. Europe bowed to, facilitated, the dismantlement of Yugoslavia. Europe kowtows to US dictates regarding sanctions on Russia over the Magnitsky Affair and then over the Russian response to the coup in Ukraine.

To European subordination to ongoing American-Anglo Cold War against Russia is added its subordination to American-Anglo (plus Israeli) imperatives in the Middle East. Thus Europe signs up for the sanctions against Iran.

The economic cost to European national economies of these sanctions has been significant. For example, it has been estimated that France’s cancellation of the Mistral carriers that it was building for Russia will cost it ultimately losses of the order of €2 billion. France’s loss of markets (especially for autos) in Iran has been significant.

Then there’s the refugee tidal wave, mostly courtesy of those same imperatives. This is the cost of Europe’s subordination, and it is incalculable. And its leaders have yet to put 2 + 2 together.

Out of the blue, the German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has broken ranks, and said, ‘enough is enough’. Is there a sign of a rare rationality amongst the European leadership in the wings?

Lessons from Brexit

This story is removed from the Brexit front line, but it is a large elephant in the room.

Which particular European Union does the Remain coalition and its Continental supporters have in mind when they imply that the European status quo is the greatest thing since sliced bread? And with what conception of Europe will they fight to overturn Brexit?

The Brexit catharsis provides the ideal opportunity to re-examine the history and character of the European Union. No whitewashes this time around please. With this prospect, the mainstream media, on its wretched record, has automatically disqualified itself from the job.

Evan Jones is a retired political economist from the University of Sydney. He can be reached at:evan.jones@sydney.edu.au

July 1, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

International House Negroes Defend European Union

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford | June 29, 2016

We can be sure that the British exit from the European Union represents a profound crisis for the global capitalist order. We know this because the Lords of Capital and their political minions and media all over the world are in panic over Brexit. The capitalist order is built on five centuries of European plunder, enslavement, and extermination of the rest of humanity. Blood oozes from every edifice of the European Union – and yet, the victims, and the descendants of the victims of this horrific and ongoing capitalist carnage, often behave as if they have some kind of stake in keeping the old order intact. Like Malcolm X’s house Negroes, their first instinct when they see the master’s house on fire, is to put the fire out. If the master gets sick, they start sneezing. And, when the referendum went against Britain staying in the European Union, house Negroes of all colors on both sides of the Atlantic acted like their own worlds were coming to end.

On Comedy Central’s Daily Show, this week, host Trevor Noah interviewed Cynthia Erivo, who plays Celie in the Broadway production of “The Color Purple.” Noah lampooned those Brits that voted to leave the EU as a bunch of Donald Trumps with Cockney accents. He said nothing about the EU’s pro-corporate, pro-banker austerity policies – maybe because there’s nothing funny about those policies, or maybe because he works for a rich corporation. Noah drew Ms. Erivo into the Brexit discussion. She was born in London to parents who emigrated from Nigeria. She explained her opposition to Brexit, saying, “If my mom didn’t get to the UK, I probably wouldn’t be here right now, on that stage on Broadway.”

Cynthia Erivo is grateful that her West African parents were allowed into Britain, so that she could be born in London and pursue a successful career. Her parents were permitted to settle in Britain because Nigeria was a British colony, and later became part of the British Commonwealth. It actually had nothing to do with the European Union. By Cynthia Erivo’s logic, it was a good thing that Britain invaded, plundered, enslaved, and stole her parent’s homeland. By colonizing Nigeria, the Brits saved her from being born an African. The millions who died in the British conquest of Nigeria, and in the Middle Passage to the America’s, or on the plantations of Virginia or Jamaica, or in forced labor to the British in Nigeria, or who die today in the oil soaked wasteland of the Niger River Delta – all of this past and present suffering and human degradation is balanced out by the fact that a daughter of Nigeria gets to star in a Broadway show. This super-exploitation of Africa made Britain and France and Spain and Belgium and the Netherlands and other members of today’s European Union rich – but Cynthia Erivo and Trevor Noah, the South African, come to the defense of the European Union.

They like the house that slavery and genocide built, and where global capitalism now rules. They fear anything that might create disorder in the House of Europe, just as their counterparts in Black America fear anything that might disturb the tranquility of the U.S. ruling class and its institutions. The House Negroes are truly international, always ready to put out fires in their masters many houses around the globe.


Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

June 30, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

European Unification Divides Europeans: How Forcing People Together Tears Them Apart

By Diana Johnstone | CounterPunch | June 29, 2016

Paris – Unification of Europe has brought about radical new divisions within Europe. The most significant split is between the people and their political leaders.

The June 23 British majority vote to leave the European Union has made strikingly evident the division between the new ruling class that flourishes in the globalized world without borders and all the others who are on the receiving end of policies that destroy jobs, cut social benefits, lower wages and reject as obsolete national customs, not least the custom of democratic choice, all to make the world safe for international investment capital.

Actually, the lines are not quite so clear-cut. Political choices never correspond completely to economic interests, and the ideological factor intervenes to blur the class lines. Globalization is not merely a process of economic integration regulated by flows of capital, which is deepening the polarization between rich and poor in the Western countries. It is also a powerful ideology, basing its moral certitudes on simplistic lessons drawn from twentieth century World Wars: the idea that the root cause of wars is a psychological attitude called “racism” which expresses itself in the nationalism of nation-states. This ideology gains semi-religious conviction by reference to the Holocaust, which is considered to have proven the point. Ergo, for the benefit of humanity, national borders must be torn down, national identities must be diluted by unlimited immigration, in order to achieve a worldwide multicultural society in which differences both coexist and cease to matter.

