Pro-Women’s Rights Supreme Court Judge Ruth Ginsburg Utterly Ignored Palestinian Genocide

On the occasion of the death of the remarkable, pro-women’s rights US Supreme Court judge but fervent supporter of genocidally racist Zionism, Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG), one notes that in her outstanding over 60 year career she was utterly silent about the human rights of Palestinians, and that  women and children are 75% of the 14 million sorely oppressed Palestinians, the 7 million Exiled Palestinians, the 8 million Palestinian refugees, the 5 million Occupied Palestinians with zero human rights in the military-guarded Gaza Concentration Camp (2 million) and West Bank ghettoes (3 million), and the 2 million Palestinian Israelis living as Third Class citizens of Apartheid Israel under over 60 race-based laws.

Genocidally racist American and British Zionists played a key role in the Balfour Declaration and the defeat of Germany in WW1 that had the dreadful consequences of Nazi German anti-Jewish anti-Semitism, WW2, the WW2 Jewish Holocaust (5-6 million Jews killed through violence or deprivation) and the ongoing  Palestinian Genocide (2.2 million Palestinian  deaths from violence, 0.1 million, or from imposed deprivation, 2.1 million, since the Australia-assisted British invasion of the oil-rich Middle East in 1914).1

Silence is complicity. Kathryn  Shihadah has written about these horrendous historical realities  and has described Judge Ginsburg’s Palestinian Genocide-complicit silence as “Progressive Except Palestine” (PEP) (2017): “Ginsburg [first Jewish woman on the US Supreme Court] has pursued justice wholeheartedly all her life, and has throughout her career advocated for progressive causes. In 1972, she co-founded the Women’s Rights Project at the ACLU, and fought more than 300 gender discrimination cases between 1973 and 1974. But these admirable convictions we see in Ginsburg that are common among many Americans – empathy toward the marginalized, advocacy for defenseless – suddenly evaporate in certain situations. Perhaps it’s subconscious, but there lurks another loyalty ready to override the cause of true justice and compassion. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is among the many influential members of the P.E.P. Club: Progressive Except Palestine.  For someone dedicated to liberty and justice for all, she is resoundingly silent on the issue of Palestine. Nowhere in her recently published collection of writings, My Own Works , do the words ‘Palestine’ or ‘Palestinian’ appear. Even ‘Arab’ is nowhere to be found, although she discusses the Holocaust, Zionism, and Israel.”

Kathryn Shihadah has further commented on the malignant impact of Zionist US Supreme Court judges on WW1, WW2, the Jewish Holocaust and the Zionist invasion of Palestine (2017): “Ruth Bader Ginsburg is [was] a big fan of the Supreme Court’s first Jewish justice, Louis Dembitz Brandeis. Brandeis is revered today as a great judge, but at the time of his appointment – 1916 – he was recognized by some as ‘unscrupulous’ in his methods and at times ‘unethical’ in his behaviour… In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson named Brandeis to the Supreme Court. As required, Brandeis officially resigned from his formal affiliations, including stepping down from his leadership role in Zionism. However, he zealously continued his work on a more informal basis, even from his Supreme Court chambers. Later, he would persuade the next 2 Jewish justices – Cardozo and Frankfurter – to join the ranks of the Zionist Organization of America, assuring a continued, subtle partiality toward the Jewish project… Samuel Landman, secretary of the World Zionist Organization, claimed in a 1936 article in World Jewry, that it was ‘Jewish help that brought USA into the war on the side of the Allies.’ The goal was not victory for the Allies, but real estate in Palestine, so Brandeis and associate Felix Frankfurter reportedly worked to ensure the war would last until Palestine was in the bag. They even reportedly sabotaged a potential opportunity to end the war in May 1917 (18 months early), which would have saved much destruction and many lives, including Brandeis’ fellow Americans. Eventually, of course, Germany was defeated. According to historian Henry Wickham Steed, one of Germany’s top generals considered the Balfour Declaration to be ‘the cleverest thing done by the Allies in the way of propaganda,’ and wished Germany had thought of it first. Landman further stated that Germany was aware of the Jewish connection, and, chillingly, this ‘contributed in no small measure to the prominence which anti-Semitism occupie[d] in the Nazi program’ only a few decades later. This horrific irony can not be overstated.”2

Seen in the light of this appalling history, at a personal level for me another ultimate consequence of malignant racist Zionism was the extermination of all but a dozen of my family in the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Hungary in 1944-1945. It is now too late to tell the famed human rights advocate but shamefully pro-Zionist and Palestinian human rights-ignoring Ruth Bader Ginsburg that silence is complicity.

Below is a 50-item  summary of a century of horrors inflicted upon the Palestinians but utterly ignored by famed, pro-human rights, Jewish American Supreme Court judge, Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

(1). The ongoing Palestinian Genocide  has been associated with 2.2 million Palestinian deaths from violence, 0.1 million, or from imposed deprivation, 2.1 million, since the British invasion of the Middle East in WW1.

(2). Eminent International law expert Professor Francis Boyle (University of Illinois) has stated: “The Palestinians have been the victims of genocide as defined by the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, under which a government can be guilty of genocide even if it intends to destroy a mere “part” of the group”.

(3). Of 14 million Palestinians (75% women and children),  7 million are Exiled from Palestine, 5 million are Occupied Palestinians highly abusively confined under military rule to the Gaza Concentration Camp (2 million)  or to West Bank ghettoes (3 million), and nearly 2 million are Palestinian Israelis living as Third Class citizens  under over 60 Nazi-style, race-based laws.

(4). In  1880 there were 25,000 Jews (mostly immigrants) and  500,000 Indigenous Arab Palestinians living in Palestine.

(5). The Palestinian  Genocide commenced with the famine deaths of 100,000 Palestinians associated with  conquest of Palestine  in WW1 by the British and the Australian  and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC).

(6). Palestine became disposable British ”property” with the 1916 Sykes Picot Agreement that divided the oil-rich Middle East between the UK and France.

(7). The notorious  Balfour Declaration from racist Lord Balfour to Zionist Lord Rothschild (2 November 1917) was sent only 2 days after the Australian cavalry charge victory over the Turks at Beersheba, Palestine  (31 October 1917).

(8). The draft of the Balfour Declaration was strongly opposed by anti-racist Jewish British Government Minister Sir Edwin Montagu (only the second British Jew to enter the British Cabinet) as a grave injustice  to the Indigenous Palestinians, and as “anti-Semitic and in result will prove a rallying ground for Anti-Semites in every country in the world”. Australia’s anti-racist Jewish Governor General Sir Isaac Isaacs, the first Australian-born Governor General,  was also resolutely anti-Zionist.

(9).  Orthodox Jewish rabbis, most notably  the outstanding German rabbi  Samson Raphael Hirsch (after whom my great grandfather was named), were resolutely opposed to Zionism.

(10). Fervently pro-Zionist Jewish British historian  Professor Sir Martin Gilbert in a book on WW1 stated that the Balfour Declaration was offered as an inducement for   Zionist Communists to keep Russia in WW1. Professor Martin Gilbert has documented about 20 suggested locations around the world for a Jewish state,  and indeed genocidal racist Theodor Herzl (the founder of Zionism) suggested Argentina as an alternative  to Palestine.

(11). The violent killing of Indigenous Palestinians commenced with the 10 December 1918 Surafend Massacre by Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) soldiers in which about 100 Palestinian villagers were massacred.

(12). Genocidally racist American and British Zionists played a key role in the Balfour Declaration and the defeat of Germany in WW1 that had the dreadful consequences of Nazi German anti-Jewish anti-Semitism, the horrors of WW2, the WW2 Jewish Holocaust (5-6 million Jews killed through violence or deprivation), the ongoing  Palestinian Genocide and the ongoing, US-imposed Muslim Holocaust and Muslim Genocide.

(13). Zionists  contributed to the WW2 Jewish Holocaust by collaborating with the Nazis before and during WW2,  and opposing Jewish refugees finding sanctuary anywhere except Palestine.

(14). In 2020 there are 13.9 million Israeli subjects, these   comprising 6.6 million Jewish Israelis, 1.9 million Indigenous Palestinian Israelis, 5 million Occupied Palestinians,  and 0.4 million non-Jewish and non-Arab  Israeli subjects. Jewish Israelis are a 47% minority of the subjects of Apartheid Israel, and Indigenous Palestinians are  50% of Apartheid Israeli subjects.

(15). UN General Assembly  Resolution 3246 (29 November 1974) states in part: “7.  Strongly condemns all Governments which do not recognize the right to self-determination and independence of peoples under colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation, notably the peoples of Africa and the Palestinian people”.

(16). 90% of Palestine has now been ethnically cleansed of Indigenous Palestinian  inhabitants in an ongoing war criminal ethnic cleansing that has been repeatedly condemned by the UN and most recently by UN Security Council Resolution 2334 that was unanimously supported except for a remarkable Obama US abstention.

(17). Apartheid Israel has also annexed and ethnically cleansed a small part of Lebanon and a large part of  Syria.

(18). There are 8 million Palestinian refugees, 7 million Exiled Palestinians, 5 million Occupied Palestinians, and 1.9 million Israeli Palestinians, with  all of these 14 million Palestinians variously excluded from all or part of Palestine, a land known as such for about 2,500 years after the Philistine coastal inhabitants of circa 1,000 BCE.

(19). 5 million Occupied Palestinians have zero (0) of the human rights set out in the 30 Articles of the Universal Charter of Human Rights.

(20). Nearly 2 million Palestinian Israelis live as Third Class citizens  under over 60 Nazi-style race-based discriminatory laws and under threat of further genocidal mass expulsion.

(21). Despite massive and deadly imposed deprivation and  repeated episodes of genocidal mass expulsion (800,000 in the 1948 Nakba or catstrophe and 400,000 in the 1967 Naksa or setback), Indigenous Palestinians today  represent 50% of the subjects of Apartheid Israel  (the ruling Jewish Israelis  represent a 47% minority).

(22). 73% of the Indigenous Palestinian subjects of Apartheid Israel cannot vote for the government ruling them i.e. they are subject to egregious Apartheid that has been described by anti-racist Jewish and non-Jewish South African anti-Apartheid heroes as worse than Apartheid in South Africa.

(23).  Dr  H. F. Verwoerd (Prime Minister of South Africa from 1958 until his assassination in 1966 and  the “Architect of Apartheid” in South Africa) at the UN (1961): “Israel is not consistent in its new anti-apartheid attitude… they took Israel away from the Arabs after the Arabs lived there for a thousand years. In that, I agree with them. Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state.”

(24). The “GDP per capita” is  US$42,000 for Apartheid Israel but a deadly $3,000 for Occupied Palestinians.

