Softpanorama

Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Skepticism and critical thinking is not panacea, but can help to understand the world better

In Foreign Events Coverage Guardian Presstitutes Slip Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment

Reporters without conscience: once a nominally left of centre liberal publication became firmly embedded part of the Foreign Office, MI6 and the US Department of State

Skepticism > Political Skeptic > Media-Military-Industrial Complex > Propaganda

News Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Recommended Links Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak US and British media are servants of security apparatus Do the foreign state influence the US Presidential elections ? Steele dossier
NeoMcCartyism Luke Harding a pathetic author of rehash of Steele Dossier book Russiagate -- a color revolution against Trump by neocons and DemoRats MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage Pussy Riot Provocation and Deranged Pussy Worship Syndrome Brexit as the start of the reversal of neoliberal globalization Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17?
Hypocrisy of British elite Charlie Hebdo - more questions then answers Manchester attack vs Charlie Hebdo Media as a weapon of mass deception Putin-did-it fiasco Edward Lucas as agent provocateur American Exceptionalism
The importance of controlling the narrative Patterns of Propaganda The Real War on Reality Lewis Powell Memo Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Co-opting of the Human Rights to embarrass governments who oppose neoliberalism Manipulation of the term "freedom of press"
Diplomacy by deception Democracy as a universal opener for access to natural resources Color revolutions Ukraine: From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss Media-Military-Industrial Complex Manufactured consent The Iron Law of Oligarchy
Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Neo-fascism Nation under attack meme Nineteen Eighty-Four Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law Bullshit as MSM communication method Big Uncle is Watching You
Groupthink Soft propaganda Fighting Russophobia Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Propaganda Quotes Humor Etc

Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

Hermann Goering, President of the Reichstag, Nazi Party, and Luftwaffe Commander in Chief

  • Lapdog is easy role, watchdog is hard.
  • Lapdogs are lazy but get fed, watchdogs stand out in the cold, and get kicked.
  • Lapdogs get rich, watchdogs remain poor.
  • Lapdogs eat shit, and watchdogs kick ass.
  • Lapdogs need many masters, watchdogs are their own master.
  • Lapdogs are part of the problem, watchdogs are part of the solution.

@RIP, lapdogs are dismissed even by the asses they kissed, while history remembers watchdogs for the asses they kicked.

Backbutton

10 October 2014 3:46pm

When Gerald Celente branded the American media “presstitutes,” he got it right. The US print and TV media (and NPR) whore for Washington and the corporations. Reporting the real news is their last concern. The presstitutes are a Ministry of Propaganda and Coverup. This is true of the entire Western media, a collection of bought-and-paid-for whores.

by Paul Craig Roberts, June 4, 2013,

A lot of our problems come from the unwillingness of honest people to call out the liars, cranks, wh*res and hacks.

A Brief Theory of Very Serious People — Crooked Timber

Due to the size an introduction was converted to a separate page Guardian as a neoliberal propaganda mouthpeace


Top Visited
Switchboard
Latest
Past week
Past month

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012

[Jul 22, 2019] The press of the United States? It is a parasitic growth that battens on the capitalist class

Jul 22, 2019 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com

"The press of the United States? It is a parasitic growth that battens on the capitalist class. Its function is to serve the established by moulding public opinion, and right well it serves it.

I know nothing that I may say can influence you. You have no souls to be influenced. You are spineless, flaccid things. You pompously call yourselves Republicans and Democrats. There is no Republican Party. There is no Democratic Party.

There are no Republicans nor Democrats in this House. You are lick-spittlers and panderers, the creatures of the Plutocracy.

You talk verbosely in antiquated terminology of your love of liberty, and all the while you wear the scarlet livery of the Iron Heel."

Jack London, The Iron Heel

[Jul 20, 2019] Whenever the Tories get into trouble, the BBC helps them out

Jul 20, 2019 | failedevolution.blogspot.com

Whenever the Tories get into trouble, the BBC helps them out July 18, 2019 While the BBC ratchets up its campaign against the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, the timing of its Panorama programme couldn't have been more perfect.
by Readers of The National
Part 2
I HAVE never seen such a one-sided, biased documentary as the BBC Panorama programme on antisemitism in the Labour party. This was backed up by biased coverage on news programmes on TV and radio. Those of us in Scotland have become used to BBC bias in the coverage of independence, which is why the BBC in Scotland has the highest number on people refusing to pay the licence fee.

Now people in England are experiencing this level of bias I predict the number of non-payers will rise significantly too. Of course we can protest, but the evidence is from Scotland that the BBC ignore the protests.
For the record, as a former Labour party member for many years and a councillor and an MEP I never encountered anti-semitism in the Labour party, indeed Jewish members were active in every section of the party without encountering any prejudice. The so-called problem has only begun when Jeremy Corbyn became Labour leader – not because he is anti-semitic.

I've known Jeremy Corbyn for more than 40 years and he is a committed anti-racist. He has been targeted because he is a supporter of Palestinian rights, and the people attacking him inside and outside the Labour party have close connections to the Israeli Government. Indeed Al Jazeera have a very good documentary of people from the Israeli embassy boasting they have a fund of a million pounds a year to bring down their enemies.
Of course if I was a member of the Labour party I could be expelled for stating the above, but fortunately in Scotland our First Minister is on record as supporting Palestinian rights. No doubt we can expect accusations of anti-semitism soon. It is not anti-semitic to criticise the state of Israel for its dreadful treatment of Palestinians and I hope we in Scotland can continue to uphold that right despite the BBC's dreadful bias!
Hugh Kerr (former Labour MEP)/Edinburgh

Source:

https://www.thenational.scot/politics/17767070.whenever-tories-get-trouble-bbc-helps/

[Jul 19, 2019] Why The BBC acts as a Propaganda Outlet for Israel An Insider View by Gilad Atzmon

Jul 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

Q: Who and what drove this cultural and political direction within the corporation?

A: There are a number of drivers behind this biased BBC culture. The most important is the fact that a small number of hardline Zionists occupy key positions at the top and middle levels of the corporation, as well as at the shop-floor level, by which I mean the people who select what to publish or broadcast on a daily basis and who provide editorial steer to journalists. This has been widely publicised and has been in the public domain for some time -- see, for example, this http://tinyurl.com/ydhjzeek , these (a) http://tinyurl.com/y7mjtkc6 , (b) http://tinyurl.com/y7k39vsh , and (c) http://tinyurl.com/y3x9nktl . Also see this http://tinyurl.com/y6ne4apn and this http://tinyurl.com/y7l88zwl .

Q: What about political impartiality, supposedly a core BBC value?

A: Unfortunately, there are many examples of such pro- Israel hype, some blatant and others who slant the news by use of emphasis and/or omission. For instance, there was Sarah Montague's interview with Israel's defence minister, Moshe Ya'alon , in March 2015, Head of Statistics' Anthony Reuben's reflection on fatalities in Gaza ( http://tinyurl.com/ycc9p8d4 ), and the utilization of Gil Hoffman, an Israeli army reservist and chief political correspondent for the Jerusalem Post to write for the BBC News website ( http://tinyurl.com/yanppk93 ) to mention but a few.

Q: Does the broadcaster have the means or inclination to fix itself ?

A: In my opinion, the chances of the BBC fixing itself is about zero. Apart from what I have said above, it is a cowardly, spineless organisation. Not only does it always pursue the path of least resistance by selecting to broadcast what is least likely to upset the Zionist lobby, but it is also deadly afraid of what the Daily Mail might say about its output. Very often, and by that I mean almost on a daily basis, one would hear senior managers ask at the morning agenda-setting editorial meetings, "What would the Daily Mail say about that?" Invariably, they would choose what is least likely to be picked up and criticised by the Daily Mail. Please remember, this is a public broadcaster that is funded by taxpayers (yes, the License Fee is a tax) and is supposed to "Educate, Inform and Entertain", not propagandise on behalf of Israel.

Q: Some of the so-called Labour 'Whistleblowers' were exposed by Al Jazeera as Israeli Lobby assets . Is it possible that the BBC was so bold as to interview these characters hoping that no one would notice or was it simply a matter of a clumsy decision making? Can the BBC match the journalistic dedication of organisations such as RT or Al Jazeera?

A: There is no chance whatsoever that the BBC would do anything approximating Al Jazeera TV's programme on Israeli infiltration of the Labour Party ( http://tinyurl.com/yad6fslm ). The BBC is institutionally pro-Zionist and institutionally spineless.

Q: You worked in the corporation for 35 years, did you notice a deterioration in the quality of people hired? Was there a change in employees' attitudes and their willingness to express themselves freely and critically?

A: I worked for the BBC's English-language outlets as an editor and senior editor for 35 years. Since the early 1990s there has been growing intolerance of criticism of editorial management decisions, even in internal forums which internal BBC propaganda claims are meant for staff to speak freely. This applies across the board on all matters. But certainly with regard to Israel and Zionism, any questioning of BBC impartiality would attract accusations of anti-Semitism and would certainly spell the end of one's career, no matter how privately and confidentially such criticism is conveyed.


Colin Wright , says: Website July 14, 2019 at 8:30 pm GMT

It wasn't always this way. See the 2002 BBC documentary Dead in the Water , documenting Israel's 1967 attack on the USS Liberty .

It demonstrates conclusively that the attack was deliberate and even goes so far as to speculate that it was a black-flag operation intended to justify a joint US-Israeli invasion of Egypt proper.

Personally, I'm skeptical of that -- although it's possible. I think Israel just wanted to ensure she wasn't forced to withdraw from Sinai as she had been in 1956. After all, in the upshot, we didn't force Israel to withdraw this time -- but she may not have been sure of that outcome. Making it appear the Egyptians had sunk the Liberty would have helped to assure we would be in no mood to demand any such thing of Israel.

Of course, Israel muffed it. She wasn't able to sink the Liberty , and wasn't able to prevent her from sending out a distress signal. Machine-gunning the lifeboats was of no use if the attack had to be aborted before the Liberty could be finished off and the surviving crew members never needed to get into those lifeboats.

dearieme , says: July 14, 2019 at 9:49 pm GMT
There's nothing special about Israel. The BBC has a policy on every contentious subject, domestic or international. A conspicuous current example is Brexit.
Colin Wright , says: Website July 14, 2019 at 10:30 pm GMT
@dearieme 'There's nothing special about Israel. The BBC has a policy on every contentious subject, domestic or international. A conspicuous current example is Brexit.'

Lol. This piece notwithstanding, the BBC used to give Israel a pretty hard time.

Then, at some point about fifteen years ago, it was very noticeably brought to heel and has since toed the Zionist line as closely as it can without visible displays of submissive piddling.

The same applies to the Guardian , by the way. Many of its staff who used to report accurately on the Middle East can now be found on Middle East Eye.

In a way, I find the Zionism of these organs a lot more nauseating than that of, say, the Wall Street Journal or Fox News. At least with the latter, there's a kind of ideological consistency to their Zionism. With the BBC and the Guardian , it's the rankest, most craven hypocrisy imaginable.

petrochnko , says: July 15, 2019 at 7:20 am GMT

It demonstrates conclusively that the attack was deliberate and even goes so far as to speculate that it was a black-flag operation intended to justify a joint US-Israeli invasion of Egypt proper.

The USS Liberty was an ELINT ship. The Israeli's attacked it to prevent the US listening in to Israeli military radio traffic, and keep the US in the dark re Israel's operations.

Sally Snyder , says: July 15, 2019 at 12:08 pm GMT
Here is an article that clearly explains the pro-Israel bias in America's mainstream media:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/04/the-pro-israel-skew-in-american.html

This study shows us that the pro-Israel narrative has become so firmly entrenched in the American mainstream media that it is almost impossible for news consumers to discern the truth about the situation in Israel and Palestine. This has greatly benefitted Washington which has made it abundantly clear that it sides with Israel in this fifty year-old conflict.

Beavertales , says: July 15, 2019 at 5:39 pm GMT
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) is also under the editorial control of pro-Zionists.

Since the takeover, they have a limited number of revolving topics: holocaust, anti-semitism, slavery, South African Apartheid, Jewish diaspora feel-good stories, Black lives matter, aboriginal suffering, colonialism, Islamophobia/ why-can't-we-accept-women-in-hijabs, the KKK, white racism, reparations for Jewish victims of history, refugees, the need to crush white identity .

You cannot go a week of even a day without a mention of one of the above. News critical of Jews or Israel is not allowed.

Alfred , says: July 16, 2019 at 1:48 pm GMT
Here is from today's Zerohedge

"Combat Ready" Missile Seized During Police Raid On Italian Neo-Nazis

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-07-15/combat-ready-missile-seized-during-police-raid-italian-neo-nazis

The BBC claims that these neo-Nazis were supporters of the Russian-speakers who do not wish to be controlled by the ZioNazis of Kiev.

In reality, the Italian police said the precise opposite. This weaponry was destined to help the ZioNazis of Ukraine. They were to be used against the beleaguered defenders of the Donbass region.

The lies of the BBC are constant. This is an ongoing phenomenon – MH17, Syrian Chemicals, Skripals, Iran's nuclear weapons, Hong Kong's peaceful protesters, concentration camps for Uighurs, Global Warming, Building 7 collapsed 20 minutes after broadcast that it had fallen etc.

Tsigantes , says: July 16, 2019 at 4:44 pm GMT
@Tsigantes I should really qualify:

my forgotten!! point was that this period of MSM upheaval and enormously rising salaries, noticeably from the 1990s onward, coincided with ever increasing pro-Israel coverage and ever decreasing pro-Palestinian coverage. Today it has become virtually an 'anti-semitic' 'racist' 'hate' crime to be sympathetic to Palestinians .accompanied by tearful Zionist bleatings about fearing for their lives, lurid word pictures of nazis walking the streets and claims of massive population flight to Israel – although the numbers of UK jews does not seem to decrease. The perception – which could be wrong but given their total dominance of the media – is quite the opposite!

bbccheese , says: July 16, 2019 at 4:46 pm GMT
@(((They))) Live The Hungarian Foreign Minister should have asked the interviewer "Why does the US do the foot soldier work to protect against the same invasion of muslims into Israel?" While Israel the only country allowed to shoot and kill those even coming close to their border has the right!
Tsigantes , says: July 18, 2019 at 9:50 am GMT
@Parfois1 You raise an interesting point. I remember the outcry over the Beeb reporting on the Falklands that the Beeb was left wing and treasonous. The BBC was giving massive air time to Labour MPs and talking heads saying that the Falklands should be abandoned, handed to the Argentinians.

My left wing father (ex-WW2 RN submarine officer) surprised me by pointing out that whatever the rights or wrongs of UK 'owning' the Falklands the fact was that they did and therefore in the circumstance of armed invasion the UK was obliged to defend it on the principle of national sovereignty. Not to mention discouraging other such invasions.

I bring this up because exactly these issues have re-appeared today.

That is, the old left-wingism of BBC reportage has morphed into the new left-wingism of today: i.e. LGBT+, racism, anti-semitism, indoctrinating homosexuality & trans issues into infants in state schools etc. Pro-EU, pro-open borders, pro-migrant, pro-Israel, pro-war. Anti-Brexit, anti-sovereignty, anti-patriotism, anti-nationalism, anti-religion, anti traditional family all of which the Beeb loudly deems 'fascist' [deplorable] across all its channels.

Agent76 , says: July 19, 2019 at 1:39 pm GMT
MAY 23, 2019 Life Or Death – Corporate Media Or Honest Media?

Relying on the corporate media, including BBC News, to provide a reliable account of the world is literally a matter of life or death, on many levels.

http://www.medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2019/904-life-or-death-corporate-media-or-honest-media.html

"Who controls the issuance of money controls the government!" Nathan Meyer Rothschild

June 13, 2016 Which Corporations Control The World?

A surprisingly small number of corporations control massive global market shares. How many of the brands below do you use?

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44864.htm

"Control the oil, and you control nations. Control the food, and you control the people." Henry Kissenger

[Jul 18, 2019] People hate it . Neoliberalism's sale of state assets, offshored jobs, stripped services, poorly-invested infrastructure and armies of the forcibly unemployed have delivered, not promised efficiency and flexibility to communities, but discomfort and misery by Van Badham

Notable quotes:
"... People hate it . Neoliberalism's sale of state assets, offshored jobs, stripped services, poorly-invested infrastructure and armies of the forcibly unemployed have delivered, not promised "efficiency" and "flexibility" to communities, but discomfort and misery. The wealth of a few has now swelled to a level of conspicuousness that must politely be considered vulgar yet the philosophy's entrenched itself so deeply in how governments make decisions and allocate resources that one of its megaphones once declared its triumph "the end of history". ..."
Dec 25, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

For 40 years, the ideology popularly known as "neoliberalism" has dominated political decision-making in the English-speaking west.

People hate it . Neoliberalism's sale of state assets, offshored jobs, stripped services, poorly-invested infrastructure and armies of the forcibly unemployed have delivered, not promised "efficiency" and "flexibility" to communities, but discomfort and misery. The wealth of a few has now swelled to a level of conspicuousness that must politely be considered vulgar yet the philosophy's entrenched itself so deeply in how governments make decisions and allocate resources that one of its megaphones once declared its triumph "the end of history".

It wasn't, as even he admitted later . And given some of the events of the contemporary political moment, it's possible to conclude from auguries like smoke rising from a garbage fire and patterns of political blood upon the floor that history may be hastening neoliberalism towards an end that its advocates did not forecast.

Three years ago, I remarked that comedian Russell Brand may have stumbled onto a stirring spirit of the times when his "capitalism sucks" contemplations drew stadium-sized crowds. Beyond Brand – politically and materially – the crowds have only been growing.

Is the political zeitgeist an old spectre up for some new haunting? Or are the times more like a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "the combination of inequality and low wage growth is fuelling discontent. Time to sing a new song."

In days gone past, they used to slice open an animal's belly and study the shape of its spilled entrails to find out. But we could just keep an eye on the news.

Here are my seven signs of the neoliberal apocalypse:

... ... ...

5. The reds are back under the beds

... ... ...

6. Tony Abbott becomes a fan of nationalising assets

... How else to explain the earthquake-like paradigm shift represented by the sixth sign? Since when do neoliberal conservatives argue for the renationalisation of infrastructure, as is the push of Tony Abbott's gang to nationalise the coal-fired Liddell power station?

It may be a cynical stunt to take an unscientific stand against climate action, but seizing the means of production remains seizing the means of production, um, comrade.

"You know, nationalising assets is what the Liberal party was founded to stop governments doing," said Turnbull, even as he hid in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains to weather – strange coincidence – yet another Newspoll loss.

... ... ...

• Van Badham is a Guardian Australia columnist

[Jul 17, 2019] It is neoliberalism since the late 70s that led to the trebling of personal debts on stagnant wages, and finally the collapse of the banks

Notable quotes:
"... The biggest economic problem is "corporate welfare" find out how much subsidy the UK government 'gives' to profitable corporations, the ordinary taxpayers loss. ..."
Dec 17, 2018 | profile.theguardian.com

msTOmsTO -> AsDusty 23 Aug 2016 00:43

Marx, Engels and Gramsci all died before the second world war began. I doubt they had much to say about what caused it.

Regarding the posited failure of "neoliberalism", if you want to know what real failure of a political and economic system looks like, have a look at the consequences of Marxism for every country where it held sway in the 20th century.

A recession followed by a few years of sluggish growth is hardly catastrophic

ShaunNewman -> Ohcolowisc , 23 Aug 2016 00:25
Democratic socialism must take the place of this capitalist system where 50% of the global economy is owned by just 1% of the population, patently unfair for billions of people. To have 1% having more than they could possibly spend in a lifetime is ludicrous while we have others starving and millions of "people" living below the poverty line.
ShaunNewman -> RobertKlahn , 23 Aug 2016 00:21
RobertKlahn

The capitalist (USA) system diverts huge amounts of money via corporations 50% of the global economy to just 1% of the global population, which is patently unfair. The 1% ownership grows every day because these 1% people have a mental illness called insatiable greed, where enough is never enough. Yes 'fair trade' would help, but what must be broken is the compliance of conservative governments around the world who fail to tax these corporations a 'fair share' of taxation to help "the people" to raise their living standards. We must adopt democratic socialism with million of USA citizens voted for with Bernie Sanders, and as is practiced in the Nordic countries, who tax corporations fairly and obtain a good standard of living for "their people."

Matthew Kilburn , 23 Aug 2016 00:03
What comes next? Hopefully some kind of neo-nationalistic Westernism in which the societies that, up until the turmoil of the 60s and 70s shaped the course of global affairs, rediscover their roots and identifies.

If "neoliberalism" seems to be in retreat, perhaps the simplest explanation is that the cultures that gave rise to it - western, Christian, often English-speaking cultures - most certainly ARE in retreat.

How can we answer questions like "what is happening to us?" or "How should we react?" When we can't even identify the "us" or the "we"?

ShaunNewman -> martinusher , 22 Aug 2016 23:58
We need government that will restrain capitalism and use the system for the benefit of "the people" not the corporations. Which in practice means "don't vote conservative."
ShaunNewman -> martinusher , 22 Aug 2016 23:56
martinusher

Yes, the point is that unrestrained capitalism does wreck lives, but continues to feed the 1% with mare more than they could ever spend. This is precisely why we need a system of democratic socialism as practiced on the Nordic countries, where "the people" come first and the corporations run a distant second.

However if the UK continues to elect conservative governments the reverse will always be the case, with "the people" running a distant second.

ShaunNewman -> Roger Elliott , 22 Aug 2016 23:47
Globalization, capitalist society in the 70s quickly became ownership of 50% (and continuing to grow) of the global economy by just 1% of the population. We need to change to democratic socialism as practiced by the Nordic countries.
ShaunNewman -> CopBase , 22 Aug 2016 23:43
The biggest economic problem is "corporate welfare" find out how much subsidy the UK government 'gives' to profitable corporations, the ordinary taxpayers loss.
ShaunNewman -> tamborineman , 22 Aug 2016 23:31
How we got here was via the capitalist system whereby 50% of the global economy is now owned bt just 1% of the global population. A collection of individuals who are filthy rich but who also have the mental illness of insatiable greed, and who won't be satisfied until they own 60% and so on. They avoid paying tax, and conservative governments help them by providing loop holes in taxation legislation so their corporations can avoid paying tax or pay up to 5% of their huge incomes in a token gesture. In Australia out of 1,500 corporations surveyed 579 have not paid a cent since at least 2013. The Australian people should be marching in the streets for a 'fair go' but the apathy prevents that. They probably won't get angry until such time as they realize that the 1% own 70% of the global economy and they are being squeezed even harder into 14 hour days without a break, only then will they crack, if at all.
ciaofornow -> Citizen0 , 22 Aug 2016 22:58
Quantitative easing first upped the stock market and therefore the retirement portfolios of the US middle class as well as the portfolios of the wealthy, and now the US economy is finally producing middle class jobs (recent report, NY Times) and not just the upper middle class.
------------------
Rubbish!
QE is just the creation of trillions more in debt. Artificially raising asset prices is not a free market. A free market depends on people being able to pay the prices. But today in the UK, people require three loans to buy a house the price of which has been artificially raised by QE. That enriches the homeowner, the bank, and estate agent. but in equal measure, it impoverishes the house buyer.

the blowing up of asset prices will have to go on forever (still, not one penny of QE has been repaid), or the system will collapse. But that is impossible. It will destroy the value of money. See what happens to stock prices each time the US "threatens" to raise interest rates and stop QE programmes. And just check out personal debt levels in the UK and US. It is unsustainable.

The basic problem of neoliberalism is that it demands low pay as a competitive measure. But that means people have less money to spend in the consumer economy. So neoliberalism requires deregulated banking, pushing up asset prices, so people feel wealthy and take on more debt with which to compensate their low pay, and so they can shop. But that in turn leads to higher debts until the debts are not likely to be repaid. Banks collapse.

The bailouts and money printing has raised asset prices as you say. So now they are at record highs. And if the system demands they go higher while keeping down pay. Who the Fuck is going to pay?

The system is designed to collapse. It only exists today thanks to the creation of money that does not really exist. We may as well adopt grass as money as keep this system going.
The flipside of artificial growth in asset prices is the falling value of earnings.

in 1996, UK average pay equalled 30-35% of a typical house. Today, it is only 10% of a house, and in London, 7%. And for the system to function, that percentage must fall.

AsDusty -> msTOmsTO , 22 Aug 2016 22:41
No, quite a lot of people have been writing about it. Marx, Engels and Gramski all discussed the tendency of free market economics to lead to conflict. More recently you could look at the work of Galbraith, Sachs and Frank Stilwell, just off the top of my head.
ciaofornow -> MurrayGSmith , 22 Aug 2016 22:35
You failed to understand the article. It says the post war period (1945-70s) was the longest and most successful economic run, especially for working classes, in history.

It is "neoliberalism" since the late 70s that led to the trebling of personal debts on stagnant wages, and finally the collapse of the banks. And ever since the whole economic show has only been kept alive with life-saving drugs (QE which is basically pretending there is a cash flow rather than reality of a solvency crisis, govt set zero interest rates, bailouts). But we have merely got stagnation.

And your last point is a straw man. Hardly anyone wants to replace this failing system with Stalinism.

We have had two contrasting economic systems in the West since the War. The one had far more regulation, and stronger wage growth for workers, the latter since 1979 has been neoliberalism.

The first collapsed in the stagnation of the 70s. The latter died in 2008, and has been kept going through state support and printing trillions more in debt. But the bailouts are failing. They are failing because it was never a cash flow crisis. It was a solvency crisis. Now the debts are even greater.

tamborineman , 22 Aug 2016 22:34
Selective description posing as analysis and allowing the emotional triggers of a couple of key phrases to justify the selectiveness. It sounds magisterial but it ain't and, as others have pointed out, it gives us little on where do we go from here. This is precisely because he has really not told us what he thinks here is, how we got here, and why we got here.
Ohcolowisc -> RobertKlahn , 22 Aug 2016 22:25
The last thing a capitalist corporation wants is to compete (i.e. having actual competition). What they want is monopoly. That's why they "rig" the markets - among others by merging with and acquiring their competitors until they reach near monopoly in their industry (or industries).

That's the essence of the statement that "there never have been free markets, only rigged markets". And there never will be. "Free markets" are transient phenomena that exist only for relatively short time periods during which the leading players do the rigging. The only factor that could keep free markets "free" is government - and that's why it is hated so much by corporations and is rendered practically toothless in the US. It limits their ability to rig and to loot.

The only form the phrase "free markets" exist for prolonged periods of time is when it is used as a propaganda slogan by neoliberal ideologues (even though it is the exact opposite of what really happens).

ciaofornow , 22 Aug 2016 22:20
And why has it taken so long for such an article to be published? Many of the points in this article should have been apparent to intelligent commentators right after the 2008 crisis.

Why has it taken so long for political fallout?

The major reason is cited: Parties such as New Labour, supposedly of the Left that continued to support this failing system. Gordon Brown bailed out the banks, claimed to save the world, and then let it all go on as before. A Disgrace of a leader that history will condemn as a fool. And how many commentators of the time lauded him for it? Far too many. And many of them still in the jobs. Jesus Wept!

What the writer understands and too many are in denial about is this. New Labour is dead. It died in 2007-8 with the collapse of the banks.

Then the amazing coincidence that the third party (the Lib Dems) was taken over by the neoliberals just before the Financial Crisis brought the neoliberal age to an end, and which went onto support the True Neoliberal party (the Tories). In the US, a man who ran on a candidacy of Change only for the world to find out it was bluster and rhetoric! Obama will not go down as a Great President at all. He tried to bail out a failing system. He will be a footnote in history.

Then those bloody bailouts. They not only bailed out the bankers and the rich. They bailed out millions of largely older voters, artificially pumping up house prices. The old vote. And they voted to back this grand theft against Reason, and the younger generations. The result of the bailouts will be a far greater Financial Crisis than 2008. The disconnect between people's debts and wages is worse today than in 2006. That can mean only one thing. Collapse is coming. And now the debts are even bigger. Bailouts are wrong, have failed, and will not be politically acceptable again.

Conservative parties will be repositories for those afraid of change, and those happy to be bailed out until the crisis explodes again. On the change side, if we do not have Left Populism, we will get nationalism.

AsDusty -> candeesays , 22 Aug 2016 22:16
In terms of stronger border controls there is no doubt this is happening. The US, Europe and here in Australia the governments grip on border entries has only got tighter. As for international labour migration, Trump, Brexit and the European refugee crisis will see increasing pressure on lowering the numbers of migrant workers.
Increasing labour migration has been a ploy by government to try and make globalisation work, as globalisation requires the free flow of labour across international borders. The political pressure to reduce migrant numbers will be too much to resist, and greater controls will be put in place.
CivilityPlease -> MurrayGSmith , 22 Aug 2016 22:07
This is not a choice between A or B. Stop fighting yesterday's battles. Its over, just as the article declares. What is developing as we speak will steer tomorrow's civilization and it will be neither of the old paradigms. We have to come to a consensus about where we want to go. What principles do we have faith in to inform our assessments of what we keep or alter? What roles will we play? What will our purpose(s) be? That is the business we need to be about to arrive at an orderly, deliberate future, prepared for a long journey to a better world. Or we push and pull in all different directions and go round and round the same old ground making the same old mistakes until the world moves on and leaves us behind. We will need to work together or fail each alone. Are you ready?
candeesays -> MurrayGSmith , 22 Aug 2016 22:02
It is theory without politics or economics.

The period from GATT was predicated on strong welfare states and national industries trading. Not privatising societies and globalising capital.

[Jul 06, 2019] Neoliberal democrats for profit love of minorities

Nov 10, 2016 | discussion.theguardian.com

JamesWonnacott , 10 Nov 2016 11:18

"And of course, they answer it by bashing immigrants and people of colour, vilifying Muslims, and degrading women."

Muslims, of course, never degrade women do they?

[Jul 06, 2019] It was the Democrats' embrace of neoliberalism that won it for Trump by Naomi Klein

Both the article and discussion is more then two year old, but sounds like were writfen yestarday. Nothing changed... Trump betraed his voters and neoliberalism continue its march in bloodthirsty zombie state it acquired after 2008 financial crisis.
Notable quotes:
"... People have lost their sense of security, status and even identity. This result is the scream of an America desperate for radical change. ..."
"... Here is what we need to understand: a hell of a lot of people are in pain. Under neoliberal policies of deregulation, privatisation, austerity and corporate trade, their living standards have declined precipitously. They have lost jobs. They have lost pensions. They have lost much of the safety net that used to make these losses less frightening. They see a future for their kids even worse than their precarious present. ..."
"... Never has there been a transfer of wealth from so many to so few and it isn't just happening in the USA. People have rightly had enough - but you are right, voting for Trump is hardly the way to fix it. ..."
"... The problem with centre left parties throughout the western world is that they sold out to corporate capitalism, which forced people who rejected neoliberalism to go to the extremes to protest. The question is, once someone's loyalty has been broken, it is that much more difficult to win loyalty back, if it is possible at all. ..."
"... And you're right - the neoliberal capture of centre-left legacy parties from the Democrats to the German SPD and French Socialist Party has created an exceptionally unpromising landscape and public mood. Trust has been broken. Responsibilities betrayed. Intellectual traditions traduced, distorted, or simply cast aside. ..."
"... Everybody's an expert after the event, aren't they? OK, noble sentiments but "let's set aside whatever is keeping us apart"? ..."
"... The idea of the 'American dream' seems to have morphed into a nasty belief that if you're poor it's your own fault. You didn't 'want it enough'. You must be secretly lazy and undeserving, even if you're actually working three jobs to survive, or even if there are no jobs. ..."
"... It always seems very odd to me that so many people who think like that profess to be Christian. 'Poverty equals moral failure' is the complete opposite of what Jesus Christ got into so much trouble for saying. ..."
Nov 09, 2016 | -> www.theguardian.com

People have lost their sense of security, status and even identity. This result is the scream of an America desperate for radical change.

'Elite neoliberalism unleashed the Davos class. People such as Hillary and Bill Clinton are the toast of the Davos party. In truth, they threw the party.

They will blame -> James Comey and the FBI. They will blame -> voter suppression and racism. They will blame -> Bernie or bust and misogyny. They will blame third parties and independent candidates. They will blame the corporate media for giving him the platform, social media for being a bullhorn, and WikiLeaks for airing the laundry.

But this leaves out the force most responsible for creating the nightmare in which we now find ourselves wide awake: neoliberalism. That worldview – fully embodied by -> Hillary Clinton and her machine – is no match for Trump-style extremism. The decision to run one against the other is what sealed our fate. If we learn nothing else, can we please learn from that mistake?

Here is what we need to understand: a hell of a lot of people are in pain. Under neoliberal policies of deregulation, privatisation, austerity and corporate trade, their living standards have declined precipitously. They have lost jobs. They have lost pensions. They have lost much of the safety net that used to make these losses less frightening. They see a future for their kids even worse than their precarious present.

At the same time, they have witnessed the rise of the Davos class, a hyper-connected network of banking and tech billionaires, elected leaders who are awfully cosy with those interests, and Hollywood celebrities who make the whole thing seem unbearably glamorous. Success is a party to which they were not invited, and they know in their hearts that this rising wealth and power is somehow directly connected to their growing debts and powerlessness.

For the people who saw security and status as their birthright – and that means white men most of all – these losses are unbearable.

-> Donald Trump speaks directly to that pain. The Brexit campaign spoke to that pain. So do all of the rising far-right parties in Europe. They answer it with nostalgic nationalism and anger at remote economic bureaucracies – whether Washington, the North American free trade agreement the World Trade Organisation or the EU. And of course, they answer it by bashing immigrants and people of colour, vilifying Muslims, and degrading women. Elite neoliberalism has nothing to offer that pain, because neoliberalism unleashed the Davos class. People such as Hillary and Bill Clinton are the toast of the Davos party. In truth, they threw the party.

Trump's message was: "All is hell." Clinton answered: "All is well." But it's not well – far from it.

Neo-fascist responses to rampant insecurity and inequality are not going to go away. But what we know from the 1930s is that what it takes to do battle with fascism is a real left. A good chunk of Trump's support could be peeled away if there were a genuine redistributive agenda on the table. An agenda to take on the billionaire class with more than rhetoric, and use the money for a green new deal. Such a plan could create a tidal wave of well-paying unionised jobs, bring badly needed resources and opportunities to communities of colour, and insist that polluters should pay for workers to be retrained and fully included in this future.

It could fashion policies that fight institutionalised racism, economic inequality and climate change at the same time. It could take on bad trade deals and police violence, and honour indigenous people as the original protectors of the land, water and air.

People have a right to be angry, and a powerful, intersectional left agenda can direct that anger where it belongs, while fighting for holistic solutions that will bring a frayed society together.

Such a coalition is possible. In Canada, we have begun to cobble it together under the banner of a people's agenda called The Leap Manifesto , endorsed by more than 220 organisations from Greenpeace Canada to Black Lives Matter Toronto, and some of our largest trade unions.

Bernie Sanders' amazing campaign went a long way towards building this sort of coalition, and demonstrated that the appetite for democratic socialism is out there.

... ... ...


Briar , 10 Nov 2016 09:22

So, the very people harmed by neoliberalism have elected someone already a member of the Davos class, whose rise will harm them even more. Another own goal for democracy.

josephinireland -> Briar 72 73

Never has there been a transfer of wealth from so many to so few and it isn't just happening in the USA. People have rightly had enough - but you are right, voting for Trump is hardly the way to fix it.

greenwichite -> Briar 33 34

I have a feeling the Davos class sneer at Donald Trump. He's just a builder, really, whereas in Davos they like financiers and tech billionaires.

SlumVictim , 10 Nov 2016 09:23

The problem with centre left parties throughout the western world is that they sold out to corporate capitalism, which forced people who rejected neoliberalism to go to the extremes to protest. The question is, once someone's loyalty has been broken, it is that much more difficult to win loyalty back, if it is possible at all.

tempestteacup -> SlumVictim 44 45

Good, concise post.

And you're right - the neoliberal capture of centre-left legacy parties from the Democrats to the German SPD and French Socialist Party has created an exceptionally unpromising landscape and public mood. Trust has been broken. Responsibilities betrayed. Intellectual traditions traduced, distorted, or simply cast aside.

In moments of humiliation or defeat - and make no mistake, this was both - there needs to be reflection and a willingness to return to first principles as well as evolving new strategies and insights appropriate to the present.

Economic realities shape cultural and social relations. The left should always listen to the experiences of people and build a consensus based on solidarity between groups and not the alienated support of different self-interested demographics. Exploitation is the corner-stone of capitalism when it is left to run unchecked. Without regulation, capitalism tends towards monopolies that end up subverting democracy itself.

These are the issues Bernie Sanders raised and the enthusiasm with which it was greeted is testimony to the fact that there are white working class voters hungry for a politics of positive, radical social change. Intoning with robotic piety that the people have never had it so good despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary is a form of deceit; when it comes from the mouths of corporate Democrats, it is political obscenity.

zephirine -> tempestteacup

In moments of humiliation or defeat - and make no mistake, this was both - there needs to be reflection and a willingness to return to first principles

I think what I've realised from the Brexit and Trump results is how desperate people are for something to believe in. What used to be called 'the vision thing'.

For decades we've had to choose between different forms of managerialism and variations on a theme of 'there is no alternative to rule by the market'. We just had to put up and shut up, there was nothing to get excited about. Nobody's ever jumped up and down shouting "What do want? Trickle-down economics! When do we want it? Now!"

The thing about demagogues is they offer that emotional release. What we need is principled political movements that also enable it.

tempestteacup -> zephirine

Absolutely right. One of the by-products of There Is No Alternative, though, is that managerialism and wonkiness have been fetishised. Hillary Clinton's devastatingly uninspiring offer to the American people was hailed by some as a mark of her "maturity", "experience", and "competence". Bernie Sanders, by contrast, was attacked for firing people up, for inspiring them to believe change was possible - by implication, of course, such attacks rest on the belief that change is in fact not possible at all. It is a bleak nihilism that states the best that can be hoped or organised for is a slightly better management of existing structures.

There is a hypocrisy, too, when someone like Clinton derides Trump's economic plans as "Trumped-up trickle-down". In reality, they were arguing simply over who would offer the *bigger* tax cuts. The notion that there were alternative visions on the economy, on climate change, on racial equality or healthcare and education, not to mention foreign policies, was almost completely absent.

This is why I wrote that in some ways Hillary Clinton was the greater evil in this election. It is one thing to hark backwards to a mythical past, as Donald Trump did. It is quite another to put such tight constraints on the entire notion of what is possible in the future. Trump offered nostalgia. Clinton offered the tyranny of low expectations - forever.

But that is all in the past now - for the future, I agree with you that there needs to be a willingness to offer radical, inspirational and visionary alternatives to a system that has simply not worked for the majority of people who through no fault of their own find their quality of life, possibilities and security in decline while wealth flows ceaselessly upwards and into the pockets of those already insulated from the harm their favoured politicians unleash.

Bernie showed what can be done - he also showed that people are willing to finance such campaigns and thus liberate the political process from the death-grip of corporate donations. Personally, I am sceptical of whether the Democratic Party is an appropriate vehicle for such politics (I know that Bernie doesn't agree with me!) Regardless, his campaign should provide somewhat of a model for what can be done - and likewise his statement from today. Amidst the headlong rush - in this paper as well - to denigrate and smear voters for failing to advance bourgeois liberal interests, it is imperative that deprived, working class voters of all races are listened to properly and not labelled racists and bigots. A few no doubt are. But these are, in many instances, the same people that helped elect Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. They are crying out for something to organise around. Hillary Clinton failed because she was not and never has been a person capable of, even interested in, offering that.