This is a Utopian notion as unsupported by evidence as the Soviet dream of creating a “new man” who voluntarily works unselfishly for the benefit of all. Similarly, it considers human psychology to be perfectible by economic and institutional arrangements. Especially by promoting immigration, the multicultural mix is supposed to result in people all loving each other; there are even national laws to punish alleged expressions of “hatred”. The European Union is seen as the most advanced experiment in this worldwide Utopia of universal love. It is regarded by its intellectual sponsors such as French political guru Jacques Attali as an irreversible advance of civilization. For its fanatic champions, the very thought of dismantling the European Union is equivalent to returning to the stone age.

A chorus of Europists are screaming to high heaven that the world is about to come to an end thanks to lower class Brits too stupid and too racist to appreciate the glorious globalized world that the European elite is preparing for them. One of the fastest on the draw of his pen was the hysterical propagandist Bernard-Henri Levy, whose venom quickly spilled onto the pages of Le Monde and other obsequious journals. BHL trotted out his entire range of insults to decry the LEAVE vote as the victory of demagogy, xenophobia, the extreme right and the extreme left, hatred of immigrants, stupid nationalism, vicious hatred, the unleashed mob, idiot leftists, drunken hooligans, the forces of darkness against civilization, and even the victory of garden dwarfs over Michelangelo. Many others worked the same theme, with less verbiage.

The main theme of this wailing and gnashing of teeth is the allegation that the LEAVE vote was motivated solely by racism, racism being the only possible reason that people could object to mass unregulated immigration. But there are indeed other reasons.

In reality, for the majority of working class voters, opposition to unlimited immigration can be plainly a matter of economic self-interest. Since the EU’s eastward expansion ended immigration controls with the former communist countries, hundreds of thousands of workers from Poland, Lithuania, and other Eastern European nations have flooded into Britain, adding to the large established immigrant population from the British Commonwealth countries. It is simply a fact that mass immigration brings down wage levels in a country. A Glasgow University study shows statistically that as immigration rises, the level of wages in proportion to profits drops – not to mention the increase in unemployment.

Those who enjoy the pleasure of traveling through Europe without having to stop at borders or change currencies and who relish the luxury level of cultural diversity find it hard to understand the anguish of those who lack advanced degrees, family connections or language skills, and who feel marginalized in their own countries. Yes, some of them probably like garden dwarfs. But you cannot convince millions of people that their only prospect in life must be to sacrifice themselves for the glory of the World Market.

Moreover, whatever their social status, many people in Britain find it unbearable to renounce their traditional parliamentary democracy in order to carry out Directives and Regulations drafted in Brussels without even any public discussion.

The British

The astonishment and indignation of the Europists to see Britons vote to go out is odd considering that most Britons never really felt entirely in. When I worked as press officer at the European Parliament, I observed that the only national press corps really present and interested was the British press corps, all eagerly on the lookout for the latest absurd rule or regulation which the Brussels bureaucracy was foisting on the Member States. British media paid attention to the EU because they hated it. Ridiculing it was fun. The rest of European media were largely ignoring it because it was boring and nobody cared. Main exception: a few earnest Germans doing their job.

In the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher forced the EU to twist its rules by demanding “my money back”. The United Kingdom stayed out of the Schengen Treaty on free movement of persons. It refused the euro in favor of keeping the pound sterling. More profoundly, the insular English have always had a strong sense of not belonging to “the continent” as well as a particular sensitivity to the notorious “democratic deficit” of the European Union, which leaves law-making to the Brussels bureaucracy.

Considering the insular nature of Britain and its psychological distance from the continent, it is too soon to expect that other EU Member States will soon follow the British example. Indeed, some of the most Euroskeptical populations today were the most Euroenthusiastic in the past, notably France and Italy, and it is awkward to turn around 180 degrees. For charter Members France, Italy, Benelux and Germany, the break would be much more dramatic. Nevertheless, even in those key Eurozone countries disenchantment with the EU is growing rapidly. Brexit is seen as a warning signal. Thus the Western ruling class will hasten to try to shore up the EU-NATO fortress. The Washington Post quickly called for “strengthening NATO”. This probably means even more strident denunciations of Putin and the “Russian threat”, if such as possible. There is supposedly nothing like an external threat to bring people together.

What Next?

Unfortunately, this referendum did not mark a clean break. Two great difficulties loom. EU rules require a lengthy and complicated process to actually withdraw, a matter of years. And second, there is no viable political force ready to steer Britain through this process. The result is to split the political class still further from the people it should be representing.

The British political landscape is littered with wreckage. Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron called the referendum for internal political reasons, failing to realize that if given the chance, the British would vote to jump ship. His name is now mud all over Europe, condemned for the foolish move of letting people vote on the EU. Cameron has announced his resignation, but his government is dragging its feet in initiating the withdrawal process. Some are even demanding that the referendum be either ignored or held over again until people vote as they should – the procedure that followed previous national referendums that turned out badly for the EU. Meanwhile EU leaders are demanding that London hurry up and get out, so they can get to work strengthening the edifice.