(25). 50% of the egregiously mal-treated  Occupied Palestinians are children and 75%  are women and children.

(26). In the 21st century each year an average of about 550 Occupied Palestinians have been killed violently by Apartheid Israel, and a further average of about 4,200 have died annually from imposed deprivation.

(27). In the 21st century there have been 1,615 non-terrorism Israeli deaths from homicide by Israelis, 164 Israeli deaths from terrorism in Israel (excluding Jerusalem), 1,183 further Israeli deaths from terrorism elsewhere in Zionist-ruled Palestine, 9,505 Occupied Palestinian deaths by Israelis, and 72,000 Occupied Palestinian avoidable deaths from imposed deprivation (2017 estimates).

(28). In the period 1920 – February 2017 there were 3,847 Israeli/Zionist  deaths from Palestinian violence as compared to about 100,000 Palestinians violently killed by Zionists and about 2 million Palestinians dying from imposed deprivation.

(29). In the 21st century each year an average of 70 Zionists are killed by Palestinians versus 550  Palestinians violently killed by Apartheid Israel,  and  through imposed deprivation, each year Apartheid Israel passively  murders about 2,700 under-5 year old Palestinian  infants and passively murders 4,200 Occupied Palestinians in general who die avoidably from deprivation each year. under Israeli Apartheid.

(30). There is a circa 10 year life expectancy gap between Occupied Palestinians and Israelis, this grossly violating Articles 55 and 56 of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War that demand that an Occupier must provide life-sustaining food and medical services to the Occupied subjects “to the fullest extent of the means available to it”.

(31). UN experts have recently described conditions in the illegally blockaded and regularly shelled and bombed Gaza Concentration Camp as verging on the  “unliveable”.

(32). Apartheid Israel has attacked 13 countries and  occupied 5, whereas Iran that Apartheid  Israel  threatens with nuclear destruction has not invaded another country for 1,300 years (i.e. from the time of the Sassanian Empire).

(33). Arabic has been the main language of Palestine for 1,400 years, and Indigenous Palestinians are 50% of the subjects of Apartheid Israel. However Arabic was relegated to merely a “special language” in the recent Nazi-style Apartheid Israeli “Jewish Nation State Legislation”.

(34). In its genocidal treatment of the Palestinians, US-, UK-, Canada-, France- , EU- and Australia-backed Apartheid Israel ignores numerous UN General Assembly Resolutions and UN Security Council Resolutions, the UN Genocide Convention, the Geneva Convention, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Rights of the Child Convention, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the UN Refugee Convention, the UN Convention on Apartheid,  and many other aspects of International Law.

(35). Apartheid Israel has violently invaded the territory of 13 countries (this including planes and ships, to whit  Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Uganda, Tunisia, and the US (the attack on the USS Liberty in 1967 that killed 34 and wounded 171), and has occupied the territory of 5 other countries, namely  Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Jordan.

(36). The 1950-2005  avoidable deaths (excess deaths) from deprivation in 5 countries variously occupied by Apartheid Israeli total 24 million.

(37). Of  5 million Occupied Palestinians  (half of them children), many are routinely blackmailed through imprisonment, torture or denial of life-saving medical care to spy on fellow Palestinians for Apartheid Israel.

(38). 5 million Occupied Palestinians (half of them children) are excluded by armed military check points from Jews-only areas and Jews-only roads.

(39). 50% of Israeli children are physically, psychologically or sexually abused each year,  but 100% of Occupied Palestinian children are subject to traumatizing human rights abuse by the serial war criminal Israel Defence Force (IDF) through actual or threatened deadly violence.

(40). With continuing deadly blockade and after repeated, large-scale  destruction of homes, schools, hospitals and infrastructure, conditions in the Gaza Concentration Camp are appalling. Only about 30 Israelis gave ever been killed by home-made Gaza rockets but the grossly disproportionate Israeli bombing and shelling reprisals have devastated densely populated  Gaza, and killed 4,600 and wounded about 20,000, most disastrously  in 2008-2009 and in 2014.

(41). Since March 2018 the Israelis have  killed about 200 unarmed Palestinians  and wounded about 20,000  more  out of scores  of thousands of unarmed Occupied Palestinians protesting the Occupation weekly in Gaza (in  the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre in Apartheid South Africa police killed  69 demonstrators  and wounded 220 more).

(42). Apartheid Israel backed Apartheid South Africa and was variously complicit in the Guatemalan Mayan Genocide, the Sri Lanka Tamil Genocide,  the Myanmar Rohingya Genocide,  the Iraqi Genocide and the US-backed neo-Nazi Ukrainian Revolution.

(43). In repeated recent elections  6.6 million Jewish Israelis have overwhelmingly supported  Apartheid, Occupation and the ongoing Palestinian Genocide.

(44). Apartheid Israel reportedly has up to 400 nuclear weapons, has 6 German-supplied submarine launch platforms, and helped Apartheid South Africa acquire nuclear weapons.

(45). Jewish Israelis overwhelmingly derive from Yemeni, Berber and Khazar converts to Judaism whereas it is actually  the Indigenous Palestinians who are the descendants  of the Jewish and non-Jewish inhabitants of Palestine at the time of that wonderful, Aramaic-speaking,  Palestinian humanitarian, Jesus.

(46). Molecular biological and linguistic studies variously reveal that the Ashkenazim (the minority ruling Apartheid Israel)  derive from Khazar converts to Judaism in the first millennium CE, and that there is a  substantial prehistoric European ancestry amongst Ashkenazi maternal lineages.

(47). Zionist leaders from genocidal racists Theodor Herzl (Palestinian Genocide) and Winston Churchill (WW2 Bengali Holocaust) to  genocidally racist Israeli prime ministers from David  Ben Gurion to Benjamin Netanyahu have uttered deeply racist and indeed genocidal comments about Palestinians that would be totally unacceptable in the “politically correct Western democracies  that back Apartheid Israel.3

(48). President John  F. Kennedy and his brother Robert Kennedy unsuccessfully sought registration of Zionists as agents of a foreign power. Successive  US administrations became beholden to the Zionists after Apartheid Israel acquired nuclear weapons by 1967 with French and US help.

(49). Successive US administrations have committed $6 trillion to Zionist-backed wars in which 32 million Muslims have died from violence (5 million) or deprivation (27 million) in 20 countries invaded by the US Alliance since the US government’s 9-11 false flag atrocity that killed 3,000 people.

(50). Over 30 million Americans have died preventably since 9-11 from “lifestyle  choice” and “political choice” reasons. Thus successive US administrations have committed $6 trillion to killing over 30 million Muslims abroad instead of trying to keep 30 million Americans alive at home.

  1. For a detailed and documented analysis of the horrendous death toll in a century of Zionist-promoted wars and attendant holocausts and genocides see Gideon Polya, US-Imposed Post-9/11 Muslim Holocaust & Muslim Genocide, 400 pages, Korsgaard Publishing, Germany, 4 June 2020; and Gideon Polya, “Racist Mainstream ignores US-Imposed Post-9/11 Muslim Holocaust & Muslim Genocide,” Countercurrents, 17 July 2020.
  2. See Kathryn  Shihadah, “Ruth Bader Ginsburg: at 84, where does she get her PEP (Progressive Except Palestine)?”, Israel-Palestine News, 20 December  2017.
  3. See “Zionist quotes re racism and Palestinian Genocide,” Palestinian Genocide.

The post Pro-Women’s Rights Supreme Court Judge Ruth Ginsburg Utterly Ignored Palestinian Genocide first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The End of Reality?

In 1888,  the year before he went insane, Friedrich Nietzsche wrote the following in Twilight of the Idols:

We have got rid of the real world: what world is left?  The apparent world perhaps? … But no!  Along with the real world we’ve done away with the apparent world as well.

So, if you feel you also may be going insane in the present climate of digital screen life, where real is unreal but realer than real, the apparent is cryptic, and up is down, true is false, and what you see you don’t, it has a history.  One hundred and thirty-two years ago, Nietzsche added that “something extraordinarily nasty and evil is about to make its debut.”  We know it did, and the bloody butcher’s bench known as the twentieth century was the result. Nihilism stepped onto center stage and has been the star of the show ever since, straight through to 2020.  Roberto Calasso puts it this way in Literature and the Gods:

Here we are, announces Nietzsche, and it would be hard not to hear a mocking ring in his voice.  We thought we were living in a world where the fog had lifted, a disenchanted, ascertainable, verifiable world.  And instead everything has gone back to being a ‘fable’ again.  How are we to get our bearings … This is the paralysis, the peculiar uncertainty of modern times, a paralysis that all since have experienced.

Obviously, we haven’t gotten our bearings.  We are far more adrift today on a stormy electronic sea where the analogical circle of life has been replaced by the digital, and “truths” like numbers click into place continuously to lead us in wrong, algorithm-controlled directions. The trap is almost closed.

Of course, Nietzsche did not have the Internet, but he lived at the dawn of the electric era, when space-time transformations were occurring at a rapid pace.  Inventions such as photography, the phonograph, the telephone, electricity, etc. were contracting space and time and a disembodied “reality” was being born.  With today’s Internet and digital screen life, the baby is full-grown and completely disembodied.  It does nothing but look at its image that is looking back into a lifeless void, whose lost gaze can’t figure out what it’s seeing.

Take, for example, the phonograph, invented by Thomas Edison in 1878.  If you could record a person’s voice, and if that person died, were you then listening to the voice of a living person or one who was dead?  If the person whose voice was recorded was alive and was miles away, you had also compressed earthly space. The phonograph suppressed absence, conjured ghosts, and seemed to overcome time and death as it captured the flow of time in sound.  It allowed a disembodied human voice to inhabit a machine, an early example of downloading.

“Two ruling ambitions in modern technology,” writes John Durham Peters in his wonderful book, Speaking into the Air, “appear in the phonograph: the creation of artificial life and the conjuring of the dead.”

Many people started to hear voices, and these people were not called deluded. Soon, with the arrival of cinema, they would see ghosts as well.  Today, speaking ghosts are everywhere, hiding in hand-held devices. It’s Halloween all year round as we are surrounded by electronic zombies in a screen culture.

This technological annihilation of space and time that was happening at a frenetic pace was the material background to Nietzsche’s thought.  His philosophical and epistemological analyses emerged from German intellectual life of his time as well, where theologians and philosophers were discovering that knowledge was relative and had to be understood in situ, i.e., within its historical and social place or context.

