Category Archives: Germany

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How blatant and scummy can a marketing campaign get?

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

America’s “Good” Wars

Germany

On December 11, 1941, four days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Germany declared war on the United States.

Even within the most avowed Leftist anti-war activist there exists a belief that the Second World War was fully justified in stopping Hitler’s Nazis. They claim it was a just war for freedom and to halt the Holocaust. The position of the World Socialist Party was that we considered it little different from any other war for capitalist interests and as such deserving our condemnation and opposition. Over the years ample evidence has been produced vindicating the stance taken by the WSPUS although not widely disseminated by the media or academia. In recent years America has been engaged in a number of unpopular military conflicts, Vietnam and Iraq being just two, and those wars are compared to America’s archetypal “just war,” World War II, in which Good Ol’ Uncle Sam supposedly went to war for no other reason than to fight dictatorship and injustice.

The reality was that for the United States the war in Europe and then its own entry provided the capitalist class with magnificent booty. It was not because Roosevelt’s New Deal that the Great Depression ended but by the literal blood sacrifice of workers. The usual manner of correcting economic slumps is through wide-spread unemployment that lowers wages, causes bankruptcies of the less competitive companies, and facilitates the take-over of devalued plant and equipment by larger corporations. This reorganization of capitalist production on the basis of cheaper labor and cheaper materials all around, allows the surviving, enlarged and more “efficient” capitalists to renew production at rates of profit, productivity and growth even greater than before the downward dive in the “business cycle.” Prior to the “war effort,” this process was underway but had not gotten the economy going again. However, the riches plundered in times of war—the take-over and re-organization of conquered nations’ entire material wealth, equipment, cheap labor, factories, and infrastructure—are vastly more profitable than is the process of domestic bankruptcies and economic rebuilding at home.

As FDR said, the model he followed had already been proven effective in Communist Russia, Fascist Italy, and Nazi Germany under those “command economies”. Throughout the 1930’s and prior to US entry into World War Two, American corporations largely increased production in Nazi Germany. Coca-Cola, GM, Ford, Standard Oil of NJ/Exxon, Du Pont, Union Carbide, Westinghouse, General Electric, Goodrich, Stinger, Eastman Kodak, IBM, ITT, and several other Capitalist enterprises expanded their operations in Germany, becoming extremely profitable thanks to the economic boom caused by Hitler’s rearmament program. Other US corporations invested hundreds of millions of dollars in fascist Italy. American law firms, investment companies, and banks were also actively and profitably involved in America’s investment expansion in fascist countries, among them the banks J. P. Morgan and Dillon, Read and Co., as well as the renowned Wall Street law firm Sullivan & Cromwell.

Coca-Cola’s German subsidiary, for example, increased its sales from 243,000 cases in 1934 to 4.5 million cases by 1939. This success had a lot to do with the fact that, as the Hitler-admiring and -imitating national manager Max Keith explained, the caffeinated soft drink revealed itself to be a functional alternative to beer as a refreshment for Germany’s workers, who were being driven ‘to work harder [and] faster.’ In Hitler’s Third Reich, where labour unions and working-class political parties had been banned, the workers “were little more than serfs forbidden not only to strike, but to change jobs,’ and their wages ‘were deliberately set quite low.” Hence the higher profits in general for all American capitalists in Germany. IBM’s hugely profitable German subsidiary supplied the Nazi’s with the new technology necessary to automate production as well as to identify and track Jews. When in 1939 war in Europe came it provided further new opportunities for the American capitalist class to profit through production and sale of armaments and military equipment for the warring nations. Programs FDR set up to finance the purchase of American weapons and ammunition by the cash-strapped British provided London with virtually unlimited credits. In fact, American workers paid off much of the resulting accumulated national debt by means of direct and indirect regressive taxes such as the ”Victory Tax.” Again, the Capitalists pulled in huge “publicly financed” profits, while low-income workers paid the price through reduction of their personal consumption (remember “Spam”), and reduction of their war-taxed real income.

America’s ruling class was divided with respect to the handling of foreign affairs. In the 1930s, the US military had no plans, and did not prepare plans, to fight a war against Nazi Germany. On the other hand, they did have plans for war against Great Britain, Canada, Mexico – and Japan. As late as the 1930s, the US military still had plans for war against Britain and an invasion of the Canadian Dominion, the latter including plans for the bombing of cities and the use of poison gas.

The owners and top managers of many American corporations – including Ford, General Motors, IBM, ITT, and Rockefeller’s Standard Oil of New Jersey, now known as Exxon – liked Hitler a lot; one of them – William Knudsen of General Motors – even glorified the German Führer as “the miracle of the 20th century.” The reason: in preparation for war, the Führer had been arming Germany to the teeth, and the numerous German branch plants of US corporations had profited handsomely from that country’s “armament boom” by producing trucks, tanks and planes in sites such as GM’s Opel factory in Rüsselsheim and Ford’s big plant in Cologne, the Ford-Werke; and the likes of Exxon and Texaco had been making plenty of money by supplying the fuel Hitler’s panzers would need to roll all the way to Warsaw in 1939, to Paris in 1940, and (almost) to Moscow in 1941. No wonder the managers and owners of these corporations helped to celebrate Germany’s victories against Poland and France at a big party in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York on June 26, 1940!

America’s “captains of industry” like Henry Ford also appreciated the way Hitler repressed the German unions, outlawing the Communist and Social Democratic Parties, and imprisoning their members. Dachau, Germany’s first concentration camp, was set up in 1933 to cage political prisoners. The American right-wing  wished they could mete out the same kind of treatment to America’s own union leaders and “reds,” still numerous and influential in the 1930s and early 1940s.

American companies eagerly took advantage of Hitler’s dismemberment of workers organisations’ and cut labour costs drastically. In Nazi Germany, real wages indeed declined rapidly, while profits increased correspondingly, but there were no labour problems worth mentioning, for any attempt to organize a strike immediately triggered an armed response by the Gestapo, resulting in arrests and dismissals. The Ford-Werke, for example, reduced labour costs from fifteen percent of business volume in 1933 to only eleven per cent in 1938. GM’s Opel factory in Rüsselsheim near Mainz fared even better. Its share of the German automobile market grew from 35 per cent in 1933 to more than 50 per cent in 1935, and the GM subsidiary, which had lost money in the early 1930s, became extremely profitable thanks to the economic boom caused by Hitler’s rearmament program. The chairman of GM, Alfred P. Sloan, publicly justified doing business in Hitler’s Germany by pointing to the highly profitable nature of GM’s operations under the Third Reich. IBM’s German subsidiary, Dehomag, provided the Nazis with the punch-card machine — forerunner of the computer — required to automate production in the country, and in doing so IBM-Germany made plenty of money. In 1933, the year Hitler came to power, Dehomag made a profit of one million dollars, and during the early Hitler years the German branch plant paid IBM in the US some 4.5 million dollars in dividends. By 1938, still in “full Depression”, annual earnings were about 2.3 million ReichMarks, a 16 per cent return on net assets. In 1939 Dehomag’s profits increased spectacularly again to about four million RM. Texaco profited greatly from sales to Nazi Germany, and not surprisingly its chairman, Torkild Rieber, became yet another powerful American entrepreneur who admired Hitler. A member of the German secret service reported that he was “absolutely pro-German” and “a sincere admirer of the Führer.” Rieber also became a personal friend of Göring. Texaco helped the Nazis stockpile fuel. In addition, as the war in Europe got underway, large quantities of diesel fuel, lubricating oil, and other petroleum products were shipped to Germany not only by Texaco but also by Standard Oil, mostly via Spanish ports. (The German Navy, incidentally, was provided with fuel by the Texas oilman William Rhodes Davis.) In the 1930s Standard Oil had helped IG Farben develop synthetic fuel as an alternative to regular oil, of which Germany had to import every single drop.

The last thing those men wanted was for Roosevelt to involve the US in the war on the side of Germany’s enemies. They were “isolationists” (or “non-interventionists”) and so, in the summer of 1940, was the majority of the American public: a Gallup Poll, taken in September 1940, showed that 88 percent of Americans wanted to stay out of the war that was raging in Europe. Not surprisingly, then, there was no sign whatsoever that Roosevelt might want to restrict trade with Germany, let alone embark on an anti-Hitler crusade. In fact, during the presidential election campaign in the fall 1940, he solemnly promised that “[our] boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.”

That Hitler has crushed France and other democratic countries was of no concern to the US corporate types who did business with Hitler; in fact, they felt that Europe’s future belonged to fascism, especially Germany’s variety of fascism, Nazism, rather than to democracy. The chairman of General Motors, Alfred P. Sloan, declared at that time that it was a good thing that in Europe the democracies were giving way “to an alternative [i.e. fascist] system with strong, intelligent, and aggressive leaders who made the people work longer and harder and who had the instinct of gangsters – all of them good qualities”.

While many big corporations were engaged in profitable business with Nazi Germany, others happened to be making plenty of profit by doing business with Great Britain.  Britain was desperately in need of all sorts of equipment to continue its struggle against Nazi Germany, and needed to purchase much of it in the US, but was unable to make the cash payments required by America’s existing “Cash-and-Carry” legislation. However, Roosevelt made it possible for US corporations to take advantage of this enormous “window of opportunity” when, on March 11, 1941, he introduced his famous Lend-Lease program, providing Britain with virtually unlimited credit to purchase trucks, planes, and other martial hardware in the US. The Lend-Lease exports to Britain were to generate windfall profits, not only on account of the huge volume of business involved but also because these exports featured inflated prices and fraudulent practices such as double billing.

A segment of Corporate America thus began to sympathize with Great Britain. Some started to favour a US entry into the war on the side of the British; they became known as the “interventionists.” Of course, many, if not most, big American corporations made money through business with both Nazi Germany and Britain and, as the Roosevelt administration itself was henceforth preparing for possible war, multiplying military expenditures and ordering all sorts of equipment, they also started to make more and more money by supplying America’s own armed forces with all sorts of martial material.

But one thing that all the capitalists in the United States could agree on, regardless of where their sympathies and interests lay was this: the war in Europe was wonderful for business. They also agreed that the longer this war lasted, the better it would be for all of them. Corporate America neither wanted Hitler to lose this war nor to win it. With the exception of the most fervent pro-British interventionists, they further agreed that there was no pressing need for the US to become actively involved in this war, and certainly not to go to war against Germany. Most hoped that the war in Europe would drag on as long as possible, so that the big corporations could continue to profit from supplying equipment to the Germans, the British and to America herself. Henry Ford thus “expressed the hope that neither the Allies nor the Axis would win [the war],” and suggested that the United States should supply both sides with “the tools to keep on fighting until they both collapse.” Ford practised what he preached, and arranged for his factories in the US, in Britain, in Germany, and in occupied France to crank out equipment for all belligerents.The war may have been hell for most people, but for American capitalists such as Henry Ford it was heaven. Ford-France, for example — not a flourishing firm before the war — became very profitable after 1940 thanks to its unconditional collaboration with the Germans; in 1941 it registered earnings of 58 million francs. Ford’s subsidiary in France used its profits in 1941 to build a tank factory in Oran, Algeria; this plant allegedly provided Rommel’s Africa Corps with the hardware needed to advance all the way to El Alamein.

