Softpanorama

Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)

Who Rules America ?

A slightly skeptical view on the US political establishment and foreign policy

If Ronald Reagan was America's neo-Julius Caesar, his adopted son was the first George Bush (just as J.C. adopted Augustus). And look what THAT progeny wrought. I fully expect that over the next century, no fewer than seven Bushes will have run or become president (mimicking the Roman Caesarian line). Goodbye, American Republic.

From review of Imperial America: Reflections on the United States of Amnesia by Gore Vidal

Skepticism -> Political Skeptic

News Neoliberalism Recommended books Recommended Links Neoliberal Propaganda: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism The Deep State
Libertarian Philosophy Elite Theory Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization US and British media are servants of security apparatus Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich "Fuck the EU": neocons show EU its real place Neoconservatism as an attack dog of neoliberalism
Corporatism Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia Demexit: Abandonment of Democratic party by working class and lower middle class Democratic Party Neoliberals Monday morning quarterbacking Globalization of Financial Flows Anti-globalization movement Brexit as the start of the reversal of neoliberal globalization
Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite The Iron Law of Oligarchy "Clinton Cash" Scandal: Hillary Clinton links to foreign donors and financial industry Neo-conservatism National Security State Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? Hypocrisy of British ruling elite as the template for hypocrisy of neoliberal elite
Russiagate -- a color revolution against Trump Anti-Russian hysteria DNC emails leak Anti Trump Hysteria Two Party System as Polyarchy Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Neoliberal war on reality or the importance of controlling the narrative
Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Demonization of Putin Media-Military-Industrial Complex Strzok-gate Fifth Column of Neoliberal Globalization Neoliberal corruption Neoliberalism and Christianity
Pathological Russophobia of the US elite Israel lobby IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement Disaster capitalism American Exceptionalism Predator state Obama: a yet another Neocon
Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime In Foreign Events Coverage Guardian Presstitutes Slip Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment Corruption of Regulators Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult  Neo-Theocracy as a drive to simpler society American Imperialism, Transnational Capitalist Class and Globalization of Capitalism Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition
Fake News scare and US NeoMcCartyism Ukraine: From EuroMaydan to EuroAnschluss Civil war in Ukraine Syria civil war Gas Wars Color revolutions New American Militarism
MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage Groupthink Crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal elite Deception as an art form Mayberry Machiavellians Immigration, wage depression and free movement of workers  Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17?
Compradors vs. national bourgeoisie Talleyrand quotes Otto Von Bismarck Quotes Kurt Vonnegut Quotes Somerset Maugham Quotes George Carlin Propaganda Quotes
Overcomplexity of society Paleoconservatism Non-Interventionism Key Myths of Neoliberalism Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc

Introduction

 

Skepticism is a useful quality that some people naturally possess and other can develop, but it not a panacea.  As such any "Skeptical" or even "Slightly skeptical" paged by definition suffer from "confirmation bias". They postulate that only information that does not correlate well with official position is worth presenting.  The reality is more complex than that.  There is no grantee that such skeptical openion is correct. And in retrospect many such opinion, which look highly plausible in the heat of the day, look naive and unsubstantiated ten years after. Been there, saw that.

Also, while not so lucrative as shilling for government, adhering to anything that differ to government position is too simplistic an approach. Especially in the long run, as historical forces in action at the particular moment are often unknown and not evident to participants of the events.

Those considerations probably should be kept in mind when reading those pages. While skeptical opinion is an excellent tool for destroying propaganda stereotypes it is your own task to integrate them into your new understanding of the situation. Sometime that requires integration under some new paradigm, or rejection based on the new paradigm for particular historical situation.  The problem with history is that the real meaning of events often became clear only a centruty or so after they occure.

The  central for this set of "slightly skeptical" Softpanorama pages is the idea that we live in neoliberal society and will continue to live in it for some type despite the crisis it experiences now. Because there is no viable alternative on the horizon and resurrection of New Deal capitalism is not possible as the countervailing forces that existed to keep financial oligarchy in check dissipated, and part of them (top management of corporations) joined the former enemy.



NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

Home 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004

For the list of top articles see Recommended Links section


It's easy to pretend to be a great strategist,
while sitting on the top of the hill,
at the safe distance from the battle in the valley

-- Shota Rustavelli (11721216)

[May 24, 2020] FBI Document Reveals That Without Direct Israeli 'Intervention' Trump Would Have Lost 2016 Election

May 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Mao , May 24 2020 20:56 utc | 30

FBI Document Reveals That Without Direct Israeli 'Intervention' Trump Would Have Lost 2016 Election

https://christiansfortruth.com/fbi-document-reveals-that-without-direct-israeli-intervention-trump-would-not-have-won-2016-election/

[May 24, 2020] Why Russiagate Still Matters by Rob Urie

The concept of managerial class liberals (PMC - abbrevation which probably means "project management class" ??? ) as the core of Clinton wing of the Democrtic Party is an interesting one.
Notable quotes:
"... At the height of the Russiagate hysteria, as charges were flying that the 'attack' was worse than Pearl Harbor and 9/11 rolled into one, the class that had filled military recruiting stations following these earlier events was notably quiet. The faction that believed the charges, managerial class liberals (PMC), still substantially believes them despite none of the evidence put forward to support them holding up under examination. ..."
"... The Iraq War and the Great Recession created political divisions that are unlikely to be resolved without a redistribution of political and economic power downward. ..."
"... By the time the Great Recession struck in 2007, the U.S. war against Iraq was widely understood to be a strategic and military blunder, murderous almost beyond comprehension, and based on lies from American officials. ..."
"... Prior to this -- in the early 1990s, the New Democrats had made a strategic decision to tie their lot to the 'new economy' of Wall Street. Recruiting suburban Republicans into the Democratic Party was old news by Bill Clinton's second term. The PMC was made the ideological core of the Party. This helps explain the substantial overlap between the 'liberal hawks' who would some years later support George W. Bush's war against Iraq and the Russiagate truthers who were tied through class interests to its orthodoxies. ..."
"... While Democrat versus Republican or left versus right are most often used to distinguish Russiagate proponents and believers from skeptics, it was the urban and suburban PMC that gets its news from the establishment press -- the New York Times, Washington Post and NPR, that believed and supported the story. As it happens, the PMC and rich are the demographic that these news sources serve . Class connotes substantively different lived experience. The Russiagate true believers have benefitted from official connections and the skeptics and large majority of those disinterested in Russiagate haven't. ..."
"... As one who spent years using scientific methods to conduct empirical research, 1) it is as easy to lie with evidence as without it and 2) every source for the Russiagate charges that I followed tied back to the DNC, the CIA or its NGO affiliates like the Atlantic Council. These are political actors, not disinterested parties. The method of reporting is to state charges in the headline, and then to correctly state that official sources claim that the headline charges are true in the body of the article. This leaves the impression that evidence supports the headline charges with no actual evidence having been presented. Deference to authority isn't evidence. ..."
"... As I laid out in 2018 here , the role of the CIA in oil and gas geopolitics ties the motives for demonizing Russia to U.S. machinations in Ukraine and to weapons production and distribution as the business of U.S. based corporations. Further back, while the George W. Bush administration's war against Iraq was a strategic, military, moral and humanitarian disaster, oligarchs and corporate executives made personal fortunes from it. This 'model' of the modern state acting on behalf of business interests ties all the way back to the alleged pre-capitalism of mercantilism. ..."
"... The PMC is the service class of this state-capitalism, with corporate lawyers, tech workers, Wall Street traders and middle managers whose livelihoods and identities are tied to their class position through these jobs. ..."
"... This difference in lived experience explains why the PMC saw the Wall Street bailouts as both necessary and effective, while much of the rest of the country didn't. Wall Street is the functional core of the PMC economy through the process of financialization. ..."
"... The tendency to vote rises with family income. The well to do elected Donald Trump, as they do every president. As the machinations to make Joe Biden the Democrat's candidate in 2020 suggest, the poor can vote for their choice to represent the interests of the rich, but not their own ..."
"... Russiagate was and is defense of a class realm, of the power of the rich and the PMC to do as they please without the political chatter of the 'little people' or the populist pretensions of Donald Trump. ..."
"... While it seems evident now that Trump was never more than a minor inconvenience in the CIA's plans for murder, mayhem, and world domination, this wasn't evident at the outset of his tenure in the White House. John Brennan and James Clapper have demonstrated over long careers that the well-behaved fascism of corporate political control, for profit militarism, targeted and occasionally brutal repression of the 'little people' and democracy in name only, are fine with them. ..."
"... That none of the Russiagate charges turned out to have merit has had no determinable political impact to date. Its central protagonists knew they were telling lies (links above) all along. Not considered by the Russiagate acolytes is that those telling lies weren't lying to the marginally literate 'fascists' who should in elite theory have been the easiest to fool. Those people don't spend their days reading the New York Times and listening to NPR. They were lying to the educated elite. And lest this elite imagine that it was in on the lies -- they quite conspicuously believed every word of them. ..."
May 22, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

A thought experiment with a purpose is to ask: if a group of former Directors of the CIA, NSA and FBI put forward a story about a malevolent foreign power acting against the U.S. without providing evidence that their story is true, who would believe them? While this wasn't precisely the setup for Russiagate, all of the former Directors came forward as former Directors of intelligence agencies, not as private citizens. And the information they presented was compiled as opposition research for a political campaign. It might have (did) provided a basis for further inquiry, but it wasn't evidence as it was presented.

Oddly, ironically even, the part of the population that in earlier history would have taken former government officials at their word and been ready to fight, kill, or die to right this alleged wrong, was circumspect in the case of Russiagate. At the height of the Russiagate hysteria, as charges were flying that the 'attack' was worse than Pearl Harbor and 9/11 rolled into one, the class that had filled military recruiting stations following these earlier events was notably quiet. The faction that believed the charges, managerial class liberals (PMC), still substantially believes them despite none of the evidence put forward to support them holding up under examination.

This seeming role reversal of managerial class liberals being whipped into a nationalistic fervor while the rest of the country looked away was a long time coming. Trump loathing explains why liberals want Donald Trump gone from office, but not the nationalistic fervor or the studied disinterest of the rest of the country in the 'attack' by a foreign power. The receptivity, or lack thereof, of these political factions (classes) to official proclamations is the result of lived history. The Iraq War and the Great Recession created political divisions that are unlikely to be resolved without a redistribution of political and economic power downward.

Graph: As was much reported at the time, the Great Recession was orders of magnitude more economically destructive than prior post-WWII recessions. Both the severity and persistence of unemployment were far outside of the post-War experience. At the time of the 2016 election, long-term unemployment had still not returned to pre-recession levels. Its levels and impact were differentiated by class, with employment amongst the PMC, composed largely of liberal Democrats, quickly returning to pre-recession levels. while working class employment permanently disappeared or was turned into gig jobs. Source: St. Louis Federal Reserve.

Up through the U.S. war against Iraq, working class men joined the military and fought American wars while the rich and professional classes got educational deferments or a doctor's note claiming one or another exemption-worthy malady to do the hard work of 'changing the system from within.' Even with the class-blind farce of a 'volunteer' military, there came a time around 2006 when the intersection of official lies and body bags accumulated to the point where a righteous rebellion against official power took hold amongst the 'lesser' classes. Barack Obama won election in 2008 based in part on his carefully worded rejection of wars of choice.

By the time the Great Recession struck in 2007, the U.S. war against Iraq was widely understood to be a strategic and military blunder, murderous almost beyond comprehension, and based on lies from American officials. And it was far from being resolved. For structural reasons including three-plus decades of planned deindustrialization, the systematic weakening of labor's power and the social safety net, and the partitioning of the economy into financialized and not financialized sectors, the bailouts of Wall Street produced different outcomes by class, with the PMC seeing its fortunes quickly restored while the working class was left to languish.

Prior to this -- in the early 1990s, the New Democrats had made a strategic decision to tie their lot to the 'new economy' of Wall Street. Recruiting suburban Republicans into the Democratic Party was old news by Bill Clinton's second term. The PMC was made the ideological core of the Party. This helps explain the substantial overlap between the 'liberal hawks' who would some years later support George W. Bush's war against Iraq and the Russiagate truthers who were tied through class interests to its orthodoxies.

To tie this together, the Americans who died, were permanently disabled or who lost family members and friends in the U.S. war against Iraq, also found themselves on the wrong side of the class war that began in the 1980s with deindustrialization. By the time of the Great Recession, working class labor was forced to contend with long-term unemployment (graph above) or with the perpetual insecurity of the gig economy. Contrariwise, those whose class position meant that they had 'better things to do' than to volunteer to serve in Iraq had their fortunes quickly restored in the Great Recession through government bailouts.

While Democrat versus Republican or left versus right are most often used to distinguish Russiagate proponents and believers from skeptics, it was the urban and suburban PMC that gets its news from the establishment press -- the New York Times, Washington Post and NPR, that believed and supported the story. As it happens, the PMC and rich are the demographic that these news sources serve . Class connotes substantively different lived experience. The Russiagate true believers have benefitted from official connections and the skeptics and large majority of those disinterested in Russiagate haven't.

Referred to, but not yet addressed, is the complete failure of the Russiagate evidence to match the DNC / establishment press / national security state storylines. From collusion between the Russian government and Donald Trump to emails leaked to, and then published by, Wikileaks to the Russian troll farm and its ties to the GRU (Russian intelligence), none of these theories have been supported by the evidence offered. And most of the political actors who spent years promoting them knew they weren't true before Donald Trump even took office.

As one who spent years using scientific methods to conduct empirical research, 1) it is as easy to lie with evidence as without it and 2) every source for the Russiagate charges that I followed tied back to the DNC, the CIA or its NGO affiliates like the Atlantic Council. These are political actors, not disinterested parties. The method of reporting is to state charges in the headline, and then to correctly state that official sources claim that the headline charges are true in the body of the article. This leaves the impression that evidence supports the headline charges with no actual evidence having been presented. Deference to authority isn't evidence.

This kind of journalism isn't just poor reporting. It is either naively trusting of official sources or it is intended to deceive. Given how little follow-up has been done on the serial failures of the evidence, the most probable answer is that it is straight-up propaganda. But the conception of propaganda that the facts support requires something like a unified state interest, as well as an explanation of how and why the establishment press serves as a permanent conduit for official disinformation. Given that an elected President was the target of the Russiagate campaign, the unified state interest theory doesn't work.

More broadly, the neoliberal project seems to have been modeled on the Marxist / Leninist conception of the state as existing to promote the interests of prominent capitalists. Beginning around the time of Bill Clinton's election to the presidency, the privatization of government services led to the creation of a public-private amalgam composed of PMC workers who perform state functions like domestic spying for the CIA and the NSA. Russiagate certainly appears from its motives, sources, 'facts' and constituency, to have been carried out by functionaries in this public-private amalgam who saw it as their right to reverse the outcome of the 2016 election.

As I laid out in 2018 here , the role of the CIA in oil and gas geopolitics ties the motives for demonizing Russia to U.S. machinations in Ukraine and to weapons production and distribution as the business of U.S. based corporations. Further back, while the George W. Bush administration's war against Iraq was a strategic, military, moral and humanitarian disaster, oligarchs and corporate executives made personal fortunes from it. This 'model' of the modern state acting on behalf of business interests ties all the way back to the alleged pre-capitalism of mercantilism.

The PMC is the service class of this state-capitalism, with corporate lawyers, tech workers, Wall Street traders and middle managers whose livelihoods and identities are tied to their class position through these jobs. Through the social partitions of class, they are free to have self-flattering politics that have no bearing on how their lives are lived. Identity politics like 'ending racism' have no bearing on who their co-workers are, who their neighbors are or who their children attend school with. Class determines these. This largely explains why beliefs, rather than acts, are the currency of this politics. Class is invisible for those who never encounter, or more precisely see, the economic and social consequences of capitalism on different classes.

This difference in lived experience explains why the PMC saw the Wall Street bailouts as both necessary and effective, while much of the rest of the country didn't. Wall Street is the functional core of the PMC economy through the process of financialization. That the vast majority of the country works and lives far from this functional core makes it the center of the PMC economy, not of the broader economy. And the bailouts 'worked' in the sense that they quickly restored PMC jobs and bonuses. That they topped off four decades of declining fortunes for working class workers (graph above) was hidden behind economic aggregates.

The endless reading of the political tea leaves over Donald Trump's electoral victory, over whether it was a dispossessed working class or Republican plutocrats that brought him to victory, is the analytical equivalent of the debate over the economic impact of the bailouts. Rich people vote, poor people don't (graph below). Electoral politics is a struggle that takes place amongst the rich and the PMC. The visceral disdain the PMC has shown for the 'little people' throughout Russiagate is the product of four decades of class warfare launched from above, not the start of it.

Graph: The tendency to vote rises with family income. The well to do elected Donald Trump, as they do every president. As the machinations to make Joe Biden the Democrat's candidate in 2020 suggest, the poor can vote for their choice to represent the interests of the rich, but not their own. This gives credence to Thomas Ferguson's 'investment theory' of politics. The rich vote to protect their investment in political outcomes. Source: econofact.org.

Russiagate was and is defense of a class realm, of the power of the rich and the PMC to do as they please without the political chatter of the 'little people' or the populist pretensions of Donald Trump.

While it seems evident now that Trump was never more than a minor inconvenience in the CIA's plans for murder, mayhem, and world domination, this wasn't evident at the outset of his tenure in the White House. John Brennan and James Clapper have demonstrated over long careers that the well-behaved fascism of corporate political control, for profit militarism, targeted and occasionally brutal repression of the 'little people' and democracy in name only, are fine with them.

What they and the PMC do object to is any notion of democracy that doesn't leave them in control of everything that it allegedly exists to determine. If elected leaders believe they have a legitimate reason for taking military action, why do they resort to using political and psychological coercion (like Russiagate) rather than taking their case to the people? If other, much poorer, countries can run free and fair elections, why can't the U.S.? And why are corporate representatives allowed to craft public policies when their interests diverge from the public's?

That none of the Russiagate charges turned out to have merit has had no determinable political impact to date. Its central protagonists knew they were telling lies (links above) all along. Not considered by the Russiagate acolytes is that those telling lies weren't lying to the marginally literate 'fascists' who should in elite theory have been the easiest to fool. Those people don't spend their days reading the New York Times and listening to NPR. They were lying to the educated elite. And lest this elite imagine that it was in on the lies -- they quite conspicuously believed every word of them.

That Brennan, Clapper and company are everything that liberals claim to hate about Donald Trump -- tacky talk show hosts who spout whatever bullshit comes to mind if they think it will close the deal, suggests that Trump himself would be a #Resistance hero if he had run as a Democrat. Otherwise, bright lights on the left can't seem to get past the notion that the establishment press always reports bullshit when doing so is politically convenient. Reporting what power says rather than what it does is to be a mouthpiece for power. That is what the establishment press does, and that is why it is considered the 'legitimate' source.

As befits this moment in history, there are no generally applicable lessons to be drawn from Russiagate. Its central protagonists have already moved on to the 'restoring integrity to the White House' grift. By making the election a choice between getting ass cancer or shingles, Biden or Trump -- you decide which is which, the nation has reached a zenith of sorts.

This type of moment produced punk rock in an earlier age. Again, as befits the age, we now have the moment without the punk rock. As the existential philosophers had it, despair is our friend. At least that's what Putin tells me.

Rob Urie is an artist and political economist. His book Zen Economics is published by CounterPunch Books.More articles by: Rob Urie Join the debate on Facebook

[May 24, 2020] Trial by Blockhead by Mark Chapman

Notable quotes:
"... Enter the Buk system, with the 9K37 SA-11 missile. It's got the range, it's got the altitude, the Russians have it in active service. Oooo problem. It's got the range, but only if it was fired from inside Ukraine. ..."
"... Anyway, back to the Buk system. And not a moment before time, either I just re-read that sanctimonious stab above, again; " having armed the militants without due thought as to the consequences " What, exactly, is the ridiculous nature of the accusation being presented here? That the Russians gave an anti-aircraft system to the 'militants' without considering they might use it to shoot down an aircraft? How did they not see that coming? The Ukrainian Army shot down a civilian airliner in October of 2001 , and lied about it for as long as it could interestingly, it took place during joint Ukrainian-Russian air defense exercises on the Crimean peninsula, and Russia tried hard to avoid assigning blame to Ukraine, while at least one Israeli television station claimed the Russians had shot down their own aircraft. This disaster and subsequent lying did not prevent the USA from giving the Javelin missile to Ukraine did it not occur to them that they might use it to shoot tanks? No due thought to the consequences, obviously. ..."
"... The Buk air-defense system normally consists of at least 4 TELAR launchers , each with 4 missiles on the launch rails, a self-propelled acquisition radar designated by NATO nomenclature as Snow Drift (the radar on the nose of the TELAR unit itself is designated Fire Dome), and a self-propelled command post, for a minimum of 6 vehicles. Also usually part of the system is a mobile crane, to reload the launchers. If you were going to supply an air-defense system to militant rebels, why wouldn't you give them the whole system? In a pinch, you might be able to get away without the command post vehicle, although it is the station that collates all the input from the sensors and makes the decision to assign targets for acquisition, tracking and engagement. If you didn't give them the crane vehicle, and perhaps a logistics truck with some reloads, they would be limited to the missiles that came already mounted once those were fired, they'd have to abandon the system, because they couldn't reload it. Seems a little wasteful, don't you think? ..."
"... I'm going a little further with my inexpert opinion, to say that the Buk system was selected as the 'murder weapon', because it provides a limited autonomous capability. To be clear, the Fire Dome radar on the nose of the TELAR does have a limited search capability, and once the radar is locked on to a target, the TELAR vehicle is completely autonomous. The purpose of the surveillance radar is to detect the target from far beyond the Fire Dome's range, assign it to a TELAR and thereby direct it to the elevation and bearing of the target so that the TELAR's radar knows exactly where to look, and continue to update its position until the TELAR to which it was assigned has locked on to the target. ..."
"... The Fire Dome radar mounted on the TELAR can search a 120-degree sector in 4 seconds, at an elevation of 6 to 7 degrees. Its search function is maximized for defense against ground attack aircraft, and a single launcher is not looking at 240 degrees of potential air threat axis during each sweep. It is not looking high enough to see an airliner at 30,000 ft+. More importantly for a system which was not designed to shoot down helpless airliners, it leaves two-thirds of a circle unobserved all the time it is searching for a target. And the Russians provided this to the 'militants' for air defense? They should be shot. ..."
"... There is no telling what kind of ordnance might be found in the wreckage itself, as the Ukrainian Army continued to shell the site for days after the crash; doubtless various artillery shells could be found at the crash site, as well, but it would be quite a leap of faith to suggest a Boeing 777 was shot down by artillery. What you would not find is pieces of the SAM that shot it down. ..."
"... Nor is that by any means all. The Dutch investigation which concluded with the preliminary report implied that nothing of any investigative value was found on the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) or the Flight Data Recorder (FDR). Nothing to indicate what might have happened to the aircraft just that it was flying along, and suddenly it wasn't. How likely is that? No transcript was provided, and I guess that would be expected if there was no information at all. Funny how often that happens with Malaysian airliners; they really need to look at their quality control. Oh; except they don't build the aircraft. Boeing does. I could see there not being any information after the plane began to break up, because both the CVR and the FDR are in the tail , and that broke off before the fuselage hit. But the microphones are in the ceiling of the cockpit and in the microphone and earpiece of the pilots' headsets, which they wear at all times while in flight. The last audio claimed to have been recorded was a course alteration sent by Ukrainian ATC. ..."
"... According to the Malaysian government, there was an early plan by NATO for a military operation involving some 9000 troops to 'secure the crash site', which was forestalled by a covert Malaysian operation which recovered the 'black boxes' and blocked the plan. I have to say that given the many, many other unorthodox and bizarre happenings in the conduct of what was supposed to be a transparent and impartial international investigation, it's getting so nothing much is unbelievable. The Malaysian Prime Minister went on record as believing that the western powers had already concluded that Russia was responsible, and were mostly just going through the motions of investigating. ..."
"... The telephone recordings presented by the SBU as demonstrating Russian culpability were analyzed by OG IT Forensic Services, a Malaysian firm specializing in forensic analysis of audio, video and digital materials for court proceedings, which concluded the recordings were cut, edited and fabricated . Yet they are relied upon as important evidence of guilt by the Dutch and the JIT. ..."
May 24, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

>Uncle Volodya says, "We become slaves the moment we hand the keys to the definition of reality entirely over to someone else, whether it is a business, an economic theory, a political party, the White House, Newsworld or CNN."

"The receptivity of the masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan."

Adolf Hitler

We're going to do something just a bit different today; the event I want to talk about is current in the future, actually but the reference which is the subject of the discussion is almost a year old. and the event it discusses is coming up to its sixth anniversary. The past event was the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17 over Ukraine, the future event is the trial in absentia of persons accused by the west of having perpetrated that disaster, and the reference is this piece, by Mark Galeotti, for the Moscow Times: "Russia's Roadmap Out of the MH17 Crisis" .

You all know Mr. Galeotti, I'm sure. Here's his bio, for Amazon:

"Professor Mark Galeotti is a senior researcher at UMV, the Institute of International Relations Prague, and coordinator of its Centre for European Security. Formerly, he was Professor of Global Affairs at New York University and head of History at Keele University. Educated at Cambridge University and the LSE, he is a specialist in modern Russian politics and security and transnational organized crime. And he writes other things for fun, too "

Yes, yes, he certainly does, as you will see. But this bio is extremely modest, albeit he most likely wrote it himself. Mr. Galeotti also authored an excellent blog, In Moscow's Shadows , which was once a go-to reference for crime and legal issues in Russia, a subject in which he seems very well-informed. The blog is still active, although he seems mostly to use it now to advertise podcasts and sell books. That's understandable it's evident from the blur of titles appended to his name that he's a very busy man. Always has been, really; either as a student or an educator. He also speaks with confidence on the details of military affairs and equipment despite never having been in the military or studied engineering; his education has pretty much all been in history, law or political science.

I know what you will say many of the greatest reference works on pivotal battles, overall military campaigns and affairs were written by those who had no personal military experience themselves. Mr. Galeotti studied under Dominic Lieven, whose "Russia Against Napoleon" was perhaps the greatest work of military history, rich with detail and insight, that I have ever read. It won him the Wolfson prize for History for 2010, a well-deserved honour. Yet so far as I could make out, Mr. Lieven never served a day in uniform, and if you handed him an AK-47 and said "Here; field-strip this", your likely response would be a blank look. He most certainly was not a witness to the subject military campaign. No; his epic work on Napoleon's invasion of Russia was informed by research, reading the accounts of others who were there at the time, poring over reams of old documents and matching references to get the best picture we have been afforded to date of Napoleon's ignominious defeat through a combination of imperial overreach, a poor grasp of logistics and, most of all, resistance by an adversary who refused to be drawn into playing to Napoleon's strength the decisive, crushing battle in which the enemy could not retreat, and in which Napoleon would commit all the reserves and crush his enemy to dust.

So it is perfectly possible for an inquisitive mind with no military experience to put together an excellent reference on military happenings which already took place, even if the owner of that mind was not present for the actual event. Given human nature and the capabilities afforded by modern military equipment, it is even possible to forecast future military events with a fair degree of accuracy, going merely by political ambitions and enabling factors, without any personal military experience. After all, the decision-makers who give the orders that send their military forces into battle are often not military men themselves.

Returning for a moment to Mr. Galeotti, it is quite believable that an author with no military background could compose such works as "Armies of the Russian-Ukrainian War" , although there is no serious evidence that Russia is a part of such a conflict in any real military strength. You could write such a book entirely from media references and documentation, which in this case would come almost entirely from the side which claims it is under constant attack by the other Ukraine. Likewise "Kulikovo 1380; the Battle that Made Russia" . None of us were around in 1380, so we all have to go by historical references, and whoever collects them all into a book first is likely to be regarded as an expert.

No, it's more when we get into how stuff works that I have an issue with it. Like " Spetsnaz: Russia's Special Forces ". Or " The Modern Russian Army ". I'm kind of skeptical about how someone could claim to know the actual internal workings of either organization simply from reading about them in popular references, considering that more than half the material on Russia written in English in western references is rubbish heavily influenced by politics and policy. We would not have to look very far to find examples in which ridiculous overconfidence by one side that it had the other side's number resulted in a horrible surprise. In fact, we would not have to look very far to find an example of this particular author confidently averring to know something inside-out, only to find that version of reality could not be sustained . And I would no more turn to a Senior Non-Resident Fellow at the Institute of International Relations Prague for expert analysis of the "Combat Vehicles of Russia's Special Forces" than I would ask a house painter to cut my hair. Unless I see some recollections of a college-age Galeotti tinkering with drivetrains and differentials until the sun went down from a pure love of mechanics, I am going to go ahead and assume that he knows what the vast majority of us knows about military vehicles he could pick one out of a lineup which included a melon, a goat and an Armored Personnel Carrier, and if it had a flat tire he could probably fix it given time and the essential equipment.

Just before we move on, the future event: the MH-17 'trial' has been postponed until June 8th , to give defense attorneys more time to prepare after the amazingly fortuitous capture of a 'key witness' in Eastern Ukraine. I'm not going to elaborate here on what a kicking-the-can-down-the-road crock this is; we'll pick that up later. The whole MH-17 'investigation' has been such a ridiculous exercise in funneling the pursuit to a single inescapable conclusion that Russia shot it down irrespective of how many points have to be bent to fit the curve that no matter how it comes out, it will stand as perhaps the greatest example of absurd western self-justification ever recorded.

There are a couple of ways of solving a mystery crime. One is to collect evidence, and follow where it takes you. Another is to decide who you want to have been responsible, and then construct a sequence of events in which they might have done it. To do that, especially in this case, we will have to throw out a few assumptions, such as all that stuff about means, motive and opportunity. In the absence of a believable scenario, that is. Let's look at what we have, and what we need, and see how we get from there to here.

First, we need for Ukraine not to have been responsible. That's going to be awkward, because it looks as if the aircraft was shot down by a missile, but the missile had to have come from inside Ukraine, because the aircraft was too far from the nearest point in Russia at the moment it was stricken for the missile to have come from there. But we need Russia to have been responsible, and not Ukraine. Therefore we need a sequence of events in which a Russian missile launcher capable of shooting down an airliner at cruising altitude was inside Ukraine, in a position from which it could have taken the shot.

You know what? We are going to have to look at means, motive and opportunity, just for a second. My purpose in doing so is to illustrate just how improbable the western narrative is, starting from square one. The coup in Ukraine and anyone who believes it was a 'grass-roots revolution' might as well stop reading right here, because we are going to just get further apart in our impressions of events followed by the triumphant promise from the revolutionaries to repeal Yanukovych's language laws and make Ukrainian the law of the land touched off the return of Crimea to its ancestral home in the Russian Federation. Crimea was about 65% ethnic Russian by population at the time, and only about 15% Ukrainian, and Crimea had made several attempts to break free of Ukraine before that yet for some reason the west refused steadfastly to accept the results of a referendum which voted in favour of Crimea becoming a part of the Russian Federation, as if it were more believable that a huge ethnic-Russian majority preferred to learn Ukrainian and be governed by Kiev.

Be that as it may, Washington reacted very angrily; much more so than Europe, considering the distance between the United States and Ukraine versus its proximity to Europe. Perhaps that is owed simply to Washington's assumption that every corner of the world looks to it for leadership, and that it must have a position ready on any given situation, regardless how distant. So Washington insisted there must be sanctions against Russia, for stealing Crimea from its rightful owner, Ukraine. We're not really going to get into struggles for freedom and the right to self-determination right now, except to state that the USA considers nothing more important in some cases, while in others it is completely irrelevant. Washington demanded sanctions but much of Europe was reluctant .

"It is notoriously difficult to secure EU agreement on sanctions anywhere because they require unanimity from the 28 member states. There were wide differences over the numbers of Russians and Crimeans to be punished, with countries such as Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Spain reluctant to penalise Moscow for fear of closing down channels of dialogue. The 21 named were on an original list that ran to about 120 people Expanding the numbers on the sanctions list is almost certain to be discussed at the EU summit on Thursday and Friday. Some EU states are torn about taking punitive measures against Russia for fear of undoing years of patient attempts to establish closer ties with Moscow as well as increase trade. The EU has already suspended talks with Russia on an economic pact and a visa agreement The German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said any measure must leave "ways and possibilities open to prevent a further escalation that could lead to the division of Europe" .

The original list of those to be sanctioned was 120 people. The haggling reduced that to 21. Only 7 of those were Russians. Putin was not included. That was pretty plainly not the United Front That Speaks With One Voice that Washington had envisioned, and the notion that Europe would buy into sanctions that might really do some damage to Russia, albeit there would be economic costs to Europe as well, was a dim prospect.

Gosh you know what we need? An atrocity which can be quickly tied to Russia, and which will so appall the EU member states that resistance to far-reaching sanctions will collapse. That's called 'motive'. It's just not a motive for Russia. Having just gone far out on a limb and taken back Crimea, to the obvious and vocal fury of the United States, it is a bit of a stretch that Russia was looking for what else it could do that would stir up the world against it.

Means, now. That presents its own dilemma. Because Russia could have shot down an airliner from its own territory. Just not with the weapon chosen. The S-400 could have done it; it has the range, easily. But if you were setting up a scenario in which something happened that you wanted to blame on Russia, but they didn't really do it, you must have the weapon to do it yourself, or access to it. By any reasonable construct, Ukraine must be a suspect as well there was a hot war going on in Ukraine, Ukraine controlled both the airspace and the aircraft that was lost, and the aircraft was lost over Ukrainian territory. But Ukraine doesn't have the S-400. You could use a variety of western systems, but it would quickly be established that the plane was shot down with a weapon that Russia does not have. In order for the narrative to be believable, Russia must have the weapon but if it wasn't Russia, then whoever did it must have the weapon, too.

Enter the Buk system, with the 9K37 SA-11 missile. It's got the range, it's got the altitude, the Russians have it in active service. Oooo problem. It's got the range, but only if it was fired from inside Ukraine.

Which brings us back to Mr. Galeotti, an expert in Russian combat systems; enough of an expert to write books on them, anyway. And he plainly believes it was an SA-11 missile fired from a single Buk TELAR (Transporter/Erector/Launcher and Radar) which brought down the Boeing; he says that's what the evidence demonstrates, although by this time (2019) most of the world has backed away from saying Putin showed up with no shirt on to close the firing switch personally (cue the instant British-press screaming headlines before the dust had even settled, "PUTIN'S MISSILE!!!" "PUTIN KILLED MY SON!!!"). Now the story is that the disgraceful deed was done by 'Ukrainian anti-government militants', using a weapon supplied by Russia.

"In this context, a full reversal of policy seems near-enough impossible. The evidence suggests that while the fateful missile was fired by Ukrainian anti-government militants, it was supplied by the Russian 53rd Air Defense Brigade under orders from Moscow and in a process managed by Russian military intelligence.

To admit this would not only be to acknowledge a share in the unlawful killing of 298 innocents, but also an unpicking of the whole Kremlin narrative over the Donbass. It would mean admitting to having been an active participant in this bloody compound of civil war and foreign intervention, to having armed the militants without due thought as to the consequences, and to having lied to the world and the Russian people for half a decade."

We don't really have the scope in this piece to broaden the discussion to Russia's probable actual involvement. Suffice it to say that despite non-stop allegations by Poroshenko throughout his presidency of entire battalions of active-service Russian Army soldiers inside Ukraine, zero evidence has ever been provided of any such presence, although there have been some clumsy attempts to fabricate it . To argue that the Russian Army has been trying to overrun Ukraine for six years now, but has been unable to do so because of the combat prowess of the Ukrainian Army is to imply a belief in leprechauns. This is only my own inexpert opinion, but it seems likely to me the complete extent of Russia's involvement, militarily, is the minimum which prevents Eastern Ukraine from being overrun by the Ukrainian military, and including the rebel areas' own far-from-inconsequential military forces. I'm always ready to entertain competing theories, though; be sure to bring your evidence. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Constitution prohibits using the country's military forces against its own citizens. The logic of 'Have cake, and eat it" cannot apply here either the Ukrainian state is in direct and obvious violation of its own constitution or the people of the breakaway regions are not Ukrainian citizens.

Anyway, back to the Buk system. And not a moment before time, either I just re-read that sanctimonious stab above, again; " having armed the militants without due thought as to the consequences " What, exactly, is the ridiculous nature of the accusation being presented here? That the Russians gave an anti-aircraft system to the 'militants' without considering they might use it to shoot down an aircraft? How did they not see that coming? The Ukrainian Army shot down a civilian airliner in October of 2001 , and lied about it for as long as it could interestingly, it took place during joint Ukrainian-Russian air defense exercises on the Crimean peninsula, and Russia tried hard to avoid assigning blame to Ukraine, while at least one Israeli television station claimed the Russians had shot down their own aircraft. This disaster and subsequent lying did not prevent the USA from giving the Javelin missile to Ukraine did it not occur to them that they might use it to shoot tanks? No due thought to the consequences, obviously.

The Buk air-defense system normally consists of at least 4 TELAR launchers , each with 4 missiles on the launch rails, a self-propelled acquisition radar designated by NATO nomenclature as Snow Drift (the radar on the nose of the TELAR unit itself is designated Fire Dome), and a self-propelled command post, for a minimum of 6 vehicles. Also usually part of the system is a mobile crane, to reload the launchers. If you were going to supply an air-defense system to militant rebels, why wouldn't you give them the whole system? In a pinch, you might be able to get away without the command post vehicle, although it is the station that collates all the input from the sensors and makes the decision to assign targets for acquisition, tracking and engagement. If you didn't give them the crane vehicle, and perhaps a logistics truck with some reloads, they would be limited to the missiles that came already mounted once those were fired, they'd have to abandon the system, because they couldn't reload it. Seems a little wasteful, don't you think?

What about the acquisition radar? Because acquiring targets is all about scanning capability and situational awareness. We're going to assume for a moment that you don't use an air defense system exclusively to hunt for airliners, but that you want to defend yourself against ground-attack aircraft like the Sukhoi SU-25. Because, when you think about it, who is more likely to be trying to kill you ? A Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777, or an SU-25? The latter is not quite as fast as an airliner at its cruising height of 30,000 ft+, but it is very agile and will be nearly down in the treetops if it is attacking you. You need to be able to search all around, all the time.

That's where the acquisition radar comes in. A centimetric waveband search radar, the Snow Drift (called the 9S18M1 by its designer) has 360-degree coverage and from 0 to 40 degrees of height in a 6-second sweep in anti-aircraft mode, with a 160 km detection range, obviously dependent on target altitude. An airliner, being a large target not attempting to evade detection, and at a high altitude, would quite possibly be detected at the maximum range of which the system is capable. But then the operators would certainly know it was an airliner. And the narrative says whoever shot it down probably did so by accident.

Maybe if it was his first day on the job. Let's talk for a minute about air-defense deconfliction. It would be nice if your Command parked you somewhere that there was nothing around you but enemies. Well, not as nice as parking you across the street from a pulled-pork barbecue joint with strippers and cold beer, but from a defense standpoint, it'd be nice to know that anything you detected, you could shoot. Know something? It's never like that. Your own aircraft are flying around as if they didn't even know you are dangerous, and as everyone now knows, civilian airliners continue their transport enterprises irrespective of war except in rare instances in which high-flying aircraft have been shot down by long-range missiles. That rarely happens. Why? Because an aircraft flying a steady course, at 30,000 ft+ and not descending, is no threat to you on the ground. From that altitude it can't even see you in the ground clutter, and it'd be quite a bombardier that could hit a target the size of a two-car garage with a bomb dropped from 30,000 ft while flying at 400 knots.

And unless you are an idiot, you know it is an airliner. When you are deployed into the field in an air-defense role, you know where the commercial airlanes are that are going to be active. You know what a commercial-aviation profile looks like aircraft at 30,000 ft+ altitude, flying at ≥400 knots on a steady course, squawking Mode 3 and Charlie = airliner. Might as well take a moment here to talk about IFF ; Identification Friend or Foe. This is a coded pulse signal transmitted by all commercial aircraft whenever they are in flight unless their equipment is non-functional, and you are not allowed to take off with it in that state. Mode C provides the aircraft's altitude, taken automatically from its barometric altimeter. All modern air search radars have IFF capability, and a dashed line just below the raw video of the air track can be interrogated with a light-pen to provide the readout. You already know how high the plane is if you have a solid radar track, but Mode C provides a confirmation.

Military aircraft have IFF transponders, too; in fact, most of the modes are reserved for military use. But military aircraft often turn off their IFF equipment, because it provides a giveaway who and where they are. In Ukraine, which uses mostly Soviet military aircraft, both sides are capable of reading each other's IFF, so all the more reason not to transmit. Foreign nations typically cannot read each other's IFF except for the modes which are for both military and civilian use, other than those nations who are allies. Anyway, the point I wanted to make is that the Snow Drift acquisition radar has IFF, and if it detected an airliner-like target at 160 km., the operator would have that much more time to interrogate it and determine it was an airliner. Just to reiterate, the western narrative holds that the destruction of the airliner was a mistake.

I'm going a little further with my inexpert opinion, to say that the Buk system was selected as the 'murder weapon', because it provides a limited autonomous capability. To be clear, the Fire Dome radar on the nose of the TELAR does have a limited search capability, and once the radar is locked on to a target, the TELAR vehicle is completely autonomous. The purpose of the surveillance radar is to detect the target from far beyond the Fire Dome's range, assign it to a TELAR and thereby direct it to the elevation and bearing of the target so that the TELAR's radar knows exactly where to look, and continue to update its position until the TELAR to which it was assigned has locked on to the target.

That autonomous capability is probably what made it attractive to those building the scenario; consider. A complete Buk system of 6, maybe 7 vehicles could hardly get all the way inside Ukraine to the firing position without being noticed and perhaps recorded. But perhaps a single TELAR could do it. The aircraft could be shot down by an SA-11 missile and blamed on Russia Ukraine has access to plenty of SA-11's. But it is a weapon in the Russian active-service inventory. Further, Galeotti's commitment to the allegation that the single TELAR was provided by Russia's 53rd Air Defense Brigade tells us he supports the crackpot narrative offered by Bellingcat, the loopy citizen-journalist website headed by failed financial clerk Eliot Higgins. Bellingcat claims the Buk TELAR was trucked into Ukraine on the back of a flatbed, took the shot that slew MH-17, and was immediately withdrawn back to Russia.

Ummm .how was that an accident? The Russians gave the Ukrainian militants a single launcher with no crane or reload missiles, so it was limited to a maximum of four shots. Its ability to defend itself from ground attack was almost nil, since the design purpose of mounting a Fire Dome radar on each TELAR is not to make the launcher units autonomous; it is to permit concurrent engagements by several launchers, all coordinated by the acquisition radar and command post. Without a radar of its own on the launcher, the firing unit would have to wait until each engagement was completed before it could switch to a new target, but with a fire-control guidance radar on each TELAR, multiple targets can be assigned to multiple launchers, while the search radar limits itself to acquisition and target assignment.

The Fire Dome radar mounted on the TELAR can search a 120-degree sector in 4 seconds, at an elevation of 6 to 7 degrees. Its search function is maximized for defense against ground attack aircraft, and a single launcher is not looking at 240 degrees of potential air threat axis during each sweep. It is not looking high enough to see an airliner at 30,000 ft+. More importantly for a system which was not designed to shoot down helpless airliners, it leaves two-thirds of a circle unobserved all the time it is searching for a target. And the Russians provided this to the 'militants' for air defense? They should be shot.

A single TELAR with no reloads and no acquisition radar would have to be looking directly at the target when it was activated in order to even see it; it takes 15 seconds for the launcher to swing into line and elevation even when that information is transmitted to it from the acquisition radar. It takes 4 seconds for a scan to be completed when there is a whole two-thirds of a circle that it is not even looking at, and you have to manually force it to search above 7 degrees because it is not designed to shoot down airliners. All this time, the target is crossing the acquisition scope at 400 knots+. Fire Dome has integrated IFF, so if it did by some miracle pick up an airliner in its search, the operator would know from transmitted IFF that he was looking at an airliner. A single TELAR with no reload capability sent on an air-defense mission would have its ass ripped in half by ground-attack aircraft that it never saw if the autonomous capability is so good, why don't the Ukrainians use them as a single unit? Think of how much air-defense coverage they could provide! Do you see the Ukrainian air-defense units employing the Buk that way? Never. Not once. Four TELARS, acquisition radar vehicle, command vehicle, just the way the system was designed to operate.

Just because it has a limited capability to function in a given capacity should not suggest you would employ it that way. You can use a hockey stick to turn off the bedroom light, and you won't even have to get out of bed. Would you do that? I hope not.

A one-third effective capacity in the air defense role together with the covert delivery and immediate withdrawal suggests that the Russians provided the 'militants' with a single TELAR for the express purpose of shooting down a defenseless airliner. Except nobody is saying that. It was a mistake. Well, except for Head of the Security Service of Ukraine Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, who claimed "Terrorists and militants have planned a cynical terrorist attack on a civilian aircraft Aeroflot AFL-2074 Moscow-Larnaka that was flying at that time above the territory of Ukraine." He further claimed that this was motivated by a desire to 'justify an invasion'. I'm pretty sure if any western authority could prove anything even close to that, we would not have had to wait 6 years for a trial.

Which brings us to the covert delivery and extraction. As part of his personal investigation, Max van der Werff drove the route Bellingcat claimed was the extraction route by which the single TELAR, on its flatbed, was returned to Russia. He verified that there is a highway overpass on the route which is too low for a load that tall to pass underneath. When he pointed this out to Higgins, he was told there is a bypass spur which goes around it, which would allow the flatbed to regain the road beyond without having gone through the overpass. Max drew his attention to the concrete barriers which blocked that road at the top of the hill, and which locals claimed had been in place long before the destruction of MH-17. And that was the end of that conversation. I cannot say enough about the quality of Max's work and his diligent, patient dissection of the evidence . His diagrams of the entry and egress routes as provided by Bellingcat illustrate how little sense they make. It was imperative the guilty Russians get the fuck out of Dodge with the greatest possible dispatch so they drove 100 kilometers out of their way? Don't even terrorist murderers have GPS now?

Similarly, the simpleminded flailing of the Ukrainian investigators suggests they do not even have much of a grasp of how Surface-To-Air missiles work. In excited posts like this one , the BBC discloses that an exhaust vent from the tail section of a 'Buk missile' (the missile is actually the SA-11, while Buk is the entire system) was found in the wreckage of the crashed plane, while this one even shows terminally-stunned head prosecutor Fred Westerbeke standing next to what is allegedly part of the rocket body of an SA-11, including legible inventory markings, also 'found at the crash scene'.