Without going into abstruse philosophical issues here, suffice it to say, Nietzsche was suggesting that not only was God dead because people killed him, but that knowledge was a fiction that changed over time and was a human construction.  All knowledge, not just science, had to be taken “as if” it were true.  This was a consoling mental trick but falsely reassuring, for most people could not accept this, since “knowledge” was a protection racket from pain and insanity. It still is. In other words, not only had people murdered God, but they had slain absolutes as well. This left them in the lurch, not knowing if what they knew and believed were really true, or sort of true – maybe, perhaps. The worm of uncertainty had entered modern thought through modern thought.

While the average person did not delve into these revolutionary ideas, they did, through the inventions that were entering their lives, and the news about Darwin, science, religion, etc., realize, however vaguely, that something very strange and dramatic was under way. Life was passing from substance to shadow because of human ingenuity.

It is similar to what so many feel today: that reality and truth are moving beyond their grasp as technological forces that they voluntarily embrace push everyday life towards some spectral denouement.  An inhuman, trans-human, on-line electronic life where everything is a parody of everything that preceded it, like an Andy Warhol copy of a copy of a Campbell’s soup can with a canned mocking laugh track that keeps repeating itself.  All this follows from the nineteenth century relativization of knowledge, or what at least was taken as such, for to say all knowledge is relative is an absolute statement.  That contradiction goes to the heart of our present dilemma.

This old feeling of lostness is perhaps best summarized in a few lines from Mathew Arnold’s 19th century poem, “Dover Beach”:

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

But that was then.  Today, the Joker’s sardonic laughter would suffice.

*****

I am sitting outside as I write, sipping a glass of wine before dinner.  Although New England fall weather is approaching, a nasty mosquito is buzzing around my head.  I hear it.  I am in killer mode since these bastards love to bite me.  This is real life.  If I went into the house and connected to the Internet on the computer screen – news, social media, anything – I would be entering another dimension.  Screen life, not real life. The society of the spectacle. No real mosquitoes, no wine, no trees swaying in the evening breeze.

In his novel, The Sun Also Rises, written between Nietzsche’s time and now, Ernest Hemingway, a man who surely lived in the physical world, writes of how Robert Cohn, the boxing champion from Princeton University, wants Jake Barnes, the book’s protagonist, to take a trip with him to South America.  As they sit and talk in Paris, Barnes says no, and tells Cohn, “All countries look just like the moving pictures.”

Whether Hemingway was being ironic or not, or simply visionary, I don’t know.  For in the 1920s, before passports and widespread tourism, there were many places you could only see if you traveled to them and they would never appear in moving pictures, while today there is almost no place that is not available to view beforehand on the internet or television.  So why go anywhere if you’ve already seen it all on a screen? Why travel to nowhere or to where you have already been?  Déjà vu all over again, as Yogi Berra put it and everyone laughed.  Now the laugh is on us.

*****

This is neither an argument nor a story.  It’s real.  I am trying to get my bearings in a disorienting situation. Call it a compass, a weather-vane, a prayer.  You can call me Al or Ishmael.  Call me crazy.  Perhaps this writing is just an “as if.”

*****

About fifteen years ago, I was teaching at a college where most communication was done via email.  I was, as they say, out of the loop since I didn’t do email. I was often asked why I didn’t, and I would repeatedly reply, like Melville’s Bartleby, because “I prefer not to.”  Finally, in order to keep my job, I succumbed and with the laptop computer they provided me, I went “on-line.”  There were 6,954.7 emails in my in-box from the past three years.  In those three years, I had performed all my duties scrupulously and hadn’t missed a beat.  Someone showed me how to delete the emails, which I did without reading any, but I had entered the labyrinth. I went electronic.  My reality changed. I am still searching for Ariadne’s thread.

*****

But I am not yet a machine and refuse the invitation to become one.  It’s a very insistent invitation, almost an order.  Neil Postman (Oh such a rich surname!) sums it up well in Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology:

The fundamental metaphorical message of the computer, in short, is that we are machines – thinking machines, to be sure, but machines nonetheless.  It is for this reason that the computer is the quintessential, incomparable, near perfect machine for Technopoly.  It subordinates the claims of our nature, our biology, our emotions, our spirituality.  The computer claims sovereignty over the whole range of human experience, and supports its claim by showing that it ‘thinks’ better than we can…John McCarthy, the inventor of the term ‘artificial intelligence’…claims that ‘even machines as simple as thermostats can be said to have beliefs…What is significant about this response is that it has redefined the meaning of the word ‘belief’ … rejects the view that humans have internal states of mind that are the foundation of belief and argues instead that ‘belief’ means only what someone or something does … rejects the idea that the mind is a biological phenomenon … In other words, what we have here is a case of metaphor gone mad.

Postman wrote that in 1992, before the computer and the internet became ubiquitous and longer before on-line living had become de rigueur – before it was being shoved down our throats as it is today under the cover of COVID-19.

There is little doubt that we are being pushed to embrace what Klaus Schwab, the Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF), calls COVID-19:The Great Reset, that involves a total acceptance of the electronic, on-line life.  On-line learning, on-line news, on-line everything – only an idiot (from Greek, idiotes, a private person who pays not attention to public affairs) would fail to see what is being promoted.  And who controls the electronic life and internet?  Not you, not I, but the powers that be, the intelligence agencies and the power elites. Goodbye  body, goodbye blood – “I don’t think we should ever shake hands ever again, to be honest with you,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in support of human estrangement.

Peter Koenig, one of the most astute investigators of this propaganda effort, puts it this way:

The panacea of the future will be crowned by the Pearl of the Fourth Industrialization – Artificial intelligence (AI). It will be made possible by a 5G electromagnetic field, allowing the Internet of Things (IoT). Schwab and Malleret [Schwab’s co-author] won’t say, beware, there is opposition. 5G could still be blocked. The 5G existence and further development is necessary for surveillance and control of humanity, by digitizing everything, including human identity and money.

It will be so simple, no more cash, just electronic, digital money – that is way beyond the control of the owner, the truthful earner of the money, as it can be accessed by the Global Government and withheld and/or used for pressuring misbehaving citizens into obeying the norms imposed from above. You don’t behave according to our norms, no money to buy food, shelter and health services, we let you starve. No more travel. No more attending public events. You’ll be put gradually in your own solitary confinement. The dictatorial and tyrannical global commandeering by digital control of everything is the essence of the 4th Age of Industrialization – highly promoted by the WEF’s Great Reset.

*****

Like everything, of course, this push to place life under the aegis of cyberspace has a history, one that deifies the machine and attempts to convince people that they too are machines without existential freedom.  Thus the ongoing meme pumped out for the past three decades has been that we are controlled by our brains and that the brain is a computer and vice versa. Brain research has received massive government funding. Drugs have been offered as the solution to every human problem. So-called diseases and disorders have been created through the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of  Mental Disorders (DSM) and matched to pharmaceutical drugs (or the revers) for scandalous profits. And the mind has been reduced to a figment of deluded  imaginations. People are machines; that’s the story, marvelous machines.  They have no freedom.

If one wishes an example of techno-fascism, there is one from the art world. Back in the 1920s and 1930s there was an art movement known as Futurism.  Its leader proponent was an Italian Fascist, friend of Mussolini, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti.  The futurists claimed that all life revolves around the machine, that the machine was god, that it was beyond human control and had to be obeyed.  They extolled war and speed and claimed that humans were no more significant than stones.  Patriotism, militarism, strength, method, and the kingdom of experts were their blueprint for a corporate fascist state.  The human eye and mind would be re-educated to automatically obey the machine’s dictates.

Now we have cyberspace, digital machines, and the internet, an exponential extension of the machine world of the 1930s and the rise of Mussolini, Fascism, and Hitler.  That this online world is being pushed as the new and future normal by trans-national elite forces should not be surprising.  If human communication becomes primarily digitally controlled on-line and on screens, those who control the machines will have achieved the most powerful means of mind control ever invented. That will be MKULTRA on a vast scale.  Surveillance will be complete.

Yes, there are places on the internet where truth is and will be told, such as this site where you are reading this; but as we can see from today’s growing censorship across the web, those power elites and intelligence forces who  control the companies that do their bidding will narrow the options for dissenting voices. Such censorship starts slowly, and then when one looks again, it is a fait accompli. The frog in the pan of slowly heating cold water never realizes it is being killed until it is too late. Free speech is now being strangled. Censorship is widespread.

The purpose of so much internet propaganda is to confuse, obsess, depress, and then repress the population. The overlords accomplish this by the “peculiar linking together of opposites – knowledge with ignorance, cynicism with fanaticism – [which] is one of the chief distinguishing marks of Oceanic society,” writes Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-Four.  “The official ideology abounds with contradictions even where there is no practical reason for them.”  One look into one’s life will suffice to see how the overlords have set people against each other.  It’s a classic tactic.  Divide and conquer. Trump vs. Biden, Democrats vs. Republicans, whites vs. blacks, liberals vs. conservatives. Pure mind games. Contradictions every day to create social disorientation.  Orwell describes Doublethink as follows:

Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.  The Party intellectual knows in which direction his memories must be altered; he therefore knows he is playing tricks with reality; but by the exercise of doublethink he also satisfies himself that reality is not violated.  The process has to be conscious, or it would not be carried out with sufficient precision, but it also has to be unconscious, or it would bring with it a feeling of falsity and hence of guilt…To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies – all this is indispensably necessary…If one is to rule, and to continue ruling, one must be able to dislocate the sense of reality. [author’s emphasis]

Nietzsche said that along with the real world we have done away with the apparent as well.  Digital online life has accomplished that.  It has allowed the rulers – through the media who are the magicians who serve them – to create counterfeit news and doctored videos at will, to present diametrically opposed points of view within the same paragraph, and to push breaking news items so fast that no one half-way sane could keep up with their magic shows. Nietzsche obviously didn’t foresee this technology, but he sensed the madness that the relativity of knowledge and the technology of his day would usher in.

*****

The popular 1990s term “Information Superhighway,” meaning the internet and all digital telecommunications, was the perfect term to describe this lunacy. Get on that highway and go as fast as you can while trying to catch the meaning of all the information flashing past you as you speed to nowhere.  For not only does censorship, propaganda, disinformation, mixed messages, and contradictions line the road you are traveling, but contextless information overload is so heavy that even if you were stopped in a traffic jam, there is too much information to comprehend.  And if you think this Superhighway is a freeway, think again, for the cost is high. No one puts out their hand and asks you to pay up; but the more you travel down this road you’ll notice you are missing a bit of flesh here and some blood there.  And without a speed pass, you are considered road kill.

To make matters much worse, they say we need 5G to go much faster.