Nigel Farage’s UK Independence Party that campaigned for leaving the EU is a single issue party with no general program and no aspiration to run the government. Former London mayor Boris Johnson has positioned himself to take over Party leadership by advocating Brexit, but he is not taken seriously by most of his own Conservative party and is also stalling on the exit procedure.

The situation of the Labour Party is critical. Jeremy Corbyn, who was elected party leader by a grass roots uprising expressing a strong popular desire to move the party to the left, comparable to the Bernie movement in Democratic Party primaries, has always been opposed by the Blairites who still dominate the party apparatus and parliamentary representation. In this uncomfortable situation the gentle Corbyn has tried to exercise what is meant to be an inclusive sort of leadership, listening to all sides. This softness already led to the mistake of failing to strongly defend party members falsely accused of “anti-Semitism” by pro-Israel zealots. Now the Blairites are blaming Corbyn for what they consider the Brexit catastrophe. It is all supposed to be the fault of Corbyn for having failed to support REMAIN vigorously enough.

Indeed Corbyn’s support of REMAIN was mild, some say because he actually favored LEAVE, but was bowing to the majority in the upper ranks of his party. This concession, if it was one, has not prevented the Blairites from demanding that Corbyn resign as party leader. Petitions are circulating both for and against him.

The trouble is that the mainstream caricature of the Brexit voters as narrow-minded racists, if not protofascists, has not been balanced by any articulation of the strong underlying rejection of the EU as a denial of democracy, as the authoritarian rule by a self-satisfied globalizing elite with total contempt for what the people might really want.

There is no political party in Britain that is at all prepared to turn away from the increasingly discredited and disavowed globalization trend in order to lead the way to a truly democratic alternative.

Johnstone-Queen-Cover-ak800--291x450Diana Johnstone is the author of Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO, and Western Delusions. Her new book is Queen of Chaos: the Misadventures of Hillary Clinton. She can be reached at diana.johnstone@wanadoo.fr

June 29, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics | , , , , | Leave a comment

Too many heads stuck in the sand on Brexit

By Jonathon Cook | June 27, 2016

There are some heads stuck deeply in the sand at the moment. Typical were the dismissive responses to my piece Brexit and the diseased liberal mind. I had focused on one exceptional piece by one Guardian writer, it was claimed.

I chose Zoe Williams’ article because it is fully representative of liberal reaction to Brexit in the British media. I could have cited hundreds of other examples – not least just about everything currently appearing on the BBC.

But Williams and the rest of the media are not making these arguments in a vacuum. After all, much of the Labour shadow cabinet has just resigned and the rest of the parliamentary party are trying to defy the overwhelming democratic will of their membership and oust leader Jeremy Corbyn. His crime is not that he supported Brexit (he didn’t dare, given the inevitable reaction of his MPs) but that he is not a true believer in the current neoliberal order, which very much includes the EU.

Here is what one of the organisers (probably a shadow cabinet minister) of this coup-in-the-making says:

The plan is to make Corbyn’s job as leader extremely difficult in the hope of pushing him to resign, with most MPs refusing to serve as shadow ministers, show up on the frontbench in the House of Commons, support him at PMQs or formulate policy under his leadership.

This was presumably said with a straight face, as though Corbyn has not been undermined by these same Blairite MPs since day one of his leadership. This is not a new campaign – it has simply been forced to go more public by the Brexit vote.

Labour MPs do not just want to oust a leader with massive support among party members. They have hamstrung him from the outset so that he could not lead the political revolution members elected him to begin. And now he is being made to pay the price because he privately backs a position that, as the referendum has just shown, has majority support.

This is where we on the progressive left are, and the Brexit vote is a huge challenge to us to face facts. We want to believe we are free but the truth is that we have long been in a prison called neoliberalism. The Conservative and Labour parties are tied umbilically to this neoliberal order. The EU is one key institution in a transnational neoliberal club. Our economy is structured to enforce neoliberalism whoever ostensibly runs the country.

That is why the debate about Brexit was never about values or principles – it was about money. It still is. The Remainers are talking only about the threat to their pensions. The Brexiters are talking only about the role of immigrants in driving down wages. And there is good reason: because the EU is part of the walls of the economic prison that has been constructed all around us. Our lives are now only about money, as the gargantuan bail-outs of the too-big-to-fail banks should have shown us.

There is a key difference between the two sides. Most Remainers want to pretend that the prison does not exist because they still get privileges to visit the living areas. The Brexiters cannot forget it exists because they are never allowed to leave their small cells.

The left cannot call itself a left and keep whingeing about its lost privileges while denouncing those trapped inside their cells as “racists”. Change requires that we first recognise our situation – and then have the will to struggle for something better.

June 27, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

It’s Still the Iraq War, Stupid.

By Craig Murray | June 26, 2016

No rational person could blame Jeremy Corbyn for Brexit. So why are the Blairites moving against Corbyn now, with such precipitate haste?

The answer is the Chilcot Report. It is only a fortnight away, and though its form will be concealed by thick layers of establishment whitewash, the basic contours of Blair’s lies will still be visible beneath. Corbyn had deferred to Blairite pressure not to apologise on behalf of the Labour Party for the Iraq War until Chilcot is published.