Do tell.

Let me review for you how an SA-11 missile shoots down an aircraft. Does it pierce it like a harpoon, blow up in a thunderous explosion, and ride the doomed aircraft down to the crash site? It certainly does not. The missile blasts out of the launcher and flies to the target via semiactive homing, which means it has an onboard seeker that updates the missile trajectory, while the radar on the launcher also communicates with it and the missile and the target are brought together in intercept. When the proximity fuse of the missile this is the important part senses that the missile's warhead is close to the target, the internal explosive detonates, and a shower of prefragmented shrapnel pierces the area of the plane near where the missile detonated, usually the front, because the missile is constantly adjusting to make sure it stays with the target until intercept.

MH-17 traveled on, mostly intact, for miles before it crashed into the ground; the crash site was some 13 miles from where the plane was hit. The missile self-destructed miles away from the crash site, and the only parts of it which accompanied the plane to its impact point were the shrapnel bits of the exploded warhead. The body of the missile, together with the exhaust vent, fell back to the ground somewhere quite close to where the plane was hit, not where it fell. Once the missile's fuel is exhausted, either because it ran out or because it was consumed in the explosion triggered by the proximity fuse, the missile parts do not fly around in formation, seeking out the wreckage and coming gently to rest in it where they can later be found by investigators. I don't know how many times I have to say this, because this is certainly not the first, but there would not be any missile parts in the wreckage of MH-17 because the missile would have blown up in front of the plane without ever touching it. The missile does not hit the plane. The pieces of the warhead do. But reality has to take a back seat to making out an airtight case.

There is no telling what kind of ordnance might be found in the wreckage itself, as the Ukrainian Army continued to shell the site for days after the crash; doubtless various artillery shells could be found at the crash site, as well, but it would be quite a leap of faith to suggest a Boeing 777 was shot down by artillery. What you would not find is pieces of the SAM that shot it down.

Several witnesses claimed to have seen an SU-25 near the plane before it exploded. They quite possibly did the Ukrainian Air Force was observed to be using civilian airliners as cover to allow them to get close to Eastern-Ukrainian villages which might be protected by hand-held launchers known as MANPADS (for Man-Portable Air Defense System), reasoning the defenders would not shoot if they were afraid they might hit a civil aircraft. Once they were close enough to the village or other target to make an attack run, they would then return to the vicinity of the airliner for protection while withdrawing; the rebel side complained about this illegal and immoral practice a month before the destruction of MH-17. But there is no evidence I am aware of linking the destruction of MH-17 to an attack by aircraft.

It may no longer be possible to look at the shooting-down of the Malaysian Boeing objectively; the event has become a partisan rush to judgment which was rendered immediately, after which an investigation began which plainly had as its goal proving the accusations already made. Means and motive clearly favour the accusers rather than the accused, and opportunity is mostly irrelevant as a consideration. Ukraine obviously had to be a suspect the destruction of the aircraft occurred over Ukraine while Ukraine was in control of it and the airspace in which it traveled. Yet Ukraine was allowed to lead the investigation, and to gather and safeguard evidence, while the owner of the aircraft Malaysia was excluded until the investigation had been in progress for four months. Russia was not allowed any part in it save to yield whatever evidence the investigators demanded, while all its theories were widely mocked. Demonstrations set up by Almaz-Antey, the designers and builders of the SA-11, were unattended by any investigating nation small wonder they do not have Clue One how the missile works, and believe they are going to find big chunks of it in the wreckage, perhaps with Putin's passport stuck to one of them. If any of these conditions prevailed in an investigation which favoured Russia, NATO would scream as if it were being run over with spiked wheels if the Boeing had been shot down over Russia, who thinks Russia would have been heading the investigation, and custodian of the evidence?

Nor is that by any means all. The Dutch investigation which concluded with the preliminary report implied that nothing of any investigative value was found on the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) or the Flight Data Recorder (FDR). Nothing to indicate what might have happened to the aircraft just that it was flying along, and suddenly it wasn't. How likely is that? No transcript was provided, and I guess that would be expected if there was no information at all. Funny how often that happens with Malaysian airliners; they really need to look at their quality control. Oh; except they don't build the aircraft. Boeing does. I could see there not being any information after the plane began to break up, because both the CVR and the FDR are in the tail , and that broke off before the fuselage hit. But the microphones are in the ceiling of the cockpit and in the microphone and earpiece of the pilots' headsets, which they wear at all times while in flight. The last audio claimed to have been recorded was a course alteration sent by Ukrainian ATC.

According to the Malaysian government, there was an early plan by NATO for a military operation involving some 9000 troops to 'secure the crash site', which was forestalled by a covert Malaysian operation which recovered the 'black boxes' and blocked the plan. I have to say that given the many, many other unorthodox and bizarre happenings in the conduct of what was supposed to be a transparent and impartial international investigation, it's getting so nothing much is unbelievable. The Malaysian Prime Minister went on record as believing that the western powers had already concluded that Russia was responsible, and were mostly just going through the motions of investigating.

The telephone recordings presented by the SBU as demonstrating Russian culpability were analyzed by OG IT Forensic Services, a Malaysian firm specializing in forensic analysis of audio, video and digital materials for court proceedings, which concluded the recordings were cut, edited and fabricated . Yet they are relied upon as important evidence of guilt by the Dutch and the JIT.

The conduct of the investigation has been all the way across town from transparent, and in fact seems to represent a clique of cronies getting their heads together to attempt nailing down a consistent narrative, which is in the judgment of forensic professionals based upon clumsy fabrications. The investigators plainly have no understanding of how the weapons systems involved perform, or they would not claim confidently to have discovered pieces of the very missile that destroyed the plane in the wreckage of it. But rather than take an objective look at how this flailing is perceived, they continue to rely on momentum and the appearance of getting things done while being scrupulously impartial, all the while that more mountains of evidence are collected, which they cannot disclose to the public, although it is all right to let the prime suspect keep it safe under wraps.

Make of that what you will.

" Bullshit is unavoidable whenever circumstances require someone to talk without knowing what he is talking about. Thus the production of bullshit is stimulated whenever a person's obligations or opportunities to speak about some topic exceed his knowledge of the facts that are relevant to that topic. "

-Harry G. Frankfurt

[May 24, 2020] China diplomancy in action: Foreign Minister Wang Yi Meets the Press conference

China diplomacy is trying to thread very carefully to avoid the fallout. The answer of RIA Novosti is good example here. Counterattacks are few (see the answer to CC question with the following money quote: "I respect your right to ask the question, but I'm afraid you're not framing the question in the right way. One has to have a sense of right and wrong. Without it, a person cannot be trusted, and a country cannot hold its own in the family of nations. " This is implicit slap in the face for the USA.
May 24, 2020 | fmprc.gov.cn

RIA Novosti: How do you assess China-Russia relations in the context of COVID-19? Do you agree with some people's characterization that China and Russia may join force to challenge US predominance?

Wang Yi: While closely following the COVID-19 response in Russia, we have done and will continue to do everything we can to support it. I believe under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin, the indomitable Russian people will defeat the virus and the great Russian nation will emerge from the challenge with renewed vigor and vitality.

Since the start of COVID-19, President Xi Jinping and President Putin have had several phone calls and kept the closest contact between two world leaders. Russia is the first country to have sent medical experts to China, and China has provided the most anti-epidemic assistance to Russia. Two-way trade has gone up despite COVID-19. Chinese imports from Russia have grown faster than imports from China's other major trading partners. The two countries have supported and defended each other against slanders and attacks coming from certain countries. Together, China and Russia have forged an impregnable fortress against the "political virus" and demonstrated the strength of China-Russia strategic coordination.

I have no doubt that the two countries' joint response to the virus will give a strong boost to China-Russia relations after COVID-19. China is working with Russia to turn the crisis into an opportunity. We will do so by maintaining stable cooperation in energy and other traditional fields, holding a China-Russia year of scientific and technological innovation, and accelerating collaboration in e-commerce, bio-medicine and the cloud economy to make them new engines of growth in our post-COVID-19 economic recovery. China and Russia will also enhance strategic coordination. By marking the 75th anniversary of the UN, we stand ready to firmly protect our victory in WWII, uphold the UN Charter and basic norms of international relations, and oppose any form of unilateralism and bullying. We will enhance cooperation and coordination in the UN, SCO, BRICS and G20 to prepare ourselves for a new round of the once-in-a-century change shaping today's world.

I believe that with China and Russia standing shoulder-to-shoulder and working back-to-back, the world will be a safer and more stable place where justice and fairness are truly upheld.

Cable News Network: We've seen an increasingly heated "war of words" between China and the US. Is "wolf warrior" diplomacy the new norm of China's diplomacy?

Wang Yi: I respect your right to ask the question, but I'm afraid you're not framing the question in the right way. One has to have a sense of right and wrong. Without it, a person cannot be trusted, and a country cannot hold its own in the family of nations.

There may be all kinds of interpretations and commentary about Chinese diplomacy. As China's Foreign Minister, let me state for the record that China always follows an independent foreign policy of peace. No matter how the international situation may change, we will always stand for peace, development and mutually beneficial cooperation, stay committed to upholding world peace and promoting common development, and seek friendship and cooperation with all countries. We see it as our mission to make new and greater contributions to humanity.

China's foreign policy tradition is rooted in its 5,000-year civilization. Since ancient times, China has been widely recognized as a nation of moderation. We Chinese value peace, harmony, sincerity and integrity. We never pick a fight or bully others, but we have principles and guts. We will push back against any deliberate insult to resolutely defend our national honor and dignity. And we will refute all groundless slander with facts to resolutely uphold fairness, justice and human conscience.

The future of China's diplomacy is premised on our commitment to working with all countries to build a community with a shared future for mankind. Since we live in the same global village, countries should get along peacefully and treat each other as equals. Decisions on global affairs should be made through consultation, not because one or two countries say so. That's why China advocates for a multi-polar world and greater democracy in international relations. This position is fully aligned with the direction of human progress and the shared aspiration of most countries. No matter what stage of development it reaches, China will never seek hegemony. We will always stand with the common interests of all countries. And we will always stand on the right side of history. Those who go out of their way to label China as a hegemon are precisely the ones who refuse to let go of their hegemonic status.

The world is undergoing changes of a kind unseen in a century and full of instability and turbulence. Confronted by a growing set of global challenges, we hope all countries will realize that humanity is a community with a shared future. We must render each other more support and cooperation, and there should be less finger-pointing and confrontation. We call on all nations to come together and build a better world for all.

[May 24, 2020] The Spin War: US Military Planners Advise Expanded Online Psychological Warfare Against China by Alan Macleod

Notable quotes:
"... The recently published Pentagon budget request for 2021 makes clear that the United States is retooling for a potential intercontinental war with China and/or Russia. It asks for $705 billion to "shift focus from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a greater emphasis on the types of weapons that could be used to confront nuclear giants like Russia and China," noting that it requires "more advanced high-end weapon systems, which provide increased standoff, enhanced lethality and autonomous targeting for employment against near-peer threats in a more contested environment." The military has recently received the first batch of low-yield nuclear warheads that experts agree blurs the line between conventional and nuclear conflict, making an all out example of the latter far more likely. ..."
"... "Our governments spend over 1.75 trillion dollars every year on wars, on weapons, on conflict If we could deploy that sort of resource to address the coronavirus crisis that we're currently living through, imagine what else we could be doing. Imagine how we could be fighting the climate crisis, how we could be addressing global poverty, inequality. Our priority should never be war; our priorities need to be public health, the environment, and human well being." ..."
May 24, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Alan Macleod via MintPressNews.com,

Just three years ago, Americans had a neutral view of China (and nine years ago it was strongly favorable). Today, the same polls show that 66 percent of Americans dislike the country. As the U.S. military turns its attention from the Middle East to conflict with Russia and China, American war planners are advising that the United States greatly expand its own online "psychological operations" against Beijing.

A new report from the Financial Times details how top brass in Washington are strategizing a new Cold War with China, describing it less as World War III and more as "kicking each other under the table." Last week, General Richard Clarke, head of Special Operations Command, said that the "kill-capture missions" the military conducted in Afghanistan were inappropriate for this new conflict, and Special Operations must move towards cyber influence campaigns instead.

Military analyst David Maxwell, a former Special Ops soldier himself, advocated for a widespread culture war, which would include the Pentagon commissioning what he called "Taiwanese Tom Clancy" novels, intended to demonize China and demoralize its citizens, arguing that Washington should "weaponize" China's one-child policy by bombarding Chinese people with stories of the wartime deaths of their only children, and therefore, their bloodline.

A not dissimilar tactic was used during the first Cold War against the Soviet Union, where the CIA sponsored a huge network of artists, writers and thinkers to promote liberal and social-democratic critiques of the U.S.S.R., unbeknownst to the public, and, sometimes, even the artists themselves.

Manufacturing consent

In the space of only a few months, the Trump administration has gone from praising China's response to the COVID-19 pandemic to blaming them for the outbreak, even suggesting they pay reparations for their alleged negligence. Just three years ago, Americans had a neutral view of China (and nine years ago it was strongly favorable). Today, the same polls show that 66 percent of Americans dislike China, with only 26 percent holding a positive opinion of the country. Over four-in-five people essentially support a full-scale economic war with Beijing, something the president threatened to enact last week.

The corporate press is certainly doing their part as well, constantly framing China as an authoritarian threat to the United States, rather than a neutral force or even a potential ally, leading to a surge in anti-Chinese racist attacks at home.

Retooling for an intercontinental war

Although analysts have long warned that the United States gets its "ass handed to it" in hot war simulations with China or even Russia, it is not clear whether this is a sober assessment or a self-serving attempt to increase military spending. In 2002, the U.S. conducted a war game trial invasion of Iraq, where it was catastrophically defeated by Lt. Gen. Paul Van Riper, commanding Iraqi forces, leading to the whole experiment being nixed halfway through. Yet the subsequent invasion was carried out without massive loss of American lives.

The recently published Pentagon budget request for 2021 makes clear that the United States is retooling for a potential intercontinental war with China and/or Russia. It asks for $705 billion to "shift focus from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a greater emphasis on the types of weapons that could be used to confront nuclear giants like Russia and China," noting that it requires "more advanced high-end weapon systems, which provide increased standoff, enhanced lethality and autonomous targeting for employment against near-peer threats in a more contested environment." The military has recently received the first batch of low-yield nuclear warheads that experts agree blurs the line between conventional and nuclear conflict, making an all out example of the latter far more likely.

There has been no meaningful pushback from the Democrats. Indeed, Joe Biden's team has suggested that the United States' entire industrial policy should revolve around "competing with China" and that their "top priority" is dealing with the supposed threat Beijing poses. The former vice-president has also attacked Trump from the right on China, trying to present him as a tool of Beijing, bringing to mind how Clinton portrayed him in 2016 as a Kremlin asset. (Green Party presidential frontrunner Howie Hawkins has promised to cut the military budget by 75 percent and to unilaterally disarm).

Nevertheless, voices raising concern about a new arms race are few and far between. Veteran deproliferation activist Andrew Feinstein is one exception, saying :

"Our governments spend over 1.75 trillion dollars every year on wars, on weapons, on conflict If we could deploy that sort of resource to address the coronavirus crisis that we're currently living through, imagine what else we could be doing. Imagine how we could be fighting the climate crisis, how we could be addressing global poverty, inequality. Our priority should never be war; our priorities need to be public health, the environment, and human well being."

However, if the government is going to launch a new psychological war against China, it is unlikely antiwar voices like Feinstein's will feature much in the mainstream press.

[May 24, 2020] Trump's 'Uncreative Destruction' of the U.S.-China Relationship - FPIF by John Feffer

May 20, 2020 | fpif.org

Trump's economic war on China comes in the shadow of an even deadlier military escalation. And it may not stop after November, no matter who wins the election.

Economists like to think of the wreckage caused by stock market downturns, widespread bankruptcies, and corporate downsizing as "creative destruction." As it destroys the old and the dysfunctional, the capitalist system continually spurs innovation, much as a forest fire prepares the ground for new growth.

Or so the representatives of the dismal science argue.

Donald Trump, who is neither economist nor scientist, has his own version of creative destruction. He is determined to destroy the Affordable Care Act and replace it with his own health insurance alternative. He has torn up the Iran nuclear deal in favor of negotiating something brand new with Tehran. He has withdrawn from the Paris climate accord and argues that the United States is reducing carbon emissions in its own superior manner.

The problem, of course, is that Trump is very good at destruction but, despite his previous job as a real estate mogul, exceedingly bad at construction. Indeed, there's abundant evidence that he never intended to replace what he is destroying with anything at all. Trump has never offered any viable alternative to Obamacare or any new negotiating framework with Iran. And prior to the recent economic downturn, U.S. carbon emissions were increasing after several years of decline.

Perhaps the most dangerous example of Trump's uncreative destruction is his approach to China.

Previously, Trump said that he simply wanted to level the playing field by placing trade with China on a fairer and more reciprocal basis, strengthening the regime of intellectual property rights, and stopping Beijing from manipulating its currency.

He was willing to go to great lengths to accomplish this goal. The tariffs that Trump imposed on Chinese products precipitated a trade war that jeopardized the livelihoods of millions of American farmers and workers. The initial trade deal that the United States and China signed in January, even though many of the U.S. tariffs remain in place, was supposed to be the grand alternative to the old and dysfunctional trade relationship.

But here again, Trump is not telling the truth. He and his team have a very different set of objectives. As with so many other elements of his domestic and foreign policy, Trump wants to tear apart the current system -- in this case, the network of economic ties between the United States and China -- and replace it with absolutely nothing at all.

Oh sure, Trump believes that U.S. manufacturers can step up to take the place of Chinese suppliers. More recently, as the administration "turbocharges" its efforts to isolate China in response to its purported pandemic mistakes , it has talked of creating an Economic Prosperity Network of trusted allies like South Korea, Australia, India, and Vietnam. But this is all whistling in the dark, because the administration doesn't really understand the consequences -- for the world economy, for the U.S. economy -- of tearing apart the global supply chain in this way.

Just how poorly Trump understands all this is reflected in his statement last week that "we could cut off the whole relationship" with China and "save $500 billion." This from the president who erroneously believes that China is paying the United States "billions and billions of dollars of tariffs a month." What else do you expect from a man who received a BS in economics from Wharton?

Unlike many of the administration's other policies, however, its hardline approach to China has some bipartisan support. Engagement with China has virtually disappeared as a policy option in the Democratic Party. Joe Biden, the Democrats' presumptive presidential candidate, has attempted to present himself as the tougher alternative when it comes to China, a misguided effort to fend off charges of his bedding down with Beijing.

Finger to the wind, Biden is crafting policies in response not just to Trump but to public opinion. In 2017, 44 percent of Americans had a favorable view of China, compared to 47 percent who held an unfavorable opinion of the country, according to Pew. In this year's survey , only 26 percent looked at China positively versus 66 percent who viewed it negatively. The latter category includes 62 percent of Democrats.

Writing for the Atlantic Council, Michael Greenwald sums up the new conventional wisdom of the centrists:

The United States can no longer remain content with the notion of a Chinese economic threat arising in the distant future. The advent of COVID-19 has made it more apparent than any other time including the US-China trade war that now is the moment for the United States, European Union, and other like-minded countries to diversify supply chains away from China.

That's what makes Trump's uncreative destruction vis a vis China so dangerous. It may not stop after November, no matter who wins the election.

The Great Disentanglement

China's economic shutdown at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic disrupted many global supply chains, prompting a number of countries and corporations to accelerate their strategy of reducing their dependency on China for components.

Rising labor costs in China, concerns over human rights abuses there, but especially the trade war between Washington and Beijing had contributed to the U.S. fashion industry and tech firms like Apple rethinking their own supply chains. Japan, heavily dependent on Chinese trade, is using $2 billion in economic stimulus funds to subsidize the move of Japanese firms out of China.

The Trump administration is thus swimming with the current in its effort to isolate China. It has imposed sanctions because of China's violations of Uyghur human rights. It has levied penalties against China for its cooperation with Iranian firms. And it has threatened to add another set of tariffs on top of the existing ones for China's handling of the coronavirus.

Its latest initiative has been to tighten the screws on the Chinese technology firm, Huawei. Last week, the administration announced sanctions against any firms using U.S.-made equipment that supply the Chinese tech giant. The chief victim of these new restrictions will be the Taiwanese firm TSMC, which supplies 90 percent of Huawei's smartphone chips.

In other words, the Trump administration is committed not only to severing U.S. economic connections with China. It wants to put as much pressure on other countries as well to disentangle themselves from Chinese manufacturing. Taiwan, of course, has no particular love for Mainland China. It battles Beijing on a daily basis to get international recognition -- from other countries and from global organizations like the World Health Organization.

But the Taiwanese economy is also heavily dependent on its cross-strait neighbor. As Eleanor Albert points out :

China is Taiwa n's largest trading partner, accounting for nearly 30 percent of the island's total trade, and trade between the two reached $150.5 billion in 2018 (up from $35 billion in 1999). China and Taiwan have also agreed to allow banks, insurers, and other financial service providers to work in both market s.

And it probably won't be Huawei but Taiwan that suffers from the U.S. move. As Michael Reilly notes , "Huawei's size in the global market means its Taiwanese suppliers cannot easily find an alternative customer of comparable standing to replace it." China, meanwhile, will either find another source of chips outside the U.S. sphere, or it will do what the United States has been threatening to do: bring production of critical components back closer to home.

Another key player in the containment of China is India. Trump's friendship with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a right-wing Hindu nationalist, is more than simply an ideological affection. Trump sealed a $3 billion in military sales deal with India in February, with a trade deal still on the horizon.

Modi, in turn, is hoping to be the biggest beneficiary of the falling out between Washington and Beijing. "The government in April reached out to more than 1,000 companies in the U.S. and through overseas missions to offer incentives for manufacturers seeking to move out of China," reports Bloomberg . "India is prioritizing medical equipment suppliers, food processing units, textiles, leather, and auto part makers among more than 550 products covered in the discussions."

Vietnam is another regional competitor that the United States is supporting in its containment strategy. With only a couple hundred reported coronavirus cases and zero deaths, Vietnam is poised to emerge from the current crisis virtually unscathed. With low labor costs and an authoritarian government that can enforce deals, it is already a favored alternative for corporations looking for alternatives to China. But wildcat strikes have been happening in greater numbers in the country, and the Vietnamese government recently approved the country's first independent trade union.

Yet with a more technologically sophisticated infrastructure, China will continue to look more attractive to investors than India or Vietnam.

Don't Count Out China

If your image of the Chinese economy is stuck in the 1980s -- cheap toys and mass-produced baubles -- then you probably think that severing economic ties with the country is no big deal. America can produce its own plastic junk, right?

But China is no longer hurrying to catch up to the West. In some ways, the West is already in China's rearview mirror.

Huawei is well-known for the part it's playing in the rollout of 5G networks worldwide. China is not only ahead of the curve in upgrading to 5G domestically, it is busy manufacturing all the new tech that will run on these high-speed networks, like virtual reality and augmented reality and AI-driven devices.

Perhaps more to the point, China is not simply part of the global supply chain. It is using these new technologies to revolutionize the global supply chain.

For instance, it's using 3-D modeling to shorten product development. It has long integrated drones into its distribution networks. "Chinese supply chain companies are incorporating groundbreaking technologies like cloud-based systems, data analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) and using them to redesign supply chain operations," writes Adina-Laura Achim.

And don't discount the role of a well-financed, centralized, authoritarian government. The Trump administration is, frankly, at a huge disadvantage when it tries to pressure companies to relocate their operations. Writes Manisha Mirchandani:

The global technology and consumer electronics sectors are especially reliant on China's infrastructure and specialized labor pool, neither of which will be easy to replicate. The Chinese government is already mobilizing resources to convince producers of China's unique merits as a manufacturing location. Zhengzhou, within Henan Province, has appointed officials to support Apple's partner Foxconn in mitigating the disruptions caused by the coronavirus, while the Ministry of Finance is increasing credit support to the manufacturing sector. Further, the Chinese government is likely to channel stimulus efforts to develop the country's high-tech manufacturing infrastructure, moving away from its low-value manufacturing base and accelerating its vision for a technology-driven services economy.

The Trump administration is playing the short game, trying to use tariffs and anti-Chinese sentiment to hobble a rising power. China, on the other hand, is playing the long game, translating its trade surpluses into structural advantages in a fast-evolving global economy.

Will the Conflict Turn Hot?

Despite the economic ravages of the pandemic, the Pentagon continues to demand the lion's share of the U.S. budget. It wants another $705 billion for 2021, after increasing its budget by 20 percent between 2016 and 2020.

This appalling waste of government resources has already caused long-term damage to the economic competitiveness of the United States. But it's all the money the Pentagon is spending on "deterring China" that might prove more devastating in the short term.

The U.S. Navy announced this month that it was sending its entire forward-deployed sub fleet on "contingency response operations" as a warning to China. Last month, the U.S. Navy Expeditionary Strike Group sailed into the South China Sea to support Malaysia's oil exploration in an area that China claims. Aside from the reality that oil exploration makes no economic sense at a time of record low oil prices, the United States should be helping the countries bordering the South China Sea come to a fair resolution of their disputes, not throwing more armaments at the problem.

There's also heightened risk of confrontation in the Taiwan Strait, the East China Sea, and even in outer space . A huge portion of the Pentagon's budget goes toward preparing for war with China -- and, frankly, provoking war as well.

What does this all have to do with the Great Disentanglement?

The close economic ties between the United States and China have always represented a significant constraint on military confrontation. Surely the two countries would not risk grievous economic harm by coming to blows. Economic cooperation also provides multiple channels for resolving conflicts and communicating discontent. The United States and Soviet Union never had that kind of buffer.

If the Great Disentanglement goes forward, however, then the two countries have less to lose economically in a military confrontation. Trading partners, of course, sometimes go to war with one another. But as the data demonstrates , more trade generally translates into less war.

There are lots and lots of problems in the U.S.-China economic relationship. But they pale in comparison to World War III. Share this:

John Feffer is the director of Foreign Policy In Focus.

Issues: Labor, Trade, & Finance , War & Peace

Regions: Asia & Pacific , China , India , North America , United States , Vietnam

Tags: 5G , Donald Trump , global supply chain , globalization , great disentanglement , huawei , Joe Biden , tariffs , trade war , U.S. military spending

Sign up for updates Get the latest from FPIF in your inbox.

Subscribe More

View more in North America :

Related Topics Donald Trump Terrorism military spending World Bank oil immigration climate change Refugees United Nations Vladimir Putin development diplomacy Military Intervention austerity Iraq Mexico taliban syrian civil war NATO Russia Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/likebox.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fpages%2FForeign-Policy-In-Focus%2F126648970682757&width=292&height=258&show_faces=true&colorscheme=light&stream=false&show_border=false&header=false&appId=229260323752355 Related Posts

Foreign Policy In Focus - A project of the Institute for Policy Studies
Content under a Creative Commons Attribution licence

[May 24, 2020] FBI Document Reveals That Without Direct Israeli 'Intervention' Trump Would Have Lost 2016 Election

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The explicit reference to Jerusalem appears later in the same document , in the context of communication between Stone and his unnamed contact in the Israeli capital. "On or about August 12, 2016, [NAME REDACTED] messaged STONE, "Roger, hello from Jerusalem. Any progress? He is going to be defeated unless we intervene. We have critical intell. The key is in your hands! Back in the US next week. How is your Pneumonia? Thank you. STONE replied, "I am well. Matters complicated. Pondering. R" The "he" is an apparent reference to Trump. ..."
"... Referring to the Israeli mentions in a report on the documents late Tuesday, the US website Politico noted: "The newly revealed messages often raise more questions than answers. They show Stone in touch with seemingly high-ranking Israeli officials attempting to arrange meetings with Trump during the heat of the 2016 campaign." ..."
"... Of course, this story is seen as a positive development from the Israeli (and evangelical) perspective because a Trump presidency was an essential part fulfilling an aggressive Zionist "wish list" which included moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, annexing the Golan Heights and the West Bank, and perhaps a major move against Iran in the second term. ..."
"... This story also explains why the jewish-controlled press saturated the airwaves with fake stories of "Russian" intervention in the election -- and why we will be seeing similar non-stop stories of "Chinese" intervention in the upcoming 2020 election in November. ..."
"... And Netanyahu hasn't wasted a second of Trump's presidency in expanding Israel's power, territory and influence. As one Jewish media pundit claimed , Donald Trump has been " the greatest president for Jews and for Israel in the history of the world." Trump has even bragged that he is so popular among Israelis that they would elect him Prime Minister if he ran. ..."
May 24, 2020 | christiansfortruth.com

According to recently released FBI documents, Donald Trump's longtime confidant, Roger Stone, who was convicted last year in Robert Mueller's investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, was in contact with one or more apparently well-connected Israelis at the height of the 2016 US presidential campaign, one of whom warned Stone that Trump was "going to be defeated" unless Israel intervened in the election :

The exchange between Stone and this Jerusalem-based contact appears in FBI documents made public on Tuesday. The documents -- FBI affidavits submitted to obtain search warrants in the criminal investigation into Stone -- were released following a court case brought by The Associated Press and other media organizations.

A longtime adviser to Trump, Stone officially worked on the 2016 presidential campaign until August 2015, when he said he left and Trump said he was fired. However he continued to communicate with the campaign, according to Mueller's investigation.

The FBI material, which is heavily redacted, includes one explicit reference to Israel and one to Jerusalem, and a series of references to a minister, a cabinet minister, a "minister without portfolio in the cabinet dealing with issues concerning defense and foreign affairs," the PM, and the Prime Minister . In all these references the names and countries of the minister and prime minister are redacted.

Benjamin Netanyahu was Israel's prime minister in 2016 , and the Israeli government included a minister without portfolio, Tzachi Hanegbi, appointed in May with responsibility for defense and foreign affairs. One reference to the unnamed PM in the material reads as follows:

"On or about June 28, 2016, [NAME REDACTED] messaged STONE, "RETURNING TO DC AFTER URGENT CONSULTATIONS WITH PM IN ROME. MUST MEET WITH YOU WED. EVE AND WITH DJ TRUMP THURSDAY IN NYC."

Netanyahu made a state visit to Italy at the end of June 2016 .

The explicit reference to Israel appears early in the text of a May 2018 affidavit by an FBI agent in support of an application for a search warrant, and relates to communication between Stone and Jerome Corsi, an American author, commentator and conspiracy theorist. " On August 20, 2016, CORSI told STONE that they needed to meet with [NAME REDACTED] to determine "what if anything Israel plans to do in Oct," the affidavit states .

The explicit reference to Jerusalem appears later in the same document , in the context of communication between Stone and his unnamed contact in the Israeli capital. "On or about August 12, 2016, [NAME REDACTED] messaged STONE, "Roger, hello from Jerusalem. Any progress? He is going to be defeated unless we intervene. We have critical intell. The key is in your hands! Back in the US next week. How is your Pneumonia? Thank you. STONE replied, "I am well. Matters complicated. Pondering. R" The "he" is an apparent reference to Trump.

The redacted material features numerous references to an "October surprise," apparently relating to a document dump by Wikileaks' Julian Assange, intended to harm Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and salvage Trump's .

Referring to the Israeli mentions in a report on the documents late Tuesday, the US website Politico noted: "The newly revealed messages often raise more questions than answers. They show Stone in touch with seemingly high-ranking Israeli officials attempting to arrange meetings with Trump during the heat of the 2016 campaign."

Mueller's investigation identified significant contact during the 2016 campaign between Trump associates and Russians, but did not allege a criminal conspiracy to tip the outcome of the presidential election.

This story first appeared last month, at the height of the COVID-19 plandemic, which conveniently and not coincidentally allowed all the mainstream media in America to ignore it.

Of course, this story is seen as a positive development from the Israeli (and evangelical) perspective because a Trump presidency was an essential part fulfilling an aggressive Zionist "wish list" which included moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, annexing the Golan Heights and the West Bank, and perhaps a major move against Iran in the second term.

This story also explains why the jewish-controlled press saturated the airwaves with fake stories of "Russian" intervention in the election -- and why we will be seeing similar non-stop stories of "Chinese" intervention in the upcoming 2020 election in November.

We can only guess what further information about Israel's involvement in the election was redacted from this FBI document, but there can be little doubt that the orders to help Trump win came from the very top -- from Netanyahu himself.

And Netanyahu hasn't wasted a second of Trump's presidency in expanding Israel's power, territory and influence. As one Jewish media pundit claimed , Donald Trump has been " the greatest president for Jews and for Israel in the history of the world." Trump has even bragged that he is so popular among Israelis that they would elect him Prime Minister if he ran.

And even if the brain-dead American public found out about this Israeli intervention (i.e., "subversion of our democracy"), they would probably just shrug it off -- after all, Israel is our "most trusted friend and ally," goyim .

[May 24, 2020] Just take a look at the progressive schooling of 'diplomats' who end up in American ambassadorial and consular posts. Where do they come from? The Heritage Institute, Legatum, the American Enterprise Institute, and various other America-Triumphant think tanks

May 24, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman May 24, 2020 at 9:17 am

Just take a look at the progressive schooling of 'diplomats' who end up in American ambassadorial and consular posts. Where do they come from? The Heritage Institute, Legatum, the American Enterprise Institute, and various other America-Triumphant think tanks. Look at Michael McFaul, and his absurd just-a-ole-homeboy-who-loves-Russia video he put out before taking up his official duties in Moscow. And he barely had the dust of New York off his shoes before he was huddling with the Russian opposition. I don't know why Russia even affects to be surprised by their attitudes.

[May 24, 2020] William Kristol, the Flaming Neocon, Is Looking To Reinvent Himself as a Dissenter by Bill Hughes

This is all noise. Kristol is a MIC prostitute and as such he can't attack Trump who gave MIC and Israel all what they want
Notable quotes:
"... "A 'Neocon' is neither new or conservative, but old as Babylon and evil as Hell." – Edward Abbey ..."
"... Being an unrepentant Neocon, such as William (Bill) Kristol, means never having to say you're sorry. To qualify, you need to be an ideologue, who also has paid no price for recklessly cheerleading 4,488 U.S. troops to their deaths in the illegal and immoral Iraq War, plus another 32,223 who were seriously wounded (2003-2011). ..."
"... For years, we've heard Kristol on the TV/Cable/Network shows making outrageous statements, like this one: "The war in Iraq could have terrifically good effects throughout the Middle East." (09/18/2001). ..."
"... There was also no mention by the reporter of the possible real reasons that Kristol was dumping on Trump. One could be that during the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump had trashed Kristol's and the Neocons' support of the Iraq War. ..."
"... And, also Trump has indicated he doesn't have any plans to reignite another of Kristol's favorites schemes – "a Cold War with Russia." These are just two of the reasons the "Neocons, like Kristol, can't stomach Trump," according to the commentator, JP Sottile, of Consortium News. ..."
"... During last year's Democratic presidential primary, Kristol took a swipe at the candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and posted a tweet that said: "#Never Sanders." The popular antiwar candidate responded to Kristol: "Have you apologized to the nation for your foolish advocacy of the Iraq War? I make no apologies for opposing it." Sanders then added this zinger: "I will do everything in my power to prevent a war with Iran." ..."
"... The Neocon replied: "I will defend my views on Iraq as you defend yours." Sen. Sanders underscored how Kristol had called for regime change in Iraq as early at 1998; and that Kristol also predicted the conflict would last "only two months;" and that he had repeatedly argued for the Bush-Cheney Gang to send in more troops. As early at 2006, Kristol was urging the US to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities, asking, "Why wait?" ..."
"... In a way, Kristol reminded me, in a physical sense, of the late actor Peter Lorre. Whether Kristol has a "Little Man (Napoleon) Complex," or not, I will leave to the experts in the field. All I know for sure is that he's a relentlessly angry, pusher of costly and unnecessary wars. ..."
"... Here is another gem from Kristol: "The first two battles of this new era are now over. The battles of Afghanistan and Iraq have been won decisively and honorably." (April 28, 2003) And, then there is this whopper from the slippery Neocon: "The Iraqi elections of Jan. 30, 2005 could be a key moment perhaps the key moment so far in vindicating the 'Bush/Cheney Doctrine' as the right response to 9/11." (March 7, 2005) ..."
May 24, 2020 | original.antiwar.com
"A 'Neocon' is neither new or conservative, but old as Babylon and evil as Hell." – Edward Abbey

Being an unrepentant Neocon, such as William (Bill) Kristol, means never having to say you're sorry. To qualify, you need to be an ideologue, who also has paid no price for recklessly cheerleading 4,488 U.S. troops to their deaths in the illegal and immoral Iraq War, plus another 32,223 who were seriously wounded (2003-2011).

It also helps to have a significant media platform and not to give a good hoot about how many innocent Iraqis died via the U.S.-led invasion and/or the occupation of that country. (Try an estimated 655,000.)

By the way, false prophet, Kristol: Our troops found "No" Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq.

Let me formally introduce – William Kristol, age 67, out of New York City, now Northern Virginia, warmonger extraordinaire, ultra-conservative, and currently editor at large of Bulwark magazine.

For years, we've heard Kristol on the TV/Cable/Network shows making outrageous statements, like this one: "The war in Iraq could have terrifically good effects throughout the Middle East." (09/18/2001).

The other day, May 20, 2020, Kristol was the subject of a puff piece profile in the Washington Post , by reporter KK Ottesen. The article made no mention of Kristol's disgusting role in promoting the Iraq War. Instead, he was given the opportunity to rip President Donald Trump on how he has been mismanaging the coronavirus crisis. (Well, heck, everybody knows that.)

There was also no mention by the reporter of the possible real reasons that Kristol was dumping on Trump. One could be that during the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump had trashed Kristol's and the Neocons' support of the Iraq War.

And, also Trump has indicated he doesn't have any plans to reignite another of Kristol's favorites schemes – "a Cold War with Russia." These are just two of the reasons the "Neocons, like Kristol, can't stomach Trump," according to the commentator, JP Sottile, of Consortium News.

The idea that Kristol is some kind of genuine dissenter and is opposing Trump because he's concerned about the quality of his leadership is pure nonsense. The Washington Post allowed Kristol to use the paper for this dubious exercise and it has no one to blame but itself.

During last year's Democratic presidential primary, Kristol took a swipe at the candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and posted a tweet that said: "#Never Sanders." The popular antiwar candidate responded to Kristol: "Have you apologized to the nation for your foolish advocacy of the Iraq War? I make no apologies for opposing it." Sanders then added this zinger: "I will do everything in my power to prevent a war with Iran."

The Neocon replied: "I will defend my views on Iraq as you defend yours." Sen. Sanders underscored how Kristol had called for regime change in Iraq as early at 1998; and that Kristol also predicted the conflict would last "only two months;" and that he had repeatedly argued for the Bush-Cheney Gang to send in more troops. As early at 2006, Kristol was urging the US to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities, asking, "Why wait?"

Flashback: The first time I laid eyes on the cunning Neocon, Kristol was at a pro-Iraq War rally held on the National Mall, on April 12, 2003, in Washington, D.C., G. Gordon Liddy and the late, ex-U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson (R-TN) were there, along with some other Right Wing types.

What was really weird about the whole affair was the appearance of that so-called comedian, Ben Stein. He showed up on a huge video screen endorsing the war. It should have had "a warning label" on it!

I recall a lady in the modest crowd of about fifty at that event saying of Kristol: "Oh, look how small he is!" She was right. Kristol is, indeed, on the very short side. I'd say that he comes in at about 5 ft. 4 or 5 inches. It seems that, as a result of his tiny body frame, his head appears more massive than it really is. The rally was boring. I didn't stay long.

In a way, Kristol reminded me, in a physical sense, of the late actor Peter Lorre. Whether Kristol has a "Little Man (Napoleon) Complex," or not, I will leave to the experts in the field. All I know for sure is that he's a relentlessly angry, pusher of costly and unnecessary wars.

(During the Iraq War, there were countless protest actions mounted by ten of thousands of splendid antiwar activists across the country. Many of them were held on the National Mall, and other sites in our nation's capital.)

Here is another gem from Kristol: "The first two battles of this new era are now over. The battles of Afghanistan and Iraq have been won decisively and honorably." (April 28, 2003) And, then there is this whopper from the slippery Neocon: "The Iraqi elections of Jan. 30, 2005 could be a key moment perhaps the key moment so far in vindicating the 'Bush/Cheney Doctrine' as the right response to 9/11." (March 7, 2005)

Of course, it wouldn't be fair to leave out this one from Kristol: "It is much more likely that the situation in Iraq will stay more or less the same, or improve, in either case, Republicans will benefit from being the party of victory." (Nov. 30, 2005)

As a result of an onslaught of Kristol's articles and media appearances in support of the Iraq invasion, the Washington Post 's Richard Cohen dubbed the conflict: "Kristol's War!" Right on, Mr. Cohen.

The estimated cost of the Iraq War to the U.S. taxpayers runs to a high of around $1.7 trillion!

If Kristol has any regrets with respect to his amoral advocacy for the Iraq War (which was launched by the Bush-Cheney Gang based on a pack of rotten lies) and/or about the staggering US casualties in Iraq, I have never heard him express them.

If Kristol has any empathy for the innocent Iraqi dead and wounded, the Iraqi women and children who have suffered and are continuing to suffer from that conflict, along with the tens of thousands of Iraqi homes that have been destroyed, and also for those 3.8 million Iraqis made into refugees, then he's kept those kinds of feelings to himself.

(The other amazing thing about Kristol is how he's repeatedly able to get his distorted views on our televisions and in our newspapers. It's like he has to only press a button and there he is. It is all so – Orwellian!)

In any event, when the name of William Kristol, the Neocon, is mentioned, I think callous indifference to human life and suffering.

The next time the Neocon Kristol visits the Arlington National Cemetery, over in Virginia, to honor our Iraqi War dead, will be his FIRST! Despite all of the above, he continues to argue for a U.S.-led attack on Iran. Kristol insists: "Invading Iran is not a bad idea!"

If warmongering isn't a Hate Crime and/or a Hate Speech, then maybe it should be. (Peace Movement, please copy.) That would give the heartless Kristol something to think about when he advocates for the launching of yet another monstrosity, like the Iraq War.

Bill Hughes is an attorney, author, actor and photographer. His latest book is Byline Baltimore . Contact the author. Reprinted from the Baltimore Post-Examiner with the author's permission.

[May 24, 2020] Why do mostly rich countries suffer from COVID-19?

May 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

Why do only rich countries suffer? Why is it only the countries with a powerful liberal press, with a positive connection to the WHO, with developed hi-tech infrastructure and their own digital lords? Could it be simply that they have something to loot? It makes sense to loot Belgium, and Belgians have a lot of Covid. But it makes no sense to loot Mongolia or Cambodia. If you follow me thus far, you will also see that such things can't happen by themselves. GAFAM is the prime mover and the beneficiary, while Gates is the link between them and the WHO.

[May 24, 2020] About Pompeo threat to cut Australia from the fives eyes intelligence flows

May 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

uncle tungsten , May 25 2020 0:44 utc | 56

vk #4
Pompeo Warns US May Stop Sharing Intelligence With Australia Over Victoria Inking Deal With China's BRI

The battle for Australia's soul has begun.

Lets reverse that point, shall we. There is a US spy base in Australia at a place called Pine Gap. Without it being operational the USA would lose its 3 dimensional vision across the planet.

This Bannon/Trump bluster is weak as p!ss as 'sharing intelligence' is the cornerstone of the five eyes perversion that gives the USA some superiority in intelligence matters. So if sharing intelligence were withdrawn by the USA with Australia it would have meaningless consequences.

On the other hand if Australia ceased its intelligence sharing and shut down all the data traffic out of Australia - the USA would go ballistic. Not that the Oz government would ever do such a thing being a craven water carrier for the new world order etc...

Pompeo is blathering bullsh!t and he knows it and we all know it.
Odd that you would reiterate his brainless threat vk.

[May 24, 2020] What's the difference between a Director of National Intelligence and a sperm cell?

Fully applicable to Clapper ;-) Clapper is, by the way, a proven perjurer, he having claimed claimed, during a congressional testimony in March 2013, that NSA does not “wittingly” collect data on millions of Americans.
May 24, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman May 24, 2020 at 9:32 am

I read a good one the other day that is quite versatile; you can use it for almost anyone.

What's the difference between a Director of National Intelligence and a sperm cell?

A sperm cell has a one-in-a-million chance of becoming a human being.

[May 24, 2020] Wouldn't it be more useful to allocate $ 250,000 to save someone's lives instead of "Exposing Russian Health Disinformation"

$250K can buy a lot of masks, probably over million ;-)
May 24, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

moscowexile May 24, 2020 at 4:10 am

Have they nothing better to do than peddle their Russophobia?

Wouldn't it be more useful to allocate $ 250,000 to save someone's lives, @StateDept ? Instead of "Exposing Russian Health Disinformation"
➡️ https://t.co/Hv3CydUgBX

📸 Medical aid 🇷🇺✈️🇺🇸 in NYC and Moscow pic.twitter.com/BVFxDVJJAH

-- Russia in USA 🇷🇺 (@RusEmbUSA) May 23, 2020

[May 24, 2020] FLASHBACK: WHO, China and coronavirus

See also FLASHBACK Jan. 14 WHO Tells Everyone Don't Worry Because China Says Coronavirus Isn't Contagious The Daily Caller
May 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

Corvinus , says: Show Comment

[May 24, 2020] Obamagate as the reaction of managerial class neoliberals on the crisis of neoliberalism

Highly recommended!
May 24, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

likbez , May 24, 2020 8:22 pm

While Flynn is a questionable figure with his Iran warmongering and the former tenure as a Turkey lobbyist, it is important to understand that in Kislyak call he mainly played the role of Israel lobbyist. This important fact was carefully swiped under the carpet by FBI honchos.

Only the second and less important part of the call (the request to Russia to postpone the reaction after the Obama expulsion of diplomats) was related to Russia. Not sure it was necessary: Russia probably understood that this was a provocation and would wait for the dust to settle in any case. Revenge is a dish that is better served cold. Later Russia used this as a pretext to equalize the number of US diplomats in Russia with the number of Russian diplomat in the USA which was a knockdown for any color revolution plans in this country: people with the knowledge of the country and connections to its neoliberal fifth column were sent packing.