It cannot be denied that on account of Lend-Lease exports to Britain, relations between America and Germany were definitely deteriorating, and a series of incidents between German submarines and US Navy destroyers escorting freighters bound for Britain lead to a crisis that has become known as the “undeclared naval war.” But even that episode did not lead to active American involvement in the war in Europe. America was profiting handsomely from the status quo, and was simply not interested in a crusade against Nazi Germany. Although the Japanese  attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 wasn’t such a big surprise,  a few days later, on December 11, Hitler declared war on the United States and that was completely unexpected. Germany had nothing to do with the attack in Hawaii and had not even been aware of the Japanese plans, so FDR did not consider asking Congress to declare war on Nazi Germany at the same time as Japan. Why declare war on America? Thwarted in the Eastern Front Hitler anticipated that a German declaration of war on the American enemy of his Japanese friends, even though not required under the terms of the Tripartite Treaty, (under the terms of the Tripartite Treaty Japan, Germany, and Italy undertook to assist each other when one of the three contracting powers was attacked by another country, but not when one of them attacked another country) would induce Tokyo to reciprocate with a declaration of war on the Soviet enemy of Germany. Japan had already previously invaded the Soviet Union and been repulsed but the bulk of its army was stationed in northern China. Hitler wanted to draw the Russians into a two-front war. The Japanese, however, proved less accommodating to Hitler’s grand plans. The US did not voluntarily go to war against Germany, but were forced into that war because of Hitler’s own actions. Humanitarian considerations played no role whatsoever in the decision which led to America’s participation in World War II against Germany.

Japan

Ask most Americans why the United States got into World War II, and they will talk about Pearl Harbor. December 7, 1941. Ask why the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and many Americans will struggle for an answer, perhaps suggesting that the Japanese people were aggressive militarists who wanted to take over the world. Ask if the United States provoked the Japanese, and they will probably say that the Americans did nothing: we were just minding our own business when those crazy Japanese, completely without justification, mounted a sneak attack, catching us totally by surprise at Pearl Harbour. Don’t bother to ask the typical American what U.S. economic warfare had to do with provoking the Japanese to mount their attack, because they simply won’t know.

In the 1930s the US, as one of the world’s leading industrial powers, was constantly looking out for sources of inexpensive raw materials such as rubber and oil, as well as for markets for its finished products. Already at the end of the nineteenth century, America had consistently pursued its interests in this respect by extending its economic and sometimes even direct political influence across oceans and continents. This aggressive, “imperialist” policy – pursued ruthlessly by presidents such as Theodore Roosevelt, a cousin of FDR – had led to American control over former Spanish colonies such as Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Philippines, and also over the hitherto independent island nation of Hawaii.  America had thus also developed into a major power in the Pacific Ocean and in the Far East.

However, the US faced the competition there of an aggressive rival industrial power, one that was even more needy for oil and similar raw materials, and also for markets for its finished products. That competitor was Japan which sought to realize its own imperialist ambitions in China and in resource-rich Southeast Asia and, like the US, did not hesitate to use violence in the process, for example, waging ruthless war on China. Japan, as an expanding industrial nation, required access to raw materials and energy. In the Great Depression, as trade dried up and unemployment grew, an ultra-nationalist clique within the Japanese military sought to secure the markets and raw materials Japan so desperately wanted. For a time there were two competing strategies to capture oil: the Strike North route to acquire the USSR’s and the Strike South route to capture the Dutch East Indies, one being mainly land-based and army-dominated, the other mostly naval. 1938 saw the defeat of an attempted Japanese invasion of the USSR, (which brought General Zhukov to prominence). Therefore Japanese diplomacy became centred upon the views of the naval commanders.

What bothered the United States was not how the Japanese treated the Chinese or Koreans but that the Japanese intention was to turn that part of the world into what they called the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere; i.e., an exclusive economic zone with no room for the American to trade (albeit Japan was prepared to make major concessions, such as “sharing” China with the US.) America was to be squeezed out of the lucrative Far Eastern market. By the summer of 1941, Japan had further increased its zone of influence in the Far East; e.g., by occupying the rubber-rich French colony of Indochina and, desperate above all for oil, was obviously vying to occupy the oil-rich Dutch East Indies. The American capitalist class was virtually unanimous in favour of a war against Japan but public opinion was strongly against American involvement in any foreign war. Roosevelt’s solution was to provoke Japan into an overt act of war against the United States to rally behind the Stars and Stripes. FDR’s Secretary of War Henry Stimson’s noted: “The question was how we should maneuver them [the Japanese] into … firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves.”  In 1939 the United States terminated the 1911 commercial treaty with Japan. July 2, 1940, Roosevelt signed the Export Control Act, authorizing the President to license or prohibit the export of essential defense materials. Under this authority,  exports of aviation motor fuels and lubricants were restricted. The  Roosevelt administration froze all Japanese assets in the United States. In collaboration with the British and the Dutch, the US imposed severe economic sanctions on Japan, including an embargo on vital oil products and steel. Washington demanded Japan’s withdrawal from China. Roosevelt obligingly arranged for such a war, not because of Tokyo’s unprovoked aggression and horrible war crimes in China, but because American corporations wanted a share of the luscious big “pie” of Far Eastern resources and markets.

Japan was certainly not averse to attacking others and had been busy creating an Asian empire. And the United States and Japan were certainly not living in harmonious friendship. But what could bring the Japanese to launch an attack on America? Foreign Minister Teijiro Toyoda in a communication to Ambassador Kichisaburo Nomura on July 31: 

Commercial and economic relations between Japan and third countries, led by England and the United States, are gradually becoming so horribly strained that we cannot endure it much longer. Consequently, our Empire, to save its very life, must take measures to secure the raw materials of the South Seas.

PM Konoe set about arranging a meeting with Roosevelt in a last ditch attempt to restore trade relations and avoid war in the Pacific. While FDR initially welcomed Konoe’s planned visit, his inner circle, as they had for decades, viewed Japan as untrustworthy and vulnerable, and steadfastly opposed the idea of a Pacific summit. Hull, Hornbeck, Stimson and others shared the view of senior military officials that a successful summit could have disastrous consequences for America’s strategic position in Asia. A negotiated end to the war in China and the prompt withdrawal of Japanese forces would be the core of any agreement and this, military officials argued, America must avoid. In October 1941, Hayes Kroner, chief of the British Empire Section for the War Department General Staff, informed Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall, as follows “At this stage in the execution of our national strategic plan, cessation of hostilities in China…would be highly detrimental to our interests.” By early November, Tojo and Togo overcame substantial cabinet opposition to continued negotiations and won approval for talks based on two proposal. In Proposal “A” Tokyo pledged to immediately withdraw forces from Indochina, remove troops from all of China except Hainan Islans and the far north and respect the Open Door. Japan also agreed to not automatically support Berlin in the event of a German-American war. Proposal “B” sought only a limited agreement in which Japan pledged to refrain from further offensive operations in return for normalized trade relations and a US promise not to take such actions as may hinder efforts for peace by both Japan and China.

When President Franklin Roosevelt visited Pearl Harbor on July 28, 1934, seven years before the Japanese attack, the Japanese military expressed apprehension. General Kunishiga Tanaka wrote in the Japan Advertiser, objecting to the build-up of the American fleet in Hawaii and the creation of additional bases in Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. “It makes us think a major disturbance is purposely being encouraged in the Pacific.” In March 1935, Roosevelt gave Pan Am Airways a permit to build runways on Wake Island, Midway Island, and Guam. Japanese military commanders announced that they were disturbed and viewed these runways as a threat. The U.S. Navy spent the next few years working up plans for war with Japan, the March 8, 1939, version of which described “an offensive war of long duration” that would destroy the military and disrupt the economic life of Japan.

As early as 1932 the United States had been talking with China about providing airplanes, pilots, and training for its war with Japan. In November 1940, Roosevelt loaned China one hundred million dollars for war with Japan, and after consulting with the British, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau made plans to send the Chinese bombers with U.S. crews to use in bombing Tokyo and other Japanese cities. On December 21, 1940, two weeks shy of a year before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, China’s Minister of Finance T.V. Soong and Colonel Claire Chennault, a retired U.S. Army flier who was working for the Chinese and had been urging them to use American pilots to bomb Tokyo since at least 1937, met in Henry Morgenthau’s dining room to plan the firebombing of Japan. Morgenthau said he could get men released from duty in the U.S. Army Air Corps if the Chinese could pay them $1,000 per month. Soong agreed. On May 24, 1941, the New York Times reported on U.S. training of the Chinese air force, and the provision of “numerous fighting and bombing planes” to China by the United States. “Bombing of Japanese Cities is Expected” read the sub-headline. By July, the Joint Army-Navy Board had approved a plan called JB 355 to firebomb Japan. A front corporation would buy American planes to be flown by American volunteers trained. Roosevelt approved, and his China expert Lauchlin Currie, in the words of Nicholson Baker, “wired Madame Chaing Kai-Shek and Claire Chennault a letter that fairly begged for interception by Japanese spies.” Whether or not that was the entire point, this was the letter: “I am very happy to be able to report today the President directed that sixty-six bombers be made available to China this year with twenty-four to be delivered immediately. He also approved a Chinese pilot training program here. Details through normal channels. Warm regards.”

In the eyes of the Japanese press they were being corralled:  “First there was the creation of a superbase at Singapore, heavily reinforced by British and Empire troops. From this hub a great wheel was built up and linked with American bases to form a great ring sweeping in a great area southwards and westwards from the Philippines through Malaya and Burma…” 

On November 15th, Army Chief of Staff George Marshall briefed the media on something we do not remember as “the Marshall Plan.” In fact, we don’t remember it at all. “We are preparing an offensive war against Japan,” Marshall said.

The idea that it was a defensive war because an innocent imperial outpost in the middle of the Pacific was attacked out of the clear blue sky is a myth that deserves to be buried.

Conclusion

There is no such thing as an ideal foreign policy. In international politics there is no policy which will suit all times and all circumstances. There is none which can be carried out to give a guarantee of enduring peace. After every outbreak of war historians and journalists look back to this or that turning point, and say that if only a certain government had acted differently, with more foresight, the war would not have happened. This kind of reasoning rests on assumptions that are not justified. It assumes that a government is a free agent, able to follow any policy that the international situation may seem to call for. It ignores the forces behind the government which determine the government’s attitude and limit its freedom of action; the electorates that have to be considered, but more importantly commercial, industrial and financial groups whose demands on foreign policy are coloured by their trading and other interests, such as the so-called “isolationists” versus the “interventionists” in American relations. The view taken by the “wise-after-the-event” historians assumes, too, that if one government gave a certain lead in international affairs other governments would react in a simple practicable way, determined either by fear of opposing a strong group of super-powers or by mutual desire to maintain world peace. Another problem is also that political leaders all too often ignore their own intelligence reports when they don’t fit with their political goals. Those goals reflect ideological and electoral concerns such as the need to appear to be acting in strong and determined ways – to be more assertive protectors of “freedom” than their competitors in the opposition party. This works to make presidents and prime ministers prone to opportunism and short-sightedness.

Capitalism forces all governments to compete in the world market and to strive for aims which cannot be satisfied. The rivalry between Japan and the US was unavoidable. In order to solve the insoluble problems of its own industries and financial organisations every nation, great or small, is demanding something which the other nations cannot afford to yield. And the whole problem is complicated by the sectional interests within each country, each trying to influence foreign policy. Alongside all this is the fact that the propertied class in all countries fears “subversive” influences and leans towards other governments which look like firm bulwarks for the defence of property; hence the readiness of influential circles in Britain and America to make an accommodation with the Nazis.