FrankyJane , 10 Nov 2016 09:26

This article is brilliant. Truth in spades.

One tiny quibble.

You write: "there was a failure in the campaign to connect with older black and Latino voters who are the demographic most abused by our current economic model."

A major reason the Sanders campaign didn't connect in time was the DNC's suppression of the debate schedule. A corrupt but wildly successful tactic that saw Clinton sweep the southern states.

DaveLester -> FrankyJane

This article is brilliant. Truth in spades.

Naomi, has omitted one very important detail: automation, i.e. the use of AI to replace jobs.

This absolutely requires us to restructure society to provide security and purpose to each every one of us who is not part of the super rich owners.

For example we will see driving jobs rapidly disappearing within the next five to ten years.

I also notice that where the worst effects of rampant capitalism are ameliorated there appear to be fewer issues. I'm thinking of many Western European nations where the issues do not yet seem to have the over fifty percent traction that they have in the US and the UK. If Australia were suffering a similar economic slow down it may well join the US and UK. But what's happening in Canada and New Zealand?

Andymcneilis -> FrankyJane

I don't think it is. It is the same old hate hate hate blame the white man stuff.

If you want to know why you lost and will keep losing look in the mirror -as a tribe the left - despises anything different to your view of the world - ironic

yellowshark -> DaveLester 25 26

I also notice that where the worst effects of rampant capitalism are ameliorated there appear to be fewer issues. I'm thinking of many Western European nations where the issues do not yet seem to have the over fifty percent traction that they have in the US and the UK.

Over the last few months I've been writing in here about the main difference between (some of?) those Western European nations and the UK and US. One big difference is we (I'm from the UK but applies also to US) use the First Past The Post voting system. This enforces a two party system (Duverger's Law) which tends to crowd out minority voices - can you imagine a conservative/green alliance in government in UK/US as happened not too long ago in Germany.

Much of what ails the UK and the US is not evident in the North Western Eu nations: less inequality, greater wealth (in the UK, not US - GDP per capita: from worldbank data), better healthcare outcomes, better education outcomes, greater worker productivity. The move to neoliberalism under Thatcher/Reagan and the resultant move to market economics and reduction in nationalised industries (Larry Elliot recently wrote an article on here describing the issue https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/nov/06/the-legacy-of-leaving-old-industrial-britain-to-rot-is-becoming-clear ) and the Left didn't have a reply: workers lost their jobs and their traditional political parties couldn't help. A move to the centre and the rise of third way politics of Clinton/Blair was the only way that the Democrats and (New) Labour could get into power: did they do anything to help the left-behind? The Global Financial Crisis and resultant austerity, coupled with rising rates of immigration and the inability of those people to have their voices heard with FPTP led to Trump/Brexit and the rise of popular nationalism/socialism.

parmantom , 10 Nov 2016 09:27

This is a useful and pertinent plea. However the article failed to include the automation of work as a massive driver of joblessness.

We humans get excited by success, but if large swathes of Society cannot embrace change and adaptation as a determinant of ambition, then technology advance and neoliberal economics will ruin them.

Iterative workplace skills are perhaps the biggest investment a Society should make. The alternative is governments paying chunks of Society in place of work. Society will generate new jobs, but unless those replace by Technology at work adapt, great pain will come. For sure you cant easily blame Technology, its easier to blame migrants...

BillyBalfour -> Klamberra 0 1

I only some one had seen it coming. Read The Mighty Micro, Christopher Evans. 1979

stuffandnonsense -> parmantom 8 9

Manufacturing has moved to China and Mexico. Jobs have been off-shored to India and the Philippines. What is left behind? Take a look at Detroit. Automation hasn't had that much impact - it's cheaper to (under)pay a bunch of people in developing countries than automate solutions.

dunwich , 10 Nov 2016 09:32

Yes, there are some real insights here and the beginnings of a response, which has been pretty much absent elsewhere.

A pity that, although comments have finally been opened, the piece is somewhat buried well down the page, and that Hadley Freeman's vastly inferior piece which bangs on about misogyny (as at least 3 pieces did yesterday) is being promoted.

Trump is snarling bully with what look like very unattractive attitudes towards women. But as, Klein also pointed out on R4 this morning, the most important thing about this election is not that Clinton failed to break the glass ceiling.

Full marks.

Herschy -> dunwich

Freeman is also right, most of Trump's voters don't match the description of them as down on their luck working class people, most are just upper middle class people with backward views and a decent paycheck.

Paul Baker , 10 Nov 2016 09:34

Really? You respond to the crushing defeat of Liberal pseudo intellectualism with even more Liberal pseudo intellectualism? And you can't understand why it's all going wrong for you?

Herve Boisde -> Paul Baker

When the popular vote goes to Conservatives then I might agree with you. Trump is hardly a symbol of a crushing mandate.

Lazio99 , 10 Nov 2016 09:37

Everybody's an expert after the event, aren't they? OK, noble sentiments but "let's set aside whatever is keeping us apart"?

What is keeping people apart is that the elitism of the political classes and their hangers on, certainly in the UK. They are absolutists; they have no concern over what ordinary people think. If anyone at all thinks differently from them then they are wrong, end of.

They don't see any need to back their opinion up, to debate the point. Anyone who thinks differently from them is just plain wrong. This is usually backed up with sneers and insults. Racist, xenophobe, stupid, misogynist.

These people can't change. their sense of infallibilty and superiority is unchallengeable.

What is keeping them apart is themselves; to change would be to surrender their sense of superiority and entitlement. They can't do it.

josephinireland -> Lazio99

Yes, it is quite noticeable how those who disagree become a 'target' (in more ways than one I suspect).

Expatrician -> Lazio99 24 25

Ms Klein was wise long, long before this event. You should read the Shock Doctrine. It makes everything much easier to follow and predict.

Lazio99 -> Expatrician 4 5

OK, fair point.

I should have made it plain that absolutism isn't confined to the political classes. It's amazing how many people collapse into incoherent rage when they are disagreed with; and a lack of toleration of the views of others tends to make the "others" themselves be less tolerant. It's a vice that spreads.

Brouillard , 10 Nov 2016 09:39

Of all the articles in the Guardian, this is the only one that gets close to defining the cause of Trump's win. What we have is effectively the educated rebelling against the educated and who can blame them. Our financial system is rigged towards the better educated who are disproportionately contributed for their efforts at a cost to the less well educated. Is it any wonder that they vote for change? I don't think Trump is the answer any more than Brexit is in this country. But blaming Trump's win on wholesale misogyny and racism is sneering prejudice that could be every bit as damaging as Trump's racism and sexism

Our educated politicians need to work out how to make capitalism work for the middle, support the bottom and not over reward the top. It is doing the opposite currently

DawnBreaks , 10 Nov 2016 09:40

Everyone who voted Trump is neo-fascist? ... still think the left is missing the point. All around the world people are being lifted out of poverty by globalised industry; jobs and hence wealth are being redistributed more evenly around the world. I thought the left were in favour of wealth redistribution.

Barbara Watson -> DawnBreaks 8 9

The elephant in the room was hardly mentioned if at all. The Israelis love him, the American Jews were split but, guess what, he was endorsed by KKK and David Duke! What the hell is going on?....

BillInTheStyx , 10 Nov 2016 09:42

The problem with a coalition of progressives, is that "the left" in general don't believe in limits on growth or even climate change.

Look at the Richmond by-election, where labour MPs want to turn the spotlight from the issue of airport expansion, to Zac Goldsmith's support for Brexit.

Look at union support for continued use of coal, feeding into the labour party's own ambivalence. Or the frankly bizarre support for building trident submarines, to keep the jobs, but not actually using them.

If you want a coalition that does something about climate change - and all the other ecological ills of the earth - you will have to reach out to small c- and even large C- conservatives - the likes of Boris's father Stanley Johnson and Zac Goldsmith (mayoral campaign notwithstanding) - and dare I say it, cut out some of the social progressives, whose ecological credentials are not so progressive. That really would change everything.

DefinitionOfMadness -> BillInTheStyx

Look at union support for continued use of coal, feeding into the labour party's own ambivalence.

You do know that Tony Blair closed more pits than Margaret Thatcher don't you?

Henryb63 , 10 Nov 2016 09:43

The first thing to do is to stop vilifying the white man, most are hard working and keep economies going, stop calling them names and blaming for everything bad that has happened since the Roman Empire and before.

Flix -> Henryb63

Absolutely. We need compromise not division.

Chris Bentley -> Henryb63 45 46

Amen to that. Its just racism/sexism of another kind. As a good husband and father, hard-working professional, law abiding citizen, good neighbour etc I am made to feel guilty for being a white man. Shouldn't all individuals be judged on their merits???

Andymcneilis -> Chris Bentley 6 7

Spot on - does the white worker not have rights ?

Martin Cohen , 10 Nov 2016 09:44

What is puzzling is that based on your premise these vast swathes of disenfranchised voters surely sided with the enemy as represented by an elitist, sneering billionaire. What he has now created though is a massive crisis of expectation. The anti Trump protests seen in the last 24 hours may in time be replaced by those whose aspirations he has ignited but remain unfulfilled. Clinton winning the popular vote may be a moral victory of some kind but here in the UK we are used to having to accept a government often voted for by barely a third of the electorate. Other commentators have said things like 'it's the end of democracy as we know it'. How so, when electing Trump is the clearest demonstration of democracy in action there is, whether you like the result or not. The parallels with Brexit are startling. France next?

EnduraKlaar -> Martin Cohen 11 12

No, what really really pisses people off is when the winners of the election (and numpties in the media) talk of a "clear mandate" and "the people voted for this". In the US as in the UK it's nothing of the kind (Democrats won more votes for christ sake, and you call it "clear democracy") and this reality-corrupting idea of "clear mandate" causes real trouble.

stevevarcoe , 10 Nov 2016 09:44

I'm sick of seeing the word elite used by angry people in these forums. Used to describe the powerful, mostly faceless people who they believe oppress them. They read newspapers owned by tax dodging aristocrats and pornographers and then they go out and vote for multi millionaire who inherited every cent and a chinless public school prick with an EU pension.

Klamberra -> stevevarcoe

Agreed - elite has become the word for anyone who has more (earned, inherited, studied, courage) than the writer of the word. It's a vile word.

ParisHiltonCommune -> Klamberra 13 14

True. Perhaps the word should be replaced by "plutocracy", but the media don't like to use that word as it pinpoints the causes of most our problems far more accurately than "elite".

Guess11 , 10 Nov 2016 09:45

A bit simplistic. The Davos class is a very small number of people. Their votes couldn't elect a pope in a vatican on their own.

No, the real turning point is that those losing out and seeing no chance of that changing now outnumber those who are dragged along by the elites, on an upward if gentle trajectory, with belief that they can 'make it'. Much more subtle.

And the Elephant is the unwillingness to accept that long term there is no fundamental reason for a historically rich nation to maintain relative prosperity compared to historically poorer ones. Parity is inevitable in the long term - one man is as valuable as any other.

usasandy -> Guess11 4 5

It's not the votes of the Davos class, it's their power in the world to control the votes of everyone else.

josephinireland , 10 Nov 2016 09:51

The 'American dream' is dead in the water for the vast majority these days.

zephirine -> josephinireland 9 10

The idea of the 'American dream' seems to have morphed into a nasty belief that if you're poor it's your own fault. You didn't 'want it enough'. You must be secretly lazy and undeserving, even if you're actually working three jobs to survive, or even if there are no jobs.

This view has taken hold in the UK too, where the tabloids peddle the view that anyone who claims state benefits must be a fraud. But at least, people here and in mainland Europe have the direct experience of war within living memory and we understand that you can lose everything through no fault of your own. In the US, even when there's a natural disaster like Katrina it seems to be the poor people's fault for not having their own transport and money to go and stay somewhere else.

It always seems very odd to me that so many people who think like that profess to be Christian. 'Poverty equals moral failure' is the complete opposite of what Jesus Christ got into so much trouble for saying.

josephinireland -> zephirine 2 3

Amen to that. I couldn't agree with you more. ,

Amen to that. I couldn't agree with you more.

Flix , 10 Nov 2016 09:51

Superb article. A voice of reason in the sea of hysteria from the other Guardian commentators who don't seem to be learning anything from this.

What I think the left needs on a political level is to dispense with identity politics (which only divides people who should be on the same level in terms of economic status and relative need) and have a coming together moment, wherein we effectively set out that woman, man, black, white, homosexual, heterosexual, etc who are living at the bottom end of society all come together behind a unified political purpose - one that doesn't seek to demonise others within its ranks. Because let's be honest - the racism that brought Trump to power is at least partially a response to the intolerant, bigoted views of 'progressives' on the 'left'. Look at Hadley Freeman's article today as an example. These people divide us, and make the job harder.

The left needs to embrace rational egalitarianism, not agenda driven crusades. They aren't working, they're complicit in delivering hell.

Grotesque -> Flix

What I think the left needs on a political level is to dispense with identity politics (which only divides people who should be on the same level in terms of economic status and relative need) and have a coming together moment, wherein we effectively set out that woman, man, black, white, homosexual, heterosexual, etc who are living at the bottom end of society all come together behind a unified political purpose - one that doesn't seek to demonise others within its ranks.

But we know as a sociological fact that if you are, say, an African-American you experience forms of oppression based on the fact that you are African-American. Explicitly naming that oppression, however, is seen to be divisive, and few people will stand with them behind a unified political purpose. Where does that leave us?

Flix -> Grotesque 3 4

Naming the oppression isn't divisive, in my view. The way in which the naming is done, and at whom the blame is directed, can be - and often is. I believe most people can rationally assess what is and is not oppression if done in a calm and measured way - all except the racists anyway (and they'd probably still be able to see it rationally, they just wouldn't care). But if you start screeching at people, they're just going to switch off - and screeching is generally what we see.

In the wider context of the improvement of people's lives at the bottom end of the scale, I believe you would get buy in from other, non-affected groups. In fact, we see this all the time - BLM and LGBT groups frequently work with each other on combatting things that harm one or both of them. Where this falls flat is when you get the demonising of the white working class (especially the male, cis-gendered working class), who should be allies for other low income people.

Why do people assume that working and lower middle class white men, who are being squeezed and seeing their incomes and quality of life fall in the same way as everyone else, are the problem - the enemy to be railed against, while we have super rich white men (and women, and even an increasing number of super rich non-white men, believe it or not), who are literally stacking the whole system in such a way that all lower income groups suffer? I suspect because actually fixing the issue and compromising and working together isn't as important as being a victim for a lot of the people who lead the identity politics drive. They'd rather scream at racists - who in turn scream back.

The only reason I think the 'progressives' can't see this is because they have too big a stake in the status quo.

bingostan -> thisux 14 15

[neoliberalism] has devastating environmental consequences, Including the impoverishment of huge numbers of people.

TeTsuo36 -> thisux 10 11

But people aren't interested in the World, this is the mistake the globalisers make.
They care about their family, their town and their country. Since 1979 things have stood still. My Plumber Father bought his first house at 22, on a single wage. He could leave a job on Friday and have another one on Monday.

It takes 2 professional salaries to buy a house now and I can't walk to China to pick up that new job over the weekend.

[Jul 06, 2019] The whole globalised neoliberal paradigm - allied to the metropolitan elite s obsession with identity politics at the expense of bottom-line issues - has been broken up by people who now realise centre-left politicians (Clinton/Obama) have presided over whole communities being gutted in the name of free trade (for free trade read labour arbitrage).

Notable quotes:
"... I am an angry white male, and I am not a misogynist, as this paper would have it. I am fully aware of the appalling nature of Donald Trump. ..."
"... On the other hand, I fully understand the bureaucratic nature of the Democrat Party, the embedded interests of Wall Street and the military-industrial complex in that bureaucracy, the dirty tricks that that bureaucratic machinery got up to in order to extinguish Bernie Sander's campaign ..."
"... And I am aware of how Hillary was so keen to service this reality and American image of itself. And to go beyond that, and bomb Libya for 6 months, killing thousands of civilians (Middle eastern unpeople) and, may I suggest, doing nothing whatsoever for the women of Libya. Quite the opposite! ..."
"... Michael Moore, in a talk in which he predicted the victory of Trump before the election, notes how Trump went into an American car factory and told the executives of that company that if they relocated to Mexico, he would put a huge tax on their cars coming into America. Not all was misogyny in the vote for Trump. Whether he delivers on his threat or not, unlike the democrat bureaucratic machinery, he showed he was actually listening to working class Americans and that he was ;prepared to face up to company executives. ..."
"... However, the right wing have very skilfully redirected the anger that SHOULD be directed at what Naomi cleverly calls the "Davos class" onto a very small "immigration" issue that we have in the UK today. ..."
"... It is not going to happen. The holier than thou, supremacist arrogance of the illiberal class, means they can never admit they were wrong. ..."
"... It's all about jobs, really, isn't it? There is a natural fear of 'the other', but if times are good and jobs (proper jobs, not ZHC) are plentiful, it feels less important. On the face of it, it seems odd that the most fear of immigration is in places where there isn't much immigration, but they're often places where there isn't much work either. ..."
"... Rights are important, but identity politics contain too much whimsy and focus on the self. ..."
"... Yes, but they're politically and economically cheap, don't require much thought, and you get to hang out with pop-stars. ..."
Nov 10, 2016 | discussion.theguardian.com

dartmouth75, 10 Nov 2016 10:26

That ship has sailed. Bernie was the opportunity and it wasn't grasped. The moment for a 'left' alternative has been lost for a long time. The whole globalised liberal paradigm - allied to the metropolitan elite's obsession with identity politics at the expense of bottom-line issues - has been broken up by people who now realise centre-left politicians (Clinton/Obama) have presided over whole communities being gutted in the name of 'free' trade (for 'free' trade read labour arbitrage). I felt it in my bones that Trump would be elected - 55% of US households are worse off than they were in 2000, how on earth could anyone possibly think that that would result or a vote for the status quo.

KelvinYearwood , 10 Nov 2016 10:30

Well said Naomi.

I am an angry white male, and I am not a misogynist, as this paper would have it. I am fully aware of the appalling nature of Donald Trump.

On the other hand, I fully understand the bureaucratic nature of the Democrat Party, the embedded interests of Wall Street and the military-industrial complex in that bureaucracy, the dirty tricks that that bureaucratic machinery got up to in order to extinguish Bernie Sander's campaign.

I am aware of how that machinery has been ramping up a situation of global conflict, shamelessly recreating an aggressive Cold war Mk II situation with Russia and China, which is simply cover for the US racist colonial assumption that the world and its resources belongs to it in its sense of itself as an exceptional entity fulfilling its manifest destiny upon a global stage that belongs to its exceptional, wealthy and powerful elites.

And I am aware of how Hillary was so keen to service this reality and American image of itself. And to go beyond that, and bomb Libya for 6 months, killing thousands of civilians (Middle eastern unpeople) and, may I suggest, doing nothing whatsoever for the women of Libya. Quite the opposite!

Michael Moore, in a talk in which he predicted the victory of Trump before the election, notes how Trump went into an American car factory and told the executives of that company that if they relocated to Mexico, he would put a huge tax on their cars coming into America. Not all was misogyny in the vote for Trump. Whether he delivers on his threat or not, unlike the democrat bureaucratic machinery, he showed he was actually listening to working class Americans and that he was ;prepared to face up to company executives.

What has this paper got to say about Hillary and the Democrat Party's class bigotry – its demonstrable contempt for 10s of millions of Americans whose lives are worse now than in 1973, while productivity and wealth overall has skyrocketed over those 43 years.

What has this paper got to say about the lives of African American women, which have been devastated by Republican/Democrat bipartisan policy over the last 43 years?

What has Hadley Freeman got to say about Hillary's comment that President Mubarek of Egypt was "one of the family? A president whose security forces used physical and sexualised abuse of female demonstrators in the Arab Spring?

A feminist would need more than a peg on their nose to vote for Hillary – a feminist would need all the scented oils of Arabia. Perhaps Wahhabi funded Hillary can buy them up.

rebuydonkey , 10 Nov 2016 10:31

Great article. I think there needs to be a lot of soul searching in certain sections of the media and amongst the left wing political parties too. They don't have the correct approach to a rapidly changing ground swell of opinion. They are fast becoming out of touch - leaving a huge void for more conservative rhetoric (euphemism) to take over.

The failure to tackle immigration concerns across the west is the greatest example of comfy left wing elites being so far away from general consensus imo. The assumption that if you are concerned about immigration then you are a racist, xenophobic half wit appears rife amongst elites and the highly educated.

brianpreece -> rebuydonkey

I agree that this is a great article. And I agree that there is a coming migration crisis that we need to be very worried about, as the refugees from the Middle East try desperately for a better life away from conflict zones and poverty. However, the right wing have very skilfully redirected the anger that SHOULD be directed at what Naomi cleverly calls the "Davos class" onto a very small "immigration" issue that we have in the UK today.

The evidence for this is that in the EU referendum, the areas that were most strongly Leave were generally speaking those with few or no immigrants. I campaigned for Remain here in Stockport where there are very few immigrants and I also campaign regularly against privatisation in the NHS and over and over again, I am told that immigrants are the problem in an area which has virtually none. I don't think that people are concerned about immigration are half wits, but I think they've been manipulated.

"Fear the stranger" is an evolutionary response buried deep in our brains that we need to control with rationality and it's such an easy button for the right wing to push. I grew up in Northern Ireland so I saw this at first hand. My grandfather was a highly intelligent technocrat, but he was also an Orangeman. He did not seem able to understand that the Catholics he knew and were his friends were the same "them" that he demonised. All progressive people need now to find a way, as Naomi's article says, to repoint this anger to where it belongs. Sorry if this makes me a comfy left wing elite!

TeTsuo36 -> rebuydonkey

It is not going to happen. The holier than thou, supremacist arrogance of the illiberal class, means they can never admit they were wrong. Look at the past year here ATL and then BTL. Witness the absolute, unchanging and frankly extreme editorial line, in the face of massive discourse and well argued opposition BTL. Even now there are no alarm bells ringing in the back of their minds, they are right and everyone else is wrong. No attempt to understand, such is their unwavering belief in the echo chamber. You will only find an attempted programme of re-education in these pages. They will be still be doing it as Europe falls into the hands of the far-right.

zephirine -> brianpreece

I campaigned for Remain here in Stockport where there are very few immigrants and I also campaign regularly against privatisation in the NHS and over and over again, I am told that immigrants are the problem in an area which has virtually none. I don't think that people are concerned about immigration are half wits, but I think they've been manipulated. "Fear the stranger" is an evolutionary response buried deep in our brains that we need to control with rationality and it's such an easy button for the right wing to push.

It's all about jobs, really, isn't it? There is a natural fear of 'the other', but if times are good and jobs (proper jobs, not ZHC) are plentiful, it feels less important. On the face of it, it seems odd that the most fear of immigration is in places where there isn't much immigration, but they're often places where there isn't much work either.
ID3924525 , 10 Nov 2016 10:33

Here is what we need to understand: a hell of a lot of people are in pain. Under neoliberal policies of deregulation, privatisation, austerity and corporate trade, their living standards have declined precipitously. They have lost jobs. They have lost pensions. They have lost much of the safety net that used to make these losses less frightening. They see a future for their kids even worse than their precarious present.

Yes. But, in the meantime, the system has become so right-wing that it only permits a right-wing outburst - a Social-Democratic one is instantly discredited by the totalitarian media outlets.

There is no way to articulate an effective response to this attack within the system.

OhReallyFFS , 10 Nov 2016 10:34

As usual Klein seems to make more sense than anyone else.

This paper needs to decide where it's going to stand politically for the next few years.

Rights are important, but identity politics contain too much whimsy and focus on the self.

tomandlu -> OhReallyFFS 2 3

Yes, but they're politically and economically cheap, don't require much thought, and you get to hang out with pop-stars.

SaintTimothy , 10 Nov 2016 11:01

This article is spot on except that both Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren jumped on the Clinton neoliberal train for reasons of political expediency. From now on, anything either of them say should be critically examined before being supported.

[Jul 06, 2019] It wasn't just free trade that the white working class voters of the rust belt states were angry about, it was also high immigration

Notable quotes:
"... government for the centre ground has been about management- the days when the US New Deal funded by taxing the rich and which built the wealth Americans now miss, and the Labour post war government that built the NHS [and taxed the rich] is part of history. Instead we have no new innovation but a little bit of tweaking with banks and global business. ..."
"... In return the gutted communities become less smart and given bread and circuses but their privilege and lack of mobility means they don't travel to pick fruit elsewhere- yet they still demand food on the table and the only ones prepared to travel and work hard are the even greater poor. ..."
Nov 10, 2016 | discussion.theguardian.com

CosmoCrawley, 10 Nov 2016 10:44

It wasn't just free trade that the white working class voters of the rust belt states were angry about, it was also high immigration. Naomi doesn't mention this, probably because fluid borders is one policy which the Davos class and left-liberals like herself agree on.

Such a[n intersection left] coalition is possible. In Canada, we have begun to cobble it together under the banner of a people's agenda called The Leap Manifesto, endorsed by more than 220 organisations from Greenpeace Canada to Black Lives Matter Toronto, and some of our largest trade unions.

And if such a coalition of the usual suspects got off the ground in the USA it would just about seal a second term for Donald.

Cuniform -> CosmoCrawley 0 1

Would this be a movement that would see us being turned from supine consumers back into citizens who actively care about more than a new TV?

Otherwise, look to see a recurrence, here and elsewhere, of the riots we saw in England in 2011.

JulesBywaterLees -> CosmoCrawley

government for the centre ground has been about management- the days when the US New Deal funded by taxing the rich and which built the wealth Americans now miss, and the Labour post war government that built the NHS [and taxed the rich] is part of history. Instead we have no new innovation but a little bit of tweaking with banks and global business.

No government wants to upset the powers that run the economy- so a multinational can move its workforce to a country with lower pay, lower environmental regulation- it can use the inequality to move not only manufacturing but people.

In return the gutted communities become less smart and given bread and circuses but their privilege and lack of mobility means they don't travel to pick fruit elsewhere- yet they still demand food on the table and the only ones prepared to travel and work hard are the even greater poor.

And the right simply blames the immigrants, the others and you believe them.

nollafgm -> Cuniform

don't stop at 2011, the precedent started in 1934 in Nuremberg Germany. Trump used the same how to manual written by Goebbels, he got the idea from the Romans.

[Jul 06, 2019] The neoliberal elite including Clinton's wing of Democratic Party is totally disconnected from the rest of the country

Notable quotes:
"... Great post. Inequality has been visibly widening in the US (and the UK) for years, principally as a result of globalisation. ..."
"... some people see that you put in the same republican representatives that are just the opposite side of the same coin. Actually the repubs are worse . No to unions, higher min wage, tax cuts to the very wealthy etc. Dems talk about these issue but can never get it together to actually implement them. ..."
"... I think Naomi has given the answer by mistake. The liberal elite is totally disconnected from the rest of the country. It wasn't just trump it was a red wave of republican victory ..."
Nov 10, 2016 | discussion.theguardian.com

Scott Ward, 10 Nov 2016 10:49

This is an excellent response. However already you can hear the liberal elite dismiss the Trump voters as idiots - it's always funny when you hear people complain that Trump threatening to put his opponent in jail, or Brexiters threatening the partiality of the judiciary are threats to the democratic system... these same people then start making the argument the electorate is too stupid to make a decision. The liberal elite need to acknowledge the tangible suffering and injustice being faced by working-class people across Europe and the United States, and act to address it.

There was a telling point early on in the election coverage when the democrat representative on the BBC panel was arrogantly smiling once the exit polls showed Clinton on for a comfortable victory. Andrew Neil put him straight back in his place when he asked 'is it not concerning for the Democrat Party that they are no longer the party of the blue-collar American?' The representative highlighted the arrogance and complacency of the liberal elite, that seconds after the election result looked to be in, he seemed to go back to not caring about working-class people and re-enter the elite bubble.

Flooch -> Scott Ward

Great post. Inequality has been visibly widening in the US (and the UK) for years, principally as a result of globalisation. A large proportion of the people are "mad as hell" and have decided to try to do something about it. Trump is unlikely to be the answer, but there will be more support for anti-politicians (such as Grillo & the 5 Star movement in Italy) while the conventional politicians continue to bleat nonsense.

boilingriver -> Scott Ward

some people see that you put in the same republican representatives that are just the opposite side of the same coin. Actually the repubs are worse . No to unions, higher min wage, tax cuts to the very wealthy etc. Dems talk about these issue but can never get it together to actually implement them.

montmartian , 10 Nov 2016 10:49

I think Naomi has given the answer by mistake. The liberal elite is totally disconnected from the rest of the country. It wasn't just trump it was a red wave of republican victory -- her article demonstrates how little she understands.

Flooch -> montmartian 3 4

The liberal elite includes the media, who can't wait to run stories of "thousands" of people protesting about Trump in the US. Yes, thousands, in a country with a population of 318 million.

[Jul 06, 2019] This election will spawn losers all over the place; the most tragic losers will be those that voted a supposed maverick into the high office in order to fight the 'liberal' or whatever establishment hoping to bring jobs back to the people.

Notable quotes:
"... you cannot fight the establishment with the establishment and Trump -who is a billionaire FFS- is another one who represents that. If he didn't he would not have been allowed to run. ..."
"... It is strange and telling that the discourse within the American public over the last 40 years or so allowed themselves to discuss and tackle to various levels of success issues like sexism, racism, institutional racism, misogyny, xenophobia, even sexuality and yes, even gun laws but one thing that is an absolute no-no in discourse is the economical and subsequentially political system. ..."
"... As long as people believe the American Dream is within reach to them, just like they believe it was for individuals like Trump, the economic system will remain its status quo and that is: riches for a few, struggles for many. ..."
"... You correctly state that you cannot fight the establishment with Trump. But I suggest he is the best choice. You assume a choice has been made to get that single person to help them. I suggest a choice has been made to plant a suicide bomber in the establishment. ..."
"... With Trump in that position, the entire credibility of the establishment has been destroyed. Trump is a clown. An idiot. Every time he spouting something misogynistic or racist he became a better weapon for the public to use to against the establishments structures. No better place for him than to have him as the Icon of the establishment. The (now) unacceptable face. ..."
"... As you say, the power is with the people. But they first must be angry and disgusted at the establishment. Clinton was not distasteful enough to rally the lefts anger. Trump is perfect. ..."
"... Trump will not stop the wars. All anyone had to do was look at the voting records of the republicans in office( that were reelected) that voted for more war equipment. They also wanted TTIP. Until the public realizes we have to change our state representatives nothing will change. ..."
Nov 10, 2016 | discussion.theguardian.com

CaptainSpaulding, 10 Nov 2016 10:42

This election will spawn losers all over the place; the most tragic losers will be those that voted a supposed maverick into the high office in order to fight the 'liberal' or whatever establishment hoping to bring jobs back to the people.

However, you cannot fight the establishment with the establishment and Trump -who is a billionaire FFS- is another one who represents that. If he didn't he would not have been allowed to run.

Just for the same reason that Bernie was squeezed out, not that I think he is a real socialist but one who would have come too close to do some real change. To quote Rosa Luxemburg: If an election would mean real change it would have been abolished

It is strange and telling that the discourse within the American public over the last 40 years or so allowed themselves to discuss and tackle to various levels of success issues like sexism, racism, institutional racism, misogyny, xenophobia, even sexuality and yes, even gun laws but one thing that is an absolute no-no in discourse is the economical and subsequentially political system.

As long as people believe the American Dream is within reach to them, just like they believe it was for individuals like Trump, the economic system will remain its status quo and that is: riches for a few, struggles for many.

The establishment will see for that and always find ways to maintain. One thing that has always worked perfectly fine is to find scapegoats like foreigners, immigrants, people on welfare, coloured people , minorities and so on. Can't even say this is typically American, it has worked most recently in the UK within the brexit discussion and in Germany and other places.

The power is with people, I remain optimistic; an election, though, will not change anything

SocTrap -> CaptainSpaulding 0 1

You correctly state that you cannot fight the establishment with Trump. But I suggest he is the best choice. You assume a choice has been made to get that single person to help them. I suggest a choice has been made to plant a suicide bomber in the establishment.

The problem has been that Obama has put an empathetic, intelligent and articulate face on the front of a deeply corrupted system. To attack the system one appears to be attacking him and that can be awkward.

With Trump in that position, the entire credibility of the establishment has been destroyed. Trump is a clown. An idiot. Every time he spouting something misogynistic or racist he became a better weapon for the public to use to against the establishments structures. No better place for him than to have him as the Icon of the establishment. The (now) unacceptable face.

As you say, the power is with the people. But they first must be angry and disgusted at the establishment. Clinton was not distasteful enough to rally the lefts anger. Trump is perfect.

BizaaroLand , 10 Nov 2016 10:42

One thing particular about Killery: I believe she was meant to deliver more war for her Davos employers. I've had enough of 'Mericuh's wars for profit, and to protect the Bankers fortunes. At this point I'm ready to vote for Idi Amin, if it stops the banker wars being waged for them by their proxy the United States.

boilingriver -> BizaaroLand 0 1

Trump will not stop the wars. All anyone had to do was look at the voting records of the republicans in office( that were reelected) that voted for more war equipment. They also wanted TTIP. Until the public realizes we have to change our state representatives nothing will change.

[Jul 06, 2019] Why are state owned industries bad things?

Notable quotes:
"... Why are state owned industries bad things? When one debates it the way the argument has been framed - Left vs Right - it is hard to defend, ending in a "commie vs. fascist" diatribe. ..."
"... If it's framed by "Why should profit be made from essential services, water, electricity, telephone, rail, health services, especially when there's only one delivery mechanism, a pipe, a rail, a cable, a hospital?" (and one paid for and put in by the Government) then that's a different debate. ..."
"... Is Amazon a force for change? Yes. Should it have been allowed to part fund its growth by arbitraging tax savings between one US state and another? No. ..."
"... Should Uber be able to set up a taxi business? Yes. If there is an existing business in place, with infrastructure and investment, should new entrants be forced to adhere to the same rules and regulations that supported that existing business, and taxed to allow the established businesses to evolve, with taxes paying for the re-training of people, paying for investments, supporting infrastructure? I think so. ..."
"... When we have autonomous vans replacing delivery drivers, should we tax companies that use them to offset the social cost of laying off millions of people in the transportation sector to pay for re-training and infrastructure investments, or should we simply allow offshore companies to export jobs and money? ..."
"... We need to ditch the neoliberal policies that created free market capitalism and not replace it with socialism, but replace it with logical, pragmatic, socially-focused capitalism ..."
Nov 10, 2016 | discussion.theguardian.com

Mike Pilcher, 10 Nov 2016 11:06

... ... ...

Why are state owned industries bad things? When one debates it the way the argument has been framed - Left vs Right - it is hard to defend, ending in a "commie vs. fascist" diatribe.

If it's framed by "Why should profit be made from essential services, water, electricity, telephone, rail, health services, especially when there's only one delivery mechanism, a pipe, a rail, a cable, a hospital?" (and one paid for and put in by the Government) then that's a different debate.

Then the debate moves to "Govt's can't run companies". Only then can we frame the debate about fixing the right problem. Get Govt's to run essential services effectively, not giving up that they can't and allowing corporations to profit from essential services – that profit is your taxes.

To win this argument the debate needs to not be the ideological argument of Left vs Right. We need a new approach for the 21st Century that embraces change, technology and dynamism and overlays it with pragmatism, social caring and a drive for growth.

Is Amazon a force for change? Yes. Should it have been allowed to part fund its growth by arbitraging tax savings between one US state and another? No.

Should Uber be able to set up a taxi business? Yes. If there is an existing business in place, with infrastructure and investment, should new entrants be forced to adhere to the same rules and regulations that supported that existing business, and taxed to allow the established businesses to evolve, with taxes paying for the re-training of people, paying for investments, supporting infrastructure? I think so.

When we have autonomous vans replacing delivery drivers, should we tax companies that use them to offset the social cost of laying off millions of people in the transportation sector to pay for re-training and infrastructure investments, or should we simply allow offshore companies to export jobs and money?

I suggest we need a new approach. Not Left or Right. We need to ditch the neoliberal policies that created free market capitalism and not replace it with socialism, but replace it with logical, pragmatic, socially-focused capitalism. So long as our choice is left or right, you get Trumped. I hope someone can find a new way.

Walter Wilkins -> Mike Pilcher 2 3

Do we need more well articulated positions such as the one that's posted here? Definitely.

petersview -> Mike Pilcher 0 1

I hope someone can find a new way.

You can be one of those who finds a better way. So can I, so can every one of us, if we're willing to take on the responsibility of participating in the process at the local level, as I said in my earlier post. I'm an old man now, but I've always been involved in the political process. We haven't always achieved what we wanted, that's a fact of life. But my country, Australia, is a better place today than it was 1n 1937 when I was born. The USA has suffered a setback this week, more reason for the young people to get into the process at the coalface, and build better parties that reflect their values.
ROMhack -> Mike Pilcher 0 1

Superlative post.

[Jul 06, 2019] Many Trump voters> are the equivalent of the miners and steel workers who lost out under Thatcherism, and whom Labour used to at least try to represent

Nov 10, 2016 | discussion.theguardian.com

TheEdster, 10 Nov 2016 11:09

I think there's a lot of truth to this; over hear we could say that many Trump voters are the equivalent of the miners and steel workers who lost out under Thatcherism, and whom Labour used to at least try to represent.

But the other horn of the dilemma in which such people find themselves is cultural. A cultural revolution has taken place over the past fifty years which has weakened, and threatens to destroy, the culture that many of these people feel comfortable with, and people like Clinton tell them to be happy about that, or be called bigots. Working people whose lodestars are faith, flag and family are derided, and dismissed as relics.

A party which combined a more Left-wing populist economic policy with a socially conservative cultural position would absolutely clean up, and would help a great many poor people. But the Left is too infatuated with racial, sexual, moral and social revolution to care. The "rust-belt" poor look to the Democrats for aid, are are given transgender lavatories. It's an insult.

intonsus , 10 Nov 2016 11:10

You took a great many words to say what you actually mean: "Hilary Clinton is a corrupt lifelong politician totally in bed with the bankers, world financiers, and rich elites, whilst peddling a enough rubbish to attract the SJWs. She's been found out and that's why she lost".

ASTMcVeigh -> intonsus 0 1

And Bernie could have won: https://pplswar.wordpress.com/2016/10/18/bernie-sanders-the-most-popular-politician-in-america /
Am disgusted with the DNC.

And yes, I voted Clinton (due to being registered in a swing state). Glad I did, now, though it hurt three weeks ago. Signed, a Berner.

stuart6233 , 10 Nov 2016 11:12

You espouse "hate" more than anyone. This article is full of "hate" directed at all the "groups" you don't like. Hypocrisy!!

I resent being called racist, mysognist, and stupid - and I would vote for Trump just to p..s you off.

You just don't get it. It's people like you that the world is rebelling against. Highly paid, know-it-alls with your vain moral superiority.

Your not part of the solution. You are the problem!

Marangaranga -> stuart6233 8 9

I really don't know where to start with this.

Nothing in the article directs hate at voters or groups of voters. It is, arguably, disgusted with the Trump and Brexit campaigns but is full of sympathy for the plights of many who voted for them.

Secondly, voting for Trump just to rebel against 'highly paid know-it-alls with vain moral superiority' is just crazy. It might not be racist or misogynistic but it is stupid. Voting to 'p..s' someone off is treating your vote, democratic right and responsibility with distain.