But Russian neoliberal compradors were decimated earlier after EuroMaydan in Kiev, so this was actually a service to the USA allowing to save the USA same money (as Trump acknowledged)

Also strange how former chief of DIA fell victim of such a crude trap administered by a second, if nor third rate person -- Strzok. Looks like he was already on the hook and, as such, defenseless for his Turkey lobbing efforts. Which makes Comey-McCabe attempt to entrap him look like a shooing fish in the tank.

Note to managerial class neoliberals (PMC). Your Russiagate stance is to be expected and has nothing to do with virtue.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/05/22/why-russiagate-still-matters/

it was the urban and suburban PMC that gets its news from the establishment press -- the New York Times, Washington Post and NPR, that believed and supported the story.

[May 24, 2020] If the Sems win, I would imagine a reverting back to stirring up shit with Russia and inviting China to remain neutral. The opposite of the current strategy of separating Russia from China.

May 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Nemesiscalling , May 23 2020 22:17 utc | 28

@17 laguerre

Yes, it seems that way.

If Biden or another dem candidate wins, they will use the ire of the populace against Trump to wholesale fire all Trump admin appointees and administrators. Trump did not do this to Obama appointees and this hurt him bigly but was in his mind the right thing to do to demonstrate a fair-minded authority. Not so with a dem-elect. It will be that much easier to steer towards war with rank and file sycophants and true believers.

...

A poster above mentioned Trump may make it illegal to do business with China.

Does any China-lover here actually think this is a bad idea? According to their logic, the U.S.'s goose is already cooked, so with Trump isolating America, it would seem a boon for China to swoop in as it continually demonstrates it is capable of this. Any argument against such a decoupling by China-lovers indeed translates to them actually shittung their pants at the notion of China sans America. That's a fact, Jack.

But don't worry guys, Americans don't mind being left in the dust. Our land is bountiful enough that a purge of all the anational elites is all we need.

Sure, sure, sure..."rough times ahead..." blah blah blah. Well...it's either a decoupling or full on globalist-faction war, dragging in the national armies of Russia and China.

If the dems win, I would imagine a reverting back to stirring up shit with Russia and inviting China to remain neutral. The opposite of the current strategy of separating Russia from China.


Richard Steven Hack , May 24 2020 1:16 utc | 32

Posted by: Laguerre | May 23 2020 20:17 utc | 17 Like I said in the previous post, there's a big difference between what Trump wants and What the warmongers want. He likes economic war (against everybody), they want actual war. As long as Trump is in power, I don't see things changing.

The problem with that is that Trump is easily manipulated. He may buck and bolt frequently, just to keep his own narcissism satisfied that *he* is the one with the power. But he's still easily manipulated because he's ignorant of almost everything. He's not against war - like every other President he simply doesn't want to be *blamed* for starting another disastrous war. That's entirely different from being unwilling to *actually* start such a war. That was Obama's thing, too. He was happy to want to start a war with Syria in 2013 over a bogus "chemical weapons attack" - but once Putin and the US Senate pushed back, he ducked and covered. Trump will do the same. But whether that's enough to prevent a war *if* something actually happens to cause significant US casualties, that is another matter.

"There were some Brits, whose link I don't have, who have modellised that Trump is going to lose massively in November. If that's right, and if Biden remains the Dem candidate, then I guess war is what we're going to have."

Yes, that is the *other* main problem. What happens when Trump 1) loses, or 2) wins - and doesn't care any more about whether a new war will hurt his re-election chances? This has been my standard response to all those who say he won't start a war with Iran, despite his massive support for Israel and his antipathy towards Iran, because he doesn't want to hurt his re-election. So I say, "What about *after* the election?" The response is always crickets.

Regardless of what Trump "wants" - and a narcissist changes that with his socks - Trump *can* start a war. It just depends on the circumstances and what he perceives as his *personal* risk (of whatever nature.)

Antonym , May 24 2020 1:23 utc | 34
Here no love lost for US imperialism but the Chinese variant is also not pretty: "Tension continues on LAC between India and China"
https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tension-continues-on-lac-between-india-and-china/article31660434.ece

[May 24, 2020] US anti-china crusade started

May 24, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

After the Soviet collapse thirty years ago, that order expanded its jurisdiction. Proponents sought to subsume the old Eastern Bloc, including perhaps Russia itself, into the American sphere. And they wanted to do so firmly on Washington's terms. Even as the country began to deindustrialize and growth slowed, American leadership developed a taste for fresh crusades in the Middle East; exotic savagery, went the subtext, had to be brought finally to heel. China was a rising force, but its regime would inevitably crater or democratize. Besides, Beijing was a peaceful trading partner of the United States.

2008, 2016 and 2020 -- the financial crisis, Trump's election and now the Coronavirus and its reaction -- have been successive gut punches to this project, a hat trick which may seal its demise. Ask anyone attempting to board an international flight, or open a new factory in China, or get anything done at the United Nations: the world is de-globalizing at a speed almost as astonishing as it integrated. Post-Covid, U.S.-China confrontation is not a choice. It's a reality. The liberal international order is not lamentable. It's already dead.

This was the argument made by Bannon. It had other backers, of course, within both the academy and an emerging foreign policy counter-establishment loathe to repeat the mistakes of the past thirty years. But coming from the former top political advisor to the sitting president of the United States, it was provocative stuff. Bannon articulated a perspective which seemed to be on the tip of the foreign policy world's tongue. And it riled people up. The most fulsome rebuttal to the zeitgeist was perhaps The Jungle Grows Back , tellingly written by Robert Kagan, an Iraq War architect. The peripheral world was dangerous brush; the United States was the machete.

Trumpian nationalism has chugged along for nearly three years since -- stripped, some might say, of its Bannonite flair and intelligence. The most hysterical prophecies of what the president might do -- that he might withdraw from the geriatric North Atlantic Treaty Organization, for instance -- have not come to pass. Trump has howled and roared, true: but so far, his most disruptive foreign policy maneuver has been escalation against Iran.


MPC 3 days ago

It's very good to hear the right getting a little humility in them now and talking less empire, more multilateralism. Trump has been way too concerned with his MAGA personality cult to understand the value of humility.

The world's a big place. The reality is, America first will more and more mean working together with other nations for mutual benefit, and often their gain will indirectly be to our own also.

kouroi MPC 3 days ago
Working more and more, yes. This is why US is undercutting Germany's competitiveness, by blocking a cheap source of energy via NS2...

As Bush said, you are either with us or against us. Nothing has changed and nothing will change, but it will become uglier. If it were to desire multi-polarity, the US would tolerate not only states, like KSA, where the Royals own everything, but also states, like Iran, or Cuba, where the people (through the government/state) owns assets (land and productive facilities). But the US does not tolerate such type of multi-polarity, not open to US "investment" and ownership (bought with fiat money).

Cold War II started in 2007, with Putin. Popcorn & beer lads!

MPC kouroi 3 days ago
It does seem like there's a creeping idea, not just on dissident internet sites now like before, that the Russian rivalry is a luxury of the past. Even the liberals are going to have to reconcile with liberal hegemony not being workable and settle for something less. Owing to distance and mutual interest (common rivals Britain and Germany) Russia and America had a long history of friendship before the Cold war.

I sadly agree about the predatory nature of much of America does. I think it really is a reflection of partially, imperial arrogance, but even moreso a matter of who runs the country. Oligarchy is poorly checked in modern America. Maybe we can hope for a humbled oligarchy, at least.

DUNK Buhari2 2 days ago
Trump is indeed an empty suit and a demagogue, but he ran on a decent nationalist platform (probably thanks to Bannon, who is almost certainly a closeted gay. No joke... a deep-in-the-closet, self-hating gay. The navy can change a man, and he's a fraud in other ways: see Eric Striker's article "International Finance's Anti-China Crusade"). Trump does have an absurd ego, and he probably figured becoming president would impress Ivanka too.

Also, the Uyghurs are not totally innocent victims... Some of them are US-financed revolutionaries and some of them have committed terrorism: see Godfree Roberts at Unz Review: "China and the Uyghurs" (January 10, 2019) and Ajit Singh at The Grayzone: "Inside the World Uyghur Congress: The US-backed right-wing regime change network seeking the 'fall of China'" (March 5, 2020). Some of our pathetic propagandists make it seem like they're in concentration camps, but there is objective reporting that suggests it's more like job training programs and anti-jihad classes. Absurd lies have certainly been told about North Korea and many other countries, so be skeptical.

kirthigdon 3 days ago
Yeah, let's get that hate on for China - why they're as bad as Russia, Iran and Venezuela put together and there are so many more of them. Especially a lot are available right here in the US and have lots of restaurants that can be boycotted. Not that many Venezuelan restaurants around. Seriously, can Americans get over this childishness? When the US closes down its 800+ overseas bases and withdraws its fleet to its own shores instead of Iran's and China's, then maybe Americans will be entitled to complain about someone else's imperialism.
Collin Reid 3 days ago
Most of anti-China stuff Hawley, much like Trump, claims always feels empty populism for WWC voters.

1) It is reasonable to be against our Middle East endeavors and not be so anti-China.
2) I still don't understand how it is China fault for stealing manufacturing jobs when it is the US private sector that does it. (And Vietnam exist, etc.) So without Charles Koch and Tim Cook behind this trade stuff, it feels like empty populism.
3) The most obvious point on China to me is how little they do use military measures for their 'imperialism.'

One problem with all this populism emptiness, is there is a lot issues with China to work on:
1) This virus could have impact economies in Africa and South America a lot where the nations have to renegotiate their loans to China. I have no idea how this goes but there will be tensions here. Imperialism is tough in the long run.
2) There are nations banding together on China's reaction to the virus and it seems reasonable that US joining them would be more effective than Trump's taunting.
3) To prove Trump administration incompetence, I have no idea how he is not turning this crisis into more medical equipment and drugs manufacturing. (My guess is this both takes a lot of work and frankly a lot of manufacturing plants have risks of spreads so noone wants to invest.)

Feral Finster Collin Reid 3 days ago
Apparently it is now a form of aggression, imperialism, even, to work for lower wages than a comparable American worker.

I can understand some protectionist measures. But acting as if these measures were a response to an unprovoked attack is hyperventilating.

DUNK Collin Reid 2 days ago
Hawley is a "fake populist" according to Eric Striker's article "International Finance's Anti-China Crusade" and I just saw fake-patriot airhead Pete Hegseth claim China wants to destroy our civilization, on fake populist Tucker Carlson's show. It's well-established that Fox News and the GOP are still neocons and fake patriots... after all, the Trump administration is run by Jared Kushner, a protégé of Rupert Murdoch and Bibi Netanyahu.
dbjm 3 days ago
Hawley's speech on the Senate floor yesterday deserves much more criticism than it gets here. This article from Reason does a good job breaking down the speech and pointing out what's right AND wrong about it:

https://reason.com/2020/05/...

Collin Reid Kessler 2 days ago
What if there is reduced wars and civil wars n the world today than ever. (So say anytime before 1991?) I get all the Middle East & African Wars but look at the rest of the world. When in history have the major West Europe powers not had a major war in 75 years. After issues of post Cold War East Europe is probably more peaceful than ever. Look at South America. In the 1970s the Civil Wars raged in all those nations. Or the Pacific Rim? Japan, China, and other nations are fighting with Military right now.

This is certainly less than perfect but the number of people (per million) dieing in wars and civil wars are at historic lows.

kouroi Collin Reid 2 days ago
The fall of Soviet Union and weakening of Russia allowed US and Western Europe to attack Serbia in 1990s. A stronger Russia wouldn't have allowed that to happen (who's trying to get Crimea from Russia's control now?). But with US aggressiveness and bellicosity (including nuclear posture) at Russia's borders do not bode well.

But it is true, less important people are dying now...

chris chuba 3 days ago
Chinese imperialism? Uh ... other than shaking trees and drumming up fear can I get like one example of that.

Taiwan, part of China since the 1500's and they are have not issued any new threats since 1949.

Hong Kong - stolen from China and now reluctantly given back with lots of conditions. If they deserve the right of independence through referendum I'm all for it as long as we apply this standard uniformly including parts of Texas, San Diego, New Mexico, Arizona, any place that has a large foreign population will do.

DUNK chris chuba 2 days ago
Yeah, "Chinese imperialism" is complete nonsense, just like the claim that they definitely originated the coronavirus, caused Americans to be under house arrest, and caused a depression. In fact, the origin of the virus is far from clear, and it wasn't China who hyped up and exaggerated the danger and wrecked the economy. It was our superficial corporate media and government that did that (perhaps deliberately)... the same people who are desperately trying to deflect blame onto the CCP. The same people who have been mismanaging and ruining America for decades in order to enrich themselves.
Gregtown 3 days ago
Should we all start reading Chomsky books again?

"Neoliberal democracy. Instead of citizens, it produces consumers. Instead of communities, it produces shopping malls. The net result is an atomized society of disengaged individuals who feel demoralized and socially powerless."

Sidney Caesar Gregtown 3 days ago • edited
Most people would be well served to read Chomsky a first time.
However, it should be noted, Chomsky's critiques of neoliberalism aren't grounded in nationalism, xenophobia, and racism. So a lot of TAC readers (and especially writers) may be disappointed.
Gregtown Sidney Caesar 3 days ago
Ha...sadly true.

I just pulled On Anarchism off my bookshelf. Time to revisit my early 20's.

Tradcon 3 days ago
Hawley seems like the natural choice for the potential future of the GOP, that is a post-fusionist or post-liberal GOP. However the one thing that worries me is his foreign policy. He talks the talk, but I'm having trouble to see if he walks the walk. As Mills noted he didn't vote to end support for the genocidal war in Yemen, a war that serves purely the interests of Saudi Arabia and not our own. He has criticized David Petraeus before, but its important not to be fooled by just rhetoric. While accepting he'll be better than any Tom Cotton or (god forbid) Nikki Haley in 2024, his foreign policy needs to be examined more until then.
stevek9 3 days ago
Our response to the epidemic was 100% 'made in China'. The entire 'Western World' decided to copy Beijing. If that doesn't establish a new level of leadership for China, I don't know what would. I'm surprised this is not more widely recognized. You can run down the many parallels, including the pathetic photo-op attempt by the West to build those emergency hospitals (Nightingale in the UK, Javits Center, etc. all across the US), which were just to show 'hey we can build hospitals in a few weeks also' ... never mind they could never, and were never used for anything at all.
Kiyoshi01 3 days ago
At this point, Hawley is all talk. Further, much of his talking amounts to little more than expressing resentment. I agree that the US needs to follow a more nationalist pathway, which involved making itself less dependent on its chief geopolitical rival. But accomplishing this is going to require more than bashing China and asserting that cosmopolitan Americans are traitors. At this point, Hawley has no positive program to offer. Giving paid speeches that vilify coastal elites and China is not a political plan.

Further, I agree that we're probably moving away from the universalist order that's guided much of our thinking since the 1990s. But isolationism is not the answer. We need to begin building a multilateral order that takes full account of China's rise as a worthy rival. This means that we need to develop a series of smaller-scale agreements with strategic partners. The TPP is a good example of such an agreement. But where is the call to revive it?

Lastly, I find the article's reference to China's treatment of gays and lesbians to be curious. I'd first note that using the term "homosexual" in reference to people is generally viewed as an offensive slur. Further, China's treatment of gay people isn't so bad, and tends to be better than what Hawley's evangelical supporters would afford. Moreover, China is a multi-ethnic country. It's program in Xinjiang has more to do with maintaining political order than a desire to repress non-Han people.

MPC Kiyoshi01 2 days ago
The general chest puffing nature of the American right makes it hard for them to understand that America might need to work with other countries at a deep level, and not as vassals either.
DUNK MPC 2 days ago
It doesn't seem like they're able to understand anything, or learn anything.
Barry_II Kiyoshi01 11 hours ago
". We need to begin building a multilateral order that takes full account
of China's rise as a worthy rival. This means that we need to develop a
series of smaller-scale agreements with strategic partners. The TPP is a
good example of such an agreement. But where is the call to revive it?"

The thing is that the post-WWII liberal international order was good for things like that.
Trump and the GOP quite deliberately destroyed it. Before that, the US would have the trust of many other governments; now they don't trust the US - even if Biden is elected, the next Trump is on the way.

KevinS 3 days ago • edited
"We benefit if countries that share our opposition to Chinese imperialism -- countries like India and Japan, Vietnam, Australia and Taiwan -- are economically independent of China, and standing shoulder to shoulder with us,"

OK....then can someone explain why Hawley opposed the TPP, which was designed to accomplish just this. The TPP was supposed to create trading relationships between these countries and the United States in the context of an agreement that excluded China. In this instance people like Hawley were advancing China's position and interests (I suspect simply because it was a treaty negotiated under Obama, which apparently was enough to make it bad).

Kiyoshi01 KevinS 3 days ago
Probably because Hawley seems more interested in demagoguery than accomplishing anything productive. Never mind that 95% of the people who voted for him probably couldn't find Japan or Vietnam on a map.
kouroi KevinS 2 days ago
TPP was not geared against China as a blanket thing, as an entire exclusion of China. The perfidy of TPP was that it was against any economic interactions with State Owned Enterprises (didn't mention the origin, didn't have to). The ultimate goal wasn't to isolate China but to force privatization of said SOEs, preferably run from Wall Street.

Private property good and = Democracy; State property bad = Authoritarianism, dictatorship, etc. It is a fallacy here somewhere, cannot really put my finger on it...

calidus 3 days ago
Except this is all lies. On each chance to actually do something Hawley has sided with international corporations, as a good conservative will always do. Fixing globalism will never come form the right, this is all smoke and mirrors for the religious right, aka the rubes. And they are perpetual suckers and will keep buying into this crap as our nation is hollowed out and raided by the rich. And that, is TRUE conservatism.
TheSnark 3 days ago
"Now we must recognize that the economic system designed by Western policy makers at the end of the Cold War does not serve our purposes in this new era," proclaimed Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri. "And it does not meet our needs for this new day." He continued, perhaps too politely: "And we should admit that multiple of its founding premises were in error."

The "error" in the founding premises of the post-WWII economic system was that it assumed that the US would act in a responsible manner. Instead we have run huge budget deficits and borrowed the difference from foreigners, randomly invading other countries, undermined the institutions we set up, bullied smaller countries rather than working with them, and abused our control of the financial system.

No, that old economic system served our interests very well, as long as we respected the institutions we set up and kept our own house in order. We haven't been doing any of that for at least 20 years.

Kiyoshi01 Amicus Brevis 2 days ago
Let's bear in mind that the Republican leader of the Senate married into a wealthy Chinese family that makes its money from hauling Chinese exports to our shores and the shores of other developed nations.

This is all just hollow bravado meant to appeal to the right's nativist base.

Amicus Brevis Kiyoshi01 2 days ago • edited
I am not into the thinking that everyone whose politics I don't support is acting in bad faith. We are talking about the actions of literally millions of people. Accusing this or that person of acting in bad faith because of personal interest is just dirty politics dressed up as perceptiveness. I am not accusing any specific person of acting in bad faith, although some of the people who pushed opening up to China because more business in China would create a class of people who would eventually push for Democracy there, were indeed acting in bad faith. They wanted access to cheap labor with no rights.

Yet, no doubt many of them actually believed the propaganda, because it supposedly happened in South Korea, Taiwan and other places. And especially the ones who switched the line to "globalism" when it was clear that the supposed indigenous pressures for Democracy did not materialize also acted in bad faith. I only assume that some of were because once I understood the rationale of the CCCP it was clear to me that China was radically different, and there is no way that so many of those guys who are smarter and more knowledgeable about political systems than me, did not figure it out. But I am not going to behave as if it the Republicans alone who were pushing either of these two false messages.

phreethink 2 days ago
Criticizing China for "imperialism" is the height of hypocrisy on multiple levels. First, the United States has engaged in economic imperialism, sometimes enforced with military intervention, for a hundred years. Read Smedley Butler's "War is a Racket" if you doubt that. Second, this is the same guy who voted against our proxy war in Yemen. Third, one could very reasonably argue that China is simply applying the lessons it learned at the hands of Western imperialists since 1800s..

It's good that SOME Republicans are at least giving lip service to the idea of bringing back manufacturing in this country. But you have to thank Trump for that, not the GOP establishment. The offshoring of American manufacturing as part of "free trade" was strongly supported (if not led) by the GOP going back to the 1980s.

DUNK phreethink 2 days ago
And check out John Perkins's books ("Confessions of an Economic Hit Man", etc.) for up-to-date information. It's obviously true that criticizing China for "imperialism" is ridiculously hypocritical but people like Senator Hawley know they can get away with it because they understand how propaganda works on the dumbed-down masses.

They understand doublethink, repetition, appeal to patriotism, appeal to racism, appeal to fear, etc. People like Rupert Murdoch do this every day... poorly, but well enough to be effective on a lot of people.

Incidentally, the Republicans may talk about bringing manufacturing back to the US but they're actually planning on shifting it to India (see Eric Striker's article "International Finance's Anti-China Crusade").

[May 24, 2020] Guccifer 2.0's Hidden Agenda : looks like Gussifer 2.0 was a false flag operation designed to smear wikileaks and distract from the CONTENT of the DNC emails

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... With the entirety of Russigate finally collapsing under the enormous weight and stench of its own BS, the picture that is beginning to emerge for me is one of an insider deep-state psy-op designed to cover for the crimes committed by the DNC, the Clinton Foundation and the 2016 Hillary campaign; kill for the foreseeable future any progressive threat to the neo-liberal world order; and take down a president that the bipartisan DC and corporate media elite fear and loathe. And why do they fear him? Because he is free to call them out on certain aspects of their criminality and corruption, and has. ..."
"... Hubris, cynicism and a basic belief in the stupidity of the US public all seem to have played a part in all this, enabled by a corporate media with a profit motive and a business model that depends on duping the masses. ..."
"... Anyone who still believes in democracy in the USA has his head in the sand (or someplace a lot smellier). ..."
"... The corruption in the USA is wide and deep and trump is NOT draining the swamp. ..."
"... A further point: the Mueller report insinuates that G2.0 had transferred the DNC emails to Wikileaks as of July 18th, and Wikileaks then published them on July 22nd. This is absurd for two reasons: There is no way in hell that Wikileaks could have processed the entire volume of those emails and attachments to insure their complete authenticity in 4 days. ..."
"... Indeed, when Crowdstrike's Shawn Henry had been chief of counterintelligence under Robert Mueller, he had tried to set Assange up by sending Wikileaks fraudulent material; fortunately, Wikileaks was too careful to take the bait. ..."
May 24, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

Daniel P , May 23, 2020 at 13:34

Fascinating, important and ultimately deeply disturbing. This is why I come to Consortium News.

With the entirety of Russigate finally collapsing under the enormous weight and stench of its own BS, the picture that is beginning to emerge for me is one of an insider deep-state psy-op designed to cover for the crimes committed by the DNC, the Clinton Foundation and the 2016 Hillary campaign; kill for the foreseeable future any progressive threat to the neo-liberal world order; and take down a president that the bipartisan DC and corporate media elite fear and loathe. And why do they fear him? Because he is free to call them out on certain aspects of their criminality and corruption, and has.

Hubris, cynicism and a basic belief in the stupidity of the US public all seem to have played a part in all this, enabled by a corporate media with a profit motive and a business model that depends on duping the masses.

Anonymous , May 22, 2020 at 12:01

These convos alone look like a script kiddie on IRC doing their low functioning version of sock puppetry. Didn't know anyone at all fell for that

Ash , May 22, 2020 at 17:21

Because smooth liars in expensive suits told them it was true in their authoritative TV voices? Sadly they don't even really need to try hard anymore, as people will evidently believe anything they're told.

Bob Herrschaft , May 22, 2020 at 12:00

The article goes a long way toward congealing evidence that Guccifer 2.0 was a shill meant to implicate Wikileaks in a Russian hack. The insinuation about Assange's Russian connection was over the top if Guccifer 2.0 was supposed to be a GRU agent and the mention of Seth Rich only contradicts his claims.

OlyaPola , May 22, 2020 at 10:40

Spectacles are popular.Although less popular, the framing and derivations of plausible belief are of more significance; hence the cloak of plausible denial over under-garments of plausible belief, in facilitation of revolutions of immersion in spectacles facilitating spectacles' popularity.

Some promoters of spectacles believe that the benefits of spectacles accrue solely to themselves, and when expectations appear to vary from outcomes, they resort to one-trick-ponyness illuminated by peering in the mirror.

Skip Scott , May 22, 2020 at 08:35

This is a great article. I think the most obvious conclusion is that Guccifer 2.0 was a creation to smear wikileaks and distract from the CONTENT of the DNC emails. The MSM spent the next 3 years obsessed by RussiaGate, and spent virtually no effort on the DNC and Hillary's collusion in subverting the Sander's campaign, among other crimes.

I think back to how many of my friends were obsessed with Rachel Madcow during this period, and how she and the rest of the MSM served the Empire with their propaganda campaign. Meanwhile, Julian is still in Belmarsh as the head of a "non-state hostile intelligence service," the Hillary camp still runs the DNC and successfully sabotaged Bernie yet again (along with Tulsi), and the public gets to choose between corporate sponsored warmonger from column A or B in 2020.

Anyone who still believes in democracy in the USA has his head in the sand (or someplace a lot smellier).

Guy , May 22, 2020 at 12:19

Totally agree .The corruption in the USA is wide and deep and trump is NOT draining the swamp.

Cal Lash , May 22, 2020 at 01:20

I take it the mentioned time zones are consistent with Langley.

treeinanotherlife , May 22, 2020 at 00:34

"Are there only HRC emails? Or some other docs? Are there any DNC docs?"

G2 is fishing to see if Wiki has DNC docs. Does not say "any DNC docs I sent you". And like most at time thought Assange's "related to hillary" phrase likely (hopefully for some) meant Hillary's missing private server emails. For certain G2 is not an FBI agent>s/he knows difference between HRC and DNC emails.

Thank you for fantastic work.

Mark McCarty , May 21, 2020 at 22:24

A further point: the Mueller report insinuates that G2.0 had transferred the DNC emails to Wikileaks as of July 18th, and Wikileaks then published them on July 22nd. This is absurd for two reasons: There is no way in hell that Wikileaks could have processed the entire volume of those emails and attachments to insure their complete authenticity in 4 days.

Indeed, it is reasonable to expect that Wikileaks had been processing those emails since at least June 12, when Assange announced their impending publication. (I recall waiting expectantly for a number of weeks as Wikileaks processed the Podesta emails.) Wikileaks was well aware that, if a single one of the DNC emails they released had been proved to have been fraudulent, their reputation would have been toast. Indeed, when Crowdstrike's Shawn Henry had been chief of counterintelligence under Robert Mueller, he had tried to set Assange up by sending Wikileaks fraudulent material; fortunately, Wikileaks was too careful to take the bait.

Secondly, it is inconceivable that a journalist as careful as Julian would, on June 12th, have announced the impending publication of documents he hadn't even seen yet. And of course there is no record of G2.0 having had any contact with Wikileaks prior to that date.

It is a great pleasure to see "Adam Carter"'s work at long last appear in such a distinguished venue as Consortium News. It does credit to them both.

Skip Edwards , May 22, 2020 at 12:33

How can we expect justice when there is no justification for what is being done by the US and British governments to Julian Assange!

[May 24, 2020] Guccifer 2.0's Hidden Agenda

Highly recommended!
Images deleted.
False flag operation by CIA or CrowdStrike as CIA constructor: CIA ears protrude above Gussifer 2.0 hat.
Notable quotes:
"... Guccifer 2.0 fabricated evidence to claim credit for hacking the DNC (using files that were really Podesta attachments) . ..."
"... Guccifer 2.0’s Russian breadcrumbs mostly came from deliberate processes & needless editing of documents . ..."
"... Guccifer 2.0’s Russian communications signals came from the persona choosing to use a proxy server in Moscow and choosing to use a Russian VPN service as end-points (and they used an email service that forwards the sender’s IP address, which made identifying that signal a relatively trivial task.) ..."
"... A considerable volume of evidence pointed at Guccifer 2.0’s activities being in American timezones (twice as many types of indicators were found pointing at Guccifer 2.0’s activities being in American timezones than anywhere else). ..."
"... The American timezones were incidental to other activities (eg. blogging , social media , emailing a journalist , archiving files , etc) and some of these were recorded independently by service providers. ..."
"... A couple of pieces of evidence with Russian indicators present had accompanying locale indicators that contradicted this which suggested the devices used hadn’t been properly set up for use in Russia (or Romania) but may have been suitable for other countries (including America) . ..."
"... On the same day that Guccifer 2.0 was plastering Russian breadcrumbs on documents through a deliberate process, choosing to use Russian-themed end-points and fabricating evidence to claim credit for hacking the DNC, the operation attributed itself to WikiLeaks. ..."
"... Guccifer 2.0 chose to use insecure communications to ask WikiLeaks to confirm receipt of “DNC emails” on July 6, 2016. Confirmation of this was not provided at that time but WikiLeaks did confirm receipt of a “1gb or so” archive on July 18, 2016. ..."
"... The alleged GRU officer we are told was part of an operation to deflect from Russian culpability suggested that Assange “may be connected with Russians”. ..."
"... Guccifer 2.0 fabricated evidence to claim credit for hacking the DNC, covered itself (and its files) in what were essentially a collection of “Made In Russia” labels through deliberate processes and decisions made by the persona, and, then, it attributed itself to WikiLeaks with a claim that was contradicted by subsequent communications between both parties. ..."
"... While we are expected to accept that Guccifer 2.0’s efforts between July 6 and July 18 were a sincere effort to get leaks to WikiLeaks, considering everything we now know about the persona, it seems fair to question whether Guccifer 2.0’s intentions towards WikiLeaks may have instead been malicious. ..."
"... Guccifer 2.0 was always John Brennan 1.0 ..."
"... Was Guccifer II part of the Stefan Halper organization that lured Papadopoulos and maliciously maligned others? ..."
"... I believe Guccifer 2.0 was created by the CIA to falsely pin blame on the Russians for info that Seth Rich gave to WikiLeaks. Read for yourself: http://g-2.space/ ..."
May 24, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Tim Leonard via ConsortiumNews.com,

Why would an alleged GRU officer - supposedly part of an operation to deflect Russian culpability - suggest that Assange “may be connected with Russians?”

In December, I reported on digital forensics evidence relating to Guccifer 2.0 and highlighted several key points about the mysterious persona that Special Counsel Robert Mueller claims was a front for Russian intelligence to leak Democratic Party emails to WikiLeaks:

On the same day that Guccifer 2.0 was plastering Russian breadcrumbs on documents through a deliberate process, choosing to use Russian-themed end-points and fabricating evidence to claim credit for hacking the DNC, the operation attributed itself to WikiLeaks.

This article questions what Guccifer 2.0’s intentions were in relation to WikiLeaks in the context of what has been discovered by independent researchers during the past three years.

Timing

On June 12, 2016, in an interview with ITV’s Robert Peston, Julian Assange confirmed that WikiLeaks had emails relating to Hillary Clinton that the organization intended to publish. This announcement was prior to any reported contact with Guccifer 2.0 (or with DCLeaks).

On June 14, 2016, an article was published in The Washington Post citing statements from two CrowdStrike executives alleging that Russian intelligence hacked the DNC and stole opposition research on Trump. It was apparent that the statements had been made in the 48 hours prior to publication as they referenced claims of kicking hackers off the DNC network on the weekend just passed (June 11-12, 2016).

On that same date, June 14, DCLeaks contacted WikiLeaks via Twitter DM and for some reason suggested that both parties coordinate their releases of leaks. (It doesn’t appear that WikiLeaks responded until September 2016).

On June 15, 2016, Guccifer 2.0 appeared for the first time. He fabricated evidence to claim credit for hacking the DNC (using material that wasn’t from the DNC), used a proxy in Moscow to carry out searches (for mostly English language terms including a grammatically incorrect and uncommon phrase that the persona would use in its first blog post) and used a Russian VPN service to share the fabricated evidence with reporters. All of this combined conveniently to provide false corroboration for several claims made by CrowdStrike executives that were published just one day earlier in The Washington Post.

[CrowdStrike President Shawn Henry testified under oath behind closed doors on Dec. 5, 2017 to the U.S. House intelligence committee that his company had no evidence that Russian actors removed anything from the DNC servers. This testimony was only released earlier this month.]

First Claim Versus First Contact

On the day it emerged, the Guccifer 2.0 operation stated that it had given material to WikiLeaks and asserted that the organization would publish that material soon:

By stating that WikiLeaks would “publish them soon” the Guccifer 2.0 operation implied that it had received confirmation of intent to publish.

However, the earliest recorded communication between Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks didn’t occur until a week later (June 22, 2016) when WikiLeaks reached out to Guccifer 2.0 and suggested that the persona send any new material to them rather than doing what it was doing:

[Excerpt from Special Counsel Mueller’s report. Note: “stolen from the DNC” is an editorial insert by the special counsel.]

If WikiLeaks had already received material and confirmed intent to publish prior to this direct message, why would they then suggest what they did when they did? WikiLeaks says it had no prior contact with Guccifer 2.0 despite what Guccifer 2.0 had claimed.

Needing To Know What WikiLeaks Had

Fortunately, information that gives more insight into communications on June 22, 2016 was made available on April 29, 2020 via a release of the Roger Stone arrest warrant application.

Here is the full conversation on that date (according to the application):

@WikiLeaks: Do you have secure communications?

@WikiLeaks: Send any new material here for us to review and it will have a much higher impact than what you are doing. No other media will release the full material.

@GUCCIFER_2: what can u suggest for a secure connection? Soft, keys, etc? I’m ready to cooperate with you, but I need to know what’s in your archive 80gb? Are there only HRC emails? Or some other docs? Are there any DNC docs? If it’s not secret when you are going to release it?

@WikiLeaks: You can send us a message in a .txt file here [link redacted]

@GUCCIFER_2: do you have GPG?

Why would Guccifer 2.0 need to know what material WikiLeaks already had? Certainly, if it were anything Guccifer 2.0 had sent (or the GRU had sent) he wouldn’t have had reason to inquire.

The more complete DM details provided here also suggest that both parties had not yet established secure communications.

Further communications were reported to have taken place on June 24, 2016:

@GUCCIFER_2: How can we chat? Do u have jabber or something like that?

@WikiLeaks: Yes, we have everything. We’ve been busy celebrating Brexit. You can also email an encrypted message to office@wikileaks.org. They key is here.

and June 27, 2016:

@GUCCIFER_2: Hi, i’ve just sent you an email with a text message encrypted and an open key.

@WikiLeaks: Thanks.

@GUCCIFER_2: waiting for ur response. I send u some interesting piece.

Guccifer 2.0 said he needed to know what was in the 88GB ‘insurance’ archive that WikiLeaks had posted on June 16, 2016 and it’s clear that, at this stage, secure communications had not been established between both parties (which would seem to rule out the possibility of encrypted communications prior to June 15, 2016, making Guccifer 2.0’s initial claims about WikiLeaks even more doubtful).

Claims DCLeaks Is A Sub-Project Of WikiLeaks

On June 27, 2016, in an email chain to the Smoking Gun (exposing Guccifer 2.0 apparently being in the Central US timezone), Guccifer 2.0 claimed that DCLeaks was a “sub-project” of WikiLeaks.

There’s no evidence to support this. “Envoy le” is also a mistake as standard French emails read: “Envoye le.” Claims allegedly made by Guccifer 2.0 in a Twitter DM to DCLeaks on September 15, 2016 suggest that he knew this was nonsense:

There was no evidence of WikiLeaks mentioning this to Guccifer 2.0 nor any reason for why WikiLeaks couldn’t just send a DM to DCLeaks themselves if they had wanted to.

(It should also be noted that this Twitter DM activity between DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 is alleged by Mueller to be communications between officers within the same unit of the GRU, who, for some unknown reason, decided to use Twitter DMs to relay such information rather than just communicate face to face or securely via their own local network.)

Guccifer 2.0 lied about DCLeaks being a sub-project of WikiLeaks and then, over two months later, was seen trying to encourage DCLeaks to communicate with WikiLeaks by relaying an alleged request from WikiLeaks that there is no record of WikiLeaks ever making (and which WikiLeaks could have done themselves, directly, if they had wanted to).

The ‘About 1GB’ / ‘1Gb or So’ Archive

On July 4, 2016, Guccifer 2.0 contacted WikiLeaks:

@GUCCIFER_2: hi there, check up r email, waiting for reply.

This was followed up on July 6, 2016 with the following conversation:

@GUCCIFER_2: have you received my parcel?

@WikiLeaks: Not unless it was very recent. [we haven’ t checked in 24h].

@GUCCIFER_2: I sent it yesterday, an archive of about 1 gb. via [website link]. and check your email.

@WikiLeaks: Wil[l] check, thanks.

@GUCCIFER_2: let me know the results.

@WikiLeaks: Please don’t make anything you send to us public. It’s a lot of work to go through it and the impact is severely reduced if we are not the first to publish.

@GUCCIFER_2: agreed. How much time will it take?

@WikiLeaks: likely sometime today.

@GUCCIFER_2: will u announce a publication? and what about 3 docs sent u earlier?

@WikiLeaks: I don’t believe we received them. Nothing on ‘Brexit’ for example.

@GUCCIFER_2: wow. have you checked ur mail?

@WikiLeaks: At least not as of 4 days ago . . . . For security reasons mail cannot be checked for some hours.

@GUCCIFER_2: fuck, sent 4 docs on brexit on jun 29, an archive in gpg ur submission form is too fucking slow, spent the whole day uploading 1 gb.

@WikiLeaks: We can arrange servers 100x as fast. The speed restrictions are to anonymise the path. Just ask for custom fast upload point in an email.

@GUCCIFER_2: will u be able to check ur email?

@WikiLeaks: We’re best with very large data sets. e.g. 200gb. these prove themselves since they’re too big to fake.

@GUCCIFER_2: or shall I send brexit docs via submission once again?

@WikiLeaks: to be safe, send via [web link]

@GUCCIFER_2: can u confirm u received dnc emails?

@WikiLeaks: for security reasons we can’ t confirm what we’ve received here. e.g., in case your account has been taken over by us intelligence and is probing to see what we have.

@GUCCIFER_2: then send me an encrypted email.

@WikiLeaks: we can do that. but the security people are in another time zone so it will need to wait some hours.

@WikiLeaks: what do you think about the FBl’ s failure to charge? To our mind the clinton foundation investigation has always been the more serious. we would be very interested in all the emails/docs from there. She set up quite a lot of front companies. e.g in sweden.

@GUCCIFER_2: ok, i’ll be waiting for confirmation. as for investigation, they have everything settled, or else I don’t know how to explain that they found a hundred classified docs but fail to charge her.

@WikiLeaks: She’s too powerful to charge at least without something stronger. s far as we know, the investigation into the clinton foundation remains open e hear the FBI are unhappy with Loretta Lynch over meeting Bill, because he’s a target in that investigation.

@GUCCIFER_2: do you have any info about marcel lazar? There’ve been a lot of rumors of late.

@WikiLeaks: the death? [A] fake story.

@WikiLeaks: His 2013 screen shots of Max Blumenthal’s inbox prove that Hillary secretly deleted at least one email about Libya that was meant to be handed over to Congress. So we were very interested in his co-operation with the FBI.

@GUCCIFER_2: some dirty games behind the scenes believe Can you send me an email now?

@WikiLeaks: No; we have not been able to activate the people who handle it. Still trying.

@GUCCIFER_2: what about tor submission? [W]ill u receive a doc now?

@WikiLeaks: We will get everything sent on [weblink].” [A]s long as you see \”upload succseful\” at the end. [I]f you have anything hillary related we want it in the next tweo [sic] days prefable [sic] because the DNC is approaching and she will solidify bernie supporters behind her after.

@GUCCIFER_2: ok. I see.

@WikiLeaks: [W]e think the public interest is greatest now and in early october.

@GUCCIFER_2: do u think a lot of people will attend bernie fans rally in philly? Will it affect the dnc anyhow?

@WikiLeaks: bernie is trying to make his own faction leading up to the DNC. [S]o he can push for concessions (positions/policies) or, at the outside, if hillary has a stroke, is arrested etc, he can take over the nomination. [T]he question is this: can bemies supporters+staff keep their coherency until then (and after). [O]r will they dis[s]olve into hillary’ s camp? [P]resently many of them are looking to damage hilary [sic] inorder [sic] to increase their unity and bargaining power at the DNC. Doubt one rally is going to be that significant in the bigger scheme. [I]t seems many of them will vote for hillary just to prevent trump from winning.

@GUCCIFER_2: sent brexit docs successfully.

@WikiLeaks: :))).

@WikiLeaks: we think trump has only about a 25% chance of winning against hillary so conflict between bernie and hillary is interesting.

@GUCCIFER_2: so it is.

@WikiLeaks: also, it’ s important to consider what type of president hillary might be. If bernie and trump retain their groups past 2016 in significant number, then they are a restraining force on hillary.

[Note: This was over a week after the Brexit referendum had taken place, so this will not have had any impact on the results of that. It also doesn’t appear that WikiLeaks released any Brexit content around this time.]

On July 14, 2016, Guccifer 2.0 sent an email to WikiLeaks, this was covered in the Mueller report:

It should be noted that while the attachment sent was encrypted, the email wasn’t and both the email contents and name of the file were readable.

The persona then opted, once again, for insecure communications via Twitter DMs:

@GUCCIFER_2: ping. Check ur email. sent u a link to a big archive and a pass.

@WikiLeaks: great, thanks; can’t check until tomorrow though.

On July 17, 2016, the persona contacted WikiLeaks again:

@GUCCIFER_2: what bout now?

On July 18, 2016, WikiLeaks responded and more was discussed:

@WikiLeaks: have the 1 Gb or so archive.

@GUCCIFER_2: have u managed to extract the files?

@WikiLeaks: yes. turkey coup has delayed us a couple of days. [O]therwise all ready[.]

@GUCCIFER_2: so when r u about to make a release?

@WikiLeaks: this week. [D]o you have any bigger datasets? [D]id you get our fast transfer details?

@GUCCIFER_2: i’ll check it. did u send it via email?

@WikiLeaks: yes.

@GUCCIFER_2: to [web link]. [I] got nothing.

@WikiLeaks: check your other mail? this was over a week ago.

@GUCCIFER_2:oh, that one, yeah, [I] got it.

@WikiLeaks: great. [D]id it work?

@GUCCIFER_2:[I] haven’ t tried yet.

@WikiLeaks: Oh. We arranged that server just for that purpose. Nothing bigger?

@GUCCIFER_2: let’s move step by step, u have released nothing of what [I] sent u yet.

@WikiLeaks: How about you transfer it all to us encrypted. [T]hen when you are happy, you give us the decrypt key. [T]his way we can move much faster. (A]lso it is protective for you if we already have everything because then there is no point in trying to shut you up.

@GUCCIFER_2: ok, i’ll ponder it

Again, we see a reference to the file being approximately one gigabyte in size.

Guccifer 2.0’s “so when r u about to make a release?” seems to be a question about his files. However, it could have been inferred as generally relating to what WikiLeaks had or even material relating to the “Turkey Coup” that WikiLeaks had mentioned in the previous sentence and that were published by the following day (July 19, 2016).

The way this is reported in the Mueller report, though, prevented this potential ambiguity being known (by not citing the exact question that Guccifer 2.0 had asked and the context immediately preceding it.

Four days later, WikiLeaks published the DNC emails.

Later that same day, Guccifer 2.0 tweeted: “@wikileaks published #DNCHack docs I’d given them!!!”.

Guccifer 2.0 chose to use insecure communications to ask WikiLeaks to confirm receipt of “DNC emails” on July 6, 2016. Confirmation of this was not provided at that time but WikiLeaks did confirm receipt of a “1gb or so” archive on July 18, 2016.

Guccifer 2.0’s emails to WikiLeaks were also sent insecurely.

We cannot be certain that WikiLeaks statement about making a release was in relation to Guccifer 2.0’s material and there is even a possibility that this could have been in reference to the Erdogan leaks published by WikiLeaks on July 19, 2016.

Ulterior Motives?

While the above seems troubling there are a few points worth considering:

Considering all of this and the fact Guccifer 2.0 effectively covered itself in “Made In Russia” labels (by plastering files in Russian metadata and choosing to use a Russian VPN service and a proxy in Moscow for it’s activities) on the same day it first attributed itself to WikiLeaks, it’s fair to suspect that Guccifer 2.0 had malicious intent towards WikiLeaks from the outset.

If this was the case, Guccifer 2.0 may have known about the DNC emails by June 30, 2016 as this is when the persona first started publishing attachments from those emails.

Seth Rich Mentioned By Both Parties

WikiLeaks Offers Reward

On August 9, 2016, WikiLeaks tweeted:

ANNOUNCE: WikiLeaks has decided to issue a US$20k reward for information leading to conviction for the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich.

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 9, 2016

In an interview with Nieuwsuur that was posted the same day, Julian Assange explained that the reward was for a DNC staffer who he said had been “shot in the back, murdered”. When the interviewer suggested it was a robbery Assange disputed it and stated that there were no findings.

When the interviewer asked if Seth Rich was a source, Assange stated, “We don’t comment on who our sources are”.

When pressed to explain WikiLeaks actions, Assange stated that the reward was being offered because WikiLeaks‘ sources were concerned by the incident. He also stated that WikiLeaks were investigating.

Speculation and theories about Seth Rich being a source for WikiLeaks soon propagated to several sites and across social media.

Guccifer 2.0 Claims Seth Rich As His Source

On August 25, 2016, approximately three weeks after the reward was offered, Julian Assange was due to be interviewed on Fox News on the topic of Seth Rich.

On that same day, in a DM conversation with the actress Robbin Young, Guccifer 2.0 claimed that Seth was his source (despite previously claiming he obtained his material by hacking the DNC).

Why did Guccifer 2.0 feel the need to attribute itself to Seth at this time?

[Note: I am not advocating for any theory and am simply reporting on Guccifer 2.0’s effort to attribute itself to Seth Rich following the propagation of Rich-WikiLeaks association theories online.]

Special Counsel Claims

In Spring, 2019, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who was named to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. general election, delivered his final report.

It claimed:

Guccifer 2.0 contradicted his own hacking claims to allege that Seth Rich was his source and did so on the same day that Julian Assange was due to be interviewed by Fox News (in relation to Seth Rich).

No communications between Guccifer 2.0 and Seth Rich have ever been reported.