Paul Virilio, who has devoted himself to the study of speed (dromology), puts it this way in Open Sky:

The speed of the new optoelectronic and electroacoustic milieu becomes the final void (the void of the quick), a vacuum that no longer depends on the interval between places or things and so on the world’s very extension, but on the interface of an instantaneous transmission of remote appearances, on a geographic and geometric retention in which all volume, all relief vanishes.

*****

And yet I don’t have a simple answer to the internet dilemma. You are reading it on-line and I am posting it there.  It is very convenient and quick. And yet…and yet….

Can we just walk away from it?  Maybe.  Perhaps like those few who, in Ursula K. Le Guin’s excruciating story, “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas,” we may decide the price for our conveniences and so-called happiness is too high and that there are hidden victims that this techno-scientific “progress” creates beneath its veneer of efficiency.  Others, us, our children, all children, who are reaching out not for speed and machines, but for the human touch that the on-line propagandists hope to destroy.  In Le Guin’s story, the price nearly all the citizens of Omelas are willing to pay for their happiness and comfort is the imprisonment of a single child.  Perhaps we should consider what we are doing to all the world’s children and their futures.

My friend Gary recently sent me this letter.  I believe it sums up what many people feel. There is a vast hunger for reality and truth. The analog life. How to live it – the question hangs in the air as the artificial intelligence/digital controllers try to reduce us to machines.

Although apparently it isn’t clear if Twain ever said this, it’s still a great quote:  (“If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed.  If you do, you’re misinformed.”)  To which “amen” is the only appropriate response.

I continue to daily stay abreast of events through the web, and these days much of what passed for “progressive media” simply regurgitates the covid madness as if it had been delivered on stone tablets – rather than by the same MSM that lie to us daily about literally ANYTHING of any importance.

There are days I wonder “why” I continue to bother to follow the unfolding madness as if it made some “difference.”  I could certainly play guitar more, and I might even get it together to write a few pieces on the nature of our collective madness, for which I have studiously assembled copious notes.  I really don’t need any more information or examples – I think I have things covered on that front.

Instead I find myself daily doing the little dance we’re all familiar with – uncomfortable with being “uninformed” – yet at almost every turn finding myself being routinely – “misinformed” – and so having to sift through the endless debris to have any chance at developing any coherent understanding of the world.

So yes, I totally get the draw of just saying to hell with the internet.  After years of shifting through the endless propaganda operations our generation has been subject too, I have no doubt you and I see through most the nonsense for what it is before we even have the proof in hand.  Once the rose-colored glasses of ‘American exceptionalism’ are off, one can almost sense and see through the lies in real time even as they are being uttered.

Reading Gary’s words reminded me of those of the Trappist monk Thomas Merton’s definition of the Unspeakable:

It is the void that contradicts everything that is spoken even before the words are said, the void that gets into the language of public and official declarations at the very moment when they are pronounced, and makes them ring dead with the hollowness of the abyss.  It is the void out of which Eichmann drew the punctilious exactitude of his obedience…

Yes, real time, real life – as we do our little dances.

Can we do our little dances and preserve reality?  I’m not sure.

The post The End of Reality? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Dangerous Streamlining: Emergencies, Militarisation and Civil Liberties

Be wary of anyone insistent on using the word “streamline” in the context of policy and planning.  It suggests a suspicion of sound procedure, due process and keen scrutiny.  The streamliner hates accountability, attacks the world of red tape and suggests that barriers be removed.  Cut the tape; free the decision maker.

The streamline obsessives tend to see themselves as reformers and pruners of unnecessary waste and delay.  In Australian extradition law, for instance, the paring back of protections has been relentless.  The enthusiastic embrace of the “no evidence” model of extradition procedure was an example of such crude thinking. It was noted with some concern by the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Treaties in 2001.

The members took a keen interest in the comments of Professor Ned Aughterson: “There has been a trend towards streamlining the extradition process so as to facilitate extradition.  This has been at the expense of individual rights.  That is exemplified by the general abolition of the requirement to establish a prima facie case and the allocation of responsibility for the protection of individual rights to the executive.”

Aughterson would, in turn, cite the observations of Professor Ivan Shearer that, since the 1980s, Australia had witnessed “a substantial shift away from judicial review of the extradition process towards the exercise of unreviewable executive discretion.”  Another scoring effort for the streamliners, refusing to admit those fustian judges to the party.

In 2011, the Extradition and Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation Amendment Bill made its parliamentary debut.  Political representatives were all praise for eliminating obstacles to a process they regarded as obsolete, cobwebbed by the passage of time.  (A stale approach to the liberty of the subject has that effect.)  The premise: that technology and the extent of travel had dramatically changed.  “There was no internet in 1988 and mobile phones were a new commodity,” reflected Labor Senator Kim Carr, then Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research in his second reading speech.  He also suggested that “extraditing a person can be cumbersome and take several months to finalise, even if a person has consented to their extradition.”  Better, then, to let the person waive the process, albeit subject to a modicum of safeguards.  Better still, have the person prosecuted in Australia.

With this tendency in mind, we come to another instance of streamline wonkiness that does more than sneeze at civil liberties: the Defence Legislation Amendment (Enhancement of Defence Force Response to Emergencies) Bill 2020.  Again, the streamliners are out in force.  The proposed bill has measures, according to the Explanatory Memorandum, “that will enhance Defence’s capacity to provide assistance in relation to natural disasters and other emergencies.”  It supplements the existing Defence Assistance to the Civil Community (DACC) policy by “streamlining the process for calling out members of the ADF reserves” under the existing legislation and provides “ADF members, other Defence personnel and members of foreign forces with similar immunities to State and Territory emergency services personnel in certain cases while performing duties to support civil emergency and disaster preparedness, recovery and response”.  Such immunity will apply when the service is provided “in good faith”.

The granting of such immunities, notably to institutions vested with powers to wound and kill, should cause shuddering in the community.  It effectively nullifies any enforceable right of redress in instances of harm.  It is also a statement of exclusion: judges and their scrutiny will not be needed.  The protectors know best.

Alex Hawke, the Assistant Defence Minister, gave a few tips in his second reading speech of the bill on what is in store.  He praised the defence forces as critical in responding to bushfire emergencies and the COVID-19 pandemic.  The bill would “enhance” the ability of such personnel “to respond to natural disasters and other civil emergencies.”  The bill promises “more flexible service operations for reservists”.  It will also permit “the Governor-General to act on the advice of the Minister for Defence, after consultation with the Prime Minister, in all circumstances and not just for reasons of urgency.” Broadness in executive power is the enemy of liberty.

Human rights activist and advocate Kellie Tranter finds much room for concern, having a keen interest in the problems behind militarising climate change responses and, for that matter, the dangers involved in the deployment of military personnel in areas of civilian concern.  “Defence forces used in a civilian context should not be normalised,” she suggests, with good reason, in a briefing paper on the Enhancement of Defence Force Response to Emergencies Bill.  She points out that this latest proposed amendment lacks definitional scope.  “Other emergencies” is simply not defined.  The Defence Assistance to the Civil Community policy is already wide in application, seemingly decided by those in the Department of Defence.  “It is not inconceivable to see the normalisation of military forces on the steets responding to public order issues that should be dealt with by police, for example protests.”

There is much to be concerned about.  Such yardsticks as “good faith” are imprecise and feathery.  The “grossly inadequate” Human Rights Statement “does not address public rights that may well be infringed under these provisions.”  The proposed immunities would also extend to “foreign military and police forces”, suggesting more than a cheerful nod of approval to those nuclear armed allies across the pond.  “The use of a foreign army or militarised police force should not be allowed at all, and certainly not without the safeguard of citizens’ rights of access to courts.”

Under the cover of stealth and reliable apathy, powers have been vested in Australia’s military and ministerial authorities with scant debate and even less scrutiny.  As law academic Michael Head points out with noticeable alarm, powers calling out the Australian Defence Force to deal with, for instance, “domestic violence”, or likely dangers to “declared infrastructure” are left undefined.  Vagueness bedevils the legislation, passed ostensibly to protect the populace against terrorist attacks.  “Once deployed, military personnel can exercise extraordinary powers over civilians, overturning basic legal and democratic rights.”

The trend is not being arrested.   Australia’s defence forces, unlike the current prime minister, envisage a future of climate change chaos and a pressing need for readiness.  The Department of Defence, in a recent update, also worries about the “long-term impacts of the coronavirus pandemic”, which has “deeply altered the economic trajectory of the region and the world with implications for Australia’s prosperity and security.”  We have been warned.

The post Dangerous Streamlining: Emergencies, Militarisation and Civil Liberties first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Change and Decay: A Time of Transition

It’s the beginning of autumn in the northern hemisphere, a beautiful and refreshing space between the heady days of summer and the chill of winter, a transitional time. And collectively we are living through a time of global transition; a shift from one civilization, colored by certain influencing qualities, to a new time, growing out of the old but infused with a different energy, with distinct unifying qualities and evolving modes of living.

Inherent in this natural movement is the promise of change, but also resistance and tension, resulting in conflict and fragmentation. Ancient divisions are being strengthened, new divisions fermented, injustices highlighted; under the action of cleavage all are being drawn to the polluted surface of human affairs.

With every day the weight and impact of the new intensifies, the forces of the old, the forms and systems, institutions and structures decline, fragment and decay. Despite this disintegration, attachment to the familiar is strong, and change in any direction, particularly when it threatens to weaken the control of the controllers, evokes a strong opposing reaction. Broad lines of demarcation between people desperate for a different way (the majority in many cases), for social justice, environmental action and freedom, and those fighting to maintain the status quo have become increasingly stark.

Resistance is fierce among those groups that are wedded to the existing unjust, dysfunctional ways, many of whom hold the reins of power – political and corporate; believing in the doctrine of greed, which has served them well, and defining life in narrow materialistic terms, they refuse to see any alternative to the ideology of money and nationalism, and will fight to the bitter end. But transition to a new way of living is beginning and will accelerate, impacting on all areas of society. Some transitional trends have been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, including working practices, transportation (particularly in cities) and the shift to online shopping.

The old is established, its modus operandi defined, institutions and systems, ideologies and values well known, imbedded in the minds of all. The shape of the ‘new’ is not known. Forms need to evolve, but its qualities are becoming clear. It speaks of unity, cooperation, tolerance and understanding, social justice and freedom. Universal perennial principles held within the hearts of many for generations, which under the ideology of division, have been ignored or buried, at best partially honored, selectively demonstrated; broad principles that will increasingly determine the tone of the new civilization.