The craziest part of all of this is that the highly paid people who you are rebelling against will get a tax cut from Trump. It is the poor that will bear the brunt of his presidency.

Grotesque -> stuart6233 2 3

Voting for something entirely to piss someone else off is stupid, though.

stuart6233 -> Marangaranga 0 1

"Neo-fascist responses"
"Trump-style extremism"
"they answer it by bashing immigrants and people of colour, vilifying Muslims, and degrading women"

You call my right to vote the way I choose "stupid".

You just don't get it. Millions of Americans voted exactly this way. A big middle finger to the establishment, media, Wall Street, "experts", and yes moral posturing know-it-alls is a great way to use your vote.

You completely misunderstand Trump. He is far more for the working man than Clinton. The poor voted for him in droves. And for good reason.

stephen12345 , 10 Nov 2016 11:59

He won for the same reasons Brexit won.

There has been no real recovery for working people or most people in the west since the great recession. White working class people in both countries are angry. They are angry that they are no longer given a significantly preferential seat at the dinner table (or at least compared to yesteryear), angry that they have to compete equally with everyone else.

In the UK apparently we must now concentrate on white working class people concerning education. They are not discriminated against and on the contrary still are free from many prejudices that non whites experience yet they under perform.

And why should they receive preferential treatment? Are we to be judged on the past exploits of generations before us? Perhaps their forebearers served for the country... well my son's great grandfather served the UK during WWII even though he was from another country and what did they give him in return... sweet f*** all; a one way ticket home with a pat on the back and a "good luck" with dealing with his wounds and rehabilitation. Neither did it benefit his ancestors the slightest so why should it be taken into account for Britons today?

[Jul 06, 2019] In order to justify the unjustifiable (a corporate elite exploiting the world as their own private estate), they constructed an artificial equivalence to make it seem that their self-interested economic system was part and parcel of a package of 'democracy', 'multi-racial tolerance', 'LGBT tolerance' etc

Nov 10, 2016 | discussion.theguardian.com

PaulDLion , 10 Nov 2016 11:43

In order to justify the unjustifiable (a corporate elite exploiting the world as their own private estate), they constructed an artificial equivalence to make it seem that their self-interested economic system was part and parcel of a package of 'democracy', 'multi-racial tolerance', 'LGBT tolerance' etc, so that people would be fooled into thinking that rejecting the economics meant rejecting all the other things too.

George Soros' "Open Society Foundation'" is a key offender here. The false consciousness thus engendered does indeed set the scene for fascism, but a genuine left opposition can and needs to be built and we can only hope that we can succeed in so doing.

[Jul 06, 2019] Neoliberalism has had its day. So what happens next- - Martin Jacques - Opinion - The Guardian

Notable quotes:
"... “‘Populism’ is the label that political elites attach to policies supported by ordinary citizens that they don’t like.” Populism is a movement against the status quo. It represents the beginnings of something new, though it is generally much clearer about what it is against than what it is for. It can be progressive or reactionary, but more usually both. ..."
Aug 21, 2016 | www.theguardian.com

... ... ...

The neoliberal era is being undermined from two directions. First, if its record of economic growth has never been particularly strong, it is now dismal. Europe is barely larger than it was on the eve of the financial crisis in 2007; the United States has done better but even its growth has been anaemic. Economists such as Larry Summers believe that the prospect for the future is most likely one of secular stagnation .

Worse, because the recovery has been so weak and fragile, there is a widespread belief that another financial crisis may well beckon. In other words, the neoliberal era has delivered the west back into the kind of crisis-ridden world that we last experienced in the 1930s. With this background, it is hardly surprising that a majority in the west now believe their children will be worse off than they were. Second, those who have lost out in the neoliberal era are no longer prepared to acquiesce in their fate – they are increasingly in open revolt. We are witnessing the end of the neoliberal era. It is not dead, but it is in its early death throes, just as the social-democratic era was during the 1970s.

A sure sign of the declining influence of neoliberalism is the rising chorus of intellectual voices raised against it. From the mid-70s through the 80s, the economic debate was increasingly dominated by monetarists and free marketeers. But since the western financial crisis, the centre of gravity of the intellectual debate has shifted profoundly. This is most obvious in the United States, with economists such as Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman, Dani Rodrik and Jeffrey Sachs becoming increasingly influential. Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century has been a massive seller. His work and that of Tony Atkinson and Angus Deaton have pushed the question of the inequality to the top of the political agenda. In the UK, Ha-Joon Chang , for long isolated within the economics profession, has gained a following far greater than those who think economics is a branch of mathematics.

Meanwhile, some of those who were previously strong advocates of a neoliberal approach, such as Larry Summers and the Financial Times 's Martin Wolf, have become extremely critical. The wind is in the sails of the critics of neoliberalism; the neoliberals and monetarists are in retreat. In the UK, the media and political worlds are well behind the curve. Few recognise that we are at the end of an era. Old attitudes and assumptions still predominate, whether on the BBC's Today programme, in the rightwing press or the parliamentary Labour party.

As Thomas Piketty has shown, in the absence of countervailing pressures, capitalism naturally gravitates towards increasing inequality. In the period between 1945 and the late 70s, Cold War competition was arguably the biggest such constraint. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, there have been none. As the popular backlash grows increasingly irresistible, however, such a winner-takes-all regime becomes politically unsustainable.

Large sections of the population in both the US and the UK are now in revolt against their lot, as graphically illustrated by the support for Trump and Sanders in the US and the Brexit vote in the UK. This popular revolt is often described, in a somewhat denigratory and dismissive fashion, as populism. Or, as Francis Fukuyama writes in a recent excellent essay in Foreign Affairs: “‘Populism’ is the label that political elites attach to policies supported by ordinary citizens that they don’t like.” Populism is a movement against the status quo. It represents the beginnings of something new, though it is generally much clearer about what it is against than what it is for. It can be progressive or reactionary, but more usually both.

[Jul 06, 2019] >Neoliberal economics and other fairytales about money by Peter McKenna

Notable quotes:
"... Aditya Chakrabortty ( It's reckless. But a Tory cash splurge could win an election , 3 July) is right to point out the hypocrisy of the political right about public expenditure. While progressive proposals for public spending are decried as burdening the hard-pressed taxpayer, the right is happy to use public money to rescue the banks or boost their electoral chances. ..."
"... As I explain in my book Money: Myths, Truths and Alternatives, neoliberal economics is built on a fairytale about money that distorts our view of how a contemporary public money system operates. It is assumed that public spending depends on extracting money from the market and that money (like gold) is always in short supply. Neither is true. Both the market and the state generate money – the market through bank lending and the state through public spending. Both increase the money supply, while bank loan repayments and taxation reduce it. There is no natural shortage of money – which today mainly exists only as data. ..."
Jul 04, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

Neoliberal economics and other fairytales about money Politics is not about a struggle over a fixed pot of money, says Mary Mellor, and the best way to end austerity is to reject it as an ideology, says Peter McKenna

Aditya Chakrabortty ( It's reckless. But a Tory cash splurge could win an election , 3 July) is right to point out the hypocrisy of the political right about public expenditure. While progressive proposals for public spending are decried as burdening the hard-pressed taxpayer, the right is happy to use public money to rescue the banks or boost their electoral chances.

As I explain in my book Money: Myths, Truths and Alternatives, neoliberal economics is built on a fairytale about money that distorts our view of how a contemporary public money system operates. It is assumed that public spending depends on extracting money from the market and that money (like gold) is always in short supply. Neither is true. Both the market and the state generate money – the market through bank lending and the state through public spending. Both increase the money supply, while bank loan repayments and taxation reduce it. There is no natural shortage of money – which today mainly exists only as data.

ss="rich-link tone-news--item rich-link--pillar-news"> Business Today: sign up for a morning shot of financial news Read more

The case for austerity missed the point. Politics is not about a struggle over a fixed pot of money. What is limited are resources (particularly the environment) and human capacity. How these are best used should be a matter of democratic debate. The allocation of money should depend on the priorities identified. In this the market has no more claim than the public economy to be the source of sustainable human welfare.
Professor Mary Mellor
Newcastle upon Tyne

• Over the years Aditya Chakrabortty has provided us with powerful critiques of austerity. His message now – that EU membership "is the best way to end austerity" – overlooks the fact that the UK was in the EU all that time.

Moreover, the EU's stability and growth pact requires that budget deficits and public debt be pegged below 3% and 60% of GDP respectively.

Such notions are the beating heart of austerity, and the European commission's excessive deficit procedure taken against errant states has almost universally resulted in swingeing austerity programmes. These were approved and monitored by the commission and council, with the UK only taken off the naughty step in 2017 after years of crippling austerity finally reduced the deficit to 2.3% of GDP.

The best way to end austerity – and to sway voters – is to reject austerity as an ideology regardless of remain or leave, and rehabilitate the concept of public investment in a people's economy.
Peter McKenna

[Jul 06, 2019] There is a fundamental difficulty here which progressives have not fully faced. It is that more open trade and welcoming immigration policies are, on the one hand, a progressive and moral good (we should feel solidarity with people from the global south; it feels wrong to bar them from our countries and stop them from benefiting from our economies)

Notable quotes:
"... On the other hand, more open immigration policies will mean more workers, which will of course take jobs away, especially from the poorest in our own societies. Similarly, more open trade will more jobs in poorer countries and fewer jobs here, again taking jobs, especially from the poorest in our societies. this is morally wrong: we should feel solidarity with our own poor. ..."
"... Further, more open immigration policies are what capitalism 'wants': more workers will necessarily drive wages down, and so produce greater profits for corporations and the rich, and therefore greater inequality in our society overall. ..."
Nov 10, 2016 | discussion.theguardian.com

HuckleAndLowly, 10 Nov 2016 10:03

There is a fundamental difficulty here which progressives have not fully faced. It is that more open trade and welcoming immigration policies are, on the one hand, a progressive and moral good (we should feel solidarity with people from the global south; it feels wrong to bar them from our countries and stop them from benefiting from our economies).

On the other hand, more open immigration policies will mean more workers, which will of course take jobs away, especially from the poorest in our own societies. Similarly, more open trade will more jobs in poorer countries and fewer jobs here, again taking jobs, especially from the poorest in our societies. this is morally wrong: we should feel solidarity with our own poor.

Further, more open immigration policies are what capitalism 'wants': more workers will necessarily drive wages down, and so produce greater profits for corporations and the rich, and therefore greater inequality in our society overall. Comfortably well-off liberals can appear and feel progressive by supporting more open immigration, while in fact this support aligns with capitalist policies that benefit them and exploit those who are worse off.

We need a progressive movement that can resolve this and square the circle.

ydobon -> HuckleAndLowly

Well said. ,

Well said.

olivercotts -> HuckleAndLowly

'We need a progressive movement that can resolve this and square the circle'.

A good point, but any idea how to progress?

HuckleAndLowly -> olivercotts

Honestly, no, beyond stressing the fact that more open and welcoming immigration policies are not unalloyed morally good things: they lead to lower wages for the poor and middle class, and lead to greater inequality, since lower wages translate into greater profits for corporations and their owners.

Perhaps if a progressive argument towards tempering and controlling immigration can be made, based on the fact that open immigration leads to greater inequality and in the end benefits the 1% the most, then we can get some sort of progress.

[Jul 06, 2019] Moving away from GDP as a measure of success - Letters

Notable quotes:
"... To extract meaning from GDP trends we have to break it into its components: consumption, investment, government spending, the trade balance. Consumption is by far the largest of these, and the main driver of the economy, but its level is precariously underpinned by unsecured private debt. It is broadly accepted that real investment (in new productive capacity) is dismally inadequate for the continued growth of a modern economy; much of what does take place goes into buying paper assets. ..."
"... focusing on GDP is even more absurd than "prioritising short-term growth over long-term sustainability". ..."
"... a passage spells out the absurdity: "Anything that causes economic activity of any kind, whether good or bad, adds to GDP. An oil spill, for example, increases GDP because of the cost of cleaning it up: the bigger the spill, the better it is for GDP." ..."
"... He goes on and finally shows that "after a country's GDP per capita reaches a moderate level there is no correlation between the wealth of a country and the reported happiness of its population". ..."
Jul 06, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

As an economist I endorse Dan Button's article ( Stop obsessing about GDP: we should focus on wellbeing , 11 June). The most we can say is that a succession of GDP figures over months should indicate whether the economy is growing or moving into recession. Also aggregate GDP statistics tell us nothing about how national wealth and income are distributed: globalisation in recent decades has increased the size of the cake, but the main beneficiaries have been the already better-off.

To extract meaning from GDP trends we have to break it into its components: consumption, investment, government spending, the trade balance. Consumption is by far the largest of these, and the main driver of the economy, but its level is precariously underpinned by unsecured private debt. It is broadly accepted that real investment (in new productive capacity) is dismally inadequate for the continued growth of a modern economy; much of what does take place goes into buying paper assets.

As for government expenditure, most of us are crying out for more on education, health, social care, police, early childhood services, to name a few, but as a nation we want "big state" levels of public services financed by "small state" levels of taxation. Last, we have a massive balance-of-payments deficit: we are exporting too little to pay for our imports; we are living beyond our means. We can only continue this by selling capital assets (such as water companies) to overseas investors, thus losing the dividends and tax revenue that they generate.
Lawrence Lockhart
Bath

• Spot on, Dan Button. But focusing on GDP is even more absurd than "prioritising short-term growth over long-term sustainability". In Jeremy Lent's The Patterning Instinct (a magnificent book recently recommended by George Monbiot ) a passage spells out the absurdity: "Anything that causes economic activity of any kind, whether good or bad, adds to GDP. An oil spill, for example, increases GDP because of the cost of cleaning it up: the bigger the spill, the better it is for GDP."

He goes on and finally shows that "after a country's GDP per capita reaches a moderate level there is no correlation between the wealth of a country and the reported happiness of its population".

Trouble is, this is hard for free-market "wealth creators" to swallow and, as Lent observes: "the mainstream media unquestionably accept the mantra of our locked-in ideology that economic growth, measured by GDP, is the social objective to be pursued above all else". So well done Dan Button and the Guardian for questioning the mantra. Keep it up.
John Airs
Liverpool

• Although the measurement of "personal wellbeing" introduced by David Cameron's government in 2010 is a welcome addition to crude GDP measures, it relies heavily on subjective assessments of life satisfaction, personal happiness, perception of financial situation, level of anxiety and a strange "worthwhile rating". It would be more useful to measure the wellbeing of society as a whole using objective criteria.

These could include, along with GDP per head, medical factors such as infant mortality, longevity, incidence of mental illness, numbers of doctors per head and access to hospitals; social factors such as crime rates, percentage of population in prison, stability of marriages and partnerships, working hours, holidays, homelessness and unemployment; cultural factors such as human rights and access to the arts; and environmental factors such as pollution and carbon footprint.

Such a measure, if internationally agreed, could be used to rate the success or otherwise over time of governments, and to compare wellbeing between countries.
Peter Wrigley
Birstall, West Yorkshire

• It is increasingly accepted that continued economic growth is a short route to eventual disaster for anyone not protected by high wealth: the decline in biodiversity, global heating, air pollution, water stress, soil deterioration and rising sea levels are all trends directly linked to the increase in the amount of the natural world's resources going to fuel consumption. The only way we can protect the mass of human populations is to abandon economic growth altogether and concentrate on better using what we have. This will include changing the numerous ways in which human societies channel the profits of economic activity into the pockets of a few, and challenging the immense pressure exerted by those few on governments whether democratic or other.
Jeremy Cushing

[Jul 05, 2019] Globalisation- the rise and fall of an idea that swept the world - World news by Nikil Saval

Highly recommended!
Globalization was simply the politically correct term for neocolonialism.
Jul 14, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

... ... ...

Over the last two years, a different, in some ways unrecognizable Larry Summers has been appearing in newspaper editorial pages. More circumspect in tone, this humbler Summers has been arguing that economic opportunities in the developing world are slowing, and that the already rich economies are finding it hard to get out of the crisis. Barring some kind of breakthrough, Summers says, an era of slow growth is here to stay.

In Summers's recent writings, this sombre conclusion has often been paired with a surprising political goal: advocating for a "responsible nationalism". Now he argues that politicians must recognise that "the basic responsibility of government is to maximise the welfare of citizens, not to pursue some abstract concept of the global good".

One curious thing about the pro-globalisation consensus of the 1990s and 2000s, and its collapse in recent years, is how closely the cycle resembles a previous era. Pursuing free trade has always produced displacement and inequality – and political chaos, populism and retrenchment to go with it. Every time the social consequences of free trade are overlooked, political backlash follows. But free trade is only one of many forms that economic integration can take. History seems to suggest, however, that it might be the most destabilising one.

... ... ...

The international systems that chastened figures such as Keynes helped produce in the next few years – especially the Bretton Woods agreement and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (Gatt) – set the terms under which the new wave of globalisation would take place.

The key to the system's viability, in Rodrik's view, was its flexibility – something absent from contemporary globalisation, with its one-size-fits-all model of capitalism. Bretton Woods stabilised exchange rates by pegging the dollar loosely to gold, and other currencies to the dollar. Gatt consisted of rules governing free trade – negotiated by participating countries in a series of multinational "rounds" – that left many areas of the world economy, such as agriculture, untouched or unaddressed. "Gatt's purpose was never to maximise free trade," Rodrik writes. "It was to achieve the maximum amount of trade compatible with different nations doing their own thing. In that respect, the institution proved spectacularly successful."

Partly because Gatt was not always dogmatic about free trade, it allowed most countries to figure out their own economic objectives, within a somewhat international ambit. When nations contravened the agreement's terms on specific areas of national interest, they found that it "contained loopholes wide enough for an elephant to pass", in Rodrik's words. If a nation wanted to protect its steel industry, for example, it could claim "injury" under the rules of Gatt and raise tariffs to discourage steel imports: "an abomination from the standpoint of free trade". These were useful for countries that were recovering from the war and needed to build up their own industries via tariffs – duties imposed on particular imports. Meanwhile, from 1948 to 1990, world trade grew at an annual average of nearly 7% – faster than the post-communist years, which we think of as the high point of globalisation. "If there was a golden era of globalisation," Rodrik has written, "this was it."

Gatt, however, failed to cover many of the countries in the developing world. These countries eventually created their own system, the United Nations conference on trade and development (UNCTAD). Under this rubric, many countries – especially in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia – adopted a policy of protecting homegrown industries by replacing imports with domestically produced goods. It worked poorly in some places – India and Argentina, for example, where the trade barriers were too high, resulting in factories that cost more to set up than the value of the goods they produced – but remarkably well in others, such as east Asia, much of Latin America and parts of sub-Saharan Africa, where homegrown industries did spring up. Though many later economists and commentators would dismiss the achievements of this model, it theoretically fit Larry Summers's recent rubric on globalisation: "the basic responsibility of government is to maximise the welfare of citizens, not to pursue some abstract concept of the global good."

The critical turning point – away from this system of trade balanced against national protections – came in the 1980s. Flagging growth and high inflation in the west, along with growing competition from Japan, opened the way for a political transformation. The elections of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were seminal, putting free-market radicals in charge of two of the world's five biggest economies and ushering in an era of "hyperglobalisation". In the new political climate, economies with large public sectors and strong governments within the global capitalist system were no longer seen as aids to the system's functioning, but impediments to it.

Not only did these ideologies take hold in the US and the UK; they seized international institutions as well. Gatt renamed itself as the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the new rules the body negotiated began to cut more deeply into national policies. Its international trade rules sometimes undermined national legislation. The WTO's appellate court intervened relentlessly in member nations' tax, environmental and regulatory policies, including those of the United States: the US's fuel emissions standards were judged to discriminate against imported gasoline, and its ban on imported shrimp caught without turtle-excluding devices was overturned. If national health and safety regulations were stricter than WTO rules necessitated, they could only remain in place if they were shown to have "scientific justification".

The purest version of hyperglobalisation was tried out in Latin America in the 1980s. Known as the "Washington consensus", this model usually involved loans from the IMF that were contingent on those countries lowering trade barriers and privatising many of their nationally held industries. Well into the 1990s, economists were proclaiming the indisputable benefits of openness. In an influential 1995 paper, Jeffrey Sachs and Andrew Warner wrote: "We find no cases to support the frequent worry that a country might open and yet fail to grow."

But the Washington consensus was bad for business: most countries did worse than before. Growth faltered, and citizens across Latin America revolted against attempted privatisations of water and gas. In Argentina, which followed the Washington consensus to the letter, a grave crisis resulted in 2002 , precipitating an economic collapse and massive street protests that forced out the government that had pursued privatising reforms. Argentina's revolt presaged a left-populist upsurge across the continent: from 1999 to 2007, leftwing leaders and parties took power in Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, all of them campaigning against the Washington consensus on globalisation. These revolts were a preview of the backlash of today.


Rodrik – perhaps the contemporary economist whose views have been most amply vindicated by recent events – was himself a beneficiary of protectionism in Turkey. His father's ballpoint pen company was sheltered under tariffs, and achieved enough success to allow Rodrik to attend Harvard in the 1970s as an undergraduate. This personal understanding of the mixed nature of economic success may be one of the reasons why his work runs against the broad consensus of mainstream economics writing on globalisation.

"I never felt that my ideas were out of the mainstream," Rodrik told me recently. Instead, it was that the mainstream had lost touch with the diversity of opinions and methods that already existed within economics. "The economics profession is strange in that the more you move away from the seminar room to the public domain, the more the nuances get lost, especially on issues of trade." He lamented the fact that while, in the classroom, the models of trade discuss losers and winners, and, as a result, the necessity of policies of redistribution, in practice, an "arrogance and hubris" had led many economists to ignore these implications. "Rather than speaking truth to power, so to speak, many economists became cheerleaders for globalisation."

In his 2011 book The Globalization Paradox , Rodrik concluded that "we cannot simultaneously pursue democracy, national determination, and economic globalisation." The results of the 2016 elections and referendums provide ample testimony of the justness of the thesis, with millions voting to push back, for better or for worse, against the campaigns and institutions that promised more globalisation. "I'm not at all surprised by the backlash," Rodrik told me. "Really, nobody should have been surprised."

But what, in any case, would "more globalisation" look like? For the same economists and writers who have started to rethink their commitments to greater integration, it doesn't mean quite what it did in the early 2000s. It's not only the discourse that's changed: globalisation itself has changed, developing into a more chaotic and unequal system than many economists predicted. The benefits of globalisation have been largely concentrated in a handful of Asian countries. And even in those countries, the good times may be running out.

Statistics from Global Inequality , a 2016 book by the development economist Branko Milanović, indicate that in relative terms the greatest benefits of globalisation have accrued to a rising "emerging middle class", based preponderantly in China. But the cons are there, too: in absolute terms, the largest gains have gone to what is commonly called "the 1%" – half of whom are based in the US. Economist Richard Baldwin has shown in his recent book, The Great Convergence, that nearly all of the gains from globalisation have been concentrated in six countries.

Barring some political catastrophe, in which rightwing populism continued to gain, and in which globalisation would be the least of our problems – Wolf admitted that he was "not at all sure" that this could be ruled out – globalisation was always going to slow; in fact, it already has. One reason, says Wolf, was that "a very, very large proportion of the gains from globalisation – by no means all – have been exploited. We have a more open world economy to trade than we've ever had before." Citing The Great Convergence, Wolf noted that supply chains have already expanded, and that future developments, such as automation and the use of robots, looked to undermine the promise of a growing industrial workforce. Today, the political priorities were less about trade and more about the challenge of retraining workers , as technology renders old jobs obsolete and transforms the world of work.

Rodrik, too, believes that globalisation, whether reduced or increased, is unlikely to produce the kind of economic effects it once did. For him, this slowdown has something to do with what he calls "premature deindustrialisation". In the past, the simplest model of globalisation suggested that rich countries would gradually become "service economies", while emerging economies picked up the industrial burden. Yet recent statistics show the world as a whole is deindustrialising. Countries that one would have expected to have more industrial potential are going through the stages of automation more quickly than previously developed countries did, and thereby failing to develop the broad industrial workforce seen as a key to shared prosperity.

For both Rodrik and Wolf, the political reaction to globalisation bore possibilities of deep uncertainty. "I really have found it very difficult to decide whether what we're living through is a blip, or a fundamental and profound transformation of the world – at least as significant as the one that brought about the first world war and the Russian revolution," Wolf told me. He cited his agreement with economists such as Summers that shifting away from the earlier emphasis on globalisation had now become a political priority; that to pursue still greater liberalisation was like showing "a red rag to a bull" in terms of what it might do to the already compromised political stability of the western world.

Rodrik pointed to a belated emphasis, both among political figures and economists, on the necessity of compensating those displaced by globalisation with retraining and more robust welfare states. But pro-free-traders had a history of cutting compensation: Bill Clinton passed Nafta, but failed to expand safety nets. "The issue is that the people are rightly not trusting the centrists who are now promising compensation," Rodrik said. "One reason that Hillary Clinton didn't get any traction with those people is that she didn't have any credibility."

Rodrik felt that economics commentary failed to register the gravity of the situation: that there were increasingly few avenues for global growth, and that much of the damage done by globalisation – economic and political – is irreversible. "There is a sense that we're at a turning point," he said. "There's a lot more thinking about what can be done. There's a renewed emphasis on compensation – which, you know, I think has come rather late."

[Jul 05, 2019] Inside the 21st-century British criminal underworld

Jul 05, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

Inside the 21st-century British criminal underworld - World news - The Guardian

There are almost 5,000 criminal gangs in the UK. But the old family firms are gone – today's big players are multinational, diversified and tech-savvy.

By Duncan Campbell Main image: Underworlds old and new: Curtis Warren, John Palmer, the Hellbanianz and others. Photograph: Chris Radburn/PA

Thu 4 Jul 2019 06.01 BST Last modified on Thu 4 Jul 2019 12.22 BST

Shares 299

W ho rules the underworld today, and where do they conduct their business? Once there were the familiar mugshots and Runyonesque nicknames, the clubs and pubs where the usual suspects gathered, plotted and schemed. Now organised crime is run like any other business, and its leading figures look like every other broker or tycoon. We have entered into a world of what Sir Rob Wainwright, until recently Europe's most senior police officer, calls "anonymised" crime. The underworld has become the overworld.

ss="rich-link tone-news--item rich-link--pillar-news"> Lose yourself in a great story: Sign up for the long read email Read more

The National Crime Agency has estimated that £90bn of criminal money is being laundered through the UK every year, 4% of the country's GDP. London has become the global capital of money-laundering and the beating heart of European organised crime. English is now the international underworld's lingua franca. Crime is an essential part of the British economy, providing hundreds of thousands of jobs, not just for professional criminals – the NCA reckons there are 4,629 organised crime groups in operation – but for police and prison officers, lawyers and court officials, and a security business that now employs more than half a million people.

Advertisement

me title=

Just as the names of familiar shops have been departing from the high street, the old family firms of criminals are disappearing, whether in London, Glasgow, Newcastle or Manchester. And just as British football fans have had to learn how to pronounce the names of the legions of new foreign players, detectives have had to learn to do the same for the increasing number of new criminals. Britain was once dealing with drugs imports from half a dozen countries; now it is more than 30. A young person who would in the past have sought an apprenticeship in a trade or industry may now find that drug dealing offers better career prospects. And, apart from drugs and guns, British trading channels now facilitate the trafficking of women from eastern Europe and Africa for prostitution and children from Vietnam as low-level drug workers.

The underworld's modus operandi has shifted in the past quarter century. "The international nature of crime and technology are probably the two biggest changes," says Steve Rodhouse, the NCA's head of operations. Speaking at the NCA's unprepossessing headquarters in Vauxhall, south London, Rodhouse explains how the agency's work has mushroomed. "Pretty much all of the NCA's most significant 'high-harm' operations now involve people, commodities or money transferring across international borders. The days of having a drugs gang, a firearms gang or a people-trafficking gang have changed because of the concept of polycriminality. Groups satisfying criminal markets, whatever they may be, is now much more common. These are businesses and people are looking to exploit markets, so why confine yourself to one market?"

Wainwright, who served as Europol chief for nine years, has also noted this internationalisation of crime. Addressing a Police Foundation gathering just after his retirement last year, he said that Europol, the European equivalent of Interpol, having expanded since its foundation in 1998 when "it consisted literally, of two men and a dog – admittedly, a sniffer dog – in Luxembourg," now dealt with 65,000 cases a year. By 2018, he reckoned that 5,000 organised crime groups were operating across Europe and the mafia model had been replaced by a "more nimble" model, with 180 different nationalities operating, mixing legal with illegal business and working with between 400 and 500 major money-launderers. This was multinational business with specialists in recruitment, movement, money-laundering and the forging of documents.

Advertisement

me title=

The internet, of course, is a major factor. Wainwright likened its effect on crime to that of the motorcar in the 1920s and 30s, when suddenly criminals could escape at speed and take advantage of new markets. He cited the dark web, which he said was selling 350,000 different illegal items – 60% of which were drugs – but including everything from guns to pornography and even operating a ratings system for speed of dispatch and quality. The combination of new faces of whom the British police – and often Interpol and Europol – were unaware, along with an increasingly tech-savvy pool of criminals able to disguise their identities, made for a toxic cocktail. Crooks anonymous.


O ne group with little interest in anonymity are the Hellbanianz, a gang of cocky young Albanians based in Barking, east London. They went online in spectacular fashion in 2017 via Instagram and YouTube rap videos to flaunt their ill-gotten wealth and firepower.

Their most prominent member, Tristen Asllani, who lived in Hampstead, was jailed for 25 years in 2016 for drug dealing and firearms offences which included possessing a Škorpion submachine gun. He was caught after a police chase in north London which ended when he crashed his car into a computer repair shop in Crouch End. A photo of Asllani, showing him stripped to the waist after he had apparently spent long hours in the prison gym, appeared on a social media page called My Albanian in Jail, with a caption saying "Even inside the prison we have all conditions, what's missing are only whores".

The flashy cars and bundles of banknotes on display in the Hellbanianz videos were the result of the importation of cocaine and cannabis, but the gang was also involved in the weapons trade. The pictures showed £50 notes wrapped around a cake and their HB logo written in cannabis. After they were arrested and jailed, other gang members have posted pictures of themselves, taken with smuggled mobile phones, from inside prison where they cheerfully inscribe their gang name on the walls.

Advertisement

me title=

Muhamed Veliu, an Albanian investigative journalist, who knows London well, says that the Hellbanianz have been on the crime scene in east London for many years. "They are sending a bad message to young Albanians. By seeing such photos, they think the streets of UK are paved with gold Bizarrely, despite the fact they are in the prison, they show the outside world photos of their life behind the bars." He said that there was a concern that the British media stereotyped all Albanians as criminals but, he added, the 2006 Securitas robbery, in which two Albanians played key roles in the theft of £53m from a depot in Kent, was regarded with some national pride back home. "It was 'the crime of the century', it was seen as very different from making money from prostitution, which is the lowest form of crime. It is wrong, of course, but they did need bravery to get involved, and at least they went for a bank – that was the feeling in the Albanian community." There are currently around 700 Albanians in British jails.

"Albania is Europe's largest producer of cannabis," says Tony Saggers, the former head of drugs threat and intelligence at the NCA. "It is important not to stereotype, but the Kosovan war led to Albanians pretending to be Kosovan in order to get asylum in the UK. Many of the people who came just wanted a better life, but there were criminals among them who were able to set up illicit networks The UK criminal has a get-rich-quick mentality while the Albanians' strategy was get-rich-slow, so they have driven down the price of cocaine in the UK. They knew that if they expanded, they could undercut the market." It helped that their reputation preceded them. "The Albanian criminals may be ruthless and potentially murderous when controlling their organised crime," said Saggers, "but when they come to the UK they try to be more charismatic and they use fear – 'We're here, we need to get on,' that sort of approach. So there is little violence from the older Albanian criminals in the UK, because they know that violence attracts more attention."

The Albanians had already established themselves in a darker fashion when 26-year-old Luan Plackici was jailed in 2003 and said to have made more than £1m from trafficking "poor, naive and gullible" young women who thought they were on their way to jobs as waitresses or barmaids. Some had to service up to 20 men a day to pay for the £8,000 "travel bill" from Romania and Moldova.

Advertisement

me title=

The international nature of people-trafficking was exposed fully in 2014 by a trial of a gang that imported more than 100 women into Britain. The trial ended with the gang leader, Vishal Chaudhary, being jailed for 12 years. Chaudhary, who lived the high life in Canary Wharf in London, contacted young women through social networks in Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland, offering work as receptionists, nannies or cleaners in England. But when they got to the UK, the women were forced to work in brothels. Chaudhary's team, all of whom were jailed, consisted of his brother, Kunal, who worked for Deloitte in Manchester, a Hungarian heavy called Krisztian Abel and the latter's sister, Szilvia, who helped recruit the women.

A cannabis farm discovered in a house in Oldham in 2013. Photograph: Christopher Thomond/The Guardian

There are numbers of young people involved in what the legal system terms "forced criminality". The lawyer Philippa Southwell has specialised in such cases, which apply in particular to young Vietnamese people brought illegally into the UK by traffickers and forced to work in cannabis farms to pay back debts of up to £30,000 that their parents have undertaken in order for them to have a new life in Europe.

Advertisement

me title=

"The modus operandi of criminal organisations is to target children or young adults, trafficking them across the world in a journey that can take months," Southwell says. "Those being trafficked from Vietnam, often transit via Russia, Germany and France, by boat, lorry and even by foot. Once at their destination, they will be locked in a premises and made to tend the cannabis plants, by watering them and ensuring the lighting is on. These cannabis grows are sophisticated multi-million-pound drug operations, with the electricity often being extracted illegally and high-value equipment used. The windows of the buildings may be nailed shut. The farms normally operate in rural areas where the chance of detection is reduced."

The boys and young men were in a form of debt bondage, but no matter how hard they worked, their debt never seemed to be paid off. "There is a misconception within the criminal justice system that they are free to leave because the doors may not always be locked," says Southwell, "but the reality is that they have nowhere to go – they are controlled through threats of violence, debt bondage, isolation, fear and other complex control methods that are regularly used by traffickers."


F rom the Chinese opium dealers in the 1920s, the Italian gangsters in the 30s, the Maltese pimps in the 50s, the West Indian Yardies in the 60s, the Turkish heroin dealers in the 70s to the east Europeans gangsters and Nigerian fraudsters today, there has long been an unfair tendency to blame foreigners as dominant figures in the underworld. While they may have all had their parts to play, the homegrown British villain – whether artful dodger or ruthless kingpin – has always been the bedrock of the underworld.

"Everyone wants to be a gangster," says BX, a young former gang member from north-west London. "Everyone's seen it on TV and that's what they want to be. They look at music videos and it looks like the people in them are making hundreds of thousands of pounds, although the reality is that they are still living at their mum's house. Most of them come from estates and they see their parents going to work, struggling to pay the bills. They come home, their mum's not there, and all the places where kids could play are closing down. Nine times out of 10, they leave school without qualifications. So if you're broke, if you can't get a job, you're going to take the opportunity. My parents had no clue what I was up to – I didn't come back with any marks on my face."

The recent upsurge in knife attacks has focused attention on gangs. At one stage last year, there were six separate knife murder trials underway at the Old Bailey, all gang-related, all involving more than one defendant, none older than 22. "It's not a black thing, it's not a white thing, everyone's doing it," says BX. "There's no: 'I'm black, he's white, we can't get along' any more." There were still ample opportunities for smaller-time dealers: "You can make a grand a week."

An organised gang carrying out robberies on scooters in London in 2018. Photograph: MET Police

The hierarchy of gangs remained a key factor. "If you're a drug dealer, you have to find people who will do your dirty work for you. The way it works is the elders, who are, say, 24 or 25, they see you doing well, so they might take you under their wing. The young kids acting as look-outs, they're thinking: 'I'm part of that guy's enterprise. That could be me in however many years, I could get promotion.' As they say, loyalty brings forth royalty."

Territory is important commercially. "If you're doing five keys (kilos) a week and then suddenly you're only doing three a week, it doesn't take long to realise that someone's out there taking your customers. So you have to eliminate the opposition. How do you do that? By either taking them out, or tipping off the police. You are never supposed to snitch, but I know one guy, from Southall, who's a millionaire now; he was in competition with a guy from the same area so he informed the police." There's a not-unfounded suspicion that some informers have continued to commit crimes while under police protection. "All the old-school rules – they're gone. I know people who work with the police to get immunity for themselves. I know one who everyone knows works with the police, he's even been shooting people, but you type his name into Google you won't find anything about him and, believe me, his record is way longer than my arm."

The risks are high. "Of the people I grew up with, only three of us haven't been to jail, although I've been arrested many times. My older brother has been in and out of jail – nine months here, six weeks there. But there are less police than ever, so that gives you the incentive, and even if you get arrested, you're not going to do that long."

While the young gangs have largely replaced the old family-based crews, so have young, helmeted, scooter-riding robbers smashing their ways into jewellers and mobile phone shops taken on the role of the old sawn-off shotgun-wielding bank robbers.


W hile those smalltime home-grown villains may still thrive, an increasing number of members of the British underworld have followed old imperial traditions and headed abroad to cut out the middle-man, establishing themselves not only in the traditional bolt-hole of Spain, but in the Netherlands, Thailand and South Africa. The person who was to rewrite the rulebook on drug dealing is the street-smart Liverpudlian Curtis Warren, better known by his nicknames Cocky or the Cocky Watchman. Born in 1963, his criminal career started at the age of 12 with a conviction for car theft. By 16, he was on his way to borstal for assaulting the police. Other offences followed, but it was only when he moved into the drugs business, working out of Amsterdam, that he established his reputation as one of the most prolific traffickers of modern times – Interpol's "Target One" and the subject of a joint British–Dutch investigation codenamed Operation Crayfish.

While Warren's move to Amsterdam, where fellow British dealers also established themselves, seemed like a smart idea in that he was less exposed to the British police, it was also a weakness, because the Dutch authorities were able to tap his phone without restriction and secure the evidence they needed. (Although they also required English help in translating Liverpudlian for them.) In October 1996, police in the Netherlands seized 400kg of cocaine, 60kg of heroin, 1,500kg of cannabis, handguns and false passports. Nine Britons and a Colombian were arrested, and Warren was soon portrayed as the biggest fish in the net. He was jailed for 12 years for a conspiracy to import what was claimed to be £125m of drugs into Britain. The Observer suggested he was "the richest and most successful British criminal who has ever been caught", and he was the only drug dealer to make it on to the Sunday Times rich list. T-shirts with an old mugshot of Warren on them were still for sale in Liverpool 20 years after Operation Crayfish.

Curtis Warren. Photograph: PA

After his release from jail in the Netherlands in June 2007, Warren was only a free man for five weeks. He headed to Jersey, but was under constant surveillance and soon arrested. In 2009, he was convicted of conspiring to import £1m of cannabis into Jersey and jailed for 13 years. Warren was alleged to have invested his wealth in everything from petrol stations to vineyards, football clubs to hotels. A Jersey court ordered him to pay £198m after he failed to prove his business empire was not built on the proceeds of cocaine trafficking. Detectives had secretly recorded him boasting during a 2004 prison visit of funnelling huge amounts of cash via a money launderer. "Fuckin' 'ell, mate, sometimes we'd do about £10m or £15m in a week," he told some of his visitors. "I was bragging like an idiot and just big-talking in front of them," was Warren's explanation later. The Jersey attorney general, Timothy Le Cocq QC, described him as "one of Europe's most notorious organised criminals". His failure to pay the money resulted in a further 10 years' jail time.

