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Democrats are the McCarthyites

By Margaret Kimberley | Black Agenda Report | February 6, 2019

The unceasing torrent of Russiagate lies turns Democrats into war hawks and causes liberals to spout nonsense that was once consigned to the fringe right wing. It’s worse than the old McCarthyism.

A recent poll indicated that Democrats are more likely than Republicans to hold pro-war views. That revelation is hardly surprising considering the degree to which their party has promoted the trope of Donald Trump as a Russian government asset. This strategy is a focal point for them and a weapon to be used against the Republicans instead of the political opposition their voters need.

The ongoing investigation popularly known as Russiagate is a cynical hoax perpetrated by the Democratic Party leadership and their friends in corporate media. Russiagate distracts the public from taking a hard look at the Democratic Party corruption and resulting missteps that put Donald Trump in the White House. It also serves the interests of the bi-partisan surveillance state, which feared that Trump pronouncements indicated fundamental changes in foreign policy which they could not abide.

These allegations have Trump on the ropes, but mostly because of the relentless repetition of lies about the investigation. The litany of indictments paraded by the media involve crimes like tax fraud and payments to porn stars. None of the indictments point to collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign. Because no such connections have been made the media continue whipping up hysteria in an effort to keep the tale alive. The campaign is more shrill than ever because the hollowness of the case is clear to anyone who is really paying attention.

Comparisons have been made with McCarthyite “Red Scare” of the 1950s. But it can be argued that Russiagate is even worse. Bizarre assertions that were once consigned to the fringe right wing are now repeated on a daily basis by influential corporate media personalities and nearly all Democratic Party politicians.

The most prolific Russiagate practitioner is Rachel Maddow of MSNBC. She has ridden that horse so successfully that she now has the highest rated program on cable news. But she may have reached a moment which prompted the famous question asked at the army/McCarthy hearings. “At long last have you no sense of decency?”

Her assertion that Russia might be able to hack into the power grid and freeze Americans to death is quite dangerous . “What would you do if you lost heat indefinitely as the act of a foreign power on the same day that the temperature in your front yard matched the temperature in Antarctica? I mean, what would you and your family do?” It doesn’t matter that experts declared that the claim was highly improbable if not impossible. There is now no depth that cannot be reached in the effort to bamboozle Democrats and keep them stupid and needlessly fearful.

Prestigious newspapers like the New York Times are equally guilty of passing off lies as the truth. The Times reported that Trump and his associates had more than 100 interactions with Russians before inauguration day in 2017. But the story falls apart on even cursory inspection. The Times includes unproven claims of contacts with Wikileaks when it isn’t even a Russian organization. Roger Stone is the latest to be indicted because of his own stupidity, having claimed contacts with Wikileaks that never even took place.

But even as the case for collusion falls apart, the McCarthyite media find new ways to keep the narrative running. Russian press coverage of Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s presidential campaign is called a “campaign of support” for her candidacy. NBC called Russian reporting the “propaganda machine.” The real issue is that Gabbard dares to question U.S. foreign policy dictates. She met with Syrian president Assad and opposes the coup attempt against Venezuela. But stopping such heretical acts from taking place is a central feature of the Russiagate scare.

So insane is the conspiracy mongering that clear damage to Russian government aspirations are called “wins for Putin.” The Trump administration’s unilateral withdrawal from the 30-year old INF missile treaty is not something that Vladimir Putin would ever want. The decades long effort to limit nuclear proliferation gives both countries security knowing that the other is restricted in the number and placements of nuclear weapons. Yet this very obvious reality is now turned on its head, and truth is twisted and disappeared.

The worst possible outcome of Russiagate is that it increases the likelihood of armed conflict between the United States and Russia. The same people who see MSNBC, CNN and national newspapers as divine oracles can be led to support any government act, no matter how dangerous it may be. Liberals who might once have opposed a hot war would now be the first to support it.

The Russiagate pimps are stoking fear and hatred. They spread outright lies and ignorance and they are doing so because of base motives. The Democratic Party rank and file ought to be demanding answers about the 2016 defeat and the previous loss of 900 legislative seats around the country. But they have been so badly misled that they don’t know that they should be asking anything at all. Even people who call themselves progressives are worshipping prosecutorial excess from the Robert Mueller investigation team and applauding surveillance state killers bloviating on cable news programs.

McCarthyism is back and it is being led by liberals. The entire world is endangered because of their leaders’ lies and cover ups and their determination to follow blindly. The outcome will be continued political defeat at home and an increased likelihood of what was once unimaginable, war between two nuclear powers.

Margaret Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.

February 6, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia | , , , , | 1 Comment

Pierre Omidyar: A Dangerous Billionaire-Backer of the “Resistance”

By Daniel Haiphong | American Herald Tribune | November 27, 2018

One of the most disturbing trends in the era of Trump has been the flock of billionaires that have come rushing into the Democratic Party to pose as leaders of an opposition movement to the “fascist” predations of the real estate mogul. These billionaires, which include capitalists such as George Soros, Michael Bloomberg, and Tom Steyer are the architects of a “Big Tent” strategy first outlined by Black Agenda Report Editor Glen Ford. This strategy was devised by the Hillary Clinton Presidential campaign of 2016. The strategy has two components. The first component is the promotion of “diversity” to distract from the fact that the Democratic Party can no longer appeal to the interests of the poor or working-class, especially Black people who have been held in electoral captivity for a generation. Second, “Big Tent” Democrats actively seek an alliance of Wall Street, the military and intelligence apparatus, and Republicans to provide the financial and political strength behind the strategy.

The “Big Tent” strategy is called the “Resistance.” One of the chief billionaire-backers of the “Resistance” is Pierre Omidyar. Omidyar is the founder of the eBay corporation. His surplus profits have been used over the years to exert “soft power” influence over the U.S. state. Omidyar has given hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of cash to Democratic Party candidates since 1999.

Omidyar was one of the principle donors to the NeverTrump Political Action Committee (PAC) that formed during the 2016 election. The NeverTrump PAC brought together neoliberal and neoconservative Democrats into an alliance against Trump. William Kristol, editor in chief at the Weekly Standard and longtime Republican, has been one of the most vocal supporters of the NeverTrump movement. Kristol is an expert in the think-tank business and understands the importance of “soft power.” He helped found the Project for the New American Century that peddled neocon wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as an escalation of the U.S.’ military presence around the world, including on Russia’s doorstep. Kristol has become a favorite of the corporate media since Trump was elected in 2016. He is a regular on MSNBC and is viewed by corporate Democrats as the “sane” wing of the Republican Party.

That Omidyar would align with Kristol is a stark indication of the “Big Tent” strategy at work. In a post on Twitter after the midterm elections came to pass, Kristol celebrated the support that he has received from “the left” and its benefactors such as Pierre Omidyar. Kristol’s excitement about billionaire support from all sides of the political aisle represents a development in the Trump era that is far more dangerous than Trump himself. The “Big Tent” strategy is a marked political shift to the right. Not only this, but the shift is part and parcel of a covert war against the real “left” that is principally being waged by the fake “left” coalition of thieves and warmongers in the Democratic Party.

The critical question that must be asked is whether there are any benefits for ordinary poor and working-class people in supporting the NeverTrump coalition or billionaire backers such as Omidyar. And the answer is more complex than a simple “no.” It is far worse than that. Omidyar is not a “lesser-evil” billionaire. In the system of U.S. imperialism, those don’t exist.

By supporting Omidyar and his version of the “Resistance,” most of humanity stands to lose. Omidyar’s “soft power” network has only one mission and that is to stabilize an empire in crisis. One of the ways that Omidyar has attempted to stabilize the imperialist system is through investments in journalism. Omidyar is the principle owner of First Look Media, the parent corporation of The Intercept. While The Intercept has covered important issues in the past, it has been charged with privatizing Edward Snowden’s leaks and promoting regime change efforts in Syria through direct attacks on the democratically-elected government of Bashar Al-Assad. Furthermore, The Intercept possesses a troubling record of outing the identities of those leaking secret government information. In a word, Omidyar has used his influence over The Intercept to stifle dissent while promoting the outlet as a pioneer of “independent” media.

Omidyar is most concerned, however, with ensuring that the US empire maintains corporate and military control over the world’s nations and peoples. He has donated millions to the Clinton Global Initiative responsible for imposing ruthless austerity measures on nations such as Haiti. There is also documented evidence that Omidyar used his philanthropic network to support the “Maidan Revolution” in Ukraine in 2014 which propelled neo-Nazis into state power, much to the pleasure of the IMF. The billionaire eBay mogul has also been a critical supporter of the United States Agency for International Development or USAID. USAID is well-known for its support of “soft power” tactics to promote regime change in nations that do not bow down to U.S. military and corporate power such as Cuba.

Omidyar is not just dangerous at the individual level. Rather, the billionaire’s influence over the U.S. power structure is representative of conflict within the ruling class of the imperialist system headed by the United States. On the other side of Omidyar stands Trump, a ruthless billionaire who holds no allegiance to any sector of the imperialist system. Trump is not loyal to the banks or the military and intelligence apparatus. Trump is loyal to himself. His moves as President thus far such as the tax breaks for the rich, his willingness to broker peace in Korea, or his racist dog whistles and policies toward immigration from Central America, are all representative of the sharpening decline of imperialism.

Omidyar wants to save the imperialist system from decline. The section of the billionaire class from which Omidyar belongs is interested only in engendering endless war and austerity under conditions of social peace. The likes of Omidyar pose as the “Resistance” to Trump but really represent a threat of potentially greater proportions. Omidyar actively creates infrastructure for leftists and progressives to be bamboozled into supporting the machinations of imperialism. It is no secret that the section of the Republican Party that supports Trump also wields “soft power” through its own think-tanks such as the Federalist Society. However, in this period of crisis in the political apparatus of imperialism, party lines are becoming blurred. The “Big Tent” strategy reigns and billionaires such as Omidyar will do anything to ensure that the deadly alliance re-assumes full control of the system from Trump.

In conclusion, a dialectical relationship exists between Omidyar and Trump. It was Omidyar’s section of the ruling class that created the economic and political conditions for Trump. For over thirty years, billionaires such as Omidyar, Steyer, and Buffet have bled workers and poor people dry. Wages and wealth have plummeted for the majority while profits and land holdings have soared for the minority. The only thing that workers and poor people can count on is that the military, police, and surveillance apparatus will grow as people become more desperate and impoverished. Omidyar and the Democratic Party-aligned billionaires have coalesced with as many repressive forces in the ruling class as possible to wage a struggle against Trump. In doing so, they avoid the very real crisis of legitimacy that elected Donald Trump in the first place.

We should steer clear of supporting Omidyar and expose his putrid political record as proof that there is no such thing as a “progressive” billionaire. Real progressives and radicals stand for universal healthcare, peace, jobs, and against war, mass incarceration, and mass surveillance. These are the political issues of our time that the entire ruling class stands against. Trump knew this and politically appealed to anti-regime change and anti-free trade sentiment within the Republican and Democratic Party. Through their “resistance” toward Trump, Omidyar and his ilk have as their real goal the suppression of this sentiment so that it never becomes a truly progressive movement for social transformation in this country.

November 27, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Censorship? By The U.S. Women’s National Democratic Club? You Bet!

By J. Michael Springmann | American Herald Tribune | October 29, 2018

Say It Ain’t So, Joe! The author’s book, Goodbye, Europe? Hello, Chaos? Merkel’s Migrant Bomb is more toxic than the controlled wave of migrants flooding the Continent over the past few years. It is more toxic than the carefully-organized migrant “caravans” now marching to the United States. On October 24, 2018, through the efforts of a contact, the Women’s National Democratic Club (WNDC) in Washington, D.C. invited this writer to speak about his book at a luncheon on November 29. However, mirabile dictu, on October 26, the Club reneged on its invitation.

Why? The book asks awkward questions, names names, and provides deep background on unrestricted, uncontrolled migration. It is a carefully-researched analysis of how and why millions of people, mostly from South and Southwest Asia and North Africa, poured into the European Union. The work delves into America’s Forever War against the Arab and Muslim worlds, detailing how the United States destroyed country after country. Blaming shadowy Islamists for the problem, Washington concealed the activities of its own intelligence services and those of other countries in carefully herding the unfortunates out of their homelands and onto a foreign continent. Its 354 footnotes, draw from contemporary press articles and Kelly Greenhill’s scholarly investigation of the subject, Weapons of Mass Migration: Forced Displacement, Coercion, and Foreign Policy (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press: 2010), buttress the author’s investigations, arguments, and conclusions.

These ideas are anathema to the American Establishment. Of which, the WNDC evidently thinks it is a member.

Nevertheless, in an effort at damage control, the author’s friend had suggested to the WNDC that talking about Goodbye, Europe? would be useful to their membership in understanding the situation in Europe as well as the columns of aliens, not quite in army division strength, now marching on America. She had emphasized this author’s background as immigration attorney, service as a diplomat, and activity as political commentator on international affairs. She further noted that this writer’s experience provided a certain amount of gravitas, commenting:

Mr. Springmann’s position…would offer WNDC attendees a rare (unfortunately rare, as mainstream media and elected officials are not addressing the nuances and complexities of this mass migration), opportunity to go beyond soundbites, fear and the narrow ‘discussion’ that has been framed not only in Europe but in the US as well…

And the WNDC’s Reply? Here’s Marisha Kirtane, the Club’s Strategic Communications Director, in her own words:

My concern is more the tone in which migrants were talked about in the abstract for the book, and how they seemed to be characterized…. Why do migrants represent an ethnopolitical nightmare?  Where is the data that suggests that most migrants are men?…But there’s a good chance that it is a very individual point of view by someone who is a bit of a conspiracy theorist.