Suggesting Assange Connected To Russians

In the same conversation Guccifer 2.0 had with Robbin Young where Rich’s name is mentioned (on August 25, 2016), the persona also provided a very interesting response to Young mentioning “Julian” (in reference to Julian Assange):

The alleged GRU officer we are told was part of an operation to deflect from Russian culpability suggested that Assange “may be connected with Russians”.

Guccifer 2.0’s Mentions of WikiLeaks and Assange

Guccifer 2.0 mentioned WikiLeaks or associated himself with their output on several occasions:

  1. June 15, 2016: claiming to have sent WikiLeaks material on his blog.
  2. June 27, 2016: when he claimed DCLeaks was a sub-project of WikiLeaks.
  3. July 13, 2016: Joe Uchill of The Hill reported that Guccifer 2.0 had contacted the publication and stated: “The press gradually forget about me, [W]ikileaks is playing for time and have some more docs.”
  4. July 22nd, 2016: claimed credit when WikiLeaks published the DNC leaks.
  5. August 12, 2016: It was reported in The Hill that Guccifer 2.0 had released material to the publication. They reported: “The documents released to The Hill are only the first section of a much larger cache. The bulk, the hacker said, will be released on WikiLeaks.”
  6. August 12, 2016: Tweeted that he would “send the major trove of the #DCCC materials and emails to #wikileaks“.
  7. September 15, 2016: telling DCLeaks that WikiLeaks wanted to get in contact with them.
  8. October 4, 2016: Congratulating WikiLeaks on their 10th anniversary via its blog. Also states: “Julian, you are really cool! Stay safe and sound!”. (This was the same day on which Guccifer 2.0 published his “Clinton Foundation” files that were clearly not from the Clinton Foundation.)
  9. October 17, 2016: via Twitter, stating “i’m here and ready for new releases. already changed my location thanks @wikileaks for a good job!”

Guccifer 2.0 also made some statements in response to WikiLeaks or Assange being mentioned:

  1. June 17, 2016: in response to The Smoking Gun asking if Assange would publish the same material it was publishing, Guccifer 2.0 stated: “I gave WikiLeaks the greater part of the files, but saved some for myself,”
  2. August 22, 2016: in response to Raphael Satter suggesting that Guccifer 2.0 send leaks to WikiLeaks, the persona stated: “I gave wikileaks a greater part of docs”.
  3. August 25, 2016: in response to Julian Assange’s name being mentioned in a conversation with Robbin Young, Guccifer 2.0 stated: “he may be connected with Russians”.
  4. October 18, 2016: a BBC reported asked Guccifer 2.0 if he was upset that WikiLeaks had “stole his thunder” and “do you still support Assange?”. Guccifer 2.0 responded: “i’m glad, together we’ll make America great again.”.

Guccifer 2.0 fabricated evidence to claim credit for hacking the DNC, covered itself (and its files) in what were essentially a collection of “Made In Russia” labels through deliberate processes and decisions made by the persona, and, then, it attributed itself to WikiLeaks with a claim that was contradicted by subsequent communications between both parties.

Guccifer 2.0 then went on to lie about WikiLeaks, contradicted its own hacking claims to attribute itself to Seth Rich and even alleged that Julian Assange “may be connected with Russians”.

While we are expected to accept that Guccifer 2.0’s efforts between July 6 and July 18 were a sincere effort to get leaks to WikiLeaks, considering everything we now know about the persona, it seems fair to question whether Guccifer 2.0’s intentions towards WikiLeaks may have instead been malicious.


xxx 2 minutes ago (Edited)

Everything involving the Russian hoax was set up by the Deep States around the world. Implicate, discredit and destroy all those like Rich, Assange, Flynn and those who knew the truth. Kill the messenger....literally.

xxx 10 minutes ago

here's what really happened:

an American hacker breached Podesta's gmail on March 13 2016 and then uploaded it to Wikileaks via Tor sometime between April and May.

the NSA and CIA have hacked into Wikileaks' Tor file server to watch for new leaks to stay ahead of them to prepare. they saw Podesta's emails leaked and launched a counter infowar operation.

Brennan's CIA created the Guccifer 2.0 persona, with phony Russian metadata artifacts, using digital forgery techniques seen in Vault7. Crowdstrike was already on the premises of DNC since 2015, with their overly expensive security scanner watching the DNC network. Crowdstrike had access to any DNC files they wanted. CIA, FBI and Crowdstrike colluded to create a fake leak of DNC docs through their Guccifer 2.0 cutout. they didn't leak any docs of high importance, which is why we never saw any smoking guns from DNC leaks or DCLeaks.

you have to remember, the whole point of this CIAFBINSA operation has nothing to do with Hillary or Trump or influencing the election. the point was to fabricate criminal evidence to use against Assange to finally arrest him and extradite him as well as smear Wikileaks ahead of the looming leak of Podesta's emails.

if CIAFBINSA can frame Assange and Wikileaks as being criminal hackers and/or Russian assets ahead of the Podesta leaks, then they can craft a narrative for the MSM to ignore or distrust most of the Podesta emails. and that is exactly what happened, such as when Chris Cuomo said on CNN that it was illegal for you to read Wikileaks, but not CNN, so you should let CNN tell you what to think about Wikileaks instead of looking at evidence yourself.

this explains why Guccifer 2.0 was so sloppy leaving a trail of Twitter DMs to incriminate himself and Assange along with him.

if this CIAFBINSA entrapment/frame operation ever leaks, it will guarantee the freedom of Assange.

xxx 11 minutes ago

According to Wikipedia, "Guccifer" is Marcel Lazar Lehel, a Rumanian born in 1972, but "Guccifer 2.0" is someone else entirely.

Is that so?

xxx 20 minutes ago (Edited)

The guy from Cyrptome always asserted Assange was some type of deep state puppet, that he was connected somehow. This wouldn't be news to me and its probably why he was scared as hell. The guy is as good as dead, like S. Hussein. Seth Rich was just a puppet that got caught in the wrong game. He was expendable obviously too because well he had a big mouth, he was expendable from the beginning. Somebody mapped this whole **** out, thats for sure.

xxx 28 minutes ago

I am sick and tired of these Deep State and CIA-linked operations trying to put a wrench in the prosecution of people who were engaged in a coup d'etat.

xxx 29 minutes ago

********

xxx 33 minutes ago

At this point what difference does it make? We are all convinced since 2016. It is not going to convince the TDS cases roaming the wilderness.

No arrests, no subpoenas, no warrants, no barging in at 3 am, no perp walks, no tv glare...

Pres. Trump is playing a very risky game. Arrest now, or regret later. And you won't have much time to regret.

The swamp is dark, smelly and deep,

And it has grudges to keep.

xxx 37 minutes ago

Meanwhile- Guccifer 1.0 is still?

- In prison?

- Released?

- 48 month sentence in 2016. Obv no good behavior.

Nice article. Brennan is the dolt he appears.

xxx 41 minutes ago

+1,000 on the investigative work and analyzing it.

Sadly, none of the guilty are in jail. Instead. Assange sits there rotting away.

xxx 44 minutes ago

Why would an alleged GRU officer - supposedly part of an operation to deflect Russian culpability - suggest that Assange "may be connected with Russians?"

Because the AXIS powers of the CIA, Brit secret police and Israeli secret police pay for the campaign to tie Assange to the Russians...

xxx 45 minutes ago

@realDonaldTrump

A lot of interest in this story about Psycho Joe Scarborough. So a young marathon runner just happened to faint in his office, hit her head on his desk, & die? I would think there is a lot more to this story than that? An affair? What about the so-called investigator? Read story!

xxx 45 minutes ago

Why make it harder than it is? Guccifer II = Crowdstrike

xxx 51 minutes ago

Guccifer 2.0 was always John Brennan 1.0

xxx 58 minutes ago (Edited)

Was Guccifer II part of the Stefan Halper organization that lured Papadopoulos and maliciously maligned others?

xxx 1 hour ago

"His name was Seth Rich." The unofficial motto of ZeroHedge...

xxx 1 hour ago

James Guccifer Clapper.

xxx 1 hour ago

Mossad. And their subsidiary CIA.

xxx 1 hour ago

Crowd Strike CEO'S admission under oath that they had no evidence the DNC was hacked by the Russians should make the Russian Hoax predicate abundantly clear.

Justice for Seth Rich!

xxx 1 hour ago

Any influence Assange had on the election was so small that it wouldn't move the needle either way. The real influence and election tampering in the US has always come from the scores of lobbyists and their massive donations that fund the candidates election runs coupled with the wildly inaccurate and agenda driven collusive effort by the MSM. Anyone pointing fingers at the Russians is beyond blind to the unparalleled influence and power these entities have on swaying American minds.

xxx 1 hour ago

ObamaGate.

xxx 1 hour ago (Edited)

Uugh ONCE AGAIN... 4chan already proved guccifer 2.0 was a larp, and the files were not "hacked", they were leaked by Seth Rich. The metadata from the guccifer files is different from the metadata that came from the seth rich files. The dumb fuckers thought they were smart by modifying the author name of the files to make it look like it came from a russian source. They were so ******* inept, they must have forgot (or not have known) to modify the unique 16 digit hex key assigned to the author of the files when they were created..... The ones that seth rich copied had the system administrators name (Warren Flood) as the author and the 16 digit hex key from both file sources were the same - the one assigned to warren flood.

Really sloppy larp!!!

xxx 1 hour ago

This link has all the detail to show Guccifer 2.0 was not Russia. I believe Guccifer 2.0 was created by the CIA to falsely pin blame on the Russians for info that Seth Rich gave to WikiLeaks. Read for yourself: http://g-2.space/

xxx 1 hour ago

This is what people are. Now the species has more power than it can control and that it knows what to do with.

What do you think the result will be?

As for these games of Secret - it's more game than anything truly significant. The significant exists in the bunkers, with the mobile units, in the submarines. Et. al.

But this is a game in which some of the players die - or wish they were dead.

xxx 1 hour ago

And.....?

Public figures and political parties warrant public scrutiny. And didn't his expose in their own words expose the democrats, the mass media, the bureaucracy to the corrupt frauds that they are?

xxx 1 hour ago

Other than the fact that they didn't steal the emails (unless you believe whistleblowers are thief's, one mans source is another mans thief, it's all about who's ox is being gored and you love "leaks" don't you? As long as they work in your favor. Stop with the piety.

xxx 15 minutes ago

That's not the story at all. Did you just read this article?

The democrats were super duper corrupt (before all of this).

They fucked around to ice Bernie out of the primary.

A young staffer Seth Rich knew it and didn't like it. He made the decision to leak the info to the most reputable org for leaks in the world Wikileaks.

IF the DNC had been playing fair, Seth Rich wouldn't have felt the need to leak.

So, the democrats did it to themselves.

And then they created Russiagate to cover it all up.

And murdered a young brave man ... as we know.

xxx 1 hour ago

Assange, another problem Trump failed to fix.

xxx 1 hour ago

Sounds like it came from the same source as the Trump dossier ... MI5.

[May 24, 2020] As its own infrastructure has been laid waste by the COLLASSAL MONEY PIT that is the Pentagon, its flagrant use of the most valuable energy commodity, oil, to maintain some 4000 bases worldwide, this rickety over-extended upside down version of old Anglo-Dutch trading empires, will finally collapse

Kissinger laid out the transition plan in 2014 in his WSJ Op-Ed: Henry Kissinger on the Assembly of a New World Order . USA Deep State are not the complete idiots that some want to make them seem.
China is still very vulnerable and the USA has multiple levers to force it to suffer.
May 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Kurt Zumdieck , May 22 2020 18:24 utc | 4
If Washington lured the Soviet Union into it's demise in Afghanistan, which left that minor empire in shambles - socially, militarily, economically - it was the nuclear conflagration at Chernobyl that put the corpse in the ground.....

(Watch the GREAT HBO five-part tragedy on it and you will see that the brutally heroic response of the Soviets, that saved the Western World at least temporarily, but is the portrait of self-sacrifice)

What was lost in the Soviets fumbling immediate post-explosion cover-up was the trust of their Eastern European satellite countries. That doomed that empire. So much military might was given up in Afghanistan, then on Chernobyl, it was not clear if the Soviets had the wherewithal to put down the rebellions that spread from Czechoslovakia to East Germany and beyond.

Covid-19 will do the same to the American Empire.

As its own infrastructure has been laid waste by the COLLASSAL MONEY PIT that is the Pentagon, its flagrant use of the most valuable energy commodity, oil, to maintain some 4000 bases worldwide, this rickety over-extended upside down version of old Anglo-Dutch trading empires, will finally collapse.

Loss of trust by the many craven satellites, in America's fractured response, to Covid-19 will put the final nail in its coffin.

A hot-shooting War may come next, but the empire cannot win it.


William Gruff , May 23 2020 14:25 utc | 79

"I will believe my eyes." --oldhippie @76

It would be nice if that were so, but it is very unlikely.

"So tired of reading propaganda."

Is that why you regurgitate it onto forums? Kinda like purging the system, eh?

If you are going to be judging China's economic health by their pollution levels then in the future you will find yourself convinced that they have never recovered, even when it becomes inescapably obvious that they have. The fact is that China's pollution levels are never going back to 2019 levels, but that has nothing to do with their economic health.

It really never ceases to amaze me how deeply rooted and pervasive the delusions and sense of exceptionality is in America. It is woven into the thinking, from the lowest levels to the very top of their thoughts, of even the very most intelligent Americans. It is apparently a phenomenon that operates at an even deeper level than mass media brainwashing, as it seems it was just as much a problem in every empire in history. That is, I am sure citizens of the Roman Empire had the same blinding biases embedded deep below their consciousness. I guess Marx was entirely correct to say that consciousness arises from material conditions, and being citizen of an empire must be one of those material conditions that gives rise to this all-pervasive and unconscious sense of exceptionality.

oldhippie , May 23 2020 11:47 utc | 71
Go over to EOSDIS Worldview and take a look at satellite photos of China. Simple toggle in lower left hand corner will take you to photos of same day, earlier years. Or any day in satellite record.

The skies over China are clear. Chinese industry is not back at work. It may be that China at 50% or even at 20% is a manufacturing powerhouse compared to a crumbling US. But until China is back at work the thread so far is about the historical situation six months ago.

Xi used to do elaborately staged state appearances with well planned camera angles, fabulous lighting, pomp and circumstance. He enjoyed the trappings of power and knew how to use the trappings of power. Hasn't done that kind of state appearance since January.

Paul , May 23 2020 12:47 utc | 72
The Empire has no respect for international agreements, laws or anything that interferes with maintaining US global hegemony.
lizzie dw , May 23 2020 12:55 utc | 73
China and the US are so different. The citizens of China cannot vote. The population's movements are micromanaged by the government. This is not the case here (yet). And I hope it is never the case. I agree with the premise that there are those in our government who are living in a dream of the past and that is over, unless we want to destroy the world. But China's government is so repressive. The rules must be obeyed. We seem to be compliant so far of some of our government officials stepping over the bounds allowed by our Constitution, due to the fear of C-19 engendered by the deep state (aka the bsmsm). But we will not do that forever and our government cannot just start shooting big crowds of us as they can and have done in China. Theirs is all top down rule, which is not the case here. Also, although it is probably heretical to say this I am glad that the US has many cases of C-19. We will eventually get herd immunity. IMO, China can lock down as many millions of citizens as they wish; they cannot stop this virus and as time goes by they will have as many deaths and as many cases as everybody else. Well, that is off the topic of the article. In the end I agree that we are fighting weird battles we can never win and we citizens need to keep informing our government employees that we just want to trade and make money, not threaten companies and countries and lose money.

[May 24, 2020] Trump and James Bond: In a Mad magazine Parody the license to kill was supported by a learners permit to make out

May 24, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

kirthigdon 6 days ago

James Bond, the most iconic fictional hero of the current generation and the one before, is a psychopathic serial killer and tool of the deep state. So why wouldn't he be a womanizer too? He has a license to kill; he doesn't need a license to fornicate.

That's understood. Women want to have sex with him because he's a bad boy; men fantasize about being the bad boy that women want. It's bizarrely appropriate that spies and assassins are the heroes and often heroines of our age.

Philly guy kirthigdon 4 days ago
In a Mad magazine Parody the license to kill was supported by a learners permit to make out.

[May 24, 2020] How can I sleep at night, guarding my and other American's vital bodily fluids with weapons that might not work. I don't want to go to a gun fight with only a knife. Those Rooskies and Chinks play for keeps and they have not pissed away gargantuan amounts of money to buy useless non-working $hit

May 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Gen. Jack D. Ripper , May 23 2020 22:16 utc | 27

Ladies and Gentlemen and all of you other bisexual transsexual creatures that were formally Human Beings. It is way past time to restart our Nuclear Test Program. While you may think I am joking, the reality is that we no longer know whether or not any of these weapons actually work. Think about it. Does the latest Multi-use platform military Aircraft work? No!. Does the latest version of the US Navy's Littoral Combat ship work? No! Does the most recently built and technologically wonderful US Navy Aircraft Carrier work? No!

So why do you think the Nuclear Weapons should work? These are new and high tech weapons that are cool and cost a phucking fem-nominal amount of money but they might not be any better than any of the other garbage designed by our Technological Engineering Geniuses that designed and built the latest Aircraft and Ships. How can I sleep at night, guarding my and other American's vital bodily fluids with weapons that might not work. I don't want to go to a gun fight with only a knife. Those Rooskies and Chinks play for keeps and they have not pissed away gargantuan amounts of money to buy useless non-working $hit. Besides, Vegas is closed down due to the Korona $hit so Nevada needs to get back to basics and start Nuclear testing again.

Just better do the first ones in Top Top Top Secrete in case they are duds.

[May 24, 2020] Guccifer 2.0's Hidden Agenda

May 24, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

xxx 51 minutes ago

Guccifer 2.0 was always John Brennan 1.0

[May 24, 2020] Unable to communicate in Arabic and with no relevant experience or appropriate educational training

Highly recommended!
I wouldn't hold my breath for the slightest change in that status quo any time soon.
May 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

anonymous [400] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment May 23, 2020 at 12:34 pm GMT

Unable to communicate in Arabic and with no relevant experience or appropriate educational training

Seems rather typical of those making policy, not knowing much about the area they're assigned to. If a person did know Arabic and had an understanding of the culture they wouldn't get hired as they'd be viewed with suspicion, suspected of being sympathetic to Middle Easterners. How and why these neocons can come back into government is puzzling and one wonders who within the establishment is backing them. Judging by the quotes her father certainly seems deranged and not someone to be allowed anywhere near any policy making positions.
Flynn also seems to be a dolt what with his 'worldwide war against radical Islam'. Someone should clue him in that much of this radical Islam has been created and stoked by the US who hyped up radical Islam, recruiting and arming them to fight the Russians in Afghanistan. Bin Laden was there, remember? Flynn, a general, is unaware of this? Islamic jihadists are America's Foreign Legion and have been used all over the Muslim world, most recently in Syria. Does this portend war with Iran? Possibly, but perhaps Trump wouldn't want to go it alone but would want the financial support of other countries. They've probably war-gamed it to death and found it to be a loser.

[May 23, 2020] Trump betrayal of his voters in favor of his financial backers

May 23, 2020 | discussion.theguardian.com

consumerx -> hartebeest , 10 Apr 2019 18:57

Disagree,
Under Trumps tax plan, a single mother with 2 kids working fulltime at minimum wage gets 75 dollars a YEAR in childcare, about $-1.50 per week.
----------
While the rich, those making up to 400,000 per year get 2000.00 per year child credit off their taxes.
---------------
Name a benefit for the poor, that the recent tax bill passed by Trump and GREEDY GOP.


-----------------------------------------------------
In his first speech to a joint session of Congress, President Trump promised to deliver on his populist campaign pledges to protect Americans from globalization. "For too long," he bemoaned, "we've watched our middle class shrink as we've exported our jobs and wealth to foreign countries." But now, he asserted, the time has come to "restart the engine of the American economy" and "bring back millions of jobs." To achieve his goals, Trump proposed mixing massive tax-cuts and sweeping regulatory rollbacks with increased spending on the military, infrastructure and border control. This same messy mix of free market fundamentalism and hyper-nationalistic populism is presently taking shape in Trump's proposed budget. But the apparent contradiction there isn't likely to slow down Trump's pro-market, pro-Wall Street, pro-wealth agenda. His supporters may soon discover that his professions of care for those left behind by globalization are -- aside from some mostly symbolic moves on trade -- empty.
Just look at what has already happened with the GOP's proposed replacement for Obamacare, which if enacted would bring increased pain and suffering to the anxious voters who put their trust in Trump's populism in the first place. While these Americans might have thought their votes would win them protection from the instabilities and austerities of market-led globalization, what they are getting is a neoliberal president in populist clothing.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/03/22/dont-let-his-trade-policy-fool-you-trump-is-a-neoliberal/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.94fa9481fd2a

[May 23, 2020] Neoliberal ideology is often presented as a natural state. This deception is a central feature of neoliberalism, acting as a way of abdicating responsibility for harmful and selfish actions of financial oligarchy, and to prevent challenges to the financial oligarchy rule and debt slavery

May 23, 2020 | discussion.theguardian.com

hartebeest , 10 Apr 2019 18:42

Back in the Thatcher/Reagan years there were at people around who genuinely believed in the superiority of the market, or at least, made the effort to set out an intellectual case for it.

Now we're in a different era. After 2008, hardly anyone really believes in neoliberal ideas anymore, not to the point that they'd openly make the case for them anyway. But while different visions have appeared to some extent on both left and right, most of those in positions of power and influence have so internalised Thatcher's 'there is no alternative' that it's beyond their political horizons to treat any alternatives which do emerge as serious propositions, let alone come up with their own.

So neoliberalism stumbles on almost as a reflex action. Ben Fine calls it a 'zombie' but I think the better analogy is cannibalism. Unlike the privatisations of the 80s and 90s there's barely any pretence these days that new sell-offs are anything more than simply part of a quest to find new avenues for profit-making in an economy with tons of liquid capital but not enough places to profitability put it. Because structurally speaking most of the economy is tapped out.

Privatising public services at this point is just a way to asset strip and/or funnel public revenue streams to a private sector which has been stuck in neoliberal short-term, low skill, low productivity, low wage, high debt mode for so long that it has lost the ability to grow. So now it is eating itself, or at least eating the structures which hold it up and allow it to survive.

Apomorph -> GeorgeMonbiot , 10 Apr 2019 18:19
Right-wing ideology is often presented as a natural state and not ideological at all. This denial is a central feature, acting as a way of abdicating responsibility for harmful and selfish actions and providing means of fostering intellectual suspicion to prevent challenges or structured and coherent critiques like your own. The right engenders coalitions of people disinterested in politics and distrustful of politicians with those who feel intellectually superior but see politics as an amoral game in the pursuit of "enlightened" self-interest.

As a result, everything about it is disingenous. There is no alternative (that we want you to choose). It's not racist to (constantly, always negatively and to the expense of everything else) talk about immigration. Cutting taxes for the rich reduces inequality (because we change the criteria to exclude the richest from the calculations). This is also because there are dualities at play. Neoliberalism relies on immigration to increase worker competition and suppress wage demand but courts the xenophobic vote (which is why even with reduced EU migration Brexit has so far increased overall immigration and would continue to do so in the event of no deal or May's deal). Both Remainers and Leavers have accused the other of being a neoliberal project, and in certain aspects -because of these dualities - both sides are correct.

I also believe the disdain for "political correctness" is somewhat a result of neoliberalism, since marketisation is so fundamental to the project and the wedge of the market is advertising, the language of bullshit and manipulation. People railing against political correctness feel judged for their automatic thoughts that they identify as natural instead of culturally determined. Behavioural advertising encourages these thoughts and suppresses consideration. It is a recipe for resentment.

[May 23, 2020] Who are serfs

Money quote: ""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." -- that's definition of a serf -- a neoliberal serf
I feel a lot of people just use the term neoliberalism as a term of a specific abuse of labor via debt slavery. .
May 23, 2020 | discussion.theguardian.com

TenTribesofTexas , 11 Apr 2019 01:15

2 simple points that epitomize neo liberalism.

1. Hayek's book 'The Road to Serfdom' uses an erroneous metaphor. He argues that if we allow gov regulation, services and spending to continue then we will end up serfs. However, serfs are basically the indentured or slave labourers of private citizens and landowners not of the state. Only in a system of private capital can there be serfs. Neo liberalism creates serfs not a public system.

2. According to Hayek all regulation on business should be eliminated and only labour should be regulated to make it cheap and contain it so that private investors can have their returns guaranteed. Hence the purpose of the state is to pass laws to suppress workers.

These two things illustrate neo-liberalism. Deception and repression of labour.

marshwren , 10 Apr 2019 22:29
As a matter of semantics, neo-liberalism delivered on the promise of freedom...for capitalists to be free of ethical accountability, social responsibility, and government regulation and taxes. And people can't understand why i'm a socialist.

[May 23, 2020] China is still in great danger: it is still greatly dependent on the West to development and still is a developing country.

May 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , May 22 2020 21:02 utc | 27

China is still in great danger. Of the existing 30 or so high-tech productive chains, China only enjoys superiority at 2 or 3 (see 6:48). It is still greatly dependent on the West to development and still is a developing country.

So, yes, the West still has a realistic chance of destroying China and inaugurating a new cycle of capitalist prosperity.

What happens with the "decoupling"/"Pivot to Asia" is that, in the West, there's a scatological theory [go to 10th paragraph] - of Keynesian origin - that socialism can only play "catch up" with capitalism, but never surpass it when a "toyotist phase" of technological innovation comes (this is obviously based on the USSR's case). This theory states that, if there's innovation in socialism, it is residual and by accident, and that only in capitalism is significant technological advancement possible. From this, they posit that, if China is blocked out of Western IP, it will soon "go back to its place" - which is probably to Brazil or India level.

If China will be able to get out of the "Toyotist Trap" that destroyed the USSR, only time will tell. Regardless, decoupling is clearly not working, and China is not showing any signs so far of slowing down. Hence Trump is now embracing a more direct approach.

As for the USA, I've put my big picture opinion about it some days ago, so I won't repeat myself. Here, it suffices to say that, yes, I believe the USA can continue to survive as an empire - even if, worst case scenario, in a "byzantine" form. To its favor, it has: 1) the third largest world population 2) huge territory, with excellent proportion of high-quality arable land (35%), that basically guarantees food security indefinitely (for comparison, the USSR only had 10% of arable land, and of worse quality) 3) two coasts, to the two main Oceans (Pacific and Atlantic), plus a direct exit to the Arctic (Alaska and, de facto, Greenland and Canada) 4) excellent, very defensive territory, protected by both oceans (sea-to-sea), bordered only by two very feeble neighbors (Mexico and Canada) that can be easily absorbed if the situation asks to 4) still the financial superpower 5) still a robust "real" economy - specially if compared to the micro-nations of Western Europe and East-Asia 6) a big fucking Navy, which gives it thalassocratic power.

I don't see the USA losing its territorial integrity anytime soon. There are separatist movements in places like Texas and, more recently, the Western Coast. Most of them exist only for fiscal reasons and are not taken seriously by anyone else. The Star-and-Stripes is still a very strong ideal to the average American, and nobody takes the idea of territory loss for real. If that happens, though, it would change my equation on the survival of the American Empire completely.

As for Hong Kong. I watched a video by the chief of the PLA last year (unfortunately, I watched it on Twitter and don't have the link with me anymore). He was very clear: Hong Kong does not present an existential threat to China. The greatest existential threat to China are, by far, Xinjiang and Tibet, followed by Taiwan and the South China Sea. Hong Kong is a distant fourth place.

Those liberal clowns were never close.


Jen , May 22 2020 21:55 utc | 32

VK @ 28:

One problem with your scenario is that the US navy may be over-extended in parts of the world where all the enemy has to do is to cut off supply lines to battleship groups and then those ships would be completely helpless. US warships in the Persian Gulf with the Strait of Hormuz sealed off by Iran come to mind.

Incidents involving US naval ship collisions with slow-moving oil tankers in SE Asian waters and some other parts of of the the world, resulting in the loss of sailors, hardly instill the notion that the US is a mighty thalassocratic force.

It's my understanding also that Russia, China and maybe some other countries have invested hugely in long-range missiles capable of hitting US coastal cities and areas where the bulk of the US population lives.

And if long-range missiles don't put paid to the notion that projecting power through sending naval warships all over the planet works, maybe the fact that many of these ships are sitting ducks for COVID-19 infection clusters might, where the US public is concerned.

vk , May 22 2020 22:16 utc | 33
@ Posted by: Jen | May 22 2020 21:55 utc | 33

I agree the new anti-ship missile technology may have changed the rules of naval warfare.

However, it's important to highlight that, contrary to the US Army, the USN has a stellar record. It fought wonderfully against the Japanese Empire in 1941-1945, and successfully converted both the Pacific and the Atlantic into "American lakes" for the next 75 years. All the Americans have nowadays it owes its Navy.

But you may be right. Maybe the USN is also susceptible to degeneration.

Richard Steven Hack , May 22 2020 23:51 utc | 38
Posted by: vk | May 22 2020 21:02 utc | 28

Of the existing 30 or so high-tech productive chains, China only enjoys superiority at 2 or 3 (see 6:48). It is still greatly dependent on the West to development and still is a developing country.

Based on what I've read, China is on a fast track to develop technology on their own. In addition, technology development is world-wide these days. What China can not develop itself - quickly enough, time is the only real problem - it can buy with its economic power.

"if China is blocked out of Western IP, it will soon "go back to its place" - which is probably to Brazil or India level."

Ah, but that's where hackers come in. China can *not* be blocked out of Western IP. First, as I said, China can *buy* it. Unless there is a general prohibition across the entire Western world, and by extension sanctions against any other nation from selling to China - which is an unenforceable policy, as Iran has shown - China can buy what it doesn't have and then reverse-engineer it. Russia will sell it if no one else will.

Second, China can continue to simply acquire technology through industrial espionage. Every country and every industry engages in this sort of thing. Ever watch the movie "Duplicity"? That shit actually happens. I read about industrial espionage years ago and it's only gotten fancier since the old days of paper files. I would be happy to breach any US or EU industrial sector and sell what I find to the Chinese, the Malaysians or anyone else interested. It's called "leveling the playing field" and that is advantageous for everyone. If the US industrial sector employees can't keep up, that's their problem. No one is guaranteed a job for life - and shouldn't be.

"1) the third largest world population"

Which is mostly engaged in unproductive activities like finance, law, etc. I've read that if you visit the main US universities teaching science and technology, who are the students? Chinese. Indians. Not Americans. Americans only want to "make money" in law and finance, not "make things."

"2) huge territory, with excellent proportion of high-quality arable land (35%), that basically guarantees food security indefinitely"

In military terms, given current military technology, territory doesn't matter. China has enough nuclear missiles to destroy the 50 Major Metropolitan Areas in this country. Losing 100-200 millions citizens kinda puts a damper on US productivity. Losing the same number in China merely means more for the rest.

"3) two coasts, to the two main Oceans (Pacific and Atlantic)"

Which submarines can make irrelevant. Good for economic matters - *if* your economy can continue competing. China has one coast - but its Belt and Road Initiative gives it economic clout on the back-end and the front-end. I don't see the US successfully countering that Initiative.

"4) excellent, very defensive territory, protected by both oceans (sea-to-sea)"

Which only means the US can't be "invaded". That's WWI and WWII thinking the US is mired in. Today, you destroy an opponent's military and, if necessary, his civilian population, or at least its ability to "project" force against you. You don't "invade" unless it's some weak Third World country. And if the US can't "project" its power via its navy or air force, having a lot of territory doesn't mean much. This is where Russia is right now. Very defensible but limited in force projection (but getting better fast.) The problem for the US is China and Russia are developing military technology that can prevent US force projection around *their* borders.

"bordered only by two very feeble neighbors (Mexico and Canada) that can be easily absorbed if the situation asks"

LOL I can just see the US "absorbing" Mexico. Canada, maybe - they're allies anyway. Mexico, not so much. You want a "quagmire", send the US troops to take on the Mexican drug gangs. They aren't Pancho Villa.

"4) still the financial superpower"

Uhm, what part of "Depression" did you miss? And even if that doesn't happen now, continued financial success is unlikely. Like pandemics, shit happens in economics and monetary policy.

"a big fucking Navy, which gives it thalassocratic power."

That can be sunk in a heartbeat and is virtually a colossal money pit with limited strategic value given current military technology which both China and Russia are as advanced as the US is, if not more so. Plus China is developing its own navy quickly. I read somewhere a description of one Chinese naval shipyard. There were several advanced destroyers being developed. Then the article noted that China has several more large shipyards. That Chinese long coast comes in handy for that sort of thing.

China Now Has More Warships Than the U.S.
But sometimes quantity doesn't trump quality. [My note: But sometimes it does.]
https://tinyurl.com/y7numhef

That's just the first article I found, from a crappy source. There are better analyses, of course.

"I don't see the USA losing its territorial integrity anytime soon. There are separatist movements in places like Texas and, more recently, the Western Coast. Most of them exist only for fiscal reasons and are not taken seriously by anyone else."

I'd agree with that. I hear this "California secession" crap periodically and never believe it. However, for state politicians, the notion of being "President" of your own country versus a "Governor" probably is tempting to these morons. State populations are frequently idiots as well, as the current lockdown response is demonstrating. All in all, though, if there are perceived external military threats, that is likely to make the states prefer to remain under US central control.

[May 23, 2020] Neoliberalism promised freedom instead it delivers stifling control by George Monbiot

Highly recommended!
From comments: " neoliberalism to be a techno-economic order of control, requiring a state apparatus to enforce wholly artificial directives. Also, the work of recent critics of data markets such as Shoshana Zuboff has shown capitalism to be evolving into a totalitarian system of control through cybernetic data aggregation."
"... 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. ..."
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. ..."
"... The other point to be made is that the return of fundamentalist nationalism is arguably a radicalized form of neoliberalism. ..."
"... Therefore, neoliberal hegemony can only be perpetuated with authoritarian, nationalist ideologies and an order of market feudalism. In other words, neoliberalism's authoritarian orientations, previously effaced beneath discourses of egalitarian free-enterprise, become overt. ..."
"... The market is no longer an enabler of private enterprise, but something more like a medieval religion, conferring ultimate authority on a demagogue. Individual entrepreneurs collectivise into a 'people' serving a market which has become synonymous with nationhood. ..."
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.

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


Pinkie123 , 12 Apr 2019 03:23

The other point to be made is that the return of fundamentalist nationalism is arguably a radicalized form of neoliberalism. If 'free markets' of enterprising individuals have been tested to destruction, then capitalism is unable to articulate an ideology with which to legitimise itself.

Therefore, neoliberal hegemony can only be perpetuated with authoritarian, nationalist ideologies and an order of market feudalism. In other words, neoliberalism's authoritarian orientations, previously effaced beneath discourses of egalitarian free-enterprise, become overt.

The market is no longer an enabler of private enterprise, but something more like a medieval religion, conferring ultimate authority on a demagogue. Individual entrepreneurs collectivise into a 'people' serving a market which has become synonymous with nationhood.

A corporate state emerges, free of the regulatory fetters of democracy. The final restriction on the market - democracy itself - is removed. There then is no separate market and state, just a totalitarian market state.

glisson , 12 Apr 2019 00:10
This is the best piece of writing on neoliberalism I have ever seen. Look, 'what is in general good and probably most importantly what is in the future good'. Why are we collectively not viewing everything that way? Surely those thoughts should drive us all?
economicalternative -> Pinkie123 , 11 Apr 2019 21:33
Pinkie123: So good to read your understandings of neoliberalism. The political project is the imposition of the all seeing all knowing 'market' on all aspects of human life. This version of the market is an 'information processor'. Speaking of the different idea of the laissez-faire version of market/non market areas and the function of the night watchman state are you aware there are different neoliberalisms? The EU for example runs on the version called 'ordoliberalism'. I understand that this still sees some areas of society as separate from 'the market'?
economicalternative -> ADamnSmith2016 , 11 Apr 2019 21:01
ADamnSmith: Philip Mirowski has discussed this 'under the radar' aspect of neoliberalism. How to impose 'the market' on human affairs - best not to be to explicit about what you are doing. Only recently has some knowledge about the actual neoliberal project been appearing. Most people think of neoliberalism as 'making the rich richer' - just a ramped up version of capitalism. That's how the left has thought of it and they have been ineffective in stopping its implementation.
economicalternative , 11 Apr 2019 20:42
Finally. A writer who can talk about neoliberalism as NOT being a retro version of classical laissez faire liberalism. It is about imposing "The Market" as the sole arbiter of Truth on us all.
Only the 'Market' knows what is true in life - no need for 'democracy' or 'education'. Neoliberals believe - unlike classical liberals with their view of people as rational individuals acting in their own self-interest - people are inherently 'unreliable', stupid. Only entrepreneurs - those close to the market - can know 'the truth' about anything. To succeed we all need to take our cues in life from what the market tells us. Neoliberalism is not about a 'small state'. The state is repurposed to impose the 'all knowing' market on everyone and everything. That is neoliberalism's political project. It is ultimately not about 'economics'.
Pinkie123 , 11 Apr 2019 13:27
The left have been entirely wrong to believe that neoliberalism is a mobilisation of anarchic, 'free' markets. It never was so. Only a few more acute thinkers on the left (Jacques Ranciere, Foucault, Deleuze and, more recently, Mark Fisher, Wendy Brown, Will Davies and David Graeber) have understood neoliberalism to be a techno-economic order of control, requiring a state apparatus to enforce wholly artificial directives. Also, the work of recent critics of data markets such as Shoshana Zuboff has shown capitalism to be evolving into a totalitarian system of control through cybernetic data aggregation.


Only in theory is neoliberalism a form of laissez-faire. Neoliberalism is not a case of the state saying, as it were: 'OK everyone, we'll impose some very broad legal parameters, so we'll make sure the police will turn up if someone breaks into your house; but otherwise we'll hang back and let you do what you want'. Hayek is perfectly clear that a strong state is required to force people to act according to market logic. If left to their own devices, they might collectivise, think up dangerous utopian ideologies, and the next thing you know there would be socialism. This the paradox of neoliberalism as an intellectual critique of government: a socialist state can only be prohibited with an equally strong state. That is, neoliberals are not opposed to a state as such, but to a specifically centrally-planned state based on principles of social justice - a state which, to Hayek's mind, could only end in t totalitarianism. Because concepts of social justice are expressed in language, neoliberals are suspicious of linguistic concepts, regarding them as politically dangerous. Their preference has always been for numbers. Hence, market bureaucracy aims for the quantification of all values - translating the entirety of social reality into metrics, data, objectively measurable price signals. Numbers are safe. The laws of numbers never change. Numbers do not lead to revolutions. Hence, all the audit, performance review and tick-boxing that has been enforced into public institutions serves to render them forever subservient to numerical (market) logic. However, because social institutions are not measurable, attempts to make them so become increasingly mystical and absurd. Administrators manage data that has no relation to reality. Quantitatively unmeasurable things - like happiness or success - are measured, with absurd results.

It should be understood (and I speak above all as a critic of neoliberalism) that neoliberal ideology is not merely a system of class power, but an entire metaphysic, a way of understanding the world that has an emotional hold over people. For any ideology to universalize itself, it must be based on some very powerful ideas. Hayek and Von Mises were Jewish fugitives of Nazism, living through the worst horrors of twentieth-century totalitarianism. There are passages of Hayek's that describe a world operating according to the rules of a benign abstract system that make it sound rather lovely. To understand neoliberalism, we must see that it has an appeal.

However, there is no perfect order of price signals. People do not simply act according to economic self-interest. Therefore, neoliberalism is a utopian political project like any other, requiring the brute power of the state to enforce ideological tenets. With tragic irony, the neoliberal order eventually becomes not dissimilar to the totalitarian regimes that Hayek railed against.

manolito22 -> MrJoe , 11 Apr 2019 08:14
Nationalised rail in the UK was under-funded and 'set up to fail' in its latter phase to make privatisation seem like an attractive prospect. I have travelled by train under both nationalisation and privatisation and the latter has been an unmitigated disaster in my experience. Under privatisation, public services are run for the benefit of shareholders and CEO's, rather than customers and citizens and under the opaque shroud of undemocratic 'commercial confidentiality'.
Galluses , 11 Apr 2019 07:26
What has been very noticeable about the development of bureaucracy in the public and private spheres over the last 40 years (since Thatcher govt of 79) has been the way systems are designed now to place responsibility and culpability on the workers delivering the services - Teachers, Nurses, social workers, etc. While those making the policies, passing the laws, overseeing the regulations- viz. the people 'at the top', now no longer take the rap when something goes wrong- they may be the Captain of their particular ship, but the responsibility now rests with the man sweeping the decks. Instead they are covered by tying up in knots those teachers etc. having to fill in endless check lists and reports, which have as much use as clicking 'yes' one has understood those long legal terms provided by software companies.... yet are legally binding. So how the hell do we get out of this mess? By us as individuals uniting through unions or whatever and saying NO. No to your dumb educational directives, No to your cruel welfare policies, No to your stupid NHS mismanagement.... there would be a lot of No's but eventually we could say collectively 'Yes I did the right thing'.
fairshares -> rjb04tony , 11 Apr 2019 07:17
'The left wing dialogue about neoliberalism used to be that it was the Wild West and that anything goes. Now apparently it's a machine of mass control.'

It is the Wild West and anything goes for the corporate entities, and a machine of control of the masses. Hence the wish of neoliberals to remove legislation that protects workers and consumers.

[May 23, 2020] Leading Neocon Directs Pentagon Middle East Planning, by Philip Giraldi

Notable quotes:
"... The GWOT was promoted with brain-dead expressions like "there's a new sheriff in town" which, after the destruction of large parts of the Middle East and Central Asia, later morphed into the matrix of the God-awful belief that something called "American Exceptionalism" existed. ..."
"... Secretary of State Mike Pompeo puts it another way, that the U.S. is a "force for good," but it was former Secretary Madeleine Albright who expressed the fantasy best , stating that " if we have to use force, it is because we are America; we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future, and we see the danger here to all of us." ..."
"... One aspect of the American heavy footprint that is little noted is the ruin of many formerly functioning countries that it brings with it. Iraq and Libya might have been dictatorships before the U.S. intervened, but they gave their people a higher standard of living and more security than has been the case ever since. ..."
"... Libya, destroyed by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, had the highest standard of living in Africa. Iraq is currently one of the world's most corrupt countries, so corrupt that there have been massive street demonstrations recently against the government's inability to do anything good for the its own people. Electricity and water supplies are, for example, less reliable than before the U.S. intervened seventeen years ago. ..."
"... The failures of the American foreign policy since George W. Bush have been accredited to the so-called neoconservatives, who successfully hijacked the Bush presidency. Paul Wolfowitz, Doug Feith, Scooter Libby and the merry crowd at the American Enterprise Institute had a major ally in Vice President Dick Cheney and were pretty much able to run wild, creating a casus belli for invading Iraq that was largely fabricated and which was completely against actual U.S. interests in the region. Apparently no one ever told Wolfie that Iraq was the Arab bulwark against Iranian ambitions and that Tehran would be the only major beneficiary in taking down Saddam Hussein. Since Iraq, the chameleonlike neocons have had a prominent voice in the mainstream media and have also played major roles in the shaping the foreign and national security policies of the presidencies that have followed George W. Bush. ..."
"... The $20 billion disbursed during the 15-month proconsulship of the CPA came from frozen and seized Iraqi assets held in the U.S. Most of the money was in the form of cash, flown into Iraq on C-130s in huge plastic shrink-wrapped pallets holding 40 "cashpaks," each cashpak having $1.6 million in $100 bills. Twelve billion dollars moved that way between May 2003 and June 2004, drawn from the Iraqi accounts administered by the New York Federal Reserve Bank. The $100 bills weighed an estimated 363 tons. ..."
"... Once in Iraq, there was virtually no accountability over how the money was spent. There was also considerable money "off the books," including as much as $4 billion from illegal oil exports. Thus, the country was awash in unaccountable cash. British sources report that the CPA contracts that were not handed out to cronies were sold to the highest bidder, with bribes as high as $300,000 being demanded for particularly lucrative reconstruction contracts. The contracts were especially attractive because no work or results were necessarily expected in return. ..."
"... Many of its staff, like Michael Fleischer, were selected for their political affiliations rather than their knowledge of the jobs they were supposed to perform and many of them were not surprisingly neocons. One of them has now resurfaced in a top Pentagon position. She is Simone Ledeen , daughter of leading neoconservative Michael Ledeen. Unable to communicate in Arabic and with no relevant experience or appropriate educational training, she nevertheless became in 2003 a senior advisor for northern Iraq at the Ministry of Finance in Baghdad. ..."
"... Simone has now been appointed deputy assistant secretary of defense (DASD) for the Middle East, which is the principal position for shaping Pentagon policy for that region. ..."
"... Apparently Simone's gene pool makes her qualified to lead the Pentagon into the Middle East, where she no doubt has views that make her compatible with the Trump/Pompeo current spin on the Iranian threat. The neocon Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) gushed "Simone Ledeen has worked at the Pentagon & Treasury and at a major bank. Exactly what we should want for such a position." Of course, FDD, the leading advocate of war with Iran, also wants someone who will green light destroying the Persians. ..."
May 23, 2020 | www.unz.com

The Global War on Terror or GWOT was declared in the wake of 9/11 by President George W. Bush. It basically committed the United States to work to eliminate all "terrorist" groups worldwide, whether or not the countries being targeted agreed that they were beset by terrorists and whether or not they welcomed U.S. "help." The GWOT was promoted with brain-dead expressions like "there's a new sheriff in town" which, after the destruction of large parts of the Middle East and Central Asia, later morphed into the matrix of the God-awful belief that something called "American Exceptionalism" existed.

With a national election lurking on the horizon we will no doubt be hearing more about Exceptionalism from various candidates seeking to support the premise that the United States can interfere in every country on the planet because it is, as the expression goes, exceptional. That is generally how Donald Trump and hardline Republicans see the world, that sovereignty exercised by foreign governments is and should be limited by the reach of the U.S. military. Surrounding a competitor with military bases and warships is a concept that many in Washington are currently trying to sell regarding a suitable response to the Chinese economic and political challenge.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo puts it another way, that the U.S. is a "force for good," but it was former Secretary Madeleine Albright who expressed the fantasy best , stating that " if we have to use force, it is because we are America; we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future, and we see the danger here to all of us." She also said that the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children through U.S. imposed sanctions was " a very hard choice, but the price -- we think the price is worth it." That is the basic credo of the liberal interventionists. Either way, the U.S. gets to make the decisions over life and death, which, since the GWOT began, have destroyed or otherwise compromised the lives of millions of people, mostly concentrated in Asia.