For the Labour Right, the moment when Corbyn as Labour leader stands up in parliament and condemns Blair over Iraq, is going to be as traumatic as it was for the hardliners of the Soviet Communist Party when Khruschev denounced the crimes of Stalin. It would also destroy Blair’s carefully planned post-Chilcot PR strategy. It is essential to the Blairites that when Chilcot is debated in parliament in two weeks time, Jeremy Corbyn is not in place as Labour leader to speak in the debate. The Blairite plan is therefore for the parliamentary party to depose him as parliamentary leader and get speaker John Bercow to acknowledge someone else in that fictional position in time for the Chilcot debate, with Corbyn remaining leader in the country but with no parliamentary status.

Yes, they are that nuts.

If the fault line for the Tories is Europe, for Labour it is the Middle East. Those opposing Corbyn are defined by their enthusiasm for bombing campaigns that kill Muslim children. And not only by the UK. Both of the first two to go, Hilary Benn and Heidi Alexander, are hardline supporters of Israel.

This was Benn the week before his celebrated advocacy of bombing Syria:

Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn told a Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) lunch yesterday that relations with Israel must be based on cooperation and rejected attempts to isolate the country.

Addressing senior party figures in Westminster, Benn praised Israel for its “progressive spirit, vibrant democracy, strong welfare state, thriving free press and independent judiciary.” He also called Israel “an economic giant, a high-tech centre, second only to the United States. A land of innovation and entrepreneurship, venture capital and graduates, private and public enterprise.”

Consequently, said Benn, “Our future relations must be built on cooperation and engagement, not isolation of Israel. We must take on those who seek to delegitimise the state of Israel or question its right to exist.”

Heidi Alexander actually signed, as a 2015 parliamentary candidate, the “We Believe in Israel” charter, the provisions of which state there must be no boycotts of Israel, and Israel must not be described as an apartheid state.

This fault line is very well defined. The manufactured row about “anti-Semitism” in the Labour Party shows exactly the same split. In my researches, 100% of those who have promoted accusations of anti-Semitism were supporters of the Iraq War and/or had demonstrable links to professional pro-Israel lobby groups. 100% of those accused of anti-Semitism were active opponents of the Iraq War. Never underestimate the Blairite fury at being shown not just to be liars but to be wrong. Iraq is their Achilles heel and they are extremely touchy about it.

No rational person would believe Brexit was Jeremy Corbyn’s fault. No rational person would believe that now is a good moment for the Labour Party to tear itself apart. Extraordinarily, the timing is determined by Chilcot.

June 26, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Brexit and the Diseased Liberal Mind

By Jonathan Cook | June 26, 2016

The enraged liberal reaction to the Brexit vote is in full flood. The anger is pathological – and helps to shed light on why a majority of Britons voted for leaving the European Union, just as earlier a majority of Labour party members voted for Jeremy Corbyn as leader.

A few years ago the American writer Chris Hedges wrote a book he titled the Death of the Liberal Class. His argument was not so much that liberals had disappeared, but that they had become so co-opted by the right wing and its goals – from the subversion of progressive economic and social ideals by neoliberalism, to the enthusiastic embrace of neonservative doctrine in prosecuting aggressive and expansionist wars overseas in the guise of “humanitarian intervention” – that liberalism had been hollowed out of all substance.

Liberal pundits sensitively agonise over, but invariably end up backing, policies designed to benefit the bankers and arms manufacturers, and ones that wreak havoc domestically and abroad. They are the “useful idiots” of modern western societies.

Reading this piece on the fallout from Brexit by Zoe Williams, a columnist who ranks as left wing by the current standards of the deeply diminished Guardian, one can isolate this liberal pathology in all its sordid glory.

Here is a revealing section, written by a mind so befuddled by decades of neoliberal orthodoxy that it has lost all sense of the values it claims to espouse:

There is a reason why, when Marine le Pen and Donald Trump congratulated us on our decision, it was like being punched in the face – because they are racists, authoritarian, small-minded and backward-looking. They embody the energy of hatred. The principles that underpin internationalism – cooperation, solidarity, unity, empathy, openness – these are all just elements of love.

One wonders where in the corridors of the EU bureaucracy Williams identifies that “love” she so admires. Did she see it when the Greeks were being crushed into submission after they rebelled against austerity policies that were themselves a legacy of European economic policies that had required Greece to sell off the last of its family silver?

Is she enamoured of this internationalism when the World Bank and IMF go into Africa and force developing nations into debt-slavery, typically after a dictator has trashed the country decades after being installed and propped up with arms and military advisers from the US and European nations?

What about the love-filled internationalism of NATO, which has relied on the EU to help spread its military tentacles across Europe close to the throat of the Russian bear? Is that the kind of cooperation, solidarity and unity she was thinking of?

Williams then does what a lot of liberals are doing at the moment. She calls for subversion of the democratic will:

The anger of the progressive remain side, however, has somewhere to go: always suckers for optimism, we now have the impetus to put aside ambiguity in the service of clarity, put aside differences in the service of creativity. Out of embarrassment or ironic detachment, we’ve backed away from this fight for too long.

That includes seeking the ousting of Jeremy Corbyn, of course. “Progressive” Remainers, it seems, have had enough of him. His crime is that he hails from “leftwing aristocracy” – his parents were lefties too, apparently, and even had such strong internationalist principles that they first met at a committee on the Spanish civil war.

But Corbyn’s greater crime, according to Williams, is that “he is not in favour of the EU”. It would be too much trouble for her to try and untangle the knotty problem of how a supreme internationalist like Corbyn, or Tony Benn before him, could be so against the love-filled EU. So she doesn’t bother.

