Category Archives: Media

Nuremberg Trial: 75 years Ago and What it Means Today

On Saturday 21 November 2020 Russia celebrated the 75th Anniversary of the beginning of the Nuremberg Trials which started on 20 November 1945 and lasted almost a year, until 1 October 1946. The Tribunal was given the task of trying and judging 24 of the most atrocious political and military leaders of the Third Reich.

For this unique celebration – so we shall never forget – Russian leaders and people of the Arts and History organized a Special Performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Requiem” at Moscow’s Helikon Opera Theatre. Daniel Hawkins, from RT, introduced this extraordinary event, as a journey through history, a journey through life and death, when some of – at that time – most genocidal people in history had to answer for their crimes.

This opera event was prepared for more than a year and was first performed in January 2020 for the Holocaust victims and the victims of the Nazi concentration camps in Leningrad. The Nuremberg Trials were conducted by an International Military Tribunal. They resulted in 12 death sentences.

The idea of the “Requiem” performance is “not just to appeal to emotions, but to reason. Because if we fail to learn from history, the tragedy could be repeated.”

This is precisely what Sergei Novikov, head of the (Russian) presidential directorate for social projects, intimidated. He says, “Despite of what we have seen happening 75 years ago – we do not seem to have learned a lesson. Today we seem to go down the same road, which is frightening.”

The musical performance interplays with theatrical realism – so memories are awake and moving – better than a museum. The educational impact of this celebration of remembrance is extremely important especially for the young people, who do not remember these events, but with this first-class performance, they may learn a crucial lesson,  a lesson hardly talked about in history books and even less so in the west.

If we compare what has happened then – 75 years ago – actually the anti-Jewish demonstration in Berlin, known as Kristallnacht, on 9 and 10 November 1938, effectively the beginning of WWII, and look at today’s extremism in Europe, Germany, France, Austria, Belgium, we know that we are not far from a tyranny we knew as “Nationalsozialismus”, a political Nazi-concept of the late 1930s and up to mid-1940s, that today can best be compared with extreme neoliberalism and merciless oppression of peoples’ rights by police and military.

In fact, we may be steps ahead of what Hitler and his crime and war cabinet had done, but again, today, like then, we are blind to it. There may be a time when we can no longer move, when we are in constant lockdown, masked with dismembered faces, so to speak, kept away from each other under the pretext of social distancing so that we cannot communicate with each other, all for reasons of public health, for the “good intentions” of our governments to protect us from an evil virus – the corona virus.

Today, this oppression is the result of a long-term plan by a small elite to implement The Great Reset (Klaus Schwab, WEF, July 2020).

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There is, of course, a good reason, why Moscow wants the world to remember what WWII meant and how eventually Nazi-Germany was defeated – yes, largely if not solely by enormous sacrifices of the Soviet Union. Some 25 to 30 million USSR soldiers and Soviet citizens had left their lives for salvaging Europe – and possibly the world – from an all invading fascism.

The United States, nominally an ally of the Soviet Union, had clandestinely funded the Third Reich’s war against the Soviet Union. One of the key purposes for the US getting “involved” in WWII, other than defeating the British Empire, was to defeat their arch-enemy, communist Soviet Union. The Rockefellers funded Hitler’s war machine by providing them with hydrocarbons, with petrol, the energy that drove the war.

On the other hand, the Federal Reserve (FED), via the Bank for International Settlement (BIS) – the pyramid tower still omni-present in Basle, Switzerland, near the German border – transferred gigantic monetary resources to the Reichsbank (at that time Hitler’s equivalent of a German Central Bank)

Verdi’s Requiem Performance in Moscow on 21 November is important to go back in history and open the “memory books” in front of our eyes. It is even more important, as we see the trend of fascism taking over the entire European continent and possibly also the United States.

Europe basically ignores the importance of the 75th Anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials which still, as of this date, provides precedents for international war crimes – except, these precedents are miserably ignored.  If not, we would have multiple repeats of Nuremberg in our days and age with European and US leaders (sic) in “retirement’ but still with power. Our dystopian western world is beset by war criminals even to the point where they blackmail judges of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, not to touch their – the European and US – war crimes, or else…

That’s where we have arrived.

Since we are going back to the times when WWII and Nuremberg happened, we should take the opportunity to also look at the Big Picture, one that may be at the root of this new wave of fascism invading Europe. It is, in essence, a health dictatorship; it has become a Health Martial Law. Many countries have ratified, quietly, or rammed it through Parliament without the public at large noticing – a law allowing them switching from everyday life to an emergency situation; i.e., (health) Martial Law.

The Big Picture, though, is a diabolical plan of eugenics. Yes, it’s a term nobody wants to use, but it must be said, because it’s one of the fundamental principles that lies in all that is planned, the 2010 Rockefeller Report and the extremely important WHO Report “A World at Risk” – Annual Report on Global Preparedness for Health Emergencies, by the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board – GPMB (September 2019).

Key members of this Monitoring Board include the World Bank, IMF, CDC and many more influential players, who have been concocting the “Preparedness” for a new epidemic since at least 2016, when the World Bank set up a special “Health Emergency Fund” to face the “next pandemic”.

Also, part of the SARS-Cov-2 preparedness and planned outbreak, was Event 201 (18 October 2019, NYC, sponsored by Gates, the WEF, and the Johns Hopkins School for Medicine (Rockefeller created and funded), which simulated the outbreak of a SARS-Cov-2 virus which curiously happened a few weeks later. The “outbreak” was actually officially announced on the dot of the beginning of the Decade 2020.

The Big Picture scheme also includes as an aftermath to covid, The Great Reset by Klaus Schwab, WEF, July 2020), a plan to implement the 4th Industrial Revolution and the enslavement of the remaining population. The Rockefellers and Bill Gates, Kissinger and many more  have nurtured the idea of massively reducing the world population for at least the last 70 years.

Ever since the Rockefellers espoused the concept of the “Bilderberger Society” (a parallel organization to the WEF (World Economic Forum), with overlapping and an ever-moving memberships) their one and only continuous “project” was a selective population reduction. And they actually never made it a secret. See Bill Gates TedTalk in February 2010 – just about the time when the infamous 2010 Rockefeller Report was issued, the one that has us now in “lockstep” following all the rules and regulations, issued by WHO and supported by the entire UN system .

Why then was the eugenics agenda never seriously picked up by the mainstream, by the public at large? – Possibly, because nobody can even imagine people so evil – or allow me to call them non-humans – to actually want to make this reality. But these non-humanoids do exist. How they infiltrated themselves into human society is a mystery.

By the way, have you ever seen Bill Gates – with his obnoxious grin – wearing a mask? Or the Rockefellers, Kissingers, et al?  How come they are always spared from this deadly virus, SARS-Cov-2?  How come they get very old, but appear to be always in good health? What kind of life elixir are they using?

Back to the Eugenists. To implement such a massive plan on a worldwide scale, one needs a uniform approach to world health. In 1948, just a couple of years after the Nuremberg trials started, where war criminals like the Rockefellers should also have been indicted for supplying the enemy (German Nazis) with energy to drive their (anti-Soviet) war machine – back then, in 1948, Rockefeller created WHO, the World Health Organization.

The philanthropic Rockefeller Foundation (RF) has marked the field of health like no other organization. The oil magnate, John D. Rockefeller “to promote the well-being of mankind throughout the world.” Hence, the RF created and provided the original funding to set up WHO in 1948. On 7 April 1948, WHO inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health Organization, which had been an agency of the League of Nations. Twenty-six (out of then 58) UN members ratified WHO as a UN agency under the UN Constitution.

Once you have “Global Health” under one roof, the WHO, funded primarily by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the pharmaceutical industries (predominantly GAVI – Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization – also created by Bill Gates in 2000) and you also have the predominant donor, Bill Gates, an obsessed vaxxer (and eugenist) without any medical training, choose WHO’s Director General – Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, a buddy of Gates and former Board Member of GAVI – it is relatively easy to make the foundation of WHO’s health policies based on vaccination.

That’s what we see today. As we have heard from Gates’ TedTalk (2010 see above), vaccination seems to lend itself perfectly to reduce the world population. It has the further advantage, that if anything goes “wrong” – no vaccine company can be held responsible, let alone being sued. For example, if people get seriously ill or die from the vaccinations – which would not be a surprise, after the Covid-19 are planned to be administered in warp speed – the vaccine pharmaceuticals cannot be sued.

In fact, vaccine companies do not bear any liability risk. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) of 1986 (42 U.S.C. §§ 300aa-1 to 300aa-34), was signed into law by US President Ronald Reagan on November 14, 1986. NCVIA’s purpose was to eliminate the potential financial liability of vaccine manufacturers due to vaccine injury, since lawsuits led many manufacturers to stop producing the vaccines, a lame argument, but that shows once more the lobbying power the pharma industry commands.

That’s where we stand today. Any sinister vaccination agenda, no matter how hurtful to the public, is home free. Today we are at this crucial point of massive forced vaccination. Many governments; i.e., UK’s Boris Johnson and Australia’s Scott Morrison, have already advanced the idea of a vaccination-pass. Without it you are banned from flying and from just about every public event. That’s promising.

And one might ask what does that have to with public health?  What is the real agenda behind it?

Again, returning to the Nuremberg Trials, aren’t we in the midst of a world tyranny to which all 193 UN member countries subscribed, or were coerced into – a tyranny that has already been genocidal, in as much as it destroyed the world economy, creating countless bankruptcies, unemployment – untold poverty and misery and death, and now a potentially genocidal massive vaccination campaign, the effects of it might be death in the medium to long term, but “untraceable”, or too late by the time the cause is discovered.

A world tyranny inflicted by all 193 UN member countries – whatever their motivation – all these governments and the heads of WHO and the entire UN system belongs before a new Nuremburg-type Tribunal – where the same legal principal would be applied as 75 years ago in 1945.

Who says this will not happen? We can make it happen. We, the People, are the 99.99%.  They are only 0.01 %. We have the power to resist – and we will prevail.

The post Nuremberg Trial: 75 years Ago and What it Means Today first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Establishment Journalists are Piling On to Smear Robert Fisk Now He Cannot Answer Back

Something remarkable even by the usually dismal standards of the stenographic media blue-tick brigade has been happening in the past few days. Leading journalists in the corporate media have suddenly felt the urgent need not only to criticise the late, much-respected foreign correspondent Robert Fisk, but to pile in against him, using the most outrageous smears imaginable. He is suddenly a fraud, a fabulist, a fantasist, a liar.

What is most ironic is that the journalists doing this are some of the biggest frauds themselves, journalists who have made a career out of deceiving their readers. In fact, many of the crowd attacking Fisk when he can no longer defend himself are precisely the journalists who have the worst record of journalistic malpractice and on some of the biggest issues of our times.

At least I have the courage to criticise them while they are alive. They know dead men can’t sue. It is complete and utter cowardice to attack Fisk when they could have made their comments earlier, to his face. In fact, if they truly believed any of the things they are so keen to tell us now, they had an absolute duty to say them when Fisk was alive rather than allowing the public to be deceived by someone they regarded as a liar and fantasist. They didn’t make public these serious allegations – they didn’t air their concerns about the supposedly fabricated facts in Fisk’s stories – when he was alive because they know he would have made mincemeat of them.

Most preposterous of all is the fact that the actual trigger for this sudden, very belated outpouring of concern about Fisk is a hit-piece written by Oz Katerji. I’m not sure whether I can find the generosity to call Katerji a journalist. Like Elliot Higgins of the US government-funded Bellingcat, he’s more like an attack dog beloved by establishment blue-ticks: he is there to enforce accepted western imperial narratives, disguising his lock-step support for the establishment line as edgy, power-to-the-people radicalism.

Anyone who challenges Katerji’s establishment-serving agenda gets called names – sometimes very rude ones. Fisk is just the latest target of a Katerji hatchet job against any journalist (myself, of course, included) who dares to step outside of the Overton Window. That these “serious” journalists think they can hang their defamation of Fisk on to anything said by Katerji, most especially the thin gruel he produces in his latest article, is truly shameful. If their concerns really relate to journalistic integrity and reliability, Katerji would be the very last person to cite.

Katerji’s prime area of western narrative enforcement is the Middle East – perhaps not surprisingly, as it is the place where there is an awful lot of oil that western states and corporations are desperate to control. But one should not ignore his wide-ranging efforts to boot-lick wherever he is needed on behalf of western establishment narratives.

Here he is desperately trying to breathe life into two fairy tales: that the election of the leftwing Evo Morales as Bolivia’s president was fraudulent, and that Morales was forced to resign last year rather than that he was ousted in a CIA-backed military coup. Notably, Katerji was clinging to these discredited story lines as late as last month, long after even the liberal corporate media had abandoned them as no longer tenable.

Katerji was also, of course, an enthusiastic recruit to evidence-free establishment smears that Labour was overrun with antisemitism under the leadership of the leftwing Jeremy Corbyn, the very same anecdotal claims promoted by the entire corporate media.

Not only that, but he even had the gall to argue that he was speaking on behalf of Palestinians in smearing Corbyn, the only leader of a major European party ever to champion their cause. Labour’s new leader Keir Starmer, like most other politicians in the wake of the Corbyn episode, has all but disappeared the Palestinians from the political agenda. Katerji must be delighted – on behalf of Palestinians, of course.

But Katerji’s beef with Fisk derives chiefly from the fact that the Independent’s foreign correspondent broke ranks with the rest of the western press corps over an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria.

Katerji is part of what – if we were being more brutally honest about these things – would be called the west’s al-Qaeda lobby. These are a motley crew of journalists and academics using their self-publicised “Arabhood” to justify the intimidation and silencing of anyone not entirely convinced that ordinary Syrians might prefer, however reluctantly, their standard-issue dictator, Bashar al-Assad, over the head-chopping, women-stoning, Saudi-financed jihadists of Islamic State and al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda franchise in Syria; or who question whether the western powers ought to be covertly funding and backing these extremists.

Exercise any doubt at all on either of these points and Katerji will lose no time in calling you an “Assadist”, “war crimes denier”, “antisemite”, “9/11 truther” and worse. Then in yet more evidence of a circle jerk, those establishment blue ticks, even ones beloved by much of the left, will cite his smears as proof that you are indeed an Assadist, war crimes denier, and so on.

Here are just a few examples of Katerji engaging with those critical of the imperial western narrative on Syria, so you get the idea:

Back in 2011 and 2012, in what looked like the possible eruption of an Arab Spring in Syria, the arguments of Katerji and Co. at least had an air of plausibility. But their real agenda – one that accorded with western imperialism rather than an Arab awakening – became much clearer once local protests against Assad were subsumed by an influx of jihadi fighters of the very kind that had been labelled “terrorists” by the western media everywhere else they appeared in the Middle East.

Inevitably, anyone like Fisk who adopted a position of caution or scepticism about whether the majority of Syrians actually wanted a return to some kind of Islamic Dark Age incurred the wrath of Katerji and his cohorts.

But Fisk infuriated these western al-Nusra lobbyists even further when he visited the town of Douma in 2018 and raised serious questions about claims made by the jihadists who had been ruling the town that, just before Assad’s forces drove them out, the Syrian military had bombed it with chemical gas, killing many civilians. The story, which at that stage was based exclusively on the claims of these head-chopping jihadists, was instantly reported as verified fact by the credulous western media.