Those who talk as if the only problem of the British government was to prevent the German capitalists from re-establishing German power, also forget that in the 1920s the problem appeared to be that of preventing the French capitalists from dominating Europe and the Mediterranean. The policy of helping to re-establish Germany was at that time supported by British and American business interests, whose markets were in Germany and by bankers who had loaned millions of pounds to Germany. For American capitalists the British Empire was also a perceived threat, not Germany (even in 1923 the Scottish radical John McLean anticipated an Anglo-American war, “The war with America is rapidly rushing upon us”.)

When the Stalin-Hitler Pact was signed the Socialist Party pointed out at the time  “it seems certain that now Russia and Germany are neighbours, both intent on dominating Eastern Europe and the Balkans, they will find each other dangerous friends, liable to turn into enemies at any moment.”  and by 1941 that view was proven. Germany’s growing need of war materials and, perhaps, the assumption that a war against “Godless Bolshevism” might appeal to right-wing circles in Britain as it most definitely did in the U.S.A. justified Barbarossa in Nazi eyes.

Two recent books about Second World War have been published. In Unpatriotic History of the Second World War James Heartfield rejects the view of World War II as a supposed struggle against evil dictatorships. Instead Heartfield amasses evidence to demonstrate that the real underlying concerns of the elites who directed the war on both sides related much more to their economic, strategic, and imperial interests. What had formerly been trading wars had by 1939-1945 turned into armed competition over the spoils of exploitation on a world scale. Churchill openly declared his admiration for Mussolini and that he was fighting to defend the British Empire. This was a war over markets and access to raw materials as the post-war settlement over spheres of influence made clear. The plight of German Jews was never an issue nor was Poland, demonstrated by the fact that Britain and France had ignored the simultaneous invasion by Russian troops of Poland’s eastern flank. Once the fighting was over, Stalin held 52 per cent of Polish territory, and Hitler 48 per cent. This was not a People’s War but a war against people.

This contrasts with A People’s History of the Second World War by Donny Gluckstein who argues that the Second World War was an inter-imperialist conflict to re-divide the world amongst imperialist powers, but that unlike ,the First World War, it was still “a war worth fighting” as a means ” to end the scourge of fascism and Nazism” thus  concluding that workers were right to die supporting it.

The lesson of all this is that, while the forces driving to international conflict and war remain, there are no means of making the world safe for peace. Pacts and alliances, Leagues of Nations, United Nations, International Courts and so on, may possibly control minor disputes and delay the major ones, but they have not succeeded and will not succeed in preventing war. World peace, like the abolition of property, is something only to be achieved through socialism.

Former US president Jimmy Carter referred to the US as “the most warlike nation in the history of the world,” a result of the US forcing other countries to “adopt our American principles.” Carter then said the US has been at peace for only 16 of its 242 years as a nation. Counting wars, military attacks and military occupations, there have actually only been five years of peace in US history—1976, the last year of the Gerald Ford administration and 1977-80, the entirety of Carter’s presidency. The US has also invaded or bombed dozens of countries and supported nearly every single right wing dictatorship in the world since the end of World War II. It has overthrown — or attempted to overthrow — dozens of foreign governments since 1949 and has actively sought to crush nearly every single people’s liberation movement over that same period. It has also meddled in scores of elections, in countries that are allies and adversaries alike.

When things are no longer produced for profit, but for the use of those who make them, then there will no longer be any necessity for a capitalist army. When millions of workers are set free from making munitions and provisions of warfare, then they will be able to turn their attention to building themselves better houses, producing more and better food for their families, and they will enjoy the leisure, the comfort, the culture and the education which are now the privileges of the exploiters. The continuous struggle for socialism is the World Socialist Party’s peace policy.

Many support the concept of a “good war” and the Second World War is often cited as a case in point. The United States fought that war against Nazi racial theories with a racially segregated army. It fought the war for freedom and democracy having passed Executive Order 9066 interning more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans without due process. Before the war the United States regularly turned away Jewish refugees to face certain death in Europe.

The World Socialist Party has a most clear and positive attitude to war. We are opposed to all wars, whether they be major and world-wide, or minor and localized. Our opposition to all war has been consistent from the time of our origin. Our opposition to war is an opposition distinct from all others. It is not an opposition based upon religious beliefs; and although we are opposed to war on social and humanitarian grounds, our opposition is not limited to a humanitarian approach — it goes much further. The socialist opposition to war results from our analysis and opposition to capitalism; the realization that this system is the cause of war; further, that the working class are living under a system that can never be made to operate in their interests; that war is inevitable under capitalism, and that the two go hand in hand and should be completely opposed by the workers at all times until they are both finally eliminated, one with the other.

The World Socialist Party’s answer is that we can uproot the cause of war by organizing to uproot the capitalist system. Workers have more than the necessary numbers to vote capitalism out and socialism in, as proposed by the World Socialist Party. This new social system, the working people alone can bring into being, thus forever putting an end to wars, and establishing the society of human solidarity based on freedom, peace and abundance.

To conclude: Sentiment and emotion for a fine cause are laudable. But without a sound premise and defined goal, they can only end in failure and despair. The crying need of our time is not marches and demonstrations for limited and impossible to attain objectives, but determined, unrelenting action to awaken the working class to the imperative need for a socialist reconstruction of society, and to enlighten them on the principles and program for accomplishing that social change in a peaceful manner.

To quote scripture, Isaiah saw in prophetic vision a time when nations should war no more—when swords should be transformed into ploughshares and spears into pruning hooks. The fulfillment of the prophecy only awaits socialism and the solution of the economic problems we all face. All else is futile and hopeless.

Sources:1

  1. Mickey Z. June 6 Is D(isinformation) Day: The “Good War” Lie, June 3, 2013.

    The Socialist Party, Great Britain.  How can Hitlerism be destroyed? February 1940.

    Dr.  Jacques R. Pauwels.  “Fall 1941: Pearl Harbor and The Wars of Corporate America“, December 11, 2011; and “Profits über Alles! American Corporations and Hitler“, June 7, 2019.

    David Swanson. Pearl Harbour:  A Successful War Lie, December 7, 2010.

The post America's "Good" Wars first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Russia:  Nord Stream 2 vs. Poisoning of Alexei Navalny

Wednesday, 2 September, all German TV channels, mainstream media were focused unilaterally on the alleged Novichok poisoning of Russian opposition critic, Alexei Navalny. This “breaking-news” poison discovery was made in Germany two weeks after he has been flown from Tomsk in Siberia to Moscow, when he fell ill on the plane and the airliner had to return to Tomsk for an emergency landing.

Navalny was hospitalized in Tomsk, put in an artificial coma and closely observed. His family wanted him immediately to be flown out of Russia to Berlin, Germany, to get western attention and western treatment. So, the story goes. At first the medical staff at Tomsk hospital said that Navalny’s health was not stable enough for a transport of this kind. A few days later they gave the green light for flying him to Germany. Berlin sent a hospital plane – at German taxpayer’s cost – to fly the “poisoned” political patient to Berlin, where during the last 14 days he has been in an artificial coma in Berlin’s University Hospital “Charité”. At least that’s what the government reports.

After 11 days, finally “scientists” — supposedly military toxicologists — have discovered that Navalny was poisoned with military grade nerve gas Novichok.

Military grade!  It reminds vividly of the other bizarre Novichok case — Sergei and Yulia Skripal, father and daughter, who were found on March 12, 2018 on a park bench in Salisbury, Britain, unconscious. The location was about 12 km down the road from the British top-secret P-4 security military lab Porton Down in Wiltshire, one of the few labs in the world that still are capable to produce Novichok. The immediate reaction of Britain and the world was then, like today: Putin did it! Sergei Skripal was a Russian double agent, who was released from Russia more than a decade earlier and lived peacefully in England.

What interest would Mr. Putin have to poison him? However, the UK and Big Brother Washington had all the interest in the world to invent yet another reason to bash and slander Russia and President Putin. The same as today with Alexei Navalny.

Isn’t it strange that the Skripals as well as Navalny survived? And that after having been poisoned with what military experts claim to be the deadliest nerve agent ever? Although nobody has seen the Skripals after they were hospitalized 2 years ago, it seems they are still alive. Were they perhaps given US-British shelter under the guise of the so-called US-witness protection program – a full new identity, hiding in plain view?

The immediate question was then and is today, why would Mr. Putin poison his adversaries? That would be the most unwise thing to do. Everybody knows much too well that Mr. Putin is the world’s foremost perceptive, incisive and diplomatic statesman. Alexei Navalny wasn’t even a serious contender. His popularity was less than 5%. Compare this with Mr. Putin’s close to 80% approval rating by the Russian population. Navalny is known as a right wing activist and troublemaker. Anybody who suggests such an absurdity, that the Kremlin would poison Navalny, is outright crazy.

If there would have been a plot to get rid of Navalny – why would he be poisoned with the deadliest nerve gas there is – and, as he survives, being allowed to be flown out to the west, literally into the belly of the beast? That would be even more nonsensical.

Yet the mainstream media keep hammering it down without mercy, without even allowing for the slightest doubt, down into the brains of the suspected brainwashed Germans and world populations. But the German population is the least brainwashed of all Europe. In fact, Germans are the most awakened of the globe’s western populace. It clearly shows when they resist their government’s (and the 193 nations governments’ around the world) Covid tyranny with a peaceful Berlin protest of 1 August of 1.3 million people in the streets and a similar one on 29 August.

Nevertheless, Madame Merkel’s reaction was so ferocious on September 2 on TV and with the media, as well as talking to leaders from around the world on how to react to this latest Russian atrocity and how to punish and sanction President Putin, that even conservative politicians and some mainstream journalists started wondering – what’s going on?

It’s a debateless accusation of Russia. There is no shred of evidence and there are no alternatives being considered. The simplest and most immediate question one ought to ask in such circumstances is “cui bono” – who benefits?  But no. The answer to this question would clearly show that President Putin and Russia do not benefit from this alleged poisoning at all. So, who does?

The evolving situation is so absurd that not a single word coming out of the German Government can be believed. It all sounds like a flagrant lie; like an evil act of smearing Russia without a reason, and that exactly at the time when Europe, led by Germany, was about to improve relations with Russia. The gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 is a vivid testimony for closer relations between Germany, and by association Europe, with Russia – or is it?

One of Joseph Goebbels’ (Hitler’s propaganda Minister) famous sayings was, when a lie is repeated enough it becomes the truth.

Peculiarly enough, and without any transit-thought, the German right wing, the CDU-party, in particular, came immediately forward with recommending – no, demanding – an immediate halt of the Nord Stream 2 project – canceling the contract with Russia. The “biggest punishment” for Putin. “It will hurt Russia deep in their already miserable down-trodden economy”, were some comments. Those were angry anti-Russian voices. Another lie. The Russian economy is doing well, very well, as compared to most western economies, despite Covid.

What do Russian health and toxicology authorities say, especially those who treated Mr. Navalny in the hospital of Tomsk?

RT reports, according to Alexander Sabaev, the chief toxicologist who cared for him in Siberia, if Alexey Navalny’s condition were caused by a substance from the ‘Novichok’ group, the people accompanying him should also be suffering from the fallout. Instead, Dr. Sabaev believes that Navalny’s condition was caused by an “internal trigger mechanism.” Novichok is an organophosphorus compound, and, due to its high toxicity, it is not possible to poison just one person. He explained, “As a rule, other accompanying people will also be affected.”

Doctors in the Tomsk Emergency Hospital, where activist Navalny lay in a coma for almost two days, found no traces of toxic substances in his kidneys, liver, or lungs.  Alexander Sabaev, leading the investigation, concluded that Navalny was not poisoned.

So why was Dr. Alexander Sabaev not interviewed on German TV or by the western mainstream media?