One aspect of the American heavy footprint that is little noted is the ruin of many formerly functioning countries that it brings with it. Iraq and Libya might have been dictatorships before the U.S. intervened, but they gave their people a higher standard of living and more security than has been the case ever since.

Libya, destroyed by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, had the highest standard of living in Africa. Iraq is currently one of the world's most corrupt countries, so corrupt that there have been massive street demonstrations recently against the government's inability to do anything good for the its own people. Electricity and water supplies are, for example, less reliable than before the U.S. intervened seventeen years ago.

Add Afghanistan to the "most corrupt" list after 19 years of American tutelage and one comes up with a perfect trifecta of countries that have been ruined. In a more rational world, one might have hoped that at least one American politician might have stood up and admitted that we have screwed up royally and it is beyond time to close the overseas bases and bring our troops home. Well, actually one did so in explicit terms, but that was Tulsi Gabbard and she was marginalized as soon as she started her run. Alluding to how Washington's gift to the world has been corruption would be to implicitly deny American Exceptionalism, which is a no-no.

The failures of the American foreign policy since George W. Bush have been accredited to the so-called neoconservatives, who successfully hijacked the Bush presidency. Paul Wolfowitz, Doug Feith, Scooter Libby and the merry crowd at the American Enterprise Institute had a major ally in Vice President Dick Cheney and were pretty much able to run wild, creating a casus belli for invading Iraq that was largely fabricated and which was completely against actual U.S. interests in the region. Apparently no one ever told Wolfie that Iraq was the Arab bulwark against Iranian ambitions and that Tehran would be the only major beneficiary in taking down Saddam Hussein. Since Iraq, the chameleonlike neocons have had a prominent voice in the mainstream media and have also played major roles in the shaping the foreign and national security policies of the presidencies that have followed George W. Bush.

Ironically, neocons mostly were critics of Donald Trump the candidate because he talked "nonsense" about ending "useless wars" but they have been trickling back into his administration since he has made it clear that he is not about to end anything and might in fact be planning to attack Iran and maybe even Venezuela. The thought of new wars, particularly against Israel's enemy Iran, makes neocons salivate.

The disastrous American occupation of Iraq from 2003-2004 was mismanaged by something called the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), which might have been the most corrupt quasi-government body to be seen in recent history. At least $20 billion that belonged to the Iraqi people was wasted, together with hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars. Exactly how many billions of additional dollars were squandered, stolen, given away, or simply lost will never be known because the deliberate decision by the CPA not to meter oil exports means that no one will ever know how much revenue was generated during 2003 and 2004.

Some of the corruption grew out of the misguided neoconservative agenda for Iraq, which meant that a serious reconstruction effort came second to doling out the spoils to the war's most fervent supporters. The CPA brought in scores of bright, young true believers who were nearly universally unqualified. Many were recruited through the Heritage Foundation or American Enterprise Institute websites, where they had posted their résumés. They were paid six-figure salaries out of Iraqi funds, and most served in 90-day rotations before returning home with their war stories. One such volunteer was former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer's older brother Michael who, though utterly unqualified, was named director of private-sector development for all of Iraq.

The $20 billion disbursed during the 15-month proconsulship of the CPA came from frozen and seized Iraqi assets held in the U.S. Most of the money was in the form of cash, flown into Iraq on C-130s in huge plastic shrink-wrapped pallets holding 40 "cashpaks," each cashpak having $1.6 million in $100 bills. Twelve billion dollars moved that way between May 2003 and June 2004, drawn from the Iraqi accounts administered by the New York Federal Reserve Bank. The $100 bills weighed an estimated 363 tons.

Once in Iraq, there was virtually no accountability over how the money was spent. There was also considerable money "off the books," including as much as $4 billion from illegal oil exports. Thus, the country was awash in unaccountable cash. British sources report that the CPA contracts that were not handed out to cronies were sold to the highest bidder, with bribes as high as $300,000 being demanded for particularly lucrative reconstruction contracts. The contracts were especially attractive because no work or results were necessarily expected in return.

Many of its staff, like Michael Fleischer, were selected for their political affiliations rather than their knowledge of the jobs they were supposed to perform and many of them were not surprisingly neocons. One of them has now resurfaced in a top Pentagon position. She is Simone Ledeen , daughter of leading neoconservative Michael Ledeen. Unable to communicate in Arabic and with no relevant experience or appropriate educational training, she nevertheless became in 2003 a senior advisor for northern Iraq at the Ministry of Finance in Baghdad.

Simone has now been appointed deputy assistant secretary of defense (DASD) for the Middle East, which is the principal position for shaping Pentagon policy for that region. Post 9/11, Ledeen's leading neocon father Michael was the source of the expressions "creative destruction" and "total war" as relating to the Muslim Middle East, where "civilian lives cannot be the total war's first priority The purpose of total war is to permanently force your will onto another people." He is also a noted Iranophobe, blaming numerous terrorist acts on that country even when such claims were ridiculous. He might also have been involved in the generation in Italy of the fabricated Iraq Niger uranium documents that contributed greatly to the march to war with Saddam.

Apparently Simone's gene pool makes her qualified to lead the Pentagon into the Middle East, where she no doubt has views that make her compatible with the Trump/Pompeo current spin on the Iranian threat. The neocon Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) gushed "Simone Ledeen has worked at the Pentagon & Treasury and at a major bank. Exactly what we should want for such a position." Of course, FDD, the leading advocate of war with Iran, also wants someone who will green light destroying the Persians.

Ledeen, a Brandeis graduate with an MBA from an Italian university, worked in and out of government in various advisory capacities before joining Standard Chartered Bank. One of her more interesting roles was as an advisor to General Michael Flynn in Afghanistan at a time when Flynn was collaborating with her father on a book that eventually came out in 2016 entitled The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and its Allies. The book asserts that there is a global war going on in which "We face a working coalition that extends from North Korea and China to Russia, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua." The book predictably claims that Iran is at the center of what is an anti-American alliance.

The extent to which Simone has absorbed her father's views and agrees with them can, of course, be questioned, but her appointment is yet another indication, together with the jobs previously given to John Bolton, Mike Pompeo and Elliot Abrams , that the Trump Administration is intent on pursuing a hardline aggressive policy in the Middle East and elsewhere. It is also an unfortunate indication that the neoconservatives, pronounced dead after the election of Trump, are back and resuming their drive to obtain the positions of power that will permit endless war, starting with Iran.

Philip Giraldi, Ph.D. is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest.


Beavertales , says: Show Comment May 21, 2020 at 1:31 pm GMT

'Maximum Pressure' is being exerted on Trump.

How was he leveraged to order the assassination of Iran's general Qasem Soleimani?

It's all about manufacturing new threats to his presidency, and then offering to switch them off when he trades something the neocons want. The politics of extortion.

KA , says: Show Comment May 21, 2020 at 5:35 pm GMT
If "??Operation Iraqi Freedom"? may accurately be regarded as Wolfowitz's War in its conception, then the aftermath of the war should be viewed as the Kissinger-Feith Occupation" and continuation of illegal sanctions by "Democrat, Bill Clinton, and his meretricious Middle East foreign policy team of Samuel "Sandy" Berger, Madeleine "??it's worth it"? Albright, Dennis Ross, and Australian import, Martin Indyk. " but it was "
Kissinger's partner and frontman in Baghdad, Paul "??Jerry"? Bremer, which has effectively destroyed Iraq as a nation-state, " and But within weeks of the invasion, Garner's tenure as head of the post-war planning office was over: he was replaced by Paul Bremer, a terrorism expert and protege of Henry Kissinger. Bremer immediately countermanded all three of Garner's "musts". [My emphasis.] When, eventually, Garner confronted Rumsfeld, telling him: "There is still time to rectify this," Rumsfeld refused to do so. And who was assisting Dr. Kissinger to program the new U.S. proconsul in Baghdad? Who was Paul Bremer's primary contact at the Pentagon, overseeing the occupation from Washington, with the blessing of Don Rumsfeld? None other than the award winning hyperZionist zealot, Douglas "clean break" Feith, the man who had advised Likud icon, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to attack Iraq, Syria and Lebanon in 1996 and tear up the Oslo "peace process ". Feith is a protege of Richard Perle. Feith is on the Advisory Board of JINSA ,. Feith is a face card in the deck of the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, headquartered in Jerusalem. The law office he founded in 1986, Feith & Zell, is based in Israel, catering to Jewish-American "??settlers"? on the West Bank. "

https://www.takimag.com/article/the_kissinger_connection/

KA , says: Show Comment May 21, 2020 at 5:38 pm GMT
If nothing else, Bob Woodward's last fat book on Iraq, State of Denial, has performed a valuable public service by ejecting the furtive Kissinger from the shadows. Woodward reports that vice president Dick Cheney confided to him (Woodward) in the summer of 2005: "I probably talk to Henry Kissinger more than I talk to anybody else. He just comes by and I guess at least once a month, Scooter [Libby] and I sit down with him." [Page 406.] Woodward goes on to state: "The president also met privately with Kissinger every couple of months, making the former secretary the most regular and frequent outside adviser to Bush on foreign affairs." https://www.takimag.com/article/the_kissinger_connection/

We know who did what ,when and how .

Mustapha Mond , says: Show Comment May 21, 2020 at 7:30 pm GMT
Regarding Madeleine Albright: "She also said that the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children through U.S. imposed sanctions was " a very hard choice, but the price -- we think the price is worth it." That is the basic credo of the liberal interventionists."

I think 'liberal interventionist' is a bit too weak for the 'lovely' Ms Albright and her (in)famous quote.

Instead, let's try, "That is the basic credo of psychopathically sadistic zionist monsters who exquisitely enjoy the thought of Arab children dying agonizingly slow deaths of preventable diseases and starvation."

Ah, yes. That's a much more accurate assessment of the situation ..

Meena , says: Show Comment May 22, 2020 at 3:20 am GMT
Nixon is recorded as saying, "Any settlement will have to be imposed by both the US and the Soviet Union". Yet, as he had told the Russian ambassador to Washington, "I don't want to anger the American Jews who hold important positions in the press, radio and television".

The Jewish lobby has enormous influence on Congress. Nixon wanted to wait until he had won his reelection and concluded the withdrawal of US forces from Vietnam and then he could face down the Jewish lobby. Later he told the ambassador, "I will deliver the Israelis".

In one of his final acts in office, he ordered a complete cutoff of assistance to Israel. It was not to be.

Watergate consumed his presidency. https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/05/21/a-machiavellian-us-in-the-middle-east/

Was this Watergate a payback? Carter lost. So did Bush Sr and Kennedys died .

[May 23, 2020] Regarding Madeleine Albright: "She also said that the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children through U.S. imposed sanctions was " a very hard choice, but the price -- we think the price is worth it." That is the basic credo of the liberal interventionists."

May 23, 2020 | www.unz.com

Mustapha Mond , says: Show Comment May 21, 2020 at 7:30 pm GMT

Regarding Madeleine Albright: "She also said that the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children through U.S. imposed sanctions was " a very hard choice, but the price -- we think the price is worth it." That is the basic credo of the liberal interventionists."

I think 'liberal interventionist' is a bit too weak for the 'lovely' Ms Albright and her (in)famous quote.

Instead, let's try, "That is the basic credo of psychopathically sadistic zionist monsters who exquisitely enjoy the thought of Arab children dying agonizingly slow deaths of preventable diseases and starvation."

Ah, yes. That's a much more accurate assessment of the situation ..

Emily , says: Show Comment May 23, 2020 at 11:47 am GMT
@04398436986 Video of Madeleine Albright confirming that the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children was a price worth paying .

https://www.youtube.com/embed/bntsfiAXMEE?feature=oembed

[May 23, 2020] With a national election lurking on the horizon we will no doubt be hearing more about Exceptionalism from various candidates seeking to support the premise that the United States can interfere in every country on the planet because it is, as the expression goes, exceptional.

May 23, 2020 | www.unz.com

Realist , says: Show Comment May 23, 2020 at 12: 22 pm GMT

With a national election lurking on the horizon we will no doubt be hearing more about Exceptionalism from various candidates seeking to support the premise that the United States can interfere in every country on the planet because it is, as the expression goes, exceptional.

That is correct and that is because it works the majority of Americans are stupid.
Do you see a solution suggested here?

Realist , says: Show Comment May 23, 2020 at 12:27 pm GMT

It is also an unfortunate indication that the neoconservatives, pronounced dead after the election of Trump, are back and resuming their drive to obtain the positions of power that will permit endless war, starting with Iran.

The neocons never went anywhere. Trump is a minion of the Deep State and staffs his administration accordingly.

Realist , says: Show Comment May 23, 2020 at 12:32 pm GMT
@BL

My point is simple and ineluctable, whatever our demerits, our great republic is supposed to weed out psychopaths like Brennan long before they get as close as he has to destroying the whole shebang.

Never happens all administrations are full of psychopaths.

Hiram of Tyre , says: Show Comment May 23, 2020 at 1:19 pm GMT
Frankly nothing new. Every Empire sought to rule the world and committed a long list of atrocities in the process. "The empire on which the sun never sets", in reference to the British Empire (the one currently still ruling the world), comes from Xerxes' "We shall extend the Persian territory as far as God's heaven reaches. The sun will then shine on no land beyond our borders." as he invaded Greece.

That said, a word on the Rumsfeld-Cebrowski Doctrine and their Pentagon world map would be on point here

[May 23, 2020] Coronavirus had shown Brwzhnev socialism and the US neoliberalism ere never as far apart as people imagined

Highly recommended!
May 23, 2020 | discussion.theguardian.com

Comment edited for clarity

Bolsheviks put ideology above and before the people needs; Neoliberals put capital above people. Neoliberals are the next-worst thing after Boslheviks (although nobody can match Bolsheviks as for excesses including Stalin terror) . That's why bothe now in the USA and in the USSR before the dissolution we have a lot of "death of despare" That said, why would anybody trust neolibral pols ?

twiglette , 11 Apr 2019 05:13

Coronavirus had shown Brezhnev socialism and the US neoliberalism were never as far apart as people imagined. Two sides of a coin. A theological dispute.

[May 23, 2020] The 5 tribes of coronavirus Society has divided up in surprising, and not so surprising ways

May 23, 2020 | www.rt.com

Banning hotel minibars, spraying bleach on beaches, dumping chicken manure on roads: Around the world in 80 madcap lockdown rules

Times of crisis bring people together under a common cause says the propaganda of the blind optimist. What we've actually seen during the coronavirus pandemic is society divide into different tribes; here are five of them. The Remain-at-Homers

This group will not leave their homes no matter what, as a matter of principle. By pure coincidence they also tend to have the biggest houses and largest gardens, and jobs they can do comfortably from their well-equipped studies. It's not self-discipline getting them through lockdown, but pure smugness which you can see on their face when they gleefully tell you, via Zoom, how long it's been since they left the house in much the same manner a veteran might describe landing on Omaha Beach or defending Stalingrad. The Anti-Lockdowners

This lot can be heard saying things like, "it's just a nasty cold," or "grandad was going to die anyway." However they justify it, they're just not interested in being forced to stay at home. You'll see them angrily protesting for their right to get a beer and a haircut... or perhaps you'll see them in the hospital on a ventilator recovering from a nasty cold.

The Hypocrites Read more Banning hotel minibars, spraying bleach on beaches, dumping chicken manure on roads: Around the world in 80 madcap lockdown rules

The Hypocrites are a strange mix of Remain-at-Homer and Anti-Lockdowner. These virtue signallers will keep up the smug facade of those who are following all the rules by staying at home to watch Netflix. However, don't be fooled because they're also going shopping for essential supplies three times a day and exercising twice a day, despite the fact that they hadn't even run for a bus in two decades before all this started. Yep, they spend more time outside than they used to!

The Snitches

And then there are the Snitches. These are your neighbours who spend the whole day longingly staring out the window dreaming of freedom, but as soon as they see you walk out the front door to buy bread and booze, they call the police to get you properly locked down. Solidarity has its limits.

The Conspiracists

These are the people who think Covid-19 is a Bill Gates plan to force you to buy Windows 27. Or that the government is just trying to wipe out pensioners. Or that 5G is downloading the virus straight into your brain in an impressive two seconds as long as your cell plan is up to date. Whatever the theory, as long as there is no proof, they'll tell you all about it. Via Zoom.

[May 23, 2020] Is Pentagon trying to use cheap oil for jingoistic see maneuvers around China

May 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

juliania , May 23 2020 14:07 utc | 78

Jen @ 32, I had a thought that maybe the US is starting this sea challenge because they need to use up the excess oil that's making domestic prices stay so low - not much profit in it these days though the 'little people are enjoying very low prices at the pump. And of course the virus and business shuttered is all not helping. So, let's have some big ships charging around, shall we?

[May 23, 2020] The irony of Brenana behaviour: the former CIA Director shouting every other day that the duly elected POTUS is treasonous and much be removed from office by any means necessary. The pot calling the kettle black

May 23, 2020 | www.unz.com

BL , says: Show Comment May 23, 2020 at 1:51 pm GMT

@Realist Quite right. I should have written that sentence differently in that by "like Brennan," I meant an individual allowed to rise by obtaining compromising information on everyone, most especially his intelligence colleagues.

Our system abhors such an arrogation of power or at least it used to. Not to put too fine a point on it but that's what happens when you construct a surveillance state and then turn it over to filth like Brennan.

This really isn't very complicated. It's utterly untenable in our great republic to have the former CIA Director shouting every other day that the duly elected POTUS is treasonous and much be removed from office by any means necessary.

It's impossible to overstate how serious this situation is when those who are needed on the side of our republic and legitimate constitutional authority are distracting with squeaks about Michael Ledeen's daughter no less.

I'm not laying this all at Brennan's door. Like Beria, his presence at the pinnacle of power was more symptom than cause. He's no evil genius which, when you think about it, makes the continued craven obedience to him by Democrats, RINO Republicans, Allied Media and, yes, most who were in the IC, that much more pathetic.

[May 23, 2020] The wristband and microchip sound fab for children under 18 so we monitor to ensure their safety

May 23, 2020 | discussion.theguardian.com

fredmb , 11 Apr 2019 06:49

The wristband and microchip sound fab for children under 18 so we monitor to ensure their safety, especially in educational settings and on school trips. It would enable them to be located if lost or snatched. If it can be used to monitor language and aspects of behaviour then they could not be falsely accused of of antisocial actions. If they don't comply then child care benefits or access to higher education could be withdrawn as a sanction. It may even improve road safety if they drive illegally or badly. Any chance of a tiny electric shock feature to the microchip?

[May 23, 2020] 'Rhetorical hyperbole' and NOT FACT: Court rejects OAN suit over MSNBC host Rachel Maddow's claim about 'Russian propaganda'

Court defined Madcow as professional liar, not a news source
Notable quotes:
"... "the most obsequiously pro-Trump right wing news outlet in America" ..."
"... "really literally paid Russian propaganda." ..."
"... "the Kremlin's official propaganda outlet" ..."
"... "utterly and completely false. ..."
"... "has never been paid or received a penny from Russia or the Russian government," ..."
"... "news and opinions," ..."
"... "makes it more likely that a reasonable viewer would not conclude that the contested statement implies an assertion of objective fact." ..."
May 23, 2020 | www.rt.com
A US judge dismissed a defamation lawsuit by One America News Network against MSNBC over Rachel Maddow's claims that OAN was "literally" Russian propaganda, ruling that her segment was merely "an opinion" and "exaggeration." OAN sued the liberal talk show host and MSNBC for defamation, demanding over $10 million in damages, back in September 2019. The lawsuit was based on the July 22 episode of The Rachel Maddow Show, where Maddow launched a scathing broadside against the conservative television network, labeling it "the most obsequiously pro-Trump right wing news outlet in America" and "really literally paid Russian propaganda."

In the segment, Maddow cited a story by The Daily Beast's Kevin Poulsen about OAN's Kristian Rouz, who has previously contributed to Sputnik as a freelance author. Toeing the general US mainstream line on the Russian media, be it Sputnik or RT, Poulsen branded the Russian news agency "the Kremlin's official propaganda outlet" and said Rouz was once on its "payroll." Shortly after MSNBC's star talent peddled the claim, OAN rejected the allegations as "utterly and completely false. " The outlet, which is owned by the Herring Networks, a small California-based family company, said that it "has never been paid or received a penny from Russia or the Russian government," with its only funding coming from the Herring family.

In their bid to win the case, Maddow herself, MSNBC, Comcast Corporation and NBCUniversal Media did not address the accusation itself - namely, that her claim about OAN was false - but opted to invoke the First Amendment, insisting that the rant should be protected as free speech.

Siding with Maddow, the California district court defined Maddow's show as a mix of "news and opinions," concluding that the manner in which the progressive host blurted out the accusations "makes it more likely that a reasonable viewer would not conclude that the contested statement implies an assertion of objective fact." h

The court said that while Maddow "truthfully" related the story by the Daily Beast, the statement about OAN being funded by the Kremlin was her "opinion" and "exaggeration" of the said article.

While the legal trick helped Maddow to get off the hook without ever trying to defend her initial statement, conservative commentators on social media wasted no time in pointing out that dodging a payout to OAN literally meant admitting that Maddow was not, in fact, news.

[May 23, 2020] HK is protected against US tarrifs imposed on China goods. China exports a good chunk of goods through HK. If Trump were really serious he would remove HK's protected status.

May 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Kay Fabe , May 23 2020 0:09 utc | 42

"Britain had to agree to the pact because it had lost the capability to defend the colony.".."

That was the excuse. I believe HK was offered to China in return for Deng to open up and turn China capitalist. Deng was not the one who
demanded HK return. Britain initiated the discussions. Deng gladly accepted although he insisted on maintaining their authoritarian form of undemocratic government and left HK's fate ambiguous so Britain could get support from their people and the HK elite. The party elites were happy to be able to join the Western Elites in accumulating an unequal share of the wealth. The Soviet elites led by the US Globalist puppet Gorbachev chose the same path although they chose Fake Democracy and rule of the oligarchs as in the US rather than party control of China

HK is protected against US tarrifs imposed on China goods. China exports a good chunk of goods through HK. If Trump were really serious he would remove HK's protected status.

vk , May 23 2020 0:30 utc | 47

@ Posted by: Kay Fabe | May 23 2020 0:09 utc | 42

The timing doesn't add up. China opened up in 1972 (the famous Nixon-Mao handshake), while the UK's agreement to give HK back was from 1984 - well into the Thatcher Era.

The most likely reason for the UK to decide to obey the lease deal was of military nature: the valuable land necessary to defend HK was the flatland adjacent to the city proper, where potable water comes from. It already part of the Mainland, thus rendering the defense of HK virtually impossible without an outright invasion of the Mainland itself.

Margaret Thatcher probably didn't want to obey the treaty (99-year lease), as a good neoliberal she was, but her military advisors probably warned her of the practical difficulties, and, since it was a 99-year lease anyway, she must've agreed to simply allow the treaty to be followed.

It is important to highlight that, in 1984, there were a lot of reasons the capitalist world should be optimist about China becoming capitalist. After all, it really got off the Soviet sphere after 1972, and Deng's reforms were - from the point of view of a vulgar (bourgeois) economist - indeed a clear path to a capitalist restoration. It didn't cross Thatcher's mind that China could stand its ground and remain socialist - at least not in 1984. If you read the sources of the time, you will easily see the Western elites treated China's return to capitalism as a given.

[May 23, 2020] China is still in great danger. Of the existing 30 or so high-tech productive chains, China only enjoys superiority at 2 or 3

Highly recommended!
May 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , May 22 2020 21:02 utc | 28

China is still in great danger. Of the existing 30 or so high-tech productive chains, China only enjoys superiority at 2 or 3 (see 6:48).

It is still greatly dependent on the West to development and still is a developing country.

So, yes, the West still has a realistic chance of destroying China and inaugurating a new cycle of capitalist prosperity.

What happens with the "decoupling"/"Pivot to Asia" is that, in the West, there's a scatological theory [go to 10th paragraph] - of Keynesian origin - that socialism can only play "catch up" with capitalism, but never surpass it when a "toyotist phase" of technological innovation comes (this is obviously based on the USSR's case). This theory states that, if there's innovation in socialism, it is residual and by accident, and that only in capitalism is significant technological advancement possible. From this, they posit that, if China is blocked out of Western IP, it will soon "go back to its place" - which is probably to Brazil or India level.

If China will be able to get out of the "Toyotist Trap" that destroyed the USSR, only time will tell. Regardless, decoupling is clearly not working, and China is not showing any signs so far of slowing down. Hence Trump is now embracing a more direct approach.

As for the USA, I've put my big picture opinion about it some days ago, so I won't repeat myself. Here, it suffices to say that, yes, I believe the USA can continue to survive as an empire - even if, worst case scenario, in a "byzantine" form. To its favor, it has: 1) the third largest world population 2) huge territory, with excellent proportion of high-quality arable land (35%), that basically guarantees food security indefinitely (for comparison, the USSR only had 10% of arable land, and of worse quality) 3) two coasts, to the two main Oceans (Pacific and Atlantic), plus a direct exit to the Arctic (Alaska and, de facto, Greenland and Canada) 4) excellent, very defensive territory, protected by both oceans (sea-to-sea), bordered only by two very feeble neighbors (Mexico and Canada) that can be easily absorbed if the situation asks to 4) still the financial superpower 5) still a robust "real" economy - specially if compared to the micro-nations of Western Europe and East-Asia 6) a big fucking Navy, which gives it thalassocratic power.

I don't see the USA losing its territorial integrity anytime soon. There are separatist movements in places like Texas and, more recently, the Western Coast. Most of them exist only for fiscal reasons and are not taken seriously by anyone else. The Star-and-Stripes is still a very strong ideal to the average American, and nobody takes the idea of territory loss for real. If that happens, though, it would change my equation on the survival of the American Empire completely.

As for Hong Kong. I watched a video by the chief of the PLA last year (unfortunately, I watched it on Twitter and don't have the link with me anymore). He was very clear: Hong Kong does not present an existential threat to China. The greatest existential threat to China are, by far, Xinjiang and Tibet, followed by Taiwan and the South China Sea. Hong Kong is a distant fourth place.

Those liberal clowns were never close.

[May 23, 2020] Trump cultists modus of operandi: Trump didn't say that, and if he did, that's not what he meant, and if he did mean it, you don't understand it, and if you do, it's no big deal

The same is true for Obama cultists. And Obama is far more criminal then Trump
May 23, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Mother124 KeepAmericaGreat! 2 days ago • edited

Trump cultists: Trump didn't say that, and if he did, that's not what he meant, and if he did mean it, you don't understand it, and if you do, it's no big deal, and if it is a big deal, you're a liberal who wishes Hillary had won.

[May 23, 2020] We stand with the people of Hong Kong

May 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Nick , May 22 2020 18:38 utc | 8

"we stand with the people of Hong Kong".

My god, the cringe-inducing arrogance of the Washington regime is something else! Imagine after Hurricane Maria and the subsequently dismal aid effort that devastated Puerto Rico, the Chinese issued a statement lambasting the US response and saying "we stand with the people of Puerto Rico".

Disgusting regime.

[May 23, 2020] The US "decoupling" from China is like the terminal patient in ICU "decoupling" from the machinery keeping his body alive

May 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

William Gruff , May 22 2020 20:14 utc | 23

The US "decoupling" from China is like the terminal patient in ICU "decoupling" from the machinery keeping his body alive. It is not working out quite the way the Republican and Democrat MAGA types imagined.

[May 23, 2020] "Obamagate" claims spark new round in internal US political warfare by Patrick Martin

May 23, 2020 | www.wsws.org

A second Senate panel, the Judiciary Committee, chaired by Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, is working on a similar timetable, with plans to issue a report before the November 3 presidential vote. It began Thursday to discuss subpoenas of former top Obama administration and national security officials, with a vote set for June 4 to give Graham broad subpoena power.

Graham has suggested he will call, among others, former FBI Director James Comey, his former deputy Andrew McCabe, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. At least initially, Graham has downplayed calls by Trump for issuing subpoenas to Obama and Biden.

The initial focus of the Judiciary Committee will be the case of retired General Michael Flynn, who resigned in February 2017 as Trump's national security adviser and later pled guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with then-Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.

Over the past month, the Flynn case has become the war cry of Trump and his ultra-right backers at Breitbart News, Fox News and among congressional Republicans. They claim that Flynn was the victim of a "perjury trap" set up by Comey at the instigation of Obama and Biden to disrupt the incoming Trump administration.

Attorney General William Barr intervened to quash the sentencing of Flynn on perjury charges, taking the unprecedented action of dropping prosecution on charges to which Flynn had twice pled guilty before a federal judge. That judge, Emmett Sullivan, is now considering whether to allow the dropping of the charges and has asked for outside groups to file friend-of-the-court pleadings on the question.

The Senate investigations accelerated after a Tuesday meeting between Trump and leading Senate Republicans, at which he demanded they "get tough" against the Democrats by issuing subpoenas and holding televised hearings during the summer.

On the same day, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell abandoned his previous reluctance to hold such hearings, declaring that the Obama administration had used "the awesome power of the federal government to pry into their political rivals."

"An American citizen's campaign for the American presidency was treated like a hostile foreign power by our own law enforcement," he said, "in part because a Democrat-led executive branch manipulated documents, hid contrary evidence, and made a DNC-funded dossier a launchpad for an investigation."

... ... ...

The fall election campaign sparked an internal conflict within the FBI between pro-Trump and pro-Clinton factions. On October 7, the "intelligence community" issued a warning that Russia was seeking to intervene in the election on behalf of Trump. Then, on October 29, Comey released his notorious letter to Congress announcing the reopening of the FBI's investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state. This unprecedented action, in violation of Justice Department rules against interfering with an election, arguably tipped the outcome to Trump, given his narrow margins in industrial states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

After Trump's surprise election victory, the attention of the intelligence agencies and the Obama administration shifted to Flynn, Trump's top foreign policy aide and his choice to become White House national security adviser. Obama warned Trump against naming Flynn, who had been fired in 2014 as part of an internal conflict within the intelligence establishment, with Clapper and CIA Director John Brennan pressing for his dismissal.

On December 29, 2016, Obama imposed stiff diplomatic sanctions on the Russian government, expelling a large number of its representatives in the United States on the spurious grounds that he was "retaliating" for Russian interference in the US presidential election. In fact, there has never been any evidence that Russian actions consisted of anything more than purchasing a few Facebook ads, for less than $100,000, trivial in comparison to the $5 billion expended by the campaigns for Trump and Clinton.

Immediately after Obama's announcement of sanctions, Flynn called the Russian ambassador to the United States, Kislyak, to urge the Putin government not to respond in kind, assuring him that the incoming Trump administration would review the matter afresh. Such contacts are routine during any transition between outgoing and incoming US administrations, but Flynn apparently considered the content of the discussions to be politically embarrassing and lied about them when interviewed by FBI agents.

On January 5, 2017, Obama and his closest aides were briefed by the intelligence agencies on the anti-Russia investigation, on the eve of a similar briefing delivered to President-elect Trump in New York City. It appears that Obama was less enthusiastic about the targeting of Flynn than the security chiefs, including Clapper and Comey, and Flynn continued to receive full briefings from the outgoing national security adviser, Susan Rice.

On January 12, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, a regular conduit for the intelligence agencies, made public the December 29 Flynn-Kislyak phone call, touching off the chain of events that led to Flynn's firing a month later. It is perhaps ironic, in view of the current "Obamagate" campaign, that Ignatius voiced the then-common view in the "intelligence community" that Obama was dragging his feet on the anti-Russia campaign. His column was headlined, "Why Did Obama Dawdle on Russian Hacking?"

These apparently tactical differences led Comey to send FBI agents to the White House on January 24, 2017 to interview Flynn about his conversations with Kislyak without notifying the Department of Justice, in violation of the usual protocol, because Acting Attorney General Sally Yates reportedly shared Obama's concern that too direct an attack on Flynn and Trump might backfire.

Besides the various Senate investigations, the Department of Justice is conducting its own review of the origins of the Russia investigation, which led ultimately to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller. This review, headed by US Attorney John Durham, is expected to include testimony under oath from the same set of former Obama aides who are to be subpoenaed by the Senate.

[May 22, 2020] No US president who can withdraw the USA from the Forever Wars

Highly recommended!
But may be coronavirus can. Although Perfumed Princes of Pentagon and MIC with it neocon fifth column will fiercely resist.
May 22, 2020 | www.unz.com

Nikolai Vladivostok , says: Website Show Comment May 22, 2020 at 6:21 am GMT

I've long since concluded, there is no president who can withdraw the US from the Forever Wars. Obama couldn't. Trump can't. Biden/Harris/Oprah/Gabbard/Pence won't.

There are a half-dozen permanent US policies that Americans don't get to vote on, and the Permawar is one of them.

Anon [151] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment May 22, 2020 at 6:36 am GMT
My God, Buchanan, I am staggered by the arrogance of this column. Where in the name of all that's holy did you ever get the idea that America has the right to impose on anyone, from Afghans through to Venezuelans, your (perceived) systems of thought, values and democracy? How many American soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan can even speak the local language? Understand the local customs? None!!! They swan around in their sunglasses and battle gear thinking that they are they return of the Terminator and wander why the locals absolutely hate their collective guts! It's time that you collectively learned that America is NOT the world's sheriff and that, as Benjamin Franklin said "A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still".
animalogic , says: Show Comment May 22, 2020 at 7:00 am GMT
Pat is not entirely wrong -- he hints at the explanation for failure:
"As imperialists, we Americans are conspicuous failures.

Moreover, with us, the national interest inevitably asserts itself."
As Imperialists there has never been anything but the (Elite) "national interest".
In short, these so called "losing" wars have been wars of aggression -- ie "bad" wars. All Pat's talk of conversion, democracy etc is just so much nonsense.

swamped , says: Show Comment May 22, 2020 at 8:14 am GMT
"While we can defeat our enemies in the air and on the seas and in cyberspace, we cannot persuade them to embrace secular democracy and its values any more than we can convert them to Christianity" although they might be better persuaded to convert to Christianity – traditional Christianity – than to embrace secular democracy and its "values".

Why would anyone want to embrace homosexuality, transgenderism, rad-feminism, opioids, prozac, inequality, broken homes, mass shootings, mountainous debt, corrupt media, puppet politicians & the rest of the filth & perversion that passes for "values" in secular democracies like America or Western Europe?

Indeed, why would anyone in these decadent countries even want to defend these venal "values", let alone try to spread them around the world like the Chinese plague?
No, "they are not trying to change us" but maybe they should.

Donald Duck , says: Show Comment May 22, 2020 at 10:07 am GMT
As the British and French ultimately found out it costs more to run an empire than to loot it. So the long retreat ensues. One would have thought that the Americans might have learned this from history, but no! After all they were "the exceptional people, they stood taller than the others and saw further." Errrm, no they didn't. Like their forbears they got bogged down as well getting into debt which was only bailed out by their insistence that they would not convert the dollar into gold.

Human nature and stupidity has got a long track-record and it isn't going to end anytime soon.

paranoid goy , says: Website Show Comment May 22, 2020 at 12:30 pm GMT
The writer, and most commenters' are still under the erroneous belief that AMerica goes to war in places then AMerica wins or loses or wastes lives or kill children. This is the saddest part of the Yankee war machine: Americans joining the Army because they think theya re joining the fight to defend the American Dream.

You-all are corporate gunmonkeys, fighting and killing and burning and bombing, not in the name of freedom or apple pie, but in the name of Gulf Oil, Goldman Sachs, Citicorp, JPMorgan, Monsanto, PHBBillington, whatever Devil Rumsfeld calls his sack of shit these days .

America has not won any war anywhere, even their civil war was mostly just clearing the land for the banks. That is because it is not America at war, she just supplies the cannon fodder. And cannons. And radiactive scrapmetal to make bullets to mow down women and children in the name of Investor Confidence.
But then, that is what your Zionist bible tells you to do, isn't it?

Realist , says: Show Comment May 22, 2020 at 1:26 pm GMT

What Does Winning Mean in a Forever War?

Winning a war is not in the interest of the Deep State. Being at war makes the Deep State more wealthy and powerful not winning at war.

Realist , says: Show Comment May 22, 2020 at 1:30 pm GMT
@Anon

I just don't think the US has the immoral fortitude to engage in genocide, so it's hopeless trying to "win."

If by the US you mean most of the people you may be right. But the people in the US have no say in the actions of the US government which is controlled by psychopaths.

anonymous [400] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment May 22, 2020 at 1:49 pm GMT
Afghanistan is hardly even a country as the average American might define one. There's really nothing to "win"; we only occupy. The infrastructure is primitive so it's not cost effective to try to take whatever natural resources they may have, if any, so there's nothing they have that we want. The Taliban were not "ousted". In the face of massive firepower they split up and scattered; they're still there. After all, the US has been negotiating with them for a peace deal of some sort hasn't it? "Democracy crusades" is just a propaganda fig leaf to bamboozle stupid Americans. It's amazing that there's people who actually believe stuff like that but PT Barnum had it right. "Eventually, we give up and go home". That's because they live there and we don't. "They apparently have an inexhaustible supply of volunteers" willing to fight and die. They don't want foreign robo-soldiers pointing guns at them in their own country. We have our own version, it's called "Remember the Alamo", men who stood their ground against the odds.
Amerimutt Golems , says: Show Comment May 22, 2020 at 2:03 pm GMT
@Anon

If a country is not willing to do that, and I would hope the United States is not willing to do that, then they (we) should go home and leave the Afghans to murder each other without our assistance. If they return to supporting terrorism or go whole hog in producing opium, perhaps the US should decapitate their entire government and let the next batch of losers give governing a try. I just don't think the US has the immoral fortitude to engage in genocide, so it's hopeless trying to "win."

The growth in opium cultivation correlates with CIA activities in the area and the $3 billion from American taxpayers which financed Mujahideen 'terrorism' against the Russians and their local proxies just to avenge the fall of Saigon.

In 1980 Afghanistan accounted for about only 5% of total world heroin production. This was mainly for the local market and neighbor Iran.

That is how you get forever wars.

Rurik , says: Show Comment May 22, 2020 at 3:04 pm GMT

They refuse to surrender and submit because it is their beliefs, their values, their faith, their traditions, their tribe, their God, their culture, their civilization, their honor that they believe they are fighting for in what is, after all, their land, not ours.

If I may..

another way of looking at this, and I feel a profound respect for the Afghans, and only wish we were made of the same mettle. If only ((they)) could say of us..

They refuse to surrender and submit because it is their beliefs, their values, their faith, their traditions, their tribe, their God, their culture, their civilization, their honor that they believe they are fighting for in what is, after all, their land, not (((ours)))).

They are not trying to change ((((us. We))) are trying to change them. And they wish to remain who they are.

IOW, we white Westerners, have proved willing to surrender and submit to all of it. Without nary a peep of protest. Even as ((they)) send us around the globe to kill people like these Afghans, for being slightly inconvenient to their agenda. [And so the CIA can reconstitute its global heroin trafficking operation$.]

If only history would look back on this epic moment, at the last Death throes of the West, and say of whitey, that he refused to surrender his values and faith and traditions and tribe and God, and culture and civilization and honor.. to ((those)) who would pervert his values, and mock his faith, and trash his traditions, and exterminate his tribe, while mocking his God, and poisoning his culture, and destroying his civilization and all because at the end of the day, he had no honor.

These men may be backwater, illiterate villagers,

but at least they have enough mettle and honor, to tell the Beast that they would rather die killing as many of the Beast's stupid goons as they're able, than ever sacrifice their sacred honor- or lands or sovereignty, or the destinies of their children – over to the fiend, which is more than I can say for Western "man".

They are not trying to change us. We are trying to change them. And they wish to remain who they are.

Would that the Swedish people had a Nano-shred of the blood-honor of an Afghan, Barbara Spectre would be pounding sand.

Historically, the Afghans are fundamentalist, tribal and impervious to foreign intervention.

Obviously, there is a great deal we need to learn from them.

What will the Taliban do when we leave?

They will not give up their dream of again ruling the Afghan nation and people. And they will fight until they have achieved that goal and their idea of victory: dominance.

Um.. Pat. Whose land is it anyways? Is it such a horror that Afghans should be dominant in Afghanistan ?

The Taliban was welcomed into most of the regions it governed, because they drove out local war lords who often treated the villager's children as their sex toys, and the foreign (CIA) opioid growers and traffickers. And it was the Taliban that put an end to all of that. They're harsh, but they're effective, and that is their land, not ours.

Also, the Taliban offered to turn over Osama Bin Laden, if the West could provide a shred of proof that he had anything whatsoever to do with 9/11. (he didn't ; ) But the West had zero proof, (as the FBI admits to this day), that they have zero proof that ties Bin Laden to 9/11.

And n0w that we all know 9/11 was an Israeli false flag, intended to use the American military as their bitch, to burn down 'seven nations in five years' .. that the Jewish supremacists wanted destroyed, our whole pretext for being over there has been a sham from day one. Duh.
.
.
.
.
I remember long ago when I had a subscription to National Geographic and this photo came out, I cut the picture out, and stuck it somewhere to look at- it was so visceral and haunting.

Leave them alone. I don't care how many Jews at the WSJ demand whitey has to stay and die for Israel. (Afghanistan is on Iran's border, and that's why we have to stay, to menace all those anti-Semites over there, trying to gas all the Jews and make soap).

Good on Trump for calling out the ((WSJ)).

follyofwar , says: Show Comment May 22, 2020 at 3:42 pm GMT
@paranoid goy I very much doubt if many are joining the military to "defend the American Dream." Most are more practical and are joining to escape poverty, even if it might cost them their lives. Recruiters will now be inundated with volunteers since there are no jobs in the covid depression.
Exile , says: Show Comment May 22, 2020 at 4:15 pm GMT
If the neo-con clown car Trump has permitted to run foreign policy since his election gets us into a war with Iran and/or Venezuela before November, will Pat still be stumping for him, or will we see the return of non-election-year Pat?
VinnyVette , says: Show Comment May 22, 2020 at 4:46 pm GMT
Excellent question Pat! Unfortunately there is no answer, we've been at "forever war" seemingly forever, and the whole point as Eisenhower so preciently warned us is THE objective.
Priss Factor , says: Website Show Comment May 22, 2020 at 5:36 pm GMT
It's not 'forever war'. It is Empire. Empire exists to continue and expand. War is about win or lose. Empire is about keep and dominate.

US wars are not to win and then depart. It is to keep occupying and controlling.

And US is rich enough to buy off the local elites as collaborators forever.

Marshal Marlow , says: Show Comment May 23, 2020 at 1:56 am GMT
@Anon

If they return to supporting terrorism

The thing is that the Afghan government wasn't supporting terrorism. Rather, it had no on-going control anywhere except the cities, which made the tribal areas useful hideouts / bases for a raft of groups.

I well remember the prelude to the invasion where the US was demanding that its government (which merely happened to be Taliban that year) hand over OBL in 72hrs. The truth was that the US knew Afghanistan didn't have the capability to do that and it merely wanted to use OBL as an excuse to invade and continue the encirclement of the old soviet states.

[May 22, 2020] Is the US form of government a bribery via political parties, masquerading as democracy to keep the proles in line?

May 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Joe B , May 23 2020 0:23 utc | 43

... ... ...

That article notes "The so called 'pro-democracy' parties in Hong Kong have lost in each and every local election. The pro-China parties always receive a majority of votes" so that is the issue to be cited.

2. The political issue presented by the US is of the legitimacy of secession of an alleged democracy from what it alleges is not a democracy. Governments never permit secession, whether legitimate or not, so US action would be provocation with only symbolic effect.

If the US was a democracy and the PRC was a tyranny, the US claim would be at least ethical. But the US form of government is bribery via political parties, masquerading as democracy to keep the proles in line. It simply claims that the PRC is not as much of a democracy, to a public that has no information on that. So the missing ethical issue is: is the PRC more of a democracy, some kind of democracy, etc.?

[May 22, 2020] Michael Flynn's Forgotten Turkish Connection

No questions that Flynn was corrupt. And his handlers were Israel and Turkey, not Russia.
May 22, 2020 | original.antiwar.com

Before Russiagate, the former national security advisor was an operative for Turkey, tilting foreign policy against the Kurds.

by Reese Erlich Posted on May 22, 2020 May 21, 2020 Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn is best known for his connection to the Russiagate investigation. Lost in that hubbub, however, was Flynn's slimy role as a lobbyist for Turkey. A Turkish businessman paid Flynn $530,000 in 2016 to push pro-Turkey, anti-Kurd policies in hopes of influencing the Trump Administration.

The American public has mostly forgotten about Flynn's Turkey connections, says Steven A. Cook, senior fellow for Middle East and Africa Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C.

"There's more going on with Turkey than people may realize," Cook tells me.

Flynn's money-driven opportunism is just one example of the operations of Washington's foreign policy lobbyists. As a candidate, Donald Trump correctly criticized the Washington swamp, but as President, instead of draining it, he has shoveled in more muck.

I've dipped my toe into the swamp on occasion by attending conferences and press events populated by Washington's elite. I've rubbed elbows with the likes of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Believe me, these folks are just as evil in person as they appear on TV.

Washington swamp creatures are easily identified by their black pinstriped suits, wingtip oxfords, and red power ties. Two kinds of people attend these events: those in power and those hoping to seize it.

Washington is crawling with former diplomats, intelligence officers, and business executives eager to influence policy and make a buck. And so enters former army Lieutenant General Michael Thomas Flynn, poster boy for the military-industrial complex.

Flynn's checkered past

Flynn, who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, came to Washington during the Obama Administration as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. He was forced to resign for insubordination in 2014, whereupon he joined the Washington swamp by forming the Flynn Intel Group.

In 2016, Flynn hitched his wagon to candidate Donald Trump, giving a fiery speech at the Republican National Convention in which he echoed the call to "lock up" Hillary Clinton for her handling of State Department emails.

Behind the scenes, however, Flynn was engaged in offenses for which he could be locked up. The Flynn Intel Group signed a contract totaling $600,000 with a Turkish businessman who had close ties to authoritarian Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Erdoğan wanted Washington to extradite Fethullah Gulen, a political opponent living in Pennsylvania since 1999. Gulen is a rival political Islamist who had a falling out with Erdogan. The Turkish president accuses Gulen of organizing the unsuccessful July 2016 coup. At the time Flynn spoke favorably about the military trying to overthrow Erdogan. He also criticized Turkey for allowing terrorists to cross the border into Syria.