Miss Kirtane obviously didn’t read the book (even though this writer had supplied the WNDC with a copy). If she had seen the volume, she would have noted that the book was, in part, dedicated to the migrants: … To the unfortunate millions driven from their homes by American foreign policy. These were individuals and families weaponized as migrants, pushed into foreign lands and cultures they did not understand… Just as obviously, she didn’t read any of the comments about the work posted on Amazon. If she had, she would have learned from the former director of the Voice of America’s Arabic Service that:

… I consider [this]one of the very rare books that are so deeply and extensively researched and so widely and authentically sourced. It discusses frankly and uninhibitedly the worldwide wave of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers which flooded many European countries and threatened to break on our shores. The author unearthed the roots of the problems which caused that human deluge of millions. Mr. Springmann lays the blame on many factors including turmoil, political instability, unemployment, poverty, aspiring to better life and mainly violence and wars in Asian, North African and, in particular, Middle Eastern countries. He stresses that the major cause of the outflow of that flood is the United States’ foreign policy which he claims is bent on using the migrant waves as a “mass destruction weapon… It is timely and comes in a propitious moment when the American debate on immigration, refugees and border protection is heating up. The book is a warning shot which directs attention to the migrant problems and as a reminder that solutions are urgently needed. The author offers some reasonable ones.”

So Why Is There Censorship? Simple. The book and planned address criticize American foreign policy. You know, of invading and destroying countries with which the United States is at peace. Besides its century-long history of overthrowing democratic governments in Latin America and the Caribbean, the United States has crushed Arab and Muslim regimes in Southwest Asia which apartheid Israel sees as abominations. The Democratic Party as well as the members of the WNDC have supported these actions. If they haven’t, this writer has heard nary a word of criticism directed against former presidents James Earl Carter (D-Ga.), William Jefferson Clinton (D-Ark.), or Barack Hussein Obama (D-HI.). The Democrats intensely dislike anyone linking their wars and their support for wars to their politicians, who, in their eyes, stand for hope and change.

There is also censorship because the WNDC can’t or doesn’t want to grasp the causes of the migrant waves in Europe and the Americas: the nearly complete destruction of entire countries and their political systems, with attendant imposition of highly undemocratic regimes in their place. Naturally, decent, hard-working common folk want to leave.

But that’s not the only reason for censorship. It gets worse. The WNDC (and the far too many people who think like they do) love the sub rosa import of cheap, easily exploited labor. (It’s really slave labor but the War Between the States abolished slavery, don’t you know.) Moreover, they’re votes to be had. These can be illegal ones (since the U.S. doesn’t have a national identity card and efforts to require proof of citizenship at the polls are always deemed unconstitutional). Or they can be legal ones, as the result of amnesty or marriage to an American citizen. The key word is gratitude to the political party that let the migrants in.

But, some people fight back. Mostly on the Continent. In Goodbye, Europe?, the author reviews right-wing, populist parties, country by country. He notes that anti-EU, anti-migrant Marine Le Pen and her then-Front National garnered 30% of the French presidential vote in 2017. Anti-immigrant Geert Wilders’ Union Party for Freedom (PVV) became the second-strongest party in the Dutch parliament in 2017. Angela Merkel, the woman who opened Europe to migrants. and her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) took an unprecedented drubbing in Germany’s September 2017 general election. But the Alternative for Germany Party (AfD), anti-EU and anti-migrant went from nothing to nearly 13% of the vote. According to an E-mail from a German friend October 28, 2018, Merkel’s CDU and the SPD, the Socialists, again got pounded in that day’s Hesse State elections, losing 10 percentage points each, with the AfD taking a projected 14% of the ballots cast.

Don’t you dare question. However, in Europe, just as in the United States, anyone who probes the migrant wave, its causes, or its supporters is denounced as a racist, a hatemonger, a Neo-Nazi, or worse. Peter van Buren, author and former American diplomat, recently queried the rapid mobilization of the migrant caravans moving towards the U.S. just before mid-term elections. Posting on Facebook, he asked how 7,000 people came together overnight. He wanted to know who or what is supplying them with food and water. Consequently, he was hit with astonishingly fact-free emotional outbursts. (When this writer was assigned to Saudi Arabia, he drank three liters of water a day. Imagine the task of daily providing 21,000 liters of potable water to these people.)

Some of this help seems to be coming from the Mexican government. NBC news reported October 28 that “For the first time an arm of the [Mexican] federal government seemed to be directly helping the migrants advance rather than trying to diminish the caravan. In this case Grupo Beta, Mexico’s migrant protection agency, gave rides to stragglers and passed out water.”

Conclusion. Americans live in the past. They believe in exceptionalism. They believe in their inalienable right to tell others what to think and what to do. And they’re wrong.

My contact who reached out to the WNDC believes that the U.S. (and Europe) should admit anyone, regardless of their education level or qualifications. After all, she noted, the Irish and others came to the United States in the 19th century. They came for the most part as single people who would later send for their families. They came, she commented, because they had no future at home. Well, in the 19th century, America was a continent-wide wilderness filled with lots of trees and Red Indians, soon to be extirpated for their inconvenient existence. Today, with more than 300 million people of various ethnicities and strong, diametrically-opposed political beliefs, the U.S. is becoming unmanageable.

On the other hand, Canada and Australia are selective about their immigrants. Unlike the U.S., they put a premium on what the new immigrant can bring to the county: funds and education. After all, we live in a high-technology society dependent on high level skills and knowledge.

American exceptionalism goes back to the 17th century when John Winthrop, governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, said “We shall be as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us.” In a speech given in 1974 at the Political Action Conference, President Ronald Reagan expatiated on what Winthrop meant: “We are, indeed, and we are today, the last best hope of man on earth.” According to Stephen M. Walt in Foreign Policy (October 11, 2011), “Most statements of ‘American exceptionalism’ presume that America’s values, political system, and history are unique and worthy of universal admiration. They also imply that the United States is both destined and entitled to play a distinct and positive role on the world stage.”

That’s a myth. Any Afghan, Iranian, Iraqi, Libyan, or Syrian can confirm that. Most of Latin America can, as well.

Flowing from exceptionalism is the American desire to control the world’s political systems–for their own good. Look at the United Nations and U.S. vetoes of resolutions critical of Israel. See the steady advance of outmoded NATO to Russia’s borders. Consider the chain of alliances which U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles forged in the 1950s. Contemplate America’s withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or from the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Reflect on sanctions imposed on Russia and Iran but not Israel or Saudi Arabia. America knows best doesn’t it?

No. And that’s why the WNDC censored this writer’s talk. People with limited knowledge and a specific agenda wanted to control someone else’s message. They wanted this control to ensure that their speech and only their speech would be heard. In 21st century America, freedom of speech applies to only certain words from certain groups. George Orwell’s 1984 came 30 years early.


J. Michael Springmann is an attorney and former diplomat with the US Department of State. As a diplomat, he spent five years in Germany, two years in India, and nearly two in Saudi Arabia. Now a writer and political commentator, Springmann is also the author of Visas for Al Qaeda: CIA Handouts That Rocked the World.

October 29, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 1 Comment

‘Free Speech’: Trump Campaign Defends WikiLeaks’ Release of Hacked DNC Emails

Sputnik – 11.10.2018

A lawsuit filed in September by two donors and an ex-employee from the Democratic Party alleged that President Donald Trump’s team had purportedly conspired with Russia to release emails ostensibly stolen from the servers of the Democratic National Committee.

In a motion to dismiss a new lawsuit, the Trump campaign, represented by lawyers from the firm Jones Day, turned to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to state that WikiLeaks couldn’t be held “liable” for publishing Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails because the whistleblowing website served as an “intermediary” for other parties’ information.

“A website that provides a forum where ‘third parties can post information’ is not liable for the third party’s posted information. Since WikiLeaks provided a forum for a third party (the unnamed “Russian actors”) to publish content developed by that third party (the hacked emails), it cannot be held liable for the publication,” the motion read.

Presenting the 32-page legal filing, the lawyers also maintained that any alleged agreement between the website and the Trump campaign to leak those emails couldn’t be considered a “conspiracy” due to the fact that WikiLeaks’ posting of the messages was not a crime, while a “conspiracy is an agreement to commit an unlawful act,” the lawyers claimed.

They further added that the campaign couldn’t be held legally responsible for the publication of the DNC emails on WikiLeaks.

The lawyers appealed to the First Amendment, which protects the right to “disclose information – even stolen information – so long as (1) the speaker did not participate in the theft and (2) the information deals with matters of public concern.”

“At a minimum, privacy cannot justify suppressing true speech during a political campaign. The First Amendment ‘has its fullest and most urgent application to speech uttered during a campaign for political office’. It leaves voters ‘free to obtain information from diverse sources in order to determine how to cast their votes,’” the filing read.

The motion was submitted in response to a civil lawsuit brought against the Trump campaign by one ex-employee from the Democratic Party and two donors, who alleged that the leaked emails had revealed “identifying information.”

While the Trump campaign’s lawyers leapt to the defense of the website in their brief, the current administration has previously blasted WikiLeaks for releasing classified documents, with then-CIA director Mike Pompeo – now the secretary of state – dismissing the platform as a “hostile non-state intelligence service” in 2017.

In July 2018, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the investigation into the alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election, announced indictments against 12 Russian nationals, claiming that they were posing as Guccifer 2.0, the entity that took credit for the hack of the DNC.

According to the indictment, they used a website run by an organization, “that had previously posted documents stolen from US persons, entities, and the US government,” in an apparent allusion to WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks, which was accused by Trump’s Democratic rival in the election, Hillary Clinton, of acting as a “fully owned subsidiary of Russian intelligence” after publishing emails leaked from the DNC servers during the campaign, has denied any efforts to meddle in the 2016 election in the United States, as well as conspiring with Russia.

Both Washington and Moscow have repeatedly dismissed claims of collusion to influence the outcome of the vote.

October 11, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

When Social Networks Care About National Security

By Harry Bentham | OffGuardian | September 16, 2018

Controversies surrounding online fake news, having alarmed political activists in Britain and the US, are prompting social media companies to be more active in combating the alleged threat. For many people in opposition to the policies of US President Donald Trump and Britain’s exit from the EU, the internet is to blame for the situation because it illicitly influenced voters. As a result, increased policing of social networks to root out foreign spies and domestic dissidents seems necessary to them. One of the latest examples is Twitter’s permanent suspension of American conspiracy theorist entertainer Alex Jones.

The responsibility to police the social networks seems to have largely been placed, by pushy and concerned politicians, on the management of tech companies themselves. British MPs and US senators did this by summoning them to hearings and campaigning openly against the internet’s permissiveness on political content, making demands they should shut down dissident and foreign outlets because they have gone too far.

Although the most vocal of them are not actually in the incumbent government and therefore not responsible for national security responses, they are still lawmakers representing constituents and can threaten legislation to compel social media companies to change. Preferring instead to make the policing of social media posts look voluntary, they seem to have capably persuaded the management of the tech companies to enforce their views on national security.

Therefore, now, we are at an awkward point where transnational social networks must care about so-called national security – specifically the US’s national security, based on that country’s strange and self-obsessed drivel about being exceptional and better than others. What next?

Recently, we have seen police-like enforcement action against dissident users and outlets present on a variety of social media platforms and applications used by a probable majority of people in the UK and the US. This removal of controversial figures from online platforms is presented as not being censorship, but rather the enforcement of decent community guidelines by companies that have every right to withhold services. However, this argument is not very convincing. The political pressure has been immense. The results have not been targeted at bad social media behavior like spam and harassment, but against alternate political views on both the left and the right. If we look at the actions of the tech companies, they are not only encouraged by elements of the state but have made themselves into state-like actors by describing themselves as stopping foreign threats and extremism.

Brexit was the mistake of a misled public, perhaps. We are told so by influential media personalities – almost all of them – and the same narrative is presented when it comes to the election of Trump. We are encouraged to lean towards the same common solution to both of these mishaps, and it consists of mostly a crackdown online – especially on Twitter. We will be shutting down online accounts and channels belonging to the supporters of such causes as Trump and Brexit, after quickly and conveniently finding them guilty of being bots or possibly foreign. No attention is given to bad behavior as a whole.

For example, no enforcement action is used against pro-EU accounts or anti-Trump accounts, many of which self-identify as foreign or completely automated. Some even blatantly violate Twitter’s rules on inflated hashtag campaigns, doing things like using the hashtag #FBPE to get followers and retweets from pro-EU bots. Their own determination to trick users and violate the community guidelines is openly celebrated by them, so oblivious are these kinds of activists to their own hypocrisy.

So, in fact, what seems at first a principled argument against bad behavior is really a cliché so we can pretend there was some civilized reason for thuggishly silencing other points of view.

Much of the commentary by the Democratic Party, as with opponents of Brexit in the UK, focuses on national security and the need to silence or eliminate bad people and Russians. It is presented as war, using the language of military propaganda. Being in opposition, these democracy-loving people in the Democratic Party and other groups now presume it is the job of civil society – news networks like CNN and tech companies like Apple mainly – to not only take charge of national security themselves but also engage directly in censorship.

But censorship, the shutting down of opposing views and channels on grounds that they are treasonous, is not an exertion of soft power but hard power. It is a state-like activity, and the sole responsibility of states in all previous cases. By taking part in censorship without being part of the elected leadership of the state and the command structure it possesses to deal with national security threats, unelected elements in civil society are allowed to commit what would be a crime if they had been elected to do it. They engage in a coup-like activity, since, not being part of an elected government, they are nonetheless engaged in state-like activity and are trying to invasively police matters that only a heavily expanded state or dictatorship is ever expected to police.

