Category Archives: Afghanistan

Will a Biden Foreign Policy Make a Difference for the World?

The “left” rationalization for collaborating with the neoliberal wing of the democrat party is premised on the argument that a win for the national Democrat candidate translates into better possible policy outcomes for the “people” and nation. More importantly though, they assert, Trump’s defeat will alter the rightist trajectory of U.S. politics away from what they refer to as Trump’s neofascist inclinations.

I will not attempt to address this argument here. I have dealt with this cartoonish and idealistic conception of fascism in other places. I have also raised questions with my friends in the left regarding the basis of their confidence that Biden and the neoliberal class forces he represents are in possession of any ideas or policies that will address the irreconcilable contradictions of the late stage of monopoly capitalism known as neoliberalism.

Of course, on this last question, the response from my materialist friends is sentimental gibberish about holding someone’s feet to the fire.

Here I just want to briefly focus on the very simple question that many in the global South are raising in connection with the upcoming U.S. elections. And that is, if Biden wins, what might the people of the global South expect from a Biden Administration? To examine that question, I believe that the Afghanistan situation and the process for arriving at the current peace talks between the Taliban, the Afghanistan government and the United States offers some useful indicators for how that question might be answered.

The Trump Anti-War Feign

Defying the popular conception of Republicans as the party of war, and to the surprise of an incredulous Democratic Party and liberal media, candidate Trump told his supporters and the world that pulling the U.S. out of “endless wars” would be a major priority for his administration if elected.

This claim was mocked by the Clinton campaign partly because it upset the carefully constructed narrative prepared by her campaign to paint Trump as a dangerous pro-war threat because of his inexperience and unstable character. Not that the Clinton campaign was projecting itself as Anti-war, especially with the powerful pro-war economic interests that were coalescing around her campaign. Objectively, there was a ruling class consensus that increased spending on the military and militarism was going to be a central component of U.S. global policies going forward. Trump’s rhetoric was seen as a threat, even if he was not serious about following through once he became president.

After Trump’s surprising win and before he could focus on addressing Afghanistan and the reinvasion of Iraq that occurred during Obama’s second term, a manufactured crisis with Syria was presented to him that politically required a military response.

The box in which his generals and the intelligence agencies placed him on Syria would characterize the contentious and contradictory relationship between Trump and those elements of the state throughout his presidency, even after he signaled his support for militarism with the submission of record increases in military spending.

From North Korea and NATO to withdrawing U.S. personnel from Syria, the Democrats and some members of his own party conspired to oppose any changes that might threaten the deeply entrenched agenda of the military-industrial-intelligence complex.

However, the efforts to undermine any progress toward extricating the U.S. from the 19-year quagmire of Afghanistan on the part of Democrats represented a new low in cynicism and moral corruption.

The Normalized Quagmire of Afghanistan

Shortly after the Trump Administration began, it broke with longstanding policy of not talking directly to Taliban. Administration representatives engaged in a series of covert, but direct talks, without the knowledge and participation of their supposed ally, the Afghan government.

By early 2019, the Administration’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, initiated a series of overt direct talks with the Taliban in Doha. The government of India and many elements within the foreign policy establishment were either opposed to direct talks with Taliban or were reticent.

In those talks, Khalilzad had to address the Taliban’s demand for complete withdrawal of U.S. troops and the U.S. demand that the Taliban guarantee that Afghanistan would not be used as a base for terrorism.

Other important issues that had to be included in a framework for discussion and eventual agreement included the issue of a ceasefire, prisoner exchanges and the sensitive issue of inter-Afghan talks, because the Taliban did not recognize the legitimacy of what they saw as a U.S. puppet government.

The talks with the Taliban, and an important meeting in Moscow in April 2019 between the U.S., Russia and China, resulted in an “agreement in principle” announced at the end of August 2019.

It was agreed in principle that the issues of a U.S. withdrawal, a ceasefire, and the knotty issue of inter-Afghan negotiations would be discussed in a follow-up meeting to be scheduled for February 2020. A significant diplomatic victory that was largely ignored in the U.S. press.

The February 2020 meeting in Doha resulted in a signed agreement to engage in a peace process.

The agreement reflected the various steps that the Taliban, U.S., and Afghan sides were expected to address during the negotiations: The U.S. demand that the Taliban are to prevent their territory from hosting groups or individuals who might threaten the U.S. and their allies; the Taliban demand for a timeline for the withdrawal of all U.S. and coalition forces; and the commencement of talks between the Afghan government and Taliban forces at the conclusion of U.S. military withdrawal and the establishment of a comprehensive cease-fire.

On March 10, the UN Security Council gave the U.S.-sponsored resolution supporting the deal their unanimous blessing. But rhat was not the end of the story. Unfortunately, for Democrats, peace and a diplomatic victory for Trump had to be contested.

Powerful forces in the state and foreign policy community opposed the February agreement. Publicly, they couched their concerns in security terms related to terrorism. They argued that it is only through increase military pressure that the Taliban would denounce al-Qaeda and agree to verifiably sever links with the group.

But the terrorism concern was only a subterfuge. President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan, along with his close Indian allies, did not want to see any U.S. military withdrawal. Other elements in the U.S. state were focused on the estimated one trillion dollars in precious metals that are currently unexploited in that country. And there was the Chinese issue and their Belt and Road initiative (BRI). Maintaining U.S. forces in the region would not only potentially make those precious resources available to U.S. companies but would also serve as a block to the BRI path through Central Asia.

Those elements and President Ghani were in a panic. National reconciliation and peace represented a real threat to their interests. The solution? Another domestic psyop.

Democrats sacrifice Peace for Politics

By the end of June, a disinformation campaign was launched by New York Times and was quickly followed up by the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal that focused on lurid but unsubstantiated reports of the Russians paying bounties to Taliban soldiers to kill U.S. personnel.

In typical fashion, “anonymous sources” were quoted. The reasons why the Russians would engage in this activity and why the Taliban who had essentially defeated the U.S. needed further incentives to fight the U.S. were marginal to the story. It was the headlines that were needed in order to evoke the emotional and psychological response that good propaganda has as its objective. Reason is a casualty when the objective is short-term confusion.

In this case, the objective was to evoke an outcry from the public, to be followed with legislation undermining Trump’s ability to withdraw U.S. personnel from the country and, if possible, to scuttle the process until after the election, if at all.

On cue, Democrat Congressman Jason Crow teamed up with Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney (daughter of the former vice president) to prohibit the president from withdrawing troops from Afghanistan.

And when Trump refused to take the bait and undermine his own peace process, Joe Biden accused Trump of “dereliction of duty” and “continuing his embarrassing campaign of deference and debasing himself before Vladimir Putin.”

Afghan Deception is not only Harbinger of Things to Come Under Biden

On September 12th, despite the machinations of the Democrats and other state forces, the Taliban and Afghan government representatives met in Doha to enter the difficult discussions on how to finally bring a resolution to the U.S. war and occupation of their country.

Neoliberals accuse Trump of cynically calculating every decision based on his own needs while neoliberals only operate from a pristine moral position. According to CNN, the peace agreement “was signed in February — at all costs with the goal of helping Trump fulfill his long-stated campaign promise of removing American troops from Afghanistan.”

If Trump was only concerned about his reelection, and there is no doubt that was a major consideration for most of his decisions, how do we characterize the moves made by the corporate press in collusion with the Democrats and Biden campaign — an objective concern for the security of the U.S.?

Two months after the Russia bounty story, the Clinton News Network (CNN) floated another bounty story. This time it was the Iranians! And almost four months after the original bounty story, NBC news reported that no one has been able to verify the story.

But one story that can be reasonably argued is that for the people of the world subjected to U.S. state criminality, the reoccupation of the Executive Branch by the democrats will not bring any change in U.S. behavior. Both parties support the imperatives of U.S. imperialism reflected in Trump’s 2017 National Security Strategy that centers an adversarial relationship with Russia and China and committed to maintaining U.S. global hegemony. Both parties supported the obscene increases in military spending, with Biden promising that he will spend even more!

The rightist character of the Democratic Party is such that at their national convention the alignment of right-wing neocons and neoliberals is not even being hidden.

So, while the fear is supposed to be around a further growth of “fascist” forces represented by Trump domestically, for the people of the world the real fascism of anti-democratic, brutal regimes supported by the U.S., murderous sanctions, starvation in Yemen, and right-wing coups in support of fascist forces in Honduras, Brazil and Venezuela will continue unabated.

This is precisely why from the perspective of oppressed nations and peoples’ in the global South, it should not be surprising that some might see progressive and radical support for either colonial/capitalist party as an immoral and counterrevolutionary position.

The post Will a Biden Foreign Policy Make a Difference for the World? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Will a Biden Foreign Policy Make a Difference for the World?

The “left” rationalization for collaborating with the neoliberal wing of the democrat party is premised on the argument that a win for the national Democrat candidate translates into better possible policy outcomes for the “people” and nation. More importantly though, they assert, Trump’s defeat will alter the rightist trajectory of U.S. politics away from what they refer to as Trump’s neofascist inclinations.

I will not attempt to address this argument here. I have dealt with this cartoonish and idealistic conception of fascism in other places. I have also raised questions with my friends in the left regarding the basis of their confidence that Biden and the neoliberal class forces he represents are in possession of any ideas or policies that will address the irreconcilable contradictions of the late stage of monopoly capitalism known as neoliberalism.

Of course, on this last question, the response from my materialist friends is sentimental gibberish about holding someone’s feet to the fire.

Here I just want to briefly focus on the very simple question that many in the global South are raising in connection with the upcoming U.S. elections. And that is, if Biden wins, what might the people of the global South expect from a Biden Administration? To examine that question, I believe that the Afghanistan situation and the process for arriving at the current peace talks between the Taliban, the Afghanistan government and the United States offers some useful indicators for how that question might be answered.

The Trump Anti-War Feign

Defying the popular conception of Republicans as the party of war, and to the surprise of an incredulous Democratic Party and liberal media, candidate Trump told his supporters and the world that pulling the U.S. out of “endless wars” would be a major priority for his administration if elected.

This claim was mocked by the Clinton campaign partly because it upset the carefully constructed narrative prepared by her campaign to paint Trump as a dangerous pro-war threat because of his inexperience and unstable character. Not that the Clinton campaign was projecting itself as Anti-war, especially with the powerful pro-war economic interests that were coalescing around her campaign. Objectively, there was a ruling class consensus that increased spending on the military and militarism was going to be a central component of U.S. global policies going forward. Trump’s rhetoric was seen as a threat, even if he was not serious about following through once he became president.

After Trump’s surprising win and before he could focus on addressing Afghanistan and the reinvasion of Iraq that occurred during Obama’s second term, a manufactured crisis with Syria was presented to him that politically required a military response.

The box in which his generals and the intelligence agencies placed him on Syria would characterize the contentious and contradictory relationship between Trump and those elements of the state throughout his presidency, even after he signaled his support for militarism with the submission of record increases in military spending.

From North Korea and NATO to withdrawing U.S. personnel from Syria, the Democrats and some members of his own party conspired to oppose any changes that might threaten the deeply entrenched agenda of the military-industrial-intelligence complex.

However, the efforts to undermine any progress toward extricating the U.S. from the 19-year quagmire of Afghanistan on the part of Democrats represented a new low in cynicism and moral corruption.