Modes of living, systems, institutions and values are formal reflections, or constructs, of the consciousness of those within society, local and global; the nature of this consciousness is the underlying cause of the interconnected crises facing humanity and constitutes the fundamental crisis; we are the real crisis. All proceeds from this murky source, and, for the required transitions to take place a much needed shift in attitudes is needed; a move away from actions motivated purely by selfish gain or reward to a growing sense of social and environmental responsibility; a transition from fear, desire and division to unity, love and compassion. This is a process that has been building in momentum over the last forty years or so, leading to the unprecedented global protest movement (including the passionate response to the environmental emergency) among other positive developments.

As transition becomes more widespread and momentum builds, it is crucial that in those areas impacted most (the energy sector, for example, and, with the expansion of artificial intelligence, all forms of manufacturing), the changes be just, and in order to be lasting, are made with the broadest possible consensus. Of the many changes needed a radical transition in consumer habits is foremost: Like many areas of contemporary life consumerism is an integral part of the socio-economic system, an immoral paradigm sitting at the core of many, if not all of our problems, that must be radically overhauled if social justice, and indeed peace (for there will never be peace without justice), is to be brought about.

Consumerism, including the consumption of animal food produce, is the underlying cause of the environmental emergency; a change in lifestyles and movement away from excess to sufficiency is imperative if we are to reverse centuries of environmental vandalism. Changes in education are also key – a transition (already underway in some countries, and theoretically prominent) away from a system of propaganda and conditioning, with schools and colleges functioning as little more than feeding grounds for employers, to creative centers of learning that encourage independent thinking, freedom from sociological and psychological conditioning, and self-enquiry. Creating social justice – something again that is conditional on changing the economic model – facilitating freedom for everyone everywhere, and bringing about an end to prejudice of all kinds are other key areas of change. And while there is a growing awareness of the need for acceptance and understanding, ignorant flag-waving groups bent on violence still soil our streets, defame our shared humanity.

Tolerance and acceptance in opposition to division and bigotry is one area of many in which polarities of views can be seen, the environmental emergency is another, as is immigration, education, and state support for, say, health care. Differences, which often find a focus in political allegiances, but differences which run much deeper and are broader in tone, between those who are in tune with the rhythms of the age and backward-looking fearful groups attached to old ways of thinking and living, who are determined to obstruct any progressive movement for change. Change that cannot be stopped, but change that can be delayed, and given the intense need – the crippling poverty, armed conflict, displacement of people, and, the major issue, the environmental emergency – delay is something neither we nor the planet can countenance. The house is on fire, our house is on fire, and urgent sustained action is desperately needed.

The post Change and Decay: A Time of Transition first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Why It is Likelier that the U.S. Government Had Alexei Navalny Poisoned

The poisoning of Alexei Navalny has created intensified support by pro-U.S., and especially pro-NATO, officials in the European Union, to block the nearly completed NordStream 2 natural-gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, and to import into the EU, instead, far costlier U.S. LNG, liquefied natural gas. A very real possibility thus now exists that the poisoning of Navalny will turn out to have been worth many billions of dollars to U.S. frackers, by causing the nearly-completed NordStream 2 to be turned to waste so that fracked U.S. LNG will sell in Europe. The present article will explore the relative likelihood that the poisoning of Navalny isn’t merely coincidentally perfectly timed in order to achieve that objective for the benefit of America’s gas-industry, but that it probably was actually planned and perpetrated in order to achieve this.

The idea that the Russian Government poisoned Alexei Navalny presumes such astounding stupidity on the part of Russia’s Government as to be exceedingly dubious, at best. Navalny, though he actually is favorably viewed by only around 2% of Russians (as indicated in polls there), is widely publicized in U.S.-and-allied media as having instead the highest support by the Russian people of anyone who might challenge Vladimir Putin for Russia’s leadership. It’s a lie, and always has been. Other politicians have far higher polled support in Russia. For example, whereas in the latest poll, published on September 5th, Navalny was one of four individuals who had 2%, Zhirinovsky had 5% and Zhirinovsky was the only person who had more than 2%, other than Putin, who had 56%. In the 2018 Presidential election, Zhirinovsky polled at 13.7%, Grudinin polled at 12.0%, and Putin polled at 72.6%. The actual election-outcome was Putin 76.69%, Grudinin 11.7%, and Zhirinovsky 5.65%. The idea that Putin would need to kill anyone in order to be leading Russia is so stupid and uninformed (and mis-informed) that it is beyond belief, though it is widely publicized in The West as being instead the reality. But what is true is that Navalny has been an immense propaganda-asset to the U.S. Government, and he now is especially so.

Even America’s CNN let slip, in a news-report on September 18th, regarding Navalny, that “his list of enemies is as long as it is powerful,” but they said nothing about whom those “enemies” might be. No one questions that Navalny claims to be an anti-corruption campaigner, and that this would generate enemies regardless of whether his accusations are truthful. The article on “Alexei Navalny” at Wikipedia, which is CIA-edited and written, and which blacklists (blocks from linking to) sites that aren’t CIA-approved, indicates that Navalny has accused numerous individuals of corruption, but not that any of those individuals is corrupt — and this is at a site (Wikipedia) which can reasonably be expected to link to documentation of any damning evidence that Navalny has come up with. But the article doesn’t link to any. The article does make clear that Navalny has been hoping to use these accusations in order to rise in Russian politics. It would be a dangerous way to rise in any nation’s politics, regardless of whether those accusations are true. The idea that Putin was behind this is insane. Is Putin so stupid as to poison the U.S. regime’s most-heavily propaganda-favored Russian precisely at the time when the EU is about to grant final approval to Russia’s vast (and virtually completed) NordStream 2 pipeline?

England’s Financial Times headlined on September 16, “Germany offered €1bn for gas terminals in exchange for US lifting NS2 sanctions,” and sub-headed “Deal, detailed in a letter by Olaf Scholz to Steven Mnuchin, predates the poisoning of Alexei Navalny.” They reported that “In the August 7 letter seen by the Financial Times, Mr Scholz said Germany would increase its financial support for LNG infrastructure and import capacities ‘by up to €1bn’ in exchange for the US ‘allow[ing] for the unhindered construction and operation of Nord Stream 2’,” and reported that:

The US has long opposed Nord Stream 2 and in December imposed sanctions against companies involved in its construction. That move prompted Swiss pipe-layer Allseas to suspend its work with just 6 per cent left to install. A group of US senators from across the political divide are pushing to extend those sanctions.

Criticism of the project has grown in Europe too, with opponents saying it will increase Europe’s dependence on Russian energy exports at a time of rising tensions with Moscow. In her State of the Union address on Wednesday, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said: “To those that advocate closer ties with Russia, I say that the poisoning of Alexei Navalny with an advanced chemical agent is not a one-off. This pattern is not changing — and no pipeline will change that.

The U.S. regime’s agent, von der Leyen, is doing her utmost to serve U.S. LNG marketers. Many other U.S.-regime agents also are.

On September 17th, America’s neoconservative (or pro-U.S.-empire) Newsweek bannered “Opinion: Open Letter: For the Sake of Transatlantic Security, Stop Nord Stream 2,” with 114 signatories of NATO-related U.S. and European officials, and published their argument that, “Over the past decade, the Government of the Russian Federation has engaged in a litany of malign activities aimed at upending liberal democratic norms across Europe and North America. The shocking poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny by a variant of the weapons-grade nerve agent Novichok shows that Moscow has not been deterred by Western actions and statements and refuses to reverse its destabilizing political adventurism at home and abroad.”

How blatant and scummy can a marketing campaign get?

The post Why It is Likelier that the U.S. Government Had Alexei Navalny Poisoned first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Time to Dismantle the Police

Basketball star Jaylen Brown has said only a few words publicly about the problem of police brutality, abuse, repression and impunity, but they are important words that cut right to the core of both the problem and its solution. He has said that we should stop speaking and thinking in terms of “reform” and begin thinking in terms of “dismantle” and “recreate”. He has said that reform is not enough, that it is not enough to remodel the kitchen, but rather to build a new house from the foundation up.

It is unfortunate that the strike of the NBA players ended so soon, without major consequences. It could have generated sympathetic strikes and similar actions, and potentially stimulated major changes of the kind that Jaylen envisions. Of course, that is precisely the reason it was shut down, and why the heavy hand of Barack Obama had to be the instrument of closure.

Police repression and brutality has much to do with the inequity in our society. In a stratified, inequitable society, with few superrich at the top and most of the masses suffering at the bottom, repression is necessary in order to maintain the privilege of those at the top, and to guard their power. That is why Jaylen’s vision applies not only to the police, but to our entire society. We must “recreate” it to make it more equitable and more just. It is not enough to “reform” it.

This article is the last in a series of proposals for major changes throughout our society, mostly through extension of already existing programs and mechanisms. I have saved the proposal for the police until last because I do not think that changes to law enforcement practices can survive long without changes to the society. This does not mean that any one of the proposed changes must precede any of the others, but rather that they all support each other regardless of the order of implementation, and become stronger and more likely to survive and thrive when they are all present to bolster each other.

Nevertheless, the proposal for the police must be addressed as its own issue. And Jaylen has hit the nail on the head. The existing police system, structure, training and culture must be dismantled and replaced with something new and different.

Background

The U.S. has some of the most brutal and violent police in the world, with the highest incarceration rate, enforced disproportionately upon Black Americans, Indigenous peoples, the poor and minorities, while the wealthy use the system to escape prosecution and punishment for their crimes. U.S. police forces typically use violent, military style techniques of law enforcement, ordering citizens to submit and obey every command, upon pain of beatings and other torture, as well as the use of firearms and other military weapons, with deadly results.

Historically, the police have always been “hired thugs” whose job was to “enforce” the law, i.e. to use force for that purpose. But that role has always been discretionary. Possession and use of cocaine, for example, has always been vastly more heavily enforced in Black, Native and poor communities than in mostly white college parties and upscale neighborhoods. Rich and influential people have connections. Poor people don’t. In societies where the power is concentrated at the top, the police become guardians of the powerful and the scourge of the weak. It’s Sociology 101.

Are there “good” cops? Of course there are, but the system is against them, and even they are inculcated in the culture of their work, taught the “facts of life” and discouraged from “rocking the boat”. Are cops taught to use force as a last resort? Yes, they are. But their first resort is often a threat of force, rather than to hear both sides of the story and to try to act in the best interest of all. Police demand surrender and obedience, and are not prepared to try symmetrical cooperation. They rarely give importance to the views of the target of enforcement. Cops are not chosen or taught to listen to potential suspects.

We are told that policing is a dangerous job and that police risk their lives. Perhaps, but their training and protocol do not usually include manually disarming a suspect with a knife, for example, even when their life is not really at stake, only potential injury. They are authorized to use firearms when they “have reason to believe” that the other person may be armed and dangerous. In such situations they are trained to aim for the trunk, where most of the bodily organs are located, because that is the biggest target and most likely to “stop” the suspect. Despite the fact that hitting the legs or arms might be equally effective and less dangerous to the suspect, they are trained not to take the risk, even though they might be saving the life of the suspect.