Neither were members of other German parties interviewed, for example, Die Linke (the Left), or the SPD – the Social Democratic Party. None.  None of the medical doctors or “scientists” who were treating Alexei Navalny at Charité, and who allegedly discovered the deadly poison (but not deadly enough) in Navalny’s body, were interviewed.

Nor was the former Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder (Ms. Merkel’s predecessor, 1998-2005) interviewed about his opinion. Schroeder, a member of the SPD, is one of the master minds of Nord Stream 2 and is currently the chairman of the board of Nord Stream AG and of Rosneft. Would he think that Mr. Putin was as foolish as to kill this German-Russia unifying project by poisoning a right-wing activist, a non-adversary?

Of course not.

Therefore, who benefits?

The United States has for years been objecting vividly and voraciously against this pipeline. Trump: “Why should we pay for NATO to defend Germany, when Germany buys gas from Russia and makes herself dependent on Russia?” – He added, “We offer Germany and Europe all the gas and energy they need.” Yes, the US is offering “fracking gas” at much higher cost than the Russian gas. There are countries in Europe whose Constitution would not allow buying fracking gas, due to the environmentally damaging fracking process.

Is it possible that this was another one of those brilliant acts of the CIA or other US intelligence agencies?  Or a combination of CIA and the German Bundesnachrichtendienst (German Federal Intelligence Service) or an EU-NATO trick? By now it’s no longer a secret that NATO runs Brussels, or at least calls the shots on issues of US interests concerning the European Union or its member states.

Is it possible that Angela Merkel was chosen by the deep-deep state to combat President Putin and Russia, this time by bashing and smearing them with lies – lies as gross as poisoning an opposition activist? To kill the pipeline? What will it be next time?

Today, the first time, official Germany through Mr. Heiko Haas, Foreign Minister, has questioned and threatened the Nord Stream 2 German-Russian joint venture – “if Moscow does not collaborate.” Mr. Haas knows very well there is nothing to collaborate, as Russia was not involved. It is the same argument, if Moscow does not collaborate (in the case of the Skripals) that was used by Theresa May, then British PM, to punish Russia with further sanctions.

Indeed, all is possible in today’s world, where the Washington empire is faltering by the day and the Powers that Be are desperate that their international fraud base – the US-dollar – may be disappearing. Because, not only are Nord Stream 1 and 2 delivering Russian gas to Germany and Europe, but the gas is traded in euros and rubles and not in US-dollars.

Think about it. Killing (or – so far – poisoning) a Russian opposition leader to demolish the German-Russian Nord Stream 2 project?  This is certainly a crime within the realm and “competence” of the US Government and its western allies.

* First published by the New Eastern Outlook – NEO

The post Russia:  Nord Stream 2 vs. Poisoning of Alexei Navalny first appeared on Dissident Voice.

As Washington Retreats, Eastern Mediterranean Conflict Further Marginalizes NATO

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is an alliance in name alone. Recent events notwithstanding, the brewing conflict over territorial waters in the Eastern Mediterranean indicates that the military union between mostly Western countries is faltering.

The current Turkish-Greek tension is only one facet of a much larger conflict involving, aside from the two Mediterranean countries, Israel, Egypt, Cyprus, France, Libya and other Mediterranean and European countries. Notably absent from the list are the United States and Russia; the latter, in particular, stands to gain or lose much economic leverage, depending on the outcome of the conflict.

Conflicts of this nature tend to have historic roots – Turkey and Greece fought a brief but consequential war in 1974. Of relevance to the current conflagration is an agreement signed by Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu and his Greek and Cypriot counterparts, Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Nicos Anastasiades, respectively, on January 2. The agreement envisages the establishment of the EastMed pipeline which, once finalized, is projected to flood Europe with Israeli natural gas, pumped mostly from the Leviathan Basin.

Several European countries are keen on being part of, and profiting from, the project. But Europe’s gain is not just economic but also geostrategic. Cheap Israeli gas will lessen Europe’s reliance on Russia’s natural gas which arrives in Europe through two pipelines, Nord Stream and Gazprom, the latter extending through Turkey.

Gazprom alone supplies Europe with an estimated 40% of its natural gas needs, thus giving Russia significant economic and political leverage. Some European countries, especially France, have labored to liberate themselves from what they see as a Russian economic chokehold on their economies.

Indeed, the French and Italian rivalry currently under way in Libya is tantamount to colonial expeditions aimed at balancing out the over-reliance on Russian and Turkish supplies of gas and other sources of energy.

Fully aware of France’s and Italy’s intentions in Libya, the Russians and Turks are wholly involved in Libya’s military showdown between the Government of National Accord (GNA) and forces in the East, loyal to General Khalifa Haftar.

While the conflict in Libya has been under way for years, the Israel-et al EastMed pipeline has added fuel to the fire: infuriating Turkey, which is excluded from the agreement; worrying Russia, whose gas arrives in Europe partially via Turkey, and empowering Israel, which may now cement its economic integration with the European continent.

Anticipating the Israel-led alliance, on November 28, 2019, Turkey and Libya signed a Maritime Boundary Treaty, an agreement that gave Ankara access to Libya’s territorial waters. The bold maneuver allows Turkey to claim territorial rights for gas exploration in a massive region that extends from the Turkish southern coast to Libya’s north-east coast.

The ‘Exclusive Economic Zone’ (EEZ) is unacceptable in Europe because, if it remains in effect, it will cancel out the ambitious EastMed project and fundamentally alter the geopolitics – largely dictated by Europe and guaranteed by NATO – of this region.

However, NATO is no longer the once formidable and unified power. Since its inception in 1949, NATO has been on the rise. NATO members have fought major wars in the name of defending one another and also to protect ‘the West’ from the ‘Soviet menace’.

NATO remained strong and relatively unified even after the dismantlement of the Soviet Union and the abrupt collapse, in 1991, of its Warsaw Pact. NATO managed to sustain a degree of unity, despite its raison d’être – defeating the Soviets – being no longer a factor, because Washington wished to maintain its military hegemony, especially in the Middle East.

While the Iraq war of 1991 was the first powerful expression of NATO’s new mission, the Iraq war of 2003 was NATO’s undoing. After failing to achieve any of its goals in Iraq, the US adopted an ‘exit strategy’ that foresaw a gradual American retreat from Iraq while, simultaneously, ‘pivoting to Asia’ in the desperate hope of slowing down China’s military encroachment in the Pacific.

The best expression of the American decision to divest militarily from the Middle East was NATO’s war on Libya in March 2011. Military strategists had to devise a bewildering term, ‘leading from behind’, to describe the role of the US in the Libya conflict. For the first time since the establishment of NATO, the US was part of a conflict that was largely controlled by comparatively smaller and weaker NATO members – Italy, France, Britain and others.

While former US President, Barack Obama, insisted on the centrality of NATO in US military strategies, it was evident that the once-powerful alliance had outweighed its usefulness for Washington.

France, in particular, continues to fight for NATO with the same ferocity it fought to keep the European Union intact. It is this French faith in European and Western ideals that has compelled Paris to fill the gap left by the gradual American withdrawal. France is currently playing the role of the military hegemon and political leader in many of the Middle East’s ongoing crises, including the flaring East Mediterranean conflict.

On December 3, 2019, France’s Emmanuel Macron stood up to US President Donald Trump, at the NATO summit in London. Here, Trump chastised NATO for its reliance on American defense and threatened to pull out of the alliance altogether if NATO members did not compensate Washington for its protection.

It’s a strange and unprecedented spectacle when countries like Israel, Greece, Egypt, Libya, Turkey and others lay claims over the Mediterranean, while NATO scrambles to stave off an outright war, among its own members. Even stranger, to see France and Germany taking over the leadership of NATO while the US remains, thus far, almost completely absent.

It is hard to imagine the reinvention of NATO, at least a NATO that caters to Washington’s interests and diktats. Judging by France’s recent behavior, the future may hold irreversible paradigm shifts. In November 2018, Macron made what then seemed as a baffling suggestion, a ‘true, European army’. Considering the rapid regional developments and the incremental collapse of NATO, Macron may one day get his army, after all.

The post As Washington Retreats, Eastern Mediterranean Conflict Further Marginalizes NATO first appeared on Dissident Voice.

New Normal Gleichschaltung, or: The Storming of the Reichstag Building on 29 August, 2020

On March 21, 1933, the Nazi-controlled Reichstag passed a law making it a crime to speak out against the government. The “Regulations of the Reich President for Defense from Treacherous Attacks against the Government of the National Uprising” made even the slightest expression of dissent from Nazi ideology a criminal offense. This new law, among other totalitarian measures, was part of a process known as Gleichschaltung … the process of achieving rigid and total ideological coordination and uniformity in politics, culture, and private communication by forcibly repressing (or eliminating) independence and freedom of thought and expression.

GloboCap hasn’t done anything that heavy-handed in the course of rolling out the New Normal totalitarianism, but that’s mainly because they do not have to. When you control the vast majority of the global corporate media, you don’t need to pass a lot of ham-fisted laws banning all dissent from your totalitarian ideology. This isn’t the 1930s, after all. Over the last ninety years, the arts of propaganda, disinformation, and perception management have advanced to a point that even Goebbels couldn’t have imagined.

The skill with which GloboCap and the corporate media delegitimized the anti-New Normal demonstrations in Berlin, London, and other cities last weekend is a perfect example of the state of those arts. I’ll focus on Berlin, as that’s where I live, and the so-called “Storming of the Reichstag” incident, but it works pretty much the same way everywhere. I believe there was a curious incident involving a person with a fascist flag in London, and that the UK media have now officially chosen David Icke to be the movement’s figurehead.

In Berlin, in the days leading up to the protests, government officials and corporate media propagandists did what officials and propagandists do … they relentlessly repeated their official narrative; namely, that anyone protesting the New Normal (or doubting the official Coronavirus narrative) is a “violent neo-Nazi extremist,” or “conspiracy theorist,” or some other form of existential “threat to democracy.”

This official narrative was originally disseminated following the August 1 protest in Berlin, the scale of which took the authorities by surprise. Tens or hundreds of thousands of people (depending on whose narrative you believe) gathered in the city to protest the New Normal and its increasingly absurd “emergency measures.” The German media, CNN, The New York Times, and other “respectable news outlets” uniformly condemned them as “neo-Nazis,” or insinuated that they were “neo-Nazi-sympathizers.”

Despite the finding of Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution that only “individual members of far-right-groups” had taken part in the August 1 protest, and that “far-right extremists had no formative influence on the demos,” both the German and international corporate media pumped out story after story about the ultra-violent neo-Nazi hordes that were about to descend on Berlin, again!

Der Tagespiegel, a major German newspaper, reported that the demo was being “infiltrated by Nazis.” Die Tagesschau, the German BBC, shrieked that “neo-Nazis are mobilizing!” RBB, another public broadcaster, reported that the “traveling circus of Corona-deniers” was heading straight for the city! (N.B. Any reference to any kind of “deniers” in Germany evokes Holocaust deniers; i.e., Nazis). Ver.di, the German journalists union, warned their members that they were expecting reporters to suffer “double-digit physical attacks.” And these are just a few of countless examples.

The American and UK corporate media also did their Gleichschaltung duty, disseminating the official “Nazis are Coming!” narrative. (I don’t need to do the citations, do I?) And, of course, Antifa joined in the chorus.

On Wednesday, three days before the demo, having successfully whipped the New Normal masses up into a state of wide-eyed panic over the imminent neo-Nazi invasion, the Berlin government banned the protests. The New Normal masses celebrated. A few concerns about … you know, democracy, were perfunctorily voiced, but they were quickly silenced when Interior Senator Andreas Geisel explained that abrogating the people’s constitutional right to freedom of assembly, and freedom of speech, and to petition their government, was not in any way a totalitarian act, but was purely a matter of “protecting the public health.”