The Normalized Quagmire of Afghanistan

Shortly after the Trump Administration began, it broke with longstanding policy of not talking directly to Taliban. Administration representatives engaged in a series of covert, but direct talks, without the knowledge and participation of their supposed ally, the Afghan government.

By early 2019, the Administration’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, initiated a series of overt direct talks with the Taliban in Doha. The government of India and many elements within the foreign policy establishment were either opposed to direct talks with Taliban or were reticent.

In those talks, Khalilzad had to address the Taliban’s demand for complete withdrawal of U.S. troops and the U.S. demand that the Taliban guarantee that Afghanistan would not be used as a base for terrorism.

Other important issues that had to be included in a framework for discussion and eventual agreement included the issue of a ceasefire, prisoner exchanges and the sensitive issue of inter-Afghan talks, because the Taliban did not recognize the legitimacy of what they saw as a U.S. puppet government.

The talks with the Taliban, and an important meeting in Moscow in April 2019 between the U.S., Russia and China, resulted in an “agreement in principle” announced at the end of August 2019.

It was agreed in principle that the issues of a U.S. withdrawal, a ceasefire, and the knotty issue of inter-Afghan negotiations would be discussed in a follow-up meeting to be scheduled for February 2020. A significant diplomatic victory that was largely ignored in the U.S. press.

The February 2020 meeting in Doha resulted in a signed agreement to engage in a peace process.

The agreement reflected the various steps that the Taliban, U.S., and Afghan sides were expected to address during the negotiations: The U.S. demand that the Taliban are to prevent their territory from hosting groups or individuals who might threaten the U.S. and their allies; the Taliban demand for a timeline for the withdrawal of all U.S. and coalition forces; and the commencement of talks between the Afghan government and Taliban forces at the conclusion of U.S. military withdrawal and the establishment of a comprehensive cease-fire.

On March 10, the UN Security Council gave the U.S.-sponsored resolution supporting the deal their unanimous blessing. But rhat was not the end of the story. Unfortunately, for Democrats, peace and a diplomatic victory for Trump had to be contested.

Powerful forces in the state and foreign policy community opposed the February agreement. Publicly, they couched their concerns in security terms related to terrorism. They argued that it is only through increase military pressure that the Taliban would denounce al-Qaeda and agree to verifiably sever links with the group.

But the terrorism concern was only a subterfuge. President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan, along with his close Indian allies, did not want to see any U.S. military withdrawal. Other elements in the U.S. state were focused on the estimated one trillion dollars in precious metals that are currently unexploited in that country. And there was the Chinese issue and their Belt and Road initiative (BRI). Maintaining U.S. forces in the region would not only potentially make those precious resources available to U.S. companies but would also serve as a block to the BRI path through Central Asia.

Those elements and President Ghani were in a panic. National reconciliation and peace represented a real threat to their interests. The solution? Another domestic psyop.

Democrats sacrifice Peace for Politics

By the end of June, a disinformation campaign was launched by New York Times and was quickly followed up by the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal that focused on lurid but unsubstantiated reports of the Russians paying bounties to Taliban soldiers to kill U.S. personnel.

In typical fashion, “anonymous sources” were quoted. The reasons why the Russians would engage in this activity and why the Taliban who had essentially defeated the U.S. needed further incentives to fight the U.S. were marginal to the story. It was the headlines that were needed in order to evoke the emotional and psychological response that good propaganda has as its objective. Reason is a casualty when the objective is short-term confusion.

In this case, the objective was to evoke an outcry from the public, to be followed with legislation undermining Trump’s ability to withdraw U.S. personnel from the country and, if possible, to scuttle the process until after the election, if at all.

On cue, Democrat Congressman Jason Crow teamed up with Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney (daughter of the former vice president) to prohibit the president from withdrawing troops from Afghanistan.

And when Trump refused to take the bait and undermine his own peace process, Joe Biden accused Trump of “dereliction of duty” and “continuing his embarrassing campaign of deference and debasing himself before Vladimir Putin.”

Afghan Deception is not only Harbinger of Things to Come Under Biden

On September 12th, despite the machinations of the Democrats and other state forces, the Taliban and Afghan government representatives met in Doha to enter the difficult discussions on how to finally bring a resolution to the U.S. war and occupation of their country.

Neoliberals accuse Trump of cynically calculating every decision based on his own needs while neoliberals only operate from a pristine moral position. According to CNN, the peace agreement “was signed in February — at all costs with the goal of helping Trump fulfill his long-stated campaign promise of removing American troops from Afghanistan.”

If Trump was only concerned about his reelection, and there is no doubt that was a major consideration for most of his decisions, how do we characterize the moves made by the corporate press in collusion with the Democrats and Biden campaign — an objective concern for the security of the U.S.?

Two months after the Russia bounty story, the Clinton News Network (CNN) floated another bounty story. This time it was the Iranians! And almost four months after the original bounty story, NBC news reported that no one has been able to verify the story.

But one story that can be reasonably argued is that for the people of the world subjected to U.S. state criminality, the reoccupation of the Executive Branch by the democrats will not bring any change in U.S. behavior. Both parties support the imperatives of U.S. imperialism reflected in Trump’s 2017 National Security Strategy that centers an adversarial relationship with Russia and China and committed to maintaining U.S. global hegemony. Both parties supported the obscene increases in military spending, with Biden promising that he will spend even more!

The rightist character of the Democratic Party is such that at their national convention the alignment of right-wing neocons and neoliberals is not even being hidden.

So, while the fear is supposed to be around a further growth of “fascist” forces represented by Trump domestically, for the people of the world the real fascism of anti-democratic, brutal regimes supported by the U.S., murderous sanctions, starvation in Yemen, and right-wing coups in support of fascist forces in Honduras, Brazil and Venezuela will continue unabated.

This is precisely why from the perspective of oppressed nations and peoples’ in the global South, it should not be surprising that some might see progressive and radical support for either colonial/capitalist party as an immoral and counterrevolutionary position.

The post Will a Biden Foreign Policy Make a Difference for the World? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Reject Militarism on the Anniversary of 9/11

Nineteen years after more than 3,000 people were killed on 9/11, there remains a bipartisan commitment to fight an endless “war on terrorism,” instigate regime change coups, increase military spending, enhance US nuclear weapons, deport undocumented residents, curtail civil liberties, and militarize the police.

The September 11, 2001 attacks on the US have obscured “The Other 9/11,” the US attack on Chilean democracy in the US-backed coup on September 11, 1973. The two 9/11s are connected by what the CIA calls “blowback.” The CIA first used the term in describing the unintended negative consequences of the US and UK sponsored coup against the democratically-elected government of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran in 1953. The September 11, 2001 attacks were blowback from decades of US intervention in the Middle East. That doesn’t justify the terrorism, but it does explain it. If we want peace and security for our nation, we should respect the peace and security of other nations.

Contrary to Trump’s lies about ending the endless wars, his administration has escalated the “Long War” in the Middle East and North Africa with increased troop deployments, drone strikes, and Special Operations.

Trump is also morphing the War on Terror abroad into a war against dissent at home. He encourages and uses law enforcement to attack nonviolent protesters, calling them “thugs” and “antifa terrorists.” He encourages white racist vigilante militias that show up armed to menace Black Lives Matter demonstrators and to intimidate local and state governments in armed protests against climate action (Oregon) and COVID-19 public health measures (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nevada, North Carolina, Wisconsin).

Trump encourages these actions with statements that amplify paranoid far-right fantasies that call climate change and COVID-19 hoaxes perpetrated by secret elite conspiracies. Trump has instructed the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) and Border Patrol to violate immigration laws and subject immigrants and asylum seekers to unspeakable brutality, including separating children from their parents and internment in concentration camps where COVID-19 is running rampant. He stokes racial fears and civil strife to justify authoritarian rule. He calls the news media “fake,” the elections “rigged,” and promotes conspiracy fantasies on Twitter. Trump is sowing confusion and demoralization so people will not be able to resist repression by sections of law enforcement and the racist militias should Trump decide to resist a peaceful transfer of power. The ultimate blowback against US coups and wars abroad against democracy threatens to be a coup against democracy at home.

End the Wars on Terrorism Abroad and Dissent at Home

One of my first steps as President would be to end the wars on “terrorism” abroad and at home. Neither major party calls for ending the endless wars against “terror” abroad even though the top priority in the official National Security Strategy of the United States has changed to “Great Power Competition” with the goal of preventing the emergence of strong regional powers in Eurasia, namely China, Iran, and Russia. This New Cold War, like the War on Terrorism, is about the profits of US-based global corporations abroad, not the security of the people of the United States at home.

The nuclear modernization program initiated under Obama and continued under Trump with bipartisan support has destabilized the nuclear balance of terror and kicked off a new nuclear arms race. The nuclear threat, coupled with inaction by the great powers on the climate emergency and the proliferation of disinformation propagated by state actors on all sides that makes it difficult for publics to come to agreement on what to demand of their governments, has prompted the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists to move their Doomsday Clock the closest it has ever been to midnight.

I would end the saber rattling against Russia, China, and Iran in the Great Power Competition strategy and focus on diplomacy. We need to partner with other major powers to address our common problems, notably nuclear arms, climate, and cyberwar.

I would also end the bipartisan repression of dissent at home. With Trump’s encouragement, law enforcement is using militaristic tactics to suppress peaceful protests against police brutality and systemic racism. Both major parties are united in suppressing whistleblowers like Edward Snowden and publishers like Julian Assange, whose real crimes in the eyes of the National Security State is that they exposed its secret wrongdoings.

The US should speak out against violations of human rights and democracy wherever they occur, but that should not preclude also working with authoritarian governments to resolve life-or-death global issues like climate change and nuclear arms. War and threats of war are the most powerful destroyers of civil liberties, democracy, and human rights. Military threats, economic sanctions, and covert meddling in the politics of other countries only reinforces the nationalist rationalizations of authoritarian governments for repression at home in order to ward off threats from abroad.

The most powerful way to promote human rights is to set a good example. If the US wants its advocacy of human rights to be credible and effective, it must set the right example at home, where police killings of Black people are seen on social media around the world.  A country where there is mass incarceration in the largest prison system in the history of the world, and from where the US military is deployed in some 800 foreign military bases for its endless wars, making the US the nation that the world’s people consider the biggest threat to peace.

The Other 9/11: Chile

Thirty years before the United States’ 9/11, the CIA orchestrated the violent overthrow of the democratically-elected socialist government of Chile on September 11, 1973.

It is a tragic coincidence of the US bloody intervention history in Latin America that President Salvador Allende was overthrown and pushed to suicide on the same date that decades later would affect US soil by a terrorist attack. The same feelings that American felt of being violated by the first foreign attack since Pearl Harbor were felt in Chile that September 11 in 1973. The sin of Salvador Allende in the eyes of Nixon, Kissinger, and CIA Director Richard Helms was to advance deep socialist reforms that would create a more equal society, a just distribution of incomes, real freedom of expression, and a truly democratic framework that could allow, finally, the participation and voices of all sectors, specially the impoverished workers of Chile.