Many of us can cite examples from our own experience of unreasonable, threatening and even physically abusive police. Blacks, Natives, the poor and other groups are disproportionately subject to these abuses. Does it have to be this way? What changes are possible?

A proposal

I believe that the entire system must be dismantled and scrapped, as Jaylen has said. It is rotten and corrupted to the core. It has a white supremacist history that is still a dominant element, and the idea that police are hired thugs remains the basis of its mandate and its culture. American films and television show that this view of the police carries over into popular media, where it becomes glamorized.

Many reforms have been suggested, including the following:

  • citizen policing, plaintiff/victim involvement and negotiated resolution/sentencing
  • elimination of cash bail
  • participation of formerly convicted persons
  • issuance of firearms only in exceptional circumstances
  • non-police services for appropriate situations
  • an end to military-style training
  • an end to no-knock warrants
  • an end to mass surveillance of the public, and individually only in response to warrants

These and more are all worthwhile suggestions on their own, but they are reforms, not redesign from the ground up. What we need is to scrap the whole system and rebuild, keeping these reforms in mind, but also an open mind to new ways.

Obviously, doing away with the police as we know them is not going to do away with crime and violence. Inequality, racism, classism, discrimination, stereotyping and similar prejudices have a lot to do with the way police behave toward other people. Creating a more equitable society in general will go a long way to reducing these sources of criminality and violence. That is what the proposals in the prior eleven installments of these articles is intended to accomplish, insofar as possible. They are not a panacea, but they at least create fertile ground for society to address its problems more constructively.

It is too much to expect that we will create a society completely free from crime and violence. We therefore need a means of addressing it. My view is that the existing policing system, its training and recruitment practices and its inherited culture is essentially impervious to reform. It has to be torn down and something else built in its place.

My suggestion would be to look at examples from other societies that are more successful than we are in controlling crime and violence, and incorporate what we can. My favorite proposal is to outsource.

A brief glimpse of what is possible occurred in April, 2015, when four Swedish cops on vacation broke up a fight on a New York subway. Their treatment of the violent combatants contrasted sharply with what we have come to expect from our police. They were polite, considerate and kind, and although they used force, they did not use pain, and they asked the combatants if they were hurt.

One incident is merely an isolated example, but it is at least an illustration of what is possible. Policing in the Nordic countries is very different. It has a very different internal culture, and a degree of professionalism that is reflected by the fact that three years of training is generally required, compared with mere months in many U.S. police training programs.

Can we replicate it in the U.S.? Perhaps not, but we don’t have to. If we are serious about making the necessary changes, we can outsource the policing of an entire city to whatever country we think might provide a good model. Of course, it will require factfinding and negotiation. The foreign organization will want to visit, study and put a plan together, then make a proposal that includes conditions that they consider necessary for success. They may want to work with U.S. counterparts, but we should be cautious about what they learn from the existing police system. The whole point is to undo that system.

The city chosen for this experiment should be neither exceptional nor particularly large – perhaps no more than 200,000, with a crime rate that is neither unusually high or low, and at least receptive to the proposal. Funding will rely in part on the existing portion of the police budget of the city, but also most likely from foundations that are interested in an experiment of this kind, and perhaps federal funds, as well especially during the transition period.

The intent is to create a model program, drawing little or nothing from existing programs, and turning over unprecedented discretionary authority to the outsourced contractors. If successful, it can be used to redesign law enforcement in other locations.

Of course, every effort must be made to assure success. The entire society would need to be involved. Some of the things to be discussed with the foreign contractors would be the reforms mentioned earlier, as well as additional concerns, such as incarceration laws and practices. These must also be recreated from the ground up if policing is to be successful. This is a package deal.

In fact, it is hard to imagine replacing a police force without doing the same with the penal institutions. The U.S. has the highest rate of incarceration in the world. This is disgraceful enough, but it is also a racist system that incarcerates a disproportionate number of Black, Indigenous peoples, Hispanic and other minority groups. This must end, and should be included in the management contract with the outsourced consultants, to the extent that they should be able to set conditions and practices, in cooperation with local communities. Some of the provisions over which they might need to have control are:

    • reduction or elimination of mandatory sentences
    • ending incarceration for most nonviolent and juvenile offenders
    • investigation of unusually harsh or lenient sentencing tendencies by judges
    • provision without cost of all products and services required to maintain health and cleanliness for inmates
    • end routine infliction of pain or isolation in prisons
    • provision of commissary products at prevailing rates outside the prison, not including necessary hygiene items, which must be without cost
    • provision of free telephone service within security guidelines to both inmates and families
    • citizen review of prison practices and prisoner complaints, including abusive practices
    • ending private prisons. All prisons must be publicly owned and operated
    • ending the profit motive for prison labor by assuring that there is no cost advantage in its use.

The American police and penal system needs help, and will not find it internally, where it cannot escape its racist, supremacist, abusive past. We also cannot fabricate its replacement out of thin air. While corporate America is not always an example that we might wish to emulate, it has hired outside consultants and outsourced its failing elements in order to achieve success. A similar effort with respect to our failing public institutions deserves to be tried.

The post Time to Dismantle the Police first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Venezuela:  A Tribute for Her Endless Pursuit of Democracy

Venezuela is again the shining light of Democracy – pushing ahead with the 6 December 2020 National Assembly (NA) elections despite the endless challenges of covid, of sanctions, of embargos, of confiscation of foreign assets, and even of a totally illicit blockage of reserve currencies – Venezuela’s gold – naturally in the world’s protectorate of international financial fraud, The City of London.

This unique drive for democracy against all odds succeeds to a great degree thanks to President Maduro, who relentlessly resists not only the attempts against his life, but the lies and vilifications about Venezuela from most of the western world, led, of course, by the United States, followed closely by the European Union which, it seems, dominated by NATO, can’t break loose from being at Washington’s bidding.

It is sad to see European states – hands and minds still dripping of colonial blood, not being able to break the stranglehold of their genocidal past – and step onto a new plate, into a new history, fighting for justice and human rights. An example how far from this eye-opening conscientious awakening Europe is, was again demonstrated today by the EU Commission’s call to “sanction” Russia for the totally unproven Navalny poisoning, by stopping the almost completed Nord Stream 2 German-Russian gas pipeline project.

Never mind the absurdity that Germany and the EU are punishing themselves, not only because alternative badly needed gas supplies will be considerably more expensive – and god forbid – may be coming from US fracking sources. In other words, the EU would approve of an environmental disaster. Many of EU member countries are by their Constitution barred from using fracking gas or oil.

And again, the EU vassalhood – to call it what it is – refused President Maduro’s invitation to observe the December 6 elections. Mr. Maduro went out of his way to invite all the important opinion makers to come and observe the fairness of the elections, including the UN and the Europeans. The latter prefer not to see the correctness with their own eyes, but being able to criticize what they have not seen. There is no darker blindness than that emanating from not wanting to see.

And that, of course, only because the European leaders (sic) – all shoe-ins by an international deep state elite – will do whatever it takes to preserve as long as possible the unsustainable, unfettered, neoliberal no holds barred capitalism. The WEF (World Economic Forum) calls it best: The Great Reset – the upwards reorganization of assets. After the very elite-made global covid hoax has destroyed and continues to devastate most of what was the world economy, what gave work and food to billions of people – people are dwelling in the gutters with nothing left – no health care, no shelter, no food – no hope. The latter is the killer.

Venezuela is the antidote to this western usurping approach to civilization – what’s left of it. Venezuela pursues justice and fights for equality. By the way, Venezuela is in the honorable company of Cuba, Syria, Iran, Russia and China. The US, alias the west, cannot tolerate an example of ethics in its hegemonic orbit. Western allies – united under the boots of NATO – pretend freedom is their cause, while their own people suffer from unfathomable injustice every day – poverty and famine of children is skyrocketing in the Global North, the so-called developed or industrialized world – the bankers world, the world of those who indebt the Global South into dependence into the Global North’s neo-colonies.

Venezuela, on the contrary, aims at eradicating poverty, famine and misery and that despite her constant strangulation by Washington and its western allies, and even by some of what should be their Latin Brothers, the Lima Group, formed in August 2017 in Lima, Peru (12 members as of December 2019: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Guyana, Saint Lucia, Bolivia and Haiti).

Imagine how much pressure these Lima Group countries are under to accuse, boycott, denigrate and speak out in international fora against their fellow Latin Americans of Venezuela. Once upon a time there was a United Latin America – united under the leadership of Venezuela’s Simon Bolivar. With the onset of the British Empire’s transatlantic move of its power center to become the United States of America, the southern part of the Americas became what recent US Presidents called “our backyard” – ready to be usurped in any way possible, mostly in the form of military dictatorships and lately by Washington-induced coups against democratically elected heads of states.

However, the spirit of Simon Bolivar, El Libertador, lives on. Together with Nicolas Maduro’s tenacious will for freedom, for autonomy, for full sovereignty for Venezuelans, their use and destiny over natural resources, may prevail and influence upcoming elections in Bolivia (October 2020), Chile (October 2020 referendum on whether a new Constitution ought to be drafted, replacing the one dating back to Pinochet), Brazil (municipal election in November 2020) and Ecuador (general elections in February 2021).

Venezuela’s overarching strength by solidarity and endless fight for justice and Human Rights, brought the opposition to its knees. The right-wing Washington supported opposition, led by self-nominated “president” Juan Guaidó, boycotted past elections, so as not to show their weakness vis-à-vis the rest of the world. Now, perhaps the real head of opposition, Henrique Capriles, is changing tactics. Realizing that the only way to have any say in the political arena of Venezuela is by participating in it, he is calling for participation in the 6 December National Assembly elections.

President Maduro has always encouraged and invited participation of the opposition in elections and will welcome their presence for the December 2020 NA elections too. Because Democracy is at the heart of Chavismo, the very socialist thought being carried forward – steadily, without wavering, by President Maduro and his Government.

Viva! Venezuela’s Democracy – a shining light for the Americas and for the world.

The post Venezuela:  A Tribute for Her Endless Pursuit of Democracy first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Assange’s Ninth Day at the Old Bailey: Torture Testimonies, Offers of Pardon and Truth Telling

September 18.  Central Criminal Court, London.