Based solely on claims made by the al-Qaeda franchise in Douma, President Donald Trump hurriedly fired off missiles at Syria, in flagrant violation of international law and to cheers from the western media.

Fisk, of course, knew that in discrediting the evidence-free narrative being promoted by the western press corps (who had never been in Douma) he was doing himself no favours at all. They would resent him all the more. Most of his peers preferred to ignore his revelations, even though they were earth-shattering in their implications. But once the official watchdog body the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) issued its report into Douma many months later, implicitly backing the jihadists’ version of events, Fisk’s earlier coverage was snidely dismissed by fellow journalists.

Sadly for them, however, the story did not end there. Following publication of the OPCW’s Douma report, a number of its senior experts started coming forward as whistleblowers to say that, under pressure from the US, the OPCW bureaucracy tampered with their research and misrepresented their findings in the final report. The evidence they had found indicated that Assad had not carried out a chemical attack in Douma. More likely the jihadists, who were about to be expelled by Assad’s forces, had staged the scene to make it look like a chemical attack and draw the US deeper into Syria.

Of course, just as the corporate media ignored Fisk’s original reporting from Douma that would have made their own accounts sound like journalistic malpractice, they resolutely ignored the whistleblowers too. You can scour the corporate media and you will be lucky to find even an allusion to the months-long row over the OPCW report, which gained enough real-world prominence to erupt into a major row at the United Nations, including denunciations of the OPCW’s behaviour from the organisation’s former head, Jose Bustani.

This is the way frauds like Katerji are able to ply their own misinformation. They sound credible only because the counter-evidence that would show they are writing nonsense is entirely absent from the mainstream. Only those active on social media and open-minded enough to listen to voices not employed by a major corporate platform (with, in this case, the notable exception of Peter Hitchens of the Daily Mail) are able to find any of this counter-information. It is as if we are living in parallel universes.

The reason why Fisk was so cherished by readers, and why there was a real sense of loss when he died a month ago, was that he was one of the very few journalists who belonged to the mainstream but reported as though he were not beholden to the agenda of his corporate platform.

There were specific reasons for that. Like a handful of others – John Pilger, Seymour Hersh, Chris Hedges among them – Fisk made his name in the corporate media at a time when it reluctantly indulged the odd maverick foreign correspondent because they had a habit of exposing war crimes everyone else missed, exclusives that then garnered their publications prestigious journalism awards. Ownership of the media was then far less concentrated, so there was a greater commercial incentive for risk-taking and breaking stories. And these journalists emerged in a period when power was briefly more contested, with the labour movement trying to assert its muscle in the post-war decades, and before western societies were forced by the corporate elite to submit to neoliberal orthodoxy on all matters.

Notably, Pilger, Hersh and Hedges all found themselves struggling to keep a place in the corporate media. Fisk alone managed to cling on. That was more by luck. After being forced out of Rupert Murdoch’s Times newspaper for breaking a disturbing story in 1989 on the US shooting down of an Iranian passenger plane, he found a new home at Britain’s Independent newspaper, which had been recently founded. As a late-comer to the British media scene, the paper struggled not only to make money but to create a proper, distinctive identity or gain any real visibility. Fisk survived, it seems, because he quickly established himself as one of the very few reasons to buy the paper. He was a rare example of a journalist who was bigger than the outlet he served.

Readers trusted him because he not only refused to submit to his peers’ herd-think but endlessly called them out as journalistically and intellectually lazy.

Those now trying to tarnish his good name are actually inverting the truth. They want to suggest that support for Fisk was cultish and he was hero-worshipped by those incapable of thinking critically. They will say as much about this piece. So let me point out that I am not without my own criticisms of Fisk. I wrote, for example, an article criticising some unsubstantiated claims he made during Israel’s massive bombardment of Lebanon in 2006.

But my criticism was precisely the opposite of the blue-tick crowd now traducing him. I questioned Fisk for striving to find an implausible middle ground with those establishment blue ticks (before we knew what blue ticks were) by hedging his bets about who was responsible for the destruction of Lebanon. It was a rare, if understandable, example of journalistic timidity from Fisk – a desire to maintain credibility with his peers, and a reluctance to follow through on where the evidence appeared to lead. Maybe this was a run-in with the pro-Israel crowd and the corporate journalists who echo them that, on this occasion, he did not think worth fighting.

The discomfort Fisk aroused in his peers was all too obvious to anyone working in the corporate media, even in its liberal outlets, as I was during the 1990s. I never heard a good word said about Fisk at the Guardian or the Observer. His death has allowed an outpouring of resentment towards him that built up over decades from journalists jealous of the fact that no readers will mourn or remember their own passing. Fisk’s journalism spoke up for the downtrodden and spoke directly to the reader rather than, as with his colleagues, pandering to editors in the hope of career advancement. In the immediate wake of his death, his colleagues’ disdain for Fisk was veiled in weaselly language. As Media Lens have noted, the favourite term used to describe him in obituaries, even in his own newspaper, was “controversial”.

It turns out that the term ‘controversial’ is only applied in corporate media to political writers and leaders deemed ‘controversial’ by elite interests.

This was unwittingly made clear by the big brains at the BBC who noted that Fisk ‘drew controversy for his sharp criticism of the US and Israel, and of Western foreign policy’. If Fisk had drawn ‘controversy’ from China, Iran or North Korea, the ‘weasel word’ would not have appeared in the Beeb’s analysis…

In corporate media newspeak, ‘controversial’ can actually be translated as ‘offensive to power’. The term is intended as a scare word to warn readers that the labelled person is ‘dodgy’, ‘suspect’: ‘Handle with care!’ The journalist is also signalling to his or her editors and other colleagues: ‘I’m not one of “them”!’

The journalists who now claim Fisk was a fraud and fantasist are many of those who happily worked for papers that readily promoted the gravest lies imaginable to rationalise an illegal attack on Iraq in 2003 and its subsequent occupation. Those publications eagerly supported lies supplied by the US and British governments that Iraq had WMD and that its leader, Saddam Hussein, was colluding with al-Qaeda – claims that were easily disprovable at the time.

Journalists now attacking Fisk include ones, like the Guardian’s Jessica Elgot, who have been at the forefront of advancing the evidence-free antisemitism smears against Corbyn. Or, like the Guardian’s Hannah Jane Parkinson, have engaged in another favourite corporate journalist pastime, ridiculing the plight of Julian Assange, a fellow journalist who puts their craven stenography to shame and who is facing a lifetime in a US super-max jail for revealing US war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Even the Guardian’s Jason Burke, who claims to have experienced Fisk’s lying first-hand while working for the Observer newspaper in 2001 (as was I at that time), has been unable to come up with the goods when challenged, as the pitiable Twitter thread retweeted here confirms:

Noticeably, there is a pattern to the claims of those now maligning Fisk: they hurry to tell us that he was an inspiration in their student days. They presumably think that mentioning this will suggest their disillusionment was hard-earned and therefore make it sound more plausible. But actually it suggests something different.

It indicates instead that in their youthful idealism they aspired to become a journalist who would dig out the truth, who would monitor centres of power, who would comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. To do, in fact, exactly what Fisk did.

But once they got a footing on the corporate career ladder, they slowly learnt that they would need to adopt a more “nuanced” approach to journalism – certainly if they hoped to progress up that ladder, earning the right to their blue tick, and gaining a big enough salary to cover the mortgage in London or New York.

In other words, they became everything they despised in their student days. Fisk was the constant reminder of just how much they had sold out. His very existence shamed them for what they were too cowardly to do themselves. And now in death, when he cannot answer back, they are feasting on his corpse like the vultures that they are, until there is nothing left to remind us that, unlike them, Robert Fisk told uncomfortable truths to the very end.

UPDATE:

As a reader service, I will do my best to update you on the blue ticks, especially the Guardian’s, so keen to “just add their voice” in defaming Fisk. If you see any more, please send them my way via Facebook or Twitter.

Notice how confidently these journalists join the denunciations of their dead colleague, even though the biggest “adventure” most of them have ever experienced is an all-expenses lunch at El Vino’s.

Adam Parsons, Sky’s Europe correspondent:

Tim Shipman, political editor of the Sunday Times, formerly of the Sunday Telegraph, Daily Mail and Express:

Oliver Kamm, columnist and leader writer for The Times, formerly a City banker:

The post Establishment Journalists are Piling On to Smear Robert Fisk Now He Cannot Answer Back first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Planet Cannot Begin to Heal Until We Rip the Mask off the West’s War Machine

Making political sense of the world can be tricky unless one understands the role of the state in capitalist societies. The state is not primarily there to represent voters or uphold democratic rights and values; it is a vehicle for facilitating and legitimating the concentration of wealth and power into fewer and fewer hands.

In a recent post, I wrote about “externalities” – the ability of companies to offset the true costs inherent in the production process. The burden of these costs are covertly shifted on to wider society: that is, on to you and me. Or on to those far from view, in foreign lands. Or on to future generations. Externalising costs means that profits can be maximised for the wealth elite in the here and now.

Our own societies must deal with the externalised costs of industries ranging from tobacco and alcohol to chemicals and vehicles. Societies abroad must deal with the costs of the bombs dropped by our “defence” industries. And future generations will have to deal with the lethal costs incurred by corporations that for decades have been allowed to pump out their waste products into every corner of the globe.

Divine right to rule

In the past, the job of the corporate media was to shield those externalities from public view. More recently, as the costs have become impossible to ignore, especially with the climate crisis looming, the media’s role has changed. Its central task now is to obscure corporate responsibility for these externalities. That is hardly surprising. After all, the corporate media’s profits depend on externalising costs too, as well as hiding the externalised costs of their parent companies, their billionaire owners and their advertisers.

Once, monarchs rewarded the clerical class for persuading, through the doctrine of divine right, their subjects to passively submit to exploitation. Today, “mainstream” media are there to persuade us that capitalism, the profit motive, the accumulation of ever greater wealth by elites, and externalities destroying the planet are the natural order of things, that this is the best economic system imaginable.

Most of us are now so propagandised by the media that we can barely imagine a functioning world without capitalism. Our minds are primed to imagine, in the absence of capitalism, an immediate lurch back to Soviet-style bread queues or an evolutionary reversal to cave-dwelling. Those thoughts paralyse us, making us unable to contemplate what might be wrong or inherently unsustainable about how we live right now, or to imagine the suicidal future we are hurtling towards.

Lifeblood of empire

There is a reason that, as we rush lemming-like towards the cliff-edge, urged on by a capitalism that cannot operate at the level of sustainability or even of sanity, the push towards intensified war grows. Wars are the life blood of the corporate empire headquartered in the United States.

US imperialism is no different from earlier imperialisms in its aims or methods. But in late-stage capitalism, wealth and power are hugely concentrated. Technologies have reached a pinnacle of advancement. Disinformation and propaganda are sophisticated to an unprecedented degree. Surveillance is intrusive and aggressive, if well concealed. Capitalism’s destructive potential is unlimited. But even so, war’s appeal is not diminished.

As ever, wars allow for the capture and control of resources. Fossil fuels promise future growth, even if of the short-term, unsustainable kind.

Wars require the state to invest its money in the horrendously expensive and destructive products of the “defence” industries, from fighter planes to bombs, justifying the transfer of yet more public resources into private hands.

The lobbies associated with these “defence” industries have every incentive to push for aggressive foreign (and domestic) policies to justify more investment, greater expansion of “defensive” capabilities, and the use of weapons on the battlefield so that they need replenishing.

Whether public or covert, wars provide an opportunity to remake poorly defended, resistant societies – such as Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Syria – in ways that allow for resources to be seized, markets to be expanded and the reach of the corporate elite to be extended.

War is the ultimate growth industry, limited only by our ability to be persuaded of new enemies and new threats.

Fog of war

For the political class, the benefits of war are not simply economic. In a time of environmental collapse, war offers a temporary “Get out of jail” card. During wars, the public is encouraged to assent to new, ever greater sacrifices that allow public wealth to be transferred to the elite. War is the corporate world’s ultimate Ponzi scheme.

The “fog of war” does not just describe the difficulty of knowing what is happening in the immediate heat of battle. It is also the fear, generated by claims of an existential threat, that sets aside normal thinking, normal caution, normal scepticism. It is the invoking of a phantasmagorical enemy towards which public resentments can be directed, shielding from view the real culprits – the corporations and their political cronies at home.

The “fog of war” engineers the disruption of established systems of control and protocol to cope with the national emergency, shrouding and rationalising the accumulation by corporations of more wealth and power and the further capture of organs of the state. It is the licence provided for “exceptional” changes to the rules that quickly become normalised. It is the disinformation that passes for national responsibility and patriotism.

Permanent austerity

All of which explains why Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, has just pledged an extra £16.5 billion in “defence” spending at a time when the UK is struggling to control a pandemic and when, faced by disease, Brexit and a new round of winter floods, the British economy is facing “systemic crisis”, according to a new Cabinet Office report. Figures released this week show the biggest economic contraction in the UK in three centuries.

If the British public is to stomach yet more cuts, to surrender to permanent austerity as the economy tanks, Johnson, ever the populist, knows he needs a good cover story. And that will involve further embellishment of existing, fearmongering narratives about Russia, Iran and China.

To make those narratives plausible, Johnson has to act as if the threats are real, which means massive spending on “defence”. Such expenditure, wholly counter-productive when the current challenge is sustainability, will line the pockets of the very corporations that help Johnson and his pals stay in power, not least by cheerleading him via their media arms.

New salesman needed

The cynical way this works was underscored in a classified 2010 CIA memorandum, known as “Red Cell”, leaked to Wikileaks, as the journalist Glenn Greenwald reminded us this week. The CIA memo addressed the fear in Washington that European publics were demonstrating little appetite for the US-led “war on terror” that followed 9/11. That, in turn, risked limiting the ability of European allies to support the US as it exercised its divine right to wage war.

The memo notes that European support for US wars after 9/11 had chiefly relied on “public apathy” – the fact that Europeans were kept largely ignorant by their own media of what those wars entailed. But with a rising tide of anti-war sentiment, the concern was that this might change. There was an urgent need to further manipulate public opinion more decisively in favour of war.

The US intelligence agency decided its wars needed a facelift. George W Bush, with his Texan, cowboy swagger, had proved a poor salesman. So the CIA turned to identity politics and faux “humanitarianism”, which they believed would play better with European publics.

Part of the solution was to accentuate the suffering of Afghan women to justify war. But the other part was to use President Barack Obama as the face of a new, “caring” approach to war. He had recently been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize – even though he had done nothing for peace, and would go on to expand US wars – very possibly as part of this same effort to reinvent the “war on terror”. Polls showed support for existing wars increased markedly among Europeans when they were reminded that Obama backed these wars.

As Greenwald observes:

Obama’s most important value was in prettifying, marketing and prolonging wars, not ending them. They saw him for what U.S. Presidents really are: instruments to create a brand and image about the U.S. role in the world that can be effectively peddled to both the domestic population in the US and then on the global stage, and specifically to pretend that endless barbaric US wars are really humanitarian projects benevolently designed to help people — the pretext used to justify every war by every country in history.

Obama-style facelift

Once the state is understood as a vehicle for entrenching elite power – and war its most trusted tool for concentrating power – the world becomes far more intelligible. Western economies never stopped being colonial economies, but they were given an Obama-style facelift. War and plunder – even when they masquerade as “defence” or peace – are still the core western mission.