But after receiving the contract to help Turkey, he did a 180-degree turn and supported Erdogan's policies.

"Flynn believes whatever is good for Flynn is good for America," Kani Xulam, director of the American Kurdish Information Network, tells me. "The minute they put money in his bank account, he became pro-Turkey. That was the shocking part."

Kidnapping

In September 2016, Flynn arranged a meeting between former US officials and Turkish leaders, including the country's foreign minister, energy minister, and Erdogan's son-in-law.

Participants at the meeting talked about kidnapping Gulen and bringing him to Turkey. Former Central Intelligence Agency Director James Woolsey, who attended the meeting, said they discussed "a covert step in the dead of night to whisk this guy away."

In December, Flynn wrote an op-ed for the influential Washington publication The Hill in which he compared Gulen to both Osama bin Laden and Ayatollah Khomeini. According to analyst Cook, the op-ed could have been written in Ankara: "It was all Turkey's talking points."

Flynn didn't bother to tell The Hill editors that he was a paid lobbyist for Turkey.

Flynn became part of Trump's transition team after November 2016, and he used the position to push anti-Kurdish policies. At that time, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces were on the verge of taking control of the ISIS-controlled city of Raqqa, Syria. He told the Obama Administration not to provide arms to the SDF and implemented that policy when Trump came to power in 2017.

But Flynn's stint as National Security Advisor lasted for only three weeks. He was forced to resign after revelations of his phone call to the Russian ambassador. In March, Flynn registered as a foreign agent for Turkey.

In 2019, a federal jury convicted Flynn's business associate, Bijan Kian, on two felonies: conspiracy to violate lobbying laws and failure to register as a foreign agent for Turkey. Flynn was scheduled to testify against Kian but changed his story at the last minute, causing problems for the prosecution. The judge later tossed the verdict, saying the prosecution didn't prove its case.

As part of an overall deal with federal prosecutors, Flynn was never charged in connection with his lobbying for Turkey. It seems unlikely that he ever will.

Corrupt world

Flynn's activities are just one example of the corrupt world of foreign lobbying. Recently, The New York Times exposed how defense contractor Raytheon pressured the Trump Administration to sell sophisticated weapons to Saudi Arabia, which were then used to slaughter civilians in Yemen.

The Yemen war, which began in 2015, has killed an estimated 100,000 people and displaced 80 percent of the population. Saudi air bombardment of hospitals, schools, and other civilian targets helped create one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. US arms manufacturers such as Lockheed Martin and Raytheon have profited handsomely from the slaughter.

Until recently, Raytheon's vice president for government relations was a former career army officer named Mark Esper. Today Esper is Secretary of Defense.

Crawling into bed with lobbyists is bipartisan activity. The Obama Administration sold $10 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia and its allies. Trump has openly boasted that US arms sales provide corporate profits and jobs at home.

"Trump has been more forthcoming praising US relations with Saudis because they want to buy more weapons," Kurdish activist Xulam tells me. "He doesn't care what Saudis do with the weapons."

Analyst Cook says the entire system of foreign lobbying needs major reform. "It's a scandal that needs to be cleaned up," he says. "It's legalized foreign influence peddling."

Reese Erlich's nationally distributed column, Foreign Correspondent, appears every two weeks. Follow him on Twitter , @ReeseErlich; friend him on Facebook ; and visit his webpage .

[May 22, 2020] They Saw This Day Coming - Huawei Forges Alliances With Rival Chipmakers As Washington's Crackdown Intensifies

May 22, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

"They Saw This Day Coming" - Huawei Forges Alliances With Rival Chipmakers As Washington's Crackdown Intensifies by Tyler Durden Fri, 05/22/2020 - 18:05 The US Commerce Department's latest move to block companies from selling products to Huawei that were created with American technology, equipment or software has undoubtedly hurt the Chinese telecoms giant. But it won't be nearly enough to take it down.

Since Washington launched its campaign against Huawei two years ago (when the trade tensions between the US and China started to heat up, as President Trump started slapping more tariffs on foreign goods) the company has been strengthening ties with contract chipmakers in Taiwan and elsewhere, while ramping up its own microchip-technology arm, known as HiSilicon Technologies.

On Friday, Nikkei reported that Huawei had initiated conversations with other mobile chipmakers to try and figure out where it might source certain essential components for its handsets (remember, Huawei is the second-largest cellphone maker by sales volume) and other products.

Of course, the crackdown cuts both ways, as several American companies relied heavily on Huawei's business (they can still apply for licenses to continue selling to Huawei...so long as Commerce approves).

As we reported earlier this week , it's not just American chipmakers that are distancing themselves from Huawei: some Taiwan-based chipmakers are also dropping the telecoms giant for fear of being targeted by Treasury sanctions, including TSMC, the world's largest contract chipmaker.

Now, Huawei is reportedly in talks with MediaTek, the world's second-largest contract chip producer.

Huawei Technologies is seeking help from rival mobile-chip makers to withstand a U.S. clampdown aimed at crippling the Chinese company, sources familiar with the matter told the Nikkei Asian Review.

Huawei is in talks with MediaTek, the world's second-largest mobile chip developer after Qualcomm of the U.S., and UNISOC, China's second-largest mobile chip designer after Huawei's HiSilicon Technologies unit, to buy more chips as alternatives to keep its consumer electronics business afloat, the sources said.

To work with a contract chipmaker, Huawei would still need to design its own chips. Over the past two years, Huawei has expanded its team of engineers working on chip design to more than 10,000, Nikkei said.

To be sure, MediaTek already makes low- and medium-end chips for Huawei, evidence that the company, which was founded by a veteran of China's PLA, and purportedly maintains strong links to the Chinese military, has been bracing for the other shoe to drop. MediaTek, meanwhile, is still trying to figure out if it can meet Huawei's latest bid.

"Huawei has foreseen this day coming. It started to allocate more mid- to low-end mobile chip projects to MediaTek last year amid its de-Americanization efforts," one of the sources said. "Huawei has also become one of the key clients for the Taiwanese mobile chip developer's mid-end 5G mobile chip for this year."

MediaTek is evaluating whether it has sufficient human resources to fully support Huawei's aggressive bid, as the Chinese company is asking for volume 300% above its usual procurement in the past few years, another source familiar with the talks said.

The situation has also created an opportunity for small Chinese chipmakers (working, we imagine, mostly with technology stolen from American and Taiwanese companies) to expand.

Huawei also seeks to deepen its collaboration with UNISOC, a Beijing-backed mobile chip developer that relies mostly on smaller device makers as customers and mainly supports entry-level products and devices for emerging markets. Previously, Huawei used only very few UNISOC chips for its low-end smartphone and tablet offerings, sources said.

"The new procurement deals would be a great boost to help UNISOC further upgrade its chip design capability," said a chip industry executive. "In the past, UNISOC was struggling quite a bit, because it could not really secure big contracts with global leading smartphone makers as these top smartphone makers could find better offerings elsewhere. This time could be an opportunity that it could really seek to match the international standard."

UNISOC last year accelerated its 5G chip development to catch up with Qualcomm and MediaTek, Nikkei has reported. More recently, the company received 4.5 billion yuan ($630 million) from China's national integrated circuit fund, the so-called Big Fund.

UNISOC is preparing to list on the Shanghai STAR tech board, the Chinese version of Nasdaq, later this year. Qualcomm has needed a license from the U.S. Department of Commerce to supply Huawei since mid-May of 2019.

Huawei has already expanded production of in-house mobile processors for its smartphone business to 75%, up from 69% in 2018 and 45% in 2016, according to to data from GF Securities cited by Nikkei. Huawei shipped 240 million smartphones in 2019. And with China now throwing caution to the wind and cracking down on Hong Kong, we wouldn't be surprised to see more Huawei drama in the headlines next week, with serious market repercussions for the US semiconductor industry.

[May 22, 2020] It is easy for chickenhawks to scream war war war but when their lives or their kid's lives on the line of fire most will ran away to Canada or Mexico

May 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

milomilo , May 23 2020 0:24 utc | 44

@vk , hilarious post trying to potray modern day USN as fhe same one who fought japanese.. after WW2 all USN did was doing tag with soviets and today even their skill lost in the current situation.. The good ole US navy is gone, all that left is aging airframes and ships and confused doctrine that focused on clearing endless brush fires from restless natives..

USN are not able to fight peer enemy naval force, its man power are not sustainable in such fight , thus they will resort to military draft system again and pray tell how many foolish ignorant gung ho flag waving american would enlist ? it is easy for chickenhawks to scream war war war but when their lives or their kid's lives on the line of fire most will ran away to canada or mexico

[May 22, 2020] Washington officials admit to counting GUNSHOT DEATHS in Covid-19 tally, say virus death toll likely underreported despite lapses

Yes, gunshot wounds are clearly the ffect of the new coronavirus.
May 22, 2020 | www.rt.com

Health officials in Washington state said they are reassessing their Covid-19 fatality data, warning of underreported deaths.

Even after noting that five people who died of gunshot wounds were inexplicably included in the figures.

[May 22, 2020] Washington State conned out of a likely 'hundreds of millions of dollars' by Nigerian scammers

If Nigerian hackers can steal that much money, Israel, Chinese, and Russian, intel agencies probably are in the most Fed information systems doing what they want ;-)
Notable quotes:
"... officials in Washington State may have lost "hundreds of millions of dollars" to fraudsters filing bogus unemployment claim ..."
May 22, 2020 | www.rt.com
officials in Washington State may have lost "hundreds of millions of dollars" to fraudsters filing bogus unemployment claim s – all the way from Nigeria.

[May 22, 2020] Wray's Review Of FBI's Flynn Probe Is The Fox Guarding The Hen House

May 22, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Wray's Review Of FBI's Flynn Probe "Is The Fox Guarding The Hen House" by Tyler Durden Fri, 05/22/2020 - 20:05 Authored by Sara Carter,

FBI Director Christopher Wray announced Friday that he has ordered the bureau to conduct an internal review of its handling of the probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn , which has led to his years long battle in federal court.

It's like the fox guarding the hen house.

Wray's decision to investigate also comes late. The bureau's probe only comes after numerous revelations that former senior FBI officials and agents involved in Flynn's case allegedly engaged in misconduct to target the three star general, who became President Donald Trump's most trusted campaign advisor.

Despite all these revelations, Wray has promised that the bureau will examine whether any employees engaged in misconduct during the court of the investigation and "evaluate whether any improvements in FBI policies and procedures need to be made." Based on what we know, how can we trust an unbiased investigation from the very bureau that targeted Flynn.

Let me put it to you this way, over the past year Wray has failed to cooperate with congressional investigations. In fact, many Republican lawmakers have called him out publicly on the lack of cooperation saying, he cares more about protecting the bureaucracy than exposing and resolving the culture of corruption within the bureau.

Wray's Friday announcement, is in my opinion, a ruse to get lawmakers off his back.

How can we trust that Wray's internal investigation will expose what actually happened in the case of Flynn, or any of the other Trump campaign officials that were targeted by the former Obama administration's intelligence and law enforcement apparatus.

It's Wray's FBI that continues to battle all the Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act requests regarding the investigation into Flynn, along with any requests that would expose information on the Russia hoax investigation. One in particular, is the request to obtain all the text messages and emails sent and received by former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

The FBI defended itself in its Friday announcement saying that in addition to its own internal review, it has already cooperated with other inquiries assigned by Attorney General William Barr. But still Wray has not approved subpoena's for employees and others that lawmakers want to interview behind closed doors in Congress.

The recent documented discoveries by the Department of Justice make it all the more imperative that an outside review of the FBI's handling of Flynn's case is required. Those documents, which shed light on the actions by the bureau against Flynn, led to the DOJ's decision to drop all charges against him. It was, after all, DOJ Attorney Jeffery Jensen who discovered the FBI documents regarding Flynn that have aided his defense attorney Sidney Powell in getting the truth out to they American people.

Powell, like me, doesn't believe an internal review is appropriate.

"Wow? And how is he going to investigate himself," she questioned in a Tweet. "And how could anyone trust it? FBI Director Wray opens internal review into how bureau handled Michael Flynn case."

WOW? And how is he going to investigate himself? And how could anyone trust it?
FBI Director Wray opens internal review into how bureau handled Michael Flynn case https://t.co/AeE0yL46W6 #FBICorruption #Clapper #Brennan #NSA #spying
Widespread illegal monitoring by #Obama admin

-- Sidney Powell 🇺🇸⭐⭐⭐ (@SidneyPowell1) May 22, 2020

Last week, this reporter published the growing divide between Congressional Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee and Wray. The lawmakers have accused Wray of failing to respond to numerous requests to speak with FBI Special Agent Joe Pientka, who along with former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok, conducted the now infamous White House interview with Flynn on Jan. 24, 2017.

Further, the lawmakers have also requested to speak with the FBI's former head of the Counterintelligence Division , Bill Priestap, whose unsealed handwritten notes revealed the possible 'nefarious' motivations behind the FBI's investigation of Flynn.

"Michael Flynn was wronged by the FBI," said a senior Republican official last week, with direct knowledge of the Flynn investigation.

"Sadly Director Wray has shown little interest in getting to the bottom of what actually happened with the Flynn case. Wray's lackadaisical attitude is an embarrassment to the rank and file agents at the bureau, whose names have been dragged through the mud time and time again throughout the Russia-gate investigation. Wray needs to wake up and work with Congress. If he doesn't maybe it's time for him to go. "

Powell argued that Flynn had pleaded guilty because his former Special Counsel Robert Mueller, along with his prosecutors, threatened to target his son. Those prosecutors also coerced Flynn, whose finances were depleted by his previous defense team. Mueller's team got Flynn to plead guilty to lying to the FBI about a phone conversation he had with the former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition period. However, the agents who interviewed him did not believe he was lying.

Currently the DOJ's request to dismiss the case is now pending before federal Judge Emmet Sullivan. Sullivan has failed to grant the DOJ's request to dismiss the case and because of that Powell has filed a writ of mandamus to the U.S. D.C. Court of Appeals seeking the immediate removal of Sullivan, or to dismiss the prosecution as requested by the DOJ.

[May 22, 2020] System Update with Glenn Greenwald - The Murderous History and Deceitful Function of the CIA

May 22, 2020 | www.youtube.com

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity The CIA’s Murderous Practices, Disinformation Campaigns, and Interference in

In the weeks before the 2016 presidential election, the most powerful former leaders of the Central Intelligence Agency did everything they could to elect Hillary Clinton and defeat Donald Trump. President Obama’s former acting CIA chief Michael Morrell published a full-throated endorsement of Clinton in the New York Times and claimed “Putin ha[s] recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation,” while George W. Bush’s post-9/11 CIA and NSA Chief, Gen. Michael Hayden, writing in the Washington Post, refrained from endorsing Clinton outright but echoed Morrell by accusing Trump of being a “useful fool, some naif, manipulated by Moscow” and sounding “a little bit the conspiratorial Marxist.” Meanwhile, the intelligence community under James Clapper and John Brennan fed morsels to both the Obama DOJ and the US media to suggest a Trump/Russia conspiracy and fuel what became the Russiagate investigation.

In his extraordinary election-advocating Op-Ed, Gen. Hayden, Bush/Cheney’s CIA Chief, candidly explained the reasons for the CIA’s antipathy for Trump: namely, the GOP candidate’s stated opposition to allowing CIA regime change efforts in Syria to expand as well as his opposition to arming Ukrainians with lethal weapons to fight Russia (supposedly “pro-Putin” positions which, we are now all supposed to forget, Obama largely shared).

As has been true since President Harry Truman’s creation of the CIA after World War II, interfering in other countries and dictating or changing their governments — through campaigns of mass murder, military coups, arming guerrilla groups, the abolition of democracy, systemic disinformation, and the imposition of savage despots — is regarded as a divine right, inherent to American exceptionalism. Anyone who questions that or, worse, opposes it and seeks to impede it (as the CIA perceived Trump was) is of suspect loyalties at best.

The CIA’s antipathy toward Trump continued after his election victory. The agency became the primary vector for anonymous, illegal leaks designed to depict Trump as a Kremlin agent and/or blackmail victim. It worked to ensure the leak of the Steele dossier that clouded at least the first two years of Trump’s presidency. It drove the scam Russiagate conspiracy theories. And before Trump was even inaugurated, open warfare erupted between the president-elect and the agency to the point where Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer explicitly warned Trump on the Rachel Maddow Show that he was risking full-on subversion of his presidency by the agency:

Democrats, early in Trump’s presidency, saw clearly that the CIA had become one of Trump’s most devoted enemies, and thus began viewing them as a valuable ally. Leading out-of-power Democratic foreign policy elites from the Obama administration and Clinton campaign joined forces not only with Bush/Cheney neocons but also former CIA officials to create new foreign policy advocacy groups designed to malign and undermine Trump and promote hawkish confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia. Meanwhile, other ex-CIA and Homeland Security officials, such as John Brennan and James Clapper, became beloved liberal celebrities by being hired by MSNBC and CNN to deliver liberal-pleasing anti-Trump messaging that, on a virtually daily basis, masqueraded as news.

Fair Use Excerpt. Read the rest here.


Arthur Davis , 1 day ago

All covered extensively in Killing Hope , U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, by William Blum

Timothy Lee , 22 hours ago

Oliver Stone's "The Untold History of the US" opened up my eyes to how shameful our history really is. The American Empire is no better then Great Britain, the very power this country was supposed to rise above.

Mehdi Hosseini , 1 day ago

When a system is fully controlled by the big corporation/money every action and move must serve it's master. Some are directly related to their immediate interest and some to prevent any future challenge to it.

Dennis Miller , 1 day ago

let's not forget the Dulles Brothers (CIA & State)

Joe Filter , 1 day ago

Such sad facts. 'Killing Hope' really does describe it.

Cygnus X-321 , 1 day ago

"...At CBS, we had been contacted by the CIA, as a matter of fact, by the time I became the head of the news and public affairs division in 1954 shifts had been established ... I was told about them and asked if I'd carry on with them...." -- Sid Mickelson, CBS News President 1954-61, describing Operation Mockingbird

Jorge Eduardo da Silva Tavares , 1 day ago

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, by John Perkins, was a NYTimes best-seller about the methods CIA use to dominate countries in Latin America and in Asia. John Perkins never was interviewed by Us Media.

[May 22, 2020] Sorting fact from fiction on Obamagate, Flynn investigations by Glenn Greenwald

FBI was converted into free floating secret police free to investigate anybody.
Notable quotes:
"... Well, there is the infamous Strzok-Page SMS where Page states that the WH wants to know everything. This occurred MONTHS before January 4, 2017. ..."
"... Mike Flynn was eyeballs deep in conflicts of interest between his business and his national security role. ..."
"... part of the call was to ask Russia to veto a vote which should also be drilled into as they had not taken office yet and actively undermined a sitting government ..."
"... The FBI asked about the call because they wanted to leak it without revealing they had intercepted the communications of a incoming National Security Advisor. The call might have been perfectly normal and legal but given the Russia hysteria of the time it was perfectly usable as a smear. ..."
"... So they went in and ambushed Flynn without a lawyer to either get him on the record and leak it or better yet lie about it. Flynn didn't know how depraved the Obama administration had become and didn't imagine they had unmasked him and also couldn't believe they would dare entrap him like some criminal by asking him about a call they already had intercepted. That was his mistake. ..."
"... Obama is an armed terrorist at the behest of the CIA for a proxy war in Libya (North Africa) and Syria ..."
May 22, 2020 | www.youtube.com

ilmaestro305 Hoch , 5 hours ago

Beria is supposed to have said to Stalin, "Show me the man and I'll show you the crime."

JB6789 , 4 hours ago (edited)

03: 45 - Well, there is the infamous Strzok-Page SMS where Page states that the WH wants to know everything. This occurred MONTHS before January 4, 2017.

JB6789 , 4 hours ago

Glenn Greenwald is always delivering a well-thought and well-researched view on so many important issues in this world. I may not share the same view on every issue with GG, but I make a reasonable effort to find his insights at every opportunity. He is an absolute pleasure to listen to, because he speaks with such clarity of thought and is clearly an exceptional lawyer. It may well be too much to ask for...but journalism could use 100 more Glenn Greenwald's.

2020 FDR New Deal Solution , 4 hours ago

I can't express how much respect I have for Glenn. The Hill and Glenn are some of the only people left in media that I actually trust.

Jared Allen , 2 hours ago

Rising is really drinking the kool aid on this one. So many facts about this case are being cherry picked to find a conspiracy. Mike Flynn was eyeballs deep in conflicts of interest between his business and his national security role.

Let's also not forget, he was fired by Trump because he lied to Mike Pence, not because the deep state railroaded him in some way.

... ... ...

Richw , 4 hours ago

Completely agree that this was criminal and should be explored fully but be objective and I heard about the story that part of the call was to ask Russia to veto a vote which should also be drilled into as they had not taken office yet and actively undermined a sitting government

ToldYouSo , 1 hour ago

Come on how can you beat around the bush so much?

The FBI asked about the call because they wanted to leak it without revealing they had intercepted the communications of a incoming National Security Advisor. The call might have been perfectly normal and legal but given the Russia hysteria of the time it was perfectly usable as a smear.

So they went in and ambushed Flynn without a lawyer to either get him on the record and leak it or better yet lie about it. Flynn didn't know how depraved the Obama administration had become and didn't imagine they had unmasked him and also couldn't believe they would dare entrap him like some criminal by asking him about a call they already had intercepted. That was his mistake.

Rogue Judas , 4 hours ago

Obama is an armed terrorist at the behest of the CIA for a proxy war in Libya (North Africa) and Syria.

[May 22, 2020] Time to Break up the FBI by William S. Smith

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... One could write a long history of FBI abuses and failures, from Latin America to Martin Luther King to Japanese internment. But just consider a handful of their more recent cases. ..."
"... But it was 9/11 that really sealed the FBI's ignominious track record. The lavishly funded agency charged with preventing terrorism somehow missed the attacks, despite their awareness of numerous Saudi nationals taking flying lessons around the country. Immediately after 9/11, the nation was gripped by the anthrax scare, and once again the FBI's inability to solve the case caused them to try to railroad an innocent man, Stephen Hatfill . ..."
"... With 9/11, the FBI also began targeting troubled Americans by handing them bomb materials, arresting them, and then holding a press conference to tell the country that they had prevented a major terrorist attack -- a fake attack that they themselves had planned. ..."
"... 9/11 also opened the floodgates to domestic surveillance and all the FISA abuses that most recently led to the prosecution of Michael Flynn. I am no fan of Flynn and his hawkish anti-Islamic views, but the way he was framed and then prosecuted really does shock the conscience. ..."
"... For the FBI, merely catching bad guys is too mundane. As one can tell from the sanctimonious James Comey, the culture at the Bureau holds grander aspirations. Comey's book is titled A Higher Loyalty , as if the FBI reports only to the Almighty. ..."
"... While the nation's elite colleges and tech companies are crawling with Chinese spies who are literally stealing our best ideas, the chief of the FBI's Counterintelligence Section, Peter Strzok, spent his days trying to frame junior aides in the Trump campaign. ..."
"... Some conservatives have called for FBI Director Christopher Wray to be fired. This would accomplish nothing, as the problem is not one man but an entire culture. ..."
"... One of the most amusing yet disturbing tends of the Trump era has been the increasingly strong embrace of the "intelligence community" (how I hate that term) by left liberals. ..."
"... It's tempting to wonder how many of them have even heard of COINTELPRO, but I suspect that most of them would be just fine if the FBI intervened to disrupt and destabilize the Marxist left in the unlikely event that it seemed to be gaining a significant political foothold. Can't have any nasty class politics disrupting their bourgeois identitarian parlor game! ..."
"... J. Edgar Hoover wrecked a lot of the good the FBI could have been right from the beginning, there needs to be a major cultural change over there and they need to be put back on track so that they serve us instead of themselves. ..."
"... Making sure crooks like Hoover and showboats like Comey never get put in charge would be a good start. ..."
"... Remember in "Three Days of the Condor," when Robert Redford reacts scornfully to Cliff Robertson's use of the term "community"? ..."
"... Collaboratus: Basically, working together. BULL, the individual IC Agencies can't work together internally, much less across agency boundaries. ..."
"... Virtus: a specific virtue in Ancient Rome. It carried connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths. Again, BULL. The Feminazis and lgbtqxyz crowd have, pretty much snipped any balls and put them in a jar. Yes, gay pride is big in the IC. ..."
"... Fides: was the goddess of trust and bona fides in Roman paganism. She was one of the original virtues to be considered an actual religious divinity. Fides is everything that is required for "honour and credibility, from fidelity in marriage, to contractual arrangements, and the obligation soldiers owed to Rome". With respect to the IC, that last bears repeating" "Obligations Soldiers Owed To Rome." In the IC (Rome), Leadership and Management (LM) have no obligations to the 'soldiers'; so, of course, the soldiers respond in kind. ..."
"... Real underline issue is FBI has been politicized. Rather than be neutral and independent, top FBI leaders have aligned with politicians. While nominate FBI officials, presidents also select their own than someone is independent. ..."
"... Absolutely nothing new or rare was done to Flynn. The FBI used perfectly standard dirty tricks on him. ..."
"... It isn't just the FBI that uses dirty tactics. most police departments also use dirty tactics. ..."
"... As I see it the agency that needs to be broken up is the CIA. What they do is shameful and not American. They are and have always been heavily involved in other countries internal affairs. They are an evil organization. ..."
"... Absolutely phenomenal that an entire essay abusing the FBI could be written without once mentioning the man who actually made the Federal Bureau of Investigation into what it is (whatever that might be). But J Edgar Hoover is still sufficiently iconic a figure to many Conservatives that it would be counterproductive to assault him. Better someone like Comey. ..."
"... I did not know the FBI had the power to go back in time, otherwise how did they get Flynn to lie to VP Pence on Jan 14 when they didn't interview him until 1/24? Amazing how powerful they are! ..."
May 18, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Its constant abuses, of which Michael Flynn is only the latest, show what a failed Progressive Era institution it really is. Fittingly, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was founded by a grandnephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, Attorney General Charles J. Bonaparte, during the Progressive Era. Bonaparte was a Harvard-educated crusader. As the FBI's official history states, "Many progressives, including (Teddy) Roosevelt, believed that the federal government's guiding hand was necessary to foster justice in an industrial society."

Progressives viewed the Constitution as a malleable document, a take-it-or-leave-it kind of thing. The FBI inherited that mindset of civil liberties being optional. In their early years, with the passage of the Espionage and Sedition Acts during World War I, the FBI came into its own by launching a massive domestic surveillance campaign and prosecuting war dissenters. Thousands of Americans were arrested, prosecuted, and jailed simply for voicing opposition.

One could write a long history of FBI abuses and failures, from Latin America to Martin Luther King to Japanese internment. But just consider a handful of their more recent cases. The FBI needlessly killed women and children at Waco and Ruby Ridge. Anyone who has lived anywhere near Boston knows of the Bureau's staggering corruption during gangster Whitey Bulger's reign of terror. The abuses in Boston were so terrific that radio host Howie Carr declared that the FBI initials really stood for "Famous But Incompetent." And then there's Richard Jewell, the hero security guard who was almost railroaded by zealous FBI agents looking for a scalp after they failed to solve the Atlanta terrorist bombing.

But it was 9/11 that really sealed the FBI's ignominious track record. The lavishly funded agency charged with preventing terrorism somehow missed the attacks, despite their awareness of numerous Saudi nationals taking flying lessons around the country. Immediately after 9/11, the nation was gripped by the anthrax scare, and once again the FBI's inability to solve the case caused them to try to railroad an innocent man, Stephen Hatfill .

With 9/11, the FBI also began targeting troubled Americans by handing them bomb materials, arresting them, and then holding a press conference to tell the country that they had prevented a major terrorist attack -- a fake attack that they themselves had planned.

9/11 also opened the floodgates to domestic surveillance and all the FISA abuses that most recently led to the prosecution of Michael Flynn. I am no fan of Flynn and his hawkish anti-Islamic views, but the way he was framed and then prosecuted really does shock the conscience. After Jewell, Hatfill, Flynn, and so many others, it's time to ask whether the culture of the FBI has become similar to that of Stalin's secret police, i.e. "show me the man and I'll show you the crime."

I am no anti-law enforcement libertarian. In a previous career, I had the privilege to work with agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and they were some of the bravest people I have ever met. And while the DEA can be overly aggressive (just ask anyone who has been subjected to federal asset forfeiture), it is inconceivable that its agents would plot a coup d'état against the president of the United States. The DEA sees their job as catching drug criminals; they stay in their lane.

For the FBI, merely catching bad guys is too mundane. As one can tell from the sanctimonious James Comey, the culture at the Bureau holds grander aspirations. Comey's book is titled A Higher Loyalty , as if the FBI reports only to the Almighty.

They see themselves as progressive guardians of the American Way, intervening whenever and wherever they see democracy in danger. No healthy republic should have a national police force with this kind of culture. There are no doubt many brave and patriotic FBI agents, but there is also no doubt they have been very badly led.

This savior complex led them to aggressively pursue the Russiagate hoax. Their chasing of ghosts should make it clear that the FBI does not stay in their lane. While the nation's elite colleges and tech companies are crawling with Chinese spies who are literally stealing our best ideas, the chief of the FBI's Counterintelligence Section, Peter Strzok, spent his days trying to frame junior aides in the Trump campaign.

Some conservatives have called for FBI Director Christopher Wray to be fired. This would accomplish nothing, as the problem is not one man but an entire culture. One possible solution is to break up the FBI into four or five agencies, with one responsible for counterintelligence, one for counterterrorism, one for complex white-collar crime, one for cybercrimes, and so on. Smaller agencies with more distinctive missions would not see themselves as national saviors and could be held accountable for their effectiveness at very specific jobs. It would also allow federal agents to develop genuine expertise rather than, as the FBI regularly does, shifting agents constantly from terrorism cases to the war on drugs to cybercrime to whatever the political class's latest crime du jour might be.

Such a reform would not end every abuse of federal law enforcement, and all these agencies would need to be kept on a short leash for the sake of civil liberties. It would, however, diminish the ostentatious pretension of the current FBI that they are the existential guardians of the republic. In a republic, the people and their elected leaders are the protectors of their liberties. No one else.

William S. Smith is senior research fellow and managing director at the Center for the Study of Statesmanship at The Catholic University of America. His new book is Democracy and Imperialism: Irving Babbitt and Warlike Democracies (2019) .


Embarrassed 11 hours ago

One of the most amusing yet disturbing tends of the Trump era has been the increasingly strong embrace of the "intelligence community" (how I hate that term) by left liberals.

It's hard to believe it was only a decade ago when they were (correctly) deriding these exact same people for their manifold failures relating to the War on Terror, but then again left liberals at that time had not yet abandoned the pretense that they were something other than a PMC social club.

It's tempting to wonder how many of them have even heard of COINTELPRO, but I suspect that most of them would be just fine if the FBI intervened to disrupt and destabilize the Marxist left in the unlikely event that it seemed to be gaining a significant political foothold. Can't have any nasty class politics disrupting their bourgeois identitarian parlor game!

Megan S Embarrassed 6 hours ago
It's not the left liberals, it's the centrists and the neocons fleeing the Republican Party like rats. The left never liked the FBI, never trusted them, with good reason.

J. Edgar Hoover wrecked a lot of the good the FBI could have been right from the beginning, there needs to be a major cultural change over there and they need to be put back on track so that they serve us instead of themselves.

Making sure crooks like Hoover and showboats like Comey never get put in charge would be a good start.

FJR Atlanta Embarrassed 3 hours ago
Or put another way... One of the most amusing yet disturbing tends of the Trump era has been the increasingly strong disdain of the "intelligence community" (how I hate that term) by far right conservatives.

Let's just be honest with ourselves - we really don't want intelligence, or science, or oversight, unless it supports our team.

Gary Keith Chesterton Embarrassed 3 hours ago
Remember in "Three Days of the Condor," when Robert Redford reacts scornfully to Cliff Robertson's use of the term "community"?

Nowadays, it's actually an official or semi-official term. They even have their own logo, for crying out loud.

View Hide
TISO_AX2 Gary Keith Chesterton an hour ago
It represents just one more bureaucrat in the line to go and tell lies before congressional oversight committees. Thanks Bushies.
Linux Pauling Gary Keith Chesterton 29 minutes ago • edited
Some thoughts on the IC Motto:

1. Collaboratus: Basically, working together. BULL, the individual IC Agencies can't work together internally, much less across agency boundaries. This goes to guys like Mike Flynn (former director of DIA), his predecessors and successors, and their peers across the Intel(?) Community (that one kills me, too); the IC. Not to 'slight' anyone, but middle management is no better, and probably, worse; everyone has to protect their own 'little rice bowl' ya know.

2. Virtus: a specific virtue in Ancient Rome. It carried connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths. Again, BULL. The Feminazis and lgbtqxyz crowd have, pretty much snipped any balls and put them in a jar. Yes, gay pride is big in the IC.

3. Fides: was the goddess of trust and bona fides in Roman paganism. She was one of the original virtues to be considered an actual religious divinity. Fides is everything that is required for "honour and credibility, from fidelity in marriage, to contractual arrangements, and the obligation soldiers owed to Rome". With respect to the IC, that last bears repeating" "Obligations Soldiers Owed To Rome." In the IC (Rome), Leadership and Management (LM) have no obligations to the 'soldiers'; so, of course, the soldiers respond in kind.

The ICs are dog eat dog; LM are looking out for themselves...Period. Actually doing 'the job' is pretty far down the TODO List. The vast majority of people in the 'trenches' are just trying to get through the day; like LM, doing the 'right thing' is no longer the first thought.

To make matters worse (if possible), MANY of those people in the trenches have almost no clue WTF they are doing. This is because management involuntarily reassigns people (SURPRISE!) to jobs for which they were not hired, have no qualifications, and, often, no interest in becoming qualified. Of course, they hang on hoping that 'black swan' will land and make everything right again.

We've had two major incidents (at least), in the last 20 years (9/11 and the Kung Flu) that are specific failures of the IC (IMO). The IC failed (fails?) because Collaboratus, Virtus, and Fides are just some words on a plaque; not goals for which to strive; lip service is a poor substitute.

Yeah, these yahoos are overdue for a good house cleaning as well.

Gary Keith Chesterton Linux Pauling 5 minutes ago
I work in Defense; and the problems there are identical.
Dodo 10 hours ago
Real underline issue is FBI has been politicized. Rather than be neutral and independent, top FBI leaders have aligned with politicians. While nominate FBI officials, presidents also select their own than someone is independent.

In order their men can do their "works", they also increased their authorities. Supposedly, FBI directors, once confirmed, will not change with president. In reality, we saw presidents to replace old ones with their own.

It is not break up or whatever "reform". As long as presidents (regardless whom) can choose their own, how can you expect FBI does its jobs stated by laws?

Amicus Brevis 8 hours ago • edited
It is amazing how far people will let their political hatreds take them. The FBI is actually more important for the services it provides police forces around America than it is for solving federal crimes.

The FBI have been using dirty practices on people for decades. Literally hundreds of people who are not criminals have written about this - several of them are former agents who left in good standing.

They practice some of them right out in the open, like leaking information about arrests to the press so that the press get to film their arrests - sometimes timing arrests to hit local primetime new. It even has a name - the prime time perp walk. Whether these people are convicted or not, those images follow them for the rest of their lives. Or announcing that a person is "a person of interest" to force cooperation, because they know that people hear "suspect" when they hear such announcements. They will then offer to announce that the person is no longer a person of interest in exchange for cooperation. It didn't deserve to be disbanded them.

Absolutely nothing new or rare was done to Flynn. The FBI used perfectly standard dirty tricks on him. But since he was a minion of Donald Trump, the FBI should have known that he was untouchable. That is their real wrongdoing here. But they didn't realize it, so they should be disbanded. It is just like some progressives call for the disbandment of ICE because it arrests illegal aliens.

This ignoramus reminds me of others of his kind who call for the disbandbandment of the UN because they don't like the behavior of its General Council, its human rights or the peace keeping agencies, completely oblivious of the critical services the dozens of non-political UN agencies provide to all countries, especially to very small or under developed ones. They call for the destruction of WHO because it kowtows to China no matter that a number of countries in the world would have access to zero advanced health services without it, and others who are less dependent, but find its services critical in maintaining healthy populations. They find it politically objectionable so get rid of it! I really hate how progressives throw around the words "entitled" and "privilege", but some people do behave that way.

jack Amicus Brevis 5 hours ago
It isn't just the FBI that uses dirty tactics. most police departments also use dirty tactics.
IanDakar jack an hour ago
You can't go without the police though and a lot of what goes there can be reformed. Stop treating them like an movie version of the military. Teach them to calm a situation instead of shooting first, and realize you can treat them like an important part of society without making them above the law.
jack 5 hours ago
As I see it the agency that needs to be broken up is the CIA. What they do is shameful and not American. They are and have always been heavily involved in other countries internal affairs. They are an evil organization.
IanDakar jack an hour ago
We don't have to pick one program to drop.

Add homeland security to it as well.

I'm a " good government beats a small badly run one" and not a friend to libertarian ideals but there's a lot of government that can get the heave ho.

Wally 5 hours ago
If conservatives are coming around to the idea that police corruption is a real thing, that would be great. Somehow, I tend to doubt that it extends much beyond a way to protect white collar and political corruption. I hope this is a turning point. The investigations into Clinton emails didn't seem to warrant a mention here. Oh well.
IanDakar Wally an hour ago
That whole email situation was worthless. Not to say whether there was or was not an issue but the investigation was nothing worthwhile and only resulted in complicating an already messy election. Whether you believe there was a crime or not there there was nothing good handled by that investigation.

Personally I'm more content with the Mueller investigation. Not the way everyone panicked over it on both sides but what Mueller actually did himself: came in, researched the situation, found out that while a good few people acted messy Trump himself wasn't doing more than Twitter talk (yes it's technically "not enough evidence to prosecute", but that is how we phrase "not guilty" technically: you prove guilt not innocence), stated that Trump keeps messing himself up (aka "why did you ask your staff to claim one reason for a firing then tell a different story on national TV idiot")..

Then ran for the hills as everyone screamed "impeach/witchhunt".

Though don't get me wrong: I'm not going to get on the way of any attempt to dismantle the FBI or any of those other systems. It's something I really wish "small government" actually meant.

FND 3 hours ago
And lets not forget that Russia warned the FBI about the Tsarnaev brothers. The FBI did a perfunctory investigation and dismissed the threat. They probably thought they were a couple of poor Chechen boys persecuted by those evil Russians.
Brasidas 3 hours ago
And while the DEA can be overly aggressive... it is inconceivable that its agents would plot a coup d'état against the president of the United States.

And it still is.

David Naas an hour ago
Absolutely phenomenal that an entire essay abusing the FBI could be written without once mentioning the man who actually made the Federal Bureau of Investigation into what it is (whatever that might be). But J Edgar Hoover is still sufficiently iconic a figure to many Conservatives that it would be counterproductive to assault him. Better someone like Comey.

But, this is part of a pattern of Trump and his loyal followers (no Conservatives they) assault on the Institutions. The FBI is insufficiently tamed by Billy Barr, so it must go. (Part of the deep state swamp. /s).

Actually, there are very sound reasons for keeping the FBI, and even more for reforming it. But since it was engaged in checking out Trump's minion, Flynn, it is bad, very bad, incredibly bad, and must go. OTOH, if Comey had bent the knee to Trump, the FBI would be the most tremendous force for good the country has ever seen.

But this essay must be seen as part of the background of attempted legitimization for whatever Trump tweetstormed today. Perhaps the critics are right, and "conservatism is dead". If so, it would be the proper thing to give it a decent burial and go on.

Because there is nothing about Donald John Trump which is the least Conservative, and it is sickening to see people I once presumed to be "principled" line up at the altar of Trumpism. You know he will not be satisfied until the country is renamed The United States of Trump.

Now, all you Trumpublicans and Trumpservatives go downvote because I decline to abandon Conservatism for Trumpworship,

Jim Hohman 9 minutes ago
I did not know the FBI had the power to go back in time, otherwise how did they get Flynn to lie to VP Pence on Jan 14 when they didn't interview him until 1/24? Amazing how powerful they are!

[May 22, 2020] The CIA's Murderous Practices, Disinformation Campaigns, and Interference in Other Countries Shape the World Order and U.S. Politics by Glenn Greenwald

Notable quotes:
"... Democrats, early in Trump's presidency, saw clearly that the CIA had become one of Trump's most devoted enemies, and thus began viewing them as a valuable ally. Leading out-of-power Democratic foreign policy elites from the Obama administration and Clinton campaign joined forces not only with Bush/Cheney neocons but also former CIA officials to create new foreign policy advocacy groups designed to malign and undermine Trump and promote hawkish confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia. Meanwhile, other ex-CIA and Homeland Security officials, such as John Brennan and James Clapper, became beloved liberal celebrities by being hired by MSNBC and CNN to deliver liberal-pleasing anti-Trump messaging that, on a virtually daily basis, masqueraded as news . ..."
"... the current function ..."
May 22, 2020 | theintercept.com

In his extraordinary election-advocating op-ed, Hayden, Bush/Cheney's CIA chief, candidly explained the reasons for the CIA's antipathy for Trump: namely, the GOP candidate's stated opposition to allowing CIA regime change efforts in Syria to expand as well as his opposition to arming Ukrainians with lethal weapons to fight Russia (supposedly "pro-Putin" positions which, we are now all supposed to forget, Obama largely shared ). As has been true since President Harry Truman's creation of the CIA after World War II, interfering in other countries and dictating or changing their governments -- through campaigns of mass murder, military coups, arming guerrilla groups, the abolition of democracy, systemic disinformation, and the imposition of savage despots -- is regarded as a divine right, inherent to American exceptionalism. Anyone who questions that or, worse, opposes it and seeks to impede it (as the CIA perceived Trump was) is of suspect loyalties at best.

The CIA's antipathy toward Trump continued after his election victory. The agency became the primary vector for anonymous illegal leaks designed to depict Trump as a Kremlin agent and/or blackmail victim. It worked to ensure the leak of the Steele dossier that clouded at least the first two years of Trump's presidency. It drove the scam Russiagate conspiracy theories. And before Trump was even inaugurated, open warfare erupted between the president-elect and the agency to the point where Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer explicitly warned Trump on the Rachel Maddow Show that he was risking full-on subversion of his presidency by the agency:

This turned out to be one of the most prescient and important (and creepy) statements of the Trump presidency: from Chuck Schumer to Rachel Maddow - in early January, 2017, before Trump was even inaugurated: pic.twitter.com/TUaYkksILG

-- Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) April 8, 2019
Democrats, early in Trump's presidency, saw clearly that the CIA had become one of Trump's most devoted enemies, and thus began viewing them as a valuable ally. Leading out-of-power Democratic foreign policy elites from the Obama administration and Clinton campaign joined forces not only with Bush/Cheney neocons but also former CIA officials to create new foreign policy advocacy groups designed to malign and undermine Trump and promote hawkish confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia. Meanwhile, other ex-CIA and Homeland Security officials, such as John Brennan and James Clapper, became beloved liberal celebrities by being hired by MSNBC and CNN to deliver liberal-pleasing anti-Trump messaging that, on a virtually daily basis, masqueraded as news .

The all-consuming Russiagate narrative that dominated the first three years of Trump's presidency further served to elevate the CIA as a noble and admirable institution while whitewashing its grotesque history. Liberal conventional wisdom held that Russian Facebook ads, Twitter bots and the hacking and release of authentic, incriminating DNC emails was some sort of unprecedented, off-the-charts, out-of-the-ordinary crime-of-the-century attack, with several leading Democrats (including Hillary Clinton) actually comparing it to 9/11 and Pearl Harbor . The level of historical ignorance and/or jingostic American exceptionalism necessary to believe this is impossible to describe. Compared to what the CIA has done to dozens of other countries since the end of World War II, and what it continues to do , watching Americans cast Russian interference in the 2016 election through online bots and email hacking (even if one believes every claim made about it) as some sort of unique and unprecedented crime against democracy is staggering. Set against what the CIA has done and continues to do to "interfere" in the domestic affairs of other countries -- including Russia -- the 2016 election was, at most, par for the course for international affairs and, more accurately, a trivial and ordinary act in the context of CIA interference. This propaganda was sustainable because the recent history and the current function of the CIA has largely been suppressed. Thankfully, a just-released book by journalist Vincent Bevins -- who spent years as a foreign correspondent covering two countries still marred by brutal CIA interference: Brazil for the Los Angeles Times and Indonesia for the Washington Post -- provides one of the best, most informative and most illuminating histories yet of this agency and the way it has shaped the actual, rather than the propagandistic, U.S. role in the world.

Entitled "The Jakarta Method: Washington's Anticommunist Crusade and the Mass Murder Program that Shaped Our World," the book primarily documents the indescribably horrific campaigns of mass murder and genocide the CIA sponsored in Indonesia as an instrument for destroying a nonaligned movement of nations who would be loyal to neither Washington nor Moscow. Critically, Bevins documents how the chilling success of that morally grotesque campaign led to its being barely discussed in U.S. discourse, but then also serving as the foundation and model for clandestine CIA interference campaigns in multiple other countries from Guatemala, Chile, and Brazil to the Philippines, Vietnam, and Central America: the Jakarta Method.

Our newest episode of SYSTEM UPDATE, which debuts today at 2:00 p.m. on The Intercept's YouTube channel , is devoted to a discussion of why this history is so vital: not just for understanding the current international political order but also for distinguishing between fact and fiction in our contemporary political discourse. In addition to my own observations on this topic, I speak to Bevins about his book, about what the CIA really is and how it has shaped the world we still inhabit, and why a genuine understanding of both international and domestic politics is impossible without a clear grasp on this story.

[May 22, 2020] My mother was a teenage girl when the Japanese invaded Hong Kong. According to her account, she saw the Bristush battle ships and submarines ran from the harbor before the advance of the Japanese troops.