For good measure, Geisel also added:

I’m not willing to accept a second time that Berlin is being abused as a stage for Corona deniers, Reichsbürger, and right-wing extremists.

Then, in a particularly Orwellian twist, although the protest itself had now been banned, the Berlin government decided to approve a “counter-protest” against the banned protest. I’m not quite sure how that was supposed to work.

The night before the demo, an administrative court overturned the protest ban. It didn’t really matter, as the authorities knew they couldn’t stop the demo in any event. Banning the protest was just part of the show (and the Gleichschaltung process the show was part of), meant to emphasize the existential threat posed by the bloodthirsty Nazi legion that was on its way to sack the city.

On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of protesters (the overwhelming majority of whom were not neo-Nazis, or Nazi-sympathizers, or any other kind of monsters) poured into the streets of central Berlin. The police surrounded them, trapping them on the avenues, closed off the side streets so they couldn’t get out, and, once again, tried to ban the protest on the grounds that they weren’t “social distancing.” Everyone sat down in the street. Cops stalked around in their masks and body armor, sweating heavily, and occasionally pushing people. Lawyers made phone calls. It was very hot. This went on for quite a while.

Eventually, the court instructed the police to let the demonstration go ahead. And the rest is history … except that it isn’t. According to the official narrative, there were no hundreds of thousands of protesters. There were “tens of thousands,” and they were all “neo-Nazis,” and “Nazi-sympathizers,” and “Coronavirus deniers,” and “stark-raving mad conspiracy theorists.” (Full disclosure: I was there with them, and, yes, indeed, there were some neo-Nazis among the hundreds of thousands in the streets, but, just like at the August 1 protest, these far-right boneheads were a small minority and not at all welcomed by the majority of the participants, no more than the Trotskyists and anti-Semites were welcomed at the 2003 anti-war protests before the US invasion of Iraq, although, yes, they were definitely there.)

In any event, hundreds of thousands of protesters made their way down Unter den Linden, through the iconic Brandenburg Gate, and onward to the main demonstration, filling the Straße des 17. Juni from the Brandenburg Gate to the Siegessäule. By now, I assume you’ve seen the pictures. Or maybe you haven’t. It’s actually fairly hard to find any photos in the media that give you any real perspective.

And, finally, we have come to the main event … which, of course, was not this enormous gathering of totally non-violent, non-Nazi people peacefully protesting the New Normal totalitarianism, nor the speech of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. No, the “story,” the official main event, was the “Storming of the Reichstag building by Nazis.”

I’ll let Mathias Bröckers handle this part. Here’s an excerpt from his recent blog post:

Storming of Reichstag Averted – Democracy Saved!

How do you manage to delegitimize a peaceful mass protest against the corona measures in such a way that the media report not about a protest by hundreds of thousands, but about the “storming” of the Reichstag?

Quite simply: you approve an application by a group of Reichsbürger to assemble directly in front of the Reichstag (N.B. the official applicant for this assembly was Ex-NPD-member Rüdiger Hoffmann) and station only three policemen in front of the west entrance despite the large police presence everywhere in the area. Then you let a crazy Q-Anon-chick scream into the microphone that “Donald Trump has declared freedom,” that “the police have laid down their weapons,” and that “everyone should now occupy the steps of the Reichstag,” and, presto, you have the images you need to dominate the coverage … a mob of a few dozen people with Reichsbürger flags “storming the Reichstag.”

Never mind the fact that the massive demonstration at the Siegesäule (i.e., Victory Column) organized by Querdenken 711 had absolutely nothing to do with this incident, which was carried out by a right-wing-extremist splinter group. The demonstration had already been delegitimized as a protest staged by Reichsbürger extremists and tin-foil-hat lunatics in the days leading up to it, and now the visual confirmation was provided.

In a video of the lead-up to the “Reichstag storming” incident, Tamara K., a natural health practitioner, and pretty obviously a far-right wacko, is the “crazy Q-Anon-chick” in question. You can clearly hear her advising the crowd that “there are no more police here,” which the video confirms. Or rather, the few police that were there had left the building completely unguarded and pulled back to well behind this assembly of obviously far-right-extremist-type clowns (who, remember, had been granted official permission to stage their assembly at the steps of the Reichstag). This, despite the days and weeks of warnings of a “neo-Nazi invasion” from government officials and the corporate media.

Go ahead, call me a “conspiracy theorist.”

Anyway, once the Reichstag steps were thoroughly occupied by far-right loonies and the Reichsflagge were in the right positions (approximately four minutes into the video), the police finally arrived to mount their defense. It was touch-and-go there for a while, but at the end of the day, democracy triumphed. Naturally, there were plenty of journalists on hand to capture this historic drama and broadcast it all around the world.

And there you have it, the official narrative, which Saskia Esken, SPD co-leader, succinctly squeezed into a tweet:

Tens of thousands of far-right radicals, Reichsbürger, QAnon followers, Holocaust deniers, anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists, and esoterics, who declare the media, science, and politicians ‘guilty’ and openly call for the storming of the Reichstag and a coup d’état. That is the 29 August Berlin demonstration.

Oh, and yesterday, as I was writing this column, I saw that the Berlin Senate had passed a new regulation requiring the participants of any future protests to all wear masks … so I take back what I wrote in the beginning. It looks like GloboCap, or at least its German branch, has some ham-fisted totalitarianism left in it.

I’ll keep you posted on the Gleichschaltung process, and the advance of the New Normal totalitarianism, generally. In the meantime, remember, this is just about a virus! And the Nazis really are coming this time! And looting is a powerful tool to bring about real, lasting change in society … oh, yeah, and the chocolate ration has been increased!

The post New Normal Gleichschaltung, or: The Storming of the Reichstag Building on 29 August, 2020 first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Slavery of Fear

Photo by Nathan O’Nions

Flee, Flight or Freeze

In the natural world, there are two kinds of responses to imminent threats: either flee or fight. Most of the time, in order to maximize chances of survival, the decision has to be made by individuals or groups in less than a split second. On one hand, the option to flee is motivated by this immediate assessment. It has, of course, an important fear factor. On the other hand, the option to fight seems brave on the surface, but intense momentary fear perhaps had to be overcome by a massive adrenaline rush. Fear is a primal and powerful emotion that is essential for survival, but it can also be used as a tool to control people through mental, emotional and even physical paralysis.

Photo by The Malt

There is a third behavioral option when fear completely paralyzes the individual or a group: it is the freeze option, similar to the imaginary sense of the impossibility to act or react for someone going through a deep clinical depression. As a collective or a nation, this freeze or depressed state when facing danger is also possible. Eighty years ago, with the exception of General Charles de Gaulle and a few men who decided to flee to carry on the fight, France capitulated to the German enemy. France froze and became trapped in the ignominy of a collective depression that was the collaboration by the Vichy government.

Photo by Torbak Hopper

In human society, during the barbaric lunacy that has been called the art of war, many substances have been used in history to make soldiers less fearful before combat. Drinking alcohol is an obvious one in Europe; chewing coca leaves for South American native tribes; smoking or eating hashish in the Middle-East and Asia — this concentrated form of cannabis is the etymological origin of the word assassin; more recently, during World War II’s spectacular German Blietzkrieg 1940 attack on France, German troops were given the powerful methamphetamine Pervitin. Naturally, the notion of the fearless master-race Nazi soldiers was nothing but a mythology! The intrepid soldiers of the Reich and their beloved Furher, Adolf Hitler, had the fearlessness of crystal-meth addicts. Pervitin kept Nazi troops awake and fighting for days and nights, and increased their aggressive behavior.

Photo by Kyle Pearce

Of course, one cannot reduce the apparent fearless madness of the entire German nation during World War II to the massive consumption of Pervitin. What was probably the most sophisticated propaganda machine of the time had been put together by the Nazis; it had been brainwashing the minds of Germans, young and old, for almost a decade. Hitler and Co. spent about 10 years molding a sophisticated and cultured society into their ideological monstrosity with the mythology of the purity of blood, master race, and crucially the invention of Jews as evil, depraved and subhuman personified. If this was possible in an advanced society like Germany circa 1930, one must consider that such a gruesome turn of events is possible anywhere at any time, as madness can be a contagious disease.

Photo by Mark Rain

Fear of other cultures is a crucial component of racial hatred. Once a group of people like the Jews in Nazi Germany or the Africans during the slave trade to the Americas have been thoroughly dehumanized, it becomes easy, almost trivial, to torture and kill them. All propagandists are psychologists. Therefore they understand that their manipulation of fear gives birth to powerful dark impulses. A fear of abandonment as a child can later bring about morbid jealousy and various sociopathic behaviors. A fear of destitution drives the compulsion to greed. Collectively, fear can be a giant web of invisible chains that enslave a society in a psychological straight jacket. In this regard, September 11, 2001 and its aftermath was a turning point, and to some extent the Western world has been conditioned to live in fear ever since.

Photo by Hartwig HKD

The war of terror

Putting aside the inside-job narrative, what matters is how crises are used. The net benefit of 9/11 for some was to create a constant sense of uncertainty for the population, and cynically a jackpot for the military-industrial complex. It was the notion that the enemy could be lurking anywhere. The war on terror was, and still is, a conceptual war: an absurd Orwellian war without end because it is supposed to fight diffuse groups of people called terrorists whose only common ground is the use of fear as a weapon. Because fear breeds more fear, the 20-year conceptual war made people, almost worldwide, believe security was more important than personal liberty. The war on terror made people slaves of fear, and they were told it was for their own good.

Photo by Duncan C

Do not blame only Donald Trump for the current authoritarian police state in the US. The Department of Homeland Security was a fascist invention of George W. Bush, using 9/11 as a pretext, and it was maintained by Barack Obama, every time with the complicity of Congress. On one hand, the war on terror wrecked several countries: killed or displaced millions at a cost of several trillion dollars. Everyone knew it was not winnable. On the other hand, what worked for the US and its Western allies was the almost 20-year old war of terror that slowly victimized their own populations with the jackboot of a police-military apparatus constantly on their throats. When fear overcomes an entire society it can be beaten to submission. Where fear rules, servitude becomes acceptable.

Photo by Terence Faircloth

Strategy of fear and the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has given an entirely new dimension to the slavery of fear initiated on 9/11. There have been almost two decades, which is one generation, of a war of terror on the collective psyche. There could not have been a better introduction to the global fear of a pandemic. A diffuse Muslim fundamentalist enemy who could be anywhere has morphed to an invisible virus that is everywhere. The quantum leap was easily made, because it is intrinsically the same mechanism. It went a lot further than 9/11, because governments managed to convince their populations to submit themselves to various level of lockdown. Imagine this! Almost all complied worldwide, with little resistance and absolutely no organized rebellion.

Photo by Hartwig HKD

Just like the post 9/11 world infringed on human rights and privacy with various invasive policies, the post COVID-19 world has adopted its own arbitrary rules. They have in common that they fuel a fear of everyone and everything and engender agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorders, Stockholm syndrome, and depression. The panoply of mandatory social distancing measures and mask wearing decrees have made people hostile, fearful, and paranoid. Authorities worldwide have been on a joy killing mission. Populations have been successfully infantilized and traumatized by forbidding the most essential human behaviors: the joy to see a smile or the surprise of a flaring nostril; the smell of a ripe fruit at a market; the fortitude of what seems to be a time gone when you could dance with a stranger and perhaps steal a kiss.