Sound familiar? These are exactly the challenges that the US faces today, problems that have riddled the US throughout its history and become worse in the Trump era – the authoritarian duopoly of Republicans and Democrats, voter suppression, third party suppression, deep inequality from coast to coast, and chronic poverty. It is the same kind of repression that Chile suffers today under the conservative millionaire Sebastián Piñera when people again advance the same reforms that Allende worked for and paid for with his life. It is the same social, economic, and political oppression that the two countries share on this anniversary of 9/11.

Aid, Not Arms – Make Friends, Not Enemies

In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in the United States, the Green Party of the United States warned against the danger that the two major parties and the corporate media would turn this horrific crime into a rationale for destructive wars abroad and political repression at home.

Instead of treating the 9/11 attackers as criminals to be brought to justice, the US used the attacks as a pretext for a long series of regime change wars in the Middle East and North Africa. The foreign policy leadership of the Bush administration had already written about the need for a “new Pearl Harbor” in order to provide the pretext for an invasion of Iraq to seize its oil fields. They wasted little time in getting started after 9/11.

The Authorization To Use Military Force (AUMF) against the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks passed Congress on September 18 with only one dissenting vote. The US invasion of Afghanistan started on October 1. The AUMF legislation is still the legal basis for today’s endless wars.

The Patriot Act, which gave the federal government broad new intrusive surveillance and investigatory powers that weakened civil liberties, was overwhelmingly voted through Congress by October 25.

The Bush administration, joined by the Democratic amen corner led by Senator Joe Biden, lied about weapons of mass destruction and about Iraq’s alleged role in 9/11 to start a second war in Iraq by March 2003.

After 19 years, US combat troops are now engaged in 14 wars. At least 37 million people, and as many as 59 million people, have been displaced by these wars, creating the greatest refugee crisis since World War II.

The annual observation of 9/11 has been turned by politicians into a militaristic celebration of American power that is used to garner public support for US military spending and imperial aggression abroad. Right after 9/11, the world was united in its grief for our country. It was a moment that should have been used to build peace based on mutual cooperation and respect.

Let us remember 9/11 this year by demanding that the US withdraw from its endless wars, prioritize diplomacy to resolve conflicts, end arms sales to belligerents, and provide humanitarian aid for war refugees, including reopening immigration to the US from these countries.

Let’s turn the US into the world’s humanitarian superpower instead of its global military empire. Providing aid instead of arms is the best way to promote peace and security. It is time for the US to make friends instead of enemies.

The post Reject Militarism on the Anniversary of 9/11 first appeared on Dissident Voice.

US: Crimes against Humanity at Home and Abroad

Photo Credit:  Albert Eisenstaedt

This month marks the second year since former President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, announced to the world a campaign promoted by a group of Latin American writers and academics to declare August 9 as International Day of US Crimes against Humanity. Appropriately the day is to remember the second nuclear bomb dropped in 1945 on Nagasaki, Japan that came just three days after the first nuclear bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Imagine how depraved and cold-blooded the then Democratic President Truman could be to find that he had incinerated 150,000 people on one day and turned right around and did it again in Nagasaki instantly killing 65,000 more human beings. US historical accounts love to turn truth on its head by saying how many lives those nuclear bombs saved when Japan was already defeated before the bombs were dropped after 67 Japanese cities had been leveled to the ground by relentless US aerial fire bombings.

The people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were sacrificed as an exclamation point on a proclamation to the world announcing the arrival of the US as the world’s new pre-eminent super power. It also served as an example that the US would commit any murderous crime of any proportion to maintain that imperial position of dominance and they have demonstrated that to be true time and time again. Even now in decline the US has never apologized for this unnecessary crime because that could convey a sign of weakness and a step back from a policy of nuclear blackmail held over the nations of the world. Obama had the chance to do that in the final year of his presidency when he had nothing to lose in a 2016 visit to Hiroshima. Instead of apologizing to the people of Japan or easing tensions in the world Obama, in eloquent fluffy double talk, said, “Mere words cannot give voice to such suffering. But we have a shared responsibility to look directly into the eye of history and ask what we must do differently to curb such suffering again.”

The responsibility for the majority of suffering in the world was then, and continues to be, on an imperialist policy and its inherent neoliberal engine that violently throttles the ability of countries to develop in a way that would bring health and prosperity for the benefit of their majorities. In the end it is an unsustainable system that only benefits a sliver of privileged society.

The US crimes against humanity did not begin or end with the dropping of the nuclear bombs on Japan. As militant civil rights leader Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (formerly H. Rap Brown) pointed out years ago, “Violence is as American as cherry pie.” Since its inception the US has been ingrained with a motor force of violent oppression against everyone and every country that stood in the way of its expansion for control of resources and its entitlement to limitless accumulation of vast wealth for a few.

The original thirteen colonies that rebelled against England were not motivated solely by being taxed without representation but more for the restrictions that King George had placed on the unbridled greed of the white settlers to expand and steal the lands of the indigenous nations and communities and to establish a system of slavery which was the main source of capitalist accumulation especially for the southern colonies. At the time of the revolution close to 20% of the population consisted of Black slaves.  Slavery actually ran contrary to British Common Law so the only way the emerging class of landowners in the colonies could flourish was to secede from the British Empire. In doing so it established a pivotal component of the original DNA of the United States; structural racism as a means to justify any level of discrimination and oppression with a deeply embedded belief in the inferiority of any race not white and Christian. The cries of Black Lives Matter in the streets of all the major cities and towns of the US today are a resounding echo of resistance that comes from the plantations and the slave ships that came from Africa.

The genocide of indigenous people in the US was its initial crime wave against humanity as it expanded westward destined by God to exercise their Manifest Destiny. The early history of this country is littered with hundreds of massacres of the original caretakers of the land from the Atlantic to the Pacific. And that crime continues to this day with Native Americans suffering from the highest infection rates of Covid-19 in the country as a direct result of government neglect and broken treaties that keep the reservations in grinding poverty including in many areas where there is not even running water.

On July 21 Congress passed a $740 billion military appropriations bill, the biggest ever, and $2 billion more than last year. The United States spends more on national defense than the next 11 largest militaries combined.  A well intended but feeble attempt by sections of the Democratic Party to cut 10% of the budget to go to health and human services failed because ultimately funding the 800 US military installations that occupy territory in more than 70 countries around the world takes precedence over something so basic and human as subsidized food programs. Meanwhile approximately 20% of the families in this country are struggling to obtain nutritious food every day just as one example of the growing social and health needs.

Wars and occupations are expensive and that money goes right down the drain. It does not recycle through the economy; rather it is equipment and operations meant to destroy and terrorize, and the only part of it that is reused is the militarization of police forces in the US who are geared out in advanced equipment for the wars at home not even normally seen in theaters of war abroad.

When Obama took over from Bush junior he vowed to end the war in Afghanistan and instead left office with the unique distinction of having had a war going every day of his 8 years in office. He launched airstrikes or military raids in at least seven countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan and Trump came in and did not miss a beat and has carried the war of death, destruction and destabilization of Afghanistan into its twentieth year. The Pentagon knows that the days of outright winning a war are over and relies now on hybrid wars that are perhaps even more criminal. It is now wars of attrition with proxy and contract armies, aerial bombardment, sabotage of infrastructure that turns into endless wars, the intent of which is to make sure that a country is imbalanced, exhausted and does not become independent or develop and use its resources for the benefit of its own people.

This, of course, is not the only type of criminal warfare in the Empire’s arsenal. Economic sanctions are just as much a crime against humanity as military attacks. No one should ever forget the 10 years of the US orchestrated UN sanctions against Iraq in the 1990’s that were responsible for the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children.  Primarily through executive order Trump has put some sort of sanctions on around one third of the countries of the world ranging in severity starting with the 60 year old unilateral blockade of Cuba for the crime of insisting on its sovereignty just 90 miles away, to the sanctioning of medicines and food to Venezuela causing the deaths of 40,000 people, the outright stealing of billions of dollars of their assets out of banks, and organizing coup plots against the democratically elected President, Nicolas Maduro.

Now the chickens have come to roost with Trump sending shadowy military units of federal agents into cities like Portland, Seattle and other cities like it was a military invasion of some poor country, barging in uninvited not to bring order and peace but to brutalize, escalate and provoke people in the streets who for months now have been demanding real justice and equality. The combination of the failure of the Trump Administration to confront the pandemic with any sort of will or a national science based plan, the existing economic crisis with its glaring separation of wealth and the endless murdering of people of color as normal police policy has exposed the system like never before. The growing consciousness of a majority of the US population that now seem to be getting that there has to be fundamental change will be the catalyst for real change to happen. It will not come from a government that does not reflect their interests but only through a unity of struggle will we be pointed in a direction that will push US crimes against humanity, at home and abroad, to become a thing of the past.

“A Perpetual Motion Machine Of Killing”

On August 1, a rare in-depth investigative piece appeared on the BBC News website based on credible and serious allegations that UK Special Forces had executed unarmed civilians in Afghanistan. The BBC article was produced in tandem with a report, ‘”Rogue SAS Afghanistan execution squad” exposed by email trail’, published by the Sunday Times.

Special Forces are the UK’s elite specialist troops, encompassing both the SAS (Special Air Service) and the SBS (Special Boat Service). The allegation, by two senior officers, is that there was a ‘deliberate policy’ of British Special Forces illegally killing unarmed men in Afghanistan under the pretext of assassinating Taliban leaders.

The new revelations were based on documents recently released to solicitors Leigh Day as part of an ongoing case at the High Court brought by an Afghan man, Saifullah Ghareb Yar. He says that four members of his family were shot dead in rural Helmand in a ‘night raid’ in the early hours of 16 February 2011.

The UK government claims that the family members were ‘killed in self defence.’ But the newly-released documents contradict this assertion. As the BBC article noted:

‘Just hours after the elite troops had returned to base, other British soldiers were exchanging emails describing the events of that night as the “latest massacre”.’

In other words, this was not the first such case where killings of unarmed civilians by Special Forces had taken place.

Saifullah’s family were asleep at 1am when they woke suddenly to the sound of helicopter rotors, followed by shouting through megaphones. Saifullah was a teenager, caught in the middle of a Special Forces ‘kill or capture’ mission. He told the BBC what happened:

‘My whole body was shaking because of the fear. Everyone was frightened. All the women and children were crying and screaming’.

His hands were tied and he was put in a holding area with the women and children.

The BBC report continued:

‘He had not been there for long when he heard gunfire.

‘After the troops had left, the bodies of his two brothers were discovered in the fields surrounding their home. His cousin had been shot dead in a neighbouring building.

‘Going back into his house, Saifullah found his father, lying face down on the ground.

‘“His head, the forehead area, was shot with many bullets, and his leg was completely broken by the bullets’.”

The official UK Special Forces report on the killings claimed that the British soldiers had been threatened by the Afghan men brandishing weapons. In particular, the official report claimed that after initially securing the compound they went back in to search the rooms with one of the men they had detained. This man, said Special Forces, suddenly reached for a grenade behind a curtain. Their report stated:

‘He poses an immediate threat to life and is engaged with aimed shots. The assault team members take cover. The grenade malfunctions and does not detonate’.

Another of the four Afghan men was killed when told to go into another building to open the curtains, said Special Forces. He supposedly emerged with a rifle and was then shot dead.