What is presented above makes it justifiable to consider whether traditional models of state censorship would be more consistent with the rule of law and the importance of a democratic mandate than the current capricious enforcement by private companies. A party whose candidate failed to win power over the whole state, such as the Democrats, is not able to implement a program of state censorship at the moment they most want to. The reason this is the case is because of their very loss in the 2016 US election, which makes them not responsible for matters of national security and not tasked with securing the information space against threats, and yet they try. For them to seek routes around this failure, going to non-elected entities such as the tech companies in an attempt to dictate terms of censorship and actual national security policies via them, can be compared with a coup or a form of separatism. This is the creation of a second state, the seizure of infrastructure to interdict citizens. It is completely outside the bounds of normal political processes, which focus solely on democratic and valid elections as the only means of changing power.

Each point made in relation to the US Democrats here is equally true of influencers and leaders who seek to invalidate the results of the UK’s Brexit referendum, in large part because these are the same kind of civil society actors. In their attempts to portray the activity of the national government itself as treasonous and wrest control of the management of national security from the British government, entities with no democratic mandate are hopelessly creating a second state – one without elections – to take control over national security.

It is not political opposition but a second state because, for the first time ever, it wants not just persuasive soft power but hard power in the capability to suppress targets or eliminate their influence on command. Not only would this realization make these parties and their tech industry collaborators a state-like entity, but it could make such actors as the Democratic Party traitors at war with the electorate.

While this article doesn’t make such a claim, it is one Trump and his supporters have come close to making when the President accused unrelenting elements of the press of being “enemies of the people”, and could eventually create a national security crisis. The reason it would be a crisis is because both Trump and his critics will have a point. It is the role of activists and media to be adversarial, but if they are too aggressive and specifically driven to remove an elected head of state from power, their actions may be seen as the de facto overthrow of the republic to install themselves as political arbiters and impose a moral aristocracy.

Many leaders and followers in the political opposition in the US and UK are supportive of censorship, slithering around constitutional safeguards against state censorship. Whether in public hearings or behind closed doors, they have been going directly to tech companies and other parts of civil society to physically disrupt or silence speech they dislike. If they are such supporters of national security and censorship, and are really so concerned about traitors, they should not conspire. Rather, these people should approach the elected government with their concerns, to avoid being deemed traitors themselves.

They can achieve censorship by working to convince the elected government to change the law in relation to such practices and introduce programs of lawful censorship, as well as bodies to reliably and authoritatively identify traitors. This means national security can be pursued in a way at least consistent with electoral democracy, even if it erodes human rights further. Otherwise, we will continue to see electorally defeated parties and elements of civil society acting like terrorist hijackers determined to take power. They will be gaining state-like powers, harassing citizens who did not vote for them, carrying out targeted censorship, and enforcing their values over the corpse of the democratic state.

It should be concluded that none of the above is a desirable conversation to take part in and it is regrettable that it would need to be published. Ideally, neither state censorship nor corporate censorship should be tolerated. The internet should continue to be home to an anarchic culture at all costs, not a state-like one. However, as rhetoric becomes more warlike and paranoid and positions become irreconcilable, all spaces could become politically aligned and everyone’s freedom to communicate could catastrophically reduce. With constant political censorship, critical thinking will rewind a hundred years and the internet will talk like propaganda from 1914 when you try to search for the truth.


Harry Bentham is an independent author. His writing has been featured at Beliefnet, Press TV, the Center for a Stateless Society, h+ Magazine and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. Having authored several titles available on Amazon, Harry wrote and independently published the technology and politics book Catalyst: A Techno-Liberation Thesis in 2013 and is a listed member of think tanks including the futurist Lifeboat Foundation. Keep track of Harry’s ideas via Twitter @hjbentham and @catalystthesis

September 16, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Russian hackers not found… again: DNC retracts claim voter database targeted by cyber-attack

RT | August 23, 2018

The latest alarming news on a sophisticated cyber-attack on the Democratic National Committee’s voter database may have cemented one’s worst fears over Russia hacking into the US elections… except it was really a “phishing test.”

Bob Lord, the committee’s chief security officer, raised the alarm on Wednesday after detecting a fake login page that mimicked the access page for Votebuilder, a program used by Democratic Party officials across that country that hosts the party’s voter database.

“This attempt is further proof that there are constant threats as we head into midterm elections and we must remain vigilant in order to prevent future attacks,” Lord said in a statement. However, within a few hours it became clear that blaming Moscow, no matter how tempting, would not be an option.

In a follow-up statement, Lord clarified that the fake login page was “built by a third party as part of a simulated phishing test.” He claimed that the security test was not authorized by the DNC.

“While we are extremely relieved that this wasn’t an attempted intrusion by a foreign adversary, this incident is further proof that we need to continue to be vigilant in light of potential attacks,” Lord’s anticlimactic clarification said.

It’s not uncommon for corporations or organizations to hire consultants to test for security weaknesses in their computer systems – although it’s unusual for it to be done without any knowledge of the organization, as Lord has insisted.

Still, even when reporting that the scary DNC hack was a false alarm, CNN made sure to remind its readers that Microsoft recently announced (citing no concrete evidence) that it had thwarted an attempt by hackers working for Russian military intelligence to target the US Senate and conservative think tanks that advocated for tougher policies against Moscow.

August 23, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , | 4 Comments

Elizabeth Warren’s Anti Corruption Specificity Evaporates When Foreign Policy is Raised

By Sam Husseini | August 22, 2018

On Tuesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren addressed the National Press Club, outlining with great specificity a host of proposals on issues including eliminating financial conflicts, close the revolving door between business and government and, perhaps most notably, reforming corporate structures.

Warren gave a blistering attack on corporate power run amok, giving example after example, like Congressman Billy Tauzin doing the pharmaceutical lobby’s bidding by preventing a bill for expanded Medicare coverage from allowing the program to negotiate lower drug prices. Noted Warren: “In December of 2003, the very same month the bill was signed into law, PhRMA — the drug companies’ biggest lobbying group — dangled the possibility that Billy could be their next CEO.”In February of 2004, Congressman Tauzin announced that he wouldn’t seek re-election. Ten months later, he became CEO of PhRMA — at an annual salary of $2 million. Big Pharma certainly knows how to say ‘thank you for your service.'”

But I found that Warren’s tenacity when ripping things like corporate lobbyists’ “pre-bribes”  suddenly evaporated when dealing with issues like the enormous military budget and Israeli assaults on Palestinian children.

The Press Club moderator, Angela Greiling Keane, early in the news conference asked about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s keeping press out of town hall meetings, pairing that with Trump’s outright attacks on media.

Husseini: Sam Husseini with The Nation and the Institute for Public Accuracy. Cortez, who was mentioned earlier, and other likely incoming congressional members next year propose slashing the military budget to help pay for human and environmental needs. Do you agree? And if I could, a second question: would you consider introducing and sponsoring [a version of] Betty McCollum’s bill on Palestinians children’s rights in the Senate?

Warren: I now sit on Armed Services and I have been in the middle of the sausage making factory on that one. And that has pushed me even more strongly in the direction of systemic reforms. I want to be able to have those debates. I want to be able to get them out in the open and talk about these poor issues that affect our government, affect our people. I want to be able to debate them on the floor of the senate. I want to be able to do amendments on them. Right now the whole of big money over our government stops much of that. It chokes off much of the debate we should have. So I am going to give you a system-wide answer because I think that’s what matters here. This is not about one particular proposal, this is all the way across. How is it that we get the voices of the people heard in government instead of over and over the voices of the wealthy and the well connected. The voices of those with higher armies of lobbyists. So for me that’s what this is about.

But part of the power that the wealthy and well connected have is getting direct responses to their specific concerns. Political funders are unlikely impressed with broad “system-wide answers”.

In a sense, her non-response to very direct questions rather highlighted the problem she is presumably addressing.

And we’ve been here before.

Bernie Sanders, in his 2016 presidential run, was remarkably vague or even outright repressive regarding foreign policy, especially early on. This reached almost comical proportions when during a debate on CBS just after the November 2015 bombing in Paris, he tried to avoid substantially addressing the issue, wanting instead to fall back on income inequality. Certainly, Sanders was arguably treated very unfairly by the Democratic Party and media establishment, but he was greatly diminished by not having serious foreign policy answers.

Warren and other “progressive” candidates may be set to repeat that. Sanders did address foreign policy more at the end of the campaign and since, but his answers are still problematic at times and at best it was all too little too late.

One question is, realistically, what are Warren’s goals here? It could well be a good faith effort by someone committed to changing the world for the better. But then, why the selectivity?

If it was enactment of these policies, then the strongest way to do that might have been to find a rogue Republican to pair up with on at least some aspects of her proposals so as to avoid charges being purely politically motivated. When questioned by a New York Post reporter at the news conference, Warren couldn’t name a Republican whom she might work with. This would especially be the case since Trump — like Obama before him — ran against the establishment.

Is it to make her a leading contender for the Democratic nomination? If so, the hope would be that she’s not simply playing the role of what Bruce Dixon of Black Agenda Report calls “sheepdogging” — that is, the presidential run or promise of a run by a Sanders or Warren as simply a tool the Democratic Party establishment uses to keep enough of the public “on the reservation”.

Said Warren of her own financial reform proposals: “Inside Washington, some of these proposals will be very unpopular, even with some of my friends. Outside Washington, I expect that most people will see these ideas as no-brainers and be shocked they’re not already the law.”

Why doesn’t the same principle apply to funding perpetual wars and massive human rights abuses against children?

August 22, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ocasio-Cortez “Evolves” Her Position on Palestine to Please Zionist Democratic Mega-Donors

By Whitney Webb | Mint Press News | July 16, 2018

NEW YORK – During a recent interview with PBS and just two weeks after her historic upset victory against 10-term Congressman Joe Crowley (D-NY), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez seemed already to be walking back from at least some of her more “radical” positions voiced prior to her Democratic primary win.

While her primary victory has certainly made the young New Yorker a new “rising star” in the Democratic Party, all the new attention seems to have come at a price, particularly as she now aims to court major Democratic Party donors as the general election approaches. Many of those donors, such as the Zionist entertainment billionaire Haim Saban, are unlikely to be supportive of her past positions on key issues, particularly her prior statements on Israel and Palestine.

Appearing on PBS’ Firing Line on Friday, Ocasio-Cortez surprised many of her supporters as she toned down statements she had made earlier this year regarding Israel, particularly Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and its brutal crackdown on demonstrators in the Gaza Strip. That crackdown saw over 6,000 unarmed protesters shot by Israeli Defense Forces and hundreds killed, resulting in international condemnation.

Though she had tweeted on May 14 that the Israeli crackdown in Gaza was a “massacre,” and expressed hope that her “peers have the moral courage to call it such,” Ocasio-Cortez distanced herself from that statement during her recent PBS interview, asserting that she had made that statement as an “activist” and not as a congressional candidate for the Democratic Party.

That statement alone suggests that other positions voiced by Ocasio-Cortez prior to her primary win could also be subject to revision over the next few months in the lead-up to the midterm elections in November.

Ocasio-Cortez went on to distance herself from other past statements she had made regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict, including having used the term “occupation” when referring to Israel’s military rule over Palestine’s West Bank. For instance, when asked to expand on what she had meant by “the occupation of Palestine,” Ocasio-Cortez only referred to the fact that “[Israeli] settlements … are increasing in some of these areas.” When prodded further, she stated that she was “not the expert on geo-politics on this issue” and that she may not always “use the right words” when discussing the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The 28-year-old candidate, whom PBS had introduced as “the vanguard of the American progressive movement,” also expressed during the interview that she believes “absolutely in Israel’s right to exist” and called herself a “proponent of the two-state solution.” However, given Israel’s aggressive policies aimed towards annexation of the West Bank and the U.S. government’s current support for such measures, Ocasio-Cortez’s support for the two-state solution reflects either a lack of knowledge on the subject or an unwillingness to face the fact that a two-state solution is largely impossible. Given her past statements on Palestine while still an “activist,” the latter seems to be more likely.

Indeed, prior to the PBS interview, Ocasio-Cortez had been promoted as a “pro-Palestine socialist” and had been praised by leftist pundits like Glenn Greenwald for her “moral courage” in standing up for the “human dignity” of Palestinians. Given the amount of attention her past pro-Palestine comments had received, her decision to walk back those positions just a few weeks after her primary win is particularly jarring.

Also eye-opening was the fact that Ocasio-Cortez concluded her statements on the topic by saying that she was willing to “learn and evolve on this issue.” In other words, she essentially rejected her past “activist” positions on Palestine in favor of allowing her position on the issue to “evolve” into one more acceptable to the Democratic centrists and the powerful pro-Israel elements that hold considerable sway within the Democratic party. Indeed, the pro-Israel lobby has already given over $5 million to the Democratic Party over the past year.

It remains to be seen whether Ocasio-Cortez is equally willing to renege, or rather “evolve,” on other progressive issues as the general election approaches. Yet, given that she is already walking back on her past rhetoric just a few weeks after her victory, it seems likely that Ocasio-Cortez of November could be very different in terms of policy from the Ocasio-Cortez of today.

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

July 18, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 2 Comments

Acceptable Bigotry and Scapegoating of Russia

By Natylie Baldwin | Consortium News | March 15, 2018

Over the last year and a half, Americans have been bombarded with the Gish Gallop claims of Russiagate. In that time, the most reckless comments have been made against the Russians in service of using that country as a scapegoat for problems in the United States that were coming to a head, which were the real reasons for Donald Trump’s upset victory in 2016.  It has even gotten to the point where irrational hatred against Russia is becoming normalized, with the usual organizations that like to warn of the pernicious consequences of bigotry silent.

The first time I realized how low things would likely get was when Ruth Marcus, deputy editor of the Washington Post, sent out the following tweet in March of 2017, squealing with delight at the thought of a new Cold War with the world’s other nuclear superpower: “So excited to be watching The Americans, throwback to a simpler time when everyone considered Russia the enemy. Even the president.”