May 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Casual Observer , May 22 2020 22:45 utc | 36

" Britain had to agree to the pact because it had lost the capability to defend the colony."...
The Bristish had never defended Hong Kong and never had the intention to defend Hong Kong. My mother was a teenage girl when the Japanese invaded Hong Kong. According to her account, she saw the Bristush battle ships and submarines ran from the harbor before the advance of the Japanese troops. Leaving only the local Boy Scouts and the Salvation Army to fire a few token shots (who were all killed eventually). They didn't even bother to collect their own citizens when they ran, leaving behind a group of British nurses at a hospital, who were raped by the Japanese soldiers when they arrived.

vk , May 23 2020 0:30 utc | 47

@ Posted by: Kay Fabe | May 23 2020 0:09 utc | 42

The timing doesn't add up. China opened up in 1972 (the famous Nixon-Mao handshake), while the UK's agreement to give HK back was from 1984 - well into the Thatcher Era.

The most likely reason for the UK to decide to obey the lease deal was of military nature: the valuable land necessary to defend HK was the flatland adjacent to the city proper, where potable water comes from. It already part of the Mainland, thus rendering the defense of HK virtually impossible without an outright invasion of the Mainland itself.

Margaret Thatcher probably didn't want to obey the treaty (99-year lease), as a good neoliberal she was, but her military advisors probably warned her of the practical difficulties, and, since it was a 99-year lease anyway, she must've agreed to simply allow the treaty to be followed.

It is important to highlight that, in 1984, there were a lot of reasons the capitalist world should be optimist about China becoming capitalist. After all, it really got off the Soviet sphere after 1972, and Deng's reforms were - from the point of view of a vulgar (bourgeois) economist - indeed a clear path to a capitalist restoration. It didn't cross Thatcher's mind that China could stand its ground and remain socialist - at least not in 1984. If you read the sources of the time, you will easily see the Western elites treated China's return to capitalism as a given.

[May 22, 2020] Is This Controlled Demolition all over Again, by Gilad Atzmon

Notable quotes:
"... This whole crisis is all about recapitalization or restructuring the debt. The Fed is bailing out the creditors (Big Surprise!) and forcing corporate America through bankruptcy. ..."
May 22, 2020 | www.unz.com

paranoid goy , says: Website Show Comment May 22, 2020 at 1:34 pm GMT

We understood ourselves as the means that make the rich richer.

Then came the latest wisdom: "Money makes money." They have come to believe their own lies, and those lies are being subsidised by our taxes. The moment when "everything" will belong to One Account seems to be upon us. I expect foreclosures and bankruptcies amongst the non-investing classes. All shortfalls to be augmented by tax money. Next, we await Zion unveiling our new King. Once again, not one atom of deviation from the plan as laid out in the Protocols. it is of utter importance that we do not turn upon another. In that sense, I suggest more of Unz's readers start looking at Black people as possible comrades in this engagement, we are confronted by a common enemy, the one that taught us the "value" of racism in the first place. They have divided us, now they will conquer.
Or we can just stand together. If we refuse to fight, it will be us against Bill Gates' robots, and his microcephalic pilots are still too young to be drafted. This is, however, our last chance, I be thinking.
Been wondering some years now, why 'retailing' is such a popular investment, when nobody has no money left to buy stuff with. Now we know.

MrFoSquare , says: Show Comment May 22, 2020 at 1:45 pm GMT
Gilad, these are some thoughts I jotted down a few weeks ago.

This whole crisis is all about recapitalization or restructuring the debt. The Fed is bailing out the creditors (Big Surprise!) and forcing corporate America through bankruptcy. The Virus is being used as a pretext for forcing the economy into a kind of controlled depression (demolition) and debt restructuring. The Virus and China are being used as the fall guys for the collapse. In 2008-09 the Banks and WS were bailed out and not forced into bankruptcy. The Fed then reinflated and drove up asset prices along with more than doubling the debt from levels that were already overextended. In The Great Restructuring that's taking place now, the Money Boys are basically transferring the income and assets of Main Street to the Creditors as they deflate the debt and bail themselves out. The whole scam could more accurately be called "The Great Heist" or the Money Power's perverted or mammonic version of a Debt Jubilee.

[May 22, 2020] Having a sense of history, de Gaulle saw that colonialism had been a moment in history that was past. His policy was to foster friendly relations on equal terms with all parts of the world, regardless of ideological differences. I think that Putin's concept of a multipolar world is similar. It is clearly a concept that horrifies the exceptionalists

Notable quotes:
"... Mr. de Gaulle like other "leaders" of colonial powers did understand that the moment of overt coercive relations of colonialism had passed and that colonialism to remain qualitatively the same, required covert coercive relations facilitated by the complicity of local "elites" on the basis of perceived self-interest. ..."
May 22, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

Herman , May 17, 2020 at 09:00

Interesting comparison between the aspirations of De Gaulle and Putin.

"Having a sense of history, de Gaulle saw that colonialism had been a moment in history that was past. His policy was to foster friendly relations on equal terms with all parts of the world, regardless of ideological differences. I think that Putin's concept of a multipolar world is similar. It is clearly a concept that horrifies the exceptionalists."

Agree with Johnstone.

OlyaPola , May 19, 2020 at 11:55

"Having a sense of history, de Gaulle saw that colonialism had been a moment in history that was past. "

Mr. de Gaulle like other "leaders" of colonial powers did understand that the moment of overt coercive relations of colonialism had passed and that colonialism to remain qualitatively the same, required covert coercive relations facilitated by the complicity of local "elites" on the basis of perceived self-interest.

The exceptions to such strategies lay within constructs of settler colonialism which were addressed primarily through warfare – "The United States of America", Vietnam/Laos/Cambodia, Indonesia, Algeria, Kenya, Rhodesia, Mozambique, Angola refer – to facilitate such future strategies.

"I think that Putin's concept of a multipolar world is similar."

As outlined elsewhere the concept of a multi-polar world is not synonymous with the concept of colonialism except for the colonialists who consistently seek to encourage such conflation through myths of we-are-all-in-this-togetherness.

[May 22, 2020] Wow, the Simpsons predicted the 2020 election

May 22, 2020 | twitter.com

https://twitter.com/i/status/1263307530387820544

Phil @PhilG207 · 22h Yeah, but all US elections are like this. So I think it still applies.

mr. @rosebongwater · 12h Replying to @PhilG207 and @abloodclot this gets posted every election year. maybe we should just stop having this type of government.

Phil @PhilG207 · 12h I mean... you're not wrong

[May 22, 2020] This doesn't look good for the Obama Alumni Association

May 22, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

UPDATE "The Railroading of Michael Flynn" [Eli Lake, Commentary ] ( Lake's bio ).

This, as did the Greenwald YouTube the other day, puts together a coherent Flynn narrative. Here is a snippet: "Compare Flynn's treatment to McCabe's. Flynn was humiliated and bankrupted for allegedly lying to Pence and FBI agents over a phone call that advanced U.S. interests.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department inspector general found in 2018 that McCabe "knowingly provided false information" in three separate interviews during an investigation into self-serving leaks published by the Wall Street Journal about an aborted investigation into the Clinton Foundation in 2016.

That report also found that McCabe admonished more junior FBI agents for the leaks that he himself had authorized. Today, McCabe is a contributor at CNN. His opinions are still taken seriously at places like the esteemed Lawfare website. He remains in the good graces of the Trump resistance." \

This doesn't look good for the Obama Alumni Association (which, horridly, is a real thing ).

[May 22, 2020] Flynn Targeted By Christopher Steele After FBI Offered To Pay Ex-Spook 'Significantly'

May 22, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

In the weeks leading up to the 2016 election, the FBI offered to pay former British spy Christopher Steele "significantly" for collecting intelligence on Michael Flynn, according to the Daily Caller 's Chuck Ross.

The FBI's proposal - made during an October 3, 2016 meeting in an unidentified European city, and virtually ignored by the press - has taken on new significance in light of recent documents exposing how the Obama administration targeted Flynn before and after president Trump's upset victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The inspector general's report, released on Dec. 9, 2019, said that FBI agents offered to pay Steele "significantly" to collect intelligence from three separate "buckets" that the bureau was pursuing as part of Crossfire Hurricane , its counterintelligence probe of four Trump campaign associates.

One bucket was "Additional intelligence/reporting on specific, named individuals (such as [Carter Page] or [Flynn]) involved in facilitating the Trump campaign-Russian relationship," the IG report stated.

FBI agents also sought contact with "any individuals or sub sources" who Steele could provide to "serve as cooperating witnesses to assist in identifying persons involved in the Trump campaign-Russian relationship."

Steele at the time had provided the FBI with reports he compiled alleging that members of the Trump campaign had conspired with the Kremlin to influence the 2016 election. - Daily Caller

Of note, Steele was promoting a discredited rumor that Flynn had an extramarital affair with Svetlana Lokhova, a Russian-British academic who studied at the University of Cambridge. This rumor was amplified by the Wall Street Journal and The Guardian in March, 2017.

According to the Inspector General's report, the FBI gave Steele a "general overview" of their Crossfire Hurricane probe - including their efforts to surveil Trump campaign aides George Papadopoulos and Carter Page, along with Paul Manafort and Flynn. In fact - some FBI agents questioned whether the lead agent told Steel too much about the operation , according to the IG report.

Via the Daily Caller

In recent weeks, the release of two documents raise questions about potential links between the FBI's request of Steele and the Lokhova rumor .

One of the documents is a transcript of longtime John McCain associate David Kramer's interview with the House Intelligence Committee. Kramer testified on Dec. 17, 2017, that Steele told him in December 2016 that he suspected that Flynn had an extramarital affair with a Russian woman .

"There was one thing he mentioned to me that is not included here, and that is he believed that Mr. Flynn had an extramarital affair with a Russian woman in the U.K .," Kramer told lawmakers.

Kramer said that Steele conveyed that Flynn's alleged mistress was a "Russian woman" who "may have been a dual citizen."

An FBI memo dated Jan. 4, 2017, contained another allegation regarding Flynn and a mysterious Russian woman.

The memo, which was provided to Flynn's lawyers on April 30, said that an FBI confidential human source (CHS) told the bureau that they were present at an event that Flynn attended while he was still working in the U.S. intelligence community . - Daily Caller

Lokhova and Flynn have denied the rumors - with Lokhova's husband telling the Daily Caller News Foundation that he picked his wife up after the Cambridge dinner where an FBI informant said they 'left together in a cab.'

Meanwhile, a DIA official who was at the Cambridge event with Flynn also told the WSJ in March 2017 that there was nothing inappropriate going on between Flynn and Lokhova.

Read the rest of the report here .

[May 21, 2020] Falsification of history as the major goal of propaganda

May 21, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Howard ,

"History," they say, "is written by the winners." But if you want to get at the fundamental flaw, remove the last three words and you have it: "History is written."

Events cannot be written, they can only be lived.

Just as a sun in a picture cannot give heat or light. The problem is that those who live history seldom speak of it, it's much too traumatic for them.

And those who speak voluminously of it most likely did not live it.

kenny gordon ,

Nice comment, Howard.

When my Father [Royal Artillery] was told to stop fighting against my Father-in-Law [Waffen SS], he was sent off to fight against MOSSAD in Palestine he witnessed the brutal treatment handed out to the "indigenous people" and was very reluctant to talk about his experience.. "By way of deception thou shalt do war"..!

[May 21, 2020] The neoliberal globalization myth fostered the delusion of labour in which Western societies could prosper from the ideas and computer startups, while the dirty work of actually making things is left to low-wage countries. One result: a drastic shortage of face masks

Notable quotes:
"... In France, confinement has been generally well accepted as necessary, but that does not mean people are content with the government -- on the contrary. Every evening at eight, people go to their windows to cheer for health workers and others doing essential tasks, but the applause is not for President Macron. ..."
"... What we have witnessed is the failure of what used to be one of the very best public health services in the world. It has been degraded by years of cost-cutting. In recent years, the number of hospital beds per capita has declined steadily. Many hospitals have been shut down and those that remain are drastically understaffed. Public hospital facilities have been reduced to a state of perpetual saturation, so that when a new epidemic comes along, on top of all the other usual illnesses, there is simply not the capacity to deal with it all at once. ..."
"... The neoliberal globalization myth fostered the delusion that advanced Western societies could prosper from their superior brains, thanks to ideas and computer startups, while the dirty work of actually making things is left to low-wage countries. One result: a drastic shortage of face masks. The government let a factory that produced masks and other surgical equipment be sold off and shut down. Having outsourced its textile industry, France had no immediate way to produce the masks it needed. ..."
"... In late March, French media reported that a large stock of masks ordered and paid for by the southeastern region of France was virtually hijacked on the tarmac of a Chinese airport by Americans, who tripled the price and had the cargo flown to the United States. There are also reports of Polish and Czech airport authorities intercepting Chinese or Russian shipments of masks intended for hard-hit Italy and keeping them for their own use. ..."
"... The Covid–19 crisis makes it just that much clearer that the European Union is no more than a complex economic arrangement, with neither the sentiment nor the popular leaders that hold together a nation. For a generation, schools, media, politicians have instilled the belief that the "nation" is an obsolete entity. But in a crisis, people find that they are in France, or Germany, or Italy, or Belgium -- but not in "Europe." The European Union is structured to care about trade, investment, competition, debt, economic growth. Public health is merely an economic indicator. For decades, the European Commission has put irresistible pressure on nations to reduce the costs of their public health facilities in order to open competition for contracts to the private sector -- which is international by nature. ..."
"... Scapegoating China may seem the way to try to hold the declining Western world together, even as Europeans' long-standing admiration for America turns to dismay. ..."
"... The countries that have suffered most from the epidemic are among the most indebted of the EU member states, starting with Italy. The economic damage from the lockdown obliges them to borrow further. As their debt increases, so do interest rates charged by commercial banks. They turned to the EU for help, for instance by issuing eurobonds that would share the debt at lower interest rates. This has increased tension between debtor countries in the south and creditor countries in the north, which said nein . Countries in the eurozone cannot borrow from the European Central Bank as the U.S. Treasury borrows from the Fed. And their own national central banks take orders from the ECB, which controls the euro. ..."
"... The great irony is that "a common currency" was conceived by its sponsors as the key to European unity. On the contrary, the euro has a polarizing effect -- with Greece at the bottom and Germany at the top. And Italy sinking. But Italy is much bigger than Greece and won't go quietly. ..."
"... A major paradox is that the left and the Yellow Vests call for economic and social policies that are impossible under EU rules, and yet many on the left shy away from even thinking of leaving the EU. For over a generation, the French left has made an imaginary "social Europe" the center of its utopian ambitions. ..."
"... Russia is a living part of European history and culture. Its exclusion is totally unnatural and artificial. Brzezinski [the late Zbigniew Brzezinski, the Carter administration's national security adviser] spelled it out in The Great Chessboard : The U.S. maintains world hegemony by keeping the Eurasian landmass divided. ..."
"... But this policy can be seen to be inherited from the British. It was Churchill who proclaimed -- in fact welcomed -- the Iron Curtain that kept continental Europe divided. In retrospect, the Cold War was basically part of the divide-and-rule strategy, since it persists with greater intensity than ever after its ostensible cause -- the Communist threat -- is long gone. ..."
"... The whole Ukrainian operation of 2014 [the U.S.–cultivated coup in Kyiv, February 2014] was lavishly financed and stimulated by the United States in order to create a new conflict with Russia. Joe Biden has been the Deep State's main front man in turning Ukraine into an American satellite, used as a battering ram to weaken Russia and destroy its natural trade and cultural relations with Western Europe. ..."
"... I think France is likelier than Germany to break with the U.S.–imposed Russophobia simply because, thanks to de Gaulle, France is not quite as thoroughly under U.S. occupation. Moreover, friendship with Russia is a traditional French balance against German domination -- which is currently being felt and resented. ..."
"... "Decades of indoctrination in the ideology of "Europe" has instilled the belief that the nation-state is a bad thing of the past. The result is that people raised in the European Union faith tend to regard any suggestion of return to national sovereignty as a fatal step toward fascism. This fear of contagion from "the right" is an obstacle to clear analysis which weakens the left and favors the right, which dares be patriotic." ..."
"... Since WWII the US has itself been occupied by tyrants, using Russophobia to demand power as fake defenders. ..."
"... " French philosophy .By constantly attacking, deconstructing, and denouncing every remnant of human "power" they could spot, the intellectual rebels left the power of "the markets" unimpeded, and did nothing to stand in the way of the expansion of U.S. military power all around the world " ..."
"... From her groundbreaking work on the NATO empire's sickening war on sovereign Serbia, the dead end of identity politics and trans bathroom debates, to her critique of unfettered immigration and open borders, and her dismissal of the absurd Russsiagate baloney, better than anyone else, Johnstone has kept her intellect carefully honed to the real genuine kitchen table bread and butter issues that truly matter. She recognized before most of the world's scholars the perils of rampant inequality and saw the writing on the wall as to where this grotesque economic system is taking us all: down a dystopian slope into penury and police-state heavy-handedness, with millions unable to come up with $500 for an emergency car repair or dental bill. ..."
"... The mask competition and fiasco shows the importance of a country simply making things in their own country, not on the other side of the world, it's not nationalism it's just a better way to logistically deliver reliable products to the citizens. ..."
"... Some hold that they never departed, but mutated tools including CFA zones and "intelligence" relations in furtherance of "changing" to remain qualitatively the same. Just as "The United States of America" is a system of coercive relations not synonymous with the political geographical area designated "The United States of America", the colonialism of former and present "colonial powers" continues to exist, since the "independence" of the colonised was always, and continues to be, framed within linear systems of coercive relations, facilitated by the complicity of "local elites" on the basis of perceived self-interest, and the acquiescence of "local others" for myriad reasons. ..."
"... After reading Circle in the Darkness, I have ordered and am now reading her books on Hillary Clinton (Queen of Chaos) and the Yugoslav wars (Fool's Crusade), which are very worthwhile and important. I would recommend that her many articles over the years, appearing in such publications such as In These Times, Counterpunch and Consortium News, be reprinted and published together as an anthology. Through Circle in the Darkness, we have Diana Johnstone's "Life", but it would be good also to have her "Letters". ..."
"... Mr. de Gaulle like other "leaders" of colonial powers did understand that the moment of overt coercive relations of colonialism had passed and that colonialism to remain qualitatively the same, required covert coercive relations facilitated by the complicity of local "elites" on the basis of perceived self-interest. ..."
May 21, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

In France, confinement has been generally well accepted as necessary, but that does not mean people are content with the government -- on the contrary. Every evening at eight, people go to their windows to cheer for health workers and others doing essential tasks, but the applause is not for President Macron.

Macron and his government are criticized for hesitating too long to confine the population, for vacillating about the need for masks and tests, or about when or how much to end the confinement. Their confusion and indecision at least defend them from the wild accusation of having staged the whole thing in order to lock up the population.

What we have witnessed is the failure of what used to be one of the very best public health services in the world. It has been degraded by years of cost-cutting. In recent years, the number of hospital beds per capita has declined steadily. Many hospitals have been shut down and those that remain are drastically understaffed. Public hospital facilities have been reduced to a state of perpetual saturation, so that when a new epidemic comes along, on top of all the other usual illnesses, there is simply not the capacity to deal with it all at once.

The neoliberal globalization myth fostered the delusion that advanced Western societies could prosper from their superior brains, thanks to ideas and computer startups, while the dirty work of actually making things is left to low-wage countries. One result: a drastic shortage of face masks. The government let a factory that produced masks and other surgical equipment be sold off and shut down. Having outsourced its textile industry, France had no immediate way to produce the masks it needed.

Meanwhile, in early April, Vietnam donated hundreds of thousands of antimicrobial face masks to European countries and is producing them by the million. Employing tests and selective isolation, Vietnam has fought off the epidemic with only a few hundred cases and no deaths.

You must have thoughts as to the question of Western unity in response to Covid–19.

In late March, French media reported that a large stock of masks ordered and paid for by the southeastern region of France was virtually hijacked on the tarmac of a Chinese airport by Americans, who tripled the price and had the cargo flown to the United States. There are also reports of Polish and Czech airport authorities intercepting Chinese or Russian shipments of masks intended for hard-hit Italy and keeping them for their own use.

The absence of European solidarity has been shockingly clear. Better-equipped Germany banned exports of masks to Italy. In the depth of its crisis, Italy found that the German and Dutch governments were mainly concerned with making sure Italy pays its debts. Meanwhile, a team of Chinese experts arrived in Rome to help Italy with its Covid–19 crisis, displaying a banner reading "We are waves of the same sea, leaves of the same tree, flowers of the same garden." The European institutions lack such humanistic poetry. Their founding value is not solidarity but the neoliberal principle of "free unimpeded competition."

How do you think this reflects on the European Union?

The Covid–19 crisis makes it just that much clearer that the European Union is no more than a complex economic arrangement, with neither the sentiment nor the popular leaders that hold together a nation. For a generation, schools, media, politicians have instilled the belief that the "nation" is an obsolete entity. But in a crisis, people find that they are in France, or Germany, or Italy, or Belgium -- but not in "Europe." The European Union is structured to care about trade, investment, competition, debt, economic growth. Public health is merely an economic indicator. For decades, the European Commission has put irresistible pressure on nations to reduce the costs of their public health facilities in order to open competition for contracts to the private sector -- which is international by nature.

Globalization has hastened the spread of the pandemic, but it has not strengthened internationalist solidarity. Initial gratitude for Chinese aid is being brutally opposed by European Atlanticists. In early May, Mathias Döpfner, CEO of the Springer publishing giant, bluntly called on Germany to ally with the U.S. -- against China. Scapegoating China may seem the way to try to hold the declining Western world together, even as Europeans' long-standing admiration for America turns to dismay.

Meanwhile, relations between EU member states have never been worse. In Italy and to a greater extent in France, the coronavirus crisis has enforced growing disillusion with the European Union and an ill-defined desire to restore national sovereignty.

Corollary question: What are the prospects that Europe will produce leaders capable of seizing that right moment, that assertion of independence? What do you reckon such leaders would be like?

The EU is likely to be a central issue in the near future, but this issue can be exploited in very different ways, depending on which leaders get hold of it. The coronavirus crisis has intensified the centrifugal forces already undermining the European Union. The countries that have suffered most from the epidemic are among the most indebted of the EU member states, starting with Italy. The economic damage from the lockdown obliges them to borrow further. As their debt increases, so do interest rates charged by commercial banks. They turned to the EU for help, for instance by issuing eurobonds that would share the debt at lower interest rates. This has increased tension between debtor countries in the south and creditor countries in the north, which said nein . Countries in the eurozone cannot borrow from the European Central Bank as the U.S. Treasury borrows from the Fed. And their own national central banks take orders from the ECB, which controls the euro.

What does the crisis mean for the euro? I confess I've lost faith in this project, given how disadvantaged it leaves the nations on the Continent's southern rim.

The great irony is that "a common currency" was conceived by its sponsors as the key to European unity. On the contrary, the euro has a polarizing effect -- with Greece at the bottom and Germany at the top. And Italy sinking. But Italy is much bigger than Greece and won't go quietly.

The German constitutional court in Karlsruhe recently issued a long judgment making it clear who is boss. It recalled and insisted that Germany agreed to the euro only on the grounds that the main mission of the European Central Bank was to fight inflation, and that it could not directly finance member states. If these rules were not followed, the Bundesbank, the German central bank, would be obliged to pull out of the ECB. And since the Bundesbank is the ECB's main creditor, that is that. There can be no generous financial help to troubled governments within the eurozone. Period.

Is there a possibility of disintegration here?

The idea of leaving the EU is most developed in France. The Union Populaire Républicaine, founded in 2007 by former senior functionary François Asselineau, calls for France to leave the euro, the European Union, and NATO.

The party has been a didactic success, spreading its ideas and attracting around 20,000 active militants without scoring any electoral success. A main argument for leaving the EU is to escape from the constraints of EU competition rules in order to protect its vital industry, agriculture, and above all its public services.

A major paradox is that the left and the Yellow Vests call for economic and social policies that are impossible under EU rules, and yet many on the left shy away from even thinking of leaving the EU. For over a generation, the French left has made an imaginary "social Europe" the center of its utopian ambitions.

" Europe" as an idea or an ideal, you mean.

Decades of indoctrination in the ideology of "Europe" has instilled the belief that the nation-state is a bad thing of the past. The result is that people raised in the European Union faith tend to regard any suggestion of return to national sovereignty as a fatal step toward fascism. This fear of contagion from "the right" is an obstacle to clear analysis which weakens the left and favors the right, which dares be patriotic.

Two and a half months of coronavirus crisis have brought to light a factor that makes any predictions about future leaders even more problematic. That factor is a widespread distrust and rejection of all established authority. This makes rational political programs extremely difficult, because rejection of one authority implies acceptance of another. For instance, the way to liberate public services and pharmaceuticals from the distortions of the profit motive is nationalization. If you distrust the power of one as much as the other, there is nowhere to go.

Such radical distrust can be explained by two main factors -- the inevitable feeling of helplessness in our technologically advanced world, combined with the deliberate and even transparent lies on the part of mainstream politicians and media. But it sets the stage for the emergence of manipulated saviors or opportunistic charlatans every bit as deceptive as the leaders we already have, or even more so. I hope these irrational tendencies are less pronounced in France than in some other countries.

I'm eager to talk about Russia. There are signs that relations with Russia are another source of European dissatisfaction as "junior partners" within the U.S.–led Atlantic alliance. Macron is outspoken on this point, "junior partners" being his phrase. The Germans -- business people, some senior officials in government -- are quite plainly restive.

Russia is a living part of European history and culture. Its exclusion is totally unnatural and artificial. Brzezinski [the late Zbigniew Brzezinski, the Carter administration's national security adviser] spelled it out in The Great Chessboard : The U.S. maintains world hegemony by keeping the Eurasian landmass divided.

But this policy can be seen to be inherited from the British. It was Churchill who proclaimed -- in fact welcomed -- the Iron Curtain that kept continental Europe divided. In retrospect, the Cold War was basically part of the divide-and-rule strategy, since it persists with greater intensity than ever after its ostensible cause -- the Communist threat -- is long gone.

I hadn't put our current circumstance in this context. US-backed, violent coup in Ukraine, 2014.

The whole Ukrainian operation of 2014 [the U.S.–cultivated coup in Kyiv, February 2014] was lavishly financed and stimulated by the United States in order to create a new conflict with Russia. Joe Biden has been the Deep State's main front man in turning Ukraine into an American satellite, used as a battering ram to weaken Russia and destroy its natural trade and cultural relations with Western Europe.

U.S. sanctions are particularly contrary to German business interests, and NATO's aggressive gestures put Germany on the front lines of an eventual war.

But Germany has been an occupied country -- militarily and politically -- for 75 years, and I suspect that many German political leaders (usually vetted by Washington) have learned to fit their projects into U.S. policies. I think that under the cover of Atlantic loyalty, there are some frustrated imperialists lurking in the German establishment, who think they can use Washington's Russophobia as an instrument to make a comeback as a world military power.

But I also think that the political debate in Germany is overwhelmingly hypocritical, with concrete aims veiled by fake issues such as human rights and, of course, devotion to Israel.

We should remember that the U.S. does not merely use its allies -- its allies, or rather their leaders, figure they are using the U.S. for some purposes of their own.

What about what the French have been saying since the G–7 session in Biarritz two years ago, that Europe should forge its own relations with Russia according to Europe's interests, not America's?

At G7 Summit in Biarritz, France, Aug. 26, 2019. (White House)

I think France is likelier than Germany to break with the U.S.–imposed Russophobia simply because, thanks to de Gaulle, France is not quite as thoroughly under U.S. occupation. Moreover, friendship with Russia is a traditional French balance against German domination -- which is currently being felt and resented.

Stepping back for a broader look, do you think Europe's position on the western flank of the Eurasian landmass will inevitably shape its position with regard not only to Russia but also China? To put this another way, is Europe destined to become an independent pole of power in the course of this century, standing between West and East?

At present, what we have standing between West and East is not Europe but Russia, and what matters is which way Russia leans. Including Russia, Europe might become an independent pole of power. The U.S. is currently doing everything to prevent this. But there is a school of strategic thought in Washington which considers this a mistake, because it pushes Russia into the arms of China. This school is in the ascendant with the campaign to denounce China as responsible for the pandemic. As mentioned, the Atlanticists in Europe are leaping into the anti–China propaganda battle. But they are not displaying any particular affection for Russia, which shows no sign of sacrificing its partnership with China for the unreliable Europeans.

If Russia were allowed to become a friendly bridge between China and Europe, the U.S. would be obliged to abandon its pretensions of world hegemony. But we are far from that peaceful prospect.

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune , is a columnist, essayist, author and lecturer. His most recent book is "Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century" (Yale). Follow him on Twitter @thefloutist . His web site is Patrick Lawrence . Support his work via his Patreon site .


Josep , May 19, 2020 at 02:04

It recalled and insisted that Germany agreed to the euro only on the grounds that the main mission of the European Central Bank was to fight inflation, and that it could not directly finance member states.

I once read a comment elsewhere saying that, back in 1989, both Britain (under Margaret Thatcher) and the US objected to German reunification. Since they could not stop the reunification, they insisted that Germany accept the incoming euro. A heap of German university professors jumped up and protested, knowing fully well what the game was: namely the creation of a banker's empire in Europe controlled by private bankers.

Thorben Sunkimat , May 20, 2020 at 13:45

France and Britain rejected the german reunification. The americans were supportive, even though they had their demands. Mainly privatisation of german public utilities. After agreeing to those demands the americans persuaded the british and pressured the french who agreed to german reunification after germany agreed to the euro.

So why did france want the euro?

The German central bank crashed the European economy after reunification with high interest rates. This was because of above average growth rates mainly in Eastern Germany. Main function of the Bundesbank is to keep inflation low, which is more important to them than anything else. Since Germany's D Mark was the leading currency in Europe the rest of Europe had to heighten their interest rates too, witch lead to great economic problems within Europe. Including France.

OlyaPola , May 21, 2020 at 05:30

"namely the creation of a banker's empire in Europe controlled by private bankers."

Resort to binaries (controlled/not controlled) is a practice of self-imposed blindness. In any interactive system no absolutes exist only analogues of varying assays since "control" is limited and variable. In respect of what became the German Empire this relationship predated and facilitated the German Empire through financing the war with Denmark in 1864 courtesy of the arrangements between Mr. von Bismark and Mr. Bleichroder. The assay of "control of bankers" has varied/increased subsequently but never attained the absolute.

It is true that finance capital perceived and continues to perceive the European Union as an opportunity to increase their assay of "control" – the Austrian banks in conjunction with German bank assigning a level of priority to resurrecting spheres of influence existing prior to 1918 and until 1945.

One of the joint projects at a level of planning in the early 1990's was development of the Danube and its hinterland from Regensburg to Cerna Voda/Constanta in Romania but this was delayed in the hope of curtailment by some when NATO bombed Serbia in 1999 (Serbia not being the only target – so much for honesty-amongst-theives.)

This project was resurrected in a limited form primarily downstream from Vidin/Calafat from 2015 onwards given that some states of the former Yugoslavia were not members of the European Union and some were within spheres of influence of "The United States of America".

As to France, "Vichy" and Europa also facilitated the resurrection of finance capital and increase in its assay of control after the 1930's, some of the practices of the 1940's still being subject to dispute in France.

mkb29 , May 18, 2020 at 16:33

I've always admired Diana Johnstone's clear headed analyses of world/European/U.S./ China/Israel-Palestine/Russia/ interactions and the motivation of its "players". She has given some credence to what as been known as French rationalism and enlightenment. (Albeit as an American expat) Think Descartes, Diderot, Sartre , and She loves France in her own rationalist-humanist way.

Linda J , May 18, 2020 at 13:21

I have admired Ms. Johnstone's work for quite awhile. This enlightening interview spurs me to get a copy of the book and to contribute to Consortium News.

Others may be interested in the two-part video discovered yesterday featuring Douglas Valentine's analysis of the CIA's corporate backers and their global choke-hold on governments and their influencers in every region of the world.

Part 1
see:youtu(dot)be/cP15Ehx1yvI

Part 2
see:youtu(dot)be/IYvvEn_N1sE

worldblee , May 18, 2020 at 12:26

Not many have the long distance perspective on the world, let alone Europe, that Diana Johnstone has. Great interview!

Drew Hunkins , May 18, 2020 at 11:03

"Decades of indoctrination in the ideology of "Europe" has instilled the belief that the nation-state is a bad thing of the past. The result is that people raised in the European Union faith tend to regard any suggestion of return to national sovereignty as a fatal step toward fascism. This fear of contagion from "the right" is an obstacle to clear analysis which weakens the left and favors the right, which dares be patriotic."

Bingo! A marvelous point indeed! Quick little example -- Bernard Sanders should have worn an American flag pin on his suit during the 2020 Dem primary campaign.

chris , May 18, 2020 at 04:46

A very good analysis. As an American who has relocated to Spain several years ago, I am always disappointed that discussions of European politics always assume that Europe ends at the Pyrenees. Admittedly, Spanish politics is very complicated and confusing. Forty years of an unreconstructed dictatorship have left their mark, but the country´s socialist, communist and anarchic currents never went away. I like to say that the country is very conservative, but at least the population is aware of what is going on.

Perhaps what Ms. Johnston says about the French being just worn out, with no stomach for more violent conflict also applies to the Spanish since their great ideological struggle is more recent. The American influence during the Transition (which changed little – as the expression goes: The same dog but with a different collar) was very strong, and remains so. Even so, there is popular support for foreign and domestic policies independent of American and neoliberal control, but by and large the political and economic powers are not on board. I do not think Spain is willing to make a break alone, but would align itself with an European shift away from American control.

As Ms. Johnston says, Europe currently lacks leaders willing to take the plunge, but we will see what the coming year brings.

Sam F , May 17, 2020 at 17:45

Thank you Diana, these are valuable insights. Since WWII the US has itself been occupied by tyrants, using Russophobia to demand power as fake defenders.

1. Waving the flag and praising the lord on mass media, claiming concern with human rights and "Israel"; while
2. Subverting the Constitution with large scale bribery, surveillance, and genocides, all business as usual nowadays.
In the US, the form of government has become bribery and marketing lies; it truly knows no other way.

It may be better that Russia and China keep their distance from the US and maybe even the EU:
1. The US and EU would have to produce what they consume, eventually empowering workers;
2. Neither the US nor EU are a political or economic model for anyone, and should be ignored;
3. Neither the US nor EU produces much that Russia and China cannot, by investing more in cars and soybeans.

It will be best for the EU if it also rejects the US and its "neolib" economic and political tyranny mechanisms:
1. Alliance with Russia and China will cause substantial gains in stability and economic strength;
2. Forcing the US to abandon its "pretensions of world hegemony" will soon yield more peaceful prospects; and
3. Isolating the US will force it to improve its utterly corrupt government and society, maybe 40 to 60 years hence.

Drew Hunkins , May 17, 2020 at 15:40

" French philosophy .By constantly attacking, deconstructing, and denouncing every remnant of human "power" they could spot, the intellectual rebels left the power of "the markets" unimpeded, and did nothing to stand in the way of the expansion of U.S. military power all around the world "

Brilliant. Exactly right. This was the progenitor to our contemporary I.D. politics which seems to be solely obsessed with vocabulary, semantics and non-economic cultural issues while rarely having a critique of corporate capitalism, militarism, massive inequality and Zionism. And it almost never advocates for robust economic populist proposals like Med4All, U.B.I., debt jubilee, and the fight for $15.

Drew Hunkins , May 17, 2020 at 15:10

The book is phenomenal. I posted a customer review over on Amazon for this stupendous work. Below is a copy of my review:

(5 stars) One of the most important intellects pens her magisterial lasting legacy
Reviewed in the United States on March 31, 2020

Johnstone's been an idol of mine ever since I started reading her in the 1990s. She's clearly proved her worthiness over the decades by bucking the mainstream trend of apologetics for corporate capitalism, neoliberalism, globalism and imperialistic militarism her entire career and this astonishing memoir details it all in what will likely be the finest book of 2020 and perhaps the entire decade.

Her writing style is beyond superb, her grasp of the overarching politico-socio-economic issues that have rocked the world over the past 60 years is as astute and spot-on as you will find from any global thinker. She's right up there with Michael Parenti, James Petras, John Pilger and Noam Chomsky as seminal figures who have documented and brought light to tens of thousands (millions?) of people across the globe via their writings, interviews and speaking engagements.

Johnstone has never been one to shy away from controversial topics and issues. Why? Simple, she has the facts and truth on her side, she always has. Circle in the Darkness proves all this and more, she marshals the documentation and lays it out as an exquisite gift for struggling working people around the world.

From her groundbreaking work on the NATO empire's sickening war on sovereign Serbia, the dead end of identity politics and trans bathroom debates, to her critique of unfettered immigration and open borders, and her dismissal of the absurd Russsiagate baloney, better than anyone else, Johnstone has kept her intellect carefully honed to the real genuine kitchen table bread and butter issues that truly matter. She recognized before most of the world's scholars the perils of rampant inequality and saw the writing on the wall as to where this grotesque economic system is taking us all: down a dystopian slope into penury and police-state heavy-handedness, with millions unable to come up with $500 for an emergency car repair or dental bill.

Whenever she comes out with a new article or essay I immediately drop everything and devour it, often reading it twice to let her wisdom really soak in. So too Circle of Darkness is an extremely well written beautiful work that will scream out to be re-read every few years by those with a hunger to know exactly what was going on since the Korean War era through today regarding liberal thought, neocon and neoliberal dominance with its capitalist global hegemony and the take over of Western governments by the parasitic financial elite.

There will never be another Diana Johnstone. Circle in the Darkness will stand as her lasting legacy to all of us.

Bob Van Noy , May 17, 2020 at 14:43

"As our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it" ~Albert Einstein

Many Thanks CN, Patrick Lawrence, and Joe Lauria. Once again I must commend CN for picking just the appropriate response to our contemporary dilemma.

The quote above leads Diana Johnstone's new book and succinctly describes both the universe and our contemporary experience with our digital age. President Kennedy and Charles de Gaulle of France would agree that colonialism was past and that a new world (geopolitical) approach would become necessary, but that philosophy would put them against some great local and world powers. Each of them necessarily had different approaches as to how this might be accomplished. They were never allowed to present their specific proposals on a world stage. Let's hope a wiser population will once again "see" this possibility and find a way to resolve it

Aaron , May 17, 2020 at 14:18

Well over the span of all of those decades, the consistent, inexorable theme seems to be a trend of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, a small number of individuals, not really states, gaining wealth and power, so everybody else fights over the crumbs, blaming this or that party, alliance, event or whatever, but behind it all there are two flower gardens, indeed the rich are all flowers of their golden garden, and the poor are all flowers of their garden.

It's like the Europeans and the 99 percent in America have all fallen for the myth of the American dream, that if we are just allowed more free, unfettered economic opportunity, it's just up to us to pick ourselves up by the bootstraps and become a billionaire.

The mask competition and fiasco shows the importance of a country simply making things in their own country, not on the other side of the world, it's not nationalism it's just a better way to logistically deliver reliable products to the citizens.

AnneR , May 17, 2020 at 13:42

Regarding French colonialism – as I recall the French were especially brutal in their forced withdrawal from Algeria, both toward Algerians in their homeland and to Algerians within France itself.

And the French were hardly willing, non-violent colonialists when being fought by the Vietnamese who wanted to be free of them (quite rightly so).

As for the French in Sub-Saharan Africa – they have yet to truly give up on their presumed right to have troops within these countries. They did not depart any of their colonies happily, willingly – like every other colonial power, including the UK.

And, as for WWII – she seems, in her reminiscences, to have mislaid Vichy France, the Velodrome roundups of French Jews, and so on ..

Ms Johnstone clearly has been looking backwards with rose-tinted specs on when it comes to France.

Randal Marlin , May 18, 2020 at 13:00

There may be some truth to AnneR's claim that Ms Johnstone has been looking with rose-tinted specs when it comes to France, but it is highly misleading for her to talk about "the French" regarding Algeria. I spent 1963-64 in Aix-en-Provence teaching at the Institute for American Universities and talked with some of the "pieds-noirs," (French born in Algeria).

After French President Charles de Gaulle decided to relinquish French control over Algeria, having previously reassured the colonial population that "Je vous ai compris" ("I have understood you"), there followed death threats to many French colonizers who had to flee Algeria immediately within 24 hours or get their throats slit – "La valise ou le cercueil" (the suitcase or the coffin).

In the fall of 1961, I saw Parisian police stations with machine-gun armed men behind concrete barriers, as an invasion by the colonial French paratroopers against mainland France was expected. The "Organisation Armée Secrète," OAS, (Secret Armed Organization) of the colonial powers, threatened at the time to invade Paris.

As an aside, giving a sense of the anger and passion involved, when the death of John F.Kennedy in November 1963 was announced in the historic, right-wing café in Aix, Les Deux Garçons, a huge cheer went up when the media announcer proclaimed "Le Président est assassinée. Only, that was because they thought de Gaulle was the president in question. A huge disappointment when they heard it was President Kennedy. To get a sense of the whole situation regarding France and Algeria I recommend Alistair Horne's "A Savage War of Peace."

OlyaPola , May 19, 2020 at 11:23

"They did not depart any of their colonies happily"

Some hold that they never departed, but mutated tools including CFA zones and "intelligence" relations in furtherance of "changing" to remain qualitatively the same. Just as "The United States of America" is a system of coercive relations not synonymous with the political geographical area designated "The United States of America", the colonialism of former and present "colonial powers" continues to exist, since the "independence" of the colonised was always, and continues to be, framed within linear systems of coercive relations, facilitated by the complicity of "local elites" on the basis of perceived self-interest, and the acquiescence of "local others" for myriad reasons.

Despite the "best" efforts of the opponents and partly in consequence of the opponents' complicity, the PRC and the Russian Federation like "The United States of America" are not synonymous with the political geographical areas designated as "The People's Republic of China and The Russian Federation", are in lateral process of transcending linear systems of coercive relations and hence pose existential threats to "The United States of America".

The opponents are not complete fools but the drowning tend to act precipitously including flailing out whilst drowning; encouraging some to dispense with rose- tinted glasses, despite such accessories being quite fashionable and fetching.

OlyaPola , May 20, 2020 at 04:32

" .. their colonies "

Perception of and practice of social relations are not wholly synonymous. A construct whose founding myths included liberty, egality and fraternity – property being discarded at the last moment since it was judged too provocative – experienced/experiences ideological/perceptual oxymorons in regard to its colonial relations, which were addressed in part by rendering their "colonies" department of France thereby facilitating increased perceptual dissonance.

Like many, Randal Marlin draws attention below to the perceptions and practices of the pied-noir, but omits to address the perceptions and practices of the harkis whom were also immersed in the proselytised notion of departmental France, and to some degree continue to be.

This understanding continues to inform the practices and problems of the French state.

Lolita , May 17, 2020 at 12:05

The analysis is very much inspired from "Comprendre l'Empire" by Alain Soral.

Dave , May 17, 2020 at 11:27

Do not fail to read this interview in its entirety. Ms Johnstone analyzes and describes many issues of national and global importance from the perspective of an USA expat who has spent most of her career in the pursuit of what may be termed disinterested journalism. Whether one agrees or disagrees in whole or in part the perspectives she presents, particularly those which pertain to the demise (hopefully) of the American Empire are worthy of perusal.

Remember that this is not a polemic; it's a memoir of a lifetime devoted to reporting and analyzing and discussion of most of the significant issues confronting global and national politics and their social ramifications. And a big thanks to Patrick Lawrence and Consortium News for posting the interview.

PEG , May 17, 2020 at 09:11

Diana Johnstone is one of the most intelligent, clear-minded and honest observers of international politics today, and her book "Circle in the Darkness" – which expands on the topics and insights touched on in this interview – is certainly among the best and most compelling books I have ever read, putting the events of the last 75 years into objective context and focus (normally something which only historians can do, if at all, generations after the fact).

After reading Circle in the Darkness, I have ordered and am now reading her books on Hillary Clinton (Queen of Chaos) and the Yugoslav wars (Fool's Crusade), which are very worthwhile and important. I would recommend that her many articles over the years, appearing in such publications such as In These Times, Counterpunch and Consortium News, be reprinted and published together as an anthology. Through Circle in the Darkness, we have Diana Johnstone's "Life", but it would be good also to have her "Letters".

Herman , May 17, 2020 at 09:00

Interesting comparison between the aspirations of De Gaulle and Putin.

"Having a sense of history, de Gaulle saw that colonialism had been a moment in history that was past. His policy was to foster friendly relations on equal terms with all parts of the world, regardless of ideological differences. I think that Putin's concept of a multipolar world is similar. It is clearly a concept that horrifies the exceptionalists."

Agree with Johnstone.

OlyaPola , May 19, 2020 at 11:55

"Having a sense of history, de Gaulle saw that colonialism had been a moment in history that was past. "

Mr. de Gaulle like other "leaders" of colonial powers did understand that the moment of overt coercive relations of colonialism had passed and that colonialism to remain qualitatively the same, required covert coercive relations facilitated by the complicity of local "elites" on the basis of perceived self-interest.

The exceptions to such strategies lay within constructs of settler colonialism which were addressed primarily through warfare – "The United States of America", Vietnam/Laos/Cambodia, Indonesia, Algeria, Kenya, Rhodesia, Mozambique, Angola refer – to facilitate such future strategies.

"I think that Putin's concept of a multipolar world is similar."

As outlined elsewhere the concept of a multi-polar world is not synonymous with the concept of colonialism except for the colonialists who consistently seek to encourage such conflation through myths of we-are-all-in-this-togetherness.

[May 21, 2020] The 'Clean Break' Doctrine OffGuardian

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm ..."
"... "the right to plunder anything one can get their hands on" ..."
"... "the UK and France in March 2011 which led the international community to support an intervention in Libya to protect civilians from forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi" ..."
May 21, 2020 | off-guardian.org

n 1996 a task force, led by Richard Perle, produced a policy document titled A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm for Benjamin Netanyahu, who was then in his first term as Prime Minister of Israel, as a how-to manual on approaching regime change in the Middle East and for the destruction of the Oslo Accords.

The "Clean Break" policy document outlined these goals:

Ending Yasser Arafat's and the Palestinian Authority's political influence, by blaming them for acts of Palestinian terrorism Inducing the United States to overthrow Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. Launching war against Syria after Saddam's regime is disposed of. Followed by military action against Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.

"Clean Break" was also in direct opposition to the Oslo Accords, to which Netanyahu was very much itching to obliterate. The Oslo II Accord was signed just the year before, on September 28th 1995, in Taba, Egypt.

During the Oslo Accord peace process, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu accused Rabin's government of being "removed from Jewish tradition and Jewish values." Rallies organised by the Likud and other right-wing fundamentalist groups featured depictions of Rabin in a Nazi SS uniform or in the crosshairs of a gun.