The extradition trial of Julian Assange at the Old Bailey moved into a higher gear today.  Testimonies spanned the importance of classified information in war journalism, the teasing offer of a pardon for Assange by US President Donald Trump, torture inflicted by the US Central Intelligence Agency, the chilling effect of indictments under the Extradition Act and the legacy of the Collateral Murder video.

Hager, war and journalism

Investigative journalist Nicky Hager did some dusting and sprucing of the image of Assange via testimony given on videolink: not the “difficult, awful” individual discussed in standard media outlets, he asserted, but a figure “devoted” to “trying to make the world a better place in an era when there is declining freedom of information in most of the world.”  Hager found Assange “thoughtful, humorous and energetic.”

In his written testimony, Hager speaks to the role of journalism – the sort that matters, in any case – and war.  “It is in general impossible to research and write about war to a useful standard without access to sources that the authorities concerned regard as sensitive and out of bounds – and all the more so with the subject of war crimes.”  Classified information, notably in war, “is essential to allow journalism to perform its roles of informing the public, enabling democratic decision making and deterring wrongdoing.”

Hager managed to crowbar in a contemporary parallel on the importance of releasing the Collateral Murder, depicting the criminal slayings of civilians and journalists in New Baghdad.  The exposure of the incident, and the language used by the helicopter crew (“Look at those dead bastards”) contributed to “world opinion about the misuse of state power” in much the same way the video of George Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis police did to current debate.

The prosecution was in no mood for this more nuanced Assange, sensitive to caution and discretion.  For them, he remains a cold, calculating figure of dangerous idiosyncrasies, who endangered the lives of individuals by publishing unredacted documents.  Hager had understood that WikiLeaks only released the documents once the cables had already found their way onto platforms such as Cryptome, courtesy of the publication of the password to an unencrypted file in a book by Guardian journalists David Leigh an Luke Harding. “WikiLeaks made strenuous efforts to keep it secret, and it was released everywhere first.”

James Lewis QC for the prosecution suggested a corrective: that 154,000 US cables marked “simply protect” had already been published a week earlier.  Hager answered that this account was disputed.  In any case, the nine months between initial publication and the public availability of the unredacted material gave US authorities ample time to protect sources and “warn any informants who could’ve been named.”  The precautionary measures “taken by Julian Assange at the beginning help explain why there was not wholesale damage from those unredacted documents finding their way out.”

Robinson, Trump offers and pardons

The second instalment of the day’s proceedings brought the Trump administration to the fore, notably for the inescapable implication that this entire show is unmistakably and insolubly political.  The defence returned to a statement by Jennifer Robinson, Assange’s ever committed legal advisor, which had already been aired in extradition proceedings held on February 24, 2020.  It covered a purported meeting between ex-congressman Dana Rohrabacher and Trump associate Charles Johnson with Assange and Robinson in August 2017 at the Ecuadorean embassy in London.  The theme: a potential pardon for Assange, with a distinct, thorny catch.

As Robinson’s statement, discussed by Edward Fitzgerald QC at the Woolwich Crown Court in February recalled, “the proposal put forward by Congressman Rohrabacher was that Mr Assange identify the source of the 2016 election publications in return for some kind of pardon, assurance or agreement which would benefit President Trump politically and prevent US indictment and extradition.”

In Robinson’s testimony, Rohrabacher made his embassy visit with Trump’s executive blessing.  Upon his return to Washington, a presidential audience would be granted.  The congressman wished “to resolve the ongoing speculation about Russian involvement” in the publication of the Democratic National Committee disclosures by WikiLeaks in 2016.  Such speculation was proving “damaging to US-Russian relations, that it was reviving old Cold War politics, and it would be in the best interest of the US if the matter could be resolved.”  One way of doing so would be Assange’s yielding of relevant information about the source behind the DNC leaks, something of “interest, value and assistance to the President.”

Assange was not forthcoming, preferring to push Rohrabacher to lobby Trump about the First Amendment implications of any indictment against the publisher.  With the duo leaving empty-handed, the suggestion by the defence is credible: the prospects of an indictment, considered unlikely during the Obama administration, had hardened.  Prosecutor Lewis was blandly dismissive of the entire episode.  “We obviously do not accept the truth of what was said by others.”

El-Masri and Torture

The prosecutors had already made efforts to frustrate the insertion of Khaled el-Masri’s account into proceedings, a telling point given his experiences of torture at the hands of the CIA in 2004.  There was squabbling on the issue whether he be heard live by video or to have his statement read out in court.  “We see no utility whatsoever in having Mr el-Masri in court,” put the prosecution.  This prompted an intervention from Assange: “I will not accept you censoring a torture victim’s statement to this court.”

The prosecution relented to a reading of a summary, with the understanding that it did not stipulate that el-Masri had ever been tortured by the US government.  This was rich, and unpalatable stuff.  El-Masri, a German citizen, had been kidnapped at the Macedonian border, detained and kept incommunicado for 23 days in 2004.  It took the European Court of Human Rights in 2012 to confirm the CIA’s handiwork in torturing el-Masri, holding Macedonia responsible for being complicit and not investigating the case.  There had been no warrant for his arrest; his transfer to the US authorities amounted to “an extra-judicial transfer of persons from one jurisdiction or State to another, for the purposes of detention and interrogation outside the normal legal system, where there was a real risk of torture of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”  At Skopje Airport, el-Masri “was severely beaten by several disguised men dressed in black”, subsequently “stripped and sodomised with an object.”

As el-Masri stated, “I record here my belief that without dedicated and brave exposure of the state secrets in question what happened to me would never have been acknowledged and understood.”  His “exposure of what happened was necessary not just for myself but for law and justice worldwide. My story here is not yet concluded.”

His statement also notes the broader, international dimension of collusion, a point reiterated in court by defence attorney Mark Summers QC.  Only with the publication of the cables by WikiLeaks, notes el-Masri, “did it become clear what pressures had taken pace [sic] beyond Macedonia’s collusion with the US.”  This included the ineffectual issuing of warrants for thirteen CIA operatives issued by a German state prosecutor.  In February 2007, the German Deputy Security Adviser, Rolf Nikel, was warned by the deputy chief of mission to Germany that “the issuance of international arrest warrants would have a negative impact on our bilateral relationship.  He reminded Nikel of the repercussions to US-Italian bilateral relations in the wake of a similar move by Italian authorities last year.”

El-Masri’s treatment, and the importance of the WikiLeaks disclosures in exposing it, have already been noted in the testimony and statement of John Goetz, who worked for Der Spiegel between 2010 and 2011.  The published cables supplied “an explanation about why there were so many difficulties during the investigation.”  It was “only when reading the diplomatic cables that we saw the role the US government was playing behind the scene.” Impediments continued to be put upon a fair and just resolution of the case, including threats by the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to sanction those bringing cases before the International Criminal Court.  El-Masri remains imperilled.

Carey Shenkman and the Espionage Act

Carey Shenkman, First Amendment specialist and historian of the Espionage Act of 1917, duly resumed his testimony on the implications of his illuminating, and unsettling overview of the Act’s application.  The prosecution, this time steered by Clair Dobbin, continued to rely upon rulings on the Act suggesting that prosecuting journalists was permissible.  Challenges about its reach had been made and failed.  The jurisprudence on the statute had, over the years, been refined.

Shenkman reminded the prosecution that such cases were marked by the punishment of government sources and insiders, not media representatives.  Suggesting that the jurisprudence on the Act had been “refined” was also a point of demurral, given that “national defence information” had been broadened to include anything government deems sensitive.  He also took issue with Dobbin’s view that prosecutors that shown considered “restraint” when using the Act.  The very fact that an indictment had been issued under its provisions against a journalist, whatever its prospects of success, instilled a “significant chilling effect”, applicable, potentially, to all those reading or retweeting defence information.

Yates, trauma and Collateral Murder

The final part of the day’s proceedings was given over to the witness statement of former Reuters Baghdad bureau chief, Dean Yates.   His subject of torment: the killing of two of his colleagues, Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh, among other civilians, by the crew of the Apache helicopter depicted in the video Collateral Murder.  Their deaths spurred Yates to identify the chain of events.  He submitted a Freedom of Information Act request; it was rejected.  He was shown select portions of the video by the US military, an act of wilful omission.  From the depths of deep confusion he blamed Namir “thinking that the helicopter fired because he had made himself look suspicious and it just erased from my memory the fact that the order to open fire had already been given.”  Assange had sniffed out that the rules of engagement had not been complied with.

Trauma followed.  Feelings of failure in not adequately protecting his staff.  Crushing shame.  Yates opined about the powerful effect of Collateral Murder, the shame it caused the US military, “fully aware that experts believe the shooting of the van was a potential war crime.”  Without the role played by Chelsea Manning and Assange, “Namir and Saeed would have remained forgotten statistics in a war that killed countless human beings, possibly hundreds of thousands of civilians.”  The act of disclosing the grisly encounter of July 12, 2007 was “100 percent an act of truth-telling, exposing to the world what the war in Iraq in fact was and how the US military behaved and lied.”

The post Assange’s Ninth Day at the Old Bailey: Torture Testimonies, Offers of Pardon and Truth Telling first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Empire’s Mask Slips at Julian Assange Trial

A billboard van calling for an end to extradition proceedings against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange waits at traffic lights in Parliament Square in London, England, on September 14, 2020. (Photo by David Cliff/NurPhoto)

The concept of “History in the making” has been pushed to extremes when it comes to the extraordinary public service being performed by historian, former UK diplomat and human rights activist Craig Murray.

Murray – literally, and on a global level – is now positioned as our man in the public gallery, as he painstakingly documents in vivid detail what could be defined as the trial of the century as far as the practice of journalism is concerned: the kangaroo court judging Julian Assange in Old Bailey, London.

Let’s focus on three of Murray’s reports this week – with an emphasis on two intertwined themes: what the US is really prosecuting, and how Western corporate media is ignoring the court proceedings.

Here, Murray reports the exact moment when the mask of Empire fell, not with a bang, but a whimper:

The gloves were off on Tuesday as the US Government explicitly argued that all journalists are liable to prosecution under the Espionage Act (1917) for publishing classified information. (italics mine).

“All journalists” means every legitimate journalist, from every nationality, operating in any jurisdiction.

Interpreting the argument, Murray added, “the US government is now saying, completely explicitly, in court, those reporters could and should have gone to jail and that is how we will act in future. The Washington Post, the New York Times, and all the “great liberal media” of the US are not in court to hear it and do not report it (italics mine), because of their active complicity in the “othering” of Julian Assange as something sub-human whose fate can be ignored. Are they really so stupid as not to understand that they are next?

Err, yes.”