Not only did Marcus’s comment imply that it was great for the U.S. to have an enemy, but it specifically implied that there was something particularly great about that enemy being Russia.

Since then, the public discourse has only gotten nastier. Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper – who notoriously perjured himself before Congress about warrantless spying on Americans – stated on Meet the Press last May that Russians were uniquely and “genetically” predisposed toward manipulative political activities.  If Clapper or anyone else in the public eye had made such a statement about Muslims, Arabs, Iranians, Jews, Israelis, Chinese or just about any other group, there would have been some push-back about the prejudice that it reflected and how it didn’t correspond with enlightened liberal values. But Clapper’s comment passed with hardly a peep of protest.

More recently, John Sipher, a retired CIA station chief who reportedly spent years in Russia – although at what point in time is unclear – was interviewed in Jane Mayer’s recent New Yorker piece trying to spin the Steele Dossier as somehow legitimate. On March 6, Sipher took to Twitter with the following comment: “How can one not be a Russophobe? Russia soft power is political warfare. Hard power is invading neighbors, hiding the death of civilians with chemical weapons and threatening with doomsday nuclear weapons. And they kill the opposition at home. Name something positive.”

In fairness to Sipher, he did backpedal somewhat after being challenged; however, the fact that his unfiltered blabbering reveals such a deep antipathy toward Russians (“How can one not be a Russophobe?”) and an initial assumption that he could get away with saying it publicly is troubling.

Glenn Greenwald re-tweeted with a comment asking if Russians would soon acceptably be referred to as “rats and roaches.” Another person replied with: “Because they are rats and roaches. What’s the problem?”

This is just a small sampling of the anti-Russian comments and attitudes that pass, largely unremarked upon, in our media landscape.

There are, of course, the larger institutional influencers of culture doing their part to push anti-Russian bigotry in this already contentious atmosphere. Red Sparrow, both the book and the movie, detail the escapades of a female Russian spy. The story propagates the continued fetishization of Russian women based on the stereotype that they’re all hot and frisky. Furthermore, all those who work in Russian intelligence are evil and backwards rather than possibly being motivated by some kind of patriotism, while all the American intel agents are paragons of virtue and seem like they just stepped out of an ad for Nick at Nite’s How to be Swell.

The recent Academy Awards continued their politically motivated trend of awarding Oscars for best documentary to films on topics that just happen to coalesce nicely with Washington’s latest adversarial policy. Last year it was the White Helmets film to support the regime change meme in Syria. This year it’s Icarus about the doping scandal in Russia.

Similarly, Loveless, the new film by Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev (director of Leviathan) is being reviewed – as Catherine Brown points out – by writers from the mainstream American media in a predictably biased fashion. The film focuses on the disintegration of a married Moscow couple’s relationship and the complicated web of factors involved which have tragic ramifications for the couple’s 12-year old son.

American reviewers manage to paint the factors detailed in the film that are prevalent in most modern capitalist cities (e.g. being self-centered, materialistic and preoccupied with technological gadgets) as somehow uniquely Russian sins. They also ignore a prominent character in the film that defies their negativity about modern Russia – a character that represents altruism and the growth of civil society in the country.

A common theme in all this is that Russia is a bad country and Russians can’t help but be a bunch of good-for-nothings at best and dangerous deviants at worst. Indeed, according to media depictions, sometimes they manage to be both at the same time. But what they don’t manage to be is positive, constructive or even complicated. Sipher knows that the average American has been deluged with this anti-Russian prejudice, as reflected in his challenge at the end of his initial tweet about the largest country, geographically at least, in the world: Name something positive.

Countering the Negative

Most people know, at least in the abstract, that few individuals or groups are purely good or bad. Most are a complex combination of both. But many – including those who normally consider themselves to be open-minded liberals – have allowed their lizard brains to be triggered by the constant demonization of Russia in the hopes of taking down Trump whom they deem to be a disproportionate threat to everything they hold dear. So as a counterweight to all the negative constantly pumped out about Russia and to take Sipher up on his challenge, I will list some positive things about Russia and the contribution of the country and its people to the world.

Contemporary Russia’s Domestic Policy

Russia has one of the most educated populations in the world, universal health care for its people, a home ownership rate of 84%, strong gun control laws, no death penalty, 140 days of guaranteed maternity leave for women at 100% salary, and Moscow was just voted the 4th safest megacity in the world for women.

And, despite claims that are often repeated in corporate media and even by many in the alternative press, Russia has independent and critical voices in the print media. Even on television, which is heavily influenced by the Kremlin, the Western position is often given airtime by either pro-Western Russian critics or Westerners themselves. During both of my visits to Russia (in 2015 and 2017) I interviewed a cross-section of Russians who all confirmed that they had access to Western media through both satellite and the internet. Furthermore, while violence against journalists is a concern, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, journalist murders have decreased significantly under Putin compared to the era of Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s.

Am I saying that Russia is a utopia without any problems? No. Like most countries, it has plenty. Most Russians, including Putin, admit this. These problems include still significant poverty rates, comparatively low productivity and life expectancy, and corruption. But it is important to note the direction of trends, which are mostly positive since Putin took over. Under his leadership, poverty rates have been cut in half, life expectancy has increased by several years – especially among men who had suffered the worst mortality crisis since WWII, crime has dropped, pensions have increased and are paid regularly, the unemployment rate has been around 5% for years, great investments in infrastructure and agriculture have been seen along with development throughout the country.

And that development has not just been seen in Moscow and St. Petersburg – the latter city which, by the way, culturally and architecturally rivals those in France and Italy.

There are plenty of medium-sized cities throughout Russia that are becoming well-developed and culturally engaging. As one example, during my 2015 trip, I visited Krasnodar, located in the Black Sea region. The rate of civic construction in the city during 2014 surpassed even Moscow. As a consequence of the challenges of this rapid development, the public felt that decisions were not being made with sufficient feedback from residents, several of whom got together and created a group called the Public Council which eventually found ways to get city authorities to listen to their concerns.

The group had received significant media attention, networked with youth groups and infrastructure specialists, and received foreign experts in urban planning, public arts, transportation and city marketing. They have also organized periodic clean-up and renovation days, which are sponsored by local businesses that donate use of equipment. Currently, they are working on the creation of protected green zones, including one that connects all of the city’s hiking paths and another to connect its 16 lakes. They have received no opposition from the Russian government and have elicited the interest of other cities who want to model their approach to local issues.

While in Krasnodar I met a dozen or more professionals, from lawyers to engineers and doctors, who lived in the city and were part of another civic group engaged in charitable, conservation and youth programs. At one point, I took a walking tour of the city. In terms of architecture, I saw the old and the new side by side, including a large shopping center that was built around a large tower that had been there for generations that local residents saved from destruction by the mall planners, a square with controversial fountains, and a main thoroughfare that was closed to auto traffic, allowing pedestrians free reign. Couples – including some of mixed race, parents pushing baby strollers, and bicyclists – all wound their way through the streets as both Russian and American music was piped in and building walls on one side of the street for a stretch displayed delicate illustrations of Russian history.

Fifteen hundred miles away in the Ural mountain region, the city of Yekaterinburg – named after Catherine I – has the infamous distinction of being the place where Czar Nicholas II and his family were massacred by the Bolsheviks in 1918. On the site where the family’s bodies were exhumed, a magnificent Russian Orthodox Church has been erected and dedicated to the last royal family. Nearby is the Yeltsin Library, denoting the Russian Federation’s first President, although his legacy is not popular in Russia today.

Yekaterinburg

The city is also home to a wide variety of precious metals and gems, along with a thriving economy. According to Sharon Tennison, an independent program coordinator who has traveled there numerous times over the past 15 years, hundreds of new apartment blocks can be seen on the outskirts of the city to accommodate the recent economic and population growth.

Yekaterinburg has a bustling cultural life that includes an opera house, a ballet, numerous theaters and museums, as well as dozens of libraries. In this respect, the city has continued its preoccupation with the classical arts as in Catherine’s period.  At the same time, many modern Russian rock bands with a distinctive sound have formed there (known as Ural rock).

The city also has a low rate of violence and crime.

As the New York Times and NPR like to point out and generalize out from, there are some rural and industrial areas in Russia that still need attention and investment. However, there are other towns in the countryside that are doing well.

Russia’s Contributions to the World

Russia has made many cultural and humanitarian contributions to the world. In the 18th and 19th centuries, imperial Russia produced some of the most renowned figures in the world of arts. These include writers, such as Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, whose works are often cited by American readers as among the greatest of all time; great composers include Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky and Rachmaninoff.

The country also has a rich history of pre-Soviet philosophers who debated questions of politics, history, spirituality and meaning. One of the most famous is Vladimir Solovyev, classified as belonging to the Slavophile school but distinguished from his fellow Slavophiles by his openness to and integration of several lines of thought.

He acknowledged the intuitive as well as the rational. He was friends with Dostoyevsky but had disagreements over Orthodoxy since Solovyev was an advocate of ecumenism and healing the schism between Orthodoxy and Catholicism. Furthermore, he is credited with influencing Nicolai Berdyaev, Rudolf Steiner and the Russian Symbolists, among others. He admired the Greek goddess Sophia who he characterized as the “merciful unifying feminine wisdom of God.” Solovyev was adept at integrating several spiritual strands, such as Greek philosophy, Buddhism, Kabbalah, and Christian Gnosticism.

Solovyev was famous for his debates with Slavophile contemporary, Nicolai Fedorov. In these and other writings, questions about morality and technological progress, how much humans should control nature, and prioritizing which problems to invest man’s resources in solving were all given great consideration by Solovyev and are still relevant today, in both Russian society and the larger world.

It is interesting to note that, of all the early Slavophile philosophers, Putin chose Solovyev, the one who was the least strident and most open to the synthesis of differing values and viewpoints, as part of his assignment of books for Russia’s regional governors to read a few years back. Of course, that didn’t stop several western pundits – who showed they knew virtually nothing of Solovyev but perhaps some cherry-picked and out-of-context tidbits they’d found online – from distorting his writings, which naturally had to be horrible because Putin recommended them.

Moving on to the 20th century, it should not be forgotten that the Soviet Union bore the brunt of defeating the Nazis during WWII, losing 27 million people, and saw a third of their country destroyed in the process.

In the 21st century, Russia provided significant aid to Americans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy. They also provided safe transport to Yemeni-Americans out of that devastated country after the U.S. State Department effectively abandoned them in 2015. Russia provided medical aid to 60,000 people affected by the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014. Last September, Russia provided 35 tons of aid to earthquake victims in Mexico.

For someone who spent years in Russia as a professional expert working for the U.S. intelligence community, John Sipher is either not well-informed on his subject or is intentionally being disingenuous when it comes to the suggestion that Russia has done nothing positive, whether under Putin’s governance or before.

The Purpose of Scapegoating Russia

In early 2017, journalists Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes published a book called Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign. Largely based on interviews with insiders from Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 presidential campaign, the book was an attempt to analyze why she lost. The insiders agreed that Clinton had trouble providing a plausible explanation to voters as to why she was running other than that she simply wanted to be president. They also noted her trouble connecting with average Americans and her failure to campaign in certain rust belt areas that Trump ultimately got support in. The book also states that within 24 hours of Clinton’s loss, members of her campaign had decided to home in on the excuse of “Russian interference” to explain away her humiliating defeat.

In addition to a bloc of Clinton’s supporters continuing to push this excuse for her loss and the ratings motive that channels like CNN and MSNBC have in continuing to milk the scandal, there is also Robert Mueller’s investigation which has dragged on for over a year.

The most notable thing about the Mueller investigation to anyone who takes a sober look at it is its constantly evolving purpose. First, the purpose of the investigation was to find any evidence to support the allegation that Russia had hacked into the DNC’s emails. When no substantial evidence could be found to support that allegation, the purpose evolved into collusion between Trump and Russia to steal the election on behalf of Trump.

When no substantial evidence could be found to support that allegation, the purpose evolved yet again into Russia influencing the election on behalf of Trump, possibly without his knowledge or participation. When no substantial evidence could be found to support that allegation and all that could be found was a paltry number of social media ad buys – many of which were purchased after the election or advocated conflicting positions or didn’t even have anything to do with the election, the purpose became “sowing discord.”

After all of this, we have an indictment against 13 private individuals who worked for a “troll farm” that had been exposed several years ago and is run by a caterer with no proven orchestration by Putin or the Kremlin. Mueller also knows that this indictment will never be legally tested because the 13 individuals will never be extradited and stand trial.

After all the shrieking and howling 24/7 for close to a year and a half that Trump was an illegitimate president installed by the Kremlin, this is the best Mueller and the mainstream Democrats can come up with. It’s pretty obvious by now that this investigation has simply been feeding into the media and Democratic Party circus mentioned above rather than uncovering anything substantive with which to impeach Trump.

The 2016 election showed that the Democrats faced a sleeping giant that had been awakened – one that the Democratic Party had helped to create for decades by enabling lower living standards, outsourcing of good-paying jobs, the proliferation of low-wage jobs, unaffordable education, lack of health care coverage, public health problems, and decrepit infrastructure.

Consequently, there was a demand for meaningful policies that would help average Americans, policies that polls show they want. But mainstream Democrats will not deliver on such policies, like $15/hour minimum wage, Medicare for All, and pulling out of our wars and investing the money saved in jobs and infrastructure. They won’t deliver on these things for the same reason that Republicans won’t deliver on them: because their donors don’t want them to. But they are not going to admit that to the American people who were going to keep demanding, so they needed a scapegoat and a diversion.

It’s a cheap trick that the political elite is using to appeal to the basest instincts of their fellow Americans while shoring up support for their most reckless tendencies in the area of foreign policy.