We will never know from Williams how a leader who supports oppressed and under-privileged people around the world is cut from the same cloth as racists like Le Pen and Trump. That would require the kind of “agile thinking” she accuses Corbyn of being incapable of. It might hint that there is a left wing case quite separate from the racist one – even if Corbyn was not allowed by his party to advocate it – for abandoning the EU.

But no, Williams assures us, Labour needs someone with much more recent left wing heritage, someone who can tailor his or her sails to the prevailing winds of orthodoxy. And what’s even better, there is a Labour party stuffed full of Blairities to chose from. After all, their international credentials have been proven repeatedly, including in the killing fields of Iraq and Libya.

And here, wrapped into a single paragraph, is a golden nugget of liberal pathology from Williams. Her furious liberal plea is to rip up the foundations of democracy: get rid of the democratically elected Corbyn and find a way, any way, to block the wrong referendum outcome. No love, solidarity, unity or empathy for those who betrayed her and her class.

There hasn’t been a more fertile time for a Labour leader since the 1990s. The case for a snap general election, already strong, will only intensify over the coming weeks. As the sheer mendacity of the leave argument becomes clear – it never intended to curb immigration, there will be no extra money for the NHS, there was no plan for making up EU spending in deprived areas – there will be a powerful argument for framing the general election as a rematch. Not another referendum, but a brake on article 50 and the next move determined by the new government. If you still want to leave the EU, vote Conservative. If you’ve realised or knew already what an act of vandalism that was, vote Labour.


Jonathan Cook, based in Nazareth, Israel is a winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books).

June 26, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 1 Comment

Guardian Watch: Insults fly in post-Brexit hysteria

OffGuardian | June 25, 2016

The world is still reeling from the referendum results – there is uncertainty in the air, real uncertainty, a rare creature in the modern era of controlled media consensus and carefully directed narrative. Again and again the thoughts are echoed: nobody expected this to happen. David Cameron was positive his side had won. Oliver Imhof wrote an article threatening to leave “Brexit Britain”, comfortable in the knowledge that “at no point did I think it could really happen.” You get the impression even Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage never expected to win.

Nobody expected this to happen – Least of all The Guardian… and the reactions? They have been hysterical, in every sense of the word.

The sheer volume of opinion is evidence of an institutional panic. Polly Toynbee’s reaction, always the paragon of understatement:

Catastrophe. Britain has broken apart. An uprising of resentment by the left-behind has torn us in two, a country wrecked by a yawning class divide stretched wider by recession and austerity.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the referendum had been for turning off the sun, banning talking, or killing the first born son of every family in Britain…rather than a return to a state of affairs that has existed for all but the last 40 years of human history. Such is the level of the destruction.

The Climate is ruined. The FTSE 100 plummeted to levels not seen since last Thursday. The pound is now worth 7 cents less than it was last week. British science is already nearly destroyed. The arts world will regress, and collapse. British stocks crashed… less than half as much as European stocks. The FTSE 100 actually ended the week on a small gain… but ARRGHH! Panic!

But of course, the (as yet totally underwhelming and mostly imaginary) financial costs are nothing compared to the spiritual, moral costs.

We woke up in a different country”, says Jonathan Freedland, absolutely shocked that 52% of the country should “reject authority” after only a generation or so of being exploited, lied to and suffering a general decline in living standards.

Who knows, perhaps the worst effects can be avoided altogether. But we should not be under any illusions. This is not the country it was yesterday. That place has gone for ever.

An assertion that would, perhaps, be greeted with more than a few smiles in many of the places we have recently bombed in the name of protecting “European values”.

I was not aware, until yesterday morning, that more than half of the people of Britain were racists. For all of Britain’s various social problems, I have never observed much in the way of strong racism. Far-right parties like the BNP get almost no traction in elections. There aren’t neo-Nazi marches in London that compare to the ones in Lviv or Berlin.

Nevertheless…apparently,we are now totally controlled by xenophobia. The country is now cruel and racist. Joseph Harker’s column declares:

… in the wake of the EU referendum people across the UK are fearful of the intolerance that has been unleashed…

Bear in mind this piece was published at 1.37pm yesterday afternoon, literally less than 12 hours after the result was announced. We’ll do Joseph some credit and assume he spent more than forty minutes writing this up – let’s say he started writing at exactly noon. That gives him eight hours to survey these “people across the UK” who, one can only assume, were merely the people on his bus route that morning. He “understands” that the vote wasn’t about race, that people want economic control of their country back… but actually it WAS about race, and we’re all racists.

The initial, panic-stricken, meltdown could not last of course. What quickly became more important was BLAME. And you know who the Guardian, a notionally liberal and inclusive paper, have chosen to blame? The old, the poor, the uneducated… oh, and Jeremy Corbyn of course. Who, I suppose, some would argue is all three.

Pretty soon after the results were announced, YouGov released their pretty graphs demonstrating that Leave won because old, stupid, poor people voted for them. I am unclear how exactly the YouGov figures were collated, but given that right up to the wire YouGov were predicting Remain would win, I see no reason to trust any of their information. In fact they predicted a 52-48 result for staying the EU… so as far as we know all of their figures are totally ass-backwards.