The official account of the killings, noted the BBC, was ‘met with suspicion by some in the British military.’ The more detailed article in the Sunday Times includes the disbelieving response of a senior officer reading the Special Forces’ version of events:

‘Basically, for what must be the 10th time in the last two weeks, when they sent [an Afghan man] back into the [building], to open the curtains(??) he re-appeared [sic] with an AK [AK-47 assault rifle].’

An internal army message included a summary of the official Special Forces report and concluded by saying: “You couldn’t MAKE IT UP!”

However, it appeared as though Special Forces had made it up.

The serious allegations in the BBC and Sunday Times articles followed a Panorama programme, ‘War Crimes Scandal Exposed’, last November in the wake of the government’s announcement that investigations into alleged war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan would be closed, before a single soldier had even been prosecuted. Panorama worked with the Sunday Times Insight team, revealing ‘evidence of a pattern of illegal killings by UK Special Forces.’

In the programme, BBC reporter Richard Bilton met UK detectives, formerly of the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT), who spoke for the first time about how they were prevented from prosecuting soldiers suspected of serious crimes. These detectives believe that the Ministry of Defence and senior military officers were involved in the cover-up of torture and illegal killings. This happened in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

IHAT was set up by the Labour government in 2010. But, as Bilton noted for Panorama:

‘Despite years of work, not a single one of the almost 3,400 allegations against British troops [in Iraq] was prosecuted.’

He continued:

‘Then, in 2017, the Conservative government shut IHAT down. The government claimed it was down to the actions of one solicitor. Phil Shiner ran Public Interest Lawyers, a legal firm that brought over a thousand cases to IHAT. He was struck off following allegations he had paid fixers to find clients in Iraq.’

In her speech to the Conservative party conference that autumn, Prime Minister Theresa May, proclaimed to great applause that:

‘we will never again in any future conflict let those activist left-wing human rights lawyers harangue and harass the bravest of the brave, the men and women of our Armed Forces’.

But, as one former IHAT detective told Panorama:

‘It was helpful to close IHAT down, wasn’t it? [ironic tone]. You don’t need an excuse. All you’re going to say is, “Right, everything’s now tainted. We can bin all that. Yippee.” It was a whitewash. Public Interest Lawyers and Phil Shiner – that was used as an excuse to get rid of a lot of jobs and say: “IHAT, you’re finished”.’

As Bilton observed:

‘Phil Shiner broke the rules. But that doesn’t mean all the allegations made by Iraqi civilians were untrue. The detectives we’ve spoken to say IHAT was shut down for political reasons. It was a cover-up.’

He added:

‘IHAT detectives say the government never wanted any soldiers prosecuted, no matter how strong the evidence.’

Meanwhile in Afghanistan, at the same time that the government announced IHAT would be shut down, it also decided to end an investigation, Operation Northmoor, into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.

Bilton:

‘Northmoor’s team of detectives had been investigating allegations of executions by British Special Forces. They had linked dozens of suspicious killings on night raids. But Northmoor was closed before they even interviewed key Afghan witnesses.’

He added:

‘Some of those killed were undoubtedly members of the Taliban. But the UN has concluded that Coalition forces killed more than 300 innocent civilians.’

This is a shocking statistic. Perhaps the most appalling case Panorama investigated was the brutal killing of four boys in the Helmand village of Loy Bagh in October 2012, shot dead while they were sitting drinking tea. Bilton reported:

‘Detectives discovered Special Forces didn’t tell the truth about the raid. The first military reports failed to disclose British involvement.’

Instead, they attempted to pin the blame on Afghan forces; a common evasive tactic.

‘Detective say UK forces were falsely attributing suspicious deaths to Afghan forces, so British troops wouldn’t be investigated.’

The British soldier who shot the four boys later claimed to UK detectives working for IHAT that he shot two of the boys because they were standing and pointing weapons at him, and he shot at the other two ‘when they appeared out of the shadows’.

But the evidence of bullet holes low down in the room was inconsistent with his account. The boys had been sitting, just as claimed by Afghan witnesses, not standing.

Such clashes with evidence and testimony from the scene of killings fit a pattern of official accounts of raids written up afterwards by UK Special Forces alleging ‘self defence’.  Former intelligence officer Frank Ledwidge told Panorama that the night raids were a ‘perpetual motion machine of killing and capturing’. Former Operation Northmoor detectives believe the case brought by Saifullah Ghareb Yar (see above) is part of a pattern of cover-ups they were investigating. They allege that the British military and the government have covered up numerous murders by closing down IHAT (in Iraq) and Operation Northmoor (in Afghanistan).

Mark Urban, Defender Of The Faith

The new BBC online investigative piece, published on August 1, together with the Panorama programme last November, are rare examples of serious public-interest BBC journalism attempting to hold the UK military and government to account. Will other BBC journalists, with responsibility for ‘defence’ and foreign affairs, pursue the latest revelations regarding the case of four members of Saifullah Ghareb Yar’s family being executed in Helmand province?

Consider, in particular, Mark Urban, diplomatic and defence editor for BBC Newsnight, who has spent years reporting on Iraq and Afghanistan, very much from within a propaganda framework aligned with UK government policies and interests. For example, in a 2015 comment piece in the Evening Standard, Urban was happy to amplify the Cold War narrative spun by former top-ranking UK military officials:

‘Speaking to Britain’s former top military leadership, you find General Shirreff, or former Chief of the General Staff Gen Sir Peter Wall, arguing that Russia is the principal worry. Lt Gen Sir Graeme Lamb, former Director of Special Forces, or General Lord David Richards (former Chief of the Defence Staff) believe the Islamic State is the real game changer. Talk to some of the US military leaders or intelligence people and they are more worried about China.

‘Either way, the ability of countries such as the UK to do something about these emerging threats is limited by the dramatic cuts enacted after the Cold War.’

For Urban, there was no need to insert ‘emerging threats’ in inverted commas; it was simply a given that China and Russia threaten the UK. The possibility that it could be the West that is threatening China and Russia is presumably unthinkable.

As John Pilger writes in a new piece commemorating the victims of the US atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945, intended as a show of strength to show the Soviet Union who was the world’s boss:

‘Today, more than 400 American military bases almost encircle China with missiles, bombers, warships and nuclear weapons. From Australia north through the Pacific to South-East Asia, Japan and Korea and across Eurasia to Afghanistan and India, the bases form, as one U.S. strategist told me, “the perfect noose”.’

But, as ever for compliant Western propagandists like Urban, the Orwellian framework that ‘we’ are only ‘defending’ ourselves is deeply embedded in establishment-friendly ‘journalism’.

As we have previously noted, Urban is a former defence correspondent at the Independent. He served in the British Army, both as a regular officer for nine months as well as serving four years in the Territorials. He has hosted a series of virtual reality war games on the BBC, Time Commanders, re-enacting key battles. He is also the author of several books:

  • Soviet Land Power (1985)
  • War in Afghanistan (1987)
  • Big Boys’ Rules: The SAS and the secret struggle against the IRA (1992)
  • UK Eyes Alpha: Inside British Intelligence (1996)
  • The Man Who Broke Napoleon’s Codes: The Story of George Scovell (2001)
  • Rifles: Six Years with Wellington’s Legendary Sharpshooters (2003)
  • Generals: Ten British Commanders Who Shaped the World (2005)
  • Fusiliers: Eight Years with the Redcoats in America (2007)
  • Task Force Black: The Explosive True Story of the Secret Special Forces War in Iraq (2010)
  • The Tank War: The British Band of Brothers – One Tank Regiment’s World War II (2014)
  • The Edge: Is The Military Dominance Of The West Coming To An End? (2015)
  • The Skripal Files: The Life and Near Death of a Russian Spy (2018)

On August 3, we checked Urban’s Twitter account and noted that he had made only the most cursory reference to the allegations regarding Special Forces in Afghanistan in a reply to someone called Henry Hyde who had flagged them up to him.

‘Yes Henry. It gives a fuller version of allegations previously reported by the paper in relation to a particular squadron of 22 SAS during its tour in Afghan.’

Hyde replied:

‘Highly disturbing stuff.’

Urban did not respond further.

We asked him via Twitter on August 3:

‘Hello Mark @markurban01

You’ve reported on #Afghanistan for @BBCNewsnight over many years.

Why are you not drawing attention to these important allegations of UK Special Forces executing unarmed civilians?’

Urban did not reply. This contrasts with the early years of Media Lens when Urban – as well as other high-profile ‘mainstream’ journalists – would engage in substantive email exchanges with us. In 2007, for example, we critiqued his assertion in a BBC report that US troops were ‘here to help’ in Iraq.  This, of course, was the propaganda line that the US and its allies were desperate to sell to the public following the bloodbath of the 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation.

To his credit back then, Urban replied to us, although he disparaged our analysis as being:

‘put together by you sitting at home, sifting current events through a dense filter of ideology.’

The implication was, of course, that Urban – as an ‘impartial’ BBC News correspondent – was subject to no ‘filter of ideology’ at all. Long-term readers may recall Andrew Marr’s similar assertion in the Daily Telegraph back in 2001 that when he joined the BBC as political editor, his ‘Organs of Opinion were formally removed’.

Ironically for Urban, our analysis that had been ‘put together by [us] sitting at home’, was supported in 2007 by a serving British Army officer who had read the exchanges with Urban in our media alerts, and had then written to him. The anonymous officer said that the view that the war had been ‘illegal, immoral and unwinnable’ was ‘the overwhelming feeling of many of my peers’.

As a result of these exchanges involving Media Lens, the British army officer’s views were reported on Newsnight; one of the vanishingly rare occasions in which the ‘mainstream’ media have so much as mentioned us. At that time, the Newsnight editor was Peter Barron, with whom Media Lens had had several polite and respectful email exchanges.

We had a further lengthy exchange with Urban in 2009 following this extraordinary claim about anti-war protesters in his BBC ‘War and Peace’ blog that:

‘it was their hand wringing and magnification of every set back or mis-step that played a key role in undermining the political will to achieve more in southern Iraq.’

As we noted in our reply:

‘You have misunderstood the whole basis of the anti-war protest. The argument is that the invasion was illegal, in fact a classic example of the supreme war crime – the waging of a war of aggression. The Nuremberg trials were clear that it makes not a jot of difference whether such criminality has positive outcomes – the waging of aggressive war is illegal.’

This entirely rational and well-established point, rooted in international justice, was apparently incomprehensible to Urban who replied:

‘Are you comparing British soldiers to Nazis? I cannot see the comparison; either in legal or moral terms.’

This standard ‘mainstream’ resort to ‘moral equivalence’, when the crimes of the West are raised, has been demolished by Noam Chomsky who once told BBC interviewer Tim Sebastian:

‘Moral equivalence is a term of propaganda that was invented to try to prevent us from looking at the acts for which we are responsible… Minimal moral integrity requires that if we think something is wrong when they do it, it’s wrong when we do it.’

In late 2009 and early 2010, the Sunday Times published articles by its reporter Jerome Starkey detailing the killing of eight Afghan schoolboys in a night raid by US-led troops. We wrote two media alerts at the time (here and here), highlighting how a Nato spokesperson had initially denied that schoolchildren had been shot in the head – several of them after first being handcuffed – and then retracting their cover story. Western authorities later offered relatives ‘compensation’ of US$2,000 for each life taken. We noted the dearth of follow-up ‘mainstream’ interest to Starkey’s courageous reporting, including the BBC’s failure to report the allegations fully and responsibly.