That is why Britons, believing days of empire are long behind them, may have been shocked to learn this week that the UK still operates 145 military bases in 42 countries around the globe, meaning it runs the second largest network of such bases after the US.

Such information is not made available in the UK “mainstream” media, of course. It has to be provided by an “alternative” investigative site, Declassified UK. In that way the vast majority of the British public are left clueless about how their taxes are being used at a time when they are told further belt-tightening is essential.

The UK’s network of bases, many of them in the Middle East, close to the world’s largest oil reserves, are what the much-vaunted “special relationship” with the US amounts to. Those bases are the reason the UK – whoever is prime minister – is never going to say “no” to a demand that Britain join Washington in waging war, as it did in attacking Iraq in 2003, or in aiding attacks on Libya, Syria and Yemen. The UK is not only a satellite of the US empire, it is a lynchpin of the western imperial war economy.

Ideological alchemy

Once that point is appreciated, the need for external enemies – for our own Eurasias and Eastasias – becomes clearer.

Some of those enemies, the minor ones, come and go, as demand dictates. Iraq dominated western attention for two decades. Now it has served its purpose, its killing fields and “terrorist” recruiting grounds have reverted to a mere footnote in the daily news. Likewise, the Libyan bogeyman Muammar Gaddafi was constantly paraded across news pages until he was bayonetted to death. Now the horror story that is today’s chaotic Libya, a corridor for arms-running and people-trafficking, can be safely ignored. For a decade, the entirely unexceptional Arab dictator Bashar Assad, of Syria, has been elevated to the status of a new Hitler, and he will continue to serve in that role for as long as it suits the needs of the western war economy.

Notably, Israel, another lynchpin of the US empire and one that serves as a kind of offshored weapons testing laboratory for the military-industrial complex, has played a vital role in rationalising these wars. Just as saving Afghan women from Middle Eastern patriarchy makes killing Afghans – men, women and children – more palatable to Europeans, so destroying Arab states can be presented as a humanitarian gesture if at the same time it crushes Israel’s enemies, and by extension, through a strange, implied ideological alchemy, the enemies of all Jews.

Quite how opportunistic – and divorced from reality – the western discourse about Israel and the Middle East has become is obvious the moment the relentless concerns about Syria’s Assad are weighed against the casual indifference towards the head-chopping rulers of Saudi Arabia, who for decades have been financing terror groups across the Middle East, including the jihadists in Syria.

During that time, Israel has covertly allied with oil-rich Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, because all of them are safely ensconced within the US war machine. Now, with the Palestinians completely sidelined diplomatically, and with all international solidarity with Palestinians browbeaten into silence by antisemitism smears, Israel and the Saudis are gradually going public with their alliance, like a pair of shy lovers. That included the convenient leak this week of a secret meeting between Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi ruler Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia.

The west also needs bigger, more menacing and more permanent enemies than Iraq or Syria. Helpfully one kind – nebulous “terrorism” – is the inevitable reaction to western war-making. The more brown people we kill, the more brown people we can justify killing because they carry out, or support, “terrorism” against us. Their hatred for our bombs is an irrationality, a primitivism we must keep stamping out with more bombs.

But concrete, identifiable enemies are needed too. Russia, Iran and China give superficial credence to the war machine’s presentation of itself as a “defence” industry. The UK’s bases around the globe and Boris Johnson’s £16 billion rise in spending on the UK’s war industries only make sense if Britain is under a constant, existential threat. Not just someone with a suspicious backpack on the London Tube, but a sophisticated, fiendish enemy that threatens to invade our lands, to steal resources to which we claim exclusive rights, to destroy our way of life through its masterful manipulation of the internet.

Crushed or tamed

Anyone of significance who questions these narratives that rationalise and perpetuate war is the enemy too. Current political and legal dramas in the US and UK reflect the perceived threat such actors pose to the war machine. They must either be crushed or tamed into subservience.

Trump was initially just such a figure that needed breaking in. The CIA and other intelligence agencies assisted in the organised opposition to Trump – helping to fuel the evidence-free Russiagate “scandal” – not because he was an awful human being or had authoritarian tendencies, but for two more specific reasons.

First, Trump’s political impulses, expressed in the early stages of his presidential campaign, were to withdraw from the very wars the US empire depends on. Despite open disdain for him from most of the media, he was criticised more often for failing to prosecute wars enthusiastically enough rather than for being too hawkish. And second, even as his isolationist impulses were largely subdued after the 2016 election by the permanent bureaucracy and his own officials, Trump proved to be an even more disastrous salesman for war than George W Bush. Trump made war look and sound exactly as it is, rather than packaging it as “intervention” intended to help women and people of colour.

But Trump’s amateurish isolationism paled in comparison to two far bigger threats to the war machine that emerged over the past decade. One was the danger – in our newly interconnected, digital world – of information leaks that risked stripping away the mask of US democracy, of the “shining city on the hill”, to reveal the tawdry reality underneath.

Julian Assange and his Wikileaks project proved just such a danger. The most memorable leak – at least as far as the general public was concerned – occurred in 2010, with publication of a classified video, titled Collateral Murder, showing a US air crew joking and celebrating as they murdered civilians far below in the streets of Baghdad. It gave a small taste of why western “humanitarianism” might prove so unpopular with those to whom we were busy supposedly bringing “democracy”.

The threat posed by Assange’s new transparency project was recognised instantly by US officials.

Exhibiting a carefully honed naivety, the political and media establishments have sought to uncouple the fact that Assange has spent most of the last decade in various forms of detention, and is currently locked up in a London high-security prison awaiting extradition to the US, from his success in exposing the war machine. Nonetheless, to ensure his incarceration till death in one of its super-max jails, the US empire has had to conflate the accepted definitions of “journalism” and “espionage”, and radically overhaul traditional understandings of the rights enshrined in the First Amendment.

Dress rehearsal for a coup

An equally grave threat to the war machine was posed by the emergence of Jeremy Corbyn as the leader of Britain’s Labour party. Corbyn presented as exceptional a problem as Assange.

Before Corbyn, Labour had never seriously challenged the UK’s dominant military-industrial complex, even if its support for war back in the 1960s and 1970s was often tempered by its then-social democratic politics. It was in this period, at the height of the Cold War, that Labour prime minister Harold Wilson was suspected by British elites of failing to share their anti-Communist and anti-Soviet paranoia, and was therefore viewed as a potential threat to their entrenched privileges.

As a BBC documentary from 2006 notes, Wilson faced the very real prospect of enforced “regime change”, coordinated by the military, the intelligence services and members of the royal family. It culminated in a show of force by the military as they briefly took over Heathrow airport without warning or coordination with Wilson’s government. Marcia Williams, his secretary, called it a “dress rehearsal” for a coup. Wilson resigned unexpectedly soon afterwards, apparently as the pressure started to take its toll.

‘Mutiny’ by the army

Subsequent Labour leaders, most notably Tony Blair, learnt the Wilson lesson: never, ever take on the “defence” establishment. The chief role of the UK is to serve as the US war machine’s attack dog. Defying that allotted role would be political suicide.

By contrast to Wilson, who posed a threat to the British establishment only in its overheated imagination, Corbyn was indeed a real danger to the militaristic status quo.

He was one of the founders of the Stop the War coalition that emerged specifically to challenge the premises of the “war on terror”. He explicitly demanded an end to Israel’s role as a forward base of the imperial war industries. In the face of massive opposition from his own party – and claims he was undermining “national security” – Corbyn urged a public debate about the deterrence claimed by the “defence” establishment for the UK’s Trident nuclear submarine programme, effectively under US control. It was also clear that Corbyn’s socialist agenda, were he ever to reach power, would require redirecting the many billions spent in maintaining the UK’s 145 military bases around the globe back into domestic social programmes.

In an age when the primacy of capitalism goes entirely unquestioned, Corbyn attracted even more immediate hostility from the power establishment than Wilson had. As soon as he was elected Labour leader, Corbyn’s own MPs – still loyal to Blairism – sought to oust him with a failed leadership challenge. If there was any doubt about how the power elite responded to Corbyn becoming head of the opposition, the Rupert Murdoch-owned Sunday Times newspaper soon offered a platform to an unnamed army general to make clear its concerns.

Weeks after Corbyn’s election as Labour leader, the general warned that the army would take “direct action” using “whatever means possible, fair or foul” to prevent Corbyn exercising power. There would be “mutiny”, he said. “The Army just wouldn’t stand for it.”

Such views about Corbyn were, of course, shared on the other side of the Atlantic. In a leaked recording of a conversation with American-Jewish organisations last year, Mike Pompeo, Trump’s secretary of state and a former CIA director, spoke of how Corbyn had been made to “run the gauntlet” as a way to ensure he would not be elected prime minister. The military metaphor was telling.

In relation to the danger of Corbyn winning the 2019 election, Pompeo added: “You should know, we won’t wait for him to do those things to begin to push back. We will do our level best. It’s too risky and too important and too hard once it’s already happened.”

This was from the man who said of his time heading the CIA: “We lied, we cheated, we stole. It’s – it was like – we had entire training courses.”

Smears and Brexit

After a 2017 election that Labour only narrowly lost, the Corbyn threat was decisively neutralised in the follow-up election two years later, after the Labour leader was floored by a mix of antisemitism slurs and a largely jingoistic Brexit campaign to leave Europe.

Claims that this prominent anti-racism campaigner had overseen a surge of antisemitism in Labour were unsupported by evidence, but the smears – amplified in the media – quickly gained a life of their own. The allegations often bled into broader – and more transparently weaponised – suggestions that Corbyn’s socialist platform and criticisms of capitalism were also antisemitic. (See here, here and here.) But the smears were nevertheless dramatically effective in removing the sheen of idealism that had propelled Corbyn on to the national stage.

By happy coincidence for the power establishment, Brexit also posed a deep political challenge to Corbyn. He was naturally antagonistic to keeping the UK trapped inside a neoliberal European project that, as a semi-detached ally of the US empire, would always eschew socialism. But Corbyn never had control over how the Brexit debate was framed. Helped by the corporate media, Dominic Cummings and Johnson centred that debate on simplistic claims that severing ties with Europe would liberate the UK socially, economically and culturally. But their concealed agenda was very different. An exit from Europe was not intended to liberate Britain but to incorporate it more fully into the US imperial war machine.

Which is one reason that Johnson’s cash-strapped Britain is now promising an extra £16bn on “defence”. The Tory government’s  priorities are to prove both its special usefulness to the imperial project and its ability to continue using war – as well as the unique circumstances of the pandemic – to channel billions from public coffers into the pockets of the establishment.

A Biden makeover

After four years of Trump, the war machine once again desperately needs a makeover. The once-confident, youthful Wikileaks is now less able to peek behind the curtain and listen in to the power establishment’s plans for a new administration under Joe Biden.

We can be sure nonetheless that its priorities are no different from those set out in the CIA memo of 2010. Biden’s cabinet, the media has been excitedly trumpeting, is the most “diverse” ever, with women especially prominent in the incoming foreign policy establishment.

There has been a huge investment by Pentagon officials and Congressional war hawks in pushing for Michèle Flournoy to be appointed as the first female defence secretary. Flournoy, like Biden’s pick for secretary of state, Tony Blinken, has played a central role in prosecuting every US war dating back to the Bill Clinton administration.

The other main contender for the spot is Jeh Johnson, who would become the first black defence secretary. As Biden dithers, his advisers’ assessment will focus on who will be best positioned to sell yet more war to a war-weary public.

The role of the imperial project is to use violence as a tool to capture and funnel ever greater wealth – whether it be resources seized in foreign lands or the communal wealth of domestic western populations – into the pockets of the power establishment, and to exercise that power covertly enough, or at a great enough distance, that no meaningful resistance is provoked.

A strong dose of identity politics may buy a little more time. But the war economy is as unsustainable as everything else our societies are currently founded on. Sooner or later the war machine is going to run out of fuel.

The post The Planet Cannot Begin to Heal Until We Rip the Mask off the West’s War Machine first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Canadian Media Refuses to Publish Op-ed by Venezuelan Foreign Minister

Despite claims to objectivity and fairness, when it comes to Canadian interference in other countries’ domestic affairs, there’s long been only one side to the story reported in the dominant media.

Even so, the pro-Ottawa slant on Venezuela is shocking.

Recently Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza published an op-ed titled “Regime Change with a Human (Rights) Face: Trudeau’s Venezuela Policy”. The commentary notes, “Relations between Venezuela and Canada are currently at their worst point. Although previous Canadian governments did not hide their dislike for our policies aimed at reclaiming sovereignty over our natural resources and prioritizing social policies, none had so actively imitated the U.S. regime change policy as much as the current Trudeau Administration.” Arreaza criticized Canadian sanctions on Venezuela and noted that “Canada was the only country in the world that specifically forbade Venezuelan diplomatic missions” from allowing Venezuelans to vote during the May 2018 election. Venezuela’s former vice president also invited Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne to meet to discuss restarting diplomatic relations.

Few saw Arreaza’s op-ed since it was published in The Canada Files, an upstart left-wing website. But, the article was submitted to a number of major daily papers. Apparently, the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and others didn’t consider criticism by the foreign minister of a country of 30 million, that’s had diplomatic relations with Canada for seven decades, important enough to offer their readers. Blind to the irony, they would likely justify their decision on the grounds that Venezuela’s government is authoritarian and suppresses oppositional voices!

In September lawyer Andrew Dekany published a long article arguing that Canada’s first round of sanctions on Venezuela contravened Canadian law. Licensed to practice in Ontario, Dekany wrote that the August 2017 sanctions weren’t in accordance with Canadian legislation stating that international sanctions be adopted only as part of international alliances. As such, the Trump administration aided the Trudeau government by creating the US-Canada “Association Concerning the Situation in Venezuela” to conform to the existing sanctions legislation. In a Venezuela Analysis article titled “Do Canadian Sanctions Against Venezuela Violate Canadian Law?”, Dekany writes, “there is no reason for Canada to ‘create’ this association but for its desire to help the U.S. out [by sanctioning Venezuela], having failed to persuade the one obvious organization (Organization of American States) which it had democratically joined to, among other things, act in such a way.” I couldn’t find any mention of Dekany’s arguments in any major Canadian media. (The Toronto Sun published an op-ed on the subject by Dekany in 2017.)

An April 2019 Center for Economic and Policy Research report written by prominent economists Jeffrey Sachs and Mark Weisbrot concluded that 40,000 Venezuelans may have died in 2017 and 2018 as a result of US sanctions. The intensity of the US sanctions, as well as their impact on Venezuelans’ ability to eat and access medicine, has grown significantly since then. A search of Canadian Newsstand, Toronto Star and Globe and Mail elicited two mentions of Sachs and Weisbrot’s findings (A Halifax Chronicle-Herald story titled “Four million Venezuelans have fled crisis: UN” mentioned it at the bottom of the story and an op-ed in the Hill Times by Canadian Foreign Policy Institute director Bianca Mugyenyi.)

Since the fall of 2017 Canadian taxpayers have been paying a hardline pro-corporate, pro-Washington, former diplomat hundreds of thousands of dollars to coordinate the Liberal government’s bid to oust Venezuela’s government. There’s been total silence in the dominant media about Allan Culham’s role as Special Advisor on Venezuela.