More than two hundred years ago, Haitian slaves managed to free themselves, and in the process they defeated the world’s three largest empires: respectively, the French, British, and Spanish. Have we all become such pathetic shadows of our former selves? Are we so weak and cowardly today that we cannot free ourselves from the billionaire class and the fear it is imposing on us?

Australia’s Blind Allegiance to United States Foreign Policy Has a High Price to Pay

Well over a century ago the German statesman Otto von Bismarck remarked that countries have neither friends nor enemies only interests. History since then has done nothing to dispel the wisdom of his observation. There are many people still alive today who were alive when this country fought for its very existence against the two mortal enemies of the day: Germany and Japan.

What is the status of those two countries today? Germany is the most economically powerful nation in Europe, a vital member of the European Union and finally after decades in which its economic power was vastly greater than its political influence, is finally asserting itself politically in a manner commensurate with its economic influence.

Similarly, with Japan whose 10-year reign of terror and unparalleled brutality in Asian countries it invaded and occupied was finally ceased by a new role as the designated guinea pig for the then newly developed atomic bombs. Two different versions of that weapon had been developed and had to be tested on human victims.

Japanese signals of wanting to end the war as early as late 1944 had to be ignored as the bombs were not yet ready for testing. The excuse for rejecting the Japanese overtures for a peace deal were on the grounds that they would not make an unconditional surrender. The sole condition Japan sought was the retention of the role of the Emperor.

After the bombs were successfully tested (from the United States point of view) on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese unconditionally surrendered. The occupying United States and Allied forces allowed the Emperor to remain!

Japan now plays the same role in the Asian system of United States alliances that Germany plays in Europe. Despite its power as one of the world’s major economies, Japan has remained politically weak. Both Germany and Japan continue to suffer the continued occupation of their countries 75 years after the war ended. There is no possible military or political justification for the continued United States military presence in either country.

That has not, of course, stopped the United States occupation. In respect of both countries the ostensible justification remains the same: the alleged threat from China and Russia. Part of the irony, and the hypocrisy, is that both those nations were part of the allies that fought Japanese and German militarism respectively.

China’s favoured status as US ally changed abruptly after the Communist party took over the government of China in 1949. As every student of the Korean War knows the sequence of events in Korea after 1945, when the Japanese were expelled, made a military conflict between the North, that had been initially occupied by Russian forces until 1948 and the South, occupied by United States forces in 1945 and still there, almost inevitable.

There were cross-border skirmishes by both sides until in 1950 the North mounted a full-scale invasion of the South. A United Nations Security Council resolution (in the absence of the Russians and with the Chinese Nationalists still occupying China’s seat) authorised military intervention.

The Northern troops were rapidly expelled, which met the terms of the United Nations Security Council resolution. That did not stop the United States and Allied troops who in turn invaded the North and continued all the way to the Chinese border. We now know, although it was never admitted at the time, that the United States intention was to continue across the border with China with the intention of defeating the new Communist government and reinstalling the Nationalist regime of Chiang Kai-Shek that had retreated to the island of Formosa where it was protected by US warships in the relatively narrow strait separating Formosa from the mainland.

We now also know that the United States military leader in Korea, General Douglas MacArthur, had sought Washington’s permission to use nuclear weapons against the Chinese mainland forces. Fortunately, that permission was refused, but the request was a revealing insight into the United States military mindset.

Chinese intervention into the war led to the rapid expulsion of United States and Allied troops back below the 38th parallel. Thereafter military stalemate ensued until a ceasefire was agreed in 1953. No peace treaty has been signed to this day.

The purpose of this brief historical summary illustrates that United States–China animosity has a long history and a military option has always been part of the equation. China today is a vastly different military and economic proposition than it was in the early 1950s. In terms of parity purchasing power China is by far the world’ largest economy and has been for several years. It is also a nuclear power capable of wiping out the United States or any other enemy if it chose to do so.

In a rational world, the enormous economic strength of China and the military strength of its close ally Russia, should have led to at least a modus vivendi being worked out and a peaceful, albeit uneasy, truce determined.

Instead we have witnessed the opposite. Although the Trump administration has increased its belligerent rhetoric and waged an ever-increasing economic war against China, he was not the first US President to exhibit hostility toward China. Even if, as seems increasingly likely, Trump is defeated this November, it would be naïve to assume that a President Biden would be any different.

Not the least of the reasons is that United States foreign policy is not determined by rational political actors, but rather subject to direction and manipulation by the forces the outgoing President Eisenhower described in his farewell address in 1960 as the “military industrial complex.”  A 21st century description would add “intelligence” to the actors that Eisenhower referred to.

One of the more difficult things to understand for those of us who prefer to think that rational self-interest remains a powerful motivating force, is the behaviour of the Australian government. China is Australia’s largest trading partner by a substantial margin, taking more than a third of all Australian exports (about seven times the United States market share).

China is also Australia’s largest source of foreign tourists, largest source of foreign students (both very lucrative markets) and third largest source of foreign investment. In a rational world Australia would be carefully nurturing this golden goose. Instead the current government, with the enthusiastic support of the Labor Opposition, is going out of its way to offend and annoy the Chinese.

There is only one logical explanation for this self-destructive behaviour, and that is Australia places a greater weight on the military alliance with the United States than it does on its own economic well-being and the lives and prosperity of its own citizens. It is difficult to think of a polite way of describing this suicidal conduct.

Australian support goes beyond the merely political level. Australian warships in the Asian region are effectively part of the United States Navy exercises that are as this is being written, taking part in yet another so-called freedom of navigation exercise in the South China Sea. No one has been able to point to a single instance of China disrupting the free flow of civilian ships in the region. Given the economic importance to China of the free flow of trade through the narrow Straits of Hormuz (also subject to United States and Australian military patrols), it is not difficult to comprehend China’s reaction to this blatantly threatening conduct.

Should, as seems increasingly likely, the Chinese choose to exert economic pressure on Australia, the economic pain will be immense. Some restrictions on all Australian exports have already been imposed. These may be interpreted as a warning shot across the bows, encouraging Australia to rethink its manifestly suicidal economic behaviour.

There is no evidence that the message is penetrating the political and mainstream media skulls. There is total silence from those two sources of precisely who will step up to replace China’s crucial economic role as the source of Australia’s wellbeing. Reliance upon the Americans is frankly delusional and there is a conspicuous silence from any other prospective trading partner in the region or even elsewhere.

Not the least of the reasons for this regional silence over Australia’s suicidal policies is that a large proportion of those prospective trading partners are among the 160+ nations and organisations that have signed up to the Chinese-led Belt and Road Initiative and a growing number of other trading arrangements in the region that are rapidly developing.

Australia, again loyally following US directives, has shunned the BRI, again without offering a remotely plausible reason for doing so, and manifestly another example of acting against its national economic self-interest.

A profound lesson in geopolitical realism awaits Australia. When it inevitably comes and imposes its own harsh remedy, Australia will have no one to blame but itself.

What You Need to Know about the ICC Investigation of War Crimes in Occupied Palestine

Fatou Bensouda, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), has, once and for all, settled the doubts on the Court’s jurisdiction to investigate war crimes committed in occupied Palestine.

On April 30, Bensouda released a 60-page document diligently laying down the legal bases for that decision, concluding that “the Prosecution has carefully considered the observations of the participants, and remains of the view that the Court has jurisdiction over the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

Bensouda’s legal explanation was itself a preemptive decision, dating back to December 2019, as the ICC Prosecutor must have anticipated an Israeli-orchestrated pushback against the investigation of war crimes committed in the Occupied Territories.

After years of haggling, the ICC had resolved in December 2019 that, “there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the situation in Palestine, pursuant to article 53(1) of the Statute.”

Article 53(1) merely describes the procedural steps that often lead, or do not lead, to an investigation by the Court.

That Article is satisfied when the amount of evidence provided to the Court is so convincing that it leaves the ICC with no other option but to move forward with an investigation.

Indeed, Bensouda had already declared late last year that she was “satisfied that (i) war crimes have been or are being committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip… (ii) potential cases arising from the situation would be admissible; and (iii) there are no substantial reasons to believe that an investigation would not serve the interests of justice.”

Naturally, Israel and its main Western ally, the United States, fumed. Israel has never been held accountable by the international community for war crimes and other human rights violations in Palestine. The ICC’s decision, especially if the investigation moves forward, would be an historic precedent.

But, what are Israel and the US to do when neither are state parties in the ICC, thus having no actual influence on the internal proceedings of the court? A solution had to be devised.

In a historic irony, Germany, which had to answer to numerous war crimes committed by the Nazi regime during World War II, stepped in to serve as the main defender of Israel at the ICC and to shield accused Israeli war criminals from legal and moral accountability.

On February 14, Germany filed a petition with the ICC requesting an “amicus curiae”, meaning “friend of the court”, status. By achieving that special status, Germany was able to submit objections, arguing against the ICC’s earlier decision on behalf of Israel.

Germany, among others, then argued that the ICC had no legal authority to discuss Israeli war crimes in the occupied territories. These efforts, however, eventually amounted to nil.

The ball is now in the court of the ICC pre-trial chamber.

The pre-trial chamber consists of judges that authorize the opening of investigations. Customarily once the Prosecutor decides to consider an investigation, she has to inform the Pre-Trial Chamber of her decision.

According to the Rome Statute, Article 56(b), “… the Pre-Trial Chamber may, upon request of the Prosecutor, take such measures as may be necessary to ensure the efficiency and integrity of the proceedings and, in particular, to protect the rights of the defence.”

The fact that the Palestinian case has been advanced to such a point can and should be considered a victory for the Palestinian victims of the Israeli occupation. However, if the ICC investigation moves forward according to the original mandate requested by Bensouda, there will remain major legal and moral lapses that frustrate those who are advocating justice on behalf of Palestine.

For example, the legal representatives of the ‘Palestinian Victims Residents of the Gaza Strip’ expressed their concern on behalf of the victims regarding “the ostensibly narrow scope of the investigation into the crimes suffered by the Palestinian victims of this situation.”

The ‘narrow scope of the investigation’ has thus far excluded such serious crimes as crimes against humanity. According to the Gaza legal team, the killing of hundreds and wounding of thousands of unarmed protesters participating in the ‘Great March of Return’ is a crime against humanity that must also be investigated.

The ICC’s jurisdiction, of course, goes beyond Bensouda’s decision to investigate ‘war crimes’ only.

Article 5 of the Rome Statute – the founding document of the ICC – extends the Court’s jurisdiction to investigate the following “serious crimes”:

(a) The crime of genocide

(b) Crimes against humanity

(c) War crimes

(d) The crime of aggression

It should come as no surprise that Israel is qualified to be investigated on all four points and that the nature of Israeli crimes against Palestinians often tends to, constitute a mixture of two or more of these points simultaneously.

Former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian Human Rights (2008-2014), Prof. Richard Falk, wrote in 2009, soon after a deadly Israeli war on the besieged Gaza Strip, that:

Israel initiated the Gaza campaign without adequate legal foundation or just cause, and was responsible for causing the overwhelming proportion of devastation and the entirety of civilian suffering. Israeli reliance on a military approach to defeat or punish Gaza was intrinsically ‘criminal’, and as such demonstrative of both violations of the law of war and the commission of crimes against humanity.

Falk extended his legal argument beyond war crimes and crimes against humanity into a third category. “There is another element that strengthens the allegation of aggression. The population of Gaza had been subjected to a punitive blockade for 18 months when Israel launched its attacks.”