Without access to all of Newsnight’s broadcasts during this period, it is not possible to categorically say whether the programme reported much of this, if anything. As the usual correspondent for reporting from Afghanistan, it would most likely have fallen to Mark Urban to cover it.

Following the latest revelations on August 1 on the killing of four of Saifullah Ghareb Yar’s relatives in Helmand (see above), an anodyne piece by Urban appeared on the BBC News website on August 3, blandly titled, ‘Defence Secretary to review SAS Afghanistan emails’. This was later on the same day that we had tweeted him. Arguably, this means he had been too busy to respond; though surely a short reply would have taken him just a few seconds. However, the focus of Urban’s piece was not the shocking execution of unarmed civilians, but on how the revelation of secret emails about Special Forces operations in Afghanistan was:

‘causing recriminations within the Ministry of Defence, with a process starting this week to re-examine how ministers were kept in ignorance of their content.’

The emphasis of his report was the ‘fresh worries’ in the Ministry of Defence about the revelations and the stressful impact on army veterans:

‘The allegations about D Squadron’s tour – each of 22 SAS’s sub-units rotated through Afghanistan in turn for 3-4 months – are not new.

‘They have already been investigated by the Royal Military Police under Operation Northmoor, a prolonged inquiry that ended without any soldiers being charged.

‘Veterans of the regiment have complained about the stress of such prolonged enquiries.’

The piece mentions allegations of ‘a deliberate policy… to engage and kill fighting aged men on target even when they did not pose a threat’, but was shorn of details of the killing of unarmed civilians. This fits a pattern of Urban’s reporting. We have been unable to find anything substantive about the impact of Special Forces’ operations on Afghan and Iraqi civilians in his Twitter timeline, his BBC blog, or anything he has published online or in any newspaper. It is almost impossible to give a definitive set of search results with 100 per cent confidence. But, as an example, if one searches the BBC News website using the search terms “Mark Urban” + “Special Forces” + “civilians” only a handful of results are returned; and nothing of substance in which the emphasis is on civilian victims.

For instance, in a 2011 BBC News website piece by Urban, titled ‘Impact on special forces of Navy Seals helicopter loss’, there was a token mention in the final paragraph of the occasions when ‘Afghans report civilians being killed’. This encapsulates Urban’s propaganda journalism as a whole: overwhelming weight is given to the priorities of the UK establishment and the military, with only passing mention of the destructive impact of UK policy and actions on the victims.

Admittedly, we have not read Urban’s books in the lengthy list above. But would it be at all likely that his reporting in book form would suddenly shift by one hundred and eighty degrees to focus, not on British armed forces, but on their victims?  In a review of Urban’s book, Task Force Black: The Explosive True Story of the Secret Special Forces War in Iraq, Observer foreign correspondent Jason Burke noted:

‘Few reporters succeed in cultivating any sources within the closed world of the British special forces; Urban has found dozens who have spoken with unprecedented candour.’

Given Mark Urban’s history of ‘cultivating’ sources within British special forces, and his privileged extensive access to UK military and intelligence agencies, how likely is it that he would not have known about the serious allegations of the execution of innocent civilians going back many years? His unwillingness to seriously explore allegations of this kind is hugely significant.

Burke notes that Urban ‘had to battle with the Ministry of Defence’ to have the book published, but then adds:

‘one wonders what reception a work more critical of British special forces’ operations might have received in Whitehall. The author’s personal admiration for the men who constitute his subject is clear. Language veers from the breathless – “Britain’s hand-picked troops”, the “SAS had got its man”– to the soldierly – firefights are “epic”, problems are “aggro”.’

Would the author’s ‘personal admiration’ for these men be so high if he had investigated and reported the many credible accounts of unarmed civilians being killed by Special Forces, followed by cynical attempts at cover-ups aided, if not directed, by senior figures within the Ministry of Defence?

Remarkably, in November 2010, almost one year after the killing of eight schoolchildren by Nato-led forces had been reported by the Sunday Times, Urban had told Newsnight viewers:

‘The biggest mistake of the coalition’s early years here was under-investment in the Afghan forces.’

It takes a particularly ‘dense filter of ideology’, to use Urban’s own words, to devote scant attention to Western crimes in the killing of schoolchildren, and other unarmed civilians, in Afghanistan and Iraq.

U.K. and Hong Kong:  Mutually Reinforced Ignorance

Three years ago, I visited Old Supreme Court Building in Hong Kong, also known as The Court of Final Appeal, together with my friend, an Afghan-British lawyer, who was on a personal mission of ‘re-discovering Asia.’

Coming from a prominent, highly educated family in Afghanistan, my friend was extremely well aware that both the United States and the United Kingdom thoroughly destroyed her country during the recent occupation. In fact, under the NATO boots, Afghanistan became the poorest country in Asia, with the lowest life expectancy.

But after the long journey through Asia, somehow, she became nostalgically attached to Hong Kong. It looked familiar. As she studied and practiced law in the U.K., The Court of Final Appeal Building looked familiar and reassuring to her.

As it happened to be a working day, she found people to talk to and cracked conversations with the clerks. Immediately, they all managed to find a common language. Of different races and different backgrounds, they were clearly ‘on the same page,’ united by the British way of thinking, doing things as well as analyzing and judging the world.

‘Britishness’ was uniting them. Both my friend and the employees inside the old courthouse in Hong Kong were from the countries that used to be or still were brutally occupied, ransacked, and tortured by the West in general and by the U.K. in particular. But common experience and shared ‘cultural elements’ made them understand each other, and to be able to communicate flawlessly.

*****

In 2019 and 2020, I have been covering ‘events’ in SAR, in-depth, and passionately. It is because what has been taking place there is extremely important and symbolic, to the world and to me, too, personally. To some extent, young people conditioned by the Western propaganda were reminding me of my own childhood and youth, when I used to be growing up in Eastern Europe. We were also conditioned by Western propaganda. And we, too, betrayed.

In Hong Kong, the ideological combat has been that of the epic proportions. The battle has been over the most populous country on Earth – China. And not only China the country, but also its system, political, economic, and social, which I have been studying for decades, and which I greatly admire. On many occasions, I wrote, passionately, what I believe: if the socialism with the Chinese characteristics would be destroyed, our human race could lose all hopes for surviving, or at least for a better future.

Understanding ‘where they are coming from,’ comprehending what had been done to them, I grasp how the young rioters think and feel. I want to shake them, shout at them to stop. I want to share with them all that I learned in some 160 countries of the world that I have covered. At times, I am tremendously outraged by their behavior. But I also know that they are not only some ninja-style vandals, they are also the victims of the circumstances, particularly of Western brainwashing.

*****

Same as my Afghan friend, same as those clerks working in a courthouse in Hong Kong, rioters are part of that ‘common sphere’ of the British influence.

If you go to an average English pub, not in central London, but a suburb, or in a provincial city, you will quickly realize that even the British citizens themselves are ‘victims’ of their own British propaganda. At least in the old Soviet Union, people were challenging the official story, which, actually, looking ‘from a distance,’ was often quite a correct story (as the official stories coming from the PRC are). In an English pup, most of the people are trusting the official line of their government and the mass media. At least when it comes to foreign affairs, and their Empire’s history.

Now (or at least before the COVID-19 travel restrictions), British tourists, as well as British journalists, were coming to Hong Kong, bringing their ignorance with them. They met their Hong Kong counterparts, people who are often educated, or should we say, conditioned, on the same outdated, racist (against themselves) British curriculum. And they all gathered, they talked and exchanged ‘ideas,’ which were based on the same roots. Those roots did not grow spontaneously; they were planted and groomed by the British imperialist regime, in order to justify, to both the British citizens and to the colonized nations, all those horrors, injustices, and crimes committed in virtually all corners of the world.

Victims and victimizers talk. They understand each other. They even sympathize with each other. That is how the system was designed. No serious issues are addressed. While the U.K. is, once again, involved in the project of destroying China, this is never pronounced.

As long as the mutual ignorance is upheld, there is no ‘danger’ that the young rioters and their foreign backers would ever change the course of their actions.

But are foreigners who are creating chaos in Hong Kong really so ‘naïve’? Are they truly so ignorant about the evilness which they are spreading?

Yes and no. In a way, their ‘ignorance’ resembles a religious indoctrination. In fact, it is almost a fundamentalist belief: in the superiority of the Western culture, in the preeminence of the Western political system.

Many in Hong Kong adopted this frame of mind. Or, using religious vocabulary: they were converted.

All this, while the Mainland China, one of the oldest civilizations on earth, is observing, with shock, how many people in SAR are jerking their bodies and souls in some insane ritual dances choreographed by the former colonizers.

*****

All this may soon end, now that the statues of former slave owners and conquerors are being thrown into the rivers all over the U.S and U.K.

With the anti-racist uprisings in both the United States and Europe, new winds are blowing, and soon they may reach Asia.

Maybe these events could finally awaken most of the Hong Kong youth.

Then, perhaps, they will understand that they have been fooled, that they are fighting for the system and culture, which even many Westerners do not desire anymore.

And maybe, just maybe, the mutual ignorance could end. And with them, the riots.  And unnecessary pain.

If this would happen, if more and more British citizens will manage to wake up from slumber, young English rebels could come and teach young Hong Kong rioters about the crimes which the British Empire committed in China. It would be, paradoxically, the same story that Beijing was telling them for decades.

This way, mutual ignorance could be converted into mutual awakening.

• First published by China Daily Hong Kong

• Photo by Andre Vltchek

The End of History lasted 2 Years: I’ll give the Great Reset 18 Months

The many similarities in the unfolding narrative of Covid-19 to that of September 11, 2001 — the mass hysteria, the banker bailouts, the insider trading, the censorship of dissent, the apparent foreknowledge (Lockstep, Event 201, PNAC, Catastrophic Terrorism, A Clean Break etc), the rollout of mass surveillance measures and more — make the two seem like parallel conspiracies. Covid-19 could also be compared to 9-11 in that it seems to be a ‘controlled demolition’ of the world economy by the global financial powers, one that was either planned, or at very least allowed to happen.

One of the initial red flags surrounding the events of 9-11 was NORAD’s failure to scramble a single interceptor in response to the attacks. It was later claimed that they were conducting a ‘training exercise’ at the time which created confusion. Strange how these training exercises always seem to take place during major crises. Event 201, a joint venture of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Economic Forum hosted by Johns Hopkins University in October 2019 was billed as a simulation response to a novel disease pandemic. Was this also a training exercise which went live? Mike Pompeo’s remarks during a White House press conference in March would seem to suggest so:

Pompeo: “This matter is going forward — we are in a live exercise here to get this right.”

Trump (under his breath): “You should have let us know.”

The case for conspiracy in the events of 9-11 is easily made when we allow our reasoning to be guided by the principle of cui bono. Who has benefited from two decades of regime change wars in the Middle East and North Africa? Arms manufacturers and their many private investors? Big Oil? International finance? The Zionist occupation state?