As Arreaza pointed out in his op-ed, the Trudeau government’s Venezuela policy took a sharply belligerent turn after Donald Trump became president and Chrystia Freeland replaced Stéphane Dion as foreign affairs minister. In reaction to Freeland’s January 2017 appointment an official at the US embassy in Ottawa claimed Justin Trudeau appointed her to promote the interests of Washington. In July 2019 researcher Jay Watts disclosed a dispatch from the US embassy in Ottawa to the State Department in Washington entitled “Canada Adopts ‘America First’ Foreign Policy.” Uncovered through a freedom of information request, the largely redacted cable also notes that Trudeau’s government would be “Prioritizing U.S. Relations, ASAP.” Despite all kinds of fawning coverage of Freeland, the dominant media has completely ignored the US cable.

In A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Exploitation I detail extreme media bias in favour of power on topics ranging from Haiti to Palestine, investment agreements to the mining industry. Considering the pattern, the Venezuelan coverage is not surprising.

But, the growth of left and international media, as well as social media bubbles, makes it is easy to forget how few Canadians are actually receiving this critical information. Canadian media rejecting a commentary by the foreign minister of a country of 30 million is a reminder of just how biased foreign policy coverage is.

The post Canadian Media Refuses to Publish Op-ed by Venezuelan Foreign Minister first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Where is Canadian Media on the Assange File?

After 10 years of restricted freedom, political exile and incarceration, Julian Assange finally came face-to-face with his accusers at the Old Bailey Criminal Court in London. For three weeks in September, a team of English lawyers argued on behalf of their client, the U.S. Department of Justice, that the beleaguered WikiLeaks founder and publisher should be handed over to a U.S. national security court to face 17 counts under the 1917 Espionage Act.

If convicted by the District Court of Eastern Virginia, where the indictments originated, Assange will spend the rest of his life in an American supermax facility for having published evidence of United States war crimes, torture and a host of other government wrongdoing.

“The decade-long saga that brought us to this point should appall anyone who cares about our increasingly fragile freedoms,” blogged former Guardian reporter and Martha Gellhorn prize winner Jonathan Cook on the eve of Assange’s extradition hearings.

“Right now, every journalist in the world ought to be up in arms, protesting at the abuses Assange is suffering, and has suffered, and the fate he will endure if extradition is approved.”

If you go by years of Canadian reporting on Assange and WikiLeaks, Canadian journalists don’t share Cook’s sentiment. When asked in the summer if advocacy group Canadian Journalists for Free Expression has plans to advocate for Assange’s freedom, CJFE president Philip Tunley responded, “I am not seeing any consensus at CJFE to weigh in on behalf of Mr. Assange, though some clearly still support him and wish him well.”

The premise that it takes an informed citizenry to run a true democracy is being seriously subverted by the Canadian fourth estate itself. By distracting attention away from the press freedom principles of Assange’s extradition case and obsessing over his character, Canadian mainstream press have undermined the public’s right to know while ignoring the significance of WikiLeaks releases themselves. That needs to change.

As a Canadian freelancer, enduring 10 years of biased and inaccurate reporting in the Canadian press about Assange has been a source of dismay and frustration. Petitioning and complaining to senior editors and broadcast gatekeepers was clearly naïve given the paucity of responses.

One response that did come back signposted a troubling predicament in Canadian Assange and WikiLeaks coverage.

CBC had posted a Thomson Reuters story in August about a U.S. Senate Committee report that claimed WikiLeaks worked with Russian Intelligence to release the Democratic National Committee  emails in 2016.

When I suggested in my complaint that the report provides no evidence for this classic claim against WikiLeaks and that repeating official unsubstantiated narratives does not make them true, CBC director of journalistic standards Paul Hambleton emailed back:

“I fully understand that you may hold a different view than that of the Senate committee.

It is not the CBC’s obligation to determine what is ‘truth’ (a truly dangerous notion for any broadcaster), but only to present differing views fairly and accurately affording Canadians the opportunity and the information they need to make up their own minds about the nature or quality of the views expressed.”

I argued back: “The predicament here is that journalism is not principally about ‘the nature or quality of views.’ Journalism is foremost about presenting facts, checked and verified.”

What’s seriously worrying in the Assange and WikiLeaks coverage I complained about to CBC and other news outlets is that for the public, the repetition of established narratives — including unsubstantiated claims and assertions —eventually becomes a substitute for fact or truth.

I haven’t heard back from Mr. Hambleton.

When I wasn’t writing complaint emails to news outlets, I was busy pitching Assange stories and opinion pieces of my own. Except for two queries, most were politely (but outright) rejected, citing issues with space and timing.

Canadaland published one submission that called out Canadian Assange coverage for ignoring the United States’  attempt to criminalize whistleblower journalism.

The National Observer posted my opinion letter after negotiating with the editor who asserted one of the classic positions held by many in the legacy press. “Assange is a programmer and a hacker, but never worked as a journalist. You’re framing the issue as a journalism freedom issue. For me this is still a problem in your framing.”

The problem with my “framing” was resolved when I pointed out that Assange and WikiLeaks won a string of journalism awards over the years including the 2011 Martha Gellhorn Award for Journalism awarded annually to a journalist “whose work has penetrated the established version of events and told an unpalatable truth that exposes establishment propaganda, or ‘official drivel’, as Martha Gellhorn called it.”

We find ourselves in a time when unauthorized ideas are no longer guaranteed to make it into the mainstream, even when those ideas have been fact-checked and proven to be true.

The crisis in Canadian journalism isn’t underfunding and it isn’t the concentration of media ownership. The plight of Canadian journalism, if reportage on Assange is the yardstick, are the signposts that fearless independent reporting that holds governments and institutions to account has all but vanished from the mainstream, which is where most Canadians get their news.

In 2010, WikiLeaks released 750,000 pages of the Manning leaks, “the largest leak of classified documents in U.S history” declared the Pentagon  – State Department cables, Guantanamo secrets, Afghan war diaries and Iraq war logs which included collateral murder, the helicopter gunsight video that shows unprovoked slayings of civilians by U.S. troops in the streets of Baghdad.

Australian journalist John Pilger said Assange and WikiLeaks were in the crosshairs of United States authorities years before the publicity around the war logs releases made WikiLeaks a household name.

“The aim was to silence and criminalize WikiLeaks and its editor and publisher. It was as if they planned a war on a single human being and on the very principle of freedom of speech,” Pilger told a crowd of Assange supporters in front of the Old Bailey.

Pilger described in detail the campaign to discredit Assange led by the Cyber Counter-Intelligence Assessments Branch of the U.S. Defense Department after a 2007 WikiLeaks post of a U.S. Army manual of standard operating procedures for soldiers overseeing al-Qaida suspects held in Guantanamo military prison.

Pilger refers to the extradition hearings as “the final act to bury Julian Assange. It’s not due process, it’s due revenge.”

According to independent observers, the structural inequalities of the extradition proceedings alone, as overseen by Westminster District Judge Vanessa Baraitser, provide plenty of cause to have the U.S. extradition request dismissed outright.

During his incarceration at maximum security Belmarsh facility, Assange had only restricted access to his legal team and was only permitted to hold on to case files for a limited time. In court Assange sat in the back of the room behind a glass partition and wasn’t permitted confidential communications with his lawyers.

Two protected defence witnesses, former employees of Spanish security firm UC Global, confirmed that they recorded conversations in the Ecuadorian embassy between Assange and his lawyers and gave the information to U.S. intelligence officials.

Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, also a witness for the defence, had his case thrown out for less, after president Richard Nixon operatives broke into Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office to steal mental health information that might discredit him.

Former UK diplomat and independent journalist Craig Murray, who reported in his daily blog from Courtroom 10 at the Central Criminal Court of England, wrote in his Day 6 report from the hearings: “What came over most strongly was the desire of both judge and prosecution to railroad through the extradition with as little of the case against it getting a public airing as possible.”

None of the abuses of process were reported by establishment reporters. The only Canadian report from inside the courtroom, by the Globe and Mail, validated Murray’s observations and helped ensure judge and prosecution had their way.

Globe and Mail Europe correspondent Paul Waldie concludes in his Sept. 16 report about Daniel Ellsberg’s testimony, “At one point he (Assange) started heckling Judge Vanessa Baraitser who threatened to kick him out.”

However, according to Court News UK reporter Charlie Jones, what actually happened was that when U.S. prosecutors objected to the live testimony of German-Lebanese citizen Khaled El-Masri  — a survivor of CIA kidnapping, torture, and rendition —, Assange stood up and “heckled” from behind the glass partition at the back of the courtroom, saying “Madame, I will not accept you censoring a torture victim’s statement to this court.”

Waldie made no mention of defence witness El-Masri’s testimony, which confirmed what WikiLeaks’ publication of U.S. diplomatic cables had revealed in 2010, that significant U.S. pressure was brought on German authorities not to arrest and prosecute CIA actors.

Waldie also didn’t bring up that lawyers for the U.S. prosecution argued vehemently to keep all references to U.S. torture and wrong doing out of the proceeding’s transcripts.

Noam Chomsky was one of the defence witnesses whose full testimony Baraitser and the prosecution didn’t want to hear. His live testimony was replaced by a four-minute summary read into the court records.

An excerpt from Chomsky’s written submission: “In my view, Julian Assange, in courageously upholding political beliefs that most of us profess to share, has performed an enormous service to all the people in the world who treasure the values of freedom and democracy and who therefore demand the right to know what their elected representatives are doing. His actions in turn have led him to be pursued in a cruel and intolerable manner.”

Canadian coverage of Assange’s extradition consists almost entirely of the same Thomson-Reuters and Associated Press dispatches posted on various Canadian news sites. If you held them up against independent accounts, you’d think indie journos and wire service reporters attended different events.

Fidel Narváez, the Ecuadorian diplomat who granted Julian Assange political asylum, was one of only a handful of observers permitted into the courtroom. Narváez reports that on the first day, Baraitser cut access to the video stream in Courtroom 9 that had been previously authorized for nearly 40 human rights organizations and international observers, including Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders and PEN International.

“If the case in London were decided solely on justice, as it should in a state based on law, this battle would have been won by Assange,” writes Narváez in one of his daily dispatches.

Narváez and other independent observers suggest that what was adjudicated was not whether Assange should be extradited for violating the Espionage Act, but rather the criminality of the American state itself.

The chilling claim put forward by U.S. prosecutors that the United States has jurisdiction over any journalist, any publication, anywhere in the world to prosecute under the Espionage Act for publishing classified U.S. information hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Canadian Association of Journalists.

“I can assure you that I, as president, as well as the CAJ’s advocacy committee, are keeping a very close eye on the Assange case,” said Brent Jolly. “The CAJ still believes the United States should immediately drop its attempts to extradite Mr. Assange.”

“Encouraging sources to leak information that is in the public interest to the media is a basic practice of journalism which must be defended. Journalists and whistleblowers have a role to play in protecting citizens in a democracy,” Jolly’s predecessor, Karyn Pugliese, told me after Assange was arrested and imprisoned at Belmarsh in 2019.

The CAJ’s position has yet to translate into accurate and unbiased reporting on the Assange-WikiLeaks file by Canadian journalists and news organizations. However, coverage of domestic occurrences of the ‘Assange effect’ — attempts to criminalize journalism, such as Justin Brake’s and Karl Dockstader’s arrest for covering Indigenous land disputes —  have been diligently reported.

“There is a vague but widely held notion among the Canadian press that Assange’s troubles are not terribly important and not particularly newsworthy,” Canadaland publisher Jesse Brown told me in October after the hearings.  “To actually engage with the facts invariably means accepting that Julian Assange is being persecuted for telling the public things about the American government that they did not want known, and that means accepting that Julian Assange’s cause is every journalist’s cause.”

The hearings wrapped up three weeks of witness testimonies in September. Assange’s lawyers submitted their closing arguments to the court on Nov. 6 arguing that the request for Assange’s extradition is the result of U.S. President Donald Trump’s political agenda.

“It is politically motivated, it is an abuse of the process of this court, and it is a clear violation of the Anglo-U.S. treaty that governs this extradition.”

Prosecutors will submit their closing arguments on Nov. 20. Baraitser is expected to hand down her judgement on Jan. 4.

The post Where is Canadian Media on the Assange File? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

A U.S. Color Revolution “Comes Home to Roost” in the 2020 Election

It has been more than three weeks since election day and the incumbent U.S. president still has yet to concede defeat. Despite the media’s distraction over the perspiration of his personal attorney during a bizarre press conference, the legal team led by former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has actually done a decent job uncovering potential fraud in battleground states where vote counting was delayed for several days before the former vice president was declared a “winner” by the news media and Silicon Valley. Unfortunately, the 2020 election is not a sporting event or academic paper, therefore evidence that instances of fraud occurred will likely not be enough for the litigation to change the outcome, though it does appear his camp is finally facing up to leaving the White House come January. Then again, whether or not burden of proof was ever provided is immaterial, seeing as before he even took the oath of office a silent coup was underway to remove the democratically-elected government of Donald J. Trump that is now entering its final phase.

Trump found an unlikely voice of support contesting Biden’s premature declaration of victory in former six-term Democratic Congresswoman from Georgia and 2008 Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney, who this time was the running mate of former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura as a write-in entrant in some eligible states for the divided Greens who officially nominated labor activist Howie Hawkins. During the 2016 election, the Democrats scapegoated Jill Stein for Hillary Clinton’s unexpected loss, even baselessly implicating the Green Party nominee in the Russiagate hoax simply for having appeared at a 2015 Moscow gala for the RT television network where General Michael Flynn and Russian President Vladimir Putin were in attendance. Not only did the legislatures of swing states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin exclude Hawkins from the ballot at the behest of Democrats in a shameless act of voter suppression, but McKinney described the irregularities which plagued electronic voting machines in her home state of Georgia in 2020 as “déjà vu”, having been cheated out of Congress herself by such tactics in 2006. McKinney also previously penned an essay entitled “The Purple Revolution: U.S. Hybrid Warfare Comes Home to Roost?” on the establishment’s efforts to remove Trump which makes an apropos historical reference.

This November 22nd marked fifty-seven years since the assassination of John F. Kennedy. When asked for his reaction to the killing of the 35th president in Dallas back in 1963 and less than two years before his own public murder, civil rights leader Malcolm X famously stated that “chickens were coming home to roost”, alluding to the U.S. government’s interventions overseas such as the CIA-orchestrated assassination of the first Prime Minister of the Congo, Patrice Lumumba, in 1960 following its independence from Belgian colonial rule. His remarks in the wake of a national tragedy proved too controversial even for the Nation of Islam which publicly censured its most recognizable minister who would announce his departure from the black nationalist organization a few months later. The following year, he would be gunned down in Harlem in an assassination long-suspected to have been the work of the FBI’s counter-intelligence program (COINTELPRO) which had infiltrated his inner circle to frame the NOI for a mysterious death equally thought by the public to have been a state-sanctioned execution like that of JFK.

It is unclear whether the African-American Muslim leader believed the U.S. government was behind Kennedy’s death, but chances are he was not naïve enough to think that the same machinations used abroad could not be implemented by those very forces domestically to remove someone elected by the American people they opposed. If the Kennedy assassination was indeed a result of the “unwarranted influence of the military-industrial complex” which his predecessor Dwight D. Eisenhower even famously warned of during his farewell address, what took place was almost certainly a secret putsch. The president had already been undercut by his own Joint Chiefs of Staff and Central Intelligence Agency in trying to defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis and his back-channel negotiations with Nikita Khrushchev were sabotaged by hawkish officials within his own administration. The internal struggle that scuttled Kennedy’s attempts at détente parallels the vying factions which undermined Trump ’s diplomacy with North Korea to a near tee.