He told Guardian journalist Helen Pidd, when she interviewed him in jail in Jersey, that he disapproved of drugs: "I've never had a cigarette in my life or a drink. I've never tasted alcohol or anything. No interest." His ambition after he was freed was to leave England – "and never come back". He added: "I just wish I'd not been such a worry to me mum."

Few people were better qualified to comment on Warren than former NCA man Tony Saggers, who was an expert witness in Warren's trial and proceeds hearing. "Curtis Warren was a forerunner," he said. "You get people like him who come from a tough background, a council-house environment, and he had a sort of bare-faced courage in some respects, to put himself in places like Venezuela and Colombia, which were probably even more dangerous then than they are now. He put himself at the other end of the supply chain, and in a way established that pattern for the elite drug trafficker. But nowadays, high-level, high-profile criminals play less and less of a role, and make use of others below them in a detached way."

Other British criminals have also cast their nets wide during the past two decades. One of the best-known was Brian Wright, once one of Britain's most active cocaine smugglers, who was nicknamed The Milkman – because he always delivered. He operated from both Turkish-controlled Northern Cyprus and Spain. In 1998, he was alleged to have imported almost two tonnes of the drug, with the result, according to one customs investigator, that "the cocaine was coming in faster than people could snort it". The Dublin-born Wright owned a villa near Cadiz, which he named El Lechero – the Spanish for milkman – and had a box at Ascot, a flat in Chelsea's King's Quay and used some of his proceeds to fix races on which he then bet, thus laundering his drug profits. Finally arrested in Spain, he was brought back to England and, in 2007, at the age of 60, found guilty at Woolwich crown court of conspiracy to supply drugs and jailed for30 years .

Some very successful scams have been perpetrated on elderly Britons. John Palmer, who had been involved in the Brink's-Mat bullion robbery (from whence he got his nickname "Goldfinger") made his fortune in a crooked timeshare business in Tenerife. A ruthless operator, he took advantage of thousands of gullible souls, many of them elderly holidaymakers, who believed his spiel about the fortunes they could make by investing in timeshare apartments that were never built. Outwardly, he appeared to have it all: the yacht, the cars with the personalised number plates, dozens of properties. He even made it to No 105 in the Sunday Times rich list. "Remember the golden rule," was the motto he loved to quote, "he who has the gold makes the rules." But in 2001, he was convicted of a timeshare fraud in which 16,000 victims lost an estimated £33m and served eight years in prison.

Then, in 2015, Palmer was shot dead by a hitman in his garden in Essex. There were rumours that he was killed because he might have been cooperating with the Spanish police over another fraud case. His co-accused were convicted in Spain in May this year and the police in Britain have duly issued a fresh appeal for help to find his killer – with a reminder that there is a £100,000 reward on offer in case that tempts an elderly underworld grass.

Any notion that Spain might still be a safe haven for expat criminals was dispelled in 2018 when Brian Charrington – a close associate of Curtis Warren and regarded as one of the major international drug dealers of his generation – was jailed for 15 years for trafficking and money-laundering in Alicante in 2018. Described in the Spanish press as " el narco que escribia en Wikipedia ", because of his reputation for updating and correcting his Wikipedia entry, the former car-dealer from Middlesbrough had been arrested in 2013 at his villa in Calpe, on the Costa Blanca, an area where some estate agents offer bulletproof glass as a special feature along with the spa bath and barbecue area. There had been wild rumours of crocodiles in his swimming pool, but disappointingly, the police found none.

Charrington was alleged to have brought vast quantities of drugs into Spain via a yacht docking in Altea, north of Benidorm. He claimed his money came legitimately. "I buy and sell villas and I pay my taxes," he told the court, but was still fined nearly £30m. Following a lengthy investigation involving Spanish, British, Venezuelan, Colombian and French police, his assets, including a dozen houses and his cars and boats, were impounded. After his sentence, his Wikipedia entry was speedily updated.


T he titles of true crime memoirs published in the past decade or so tell their own tale. The Last Real Gangster by Freddie Foreman came out in 2015; The Last Gangster: My Final Confession by Charlie Richardson arrived just after his death in 2012; The Last Godfather, the Life and Crimes of Arthur Thompson, was published in Glasgow in 2007. A requiem for the old British underworld.

In many ways, it was already slipping into a haze of nostalgia. The television series Peaky Blinders has spawned its own fashion accessory industry. You can now buy Peaky Blinders cufflinks shaped like razor-blades, or wear a Peaky Blinders cap and waistcoat from the new David Beckham clothing line , something that might have prompted a dark smile from the ruthless and acquisitive 1920s Birmingham gang on whom the series was based. The website henorstag.com even recommends "the Peaky Blinders look" as perfect for a stag night: "For a theme the ladies will love, you will need to capture the stylish world of the early 20th century with black peak caps, stylish grey or black suits with waistcoat, as well as a dusty black coat and shoes in order to complete the look." (Add a cosh and a cut-throat razor and you'll really slay 'em.)

While the Kray twins brand continues as the underworld's equivalent of Marks & Spencer – a framed letter from Ronnie Kray in Broadmoor is currently on offer on eBay for £650 – changes in the law have made criminals less prepared to boast about past crimes. In the old days, under the "double jeopardy" rule, once you were acquitted of a murder, you could never be tried for it again. That rule was overturned with the 2003 Criminal Justice Act, so the days when a villain could explain in their memoirs how they got away with a crime have gone. The 2009 Coroners and Justice Act made it an offence for criminals to profit from accounts of their crimes, so they could no longer sell their stories, or at least officially. The 2002 Proceeds of Crime Act and its increasing use against career criminals has meant that illicit incomes can be seized.

No wonder the Hatton Garden burglary of 2015 – that " one last job " carried out by the elderly "diamond wheezers" – received such attention. Even one of the "last of the last", Fred Foreman, was hoping he was going to be offered a role in it. "I heard that Terry (Perkins, one of the ringleaders) was looking for me, not long before the burglary took place, so I presume that would have been what it was about," he says.

ss="rich-link tone-feature--item rich-link--pillar-news"> Organised crime in the UK is bigger than ever before. Can the police catch up? Read more

Perkins died in his cell in Belmarsh prison last year. Foreman, who made his name with the Krays in the 1960s, now lives in sheltered accomodation in west London. He doubts that the current generation of gangsters will ever write their memoirs: "I don't think that anyone who has turned to crime these days is going to live long enough to build up a reputation, are they?"

But the recruiting sergeants of the underworld – poverty, greed, boredom, envy, peer pressure, glamour – will never be short of volunteers, whether they live long enough to make a name for themselves or not.

Underworld : the Definitive History of Britain's Organised Crime by Duncan Campbell is published by Ebury Press on 11 July

• Follow the Long Read on Twitter at @gdnlongread , and sign up to the long read weekly email here .

[Jul 05, 2019] The neoliberal elites the policymaking business and financial elites are increasingly hated by common people

Notable quotes:
"... That distrust of the establishment has had highly visible political consequences: Farage, Trump, and Le Pen on the right; but also in new parties on the left ..."
Jul 05, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

In the years that followed, the crash, the crisis of the eurozone and the worldwide drop in the price of oil and other commodities combined to put a huge dent in global trade. Since 2012, the IMF reported in its World Economic Outlook for October 2016 , trade was growing at 3% a year – less than half the average of the previous three decades. That month, Martin Wolf argued in a column that globalisation had "lost dynamism", due to a slackening of the world economy, the "exhaustion" of new markets to exploit and a rise in protectionist policies around the world. In an interview earlier this year, Wolf suggested to me that, though he remained convinced globalisation had not been the decisive factor in rising inequality, he had nonetheless not fully foreseen when he was writing Why Globalization Works how "radical the implications" of worsening inequality "might be for the US, and therefore the world".

Among these implications appears to be a rising distrust of the establishment that is blamed for the inequality. "We have a very big political problem in many of our countries," he said. "The elites – the policymaking business and financial elites – are increasingly disliked . You need to make policy which brings people to think again that their societies are run in a decent and civilised way."

That distrust of the establishment has had highly visible political consequences: Farage, Trump, and Le Pen on the right; but also in new parties on the left, such as Spain's Podemos, and curious populist hybrids, such as Italy's Five Star Movement . As in 1997, but to an even greater degree, the volatile political scene reflects public anxiety over "the process that has come to be called 'globalisation'".

If the critics of globalisation could be dismissed before because of their lack of economics training, or ignored because they were in distant countries, or kept out of sight by a wall of police, their sudden political ascendancy in the rich countries of the west cannot be so easily discounted today.

[Jul 04, 2019] Nearly half of global wages received by top 10%, survey finds: ILO says bottom half of all workers paid just 6% of total pay with wage inequality rising in developed world

Jul 04, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

Data is from 2004 to 2017.

Excerpt (first three paragraphs):

Nearly half of all global pay is scooped up by just 10% of workers, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO), while the lowest-paid 50% receive just 6.4%.

The lowest 20% – around 650 million workers – get less than 1% of total pay, a figure that has barely moved in 13 years, the ILO analysis found. It used labour income figures from 2004 to 2017, the latest available data.

A worker in the top 10% receives $7,445 a month (£5,866), while a worker in the bottom 10% gets just $22.

Posted by: vk | Jul 4 2019 17:14 utc | 14

jayc @10

As a Can-knucklehead I am sad to say I agree 100%. In 2005, Kurt Vonnegut quoted Susan Sontag: "10 percent of any population is cruel, no matter what, and that 10 percent is merciful, no matter what, and that the remaining 80 percent could be moved in either direction."

Posted by: spudski | Jul 4 2019 17:19 utc | 15

[Jul 02, 2019] Yep! The neolib scum hate poor people and have superiority complex>

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Both neoliberal-driven governments and authoritarian societies share one important factor: They care more about consolidating power in the hands of the political, corporate and financial elite than they do about investing in the future of young people and expanding the benefits of the social contract and common good. ..."
"... Michael Yates (economist) points out throughout his book 'The Great Inequality', capitalism is devoid of any sense of social responsibility and is driven by an unchecked desire to accumulate capital at all costs. As power becomes global and politics remains local, ruling elites no longer make political concessions to workers or any other group that they either exploit or consider disposable. ..."
"... At bottom, neoliberals believe in a social hierarchy of "haves" and "have nots". They have taken this corrosive social vision and dressed it up with a "respectable" sounding ideology which all boils down to the cheap labor they depend on to make their fortunes. ..."
"... The ugly truth is that cheap-labour conservatives just don't like working people. They don't like "bottom up" prosperity, and the reason for it is very simple. "Corporate lords" have a harder time kicking them around. ..."
Apr 10, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

Originally from: Seven signs of the neoliberal apocalypse - Van Badham - Opinion - The Guardian

slorter, 27 Apr 2018 01:37

Both neoliberal-driven governments and authoritarian societies share one important factor: They care more about consolidating power in the hands of the political, corporate and financial elite than they do about investing in the future of young people and expanding the benefits of the social contract and common good.

Michael Yates (economist) points out throughout his book 'The Great Inequality', capitalism is devoid of any sense of social responsibility and is driven by an unchecked desire to accumulate capital at all costs. As power becomes global and politics remains local, ruling elites no longer make political concessions to workers or any other group that they either exploit or consider disposable.

At bottom, neoliberals believe in a social hierarchy of "haves" and "have nots". They have taken this corrosive social vision and dressed it up with a "respectable" sounding ideology which all boils down to the cheap labor they depend on to make their fortunes.

The ugly truth is that cheap-labour conservatives just don't like working people. They don't like "bottom up" prosperity, and the reason for it is very simple. "Corporate lords" have a harder time kicking them around.

Once you understand this about the cheap-labor conservatives, the real motivation for their policies makes perfect sense. Remember, cheap-labour conservatives believe in social hierarchy and privilege, so the only prosperity they want is limited to them. They want to see absolutely nothing that benefits those who work for an hourly wage.

You also need to remember that voting the coalition out, which you need to do, will not necessarily give you a neoliberal free zone; Labor needs to shed some the dogma as well.

bryonyed -> slorter , 27 Apr 2018 01:41

Yep! The neolib scum hate poor people and have complexes of deservedness.

[Jun 30, 2019] Antisemitism what does that even mean by Philip Roddis

Notable quotes:
"... Philip Roddis Scribbler for some sixty years, and for fifteen a photographer too, Philip Roddis began blogging in the early noughties by inflicting film reviews on an unsuspecting public. Soon he was doing the same with illustrated writings on wanderings in Asia and Africa. He writes "to help me think, and because I like to be read", and finds photography's problem solving aspects "a break from those of writing, as well as an aid to writing and to reflective travel". His blog is Steel City Scribblings ..."
"... Its the age old trick moving the goalposts to adjust the game so you win. ..."
"... It appears to not only want to redefine the concept but also to reapply it to the modern world as a tool for applying political leverage. Its rather cynically exploiting our revulsion for what happened 80 years ago by using the concept as a way of stifling political dissent, in particular Israel's relations with its neighbors. This is political opportunism of the first order -- and very cynical opportunism at that -- which is likely to backfire since its likely to embrace Fascism rather than oppose it. (Its legislative agenda appears to include outlawing dissent by criminalizing it.) ..."
"... As American writer Joe Sobran once noted, "An anti-Semite used mean someone who hated Jews; now it means anyone that Jews hate." ..."
"... "What is anti-semitism": that is a very good question? The answer is a biased and violent socio-political constructivism a purely politicised terminology – and an intentionally weaponised one at that. ..."
"... Everyone knows what anti-semitism is about: the phrase is meaningless – except as a politicised weapon. It is a 'plastic phrase' – like the words 'freedom' and 'democracy' – it's meaning is variable and contestable. It is a 'word to wound' and should be categorised as being hate speech in itself. Anyone who employs AS is a racist themselves, and their discriminatory bias should be exposed by their profane and performative pronunciations. ..."
"... A smart group or groupings: who wanted to resist the coercive silencing of dissensus – would strategically move to reframe the debate away from the nihilistic concretisation of racism that is the politicised discourse. ..."
"... There is a semantic discussion to be had on definition but that is something not even the keenest minds can yet agree on – more importantly, and germane to Phil's article is the weaponisation of antisemitism as a means of exploiting political opponents, in other words hasbara. ..."
"... One of its chilling effects of hasbara is to always put critics of Israel on the backfoot now matter how egregiously Israel or their supporters behave, such as disproportionate violence inflicted on Palestinian civilians, or Labour MPs working hand in glove with Israeli operatives to subvert left wing elements within their own party. ..."
"... Number 4 is the most interesting tactic. All racism is wrong and hate Speech can be a criminal offence. If the anti semitic accusations are true how is it that, as far as I know from within the Labour Party, no Court cases have ever troubled a Judge? The answer is simple – that would require proof/evidence. The MSM are Judge and Jury and their required standard of proof is zero. ..."
"... Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities. ..."
"... In this definition, it seems that semite is an imaginary type or set, with indeterminable tokens or instances. Thus "rhetorical antisemitism" has indefinable, non-existent victims. So any allusion to tabu speaking about Jewishness will be accepted as antisemitic, with no possibility of refutation or defence. The only victim required is the accuser. ..."
"... Orwell coined 'doublespeak' for self-contradictory mind. this runs deeper than we think, because it provides the very basis by which we seem to think alone. A psyop is a mind-trap that baits reaction by which the unwary is induced to give power away. The idea of deceit is not new – and the notion of a power of deceit as self-destructive illusion is not new. ..."
www.linuxtoday.com
Jun 30, 2019 | OffGuardian

... ... ...

Then came Giladgate and the suspension of Labour MP Chris Williamson for defending Israeli Jewish musician – and vehement critic not only of his own state but "a particular subset of Jews" – Gilad Atzmon.

I stress that term, a particular subset of Jews. Those who call Atzmon antisemitic have rarely in my experience troubled to read him in the round, though a few offer cherry-picked quotes. I blame a confusion Atzmon is at pains to disentangle.

In The Wandering Who? he sets out three understandings of Jewishness.

  1. One refers to those born Jewish
  2. Another to followers of ethical values and spiritual disciplines encoded in the Torah. To make important generalisations about either is absurd; to make important negative generalisations a double disgrace: a moral affront in and of itself, and a moral affront in light of a thousand years of Western history culminating in Hitler.
  3. The third understanding, however, refers to "Jews identifying as members of a superior race" . These last, says Atzmon, "are the Jews I speak of in such negative terms, and whom I urge to question their arrogant assumptions" .

If these are the words of an antisemite, call me one too.

I myself have not encountered that third category in personal life. The Jews I know and count as friends are on the left, or at any rate liberal. (Nor do any belong to Atzmon's second category: with a few exceptions I don't much rub shoulders with religious types, whatever brand they smoke). But this reflects the demography of my worlnon-existence the non existence of Atzmon's third category of Jews.

In the Never Again culture of Israel, and the powerhouses of London and New York City, they do exist, and I applaud the man's courageous, principled and costly[ 2 ] stance of calling them out.

Talk of cherry picking brings us, in this context, back to Dame Hodge.

Three nights ago she was on Newsnight to slam the reinstatement of Chris Williamson. In so doing she issued another slander, folded into an aside on the man Williamson had – with guilt by association a standard smear in Stalinist[ 3 ] McCarthyite and other forms of witchhunt – defended at no small cost.

The next day that man responded with clear proof that Hodge, probably through ignorance as much as malice, had profoundly misunderstood a statement he'd made.

Here then, is Gilad Atzmon on the subject of Margaret Hodge on the subject of Chris Williamson.

I offer it not because Hodge is important, though as the above photo shows she still commands respect within the Labour Party. I offer it because great care is called for when examining issues not intrinsically difficult but so buried by obfuscation and mendacity, so emotionally charged and in this case so tightly bound with the quite different agenda of ousting Corbyn.

On these matters, Hodge's interventions are at best crass, ignorant and spiteful. At best – and in this she exemplifies so much that is rotten in our political classes and debased media.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/U0G5ZqO6iJw

You might also read Atzmon's written response of yesterday, addressed more at Lord Falconer than Dame Hodge. After rebutting accusations of holocaust denial, he concludes:

I categorically deny being an anti-Semite. Crucially, I have never been charged or even questioned about anything I said or wrote by any law enforcement authority anywhere in the world. That Lord Falconer accuses an innocent citizen, one with an absolutely clean record, of being "guilty" and the BBC presenter does not challenge or even question Falconer's assertion is a clear indication that Britain is now a lawless place an authoritarian society governed by a compromised political class. Britain has become uninhabitable for intellectuals, truth tellers and peace lovers. Sad it is but no longer a surprise. NOTES:

[1] In this context we should note three ironies. One is that this same Labour right applauded the Maidan Square coup which brought antisemites, the real kind, into the Kiev administration to embolden Ukraine's far and thoroughly antisemitic right (as when in 2017 thousands of nationalists marched in Kiev to celebrate the birthday of Stepan Bandera.) Another, related, is that in devaluing the antisemite term – which is what you do when you call Corbyn one – you let real antisemites off the hook. A third is that like the West at large, Israel – I mention this given how many names on Tom Watson's tweet are in Labour Friends of Israel – has again and again been willing to work with antisemites, also the real kind, in pursuit of its agendas.

[2] The nature of Israel – both as a racist state and, to borrow from a Stephen Gowans book I'll shortly review, as a 'beachhead for imperialism' from which to control the middle east – is obviously relevant in more ways than one. Here I confine myself to the observation that Israeli Jewish critics of Israel, like white South African members of the ANC in the apartheid era, exemplify – whatever other traits they may demonstrate – considerable courage.

[3] I'm aware of a revival, outside the traditional circles of Western Communist Parties, of interest in defending Stalin. At one level this is understandable. Given the corruption of our media and political systems it can be tempting to assume that whomever our rulers and their servants hold up as paragons of virtue, or as monstrosity incarnate, will be the opposite. I'd go so far as to say such reasoning will more often than not deliver broadly accurate results. It's no substitute for proper investigation, however, and I'm planning a post addressing not so much the brutality of Stalin as his criminal incompetence. Facebook Twitter Reddit Pinterest WhatsApp vKontakte Email

Philip Roddis Scribbler for some sixty years, and for fifteen a photographer too, Philip Roddis began blogging in the early noughties by inflicting film reviews on an unsuspecting public. Soon he was doing the same with illustrated writings on wanderings in Asia and Africa. He writes "to help me think, and because I like to be read", and finds photography's problem solving aspects "a break from those of writing, as well as an aid to writing and to reflective travel". His blog is Steel City Scribblings

Can you spare $1.00 a month to support independent media


Martin Usher
Its the age old trick moving the goalposts to adjust the game so you win. I grew up in a family that was heavily involved in the anti-Fascist movement before the war ( before I was born) and was involved with what could be called "Jewish rescue" -- helping people who had got out of Europe settle in the UK. As such I never really gave the the definition of anti-Semitism any thought, it was obvious.

Recently I noticed that the definition had changed -- the goalposts had moved -- because of the work of a group I'd never heard of before, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. I grew up familiar with the ADL and knew it as relatively non-political organization that went after any sort of anti-someone, not just anti-Semitism, but the IHRA turned out to be not just focused on one issue but also intensely political.

It appears to not only want to redefine the concept but also to reapply it to the modern world as a tool for applying political leverage. Its rather cynically exploiting our revulsion for what happened 80 years ago by using the concept as a way of stifling political dissent, in particular Israel's relations with its neighbors. This is political opportunism of the first order -- and very cynical opportunism at that -- which is likely to backfire since its likely to embrace Fascism rather than oppose it. (Its legislative agenda appears to include outlawing dissent by criminalizing it.)

So I'll just stick with the old school definition and old school organizations, thank you very much. This upstart organization may have traction in government, its got the money, the PR and probably runs a very effective blacklist (which I'm now a member, I'd guess). However, I very firmly believe that we are ultimately obliged to do what's morally right, not what's expedient.

Seamus Padraig
As American writer Joe Sobran once noted, "An anti-Semite used mean someone who hated Jews; now it means anyone that Jews hate."
BigB
"What is anti-semitism": that is a very good question? The answer is a biased and violent socio-political constructivism a purely politicised terminology – and an intentionally weaponised one at that.

There has been no scientific basis for racial categorisation or discrimination for decades now. Probably not since Lewontin and Jay-Gould critiqued E O Wilson's 'Sociobiology' (see Lewontin's extended essay "Biology as Ideology" from 1991). Since even then; biology has moved on rapidly – genetic determinism is dead.

With it is the 19th century reductive materialist categorisation of population groups as 'objects with particulars' or distinct races with specific quotients of intelligence or other determining biological factors. Every grouping is of individuals who are more alike than any minor differentiations that may be apparent or supposed. No two people are ever the same: right down to the structure and functional neuro-anatomy their brains – as advanced imaging techniques and neuroscience have shown (see Gina Rippon's "The Gendered Brain" for an in-depth discussion of the science.)

So what shapes us if not our genes this does. Our conditioning and environmental reactions. That is this discourse, or any other encountered discourse we are primarily shaped by epigenetic environmental and socio-cultural factors. So much so, epigenetics supersedes genetics – and can even curtail genetic development (see Rippon's discussion of 'Caeusescu's babies').

We are picking up on social cues and other environmental factors all the time. To which we micro-adapt to on an instant by instant socio-interactional basis. This is what shapes identity – the affordances, cues and inter-subjective interaction with culture and the environment – Lewontin's 'Triple Helix'.

So what is anti-semitism: in the light of their being no scientific categorisation of race? The political constructivism of discriminatory social categorisations is an 'imagined sociology'. One that has no basis in either fact or reality. As Lewontin determined: "race is a racist construct".

Everyone knows what anti-semitism is about: the phrase is meaningless – except as a politicised weapon. It is a 'plastic phrase' – like the words 'freedom' and 'democracy' – it's meaning is variable and contestable. It is a 'word to wound' and should be categorised as being hate speech in itself. Anyone who employs AS is a racist themselves, and their discriminatory bias should be exposed by their profane and performative pronunciations.

So why is AS in the political lexicon if it is no longer acceptable in the scientific lexicon? Are we not supposed to have a science based empirical paradigm?

I would say that it's principal usage is as an attack vector on perceived socialism and character masking of capitalism itself – in its current expanded usage and iteration. It is more than just covering the heinous war crimes and apartheid of the Israeli state and Zionist venture. It's usage has been extended (I called it 'definition creep' of the IHRA) to defend the endemic and structural racism of capitalism itself. It is a morbid symptom of the move to curtail free speech, stifle debate and dissensus, and control the public fora which can be extended to 9/11 truth and anti-capitalist critique – specifically of any cabal or oligarchical domination – as well as defending Israel itself. It can basically mean anything: when allied with the pernicious and weasel worded 11 'working definitions'.

For me, the political universe of discourse is largely moribund. It is a capitalist-captured endocolonisation of any real discourse of freedom and liberation. And 'democracy': you can forget democracy policy is about consensus narrative construction, behavioural change, and conformity. There is no such ideology as anti-capitalist ideology any more there is only capitalist obedience conformity or capitalist obedience conformity binary constructivisms to choose from. One where you cannot critically unmask the core truths of capitalist institutional racism without being at risk of being branded a racist.

A smart group or groupings: who wanted to resist the coercive silencing of dissensus – would strategically move to reframe the debate away from the nihilistic concretisation of racism that is the politicised discourse. With education, and the application of the "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" – a whole new dialogic could be created one that circumvents the nihilism of the capitalist-captured racist constructivism of their political debate. After all, we have the science on our side – if we ever want to shift the paradigm. And not just for race: for all discriminations. Capitalism pretends to tackle racism by creating it. It is the commodification and objectification of individual human beings into perceived discriminatory groups that is at fault.

We do not have to follow the framing of the narrative that is a top-down polarising politicised dominion over humanity. Humanists can create their own debate, on their own terms, based on the latest science and information. Racism is defunct and bad education, poor and redundant 19th century classification, and Universal Humanism nihilation. If it is to dominate the politicised universe of discourse – a new paradigmatic universe of non-racist, non-sexist, non-violent, non-discriminatory discourse is easily achievable. Culture is who we are and what we do. Welcome to the micro-evolutionary nexus. Welcome to the future of humanist non-discriminatory thought and socio-cultural recategorisation. Welcome to the socialised redundancy of racism and race.

Tiny
The Boy Who Cried Wolf

An Aesop fable adapted by Louis Untermeyer

A boy employed to guard the sheep
Despised his work. He liked to sleep.
And when a lamb was lost he'd shout
"Wolf! Wolf! The wolves are all about."

The neighbors searched from noon 'til nine
But of the beast there was no sign
Yet "Wolf!" cried the boy the next morning when
The villagers came out again.

One Evening around 6 o' clock,
A real wolf fell upon the flock.
"Wolf!" cried the boy." A wolf indeed."
But no one paid him any heed.

Although he screamed to wake the dead,
"He's fooled us every time." They said.
And let the hungry wolf enjoy
His feast of mutton, lamb and boy.

The moral is this:
A man who is wise,
The Boy Who Cried Wolf

An Aesop fable adapted by Louis Untermeyer

A boy employed to guard the sheep
Despised his work. He liked to sleep.
And when a lamb was lost he'd shout
"Wolf! Wolf! The wolves are all about."

The neighbors searched from noon 'til nine
But of the beast there was no sign
Yet "Wolf!" cried the boy the next morning when
The villagers came out again.

One Evening around 6 o' clock,
A real wolf fell upon the flock.
"Wolf!" cried the boy." A wolf indeed."
But no one paid him any heed.

Although he screamed to wake the dead,
"He's fooled us every time." They said.
And let the hungry wolf enjoy
His feast of mutton, lamb and boy.

The moral is this:
A man who is wise,
Does not defend himself with lies.
Liars are not believed forsooth,
Even when liars tell the truth.

wardropper
Dame Hodge, as Normal Finkelstein beautifully describes her, is, frankly, not very bright.
Being bright is no longer a requirement for high political office.
In fact it is screened out at an early stage of a neophyte's career.
Louis Proyect
Atzmon is anti-Semitic. So is fellow Jew Ron Unz, who publishes everything that Atzmon writes. Here's something I wrote about Atzmon 8 years ago: https://louisproyect.org/2011/09/29/the-gilad-atzmon-controversy/
Seamus Padraig
And what if Atzmon is 'anti-Semitic'? I'm not saying he would claim to be; but it stands to reason that he would suit at least some people's definition of an anti-Semite–certainly your definition.

So what about it? If Gilad is critical of Jewish identity (identities?), maybe it's because he knows what he's talking about . Not only was he born in Israel and raised in a very Zionist family, but he has made it his lifelong avocation to study up on the history of Jewishness and Jewish identity. Even if you say his is just an opinion, you still have to admit that his is an extremely well-informed opinion. This is not Dr. Goebbels banging away on his Schreibmaschine here. Gilad certainly has a right to his views.

And what if it were to turn out that he's right, Louis? What if there are real problems with Jewishness that have historically caused gentiles–first Christian and now Moslem–to view Jews generally with suspicion if not contempt? In short: what if the rest of the world isn't just 'crazy'? What if?

I have read Gilad's books and followed his blog for some time now (even before he appeared at Unz), and while I may not agree with every last little thing he says, I find his writing in general very lucid and enlightening. But most of all, I have a lot of respect for the guy because of his integrity and courage; because of his determination to look in the collective mirror, as it were, and honestly report what he really sees–rather than what he wishes he saw.

(Oh: and he blows a mean stax, too! If any of you people here are into the old John Coltrane-style jazz, you really ought to check out Gilad the next time you get the chance. His shows are second to none.)

Devon
No one is interested in what others have to say about Atzmon, anymore. We read Atzmon and decide for ourselves.

It predictably contains something as shallow as your comment, that he is antisemitic. The world, save for a very small group with a sinister agenda, are bored with this stupidity.

mark
Oy vey, goy! The truth is anti semitic!! Shut it down!!!
Gilad Atzmon
I read your pathetic piece 8 years ago and looked at it again just now. You indeed manage to parrot other people's slander, yet the one thing you failed to do is to point exactly where in my work do i express hatred or call to discriminate Jews for being Jews. I certainly am critical of certain aspects of Jewish politics (in consistance with my opposition to all forms of biologically oriented identiterianism) . In my work I prove beyond doubt that Jewish ID politics is not merely a Zionist symptom but far wider phenomenon. In my work i insist that Jewish poliyics (left, right and centre) must be subject to criticsm I am indeed an opponent of Jewish Marxism as you pointed out in your article My criticism of this tribal phenomenon is identical with Lenin's criticism of the Bund (1903) ,,,I am about to go for a gig but will be interested to see whether you can produce an argument..I expect something slightly more profound that calling Unz or Shamir 'antisemites' or 'white supremacist' I hope that you are up for the challenge
Louis Proyect
I am indeed an opponent of Jewish Marxism as you pointed out in your article.

--

I imagine that you are referring to Groucho rather than Karl who was actually a Christian. I have to admit that the scene in "The Marx Brothers go West" was a bit troubling when Harpo smashed his harp over the head of a Catholic nun played in this film by Margaret Dumont.

Gilad
I actually have no issue with Karl Marx but I have a serious issue with the Bund and Bundists and I make this point clear in my work on tribal marxism.. you obviously didn't do your homework
Gilad Atzmon
Hello everybody, Gilad Atzmon here,,, Just in case you missed it, Here is an expose of caricature Lord Falconer reading a Zionist script in front of a BBC's camera https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fATmjCFckRs
Francis Lee
You think that anti-semitism violence (vintage 1941-45) was bad enough in Ukraine, try the Baltics, now our glorious NATO ally. As far as I know SS Waffen Units still had their reunions in Riga and Vilnius. Given the age profile it would seem that only few of the mass murderers are still alive. But the fact that they were still allowed to parade in an EU country at that late date is extremely disquieting. And it is a fact that the record past and present is studiously unreported. Censorship by omission. You see, Nazis are okay as long as they are own our side.

Of course the Baltic locals played their part in the mass murder, one in particular the Kovno garage massacre was so abominable that even the Germans were shocked. Check it out if you have the stomach for it.

In spite of Latvia Prime Minister's Maris Kučinskis disapproval, Riga authorized the March 16 march to honor Latvia's Waffen-SS Volunteer Legion established on that date in 1943. International protests have failed to prevent the march, just as they failed earlier. D uring WW2, some 150 thousand Latvians served on the side of the III Reich. They served in the so-called Volunteer Legion of the SS consisting of the 15th and 19th Grenadier Divisions of the Waffen-SS (or 1st and 2nd Latvian Divisions), the Latvian Luftwaffe Legion, German divisions and police battalions. They are responsible for many war crimes. One of them took place in Podgaje on February 2, 1945. During the breakthrough of the Pomeranian Wall, SS-men of Battle Group Elster which was part of the 15th Waffen SS Grenadier Division murdered 32 Polish POWs from the 3rd Infantry Regiment of the 1rst Infantry Division of the Polish People's Army. They were bound by barbed wire and burned alive in a barn.

Marches honoring Latvian SS-men have been a regular event in Riga since 1990. In 1998, the Latvian government made that date a national holiday, though international protests forced it to be reduced in 2000 to a national day of memory.

It is no different in neighboring Estonia. It celebrates August 28, which is when Waffen-SS began to recruit, in 1942, volunteer for its Estonian Legion which became the 20th Waffen-SS Grenadier Division. It fought at Narva and in Lower Silesia and Bohemia. Estonian SS-men also participated in counter-partisan operations in the rear areas of the Eastern Front, committing mass atrocities on the civilian population. It was commanded by SS-Obergruppenfόhrer Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski, the future butcher of Warsaw. Apart from the 30 thousand Estonians in the Waffen-SS, thousands more served in SS border guard units, security police, and the Wehrmacht.

Lithuania maintains the cult of the so-called Plekhavicius Legion, the Lithuanian Local Corps, or LVR, a criminal collaborationist organization serving the III Reich, and Ukraine worships the 14th Volunteer Grenadier Division of the Waffen-SS Galizien, whose formation's anniversary (April 27, 1943), is loudly celebrated in Lvov and other cities of western Ukraine. Glorifying the SS-Galizien alongside the Banderist OUN-UPA became the foundation on which the post-Maidan Ukraine's national identity is being built.

Croatia honors the Ustasha and the SS-men of the 7th Waffen-SS Volunteer Mountain Division Prinz Eugen, while Bosnia-Herzegovina likewise honors the SS-men of the 13th Waffen-SS Bosnia-Herzegovina Mountain Division Handschar. Hungary and Romania often stage historic reconstructions and other events commemorating these countries participation in World War II on Hitler's side on the Eastern Front.

Finally the Baltic States are fostering a cult of the so-called "forest brothers", or anti-commmunist guerrillas of 1944-1953 consisting of many former SS-men and Nazi collaborators

bevin
One of the problems with this campaign is that it has come to be seen as being, basically, about Corbyn and the Labour party whereas in fact it is about expanding the Israeli state's license to kill Palestinians while being rewarded by taxpayers in the UK.

The real issue, which particularly interests the UK which is, in historical terms, largely responsible for the existence of this European colony in the Holy Land, is that the peoples of Palestine have been subjected to a series of injustices without parallel in the modern world. And that, at almost every stage of Israel's seventy year descent into fascism-for that is what it is and who Likud and its allies are- it has been supported by the UK and the UK's political master, the United States.

It is this matter- the snipers killing ambulance attendants in Gaza, the burgeoning and appalling crisis caused by the Israeli siege, the inhumane treatment of prisoners, the contempt shown for established international law, a contempt which has been an important factor is reducing the post-war UN system to wreckage and allowing the serial aggressions of imperialist states- it is this matter which ought to be exercising the media, Parliament and, most particularly, the Labour Party.

Members of the party cannot dodge the fact that, when the UK left Palestine, abandoning its mandates and withdrawing its police forces it handed the people of Palestine, whom it had systematically disarmed, over to the offices of the terrorist organisations which formed the Jewish state and perpetrated the Naqba.

And the government of the UK at the time was dominated by the Labour Party. Israel was created by the Labour Party's actions and irresponsible inactions. It weighs on the collective conscience of the party and of the, now shattered remnants of, the Trade Union movement whose leaders treated the working people of Palestine with a cynical indifference which telegraphed the movement's decline

In other words, no party in the world, with the possible exception of the egregious Democrats in the USA, has more reason to be critical of the government of Israel and to insist that that state be sanctioned and boycotted until it is ready to deal honestly with the majority of its subjects, the disenfranchised residents of the state, the occupied areas of Palestine and the millions of descendants of those expelled from their land and homes in 1948. The Party should call a special conference to examine its policies on Israel and to put together a comprehensive plan to reverse the crimes of the past, and present and to bring the justice and fair treatment Britain promised the League of Nations to these victims of the Empire.

And those who protest that Israel should be left alone, and its crimes condoned, its child murders welcomed and its abuse of prisoners approved, ought to be excluded from the Party on obvious grounds with the Whip being withdrawn from all those MPs who have chosen, in being 'Friends of Israel', to be enemies of humanity and advocates of evildoing.

Seamus Padraig
Eloquent! Thanks for the comment.
mark
This anti Semitism smear campaign serves two purposes. (1.) To criminalise any and all criticism of Zionist atrocities and war crimes, no matter how egregious. (2.) To vilify Corbyn and "drive him out of public life", as openly declared by the Board of Deputies and the Israeli embassy.
Philip Roddis
I'll say it again, bevin. You should be writing above the line
Rhisiart Gwilym
Hear, hear to Philip's comment! Your level of knowledge and perspicacity – with a central core of steely moral honour – isn't all that common in the world. Please don't hide you light, b! Let's hear more of your analyses.
Harry Stotle
There is a semantic discussion to be had on definition but that is something not even the keenest minds can yet agree on – more importantly, and germane to Phil's article is the weaponisation of antisemitism as a means of exploiting political opponents, in other words hasbara.

One of its chilling effects of hasbara is to always put critics of Israel on the backfoot now matter how egregiously Israel or their supporters behave, such as disproportionate violence inflicted on Palestinian civilians, or Labour MPs working hand in glove with Israeli operatives to subvert left wing elements within their own party.

Stephen Sizer discusses the manual explaining how certain hasbara techniques are applied at different stages culminating in accusations of antisemitism designed to bring about personal or professional ruin.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/4Qq257bPZ0c

When consider motive amongst those Labour MPs screaming for the head of Chris Williamson and by extension Jeremy Corbyn several possibilities come to mind.

MPs may be afraid they might be net to be accused so identify with the aggressor rather than the person being vilified (even though those being tainted are invariably left wing with a strong record on anti-racisim)

It may be that some of them are simply ignorant, an idea that cannot be entirely be dismissed given how indoctrianted some of our political class are.
Or it could be they are complicit: in other words they understand how useful hasbara can be, especially as a device to purge the Labour party of socialists and as a means of ushering a new age of Blairism.

Incredible as it may seem some Labour MPs still go all misty eyed when the views of Anthony Charles Lynton Blair come up, rather like right wingers in the tory party who still have attachment issues with Pinochets former girlfriend, Baroness Thatcher.

Ken Kenn
Number 4 is the most interesting tactic. All racism is wrong and hate Speech can be a criminal offence. If the anti semitic accusations are true how is it that, as far as I know from within the Labour Party, no Court cases have ever troubled a Judge? The answer is simple – that would require proof/evidence. The MSM are Judge and Jury and their required standard of proof is zero.

Just add " allegedly " to a quote or " he said/ she said " and that's all they need to bamboozle the masses.

I'll hazard a guess that no-one from the Labour Party will end up in any court on any antisemitic charges in the future either.