Natylie Baldwin is co-author of Ukraine: Zbig’s Grand Chessboard & How the West Was Checkmated, available from Tayen Lane Publishing. Since October of 2015, she has traveled to six cities in the Russian Federation and has written several articles based on her conversations and interviews with a cross-section of Russians. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in various publications including Consortium News, The New York Journal of Books, The Common Line, and the Lakeshore.  She is currently submitting her first novel to agents and finishing a second. She blogs at natyliesbaldwin.com.

March 16, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

New Proposal Designed to Confuse Public and Prevent Medicare for All

By Margaret Flowers | HealthOverProfit | February 23, 2018

The Center for American Progress (CAP), a Washington-based Democratic Party think tank funded by Wall Street, including private health insurers and their lobbying group, unveiled a new healthcare proposal designed to confuse supporters of Medicare for All and protect private health insurance profits. It is receiving widespread coverage in ‘progressive’ media outlets. We must be aware of what is happening so that we are not fooled into another ‘public option’ dead end.*

The fact that CAP is using Medicare for All language is both a blessing and a curse. It means Medicare for All is so popular that they feel a need to co-opt it, and it means that they are trying to co-opt it, which will give Democrats an opportunity to use it to confuse people.

This effort could be preparation for the possibility that Democrats win a majority in Congress in 2018 or 2020. It is normal for the pendulum to swing to the party opposite the President’s party during the first term in office. If Democrats win a majority, they will be expected to deliver on health care, but they face a dilemma of having to please their campaign donors, which includes the health insurance industry, or pleasing their voters, where 75% support single payer health care.

The public is aware that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) protects the profits of the medical-industrial complex (private health insurers, Big Pharma and for-profit providers) and not the healthcare needs of the public. “Fixing the ACA” is not popular. Last year during repeal attempts, people made it clear at town halls and rallies that they want a single payer healthcare system such as National Improved Medicare for All (NIMA). By offering a solution that sounds good to the uninformed, “Medicare Extra for All,” but continues to benefit their Wall Street donors, Democrats hope to fool people or buy enough support to undermine efforts for NIMA.

This is an expected development. If we look at the phases of stage six of successful social movements by Bill Moyer (see slide 8), we see that as a movement nears victory, the power holders appear to get in line with the public’s solution while actually attacking it. If the movement recognizes what is happening, that this is a false solution and not what the movement is demanding, then we have a chance to win NIMA. If the movement falls for the false solution, it loses.

Our tasks at this moment are to understand what the power holders are offering, recognize why it is a false solution and reject it.

“Medicare Extra for All” versus National Improved Medicare for All

The basic outline for the new proposal is that people would be able to buy a Medicare plan, a form of ‘public option,’ including the Medicare Advantage plans offered by private health insurers. People who choose to buy a Medicare plan would pay premiums and co-pays, as they do now for private health insurance. The new Medicare system would replace Medicaid for people with low incomes.

Private health insurance would still exist for employers, who currently cover the largest number of people, federal employees and the military. While workers would have the option to buy a Medicare plan, it is unclear how many would do so given that most employers who provide health insurance have their own plans and that private health insurers are experts at marketing their plans to the public.

NIMA, as embodied in HR 676: “The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act,” would create a single national healthcare system, paid for up front through taxes, that covers every person from birth to death and covers all medically-necessary care. NIMA relegates private insurance to the sidelines where it could potentially provide supplemental coverage for those who want extras, but it would no longer serve as a barrier for people who need care.

Here are the flaws in the CAP proposal:

  1. CAP’s plan will continue to leave people without health insurance. Instead of being a universal system of national coverage like NIMA, coverage under the CAP plan relies on people’s ability to afford health insurance. Only people with low incomes would not pay, as they do now under Medicaid. Just as it is today, those who do not qualify as low income, but still can’t afford health insurance premiums, would be left out. Almost 30 million are without coverage today. There is no guarantee that health insurance premiums will be affordable.
  2. CAPS’s plan will continue to leave people with inadequate coverage. Under NIMA, all people have the same comprehensive coverage without financial barriers to care. The CAP plan allows private health insurers to do what they do best – restrict where people can seek health care, shift the cost of care onto patients and deny payment for care. This is the business model of private health insurers because they are financial instruments designed to make profits for their investors. People with health insurance will face the same bureaucratic nightmare of our current system and out-of-pocket costs that force them to delay or avoid health care or risk bankruptcy when they have high health care needs.
  3. CAP’s plan will continue the high costs of health care. NIMA has been proven over and over to have the best cost efficiency because it is one plan with one set of rules. It is estimated that NIMA will save $500 billion each year on administrative costs and over $100 billion each year on reduced prices for pharmaceuticals. As a single purchaser of care, NIMA has powerful leverage to lower the costs of goods and services. The CAP plan maintains the complicated multi-payer system that we have today. At best, it will only achieve 16% of the administrative savings of a single payer system and it will have less power to reign in the high costs of care.
  4. CAP’s plan will allow private health insurers to continue to rip off the government. NIMA is a publicly-financed program without the requirement of creating profits for investors. With a low overhead, most of the dollars are used to pay for health care. The CAP plan maintains the same problems that exist with Medicare today. Private Medicare providers cherry pick the healthiest patients and those who have or develop healthcare needs wind up in the public Medicare plan. This places a financial burden on the public Medicare plan, which has to pay for the most care, while private health insurers rake in huge profits from covering the healthy with a guaranteed payor, the government.
  5. CAP’s plan will continue to perpetuate health disparities. NIMA provides a single standard of care to all people. Because all people, rich and poor (and lawmakers), are in the same system, there are strong incentives to make it a high quality program. CAP’s plan maintains the current tiered system in which some people have private health insurance, those with the greatest needs have public health insurance, some people will have inadequate coverage and others will have no coverage at all.
  6. CAP’s plan will continue to restrict patients’ choices. NIMA creates a nationwide network of coverage and consistent coverage from year-to-year so that patients choose where they seek care and have the freedom to stay with a health professional or leave if they are dissatisfied. CAP’s plan continues private health insurers and their restricted networks that dictate where patients can seek care. Private plans change from year-to-year and employers change the plans they offer, so patients will still face the risk of losing access to a health professional due to changes in their plan.
  7. CAP’s plan does not guarantee portability. NIMA creates a health system that covers everyone no matter where they are in the United States and its territories. CAP’s plan maintains the link between employment and health coverage. When people who have private health insurance lose their job or move, they risk losing their health insurance.
  8. CAP’s plan will perpetuate physician burn-out. NIMA creates a healthcare system that is simple for both patients and health professionals to use. Under the current system, which the CAP plan will perpetuate, health professionals spend more time on paperwork than they do with patients and physician offices spend hours fighting with health insurers for authorization for care and for payment for their services. This is driving high rates of physician burnout. Suicides among physicians and physicians-in-training are higher than the general population.

The new proposal is a ‘public option’ wrapped in a “Medicare for All” cloak. It is a far cry from National Improved Medicare for All. And, contrary to what CAP and its allies will tell you, the CAP plan will delay and prevent the achievement of NIMA.

Co-founders of Physicians for a National Health Program**, Drs. Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein, explained why the public option would not work in the last health reform effort:

“The ‘public plan option’ won’t work to fix the health care system for two reasons.

“1. It forgoes at least 84 percent of the administrative savings available through single payer. The public plan option would do nothing to streamline the administrative tasks (and costs) of hospitals, physicians offices, and nursing homes, which would still contend with multiple payers, and hence still need the complex cost tracking and billing apparatus that drives administrative costs. These unnecessary provider administrative costs account for the vast majority of bureaucratic waste. Hence, even if 95 percent of Americans who are currently privately insured were to join the public plan (and it had overhead costs at current Medicare levels), the savings on insurance overhead would amount to only 16 percent of the roughly $400 billion annually achievable through single payer — not enough to make reform affordable.

“2. A quarter century of experience with public/private competition in the Medicare program demonstrates that the private plans will not allow a level playing field. Despite strict regulation, private insurers have successfully cherry picked healthier seniors, and have exploited regional health spending differences to their advantage. They have progressively undermined the public plan — which started as the single payer for seniors and has now become a funding mechanism for HMOs — and a place to dump the unprofitably ill. A public plan option does not lead toward single payer, but toward the segregation of patients, with profitable ones in private plans and unprofitable ones in the public plan.”

What we must do

The movement for National Improved Medicare for All experienced tremendous growth in the past few years. All of the flaws of the Affordable Care Act are becoming reality as people are forced to pay high health insurance premiums, face high out-of-pocket costs before they can receive care and have their access to health professionals or services denied. There is a strong demand for NIMA that has resulted in more than half of the Democrats in the House of Representatives signing on to HR 676 and a third of the Democratic Senators endorsing the Senate Medicare for All bill. Medicare for All is becoming a litmus test for the 2018 elections and 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Power holders are feeling threatened by support for NIMA. They are looking for ways to throw the movement off track and allow lawmakers who don’t support NIMA to support something that sounds like NIMA. This is why they invented “Medicare Extra for All.” It is common for the opposition to adopt our language when we have strong support.

This is the time when the movement for NIMA needs to remain focused on our goal of NIMA, resist compromising and escalate our pressure for NIMA. We are closer to winning, it’s time to increase our efforts to pass the finish line.

Here are our tasks:

  • We need to expose the reasons for CAP’s proposal. It is designed to protect  health insurance industry profits.
  • We need to educate ourselves and others about the reasons why CAP’s proposal is flawed and deficient.
  • We need to educate and challenge lawmakers and candidates who speak in favor of CAP’s proposal and push them to support NIMA.
  • We need to be loud and vocal in our demand for nothing less than NIMA, as described in HR 676.
  • We need to make support for HR 676 a litmus test in the upcoming elections.

We need to practice “ICU” – being independent of political party on this issue by not tying our agenda to the corporate agenda of major political parties, being clear about what will and what will not solve our healthcare crisis, and being uncompromising in our demand for National Improve Medicare for All.

With a concentrated effort for NIMA, we can overcome this distraction*** and win National Improved Medicare for All. This is the time for all supporters of single payer health care to focus on federal lawmakers from both parties. Movements never realize how close they are to winning and victory often feels far away when it is actually close at hand.

The fact that the Democrats are proposing something that sounds like NIMA means we are gaining power. Let’s use it to finally solve the healthcare crisis in the United States and join many other countries in providing health care for everyone. NIMA is the smallest step we can take to head down the path of saving lives and improving health in our country.

 

 

*The ‘public option’ dead end occurred during the health reform process of 2009-10. Faced with widespread public support for National Improved Medicare for All, and 80% support by Democratic Party voters, the power holders had to find a way to suppress that support. They created the idea of a ‘public option,’ a public health insurance for part of the population, and convinced progressives that this was more politically-feasible and a back door to a single payer healthcare system. Tens of millions of dollars were donated to create a new coalition, Health Care for America Now (similar in name to Healthcare-Now, a national single payer organization – this was intentional), that organized progressives to fight for this public option and suppress single payer supporters (they were openly hostile when we raised single payer). Many single payer supporters fell for it, and the movement was successfully divided and weakened. Kevin Zeese and I wrote about this in more detail in “Obamacare: The Biggest Health Insurance Scam in History.”

** Read more about this from Dr. Don McCanne of Physicians for a National Health Program in his Quote-of-the-Day.

*** Read more about intentional distractions through incremental approaches to prevent National Improved Medicare for All in this presentation.

February 25, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Economics, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Democrat Senators publish a deeply disturbing and profoundly racist report about Russia

By Alexander Mercouris | The Duran | January 12, 2018

In the aftermath of Russiagate a group of Democratic Party Senators have published one of the most bizarre and disturbing reports ever to issue from the US Senate.

The best way to summarise it is to say that it takes every single charge which has ever been made against Vladimir Putin and Russia and repeats them whilst ignoring any evidence which contradicts them.

The whole dreary catalogue is there: the 1999 Moscow apartment bombings, the Khodorkovsky prosecutions, the Politkovskaya and Litvinenko murders, the Magnitsky affair, Putin’s billions, Chechnya, the 2008 South Ossetia war, Crimea, the Ukrainian conflict, the state sponsorship of organised crime, the use of gas exports as a political weapon, the malign influence of RT and Sputnik, the sponsorship of extreme right groups in Europe, the Russian role in the Brexit vote, and even the Russian Olympic doping scandal.

To anyone accustomed to reading articles about Vladimir Putin and Russia in such places as the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Economist and the Guardian, it is all very familiar.  Indeed at times the report reads like an extended version of one of those articles.

In every case Vladimir Putin is the villain of the piece, demonically plotting to destroy democracy both in Russia and the West for reasons which incidentally are never made wholly clear.

As examples of where the report ignores contradictory evidence in order to make its case I will cite just five examples amongst the many others which could be made:

(1) The report claims that no-one has ever “credibly” claimed responsibility for the 1999 Moscow apartment bombings.

To this day, no credible source has ever claimed credit for the bombings and no credible evidence has been presented by the Russian authorities linking Chechen terrorists, or anyone else, to the Moscow bombings. As the public polling results show, there is still considerable doubt

The report says this in order to support its claim that Vladimir Putin and the Russian security services were actually responsible for the bombings.

However this is simply not true.  The Chechen and Jihadi warlord Shamil Basayev and his Saudi associate Al-Khattab made quite clear who was responsible for the bombings in comments made shortly after they took place, linking the bombings quite clearly to the ongoing conflict in the Russian Caucasian republic of Dagestan, which they had just invaded with a volunteer army of Jihadi fighters.