Political scientist Michael Parenti explained in his essay The JFK Assassination: Defending the Gangster State how the 35th president was targeted by the security state which perceived Kennedy as “soft on communism” and placating the Soviet Union in his diplomatic efforts following the failed Bay of Pigs invasion:

The dirty truth is that Kennedy was heartily hated by right-wing forces in this country, including many powerful people in the intelligence organizations. He had betrayed the national interest as they defined it, by refusing to go all out against Cuba, making overtures of rapproachment with Castro, and refusing to escalate the ground war in Vietnam. They also saw him as an anti-business liberal who was taking the country down the wrong path. Whether Kennedy really was all that liberal is another matter. What the national security rightists saw him to be was what counted.

While the widely perceived truth about the JFK assassination remains sealed from public view, the Church Committee and Rockefeller Commissions of the 1970s exposed the numerous CIA-backed juntas which unseated popular leaders in Guatemala, Syria, Iran, the Dominican Republic, the Congo, Brazil, Indonesia, Chile, and countless other nations in the global south. Ever since, the CIA’s preferred regime change stratagem has been to use what are paradoxically labeled non-governmental organizations (NGOs) — which actually receive U.S. government funding — as cutouts to destabilize noncompliant nations under the guise of supporting “pro-democracy” opposition movements. During the Cold War, the vast majority of states overthrown were left-leaning or socialist governments aligned with the Eastern Bloc, but in the post-Soviet world many of the toppled administrations have been far from left-wing and even conservative, with their only offense favoring economic ties with Russia or China and resisting Western hegemony.

Similarly, when domestic protest movements have taken shape at home in the U.S., the political establishment has used plutocratic foundations in Big Philanthropy and the Non-Profit Industrial Complex to defang them for its own agenda. Look no further than the way the nationwide mass demonstrations against racism and police brutality this year were rapidly transformed into a movement to elect Joe Biden, who drafted the senate version of the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, with no substantial legislation passed to reform police. The corporatized Black Lives Matter movement, a recipient of $100 million dollar grants from the CIA’s philanthropic frontage in the Ford Foundation, grew out of the legacy of the short-lived Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011 which itself were coopted by reformist and pro-Democratic Party outfits. Not coincidentally, OWS was also infiltrated by Serbian political activist Srđa Popović of Otpor! (“Resistance!”) and the Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS) fame who previously led the Bulldozer Revolution which overthrew Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević in 2000.

A central component of the Gene Sharp-inspired ‘Color Revolution’ template is the engineering of contested election scenarios where leaders singled-out for regime change can be ousted after appearing to consolidate power, as seen in election-themed revolutions in Serbia (Bulldozer), Georgia (Rose), Ukraine (Orange), Kyrgyzstan (Tulip), Moldova (Grape), and other countries. The same manner in which Biden declared himself the victor in spite of the lawsuits filed in federal court was recently observed abroad in the disputed election aftermath in Belarus where U.S.-backed opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya announced herself the winner of its presidential contest in order to spark preplanned protests in Minsk against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. This was a replication of an unsuccessful blueprint from the 2009 Green Movement unrest in Iran during the incumbency of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as well as the presidential crisis in Venezuela last year, among others.

Trump‘s lawyer Rudy Giuliani appeared to be confused when he alleged that the e-voting irregularities involving the election software company Dominion Voting Systems had ties to diseased former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and international financier George Soros, who actually supports the U.S.-backed opposition to the Chavista government in Caracas. Giuliani may be mistaken but is pointing to something accurate, except in the contested U.S. election his client is in the position of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro while Biden would be the equivalent of self-appointed “interim president” Juan Guaidó. Sans a few exceptions such as Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (who certainly knows a rigged contest when he sees one), most of the “international community” congratulated Biden on his assumed win just like Venezuela’s illegitimate coup leader. Meanwhile, both the pseudo-left and conservative right seem to be equally misunderstood about Soros, who is neither the charitable billionaire or “globalist” bogeyman they imagine, but rather an anti-communist business tycoon who favors vulture capitalism and Western imperialism under the banner of liberal democracy.

As touched on by Cynthia McKinney, in the aftermath of Trump’s shocking triumph over Hillary Clinton in 2016, rumors began to swirl that a Soros-funded U.S. ‘Color Revolution’ was in the works — a ‘Purple Revolution’, monikered after the noticeable shade Mrs. Clinton chose to don in her concession speech as a combination of blue and red intended to symbolize bipartisan opposition to Trump. Whether or not that was true, it was in the wee hours following her loss that the Clinton campaign reportedly settled on placing the blame at the feet of unproven Russian interference for Trump’s unlikely victory. Or was it even earlier? Recently declassified CIA memorandums proved that months before the election in July 2016, Clinton had orchestrated a plan to whip up a smear campaign tying Trump to the alleged Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee email server. The documents also showed beyond a doubt how the Russia probe was launched even though both the FBI and CIA were privy to Clinton’s intent on linking Trump with the Kremlin.

The three-year Russia investigation and subsequent impeachment over the Ukraine scandal were only the beginning chapters in the slow-motion soft coup against Trump. When all else failed, the U.S. elite began to prepare for his ouster in the 2020 election. In fact, the possibility of a second Trump term was evidently too much of a nightmare for the establishment to even fathom, so they only prepared for his defeat and presupposed refusal to relinquish power instead. Quite literally, an exclusive cabal of Washington insiders, establishment Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans were gathered by a former high-ranking Pentagon official, Nils Gilman, to participate in role-playing “election simulation” scenarios and tabletop “war game” exercises predicting various election outcomes which anticipated that Trump would resist acknowledging defeat and transferring power, precipitating a constitutional crisis. It was called the Transition Integrity Project (TIP) and featured Clintonites John Podesta and Donna Brazile, who were joined by prominent neoconservative figures William Kristol, Max Boot, and the former George W. Bush speechwriter who coined the “Axis of Evil” phrase, war criminal David Frum.

Most telling is that among the scenarios considered, even in the postulated drill where the premise was a decisive victory for Trump, TIP determined that Biden should ignore the vote result and consider any measures necessary to attain the presidency, including provoking a constitutional crisis and possible civil war where Democratic-held states would be encouraged to secede from the Union, the electoral college abolished, and statehood awarded to Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. Upon reading the TIP report, it is clear that the real purpose of the bipartisan exercise was to mastermind the very disputed election outcome and concentration of power it predicts would be triggered by Trump. It is also possible that the project enlisted mass media in its scheme. Just weeks before Election Day, a highly-publicized scandal broke at The New Yorker magazine after staff writer and CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin accidentally exposed himself during a Zoom video meeting with fellow employees. Many were too amused to notice the online conference call was revealed to be an “election simulation” featuring top columnists of the publication role-playing as participants.

It would not be out of the realm of possibility given the unprecedented extent to which corporate outlets and Big Tech companies have gone to influence the outcome of the election. Even those within legacy media such as The New York Post, one of the oldest newspapers in the United States, found itself censored by Twitter for publishing an explosive story which contained emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop of which not even the former vice president’s campaign denied the authenticity. When Trump delivered a press conference outlining his campaign’s allegations of election fraud, major news outlets not only made the Orwellian decision to “fact check” Trump live on-air but cut away from the speech in the middle of his remarks in coordinated unison. Then when the president’s own social media posts were censored and flagged as disinformation, the jig was truly up. It’s little wonder Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg openly bragged about how the platform was “partnering with the intelligence community” for censorship to be a soft power arm after the 2016 election. Lo and behold, rather than being broken up for violating anti-trust laws, Silicon Valley has already been rewarded for staying true to its roots in the national security state by Biden’s transition team which consists of executives from Airbnb, Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, Dell, DropBox, Microsoft’s LinkedIn, Lyft, Stripe and Uber.

Can it really be that Trump is so hated because of his rejection of certain foreign policy orthodoxies like JFK alone? The truth is really so much more. It is because of his inclination to disgrace Washington’s sacred institutions for his own political gain which the entire establishment desperately needs to maintain the faith of the masses in its corrupt political system, rogue national security state, yellow press, and obsolete democratic process. It is imperative to preserve these bureaucratic cornerstones as above criticism because they are a linchpin to holding power. As a political outsider, Trump blazed his own trail to the presidency and in doing so undermined the hallowed bastions of power in Washington, promising to “drain the swamp” while eroding faith in the leading U.S. spy agencies as an unelected secret government or “deep state”, and most of all denouncing corporate media as “fake news” and the “enemy of the people.” Even though these were accuracies cynically told by Trump for his own advantage, they were misunderstood by his detractors to be falsehoods simply because he was the source.

Trump’s populist agitation even worried his own group of backers within the ruling elite who convinced him to soften his rhetoric and reverse many of his positions once he took office. Since the 2020 election has not resulted in a desirable outcome, he has only continued to increase popular distrust of the political order and its mechanisms which guarantee the status quo overrides the will of the people, signaling he is more than willing to take the whole system down with him. Indeed, polls indicate many Americans seem to agree with the president that the election was rigged in Biden’s favor. This is precisely why his rabble-rousing is viewed as dangerous by the elite which unleashed its media organs and intelligence agencies from day one to sabotage him — they knew that he is willing to lay bare the full corruption of the powers that be in order to help his own cause. For this reason, the media has resorted to the most deceitful and partisan methods to portray Trump as a unique danger that most be ousted at any cost.

It is no wonder how a coalition as incongruous as that behind Biden came into formation, from Lincoln Project “Never Trumper” Republicans to the Democratic Socialists of America, Big Tech monopolies to Black Lives Matter, Wall Street mega-donors to the remnants of Occupy Wall Street, Bush-era national security officials to the inappropriately-named Revolutionary Communist Party (Refuse Fascism), and so on. Or to really give an idea of just how absurd the ideological alliance was to ensure a Biden presidency, the Transition Integrity Project was even shamefully promoted by the likes of so-called “progressive” news outlets like Democracy Now! which made its journalistic name critically covering the very neoconservative figures from the Bush years behind TIP. Somehow, those in power managed to persuade the “anti-establishment” to side with them against the bad orange man as the supposed greater evil, tricking them into defending institutions they should oppose as inviolable and the archaic U.S. electoral system which deprives them of real democracy as unimpeachable. This is the real legacy of the Trump era — only time will tell if it is its lesson.

The post A U.S. Color Revolution "Comes Home to Roost" in the 2020 Election first appeared on Dissident Voice.

People Are Rising Up Against The Elites, So Should We

Protest in Peru:  The people demand neither corruption or exploitation

This weekend, ten thousand people took to the streets in Guatemala to protest the President and Congress over a proposed budget, the largest in its history, that cuts funds for health care and education as poverty rises, and provides slush funds to politicians and governments. In Colombia, the people held a national strike to protest their violent, right-wing government. In Peru, protests against a right-wing power grab have ousted one appointed president and people are demanding a new government and constitution. And people in Chile won the right to a new constitution. Now they are defending the process to make sure it represents them.

Across the Atlantic Ocean in Nigeria, in what began as a response to ongoing and severe state violence, the #EndSARS movement, has evolved to a struggle for full liberation from a corrupt and repressive government. Their new hashtag is #EndBadGovernanceInNigeria. I spoke with Abiodun Aremu, a long time movement leader in Lagos, on Clearing the FOG, about the current conditions and history of looting and exploitation by those in power.

In these countries and more, the people are rising up against the elite power structure to fight for their rights. Across borders, we share a common enemy, neoliberal economies that funnel wealth to the top, deregulate industries so they violate worker rights and destroy the environment, and impose austerity programs to deny our basic necessities. We also share a common vision for a world where the self-determination of peoples is respected and all people have equitable access to a life of dignity and prosperity.

Boxes of food were handed out by the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Gene J. Puskar/AP.

The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities has a new report that finds the economy, which improved slightly over the summer, is stagnating again. As the provisions from the CARES Act expire, poverty is rising, especially for black and brown people. Women are also being adversely impacted because of the lack of childcare. Most of the jobs that have been lost, 52 percent, are low-wage jobs.

They point to a recent study from the Department of Health and Human Services that predicts ten million more people will become impoverished by the end of this year. Currently, 24 million adults say they don’t have enough food in their homes and 80 million adults say they are struggling to afford basic necessities. Without adequate support from the government, the economy won’t recover and people will continue to suffer.

The COVID-19 pandemic is surging with more than 200,000 cases in one day last week and deaths are rising again. Across the country, hospitals are struggling without enough beds and the staff to care for patients. The United States is expected to remain at this crisis level through the winter unless drastic steps are taken such as a national shut down, including all non-essential businesses. At present, that is not an option being considered by either President Trump or President-Elect Biden.

Both Trump and Biden are putting corporate profits over the needs of people by focusing on reopening businesses rather than providing the relief people desperately need. The Institute for Policy Studies reports that billionaires have increased their wealth by nearly $1 trillion since the start of the pandemic while their workers are left unprotected and without increases in their wages. They specifically call out a “delinquent dozen” of “pandemic profiteers.”

David McNew/Getty Images.

As Congress refuses to provide support for the millions who have lost their jobs, their health insurance and their homes, people are calling on the incoming Biden administration to take immediate action. For example, David Dayen points out that a provision in the Affordable Care Act allows the President to use executive power to expand Medicare to whomever needs it.

Biden, unfortunately, has made it clear that he opposes Medicare for All.  I spoke about the COVID-19 crisis and our for-profit healthcare system with Chris Hedges on his program, On Contact, this weekend.

This past week, more than 235 organizations called on Joe Biden to cancel student debt, which can also be done using executive power. Student debt has reached a staggering $1.6 trillion, a burden that is crippling people in the current recession. The groups state, “Cancellation will help jumpstart spending, create jobs, and add to the GDP. Short-term payment suspension alone is not enough to help struggling borrowers who are unemployed, already in default, or in serious delinquency.”

In addition to failing to address the pandemic and economic hardship at home, the United States government also inflicts pain and suffering across the planet through the many regime change efforts and military aggressions. Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies outlined ten steps Joe Biden could take immediately to change our foreign policy to one that is in line with international law, provides humanitarian aid instead of bombs and reduces the threat of nuclear war.

Federal spending on the security state dwarfs what is spent on domestic needs. Only 32 percent of the federal discretionary budget is used for health care, education, energy and housing and the biggest chunk of that goes to the Veterans Health Administration. The rest goes to the Pentagon, Homeland Security, the State Department, and NASA. Imagine what could be done to provide universal health care, child care, fully-funded education through the university level, low-cost clean energy and affordable housing if we stopped our wars and brought the military home.

Sean Rayford/New York Times.

Now that it is clear the next president will be Joe Biden, some people may think it is time to relax and let him go to work running the country. This is the message the power holders want the people to hear. The Biden administration will go to great lengths to give the appearance that it is different and that it will make positive changes, but just as we have experienced over and over again, when it comes to domestic economic policy or foreign policy, there is little difference between Democratic and Republican administrations. Both serve the wealthy class and the military industrial complex.