SharonM
Hasn't it got to the point of self-parody? The zionists have even managed to make remembrance of a genocide well overdone. That takes some astonishing exploitation.
Bob Marsden
IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) definition of antisemitism.

Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

This definition of anti-semitism doesn't define semite.

If semite is held to be a synonym or euphemism for Jew, [all semites are Jews, all Jews are semites] then the word is redundant and can be removed from the definition of antiJewishness.

If this isn't the sense intended, as is implied by characterising "non-Jewish individuals" as potential victims, then a definition must include procedures for discriminating who is and isn't a semite, to answer such questions as: Is an Ethiopean Jew a semite? Is an Ashkenasi Jew a semite? Is a convert to Judaism a semite? and can non-Jews be semites?. Can a semite be identified by depictions of their facial features, such as the shape of the nose? If so Yasser Arafat was a semite.

In this definition, it seems that semite is an imaginary type or set, with indeterminable tokens or instances. Thus "rhetorical antisemitism" has indefinable, non-existent victims. So any allusion to tabu speaking about Jewishness will be accepted as antisemitic, with no possibility of refutation or defence. The only victim required is the accuser.

So the definition is a prejudicial nonsense, as is manifested in its current usage.

Incidentally:
Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People
1 -- Basic principles
A. The land of Israel is the historical homeland of the Jewish people, in which the State of Israel was established.
B. The State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people, in which it fulfills its natural, cultural, religious and historical right to self-determination.
C. The right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.

This omits the fact that the land was home to other peoples, and defines the State in racial terms. So any adverse comment on Israel is automatically anti-Jewish.

Antipropo
You stumble when you say "if so Yasser Arafat is a Semite" because of course ALL Palestinians, in fact all Arabs are semitic. The term Semite and the slander antisemite have been stolen-just as they stole and continue to steal Palestine- by the Jewish zionists and their willing accomplices in the Christian west.
Guy
" If so Yasser Arafat was a Semite." Yes, as are the Palestinians .I am surprised that Israel , it's occupants ,zionists and all have not been taken to task as to whether they are actually Semitic . It is a canard and we have all fell for it.
mark
Palestinians are the real descendants of the Jews of the Bible. The fake Jews like Nuttyyahoo or Mielkevic, or whatever his name is, all hail from the Khazar kingdom near the Caspian Sea. That is their homeland.
Guy
I first came across this information many years ago in reading the book "The Thirteenth Tribe " by Arthur Koestler .I have since read much about this hidden peace of historical information from other sources and some from Jewish archives.

http://www.fantompowa.info/koestlerindex.htm

Cheers.

harry law
Tony Blair was asked at an Israeli University if he believed Jeremy Corbyn himself was anti-Semitic, Blair said yes.

Blair's false accusations while presenting no evidence are deeply damaging to Mr Corbyn and hugely damaging to the Labour Party, in fact it brings Mr Corbyn and the Labour Party into disrepute in blatant contradiction to Labour Party rules. A false accusation of Anti-Semitism is just as obnoxious as a genuine accusation, the former made with the intention of harming Jeremy Corbyn and to bring both Corbyn and the Labour Party into disrepute is met with a shrug of the shoulders 'nothing to see here, move along' Similarly Margaret Hodge can say Corbyn is " A fucking Anti-Semite and racist" and nothing happens to her. Hypocrisy of the highest order. Is it any wonder the Party has lost nearly 100,000 members in the past couple of years.

different frank
"Formerly an anti-Semite was somebody who hated Jews because they were Jews and had a Jewish soul. But nowadays an anti-Semite is somebody who is hated by Jews." ~Hajo Meyer (born August 12, 1924 – 23 August, 2014) holocaust survivor
Brian Steere
Another word for a post truth politics is the psyop. Using the mind as a weapon against itself. My response is to go deeper than the baiting reaction of emotional reaction or rational opposition. The ability of the mind to make special or indeed sacred is to set apart in order to set over and against – with the key being in the ability to seed, set, and enforce a framework of narrative identity.

Working the polarised identity is not unique to power seeking through Jewish influence but is part and parcel of power set apart and over life as the mind of cunning contrivance or cleverness.

Gilad Atzmon mentions in his book that for around 2000 years, the richest daughters were married to the cleverest sons, and that this worked a measurable eugenic outcome in the population as a whole.

Irrespective of the specific historical context of any particular development of cultural identity is the underlying matrix or mechanism of its assertion and substitution of relational being by managed conflict.

I write to illuminate this towards our re-cognition and re-membering in true relational being and not within the framework of problems that predefine the terms of their own 'answer' such as to protect the problem from resolution and release by means of packaged presentations of complex instruments.

There is another facet of relational being that needs to come in here and that is of resonant communication as distinct from coded symbols and association. Attention focussed within its own 'special' thinking is diverted and in a sense bubbled off from its true relational being. Narcissism in this sense is built into the idea or image of self along with threat of extinction that invokes both terror and rage as polarities of division that generate a progeny of reactive containment under illusion of escape.

The more investment in 'solutions' that displace or dissociate the original error, the more identity is set and subjected under its own original split-word – but projected or assigned to the OTHER – be that G-d or Creation – it is now perceived rather than beheld, and through a lens of separation of the a-tempt to lord it over, along with the fear and hatred of subjection. These two are one error but split the experience of victim and victimiser.

The characteristic signature of the 'ego' or false self is conflict under narrative control. But to maintain continuity (believed survival or sustainability) requires the ongoing inducement to avert the 'greater fear' of humiliation of loss of possession and control by sacrificing through 'lesser evils' or 'necessary lies, wars or sickness by which to repackage and redistribute psychic emotional conflict – AWAY from the 'self-special'.

Everyone protects their investment as they see it and yet the native intelligence by which to re-evaluate a poor choice so as to replace with a more truly aligned outcome, is self-denied by a refusal to look within – under fear of threat or weakness. Thus the clever-minded can seem to look within with astonishing clarity – but only to the weaponisation and marketisation of what is revealed. Which is riding the crest of the wave so as to be in position of control from a segregated sense of self or private agenda that is by definition set apart and over others – on whom one's own motives are projected and attacked there.

Orwell coined 'doublespeak' for self-contradictory mind. this runs deeper than we think, because it provides the very basis by which we seem to think alone. A psyop is a mind-trap that baits reaction by which the unwary is induced to give power away. The idea of deceit is not new – and the notion of a power of deceit as self-destructive illusion is not new.

That we are in a sense living what we take to be life under an already deceit or illusion is not new, nor the recognition that denials come back to the mind that thinks thereby to have become 'more' or 'better' in unexpected ways.

One way of reading the world is to use what comes to our notice as a thread to our own 'unconscious' participation or correspondence so that instead of enacting the mind of judgement and living its script, we observe the mind in act and release investment in conflict identity. If you give willingness for this you will notice the mind in every attempt to re-interject a sense of 'control' or separation. The more you notice the more energy and attention is released from succumbing to a personal sense of power, to an impersonal love. Perhaps 'love' – like 'God' – is too degraded a word to use – but love of power for its own sake is giving all power to powerlessness. What else would so intensely focus in embodying such an idea but a powerlessness in terror of looking within, set in rage on its sense of denial 'without'.

Is is said that all power is of God – but that does not make an illusion of power real. But to participate in an illusion of power is to give unto Caesar what is due unto God.

Releasing the reversal of cause and effect is recognising and aligning in truth we do not manufacture, possess or control – but are at-oned with in sharing. The narrative is shifted in purpose. You are given a special role in the healing and awakening from a collective entanglement. But it is never more or less than to be who you are – as distinct from trying to be what you are not at expense of a full or overflowing awareness.

Hate and guilt can make a world and suffer it real – but do You WANT this?

Who lives by the 'Seperation' word shall die by the S-word. For the true Word is before and after – and in a sense inside time that seems to cover story.

The power that works in darkness of denied conflict, deems light an attack on its power of protection from light. But light simply is awareness. Only an illusion of light can 'attack' an illusion of darkness. In this sense the mind is a trickster when spinning out from the heart's knowing. Entertainment becomes entrainment to an invested identity habit.

harry law
Tom Watson put this letter together endorsed by 80 Labour Party MP's. After implying that the changes to the composition of the NEC panel involved corruption. The letter goes on ..

"It is clear to us that the Labour party's disciplinary process remains mired by the appearance of political interference, this must stop, we need an independent process".

Then unbelievably in the very next sentence he contradicts himself by calling for political interference.

"We call on Jeremy Corbyn to show leadership by asking for this inappropriate, offensive and reputationally damaging decision to be overturned".

In his last sentence, after Williamson is allowed back into the party by a properly constituted and legal administrative process overlooked by two Barristers, he throws due process under the bus. People like Margaret Hodge who called Jeremy Corbyn "A fucking Antis-Semite and racist" and who called upon any CLP who minimised Anti-Semitism "that we should just close them down" these people reveal their true nature on free speech, democracy and due process, they are against all three. Here is his last sentence

"Ultimately, it is for Jeremy Corbyn to decide whether Chris Williamson retains the Labour whip, he must remove it immediately if we are to stand any hope of persuading anyone that the Labour Party is taking Anti-Semitism seriously". Can the Labour Party be taken seriously?

Philip Roddis
Since writing this I've happened on an interview Roger Waters – an exception, alongside Brian Eno, to the rule that rock stars shall not rile the Israeli lobby – gave in 2016 to the Independent. The header says it all: Pink Floyd star on why his fellow musicians are terrified to speak out against Israel
Jen
It's mostly British rock stars who have spoken out against Israeli policies and actions that terrorise Palestinians. That may say something about the nature of the music industry in Britain as opposed to its American equivalent.

The US music industry, indeed the entertainment industry generally since major record labels these days are owned and run by the same corporations that own and run television and movie studios, book and magazine publishers, and news media, is one where the power of money and to make and break careers is highly concentrated among a few companies and individuals.

Rhys Jaggar
Antisemitism is actually a very silly term since it means 'the state of opposing semites and their values'. The first question to ask is who, exactly, the Semites were and are? The definition broadly given is 'those people who speak the semitic languages'.

So here is a list of Semitic languages:

1. ARABIC – 300 million speakers. Ho hum, so being anti-semitic means hating arabs does it? Should I call Bibi Netanyahu antisemitic for hating the Palestinians? NAUGHTY BOY! SPANK! SPANK!!
2. AMHARIC – 22 million speakers. This is a bunch of Ethiopians who you may or may not choose to like. But they are most certainly not Jewish.
3. TIGRINYA – 6.9 million speakers. Another Ethiopian group.
4. HEBREW – 5 million native speakers. So rather less than one in sixty Semites are actually Hebrew-speaking Jews. Do 59/60 semites really wish Bibi Netanyahu et al to corral them all under one umbrella with him at the helm? I have my doubts, you know .
5. TIGRE – 1 million speaker. A third small Ethiopian sect.
6. ARAMAIC – 0.5 to 1 million speakers from Assyria.
7. MALTESE – around half amillion speakers.

So Jews have appropriated a term for themselves when they represent less than two percent of Semites. What arrogance they possess!

So before we go any further, I suggest Jeremy Corbyn uses as one defensive strand that he likes many arab semites .that should cause unrest with Miluds given orders by the Mossad, Downing Street and GCHQ.

Secondly I suggest that Jews coin a new term referring solely to them as they are not, nor will they likely ever be the overwhelming majority of semites on earth. How about JEW HATER?

Finally I call on all non Jewish semites to disavow the use of the term antisemitic when referring to Jews, expressing outrage that Jews could insult their distinct cultures, traditions and values through insisting on using a term despicably inappropriate for matters at hand.

They could call for Margaret Hodge to be kicked out of the Labour Party for antinonjewsemitic behaviour, but that might be being petty

[Jun 30, 2019] The The science of influencing people: six ways to win an argument by David Robson

Jun 30, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

Little wonder that discussions about politics can leave us feeling that we are banging our heads against a brick wall – even when talking to people we might otherwise respect. Fortunately, recent psychological research also offers evidence-based ways towards achieving more fruitful discussions. Ask 'how' rather than 'why'

Thanks to the illusion of explanatory depth, many political arguments will be based on false premises, spoken with great confidence but with a minimal understanding of the issues at hand. For this reason, a simple but powerful way of deflating someone's argument is to ask for more detail. "You need to get the 'other side' focusing on how something would play itself out, in a step by step fashion", says Prof Dan Johnson at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. By revealing the shallowness of their existing knowledge, this prompts a more moderate and humble attitude.

In 2013, Prof Philip Fernbach at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and colleagues asked participants in cap-and-trade schemes – designed to limit companies' carbon emissions – to describe in depth how they worked. Subjects initially took strongly polarised views but after the limits of their knowledge were exposed, their attitudes became more moderate and less biased.

It's important to note that simply asking why people supported or opposed the policy – without requiring them to explain how it works – had no effect, since those reasons could be shallower ("It helps the environment") with little detail. You need to ask how something works to get the effect.

If you are debating the merits of a no-deal Brexit, you might ask someone to describe exactly how the UK's international trade would change under WTO terms. If you are challenging a climate emergency denier, you might ask them to describe exactly how their alternative theories can explain the recent rise in temperatures. It's a strategy that the broadcaster James O'Brien employs on his LBC talk show – to powerful effect.

Fill their knowledge gap with a convincing story

If you are trying to debunk a particular falsehood – like a conspiracy theory or fake news – you should make sure that your explanation offers a convincing, coherent narrative that fills all the gaps left in the other person's understanding.

Consider the following experiment by Prof Brendan Nyhan of the University of Michigan and Prof Jason Reifler of the University of Exeter. Subjects read stories about a fictional senator allegedly under investigation for bribery who had subsequently resigned from his post. Written evidence – a letter from prosecutors confirming his innocence – did little to change the participants' suspicions of his guilt. But when offered an alternative explanation for his resignation – to take on another role – participants changed their minds. The same can be seen in murder trials: people are more likely to accept someone's innocence if another suspect has also been accused, since that fills the biggest gap in the story: whodunnit.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Sajid Javid and Rory Stewart taking part in a BBC TV debate earlier this month. Photograph: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA

The persuasive power of well-constructed narratives means that it's often useful to discuss the sources of misinformation, so that the person can understand why they were being misled in the first place. Anti-vaxxers, for instance, may believe a medical conspiracy to cover up the supposed dangers of vaccines. You are more likely to change minds if you replace that narrative with an equally cohesive and convincing story – such as Andrew Wakefield 's scientific fraud, and the fact that he was set to profit from his paper linking autism to MMR vaccines. Just stating the scientific evidence will not be as persuasive.

Reframe the issue

Each of our beliefs is deeply rooted in a much broader and more complex political ideology. Climate crisis denial, for instance, is now inextricably linked to beliefs in free trade, capitalism and the dangers of environmental regulation.

Attacking one issue may therefore threaten to unravel someone's whole worldview – a feeling that triggers emotionally charged motivated reasoning. It is for this reason that highly educated Republicans in the US deny the overwhelming evidence.

You are not going to alter someone's whole political ideology in one discussion, so a better strategy is to disentangle the issue at hand from their broader beliefs, or to explain how the facts can still be accommodated into their worldview. A free-market capitalist who denies global warming might be far more receptive to the evidence if you explain that the development of renewable energies could lead to technological breakthroughs and generate economic growth.

Appeal to an alternative identity

If the attempt to reframe the issue fails, you might have more success by appealing to another part of the person's identity entirely.

Someone's political affiliation will never completely define them, after all. Besides being a conservative or a socialist, a Brexiter or a remainer, we associate ourselves with other traits and values – things like our profession, or our role as a parent. We might see ourselves as a particularly honest person, or someone who is especially creative. "All people have multiple identities," says Prof Jay Van Bavel at New York University, who studies the neuroscience of the "partisan brain" . "These identities can become active at any given time, depending on the circumstances."

ass="inline-garnett-quote inline-icon ">

You are more likely to achieve your aims by arguing gently and kindly. You will also come across better to onlookers

It's natural that when talking about politics, the salient identity will be our support for a particular party or movement. But when people are asked to first reflect on their other, nonpolitical values, they tend to become more objective in discussion on highly partisan issues , as they stop viewing facts through their ideological lens.

You could try to use this to your advantage during a heated conversation, with subtle flattery that appeals to another identity and its set of values; if you are talking to a science teacher, you might try to emphasise their capacity to appraise evidence even-handedly. The aim is to help them recognise that they can change their mind on certain issues while staying true to other important elements of their personality.

Persuade them to take an outside perspective

Another simple strategy to encourage a more detached and rational mindset is to ask your conversation partner to imagine the argument from the viewpoint of someone from another country. How, for example, would someone in Australia or Iceland view Boris Johnson as our new prime minister?

Prof Ethan Kross at the University of Michigan, and Prof Igor Grossmann at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, have shown that this strategy increases "psychological distance" from the issue at hand and cools emotionally charged reasoning so that you can see things more objectively. During the US presidential elections, for instance, their participants were asked to consider how someone in Iceland would view the candidates. They were subsequently more willing to accept the limits of their knowledge and to listen to alternative viewpoints; after the experiment, they were even more likely to join a bipartisan discussion group.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest The front pages of two New York newspapers on Friday 2 June 2017, as Donald Trump pledged to withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement. Photograph: Richard B Levine/Alamy

This is only one way to increase someone's psychological distance, and there are many others. If you are considering policies with potentially long-term consequences, you could ask them to imagine viewing the situation through the eyes of someone in the future. However you do it, encouraging this shift in perspective should make your friend or relative more receptive to the facts you are presenting, rather than simply reacting with knee-jerk dismissals.

Be kind

Here's a lesson that certain polemicists in the media might do well to remember – people are generally much more rational in their arguments, and more willing to own up to the limits of their knowledge and understanding, if they are treated with respect and compassion. Aggression, by contrast, leads them to feel that their identity is threatened, which in turn can make them closed-minded.

Assuming that the purpose of your argument is to change minds, rather than to signal your own superiority, you are much more likely to achieve your aims by arguing gently and kindly rather than belligerently , and affirming your respect for the person, even if you are telling them some hard truths. As a bonus, you will also come across better to onlookers. "There's a lot of work showing that third-party observers always attribute high levels of competence when the person is conducting themselves with more civility," says Dr Joe Vitriol, a psychologist at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. As Lady Mary Wortley Montagu put it in the 18th century: "Civility costs nothing and buys everything."

• David Robson is the author of The Intelligence Trap: Why Smart People Do Stupid Things and How to Make Wiser Decisions (Hodder & Stoughton, £20). To order a copy go to guardianbookshop.com . Free UK p&p on all online orders over £15

[Jun 28, 2019] Joining Some Dots on the Skripal Case Part 6

It is possible that Skripal was a source of some information in Steele dossier
Notable quotes:
"... Another corroboration was the Trump Tower meeting: ostensibly set up by Trump linked Araz Agalarov could verify the piss taking allegations. It's well worth revisiting the Elizabeth Vos Disobedient Media article for background on this meeting set up Mifsud et al: who are linked to London – not Moscow. ..."
"... "Genuine" in the sense that it was really written by a KGB insider (which Skripal was), NOT in the sense that what he alleged was true. The point is that the source of the Steele-Clinton dossier would have been revealed and, of course, the source would have been a proven consummate liar and traitor. This would blow Mueller's "investigation" out of the water. ..."
"... As someone who has worked for more than a decade with the microfilm collection of Soviet documents in the Hoover Institution Archives, I can say that the dossier itself was compiled by a Russian, whose command of English is far from perfect and who follows the KGB (now FSB) practice of writing intelligence reports, in particular the practice of capitalizing all names for easy reference. The report includes Putin's inner circle – Peskov, Ivanov, Sechin, Lavrov. The anonymous author claims to have "trusted compatriots" who knew the roles that each Kremlin insider, including Putin himself, played in the Trump election saga and were prepared to tell him. ..."
"... Sergei Skripal could fit the description of the "Russian" referred to in the third paragraph. ..."
Jul 11, 2018 | off-guardian.org

BigB

The main corroboration for the Steele Dossier was Christopher Steele: briefing the press at the Tabard Inn, Washington – to set up a collaboration loop. Julian Assange tweeted that one of the journalists was Paul Wood who looks like a spook or an asset himself.

https://mobile.twitter.com/JulianAssange/status/976943588394323973

Another journalists was Michael Isikoff. His planted story war used to collaborate the Dossier as the basis of the FBI's FISA warrant to surveill Carter Page.

The Nunes Memo also states that Steele back-chanelled additional allegations into the DOJ via Bruce Ohr.

Another corroboration was the Trump Tower meeting: ostensibly set up by Trump linked Araz Agalarov could verify the piss taking allegations. It's well worth revisiting the Elizabeth Vos Disobedient Media article for background on this meeting set up Mifsud et al: who are linked to London – not Moscow.

https://disobedientmedia.com/2018/04/all-russiagate-roads-lead-to-london-as-evidence-emerges-of-joseph-mifsuds-links-to-uk-intelligence/

Anyway, all these "experts" – and Wikipedia – seem to have got their information from one source – Steele: who both wrote and then corroborated his own dossier. With a little help from his intel friends

Einstein
"Genuine" in the sense that it was really written by a KGB insider (which Skripal was), NOT in the sense that what he alleged was true. The point is that the source of the Steele-Clinton dossier would have been revealed and, of course, the source would have been a proven consummate liar and traitor. This would blow Mueller's "investigation" out of the water.

But I'll not engage with you any further on this, since there's none so blind as those who will not see.

Thomas Peterson
why exactly does it seem likely Skripal was one of Steele's sources? did Steele even need any sources to write his ludicrous 'dossier'?
Jen
Paul Roderick Gregory who has followed Soviet and Russian politics professionally for several decades has this to say about the Steele dossier:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/paulroderickgregory/2017/01/13/the-trump-dossier-is-false-news-and-heres-why/#5a2c34e06867

The Orbis report makes as if it knows all the ins-and-outs and comings-and-goings within Putin's impenetrable Kremlin. It reports information from anonymous "trusted compatriots," "knowledgeable sources," "former intelligence officers," and "ministry of foreign affairs officials." The report gives a fly-on-the-wall account of just about every conceivable event associated with Donald Trump's Russian connections. It claims to know more than is knowable as it recounts sordid tales of prostitutes, "golden showers," bribes, squabbles in Putin's inner circle, and who controls the dossiers of kompromat (compromising information).

There are two possible explanations for the fly-on-the-wall claims of the Orbis report: Either its author (who is not Mr. Steele) decided to write fiction, or collected enough gossip to fill a 30-page report, or a combination of the two. The author of the Orbis report has one more advantage: He knew that what he was writing was unverifiable. He advertises himself as the only Kremlin outsider with enough "reliable" contacts to explain what is really going within Putin's office.

As someone who has worked for more than a decade with the microfilm collection of Soviet documents in the Hoover Institution Archives, I can say that the dossier itself was compiled by a Russian, whose command of English is far from perfect and who follows the KGB (now FSB) practice of writing intelligence reports, in particular the practice of capitalizing all names for easy reference. The report includes Putin's inner circle – Peskov, Ivanov, Sechin, Lavrov. The anonymous author claims to have "trusted compatriots" who knew the roles that each Kremlin insider, including Putin himself, played in the Trump election saga and were prepared to tell him.

The Orbis report spins the tale of Putin insiders, spurred on by Putin himself, engaging in a five-year courtship of Donald Trump in which they offer him lucrative real estate deals that he rejects but leaves himself open to blackmail as a result of sexual escapades with prostitutes in St. Petersburg and Moscow (the famous "golden shower" incident). Despite his reluctance to enter into lucrative business deals, Trump "and his inner circle have accepted regular intelligence from the Kremlin, including on his Democratic and other political rivals," according to the Orbis report.

This story makes no sense. In 2011, when the courtship purportedly begins, Trump was a TV personality and beauty pageant impresario. Neither in the U.S. or Russia would anyone of authority anticipate that Trump would one day become the presidential candidate of a major U.S. political party, making him the target of Russian intelligence.

Sergei Skripal could fit the description of the "Russian" referred to in the third paragraph.

[Jun 28, 2019] Why Vault 7 Tools Used by Private Contractors Shows US Intel Needs a Ground-Up Rebuild Part 2 OffGuardian by GH Eliason

Apr 18, 2017 | off-guardian.org

First, let's look at Bellingcat involvement in Ukraine.

On July 11th 2014 an event happened that shook my world, literally. Bellingcat reported that the Russians attacked Ukrainian armed forces from across the border in Zelenopillya. The Ukrainians suffered traumatic losses. Once again, Eliot Higgins provides the data to determine this. Once again Bellingcat was wrong about the origin of the attack.

This single battle marked the turning point for the entire war. The Donbass militia went on a large offensive for the first time and destroyed a big Ukrainian encampment with a rocket attack.

How can I afford to be so assertive? At 4:30 in the morning on July 11th every house in my town started shaking because of the massive explosions going on at Zelenopillya. I did say it shook my world, didn't I?

I was between the Russian border and the camp. We could see the smoke from the rockets and the sky was lit with the explosions . The explosions were loud enough to wake the dead that morning. There were no rockets flying over my head. For Russia to fire them, that's exactly where they would have been.

At that point we were under Ukrainian occupation for a couple of months. Two days before the attack on Zelenopillya happened, a Ukrainian army officer told the post master to get the children out of town within 2 days. The army was pulling out and a cleansing battalion (Donbas battalion) was coming in to weed out "separatists and supporters." That was when I came face to face with Mark Paslowsky, the American nazi . The article gives his background and tells what was going on.

Bellingcat misidentifies the weapon as artillery. Grad rockets were fired at Zelenopillya by the Rovenki militia that day. I spoke with the militia that fired them about 1 week after the fact. In the linked articles the Ukrainians state plainly that it was militia using Grad rockets.

The Ukrainians took some of their wounded across the border to Russia. It's not quite something you do if Russia was really attacking you. The worst injuries were treated locally. Donbass people ran there after the battle to help the wounded and the Ukrainian soldiers were treated at local hospitals. Ukraine abandoned them.

The story got a lot of play in the west in the west as a Russian attack on Ukraine thanks to this event. It was added to the list of reasons to sanction Russia. If the attack on Zelenopillya didn't happen, I probably wouldn't be here to write this.

For the third time on an important event, Bellingcat shows it cannot identify the origin or firing location of a weapon and misidentifies both the weapon type and the direction of fire in media.

Getting the facts straight about the MH-17 shoot down is the difference between hundreds of families getting justice and closure for those deaths or never seeing it. Convict the wrong party and justice is never served. New victims are made with false or erroneous evidence.

Bellingcat's importance to the JIT (Joint Investigative Team) investigation of MH-17 is apparent through all the media Higgins and Toler are quoted in media as the independent experts.

That last statement should grab your attention. Bellingcat and its founders Elliot Higgins and Aric Toler's credibility rests on the fact that they are independent researchers. If they are working for an interested party in any investigation, Bellingcat's credibility is destroyed and their research means nothing. After all, it's been paid for.

Bellingcat really grabbed the public's attention and imagination after the shoot down of flight MH-17 over Ukraine. Independent researchers Higgins and Toler went to work to find the missile launch site and the responsible parties, or did they?

As early as February 2014, Higgins showed the beginning of a clear pattern regarding Ukraine. In the tweet below this OSINT expert researcher was linking to a 1 month old blog started by Sviatoslav Yurash . What's special about Yurash at this time is that he was Ukrainian ultranationalist Dimitry Yarosh's English language spokesman. If that well known fact wasn't enough to caution Higgins, what was?

In the next article to follow, starting with Yurash as the first example, I'll show you how all these volunteer experts including Higgins get paid. The article will further cement and establish the relationships between Bellingcat, Weisburd, Watts and other intel and news headline providers with each other as well as their employers.

For now, the admission made by the Ukrainian Information Ministry and Aric Toler will have to be enough.

"September 29 and November 19, 2015 in Kharkov Crisis Infocentre Information Policy Advisor to the Minister Dmitry Zolotukhin conducted trainings on the search for information in open sources for journalists and bloggers in Kharkov.

In addition, already 21 November Dmitry Zolotukhin met with his US counterpart, team representative Bellingcat Arik Toler , who conducted a similar training for journalists in Kyiv on the invitation of Media Development Foundation. They also discussed the possibility of holding a conference in Kiev on thematic instruments OSINT-use techniques in the modern media."

One of the Media Development Center's sponsors is NATO . It is a project of the US Embassy in Kiev because of the association with the embassy's diplomatic paper, the Kyiv Post.

If that isn't enough, let's see how close Bellingcat's Aric Toler views the relationship.

According to both Information Policy Advisor Dmitry Zolotukhin and Toler, they are partners. Eric Toler and Eliot Higgins(Bellingcat), along with Aaron Weisburd, Clint Watts, and Joel Harding have been working with the same Ukrainian Information Ministry that started the "Mytorovyets" or Peacekeeper website.

They help the SBU geo-locate people in Ukraine. As shown above, they also train people to geo-locate anyone considered anti-Maidan or anti-nationalist in Ukraine. They didn't disappoint.

The Ministry of Information has been targeting journalists in Ukraine by geo-location for arrest or murder . The first public case was the Ukrainian journalist Oleh Buzina in May 2015. This was one month after my first article about Peacekeeper showed clearly that this was its purpose.

I think this pretty well sums up how independent Bellingcat's investigation has been. To add insult to injury, Higgins and Toler work directly with previously identified Ukrainian Intelligence hackers and Pravy Sektor members (ultra-nationalist Ukrainians) to get Bellingcat "independent research" information.

InformNapalm and its hackers are Ukrainian Intel agents working for the Information Ministry. In their own words – The main activities of the project are collecting and analysing OSINT-information , found in open sources, including social networks. InformNapalm's investigation of 53rd Artillery Brigade commander colonel Sergei Muchkayev, suspected of killing the MH17 passengers, was used in the report of the Bellingcat research team .

Who was the information source for independent researchers at Bellingcat? Dimitry Yarosh's best friend, Valentyn Nalivaychenko was one of them. In the spring of 2014, he replaced SBU(Ukraine's Security Service) personnel with ultra-nationalists because they had the right ideology. Another was Anton Gerashchenko who is responsible for persecuting the press in Ukraine.

In few days and hours after the crash of MH17 Ukrainian officials widely publicly discussed all that data (except the photo of "Paris Match") anonymously downloaded by someone to social nets. For example on July 17 Gerashchenko (The ministry of internal affairs) showed the photo of Buk at Torez; on July 18 Avakov (The ministry of internal affairs) showed the video of Buk at Luhansk; also on July 18 Nalivaychenko (the chief of Ukrainian security service) showed the video of Buk at Snizhne, and on July 19 Vitaliy Naida (Ukrainian security service) showed shot fragment of video frame (not the video itself) from Zugres.

Under the best circumstances Bellingcat's research can only be seen as a Ukrainian Intelligence production. If neither Higgins or Toler were actively engaged with Ukrainian operations on the many levels that they are, their source material is still very tainted. When all your research material comes from a party under investigation, you are no longer a neutral party. You can't pee in a blood sample and call it evidence. Are Higgins and Toler credible? You decide.

Max van der Werff has become a go-to resource for understanding information about MH-17. I have spoken at length with Max and his fellow researchers @bellingmouse. This linked article shows the strength of research these REAL volunteers have brought to the MH-17 investigation . I had to ask Max the great who-dun-it question. His response was after thousands of hours of research, he didn't know. Too many people were withholding information and remaining uncooperative on all sides.

What he was sure of is that Bellingcat's research is shoddy and a lot of the evidence appears fabricated.

Max van der Werf has been interviewed by the JIT investigative team on 4 occasions, given over 6 hours of recorded interviews to them, as well as over 14GB of data.

Examples of this include the fact that all of the images and video are such low quality and resolution, it's impossible to make definite determinations from them.

One of the chase vehicles (jeep) in Bellingcat's BUK convoy is driving with the door open. In another image of the BUK transport supposedly taken by a local resident, the apartment was not occupied in the summer of 2014. There was no one there to take the image. It was again so grainy and low quality that even a military vehicle substitution was not noticeable. None of the neighbors that were there saw a BUK on a trailer.

The route of travel according to Bellingcat would have taken the BUK launcher toward the conflict zone twice while battles were being fought across the region. Anyone familiar with the area or that had a map would take a direct route which would have made it much less noticeable driving through unpopulated areas.

Images taken after the shoot down are just as bad. Some unimportant parts of the image are in focus while it's almost impossible to make out the BUK even though it's right beside the photographer.

The so-called wire-tapped conversation was proven to be a Ukrainian SBU production. How is it still a part of the evidence chain?

What van der Werff and @bellingmouse have proven unequivocally is that another investigation needs to take place that looks for real evidence. The JIT, for their part had the impossible task of investigating a hostile shoot-down of a jetliner with no previous airline disaster investigation experience in a war zone that was active. The problem with it is objectivity was thrown out the window as soon as Ukraine got the right to reject evidence and control what would be made public.

What has looking for Ruskies done? In the eyes of Congress it made you and every publication that strives for neutral information or even writing from their political slant a Ruskie. You work for Vladimir Putin.

It has taken away any hope of justice for people in Syria and the families of MH-17 victims unless real neutral investigations take place.

It's taken away real news from the masses and replaced it with policy pieces from people that get paid to hate you. You are after all, the Russian interference that they talk about.

It's time to stop this bs.

[Jun 28, 2019] The OPCW, Douma The Skripals

Notable quotes:
"... It seems that everyone is lying about the Skripal affair. The UK govt. version is riddled with inconsistencies. But it does seem that 2 GRU officers were wandering around Salisbury. Why? And the Russians are lying about that. ..."
"... The likelihood is that the GRU were there to discuss with Skripal his wishes to return to Russia. There is an alternative likelihood that they were there to quiz him on his contribution to the Dodgy Dossier. Both scenarios could well lead to the British secret services deciding to take Skripal out, even down, and blame it on the Russians. ..."
"... I would suggest that Skripal and his daughter are now either living somewhere else in Natoland under different identities and some money to keep them quiet, or else their existence became too awkward and risky and sadly they have been liquidated. ..."
May 17, 2019 | off-guardian.org

In view of the latest revelations from the leaked report, which seem to prove that at least some elements of the Douma "chemical attack" were entirely staged, we want to take look back at the chaotic events of Spring 2018.

The following is an extract from an article by Catte originally published April 14th last year, which takes on a greater weight in light of certain evidence – not only that the Douma attack was faked, but that the OPCW is compromised.

You can read the whole article here .

Primarily UK initiative?

The neocon faction in the US is usually (and reasonably) regarded as the motivator behind much of the western aggression in the Middle East.

Since at least 2001 and the launch of the "War on Terror" the US has led the way in finding or creating facile excuses to fight oil wars and hegemonic wars and proxy wars in the region. But this time the dynamics look a little different.

This time it really looks as if the UK has been setting the pace of the "response".

The fact (as stated above) that Mattis was apparently telegraphing his own private doubts a)about the verifiability of the attacks, and b)about the dangers of a military response suggests he was a far from enthusiastic partaker in this adventure.

Trump's attitude is harder to gauge. His tweets veered wildly between unhinged threats and apparent efforts at conciliation. But he must have known he would lose (and seemingly has lost) a great part of his natural voter base (who elected him on a no-more-war mandate) by an act of open aggression that threatened confrontation with Russia on the flimsiest of pretexts.

Granted the US has been looking for excuses to intervene ever more overtly in Syria since 2013, and in that sense this Douma "initiative" is a continuation of their longterm policy. It's also true Russia was warning just such a false flag would be attempted in early March. But in the intervening month the situation on the ground has changed so radically that such an attempt no longer made any sense.

A false flag in early March, while pockets of the US proxy army were still holding ground in Ghouta would have enabled a possible offensive in their support which would prevent Ghouta falling entirely into government hands and thereby also maintain the pressure on Damascus. A false flag in early April is all but useless because the US proxy army in the region was completely vanquished and nothing would be gained by an offensive in that place at that time.

You can see why Mattis and others in the administration might be reluctant to take part in the false flag/punitive air strike narrative if they saw nothing currently to be gained to repay the risk. They may have preferred to wait for developments and plan for a more productive way of playing the R2P card in the future.

The US media has been similarly, and uncharacteristically divided and apparently unsure. Tucker Carlson railed against the stupidity of attacking Syria. Commentators on MSNBC were also expressing intense scepticism of the US intent and fear about possible escalation.

The UK govt and media on the other hand has been much more homogeneous in advocating for action. No doubts of the type expressed by Mattis have been heard from the lips of an UK government minister. Even May, a cowardly PM, has been (under how much pressure?) voicing sterling certitude in public that action HAD to be taken.

Couple this with the – as yet unverified – claims by Russia of direct UK involvement in arranging the Douma "attack", and the claims by Syria that the perps are in their custody, and a tentative storyline emerges. It's possible this time there were other considerations in the mix beside the usual need to "be seen to do something" and Trump's perpetual requirement to appease the liberal Russiagaters and lunatic warmongers at home. Maybe this time it was also about helping the UK out of a sticky problem.

The Skripal consideration

Probably the only thing we can all broadly agree on about the Skripal narrative is that it manifestly did not go according to plan. However it was intended to play out, it wasn't this way. Since some time in mid to late March it's been clear the entire thing has become little more than an exercise in damage-limitation, leak-plugging and general containment.

The official story is a hot mess of proven falsehoods, contradictions, implausible conspiracy theories, more falsehoods and inexplicable silences were cricket chirps tell us all we need to know.

The UK government has lied and evaded on every key aspect.

1) It lied again and again about the information Porton Down had given it

2) Its lawyers all but lied to Mr Justice Robinson about whether or not the Skripals had relatives in Russia in an unscrupulous attempt to maintain total control of them, or at least of the narrative.

3) It is not publishing the OPCW report on the chemical analyses, and the summary of that report reads like an exercise in allusion and weasel-wording. Even the name of the "toxic substance" found in the Skripals' blood is omitted, and the only thing tying it to the UK government's public claims of "novichok" is association by inference and proximity.

Indeed if current claims by Russian FM Lavrov turn out to be true, a "novichok" (whatever that precisely means in this case) may not have been the only substance found in those samples, and a compound called "BZ", a non-lethal agent developed in Europe and America, has been discovered and suppressed in the OPCW report (more about that later).

None of the alleged victims of this alleged attack has been seen in public even in passing since the event. There is no film or photographs of DS Bailey leaving the hospital, no film or photographs of his wife or family members doing the same. No interviews with Bailey, no interviews with his wife, family, distant relatives, work colleagues.

The Skripals themselves were announced to be alive and out of danger mere days after claims they were all but certain to die. Yulia, soon thereafter, apparently called her cousin Viktoria only to subsequently announce, indirectly through the helpful agency of the Metropolitan Police, that she didn't want to talk to her cousin – or anyone else – at all.

She is now allegedly discharged from hospital and has "specially trained officers helping to take care of" her in an undisclosed location. A form or words so creepily sinister it's hard to imagine how they were ever permitted the light of day.

Very little of this bizarre, self-defeating, embarrassing, hysterical story makes any sense other than as a random narrative, snaking wildly in response to events the narrative-makers can't completely control.

Why? What went wrong? Why has the UK government got itself into this mess? And how much did the Douma "gas attack" and subsequent drive for a concerted western "response" have to do with trying to fix that?

Is this what happened?

If a false flag chemical attack had taken place in Syria at the time Russia predicted, just a week or two after the Skripal poisoning, a lot of the attention that's been paid to the Skripals over the last month would likely have been diverted. Many of the questions being asked by Russia and in the alt media may never have been asked as the focus of the world turned to a possible superpower stand-off in the Middle East.