The point is not that self-described paladins of “great liberal media” are stupid. They are not covering the charade in Old Bailey because they are cowards. They must keep their fabled “access” to the bowels of Empire – the kind of “access” that allowed Judith Miller to “sell” the illegal war on Iraq in countless front pages, and allows CIA asset and uber-opportunist Bob Woodward to write his “insider” books.

Nothing to see here

Previously, Murray had already detailed how “the mainstream media are turning a blind eye. There were three reporters in the press gallery, one of them an intern and one representing the NUJ. Public access continues to be restricted and major NGOs, including Amnesty, PEN and Reporters Without Borders, continue to be excluded both physically and from watching online.”

Murray also detailed how “the six of us allowed in the public gallery, incidentally, have to climb 132 steps to get there, several times a day. As you know, I have a very dodgy ticker; I am with Julian’s dad John who is 78; and another of us has a pacemaker.”

So why is he “the man in the public gallery”?

I do not in the least discount the gallant efforts of others when I explain that I feel obliged to write this up, and in this detail, because otherwise the vital basic facts of the most important trial this century, and how it is being conducted, would pass almost completely unknown to the public. If it were a genuine process, they would want people to see it, not completely minimize attendance both physically and online.

Unless people around the world are reading Murray’s reports – and very few others with much less detail – they will ignore immensely important aspects plus the overall appalling context of what’s really happening in the heart of London. The main fact, as far as journalism is concerned, is that Western corporate media is completely ignoring it.

Let’s check the UK coverage on Day 9, for instance.

There was no article in the Guardian – which cannot possibly cover the trial because the paper, for years, was deep into no holds barred smearing and total demonization of Julian Assange.

There was nothing on The Telegraph – very close to MI6 – and only a brief AP story on the Daily Mail.

There was a brief article in The Independent only because one of the witnesses, Eric Lewis, is one of the directors of the Independent Digital News and Media Ltd which publishes the paper.

For years, the process of degrading Julian Assange to sub-human level was based on repeating a bunch of lies so often they become truth. Now, the conspiracy of silence about the trial does wonders to expose the true face of Western liberal “values” and liberal “democracy”.

Daniel Ellsberg speaks

Murray provided absolutely essential context for what Daniel “Pentagon Papers” Ellsberg made it very clear in the witness stand.

The Afghan War logs published by WikiLeaks were quite similar to low-level reports Ellsberg himself had written about Vietnam. The geopolitical framework is the same: invasion and occupation, against the interests of the absolute majority of the invaded and occupied.

Murray, illustrating Ellsberg, writes that “the war logs had exposed a pattern of war crimes: torture, assassination and death squads. The one thing that had changed since Vietnam was that these things were now so normalized they were classified below Top Secret.”

This is a very important point. All the Pentagon Papers were in fact Top Secret. But crucially, the WikiLeaks papers were not Top Secret: in fact they were below Top Secret, not subject to restricted distribution. So they were not really sensitive – as the United States government now alleges.

On the by now legendary Collateral Murder video, Murray details Ellsberg’s argument:

Ellsberg stated that it definitely showed murder, including the deliberate machine gunning of a wounded and unarmed civilian. That it was murder was undoubted. The dubious word was “collateral”, which implies accidental. What was truly shocking about it was the Pentagon reaction that these war crimes were within the Rules of Engagement. Which permitted murder.

The prosecution cannot explain why Julian Assange withheld no less than 15,000 files; how he took a lot of time to redact the ones that were published; and why both the Pentagon and the State Dept. refused to collaborate with WikiLeaks. Murray:

Ten years later, the US Government has still not been able to name one single individual who was actually harmed by the WikiLeaks releases.


Prometheus Bound 2.0

President Trump has made two notorious references to WikiLeaks on the record: “I love WikiLeaks” and “I know nothing about WikiLeaks”. That may reveal nothing on how a hypothetical Trump 2.0 administration would act if Julian Assange was extradited to the US. What we do now is that the most powerful Deep State factions want him “neutralized”. Forever.

I felt compelled to portray Julian Assange’s plight as Prometheus Bound 2.0. In this poignant post-modern tragedy, the key subplot centers on a deadly blow to true journalism, in the sense of speaking truth to power.

Julian Assange continues to be treated as an extremely dangerous criminal, as his partner Stella Moris describes it in a tweet.

Craig Murray will arguably enter History as the central character in a very small chorus warning us all about the tragedy’s ramifications.

It’s also quite fitting that the tragedy is also a commentary on a previous era that featured, unlike Blake’s poem, a Marriage of Hell and Hell: GWOT and OCO (Global War on Terror, under George W. Bush, and Overseas Contingency Operations under Barack Obama).

Julian Assange is being condemned for revealing imperial war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet in the end all that post-9/11 sound and fury signified nothing.

It actually metastasized into the worst imperial nightmare: the emergence of a prime, compounded peer competitor, the Russia-China strategic partnership.

“Not here the darkness, in this twittering world” (T.S. Eliot, Burnt Norton).

An army of future Assanges awaits.

The post Empire’s Mask Slips at Julian Assange Trial first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Neoliberal Death Knell for Indian Agriculture

In a 2017 article, I asked what might a future India look like and concluded that, if current neoliberal policies continue, there could be dozens of mega-cities with up to 40 million inhabitants and just two to three hundred million (perhaps 15-20% of the population) left in an emptied-out countryside. And it could also mean hundreds of millions of displaced rural dwellers without any work.

The policies referred to have not only continued but have been given a massive boost in the form of three parliamentary bills: The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020.

The ordinances were issued by the Modi-led government in June and (according to official rhetoric) seek to create barrier-free trade for farmers and allow them to enter into agreements with private players prior to the production for sale of agri-produce.

Some have commended these bills, claiming they will completely ‘liberalise’ the farm economy, leading to greater flexibility and efficiency and offering freedom and choice to farmers and buyers of produce. Others claim they effectively serve to impose the tenets of neoliberalism on the sector, finally clearing the way to restructure the agri-food sector for the benefit of large commodity traders and other (international) corporations: smallholder farmers will go to the wall in a landscape of ‘get big or get out’, mirroring the US model of food cultivation and retail.

As reported in the Economic Times, the Congress party chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said his party will fight the government “tooth and nail” on this issue:

These three draconian ordinances are a death knell for agriculture in India. They will subjugate the farmer at the altar of a handful of crony capitalists….

He added that farmers would not be able to get a remunerative price for their crop under the current system of minimum support price and that his party will join with other parties to put up a joint opposition to the draconian ordinances of the BJP government aimed at:

Subjugating the farming community and abolishing the livelihood of crores [tens of millions] of people who are aligned with the grain markets and other market systems.

The proposed legislation will mean that mandis – state-run market locations for farmers (overseen by Agricultural Produce Market Committees) to sell their agricultural produce via auction to traders – can be bypassed, allowing farmers to sell to private players elsewhere (physically and online), thereby undermining the regulatory role of the public sector. In trade areas open to the private sector, no fees will be levied (fees levied in mandis go to the states and, in principle, are used to enhance market infrastructure to help farmers).

This could incentivise the corporate sector operating outside of the mandis to (initially at least) offer better prices to farmers; eventually, however, as the mandi system is run down completely, these corporations will monopolise trade, capture the sector and dictate prices to farmers.

Another outcome of the proposed legislation could see the unregulated storage of produce and speculation, opening the farming sector to free-for-all profiteering for the big players.

Randeep Surjewala argues that the three ordinances are also a direct attack on the federal structure of India (farming and mandis come under the jurisdiction of states), but the government did not even consider it appropriate to consult them before promulgating the ordinances.

Sitaram Yechury, leader of the Communist Party of India, tweeted:

No amount of propaganda and spin can conceal such destruction of India and it’s economy. Withdraw these ordinances handing over our agriculture to multinational agribusinesses, further ruining our ‘annadaata’, demolishing India’s food security.

The proposed legislation will enable transnational agri-food corporations like Cargill and Walmart and home-grown billionaire capitalists like Gautam Adani and his agribusiness conglomerate and Mukesh Ambini and his Reliance retail chain to decide on what is to be cultivated, how much of it is to be cultivated within India and how it is to be produced and processed. From seed to field to plate, the corporate take-over of the food and agriculture chain will be complete.

Smallholder and marginal farmers will be further forced out and those remaining in the sector will be squeezed, working on contracts for market-dominating global seed and agrochemical suppliers, trader, distributors and retail concerns. Industrial agriculture will be the norm (with all the devastating externalised health, social and environmental costs that the model brings with it).

It may make some wonder who is actually determining policy in India when hundreds of millions of ordinary people could lose their livelihoods. Instead of pursuing a path of democratic development, the Indian government has chosen to submit to the regime of foreign finance, awaiting signals on how much it can spend. The imperatives of global capital require nation states to curb spending and roll back interventions and support mechanisms so that private investors can occupy the arena left open. And this is exactly what we are seeing in agriculture.

Foreign capital and sections of India’s billionaire class are working to displace the prevailing agrifood model and recast it in their own image. Tens of millions of small-scale and marginal farmers are already suffering economic distress and leaving farming as the sector is deliberately made financially non-viable for them.

The Modi administration is fully on board with the World Bank’s pro-corporate ‘enabling the business of agriculture’ and other such policies aimed at further incorporating nation states into the neoliberal fold, while equating neoliberal policies with ‘development’. Other recent policies will also serve to accelerate current trends in Indian agriculture as we see with regard to the Karnataka Land Reform Act, which will make it easier for business to purchase and consolidate agricultural land (leading to landlessness and urban migration).

Both ongoing and proposed ‘reforms’ are ultimately about ‘liberalising’ agriculture to further ease the entrance of foreign agribusiness interests and serve the needs of India’s home-grown billionaires. The Modi government is predictably facilitating what could eventually lead to a trillion-dollar (value of the Indian economy according to Modi’s former associates at APCO Worldwide) corporate hijack of India three steps closer with the ‘ordinances’.

By bringing the full force of liberalisation to the farm economy and in the process fundamentally restructuring Indian society (around 60% of the population still rely on agriculture for their livelihoods), any remnants of economic sovereignty and sovereign state status will be hollowed out and India will become a fully incorporated subsidiary of global capitalism and its fundamentally flawed and exploitative food regime.

Of course, many millions have already been displaced from the Indian countryside and have had to seek work in the cities. And if the coronavirus lockdown has indicated anything, it is that many of these ‘migrant workers’ have failed to gain a secure foothold and were compelled to return ‘home’ to their villages. Their lives are defined by low pay, insecurity and callous treatment by the government.

It raises the question: what does the future hold for the hundreds of millions of others who will be victims of the dispossessive policies of neoliberal capitalism?

The post Neoliberal Death Knell for Indian Agriculture first appeared on Dissident Voice.