What about the crime of apartheid? Does it fit anywhere within the ICC’s previous definitions and jurisdiction?

The International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid of November 1973 defines apartheid as:

a crime against humanity and that inhuman acts resulting from the policies and practices of apartheid and similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination, as defined in article II of the Convention, are crimes violating the principles of international law, in particular the  purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and constituting a serious threat to international peace and security.

The Convention came into force in July 1976, when twenty countries ratified it. Mostly western powers, including the United States and Israel, opposed it.

Particularly important about the definition of apartheid, as stated by the Convention, is that the crime of apartheid was liberated from the limited South African context and made applicable to racially discriminatory policies in any state.

In June 1977, Addition Protocol 1 to the Geneva Conventions designated apartheid as, “a grave breach of the Protocol and a war crime.”

It follows that there are legal bases to argue that the crime of apartheid can be considered both a crime against humanity and a war crime.

Former UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian Human Rights (2000-2006), Prof. John Dugard, said this soon after Palestine joined the ICC in 2015:

For seven years, I visited the Palestinian territory twice a year. I also conducted a fact-finding mission after the Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in 2008, 2009. So, I am familiar with the situation, and I am familiar with the apartheid situation. I was a human rights lawyer in apartheid South Africa. And I, like virtually every South African who visits the occupied territory, has a terrible sense of déjà vu. We’ve seen it all before, except that it is infinitely worse. And what has happened in the West Bank is that the creation of a settlement enterprise has resulted in a situation that closely resembles that of apartheid, in which the settlers are the equivalent of white South Africans. They enjoy superior rights over Palestinians, and they do oppress Palestinians. So, one does have a system of apartheid in the occupied Palestinian territory. And I might mention that apartheid is also a crime within the competence of the International Criminal Court.

Considering the number of UN resolutions that Israel has violated throughout the years — the perpetual occupation of Palestine, the siege on Gaza, and the elaborate system of apartheid imposed on Palestinians through a large conglomerate of racist laws (culminating in the so-called Nation-State Law of July 2018) — finding Israel guilty of war crimes, among others “serious crimes”, should be a straightforward matter.

But the ICC is not entirely a legal platform. It is also a political institution that is subject to the interests and whims of its members. Germany’s intervention, on behalf of Israel, to dissuade the ICC from investigating Tel Aviv’s war crimes, is a case in point.

Time will tell how far the ICC is willing to go with its unprecedented and historic attempt aimed at, finally, investigating the numerous crimes that have been committed in Palestine unhindered, with no recourse and no accountability.

For the Palestinian people, the long-denied justice cannot arrive soon enough.

For Victory Day: It’s Time to Think About Finally Winning WWII

75 years ago Germany surrendered to allied forces finally ending the ravages of the Second World War.

Today, as the world celebrates the 75th anniversary of this victory, why not think very seriously about finally winning that war once and for all?

If you’re confused by this statement, then you might want to sit down and take a deep breath before reading on. Within the next 12 minutes, you will likely discover a disturbing fact which may frighten you a little bit: The allies never actually won World War II…

Now please don’t get me wrong. I am eternally thankful for the immortal souls who gave their lives to put down the fascist machine during those bleak years… but the fact is that a certain something wasn’t resolved on the 9th of May, 1945 which has a lot to do with the slow re-emergence of a new form of fascism during the second half of the 20th century and the renewed danger of a global bankers’ dictatorship which the world faces again today.

It is my contention that it is only when we find the courage to really look at this problem with sober eyes that we will be able to truly honor our courageous forebears who devoted their lives to winning a peace for their children, grandchildren and humanity more broadly.

The Ugly Truth of WWII

I’ll stop beating around the Bush now and just say it: Adolph Hitler or Benito Mussolini were never “their own men”.

The machines they led were never fully under their sovereign control and the financing they used as fuel in their effort to dominate the world did not come from the Banks of Italy or Germany. The technologies they used in petrochemicals, rubber, and computing didn’t come from Germany or Italy, and the governing scientific ideology of eugenics that drove so many of the horrors of Germany’s racial purification practices never originated in the minds of German thinkers or from German institutions.

Were it not for a powerful network of financiers and industrialists of the 1920s-1940s with names such as Rockefeller, Warburg, Montague Norman, Osborn, Morgan, Harriman or Dulles, then it can safely be said that fascism would never have been possible as a “solution” to the economic woes of the post-WWI order. To prove this point, let us take the strange case of Prescott Bush as a useful entry point.

The patriarch of the same Bush dynasty that gave the world two disastrous American presidents (and nearly a third had Donald Trump not annihilated Jeb at the last minute in 2016) made a name for himself funding Nazism alongside his business partners Averell Harrimen and Averell’s younger brother E. Roland Harriman (the latter who was to recruit Prescott to Skull and Bones while both studying at Yale). Not only did Prescott, acting as director of Brown Brothers Harriman, provide valuable loans to keep the bankrupt Nazi party afloat during Hitler’s loss of support in 1932 when the German population voted into office the anti-Fascist General Kurt von Schleicher as Chancellor, but was even found guilty for “Trading with the enemy” as director of Union Banking Corporation in 1942!

That’s right! As demonstrated in the 1992 Unauthorized Biography of George Bush, eleven months after America entered WWII, the Federal Government naturally conducted an investigation of all Nazi banking operations in the USA and wondered why Prescott continued to direct a bank which was so deeply enmeshed with Fritz Thyssen’s Bank voor Handel en Scheepvart of the Netherlands. Thyssen, for those who are unaware, is the German industrial magnate famous for writing the book  I Paid Hitler.  The bank itself was tied to a German combine called Steel Works of the German Steel Trust which controlled 50.8% of Nazi Germany’s pig iron, 41.4% of its universal plate, 38.5% of its galvanized steel, 45.5% of its pipes and 35% of its explosives. Under Vesting Order 248, the U.S. federal government seized all of Prescott’s properties on October 22, 1942.

The U.S.-German Steel combine was only one small part of a broader operation as Rockefeller’s Standard Oil had created a new international cartel alongside IG Farben (the fourth largest company in the world) in 1929 under the Young Plan. Owen Young was a JP Morgan asset who headed General Electric and instituted a German debt repayment plan in 1928 that gave rise to the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) and consolidated an international cartel of industrialists and financiers on behalf of the City of London and Wall Street. The largest of these cartels saw Henry Ford’s German operations merging with IG Farben, Dupont industries, Britain’s Shell and Rockefeller’s Standard Oil. The 1928 cartel agreement also made it possible for Standard Oil to pass off all patents and technologies for the creation of synthetic gasoline from coal to IG Farben thus allowing Germany to rise from producing merely 300 000 tons of natural petroleum in 1934 to an incredible 6.5 million tons (85% of its total) during WWII! Had this patent/technology transfer not taken place, it is a fact that the modern mechanized warfare that characterized WWII could never have occurred.

Two years before the Young Plan began, JP Morgan had already given a $100 million loan to Mussolini’s newly established fascist regime in Italy with Democratic Party kingmaker Thomas Lamont playing the role of Prescott Bush in Wall Street’s Italian operation. It wasn’t only JP Morgan who loved Mussolini’s brand of corporate fascism, but Time Magazine’s Henry Luce unapologetically gushed over Il Duce putting Mussolini on the cover of Time eight times between 1923 and 1943 while relentlessly promoting fascism as the “economic miracle solution for America” (which he also did in his other two magazines Fortune and Life). Many desperate Americans, still traumatized from the long and painful depression begun in 1929, had increasingly embraced the poisonous idea that an American fascism would put food on the table and finally find help them find work.

A few words should be said of Brown Brothers Harriman.

Bush’s Nazi bank itself was the spawn of an earlier 1931 merger which took place between Montagu Norman’s family bank (Brown Brothers) and Harriman, Bush and Co. Montague Norman was the Governor of the Bank of England from 1920 to 1944, leader of the Anglo-German Fellowship Trust and controller of Germany’s Hjalmar Schacht (Reichsbank president from 1923-1930 and Minister of Economy from 1934-1937). Norman was also the primary controller of the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) from its creation in 1930 throughout the entirety of WWII.

The Central Bank of Central Banks

Although the BIS was established under the Young Plan and nominally steered by Schacht as a mechanism for debt repayments from WWI, the Swiss-based “Central Bank of Central Banks” was the key mechanism for international financiers to fund the Nazi machine. The fact that the BIS was under the total control of Montagu Norman was revealed by Dutch Central Banker Johan Beyen who said: “Norman’s prestige was overwhelming. As the apostle of central bank cooperation, he made the central banker into a kind of arch-priest of monetary religion. The BIS was, in fact, his creation.”

The founding members of the Board included the private central banks of Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Belgium as well as a coterie of 3 private American banks (JP Morgan, First National of Chicago, and First National of New York). The three American banks merged after the war and are today known as Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase.

In its founding constitution, the BIS, its directors and staff were given immunity from all sovereign national laws and not even authorities in Switzerland were permitted to enter its premises.

This story was conveyed powerfully in the 2013 book Tower of Basel: The Shadowy History of the Secret Bank that Runs the World.

A Word on Eugenics

Nazi support in the build up to, and during, WWII didn’t end with finance and industrial might, but extended to the governing scientific ideology of the third Reich: Eugenics (aka: the science of Social Darwinism as developed by Thomas Huxley’s X Club associate Herbert Spencer and Darwin’s cousin Sir Francis Galton decades earlier). In 1932, New York hosted the Third Eugenics Conference co-sponsored by William Draper Jr (JP Morgan banker, head of General Motors and leading figure of Dillon Read and co) and the Harriman family. This conference brought together leading eugenicists from around the world who came to study America’s successful application of eugenics laws which had begun in 1907 under the enthusiastic patronage of Theodore Roosevelt. Hiding behind the respectable veneer of “science” these high priests of science discussed the new age of “directed evolution of man” which would soon be made possible under a global scientific dictatorship.

Speaking at the conference, leading British Fascist Fairfield Osborn said that eugenics:

aids and encourages the survival and multiplication of the fittest; indirectly, it would check and discourage the multiplication of the unfitted. As to the latter, in the United States alone, it is widely recognized that there are millions of people who are acting as dragnets or sheet anchors on the progress of the ship of state…While some highly competent people are unemployed, the mass of unemployment is among the less competent, who are first selected for suspension, while the few highly competent people are retained because they are still indispensable. In nature, these less-fitted individuals would gradually disappear, but in civilization, we are keeping them in the community in the hopes that in brighter days, they may all find employment. This is only another instance of humane civilization going directly against the order of nature and encouraging the survival of the un-fittest.

The dark days of the great depression were good years for bigotry and ignorance as eugenics laws were applied to two Canadian provinces, and widely spread across Europe and America with 30 U.S. states applying eugenics laws to sterilize the unfit. Eugenics’ successful growth was due in large measure to the fierce financial support of the Rockefeller Foundation and the science magazine Nature which had been created in 1865 by T.H. Huxley’s X Club. The Rockefeller Foundation went on to fund German eugenics and most specifically the rising star of human improvement, Joseph Mengele.

The Nazi Frankenstein Monster is Aborted

Describing his January 29, 1935 meeting with Hitler, Round Table controller Lord Lothian quoted the Fuhrer’s vision for Aryan co-direction of the New World Order saying:

Germany, England, France, Italy, America and Scandinavia … should arrive at some agreement whereby they would prevent their nationals from assisting in the industrializing of countries such as China, and India. It is suicidal to promote the establishment in the agricultural countries of Asia of manufacturing industries.