So, could it be the Skripal event was never intended to last so long in the public eye? Could it be that it was indeed a false flag, or a fake event, as many have alleged, planned as a sketchy prelude to, or warm up act for a bigger chemical attack in Syria, scheduled for a week or so later in mid-March – just around the time Russia was warning of such a possibility?

Could it be this planned event was unexpectedly canceled by the leading players in the drama (the US) when the Russians called them out and the rapid and unexpected fall of Ghouta meant any such intervention became pointless at least for the moment?

Did this cancelation leave the UK swinging in the wind, with a fantastical story that was never intended to withstand close scrutiny, and no second act for distraction?

So, did they push on with the now virtually useless "chemical attack", botch it (again), leaving a clear evidence trail leading back to them? Did they then further insist on an allied "response" to their botched false flag in order to provide yet more distraction and hopefully destroy some of that evidence?

This would explain why the UK may have been pushing for the false flag to happen (as claimed by Russia) even after it could no longer serve much useful purpose on the ground, and why the Douma "attack" seems to have been so sketchily done by a gang on the run. The UK needed the second part to happen in order to distract from the first.

It would explain why the US has been less than enthused by the idea of reprisals. Because while killing Syrians to further geo-strategic interests is not a problem, killing Syrians (and risking escalation with Russia) in order to rescue an embarrassed UK government is less appealing.

And it would explain why the "reprisals" when they came were so half-hearted.

If this is true, Theresa May and her cabinet are currently way out on a limb even by cynical UK standards. Not only have they lied about the Skripal event, but in order to cover up that lie they have promoted a false flag in Syria, and "responded" to it by a flagrant breach of international and domestic law. Worst of all, if the Russians aren't bluffing, they have some evidence to prove some of the most egregious parts of this.

This is very bad.

But even if some or all of our speculation proves false, and even if the Russian claims of UK collusion with terrorists in Syria prove unfounded, May is still guilty of multiple lies and has still waged war without parliamentary approval.

This is a major issue. She and her government should resign. But it's unlikely that will happen.

So what next? There is a sense this is a watershed for many of the parties involved and for the citizens of the countries drawn into this.

Will the usual suspects try to avoid paying for their crimes and misadventures by more rhetoric, more false flags, more "reprisals"? Or will this signal some other change in direction?

We'll all know soon enough.


andyoldlabour

D S Bailey was interviewed by the BBC after leaving the hospital, but that interview simply raised more questions. Why was his family allowed in the hospital without hazmat suits when the hospital staff were wearing them?

We were originally told that Bailey was contaminated whilst wearing police issue gloves, yet the BBC article said he was wearing a hazmat suit.
Nerve toxins kill thousands, yet only three people were initially contaminated and recovered.

Refraktor
It's beyond reasonable doubt that there was no Novichok: assuming that substance even exists. It could be that Sergei and Yulia were stooges loyal to MI5. It could be they were whacked with bz or fentanyl (by MI5) in the restaurant. That's all it would take. Of course army heads of nursing and CID officers would be circulating ready get a handle on developments. Perhaps it later became necessary to kill someone after the complete non-lethality of Novichok was revealed. Perhaps this death was really caused by heroin overdose or else something quite natural. Perhaps not. I concur that the most likely motive for this false flag was an attempt to escalate in Syria. Given the total barking insanity of the Skripal Saga it might be that NATO genuinely contemplated war with Russia at this time. When they lobbed those cruise missiles I thought their dreams were about to come true. Maniacs.
Stonky

Speaking of which, where on Earth IS Sergei Skripal?

Sergei was a double agent who could have had his finger in all sorts of dubious pies. There might easily be logical (if not legitimate) reasons for keeping him under wraps. Surely the more pertinent question is: Where is Yulia?

Because even if you swallow every fragment of the official UK nonsense, you're still left with this oddity:

Yulia Skripal is a young woman who was the completely innocent victim of a dastardly assassination plot masterminded by the evil Vlad. Having survived this attempt on her life, she has responded by deciding that she never again wants to see or speak to anyone at all. Ever.

Nick
It seems that everyone is lying about the Skripal affair. The UK govt. version is riddled with inconsistencies. But it does seem that 2 GRU officers were wandering around Salisbury. Why? And the Russians are lying about that.
Portonchok
Nick,

The likelihood is that the GRU were there to discuss with Skripal his wishes to return to Russia. There is an alternative likelihood that they were there to quiz him on his contribution to the Dodgy Dossier. Both scenarios could well lead to the British secret services deciding to take Skripal out, even down, and blame it on the Russians.

I would suggest that Skripal and his daughter are now either living somewhere else in Natoland under different identities and some money to keep them quiet, or else their existence became too awkward and risky and sadly they have been liquidated.

Stonky

But it does seem that 2 GRU officers were wandering around Salisbury. .. Why?

Nick, even accepting that the two guys were Russian intelligence operatives, there are a million explanations for their presence in Salisbury that day that make more sense than the official UK explanation: They came to assassinate Sergei Skripal by smearing the world's deadliest nerve agent on his door handle in the middle of a Sunday afternoon, while wearing no protective clothing

Jen
There is no proof that the two Russian men Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov were GRU officers. The so-called "proof" for that line of thinking comes from Bellingcat, a known propaganda outfit, who obtained the "proof" in highly suspect ways that suggest it was given cherry-picked information made to fit the narrative.

It is far more likely that out of the many tourists to Salisbury – hundreds perhaps, and many of them from Russia as well – these two men were picked out at random by UK government authorities as targets of suspicion because they happened to be travelling together and must have fit a preconceived template in which secret Russian agents (like Dmitri Kovtun and Andrei Lugovoi before them, when those two fellows were supposed to have poisoned Alexander Litvinenko back in 2006) are believed to travel in pairs.

John2o2o
Two Russians were wandering round Salisbury. That is all we know. Has it never occurred to you that the UK government and/or the people who poisoned the Skripals might be using them as convenient scapegoats? It may even be that they were deliberately lured to Salisbury to be set up in this way and had nothing to do with the poisoning.
OffG
Is there any solid evidence they were GRU? Has that ever been firmed up beyond Bellingcat's 'data dump' of largely unproven documents?
Seamus Padraig
The going theory is that the Russian agents were led into a trap. The GRU may have been made to believe somehow that Skripal intended to re-defect, and that's why they really went to Salisbury–not to assassinate him, but to help him arrange his escape. That's when the MI6 moved in for the kill, hoping to pin the crime on Russia.

To be sure, it's hard to get to the bottom of this cloak-and-dagger stuff when all we have access to is open-source information. But one thing is pretty clear to me: the idea that Russia would have allowed Skripal to defect, then waited all those years and taken crazy risks to kill him after having had him in their direct custody in a Russian prison for over 6 years, where they could have easily killed him at any time, is ridiculous.

John2o2o
They are not proven to be Russian agents.
Reg
John2o2o
No, not proven but is it possible they were low level couriers in a meeting set up by Yulia where information was to be swapped as the price as re-admittance to Russia for Sergei, particularly given Sergei's mothers advancing age.
It would explain the UK's panicked reaction as this was a meeting that must be stopped at all costs. How much would Sergei know of UK security service operations if he was still active? It would also explained why Yulia as also targeted and why there turned off their phones as they sought to shake off their UK handlers. A meeting is more credible in broad daylight than an assassination. An assassination with an escape route involving a train from Salisbury on Sunday is not credible.
It could even be that the UK security services carried out the attack in the hope of blaming Russia if the could convince them it was carried out by Russia. Having kept the OPCW away they could then interfere with the evidence at will with Novachock. They could be filmed propped up in bed blaming Russia (like Litvinenko), but they didn't play ball so have been kept incommunicado ever since apart from a a carefully scripted interview. The attacks on the other two months later could be to add credibility to a narrative that was loosing all credibility even among the general public.
JudyJ

"Having kept the OPCW away "

I always considered it was highly suspicious that the UK was most reluctant to involve the OPCW right from the outset even though that would be the normal internationally accepted practice in the circumstances; and when Russia was imploring them to do so.

Significantly, the UK only brought them into the picture (reluctantly) when they were given legal advice that Russia were entitled to invite the OPCW to investigate, and whoever issued the invitation first would have overall control of the final report (i.e. they could liaise with the OPCW in the drafting, they could redact it, and decide who was to receive copies of the full report as opposed to the summary report).

My suspicion now, knowing what we know about the OPCW Douma scandal, is that the UK were totally in cahoots with the US over the Salisbury events and when the prospect of having no option but to call in the OPCW emerged the US simply said "Don't worry about a thing. Just leave it with us. We'll sort things out".

Kathy
The British seem to me to act, hide and manipulate from behind the USA.
I think that Trump was really not meant to happen. Killery was supposed to take over the reins and continue the waging of wars in the Middle East. Syria being the immediate agenda.
The two above events both link up in an attempt to force Trump into complying. One of the connections is the attempt to try to smear Trump with the dodgy dossier. The chemical false flag was intended to provide the warmongers with enough pressure to force Trump to act and involve America against his better judgement in an all out war in Syria. luckily this became a short term token one off. Much to British annoyance.
It is the connection with the intelligence services that is key. All of these events seem to be designed to push Trump into compliance and conformity. It is the knowledge of /and his probable involvement with Christopher Steele, that suggest poor Sergey knew to much of both events, and so had to be silenced. The Skripal affair was, I think attempting a cherry on the cake demonizing of Russia with the Skripal narrative. A twist of the knife while Trump was under investigation over his supposed puppet status by/ collusion with Russia.
It seems that the latest persecution of Assange is also mostly being pushed by Britain. Assange certainly did play a big part in the narrative not playing out as planned.
crank
Remarkable that despite all that is known, an article (well, two really) like this does not meniton Israel once.
The extract from Catte's piece last year starts with the sentence, 'The neocon faction in the US is usually (and reasonably) regarded as the motivator behind much of the western aggression in the Middle East.'
The 'neocon faction' means what exactly ? Why not just say it ? It means Israel and the international power bloc aligned with Israel.
Perhaps Douma and Salisbury make more sense if they are put into a context of Israel writing and running US (and by extension, UK) foreign policies. And what of Russia's strange and often unmentioned relationship with Israel?
If anyone is serious about unwrapping the onion of lies and misdirection that passes for 'current events', then its time to consider Israel and its networks of supporters as the central focal point.
9/11 only makes sense, I would say, with this in mind. Ditto the Kennedy killings. If you think these events have significance in our present,and you genuinely stand against racist supremicism and crazed plans for world domination, then speak out about Israel before such speech is criminalised everywhere.
Dissidents_unit
Well said Crank. I have always believed Mossad had a hand in the alleged assassination attempt of the Skripals as Israel does have chemical weapons and has refused affiliation with the OPCW in order, I presume, to avoid inspections and having to decommission the chemical weapons they have. If anybody is to be accused of meddling in other nation's elections, politics etc Israel is right up there as the prime suspects – they obviously control Trump, they were caught on Video (at least a non diplomatic representative from the Israeli Embassy in the UK who branded himself as managing 'special projects') offering Joan Ryan – a Labour MP – £1m to run a smear campaign against Corbyn – which she gladly accepted. They have run continuous, spurious, ridiculous anti-Semitism claims against Corbyn and Labour which has only served to turn the public more against them and they are massacring and murdering Palestinians with impunity – all supported by the UK and USA.

I think Mossad were the Government (UK's) agents with respect to the Skripal affair. I am of the firm belief that the Skripals are both dead – after all, the UK Government cannot afford to release them so to speak. I say this because Sergei used to speak to his elderly mother in Russia if not every day, at least several times a week and he has not been in touch with her neither has Yulia. Yulia had a flat, a fiancι, a job and a wedding to arrange back in Russia – I don't believe she just walked away from all that.

Portonchok
And what of Russia's strange and often unmentioned relationship with Israel?
It's not strange at all. By far the largest group of immigrants into Israel are Russians.
John2o2o
Jews under the bed? I don't agree with your analysis. Israel has nothing to do with the Skripal poisoning. I understand your mistrust of Israel, but it is not to blame for all the ills of the world.
crank
How do you know that 'Israel had nothing to do with the Skripal poisoning' ?
You don't.
I know of no connection directly linking the events to agents of the Israeli state, but what does that mean? We don't really know any more than that the UK government story is a transparent fabrication.

If you conclude that Israel effectively runs US foreign policy then the Syrian situation has to be considered in that context. (Likewise Iran).
It's not called the Anglo-zionist empire for nothing.

Catte's article was basically a theorised link between Douma and Salisbury. Douma is in Syria, which is under attack from Israel, according to a plan drawn up in Israel decades ago, with proxy army from Neocon Washington (i.e. Israel)

mark
That's a good point. But I am struck by the leading role currently played by the UK in the recent litany of false flags and smear campaigns. The UK was a prime mover in setting up the "White Helmets" and the various Syrian gas hoaxes. Litvinenko. Skripal. The Steele Dirty Dossier. The Corbyn anti Semitism hoax. Admittedly probably with a large Zionist element.
crank
The Henry Jackson Society would be one obvious hub of neocon organisation within the UK political establishment. There surely are others that we are as yet unaware of (NB the recent Facebook revelations of political interference around the globe.)
In much the same way that the 'special relationship' between the US and Britain basically translates into Britain acting as America's de facto diplomatic poodle, HJS has long seen itself as an outpost to disseminate US neoconservative ideology in the British political establishment, media and civil society.

https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/the-american-far-right-s-trojan-horse-in-westminster-6799f442d6ce

http://spinwatch.org/images/Reports/HJS_spinwatch%20report_web_2015.pdf

JudyJ
O/T I know, but on the subject of the esteemed (!) Henry Jackson Society, I had to laugh the other day when I read about the pending departure of Alexander Yakovenko from the Russian Embassy in London.

A Dr Andrew Foxall, who (according to the Daily Mail) is the 'expert' Head of Russian Studies at the HJC, stated that it was clearly a suspicious move because ambassadorial positions are normally held for 5 or 3 years, not for the 8 years that Yakovenko had been there. He even spoon-fed us with the information that "8 is not divisible by 5 or 3" and therefore this has to be a forced move. I suggest that Dr Foxall needs to stop and think just a touch longer if he is ever asked to comment in public in future and not seriously damage whatever reputation he might claim to have. I ask you.

JudyJ
Sorry, should have made better use of my 'edit' time! HJC should of course read HJS. My proof-reading abilities are as questionable as Dr Andrew Foxall's maths!
crank
If anyone has not reviewed Christopher Bollyn's case against Israel for 9/11, I would suggest that now is the time.
Only a widespread revelation of the role of Israel in 9/11 can stop their war on Iran from proceding.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/5H9RY1N2ljA

crank
https://www.mintpressnews.com/newly-released-fbi-docs-shed-light-on-apparent-mossad-foreknowledge-of-9-11-attacks/258581/
UreKismet
There are only two viable theories about Skirpal IMO. The first is that his daughter had persuaded the old man to come home and the englanders learned this at short notice.

Sergeant Nick Bailey the thug on call that day, really screwed up the attempt to off Skirpal even poisoning himself in order to 'get' Skirpal before he met with the Russian officers who had been sent to negotiate his return home.

Proximity to English chemical weapons determined the method.

The second is also dependent on the proximity of English chemical weapons manufacturing base at Porton Downs. That is the English were responsible for training Syrian headchoppers in chemical warfare and they taught their terrorists about Novichok to false flag in Syria in a way that would make Russia appear culpable.

One of the trainee terrorists went to lunch and overheard the Skripals talking Russian & became so upset the invasion and war had been lost, he decided to poison em.

The latter doesn't fit the known facts as well as the former, but it is more credible than anything the Englander spies have offered.

Dissidents_unit
URKismet – just a comment – it turns out that the first responder apart from Nick Bailey was, in fact, the Head of Nursing of the British Army! No coincidence there I think. Either she or Nick Bailey or both are surely suspects in the administration of the toxic substance?
Wilmers31
Many people forget that Skripal took (according to wikipedia) approximately 300 other agents down with him when he was busted in Moscow.

That makes about 600 individuals (only 1 relative for each) who must be his enemies. Someone was after revenge? Whether that one was in Britain in exile or in Russia we don't know. People ignore such a large group of potential enemies.

Seamus Padraig
So why did the Russians allow the Skripals to emigrate to the UK in the first place? They had Sergei in prison for 6 years; they could have had him bumped off at any time while he was their prisoner. But for some odd reason they chose not to. Strange
Wilmers31
It was a prisoner exchange before Skripal had completed his sentence. The UK must have had an asset which Moscow really wanted, persons or . don't know. It is now time that these prisoner/spy exchanges no longer happen in secret. Why they let him out earlier is not understandable from what we know at the moment.
Wilmers31
The one thumb down is surprising. If that is for the idea to cease prisoner/spy exchanges that is somewhat silly as these exchanges do not make for happiness, as we have seen. If exchanges are so good, why not exchange Kevin Mallory with the Chinese? People need to cop the complete punishment for their crimes, you do not exchange murderers or fraudsters, either.

If the criticism is about the hundreds of people who are tempted for revenge after their cover was blown through Skripal then this is bizarre. What purpose does it serve to sweep it under the carpet that Skripal was only one person in a system? Maybe wikipedia's figure of 300 was wrong – let's have the correct figure then.

We can read in memoirs like Brian Crozier's "Free Agent" and "Gold Warriors" (Seagraves) what operations there were in Chile, Africa, Philippines etc but the many people who were involved are never mentioned. The individuals like Skripal or Crozier are the visible tips of the icebergs and it is legitimate to ask who else was involved in the operations, covert or open, legal or illegal, and who funded.

davemass
Profumo was jailed for lying to Parliament.
Surely May, and all accomplices should suffer the samne fate??
wardropper
I expect the US secret service just asked our secret service to take the initiative for once, since the US were beginning to look like the bad guys
Paul Harvey
I have privately speculated that the raison d'etre of the Skirpal farce was simply to generate the belief system and memetic narrative that Russia is currently producing chemical weapons/ nerve agents and is willing to openly use them on their perceived 'enemies' abroad (and of course that the origin of these chemical weapons, ie Novichok can 'proved' to be exclusively of Russian providence.

Why is the above important? Because if there is ever a chemical weapons attack in Syria on civilians and hundreds die and the nerve agent is 'proved' by the OPCW to be Novichok then of course Russia would get the blame for supplying the 'Assad regime' with this chemical agent. (Sarin, anthrax etc cannot be exclusively traced back to Russia, only Novichok and it alone can be, if we believe the prior Skirpal narrative).

As a side note – the story that Trump was shown images of dead English ducks and hospitalised English children in relation to the Skirpal incident makes me wonder if this was an attempt by British psychological warfare operatives to pre-program Trump and his team, so when videos eventually emerge of dead animals and hospitalised Syrian children, the link is already fixed in their mind as to what a Novichok 'attack' looks like).

One has to admit the story that surfaced last month of dead ducks/hospitalised kids images shown to Trump in relation to the Skirpal narrative was very strange to say the least.

Just as the Skirpal case 'fixed' the Novichok narrative in the MSM as exclusively of Russian providence, one can also speculate that the Douma 'Barrel Bomb' meme (and the fake OPCW Report) was another key part of the narrative – if a speculative Novichok attack occurs and footage emerges of similar containers as used in the the fake Douma chlorine attack, the OPCW can already point to the providence of the delivery system as being exclusively of Syrian military origin and the Douma events as simply a precursor to a current 'Novichok' attack (just as the Skirpal events would be used as a precursor to Russian culpability and perhaps even the suggestion of active Russian involvement in a mass chemical attack on Syrian women and children using the agent Novichok.)

Maybe this is what the Russians mean by UK involvement in Douma – maybe they worked out that the Skirpal events were a precursor to a wider false flag event to be staged down the line by elements of British military and state intelligence networks in conjunction with elements within NATO and U.S. intelligence structures.

I know this is total speculation and I provide it as food for thought and grounds for further research in reference to this article.

Panopticon
All you need to know about Skripalgate : )

https://syrianobservatoryforhumanwrongs.wordpress.com/2018/07/09/an-idiots-guide-to-the-skripal-affair/

CoryP
This was such a treat. Thanks for sharing!
wardropper
That is a tremendous piece of work. It should go down in history, but people are already forgetting Skripal's name. A truly brilliant summary.
mark
Chemical weapons have been used against the Syrian military, inflicting casualties. They have also been used routinely by the British taxpayer funded head choppers and throat slitters to terrorise civilians indiscriminately for years. As for "scant evidence of jihadists weaponizing chemicals", they have been arrested in Turkey by the Turkish police in possession of canisters of sarin nerve gas. Just one of many documented instances. But maybe this just comes from a "conspiracist mindset." Maybe it's totally irrelevant to the issue when terrorists are arrested in Turkey in possession of nerve gas.
mark
The UK taxpayer funded head choppers and throat slitters routinely seize civilians as hostages, then murder them and blame it on Assad. They have massacred entire villages then called in their chums in the BBC to film the evidence of "Assad's latest atrocity." Like they film the devastation in Gaza and try to pass it off as rocket damage in Israel. All in a day's lying for the folks at the Botty Bangers Club.
John
Isn't it odd that you used opcw findings when it matched what you want but it doesn't fit now so you're having a hissy fit! I hope horrid things happen to you fake socialist
lundiel

isn't it odd that sarin gas or even chlorine has only been used to kill their own women and children rather than the Baathist military?

No. Western media aren't going to get in a frenzy if some of Assad's soldiers are killed.

crank
isn't it odd that sarin gas or even chlorine has only been used to kill their own women and children rather than the Baathist military?

– In a word, no. Anyone with even the slightest comprehension of how psychological warfare works would understand this.

Louis Proyec – 'reader'

Maybe read more widely, or start thinking more deeply, or stop bullshitting so lamely.

Loverat
I came across a similar post Louis made on another topic a while ago.

The political language and terms used in his posts always suggest his political position is his starting point then arranging selective facts to support it. First, the classic line of attack is accusing others of 'conspiracy theorists' – a tactic used by mainstream journalists and Bellingcat and el against the academics and experts of the Syria Working Group. As said below, that does not cut it – especially now the 'conspiracy theorists' have for the umpteenth time been vindicated.

Louis, comes out with stuff like 'Baathist troops' (he uses the word 'Baathist' three times in his post as if it was somehow relevant) whereas someone normal, of genuine intelligence and independent, would use the description 'Syrian Army'. Why would you say 'Baathist troops' or use other pointless labels unless you are trying to distract from the real issues while attempting to give the impression of having some knowledge. His political posturing offers nothing by way of getting to the truth and he appears to be another self-serving armchair commentator.

mark
Maybe we could get him a job with Bellingcat.
OffG
You're embarrassing yourself, Louis. Throwing out stale ad homs like 'conspiracist' isn't enough any more. You need to up your game, deal with the developing reality or retire.
Jen
We need the other anti-Assad troll back but the danger is I might get sick of hitting him again with Yassin al-Haj's article for the New York Times where the Syrian activist admits to having stayed with the White Helmets in Ghouta in mid-2013 before fleeing to Raqqa and leaving his wife Samira Khalil behind.
Ken
Take it easy on poor old Louis; what can one expect from a fellow who probably believes that 9/11 was not a false flag either? And that one is a complete no-brainer to see.
Rhisiart Gwilym
Come on! Let's encourage the poor old fart to go on posting here. He's always good for an incredulous laugh. And he's a warning too to anyone trying to make sense of Western criminal realpolitik, an object lesson in what happens to a supposed 'radical thinker' – hah! – who drinks too deeply of the Western propaganda kool-aid, and holds the stuff down, too, until it comes time to regurgitate it as if it were 'original thinking', the poor sucker. Don't off him. He's useful as light amusement.

PS: in case you think I'm being a bit ad-hominy, I'm a poor broken down old fart myself. But I still have my wits about me, and I can still smell the stench of the West's Permanent Bullshit Blizzard when I meet it. Catch up soon Louis! Till then – thanks for all the laffs! :O)

JudyJ
" isn't it odd that sarin gas or even chlorine has only been used to kill their own women and children rather than the Baathist military?"

No, not at all odd.

1. To be clear, when you say "their own" I presume you mean the Syrian women and children who the (mainly non-Syrian) terrorists hold as captives to ensure their men folk co-operate with them, or to be used in propaganda campaigns including 'false flag' scenarios.

2. In what form would you suggest the Jihadi murderers might be tempted to use chlorine in a way capable of killing opposition soldiers? Chlorine is essentially an unpleasant irritant if misused. To kill, it would have to be administered in an enclosed space where there was no means of escape for the victims.

3. We are constantly being fed the lie that the terrorists don't have sarin so it would be rather foolish of them to deploy it against opposition soldiers. Even they've worked that one out.

4. The terrorists are mercenaries paid by western agencies whose primary function is to carry out acts to discredit the Assad Government, thereby providing an ultimate excuse for military action to overthrow the Assad Government. The most obvious way to do this is to murder, as you so sensitively express it, "a bunch of Syrians" in a way that the West finds appropriate to point the finger at the Assad Government and its Russian allies.

This all makes a lot more sense than the idea that the Syrian Government assisted by the Russians would choose to murder innocent Syrian civilians, not least by using outlawed chemical weapons, and incur the wrath of western powers at the point when they were succeeding in defeating the terrorists with relative ease.

WeatherEye
Fantastic piece. The leaked report confirms what many analysts on the left have been saying, including myself. https://flashpointssite.wordpress.com/2019/05/17/chemical-attack-on-dhouma-foam-lies-and-videotape-weathereye/

[Jun 28, 2019] Joining Some Dots on the Skripal Case: Part 6 – Tying up the Loose Ends

Jun 28, 2019 | off-guardian.org

Over the last five pieces ( Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3 , Part 4 , Part 5 ) I have, slowly but surely, advanced a theory of what happened in the Skripal case. I must confess to having done so with a fair amount of unease. I don't want to believe that my Government has been stating a case that is false. I don't want to believe that the public have been lied to. I don't want to have to think that there has been a lot of effort made to present an explanation that hides the truth.

And yet, given the fact that the Government story contains self-evident fallacies, and cannot be made to add up, I don't think that there's much alternative than to be hugely sceptical about their claims. I stated the two main fallacies in Part 1 , which are the claims that three people were poisoned by the nerve agent A-234, which is 5-8 times more toxic than VX, and that because A-234 was developed in the Soviet Union, the Russian State is responsible for what happened. The first claim cannot be true, because the three people are alive and well and have suffered no irreparable damage. The second claim is palpably untrue, because A-234 has been synthesised in a number of countries.

Yet this is only the tip of the iceberg of the absurdities and anomalies. I don't intend to go through all of them, but would simply point anyone who does believe the official story to concentrate on three words: The Door Handle. This was apparently where the poison was poured, so allow me to pose five questions about this claim to those who believe it to be true:

During the "clean-up" operation, there were lots of military chaps wearing HazMat suits, which are designed to protect against exposure to toxic chemicals. How, then, did the assassin apparently manage to pour this same lethal, military grade nerve agent on a door handle, without wearing a HazMat suit? On the other hand, if he or she was wearing a HazMat suit when performing the operation, wouldn't someone in Christie Miller Road have noticed and found it – shall we say – a bit odd? If the poison was administered to the door handle, how exactly did both Sergei and Yulia Skripal manage to touch it (people don't normally both touch the door handle if they go in the house together), and how did they manage to get exactly the right quantities on their skin so that they collapsed at exactly the same time, some four hours later? The door handle theory only reared its head some three weeks after the poisoning, at which point the substance was said to have been still present in a "highly pure" form. During this three weeks, many people went in and out of Mr Skripal's house using the front door. How did they manage to do so without using the door handle, or if they did, how did they manage not to succumb to poisoning? Part of the Government's alleged evidence pointing at the high likelihood of Russian involvement in the case, is an FSB instruction manual showing – amongst other things – how to assassinate someone by pouring Novichok on a door handle. Suspending our disbelief on this claim for a moment (and admittedly that is hard), did the Government have the manual when they made their accusations against the Russian Government on 12th and 14th March, and if so, why did the door handle theory not surface for more than a week after this?

Of course, a few moments consideration about the door handle theory will show that – like the rest of the official story – it is simply wrong. And because it is so plainly wrong, that is why we can safely say that the real explanation lies elsewhere.

Nevertheless, I am aware that in advancing another explanation, there are likely to be many holes in it too. Whilst much of what I have said throughout this series has been based on facts and eyewitness statements, the theory I have advanced from those facts and witness statements remains unproven. And so I would ask that where I have got things wrong, you would forgive me, and where things don't make sense, you would point them out.

Having said that, what I want to do in this final piece it to tie up a few loose ends and – most particularly – attempt to demonstrate how the theory I have advanced explains some of the other anomalies in the case in a far more cogent and rational way than does the official story. So here goes.

The Deafening Silence of Sergei Skripal

One of the least talked about points in the official story, yet one that really is very important, is that if it were a true account, Mr Skripal would almost certainly have no more clue about who poisoned him than the average person in the street. If it were true that an unknown assassin, appointed by the Russian Government, poured military-grade nerve agent onto his front door on 4th March, before fleeing back to the Motherland, Mr Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, would be as much in the dark as to who did it than you or I.

Now, if that were the case, two things would naturally follow. The first is that Mr Skripal would almost certainly be inclined to believe the version of events given to him by the Metropolitan Police. Think about it. He wakes up one morning in a strange hospital bed, and has absolutely no clue why he is there or what happened to him. Then a kindly policeman comes and explains that he was the target of an assassination attempt using a lethal nerve agent, and that the British Government believes that it was ordered by the Russian Government. What is he going to believe? Fairly obvious I would think. At least he would have no reason to disbelieve them.

The second thing that would naturally follow is that, as soon as he was able, he would want to release a statement, either on paper, or in an interview, where he not only pledges his support for the Metropolitan Police and their ongoing investigation, and no doubt hints at involvement of the Russian State, but also – and this is crucial – where he also gives the public some information about what actually happened to him on 4th March: where he went, when he first started to feel ill, and what he last remembers.

Again, think about it. If you were in his shoes, wouldn't you want to catch the people who did it? And wouldn't you assume that the more information you could give to the public, perhaps even clearing up some of the anomalies (such as the reason for the agitation in Zizzis), the more chance there would be that someone's memory might be jogged and vital information given to the police?

Of course you would. And yet so far, Mr Skripal has released no such statement. Why?

It isn't that he is physically or mentally incapacitated. We know from Yulia Skripal's brief call to her cousin on April 5th (which almost certainly wasn't "meant" to happen), that Sergei was by that time fine. In response to Viktoria's question about her father, she said this:

"Everything is ok. He is resting now, having a nap. Everyone's health is fine, there are no irreparable things. I will be discharged soon. Everything is ok."

That was nearly three months ago, and yet the Sergei Skripal who was fine on 5th April, having suffered no irreparable damage from apparently being poisoned by the world's most deadly nerve agent, and who was discharged on 18th May, still has not spoken.

I put it that the theory I have advanced (see Part 5 in particular), suggests an obvious reason for his silence. Were he in the dark about the identity of those who poisoned him, as the official story implies, his silence would be inexplicable. Don't you want to catch the perpetrators of this crime upon you and your daughter, Sergei?

Yet, if we assume that actually he knows exactly who poisoned him and why they poisoned him – as would be the case according to the theory I have advanced – then his silence is very easily explained. He cannot be allowed to be interviewed about what happened, because he would blow the whole wretched business clean out of the water. He cannot be allowed to make an open statement, with the press there to ask free questions, because it would come out that he had been meeting someone at the bench in The Maltings, and that this someone whom he met was the person who poisoned him.

In addition, his (highly likely) authorship of the Trump Dossier would be revealed. And if this were to happen, not only would it be seen that the foundation upon which the whole Trump/Russia collusion hoax was based was made of straw, but it would become clear that the interference in the 2016 US Presidential election was never really about Russian interference to get Trump elected; but rather about British interference to stop Trump getting elected.

The deafening silence of Mr Skripal is therefore strong evidence of a number of things:

That the Government story, in which he was the unsuspecting victim of a Kremlin plot, is without foundation. That he well knows who his poisoners were and why they poisoned him. That he cannot be allowed to speak freely because if he was, a scandal of monumental proportions would be revealed. The Deafening Silence of Yulia Skripal

Deafening silence of Yulia? What am I talking about? She has released a number of statements through the Metropolitan Police, and in the statement (not interview) she made to Reuters. So what do I mean?

Many have pointed out a number of remarkable things about her Reuters statement. For one, she looked remarkably well. For another, the language of the statement she read was highly suggestive that it was first written in English – not by her – and then translated into Russian (statements like "I do not wish to avail myself of their services" don't normally trip off the tongue of native English speakers, let alone those who speak it as a second language).

But for me the most remarkable thing about all of her statements are not what they do say, but rather what they don't say. As with Sergei's silence, Yulia has nothing whatsoever to say about the day of the poisoning. Isn't that odd? She notes that she and her father survived an "attempted assassination". She notes that a nerve agent was used to do it. But she says nothing about her and her father's movements that day. Nothing about what they did and where they went. Nothing about when they first succumbed to the effects of the poisoning. Nothing to suggest that her father's agitation in Zizzis may have been caused by poisoning.

In short, she says nothing whatsoever about the poisoning itself. Zero. Diddly squat. Zilch. Nada. Nothing. Why?

As with Sergei's non-statements, this doesn't compute. If you happened to wake up in a hospital to be told that you had been the victim of a nerve agent poisoning, you would almost certainly want to tell people as much as possible about your movements up to the point of the poisoning. Wouldn't you? Of course. Especially if not only you had been poisoned, but also your dad. You'd at least want to sound a bit more interested in actually catching the perpetrators than Yulia, who didn't so much as mention it, and instead sounded like she just wanted to move on and forget it ever happened.

Once again, this total silence on something so crucial just doesn't fit at all with the official story. That narrative suggests that Sergei and Yulia were innocent victims of a Kremlin-hired assassin. That narrative suggests they don't know who that Kremlin-hired assassin was. But it also suggests that they of all people have a huge interest in giving details of what happened to them that day. And yet there is silence.

Does it fit better with the theory I have proposed? You bet it does. If what I have suggested is anywhere close to the truth, just like Sergei, Yulia cannot be allowed the freedom to give a proper interview where any question is allowed. She cannot be given consular access by the Russian Embassy. Why not? Because she knows what her dad was up to; she knows why he was meeting people at a park bench on Sunday 4th March; and she knows that the two of them were poisoned by the people who they were meeting.

Why did she agree to an interview? No doubt she realises what a difficult and vulnerable position she is in. Despite claims to the contrary, she clearly has no contact with her family back in Russia, or indeed any contact with the outside world. She was almost certainly pressured into making a statement, and yet -- as Tony Kevin convincingly argues here -- it has many signs of being a compromise statement. And so she agreed to making a fairly nebulous statement -- one which is almost inconceivable from the point of view of the official narrative, but which fits perfectly with the narrative I have advanced.

The Deafening Silence of Nick Bailey

One final deafening silence that doesn't exactly do wonders for the official narrative, is the silence of Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey. He has always been a big puzzle in this case, for a number of reasons. It was first said that he was poisoned at The Maltings. However, the problem with this explanation is that there was absolutely no reason for him to have been there. The case was treated by Salisbury District Hospital as a case of Fentanyl poisoning. Why would a member of the Criminal Intelligence Department (CID) be called to a bench to an apparent opioid overdose?

It was then said by none other than Lord Ian Blair that DS Bailey was actually poisoned at Mr Skripal's house. But again, the same question arises. Why would a member of CID be sent to the home of a person in a what looked like a case of opioid poisoning?

The story then swung backwards and forwards a number of times between a poisoning at the Maltings and a poisoning at Mr Skripal's house. These anomalies are very important, but even more important is that they could have been put straight by DS Bailey himself. If the official story was correct, not only would it have been super easy to have verified where DS Bailey was poisoned, but he himself could have testified to it. And yet like the Skripals, there has been nothing!

Given the absurd changes to this particular part of the story – and it is perhaps the easiest of all parts to verify – my assumption is that he was poisoned at neither The Maltings or Mr Skripal's house. Instead, just as I wrote in Part 5 that I believe it likely the Skripals were poisoned by an incapacitating nerve agent in the red bag that was then seen next to the bench, I think it highly likely that DS Bailey was poisoned from the same source.

But where? The red bag was removed from the scene by a police officer and placed in an evidence bag. Why would this have been done? Because the pair on the bench were suspected of overdosing on an opioid, and the bag would naturally be removed by police so that its contents could be examined. And whereas I think it unlikely that someone from CID would be called to the scene of a drug overdose, it seems quite likely that they might receive and handle evidence taken from such a scene. Therefore my guess – and I stress that it is only a guess – is that DS Bailey was the man who received the bag, and whilst looking inside to see its contents, was poisoned by the same incapacitating agent as the Skripals (possibly something like 3-Quinuclidinyl Benzilate (BZ), but definitely not A-234).

Again, if the official story were true, what would prevent DS Bailey from giving a brief statement or interview, confirming exactly what happened to him? But if the red bag theory is close to the mark, then it becomes plainly obvious why this hasn't yet happened.

Smokes and Mirrors

Which actually brings me on to the penultimate point I want to make in this piece, and indeed in this 6-part series. Everything in the official story, no matter how absurd, seems designed to point our attention away from the most probable source, place and type of poisoning: The red bag, at the bench, and an incapacitating nerve agent. And it does so because if our attention is focused on them, then a very different story begins to emerge. Which cannot be allowed to happen.

As stated above, claims about A-234 being used just don't add up. Neither the time delay, nor the symptoms, nor the recovery of the Skripals with no irreparable damage match up to what this deadly, military grade, high purity, lethal nerve agent that is so much more toxic than VX, is meant to do. What the claim does, however, is points our attention away from what is far more likely – an incapacitating agent administered to the Skripals between 3:45 and 4:00pm on 4th March.

As stated above, claims about the door handle just don't add up. Neither the fact that both Sergei and Yulia were poisoned, nor the fact that others went in and out of the house before the door handle theory was put forward and didn't succumb, nor the fact that the substance on it apparently remained of "high purity" weeks later – none of these things make any sense. What the claim does, however, is directs our thoughts away from what is far more likely – that the substance used to poison the Skripals was administered at the bench, and probably via the red bag.

The apparent motive put forward in the official narrative doesn't add up either. There is a general agreement among countries that you do not target spies who have been part of a swap. Why? Because if you do, you can kiss goodbye to ever getting any other spies swapped in the future. It's called shooting yourself in the foot big time! But what this frankly risible explanation for the apparent motive behind the poisoning does, however, is to point our attention away from what Mr Skripal was really up to. And as I set out in Part 4 , this was very likely something to do with authoring the Trump Dossier.

Nothing about the official story makes sense. None of it adds up. It is riddled with holes. But I would submit that the only thing that does make sense about it, is that the parts that go to make up the sum are all desperate attempts to divert attention. They are smokes and mirrors, designed to stop us from considering some of the more obvious aspects of the case, and some of the more startling aspects of the case – Mr Skripal's involvement with MI6; his likely involvement in or authorship of the Trump Dossier; the likelihood that he was due to meet people at the bench in The Maltings; the probability that this is why he was agitated and in a hurry in Zizzis; the likelihood that he knows who poisoned him and why.

And of course the reason that these things are not supposed to be considered is that if – and I acknowledge it is a big if – the alternative explanation I have advanced is true, and if it became generally known, then it would cause just about the biggest political crisis in British political history.

And Finally

Having said that, I have to say that I don't believe it at all likely that the British Government knew about any of this before it occurred. I get the impression that the intelligence agencies on both sides of the Atlantic are a law unto themselves, and I think it likely that some of their number wanted to send Mr Skripal a message, one which would look like an opioid overdose, one which he would recover from reasonably quickly, and one which would be forgotten very soon.