The power elites are never going to give us what we need. We must demand it. As we see people in other countries doing, we must organize and mobilize with a clear set of demands now. Joe Biden can take immediate steps to relieve suffering, and in a time of crisis as we are in now, he can do it using executive power. We must not give Biden a honeymoon. We must not be fooled by the excuses used to convince us it can’t be done.

The post People Are Rising Up Against The Elites, So Should We first appeared on Dissident Voice.

People Are Rising Up Against The Elites, So Should We

Protest in Peru:  The people demand neither corruption or exploitation

This weekend, ten thousand people took to the streets in Guatemala to protest the President and Congress over a proposed budget, the largest in its history, that cuts funds for health care and education as poverty rises, and provides slush funds to politicians and governments. In Colombia, the people held a national strike to protest their violent, right-wing government. In Peru, protests against a right-wing power grab have ousted one appointed president and people are demanding a new government and constitution. And people in Chile won the right to a new constitution. Now they are defending the process to make sure it represents them.

Across the Atlantic Ocean in Nigeria, in what began as a response to ongoing and severe state violence, the #EndSARS movement, has evolved to a struggle for full liberation from a corrupt and repressive government. Their new hashtag is #EndBadGovernanceInNigeria. I spoke with Abiodun Aremu, a long time movement leader in Lagos, on Clearing the FOG, about the current conditions and history of looting and exploitation by those in power.

In these countries and more, the people are rising up against the elite power structure to fight for their rights. Across borders, we share a common enemy, neoliberal economies that funnel wealth to the top, deregulate industries so they violate worker rights and destroy the environment, and impose austerity programs to deny our basic necessities. We also share a common vision for a world where the self-determination of peoples is respected and all people have equitable access to a life of dignity and prosperity.

Boxes of food were handed out by the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Gene J. Puskar/AP.

The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities has a new report that finds the economy, which improved slightly over the summer, is stagnating again. As the provisions from the CARES Act expire, poverty is rising, especially for black and brown people. Women are also being adversely impacted because of the lack of childcare. Most of the jobs that have been lost, 52 percent, are low-wage jobs.

They point to a recent study from the Department of Health and Human Services that predicts ten million more people will become impoverished by the end of this year. Currently, 24 million adults say they don’t have enough food in their homes and 80 million adults say they are struggling to afford basic necessities. Without adequate support from the government, the economy won’t recover and people will continue to suffer.

The COVID-19 pandemic is surging with more than 200,000 cases in one day last week and deaths are rising again. Across the country, hospitals are struggling without enough beds and the staff to care for patients. The United States is expected to remain at this crisis level through the winter unless drastic steps are taken such as a national shut down, including all non-essential businesses. At present, that is not an option being considered by either President Trump or President-Elect Biden.

Both Trump and Biden are putting corporate profits over the needs of people by focusing on reopening businesses rather than providing the relief people desperately need. The Institute for Policy Studies reports that billionaires have increased their wealth by nearly $1 trillion since the start of the pandemic while their workers are left unprotected and without increases in their wages. They specifically call out a “delinquent dozen” of “pandemic profiteers.”

David McNew/Getty Images.

As Congress refuses to provide support for the millions who have lost their jobs, their health insurance and their homes, people are calling on the incoming Biden administration to take immediate action. For example, David Dayen points out that a provision in the Affordable Care Act allows the President to use executive power to expand Medicare to whomever needs it.

Biden, unfortunately, has made it clear that he opposes Medicare for All.  I spoke about the COVID-19 crisis and our for-profit healthcare system with Chris Hedges on his program, On Contact, this weekend.

This past week, more than 235 organizations called on Joe Biden to cancel student debt, which can also be done using executive power. Student debt has reached a staggering $1.6 trillion, a burden that is crippling people in the current recession. The groups state, “Cancellation will help jumpstart spending, create jobs, and add to the GDP. Short-term payment suspension alone is not enough to help struggling borrowers who are unemployed, already in default, or in serious delinquency.”

In addition to failing to address the pandemic and economic hardship at home, the United States government also inflicts pain and suffering across the planet through the many regime change efforts and military aggressions. Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies outlined ten steps Joe Biden could take immediately to change our foreign policy to one that is in line with international law, provides humanitarian aid instead of bombs and reduces the threat of nuclear war.

Federal spending on the security state dwarfs what is spent on domestic needs. Only 32 percent of the federal discretionary budget is used for health care, education, energy and housing and the biggest chunk of that goes to the Veterans Health Administration. The rest goes to the Pentagon, Homeland Security, the State Department, and NASA. Imagine what could be done to provide universal health care, child care, fully-funded education through the university level, low-cost clean energy and affordable housing if we stopped our wars and brought the military home.

Sean Rayford/New York Times.

Now that it is clear the next president will be Joe Biden, some people may think it is time to relax and let him go to work running the country. This is the message the power holders want the people to hear. The Biden administration will go to great lengths to give the appearance that it is different and that it will make positive changes, but just as we have experienced over and over again, when it comes to domestic economic policy or foreign policy, there is little difference between Democratic and Republican administrations. Both serve the wealthy class and the military industrial complex.

The power elites are never going to give us what we need. We must demand it. As we see people in other countries doing, we must organize and mobilize with a clear set of demands now. Joe Biden can take immediate steps to relieve suffering, and in a time of crisis as we are in now, he can do it using executive power. We must not give Biden a honeymoon. We must not be fooled by the excuses used to convince us it can’t be done.

The post People Are Rising Up Against The Elites, So Should We first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Fascist Kabuki

There is no question that most television is a waste of time. The people connected with it realize how bad programming is and go ahead with their shows as cynically as possible. Producers are turning out programs that literally make me sick. TV seems to re-infect itself each year, using the same approach to shows and making them worse each season.
— Richard Boone, Hanford Sentinel, 1960

…the intelligence empire’s efforts to manufacture the truth and mold public opinion are more vast and varied than ever before. One of its foremost assets? Hollywood.
— Nicholas Schou, The Atlantic, July 2016

Like Saddam’s WMD in 2002, the threat posed by the tightening credit of 2008 was made to seem infinite for being undefined, but this time the terrible menace just below the horizon was global, and the fabric of reality itself, now daily called “capitalism” in the world media heretofore shy of this term, was threatened with extinction: without any real reportage, newscasts disseminated narratemes from Hollywood disaster films presaging total obliteration of the familiar. Strife was promised in terrifying and titillating epic visions – of a period of riotous turbulence, of systems crashing and structures imploding, of reigning isms lying in ruin and our species’ hubris chastised, of hedonistic society abruptly repentant in the wake of cataclysm, of wastelands of Darwininan struggle, all lying just around an epochal bend – but first, with special vividness, of perilously inadequate economic plumbing, suggesting that if the “toxic assets” “clogging the system” were not cleared without delay, at any moment the world would be submerged in deep financial shit.
— Alphonse van Worden, The Protocols of the Learned Lacanian of Ljublitzia, June 2016

There is a huge amount of material on CIA involvement in Hollywood. This is not new, but it seems to have been compartmentalized by most Americans and shuttled off into the dark corners of their consciousness. Most people largely don’t want to know. And the reasons for this are complex. But before digging into that, it’s not only the CIA that shapes entertainment, it’s nearly all institutions of government and almost all corporations and media itself. Giant media conglomerates are in a sense hardly distinguishable from the CIA and Pentagon and State Department. Which is rather close to the classic definition of fascism.

The esteemed former University of Southern California law professor Erwin Chemerinsky agrees. In Operation­Hollywood, Chemerinsky asserts that “the Supreme Court has said that above all, the First Amendment means that the government cannot participate in viewpoint discrimination.” It “cannot favor some speech due to its viewpoint and disfavor another because of its viewpoint.” Moreover, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in his 1995 decision Rosenberger ­v.­The ­University ­of­ Virginia that the government must abstain from “regulating speech when the specific motivating ideology or the opinion or perspective of the speaker is the rationale for the restriction.
— Tricia Jenkins, The CIA in Hollywood, March 2016

And yet this is what happens constantly.

…they have become very good at persuading the public that a good movie is the one that opened strongest last weekend, even if the critics hated it. The media helps them do it, by reporting on box office figures without discussing the ways that those figures are manipulated. The media are part of the gravy train anyway, because of the ad campaign revenue.”
— Paul Brynes, Sydney Herald, 2014

Now, again, the cooperation of the CIA and Pentagon is well known. Two films that won Oscars for best picture (Argo and Hurt Locker) were essentially pure CIA and Pentagon propaganda. And this to not even get into stuff like Zero Dark Thirty. But what is more pernicious is how, in turn, all public narratives have taken on the quality of a Hollywood movie. And today this is evident in the way the Covid lockdowns are being depicted. Watch the opening episodes of any of the Dick Wolf TV franchises this new season: Chicago Med, FBI: Most Wanted, etc., and you see blatant unquestioning support for the government narrative (FBI agent advises daughter to not leave the house without her mask). This exactly meets the definition of propaganda. Dissenting views are completely absent. In Chicago Med the pandemic is depicted as if it were bubonic plague. Public discourse on the pandemic reflects TV’s treatment.

In fact, dissent is usually portrayed as dangerous and unpatriotic. The looming question is, then, why do so many people attack dissenters when they know (because the information has been around and available for thirty years) the government (and Hollywood) lie…they lie all the time. In fact, they ONLY lie.

Now, recent polls suggest that half of Americans reject the idea of more lockdowns. That’s a lot of people. Yet very few of those people speak up, or post opinions on social media. And this is an interesting phenomenon. There is an enormous fear of being called ‘conspiracy theorist’ or ‘anti vaxxer’ or ‘Covid truther’ etc. There is a tacit assault on the truth itself embedded in this stigmatizing. A pathologization of the search for truth. And this seems something that has arisen out of the culture of social media.

One understands that if the law says wear a mask or be fined, then people will wear the mask. But there is no law (yet) in expressing a dissenting opinion. And this lynch mob mentality has, predictably, attracted the most virulent xenophobic and racist memes and opinions possible. Of course, major social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook are perilously close to outright censorship now. One is labeled dangerous if one questions the narrative on the pandemic. Simply pointing out that the fatality rate is extremely low despite all the lurid headlines is cause for censorship on Facebook. Stating facts has become, quite literally, dangerous.

But there is another layer involved in the shaping of opinion. And perhaps it is better to describe this as the shaping of consciousness itself. And this is because it’s really not just opinion, it’s something both more expansive and much deeper. One aspect is the now glaring infantilizing of the public. Here is n interesting side bar.

And one aspect of this childishness is the aforementioned compartmentalization. Many of these people attacking dissenters well know the government lies. Ask them about WMDs or Yellow Cake in Niger, or mobile chemical weapons labs, or even the guns to Contras and US trained death squads in Central America. They know they were lied to. And yet they desperately cling to official narrative regards Covid.

Deception can be coercive. When it succeeds, it can give power to the deceiver.
— Sissela Bok, Lying; Moral Choice in Public and Private Life, September 1999

The public has little interest in the Pentagon Papers, in John Podesta’s leaked emails, or in why Gary Webb was murdered. The official narratives regarding the break-up of Yugoslavia, or the coup in Honduras, or the killing of Gaddafi — the official narratives to any of these have been debunked years ago, and yet the lies persist and continue to shape opinion. When the U.S. helped with the fascist coup in Bolivia, the story was on the front page of most news outlets. When the socialist party was re-elected the story was seen, literally, nowhere. Most people think the coup was a popular victory for the people of Bolivia. Same with Hugo Chavez and the narrative in Venezuela. (see the debunking of liberal icon John Oliver here.)

Now, two things to note here. One is that much of the pandemic suspension of rights was possible because of the Patriot Act. And, two, the rabid anti-communism that runs through U.S. history and U.S. educational institutions has left a residue that clings with particular tenacity to the white liberal class. The most ardent virtue signalling is found among the affluent liberals of urban America. And these are people with great visibility and are also the target demographic for advertisers.

The clumsily-titled Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (USA PATRIOT Act, or USAPA) introduced a plethora of legislative changes which significantly increased the surveillance and investigative powers of law enforcement agencies in the United States. The Act did not, however, provide for the system of checks and balances that traditionally safeguards civil liberties in the face of such legislation. Legislative proposals in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were introduced less than a week after the attacks. { } One of the most striking features of the USA PATRIOT Act is the lack of debate surrounding its introduction.
— Epic.Org, Electronic Information Privacy Center, May 2015

There isn’t even the spirit any more that was in Vietnam, of skepticism, and the sense that the patriotic thing to do is to tell the American people the truth and to try to be impartial and not to be the cat’s paw of the government. But when I say this on TV the reaction is overwhelming; there is tremendous hostility to the free press in this country.
— John MacArthur, Harpers, Censorship and the War on Terrorism

The government has simply abandoned the idea of referendum, or really, it was never considered (which Neil Clark wrote about here.)

The same hostility to free speech is found regards actual democracy. Now, this is not a majority opinion, I don’t think, but like the lockdown polls my guess would be about half. So who makes up this half of the U.S. that is hostile to stuff like free speech or democratic procedures? Again, my guess is the educated white liberal class. These are the people who exhibited an outsize hatred of Trump to the extent that anything he said was going to be opposed and this includes the pandemic. These are the people who beatified Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Who refuse any criticism of Obama, and who love FBI directors if they were against the Donald. Why? I have no real answers except that in the age of screen culture the waves of opinion form quickly and migrate often and rarely can be rationally explained. Something in cyber culture (more acute due to the lockdowns) encourages simplistic narratives of good and evil. And in times of acute precarity there seems a default setting of ‘trust’ regarding state institutions. This also all falls under infantilism.

There are psychological aspects to this beyond just the inherent influence of screen culture. And this is a subject that does not lend itself to simplistic discourse.

We see that the object is being treated in the same way as our own ego, so that when we are in love a considerable amount of narcissistic libido overflows on the object. It is even obvious, in many forms of love choice, that the object serves as a substitute for some unattained ego ideal of our own. We love it on account of the perfections which we have striven to reach for our own ego, and which we should now like to procure in this roundabout way as a means of satisfying our narcissism.
— Sigmund Freud, Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, 1921

Because there is no single Fuhrer figure in contemporary America, this libidinal attachment is diffused over a variety of figures. Why, for example, is Dr. Fauci so respected? Nothing in his dodgy career history explains this. Why are the countless dissenting doctors and respected researchers ignored? The only answer I have is that visibility on the screens of mass media amounts to a kind of Fuhrer stature. Like Max Headroom Fuhrers. There is an inherent authority in the close up, (Godard may have said that) and that is what TV and its extension to laptop and tablet screens achieves. The public is in thrall to figures of authority, even if entirely artificial. Or, rather, they are in thrall to ‘their’ screen images. The ones they identify with and feel they own. Politics is expressed much as shopping is expressed. The identification in the political sphere (and with history) is identical to how this public identifies with Hollywood’s protagonists.

Just as people do not believe deep down in their hearts that Jews are the devil, they do not fully believe in the leader. They do not really identify with him but act on this identification, represent their own enthusiasm, and thus participate in the leader’s performance. It is through this representation that they find a balance between their instinctual urges continually mobilized and the historical stage of enlightenment which they have attained and which can not be arbitrarily revoked. It is probably the distrust of the fiction of his own ‘group psychology’ that makes the fascist masses so merciless and unshakable.
— Theodor Adorno, Freudian Theory and the Pattern of Fascist Propaganda, 1951

This is an important observation of Adorno. The bad faith that resonates throughout the U.S. public discourse is an engine for resentment and rage. And everything has come to feel like a fiction. There is also a strange merging of several tributaries of social movements. One is the Green New Deal (and just read Cory Morningstar on this) and another is the Covid-19 pandemic, and the lockdowns, and then the Klaus Schwab (and Bill Gates and friends) so called Great Reset.