The question of who was responsible for 9-11 doesn’t hinge on whether or not jet fuel can melt steel beams (it can’t.) It hinges on the fact that the US had been planning a war in the Middle east for a decade prior to the event. The US decision to invade and occupy Afghanistan and to depose Saddam Hussein was made during Western liberal democracy’s ‘uni-polar moment’, a fleeting window which Francis Fukuyama would describe as ‘the end of history’ — the period following the collapse of the Soviet Union during which the US was the world’s only superpower. 9-11 was a staged event which provided the pretext for maintaining the preeminence of U.S. military force in the new century. There are several key policy documents which spell this out if you could be bothered reading them. They even talk about the need for a Pearl Harbour like event to galvanise public opinion. At least two of the authors of these documents had specifically mentioned attacks on the World Trade Centre prior to September 11, 2001.

With the benefit of hindsight, how can policy directives such as Richard Perle’s “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm”, and PNAC’s “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century” be seen as anything less than manifestos by the conspirators themselves? Similarly the article by Ashton B. Carter, John Deutch, and Philip Zelikow entitled Catastrophic Terrorism: Tackling the New Danger which appeared in Foreign Affairs November/December 1998 edition presents chilling circumstantial evidence of foreknowledge of the events.

Most incriminating of all, however, is the Patriot Act. Passed into law soon after the 9-11 attacks, this draconian bill expanded terrorism laws to include ‘domestic terrorism’ and subjected US citizens, journalists, whistle blowers and political organisations to surveillance, wiretapping, harassment, and potential criminal action.

Within seven weeks, October 24th 2001, the House of Representatives was presented with the Patriot Act and passed it the next day. After the Senate passed it President Bush signed it the following day. Later it would be revealed that not one congressman read the 900 page Patriot Act before voting for it, nor does anyone know who wrote it, which makes many believe the Patriot Act was sitting in some right-winger, globalist’s desk just waiting for something like 9-11 to happen.

— Randolph Polasek, Powers Behind JFK Assassination (Expanded Edition, October 8, 2009)

The World Economic Forum’s COVID Action Platform is a comprehensive plan for world governance, covering every aspect of life, from employment, to food production, to mobility, to management of oceans and forests — everything from the biggest issues — ‘great power politics’, right down to the micro-management of our daily lives — religion, ethics, human rights, mental health, and even ‘human enhancement’, aka, transhumanism. The platform is presented as a manifesto for the new era into which we are being thrust; an era of ‘sustainable development’ and ‘impact investment’ through human capital bonds. Much like the Patriot Act, it is difficult to believe that such an incredibly dense, user-interactive online document could have been written start-to-finish during the initial weeks of the unfolding Covid pandemic. It is simply too comprehensive. Was this document also sitting around in some globalist’s desk just waiting for the right moment?

The Covid Action Platform presents a blueprint for the hostile takeover of every aspect of human decision making; a undertaking which is being accomplished right now, through blockchain technologies, image recognition and mechanised translation; through deep learning algorithms which make use of our smartphones and computers and employ cutting edge technologies such as facial recognition and speech translation to assimilate whole libraries of information about us — a vast neural network capable of making accurate predictions about our behaviour — in particular, our purchasing habits. In this late stage of capitalism our value to the ruling class is increasingly as consumers rather than producers. Ever wondered how it is that products and services are advertised on our screens immediately following a phone call or private conversation? Even now artificial intelligence is plotting our behaviour and making predictions based on the data it collects. The more information we feed it, the more it is able to predict and control us.

[The human population is controlled] via digital identity systems tied to cashless benefit payments within the context of a militarized 5G, IoT [Internet of Things], and AR [augmented reality] environment. The billionaire class has built and is rapidly putting the finishing touches on infrastructure to run human capital social impact markets that will securitize the lives of most people as data streams. The technology that underlies this 4IR automation will hasten the death of the planet. The World Economic Forum is advancing a technocratic system of control and domination of humanity and the planet… Why should we agree to this? It is a profound sickness of Western culture. Hubris. Sick. And totally ignoring the impact our actions have on the natural world around us.

— Alison Hawver McDowell, Wrench in the Gears

It is the need for increased surveillance and data gathering capability that is currently driving the roll out of 5G technology. Our new augmented reality lifestyles are going to require a great deal more speed and bandwidth, not to mention all those new driverless trucks on the road. Is this perhaps also why the horse shit peddlers are claiming that 5G itself is spreading the virus? Leaving aside the potential harmful effects of electromagnetic radiation in confined spaces, blaming 5G for the pandemic is about as nuanced as blaming ‘the Jooz’ for 9-11. And yet 5G does play a crucial role in this conspiracy. It will provide the extra capacity needed to micro-manage our lives when we are eventually released from lockdown into a world of digital surveillance, biometric I.D. and social credit.

The layoffs and retrenchments of workers by the million also present new opportunities to bring online automation on a scale hitherto imagined. We should not be surprised that figures like HRH the Prince of Wales and other illustrious world leaders are now calling this a golden opportunity to reshape the world. The ruling class are literally calling for a new social contract. Would you let your employer ‘renegotiate’ your contract without your union representative present? There is no historical precedent for the ruling class giving up their power and privilege. Why would they do so now?

We are indeed entering Huxley’s Brave New World; a digital panopticon where our every move will be tracked and traced; where Universal Basic Income will function as behavioural scrip; where our Covid Passes will provide access to public spaces. All of these things will be packaged and sold as the solution to our current predicament; the way we ‘reopen’ our economies and return to normal. All thanks to Covid-19.

This is a social engineering on steroids. It is not, however, unprecedented. Our rulers have made no secret of their plans to implement technocracy, couched in terms from the sublime “the systems approach to complex global challenges” to the brazenly unabashed “the self direction of human evolution”. From Julian Huxley’s foundational philosophy of Unesco to the managerial technocracy described by Carroll Quigley and Edward Bernays; from David Rockefeller’s work on global governance to Jacques Attali’s Brief History of the Future, the conceptual framework has been spelled out clearly for more than a century for anyone willing to pay attention. Texts once dismissed as works of speculative fiction now look more like the blueprints of mad scientists, social Darwinists and Malthusian eugenicists. These are the manifestos of the elite. We are living in HG Wells Open Conspiracy; in Aldous Huxley’s Ultimate Revolution. Covid 19 is simply providing the theatrical smoke and fog between acts.

Technocracy is no more compatible with human happiness than Ayn Rand’s theory of rational self interest, but this, we are told, is what progress demands, and history shows there is little we can do to stop revolutionary change. Do we become Luddites? Do we join the masses with their pitchforks and go out and set fire to the 5G ‘cancer towers’? Or do we recognise Robert Frost’s truism that “the best way out is always through”?

It’s clear that technology is here to stay. Alas, the shape of our future will depend entirely on those who control it. Failing a return to fashion of the guillotine, power is likely to remain concentrated in the hands of an increasingly small and elite group. We might find comfort, however, in the fact that hubris seldom has the final word in human affairs, and we can be reasonably assured that Huxley’s ultimate revolution will be every bit as fleeting as Fukuyama’s End of History.

Still Fighting “Whatever” in Afghanistan

This just in:  Cable news presenter-hero Jake Tapper finds new spotlight at the Movies with the Millennium Media studio release of The Outpost, based on Tapper’s 2012 book The Outpost:  an Untold Story of American Valor. Tapper’s tale tells the story of a locally massive attack by Taliban-types on a remote American forward operating base, Combat Outpost Keating, in the precipitously rugged Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan’s northeastern province of Nuristan, which borders Pakistan. This violent incident occurred on October 3, 2009, and is known as the Battle of Kamdesh, named for a village near the base.

At first glance, Mr Tapper’s literary foray into the American-Afghan war appears rather off-topic for a cable news teleprompter-reader, especially when Tapper was never “embedded” with the Troops “over there.”  So: what “American valor” is the Dartmouth-educated Tapper talking about?  What drove the perpetually peevish-looking Tapper to write upon a current conflict he never personally reported on happening in a galaxy far, far away?  Cable news anchor guilt?  A mid-career crisis, because our fearless Tapper has suddenly almost realized–even though he can’t quite form the words–that he’s just another paid tool echoing corporate War Machine talking points?  Recently, Tapper was interviewed by Yahoo Movies person Ethan Alter (July 2) in coordination with the roll-out of the film, and some of his answers are revealing

But first, a note about our man Tapper’s current employer (since 2013), CNN. CNN hit the jackpot in 1991 with its breathlessly promotional coverage of Iraq-Attack-One. Tapper’s elder-in-chief @ CNN, Wolf Bullshitzer, also cashed in on CNN’s “Desert Storm” news coup. Blitzer’s career as a hawking-head had suffered the great good fortune of joining America’s first 24-hour TV news network in May of 1990, as CNN’s Pentagon spokesperson, and he has been cheering on America’s “Whatever” wars from that desk ever since. Whatever Ted Turner’s original vision was for a round-the-clock TV news service (1980), by now it is quite clear that CNN was tailor-made for the War Department of the United States of America: “Only carefully scripted awkward questions, please!”

Now: back to that Tapper interview…

Our news hero Tapper’s spectrum of non-committance-to-cognitive-dissonance is more than manifest in his reply to a relevant question concerning the U.S. finally leaving Afghanistan altogether, as cartoon President Donald Trump has frequently falsely promised.  Indifferently chomping at the bit, Tapper blithely states that the “Taliban is the enemy,” but goes on to say that America should still maintain “…some sort of counter-terrorism presence, just in case ISIS, or Al-Quaeda, or whatever, rises up again.”  This “or whatever” really captures Tapper’s otherwise elusive conceptualization of the conflict.  Unfortunately, the interviewer–Ethan Alter–fails the Consumer-reader by not following-up with an uber-relevant question such as:  “Gee, Jake, but what would ‘whatever’ look like in Afghanistan today?  Are you so certain that We are not the Enemy over there?”  At this imaginary point in the “presser,” our successful info-tainment personality looks more peeved than usual:  Could we be the Enemy? ricochets around the echo chamber of his cable news brain…

Jake Tapper did eventually visit Afghanistan, that “galaxy far, far away,”  and was oratorically able to unleash this nugget from his “on-the-ground” experience there:

When we got to FOB Bostick, the mission was providing security for building a road so that there could be commerce, and improve the way of life for Afghans in that province. It’s just otherworldly, because you’d think building a road would be a basic project, and U.S. troops were killed for just being there.

This is a truly striking statement. Has our befuddled–or possibly even lobotomized–anchor-protagonist never heard of the “White Man’s Burden,” the sentiment of which he perfectly recapitulates in this quotation of his very own words? Again, one hears whizzes, zips and tiny bangs! whipping across Tapper’s unconsciously Kiplingesque mind as an Idea–behold, almost!–nearly forms there: Maybe the “Afghans” see the Americans as Stormtroopers like in a Star Wars movie– or whatever–as the Enemy, as opposed to how we prefer to Luke Skywalker ourselves...

Yet questioning nearly 2 decades of violent partial occupation of Afghanistan is not Tapper’s true mission; he’s “not a policymaker,” after all.  Instead, our Yellow Press agent concludes that “…we wanted to have respect and reverence for the fact that this story is about real people who died there.”  By “real people,” of course, Tapper means Americans, not Afghans, whom he barely mentions in the interview.