However, I don't think that the poisoning of DS Bailey was meant to happen, but when it did, it set off a series of events that quickly got out of control. I don't think the identity of Sergei Skripal as a Russian involved in a spy swap was ever meant to make it into the press, but it did and very soon what looked like some kind of opioid poisoning quickly became an international spy saga.

The British Government's reckless and extraordinarily quick reaction to the case was, apart from being a travesty of the rule of law, one of the biggest clues that the official narrative was not true. If it were true, they could have took their time, acted calmly, and let the investigation run its course. Instead, what we got was a lawless, irrational and absurd response. It all smacked of a panicked reaction, and whilst it made no sense in terms of the story they sold us, it makes perfect sense if the truth was that they were desperate to prevent news getting out about who Skripal really was, what he had been up to, and how the poisoning might well be connected with that work. And indeed the D-notices they slapped on the reporting of that stuff, and of Mr Skripal's connections to Christopher Steele and Pablo Miller, are further evidence that it is so.

And so they very quickly decided to turn attention away from the big clues of the case, by invoking the scary sounding "Novichok" and pinning the blame – without any evidence – on the Russian State. To this date, they have given us no evidence to back up their claim, much less a suspect, but have unwittingly given us a bunch of absurdities that can be blown out of the water through the use of simple reason and logic.

They should have remembered this:

"Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap" (Galatians 6:7)

But I have a feeling they don't believe it applies to them. I have a feeling that it does.

And so there's my case. As I say, there are bound to be a good many holes and no doubt many errors and inconsistencies in it. Please do forgive me for those. As for the rest of it -- Make of it what you will.


Ross Hendry

' On Friday, Salisbury District Hospital's director of nursing Lorna Wilkinson announced Mr Rowley had been discharged and Public Health England said he posed no risk to the community She said "I would also like to reassure everyone that, despite many people seeking advice following these incidents, there have only ever been a total of five people who have been exposed to this nerve agent and admitted to hospital for treatment"'.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/07/20/novichok-victim-charlie-rowley-discharged-salisbury-hospital/

This whole Salisbury saga is a complete riddle. The A&E consultant wrote to the Times saying nobody had ever been treated for nerve agent poisoning, yet here we are months later and the director of nursing is totally contradicting him. Don't they talk to each other at Salisbury District Hospital? Or, more likely, was the consultant going off-script?

JudyJ
Ross, Yes, considering Sergei and Yulia were placed in medical comas for several weeks supposedly to aid their recovery, Rowley's treatment and speedy recovery appear to have inexplicably followed a completely different pattern. With regard to Dr Davies' letter to the Times, have a look at 'The Blogmire' website where there has been posted in the past two or three days a brief report on this, followed by interesting reader comments. Rob Slane, who also provides articles for this website, is 'Mr' Blogmire and he managed to contact Dr Davies but really received less than convincing information.
Antonyl
At the Guardian Novichok: police take away 400 potentially contaminated items https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/jul/14/novichok-police-find-more-than-400-potentially-contaminated-items
JudyJ
"400 potentially contaminated items" is absolutely meaningless but sounds good. It is a useful means to imply that the police are on top of things. Even if they found contamination on any of the items, I'm not sure what it would prove. Basically all they mean is they have removed everything that Rowley and Sturgess might have touched since some randomly selected vague date or been told by Rowley was the date he 'acquired' the 'bottle'. It could be all their clothing, everything in the fridge or kitchen cupboards, everything in the bathroom etc etc If history repeats itself they won't even bother to test the items but will just incinerate the lot.
D'Esterre
JudyJ: "400 potentially contaminated items"

I was puzzled at this. I remarked to a family member that it looks as if either somebody at Porton Down has been very careless, or the spooks don't understand subtlety.

Mulga Mumblebrain
The brainwashed morons are impressed by big numbers.
D'Esterre
Jen: " .you have to explain why the UK authorities incinerated the Zizzi's Restaurant table where the Skripals had lunch ."

That's interesting. I hadn't known that. Curious though: if the authorities incinerated the table at which they had lunch, how is it that the front desk – where presumably they paid the bill – wasn't also incinerated? Come to that, what about whatever was on the table: cloth, utensils, plates and so on. Also waitstaff and kitchen staff: surely they'd have been contaminated as well?

Truly, the more we're told about this incident, the more farcical it sounds. Ditto the incident with the unfortunate couple in Amesbury. None of it makes sense.

Mulga Mumblebrain
When the Western kakistocracies and the Evil psychopaths who comprise them, in politics, the 'intelligence' apparatus and the fakestream media brainwashing machine, lie about everything to do with Russia ie about Putin's legitimacy, the nature of Russian society, the 'popularity' of fascist Quislings like Navalny, Russia' role in saving Syria from the takfiri death-squad armies sent against it, about Russia's non-existent role in Western installation of fascists in power in Kiev, Russian 'meddling' in US elections etc, etc, etc, on the balance of probabilities it is HIGHLY UNLIKELY that these pathological liars are telling the truth about the Skripals. Particularly when we know that they are lying in asserting that ONLY Russia could make novichoks, only Russia had any motive, that only Russia bumps off inconvenient people and that only Russia had anything to gain from it, on the eve of the FIFA World Cup and with various Sorosian vermin braying that it be cancelled. How utterly galling it must be for these psychopathic Russophobes that it was the greatest World Cup, on and off the field, for decades, perhaps ever.
Jerry Alatalo
Yulia Skripal's agreeing to convey the message concerning her possibly meeting with Russian authorities – "I do not wish to avail myself of their services" -, raises suspicion that she and her father Sergei Skripal were "in on" an engineered false flag chemical event from the start. Perhaps others have already done the investigative research and verified Yulia Skripal did indeed undergo a tracheotomy, the neck scar seemingly over-exposed and the central focus for all who watched her short Reuters "interview". Has this been confirmed by the doctor(s) who performed the surgical procedure, nurses assisting those surgeon(s) in the operating room, medical photos, medical records, etc..

If Ms. Skripal indeed underwent surgical tracheotomy, our thought that the neck scar was the result of a covert conspirator surgeon's making a simple incision and immediately sewing it up – to appear as if Ms. Skripal underwent a lifesaving surgical procedure -, goes out the window.

Can anyone help in clarifying this? Has it been verified Ms. Skripal underwent the procedure and that her neck scar should not be perceived as anything other than from a truly necessary lifesaving action?

Thank you.

vexarb
@thorella: "The uk legal system and uk forensics are second to none."

Dr. John Kelly, RIP. Assassinated by MI6 by order of Prime Miniister TB.Liar of Dodgy Dossier, interred without mandatory Crown Coroners Inquest with Case Sealed for 70 years by order of Lord "Safe Pair of Hands"Hunt of Bloody
Sunday fame, and Dr.Kelly's bodily remains subsequently dug up and incinerated to destroy chemical evidence by order of Prime Minister St Theresa of Porton Down.

"Second to none" in what?

Jen
The Russian Foreign Ministry and the Russian embassy in London are too busy having a laugh at seeing the whole affair collapse under its own inconsistencies and at the British government and security services trying to prop up the whole mess and failing to distract public attention away from the shit-heap that Theresa May has made of Brexit.
Einstein
Why should the Russians bother commenting on it at all, when we can all see it's a false flag without the Russians having to tell us?
This is a domestic UK issue about MI6 being out of control.
BigB
The main corroboration for the Steele Dossier was Christopher Steele: briefing the press at the Tabard Inn, Washington – to set up a collaboration loop. Julian Assange tweeted that one of the journalists was Paul Wood who looks like a spook or an asset himself.
https://mobile.twitter.com/JulianAssange/status/976943588394323973

Another journalists was Michael Isikoff. His planted story war used to collaborate the Dossier as the basis of the FBI's FISA warrant to surveill Carter Page.

The Nunes Memo also states that Steele back-chanelled additional allegations into the DOJ via Bruce Ohr.

Another corroboration was the Trump Tower meeting: ostensibly set up by Trump linked Araz Agalarov could verify the piss taking allegations. It's well worth revisiting the Elizabeth Vos Disobedient Media article for background on this meeting set up Mifsud et al: who are linked to London – not Moscow.

https://disobedientmedia.com/2018/04/all-russiagate-roads-lead-to-london-as-evidence-emerges-of-joseph-mifsuds-links-to-uk-intelligence/

Anyway, all these "experts" – and Wikipedia – seem to have got their information from one source – Steele: who both wrote and then corroborated his own dossier. With a little help from his intel friends

Einstein
"Genuine" in the sense that it was really written by a KGB insider (which Skripal was), NOT in the sense that what he alleged was true.
The point is that the source of the Steele-Clinton dossier would have been revealed and, of course, the source would have been a proven consummate liar and traitor. This would blow Mueller's "investigation" out of the water.
But I'll not engage with you any further on this, since there's none so blind as those who will not see.
Thomas Peterson
why exactly does it seem likely Skripal was one of Steele's sources? did Steele even need any sources to write his ludicrous 'dossier'?
Jen
Paul Roderick Gregory who has followed Soviet and Russian politics professionally for several decades has this to say about the Steele dossier:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/paulroderickgregory/2017/01/13/the-trump-dossier-is-false-news-and-heres-why/#5a2c34e06867

The Orbis report makes as if it knows all the ins-and-outs and comings-and-goings within Putin's impenetrable Kremlin. It reports information from anonymous "trusted compatriots," "knowledgeable sources," "former intelligence officers," and "ministry of foreign affairs officials." The report gives a fly-on-the-wall account of just about every conceivable event associated with Donald Trump's Russian connections. It claims to know more than is knowable as it recounts sordid tales of prostitutes, "golden showers," bribes, squabbles in Putin's inner circle, and who controls the dossiers of kompromat (compromising information).

There are two possible explanations for the fly-on-the-wall claims of the Orbis report: Either its author (who is not Mr. Steele) decided to write fiction, or collected enough gossip to fill a 30-page report, or a combination of the two. The author of the Orbis report has one more advantage: He knew that what he was writing was unverifiable. He advertises himself as the only Kremlin outsider with enough "reliable" contacts to explain what is really going within Putin's office.

As someone who has worked for more than a decade with the microfilm collection of Soviet documents in the Hoover Institution Archives, I can say that the dossier itself was compiled by a Russian, whose command of English is far from perfect and who follows the KGB (now FSB) practice of writing intelligence reports, in particular the practice of capitalizing all names for easy reference. The report includes Putin's inner circle – Peskov, Ivanov, Sechin, Lavrov. The anonymous author claims to have "trusted compatriots" who knew the roles that each Kremlin insider, including Putin himself, played in the Trump election saga and were prepared to tell him.

The Orbis report spins the tale of Putin insiders, spurred on by Putin himself, engaging in a five-year courtship of Donald Trump in which they offer him lucrative real estate deals that he rejects but leaves himself open to blackmail as a result of sexual escapades with prostitutes in St. Petersburg and Moscow (the famous "golden shower" incident). Despite his reluctance to enter into lucrative business deals, Trump "and his inner circle have accepted regular intelligence from the Kremlin, including on his Democratic and other political rivals," according to the Orbis report.

This story makes no sense. In 2011, when the courtship purportedly begins, Trump was a TV personality and beauty pageant impresario. Neither in the U.S. or Russia would anyone of authority anticipate that Trump would one day become the presidential candidate of a major U.S. political party, making him the target of Russian intelligence.

Sergei Skripal could fit the description of the "Russian" referred to in the third paragraph.

Thomas Peterson
I don't assume it. I see no reason to think Skripal had anything to do with the dossier. More likely in my view the sources, if there were any, were Ukrainians and Americans.

There's a stink of Ukraine about it.

Mulga Mumblebrain
After a history of intelligence lying in the West that includes the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, the Warren Commission, 'yellow rain' in Indochina, KAL 007, Lockerbie, Kuwaiti babies thrown from incubators, the USS Liberty, Saddam's WMD, Gaddafi's 'container-loads of Viagra', MH17, the Russian 'invasion of Georgia', the Russian 'invasion of Ukraine', the Tian An Men Square 'massacre' etc (I could go on ALL day), to credit ANYTHING that Western intelligence agencies state is sign either of intractable dementia, or duplicity-or both, probably.
Jen
Yes I suppose a document based mostly on hearsay, rumour and guesswork, and with an accuracy of 60 – 70% (where? in spelling?), ought to be taken seriously – to the kitty litter box.

I mentioned Paul Roderick Gregory and Craig Murray as two people who dismissed the dossier as fraudulent. What "experts" can you put forward, GB, who support the dossier's contents as genuine or accurate? I suppose you think Luke Daniel Harding and Eliot Higgins might qualify as experts supporting the dossier's contents as more or less accurate?

Jen
Gregory says the dossier fails the laugh test and is full of bizarre statements. Murray regards it as equivalent to the Hitler Diaries hoax. Where do they not find anything wrong in the dossier?
bevin
If all that you have to go on for now is a dossier put together by a mercenary for the use of a political party in attack ads, produced at great expense, and totally unsourced and uncorroborated, the world is in a worse way than you fear.
Or perhaps, it's not the world but you?
Mulga Mumblebrain
The utterly fraudulent 'dossier' was also used to gain an illegal FISA warrant to spy on the Trump campaign, as part of the conspiracy to derail Trump's electoral bid, elect the blood-soaked feminazi Gorgon, Clinton, and further the hate campaign against Russia.
vierotchka
Do watch it on YouTube so that you can read the lengthy and informative video description:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/LbbxNkPDNrQ?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

vierotchka

https://www.youtube.com/embed/LbbxNkPDNrQ?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Published on 10 Jul 2018

Three miles from Amesbury, six miles from Salisbury. 'Porton Down is the elephant in the room': former British ambassador who visited Nukus plant where Novichok was tested, Craig Murray dismantles Amesbury poisoning story on BCFMradio,

Porton Down : What is the experimental government facility in Wiltshire at the centre of recent poisonings?

The secretive laboratory has unintentionally become key in political developments and international relations

The major incident in Amesbury saw two people poisoned by the same nerve agent that almost killed the Skripals, government scientists have confirmed. The attack turns attention once more to Porton Down, the mysterious laboratory that has unintentionally become central to the response to the attacks.

The secretive government facility at Porton Down has been used for experiments involving deadly and often undisclosed weapons, and in the wake of the Salisbury attack has become indelibly associated with the nerve agent used in the attack. The Met – whose counter-terror police are now leading the investigation – confirmed that samples had been tested at the facility and that they showed "show the two people have been exposed to the nerve agent Novichok".

Porton Down is often talked about in the singular, but is actually a site located near Porton village that is host to a whole group of different organisations. The two key ones are the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, which is run by the Ministry of Defence and usually referred to as Dstl, as well as Public Health England – both bodies have been involved in the response to the recent poisonings, though it is the former laboratory whose activity is most mysterious.

Bullingdon Boris resigns, feigns matters of principle, limbers up for the top job he was promised at Eton. As 1922 committee cheers for Theresa May ring out to the rafters, British government prepares for controlled demolition.

vierotchka

https://www.youtube.com/embed/LbbxNkPDNrQ?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Published on 10 Jul 2018

Three miles from Amesbury, six miles from Salisbury. 'Porton Down is the elephant in the room': former British ambassador who visited #Nukus plant where #novichok was tested, Craig Murray dismantles #Amesbury poisoning story https://youtu.be/LbbxNkPDNrQ on @BCFMradio

Porton Down: What is the experimental government facility in Wiltshire at the centre of recent poisonings?

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/porton-down-what-is-explained-experiments-salisbury-wiltshire-novichok-latest-a8431951.html

The secretive laboratory has unintentionally become key in political developments and international relations

The major incident in Amesbury saw two people poisoned by the same nerve agent that almost killed the Skripals, government scientists have confirmed. The attack turns attention once more to Porton Down, the mysterious laboratory that has unintentionally become central to the response to the attacks.

The secretive government facility at Porton Down has been used for experiments involving deadly and often undisclosed weapons, and in the wake of the Salisbury attack has become indelibly associated with the nerve agent used in the attack. The Met – whose counter-terror police are now leading the investigation – confirmed that samples had been tested at the facility and that they showed "show the two people have been exposed to the nerve agent Novichok".

Porton Down is often talked about in the singular, but is actually a site located near Porton village that is host to a whole group of different organisations. The two key ones are the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, which is run by the Ministry of Defence and usually referred to as Dstl, as well as Public Health England – both bodies have been involved in the response to the recent poisonings, though it is the former laboratory whose activity is most mysterious.

Bullingdon Boris resigns, feigns matters of principle, limbers up for the top job he was promised at Eton. As 1922 committee cheers for Theresa May ring out to the rafters, British government prepares for controlled demolition.

Einstein
There's another source of "deadly silence".
A doctor was reported (by the BBC on 8th May) to have given CPR to Julia for 30 minutes without being contaminated by the "novichok". Indeed, the doctor reported to the BBC that she 'felt fine' afterwards.
No-one has seen nor heard from this doctor since, yet a doctor should be easy enough to trace.
mike nagel
Considering the mendacity of the media on this and other matters has anyone considered the possibility that no poisoning of any kind took place in March? The whole story has been a giant load of road apples from day one. What we are expected to swallow by the powers that be cannot possibly be so, perhaps the Skripals never sat on that bench in the first place.
flaxgirl
I certainly have. My favourite part of the fairy tale is the cat and two guinea pigs.
Yonatan
The 'door handle' theory only arose as a means of explaining how the policeman was contaminated. He was allegedly present soon after the Skripals were found, and became contaminated, while others, including a doctor who closely examined the Skripals, did not. Occam's Razor suggests that the Skripals and the policeman were affected at the same time before other witnesses were present. This implies that the policeman was a witness to the attack.
summitflyer
Thank you Rob Slane for this study of the Skripal case.As an outsider from another country I am grateful for your work .Your assumptions are far more likely than what we have heard from the government officials .As ugly as the truth of the matter might be , it would be better if they found a way to fess up .At this point it does not look good for the UK credibility .
Paul X
I'm intrigued by why the White House or the Administrstion hasn't asked why an ex-Senior spy, Steele, was given permission by the British Secret Service to write his dossier at all, based as it was purportedly on his time as Head of the Russia Desk at MI6, let alone pass it over to the Democrats while carefully leaking it to the media all with Steele's stated opinion that he'd do anything to stop Trump getting elected. It's clear why the US Intelligence Services are unconcerned, they also deplored Trump's election but why is there nothing about British interference in the election from Trump himself? Is it a row he's saving up or does it does show that Trump v the Dark State is rubbish, they are all in it together?
thorella
The poisonings were most probably organised by the state within the state. This speech although almost twenty years old gives some idea of the powers of the deep state and how the government relates to them
http://zersetzen.wikispaces.com/file/view/Gerald+Reaveley+James.pdf
Paul X
Who knows whether the British had a motive to incapacitate Sergei and then keep him in custody so it's hard to see how it can be said so categorically. If Sergei was serious about returning to Russia to see his mother before she died (a not unnatural sentiment especially for such a sentimental man) then there may have been very pressing reasons to keep him here, notably what he would say in his inevitable 'de-briefing' by ex-colleagues. It isn't denied that he continued to work with MI6 and may have had a hand in the Steele dossier. Julia's arrival seems to have moved the game forward and 'action' became imperative. The story itself has the hall marks of Eton and Trinity, a good 'wheeze'. Hastily put together it would have unraveled immediately without the D Notice. Now they have to decide whether they can dare let either of them have their freedom; Julia has a long life ahead; is she to be held incommunicado for decades?
john2o2o
I don't know if it has been asked before, but: why poison Yulia Skripal anyway? If this was some sort of professional hit, it was very badly timed, given that Yulia was only visiting her father.

I personally do not believe that any of these 5 people had been poisoned by a nerve agent. And by that I mean an organophosphate compound. BZ is not that class of compound. (I have a degree in chemistry).

Those compounds are exceedingly toxic. If their use (or rather non-use) is military then they must kill enemy troops quickly and with minimal amount. Speed is crucial. Semi conscious enemy soldiers are dangerous.

What I find frustrating is that – because we are being so cynically lied to by our government – we have been seriously misled about the toxicity of these chemicals. You really don't stand any sort of chance if you are poisoned by them.

Paul X
Julia's boyfriend is apparently in the Russian Secret Service and his mother is a senior figure in Russian Intelligence. She may have been passing on Putin's reply to Sergei's request to return home to visit his seriously ill elderly mother? He was irritable because he'd realised he'd have to decide, UK or Russia. And if it was to be Russia then he knew he'd have to spill the beans on Steele; tough decision! I agree it would be odd to target her if she was 'just' his daughter on a brief visit. Julia may have been as much a target as her father?
Paul Carline
If they were poisoned by a 'Novichok' nerve agent they would be dead.
Who 'identified' the supposed Novichok? Porton Down.
Who provided the sample for the OPCW? Porton Down.
Who has stocks of all known nerve agents? Porton Down.
Can the OPCW be trusted? No.
Can Brad Pitte II be trusted? No.
George
"The Western forces conspired to do it" = "conspiracy stuff".

"The Russian forces conspired to do it" = "not conspiracy stuff".

When is a conspiracy not a conspiracy?

bevin
Whether "Russia" had a motive is moot. But there is no evidence that "Russia" had any particular means than any other potential culprit, such as MI6.
As to'precedent' the number of assassinations carried out abroad by Russian intelligence pales in comparison with those carried out by Military Intelligence in the UK, the CIA and Mossad.
You are reduced to citing the very unlikely 'precedent' of Litivenko which every effort of The Establishment has failed to produce anything more than a meaningless finding by a tame High Court judge. No legal proceedings have discovered any connection between the death and the Russian state.
On the other hand 'western' intelligence agencies are notoriously engaged in assassinations and have been on an industrial scale for seventy years. Cf The Committee chaired by Senator Church.
iafantomo
Let's see. An MI6 spy, known to be still actively working on MI6 deception, is involved in an incident in which a claim is made that he's been poisoned with a deadly nerve agent by the Russians, which is disputed by hospital staff and Porton Down people behind the scenes, and can't be checked out by investigative journalists in the mainstream media, because there aren't any investigative journalists in the mainstream media, and immediately the Government knows that Russia did it. Doesn't that suggest to you that Mr Skripal may have been part of the set-up right from the start?

As for his daughter, is that the same Yulia Skripal in the pictures after the event as the one in the restaurant before the event?

Cherrycoke
Of course, Christopher Steele was also involved in the Litvinenko case:

"Steele's already dim view of the Kremlin darkened in November, 2006, when Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian K.G.B. officer and a Putin critic who had been recruited by M.I.6, suffered an agonizing death in a London hospital, after drinking a cup of tea poisoned with radioactive polonium-210. Moscow had evidently sanctioned a brazen murder in his own country. Steele was put in charge of M.I.6's investigation. Authorities initially planned to indict one suspect in the murder, but Steele's investigative work persuaded them to indict a second suspect as well."

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/03/12/christopher-steele-the-man-behind-the-trump-dossier

Mulga Mumblebrain
Did Steele develop a 'dark view' of Thanatopolis DC after the years of rendition and torture, the illegal aggression and genocide in Iraq, or the carnage of the drone missile terrorism, or the death-squad 'night raid' rampage by US Special Forces. If not, why not?
thorella
The UK legal system is utterly corrupt when it comes to cases involving state crime
BigB
Paul Barril named Mario Scaramella as Litvinenko's killer: and I'd put more faith in France's former top cop than our residential troll!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aLI-gXJ7T5E

binra
Circumstances unknown and withheld from public knowledge oblige people in 'power' or positions of influence under such power to act in ways that make no sense to anyone with sense.

News for mass consumption is a sideshow but also a conditioning to remain inside the framing of a narrative identity. The 'Western intelligence' could not do a better job of damaging their credibility by the WAY they operate as well as the what of it.

However "No one understood better than Stalin that the true object of propaganda is neither to convince nor even to persuade, but to produce a uniform pattern of public utterance in which the first trace of unorthodox thought immediately reveals itself as a jarring dissonance." (Alan Bullock, in Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives).

While the what of it can be tested to some degree for congruency with itself and with all the factors involved, the WAY of it speaks of either desperation of from a conviction that intellectual criticism is powerless in a post truth coup.

My sense is of either the leadership class being captive to powers they do not feel able to challenge or are cornered in some way by their circumstance so as not to have any other recourse than – in this case – stirring up hatred in incitement to violence with Russia. This could all be a brinkmanship of geopolitical 'poker' or it could be that the only 'escape' from such a mess as we inherit and persist in is war.

My sense is that when we cannot or will not embrace change somewhat 'gracefully' or in some willingness – then we give power to whatever external 'crisis' ripens to force it – and seek to 'survive' at the expense of those we abandoned or indeed conscripted or made into targets for WMD.

Dictating terms to a world of 'united states' under broad spectrum dominance of a tyrannous rule is not justified by 'symbols and stories' of freedom.

National and International security rests on honest communication, backed by supporting deeds so as to grow trust in place of treachery. No one has a clean past, but if we persist in re-enacting it, we will forsake the presence of mind by which to choose not to.

The nature of politics has had all its goalposts moved to a rigged system of finance and law that pre-empt any movement of cultural development apart from corporate capture – and allow that corporations have only the power given them by such a systemic 'development'. No one HAS power but for an agenda larger than their own usefulness.

Worldly power has always operated a narrative control at some level – but technology has 'outsourced' our own will and consciousness to systems and machinery of our own attempt and intent to replace Life with our own making. I see a larger 'script' than power struggle – or rather I see an awakening 'script' running beneath the narrative identity conflict.

Whether we have a fated outcome or make our own (under a fatal condition), the framing of the physicalised sense of self is the 'life in the world'. But this framing is not itself physical so much as conditioned association and reflex that is hidden from sight while we engage within its framing as a sense of personal struggle under and driven by 'necessity' of survival in the terms we set or are forcefully and fearfully identified in.

Deceit is simply a weapon in a world of war – including the claiming of a moral high ground whenever it suits an invalidating of the 'other'. Loss of communication, trust and therefore integrity is the state of a lack of substance. However, 'claiming the moral high ground' as a personal right to power is the same old story. The complexities of deceits and entanglements increase with the persistence of identities and investments in them – which of course run as 'self-evident reality' by reactions that embody the beliefs.

[Jun 26, 2019] Exposed The Guardian s Collusion in State Censorship by Thomas Scripps

Notable quotes:
"... A separate set of minutes from the first meeting attended by Johnson records the Guardian 's close collaboration with military officials. ..."
"... Under the direction of these military intelligence handlers, the Guardian played a role in bringing other newspapers internationally to heel. The minutes note, ..."
"... In 2016, Paul Johnson used an unprecedented interview with a serving head of MI5, Andrew Parker, to propagandize for the antidemocratic, warmongering interests of British imperialism. ..."
"... These facts are damning proof of the Guardian 's total integration into the propaganda wing of the MoD following its involvement in the WikiLeaks and Snowden files releases. Indeed, the work of WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange has served to expose and confirm the deep ties of the entire mainstream media to the military-intelligence complex. ..."
"... The Guardian has been viewed historically as the voice of British liberal dissent, critical of the worst excesses of British capitalism at home and abroad. But it has always acted as a political policeman -- filtering the news "responsibly" and channelling the resulting anger into impotent moral appeals to the state and other authorities. ..."
"... This time, however, the Guardian was told by the security services that even rigorously filtering the Snowden's revelations was not good enough. It must stop publishing immediately. ..."
"... Emails obtained by the Associated Press in 2014 showed that this was an operation conducted in intimate collusion between the government, the British security services and the US National Security Agency, including then Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. ..."
"... In the end, two GCHQ security officials directly oversaw the Guardian ' s destruction of its own material. Three Guardian staff members, including Paul Johnson himself, destroyed the hard drives in the Guardian 's possession with angle grinders and other equipment provided by GCHQ officials. ..."
"... One of Assange's persecutors-in-chief, Luke Harding, enjoys the most intimate relations with the security services. His notorious November 2018 fabrication, claiming Assange held meetings with US President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort, was published in the Guardian just two weeks after Johnson was thanked for "re-establishing links" with the MoD. ..."
"... Working for the war department makes The Guardian's workforce soldiers. They ar defending the unelected Oligarchy with their pens/keyboards and greedy obsequiousness. ..."
"... And all the while the rest of the media collude in the deception of the public by labelling the Guardian at every opportunity as "left-wing". Exactly the same conspiracy exists involving the BBC. ..."
"... Working with intelligence agencies plays to the egos of these 'journalists'. Anything that makes them feel important. The Guardian prints for Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty. Enough said. Intelligence: "Russia is doing X,Y and Z. This is strictly off the record." ..."
"... Exactly right. If the guardian had even pretended that it seriously knew what it was talking about, people might have had a smidgeon of trust in its articles. In its current state, it might as well be Mickey Mouse Weekly. ..."
"... Clearly there should not be any future involvement of the MSM in exposing scandal. They are Establishment tools, not defenders of the public interest. ..."
"... The lesson of history is that as soon as independent sites gain traffic, they are 'approached' by Security Services, heavy hitters etc. It may be financing, it may be threats. But it happens so regularly that it is clearly an arm of Establishment policy. ..."
"... Luke Harding isn't just an asset of state security services, he's an incompetent asset. How ironic. ..."
"... You have to make some allowance for poor old Luke. He's still deeply traumatised from the time the KGB broke into his Moscow flat and tampered with his alarm clock and turned off his central heating. ..."
"... People mistakenly claim that the Guardian was once a creditable serious newspaper of some integrity. This is wrong. It was never more than a piece of Zionist toilet paper, going back to the days of the old Manchester Guardian. It was shilling for Israel even before it existed. ..."
Jun 26, 2019 | off-guardian.org

Minutes of Ministry of Defence (MoD) meetings have confirmed the role of Britain's Guardian newspaper as a mouthpiece for the intelligence agencies.

Last week, independent journalist Matt Kennard revealed that the paper's deputy editor, Paul Johnson, was personally thanked by the Defence and Security Media Advisory Notice (or D-Notice) committee for integrating the Guardian into the operations of the security services.

Minutes of a meeting in 2018 read [You can read the full document here, or embedded below – OffG Editor] :

The Chairman thanked Paul Johnson for his service to the Committee. Paul had joined the Committee in the wake of the Snowden affair and had been instrumental in re-establishing links with the Guardian.

D-Notices are used by the British state to veto the publication of news damaging to its interests. The slavish collusion of the mainstream media ensures that such notices function as gag orders.

Johnson joined the committee in 2014 and evidently excelled in his performance. A separate set of minutes from the first meeting attended by Johnson records the Guardian 's close collaboration with military officials.

Under a section detailing "advice" given by the intelligence agencies to the media, the document reads: most of the occurrences and requests for advice were related to further publications by The Guardian of extracts from the Snowden documents. The Secretary reported that the engagement of DPBAC [Defence Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee] Secretariat with The Guardian had continued to strengthen during the last six months, with regular dialogues between the Secretary and Deputy Secretaries and Guardian journalists.

The secretary and deputy secretaries were Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Vallance CB OBE, Air Commodore David Adams and Brigadier Geoffrey Dodds OBE. The chairman was Peter Watkins CBE, the MoD's director general of Strategy, Security and Policy Operations.

Under the direction of these military intelligence handlers, the Guardian played a role in bringing other newspapers internationally to heel. The minutes note, because of an agreement between The Guardian and allied publications overseas to coordinate their respective disclosures of Snowden material, advice given to the Guardian has been passed on to the New York Times and others, helping guide the disclosures of these outlets.

In September 2014, the Guardian allowed the former head of GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) Sir David Omand to publish an article titled, "Edward Snowden's leaks are misguided -- they risk exposing us to cyber-attacks .

He declared:

"Journalists are not best placed to identify security risks; we have to trust those who oversee the intelligence-gathering."

In 2016, Paul Johnson used an unprecedented interview with a serving head of MI5, Andrew Parker, to propagandize for the antidemocratic, warmongering interests of British imperialism.

These facts are damning proof of the Guardian 's total integration into the propaganda wing of the MoD following its involvement in the WikiLeaks and Snowden files releases. Indeed, the work of WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange has served to expose and confirm the deep ties of the entire mainstream media to the military-intelligence complex.

The Guardian has been viewed historically as the voice of British liberal dissent, critical of the worst excesses of British capitalism at home and abroad. But it has always acted as a political policeman -- filtering the news "responsibly" and channelling the resulting anger into impotent moral appeals to the state and other authorities.

Its dealings with Assange and Snowden transformed political allegiance into direct subservience. Its liberal, critical pretensions unravelled in a matter of a few months.

When Assange looked to the Guardian and other papers internationally such as the New York Times to publish the Afghan and Iraq war logs and secret US diplomatic cables in 2010, the editors' main concern was damage control. Within a month of an initial publication of documents, the Guardian had broken off relations with Assange -- publishing an infamous December 17 editorial WikiLeaks: the man and the idea.

It stated that the Guardian had only agreed to publish "a small number of cables" to control the political fall-out from the details of murder, torture, espionage and corruption they revealed and give it the opportunity of "editing, contextualising, explanation and redaction."

The main purpose of the editorial was to support Assange's extradition to Sweden on trumped-up allegations of sexual misconduct relating to a trip to that country a few months earlier.

In an op-ed piece published last month by former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, he assumes to take the moral high ground by claiming that WikiLeaks issued leaks unredacted, and wanted to continue this practise, in contrast with his "responsible" journalism.

An editorial published immediately prior to Rusbridger's article, again supporting Assange's extradition to Sweden to face "charges" that don't exist, stated:

The Guardian disapproved of the mass publication of unredacted documents and broke with Mr. Assange over the issue."

This is a self-serving lie. WikiLeaks has pointed out that the editorial "conveniently leaves out" that it was the Guardian -- through a book authored by David Leigh and Luke Harding -- that disclosed the password to the digital file Assange had given them in confidence. The book was a hatchet job on WikiLeaks. The rights to it were sold, becoming the basis of a slanderous Hollywood movie. When NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked files detailing blanket state surveillance of the world's population in 2013, the Guardian set out to play the same "responsible" role.

Asked afterwards if the paper had held back from publishing anything about GCHQ and UK security services because of "worries about national security," the ever-pliant Mr. Rusbridger replied, "Yes, we've held back a great deal, we've published a small amount of what we have read."

This time, however, the Guardian was told by the security services that even rigorously filtering the Snowden's revelations was not good enough. It must stop publishing immediately.

The country's top civil servant, Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood, called the Guardian 's offices to pass on the demands of then Prime Minister David Cameron that the Snowden material either be returned to the government or destroyed. Editors were threatened with legal action if they did not comply.

Rusbridger later explained, "The tone was steely, if cordial, but there was an implicit threat that others within government and Whitehall favoured a far more draconian approach."

This is a masterpiece of understatement. Emails obtained by the Associated Press in 2014 showed that this was an operation conducted in intimate collusion between the government, the British security services and the US National Security Agency, including then Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

In the end, two GCHQ security officials directly oversaw the Guardian ' s destruction of its own material. Three Guardian staff members, including Paul Johnson himself, destroyed the hard drives in the Guardian 's possession with angle grinders and other equipment provided by GCHQ officials.

The Guardian had been put in a position it never wanted. Its liberal reputation, and previous disclosures, had made it the newspaper of choice for WikiLeaks' and Snowden's revelations. But the scale of what had been uncovered threatened the fundamental interests of British and US imperialism. It therefore rolled over when the government told it to cease and desist, before taking its place alongside the rest of the right-wing media on the secret committee responsible for press censorship and propaganda dissemination.

One of Assange's persecutors-in-chief, Luke Harding, enjoys the most intimate relations with the security services. His notorious November 2018 fabrication, claiming Assange held meetings with US President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort, was published in the Guardian just two weeks after Johnson was thanked for "re-establishing links" with the MoD.

The story was widely cited and formed a keystone of the efforts, spearheaded by the Democrats in the US, to present WikiLeaks and "Russian interference" as the causes of Trump's 2016 election victory.

Harding played a central role in silencing questions over the UK government's bogus account of the Skripal affair in mid-2018. These events were the subject of at least one D-notice, issued while Paul Johnson was on the responsible committee.

An unintended but valuable consequence of the WikiLeaks exposures has been to explode the fraud of the Guardian 's claim to any critical independence from the state. The crimes of the major imperialist powers against the world's population made available by WikiLeaks were so great that they could not be neutralised, even by the Guardian 's professional gatekeepers of the "truth."

Not a word published in this imperialist propaganda sheet can ever be taken at face value.

Originally published by World Socialist Web Site

E L T

Working for the war department makes The Guardian's workforce soldiers. They ar defending the unelected Oligarchy with their pens/keyboards and greedy obsequiousness.

But shouldn't we give the Guardian's soldiers a well-deserved credit for the hard work in 'Extreme Logic Twisting' (ELT) as they rely on diehard lefitism to justify and achieve NeoCon/far-right agenda ?

It must be really tough for them, unless they are gaining Artificial Intelligence assistance which it seems they are using in replacing the forcibly-retrenched traditional commenters with Establishment-friendly bots.

Tom
And all the while the rest of the media collude in the deception of the public by labelling the Guardian at every opportunity as "left-wing". Exactly the same conspiracy exists involving the BBC.
Sav

Working with intelligence agencies plays to the egos of these 'journalists'. Anything that makes them feel important. The Guardian prints for Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty. Enough said. Intelligence: "Russia is doing X,Y and Z. This is strictly off the record."

Make a load of posts on Guardian comments with spoofed Russian IP addresses

Intelligence: "We've got information Russian intelligence is influencing article comments with bots"

Guardian "Oh my God..you're right. We're being attacked by Russia. God save the Queen"

MichaelK
Rusbridger could of course have given a few concrete, specific, examples of where exactly the Guardian and Assange clashed about what texts should be released for publication, along with their reasoning. This would have allowed readers to see for themseleves and make up their own minds.

The gap between Assange and the Guardian is precisely founded on this difference. The Guardian doesn't want people to have the opportunity to make up their own minds. They just want people to trust the Guardian to tell them what they need to know. This, of course, is the very reason Wikileaks came into existance, in opposition to this journalistic, priestly, set of liberal dogmas.

wardropper
Exactly right. If the guardian had even pretended that it seriously knew what it was talking about, people might have had a smidgeon of trust in its articles. In its current state, it might as well be Mickey Mouse Weekly.
Rhys Jaggar
Clearly there should not be any future involvement of the MSM in exposing scandal. They are Establishment tools, not defenders of the public interest.

The question is how Wikileaks could reveal such damning evidence using independent websites, run by individuals utterly divorced from Establishments.

What is needed is an education of ordinary folks not to read the MSM and find new sites they can trust, however transiently.

The lesson of history is that as soon as independent sites gain traffic, they are 'approached' by Security Services, heavy hitters etc. It may be financing, it may be threats. But it happens so regularly that it is clearly an arm of Establishment policy.

Daniel
Fully agree, but I think it goes much deeper than that. Agree that "ordinary folks" should be informed that the MSM are establishment tools, but 'ordinary folks' in general don't care in the slightest about such things and are mostly only interested in what will maximize our personal pleasure (usually through seeking to make money in any way possible, that will allow us to generate as much status and power and pleasure as possible). All else be damned.