Here is how Wikipedia reports their comments

Commenting on the attacks, Shamil Basayev said: “The latest blast in Moscow is not our work, but the work of the Dagestanis. Russia has been openly terrorizing Dagestan, it encircled three villages in the centre of Dagestan, did not allow women and children to leave.”[35] Al-Khattab, who was reportedly close with Basayev, said the attacks were a response to what the Russians had done in Karamakhi and Chabanmakhi, two Dagestani villages where followers of the Wahhabi sect were living until the Russian army bombed them out.[39] A group called the Liberation army of Dagestan claimed responsibility for the apartment bombings.[39][40][41][42]

The “Liberation Army of Dagestan” is now widely acknowledged to be one and the same as the Islamic Army of Dagestan formed by Basayev and Al-Khattab in 1999 to attack Dagestan.

There is no doubt that Jihadi terrorists were responsible for the Moscow apartment bombings.  As the report rather grudgingly acknowledges many of those involved in the bombings were subsequently rounded up and put on trial for the bombings by the Russian authorities.

The outcome of the trials has never to my knowledge been challenged by the European Court of Human Rights which has the jurisdiction to do so and which would no doubt have done so if there had been anything about the trials which was obviously wrong.

All the major participants in the bombings have been identified and are known and it is or should be a fringe conspiracy theory to allege that Putin and the Russian authorities were responsible for them.

It is nonetheless that fringe conspiracy theory which the Democratic Senators have adopted for their report.

(2) The report repeats the common Western charge that the Russian billionaire oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky was arrested and persecuted because of his political activities

Putin and his allies have neutered political competition by creating rubber-stamp opposition parties and harassing legitimate opposition. For example, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the founder of the Russian oil company Yukos, was imprisoned for more than a decade on a spate of charges deemed to be politically motivated.

His prosecution could be broadly interpreted as a signal to other powerful oligarchs that supporting independent or anti-Putin parties carries great risk to one’s personal wealth and well-being.

This ignores the fact the European Court of Human Rights – the court with the authority to pronounce on this issue – has repeatedly said in a lengthy succession of Judgments that Khodorkovsky was convicted and imprisoned not because of his political activities but because he carried out a gigantic tax fraud – just as the Russian authorities have said – and that the case against him was not therefore brought for political reasons as the report says.

(3) The report repeats the charge that President Putin did away with direct election of governors in 2004 as part of a cynical power-grab

In 2004, Putin ‘‘radically restructured’’ the Russian political system by eliminating the election of regional governors by popular vote in favor of centrally directed appointments, characterizing this significant power grab as an effort to forge ‘‘national cohesion’’ in the wake of the terrorist attack at a school in Beslan in North Ossetia.

This ignores the fact that in 2012 direct election of governors was brought back again, something which the report never mentions.

It is fair to say that this reversal of the supposed “radical restructuring” of the Russian political system which took place in 2004 has not led to the dramatic changes in political conditions in Russia that some expected.

However that points to the underlying truth about the supposedly “radical restructuring” which supposedly took place in 2004: it wasn’t radical at all.

Though it is true that in 2004 Putin assumed the power to appoint governors to Russian regions, these appointments had to be approved by the parliament of the region to which the governor was appointed.

In practise regional parliaments showed no interest in challenging Putin’s nominees, just as regional electorates have shown little interest in the gubernational elections which were reintroduced in 2012, which almost always result in Putin’s nominees being elected.

This points to the political reality in Russia today.  As is the case in most countries – including by the way the US – there is scant interest in politics at a regional level, whilst the reason Russia is politically stable is not because of the country’s institutional structure – which is its internal affair – but because the government is popular and enjoys legitimacy.

(4) The report gives an extraordinarily elliptical and mendacious account of the causes of the 2008 South Ossetia war

Leading up to August 2008, tensions had been growing in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, regions that had been contested since Georgia’s independence in 1991. South Ossetian separatists shelled Georgian villages in early August, which led to the deployment of the Georgian military to the area.417 The Russian military responded by pushing the Georgian troops out of South Ossetia with a heavy assault of tanks.418 It soon became clear that the Russian attack was not limited to just conventional military means, but was much more comprehensive in scope

This completely ignores the fact that the EU’s Independent Fact Finding Mission Report headed by the Swiss lawyer Heidi Tagliavini, though making severe criticisms of Russia’s conduct during the war, nonetheless concluded that it was Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili not Russia who started the war.

As it happens Vladimir Putin was away in Beijing attending the 2008 Summer Olympics at the time when the war started.  That is hardly consistent with him planning or indeed expecting the war to start when it did.

(5) The report in a lengthy appendix discussing the Russian Olympic doping scandal treats the Russian government’s involvement in the doping of Russian athletes as proved. However the International Olympic Committee’s own investigation of this claim says quite clearly that it has not been proved.  See my detailed discussion here.

These are just five examples taken at random where the report simply ignores contrary evidence in order to make its case.

Anyone willing to plough through the 200 plus pages of the report is welcome to do so if they wish to find others.

The report is also characterised by some quite remarkable leaps of logic.

For example the fact that President Putin and Russia are extremely popular in Bulgaria is President Putin’s and Russia’s fault.  President Putin and Russia are also somehow to blame for the fact that there is massive corruption in Ukraine.

Presumably President Putin and Russia should be working to make themselves unpopular in Bulgaria, and presumably they also control Ukraine’s anti-corruption endeavours and are responsible for their failure despite the intense hostility to Russia of the current Ukrainian government.

The report in fact harps on the subject of “Russian corruption” to a frankly unhinged degree.

Not only are Putin and Russia corrupt but they ‘export’ corruption everywhere so that corruption wherever it happens whether in Ukraine or elsewhere is caused by them.

By way of example the political conflict in Catalonia is not the result of internal tensions within Catalonia.  It is the result of a plan by corrupt Russian businessmen and organised crime chiefs to gain control of Catalonia in order to secure the wealth they have hidden there, and to gain control of Catalonia’s economy by driving out the Spanish and European firms which were formerly based there.

The association of Russia with corruption highlights another fact about the report.

It begins with the common ritual statement that its quarrel is with President Putin and his “regime” and not with the Russian people

…..it is important to draw a distinction between Mr. Putin’s corrupt regime and the people of Russia. Many Russian citizens strive for a transparent, accountable government that operates under the democratic rule of law, and we hold hope for better relations in the future with a Russian government that reflects these demands.

In practice, as the obsession with Russian corruption all too clearly shows, the report finds it impossible to sustain this claim.  Hostility not just to Putin and his “regime” but to Russia itself is in fact present in every paragraph.

Thus the report contains a lengthy and tendentious discussion of Soviet disinformation activities during the Cold War though their relevance to what President Putin and his government are doing today is not obvious.

However the Soviets who carried out these disinformation activities were (mainly) Russians, which is obviously the reason the report discusses them at such length.

In other words Russians always and invariably engage in disinformation: they did so during the Cold War at the time of the USSR, and – because they are Russians – they are doing so again now.

Even the Russian government’s efforts to support Russian culture both at home and abroad is somehow sinister, as if the promotion of Russian culture is in itself sinister

Under Putin, the Kremlin has engaged and boosted cultural forces and religious institutions inside Russia to provide an additional bulwark against the democratic values and actors it paints as anathema to the country’s interests….

The Kremlin funds, directly or indirectly, a number of government-organized non-governmental organizations (GONGOs), nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and think tanks throughout Russia and Europe. These groups carry out a number of functions, from disseminating pro-Kremlin views to seeking to influence elections abroad.

Following a series of ‘‘color revolutions’’ in former Soviet Union republics like Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan, in 2006 the Russian government established the World Coordination Council of Russian Compatriots, which is responsible for coordinating the activities of Russian organizations abroad and their communications with the Kremlin.

Some GONGOs that receive and disburse funds from the Kremlin, such as the Russkiy Mir Foundation and Rossotrudnichestvo, established in 2007 and 2008, are headquartered in Russia but have branches throughout the EU, and are led by senior Russian political figures like the foreign minister or the chair of the foreign affairs committee of the upper house of the parliament.

Kremlin-linked oligarchs also sit on the boards of many of the GONGOs.

Based on conservative estimates from publicly available data, the Kremlin spends about $130 million a year through foundations like Rossotrudnichestvo and the Gorchakov fund, and, in 2015, channeled another $103 million in presidential grants to NGOs; after including support from state enterprises and private companies, however, actual funding levels may be much higher.

Most of the Russian government’s funding is focused on post-Soviet ‘’swing states’’ like Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, and Armenia, but Kremlin-supported groups also operate in the Baltic states and the Balkans, especially Serbia and Bulgaria.

The Russkiy Mir Foundation which is referred to here is a cultural foundation and is Russia’s equivalent of the British Council and Germany’s Goethe Institute.

Rossotrudnichestvo is a Russian government agency concerned with administering civilian foreign aid programmes, principally within the territories of the former USSR.

The Gorchakov Fund is a publicly funded body intended to support Russian diplomacy (Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and former Russian Foreign Minister Ivanov are both trustees).

There is no justification for conflating the work of Rossotrudnichestvo and of the Gorchakov Fund with the quite different work of the Russkiy Mir Foundation, and it misrepresents the nature of the Russkiy Mir Foundation to do so.

Consistent with its hostility to the Russian government’s efforts to support Russian culture is the report’s intense and frankly sinister hostility to the Orthodox Church, to which the report devotes a whole chapter.  Thus we read

One prominent example is the strong ties that Putin and his inner circle have forged with the Russian Orthodox Church and its affiliates.

The Russian Orthodox Church enjoys special recognition under Russian law, while in contrast, laws such as the 2006 NGO laws and the 2016 ‘‘Yarovaya’’ package of counterterrorism laws have enabled pressure against non-Russian Orthodox religious entities through cumbersome registration processes and administrative constraints, restrictions on proselytizing, and expanded surveillance.

Additionally, the U.S. State Department has reported that the Russian state has provided security and official vehicles to the Russian Orthodox patriarch (but not to other religious leaders) and noted reports that the Russian Orthodox Church has been a ‘‘primary beneficiary’’ of presidential grants ostensibly designed to reduce NGO dependence on foreign funding.103 In return for the state’s favor, the Russian Orthodox Church has promoted Putin and the state’s policies at multiple turns.

A former editor of the official journal of the Moscow Patriarchate (the seat of the Russian Orthodox Church and its affiliated churches outside the country) told The New York Times in 2016 that ‘‘The [Russian Orthodox] church has become an instrument of the Russian state. It is used to extend and legitimize the interests of the Kremlin.’’

This is noteworthy given Putin’s roots in the KGB—the tip of the Soviet spear in restricting religious activity during the Communist era—and it reflects a careful cultivation of his identity as a man of faith and a defender of the Orthodox faithful.

The image of Putin as defender of traditional religious and cultural values has also been leveraged by the Kremlin ‘‘as both an ideology and a source of influence abroad.’’

In projecting itself as ‘‘the natural ally of those who pine for a more secure, illiberal world free from the tradition-crushing rush of globalization, multiculturalism and women’s and gay rights,’’ the Russian government has been able to mobilize some Orthodox actors in places like Moldova and Montenegro to vigorously oppose integration with the West…..

Just as the Kremlin has strengthened its relationship with the Russian Orthodox Church and used it to bolster its standing at home, the Russian Orthodox Church also serves as its proxy abroad, and the two institutions [Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Russian Orthodox Church – AM] have several overlapping foreign policy objectives……

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also used Kirill to promote a relativistic view of human rights at the United Nations, arranging for him to give a speech in 2008 (before he was Patriarch) at the UN Human Rights Council, where he bemoaned that ‘‘there is a strong influence of feministic views and homosexual attitudes in the formulation of rules, recommendations and programs in human rights advocacy.’’

According to a report by Chatham House, in Ukraine, Georgia, and Armenia, Orthodox parent committees, modelled on similar Russian Orthodox committees, have launched attacks on LGBT and feminist groups.

These committees ‘‘claim that gender equality is a Western construct intended to spread homosexuality in Eastern Europe, blaming the United States and the EU for the decay of ‘moral health’ in the respective societies.’’

The Russian Orthodox Church also enjoys strong financial backing from Kremlin-linked oligarchs Konstantin Malofeev and Vladimir Yakunin, who are both under U.S. sanctions.

In Bulgaria and Romania, the Kremlin even allegedly coopted Orthodox priests to lead anti-fracking protests.

In Moldova, senior priests have worked to halt the country’s integration with Europe (leading anti-homosexual protests and even claiming that new biometric passports for the EU were ‘’satanic’’ because they had a 13-digit number), and priests in Montenegro led efforts to block the country from joining NATO.

These comments paint Orthodox priests and believers everywhere and not just in Russia as proxies of the Kremlin, denying them any independent agency – at least when they speak out against Western cultural practices and US policies – and representing them as enemies of democracy.

To which all I can say is that Western attitudes to the Orthodox Church have witnessed an extraordinary reversal within my lifetime.

During the Soviet period the Orthodox Church was the heroic victim of Soviet persecution.  Today it is the despicable handmaiden of Russian power. The one constant is Western hostility to the Russian government.  That never changes.

The greater part of the report is however taken up with the now standard accusations about Russia’s supposed disinformation strategy and the way Russian media agencies like RT and Sputnik are supposedly destabilising the West and are interfering in Western political processes.

There are the usual calls to counter and censor these agencies and to police social media and the internet in order to discredit or eliminate these pro-Russian voices, “pro-Russian” in this context being anyone anywhere who voices any criticisms of the foreign policy of the United States or who makes any criticisms of its domestic conditions, even if that person is an American.

This harping on Russia’s disinformation strategy is every bit as obsessive as everything else in the report.

Its starting point is the belief that Russians – including of course the Russian media – have no right to hold or express views on any question which disagree with those of the US government.

That in turn leads inexorably to the assumption that when Russians do express such views they must be acting in bad faith.

The totalitarian nature of this reasoning is obvious, but the Democratic Senators who have authored the report seem oblivious to it.