But let’s put that aside – let us generously assume that YouGov have even the faintest notion of what they are talking about. Do we demand a revote because the wrong people won? Is this how democracy works? According to Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett, the most forgettable of the Graun’s feminist-clickbait typing pool, yes. Yes it is.

If you’re young and angry about the EU referendum, you’re right to be”

… declares her headline. It is just one article, of many that have appeared all over the media, citing the reported age demographics of the two voting camps. Claiming that “old people” have ruined the futures of the young… because they are old and stupid and racist.

The general inversion in western society, compared to other global societies, where we prize youth and inexperience over the merits of elder wisdom, is an ongoing problem. A bigger discussion for a different time. Talking only in the specific – only about this vote – this is still a ridiculous and insulting position to take up.

The “old people” being discussed would have been young in the 1960s and 70s. They would be old hippies and baby-boomers. The idea of “grandma being a bit racist in and old-fashioned way”, does not work when today’s grandmas were listening to the Beatles and marching against Vietnam. These “old people” are the generation that voted FOR the EU last time, and now have 40+ years of experience of living with their decision. Do we do them credit, and assume they have changed their minds based on their life experience? Should we respect that 40 years of living and working in this country means people have EARNED their right to be heard? No, we are encouraged to dismiss them and insult their motives.

Young people, and I speak as one myself, tend to think selfishly. Teenagers are, for the most part, egomaniacal monsters – certain of their own brilliance, positive they are thinking original thoughts, and dismissive of authority and experience. It’s a phase, you grow out of it. Slowly. The young people complaining about old voters, and the authors encouraging and enabling this attitude, are assuming that older voters, likewise, think first of themselves. This is an insult, voters in their 60s and 70s would more likely be voting for the future of their children and grandchildren. To ignore that facet of their vote is unfair and immoral.

Of course, even if they were voting selfishly… so what? Everyone has that right.

It does not matter – the narrative is now set. The vote wasn’t fair, because the wrong people voted. That will be the battle cry.

In hedging their bets, should Leave win, the Guardian took up an odd position pre-referendum. Its editorial line became that, perhaps, voting isn’t that democratic. First there was David Mitchell (sensible shirt and neat beard, every inch the Guardianista caricature) arguing that Parliament should decide this issue, not us, because we are too stupid and underqualified. Then there was NatNug, always a source of prime neo-liberal insanity, declaring that “the mob” had too much influence, and that democracy should be about our “elite institutions” telling us what to do. Yes, seriously.

In keeping with this theme, a fresh column disparages the very idea of referenda:

After what we have experienced in the past month, we need political reform more than ever. But the verdict on referendums should be a ruthless one. Never again.

To back up his opinion he cites the European Council on Foreign Relations, a pan-European “think-tank” staffed by Blairites and funded by George Soros, who say that there are too many referenda and it isn’t fair.

No one expected this to happen, and they will go out of their way to make sure it never happens again.

June 26, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

Brexit Shatters EU and Its Washington Bond

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 26.06.2016

The British rejection of European Union membership came like a brick slamming into a pane of glass. The impact has stunned observers, radiated shockwaves and suddenly thrown up an arresting vista of cracks and jagged shards.

A crestfallen British Prime Minister David Cameron handed in his resignation only hours after the result showing the majority of Britons had voted for their nation to leave the EU – after 43 years of membership.

The victory for the «Leave» campaign was decisive. Some 52 per cent of British citizens voted against 48 per cent who wanted to «Remain» within the 28-nation bloc. Conservative Party premier Cameron and the leaders of the other main political parties – Labour, Scottish Nationalists, Liberal Democrats – had joined ranks to campaign for Britain to stay in the EU.

But in the end the popular vote rejected their pleas and instead backed the anti-EU stance of Boris Johnston, the former mayor of London who led Conservatives opposed to membership, in league with the more stridently Eurosceptic and anti-immigration United Kingdom Independence Party, led by Nigel Farage. The flamboyant Johnson is now tipped to take over as leader of the Conservatives and maybe future prime minister.

The repercussions of the so-called Brexit are multifaceted. British and international reactions struggled to assimilate the ramifications. This is partly due to a sense of astonishment that the United Kingdom had actually voted to leave. Not only did the result defy all the main political parties, it also repudiated a massive campaign endorsing continued EU membership, with what Leave campaigners decried as a «project of fear».

Cameron’s government had issued dire warnings of economic and financial mayhem if the country opted out of the EU. That call was backed by top British companies, City of London financial executives, and an array of international institutions, including the IMF and OECD. Days before the referendum was held, billionaire financial speculator George Soros predicted disaster for the British economy in the event of a Brexit.

European governments openly urged a Remain vote, while American President Barack Obama said that Britain would no longer be given «special rights» as a trading partner if it left the EU.

In the same week of the referendum, the US-led NATO military alliance also weighed in with grave warnings of increased security risks for Britain if it quit the European bloc.

In spite of this wall of pressure, if not blatant intimidation, the British electorate rejected EU membership. And in the early media coverage of the result, there was a palpable sense of disbelief among the chattering classes that the ordinary British people had gone their own way.

Apart from Cameron tendering his resignation, other British constitutional cracks split wide open on news of the Brexit.