That is the zeitgeist these days among vast portions of 'ordinary folks' who are plugged into the cultural matrix, it seems

Steve Hayes
"WikiLeaks has pointed out that the editorial "conveniently leaves out" that it was the Guardian -- through a book authored by David Leigh and Luke Harding -- that disclosed the password to the digital file Assange had given them in confidence." So Luke Harding isn't just an asset of state security services, he's an incompetent asset. How ironic.
mark
You have to make some allowance for poor old Luke. He's still deeply traumatised from the time the KGB broke into his Moscow flat and tampered with his alarm clock and turned off his central heating.
mark
People mistakenly claim that the Guardian was once a creditable serious newspaper of some integrity. This is wrong. It was never more than a piece of Zionist toilet paper, going back to the days of the old Manchester Guardian. It was shilling for Israel even before it existed.
Antonym
The Manchester Guardian was a response to the Peterloo massacre in 1819 where the British establishment treated a GB crowd as they did protesting natives of their colonies, with the sword. The six acts was follow up to legally tie loose strings up. All pure British actions, zero (proto)Israeli. Next Mark will blame Jews for 1066.
Antonym
Before the Snowden files drama (2013) the Guardian produced many articles critical of Israel: Just study their response to "Cast Lead" after January 2009. They were one of the first to focus on "child victims" to invoke sympathy for Gaza, a different form of child abuse from grooming kids as suicide bombers.
Haltonbrat
CP Scott introduced Weizman to Lloyd George and the used his columns to support the Zionists.

[Jun 23, 2019] Neoliberalism promised freedom instead it delivers stifling control by George Monbiot

Notable quotes:
"... By rolling back the state, neoliberalism was supposed to have allowed autonomy and creativity to flourish. Instead, it has delivered a semi-privatised authoritarianism more oppressive than the system it replaced. ..."
"... Workers find themselves enmeshed in a Kafkaesque bureaucracy , centrally controlled and micromanaged. Organisations that depend on a cooperative ethic – such as schools and hospitals – are stripped down, hectored and forced to conform to suffocating diktats. The introduction of private capital into public services – that would herald a glorious new age of choice and openness – is brutally enforced. The doctrine promises diversity and freedom but demands conformity and silence. ..."
"... Their problem is that neoliberal theology, as well as seeking to roll back the state, insists that collective bargaining and other forms of worker power be eliminated (in the name of freedom, of course). So the marketisation and semi-privatisation of public services became not so much a means of pursuing efficiency as an instrument of control. ..."
"... Public-service workers are now subjected to a panoptical regime of monitoring and assessment, using the benchmarks von Mises rightly warned were inapplicable and absurd. The bureaucratic quantification of public administration goes far beyond an attempt at discerning efficacy. It has become an end in itself. ..."
Apr 10, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

Thousands of people march through London to protest against underfunding and privatisation of the NHS. Photograph: Wiktor Szymanowicz/Barcroft Images M y life was saved last year by the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, through a skilful procedure to remove a cancer from my body . Now I will need another operation, to remove my jaw from the floor. I've just learned what was happening at the hospital while I was being treated. On the surface, it ran smoothly. Underneath, unknown to me, was fury and tumult. Many of the staff had objected to a decision by the National Health Service to privatise the hospital's cancer scanning . They complained that the scanners the private company was offering were less sensitive than the hospital's own machines. Privatisation, they said, would put patients at risk. In response, as the Guardian revealed last week , NHS England threatened to sue the hospital for libel if its staff continued to criticise the decision.

The dominant system of political thought in this country, which produced both the creeping privatisation of public health services and this astonishing attempt to stifle free speech, promised to save us from dehumanising bureaucracy. By rolling back the state, neoliberalism was supposed to have allowed autonomy and creativity to flourish. Instead, it has delivered a semi-privatised authoritarianism more oppressive than the system it replaced.

Workers find themselves enmeshed in a Kafkaesque bureaucracy , centrally controlled and micromanaged. Organisations that depend on a cooperative ethic – such as schools and hospitals – are stripped down, hectored and forced to conform to suffocating diktats. The introduction of private capital into public services – that would herald a glorious new age of choice and openness – is brutally enforced. The doctrine promises diversity and freedom but demands conformity and silence.

Much of the theory behind these transformations arises from the work of Ludwig von Mises. In his book Bureaucracy , published in 1944, he argued that there could be no accommodation between capitalism and socialism. The creation of the National Health Service in the UK, the New Deal in the US and other experiments in social democracy would lead inexorably to the bureaucratic totalitarianism of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.

He recognised that some state bureaucracy was inevitable; there were certain functions that could not be discharged without it. But unless the role of the state is minimised – confined to defence, security, taxation, customs and not much else – workers would be reduced to cogs "in a vast bureaucratic machine", deprived of initiative and free will.

By contrast, those who labour within an "unhampered capitalist system" are "free men", whose liberty is guaranteed by "an economic democracy in which every penny gives a right to vote". He forgot to add that some people, in his capitalist utopia, have more votes than others. And those votes become a source of power.

His ideas, alongside the writings of Friedrich Hayek , Milton Friedman and other neoliberal thinkers, have been applied in this country by Margaret Thatcher, David Cameron, Theresa May and, to an alarming extent, Tony Blair. All of those have attempted to privatise or marketise public services in the name of freedom and efficiency, but they keep hitting the same snag: democracy. People want essential services to remain public, and they are right to do so.

If you hand public services to private companies, either you create a private monopoly, which can use its dominance to extract wealth and shape the system to serve its own needs – or you introduce competition, creating an incoherent, fragmented service characterised by the institutional failure you can see every day on our railways. We're not idiots, even if we are treated as such. We know what the profit motive does to public services.

The Amazon warehouse in Swansea – the company has patented a wristband that can track workers' movements.

Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

So successive governments decided that if they could not privatise our core services outright, they would subject them to "market discipline". Von Mises repeatedly warned against this approach. "No reform could transform a public office into a sort of private enterprise," he cautioned. The value of public administration "cannot be expressed in terms of money". "Government efficiency and industrial efficiency are entirely different things."

"Intellectual work cannot be measured and valued by mechanical devices." "You cannot 'measure' a doctor according to the time he employs in examining one case." They ignored his warnings.

Their problem is that neoliberal theology, as well as seeking to roll back the state, insists that collective bargaining and other forms of worker power be eliminated (in the name of freedom, of course). So the marketisation and semi-privatisation of public services became not so much a means of pursuing efficiency as an instrument of control.

Public-service workers are now subjected to a panoptical regime of monitoring and assessment, using the benchmarks von Mises rightly warned were inapplicable and absurd. The bureaucratic quantification of public administration goes far beyond an attempt at discerning efficacy. It has become an end in itself.

Its perversities afflict all public services. Schools teach to the test , depriving children of a rounded and useful education. Hospitals manipulate waiting times, shuffling patients from one list to another. Police forces ignore some crimes, reclassify others, and persuade suspects to admit to extra offences to improve their statistics . Universities urge their researchers to write quick and superficial papers , instead of deep monographs, to maximise their scores under the research excellence framework.

As a result, public services become highly inefficient for an obvious reason: the destruction of staff morale. Skilled people, including surgeons whose training costs hundreds of thousands of pounds, resign or retire early because of the stress and misery the system causes. The leakage of talent is a far greater waste than any inefficiencies this quantomania claims to address.

New extremes in the surveillance and control of workers are not, of course, confined to the public sector. Amazon has patented a wristband that can track workers' movements and detect the slightest deviation from protocol. Technologies are used to monitor peoples' keystrokes, language, moods and tone of voice. Some companies have begun to experiment with the micro-chipping of their staff . As the philosopher Byung-Chul Han points out , neoliberal work practices, epitomised by the gig economy, that reclassifies workers as independent contractors, internalise exploitation. "Everyone is a self-exploiting worker in their own enterprise."

The freedom we were promised turns out to be freedom for capital , gained at the expense of human liberty. The system neoliberalism has created is a bureaucracy that tends towards absolutism, produced in the public services by managers mimicking corporate executives, imposing inappropriate and self-defeating efficiency measures, and in the private sector by subjection to faceless technologies that can brook no argument or complaint.

Attempts to resist are met by ever more extreme methods, such as the threatened lawsuit at the Churchill Hospital. Such instruments of control crush autonomy and creativity. It is true that the Soviet bureaucracy von Mises rightly denounced reduced its workers to subjugated drones. But the system his disciples have created is heading the same way.

George Monbiot is a Guardian columnist

[Jun 23, 2019] One of the things about psychopaths, is that because they have no real values, they are very good at using charm and disingenuous specious arguments to justify their agenda.

Notable quotes:
"... This is the whole thing about this psychopathic worldview, it aims to achieve its objectives by hook or crook. ..."
"... This is how psycopaths operate, they are all things to all people, even though the agenda they follow is the same. ..."
Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

SteB1 -> MickGJ , 6 Mar 2012 07:37

Really? Cameron is too far to the left to even get on the Democratic ticket in America: if he proposed his healthcare reforms in the States he'd probably be assassinated.

I think you are mistaking what Cameron says, with what he does. Cameron has obviously realised that in the UK the frothing at the mouth bonkers ideology of the new right in the US wouldn't go down too well with the public, and would make the Tories toxic and unelectable. So he has chosen the strategy of speaking as though he were a woolly "wet" Conservative, whilst actually following the agenda of the new right.

One of the things about psychopaths, is that because they have no real values, they are very good at using charm and disingenuous specious arguments to justify their agenda. You appear to fail to take into account how the healthcare issue is seen very differently in the UK than the US. If Cameron had a US style healthcare policy, our current PM would probably be Gordon Brown, facing a minority Conservative opposition.

This is the whole thing about this psychopathic worldview, it aims to achieve its objectives by hook or crook. So with a more receptive public it will be more open about its objectives, whereas in a culturally different environment, it will use stealth to achieve its aims.

This is how psycopaths operate, they are all things to all people, even though the agenda they follow is the same.

[Jun 23, 2019] Neoliberal schools teach to the test, depriving children of a rounded and useful education

Apr 11, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

FionaMcW , 11 Apr 2019 06:36

Schools are teaching to the test. As someone who recently retrained as a secondary science teacher - after nearly 30 years as a journalist - I know this to be true.
Olympia1881 -> Centrecourt , 11 Apr 2019 05:46
Education is a prime example of where neoliberalism has had a negative effect. It worked well when labour was pumping billions into it and they invested in early intervention schemes such as sure start and nursery expansion. Unfortunately under the tories we have had those progressive policies scaled right back. Children with SEND and/or in care are commodities bought and sold by local authorities. I've been working in a PRU which is a private company and it does good things, but I can't help but think if that was in the public sector that it would be in a purpose built building rather than some scruffy office with no playground.

The facilities aren't what you would expect in this day in age. If we had a proper functioning government with a plan then what happens with vulnerable children would be properly organised rather than a reactive shit show.

DrMidnite , 10 Apr 2019 17:04
"Schools teach to the test, depriving children of a rounded and useful education."
Boy do they. I work in Business/IT training and as the years have rolled on I and every colleague I can think of have noticed more and more people coming to courses that they are unfit for. Not because they are stupid, but because they have been taught to be stupid. So used to being taught to the test that they are afraid to ask questions. Increasingly I get asked "what's the right way to do...", usually referring to situation in which there is no right way, just a right way for your business, at a specific point in time.
I had the great pleasure of watching our new MD describe his first customer-facing project, which was a disaster, but they "learned" from it. I had to point out to him that I teach the two disciplines involved - businesss analysis and project management - and if he or his team had attended any of the courses - all of which are free to them - they would have learned about the issues they would face, because (astonishingly) they are well-known.
I fear that these incurious adult children are at the bottom of Brexit, Trump and many of the other ills that afflict us. Learning how to do things is difficult and sometimes boring. Much better to wander in with zero idea of what has already been done and repeat the mistakes of the past. I see the future as a treadmill where the same mistakes are made repetitively and greeted with as much surprise as if they had never happened before. We have always been at war with Eastasia...

[Jun 23, 2019] I have no idea how Rand became the poster child for the libertarian movement

Notable quotes:
"... I can only assume that, as with so many of their other ideas, the internet / radio hosts promoting her ideas as the solution to the worlds problems have never actually read anything she said, or did, or possibly if they had, they have not understood it. ..."
"... Usually, with philosophers, you can see how it is not their words, but that someone has interpreted them for their own ends (Nietzsche etc), but in the case of Rand, no mis-interpretation is required, unless you are trying to portray her views as anything other than deeply misanthropic. ..."
Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Rhiaden , 6 Mar 2012 09:24

I always view Ayn Rand as someone who most right wing dictators would place themselves somewhere to the left of.

I have no idea how she became the poster child for the libertarian movement, I can only assume that, as with so many of their other ideas, the internet / radio hosts promoting her ideas as the solution to the worlds problems have never actually read anything she said, or did, or possibly if they had, they have not understood it.

Usually, with philosophers, you can see how it is not their words, but that someone has interpreted them for their own ends (Nietzsche etc), but in the case of Rand, no mis-interpretation is required, unless you are trying to portray her views as anything other than deeply misanthropic.

[Jun 23, 2019] It's erroneous to think state capitalism = soviet russia style dictatorships.

Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

UnknownGunman -> johncj , 6 Mar 2012 05:42

The degree of statism in a country's political system, is the degree to which it breaks up the country into rival gangs and sets men against one another. When individual rights are abrogated, there is no way to determine who is entitled to what; there is no way to determine the justice of anyone's claims, desires, or interests. The criterion, therefore, reverts to the tribal concept of: one's wishes are limited only by the power of one's gang.

Such a black and white view of reality. This is the entire problem with Rand's worldview, reality is far too complex. Here, you talk about the level of "statism" - there are many different methods of using the state to achieve goals which help improve your life and those in the society around you.

For example, in Scandanavian countries, and other northern European ones, the state is used to make up for distribution deficiencies in the market system - that is, to reign in those at either end of the socio-economic scale to make the distribution more equal, which has been scientifically shown to reduce all manner of social ills caused by a large amount of economic inequality.

They do this whilst minimising the impact on economic freedom.

So it's erroneous to think statism = soviet russia style dictatorships.

As for individual rights - well, these are clearly important, but certainly not as a blanket ideology behind society. Negative sides to individual rights are things like:

• Educational freedom - 2 + 2 can equal 5!
• Parenting - society has to deal with bad parenting as the child reaches adulthood, so society deserves an equal say: I don't have to vaccinate my kids! (recent MMR jab a prime example)
• I'm free to pollute the environment, make excessive noise because the government has no place stopping me.

As a society, a balance needs to be maintained. A balance between a person's individual liberty and the impact on the society around them. This is the main area where Rand's philosophy fails - she simply does not acknowledge the very complex relationship humans have with each other, with society as a whole, and the world around them.

[Jun 23, 2019] The basic axiom of libertarian political theory holds that every man is a self-owner, having absolute jurisdiction over his own body and property. But without the means to protect, defend and preserve these things that one "owns", provided by the state, it amounts to very little.

Notable quotes:
"... This is the reduction ad absurdum that libertarianism is always reduced to. A subscription police force is an an idiocy, a bit like a subscription fire service. ..."
"... Even by the 18th Century, people had figured out that made no sense. How on earth could it work? A private police force would be beholden to its paymasters and no one else. ..."
"... As I have said many times, a pure libertarian society would be a warlord society, with the feeble or non-existent state unable to restrain the richest and most powerful people in that society. Truly a hell on earth. ..."
Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

HarryTheHorse , 6 Mar 2012 10:41

The basic axiom of libertarian political theory holds that every man is a self-owner, having absolute jurisdiction over his own body. In effect, this means that no one else may justly invade, or aggress against, another's person. It follows then that each person justly owns whatever previously unowned resources he appropriates or 'mixes his labor with'. From these twin axioms -- self-ownership and 'homesteading' -- stem the justification for the entire system of property rights titles in a free market society."

That's all very well, but without the means to protect, defend and preserve these things that one "owns", it amounts to very little. And that is where collectivisation comes in. For what is the law but a series of codes that we collectively as a society agree to abide by. Without the rule of law to protect me, whatever I own will soon be taken by someone stronger and more aggressive that me. Individuals cannot assert their rights as individuals, for they are not strong enough to do so. The irony, which is lost on libertarians, is that for individual rights to be preserved we must sacrifice a little of our individualism to collectively band together to defend those rights.

HarryTheHorse -> johncj , 6 Mar 2012 10:33

Then don't pay if you don't want to, that's my point. If you want police pay a subscription. I suppose this is floating away from objectivism and more into libertarianism. The principle is the same how ever.

This is the reduction ad absurdum that libertarianism is always reduced to. A subscription police force is an an idiocy, a bit like a subscription fire service.

Even by the 18th Century, people had figured out that made no sense. How on earth could it work? A private police force would be beholden to its paymasters and no one else.

Presumably there would be multiple such police forces - for free-market competition, of course. These police forces would become de facto private armies. And from where would they derive their authority? From he who pays them the most?

As I have said many times, a pure libertarian society would be a warlord society, with the feeble or non-existent state unable to restrain the richest and most powerful people in that society. Truly a hell on earth.

[Jun 23, 2019] Many Anarchists have a libertarian mindset, and seek cooperation (rather than a competition in who can break the most windows), but reject the dominance and structures of the elite, which are usually completely undemocratic.

Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

totemic , 6 Mar 2012 14:16

While there is certainly an element of Paul supporters, in my experience here in the Bay/Central Coast is that it is predominantly Dems, liberals, progressives, socialists and a surprising number of anarchists (many of which are not the typical window-breaking stereotype).

I would guess its all of us who are suspicious of hierarchical state capitalism - whether of the left or the right. Many Anarchists have a libertarian mindset, and seek cooperation (rather than a competition in who can break the most windows), but reject the dominance and structures of the elite, which are usually completely undemocratic.

[Jun 23, 2019] No, that is not anarchy. That is a load of selfish bastards claiming to be anarchists and using this as a justification for their being selfish bastards.

Apr 11, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

BeenThereDunThat -> apacheman , 11 Apr 2019 05:16

People think of anarchy as equating with lawless selfishness because that's how it works in real life.

No, that is not anarchy. That is a load of selfish bastards claiming to be anarchists and using this as a justification for their being selfish bastards. I remember only too well the cry of no small number of the trendy fashion-punk-anarchists of the 1980's to justify their hedonism and lack of responsibility " I'm an Anarchist, me: I can do anything! ".And my response to them? " Are you fuck!!! ".

Sadly, however, many like yourself choose to take the definition of anarchy which is a total misrepresentation of it equating to chaos and disorder, and which as I noted in my earlier comment, has been deliberately promulgated and used by the State and its supportive media. And in doing so, you do the philosophy a disservice, as you only help spread this representation, which eventually becomes the accepted understanding. And this is what the State and the oligarchs desire most, as it keeps people away from those most dangerous of thoughts, about actually trying to control their own lives.

[Jun 23, 2019] A modern example is the oligarchs who carved up the commons in a collapsing and disintegrating Soviet Union

Notable quotes:
"... It's not entrepreneurial; it's base rent-seeking and it was a violent act of forced approbriation by denying natural rights to others. ..."
Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

NotWithoutMyMonkey , 6 Mar 2012 06:27

@johncj

So easy to say when you so blithely ignore the historical injustices, the inequality of opportunity and the theft - the first person to claim a parcel of land as their own exclusive property was committing an act of theft.

It's not entrepreneurial; it's base rent-seeking and it was a violent act of forced approbriation by denying natural rights to others.

The subsequent claims to title are enforced by the threat of violence through the emergence of a pervasive state.

A modern example is the oligarchs who carved up the commons in a collapsing and disintegrating Soviet Union. Their's was an act of theft committed against society and the common good. Your definition of freedom is predicated on theft and is a denial of natural freedoms,

[Jun 23, 2019] Relative performance of Democratic vs Republican presidents

Apr 10, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

consumerx, 10 Apr 2019 18:10

Listen, in the computer age, I can find FACTS in seconds.
Here are some FACTS !
------------------------------------------
Trump says he will create 25 million jobs,--REALLY ???
-5 GOP presidents have NOT created 25 million jobs in 57 YEARS !
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Clinton created almost as many jobs as 5 GOP presidents.
Let's cut to the chase. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are the net increases in private-sector employment under each president, chronologically by party since 1961--
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Republicans---

Richard Nixon: Increase of 7.1 million jobs
Gerald Ford: Increase of 1.3 million jobs
Ronald Reagan: Increase of 14.7 million jobs
George H.W. Bush: Increase of 1.5 million jobs
George W. Bush: Decline of 646,000 jobs
---Total:-------------- Increase of 23.9 million jobs under Republican presidents

-Democrats---

John F. Kennedy: Increase of 2.7 million jobs
Lyndon B. Johnson: Increase of 9.5 million jobs
Jimmy Carter: Increase of 9.0 million jobs
Bill Clinton: Increase of 20.8 million jobs
Barack Obama: Increase of 14,332,000 jobs

---
Total: Increase of 56.3 million jobs.
--

------------------------------------------------------
It is a fact of history that nine of the ten economic recessions since 1953, when Dwight D. Eisenhower became President, have come under Republican Presidents as follows:

----

The longest recessions were under W Bush and Obama; Reagan; and Nixon/Ford, with the unemployment rate reaching 10 percent, 10.8 percent, and 9 percent respectively in those recessions. The shortest recession was under Jimmy Carter, six months in 1980, but the only Democrat to have a recession begin while in office, and suffered at the polls partially on that fact, that it was in an election year!

Eisenhower had three recession periods, while Nixon had two, and W. Bush had two.
-----------
http://www.theprogressiveprofessor.com/?p=26206
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

When conservatives/neoliberals/GOP are in charge the economy and jobs GO TO SHIT -- !!!

[Jun 23, 2019] Debt: The first 5000 years

Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

NotWithoutMyMonkey , 6 Mar 2012 06:18

@Sonofrex
For starters, try reading David Graeber's 'Debt: The first 5000 years' for a comprehensive account on concepts of money, property, debt and obligation from an anthropological perspective which soundly buries your cherished assumptions and beliefs about the primacy of private property and it's conflation with freedom. Perhaps one of the most compelling book I've read in recent times.

For a review:

http://thenewinquiry.com/blogs/zunguzungu/david-graebers-debt-my-first-5000-words/

[Jun 23, 2019] Is Democratic system theoretically sustainable?

Notable quotes:
"... "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy" - Alexis de Toqueville ..."
Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

bonefisher -> Livemike , 6 Mar 2012 06:52

Great post

The problem is that as De Toqueville realises (his quote below) most of the people commenting here are simply living a parasitic existence benefiting from state largesse - sucking the teat of a bloated and overburdened state caring not whether their sustenance is remotely sustainable and just voting for ever more

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy" - Alexis de Toqueville

[Jun 23, 2019] Rands followers are selfish greedy, most likely insane, jackles who have destroyed and plundered the American and world economy for thier own ends.

Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

sct2112 , 5 Mar 2012 23:22

Imagine being stuck in a fall out shelter or an underground bunker during some apocalypse with a devoted Ayn Rand follower or followers. Gurantee they would be killed and eaten with in the first few hours.

Rand followers remind me of my little neices and nephews when they fight over candy and toys. You tell them they have to share and they say no mine mine it's all mine. Now imagine a grown man or woman doing the same exact thing except they run a major corporation or worse are an elected official. They have tried to make money off of every crisis in the past thirty years.

Rands followers are selfish greedy, most likely insane, jackles who have destroyed and plundered the American and world economy for thier own ends. Usually so they can have the most toys like cars, houses, hot tubs, private jets, viagra and wild sex parties Mind you they most likely have to pay people to have sex with them. I have nothing against capitalism but they need to reeled in at some point. Sadly goverment does not do it's job by looking after the public but after their own wallets. The people who view her has a sage and goddess are seriously out of touch with reality.

Honestly her idea's are failures, the west is in debt up to it's eyeballs, Asia is rising and Latin America is telling America and Europe to collectively go and screw ourselves. I am not happy about this but apart of me is a bit amused by it.

[Jun 23, 2019] The intellectual antecedents of the new right go back to Leo Strauss and the University of Chicago

Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Rozina -> tom1832 , 5 Mar 2012 22:15

The intellectual antecedents of the new right go back to Leo Strauss and the University of Chicago among others. Canadian academic Shadia Drury wrote two books critical of Straussian philosophy: "Leo Strauss and the American Right" (1999) and "The Political Ideas of Leo Strauss" (first published 1988, revised 2005). Counterpunch.org carries a number of articles by Gary Leupp, Francis Boyle and others also castigating the influence of Leo Strauss and his followers on US foreign policy. Seymour Hersch also took a blowtorch to Strauss in an article for The New Yorker many years ago when George W Bush was US President (link: http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2003/05/12/030512fa_fact?currentPage=4#ixzz1437Z8MNs).
truebluetah -> Callaig , 5 Mar 2012 17:57
SEP provides a decent summary of Rand's reasoning.

[Jun 23, 2019] Tea Party Placards, reading: (paraphrase) 'government get your hands off my Medicare'!

Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

PSmd , 6 Mar 2012 09:43

NotWithoutMyMonkey

Indeed! I attended a public lecture by Thomas Frank (former young conservative-now left wing) at the LSE, and he was even describing Tea Party Placards, reading: (paraphrase) 'government get your hands off my Medicare'!

[Jun 23, 2019] Koch brothers are successfully getting Tea Party turkeys to vote for Xmas!

Notable quotes:
"... After all, the Kochs owe their family wealth to the Stalinist USSR... ..."
Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

murielbelcher , 6 Mar 2012 09:41

Over the years, the Koch brothers have spent millions of dollars trying to undo both social security and medicare!

AKA the founders of the egregious getting turkeys to vote for Xmas Tea Party!

PSmd , 6 Mar 2012 09:27
It's not just Rand, seemingly, who was a hypocrite. After all, the Kochs owe their family wealth to the Stalinist USSR...

[Jun 23, 2019] Libertarian ideology and the threat of unemployment

Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

NotWithoutMyMonkey , 6 Mar 2012 09:34

@Fissile
I've seen that before. Although hardly an anarcho-capitalist, my uncle in Australia; a music teacher in a private school would alway rail against unions and so-called union-power at every opportunity. The moment his job came under threat, he'd signed up for membership forthwith.

[Jun 23, 2019] Theory and practice of neoliberalism

Notable quotes:
"... Friedrich von Hayek, one of the creed's most revered economic gurus, spent his productive years railing against government old age pension and medical insurance schemes. When he became old and infirm, he signed on for both social security and medicare. ..."
Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

murielbelcher , 6 Mar 2012 09:40

Friedrich von Hayek, one of the creed's most revered economic gurus, spent his productive years railing against government old age pension and medical insurance schemes. When he became old and infirm, he signed on for both social security and medicare.

Love it. When push comes to shove all those ideologies and beliefs crumble into the dust of practical needs. Another individual who cloaked the self-interest of the rich and powerful into some kind of spurious ideology.

George wrote a rather good article about Von Hayek a few years ago I seem to remember.

[Jun 23, 2019] As former right-wing operative Allen Raymond famously said: "this is not about morality, this is about winning"

Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

1Byron , 5 Mar 2012 17:44

It's no wonder the US is so screwed up these days. Somehow the NeoCons, before and after stealing the 2,000 election for Bush, with the help of abundance of Liars 4 Hire think tanks like CATO, CEI, AEI, Heritage Foundation blah, blah, blah, bankrolled by the likes of the Koch Bros, The Scaifes, Exxon, Monsanto, Dow, Dupont the Nuke Industry etc. were, and are still able to convince low intelligence people that wrong is right, bad is good, meanness is "compassion" and abuse is "tough love".

But it only works if those being duped are already predisposed to hateful philosophy, and that they got in spades with careful conditioning (brainwashing) from bastards like Rush Limbaugh and Rupert Murdoch, people with no moral scruples whatsoever.

Thus the right today (actually for a long while now) is no more than a collection of racists and bigots, pathological liars and scammers, charlatans and greedmeisters.

It's why they care nothing for the poor, nothing for protection the environment, nothing for anyone or anything but themselves. They are the cult of mean.

As former right-wing operative Allen Raymond famously said: "this is not about morality, this is about winning"

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/8/how_to_rig_an_election_convicted

[Jun 23, 2019] Marx excessive belief about revolutionary role of proletariat

Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

earweego -> GeorgeMonbiot , 6 Mar 2012 13:23

"Marx/dialectical materialism...reduces humanity's complex social and political relations to a simple conflict between the "bourgeoisie" and the "proletariat"; ie the owners of property and the workers, by which Marx and Engels meant, basically, factory workers. Any class which didn't tick one of these boxes was either, like the peasants, shopkeepers, artisans and aristocrats, destined to "decay and finally disappear...

I don't read Marx quite like that:

"The lower strata of the middle class -- the small tradespeople, shopkeepers, and retired tradesmen generally, the handicraftsmen and peasants -- all these sink gradually into the proletariat, partly because their diminutive capital does not suffice for the scale on which Modern Industry is carried on, and is swamped in the competition with the large capitalists, partly because their specialized skill is rendered worthless by new methods of production.

Thus, the proletariat is recruited from all classes of the population." (Communist Manifesto)

"Marx... entirely trusted to the intellectual development of the working class, which was sure to result from combined action and mutual discussion." (Engel footnote)

[Jun 23, 2019] Capital can be read as despairing dissection of an economic juggernaut indifferent to everything other than satisfying its own accumulative drive, one that leads inevitably to the polarity of vast wealth on the one hand and unemployment and immiseration on the other.

Notable quotes:
"... Classic Marxist dualism of proletariat-bourgeois broke down once the ownership and control of capital started to diverge with the employment of a vast managerial class. It s quite possible today even for 'proletariat' to own more of their company though stock than the middle manager above them. On top of that we now produce consumerism in the west and ideas over what you might call industry. Lots of stuff we produce is just aesthetic, surface, ephemeral, and useless. :) ..."
Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

pbrennan -> GeorgeMonbiot , 6 Mar 2012 07:21

"Any class which didn't tick one of these boxes was either, like the peasants, shopkeepers, artisans and aristocrats, destined to "decay and finally disappear in the face of modern industry", or, like the unemployed, was "social scum, that passively rotting mass thrown off by the lowest layers of old society", with no legitimate existence in a post-revolutionary world."


You are describing here Marx's predictions about the consequences of the processes of capital, not necessarily what he would have wanted to happen. As Fredric Jameson suggests in his recent Representing Capital, Capital can be read as despairing dissection of an economic juggernaut indifferent to everything other than satisfying its own accumulative drive, one that leads inevitably to the polarity of vast wealth on the one hand and unemployment and immiseration on the other. If anything has ever been prescient, that was.

It's also abundantly clear from Capital that Marx believed just as much that capitalism deprived life and work of satisfaction, meaning and pleasure as he welcomed the progress of modern industrial technological civilisation.

Also, if you think Marx lacked humanity you should take a look at the 'Working Day' chapter of Capital, Volume One and the final Book, 'On So-Called Primitive Accumulation.'

It's a mistake to believe that Marx thought that socialism would inevitably follow capitalism and that history was working to a neat plan.

Marx entertained many (sometimes contradictory) possibilities about alternatives to capitalism, including ones involving other classes that the proletariat. See his letter to Vera Zasulich of 1881:

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1881/03/zasulich1.htm

Bobbydazzler123 -> Kyza06 , 6 Mar 2012 07:18

Some might do, but the main Marxist critique of social democracy is that, by providing a safety net for the poorest in society and potentially creating limited meritocracy it creates the conditions for continued false consciousness and doesn't allow for class consciousness to form, which is one of the main pre-conditions (along with a fully developed capitalist industrial economy) for revolution to begin. The most successful examples of this can be seen in countries like Germany where many will angrily insist that their countries exist in a state of post-class politics thanks to their social-democrat systems.

Classic Marxist dualism of proletariat-bourgeois broke down once the ownership and control of capital started to diverge with the employment of a vast managerial class. It s quite possible today even for 'proletariat' to own more of their company though stock than the middle manager above them. On top of that we now produce consumerism in the west and ideas over what you might call industry. Lots of stuff we produce is just aesthetic, surface, ephemeral, and useless. :)

But I do agree the social democratic model is essentially conservative and protects an elite though, but anyway that system is changing now as we have identity politics, activism, globalisation etc, the nation state is withering and has been for years, it's attacked from without and within.

Underflow -> GeorgeMonbiot , 6 Mar 2012 07:00

... the Manifesto contains in theoretical form many of the horrors later visited upon the people of the Soviet Union and some other communist nations. Dialectical materialism reduces humanity's complex social and political relations to a simple conflict between the "bourgeoisie" and the "proletariat"; ie the owners of property and the workers, by which Marx and Engels meant, basically, factory workers.

I think the first thing Marx would have said, in fact almost by definition, the first thing he wanted to say, was that every consciousness is a product of its surroundings. And likewise, Marx's criticism of capitalism was in every way a product of his understanding of the economic realities in the middle of the nineteenth century. In other words, if your going to talk about 'dialectical materialism' you shouldn't neglect the second word.

Given that Das Capital was always a critcism of capitalism, and given also that since the end of the Cold War, capitalism has been claimed the victor, (and has led to another economic recession as a result)isn't Marx as relevent to day as he ever was?

[Jun 23, 2019] Marxism is a humane and noble system in theory, which turns out to be savage barbarism when put into practice.

Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

colacho -> AllyF , 6 Mar 2012 02:50

Marxism is a humane and noble system in theory, which turns out to be savage barbarism when put into practice.

Read some Marx, or a least some serious analysis of Marx. Getting past chapter one is the challenge - try following David Harvey's online course. Marx's work constitutes a brilliant critique of capitalism rather than a blueprint for a socialist society (there is some of this but it's pretty sketchy). He had some marvellous insights, though being human he got stuff wrong, too.

It was people like the Bolsheviks who turned Marx and then Lenin into unassailable authorities justifying just about anything.

But Marx's work continues to provide an important perspective on how capitalist societies work and why they stagger from crisis to crisis.

The difference between Marx and Rand is that the former was a profound thinker and deeply humane man. He could be turgid but also had moments of coruscating literary brilliance.

Rand was a fifth-rate apologist for plutocracy, followed by cryptofascists all over America, from republican politicians to a whole gaggle of Hollywood hacks.

Google suggests the weak-minded include Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Vince Vaughan, Charlize Theron, Rob Lowe and Eva Mendes. Who knows? If they really are Rand fans they should be held up to public ridicule. It's a nice irony, though, all of those ordinary people rushing off to spend their dollars watching celebrities who secretly despise them.

[Jun 23, 2019] Neoliberalism must be pronounced dead and buried. Where next? by Joseph Stiglitz

Stiglitz does not explain us what forces can bring this so called "progressive capitalism". So far I not see social forces that can enact it.
Why financial oligarchy that is the ruling class under the neoliberalism relinquish the power voluntarily, without a fight? After all they control the state and counterattack any changes: look at color revolution (aka Russiagate) launched against Trump, who represent adherents of a different flavor of neoliberalism.
Neoliberalism entered zombie stage as ideology was discredited in 2008, but there is not still a viable alternative to it. Trump is promoting "national neoliberalism" -- neoliberalism without globalization and with trade wars between rival economic blocks. It might be worse then classic neoliberalism for common people.
Notable quotes:
"... By contrast, the third camp advocates what I call progressive capitalism , which prescribes a radically different economic agenda, based on four priorities. The first is to restore the balance between markets, the state and civil society. Slow economic growth, rising inequality, financial instability and environmental degradation are problems born of the market, and thus cannot and will not be overcome by the market on its own. Governments have a duty to limit and shape markets through environmental, health, occupational safety and other types of regulation. It is also the government's job to do what the market cannot or will not do, such as actively investing in basic research, technology, education and the health of its constituents. ..."
"... The rise in corporate market power, combined with the decline in workers' bargaining power, goes a long way toward explaining why inequality is so high and growth so tepid. Unless government takes a more active role than neoliberalism prescribes, these problems will likely become much worse, owing to advances in robotisation and artificial intelligence. ..."
"... There is no magic bullet that can reverse the damage done by decades of neoliberalism. But a comprehensive agenda along the lines sketched above absolutely can. Much will depend on whether reformers are as resolute in combating problems like excessive market power and inequality as the private sector is in creating them. ..."
"... This agenda is eminently affordable; in fact, we cannot afford not to enact it. The alternatives offered by nationalists and neoliberals would guarantee more stagnation, inequality, environmental degradation and political acrimony, potentially leading to outcomes we do not even want to imagine. ..."
"... Progressive capitalism is not an oxymoron. Rather, it is the most viable and vibrant alternative to an ideology that has clearly failed. As such, it represents the best chance we have of escaping our current economic and political malaise. ..."
May 30, 2019 | www.theguardian.com
Bill Clinton and Tony Blair represented neoliberalism with a human face but remained beholden to an expired ideology. Photograph: Mark Lennihan/AP W hat kind of economic system is most conducive to human wellbeing? That question has come to define the current era, because, after 40 years of neoliberalism in the United States and other advanced economies, we know what doesn't work.

The neoliberal experiment – lower taxes on the rich, deregulation of labour and product markets, financialisation, and globalisation – has been a spectacular failure. Growth is lower than it was in the quarter-century after the second world war, and most of it has accrued to the very top of the income scale. After decades of stagnant or even falling incomes for those below them, neoliberalism must be pronounced dead and buried.

Vying to succeed it are at least three major political alternatives: far-right nationalism, centre-left reformism and the progressive left (with the centre-right representing the neoliberal failure). And yet, with the exception of the progressive left, these alternatives remain beholden to some form of the ideology that has (or should have) expired.

The centre-left, for example, represents neoliberalism with a human face. Its goal is to bring the policies of former US president Bill Clinton and former British prime minister Tony Blair into the 21st century, making only slight revisions to the prevailing modes of financialisation and globalisation.

Meanwhile, the nationalist right disowns globalisation, blaming migrants and foreigners for all of today's problems. Yet as Donald Trump's presidency has shown, it is no less committed – at least in its American variant – to tax cuts for the rich, deregulation and shrinking or eliminating social programmes.

By contrast, the third camp advocates what I call progressive capitalism , which prescribes a radically different economic agenda, based on four priorities. The first is to restore the balance between markets, the state and civil society. Slow economic growth, rising inequality, financial instability and environmental degradation are problems born of the market, and thus cannot and will not be overcome by the market on its own. Governments have a duty to limit and shape markets through environmental, health, occupational safety and other types of regulation. It is also the government's job to do what the market cannot or will not do, such as actively investing in basic research, technology, education and the health of its constituents.

The second priority is to recognise that the "wealth of nations" is the result of scientific inquiry – learning about the world around us – and social organisation that allows large groups of people to work together for the common good. Markets still have a crucial role to play in facilitating social cooperation, but they serve this purpose only if they are governed by the rule of law and subject to democratic checks. Otherwise, individuals can get rich by exploiting others, extracting wealth through rent-seeking rather than creating wealth through genuine ingenuity. Many of today's wealthy took the exploitation route to get where they are. They have been well served by Trump's policies, which have encouraged rent-seeking while destroying the underlying sources of wealth creation. Progressive capitalism seeks to do precisely the opposite.

There is no magic bullet that can reverse the damage done by decades of neoliberalism

This brings us to the third priority: addressing the growing problem of concentrated market power . By exploiting information advantages, buying up potential competitors and creating entry barriers, dominant firms are able to engage in large-scale rent-seeking to the detriment of everyone else. The rise in corporate market power, combined with the decline in workers' bargaining power, goes a long way toward explaining why inequality is so high and growth so tepid. Unless government takes a more active role than neoliberalism prescribes, these problems will likely become much worse, owing to advances in robotisation and artificial intelligence.

The fourth key item on the progressive agenda is to sever the link between economic power and political influence. Economic power and political influence are mutually reinforcing and self-perpetuating, especially where, as in the US, wealthy individuals and corporations may spend without limit in elections. As the US moves ever closer to a fundamentally undemocratic system of "one dollar, one vote", the system of checks and balances so necessary for democracy likely cannot hold: not