These are the privatised corporate movements that are passed off (on screens) as social reform. Now, the same can be said of Black Lives Matter but to a far less degree because that movement is far less unified. And Defunding the Police even more so, and this because much of that is driven by the formerly incarcerated. But the principle remains.

The Covid phenomenon, however, stands apart as the most drastic and grotesque manufacturing of crisis perhaps ever. Maybe in human history, actually. There is no crisis. The flu has similar numbers for fatalities and for infection. And now much state policy is attached to positive test results for a test nobody (even the manufacturers) really trusts. So who is driving this hysteria? Almost nobody can argue the lockdowns will cause more death, and more suffering. Already there are acute spikes in suicide, and drug overdose, as well as domestic abuse and depression and homelessness. The answer to who constitutes the engine behind this hysteria is likely the same people, by and large, who are driving the above mentioned attempts to rescue Capitalism. Or rather, to control the demolition of capitalism and the transition into a new feudalism.

World systems theorists like Wallerstein and Amin had been since the destruction of the USSR chronicling an unprecedented ruling class offensive to push forward a transformation out of an obsolescent form of competitive capitalism to the next shape of class rule; popular dissident economists and social theorists like Robin Blackburn, Michael Hudson, Naomi Klein, and Robert Brenner had simultaneously been tracking the increasing precariousness of the financialized post-Bretton Woods arrangements. Indeed Klein had recently published an enormous bestseller The Shock Doctrine which, for all its many flaws, provided a neologism for ruling class praxis that vividly conveyed its premeditated malice, violence and cunning, and which was well suited to advance conversations across social strata and diverse communities about the events unfolding in 2008.
— Alponse van Worden (Ibid.)

Van Worden’s critique is actually about Slavoj Zizek, and it is worth noting the malevolent influence of ersatz Marxists like Zizek (and Jacobin magazine and Bhaskar Sunkara, and these days even Counterpunch, sadly, and Chris Hedges, and many crypto LaRouchites, etc.) who are all now actively aligned with U.S. Imperialist interests. And all of whom have embraced a faux green ‘woke’ subject position that is merely more mystification and obscuring of genuine class analysis. For the real barometer for genuine opposition has become the ‘drama of the mask’. Where only recently it was the thermometer, the 1 degree or 2 degrees or whatever, that anchored most climate discourse, today there is the mask. There is ‘herd immunity’ (called mass murder by the folks at Counterpunch). There is the same guilt tripping, the same virtue signalling, and the same bad faith. And the bad faith is palpable, for when expressing ‘concern’ for victims of the pandemic, one can hear the echoes of the same concern many expressed for the victims of child abuse during the recovered memories trials, or of late, too, the overpopulation proponents — like Prince William and Bill Gates. They do not care about victims, they care about saving themselves — but that can only reach their conscious mind by first saving capitalism.

The current bad faith can also be linked to the collapse of the U.S.S.R. The emotional and psychic vacuum, even if largely unconscious for many, left by the fall of Soviet communism, was (and is) enormous. And out of this vacuum came the front edges of the new woke fascism.

Today, social conditions have produced uncritical acceptance of authority among large parts of the population. Among others, even those one might expect to criticise the status quo, we see only despair. The upsurge in interest in deterministic utopian or pessimistic thinking, influenced by the rapid technological change speaks volumes about the powerlessness felt even by those least susceptible to fascist propaganda.
— Max L. Feldman, Seductive Fascist Style, Verso blog, September 2019

And the style coordinates for concern invariably enclose rank sentimentalism. For as James Baldwin noted sentimentality is The Mask of Cruelty. This public bathos has multiplied across all areas of discussion, and it points back to just how harmful the erosion of education has been, and maybe in particular the loss of arts education. For the American public today is both tone deaf and stunningly deficient in aesthetic understanding. They have gone from bad taste to no taste.

Not that long ago, Hollywood was still capable of making meaningful movies.

Based on what little reliable information has been published about the CIA and Hollywood, the agency’s covert manipulation of the entertainment industry appears to have markedly decreased during the next two decades. In the 1970s, following the Watergate scandal and shocking congressional revelations about the CIA, a Hollywood backlash against the spy agency even took shape. A series of anti-authority thrillers, including classic conspiracy films like Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation and Alan Pakula’s The Parallax View (both released in 1974) and Sydney Pollack’s Three Days of the Condor (1975), depicted the national security state as a malevolent force, with Condor, starring Robert Redford as a CIA whistle-blower, taking specific aim at the agency as an institution capable of killing anyone who gets in its way, even its own agents.
— Nicholas Schou,  Spooked, 2016

The shift began in the late 70s. And it escalated profoundly in the 90s under Bill Clinton. For the Clintons saw the importance of Hollywood. A huge number of former Clinton interns are now Hollywood producers. (interesting aside, Clinton screened the 1998 Ed Zwick film The Siege in the White House — a story of terrorists attacking NYC leading to martial law).

Today, however, there are fewer people actually going to the cinema. People watch at home, on laptops and stream from a myriad of platforms. This is the Netflix era. Something else has changed, too. Hollywood has actually stopped being a source of entertainment. I mean it “is” still that, but it is more a sort of religious domain and something like a companion. This is an atomized and lonely society. Electronic devices are left on in many homes 24/7. It is the background white noise of daily life. There are TVs in most restaurants now. There are TVs in doctor’s offices and in all manner of waiting rooms. I saw wide screen monitors at the unemployment office. I saw them at the DMV. Life is chronicled on screens, and I suspect Jonathan Beller is right that our unconscious is now a film strip.

The new woke fascism is, however, much like all fascist movements. I sense too much is made of the technological revolution (sic). Even critics of the fourth industrial revolution are besotted by AI and the fantasies of mass surveillance and facial recognition and the like. The truth is, of course, it doesn’t really have to work, people only have to believe it does. But technology is now a form of mystification. The woke fascism is, like earlier forms, attached to ideas of not just obedience, but duty to obey. And in this sense Americans have always been prime targets for fascism. They see life as a struggle and a conquest. Today the duty to the state is camouflaged to a degree, the state has as a stand-in varieties of environmental constructs (Gaia, etc). The overpopulation eugenicists constantly reiterate their love of nature, of the “planet”. But this is a planet for ‘them’, not for you. And the fascist system is always, to a large extent, petit-bourgeois. So, into this Hollywood has increasingly created stories of technological heroism, and of duty to the authority of those who create and operate that technology. And to valorize the white middle class (Spielberg is the avatar for suburban heroic) As I have written before, Terminator 2 was the story of androids as better parents than humans.

What I am trying to point out is that the CIA is trying to circulate whitewashed images of itself through popular media. Further, it is trying to weave those images into the fabric of society in such a way that viewers see them as a “natural” reflection of the Agency, rather than one that is partially constructed and manipulated by the government.
— Tricia Jenkins (Ibid.)

And it is Trump who is, maybe, the ultimate expression of this decline into ‘no taste’. Trump can’t be understood. He speaks in gibberish. Biden is only very slightly better in terms of speaking English. His clear early stage dementia is maybe the perfect sound track for the Covid experiment. And yet, the petit-bourgeoisie applaud him (and Kamala Harris) as if an exorcism has been completed and the Virgin Spring is born.

And lest anyone have doubts about the underlying agenda(s) of the Covid lockdowns, and in particular Bill Gates… read Jacob Levich.

Here are just a few of Gates’ suggestions..(found in his op ed in the NY Times, and one in the New England Journal of Medicine) which I take from the Levich article…

Work closely with Western military forces, specifically NATO, in operations targeting the developing world. (Planning “should include military alliances such as NATO”; “in a severe epidemic, the military forces of many or all middle- and high-income countries might have to work together.”)

Suspend constitutional guarantees in sovereign nations affected by epidemics. (“Because democratic countries try to avoid abridging individuals’ rights to travel and free assembly, they might be too slow to restrict activities that help spread disease.”)

Create worldwide surveillance networks, presumably free of privacy protections, that would make information about people in developing countries instantly available to the imperial core.  (“Access to satellite photography and cell-phone data” would permit tracking “the movement of populations and individuals in the affected region.”)

The drama of the mask is one of transitioning into full tilt fascism. And instead of black shirts, we have black (and blue and rainbow) masks. But there are already police in most European countries, and in the U.S. (in places) enforcing lockdown restrictions and punishing those who literally and figuratively refuse the mask. Businesses are aligned with their new duty to the state. To the system. Those businesses that are still open, that is.

Homelessness is reaching proportions never even dreamed of even by dystopian Sci Fi writers. And with this is coming a new criminalizing of poverty. The poor were always resented in America, but now those who do the resenting are feeling emboldened by a new religious fervor. And the empire of screens is there to validate that fervor. A patriotic fervor for some, a new woke ‘concern’ for others. Put on the mask because you CARE about people. And nothing is too severe for those who refuse. There is an overwhelming self righteousness in American society today. The next stage will be mandatory vaccination. And with that we will have arrived at an existence of pure symbolism, disconnected from reality. It is fascist Kabuki, a political drama of stylized symbolic gestures and mime, all performed behind a mask.

The post Fascist Kabuki first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Active Shooter in the Brain

Oh, the act of deactivating, the process of disconnecting, the very process of uncluttering the brain — bye-bye Facebook — Emancipation!

Pin on Funny Bone

Some might say we are caught in a fun-house . . . or caught in a psych ward. I have more and more people in my sphere — work, friends, email world, Facebook world, family — who are not only showing signs of insanity, but also lobotomy, or massive electro-shock therapy (sic-sick). They actually buy into that Matrix shit, that we are part of a sophisticated code god, a program that creates the “reality” we are in. A Super Duper Mario Brothers Hollywood style. Really, and then the ancient astronauts and those aliens that had to help build Chichén Itzá and the great Pyramids of Gaza.

Conversations about this new normal sort of circle the drain, and in so many instance, the putrid politics of “never Trump” come spewing from the mouths of these people, unsolicited. And as a frame of reference, this “Trump is Gone Now — Hurray for Harris and Biden” (sigh of relief, smiles, giddy chortles) — I am back in the back of the back of the intellectual and political bus. You see, many of us know, through study, travel, experience, rebuff — that the system both Biden and Trump adore is the shooter in the brain. Active Shooter in the House. Active Shooter in the Books they Read (not many). Active Shooter in their Consumer Choices. Active Shooter in the Work Places. Active Shooter in the State Capitals. These Active Shooters are everywhere, and have been since the founding of the Active Shooter Society that is called United (hahaha) States (really?) of America (a map maker, man!).

Pin on Greeting Cards and Party Supply. Home and Garden

Just the way the Kingdom of Puritans and Kingdom of Capital laid the groundwork for this sick-in-the-head, sick-in-the-heart, sick-in-the-spirit, sick-in-the-body, sick-in-the-spirit, sick-in-the-commercial-culture has galvanized all those parts to the Active Shooter scenario and Active Shooter response to everything.

A Good Indian is a Dead Indian. There Will be Blood. Atonement for their Savagery. Beat the Dickens Out of their Native Soil/Soil/Spiritual Being. It’s that Collective Psychological Response to the Active Shooter White Patriarchal Rapist/Land Stealer/Murderer Government working out of the White House vis-à-vis all those houses of ill repute, from the CIA, to Pentagon, from NASA, to Every University, from the New York Times to Netflix, from Bank of America to BlackRock, from Jerusalem, to Geneva. Here a few other things these presidents said —

In 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt promoted putting “dangerous or undesirable aliens or citizens” in “concentration camps.” During World War II, Roosevelt signed an executive order that led hundreds of thousands of people of Japanese descent––including 80,000 U.S. citizens––to be incarcerated in concentration camps on the West Coast of the U.S. The U.S. was in a war against Japan at the time. It was also fighting Italy and Germany, but did not broadly incarcerate people in the U.S. of Italian and German descent.

  • In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower told Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren white Southerners “are not bad people. All they are concerned about is to see that their sweet little girls are not required to sit in school alongside some big overgrown Negroes” while discussing the desegregation of schools.
  • Johnson is often credited as one of the most consequential presidents with respect to civil rights, having signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. But for much of his political career, Johnson opposed civil rights legislation. According to a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography on Johnson, during the two decades he served in the U.S. Senate he would use the phrase “nigger bill.” Johnson also reportedly defended appointing Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court––the court’s first black justice in U.S. history––by stating, “Son, when I appoint a nigger to the court, I want everyone to know he’s a nigger.”
  • Recorded conversations of Nixon’s time in the Oval Office reveal extremely bigoted views of black people, among other groups. In one conversation, Nixon said, “We’re going to [put] more of these little Negro bastards on the welfare rolls at $2,400 a family—let people like [New York Sen.] Pat Moynihan … believe in all that crap. But I don’t believe in it. Work, work—throw ’em off the rolls. That’s the key.”
  • Nixon added, “I have the greatest affection for [blacks], but I know they’re not going to make it for 500 years. They aren’t. You know it, too. The Mexicans are a different cup of tea. They have a heritage. At the present time they steal, they’re dishonest, but they do have some concept of family life. They don’t live like a bunch of dogs, which the Negroes do live like.” On Jewish people, Nixon said, “The Jews are just a very aggressive and abrasive and obnoxious personality.”

And then, butter-for-brains Vice President Joe Biden, with more and more of his racist toes and feet in his mouth — “The way Trump deals with people based on the color of their skin, their national origin, where they’re from, is absolutely sickening,” Biden said. “No sitting president has ever done this, never, never, never. No Republican president has done this, this no Democratic president,” he continued. “We’ve had racists and they’ve existed, they’ve tried to get elected president but he’s the first one that has. And the way he pits people against one another is all designed to divide the country, divide people, not pull them together.”

Shall I say more about the absurdity of the presidential election/selection? I’d end up in the poor house if I gave a reader a penny for each racist thought-or-statement written by or yammered by USA politicos, media mavens, Holly-Dirters, authors, celebrities, Fortune 1000-ers, et al!

With the continual panic and lockdown mentality and genuflection to authority, this society pre-and post-Trump has been the bum’s rush for me and my ilk. When we put this society through the settler-colonial lens, we are lambasted on both sides of the political manure pile. “You know, the Indians were not all these noble savages. You know, they came here using the Land Bridge. You know, progress means adaptation.” These people have always believed in American exceptionalism, believed in the red and white and blue. Always believed those alabaster statues of Lincoln or Jefferson or even Martin Luther King. That Active Shooter in the House is what creates that Collective Stockholm Syndrome. It can be collective in rarified forms — the Stockholm Syndrome of Branch Davidians or MAGA or QAnon. The Stockholm Syndrome of Greta/350.org/David Attenborough. The Stockholm Syndrome of K-Street. Stockholm Syndrome of the Military Police State. Stockholm Syndrome of Techies and Bezos Types. That Syndrome is the result of the Active Shooter Mindset.