While it is obvious that much more can be said on the topic, the Fascist machine didn’t fully behave the way the Dr. Frankensteins in London wished, as Hitler began to realize that his powerful military machine gave Germany the power to lead the New World Order rather than play second fiddle as mere enforcers on behalf of their Anglo masters in Britain. While many London and Wall Street oligarchs were willing to adapt to this new reality, a decision was made to abort the plan, and try to fight another day.

To do this a scandal was concocted to justify the abdication of pro-Nazi King Edward VIII in 1936 and an appeasing Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain was replaced with Winston Churchill in 1940. While Sir Winston was a life long racist, eugenicist and even Mussolini-admirer, he was first and foremost a devout British Imperialist and as such would fight tooth and nail to save the prestige of the Empire if it were threatened. Which he did.

The Fascists vs Franklin Roosevelt

Within America itself, the pro-fascist Wall Street establishment had been loosing a war that began the day anti-fascist President Franklin Roosevelt was elected in 1932. Not only had their attempted February 1933 assassination failed, their 1934 coup d’etat plans were also thwarted by a patriotic General named Smedley Darlington Butler. To make matters worse, their efforts to keep America out of the war in the hopes of co-leading the New World Order alongside Germany, France and Italy was also falling apart. As I outlined in my recent article “How to Crush a Bankers’ Dictatorship“, between 1933-1939, FDR had imposed sweeping reforms on the banking sector, thwarted a major attempt to create a global Bankers’ dictatorship under the Bank of International Settlements, and mobilized a broad recovery under the New Deal.

By 1941, Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor polarized the American psyche so deeply that resisting America’s entry into WWII as Wall Street’s American Liberty League had been doing up until then, became political suicide. Wall Street’s corporatist organizations were called out by FDR during a powerful 1938 speech as the president reminded the Congress of the true nature of fascism:

The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism – ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power… Among us today a concentration of private power without equal in history is growing. This concentration is seriously impairing the economic effectiveness of private enterprise as a way of providing employment for labor and capital and as a way of assuring a more equitable distribution of income and earnings among the people of the nation as a whole.

While America’s entry into WWII proved a decisive factor in the destruction of the fascist machine, the dream shared by Franklin Roosevelt, Henry Wallace and many of FDR’s closest allies across America, Canada, Europe, China and Russia for a world governed by large-scale development, and win-win cooperation did not come to pass.

Even though FDR’s ally Harry Dexter White led in the fight to shut down the Bank of International Settlements during the July 1944 Bretton Woods conference, the passage of White’s resolutions to dissolve BIS and audit its books were never put into action. While White, who was to become the first head of the IMF, defended FDR’s program to create a new anti-imperial system of finance, Fabian Society leader, and devout eugenicist John Maynard Keynes defended the Bank and pushed instead to redefine the post-war system around a one world currency called the Bancor, controlled by the Bank of England and BIS.

The Fascist Resurgence in the Post-War World

By the end of 1945, the Truman Doctrine and Anglo-American “special relationship” replaced FDR’s anti-colonial vision, while an anti-communist witch hunt turned America into a fascist police state under FBI surveillance. Everyone friendly to Russia was targeted for destruction and the first to feel that targeting were FDR’s close allies Henry Wallace and Harry Dexter White whose 1948 death while campaigning for Wallace’s presidential bid put an end to anti-colonialists running the IMF.

In the decades after WWII, those same financiers who brought the world fascism went straight back to work infiltrating FDR’s Bretton Woods Institutions such as the IMF and World Bank, turning them from tools of development, into tools of enslavement. This process was fully exposed in the 2004 book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins.

The European banking houses representing the old nobility of the empire continued through this reconquering of the west without punishment. By 1971, the man whom Perkins exposed as the chief economic hit man George Schultz, orchestrated the removal of the U.S. dollar from the Gold-reserve, fixed exchange rate system director of the Office of Management of Budget and in the same year, the Rothschild Inter-Alpha Group of banks was created to usher in a new age of globalization. This 1971 floating of the dollar ushered in a new paradigm of consumerism, post-industrialism, and de-regulation which transformed the once productive western nations into speculative “post-truth” basket cases convinced that casino principles, bubbles and windmills were substitutes for agro-industrial economic practices.

So here we are in 2020 celebrating victory over fascism.

The children and grandchildren of those heroes of 1945 now find themselves attached to the biggest financial collapse in history with $1.5 quadrillion of fictitious capital ripe to explode under a new global hyperinflation akin to that which destroyed Weimar in 1923, but this time global. The Bank of International Settlements that should have been dissolved in 1945 today controls the Financial Stability Board and thus regulates the world derivatives trade which has become the weapon of mass destruction that has been triggered to unleash more chaos upon the world than Hitler could have ever dreamed.

The saving grace today is that the anti-fascist spirit of Franklin Roosevelt is alive in the form of modern anti-imperialists Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and a growing array of nations united under the umbrella of the New Deal of the 21st Century which has come to be called the “Belt and Road Initiative”.

Had Prescott’s grandson Jeb (or Prescott’s spiritual grand daughter Hillary) found themselves in the position of President of the USA at this moment, it is unlikely that I would be writing this now, as I’m fairly certain WWIII would have already been launched. However, with President Trump having successfully survived nearly four years of Deep State subversion, and having called repeatedly for a positive alliance with Russia and China, a chance still exists to take the types of emergency actions needed at this moment of existential crisis to do what FDR had always intended, and win World War II.

Baby Boomers for Biden Recant Left Legacy

Former members of the leading Vietnam War-era peace organization in the US, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), recently circulated an open letter warning today’s young activists to – as the adage goes – do as I say and not as I did. Back in the ‘60s and ‘70s, these former leaders led the way in opposing the ravages of US imperialism and exposing what they called the “death culture.” Today, they are admonishing the new generation not to follow in their footsteps, but to go all out for what they call the “capitalist democrat” Joe Biden.

The big chill

When I was first becoming politically aware, these SDS folks were my heroes and mentors. They helped me break from the illusion that the USA was fighting for democracy and freedom, rather than imposing an empire where the US controlled 50% of the world’s wealth for only 6.3% of its population.

They were the ones – chanting, “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?” – who pulled no punches, criticizing Democrats and Republicans alike for genocidal injustices. And they especially warned about “selling out to the establishment.” That was then.

Today, they are variously tenured professors, attorneys, or working at comfortable NGOs. Who would have known that they would change to raising money for multi-billion-dollar Democratic Party PACs? While I don’t for a moment begrudge them financial or social achievement, the shift from independent direct action to boosterism within the Democratic Party is unfortunate.

It should be noted that SDS originated as the student branch of the League for Industrial Democracy (LID), a nominally socialist but more accurately liberal anti-communist organization. In 1965, the LID elders told their youth counterparts to include an anti-communist clause in their manifesto. Those rising SDS youth told their seniors to take a hike back then.

In bed with the Democratic Party

Bernardine Dorn, herself an SDS leader and subsequently with the Weather Underground, comments that the open letter “has all the wrong content and tone of the elders lecturing young activists…[I]t is finally too pompous and pretentious, too in-bed with the Democratic Party.” And that is a sympathetic comment to “comrades I love and respect.”

The Democratic Party is not like a labor union, or like what a labor union is supposed to be with dues paying members democratically electing a leadership that serves their interests. Rather the Democratic National Committee (DNC), which is the governing body of the US Democratic Party, is, in fact, a private corporation. The DNC has more in common with a for-profit sports team. You are free to wear their paraphernalia and attend their games, but the team owners are the ones that make the decisions and reap the profits.

When the DNC was taken to court for violating its own rules treating voters unfairly, the DNC brazenly argued that they are a private corporation with no obligation to be fair, and won. As the court transcript shows, the DNC’s attorney said that cheating Bernie Sanders in 2016 out of the nomination was “the business of the party, and it’s not justiciable.”

This same DNC again undermined Bernie Sanders’ candidacy in 2020, preferring to run a corporate Democrat favorable to their super rich donors and risk losing again to Trump. Now the authors of the open letter are preaching to the young activists that they have no choice but to fall in with those who screwed them. Or as the open letter states, to join with “solemn determination” their “high moral and political responsibility.”

Wrong historical lessons 

Peter Drucker, another former member of SDS, points out in his critique of the open letter that the letter’s favorable reference to early nineteenth century German sociologist Wax Weber is at best odd, but telling, for a letter addressing people who consider themselves socialists. Weber’s view was that revolutionary socialists were engaged in “dirt, muck, dung, and horse-play—nothing else.”

A favorite trope of anti-leftists, reflected in the open letter, is to blame the rise of Hitler on the failure of communists to unite with the socialists against a common enemy. In fact, what happened was that the socialists likewise would not unite with the communists against the fascists and instead chose to support the “lesser evil” of Paul von Hindenburg. In the 1932 German presidential race, Hindenburg ran against Hitler, won, and then turned around to appoint Hitler as chancellor in 1933. The rest, as they say, is history.

If we were to accept the open letter’s hyperbolic meme of Trump as a stand-in for Hitler, the historical analogy would be that today’s Democratic Party is not the socialists and certainly not the communists but would be Hindenburg’s party as the lesser evil to the Nazis. Once elected, Hindenburg dissolved the German parliament twice, approved the Reichstag Fire Decree suspending civil liberties, and signed the Enablg Act giving Hitler arbitrary powers.

For those worried about fascism being enabled in the US, recall that the Democrats militantly support the national security apparatus (e.g., CIA, FBI) and the Patriot Act. Even so-called progressive Elizabeth Warren calls of government censorship of social media.

Citing the lessons of Germany, the open letter summons an “all-hands-on-deck” effort to elect Joe Biden to prevent the “protofascist” Trump from winning. The situation, they exclaim, is dire for we may all end up in jail if Trump were to win.

In a follow-up to publishing the April 16 open letter, The Nation again plays the fear of fascism card if one strays from the confines of the Democratic Party. An April 28 article – “WTF Is Jacobin’s Editor Thinking in Voting Green?” – cries, “in a second term, Trump will double down on his fascist instincts.”

The Nation lectures the youth that you are “old enough to know better” than disregard the wisdom of your elders because, under a Republican, “progressives will spend the next four years fighting defensive battles.” The youth in their naiveite might ask, how would it be any different if the former Senator from MBNA wins?

In the real world, as Stan Smith notes, Trump “can’t even shut down Saturday Night Live.  Trump is a billionaire racist, sexist war-monger out to salvage the US corporate empire, nothing more, nothing less.” Joe Biden diverges mainly in having a smaller bank account and better table manners.

Politics for the pandemic

A more fitting lesson from the historical example of the rise of German fascism suggests the opposite of what the open letter advocates. The best strategy to combat the rightward trajectory of the two corporate parties is not to go all out and vote for the lesser evil. Especially with the COVID-19 crisis and the mechanisms of disaster capitalism, Naomi Klein warns their shared course to the right might well accelerate.

In 2016, the corporate Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton advocated lowering the Medicare qualifying age to 50 or 55. Yet Biden is to the right of Clinton’s position of four years ago, only conceding to lower the eligibility age to 60.

We are now in the midst of a pandemic, which demonstrates as never before the need for Medicare for All (M4A). The latest polls indicate a 69% overall approval rating with 88% of the Democrats supporting M4A. This support is despite the millions of “dark money” spent by the insurance industry against M4A. Biden, who had campaigned to cut Medicare and Social Security, vows he would veto M4A were it to come before him as president.

Voting for the lesser evil is encouraging a march to the right by making a step in the wrong direction. At a time when an independent progressive movement is needed more than ever, the sheepdogs of the open letter are trying to herd the new generation of activists into the Democratic Party.