Despite Mr Tapper’s critical cluelessness concerning his subject of note, the fact that his book is now a movie reveals a curious collusion of interest between a Major Media News outlet and Hollywood.  Presumably, Tapper could have shopped his “story” to a documentary filmmaker, but instead chose the Hollywood outfit Millennium Media, which deals primarily in gung-ho testosterone fests.  A quick look at the trailer shows that The Outpost will indeed be an action-packed testosterone fest.  The tone of the film is most likely set in the last spoken line of the trailer:  “We’re taking this bitch back!” (Evidently, this movie is not being marketed to feminists…). By this mini-climax in the action of the film (which I will not be watching, as I have probably seen more than one-too-many jacked-up war movies in my time), Holy Camp Keating has been largely overrun by the Infidels, who were most likely not even Taliban, but fighters employed by the notorious Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar who, ironically enough, is said to have received the most CIA funding of any Mujahideen leader fighting the Soviet Russians in Afghanistan during the 1980s.  Perhaps a figure like Hekmatyar fits the description of “or whatever” in Jake Tapper’s this-worldly, reality-challenged brain?  The Outpost, the movie, probably does not answer this question either, as one of the leading characters in the trailer informs his “men” that their mission is to “separate the Taliban from the ordinary people.”

How Many Green Berets Can be Physically Fit into a Hurt Locker?

The Outpost will most likely not be separating any Oscars from the mitts or myths of the Motion Picture Academy any time soon.  However, a war film of the “War on Terror” era that did delight the hawkish Hollywood elites was the 2009 release The Hurt Locker, directed by Kathryn Bigelow, which gobbled up 6 Oscar trophies, including “Best Picture.”  Needless to say, Major Mainstream Media critics universally praised the movie as well, which is quite telling, since the Hurt Locker totally whitewashes the criminal invasion of Iraq (a country run by a well-known criminal, by the way), as well as any lingering “liberal” institutional guilt over that crime.

At its soulless core, this movie focuses on the personal trauma of the American soldier–this mercenary–while ignoring the civilizational catastrophe that Iraq-Attack-Two was, and still remains.  Really, it’s kind of clever how this much-lauded propaganda piece accomplishes its aim, by substituting  the “IED” for the “WMD” story that was used to sell–or “justify”–the invasion.  This is the same move that CNN-guy Tapper makes with his Afghan battle book:  Fucking focus on the heroic” American soldier!, while the larger–and illegal–context of the “war” blurs into a contour-less, unaccountable background; after all, you can’t charge a shape that you can’t identify with a crime–and Afghanistan is one of the most shapeless places there is from an American point-of-view.

 The Hurt Locker also serves up steaming piles of “White Man’s Burden.” The Iraqis depicted in the film are, stereotypically enough, either victims or villains, with nothing but a killing ground in between; they are never granted, as real world actors, an ounce of so-called agency–unless it’s absolutely malevolent, of course. The one Iraqi that the American Bomb Disposal Unit befriends, a teen-age boy, naturally, gets callously sacrificed to show both the Americans’ good intentions, while also proving the absolute viciousness of the Iraqi “Improvised Explosive Device” makers–as if the United States had nobly invaded Iraq in order to rid the former British Mandate of it of its “IED” problem (“Never mind the WMD, folks:  They never existed in the first place!”). Incidentally, an Improvised Explosive Device pre-existing condition was not a pre-existing condition in Iraq until the United States arrived “in-Country”, in 2003.  In any case, the one Iraqi who is granted any kind of “identity” is quickly reduced to a symbol, or plot device.  Deus ex machina:  Hello!

On top–or over-the-top–of everything else that is wrong with this movie, the Oscar Award winning  Hurt Locker, there is the fundamental visual issue that the camera work is shoddy-to-terrible.  The basic camera work is “shakey,” as if the cameraperson needs a drink, because they are “shaking” because of their alcoholic condition. Or the camera zooms in too fast, which indicates that the cameraperson’s medication was inappropriately taken, and contra-indicatory effects are formalizing, so the scene looks weird, even though it is, which is nothing unusual, even though it is.

In other words, strictly speaking, The Hurt Locker is not a very good movie–never mind the “Best Picture”; or, it’s a very gratuitous play on what Iraq-Attack-Two really was.  Nevertheless, Hollywood really loved it just as much as the Mainstream Media embraced it–all of which indicates the wildly pro-War bias of both institutions: Hollywood and the Mass Media.  Who knew that both were playing the same Pentagonal tune?

Nevertheless, in the storied annals of pro-War pornography, not all War movies are loved the same. Although paternity is still difficult to determine with absolute certainty, even in this advanced age of DNA testing, it is highly probable that the “War on Terror” baby’s-Daddy was the undeclared war on Vietnam. With this hypothesis in mind, one war movie the Major Media establishment lovingly loathed was John Wayne’s explicitly pro-War film The Green Berets, which was released in the summer of 1968 while the American war on Vietnam was in full-tilt boogie mode. Although a cliche-ridden testosterone fest in its own self-righteous right, The Green Berets is light years more honest than its bastard offspring The Hurt Locker, as the propaganda agenda of Wayne’s film is flaunted, not hidden. Still, there is a basic deception woven into the “Duke’s” attempt to re-enlist the movie-going Public’s support for an undeclared war that was fast becoming demonstrably unpopular.

The real Green Berets are an elite U.S. Army unit, whereas the vast majority of the half million Americans fighting in Vietnam were mandatory draftees who did not have a choice to opt out, unlike famous non-combatants like Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Dick Cheney, etc. By dwelling on an elite fighting unit, Wayne’s instrument for winning back “Hearts and Minds” on the Homefront would appear to have been out of tune.  Nevertheless, in retrospect, it makes perfect sense because the American war against Vietnam was launched by elites–just as all subsequent American “undeclared” wars have been ever since. The average American citizen has zero stake in any of these foreign wars. I can hear Jake Tapper’s brain rattling: If we de-fund the Pentagon I’ll be out of a job, so…

Of course, John Wayne’s jingo Vietnam movie did not make too much of a splash–although the “Duke” did brag about the box office cash at the time. Live television coverage probably had as much as anything else to do with turning the American Public against the war, and so the plug was finally pulled on that atrocity. In the meantime, the Pentagon’s fixed that Media image problem; our current series of wars are “special access” only. We’re occasionally allowed the “Live Look-in,” but only with carefully curated framing. CNN’s Jake Tapper is just such a curator. If one were to say to Jake: “This Afghan War’s vainglorious genocidal bullshit!” the Tapper would shift or swivel uncomfortably, look extra peevish, and tell the too far left-or-right critic that it’s all about “valor,” which is exactly what he’s paid to do.

Just to wrap up:  even though I gave CNN’s Jake Tapper the “lead,” so to speak, in this article, I would like to give a real journalist the final words on the subject. Concerning the multiple Academy Award winning movie The Hurt Locker, the venerable John Pilger had this to say: “It offers a vicarious thrill via yet another standard-issue psychopath high on violence in someone else’s country where the deaths of a million people are consigned to cinematic oblivion.”

Still Fighting “Whatever” in Afghanistan

This just in:  Cable news presenter-hero Jake Tapper finds new spotlight at the Movies with the Millennium Media studio release of The Outpost, based on Tapper’s 2012 book The Outpost:  an Untold Story of American Valor. Tapper’s tale tells the story of a locally massive attack by Taliban-types on a remote American forward operating base, Combat Outpost Keating, in the precipitously rugged Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan’s northeastern province of Nuristan, which borders Pakistan. This violent incident occurred on October 3, 2009, and is known as the Battle of Kamdesh, named for a village near the base.

At first glance, Mr Tapper’s literary foray into the American-Afghan war appears rather off-topic for a cable news teleprompter-reader, especially when Tapper was never “embedded” with the Troops “over there.”  So: what “American valor” is the Dartmouth-educated Tapper talking about?  What drove the perpetually peevish-looking Tapper to write upon a current conflict he never personally reported on happening in a galaxy far, far away?  Cable news anchor guilt?  A mid-career crisis, because our fearless Tapper has suddenly almost realized–even though he can’t quite form the words–that he’s just another paid tool echoing corporate War Machine talking points?  Recently, Tapper was interviewed by Yahoo Movies person Ethan Alter (July 2) in coordination with the roll-out of the film, and some of his answers are revealing

But first, a note about our man Tapper’s current employer (since 2013), CNN. CNN hit the jackpot in 1991 with its breathlessly promotional coverage of Iraq-Attack-One. Tapper’s elder-in-chief @ CNN, Wolf Bullshitzer, also cashed in on CNN’s “Desert Storm” news coup. Blitzer’s career as a hawking-head had suffered the great good fortune of joining America’s first 24-hour TV news network in May of 1990, as CNN’s Pentagon spokesperson, and he has been cheering on America’s “Whatever” wars from that desk ever since. Whatever Ted Turner’s original vision was for a round-the-clock TV news service (1980), by now it is quite clear that CNN was tailor-made for the War Department of the United States of America: “Only carefully scripted awkward questions, please!”

Now: back to that Tapper interview…

Our news hero Tapper’s spectrum of non-committance-to-cognitive-dissonance is more than manifest in his reply to a relevant question concerning the U.S. finally leaving Afghanistan altogether, as cartoon President Donald Trump has frequently falsely promised.  Indifferently chomping at the bit, Tapper blithely states that the “Taliban is the enemy,” but goes on to say that America should still maintain “…some sort of counter-terrorism presence, just in case ISIS, or Al-Quaeda, or whatever, rises up again.”  This “or whatever” really captures Tapper’s otherwise elusive conceptualization of the conflict.  Unfortunately, the interviewer–Ethan Alter–fails the Consumer-reader by not following-up with an uber-relevant question such as:  “Gee, Jake, but what would ‘whatever’ look like in Afghanistan today?  Are you so certain that We are not the Enemy over there?”  At this imaginary point in the “presser,” our successful info-tainment personality looks more peeved than usual:  Could we be the Enemy? ricochets around the echo chamber of his cable news brain…

Jake Tapper did eventually visit Afghanistan, that “galaxy far, far away,”  and was oratorically able to unleash this nugget from his “on-the-ground” experience there:

When we got to FOB Bostick, the mission was providing security for building a road so that there could be commerce, and improve the way of life for Afghans in that province. It’s just otherworldly, because you’d think building a road would be a basic project, and U.S. troops were killed for just being there.

This is a truly striking statement. Has our befuddled–or possibly even lobotomized–anchor-protagonist never heard of the “White Man’s Burden,” the sentiment of which he perfectly recapitulates in this quotation of his very own words? Again, one hears whizzes, zips and tiny bangs! whipping across Tapper’s unconsciously Kiplingesque mind as an Idea–behold, almost!–nearly forms there: Maybe the “Afghans” see the Americans as Stormtroopers like in a Star Wars movie– or whatever–as the Enemy, as opposed to how we prefer to Luke Skywalker ourselves...

Yet questioning nearly 2 decades of violent partial occupation of Afghanistan is not Tapper’s true mission; he’s “not a policymaker,” after all.  Instead, our Yellow Press agent concludes that “…we wanted to have respect and reverence for the fact that this story is about real people who died there.”  By “real people,” of course, Tapper means Americans, not Afghans, whom he barely mentions in the interview.