The Leave result was driven mainly by English and Welsh voters, in contrast to Scotland and Northern Ireland. In Scotland, where a majority had voted to remain within the EU, the nationalist dominated regional assembly led by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon vowed that a second independence referendum was now on the table. In the previous independence plebiscite, in September 2014, the Scots voted then to stay within the United Kingdom largely as a way of securing continued EU membership by remaining an integral part of the UK. And with most Scots wanting to remain within the EU, the likelihood is that they would now reject the union with a «Brexited» England.

Similarly, in Northern Ireland the EU Remain vote carried the day. Nationalist Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said that London had hence lost its mandate to rule Northern Ireland, and he called for a referendum on Irish unity, which could lead to Britain relinquishing its centuries-old jurisdiction on the island of Ireland.

In short, the Brexit vote has not only severed Britain’s union with the rest of Europe, it has also unleashed secessionist forces presaging the dissolution of the United Kingdom’s own internal union.

Across Europe, the stunning British vote to leave was met with euphoric applause from similar anti-EU movements. In France, the National Front leader Marine Le Pen hailed the result as a «blow for freedom» and she demanded that the French nation be immediately given the right to have a referendum on EU membership.

Le Pen’s declaration for an EU referendum was echoed in Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden.

Several recent polls in these countries have shown growing – if not majority – support for a similar Brexit-style rejection of the EU. That is certainly alarming for the incumbent governments given that these countries represent founding members of the European project, which began nearly 70 years ago following the Second World War.

The EU establishment, represented by the Brussels administrative centre and pro-EU governments, is reeling from the Brexit shock.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker reportedly held emergency meetings with European Parliament leader Martin Schulz and European Council chief Donald Tusk; while EU foreign ministers convened in Berlin to discuss the permutations and how to stabilize the remaining 27-member bloc. Britain is the second biggest economy in the EU after Germany, so its negotiated departure over the next two years is a formidable challenge.

Over the next days, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is to hold crisis talks with French President Francois Hollande and Italian premier Matteo Renzi.

What these leaders fear most is that the Brexit will unleash a «domino effect» right across the whole of Europe. In virtually every country, including the foundational members, anti-EU parties are on the rise and flourishing. There is a veritable popular revolt against the EU establishment, which has come to be seen as undemocratic, autocratic and unresponsive to pressing social needs of employment, public services and general civic welfare.

European governments have got no-one else to blame but themselves. Whether they are nominally right, left or center, all conventional political parties – and the EU establishment that reflects them – have become ossified and inflexibly subordinate to neoliberal capitalist dictate. This has, in turn, engendered widespread poverty, unemployment and economic austerity, while the profits accrue to a tiny elite. The EU has become a cage of locked-in capitalist globalization, seemingly with no escape, as with much of the Westernized world.

Alternative opposition parties may not always express critique in such an anti-capitalist way, but they are united in their repudiation of what they see as a centralized oligarchy that operates out of Brussels. This has led to a counter-movement towards nationally controlled economies, as opposed to globalized form.

It is doubtful that many of the anti-EU parties can deliver remedial policies to what is the stagnancy of capitalist economics in the 21st Century. But one thing is sure: their supporters want to reject the failures of the status quo that is embodied in the contemporary EU.

An equally important form of inflexibility seen in the EU bloc is in foreign policy. The EU seems to have become a passive replica of the US-led NATO military alliance and under the thumb of Washington’s decree. Granted, most of the membership overlaps between the two organizations. But for many of the EU’s 500 million citizens, the EU’s lack of independence in foreign policy from Washington is a source of consternation.

The dangerous and economically damaging stand-off between Europe and Russia, largely at the behest of Washington, is a classic illustration of the problem.

The kowtowing by European governments and the Brussels administration to Washington’s policy of hostility towards Moscow is emblematic of the unaccountable and undemocratic nature of the EU bloc.

So too is the refugee crisis assailing European countries, which can be traced directly back to criminal US-led wars in North Africa and the Middle East, which the EU has colluded in or acquiesced to. And now is bearing the brunt of due to its servility towards Washington.

The popular revolt against the EU is far from homogenous. Some elements are impelled by reactionary, xenophobic nationalism. Some by chauvinism and romanticized notions of «traditional capitalism». Among some elements, there may even be fervent support for NATO militarism and pro-American hostility towards Russia.

But with Britain’s departure from the EU, Washington and the NATO alliance has lost one its most ardent supporters within the bloc. The Cameron government, after all, was the major proponent of tough sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis, and London’s Atlanticist bias had preponderant leverage on the overall EU foreign policy position.

Britain leaving the EU can be seen as a blow to undermine the sway of Washington and NATO over Europe. And this progressive end was also a factor in support for the Brexit, as it is in the wider social revolt across Europe. The European revolt is not all about rightwing reactionaries; it is also about creating more democratic, independent European states, even if that necessitates the seemingly retrograde step of breaking up the EU under its present form.

The Brexit thus heralds much more than the shattering of the EU. On a national level, the United Kingdom is also prone to fracturing, while at the international level the Atlanticist bond with which Washington has dominated the EU is another fracture point.

Like the proverbial pane of glass, inflexible structures are always susceptible – at some stage – to fragmentation. The EU appears to have reached that critical pressure point.

June 26, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , , | 1 Comment

European Union’s Imperial Overreach

By Jonathan Marshall | Consortium News | June 25, 2016

While few analysts are putting it this way, the European Union suffers from a self-inflicted crisis of overexpansion — a form of “imperial overstretch,” if you will. The Brexit vote was just the latest symptom of this policy disaster, which also includes escalating confrontations with Russia and the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

Public opinion polls in the United Kingdom established that widespread concern over immigration was the single most important factor driving voters to support an E.U. exit. Pro-Brexit campaigners made much of the statistics released just last month that net annual migration into the U.K. reached a third of a million people in 2015, double the rate just three years earlier.