Siberian eatery is ideal spot for a Putin fan | Reuters

Until we end up here, in Lockdown, in a society where stores are boarded up. Streets are empty. Barricades of the mind and spirit erected from sea to shining sea. Incomes frozen. Assets Hacked. Lives Set Inside that Funhouse, or to use non-PC lingo, Madhouse. That Active Shooter rules of engagement also include not speaking out and not moving too quickly, or use anything in reach to subdue and escape, or to crawl and stop and hide. Lights out, doors locked, no sounds, no whispering, nothing, just crouch and hold still until, what? Whirling Blackhawks and Rumbling SWAT Armored Vehicles with Machine Gun Turrets?

The perceptions from the individual and collective Stockholm Syndrome, and the intellectual actions and inactions in this Active Shooter Lockdown Abide by All Leaders’ Laws/Regulations/Rules/ Fines/Admonishments/ Recommendations/Edicts/Penalties/Crimes/Offenses/Dictates, well, that certainly has constructed a very mean and very ostrich like society, and the see-hear-speak no evil and head in the sand and the lashing out and the hyper propaganda and the hyper-knee jerking, and, well, with it all facilitated by unsocial media, we are in the super minority if we dare question the question and the responses and the answers. We dare to go up against any of the narratives, and alas, we then become the pariah and the Scarlet-ed Letter “A” for Anarchist or Anachronistic or Abnormal or Ambiguous or Antagonistic or Adversarial or Asymptomatic or Argumentative or even the letter “A” for Anticlockwise.

“All forms of perception are “subjective” in the sense that they represent only those aspects and properties of the world that can be detected by an organism’s sensory transducers. Hence all perception is subjective in the sense of being partial. Moreover, once organisms reach a stage of cognitive complexity where they start to encode some sort of model of the surrounding world through their sensory contact with it, then the result is subjective in an even deeper sense. For what is represented will only comprise those aspects of the world that potentially matter to the organism (whether this is explicitly represented in the organism’s values, or implicit in the lifestyle that has been selected for it by evolution).”

— Peter Carruthers, from Human and Animal Minds: The Consciousness Questions Laid to Rest ( Oxford University Press, Jan 5, 2020;  p. 68)

Imagine that, the very act of just shutting it off, that Fuck You Book, that social ingratiation book, that rotting of the brain book. I was on it only because I had to set up an account for the nonprofit that was/is Gig Economizing me to work on their rather bombastic project of getting billionaires and millionaires and governments and philanthropies to put in “cash” transfers to poor people during, before and after (there will be no after) the Plan-demic Covid-19, SARS-CoV2, corona virus thing. Then, with the multitasking aplomb of wanting to take a break from this or that writing project, alas, I ended up messing with the Paul Haeder Facebook page, and then “befriending” a thousand or so, and then letting loose the philosophical and political tirades of our age. I did end up exposing folk to left of left stuff, to things that are pretty mainstream to me like Black Agenda Report, and groups like the Black Alliance for Peace. Discourse around why Trump or Trump-lite or Pence or GOP-lite, or DNC, or AOC or Biden-Obama-Hillary lite, and the hard stuff brewed by Empire of the Capitalists, that it’s all the same to revolutionaries or those with the Scarlet Letter “A” emblazoned on our t-shirts. Pure addictive and mind-blowing shit, this country is, and that is the unholy alliance of a country tis of me based on torture, raping, burning, immolating, murdering, beheading, pollution, animal slaughter, and air and soil and water destruction, all in the name of toilet paper for the masses, and kingdoms of jewels, banks, homes, mansions, castles for the Capitalists in Power. The ethanol brain rot of Capitalism a la North America.

I would throw out bombs on why Biden and Trump come from the same patriarchal DNA, how the Democratic Party Machine is as Bad and Corrupt as the Republican Party Machine. How the Machine is greased with Capital, and the Machine is not of, for, by, with, entwinned to the People, US, but for the banks. The techno-fascists, and brothers and sister of the Military Industrial Complex of Another and Another and Another Mother/Mothership.

United Snakes of America. United States of BlackRock. Un-united States of Capitalism, what have you, in variations on the theme, well, those stars on that other Banner, tell the story, and the story shifts with the logos, and those stores are indeed just banners, hiding the real sophisticated thugs of Transnational, Transhuman, Transcultural, Transhumane capital.

Corporate Logo Flags (US Flag) from Reclaim Democracy

In that abortion of Facebook just days ago, I find myself less distracted, though I have always worked as a writer, done my time in the world of nature, walks, paddles, bike riding, and now another gig for the 63-going-on-64-white (self-loathing, sort of)-communist-male-who-has-to-in-polite (mixed up)-company-call-himself-socialist. This one, well, full-time, with benefits, and back in the slog of things, working with adults with developmental and intellectual (and psychological and physical) disabilities. As a counselor, in this case all-around job-employment counselor, developers, what have you. Back to getting my expired certificates re-upped, and then all the vocational rehabilitation and department of human services and department of developmental disabilities courses and trainings. Deja vu, and well, in the beach life of the Central Oregon Coast, my spouse and I have to work, even though it feels fluttering around here that half the people are retired and enjoying high lifestyle, or at least solid retired middle class, and then, there are those who service this place, and many of them are struggling big time. In Oregon with the Nanny Governor and the schizophrenia of Red-Neck and Blue-Neck, the pain of businesses shuttering and main streets depopulating, well, this makes for a very hard time for the clientele I work with — how to get a job for someone who has to usually work 20 hours or less to keep the SSI under wraps. People who are not “normally” those we see in the workplace (the highest unemployment rate for any demographic is adults with developmental disabilities — think 83 percent). Getting creative in Plan-Demic times, well, I am up for the challenge, but alas, working that 40-hour a week schedule, and then doing my own thing as a journalist and novelist and such, well, I have to utilize as much brain-space and keyboard and mouse time as possible for MY work.

Facebook was a kick for a while, then for many of those nanoseconds (they do add up to minutes and then an hour is wasted on Fucker-Berg’s Mind Manipulation Tool, I was put on 24 hour and then three-day and then one week suspension. Expelled from posting and commenting. Then, to make matters even more hilarious (sad, too) those dyed in the wool exceptionalists, those with the Democratic Party diarrhea dreams dream, I just had to call it quits. They are the worse of the worse, the same as Christian MAGA and Conservative MAGA and Military MAGA and Retiree MAGA and Female MAGA, and the like. Total cognitive dissonance, and the Active Shooter mind-scape, well, that got the best of me (not really). Endless stupid dead-end posts and mini-discussions about why Trump is in and why Biden is bad, and, then, just coming from this angle as a communist, err, in Active Shooter land, a “socialist,” the arguments are back on the table about how great it is to have that first person of color in as VP-soon-to-be-Prez . . . (1928-’32, Charles Curtis, Herbert Hoover’s Vice President, was a member of the Kaw Nation).

Endless stupidity about the lesser of two evils, about the evils of two lessers, about how a Biden win will allow for pressure on the left side of things to move the party and the country leftier . . . . Right! Bankers, bombers, baggers, bottom-feeders, bombasts, buccaneers, bag men/women, broadcasters, botulism boys, and the like, already lined up for the Harris-Biden Kill Show. Active Shooters show. Then, the Trump All Encompassing Digital and Cable Network . . . . all the while the offense industrialists (elites in and out of the military industrial complex) will bilk the nation, the globe, the resources until a future is this below, the fighting orangutan’s, a la Homo Psychopithecus!

Alternate text

PETITION TARGETCambodian Ambassador to the United States Chum Sounry

The Phnom Penh Safari zoo in Cambodia showcases disturbing orangutan boxing matches, forcing innocent apes to fight each other in a boxing ring. The animals are also made to ride bikes, hula-hoop, and wear degrading outfits, as shown in numerous TripAdvisor photos.

Orangutans aren’t the only animals abused at this zoo: tigers jump through flaming hoops and cower in fear of trainers’ electric prods; crocodiles are hit with sticks and have their mouths taped shut for selfie opportunities; and elephants are controlled with bullhooks.

The animals appear neglected, too. The tigers are declawed and extremely thinaccording to EARS Asia. And the drinking water is filthy, according to a Khmer Times article that has since been deleted.

Animals do not exist for human amusement. They deserve natural habitats and loving caretakers, not cruel zoos where they’re forced to perform for park-goers.

The abuse must stop. Sign this petition urging Cambodian Ambassador to the United States Chum Sounry to call for an end to all cruel animal performances at the zoo and push for a thorough investigation into the animals’ treatment.

The abusive husband in this loveless marriage of capitalists ruling the roost, writing the narrative, spinning the malignant history, fears the loss of her/his master because that abusive system has turned him/her into a clinging hopey-dopey thing who believes all those decades of oppression will somehow be redefined to allow this shattered individual and collective to lose all self-esteem to the point that we are no longer capable of imagining a life without our parasitic master.

We are collectively servants of those masters who have for centuries plotted and prodded populations into fearing agency, revolution and radical transformation. We are that Disney-fied and Disney-fed collective, and those elites especially, yammering and yammering about the LGBTQA+ minority’s play (Lin-Manuel Miranda), “Hamilton,” being so wonderous and so emblematic of the good of this nation, well, not a one would question the slaver’s role in America — a slaver, new documents do show that not only was Alexander Hamilton a slave trader for his in-law family, the Schuyler’s, his own account books demonstrate that Hamilton bought, sold and personally owned slaves. But try and have that conversation about Miranda and the elite’s bullshit love of this bullshit play on Fuck-You-Book, or in person (of course, masked up and at least six feet of separation, please, and no more than 8 gathered in an open space, please or else!!!).

I would have expected a few of the people on Fuck-You-And-The-Horse-You-Rode-Into-Town-On BOOK, to nuance the Biden-Harris gig, the bullshit nature of GOP and DNC, and the trillions thrown at the sex addicts and money changers in the billionaire class, while mom and pop, sister and brother, downtrodden and almost-to-be-downtrodden, get shit from Pelosi and Mitch, but instead, the Collective Stockholm Syndrome of the liberal lite kind has just plummeted our 2021 into the new normal of following more anti-civil rights and anti-free speech and anti-freedom of movement laws backed by thousand-dollar fines, the fuzz with their assault rifles and, well, the GIANT Scarlet Letter A for, well, fill in the blank of anti- as prefix. You get expelled from Zoom Doom school, get cut from the team, get sacked, get ostracized, and get kicked to the curb if you dare question narratives of the ruling class. Dare to question this science (sic) versus that science. You know, that is the mob mentality of America, whether it is in the village square burning heretics, or on the greasy grass mowing down dancers and drummers. We are in a Little Bighorn, and the Big-Small-wannabe Eichmann’s are there, mostly, in places of “authority,” the elites, the nanny governors and their cadre of pencil neck followers, the compliant ones, the ones who follow order, those who say LGBTQA+, but are hope-dopey Stockholm Syndrome sufferers of the major kind, creating dictate after dictate.

You can’t even talk about small businesses closing. Can’t talk about the renter and mortgage class (sic) sticking it and sticking it and resticking it to the masses. Imagine this fucked up Corona World, where stupidity and no-deep questioning rule. Can you imagine scum bucket governors from red and blue states, yammering and yammering.

There is no plan for the resettling in and after Plan-demic. But there is that Fourth Industrial Revolution, the big plans by big tech, and the Google world and the economies of scale of the Amazon-kind variety and the satellites launched at sunset and the Elon Musks and the entire shit-show that is Forbes and Rockefeller and Council on Foreign Affairs, the Aspen Institute, the Federalist Society, the Family, the TED Talk crews, all of them, from QAnon to the Tweets, and everything in between, it is the world of the ACTIVE Shooter, and duck and cover, the name of one generation’s game, and now, the slave master will say, “All Money, All Movements, All Things” will and must be on a digital platform. Passports from Hell to Enter a New Hell. No Travel Unless Eyes Are Scanned and Vaccination Record Checked.

Somehow, that has been the pathway of the elites, from Holly-Dirt, to the schools, to the drone programs at two-bit community colleges, to the food purveyors. We have colonized each generation, and the baselines of old hopes — agency, real food, real relationships with people-land-planet, real debate, real learning, real arguing, real water, real air, real art, real feelings, real history, real enfranchisement, real conversations — that too has been put on Red Flag Active Shooter hold. Deep Sixed.

Conversations and philosophical constructions and deconstructions are put on hold as the majority of people in the United Snakes of BlackRock, well, they talk about “things” as bifurcated nonsense, politics, histrionics, heliographs, shit shows and PT Barnum One-Upping Scams of the Mind and of the Culture.

I love what John Steppling has to say in the front of his essay, The Mechanical Soul:

One of the reasons I keep writing about AI is that the entire construct of an artificial intelligence has become both a symbol and metaphor for contemporary thought, and, is part of this ongoing reshaping of human consciousness.

I admit I am surprised how many people believe in the entire project of AI. Clearly it holds something very appealing that people WANT to believe in. And a key element in this is the idea of predictability. And predicting means controlling. So, in one sense, there is nothing new in this desire to foretell the future.

Now the first problem when discussing “consciousness” is that finding a definition for that word is nearly impossible.

“Moreover, the explicit dualistic beliefs of children in Western cultures get less strong with age (Bering 2006). This suggests that dualism is the default setting of the folk-psychological system, which gets weakened by cultural input in scientific cultures—at least at the level of explicit verbal expression—rather than depending on such input (Riekki et al.2013;Willard & Norenzayan 2013; Forstmann & Burgmer 2015). Indeed, dualist intuitions are prevalent in both children and adults, even in cultures whose norms discourage overt attention to mental states, albeit becoming weaker as a function of exposure to Western education (Chudek et al.2018).” –Peter Carruthers (Human and Animal Minds)

With Facebook and Twitter and even consumption of the low art of Netflix and everything on the Internet, that is, almost all of it on the Web, we are losing the race for dualistic beliefs, of holding many counter-arguments in our brains, and even just considering counter-intuitive things. But, the news, the real news, should send shudders down any human’s spine — Bend, Oregon, on the frigid east side of the Cascade Range, is currently without a warming shelter, largely due to complaints by rich residents about a location. Early Tuesday morning, the body of Dave Melvin Savory, 57, a homeless double amputee, was found slumped against a dumpster outside a Rite Aid pharmacy.

Finally, of course, any real leftist would be cheering the defeat and dethroning of any ruler of the empire. Christ, just watching both sides of the sewer pond is what a revolutionary would hope for. Trump defeated and his slim-balls and himself slipping and sliding in their own shit, that is a good day to be a human being. And, the end of Biden and Harris and all the hit men he and she are hiring on for the Biden-Harris Empire Shit Show, that too will be a very good day for humanity.

Something About Heads on Pikes and All Chained up in the Docks? Banned on Facebook.

America’s Active Shooters!!!

One-time rival Senator Kamala Harris backs Joe Biden for president | amNewYork
Oh Say Can You See by the Dawn’s Early Covid Lockdown…
Pope Francis offers prayers for President Trump - The Dialog
… and Christian Bombs Bursting in Air while laughing all the way to the bank!

Final Note — Imagine this shit show America, and this blog, and the few things I wrote in it, enough to toss me to the curb. Big Brother and Big Sister, they are all watching. Just this recent new job, I was told by a person in the nonprofit involved in hiring me that “I Googled you . . . I had to really get beyond that to think, ‘there is more to this guy than all that.'” Hmm. Is this the proverbial digital straw that broke the human being’s back?

The post Active Shooter in the Brain first appeared on Dissident Voice.