Reading the report it is in fact quite clear that its authors believe that ‘disinformation’ is what Russians do, so that the Russians are ultimately responsible for all ‘disinformation’ wherever it takes place.  Thus if a false story appears anywhere on the internet it must be the Russians who are to blame for it.

Moreover since no right thinking person could ever agree with the Russians on any issue – and certainly not on any issue which involves criticism of or disagreement with the US government – it follows that anyone who does so must be either a Russian agent or a “useful idiot”.

This is not just totalitarian thinking; it is also profoundly paranoid thinking.  At one level it demonstrates an astonishing loss of nerve.  During the Cold War it was the Soviets who placed restrictions on the flow of information.  Now the reverse is happening.  It is however the paranoia which stands out.

This is all the more ironic in that the report actually contains a chapter entitled “the Kremlin’s paranoid pathology”.

This chapter despite its title in fact contains only one passage which discusses Russian beliefs in order to show that they are paranoid

Putin’s regime and most of the Russian people view the history of the late 20th century and early 21st century in a starkly different light than most of the West does. The historical narrative popular in Russia paints this period as one of repeated attempts by the West to undermine and humiliate Russia.

In reality, the perceived aggression of the United States and the West against Russia allows Putin to ignore his domestic failures and present himself as the leader of a wartime nation: a ‘‘Fortress Russia.’’

This narrative repeatedly flogs core themes like enemy encirclement, conspiracy, and struggle, and portrays the United States, NATO, and Europe as conspiring to encircle Russia and make it subservient to the West. As part of this supposed conspiracy, the EU goes after former Soviet lands like Ukraine, and Western spies use civil society groups to meddle in and interfere with Russian affairs.

(bold italics added)

This is the only passage in the report which admits that the Russian people and President Putin and the Russian government on a specific issue believe one and the same thing.

The problem with this passage is however that the Russian beliefs it discusses cannot be described as paranoid for the simple reason that Russians are right to believe them.

Recently declassified documents have now confirmed what in truth has been known all along: that the West promised Russia on multiple occasions that NATO would not be extended eastwards, and that the West subsequently broke this promise.

Western interference in Ukraine is not a matter of opinion; it is a matter of fact.

So is Western interference in Russian domestic politics, with Time magazine for example openly bragging about the US’s role in engineering Boris Yeltsin’s fraudulent election victory in 1996.

By contrast believing that stories which appear in the Russian media and the relatively small number of often contradictory social media messages which are claimed to originate in Russia can have any significant impact on Western political processes is paranoid, as is constantly harping on about supposed Russian misdeeds even when evidence has appeared which proves they are not true (see above).

What then is the significance of this strange report?

At its most basic, the report must be seen as a shot in the bitter partisan conflict which is currently raging in the US between President Trump and his Democratic Party opponents.

That the primary target of the report is actually President Trump – who continues to say that he wants better relations with Russia – is confirmed by these words in the report

Following attacks like Pearl Harbor and 9/11, U.S. presidents have rallied the country and the world to address the challenges facing the nation. Yet the current President of the United States has barely acknowledged the threat posed by Mr. Putin’s repeated attacks on democratic governments and institutions, let alone exercised the kind of leadership history has shown is necessary to effectively counter this kind of aggression.

Never before in American history has so clear a threat to national security been so clearly ignored by a U.S. president.

The threat posed by Mr. Putin’s meddling existed before the current U.S. Administration, and may well extend beyond it. Yet, as this report will demonstrate, the Russian government’s malign influence operations can be deterred.

Several countries in Europe took notice of the Kremlin’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election and realized the danger posed to their democracies. They have taken steps to build resilience against Mr. Putin’s aggression and interference, and the range of effective measures implemented by European countries provide valuable lessons for the United States.

To that end, this report recommends a series of actions that the United States should take across government, civil society, and the private sector—and in cooperation with our allies—to push back against the Kremlin’s aggression and establish a set of long-term norms that can neutralize such efforts to undermine democracy.

Yet it must be noted that without leadership from the President, any attempt to marshal such a response will be inherently weakened at the outset

(bold italics added)

The trouble is that the paranoid language of the report shows that the Democratic Party Senators who have authored it believe what they say.

They are not conjuring up an invented threat from Russia in order to attack Donald Trump. Rather their reason for attacking Donald Trump is first and foremost because he does not share their paranoid view of Russia.

To suppose otherwise would be both complacent and wrong.

That makes the prospect of any rapprochement taking place between the US and Russia in any foreseeable future extremely improbable, to put it mildly.

Even if this is only a minority report, the fact that it has not been ridiculed and criticised across the US for the paranoid and preposterous document that it is shows the extent to which paranoia about Russia within the US elite has become universal and internalised.

Paranoia of this intensity is not susceptible to reason or argument, and it is all but impossible to see how a rapprochement between the US and Russia is possible when there are so many powerful people in the US who hold these views.

The report also shows the intense pressure Donald Trump is under to be even tougher with Russia than the US already is.

As well as demanding the banning or restriction of “pro-Russian” voices in the media and on the internet, the authors of the report press for intensified confrontation with Russia on every possible front.

They want more military spending to confront Russia, more military deployments close to Russia’s borders, more interference in Russian domestic processes, more efforts to block Russian oil and gas exports to Europe, they want Nord Stream 2 cancelled, and they demand an almost certainly illegal prohibition on US citizens buying Russian sovereign debt.

Even if some of these demands are unworkable or are resisted, the pressure is so intense that some of them at least are likely to be implemented, whilst the prospect of any relaxation of the restrictions which are already in place quite simply is not there.

In the longer term it is difficult to avoid being deeply disturbed by all this.

Back on 12th October 2016 I wrote an article for The Duran discussing how racism against Russians has become the one form of racism which continues to be acceptable in the West, and how this racism and the ugly stereotyping of Russians to which it gives rise is dangerous because it lowers the threshold where violence against Russians becomes acceptable.

This report – with its hostile attitude towards the spread of Russian culture and to the Russian Orthodox Church, and its depiction of corruption, aggression, disinformation and organised crime activity as peculiarly Russian activities – is a case in point.

It is inconceivable that such a report could be written about the cultural, religious and information policies of any other other country – Israel or China are obvious example – without this provoking a furious outcry. By contrast in the case of Russia such a report not only can be published; it is widely treated as authoritative and goes unchallenged.

What the report shows is how far these anti-Russian attitudes which can be accurately called racist – and which President Putin has recently compared to anti-semitism – have become internalised even at the highest levels of the US government and of the US political elite, so that it is not only possible but even respectable to repeat them there.

That is a very worrying fact, and it is impossible to see how it can end any way but badly.

January 12, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

Democratic Party oligarchs already scheming for the 2020 nomination

By Greg Felton | November 12, 2017

To this day, establishment Democrats are in denial about their party’s role in causing the election of Donald Trump. Rather than support the candidacy of the popular, progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders, who would have defeated Trump handily, the Democratic National Committee sabotaged his campaign so that it could nominate the loathesome and unelectable Hillary Clinton. Why would a U.S. political party knowingly commit electoral suicide? Essentially, the Democratic Party hierarchy is more loyal to a foreign government (Israel) than it is to the U.S. For these “Clintoncrats,” installing a warmongering Israeli satrap in the White House was more important than nominating a candidate who cared about the U.S. national interest and American lives.

For obvious reasons, the DNC’s corruption and Clinton’s moral and intellectual unfitness cannot be admitted, so to explain how a bombastic amateur won an election that was essentially rigged against him the Clintoncrats have to invent excuses. One that is still flogged by mainstream media and Internet trolls is that the Russian government “hacked” the election to help Trump. Mentioned as far back as April 2016, this fiction serves four purposes.

First, it allows the Clintoncrats to link Trump to the alleged hacking, thereby imputing impeachable misconduct and painting his victory as illegitimate. Second, it reinvents Hillary Clinton as a victim to deflect attention from her bankster/Israel-first servility and war-criminal past, both of which were largely responsible for making Democratic voters run to Trump. Third, the exclusive external focus on Russia and Trump distracts the public from rampant internal corruption within the Democratic Party and its repression of the surging progressive movement that Sanders leads. Fourth, the invention of Russian hacking, as well as anti-Trump/anti-Sanders blamecasting, gives the Clintoncrats a device to reimpose its authority on the party and the Berniecrats.

Although the election is more than three years away, any opportunity to attack Trump and score points against the progressives must be seized, and it is in that spirit that the Charlottesville riot takes on a deeper meaning than we are being led to believe.

Charlottesville—A Political Contrivance

In a world of universal deceit, crises are staged by those in power or those who hope to seize power. If these “decepticons” can inflame public opinion to serve their interests, especially when a targeted group is set up to take the blame, the public and the media are effectively co-opted since those who are enraged or terrified are too busy reacting emotionally to the crisis to question its validity much less perceive that they are being manipulated. We saw this tactic employed successfully, for example, in the World Trade Center/Pentagon attack, the Boston Marathon bombing and the Charlie Hebdo and Bataclan bombings in Paris. It also worked for the Clintoncrats in Charlottesville.

A crisis that casts white southerners in a maliciously violent light while inflaming black anger and sense of racial victimhood can help bring defectors back to the Democratic Party and enlist the party’s confederates in the media to vilify Trump. This is why the dominant images of the August 12 riot are emotional and reactive: white violence against “anti-racist” counter-protesters, a car driven by a white man into a crowd of pro-black counter-protesters, a beatified victim of the driver’s impact and scathing denunciations of Trump for his equivocal ascription of blame for the violence.

The inflammatory depictions of the riot have succeeded because, like all propaganda, they generated an artificial moralized causality. From these images it was easy to infer that they were deliberate, willful acts of violence by white racist protesters, and so preclude the possibility of any intelligent, critical analysis. Such a rational approach would imply either that the white protesters were not entirely reprehensible or that the images as presented did not depict the whole truth. Because the riot was moralized from the outset, anyone who tried to appeal to objectivity could expect to be vilified as an apologist for white racism. This is what happened to Trump.

The most egregious example of this propaganda is a piece written by Helena Cobban, a writer and researcher on international affairs who unfortunately opted for ranting over research. Here is how she began:

This weekend, for the third time this year, our home-city of Charlottesville has been the target of a campaign by leaders of the hate-filled “Alt-Rights” and their associates to claim the space of this city as their own. Yesterday, one of their apparent supporters, who had driven here from Ohio, plowed his car into a group of anti-hate protesters very near to the downtown mall that is the heart of our city, killing one woman (32-year-old Heather Heyer) and injuring more than a dozen others.

Another, more indirect, result of the haters’ provocative convergence on Charlottesville was that a state police helicopter that had been circling over downtown for many hours later crashed a little east of town, killing two state troopers.…

Cobban uses “hate” or “hater” 22 times to stigmatize the protesters, but such lazy name-calling speaks to the prejudice of the writer, not to any alleged negative characteristics of the protesters. Cobban also wrapped the “anti-hate” protesters in sanctimonious, religious verbiage, not bothering to mention that many came armed with chemical irritants, baseball bats, wooden clubs and helmets. There is no possible way the Antifa/BLM crowd could be depicted as “peaceful” or “anti-hate.” In fact, these counter-protesters were the ones spoiling for a fight. Even if one were to accept that the white protesters started the riot, the Antifa/BLM crowd did much to escalate it.

Finally, Cobban manages to praise the police and politicians, and it is here that that the riot proves its political worth for the Clintoncrats. As I showed last time, Terry McAuliffe, Virginia’s Democratic governor, bears most of the responsibility because he did nothing to keep the factions apart even though he said he had put the National Guard on stand-by in the name of public safety:

“Men and women from state and local agencies will be in Charlottesville to keep the public safe, and their job will be made easier if Virginians, no matter how well-meaning, elect to stay away from the areas where this rally will take place.”

He never used them because he said that the armed militias, better equipped than the state police, were adequate to keep order. “Not a shot was fired—zero property damage,” he said. Business Insider reporter Harrison Jacobs, as I wrote earlier, deftly captures the perversity of this statement:

“McAuliffe’s response that law enforcement’s handling of the violence was successful because there were no bullets fired and “zero property damage” would appear to ignore that dozens were left injured and a 32-year-old woman, Heather Heyer, was killed…”

Cobban’s screed, although laughably prejudiced, accurately betrays the essence of the official effect-to-cause narrative that serves the Clintoncrats’ larger objective: condemn white protesters not for what they did, but for who they are and by extension condemn Trump and his southern voter base. Cobban’s title, “Charlottesville confronting white supremacy and hate,” depicts the sort of pro-black/anti-Trump, good-vs-evil hysteria. However, if the riot is viewed from cause to effect as honesty demands, an entirely different picture emerges, one that exposes the political machinations behind it.

First, those who objected to the decision to move the Robert E. Lee statue had a valid permit to stage a protest in Emancipation Park. An attempt had been made to have the permit quashed and the protest relocated to a smaller park, but the original permit was upheld in court. After 15 minutes or so the Charlottesville police, in violation of the permit, dispersed them. The dispersal brought the protesters into direct contact with Antifa/Black Lives Matter counter-protesters, and from there violence ensued. Had the police left the protesters alone and kept the two sides apart, there would have been no violence, but it was necessary to provoke white southerners into looking like the aggressors.

Second, the narrative about the death of Heather Heyer is based on a fabrication that begs allusion to the false-flag Boston Marathon bombing, in which two Chechen brothers were set up to take the blame, and crisis actors were hired to sell the story.

James Alex Fields, a 20-year-old from Ohio, is alleged to have driven the car that hit and killed Heyer, but there is no evidence that he was even behind the wheel or that the car in question hit her. Video footage of the event clearly shows “his” car striking another car, not Heyer, but that still does not answer all questions. One thing we do know: Heather Heyer, who was overweight and taking medication, died on a sidewalk from a heart attack, not a car impact.