Such numbers fed public concerns over the impact of immigrants on the country’s National Health System and other social services, as well as jobs. They also fed deep suspicions about government credibility.

As the Guardian reported after the stunning election victory for the Brexit camp, “David Cameron’s failure to give a convincing response to the publication of near-record net migration figures in the first week of the EU referendum campaign has proved to be its decisive moment.

“The figure of 333,000 not only underlined beyond any doubt that Britain had become a country of mass migration but also meant politicians who claimed they could make deep cuts in the numbers while Britain remained in the European Union were simply not believed.”

The influx of these newcomers had a deeper psychological effect on the public. “The British government’s inability to control (intra-European) migration is seen as emblematic of a wider loss of control,” wrote Oxford political theorist David Miller just before the election. “Many Britons feel that they are no longer in charge of their own destiny: ‘Take back our country’ is a slogan that resonates along the campaign trail.”

E.U. Expansion and Immigration

Roughly half of immigrants to the U.K. in recent years have come from other E.U. countries, taking advantage of the association’s fundamental commitment to the free movement of people. Their large numbers reflected the enormous expansion of the E.U. since 2004 — and the lure of Britain’s relatively affluent economy to poor workers from newer members like Poland and Romania.

The E.U. — which actually has a commissioner for “enlargement” — has expanded relentlessly without heeding concerns from grassroots constituents of its traditional core members. In 2004, the E.U. absorbed Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia — all low-wage countries with much lower standards of living than the likes of Germany, France or the U.K. In 2007, it also took in Romania and Bulgaria.

Official statistics show that citizens of these newer and poorer E.U. members account for nearly a third of net migration into the U.K. in recent years.

Although many economists defend free labor movement as good for the economy overall, the result — like that of free trade with low-wage countries — can harm less-skilled workers.

In 2011, two unpublished reports commissioned by the Department of Communities and Local Government made that point.

One warned senior government officials that sharply rising immigration could “increase tensions between migrant workers and other sections of the community” during the country’s recession. Another noted a huge rise in immigrants settling unexpectedly in rural areas, and concluded they were having “a negative impact on the wages of UK workers at the bottom of the occupational distribution.”

“We under-estimated significantly the number of people who were going to come in from Eastern Europe,” conceded Ed Milliband, leader of the Labour Party. “Economic migration and greater labour market flexibility have increased the pressure faced by those in lower skilled work.”

Ironically, many of the localities that voted most decisively for Brexit had relatively low migrant populations. But many of them are still suffering from economic austerity and sharp reductions in the social safety net imposed by the Conservative government since 2010.

“Switching the scapegoat from the government to the faceless migrant . . . is easier when people are scared for their livelihood, and more convenient for the politicians campaigning on both sides,” remarked the London-based writer Dawn Foster.

Voters were easily persuaded that “distant” and “faceless” E.U. bureaucrats just didn’t grasp their concerns. Indeed, the E.U. remains bent on continued expansion. It is currently in membership discussions with Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey, and recognizes Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo as potential members.

Russia and Ukraine

The E.U.’s expansionist drive has had other costly repercussions for Britain and the rest of Europe. One notable disaster was its drive for an “association agreement” with Ukraine, a wide-ranging treaty that included not only provisions for tight economic integration, but also a commitment over time to abide by the E.U.’s Common Security and Defense Policy and European Defense Agency policies. On both fronts, the agreement was designed to pull Ukraine out of its traditional Russian orbit.

The E.U.’s expansion into Ukraine, like its expansion into the rest of Eastern Europe, was paralleled by the expansion of the NATO military alliance into the same countries, contrary to promises by Western leaders to their Russian counterparts in 1990. In 2008, NATO’s secretary general — backed by President George W. Bush and presidential candidate Barack Obama — pledged that Ukraine would be granted NATO membership.

Needless to say, Russia reacted badly, as it did to the E.U.’s later power play. It pressured the government of President Viktor Yanukovych to resist entreaties by NATO and the E.U. His refusal to break with Russia in turn triggered the so-called “Euromaidan” protests and the Western-backed putsch that ousted his government in February 2014.

Within a month, the new pro-European and pro-U.S. prime minister, Arseniy Yatseniuk, had signed the political provisions of the E.U. agreement. Just months later, he declared that he would seek NATO membership as well.

The result has been a bloody civil war in Eastern Ukraine; dangerous and costly military confrontations between Russia and NATO; and mutual economic sanctions that impoverish both Russia and the E.U.

Future historians will help us understand the underlying sources of the E.U.’s self-destructive expansion. No doubt they include some combination of ideological faith in the universality of European values, bureaucratic aggrandizement, and pandering to neo-liberal elites. Whatever the causes, the results now threaten the entire European project.

The E.U.’s future will require serious self-examination on many fronts, but especially about its grandiose ambitions for expansion.


Jonathan Marshall is author or co-author of five books on international affairs, including The Lebanese Connection: Corruption, Civil War and the International Drug Traffic (Stanford University Press, 2012).

June 25, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics, Ethnic Cleansing | , , , , , | Leave a comment