Despite Mr Tapper’s critical cluelessness concerning his subject of note, the fact that his book is now a movie reveals a curious collusion of interest between a Major Media News outlet and Hollywood.  Presumably, Tapper could have shopped his “story” to a documentary filmmaker, but instead chose the Hollywood outfit Millennium Media, which deals primarily in gung-ho testosterone fests.  A quick look at the trailer shows that The Outpost will indeed be an action-packed testosterone fest.  The tone of the film is most likely set in the last spoken line of the trailer:  “We’re taking this bitch back!” (Evidently, this movie is not being marketed to feminists…). By this mini-climax in the action of the film (which I will not be watching, as I have probably seen more than one-too-many jacked-up war movies in my time), Holy Camp Keating has been largely overrun by the Infidels, who were most likely not even Taliban, but fighters employed by the notorious Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar who, ironically enough, is said to have received the most CIA funding of any Mujahideen leader fighting the Soviet Russians in Afghanistan during the 1980s.  Perhaps a figure like Hekmatyar fits the description of “or whatever” in Jake Tapper’s this-worldly, reality-challenged brain?  The Outpost, the movie, probably does not answer this question either, as one of the leading characters in the trailer informs his “men” that their mission is to “separate the Taliban from the ordinary people.”

How Many Green Berets Can be Physically Fit into a Hurt Locker?

The Outpost will most likely not be separating any Oscars from the mitts or myths of the Motion Picture Academy any time soon.  However, a war film of the “War on Terror” era that did delight the hawkish Hollywood elites was the 2009 release The Hurt Locker, directed by Kathryn Bigelow, which gobbled up 6 Oscar trophies, including “Best Picture.”  Needless to say, Major Mainstream Media critics universally praised the movie as well, which is quite telling, since the Hurt Locker totally whitewashes the criminal invasion of Iraq (a country run by a well-known criminal, by the way), as well as any lingering “liberal” institutional guilt over that crime.

At its soulless core, this movie focuses on the personal trauma of the American soldier–this mercenary–while ignoring the civilizational catastrophe that Iraq-Attack-Two was, and still remains.  Really, it’s kind of clever how this much-lauded propaganda piece accomplishes its aim, by substituting  the “IED” for the “WMD” story that was used to sell–or “justify”–the invasion.  This is the same move that CNN-guy Tapper makes with his Afghan battle book:  Fucking focus on the heroic” American soldier!, while the larger–and illegal–context of the “war” blurs into a contour-less, unaccountable background; after all, you can’t charge a shape that you can’t identify with a crime–and Afghanistan is one of the most shapeless places there is from an American point-of-view.

 The Hurt Locker also serves up steaming piles of “White Man’s Burden.” The Iraqis depicted in the film are, stereotypically enough, either victims or villains, with nothing but a killing ground in between; they are never granted, as real world actors, an ounce of so-called agency–unless it’s absolutely malevolent, of course. The one Iraqi that the American Bomb Disposal Unit befriends, a teen-age boy, naturally, gets callously sacrificed to show both the Americans’ good intentions, while also proving the absolute viciousness of the Iraqi “Improvised Explosive Device” makers–as if the United States had nobly invaded Iraq in order to rid the former British Mandate of it of its “IED” problem (“Never mind the WMD, folks:  They never existed in the first place!”). Incidentally, an Improvised Explosive Device pre-existing condition was not a pre-existing condition in Iraq until the United States arrived “in-Country”, in 2003.  In any case, the one Iraqi who is granted any kind of “identity” is quickly reduced to a symbol, or plot device.  Deus ex machina:  Hello!

On top–or over-the-top–of everything else that is wrong with this movie, the Oscar Award winning  Hurt Locker, there is the fundamental visual issue that the camera work is shoddy-to-terrible.  The basic camera work is “shakey,” as if the cameraperson needs a drink, because they are “shaking” because of their alcoholic condition. Or the camera zooms in too fast, which indicates that the cameraperson’s medication was inappropriately taken, and contra-indicatory effects are formalizing, so the scene looks weird, even though it is, which is nothing unusual, even though it is.

In other words, strictly speaking, The Hurt Locker is not a very good movie–never mind the “Best Picture”; or, it’s a very gratuitous play on what Iraq-Attack-Two really was.  Nevertheless, Hollywood really loved it just as much as the Mainstream Media embraced it–all of which indicates the wildly pro-War bias of both institutions: Hollywood and the Mass Media.  Who knew that both were playing the same Pentagonal tune?

Nevertheless, in the storied annals of pro-War pornography, not all War movies are loved the same. Although paternity is still difficult to determine with absolute certainty, even in this advanced age of DNA testing, it is highly probable that the “War on Terror” baby’s-Daddy was the undeclared war on Vietnam. With this hypothesis in mind, one war movie the Major Media establishment lovingly loathed was John Wayne’s explicitly pro-War film The Green Berets, which was released in the summer of 1968 while the American war on Vietnam was in full-tilt boogie mode. Although a cliche-ridden testosterone fest in its own self-righteous right, The Green Berets is light years more honest than its bastard offspring The Hurt Locker, as the propaganda agenda of Wayne’s film is flaunted, not hidden. Still, there is a basic deception woven into the “Duke’s” attempt to re-enlist the movie-going Public’s support for an undeclared war that was fast becoming demonstrably unpopular.

The real Green Berets are an elite U.S. Army unit, whereas the vast majority of the half million Americans fighting in Vietnam were mandatory draftees who did not have a choice to opt out, unlike famous non-combatants like Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Dick Cheney, etc. By dwelling on an elite fighting unit, Wayne’s instrument for winning back “Hearts and Minds” on the Homefront would appear to have been out of tune.  Nevertheless, in retrospect, it makes perfect sense because the American war against Vietnam was launched by elites–just as all subsequent American “undeclared” wars have been ever since. The average American citizen has zero stake in any of these foreign wars. I can hear Jake Tapper’s brain rattling: If we de-fund the Pentagon I’ll be out of a job, so…

Of course, John Wayne’s jingo Vietnam movie did not make too much of a splash–although the “Duke” did brag about the box office cash at the time. Live television coverage probably had as much as anything else to do with turning the American Public against the war, and so the plug was finally pulled on that atrocity. In the meantime, the Pentagon’s fixed that Media image problem; our current series of wars are “special access” only. We’re occasionally allowed the “Live Look-in,” but only with carefully curated framing. CNN’s Jake Tapper is just such a curator. If one were to say to Jake: “This Afghan War’s vainglorious genocidal bullshit!” the Tapper would shift or swivel uncomfortably, look extra peevish, and tell the too far left-or-right critic that it’s all about “valor,” which is exactly what he’s paid to do.

Just to wrap up:  even though I gave CNN’s Jake Tapper the “lead,” so to speak, in this article, I would like to give a real journalist the final words on the subject. Concerning the multiple Academy Award winning movie The Hurt Locker, the venerable John Pilger had this to say: “It offers a vicarious thrill via yet another standard-issue psychopath high on violence in someone else’s country where the deaths of a million people are consigned to cinematic oblivion.”

Russia did it Again: Chasing the Bounty Hunters

Russia did it again. This time it’s paying to kill Americans. How criminal!

Such things only Americans would do – Washington, the Pentagon, CIA…. Because killing and have killed is in their mindset and bloodstream. That’s what criminals do: They project their own crimes onto others.

The latest NYT reporting is, “It’s not the Taliban that were offered a ‘bounty’ for killing American/ NATO soldiers, but Afghan criminals.” The NYT admits to a mistake in their reporting – a mistake that had already been confirmed by another two media traitors, the Washington Post and the WSJ?  Com-on, NYT! You are openly disclosing that you are a cheat?

Preceding his latest lie, the New York Times (NYT) reported on several consecutive days over the last week that “US Intel” found out that Russia had paid Afghan Taliban to kill American soldiers and their NATO allies in Afghanistan.

No substantiation whatsoever.  Washington Post and WSJ have “confirmed” accuracy of the NYT story – also with no substantiation, no evidence whatsoever

All lies.

How long, and how often can Washington get away with flagrant – every time more flagrant lies – and people believe it, or at least pay attention and think to themselves – if these “reputed” (sic-sic) so-called “news-outlets” say it – there must a smoking gun.

There is no smoking gun.

These papers have zero, zilch ‘smoking guns’.  They are inventing, slandering, lying.  It’s pure defamation of a sovereign nation, in this case Russia. To every thinking mind, it’s clear that nothing would be farther from the Russian Government’s intentions than inciting anyone to kill American soldiers. That’s not Russian style. In fact, it’s not the style of most nations. But it IS the style of the United States, of Washington, of the occupants of the White House. These papers should be criminally pursued and prosecuted for what they are doing.

What’s worse, much worse, is that even progressive pundits from unaligned online-media are getting up in arms every time a lie of this sort emerges either against Russia or against China. They feel obligated having to justify their “raison d’être” by elaborating and explaining even the most deliberate and obvious falsehood as what it is in the first place — a blatant lie.

By doing so, they lend this circus even more creditability.  It deserves none whatsoever, and should be just silenced into oblivion, by being ignored.

As Russia is doing. Russia largely ignores it. Why respond to a lie?

However, you should know what is known in psychology is that those who repeatedly and over and over again, accuse others of lying or of crimes they allegedly committed, without providing any substantiation, they are themselves prone to commit precisely what they accuse others of being guilty of. Just look at the accuser, the US of A and her vassalic allies, and you know that this simple piece of ancient psychological wisdom has not lost its validity.

See also the “Russia Gate hoax”,  the Russian influence in US elections, Russian “hacking” of US elections. For the thinking people the most ludicrous accusation one can imagine. A lie many times reported on, and exposed as a lie, not least by the Muller Report. Yet, it still hasn’t gone away — and is brought up again and again, all with one purpose, actually a dual purpose by the so-called US Democrats – the other dirty face of the same heinous head, to bash Russia and to unseat President Trump. Not necessarily in that order.

Why bring it up then?

Not to undo an obvious lie. Of course not. But in the hope to awake the public at large into shedding these illustrious lie-media, like the Washington Post, NYT, WSJ, The Guardian, to name but a few, plus all the related TV networks, who scream in unison “The Russians Did it Again”.

It’s only YOU, the people, who can silence the lies, by ignoring these prominent and outright false news outlets’ messages and their constant deceptions, and by getting the news from alternative on-line sources. It’s not for nothing that the “deep state” – or the powers that be – try desperately to silence these truth-seeking and truth-propagating media, by closing them down, by hacking them, by obnoxiously and unconstitutionally censuring them.

The Zuckerbergs, Bezos, Soroses, Fords, Rockefellers, Gates of this world have all the means and money to tell the media what to write, report, and what to show to you, the people. They do it on behalf of the invisible “deep dark state”.

Almost always with the purpose of brainwashing you into believing a lie. If this lie is believed by enough people, it gives them, the deep dark state, the destructive powers that be – the power to carry out the action that is justified by the lie; i.e., going to war, forge regime change, or outright assassinate an uncomfortable leader.

It is time to wake up, friends. The clock is not stopping. And we keep sliding towards disaster without apparently noticing. And that’s the way “they” want it. See the light and shred the lie-supported cocoon of comfort – you – and we as a people in solidarity, will begin feeling much better, a purpose in life.

First published by New Eastern Outlook – NEO