From different angles and in different videos, different numbers of cars are involved, and people that were allegedly injured in one version turn up in other scenes unharmed, thus inviting reasoned speculation that this was yet another staged event complete with crisis actors.

CRISIS ACTOR: On the left, a man being struck by the car falsely attributed to James A. Fields as it was being backed away sharply from the site of impact. On the right, that same man sitting uninjured on a parked Toyota while the same impact car is visible next to it on the right. Note the red sneakers.

Indeed, there were conveniently placed “witnesses” to provide the rhetorical spin needed to fix the official narrative in our minds. One conspicuous person was Brennan Gilmore, a former State Department operative in Africa and manager of Virginia Democrat Tom Perriello’s failed campaign for governor. About Heyer’s death, Gilmore told MSNBC:

It was clearly perpetrated by one of these racist Nazis who came to Charlottesville to spread their vile ideology. And he targeted this crowd very clearly. There is no question of anyone who witnessed it that his intent was to cause a mass casualty incident, a domestic terrorist incident as far as what I witnessed.

Gilmore gives himself away by not so much giving evidence but by overselling the absolute certainty of it: “clearly perpetrated,” “very clearly,” there is no question… that his intent was,” “a domestic terror incident.” Gilmore was in no position to make such dogmatic assertions. Also, in the video his intonation is flat and robotic, and he looks unnaturally stiff, as one might be if asked to read lines.

MISSING VEHICLE: The Toyota van with the crisis actor in the above picture is missing in this long shot of the path the impact car took. The Toyota should be somewhere under the red arrow. These inconsistencies strongly suggest that this scene was staged and more than once.

Fields’s part in Heyer’s death had to be invented to make the incident look like an act of deliberate violence by a white racist because that’s what the Clintoncrats wanted. Fields, who was in the crowd and could not have been driving the infamous car, ends up libeled as a “terrorist.” In fact Gilmore wasn’t alone in his labelling of Fields; McAuliffe read from the same script: “You can’t stop some crazy guy who came here from Ohio and used his car as a weapon. He is a terrorist.”

It’s uncertain if the Charlottesville propaganda will still have credibility come Election Day 2020, assuming Trump survives in office that long, but no matter how often its imagery and contrived morality are flogged it won’t mean squat if the Democratic establishment can’t come up with a candidate who is credible, likeable and electable—“an un-Hillary Clinton.” That person looks like it might be McAuliffe, the man most responsible for the riot. Understanding how he fits into the Clintoncrats long-term political ambitions can give a more coherent explanation of the riot and why he did nothing to stop it.

Charlottesville and the ‘Third Clinton’

At 59, McAuliffe is youngish, energetic and comes with an impeccable Clinton loyalist pedigree.

  • 2001 to 2005, chairman of the Democratic National Committee
  • 1996, co-chairman of Bill Clinton’s re-election campaign,
  • 2008, chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

In addition, McAuliffe guaranteed the $1.35 million mortgage on the Clintons’ Chappaqua, NY, house and went into business with Tony Rodham, Hillary Clinton’s brother. McAuliffe speaks with Bill Clinton every day and is a fundraiser extraordinaire. If there’s Democratic money to be donated, he knows how to get it. The political and financial propinquity between McAuliffe and the Clintons/Rodhams is so conspicuous that McAuliffe might as well be considered a Clinton, with all the mutual backscratching that that term connotes.

In October 2016, The Daily Mail reported that Hillary Clinton helped raise funds for Common Good VA, McAuliffe’s Political Action Committee (PAC), which then donated $500,000 to the congressional campaign of Clinton’s friend Jill McCabe, the wife of Andrew McCabe, who would later be promoted to FBI deputy director and responsible for investigating Clinton for her use of a private e-mail server. The investigation was dropped. Three years earlier, Clinton had endorsed McAuliffe for governor of Virginia.

In 2009, as chairman of the start-up GreenTech Automotive, McAuliffe needed Chinese investment capital, so he formed a business relationship with Hillary Clinton’s brother Tony Rodham, CEO of Gulf Coast Funds Management. Gulf Coast was in the business of procuring visas for foreigners under the federal EB-5 program for investing at least $500,000 in a rural or impoverished area and created at least 10 jobs. GreenTech qualified because it was set up in a rundown corner of Mississippi.

The GreenTech/Gulf Coast venture ran into serious problems because visa applications were held up over qualification criteria and other legal matters, so Rodham and McAuliffe made personal appeals to government officials to expedite matters, all of this while Clinton was Obama’s secretary of state. One of these officials was Alejandro Mayorkas, director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, whom they personally asked to fast-track the applications. Mayorkas did so, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General would later determine that Mayorkas gave Rodham and McAuliffe unethical, preferential treatment.

Mr. Mayorkas, now Deputy Secretary of DHS, [but who resigned in October 2016 over this matter] communicated with stakeholders on substantive issues outside of the normal adjudicatory process, and intervened with the career USCIS staff in ways that benefited the stakeholders. Mr. Mayorkas’ conduct led many USCIS employees to reasonably believe that specific individuals or groups were being given special access or consideration in the EB-5 program. (p. 52)

The political favouritism afforded Rodham and McAuliffe can be seen in this timeline excerpt from the DHS report about Gulf Coast’s activities. McAuliffe ended his role in GreenTech in 2012 before running for governor in 2013.

The Establishment Man

On June 13, 2017, two months before the Charlottesville riot, McAuliffe gave an interview to the on-line news source Politico This interview is significant because in it McAuliffe pushes the Clintoncrats’s electoral game plan and in so doing telegraphs his future, passive response in Charlottesville.

Russian to judgment

Within a span of fewer than three minutes during the first quarter of the interview, McAuliffe repeatedly pushed the Russia-hacking line using the same pat phrases and the same delivery, as if he had memorized them from a script:

“trying to destabilize our government,”
“wanted to destabilize the presidency,”
“detabliizing our democracy.”
“a direct assault on the democracy of the United States.”

The segment ended with this categorical summation at 12 minutes 19 seconds: “Clearly, Russia was involved in trying to destabilize our government.”

Just like Brennan Gilmore later at Charlottesville, McAuliffe had no first-hand proof of what he was talking about. He only had a prefabricated narrative to work from. He read his part dutifully, although, like Gilmore, he did not appear to appreciate that pat repetition of boilerplate is a defining characteristic of propaganda.

Further proof that McAuliffe was lying comes from his less-than-dogmatic certainty on the subject of evidence for Russian involvement:

“Somebody had to give these people a road map”;
“I believe somebody was directing the Russians”;
“Something was going on.”

Using subjective or vague claims to back up dogmatic assertions is standard in fabricated effect-to-cause narratives, but a logical, cause-to-effect narrative proves the opposite of what McAuliffe claimed. The best evidence comes from WikiLeaks, which in March this year debunked the Russian hacking story in its Vault 7 release:

Another program described in the documents, named Umbrage, is a voluminous library of cyber-attack techniques that the CIA has collected from malware produced by other countries, including Russia. According to the WikiLeaks release, the large number of techniques allows the CIA to mask the origin of some of its attack and confuse forensic investigators.… What this means is that current efforts by Democratic Party leaders and Deep State leakers in the government intelligence sector to pin the blame on Russia for hacking the election or for trying to help elect Trump as president, now must confront the counter-argument that the Deep State itself, in the form of the CIA, may have been behind the hacks, but is making it look like the Russians did it. (emphasis added)

In December 2016, The Intercept refuted the Russian-hacking dogma, and CNBC reported that DHS tried 10 times to hack Georgia‘s election database. Given all this prior evidence of domestic hacking, McAuliffe stuck to the script. As if to make the point crystal clear, on September 28, 2017, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla accused DHS of lying about Russian hacking.

Moral high ground

Pandering to voter emotion and prejudice is a necessary distraction mechanism to preclude rational debate; thus, one of the buttons McAuliffe repeatedly pushed was “values”: moral Democrats have them; immoral “Trumpublicans” don’t:

Leadership is… moral based, value based, and that’s what the Trump administration is lacking (26m40s)

“Values” is one of those vacuous, undefined terms that can be filled with subjective bias and then be made to stand as a definitional truth. For example, “terrorism,” which specifically refers to a government’s use of coercion, violence and fear to intimidate people into obedience, is now an epithet that can be hurled at anyone who uses violence to defy Israeli or American authority. There is no coercive element to such an act, but that no longer matters, any rational analysis of “terrorism” is virtually unthinkable.

McAuliffe may not like the Trump administration, but to say it has no morals or values is inane. Trump does have morals and values, just not the same ones. One doesn’t have to like Trump or agree with him to see that McAuliffe is denying him the essential humanity that he lavishes on the much less deserving Hillary Clinton.

How does McAuliffe think Clinton and the Democratic Party have any claim to morality and “values” when they are responsible for the devastation of Libya and the murder of its leader. Why isn’t McAuliffe troubled that Clinton sold herself to Goldman Sachs banksters while she was a senator? Is being a war criminal and a bankster prostitute the sign of high moral standing? Clearly not, which is why generic terms like “values,” are only ever asserted, never explained, and why they are such good weapons for propagandists.

Liberal poster boy

McAuliffe may be embarrassingly predictable when he runs down Trump and flails at Russia, but on domestic policy he is on solid ground. He has bona fide liberal credentials, and these will be essential selling points if the Clintoncrats hope to crush the democratic wing of the party.

In the interview, McAuliffe boasted that he vetoed legislation against abortion, homosexuals, transsexuals, the environment and voting rights. He proudly told of his reforms to the juvenile detention system, which cut the number of inmates by half and ended maximum security sentences for 14 year-olds. He also made points by noting that he stared down the gun lobby and in the home state of the National Rifle Association no less.

McAuliffe achieved all this and more despite having to work with a Republican-led state legislature. He attributed this success to common values—there’s that word again—which also allowed him to pass legislation to improve jobs, education, transportation and health care. Given that the Republican Party is largely in thrall to god, guns, and greed, McAuliffe’s boasting of “common values” is perhaps not the wisest thing to do.

The Clintoncrats will need to play up McAuliffe’s liberal credentials for all their worth because as is stands the progressive Berniecrats show every sign of capturing the anti-Trump vote. As Salon reported in late May, Berniecrats won districts in state elections in New York and New Hampshire that had voted strongly for Trump in the last election: Christine Pellegrino on Long Island, and Edie DesMarais in Wolfeboro, respectively. Meanwhile, in Montana’s congressional race, Berniecrat Rob Quist openly called for a revolution against the Democratic establishment. He lost, but he forced the Republicans to spend millions of dollars for what should have been an easy victory.

Much of the Berniecrats’ overall success can be attributed to their rational understanding of the last election: not a vote for Trump over Clinton but a vote for populism over the political establishment. As Salon reporter Conor Lynch wrote:

No matter how unpopular Trump gets… Democrats would be foolish to think they can revert to business as usual and still lead a successful resistance. If there is anything more anathema to the American electorate than the boorish president, it is the corrupt and arrogant Washington establishment.

This penetrating analysis is, of course, lost on the Clintoncrats, who are planning to refight their last failure by continuing to treat voters as mindless inputs in some abstract numbers game. For the 2018 mid-term elections they intend to use Hillary Clinton’s 2016 results as a starting point in hopes of mimicking the 2010 mid-terms, when the Republicans surged to majority status.

As Politico reported on May 22, 2017, the Clintoncrats’ chief strategist is none other than Rahm Emanuel—dual Israeli/U.S. citizen, Mossad agent, and former White House Chief of Staff. This epitome of the corrupt and arrogant Washington establishment is in regular contact with the Clintoncrat hierarchy and holds frequent strategy sessions with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. If the electorate sees through the propaganda, the Clintoncrats will be in trouble in 2020, when McAuliffe will be the new face of the party.

Technically, McAuliffe has not formally committed. In the Politico interview he denied any interest in the presidency and fell back on his duty to serve the people of Virginia. This declaration of political modesty, though, was entirely predictable and can be discounted. First, it would be unseemly for McAuliffe to appear to be ambitious so early. Second, a declaration would draw unwanted media attention to his business dealings. Third, the decision might already have been made in secret.

It might be significant or it might just be coincidence, but from June 1-4, a little more than a week before the Politico interview, McAuliffe was invited to attend his first Bilderberg meeting, which happened to take place in Virginia. Bilderbergers are a group of the world’s most powerful plutocrats and power brokers who hold annual meetings behind closed doors. What they discuss is not reported, but they are thought to be the real power behind world governments. McAuliffe’s invitation could signal that his appointment as Clinton’s successor has received official establishment sanction. We might infer this because in 1991, Bill Clinton, then governor of Arkansas, attended his first Bilderberg meeting; the next year he went on to win the Democratic nomination and the presidency.

Charlottesville in perspective

McAuliffe’s contradictory behaviour during the Charlottesville riot makes sense only if it is understood as serving the Clintoncrats’ political motives. There was no political advantage to preventing a racial confrontation that would help the Democratic establishment, demonize the president and stigmatize one of his significant electoral constituencies. As Emanuel infamously told the Wall Street Journal on Nov. 19, 2008, soon after Barack Obama’s election:

“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”

Emanuel was referring to the Lehman Brothers banking scandal, but his quote has taken on a life of its own. For example, it was cited by Hillary Clinton on March 6, 2009, in a speech to the European Parliament. McAuliffe never used the quote but he followed its spirit.

The Clintoncrats will need many episodes like Charlottesville if they hope to stampede Democratic voters into propping up the crumbling establishment.

A different version of this essay appears in Charlottesville: A Political Theatre in Three Acts…, edited by Dr. James Fetzer available from Moon Rock Books

November 12, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | Leave a comment