In July 1995, Netanyahu went so far as to lead a mock funeral procession for Rabin, featuring a coffin and hangman's noose.

The Oslo Accords was the initiation of a process which was to lead to a peace treaty based on the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, and at fulfilling the "right of the Palestinian people to self-determination." If such a peace treaty were to occur, with the United States backing, it would have prevented much of the mayhem that has occurred since.

However, the central person to ensuring this process, Yitzak Rabin, was assassinated just a month and a half after the signing of the Oslo II Accord, on November 4th, 1995. Netanyahu became prime minister of Israel seven months later. "Clean Break" was produced the following year.

On November 6th, 2000 in the Israeli daily Ha'aretz, Israeli Justice Minister Yossi Beilin, who was the chief negotiator of the Oslo peace accords, warned those Israelis who argued that it was impossible to make peace with the Palestinians:

Zionism was founded in order to save Jews from persecution and anti-Semitism, and not in order to offer them a Jewish Sparta or – God forbid – a new Massada."

On Oct. 5, 2003, for the first time in 30 years, Israel launched bombing raids against Syria, targeting a purported "Palestinian terrorist camp" inside Syrian territory. Washington stood by and did nothing to prevent further escalation.

"Clean Break" was officially launched in March 2003 with the war against Iraq, under the pretence of "The War on Terror". The real agenda was a western-backed list of regime changes in the Middle East to fit the plans of the United Kingdom, the U.S. and Israel.

However, the affair is much more complicated than that with each player holding their own "idea" of what the "plan" is. Before we can fully appreciate such a scope, we must first understand what was Sykes-Picot and how did it shape today's world mayhem.

Arabian Nights

WWI was to officially start July 28th 1914, almost immediately following the Balkan wars (1912-1913) which had greatly weakened the Ottoman Empire.

Never one to miss an opportunity when smelling fresh blood, the British were very keen on acquiring what they saw as strategic territories for the taking under the justification of being in war-time, which in the language of geopolitics translates to "the right to plunder anything one can get their hands on" .

The brilliance of Britain's plan to garner these new territories was not to fight the Ottoman Empire directly but rather, to invoke an internal rebellion from within. These Arab territories would be encouraged by Britain to rebel for their independence from the Ottoman Empire and that Britain would support them in this cause.

These Arab territories were thus led to believe that they were fighting for their own freedom when, in fact, they were fighting for British and secondarily French colonial interests.

In order for all Arab leaders to sign on to the idea of rebelling against the Ottoman Sultan, there needed to be a viable leader that was Arab, for they certainly would not agree to rebel at the behest of Britain.

Lord Kitchener, the butcher of Sudan, was to be at the helm of this operation as Britain's Minister of War. Kitchener's choice for Arab leadership was the scion of the Hashemite dynasty, Hussein ibn Ali, known as the Sherif of Mecca who ruled the region of Hejaz under the Ottoman Sultan.

Hardinge of the British India Office disagreed with this choice and wanted Wahhabite Abdul-Aziz ibn Saud instead, however, Lord Kitchener overruled this stating that their intelligence revealed that more Arabs would follow Hussein.

Since the Young Turk Revolution which seized power of the Ottoman government in 1908, Hussein was very aware that his dynasty was in no way guaranteed and thus he was open to Britain's invitation to crown him King of the Arab kingdom.

Kitchener wrote to one of Hussein's sons, Abdallah, as reassurance of Britain's support:

If the Arab nation assist England in this war that has been forced upon us by Turkey, England will guarantee that no internal intervention take place in Arabia, and will give Arabs every assistance against foreign aggression."

Sir Henry McMahon who was the British High Commissioner to Egypt, would have several correspondences with Sherif Hussein between July 1915 to March 1916 to convince Hussein to lead the rebellion for the "independence" of the Arab states.

However, in a private letter to India's Viceroy Charles Hardinge sent on December 4th, 1915, McMahon expressed a rather different view of what the future of Arabia would be, contrary to what he had led Sherif Hussein to believe:

[I do not take] the idea of a future strong united independent Arab State too seriously the conditions of Arabia do not and will not for a very long time to come, lend themselves to such a thing."

Such a view meant that Arabia would be subject to Britain's heavy-handed "advising" in all its affairs, whether it sought it or not.

In the meantime, Sherif Hussein was receiving dispatches issued by the British Cairo office to the effect that the Arabs of Palestine, Syria, and Mesopotamia (Iraq) would be given independence guaranteed by Britain, if they rose up against the Ottoman Empire.

The French were understandably suspicious of Britain's plans for these Arab territories. The French viewed Palestine, Lebanon and Syria as intrinsically belonging to France, based on French conquests during the Crusades and their "protection" of the Catholic populations in the region.

Hussein was adamant that Beirut and Aleppo were to be given independence and completely rejected French presence in Arabia. Britain was also not content to give the French all the concessions they demanded as their "intrinsic" colonial rights.

Enter Sykes and Picot.

... ... ...

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s violent confrontations between Jews and Arabs took place in Palestine costing hundreds of lives. In 1936 a major Arab revolt occurred over 7 months, until diplomatic efforts involving other Arab countries led to a ceasefire.

In 1937, a British Royal Commission of Inquiry headed by William Peel concluded that Palestine had two distinct societies with irreconcilable political demands, thus making it necessary to partition the land.

The Arab Higher Committee refused Peel's "prescription" and the revolt broke out again. This time, Britain responded with a devastatingly heavy hand. Roughly 5,000 Arabs were killed by the British armed forces and police. Following the riots, the British mandate government dissolved the Arab Higher Committee and declared it an illegal body.

In response to the revolt, the British government issued the White Paper of 1939, which stated that Palestine should be a bi-national state, inhabited by both Arabs and Jews.

Due to the international unpopularity of the mandate including within Britain itself, it was organised such that the United Nations would take responsibility for the British initiative and adopted the resolution to partition Palestine on November 29th, 1947.

Britain would announce its termination of its Mandate for Palestine on May 15th, 1948 after the State of Israel declared its independence on May 14th, 1948.

A New Strategy for Securing Whose Realm?

Despite what its title would have you believe, "Clean Break" is neither a "new strategy" nor meant for "securing" anything. It is also not the brainchild of fanatical neo-conservatives: Dick Cheney and Richard Perle, nor even that of crazed end-of-days fundamentalist Benjamin Netanyahu, but rather has the very distinct and lingering odour of the British Empire.

"Clean Break" is a continuation of Britain's geopolitical game, and just as it used France during the Sykes-Picot days it is using the United States and Israel.

The role Israel has found itself playing in the Middle East could not exist if it were not for over 30 years of direct British occupation in Palestine and its direct responsibility for the construction of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which set a course for destruction and endless war in this region long before Israel ever existed.

It was also Britain who officially launched operation "Clean Break" by directly and fraudulently instigating an illegal war against Iraq to which the Chilcot Inquiry, aka Iraq Inquiry , released 7 years later, attests to.

This was done by the dubious reporting by British Intelligence setting the pretext for the U.S.' ultimate invasion into Iraq based off of fraudulent and forged evidence provided by GCHQ, unleashing the "War on Terror", aka "Clean Break" outline for regime change in the Middle East.

In addition, the Libyan invasion in 2011 was also found to be unlawfully instigated by Britain.

In a report published by the British Foreign Affairs Committee in September 2016, it was concluded that it was "the UK and France in March 2011 which led the international community to support an intervention in Libya to protect civilians from forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi" .

The report concluded that the Libyan intervention was based on false pretence provided by British Intelligence and recklessly promoted by the British government.

If this were not enough, British Intelligence has also been caught behind the orchestrations of Russia-Gate and the Skripal affair .

Therefore, though the U.S. and Israeli military have done a good job at stealing the show, and though they certainly believe themselves to be the head of the show, the reality is that this age of empire is distinctly British and anyone who plays into this game will ultimately be playing for said interests, whether they are aware of it or not.

Originally published by Strategic Culture


Almondson ,

Yossi B said:

Zionism was founded in order to save Jews from persecution and anti-Semitism

Ever heard of Dumbo? He's a flying elephant.

The crusade in the ME will continue, with Israel the top dog until America's military support is no longer there. Even without the Israeli eastern european invaders, the area is primed for perpetual tribal warfare because the masses are driven by tribalist doctrines and warped metaphysics dictated by insane and inhumane parasites (priests). It is the epicenter of a spiritual plague that has infected most of the planet.

paul ,

There is complete continuity between the activities of Zionist controlled western countries and those of the present day.

In the 1930s, there were about 300,000 adult Palestinian males. Over 10% were killed, imprisoned and tortured or driven into exile. 100,000 British troops were sent to Palestine to destroy completely Palestinian political and military organisations. Wingate set up the Jew terror gangs who were given free rein to murder, rape and burn, in preparation for the complete ethnic cleansing of the country.

We see the same ruthless, genocidal brutality on an even greater scale in the present day, serving exactly the same interests. Nothing has ever come of trying to negotiate with the Zionists and their western stooges – just further disasters. It is only resolute and uncompromising resistance that has ever achieved anything. Hezbollah kicking their Zionist arses out of Lebanon in 2000 and keeping them out in 2006. Had they not done so, Lebanon would still be under Zionist occupation and covered with their filthy illegal settlements.

They have never stopped and they never will. The objective is to create a vast Zionist empire comprising the whole of Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, and parts of Egypt, Turkey, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. This plan has never changed and it never will. The Zionist thieves will shortly steal what little is left of Palestine. But the thieving will not end there. It will just move on to neighbouring countries.

The prime reason they have been able to get away with this is not their control of British and US golems. It is by playing the old, dirty colonial games of divide and rule, with the Quisling stooge dictators serving their interests. They have always been able to set Sunni against Shia, and different factions against others. The dumb Arabs fall for it every time. Their latest intrigues are directed at the destruction of Iran, the next victim on their target list after Iraq, Libya and Syria. And the Quisling dictators of Saudi Arabia are openly agitating for this and offering to pay for all of it. Syria sent troops to join the US invasion of Iraq in 1991, though Iraqi troops fought and died in Syria in 1973 against Israel. Egypt allows Israel to use its airspace to carry out the genocidal terror bombing of Gaza.

All this is contemptible enough and fits into racist stereotypes of Arabs as stupid, irrational, corrupt, easily bought, violent and treacherous. This of course does not apply to the populations of those countries, but it is a legitimate assessment of their Quisling dictators, with a (very) few honourable exceptions.

Seamus Padraig ,

Of course, Arab rulers who don't tow the Zionist line generally get overthrown, don't they? And that usually requires the efforts/intervention of FUKUS, doesn't it? So you can't really pretend that 'Arab stupidity' is the main factor.

Richard Le Sarc ,

The fact that, as the Yesha Council of Rabbis and Torah Sages declared in 2006, as Israel was bombing Lebanon 'back to the Stone Age', under Talmudic Judaism, killing civilians is not just permissible, but a mitzvah, or good deed, explains Zionist behaviour. Other doctrines allow an entire 'city' eg Gaza, to be devastated for the 'crimes' of a few, and children, even babies, to be killed if they would grow up to 'oppose the Jews'. Dare mention these FACTS, seen everyday in Israeli barbarity, and the 'antisemitism' slurs flow, as ever.

Julia ,

" is that this age of empire is distinctly British"

.it takes some balls to make such an absurd statement and still expect to be taken seriously. The US of course with its 800 military bases around the world and gifts of 40 billion a year to Israel has no opinion on the future of the Middle East. You would have us believe that they are just humble onlookers, as a small bankrupt country tells them what to do. We are being told that the CIA, the most formidable spy agency and manipulator of countries in history, sits quietly by as the British and Israel tells the US what to do.
Absurd isn't it., Clearly the truth is that Israel is just another military base for the US in the Middle East, easily the most important geopolitical region in the world. They fund it, arm it, and protect it from all attacks, Israel does as it is told by the US for the most part despite the pantomime on the surface.
Many on the far right like to hide US interests behind a wall of antisemitism that likes to paint 'the jews' as an all powerful enemy but this is just cover for Israel's real geopolitical roll as a US puppet.
Time and time again all we are seeing is attempt to write the US, the largest empire in the history out of the news and out of the history books, like it is some invisible benign force that has not interests, no control and does noting to forward it's interests and it's empire.

''To find out who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticise."

I don't know about you, but I'm not 10 years old and I know I am looking at Empire and it's power being flexed every day in every part do the world, especial in the parts of the world that it funds with trillions of dollars.

Julia ,

" is that this age of empire is distinctly British"

.it takes some balls to make such an absurd statement and still expect to be taken seriously. The US of course with its 800 military bases around the world and gifts of 40 billion a year to Israel has no opinion on the future of the Middle East. You would have us believe that they are just humble onlookers, as a small bankrupt country tells them what to do. We are being told that the CIA, the most formidable spy agency and manipulator of countries in history, sits quietly by as the British and Israel tells the US what to do.
Absurd isn't it., Clearly the truth is that Israel is just another military base for the US in the Middle East, easily the most important geopolitical region in the world. They fund it, arm it, and protect it from all attacks, Israel does as it is told by the US for the most part despite the pantomime on the surface.
Many on the far right like to hide US interests behind a wall of antisemitism that likes to paint 'the jews' as an all powerful enemy but this is just cover for Israel's real geopolitical roll as a US puppet.
Time and time again all we are seeing is attempt to write the US, the largest empire in the history out of the news and out of the history books, like it is some invisible benign force that has not interests, no control and does noting to forward it's interests and it's empire.

''To find out who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticise."

I don't know about you, but I'm not 10 years old and I know I am looking at Empire and it's power being flexed every day in every part do the world, especial in the parts of the world that it funds with trillions of dollars.

Richard Le Sarc ,

The antithesis of the truth. It is US politicians who flock to AIPAC's meeting every year to pledge UNDYING fealty to Israel, not Israeli politicians pledging loyalty to the USA. It is Israeli and dual loyalty Jewish oligarchs funding BOTH US parties, it is US politicians throwing themselves to the ground in adulation when Bibi the war criminal addresses the Congress with undisguised contempt, not Israeli politicians groveling to the USA. The master-servant relationship is undisguised.

Pyewacket ,

In Daniel Yergin's The Prize, a history of the Oil industry, he provides another interesting angle to explain British interest in the region. He states that at that time, Churchill realised that a fighting Navy powered by Coal, was not nearly as good or efficient as one using Oil as a fuel, and that securing supplies of the stuff was the best way forward to protect the Empire.

BigB ,

Yergin would be right. The precursor of the First World War was a technological arms race and accelerated 'scientific' perfection of arsenals – particularly naval – in the service of imperialism. British and German imperialism. The full story involves the Berlin to Cairo railway and the resource grab that went with it. I'm a bit sketchy on the details now: but Churchill had a prominent role, rising to First Lord of the Admiralty.

Docherty and Macgregor have exposed the hidden history. F W Engdahl has written about WW1 being the first oil war.

Andreas Schlüter ,

And don´t forget which of the US Military command regions into which the US Military divided the WHOLE World is named "US CENTCOM"!
„One Thing Must be Clear to the World: The US Power Elite Regards the Whole Globe as Their Colony!": https://wipokuli.wordpress.com/2016/10/26/one-thing-must-be-clear-to-the-world-the-us-power-elite-regards-the-whole-globe-as-their-colony/

Antonym ,

In 1996 a task force, led by Richard Perle, produced a policy document titled A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm for Benjamin Netanyahu

No source link for this!

By the way 1996 was during the Clinton administration. Warren Christopher was secretary of state and John Deutch was the Director of Central Intelligence . George Tenet was appointed the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence in July 1995. After John Deutch's abrupt resignation in December 1996, Tenet served as acting director.

Reg ,

Here you go, sonny boy

http://www.dougfeith.com/docs/Clean_Break.pdf

Richard Le Sarc ,

Antsie, what are you going to deny next? The USS Liberty? Deir Yassin? The Lavon Affair? Sabra, Shatilla? Qana (twice)? The Five Celebrating Israelis on 9/11?Does not impress.

[May 21, 2020] How Can Susan Rice Know What Obama and Comey Said if She Was Not Present by Larry C Johnson

May 21, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Here is the bottomline in a nutshell--Susan Rice has been caught red handed trying to construct a lie about what Barack Obama knew and did not know with respect to General Michael Flynn. She claimed to be present when Barack Obama discussed the Michael Flynn intercept but, according to Sally Yates, who was interviewed by the FBI, only Yates, Jim Comey and Barack Obama were present. This new revelation--made possible by the declassification of the Susan Rice email written in the last moments of the Obama Administration--actually bolsters Michael Flynn's contention that he was the victim of a political hit job designed to take out Donald Trump.

[May 21, 2020] Trump Is Exposing The Deep State Like No One Since JFK, Former CIA Spook by Greg Hunter

May 21, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Via Greg Hunter's USAWatchdog.com ,

With every new revelation about what President Trump calls "Obamagate," you see the curtain being torn down and revealing the corrupt players who were running America and attacking our Republic.

Former CIA Officer and counter-terrorism expert Kevin Shipp, who wrote a book about the Deep State called "From the Company of Shadows," says any hint that POTUS is a tool of the Deep State is preposterous.

Shipp explains, "That is absolutely ridiculous..."

" Donald Trump has confronted the Shadow Government and Deep State more than any other president in history, and that includes JFK. JFK did, of course, confront the Deep State and we saw what happened there.

There has been no other president that has had the guts to expose the Shadow Government and Deep State like Donald Trump has. What has the Deep State done? They have gone after him with a vengeance. Why would the Deep State attack their own with attacks to try to destroy him and his family if he wasn't threatening to expose the Deep State? No, he's not a Deep State president. He's not perfect. We all know that. There are members of his cabinet that we are concerned about with connections to some of the central banks. We all know that, but Donald Trump is not Deep State. He is splitting the Deep State wide open.

Look what DNI Rick Grenell just presented to the President. He authorized for release of names of all the unmaskers. Trump is exposing the Deep State, and, personally, I am proud of him because I have been waiting for this for 20 years for a president to come out and expose these things ."

On the virus crisis, Shipp says it's turned into a political weapon for the Left. Shipp contends, "They (Democrats) want to delay any solution to the Coronavirus until the election so they can keep the economy ruined and point the finger at Donald Trump..."

" That's one of the things they want to do. They also want mail-in ballots because that is one of the easiest ways to engage in election fraud. There is a report that just came out that people are getting mail-in ballots that already have the Democrat party checked on the box when they open it up, and they are not Democrats.

You better believe they are going to try to engage in voter fraud using mail-in ballots. There is no doubt about it because they are going to lose badly, and they know it. So, they have to do that. You bet."

The Democrats in the House are going to try, once again, to impeach President Trump for Russian collision. Recently released documents show it was a proven total hoax that they made up, and, yet, the Dems are going to try this again before the 2020 election. What's going on? Shipp says,

" This is the last gasp of Democrat Congressional tyrants trying one last time to remove this elected President. It's laughable...

What this is, is desperation on the part of Pelosi and Schumer. This is desperation on their part knowing that the whole thing was disproven and shot down by the evidence. If Trump gets elected a second time, you will see investigations into Congress, Senate, Obamagate and China. These people are desperate to keep that stuff from coming out.

You think President Trump is exposing them now? You wait until he gets elected a second time. That's why they are so terrified, and they are trying everything they can to keep him from being elected."

Join Greg Hunter of USAWatchdog.com as he goes One-on-One with CIA whistleblower Kevin Shipp.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/UjFew1RLzlc

To Donate to USAWatchdog.com Click Here...

Kevin Shipp's website is called FortheLoveofFreedom.net ...

[May 21, 2020] Mefobills

May 21, 2020 | www.unz.com

says: Show Comment May 21, 2020 at 8:59 pm GMT 100 Words @Phaeton I pushed the agree button for you.

Here is a link that is more fair to what fascism is.

http://immigration-globalization.blogspot.com/2011/09/what-is-fascism.html

We have a plutocracy which is in bed with corporations, including finance corporations. Our totalitarianism is not fascism.

Fascism arose to fight finance capital. It was the third way between communism and finance capitalism.

People keep bandying the word fascism around because it was changed in meaning post ww2 something like conspiracy after JFK was murdered. The meaning was changed to have a negative reaction in our brains.

Conspiracy is merely people getting together to hatch a plot, or scheme. Fascism was the putting of the polity over capital.

[May 21, 2020] Brave New Normal (Part 2) by C.J. Hopkins

May 21, 2020 | www.unz.com

My columns haven't been very funny recently. This one isn't going to be any funnier. Sorry. Fascism makes me cranky.

I don't mean the kind of fascism the corporate media and the fake Resistance have been desperately hyping for the last four years. God help me, but I'm not terribly worried about a few hundred white-supremacist morons marching around with tiki torches hollering Nazi slogans at each other, or Jewish-Mexican-American law clerks flashing "OK" signs on TV, or smirking schoolkids in MAGA hats.

I'm talking about actual, bona fide fascism, or totalitarianism, if you want to get technical. The kind where governments declare a global "state of emergency" on account of a virus with a 0.2% to 0.6% lethality (and that causes mild, flu-like symptoms, or absolutely no symptoms whatsoever, in over 97% of those infected ), locks everyone down inside their homes, suspends their constitutional rights, terrorizes them with propaganda, and unleashes uniformed goon squads on anyone who doesn't comply with their despotic decrees.

I'm talking about the kind of totalitarianism where the police track you down with your smartphone data and then come to your house to personally harass you for attending a political protest , or attack you for challenging their illegitimate authority , and then charge you with "assault" for fighting back, and then get the media to publish a story accusing you of having "set up" the cops .

I'm talking about the kind of totalitarianism where the secret police are given carte blanche to monitor everyone's Internet activity , and to scan you with their " surveillance helmets ," and dictate how close you can sit to your friends , and menace you with drones and robot dogs , and violently pry your kids out of your arms and arrest you if you dare to protest.

I'm talking about the kind of totalitarianism that psychologically tortures children with authoritarian loyalty rituals designed to condition them to live in fear, and respond to absurd Pavlovian stimuli, and that encourages the masses to turn off their brains and mechanically repeat propaganda slogans, like "wear a mask" and "flatten the curve," and to report their neighbors to the police for having an "illegal" private party and to otherwise reify the manufactured mass hysteria the authorities need to "justify" their totalitarianism.

Yeah, that kind of stuff makes me cranky.

And you know what makes me really cranky? I'll tell you what makes me really cranky. It is people who publicly project themselves as "anti-authoritarians" and "anti-fascists," or who have established their "anti-establishment" brands and "dissident" personas on social media, or even in the corporate media, either zealously cheerleading this totalitarianism or looking away and saying nothing as it is rolled out by the very authorities and media propagandists they pretend to oppose. I don't know exactly why, but that stuff makes me particularly cranky.

I'll provide you with a few examples.

The militant "Portland anti-fascists" who the corporate media fell in love with and made famous for bravely fighting off the Trump-loving Putin-Nazi Menace over the course of the last four years, as soon as the Corona-Totalitarianism began, did what all true anti-fascists do when the state goes full-blown fascist no, they did not "smash the state," or "occupy the streets," or anything like that. They masked-up and started making vegan hand sanitizer .

Popular Internet "anti-imperialists" started accusing everyone opposing the lockdown of being part of some far-right Republican plot to "promote mass death under the banner of freedom" or to "normalize death" to benefit rich people, or being members of a "death cult," or something. Celebrity socialists took to Twitter to warn that we would " shortly have the blood of thousands of people on our hands ," and call us " anti-vaxxers " and " flat earth fucks ." Indie political and military analysts patiently explained why governments needed to be able to pull people out of their homes against their will and quarantine them . Anarchist anthropologists averred that the lockdown wasn't damaging the productive economy; it was only damaging the "bullshit economy," and those complaining about being out of work were people whose work is "largely useless."

Others simply looked away or sat there in silence as we were confined to our homes, and made to carry " permission papers " to walk to work or the corner grocery store, and were beaten and arrested for not "social-distancing," and were otherwise bullied and humiliated for no justifiable reason whatsoever. (We are talking about a virus, after all, that even the official medical experts, e.g., the U.K.'s Chief Medic , admit is more or less harmless to the vast majority of us, not the Bubonic Fucking Plague or some sort of Alien-Terrorist-Death-Flu so spare me the "we-had-no-choice-but-to-go-totalitarian" rationalization.)

My intent is not merely to mock these people (i.e., these "radical," "anti-establishment" types who fell into formation and started goose-stepping because the media told them we were all going to die), but also to use them as a clear example of how official narratives are born and take hold.

That's somewhat pertinent at the moment, because the "Brave New Normal" official narrative has been born, but it has not yet taken hold. What happens next will determine whether it does.

In order to understand how this works, imagine for a moment that you're one of these people who are normally skeptical of the government and the media, and that you consider yourself an anti-authoritarian, or at least a friend of the working classes, and now you are beginning to realize that there is no Alien-Terrorist-Death-Flu (just as there were no "WMDs," no "Russian hackers," no "pee-tape," etc.), and so it dawns on you that you've been behaving like a hysterical, brainwashed, fascist minion of the very establishment you supposedly oppose or at the very least like an abject coward.

Imagine how you might feel right now.

You would probably feel pretty foolish, right? And more than a little ashamed of yourself. So OK, what would do about that? Well, you would have a couple of options.

Option Number One would be admit what you did, apologize to whomever you have to, and try like hell not to do it again. Not many people are going to choose this option.

Most people are going to choose Option Number Two, which is to desperately try to deny what they did, or to desperately rationalize what they did (and in many cases are still actively doing). Now, this is not as easy at it sounds, because doing that means they will have to continue to believe (or at least pretend to believe) that there is an Alien-Terrorist-Death-Flu which is going to kill hundreds of millions of people the moment we stop locking everyone down, and forcing them to "social distance," and so on. They will have to continue to pretend to believe that this Alien-Terrorist-Death-Flu exists, even though they know it doesn't.

And this is where that Orwellian "doublethink" comes in. People (i.e., these "anti-authoritarians," not to mention the majority of the "normal" public) are not going to want to face the fact that they've been behaving like a bunch of fascists (or cowards) for no justifiable reason whatsoever. So, what they are going to do instead is desperately pretend that their behavior was justified and that the propaganda they have been swallowing, and regurgitating, was not propaganda, but rather, "the Truth."

In other words, in order to avoid their shame, they are going to do everything in their power to reify the official narrative and delegitimize anyone attempting to expose it as the fiction that it is. They are going to join in with the corporate media that are calling us " extremists ," " conspiracy theorists ," " anti-vaxxers ," and other such epithets. They're going to accuse those of us on the Left of aligning with " far-Right Republican militias ," and " Boogaloo accelerationists ," and of being members of the Russian-backed " Querfront ," and assorted other horrible things meant to scare errant leftists into line.

Above all, they are going to continue to insist, despite all the evidence to the contrary , that we are "under attack" by a "killer virus" which could "strike again at any time," and so we have to maintain at least some level of totalitarianism and paranoia, or else well, you know, the terrorists win.

It is this reification of the official narrative by those too ashamed to admit what they did (and try to determine why they did it), and not the narrative or the propaganda itself, that will eventually establish the "Brave New Normal" as "reality" (assuming the process works as smoothly as it did with the "War on Terror," the "War on Populism," and the "Cold War" narratives). The facts, the data, the "science" won't matter. Reality is consensus reality and a new consensus is being formed at the moment.

There is still a chance (right now, not months from now) for these people (some of whom are rather influential) to stand up and say, "Whoops! I screwed up and went all Nazi there for a bit." But I seriously doubt that is going to happen.

It's much more likely that the Brave New Normal (or some intermittent, scaled-down version of it) will gradually become our new reality. People will get used to being occasionally "locked down," and being ordered to wear masks, and not to touch each other, and to standing in designated circles and boxes, like they got used to the "anti-Terrorism measures," and believing that Trump is a "Russian asset." The coming economic depression will be blamed on the Alien-Terrorist-Death-Flu, rather than on the lockdown that caused it. Millions of people will be condemned to extreme poverty , or debt-enslaved for the rest of their lives, but they'll be too busy trying to survive to mount any kind of broad resistance.

The children, of course, won't know any better. They will grow up with their "isolation boxes," and "protective barriers," and "contact tracing," and they will live in constant low-grade fear of another killer virus, or terrorist attack, or Russian-backed white supremacist uprising, or whatever boogeyman might next appear to menace the global capitalist empire, which, it goes without saying, will be just fine.

Me, I'll probably remain kind of cranky, but I will try to find the humor in it all. Bear with me that might take a while.

C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and political satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing and Broadway Play Publishing, Inc. His dystopian novel, Zone 23 , is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant. Volume I of his Consent Factory Essays is published by Consent Factory Publishing, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amalgamated Content, Inc. He can be reached at cjhopkins.com or consentfactory.org .


eD , says: Show Comment May 20, 2020 at 8:53 pm GMT

On this particular event, I researched COVID-19 a few months ago, before the lockdowns hit my part of the United States, and realized that it was BS. However, since I am powerless this had no effect on my day to day life. I didn't have the money to spend a year in a non-lockdown country, not that many exist, or retreat to some estate in the countryside. I neither own or control a business or facility that I could defy the lockdowns and keep open. I still need to have to wear a mask to go grocery shopping or starve.

This was the case with other hoaxes such as WMD, so I am not sure who these things are aimed out. I also don't know how many proles (who, remember, mostly don't vote) really believe in them. Since they have no power, it makes no difference if they do or not. Unless you own or operate a business or something like a church that can be closed by a lockdown order, the most you can do is avoid wearing the mask that signals your compliance, and even then they get you if you have to enter a store.

The hoaxes might be aimed at the lower level functionaries, the gym owners, the lower level administrators, the cops, the inspectors who are still needed to physically enforce the edicts on the local level. However, even here, there is a collective action problem with disobedience, its only effective if a mass of them disobey, a lone individual disobeying will face retaliation.

Levtraro , says: Show Comment May 20, 2020 at 9:17 pm GMT

My intent is not merely to mock these people (i.e., these "radical," "anti-establishment" types who fell into formation and started goose-stepping because the media told them we were all going to die), but also to use them as a clear example of how official narratives are born and take hold.

Do you read scientific articles? I know you are not a medical doctor or a scientist so no point asking about your actual experience in dealing with the virus, but you can read. Many informed and intelligent people have formed their opinion of this epidemics by reading the reported scientific evidence, experiments, epidemiological modelling, not the media. I have posted several articles published in top-ranking journals demonstrating the effectiveness of containment in China (recently a new work has been published with an analysis of the dynamics in Germany). These articles also offer the data and computer code freely to reproduce the results or adapt them to other situations.

I don't know where you live and I am sorry that you are experiencing the fascist apocalypse (obwandiyag, above) while sitting at your desk typing out your pieces. Where I live in Europe there was a serious epidemics that is now getting under control thanks to the strategy of containment. There has been no fascist uprising and there have been no politicians suddenly sig-heiling people into the totalitarian nightmare that you describe. We are all tired of this shit but as I can see around me nearly all agree that the infections have to be contained and that the effort to achieve containment has been worth the pain. I guess to stop pathogens that kill or cause great suffering to people from spreading further is a humanitarian demand, regardless of the age or health of the victims.

Also, contrary to the nightmarish situation you describe in your country, here politicians seem to be too eager to come back to their normal routine. They are not looking to perpetuate a state of emergency, quite on the contrary, scientific committes are advising them to carry on a bit further (with many postdocs doing to modelling in the background) and de-escalate in a gradual manner.

But what you describe is truly nightmarish. I see you quote a lot of twitter posts and other media to susbtantiate your fears. So either you go out and fight the fascists hordes sig-hailing you into totalitarianism from twitter, or instead you read scientific papers and calm down.

l
The Kremlin Stooge , says: Show Comment May 20, 2020 at 9:45 pm GMT
Don't forget 'Covidiots'. The frontline-worker-lovin', government-narrative-believin' social-distance welcomin' simpletons are endlessly inventive when it comes to coining contemptuous nicknames for those who don't buy into their embrace of madness. I am happy to be able to say I thought the virus was bogus from the first, and said so to anyone who would listen.

So, now there's a big demographic who stuck paper hearts in their windows the way gold-star mothers used to advertise that Someone In This House Has Gone To War. A demographic that clapped like seals every evening at 7:00 PM to show its support for everyone who was still allowed to do their job. That happily buckled down to a war mentality which excused the withdrawal of individual rights in favour of the public good. As you suggest, embarrassment is on the near horizon – what will the reaction be?

The first thing that should happen is that everyone who was in a political leadership position during this debacle, and went along with it, should be unceremoniously kicked out of office. The WHO leadership should all be fired. Police chiefs should be invited to resign, effective immediately. Everyone who willingly went along with this farce and has a responsibility to more than themselves and their immediate families should be made to publicly apologize, or wear a paper mask with "I'm an idiot" printed on it in lipstick.

Tsar Nicholas , says: Show Comment May 20, 2020 at 9:46 pm GMT
@Levtraro

I live in Europe there was a serious epidemics that is now getting under control thanks to the strategy of containment. There has been no fascist uprising and there have been no politicians suddenly sig-heiling people into the totalitarian nightmare that you describe.

Well, in Britain (which is still part of Europe geographically) all protests, demonstrations and the like have been banned. Local elections have been delayed by one year.

The virus has been circulating since November and the excess mortality rate over and above the background rate did not start until after the lockdown commended in March. Part of this is due to the cancellation of elective surgery for at least three months – no transplants, much reduced diagnoses of new cancer cases, people with heart attacks and stroke staying away from hospitals and so on.

There has been a veritable holocaust in care homes – caused by lack of visits from GPs and a lack of availability of hospital care, and the rush to empty hospitals of older people back to care homes regardless of whether or not they had the infection. Care homes were by (emergency) law not permitted to refuse entry.

Every Thursday we are encouraged to spend several minutes of our house arrest going outdoors and clapping for the National Health Service. It's a bit like a love version of the Two Minutes of Hate in Nineteen Eighty-Four .

Well done on getting your articles published. That boast does little for the reputation of these "top ranking publications."

The Kremlin Stooge , says: Show Comment May 20, 2020 at 9:52 pm GMT
@Levtraro Did you say, "epidemiological modelling'? You mean, like the epidemiological model that started the whole jaw-dropping overreaction in the first place? This epidemiological model?

https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/professor-lockdown-modeler-resigns-in-disgrace/

The one that varied by as many as 80,000 deaths over 80 days in subsequent runs without changing any of the feed parameters? That epidemiological model? Yes, that's the sort of scientific work that calms me down every time.

Bragadocious , says: Show Comment May 20, 2020 at 10:03 pm GMT
It's funny how American-expat-in-Germany Hopkins has generally been a huge supporter of European democratic socialism, as opposed to the Trumpian or neoliberal America which he finds so distasteful. And yet, those European countries actually locked down more ruthlessly than America. In Spain, France and the UK you couldn't even get in your car and drive 50 miles without the risk of being stopped. That was never the case here. Freedom of movement was never under threat in the U.S. I wonder what he thinks about that.
SteveK9 , says: Show Comment May 20, 2020 at 10:24 pm GMT
C. J., whatever hope there is in the US, lies in the fact that the country is not homogeneous. I don't think most people have yet realized that this was an epidemic in NYC and nowhere else. There were deaths, but a very small number. Los Angeles County has 11 million people and ~ 1700 deaths. Not every place is requiring a 'mask' of shame yet. Hopefully, a few states 'open up' and nothing happens, and then more, and finally if New Yorkers and a few other places want to cower and cringe for the rest of their lives, they are free to do so.
SteveK9 , says: Show Comment May 21, 2020 at 1:36 am GMT
Example: Florida vs New York (from RT): DeSantis is the Republican Governor of Florida.

Florida has been one of the first states to roll back lockdown orders and allow many non-essential businesses to reopen.

Many critics in the media predicted that Florida would end up "just like Italy" two weeks after reopening, DeSantis continued. "Well, hell, we're eight weeks away from that and it hasn't happened."

New York, with a population of over 19 million, has had over 250,000 cases and more than 28,000 deaths from the coronavirus. Though it has a larger population – 21 million – and more high-risk elderly residents, Florida has registered just over 47,000 cases and some 2,000 deaths.

And yet the MSM praises Cuomo to the skys, and lambasts DeSantis. Also, ignored is Cuomo's decision to empty hospitals of elderly patients and send them back to nursing homes (to die).

Pissedoffalese , says: Show Comment May 21, 2020 at 2:33 am GMT
Face Diaper.

Can't remember where I read that (maybe Taki), but every time I see a picture of these fools, I laff my ass off, 'cuz, as described, the masks just keep getting BIGGER. Now, even in my hokey little town of 1,500, well off the beaten-track, idiots are wandering around the streets and the ONE store wearing plexiglass welding face shields (is that even a THING? Would've thought welders needed something more substantial, but thereya go). Mostly, we here don't give a shit, and since there's no business here anyway, nobody was fired or laid off. Sadly, however, there's no chickens at the hardware store until June.

Guess it'll give me time to build a coop if I can get the relatives to move out before I hang myself–7 people in a single-wide, and six of them hate me.

Joy.

nsa , says: Show Comment May 21, 2020 at 4:51 am GMT
Style Advice Please. Don't have a wu-wu virus face mask, so plan to wear girl's panties over my head when leaving the house with the ears sticking out the leg holes . But am perplexed as to whether the hash mark should go in the front or the back. Sartorial counsel appreciated as do not want to look foolish.
Hail , says: Website Show Comment May 21, 2020 at 4:57 am GMT

The kind where governments declare a global "state of emergency" on account of a virus with a 0.2% to 1% lethality

Most of the studies are converging on the 0.1% range; any above 0.2% are now unusual outliers. In the words of Swiss Propaganda Research's "A Swiss Doctor on COVID19" series (which is the link provided in this essay):

According to data from the best-studied countries and regions, the lethality of Covid19 is on average about 0.2%, which is in the range of a severe influenza (flu) and about twenty times lower than originally assumed by the WHO.

From the Lethality page:

Covid-19 infection fatality rates (IFR) based on antibody studies

Population-based antibody seroprevalence studies.

Global May 19 12 countries 0.02% – 0.40%

A single case was at 0.4%, Geneva, reporting as of a certain point in April; given that this is an outlier, I expect that a follow-up done now would report it down in Geneva. Wuhan reported 0.3%. Gangelt, Germany, 0.25% (small study; early outbreak).

The other nine studies in the meta-analysis average <0.1% deaths to those who are corona-positive (0.085%; range: 0.02% to 0.17%). Of course, this is Just The Flu territory, but the Corona-True-Believers still think that's laughable and worthy of derision. But there it is: <0.1%.

The virus is not going to cause any noticeable full-year mortality rise almost anywhere. The Panic-induced deaths might, in some places.

Hail , says: Website Show Comment May 21, 2020 at 5:17 am GMT

in order to avoid their shame, they are going to do everything in their power to reify the official narrative and delegitimize anyone attempting to expose it as the fiction that it is. They are going to join in with the corporate media that are calling us "extremists," "conspiracy theorists," "anti-vaxxers," and other such epithets.

they are going to continue to insist, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that we are "under attack" by a "killer virus" which could "strike again at any time,"

What you are describing, and the whole Corona-Reaction phenomenon broadly, is a religious cult. The Corona Cult.

"Is Corona a religious cult? An anthropological study." (Corona as virus-centered apocalypse cult; its ascent to state religion; the mass-conversion event to the cult; a study of the cult) , by me, May 18. (See also, " The Modern-Day Cult of Corona ," by Helen Buyinski.)

I have come to understand that only in terms of religion can Corona be understood. A close look shows Corona fits all the indicators of a cult in the anthropological sense, and vert well. It is a literal religious cult (as in, non-metaphorical).

"Postmodern Western people don't do religion, don't do religious movements, so people haven't realized this is what it is."

Marshall Lentini , says: Show Comment May 21, 2020 at 5:37 am GMT
@Levtraro

I live in Europe there was a serious epidemics that is now getting under control thanks to the strategy of containment.

He's had "articles published", but can't remember the golden rule: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlation_does_not_imply_causation

Mr. Anon , says: Show Comment May 21, 2020 at 6:12 am GMT

They're going to accuse those of us on the Left of aligning with "far-Right Republican militias," and "Boogaloo accelerationists," and of being members of the Russian-backed "Querfront," and assorted other horrible things meant to scare errant leftists into line.

This been mirrored on the alt-right, where people like Hunter Wallace at Occidental Dissent derides anyone who doesn't share his by now weeks-long hyperventillating panic attack as a muh-freedom-loving-cuck, or a leftist fellow-traveller, or a crazy conspiracy-theorist (which is funny given that his commentariat seemed to largely consist of knee-jerk false-flag idiots and flat-earthers).

Biff , says: Show Comment May 21, 2020 at 6:20 am GMT
@Pissedoffalese

in a single-wide,

I'm guessing you got a double-wide.

Mr. Anon , says: Show Comment May 21, 2020 at 6:22 am GMT
@Tsar Nicholas

Every Thursday we are encouraged to spend several minutes of our house arrest going outdoors and clapping for the National Health Service. It's a bit like a love version of the Two Minutes of Hate in Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Remember our boys bravely fighting on the Malabar Front!

As you implied, it's just a different side of the same coin. If a second-wave hits, people will be encouraged to go out on their balconies and shout out their hatred for "covid-deniers" and "anti-vaxxers".

obwandiyag , says: Show Comment May 21, 2020 at 6:31 am GMT
@Levtraro He lives in Germany. Who have a low incidence of the disease, and so he doesn't get it in his face like he would in some other countries.

And I swear to god, for like a whole year before the epidemic, he was writing these "humorous" articles mocking people for thinking that fascism was on the rise.

I guess it's too much to expect consistency.

Biff , says: Show Comment May 21, 2020 at 6:33 am GMT
@R.C.

throes of the world's free economies.

What is a "free" economy?

Levtraro , says: Show Comment May 21, 2020 at 6:48 am GMT
@The Kremlin Stooge No, I mean this:

https://doi.org/10.1126/science.368.6488.218 (world)
https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abb3221 (China)
https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aba9757 (world)
https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abb9789 (Germany)
https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2004911117 (Italy and S. Korea)
https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2284-y (China)
https://foi.org/10.1126/science.abb5793 (USA)
https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2293-x (China)
https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abb4557 (China)
https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abc3517 (France)
https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abb6105 (China)
https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abb8001 (China)

But you can continue getting your info from The National Review and other outlets of the MSM.

JSlade , says: Show Comment May 21, 2020 at 6:50 am GMT
@Levtraro It's not going back to normal Even the politicians realize that there's no point in lying to us that it will. Many small businesses won't return. Men like Bill Gates and Eric Schmidt will be able to force their autistic view on reality on the rest of us. Just watch CNN for 5 minutes and you'll get a good idea of what the "new normal" is gonna look like. Break through that denial now. Shit is about to get real, or should I say , virtual. Right now you can't even tell difference.
chris , says: Show Comment May 21, 2020 at 7:17 am GMT
@Adam Smith It's also absolutely brilliant!!!
anonymous [400] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment May 21, 2020 at 7:30 am GMT

did what all true anti-fascists do when the state goes full-blown fascist

Curious, isn't it? These Antifa and other supposed loony lefty groups suddenly are all in with government totalitarianism. I saw some Maoist-RCP front group counter-picket an anti-lockdown rally. It tends to confirm my feeling that those groups are infiltrated and run by government agencies. This certainly was the most successful fear-mongering propaganda campaign of all time, full-spectrum 24/7 hysteria what with their death counts and all. This was also a training exercise. They'll analyze how this played out and refine it for the next time just as 'color revolutions' were refined and turned into a how-to textbook. Any doubt about there being a next time?

Achmed E. Newman , says: Website Show Comment May 21, 2020 at 7:32 am GMT
Mr. Hopkins, from this 4th article of yours that I've read, I see you are really going places with the truth. I'd have probably made an effort to back-read your older stuff, maybe a couple of columns per day, had I not just seen that you are a lefty, by your own admission. As one expert on this insanity , blogger/commenter E.H. Hail has noted, this Panic/anti-Panic divide cuts across normal political divides though.

You bring up the Cold War as some sort of made-up thing like the "War on Terra" and the "War on Drugs" (my addition), and this War against this "virus of mass destruction", which is wrong (about the Cold War, not the rest), and it seems GloboCap(TM) is your trademark term (making no sense – I have not seen Capitalism operating without Big-Gov anywhere in the world lately, outside the illegal-Mexican run flea markets). However, I will leave that behind, as you may learn something else as you see some of the behavior you note in the antifa people and others of the left that you rightly are disgusted by here.

Therefore, I will keep reading your latest, greatest rants, "rants" said in a most admiring way, and pointing them out to friends and on the Peak Stupidity blog. Can the rest of the non-hysterical among us on the left and right around the world possibly realize from this Panic-Fest response what totalitarianism is all about? I mean, before it's too late, that is – that'd sure be nice. Maybe ideological definitions should be created from scratch out of this.

I like the 2nd half of this article, in which you explain very well, in my opinion, that 2nd option that people who have been so far wrong on this issue will almost all pick. There is no way you will get an "I was wrong" admission, much less an apology, from anyone without the integrity of a Steve Sailer, meaning, well, here on unz, nobody but Steve Sailer. Those people will be obligated to stick to their original story and do that double-thinking, even supporting Totalitarianism when they know quite well what it entails. People don't like to be wrong.

A prediction of mine is that, once it is realized that deaths of old people around the world will be pretty much the same in 2020 as in other years, along with telling us that this is because we DID properly LOCKDOWN and SHELTER-IN-PLACE! per Big-Bro's instructions and then they will bring up "it's baaaack" every so often.

Thank you for another great article, Mr. Hopkins.

Achmed E. Newman , says: Website Show Comment May 21, 2020 at 7:45 am GMT
@eD There is plenty you can do, Ed, by example. Maybe it's my State, in which people are pretty laid back about this, whatever side they are on, but nobody ever told me to wear a mask, even though I didn't right up through last week*. I can go into the Target store right now, and if I get any BS, I'll let myself get pulled out of the store.

It won't happen like that here though, Ed. People are in friendly defiance all over the place. I suggest you do the same thing. All it takes is 300,000,000 people saying "there is nothing I can do", to let this shit get worse. It only takes a couple of dozen or so people in one place – a little too big a crowd for the police to handle without some real trouble – to lead the rest out of this stupidity.

You read the column – I take this just as seriously as Mr. Hopkins.

.

* I've written about this elsewhere, that, because I promised my wife, I've finally worn one of these in stores (part-ti